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Yoga and Vaishnavism
Listener: I have a question, but I keep thinking whether I should ask it or not. Maybe it’s not appropriate. It’s about yoga. As for me — I favor yoga, and one day it will happen to me.
Bhakti Chaitanya Bharati Swami (Bharati Maharaj): Do you think we will finally witness it?
Listener: You will, no doubts! We have to wait just a few years more which is nothing comparing to the whole eternity, and that’s all. No, it’s going to work out. What is the attitude of our closest teachers to Ashtanga yoga? As far as I know, yoga developes power, and maybe that way is a little different from ours? Because bhakti kind of shapes ego, Ashtanga rather cultivates it. I might be mistaken. To what extent does it go beyond the physical exercises?
Bharati Maharaj: In general we practice yoga only in the form of physical exercises, as this way of ashtanga solves the problems of internal organ treatment, increases our physical strength and durability. We do it mostly for our health, because it’s the best way to solve our health problems, to avoid physical infirmity and weakness, caused by aging or environment.
Listener: Then, some egoistic issues may appear, as pranayama or holding your breath, it also has some…
Bharati Maharaj: Well, yes. In case the person who practices Bhakti-yoga, practices Ashtanga yoga as well, this person is aware of that effect, and, as the result, takes such powers not as the mean of self-affirmation in this world, but as the kind of side-effect. First of all, yoga — is a very cost-saving thing. It doesn’t require any special equipment as the other kinds of sport do. You don’t need to go to Swiss Alps, to the sea or to jump on the trampoline, and moreover — yoga saves a lot of your money. Because all you need to do now is just spend that little money on a yoga mat, but in future there will be no need for you to visit doctors, pay for insurance or medicines. On the top of that, it improves… hm, what… Memory!
Listener: Maharaj, but the mentions of Yogis are found in Scriptures, in “Gita” and “Bhagavatam”. Is there any chance that there is someone, among our teachers, who, besides Bhakti, had been practicing Ashtanga as well? No?
Bharati Maharaj: No. Hindus love eating pills, so they visit the doctors.
Listener: But it was them who created yoga.
Bharati Maharaj: That wasn’t them, in fact it doesn’t belong to any pacticular culture. There was no India when Yoga was given. It’s also fair to say about Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Cambodia, China, Japan, Oceania Islands. It all was the one civilization. And Sri-Lanka, where Yoga appeared. Saying that Yoga was created by Indians is like saying that pyramids were created by modern Egyptians. There was a completely different civilization, and the people who inhabit that territory nowadays have no bearing on what was happening than. Only if you practice it very seriously, if you practice it every day you can beware of getting those powers. But people mostly do Yoga 3-4 times a week, and this will not have any mystical effect.
Listener: You need to do Yoga 24 hours a day to get such an effect?
Bharati Maharaj: It is time-consuming, as it’s recommended to abstain from eating 4 hours before the training. So, you add those 4 hours to 2 hours of the training itself, and you already get at least 6 hours you spend for it.
Bharati Maharaj: In an hour. You shouldn’t drink or eat anything for an hour after the training. Well, we start to gobble something right away, but that’s ok. Yoga regulates our way of life, as you understand what is better for your practice, what is preferable and what is not, and in this case rejection of some products or habits happens naturally. Let’s say you eat something half an hour before the training, and your body doesn’t bend, you have no strength, and you realize — it may have happened because I’ve eaten something just now. And the next day you experiment: this time you eat not half an hour, but an hour before the training — still you get the same result. You reschedule, try to find the balance, wake up earlier or later. If you take it serious — training can become a good basis for the whole day, it will regulate your day. But if you do it just for health, than you’d better take it as a simple Yoga-gymnastics. In general, part “ha” in the word “hatha” means “to kill”, “tha” — is breath. It means to kill your own body with the help of breathing technique.
Listener: Recently, You’ve been giving a lecture…
Bharati Maharaj: Yes, at Yoga Day in Moscow. Hatha means “to kill with the help of breath”.
Listener: Does it mean that they do not chase the goal to leave the body by choice?
