Vedic Leadership seminar given by HH. Bhaktividya Purna Swami at ISKCON Sydney in 2010
The whole concept of Vedic leadership starts with the principle of self-realization. The information you will be presented with is not technically different from what you have possibly encountered since your association with Krishna consciousness. The difference is that it will be seen, not just in the light of philosophy, but in a way that practically applies to your life. Not just something to think about but as something that you use. The idea is that you will understand how to take any aspect of the philosophy that you are reading and apply it in day to day life because that is where leadership happens- in day to day life, not elsewhere. Leadership means that you do things and others take inspiration from it. So it is a very personal thing and a very practical thing.
If you have the leadership course; on page 16 in the middle we define leadership. In the middle of the page there are two quotes from Srila Prabhupada- “Leader means first class disciple- Evam Parampara Praptam” and “Guru Mukha Padma Vakya, Ara Na Kariha Mane Asa- To follow the order of the bona fide guru; this is leader.”
Leadership is a further stage of realization. The ISKCON movement is meant for self-realization and not for anything else. All other aspects are for engaging yourself in Krishna’s service, but the point is for you to realize who you are. If you can realise who you are then you can realise who others are. When you realise who others are then only can you lead. The difficulty in the aspect of leadership is that it is taken for granted that you are just going to manage people. That you are going to be in charge and that is leadership. But that is not actually leadership. Leadership means that you are doing something that others can follow. Managing is not leadership. Leadership is person to person. You are doing something because you are inspired and you can inspire others. That is leadership. Otherwise, management simply means that you are clever at organizing the material energy so that you can get some observable result. If you think about it, management always means getting an observable result. If you don’t get an observable result you are a bad manager. Leadership means that observable results will come but it is not necessarily you HAVE to do it(4:00). The important thing about leadership is that you inspire other people to be involved in the process and that process is self-realization. Then when you have many people involved organization, management and all these things come into play. But they are always subservient to the process of self-realization. It is a very important to understand that self-realization is the important factor. People today are very expert at moving the material energy but they do not know who they are and thus they are not satisfied, they are not peaceful and they don’t experience in life that which they are looking for. They expect that by manipulating the material energy they will become happy. They even get all the facility to make them happy yet they are not happy. Why? Because they do not know who they are. Even in the modern environment. Then this is what people go looking for- they go to yoga studios, they go looking for self-help, different motivational things, even into kirtan because management is not enough. We are not inspired by managers. We are inspired by people. Those people may manage but we are inspired by the attitude of those people- their mood, which we can also pick up. That is why this study of leadership is relevant to everyone, because it is still based on self-realization. If you can apply it in your life you will be able to show others how to apply it in theirs. Hence, leadership is the most important because it makes Krishna Consciousness dynamic. It makes your life dynamic and makes your relationship with others dynamic. If these things aren’t dynamic then there is no use, it has no meaning. The point is that if you are not getting some taste and experience, it is not important.
If you look on page 3 at the bottom, Prabhupada writes in the Bhagavad Gita 3:21 purport, “The teacher cannot manufacture rules against the principles of revealed scriptures. The revealed scriptures, like Manu-samhita and similar others, are considered the standard books to be followed by human society. Thus the leader’s teaching should be based on the principles of such standard shastras. One who desires to improve himself must follow the standard rules as they are practiced by the great teachers. The Srimad-Bhagavatam also affirms that one should follow in the footsteps of great devotees, and that is the way of progress on the path of spiritual realization. The king or the executive head of a state, the father, and the school teacher are all considered to be natural leaders of the innocent people in general. All such natural leaders have great responsibility to their dependents. Therefore, they must be conversant with standard books of moral and spiritual codes.” There are two main points here. One is following on the last point from page 16- the element of personal development. The quote mentions leadership and natural leaders. That pertains to administrators, parents, and teachers – anyone who is in a position responsible for people. It is their duty to lead according to their religious principles and the scriptures. Prabhupada makes the point that one cannot “manufacture”. If you manufacture, then people will not get something complete. You will give them something less because we ourselves are not complete. The jiva on its own does not have much standing, though the jiva in connection with the lord does. That is something great. For example- you may have some wiring system that looks nice, even colour coded. In the case it is not connected to the power source, it does not have any meaning. It does not do anything. Similarly, the jiva needs to be connected to the lord and with that potency things can happen. That is achieved by connecting through the revealed scriptures. The lord does everything according to the revealed scriptures. He of course is the source but the scriptures are what God likes to do, how God likes to live, how God likes relationships to function and how you should interact with others. All this is defined in the scriptures. The way God likes everything to be done is clearly defined in the scriptures. Then one of his qualities is that he follows those rules even though he is God and beyond everything. He follows them because the purpose of the rules is relationships, not anything else. Difficulty comes about when management or leadership is separated from relationship. In such a case, you may be able to move dead matter but those who are conscious will not be impressed. They won’t be and they can’t be. This is because relationship is between you and somebody who is conscious. Though there is relationship with dead matter but that is the easy part. Most people do that quite well- most people figure out how to turn on the light and flush the toilet. You can figure which end of the toilet paper you are supposed to hold or which end of the bed the pillow is supposed to go. All these things can be easily figured out. Moving material energy is not the challenge. The challenge is people because they are conscious and when we come into contact with people, somehow all the experiences in dealing with dead matter do not apply anymore. We expect that people are the opposite but they are not. They are the conscious representatives of relationship. Matter is not; as you may still have the relationship but then you are the only dynamic aspect. Matter is not a conscious representative because it is static. When you add another dynamic element it does not mean the formulae changes. It doesn’t change as is often mistaken.
