In your recent prayers, you asked me ‘My dear Krishna what can I do to become dear to you.’ This thought in itself is very commendable so I’m sharing with you what qualities I would like in my children. If you try to sincerely inculcate these qualities then there is no doubt that you will become very dear to me.
One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always satisﬁed, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with determination, his mind and intelligence ﬁxed on Me – such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.
He by whom no one is put into difﬁculty and who is not disturbed by anyone, who is equipoised in happiness and distress, fear and anxiety, is very dear to Me.
My devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and not striving for some result, is very dear to Me.
One who neither rejoices nor grieves, who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things – such a devotee is very dear to Me.
One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contaminating association, always silent and satisﬁed with anything, who doesn’t care for any residence, who is ﬁxed in knowledge and who is engaged in devotional service – such a person is very dear to Me.
Those who follow this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engage themselves with faith, making Me the supreme goal, are very, very dear to Me.
Last few days whatever I have been hearing, reading or even receiving from other devotees, there is one common thread: We should not desire any change in our karmic reaction from Krishna. As the coincidences built up I took them as a clue to share them with everyone.
It is not very uncommon to see that when we fall into difficult situations, we earnestly pray to Lord to remove it. It could be a simple cold to a serious illness or some other difficult situations. While this may be acceptable as a neophyte but as aspiring devotees we must endeavor to progress upwards from that level.
We are aware that almost all of our current circumstances have resulted from our past actions. But we should remember another very important point that nothing happens by chance, specially in the life of a devotee. We should have the firm faith that since Krishna is in control so whatever is happening in my life is for my own good.
HG Damodar Prabhu sent me the below two SMSs yesterday.
Sharanagati (surrender) is accomplishedonly when one can see the grace of the Supreme Lord in every situation -V.V.imp verse from SB below
“One who, in the hope of achieving Your grace, goes on enduring the inauspicious fruit of his own karma, and passes his days practicing devotion unto You in every thought, word, and deed- such a person is heir to the land of freedom: he attains to the plane of positive immortality.”(spiritual world)- Lord Brahma (SB10.14.8)
Few weeks back HG Padmalochan Prabhuji sent me the below verse from Mukunda Mala Strota
O my Lord! I have no attachment for religiosity, or for accumulating wealth, or for enjoying sense gratification. Let these come as they inevitably must, in accordance with my past deeds. But I do pray for this most cherished boon: birth after birth, let me render unflinching devotional service unto Your two lotus feet. (MM 5)
Then two days back I was hearing a lecture by HG Srimati Mataji where mataji quoted Srimad Bhagavatam on how devotional service could be in the mode of ignorance, passion & goodness, and finally above the modes of nature, which should be our target. Here are the verses:
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. (SB 3.29.8)
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. (SB 3.29.9)
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 3.29.10)
The manifestation of unadulterated devotional service is exhibited when one’s mind is at once attracted to hearing the transcendental name and qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is residing in everyone’s heart. Just as the water of the Ganges flows naturally down towards the ocean, such devotional ecstasy, uninterrupted by any material condition, flows towards the Supreme Lord. (SB 3.29.11-12)
Srimad Bhagavatam is calling the devotees in the mode of ignorance and passion as separatists, which we all know is not such a nice quality to possess.
So who is a separatist ?
Srila Prabhupada explains in the purport of SB3.29 that 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.
The mind of the Supreme Lord and the mind of the devotee should be dovetailed. A devotee should not wish anything but to execute the desire of the Supreme. That is oneness. When the devotee has an interest or will different from the interest of the Supreme Lord, his mentality is that of a separatist…The devotee has no interest but to fulfill the transcendental desire of the Supreme Lord.
We should note that Lord Caitanya also teaches us in Siksastakam verse 4:
“O Lord, I do not wish to gain from You any wealth, nor do I wish to have a beautiful wife, nor do I wish to have many followers. All I want from You is that in life after life I may remain a pure devotee at Your lotus feet.”
Srila Prabhupada writes: there is a similarity between the prayers of Lord Caitanya and the statements of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Lord Caitanya prays, “in life after life,” indicating that a devotee does not even desire the cessation of birth and death. The yogīs and empiric philosophers desire cessation of the process of birth and death, but a devotee is satisfied to remain even in this material world and execute devotional service.
By practicing Krishna Bhakti, or Krishna consciousness, we get aligned with Krishna. The firmer the faith we have in trusting Krishna to be my best well wisher, the sharper will be our realisation that everything that is happening in my life is designed for my spiritual progress.
Once Srimati mataji asked HG Jananivas Prabhuji `how does he manages to remain so much in Krishna consciousness despite so many ups and downs in Mayapur?’ Prabhuji replied that for any such `event’ he considers that this particular situation is best suited for my own spiritual progress, at my current stage !
Sometimes we see events, in our own or other devotee’s lives, which we may bewilder us but we should have firm faith that Krishna is doing something which is best for that devotee. The reasons could vary from fast forwarding some of our balance karmic reactions so we can quickly come back to Him or to show other devotees, by example, how to respond when calamities fall on us or it may be to complete our detachment from the material world or something else, we are too miniscule to comprehend the thought process of Supreme Lord but we must know that He is our best well wisher.
