His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(founder of the Hare Krsna movement)
His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
(founder of the Hare Krsna movement)
Ramachandra Dasa, the top leader of the North American BLISS has been preaching in Montreal for the last 4 years and has fed prasadam and distributed books to literally thousands and thousands of conditioned souls. Now, he is raising the bar even higher by renting a storefront to host the first Prabhupada-oriented center in the West since the 70's. Why not become a regular monthly supporter of this most noble endeavor? Everyone can donate for this great cause and thus attract Lord Caitanya's attention.
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by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
When a man becomes too proud of his material position, he tries to enjoy his senses in an unrestricted way, being influenced by the modes of passion and ignorance. He is thus described as asuric, or demoniac. When people are demoniac in spirit, they are not merciful toward the poor animals. Consequently, they maintain various animal slaughterhouses. This is technically called suna, or himsa, which means the killing of living beings. In Kali-yuga, due to the increase of the modes of passion and ignorance, almost all men are asuric, or demoniac; therefore they are very much fond of eating flesh, and for this end they maintain various kinds of animal slaughterhouses.
In this age of Kali the propensity for mercy is almost nil. Consequently there is always fighting and wars between men and nations. Men do not understand that because they unrestrictedly kill so many animals, they also must be slaughtered like animals in big wars. This is very much evident in the Western countries. In the West, slaughterhouses are maintained without restriction, and therefore every fifth or tenth year there is a big war in which countless people are slaughtered even more cruelly than the animals. Sometimes during war, soldiers keep their enemies in concentration camps and kill them in very cruel ways. These are reactions brought about by unrestricted animal-killing in the slaughterhouse and by hunters in the forest. Proud, demoniac persons do not know the laws of nature, or the laws of God. Consequently, they unrestrictedly kill poor animals, not caring for them at all. In the Krsna consciousness movement, animal-killing is completely prohibited. One is not accepted as a bona fide student in this movement unless he promises to follow the four regulative principles: no animal-killing, no intoxication, no illicit sex and no gambling. This Krsna consciousness movement is the only means by which the sinful activities of men in this Kali-yuga can be counteracted.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
People have become so degraded in this age that on the one hand they restrict polygamy and on the other hand they hunt for women in so many ways. Many business concerns publicly advertise that topless girls are available in this club or in that shop. Thus women have become instruments of sense enjoyment in modern society. The Vedas enjoin, however, that if a man has the propensity to enjoy more than one wife -- as is sometimes the propensity for men in the higher social order, such as the brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaisyas, and even sometimes the sudras -- he is allowed to marry more than one wife. Marriage means taking complete charge of a woman and living peacefully without debauchery. At the present moment, however, debauchery is unrestricted. Nonetheless, society makes a law that one should not marry more than one wife. This is typical of a demoniac society.
By Makhancora Dasa
Many times people think that when one takes to spiritual life, his material set-up may become somehow neglected or that they will loose or miss something in this regard. As usual, the opposite is the fact and in this short article we shall see only a fragment of the benefits that regular chanting brings to those who take it up with even preliminary interest. When we water the root, leaves and branches are nourished automatically.
Chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra is a plea of the spirit soul to the Supreme Spirit, Krsna and His internal potency, Radha, to kindly accept one into Their eternal loving, transcendental devotional service. In that realm, there is no trace of material qualities and a devotee on the topmost platform experiences this eternal, fully cognizant and blissful state without any attachment to the temporary body and objects connected with it. Even before coming to the platform of pure devotional service, there is a platform of brahma-bhuta, where one does not identify with the body and as a result there is no lamentation and no hankering (Bg. 18.54), which are, obviously, the concomitants of materially conditioned consciousness. For the general mass of spiritually inclined people, who are just on the threshold of entering the realm of bhakti, with all their expectations, motivations, (mis)conceptions and desires, seeing the following connections may also serve as an inspiration to lessen their doubts and go on extracting all the possible benefits of approaching Krsna, the all-merciful Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of all material desire, without any material desire, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead.” (SB 2.3.10)
A few examples:
One of the basic devotional practices is chanting round the beads, the japa-mala. When chanting on the mala, the practitioner holds the beads between his thumb and the middle finger, going from one bead to another, chanting Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. Many may know, that on the thumb, there are areas, which, according to acupressure approach, when pressed or massaged, positively influence the function of brain, specifically the pineal and pituitary glands. One may search more info about their functions on the internet.
While working as a psychologist in a hospital, I used to teach patients “abdominal breathing” techniques. The catch there was, that there are two branches of nervous system influencing the organs in the body, but also the level of excitement of the mind. One of them - the sympathetic nervous system is activated by inhaling and is connected with stimulation of the body and mind, the other one - parasympathetic NS is activated by exhaling and it´s effect is relaxing. The technique was that patients would learn to breathe into their abdomen using the diaphragm and the time ratio of inhale/exhale would be 1:2. In other words, prolonged exhaling relaxes the body and mind. This is a very simplified explanation, in case of interest just make a little research. Now, when chanting Hare Krsna on the beads, chanting of the mantra is naturally accompanied by prolonged exhales as the air and sound leave the mouth. From this point of view, along with the transcendental meditation of chanting the Holy Name of Krsna, one automatically practices this very effective breathing exercise with vast psycho-physiological connections.
