In the spiritual world everyone loves to talk about Krsna
First of all, I would like to welcome you all and also thank some of you for being present here. Especially, few of my godbrothers are here. Vrndavana Prabhu is in the back. Who else? Any other Prabhupada's disciples here? Also, thank to Mukunda Datta Prabhu for accepting the chief priest of this ceremony which he described as auspicious ceremony. Which he said, also, the ceremony is taking place in a very auspicious place.
It is a necessary for reminding you all this is a very auspicious place. Do you need reminder? First of all, this is Vrndavana. Do you remember you are in Vrndavana? That does not matter where in Vrndavana. Just being in Vrndavana is the top most situations. Any part of Vrndavana is very special part.
This area is called Seva Kunja. Seva Kunja is a place where Krsna not only used to but still is performing His madhurya lila, rasa dance pastimes. In Seva Kunja is temple of Radha Damadara, established by none other than Jiva Goswami, who is a topmost scholar of this world. The world has not seen scholars like Jiva Goswami, very rare.
So, we are in the courtyard, backyard of Jiva Goswami's Radha Damodara. In that backyard there is the Samadhi of Rupa Goswami and we are all Rupanugas, sitting at the feet of Rupa Goswami and bhajan kutir of Rupa Goswami. This Tamala trees here, there are the shades of Tamala tress. You could have used some shade. In the presence of monkeys, our lives are quite exciting here. It will be fun for next 3 hours.
Not only that. That is the window there. Prabhupada used to see through that window, meditating on Rupa Goswami's samadhi and thinking of the future plans. He was thinking of us, although, we were not even born those days but Prabhupada was thinking of our future. Because of Prabhupada's intense meditation and prayers
in the little room there which is the kitchen part of course, he also was meditating in other rooms – and contemplating and visioning the whole future of Krsna
consciousness movement. That Prabhupada's residence before he went to the West and, again, he stayed here in early 70.
Not only that. There is one more thing to add. Right here, between bhajan kutir and samadhi, Prabhupada used to sit here under those trees in 1972, Kartika month and gave his nectar of devotion classes. Here in this portion, there were some kind of structures – the bushes were here, broken walls, chirping birds, like you hear. So, Prabhupada used to sit here and gave his nectar of devotion classes.
During the Kartika of 1972, also something happened. Prabhupada was sitting here to give initiation to the initiates. I was initiated right here! At that time, I did not even think, I was not thinking. Those days we were not thinking. Prabhupada was there. We thought this will go – Prabhupada and us and Prabhupada's presence. We
thought that will go on and on and on. We never thought that there will be one day Prabhupada not with us and then there will be us who would be taking some of the business of giving initiations. We did not think like that.
So, this place is certainly extraordinary and extra special place. There could be no better location than this. Especially, as I was thinking of giving initiation in Vrndavana, I thought I would like to go back into the history. Year 1972, that is quite some time. I was only 23 years old. It is quite different. I did not have grey
hair and sikha.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Initiation ceremony as it is, is very auspicious ceremony as some conditioned souls or conditioned for a long time are getting an opportunity for getting out of this material existence. It is almost like getting released from the prison house. When someone is coming out of the prison house, they welcome you as a joyous occasion. So, I was also thinking of all the senior devotees are kind of already there, initiated and brahmin initiated and Prabhupada's disciples, as some initiates are getting initiation today, which is like getting out of this world. So, at the
entrance all prabhus and matajis are there to receive you, welcome you, encourage you.
Today, we have several devotees taking first initiation and two will be taking first and second initiation and one taking second. This is to give you a picture of what is happening here. Those taking first initiation which is harinama diksha, you are accepting this mantra,
hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare.
We will be handing mantra, delivering mantra, giving you hare krsna mantra and you will be chanting that mantra which is non different from Krsna Himself. 500 years ago, Lord Gauranga appeared. He brought the gift of holy name.
“golokera prema dhana harinama sankirtana”
Under the disciplic succession that were of the holy name of the hare krsna maha mantra is delivered from the spiritual master to the disciples and on behalf of Srila Prabhupada, we delivering that mantra up to you.
