Bhagavat Saptah: a week with a saint

Lessons from the Life of Priyavrata


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Lessons from the Life of Priyavrata

[The following is the second part of the 4th day of Bhagavata Saptah given by His Divine Holiness Mahavishna Gosvami Maharaj recorded on 2nd Oct 2001 in Sydney, Australia.]

Why we need to be austere?

These are the instructions given by Manus, given by Priyavrath’s his sons and everybody is giving this and then Priyavrath was very austere from beginning. Kardama muni is very austere from beginning.  Druva Maharaj at 5 years and he was completely austere.  All these examples are before us.  Duryodhana was not austere.  So see the end of the Duryodhana, the whole race was wiped out, whole family was wiped out because austerity was completely absent and because austerity was not there he was just body conscious. He thought there is no powerful man like me and the whole of life time and Kṛṣṇa came in front of him.  Once Kṛṣṇa went to the assembly and requested him “Baba I don’t want war, you just give only 5 villages to Pandavas and they will be satisfied.  Rest of the kingdom you enjoy.”  “Succhaigram, the land which is situated on the tip of the needle that must land also I am not going to give. Without war I am not handover anything.”  He couldn’t recognize Kṛṣṇa because as soon as you are bodily conscious then you can’t see Krishna. 

Why we need to be humble?

Kṛṣṇa may come in front of you in any form and even then we are completely blind because there is curtain of bodily conscious.  This body consciousness must go away.  What are you conscious about this lump of stool and urine?  What are we proud of? And this lump also whatever dirty lump you have it is very shannic.  It’s very temporary.  So what are you proud of?  Just shed off this pride and be humble. Humility is required and we have, we always join our hands you know, Namaskar, or Namaste or whatever it is. 

Why happens when we have faith in Krishna?

Once we were travelling Bombay to Udaipuri in Maharastra so we wanted to go by a coach you know, so we went to the coach station and there are so many these travel agencies there.  So we thought whom to go?  Some good coach must be there.  So I thought that if there is Krishna’s name that agency may be good.  So searched out, we found out eventually, we found out Manmohan agency.  

So I told “Yes this is our agency”. 

So we went and bought the ticket. So just seeing the saffron clothes he reduced the price by Rs.10

So I thought that “I am correct”. 

This is how just the name the consciousness completely changes.  And we don’t believe and we don’t have faith in the power of the name then there was some time we had to wait.  In Bombay there are very small agencies you know they can only sit and nobody can able to sit there. So he just gave us a chair to sit on the foot path and I just asked him how many coaches your company ran?  

He said “350 coaches in different parts of India.” 

So I told: “Your owner of this agency of this agency must be mad, you know, to appoint so many drivers and collectors and ticket checkers and coaches might going out of order.” 

“Yes”, he said, “but our owner comes only 2 hours in office.” 

I said surprised: “In 2 hours how can he?”  

He said “No, he has made one rule”, he said, “That whoever comes in office they should tell Jai Sri Kṛṣṇa to each other and there are boards in the office all Jai Sri Kṛṣṇa Jai Sri Kṛṣṇa Jai Sri Krishna. So everybody chants Krishna’s names and they bit honest you know.  They might do here and there something but overall they are honest.”

And I then told “What your owner does, only 2 hours he works does] … he sleeps being at home?” 

He said “No he has mandir.  He performs pooja.”

That is our culture.  If that Manmohan agency can go on then our Manmohan agency can’t go on? But we don’t have faith.  Even the lady who gave free ticket to Prabhupada, she had a nice temple and she was multi billionaire running big concern this Scindhia steam division company.  And at the same time you just keep your eyes open and you will see so many things in this world. 

Why happens when we turn away from Krishna?

There was one business tycoon this Onassis in Greek.  He was also shipping tycoon. This Jackelin was married to him once something.  Onassis had one daughter, so after the death of Onassis she inherited the whole thing and her name was Christina and she had so much wealth that she could have fed whole India and even then her wealth would not have been exhausted. But no consciousness, you know. No tinge of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So at the age of 35 she died somewhere outside Argentina in the night club and after that I remember we had read, her secretary given some press report, that she was always drinking so many bottles of Fiji drinks, 100 tins or something, and eating junk food, this beef burger, this and that.  This is the cause of death see. 

What is the benefit of coming to Krishna?

