A big hug from Córdoba. Happy to be here with devotees who year after year give their best to continue the mission of Srila Prabhupada.
Miracles every day. It's a miracle, a temple of Krishna in the world of maya. And every devotee is a gem. So here beside miracles and gems I can only say thank you Srila Prabhupada.
These days we are in much thought and labor to install the University of Ancestral Wisdom. In our mission we begin the Vaishnava Academy. Many years ago we started the project and today we see many fruits.
At that time many devotees especially those who began their families did not know how to keep their churches well because it was difficult only with book distribution. Today there is a network of academies with instructors in yoga, ayurvedacourses, astrology, vegetarian courses and many more arts. There are also systematic courses of the most important books of Vaishnavism.
Our dear Mukunda das Babaji worked intensely hard on it and I even told him a lot of material still has not come to light and others were lost or not recorded. There are also studies available of arcana, dancing for God or the art of using technology for the service of God. All of this is currently offered by the academy and this has created a source of much service, occupation and work for the devotees.
If one grhasta needs a percentage that is also there. In a family you have to think of everything.
But the essence of education is the same. Sometimes we wanted to give Srimad Bhagavatam but ordinary people think that giving it away is not worth much. Seeing devotees singing in the streets, giving gifts everywhere, they conclude that the gift could not be a big deal. That is why we ask students to pay for what they receive at the Vaishnava Academy. That's the system. We do not want to think that what we offer is worthless or that there is no cost.
There is a famous story about Sanatan Goswami. A person went to him and asked for initiation. The candidate said, "Please initiate me, give me the most confidential thing that you have, I want to be a yogi, a seeker of truth in perfection" So, Sanatan Goswami initiated him into the chanting of the Maha Mantra. The happy devotee went to a river to meditate and chant Hare Krishna. On the way he passed a girl who was washing clothes in the river. While she washed, beating clothes on a rock, she was singing the Hare Krishna mantra.
The new yogi was in amazement and said, "But how is this, that she is singing my secret mantra, the holy name that I just received from my initiation?". He went back to his Gurudeva and he asked: "Gurudeva, how can this be? What you gave me, I listened to some girl who was singing it in the river?".
-Sanatana Goswami said, "You do not really know the value of this, here I have a diamond, take it and take it and offer it. Let's see, who pays more for it, but do not sell it, just tell me who offers you more? "
Thus the devotee began offering the diamond. He crossed the Yamuna river and asked the boatman: "How much would you offer me for this diamond?" The boatman replied, "For this, I'll take you to the other side of the river, this is nice for my child to play with." Then he went to a store across the Yamuna and offered it to the store owner and the owner then replied: "You have a beautiful stone, I will put it on top of the papers so they do not fly when it's windy, I will give you ten rupees."
So, he even went to a jewelry store. There, the jewelers were astonished. "Wow! What a diamond! Incredible! This must cost a fortune." Then the devotee returned to his Gurudeva and said, "I get it, not everyone knows the value of something even when one actually has it". It is not that you have something and you know what the value is.
Many people can come and see the deity but not all of them understand what they are seeing, and all the while, others hearts are melting seeing Lord Krishna being worshiped. People who ate meat, drank alcohol here now are becoming devotees in the temple of the Lord.
Some know and some do not. Not that simply by doing an exercise with the eyes, a person knows or understands things, this is not so. Honestly, it takes appreciation Vedic knowledge with personal realization, it is not a gift that one can receive simply by memorizing some texts or pass some examinations. Actually our temples have always been Vaishnava Academies because we do every morning, a conference and every night we have another. Sometimes devotees discuss different topics, therefore somehow all temples since ancient times have been Vaisnava Academies. What changed then?
Well that change comes from systematizing the delivery of knowledge. Of course, nowadays it is easy because devotees have already achieved the publication of hundreds of titles in Spanish. If you read all these books, your views and your knowledge will be different and you can even compare yourself with the Indian scholar. It is not an exaggeration, because we have a lot of translated information, Srila Sridhar Maharaj books, Srila Prabhupada, the Goswamis and their commentaries, scientific aspects and so much if ...
Scientific Books, Vedic cosmology, rather said, all kinds of issues, we have at least an introduction of it.
Now, the most important in this connection is that we're now practically giving it to people and that is something very beautiful: a body of teachers, students, monks and farms for retreats. For example, if you go to India and want to learn how to play the tabla instrument, then you go to a tabla guru, he will require from you to follow a discipline, and it is not like you are going to run when the tabla-guru tells you everything you have to do to learn tabla. Of course, to what extent is this important? In actuality, not very important, the important part is to never to forget Krishna?
Srila Prabhupada said, "There are two principles that are essential in Krishna consciousness, the first is always remember Krishna and the second is to never forget Krsna." That's what makes one a Vaisnava, to always think of Krishna, that is the requirement, our courses will always carry this and return back to this principle, as a flower that always expands and always reaches the center. So if we teach yoga, forgetting Krsna, we become confused, if we do vastu-sastra and people do not think of Krishna, we have wasted our time, whatever it is that we may do that lets us forget Krishna, so then our Vaisnava Academy would be an academy of Maya, would it not ?
There are Maya Academies worldwide and the Vaishnava Academy is there to direct and focus the eyes on God, that is the essence. So what should we do to organize and strengthen the Vaishnava Academy? How to promote something? How, between people, can we give recognition to the value that they gain from receiving this knowledge? Because if someone is not interested, then why even look into?
And now we talk about the University of Ancestral Wisdom. Appreciating the manifestation of Vedic wisdom in all cultures. And retrieve the values of the people. Their art, music, language, feelings and goals. When you find out that the mission of their lives is to be guardians and protectors of mother earth you stay surprised.
Their culture is the very meaning of the word culture: worship: worship. They worship Mother Earth, rivers, mountains, animals. Important element in the culture of the Vaisnavas. Then the University of Ancestral Wisdom wants to promote all the wisdom of the people. There is much to learn and much to teach.
That person who is in the process of delivering something reliable enters the the process of receiving more of that which is superior. Knowledge is unlimited. Just studying the Srimad Bhagavatam in an academic way will take many years in a very intense manner. Thanks to Srila Prabhupada's Marathon translating from Sanskrit into English verse by verse giving much meaning to each verse. A mega colossal work. And now having all this in a cd thanks to technology is also arranged by God. That is why we have a project, a Virtual University, and soon to initiate activities. We need everyone's help.
With these words I say goodbye to this chat today. You can always send me questions with my secretary. Or to my email but as I do not always have Internet so I can not always respond very fast and I can take up to two weeks to respond. Soon we will venture to Korea and I do not know why Krishna takes me there, I'll tell you when you return.
Srila Prabhupada ki jay.
Your always well wisher,
B. A. Paramadvaiti Swami