The Motive of the Demons
A Talk by Giriraj Swami
Sri Varaha-dvadasi
February 8, 1998
Bombay

Today is Varaha-dvadasi, the appearance day of the boar incarnation, Varahadeva. To celebrate His appearance, we shall read one verse about Him from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Two, Chapter Seven: “Scheduled Incarnations with Specific Functions.”

TEXT 1

brahmovaca
yatrodyatah ksiti-taloddharanaya bibhrat
kraudim tanum sakala-yajna-mayim anantah
antar-maharnava upagatam adi-daityam
tam damstrayadrim iva vajra-dharo dadara

TRANSLATION

Lord Brahma said: When the unlimitedly powerful Lord assumed the form of a boar as a pastime, just to lift the planet earth, which was drowned in the great ocean of the universe called the Garbhodaka, the first demon [Hiranyaksa] appeared, and the Lord pierced him with His tusk.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

Since the beginning of creation, the demons and the demigods, or the Vaisnavas, are always the two classes of living beings to dominate the planets of the universes. Lord Brahma is the first demigod, and Hiranyaksa is the first demon in this universe.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

From the beginning of creation, there have been two classes of human beings within the universe. One is the demigods, or the devotees, who are favorable to Lord Visnu, and the other is the demons, who are against Lord Visnu. The difference between them has existed from the beginning of creation, and the competition between them has continued until now. There are always struggles and fights between the devotees and the demons.

Even to get the place where we are so comfortably sitting now, Hare Krishna Land, Juhu, there was a great struggle. Srila Prabhupada, a devotee, wanted to purchase the land to build a temple for Radha and Krsna, and so many enemies joined together to oppose him. Month after month the struggle continued, until ultimately Srila Prabhupada and the devotees were successful.

Even after they acquired Hare Krishna Land the struggle continued. So many enemies tried to stop the construction of the temple, but again, in the end, fortunately, the devotees were successful and Srila Prabhupada was able to build this temple for Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihariji.

Even after Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance so many enemies tried to capture Hare
Krishna Land and take the management of the temple from the devotees. They accused the devotees—they are CIA, they are spies, they are smugglers, they are this, they are that. They even claimed that the cakras on top of the temple domes were radio antennas for sending and receiving secret messages, and such ridiculous stories were published all over the newspapers. Finally, these enemies induced the police to make a thorough search of the entire premises.

The police came to look for radios, contraband, and whatnot, and eventually they wanted to search Srila Prabhupada’s personal quarters on the fifth floor of the west tower. At the time, His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami was the GBC for Bombay, and I was the temple president. So Tamal Krishna Goswami accompanied the officer to Prabhupada’s quarters. When the officer saw the quarters, he paused and asked Tamal Krishna Goswami, “Do you know why we are searching Hare Krishna Land?” Goswami Maharaja thought and replied, “Because there are so many foreigners here.” The inspector in charge of the investigation said, “There are more foreigners at the Holiday Inn, so why are we not searching there?” Tamal Krishna Goswami replied, “I don’t know. Maybe you should say.” Then the officer said, “At the Holiday Inn they eat meat, they take intoxicants, they gamble, and they have illicit sex, so no one bothers about them. But here you don’t eat meat, fish, or eggs; you don’t take intoxicants; you don’t have illicit sex; and you don’t gamble. And you broadcast very loudly that you should not eat meat, you should not take intoxicants, you should not have illicit sex, and you should not gamble. That is why we are investigating you. People are comfortable with sense gratification, so where there is sense gratification they feel comfortable. But you are giving up sense gratification, announcing it, and telling others to give it up as well. So people get disturbed, they become suspicious, and they want to know what’s happening, because they can’t understand how people can actually give up sense gratification. That’s why we are investigating you.”

