Q: Although the association of devotees is glorified we see in Dhruva's case, he had such brief association with Narada, while most of the time he performed austerities alone.
A: A little association of a devotee is all that is needed for one who takes the instruction seriously. Prabhupada did not have so much physical association with his guru, but he took his instruction to heart.
Once during the Communist times Srila Prabhupada told a devotee to back to his country of Hungary and preach. The devotee was worried that he may not be able leave Hungary again to associate with the devotees. Srila Prabhupada told him not to worry for it did not matter if he never left Hungary again.
Modern means to do what feels good to you (or does not feel artificial). Vedic means to do what is your duty. If people always did what they felt like doing, the world would be in more of a mess than it already is.
Q: Can you explain why the following statement by Narada is true. “Every man should act like this: when he meets a person more qualified than himself, he should be very pleased; when he meets someone less qualified than himself, he should be compassionate toward him; and when he meets someone equal to himself, he should make friendship with him. In this way one is never affected by the threefold miseries of this material world.”
A: Well, just think about it. If you are respectful with your superiors, friendly with your equals, and compassionate to juniors, how would you feel? Pretty good, wouldn't you? Uncongenial dealings between people tend to cause a lot of distress.
Srimati Mataji: Could it be that once one gets to such a level of consciousness when he can act properly with others, naturally he will be detached from the distresses of the world?
Krishna-kripa Das: The discussion reminds me in Bhagavad-gita 6.8-9, Krishna says an advanced soul sees arrangements of matter equally, but a more advanced soul can deal with people equally.
While talking about dealing with difficulties, Jayadvaita Swami tells how he was talking with one fellow who had been in the Vietnam War. When the man was recounting his experiences it was clear that all the troubles he went through were the most memorable things. Jayadvaita Swami recalls the time the devotees produced the 17 volumes of Caitanya-caritamrita in two months. It was very intense but a memorable ecstatic experience.
Q: Although Dhruva bathed in the Yamuna and lived in Mahavana, the Lord appeared to Him as Narayana rather than Krishna. Why?
A: Maharaja and the students offered many speculations, but he concluded that we will find out when we attain the spiritual world or we meet someone a lot more qualified than him. Some of the suggestions were:
• That Narada had described the Narayana form of God to Dhruva, and thus it was what he was meditating on.
• Narayana was Narada's own worshipable deity as he worshiped the Lord in opulence.
• Narada knew Dhruva's svarupa was with Narayana, and so he instructed Dhruva thus.
Q: How does sense gratification destroy mercy?
A: Arunzeb put his father in jail to take his kingdom. The U.S.A. killed 600,000 people in Iraq in the recent war to protect their oil interests. The cigarettes manufacturers know what cigarettes do to people's health yet they are always making plans to get innocent young people addicted to them so they can make money.
Q: Austerity is sometimes said to make one's heart harder, yet Dhruva Maharaja performed so many austerities. How do we know what austerities to perform so that our heart will not become hard?
A: That is why the spiritual master is required, to select the austerities. Not that we say no to all austerities claiming that we want to keep our heart soft for Krishna and austerity might make it hard.
Q: I have heard that things get really hard after second initiation why is that?
A: I have not heard that anywhere. Where does it say that Krishna makes life difficult for people after second initiation?