From a class of Srila Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj in February 2019 in Dijon, France, at Rukmini Devi Dasi
We also had songs and harinams following in the footsteps of Lord Nityananda’s mood. Every moment of harinam-sankirtan congregational chants should be blessed by the Panca-Tattva and more specifically Gaura-Nityananda, and that’s why before singing, whether kirtan or japa, we sing the Panca-Tattva mantra to invoke their blessings. It is a very instructive song that explains a little this concept of Nama-Hatta: the market of Holy Names.
In the pastimes of Lord Gauranga, Nityananda was in charge of the distribution, sale on the market of Holy Names, Names of Krsna, it was like a CEO in the trade of the Holy Name. Of course, there is the image the market, the image of the sale, we use this word CEO, we speak at the divine level.
Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj: Is there a particular question?
Gaurangi Devi Dasi: How long does it take between the death of the body and a new birth?
Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj: There are not really strict time rules between one body and another, but the way Srila Sukadeva Goswami describes it: even before we leave our body, our next body is already insured or selected, a bit like a public servant when he is transferred somewhere, even before leaving his office, he knows that his post is somewhere, ready for him.
Before continuing the discussion, I would like to clarify a few things in this assembly where there are many disciples of different spiritual masters, when I say pranams, I can not mention all the names of all the spiritual masters, just to clarify, that people do not feel offended, there is also a great master who is very connected to our family, I pay my obeisances with affection to His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Goswami Maharaj, I pray for His Divine Grace. When we glorify our Guru-Varga, it means the whole family of spiritual masters, they are all really included, we glorify our Guru-Varga according to the positions of the spiritual masters, the different moods, flavors …
Even Srila Krsna Das Kaviraj Prabhu and Srila Vrndavan Das Thakura, the names of all gurus are not included in their vandana:
vande ‘ham sri-guroh sriyuta-pada-kamalam sri-gurun :Guru-Varga
vaisnavams ca : All Vaisnavas, all Vaisnavas are included,
sri-rupam sagrajatam : Sanatana Goswami,
saha-gana-raghunathanvitam tam sa-jivam : Jiva Goswami and Raghunath Das Goswami,
sadvaitam savadhutam :Sri Advaita Prabhu, Nityananda Prabhu
parijana-sahitam : the Entourage of the associates of Nityananda
Krsna-caitanya-devam :Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu,
then sri-radha-krsna-padan : The divine lotus feet of Srimati Radharani and Sri Krsnacandra
saha-gana-lalita-sri-visakhanvitams ca: Accompagnied by Srimati Lalita Devi and Srimati Visakha Devi
In this way, it is what some described by worshiping the lotus feet, bowing to Sri Sri Radha-Krsna’s lotus feet accompanied by Lalita Devi, Visakha Devi and all parapharmelia, His associates, many names are not there, very short, this vandana is supposed to include them all and holistically.
Among the Associates of Mahaprabhu, there is no mention of Swarup Damodar Goswami, no mention Raya Ramananda, among the Panca-Tattva, it is not mentioned either Sri Gadadhara-Krsna, Srivasa Pandita, among the Beloved of Radha-Krsna, there is no mention of all the Astha-Sakhis, the Astha-Manjaris of Sri Lalita, of Visakha Devi, it’s not possible to mention them all but we understand, when we say ” accompanied by them, all conduct by, all represented by them ”. Simply, I had that constantly coming back to my mind, I needed to clarify this topic.
Now I’m going back to your question, as a general rule, the transfer of a spiritual soul from one body to another is completely under the law of karma, but it can happen in some special cases that there is intervention divine and that a soul is transferred not by the law of karma but by a divine arrangement in another body.
In some special cases, there is divine intervention for some souls as they leave their body and a special destination is decided but not at all by the laws of karma but by divine intervention, but in most cases, the souls are transferred from one body to another completely under the laws of karma which will decide what types of body, what species this soul will resume birth, in how long …
I repeat, there are no very precise rules on the transfer of a soul from one body to another at the level of time, sometimes there are certain beliefs that say that it is so much time, ten days, a month, a day, that’s not how it happens, it can happen in the month or ten days but it’s not only at the end of the tenth day or after one month the soul is transferred from one body to another. As in this world, sometimes there are decisions that must be made quickly and others take much more time, in the same way in this world of transmigration of the soul, some decisions are made very quickly but others very slowly and some souls wander in a ghostly state, between two lives for a while, and sometimes there is a divine intervention that makes these people free from these conditions. Once again, there is no definite time between two incarnations, it depends greatly on the karmic situation of the spiritual soul, some souls will very quickly reincarnate and others will float for a while in different places until the laws of nature, the devas, Dharmaraja, make the right decisions. It is very difficult to understand the nature of the soul which is extremely subtle, extremely small, not small in the sense that it has no power, we all know that it is a particle of marginal energy of God, she is very subtle and it is complicated to understand her and understand her situation.