Because whatever we are as soon as we come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness the fiber of our own existence improves. And as soon as the fiber improves you are blissful.  You may die young, I don’t know. We don’t claim that Kṛṣṇa consciousness person don’t die young. They may die young but till you are alive your fiber is beautiful and you are blissful here and more blissful may be afterwards.  Very nicely they sleep. They are not disturbed at all. And we have the Ajamil’s example in the pages of Bhāgavatam.  A completely sinful man also, just by chanting helplessly about the name of his boy and, he was taken by Vishnu dutas… must be cent percent correct. See the death of Vaishnava and he is asleep and he doesn’t have to worry about these things.  This is the Bhāgavatam.  If you hear please even some part of Bhāgavatam our life must change, the quality of our life must improve and it will be so very nice beneficial to you that you will never complain in future that you are suffering. Even your sufferings will become very easy.  You will not feel that you are suffering. 

Key to relieve our miseries is in our hands

Prabhupāda was giving always examples that in India there are road side magicians, now they are vanishing, but formerly they were there and they used to play with the snakes and you know pythons and so many and if you see them we will be scared because they will put on the garland of snake. “There you will die now”.  But he knows there is no poison tooth in the snake.  So that snake may bite him but it can’t kill him.  This is how our miseries are once we know Krishna. They don’t have the poison tooth, they don’t stink.  Ordinary persons they feel it, always they feel it, always.  I am so very miserable, I am so very miserable please come and relieve me from the misery. Nobody can relieve. The key is in your hand.  You just keep the bead bag or clicker or whatever.  If you don’t have anything atleast don’t forget your tongue anywhere isn’t it?  Always tongue with you.  Just start chanting

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa

Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare

Hare Rāma Hare Rāma

Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

and two verses we have learned …

[SB 1.8.21-22 Maharaj recited these verses and everyone repeated after him.]

kṛṣṇāya vāsudevāya

devakī-nandanāya ca


govindāya namo namaḥ

[Let me therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who has become the son of Vasudeva, the pleasure of Devaki, the boy of Nanda and the other cowherd men of Vrndaavana, and the enlivener of the cows and the senses.](S.B. 1.8.21)
namaḥ pańkaja-nābhāya

namaḥ pańkaja-māline

namaḥ pańkaja-netrāya

namas te pańkajāńghraye

[My respectful obeisances are unto You, O Lord, whose abdomen is marked with a depression like a lotus flower, who are always decorated with garlands of lotus flowers, whose glance is as cool as the lotus and whose feet are engraved with lotuses.] (S.B. 1.8.22)

 And all tapo vishamam … there is no misery at all. These two verses will relieve you from all.  At least this year please remember these two if not more. 

The benefit of being satisfied

As soon as you come to this conclusion then our, whatever, type of life we have, it becomes very satisfied.  As soon as you are satisfied with your own system and with your own situation then the bhakti begins. Satisfaction is the first requisite.  As soon as you understand these things you are completely satisfied. Santosh; and “santosh” is very nice word.  Sam equal, tosh means dampness.  When there is first rain after summer, very hot summer the prthvi the land is very hot and it requires water. So, first rain just gives the dampness everywhere, equal dampness that is called santosh.  Our mind also completely becomes blissful because everywhere it is tosh.  Everywhere Kṛṣṇa is there and we feel Kṛṣṇa and we experience Krishna.   This is the way to experience. 

What is the way to find out Krishna?

Nobody is going to give you Krishna, you have to recognize on your own endeavor.  Bala, Balaram that’s why we call it.  The first expansion of Kṛṣṇa was Balaram.  He gives us the bala the spiritual strength. By material strength we cannot do anything. By on our own endeavor Brahma tried to find out the source of his growth of the lotus flower.  For millions of years he went into the stem he travelled and you couldn’t find anything.  But as soon as he started meditating he could immediately find out what is what.  This is the way to find out the Kṛṣṇa and that’s why “Srnvataam sva-kathaah Krishnah” [SB: 1.2.17] always His katha should be heard.  “Srnvataam sav-kathaah Krishnah punya-shravana-kirtanah” this is punya shravan.  Everything else we hear is paap shravan and we are hearing so much paap shravanPunya shravan they call.

śṛṇvatāḿ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ


hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi

vidhunoti suhṛt satām

[Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.](SB 1.2.17)

Whatever inebriety’s we have in our life, in our heart, in our mind, they are completely at a stroke, they are destroyed.  Kecith kevalya bhaktya only by a sincere devotional service.  Vasudeva paraayanah completely attracted to Vasudev. And whatever inebrities we have in our life we are completely happy. Completely, completely, cleared within no time.  Achirena, tesaam satata-yuktaanaam those who are satata-yuktaa, achirena there is no time, no delay.  Delay is on our part, not His part and that is what Priyavrat showed.

