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© 2004 - Hansadutta das
[Posted October 25, 2006]

Hear from the Authorized Agent

By Hansadutta das

Malaysia, 13 August 2006

Spiritual Master

Srila Prabhupada Spiritual Master and the Disciple by Hansadutta das

The real qualification of the spiritual master is that he is a messenger. He does not have to manufacture anything--he only has to present Krishna's message as it is. Srila Prabhupada used to say, "If I have any credit at all, it is that I have presented the Bhagavad-gita As It Is. I have not manufactured anything." This feature of Srila Prabhupada distinguishes him from so many other religious teachers.  more

When Prabhupada came to Hyderabad, where we had 600 acres of farmland donated to us, every morning … it was hot there, very hot. There was nothing on the land, just big boulders on the land there, very moonscape-like. Anyway, every morning he would take us on a walk, and he would have us sing this song [Udilo Aruna]. In fact I was leading the song. And the first time, when it was finished, we all sat down sort of like this, and the sun was coming up blood red, and Prabhupada explained this song, he talked about this song Udilo Aruna, so whenever I sing it or hear it, I always think of that time.

Everywhere Prabhupada went, that’s all Prabhupada did. He would either sing or talk or chant. I mean, Prabhupada didn’t do anything extraordinary. In fact Prabhupada once said, “A pure devotee does not do anything extraordinary, but all around him extraordinary things take place.” And it’s a fact. Everywhere Prabhupada went things just fell into place. People gave land, they gave money, they joined up, they invited him to meet prestigious people. But Prabhupada himself never appeared to be in a frantic whirl of how to … “I’ve gotta call this guy, I’ve got to do this, do you have the keys?” or “Where is so-and-so?” That kind of energy or atmosphere didn’t exist around Prabhupada. We would think that a person who is managing a world-wide movement and publishing books and building temples and guesthouses would be very busy, would be always frantic or anxious, but no, Prabhupada was not like that. Whenever and wherever he was, it seemed like he had all the time in the world for anyone who came to see him. That was the most amazing experience.

But this song … and when the sun appears in the East … Prabhupada pointed out that when the sun is that color, that particular red color, so this song kind of refers to that: “When the eastern horizon becomes tinged with the redness (I think “aruna” refers to that color, but I’m not sure) with the redness that heralds the rising of the sun, the jewel among the brahmanas, Lord Gaurasundar, immediately awakened, and taking his devotees with him, he journeyed through the towns and villages of Nadia. The mrdangas sounded with “tathai tathai” and the “janjera” (the large metal karatals that look like cymbals) in the kirtan played in time. Lord Gauranga’s golden form slightly trembled in ecstatic love of Godhead, and His footbells jingled. Lord Chaitanya called out to the townsfolk, “You spend your nights uselessly sleeping and your days decorating your bodies. Now just fill your mouths with the holy names, ‘Mukunda’, ‘Madhava’, ‘Yadava’, and ‘Hari’, chanting without offence. You have achieved this rare human body. Don’t you care for this gift? If you do not worship the darling of Mother Yashoda, then great sorrow awaits you at the time of death. With every rising and setting of the sun, a day passes, and is lost. Why then do you remain idle and not serve the Lord of the heart? You should understand this essential fact. Life is temporary and filled with various kinds of miseries. Therefore take shelter of the holy name and remain always engaged in His service as your eternal occupation.” Desiring to bless all living entities, this sweet name of Krishna has descended to this material universe, and shines like the sun in the sky of the heart, destroying the darkness of ignorance. Drink the pure nectar of the holy name of Krishna, and thus satisfy the soul of Thakur Bhaktivinoda. There is nothing except the holy name within all the fourteen worlds. Lord Gauranga calls, “Wake up, sleeping souls! Wake up!” That’s the second part. I didn’t know that this Jiva Jago is the second part. Jiva jago, jiva jago, gaurachanda bole, kota nidra jao maya pisachira kole: “Lord Gauranga calls, ‘Wake up, sleeping souls. Wake up, sleeping souls. You have slept so long in the lap of the witch Maya. You came into this world saying, ‘O my Lord, I will certainly worship You,’ but having forgotten this promise, you have remained in great ignorance. I have descended just to save you. Other than Myself, who else is your friend? I have brought the medicine for destroying the illusion of Maya. Now pray with this harinama maha-mantra and take it.’ Thakur Bhaktivinoda fell at the lotus feet of Lord Gauranga, and after begging for the holy name, he received that mantra.”