The question could arise, the body at the moment when the soul leaves this body, the body dilutes, in nature, it begins to rot, to decompose and finally diluted. It could be said that the mind is also diluted in nature and this spiritual soul, one could imagine that it is diluted and also in the spiritual energy whereas no. We can perceive the individuality, the personality of the soul when it is in the human body, when it works through this body then we can clearly see that the soul is personal and individual, while when the body is diluted, we can no longer see this personality of the soul but the personality is always present in a very very subtle form, a little bit like electronic chips that are full of information, full of powers. In the same way, the spiritual soul contains all the information, all the life, it is there in the spiritual soul but in the subtle and non-manifested state, which one can not perceive with our eyes. In other words, a subtle unity of spiritual energy is what is called the soul. A tiny particle of spiritual energy is what is called the soul.
Though tiny, the soul has so much potential inside of itself. Just like a huge banyan tree, all its potential is in its seed, good example, the potential of a fire is in the spark. A spark is nothing but it still has the potential to start a fire. Our Guru-Varga gave us the example of the seed of the tree, it is a very good example. Small seed, big banyan tree, little seed, big mango tree, the spiritual soul is like that.
Does anyone have another question?
Govinda Das: About karma, to the extent that each of us has a present life that stems from our past and a future life that flows from our present, to what extent is it good or positive to intervene for example in a conflict, in an aggression, should the arm of Krsna, or more exactly the bad karma that is paid by the person of his previous life, be stopped, Should we be compassionate, is it good or is it bad? It is complicated to the extent that the author of an aggression accumulates negative karma, would we do him a favor by preventing him to the extent possible? But does not the person who suffers aggression pay his past debts for a better life, should we be cynical or conversely intervene?
Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj: Good question! In order to answer this question, one must already understand the basics of the laws of karma, as well as the fact that there are individual and collective karmas that will influence the situations. What is karma and how does the law of karma work? All of this requires a lot of clarification to be able to have a correct understanding. How to give an answer without first clarifying all these points? It will take time but I will try to be concise.
I will give a modern example, internet. In the web, everything is connected with everything. As on the web, we can say that there are many separations, each has its Facebook account, Whatsapp, his mailbox, his website. To protect ourselves, we create passwords but it does not prevent that the passwords are inside this system. And the authority of this system, if it needs, for an investigation, can finally go everywhere even in what appears to be separated. Let’s get back to the point, despite the fact that the various private accounts on the internet (Facebook, ….) that are protected, despite everything since they are all in the same system, they are all interconnected either actively or passively.
It’s the same in this cosmos, in this universe, everything is interconnected, all the different elements, water, earth, fire, air, ether, space, planetary systems, bacteria, viruses, animals, plants … everything is both individual and at the same time share the same universe so all connected to each other. All are connected to others directly or indirectly in this universe. For the moment we are in France, there are some who are in India or Russia, others in the United States, we could say that they are separated but from another point of view, they are all connected because they breathe the same air, drink the same water, share the same solar energy, from a relative point of view, they can be separated, from a more absolute point of view, they are connected, here is the space we could say of France, the space of Russia but from another point of view, this planet is surrounded by space, it turns so it’s the same space eventually.
Time is the same, we can say that it is different, at the moment in India it is not the same time as here in a sense, there is the night there it is in the evening, but everyone is under the influence of time, and time flows the same way as there, everyone is finally in the present, the time is also the same. It is not that there is a time for India, a time for France or in the United States that flows differently or each in turn no, it is the same time that passes for all the world.
To return to the point, the truths of our life are manifested in common and individual ways, in other words, there are many things that are common to all of us. And at the same time, there are many things that apply individually to each other’s lives.
Returning to the context of the laws of karma, it’s like a huge Internet web where everyone is connected to things in common and at the same time to individual things.
