sexta-feira, 2 de abril de 2010

Interview with Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Interview with Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

Interview by a Reporter
Perth, Australia: December 23, 1998

[Respected Readers, Please accept our humble obeisances. We pray that those of you who are new to Krsna consciousness, and also those of you who are already experienced practitioners, will find inspiration from the following interview with Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. (You can also see the video of this interview by clicking on the link at the bottom of the lecture).
Your servants, the Harikatha team]

Interview with Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

[Reporter: ] How many followers do you have?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] In the entire world?
[Reporter:] Well, yes.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] It may be hundreds of thousands.

[Reporter:] In the information I received about you, it said that you were born in a priestly family. Have you inherited your position by birth, or did you choose to study this?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] In India, brahmanas are often seen in very aristocratic families. They are learned and also wealthy. I was in that type of family.

[Reporter:] When did you start studying bhakti-yoga?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] I have been chanting and remembering Krsna since my birth. My father was a devotee and my mother was also a devotee. Born in a devotee family, I was a devotee from the beginning.

[Reporter:] Can you describe what you have gone through since you were young – what you had to do and the various stages you had to go through – to get to where you are now?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] I used to rise early in the morning, at about 4am, and I would chant and remember: "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare." I was always worshipping Lord Krsna and Lord Rama. I was always very kind to all animals, trees, creepers, and grasses. From the beginning of my childhood, I was very fond of reading and studying the Vedas, Upanisads, Ramayana, and Mahabharata. I was always a very religious person, with a great taste for studying.

I was also a good soccer player. In track and field I participated in the high jump, long jump, and the 440 yd, 880 yd, 1 mile, 2 miles, and up to 5 mile race. [There are 1760 yards in one mile, so 440 yards = quarter mile race, and 880 yards = half mile race.] In the entire district of India where I lived, no one was equal to me in this. I also used to sail boats, cycle, and play other sports also.

When I used to compete in athletics, thousands of people in the audience would clap, and for that reason I was selected for a high-ranking position in the police force.

[Reporter:] So you were a policeman before?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Yes. All high-rank police officers were pleased with me because of my good character. I never took a bribe from anyone – not a single penny. As you may know, India is very famous for bribing and other types of corruption, but I was always so honest that everyone loved me. I was chosen for a promotion by the police officers, but at that time I met my Guru Maharaja, my spiritual master, and I became totally renounced.

Here is the history of how I met my Guru Maharaja: I was seeing that no one can be happy in this world without transcendental life. I saw that although there is beauty in this world, it lasts only for a moment. There is love and affection, but with self-interest. No one here can love purely because everyone wants their own self-interests fulfilled.

I understood that neither wealth nor praise can give happiness, and that everyone is bound to become old and die. I considered that I am not this body. I am actually inside the body, captured there.

Who am I, and who is controlling this world? Where did this world come from? Who is God – G-O-D – the Generator, Operator, and Destroyer of this world? I began to think about all this, and I became detached from this world. I began thinking that I must go to a realized holy master who can teach me.

[Reporter:] So who did you go to?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] I went to the Himalayas and other places. I searched all over India, but I did not find the type of Guru I was looking for. Then, one day while I was in my service as a police officer, a disciple of my Gurudeva came to my town. He spoke with me and convinced me to come to Navadvipa, where I met Gurudeva and heard him speak at a Bhagavat-sapta (Seven-day discourse on the entire Srimad-Bhagavatam). I was fully satisfied by his words, and I vowed that I would go to serve him and learn all transcendental topics from him. I quickly left my service at the police force, although the police and my family were not in a mood to let me go.

[Reporter:] And your family?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] I was married and had children, but I was detached. I forgot everything of this world and was only thinking, "Where is Krsna, where is Krsna? How can I serve Him? I want to serve Him. I want to see Him." I quickly left everything and came to join our Gurudeva's mission, and gradually I began to learn all transcendental truths.

Who is God? He is the embodiment of love and affection. He is Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He has so much love, and He has a very beautiful body. All other beautiful bodies have come from Him, and all pure love has come from Him. When I heard this, I fully surrendered and Gurudeva gave me initiation. I began to serve him in all ways, with all my energy. I used to cook for him.

[Reporter:] How old were you when you did this?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] My age was 24 or 25.