Be innocent like four Kumaras

Priyavrat Maharaj, he was king after Manu and as soon as be became ….before he became king he was very austere. He is completely detached.  He didn’t want to be the King.  Then eventually Brahma had to come to explain to him,

“No, no”, he said, “Maharaj this is your duty and you must become a king.” 

He said “No, no, I don’t want to get entangled with these.”  

Four kumaras were Brahma’s manasi putraas. They come out of his brain, out of his mind.  As soon as they were born Brahma said “This whole land is very empty you people fill up with the living entities”. 

They said, “Please excuse us father, we should obey you but in this regard we don’t want to obey you. We don’t want to get entangled.”  

Brahma could not do anything and Brahma was very angry with them. But he controlled his anger and third netra started in his forehead and from there Lord Shiva was born. This is the incarnation of tama you know. And then just, they did not grow more than 5 years old. So they thought that if they grow then we will be entangled. They could do, we can’t do. But please we should be innocent like 5 year old boy.  A 5 year old boy, even mother beats him and even then he goes to the mother and he forgets.  After half an hour he forgets that mother has given him something.  He goes to mother back. The innocence must be there, every innocent straight forward life will give you the satisfaction.

Perform austerity in your ashram

And as soon as you are satisfied with your own situation through some Krishna’s mercy then you can go ahead, and this was the position of Priyavrata also. Because he followed the austerity and he didn’t want to get entangled. Then Brahma had to come and he said that “according to the age and your experience you must have to go through the ashramas” And as we know our spiritual life is divided into four parts and our life is regarded as hundred years.  Because of our sins we don’t stay upto hundred years but otherwise our life is normally hundred years and it is divided spiritually into four parts. 25 years we take the education; it was guru’s education to improve our consciousness. But now we take the material education. After that if you can’t control we have to marry then grihasta ashram starts. And you should remember one thing that these are all ashrams.  Brahmacharya ashram, grihasta ashram and then after 50 years vanaprasta ashram and after 70 years, may be, sannyaasa ashram.  All these are ashrams and ashram means you have to get up at 4’0 clock.  You can’t say “I am married now … forget about it.”  No, no, ashram you are in ashram. 

Grihamedhi’s go on sleeping upto 12’0 clock and they sleep upto the bed kicks them out.  We can’t sleep more but bed is going to kick you out.  So before it happens better we get out. This is the main thing and we forget that we are all in ashramas and it is very easy to get into grihasta ashram from the bramhacharya ashram.  We are very happy you know because all the decorations everything we married may be in churches or wherever and then when it comes to leave this ashram it goes very difficult. Who is going to cook? 

Are we Kṛṣṇa conscious or chapatti conscious?

Once we are in San Diego there are house programs somewhere so as soon as you went there an old couple are standing near the door and they took garland in their hand.

“We are initiated devotees”, they said and he should be 75 years and wife should be 70 but he has nice comb hair you know and he said “I have left everything now.  I have nothing to do with this house.” 

So I heard he said “It’s good that you have come. …..I am just here that’s it and nothing to do with it.” 

So then I told him that “You should shave off at least.” 

“No, no”, he said “I can’t do that.

“I heard you just told that I have nothing to do here now so why can’t you?”  Then I told him that “Please I am staying in Los Angles now you come for me we are there for 3, 4 days we stay together and attend manglarati and come back home”

And then he said “No, no, I can’t stay there.” 

“What is the difficulty?”

He said “10’0 clock in the morning I have to have hot chapatti and there must be 3 dots on the front side and 1 dot at the back of the chapatti.” 

I told “You will be lucky if you see chapatti in the temple” [Maharaj laughs]. 

“Oh, no, no I can’t survive there.” 

I told that “You told me that you left everything.”  It’s very difficult for us.  We are still in the chapatti consciousness. 

We don’t know that we have to have less food in our advance stage.  Chapatti may be absent it doesn’t matter.  We are not ready for it.  We are not ready for this we may think that I am ready but we are not ready.  It is very difficult. 

Please it is said in Priyavrata’s past times particularly Brahma came and explained to him that “You don’t leave your house stay there. Bhayam pramarthasya” he said “Don’t be afraid to leave your house and go away.” Nobody is forcing you; if you go immaturely out to the forest you will create another set there.  In America many times we are scared to ask how are your children.  He will say “No, no Maharaj I changed the set.” One set is left and another set is created.   

