14 Krishna conscious Goals with Vaisesika Prabhu
Why are goals important in Krishna consciousness? - an interview with His Grace Vaisesika Prabhu.
In this practical and inspiring interview we discuss:
- The importance of goals in Krishna consciousness
- Time management
- How to stay inspired in Krishna consciousness
Click play to listen to the episode
Vaisesika Prabhu (http://vaisesikadasa.com/) who is a Prabhupada disciple, based in Silicon Valley, California. He is a driving force behind innovative ways to distribute Srila Prabhupada's books. He is a very knowledgeable, saintly devotee with a big heart.
What sort of goals do you set in Krishna consciousness?
Let us know by leaving a comment below or leave a voice message on Speakpipe.
Here is a video from 2012 where Vaisesika Prabhu is emphasizing the importance of setting goals for book distribution.
|Transcription: Podcast Introduction||SelectShow>|
Hare Krishna. Welcome to Episode 14 of the Successful Vaisnavas podcast. It feels great to be recording another episode. And this time, we are doing an interview with His grace Vaisesika Prabhu, who has a wonderful temple called ISKCON Silicon Valley in California. And it’s wonderful the sort of work that he’s doing there. He has a lot of innovative techniques especially for book distribution which he is sharing particularly in North America, which he discusses a little bit in our discussion.
I had good fortune to visit there last year and while I was there I got to ask him questions about the importance of goals in Krishna Consciousness and how we can use goals to help us to become more Krishna Conscious.
It is very important to be responsible with our finances. We need to know how much money we are spending each month and how much money we have in our bank account. And to plan ahead with that understanding that we should put aside savings for future emergencies such as 6 months of our typical expenses if we can and whatever we can save beyond that, we can invest in different ways. So it is interesting to note the example Prabhupada talks about, Rupa Goswami when he went to Lord Caitanya – He divided up his wealth in a particular way. He would save a portion for his family, and he kept a certain portion for emergencies. So there’s some precedent there in our Vaisnava background.
I visited Hari’s which is a new restaurant run by the temple. I got to meet Vara Nayaka Prabhu there. He runs the temple as well as that restaurant. So that was a good fun. I managed to catch up with a good friend. We had a lunch there one day and that was fantastic.
And then I went to Govinda’s as well, which is a different kind of a restaurant. It’s only open for dinners and actually they have cinema there. So people come for the meal and they can go to the cinema afterwards. So this is a special character restaurant and cinema which attracts, thinking people that are looking to watch alternative type of films. And also they have a yoga room there with kirtan and other such things.
So this Govinda’s restaurant is run by Pratapana who has been running Govinda’s restaurant for many years now. It was previously part of the temple, as i understand, it might’ve actually been the main center. But he’s been running it for many years and he recently just opened an ashram down the road and I had a wonderful evening there. It was just basically just kirtan, prasadam and more kirtan, but the spirit of the people there was fantastic. And I had a brief talk to Pratapana Prabhu and he’s agreed to be interviewed in a future episode. So I hope I’ll be able to get him on the show really soon.
So that was my trip to Sydney recently which is my last chance of doing something independent before our third child is going to be born. Our baby girl is due anytime – the due date is in a couple of weeks time but who knows how soon she may arrive.
In other news, I have been doing a little work with that Kindle children’s book that I might’ve mentioned before and the rankings have gone up a bit. We’ve got six 5-stars reviews so seems to be popular with the readers – a very nice little book for kids. If you are interested you could check it out. You can find it in http://kklikes.com/dinosaurtoy and we will actually be doing a promotion on the 17th and 18th of November, that’s Eastern Standard Time. We will be giving the book away for free. So if you are interested to check it out and download, it will help us a lot because the more downloads we get even if they are free downloads, it boosts the rankings in Amazon and helps us to sell more books in future. So if you do download it, make sure to give an honest review. If you think it is fantastic, give a 5-stars review and just leave your comment about what you thought of the book.
I am still doing some work on the Successful Vaisnavas Online Course so as usual, stay tuned. And I’ve been working with His Grace Jaya Sila Prabhu on his parenting course which is based on the Nurtured Heart Approach to communicating with children – either as a parent or as a teacher – in a way that is very empowering and inspiring and which helps children to behave in the propert way and also helps to bring out the greatness in both parents and children. So that’s a very inspiring project and I hope to have them on the show also very soon because he’s about to release an ebook. As soon as it is available we will interview him on the show and I’ll give you information about how you can get access to that.
