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Think of Other's Welfare

Verse Number
SB 11.7.38

Maharaj: We are reading Srimad Bhagavatam 11.7.38 today.

śaśvat parārtha-sarvehaḥ parārthaikānta-sambhavaḥ
sādhuḥ śikṣeta bhū-bhṛtto naga-śiṣyaḥ parātmatām

A saintly person should learn from the mountain to devote all his efforts to the service of others and to make the welfare of others the sole reason for his existence. Similarly, as the disciple of the tree, he should learn to dedicate himself to others.

Purport: Great mountains bear unlimited quantities of earth, which in turn give sustenance to innumerable forms of life such as trees, grass, birds, animals, and so on. Mountains also pour forth unlimited quantities of crystalline water in the form of waterfalls and rivers, and this water gives life to all. By studying the example of mountains, one should learn the art of providing for the happiness of all living entities. Similarly, one may take excellent lessons from the pious trees, who offer innumerable benefits, such as fruits, flowers, cooling shade and medicinal extracts. Even when a tree is suddenly cut down and dragged away, the tree does not protest but continues to give service to others in the form of firewood. Thus, one should become the disciple of such magnanimous trees and learn from them the qualities of saintly conduct.

According to Srila Madhvacarya, the word parārthaikānta-sambhavaḥ indicates that one should dedicate all of one's wealth and other assets to the welfare of others. By one's acquired opulence, one should especially try to please the spiritual master and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus, the demigods, as well as all truly respectable superior personalities, will automatically be pleased. By developing saintly conduct, as described in this verse, one will become tolerant, and this will free one from the useless agitation of the material senses, which drive one to wander throughout the world searching in vain for material happiness. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has also emphasized the tree's quality of tolerance: taror iva sahishnunaa, kirtaniyah sadaa harih [Cc. Adi 17.31]. One who is as tolerant as a tree can chant the holy name of Krishna constantly, finding ever-new satisfaction.

(Maharaj recites 1.2.4 and 18 with translation and devotees repeat after Maharaj).

These examples are very best you know. Because even if we try for our own interest, we are already in the family or society or country you know. So our interest can never be our own. Always there is some reaction from the others. So the basic nature should be that we may not harm anybody. That is welfare of all. Otherwise because of envious nature or whatever, we try to unnecessarily cause harm to others. The best course is, one thing we must understand that our time in this body is running out. That is definite. Nobody's time is increasing. So every second must be utilized for the upliftment of the spirit and in doing that, naturally we will ignore all these material things. Ignore in the sense that, we will only touch the material things to the minimum. That's the best course. At the moment what happens, the material things are the priority. And spiritual things are secondary, or third grade or whatever. So instead of that, we should try to keep the eyes open and try to amass as much knowledge as possible from the surroundings. (Maharaj speaking in Gujarati with a devotee).The thing is, in the surroundings also, there are so many things. But here two things are given - the mountains and the trees. And very nicely it is described, that their life is for the others. But when we are given a responsibility, we may not dedicate the whole thing.  But practical things has got to be sorted out.

One thing is definite, that, whatever be the attitude towards society or anything, in the human form we cannot neglect the spiritual advancement - That comes first. So that's why 16 rounds are a must. If we cannot, then we are neglecting our duty. And if we don't do that duty, then other things are polluted. So in order to purify our behaviour, we must have constant touch of Krishna through chanting or reading Bhagavad Gita or Bhagavatam or whatever. The thing is however hard we try, day by day, these things are getting difficult, because of so many unseen difficulties. So people may ask you, "We are trying. But how to go ahead in this? Even one round is impossible. So what to speak of 16 rounds?" So we have to be using common sense. See the condition of the person who is talking to you. See how much busy they are. Particularly manual workers - they will not be able to chant because their body is aching already. Excessive work always stops us from doing anything. If the body is not in order, how are you going to chant? So for the manual labourers, we must be extra merciful and thank Krishna that we are not in the same position.