Bharati Maharaj: Of course they don’t, because you can’t go further then a particular plane of existence( Loka, world) only on your own. You can go further only by Grace. You can not reach any plane beyond the Super Soul, Paramatma, unless it happens by Grace of the host party. Paramatma doesn’t have its own will, that’s why you are able to perceive this aspect of God by your own efforts. But no physical, mental or breathing techniques work out where the consent of the host party is needed. There must be the Grace of the host party.
Listener: So, when you are there, it doesn’t matter any more where you have changed trains — in Chisinau, or in Frankfurt, or [unclear]…?
Bharati Maharaj: You should not take Ashtanga yoga or Hatha yoga as a spiritual practice. Vaishnavas shouldn’t take it as spiritual practice, they should take it as the exercises.
Listener: But there are people, those Yogis, who define Yoga as the phylosophy.
Bharati Maharaj: Yes, those are Hatha.
Listener: And that’s what they want — to leave their bodies?
Bharati Maharaj: To kill their own bodies.
Listener: And even now they do it consciously?
Bharati Maharaj: I don’t know, these are different schools.
Listener: Your teacher is like them.
Bharati Maharaj: He had never been telling us about non-physical yoga aspects. Actually there is no Hatha yoga existing. There is Ashtanga yoga — it is the eight pronged system. Ashta — is eight, anga — is “limb”, which means that ashtanga is the eightfold path. ( which means that ashtanga is the way consisting of eight stages, eight parts) — It’s a system which includes ethical guidelines: Yama and Niyama, rules of conduct. And then — physical exercises. If you consider your body to be a material, whether it’s your physical or mental body, if you consider it to be a clay, a material the sheath of your consciousness in this world is made of, than the ethical guidelines knead that material, prepare that “clay”. These guidelines are included in Yama and Niyama, and imply the advices what you should do and what you should not. Asanas prepare body even more, because when we take the clay to make a statuette out of it — your own manipulations with its shape are not enough, you need to make the material itself ductile first.
That means you have to adapt the material itself, and only then you can make something out of it. You can adapt that material with the help of food tools, which means that you follow the rules what you can eat and what you can not. If you eat a lot of salty food the flexibility decreases. Salt gets into the joints and it doesn’t bend. Salt gets into the tendons and it doesn’t stretch. So you need to keep the balance. I’m not even talking about meat, it just kills you. It’s just a poison that kills. Following that guidelines, including the diet, you make your body prepared, adapting it, and then you work on it with the help of Asanas. When the material is prepared tendons stretch better, muscles are stronger, concentration is better. This stage, that goes after Yama and Niyama, is called Asana. The next stage is Pranayama. By the mean of physical exercises and the diet you prepare your body for pranayama, to clear all your body channels (nadi) with the help of breathing techniques, as those channels were blocked because of the particular diet and unhealthy lifestyle. Just like cleaning out the pipes with the help of the brush, you clean that channels with the help of breathing exercises. And then it comes to the next stage — Pranayama. In pranayama you let Prana or life energy, or life essence — it has different names — circulate through those channels you’ve cleaned with the help of Asana. There are special techniques for that, to clamp the pelvic floor, perineum, to prevent prana from leaking. Little baby is peeing and pooping all the time, because the muscles of his bladder and rectum are relaxed. And everything that gets in there comes out right away. But as the time goes the child reaches the age of 3-4 years, he learns how to control those muscles involuntary, in order to relax it when it’s needed. And for sure the ability to control it is absolutely natural for the adults. In the same way prana flows from the pelvic floor, perineum. The air contains the air itself, but also the life energy — prana. When Yogi inhales, the air hits his larynx and splits into two flows. The air goes into lungs, and prana flows through the channels he cleared with the help of Asanas. When the regular person who doesn’t practice pranayama inhales the air it splits in two in his lungs already. But there is no prana receptors in lungs. So he inhales prana into his lungs. Well, he receives some prana, for sure, and it gives him some strength. But in general the air gets inside with prana and comes out with prana. But when the Yogi does it, the air splits over here (throat), and prana spreads all over the body. And if you tighten the pelvic floor, perineum while practicing, you fill the whole body with prana.
