LON 1: God and The Law of Karma
Sometimes people foolishly think that by scientific advancement man will become immortal. This is nonsense. You cannot stop the material laws. Therefore in the
Material nature consists of three modes, or
In this way the material energy binds you more and more. By your own efforts you cannot get out of this bondage, which is known as
So, Kṛṣṇa consciousness nullifies this
Unfortunately, people do not know of these things, and therefore they are wasting their lives. This modern civilization is a soul-killing civilization; people are killing themselves because they do not know what real life is. They are simply living like animals. The animal does not know what life is, so he simply works under the laws of nature, undergoing gradual evolution. But when you get this human form of life, you have a responsibility to live in a different way. Here is a chance for you to become Kṛṣṇa conscious and solve all problems. But if you don't—if you continue to act like animals—you will again have to enter the cycle of birth and death and transmigrate through 8,400,000 species of life. It will take many, many millions of years to come back to the human form of life. For example, the sunshine you are seeing now you will not see again until after twenty-four hours. Everything in nature moves in a cycle. So if you lose this opportunity of elevating yourself, then again you must enter the cycle of transmigration. Nature's law is very strong. Therefore we are opening so many centers so that people may take advantage of this International Society for Krishna Consciousness and elevate themselves.
It is important to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness immediately, because we do not know how much time is left before death. When your time in this body expires, no one can stop your death. The arrangement of material nature is so strong. You cannot say, "Let me remain." Actually, people sometimes request like that. When I was in Allahabad, an old friend who was very rich was dying. At that time he begged the doctor, "Can't you give me at least four more years to live? I have some plans which I could not finish." You see. This is foolishness. Everyone thinks, "Oh, I have to do this. I have to do that." No. Neither the doctors nor the scientists can check death: "Oh, no, sir. Not four years, not even four minutes. You have to go immediately." This is the law. So before that moment comes, one should be very careful to become realized in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You should realize Kṛṣṇa consciousness very quickly. Before your next death comes, you must finish your business. That is intelligence. Otherwise you will suffer defeat.
To realize the complete means to realize what our relationship with the complete is. And all forms of incompleteness are experienced only on account of incomplete knowledge of the complete. We are thinking, "I am equal to God. I am God." This is incomplete knowledge. But if you know, "I am part and parcel of God, and therefore I am equal to God in
Breaking the Bonds of Karma
In conditioned life we are committing sins at every step, even without knowing it. The reason we are sinning unknowingly is that we have been in ignorance from our very birth. This ignorance is prominent despite so many educational institutions. Why? Because despite so many big, big universities, none of them is teaching
So, the modern civilization is very risky. One may feel comfortable as a successful businessman or politician, or one may think oneself comfortable because of being born in a rich nation like America, but these statuses of life are temporary. They will have to change, and we do not know what kind of miseries we will have to suffer in our next life because of our sinful activities. So if one does not begin cultivating transcendental knowledge, then one's life is very risky. Suppose a healthy man is living in a contaminated place. Is his life not at risk? He may become infected by disease at any moment. Therefore we should work to dissipate our ignorance through cultivation of transcendental knowledge.
A good example of how we commit sins unknowingly is cooking. In the
Anything you do outside the field of Kṛṣṇa conscious activities entangles you in the modes of nature. Generally, you are being implicated in sinful activities. Those who are a little more cautious avoid sinful activities and perform pious activities. But one who performs pious activities is also entangled. If a man is pious, he may take birth in a family that is very rich or aristocratic, or he may be very beautiful or get the opportunity to become very learned. These are the results of pious activities. But whether you are pious or impious, you have to enter into the womb of some mother. And that tribulation is very severe. That we have forgotten. Whether you take birth in a very rich and aristocratic family or from an animal womb, the pangs of birth, old age, disease, and death continue.
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant to give you an opportunity to solve these four problems—birth, old age, disease, and death. But if you continue to act sinfully and eat sinfully, then these miseries will continue. Otherwise, you can nullify your sinful reactions by surrendering to Kṛṣṇa, as He states in the
And where does a surrendered devotee go at the time of death? Is he finished, as the voidists say? No. Kṛṣṇa says,
Actually, everyone is engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service, either out of love or by force. One who is entangled in material life is engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service because he is forced to serve Kṛṣṇa's external, material energy. It is just like what we see with the citizens of the state: whether one is a law-abiding citizen or a criminal, one is subservient to the state. The criminal may say he doesn't care for the state, but then the police will force him to accept the authority of the state by putting him in prison.
