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(Sunday Feast Lecture, Chowpati Temple, Mumbai, January 9th, 2001 by H.H. Bhakti Caru Swami)


Bhakti Caru Swami: After everything that Radhanatha Maharaja said about me, I feel completely unqualified to speak. (to Radhanatha Swami) Now that you have made me dumb-founded, you better carry on speaking!

Radhanatha Swami: You speak best when you are dumb-founded. (laughter)

Bhakti Caru Swami: (after leading a soft Kirtana) Sometimes I feel that so expertly I am deceiving this world. I am being worshipped as a saintly person, but when I look deep inside me, I really get to see who I am and I get to see that there is so much dirt, impurities, so many contaminations, and yet I carry on. That's why I feel that I am actually a big pretender. Yet, great souls, although also getting to see the state of my heart and consciousness, encourage me so that I can continue in my spiritual endeavor.

The way Radhanatha Maharaja always finds good qualities in others and keeps on glorifying them actually displays his very exalted position. When I look at Radhanatha Maharaja, the way he had always been, I can see without a trace of a doubt that he is the real exalted personality who is here to help Srila Prabhupada's movement and make it move forward with its' momentum and intensity. It is wonderful that today Radhanatha Maharaja is being recognized all over the world.

When I look at Radhanatha Maharaja, whatever little I know of him, I feel very amazed and at the same time I feel very happy that we have such a wonderful saintly personality in our midst. If we look at his background, he was born in a very affluent family in America. Then he left everything. He was not at all interested with material opulence and wealth. At a very young age he left home and started to move towards India. In this way I can see that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu actually placed him in the West to help Him in His Krsna consciousness movement when Srila Prabhupada came to the West.

Of course, Radhanatha Maharaja was not one of those devotees who came forward to assist Srila Prabhupada as soon as he arrived in New York, but today it becomes very obvious that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had a different plan for His Holiness Srila Radhanatha Maharaja in the propagation of His Sankirtana movement throughout the world. Radhanatha Maharaja did not come in contact with the ISKCON movement for quite some time, but he was into spiritual life. When many young Americans were travelling towards India to experience a free life of drugs and degradation, Radhanatha Maharaja maintained his purity and did not display any interest whatsoever to those degraded aspects of life. He went to the Himalayas and then he went to Vrindavan. In Vrindavan, he was living with the sadhus.

In those days, hardly any American even went to Vrindavan. They used to go to Benares and Goa. They used to go to the valley of flowers in the Himalayas where all the hippies used to hang out. But Radhanatha Maharaja did not follow that trend. He went to Vrindavan and he was associating with the sadhus. Then, when he came across Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada immediately recongnized him from a crowd of thousands of people. He called him onto the stage and made him sit next to him and in this way let everyone recognize the exalted position of Radhanatha Maharaja in Srila Prabhupada's pastimes.

Then, His Holiness Radhanatha Maharaja went back to the West. He went to New Vrindavan and he did not actually want to be a big leader. He simply wanted to become the humble servant of Sri Sri Radha Vrindavancandra. He was taking care of the Deities. And if we look at the chronological development of ISKCON, we can see that for many many years, Radhanatha Maharaja was not really recognized as a very exalted leader of our movement. He simply remained in some secluded corner.

In those days, ISKCON was going through a difficult phase, and many devotees became disappointed, disgruntled, disillusioned, especially after Srila Prabhupada's disappearance. Many left the movement. The history of ISKCON was extremely turbulent after Srila Prabhupada's disappearance. But Radhanatha Maharaja just continued in his humble position. He continued to serve Srila Prabhupada's mission.

One thing I have noticed in Radhanatha Maharaja is that he never really wanted to become a big leader. But in due course of time, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu actually brought him forward and let everybody see his greatness. Those who are sincere are recognizing and following him. I mentioned about ISKCON's history being turbulent after Srila Prabhupada's disappearance. There was actually a big competition about who would not only become the leader, but about who would become the greatest leader.

