Some times we get confused between what exactly is sin and what is reaction? What is the difference between these two? I recently heard a very nice explanation by HH Bhaktividya Purna maharaj and I am copying it’s transcript.
What is the difference between reaction and sin?
HH Bhaktividya Purna Maharaj :
Reaction will be you are put into the same situation in which you are giving that trouble, and you are on the other side. That’s reaction. Sin means going to hell for some time and going through all the animal species to be punished before you come to that situation.
The person who according to the Vedic literature kills an animal in sacrifice there is no sin. He’ll be elevated, the animal will be elevated. As far as karma-kanda goes it looks good all the way round . But there is still reaction that in the future the person that performed the sacrifice will be the animal, and the animal will be the person performing he sacrifice. Now the animal will get to sacrifice you. But it’s all good, it’s all pious activity. This is the downside. The reaction is there but they won’t go to hell for killing the animal and take birth in so many animal species. It’s still circle. That’s why if one is intelligent one worships Krsna and gets out of that, because it’s stupid. Even though it’s on this nicest level it’s still stupid. Most of the time the two go together, when there is sin there is reaction. But when you perform pious activities you can have reaction without sin. Just like you can have a good reaction and there is no sin. So you can also have a bad reaction without sin. But technically it’s all considered sinful because it’s not connected to the Lord. Good and bad when it’s not connected to the Lord it’s sin.
Its summer time, the ideal time to get around churning some butter. Let us try to churn the following benediction given by Lord Narasimha to Prahlada maharaj on hearing their pastime.
य एतत्कीर्तयेन्मह्यं त्वया गीतमिदं नरः
त्वां च मां च
ya etat kīrtayen mahyaṁ tvayā gītam idaṁ naraḥ
tvāṁ ca māṁ ca smaran kāle karma-bandhāt pramucyate
One who always remembers your activities and My activities also, and
who chants the prayers you have offered, becomes free, in due course of time,
from the reactions of material activities.
One who always remembers your activities and My activities also ( Srvanam Kirtanam)
A very direct understanding is to have regular Sravanam Kirtanam about the pastimes of Lord Narasimha and Prahlada. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to hear Prahlada maharaj’s pastimes repeatedly. We can also hear it from Srila Prabhupada, he gave numerous lectures glorifying Prahlada, listening to them repeatedly will undoubtedly instill a taste for the same. This is indeed our process Sravanam Kirtanam- we hear the glories and then we sing the glories!
Another way of looking at this is asking, “Who is Lord Narasimha?” Keshavadhrita–narahari–rupa! So Lord Narasimha is Krishna Himself, only in the form of a half man-half lion. So we can broaden our understanding of the above verse to further include ‘One who always remembers Krishna’s activities and the activities of His pure devotees’.
Where does Krishna Himself speak about His own self and His devotees? Bhagavad Gita. Which scripture speaks about pastimes of Krishna with His devotees? Srimad Bhagavatam. One cannot stress the importance of these two scriptures enough in the lives of all the devotees, irrespective of their level of realisation. In fact we may even add that one, but not the only, way to externally see a devotee’s attachment to Krishna, and his level of realisation, is by seeing how attached one is to specifically these two scriptures- Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita. We must, therefore, read them daily. Sravanam Kirtanam of Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam.
and who chants the prayers you have offered
Krishna is a person and just as any person He has likes and dislikes. Among many other things Krishna likes is, He has a very strong liking for the prayers offered by His pure devotees. Since they are filled with immense love and attachment for Him as a person, He simply loves them.
One way to understand this line of the verse is obviously to read the devotionally enriched prayers offered by Prahlada in Srimad Bhagavatam, they are there in SB 7.9.
Knowing again that Lord Narasimha is none other Krishna Himself, in a half man- half lion form, we can then expand the meaning to include all the prayers offered in Srimad Bhagavatam by Brahma ji, lord Siva, Vrtasura, Gajendra, Dhruva, it is full of so many wonderful prayers by surrendered devotees. We can read them regularly, Krishna likes to hear them! Sravanam Kirtanam.
Another way to look at this is going through prayers offered by our acharyas. This implies, we sing the bhajans of our acharyas as much as we can. Simply by developing the habit of daily singing bhajans of our acharyas we can receive their mercy and gradually our consciousness may be aligned with their mood. They have poured their heart in their bhajans. There is no other natural and easier way to get a peek in the hearts of our acharyas and also get our consciousness purified at the same time. Let us make a habit to sing these bhajans to Thakurji daily! Manifold benefits and benedictions await us. Sravanam kirtanam
becomes free, in due course of time, from the reactions of material
Lord Narasimha is declaring that the simple act of remembering His pastime with Prahlada maharaj and by reciting the prayers offered by Prahlada maharaj, one can become free from all reactions of material activities. All reactions, sinful and pious, would be gone! What will be left in our heart- remembrance of Krishna, His name, His form, His qualities and His pastimes! One becomes ‘jivan mukta’ (liberated in a material body) in this lifetime itself! What exalted yogis fail to achieve by thousands of years of austerities and meditation, sincere and surrendered devotees can achieve it in this very lifetime, simply by hearing about Krishna and His devotees. This is the uniqueness of Bhakti yoga , specifically the process given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This process is safe, certain and sublime. So sravanam kirtanam of Krishna leads us to Vishnu Smaranam in a very natural way.
What about the result of remembering Krishna’s pure devotee?
Jaya Gauranga : I remember one lady raised her hand after Prabhupada had finished a Bhagavad-gita class as she had a question. She asked, “In the Bhagavad-gita it is said if one thinks of Krishna at the time of death, one will go to Krishna. Now my question is, what if I think of you at the time of death? Will it have the same effect?”
Prabhupada didn’t answer right away. He closed his eyes for two or three seconds as if he was searching for the answer and then he smiled and said, “That is very nice.” He said, “Yes, it will have the same effect.”
(Memories Anecdotes of a Modern Day Saint – Volume 3 by Siddhanta Dasa)
I hope and pray that we could taste some butter from this churning.
Thus Mahātmā Vidura, being treated just like a godly person by his kinsmen, remained there for a certain period just to rectify the mentality of his eldest brother and in this way bring happiness to all the others.
Those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.
One such mahatma or great soul is Srila Prabhupada, who was never deluded. He remained under the protection of internal energy of Krishna, from his birth till the last moment of his manifested pastimes on this planet. To teach us how to practice it, he not only himself remained engaged in devotional service to Krishna all his life but also engaged everyone and everything in the service of Krishna. An acharya, a mahatma, a godly person from the spiritual world.
Although I had immense opportunities to indulge in the four principles of sinful life because I was connected with a very aristocratic family, Krishna always saved me, and throughout my whole life I do not know what is illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating or gambling. So far my present life is concerned; I do not remember any part of my life when I was forgetful of Krishna.
(Letter to Tamal Krishna, June 21st 1970)
being treated just like a godly person by his kinsmen
We are all Srila Prabhupada’s kinsmen, being his son/daughter or grand son/daughter. We all do, and should continue to, worship Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet like a godly person from the spiritual world. He is a Premi bhakta, a nitya sidha, an eternal associate of Krishna, who came down from the spiritual world to liberate us. As his followers it is our duty to glorify him every day, both within our heart as well as by our actions.