Therefore, whether one accepts or rejects Caitanya Mahāprabhu's philosophy that every living entity is eternally the servant of Kṛṣṇa, one remains His servant. The only difference is that the atheist is being forced to accept Kṛṣṇa as his master, and the devotee is voluntarily offering Him service. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is teaching people that they are eternal servants of God and should voluntarily offer Him service: "Don't falsely claim that you are God. Oh, you don't care for God? You have to care." The great demon Hiraṇya-kaśipu also didn't care for God, and so God came and killed him. God is seen by the atheist as death, but by the theist as a lover. That is the difference.
If you are a devotee and understand this philosophy of spiritual life, you can live for a moment or you can live for a hundred years—it doesn't matter. Otherwise, what is the use of living? Some trees live for five hundred or five thousand years, but what is the use of such a life, devoid of higher consciousness?
If you know that you are Kṛṣṇa's servant and that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, you can live for hundreds of years doing your duties and there will be no karmic reaction. This is confirmed in the
Kṛṣṇa, the Controller and Owner of All
Of course, some rascals claim that they are not controlled. I know one such rascal who has a society and is preaching, "I am God." But one day I saw him with a toothache; he was moaning, "Ohhh!" So I asked him, "You claim that you are God, the supreme controller, but now you are under the control of a toothache. What kind of God are you?" So if you see someone who claims that he is God or that everyone is God, you should immediately know such a person is a number-one rascal.
Now, this is not to say that the living entities are not controllers to some extent. In the
So the superior energy, the living entities, can have some control over the material energy. That Kṛṣṇa explains in the
The people of the modern civilization do not care for God because they are intoxicated with their superiority over matter. They are simply trying to exploit matter in different ways. But they are forgetting that all people—American, Russian, Chinese, Indian—are subordinate to God. They have forgotten Kṛṣṇa and want to enjoy this material world. That is their disease.
So, the duty of the devotee of the Lord is to invoke the people's Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The devotee explains to them: "You are superior to matter, but you are subordinate to Kṛṣṇa. Therefore you should not try to enjoy matter but rather use it for His enjoyment." For example, we have decorated this temple not for our sense gratification but for Kṛṣṇa's pleasure. What is the difference between us and ordinary people? They are decorating their apartment very nicely, and we are decorating our place very nicely—but the purpose is different. We are doing it for Kṛṣṇa, and they are doing it for themselves. Whether you decorate your personal apartment or Kṛṣṇa's temple, your superiority over matter remains, since you are utilizing matter for your purposes. But when you apply your intelligence toward utilizing matter for Kṛṣṇa's pleasure, your life is successful, whereas when you apply the same intelligence for your sense gratification, you become entangled in material nature and feel anxiety. Then you have to change bodies, one after another.
Kṛṣṇa is the supreme controller of both the inferior energy, matter, and the superior energy, the
We can also see Kṛṣṇa's control on the universal level. For example, there are so many huge planets; this earth planet is only a small one. Still, on this planet there are big oceans like the Atlantic and Pacific, as well as big mountains and skyscraper buildings. Yet despite all this load, the earth is floating in the air just like a swab of cotton. Who is floating it? Can you float even a grain of sand in the air? You may talk about the law of gravity and so many other things, but you cannot control it. Your airplane is flying in the air, but as soon as the petrol is finished, it will immediately fall. So if it takes so many scientists to build an airplane that can float only temporarily in the air, is it possible that this huge earth is floating of its own accord? No. Lord Kṛṣṇa declares in the
We have to take knowledge from Kṛṣṇa. We shouldn't accept any process of gaining knowledge except hearing from Kṛṣṇa or His representative. Then we will have first-class knowledge. If you find an authority who is representing Kṛṣṇa and who can speak on the subject matter, and if you accept the knowledge he gives, then your knowledge is perfect. Of all the processes for receiving knowledge, the least reliable is direct sense perception. Suppose someone asks, "Can you show me God?" That means he wants to experience everything directly. But this is a second-class process for gaining knowledge, because our senses are imperfect and we are prone to make mistakes. Suppose you need some gold but you don't know where to purchase it. So you go to a proprietor of a hardware store and ask, "Do you have any gold in stock?" He will immediately understand that you are a first-class fool because you have come to purchase gold in a hardware store. Therefore he will try to cheat you. He will give you a piece of iron and say, "Here is gold." Then what will you say? Will you accept that iron as gold? Because you do not know what gold is and have gone to a hardware store to purchase it, you will get a piece of iron and be cheated. Similarly, rascals who demand that they be shown God do not know what God is, and therefore they are being cheated by so many bogus spiritual leaders who claim that
If you want to purchase gold, you must have at least some preliminary knowledge of what gold is. Similarly, if you want to see God, the first requirement is that you must know some of the basic characteristics of God. Otherwise, if you go to some rascal and he claims to be God and you accept him as God, you will be cheated.
