Activating Your Faith
Caru Das: If you're listening to these talks remotely, through podcasts, iTunes, or having downloaded them from our website, you're welcome to correspond with us at utahkrishnas@Gmail.com. We also have a membership class online at www.utahkrishnas.org.
These talks are inspired by the teachings of the Founder Acharya, of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Today, I want to talk about activating your faith or backing up your faith with actions.
You see these fellows in the slide, they've got themselves to the starting line, and that's good. You can't run a race unless you get to the starting line. But it's not enough just to get to the starting line, you have to get out of the starting blocks and get in the race.
Faith is good, faith is always good, belief in God is good: a hope that things are going to turn out, these are all good. These all get you to the starting line. But oftentimes, people take a passive role….praying for things to work out, hoping things are going to work out, believing things are going to work out, and they are missing a step which activates God in an amazing way, and that step is to put actions behind their faith.
When you put actions behind your faith, or you put your money where your mouth is, you might say, it encourages God to do amazing things in your life, and naturally, that takes your trust in God to a whole quantum level.
Imagine someone who has been pulled over for a speeding ticket, the officer is writing out the ticket and he is defending himself by saying, "Officer I want you to know I believe in the law, I believe that 65 is the speed limit, I believe. Hallelujah! Hosanna!"
Now let me ask you do you think the officer is impressed? He's not impressed by what that person believes in. He would have been more impressed if the person had followed the law rather than paying lip service with hosannas and hallelujahs.
God's not so much impressed by what we believe or by what our faith is, but by how we back up our beliefs, and faith with actions. He wants to see how we act based on our faith. It's OK to pray all day long. "Lord, lord give me that promotion, get me over this sickness, cure me of this disease."
But if you really want to get Krishna, (Krishna is just our name for God), if you want to get his attention, then take it a step further, and demonstrate your faith. They don't have to be huge, grand stand, giant steps of faith. They can be small steps of faith.
I heard about a man who wanted to quit smoking. He prayed about it, and he hoped that he would be able to quit smoking, but he took one little step in addition to hoping and praying.
He took three cigarettes out of his pack, and on that particular day he smoked 17 cigarettes instead of 20. It really didn't make any difference to him at the end of the day.
He went on that way for some time and then later on he took three more cigarettes out of the pack. He was smoking 14 a day instead of 20 and he really didn't see much difference in it.
Later on he took three more, three more, three more, three more and eventually he was down to three, and after some time he stopped smoking.
He would not have been able to come to that point of freedom from that addiction had he not taken those initial tiny little steps of faith and action.
It doesn't matter how discouraged you are, how down‑and‑out you are, how difficult you might think it would be to extricate yourself from a difficult situation.
If you'll just not have a pity party but dust yourself off, get up, throw your shoulders back and say, "It's a new day that the Lord has made and I'm going to have a new beginning." In this way, backing up your faith by action activates the Lord. The Lord notices that.
He doesn't just want to see you praying about this addiction, or hoping to get over that disease, or believing that your relationship with your spouse is going to improve.
He wants to see the steps that you've taken in order to bring that about. This is the dynamic. You do what you can do and then God does what he can do.
It's like a chess game. You move first and then God moves. You do what you can do, then God does what he can do, the lord of millions and millions of universes.
But he's not going to activate himself on your behalf unless he sees that you're picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, squaring off your shoulders and making a new beginning.
When he sees your faith in action, that's when amazing things begin to happen. Instead of just hoping for that promotion, you arrive at work early and put in extra hours in order to earn that promotion.
When you bypass the cookie jar during the course of your diet, God sees you bypass the cookie jar. When, in the family, you could say something sharp and critical but you bite your tongue in the interest of keeping peace in the family, Krishna notes that.
These are all actions that God notices and he takes note of them. When Krishna, or God, was on the planet 5,000 years ago there was an instance wherein six sons of a Brahman died prematurely. Now when the Lord was on the planet, everything was so ideal, as you can imagine.
That no child ever preceded their parents in death. The parents always died in a natural way before the children. With this particular Brahman, not only one child, but six children died prematurely, and it was unheard of at that time.
Arjuna, Krishna's great friend, the recipient of the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita, said, "Let me do what I can do, let me find out what I can find out, where your sons have gone and bring them back." Arjuna had extraordinary, you might say, extraterrestrial travel powers.
