Yesterday’s post about Ukraine made me sound like being on the Russian side of the conflict. This makes sense if one looks at it through the prism of mass media but I don’t want to see it like that at all. I mean it’s a valid perspective and one can, indeed, take sides, but this perspective is unsatisfactory and is not in the spirit of “unity in diversity”.
First of all, Kiev is the mother of all Russian cities – proof. It’s the cradle of Russian civilization and I don’t see it as some history from a thousand years ago. People are children of their land and this land is still there, producing the same kind of people who form the core of Russian identity. Of course they have got many more layers around this core now but it still exists.
What’s notable is that it became the first capital of “Rus” when it was ruled by the kings from Novgorod, which is a thousand kilometers to the north, and the path there lies through Belarus as well. It’s one giant landmass with the same land producing the same people and the same culture, just it’s a bit colder in the north. In this way Kiev gives rise to the same identity that over time has gotten split into several instances, ie Russian, Belorussian, and Ukrainian.
What this means is that there is no natural animosity, no clash of values, no clash of cultures between them. They speak more or less the same language, wear more or less the same clothes, and sing more or less the same songs to the same melodies. They have the same conceptions of beauty, bravery, honestly, and other moral values, and yet they are all different – unity in diversity.
Therefore the current conflict shouldn’t be seen as a war between Russia and Ukraine – these people do not see each other as enemies, do not see each other as foreigners, and they eat the same food, too. Russians understand this, Belorussians understand this, Ukrainians know this, but sometimes people get other ideas in their heads and try to forge a new identity, which is what’s been happening in Ukraine since its independence in 1991. But even when they get angry they get angry in the same way and have the same conceptions of what a fair fight is, what should be its limits, and what an appropriate punishment should be.
In pseudo-scientific jargon – this identity is the same vibration propagating through the same kind of material, just in some places it’s thicker or thinner and that’s it. So, rather than talking about war I see it as harmonizing the frequencies so that all three nations sing in unison, which will be better for everyone involved.
The peak of Ukraine as a nation came during Soviet times when, together with Russians, they built biggest airplanes in the world, they built rocket engines, they built aircraft carriers and strategic bombers, and they grew the most food in the entire USSR, and they also had everything in between. There is a lot to be said in favor of unity here, and Ukrainians always had their distinct identity, too – they always produced their special vibe. Not quite rural but laid back, soft and melodious, and they were always full of life. Looking reserved and a bit understated but Ukraine, as a nation, is just full of juice of life. People there are meant to create, produce, move forward, and Live with a capital L. They never run out of energy – I guess long winters don’t sap it as it happens with Russians.
So another way to look at the current conflict is reuniting male and female, with Russia playing a male role at this point in history. Ukraine as a motherland is ready to produce but it has been unsuccessfully looking for a new husband for the past thirty years. Her flings with the US and Europe did not produce progeny. Her people have been used and abused, her women were exploited, her men forced to work menial jobs, like cleaning up after proverbial Polish plumbers, and in the end, when Russians came to bring her back to the family, she was left alone.
It won’t be a happy reunion at first but a few years down the road the two peoples will live in sync again and will enjoy peace and prosperity, and they have very strong foundations for it, being practically untouched by the moral decay of the West.
At the moment it surely looks like a rosy picture, what with several million Ukrainians gearing for a prolonged fight with Russian aggressors as urban guerrillas, if necessary – at this point the government there is giving out assault rifles to anyone who asks. So far these newly armed civilians have been mostly looting the shops and shooting at each other, suspecting everyone as Russian spies, but eventually they’ll figure out where actual Russians are, so I have no idea how Russia is going to keep peace in Ukraine, but in the big scheme of things it’s just a blip on the radar and it won’t affect the natural course of history – these two nations are meant to work together [with Belarus], and other Slav nations along with them.
Why? Simply because they still share the same moral base, which is quite distinct from the liberal West. They are destined to be together for the same reason people at Trump rallies wore pro-Russian t-shirts – even they find they have more in common with Russians then with liberal Americans.
At the end of the day family, hard work, loyalty, and humility always win – it’s the law of nature, and it’s agnostic to people’s political positions. It works the same for liberals, too – as long as they work hard and raise children they’ll be okay as well.
Coming back to Ukraine – it is indeed the motherland of Russian civilization, and mothers should always be protected from self-destructive habits and lifestyles. I’m sure there are thousands of devotees in ISKCON who disagree with such patriarchal views and consider it outdated, but this is what wins in the end – women should be protected. This is the key to their prosperity and to the prosperity of the entire society. I’m not going to waste time and re-argue this point. And I’m not going to argue why current Ukraine, with its European aspirations but Slavic homophobia is an example of varna-sankara. These are all details and nations, like people, can get quite mad sometimes, but I want to look beyond these bubbles on the surface of history.
Oh, and making a female image into an icon of independence, as in the picture above, is just nonsense. Sakti cannot exist on its own, it always needs a purusa. The monument doesn’t need to be re-imagined, if anyone asked me – it illuminates Ukraine’s identity very well already, but the name needs rethinking.
Here is another Kiev’s landmark, and much more impressive in my opinion, but because it was built after Soviet victory in WWII they don’t like it very much, thought of removing it, but settled on simply scrubbing USSR coat of arms from her shield.