This is the first episode of Successful Vaisnavas where I’m actually getting the help of someone else to put it together. Because I found that just recording the show, writing the show’s notes, and uploading it to the website and all of those little tasks. Each of those individual tasks doesn’t take that long but when you add them all up together, it was actually taking me hours to produce each show. So now, I’ve set up a system where I just record the show and I send the recordings to my virtual assistant who transcribes it, puts the episode together and uploads it to the website. So this will be the first episode where we’ve done that so please forgive any mistakes. As you know when we do things the first time, it is not always perfect but my virtual assistant is very capable and I’m sure, she will do a fantastic job and it will free up a lot of my time which means, it will be easier for me to release episodes more regularly.
So as I’ve mentioned, I have couple of interviews lined up which I am planning to do. If you have any ideas for devotees who I can interview, who would be suitable for the Successful Vaisnavas show, please leave me a message, either going to https://successfulvaisnavas.com and leave a voice message using speak pipe or you can just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Or you could also go to the contact tab on our website and leave a message there too.
I’d love to hear your ideas about who we can interview. I know there’s a lot of wonderful devotees who are doing inspiring things but I don’t know them all and I’m sure, you know some and by letting us know it will help to make this show a lot more interesting and allow us to put out episodes more often.
In the meantime, let’s hear a very thoughtful and practical presentation by His Grace Vaisesika Prabhu about setting goals. As I’ve mentioned before, Vaisesika Prabhu is a Prabhupada disciple, maybe I forgot to mention that, and he is a driving force behind innovative ways to distribute books in North America in particular and he’s been working with the devotees at ISKCON Silicon Valley to do a lot of very interesting projects. So I won’t say anymore at this point, I’ll let you hear directly from him and I hope you enjoy this interview with Vaisesika Prabhu.
|Transcription: Vaisesika Prabhu Interview||SelectShow>|
Vaisesika: Welcome to ISV, which stands for ISKCON Silicon Valley (also Individual, Spontaneous and Voluntary devotional service). Hare Krishna.
We’ve had quite a marathon here, the last few days, Krsnendu of course, there was Nrsimha Caturdasi and then, before that, we had our Wednesday night program, and then we had, did we have something on Thursday? No, but there were some devotees here cooking. Friday was Nrsimha Caturdasi and yesterday we had a Saturday morning program, and then a Bhakti Life program. And in the evening! Three programs yesterday, and one this morning. And we just came from a home opening... Nilam and Nilesh bought a new house, so, we had a homa and a kirtan in their home, in all the different places.
Krsnendu: Hare Krishna Prabhu.
Vaisesika: Hare Krishna.
Krsnendu: I was looking at your article there, and you’re talking about the importance of goals. And I was just thinking what sort of goals should we set in Krishna Consciousness? You know, like in business, it’s kind of clear we want to earn so much or sell so much, and things like that. But in the process of Krishna Consciousness, I’m interested to hear your thoughts. What we –
Vaisesika: Well, we can look to the Goswamis..
The song by Srinivasacarya describing the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan who are direct disciples of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and who are acharyas in our line and we emulate and we follow their teachings. And they lived 500 years ago.
And in the verse I just quoted, which is a description of their daily activities. Sankhya means to count. sankhya-gana. There was a way in which they counted all the different devotional practices they did, like how many times they chanted, how many times they offered obeisances, and they would do that in a schedule every day, so they could measure how they were doing. So, we can, we measure how many rounds we chant, that’s a goal. A goal so that we can have numerical strength, means that we do a minimum to make sure that we’re fortified.
We were talking yesterday at the, at our Bhakti Life program, the longer the you chant, the more opportunity you will have to, to have a teachable moment, which means, a moment during which there’s an unexpected opportunity to learn something. And there’s a, there’s an axiom in math, called the Law of Large Numbers. Does anybody know about this? The Law of Large Numbers says that the more you, the more times you test something, or the longer you give the test, say if you’re flipping a coin, and you would assume that it would be 50/50 that it would come up heads or tails. Well, if you flipped it a few times, three or four times, you may not, you may get tails three times in a row, and you might concur, well, that’s what it is. But if you flip it 1,000 times, then it becomes closer to the 50/50, and if you do it a million times, then you don’t, it grows toward the mean, the mean average that shows that. So, in the same way, the longer you continue
The more you continue the practice, the more opportunity you have to increase.
