TQE 2: Matter, Spirit, and the Controller of Both
From Matter to Spirit
bhūmir āpo 'nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
"Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false ego—all together these eight constitute My separated material energies" (
Here Lord Kṛṣṇa is explaining that He expands Himself by His material energies. Since these eight are His external energies, they are called
Because Kṛṣṇa is the supreme spirit soul, for Him there are no "superior" or "inferior" energies, but for us there are. For example, electricity can produce heat, and it can cool also. A refrigerator is worked by electricity, and a heater is also worked by electricity. So, we may say, "This is heat-producing electricity, and that is cold-producing electricity." But for the powerhouse there is no such distinction: It is all simply electricity. Similarly, for Kṛṣṇa there is no superior or inferior energy.
Now, Kṛṣṇa says that these eight energies are
We should study Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's energies very intelligently and analytically. For example, if we want to know how the vast ocean has come into existence, we can understand from the
Now, try to understand how Kṛṣṇa's energy can produce such a large amount of water. First, consider that we produce perspiration from our body. That perspiration may be only one ounce of water, but it is produced from our body. How the water is coming out, I do not know. It is inconceivable. But it is coming out; that's a fact. Since I am a tiny living entity, I am always limited; therefore my energy is also limited. But Kṛṣṇa is unlimited. So He can produce unlimited perspiration from His body. We have to understand the ocean like that. Otherwise, it will not be possible for us to understand how such a vast amount of water has come into being.
All material elements are coming from a living entity, not from matter. For example, when the body is dead, the perspiration is not coming out, but as long as the body is living, the perspiration is there. Similarly, the source of all material elements is originally the supreme life—Kṛṣṇa—not matter.
One may ask why Kṛṣṇa calls the material elements—earth, water, fire, air, and so on—His "separated" energies. That He explains in a different verse [
Now, each of these eight material elements is finer than the last one. Water is finer than earth. Earth does not move, but water can move. Therefore water is finer. But finer than water is fire, and finer than fire is air, and finer than air is ether, and finer than ether is mind, and finer than mind is intelligence, and finer than intelligence is
Everything is explained in
Now, as we have mentioned, out of the eight material elements, the finest is
By chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa
So, gradually, by studying the teachings of the
Why are they not interested? Śukadeva Gosvāmī says,
We have created society, friendship, and love in this material world in order to become happy. Everyone wants to be happy because that is our natural inclination. We are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, and He is
Here in this material world we create an imitation: the same lovers, friends, parents, sons—but it is all false. In the desert an animal may see a vast mass of water, but it is only a mirage, and when the animal goes to drink the water, he dies. Similarly, in this material world we are trying to become happy by society, friendship, and love, but this is a will-o'-the-wisp, a false thing. Real life is in the society of Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura therefore says,
You will not find real happiness in earth, water, fire, air, and so on. They are Kṛṣṇa's separated energies. They are a reflection, a false representation—
Another example is a tape recording. If I speak into a tape recorder, when you play the tape my voice will come out. But that is not really my voice: it is a recording of my voice, my separated energy. With my energy I have spoken something—I have vibrated some sound—which is recorded on the tape. And when it is played back, it produces exactly the same sound, but still it is separated from me.
We should try to understand that this material world is Kṛṣṇa's separated energy. Real life is in the spiritual world. Therefore the
So, the fact is that this material world belongs to Kṛṣṇa—it is His separated energy—but we do not know how to use this energy for Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa's energy should be used for Kṛṣṇa's purposes. That is the Vaiṣṇava philosophy.
The Vaiṣṇava philosophy never says that this world is false. Why is it false? It is not false. The Māyāvādī [impersonalistic] philosopher says,
So this temple is Kṛṣṇa's energy. And it is not material, because it is being used for Kṛṣṇa. The Vaiṣṇava philosophy is that Kṛṣṇa's energy should be used for Kṛṣṇa's purpose, and when it is, it becomes spiritual. That is our philosophy.
The impersonalists, however, think that everything in this world is false and should be rejected. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī describes this attitude as
But the devotees do not try to become either one with God or separated from God. They are satisfied in whatever condition God puts them.