What is striking to me in the current Russian conflict over Ukraine is disparity in approaches, the asymmetric warfare. Russia talks about security and force and the west talks about economy and sanctions. It’s like ksatriyas againt vaisyas. In case it’s not obvious – vaisyas can’t win.
That is not to say that the West has no ksatriya element, rather that the West is able to talk sanctions BECAUSE their ksatriyas provided security for their vaisyas in the first place.
While political leaders bravely read the same script about sanctions ksatriyas in the back have accepted the reality – Ukraine is under Russian control and their influence and protection does not extend beyond NATO borders. These borders are backed by force, with actual troops and tanks and other hardware, and the West was able to move these borders closer to Russia in the past thirty years and turn the insides into a fortress.
But ksatriyas are not the ultimate force in the universe – brahmanas are more powerful. Not in a sense of forcing ksatriyas but in a sense of providing them the reason to fight for. Take away the reason and the army dissolves into ordinary civilian population. In the current conflict it’s visible in Ukrainian border patrol and many military units simply not turning up for work on the invasion day because they didn’t want to fight for their government agenda.
In a bigger picture the brahmanas in the West propose freedom and democracy as values to die for and it worked for a while but the internal rot has set in a long time ago, too. At first Russia jumped on the same train but realized that “freedoms” are for public consumption only when they watched NATO bomb Yugoslavia into submission, and then the war in Iraq sealed the perception that it’s all a lie and so Russia checked itself out of “world community”.
In the West itself Trump’s rise to presidency exposed fundamental rifts in the society about what “freedoms” and “democracy” actually mean. They are not going to die for the same thing and they’d rather turn on each other than go fight for some Ukrainian democracy.
Covid pandemic further divided the populations and right now it’s possible that Canadian sanctions on Russia are dwarfed by Canadian sanctions on their own population for participating in their Freedom Convoy.
Shifts on the brahminical level take a long time to propagate while shifts on vaisya level are the fastest, with ksatriya level coming in between. Sudra level shifts are, of course, the fastest, like they change the rules of what you can and cannot say almost every day, but it’s of no big concern here.
Does Russia offer some kind of new brahminical paradigm to the world to unite over in the wake of demise of “freedom and democracy”? Not at all. Their state is lacking ideology, they have been trying to find it but without success so far. Do they actually need one? That’s probably a better question.
The war in Ukraine is about Russian survival, not ideology – Russians have their place and they are trying to make a living in it, and they feel very insecure with the West potentially absorbing Ukraine into NATO and putting missiles there. What is there to be afraid of? Well, they look at the examples of France and Germany and they see that in the US sphere of influence countries do not have freedoms but have to abide by the will of their master. French have been strongarmed by Americans too many times to count, the latest one was when they took over Australian submarine contracts, and Germany’s example is the Nord Stream 2 pipeline the fate of which is decided in Washington, not in Berlin.
Russians historically don’t like to be dictated what to do against their will, they don’t want to be vassals, they want to be masters of their own land and people. So for them it’s about self-identification and security, not ideology.
This explains why no one in the West wants to take Russian side in this conflict – there is nothing in it for them, at best they can imagine themselves in Russian shoes and empathize a little. In this sense westerners are behind Russia by three decades – collapse of a unifying ideology with a feeling of emptiness and a desire to fill the gaping hole left by communism in the case of Russia and democratic freedoms in the case of the West. AND by collapsing of book distribution in ISKCON. We have been in the same exact place, too – when in the mid-nineties book scores started going down and sankirtana as the sole means of our sustenance was out, together with temple based communities, brahmacari pathos, asceticism etc.
Somehow there always comes a point where grand revolution hopes fade away and we have to find our own place in the world and our own mission in life. We thought we’d be always moving bigger and bigger mountains but suddenly we have to scale down and look inside ourselves. Russians still can’t find it after thirty years of searching. ISKCON still can’t find it and current sankirtana resurrection does not yet transform foundations of our movement. The West won’t find a replacement for freedom and democracy in the foreseeable future either.
It seems now is the time for self-realization, in the literal meaning of this word, not for grand projections of ourselves into the world, enjoying our marvelous power. I mean it’s easy to be a devotee when you always top the charts and always build huge temples. Try remaining a devotee when nothing is happening instead – it’s one of the necessary tests, I’d argue.
Russia has been talking about multi-polar world for a while, which means that there would be different types of brahminical cultures all around the world instead of one type dominating all the others. Maybe time for consolidation will come again (surely it will come) but it’s not the phase we are all in now and so we should stop pretending to be elsewhere, it won’t do us any good.
Once again I want to draw your attention that these developments are universal, echoing through different levels of society and vibrating in different countries. I’m saying this not to make Hare Krishna movement sound mundane but to demonstrate that Lord Caitanya’s mission is universal and it is guiding people through the necessary steps towards self-realization everywhere. It’s a process and there is no skipping – as long as we want the material universe to enter into Golden Age. Or we want our minds to become pure and peaceful so that we can chant the Holy Name 24/7 if we talk on the personal level. Material elements have to follow material laws, whether it’s countries or minds. If you have to transform matter to behave in a certain way then there are steps to follow. At the same time nothing stops you from going to Krishna after leaving your body. But if you want the body to become a “perfect devotee” then there are rules.