One who is actually serious about advancing in devotional service should desire only to satisfy the previous ācāryas. Ei chaya gosāñi yāra, mui tāra dāsa. One should always think of oneself as a servant of the servant of the ācāryas, and thinking this, one should live in the society of Vaiṣṇavas.
(CC Madhya 19.156p)
Remained there for a certain period
we can see this from different angles of vision.
Srila Prabhupada remained here for a certain period from 1st September 1896 to 14th November 1977.
Within this period also, Srila Prabhupada actively preached from 1966 to 1977, twelve years.
However Srila Prabhupada also declared that his books will be law books for humanity for next 10,000 years which means that Srila Prabhupada will be present, in the form of his books and instructions, for next 10,00 years! This is the ‘certain period’ this godly person will remain here on this planet.
Reporter: What will happen to the movement… when you die?
Prabhupāda: I will never die.
Devotees: Jaya! Hari bol! (laughter)
Prabhupāda: I shall live from my books, and you will utilize.
(July 16, 1975, San Francisco)
Just to rectify the mentality of his eldest brother
Srila Prabhupada saw everyone as part and parcel of Krishna. Sri Caitanaya Mahaprabhu sent him, His senapati bhakta, to rectify the mentality of the whole kali yugian population, who is very much susceptible to forget God, to remind all of us about our eternal nature, our eternal father, our eternal home and our eternal relationship with God. He was was compassionate upon every single soul on this planet. Krishna sent him for mass liberation.
“How many devotees do you have?” a reporter asked.
“Unlimited,” Prabhupāda said. “Some admit and some don’t admit.
(Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta, chapter 35)
And in this way bring happiness to all the others.
By his books Srila Prabhupada gave and distributed the essence of vedic knowledge to entire humanity. Srila Prabhupada circled the globe 14 times sowing the seed of Krishna consciousness in millions of souls all around the world. Thus he opened the door of eternal happiness for everyone, irrespective of our nationality, religion or sex.
So by their actions the pure devotees of the Lord can render any place into a place of pilgrimage, and the holy places are worth the name only on their account. Such pure devotees are able to rectify the polluted atmosphere of any place.
I hope by churning this verse we could taste some butter.
By sincerely and seriously reading Srila Prabhupada’s books daily all of us can taste the transcendental butter churned by a premi bhakta, a godly person, a mahatma, a special soul from Goloka Vrindavana, Srila Prabhupada.
As we read Srimad Bhagavatam we find that most verses speak directly about the process and instructions Srila Prabhupada gave us. One can’t miss seeing how Srimad Bhagavatam is non different from a person Bhagavat, their teachings being the same.
Let us ‘churn’ the below verse from Srimad Bhagavatam.
Once only, by their permission, I took the remnants of their food, and by so doing all my sins were at once eradicated. Thus being engaged, I became purified in heart, and at that time the very nature of the transcendentalist became attractive to me.
By their permission: One needs qualification to read vedic scriptures. Even during vedic age there were conditions, based upon one’s qualification, as to who all could read Vedas, Upanishad, puranas, etc. One simply can not pick them like an ordinary book and start reading them.
If one had to have a qualification in vedic age then we can understand how many of us are qualified today in kali yuga to read our scriptures. When Sri Caitnaya Mahaprabhu came , He openly gave Hare Krishna Maha mantra to everyone, irrespective of their qualification, class or creed, as everyone was unqualified. The lack of qualification itself became the qualification to receive unqualified mercy from the Supreme Lord. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu encouraged His associates to distribute the Holy Name to everyone, as far and wide they could.
In the same glorious disciplic line came Srila Prabhupada who took upon the mission and desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and not just translated the two main scriptures for Kali Yuga- Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, but also pushed his disciples to distribute it all over world, irrespective of nationality, color, qualification, etc. , at a scale which is unprecedented in modern history.
So not only we have the permission to read these scriptures but we also have the blessings of Srila Prabhupada and the entire parampara going up to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, rather we receive spiritual benediction by reading them.
I took the remnants of their food: When we read Srila Prabhupada’s books, which he said were his ‘personal ecstasies’, then in a way we are receiving his remnants.
We can get a glimpse of the ‘storehouse’ these trascendental ‘remnants’ are coming to us, and what would be the result of ‘eating’ these remnants, by reading below verses from Caitanya Caritmrta
The characteristics of Krishna are understood to be a storehouse of transcendental love. Although that storehouse of love certainly came with Krishna when He was present, it was sealed. But when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came with His associates of the Pañca-tattva, they broke the seal and plundered the storehouse to taste transcendental love of Krishna. The more they tasted it, the more their thirst for it grew.
Śrī Pañca-tattva themselves danced again and again and thus made it easier to drink nectarean love of Godhead. They danced, cried, laughed and chanted like madmen, and in this way they distributed love of Godhead.
In distributing love of Godhead, Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His associates did not consider who was a fit candidate and who was not, nor where such distribution should or should not take place. They made no conditions. Wherever they got the opportunity, the members of the Pañca-tattva distributed love of Godhead.
Although the members of the Pañca-tattva plundered the storehouse of love of Godhead and ate and distributed its contents, there was no scarcity, for this wonderful storehouse is so complete that as the love is distributed, the supply increases hundreds of times.
The flood of love of Godhead swelled in all directions, and thus young men, old men, women and children were all immersed in that inundation.
The Krishna consciousness movement will inundate the entire world and drown everyone, whether one be a gentleman, a rogue or even lame, invalid or blind.
(CC Adi 7.20-26)
And by doing so all my sins were at once eradicated:We all have experience how only by reading Srila Prabhupada books our propensity to engage in sinful activities decreased in no time. For many of us it was nothing less than a miracle!
Thus being engaged: From thinking, feeling and to action, everything happens like magic. We immediately develop feelings to serve Krishna, whether it is voluntarily accepting some service at our local temple or a group, serving Krishna and Tulasi Maharani at home, we get quickly engaged in some service.
I became purified in heart : The first shower of mercy on a new reader does not depend upon their good qualities or any qualification. We gradually develop some good qualities by the mercy and potency of Srila Prabhupada, and then they in turn become the cause of further mercy. This cycle is ever expanding.
and at that time the very nature of the transcendentalist became attractive to me: As we read, everything about this world, and the spiritual world, it all starts making sense, it is as if all the pieces of the puzzle are gradually falling into place. As we read Srila Prabhupada books we receive the knowledge flowing down from the scriptures.
This knowledge repeatedly speaks about Sambandha jnana, Who am I, who is God, what is material energy and what is the relationship between all three of them. Once we get the Sambhandha jnana then our goal (prayojana) changes, and we feel internally inspired towards this goal and start the process- Abhideya.
Only once: All this begins by reading just one book of Srila Prabhupada!
So what really happens?
When we read Srila Prabhupada books we get a very precious gift, they ignite a spark of faith and love for Krishna within us.
So ādau śraddhā, how to increase. That is given direction by Rūpa Gosvāmī. This faith, ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅga. If you have little faith don’t try to demolish it. Try to increase it. Just like if there is little spark of fire, if you fan it, it increases. Increases. And you have several times… In this temple, when there is yajsa performance we ignite fire. So we take a little small piece of wood and ignite it. Then gradually it becomes blazing fire. Similarly, this faith is just like little fire, and you have to fan it very nicely.