I remember during a workshop, two years back, HH Bhakti Brhat Bhagavat Maharaja asked devotees to first write down few `bad things’ that have happened in our life and then Maharaj asked us to think what message was Krishna trying to give us through that `event’. It was a wonderful experience as each devotee wrote and shared his realisation. An old devotee wrote how he felt very pained when his only child left him for a posting abroad and he now realise that it was Krishna’s arrangement to get prabhuji more attached to Him. Prabhuji now does a lot of service in the temple and is very happy internally!
So under such circumstances it helps a lot to pray to Krishna to please let me know what are You trying to convey or teach me in my current situation.
While writing this blog I also remember an earlier blog where HG Chaitanya Charan Prabhuji said how we have `half faith’ in Krishna. We believe in Krishna’s power but in our own intelligence, instead, we should have full faith in Krishna’s power as well His intelligence.
Q: Can we do a 15 minutes yoga and achieve self realisation ?
Ans: Srimad Bhagavatam does not agree with it. Real yoga is very different.
The great sage Maitreya replied: Commanded by Lord Brahmā to beget children in the worlds, the worshipful Kardama Muni practiced penance on the bank of the River Sarasvatī for a period of ten thousand years. (SB 3.21.6)
Srila Prabhupada adds in his purport : It is understood herein that Kardama Muni meditated in yoga for ten thousand years before attaining perfection. Similarly, we have information that Vālmīki Muni also practiced yoga meditation for sixty thousand years before attaining perfection. Therefore, yoga practice can be successfully performed by persons who have a very long duration of life, such as one hundred thousand years; in that way it is possible to have perfection in yoga. Otherwise, there is no possibility of attaining the real perfection. Following the regulations, controlling the senses and practicing the different sitting postures are merely the preliminary practices. We do not know how people can be captivated by the bogus yoga system in which it is stated that simply by meditating fifteen minutes daily one can attain the perfection of becoming one with God. This age (Kali-yuga) is the age of bluffing and quarrel. Actually there is no possibility of attaining yoga perfection by such paltry proposals. The Vedic literature, for emphasis, clearly states three times that in this age of Kali — kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva — there is no other alternative, no other alternative, no other alternative than harer nāma [Adi 17.21], chanting the holy name of the Lord.
Q: Without devotion to Krishna can one be successful even in an indirect process like ashtanga yoga ?
Answer : Without devotion, not even an indirect process can be perfected.
During that period of penance, the sage Kardama, by worship through devotional service in trance, propitiated the Personality of Godhead, who is the quick bestower of all blessings upon those who flee to Him for protection. (SB 3.21.7)
Srila Prabhupada explains in his purport to the above verse: The significance of meditation is described here. Kardama Muni practiced mystic yoga meditation for ten thousand years just to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari. Therefore, whether one practices yoga or speculates and does research to find God, one’s efforts must be mixed with the process of devotion. Without devotion, nothing can be perfect. The target of perfection and realization is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly said that one who constantly engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the topmost yogī. The Personality of Godhead, Hari, also fulfills the desires of His surrendered devotee. One has to surrender unto the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead, Hari, or Krishna, in order to achieve real success. Devotional service, or engagement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is the direct method, and all other methods, although recommended, are indirect. In this age of Kali the direct method is especially more feasible than the indirect because people are short-living, their intelligence is poor, and they are poverty-stricken and embarrassed by so many miserable disturbances. Lord Caitanya, therefore, has given the greatest boon: in this age one simply has to chant the holy name of God to attain perfection in spiritual life.
Q: Why should we not seek material benefits from Lord ?
Ans: Srimad Bhagavatam says even those who are rotting in hell can attain them!
Your lotus feet are the true vessel to take one across the ocean of mundane nescience. Only persons deprived of their intelligence by the spell of the deluding energy will worship those feet with a view to attain the trivial and momentary pleasures of the senses, which even persons rotting in hell can attain. However, O my Lord, You are so kind that You bestow mercy even upon them. (SB 3.21.7)
Prabhupada expands it wonderfully in his purport : As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, Seventh Chapter, there are two kinds of devotees — those who desire material pleasures and those who desire nothing but service to the Lord. Material pleasures can be attained even by hogs and dogs, whose condition of life is hellish. The hog also eats, sleeps and enjoys sex life to the full extent, and it is also very satisfied with such hellish enjoyment of material existence. Modern yogīs advise that because one has senses, one must enjoy to the fullest extent like cats and dogs, yet one can go on and practice yoga. This is condemned here by Kardama Muni; he says that such material pleasures are available for cats and dogs in a hellish condition. The Lord is so kind that if so-called yogīs are satisfied by hellish pleasures, He can give them facilities to attain all the material pleasures they desire, but they cannot attain the perfectional stage attained by Kardama Muni.
…..Actually, the intelligent practitioner of yoga should aspire for nothing else but to cross over the ocean of nescience by worshiping the Personality of Godhead and to see the lotus feet of the Lord. The Lord is so kind, however, that even today persons whose brain substance is spoiled are given the benediction to become cats, dogs or hogs and enjoy material happiness from sex life and sense gratification. The Lord confirms this benediction in Bhagavad-gītā: “Whatever a person aspires to receive from Me, I offer him as he desires.”
