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HH Radhanath Swami on Mother's Day

Verse: Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.8.36
Speaker: HH Radhanath Swami
Location: New Vrindaban, WV, USA, during Festival of Inspiration 2008

Courtesy of Ekendra Prabhu, you can download the audio file (22MB) of this
lecture from:

Right click on "radhanatha_07-07-15.mp3" and "Save Link/Target As."


yady evam tarhi vyadehi-ty uktah sa bhagavan harih
vyadattavyahataisvaryah krida-manuja-balakah

TRANSLATION: Mother Yasoda challenged Krsna, "If You have not eaten earth,
then open Your mouth wide." When challenged by His mother in this way,
Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda, to exhibit pastimes like a
human child, opened His mouth. Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
Krsna, who is full of all opulences, did not disturb His mother's parental
affection, His opulence was automatically displayed, for Krsna's opulence is
never lost at any stage, but is manifest at the proper time.

PURPORT: Without disturbing the ecstasy of His mother's affection, Krsna
opened His mouth and displayed His own natural opulences. When a person is
given varieties of food, there may be a hundred and one varieties, but if
one likes ordinary saka, spinach, he prefers to eat that. Similarly,
although Krsna was full of opulences, now, by the order of mother Yasoda, He
opened wide His mouth like a human child and did not neglect the
transcendental humour of maternal affection. [End of purport]

(mangalacarana prayers)

HH Radhanath Swami: I am very grateful and happy to have this opportunity to
serve all of you today. I will try to speak something from this verse of
Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srila Prabhupada concludes the purport, "He opened wide
His mouth like a human child and did not neglect the transcendental humour
of maternal affection." I was told to speak on the subject of honouring
mothers. I just found out this recently. I don't know what to say, but I
will try to say something.

In this verse Krsna is honouring his mother. How is he honouring? He is
performing the most extraordinary pastimes simply to respect and to
reciprocate with her mood of motherly love.

Can I tell a pastime? There is a place in Mahavan, one of the twelve forests
of Vrajabhumi, called Bhramanda-ghat. Has anyone ever been there? The scene
of this pastime took place there. The cowherd boys headed by Sri Balaramaji
complained to Yasodamayi that "Your child Krsna has gone to a secluded place
and we saw him eating dirt."

Mother Yasoda was very much disturbed. When all the gopis used to come to
experience the pleasure of talking about Krsna, of complaining about Krsna,
Mother Yasoda never chastised Krsna. She would just enjoy hearing Krsna's
pastimes, how every morning, very early, he would go out with his friends
and they would just examine each of the Brijabasi's houses, where they kept
their butter, their yoghurt. Then just a few minutes later they secretly
untied all the calves, so many calves. They all came running, running,
running to the goshallas where their mothers were and started drinking their

The gopis said, "When we come to milk our cows, there is nothing left, there
is no milk, the calves are drinking all of our milk. We are running out of
our houses to catch the calves and while we are out doing all of this, Krsna
and his friends come in our house and they steal our butter and yoghurt in
so many ways. Sometimes they break the pots, they eat so much, then they
feed it to the monkeys and when the monkeys are so full then Krsna throws
the butter on the ground and breaks the pot and says, 'Your butter is so
useless even monkeys won't eat it!' [laughter]

"Other times they hide it. If they can't find it, they become angry and they
go to the temple where we worship the Lord and pass urine and stool just to
make it contaminated. And then they'll go to our sleeping little babies and
scratch them or pinch them and make them cry. Then they will laugh and run
away. And if our husbands catch one of them and say, 'Krsna, we caught you
stealing our butter,' he will say 'No, you are a thief, I am not a thief,
you are a thief!'

"And sometimes we come right back and we see they are breaking our pots they
are eating our yoghurt, but we are so charmed by that beautiful form that
all we can do is watch. We can't say a word.

"Now look, Krsna is just listening to all these accusations and he is
trembling a little and he has little tears in his eyes and he looks so
innocent. We know that he is scheming. Behind that expression he is scheming
how to steal more of our yoghurt."

And Yasodamayi would just look at Krsna and smile. She could not chastise.
But on this particular day when the cowherd boys said Krsna ate dirt--so
many people complained against Krsna, first the gopis and now the gopas--
Mother Yasoda was very disturbed. She chastised Krsna," Why are you eating
dirt?" because of her motherly love. She knew that when he was eating nice
butter and yoghurt from the gopis it was good for his health, but dirt is
not good for him, [laughter] dirt is not good for his health. She enjoyed
hearing all pastimes of Krsna, but not this one. It was her motherly love.

Krsna said, "I did not eat dirt. I was playing very nicely and my friends
they want to get me in trouble, so they are liars."

Krsna is calling his devotees liars.