He mounted his chariot and went to the planet of Yamaraja, the Lord of Death. He inquired, "Have those six souls landed here"? Yamaraja said, "They're not here."
Then he went to Pitriloka, the planet where the ancestors reside, also within the universe. He inquired and he was told, "No, the six sons of the Brahman have not landed here."
At that point, Arjuna had exhausted everything he could have done, and Krishna said, "OK. You've done what you could do, now let me do what I can do, and please mount my chariot."
Arjuna mounted, at Krishna's invitation, His chariot, and they coursed up, beyond the Heavenly planets, to the very outer edge of the universe, which is described like a contained football floating on a greater ocean, called the causal ocean.
They punctured through the outer layer of the universe and they came to Svetadvipa, the abode of Mahavishnu. There, indeed, Mahavishnu had kept the six sons of the Brahmans.
The reason that Mahavishnu, during the time of Krishna's pastimes on the earth, had taken the six sons of the Brahmans was that he wanted to lure Krishna before him, that he could drink in the unlimited beauty of Krishna, or the unlimited beauty of God.
When we think of God, we often think of Him as being omni‑powerful, we think of Him as being omniscient. But the dictionary definition of God is a ‘supreme being.’ That means God is supreme in every category.
If there's a candidate for God and there's anyone else who's more adept or more qualified than him, then that disqualifies the candidate. God is the most knowledgeable, God is the most powerful, but he's also the most beautiful.
Being supreme means there's no one more beautiful than God, and so, Mahavishnu wanted to lure Krishna into his presence so that he could drink in the beauty of God.
Now, to those of you who're taking Roger Keller's World Religions class at BYU. You've heard that Krishna is an incarnation of Vishnu, right? Or maybe you haven't got to that point. Let me ask you this question, if Krishna is an incarnation of Vishnu, why did Vishnu have to go all that trouble to bring Krishna into his presence?
He could have just produced one, two, five, six, seven, eight, a million Krishnas and not have gone to that trouble. The fact of the matter is that Krishna is not an incarnation of Vishnu. Just the opposite… millions and millions of Vishnus come from Krishna.
If you want the devotional point of view. In the 12th century, Jayadeva Goswami wrote a classic book called the Gita Govinda. This is accepted as authoritative in all devotional communities.
He did not list Krishna as one of the ten avatars of Vishnu, and his reason is because Krishna is the source of Vishnu. In fact, as you see from this picture, there's one Krishna in the center of that circle. And he has expanded from his body thousands and thousands of four armed Vishnu forms. Of course Vishnu is God, just as Krishna is God, they're equal.
But the difference is that from Krishna you can get so many Vishnus, but from Vishnu you can't get a single Krishna, e.g. from milk you can get yogurt and they're both dairy products, they're both equal, but then you can't turn around and get milk from yogurt.
That's just a little aside for the benefit of those from the World Religions class. In any case, Arjuna had done what he was capable of, and he'd satisfied the Lord. Then the Lord interceded on his behalf and He said that, "Let me do what I can do. Your move, now my move."
I had heard since the time I joined Krishna Consciousness Movement, 42 years ago, that if you serve Krishna, God will not leave you hanging, He'll not let you out to dry, that he will take care of you even in your old age.
I never got a health plan or a retirement fund, I've never had a bank balance or a checking account. In fact, it's funny because I get these credit cards, they send you the credit card, VISA, Master Charge, and it says pre‑approved. You're preapproved, no sweat no worries, just fill this out, send it back and it's already pre‑approved.
Out of curiosity I did that one time and I got the answer, "Denied."
Caru Das: Because I don't exist when you do a credit check. I don't exist. Because I've never asked for credit. I’ve made no provision for old age or ill health or a retirement fund. But it’s not because I have been lazy. I have been busy serving Krishna with all resources available.
I didn't just pray to God. I didn't just say, "Well, God, I'm serving you so therefor you have to make me healthy."
I've done things throughout my life, I've been a vegetarian, in my recent years I eat very little dairy, nothing deep‑fried. Haven't had white sugar for five years. I'm 65 years old. I've run 32 marathons.
Day before yesterday I did 1500 pushups during the day, the day after that I did 1200 push‑ups. I'm not just sitting back hoping for God to keep me well. I'm saying, "God, here's what I can do, now what can you do"?