[Reporter:] Sorry, keep going. I will have to interrupt from time to time.

[Brajanatha dasa:] You were cooking for him....

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] I used to wash his clothes, and I used to take dictations from him for his magazine articles. When he spoke on any subject, I would hear very attentively and note down his words in my heart. I used my "heart-camera" to note it all down – not a tape recorder. I never used tape recorders.

[Reporter:] It is cheating, isn't it? And I use the computer as well.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] I never believed in computers and tape recorders; they can cheat us. I always used my heart.

My taste in all devotional services, beginning with chanting and remembering, gradually increased more and more. I gradually began to learn the Vedas, Upanisads, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and other books, and I began to realize all transcendental truths.

Gurudeva ordered me to write some books and to translate books from Bengali to Hindi. He put me in charge of a preaching center, and he made me editor of a magazine called Sri Bhagavata Patrika. I then began to translate many Bengali books to Hindi. My Guru Maharaja was so happy with me for this, and he sent me to preach in various places. He created the Gaudiya Vedanta Society to preach throughout the world. He also gave sannyasa (the renounced order) to a very famous preacher from India. That preacher's name is Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, and his disciples also call him Prabhupada. He established ISKCON (International Society for Krsna Consciousness) centers all over the world, including here in Australia as well as in America and England. He took sannyasa in Mathura from my Gurudeva, and I was present there and helped him. He made devotees all over the world, and he told me to come and help them.

I have come here as a preacher of ancient Indian culture and Vedic culture, to preach harinama (the pure chanting of the holy names of Sri Krsna) and bhakti-yoga. I am now preaching throughout the world, and this is my sixth world tour.

[Reporter:] Sixth world tour? I'm jealous.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Everywhere I go, so many persons develop love for me. They also worship me, but I see them as my friends, and I think, "I must help them". I am concerned about their happiness, and I want to help them so that they will not become old at any time.

As you know, the president of America had such a high position, but he could not control his senses. He was attached to his office girl. This shows that he was not happy.

In this world, people cannot control their senses. They cannot control their future situations so that they will never become old. Also, they cannot control their suffering and sorrows, and so many problems. You may be very beautiful at present, but one day your teeth will fall out.

[Reporter:] Thank you for reminding me.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Your hair will become white, and it may be that your eyes will become very weak.

[Reporter:] I wear glasses already.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] The day will come when you will not be able to walk without the help of a cane. And one day, although you will not want to do so, you will have to give up this body.

There is no birth or death for the soul, so why are we coming here and suffering? It is because we have forgotten our loving father, mother, friend, and most beloved – Krsna, the embodiment of love. We are His parts and parcels, but now we have forgotten Him, and that is why we experience birth, old age, death, and their concomitant sufferings. One day we were little babies, and one day, although we desire that this stage will not come, we will all have to give up these bodies.

We can stop all of these things very easily by chanting and remembering Sri Krsna. Anyone – old, young, Hindu, or Muslim – anyone can chant the name of God. There is no time limit; you can do this in the night or the day. And there is no expense at all. Without any money or any special conditions, we can chant, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare." By this chanting, you will develop love for all. You will not be able to kill any animal, or even a tree. You will not want to give pain even to grass. You will see God and souls everywhere. God is so merciful.

This is our mission.

[Reporter:] This may be a stupid question, but you are obviously vegetarian?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Yes. If anyone is vegetarian, then he will surely be very kind to all. Do you know the meaning of meat?

[Reporter:] Well, it is an animal that you are killing to feed yourself, isn't it?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Meat: M-E-A-T divides into two sections—ME-EAT. Whom I will eat will eat me after some days. The animals we eat will later get human bodies and eat us (at that time we will have animal bodies). So we should not eat meat.

[Reporter:] We should just leave it?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Yes.

This is called bhakti-yoga. What is the meaning of yoga? If there are two or more things and we combine them or tighten them together, this is yoga. 1+1 equals 2 – this is yoga. When a soul is connected with God, this is pure yoga – bhakti-yoga. If we want to connect two bricks, we must bring some ingredient that will connect them, like mud or cement, and then they will be connected. If one wants to connect souls with God, there must be something added to bond them. What is that? It is love and affection. If we have love and affection for you, you will have love and affection for us. In this world everything is tightened by love and affection, but here it is not pure. For example, after some time, husbands and wives divorce each other.