Yasodamayi said, "Balarama is your best friend, he is your brother, he would
never lie, he is even saying like this!"

Visvanath Cakravarti Thakur explains the transcendental nature of Krsna
lying. Actually if Krsna lies it is the highest truth. [laughter] Because it
is only for the purpose of awakening the highest emotions of love in his
devotees. Motherly affection, like all the other moods of loving
relationship with Krsna, they are born of prema, or spiritual love, which is
situated within the heart of Krsna's devotees. And that prema, all its
emotions arises within the heart due to Krsna's being bhakta-vatsala.
Bhakta-vatsala means he is very affectionate to his devotees. When Krsna is
pleased to show affection to his devotees, then that love, with all of its
emotions, awakens.

Therefore Visvanath Cakravarti Thakur explains that this quality of
bhakta-vatsalya is the highest, most beautiful of all the qualities of Krsna
because it is that that awakens the emotions of the residents of Vrindavan.
So his lying was only to increase the motherly affection of his mother. And
besides that, he is a small child so he is supposed to say things like this.

Yasodamayi chastised him, "If you claim you have not eaten earth, then you
open your mouth; let me look inside."

Krsna was scared. We may say he was pretending to be scared, but actually he
was scared. This is how Krsna is controlled by his devotees' love. He
forgets his own supreme opulences as Mahavisnu. Yes, Mahavisnu, would he be
scared by Mother Yasoda saying, "Open your mouth?" All he would have to do
is (motions). . . . Krsna loves to be conquered by the love of his devotee.
He opened his mouth on Yasodamayi's order--he is honouring his mother.

But it is explained here, Krsna opened his mouth and his aisvarya-sakti, his
sakti of supreme opulence, in Vrindavan, it was always subdued so that the
devotees considered "Krsna is my lover, Krsna is my child, Krsna is my
friend." The idea that he is the absolute supreme controller of all
controllers, the source of all that exists, would interrupt their loving
affection. So this madhurya-bhava, madhurya-sakti, would cover over his
grandness, but on this occasion, Krsna's aisvarya-sakti wanted to save Krsna
from getting in trouble.

That sakti, from within the mouth of Krsna, manifested the universal form.
Yasodamayi saw the whole universe, all the planets, all the mountains, all
the oceans, all the living entities, the greatest demigods. She saw the
three modes of material nature. She saw the eight material elements. She saw
everything both gross and subtle personified in Krsna's mouth. She even saw
herself looking in Krsna's mouth. She was struck with wonder.

This is Krsna. How big is the universe? Even the greatest scientist cannot
calculate. And this universe is only like a little tiny mustard seed in a
big barrel of mustard seeds. There are unlimited universes. This is a very
small one. Brahma only has four heads in this universe. In others, he has
millions of heads in proportion to the size of the universe. So she is
seeing everything, how Krsna's acintya-sakti, his mouth was only this big
and his mouth didn't grow. She saw through his mouth and into his belly. The
entire universe was simultaneously inside Krsna and Krsna was inside the
universe from the outside perspective.

Yasodamayi is looking. She is very much confused, "What am I seeing?" If she
was an ordinary devotee, she would say, "My son is God." But she could not
see this way. She was thinking, "Am I dreaming? No, it's not possible
because my eyes are open. Perhaps the demigods, by their mystic powers, are
trying to delude me. But why would they bother with someone so insignificant
like me? It's not the demigods. Perhaps I am mentally deranged. But I'm not.
I'm seeing things, I'm doing my duties very nicely. Or perhaps it is this:
Gargamuni, just before, told us that our son had the same qualities and
powers as Lord Narayana and he would perform supernatural feats. Could this
be the reason?"

Then she reasoned more: "No, what does Gargamuni know?" [laughter] I know
Krsna. What kind of Narayana? When he's hungry, he cries [laughter] and he
runs to me! And when he is afraid, he cries again when there is thunder, he
runs 'Mother, mother, save me!' And he tells lies! And he does all
mischievous behavior. These are not the activities of Narayana. Gargamuni
can say what he wants, but I know who is my son."

So she could not figure out any answer. In that state, the devotees,
sometimes the inconceivable ways of the material nature or even the
inconceivable ways of the Lord, we just cannot fathom intellectually. In
that condition, we simply take shelter of the Supreme Lord. Yasodamayi began
to offer her prayers to the Lord:

"I was thinking that I am the queen of Vrindavan, Vrajesvari, being the wife
of Nanda Maharaja and therefore all the landscapes and rivers and mountains
are our property, and all the cows and all the gopas and gopis are under our
supervision. And Krsna is my son and I am protecting him, I am feeding
him--but this is all an illusion. Everything is happening by the power of
the Supreme Lord, Narayana. I am only an instrument."