Shortly thereafter I happened to read a purport in Srimad-Bhagavatam in which Srila Prabhupada states that the demons want to create a godless society where they can enjoy sense gratification without any restriction: “Demons are very much disturbed when devotees worship the Lord in the prescribed ways recommended in the scriptures. In the Vedic scriptures, the devotees are advised to engage in nine kinds of devotional service, such as to hear and chant the holy name of God, to remember Him always, to chant on beads Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, to worship the Lord in the form of His Deity incarnation in the temples, and to engage in various activities of Krsna consciousness to increase the number of godly persons for perfect peace in the world. Demons do not like such activity. They are always envious of God and His devotees. Their propaganda not to worship in the temple or church but simply to make material advancement for satisfaction of the senses is always current. . . . Demons are always anxious to have a godless society for their sense gratification.” (SB 3.18.5 purport)

So that is the motive of the demons. They want to create a state of godlessness, where they can indulge in sense gratification without any restriction, and the devotees stand opposed to godlessness. They stand opposed to sinful activities in defiance of God’s laws. Therefore there is always conflict and struggle. From the beginning of creation to the present there has always been a struggle between the devotees and the demons. The devotees want to establish the order of God, and the demons want to tear down God and God’s order.

So, Hiranyaksa is described as the first demon, and he was killed by the boar incarnation at the beginning of the creation.

PURPORT (continued)

Only under certain conditions do the planets float as weightless balls in the air, and as soon as these conditions are disturbed, the planets may fall down in the Garbhodaka Ocean, which covers half the universe. The other half is the spherical dome within which the innumerable planetary systems exist.

COMMENT

The universe is a hollow sphere. In the lower half of the sphere is the Garbhodaka Ocean, and in the upper half is space, and within space so many planets, and if the balance is disturbed a planet may fall into the Garbhodaka Ocean.

PURPORT (continued)

The floating of the planets in the weightless air is due to the inner constitution of the globes, and the modernized drilling of the earth to exploit oil from within is a sort of disturbance by the modern demons and can result in a greatly harmful reaction to the floating condition of the earth.

COMMENT

The demons do not appreciate the order of the universe created by God. They take everything for granted. They think they can transgress the laws of God without any reaction. They do not know that the creation is engineered very precisely and that if they disturb the natural order there could be severe consequences. Now people are becoming aware of the threat to the planet and the environment. Just a slight shift in the earth’s axis or orbit will completely change the temperature, change the seasons, change the climate, and affect the ecology. But the demons either don’t understand or don’t care that by drilling in the earth and extracting oil they can actually disturb the orbit of the earth, what to speak of other harmful effects. The devotees understand the laws of God and the laws of nature, and they try to act accordingly. And the demons defy the laws of God and do whatever they want. But the result of such independent activities is that they create disturbance for themselves and for others. The earth is surrounded by air and space. We cannot measure the atmosphere around the earth, it is so vast. But the biggest things we know—the oceans and the air—are now being polluted because of disregard for the laws of God and nature.

It is not that the devotees are competing with the demons because they want to enjoy supremacy. Actually, devotees have no selfish interest. They just want to see that the people of the universe—all living entities within the universe—are peaceful and happy. But they know that people can be happy only if they surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead and follow His orders. So out of compassion for others—not for any personal self-interest—they want society to be organized according to the laws of God. And because the demons disturb the natural order and cause the innocent people to suffer, devotees feel concerned, and if necessary, they intervene. They fight with the demons to place the universe in the right hands, in the hands of persons who are submissive to the will of God, to the scriptures.

PURPORT (continued)

A similar disturbance was created formerly by the demons headed by Hiranyaksa (the great exploiter of the gold rush), and the earth was detached from its weightless condition and fell down into the Garbhodaka Ocean. The Lord, as maintainer of the whole creation of the material world, therefore assumed the gigantic form of a boar with a proportionate snout and picked up the earth from within the water of Garbhodaka.

COMMENT

Sri Varaha Bhagavan ki jaya!