I was reading Bhagavatam, today. There was an example of how you cannot catch hold the tail of a dog who is right across this ocean. How far could a dog go in the ocean? What hope is there for you to cross the ocean if you are attempting to cross by holding the tail of a dog? Not much hope. So, Prabhupada explains there that nothing else will work out. If you want to cross this material existence and go beyond which is we called going back to Godhead, then one time Prabhupada said,
“When you catch, you catch hold of my dhoti.”
Like little children always catch hold of dhoti of their father or saree of their mother and they are dragged along. They go where the father goes or mother goes.
“mahajano yean gatah sa panthah”
That pantha, that path is the proper path which is shown to us by the mahajanas. So Prabhupada said, "You just follow me, you catch hold of my dhoti and you will get there and you will end with Krsna." So, we are holding Prabhupada and Prabhupada is holding on to his spiritual master, like that, and you hold us. This is
the disciplic succession.
imam rajarsayo viduh
sa kaleneha mahata
yoga nastah parantapa [BG 4.2]
This Lord Krsna has spoken in the Bhagavad Gita. So, this ceremony is auspicious, it is very serious ceremony because there is a commitment. You will be committing yourselves. It is a big step forward and there is a big commitment of taking care of this holy name, not offending this holy name is quite a task and not sinning any more on and stay very active in Krsna consciousness. It is lifetime, if not, forever in the future.
As we were talking the other day in class, we are eternal servants not in just one lifetime servants. In material world people could talk only in terms of one lifetime. But we are talking of being servants eternally being servants of Krsna, of the spiritual master, vaisnavas. This is our eternal connection.
As you are taking initiatives, (I am just trying to make the meaning out of initiation), you are taking initiatives or coming forward to practice Krsna consciousness. This is, of course, most welcome. We will encourage you.
Sometimes it is observed that devotees are quite enthusiastic up till the time of initiation. Some cases I am saying. And after initiation, some of them then take it easy, take it for granted. They look forward to initiation time and once initiation is there, name is given, "Now, it is all done. I am part of the family." They take it too easy. This we are talking also from own experience. One person I initiated and last time I saw he was sitting and he went to his home town and then never ever have I see him again. That is one case. Varieties of things happen. I thought to let you know that these things happen so you could make sure this does not happen to you. Today, you will be taking vows to follow certain principles. We have seen some devotees not able to do that. They follow 4 regulative principles for one year, 2 years, we keep them waiting long period, 3 years, because they know unless they follow these principles there are no initiation, there is no social acceptance. So, they want to be initiated, otherwise, they are called or addressed bhakta. They are embarrassed with bhakta this or bhakta that.
Although bhakta is quite a good title. Bhakta means Krsna bhakta. It is the top most position, in fact, to be bhakta. To be bhakta is no ordinary thing. Sometimes, as it is understood, bhakta or bhaktin is someone new. For these reasons they want to be initiated and they struggle to follow principles. But then things fade and devotees back into intoxication, get back into illicit connections. Gambling we do not hear much or meat eating. Intoxication and illicit sex are the killers, the primary principle enemies of Krsna consciousness movement.
Up until initiation time and around the initiation time, everything look so good and normal, rosy. Then something happens. Time is there working on us. As soon as we take it a little easy and relaxed, immediately, the illusion returns. The gap is widened and wide opened and have Maya takes hold. Some devotees make a big change of ashrams. Devotees who were initiated, lots of them were brahmacaris. After some years, although they had think that they would be brahmacaris for the rest of their lives; especially, our days, early 70's.
We thought that that most of us were brahmacaris and brahmacarinis. The spirit of renunciation was so high in presence of Prabhupada. It was easy as he kept us very very high in his presence. So we thought, at least, I was thinking that most of us will be sannyasis or brahmacari. But that was not the case.
There is nothing wrong. At least now we say, "Those days we almost preached against this grihastha business. As soon as one of our godbrothers was thinking of getting married, we immediately would surround him by ten of us and make him sit down and make him understand Prabhupada said this and that, Bhagavatam says. We speak to him until he is convinced. But that fanatically in our early days – immaturity or immature. The reality is something different. This we have seen. Wanting is one thing. But it does not work like that, although, the scriptures will
encourage and we will be encouraging, sadhus or shastra will encourage.