When she was thinking like this, Krsna began to think, "If she's in this
mood, who is going to feed me milk from the breast and who is going to
embrace me and kiss me and cuddle me and as a child?"

Then Krsna, by his own potency, he increased in her heart her motherly
affection. In that state, she completely forgot that she even saw the
universal form in her son's mouth. And even if she remembered, it was not
important. It was insignificant.

Mother Yasoda was thinking that, "The different Brijabasis, sometimes when
Krsna does something wonderful, they say he must be a great personality or
maybe he is God himself. But let them taIk whatever they want. I know that
when Krsna does not see me, he is in complete anxiety and when I don't see
Krsna, I am in complete anxiety. So the testimony of the truth is known by
Krsna and me. Let anyone else speak whatever they want."

In this way, she lifted up Krsna and cuddled him in her arms and fed him the
milk from her breast. Krsna honoured his mother's love by showing the entire
universal form. Happy Mother's Day. [applause]

Why did Krsna appear in this world? Of course there are many, many internal
and external reasons, but they all have their great significance to teach
us. The earth is one of our mothers. There are seven mothers according to
sastra. Srila Prabhupada explains and Krsna tells in Gita, aham bija-pradah
pitah, that he is the seed-giving father and material nature is the mother,
especially this earth.

From the earth, when Janaka Maharaja was plowing with oxen for the
sacrifice, Sita-devi, the hladini-sakti, the pleasure potency of the Lord,
manifested from the earth. She is providing everything for everyone. How
important it is to honour the earth. Srila Prabhupada was very, very strong
about farm communities. It wasn't just a detail for him. It was essential to
provide a real spiritual culture. We must learn how to protect our mothers:
the earth and the cows, what to speak of our real mothers. And Prabhupada
quotes Canakya Pandit, a sage sees every woman other than his wife as a
mother. And a wife is considered to be seen like the goddess of fortune in
the house. So such a culture of honour and respect and protection.

Today due to the plundering of the resources of the earth for sinful
purposes, we are causing great pain to our mother. And look at how she is
reacting. Such eminent ecological disaster. Unless we see the earth in a
personal way as our own mother and offer proper honour and respect such
horrible miseries will come as reactions.

The earth was being exploited by demoniac personalities. She took the form
of a cow and approached Lord Brahma. Then they all went to the shore of the
ocean of milk and prayed to Ksirodakasayi Visnu. Lord Visnu told Lord Brahma
to tell everyone else that, "I am coming." So the advent of Lord Krsna, on
one level, is due to the compassion of a mother, Mother Earth. She felt
compassion on all living beings who were being exploited.

And Devaki, she showed her motherly love to Krsna. He appeared in the prison
cell of Kamsa in his magnificent form from Vaikuntha with four arms and
beautiful crowns and garland and Kaustubha jewel. But Devaki had motherly
affection. She knew he's God, but still in motherly affection she was
thinking, "If Kamsa sees you like this, he will definitely kill you. He's
already killed seven of my children. He's afraid Visnu is going to come, and
you are Visnu. So please, take the form of an ordinary human child so he
will not recognize you."

How amazing. In this sense, Krsna took his beautiful two-armed form in this
world because of the motherly affection of Devaki. He honoured and obeyed
his mother and became little Gopal. And later on when he finally came back
to Mathura and then Dvaraka, Devaki was saying in motherly affection, "My
other seven children, I'm a mother, but I never got to even feed them my
milk, can you bring them back from the abode of death?"

Krsna brought them back. And Devaki, who had fed Krsna milk just before he
left for Vrindavan, her milk was mahaprasad of Krsna, even though it was
many years before still her milk was mahaprasada, so when Krsna brought the
seven children back from death's abode, she lovingly gave them milk and
they all got liberated by taking Krsna's mahaprasad.

Another way that Krsna honoured his mother: in Ramayan, we all know the
story how Kaikeya, the stepmother of Rama, she orderd Dasarath that "You
gave me two benedictions. I want my son, Bharata, coronated as king and I
want Ramacandra banished to the forest for fourteen years."

Now Bharata was away at that time at his grandfather's home. When he came
back he was outraged. He totally rejected his mother. When he found out what
she did he said, "If you were not a woman, if you were not my mother, I
would kill you on the spot. But I reject you."

Then he went all the way to the forest of Citrakuta on the bank of the
Mandakini Ganga to beg Rama to come back: "I will take the fourteen years in
exile, you return home." And Bharata was condemning his mother to Rama:
"This horrible conspiracy, I had nothing to do with it, it's only due to her
greed, it's only due to her illusion. I reject her."

Rama was very grave, he said "No, Bharata, never speak like that about your
mother. She may have been in illusion, you may not follow what she says, but
you must honour her as your mother. And you must return to Ayodhya according
to our father's desire and you should protect and take care of your mother."