Q: What could be the result of seeking material benefits?
Reply : We could be born in the lower species of life to fulfill them.
Srila Prabhupada warns the in his purport to SB 3.21.7 Hellish and demoniac persons do not actually know what is the ultimate attainment in perfection, and therefore they think that sense gratification is the highest goal of life. They advise that one can satisfy the senses and at the same time, by reciting some mantra and by some practice, can cheaply aspire for perfection. Such persons are described here as hata-medhasaḥ, which means “those whose brains are spoiled.” They aspire for material enjoyment by perfection of yoga or meditation. In Bhagavad-gītā it is stated by the Lord that the intelligence of those who worship the demigods has been spoiled. Similarly, here too it is stated by Kardama Muni that one who aspires after material enjoyment by practice of yoga has spoiled his brain substance and is fool number one. Actually, the intelligent practitioner of yoga should aspire for nothing else but to cross over the ocean of nescience by worshiping the Personality of Godhead and to see the lotus feet of the Lord. The Lord is so kind, however, that even today persons whose brain substance is spoiled are given the benediction to become cats, dogs or hogs and enjoy material happiness from sex life and sense gratification. The Lord confirms this benediction in Bhagavad-gītā: “Whatever a person aspires to receive from Me, I offer him as he desires.”
Q: Who can overcome time factor and how ?
Ans : A devotee can easily overcome time factor by surrendering to Lord Krishna.
Your wheel, which has three naves, rotates around the axis of the imperishable Brahman. It has thirteen spokes, 360 joints, six rims and numberless leaves carved upon it. Though its revolution cuts short the life-span of the entire creation, this wheel of tremendous velocity cannot touch the life-span of the devotees of the Lord. (SB 3.21.18)
Srila Prabhupada explains: The time factor cannot affect the span of life of the devotees. In Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that a little execution of devotional service saves one from the greatest danger. The greatest danger is transmigration of the soul from one body to another, and only devotional service to the Lord can stop this process. It is stated in the Vedic literatures, hariṁ vinā na sṛtiṁ taranti: without the mercy of the Lord, one cannot stop the cycle of birth and death. In Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that only by understanding the transcendental nature of the Lord and His activities, His appearance and disappearance, can one stop the cycle of death and go back to Him. The time factor is divided into many fractions of moments, hours, months, years, periods, seasons, etc. All the divisions in this verse are determined according to the astronomical calculations of Vedic literature. There are six seasons, called ṛtus, and there is the period of four months called cāturmāsya. Three periods of four months complete one year…. The time factor, however, cannot touch the lifespan of the devotees. In another verse it is stated that when the sun rises and sets it takes away the life of all living entities, but it cannot take away the life of those who are engaged in devotional service. Time is compared here to a big wheel which has 360 joints, six rims in the shape of seasons, and numberless leaves in the shape of moments. It rotates on the eternal existence, Brahman.
We recently did a short class based on the seminar by HH Bhakti Vijana maharaj called `Change the heart’. This is a wonderful seminar by maharaj and I have heard it multiple times, shared with numerous devotees, always hoping that some parts may get absorbed in my polluted consciousness. The seminar is in two parts, in the first part Maharaj explains why we must change our heart and quotes the below verse from SB 1.2.17
Translation Certainly that heart is steel-framed which, in spite of one’s chanting the holy name of the Lord with concentration, does not change when ecstasy takes place, tears fill the eyes and the hairs stand on end.
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport `The whole process of spiritual culture is aimed at changing the heart of the living being in the matter of his eternal relation with the Supreme Lord as subordinate servant, which is his eternal constitutional position. So with the progress of devotional service, the reaction of change in the heart is exhibited by gradual detachment from the sense of material enjoyment by a false sense of lording it over the world and an increase in the attitude of rendering loving service to the Lord…. It is expected by all means that by discharging regulated devotional service one must manifest the change of heart. If there is no such change, the heart must be considered steel-framed, for it is not melted even when there is chanting of the holy name of the Lord. We must always remember that hearing and chanting are the basic principles of discharging devotional duties, and if they are properly performed there will follow the reactional ecstasy with signs of tears in the eyes and standing of the hairs on the body. These are natural consequences and are the preliminary symptoms of the bhāva stage, which occurs before one reaches the perfectional stage of prema, love of Godhead.’
Maharaj then explained in brief on what is meant by changing of heart (we should change out thoughts, emotions and desires) ? Why the heart does not change so easily ? Why it changes quickly in case of some devotees and what are the symptoms of change of heart ? All this backed with interesting stories from various shastras. The first part of the seminar ends with the understanding as to how we can somehow change our thoughts and emotions but desires are most difficult to change as we ourselves don’t know what all desires are there in our subconscious mind.
I am writing a short summary on the second part of the seminar where maharaj explained how we can change our desires.
Maharaj quotes the famous verse from SB
śṛṇvatāḿ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ
hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi vidhunoti suhṛt satām
Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramātmā [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport that `Messages of the Personality of Godhead Śrī Kṛṣṇa are non different from Him. Whenever, therefore, offenseless hearing and glorification of God are undertaken, it is to be understood that Lord Kṛṣṇa is present there in the form of transcendental sound, which is as powerful as the Lord personally.’