The following is an abstract from the thesis by our Godbrother Dhira Govinda Prabhu, who is a PhD. in psychology. He has made a scientific study on the effects of chanting the Maha-mantra and this is the output:
“Effects Of The Hare Krsna Maha Mantra On Stress, Depression, And The Three Gunas
The author conducted a 3-group study on the effects of chanting the hare krsna maha mantra on stress, depression, and the three modes of nature- sattva, rajas, and tamas- described in the Vedas as the basis for human psychology. Sixty-two subjects, self-selected through newspaper advertisements in a Southeastern university town, completed the study. Average age was 24.63 years, with 31 males and 31 females participating. Stress was measured with the Index of Clinical Stress, depression was measured with the Generalized Contentment Scale, and the modes of nature, or gunas, were measured with the Vedic Personality Inventory. Subjects were tested at pretest, posttest, and followup, with testing times separated by four weeks. Participants were randomly assigned to a maha mantra group, an alternate mantra group, and a control group.
Subjects in each of the chanting groups chanted their mantra approximately 25 minutes each day. The researcher concocted a mantra as the alternate mantra, though subjects in the alternate group thought it was a genuine Vedic mantra. Primary hypotheses of the study were based on Vedic theory, and stated that the maha mantra group would increase sattva, and decrease stress, depression, rajas and tamas, significantly more than the other two groups. ANCOVA results, controlling for gender and age, supported these hypotheses at p<.05 for all dependent variables except rajas, with effect sizes (eta2) for the four variables whose results supported the hypothesis ranging from .21 to .33. The author suggests that the maha mantra has potential for utilization in clinical areas similar to those where other interventions of Eastern origin have been successful, such as treatment of stress, depression, and addictions.”
“The results were consistent with the teachings of the Vedic literature, which states that chanting the maha-mantra will increase one's qualities in the mode of goodness and diminish the effects of the mode of ignorance, such as depression, and the mode of passion, such as stress. Why didn't the mode of passion change significantly in the period from pretest to follow-up? Vedic theory describes the mode of passion as the intermediate mode between goodness and ignorance. So I hypothesized that for the maha-mantra chanters some of the passion converted into goodness, and some of the ignorance became passion, and thus the overall passion level did not change. We can also understand from the Vedas that the positive effects of the maha-mantra would diminish when the maha-mantra group had not chanted for 28 days. That explains the less significant results at follow-up.” (BTG Jan 1, 2000 | Dhira Govinda Dasa, Holy Name, Volume-34 Number-01)
Another effect of chanting Hare Krsna is that if your house is infested by ghosts, they will not be able to stay there when exposed to the vibration of the Holy Name. The most famous example of this is the “clearing” of John Lennon´s estate at Tittenhurst in England.
“It is practically experienced. I know that the ghost, if you go in a house ghostly haunted, if you chant Hare Krsna mantra, they'll go away. They cannot tolerate. In my life there was several incidences like that. In my household life, I was doing business in Lucknow. So there was one house, very big house, worth thousands of rupees' rent, but it was ghostly haunted. So nobody would take that house. I took it at two hundred rupees, (laughter) and very big house. And I was... All the servants, they complained, "Sir, there is ghost." So I was chanting. He was living in several spots, especially on the gate side. So I could understand, but I would chant Hare Krsna, and I was saved. Everyone was saved. There was... And, say, in 1969 I was guest in the house of John Lennon in London. So there was a ghost in... It was a big plot. There was a guest house. So they complained, "Sir, here is ghost." So I advised them to chant Hare Krsna, and the ghost went away. Yes. This is fact. When there is Hare Krsna chanting, these ghostly, demonic living entities, they'll not be able to stay there. They'll go away.”
(Srila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita 16.7 class -- Hawaii, February 3, 1975)
The sankirtan can even subdue a plague epidemic!
“How nature can be controlled? Mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te [Bg. 7.14]. This is the law of nature. If you become disobedient to God, then prakrti or nature will give you trouble in so many ways. And as soon as you become submissive, surrender to Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there will be no more natural disturbances. I have heard in 1900, 1898 -- I was born in 1896 -- so I have heard, I have seen also, I remember, in Calcutta there was a very virulent type of plague epidemic in 1898. So Calcutta became devastated. All people practically left Calcutta. Daily hundreds and hundreds of people were dying. I was one year old or one and a half year old. I have seen what was happening, but there was plague epidemic. That I did not know. I, later on, I heard from my parents. So one babaji, he organized sankirtana, Hare Krsna sankirtana. When there was no other way, so he organized sankirtana all over Calcutta. And in the, in sankirtana, all people, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Parsi, everyone joined. And they were coming, they were going road to road, street to street, entering in every house. So that Mahatma Gandhi Road, 151, you have seen. The sankirtana party we received very nicely. There was light, and I was very small, I was also dancing, I can remember. Just like our small children sometimes dances. I remember. I could see only up to the knees of the persons who were joined. So the plague subsided. This is a fact. Everyone who knows history of Calcutta, the plague was subsided by sankirtana movement.