So any kind of goals that you apply when you’re doing in business, can also be applied in devotion. For instance, time periods, there are various time periods during which you can set goals. For instance, the 30-day goal, this is a really powerful kind of goal, so you can endure anything for 30 days, practically, but you can get a lot done in 30 days. You can make a huge accomplishment, and oftentimes, devotees take a vow during Karttik, for instance, that’s 30 days, according to the moon. And during that time they take a vow to chant a certain number of times, more than usual, these kinds of things. But you can do that anytime. You can pick a 30-day goal.
We, do, here at ISV, we have a goal to chant Bhagavad-gita, a chapter once every day without missing, and we rotate which chapters we chant every month, so everybody knows that we’re on the same chapter, so it’s a 30-day goal.
We have a program called Be a Sage Page-By-Page, and it shows, and it gives us, and we have a chart of how many pages you have to read each day to complete the Bhagavad-gita within say, a month or six months here. And how many pages you have to read to complete the Srimad Bhagavatam within, you know, a week, or you’d have to be like Pariksit Maharaja and just stop eating, right? You know, if you want to do it, you know, in a balanced, reasonable amount of time for your lifestyle, you pick, you know, a year, two years, and then you know if I’m on 35 pages a day to get there, and it keeps you steady because steadiness is really important because the mind fluctuates, and motivation fluctuates from one day to the next, so you have to tie yourself to some standard, goal to move ahead.
Goals are very potent. I did a presentation at the Temple Presidents in Dallas at the beginning of the year, and the name of the presentation was Goals Are Potent. That was a statement of an old friend of mine, Will McCoy. He used to say that, and it’s true. It’s like flipping a switch. As soon as you have a goal, for instance, with book distribution, we noticed this all over the country. If we go to a devotional community, we ask one simple question: What’s your goal for the year? How many books are you going to distribute as a community?
Then, sometimes people say, oh, we don’t really have a goal. Then there’s no impetus. But the moment they set a goal, they’ll say, “Yeah, what should we do?”
And I just have a couple of examples, year before last. In Washington, D.C., we were talking about a goal. They would go for 5,000 books in the year. And I would say, why not 10,000? And, (because I really knew they could do it with the devotees that they had there), and they said, “Okay, we’ll go for 10,000.” And they agreed to it, and Lokadyasha, and Vidharba, who head up the sankirtan program, they didn’t sleep all night. They had one restless night. Thinking, “What did we do? What did we commit to?” They were very worried, but they became energized. They galvanized the whole team, and they ended up doing, that year, maybe 28-27,000 books.
And in Laguna Beach, one simple question. This was a year ago, yeah, last year. “What is your goal for the year?”
“If you think we can do it, we’ll try for it.” And they ended up doing 15,000 books, and so I see it like an electrical switch. When you set a goal for personal practice, and you say I’m going to do four rounds a day, and then immediately you start readjusting your life around that principle, around that goal, you become energized, and you move forward towards it.
It’s vital for moving forward because we’re living a dual existence. We’re spiritual beings. We’re in a finite, material body, and we have a finite amount of time every day and during the span of our lifetime, and we want to advance. We want to get to a certain point. You’re going to be five years older in five years anyway, and if you set a goal, a five-year goal, and say this is what I want to achieve in five years, and you chip away at it every day, then, you can attain amazing things. I don't know if that answered your question completely. Do you have any follow-up for that?
Krsnendu: No, I think that’s a brilliant answer. Thank you. I was getting goose bumps, myself, just thinking of the potential.
Vaisesika: Yeah, and, you know the daily goals are a really important thing, sort of having an idea of what you want to do during the day, and I’ve found this myself, if I work from a list that I keep in my pocket, a little book, I always have it. I never leave home without it. It’s always in my pocket, and I go through a lot of them, and it’s, if I start the day, and I write down what my objectives are today, then my mind’s focused on it.
There’s a tool of time management. The name of it is a little funny, but it’s called Swallow that Frog, and Brian Tracy talks about this. If you’re gonna, if you have two frogs to swallow, you swallow the biggest one first because once you do the smaller ones will be easier. You swallow, the biggest, ugliest first. Then, you can go on. Of course, you know, they’re like, so whatever, whatever kinds of tasks you’re facing, don’t avoid the big ones, the ones that have the highest impact. That’s kind of a goal setting. Do the things that you fear the most, that seem to be looming, that you don’t want to do with, get it done first, and then, it energizes you the rest of the day.
