I read verse 4.42 from Bhagavad Gita today morning and its amazing purport where Srila Prabhupada not only gives us the summary of the whole chapter 4 but also gives us many keys to open different levels of transcendental knowledge. The chapter itself is titled transcendental knowledge. I am sharing the same. Please chew it slowly.
tasmäd ajïäna-sambhütaà håt-sthaà jïänäsinätmanaù
chittvainaà saàçayaà yogam ätiñöhottiñöha bhärata
Therefore the doubts which have arisen in your heart out of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge. Armed with yoga, O Bharata, stand and fight.
The yoga system instructed in this chapter is called sanätana-yoga, or eternal activities performed by the living entity. This yoga has two divisions of sacrificial actions: one is called sacrifice of one’s material possessions, and the other is called knowledge of self, which is pure spiritual activity. If sacrifice of one’s material possessions is not dovetailed for spiritual realization, then such sacrifice becomes material. But one who performs such sacrifices with a spiritual objective, or in devotional service, makes a perfect sacrifice. When we come to spiritual activities, we find that these are also divided into two: namely, understanding of one’s own self (or one’s constitutional position), and the truth regarding the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who follows the path of Bhagavad-gétä as it is can very easily understand these two important divisions of spiritual knowledge. For him there is no difficulty in obtaining perfect knowledge of the self as part and parcel of the Lord. And such understanding is beneficial, for such a person can easily understand the transcendental activities of the Lord. In the beginning of this chapter, the transcendental activities of the Lord were discussed by the Supreme Lord Himself. One who does not understand the instructions of the Gétä is faithless, and is to be considered to be misusing the fragmental independence awarded to him by the Lord. In spite of such instructions, one who does not understand the real nature of the Lord as the eternal, blissful, all-knowing Personality of Godhead is certainly fool number one. Ignorance can be removed by gradual acceptance of the principles of Kåñëa consciousness. Kåñëa consciousness is awakened by different types of sacrifices to the demigods, sacrifice to Brahman, sacrifice in celibacy, in household life, in controlling the senses, in practicing mystic yoga, in penance, in forgoing material possessions, in studying the Vedas, and in partaking of the social institution called varëäçrama-dharma. All of these are known as sacrifice, and all of them are based on regulated action. But within all these activities, the important factor is self-realization. One who seeks that objective is the real student of Bhagavad-gétä, but one who doubts the authority of Kåñëa falls back. One is therefore advised to study Bhagavad-gétä, or any other scripture, under a bona fide spiritual master, with service and surrender. A bona fide spiritual master is in the disciplic succession from time eternal, and he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord as they were imparted millions of years ago to the sun-god, from whom the instructions of Bhagavad-gétä have come down to the earthly kingdom. One should, therefore, follow the path of Bhagavad-gétä as it is expressed in the Gétä itself and beware of self-interested people after personal aggrandizement who deviate others from the actual path. The Lord is definitely the supreme person, and His activities are transcendental. One who understands this is a liberated person from the very beginning of his study of Bhagavad-gétä.
This is a gem of a purport and is so potent that one can achieve liberation simply by carefully studying and applying its essence.
HG Bhurijana Prabhu divides this purport into five sections in his book Surrender unto me. Inspired from those titles I am adding little comments.
The Goal of sacrifice (Part 1)
Sacrifices themselves are not the goal. They are means to achieve a goal. The same sacrifice could result in a material or spiritual goal depending simply on the consciousness with which we are doing it.
Today is Ekadasi. Many people in India keep Ekadasi fast, some out of family tradition, some have heard or read about the unlimited piety it brings but devotees keep it simply to please Krishna. So the same sacrifice will culminate in different results for the different people though the act of sacrifice is apparently the same. So our purpose should always be spiritual. Srila Prabhupada writes
One who performs such sacriﬁces with a spiritual objective, or in devotional service, makes a perfect sacriﬁce.
2. Two levels of spiritual knowledge
a) understanding of one’s own self (or one’s constitutional position), and
b) the truth regarding the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Srila Prabhupada gives the synopsis of this transcendental knowledge in his purport of BG 4.35
For want of sufﬁcient knowledge in the absolute science, we are now covered with illusion, and therefore we think that we are separate from Kṛṣṇa. Although we are separated parts of Kṛṣṇa, we are nevertheless not different from Him. The bodily difference of the living entities is māyā, or not actual fact. We are all meant to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. By māyā alone Arjuna thought that the temporary bodily relationship with his kinsmen was more important than his eternal spiritual relationship with Kṛṣṇa. The whole teaching of the Gītā is targeted toward this end: that a living being, as Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servitor, cannot be separated from Kṛṣṇa, and his sense of being an identity apart from Kṛṣṇa is called māyā. The living entities, as separate parts and parcels of the Supreme, have a purpose to fulﬁll. Having forgotten that purpose since time immemorial, they are situated in different bodies, as men, animals, demigods, etc. Such bodily differences arise from forgetfulness of the transcendental service of the Lord. But when one is engaged in transcendental service through Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one becomes at once liberated from this illusion.
3. Transcendental nature of Supreme Lord
In the beginning verses of this chapter Krishna spoke how He first gave this transcendental knowledge to sun-god, Vivasvān, millions of years ago and it was being passed down via parampara but then it got lost. And how Krishna, unlike Arjuna, remembers all His previous births. Then Krishna declares in BG 4.6
Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form.
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport
In spite of such instructions, one who does not understand the real nature of the Lord as the eternal, blissful, all-knowing Personality of Godhead is certainly fool number one.
4. The Goal of sacrifice (part 2)
They are so many different kinds of sacrifices mentioned in vedas and , Srila Prabhupada, writes
All of them are based on regulated action. But within all these activities, the important factor is self-realization. One who seeks that objective is the real student of Bhagavad-Gita.
Even big big jnanis and yogis, what to speak of normal people, get bewildered as to what exactly self realisation means. Actual self realisation means God realisation. They may sound different but are firmly inter-linked.
Self realization means God realization, and God realization means self realization. Just like to see the sun means to see oneself, and to see oneself means to see the sun. Self realization depends completely upon God realization, or else it is not complete. One must know his relationship to the Absolute Truth to fully know his position. The mayavadi school simply discerns spirit from matter, but that is not Ultimate Knowledge. One should know the different manifestations of the spirit also. The highest manifestation of the spirit soul is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna.
(letter to Vilasavigraha Prabhu, 22nd Jan 1969)
5. Properly learning transcendental knowledge
One should learn this knowledge from a bonafide spiritual master coming in the authorised line of disciplic succession. Krishna says in BG 4.2
This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.
Arjuna, Krishna’s friend & devotee, also an eternal associate of Krishna, become an instrument to give this knowledge to the whole world. Similarly Srila Prabhupada, not only a great devotee of Lord Krishna and one of the greatest acharayas in last hundred years, coming in the line of exalted Gaudia vaishanavas, also an eternal associate of Krishna, became an instrument to spread this transcendental knowledge worldwide.
Why it is so important to hear this from a bonafide spiritual master?
Srila Prabhupada writes
he does not deviate at all from the instructions of the Supreme Lord as they were imparted
So the message is passed on ‘as it is’ without any deviation or personal interpretation. That’s why ISKCON’S version of Bhagavad Gita is called Bhagavad Gita As it is.
And what will be the result of following all the above points sincerely?
Srila Prabhupada writes at the end of his purport
One who understands this is a liberated person from the very beginning of his study of Bhagavad-gītā.
It is simply our good fortune that we have somehow taken shelter of Srila Prabhupada’s lotus feet and are trying to become Krishna consciousness. Where else can one read a verse from one of the begining chapters of Bhagavad and not only get the summary of the whole chapter but if one applies it with proper faith then one can get liberation at this stage itself! This is the potency of reading Bhaktivedanta purports.
I feel unqualified to understand, receive or apply this knowledge!
The qualification required to unlock the wealth in Prabhupada’s purports is simply our faith, sincerity and seriousness to become Krishna consciousness. That’s all, not how much knowledge I have or how much austerity I can perform or even my lifestyle before coming in touch with the devotees. None of this matters. What matters is how sincerely I desire and wish to change now. Our past is not a hindrance.
We all know that when bed sheets gets spoiled and strained ( say sheet used by small babies on which they have passed urine etc.). These strains on the sheets doesn’t go despite all the washing and scrubbing. But an experienced and intelligent mother knows that by hanging these sheets daily in the bright sun not only the sheet get germ free but they will also gradually becomes strain free. Similarly when we come in touch with this transcendental knowledge then not only our past karmic reactions are gone but gradually our consciousness starts becoming pure and we can make rapid progress in self realisation despite what all may have been our past life (or lives).
This is the potency and the result of regularly, and carefully, studying Srila Prabhupada’s books. Everything will get gradually revealed in our heart by his mercy and potency. This is our simple, proven and bonafide process for receiving all transcendental knowledge.
In the last blog we read about oneness. As I went on to read the next verse of Bhagavatam it was another condensed drop of nectar and, Gaura willing, I will write about it shortly. However as I was reading it I suddenly felt that as we read about oneness we should also know what is opposite to oneness.Sri Isopanishad says:
Only one who can learn the process of nescience and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessings of immortality.
— Sri Isopanisha, matra 11
So we should know about both, what is vidyā (knowledge) and what is avidyā (nescience) on this topic.
But before I write further on this subject let me clarify few points. What we are going to read is more for us as a devotee and not so much for karmis or jnanis. This knowledge is not to be used to judge others but to see our own self in a mirror. The purpose is to check if I am situated in devotional service in right consciousness. If not, then at whichever stage I am currently situated I make some adjustments to make progress towards pure unalloyed devotional service (which should be our goal) rather than being stuck in a particular stage of purification. I will again stress that we should be fully aware that the process of bhakti is purifying for every soul. An aspiring devotee may be stuck at a particular state but he is definitely making progress with time (even faster than us!) and hence we should never be judgemental about devotees, it is an offense. All devotees are under the direct shelter of Supreme Lord, Krishna.