The Lord is reciprocally respondent to His devotees. When He sees that a devotee is completely sincere in getting admittance to the transcendental service of the Lord and has thus become eager to hear about Him, the Lord acts from within the devotee in such a way that the devotee may easily go back to Him. The Lord is more anxious to take us back into His kingdom than we can desire. Most of us do not desire at all to go back to Godhead. Only a very few men want to go back to Godhead. But anyone who desires to go back to Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa helps in all respects.
Maharaj said that this verse clearly says that when a devotee has developed the urge to hear His message then Lord Himself cleanses desire for material enjoyment from his heart. Hence reading Srimad Bhagavatam regularly we can change our desires and change our heart too. Maharaj said that though the verse says like this yet we do not not see too many devotees rolling on the ground in ecstasy ! Maharaj pointed out that though the verse says hearing' but Prabhupada qualifies the hearing tooffenseless hearing’ in his purport. Maharaj said that we have heard of offensive speaking but never heard about offensive hearing, what exactly is ‘offenseless hearing’ ? And if Prabhupada wrote it then it must have a deeper meaning.
Maharaj then quoted the last line of SB 1.1.2 verse
Maharaj said this verse too says as soon as one hears the message of Bhāgavatam, Krishna becomes a resident of our heart. But there is a very important condition which is included which we usually forget. Maharaj then quoted Srila Sridhar Swami commentary on this verse where in Srila Sridhar Swami wrote that `if someone is not properly hearing then it will take a lot of time’. We may hear again and again but nothing substantial will change in our heart.
So what is is this proper hearing ?
Maharaj said that the conditions for properly hearing are given in Bahagavat Mahatmayam'. Maharaj quoted the below verse fromBahagavat Mahatmayam’ and said this verse holds the key on how to hear Bhāgavatam.
Maharaj explained that how this verse speaks of four conditions on how to hear properly. These are
1. िवशवासो गुरवाकयेषु : Faith on the words of our Guru, This means complete, absolute trust and surrender to the words of Guru. we can also take it as that we must take to our heart what we heard and apply in our life.
सविसमनदीनतवभावना: `Dina bahavana’ means that I am very fallen. We should not think O ! I have heard this topic so many times before or I can speak better than him !! The mood of humility must be there while listening.
मनोदोष : Defects or faults of our mind. The mind is extremely restless it doesn’t want to do a single thing, it wants to jump from one place to another, from one activity to another. Maharaj said that’s why people like internet net so much as we can go anywhere without being absorbed or concentrated on anything. We have to conquer our mind, atleast for the time we are in the class of Bhagavatam.
Maharaj narrated a story about Madhavacharya and a bull in his ashram. This Bull had a unique habit that he would stop chewing whenever Madhavacharya would start speaking. Later on this bull took birth as Jayatiratha, a learned vaishanava, and wrote long commentaries on Madhavacharya’s teachings.
Maharaj said similarly we need to train our mind to stop chewing and hear attentively.
िनशचला मितः : `Matih’ means intelligence, concentrated hearing by using intelligence.
Maharaj then spoke how we can listen Srimad Bhagavatam in the mode of ignorance, passion and goodness. Maharaj elaborated only on the mode of passion and spoke the below three ways where devotees listen in the mode of passion. In all such cases the heart does not change very quickly.
What is the motivation of hearing Srimad Bhagavatam ?
Visaya : I hear with the expectation that the speaker will entertain me, I am going to listen to this particular speaker because his lectures are laced with light stories and he will entertain me by cracking jokes, etc. otherwise I am bored.
Yasha : It means desire for fame . We hear with the mentality this is very good, I will speak this on the next given opportunity. We are not hearing with the sincere heart that something very important is being said to me which I have to apply, we are only hearing to repeat it afterwords because this is an interesting point, and it will make me a famous preacher !
Aishwarya: It comes from the root word ishwara so it also means power (general meaning is opulence). Sometimes we hear with this motivation or desire that when I hear this and I will repeat it. I will then obtain the power or influence over people. I will acquire this ability to influence other people and that will bring power and opulence to me.
Maharaj said that all the above three points are completely against the humble mood in which we should hear Srimad Bhagavatam. We must know that if I have to change my heart then I will have to change my attitude while hearing.
Maharaj came back to the most important point of using our intelligence in hearing, िनशचला मितः. Maharaj stressed that we have to hear but only hearing is not enough but the process of hearing should be such that it would ignite in me the process of deliberating and thinking about what I have heard. The process of hearing is only successful as much as it turns on the thinking process with in myself. That means I apply my intelligence in such a way on what I heard as to understand what it really means for me and how can I apply apply it in my life. In this way my intelligence is being turned on, and if it’s being turned on, then only the process of hearing will be successful in changing our heart.