Story: Immature Guru

There was one nice guru you know.  He wanted to be guru and he was tired and he had 3-4 children and he couldn’t work very hard and maintain the children.  He thought that it is better Maharaj said leave home and go to the forest. So he went to the forest you know and then nice in Himalaya he found out some place and mediating there and people were coming to him and they are very happy to see the new guru you know with all jatta and beard and guru was looking for the disciples, you know, that he must have something. So people started coming to him and its nice meditating they said “We want to be your disciples.”

He said “Come tomorrow I will take the oath.”  He was very eager but he was very active in performing practices.

So next day the people came, “Maharaj somehow or the other we want to become your disciples.” 

“Alright” So three four disciples he got. 

Then they asked “Maharaj, do you want anything, do you like anything.”

“No, I don’t want anything.”

“Is there any trouble?”

“Yes, yes there is one trouble.” He said, “My chapatti flour I keep here and these mice come and eat it away.  They trouble me.”

“Alright guru maharaj, tomorrow we will bring something, some medicine for your mice.”

So next day the disciple came with a cat. 

“What is this cat?”

“Yes this is cat.”

“What is this?”

“This is the medicine for rats.”

“Is it?”

“Yes, the cat will eat the rats and your flour will be alright.”

“It’s very good”, he kept the cat. 

It was alright for the mice but in the evening the cat started crying because she was hungry.  She was a vegetarian cat! [Maharaj laughs] So milk was required.  So, the sadhu baba has to run to the village down stairs beg money for buying the milk, get the milk and again climb up and feed the cat and cat will eat the rat.  It was a horrible thing.

Third day disciples [came and said], “Maharaj! How is your flour?”

“Flour is alright but I had to spend nearly four hours to go down, beg and bring the milk and feed the cat then the cat will eat the rats.”

“It’s a horrible thing you are doing.”

“Maharaj we will find out something tomorrow.”

So, next day these disciples came with a cow. 

“Did you bring a cow?”

“Yes, this is guru dakshina.”

“Oh! Why?”

“You just milk the cow; feed the cat and cat will eat the rats.”

Maharaj was very happy.

“Oh! So I don’t have to go to village then?”

“No, No there is no need, you milk it and feed and it will work.”

In the evening the whole compound was full with cow dung and cow was very hungry [Maharaj imitates cow].  Now what is to be done?

“Oh! She wants the grass.” 

So again he has to run to the village. For the whole day he has to beg, he has to carry the grass bundle and then come upstairs and feed the cow and milk it. Whole day was gone.  There was no time for meditation.  Disciples didn’t come for 8 days, they thought that maharaj has cow, milk is there, cat is there, everything is there.

So after 8 days …

“How are you Maharaj?”

Maharaj said “I don’t have time to talk to you.  I am so very busy in this. What have you done?  I just want to get rid of the mice, rats, that’s it. I didn’t want all these things.” 

“Maharaj don’t worry, get married!!!” [Maharaj laughs heartily], “so she will feed and she will manage your household and you will be free for meditation. “

This is immaturely if you leave anything again you may create something. 

Don’t disturb your setup

So Priyavrata advised by Brahma that please don’t do it. It’s your prescribed duty now you have to be king so be king and perform your duty for Kṛṣṇa and that will relieve you from all these things and eventually Priyavrata agreed.  And then he was king for many years. Then as soon as he had his own sons then he left for the forest.  This is the way, otherwise immaturely anything you do and it will just bite you back again.  So don’t force yourself.  Everybody circumstances are completely different.  We are all coming here together and our common cause is to develop our devotional service.  At the same time we have our own responsibilities.  We have our own way of life.  We have our own setups.  Don’t disturb your setup but just add some study of the scriptures and some form of humble puja. Otherwise we don’t want anything else. And please feelingly just chant Krishna’s names through some bhajans or kirtans.

Just chant feelingly

There is a beautiful bhajan in Gujrati you know.  Are Gujaratis here? How many Gujuratis please raise hand? Oh! There are quite many.  I will explain the bhajan.  It’s so beautiful.  Please sing after us. 

O karuna na karnara tare karunanu koyi vārati. Do you know?

He says “You are so merciful that there is no limit of Your mercy.” 

O karuna na karnara tare karunanu koyi vārati.