The opposite to oneness is a separatist. This has been very precisely explained by Lord Kapila, who explains that devotion itself is pure but it is practiced by devotees in 81 different modes of nature depending on their nature. Here are the exact translations of the verses:
Lord Kapila, the Personality of Godhead, replied: O noble lady, there are multifarious paths of devotional service in terms of the different qualities of the executor.
Devotional service executed by a person who is envious, proud, violent and angry, and who is a separatist, is considered to be in the mode of darkness.
The worship of Deities in the temple by a separatist, with a motive for material enjoyment, fame and opulence, is devotion in the mode of passion.
When a devotee worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead and offers the results of his activities in order to free himself from the inebrieties of fruitive activities, his devotion is in the mode of goodness.
— SB 3.29.7-10
Please read the above verses again carefully and having digested them a little let’s hear what Prabhupada has to say in the purports of the above verses.
Who is a separatist ?
A separatist is one who sees his interest as separate from that of the Supreme Lord. Mixed devotees, or devotees in the modes of passion and ignorance, think that the interest of the Supreme Lord is supplying the orders of the devotee; the interest of such devotees is to draw from the Lord as much as possible for their sense gratification. This is the separatist mentality. (completely opposite to what we read in the last blog )
Devotion in mode of ignorance
If one has a motive for personal sense gratification, his devotional service is manifested differently. Such a man may be violent, proud, envious and angry, and his interests are separate from the Lord’s.
One who approaches the Supreme Lord to render devotional service but who is proud of his personality, envious of others or vengeful is in the mode of anger. He thinks that he is the best devotee. Devotional service executed in this way is not pure; it is mixed and is of the lowest grade, tāmasaḥ. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura advises that a Vaiṣṇava who is not of good character should be avoided. A Vaiṣṇava is one who has taken the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the ultimate goal of life, but if one is not pure and still has motives, then he is not a Vaiṣṇava of the first order of good character. One may offer his respects to such a Vaiṣṇava because he has accepted the Supreme Lord as the ultimate goal of life, but one should not keep company with a Vaiṣṇava who is in the mode of ignorance.
Devotion in the mode of passion
When the so-called devotee desires material enjoyment, without reference to the interest of the Supreme Lord, or he wants to become famous or opulent by utilizing the mercy or grace of the Supreme Lord, he is in the mode of passion.
Devotion in the mode of goodness
When such activities are performed and the results are offered to the Supreme Lord, they are called karmārpaṇam, duties performed for the satisfaction of the Lord….If this offering process is in the mode of goodness rather than in pure devotion, then the interest is different. The four āśramas and the four varṇas act for some benefit in accordance with their personal interests. Therefore such activities are in the mode of goodness; they cannot be counted in the category of pure devotion.
So what is pure devotional service?
Pure devotional service as described by Rūpa Gosvāmī is free from all material desires. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam. There can be no excuse for personal or material interest. Devotional activities should be transcendental to fruitive activities and empiric philosophical speculation. Pure devotional service is transcendental to all material qualities.
Devotion is pure but I may not be!
Devotional service in the modes of ignorance, passion and goodness can be divided into eighty-one categories. There are different devotional activities, such as hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, offering prayer, rendering service and surrendering everything, and each of them can be divided into three qualitative categories. There is hearing in the mode of passion, in the mode of ignorance and in the mode of goodness. Similarly, there is chanting in the mode of ignorance, passion and goodness, etc. Three multiplied by nine equals twenty-seven, and when again multiplied by three it becomes eighty-one. One has to transcend all such mixed materialistic devotional service in order to reach the standard of pure devotional service.
Too high for me! And isn’t this a motive too?
That is not actually a motive; that is the pure condition of the living entity.
(I don’t have to aim to reach out for some exalted, unattainable, lofty goal, it is within me. Doesn’t it feel better and encouraging to become aware that is MY natural state. That I am a pure spirit soul and this quality inherent inside me. I do not have to get it from any where outside of me but I have to endeavor to cleanse various layers of ignorance covering my pure consciousness. )
But right now I am a conditioned soul, so what should I do at this stage?
In the conditioned stage, when one engages in devotional service he should follow the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master in full surrender. The spiritual master is the manifested representation of the Supreme Lord because he receives and presents the instructions of the Lord, as they are, by disciplic succession.
(We should not act whimsically and must take each step under the guidance of our spiritual master, siksha guru or councilor, this is the safest and surest way to make progress.)
I hope and pray that we all understood a little bit about what is separatist consciousness. More importantly, we feel inspired to take some corrective steps and make rapid progress on this incredible path of Krishna consciousness.
So many times one come across apparent contradictions in scriptures. Yesterday I read a beautiful explanation of inconceivable nature of Krishna by HH Romapada maharaj in reply to a question at http://www.dandavats.com. It is so nice to hear explanations on such topics from a self realised soul, suddenly inconceivable becomes conceivable.
Question: I have a question regarding a statement I heard in the past and remembered recently: Seeming paradoxes are found in various places in scripture. For instance, in one scripture it may be said “all the forms of the Lord are equal,” while in another it may be said, “no other form of the Lord is as complete as Krishna.” While he didn’t use this particular example, I have heard from an advanced Vaishnava that such “contradictions” force us as readers to stop and contemplate instead of speeding along thinking that we understand things. I’m wondering if this understanding is correct and if you can elaborate to provide clearer understanding?
HH Romapada Swami: As you have hinted within your question, what ‘appears’ to be paradoxes or contradictions within scripture are only seemingly so; factually, there is no real contradiction.
In some instances, scriptures are deliberately filled with apparent double-talk. A typical example is the language of the Upanishads: e.g., “The Supreme Lord walks and does not walk. He is far away, but He is very near as well. He is within everything, and yet He is outside of everything.” (Isopanishad Mantra 5) Such contradictory statements are provided to indicate His inconceivable, transcendental nature. He walks, but His walking is nothing like the walking within this mundane realm. So, thanks to these paradoxes, we are induced to reconsider and reform the deep-rooted material conceptions in our mind when contemplating the Supreme Absolute Truth.
It is not necessarily that all such contradictions are purposefully presented by the scriptures in order to get us to contemplate. It is just the nature of Absolute Truth, which appears to us to be contradictory when we try to capture it within the limited vocabulary of language or within the limited framework of our material mind and intelligence. But by patient and repeated aural reception of the whole message, and by receiving clarification from a realized soul, such contradictions become resolved. The Bhaktivedanta Purports explicitly serve this purpose!
Some of these apparent contradictions, which often become topics of debate among inter-faith discussions, are resolved by understanding the example of higher and lower level mathematics. One may learn in a simple way in elementary math that it is not possible to subtract a bigger number from a smaller one, but as one progressively learns the concepts of negative numbers, rational and irrational numbers, imaginary numbers and so on, instead of seeing contradictions, one’s understanding becomes wider and deeper.
Are they really contradictions?
Often, what appears as contradiction is due to our own lack of understanding or preconceptions about what God or spiritual life must look like. Sometimes it is seen that even when Reality is presented in a very simple and straightforward manner, people find it hard to reconcile. A common example is in understanding how Krishna favors His devotees like the Pandavas. God is supposed to be impartial and yet He gives different rewards to different living entities and He particularly seems to favor and take the side of His devotees. This is not a contradiction, but appears to be so because of not understanding that He EQUALLY reciprocates with everyone as they approach Him. As one’s spiritual understanding and realization matures, such things cease to be contradictions but rather become another impetus for deeply appreciating the qualities of Krishna.
Another way to understand the same thing is that all contradictions are reconciled in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. That is to say, He is simultaneously equal and yet different from all of His other expansions, He is simultaneously impartial and yet partial to His devotees, He is simultaneously present everywhere and yet never leaves His abode in Vrindavan and so on.
Another fundamental reason for seeing contradictions is often due to not understanding Krishna’s Personal nature; Krishna is a Person and He has desires, likes and dislikes, and freedom. Behind all the variegated arrangements one can experience within the material creation, and behind all His dealings with different living entities — is Krishna’s very personal, loving, compassionate nature and inimitable capacity in reciprocating with His different parts and parcels. How He acts and why He does certain things may not always follow a set pattern or formula. Thus, His will is said to be “inscrutable”.
The common tendency amongst those educated in the modern school of rationalism is to try to subject everything, including spiritual topics, to analysis and rationalization and reductionism — but these tools fail us miserably in trying to understand Spirit. You are likely to be familiar with the famous example of the five blind men — each of them came up with completely contradictory pictures of the elephant, while in fact none of them were close to whole truth. Our approach to scripture is often like those blind men, and thus we run into many “contradictions”. Therefore, in order to learn the truth, it is indispensable to approach a seeing man, i.e. a self-realized soul. Under the guidance of such a spiritual master, one can systematically learn to reconcile all contradictions and see the Whole Truth.
By reading the above wonderful article by HH Romapada maharaj I learnt that there are no contradictions in scriptures, it is our limited understanding, by trying to see everything through our material intelligence and rationale, lack of realisations (as opposed to mere information) and above all not knowing the personality of Krishna. The solution is to take shelter of a bonafide spiritual master and by patiently AND regularly reading Bhaktivedanta purports. I will share my own experience of ‘repeated’ hearing in a future blog.
One hears so much about renunciation in our movement and many times as grihasthas (householders) we become confused as to what is actual renunciation for us and how can we practically apply it in our daily life. I searched on this topic and found some gems which I am sharing below.
We should be aware that as long as we remain attached to material enjoyment we will not be able to remain properly fixed in the process of bhakti yoga. As householders our goal should be progressive renunciation of material enjoyment and not the dry renunciation from family life as practiced by jnanis or yogis, that is not our path. It was Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, a great disciple of Lord Caitanya, who said that Caitanya Mahaprabhu descended to teach detachment from whatever does not foster devotional service to Krishna.
What exactly is renunciation?