One last thing I want to mention – Ukrainians declared 130+ casualties on the first day of war. It’s comparable to numbers of dying from Covid. It seems Russian method of warfare is close to the Vedic one – they show up, you pledge allegiance, and they move on, and they don’t even plant their flags on the “occupied territories”. I suspect that’s what they want from the government in Kiev, too – just declare that it won’t make any troubles for Russia and they’d leave Ukraine alone to figure out what it wants for itself. This is a very different approach from “building democracy”, and it’s the same approach used by China, too – they don’t really care how countries run themselves, just don’t make troubles for China. I believe this ideology, which on the surface looks like no ideology at all, will win in the end, in the next few decades at least, and the current conflict is just one step towards this new equilibrium.
As a picture I add a photo from 2014. It’s Zaporozhye, Ukraine, just after Maidan revolution in Kiev. People in the middle are “Russian sympathizers” who were demanded to renounce their allegiance, take off their identifying ribbons, literally stand on their knees, and recite pro-Maidan slogans. The standoff lasted for six hours, there were also eggs thrown at them, there were beatings, stabbings, and blood in the process. But they didn’t give up. Then the police arrested them, and some of the police vans were put on fire by the crowd. For eight years they have been waiting for Russia to do something about this and now Russians came for them. That’s how people feel in the separatist republics, too – finally! Zaporozhye, however, was deep in the Ukrainian territory, at the time these people had no hope whatsoever but still they didn’t give up their identity.
Well, recent events show that Russia doesn’t completely abandon its dependents, unlike some other country I don’t need to mention. Even Ukrainian president yesterday spoke about facing Russian aggression alone, which was a big change from “building anti-Putin” coalition just a day before the sh*t got real. This is another reason why Russians are on the right side of history at the moment – ksatriyas offer real protection and always win against vaisyas, it’s nature’s law.
ISKCON appears differently to different observers. Somehow I just got an earful that I think this post would address – ISKCON also has discussions like this. It’s just a regular, off the mill Zoom meeting with Bhakti Vijnana Goswami organized by one of his “bridge preaching” disciples. I can’t be even bothered to find his initiated name. There are 1,737 views on Youtube at the moment, plus people who were watching on different platforms. It’s not a lot but not a little either – the “Number One Hare Krishna podcast in the world” doesn’t get as much as this, and that’s in English for the worldwide audience. Here is a talk in Russian, without translation. I have downloaded auto subs, tried to make them readable, and Google translated them in English. It takes a lot of time and I didn’t read through the result, I’ll just post it as it is below. I’m not lazy, but correcting the whole thing sentence by sentence would take a full day of work. I also can’t be bothered to put in paragraphs and left one sentence per line. I hope it’s readable.
Hello, we are live. First of all, I salute Bhakti Vigyan Goswami Maharaja and all who watch us. Today we have an amazing opportunity to ask questions to a person whose advice and instructions most of us listen to, use, but do not always work for us. That is why now we will not ask about what to do, but about why we don’t get much from what we do. Look, we are doing this broadcast for students of our projects: a large Vedic workshop, a journey to ourselves, a school of bhakti, and in general, in all these projects, despite the fact that they are a little bit about different things, but in general, we, like all the right people, we talk about happiness and how to become happy, and we talk about the fact that there are some changes in our lives, changes in the worldview. And everything seems to be cool, we say everything seems to be correct, but in fact – our understanding of how it should be is changing, but happiness can also become more, but not as much as we would like. Therefore, I wanted to ask the first question, directly, as you know, such an immediate attack. Here you tell me from your experience – what is the most important thing that prevents people who are trying to do something. They just want to, they even start on Monday, they do something .. What is the main thing stopping us?
I will answer this question a little philosophically, I think that no one will strongly object, because, in practice, we have probably heard the answers to this question more than once. In my opinion, if you look at the root, because when we talk about such a complex phenomenon as our life, we can talk about many different reasons. This reason interferes or this reason interferes – a wife, a dream, a lack of money interfere, and bad weather interferes, the situation in North Korea interferes. You can find many different reasons and explain what specifically prevents us from becoming happy, but if we look a little wider at the matter, then the absence of the widest possible vision and understanding of what is happening to us prevents us from becoming happy. Because in order to practice something correctly, you must first understand why we practice, what we practice, why we practice it. There is a very important principle that I wanted to formulate from the very beginning. This principle is that meaning can only be understood by context. The meaning in Sanskrit is abzideya or practice, the context is sambandha. The meaning of a word can only be understood if we know the sentence, because the same word can mean completely different things in different contexts of different sentences. The meaning of a sentence can only be understood by knowing the context in which this sentence is in a paragraph. The meaning of a paragraph can only be understood if we know the context of the paragraph i.e. the chapter. The meaning of a chapter can only be understood if we understand the entire book. The meaning of a book can only be understood if we understand the context of the time in which it was written. Why is it that even very good books written many centuries ago cease to be understandable to us? Because we have dropped out of the context of this time. That is, we can practice something only if we understand as widely as possible, understand the context as correctly as possible. And actually what happens to us, if this slightly abstract philosophical position is deciphered in application to our practice – we get a certain philosophical context – there is a god, there is this world that he created. He created this world in order to teach us, so that we evolve, so that we become better, kinder and happier. Ultimately, he created these laws.. We understand this – the theory. And when we understand the theory, we become a little happy, everything falls into place, everything becomes clear – yes, it’s clear. Yes – like this, like this, like this. The problem happens when we take this very theory, or rather, when we take some specifics in our lives, we immediately, at the same moment, as soon as we move on to specifics, we forget the broad context. Everything is wrong, everything is wrong.
