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I know one professor, I attended his course on cultural anthropology of India. He told us so many stories from his own experience, his own observations in South India. Once he explained the famous Indian nod. I think this is all over India, the way you express approval or agreeing is to shake your head. It is not the Western nod. Here we say “yes” by nodding and we shake our head while saying “no”. But in India it is the other way around. So, you wonder sometimes, is he saying yes or is he saying no, or is it both, yes and no?

This professor said it with a straight face, it seemed he was serious, although later I thought that maybe he was just joking. He said that this gesture comes from the way one receives a weight on the head, like we see it everywhere in villages in India. Especially the ladies, the poor ladies, who put a big pot of water on their head, and in order to get it settled, to get it balanced there they shake their heads from side to side.

For me it is a perfect explanation. It gives the sense of accepting something. There are interesting interpretations of it. Excepting a burden, excepting responsibility is often involved in agreeing with something.

—From the purport by Krishna Kshetra Swami on the song nr. 15, from the “Upadesa” section of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s songbook “Kalyana Kalpataru”, during the weekly online Saturday KrKSanga, October 9, 2021.




Have you ever been surprised? What kind of feeling do you then have? It depends on the kind of surprise. We can say that there are good surprises and bad surprises, surprises we like and surprises we don’t like. What can be generally said about surprises? They are unexpected, which means that something else is expected. We had expectations, they did not come out, we are wondering why, and we are looking for causes. There can be even a shock. What is shock? Shock is a feeling of not knowing how to react, because I was expecting something different to happen in a certain way.

In his purport to SB 6.12.8 Prabhupada says, “Whether we are defeated or victorious, the Supreme Lord is always victorious because everyone acts under His directions.” Discussing the subject from all angles of vision we can approach the battle between Indra and Vritrasura not as two individuals but rather as two aspects of the mind. Let’s look at this allegorically. In this battle Indra is not the hero, he is kind of an anti-hero. In stories there is typically a good guy and a bad guy. We want to identify ourselves with the good guy and if he wins we are happy. In stories like this one it is more complicated. Who is the good guy? Who is the bad guy? And how it ends when we are in a battle within ourselves? We can become confused. Like Indra does. He is surprised, he has lost his weapon and he is hesitant.

Do not feel embarrassed, don’t feel in this way, because again, as Prabhupada says, “Whether we are defeated or victorious, the Supreme Lord is always victorious because everyone acts under His directions.” Let us keep this in mind. Let us remember that, in any case, Krishna is victorious and always will be. This helps to clear the mind. Everyone wants to be victorious, and we can be confident that we are on the winning side if we just remember that Krishna is always victorious. Is not somebody else, it is Krishna who is always the winner. If we remember that Krishna is the winner, we will not be the loser.

—From Srimad Bhagavatam class by Krishna Kshetra Swami on June 18, 2019 in Ljublljana, Slovenia.