Ye sankat na hara na ra tare karunanu koyi ...

Just feelingly you please chant any bhajan, chant any shloka and that is it.  We don’t want anything more. Just add this thing to your life.  As it is you may be doing but intensify it.  Keep one small book written by Prabhupada.  Any small booklet and that will purify your consciousness. This is the main thing needed. 

Must retire at sometime

And as soon as Priyavrata had his own child Agnidra, then he immediately left and went back.  Don’t hesitate to retire. The men folk must retire at sometime. 

Regarding women “matajis” they have their own way.  There is very nice verse that

Pita rakshati kaumare

bharta rakshati youvane

sthavere rakshati putrah

[Manu Smriti, an ancient treatise on religion and householder's duties, said, Pita rakshati kaumare, bharta raskshati youvana, putrah rakshati varddhakye, na stree swatantryam arhati. It says, "A woman is protected by father in childhood, her husband protects her in youth, and in old age she should be protected by her son. At no stage in life should a woman be left alone and destitute. She deserves protection by man at every stage in her life."]

This is her condition.  So there is vast difference between mathajis life and the male human beings. Here it is clearly said that when she is young the parents look after her. barta rakshate yavvane when she attains age the husband looks after her and if she has children in the later age children will look after her.  This is how they have always to be inside, always have to be protected. Falsely we should not think that we are liberated and we are also independent.  No.  You can’t pass your life like that. If you don’t have the legal protection then you will have to try to find out an illegal protection. So in order to save from this always they remained protected in the house and they carry on the devotional service in their own way.  Till vanaprasta she may accompany to the husband in the pilgrim places or this or that and slowly men always try to be away from these things. She is always interested in children, grand children or whatever. So let them be there and they are quite safe there and this is how our life must be organized.

We may not leave the house but in the house also we may stay as a guest. There is nothing much to do with the house.  This is the way. That is vanaprasta stage, and after vanaprasta the days come to leave the body so before you leave or you forcibly leave by Yamaraj or Vishnu dutas or whatever, you please try to create the atmosphere in which the attachment will be completely minimum. That is the way and there is all these Mahajanas, all these great kings, everybody, have left immediately. 

Kardamuni example is the prime example.  As soon as the male child was born, he left the home.  We don’t wait.  This is how the life must be organized. 

Last few years Krishna’s mercy if you have at your disposal please utilize in preaching the Kṛṣṇa consciousness.  You have seen the life for 60, 70 years. You have so much experience you please utilize that experience to enlighten the public at large. They require you. Without the liberated persons or without the detached persons it is very difficult to have the society together. 

Renunciation will make you very happy

In Christianity also they called yaseams, they are known as yaseams. They are just like Vedic sadhus.  They are very austere getting [up] early in the morning, vegetarian food, etc, and they follow them.  Yaseams, they are situated somewhere in the Saudi Arabia and I read about it but they are like nomads they don’t stay in one place.  For every sect has some of these, in Jainism particularly those sadhus they don’t step on any vehicle they walk and they follow particular non-violence attitude. So they cover their faces also if they talk living entities are troubled.  So they are very non-violent. Every sect has some type of renunciation and the renunciation will make you very happy. 

You stay in your own situation but be, please, renounced by following these things.  And as soon as you follow these things then you are near Kṛṣṇa that is our existence that is human existence is meant for that.  As soon as this Agnidhra was there again then he also try to perform the same duties as Priyavrata was performing.  And eventually he prayed, he was so very austere, that he pleased Vishnu by his own austere and Vishnu appeared before him.   

Be sincere like Srila Prabhupada

In our life also so many times we come across nice living entities they are just as good as Krishna.  We don’t recognize them and in the recent years I am very proud transcendently to tell you that Prabhupāda was in front of us. He was very empowered, we may not call him incarnation but he was very empowered.  Otherwise, who is the living entity after 70 years… he was here for 10, 11 years and he wrote 100 books and that is also not ordinary books all the shastras well translated.  He started 100 temples and established the best society at moment which is on the planet.  Who can do it?  Without these people we’ll be completely lost.  So please, he was always telling us that, “What I have done everybody can do.”  He told us, “don’t make my murthy and keep it on the altar.  You always keep my murthy in front of the deities.  If his murthy is on the altar we may think he is very empowered and whatever he has done we can’t do. “This I am able to do because I am sincere and rascals you are not understanding.” So sincerity is required. Otherwise everything can be possible. 

Chapter 27

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