Anyway, this one thing, chanting Hare Krishna, this one simple thing is the most effective way to become Krishna conscious. Just by chanting Hare Krishna. Not only do the nondevotees think this is just an exaggeration, some kind of religious, fanatic exaggeration and that it couldn’t possibly be what the soul or what the shastras proclaim. It says that a person is unable to commit … he cannot commit sinful activities to the quantity that one time of chanting the holy name is able to neutralize. It’s so powerful. And then there are so many stories, especially the story of Ajamila. He was in his youth a nice, pure brahmana boy, but he fell down because he accidentally came across a shudra couple sexually embracing in the forest, and this so agitated his mind and heart that he gradually, eventually connected with that shudrani and gave up his real wife, and lived with her and produced many children, and became very degraded in different ways. He became a thief, a gambler and a drunkard, and I think it says he even became a murderer, but in the last moments of his life, in desperation, when he was dying, out of fear and affection, he was calling his son, whose name was Narayana. And the Bhagavatam explains that this inadvertent or unintentional calling or vibrating the name of Krishna or Narayana was the cause of his being completely purified, and the messengers of Vishnu came there and delivered him. The point is it’s not an exaggeration. It is factual. But because we are ourselves contaminated, we find it unbelievable.

But in the material world we have similar examples of potency being represented by something apparently worthless or trivial. I always give the example of some shiny copper pennies. If you offer a child a handful of some shiny pennies, he’ll be very glad, excited. But if I offer him a cashier’s cheque for a million dollars, he won’t be excited, because he thinks it’s just a piece of paper. But an experienced person knows the difference between a handful of pennies and a cashier’s cheque. It is one million dollars, but we have to know how to negotiate the cheque to realize the actual value. The point is, even in the material world, a piece of paper which is apparently worthless … In fact, it is worthless until the signature is properly fixed to it. Unless the authorized signature is there, it will not be honored, and you cannot cash it. But as soon as the signature is there, then it’s worth one million dollars. So as soon as we receive the name of Krishna from the authorized agent—like receiving the cheque from the authorized agent—as soon as we receive the name of Krishna from the authorized agent, the self-realized soul, the spiritual master in disciplic succession, and we chant it, as soon as that takes place, we are connected to Krishna. It is a question of time only to realize what that means, to realize the substance of that spiritual connection. Just like it’s a question of time for a child to understand the difference between the penny and the cashier’s cheque. But if he submits and receives proper training and guidance, then he can understand.

Similarly, inquiry, submission and service. The devotional process depends on these three things. Inquiry, submission and service. We have to be inquisitive, submissive, and we have to be prepared to do the service. And the service is very simple. Prabhupada, at the time of initiation, he always said, “Follow these four principles, and chant Hare Krishna and be happy.” That’s all he said. Always. Everybody who was initiated, that was his order. So it’s not like we have to do something very difficult or dangerous. We have to chant Hare Krishna with determination and faith and attention. We have to chant and hear the sound. And in due course, everything will unfold and be revealed. Hare Krishna.

Bhima: You said that as soon as you receive that connection … Now people are saying they’re already chanting, so … initiation is also receiving the connection through the sound, right?

Hansadutta: Yes. That’s what initiation really is: to hear. Aural, submissive reception. To hear. Like when a student goes to school, he can’t read and he can’t write. He has to hear. How does he have to hear? He has to be submissive. He can’t be mischievous. He has to be submissive. He has to go to school. You follow? So school is not just anywhere. He has to go to the authorized place where the teacher is stationed and is authorized to teach. That “authorized” means sampradaya. Sampradaya means school. It means the school through which or line through which the teachings are disseminated or broadcast. And who is that teacher? The answer is Srila Prabhupada.

Why is the answer Srila Prabhupada? Is it because we are fanatic followers of Prabhupada? No, because he is the person who has represented the entire Vedic wisdom in a format that the whole world is able to embrace and practice, in every language, in every country and community. We find that whatever people know of Krishna, it has come from Prabhupada. Acharya means he sweeps aside all other pretentious or unauthorized teachers and teachings, and he presents the same thing which was presented originally by Krishna, Lord Chaitanya and previous acharyas. That’s what it means. And what is the evidence? The evidence is there in the books. That’s the evidence. And for the years that he was here, there was only Prabhupada. There was nobody else. Was there anyone else?  Was there anyone else? Was there any Narayana, or Sridhar? No. Now that he is gone, everyone will say, “Oh, he was my good friend,” and so forth and so on, but when he was here, no one was his friend. He just had some ragtag disciples, and they somehow or other, by his guidance, they were engaged to expand his teachings, his energy by publishing, translating, publishing, distributing books, collecting money and opening centers. Now that he is gone, everyone is saying … right? Just like in the computer world there are Steven Jobs and Bill Gates. They are the pioneers of this whole laptop computer. Before that, a computer was huge building, like the Pentagon. It was only available to government agents or big corporations. Now everyone can take it and carry it in his arms, the laptop. So Prabhupada has taken the whole Vedic lore, the whole Vedic wisdom, the whole Vedic culture and condensed it into the laptop of his books. That’s what it is. So even the most ordinary person, even your sweeping lady is chanting Hare Krishna. She doesn’t know any philosophy. She’s just [singing] “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.” So she’s got the million-dollar cashier’s cheque. And one day she’ll realize, “What is this? It’s not just something sentimental; it’s a precious, spiritual gift.”