The basis of our discussion is “Sambhandha,” “Abhidhyeya,” and “Prayojana.” These are called “vastu-traya” in the Vedic literatures. “Vastu” means substance and “traya” means three. So, these are the three elements of substance. Everything in the philosophy and culture of Krishna Conciousness and even the workings of the cosmic creation is based on these three principles. Everything in the philosophy can be brought back to these three principles and if you can see everything according to this it is very advantageous. The importance is seen in the introduction to the Bhagvad Gita where Srila Prabhupada mentions that Krishna’s purpose in speaking the Bhagvad Gita is to make Arjuna an authority on the this knowledge. This will change Arjuna’s perspective and thus enable him to act under Krishna’s direction. The idea of this seminar is to change your perspective. We will not offer any tricks or techniques. If that is desired you should buy yourself a book, of which plenty are available. Here you will gain the understanding by which to generate those techniques. This formula is always applicable. It is fundamental to fundamental principles. Anything that you expand from here is going into details. These details are specific to your situation, something only you can establish. A book can give you an example. An example can be illustrated for you but that is not the completeness of the operation of the formulae. It is simply an example by which you can understand how to apply the formula to your particular situation. Each person is an individual with a unique situation. Even if a there are people in the same situation, their positions may be different. So the details of application will be different but the principle will be exactly the same. That is the commonality- commonality in principle and not the detail. When people get caught up in details they miss the point and then they are only comfortable if externals look in a particular way. If you change the externals they become uncomfortable because they think that the externals or details are the complete picture. All problems come from not being able to tell the difference between principle and details.
Sambhanda, Abhidhyeya and Prayojana translates to; relationship, process, and result. This is the most popular translation given by Srila Prabhupada. It has more meaning because of its universal application but here it is fundamental. You can derive everything from this meaning. So, relationship means understanding the field of activities. What is the field of activities? Who are you in that field? Who are the others in that field? That is why we say that you cannot be leader unless you know who you are. If you do not know who you are you will not really be able to figure out who others are. Even if you can it will not be sustainable. If you cannot take care of yourself you cannot take care of others for very long. You may go for some years – 1 year, 5 years, or 20 years. It may even be until your kids grow up. Once they have grown up and left the house then you get divorced but it is still not going to last for long enough. So relation means understanding everything about the field. Abhidhyeya or the process means application. Not the study or knowledge of it but the actual application. This will be made clear later on. Then Prayojana is the result. The result can have different forms. There is the observable result and the experience. The observable result is something you can see- some transformation of matter that has come about due to operations of the process. However, the experience which you get from that result, such as happiness or sadness is more important. The experience is more important than the tangible matter.
