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750603 - Lecture Initiation - Honolulu

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



750603IN-HONOLULU - June 03, 1975 - 27:14 Minutes


(Initiation of Ambarīṣa dāsa)



Prabhupāda: . . .material benefit, śubha-kriyā. So the initiation is not like that, that "I am taking to the process of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra for some material benefit." No. Because people become religious mostly for material benefit.

ārto jijñāsur arthārthī
jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
(BG 7.16)

Ārtaḥ means distress, and artha-arthī means one who is in need of money. Generally. . . Just like in Christian church, they go to the church for some material benefit: "O God, give us our daily bread," asking some material benefit. Similarly, Hindus also, they go to the temple, pray to the Lord, "My Lord, I am very much distressed. I have no money. Kindly give some money." So harināma, chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, should not be taken like that, that "I am chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra so that my material condition will improve." Not like that. Chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra means to come in contact with the Supreme Lord and increase my love for Him. That is the point. Prema pumārtho mahān. So if we think that it is śubha-kriyā—śubha-kriyā means something auspicious—no, that is also offense. We have already described so many offenses; this is also one of offense.

And next offense is nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ (Padma Purāṇa Brahma-khaṇḍa 25.16). Anyone who thinks that "I shall counteract the resultant action of my sinful life by chanting, atonement," prāyaścitta. . . Just like one… Somebody commits some sinful activity, and according to different śāstra, scripture, there are atonement. Just like in Christian religion, if they admit, then it is all right. No. Harināma should not be taken like that, to counteract my sinful activities, or, "Because I am chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra I can go on committing all kinds of sinful activities. It will be neutralized by my chanting." This is offense. Nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ. Pāpa-buddhiḥ means the desire for committing sinful activities.

The sinful activities are summarized in four principles: no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no gambling, no intoxication. If I think, "Now I am initiated, I am chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, even if I commit some sinful activity it will be counteracted, because harināma is so strong that immediately it vanquishes the resultant action of all sinful. . ." That's a fact. But if I think, "Now I have got an instrument to counteract my sinful activities, so let me go on committing sinful activity and then chant Hare Kṛṣṇa; it will be neutralized," this is the most grievous offense. Nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ. (aside:) You should sit properly. Not like that. Mother should take care.

So don’t accept Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra as a counteracting agent. No. The. . . We have to come to the pure chanting. Of course, in the beginning, because we do not know, we may commit offenses. But by chanting, chanting, as we become purified, we must have our aim to become offenseless. Nāma-aparādha. Nāma-aparādha. In the beginning we should not give up chanting, even there is offenses, because by chanting, chanting, we shall be purified. So if one is able to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra without any offenses, he becomes immediately liberated. This is the result. He is mukta-puruṣa, liberated person. He is chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra without any offense. And when pure chanting will be there, then he awakens his original dormant love of Kṛṣṇa. This is the result. In this way.

Another offense is to explain the glories of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra to a person who is not interested. That is also offense. One who is not interested, if I glorify, "You chant like this; you’ll be this, this. . ." Of course, sometimes we have to do that, but that is forbidden. Because he has no respect for Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, so there is no need. We have to chant ourself offenselessly, and if somebody hears my offenseless chanting, it will gradually be effective for the persons who are hearing. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ (SB 7.5.23). The process is one should chant and one should hear. That we follow. Somebody leads by chanting, and others follow. So if the chanter is pure, then the chanting will be effective. If the chanter is impure, then it will not be effective. But still we should go on.

And another thing is that while chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, if we are still attached to material attraction, that is also offense. The whole process is to become disgusted with material things. Vīta-rāga. Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means we, all conditioned soul, we have come to this material world just to enjoy sense gratification independently. This is our main disease. Everyone in this material world is trying his best how to satisfy the senses. This is the material disease. And Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means how to cure this material disease and go back to home, back to Godhead. Unless we cure our material disease, it is not possible to go back to home, back to Godhead. So we must be disinfected. This is the real process. So we have to taste it. Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra syāt (SB 11.2.42). Advancement of material. . . And devotional service means proportionately we become detached to material attraction.

