Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Tribute to Suhotra Prabhu

Suhotra Prabhu passed away recently in Mayapur, and there is an article about that on the Mayapur web site:
It was impressive to me that he left his body while completely absorbed in writing study guides on the Srimad-Bhagavatam in the holy dhama of Mayapur with his bead bag in his hand, exempt from the torture of prolonged illness that often precedes death. I think that Srila Prabhupada and Lord Caitanya must have especially blessed him for his contribution to their mission.

I did not know him intimately, having talked to him personally on but a couple of occasions. But I did hear many of his classes in 2006 on Srimad-Bhagavatam at the Bhaktivedanta Academy. He was always very much excited about his studies and his classes were insightful, full of interesting uncommonly known items, and often humorous as well. I want to share my notes on them with you as a way of glorifying him as a memorial tribute. I hope you find them beneficial.

All glories to Suhotra Prabhu, who dedicated his life to Srila Prabhupada's auspicious mission, and who left this world in the glorious Mayapur dhama.

Notes on Srimad-Bhagavatam Classes by Suhotra Prabhu in 2006

Some Nectar from Srila Prabhupada

As an eight-year-old child, Srila Prabhupada was playing in a field with some strike-anywhere matches. One match fell on his cotton dhoti and it burst into flames. A man appeared from nowhere and rolled Srila Prabhupada on the ground to put out the flames. Prabhupada showed the devotees a scar he still had from that incident. The lesson Prabhupada used the story to teach is that you should not think that you can play with Krishna’s energies and there will not be consequences.

Srila Prabhupada once said, “If you want to know what your karma is, look in the mirror!”

On King Pariksit and Sukadeva Goswami

King Pariksit’s leaving his body was of such universal import that great sages came there on a variety of pleas.

As doctors differ in diagnosis and prescription, similarly the sages offered different advice to King Pariksit.

Practically the whole Bhagavatam is an answer to King Pariksit’s two requests:
(1) tell me of the unalloyed duty of everyone in all circumstances,
(2) and specifically of those who are just about to die

Sukadeva Goswami did not leave the womb of his mother until Lord Krishna Himself assured him that he would be unaffected by maya (illusion). His father Vyasadeva’s assurance was not sufficient.

On Laksmi, The Lord's Internal Energy

When Mahamaya got initiated by Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada explained, “Mahamaya is another phase of Srimati Radharani.”
Laksmi acts either as Laksmi or Maya depending on how we approach her.
In the Sixth Canto, Chapter Nineteen, Kasyapa glorifies the worship of Laksmi-Narayana and explains the whole Bhagavata philosophy in just a few verses.

On Psychology

Some devotees are enamored by Western psychology, but there are six or eight schools of Western psychology and even people with degrees in it admit that Western psychology does not have a complete understanding.

Because Pariksit Maharaja is a great devotee, he regrets his offense to Samika Rsi. He does not minimize it thinking, “I am OK. You are OK,” as a popular psychologist might. Nor does he avoid taking responsibility for the fault, because at heart he doesn’t feel he did anything wrong.
In the Vedic paradigm there are standards of right and wrong. There is admission of wrong by the guilty party, his determination to reform, and his endeavor to get on with life, which means to get on with life’s goal of attaining love of Godhead.

On Punishment by Yamaraja

Yamaraja’s messengers are angry with sinful persons because the messengers subsist on the offerings from sraddha ceremonies and thus when people are sinful, they have less to subsist on. It is said that the diseases of this world in their personified form are servants of Yamaraja (the lord of death).

Pious souls go to Yamaraja’s assembly where Yamaraja’s dogs acts as fearsome guard dogs. The impious souls are actually bitten by the dogs, but because they have subtle bodies they do not die. They just suffer. Each time a dog bites, the individual recalls one of his sinful acts.

On Buddhism

The Buddhists say that before Buddha appeared there were sixty-two different philosophies in India and many people were confused.

Buddha used the example of the man who is shot with an arrow to discourage unnecessary philosophical speculation. When one is shot with an arrow it is useless to ask who shot the arrow, which direction it came from, how powerful was the bow, etc. Best thing is to remove the arrow and dress the wound.

Buddha said his dharma would last one thousand years. His leading disciple told him that there are many young women who want to become nuns. Buddha said that that was alright, they could come, but in that case, his dharma would last only five hundred years. This is written in the Buddhist scripture itself.

Buddha defeated the best Vedic scholars who knew the Vedas backwards and forwards. If God wants to preach atheism, then who can defeat Him?

Odds and Ends

It is described that all material and spiritual weapons exist within Lord Vishnu’s disc called Sudarsana. Actually the fall of the soul is not when he comes to the material world since he comes as Lord Brahma and acts as Krishna’s servant. If as Brahma, he becomes attached to karma or jnana, then he is fallen and must remain in the material world.

In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna speaks often of buddhi-yoga or engaging our intelligence in devotional service.

In the Second Canto it is described that the Lord draws energy from the marginal energy to run the cosmic manifestation.
On Studying

Srila Prabhupada once said a brahmana is one who has read his books four times.

Every day we must study the scripture to sharpen our intelligence to distinguish between maya and Krishna consciousness. The demigods remain neophyte devotees because they cannot discriminate between heavenly sense enjoyment and spiritual rasa.

On Congregational Chanting and Devotional Service

The minimum benediction from the yajna of sankirtana is liberation. From acting out of kama, we realize that we “can’t get no satisfaction”, and then we desire liberation.

Ajamila got moksa from chanting the name of Narayana, even to call his son. To get moksa in previous ages, one had to perform sacrifice perfectly.

Those people we see in the West on harinama who somehow or other clap, chant, and dance with the devotees get incalculable benefit. They may be the persons who greet you when you go back to Godhead!

Srila Prabhupada said that people who stay for a long time in the Krishna consciousness movement have acquired such a taste for devotional service after many births.