This unhealthy competition caused a lot of calamity and damage to our society. Then, unfortunately, those who were hurting Srila Prabhupada's movement gradually became eliminated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And although Radhanatha Maharaja could see that what was going on was not in the best interest of our society, still Radhanatha Maharaja carried on following his leader at that time without any protest because he felt that tolerance is going to benefit more than protest. Protest leads to conflict and conflict leads to hurt, injury and damage.

Then a time came when Radhanatha Maharaja was so hurt that he actually left ISKCON and actually wanted to disappear from all this clamor and conflict. At that time, it was very nice of Sri Nathaji Prabhu who went out of his way looking for Radhanatha Maharaja. He found him and brought him back to Bombay. Today, I can see that under the expert leadership of His Holiness Radhanatha Maharaja, the preaching is developing so wonderfully here. Srila Prabhupada often used to say that the Krsna consciousness movement cannot spread without the mercy of Krsna. It is only with the potency of Krsna that the Krsna consciousness movement spreads. And here we are seeing how wonderfully the Krsna consciousness movement is spreading.

So many of you have become so inspired by Radhanatha Maharaja and you are doing so much to spread Srila Prabhupada's mission. This is a sign that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is very pleased with His Holiness Radhanatha Maharaja and that He is allowing him to become a very wonderful instrument in the hands of Srila Prabhupada. He is empowering him to achieve so much for His Divine Grace. Although from time to time the Krsna consciousness movement has been going through various difficulties, there are so many wonderfully positive signs that give us the confidence that this movement is going to spread in every town and village.

When I come across Radhanatha Maharaja and when I see how wonderfully his preaching is bearing fruits, I feel confident that the future of ISKCON is very bright- indeed, it is glorious. Maharaja is not only meeting with so much success in Bombay, but actually wherever Maharaja goes, people flock around him and respond to his purity and want to surrender themselves to him. I feel very fortunate that he considers me to be his friend. Whenever we meet, he showers so much kindness upon me. I consider that Srila Prabhupada has been very merciful to allow me to be the recipient of such warmth and kindness from such an exalted devotee. His Holiness Radhanatha Maharaja ki jay! Jagat Guru Srila Prabhupada ki jay! The Founder Acarya of the International Society for Krsna consciousness ki jay! Sri Sri Radha Gopinatha ki jay!

Radhanatha Swami: Now please enlighten us, Maharaja. (laughter)

Bhakti Caru Swami: His Holiness Radhanatha Maharaja asked me to speak some more, so I will comply to his command.

Radhanatha Swami: A different subject, please. (laughter)

Bhakti Caru Swami: I know of only one subject, Krsna consciousness! Maharaja was talking about a spiritual family. It is true; the spiritual world is one family, and the more we become aware of the spiritual reality, the more we will perceive how it is one family. There is an expression in Bengali that says, vasudhaiva; kutumbakam. Vasudha means the Earth planet. Vasundara is another name of Mother Earth. Through this name, Mother Earth is signified.

So the Vedic understanding is that the entire Earth planet is one family. There are unlimited universes in the material nature. But material nature is just a fraction of Krsna 's creation. Beyond that is the spiritual world. We all belong to the spiritual sky. So all the living entities are relatives, related to each other through spiritual bond. We all are spiritual beings. Therefore we are all related to each other. Now, if we extend this concept further, then we can see that not only in the material nature are we related, but we all are related to each other in the spiritual world as spiritual beings, as parts and parcels of Krsna. So spiritual life actually means to find that relationship.

Krsna is the source of all spirit souls, and all living entities are Krsna's parts and parcels. Therefore all living entities are related to Krsna. Hence all living entities are related to each other through each other. Therefore it is very important to recognize the point that spiritual reality is harmonizing. Spiritual nature always harmonizes, whereas material nature creates discord. Therefore all the differences, all the conflicts, all the discords, are actually on the material plane, and we should leave them behind, and transcending the material platform, we must try to come to the spiritual platform.

When Srila Prabhupada was here, ISKCON was one family. It is not that the devotees did not fight; actually, much worse fights used to take place in those days than they do today. But after a while, they all would become friends again. Once, Srila Prabhupada also mentioned that in a family, brothers also fight, but then after a short while, they all become friends again. So if we recognize that we are in one family, then even though there may be conflicts and fights, we will still become united again. But if we fail to situate ourselves spiritually, then even some slight difference may cause a great damage and create lasting dissensions among ourselves. So we should be very careful to avoid these differences, to avoid the things that will divide us. We should actually see how to unite ourselves.


