Guru takes the Reactions
Conversations - Talks with Bob Cohen, February 27-29, 1972, Mayapur
Compiled by Sri Damaghosa Dasa, Seattle, USA
Prabhupada: (break)... (your) question was that when I suffer it is due to my past misdeeds? Was it not?
Bob: Yes, yes, yes.
Prabhupada: That is my misdeed, that I accept a disciple who is nonsense. That is my misdeed.
Bob: This happens on occasion?
Prabhupada: Yes, this is sure to happen because we are accepting so many men. But it is the duty of the disciple to be cautious. That "My spiritual master saved me. I may not put him again into these sufferings." [break] When the spiritual master is in suffering, Krishna saves him. Krishna thinks, "Oh, he has taken so much responsibility for delivering a fallen person." So Krishna is there. Kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati [Bhagavid-gita 9.31]. Because the spiritual master takes the risk on account of Krishna.
Bob: So your suffering is not the same kind of pain that an impure person...
Prabhupada: No, it is not due to karma. The pain is there sometimes so that the disciples may know that "Due to our sinful activities my spiritual master is suffering." [break]
Bob: ...very well now.
Prabhupada: I'm always well. [break] ...well in this sense, even there is suffering, I know Krishna will protect me. But this suffering is not due to my sinful activities. [break]
Bob: But let us say, when I, in the town I live in I drink boiled water because some of the water has disease in it. Now, why should I drink boiled water? If I have been good enough not to get a disease, then I may drink any water. And if I have been not doing proper, then I shall get diseased...
Prabhupada: So boiled water is any water also. Boiled water is included within any water.
Bob: But, you see, I drink that to prevent disease.
Prabhupada: Yes. So long you are in the material world, what is physical laws, you cannot neglect that. Just like if you go to a jungle, there is tiger. It is known that it will attack you. Why should you voluntarily go and be attacked? It is not that a devotee should take physical risk so long he has got some physical body. It is not a challenge to the physical laws: "Oh, I have become a devotee. I challenge everything." That is foolishness. Anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah. Visaya, these physical necessities, the devotee is advised to accept the necessities of life without any attachment. Physical law is take the boiled water, but if boiled water is not available, does it mean he'll not drink water? If it is not available, you drink ordinary water. [break] We take Krishna-prasadam. But while in touring, in hotels sometimes we have to take some food in the hotel. Does it mean, "Oh, I do not take any foodstuff from the hotel, I shall starve"? If I starve, then I'll be weak, I cannot preach. [break]
Bob: Does a devotee lose some of his individuality in that...
Prabhupada: No, he has got full individuality, but he sacrifices individuality for pleasing Krishna. Krishna says, "You surrender unto Me." So he voluntarily surrenders. Not that he has lost his individuality. He keeps his individuality fully. But because Krishna desires that he should surrender, he never minds. He's individual. Just like Arjuna, in the beginning he was declining to fight on account of his individuality. But when he accepted Krishna as his spiritual master, he became sisya. Then whatever He ordered, "Yes." That doesn't mean he lost his individuality. He voluntarily accepted, "Whatever Krishna says, I shall do it." Just as all my disciples, they have not lost their individuality, but they have surrendered their individuality. That is required. Just like if a man does not use sex, does that mean he has become impotent? If he likes he can have, thousand times sex life, but he has voluntarily avoided it. Param drstva nivartate [Bg. 9.59]. Sometimes we fast, that does mean we are diseased. We voluntarily fast. It does not mean that I am not hungry, I cannot eat. But we voluntarily fast.
Bob: Does the devotee who surrenders keep his individual ...
Prabhupada: Yes, in full.
Bob: ...taste for different things?
Bob: Does he keep his individual likes and dislikes?
Prabhupada: Yes, everything he keeps, but he gives preference to Krishna. Suppose I like this thing. Krishna says, "No. You cannot use it." Then they are sacrificed. It is for Krishna's sake. Nirbandhah Krishna-sambandhe.
Bob: Let us say a devotee has a liking for one food over another food.
Prabhupada: Yes. But if Krishna does not like it, he won't take.
Bob: And how does he know which food Krishna likes him to take?
Prabhupada: That is stated in the sastra. You have to know from Krishna. When you... Just like, what kind of behavior government likes, how do you know it? From the law books. Is it not? Similarly, what Krishna likes and not likes, you get from the sastra. You cannot manufacture the like and disliking of Krishna. That is nonsense. Krishna says, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati [Bhagavid-gita 9.26]. He says definitely. Positively He says, that "I like these things." So we have to offer to Krishna what He likes, and then we take prasadam. Krishna likes Radharani. Therefore all the gopis, they're trying to push Radharani to Krishna. Nikunja-yuno rati-keli-siddhyai ya yalibhir yuktir apeksaniya **. That is expert. "Oh, Krishna likes this gopi. All right, push her." That is Krishna consciousness. To satisfy the senses of Krishna. Not satisfy my senses. That is bhakti. That is called prema, love for Krishna. "Oh, Krishna likes this. I must give Him this."
Bob: There is, some prasadam is offered, and then we go and eat, and different prasadas are served. And some I like, and some I find the taste not at all to my liking and do not eat.