( Lecture on BG 10.8 — New York, January 7, 1967)
If you follow these principles, automatically the loving propensity will awaken. It is already there. It is not artificial. It has simply to be awakened by a certain process. So that process we are prescribing: to rise early in the morning, have maìgala-ärätrika, worship Deity, offer foodstuff, eat prasadam, chant Hare Krishna. Anyone who will follow this principle, he will become purified. There is no need of education, because the devotion is already there. By following these rules and regulations, it will be awakened. As…, as, as in this straw there is fire. Now you ignite it and just fan it, and the fire will come. It is already there, fire. But you know, you must know the process how to ignite fire. Huge fire will come. You can burn the whole garden from this straw. Is it not? So you must know the process, how to ignite fire. Fire is already there, in these trees, in these straws, in this grass. Fire is already there.That…, that is the process. First of all, you must know that fire is already there. Now ignite. Then it comes smoke. Then burning, blazing. So the blazing fire is required. But that will come gradually, if you follow the process.
(Lecture, 14th June, 1974, Paris)
Because we are very minute spark of Krishna, as the spark has the chance of being extinguished out of the fire, similarly, being separated from Krishna, being entangled in this material energy, we have forgotten. Our spiritual quality, burning quality, just like fire, that is now extinguished. It is not exactly extinguished; almost extinguished. We have forgotten. But it can be again brought into the original position by fanning. Just like there is small fire in the charcoal. You fan it, and it will gradually become a big fire. So this Krishna consciousness movement is fanning that spiritual spark to come into full consciousness. Go on fanning like that.
(Lecture, 22 Dec 1973, Los Angeles)
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport to the above SB verse, SB 1.5.25 : Pure devotion is as much infectious, in a good sense, as infectious diseases.
We need regular association of Srila Prabhupada’s books for us to be ‘infected’ by this transcendental infection.
Here is the remedy for eliminating all inauspicious things within the heart, which are considered to be obstacles in the path of self-realization. The remedy is the association of the Bhāgavatas. There are two types of Bhāgavatas, namely the book Bhāgavata and the devotee Bhāgavata. Both the Bhāgavatas are competent remedies, and both of them or either of them can be good enough to eliminate the obstacles. A devotee Bhāgavata is as good as the book Bhāgavata because the devotee Bhāgavata leads his life in terms of the book Bhāgavata and the book Bhāgavata is full of information about the Personality of Godhead and His pure devotees, who are also Bhāgavatas. Bhāgavata book and person are identical.
Our disease has been diagnosed, the remedy is there, now it is up to us to make good use of this abundant mercy and potency flowing via Srila Prabhupada books, by reading them every day.
Today is the auspicious Maha Sivaratri , a day to honor and pray to lord Siva. Lord Siva is known as Ashutosh, one who is pleased very easily, so somehow if we can please him on this Maha Sivaratri then we can make rapid progress in Krishna consciousness
Who is lord Siva?
He is the greatest of all devotees. Vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh: Sambhu, or Lord Siva, is the ideal
Vaisnava. He constantly meditates upon Lord Rama and chants Hare Rama, Hare
Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Lord Siva has a Visnu-Svami-sampradaya, which is
called the Visnu Svami-sampradaya.
All devotees are dear to lord Siva
Lord Siva continued: Any person who is surrendered to the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, Krishna, the controller of everything — material nature
as well as the living entity — is actually very dear to me.
You are all devotees of the Lord, and as such I appreciate that you are
as respectable as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. I know in this
way that the devotees also respect me and that I am dear to them. Thus no one
can be as dear to the devotees as I am.
It is said, vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh: Lord Siva is the best of all devotees. Therefore all devotees of Lord Krsna are also devotees of Lord Siva. In Vrndavana there is Lord Siva’s temple called Gopisvara. The gopis used to worship not only Lord Siva but Katyayani, or Durga, as well, but their aim was to attain the favor of Lord Krishna. A devotee of Lord Krsna does not disrespect Lord Siva, but worships Lord Siva as the most exalted devotee of Lord Krsna. Consequently whenever a devotee worships Lord Siva, he prays to Lord Siva to achieve the favor of Krishna, and he does not request material profit.
Because Lord Siva is a great devotee of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, he loves all the devotees of the Supreme Lord. Lord
Siva told the Pracetas that because they were devotees of the Lord, he loved
them very much. Lord Siva was not kind and merciful only to the Pracetas; anyone who is a devotee of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead is very dear to Lord Siva. Not only are the devotees
dear to Lord Siva, but he respects them as much as he respects the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. Similarly, devotees of the Supreme Lord also worship
Lord Siva as the most dear devotee of Lord Krsna. They do not worship him as a
separate Personality of Godhead. It is stated in the list of nama-aparadhas
that it is an offense to think that the chanting of the name of Hari and the
chanting of Hara, or Siva, are the same. The devotees must always know that
Lord Visnu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that Lord Siva is His
A devotee should be offered respect on the level of the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, and sometimes even more respect. Indeed, Lord
Rama, the Personality of Godhead Himself, sometimes worshiped Lord Siva. If a
devotee is worshiped by the Lord, why should a devotee not be worshiped by
other devotees on the same level with the Lord? This is the conclusion. From
this verse it appears that Lord Siva blesses the asuras simply for the sake of
formality. Actually he loves one who is
devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Siva + ratri, ratri means night, so Sivaratri means the night
of lord Siva.
Maha Sivaratri comes in the month of Phalgun (February-March).
This ceremony is observed in the honor of lord Siva, who was married to mother
Parvati ( or Durga) on this day, it culminates in the night.
Vaishnavas pray lord
Shiva on this day in order to receive his blessings to become attached to Lord
Lord Siva tells mother Parvati as below in Padma Purana-
ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param
tasmāt parataraṁ devi tadīyānāṁ samarcanam
“O Devī, the most exalted system of worship is the
worship of Lord Viṣṇu. Greater than that is the worship of tadīya, or anything
belonging to Viṣṇu.” Śrī Viṣṇu is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1].
Similarly, the most confidential servant of Kṛṣṇa, the spiritual master, and
all devotees of Viṣṇu are tadīya. The sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha, guru, Vaiṣṇavas
and things used by them must be considered tadīya and without a doubt
worshipable by all living beings.
(CC Madhya 12.38p)
How can we please lord
Siva on Maha Sivaratri?
By serving Krishna and His devotees, and by chanting extra
rounds of Hare Krishna mahā-mantra on Maha Sivaratri.
But another very beautiful way to please lord Siva on Maha
Sivaratri is by reciting the prayers lord Siva himself sings in glorification
of Krishna in Srimad Bhagavatam, also known as Rudra Gita (song of lord Siva). As
per lord Siva this is the best prayer
for anyone aspiring for the lotus feet of Krishna.
Now I shall chant one mantra which is not only transcendental, pure and
auspicious, but is the best prayer for anyone who is aspiring to attain the
ultimate goal of life. When I chant this mantra, please hear it carefully and
There are great benedictions given for those fortunate devotees who will faithfully recite these very sweet verses by lord Siva.
A devotee of Lord Krishna whose mind is always absorbed in Him, who with great attention and reverence chants this stotra [prayer], will achieve the greatest perfection of life without delay.
Although rendering devotional
service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and worshiping Him are very
difficult, if one vibrates or simply reads this stotra [prayer] composed and
sung by me, he will very easily be able to invoke the mercy of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is
the dearmost objective of all auspicious benedictions. A human being who sings
this song sung by me can please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a
devotee, being fixed in the Lord’s devotional service, can acquire whatever he
wants from the Supreme Lord.