Karma does not only depend on me or individuals, it also depends on collective karma but also time, place and circumstances. A little bit when I want to do an action, sometimes I can not do it because there are many other factors of time, places and circumstances that make this action can not be done as I want, so it is the same for karma, it will act in time, place and circumstances individually and at the same time in a common and collective way. It is very difficult for the intelligence to understand this whole law of karma because it is so sophisticated, so subtle and so vast, there are too many factors that come into play so that we can understand a situation in the end. Like the internet, we can not understand how it works, every second there are many connections that come and go in all directions, for human intelligence it is impossible to understand how it works because it goes through the electromagnetic, it’s going really fast and it’s just incomprehensible.
It’s like the GPS that runs completely live thanks to this electromagnetic energy, everything is already calculated, ” turn right! ” ” There, there are traffic jams ”, everything is done live, it’s going very quickly because there is this electromagnetic energy but a human being just with his intellect, it’s completely impossible to do that.
Perhaps you wonder why I explain all those things that seem to have nothing to do with the question? Human intelligence wants to know the answer right away and then ” I would understand afterwards, I want the answer right now ”, There is no point in jumping straight to the answer without really understanding all the ins and outs, because even if you jump on the answer, you will not understand what’s around and you’ll be lost anyway. If you go to this answer but with an understanding of the environment then you can deal with all that.
I explained all this, with the example of the internet, the electromagnetic energy that goes very fast, which makes decisions with so many factors to show that the law of karma is also like a kind of internet system but totally cosmic that was created by Krsna, by God, and by this divine and spiritual energy. The whole law of karma works and calculates all the different factors to make a decision, but if we, within that system, try to understand ” Why is it like that? ” do this, the other did it ” ” What will happen to him? ” ” If I do that! ” It’s just impossible with our mental through calculation, to judge of a situation and understand it.
There will always be plenty of why, because the human intelligence can not understand these things and even if the answer came, the person could not understand the answer because it would require a whole study, an understanding, an angle of view to understand the question so there will always be why.
Back to the point, you need to have patience to have this understanding and the answer, all of you. It’s important to have patience because if we jump from one question to another, to another, to another, finally we will always remain in the world of questions, we must really when there is a question to go really deep, in depth to clarify as much as possible and that way we can live in the world of answers otherwise we will always be in the world of questions.
Like a doctor, it’s not enough to buy a book, take a knife and cut out two, three things and ” that’s it I’m a doctor. ” No, it takes a lot of years of study. We exchange with the world of eternity, the world of transcendence so you really have to be very patient for each point, to really analyze in depth.
I’ll start: There is the neutral point, the 0, positive point, negative point, the 0 is neutral but at the same time, it is connected to the positive and the negative. In a karmic situation, we are there we observe, there is someone who is attacked, from a certain point of view we can say “the person who is attacked is his karma, she had to do a few things before, she planted a bad seed, she harvests a bad fruit so she gets attacked, so it’s not the fault of the one who attacks in a sense since she had to be attacked.
But at the same time, we can say on the other hand, the one who attacks, he is predestined to attack because it is a karma that drives him to revenge because it happened a few things before, he was attacked by this same person so she takes revenge. In addition by doing this, he replanted a seed attacking that will create another karma in the future, other reactions. After, what percentage is there between the person who harvests his karma, the person who decides to attack pushed by karma and the mixture of the two that will give another karmic reaction and that besides that, when a fight breaks out, there is a whole environment, a kind of collective karma that also acts on the situation, it is impossible to judge, to understand what percentages, against what we can be sure is that everything is perfect, the laws, this cosmic internet takes exactly the right decisions, knows exactly the percentages of each situation but we, it is impossible to judging to know, ” it happened that, it will happen such things, it will deserve that, … ”
To go back to the situation of a quarrel between two people, we should follow our conscience and our capacities if we can intervene and avoid violence, we should do it, even if we say to ourselves “the one who must be attacked, must to be purified from bad karma, there are other ways of purifying bad karma than in violence, ” You typed me, I’m going to type you too ”, there are other ways to purify an action, it’s ” You typed me but I’m going to give you love, I’m going to kissing you, ‘forgiveness purifies this karma because dharma, noble deeds are above the law of karma. By this action, by this forgiveness, karma is purified and also one should help to raise the consciousness of the two protagonists, both of the one who is attacked and the one who attacks, because the attacker must also be free from his tendency to attack, so true compassion is to help these people raise their consciences to get out of these packs. “What did you do to attack or why you attack,” it helps to develop more love, more compassion between them.