Every living entity has his/her own circumstances. So according to that, the lessons from mountain and tree is quite alright. But how to put into practice is the art of preaching. Otherwise people will hear, people will remember that mountain lives for the others. And trees are also for the others. But the thing is that, one thing we must remember. Mountains survive for others. Trees also completely survive for others. So there is no dirt in them. Mountain doesn't eat anything. No food is required. If you are living for others, minimum food may be required here and there. Our body may not get weak, our heamoglobin will not go low. The reddish blood should not go low. Otherwise they become completely pale you know. These reddish blood cells - , I mean to say, the heamoglobin goes low because of anti-Krishna conscious activities. So this is to be explained to them, so that they atleast become healthy. Health comes first. If you are healthy then you can do something for others also. But really if you dedicate for the others much of the time, then your body doesn't go wrong. 

You are helping others. So everybody will help you also. That is reciprocation. Isn't it ? You are working for others and Krishna particularly. So there is reciprocation in health. And one thing we should remember that body doesn't survive with food alone. It is not the food only. It requires the loving relationships. The loving relationships are needed for the healthy condition of life. You know in the western world, these people lying in the hospitals, nobody goes to see them. So for months together they lie there. They don't get better. But the patients whom people come to see, he gets improved day by day. Some loving attention has to be there. It is not only food or medicine. But loving attention has to be there. So practically we should show some love, unselfish love for the living entities on our part and that is the part of the others' welfare. Other's welfare means not only distribution of food or distribution of clothes or economic help or whatever. But we should have some genuine love for the living entities. We people are already situated in shastric knowledge, scriptural knowledge. So we know that everybody is part and parcel of Krishna. So have a genuine love for the living entities. And they should also be instructed about this. Before they come to the spiritual platform, this loving relationship is very important. 

Otherwise, on our own we cannot do any thing spiritually also. That's why some association is required. Like-minded atleast can like each other, if not love. The liking is there. And that's why the mountains are worshiped, trees are worshiped. Because, they only stay for others. And because there is no food required, there is no waste matter. Any living entity, who takes food has to excrete the waste. Those who eat, they have to have some sort of arrangement to take out the dirt out of the body. But really, genuinely if your body is really dedicated to the welfare of others, this process becomes very easy - Taking food and taking out dirt. Otherwise for this process alone, so much medicine is required. The healthy conditions depends upon the intensity of desire for cultivating welfare of others. This we miss. And that's why those who work for others, they can sleep anywhere, they can eat anything. They are not worried about their own comfort or whatever. Something to eat, some thing to sleep. That's it. This is how with minimum necessities, he/she can go on, if they are dedicated to the welfare of others. This point should be brought to the notice of the hearers that it's not that they are doing welfare work for others. For their own healthy conditions, they are doing welfare for others.

And whatever we want to do, health comes first. In Gujarati there is a saying that pehlu sukh - the first happiness is that you should be healthy. Otherwise unless we are healthy, what are you going to do? And this point has got to be understood by ourselves and conveyed to others that their own healthy condition depends upon this. Once we understand this, then it is very natural for us to devote ourselves to other's service. And that should not hamper our own interest also. Side by side, our interests are going on. When we try to worry about others, others try to worry about us. This is natural. And that's why the loving relationship is the most important relationship between the societies or individuals. In one family also, people can stay if some relationship is there. Otherwise frankly speaking, with our wife we don't have any relationship - blood relationship. Wife is wife. That's it. She is not related to us. But that's the most intimate relationship. Even the blood relationship comes secondary when the question of wife comes. Why? Because she serves. That's why the relationship is there. 

Mountains serve. That's why relationship is there. Govardhan parvat was worshiped. Govardhan hill was worshiped by Krishna. Instead of carrying yajna for Indra, He forced them to carry out the worship for the Govardhan hill. This is the cause. And the greatest welfare of all is to give them the name of Krishna. Other welfare works will not work until and unless you follow this - bringing the living entities to Krishna. That's the greatest welfare work in our life. So we should organise our life in such a way that people will be attracted eventually to come to Krishna. That's all. So from our life, particularly when we are in the temple, our life must be spotlessly pure. Otherwise they see you, you know? They see you. So, somehow or the other, we didn't want. But we are in the temple or whatever. So we have to have thoroughly cleansed life. Regulated life will give you bit easy condition in your health also, if the life is regulated. So these things are a must before you dedicate yourself to others' welfare. So our firm standing must be the spiritual activities. Somehow or the other we want to get out of this vicious circle of birth, death, disease and old-age and force others also to get out. That should be the concern. Otherwise there is no other welfare activity. Unless it is situated on this foundation - The foundation should be that the living entities must be dragged to Krishna and they should know that they are suffering. They should know that they are unnecessarily entangled into the illusory activities. They should all try to get out of this. That's the greatest welfare work. 