Listener: Is there any way for a regular person to breath in order to get the same result, or it will not help him anyway?
Bharati Maharaj: I don’t know. The most important thing is pranayama. You breath with your throat, the inhale and exhale must be equal.
Listener: It’s a strange way to breath, isn’t it?
Bharati Maharaj: Yes, it is. How do we call it?
Bharati Maharaj: Ujjayi and Kapalbhati?
Listener: Purifying pranayama, it’s when we make sharp intakes of breath.
Bharati Maharaj: Anyway, you fill your body with prana with the help of Asanas and breathing techniques, and then, during the pranayama, you let it through all the nadis. These are the channels.
Listener: Those channels are physical, or…?
Bharati Maharaj: It’s rather energetic. It goes through your body like vessels. There are big and small vessels. Like in China — people stick needles into it there.
Listener: Those channels are rather neural.
Bharati Maharaj: Not only neural, there are some meridians. There’s no use of breathing prana if you don’t clean those blocked channels first, you need to clean it just like you clean the pipes with the pipe-brush.
Listener: Maharaj, but what about chakras? Do they exist?
Bharati Maharaj: I don’t know yet.
Listener: You were once joking about it.
Bharati Maharaj: It’s funny when people don’t know the real meaning of some things but start to use those terms a lot, like “Open this chakra”. What does it mean – to open it?
Listener: I agree. There’s no point of getting that far until we don’t know what it means exactly.
Bharati Maharaj: Yes. In that way body is filling up with prana and those energy, prana channels start to work. Life force starts to circulate and than, over some time, the person who practices needs less food, less sleep. It doesn’t happen immediately, for sure, you need some time for it. The next stage after prana is meditation (4), dhyana (5), dharana (6), I don’t remember what’s number seven, and samadhi (8). When the body is prepared and nadis are prepared, there comes the next stage – Yogi puts his consciousness, his atma between the five up-going nadis and the five down-going nadis, and then he balances it. And what happens next is the mental balance.
Listener: Does he visualize nadi or how he does it?
Bharati Maharaj: His senses become keener, and he can see it, not with his eyes though, but he can sense it.
Listener: Sense those flows?
Bharati Maharaj: Yes. But you need to go through the pranayama stage to make it work. Ashtanga yoga is considered to be a breathing technique, not a physical one. When the body is broken, when it’s not the unified system, there’s no way you can use the breathing technique. Pranayama works only when you sit in lotus pose. You ask: “Can a regular person do pranayama?” No. Unless he sits in the lotus pose, it’s no use. Moreover, he has to be able to sit in the lotus pose for a long time whilst feeling no physical discomfort. I mean he has to place his legs one on the other and it should not cause any swelling, numbness, and he has to concentrate his mind without being distracted by the feeling of pain or discomfort. He has to forget that he sits in the lotus pose at all. Asana system helps to achieve such a result. For instance, we make some exercises for two hours, and only in the end of the class we sit down in the lotus pose and start breathing in that way. Those previous 1 hour 45 minutes are preparation for sitting in lotus pose, whether it was successful or not.
Only when you start to feel it naturally — sitting in lotus pose, then you can go to pranayama. Only when you start to feel pranayama naturally, when your inhalation and exhalation are of the equal length, volume and sound, when the other person can’t distinguish whether you breath in or breath out, and you can keep sitting like this for like eight hours, keep breathing in for a minute and then breathing out for a minute, then you can feel some effect, how you say: “Chakras, nadis”, then there’s something like that shows up. There are feelings of weightlessness mentioned, etc. The real lotus pose is when you sit on the floor and both of your knees touch the floor, it’s not like one of your knees is on the floor, and the other one sticks out. The feet should be placed on the top of the opposite thigh, so that you are able to touch toes from the back. This is the real lotus pose you can practice the real pranayama in. We have those channels all over our body; there are a small and a big circle. When we sit in the lotus pose we shut off the small circle. And all the prana starts to circulate over here. It’s where the intensive happens, when you concentrate all the prana in the center, close to your heart.