By investing few thoughtful and attentive moments to recite these verse we can easily please lord Siva on maha Sivaratri and get his blessings. Below is the link from where we can read these prayers, they are from verses 33 to verse 68. ( SB 4.24.33-68)
Since last few
months I have come across devotees who have lost their chanting beads. If this
in itself was not bad enough, then what was even more painful for them was that
in all the cases, save one, their spiritual master declined to chant again on
new chanting beads.
For the devotees the most precious and dear most treasure are their chanting beads- on which their spiritual master has chanted and which they had been given at the time of their initiation ceremony. If the chanting beads are misplaced or forgotten (either of which is very rare) it’s like a calamity! For devotees it is an unbearable wait till their chanting beads are found.
Past week I came
across a wonderful pastime of Srila Prabhupada which was an eye opener for me.
Along with the same I am also sharing some sweet, and instructive, pastimes
devotees had with Srila Prabhupada over their misplaced beads and bead bags.
Over the past few days Prabhupada has given many small but significant instructions on a variety of issues. For example, a devotee who lost his original beads gave me a new set for Prabhupada to sanctify by chanting on them. Prabhupada agreed, but mentioned that this was not really necessary because it is the chanting of the devotee that is sanctified at initiation, not the beads.
(Transcendental Diary by Hari Sauri Dasa, vol. 1, chapter 2 )
Best to cultivate a heart connection
After leaving San Moritz we spent one day in an exclusive hotel overlooking the Rhine River in Zurich. Srila Prabhupada had a room and his entourage stayed together in the room next door. They were not adjoining rooms, however. When it was time for his massage, I had to go into his room to change my clothes to avoid walking in the hallway in my gumcha. One day when I finished giving him a massage, I inadvertently left my bead bag in his room.
They were not the japa beads Srila Prabhupada had chanted on at my initiation two years earlier. Unfortunately, I lost them in New Vrindaban. I considered asking Srila Prabhupada to chant on another set of beads for me but, I didn’t want to admit how careless I had been. My bead bag was prasadam given to me by His Divine Grace. When I returned to Srila Prabhupada’s room, I noticed, to my delight, his hand in my bead bag. For the next half hour, I joyfully watched as he chanted on my beads. Again Srila Prabhupada fulfilled my desire without me asking. I waited until he put my bead bag down and took my newly sanctified beads to our quarters. Elated, I bragged to the others how a miracle had just taken place.
(What Is The Difficulty by Sruta Kirti dasa, chapter 63)
But don’t be neglectful
“All these initiation beads should be kept very carefully and protected. It is not a question of changing beads, but this carelessness, of losing beads, is not very good. You are very intelligent boy, so you should be careful and instruct others also. So keep your beads in a bag and keep the bag around your neck. Then you won’t lose.”
(letter to Hrdayananda, 6th July, 1971)
Show respect by keeping it clean
Bhakti Vikasa Swami: Srila Prabhupada was sitting on his vyasasana that was not exactly a vyasasana but it was a special raised seat. To Srila Prabhupada’s right and a little in front of him was a senior devotee who had his japa beads around his neck and he was chanting on them. When Srila Prabhupada noticed that he asked him, “Where is your bead bag?” This devotee said, “It’s being washed, Srila Prabhupada”, and then Prabhupada turned to Harikesh Maharaj and asked, “Some bead bags have been given?” Harikesh said, “Yes, Prabhupada.” Prabhupada said, “Bring one and give it to him.” Harikesh brought the bead bag and then Prabhupada told the devotee who had been chanting, “Always keep your beads in a bead bag.” He said, “You should have two bead bags. When one is being washed use the other one.”
(Srila Prabhupada – Remembrances, chapter 51)
Balai: In Boston in 1968 I was in Srila Prabhupada’s quarters with Himavati and Hamsadutta and others. Himavati had just made Srila Prabhupada a nice bead bag and gave it to him. Her husband Hamsadutta had his beads around his neck because he had just washed his bead bag and it was drying. Srila Prabhupada offered Hamsadutta this new bead bag and Hamsadutta said, “No, Srila Prabhupada, that’s yours”. Srila Prabhupada said, “What’s mine is yours, what’s yours is mine. Everything belongs to Krishna.”
(Srila Prabhupada – Remembrances, chapter 48)
This is our process
So our…, this is the process. We have got this bead bag, and within this bag there is bead, and we chant each… We capture each bead and chant,
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna , Hare Hare Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
One bead equals sixteen times. So the whole bead chain there is hundred and eight, so one round means about seventeen hundred. In this way, our disciples are advised to chant at least sixteen rounds. This is our daily duty. It takes about two hours, and after that we are engaged in so many other businesses. Somebody is typing or printing books, somebody is going to sell books, somebody is collecting subscription, somebody is cooking for the temple Deity, Radha-Krishna. So in this way our inmates, or our members, are always engaged. Kirtaniya sada hari.
Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam are two most important scriptures for Kali Yuga, they have specifically manifested for us kali yugians. If we sincerely try to serve these two transcendental scriptures then we can unlock many hidden gems. Let us take a look at the famous verse from Bhagavad gita
One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.
As we read the above verse it looks very simplistic, as if Krishna speaking these words just to encourage everyone to accept His shelter by holding a big carrot in front of us. Rather, coming out from the lotus like mouth of Sri Krishna, every single verse of Bhagavad Gita is Absolute and so is its conclusion and promise. Srila Prabhupada further declares in his purport –
He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation.
The above statements may baffle us, especially devotees. We already know that Krishna is the Supreme personality of Godhead, we know about Krishna’s transcendental appearance and activities but liberation seems a bit far. But then how much do we even really know Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, Krishna of Vrindavan.
Both the verse and its purport are ‘packed’ and we can unpack them in multiple ways. Today, however let us unpack it from the angle of Krishna’s birth, how and where exactly did Vrajendra Nandan Krishna appeared.
Scriptures say that Svayam Bhagavan Sri Vrajendra Nandan Krishna does not take even one step out of Vrindavan. Many of us may have read the pastime in Srimad Bhagavatam when Akrura came to invite Krishna and Balaram to Mathura, the two brothers he finally took with him to Mathura were different personalities than what he assumed accompanied him.
Vrajendra Nandan Krishna
Nanda Maharaj returned to Vrindavan without Krishna and Balaram. He was accompanied only by the cowherd boys and men. It was certainly a very pathetic scene for the gopis, Mother Yashoda, Srimati Radharani and all the other residents of Vrindavan. Many devotees have tried to make adjustments to Krishna’s being away from Vrindavan because, according to expert opinion, Krishna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, never goes even a step out of Vrindavan. He always remains there. The explanation of expert devotees is that Krishna was actually not absent from Vrindavan; He came back with Nanda Maharaj as promised.
When Krishna was starting for Mathura on the chariot driven by Akrura and the gopis were blocking the way, Krishna assured them that He was coming back just after finishing His business in Mathura. He told them not to be overwhelmed and in this way pacified them. But when He failed to come back with Nanda Maharaj, it appeared that He either cheated them or could not keep His promise.