There are four aspects in the personality of Godhead- Sankarshana, Pradyumna, Vasudeva and Aniruddha. Though each one is technically the same there is a difference in flavour. There is the emphasis on different areas so that everything can be accomplished but then there is also the specific function. Sankarshana means the field itself- the field of action. The Bhagvad Gita describes the field of action as being an individual, their senses, sense objects, time, place, circumstance and others who may be in that field. All that exists is defined by Sankarshana also the establishment of all rules and regulations. When Krishna comes to establish religion and destroy demons- that is the mood of Sankarshana. Pradyumna is also in the field of relationship of having established your identity and that of everything else. This gives you inspiration. If you do not know your identity then you cannot be inspired. Once you are inspired then you are Pradyumna and that will generate desire or attraction. Then from attraction one will achieve the result. The desire will be satiated by result. That is Aniruddha or the goal. It is only by the grace of Aniruddha that you receive the goal. It is critical that you need the goal and not simply want it. It is only when you need something that you will work for it. If you do not have hunger you will make no endeavour. If you are going to deal with leadership it is important to understand these subtle differences. Next is Vasudeva, the process. When you are knowledgeable about the field, you show interest, you then need and finally make the endeavour it is Vasudeva. That is the pastimes. That is what you can actually perceive. You may see the field but it is static, nothing is happening. The need desire or need is only felt as you cannot observe it. What you can actually perceive is endeavour because it is dynamic. Endeavour must have all the qualities of the other three. That makes it the most important. After proper knowledge, inspiration and need comes endeavour which will give you success.
A further step involves understanding how the mind works. The mind is thinking, feeling and willing as Srila Prabhupada defines it. Thinking means sambhanda or contemplation of the field; knowing your identity, other available objects and how they can satisfy you. When you contemplate long enough you become attached. Then it has becomes feeling and it is something you need- which is prayojana. Next is the willingness to do something which is endeavour. The process of motivation goes from thinking, feeling and willing or sambhandha, pryojana and abhidhyeya. The endeavour will lead to observable and experiential results. The motive really comes when prayojana has been touched without which there is no activity. That is the difference between desire and need. If you are walking down the street and see something nice in the window you stop for a minute and mull over it. Then you just keep walking. That is simply desire. It is nice so you may even think about it later. The difference is when you see something nice and feel that you must have it, and then you walk into the store and buy it. Similarly, if you want people to do things you must bring them to the point where they need it. This is the effect of advertisement. It makes you need something. To make you need something you must first desire it. So the advertisement will also present why you would be interested in it. It must establish the field of activities or environment it will create and bring your interest to it, which will then have to be brought to a need. Once there is a need you will do the rest of the work through endeavour. The advertisement creates the three- knowledge of the activities, interest and desire. This is done in the hope that you will bring the fourth- need and activity. That is the point. Inspiration means to have the ability to take others through those three steps. Then the endeavour will come about. This requires knowledge and the ability to inspire. If people only have knowledge, that is great but they do not necessarily do anything. A scientist may have plentiful knowledge and may spend time contemplating but it is never brought to your attention. It is only brought to your attention by someone else who sees the benefit of making it available to people. If it was up to the nerds, computers would still be sitting in the pentagon. So it is not brought to practical use. On the other hand, as is often in religious or topical dealings there is not enough knowledge. It simply works on desire and need. It is based on sentiments. Like some ask “Have you been saved? Have you found Christ?!” and you just think “Well, I didn’t know that he was lost….” So it is all sentiments, there is not enough philosophy. They may be emotionally inspired and they may get that inspiration to rub off on you but as soon as something requires an answer, you are lost. You have to have an answer when your children ask “why do we follow this religion?” If you do not, then they will stop. This happens if someone else generated the inspiration in you. You have to create your own inspiration and for that you must have some knowledge. This mind has to be used and that requires intelligence. The mind includes the intelligence and the ego. Intelligence and ego are aspects of the mind not separate things. So what is the practical application of these principles?
Yudhistira Maharaj defines in the Mahabharta 3 elements for success. The first is focus. The second is endeavour. The third is “daiva.” There is no appropriate English translation for daiva but basically it means god’s will or blessing. It is the understanding that results are coming from a higher realm. We have to understand that there is more than just our desire and endeavour. Focus is derived as such- we need knowledge to be inspired because without inspiration there is no need and without need we will not endeavour. This requires that the whole process of sambhandha and abhidhyeya need to be clear in your mind. That is focus. You know what you have and what you can get from it, you know what you want and you are willing to work for it. That is focus. Once you have this focus you will make the endeavour. After which the results are really left to the powers above us. For instance, we find many times that we endeavour to do something like play golf. Someday we do well and other we do not. Then we wonder “Why is it that I have different results when my effort and skill is exactly the same in each case?” This is due to daiva. It is the notion of your pious credit that makes things work. If you go to the bank and know that you only have five dollars in the account but ask the teller for 100 dollars. Do you expect to get the amount? No. You can get five dollars but not one hundred. If you have the credit you can receive it. If you do not, you cannot. If this were not the case, with the use of the mind you could just manipulate the field and get the results. But the mind has to be able to accommodate and deal with the situation, identify with it and then the situation is controlled by higher powers. You mind must be in congruence with the supreme mind for work to actually get done. That is the practical application of this theory.
