Newsletter by Krishna Kshetra Swami, Issue #4 – August, 7th 2019
The Right Thing to Do
Chanting Hare Krishna is the right thing to do. If you meet someone who asks, “What are you doing with all this Hare Krishna mantra chanting? What is all this?” You can say, “What? You are not chanting Hare Krishna? Everyone chants Hare Krishna! It is all over the Vedas. Everybody knows it. It is the yuga-dharma. Where have you been?”
“The holy name contains such potency that cannot be found in any other object whatsoever.” (From the opening address by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati during Theistic Exhibition, October 24, 1930)
—From a lecture by Krishna Kshetra Swami on June 2nd2019 in Goloka Dhama.
—From an article “Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra from the Caitanya Vaiṣṇava perspective” by
Kostyantyn Perun (Brijbasi Das).
What kept you fixed in chanting for so many years? Sometimes even in a short period of time it feels like we are trying, patiently waiting, going through life tribulations, most of the time patiently knocking on the door, and there is no answer from the other side. We try to follow the process, we try our best, we give our best… And maybe small moments I feel like I… But those are just small moments. So, what kept you fixed for so many years trying? Does the door eventually go open?
For me it really has been the inspiration, some sense of connection with more senior devotees, seeing how they are marching forward. I think many of us have felt that Srila Prabhupada was like a general of an army and we have been his foot soldiers. And foot soldiers, as Prabhupada used to say, “do the needful.” I always liked that expression: do the needful. If we think about that… What is needed? Something is needed, and it is also that which is left for us to apply our intelligence to. Prabhupada used to say, “Use your brain. Use your brain.” It is left for us to work out the details of how we do the needful. And of course, all the resources are provided for us. We just have to put it all together.
When I was a child, sometimes on a rainy day we put together jigsaw puzzles. Do you know jigsaw puzzle? So, first you have just a lot of disconnected pieces that do not seem to relate to each other. But when you gradually work out which piece fits with which it starts to make a picture. And the more the picture is filled out, it actually goes more and more quickly —the process of making the puzzle —until you find all pieces and everything fits. “Oh, now I see!”
We are hearing the words of sadhu, sastra and guru, and it becomes an aikya, which comes from the word eka, which means “one.” It becomes a single experience in the heart, when I can float in the ocean of prema. So, in my own case I finally can see how that piece there can fit with this piece here and another one and more and more the picture is coming. But I think the process works despite how we may feel about the institution, despite everything. The devotees, the persons are keeping me going. I remember when I first joined the temple one of the senior ladies —she was an excellent cook —used to say how she found it difficult sometimes to continue to stay with the devotees. Sometimes in the middle of the week she would say, “I cannot take it anymore! I am leaving!” Perhaps on Wednesday she would get such feelings. But then she would think, “Well, let me wait till Sunday, for the Sunday feast. I will stay long enough for the Sunday feast and then I will leave.” So, she lived from one Sunday feast to the next. You have to understand, Sunday feast in those days meant at least fifteen preparations. It was a real feast. So, Rupa Gosvami —perhaps anticipating this —emphasized the importance of patience. Patience. Sometimes when you travel, when you go somewhere, there can be some stretch of a desert. And you are not going to stay in the desert. So, you have two choices. Whether you continue on, beyond the desert, or you turn around, you go back. But when you go back, then where do you go? How can you go back? Once you have got some of the taste of Krishna bhakti, association of devotees, prasadam, the holy name… How can one go back? It is not possible. So, just keep going. And it is a culture of anticipation. We are anticipating. There was a novel in the 19thcentury by Charles Dickens, called “Great Expectations.” So, we have great expectations, and we should keep them. Not as a demand, not expecting from Krishna something, but expecting to become successful in spiritual life. So, here is another affirmation for you: “Day by day I am becoming successful in my spiritual life.”
—From a lecture by Krishna Kshetra Swami on June 2nd2019 in Goloka Dhama, Germany
The Trial of Hiranyakasipu: A One Act Play
Play adapted for four actors. Based on real events during the celebration of Nrisimha Caturdashi, May 17, 2019 in Simhacalam, Germany.