Because our personal context appears.
Yes yes yes yes – our personal context with which we interpret everything that is. Therefore, accordingly, we do not understand the meaning and our practice is translated into this our scanty miserable context formed by our limiting ego.
This short context is our life, by the way.
Yes, well, what to do. We are constantly taking things out of context. We have achieved great perfection in taking everything out of context – individual events and what is happening to us, what is happening in historical periods of time, and so on. We constantly forget about the context, we constantly forget that God is behind everything, that everything is k. Better that we evolve. And accordingly, therefore, we do not become happy because we have a resistance to reality. Resistance to reality is called stress. When we try to remake reality, when it does not suit us, when we are trying our best to say that something is wrong here, naturally we are not happy. As soon as we accept everything, when we accept everything theoretically, we stand for a while. Happy, but when it comes down to it, everyone unfortunately goes down the drain.
Guru Maharaj, I feel where you are dragging us to, and on the field where you are dragging us, we cannot defeat you with this logic, and therefore I would like to cling to the last opportunity to justify myself now. Well, look – yes, it’s cool, there is this wide, as wide as possible context that you are talking about, but it is just as wide, it is also as far as possible from us in material terms, right? That is, you are talking about some such philosophical abstractions, let’s say – for a simple Soviet person, Russian. It would be desirable to understand, and how to us here this wide context?. Your shirt is still closer to the body. Here’s how we make that shirt closer ?. Here is the question.
It’s not entirely abstract. That is, if it was just about some really very abstract categories, one could throw this accusation, but in fact the context of the same Bhagavad Gita … The Bhagavad Gita is a kind of sambandha primer, or context primer, and a primer is sufficient. It brings us very close to our practical life. The same three gunas. The three gunas are a powerful tool for understanding cause and effect. The trouble is that we are just because our shirt is closer to the body, we understand these three gunas very well – how they act on the example of others, but on the example of ourselves, we do not understand that in general we we reap what we ourselves sow. The fact that if we act in a certain guna, then the result will come in the same guna – that guna will increase. If we are driven by passion, we will be unhappy accordingly. If we are driven by ignorance we will sink further into ignorance. That is precisely why I do not accept this accusation that this is an abstract thing. It’s more of a concrete thing, and a very practical thing. Therefore, I do not know the ball in your half of the field.
OK thank you very much. And now you voiced an interesting point, I wanted to dwell on it. Now, in principle, people want quick recipes for some specific one. Increasing happiness and so on, and you just said an interesting thing. You just said that, in fact, these ways to increase happiness, they do not work because they are out of context, and you say that if we do not start in earnest. To study the philosophy behind all these methods, even some local ones. Specific methods won’t work. Did I understand correctly?
Yes, absolutely true, and one small addition to this – when a person wants quick happiness, then, again in accordance with the Bhagavad Gita, quick happiness – you can get it, it belongs to the category of the guna of passion. It comes quickly and happiness is available. The trouble is that this quick happiness turns into the same quick misfortune, and in itself this desire for quick happiness, it is already dictated by a certain guna. Therefore, before wishing, you must first learn to wish correctly.
Yes, as a good statement – before punching a wall with your head, you should try to find out what is still on the other side.
What are you going to do next cell.
Da, yes, yes. It’s good and great, and this is very clear to me, because at the same large Vedic workshop, for the first six months, we actually don’t talk about application, we don’t talk about some practical things, but we try to create this context. And so we begin our first four classes, that is, for more than a month, we are not even talking about this at all, but we are talking about how to study. And we are based here on your lecture with which you once started – the first, generally the first, the first zero lesson of a large Vedic workshop – from information to transformation. Tell me about the ability to learn. What is the ability to learn?
The ability to learn is, first of all, a doubt in one’s own rightness. Because a person who is sure that he is right, by this very fact, deprives himself of the ability to understand something new. The ability to learn arises when a person is a little disappointed in his own recipes for happiness, in his own ability to become happy, and this encourages him to learn. Learning means changing. The ability to learn means the willingness to change. Willingness to change arises only when a person… One second…
I will now repeat this important point that I really liked now – that in order to learn, we need to admit that we are wrong. That is, here is an interesting interesting point that the search for truth does not always seem to be, or rather, it is rarely based only on the fact that here I have some kind of set of knowledge, my understanding, my common sense, my life experience, and now I am starting to seek the truth based on all this, and now Goswami Maharaj said an interesting thing about the ability to learn. It implies doubt in the first place that all my accumulated experience, common sense and so on, they will lead me to this happiness. Yes thanks a lot. In fact, I just repeated this important point for our listeners. Now I sometimes collect puzzles and here are puzzles, there is such a thing that at some point you need to question your own constructions. You start to build a big piece of the puzzle, built it, and, you know, one small one doesn’t fit in, and you’re like this and that and everything is already there, but without questioning it very much. A beautifully built piece of the puzzle, you won’t be able to go any further.