All the three aspects of Sambhandha, Abhidhyeya and Prayojana are inter-related. So what is the prominent quality? When you perform an activity you have knowledge and you have a goal. This is how they connect. When you deal with the elements of the field you have knowledge. You know the relationship of the elements, you know the purpose of the elements and you know what you can get from them. The purpose is connecting towards the goal. Who you are, what you can do, what you can get and what will be the purpose. This is all knowledge. This is all part of a plan. If you want to make a plan you need the intellectual to touch on all these aspects. The difference between a plan and the process is that the plan is all spelt out. It exists and makes sense, at least on paper. Applying it to the situation is another thing as the situation is a living thing and constantly changing. So then you need the ability to adjust things. This is the process which can only take place in the present. The present means the actual focus of your attention. The mind can actually focus on a time span of 1/11t of a second. This is called a moment. That is the level at which you have to be focused. You must always be there in the present and if you lose focus you are not successfully dealing with that environment. Endeavour means that you are dealing with the present moment. If the moment is performing according to plan then you can keep your plan the same. If the moment starts adjusting you must also adjust your plan. But how to adjust a plan? If you have knowledge of the field and know how each element functions then you can adjust the plan. If you are unable to do that, then the plan will not work. You must be focused, aware of the elements and applying it suitably it have a successful endeavour and you will achieve the result. It is very simple and straight forward. You determine the result and operate the field. If things are moving towards your goal, that is great. If they are not, then you make adjustment until it does. This is generally how to deal with dead matter. We take a knife and cut a potato. If it is too thick we adjust the knife and cut a little thinner. We can simply make adjustments. Driving in a car we come towards a curve. If we are moving too fast we can hit the breaks to gear down. We reduce the speed because we are aware of the moment and know the field in which we are dealing. This is the car, the road, the conditions of the road, other cars on the road, policemen nearby, etc. We consider all these elements and make adjustments. Then when we apply this to people we tend to do something else. We expect others to do everything for us. We deal with the other person but not with the moment. When we want to have a nice exchange we do not keep aware that the things we do and say will generate that feeling. If we want a nice exchange we need to work. Instead we think “No, let the other person work.” When people are asked how their relationships are going, they always answer that it is great but the other partner seems not to cooperate or reciprocate. It always seems to be about the other person. Every person you ask will always appropriate problems to the other person. This may seem a strange thing but you cannot expect the car to drive by itself. All your consideration is in the moment when it is dead matter but when it comes to people you expect them to do the work. That is why relationships do not work, because there is no relationship. People expect to just sit there and let the others do everything. That does not work. Relationships have to be dynamic and both partners should be careful about what is happening. If things are not going to the way you want them to, you should make adjustments. You have control in your adjustment. You do not have control over the others even though we might try to get control of them. No, it is unnecessary as all you have to do is get control of yourself. That is self-realization. If you are comfortable then things can work. Only those who have control over themselves can influence others. If you are not comfortable with yourself, why would anyone else be? It starts with the individual who must understand this and apply. To make the broadest definition of the field you must include the supreme, the living entities and the material energy. Everything may be ascertained in these three. You and others are the living entities. The situation is the material energy and then there is the control of the Supreme Lord. If you understand these three then you understand the field. If you understand the field you can have an idea of what to do with the field. If you know that you can have a goal that is actually obtainable. In this way you can make a plan, follow the plan and attain a particular result. If you have a look at Vedanta Philosophy you can see that it is very practical. Vedanta philosophy deals with five things. “Chit” which is the living entity. “Achit” is the material energy that is not conscious and “Isvara” who is the controller. Then you have the process of elevation which is abhidhyeya and the result obtained by that process. The end result of this philosophy is that you go to the heavenly planets, you merge with Brahman; extinguishing yourself like a candle being blown out or you go back to Godhead. Anything in the philosophy can be derived from these five elements.