Expert devotees, however, have decided that Krishnawas neither a cheater nor a breaker of promises. Krishna, in His original identity, returned with Nanda Maharaj and stayed with the gopis and Mother Yashoda in His bhäva expansion. Krishna and Balaram remained in Mathura not in Their original forms but in Their expansions as Vasudeva and Sakarshana. The real Krishna and Balaram were in Vrindavan in Their bhäva manifestation, whereas in Mathura They appeared in the prabhava and vaibhava expansions. This is the expert opinion of advanced devotees of Krishna. Externally, however, They were absent from Vrindavan.
(Krishna Book, chapter 46)
If Vrajendra Nandan Krishna never takes steps out of Vrindavan then how did He take birth in Mathura?
Let us try solve this mystery by seeing it from the eyes of our acharya and the scriptures.
Thereafter, exactly when Vasudeva, being inspired by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was about to take the newborn child from the delivery room, Yoga-māyā, the Lord’s spiritual energy, took birth as the daughter of the wife of Mahārāja Nanda.
Srila Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakura discusses that Krishna appeared simultaneously as the son of Devaki and as the son of Yashoda, along with the spiritual energy Yoga-māyā. As the son of Devaki, He first appeared as Vishnu, and because Vasudeva was not in the position of pure affection for Krishna, Vasudeva worshiped his son as Lord Vishnu. Yashoda, however, pleased her son Krishna without understanding His Godhood. This is the difference between Krishna as the son of Yashoda and as the son of Devaki. This is explained by Vishvanath Chakravarty on the authority of Hari-vaṁśa.
What Srila Prabhupada is disclosing above is simply astonishing! Prabhupada is divulging to us that Krishna appeared simultaneously in two places- as the son of Devaki and as son of mother Yashoda, in Vrindavan.
Let us read the commentary of Srila Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakura from which Srila Prabhupada quoted the above.
In the Hari Vamsa is says that that in the eighth of her pregnancy Devaki and Yashoda gave birth at the same time to their Children. But here in Bhagavatam it is stated that that Yashoda gave birth after Devaki. How to correlate the two contradictory statements? Exactly when Devaki gave birth to Krishna, Yashoda also gave birth to Krishna. After that, as described in this verse, Yashoda birth to Yagamaya. Yashoda gave birth to two children at different times. This is confirmed in SB 10.4.9, for when Yogamaya falls from the hands of Kamsa, she is called younger sister of Krishna. But when Krishna was born to Yashoda it is not stated that he had four hands. It is understood that He was born from Yashoda with two hands.
(Srila Vishvanath Chakravarti Thakura purport to SB 10.3.47)
Srila Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakurais revealing to us that mother Yashoda gave birth to two kids. A son, Krishna, was born at the very same time when Lord Vishnu appeared as the son of Devaki. (Hence Krishna’s birth is rightly celebrated as Janamashtami everywhere and not on Nandotsava as some devotees tend to suggest.) Second child, as we know, was Yogamaya, Krishna’s ‘younger’ sister.
How the umbilical cord could still be intact if kids were exchanged in the night?
Srimad Bhagavatam itself gives us a hint about this secret while describing how Nanda Maharaj celebrated Krishna’s ‘Jata-Karma’ ceremony, cutting of the umbilical cord connecting the child and placenta.
Sukhdeva Gosvami said: Nanda Maharaj was naturally very magnanimous, and when Lord Sri Krishna appeared as his son, he was overwhelmed by jubilation. Therefore, after bathing and purifying himself and dressing himself properly, he invited brahmanas who knew how to recite Vedic mantras. After having these qualified brahmanas recite auspicious Vedic hymns, he arranged to have the Vedic birth ceremony celebrated for his newborn child according to the rules and regulations, and he also arranged for worship of the demigods and forefathers.
Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport of the above verse :
The jāta-karma ceremony can take place when the umbilical cord, connecting the child and the placenta, is cut. However, since Krishna was brought by Vasudeva to the house of Nanda Maharaj, where was the chance for this to happen? In this regard, Vishvanath Chakravarty Thakura desires to prove with evidence from many shastra that Krishna actually took birth as the son of Yashoda before the birth of Yoga-maya, who is therefore described as the Lord’s younger sister.
Srila Rupa Gosvami also reveals this secret!
preshthanandair vraje tais tair atmano ‘pi vimohanaih
lilollasair vilasati shri-lila-purushottamah
Because He enjoys many happy pastimes, delighting His dear associates, and even enchanting Himself, Lord Krishna is called “lila-purushottama” (the most playful person).
asamordhvena bhagavan vatsalyena vrajesayoh
sutatvenaiva sa tayor atmanam vetti sarvada
Because the parental love of Vraja’s king and queen has no equal or superior, Lord Krishna eternally thinks Himself their son.
kecid bhagavatah prahur evam atra puratanah
vyuhah pradurbhaved adyo griheshv anakadundubheh
goshthe tu mayaya sardham shri-lila-purushottamah
In ancient times some devotees have said that the Lord appeared in His Vasudeva feature in the home of Maharaja Vasudeva, and at the same time He appeared, along with Yogamaya, in His original form as Sri Krishna in the village of Vraja.
gatva yadu-varo goshtham tatra suti-griham visan
kanyam eva param vikshya tam adayavrajat puram
pravisad vasudevas tu shri-lila-purushottamam
When Maharaja Vasudeva arrived in Vraja, he entered the maternity room, saw (Yashoda’s, daughter and, taking her with him, returned to Mathura. The Vasudeva expansion (Maharaja Vasudeva carried with him, then merged in the body of Sri Krishna.
etac cati-rahasyatvan noktam tatra katha-krame
kintu kvacit prasangena sucyate shri-sukadibhih
Because this pastime is very confidential, it was not related in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Nevertheless, Sukadeva Gosvami and other great devotees have indirectly described it in some of their writings.
Srila Rupa Gosvami then quotes below four verses from Srimad Bhagavatam which specifically describe Krishna as son of Nanda Maharaj.
“Nanda Maharaj was naturally very magnanimous, and when Lord Sri Krishna appeared as his son, he was overwhelmed by jubilation.”
“Nanda Maharaj was very liberal and simple. He immediately took his son Krishna on his lap as if Krishna had returned from death.”
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, the son of Mother Yashoda, is accessible to devotees engaged in spontaneous loving service, but He is not as easily accessible to mental speculators, to those striving for self-realization by severe austerities and penances, or to those who consider the body the same as the self.”
“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the son of Maharaj Nanda, who is standing before me with conchshell earrings and peacock feather on His head. His face is beautiful, He is wearing a helmet, garlanded with forest flowers, and He stands with a morsel of food in His hand. He is decorated with cane, flute, and a bugle made of buffalo horn. He stands before me with small lotus feet.”
tatha shri-yamala-vacanam samudaharanti
“krishno ‘nyo yadu-sambhuto yah purnah so ‘sty atah parah
vrindavanam parityajya sa kvacin naiva gacchati
The different between Krishna’s appearance in Vrindavan and His appearance in Mathura and Dvaraka is described in, Yamala Tantra:
“The Krishna known as Yadukumara is Vasudeva Krishna. He is different from the Krishna who is the son of Nanda Maharaj. Yadukumara Krishna manifests His pastimes in the cities of Mathura and Dvaraka, but Krishna the son of Nanda Maharaj never at any time leaves Vrindavan.
The above verse has also been quoted in Caitanya Caritamrta, it was spoken by Caitanya Mahaprabhu to … who else…. Srila Rupa Gosvami!