That was Sri Ramacandra's instruction to the world, how to honour, even if
she is in illusion, don't follow what she says, but still, as mother, give
her the honour and respect and protection she deserves.

The demigods--Indra, Vayu, Agni, very, very powerful beings--but they were
defeated by Bali Maharaja, the king of the demons, and there was nothing
they could do about it. Who saved them? Does anyone know? Their mother.
Motherly love is very powerful. All the demigods with their thunderbolt
weapons and their bows were helpless, but Aditi, out of her motherly
affection felt so aggrieved to see her children in that state, bereft of
everything, she performed the payo-vrata, which is a penance, a sacrifice,
just drinking milk, worshipping Deities and everything else. She performed
this payo-vrata and as a fruit of that sacrifice she prayed to the Lord to
become her child and rescue her own children. And Vamandeva, the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, appeared as her child, and then took three steps of
land and got everything back for the demigods. And Aditi was very happy.

In Krsna-lila we find the story of Draupadi and Bhima. Asvatthama killed
Draupadi's five little children. They were teenagers. Can you imagine how a
mother is worried as they are fighting this entire battle of Kuruksetra.
Practically everyone was slain on that battlefield, but her five children
survived. But then at night, when they were sleeping, Asvatthama slaughtered
them. Arjuna and Krsna captured Asvatthama. Bhima was a ksatriya, he
ordered, "Kill him." But Draupadi, who was a mother, said "No, release him."

They said, "But he just killed your five children. He killed Dhrstadyumna.
He must be killed according to the law, according to justice."

She said, "He must be forgiven, because his mother, Krpi, she has only one
child. I have five children. I know what it is like to have all my children
killed; she is a virtuous lady, she is a mother. Only a mother knows what
another mother feels. What does Bhima know about what mothers feel? She is
an honourable person and the wife of an honourable man so we cannot do this
to her. He must be forgiven."

So here is Arjuna between Bhima and Draupadi. Very difficult situation.
Sometimes Vaisnava life is like that. Different devotees have very, very
strong opinions and you don't want to displease anyone. So Krsna empowered
Arjuna to just cut his hair and humiliate him.

We find something very important here. They are both great Vaisnavas. On one
level, Vaisnavas like Bhima must uphold justice. But also, that motherly
side, that nourishing side, that compassionate side, is also necessary, the
side of forgiveness. And how to balance the two, to be compassionate in the
form of forgiveness, and to be compassionate in the form of punishment, they
are both forms of compassion. The balance of the two is very essential in a
Vaisnava's heart and in Vaisnava society. So Bhima, Arjuna, everyone
honoured Mother Draupadi's opinion.

And Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, how he taught honouring his mother. We can
speak for a long time on this subject, but we will not. But a few things.
She was a widowed mother, she lived only for Lord Caitanya, her little
Nimai. When Lord Caitanya took sannyasa for his higher purposes, he came
back to see his mother in Shantipur and he was so overwhelmed by her
motherly affection that he sat on her lap. Can you imagine a sannyasi like
this, in public? It wasn't private, all the devotees were watching.

He was sitting on his mother's lap and she was embracing him and kissing him
and crying on him. And he was crying, "O mother, I should never have taken
sannyasa. [laughter] Somehow or other I was just struck by this, but I never
even asked your permission, you gave me my life, you nourished me all my
childhood. Whatever I have is only because of you, how could I have done
that? I became crazy. Now if you like, I will do anything you like, I will
stay home."

That is how he honoured his mother. He wanted so bad to go to Vrindavan. But
Sacimata said, "If you go to Vrindavan, I will never hear about you and I
will not live. But the same Krsna that is in Vrindavan is living in Puri as
Jagannath. So go and reside in Jagannath Puri." To honour his mother, he
made his residence in Sri Purusottama Ksetra or Jagannath Puri.

One time he sent Damodara Pandit to Navadvip. Damodar Pandit returned to
Puri, to the Gambhira. Lord Caitanya asked Damodar Pandit, "Please tell me
how is my mother, what is the nature of her devotion?" Damodara Pandit
became angry as anything: "How could you ask this question? You are asking
me about your mother's devotion? Whatever devotion you have is only by the
grace of your mother! She is the very embodiment of devotion to Lord Visnu.
She's always chanting the holy names, she's always manifesting ecstatic
symptoms, and you're asking how she is, you know how she is!"

Now Damodara Pandit's love was very special. Lord Caitanya was so jubilant
to be chastised by Damodara Pandit. He embraced Damodar Pandit and profusely
glorified him. He said, "Damodara Pandit, you have give me such joy, you
have submerged me in an ocean of happiness because you are honouring my
mother. What you are saying is true. The fact is whatever devotion to Krsna
I have is only by the grace of my mother. What she has given me, what she
has nourished me with, she brought me into this world, she lovingly
sustained me in this world, therefore I am indebted to her. I have no power
to repay her. She has captured me in her heart by her loving affection."