So this our process is ādau gurvāśrayam (Bhakti-rasāmṛta sindhu). To accept this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means first of all to accept guru. Ādau gurvāśrayam. Sad-dharma-pṛcchāt. Then inquiry from guru. The disciple should be intelligent enough to inquire from the spiritual master how to become advanced. So to become advanced means sādhu mārganu-gamanam, to follow the ācāryas. That is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: ācārya-upāsanam (BG 13.8). Ācārya. Our this Vedic principle is to follow the ācārya. And if we have taken shelter of a bona fide ācārya, and if we are sincere to follow the instruction of ācārya, then our life is successful. This is the process, ācārya upasanam.

So this initiation means the beginning of ācārya upasanam. Just like Arjuna submitted to Kṛṣṇa when he was puzzled whether he would fight or not. Then he took shelter of Kṛṣṇa as guru. Kṛṣṇa was with him, but He was like friend. So friendly talks sometime does not become very serious. But talks between the spiritual master and disciple is serious. A friend can deny to accept the instruction of the other friend, but a disciple cannot deny. That will be guror avajñā (Padma Purāṇa). Therefore Arjuna submitted himself, that "Now I become Your disciple. You guide me." Śiṣyas te 'haṁśādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam (BG 2.7): "I become Your disciple; kindly instruct me. I am fully surrendered to You." So this is, initiation means. . . Meaning. . . Regular meaning is also, initiation, "something to begin." This is beginning of spiritual life. Without initiation, there is no beginning of spiritual life. You can talk. . . Just like Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa was talking. That is another thing. But when Arjuna submitted and Kṛṣṇa instructed him, that is serious.

So this initiation means to submit, fully accepting the spiritual master, and to follow his instruction. And spiritual master's instruction means Kṛṣṇa's instruction. But you should come through the spiritual master. The electric powerhouse is Kṛṣṇa, but the current comes through some channel. So spiritual master personally hasn’t got to give you any instruction. His business is to carry the instruction of Kṛṣṇa and deliver it to the disciple. This is spiritual master. He does not invent anything. He does not say, "In my opinion," "I think," "Perhaps," "It may be," just like the modern scientist, philosopher says. No. This is not our process. We say everything definitely. How I can say definitely? Because I have heard it from Kṛṣṇa. The example I have given: The child, he asks his father, "Father, what is this?" Father says, "My dear child, it is called microphone." So he understands this instrument is called microphone. So next time, when he says, "This is microphone," that is correct. Although he is child—he has no knowledge—but when he says that "This is microphone," it is correct. This is the process. He is a child. He does not know what it is. But the father has said; he has taken it. And then he is correct.

Similarly, the spiritual master, he. . . Everyone can become spiritual master if he presents the instruction as it is. Not that "I am now advanced. I can change the process what I received from spiritual master." That is rascaldom. No. You cannot change. You cannot improve. That is rascaldom. A spiritual master also does not change the words of Kṛṣṇa and makes any improvement upon it. Improvement. . . There is no question of improvement. But sometimes, according to time, circumstances, country, candidate, there is some trick or some ways just to. . . Real business is one must take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is real business. So sometimes we have to adopt some means which will help us to distribute the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. That is different thing. But on principle we cannot change the words. Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says in his commentary on Bhagavad-gītā upon the verse,

vyavasāyātmikā buddhir
ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca
buddhayo 'vyavasāyinām
(BG 2.41)

In that connection he explains that "Whatever I have heard from my guru, from my spiritual master, to execute, that is my life and soul. I do not mind even if I am not liberated; still, I shall go on executing the will of my spiritual master." We also sing every day. I do not know whether you understand it. What is that? Guru-mukha-padma-vākya (Śrī Guru-vandanā 2). Huh?

Devotee: Cittete kariyā aikya.

Prabhupāda: Āra nā kariha mane āśā. This is our process. Whatever we have heard from our spiritual master… Spiritual master gives specific order to some specific disciple, and the disciple also will take it as seriously as life and soul. Then it is perfect. From my personal instance I can explain to you it is my duty, that I am not very wonderful man, but I have tried to execute the order of my spiritual master. Whatever little success you can credit, that is my only qualification. That's all. I never. . . Just like the other day I was telling you that my Guru Mahārāja hinted that "If you get some money, you publish book." So from the very beginning, I am trying that. So this is specific. Other, following rules and regulations, that is all right. But a specific.