And so you can do that in devotional service and sadhana, and make sure that you cover your fundamentals. This is a very important point, and I always come back to this in my own practice, and I talk about it to others as well, and that is that, cover the basis every day. You always win with the basics. In sports, good coaches they teach the fundamentals, over and over again. It’s not the fancy stuff.
In mridanga, you learn the fundamentals. There’s tere kheta. which is very simple kind of hand practice that almost seems too simple to be effective. But, you know, my mrdanga teacher told me that the great mrdanga players, they’ll sit and practice tere kheta, which is just one simple beat for six months before they go on to anything else because it’s a fundamental that’s so important life.
And in spiritual life, there are fundamentals, and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu prioritises them for us. There’s 64 items of devotional service that are mentioned by Rupa Gosvami in the Nectar of Devotion in the Bhakti-Rasamrita Sindu, and out of those, he takes five and puts them in a special category. Five out of the 64 are the most potent, and important. Those are worshiping the Deity; living in a holy place; associating with devotees; reading Srimad Bhagavatam; hearing Srimad Bhagavatam; and chanting Hare Krishna. So out of all the 64, here’s 5, he says that are so potent, that even if you have a little bit of a connection, and even if you don’t have faith in them, but you have a regular connection with them, you’ll advance and come to the highest position. And out of the 5, he says, out of all these five, you chant Hare Krishna, then you’ll accomplish all those too. So, this is kind of a way, that Lord Caitanya gives us to focus on the fundamentals. What are the most important things? Chanting Hare Krishna, and then comes hearing Srimad Bhagavatam and these other things. And there are verses like:
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrndavanam
This Caitanya-manjusa says, these are the most highly held principles by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu that Vrindavan dhama and Krishna are non different, and that the highest method of worshiping Krishna is that which was enacted by the gopis of Vrindavan, and that the Srimad Bhagavatam is the spotless purana. It’s the best of all. And that the goal of life is to attain prema, goal, and these we hold in high regard because these were held in high regard by Lord Chaitanya. So this is a way that we prioritise. We set goals. What is the goal of life? Prema.
And there’s nothing else, and the Shastra directs us over and over again to come back to this unless you’re performing some activities
sa vai puḿsāḿ paro dharmo
It gives us the gold standard – unmotivated, uninterrupted service. This is what we’re after, and
dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puḿsāḿ
Whatever work you’re doing, if it doesn’t bring you to attraction to Krishna, to hearing about Krishna, to being a devotee of Krishna, then shrama, you’re wasting your time. Then, it says emphatically: eva hi kevalam – three emphatics: absolutely, without question, this is true.
So, Shastra, considering Shastra and what the great acharyas do for us. You know, they bring us into a devotion to say this is what you should be doing with your time, and these devotees, who are advanced... Of course, anyone who is advanced, or who has a taste for anything becomes expert at time management. Prabhupada points out that a person who’s really interested in making money.
And you can see people who are just absorbed in it, Mike Milken, he was a good example. I read about him many years ago. He was a huge investor. He lived in California, so he had to wake up to catch the stock market on the East coast, but he used every second of his time to figure out how to invest in the stock market in order to make profit. And he made millions of millions. He went to jail because there were some discrepancies and things like that, and that often happens. Srila Prabhupada points out if you go to a big man, like a big shot, who’s running a big cooperation, or something like that, and ask if you can get an appointment, what kind of appointment will you get? If you’re lucky, if you have a really good reason for talking to him, a minute or two.
In fact, one of the devotees in Delhi, who’s an expert book distributor. He distributes hundreds of thousands of books every year, and he does it by... He goes through the trades in Delhi, and he finds all these billionaires. He finds out which of the companies are doing exceptionally well, and then he makes appointments.
Sometimes, it takes him a year or two to get an appointment with the head person, so, but finally when he gets the appointment, and he gets into the person’s office, and they usually in India, there’s a kind of etiquette, the person will say what can I get you? Like do you want a glass of water, a 7-Up, like what can I get you. He always says lukewarm water because that gives him an extra 3 minutes because they have to figure out cold water/hot water. Where do you get lukewarm water, so it buys him more time. That’s how valuable his time is. You know, talking to a big shot because that’s all they’re going to give you. Why? Because they’re in samadhi. They’re using every second of time. They have one appointment after another, and it’s all about building the empire and keeping it all going, and so, devotees are like that too.