The five are God, Jiva and Prakrti which encapsulates knowledge. Then there is process by which you operate the knowledge. Finally, you have the goal or result of the process which is the relationship the Jiva has, upon elevation, with God and the material energy once everything has happened. All philosophy can be boiled down to this. Then you have to question “Who is God?” “Who is the Jiva?” For many, God is just the Supreme person. Then you question “What does he look like?” and then you have a problem. They know he is the Supreme person but not much else. So, then he is not a person. If it was Zen it could work- “The person who is not a person.” When you look at this mono-theistically this is a problem. Next is the Jiva, “What is the Jiva?” Well you know you have the body and that can be understood. Then “what is the material energy?” Is it God’s energy or is it an energy that we can enjoy. What is the process of elevation? Most people think you can do good and be nice and you will attain a heavenly situation but then do they consider what is the relationship with God and the ultimate goal? No, who cares! You are in heaven and who needs to talk about God in heaven. You please God to get to heaven and then after that who cares about him. This is a problem. Then you have the impersonalists who consider the living entity as brahman and the supreme as brahman and the material energy is an illusion to make the living entity think that they are not brahman. In that case the process is to attain knowledge to understand that you are brahman and once that is achieved illusion will go away and you will be a part of brahman and happy. Here again there is no relationship with the Lord. Bhuddism is the same. You can see that in those cases there is something misunderstood in the five categories. Once you properly know the five categories everything works philosophically and culturally because everything is based on this. What you should gain from that is- philosophy is the knowledge you gain that should be practically applied in your life. Culture is the knowledge that is practically applied and knowledge defines the culture. They are non-different. If there is a difference then there is a problem. The vedic culture must be based on these principles. Then the philosophy and culture is the same. Though for most, culture means that “you can do whatever you feel like doing.” Then you have the philosophy but the culture is not connected. Many times devotees have difficulty because their culture is one thing and their philosophy is another. When they are young it may not matter but as they get older they need to make a living and have to follow a separate kind of lifestyle. Then when they realise they have to bring the philosophy in line with their lifestyle and they start adjusting the philosophy! They will not adjust the lifestyle, they adjust the philosophy. That is why it must be understood that the lifestyle must be aligned with the philosophy and then you can avoid the problem. If you do not, it will catch up with you someday. Therefore the saying “It will come around and bite you.” This is the basic introduction or body of knowledge that will later be studied in detail to elucidate practical application.
Question: In the beginning you were talking about managers and leaders. The definition of a manager is someone who can get observable results. Is not that how you get recognition? That is why I think sometimes that it would be better to be a manager than…
Be a leader. We know that by organizing the material energy we get observable results which are appreciated, so the tendency is to be a better manager than a leader. The thing about a leader is that he does get things done but it is not necessarily done by him. He inspires others and they get it done. Say for instance that you have a dynamic company and it is expanding over many countries. You have to wonder where the success is from, what the cause of expansion may be and what whether there is a difference between this company and others. It comes down to more motivation. There is more inspiration. Leadership is stronger because someone is inspired and has vision. They can get others to get the work done. However, the point of leadership is that you can only inspire others to do a job if you are willing to do it yourself. If a temple president is not willing to wash pots because he does not like to do so, he will not be able to find others to wash the pots. You can only inspire someone to do something that you yourself are willing to do. If you look at the CEOs of large companies they are inspired, they have a vision and they can work with people. If you cannot work with people you will not be able to get anything done. Getting observable results is not the problem. Endeavour will bring about some observable result but you need to know how great you want to make the result. You may have control over yourself but also be strongly situated in order to inspire others so there is more involvement. This does not mean that you have to do anything outside of what the scriptures have authorized. We can see that everything we have talked about is non-sectarian. It is a universal religion. This is Sanatan Dharma. It can be applied to anyone, anywhere and any situation. Whether it is a multi-national CEO or someone sitting in Papua New Guinea, it is the same principle. We have yet to explore the externals but this can be applied to any external. When we mention something that is authorized by the shastras we do not mean the externals but rather the principles. That is the importance. The difficulty is when devotees take this in regards to Krishna Consciousness and get caught up with externals and over the principle. If we are traditional we put up with the problems. If we are not traditional we suggest that the preaching is wrong and that we should employ soft preaching but this is as straight as it gets. I could walk into the board of directors and speak the same thing and it would be just as relevant because the mind, intelligence, ego and fields of activities do not change.