The Lord is the creator of the universe. As the father of all living entities, He is concerned for all of His children in the universe. So when the earth fell down into the Garbhodaka Ocean, the Lord assumed the form of Lord Varaha in order to pick it up. He assumed a form that was suitable for the purpose—the form of a boar with a long snout, which could enter into the water and lift up the planet. Because of His love for us, Lord Boar lifted up the earth, so we could have a place to live and prosecute Krsna consciousness.

PURPORT

Sri Jayadeva Gosvami, the great Vaisnava poet, sang as follows:

vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna
sasini kalanka-kaleva nimagna
kesava dhrta-sukara-rupa
jaya jagadisa hare

“O Kesava! O Supreme Lord who have assumed the form of a boar! O Lord! The planet earth rested on Your tusks, and it appeared like the moon engraved with spots.”

Such is the symptom of an incarnation of the Lord. The incarnation of the Lord is not the concocted idea of fanciful men who create an incarnation out of imagination. The incarnation of the Lord appears under certain extraordinary circumstances like the above-mentioned occasion, and the incarnation performs a task which is not even imaginable by the tiny brain of mankind. The modern creators of the many cheap incarnations may take note of the factual incarnation of God as the gigantic boar with a suitable snout to carry the planet earth.

COMMENT

So, as any sensitive and intelligent devotee would have noticed, most of the public media is controlled by demons. They use the media to promote materialism, and quite often they use the media to mar spiritualism. During the struggle for Hare Krishna Land, the demons were very active. And apart from the articles that appeared against us, there were many articles that were designed to make a farce of religion. There was a journal called The Illustrated Weekly of India that was very popular, and the editor, from what appeared in the journal, seemed to be a demon. “Demon” doesn’t mean having ten heads and twenty arms. Demons can also look like you and me. But they are considered demons because they are against the supremacy of the Lord. So, this editor published an article by one Agehananda Bharati, an Austrian scholar who had become a sannyasi, in which Dr. Bharati claimed that Lord Siva was supreme, and advocated the chanting of Lord Siva’s name.

Srila Prabhupada always wanted us to reply to newspaper articles. He was very vigilant, and sometimes if someone called his attention to an article, he himself would suggest a reply. So I was in that mood, and if there was any article against the conclusion of Krsna consciousness, I might send a response. So I wrote a letter, and the editor of The Illustrated Weekly made a big thing out of it. He published a whole other article entitled “Hare Krishna vs. Shiva Shiva.” I could understand that the idea of the article was to make both Bharati and us look foolish—like religious fanatics fighting like children over nothing: “Krsna is supreme.” “No, Siva is supreme.” “You should chant Hare Krsna.” “No, you should chant Siva Siva.” I wrote Srila Prabhupada what the editor had done, and Srila Prabhupada agreed: “Yes, Giriraj is right. Bharati is a fool, but the editor is a demon.”

Demons try to make religious people look silly so that intelligent people reject religion. Of course, much of what passes as religion is actually fanaticism, and Srila Prabhupada even commented that in the present age intelligent people will be skeptical because so many cheaters adopt the guise of religious leaders. But then again, Srila Prabhupada also said that just because there is counterfeit money, it doesn’t mean there is no real money. Just because there are false religious leaders or false incarnations, it doesn’t mean there are no true representatives of God or true incarnations of God.

A real incarnation of God does things that no one else can do, that ordinary human beings cannot even imagine. The Lord assuming the form of a boar and lifting the earth from the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean? We can’t even imagine it. So these are the activities of real incarnations—not making ashes. Anyone can make ashes just by burning agarbatti, incense. You don’t need an incarnation to make ashes. So we should discriminate. Who is an incarnation? One who can do something that no one else can do.