It’s called avyartha-kalatvam
So, time management is naturally there. Time management has to do with managing a scarce resource, which is time. It is the most valuable of all resources as we heard on Thursday, Friday, on the teachings of Prahlada Maharaja. He was saying how valuable the human form of life is, that automatically built in with our hundred years we waste so many years because we have to, you know, sleep, we have to maintain our bodies, and so on.
So, time management, setting goals, and all these things are very much in the mindset of the devotees, but it’s all so that they can stay focused on the goal, which is developing Krishna Consciousness, and back to what I was saying. The fundamentals are particularly important because if you cover those, it fortifies you, and we also heard on Friday that every devotee should have a fear of falling down from the process of devotional service, and Prabhupada said this is a regulative principle. Every sane person, every sane devotee should have the healthy fear of Maya, of falling down from the path of devotion. And this is a regulative principle. So, we shouldn’t act casually when it comes to the process of devotional service or think I’m an exception. You’re finished. As soon as I’m an exception, Maya won’t get me, and then, you’re gone. She sweeps you away very quickly. So, devotees close those gaps and make sure that they’re not leaving the door open for Maya, who Prabhupada describes as a silver-tongued salesman who comes to the door, and knock, knock, knock. No, just open a crack. I just want to tell you something, and the next thing, you just bought a $2,000 vacuum cleaner that you didn’t need, and then your wife comes home. “What?! You bought what? We already have a vacuum cleaner!”
So Maya’s expert like that at catching our attention, so we have to close the gaps. And much of that is done through goals. You see Haridasa Thakur who had a goal to chant, he chanted 192 rounds one day, and so, sometimes when a person is very advanced, there are people in the town or in the village who become envious and think that we’d like to see him fall down.
There was a policeman, a constable in the village Benapur where Haridasa Thakur lived, and he was envious or Haridasa Thakur because he saw he was an advanced devotee. So he this had this scheme. He wanted to defame him, so he hired a local prostitute to this place where Haridasa Thakur was chanting all day and all night, and he hired her specifically to allure him and try to discredit him. And they would be waiting outside for the signal. Then, they’d come running in and catch him, and then that would be it for his reputation. And that’s what he was looking forward to, and so the prostitute came to the house of Haridas Thakur, and he just lived in a little hut where he was chanting. And she presented herself before him, and he said, “Very good, nice idea, and I’ll accommodate you, but first I have to finish my vow. And I’ve got some chanting to do. So you stay here, and when I’m done, then no problem.”
So, he kept chanting all night – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare, Hare, Hare Krishna. Anybody who’s chanted 64 rounds in a day knows, you can’t dilly dally. You get up early, and you start chanting your 64 rounds, and you don’t spend a lot of time on the phone. You don’t go on the Internet. You don’t stop and talk to people. You’ve got to chant because 64 rounds takes awhile, and, you know, with all the duties you have to do in a day, what to speak of a 192 rounds, so anyway, he, at the end of the night, he said to her, I’m very sorry I didn’t finish my vow. I wasn’t able to spare any time for you, but you can come back tomorrow. So, you come back the next day, and same thing happened, and the night afterwards also. And she kept telling the constable, I’ll get him tonight for sure. I promise, something like that, but what’s happening was she was becoming attracted by the holy name and by the presence of Haridasa Thakur. Her heart transformed. In just that short amount of time, within a few days. She came to him, and she was waiting there, and she said, now I have to admit to you that this is a whole set-up. And he said, oh, I know. I already knew that, and she said what can I do to alleviate my offense, and I also, I’m attracted to this whole process. So, she became a disciple and shaved her head and sat down in a, you know, in a little yard with some tulasi, with a tulasi plant and chanted and become a devotee, and this is what covering the fundamentals will do.
It gives you an excuse to put Maya off. So, if Maya comes and says how about this, and you say sure, fine, no problem, just let me finish all my fundamentals, and by the time you finish your rounds, you’re like, you know, there’s no time for Maya. That’s the idea, to close all those gaps. It starts with covering the fundamentals every day. Don’t skip a day and think it’s okay. Don’t cheat on your rounds, and, you know, don’t do a good job. You know, focus on that part on the foundation of every day that you start and add in little parts, so it keeps adding up and squeezing everything else. I always joke here, but it’s not so much of a joke anymore at ISV, that, you know, we start hearing and chanting, and we add prayers. We add more classes, and this and that, and I told the story of the frog, you know, scientists say that if you take a frog, and you throw him in hot water, he’ll jump right out. But if you put him in a room temperature pan of water, and you gradually turn up the heat, that he’ll cook inside there because he doesn’t feel the degrees, the temperature rising by degrees. And so similarly in our lives as we make little increases when we’re able to, not irresponsible vows that we can’t keep anyway, and then we come crashing down. And then, we try to climb back up again.