Caution- We should not misunderstand that there are multiple Krishnas. This verse is showing that Vrindavan Krishna, Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, is the original personality of Godhead and rest all are His various plenary expansions or incarnations. Vrajendra Nandan Krishna is the original source.
pūrṇa bhagavān kṛṣṇa vrajendra-kumāra goloke vrajera saha nitya vihāra
Lord Krishna, the son of the King of Vraja, is the Supreme Lord. He eternally enjoys transcendental pastimes in His eternal abode, Goloka, which includes Vrajadhama.
(CC Adi 3.5)
I hope we got a little taste of sweet undercurrents flowing via seemingly straight verses of Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. If we simply serve these two scriptures by studying them regularly, then, by the mercy and potency of Srila Prabhupada, many intricate aspects of Absolute Truth, Sri Vrajendra Nandan Krishna, can manifest in our heart.
He who accepts this truth on the strength of the authority of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculations attains the highest perfectional stage of liberation. Simply by accepting this truth on faith, one can, without a doubt, attain liberation. The Vedic version tat tvam asi is actually applied in this case. Anyone who understands Lord Krishna to be the Supreme, or who says unto the Lord, “You are the same Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead,” is certainly liberated instantly, and consequently his entrance into the transcendental association of the Lord is guaranteed.
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrndavanam ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena va kalpita srimad bhagavatam pramanam amalam prema pum-artho mahan sri-caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradarah na parah
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, the son of Nanda Maharaj, is worshiped along with His transcendental abode Vrindavan. The most pleasing form of worship for the Lord is that which was performed by the gopis of Vrindavan. Srimad Bhagavatam is the spotless authority on everything and pure love of Godhead is the ultimate goal of life for all men. These statements, for which we have the highest regard, are the opinion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
(Caitanya-matta-manjusa by Srila Viswanatha Cakravarti Thakura)
Wish you all a very Happy Janmashtami. Here is a short kirtan clip to sing and cry out to the lotus feet of Vrajendra Nandan Krishna and welcome the arrival of Lord of our heart.
All glories to the lotus feet of Vrajendra Nandan Krishna
“Why God has made somebody so opulent and why somebody so poor?” This is the general question we hear. Does God discriminates between different souls? Srimad Bhagavatam clears the doubt
naiñä parävara-matir bhavato nanu syät
jantor yathätmä-suhådo jagatas tathäpi
saàsevayä surataror iva te prasädaù
sevänurüpam udayo na parävaratvam
“Like the ordinary living entity, my Lord, You have no such discrimination, thinking like ‘He is my friend; he is my enemy, he is favorable, he is unfavorable.’ Such conception of low grade and high grade You have not got. But according to one’s gradation of service, You offer them benediction exactly like the desire tree offers fruits according to the desire of the person. The desire tree has no distinction of low-grade and high-grade position of the beggar.”
God is Absolute
Parävaratvam. Para means “better,” and apara means “inferior.” Superior and inferior. There are two things, superior and inferior, everywhere, but in the eyes of God, Krishna, there is no such thing superior or inferior. He’s superior, and everything is superior. This should be understood. There is no such discrimination that “Here is a devotee, so he’s superior, and here is a non-devotee, he’s inferior.” That is not God’s discrimination; that is your discrimination.
How is that?
If you like to remain as inferior, you can remain. God has given you independence. And if you like to become superior, you can become superior. It is not God’s discrimination; it is your discrimination. Mind this verse very carefully. Krishna says that “You fully become dependent upon Me, and I shall give you full protection.” This is superiority. As soon as I fully surrender to the supreme superior, Krishna, then my position is immediately superior. But if I don’t do that, then I remain inferior.
There is a verse in the Bhagava gita, ye yathä mäà prapadyante täàs tathaiva bhajämy aham (Bg 4.11- As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.) “It is up to you to… If you surrender cent per cent, then I am also fully cent per cent for you.” But if you have got discrimination—”Certain percentage for my wife, certain percentage for my children, certain percentage for my country, certain percent…,” so on, so on, so on, so on, ultimately, “Zero for God”—then God is also zero. It is up to you. But if you take God—”You are my everything”—then He is also for you, everything. It is up to you. Parävaratvam. He does not discriminate; you discriminate.
Can we understand this via an example?
There are many persons, they come to Vrindavan, and whatever they have earned throughout the whole life, so they give everything to the wife and children and make contract that “I am going to Vrindavan. You send me at least two hundred rupees for my expenditure.” “And what about two lakhs and crores?” “Oh, that is yours. The two lakhs and crores, what I have earned, that is for you, my dear children, my dear wife, and you give me two hundred for God. So I am going to Vrindavan.” So Krishna is very intelligent: “All right, I am also for you two hundred.” Ye yathä mäm… This is the meaning, real meaning.
Srila Prabhupada calls it…
It is called…Responsive cooperation. “If you have surrendered to Me cent per cent, then I respond cent per cent. If you have surrendered twenty-five percent, then I respond twenty-five percent.” This is the position.
Mahajans know it!
Prahlada Maharaj knows it, that naiñä parävara-matir bhavato: “You have no such thing as discriminating.”
I am very fallen but why can’t God show more compassion?
So one may say that “I may… I am foolish. I may not surrender to Krishna cent per cent, but why He is not kind cent per cent?” So that is Krishna’s discrimination. Why He should? He can. He can become cent per cent, but He does not do so. That means Krishna is senscient; He is not impersonal. Don’t think that whatever you are doing, Krishna cannot see. In the Deity room, if you think that “This Deity is made of brass. Whatever nonsense I can do, He does not see,” no, He can see everything. Aïgäni yasya sakalendriya-våttimanti paçyanti pänti kalayanti [Bs. 5.32]. He sees. You rascal, you do not know how Krishna sees. You think that “He has these brass-made eyes. He cannot see. I can do all nonsense with…” No. That is not. He can see everything. Paçyanti pänti. Aïgäni yasya sakalendriya-våttimanti. He can see with His lotus feet. He can see with His hand. We can see simply with our eyes, but Krishna can see with all the… Aïgäni yasya sakalendriya-våttimanti. You have seen: Krishna is playing the flute. The fingers are open. A finger touching: “What you are doing?” We do not know the fingers can also see. But this is absolute. Krishna can use His any energy, any power, any part of the body, for anything else. This is Krishna. Aïgäni yasya sakalendriya-våttimanti.So Krishna can see within our mind how much we are surrendered and how much we are after material enjoyment.
So what should we do?
Therefore the best thing is we have to make zero. Anyäbhiläñitä-çünyam Çünyam means zero. Unless we make everything zero, simply Krishna fact… Krishna is the only fact, and everything zero.
Without Krishna, everything zero. Just like one is one, and zero is zero, but when zero is added with one, it becomes ten immediately—ten times. Similarly, this material world is zero, and Krishna is one. If you want to enjoy the material world by your own effort, it will always prove zero. You’ll never be satisfied. But you add this zero by the side of Krishna, you enjoy like anything, ten times. Ten times. With zero it is zero, but when it is added with Krishna, it is ten times. Just see practically. Our Krishna consciousness movement was started with forty rupees. Now that forty rupees or something added with Krishna, it has become forty crores. You see practically. When I started for your country, I came to Mayapur. I offered my obeisances to my spiritual master, then I went. At that time I had no money even to purchase the ticket. And after that, I have come with forty crores. This is the secret: ye yathä mäà prapadyante
And the result will be…
If you fully surrender to Krishna, then Krishna is there. You have to learn how to take from Krishna. Of course, a devotee is never desirous to take anything from Krishna. He wants to give only. This is pure devotee. A pure devotee wants, “Krishna, whatever little I have got, You take it, everything.” And Krishna says, “Yes, because you have given your everything, even up to your life, I’ll also give you My everything to you.” This is Krishna.