Listener: Yes, in this case it’s not just physical exercises.
Bharati Maharaj: No, it’s not, it’s breathing techniques transforming into meditation, dhyana. Then the channels become balanced, it’s when the soul or mind is absolutely balanced, then Yogi becomes aware of himself .
And this state is actually samadhi. Samadhi – is the balance, “sama” and “dhi” – (together and mind) the state of balance, the complete state of concentration. And when he reaches this state he already can chose the moment for hathi – the moment when he kills his body. When he is in the state of balance, he’s just like – bang – and he leaves his body. Krishna says in “Gita”: “The followers of the path of knowledge who are in knowledge of the Absolute attain the Absolute by expiring at a time of day illuminated by fire, sun, and associated elements, within a fortnight of the bright moon during the sun ́s six-month northern orbit. (8.24). He designates some particular periods of time when it can be done. Of course, Yogi goes to some heavenly planes. But it’s rather a curse for a Vaishnav to go to the heavenly planes.
Listener: The key point is even if we imagine that we can go to one of these, we still don’t know exactly where we are going?
Bharati Maharaj: No-no, Yogi knows where he goes. These are heavenly planets.
Listener: But he is staying in his body while meditating, so he has to transfer his consciousness to those world plans somehow.
Bharati Maharaj: The Yogi can travel across all the Universe levels being in the state of samadhi. And he can choose the proper level according to his desires — with Apsaras or with Gods.
Listener: Won’t he be punished for killing his body in that case?
Bharati Maharaj: No, he won’t be. But we have no body. It was just a dream. And Krishna says in the 11th book of “Bhagavatam” that Gods don’t like when the soul gets to them with the help of yoga. You can achieve the same aims by making sacrifices to Gods, making fire sacrifices to Gods. But Gods don’t like when…
Listener: They get nothing?
Bharati Maharaj: Yes, when the person just breaks the system, because Krishna says:« I’ve created the world and called for this favor to be returned”
People thank Gods. Gods give them something. But Yogi breaks this system: he never offers anything to anybody, he even doesn’t breath. He doesn’t borrow fire, doesn’t borrow water. He doesn’t borrow anything even from the God of the Wind, from Maruts and Vayu. Because when we breath we exploit the wind, we borrow from him, and we’ll need to pay it back somehow. But Yogi doesn’t borrow anything from anyone: not from the earth — he doesn’t eat, not from water — he doesn’t drink; he doesn’t use fire; he doesn’t use wind. And Gods pick someone among themselves and send him/her to seduce that Yogi. It means that Gods come to Yogi in the form of something that Yogi used to love or like and try to seduce him in this way. For example, a piece of cheese, or whatever he used to like. Somebody comes and says: “Here you are, a block of cheese for free!” (Laughing) I think so. Gods send someone of their own to keep that Yogi off-balance. But devotee has no other need in yoga besides staying healthy. Moreover it is very beneficial — no investment, good health and memory. That’s what I remember now.
Listener: Maharaj, why memory?
Bharati Maharaj: Because aging produces our memory impairment.
Listener: But how do the physical exercises influence our memory?
Bharati Maharaj: They do not, maybe in theory, but in practice I can’t imagine it. (Laughing). Actually I was joking, — exercises where you stand on your head are good for blood circulation. Memory, the ability to stay concentrated on one thing. I’ve been reading statistics, a regular person has a myriad of things in his mind at one time. But the one who does Yoga stay concentrated on the end of his nose during the whole practice, and this is just besides the thing that standing on your head is good for your health. And that saves a lot of money, because you won’t spend it for doctors and medicines, and even if you do they will only make it worse.
Listener : That’s because those doctors are as bad as medicines are.
Bharati Maharaj: But there are no better.
Listener: That means we can use nothing else but iodine and a skin antiseptic anyways.
Bharati Maharaj: That’s right. Well, today we’re actually discussing not the things that we should.
Listener: Mahārāj, we were saying that Svayam Bhagavan comes to this world once in Brahma’s day. Although before we were saying that he is capricious and independent, but now it turns out to be his duty.