I'm hoping to enjoy many years of radiant health and vigor with which I can preach. Here's a quote by Prabhupada, "Having full faith in the Supreme Personality Godhead, a devotee gives up all ordinary social and religious activities and engages fully in devotional service."
This is for those who put 24/7 actions behind their faith, for those who are able to do that. Not all of us are able to do that. We have our studies, we want to have a family. But that option is there that if you put 24/7 actions behind your faith, again, the Lord is not going to abandon you.
He knows that Lord Krishna is the ultimate source of everything and that all perfection comes from Lord Krishna alone. Because of this extraordinary faith a devotee is called the best among all living beings.
I want to tell you an interesting story about putting action behind your words. Prabhupada was one amongst many members of an institution established by his guru, Bhaktistadanta in India called, The Gaudiya math..
They had 64 temples and thousands of followers. Some of them were Sanyasis who had forsworn marriage and raising kids in order to dedicate themselves full time to the movement.
Now Bhaktistadanta wanted that Bhagavad‑Gita be taught overseas, that there be temples to Krishna in other countries all over the world. He sent one of his most qualified swamis to England. That swami stayed in England for about three years, he got nothing done and he was recalled.
Prabhupada was at that time a householder, he had children, and he had responsibilities. He was not considered a very important member of the organization compared to the ones who were full‑time preachers.
However, once his children were raised and educated and married, he noticed that none of his other hundreds of God‑brothers had established a foothold in America. At the age of 70 he got a free ticket on a freighter to America. He arrived in New York in 1965. In those days India had currency restrictions, he only had seven dollars that was all he was allowed to bring out of the country.
He had two heart attacks on the ship on the way over, and he arrived in New York in the winter of 1965. He didn't know a single person in the country. He stepped out in faith. His godbrother, younger, stronger, more supported by the mission, had faith, but he was unsuccessful because he didn’t put his faith into action
After one year living from here to there, sharing rooms, there was not a visible sign that his movement would be successful. In fact, not only were there no positive signs, but his 1100 page manuscript of the Bhagavad‑Gita which he had typed two‑fingered, was stolen where he was staying. Someone broke in and stole it.
A person of ordinary faith would have said, "That's it. Some other person, some other time, I must have got it wrong. When is the next boat going back to India"? But he didn't give up. He put action behind his faith.
He stuck it out knowing that if the Lord orders you to do something it's already accomplished, you simply have to be patient and faithful and wait for that time that it becomes manifest.
Once Prabhupada got a small foothold in America, he wanted to establish a mission in London, just like his guru Maharaj did. You'll love this story. He sent three couples to London, Guru Das, Yamuna, Mukunda, Malati, and Shyamasundar, and Janaki.
They get there and Shyamasundar figures that if they could meet the Beatles and the Beatles can be interested in Krishna Consciousness, then Krishna Consciousness in one fell swoop would be noticed and would be acknowledged all over England and Europe.
He also figured that at some point it would be better for them to have a musical group if they were to meet the Beatles and something was going to come out of this. For months and months they practiced. They got their group together and they practiced chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. They got it really tight.
At this point they had not met the Beatles. They had gone to various concerts, but they couldn't get past the security, they didn't have any money, they had shaven heads and T‑locks and robes, and they stuck out, not like they could sneak in.
One time they were at a place where the Beatles were playing and Shyamasundar noticed the limousine coming down the street.
What he does, he crosses the street, he goes around and as the limousine is turning into the alley to go behind the theater or the club, he gets down below the window level of the limousine, because there are security guards at the other side and he duck walks down the alley.
All four Beatles are in the car, Ringo, Paul, George Harrison, and John. They think this is just the best thing they've ever seen… Shyamasundar duck walking beside the limousine. When they got backstage, they all got out, they hugged him like they'd been friends for years.
They introduced, they brought him backstage. This was the beginning of a very long, three or four decade intimate friendship between George Harrison and Mukunda and Shyamasundar. Later on George Harrison donated what is now the London Temple, it's a 77 acre estate and a mansion.
He donated that. On Apple Records George Harrison produced the Hari Krishna mantra. There was an album called the Radha Krishna Temple Album and one song on that album, which was a Hare Krishna song, and it ended with the gong of Big Ben, just at the end.
That became the number one hit song. For weeks it was number one in England and many other countries in Europe.