So, you have to understand that although this material energy is separated from Kṛṣṇa, it can be used for Kṛṣṇa. And when it is, it becomes spiritual. It is no longer material. It is material only when it is used in forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa. When the
The philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is that although the elements of this material world are separated form Kṛṣṇa, we can use them for Kṛṣṇa and thus spiritualize them. Again the same example: A tape recorder is material, but it can be used for Kṛṣṇa's purpose. That is how we are writing books—recording them on a tape recorder. This is
Then, although this earth, water, fire, and air are Kṛṣṇa's separated energies, when we reconnect them by engaging them in the service of the Lord, they become spiritual. Another example: if you put an iron rod into a fire, the rod becomes warm, warmer, warmer, warmer. Then, when it is red-hot, it is no longer an iron rod: it is fire. Similarly, although everything in this material world is separated from Kṛṣṇa, if you engage the things of this world in the service of Kṛṣṇa, they are no longer material: they are spiritual. This is the philosophy of the Vaiṣṇavas.
If you always remember that everything, whatever you are using, is Kṛṣṇa's energy, you will be in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We living entities are also Kṛṣṇa's energy. Kṛṣṇa will explain this in the next verse:
So, when Kṛṣṇa's material energy is engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa, it is converted into spiritual energy, exactly as the iron rod is converted into fire when held in the fire. We devotees of Kṛṣṇa are attempting to engage all of Kṛṣṇa's energies in His service and in this way change the material world into the spiritual world. That is the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
Thank you very much.
The Potencies of the Omnipotent
yadā mukundo bhagavān imāṁ mahīṁ
jahau sva-tanvā śravaṇīya-sat-kathaḥ
abhadra-hetuḥ kalir anvavartata
"When the Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa, left this earthly planet in His self-same form, from that very day Kali, who had already partially appeared, became fully manifest to create inauspicious conditions for those who are endowed with a poor fund of knowledge" (
When Lord Kṛṣṇa leaves this earth planet or appears here, He does so by His own potency. In the
Now, how can we understand the Lord's potencies? One way is by the example of fire, which has two potencies, heat and light. A fire is in one place, but it expands its potencies of heat and light. That is within our experience; it is not very difficult to understand. Similarly, the sun also expands the potencies of heat and light. It is lying in one corner of the sky, but it expands its potencies throughout the universe. The sunshine is distributed all over the sky, all over the planetary system, and so are the sun's light and heat. The sun is 93 million miles away from us, but still we are feeling scorching heat—120 degrees, 135 degrees.
If even a material thing like the sun has so much potency, how much more potency must the Supreme Personality of Godhead have! His potency is
na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate
na tat-samaś cābhyadhikaś ca dṛśyate
parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate
svābhāvikī jñāna-bala-kriyā ca
"The Supreme Lord has no duty to perform, and no one is seen to be greater than or equal to Him. He has unlimited varieties of energy, which act automatically" [
This is a description of the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Person. What kind of person? A person like you, working the whole day for money? No.
And we try to imitate Kṛṣṇa's enjoyment. Young boys and girls like to mix with each other and dance together. The same activities are there in Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. Kṛṣṇa is dancing with the
We are trying to take the misled people from illusion to reality. The Māyāvādī [impersonalistic] philosophers say that there is no pleasure in dancing: "Make it zero; forget it." But we don't say that. We say that there is dancing in the original conception of the Absolute Truth. That is what the
In Paris there is a club for old men, all about to die. They come to the club and pay a fifty-dollar entrance fee so they can enjoy young girls and wine. They cannot actually enjoy, yet still they come. As it is said,
Kṛṣṇa is so great that He is simultaneously and inconceivably present in all places. He explains this in the
mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyakta-mūrtinā
mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ
"By My impersonal feature I am spread everywhere. Everything is resting on Me, but I am not in everything." It is a fact that everything is resting on Kṛṣṇa, just as all the planets are resting on the sunshine. It is a scientific fact that the planets are being maintained by the heat and light of the sun.
Now, what do we mean that "everything is resting on Kṛṣṇa"? Take this earth planet, for example. Everything on this planet—the trees, the rivers, the mountains, the cities, the cars—all of that is one unit, the earth planet. And there are millions and trillions of planets. How are they existing? They are existing on the sunshine. And wherefrom does the sunshine come? The sunshine comes from the sun, which comes from God. Therefore, indirectly everything depends on Kṛṣṇa's potency. As he says,
So, our point is that Kṛṣṇa, although situated in the spiritual world, works through His potencies, just as a rich man sits in his parlor and runs his business through his subordinates. He hasn't got to personally go to the office. We have seen Mr. Birla [a wealthy Indian gentleman] sitting in his home and running his businesses through his "potencies"—his secretaries, clerks, and so on. They are doing all the work; he hasn't got to work.