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said:
One who is unattached to the fruits of his work and who works as he is obligated is in the renounced order of life, and he is the true mystic, not he who lights no fire and performs no duty.
What is called renunciation you should know to be the same as yoga, or linking oneself with the Supreme, O son of Pandu, for one can never become a yogi unless he renounces the desire for sense gratification. (BG 6.1-2)
According to above definition, a renunciant is not simply someone who gives up external duties. A renunciant is one who gives up all personal, selfish interests, while at the same time working for Krishna’s interest.
Although these verses from the Bhagavad Gita appear to address renunciation by the yogi, they also apply to the a devotee. The yogi and the bhakta both practice renunciation, but in different ways. Both renounce sense gratification, and both restrain the senses. The yogi, however, does this by sitting down in a solitary place, controlling his breath, and refraining from all activity. The devotee, Srila Prabhupada explains, has a different method: “A person in Krishna consciousness has no opportunity to engage his senses in anything which is not for the purpose of Krishna.” In other words, a devotee is always renounced because he always engages in devotional activity.
If we are serious about going back to Godhead in this lifetime, then we must seriously apply the principles of renunciation and devotion. We have a certain amount of “business” to accomplish in the human form of life, and heading the list is the business of becoming detached from material desires. If we don’t become detached in this life, we will have to return in another life to continue. Prabhupada writes, “We should be determined to finish our duties in executing devotional service in this life. We should not wait for another life to finish our job.”
Devotional renunciation is easy and pleasant. All we have to do is refrain from sinful activity and, rather than avoiding activity, engage ourselves in acts of devotion. Our lives will become so filled with Krishna consciousness that we will have little time to worry about becoming attracted to the material world. Srila Prabhupada writes, “The more the activities of the material world are performed in Krishna consciousness, or for Vishnu only, the more the atmosphere becomes spiritualised by complete absorption.… Matter dovetailed for the cause of the Absolute Truth regains its spiritual quality. Krishna consciousness is the process of converting the illusory consciousness into Brahman, or the Supreme.” (Bhagavad Gita 4.24, purport)
Srila Rupa Gosvami taught yukta-vairagya,the principle of using even material things in Krishna’s service. He explains in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu that yukta-vairagya is superior to its opposite, phalgu-vairagya, or artificial renunciation.
The Sanskrita word, phalgu, is also used to describe an underground river. What appears to be only a dry riverbed sometimes disguises that under the earth a river continues to flow. This is called phalgu. Srila Rupa Gosvami compares renunciation that neglects to use everything in Krishna’s service to such a river. Although the artificial renunciant appears to be detached from material activities and worldly things, internally a strong desire for these things still flows. That is why this form of renunciation is considered incomplete.
By practicing yukta-vairagya, we accept the body as material but not as the ultimate source of corruption. We concentrate on the soul, but we also take care of the body. After all, the body is a useful vehicle for carrying us from one Krishna conscious activity to another. Yukta-vairagya, or renunciation in Krishna consciousness, entails satisfying the needs of the senses simply and offering everything to Krishna. In this lies real happiness.
I am now copying a collection of purports taken out by HG Srimati Mataji in one of her books, to get a taste of mood of our param Guru Srila Prabhupada and Lord Himself, when He came as Caitanya Mahaprabhu, on the topic on renunciation for householders.
As for detachment from children, wife and home, it is not meant that one should have no feeling for these. They are natural objects of affection. But when they are not favorable to spiritual progress, then one should not be attached to them. The best process for making the home pleasant is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If one is in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can make his home very happy, because this process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very easy. One need only chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, accept the remnants of foodstuffs offered to Kṛṣṇa, have some discussion on books like Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and engage oneself in Deity worship. These four things will make one happy. One should train the members of his family in this way. The family members can sit down morning and evening and chant together Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. If one can mold his family life in this way to develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness, following these four principles, then there is no need to change from family life to renounced life. ( BG 13.8-12p)
The brāhmaṇa begged Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, “My dear Lord, kindly show me favor and let me go with You. I can no longer tolerate the waves of misery caused by materialistic life.”
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied, “Don’t speak like that again. Better to remain at home and chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa always. (CC Madhya 7.126 -27)
It is not advisable in this Age of Kali to leave one’s family suddenly, for people are not trained as proper brahmacārīs and gṛhasthas. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised the brāhmaṇa not to be too eager to give up family life. It would be better to remain with his family and try to become purified by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra regularly under the direction of a spiritual master. This is the instruction of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. If this principle is followed by everyone, there is no need to accept sannyāsa. In the next verse Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu advises everyone to become an ideal householder by offenselessly chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and teaching the same principle to everyone he meets. (CC Madya 7.127 p)
“Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as they are given in the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.”
This is the sublime mission of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Many people come and inquire whether they have to give up family life to join the Society, but that is not our mission. One can remain comfortably in his residence. We simply request everyone to chant the mahā-mantra: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. If one is a little literate and can read Bhagavad-gītā As It Is and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that is so much the better. (cc Madhya 7.128+p)
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu further advised the brāhmaṇa Kūrma, “If you follow this instruction, your materialistic life at home will not obstruct your spiritual advancement. Indeed, if you follow these regulative principles, we will again meet here, or, rather, you will never lose My company.”
This is an opportunity for everyone. If one simply follows the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, under the guidance of His representative, and chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, teaching everyone as far as possible the same principle, the contamination of the materialistic way of life will not even touch him. It does not matter whether one lives in a holy place like Vṛndāvana, Navadvīpa or Jagannātha Purī or in the midst of European cities, where the materialistic way of life is very prominent. If a devotee follows the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he lives in the company of the Lord. Wherever he lives, he converts that place into Vṛndāvana and Navadvīpa. This means that materialism cannot touch him. This is the secret of success for one advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. ( cc Madhya 7.129+P)
So we learnt that the as householders we should
Focus more on devotional service rather than on renunciation. ( more focus on positive, less on negative)
Real renunciation means renunciation from material sense gratification.
We should try to use everything we have (wealth, family, etc.) in the service of Lord.
Finally, by sincerely following the process given by Mahaprabhu, and the instructions of our acharayas, we must pray daily for their mercy, aspire and then take practical steps to make our present life successful by trying our best to finish all our ‘business’ in this very lifetime only, family life is not an impediment.
I came across a very interesting description of different kinds of listeners in one of the book I was reading today morning. I am sharing the same with all the readers.
What Kind of listener am I?
The topmost listener is one who comes before the speaker with proper respect and is eager and expert in hearing of Krishna’s teachings and pastimes. He has rejected all mundane topics, has faith in the Supreme Lord, hears submissively, always contemplates the knowledge he has heard and likes to ask relevant questions. He is dear to Lord’s devotees.
There are listeners who are known as superiors.
Cātaka bird : A cātaka bird does not take water from any source other than the rain cloud. It eagerly waits for the swati constellation, because it only drinks the raindrops that fall during that constellation. It will rather die than drink any other types of water. One who does not hear any book other than the scriptures concerned with Krishna is called a cātaka listener.
Swan : Just as the swan can extract milk from a mixture of milk and water, one who can extract the essential teachings while listening to various topics is called a swan listener.
Parrot : Just as a parrot can recite whatever it has been taught, one who is able to properly repeat the topics he has heard from his teacher and others is called a parrot listener.
Fish: Just as a fish that is situated in an ocean of condensed milk quietly drinks milk without even blinking its eyes, one who quietly listens with full focus and relishes what he hears is called a fish listener.
Some listeners are classified as inferior:
Wolf :Just as the cry of wolf frightens the deer attracted by the sweet sound of the flute in the forest, the foolish listener whose questions and comments are a source of frustration and pain to the other listeners is called a wolf listener.
Bhurunda bird: Just as the bhurunda bird that lives in the Himalayas tells everyone whatever it has heard without doing anything himself, one who repeats what he has heard to others but does not practice it himself is called a bhurunda listener.
Bull: Just a bull does not distinguish between eating sweet grapes or pungent oilcakes, the person who listens to everything without intelligence and discrimination is called a bull listener.
Camel : Just as the camel rejects the mango leaves to chew bitter neem leaves, one who listens to Krishna’s teachings and then eagerly listens to mundane topics is called a camel listener.
This is the second of lecture of HG Jananivas Prabhu gave on the importance of Guru and initiation. I wrote the first part two weeks back. This particular verse, SB 6.16.28, is from a chapter which continues the story of ‘Citraketu’
Let’s again read the verse which Jananivas Prabhuji explained
O King Parīkṣit, after only one week of repeatedly practicing the mantra received from the spiritual master, Citraketu achieved the rule of the planet of the Vidyādharas as an intermediate product of his spiritual advancement in knowledge. (SB 6.16.28)
Purport by Srila Prabhupada:
If a devotee, after being initiated, adheres rigidly to the instructions of the spiritual master, he is naturally endowed with the material opulences of vidyādhara-adhipatyam and similar posts as by-products. A devotee need not practice yoga, karma or jñāna to achieve a successful result. Devotional service alone is competent to award a devotee all material power. A pure devotee, however, is never attached to material power, although he gets it very easily without personal endeavor. Citraketu received this side benefit of his devotional service, which he rigidly performed in accordance with the instructions of Nārada
Jananivas prabhu stated in the second of his lecture that that one may ask a question that if Hare Krishna mahamantra is so powerful then why does one need a spiritual master?
Prabhuji then quoted the second verse of Shiksastakam to prove the validity of above question.
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-shaktis
( In these transcendental names, you have invested all Your transcendental energies.)
Jananivas Prabhu again asked ‘So what is the need of Guru? Guru shakti is also there. Prabhuji added that it is a fact that the holy name is all-powerful and holy name can reveal everything. We can not say the Holy Name can not give this. Holy name is Krishna. Actually everything is in the Holy Name and you don’t need a guru. But..there is no example of someone who has made it without the guru!