In the spiritual world, however, love and affection is so pure that the soul can be connected with God forever, eternally and transcendentally; this is called bhakti yoga. I have love and affection here in my heart, and you have it also. All souls have affection and love, and even trees have it. If trees do not meet together, they cannot give fruit. [Trees are male and female. The female trees are fertilized by the male trees. By the breeze of the wind they meet. This is called pollination. In this connection, the birds and the bees may also be involved.] If a wife and husband do not meet, there is no child, and if two creepers do not meet together, there are no flowers or fruits. No one can be happy if they do not meet with another in love and affection.

Similarly, we can be connected to the Supreme Personality of Godhead by love and affection. We have love and affection now, but it is not transcendental. Now we become 'happy' by meat-eating, by taking drugs, by drinking alcohol, and so on.

[Reporter:] So you don't drink alcohol? Nothing?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] No, never. That is why we are so happy now, and we will be happy forever.

[Reporter:] Unlike those of us who will get sclerosis of the liver.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] If one is drinking alcohol and eating meat, he will be very cruel. Although he may be laughing and making merry, he may divorce his wife and also leave his children. However, those who have true love and affection in their heart – those who are chanting and remembering Krsna – they can conquer the entire world. Napoleon Bonaparte could not do so, and Hitler could not do so. However, by love and affection, one can conquer the world – as we are doing. Everywhere I go, so many people come to me like little babies and children, and they follow my words – because I have love and affection for all. This is called bhakti-yoga. We have come here to preach this mission of bhakti-yoga.

Do you have any other questions? Have you seen love?

[Reporter:] Have I seen love? I've never been in love.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] What is love?

[Reporter:] Don't ask me. It hasn't happened to me yet.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] I want to make you taste love; then you will be happy forever.

[Reporter:] I love my dogs.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] But when these dogs will die...then?

[Reporter:] Then I will be very upset for a long time, and then I will go and get some more.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] What will happen when those dogs are gone and you are also gone?

[Reporter:] I don't know. I am waiting for you to tell me that.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] I have come to tell you that you are coming from that eternal realm, and that is our abode, our eternal abode. "Back to Godhead, back to home" is our policy.

[Reporter:] That is what you are praying for?

[Devotee:] We are inviting everyone to come back to home, back to Godhead, and be happy forever.

[Reporter:] Now in order to do that, this is the meditation? I read that from the age of 26 onwards, you vowed that you would chant a 100,000 times a day?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] When I was a student, I did not chant so much. I used to chant in the evening and morning. But when I became attached to Krsna, I would chant 100,000 names a day.

[Reporter:] What is it that you would chant 100,000 times?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.

[Reporter:] 100,000 times?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Sometimes double that.

[Reporter:] How long does it take?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] It may take more than 12 hours – continuous. Our Gurudeva and Srila Haridasa Thakura used to chant 300,000 names per day.

[Reporter:] What did they do – sleep, wake up, and then start chanting...?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] No. They slept only 24 minutes throughout the day and night.

[Reporter:] 24 minutes of sleep? That's devotion, isn't it?! I need my sleep.

So you do it 100,000 times each day? Some in the morning and some at night?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] I wake up at about 3am in the morning and chant. Then I engage in reading and writing many books, giving classes here and there, and preaching up until 9pm at night. At 9pm I take some prasadam (foodstuffs offered to Sri Krsna) and then I go to bed.

[Reporter:] No food or drink at all during the day?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] A little bit.

[Reporter:] Only a little?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Very little.

[Reporter:] This is very different than my lifestyle. You make me feel guilty. You have written 30 books, haven't you? Are they all original books or are they translations?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Mostly they are original, and some are translations.

[Reporter:] How many books have you sold?

[Brajanath dasa:] We have distributed about 100,000 , and many of the devotees with Srila Gurudeva have distributed millions of books published by our siksa-guru, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. Now he is publishing more and more books, which are being distributed as he travels around the world on his preaching tour.

[Reporter:] Are you working on a particular book at the moment?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Two books. There is a very good book in India called Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, meaning 'Ocean of Love and Affection,' and another is called Ujjvala-nilamani.

[Reporter:] Translation?

[Prema-prayojana dasa:] 'The Effulgent Sapphire.' Nilamani means 'sapphire,' and it refers to Krsna.