PROSECUTOR – HH Kadamba Kanana Swami
DEFENDER – HH Krishna Kshetra Swami
JUDGE / WITNESS nr. 2 – HH Candramauli Swami
WITNESS nr. 1 – Parividha Dasa
NOISE FROM THE AUDIENCE – the assembled devotees
Morning, the time of Srimad-Bhagavatam class, a large gathering of devotees, four figures on the stage.
DEFENDER [slowly and thoughtfully]: … So, we can in some way appreciate Hiranyakasipu. I always say that Hiranyakasipu is underappreciated. He was actually a very sincere soul. There is always a dead silence when I say that. But let us remember who is Hiranyakasipu…
PROSECUTOR: Our dear friend, the defense lawyer of Hiranyakasipu made him look noble, innocent, and not really demoniac at all, although he tried to kill an innocent child [an illegible voice from the audience]. Exactly! Exactly! Therefore, I studied it well, I got in this mood and it was outright outrageous, how Hiranyakasipu’s affection for his child was there. Smelling his head and… And how it so quickly and so easily could turn around. And how his family affection was actually only the extension of his own glories. As long as his son was adding to his glories, he loved him. Because he only loved himself! And when he saw his son considering somebody else greater than him he was ready to kill him! Now, the defender brought up the point that actually we are dealing in the case of Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa with Jaya and Vijaya, who stopped the four Kumarasfrom entering to that inner room of Vaikunthaand subsequently were cursed by the four Kumaras. And then the Lord intervened and said, “What to do? This curse can now not be undone, but I can give you the choice. Either you can go to the material world for seven births as devotees or three as demons.” And they chose to be demons. We have just heard a beautiful dramatic reading and all of the actors did quite well, they became absorbed and became almost like these personalities. So, then we see similar pastimes of Nrisimhadeva taking place, with Hiranyakasipu, with Prahlada, and the teachers, and all other personalities in the pastime, is that all a drama? Is everybody just acting their part? Are they acting so well and in reality, they are residents of Vaikuntha? So, as the prosecutor I would say: No! I would emphatically state that Hiranyakasipu was fully responsible for his acts. I will by no means, by no means, entertain the thought that Hiranyakasipu was simply performing some act to please the Supreme Lord.
DEFENDER [firmly, by means of objection]: We will have to discuss this.
PROSECUTOR: I knew that! [to the audience] He is a good lawyer, but, you know, there are ethics. There are ethics, even in law. You can sell yourself for some money and just defend the most hideous criminal, but personally I feel…
DEFENDER [outraged, by means of objection]: Now you are hitting below the belt…
PROSECUTOR: … But, well, there are moral limitations in this matter. Anyway, back to the case. The case at hand. Hiranyakasipu, although originally certainly a liberated soul, was cursed to fall into the material world and cursed to live in the ocean of illusion of this material world and as a result became a demon. There is no question that he was secretly internally remembering his previous identity. He was that demon. And he was outright exploiting the entire universe seeing every single living being as a utensil. He was ice cold. And when he wanted to kill his son, it was just cold-blooded premeditated murder, first degree [noise from the audience]. Therefore, we think, we must ask for the maximum penalty for Hiranyakasipu. No less would possibly do. If I was a good Christian, I would send him to hell forever. Unfortunately, in the Hare Krishna movement we do not have that facility. So… But nonetheless, I would ask for the maximum possible penalty, because he was not acting like a demon, he was a demon. And his previous identity is totally irrelevant to the crime and the case. I close the case herewith.
DEFENDER: [….] All right. I call my witness.
WITNESS nr. 1: As a professional actor and director, I only accept devotees in a play. Professional actors play for fame, money, glory, while devotees just want to serve. That is why the Lord Himself wants to have only devotees around Him in His pastimes. Even the demon’s parts are played by devotees. So, Hiranyakasipu was just playing the part to satisfy the Lord. So, in this way he is innocent.
[…a pause in the court hearing…]
A DESPERATE VOICE FROM AUDIENCE: I want to hear the end of the case of Hiranyakasipu!
PROSECUTOR: Ah! Our defence lawyer has suddenly become very quiet. Has he?
DEFENDER: Well, not completely quiet. I think, first we have to work out who is the judge. Now, it seems to me that you are appealing to popular opinion. And I think we need to question that, to start with. This would be a good starting point.