Jananivas Prabhuji said that Srila Prabhupada wrote in one of his purport that at the time of initiation one gets a spiritual body and we have to accept this on the strength of shastras, Prabhupada quoted Sanatana Goswami in Hari-bhakti-vilasa for the same. There the example of bell metal has been given. Bell metal when it is mixed with another metal, mercury, it turns into gold! Prabhupada said if you know this art then you can do it. The yogis know it, you have to drink the mercury and when you drink it and digest it then pass the urine on the bell metal, it turns it into gold! So the Devotees said O! Srila Prabhupada can we start producing gold? Srila Prabhupada replied ‘first digest mercury’. Mercury is deadly poisonous, we drink it and we will die. So we have to be powerful enough to be able to drink mercury. ( Please press here to read the transcription of this very same conversation between Prabhupada and his disciples)
Jananivas Prabhuji continued ‘so they have given this example that Bell metal turns into gold, similarly a persons coming outside the vedic culture, malechas, yavanas, pulindas, etc., if they take this process of initiation, they can also get the spiritual body. And Prabhupada said you may not notice that all of a sudden you got two more arms when you get initiation, it may not happen like that, but, he said, at least you can see that the subtle body changes. The gross body may not change but definitely you can see that the subtle body change. We didn’t know anything about Krishna few years ago, many didn’t even heard of Krishna and suddenly Krishna comes into our life and suddenly Krishna, Krishna, Krishna… He is everywhere. So the mind has changed. Earlier the mind was thinking of only sense gratification but now it considers himself as a servant of Krishna and is thinking of Krishna. This is what happens, everything becomes Krishna, Krishna, Krishna. So we can see that the subtle body has changed. And of the two, the subtle body is more important than the gross body because the gross body is the product of the subtle body. Sanatana Goswami says that we have to accept that at the time of initiation one gets a spiritual body and a spiritual name and Krishna recognises us by that given name!
Prabhuji stated that this is the idea in all these stories in Bhagavatam that one has to meet a devotee. This is the finishing touch. It’s drop of mercy from a devotee. In all these stories practically one sees, we need a little bit of mercy, half a drop, quarter of a drop, that’s only what it takes…one drop and then everything happens. It is the finishing touch to our devotional progress. Prabhuji reiterated that without initiation into the chanting of the holy names of the supreme personality of Godhead, without performing devotional service, without that little drop of mercy from the devotee of Krishna, it is impossible to get rid of anxiety and lamentation.
Prabhuji stressed that if these stages had not come into the life of Citraketu, he would have been lamenting the whole life and the next life and he would have gone lamenting forever! There is no cure for this lamentation, except performing devotional service and getting one little bit of a drop of mercy. Then that makes everything go. Otherwise we are going to stay in this material world and we must be in illusion and lament, that’s the only thing everyone is doing in this world. If they don’t accept a guru, they don’t accept the process of bhakti, they will be in a state of lamentation and hankering.
Jananivas Prabhuji then quoted Prabhupada who said that all that which goes on this material world for the karmis they are hankering and they are lamenting. Hankering for something they can’t get or they want and lamenting because they can’t have it. This is all what goes on in this world and it will go on forever. Just taking the shelter of a pure devotee, and the process of devotional service, is the supreme cure for this material world. Otherwise there is no cure and one must go on lamenting and hankering.
(HG Jananivas Prabhu)
Question: Prabhuji, you said without initiation a person must lament and hanker, what about those devotees who accept Srila Prabhupada as their direct guru but do not take initiation from a living guru, will they be also suffering from lamentation ?
HG Jananivas Prabhuji: Well, here in this verse, it is said that he took initiation and very rigidly followed the principles. So the principle is evaṁ paramparā-prāptam (BG 4.2). If in our sampradaya then we have to accept a guru who is connected to Srila Prabhupada. So why jump over? Jumping over means not adhering the instructions of the spiritual master. It’s okay to say that I am Srila Prabhupada’s disciple but is Prabhupada considering you his disciple? It’s said that it is the spiritual master who decides what constitutes the devotional service not the disciple. If Prabhupada comes to you and connects you that’s okay. If it’s just that I want to take initiation and I will accept his as my guru, that’s okay, but is Prabhupada accepting it? If Prabhupada is there, he comes and accepts then it’s okay. But if he is not then just because I want this particular guru and I am not going through the proper channel, I am not adhering strictly to the principles, then why should there be fruit for my chanting.
This concludes the second and final part of lecture by Jananivas Prabhuji, to read first part of the lecture please press here. To hear and download lectures on various topics by HG Jananivas Prabhuji please click here.
Here is another wonderful conversation where Srila Prabhupada shares so many wonderful gems.
Jayadvaita: Just like sometimes we’ll hear our men. They’ll be chanting… Like yesterday I heard someone was chanting “Nitai-Gaura, Nitai-Gaura, Nitai-Nitai-Gaura.” Like that, I’ll hear different mantras. Someone is chanting ‘Radhe, Radhe, Radhe, Radhe.” like that, at kirtana.
Prabhupada: Well, that is not done by the acaryas. But there is no harm chanting “Radhe.” But sometimes it is degraded to make something new, invention. Therefore better to stick to “Hare Krsna” and to “Sri-Krsna Caitanya Prabhupada-Nityananda.” Otherwise… Just like the sahajiyas, they have invented: “Nitai-Gaura Radhe Syama, Hare Krsna Hare Rama.” These things will come gradually. But they are not approved. They are called chara kirtana (?), means “concocted kirtana.” But there is no harm chanting “Radhe, Nitai-Gaura.” So better stick to this Panca-tattva, and maha-mantra. Just like “Nitai Gaura Radhe Syama, Hare Krsna Hare Rama.” There is “Nitai-Gaura, Radhe Syama,” but it is not approved. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. We have to follow the mahajana. In Caitanya-caritamrta you’ll find “Sri-Krsna-Caitanya Prabhu-Nityananda, Sri-Advaita Gadadhara…,” never “Nitai Gaura, Radhe Syama.” So why should we do that?
Jayapataka: The concocter of the “Nitai Gaura Radhe Syama,” previously he was a follower of Bhaktisiddhanta, but then he was rejected, and then he started his own camp.
Prabhupada: No, yes, he was meeting Bhaktivinoda Thakura. So… What is called? Carana dasa Babaji.
Satsvarupa: Srila Prabhupada, sometimes during arati, many bona fide bhajanas are sung, but not much Hare Krsna. Is that not a good tendency, that maybe just two or three minutes of Hare Krsna mantra and many other bhajanas?
Prabhupada: No. We should stick to Hare Krsna. Sri-Krsna-Caitanya Prabhu-Nityananda, jiva jago jiva jago…, these are authorized. But Hare Krsna is the maha-mantra. What is sung by mahajana, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Narottama dasa Thakura, that can be sung. [break]
Jayapataka: …you say is back to Godhead. But when one is situated in pure, transcendental love of Krsna, then that’s, then wherever he may be, that’s back to Godhead. Isn’t it?
Jayapataka: So then we should desire not to go back to Vaikuntha but to go back to…, to be situated in our pure service to Krsna.
Prabhupada: Yes. Pure devotee does not aspire anything, simply to be engaged in loving service of the Lord, wherever it may be. It doesn’t matter. [break]
Jayadvaita: …they know everything and they’re perfect in everything. But sometimes, from our material viewpoint, we see some discrepancies. Just like we think that…
Prabhupada: Because material viewpoint. The viewpoint is wrong; therefore you find discrepancies.
Jayadvaita: So we should think that we have the defect.
Prabhupada: Yes. Acarya is explained, bhakti-samsanah: “One who’s preaching the cult of devotional service, he’s acarya.” Then why should you find any discrepancy?
Jayadvaita: Because we see… For instance, sometimes the acarya may seem to forget something or not to know something, so from our point of view, if someone has forgotten, that is…
Prabhupada: No, no, no. Then…
Jayadvaita: …an imperfection.
Prabhupada: That is not the… Then you do not understand. Acarya is not God, omniscient. He is servant of God. His business is to preach bhakti cult. That is acarya.
Jayadvaita: And that is the perfection.
Prabhupada: That is the perfection. Hare Krsna.
Jayadvaita: So we have a misunderstanding about what perfection is?
Prabhupada: Yes. Perfection is here, how he is preaching bhakti cult. That’s all.
Satsvarupa: Srila Prabhupada, there’s also a question of reciprocation. You have so many disciples, thousands, and one devotee was asking me yesterday, “How does… I want to please Srila Prabhupada. How does he know my progress and my service because I’m…, when I’m so far away from him and if I don’t write him?”
Prabhupada: So his representatives are there, the president, the GBC. They will see.
Madhavananda: The representatives.
Jayadvaita: The representative may be there, but what is my personal relationship?
Prabhupada: Hm? To obey your spiritual master. Whatever he has said, you follow strictly. Follow the regulative principles. Chant sixteen rounds. That’s all.
Devotee (1): Prabhupada, when Srila Vyasadeva was lamenting after compiling so many Vedic literatures before compiling Srimad Bhagavatam, he said to his spiritual master, Narada Muni, that “You please enter within me and find out my deficiency. You are as good as the all-pervading Supersoul.”
Prabhupada: That is always the position of spiritual master, to find out the deficiency in the character of his disciple.
Devotee (1): He said that “You are as good as the all-pervading Supersoul.”