Bhima: You say by aural reception. But now that he’s not physically here, how do you receive…

Hansadutta: Not all… when he was here, we received. You can hear the tapes, read the books. This [holding up the Bhagavatam] is also aural. Prabhupada said this is recorded sound. Books are sound that is recorded. Say you get a CD, there’s sound in it. But I don’t hear any sound. If you put a CD to your ear, you’re not going to hear anything. You need the proper system, then the sound comes. So the sound … what are these books? They are the sound representation of Prabhupada. Sound frozen. Sometimes Prabhupada would say, “Books are sound frozen in type” or in script. This is a mystery.

Everything is mysterious, actually. Even the children go to school. They can’t read, and they can’t write. So how do they come to reading and writing? By hearing. By hearing, and the teacher demonstrates—“A, this is A.”. It’s a very long, systematic, scientific and laborious process. But there’s no other way. Is there? No. Or music. Reading music. Right? There’s some system, and you have to follow it. Whatever the teacher says, you have to follow it. Spiritual life means there’s a science, there’s a system, there’s authority. It’s not left up to our experimenting. There’s a system, a science, and there’s authority. The word “authority” comes from the word “author”, and the word “author” comes from “origin”. In everything we want to find the origin. “Is it an original Rembrandt?” “Is this an original so-and-so?” Origin=authority. Authority means it comes from Krishna. So Krishna says, “I originally spoke this same thing to Vivasvan, the sun god, and he spoke it to Manu, and Manu spoke it to Iksvaku, and in this way it came and was broken, so I’m again presenting it.” Prabhupada means he is presenting the thing which was broken or lost or diluted or polluted or adulterated. Re-presenting it. And now he’s not here, again there’s so much adulteration and pollution and confusion.

Bhima: I always understood that Sukadeva Gosvami spoke the Bhagavatam, and Suta Gosvami heard, and by his realization was repeating what he heard, and the sages with rapt attention heard what he spoke. And Prabhupada says that the only way to receive this is through the ear holes. The books are not through ear holes, but through reading.

Hansadutta: So what’s the question? What is the question?

Bhima: Aural reception is through the ear holes rather than through reading.

Hansadutta: No. Reading is also hearing. Sound is … there are different levels of sound. There’s the sound when we hear, and there’s the sound when we read. There’s a sound. Like when you think, there’s a vibration. That vibration is subtle sound. There are 3 or 4 levels… where the sound and the thing are different, where the sound and the thing are almost the same, and where the sound and the thing are identical, where there’s no difference between the sound and the thing. So when we read, although we don’t hear anything, there is sound. Thinking, there is also on the level of sound, Thinking.

Bhima: Since everything originates from sound…

Hansadutta: Thinking. Yes, but before sound there is mind, intellect and ego, and above that there is the soul. The first perceptible element is sound. That is tangible. But before that sound there is mind. Man mana mad bhavo mad bhakto: “Always think of Me.” The mind… thought precedes sound. And at the same time, sound also affects our mind. So Prabhupada explains that by sound we can go up or we can go down. It depends on the quality of the sound. If the sound is transcendental, we go up. If the sound is mundane, we go down. Whatever the source of the sound is, that determines the direction we go.

Bhima: At this time there are groups of people who say that when you read the books you are initiated. There are some who say…

Hansadutta: No, we have to see what Prabhupada says. We’re not concerned with what the groups of people say. We’re concerned with only one person: Prabhupada, and Krishna. We’re not concerned what groups of people say. There’s a saying: “A million Frenchmen can’t be wrong.” But they are wrong. Millions of people have always been wrong. They always make the wrong choice. Millions of Indians are just languishing or loitering without taking advantage of the most precious thing that their culture has to offer, which is Krishna, Krishna consciousness, Krishna’s words, the sound of Krishna. They have neglected it for the sound of America or the sound of sense gratification.

So sound … That’s why the music business is so big, By sound people are being drawn into a particular mode of nature. The sound of some musician captivates their mind and their heart and pulls them into a particular mode. And so depending on where we submit or where we allow ourselves to go or what we allow ourselves to hear, we go there. That’s where we go. And that also is the principle of kirtan. When we sing the kirtan, the person who is leading the kirtan, wherever his heart is or whatever the current or the quality of his heart is, that’s where the participants go. That’s why we want to hear or be led by the pure devotee. Hearing from the pure devotee.

Ramanathan: In Prabhupada’s lecture he was saying the first creation was the sound, and sound which was spiritual, the first sound was Om.