PROSECUTOR: Actually, I really object to your proposal. Because in the Vedic literature and tradition in the big cities, certainly, there is a judge, the royal court, but in the villages, there is a pancayat. And that is actually the representation of the village population. So, I think…
DEFENDER [cool, motioning to the audience]: These is a lot more than panca. Panca means five.
PROSECUTOR: It started with five, but then you know how it goes in India… It fills up, you know. I mean any vehicle in India is full, so…
DEFENDER: All right, I would like to call one witness. Or… [turns to witness nr. 2] Are you his witness? Whose witness are you?
WITNESS nr. 2: I am a neutral witness…
DEFENDER [in doubt]: Neutral?
WITNESS nr. 2: …Because I like both arguments. But I have…
DEFENDER: No friends, no enemies? What is this? Another Prahlada or what?
WITNESS nr. 2 [smiling]: That is the mood. But I have to be honest…
DEFENDER [sharply]: Oh! Are you suggesting that we are not?!
WITNESS nr. 2 [still smiling]: You can take it whatever way you like. But that is not the suggestion.
DEFENDER [thoughtfully]: The implications… Loaded language…
WITNESS nr. 2: …This is called pramana, or authority. And authority gives the conclusion in cases where there is some dissension, based on relevant information from both sides. And as my particular authority I am going to refer to Srimad-Bhagavatam.
PROSECUTOR: Oh! You want to argue with that!
WITNESS nr. 2: All right. And the Bhagavatam really goes through and describes so many types of demons. But one demon is given a certain title that other demons are not. And this is canto 7, chapter 3, texts 26-27. The verse starts, “sri hiranyakasipu uvaca…” [joyful noise from audience] So, there is my assertion or my testimony: Sri Hiranyakasipu. [again, joyful noise from audience]
PROSECUTOR: Your Honor! Your Honor! Your Honor! But we must understand how to interpret this. The title ‘Sri’ was obviously not given while Hiranyakasipu was the killer, but after he was killed by the Lord and was purified by the nails of the Lord. Then they added ‘Sri’.
WITNESS nr. 2 [apparently becoming also the JUDGE]: No, no, no. Mistake. This is the third chapter. He was killed in the eighth chapter. [audience going wild with joy]
PROSECUTOR [bewildered]: Yes, still…
DEFENDER [towards the prosecutor]: If I can take your side for a moment… The report of this whole pastime was made after Hiranyakasipu was killed, therefore Vyasa or Narada may have said ‘Sri’.
PROSECUTOR: Thank you! Thank you!
JUDGE [previous Witness nr. 2, towards the defender]: You are defeating yourself.
DEFENDER [in disbelief]: Oh! What am I saying?!
PROSECUTOR: I appreciate that. At least you have the decency to acknowledge that…
DEFENDER: Yes! We have to be decent.
JUDGE: This court is out of line, because the defense testimony is being used against itself. So, we have to throw this case into the higher court now.
DEFENDER [slowly]: I am starting to get confused…
PROSECUTOR [thoughtfully]: Yeah, we need help… But, really, just to glorify Hiranyakasipu as noble… That goes a bit far.
DEFENDER [thoughtfully too]: My purpose was not to… how to say… over glorify… My purpose was to set the record straight, to put things in their proper perspective.
PROSECUTOR: But then, in the ultimate sense there are no criminals at all. Because in the ultimate sense all are eternal associates of the Lord…
DEFENDER [euphoric]: Now he is on my side! Now he is on my side!
JUDGE [satisfied]: Hm…
DEFENDER [towards the prosecutor]: Now you are getting confused.
PROSECUTOR [showing to the audience]: Then all these personalities here, they are all saints…
JUDGE [triumphantly]: Correct! [cheerful noise from audience]
DEFENDER [towards the prosecutor]: What do you think of that?
PROSECUTOR: Every single one of them! [audience is getting quiet]
DEFENDER [encouraging towards the audience]: Haribol! Sadhu! Sadhu! Hare Krsna! Nice…
PROSECUTOR [surrendered]: Yeah….
DEFENDER [very peacefully]: I think we have come to a nice conclusion.
JUDGE [confidently]: You both are right.
PROSECUTOR [relieved]: Neutral.
END OF PLAY
Gaineswille, USA: 11-8-2019 till 25-8-2019
Argentina: 26-8-19 till 26-8-2019
Gita Nagari, New Vrindavan,
New York: 27-9-2019 till 15-10-19