So this bona fide spiritual master knows what can be executed by a particular disciple. And the disciple also should take a particular instruction from the guru, and you should try to execute it. Then he is successful. This is the success. Yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau (ŚU 6.23). This is Vedic instruction. A person who has got unflinching faith in Kṛṣṇa and similar unflinching faith in guru, yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau, to him, tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante, to such person the Vedic knowledge becomes revealed immediately. It is very difficult to, I mean to say, assimilate the Vedic instruction. But if one has got unflinching faith in Kṛṣṇa and guru, the Vedic knowledge automatically becomes revealed. This is the system. Then you can understand. Just like big, big scholar, big, big leaders. Take for example our big political leader, Gandhi. He says that "I don’t believe that there was any person ever living as Kṛṣṇa." He said that. Just see. Such a big leader, and he is known to be very pious man, but he could not understand Kṛṣṇa. Although he was lecturing on Bhagavad-gītā, and people knew that Gandhi's life and soul is Bhagavad-gītā, but the result is that he does not understand Kṛṣṇa. Just see.

So you cannot enter into the Vedic literature unless you go to the paramparā system. It will remain always blocked. This is one example of a big politician. And big scholar, Dr. Radhakrishnan, he, while commenting on the verse man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65), he says that it is not to Kṛṣṇa the person. Just see. He's a big scholar. He is known as a very big scholar, philosopher—he also does not understand Kṛṣṇa. And Bhagavad-gītā means Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is speaking. But these people do not understand what is Kṛṣṇa. Then what will they speak? This is going on all over the world—in the Western world and in the Eastern world. So you cannot understand the Vedic literature unless you understand through the paramparā system. You may be very big man, you may be very big scholar, but the meaning or the purpose of the Bhagavad-gītā will be sealed.

I have given this example: just like you are asking for honey, and I give you a bottle of honey. And you think that "I have now got the honey. Now let me lick up the bottle." So honey is there in his hand, but he does not know how to taste it. He is licking on the bottle. So how he will taste it? So licking of the bottle of honey is not tasting. The contents, the honey, real honey, if it is open, and if you take, then you will get taste. So to whom it is open? It is open to the bona fide disciple by the bona fide spiritual master. Otherwise, you go on for millions of years licking on the honey bottle, you’ll never taste what is honey. This is a good example. Don’t think, "Now I have got the bottle of honey, let me lick it up." So go on for hundreds and thousands of years licking up, but you will never know what is honey. This is the process. It must be opened by the authorized person, and you must really taste it; then you will understand what is honey when you taste it.

Similarly, Kṛṣṇa says, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo (BG 4.2). This prescription is already there. And Kṛṣṇa selected Arjuna: "My dear Arjuna, I shall speak to you the whole philosophy which I instructed to sun-god." "Why You are prepared to instruct me?" Kṛṣṇa says, bhakto 'si, "Because you are My devotee; therefore I shall explain to you." Kṛṣṇa…, Arjuna was a family man, gṛhastha, a politician. He was not a Vedāntī. He was not a big scholar in Vedānta. Kṣatriya. He knew how to fight, how to fight with enemies. This much qualification he had. Although he was born in royal family, but he was not a Vedāntī or vast scholar in Vedic literature. No. But he was bhakta. That is the qualification. He was a devotee. Therefore Kṛṣṇa said, "I will speak to you Bhagavad-gītā, and you will understand the mystery of it because you are My devotee." This is the qualification.

So this Vedic literature, either you take Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavata or any… Unless you have taken the purport of the Vedic literature through the disciplic succession, you will never understand it. It will remain a mystery, like the honey within the bottle. So the initiation means to learn how to open the bottle. This is initiation. That trick or that craftsmanship you have to learn from the guru, the spiritual master. Therefore, ādau gurvāśrayam. If you are serious about understanding spiritual life and executing, then the first business is initiation, taking shelter of a bona fide spiritual master. This is our process.

Now you can perform yajña. (break) . . .spiritual name is Ambarīṣa dāsa. Ambarīṣa.

Devotee: Ambarīṣa?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. He was king and great devotee. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (break) …find out . . . (indistinct) . . ., and then you shall go. (end).