Of course, we do not recommend that sankirtana should be used for some material purpose, that is nama-aparadha, nama-aparadha. Shama sa bhakti kriya (?) pramana. Sankirtana, you can utilize sankirtana for some material purpose, but that is not allowed. That is nama-aparadha, because nama, the holy name of Krsna, and Krsna, they are identical. You cannot utilize Krsna for your personal, material benefit. That is aparadha. Krsna is the Lord. You cannot engage the Lord for your service. Similarly you cannot utilize the holy name of the Lord for some material purpose. That is not allowed. So anyway, because ye yatha mam prapadyante [Bg. 4.11]. If you wanted some material benefit by chanting Hare Krsna mantra, you'll get it, but that is nama-aparadha. You won't get the ecstasy of loving God. That is the aim of chanting Hare Krsna mantra: how you shall elevate yourself to the platform of loving God. That is required. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje [SB 1.2.6]. Not for utilizing the holy name for some material purpose. But this happened, we have got experience, I have heard, I have seen.”
(Prabhupada, Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.5 class -- Mayapura, June 20, 1973)
Human beings subside on foodstuff which is ultimately produced from rain and sunshine. Modern materialistic man may have his concept of where the rain is coming from, he may be able to explain the physics of rainfall and circulation of water on planet Earth, but the ultimate cause is hidden to his eyes. Nevertheless it is explained in the Bhagavad-gita:
“All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rain. Rains are produced by performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.”
Srila Prabhupada says in his purport:
Food grains or vegetables are factually eatables. The human being eats different kinds of food grains, vegetables, fruits, etc., and the animals eat the refuse of the food grains and vegetables, grass, plants, etc. Human beings who are accustomed to eating meat and flesh must also depend on the production of vegetation in order to eat the animals. Therefore, ultimately, we have to depend on the production of the field and not on the production of big factories. The field production is due to sufficient rain from the sky, and such rains are controlled by demigods like Indra, sun, moon, etc., and they are all servants of the Lord. The Lord can be satisfied by sacrifices; therefore, one who cannot perform them will find himself in scarcity—that is the law of nature. Yajna, specifically the sankirtana-yajna prescribed for this age, must therefore be performed to save us at least from scarcity of food supply. (Bg. 3.14)
Ok. Now that we have captured the attention on how much we can improve here and there in our conditioned material existence by chanting Hare Krsna, let us come to the real point, which is, as indicated by Srila Prabhupada above, to become completely free from all material desires. This whole material world rests on the desire of the living entity to enjoy it through the false identification of the self with the body. “Pleasure of the senses is my happiness and whatever facilitates that position is good for me.” This is called maya. Actually we are not this body, but spirit soul and our constitutional position is sat-cit-ananda-vigraha - eternity, knowledge and bliss in an original spiritual form. Chanting of Hare Krsna Maha-mantra is not a process by which we should aspire to accomplish some material goals produced in the flickering mind, whether it be better health, performance ability, psychological composure, more pleasing environment or relationships. This is all set up by our karma, nevertheless, and cannot be changed in that sense. The only way how to influence our position in this causal world is to surrender to the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna. Then, by His personal taking charge of the devotee, all the sub-aspects of our existence here are adjusted automatically and favorably for our further spiritual progress. This “favorably” might not necessarily mean that which we imagine to be favorable for us. As Srila Prabhupada says in the concluding quote below: “If a devotee maintains some material desire and at the same time very sincerely desires to engage at the lotus feet of Krsna, Krsna may directly give him unalloyed devotional service and take away all his material desires and possessions. This is the Lord's special favor to devotees.” Krsna can just render a devotee completely helpless in this world, so the only solace and shelter that is to be found are the divine lotus feet of Krsna. And that is His special favor. Unfortunate people will not be able to see this mercy of Krsna and will try to go on adjusting things in the spirit of “I” and “my”, in the spirit of controlling and enjoying a.k.a. “I am God”, even after understanding so many instructions on the subject matter of devotional service and chanting of the holy names. The ultimate benefit of chanting Hare Krsna is purification of this false godhood idea, reviving our association with the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna in eternity, consciousness and ecstasy and freedom from the vicious samsara cycle of birth, death, old-age and disease.
sa vidhasyati te kaman
netareti matir mama
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is very merciful to the poor, will fulfill all of your desires, for devotional service unto Him is infallible. Any method other than devotional service is useless. That is my opinion.
