A big hug from Miami Mandir.
Today we are celebrating the true meaning of our independence and our independence is both our problem and our solution.We have to become independent of our material attachments. From all that clings us to lust. When you focus on Krishna and try to make Him happy, that's prema; therefore, you have to see how to get away from an attachment and adhere to the other. This is the story of our material attachment, while it exists, bhakti will not manifest fully. So we need sadhu sanga which is very rare in this world. It is something beyond what one can understand rationally and it manifests in the form of Gurukripa.
When you have faith in the spiritual master then all the realizations of scripture manifest within your heart.The association with a devotee is the essence of the transaction. It is something that arises, blooms. My theory is that because Srila Prabhupada injected the seeds of bhakti with his great power, faith will flourish even in people who are not born yet. Then we as followers of Srila Prabhupada are seeing the birth of bhakti in important places where this faith is manifesting. For example, in my visit to Cuba I saw so many people who have faith in Srila Prabhupada and for service We have witnessed how this seed of Bhakti is really flowing and the desire to serve Krishna manifests. There you can understand that there really is a seed of bhakti when in the hearts of people arises a strong desire to serve Krishna.So for me it was a very pleasant experience to go to an island where only Prabhu Esvarara Desavaha had gone. The others had only heard about it.
The movement of Swami Yoganandana movement was all that came, and then with the evolution of theism a very nice atmosphere of wanting to serve Krishna was created. For me it was really unforgettable to stay in this place watching the seeds that Srila Prabhupada had spread there. So much joy, so much desire, devotion that one could actually conceive that there was a great future, as in all situations where Srila Prabhupada is present. Also in the particular case of this visit to Cuba, obviously the pioneering work of Srila Prabhupada is continuing, because he did not accept any place that Krishna could not reach, he was always leading his disciples to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Beirut, Morocco, Northern Ireland during the war, completely difficult places, he was always concerned about sending people to continue sowing the seeds of Bhakti.
When one has traveled the bramandas up, down,and has gone through the different circumstances of this material world, there will come a time when you say enough is enough, no more, and even though Maya is seductive you no longer want to engage in it. You understand and say 'no more' and then you begin to take spiritual life seriously.While one is intoxicated in the material world with material things like fame, scholarship and beauty then one can not take seriously the call of Krishna and one does not hear the inner call of Krishna, coming under Maya once more. Maya is like that, when you are down she does not entice you with anything, but when you want to come out of maya she gives you everything. It is easy to renounce, because in reality you do not possess anything and that is why we say "better you renounce the world before the world renounces you."
Renouncing means separation, no excuse, no exception, the pretty car you bought three days ago- bye car, bye home, bye children. Especially when a child is born, one is debuting as a parent. It is something spectacular until they grow, grow and go. Sure, some parents today say better that they leave. Sometimes they go bad, disappearing and ignoring their father or mother. Then it is important to realize that in this material world everything is passing just to prepare us.
One has to have a superior taste, even though you may have desires for material things one renounces and engages in something spiritual, that is to develop a higher taste. If you accept everything they offer you to gratify you then you will never emerge with a superior desire. There are many warnings in scripture, they really are the ones that always come to remind us of the essence, "Leave the illusion of Phantasmagoria".
Oh yes, there is much santeria in Cuba. Pure business, there is no speaking about loving God. There is only talk about asking God: to give the strength to overcome problems, overcome that or the other tamasic ceremonies. Krishna says: "those who worship ghosts become ghosts in their next life." If you ask a barvabalao leader if he loves God, he tells you "no, that is not included in the program"; the truth is that it is not even included in their vocabulary, it is sad that people just want to bargain with God.
In India the same occured with karma kanda; I should negotiate there so I can get blessings, and the flowery words of the Vedas excited that. If you want health, wealth, beautiful wife, adores this and do that, but the Bhagavad Gita says that only fools worship the demigods, and it is like a maze, a very difficult path to find the pure way to God. It is not easy, if you want business God will offer you business. The material world teaches you strongly with things like detachment or separation and I think that today people are suffering more and more than ever before because the conception of family is over.