This is how Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu honoured his mother.

Just a few days ago, I was in Ukraine. I would like to take this time, to
honour two very special mothers. One girl, I believe she was in her
twenties, young girl, very enthusiastic. She just got initiated and given
the name Yamunangi, which was also the name of Srila Prabhupada's

After that, she and a couple of others were driving to the airport to see a
devotee off. I think there were four devotees in the car. They hired a car.
On the way, the car crashed. This is just about four-five days ago.
Yamunangi was killed a half hour after her initiation on her way to see a
devotee off at the airport. She was probably in the most blissful state of
her whole life when she left this world.

Another one, her name is Lilanandini, she is in critical condition. And the
other two are hospitalised but their lives are not in danger. Amazing how
the devotees in Ukraine from all over the country just came together just to
serve one another in every possible way, to help the devotees, the family
members in this very, very severe tragedy.

The next day, Gopi Lila, one of the most loved devotees of New Vrindaban and
Columbus, wife of Haribhakta, mother of two little children, she passed from
this world due to cancer. How she was diagnosed with the cancer was totally
unexpected and it acted so swifty. Her simplicity, her natural purity of
heart, her humility, her spontaneous desire to serve; she was certainly one
of Malati Prabhu's most favourite daughters. It was a great loss.

This all happened this last week. So as we are all together, let us pray at
the lotus feet of Radha Vrindavan Candra, Radha Damodara, all the Deities,
Srila Prabhupada, to shower their blessings and their mercy on these two
very, very divine, beloved mothers, Yamunangi and Gopi Lila. Let us take a
moment in prayer for them. [Brief silence as devotees pray.]

Although devotees suffer the feelings of separation from the association of
great devotees when they depart from this world, there is also a feeling of
joy that of so many billions and trillions and quadrillions of living
entities in this creation, how fortunate that they were sincere devotees of
the Lord and they left this world in such a wonderful state of Krsna
consciousness. Very rare and very fortunate, but their loss is very great.

Another thing we learn is the uncertainties of life. They are very real. How
serious we should become about our Krsna consciousness now because none of
us know if tomorrow will ever come. May I tell you a story? [Haribol!]

A few weeks back I was in the Himalayan mountains. Every day I would go into
the Ganga and find a rock and sit on that rock. Mother Ganga is so beautiful
in the Himalayas. She is beautiful everywhere, but she wears like different
dresses in different places. [laughter] In the Himalayas her dress is a very
clear, transparent aqua blue, sparkling fresh. Very swift current.

On this rock, Mother Ganga's current was flowing on all four sides around
me. The fresh Himalayan breeze, I looked up into the sky. Just above me were
these small birds winging about, making their songs, trilling, warbling
chirping. High above all these little birds, I saw a hawk soaring above,
wings wide, floating in the airways with the confidence of the emperor of
the sky.

He came down lower, lower, lower, until he was just a couple of metres above
my head. His reddish-brown feathers were shining in the sunlight and his
blue eyes were glistening as they were gazing down into the river. Suddenly,
THUMP, he just plunged right into the Ganga. There was a scurry [makes
noises] and he came out and in his talons, or his claws, was a fish. It
looked like it was almost a foot long, this fish. The hawk came out, the
conqueror. I looked at that fish, oh it was struggling, it was squirming, it
was flapping, it was completely disoriented.

I was trying to put myself in the role of that little fish. And then I
thought we're all in the role of that little fish. I tried to do a
psychoanalysis of that little fish, that the fish just like any other day of
his life was just swimming around in the current of life. He was in a school
with probably dozens and dozens of other fish. He was with his mother,
father, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, uncles, his friends, his caste
members. [laughter] They were all just swimming together doing the same they
do every day, just floating in the current of life.

That fish didn't know anything except that river, he had no reference to any
other existence except living in the river. Suddenly at the absolute least
expected moment, the hawk of fate RIPPED it right out of its comfort zone
and now it finds itself flying in the sky in the grip of hawk, helpless,
nothing it can do.

Isn't that the way life is? Our tendency is we just go on with our life in a
routine way. And as devotees, "Yes, I will chant my rounds, 'Hare Krsna Hare
Krsna Krsna Krsna ', I finished my rounds. Yes, I will come to
Srimad-Bhagavatam class. Somehow or other I will make it through. [laughter]
It is Prabhupada's orders so I'll do it." Maybe we don't do it. Maybe we
have a different routine. We'll do our service. Or we may do our sense
gratification. Complacency is one of the greatest enemies of a Vaisnava.