Bharati Maharaj: Why? It was his decision.
Listener: So that’s just a coincidence that he decided to come to this world every Brahmā’s day, every 28 kalpas? If so, then he is a slave of his duties.
Bharati Maharaj: Why? He was the one who decided to come. For example, you’re on a holiday somewhere far away in some southern country and you’re staying in a house where there’s a swimming pool. You wake up in the morning and jump into that pool. You do it because it’s your duty? Do you swim every day?
Listener: No, you can get pretty bored with it.
Listener: Oh, you just don’t have a swimming pool!
Bharati Maharaj: No, there was some pool. As I remember you’ve been swimming in there every day? Haven’t you? Ok, but you’ve been going to the beach every day, right?
Listener: No, we’ve been doing it every other day. Supermarket and the beach.
Bharati Maharaj: So that was your duty?
Listener: Yes. For example, I like surfing, but when I spend too much time at the sea I’m getting sick of it. Like, how long can I do this? Go rowing every morning.
Bharati Maharaj: I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t come every day. When he comes down, it actually happens conditionally. Because he keeps playing — he opens some channel, and we watch it, and then it shuts down.
Listener: So he doesn’t actually come down, he reveals himself to us?
Bharati Maharaj: Yes, Lord never leaves Goloka. There are times we can see those games, and there are times we can not. So the following question can appear: “So what, he has to wake up every morning over there, herd claves? Ok, he can go to the swimming pool, but still, he has to herd claves every day?” You’re getting sick of surfing, while he has to herd cows, and every day is the same.
Listener: He can’t just come and take the butter, he has to steel it.
Bharati Maharaj: And what if the clave is missing? He’ll be punished. They herd claves every day. What do you think, it never happens? But he just likes this. I think if you do what you really like you can never get sick of it, can’t you?
Listener: Is it possible that there are some other things he does and we don’t know about it?
Bharati Maharaj: Yes, of course. There might be some.
Listener: I’ve heard somewhere that those are called unmanifested pastimes. We know only manifested pastimes, but we don’t know the unmanifasted.
Bharati Maharaj: Yes, there is probably something he doesn’t show us as a philosophic matter. Probably, from the mathematical point of view, from the probability theory point of view, there’s probably something.
Listener: Really? And what are unmanifested pastimes like?
Bharati Maharaj: It can be anything.
Listener: How can we know that if they’re unmanifested?
Bharati Maharaj: Manifest the unmanifested for us, please.
Listener: Mahārāj, there’s a question in chat: “Why people say that Ashtanga yoga is not for women? That’s because it developes masculinity, or is it harmful in any other way?”
Bharati Maharaj: It depends on the intensity of the trainings. To make it more clear, it depends on how serious you take Ashtanga yoga. If you do it in a regular mode, then it’s even useful. But if you do it according to all the rules and guidelines, then no, it’s not suitable for women. First of all women turn into Soldier Jane. Just imagine this: you need to do the plank 68 times in two hours. Then you do handstands. No, it’s funny, of course, but they become that kind of women. Look at this people here, those who really practice ashtanga, they don’t find it to be funny.
Listener: One prefers bar, while another prefers ashtanga (Russian pun — in Russian language the word ashtanga is accordant to the word bar (shtanga)
Bharati Maharaj: Yes, that’s who they are. They can stop the running horse with the only glance and walk into a hut aflame right after it. (Maharaj is using the lines from the poem of N. A. Nekrasov, that became an idiom describing a Russian woman whose strength is huge and will is incredibly strong).
Listener: Once I’ve heard one very interesting idea in some lecture, the idea was that we need to destroy this world, by that the following was implied: we need to realize that this world is just an illusion. The world is just an illusion, but our feelings are real. We get upset for real, we feel happiness for real. So, the world is illusion, but the feelings are not, meanwhile the objects that engender those feelings are also illusion. Such an idea, can you..?
Bharati Maharaj: What? Do you want me just to repeat it for you?
Listener: No. But if the objects that engender those feelings are illusion, and only the observer and his feelings are real, what do we need those feelings for ?