Well, yes, this doubt in one’s rightness is called, in fact, humility. Humility is an integral part of a person, or a quality of a person who is able to learn. A proud man, he froze. He remains equal to himself. He may have achieved something, but it’s just that everything he does it only replicates him. Himself and his own problems and his. own achievements. Nothing new will happen in his life. That is, the ability to learn is the ability to change, which is based on some kind of disappointment. Humility is a natural result of disappointment in some recipes for happiness that we have come up with, or overheard by us from someone, peeped.
Yes, thank you very much, Guru Maharaj. I have always been worried about such a story, I went through it myself, I definitely understand this. Look, we are faced with Vedic knowledge and they, well, as it was at least in my case, they are completely, well, stunning. They build, they become, as it were, extremely obvious. That is, at some point this knowledge is perceived as – well, yes, as if it could not be otherwise, and naturally a strong enthusiasm arises. I listened to lectures there, and at some point I knew all the basics. As if it seemed to me – I ran them. That is, don’t ask me anything, I’ve heard everything about it, but at the same time, I understand that the level of my consciousness, my guna, the ability to correctly understand the meaning of the terms that I am. Heard – he was quite low. As a result, what state am I in – we also have a course of the bhakti school where you also teach, and on this course, for example, when applying, we have people who say – I looked at your program, I basically listened to it. And my pain, it is that I know about myself that at that moment, when I also listened to all this, I heard little. How to deal with this? That is, if a person really listened to lectures on all topics, what should he do? Should I go further or should I make some revision?. Your experience?
One Ayurvedic doctor once told me an interesting thing. He says that this Ayurveda is a very strange thing. In the first college lecture on Ayurveda, when studying this subject, we learned about the three doshas. About vata dosha, pita dosha and kappa dosha. And then we studied for five years and in the last year we went through the same doshas that we learned about at the first lecture, introductory to Ayurveda. So it seems as if we have not moved anywhere in these five years, that at the first lecture we talked about three doshas, that at the last lectures, graduation, we are talking about the same three doshas. But the fact is that all these concepts, in general, all this conceptual apparatus of Vedic culture, it is very deep and, most importantly, it differs very sharply from what we are used to, so some superficial understanding of this apparatus does not help much. On the contrary, it interferes, because a person has a false feeling that he, as it were, knows everything. Surely many have heard about the same three doshas or someone knows about yoga, asanas. Now each asana, in order to understand just one asana, what the asana does, you need to do-do-do-do-do-do this asana and in the end you will understand why it is needed at all and what it does. It takes a lifetime to understand such categories as god or soul or conditioned soul or liberation or happiness, and there is no harm in hearing about the same thing again and again, because hearing every time, as it were, a round, it gives a deeper understanding. Just like, for example, if you take music. People walk and listen to the same piece of music many times. Although they have already heard it, maybe even played it somewhere somehow, but every time something new is revealed to them and any living thing is absolutely endless, it is impossible to exhaust it.
I would like to ask, I know that you once recommended that I listen to the Kazinik, Mikhail, about a deeper reading of classical music. For me, it was actually a very interesting, very good experience, and then we talked about what could help. I would like to understand – you say “listen”, and I have two questions at once. First – what can help us improve this listening?. Let’s just start with this. That is, you say “you need to listen, you need to read again”, and what can help us do this. Listening and reading more efficient.
Well, first of all, of course, the main problem with listening is that we are all learning. Little by little, somehow. Pushkin has already said this for a long time. Some again, dictated by the mode of passion, the desire to pick up as much as possible – to listen here and here and here and here and here. This is a thing that plays a very bad service. You need to listen gradually, systematically, slowly moving from category to category, mastering it, trying to put it all into practice. It is better if we listen in a group with a mentor, because this is an amazing thing – several people listened to the same thing, but each heard something different, and listening to how others heard, we enrich our listening, our understanding, because we are free or we involuntarily listen through the prism of our experience, and this prism does not let everything pass from what we are told. I recently talked to a person who wants to become a student and he told me, shared his experience, he said – “when I listened to your first lecture, I sweated.” I was a little intrigued by such a physiological reaction to my lecture. I think probably in some kind of ecstasy or delight. He says – “I was sweating because I did not understand anything at all. I tried so hard to understand at least something – I did not understand anything. “Now,” he says, “I understand everything, I don’t sweat anymore.” And so once again – it is necessary to listen systematically. We must listen at the same time trying to put it all into practice. We must listen trying to open up to what we are listening to as much as possible, without putting any filters or any pre-set settings – this cannot be because it can never be. Because I don’t have that experience. Therefore Srila Prabhupada says an interesting thing in Srimad Bhagavatam. He says that there is a spiritual art of humble listening. When I really open up to what is being said, these words begin to change something in me, they enrich my experience. In fact, hearing is the most painless, easiest and fastest way to change your experience. Listening leaves a certain trace of samskara, if we allow these words to imprint, to impress us, that samskara becomes our own experience. When we hear something in the right state of consciousness, we really change. What changes us? what is change? We are changed by the lived experience, the experience that was deposited and which becomes, well, this prism through which we look at the world. So listening is the easiest way to gain experience. A person can gain experience simply by listening if he does it in the right state of consciousness. It means, I said, systematically, in the company of others, trying to think about what we have heard, sort of putting what we have heard into the context of what we already know, because any thing taken out of context it dies, it not viable. Like, for example, anyone who has learned languages - often people make mistakes, they try to learn words. These words are taken out of context and cannot be remembered, they die, they do not live in our memory. To listen correctly means, among other things, to discuss, to ponder. And by discussing, pondering, we put what we have heard into context, into our personal context, and thus expand it.