Prabhupada says all brahmacaris should stay brahmacaris and all matajis should get married. How is it gonna work? And it does not work like that, but encouragement is there. The difference is just that brahmacari should stay
So, things are changing. There are different mentions. Other mention is some grihasta devotees get so much concerned about their family and maintenance of their family and related business. Many of you will become, eventually, grihastas or brahmacaris. So keep this ongoing. We have repeated that in ancient days:
bramhacari, grihasta, vanaprastha, sannyasa.
You are 25 years old brahmacari, you go to your home, you get married and have children but you never forget Guru or his mission, your promise or support. You are supportive of your Guru's mission. The 13 questions that you are asked to answer, in one of them said you staying in or supporting ISKCON. What does it ask about staying in ISKCON? "Why one should remain in ISKCON?" There was one question. So, it implies that one SHOULD remain in ISKCON and there are many good reasons.
In our movement what is the inside and outside of ISKCON? You could stay outside and you are still in ISKCON but your consciousness, your service attitude, you are wanting to support, that always has to be there. So, we have seen that lots of time our whole grihastha asrama's situation has to be settled within ISKCON and because it is not settled, our movement is little bit unsettled and shaky. Because most of the devotees in our movement are grihasthas and less than 100 sannyasis and brahmacaris are maybe 20 – 30 percent. So, 70 – 80 percent of our populations are grihasthas. So how they are doing, how they are well connected with ISKCON, what is their situation, how they are supporting or not supporting, becomes the deciding factor, socially speaking, social
So, you should all be concerned for International Society for Krsna Consciousness. What we are addressing is some social concerns and it is time to get concerned. And devotees who are getting initiated should have this concern. Your concern should be how you would like to see Prabhupada's International Society for Krsna Consciousness more developed as a society; to see how you could assist. We have seen also some disciples after some time they keep looking for nectar. They think there is not enough in ISKCON, there is not enough in Prabhupada's
books, so they go looking, searching other books, other sampradayas, they minimize the process or the importance of chanting and they get into worshipping deities of some certain sampradayas. So this also we have seen happening. But this is already an experience and I'm sure this is a common experience of most spiritual masters in Krsna consciousness movement. That means each one of us has something additional, unique experience, some common experience also.
The examples I am giving are some common examples of what happens to those who get initiated in rather 2 years, 3 years, 10 years. This is what happens to our disciples. That relationship, which is supposed to be an eternal relationship does not even exist. You do not even feel that any relationship exists. Then different offences are committed. Some of them becomes guru, bhogis. Guru bhogi, guru tyagi, guru drohi.
Guru bhogi means they try to enjoy the property or institution of the guru sadhu or the position in guru's institution. They try to exploit, take advantage. Instead of contributing, they try to take away, take advantage for their own gratification. Guru tyagi means means just renouncing, giving up that connection, just turning the
back towards the guru institution. And guru drohi is betrayal, trying to assert the position of guru. Trying to become as good as guru. Or think, "I have become as good as guru. Now I do not need him anymore," as if you are using guru as some kind of stepping stone to go beyond him.
That also we have seen in Prabhupada's institution. Some of them trying to take Prabhupada's position of becoming founder acarya or this and that. This guru bhogi, guru tyagi, guru drohi business dilute the consciousness and then weakens the relationships between spiritual master and disciple. When this relationship is weak then everything else remains spiritually weak as everything will depends on or starts off this sambhanda or this relationship. So this is not proper, this is not regular.
So, I thought I would just share these experiences. You will be taking vow so that you would not do such things, yes? As in Mayapur we had the social development conference. The society is weak or the Hare Krsna movement is weak or different difficulties are there and the cause was identified as the unqualified disciples.
Initiation that conducted too soon and all thing become cheap, fast in and out with very less commitment in the part of the initiates to push on the sankirtan movement. Prabhupada repeated, appealed to, he always said, very affectionately, "American boys and girls." And sometimes he would say, "European boys and girls." He never said Indian boys and girls, he had more faith in the Americans.
About pushing on this movement. The movement is required so that we could do something effective, organised, it could influenced the thinking or revolutionize the thinking and consciousness. So, this commitment has to be lifetime, many lifetime or forever in the future. Commitment or accepting a spiritual master is not a fashion, Prabhupada said. My neighbor has car so I also buy car. My neighbor has dog, I also liked to have a dog. My neighbor went to Haridwar last week now he has goals and I'll also have also goal. So, this is not a fashion.