Hansadutta: Yes. What is the question? [pause] What is the question?

Ramanathan Ray: No question. I want to hear.

Hansadutta: Did you read the whole purport?

Ramanathan: Prabhupada give the lecture.

Hansadutta: So you read the purport, and then you’ll get the answer about Om. Om is the impersonal sound representation of the Supreme. Impersonal. For those who are impersonal, they are very attracted to the Om sound. And that’s … that’s okay.

Ramanathan: First creation is sound, spiritual sound.

Hansadutta: First creation means the first materially tangible element is sound. But it doesn’t mean that there isn’t … there is also mind, intelligence and ego. If you read that portion of the Bhagavatam, it explains how from the spiritual platform, false ego develops, then ego and intelligence develops, from intelligence then mind develops, from mind ether develops, from ether air, all the way to earth. And each one has a subtle quality. The quality of ether is sound. Sound. Ether. Radio waves travel through the ether. Prabhupada explains in the Bhagavatam that the modern science of radio and TV transmission depends on this element ether.

Ramanathan: Then how Prabhupada says that sound can be spiritual?

Hansadutta: It depends on the point of origin. If the sound, if the origin of the sound is spiritual, then the sound is spiritual. If the point of origin is a person who is in the material consciousness, thinking “I’m this body,” then that sound is material. But the sound appears the same. Just like the million dollar cheque appears to be a piece of paper. It’s a piece of paper with ink. So if someone says, “Oh, it’s just paper and ink.” Yes, it’s paper and ink. But if it is processed according to the proper bank procedure, if it is processed according to the proper procedure, that piece of paper is a million dollars. Right? In fact, Prabhupada said that there’s nothing that is material. Everything is spiritual, because everything begins with Krishna. But our perception is material or spiritual, according to our consciousness. So it is a question of perception by us. Just like the child thinks it is a piece of paper, and he would prefer to have the pile of shiny pennies. But Bhima will prefer to have the paper and leave the shiny pennies. Yes or no? Right. So it’s a question of perception. Spiritual life or devotional service or sadhana bhakti means to be trained to understand what is matter and what is spirit, starting with myself. Am I matter or am I spirit? Am I this body or am I something else? This is a training. It is education to distinguish between matter and spirit.

Arunodaya-kirtan (Udilo Aruna)
Kirtan songs to be sung at dawn
(from Gitavali by Bhaktivinode Thakur)
Text One
udilo aruna puraba-bhage,
dwija-mani gora amani jage,
bhakata-samuha loiya sathe,
gela nagara-braje

When the rising sun appeared in the East, the jewel of the twice-born, Lord Gaurasundara, awakened, and taking His devotees with Him, He went all over the countryside towns and villages—

Text Two
'tathai tathai bajalo khol,
ghana ghana tahe jhajera rol,
preme dhala dhala sonara anga,
charane nupura baje

—and played the mridanga, and the cymbals chimed in time. Lord Gauranga's shimmering golden features danced, and His footbells jingled.

Text Three
mukunda madhava yadava hari,
bolena bolo re vadana bhori',
miche nida-bashe gelo re rati,
divasa sharira-saje

All the devotees chanted the names "Mukunda", "Madhava", "Yadava" and "Hari", their mouths being filled with the vibrations. They would announce to the still sleeping people, "You spend your nights uselessly sleeping and your days decorating your bodies!

Text Four
emana durlabha manava-deho,
paiya ki koro bhava na keho,
ebe na bhajile yashoda-suta,
charame poribe laje

You have achieved such a rare human body, but you do not care for this gift. You remain not serving the darling of Yashoda and slowly fall through your last moments to death.

Text Five
udita tapana hoile asta,
dina gelo boli' hoibe byasta,
tabe keno ebe alasa hoy,
na bhaja hridoya-raje

With every rising and setting of the sun, a day passes and is lost. Then, why do you remain idle and not serve the Lord of the heart?

Text Six
jivana anitya janaha sar,
tahe nana-vidha vipada-bhar,
namashraya kori' jatane tumi,
thakaha apana kaje

This temporary life is full of various miseries. Take shelter of the holy name as your only business.

Text Seven
jivera kalyana-sadhana-kam,
jagate asi' e madhura nam,
hrid-gagane biraje

To penetrate the darkness of ignorance and bless everyone's heart, the holy name has risen like the shining sun.

Text Eight
krishna-nama-sudha koriya pan,
jurao bhakativinoda-pran,
nama bina kichu nahiko aro,

Drink the pure nectar of the holy name. There is nothing but the name to be had in the fourteen worlds. It has filled the soul of Sri Bhaktivinode Thakur. [Back to text]

Hansadutta das
Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Hear from the Authorized Agent/ WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY
©2004-Hansadutta das
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