Yes, thank you very much, and just wanted to ask this question. I think that many have come across this, but at least I can say for myself that at some point I realized that I have resistance inside, and this resistance is of a very interesting property. It can be formulated as follows – if all of a sudden I accept it all absolutely without unconditional. Honestly, if I accept all this, then my whole life, all my joys, all my pleasures will have to leave this life. That is, at some point I had, sometimes this fear arises. You know it, as it were, at the reptilian level, that is, it is, as it were, fear. I don’t know at what level, that is, it’s specifically the fear of losing what I now have. Therefore, people so often talk about balance, about the need for this, but to be honest, this is what you are saying, if we accept this broad context as the truth in its entirety, then our life cannot be like this. Fearfully.
Fear is a natural reaction. Any honest person who follows the spiritual path admits to himself that from time to time this fear covers him. People try to cope with this fear in different ways. Someone is trying to convert everyone else to the true faith, and this is the same way to get rid of fear, well, they say it’s not so scary together – everyone will also have to do the same. “how dare they, why do they enjoy when I don’t enjoy?” etc. Religious fanaticism is one of those natural, albeit very unpleasant reactions to fear, unconscious fear. But at some point I understood very well, firstly, I felt in myself this fear or unwillingness not the desire to surrender, the unwillingness to go this way, to accept all this, but at the same time I also very well understood that this fear is absolutely irrational , because I am trying to project myself as I am now onto some other situation, and this situation will arise in my life when I will be completely different. In other words, when I try to try on some very lofty ideals – the ideal of renunciation of the world and something else – it naturally becomes scary, simply because I’m not ready, but for those people who we follow these ideals, they are not at all scary because they are different, for them it is something natural. It’s the same as if we say to a first grader they told him that he would need to draw drawings at the institute, and showed him whatman paper with these drawings. Well, either they told a first-grader, or some person who had just entered a music school, they would tell him that you will need to play some virtuoso works, something that is completely impossible to do. It is clear that it will be scary and you will want to run away and play football instead. To pore over this drawing board or sit at the piano, but the bottom line is that for those people who play when it becomes relevant, it’s not scary at all. On the contrary, it’s really fun. Those people who play it, they do it very easily, playfully, and you just need to understand that this is how I am now and there is no need to try on all these things too much. When the time comes, all this will also come into our lives easily and naturally. And we don’t really have to give up anything. Spiritual life is highly natural and that is why it is so slow. This is her good, her advantages, and this is her misfortune. People want to adjust it as soon as possible, but at the same time, only some can be adjusted as soon as possible. artificial things. All those high things that the scriptures say, high demands, they’re into. At some point it becomes very natural for us, and now they are all too high, but they need to be addressed that way. Therefore, there is a very important principle which is stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam about what is virtue and what is vice. I have not seen in any other spiritual system such a striking definition of virtue and vice. In Srimad Bhagavatam it is said, Krishna Himself says in Srimad Bhagavatam, virtue is action according to one’s qualifications. Vice is any action that does not correspond to our qualifications. That is, even some very remarkable things from the point of view of someone there can be a vice because they do not correspond to our level. If we live in accordance with this principle, then gradually, gradually, our qualifications will improve. This is not a statement of our level, but a dynamic principle – in order for our qualifications to improve, we must live and act as we can now. Do as honestly as possible according to your level and our level will grow.
Thank you very much, I remembered an interesting definition of one academician who spoke about the essence of science and the scientific approach. He’s amazingly articulated, he says. “from the point of view of science, truth is everything that helps the development of science now, and lies are everything that hinders” and he finished this phrase. “Here, in fact, we have determined what truth and falsehood are from the point of view of science, and if you think otherwise, then you are mistaken.” That is, in principle, you just said a similar thing, and he says. “It’s just that science cannot develop in a different way, because at some point there were some ideas, Newtonian mechanics at some point, it completely helped there and it was completely true. Later, when some clarifications went on, but at the same time, look, I noticed and I really liked your reasoning – that is, it turns out that the same philosophical maxim for me, who is at a low level, and for a person who is for more. High in practical application means different things. This is how I understand you now. But at the same time, the maxim itself, which is important, does not change. That is, we cannot say that for me now the goal is like this, but for you, for example, it is. Another. The goal is the same for us, but in practical terms it means this to me, and this to you.
Yes, when it is said, for example, about renunciation of the world, then for someone more renounced from the world it means giving up smoking cigarettes. If he can do this, it is already a great feat of renunciation of the world. But if a person who has been practicing there for 40 years is still proud that he quit smoking cigarettes 40 years ago and thinks that all his renunciation of the world should come down to this, then it is obvious that he is slightly mistaken.