This is God’s creation and God’s law. Just the way it is. There are traditions of application. Forms of application according to the modes, like goodness, will create the difference. The mode you want it in, the difference, the situation will make the change and adjustment but the principle is the same. One has to be able to understand the Vedic principles and that is why Srila Prabhupada says, “The teacher cannot manufacture rules against the principles of revealed scriptures.” In other words, your application may look different but the principle is the same. For an example, you observe that someone knows how to dress properly. They wear a dhoti, churidar or kurta very nicely. Would you say that this is cultured or uncultured?
Cultured, yes. That is the Vedic principle. Dressing should be cultured. It should be according to the nature of the body and the human mood. It should look aesthetic. It should be practical. All these different things should be taken into consideration because that is the principle on which it is based. Tradition is wearing dhoti and chadar. The principle is trying to affect that of a cultured person. You can’t go against that principle. But say if you are in a situation where you cannot wear dhoti and chadar? So you don’t want to go against the Vedic principle, you want to apply the Vedic principle in wearing some modern clothes, what would you wear? Pants hanging down low with the underwear sticking out? No, you should wear something that is cultured but at the same time practical for your particular situation. It should look nice and others should be able to appreciate it. So, when devotees wear say it is not practical to wear certain things and wear something uncultured in being “practical,” no they are not. They are being attached to whatever they are wearing. They are not regulating it according to the Vedic literature. The point is to follow in the field created by good. If you wear some weird stuff people will appropriate it in that way. You might find a few others who like it but the general populace will give your group a name. So you should dress nicely that everyone can appreciate. Devotees need to apply these Vedic principles in their dress. Whether you are wearing Vedic traditional dress or any modern dress, it does not matter. The principle is what is most important. That devotees don’t follow, which means you are manufacturing your own principle. That means it is against the Vedas. When you get to the point that you create a philosophy to explain how it is acceptable- then it is starting to get weird. That does not make sense because you are trying to rationalize improper dressing and showing how it is practical. No, you are just dressing how you like to dress. It is about your feeling not about any kind of regulation. Even if you want to dress according to a particular group there are things which are accepted and considered proper. If you wear the right kind of accessories then they go- Wow, that is some really upto date and high grade Goth. But if you are not wearing the right things- like you must have black fingernails, it can’t be mauve. It has to be black. If you are using some higher grade nail polish which has gloss, then the others will notice. So it is the same principle in what is considered cultured and acceptable in that social environment- that has to be worn. But just wearing anything that does not even look good and everyone wonders where that came from, that is a slob. It does not matter who you are, vedic or non-vedic. It is not appreciated, unless your group prides themselves in being slobs. The point is that these principles are what make things work. The more you understand that the more successful you will be. Some people, by good karma, follow these automatically without knowing. The problem is that when their good karma runs out then they stop following. But through knowledge anyone can apply this in their life.
Question: You associate Sankharsan, Vasudeva, Pradyumna, Aniruddha and knowledge, desire, endeavour with intelligence, mind and ego with the field?
The different aspects there are overlapping. Sankharsana is the field but you have to have knowledge of the field. So, what was the question? Of how we are relating the different Catur Vyuha? Knowledge is understanding the field but the actual use of intelligence and all is Pradyumna because there is an interest. If there is no interest then you do not actual apply yourself to the knowledge. Pradyumna and Aniruddha are more specifically to do with the element of the mind, the desire and the need. Though, of course the mind is also the seed of your identity so without proper understanding of who you are, you will not have an identity. If you do not have that then you are insecure and the mind is a bit disturbed and there will not be any desire or need. There is a predominance. Such as Aniruddha will be the predominance of the element of the mind. Pradyumna will be intelligence, Shankharsana will be the field in which that illigence and mind is applied and Vasudeva will be when these things are actually applied into the workings of the field.
Question: Does Aniruddha relate to the mind and ego?
No, ego would be Sankarsan because you have your identity there. When you know the field, then you know who you are and you have an identity. That would be your ego. Sankharsana would be your ego and Pradyumna would be your intelligence. Aniruddha would be the mind. Pradyumna being intelligence is actually the lord of the senses because they work by intelligence. They discriminate between things. How hot, cold, rough, bright, dark, shapely- that is intelligence. The senses work by intelligence and Pradyumna in terms of their mechanics, but what you actually do is controlled by Aniruddha or the mind. That is why if only want the results will the sense act accordingly. That means when you are dealing with Vasudeva it incorporates all the qualities of the other three. So, by being in the proper field with the proper understanding of the field and operating the intelligence and senses according to the need that the mind establishes one will get success. Sankharsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha have their particular qualities but Vasudeva has all of those qualities. Then the performance of the activity becomes the central feature. Maybe just for fun this is understood on the devotional platform. Madan Mohan is the lord of attractiveness- Sambhandha. Govindji is the lord of Abhidhyeya or the devotional process. Gopinath is the lord of Prayojana. In other words, Krishna is the goal of life. Krishna is what is attracting us and Krishna is the devotional activity and interaction.