Maharaj ended the seminar with the famous story of Dhundhukari from Bhagavata mahatmayam in Padama Purana. This is a long story, briefly put Dhundhukari was a very sinful person. He died a horrible premature death and thus became a ghost. When his pious brother, Gokarna, comes back, he finds out that his brother has become a ghost. He then organised a Bahagavatam `saptah’ to liberate his brother, who listens the katha sitting inside a bamboo. After the 7th day when the katha was over Vishnuduta came from Vaikuntha to take Dhundhukari back to Vaikuntha. Gokarna is very happy for his brother but is very surprised that there were others, including himself, who also listened with attention and yet why only Dhundhukari is going back to Godhead. Being questioned Vishnudutas reply that though all the assembled devotees heard the katha with attention but when they went back to their homes none of them thought about what they heard. It was only Dhundhukari would think about he had heard and what it means for him, so much so that we he won’t even sleep in the night.
Maharaj said that many a times we hear a great lecture and we are all impressed and we praise the lecture and the speaker but after a few days or even after few hours if someone were to ask us what was the lecture about we are unable to recollect it even partially.
Maharaj said that by the process of meditation on what he had heard, this particular process of `mannan’, when we think about we heard and and then try to understand how it applies to us, continued for the ghost he burned of all his previous karmas ! Maharaj again stressed that it is this thinking, and not just the hearing, which becomes a sword by which we can cut the knots of our karma. At this stage the inspiration becomes internal and it changes our heart !
I strongly request all the readers to kindly hear this wonderful seminar, you can download the same by clicking it HERE.
All glories to HH Bhakti Vijnana maharaj
All glories to Srimad Bhagavatam.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Question : What were the three external reasons for appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ?
Ans: Srila Prabhupada writes in the summary of third chapter of Adi Lila :
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, after displaying His pastimes as Lord Kṛṣṇa, thought it wise to make His advent in the form of a devotee to explain personally the transcendental mellows of reciprocal service and love exchanged between Himself and His servants, friends, parents and fiancīes. only Kṛṣṇa Himself can explain the confidential loving service performed in the four principal varieties of loving affairs between the Supreme Lord and His devotees. Lord Kṛṣṇa therefore personally appeared, with His plenary portions, as Lord Caitanya.
CC Ādi 3.13: Lord Kṛṣṇa enjoys His transcendental pastimes as long as He wishes, and then He disappears. After disappearing, however, He thinks thus:
CC Ādi 3.14: “For a long time I have not bestowed unalloyed loving service to Me upon the inhabitants of the world. Without such loving attachment, the existence of the material world is useless.
CC Ādi 3.15: “Everywhere in the world people worship Me according to scriptural injunctions. But simply by following such regulative principles one cannot attain the loving sentiments of the devotees in Vrajabhūmi.
CC Ādi 3.16: “Knowing My opulences, the whole world looks upon Me with awe and veneration. But devotion made feeble by such reverence does not attract Me.
CC Ādi 3.17: “By performing such regulated devotional service in awe and veneration, one may go to Vaikuṇṭha and attain the four kinds of liberation.
CC Ādi 3.26: “My plenary portions can establish the principles of religion for each age. No one but Me, however, can bestow the kind of loving service performed by the residents of Vraja.
CC Ādi 3.28: “Therefore in the company of My devotees I shall appear on earth and perform various colorful pastimes.”
CC Ādi 3.29: Thinking thus, the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, descended at Nadia early in the Age of Kali.
According to the Vedic literature, the foremost occupational duty for humanity in this Age of Kali is nāma-saṅkīrtana, or congregational chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Lord came as Yuga Avatara to inaugurate sankirtana movement.
CC Ādi 3.50: In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is repeatedly and clearly said that the essence of religion in the Age of Kali is the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa.
CC Ādi 3.51: “O King, in this way people in Dvāpara-yuga worshiped the Lord of the universe. In Kali-yuga they also worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the regulations of the revealed scriptures. Kindly now hear of that from me.
CC Ādi 3.52: “In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the name of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.”
CC Ādi 3.58: “By performing the sacrifice of congregational chanting of the holy name, learned scholars in the Age of Kali worship Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is now nonblackish because of the great upsurge of the feelings of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. He is the only worshipable Deity for the paramahaṁsas, who have attained the highest stage of the fourth order [sannyāsa]. May that Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Caitanya, show us His great causeless mercy.”
Advaita Ācārya felt sorry for the condition of the world because even after Lord Kṛṣṇa’s appearance, no one had interest in devotional service to Kṛṣṇa. This forgetfulness was so overwhelming that Advaita Prabhu was convinced that no one but Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself could enlighten people about devotional service to the Supreme Lord. Therefore Advaita requested Lord Kṛṣṇa to appear as Lord Caitanya. Offering tulasī leaves and Ganges water, He cried for the Lord’s appearance. The Lord, being satisfied by His pure devotees, descends to satisfy them. As such, being pleased by Advaita Ācārya, Lord Caitanya appeared.
CC Ādi 3.96: Advaita Ācārya having appeared, He found the world devoid of devotional service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa because people were engrossed in material affairs.
CC Ādi 3.97: Everyone was engaged in material enjoyment, whether sinfully or virtuously. No one was interested in the transcendental service of the Lord, which can give total relief from the repetition of birth and death.
CC Ādi 3.98: Seeing the activities of the world, the Ācārya felt compassion and began to ponder how He could act for the people’s benefit.
CC Ādi 3.108: Thinking of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, He constantly offered tulasī buds in water from the Ganges.
CC Ādi 3.109: He appealed to Śrī Kṛṣṇa with loud calls and thus made it possible for Kṛṣṇa to appear.