There is another kind of angle of view, of consideration, if it is a fight between good and evil, if the good attacks then it is good, because the evil must disappear because if it does not is not destroyed, he will attack the good. There is a good way to show compassion but there is also a bad way to show it. Nothing encourages sin more than mercy, faith. If we give mercy to a sin, it can not be purified and will grow, grow and eventually kill that action of mercy. Showing compassion can be good or bad depending on the different factors of time, place and circumstances.
In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krsna explains that all actions can be divided into three influences, sattvic: in virtue; rajasic: in passion; and tamasic: in ignorance, darkness, inertia. It is very difficult to show compassion to an enemy of compassion who is the devil. In a general case yes, you have to have compassion and apply it in this fight. But in the case where it is good against evil, we can not show mercy to evil, because otherwise the evil would eventually destroy the good.
Yet another angle of view, in general, show compassion, stop the quarrel to save a life. Another consideration is to save the life of good and to save it, we must not save life from evil because evil represents death and if we save death then death will destroy life. The principle is that death must not defeat life. Another consideration, in a certain case, if someone has the spiritual power to change the heart of the devil and turn it into good, then he can show compassion, it is possible. In some very special cases, beings are so powerful that they can cleanse the devil by compassion and love and do not need to kill him.
We can see three considerations or angles of view, it will depend on time, places and circumstances, what considerations will be put forward, someone should have enough intelligence and discrimination to know what decisions to make in a given situation. The three considerations are equally just and constantly coexist together, but now everyone must be able to choose the right consideration according to time, place and circumstances. If you do not have the abilities then do not show compassion to the devil because he will kill you, and you will never finally be able to give compassion.
Govinda Das: How can we recognize the devil, by the heart or the mind?
Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj: Through the mind, the intelligence, the heart, through everything. There is not only one way to detect a demonic quality, it can be through the mind, the intelligence, the feelings of the heart. To recognize a few things, in this case a bad demonic quality, it’s not just the intellect or the mind, or the sensations but it’s a whole holistic way that will work to recognize and detect this thing we do not want. In the same way as the body, everything works together, and sometimes passively, for example my knees, my legs, we could say she walks and at the same time there, she does not walk, she walks passively because they allow me to be in a certain position (asana) comfortable and stable.
It’s like the world of knowledge, the human being has divided into different categories, scientific knowledge, commercial, art, …. But someone who is in the world of this knowledge of wisdom, knows that everything is global and interconnected, it is simply the human being who has divided everything. In the same way, when we have to make a decision, this decision must be holistic, that is, it must be taken by all our faculties of feeling, of making decisions. It’s not that we’re going to make a decision that with our mind, with the heart, we should not separate these things. Sometimes we can make partial decisions using only a part of the intelligence or that the heart, but when it comes time to make a holistic decision then we really have to be able to take the different information and to conclude holistic way. A consideration, active and passive; direct and indirect; suppose I am sleeping, active or inactive? Tell me !
Uddhava Das: Active, the mind dreams about such and such things
Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj: But you sleep, the body does not work, the body does not run, the body does not show signs of functioning or run, do this or that, the eyes do not see, the ears do not hear music , you sleep.
(Gurudeva addresses Uddhava Good answer!
Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj: When we sleep, apparently we are passive, but at the same time, there is an activity that is done on another level, the heart continues to beat, the lungs, the nervous system, digestion, the mind in the world of dreams, there is a dynamic that is there, an activity that is there but passive, unlike when you’re awake, it’s active.
In the same way, when we make a decision, our whole body takes it. For example, I take this phone and turn it on, I look at what’s on the screen, do I look by heart, by intelligence or mind? I analyze the messages.
Mathura-Vrndavana: The mind.
Gurudeva: Everything works together. Just taking the phone (Gurudeva takes it), it’s not just my arm that takes it but my mind too. When I take the phone, my hand can not take it without the sanction of the mind, then when I’m going to light it, it’s my intelligence that will understand where to press and when I go to see the messages, it will create emotions and there it is my heart that will work. In this way, everything works together.
The big big decisions in our life have to be taken in a holistic way with all our organs of comprehension, the mind, the intellect and the heart, and that way we will make the right decisions. Why sometimes do we say, ” Here! I made this decision with my mind, or I was in the emotion ”, it is simply a difference of percentages, of ratio between the different sectors.
According to the ratio of the intellect, for example we will make a decision rather with our intellect, but the heart is always there, the mind can not function without the heart. When we have emotions, can we say that it is not at all mental? If, in fact the mind is always connected to the emotions of the heart, the intensity can vary.