None of that would have happened if Shyamasundar hadn't put some action behind his faith. He didn't just pray, or hope that he would meet George Harrison. He put it on the line. He went from the safe zone to the faith zone and look at how amazingly the Lord worked in order to promote that mission.
Lord wants to see how we demonstrate, there is that old saying, "Krishna, or God, helps those that help themselves." We get information that the nature of the soul is that it is sentient. We are sentient beings. We all know we have senses attached to this material body, but there are various opinions and schools on whether the soul itself has senses.
If you're a Buddhist, you don't even acknowledge the soul. It's an illusion and nirvana means just to become one with matter. All imagination, all personality, all individuality is an illusion which produces misery and the sooner that you can evaporate that or eradicate that the sooner you'll just become...Nirvana basically means nothing. You merge with matter.
Then there's a spiritual school in India which acknowledges the existence of the soul and they're called "Mayavadis". But they do not acknowledge that in the liberated state, in the saved state that the soul has senses. In other words, we have senses here in this conditioned state, but when we're liberated somewhere or other then we no longer have senses. You hear the Mayavadis talk about becoming one like a drop from the ocean merging with the ocean. This’ is all contradicted in the authoritative Bhagavad‑Gita.
Krishna say's ‘mamaivamsa. He says the living beings are my parts and parcels. They are ‘jiva bhuta sanatana.’ They are eternally separated from Me. There's no point at which the soul ceases to exist. It's eternal.
Krishna says in the Bhagavad‑Gita, “Na tu evatma jatu nasam.” "Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings, nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. The soul is eternal. The soul is sentient. It's an individual entity. The senses we experience right now, originate with the spiritual self.
Although very small. The soul is described as one tenth thousand the size of the tip of the hair. Yet it has senses. In the Calcutta Botanic Gardens now, there's a banyan tree that spans several acres. It's five hundred years old.
If you go back five hundred years to the conception, that whole banyan tree was contained…. the whole design of it, the whole blueprint of it, was contained within a tiny seed that was smaller than the point of a needle. Similarly, your whole blueprint, your whole personality, and all the senses originate from this spiritual spark.
Successful spiritual life can never be passive. It's fine to meditate. It's fine to be passive. It's fine to pray about something. It's fine to believe about something but spiritual life is really engaged in when one does practical service on behalf of the Lord.
The difference between spiritual and material life is not that in material life there are senses and in spiritual life they become null and void. The difference is that in material life, all engagements are based on self‑centeredness. We go to school, we raise a family, we earn money because of our self centered agenda.
If there's a God in the mix somewhere, he's on the periphery. Maybe if we get in financial trouble or relationship or health trouble, we'll call him in. "God, I need Your help." When it's OK, "Thanks for fixing that. Now You go back to the edge. Let me take it from here."
In material life practical services are done exclusively for the body, and the extensions of the body, like the children and the family, friends, and country. That's fine. We have to do that. Krishna never says in the Bhagavad Gita, "Abandon your social duties."
However, we need to recognize that they're all temporary. They're all temporal. Gandhi said, "Whatever you do is going to be insignificant." But he said, "It's very important that you do it." Why? Because in the doing of it we develop character. Here's the real point.
There may be conditional duties related to our body but we also have constitutional duties related to our soul. That means God‑centered activities. Cleaning the temple of the Lord. Growing food for the Lord. Offering the food before one consumes it. Singing the glories of Lord. Speaking and explaining the philosophies of the Lord. These are all practical works but they're not mundane because the object is to glorify the Lord. The center is the Lord. In doing this, what happens? The contaminated material, egotistical senses become purified. They become purified.
Within this material body, the spiritual senses begin to unfold. Only through practical spiritual service can one reawaken one's relationship with God. Can one re‑awaken? We're not talking about religion here. Many people are religious for those personal reasons that we talked about.
But when you serve with the Lord in the center you develop and reawaken the spiritual senses and the Lord becomes visible to you in a practical way. In this way, one engages in a relationship rather than just following a religion as the senses become purified.
If you want to mix with fire you have to become like fire. If you want to approach and reawaken a relationship with the Lord, we have to become pure like the Lord.
What is his prescription? According to the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says basically in essence, "Love me, love my dog." If you love me, love my dog. Imagine if you want to approach a rich man and you cannot get near him.