[Reporter:] I've never heard the word 'effulgent' before. I'll have to check it in my dictionary. When will these books be finished?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] I think in 6 months. They are very big books. I have also translated and explained Bhagavad-gita in Hindi, and it is in the process of being translated in English. If you will come later, I will give you a copy.

[Reporter:] Now, the haircuts. I thought my haircut was short; all of my friends make fun of my short hair. So why is the hair of the men so short and why the little ponytail?

[Brajanath dasa:] Why the shaven head and sikha (tuft of hair in the back of the shaven head, which remains uncut)?

[Navina Krsna dasa (now Sripad Madhava Maharaja):] A transcendental aerial.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] This is like a transcendental aerial. By this sikha we can hear the transcendental words from the transcendental world, just as an antenna has some power to catch words.

[Reporter (laughing, speaking to Navina Krsna dasa:] Oh, so you were serious. At first I thought that you were making fun of me.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] No. What we are telling is true. It catches the sound. Just as an aerial catches sound, this sikha catches transcendental words. It is true to the highest extent.

You know that the lines on our hands indicate something.

[Reporter:] Yes, I wrote an article on palmistry and had my palms read.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] These lines are true, and this fact which we are presenting now is more true than that.

[Reporter:] A person's lines change according to what he does with his life.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] There was a lady in India whose son was on his way to England. When her son was in the channel between France and England, a heavy storm came and his boat was capsized. Water entered that boat from the bottom, and everyone in the boat was about to die.

The son cried, "Oh mother, oh mother." At that time, in Calcutta, India, his mother was thinking, "I wonder if there is some calamity befalling my son." She quickly began to pray, "God, God, Krsna, Krsna!" After some time, by the grace of God, the son was saved. He later told his mother, "At that time I was calling, 'Mother, Mother!'" And his mother said, "At that same time I was thinking there was some danger."

So, there is something in the heart. You have something there. If you pray to Krsna from your heart, Krsna will hear; God will hear. He will give you some transcendental news and inspire you.

All your senses can be engaged by us in a way to connect us with Krsna, with God. All of our activities are in accordance with the injunctions of Vedic culture, and all these activities are very helpful for our meditation. We can change the lines on our palms by these bhakti-yoga activities, and we can also change our death-date.

[Reporter:] You will live longer? How is that?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Yes. It is written in scripture. There is proof. Someone was dying, and he called out, 'Narayana! Narayana! Narayana!' which is one of the names of God. The date of his death was quickly postponed. After that, he chanted Krsna's name for 10 or 15 years, and after that his death was canceled.

[Reporter:] You mean he is still here?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] He left the planet and his soul was liberated.

[Reporter:] So you're here from today, and you're giving speeches that are open to everybody?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Yes, we chant and remember Krsna, and give classes on bhakti-yoga. We do this to make everyone free from lust and anger. We can conquer lust, anger, and all other bodily urges very easily; and we can realize our soul and the controller of this world.

Do you know that God controls the waves of the sea? He controls the sun, so that it rises at a fixed time. Each minute passes, gradually reducing the duration of the day; and then a new, full day comes. All of the days are controlled by Him. He is so merciful that if you call Him, He will hear you, He will nourish you, and He will give you the intelligence to know how you can meet Him.

[Reporter:] What about the usual questions about religion and God – like war and famine and that sort of thing?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Oh, in our eyes, war has no value.

[Reporter:] So why is it happening?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Wicked persons, who cannot control their senses, think, "I am the monarch of all." They like to quarrel with others and to take others' property, praise, etc. They want to be happy, but they cannot be happy by this. Rather, Krsna arranges that they are destroyed by their wars. On the other hand, we know that no one has really died in war, because the soul is immortal. This body is mortal, but the soul is immortal.

[Reporter:] Oh, I see.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] We are not so worried about these things. War has been going on from the beginning of this creation, and all beings are traveling in the endless cycle of birth and death. Those who do not remember Krsna, God, will have to come and take birth again, and they will suffer. However, those who are chanting, remembering, and performing spiritual pious activities, knowing that all beings in this world are like orphans and all are sons of God, all are like brothers and sisters, they will not suffer. Rather, those who have love and affection for all beings will quickly be liberated. They will go to Krsna and will never come back to this world. As for others, they are bound to come and fight with each other, and to die and again take birth. It may be that they will come in the species of animals such as hogs and pigs.