In one sense, Srila Prabhupada is also an incarnation, saktyavesa-avatara. He did what no one else could do—spread Krsna consciousness to every town and village in the world. Of course, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, described in the scriptures as the incarnation of Krsna for the Age of Kali, had desired it: prthivite ache yata nagaradi-grama/ sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama: “In every town and village in every country of the world, the glories of My name will be chanted.” (Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya 4.126) But five hundred years had passed, and it was actually Srila Prabhupada who fulfilled the prediction and desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, which no one else could do. Therefore Srila Prabhupada is accepted as saktyavesa-avatara, a living entity who is imbued with the potency of God. Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 7.11) confirms:

kali-kalera dharma-krsna-nama-sankirtana
krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana

“The fundamental religious system in the Age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Krsna. Unless empowered by Krsna, one cannot propagate the sankirtana movement.” The religious system for Kali-yuga is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, sankirtana. And krsna-sakti vina nahe tara pravartana: unless one is blessed with krsna-sakti, the energy of Krsna, one cannot spread the chanting of the holy name all over the world. Because Srila Prabhupada was blessed with krsna-sakti he was able to spread the sankirtana movement throughout the whole world.

Still, Srila Prabhupada presented himself as the humble servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord, and generally we also worship Srila Prabhupada as the humble servant of the servant of the servant of Lord Krsna. And we want to be his servant, or the servant of his servants. That is the position of a Vaisnava—gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah. Even Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu presented Himself as such:

naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
naham varni na ca grha-patir no vanastho yatir va
kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramananda-purnamrtabdher
gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah

“I am not a brahmana, I am not a ksatriya, I am not a vaisya or a sudra. Nor am I a brahmacari, a householder, a vanaprastha or a sannyasi. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krsna, the maintainer of the gopis. He is like an ocean of nectar, and He is the cause of universal transcendental bliss. He is always existing with brilliance.” (Cc Madhya 13.80)

“But if you are not a brahmana, not a ksatriya, not a vaisya, and not a sudra, if you are not a brahmacari, not a grhastha, not a vanaprastha, and not a sannyasi, then what are you?” Gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah: “I am the servant of the servant of the servant of Krsna, the maintainer of the gopis of Vrndavana.” So that is the identity of a Vaisnava. He has no other identity. He doesn’t identify with the material varnas and asramas. He identifies himself as the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord.

In fact, Sisupala, who was also a great demon, criticized Lord Krsna, “No one knows Your caste. Sometimes You act as a cowherd boy, and sometimes You act as a warrior. So nobody knows Your caste, whether you are a ksatriya or a vaisya or what.” In Vedic civilization, to accuse someone of being without a caste is a great insult. Yet although Sisupala meant to criticize Krsna, indirectly he was glorifying Him, because the Lord—and the Vaisnava—is transcendental; he doesn’t belong to any caste. He doesn’t belong to any varna or any asrama. Mundane people or demonic people may criticize, “What are you? You are not a brahmana, not a ksatriya, not a vaisya, not a sudra. What are you? You don’t fit into our categories.” Or in the West, when we used to perform hari-nama-sankitana in the streets of major cities, people would come up to us and shout, “Get a job!” But our business is to serve Krsna, and Krsna’s business is to enjoy transcendental bliss. Actually, Krsna and Krsna’s devotees are beyond material designations and categories. So although materialists may try to fit them into some category and then become bewildered or disturbed that they don’t fit, devotees know their own identities: they are just the servants of the servants of the servants of Krsna, the maintainer of the gopis of Vraja.

PURPORT (continued)

When the Lord appeared to pick up the earth, the demon of the name Hiranyaksa tried to create a disturbance in the methodical functions of the Lord, and therefore he was killed by being pierced by the Lord’s tusk. According to Srila Jiva Gosvami, the demon Hiranyaksa was killed by the hand of the Lord and after being killed by the hand of the Lord, the demon was pierced by the tusk. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura confirms this version.

COMMENT

The Lord is absolute: He can perform any function with any limb. But He chose to kill the demon with His hand, and then He pierced the demon’s body with His tusk.