The most important unifying factor actually is Srila Prabhupada. One may say, "no, it is Krsna." But we say, "first Srila Prabhupada, and then Krsna, because if we cannot first become united with Srila Prabhupada in the center, it will not be possible for us to be united with Krsna in the center.' We can see that our relationship with Srila Prabhupada is very real. It is very tangible. We all belong to the International Society for Krsna consciousness and Srila Prabhupada is the Fouder Acarya of this society. Therefore all the members of ISKCON for all times have their relationship with Srila Prabhupada, and in this way, with Srila Prabhupada in the center, we can very easily become related to each other, just like in a big family all the members become related through the illustrious grand father or great grandfather. Everybody recognizes that, "he is our grandfather."

Through the grandfather, his children are unified, and then his grand children also become unified. And this unity is very, very important, because material nature divides. But spiritual nature unites. So now, the way we act will accordingly become apparent in whether or not we are situating ourselves on the material plane or on the spiritual plane. If we situate ourselves on the material plane, then we will become fragmented. We will first think, "My group" or "My temple," or "My zone." And it won't stop there; we will think of further divisions. Finally we will find that it has come to the point of "Only me and no one else." That is the characteristic of material nature.

Don't we see that happening in this age of Kali? As the people are becoming more and more materially motivated and materialistic, they also are becoming more and more divided. When I was young, the families used to be joint families, but nowadays you hardly see any joint families; the families are divided. As soon as one gets married, he wants to have his own home for his family. "Me and my wife." Then the children come, "Me, my wife and my children." But then, the husband and wife start to fight, and then they get divorced. They thought that they would create their home and would live happily ever after, but it never happens because material nature believes in splits; she divides. First "Me and my wife," but for how long? Then the wife says, "Only me, not you!" or the husband says, "Only me, not you!" Then the conflict leads them to court, and then they fight about who will get the house, who will get the property, who will get what. That is the material nature.

On the other hand, if we place ourselves on the spiritual platform, we will become more and more united. Just like our first unit is the temple. That is how Srila Prabhupada structured ISKCON. The units of ISKCON are the temples. So we belong to one temple. This is our temple and all the members of this temple are my relatives. Then that concept broadens; we belong to one zone. Then we belong to ISKCON as one family, then it expands further as we belong to the Brahma Madhva Gaudiya Sampradaya, and then it goes further as "we are all Vaisnavas," and finally we all belong to one spiritual world. Now, there is a saying, "charity begins at home." We can also consider that unity belongs at home too. So before we think of a broader base of unity, we have to think of a smaller base of unity and see that we function together. And at least we should become united as one International Society for Krsna consciousness at the lotus feet of His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada according to his plans and through his teachings.

Unity, again, is not a physical consideration. We may be clamed and clustered, but that does not necessarily mean that we are united. Our real unity will come from our unity of purpose and spirit. And that unity is that we want to apply Srila Prabhupada's teachings in our lives. And what is that teachings? That teaching of Srila Prabhupada is very simple, namely "you are not your body; you are a spirit soul. We are not this body; we are spirit souls." We are not this body. We are not man, we are not woman, we are not old or young, American or Indian. We are not Hindus or Muslims. We are not this body. The body is secondary. We are all parts and parcels of Krsna, spirit souls. And those parts and parcels of Krsna must become connected with Krsna. That is the main purpose of our existence. And how can we become connected to Krsna? Again, Srila Prabhupada gave a very simple process: chant Hare Krsna sincerely and follow the 4 regulative principles. Don't break these regulative principles because the breaking of them will hurt our spiritual life. If we sincerely chant the Holy Names of Krsna, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. If we chant the Hare Krsna Maha-mantra, then through the Holy Name we will become united.

Srila Prabhupada used to say that if you are chanting Hare Krsna and if I am chanting Hare Krsna, irrespective of the physical distance, we will be together. The offensseless chanting of the Holy Name is very, very important. It is actually the most important business we have. No matter whatever happens, we must chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra; we should never neglect it. And we notice that those who sincerely chant 16 rounds, they automatically become united. This is one phenomena that I have noticed.