There are three kinds of men, who are called akama, moksa-kama and sarva-kama. One who tries to get liberation from this material world is called moksa-kama, one who wants to enjoy this material world to its fullest extent is called sarva-kama, and one who has fulfilled all his desires and has no further material desires is called akama. A bhakta has no desire. Sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. He is purified and free from material desires. The moksa-kami wants to achieve liberation by merging into the existence of the Supreme Brahman, and because of this desire to merge into the existence of the Lord, he is not yet pure. And since those who want liberation are impure, what to speak of the karmis, who have so many desires to fulfill? Nonetheless, the sastra says:
akamah sarva-kamo va
yajeta purusam param
"Whether one desires everything or nothing or desires to merge into the existence of the Lord, he is intelligent only if he worships Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by rendering transcendental loving service." (SB 2.3.10)
Kasyapa Muni saw that his wife, Aditi, had some material desires for the welfare of her sons, but still he advised her to render devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, everyone, regardless of whether he is a karmi, jnani, yogi or bhakta, should invariably take shelter of the lotus feet of Vasudeva and render transcendental loving service unto Him so that all his desires will be duly fulfilled. Krsna is dina-anukampana: He is very merciful to everyone. Therefore if one wants to fulfill his material desires, Krsna helps him. Of course, sometimes if a devotee is very sincere, the Lord, as a special favor to him, refuses to fulfill his material desires and directly blesses him with pure, unalloyed devotional service. It is said in Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 22.38-39):
krsna kahe, -- 'ama bhaje, mage visaya-sukha
amrta chadi' visa mage, -- ei bada murkha
ami -- vijna, ei murkhe 'visaya' kene diba?
sva-caranamrta diya 'visaya' bhulaiba
"Krsna says, 'If one engages in My transcendental loving service but at the same time wants the opulence of material enjoyment, he is very, very foolish. Indeed, he is just like a person who gives up ambrosia to drink poison. Since I am very intelligent, why should I give this fool material prosperity? Instead I shall induce him to take the nectar of the shelter of My lotus feet and make him forget illusory material enjoyment.' "If a devotee maintains some material desire and at the same time very sincerely desires to engage at the lotus feet of Krsna, Krsna may directly give him unalloyed devotional service and take away all his material desires and possessions. This is the Lord's special favor to devotees. Otherwise, if one takes to Krsna's devotional service but still has material desires to fulfill, he may become free from all material desires, as Dhruva Maharaja did, but this may take some time. However, if a very sincere devotee wants only Krsna's lotus feet, Krsna directly gives him the position of suddha-bhakti, unalloyed devotional service.
by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Just like I chant and you hear, and you chant and I hear. Parasparam. Bodhayantah parasparam. This is the factual activities of devotion in devotional society. This bodhayantah parasparam: I chant, you hear, and you chant, I hear.
Lecture on Maha-mantra -- New York, September 8, 1966
The question may be raised why a living being should be restricted in sense gratification. If a king, to learn how to kill, may go to the forest and kill animals, why should a living entity, who has been given senses, not be allowed unrestricted sense gratification? At the present moment this argument is put forward even by so-called svamis and yogis who publicly say that because we have senses we must satisfy them by sense gratification. These foolish svamis and yogis, however, do not know the injunctions of the sastras. Indeed, sometimes these rascals come out to defy the sastras. They even publicly announce that there should be no more sastras, no more books. "Just come to me," they say, "and I shall touch you, and you will become immediately spiritually advanced."
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
It is here indicated that in a rare circumstance when there is no supply of grains, the government may sanction the eating of meat. However, when there is sufficient food, the government should not allow the eating of cow's flesh just to satisfy the fastidious tongue. In other words, in rare circumstances, when people are suffering for want of grains, meat-eating or flesh-eating can be allowed, but not otherwise. The maintenance of slaughterhouses for the satisfaction of the tongue and the killing of animals unnecessarily should never be sanctioned by a government.
As described in a previous verse, cows and other animals should be given sufficient grass to eat. If despite a sufficient supply of grass a cow does not supply milk, and if there is an acute shortage of food, the dried-up cow may be utilized to feed the hungry masses of people. According to the law of necessity, first of all human society must try to produce food grains and vegetables, but if they fail in this, they can indulge in flesh-eating. Otherwise not. As human society is presently structured, there is sufficient production of grains all over the world. Therefore the opening of slaughterhouses cannot be supported. In some nations there is so much surplus grain that sometimes extra grain is thrown into the sea, and sometimes the government forbids further production of grain. The conclusion is that the earth produces sufficient grain to feed the entire population, but the distribution of this grain is restricted due to trade regulations and a desire for profit. Consequently in some places there is scarcity of grain and in others profuse production. If there were one government on the surface of the earth to handle the distribution of grain, there would be no question of scarcity, no necessity to open slaughterhouses, and no need to present false theories about over-population.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
For human society, constantly thinking of how to earn money and apply it for sense gratification brings about the destruction of everyone's interests. When one becomes devoid of knowledge and devotional service, he enters into species of life like those of trees and stones.
Jnana, or knowledge, means to understand one's constitutional position, and vijnana refers to practical application of that knowledge in life. In the human form of life, one should come to the position of jnana and vijnana, but despite this great opportunity if one does not develop knowledge and practical application of knowledge through the help of a spiritual master and the sastras -- in other words, if one misuses this opportunity -- then in the next life he is sure to be born in a species of nonmoving living entities. Nonmoving living entities include hills, mountains, trees, plants, etc. This stage of life is called punyatam or mukhyatam, namely, making all activities zero. Philosophers who support stopping all activities are called sunyavadi. By nature's own way, our activities are to be gradually diverted to devotional service. But there are philosophers who, instead of purifying their activities, try to make everything zero, or void of all activities. This lack of activity is represented by the trees and the hills. This is a kind of punishment inflicted by the laws of nature. If we do not properly execute our mission of life in self-realization, nature's punishment will render us inactive by putting us in the form of trees and hills. Therefore activities directed toward sense gratification are condemned herein. One who is constantly thinking of activities to earn money and gratify the senses is following a path which is suicidal. Factually all human society is following this path. Some way or other, people are determined to earn money or get money by begging, borrowing or stealing and applying that for sense gratification. Such a civilization is the greatest obstacle in the path of self-realization.