Similarly, because Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Person, He hasn't got to work personally. He is always engaged in playing His flute and dancing with the
So, Kṛṣṇa's potencies are working in both the spiritual and material worlds. How? I have already given the example of the sun. The sun is in the sky, and the sunshine is working. By the energy of the sunshine the leaves are coming out on the trees, and when there is no sunshine they are dropping. Everything depends on the energy of the sun. Similarly, everything depends on the energies emanating from Kṛṣṇa. As explained in the Vedic literature:
eka-deśa-sthitasyāgner jyotsnā vistāriṇī yathā
parasya brahmaṇaḥ śaktis tathedam akhilaṁ jagat
"Just as a fire situated in one corner of a room fills the whole room with heat and light, so the Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa, though situated in His own abode, pervades this entire universe with His potencies." Whatever you see in this cosmic manifestation is simply a demonstration of the potencies of the Lord.
So, we take our birth and accept our death, but not independently. We are under the control of the Lord's material potency. The Lord has many potencies, which have been divided into three categories. One is called the internal potency, one is called the external potency, and one is called the marginal potency. The external potency is this material world—so many universes, so many planets, stars, and so on. These are all manifestations of Kṛṣṇa's external potency. And then there is the internal potency, the spiritual world. That we cannot see; it is not within our experience. But we get information about the spiritual world from the
Now, we are the Lord's marginal potency. For example, when we walk on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, some days we find that the water is covering part of the beach, and some days we see it is open. There is no water on that part. So, that part which is sometimes covered and sometimes open is called "marginal." Similarly, as Kṛṣṇa's marginal potency, we are sometimes influenced by the material nature and sometimes by the spiritual nature.
Actually, we belong to the spiritual nature, but because we are minute spirit souls we have come in contact with this material nature somehow or other. This is an incompatible position for us, and so we cannot make a permanent adjustment here. Therefore we are getting one type of body and enjoying or suffering, and then another type of body, than another, and so on.
But if we like, since we are of the spiritual nature we can transfer ourselves to the spiritual world and remain there eternally. The eternal nature of the soul is described in the
So, the conclusion is that because we are marginal-situated between the spiritual nature and the material nature—we have a tendency to come under the control of Kṛṣṇa's external, material energy and identify ourselves with this temporary, material body. Actually we are spiritual; our real nature is eternal. We never take birth and never die. But on account of our contact with the material nature, we are getting material bodies, which are always changing. Thus we have accepted birth and death as natural. But that is not our real nature.
At the present moment we are under the material nature, but if we try we can get out of this covering of material nature and come to the spiritual nature. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness—to leave that marginal position and come onto the "land" so that there will be no disturbance from the "water." If you remain in the marginal position, sometimes you will be covered by water and sometimes you will be dry. But if you come a little forward to the land side, the ocean has no power to touch you.
Now, Kṛṣṇa is not like us. The present verse of the
Everyone in this material world is under this illusion. The living entities are loitering in this material nature, sometimes in this body, sometimes in that body, sometimes this way, sometimes that way. Simply loitering. No one knows where to find shelter, where to find permanent life, permanent peace, permanent happiness. They are simply changing forms of government: electing one rascal, rejecting him, electing another rascal, and rejecting him. Because the candidates are all rascals, the people have no alternative but to elect a rascal. They are thinking, "By electing this rascal, we shall be happy."
Therefore, if you want real happiness, you must accept the leadership of a man who has eyes to see. And whose eyes are open? The guru's. That is explained in the Vedic literature:
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
Everyone is blind, in the darkness of ignorance. So it is the guru's business to open their eyes, to help them see things as they are. That is the guru's business.
How can darkness be removed? By light. At night we cannot see. Everything is dark because the sun is not in the sky. But in the morning, as soon as the sun rises, we can see everything. Now, because we are in the darkness of ignorance, we cannot see things properly. The spirit soul exists and God exists, but now we cannot see them. We have to get the light of transcendental knowledge to see things as they are. That is wanted.
The Vedic literature therefore advises,
In the human form of life there is a necessity of coming to the light and making a solution to the problems of life. Therefore Kṛṣṇa appears in this world. He states in the
So, when Kṛṣṇa appears in this world or leaves it, He does so in His own transcendental body. For us there is a distinction between the soul and the body. I am a spiritual soul, but my body is material. This distinction is there because we are conditioned by the material body. But Kṛṣṇa is not conditioned by a material body. Therefore here it says
One so-called scholar who does not know Kṛṣṇa has written a commentary on the
Therefore Kṛṣṇa says,
So, while for us there is a distinction between the body and the soul, for Kṛṣṇa there is no such distinction. Also, there is no distinction between Kṛṣṇa Himself and His Deity form made of stone. Why? Because the stone is Kṛṣṇa's energy. Earth, water, fire, air—everything is Kṛṣṇa's energy. That we have already explained. Therefore He can appear in any form, from anywhere, from anything. That is Kṛṣṇa's potency. So, you have to understand what Kṛṣṇa is. And as soon as you understand Kṛṣṇa in truth, you become liberated:
Now, here it also says,
Hare Kṛṣṇa. Thank you very much.