Mountain cannot speak. Mountain gives you the experience of Krishna. Great mass of stone you know. Have you been to Haridwar, Badri Narayan? Just you see the great mass of stone and you are wonder-struck. Such a great mass of stone, we immediately remember Krishna. Such a great mountain, high mountain - we are habituated to see the small pieces of stones, may be 9 by 9 or whatever. But here it is unimaginable, inconceivable mass of stone. And what happens, once you climb it, you think, now you are on the top of the mountain. But you see that you are at the bottom of another cliff. So the cliffs come out one after another, one after another. It's very horrible. Now-a-days, there is bus service from Haridwar to Badri Narayan. But other places like Gangotri and Kedarnath, few kilometres you have to climb. Then you have the idea about what is mountain. On one side, it's a big mountain and on the other side, its a big valley. Very narrow path is there. Really it gives you the experience of Krishna. So mountains doesn't speak. But it always reminds you about Krishna. So this is the welfare activity. We are speaking. So we have some more faculty to preach. So our speech should not be dedicated to any other thing. That's why, when we distribute kichadi also, we do Harinam first. That's Prabhupada's way. Prabhupada has really woken us up. Everything, the beginning must be Harinam, end must be Harinam and through there must be Harinam. Kichadi speaks. That's alright. But food distribution is not the goal of our existence. Goal of our existence is to get attached to Krishna so that somehow or the other, luckily if He is kind, we may be out of this vicious circle.

Otherwise how many times you have to suffer death, this and that? This is the main welfare work. And trees, they only take watery food. Tree never eats boondi laddoo. (laughter) Tree doesn't want pedas. (laughter) Tree only sucks the watery food from the land. And there are no shops wherein the tree food is sold. Its only through the land, it will take. That's it. And because only watery food is there, pure water is there nearly, there is no excret‭ion. There is no excretion in the trees. It is one of the yonis - species of existence - wherein food is completely pure and there is no excretion. The more you dedicate yourself to the welfare of others, the more you will have the pure life. And it is a must. We want healthy and pure life. So if you want healthy and pure life, there is no other way that you can avoid the welfare of others. And if you don't do this, then you become narrow-minded for your own interest. That is the corollary, isn't it? Because you are not dedicating yourselves for the welfare of the mankind, society or whatever. Family also, you have to look after the welfare of the family. Otherwise you become narrow-minded and you lose the health. If you don't follow these examples of trees and mountains, means you are sick. And that is reason why, for years together, we are not sick here. Because we have dedicated ourselves to the activities of Krishna. This is the main thing. That's why, the thing is that unless we follow this, the result will be that you will not have a sound body. So what happens, you are not healthy yourselves. So how can you help others' welfare? So the whole thing becomes null and void, if your body is not in a working condition. So this is the main message. These things also, they have the spiritual basis and how pure life it is you know? Mountain's life is pure. Tree's life is much purer. That's why they dedicate everything. They could because they are healthy themselves. Trees has to be alive in healthy condition to help others.

(Maharaj speaking to a devotee in Gujarati).