Maharaja Pariksit knew he had seven days to live. How intensely he took
shelter of the holy name, the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the association of
devotees. Prabhupada so many times said, "Pariksit Maharaj knew he had seven
days; you do not know you have seven minutes."

Maharaja Yudhisthira, when he was questioned by the Yaksa near that lake,
"What is the most amazing thing in this whole world?," Yudhisthira Maharaja
said everyone sees so many people dying, all of our forefathers are dead--we
see in the news, we see in the television, we see amongst people we know, so
many people are dying. At any moment, anyone could die, it is not a matter
of age.

Recently one of our little devotees, she was a four-year-old girl in Bombay,
she had cancer. This little girl is going through a six month treatment of
chemotherapy. She doesn't even know what is going on. All her hair falls off
and she says, "Mommy, where is my hair? Why am I so sick?"

The mother told me, what a mother, she was with her child day and night,
sacrificing everything for that child. She told me that this children's
cancer hospital is overfilled with children that age with cancer. The
hospital can't make enough space to treat them all.

Recently there was a cyclone in Burma. A hundred thousand people killed. All
those people were just swimming along in the current of life like any other

A few years ago, I was just waking up for mangala-arati in Bombay and all of
a sudden BOOM BOOM BOOM, the whole building was shaking and books starting
falling from the shelves. I heard our little children, we have an orphanage
downstairs, they were screaming, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna!" It
went on for about thirty seconds. Then everything was normal.

But just a few hundred kilometers away, about 30,000 people died in that
thirty seconds in an earthquake. How? When they went to sleep that night, no
one was thinking it would be anything else. They were just swimming in their
routine ways in the current of life, not knowing that that hawk of fate was
about to rip them out of their comfort zone.

What to speak of the people that died, even more difficult for the people
who lived. The horrible crisis of their loved ones dying, all their property
being destroyed, little children orphans, nowhere to go, nothing to help

Dukhalayam asasvatam, abrahma bhuvanal loka punaravartino 'rjuna, Krsna
tells us from the very beginning, "Don't try to be happy in this world,
because it is a place of suffering." The hawk of fate at any moment can rip
us out of our comfort zone. So devotees should be very serious.

I am not telling this serious to make us pessimistic because after all, it
is Mother's Day. [laughter] But we should be realistic, because real
happiness, real joy, real security should not be based on what is not, on
maya. Maya is very powerful.

Yes, Yudhisthira Maharaja said everybody is seeing everyone else dying, but
no none is thinking it is going to happen to me, at least not yet. That is
the greatest wonder, he said.

Driving in our cars, walking, we don't know what is happening inside our own
bodies. The hawk of fate, his glistening green eyes are watching over all of
us. Hare Krsna.

We want to take shelter of Krsna, take shelter of his name, take shelter of
Srimad-Bhagavatam, take shelter of the association of devotees, take shelter
of the Deities. Take shelter of prasad, take shelter of the nine process of
devotional service and the Vaisnavas. That is the greatest benediction that
we have, that opportunity. But what is our tendency? To postpone, to put it
off for another day:

"Yes, I know I should, but when I get a little older or when I pass through
this particular phase of my life." But maya will always give you another
phase of life. She will never make it easy for you. She'll never say, "Yes,
Prabhu, this is the time. [laughter] You've finished everything off, now is
the time, surrender to Krsna." She will always give us hundreds and
thousands and millions and trillions of excuses why to postpone and to go on
with the routine of our conditioned habits.

In the Bible, Jesus said, "Be hot or warm, but if you are lukewarm I spit
you out." Hare Krsna. And Caitanya Mahaprabhu was even heavier. We should
take life very serious. We do not know. . . .

I was recently in Russia, just a few days ago. One devotee was telling me
that he spoke to one man, he is an Indian living in America who for years
and years has been a scientist making bombs for America and he knew the
inside story. Now if you promise not to tell anyone, I'll tell you the
inside story [laughter]. Whether you tell one devotee or five hundred
devotee, we know they will keep secrets. [laughter]

He said that what is in the United States of America's arsenal, if they just
use one percent of their bombs and weapons, they would wipe out ninety
percent of the population on earth. Hare Krsna. And it is said man never
makes weapons he won't use. And that is just America. Russia has a lot too
and Pakistan and India and China and maybe some other places.

Meanwhile, while this is going on, tsunami waves are coming. At any moment,
how many hundreds of thousands of people died from one wave. There are bombs
all over the place, and it is not that those bombs are under the control of
paramahamsas. [laughter] Do you really have implicit faith in the people
that control those bombs? Now I'm not trying to make you scared, but be
realistic. Take shelter. Understand that now is the time, tomorrow may never

There are so many examples. There are so many warnings. We have to take
shelter of Krsna, take shelter of the process of bhakti and sincerely
helplessly cry out the holy name:

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Now perhaps some of your feel a little enthusiasm now. But guaranteed,
hundred percent, as soon as you walk out of that door, Mayadevi will say,
"Not now. [laughter] Be realistic, don't be a fanatic. You have to get this
done and this done and this done." I will give you another example. I have
told this story many times, but it is a very intense story.