The Fall of the Soul
ātma-māyām ṛte rājan parasyānubhavātmanaḥ
na ghaṭetārtha-sambandhaḥ svapna-draṣṭur ivāñjasā
"Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: 'O King, unless one is influenced by the bewildering energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no meaning to the relationship of the pure soul in pure consciousness with the material body. That relationship is just like a dreamer's seeing his own body working'" (
Many people inquire, "How did the living entity, who was with Kṛṣṇa, fall into the material world?" That question is answered here. The fallen living entity's condition is due to the influence of the Lord's material energy. Actually, he has not fallen. An example is given: The moon appears to be moving when clouds pass in front of it. Actually, the moon is not moving. Similarly, the living entity, because he is a spiritual spark of the Supreme, has not fallen. But he is thinking, "I am fallen. I am material. I am this body."
The body has no connection with the soul. We can experience this. The body is changing, dying, but I am the same. The idea that we have a connection with the body is due to the influence of the illusory energy of Kṛṣṇa. That illusory energy develops when we forget Kṛṣṇa.
In other words, our illusory identification with the body is simply due to our forgetfulness of the Lord. We wanted to forget; we wanted to give up Kṛṣṇa and enjoy the material world. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is giving us the chance. For example, when you play a part in a drama, if you feel, "I am the king," then you can act very nicely. But if you feel, "I am Karandhara
So because we wanted to play the part of Kṛṣṇa, the supreme enjoyer, Kṛṣṇa is giving us the chance—"Yes, feel like Me." The feeling that "I am the master, I am the king, I am Kṛṣṇa, I am God" is created by Kṛṣṇa: "All right, since you want to play the part of a king, I shall train you in such a way."
The director of a play tries to create the feelings within you for the part you are playing. In my youth I played the part of Advaita Ācārya in a drama about Lord Caitanya. Our director, Amritlal Bose, repeatedly said to me, "Feel like Advaita Ācārya." So when I performed my part under his direction, all the people in the audience were crying. The play was artificial, but the effect on the audience was so nice.
Similarly, we have nothing to do with the material world, but we have been trained by the illusory energy to think, "I am an Indian," "I am an American," "I am an intellecutal,"
That is explained here:
Therefore this verse gives the example of a dream:
Similarly, we have created the material world and material activity. People are running around—"Oh, I am the manager. I am the factory owner. I am this, I am that. We know his politics. We have to defeat our competitors." All these things are created just as a man creates a situation in a dream—
So when someone asks, "When did we come into contact with the material nature?" the answer is that we have not come into contact. By the influence of the external energy we
So everyone in the material world is playing some part. "I want to be prime minister." "I want to be a very big business magnate." "I want to be a leader." "I want to be a philosopher." "I want to be a scientist." They are trying to play all these parts, and Kṛṣṇa is giving the opportunity—"All right."
But these things are all nonsense. Simply dreaming. When you dream, the next moment the dream is gone, and everything in the dream is finished. No more tiger, no more jungle. Similarly, as long as the body continues one may think, "I am a responsible leader; I am this; I am that," but as soon as the body is finished, these ideas are gone.
So our contact with matter is just like a dream. We are not fallen. Therefore, at any moment we can revive our Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We become liberated as soon as we understand, "I have nothing to do with matter. I am simply Kṛṣṇa's eternal servant." Sometimes when a fearful dream becomes intolerable, we break the dream. Similarly, we can break the material connection at any moment as soon as we wake up to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. "Oh, Kṛṣṇa is my eternal master. I am His servant." That's all. That is the way.
Thank you very much.
Purify Your Existence
Five hundred years ago Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself in the role of His own devotee, started the
Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura wrote many devotional songs. In one song he has written,
As Kṛṣṇa is not material, so His home, Goloka Vṛndāvana, is not material. And although Kṛṣṇa stays in His abode, Goloka Vṛndāvana, He is also present everywhere. That is Kṛṣṇa's omnipotence. The
eko 'py asau racayituṁ jagad-aṇḍa-koṭiṁ
yac-chaktir asti jagad-aṇḍa-cayā yad-antaḥ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
Kṛṣṇa, Govinda, is everywhere by one of His plenary portions, known as Paramātmā, or Supersoul. He is situated in every universe and within everyone's heart. Not only is He within the heart of everyone, but He is within the atom.