Yes, thank you very much, but at the same time, look, it might be interesting, by the way, I just remembered that in one of the books on habit formation, perfectionism is declared one of the important enemies of habit formation. That is, the idea that it is better to do it never, but ideally, than somehow, but now. That is, “never, but ideally” – this is such a defense, a defense that helps the mind. Look to the mind, one more thing helps, which, well, you can also see, this is when we start. To build a balance in your spiritual and material life. And in the BVP, we conducted several such cycles of lectures on balance, in which we, actually following you, said that the real balance of material and spiritual life is spiritual life. Everything else is not a balance, but some temporary compromises. But want… Or are we not following you in this? You are looking so carefully now, maybe we said something. That is, the idea is that the balance in the ideal scheme is spiritual life, but at the same time, living in material life, we just go through these steps in each of which we find this balance. And here is the question – And how to find this balance correctly so that it does not turn out that we have been proud of the fact that we once quit smoking for 40 years.
Well, firstly, you need to understand very well that balance is, by definition, a dynamic thing, because if a person who is walking a tightrope suddenly decides that he has found the perfect balance now and decides to stop, then it will be very difficult for him to maintain this balance. Just like a person who rides a bicycle, he maintains his balance only because he rides. The moment he slows down his ride, the slower he rides, the harder it is to keep his balance. It is the same here – the balance of our life can be – the feeling of balance is a feeling of happiness, but only when I do not become attached to each state of balance I have achieved and do not try to shout after Faust “Stop a moment, you are beautiful.” The moment will not stop anyway, and we will collapse at this very moment, respectively. That is, the first thing to know is that balance is an ever-changing dynamic thing. What was a balance for me yesterday is no longer a balance for me today, but something contrary to the balance, and yesterday’s state will not bring me satisfaction, let’s say so. That is, in order for us to find the right balance, we need practice, and practice means constant dynamics. Practice means that today I do something like this, tomorrow I do something a little better, after tomorrow I do the same thing a little more deeply, with a little more understanding of what I’m doing. This is one thing – how to maintain this state of balance, and you need to be very sensitive to this, you need to understand – it seems that I have already outgrown this state of mine that used to bring me satisfaction. We have a very good balance indicator inside. This balance indicator, as soon as we break the balance, starts flashing like a light of some indicator on the car – that there is no oil, or gasoline runs out, or something else. This indicator is a feeling of inner happiness, some kind of anticipation that tomorrow there will be something else like that. This feeling of inner happiness means that we now have a good balance. This is inner happiness, again, it is a very fluid state. If we suddenly feel that something is not right, we feel some kind of stagnation in our lives, we feel that everything has stopped and I’m just trying to squeeze happiness out of something that I have done many many times, this means that I am in balance lost, I just rolled down somewhere again. That is, we need to listen inside, we need to see the goal, and this striving for the goal will provide dynamics and provide the necessary speed of movement that will help us maintain this balance. The very moment I lost my purpose, let’s take the same example with a bicycle, I no longer know where I am going, I just look around, at the same moment I will collapse somewhere. My steering wheel will start to wag and that’s it. That is, in order for us to maintain balance, we need to see the goal, we need to strive for this goal, we need to adapt our lives and adjust it to this desire for the goal. And then the balance will naturally be found, it will be revealed. Well, of course, and then you need to listen to yourself. If we felt that everything was somehow too gloomy, there is a high probability that I broke the balance, do something wrong, overworked somewhere or something else. I have lost some natural living happiness in life. This is a sign of imbalance.
Thank you, that is, balance is a constant movement without losing sight of the goal and some honesty with yourself, but then the question arises. Any religious movement, in fact, many philosophical movements, they say that a guru, a mentor, a confessor, and so on – a teacher – is very important. And we also know that the guru in Sanskrit is heavy, in the sense that not always my inner feeling that you are talking about now, it will coincide with the instructions that I receive from the elders. That is, how to understand at what moment I should listen to myself, and at what moment I should listen to the elders, and what to do if what the elders say does not bring me inner happiness ?.
Well, first of all, seniors can make mistakes too. Unfortunately, no one is immune from mistakes in this world, but as a rule, the elder should listen very sensitively to what the person says, and very often the person himself understands what his trouble is. A very good example of this is given at the beginning of the Bhagavad Gita, when Arjuna says something, and speaks very convincingly, trying to convince himself and Krishna to convince, but Krishna is silent, does not say anything, and the more Krishna is silent, the more doubt Arjuna has. Gradually, gradually, he begins to understand that I am not saying something. That is, yes, it happens that I came up with something for myself and I try to prove it to myself and justify it, I come with this to someone. But as a rule, the elder does not try to tell us something completely different. He listens to us sometimes asks us some questions, sometimes says something that makes us think. That is, didactics has its very big limitations. It is very difficult for people to perceive didactics. Some kind of straight-forward instructions usually do not work, so I don’t know how it is in other traditions, but in our tradition, the guru will definitely not, as a rule, impose something. He will give a person the right to make a mistake, but in doing so, he will help him look at the deal with. A different point of view and think somehow, see something from a different point of view. Points of view, and often the instructions that we receive not directly, but let’s say we turn on a certain lecture and in this lecture we hear some instructions that are obviously not addressed to us specifically, we were not in this audience, they did not look at us intently trying to understand comes to us what we are told or not. Such instructions are often more effective because it is easier for a person, as it were, to try it on himself. The false ego does not resist, does not put up a barrier of some kind, therefore, very often in. In the Vedic scriptures, especially in the Puranas, instructions are given through history. “You know, about 200 thousand years ago, something happened that might help you understand the answer to your question. That is, a spiritual teacher, a guru, someone else, they always leave freedom for us. Like Krishna, after he has given instructions to Arjuna, says, “I have told you everything, now think over everything properly, and do as you know.” We say something, but it is equally necessary for the person to choose. In very rare cases, when you really see that a person is ready to commit some unforgivable stupidity, you need to say “Stop, stop!”. That is, when a person is already standing on the edge of the abyss, ready to rush there, at that moment there is no time for allegories and stories.