Now, what can we as devotees learn from this pastime? Of course, there are many lessons to learn from every pastime of the Lord. But we are also like planets in the sense that we stay afloat in Krsna consciousness by a delicate balance and if there is a disturbance to that balance we may fall down into the ocean of material existence. So we have to be careful to maintain our wholesome condition in spiritual life. And what is the balance? In general, Srila Prabhupada said that the balance is between hearing and chanting about Krsna in the morning and the evening and working for Krsna during the day. Thus Srila Prabhupada established the daily schedule for ISKCON: every morning from 4:30 to 8:30 the devotees come together in the temple and hear and chant about Krsna, and then again every evening from 7 to 9 they gather in the temple to hear and chant about Krsna, and during the day they engage in so many different activities for the spreading of Krsna consciousness. I don’t know if Srila Prabhupada himself used the term, but some devotees have referred to the program as the “transcendental sandwich.” A sandwich is two pieces of bread with a filling in the middle. Similarly, we have the morning and evening programs, and in the middle we have our practical activities to spread Krsna consciousness. We have to keep the balance. We cannot imitate Haridasa Thakura and think that we can sit down and chant 300,000 names daily, because we can’t do it and don’t have the time to do it. Nor should we work like materialistic people, just keeping busy going here and there to get and spend money with no time to hear and chant about Krsna. So we need to do both: hear and chant about Krsna and engage in practical service to spread Krsna consciousness.

And we should cultivate favorable relationships with devotees. Because man is a social animal, if we don’t develop relationships with devotees we will make relationships with nondevotees, demons. Relationships with nondevotees will lead us into nondevotional or even sinful activities, and ultimately we will commit offenses against devotees. So, to maintain the delicate balance, we need the association of devotees. Otherwise, if our outside engagements become too much and our spiritual association becomes too little, we may fall down into the material ocean.

But even if we fall down grossly or subtly, the Lord is very kind and He will pick us up. Specifically, the spiritual master will come and pick up the devotee if by chance the devotee falls from the standard of pure Krsna consciousness. So we are not alone in our struggle. We do our best to follow the instructions we have received from sadhu, sastra, and guru. Still, because the material energy is very powerful, we may become bewildered and fall from the pure principles of Krsna consciousness. But the spiritual master will not leave us. As long as we are sincerely trying to serve him, he will not leave us; he will pick us up again and again. Just like a child who is learning to walk—because the child is weak, sometimes he or she might stumble and fall, but the parent will pick up the child and help him or her to walk again. The parent will actually hold the hand of the child, and the child, being helped by the parent, will walk without any fear or difficulty. So in Krsna consciousness we are not alone. We don’t try to succeed by our own strength or our own intelligence. Rather, we are helped by the hand of the Lord, who extends Himself in the form of the spiritual master. And if we allow ourselves to be guided by the spiritual master, we can be relieved from all distress and disturbance.

For example, Arjuna was so confused; he did not know what to do. He saw arrayed on the battlefield before him his uncle, his cousin-brothers, his teachers, his superiors— people who loved him, who had fed him, who had trained him—and he was thinking, “How can I fight with them? How can I kill them? Even if I win the kingdom, how will I be able to enjoy it?” People want to enjoy some kingdom or some success or some facility with people they love. So he was thinking, “Even if I win the battle and gain the kingdom, I won’t be able to enjoy it, because all the people I would want to enjoy it with will be dead, and I will be responsible.” He was bewildered, and eventually he became overwhelmed with grief. His limbs were shaking, and his eyes were full of tears. Although he was such a powerful ksatriya, such a fierce warrior, the material energy is so strong that even he was trembling, his eyes brimming with tears.