Similarly, Kṛṣṇa's place, Goloka Vṛndāvana, is also spread everywhere. How? By the presence of Kṛṣṇa's devotees. Kṛṣṇa says,
nāhaṁ tiṣṭhāmi vaikuṇṭhe yogināṁ hṛdayeṣu vā
yatra gāyanti mad-bhaktāḥ tatra tiṣṭhāmi nārada
"I do not stay in Vaikuṇṭha-loka, the spiritual world, or within the hearts of the yogis. I stay where My devotees chant My glories" (
That is Kṛṣṇa's omnipotence. We pray to God the omnipotent, the omniscient, the omnipresent. God can be present everywhere simultaneously.
There is no difference between God and His place. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommends,
How can any place be changed into Vaikuṇṭha, or Goloka Vṛndāvana? By the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Devotees are so powerful that by chanting the holy name of God they make the all-powerful Supreme
We also can
In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we do
Many devotional songs give this same instruction. Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura has sung,
To give up sense enjoyment does not mean, for example, that we cannot eat. There is no prohibition against eating, but you cannot eat anything until it is first offered to Kṛṣṇa. Our life in Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to be always the servant of Kṛṣṇa. As the servant eats remnants of food left by the master, we servants of Kṛṣṇa eat remnants of food left by Kṛṣṇa. That food is called
We have to lead our life in such a way that we give up
If we give up these four principles and chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa
People do not know what the perfection of life is. They think that material advancement is perfection. No, that is not the perfection of life, because even if you make a nice material arrangement you cannot enjoy it for long. At any time you may be kicked out. So where is your perfection?
Suppose you have a nice apartment, a good bank balance, and a nice wife and children. Everything is all right. But is there any guarantee that you can enjoy them forever? At any moment you may be kicked out. That is not perfection. If you were guaranteed that "Whatever happy life I am preparing for in the material world will be permanent; I will never be kicked out," then your life here would be perfection. But there can never be such a guarantee. Therefore no material circumstances can be the perfection of life. The perfection of life comes when there is the guarantee of no more birth, no more death, no more old age, and no more disease. That is perfection.
And that perfection can be achieved only by Kṛṣṇa consciousness, not any material method. If we want to be eternally blissful and full of knowledge—
As Lord Kṛṣṇa says,
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam ātmānaṁ mat-parāyaṇaḥ
"Always think of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances unto Me, and worship Me. Without any doubt you shall come to Me." Simply four things. Is it very difficult to think of Kṛṣṇa, worship Him, become His devotee, and offer obeisances to Him? It is not difficult, as we are showing daily in our temples all over the world. We are thinking of Kṛṣṇa by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa
Then where is the difficulty? The difficulty is our obstinacy. If one is obstinate, then becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious is very difficult.
Human life is meant for worshiping Kṛṣṇa. Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura sings,
We are trying to stop people from drinking poison. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is for everyone's benefit. It is the topmost humanitarian movement to make everyone happy, to make everyone immortal, to make everyone peaceful, to make everyone wise.
Kṛṣṇa says that one who does not surrender to Him is
"Oh, how is he
Therefore Kṛṣṇa says,
And the moment you surrender, you are protected. Lord Kṛṣṇa says,
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear." The Lord also promises,
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to make fools and rascals and sinful men wise. And actually it is happening.
Caitanya Mahāprabhu's movement is greater than Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally delivered Jagāi and Mādhāi, but now, by His movement, thousands of Jagāis and Mādhāis are being delivered. This is the practical evidence.
And Lord Caitanya's process is very easy. It is not very difficult. Anyone can take to it. But if we knowingly take poison, who can protect us?
We appeal to everyone to take to the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa
Thank you very much.
Joy Beyond False Boundaries
brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
"One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me [Kṛṣṇa]" (
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is simply full of bliss, because it is the stage one reaches after attaining liberation from all material miseries. This is called the
And what is the nature of that joyfulness?
Everyone is trying to get liberation from material pangs. Those who follow Buddhist philosophy are trying to get liberation from material miseries by reaching
Suppose a patient is very much disturbed and he asks his physician, "Please stop my disturbance! Kill me! Kill me!" Sometimes people who are suffering speak like that. "Give me some poison! Kill me! I cannot tolerate the pain!"'