Guru Maharaj, I really liked what you just said in the sense that listening to any lecture, any Vedic story that we often hear as anecdotes of days gone by. That is, the student’s qualification is to always find herself in these stories, did I understand correctly?
Я хотел предупредить что к сожалению мое время сейчас вот истекает…
Да, да, просто возьмем с вас обещание что мы еще раз встретимся. Это легко делать при зрителях. Дальше,.. у вас все да?.
Сейчас вот три минуты ещё есть.
Ну тогда спасибо, спасибо вам огромное за эти вещи. То есть очень много таких очень практичных вещей вы сказали. Осталось еще много вопросов, но на самом деле очень здорово. Может быть вы что-то просто пожелаете людям которые вас сейчас слушают?. И на этом мы закончим.
БВГ: в Катха упанишад говорится, что духовный путь, как говорят великие мудрецы, он остер как лезвие бритвы. Насколько я понимаю русский фантаст Кфремов он как раз оттуда взял название для своего романа или сомерсет моэм у него тоже по-моему что такое есть с лезвием бритвы связано. Все оттуда из этой Катха упанишад. “Обрети счастье,” говорит Катха упанишад. Проснись, обрети счастье, обрети драгоценность которая принадлежит тебя в человеческой жизни, но при этом помни что духовный путь остр как лезвия бритвы. Нам на духовном пути нужна помощь, нам нужны какие-то наставники, проводники,. Нам нужны люди которые желают нам добра, это действительно замечательная вещь, но. При этом мы должны помнить, что это не такая простая вещь. Я желаю вам счастливого духовного пути, который остр как лезвие бритвы.
Адриан: спасибо большое за ваше время, спасибо что согласились встретиться, спасибо, и до свидания. Ну что, дорогие друзья, спасибо вам за то что вы слушали. Надеюсь что какие-то ответы мы все получили. Может быть если вы даже сейчас в чате на ютьюбе, где вы смотрите, если вы поделитесь, не будете разбегаться сразу, а поделитесь какими-то моментами которые особенно вам запомнились, то это будет той самой работой о которой сказал Госвами Махарадж. Я поделюсь несколькими такими вещами которые мне лично очень, очень откликнулись из последнего того, что он говорил – это то, что баланс это движение, что мы не можем в какой-то момент успокоиться, в том что мы достигли баланса. Баланс возможнен только если мы движемся и баланс возможен только если мы движемся к какой-то цели. Так же мне очень понравилось то, как Госвами Махарадж сформулировал, что движение к этой цели и соответственно баланс для каждого из нас находящихся на разном уровне духовного развития будет разным, и что для человека давно практикующего будет легким и естественным, для человека встающего на духовный путь будет казаться чем-то совершенно невозможным, и это нормально, это естественная вещь. Мы все смотрим на тот самый высокий идеал и, насколько я понимаю, ошибка как раз здесь будет думать, что у каждого из этих людей просто свой идеал и они к нему идут. Нет, все идут к одному идеалу, но на разных ступенях движения к этому идеалу будет разный баланс, разное понимание даже каких-то философских терминов и так далее. Это важная вещь, и также для меня было вот это очень важно – поскольку я сам, честно, иногда слушаешь какую-то лекцию, слушаешь какую-то историю, и слушаешь просто как интересную историю, но на самом деле, как сказал Госвами Махарадж, скорее всего в этой истории я тоже могу найти что-то для себя если я буду это искать. И в конце да нам пообещали, пожелали точнее, счастливого духовного пути, и вот это счастье это то самое счастье баланса о котором сказал Госвами Махарадж. Это счастье понимания что в данный момент ты делаешь то что можешь, двигаясь к этому пути, и что в следующие моменты будешь делать больше, и это принесет тебе внутреннее счастье. Спасибо вам огромное, приходите к нам учиться если хотите углубить свое понимание. Курс Большой Ведический Практикум для тех кто начинает знакомится с Ведами, он точно дает очень хорошое, очень фундаментальное понимание того, о чём мы в самом начале говорили – широкого контекста, умения учиться, понимание каких-то базовых вещей, дальше практика каким образом это применяется. Также у нас есть курс путешествия к себе. Это следующий курс который говорит уже о бхакти, об энергии бхакти. Это то на чем заканчивается курс Большой Ведический Практикум. Это курс по книге Радханатха Свами Путешествие к Себе, и дальше у нас есть Школа Бхакти. Это уже конкретная практика для тех кто идет путем Гаудия Вайшнавизма. Это как раз то самое, как сказал Госвами Махарадж – системное, длительное, практичное, и в сопровождении наставников обучение практике бхакти. Так что спасибо, надеюсь мы увидимся с вами где-то на этих курсах или еще где-то. Спасибо огромное, до свидания.