We take a reasonable goal that we can handle, and then, by increments we increase it when we see an opportunity, and we increase it, and what it does is, we get a taste for the hearing and chanting. It becomes a staple in our life, and other things, which were superfluous, which may have been anarthas or false values that we really didn’t need in our life. They are winnowed out of our life, or as they analogy of pouring milk into a glass of ink. The more you continue to pour, the ink comes up, and the milk gradually is the predominant substance. And so, we continue to pour into our life these things, these fundamentals, basically: chanting Hare Krishna, hearing Srimad Bhagavatam, association with devotees, worshipping the deity, and living in a holy place. These five are particularly recommended.
You should attach yourself to some program that you don’t waiver from, and it doesn’t matter where you start. Everyone can start at a certain level. Even if it’s one tiny vow. That is like a wedge, and it has a small end, and a big end. You make your stand on that, and you say at least one mantra a day. Okay, is that big enough? Absolutely, because what’ll happen, you’ll find a day when you can’t do one mantra to fall asleep. Oh, I didn’t do my one mantra, and you say you have to. You said, you’ll jump back up again, and you’ll do it. You’ll do it, and then, the next day, it’ll be fresh in your mind to do my one mantra. Then, you’ll rearrange your life in a such a way that, I do my one mantra first before I do anything else. You put it in the right place, and then, you’ll add on because you’ll get a taste. Sometimes with the Bhagavad-gita, you’ll think that the Bhagavad-gita is beautiful. I get so much from it, but then other days, the mind will say, you know, I’m busy, the Bhagavad-gita’s okay, but then you have your vow, and you say, no, I have to read these five verses or one chapter, whatever it is, and you pick it up, feeling not much taste, but after the first three minutes, you think, my mind thinking, this is nectar, and you become absorbed. And you’ll find yourself there for an hour, or two hours, carried away in a natural way because of your association, natural taste for the Bhagavad-gita.
So, in these ways, we have to make goals that will keep us close to the fundamental practice of Krishna Consciousness every day, and then, we develop our own volition, and doing these things, and this is called taste. There’s devotional service, and there’s practice. And this is based on rules and regulations because I don’t want to do it. My mind wants to do something else. I know I have to do this. Good for me, so I do it anyway, this is called vaidhi-bhakti, following the rules. But after I practice for some time, hopefully, I develop a taste for it, this devotional service, a taste where I actually feel a spontaneous desire to do it, like waking up early. Sometimes, in the beginning it can feel like drudgery or difficulty or something like that, coming and doing mangalarati. But after awhile, when you have some experience like the mangalarati on Nrsimha Caturdasi was magical. And you want to experience that again, and you have a taste for it, and you’ll come back again and again, and then, it’ll become a way of life. And then, from that, a real attachment grows, a real attachment to the devotional activity. There are stages where a real love for God comes out, but it begins by degrees. We can start in a small way, in a measured way, and then, keep to those fundamentals, whatever they are, whatever we’re qualified to start, and then, continue those come hell or high water.
The only way to deal with the miseries and the changes in material life is tolerance. You have to learn tolerance. You just have to tolerate certain things. How do you tolerate? You go on with your duty. Your duty to Krishna Consciousness. You have to do it because it’s the most important aspect. We do have two sides to our life. One is called param gati, and the other one is called. It just escaped me. Anyway, they’re described by Bhakti Vinoda Thakur. One is in relationship to our material duties, the things that we have to do to maintain ourselves, and the other is our, the ultimate goal of life, the highest principle. And so these we have to balance, Bhaktivinoda Thakur says in the beginning, our duties to our body, our family, our, you know, our career, all kinds of things. They have a much heavier weight, but as we continue in our devotional practice, the weightier side will be our devotional practice.