[Reporter:] Oh, that's like you become a worm if you did something terrible before, isn't it? You put it in very simple words.

Where will you go after Perth?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] From here we will go to Brisbane, then to Fiji, Melbourne, Singapore, again Melbourne and Sydney, from there to the Philippines, and then India.

[Reporter:] Very nice.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] On the next tour we will go to Hawaii, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and many other places. You can travel with us here and there.

I am happy to meet you. This was a very pleasant talk.

Editorial Advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja, Sripad Brajanath dasa, Sri Prema-prayojana dasa
Assistant Editor: Hariballabha dasi
Transcriber: Syama dasa
Typist: Kundalata dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Proof-reader: Krsna-kamini dasi and Vasanti dasi

Life of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Life of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
Life of Sri Caitanya MahaprabhuLife of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

By His Divine Grace Srila Saccidananda Bhaktivinoda Thakura
Sent to McGill University, Toronto 1896

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakurji
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura


Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Mayarpur in the town of Nadia, just after sunset on the evening of the 23rd Falgun, 1407 Advent of Sakabda answering to the 18th Februrary, 1486 of the Christian era. The moon was eclipsed at the time of His birth and people of Nadia were then engaged, as usual on such occasions, in bathing in the Bhagirathi with loud cheers of Haribol. His father Jagannath Misra was a poor Brahmin of the Vedic order, and His mother Sachi Devi was a model good woman, both descended from Brahmin stocks originally residing in Sylhet. Mahaprabhu was a beautiful Child and the ladies of the town came to see Him with presents. His mother's father. Pandit Nilambar Chakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the Child -would be a great Personage in time ; and he therefore, gave Him the name Visvambhar. The ladies of the neighborhood styled Him Gaur Hari on account of His golden complexion, and His mother called Him Nimai on account of the Nim tree n ear which He was born. Beautiful as the lad was every one heartily loved to see Him everyday. As He grew up. He became a whimsical and frolicsome Lad. After His fifth year, He was admitted into a Pathsala where He picked up Bengali in a very short time.

Early Anecdotes
Most of His contemporary biographers have mentioned certain anecdotes regarding Sri Chaitanya which are simple records of His early miracles. It is said that, when He was an infant in His mother's arms, He wept continually, and when the neighbouring ladies and His mother cried Haribol, be used to stop. Thus there was a continuation of the utterance of Haribol in the house, foreshowing the future mission of the Hero. It has also been stated, that, when His mother once gave Him sweetmeats to eat, He ate clay instead of the food. His mother asking for the reason, He stated that, as every sweetmeat was nothing but clay transformed, He could eat clay as well.

His mother who was also the consort of a Pandit explained, that every article in a special state was adapted to a special use. Earth, while in the state o a jug, could be used as a water-pot, but in the state of a brick such a use was not possible. Clay, therefore, in the form of sweetmeats was usable as food and not clay in its other states. The Lad was convinced and admitted His stupidity in eating clay and agreed to avoid the mistake in future.

Another miraculous act has been related. It is said that a Brahmin on pilgrimage became a guest in His house, cooked his food and read his grace with meditation on Krishna. In the meantime, the Lad came and ate up the cooked rice. The Brahmin astonished at the Lad's act cooked again at the request of Jagannath Misra. The Lad again ate up the cooked rice while the Brahmin was offering the rice to Krishna with meditation. The Brahmin was persuaded to cook for the third time. This time all the inmates of the house had fallen asleep and the Lad showed Himself as Krishna to the traveler and blessed him. The Brahmin was then lost in ecstasy at the appearance of the Object of his worship. It has also been stated that two thieves stole away the Lad from His father's door with a view to purloin His jewels and gave Him sweetmeats on the way. The Lad exercised His illusory energy and deceived t he thieves back towards His Own house. The thieves for fear of detection, left the Boy there and fled.

Another miraculous act has been described of the Lad's demanding and getting from Hiranya and Jagadisha all the offerings they had collected for worshipping Krishna on the day of Ekadasi. When only four years of age. He sat on rejected cooking pots which were considered unholy by His mother. He explained to His mother that there was no question of holiness and un-holiness as regards earthen pots thrown away after the cooking was over. These anecdotes relate to the tender age up to the fifth year.