A student at one medical college in Bombay, top student. He was chanting
sixteen rounds and coming to the satsangas in the college. They were having
satsangas every day; once a week senior devotees were coming. Final exams,
students know what final exams means. He decided that "For six months I will
stop chanting and I will not go to any satsangas and I will put my full 100%
energy in my studies because what I get in my studies is what is going to
entitle me to particular fields of medicine."

If you get really good exams you can get into brain surgery, heart surgery.
According to what you get in your exams you are only given placement in
certain types of careers. So very important. So he did it.

Devotees were saying, "Come to satsanga."

"No, no, I have to study."

"What about your rounds?"

"When I finish my studies, I'll chant so many rounds, I'll make up my
rounds, everything, but I have to study."

Parents, is that good sense? Well, I would like to tell you the end. He was
number one in the whole school in his exams. Should I end the story now? He
was very good, he was number one in the school. But then there was a party
for those who did well in their exams. He was on his way to the party and it
was the same night in the same building that the satsanga was going on in
the dormitory. The devotees said, "You finished your exams, you did it, you
said afterward you would, so come, there is a satsanga, all the devotees are
waiting for you."

He said, "I'll come tomorrow, but today, they are going to honour me, I have
to be there."

They were playing all kinds of music. They were dancing. He was dancing to
the music. He was twenty-two years old. Right on the dance floor, he had a
heart attack and died instantly.

The hawk of fate. We may not see him, but he was watching him. Just ripped
him out of the river of his routine life at the least expected moment. I'll
tell you, although the devotees grieved for his loss, the students at that
medical college did not miss a single round, and they came to every satsanga
[laughter] and they all did very well in their exams also.

So we do not know. This is reality. Devotees are happy because they know,
whatever happens:

Bhajahu re mana sri-nanda-nandana-abhaya-caranaravinda re

If we're taking shelter of Krsna, there's no misery, there's no anxiety,
there's no fear. Not on the material platform. There is all kind of
anxieties about devotional service, but that is spiritual anxiety, that
purifies us, that is a form of ecstasy, whether you recognize it or not.

Prabhupada has come to give us real happiness in that fearless state:
"Whatever may happen, I have Krsna, I have his name and I have his devotees,
and I am experiencing and reciprocating within my heart because I am taking

Mother's Day. We have seen some of our most exalted mothers, who exhibited
such an exalted state of consciousness even in the most difficult
situations. Right here, in this building, in the room just across, Kuntidevi
spent her last months. She was mother of Karnamrta, the wonderful singer of
bhajans and kirtans.

When I was here in America I would visit Kuntidevi each day. At one point
she was paralyzed from the waist down, quite emaciated. She didn't have the
strength to do anything, but devotees weren't so happy with the temple
prasad, she wouldn't criticize, but she wanted to make them happy, so with
her wheelchair she would just go into the kitchen and cook a feast every day
for the devotees. And she couldn't eat anything herself. Hare Krsna.

And when she couldn't even do that because she deteriorated even more, she
just lay in her bed. She couldn't even lift a book because she had no
strength. So someone gave her a computer with all Prabhupada's books in it
and she would just sit there and with her fingers she would turn the pages
of Prabhupada's books. Devotees, however many problems they were coming to
consult her, she would solve their problems. She would give them consolation
in their life. Just total giving.

I will never forget that day when she smiled and looked at me and said, "I
am so fortunate, I am so fortunate. I wouldn't trade my position for anyone

I said, "Can you explain?"

She said, "Since I've been a devotee I've been reading about Maharaja
Pariksit sitting on the bank of the Ganges, totally absorbed in hearing from
his guru, Sukadeva Goswami. Here I am, I don't see this as a bed, I see this
as the bank of the Ganges and Sukadeva Goswami in the form of Srila
Prabhupada is speaking to me every day. And I have nothing else to do but
sit and listen to Prabhupada's words. And then she said, "I never heard
Srila Prabhupada speak so directly and personally to me in my heart as I'm
reading his books as I'm feeling now. I would not trade this experience,
whatever I'm going through is a small price for this experience." She was
grateful, she was taking shelter at the most difficult time a person could
possibly imagine.

And we have Hladini Devi Prabhu, here at New Vrindaban she was known as
Mother Hladini. These Jagannath Deities we are looking at, she worshipped
them year after year with so much love, with so much devotion, her life, her
soul, her everything. Until the day she had a dream that Balarama turned
into Nityananda and Jagannath turned into Lord Caitanya and told her, "Go
out and preach."