It’s impossible for a decision to be made one hundred percent with the intellect, one hundred percent of the mind or one hundred percent of the heart, everything works, everything is inter-related, according to different percentages. I can not say ” I made a decision that by the intellect, I did not use my mind at all ”, but no! How can the intellect function without the mind? And in some intelligent actions, our heart is also involved. When we do some things at the level of the intellect then we start to feel a certain taste, it is that the heart is involved in it too, it is not completely dry, that at the level of the intellect, the heart can be involved too. I answer and I analyze a little, the question was how to recognize a demonic quality by the intellect or the heart.
We are going to stop the questions because otherwise we are going to spend the whole night, because every question the answer takes so much time, but if I do not really go into the details, the answer will not really be clear. Do you have another question?
Govinda Das: I was looking for an answer to this question for years, years, I’m not surprised that it takes so much time to have a satisfactory answer.
GBhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj: I appreciate it.
Ramalila Devi Dasi: Where do the desires come from?
Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj: The desires come from the mind as well as from the heart, then they can come from the spiritual soul, when the three are united together, they can produce desires, the desires of the mind, the desires of the heart, the desires of the soul.
The desires emanating from the unification of the mind, the heart and the soul. The soul, the mind and the heart are part of the same being. The soul is the main existence, and in the soul, the mind, the intellect are included. When I say our Being, when I say “I”, “you”, the being is the spiritual soul.
Different aspects of the soul are represented through the mind and the heart. Another aspect, there are different aspects of the soul on the worldly plane and other aspects too, like seeing you, laughing, talking comes also from the soul, there are so many aspects. She feels happy her manifest awareness of joy, it comes from the soul and it manifests itself through the heart and the mind.
Maybe it does not come deeply from the soul but perhaps from a mundane commonplace. The soul is our identity, we are spiritual souls, the true ” I ” is the soul, the true ” you ” is the soul, the true ” him ”, ” she ” are the soul, ” we ”, ” they ” are the soul. The soul acquires the functions of the heart, mind, and intelligence. The soul is directly connected to the heart, mind, and intellect, and at the same time indirectly. Many things in our life connect us directly and indirectly with other things, actively and at other times passively, and sometimes neither active nor passive but completely neutral in the relationship, it can also be possible.
So when we say neutral, it means zero, zero is connected to both aspects, active and passive, so it’s still something, it’s a very fine, marginal line that is the connection between the active and the passive, what is called neutrality. Neutrality can not be empty, and even if it has this quality of emptiness, at the same time it still has some things since it is connected to passive and active.
It’s like the position of the zero, between the positive and the negative, zero means zero, nothing, but at the same time it’s not completely nothing, there is something that proves the nothing, and the nothing that proves anything at the same time is a combination of both, something and nothing, and at the same time it’s nothing of the two. It’s so subtle to understand that it’s called marginal. Marginal realities are almost inconceivable, that’s why Lord Caitanya calls this ultimately Acintya-bheda-abheda: the inconceivable unity in diversity.
We can not already understand what is happening on our platform of existence while say to understand this platform of transcendence, the absolutely Absolute. We can get an idea, we can understand a few drops, some smell of this world, but not understand the totality, impossible! The 0 represents the seed of + but also of -. On one side of the 0, there is the + which begins in a very subtle and very tiny way, and on the other side of the concept of 0, the – also starts in a tiny way. + And – develop fully on each side of the 0. Positive and negative develop fully. And at the same time, this 0 contains the two connections between the positive and the negative, at the same time, he is completely empty. To express the 0, we have to surround the void, we can not just do anything, we have to use a few things, the 0 is still something. By something, we try to present the nothing, and by nothing we demonstrate something.
The mystical plane is only mystical when we observe it, we are not in it, when we get into this mystical plane then he is no longer mystical because there is no longer this mystery, on one side it is a passive vision, or a passive state of vision of the mystic and on the other hand, it is a dynamic state that is no longer mystical. There are different ways and different levels of experiences and understandings of the reality of life, different angles of vision of the truth of life.
By a special grace, we can see this same truth more from a particular angle but in a complete and total way but at the same time it will be a relative absolute, it will not be absolute absolute, because to be able to see the absolute Absolute, one needs an absolute mercy of the Absolute. Only the Supreme Absolute can see this total and absolute vision of everything. Other than the absolute, beings can only have partial visions of the Absolute or partially global visions of the Absolute. It is a philosophical and logical analysis connected to the truth.
Transcribed in French and translated into English by Rasalila Devi Dasi Mataji