CC Ādi 3.110: Therefore the principal reason for Śrī Caitanya’s descent is this appeal by Advaita Ācārya. The Lord, the protector of religion, appears by the desire of His devotee.
Question : What were the three confidential reasons for appearance of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ?
CC Ādi 4.230: Desiring to understand the glory of Rādhārāṇī’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī, as the moon appeared from the ocean.”
The first purpose was to relish the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, who is the prime reciprocator of transcendental love of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa is the reservoir of transcendental loving transactions with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. The subject of those loving transactions is the Lord Himself, and Rādhārāṇī is the object. Thus the subject, the Lord, wanted to relish the loving mellow in the position of the object, Rādhārāṇī.
The second reason for His appearance was to understand the transcendental mellow of Himself. Lord Kṛṣṇa is all sweetness. Rādhārāṇī’s attraction for Kṛṣṇa is sublime, and to experience that attraction and understand the transcendental sweetness of Himself, He accepted the mentality of Rādhārāṇī.
The third reason that Lord Caitanya appeared was to enjoy the bliss tasted by Rādhārāṇī. The Lord thought that undoubtedly Rādhārāṇī enjoyed His company and He enjoyed the company of Rādhārāṇī, but the exchange of transcendental mellow between the spiritual couple was more pleasing to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī than to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī felt more transcendental pleasure in the company of Kṛṣṇa than He could understand without taking Her position, but for Śrī Kṛṣṇa to enjoy in the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was impossible because that position was completely foreign to Him. Kṛṣṇa is the transcendental male, and Rādhārāṇī is the transcendental female. Therefore, to know the transcendental pleasure of loving Kṛṣṇa, Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself appeared as Lord Caitanya, accepting the emotions and bodily luster of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
Lord Caitanya appeared in order to fulfill these confidential desires, and also to preach the special significance of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare and to answer the call of Advaita Prabhu. These were secondary reasons.
CC Ādi 4.238 — Once Lord Kṛṣṇa considered within His heart, “Everyone says that I am complete bliss, full of all rasas.
CC Ādi 4.239 — “All the world derives pleasure from Me. Is there anyone who can give Me pleasure?
CC Ādi 4.240 — “One who has a hundred times more qualities than Me could give pleasure to My mind.
CC Ādi 4.241 — “One more qualified than Me is impossible to find in the world. But in Rādhā alone I feel the presence of one who can give Me pleasure.
CC Ādi 4.242-243 — “Although My beauty defeats the beauty of ten million Cupids, although it is unequaled and unsurpassed, and although it gives pleasure to the three worlds, seeing Rādhārāṇī gives pleasure to My eyes.
CC Ādi 4.244 — “The vibration of My transcendental flute attracts the three worlds, but My ears are enchanted by the sweet words of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
CC Ādi 4.248 — “Thus although I am the source of happiness for the entire world, the beauty and attributes of Śrī Rādhikā are My life and soul.
CC Ādi 4.249 — “In this way My affectionate feelings for Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī may be understood, but on analysis I find them contradictory.
CC Ādi 4.250 — “My eyes are fully satisfied when I look upon Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, but by looking upon Me, She becomes even more advanced in satisfaction.
CC Ādi 4.262 — “I am always eager to taste the joy that Rādhārāṇī derives from Me.
CC Ādi 4.263 — “In spite of various efforts, I have not been able to taste it. But My desire to relish that pleasure increases as I smell its sweetness.
CC Ādi 4.264 — “Formerly I appeared in the world to taste mellows, and I tasted the mellows of pure love in various ways.
CC Ādi 4.265 — “I taught devotional service that springs from the devotees’ spontaneous love by demonstrating it with My pastimes.
CC Ādi 4.266 — “But these three desires of Mine were not satisfied, for one cannot enjoy them in a contrary position.
CC Ādi 4.267 — “Unless I accept the luster of the ecstatic love of Śrī Rādhikā, these three desires cannot be fulfilled.
CC Ādi 4.268 — “Therefore, assuming Rādhārāṇī’s sentiments and bodily complexion, I shall descend to fulfill these three desires.”
CC Ādi 4.269 — In this way Lord Kṛṣṇa came to a decision. Simultaneously, the time came for the incarnation of the age.
CC Ādi 4.231 — All these conclusions are unfit to disclose in public. But if they are not disclosed, no one will understand them.
CC Ādi 4.232 — Therefore I shall mention them, revealing only their essence, so that loving devotees will understand them but fools will not.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Q: How can I attain self realisation ? I know I am a spirit soul but I still act all the time as a material bodily?
Answer : Srila Prabhupada teaches us a very scientific and practical way to attain self realisation in the purport to the below verse.
You should always know that this cosmic manifestation is created, maintained and annihilated by the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently, everything within this cosmic manifestation is under the control of the Lord. To be enlightened by this perfect knowledge, one should always engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord.
Prabhupada writes in his purport :
Self-realization, understanding oneself as Brahman, or spirit soul, is very difficult in the material condition. However, if we accept the devotional service of the Lord, the Lord will gradually reveal Himself. In this way the progressive devotee will gradually realize his spiritual position. We cannot see anything in the darkness of night, not even our own selves, but when there is sunshine we can see not only the sun but everything within the world as well. Lord Kṛṣṇa explains in the Seventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā (7.1):
“Now hear, O son of Pṛthā [Arjuna], how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.”
