Instructions to Brahmacharis by HH Radhanath Swami
In any building, at the beginning of the construction, the foundation is the only visible thing that is, but in due course of time everything is seen except the foundation. But it is the foundation that supports the growth, the expansion & the sustenance of a structure. So this ashram began with certain foundational principles and upon that foundation so much has been built. Expansion of the temple, building itself, expansion of the number of deities, expansion of the Brahmachari ashram, congregation, BACE’s, VTA’s, Nasik, Kolahapur, Nigdi, and so many places- ‘so much has developed. But the foundation is still the same.Everything is based on the foundation of Sadhana, emphasis on Service Attitude, emphasis on Philosophical purity, emphasis on Unity.
And the Brahmachari class has been very much what creates that unity. So to an ordinary person, he sees a beautiful building and thinks it is wonderful. But for a structural engineer, he sees something nobody else sees. The foundation is faulty. The building doesn’t have much of a future. Everyone else is praising it but he is very worried what is happening. So that is what we are addressing now … that it is foundational. You may not see it and people you preach to may not see it, but I see it. It’s quite evident to me. I am not claimingto be a great soul but I have been the architectural engineer for this project for since its onset so I can see some of these things.
It is important to know that the problem is not that you deviated from the Brahmachari classes because that’s the way the world is. Diversion is inevitable, the important thing is that when you find that you are diverting, you return to perform the needful duties. Strength of an individual is not that the individuai doesn’t make a mistake. Strength of an individual is when you make mistakes you are willing to rectify it. Everyone makes mistakes.
So please take this very seriously. And I see today very much what the real strength of this ashram is. There is diversion and the diversion is not due to maliciousness- it is just due to getting caught up in devotional service. Wonderful devotional service. That’s all. It’s not a fault. But when you are reminded then immediately ready and willing to rectify- that is the strength of the ashram. Willing to rectify. This means you are in good health for now.But that foundation must be nourished, must be fortified – otherwise in the future individually and collectively the things will start falling apart. And that will be a tremendous tragedy.
I see some of the most thriving projects of ISKCON of the 1970s and sometimes 80s, they collapsed, they no longer exist or they are painfully struggling just to survive. Because they built they built, they built, and they built expertly, but they didn’t pay attention to foundation. The foundation is the devotees, the quality of life of devotees, the unity of the devotees, the happiness of the devotees, the relationships of the devotees. It’s the foundation of everything. That’s not there. You can do wonderful things but it has no sustainability with time. The leaders here are doing just tremendous wonderful devotional service. And the success here is beyond our imagination.However, in the passion of building, in the passion of creation we’ forget that invisible foundation which is sustenance. Brahma creates, Shiva destroys and Vishnu sustains. We are vaishnavas (laughter). So we should not lose focus on that sustaining principle of Vishnu. otherwise shiva will do his work.
You may think that in this 2hrs of Brahamachari class “what am I really getting out of it? And what am I really accomplishing? But if I do this what will I accomplish?”. You will see it. That is the illusion of maya. We have to see through the ears. We are thinking if I do this I can accomplish this and If I do this I can accomplish this. But actually what you are accomplishing by coming to this class is you are fortifying the foundation of our spiritual unity based on hearing and chanting. And developing real qualities of a Vaishnava. So it is important Sadhu sanga. It is very intimate also. The Sri mad Bhagavatam class is a public lecture, and is essential bcoz Prabhupada ordered it. but the Brahamachari class is in the ashram for sadhus only. It’s the time when the ashram is together. It’s the time when you can really just be together and reveal your hearts and reveal your minds and share that spiritual experience together. It’s a very wonderful experience.
Yes the leader should make the class as interesting and as interactive as possible to capture people’s attention but interesting or not, we should be there for the sake of hearing about Krishna together as brahmacharis. Now the tendency is I cannot see that much happen, I am not learning that much, I am not all that inspired and I am not enjoying it that much. , I have other things to do … and since we do not see any result immediately, we don’t take it so seriously. I have seen this in the most devastating mistakes in the history of ISKCON. We can give many examples of if you take something important as not so important, and not prioritize because there are not immediate results, then everything is destroyed over a period of time.
This brahmachari ashram is not mine not yours but it is Srila Prabhllpada’s. Here we are all responsible to him. Somehow or the other he has given the blessing of such wonderful devotees and such wonderful opportunities that can give faith and happiness not only to the people of Bombay but to the whole world. These are principles that may not seem to make sense but they are essential for the future of the ashram…coming everyday to the Brahmachari class to reciprocrate with one another and create sadhusanga.Brahmachari class is very intimate. Bhagavatam class is public but Brahmachari class is a very intimate confidential sanga amongst renounciants who have given their lives together. It’s very important for the ashram to actually maintain its unity and its sanctity for the future and this is very very important. It is very important.
It’s not that maya just destroys when there are bad motives; she enters where there is inattentiveness, where there is lack of vision for the future. She’ll attack there, and through that process. bad motives will arise. Because once she gets, once that poison comes in you … it could be devastating. Srila Prabhupada talked about preaching in the west, said sometimes you have to go in like a needle but come out like a plough. Maya also knows that philosophy and she is going to enter like a needle and then pull you away like a plough. So we must be very careful.
By special mercy my service to you is to remind you of these principles, which may not be taken so seriously in other places, which may not be taken so seriously even here, but what has made this ashram what it is today is that we have taken it seriously in the past .We have to hold on to that. Not as a matter of convenience, but as a matter of necessity.