God is like a wish fulfilling tree!
Krishna has no discrimination, but it is up to us to know how to take from Krishna. Just like the example is given here that saàsevayä surataror iva. Surataror iva. Surataroù means the desire tree. It is described in the Brahma-saàhitä, desire tree. Cintämaëi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-våkña [Bs. 5.29]. That is kalpa vriksha….. kalpa vriksha there is in the higher planetary system, and especially in the Vaikuntha world. There are trees are kalpa vriksha, because everything is spiritual; nothing is dead. Here you can take some fruits or flower from a particular tree, but there, if you like, you ask kachoré and samosä from a tree—you get. But we have no idea what is surataroù, surataroù, what is kalpa Vriksha. Whatever you desire, you’ll get it. Surabhéh, surabhér abhipäl… The cows are surabhi. Here you have got limitation; you can milk morning and evening to a certain extent. But there the cows are surabhi. Surabhi means you can milk as many times as you like, and as much milk you want, you can take it. But these things are there, but we have no information. We are struggling here. Manaù-ñañöhänéndriyäëi prakåti-sthäni karñati [Bg. 15.7]. Because we are fools and rascals, we are trying to make some adjustment here. That is not possible.
It is duùkhälayam açäçvatam. This is mäyä. We are trying to be happy in this material… It will never be possible. But these fools and rascals, they do not know. They are making big, big plans how to become happy, how to become, in our country, in our home, in our society, in our family, and so on, so on, so on. This means we are simply becoming entangled. Ato gåha-kñetra-sutäpta-vittair janasya moho ‘yam [SB 5.5.8]. Ahaà moha, illusion. It will never be possible. Therefore, the conclusion is we should fully surrender cent per cent to Krishna, and then we become happy. Saàsevayä surataror iva te prasädaù.
The example is: just like the desire tree, kalpa Vriksha. It can fulfill any desire, any desire. We have got so many desires. Krishna can fulfill all the desires. Please surrender to Krishna. This is the process.
Pure devotion means first of all you learn not to order Krishna, “Krishna, give me this, give me that, give me that.” Don’t bother Krishna. That is the beginning of spiritual life. Anyäbhiläñitä-çünyam. You prepare to carry out every order of Krishna. Then it is spiritual life. Don’t make Krishna your order-supplier. You become order-supplier of Krishna.
If you learn how to give service to Krishna cent per cent, then you get everything, everything, without asking. Krishna knows everything, what is required for you. Just like a father knows what is the necessity of the child. The child never begs, “Father, give me this, give me that.” No. He’s simply dependent on parents. The parent knows. Similarly, if we become cent per cent dependent and serve Him faithfully under His order or His representative’s order, then the success is sure.
( Srila Prabhupada lecture, March 5 , 1976, Mayapur)
Now the amazing thing is that all of the above is simply transcript of a lecture given by Srila Prabhupada, I simply copied it ‘as it is’, the language, even the sequence of the paragraphs. I have only inserted questions based on each para! It is simply an amazing lecture, full of gems. We can hear the original audio of this lecture here. Transcript of the complete lecture is here.
If we simply read the transcript carefully and repeatedly or hear the audio with sincerity and attention then we can get many keys to make a very rapid progress in Krishna consciousness and surrender to Krishna.
Sometime we have confusion on the position of demigods. We also observe that Vaishnavas, especially Gaudiya vaishnavas, do not worship demigods whereas the spiritual master and acharya are worshiped thrice a day! Is it mere sentimentalism or is there a solid philosophy behind it. Srimad Bhagavatam answers this question in the below verse, as to whose shelter devotees should seek, and it’s very instructive purport on the position of demigods.
sarvato manaso ’saṅgam ādau saṅgaṁ ca sādhuṣu
dayāṁ maitrīṁ praśrayaṁ ca bhūteṣv addhā yathocitam
A sincere disciple should learn to dissociate the mind from everything material and positively cultivate association with his spiritual master and other saintly devotees. He should be merciful to those in an inferior position to him, cultivate friendship with those on an equal level and meekly serve those in a higher spiritual position. Thus he should learn to deal properly with all living beings.
High position of demigods
Śrīla Madhvācārya has quoted from the Garuḍa Purāṇa to demonstrate that within this universe those who take birth as demigods, great ṛṣis or pious human beings are all considered santaḥ, or saintly persons. According to Bhagavad-gītā,traiguṇya-viṣayā vedāḥ: the varṇāśrama culture described in Vedic literature deals mostly with the living entities who are struggling within the three modes of nature. The Vedic literatures teach such conditioned souls that material happiness can be achieved only through pious works. In this sense, the demigods are to be considered the most pious living entities within the three modes of material nature. The ṛṣis, or the great saintly mystics of the universe, who are able to travel at will to various planets and who cultivate mystic powers, are to be considered somewhat below the demigods. And those human beings on earth who perfectly execute the Vedic rituals are to be considered in the third or lowest category of santaḥ, or saintly persons.
Pure devotees transcends the material modes
But a devotee of the Lord is beyond the three modes of material nature. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):
māṁ ca yo ’vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
“One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.” Thus Lord Krishna clearly says that a Vaiṣṇava who does not fall down from the regulations of bhakti-yoga is beyond the three modes of nature. And Lord Krishna advised Arjuna, a Krishna-bhakta, to transcend the three material qualities of the illusory creation of māyā (nistraiguṇyo bhavārjuna).
What about demigods?
In the Eighteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā (18.40) the Lord says:
na tad asti pṛthivyāṁ vā divi deveṣu vā punaḥ
sattvaṁ prakṛti-jair muktaṁ yad ebhiḥ syāt tribhir guṇaiḥ
“There is no being existing, either here or among the demigods in the higher planetary systems, who is free from the three modes of material nature.” Thus the demigods are not exempt from the pollution of the three modes of material nature, whereas a pure devotee actually becomes guṇātīta, or transcendental to the influence of māyā.
Therefore, one should cultivate the association of the uttama-adhikārī, or pure devotee of the Lord, as stated previously (Bhāg. 11.3.21):
tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam
śābde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam
“Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.”…
One cannot be liberated without association with a pure devotee of the Lord.
As aspiring devotees, many a times, we feel alone, sometimes even helpless. We, however, forget that Krishna as Supersoul is always with us. Due to our ignorance and dull consciousness we may not be able to see Krishna’s hand in our journey towards Him but He is very much with us. Similarly we may not be able to appreciate and value how Krishna as Supersoul is sitting in our heart and is inspiring us to progress towards Him at every stage in our Krishna consciousness journey. Supersoul plays a very important role in the journey of a devotee. Let us find out how we can connect with Supersoul, hear His voice and take guidance from Him.
Śrī Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the Supersoul and guide of all living entities who have accepted material bodies within this world. He is the supreme controller of all material activities in material nature. He is also our best friend, and everyone should take shelter at His lotus feet. In doing so, one’s life will be auspicious.
Krishna is very close!