After all, the family is the nicest thing: wife, husband, children who grow, grandchildren, all this beauty working together for a cause, it's so nice to have harmony between father, mother, grandparents, although today it is almost nonexistent. Modern man barely greets one another, women often feel mistreated. Considering that it is better that children do not see us fight and not suffer seeing us, the modern man has lost marriage. It is the largest loss and excuse to think, "oh ... I can now have sex with multiple partners or change." In that sense the declaration of marriages today is 'she is my temporary travel companion'. It is not uncommon to fall in love with one or more woman or a man, because there are so many nice people, so you think, "why can't I have sex with other couples? The fact is that one has to decide whether or not he wants beautiful children and see them grow up with parents, in an atmosphere of love, discipline and unity.
Without the foundation of family our children do not have much hope of forming a character of faith in authority, and we are never safe. We always feel helpless. Modern man is more resigned because he lost all his family and what is he left with? Sex, fun, buying a house, only then to fight with their partner to separate. How do we become divided? The car or the children? Children are the ones in the end that pay for the drama. For example, men are not very smart and they speak ill to the children, they speak ill of the mother and then they no longer have a father.
Even in Krishna Consciousness we hear "detach yourself from your partner and the family," but do not misunderstand this because detachment should be there once the children are grown. Some fools have taken it as justification, I have to detach and in that sense we see that the world is wrong. Once family is lost then comes drugs, degradation, disappointment, when they do not understand that the most beautiful thing is being a member of a spiritual family. It is something so special to serve a ishtadev, creating farms, festivals, and temples.
Alongside proper worship our life grows because in the material world there is nothing equivalent or special. In the material world there is only one political party, social groups, but this does not replace spiritual life. The deity links us with the most important part of our lives, the Supreme Lord who alone can take us forward and lead us to higher dimensions. Abandon all other concepts, fruitive activities, social/religious concepts which are only based on personal interest and surrender to my instruction, says the Lord. The whole structure of the world, the various institutions that we consider are all secondary to the importance of Krishna in our lives. It is not enough to be a good dad, you have to do many more things, and fully take refuge in Krishna's devotees. That sounds very nice. In the Bhakti yoga there are many stages of confidentiality, but if you have no spiritual family then you do not know where to practice. Practicing alone you get lost, that is why association is so important. It's like a father who can not even say for an hour: I'm not the father. It is a betrayal. A commitment of a sannyasi, a bramana, a temple president is equal. It is an important consecration and that is why a group of devotees can maintain a temple.
Thanks to that, we want to create an ashram in Cuba. The first will be called Vrinda Kunja Ashram. It is a very humble home for about six devotees, lead by a mature yogi of many years, Radhanatha Prabhu. He already has grandchildren but has a youthful spirit. The place is small but the Cuban devotees are good and have potential and are mature. It was only a few days.We had a big puja in a well known and important theater in the city and we also had lectures at the Charles Chaplin, in the center, where we had a very nice space. Then we also met a group called "Om meditation" whose leader was fond of Srila Prabhupada, and we developed a beautiful connection. Therefore, I feel good and I think the Lord Chaitanya has to take me to many places and the beginning stages have already been sewn, so if any of you are going to Cuba allow yourself to be trained here on how to help.
In Cuba there is a saying, that you can't do anything without faith, better said, Oida therapy in Cuba is well known, and do you know what faith means (Fe)? Relatives abroad (Familiares en el Exterior). Thus we are also the extended Vaishnava family and friends. So I think with a little help over there things can begin to develop more, so everyone is welcome to participate in supporting Cuba. Miami is the halfway point of Cuba, so some senior devotees there can arrange a visit given the possibility. I will organize this on my next return as we have now very little time in Miami, just a few hours were shortened by technical difficulties that delayed my flight several hours.So many thanks, today we celebrate independence day which means becoming independent from Maya and becoming dependent upon Krishna, that's true independence. To once again have the independence to assume responsibility for it and so one can not think for himself outside from the Vaishnava ideal which is the ability to be truly independent.
So in that sense we are all being trained to be independent and able to realize any service but the heart must be dependent on the essence of the unity of the Infinite. I wanted to greet all of you thanks for waiting so long.
Srila Prabhupada ki jay!
Your always well-wisher
Srila B. A. Paramadvaiti