Prabhupada: So one of the cause of, I can say, one of the cause of cancer disease is this contraceptive method. You can make research on it. This is very dangerous stipulation, to use contraceptives. So they are, one side, discovering contraceptive medicine, contraceptive chemical; another side researching for cancer disease. And they say also that smoking is also one of the causes, smoking. So why do you not give up smoking? Smoking, illicit sex, contraceptive method.
May 4, 1973, Los Angeles
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Now another thing, that girls should not be taken as inferior. You see? Sometimes... Of course, sometimes scripture we say that "Woman is the cause of bondage." So that should not be, I mean to say, aggravated. (laughs) That should not be aggravated, that "Woman is inferior," or something like that. So the girls who come, you should treat them nicely, at least. I heard that Gargamuni, after his wife left him, he became a woman-hater like that. (chuckles) That is not good. You see? Yes. After all, anyone who is coming to Krsna consciousness, man or woman, boys or girls, they are welcome. They are very fortunate. You see. And the idea of addressing "prabhu" means "you are my master." That is the... Prabhu means master. And Prabhupada means many masters who bows down at his lotus feet. That is Prabhupada. So each, everyone shall treat others as "My master."
Room Conversation about Marriage -- September 24, 1968, Seattle
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The Krsna consciousness movement has started performing sankirtana-yajna in different places, and it has been experienced that wherever sankirtana-yajna is performed, many thousands of people gather and take part in it. Imperceptible auspiciousness achieved in this connection should be continued all over the world. The members of the Krsna consciousness movement should perform sankirtana-yajnas one after another, so much that all the people of the world will either jokingly or seriously chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, and thus they will derive the benefit of cleansing the heart. The holy name of the Lord (harer nama [Cc. Adi 17.21]) is so powerful that whether it is chanted jokingly or seriously the effect of vibrating this transcendental sound will be equally distributed. It is not possible at the present moment to perform repeated yajnas as Maharaja Barhisat performed, but it is within our means to perform sankirtana-yajna, which does not cost anything. One can sit down anywhere and chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. If the surface of the globe is overflooded with the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, the people of the world will be very, very happy.
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
In the nineteenth and twentieth order of incarnations, the Lord advented Himself as Lord Valarma and Lord Krishna in the family of Vrishni (or Jadu dynasty) and doing so He removed the burden of the world.
The specific mention of the word Bhagwan in this text indicates that Valarama and Krishna are original Forms of the Lord. This will be more explained hereinafter. Lord Krishna is not an incarnation of the Purusha as we learnt it from the beginning of this chapter. He is directly the original Personality of Godhead and Valarama is the first plenary manifestation of the Lord. From Valadeva the first phalanx of plenary expansions, Vasudeva, Samkarshan, Aniruddha, and Pradumna expand. Lord Sri Krishna is Vasudeva and Valadeva is Samkarshan also
by Purujit Dasa (the officiating acarya of the Bhaktivedanta Lives in Sound Society)
bahu-sakha hy anantas ca
"Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched."
( Bg 2.41)
Purujit: I was born in the darkness of ignorance and my spiritual master His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada has opened my eyes with the torchlight of knowledge. I offer my humble obeisances unto his lotus feet.
So, this is the sloka from the Bhagavadgita. It's actually a very deep sloka. Every sloka is very deep, but this one specifically relates to the divisions among the different followers of the Vedic culture. "Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many- branched." So Krsna says a few slokas before to Arjuna that he should fight, but he should not expect results. In other words, Krsna consciousness does not mean to stop activity. We can go on, but the enjoyer of the results of our work is Krsna. If we simply stop action, it will not bring us happiness. And similarly if we simply work for the result, we will be constantly disturbed. Just like thieves, we are enjoying the property of the Lord. A thief cannot be happy. He is always in anxiety. Krsna says that one who does not have peace of mind, cannot be happy. Everyone feels deep inside that : " Oh I'm doing something bad." But because he does not have the alternative, sometimes he gives up action altogether. No more pleasure, no more food, no more this, no more that. Just like the impersonalists. Therefore Krsna consciousness means work, but work with the right consciousness -Krsna consciousness. Devotional service is not something artificial. You probably know that passage, where Prabhupada explains the sanatana-dharma. Sanatana-dharma is the characteristic of every living entity. That's why Krsna consciousness is not a relgion, or a sect. It is the natural propensity of every living entity, everyone wants to serve, but they're serving in the wrong way. That's why the role of the spiritual master is to direct that service propensity in the right direction. This is why we need knowledge. Ultimately, Krsna consciousness, bhakti yoga has nothing to do with knowledge. It is the question of heart, but in the conditional platform our love is adulterated. We serve in a wrong way. That's why we need knowledge. Otherwise we will mistake that which is material for that which is spiritual and that which is spiritual for that which is material. This is the reason why we approach a bona fide spiritual master. Spiritual master means that he is the master in converting material into spiritual. Of course, the Krsna consciousness process does not require that we change our position. Just like Srila Prabhupada says, you can change your religion from Christian to Muslim, from Muslim to Buddhist etc, but if you are a nonsense person, then you will be a nonsense everywhere, whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Hindu, etc. So we have to change our consciousness. That is important. And it is very simple. Instead of doing things for myself, I do it for Krsna's pleasure. When I cook, I don't cook for myself, I cook for Krsna's pleasure. I like to sing, I like to play musical instruments, that's ok, but do it for Krsna, chant for Krsna. And if you want to do it for Krsna, then you should know that because Krsna is a person, He has his particular taste. And we should understand what that taste is. What He wants, what He doesn't want. Like that. If we strike the right point and serve Krsna in the right way, we will feel ecstatic. And if we serve in a way that is not very pleasing to Krsna, then the bliss will not be there. This is explained in the Srimad Bhagavatam, First canto:
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
“The most perfect occupation for all human kind is what is conductive to the attainment of devotional service of transcendence Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and undeterred so that the same shall completely satisfy the self.”
That sort of service will satisfy the atma. We are speaking of pure devotional service. We are not speaking of a mixed devotional service. There is devotional service mixed with jnana and I explained this before. It manifests as giving up activities and as a denial. This is jnana -analytical. For example a man decides: "I want to find out why there is life in this person." So he operates him and he gets his heart and he takes his heart in his hand. "Oh, so this is life." But then the life of that person is finished. It is not practical to simply study the knowledge. That it called jnana-misra bhakti, bhakti-yoga mixed with jnana. And then you have another extreme karma-misra bhakti, devotional service mixed with fruitive mentality: "I become a famous kirtan singer and I will get many likes on Facebook, or I will be a famous pujari. We can become illusioned that we are practising Krsna consciousness, but we are not serving Krsna, we are utilizing Krsna. So the nature of pure devotional service is that it is ahaituky apratihata. It cannot be checked by any material circumstance.
This sloka is very important especially for us, the followers of Srila Prabhupada, because it is the sloka which inspired Srila Prabhupada to come to the West. Those are his transcendental pastimes. And especially either Bhaktivinode Thakura or Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, they comment on this sloka that a disciple should be ready to lay down his life to fulfill the instruction of his spiritual master. That is Krsna consciousness. It cannot be checked even by a material body. That sort of determination we have to develop in order to go back home, back to Godhead. If our determination is 99% it is not enough. We cannot go back to Godhead with 99% determination. We have to have 100%. If the determination is not 100%, resolute, firm, then our intelligence becomes many branched. And this is how you explain the different religions, sects, different divisions, not just in the Krsna consciousness movement, but in all of mankind. People bring their material motives and then there are divisions. Just like the example is given, if you water the root of a tree, automatically all the branches are nourished, but if you try to water the branches separately, first of all you will never come to the end of it and second of all even if you do it, the whole tree will dry out anyway. So in this karma misra bhakti and jnana misra bhakti, because we have a propensity to serve, which is our sanatana dharma, we always serve some person. We are trying to unite on the basis of family, nationality, religious denomination, and so on and so on but this all have to be kicked out. This is the theme of the Bhagavadgita. Arjuna is facing his own family members and he wants to give up the fight. “Why should I fight? Let us be together one family. But Krsna says no. So Prabhupada gives a comment on this point he says: “Sometimes that which is considered as very admirable, very noble by the general mass of people might not be very pleasing to Krsna. It is not stereotyped like that. Krsna says:
kascid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam
kascin mam vetti tattvatah
“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.”
It is not so easy. Yes (laughter) Krsna says: “Go and kill your family.” And so many soldiers were killed. 64 hundred million soldiers were killed. Prabhupada says: “ What is the use of millions of stars? Get one moon and he will give light to all the different stars. Another example he gives is that if you have one, it is better than million of zeros. So this is what we should become, we should become that one moon, a pure devotee, a quality devotee. It is not that Srila Prabhupada is the only guru. The word acarya means “one who shows the example”. It is not that we simply worship Prabhupada Prabhupada Prabhupada. We must emulate his example. Prabhupada manifests all the different activities, for example his struggles. We meditate on Prabhupada as the successful Prabhupada. People are bowing down. Jaya Prabhupada! But before Prabhupada came to the West, there was seventy years of struggle in India. And nobody was respecting Prabhupada. They thought: “This is just some swami.” Just like that mataji Morarji said: “I thought he was crazy to go to America.” Nobody knew who Prabhupada was. Even when Prabhupada came to NY and set up his own storefront, nobody could have imagined what is going to happen. So this lila we should emulate also. This sort of determination that: “I will go against the whole world.” is needed. If Krsna wants then “Yes I will do it.” and if the whole world is praising me: “Oh you are wonderful,” but Krsna is thinking: “I don’t know about this guy.” then i will give up the whole world, give up the praise, give up the fame, give up everything. That is the conclusion of the Bhagavadgita: give up everything and surrender unto Me. So if we have faith, then Krsna says: “I will deliver you from all errors, all mistakes you do. I will take charge. Don’t worry. Do not fear. Do not worry. Do not be afraid.” The word “ma sucah” has these three meanings. So we should be determined like that and then Krsna will take charge of everything and that’s what we want. We want that Krsna will take charge of our necessities, so we have all the time to think of Him and serve Him with love. Then we won’t be distracted by any of these material motivations. I will no longer think: ”What is in it for me?” Complete surrender. Krsna may kill me. Krsna may save me. I don’t care. That is not the purpose. The purpose is to please Krsna. So Prabhupada has given all these books, where he explains to us how we can develop this mentality. Not artificially or by sentiment, but by proper discrimination and intelligence. Bhakti yoga is also called buddhi yoga –yoga of intelligence. At the same time we have to have that determination. I want to surrender. I might not be surrendered. I might be fallen or so much contaminated, but this decision I should make: “Yes I want to surrender fully fully fully.” then Krsna will give me the proper intelligence, but if I don’t have this determination and I didn’t make this decision, then Krsna will supply a different type of intelligence. You want to enjoy in this world? Go ahead. Krsna does not interfere with your independence. Quite the opposite, he gives you full opportunity to exercise your minute independence. Prabhupada makes this point. If Krsna did not give us maya, illusion, then there would be no meaning to our independence. So sometimes people say, you have probably heard this before, if there’s God, why there is suffering? Suffering is there, but enjoyment is also there. They both bind us to the material world. And why? Because you want. So if you change your desire: “I don’t want this anymore. I want to utilise happiness for Krsna and I want to utilise distress for Krsna. Both.” Then we will be equipoised in mind and we will be able to develop that determination.
It is not very easy to think of Krsna at the time of death. You can test yourself. When you do your japa how much you think of the holy name and how much you think of other things, but that is a small sample of how we will think at the time of death. This sloka is very important if we want to understand how to develop pure offenseless chanting. Otherwise we will be diverted despite the fact that we are chanting Hare Krishna. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur says that if the chanting is not done properly, the holy name does not manifest. Although it appears as the holy name, these are only mundane letters of the alphabet. We say chant Hare Krsna, we try to encourage everyone never mind he is smoking ganja or this or that chanting Hare Krsna we encourage. Very good. But this is not the standard of perfection. We are giving a future chance. When people come under the shelter of the bona fide spiritual master, they should hear how to purify the chanting. Not that I simply take initiation and my job is done. Initiation means beginning. Beginning of hearing. So it is a great science and we should not miss the opportunity by making sentimental conclusions: “Oh this is jnana prabhu, don’t talk about this. Let’s just have a good time.” This is not resolute determination. In this attitude we hide many doubts. We should avoid that kind of attitude and association also. Just like we say, if you associate with nondevotees, you become a nondevotee. If you associate with a drunkard, you become a drunkard. And if you associate with pure devotees, you become a pure devotee.
So there is no controversy. The pure devotee is there: Srila Prabhupada. Who can doubt this? Only a nonsense person can say otherwise. It does not matter this guru and that guru, we should hear from a pure devotee and there is also association of devotees. We can help each other. There is no problem to accept someone as a guide to understand Srila Prabhupada, but Prabhupada is a pure devotee and he gave us these books. The ISKCON institution is meant to distribute the knowledge in these books. That means that Prabhupada is the spiritual master. Arguing about whether to do the initiation like this or that is superficial. Just like you can do japa in a big bead bag, or a blue bead bag, or a pink one. If you don’t chant, how does it matter whether you have a pink bead bag or a blue bead bag? It doesn’t make any difference. It has no value. Similarly, if we don’t read Prabhupada’s books and if we do not scientifically understand what he is actually trying to explain to us and we don’t apply the process, then you can call yourself a rtvik or ISKCON this or that, it’s not going to help you. Prabhupada says in a letter that arguments are for slackers. Amongst the real workers there are no arguments. Because the real workers are not interested in the formalities, they don’t latch on to the externals. They are interested in the essence. And the essence is one- to please Krsna. Those who are serious, wherever they are, heaven or hell, Prabhupada says, they are my disciples and those who are not doing their work, they can be in this camp or that camp they will just create disturbance. So the institution Prabhupada made and the rtvik system of initiation he made are here to check the nonsense people to join in and create disturbance, but you yourself can practise in any circumstance. Do we need a permission to chant 16 rounds? Someone finds a mala on the internet and buys from an online shop and starts chanting 16 rounds, does he need a permission? No, he doesn’t a permission. Would Prabhupada be very angry? He is chanting 16 rounds and he did not ask my permission. Is this wrong? Of course not. And if this person tells other friends to also chant Hare Krishna then he is a guru. Very simple –he is a guru. Guru is a person who teaches others about Krsna. And these people he preaches to are his disciples. They chant. They are going to do what Ricky tells them: “Oh very nice. I like this chanting.” So they come to Ricky and ask him some more questions. Prabhupada also defines a guru as someone you go to ask some questions. If you ask someone a question, you are already accepting him as your guru, otherwise why are you asking? You have the faith that this person has the right answer. So this gentleman who chants 16 rounds and who tells others to chant 16 rounds and whose friends are chanting because he told them to, he is a natural guru. Does he need a permission? He doesn’t need a permission. The permission is there if you want to take advantage of the institution and of the assets, of the facilities. Srila Prabhupada made all these wonderful temples. Just like when you go to school, the school has some facilities, a classroom, books, teachers. You need to pay a fee or get signed up, some qualification. You have to fulfill some conditions, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn the subject matter on your own. It is not a general principle, but that exception is there. Some people for example receive honorary titles. He becomes a professor, but he never went to school. So it is possible and on the other hand, out of those who are in school sometimes there are a few who cheat and they get a diploma by cheating. Especially, when this happens in a medical field it is a great catastrophe. You don’t want to be operated upon by such a surgeon. So it comes back to the same point. Canakya Pandit says you can’t see a fool until he speaks. So Prabhupada says yes we should associate, but we should use our discrimination. Not everyone who puts on a tilak, kanti and shaves up is a devotee. There are many demons who enter this Krsna consciousness movement. Prabhupada says this. There are many jealous persons in this Krsna consciousness movement. Neither should we go by titles: I’m a rtvik, or I’m ISKCON. I’m this and that. I have first initiation, second initiation, third initiation, the fourth initiation. This may be good, very good, but still this is not the criteria. You have to tell me how you understand the Krsna consciousness science, then we will see who you are. Just like a person who is studying law or medicine in school, he can show us so many diplomas, but when there’s actually a sick person, a practical problem, then we will really see who has got the talent, who has got the proper qualification to cure him. So Krsna consciousness is practical. And Prabhupada himself said when Gurukrpa asked him: “Your Godbrothers, they are also initiating their own disciples, what is their position? Is that bona fide or what is going on there?” So Prabhupada said: “Yes, the formality is going on but the preaching spirit is missing. That is the criteria. Bona fide spiritual master, or a preacher can preach in any circumstance. Just like you see the example in Srila Prabhupada- he started his own institution from scratch. And his Gobrothers were fighting over the properties and no preaching. Simply envious. I don’t know if you know the history, but if you read the Caitanya Caritamrta, Prabhupada is simply transcendentally complaining. The whole world is praising this ISKCON movement, the Western people are becoming devotees of Krsna, Vaishnavas and giving up illict sex, meat eating gambling, amazing miracle, but these Godbrothers are so envious that when Prabhupada would come back to India, his Godbrothers would not even respect him. They started criticizing: Why are you calling yourself Prabhupada? Do you have a permission? Nonsense. So this is the essence of Krsna consciousness. We should have firm determination, we should be very sincere, very surrendered. It does not mean that I have some material desires, so I’m not surrendered. No. You have a material desire? Ok, that’s fine, but don’t make a show that I have no material desire. If you have a material desire and you know about it, that’s the beginning of purification. That is very good, but if I make a show: “Oh I’m a pure devotee, you’re not going to be happy and people around you are also not going to be happy. They will not be very enthused to take up Krsna consciousness. People can feel it. They might be covered, they might be eating meat, but ultimately the soul feels. So like that. Any questions or comments?
ISKCON Devotee 1: Prabhu, you said that we have free will. I was listening to a lecture by Prabhupada yesterday. He was saying that if Krsna sees a little sincerity in our heart, he will catch us and he will arrange everything in our life and future life in such a way that we can go back to Him. My question is that by developing the desire to love God, do we loose our free will?
Purujit: No, no, no. It is a revival of the free will. Actually, in the material world everything is by force. Even if you take such a wonderful pleasure as sex life, we do not have sex life out of freedom, we have sex life by force. It’s a push. It’s an urge. The material nature commands: “Now!” and you cannot resist. It is difficult. So you take anything else like eating or any sort of enjoyment in this world, it is by force, there is no freedom. So when i actually practise austerity by saying: “No, no I will refrain for a higher purpose.” That is the beginning of my freedom. That’s where my freedom starts. I don’t have unlimited freedom. That is illusion: I am God and I can do anything I want. Krsna says:
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.”
Such a mentality is the cause of our bondage. If I think I’m unlimitedly free, immediately I become checked by the material nature. Just like a government, if you do something illegal, then whatever little freedom you have as a citizen is taken and you are taken to prison. So, we are never free. We are either serving maya, or Krsna, but when we serve Krsna, we serve Krsna out of freedom. When we serve maya, we don’t serve maya out of freedom. You can see, if you again want to become Krsna conscious, how difficult it is. Maya is so stringent. So that is the difference. Does it answer your question?
ISKCON Devotee 1: Yeah
ISKCON Devotee 1: Fully yeah. And I also wanted to ask: who said that the slackers create disturbance?
Purujit: Prabhupada. In a letter he says: There is no argument amongst the real workers. We don’t have to fight, there is plenty of service for everyone. The whole world is in Krsna unconsciousness. So we don’t have to fight for service.
The Bhaktivedanta Lives In Sound Society is an international organization of Hare Krsna devotees practicing and teaching bhakti-yoga(the essence of religion) under the direct guidance of His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, who is the last link to the ancient unbroken chain of disciplic succession(parampara) originating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna Himself. Although His Divine Grace has departed physically from this world in 1977, the members of the society hold him to be still transcendentally present in his instructions.