The physician says, "There is no need to kill you. I shall give you a good, healthy life."
But the diseased man is so impatient: "No, I cannot tolerate. Please kill me!"
So Buddhist and Māyāvādī philosophers are like this. They think, "I want to die; I want to become zero, void." They are feeling so much frustration, so much disturbance from the material miseries, that they want to make their life zero.
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not like that. Kṛṣṇa consciousness brings you to real life—a life of devotional activity in the liberated stage.
But it is often difficult to understand the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Why? That is explained in
First of all a person is interested in his body.
So it is a misunderstanding to think "I am my body. I belong to my apartment. I belong to my society. I belong to my nation. I belong to my world. I belong to my universe." You may expand the idea of
However you may expand the
Now, why are people limited by a poor conception of life? The
We may make so many plans, but because all our plans are on the platform of sense gratification, our whole existence is limited to the four activities of animal life: eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. That's all. Animals and men have these four activities in common. The only extra qualification of man is that he can come to understand Kṛṣṇa, or God. That is his special qualification. But because people keep themselves within the limits of sense gratification, they come again and again to the same platform of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. Therefore they remain without Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
So, the secret of how to become Kṛṣṇa conscious is that we should not limit ourselves to a narrow conception of life. How is that possible? We must understand, "I am an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, or God." That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Now, one may ask, "If understanding Kṛṣṇa is the goal of life, why do people keep themselves within the limit of sense gratification?" That question is answered in the next verse of
We are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but most people are not interested. Had I been an expert in a new kind of technology, or in teaching an improvement in electronics, thousands of people would be coming to hear me. Because I would have been dealing with the ingredients of the external energy, people would have thought, "This technological knowledge will give me happiness." That is
The leaders are spiritually blind: they do not know the ultimate goal of life. If the people are blind and their leaders are also blind, what will be the result? If a blind man leads one hundred other blind men across the street, certainly there will be some accident. But if the leader can see, he can lead hundreds and thousands of men safely.
Then what is the solution to our problem? If it is not possible to attain Kṛṣṇa consciousness by speculation, by assembly meetings, or by deriving knowledge from authoritative sources, then how is it to be attained? How can the goal of life be reached?
The next verse of
naiṣāṁ matis tāvad urukramāṅghriṁ
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat
One cannot fix his mind on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa unless one has the opportunity of touching the dust of the lotus feet of a person who has given up all material hankerings (
The first benefit of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is that as soon as a person comes in touch with Kṛṣṇa he immediately gives up all the unwholesome activities of material existence. In fact, we can test if someone is in contact with Kṛṣṇa by seeing how free he is from sinful activity. For example (not a very gigantic example—a very small one), take our students. As soon as they are initiated into Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they immediately give up so many sinful activities. The basic activities of sinful life are illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating, and gambling. It is very difficult for people to give up all these habits, especially in the Western countries. But my students are giving them up very easily.
In 1935 one of my Godbrothers went to London and met the Marquis of Zetland, a man from Scotland. He was very interested in Indian philosophy. (He had previously been the governor of Bengal, and in my youth I had met him; he had come to my college.) So the marquis inquired from my Godbrother, Goswami Bannerjee: "Bannerjee, can you make me a
Bannerjee said, "Why not? Yes, we can make you a
You see? The Marquis of Zetland was such a big personality—he was interested in philosophy, he held a high government position, he was a responsible man—yet he flatly denied that he could give up these four sinful habits. But our students, hundreds of boys and girls who are coming to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, are giving up these habits very easily. And they don't feel any inconvenience. This is the first benefit of Kṛṣṇa consciousness: In the very beginning one is finished with all sinful activity.
How can our students give up these things? Because they are feeling spiritual satisfaction in Kṛṣṇa consciousness: Our students can sit down before the Deity and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa for twenty-four hours. Bring any student of any other yoga
Now, one may ask, "Suppose a person takes up Kṛṣṇa consciousness out of sentiment but he cannot complete the process. What is his position?" This question is also answered in
tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer
bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vābhadram abhūd amuṣya kiṁ
ko vārtha āpto 'bhajatāṁ sva-dharmataḥ
But then the
So execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and try to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness as far as possible. Rest assured, your efforts will not go in vain. They will
Thank you very much.
The Mercy of Lord Caitanya
namo mahā-vadānyāya kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te
kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-nāmne gaura-tviṣe namaḥ
"O most munificent incarnation! You are Kṛṣṇa Himself appearing as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu. You have assumed the golden color of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and You are widely distributing pure love of Kṛṣṇa. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You".
Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to preach love of Kṛṣṇa, love of God, not only in India but all over the world. Different religions have many different names of God, and in the Vedic scriptures there are many demigods and incarnations of God. But Kṛṣṇa is the original name of God. As said in the
God is not like us—He can expand Himself. Even some yogis (not these ordinary, third-class yogis
Consider the sunshine, the sun globe, and the sun-god. The sun-god is within the sun globe, and the inhabitants of the sun globe are all luminous. On account of their bodies' glowing, the whole sun planet is glowing. And on account of the sun planet's glowing, the sunshine reaches us from ninety-three million miles away, and we perceive heat and light. The sun is an ordinary material thing, but it has such great power.
Now, if an ordinary thing like the sun globe is so powerful, how much more powerful must be the Supreme Personality of Godhead! We say, "God is almighty, all-powerful," but we have no idea what is meant by "all-powerful." We think, "I am somewhat powerful, so God may be ten times as powerful as I am." Somebody else may say "twenty times." "All right, let us compromise-fifty times." [
This kind of speculation is like the frog's speculation within the well. Once there was a frog within a well, and one of his friends came to him and said, "My dear friend, I have seen a vast mass of water, the Atlantic Ocean."
"What is that Atlantic Ocean?"
"It is vast."
"How vast? Is it ten times bigger than this well? Or twenty times? Come!" [Laughter.]
"No, no, it is very, very vast."
So, the rascal speculation about God is like the speculation of the frog about the Atlantic Ocean. These mundane philosophers and scientists are thinking of God in that way. Dr. Frog's philosophy will not help you understand what God is.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's preaching was to distribute love of God. This human life is especially meant for understanding what God is and loving Him. That's all. This is our only business. The cats and dogs and other lower animals—if you preach to them about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they will not understand. But human beings can understand. For example, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is being spread all over the world, and as you can see, here in your country people are understanding. That is the special advantage of human life.
One Christian priest in Boston was astonished to see our devotees. He issued a leaflet saying, "These Hare Kṛṣṇa boys are our boys. Before they joined this movement they did not care to see us or come to the church, but now they are mad after God." So this movement is certified by a Christian priest.
And actually, you can see the potency of Lord Caitanya's movement. I am a poor Indian; I came to America with forty rupees. I had no money to bribe these young people. [
So, what is the intoxication? These boys and girls have given up all intoxication, but they are now "intoxicated" with "Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa." This is the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. A draft-board officer came to see one of our centers. He said, "What is the facility you have given these boys who have joined the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement? It must be much easier than the army." But when he investigated, he saw that these boys and girls are prohibited from engaging in illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating, and gambling. So he concluded that this movement is actually
Every human being should accept the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. That is the purport of the verse Rūpa Gosvāmī offered to Lord Caitanya upon seeing Him:
Ordinarily one cannot love anybody unless he knows the other party very well. Only then is there a question of love. If you and I live ten thousand miles apart, there is no question of love. For love there must be intimacy.
So, to understand God is very difficult. In the
manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
"Out of many millions of persons, one is interested in making his life perfect. And out of all those who are actually perfect, hardly one knows Me as I am."
Perfection does not mean that I can eat whatever I like, without any restriction. Or that I have a very nice car, a very nice apartment, and a big bank balance. This is not perfection, because I remain under the grip of the laws of material nature.
How is the material nature controlling? She has a machine made of the three modes of nature.
Similarly, there are three modes of material nature one can become "infected" by-goodness, passion, and ignorance. Not knowing about this is no excuse. If in the law court you say "Your Honor, I did not know I would be punished for stealing," the magistrate or judge will not excuse you. And if the government law is so strict, you can imagine how strict are the stringent laws of material nature.
Knowingly or unknowingly, in this life we are being infected by a particular combination of the modes of material nature and thus creating our next body. There are 8,400,000 different varieties of life forms. Why? The answer is in the
In this human form of life we have the great advantage of being able to study all these things—what is the living entity, how he is being infected by material nature, and how he is taking different bodies. The first thing we must understand is that we are not the body. Therefore in the very beginning of the
Caitanya Mahāprabhu's movement is not on the bodily platform; it is on the spiritual platform. This He explained when He talked with Sanātana Gosvāmī. Sanātana asked, "What is my identity?" He was a very learned man—a minister and a
Now, if you ask a big, big doctor, scientist, or philosopher, "What are you?" he will say, "I am an Indian," or "I am an American," or "I am this, I am that." Bodily designations, that's all. He is fool number one, and still he is passing as a great scientist, a great philosopher.