In Bhagavad-gītā (18.61) it is said, īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati: “The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna.” The living entity is within the body, and the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is also there. He is called antaryāmīand caitya-guru. As Lord Krishna states in Bhagavad-gītā (15.15), He is controlling everything:
sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca
“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.”
Should I take directions from Supersoul?
Everything is being directed by the Supersoul within the body; therefore the better part of valor is to take His direction and be happy. To take His directions, one needs to be a devotee, and this is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10):
“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”
Paramatma is our ‘old’ friend
In His Paramatma feature, Krishna is the old friend of everyone. According to Vedic injunction, Krishna is sitting with the living entity side by side. According to the sruti-mantra (dvä suparëä sayujä sakhäyäù), the Lord is sitting within the heart of every living entity as suhrt, the best friend. The Lord is always eager to have the living entity come home, back to Godhead. Sitting with the living entity as witness, the Lord gives him all chances to enjoy himself materially, but whenever there is an opportunity, the Lord gives good counsel and advises the living entity to abandon trying to become happy through material adjustment and instead turn his face toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender unto Him.
Can I start talking with Supersoul right now!
The Lord is the Supersoul seated in everyone’s heart, and He acts as the caitya-guru, the spiritual master within. However, He gives direct instructions only to the advanced, pure devotees.
I knew there would be some catch!
Unless you are a devotee, unless you are constantly engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, He will not speak to you. He speaks, but you cannot hear. You have no ears to hear Him. That is not possible. Krishna is speaking. Just like Krishna is speaking in the Bhagavad-gita, sarva-dharmän parityajya mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja [Bg. 18.66]. It is open speaking, but who is hearing? Nobody is hearing. Nobody is hearing. They have got their own conception of life.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, 6th Nov, 1973, Delhi)
So what chance I have?
When a living entity desires to serve the Lord in transcendental loving service, the Lord helps the devotee in so many ways as the caitya-guru, or the spiritual master within, and thus the devotee can perform many wonderful activities beyond material estimation. By the mercy of the Lord even a layman can compose prayers of the highest spiritual perfection. Such spiritual perfection is not limited by material qualifications but is developed by dint of one’s sincere endeavor to render transcendental service. Voluntary endeavor is the only qualification for spiritual perfection.
We begin by taking shelter of a bona fide guru
A person in full Krishna consciousness acts by the dictation of Krishna. In the beginning of Krishna consciousness, dictation is received through the transparent medium of the spiritual master. When one is sufficiently trained and acts in submissive faith and love for Krishna under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master, the dovetailing process becomes more firm and accurate. This stage of devotional service by the devotee in Krishna consciousness is the most perfect stage of the yoga system. At this stage, Krishna, or the Supersoul, dictates from within, while from without the devotee is helped by the spiritual master, who is the bona fide representative of Krishna. From within He helps the devotee as caitya, for He is seated within the heart of everyone. Understanding that God is seated within everyone’s heart is not, however, sufficient. One has to be acquainted with God from both within and without, and one must take dictation from within and without to act in Krishna consciousness.
(We all have experienced when we are sitting with a bona-fide spiritual master or a devotee coming in proper disciplic succession, how the questions within our heart are automatically answered or explained by the such speaker, there is a solid connection via supersoul)
It’s a gradual process, coinciding with our purification level
In the beginning, when a devotee is serious and sincere, the Lord gives him directions from within to approach a bona fide spiritual master. When one is trained by the spiritual master according to the regulative principles of devotional service and is situated on the platform of spontaneous attachment for the Lord (räga-bhakti), the Lord also gives instructions from within. teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam [Bg. 10.10]. This distinct advantage is obtained by a liberated soul.
Supersoul manifests outside to help us!
One who is sincere and pure gets an opportunity to consult with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His Paramatma feature sitting within everyone’s heart. The Paramatma is always the caitya-guru, the spiritual master within, and He comes before one externally as the instructor and initiator spiritual master. The Lord can reside within the heart, and He can also come out before a person and give him instructions. Thus the spiritual master is not different from the Supersoul sitting within the heart.
Why does Supersoul need to manifests outside?
jīve sākṣāt nāhi tāte guru caittya-rūpe
śikṣā-guru haya kṛṣṇa-mahānta-svarūpe
Since one cannot visually experience the presence of the Supersoul, He appears before us as a liberated devotee. Such a spiritual master is none other than Krishna Himself.
It is not possible for a conditioned soul to directly meet Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but if one becomes a sincere devotee and seriously engages in devotional service, Lord Krishna sends an instructing spiritualmaster to show him favor and invoke his dormant propensity for serving the Supreme. The preceptor appears before the external senses of the fortunate conditioned soul, and at the same time the devotee is guided from within by the caittya-guru, Krishna, who is seated as the spiritual master within the heart of the living entity.
(CC Adi 1.58+p)
(We should not only see our spiritual master as manifestation of Krishna but also our shiksha guru and senior counselors, from whom we are taking shiksha, as being direct representatives of Krishna. Krishna has personally sent them to help us.)
Wow! can we understand it via some example?
Just like we work in some big establishment, and if we can satisfy our immediate boss, that is the satisfaction of the whole company. You haven’t got to see whether all the members of the company have become satisfied. Simply the immediate boss under which you are working, if he is satisfied, then you know the company is satisfied because he will submit the report of his work.
Similarly, Krishna is very kind. He is helping you in different ways. He is within your heart. Krishna is within your heart. Antaryami, Caitya-guru. And is presenting Himself as spiritual master both ways, externally, internally. He is trying to help you. And when you are actually taking the advantage of that help, and if you are engaged with love and affection in the transcendental service of the Lord, then you can talk with God from within. God is within you. You haven’t got to find out God in so many places. Anywhere you can sit down. But if you are sincere, if you are actually wanting to offer your service to the Lord—teñäà satata-yuktänäà bhajatäà préti-pürvakam, dadämi buddhi-yogaà tam [Bg. 10.10]—He will give you intelligence. Simply we have to become sincere servitor.
So it doesn’t matter whether one is householder or a brahmacari or sannyasi. He has to become first of all sincere servitor of the Lord. Then everything is complete. The Lord is within you. He will give you all knowledge, all enlightenment, all dictation, and He will make your life progressive.
(Srila Prabhupada lecture, 14th May 1969, Columbus)
I hope and pray that by reading the above we all can develop more faith to understand how Krishna is sitting within us as Supersoul and more importantly, we can appreciate how He is actively thinking about each one of us. Krishna loves each one of us and for those who are sincere, Krishna directly facilitates all arrangements so that we can go back to Him. For showering such love and personal care, what should be our feelings towards Krishna? And then what should be our feelings and attitude towards those great souls, whom Krishna has made His instrument of compassion and sent them to guide us in our spiritual journey. They are His direct representatives. Krishna Himself is helping every one of us internally as well as externally. Srila Prabhupada explains that there is no difference between internal instructor and external instructor. Can I work on my consciousness to see them non-different from each other?
Simply by accepting and acknowledging our spiritual master, shiksha guru and senior counselor as an external manifestation of Krishna, by valuing their association and contribution in our life, by following their instructions, we can attract further mercy of Krishna and make very rapid progress in Krishna consciousness and one day soon it may be our turn to start receiving direct instructions from someone very special within us, the stealer of hearts, Sri Krishna Chandra.
P.S. – Please use this link to read Lord Kapila describing the specific form of Supersoul residing in our heart and how yogis meditate on that divine form SB 3.28.21