Prabhupada: Yes. He… He pointed out the deficiency, that “You have not described so elaborately about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You have touched only the social, religious, political point of views.” That was his deficiency. So a disciple is always in deficiency before his spiritual master. Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, guru more murkha dekhi karila sasana [Cc. Adi 7.71]. “My spiritual master saw Me a fool number one. Therefore he has chastised Me.” So disciple should be always ready to be chastised. He should not think that he has become perfect. That is perfection. So long he thinks that he is not perfect-he’s to be chastised — then he’s perfect. And as soon as he thinks that he has become perfect, he’s nonsense immediately, nonsense number one. [Break] …always to be chastised by the spiritual master for perfection. And if he thinks that now he has become perfect, then he’s a foolish. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, guru more murkha dekhi. “My spiritual master saw Me a fool number one.” Was He fool number one? He’s God Himself. But that is the position. He should remain always a fool number one, ready to be chastised. Then he’s perfect. In the moral instruction, Canakya Pandita gives this instruction, that lalane bahavo dosas tadane bahavo gunah: “If you chastise your son or disciple, he’ll improve, and if you say, ‘Oh, you are all right,’ then he’ll degrade.” Tasmat putram ca sisyam ca tadayet na tu lalayet: “Therefore you always chastise your son and disciple. Never flat…” What is called?
Satsvarupa: Prabhupada, in one purport in the Bhagavad-gita, you write that a disciple of a bona fide spiritual master is supposed to know everything.
Prabhupada: Yes, if he follows the spiritual master.
Satsvarupa: But how could he know…? What does that mean, “everything”?
Prabhupada: Everything means whatever his guru knows, he should know, that much. Not like God, everything. Within his limit, that’s all. If he tries to understand whatever his guru has said, that much is “everything.” Otherwise, “everything” does not mean that we know everything, like God, like Krsna. That is not possible. If he regularly chants and follow the regulative principles, follows the orders of guru, then he knows everything. That’s all. Not very much… Knows everything, then what is the use of reading books when he knows everything? [break] …everything — except Krsna. Aham… Sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto [Bg. 15.15]. He knows past, present, future, everything. You cannot expect anyone to know like Krsna, everything.
Jayadvaita: Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita that one who knows Him knows everything.
Prabhupada: Yes. Because if he knows that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then he knows everything. That’s all. Not that he should know as Krsna. If he… Yasmin vijnate sarvam eva vijnatam… If he accepts Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, then he knows everything. That is finish.
Jayadvaita: That knowledge itself is…
Jayadvaita: That knowledge itself is complete.
Satsvarupa: There may be material things he doesn’t know, but they’re useless.
Satsvarupa: If there’s some material information that such a person doesn’t know, that’s not really knowledge anyway.
Prabhupada: I did not follow.
Satsvarupa: If he doesn’t know how many people live in…
Jayadvaita: Just like Gaura-kisora could not write. So it appeared that he did not, there was something that he did not know, although he knew Krsna.
Prabhupada: Yes. He knows everything. Otherwise how Bhaktisiddhanta accepted him as guru? He knows Krsna. That’s all.
Nalini-kanta: Whatever the spiritual master says, that is also perfect?
Prabhupada: Yes. Because he says nothing concocted. Whatever he says, he says from sastra, and guru.
Devotee (2): Srila Prabhupada, is there any instance when you were chastised by your spiritual master?
Devotee (2): Is there any instance when you were chastised by your spiritual master?
Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Oh, yes.
Devotee (2): Can you tell us?
Prabhupada: I remember the moment was very valuable. Yes.
Devotee (2): Can you tell us the story?
Prabhupada: Yes. I think I have said that.
Satsvarupa: When you were speaking to one man…
Prabhupada: Yes. He became very angry and chastised me.
Jagajivana: Srila Prabhupada, was this during a lecture by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta?
Jagajivana: Was this during a lecture?
Prabhupada: Yes. I was not… One of my old brother, he, he wanted to speak something. So I leaned my… I immediately became… (laughter) So he chastised him more than me.
Devotee (2): When Lord Caitanya chastised someone more than Advaita Acarya, Advaita felt that He had been neglected ’cause he had not received a greater chastisement.
Prabhupada: He wanted to be chastised, so Caitanya fulfilled His desire. (end)
Since yesterday morning I am down with a bad cough & fever, I took this opportunity to catch up reading Srila Prabhupada’s conversations with his disciples. They so nectarean and guide a neophyte like myself on how to preach. We see how so many times Srila Prabhupada’s young disciples will take the opposite side with the arguments put in by Karmis and Prabhupada will smash their arguments and teach them how to preach with full conviction in the science of Krishna consciousness.
I am copying a room conversation Prabhupada had in October 4, 1975, Mauritius. Please keep a pencil and paper handy as you will read so many gems for collection.
Prabhupada: But the size of the body has changed.
Brahmananda: The size has changed. It has grown, increased.
Pusta Krsna: It looks different, completely… It looks different. There is no similarity. Prabhupada: Yes. There is no similarity. Why the child… There was no mustaches. Why you have mustaches? How you can say “The same body”? You shall have to give your own argument. Child had no mustaches; you have got now mustaches. How you can say the same body? The child had no sex desire; now you have got sex desire.
Brahmananda: They would say all these things are dormant within the child’s body, and now they are coming out. Prabhupada: That we also say, but that body not… That “dormant” means dormant in the soul, not in the body. That is the knowledge. Dormant it is, but dormant in the soul, not in the body.
Pusta Krsna: They have to admit that it’s a different body because if the body is simply made of food and they are eating so much and evacuating so much, then it has to be a different body. Prabhupada: No, it is different body, undoubtedly. If they foolishly argue, that is different thing. Therefore rascal. Their argument has no value. How you can be the same body? So many changes. The body is changed. Prabhupada: So this argument, how he can refute, that he has died twenty-two years?
Pusta Krsna: Well, he can also say that he has lived twenty-two years, because he has no perception of any life before that time. He can’t remember living before.
Brahmananda: “Before, I was not alive. Now I am alive, so I have lived for twenty-two years. Before, I was dead; I was not alive. Now I am alive, so I’ve been alive for twenty-two years.” Prabhupada: So before, you were not alive. Then how your life came?
Pusta Krsna: The combination of… Prabhupada: Do it. Again foolishness. These rascals… (laughs) Then, if you can create life, then where is the question of dead body? You create again. Give life again. If you are so competent that you can give life, combination, then this dead body is there. You bring chemicals and inject.
Pusta Krsna: The same chemicals are there, too. The same chemicals, living body, dead body — five minutes before, five after — is the same chemicals. But they can’t explain why there is such a drastic difference. Prabhupada: What is that same chemical?
Pusta Krsna: In the living body, two minutes before death and two minutes after… Prabhupada: So what is that? Name that, what is that chemical. Then bring it.
Pusta Krsna: Let him try and make life. Not possible. Prabhupada: If you know the chemical, then you bring it. Chemical is available. Why this is dead? What they will answer? What this chemical is wanting, that it is dead?
Brahmananda: Well, we may not know… Prabhupada: Then, you rascal, why you are talking? You do not know. (laughter)
Brahmananda: But, then, neither do you know. Prabhupada: Huh? No…
Brahmananda: You can say soul, but you don’t… Prabhupada: No. But you cannot answer my question; therefore you are more rascal than me. You cannot answer. Your… You are…
Harikesa: You have the position. He’s in a position. He cannot answer. Prabhupada: Yes. You say that chemical is missing. I say what is that chemical?
Pusta Krsna: No, but the chemical is not missing. Prabhupada: Then?
Pusta Krsna: The same chemical is there. Two minutes before death and two minutes after death, the body chemistry has not changed so much. Prabhupada: No. What is that missing that it is dead?
Pusta Krsna: They can’t answer. Prabhupada: Therefore they are fool. You cannot answer.
Pusta Krsna: Because it’s not a question of chemical. Actually they don’t know what life is. Prabhupada: Therefore they are foolish. Therefore he has to take knowledge from Krsna: dehino ‘smin yatha… “Within this body there is soul.”
Brahmananda: You say there’s a soul, but we’ve never seen a soul. It may be your imagination. Prabhupada: You may not see. You have not seen your forefather. That does not mean… This is all bad argument. Why do you believe? Your eyes are so imperfect; still, you say, “I did not see. I want to see.” What is the value of your eyes? You see the sun globe — a small disc. But is it so? Then how do you know that it is so big?
Pusta Krsna: By hearing. Prabhupada: By hearing. That is important, not by seeing. Therefore sruti, Veda, is important, not your eyes.
Harikesa: When people die, though, there is usually some cause. Like they have a heart attack or they get hit by a car or some disease. So that death is caused by the disease… Prabhupada: That is not the cause. That is the effect. You foolish, do not know. You are taking it, cause.
Harikesa: Well, when you get hit by a car, that’s a cause. Prabhupada: Just like one man becomes insolvent, loses everything. So he said that “I had no money. Therefore I become insolvent.” But that is not the fact. He could not manage; therefore there was scarcity of money and he became failure. So that is effect. On account of his bad management, he came to a position that he could not pay to his creditor, and his business is failure. So that insolvency is not the cause. It is the effect.
Pusta Krsna: Bhisma was able to remain in his body even on a bed of arrows. Prabhupada: So when you are going to die, these are the… On account of imminent death, these are the effects.
Harikesa: But that means that the body breaks down. Prabhupada: Hm?
Harikesa: The body breaks down. Prabhupada: At a certain period it will break.
Harikesa: So that is the cause, the body breaking down. Prabhupada: Yes. So you say heart failure is the cause. No. The body is breaking; therefore heart failure.
Harikesa: So death means the body breaks. Prabhupada: No, no. First of all your answer… You say the heart failure is the cause. The man is dying. I say that because the man is dying, the heart is failure. So heart failure is not the cause. It is the effect.
Harikesa: That’s very difficult…
Pusta Krsna: Because his karma in that body is running out, he has to leave.
Brahmananda: But if I can get some machine that will make the heart keep on beating, then the man won’t die. Prabhupada: No. That you are failure. You have got so many machines. You go on, keeping the heart going on. That is not possible.
Harikesa: Finally they just pull out the plug. The doctor kicks the plug one day. Prabhupada: (laughs) Yes.
Cyavana: They are afraid of death. No one wants to die.
Pusta Krsna: They are afraid someone will take them off the machine, too.
Cyavana: We want to live as long as we can. Prabhupada: Then you have to accept that your killing child, abortion, that is sinful.