Another question we should ask when someone says "I want to see God" is, "What qualification do you have to see God?" God is not so cheap that He can be seen by anybody and everybody. No, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement does not present any nonsense or cheap thing. If you want to see God face to face, then you must follow the rules and regulations. You must chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and purify yourself. Then gradually the time will come when you are purified and you will see God.
Still, even though in your present contaminated condition you are not qualified to see God, He is so kind that He allows you to see Him in His Deity form in the temple. In that form He agrees to be seen by everyone, whether or not one knows He is God. The Deity is not an idol; it is not imagination. The knowledge of how to construct the Deity and install Him on the altar is received from the scripture and the superior
With your present blunt material senses, however, you cannot immediately perceive God's spiritual form, name, qualities, pastimes, and paraphernalia. And because people in the present civilization have no power to understand God, nor are they guided by some person who can help them understand God, they have become godless. But if you read Vedic scriptures like the
Ultimately, this process leads to love of God. That is real religion. It doesn't matter whether you follow the Hindu, Muslim, or Christian religion: if you are developing love of God, then you are perfect in your religion. And what kind of love should we develop for God? It must be without any selfish motivation—"O Lord, I love you because You supply me so many nice things. You are my order supplier." No, we should not have this sort of love for God. It should not depend on any exchange.
Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught, "O Lord! Whether You trample me under Your feet or embrace me or leave me brokenhearted by not being present before me, that does not matter. You are completely free to do anything, for You are my worshipable Lord unconditionally." That is love. We should think, "God may do whatever He likes, yet I will still love Him. I don't want anything in exchange." That is the sort of love Kṛṣṇa wants. That is why He is so fond of the
God and His energies
The spiritual energy is present in this temporary material world, but it is covered by the material energy. For example, the sun is always shining in the sky—no one can stop the sun from shining—but it is sometimes covered by a cloud. When this happens, the sunshine on the ground is dim. The more the sun is covered, the dimmer the sunlight. But this covering of the sun is partial. All the sunshine cannot be covered; that is not possible. An insignificant portion of the sunshine may be covered by a cloud. Similarly, this material world is an insignificant portion of the spiritual world that is covered by the material energy.
And what is the material energy? The material energy is just another form of the spiritual energy. It manifests when there is an absence of spiritual activity. Again the analogy of the sun and the cloud: What is a cloud? It is an effect of the sunshine. The sunshine evaporates water from the sea, and a cloud is formed. So the sun is the cause of the cloud. Similarly, the Supreme Lord is the cause of this material energy, which covers our vision of Him.
In this way, two energies are working in this material world: the spiritual energy and the material energy. The material energy consists of eight material elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false ego. These are arranged from the grosser to the finer. Water is finer than earth, fire is finer than water, etc.
So, the finer the element, the more powerful it is. For example, at the speed of the mind you can go many thousands of miles within a second. But even more powerful than the mind is the intelligence, and even more powerful than the intelligence is spiritual energy. What is spiritual energy? That is stated by Kṛṣṇa in the
We living entities are also energy, but superior energy. How are we superior? Because we can control the inferior energy, matter. Matter has no power to act on its own. The big airplane can fly so nicely in the sky, but unless the spiritual energy
The statement of the
Then what about our own needs? That is explained in the
The Position of Kṛṣṇa
Kṛṣṇa has no duties to perform in Goloka. He is simply enjoying in the company of His associates—the
Surrendering to Kṛṣṇa means having the strong faith that Kṛṣṇa will save us in any dangerous condition. The first step in surrendering is that we should accept whatever is favorable for devotional service. Then we should reject anything that is unfavorable for devotional service. The next stage is the confidence that in any situation Kṛṣṇa will protect us and maintain us. Actually, He is already giving protection and maintenance to everyone. That is a fact. But in
For the devotees, Kṛṣṇa personally takes charge of their protection and maintenance.