You cannot go to his home, you cannot go to his office. He's surrounded by body guards and security. But you're in the park one day, the rich man is in one part of the park and again, as always, he's surrounded by his...But his dog, his dog breaks loose and comes running in your direction.
You capture the dog. You scratch it under the chin. You make friends with it. Then you don't have to approach the rich man. He comes out of his entourage. He comes, he personally thanks you and he notes, "My dog likes him so I like him." You see?
If he loves my dog then he loves me. He'd say, "Thank you very much for grabbing my dog and thanks for making friends with him. How would you and your wife like to come to dinner at the mansion on Thursday night?"
Krishna says that the way that one does practical service for the Lord, because how do we know what the Lord wants? He's the creator of millions and millions of universes. He's got a spiritual form that's beyond the range of our senses. How do we know? In history, there are all kinds of mad men and dictators, all of who claim to know what God wanted and were serving God. How do we know?
"Love me, love my dog." The spiritual master in Disciplic succession never claims to be God. Prabhupada instructed his disciples to wear tulsi mala, neclaces made of Tulasi, around their necks. It means, "I am God's dog." This is my dog collar, tulsi mala. I'm God's dog. I'm owned, bought, and sold by God.
One who is in this life has been trained by his guru or his spiritual master how to serve the Lord in practical ways, 24 hours a day is qualified to engage others similarly. He or she is Guru, Spiritual Master.
That's the recommendation of the Lord himself in the Bhagavad Gita. “Try to learn the truth by approaching the spiritual master. Inquire from him and submissively render service unto him. The self‑realized soul can impart knowledge to you because he has seen the truth.” BG 4/34
Krishna is looking for those who have a faith that He can see and that's translated into appreciating and helping the spiritual master in his mission to enlighten conditioned souls and to spread that knowledge for the benefit of all people.
We don't have to be perfect. We just have to have our hearts in the right place. We just have to be willing to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and assist the pure devotee in devotional service.
There are public activities. When Prabhupada came to the western countries, he started the Ratha‑Yatra Festival. Before Prabhupada came to America in 1965 there was only one Jagannatha Ratha‑Yatra Festival, even in India.
Pretty soon, Prabhupada introduced the Ratha‑Yatra Festival of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Tampa. There isn't a major city...Paris, London, anywhere in the world that doesn't have Ratha‑Yatra.
It's an opportunity to take the chanting of the Holy Names to the street and to serve the Lord, to build the chariots, to get the permits, to cook the feast, and to engage thousands and thousands of members of the public, in this spiritual festival event.
When I first became a devotee in 1970, I noticed that it was a prime practice of devotees to go out in public, bang on drums, and chant and sometimes distribute literature.
Before I met devotees, there wasn't any moment when I spontaneously wanted to go out in public and beat drums and wear bed sheets. I never got up in the morning saying, “I think I'll go out and sing on the street and beat drums.” That did not occur to me. Probably the reason was that people would ridicule me, that I might be embarrassed.
It was a foundational practice in those days to spread the holy name of the Lord by going out and chanting. It was something that I would not have spontaneously done but I exercised my faith, that Krishna is God, that this movement is divinely orchestrated, that my spiritual master is qualified to engage me. He's asking me to do this so with the other devotees, I started going out in public.
There was never a time, no matter how reticent or embarrassed I might have been before hand, there was never a time when I hadn't been out chanting Hare Krishna or distributing literatures when I didn't come back filled with grace. Filled with beatitude.
When I was willing to act on my faith and do something that I would not have otherwise done, I became full of grace. That was demonstrated to me time and time again.
Prabhupada after, his disciples opened up London. They invited him in there and they rented Conway Hall, which was the most prestigious venue in all of London. They spent a lot of money. They advertised it. Nobody showed up.
There was an empty hall except for Prabhupada and some of his disciples. Someone of lesser faith, maybe one of the God brothers that we talked about, would have said, "OK. Today's not our day. Things aren't looking good. Let's pack it in and go home."
Not Prabhupada. He gave a full on 45 minute talk in the empty hall. He was putting action behind his faith. He was making the first move. He wasn't insisting that God prove himself. He was making the first move in order to activate or to attract the notice of God.
Later on, he was to speak to packed halls all over the world. He wasn't putting this condition on God that you fill the hall and then I'll speak. No, he was willing to speak to an empty hall. He was willing to put action behind his faith.