Question: Would desire relate more to the mind?
We are giving various perspectives at looking at this one thing because we are saying that sambhandha, Abhidhyeya and prayojana are the fundamental basic formulas of the functioning cosmos. The mind will have all these three. Any complete topic will be found in these three categories. At the same time you can take any topic and divide it into these these three. Say you take sambhandha and you are talking about the element of knowledge which means you have to approach the field. That would be sambhandha. Then with abhidhyeya you will start to analyse it and by prayojana you will have gained understanding of the field. Then the aspect is complete. You look at the field and then you contemplate and become inspired which is your goal. In prayojana you look at the possibilities and need and then having endeavoured you will get the result and the experience. So it can all be broken down into these three..
Question: During achman we say Om Vasudevaya Namaha, Om Sankharsanaya Naramha, Om Pradyumnaya Namaha, Om Aniruddhaya Namah. Are we trying to inculcate all these processes within ourselves?
Basically Achman is remembering the names of the lord. There are 24 names of Vishnu which are used along with hand gestures to purify different parts of the body for the purpose of deity worship. There is what is called yoga in which you bring yourself to the transcendental platform so that you can worship the transcendental lord, then you start the deity worship process. You can consider just those 4 names but the point is that there are 24. In studying these 4 names we understand how everything is a part of Krishna. In the 24 names we are undergoing the process of purification which has the 4 names in it but that is not the prominent element. For example, cake is food but you don’t think of cake as just food. It is a dessert. It is something nice which comes at the end to close the meal. Even though it is food, that is not the prominent element because something else takes prominence. That is culture. That is the flavour. So, it has the mechanics but at the same time is it important to be able to gauge the mood. One should be able to tell the different moods so that one knows what perspective to use in what particular situation.
Question: You mentioned that we should have focus, knowledge and aspiration and then endeavour and finally “daiva”. That even though we are endeavouring with knowledge and focus results are up to a higher controlling power?
There is difference between aspiration and goal; difference between aspiration and need. Aspiration is what you want and the goal is what you need. What we want is everything and I remember seeing a decal on a car in India that covered the whole window and it read, “All I want is everything.” So, that is very clearly stated but what you need may not be exactly that.
Daiva will be made clear after the break when we talk about the Catursloki which will very clearly define the philosophy and how it is applied to everything. Basically in terms of result, you are making an endeavour and manipulating the material energy but you are not ultimately the final cause. In causation theory there is a material cause and an operational cause with which we are dealing. There formulas will make one aware that the formal cause and original cause are subtle. In other words, the reason that your endeavour can work and that you even have a field to within is because of your formal cause because that is the principle by which forms can obtain a particular goal. For example, if you are trying to get from one floor to the other floor because you want a higher position, a promotion, you can take the stairs, elevator, fire-escape, try climbing with a grapple-rope etc. This variety is because of the formal cause without which you cannot manifest. You can only manifest that which is possible. That formal cause has already been established by the lord at the beginning of creation and so you cannot invent something. You can only cleverly put together various aspects of the formal cause, put stairs on the elevator for instance. You can do things but you cannot create something new because it will not work. This is what we are trying to establish. Then you can understand that those who are successful are dealing with the material energy in a detached point of view at the time of operation. A successful person is not anxious of the result but they will perform the activity that will give them the result and they will perform it as long as it takes to get it. If an opportunity comes up they will make a few phone calls for the deal and done, you are happy. Though, if it means that you will have to have meeting and politically manoeuvre to achieve the result you will do that too until you achieve the result but without being attached to the result. Technically you are performing the activity from the platform of naiskarma that as soon as they get the result they are totally attached but in the operation of it you are completely detached. If you are attached to the result then in your mind it is already obtained or if not then you get frustrated. Then what happens is your identity and your whole determination is lost, your focus is lost, and you stop endeavouring. The ultimate goal is controlled by the super-soul and he sanctions it based on your desire. He gives the attachment, he gives the ability to perform and he gives the result. This must be considered because you might have patience but when the patience runs out then at least you have the philosophy to fall back upon and we will not be disturbed.