Similarly, in this material world Kṛṣṇa has certainly arranged for our care, but also for our punishment. If you commit this sin, then slap. If you commit that sin, then kick. This is going on under the heading of the threefold miseries—those caused by our own body and mind, those caused by other living entities, and those caused by natural calamities under the supervision of the demigods. Unfortunately, instead of understanding that we are being punished for sinful activities, under the spell of
As soon as you take up Kṛṣṇa consciousness, Kṛṣṇa begins personally taking care of you. As He promises in the
Kṛṣṇa: A Seeming Paradox
If Kṛṣṇa were not present here as well as in Goloka, how could He accept the food the devotees offer Him? Don't think that Kṛṣṇa does not accept the devotees' offerings. He can stretch His hand immediately if one offers Him something with devotion. In the
So, Kṛṣṇa is present everywhere, and He can manifest Himself anywhere immediately, but you must have the qualification to call Him. If you are actually a devotee, Kṛṣṇa will immediately come to protect you. The demon Hiraṇyakaśipu challenged his son, the devotee Prahlāda: "Where is your God? You say He is everywhere. Then is He in this column of my palace? You think your God is there? All right. Then I will kill Him." Hiraṇyakaśipu immediately broke the column. Then Kṛṣṇa came out of the column in His form as Nṛsiṁha-deva—half man and half lion—and killed the demon. That is Kṛṣṇa.
So Kṛṣṇa can manifest Himself anywhere because He is present everywhere. That is explained in the
Similarly, you have to accept the spiritual master's order as axiomatic. There can be no argument. In this way you can make progress. You cannot argue about things that are inconceivable to you. You will only fail. You have to accept the Vedic injunctions and the orders of the spiritual master as axiomatic truth. This is not dogmatic, because our predecessor spiritual masters accepted this principle. If you argue with your spiritual master, you will never reach a conclusion. The argument will go on perpetually: you put some argument, I put some argument... That is not the process.
The Lord and His Energy—One and Different
The real nature of our identity with the Supreme is described in the Vedic literature with the analogy of the sparks and the fire. The sparks of a fire have the same quality as the fire, yet they are different in quantity. But when the small spark leaves the fire and falls down in water, its fiery quality is lost. Similarly, when the infinitesimal soul leaves the association of the Lord and contacts the mode of ignorance, his spiritual quality becomes almost extinct. When a spark falls on the land instead of in the water, then the spark retains some heat. Similarly, when the living entity is in the quality of passion, there is some hope that he can revive his Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And if the spark drops onto dry grass, it can ignite another fire and regain all its fiery qualities. Similarly, a person who is in the mode of goodness can take full advantage of spiritual association and easily revive his Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore one has to come to the platform of goodness in this material world.
Again, the analogy of the fire can help us understand the simultaneous oneness and difference of the Lord and His diverse energies. Fire has two main energies, heat and light. Wherever there is fire, there is heat and light. Now, the heat is not different from the fire, nor is the light—but still, heat and light are not fire. Similarly, the whole universe can be understood in this way. The universe is simply made up of Kṛṣṇa's energies, and therefore nothing is different from Kṛṣṇa. But still, Kṛṣṇa is separate from everything in the material universe.
So, whatever we see within the material or spiritual worlds is but an expansion of Kṛṣṇa's multifarious energies. This material world is an expansion of Kṛṣṇa's external energy (
The Māyāvādī philosophers say that because the energies are not outside of Brahman, the energetic, they are all identical with Brahman. This is monism. Our Vaiṣṇava philosophy is that the energy is simultaneously one with and different from the energetic. Again the analogy of the heat and fire: When you perceive heat, you understand that there is fire nearby. But this does not mean that because you feel some heat, you are
So the Māyāvāda philosophy of oneness and our Vaiṣṇava philosophy of oneness are different. The Māyā-vādīs say Brahman is real but that the energy emanating from Brahman is false. We say that because Brahman is real, His energy must also be real. That is the difference between Māyāvāda philosophy and Vaiṣṇava philosophy. One cannot claim that this material energy is false, although it is certainly temporary. Suppose we have some trouble. There are so many kinds of trouble pertaining to the body and mind and external affairs. That trouble comes and goes, but when we are undergoing it, it is certainly real. We feel the consequence. We cannot say it is false. The Māyāvādī philosophers say that it is false. But then why do they become so disturbed when they have some trouble? No, none of Kṛṣṇa's energies is false.