Cyavana: It’s easier for the mind to accept what is apparent to the senses. For example, to accept that I am this body is easier for my mind than to accept a philosophy which you say that we are not this body. That is very difficult for my mind to accept, whereas I can accept very immediately that I am this body. Prabhupada: Because it is difficult, therefore you are a fool. That proves that you are a fool.
Cyavana: Why should I strive for something so difficult, such a philosophical understanding, when I can live very happily with this body? Prabhupada: But because you do not want to die. You want happiness.
Cyavana: So I can enjoy this body. Prabhupada: You cannot. That is the difficulty. You want, but you cannot. You want. That I know. But you cannot do it.
Harikesa: You never see happy people. Prabhupada: That is their ignorance. They are accepting unhappiness as happiness.
Brahmananda: Well, in this world there has to be some unhappiness and there has to be some happiness. Prabhupada: But we are trying to give you happiness only, no unhappiness.
Cyavana: But that’s not possible.
Brahmananda: That’s artificial. Prabhupada: That you say, but we know.
Cyavana: We cannot see. Prabhupada: You cannot see, but you will see if you be trained up. That is Krsna consciousness movement.
Cyavana: But it is easier for us to remain here and enjoy a little bit and accept a little suffering, accept this body. Prabhupada: Therefore Krsna said that “Bhagavad-Gita should be discussed amongst My devotees, not amongst the rascals.” It will be waste of time. Ya imam paramam guhyam mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati. Find out this verse.
ya idam paramam guhyam
mad bhaktesv abhidhasyati
bhaktim mayi param krtva
mam evaisyaty asamsayah
“For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to Me.” Prabhupada: Not to the fools and rascals. So first of all, to give them chance, let them come to the temple, take prasadam, hear sankirtana, offer obeisances by imitating others. In this way, when they become little devotee, then instruct. Otherwise it will be useless. You’ll waste your time by arguing.
Pusta Krsna: You have given the example that the field has to be plowed before the seed is sown, cultivated. Prabhupada: Yes.
Cyavana: The mind has to want that higher taste. Prabhupada: Ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. So this process… Bring the… Invite them. Chant Hare Krsna, dance, give them prasadam. Everyone will take part in this way, not immediately instructing that “You are not this body; you are soul.” He will not be able to.
Cyavana: It’s too difficult. Prabhupada: Therefore this process is recommended. Caitanya Mahaprabhu argued with Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Prakasananda Sarasvati, not with ordinary public. Ordinary public — “Go on chanting Hare Krsna and dancing.” Never argued, neither He discussed Bhagavatam. For ordinary public-four hours’ kirtana, chanting and dancing, bas. And then give them sufficient prasadam: “Take prasada.” This process… Because unless he has got little sraddha, he will simply put some false argument and waste your time. Not in the beginning. Mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati. First of all create him a devotee a little. Chant Hare Krsna-harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam [Cc. Adi 17.21] — only. Because this is Kali-yuga, people are so fallen, so downtrodden, so rascal, cats and dogs. It is very difficult. But this process — chanting of Hare Krsna maha-mantra, giving them chance to hear it and take prasadam — that will cure. And that is easily accepted by anyone. It doesn’t matter what he is. Anyone will accept. To chant and dance and take prasadam — no one will disagree. So this is the process. When they come to the temple… Just like these boys. You are offering obeisances; they are also offering. But that will go to their credit, to become bhakta. This process should be adopted. Not in the beginning, but in the beginning give them prasadam, chant Hare Krsna. And try to sell some book. You pay something. That means he is giving some service, the hard-earned money. That will also go to his credit. And then, when he’ll concerned that “I have paid for it. Let me see what this nonsense has written. All right. Read.” And that will also convince him. This is the way. He’ll keep this body, book, and show some friend, so the infection will go on.
Cyavana: We can see in some of our boys in Kenya. Practically they have no education and very little intelligence, but still, they are doing everything. They’re falling down. They are offering all the prayers. They are taking prasadam. They are chanting. They are doing everything, even they don’t have the intelligence to understand why. Prabhupada: You said that no chemical is missing.
Pusta Krsna: No chemical difference. Prabhupada: But why it is dead?
Pusta Krsna: The body is dead? Well, they haven’t been able to determine that yet. Prabhupada: Then they are rascals. There is no argument because you do not know.
Cyavana: They say “fate.” They say “There is fate.” Prabhupada: Faith we have got, but you have no faith.
Cyavana: Not faith. Fate. Prabhupada: What is that fate?
Cyavana: Predetermined, predestined. Prabhupada: Who made it, the predestination?
Pusta Krsna: Higher controller. Prabhupada: Then you have to accept some higher authority, God.
Cyavana: But he is not a person. He is not a person. Prabhupada: Whatever it may be. That is another thing. That is another question. But you have to accept some superior authority. As soon as you accept fate, destiny, then you have to accept superior authority.
Cyavana: They also say “nature.” They say “by nature.” Prabhupada: Whatever it… Whatever it may be. You have to accept some superior authority. That means you are not independent. You are under the control of the superior authority.
Harikesa: Time. Time is… Prabhupada: Whatever it may be. You call by any name. That is another thing.
Pusta Krsna: These bodies are a reaction, effect, isn’t it? These bodies are an effect. Prabhupada: Yes.
Pusta Krsna: So then death also must be some effect. Prabhupada: So who has made this law, cause and effect? Some way or other, you have to accept that you are not independent.
Harikesa: Their arguments are so foolish, it’s hard to think of them. Prabhupada: Yes. Therefore mudha, they have been described. Na mam duskrtino mudhah [Bg. 7.15]. They are being kicked, punished; still, he says, “Oh, I don’t care for anybody.” I kick on your face. “Yes, I don’t care for you.” Like that. This is their argument.
Pusta Krsna: Ahankara-vimudhatma.
Cyavana: But because everything in this world appears to be disordered, it is difficult to accept… Prabhupada: The world is not in disorder.
Cyavana: But it appears to be.
Brahmananda: Man makes order. Prabhupada: Man makes order?
Pusta Krsna: Is… Your idea is that he conceives of the order. But actually there is no order, but he… Prabhupada: When there is cyclone, man can stop?
Cyavana: For example this beach is all disorder. There is so much rubbish there. There is no order to this world. So how can there be any higher authority… Prabhupada: So what you can do?
Cyavana: I cannot accept that there is a higher authority when everything is simply disorganized. These trees are broken, the…
Prabhupada: It is organized. It is organized. For thousands of years the sea is there, the beach is there. So sea cannot come here. This is order.
Cyavana: But the line of the beach is all crooked and… Prabhupada: That is your imperfect vision. It is perfect.
Harikesa: People think, “Straight and corners, that is very nice. If everything has corners…” Prabhupada: That is your concoction.
Cyavana: Like a building, straight. Prabhupada: Just like if you think that “Why keep to the left? Why not right?” You think like that, but that is ordered by the superior. You can think in your own way.
Cyavana: Because it appears that way to my senses, therefore I think that… Prabhupada: Therefore it is authority. You can think like anything, but it will not be done according to your desire. It will be done by the authority’s desire. That is authority. You cannot dictate the authority that “You do like this.” That is not authority. You think any way; that is your business. But authority will do in their own way.
Harikesa: Actually, nobody cares about philosophy. Nobody follows philosophy. Prabhupada: No. He cares for death. That is the ultimate philosophy, that they have to die. Say, “I don’t care for this order. I’ll not die.” Then your disobedience is all right. But you have to die. You have to become old man. How you can disobey?
Cyavana: So if death is imminent, then I should simply try to enjoy myself as long as I can. Prabhupada: Enjoy. What is that enjoyment if you are going to die?
Harikesa: It’s so incredible how crazy everything is.
Brahmananda: Well, at least before I die, I can get as much pleasure as I can. Prabhupada: Nobody can, if he is actually afraid of death. Suppose if you are given a beautiful woman — “Enjoy, and as soon as you come out I will shoot you.” (laughter) Will you enjoy?
Pusta Krsna: That’s a great example. That example would change the world. Prabhupada: That is the difference between a man of knowledge and a fool. Man of knowledge, that is that he knows he has to die. “But I don’t wish to die. So what is the solution?” That is man of knowledge.
Harikesa: Sometimes they say “Well, why worry about death? It’s gotta happen anyway, so why should we worry?”
Prabhupada: But you… You… Because you are rascal number one, you don’t worry, but that is the psychology. This is the example.
Harikesa: But I want to enjoy right now. Prabhupada: Suppose that you enjoy this woman for few minutes. Then you will be shot down. Then will you be able to enjoy?
Brahmananda: Actually they do that. When some man is to be executed in the prison they give him one woman the night before as a special consolation.
Pusta Krsna: They finish him off completely. They ruin him. (laughing)
Cyavana: But death is very far away from me. I am only thirty years old. I don’t have to worry about death. Prabhupada: What is the guarantee that you will live thirty-one years? What is the guarantee that you will live thirty-one years? There is no guarantee.
Cyavana: But everyone else around me appears to be having fun and enjoying.
Pusta Krsna: They can use this argument though, Prabhupada. I’ve heard it before, that “So God has placed us in this world. Okay, there is God, and He has placed us in this world, and He has created the world also, and He has made these things very, very enjoyable, sex life, and this and that. So why not enjoy if God has created it?” Prabhupada: That is foolishness. That is foolishness. It is not enjoyable. That is… If a criminal says, “The prisonhouse is very enjoyable,” it is like that.
Cyavana: But all the travel brochures and the advertisements, they say it’s nice here. All the advertising and travel brochures, they say it is nice. Prabhupada: Let him say, but prison house, is it nice? That is foolishness.
Cyavana: But everyone else says it’s nice. Prabhupada: Everyone? I don’t say.
Cyavana: You are the only one who says it is not nice. Prabhupada: I am the only intelligent person. (laughter) That’s a fact. Mudho nabhijanati.