That attracted the attention of the Lord. It's a science. If you're told that there's gold in a certain place in the Wasatch Mountains and you want to verify and make sure that's true or not, you don't just go up to that place, look around, kick a few stones. Maybe scratch with your fingernails. If you want to scientifically verify that at a certain place there's gold, you go to the prospector's store. You'll be glad to know, in Spanish Fork, we have a prospector's store. Did you know that? Yes. You can go and you can spend a couple thousand dollars and you can get all the prospecting equipment. They don't supply the mule. You'll have to get him somewhere else. You go up there with all your stuff and with the right equipment then you'll be able to determine in fact, whether there's gold there or not.
We start with this premise. “God is the Lord and we're the servants.” The ONLY way to realize the truth of this axiom is to ACT on it with faith. What's the scientific method for realizing God? It's not by demanding that God prove himself to me. It's not by demanding that, "God, if you exist front and center, I want you to show me who you are then I'll become active on your behalf."
Remember, he's the Lord and we're the servant. The servant doesn't click his fingers and activate God. The servant activates the master in his life not by putting demands on the master, but surrendering to the master.
The science of devotion is to subject oneself to this experiment whereby one cleans the temple of the Lord, listens to the philosophy of the Lord, eats the food of the Lord and then, see what happens to your heart. See if your senses don't become purified as a result. It's a little bit challenging.
It's a little bit scary, because when you think of science and experiments, generally, mundane and physical science deals with objects. They deal with objects. We do things with objects and see what happens to objects, all external. The science of devotion means you start working on your own heart and your own senses and purify them in a mood of devotion and surrender.
That doesn't make it any less scientific, but it is a lot more personal. Bhagavad‑Gita "As they surrender to me, I reward them accordingly." If we want to surrender a little bit to God by getting on our knees and praying and hoping and believing, He will meet us a little bit. If we want to surrender five percent, the Lord reciprocates five percent. We want to surrender 20 percent. The Lord reciprocates 20 percent. We want to be lukewarm and wishy‑washy about it, then, the Lord is lukewarm and wishy‑washy about us.
But if we want to surrender 100 percent, then, the magic begins. The magic begins when we surrender 100 percent. You don't have to go off and live in a cave or move into the temple. You can be a housewife and make your house a temple. You can do studies which are God centered. You can bring that into the workplace. It's all a matter of knowing the art based on the directions of a bona fide spiritual master.
If you give 100 percent to the Lord, then the fireworks go off. The flowers fall from the sky and things happen beyond the farthest stretch of your imagination.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, He predicted that this chanting of Hare Krishna will appear in every town and village of the world. He said, "Everybody is a devotee. They just don't know it. Everybody is a devotee. The love of God is in the heart of everyone and they don't know it."
Taking this prediction of every town and village very literally, my wife and I came to Spanish Fork, Utah, in 1982 to start a Krishna conscious mission. From a practical point of view, trying to plant a temple in an area 90 % another religion was sheer insanity.
Since those days the planting of a church has become a much written about subject. If you want to know how to plan church, there are number of books published within the last 20 years. You just go Google, "plant a church" and you can find out what you need to do before you go to an area to plan a church.
There are two things that they'll tell you that they've found out, based on many failures and a few successes. Two things they've found out is most of your congregation is going to come from within 12 miles. Whatever surveys you do, do it within 12 miles. Only 10 percent of people are going to drive more than 12 miles to go to your place of worship; that's number one.
Number two is, if 60 percent of the people are uncommitted to a place of worship, there is not a church they go to regularly, then, you have a good chance.
If 60 percent of the people within a 12 mile radius are not going to a church, that's probably a good...At least, you can keep looking. At least, you can tick through some other things, but that will get you...That's where you start.
In Utah Valley, 88 percent of the people are LDS, or Mormons. By that research, this would probably be the last place in the world to start a Hare Krishna temple worship temple. There would be a less than zero chance or success. Any expert in the subject would say, “Are you out of your mind?” You can not go to a place where 88 percent of people are faithfully engaged in another religion." It's a formula for total failure. You'll fall on your face.
Yet, as naive as we were, it worked out OK. There isn't a line from BYU to here of people asking to move in the temple and shave their heads or put on sarees. People say, "Are you hear to proselytize?"
I say, "Well, in the 30 years we've been here, we've probably only made like five or six full‑time devotees. "Either we're not proselytizing or we're proselytizing and we're not very good at it.