When we engage ourselves in the devotional service of the Lord to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, we understand not only Kṛṣṇa but everything related to Kṛṣṇa. In other words, through Kṛṣṇa consciousness we can understand not only Kṛṣṇa and the cosmic manifestation but also our constitutional position. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness we can understand that the entire material creation is created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, maintained by Him, annihilated by Him and absorbed in Him. We are also part and parcel of the Lord. Everything is under the control of the Lord, and therefore our only duty is to surrender unto the Supreme and engage in His transcendental loving service.
Q: Can a soul get liberated while still being in this material body ?
Answer : Sure, provided that he wishes for the same.
Having undergone austerities and penances at Kapilāśrama, King Prācīnabarhi attained full liberation from all material designations. He constantly engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord and attained a spiritual position qualitatively equal to that of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (SB 4.29.81)
Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport of the above verse :
There is special significance in the words tat-sāmyatām agāt. The King attained the position of possessing the same status or the same form as that of the Lord. This definitely proves that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always a person. In His impersonal feature, He is the rays of His transcendental body. When a living entity attains spiritual perfection, he also attains the same type of body, known as sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1]. This spiritual body never mixes with the material elements. Although in conditional life the living entity is surrounded by material elements (earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, intelligence and ego), he remains always aloof from them. In other words, the living entity can be liberated from the material condition at any moment, provided that he wishes to do so. The material environment is called māyā. According to Kṛṣṇa:
daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te
“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” (Bg. 7.14)
As soon as the living entity engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he immediately attains freedom from all material conditions (sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]). In the material state the living entity is on the jīva-bhūta platform, but when he renders devotional service to the Lord, he is elevated to the brahma-bhūta platform. On the brahma-bhūta platform the living entity is liberated from material bondage, and he engages in the service of the Lord. In this verse the word dhīra is sometimes read as vīra. Actually there is not very much difference. The word dhīra means “sober,” and vīra means “hero.” One who is struggling against māyā is a hero, and one who is sober enough to understand his position is a dhīra. Without becoming sober or heroic, one cannot attain spiritual salvation.
Q: What is the jīva-bhūta explained above ?
Answer: Such is the transcendental knowledge given to us by Srila Prabhupada in his books that the title Bhaktivedanta is so very apt, all the knowledge is there in his books.
The five sense objects, the five sense organs, the five knowledge-acquiring senses and the mind are the sixteen material expansions. These combine with the living entity and are influenced by the three modes of material nature. Thus the existence of the conditioned soul is understood. (SB 4.29.74)
Srila Prabhupada explains it in the purport of the above verse Here it is also explained that the living entity comes in contact with the sixteen material elements and is influenced by the three modes of material nature. The living entity and this combination of elements combine to form what is called jīva-bhūta, the conditioned soul that struggles hard within material nature.
All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
As I read Srila Prabhupada’s book a little more carefully now, I marvel at the depth of his writings and realise the amount of gems scattered in every single page of his translations and commentaries. This inspires me to write more about them rather than my own baby realisations. I also feel that writing about my own self is not exactly a very Vaishanava thing to do. However being shameless I will still share them from time to time but if you will all allow me then I would like to write more about what Srila Prabhupada left us as a legacy for next 10,000 years.
Some devotees have requested me to take up questions from readers, I have no qualification to answer them but if you have some questions then you can mail me at email@example.com or leave them in the comments and I can try my best to serve you by replying after verification from a senior devotee. We can make a separate page for them on the website if it becomes regular. Here is another gem from Srila Prabhupada.
Q: Why does ISKCON advocates worship of Krishna to the exclusion of the demigods ?
Ans: Srila Prabhupada answers this question in his purport of SB 4.31.14, this verse is also quoted by Mahāprabhu in cc madhya 22.63 to Sri Sanatana Goswami.
Translation As pouring water on the root of a tree energizes the trunk, branches, twigs and everything else, and as supplying food to the stomach enlivens the senses and limbs of the body, simply worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead through devotional service automatically satisfies the demigods, who are parts of that Supreme Personality.
Srila Prabhupada writes in his Purport
Sometimes people ask why this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement simply advocates worship of Kṛṣṇa to the exclusion of the demigods. The answer is given in this verse. The example of pouring water on the root of a tree is very appropriate. In Bhagavad-gītā (15.1) it is said, ūrdhva-mūlam adhaḥ-śākham: this cosmic manifestation has expanded downward, and the root is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
As the Lord confirms in Bhagavad-gītā (10.8), ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds.” Kṛṣṇa is the root of everything; therefore rendering service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-sevā), means automatically serving all the demigods.
Sometimes it is argued that karma and jñāna require a mixture of bhakti in order to be successfully executed, and sometimes it is argued that bhakti also requires karma and jñāna for its successful termination. The fact is, however, that although karma and jñāna cannot be successful without bhakti, bhakti does not require the help of karma and jñāna. Actually, as described by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam: [Madhya 19.167] pure devotional service should not be contaminated by the touch of karma and jñāna.