Question: If you want to be a leader and control things and control yourself, how do you do that without any particular example from whom you can learn practices and moves.
If there is example than things are nice and that is why the veda’s prominent element in kali yuga is Purana or history. You see that Kardama Muni is a brahmachari and he wants to get married and so you can observe the process that he follows. He gets the lord’s blessings and then gets married, has children, everyone is trained and then he goes back to godhead and everyone also goes back to godhead. This is the example. If you do not have the example you can still understand the field; what you can do in the field, who you are in the field and how you can be inspired. If you are inspired then you can inspire others. You cannot have an example of every particular situation which is why you have the formula to apply yourself. If you simply want tricks then do not be a leader, be a follower, because it is better if someone else who is inspired will tell you what to do and you should just do it and be a good follower. The point is that the leader is also a good follower but he is a good enough follower to show you how to follow. You have to be specific with your question to get a specific answer. Is there any particular case that you are asking about…
Question: There is the case of a particular committee member who is doing nothing..
If they are doing nothing what does that have to do with you? For example if there is a whole table of maha-prasadam lying front of you but nobody is eating it, so then you do not eat? If you are inspired then you just do the job, what does it matter if others are doing the same or not.
Question: What if someone is not letting you do it..
Somebody is not letting you do the job? That is a completely different question. How are they not letting you do it? If you know the field better than them then you should be able to get around them. It is all too easy to say “Oh no, this is the way that it is and it cannot change” then it really will not change. We first see knowledge, intelligence and then inspiration. The guy at the top of the company started at the bottom, not the middle. The middle is full of the guys with their fancy degrees. If you come back after twenty years you will still see them in the middle, they will not move beyond. The guy at the top started at the bottom and so he knows the whole thing. The point is the MBA guy has got the basic field but not the application. The CEO actually served the coffee, cleaned the floor and filed the papers. That is how you can get to the top. If you know the field then you will move up and if you do not then you will stay where you are. If you cannot move up in the company then create your own company. You are limited by your understanding. If you do not have sufficient knowledge then you cannot do much and when you know more then you are willing to do more. Everyone is trying to keep the other person from moving up but if you are more clever than the other person, then you will win. Who wins the poker game? The guy who is clever and more determined. You feel hindered because of lack of motivation and confidence which is why modern schools try and train you by saying “You can do it!” We are not going to say that because it is just mere sentiment. You need to know what is going on otherwise you will just feel good and leave and then find out that nothing is happening.
Question: You explained how culture is applied philosophy and that devotees can sometimes make adjustments to the philosophy and rationalize adopting a new culture. How does one avoid that?
Basically, it is just knowledge. Most devotees if asked “why do you wear those clothes?” they just reply “It just what you are supposed to wear, that is what Hare Krishna’s wear. It makes you a Hare Krishna.” Then how can you make proper adjustments, how can you be properly determined. If you are religious by nature and dutiful then you will just do things because that is what you are supposed to do but then there is knowledge and you find out that actually this is what Krishna wears. Generally, if you like something and make it a goal then you adjust your life according to that. If you are into movie star celebrities then you will go out and buy what they wear. It is natural, that is the created culture. Then on the other hand is the principle and you ask “Why would God and his associates wear that?” Well, because they are very refined and the most pure people. This is what they find to be most comfortable and most versatile because each piece of cloth can be used to do so many things. The garment can be worn in many different ways according to the situation. That way it is very practical even though many devotees say that it is not practical simply because they do not know how to put it on. There are many many ways to wear the cloth but you just have to knowledge and aspiration. This is how you know the culture and principles underlying which makes things easier. Then you know what to do if the opportunity is not there and how to be consistent with how you dress. It is just a matter of studying the knowledge. People are too tired dealing with the material energy that they have no energy to think. The problem is that because they are not thinking they cannot properly deal with the material energy. Many motivational speakers will speak on this topic and say that to improve your efficiency you must learn something but this learning is not a cheap trick . You must learn what is actually going on. Many people do not want to do that or think that they are fine “Oh yeah, we know that, we have read the second canto.” The same thing I have been hearing since the seventies. When on trains in India trying to preach to the Hindus they would reply “Oh yes, we read that when we were 12!” No devotees are doing exactly the same thing. Devotees are becoming are just becoming like the Hindus.