Prabhupada: You should not do that. The perfection is whatever is offered to Krishna, you should accept everything. You cannot make, "I like this. I do not like this." That is perfection. So long you make such discrimination that means you have not appreciated what is prasada. (pause)
Devotee: What if there is someone... This... (Static)... likes and dislikes. Say, someone is preparing some prasadam...
Prabhupada: No disliking, no liking. Whatever Krishna likes, that's all right.
Devotee: Yes. But say someone prepares something, like some prasadam for Krishna, but he does not make it so good, and it is...
Prabhupada: No, if you have made sincerely with devotion, then Krishna will like it. Just like Vidura. Vidura was feeding Krishna banana. So he was so absorbed in thought he was, I mean to say, throwing away the real banana and he was giving Him the skin, and Krishna was eating. (laughter) Because He knows that "He's giving Me in the devotion." So Krishna can eat anything, provided there is devotion, real devotion. It does not matter whether it is materially tasteful or not. Similarly, a devotee also takes Krishna prasadam. Whether it is materially tasteful or not, he should accept everything.
Devotee: But the devotion is not there. Like in India...
Prabhupada: Devotion is not there, He does not like any food, either is tasteful or not tasteful. He does not accept it.
Devotee: In India, somebody said...
Prabhupada: No India, of India, don't talk of India. Talk of the philosophy. If there is no devotion, Krishna does not accept anything, either in India or in your country. It is not... Krishna's not obliged to accept anything costly because it is very tasteful. Krishna has many tasteful dishes in Vaikuntha. He's not hankering after your food. He accepts your devotion. That out of... Bhaktya, tad aham asnami. Bhaktya upahrtam, real thing is devotion. Not the food. Krishna does not accept any food of this material world. But He accepts only the devotion. Patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati [Bhagavid-gita 9.26], tad aham asnami bhaktya upahrtam. "Because it has been offered to Me with devotional love," that is required. One who has no devotional love, from his hand... Therefore we do not allow anyone to cook who is not a devotee. Krishna does not accept anything from the hands of a non devotee. Why should He accept? He's not hungry. He does not require any food. He accepts only the devotion. That's all. That is the main point. So one has to become a devotee, not a good cooker. But if he's a devotee, then he'll be a good cook also. Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah. Automatically he'll become a good cook. Therefore one has to become devotee only; then all other good qualification will automatically be there. And if he's a non devotee, any good qualification has no value. Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna mano-rathenasati dhavato bahih [Srimad Bhagavatam 5.18.12]. He's on the mental plane. So he has no good qualification. [break] The time?
Syamasundara: Six o'clock. Twenty more minutes, twenty minutes. [break]
Prabhupada: It is... Question and Answer, it is required. It is beneficial to all the...
Bob: I still have question on the prasada.
Prabhupada: Suta Gosvami says, munayah sadhu prsto 'ham bhavadbhir loka-mangalam, Krishna-samprasnah [Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.5]. Krishna-samprasnah is very good. When you discuss and hear, that is loka-mangalam, either by the question or by the answer.
munayah sadhu prsto 'ham
yat krtah Krishna-samprasno
[Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.5]
Bob: I still have..., do not understand so much about what you're telling me about the prasadam. But if you like I'll think about it and ask, ask you again tomorrow. About prasadam.
Prabhupada: Prasadam is always prasadam. So because we are not elevated sufficiently, therefore we do not like some prasadam.
Bob: I found, specifically what I mean, is some was too spicy and hurt my stomach.
Prabhupada: Well, that is also due to ... not appreciate. But Krishna should be... The cook should have consideration that Krishna must be offered first-class foodstuff. So if he offers something last class, that is not his duty. But Krishna can accept anything if it is offered by a devotee, and a devotee also can accept any prasadam, even if it is spicy. [break] Hiranyakashipu gave his son poison and he drank it nectarine. So for the devotee even it is spicy to other taste, it is very palatable to the devotee. What is the question of spicy? He was offered poison, real poison. [break] ...she also offered Krishna poison, but Krishna's so nice that "She took Me as My mother." So He took the poison and delivered her. Krishna does not take the bad side. Any good man, he does not take the bad side; he takes only the good side. [break] He wanted to make business with my Guru Maharaja. But he did not take the bad side. He took the good side that "He has come forward to give me some service. So whatever he wanted he gave him."
Bob: Business with you, what was that? Business with who?
Prabhupada: That is, I am talking about my Guru Maharaja.
Bob: Oh, oh, I see. [break] ...question on prasadam, if I may. Let us say if some devotee has some trouble and does not eat a certain type of food. Like some devotees do not eat ghee because of liver trouble. So these devotees, should they take all the prasadam?
Prabhupada: No, no, no. I say those who are not perfect devotee, they may discriminate. But a perfect devotee does not discriminate. So why should you imitate a perfect devotee? So long you have discrimination, you are not a perfect devotee. So artificially why should you imitate a perfect devotee and eat everything?
Prabhupada: The perfect devotee does not make any discrimination. But if I am not a perfect devotee, I have got discrimination, why shall I
imitate a perfect devotee? That will not be possible to assimilate or digest. Because I am not a perfect devotee. These things are... A
devotee should not be a foolish man. It is said that Krishna yei bhaje se bada catura. So a devotee knows his position and he's intelligent
enough to deal with others accordingly. (break) .....