For our sense gratification we are very eager to get things we do not have. That is hankering. And when we lose something, we lament. But if we know that Kṛṣṇa is the source and proprietor of the entire material energy, we understand that everything belongs to Him and that anything gained is given by Him for His service. Thus we do not hanker for the things of this world. Furthermore, if something is taken away by Kṛṣṇa, then what is the need for lamentation? We should think, "Kṛṣṇa wanted to take it away from me. Therefore, why should I lament? The Supreme Lord is the cause of all causes. He takes away, He also gives." When one is thus in full knowledge, there is no more lamentation and no more hankering. That is the spiritual platform. Then you can see everyone as a spiritual spark, as part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, and as His eternal servant.
Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Pure
Parīkṣit Mahārāja asked this same question of Śukadeva Gosvāmī: "Kṛṣṇa came to establish the principles of morality and religion. Then why did He enjoy the company of so many young girls who were the wives of others? This seems to be very sinful." Śukadeva Gosvāmī answered that Kṛṣṇa cannot be contaminated by sin; rather, whoever comes in contact with Kṛṣṇa, even with a contaminated mind, becomes purified. The sun is a good analogy: the sun cannot be contaminated; rather, if something contaminated is placed in the sunshine, it becomes purified. Similarly, you may approach Kṛṣṇa with any material desire and you will become purified. Of course, the g
The conclusion is that if we can somehow or other develop our Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we will immediately become purified of all sinful desires. Kṛṣṇa gives this chance to everyone.
Beyond the Limits of the Body
Kṛṣṇa, however, is not embodied. This means there is no difference between His body and His soul. In other words, His body is pure spirit. Therefore He does not change His body. And because He does not change His body, He is omniscient—He remembers everything. Because we do change our material bodies, however, we forget what happened in our last birth. We have forgotten who we were, just as when we sleep we forget our body and our surroundings. The body becomes tired and rests; it becomes inactive. In contrast, in a dreamland I work, I go somewhere, I fly, I create another body, another environment. This we experience every night. It is not difficult to understand.
Similarly, in every life we create a different environment. In this life I may think I am an Indian. In my next life, however, I may not be an Indian—I may be an American. But even if I become an American, I may not be a man. I may be a cow or a bull. Then I would be sent to the slaughterhouse. Do you see the difficulty?
The problem is that we are always changing bodies, life after life. It is a serious problem. We have no fixed position; we do not know where we will be placed within the 8,400,000 species of life. But there is a solution: If somehow or other a person develops pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he will go to Kṛṣṇa at the time of death, and then he does not have to accept a material body again. He gets a spiritual body similar to Kṛṣṇa's, full of eternity, knowledge, and bliss.
Therefore we should take up the practice of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and execute it very seriously, without any deviation. We should not think that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is some kind of fashion. No, it is the most important function of every human being. Human life is simply meant for developing Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One has no other business.
Unfortunately, the people of the modern civilization have created so many other engagements that they are forgetting Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is called
So, if somehow or other one comes in contact with Kṛṣṇa, one should seriously take up the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and catch hold of His lotus feet very tightly. If you hold on to Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet very tightly,
Spiritual and Material Education
Since they are given only
When I lectured at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I asked the students, "Where is the technology to study the soul, the mover of the body?" They had no such technology. They could not answer satisfactorily because their education was simply
In a song, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has declared that materialistic education is simply an expansion of
So, the materialists are certainly being pushed into darkness. But there is another class—the so-called philosophers, mental speculators, religionists, and
The nonsense so-called
We don't say that you should not become advanced in material education. You may, but at the same time you should become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is our message. We don't say that you shouldn't manufacture motorcars. No. We say, "All right, you have manufactured these motorcars. Now employ them in Kṛṣṇa's service." That is our proposal.
So education is required, but if it is simply materialistic—if it is devoid of Kṛṣṇa consciousness—it is very, very dangerous. That is the teaching of the
Knowledge vs. Nescience
Why do we find so many different personalities? If human beings are nothing but combinations of mucus, bile, and air, why are they not identical? One man is born a millionaire; another is unable to have two full meals a day, despite struggling very hard. Why this difference? Because of the law of
Human life is meant for understanding the mystery of life. And one who fails to utilize this human form for this purpose is a
One who uses this body the way cats and dogs do—for sense gratification—is a miser. He does not know how to use his "million dollars." Therefore it is the duty of the father, the mother, the state, and the teachers to provide spiritual education for their dependents from the very beginning of their lives. Indeed, the
The Way of Knowing God
In the Vedic disciplic succession, the spiritual masters always base their statements on what they have heard from authoritative sources, never on personal experience. Trying to understand things by one's own direct experience is the material process of gaining knowledge, technically called
With your imperfect senses you should not try to understand things that are beyond your experimental powers. That is not possible. Suppose you want to know who your father is. Can you find out by experimenting? Is it possible? No. Then how can you know who your father is? By hearing from the proper authority, your mother. This is common sense. And if you cannot know your material father by the experimental process, how can you know the Supreme Father by the experimental process? Kṛṣṇa is the original father. He is the father of the father of the father, all the way down to you. So if you cannot understand your immediate father, the previous generation, by the experimental process, how can you know God, or Kṛṣṇa, in this way?