On the other hand, I am sorry to say that I have also noticed that when some individuals don't chant their 16 rounds, they have problems being united with others. This is one point that is very important to note: if we chant 16 rounds of the Hare Krsna Maha-mantra, we will be together even though we may be physically distanced from each other. In spirit we will be together. If someone does not, we notice that the first thing that happens is that he starts to create problems in the community of devotees.

You will see that all the trouble-makers in the community of the Vaisnavas are the ones who don't chant Hare Krsna. And then eventually what happens? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu eliminates them. He says, "Well, you are not fit to be in the community of devotees. You are not fit to be in the Sankirtana movement. So if you are not sincere, at least do not create any disturbance." So if you want to remain in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Sankirtana movement, if you want to remain in Srila Prabhupada's Sankirtana movement, then make it a point to chant 16 rounds every day, please.

Of course I know that you all are chanting 16 rounds, but it is just a reminder, and at the same time I remind myself also that "You better also chant 16 rounds every day!" And when you do that, then we will create a very sweet atmosphere within the society of devotees. And then what will happen? Our heart will become more and more purified. And when the heart becomes purified, the heart experiences greater and greater joy from within. We don't actually have to seek joy outside. When we chant the Holy Name of the Lord, that joy will come from within. We don't have to spend so much money to go here and there to enjoy. We can just chant the Holy Name of the Lord and get the greatest joy. Therefore Srila Prabhupada's formula was, "Chant Hare Krsna and be happy." So if you want to be happy, what should you do? Chant Hare Krsna!

Do you have to go to America or Europe to be happy? No. Do you have to go the Himalayas to be happy? No. Do you have to go underwater to be happy? No. We can simply chant Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare and we can be happy. And I know that you all are happy; that is why your faces are so bright and you light up with a beautiful smile with the happiness of chanting the Holy Name of the Lord. So Srila Prabhupada has given us such a simple and such a sublime process. All we have to do is just chant the Hare Krsna Maha-mantra, but in the association of devotees.

That is another very important consideration. We should never think that we can be alone and make spiritual advancement. Ekaki amar nahi payi bala, harinama sankirtane, "Alone I do not have the strength to stand on my feet and be in Mahaprabhu's Sankirtana movement." Rather, we should always want to be in the association of devotees. And when we are in the association of devotees, then everything becomes so happy and easy. In this Age of Kali, material nature is very dangerous and the arrangements of Maya are so strong that even very strong spiritualists, even very exalted sannyasis are not safe in this age. But if we just remain in the association of devotees, no matter how weak we may be, we will remain safe. But if we give up the association of devotees, then we are going to fall down very soon. Therefore, for the sake of our own spiritual life, let us desire to be in the association of devotees. And in the association of devotees, let us not try to become big devotees; rather let's try to become a humble devotee, a small devotee, a servant of the servant of the servant. Instead of trying to become the master, it is desirable that we try to become the servant of the servant of the servant. Thank you all very much. Hare Krsna. All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Radhanatha Swami: Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja ki, jay! Thank you very much, Maharaja.

Bhakti Caru Swami: His Holiness Srila Radhanatha Maharaja ki jay! His Holiness Radhanatha Swami Maharaja ki, jay! Jagat guru Srila Prabhupada ki jay! Gaura premanande Hari Hari bol!

Radhanatha Swami: We will try to place your order on top of our heads forever. One of the great opulences of Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja's devotional service is the sweet kirtans that he sings. His cassettes and CDs' are one of the most popular recordings of Harinam Sankirtana in all the world. They have the power to melt our hearts and awaken pure devotional service. So although people all over the world are hearing him in separation, today we will have a live performance. Srila Bhakti Charu Swami will make us dance. For the pleasure of Maharaja let us chant very loudly, instruments not very loudly, and dance with great devotion. Srila Bhakti Charu Maharaja ki, Jay! Srila Prabhupada ki, Jay Sri Sri Radha Gopinathadeva ki, Jay! Would you like Harmonium, kartalas, mrdanga?




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