Bharati Maharaj: We need it to feel something different, something spiritual. Feelings are the result of interaction with the object. If there’s a material object that we consider to be our possession and we feel something about it, then those feelings deal with the illusion. Because nor in this world neither in any other world we do not own anything. So, we feel something about this particular object, but as we feel it within the context of that particular object being our possession, than this object is illusion, as there’s nothing we really own. It’s just an illusion. I mean, we love something and we hate something, but that “something” just doesn’t exist. After all, those feelings have no logical continuation as the objects we feel something about are not real. “I love my house, but I have no house”. Those feelings exist: love for the house or love for the homeland: “ I love my homeland, I am ready to fight for it, but it doesn’t exist”. But as soon as we redirect our feelings from the things we think belong to us, to the One that we belong to, our feelings will find the partner, they will find the real object. The same old feelings engendered by the illusionary objects should be redirected to the real things. Our teachers say: “ to Reality the Beautiful”. But to do so we have to realize first that we do not own that Reality, that Reality owns us. And then our feelings find the “emotion partner” as the “Bhagavatam” says.
Describing Gopies confiding on each other about their love for Krishna Sridhar Mahārāj quotes them: “Each of our senses is looking for its partner in Krishna. Our eyes want to meet Krishna’s eyes, our hands want to meet Krishna’s hands, our ears want to meet Krishna’s ears. It’s like we’ve been tearing apart from the inside. And all our organs of senses want to pull away from us and find the shelter in the proper Krishna’s senses.Those senses don’t belong to us anymore. They fly away from us”/ The harmony is there, as there is the real feelings, real senses and the real object. While in the tangible world we still feel something and it’s real. And we think: “ It’s real because it belongs to us.” But that kind of feelings can’t find the “partner” already.
Listener: We use our senses in a wrong way.
Bharati Maharaj: It’s like phantom pain. We feel how the leg hurts, but there’s no leg. The same here: we feel love, anger, affection for something, but there is actually nothing. It’s like you’re playing a computer game which is a perfect model of our world nowadays. And we truly hate the monsters who jump out of the corner and start to shoot us with their blasters. There are different games. Or some strange thing is running at you and chatters its teeth. We feel the real fear, the real hatred.
Listener: But we don’t feel the pain in case we were eaten by some warm.
Bharati Maharaj: Well, I think that in some time, they… they don’t implant anything into our brains yet. Actually, the pain is in our head. It’s VR for now — virtual reality, but later they’ll start to implant something into our brains, and you’ll start to feel something for real. What? The experiments, where they do something to the brain and the person starts to feel the smell of oranges or roses, have been conducted long time ago. Like, there are no roses or oranges, but you smell them.
Listener: We need to start the reverse process, at least we need to find the way to feel no pain in this reality in case we can’t get out of here.
Bharati Maharaj: Then we need to understand rules of this particular game, how it works, and live according to this rules. For example, we might need to hide in the room and lock it, instead of shooting the monsters outside. I’ve been playing Doom in the day.
Listener: At the early years of 2000?
Bharati Maharaj: Oh, well, when have I been playing? Yes, I’ve been playing yesterday. Playing Doom, I stopped playing when…. No, Duke Nukem. When have people been playing this game?
Listener: Pentium 2.0. It was issued in the end of 90s, in 98.
Bharati Maharaj: 20 years ago! I stopped playing after Duke Nukem.
Listener: [unclear] “prince of Persia”
Bharati Maharaj: Oh, this one is an old-timer. (Laughing) People don’t live that long. You can’t hide that easily in Duke Nukem, those pigs-monsters start to find you anyway. Actually, no, you can hide. «The Shoushenk Redemption” came out when this game was popular, and they mentioned that hiding quest from the game in there. Yes, it’s Duke Nukem, right?
Listener: I’ve never played it.