And then he made a critical decision. He decided to surrender to Krsna and accept Krsna as his spiritual master. Arjuna had been enjoying a relationship of friendship with Krsna. They used to sit together as equals, they used to dine together as equals, and in general they used to enjoy together as equals. Arjuna used to relish that friendly relationship with Krsna. But when Arjuna was bewildered about what to do and what not to do, he could not get any solution just by being friendly with Krsna and talking as equals with Him. It was only when Arjuna decided to surrender to Krsna and accept Him as his spiritual master and take instruction from Him that Lord Krsna began to teach him the knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita. Arjuna said, “I am confused about my duty—I do not know what to do—so now I am surrendering unto You. Please instruct me.”

karpanya-dosopahata-svabhavah
prcchami tvam dharma-sammudha-cetah
yac chreyah syan niscitam bruhi tan me
sisyas te 'ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam

“Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of miserly weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me for certain what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.” (Bg 2.7) When Arjuna surrendered to Krsna, he asked Krsna to instruct him—what to do, how to solve this problem. And when he accepted Krsna’s instructions, all of his problems were solved.

Thus, Srila Prabhupada once wrote to a disciple, “Your enthusiastic response to my instructions is very encouraging. Actually, the disciple is supposed to find relief from all of his problems just by carrying out the orders of the spiritual master. In the beginning Arjuna was completely confused and lamenting, but after accepting Krsna and hearing from Him he said, ‘Now my illusion is over, and I am prepared to do whatever you say.’ If the guru is a representative of the Supreme Lord in disciplic succession and the student is sincere, only then he can get him out of the clutches of the material energy to become situated in spiritual happiness above all material desires, in Krsna consciousness.” (SP letter dated 4.5.1974)

So this is our process. We don’t try to stay afloat by our own efforts, by our own intelligence. We take help from Krsna and Krsna’s representatives, and that will lift us up. Even if we have fallen down and become bewildered and confused—we don’t know what to do and what not to do—when we surrender to Krsna’s representative, he will pick us up by his guidance and mercy.

Today I read a letter from a devotee in Mauritius. In the beginning he related how after spending some few minutes with me and discussing some problems he had, his chanting had improved. But then, after some time, the same problems came again, not as bad as before, but still, the same problems came. I had given him five instructions, and he was not following one of them. So he wrote, “Please give me your mercy that I may follow your instructions.” Now, that appeal may sound nice, but in one case when a disciple prayed to Srila Prabhupada, “Please give me your mercy that I may follow your instructions,” Srila Prabhupada replied, “It is like a man who has fallen to the bottom of a well. I come and send down a rope to pull him out, and the man at the bottom prays, ‘Please give me your mercy. Please make my fingers curl around the rope.’ ” And with that, Srila Prabhupada made a face of disgust. The person is giving you his mercy by sending down the rope; all you have to do is hold on to it and he will lift you up. And you are praying, “Please give me your mercy that my fingers will curl around the rope.” So, the spiritual master comes, he sends down the rope of his instructions, and you have to follow his instructions and he will lift you out of the deep, dark well of material existence and situate you at the lotus feet of Krsna. But at least you have to hold on to the rope. At least you have to try to follow the instructions—not even follow perfectly, but at least try to follow the instructions—and he will lift you up.

Actually, our process is very easy, the descending process. Knowledge descends from above. Mercy descends from above. We just have to accept it, and then the Lord will lift us up out of our abominable condition, just as Lord Boar lifted up the earth when it had fallen into the Garbhodaka Ocean. So this is the mercy of Krsna. Sometimes Krsna comes personally, as so many incarnations, but generally He sends His representatives. And for us the rope that can take us out of the material world back to Krsna is the disciplic succession. So we just hold on to the rope of the disciplic succession—the instructions of the disciplic succession—and the disciplic succession will lift us out of the well of material existence and situate us at the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari in pure devotional service.

Hare Krsna.

Are there any questions or comments?

Devotee (1): When we do something wrong, is it misuse of our free will, or is it the Lord’s arrangement to purify us?