Pusta Krsna: Krsna says, antavat tu phalam tesam tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam: [Bg. 7.23] “Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary.” So does this mean that these less intelligent people who are simply interested in temporary benefit… Even they don’t worship demigods per se, it could be anyone. Prabhupada: Yes. Demigods… Yes. Just like one who is trying to get some good service. So they are worshiping this boss, that boss. That is also demigod, because without flattering some boss he cannot get some good job; without flattering the voters he cannot get the ministership. That is demigod worship. They have to flatter somebody. Why this Ram Gulab has gone to…? He has to flatter there. This is going on. The big bosses in the United Nation, they are demigods, supposed to be. He thinks, “If I flatter them, then I will be able to keep my position.” But he does not think that this position will be lost after some years. Tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam. He has forgotten his eternal life, Krsna, and he is flattering these demigods. That’s all. What he will gain? He will die. That’s all. At the time of death what these United Nation leaders will do?
Cyavana: But we can improve the standard for future generations, for our children. Prabhupada: First of all you improve your own condition; then think of future generation. You are going to hell and thinking of future generation. You are going to die, and you are thinking of future generation. Who is your future generation? That is another foolishness. This is asuric civilization. Asuric civilization.
Cyavana: Hope against hope. Prabhupada: Hope, that is also foolishness. Apart from future generation, you have got sons. So you are taking very great care. Does it mean that his life is guaranteed? So what you can do? You cannot do anything for your present generation, what to speak of future generation. You cannot do. Suppose your son is sick. As father, you have given first-class medicine, first-class physician. Does it guarantee that he will live? Then what can you do? Is it in your control that your son will live because you have given good physician, good medicine? Is it guarantee that your son will live? Then what can you do? You cannot do anything for your present generation, and you are thinking of future generation, which you do not know, who is your future generation. At the present moment you know this is your generation, you cannot do anything, and you are thinking of future generation. How foolish you are.
Cyavana: Well, we may have to accept the laws of nature, but at least we can… Prabhupada: And therefore, what is the meaning of taking care of future generation or this generation?
Cyavana: At least we can make it comfortable in this world. Prabhupada: No. That is not possible. You have already given good medicine, good physician. And why he is dying? You cannot do anything. That is your position. You may try to do, but that is futile. Ultimate is different.
Cyavana: So by giving him medicine, maybe I can give him a better chance… Prabhupada: “Maybe” can be, but it is not guaranteed. You cannot do anything.
Cyavana: But at least I should try. Prabhupada: Try. Foolishly you try whatever you like. That is another thing. But it is not under your control. You can try. That is your… Of course, you must try as a dutiful father, but you should know that you cannot take any guarantee or do anything, good or bad. That you have already said, “the destiny.” That is prominent. That is prominent, not you.
Cyavana: The tendency of the humans… Prabhupada: You can do the best to train your child to become Krsna conscious. That is in your power. That you can do. That is the best service, not anything else. That is not possible. If you become yourself Krsna conscious, and if you try to make your son Krsna conscious, that you can do. And that is the duty, real duty. Other things, you cannot do anything. That is destiny. And if you make him Krsna conscious, then destiny can also be changed. This is the concession of Krsna consciousness. Destiny also can be changed. Karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam [Bs. 5.54]. One who comes to Krsna consciousness, his karma is also changed.
Cyavana: Is that karma dovetailed? Prabhupada: Yes.
Cyavana: It’s still there. Prabhupada: Still can be changed by bhakti. Just like one man is condemned to death. Nobody can change it, but the king can change it. Only by the mercy of king he can be saved, not otherwise. Even the judge who has punished him, he cannot do it. Whatever is ordered, there is order. He cannot change it. Similarly, if you become devotee, then your destiny can be changed. A devotee never is anxious to change his destiny. That is devotee’s…
Pusta Krsna: Like Maharaja Pariksit.
Cyavana: But if his destiny takes him away from Krsna, then he is not… Prabhupada: That is Krsna’s desire. If Krsna desires, He can do anything. So a devotee does not interfere with Krsna’s desire.
Pusta Krsna: We know that Krsna desires everyone to become Krsna conscious. Prabhupada: Oh, that is… Krsna says. That is His desire. Sarva-dharman pa…, mam ekam saranam vraja. That is Krsna’s desire.
Pusta Krsna: So Krsna is not causing everyone to forget Him. Prabhupada: No. Krsna’s desire is open to everyone. We don’t accept it. That is our obstinacy. Krsna says “There is soul.” We do not say. “No, there is no soul.” This is our position. Krsna says, “Within this body there is soul,” and we don’t accept. We’ll argue. This is our position. He is giving direct instruction, “Yes, there is soul,” but we don’t accept. Disobedient.
Cyavana: But if Krsna knows that we will suffer in this material world, why does He let us go away from Him? Why doesn’t He keep us there? Prabhupada: Eh?
Cyavana: If Krsna knows that we will suffer here in this material world if we come here, why does He let us go? Prabhupada: Why the thief goes to the prison house? He knows that “If I go to the prison house, I will be put into distress.”
Cyavana: But the government is not strong enough to force him not to go, not to steal. Prabhupada: Why government is not strong enough?
Cyavana: The government doesn’t have the power to control everyone. But Krsna can… Prabhupada: No. Even if he’s strong enough, you disobey. The government has made so many things that you cannot steal, the iron chest, but still, you are clever enough that you do.
Pusta Krsna: The independence is there. Sometimes people ask, Prabhupada, that if the spiritual world is anandamayo ‘bhyasat (Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12), full of bliss, then how is it that, somehow or another, we’ve left that blissful situation and come into this hellish… Prabhupada: This argument we have talked many times. Everyone knows that out of prisonhouse freedom is there. Why he goes to the prison house? Everyone knows it. Why does he go to the prison house?
Pusta Krsna: Not by choice. He is placed there.
Cyavana: Krsna is the supreme controller. If He wanted to check us from going there, He could check us from going into the prison, from offending. Prabhupada: No. Krsna has given you independence. So you are…. By mentality, you have to suffer. Suppose if a child wants to do something, play, if you check it, check it, then he will go mad. Just like mother Yasoda was showing stick to Krsna, and when Krsna became so much afraid, he (she) became immediately anxious: “Oh, Krsna has too much anxiety. He may fall sick.” So immediately throw away. So this is father-mother’s affection.
Cyavana: So actually it is Krsna’s mercy that He allows us to come here, free ourselves from… Prabhupada: Yes. Yes. He has given you little freedom. He doesn’t want to take your freedom.
Harikesa: You gave two examples in Los Angeles about the master, big master, like president of DuPont walking his dog. The president of DuPont is walking his dog in Central Park. The dog makes him go this way and this way and this way. And you said we are just passing stool and urine in the material world, and Krsna is just letting us run here and there. Prabhupada: Yes. Anumanta. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said, anumanta, upadrasta.
Cyavana: In the Caitanya-caritamrta in one of your purports you gave the example of Paramatma being compared to when there is a circus in a village the government sends one inspector to watch over the activities. Then, when the circus goes, he is no longer there. Could you explain it? (pause)
Pusta Krsna: Prabhupada, if Krsna is the reservoir of pleasure, then what does He need us for? If Krsna is all blissful, then what… We’re so, it seems, incapable of pleasing Krsna. He is so magnanimous. What does He need us for? Prabhupada: He does not ask for Himself. For you. If you come to Krsna and enjoy with Him, that is your good. He is self-sufficient. He doesn’t require.
Pusta Krsna: Sometimes, Prabhupada, when they see your Bhagavad-gita, they say, “Oh, it is too big for me to read.” They don’t know that the purport…. They’ve never read. Prabhupada: Therefore I say that bring them, let them chant and dance and take prasadam. That, everyone will hear, agree.
Harikesa: One who does that, he is preaching? One who arranges for chanting and dancing and taking prasadam, that is as good as preaching? Prabhupada: Yes. Sravanam, kirtanam, arcanam — anything.
Harikesa: These festival programs are very important. Prabhupada: (pause) You have to spend or waste gallons of blood before you can convert a person to Krsna consciousness. It is so difficult task.
Cyavana: You have to spend? Prabhupada: Gallons of blood, waste.
Cyavana: In what way? Prabhupada: By talking with him, with the rascal and foolish. You tax your brain and spoil your energy, blood.
Harikesa: Spend so much food.
Cyavana: So we should do that. Prabhupada: Unless you are not a preacher. You should be prepared. Yes. They cuts, sacrifices life, what to speak of wasting blood. Wasting life. This is preacher. Then he is recognized by Krsna: “He has done so much for Me.”
Pusta Krsna: Krsna will give more and more energy. Prabhupada: He is going to die for Krsna, and therefore he is recognized. Na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah [Bg. 18.69]. You become immediately very dear to Krsna. Your business is how to become very intimate to Krsna. That will be served by preaching.
Cyavana: Would you like to hear this verse?
na ca tasman manusyesu
kascin me priya-krttamah
bhavita na ca me tasmad
anyah priyataro bhuvi [BG. 18.69]
“There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.” Prabhupada: Who? Ya idam para…
Pusta Krsna: “For one who explains the supreme secret to the devotees, devotional service is guaranteed, and at the end he will come back to me.” Prabhupada: Yes.
Pusta Krsna: Sometimes… I’ve had one person. He complained, “Why is there no purport for this verse, ‘There is no servant in this world more dear to Me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear’?” Prabhupada: No purport?
Pusta Krsna: Yes. They have mentioned that there is no purport for this verse. Prabhupada: It is already explained. Anyone who is preaching…
Harikesa: That verse is self-effulgent.
Pusta Krsna: Yes.
Harikesa: You are the purport.
Pusta Krsna: Simply people are trying to find out ways that they don’t have to surrender to perfect knowledge. They can go on enjoying in the material world. Prabhupada: Wanted… (indistinct) A little… (indistinct)
Harikesa: I think you should preach every breakfast. Your appetite is very good. Prabhupada: Hm?