If one does not know himself, what is the value of his learning? One must know his own identity. Everyone is identifying with his body: "I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," "I am Christian," "I am Indian," "I am American," "I am German," "I am English." This is why so much fighting is going on. The living entity is part and parcel of God, a spiritual spark covered by a material body. For example, we are all human beings covered by different clothes. That does not mean we are essentially different. We are one as human beings, as inhabitants of this earth. But due to our different bodily dress, I am thinking you are my enemy, and you are thinking I am your enemy.
So, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's movement starts from the understanding that we are spirit souls, eternal servants of Kṛṣṇa. This teaching is the same as Kṛṣṇa's in the
God is one. He is neither Hindu nor Muslim nor Christian. The Vedic injunction is
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the science of God. Try to understand scientifically what you are and what God is and what religion is. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's teaching. He begins His teachings to Sanātana Gosvāmī by saying
Unity can be established on the spiritual platform, not on the bodily platform. The United Nations is trying to unite the nations of the world, but every year the number of flags is increasing. This kind of so-called unity will never be successful. The United Nations was established many years ago to bring unity among nations. So, what has it done? It has not done anything, nor can it do anything.
If you want to be united, you have to be united on the spiritual platform. And what is that spiritual platform? The spiritual platform means to understand thoroughly that God is great, that we are subordinate, and that God is maintaining us. All the property everywhere belongs to God, and while we can use our father's property as much as we require, we should not take more than we need and stock it.
The birds are a good example. If you put a bag of rice in the street, the birds will come and eat a few grains and go away. But if you put, say, one thousand bags of wheat in the street and declare that anyone can take them, there will be a fight. Everyone will try to take as much as he can carry. This is human civilization: "Oh, there is so much wheat. Let me take as much as possible and stock it for tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. Let me stock it for my son, my grandson, and my great-grandson." [
This foolishness is going on because of a lack of spiritual consciousness. As stated in the
Kṛṣṇa consciousness is actually perfect communism. The communists think in terms of the human beings within the state, but a Kṛṣṇa conscious person thinks in terms of all living beings. In the
Of course, this is a very high ideal, but it is the complete ideal of real communism. It is not that national leaders should be concerned only with human beings. The definition of native is "one who takes birth in a particular nation." So, the cow is also a native. Then why should the cow be slaughtered? The cow is giving milk and the bull is working for you, and then you slaughter them? What is this philosophy? In the Christian religion it is clearly stated, "Thou shalt not kill." Yet most of the slaughterhouses are in the Christian countries.
This is all a misunderstanding of spiritual life. Every animal should be given protection. That is the Vedic idea. Otherwise, by killing, killing, killing, you become entangled in sinful activities. Therefore now the women are killing their own children in the womb. This is going on.
We cannot be happy in this way, because we shall become more and more entangled in sinful actions and their resultant reactions. Then we will have to take various types of bodies, perpetually.
Therefore, we have begun this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. By taking advantage of this movement, people can awaken to God consciousness, stop sinful activities, and become purified. Without becoming purified, one cannot understand God. It is not possible. As Kṛṣṇa says in the
yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
"One who is completely free from sinful life can take to devotional service with great determination."
That is why we have prescribed four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no gambling, and no intoxication. Especially in your country, America, you have so many nice vegetables, fruits, grains, and milk products. So why should you kill the cow? You have taken our
Sometimes people argue that vegetables also have life. Yes, we admit this. But that is why we eat only
We have invited Kṛṣṇa as our guest, and He has consented to come here. So we must offer Him the foods He wants. That is proper etiquette. If some respectable guest comes to your house, you should ask him, "What would you like to eat, sir?" Whatever he asks for, you have to supply. That is the real way of receiving a guest.
So Kṛṣṇa says, "Give Me food among these items: fruits, vegetables, grains, and milk products. And that also with devotion, not neglectfully. Then I will accept it." Therefore we prepare hundreds of items with these ingredients and offer them to Kṛṣṇa, and you can also do that. They are all delicious and full of vitamins. Then why should you unnecessarily kill the poor animals and become vicious and sinful?
This is Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu's teaching: Live peacefully, be a gentleman, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, realize God, and make your life happy in this world and the next. He wanted this teaching spread to every town, every city, every village in the world. And the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is just trying to serve Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. You can see how beneficial this Kṛṣṇa consciousness is. Please don't be blind, but try to consider it a little liberally, without any sophistry or prejudice. Try to understand the philosophy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and be happy.
Thank you very much.