And then another day Jagannath and Balaram would say, "No, stay here and
take care of us." [laughter] And another day they would turn into Lord
Caitanya and Nityananda and say, "We're all right, go out and preach!
[laughter] It's your guru's mission."

So she went out and preached with Gaura Nitai Deities. What an amazing
personality, totally fearless, totally giving. Eventually she went to
Africa, inspired by His Holiness Bhakti-tirtha Swami Maharaja's unbelievable
compassion and devotion.

She was doing nama-sankirtana and soon she was on television and radio and
magazines, preaching. I got a letter from her once and she was in Liberia
and she talked about how there was a revolution, a government takeover by
some dacoit, mafia-type of people and every day people were getting
murdered everywhere.

And she wrote that the State Department of the United States of America
ordered all American citizens to get out of the country, it's very
dangerous. They even sent a boat to take all American citizens out. But she
said that she wanted to stay to preach. Then she wrote something that was
beautiful. She said, "I am not afraid of death or torture or anything else.
I am only afraid of one thing--that I may offend a Vaisnava."

Shortly after that, this gang of murderers came to the temple and lined the
devotees up to shoot and kill them, but not the women. I believe there were
two women. They said, "You can go." But when they went to shoot. . . Hladini
wrote, "I am not afraid of death, but I am afraid of offending Vaisnavas."

She considered it, it appears that it was an offence to stand by and allow
the devotees to be killed. She didn't have a chance--they had guns. The
leader of the whole gang, she grabbed his hands and said, "No, you cannot do
this, you cannot kill these devotees!" She knew, she must have known that
she would be killed by doing this. But she would rather die serving a
Vaisnava than to live knowing that she didn't. And that is how Krsna took
her life.

That is the quality of someone who has totally taken shelter of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. We should honour these mothers, they are like
acaryas teaching by their example, teaching by their life, practically.

Prabhupada sent Malati Prabhu, Yamuna Prabhu, Janaki Prabhu to London with
their husband (that's a detail, their husbands, on Mother's Day anyway
[laughter]), and look what they did! Malati Prabhu is the first mother of
ISKCON. [applause and cheering]

The first child born in the movement was from Syamasundara and Malati,
Saraswati. And how Prabhupada loved that child. And how they lived to serve
Prabhupada's mission. At one point Malati Prabhu, she was on the verge of
death in the hospital. There was practically no hope for her survival, but
somehow or other Krsna gave her another chance and see what she is doing,
giving her heart, her life, her soul, her everything. Now everyone may not
agree with her managerial techniques [laughter], some people do agree, but
that's a detail. Even if there is, at the most it is a pockmark on the moon.
What is her dedication, what is her surrender, what is her complete
determination. She is taking shelter. It is because of her that there is
this Festival of Inspiration.

[extended applause and cheering which turns into a standing ovation]

Thank you, Malati Prabhu. I'll end class with one other example with your
permission. [Haribol!] Malati Prabhu ordered me to end by 9:30 and I must
honour her as my mother.

A couple of years ago, in India we have an annual festival called the Pune
Yatra. It began with about forty devotees and last year it was about four
thousand devotees. For four days we just go to, it's amazing, we go to a
devotee's back yard. [laughter] It's a nice back yard though. And we have a
four day festival of simply hearing and chanting and association of
devotees. It's very, very inspiring, it's like our version of the Festival
of Inspiration in India.

So a couple years ago, our beloved Gauravani Prabhu came. He was very
popular, just his personality and smile and his wonderful kirtanas. He was
putting devotees in so much joy with his kirtanas and his devotion. So he
became extremely loved by all the devotees. At the end of the four days we
have a closing session where some, there's usually about ten Prabhupada
disciples who come, sometimes more, sometimes less, and they speak, just a
closing message to everyone who has come.

So we asked if anyone else would like to speak. Gauravani Prabhu came up.
And what he spoke, with very deep emotion he spoke, he said how he was born
a devotee, he was raised a devotee, but he made choices very much to serve
maya. He said, "The only reason I'm here today, the only reason I am Krsna
conscious, I am with you and serving you, is because of the power of the
prayers of my mother." [applause].

He was talking about Rukmini Mataji Prabhu. [applause] He had tears in his
eyes and his voice was cracking as he was talking about Rukmini Prabhu. He
said, "Whatever I went through in life, my mother's example of steadfastness
in Krsna consciousness and her prayers to bring me back to Srila
Prabhupada's lotus feet," he essentially said, "That is my only
qualification, the prayers and love of my mother."

With these words, we offer all ladies Happy Mother's Day and let us. . . .
[applause] Thank you very much.

Srila Prabhupada ki jai!


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