Giriraj Swami: Both may be true. We may misuse our free will and come into difficulty, but even then we are not alone. The Lord is there, and He wants us to learn from our mistake and rectify it. So although the Lord is not responsible for our mistakes (nadatte kasyacit papam)—we are responsible—by the Lord’s mercy we can learn from our mistakes and be reinstated in our constitutional position, and be stronger and better than we were before we made the mistake. Because we have learned from the mistake, we are actually better situated than before.

Devotee (1): [inaudible]

Giriraj Swami: Yes, by the misuse of the free will we make the mistake, and by mercy of the Lord we get the intelligence to realize our mistake and rectify it. Of course, the Lord’s mercy is open to everyone. So it is the devotee’s openness to receiving the Lord’s mercy and being rectified that allows the devotee to be reinstated. Not everyone who makes a mistake is purified. But it is to the credit of the devotee that even after making the mistake he or she tries to take shelter of the Lord, to take shelter of the spiritual master, and by the mercy of the Lord and the spiritual master is able to improve, to come back to the proper standard.

Devotee (2): In Bombay, people work late at night and then sleep late in the morning, so how to make our transcendental sandwich—how to strike a proper balance between spiritual activities and the material world?

Giriraj Swami: Everyone has his minute independence. In most cases, if someone wants to take rest early and get up early, he can. Although there may be some jobs that require one to work late, still, if we give priority to hearing and chanting about Krsna, we will be able to find time. “Be there a will, and wisdom finds a way.” Many people watch television at night, read the newspaper, or go to hotels or clubs. They find time, because nobody can work day and night, without recreation. They need some recreation. Generally, people work in the mode of passion, so they want relief from that mode. Sinful people get relief through the mode of ignorance: they go to the bar and get drunk; they engage in meat-eating, illicit sex, and gambling. They try to get relief from the mode of passion by plunging themselves into ignorance. And pious people get relief through the mode of goodness. They want to rise early, to chant Hare Krsna, to attend mangala-arati, to read Srimad-Bhagavatam. So, there is time for recreation. Nobody can work day and night, without recreation. And according to the person’s desire, he or she can seek recreation in sinful life or spiritual life.

And if someone really is confused about how to organize one’s time, he or she can speak to some experienced devotee and get some suggestions. There are many devotees, even in Bombay, who work during the day, but they still chant sixteen rounds, come to the temple, attend satsangas, and read Prabhupada’s books. Where there is a will there is a way.

Devotee (3): I read in an article by the editor himself that he came to Hare Krishna Land, stayed in the guest house, closed the doors so that he wouldn’t be disturbed by conch shells, and drank whisky. He himself has written so.

Giriraj Swami: When the sun rises, the owl goes into the cave; the owl doesn’t like sunlight, so he goes into the darkness of the cave. Krsna-surya-sama; maya haya andhakara/ yahan krsna, tahan nahi mayara adhikara. Godhead is light, and nescience is darkness. Where there is Godhead, there is no nescience, or darkness. He came here; he could have been in the light of Krsna consciousness, in the glory of Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari, but he went into the room, closed the doors, turned out the light, and drowned himself in the bottle. That was his free will. We do not force. Even Krsna does not force. After explaining everything to Arjuna, Krsna did not force him to fight. Rather, He told Arjuna, “Now you have heard everything that I have said; now yathecchasi tatha kuru—whatever you like you can do.” And immediately Arjuna replied, smritir labdha: Now my memory has returned; now I remember my actual position. Now I am prepared to act as You instruct me. Karisye vacanam tava: I am prepared to act according to Your order. So Krsna never forces. He gave Arjuna the choice. He explained everything, but in the end He gave Arjuna the choice, and voluntarily Arjuna surrendered. Karisye vacanam tava: Now I am prepared to act according to Your order.

So I am sure that those who want to take the benefit of Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari’s splendor and mercy and glory will do so. And those who want to close the door and open the bottle—they have their free will. They are also free to do as they like—and enjoy or suffer the consequences.

Sri Sri Radha-Rasabihari ki jaya!
Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!