Modern society is involved in various types of philanthropic works, humanitarian works and so on, but people do not know that these activities will never be successful unless Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is brought into the center. One may ask what harm there is in worshiping Kṛṣṇa and the different parts of His body, the demigods, and the answer is also given in this verse. The point is that by supplying food to the stomach, the indriyas, the senses, are automatically satisfied. If one tries to feed his eyes or ears independently, the result is only havoc. Simply by supplying food to the stomach, we satisfy all of the senses. It is neither necessary nor feasible to render separate service to the individual senses. The conclusion is that by serving Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-sevā), everything is complete. As confirmed in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 22.62), kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya: if one is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, everything is automatically accomplished.
All glories to Sri Chaitanaya Charitramrita.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
Q: What is the process to achieve the ultimate goal of life-love of God ? Please explain each step in this process.
Ans : Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu describes the symptoms of emotion and love and the awakening of one’s original loving relationship with the Lord, as well as the characteristics of a devotee who has actually attained that stage, in Madhya Lila chapter 23.
CC Madhya 23.9: “If, by good fortune, a living entity develops faith in Kṛṣṇa, he begins to associate with devotees.
CC Madhya 23.10: “When one is encouraged in devotional service by the association of devotees, one becomes free from all unwanted contamination by following the regulative principles and chanting and hearing.
CC Madhya 23.11: “When one is freed from all unwanted contamination, he advances with firm faith. When firm faith in devotional service awakens, a taste for hearing and chanting also awakens.
CC Madhya 23.12: “After taste is awakened, a deep attachment arises, and from that attachment the seed of love for Kṛṣṇa grows in the heart.
CC Madhya 23.13: “When that ecstatic emotional stage intensifies, it is called love of Godhead. Such love is life’s ultimate goal and the reservoir of all pleasure.
Srila Prabhupada quotes Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, who summarizes this growth of love of Godhead as a gradual process.
A person becomes interested in devotional service by some good fortune. Eventually he becomes interested in pure devotional service without material contamination. At that point, a person wants to associate with devotees. As a result of this association, he becomes more and more interested in discharging devotional service and hearing and chanting. The more one is interested in hearing and chanting, the more he is purified of material contamination. Liberation from material contamination is called anartha-nivṛtti, indicating a diminishing of all unwanted things. This is the test of development in devotional service. If one actually develops the devotional attitude, he must be freed from the material contamination of illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating. These are the preliminary symptoms. When one is freed from all material contamination, his firm faith in devotional service awakens. When firm faith develops, a taste arises, and by that taste one becomes attached to devotional service. When this attachment intensifies, the seed of love of Kṛṣṇa fructifies. This position is called prīti or rati (affection) or bhāva (emotion). When rati intensifies, it is called love of Godhead. This love of Godhead is actually life’s highest perfection and the reservoir of all pleasure.
Thus devotional life is divided into two stages — sādhana-bhakti and bhāva-bhakti. Sādhana-bhakti refers to the development of devotional service through the regulative principles. The basic principle for the execution of devotional service is faith. Above that, there is association with devotees, and after that there is initiation by a bona fide spiritual master. After initiation, when one follows the regulative principles of devotional service, one becomes freed from all unwanted things. In this way one becomes firmly fixed and gradually develops a taste for devotional service. The more the taste grows, the more one desires to render service to the Lord. In this way one becomes attached to a particular mellow in the Lord’s service — śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya or madhura. As a result of such attachment, bhāva develops. Bhāva-bhakti is the platform of purified goodness. By such purified goodness, one’s heart melts in devotional service. Bhāva-bhakti is the first seed of love of Godhead. This emotional stage is there before one attains pure love. When that emotional stage intensifies, it is called prema-bhakti, or transcendental love of Godhead. This gradual process is also described in the following two verses, which are found in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.4.15-16).
ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-
saṅgo ‘tha bhajana-kriyā
tato ‘nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt
tato niṣṭhā rucis tataḥ
athāsaktis tato bhāvas
sādhakānām ayaṁ premṇaḥ
prādurbhāve bhavet kramaḥ
CC Madhya 23.14-15: “‘In the beginning there must be faith. Then one becomes interested in associating with pure devotees. Thereafter one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles under his orders. Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service. Thereafter, one develops taste and attachment. This is the way of sādhana-bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify, and finally there is an awakening of love. This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.’
Q: What are the nine symptoms which manifest in one’s behaviour when the seed of ecstatic emotion for Krishna fructifies ?
CC Madhya 23.18-19: “‘When the seed of ecstatic emotion for Kṛṣṇa fructifies, the following nine symptoms manifest in one’s behavior: forgiveness, concern that time should not be wasted, detachment, absence of false prestige, hope, eagerness, a taste for chanting the holy name of the Lord, attachment to descriptions of the transcendental qualities of the Lord, and affection for those places where the Lord resides — that is, a temple or a holy place like Vṛndāvana. These are all called anubhāva, subordinate signs of ecstatic emotion. They are visible in a person in whose heart the seed of love of God has begun to fructify.’
Love of God is transcendental to liberation [mukti], and thus it is called the fifth stage of spiritual realization, above the stage of liberation. (Srimad Bhagavatam Introduction)
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.