But the two can be integrated as well. They must be. Just like today we came from Neelam and Neelesh’s house, where they bought a new house, and we had a home opening. And the theme really was that, they’ve opened there is a new temple. It’s an expansion of this, I mean, this once in Detroit, Michigan, a man came before Prabhupada, who had three kids, and at that time, in the history ISKCON, most members were brahmacaris, and senyasis. They were very few householders. If you were a householder, you were the odd man out, and he very humbly approached Prabhupada and said that, you know, all of these brahmacaris, they’re in the temple 24 hours a day serving. What can I do? I have a job. I have three kids, and Prabhupada said your house is made of brick and stone. The temple is made of brick and stone. The business in the temple, the business is for Krishna. If you’re in your house and it’s for Krishna, then, there’s no difference between the temple and your house. It’s the consciousness that matters.
So, Neela and Neelesh’s house is another base for, from which, you can go out and spread the sankirtan movement. That’s what they do. They have their job at the same time. They’re raising Dhriti.
Second Speaker: Prabhu you have a formula. SDI = LR, (Small, daily improvements makes long-term results). Could you tell us a bit more about that?
Vaisesika: Yeah, daily, if you make a little improvement, and sometimes the daily improvement is just doing it. The mind is so obstinate, and unsteady and difficult to control that you’re daily improvement might be do it anyway. You may not be able to muster an improvement, but think like that and say, that, you know, I’m going to do better today than I did before. You may be able to just say I’m going to do it no matter what, and that’s an improvement because when you do your duty in devotional service, despite the fact that you like it, or something like that, then you’ll have a breakthrough.
Second Speaker: Could you speak a little bit about how to handle ups and downs that we feel in our inspiration?
So, there are, we have to stay connected with others who have a high degree of Krishna Consciousness, and it’s an important principle to have good association, and we can reach out to those devotees, you know, when we have, when we need encouragement. Everyone needs encouragement. The material world is an enervating plane. It’s always taking away our energy. There are many discouraging words that come from people even when you’re practicing spirituality.
Someone just said this to me, and whatever it is, you know, to move through. And a community is really as these kinds of connections that we have and a facility for doing that. We’re just talking today about, how a community is really based on the love and trust that the members have among one another. That takes awhile, and, you know, to develop an actual relationship with a teacher, with peers and so on. It takes a period of time. You have to see people in different conditions of life. You know, the devotees I’m closest with, over so many years, are devotees I served with, and I saw their mettle under fire, you know, like when you’re in the military, and you battle with somebody, and you say they didn’t cower. They did their duty. They were side-by-side, and you shared these kinds of experiences, I might see them 20 years later, and we still have this bond because, you know, we’re close like that.
So, we have to forge our own practice by connecting with like-minded devotees, and this is recommended by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He says one should associate with like-minded devotees who are more advanced than themselves, and the more that you can do that, the stronger you get, and that’s why Prabhupada formed a society. Otherwise, he would’ve just passed out the knowledge and let people fend for themselvesut. But he took the trouble to create this society, an International Society for Krishna Consciousness, so we could help each other, and, you know, they could coach each other, counsel each other. Be there for each other, and that’s where the strength is. It takes a village, Hillary Clinton. Yeah, you gotta have a village.
Second Speaker: Following on from that idea, it takes a village or a community, could you tell us about SENCO, your devotee care program?
Vaisesika: SENCO stands for senior contact, and it means that there are many, many people now in our community, and all of them would like to have a voice to express their needs and their concerns, and we’ve set up a system so that there are a group of senior contacts who will be reaching or allowing you to reach out to them. That’ll all be explained on Wednesday. It’ll be a choice of who you want to be connected with, so that you can channel all your good ideas and also whatever needs you have in devotional service, and if you have concerns also, you can bring those up, and we have a system we’ve devised so that everyone can feel included in the unity and have a voice and feel protected, taken care of if you have special needs then, though then SENCO will pass on the information. It’s based on complete confidentiality also if you have this relationship with a SENCO, a confidentiality contract saying that they won’t discuss any of your personal discussions with anybody else unless you allow them to do that, but it will give you an opportunity or anybody who wants to, to feel more connected, and more details will come out on Wednesday. There will also be some written material that explains the beginning stages of the whole program. We hope you like it.
Second Speaker: Yeah, that’s great. Thanks a lot for that. It sound really good to hear how, taking the time to really look after the devotees. I’ve had a wonderful time here although it’s very short, and I’m very inspired to hear about the programs happening here, and the way you speak. You speak my language, somehow, I don’t know. I can really relate to how you’re speaking, and the way you present, and I really appreciate it. Thank you.