Like in the west people like to "try it out." When there is something they say to try it out. Maybe some devotee from the west want to "try it out" this Krsna consciousness but he can try it out for six months but finally, if he is convinced, then only he should go for accepting initiation. So, we need you to practice and
propagate Krsna consciousness movement. The world is false alarm and need some positive alternatives and you have received, you know what the other alternatives are. What are they?
hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
Do you think it is that simple? So, any big problem and you say the alternative is just chant hare krsna , how would that work? The problems are huge, big turmoil and you say chant hare krsna? Is there alternative? Can you convince us? Name is bigger than the problems. Jai! The name is Krsna and the name is unlimited. That is a smart reply. It is no small thing. Maha mantra is no small thing. When we say maha mantra, it is Lord Himself. We convince like that and learn the association of Prabhupada.
So, you just keep these few things in mind and see how these things are not repeated. You have some kind of reliable devotee power. Once a devotee, always a devotee. This is not something you do for 2, 3 or 5 years and we will never see your face again. When you stay out, whenever you make your mind after 5 or 20 years, you come back and get initiated. Stay a member of congregation, namahatta, folk members. We do not force you but you are taking this step of wanting initiation then you have to commit yourself for full lifetime, whole heartedly.
What else is there to do? If you think you have something important to do other
than Krsna's service, Krsna consciousness, then you are in maya.
So, those who are taking hare krsna, maha mantra initiation, harinama diksha, we say to you please, take shelter. Normally, I do not speak like that but I thought I was keeping you waiting and one reason I was saying that is I did not have good experiences. Some of these prabhus are turning against, getting into maya, going back to the drugs, going to some sampradayas. Batch after batch we initiate and after 2 or 5 years, the scene is completely different and there is frustration.
We take seriously; I took seriously. When you came and take initiation I thought you are going to be with us for the rest of your life and serve Prabhupada's mission, you would have chant for the rest of your life, you will follow principles for the rest your life. Do not do that.
There are ten offences. We say them every morning. That is part of the program you have to say them again. The first offence is not to offend vaisnavas, they are worshipable, they are very dear to Krsna and those who want to worship Krsna and not His devotees they are called third class devotees. Simple definition of kanistha adhikari. They are very expert in worshipping the Lord but vaisnavas, they are ready to kick, punch in the face. Aarti to the Lord and punch in vaisnavas' face. This is third class. Krsna does not like that. "Love my dog. If you want to love me, love my dog," in the west they say. They love dogs so much. In India they would say "Love my cow." So, we are dogs of Krsna, devotees of Krsna and we have to love them.
Second offence is to consider names of demigods, there are so many of them. How many? 33 crores, 330 0000 demigods. To consider their names to be equal to or independent of Lord Visnu, of Lord Krsna is an offence. The devotees from the west have no problem with this offence because they are not into any worship including demigods worship. But in India we have problems, Bangladesh, of some very popular God.
Third offence is to disobey orders of the spiritual master. So, do not disobey the orders. A lot of people in India do not accept guru because they know, "If I accept guru then I am stuck, I have to follow his orders." So they are smart. What do they do? They do not accept the spiritual master then they think they are not committing
this offence. You see how they are thinking. They also do not go to the discourse because they know the sadhus are going to say do not do this and that. You are just eating, sleeping, mating. They already know what sadhus will say so they stay away from sadhus and do not accept guru.
But of course sastras say,
tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh shreya uttamam
Sastras are insisting that if you want to be qualified human being you must accept spiritual master and once you have accept do not disobey. The holy name also is not to be offended.
Fourth offence is to blaspheme the Vedic literature. Common offences are sashtras are misinterpreted and read such sastras is an offence. So better in ISKCON, we stick to Prabhupada's books, read them and distribute books. Distributing means serving the scriptures. If you have committed an offence against the shastras you carry books and distribute them. Sastras will forgive you. Sastras will be pleased. Fifth offence is to consider the glories of chanting to be an imagination. It is not imagination, no exaggeration. The holy name is powerful, none different from the Lord. Jagai and Madhai have attained perfection of their life just by chanting hare krsna. Sastra says harer namaiva kevalam. The glories of the holy name are true, no imagination, no exaggeration.
