Be Chaste to Bhagavatam - Part 4

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev! 

This is in continuation of the previous mails transcribing the speech by HG Devakinandan Prabhuji in the Bhaktivedanta Hospital, Mumbai, on the occasion of the first disappearance anniversary of our most beloved Gurudev HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj. In the previous offerings, we saw what should be our mood to approach Srimad Bhagavatam.

1. The starting point we should always remember is that in order to really appreciate Bhagavatam, we must be convinced that there is no need for any other scripture or any other recourse or solution except Bhagavatam.
2. The purpose of studying Srimad Bhagavatam is to be always chaste to Krishna. 
3. The royal road for relishing Bhagavatam is to desire to sincerely hear Bhagavatam. 
4. Attention leads to attraction.

We will continue the other points. 

5. Pages of Bhagavatam come alive: Maharaj told us that the moment we are attentive to Krishna, automatically, in due course of time, we ourselves will reject the fruitive intentions for which we come to bhakti. Otherwise, every time we think how do we become unmotivated in our desire to serve Krishna, it is like a dream. Everyone sometimes struggles with motivation. How to become unmotivated? Because in SB 6.16.34 Srila Prabhupada says clearly in his purport that the relationship between uninterrupted and unmotivated devotional service is only one way. If we are unmotivated in devotional service, then only can our devotional service be uninterrupted. Not the other way around. If we try very hard to be uninterrupted, but the motive is to gain name and fame from Bhagavatam, then Krishna will Himself find a way such that all the attempts we want to preach Srimad Bhagavatam or all the attempts we want to study Bhagavatam, they become frustrated. But for one who approaches Bhagavatam daily, clearly, with a heart that, "We do not want numbers. We do not want followers. We do not want any big things. But we only want a chance to glorify You, to glorify devotees", then the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam become alive. Then Bhagavatam is more alive than we are, because we are living dead. Maharaj said, "Except for Srimad Bhagavatam, we are dead." Whole day we are not living until we are touching Srimad Bhagavatam. When we touch Bhagavatam, then there is brahma sparshanam. Apart from that, we are just going through the routine, and we are going through the rigmarole, but it is not with the heart. So Maharaj emphasized that if we really want, then we must take up this process of becoming fixed in attention and then the motive automatically goes because we are attentive to Krishna.

6. The litmus test of being with Bhagavatam: I asked Maharaj once, "what is the test to know that I am attentive in Srimad Bhagavatam?" Maharaj said very simply. "Two things will come automatically as a litmus test to show that we are actually with Bhagavatam."

a) We will always be self-satisfied. 
b) We will not be agitated. 

a) We will always be self-satisfied: Maharaj says, "It is very easy Devaki, for you to sit down and take a class because you feel glorified. That is the motive. Not that you want to speak on Bhagavatam. But you want, 'Ah! 10-15 people heard me and I am sitting in Vyasaasana and it is very nice.' But you try sitting with Bhagavatam in the four corners of your house, in your room, and study Bhagavatam for two to three hours daily. There is no glamour to it and where there is no glamour, the mind says, 'Shut down. Why waste the time? Better you study Bhagavatam in the presence of others.' When that happens, self-satisfaction is not there. Then we are hankering for glory, we are hankering for name and fame." 

Maharaj had this unique quality. Whether there were two persons seated before him or there was a thousand people seated before him, he would take two hours to prepare for Bhagavatam class. He would start the morning after he woke up in the morning. After Mangala Arathi, he would go back to his room and he would take out his notes and he would start writing and preparing for the class. Maharaj told me, "Never sit and take a class without preparing for the class because we are not at the level where we can speak Bhagavatam with realization. Rather accept your position that you are nothing and approach Bhagavatam attentively." So Maharaj would write pages and pages and pages of notes. He would sit down for his Bhagavatam class, all prepared like a new person reading Bhagavatam for the first time. He would put everything ahead and when he spoke, he would never look at his notes again. It would all come from his heart. Later he would tell me, "Whatever I wrote was not at all what I spoke. This confirms that whatever we are is nothing and He allows us to speak Bhagavatam in an unadulterated fashion. So self-satisfaction is very important." 

Maharaj used to famously say, "Do not burn your hut while looking at other people's palace. Whatever is coming to you is coming by Bhagavatam’s mercy. How much you earn, how much happiness you have in this world these things should not be confused with Bhagavatam. These things are our own follies. But Srimad Bhagavatam is transcendental. So do not use Bhagavatam to earn these things. Use Bhagavatam to glorify Krishna first and then Krishna will take care of everything else if He so wishes." 

The moment we use our prowess to approach Bhagavatam, we have missed the point and we become dissatisfied. We think,"I have to structure the class in a better way. Next time I have to quote more slokas. Next time I have to present it in a certain way." Maharaj said, "This is not necessary. What is important is always to remember why you are seated here? You are seated here, and if you can remember Krishna after Bhagavatam, that is a success. Forget about others. But at least you should remember Krishna." So in Rajkot, most of the time there were two people sitting down to hear Bhagavatam class and Maharaj would take 2, 3, or 4 hours classes as if there were an audience of 10000 and at the end of it, he would not even bother to know, how many people came and how many did not come. In Singapore when we started our programs first, there were some problems having programs and very often there will be one or two persons only in the beginning. One time I was very much discouraged and I spoke to Maharaj and asked him, "How to preach Bhagavatam? There are only a few people. So many years we are doing programs. It is discouraging." Maharaj said, "It is discouraging because you are not approaching Bhagavatam. You are approaching the numbers game. You are approaching how many people should be seated before I give a good Bhagavatam class. It is the other way. It is that you should honour Bhagavatam and Bhagavatam will honour you. If you respect Bhagavatam, Bhagavatam will offer respect to you. This is reciprocation because Bhagavatam is Krishna. Please do not forget this." 

The source of our income is not the source of our maintenance. For those who are working and studying Bhagavatam, this was what Maharaj always said quoting Srila Prabhupada, "You remember that maintenance is coming from Bhagavatam. Your income is coming for your sense gratification. If you accept Bhagavatam, then income and everything else will be taken care of by Krishna." The doctors, nurses in Bhaktivedanta hospital, you are the best examples. I am sure you could have earned 10 times more anywhere else. But you have put that aside and because you are now flying the flag of Bhagavatam and Bhagavat culture, Krishna is maintaining all of you. You are not dissatisfied. In which hospital we can hear Bhagavatam at this point? It is a dream. And yet the dream has come true because you have put Bhagavatam in the centre. So chastity is the real secret to relishing and chastity starts by attention and where there is attention, there will be attraction and where there is attraction, the material motives in the heart, to approach Bhagavatam will automatically be rejected. Rejected by whom? Rejected by Srimad Bhagavatam. 

Krishna willing, Prabhuji’s explanation on the second litmus test of being with Bhagavatam, shall be transcribed and offered in the next mail.

Thank you very much. 
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi, 
Abu Dhabi.