prāpya puṇya-kṛtāṁ lokān
uṣitvā śāśvatīḥ samāḥ
śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe
The unsuccessful yogī, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy. – Bhagavad Gita, 6.41
The unsuccessful yogis that Krishna talks about in this verse are of two types: those who fall back into the trap of maya after making little progress on the spiritual path, and those who fall down after a long practice of yoga. Srila Prabhupada explains that yogis who fall down after a short period of practice go to the higher planets that only pious living entities can live at. These living beings enjoy on these planets for a pretty long time, and then they’re sent back to this planet. These living entities take birth in the families of genuine brahmanas, Vaiṣṇavas, or aristocratic merchants.
The ultimate goal of the yoga practice is to take refuge in Krishna. Krishna says in verse 6.47 “And of all yogīs, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself and renders transcendental loving service to Me – he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.” Yogis fail when they don’t persevere to their best potential. Or, they become allured to objects of the material world. Krishna sends these yogis to righteous or aristocratic families so that these souls can take advantage of the facilities and also try to become perfectly Krishna conscious.
I’m not qualified to say this, but many of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples must have been yogis in the past. Some examples that come often to my mind when I read this verse are Alfred Ford, George Harrison, Rishikesh Mafatlal, and some of those whose name I can’t recall right now or not quoting. These devotees were born in rich and famous families or they became rich and famous in their youth. They were attracted by the Krishna Consciousness philosophy and Srila Prabhupada’s purity. They serve the Hare Krishna mission through their mind, heart, body, and soul.
When George Harrison asked for an initiation and a new name, Srila Prabhpada told him that he (George) was already Hari’s son and didn’t need a new name. All vaishnavas in the Hare Krishna movement have been contributing to the mission significantly. George Harrison is quite famous in the material world as well because of his contribution in the music industry. The chants he recorded topped the charts for incredibly long time in 7-10 countries. Here is what Wikipedia says about it:
The Radha Krsna Temple is a 1971 album of Hindu devotional songs recorded by the UK branch of the Hare Krishna movement – more formally, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness(ISKCON) – who received the artist credit of “Radha Krishna Temple (London)”. The album was produced by George Harrison and released on the Beatles’ Apple record label. It compiles two hit singles, “Hare Krishna Mantra” and “Govinda”, with other Sanskrit-worded mantras and prayers that the Temple devotees recorded with Harrison from July 1969 onwards.
The recordings reflected Harrison’s commitment to the Gaudiya Vaishnava teachings of the movement’s leader, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who had sent devotees from San Francisco to London in 1968. The success of the Temple’s first single, “Hare Krishna Mantra”, helped popularise the Hare Krishna movement in the West, and inspired Harrison’s more overtly religious songs on his 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass. Among the Temple members, former jazz musician and future ISKCON leader Mukunda Goswami provided the musical arrangements on the recordings.
Recently I read an amusing account of Srila Prabhupada. Once he was talking to Alfred Ford when a young lady entered the room. Srila Prabhupada introduced Alfred Ford to the lady by saying she is General Motors and to the lady he said, pointing toward Alfred, he’s Ford.
By H.H. Radhnanath Swami’s mercy I have had the fortunate of meeting Rishikesh Mafatlal (Krishna Chandra prabhu) and his devoted wife more than once. Their humility, dedication, and devotion is commendable. They have been serving the Hare Krishna movement for decades from the Sri Sri Radha Gopinath temple located in Girgaon Chowpatty. Everyone should seek their association.
Alfred Ford (Ambrish prabhu) is now the chairman of ISKCON Mayapur. His loyalty to Srila Prabhupada is not a thing of this world.
One time Srila Prabhupada told one of her female disciples that the most important service for her was to take care of her children, and that taking care of children was more important for her than serving the deities. He made a powerful statement to her that these children who are born to or will be born to his disciples are not/won’t be ordinary people but elevated souls. On another occasion Srila Prabhupada said that those disciples who were leaving the practice of bhakti would be born in India in their next lives to perfect their bhakti.
Tulsi Gabbard, 35, is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party. She often quotes from the Bhagavad Gita and closes her speech with Jai Sri Krishna. We don’t know yet what role she’ll play in raising the global consciousness, but Krishna must have some plans that He’ll execute through her.
In ISKCON, I see so many highly intelligent and influential people who have changed their lifestyles and thinking according to Gaudiya Vaishnavism or Krishna bhakti. This change is not spontaneous. They must have earned the piety in their previous lives. They make me think of this verse when I see them or hear about them.