Sixth offence is interpretation of the holy name. So many interpretations are there. They say, "Why hare krsna mantra? Any mantra." Some asramas give you lists of all possible mantras you could chant. They say, "Chant the mantra of your choice. Why maha mantra has to chanted? Or any mantra is okay. Why a mantra? You
could just say any word and you would achieve the same result." This is also interpretation.
Seventh offence is committing sins on the strength of the holy name. This is commonly done in all the religions, in the Indian religions. That is why we go on the banks of Ganga. We sin all year long and then go at the time of Kumbh Mela, take a dip and think we have freed from sins and ready to sin more. Like that, thus is a dangerous path and should be avoided.
Eighth is to consider chanting of hare krsna same as some ritualistic activity mentioned in karma kanda section. Especially, to consider social welfare activities on same level as chanting. Chanting is bhakti yoga and social welfare work may be some good activity. So, there is a big difference between shudha sattva and sattva guna.
Ninth offence is to preach to a faithless person.
jare tako tare tako krsna upadesha
In general, we encourage everyone to chant, to read, everyone to take prasad and we talk of some general basic process. But to talk some confidential, deep subject matters to some new comers or wordly people, this has to be avoided. According to the person that we are preaching to, his elevation in Krsna consciousness corresponding topics should be preached.
Tenth offence is not to have complete faith in chanting and maintain material attachments after hearing so many instructions on the subject matter. So this you understand. The final offence, which is not part of the tenth offence, is to be inattentive while chanting the holy name. So, be very attentive when you are chanting the names of the Lord. You are calling the Lord and once the Lord is there, you are not receiving Him, you are not paying attention to Him. This is like giving someone appointment or asking someone to come over to the party. He comes and you are not there. You have given appointment to someone and you are busy in something else or you just take off or you go out of station. How does that sound? Not proper, right? Certainly offending that guest.
So, when you are chanting the names of the Lord, you are calling, "My Lord, please come. Please, engage me as your eternal servant." So, that the Lord is taking seriously and coming but once He comes, you are busy in something else, you are not there. You are there and not there at the same time. Physically there, mentally
elsewhere. At some time in our life, although everyday we recite the ten offences as a ritual. So we have to follow these ten offences so that we can quickly achieve the desired goal of life which is Krsna prema.
Those who are taking second initiation they become brahmins. We have European brahmins, American brahmins. Yesterday, I was talking to someone and I was reminded how Bhaktisiddhanta's disciples went to the west, went to England and one time they had an appointment with the members of the royal family and they have heard of this title brahmin and they were wondering,
“Oh, could you make us also brahmin?”
And Bhaktisiddhanta's follower said, “Oh yeah, no problem. Yes, we could make
“So, what do we going to have to do to become brahmin?”
“No meat eating, no intoxication, no illicit sex, no gambling and few other things he were going to say and before he was going to make the list complete, their response was”
“Impossible! We cannot do this, and can not to do! Then what do I do? There is
nothing else left to do.”
But now, by the grace of Prabhupada, we have some American, European, Australian and African are brahmins. Some them are becoming qualified, learned. So that is the thing. The brahmin have become learned and read and can teach.
They worship and they teach others. Brahmin is basically learned teacher, he is teaching by example, knowledgeable person.
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
panditah sama-darsinah [B.G. 5.18]
He has lots of vidya, knowledge, and he is also humble. And there are many other qualities of brahmin mentioned in the scriptures, the 18th chapter of Bhagavad Gita, text 42, Krsna talks about brahma karma svabhava ja, qualities of a brahma. When you come here you are promising to follow all the principles in all presence of spiritual master and Prabhupada is here and the priests, Vrndavana is here, the fire and paramatma. Keeping in mind that there are so many persons witnessing. You will be promising to follow rules, to chant 16 rounds and you will stay in ISKCON, serve ISKCON for the rest of your life. Bhakti Caru Maharaj always say when he gives initiation, "And you will serve ISKCON for the rest of your life.”
Initiation ceremony starts.