Bharati Maharaj: In that game — You could hide somewhere, and they would never find you. So you need to understand how it works in order to escape the pain. And the way it works is described in the manual to the fullest extent. Manual is Vedas. It says what you need to do to avoid suffering the consequences. There are four Vedas. Atharvaveda regulates the way of life. By this medicine, astrology, nutrition, architecture, “vastu shastra” — all this technical documentation — are meant. You can live well with the help of it. Live well and never feel that sufferings so bad. The life with no sufferings at all is impossible, because all that sufferings are inside of your head, and they stay there. Even if you have a good life you start to suffer from realizing that it’s going to be over one day. If you want to avoid physical pain, then you just need to eschew eating something, eschew eating in the wrong time, eat in the right time, decrease the amount of food you eat. It is said that there are only three reasons that cause physical diseases, they are: untidiness, overeating, and restless mind.
There are no other reasons, can you imagine? I suppose that overeating and untidiness might be contagious, but the main reason is here (head). When you start to worry about something it influences your body. Body starts getting ill. How do they call it? Psychosomatic, it’s like someone is always nervous, keep being nervous all the time, and gets a heart disease in the end. And some technical stuff like laws of karma: if you don’t want someone to treat you in a particular way, don’t treat people in that way. It means that you should not hurt anyone if you don’t want to be hurt back, it works just like boomerang. That’s how you can live well. Actually, Krishna in “Gita” tells us how the inhabitant of the city of Nine Gates can live well without making harm to anybody (the City of Nine Gates is our body). So, no more questions for today?
Listener: Which place does the devotion take in Brahmā’s program of creation we were talking about this morning?
Bharati Maharaj: What-what?
Listener: Brahmā creates jivas, and every jiva has its own role to play in his program, but what roles do devotees play in it?
Bharati Maharaj: In Brahmā’s program?
Bharati Maharaj: Talking about devotees we should understand that they are not under control of Brahmā or Gods. They are completely under the auspices of Krishna. The laws of Karma do not apply to the devotees, and if there’s something happening to them they understand that it’s the Lord giving them some lesson to be learned. We’ve been discussing yesterday that every devotee consists of two components, one of them is a Vaishnava component — the part of himself that totally relies on God, that lives at the lotus feet of the Lord, and the other component is secular — this is the part of oneself that tries to live in this world and tries to fulfill oneself in this world. That secular part submits to the laws of the Creator, Brahmā, the Laws of Karma and other: law of gravity, physiological rules, digestive system, etc. But no laws of physics or material world control the part of ourselves that gives the Lord its complete loyalty. The example is what happened to … no, I have a good memory, thanks to yoga. It happened to Haridasa Thakur. He was bitten with the sticks to death 22 times in a row, and still he stayed alive every time. According to all the laws of physics he must have died, but he stayed alive. It means he gave himself to the Lord completely. Or another example is Prahlada Mahārāj. He was more then just bitten to death, he was thrown into the pot of boiling oil, into a pit of snakes, he was impaled, trampled by elephants. He was even forced to read SMS containing spelling mistakes — still nothing, he stayed alive. They were whispering to him: “Boy, go to the market and buy one kilo of mandarin”. And even more — they were saying “theirS” to him, and he survived even through this (This example demonstartes some people overreaction to grammar or spelling mistakes: what is correct, the kilo of mandarins or a kilogram of mandarin? “Theirs” instead of “their”).
Listener: Of theirs.
Bharati Maharaj: “TheirS”, “of theirS”. I mean, he survived even through the misery of hearing “theirS”, all the elephants and the boiling oil is nothing comparing to this.
Listener: Why did they torture him so hard?
Bharati Maharaj: Well, that’s how it was. By all this I imply that he was not under the control of the laws of material world.
Listener: They could try polonium after all.
Bharati Maharaj: I am sure that even that wouldn’t work! Just like Gregory Rasputin — they tried to poison him, but it didn’t work. The poisoners thought that pharmacist tricked them, so one of them ate that pie and dropped dead. While Gregory Rasputin was drinking vodka and eating those pies ravenously.
Listener: He was a kind of interesting person?
Bharati Maharaj: Yes, a kind of.
Bharati Maharaj: One Putin, two Putin. ( Russian pun. The combination of the words “one “ and “Putin” is accordant to the “Rasputin”). Well, will that be all.