The thing is that once you understand this, in this sequence, then our mind also will become clear. When Krishna's touch is there, our minds are clear. Please try to understand these things in this light and always help others also to understand these things spiritually. Otherwise without the touch of Krishna, nothing is possible. Those who chant 16 rounds, their health is much better than the others. This is obvious. If you chant really, it is shown on your face that you are chanting. You are never short of anything. And frankly speaking we are not eating any healthy food or much nourishing food or vitamins or this or that. I don't know. I didn't touch the vitamin tablets any time in my life. I didn't know them. Now they eat vitamins only. There is no need of it. The other things we don't require at all. We require the spiritual nourishment. If the soul is happy spiritually, the body will be blooming. If soul is neglected, then half starvation is there. So body can't work really. From the beginning you know, when we were conceived in the mother's womb, the body was just like a pea. But it developed. Always the soul was there. So soul is the main source of our health. That's why the natural things boost our health. Here there is nothing. But fresh air is there. Peaceful atmosphere is there. That is really nourishing. You go out into the market, then you will have to inhale all fumes and then so much noise is there. We don't like really. vivikta sevi - we like solitude. And this gives us the nice life. And that's why, because our bodies are in a healthy condition, we can think about these welfare activities. But as Prabhupada has trained us, 'only' welfare activities is an illusion.

Somebody will tell, "I just built the hospitals", or "I just opened the schools", or "I just opened the old-age homes. 'Only' welfare activity is a non-sense. Suppose you build an hospital. How many people you can treat there? Even in the biggest hospital, you may have around 3000 beds. But there are billions of people around the world. Who is treating them? So 'only' welfare activities is a non-sense. But with Krishna, Krishna conscious hospitals is much more needed. And that is what is welfare work. Our Bhaktivedanta hospital in Mira Road - it is worth because some kirtan is going on. Classes also they take. It is not 'only hospital'. It is mandir first and then it is hospital. That's why Prabhupada always tried to open the temples first and then other activities. Whereas commercial people, first they open the hospitals and there may not be mandir there. (Referring to some other hospital Maharaj says) - these Gondhia hospital they are spending 35 crores of rupees now to renovate it. Renovate means, they are increasing the ICU beds. "ICU" - Yamaraj always says - "I See You" there (laughter). They are getting more money in ICU. So anybody comes, goes into ICU. Our Lalitha's father got sick in the plane and he was sent into ICU in the Nanawati hospital. It is very costly hospital in Mumbai. Within a day she was fried. Whatever she spent here in two months, within one day she had to spend there. So much high charges are there. Because it is only welfare activity, may be. It doesn't work. The body only goes alright, if the soul is fed properly. Then only the body behaves alright. Soul is the main force behind the working of the body and that's why, I don't know whether our long life is because of that. But definitely that is one of the factors. Eventually it depends on Krishna's will, whether we survive or not. But those who are engaged spiritually in the welfare activity, they survive longer. This is how. The point is, inorder to perform welfare activities by human body, we must be healthy. And healthy conditions can never be there unless the body is looked after and the soul is also looked after. Is it clear? We will go to the next verse then. Jai. Do you want to ask anything?

prāṇa-vṛttyaiva santuṣyen munir naivendriya-priyaiḥ
jñānaṁ yathā na naśyeta nāvakīryeta vāṅ-manaḥ

(Maharaj recited the verse and devotees repeat after Maharaj thrice). 

prāṇa-vṛttyā — with the mere functioning of his vital air; eva — even; santuṣyet — should be satisfied; muniḥ — a sage; na — not; eva — indeed; indriya-priyaiḥ — with things that gratify the senses; jñānam — consciousness; yathā — so that; na naśyeta — may not be destroyed; na avakīryeta — may not become disturbed; vāk — his speech; manaḥ — and mind.

Maharaj:  Please repeat.

Devotee: "A learned sage should take his satisfaction in the simple maintenance of his existence and should not seek satisfaction through gratifying the material senses." (Maharaj and others repeat)

Maharaj: This is very important. Again.

Devotee: "A learned sage should take his satisfaction in the simple maintenance of his existence and should not seek satisfaction through gratifying the material senses. In other words, one should care for the material body in such a way that one's higher knowledge is not destroyed and so that one's speech and mind are not deviated from self-realization."

Maharaj: This point, I was deriving it. Really, our common sense is Bhagavatam. I derived it that unless the soul is satisfied or the self-realisation activities go on, we will not be able to follow the welfare activities for others. Very nice. Read it again. 

A learned sage should take his satisfaction in the simple maintenance of his existence and should not seek satisfaction through gratifying the material senses. In other words, one should care for the material body in such a way that one's higher knowledge is not destroyed and so that one's speech and mind are not deviated from self-realization.