People search for God by the experimental process, but after much searching they fail. Then they say, "Oh, there is no God. I am God." But the
There are different kinds of agitation—agitations of the mind, the power of speech, and anger, and agitations of the tongue, belly, and genitals. When we become angry, we forget everything and can do any nonsense and speak so much nonsense. For the agitation of the tongue there are so many advertisements: "Here is liquor, here is chicken, here is beef." Will we die without liquor, chicken, or beef? No. For the human beings Kṛṣṇa has given so many nice things to eat—grains, fruits, milk, and so on.
The cow produces milk abundantly, not for herself but for human beings. That is proper human food. God says, "Mrs. Cow, although you are producing milk, you cannot drink it. It is for the human beings, who are more advanced than animals." Of course, in the infant stage animals live off their mother's milk, so the calves drink some of the cow's milk. But the cow gives excess milk, and that excess is specifically meant for us.
We should accept whatever God has ordained as our proper food. But no, because of the agitation of the tongue, we think, "Why should I be satisfied eating grains, milk products, vegetables, and fruits? Let me maintain a slaughterhouse and kill these cows. After drinking their milk, just as I drank my mother's milk, let me kill them to satisfy my tongue." You shouldn't think such nonsense but should hear from the
There is a nice poem by Kālidāsa called
So, you have to hear from a person who is
So we have nothing to research. Everything is there. We simply have to hear from a person who is
So if you want real knowledge, you should take knowledge from the literature known as the
In learned society the
The conclusion is that if you want genuine spiritual knowledge you have to approach a bona fide spiritual master who has realized the Absolute Truth. Otherwise you will remain in darkness. You cannot think, "Oh, I may or may not accept a spiritual master. In any case, there are books that I can learn from." No, the Vedic injunction is
You must know two things: what is
So, by the mercy of both the spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa, one takes up devotional service. How is that? Their mercy runs on parallel lines. If you have not yet found a spiritual master but are sincere, Kṛṣṇa will direct you to a bona fide spiritual master. And if you get a bona fide spiritual master, he will take you to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is always sitting in your heart as the
Some Indian boys reject the spiritual culture of India and come to the West to learn technology. When they see that I have introduced in the West the things they rejected in India, they are surprised. One reason I came to the West is that modern India has rejected spiritual knowledge. Today Indians think that if they can imitate Western technology, they will be happy. This is
There is no knowledge comparable to that contained in the Vedic literature—not only spiritual knowledge, but material knowledge also. The
So, one should know what knowledge is, and what nescience is.
So, cultivating material knowledge—nationalism, socialism, this "ism," that "ism"—is simply a dangerous waste of time. Better to cultivate real knowledge, Vedic knowledge, which leads one to surrender to Kṛṣṇa. As Kṛṣṇa says in the
Beyond the White Light of Brahman
Beyond the material sky is the
The planet of the Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa, is covered by the Brahman effulgence. One has to penetrate that effulgence in order to see the Lord. Therefore in the
The idea is that Kṛṣṇa's planet and the Vaikuṇṭha planets are beyond the Brahman effulgence and that only devotees can enter those spiritual planets. The
Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī has composed a nice verse in which he says that for the devotee, for one who has attained the mercy of the Lord, the Brahman effulgence is just like hell. Then what about heaven? The
In this way, the devotees are above the
Except for devotional service, there is no possibility of understanding the Absolute Truth. Any other process is imperfect because it is based on speculation. For example, the scientists may speculate on what the sun planet is, but because they have no access there, they cannot actually know what the sun planet is. They can only speculate. That's all. Once three blind men came upon an elephant. They began feeling the elephant and speculating on what it was. One felt its big legs and concluded, "Oh, the elephant is just like a pillar." The second man felt the trunk and concluded, "Oh, this elephant is just like a snake." And the third man felt the belly of the elephant and concluded, "This elephant is like a big boat." But actually, the blind men did not know what the elephant really was.
If you have no ability to see something, you can only speculate about it. Therefore the