Harikesa: Every breakfast you should preach. Then your appetite will be very good. Prabhupada: No, appetite or no appetite, I preach. (laughter) I do not preach for increasing appetite.
Reading the above we can very well imagine the kind of energy with which Prabhupada boldly preached. We also see how diligently Prabhupada taught his disciples in the art of preaching. I found so many wonderful gems in a single room conversation. His spirit to preach is contagious even while reading his conversations! Such is the eternal presence of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada among his disciples and followers.
The stage in which the consciousness of the living entity is attracted by the three modes of material nature is called conditional life. But when that same consciousness is attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one is situated in the consciousness of liberation.
Srila Prabhupada expands in his purport that : There is a distinction here between Kṛṣṇa consciousness and māyā consciousness. Guṇeṣu, or māyā consciousness, involves attachment to the three material modes of nature, under which one works sometimes in goodness and knowledge, sometimes in passion and sometimes in ignorance. These different qualitative activities, with the central attachment for material enjoyment, are the cause of one’s conditional life. When the same cetaḥ, or consciousness, is transferred to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, or when one becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, he is on the path of liberation.
Q: Which is the best Yoga system and what is its purpose ?
Ans : The best yoga is bhakti Yoga and its purpose is spiritual realisation.
yoga ādhyātmikaḥ puṁsāṁ mato niḥśreyasāya me
atyantoparatir yatra duḥkhasya ca sukhasya ca (SB 3.25.13)
Translation The Personality of Godhead answered: The yoga system which relates to the Lord and the individual soul, which is meant for the ultimate benefit of the living entity, and which causes detachment from all happiness and distress in the material world, is the highest yoga system.
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport : The yoga system, as here stated by the Lord, is meant to end all material happiness and material distress. The best yoga, as taught in Bhagavad-gītā by Kṛṣṇa, is bhakti-yoga….the yoga system is the science of the spirit. One practices yoga in order to attain perfection on the spiritual platform.
Q: How can I free my senses from the material contamination ?
Devahūti said: I am very sick of the disturbance caused by my material senses, for because of this sense disturbance, my Lord, I have fallen into the abyss of ignorance.
Srila Prabhupada explains in his purport : Here the word asad-indriya-tarṣaṇāt is significant. Asat means “impermanent,” “temporary,” and indriya means “senses.” Thus asad-indriya-tarṣaṇāt means “from being agitated by the temporarily manifest senses of the material body.” We are evolving through different statuses of material bodily existence — sometimes in a human body, sometimes in an animal body — and therefore the engagements of our material senses are also changing. Anything which changes is called temporary, or asat. We should know that beyond these temporary senses are our permanent senses, which are now covered by the material body. The permanent senses, being contaminated by matter, are not acting properly. Devotional service, therefore, involves freeing the senses from this contamination. When the contamination is completely removed and the senses act in the purity of unalloyed Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we have reached sad-indriya, or eternal sensory activities. Eternal sensory activities are called devotional service, whereas temporary sensory activities are called sense gratification.
Q: What does it really mean when we read that God has no form? And then why does God has so many forms?
Ans : No form means no material form.
Kardama muni prays to Lord in SB 3.24.31 that
tāny eva te ’bhirūpāṇi rūpāṇi bhagavaṁs tava
yāni yāni ca rocante sva-janānām arūpiṇaḥ
My dear Lord, although You have no material form, You have Your own innumerable forms. They truly are Your transcendental forms, which are pleasing to Your devotees.
Srila Prabhupada adds in his Purport :
In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated that the Lord is one Absolute, but He has ananta, or innumerable, forms. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam [Bs 5.33]. The Lord is the original form, but still He has multiforms. Those multiforms are manifested by Him transcendentally, according to the tastes of His multidevotees. It is understood that once Hanumān, the great devotee of Lord Rāmacandra, said that he knew that Nārāyaṇa, the husband of Lakṣmī, and Rāma, the husband of Sītā, are one and the same, and that there is no difference between Lakṣmī and Sītā, but as for himself, he liked the form of Lord Rāma.
In a similar way, some devotees worship the original form of Kṛṣṇa. When we say “Kṛṣṇa” we refer to all forms of the Lord — not only Kṛṣṇa, but Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha, Nārāyaṇa, etc. The varieties of transcendental forms exist simultaneously. That is also stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā: rāmādi-mūrtiṣu. .. nānāvatāram. He already exists in multiforms, but none of the forms are material. Śrīdhara Svāmī has commented that arūpiṇaḥ, “without form,” means without material form.
The Lord has form, otherwise how can it be stated here, tāny eva te ‘bhirūpāṇi rūpāṇi bhagavaṁs tava: “You have Your forms, but they are not material. Materially You have no form, but spiritually, transcendentally, You have multiforms”? Māyāvādī philosophers cannot understand these transcendental forms of the Lord, and being disappointed, they say that the Supreme Lord is impersonal. But that is not a fact; whenever there is form there is a person. Many times in many Vedic literatures the Lord is described as puruṣa, which means “the original form, the original enjoyer.” The conclusion is that the Lord has no material form, and yet, according to the liking of different grades of devotees, He simultaneously exists in multiforms, such as Rāma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha, Nārāyaṇa and Mukunda. There are many thousands and thousands of forms, but they are all viṣṇu-tattva, Kṛṣṇa.
I was a preparing for a brief session on the second chapter of book `Essence of Bhagavad Gita’ last two days on material miseries, namely adhyaatmik, adibhautik and adidaivik kleshas. As I was preparing for the class I thought that this particular session is getting more heavy in negativity. Some times we also hear that we have no solution to them and the only way is to tolerate them. I wrote about these three miseries in my last blog on how one can attain peace. But some piece seemed to be missing in my heart.
Hence it was a great coincidence that yesterday morning I read some wonderful verses in Bhagavatam, SB 3.25.23, 24 & 25 and their enlightening purports by Srila Prabhupada on this very same topic. They showed how simple and easy the process to overcome material miseries really is. It is we who have no faith in it. This chapter is very aptly named `The Glories of Devotional Service’.
Engaged constantly in chanting and hearing about Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the sādhus do not suffer from material miseries because they are always filled with thoughts of My pastimes and activities.
Who can overcome the three miseries of the material world.
Sadhus or devotees of the Lord to overcome three miseries of the material world.
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport that There are multifarious miseries in material existence — those pertaining to the body and the mind, those imposed by other living entities and those imposed by natural disturbances. But a sādhu is not disturbed by such miserable conditions because his mind is always filled with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and thus he does not like to talk about anything but the activities of the Lord. Mahārāja Ambarīṣa did not speak of anything but the pastimes of the Lord. Vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane (Bhāg. 9.4.18). He engaged his words only in glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sādhus are always interested in hearing about the activities of the Lord or His devotees. Since they are filled with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they are forgetful of the material miseries. Ordinary conditioned souls, being forgetful of the activities of the Lord, are always full of anxieties and material tribulations. On the other hand, since the devotees always engage in the topics of the Lord, they are forgetful of the miseries of material existence.
So what should we do to overcome these miseries ?
ta ete sādhavaḥ sādhvi sarva-saṅga-vivarjitāḥ
saṅgas teṣv atha te prārthyaḥ saṅga-doṣa-harā hi te (SB 3.25.24)
O My mother, O virtuous lady, these are the qualities of great devotees who are free from all attachment. You must seek attachment to such holy men, for this counteracts the pernicious effects of material attachment.
Prabhupada writes Kapila Muni herein advises His mother, Devahūti, that if she wants to be free from material attachment, she should increase her attachment for the sādhus, or devotees who are completely freed from all material attachment…… A person may be materially very rich, opulent or respectable, but if he at all wants to transfer himself to the spiritual kingdom, back home, back to Godhead, then he has to be freed from the puffed-up condition of material possessiveness, because that is a false position.
A pure soul who is prepared to be freed from this material entanglement must first of all be free from the association of the three modes of nature. Our consciousness at the present moment is polluted because of association with the three modes of nature; therefore in Bhagavad-gītā the same principle is stated. It is advised, jita-saṅga-doṣāḥ: one should be freed from the contaminated association of the three modes of material nature. Here also, in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, this is confirmed: a pure devotee, who is preparing to transfer himself to the spiritual kingdom, is also freed from the association of the three modes of material nature. We have to seek the association of such devotees.
Where to find such association?
Prabhupada say ‘For this reason we have begun the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. There are many mercantile, scientific and other associations in human society to develop a particular type of education or consciousness, but there is no association which helps one to get free from all material association. If anyone has reached the stage where he must become free from this material contamination, then he has to seek the association of devotees, wherein Kṛṣṇa consciousness is exclusively cultured. One can thereby become freed from all material association’.
How is it possible?Give an example.
Prabhupada explains ‘Because a devotee is freed from all contaminated material association, he is not affected by the miseries of material existence. Even though he appears to be in the material world, he is not affected by the miseries of the material world. How is it possible? There is a very good example in the activities of the cat. The cat carries her kittens in her mouth, and when she kills a rat she also carries the booty in her mouth. Thus both are carried in the mouth of the cat, but they are in different conditions. The kitten feels comfort in the mouth of the mother, whereas when the rat is carried in the mouth of the cat, the rat feels the blows of death. Similarly, those who are sādhavaḥ, or devotees engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the transcendental service of the Lord, do not feel the contamination of material miseries, whereas those who are not devotees in Kṛṣṇa consciousness actually feel the miseries of material existence. One should therefore give up the association of materialistic persons and seek the association of persons engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and by such association he will benefit in spiritual advancement. By their words and instructions, he will be able to cut off his attachment to material existence’.
Just reading these verses and their nectarean purports filled my heart with a feeling of spiritual bliss and more faith that as we progress in our devotional journey and take shelter of the lotus of Lord and His devotees then all miseries of the world become the size of mustard seeds. We must continue to seek and serve such devotees of the Lord and make our life successful.
My little session too ended on a positive note last evening as I now know of an assured solution to these three seeming insurmountable problems.