It didn't turn out, like people are in line waiting to join, but it turned out OK. I'm not complaining. It's a wonderful thing. This is, perhaps, one of the most beautiful buildings in all the Western states and so many LDS people appreciate it, from the top of the church, on down. We just had 20 students from the BYU School of International Development, here for four hours yesterday, doing service and lunch and everything.
It wasn't like we thought it would be, because all the things that we thought would happen, those were misinformed and misdirected, but it worked out OK, because we put some action behind our faith and the Lord did not leave us high and dry.
Some of you have a dream and you've put your dream on hold and you're just waiting for the pieces to come together. You're waiting for the planets to align and everything like that.
But you need to come to a point where you need to draw the line in the sand and say, "Go. Now, I'm going to go. Now, I'm going to step out of the boat."
Research is fine. You should do research. You should inform yourself. You should read. You should talk to people. You should do all the things that we didn't do before we came here.
But there comes a point, when you've got to activate that dream. You've got to step out of the boat and say, "Lord, here's what I'm going to do. Here's how I'm going to demonstrate my faith for you." And you'll not be left out to dry. The Lord says, "Don't tell me what you believe. Show me what you do."
I know people that are religious people. I know Krishna devotees. They are good people, but they are not accomplishing their God‑given dreams. They are not growing their faith. They're not living the abundant life. Why? Because their faith died. Their faith died. They're sitting, soaking and souring, because they didn't put actions behind their faith and they never activated God's favor in their devotional career.
It doesn't have to be a big thing, but when you're feeling discouraged, when you're feeling the blahs and you put a smile on your face, and you say, "It's good. It's the Lord's day and things are going to turn out, even though, I don't feel that way.” When you put a smile on your face, that's putting action behind your faith. That smile is putting action behind your faith.
It's very much the case nowadays with all these college graduates and the job market being what it is, you may find yourself in a job which you feel overqualified for. Instead of moaning and groaning and daydreaming and not applying yourself, faith is exhibited by taking that job that might be in the mail room, it might be pumping gas; take it as a Godsent opportunity. Throw yourself into that, as overqualified as you may be, throw yourself into that with enthusiasm. Give 100 percent; see it as a Godsend opportunity.
I guarantee you, you'll be running that company in 20 years time. I guarantee you, because when you show God your faith in action, then, he shows you what He can do.
Coming to the temple is a simple act of faith. There are many, religious people in our tradition, they worship at home. They never come to the temple. They say, "I’ve got my home altar and worship. I don't need to come to the temple." But when you go out the door, when you get into the car, when you turn off the TV, when you activate the alarm system, God notes all that."Oh hey, they're headed to the temple. They're out to get extra measures of favor and extra measures of mercy."
Finishing up here. This is from our bi‑monthly publication, "Back to Godhead". "We do not expect nor is it our goal that people will sit all day and chant and mediate on God.
But if they have enlightened leadership, they can be guided to work in such a way that all their talents and resources can be pooled for the progressive benefit of the social body. This is practical action. Fighting ignorance with the sword of knowledge."
"Belief is changeable. You can believe Christian one day, Jew another day, Muslim another day, Hindu another day, but what you can't change is who you are. What we all are, what we all have in common, what is the common denominator between all living entities, not even just human being, but animals, is service. We're all servants.
Every Monday morning, whether you're a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Jew, you're all on the freeway going to work, because you have to serve. Even the President of the United States, he's there because of his promises to serve the people of the United States. We are all servants and servants and spiritualization works it's way out in terms of practical God‑centered devotional service. That's what you can't change. That we are eternal servants of the Lord.
Let me ask you, in conclusion, a couple of questions. Do you have a faith that God can see? Are you putting actions behind what you believe? It's not enough just to believe or just to pray, but are you willing to take it a step further and do something that demonstrates your faith?
You may not see how it will happen, but as you take the right steps and God sees the right motivation and opens the right doors, you'll come to have strength to do what you couldn't do before.
If you have a dream or a promise that you've been standing on for years, maybe it's time now to take it to the next level and do something to demonstrate your faith. Something out of the ordinary to show Krishna or God that you are serious.
If you'll learn to put actions behind your faith, you'll overcome every obstacle and every promise that Krishna put into your heart will come to pass.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare...