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)
by Purujit Dasa
Easy. Easy. Let's start with simple logic. It's not difficult. There is a section and there is a whole. A section is part of a whole. A whole is never a part of a section. An example: if we take a drop of a seawater, it is a section of the whole, the big sea. But if we say that now I'm holding a sea in my hand, that's kind of dumb, isn’t it? "Look, I got a sea in my hand!" -a crazy person, or a poet might say like that, but it is not reality. Now, in this world we see so many wholes and so many sections. Just like I can be called Mr. Thompson and be a section of the whole Thompson family. Or The Beatles, a famous rocknroll band is a whole and tiny little Ringo Starr behind the drums is its' section. There's a whole year 2012 ahead of us and yet there are sections like January, February, March, April... etc. So wholes and sections. Is that cool? Ok. ok. Now, let's go beyond the known, beyond the perception of our senses. Cuz pretty much all of the previous examples I have given we can percieve by our senses. Senses? What do you mean? Well, simple. Just like your eyes. Very important sense through which we percieve what we call a "reality". A reality? What is "reality"? Hold on a sec. Before we get into the "everything is relative man" game, let me express what's on my mind today. Is that alright with you? Thanks…
by Purujit Dasa
UNCOVERING THE MYSTERY OF ATHEISM
In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Sri Krsna says:
The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.
Because they are eternal, the parts and parcels of Krsna can never become Krsna, neither can Krsna become His part and parcel. This is a fundamental understanding. Such relationship continues eternally:
na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param
Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
Both the Supreme Soul Krsna and the minute soul, the living entity have the unique ability to transcend matter and this is called freedom. In the transcendental atmosphere of the spiritual abode material limitations as we experience in this conditioned world are conspicuous by their absence. As opposed to the material world where at every moment we are being checked by miseries imposed on us by the mind, nature and other living entities, everything in the spiritual world floats on freedom. For this reason, it is always possible for the minute spiritual living entity to leave the spiritual world and thus come under the influence of Krsna’s lower material energy. Besides transcending matter, freedom also means a choice to loose it and for this reason, there is no barrier to check us from choosing the binding miserable existence in the material world.
The idea of leaving arises, when the minute soul becomes dissatisfied with the eternal reality of his constitutional position of being the minute part of the Supreme Lord and when he naively tries to overtake Krsna’s eternally supreme position. As opposed to the material world, where the living entities are always in need of remuneration for the pseudo-love they offer to others, our original relationship with the Lord is purely unconditional and therefore devoid of any kind of expectation of reward in exchange for our service to Him. A pure devotee, due to his perfect self-realization is fully satisfied within himself and thus being a complete part of all-blissful Krsna his only pleasure is to serve the Lord. Similarly, the Lord being the reservoir of all-pleasure is also not in need of anything and therefore feels more pleasure by serving His devotee rather than actually receiving service from the devotee. When the living entity foolishly desires to cut such eternal and harmonious relationship and wants to become Krsna Himself, the Lord, who is always ready to satisfy His devotee, fulfills such a wish in the most genius way by giving him illusion, or maya (that which is not), which makes the living entity believe that he has indeed become the Lord. Krsna does this in order to preserve the principle of freedom reigning in the spiritual world. In this connection His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada remarks in his commentary on the 7th Chapter, 21st verse of the Bhagavad-gita:
Some may ask why the all-powerful God gives facilities to the living entities for enjoying this material world and so lets them fall into the trap of the illusory energy. The answer is that if the Supreme Lord as Supersoul does not give such facilities, then there is no meaning to independence.
Bg 7.21 purport
The various misconceptions of the “self” that are known in today’s society form various manifestations of the illusion Lord Krsna has expertly manufactured for our whimsical satisfaction.
by Purujit Dasa
It is a very common and fashionable slogan to say: "everyone has his own way". Majority of people in our society have become totally disillusioned with absolutes. Absolute is just not cool anymore. As soon as science came on the scene with its new discoveries challenging the Bible’s teachings, the absolute went out of fashion. Science then completely replaced religion and unofficially brought a new absolute ideal –revolution, evolution, progress and technology. Science became the alpha-omega. The people(perhaps reincarnated) who used to burn a folk or two on a pyre for questioning the scripture just a while ago, now as scientists scoffed all puffed up at anything which could not be rationally, empirically proven in a lab or something. But because we live in a material world, where everything is temporary, this did not last forever either. Atomic bomb blasting shook us all in 1944 and shook the pride off the scientific man, who could no longer claim that he had things under control with confidence. Bummer.
So where are we now? We’re in post-modernism, man! There are no absolutes! Everyone is right! Everyone is wrong. Depends on who’s looking. We got like unlimited variety of options to choose from. Whoooo. No fixed rules. Forget the aim of life. Let’s undress everything from meaning and have fun! Definitions are illegal. Discrimination has been arrested. And the new top ten word is “whatever”.
Although people think they’re more original and more individualistic than ever before, they all ironically say the same thing: I have my own way. So the “own way” fashion is making it big. When we challenge them though and ask: “What if my way is not to follow my way but surrender to Krsna instead?”, they surprisingly do the most contradictory thing one can commit in the Postmodernia –they reject it as unacceptable and tell us to skate off. “Why don’t you do what everyone else is doing? Just be a so-called “yourself” like everyone else.” They complain…
for the above mentioned theory, we are still in darkness as how the homogeneous matter could create an illusion of separated individual existence. When we speak of illusion, it must be derived from reality. For example, if we know how a snake looks like, we can have an illusion of seeing a snake in the darkness. If we don’t know how a snake looks like, how can we have an illusion of seeing one? Similarly, we can ask if all that exists is one all-pervading matter and nothing else, where is the temporary illusion of individuality coming from?
The materialistic scientists’ silence at this point speaks for itself and while they are busy coming up with yet another edition of scientific jargon to camouflage their gross ignorance on the subject, we dare to say that “you” do exist and there’s also an empirical proof to support it –your own perception. While being busy looking for evidence of “you” outside here and there in chemicals, mathematics, or microscopes, it is the closest thing-our own consciousness. It is because of consciousness you are for example able to read this article. Your consciousness is the perceivable evidence that individuality separate from what you are reading exists. The question therefore is not whether individuality exists, but quite the opposite, why it should not? Where is the evidence that it does not exist?
We wonder why modern man wants to deny his existing. Why does he constantly doubt such an obvious fact? The answer is that his consciousness is presently adulterated by various dogmatic beliefs, which keep him so to speak apart from his own self. These various irrational beliefs influence his perception to such an extent that he ends up perceiving the world around him in a distorted way. Just like in the Middle Ages, he has given up on his discriminative powers and let the so-called scientists, who are nothing but a mere replacement of a dogmatic church in disguise tell him what to think. The so-called scientific conclusions are firmly based on the observations made through imperfect senses of imperfect human beings. For example, although the sun is a globe, from the position we’re in right now, we perceive it as a yellow disc. The sun is a globe though, so we see the sun as something completely different from what it really is. Such a faulty conclusion is due to our blindly believing the dictation of our imperfect eye-sight. Our eye-sight just as all the other senses are by their very essence limited though. The scientist however persists that unless a phenomenon can be seen by such limited sense perception, it cannot be accepted as a fact. He can be compared to a fool who, while wearing non-transparent glasses complains about insufficient evidence of the existence of seeing ability. Although his so-called objective scientific conclusions are relative on account of his relative perception and are therefore always changing, ignorance of such a crucial point, namely that his perception is distorted makes all his science completely subjective.
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: This is the scientist's point of view. He's just observing, observing, observing, and therefore he feels almost left out of it. So they want to participate. They're very attracted to the...
Prabhupāda: But he's observing himself or not? Or he's simply observing outside himself?
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: Bhagavad-gītā says that he is observing his body, his field of activities.
Prabhupāda: No, Bhagavad-gītā... I am asking...
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: He's observing outside of himself.
Prabhupāda: Then why does he not observe himself, that "What I am?" "Am I this body? Or what I am? Why I am full of anxieties?"
Room Conversation with Robert Gouiran, Nuclear Physicist from European Center for Nuclear Research -- June 5, 1974, Geneva
Our perception is constantly being conditioned by the ever-changing workings of nature. This conditioning is the root cause of why we develop so many irrational conclusions in regards to the nature of the self. The real science of the soul therefore is not a question of believing an imposed dogma, but quite the opposite, it means to get free from all sorts of irrational beliefs based on imperfect sense perception and come to our original unadulterated consciousness, or Krsna consciousness. Only then, will we be able to see things as they are and thus begin a truly scientific study. The aim of this article is therefore to map various misconceptions concerning the existence of the soul, scientifically point out their flaws based on logic and arguments and establish “you” to be an irrevocable fact based on what you truly perceive.
by Purujit Dasa
Because of the conditioned soul’s identification with matter, he suffers from a loss of discriminatory power which is called ignorance. Whether it’s the inability to see the difference between a genuine leader and a cheating politician, the difference between the self and the body, monkey and man, faith and science etc. in all cases, the loss of discriminatory power distorts how he perceives world around him and it affects how he is trying to solve different problems in our society. As long as people remain ignorant, there will always be problems and no law can prevent it. The public knows that the laws are there and they are being subjected by them but they do not really know why they should follow these laws and that is why they will always be tempted to break them. Therefore education is necessary.
Simply enforcing laws and ordinances cannot make the citizens obedient and lawful. That is impossible. Throughout the entire world there are so many states, legislative assemblies and parliaments, but still the citizens are rogues and thieves. Good citizenship, therefore, cannot be enforced; the citizens must be trained. As there are schools and colleges to train students to become chemical engineers, lawyers or specialists in many other departments of knowledge, there must be schools and colleges to train students to become brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas, śūdras, brahmacārīs, gṛhasthas, vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs. This will provide the preliminary condition for good citizenship (varṇāśrama-guṇān-vitāḥ).
Sb original 9.10.50
Syamasundara dasa: Does this mean that when people are enlightened
with proper knowledge, they will automatically become good?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. It is stated in Bhagavad-gita:
yathaidhamsi samiddho 'gnir
bhasmasat kurute 'rjuna
bhasmasat kurute tatha
"As the blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, 0 Arjuna, so does the fire
of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities." (Bg.
4.37) The fire of knowledge consumes all sinful activities. To this end,
there is need for education. People are born ignorant, and education is
needed to remove their ignorance. Since they are born illusioned by the
bodily conception, people act like animals. They therefore have to be
educated to understand that they are different from the material body.
Syamasundara dasa: Why is it that some people who receive this knowledge
later reject it?
Srila Prabhupada: Then it is not perfect knowledge. When one actually
receives perfect knowledge, he becomes good. This is a fact. If one is
not good, it is because he has not received perfect knowledge.
Syarnasundara dasa: Is there not a class of men that is always evil?
Srila Prabhupada: No.
Syamasundara dasa: Can any man be made good?
Srila Prabhupada: Certainly, because the soul is by nature good. The
living entity is covered by the inferior modes of material nature, by passion
and ignorance. When he is cleansed of this covering, his goodness
will emerge. The soul is originally good because it is part and parcel of
God, and God is all good. That which is part and parcel of gold is also
gold. Although the soul is covered by matter, the soul is all good. When
a sharpened knife is covered by rust, it loses its sharpness. If we remove
the rust, the knife will once again be sharp.
Discussion on Socrates
An atheist however cannot understand the concept of eternity, because his mind is constantly oscillating between two dualities: desire and hate. He wants to be God(enjoyer of this world) and hates when he finds out that he is not. It is a never ending chain of trail and error life after life. Furthermore, the educational system, the government and the so-called culture of a modern man, are all pushing him to become nothing, but a helpless puppet who dances to the repetitive tune of the atheistic doctrine. Watching him blabbering about evolution theory, how the world can be a peaceful place by the use of atomic warfare and how we can solve the crime while letting our animal instincts run loose, one has to simply tolerate and let him pass by. His free will and individuality is for the time being completely taken over by the dictates of the cult of animals. Unless he himself makes a conscious choice to study the Vedic literature in order to get out of his diseased conditioned, it is not possible for him to revive his original freedom.
Brhad Naradya Purana however says:
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
(Brhan-naradiya Purana 38.126)
"In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is chanting of the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way."
The Vedic literatures give us an exact account of what is going to happen in the future. Although written 5000 years ago they for example predict the appearance of Lord Buddha, who appeared only 2600 years ago. The present times are described in the Vedas as the age of Kali, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy and just as in the previous ages, there’s a process of self-realization given which is especially potent now. If the modern man simply hears the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, this vibration penetrates all the layers of atheistic brain dirt and penetrates right into the self and awakens it. Although he might be under the hypnosis of the atheistic faith, the transcendental sound has such a power that it interacts with the soul directly and no material barrier can check such purification. By hearing the Hare Krsna mantra and later on by chanting the same, one awakens his desire to get out of the material entanglement and engage in his real activity –devotional service to Krsna.
nitya-siddha krsna-prema 'sadhya' kabhu naya
sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya
"Pure love for Krsna is eternally established in the hearts of living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, the living entity naturally awakens.
Just like when a man remains unconscious under some intoxication or snake bite, there are some herbs. If it is put before the nostril and if the patient smells, immediately he gets consciousness. Similarly, Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that "I have brought also one medicine." Enechi ausadhi maya nasibaro lagi': "This medicine can dissipate your this forgetfulness under the spell of maya." Enechi ausadhi maya nasibaro. What is that? Hari-nama maha-mantra lao tumi: "This is this chanting Hare Krsna mantra. You please take it." The idea is that if one simply chants Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, his unconscious stage, or sleeping stage under the spell of illusory maya, will gradually vanish.
Purport to Jiv Jago -- Columbus, May 20, 1969
Lord Caitanya, who preached Krsna consciousness in the modern world, gave great stress to hearing because if the common man simply hears from authoritative sources, he can progress, especially, according to Lord Caitanya, if he hears the transcendental vibration Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. It is stated, therefore, that all men should take advantage of hearing from realized souls and gradually become able to understand everything.
The duality created by the conditioned soul’s rebellion against the Supreme Lord manifests as the two functions of the mind –sankalpa vikalpa. We always accept something for our illusory enjoyment and then we reject it when the illusion is over. In this way we struggle day by day with the mind. Mantra means to deliver us from the mind. (man- the mind; trayete –deliver). Material sound cannot deliver the soul because anything material is dualistic, ever-changing and therefore unsteady. But the Hare Krsna mantra is not a sound of this material world. It is actually non-different from Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead coming from the spiritual world and the proof is that a devotee of Krsna is able to chant this Hare Krsna mantra 24 hours a day and not feel tired, whereas with a mundane vibration one gets tired very fast.
So we should always be confident that this chanting is not a vibration of this material world. This is not vibration of material world. Narottama dasa Thakura says, golokera prema-dhana hari-nama-sankirtana. It is imported from the spiritual world. It is completely spiritual. Otherwise how it is possible? Sometimes the so-called yogis, they say that chanting... In Bombay there is a so-called rascal, he says, "The chanting of Hare Krsna mantra and chanting of Coca-cola is the same." He is such a rascal. He does not know that this is not a vibration of this material world. But one who has no knowledge, they think that "What is the meaning of this chant, 'Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna'?" But they can practically see that we can go on chanting day and night, still we shall not become tired, but any other material name you take, after chanting three times you will feel tired. That is the proof. You can go on chanting day and night, you will never feel tired. So these people, poor people, they have (no) brain to understand.
Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.1.1-2 -- New York, April 19, 1973
Sinful public cannot understand the value of a sinless leader, therefore democratic system cannot bring any desired change, nor is punishing the aggressors by violence an ultimate solution. But by the means of hearing the transcendental science from a pure devotee of the Lord and engaging in the service of Krsna under his guidance, our lust rather than being killed can be nicely channeled or spiritualized.
The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.
Lust is only the perverted reflection of the love of God which is natural for every living entity. But if one is educated in Krsna consciousness from the very beginning, that natural love of God cannot deteriorate into lust. When love of God deteriorates into lust, it is very difficult to return to the normal condition. Nonetheless, Krsna consciousness is so powerful that even a late beginner can become a lover of God by following the regulative principles of devotional service. So, from any stage of life, or from the time of understanding its urgency, one can begin regulating the senses in Krsna consciousness, devotional service of the Lord, and turn the lust into love of Godhead—the highest perfectional stage of human life.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: As you well know, many thieves are arrested numerous times and put into jail. Although they know that if they commit theft they will go to jail, still they are forced to steal, because of their unclean hearts. Therefore without cleansing the heart of the criminal, you cannot stop crime simply by more stringent law enforcement. The thief and the murderer already know the law, yet they still commit violent crimes, due to their unclean hearts. So our process is to cleanse the heart. Then all the troubles of this material world will be solved.
Lieutenant Mozee: That's a very difficult task, sir.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: It is not difficult. Simply invite everyone: "Come, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, dance, and take sumptuous prasādam." What is the difficulty? We are doing this at our centers, and people are coming. But because we have very little money, we can hold saṅkīrtana only on a small scale. We invite everyone, and gradually people are coming to our centers and becoming devotees. If the government would give us a large facility, however, we could expand unlimitedly. And the problem is big; otherwise why are there national news articles asking what to do? No civil state wants this criminality. That's a fact. But the leaders do not know how to stop it. If they listen to us, however, we can give them the answer. Why crime? Because people are godless. And what to do? Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and take prasādam. If you like, you can adopt this process of saṅkīrtana. Otherwise, we will continue conducting it on a small scale. We are just like a poor medical man with a small private practice who could open a big hospital if he were given the facility. The government is the executor. If they take our advice and adopt the process of saṅkīrtana, then the problem of crime will be solved.
SSR 6a: Crime: Why and What to Do?
In this way our almost eternal hate for God can turn into love and we can thus return to our original home back to Godhead.
(the end of the series)
BUDDHISM FROM THE KRSNA CONSCIOUSNESS POINT OF VIEW
QUESTION: Hare Krsna Prabhuji! Could you please
explain a bit more about buddhist ahimsa, nothingness and why shouldn't they care about doing good deeds? Thank you
ANSWER: Let me start with a conversation Srila Prabhupada had with a Buddhist guest on June the 14th, 1974 in Paris, France.
Prabhupada: The soul is a person.
Buddhist: What do you define by person then? Because our experience is this person.
Prabhupada: Just like I am a living being; I have got living force. You have got living force. But we are talking as person.
Buddhist: How is it that the soul is also a person?
Prabhupada: Because I am soul, you are soul, we keep our person. That is person.
Buddhist: We are only distinct individuals because of the bodily difference. We are persons now, but afterwards we become one.
Prabhupada: Not bodily. The reason why you have individual body is because you are individual. For example, my coat is cut according to me. I am not cut according to my coat. The dress is made according to the person. The person does not become shaped according to his dress.
Buddhist: I don't see how this example applies.
Prabhupada: Why not?
Buddhist: In our philosophy, it's more important to resolve the problem of why man is suffering rather than discuss whether the soul is a person or not.
Prabhupada: Because he has got different dress he must be a different person.
Buddhist: But what is the conclusion? If the soul is a person, how does that help us to solve the problem of the man's suffering?
Prabhupada: Why man is suffering is another thing. First of all, we have to find out what type of disease he is suffering from. If the disease is cured, automatically the suffering is cured also.
Buddhist: There's an old Buddhist saying that if you are pierced with an arrow, it's not so much important to discuss how the arrow got there. You, however suggest to define the disease before curing it.
Prabhupäda: No, we do not care how the arrows got there. The arrows are there, you must take them out.
Buddhist: That is my point also.
Prabhupäda: Yes. So the cause of the disease is the forgetfulness of one’s self. This is why a man is suffering.
Buddhist: That is the actual problem, to find out our real self.
Prabhupäda: Suppose a sane man becomes insane. That insanity should be cured. Then he becomes a sane man.
Buddhist: Yes, he must understand that he is crazy.
Prabhupäda: Yes. He must know. He may understand or not understand. Somehow or other, he has become crazy. So if the craziness is cured, then he is normal man.
Buddhist: But if a man understands that he is crazy, then he is not crazy any more.
Yogeçvara: Prabhupäda says somehow or other, if he understands or not, if he gets cured of his insanity...
Prabhupäda: So the insanity is just like being dressed and identifying yourself with the dress.That is insanity.
Buddhist: I agree. That means to be identified with the appearance.
Prabhupäda: So that is insanity. We are actually the living force, soul, but we are identifying at the present moment with the material body. Everyone is thinking, "I am Japanese, I am Englishman, I am German, I am Indian, I am white, I am black," but that is his insanity. So this insanity should be cured. One should understand: "I am not this body; I am spirit soul." And when he understands that he is spirit soul, he should be engaged in the business of the spirit soul. While misidentifying himself with this body he is engaged in the bodily activities. So when he stops his bodily activities and he begins his spiritual activities, then he will be cured. So far bodily pains and pleasure, that will be automatically cured when he understands that he is not body. Just like I feel heat and cold it is on account of this body.
Buddhist: We believe that the soul and the body is one thing.
Prabhupäda: How is it one?
Buddhist: We have one body, we have the soul, and these two things cannot be separated.
Prabhupäda: Then how a man becomes dead?
Buddhist: Man is like a phenomenon. He appears and he disappears. And when he disappears, he merge in the cosmic force. Like anything else. For example like a flower that grows and dies and merges again into the earth.
Prabhupäda: Merges? You do not believe in the reincarnation, next birth?
Buddhist: There is no personal reincarnation of the soul.
Prabhupäda: So what were you before your birth?
Buddhist: I have no answer, but the Zen philosophy has one answer.
Prabhupäda: Zen philosophy answer?
Buddhist: I was that cosmic force. Before birth, man was the universality of everything.
Prabhupäda: And what you are now?
Buddhist: Now I am myself.
Prabhupäda: So how you became from zero?
Påthu Putra: My point is that I don't think that man is more important than the flower or the table. It's all the same.
Prabhupäda: Then why are you anxious for man's suffering?
Påthu Putra: The man is there. The suffering is there.
Prabhupäda: No. Why are you bothering about suffering? You were zero in the beginning, and you will be zero in the future and at present you are also zero.
The general understanding of Buddhist philosophy is that it consists of Four noble truths: 1) there is suffering 2)the suffering has its origin in desire 3) by becoming free from desires one attains freedom from suffering (nirvana) 4) this can be accomplished by practising the eightfold path (set of rules). Nirvana refers to a state when one ceases to be the self. In other words, all the suffering is caused by the very idea of being an individual. If the ego iceases to be, automatically all the suffering is gone. Although the Buddhist teachers might present various elaborations and details, this is the Buddhist philosophy in a nutshell. So without getting distracted by the details, let's look at these basic root concepts of the Buddhists from the point of view of practitioners of Krsna consciosness.