Jaya Gauranga!
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
Scholastic Career
In His eighth year. He was admitted into the Tol of Gangadas Pandit in Ganganagar close by the village of Mayapur. In two years, He became well read in Sanskrit Grammar and Rhetoric. His readings after that were of the nature of self-study in His Own house, where He had found all important books belonging to His father who was a Pandit himself. It appears that He read the Smriti on His own, and the Nyaya also, in competition with His friends who were then studying under the celebrated Pandit Raghunath Siromani.

Now, after the tenth year of His age, Chaitanya became a passable scholar in Grammar, Rehotiric, the Smrti and Nyaya. It was after this that His elder brother Vishwarup left home and accepted the asram (status) of a sannyasi (ascetic). Chaitanya, though a very young boy, consoled His parents saying that He would serve them with a view to please God. Just after that, His father left this world. His mother was exceedingly sorry, and Mahaprabhu, with His usually contented appearance, consoled His widowed mother.

It was at the age of fourteen or fifteen that Mahaprabhu was married to Laksmhi Devi, the daughter of Ballabha Acharya, also of Nadia. He was at this age considered as one of the best scholars of Nadia, the renowned seat of Nyaya philosophy and Sakskrit learning. Not to speak of the smarta pandits, the naiyaiks were all afraid of confronting Him in literary discussions. Being a married man, He went to Eastern Bengal on the banks of the Padma for acquirement of wealth. There He displayed His learning and obtained a good sum of money. It was at this time that He preached Vaishnavism at intervals. After teaching him the principles of Vaishnavism, He ordered Tapan Misra to go and live in Benares. During His residence in East Bengal, His wife Lakshmi Devi left this world from the effects of snakebite. On returning home, He found His mother in a mourning state. He consoled her with a lecture on the uncertainty of human affairs. It was at His mother's request that He married Vishnupriya, the daughter of Rakj pandit Sanatan Misra. His comrades joined Him on His reutrn from pravas, or sojourn. He was now so renowned that He was considered to be the best pandit in Nadia. Keshab Misra of Kashmere, who has called himself the Great Digvijayi, came to Nadia with a view to discuss with the pandits, of that place. Afraid of the so-called conquering pandit, the tol professors of Nadia left their town on pretence of invitation. Keshab met Mahaprabhu at the Barokonaghat in Mayapura, and after a very short discussion with Him he got defeated by the boy and mortification obliged him to decampt. Nimai pandit was now the most important Pandit of His times.

It was at the age of sixteen or seventeen that He travelled to Gaya with a host of His students, and there took His spiritual inititation from Iswar Puri, a Vaishnava sannyasi, and a disciple of the renowned Madhavendra Puri. Upon His return to Nadia, Nimai Pandit turned out a religious preacher and His religious nature became so strongly represented that Avdaita Prabhu, Sribas and the others who had before the birth of Chaitanya already accepted the Vaishnava faith, were astonished at the change of the young man. He was then no more a contending naiyaika, a wrangling smarta and a criticising rhetorician. He swooned at the name of Krishna and behaved as an inspired man under the influence of His religious sentiment. It has been described by Murari Gupta, an eye witness that, He showed His heavenly powers in the house of Srivas Pandit in the presence of hundreds of His followers who were mostly well-read scholars. It was at this time that He opened a nocturnal school of Kirtan in the compound of Srivas Pandit with His sincere followers. There He preached, there He sang, there He danced and there He expressed all sorts of religious feelings. Nityananda Prabhu who was then a preacher of Vaishnavism and who had then completed his travels all over India, joined Him by that time. In fact, a host of Pandit preachers of Vaishnavism all sincere at heart, came and joined Him from different parts of Bengal. Nadia now became the regular seat of a host of Vaishnava Acharyas whose mission it was to spiritualize mankind with the highest influence of the Vaishnava creed.

Preaching and Sankirtan

The first mandate that He issued to Prabhu Nityananda and Haridas was this: "Go friends, go preaching and through the streets of the town, meet every man at his door and ask him to sing the Name of Hari with a holy life and you then come and report to Me every evening the result of your preaching." Thus ordered, the two preachers went on and met Jagai and Madhai the two most abominable characters. They insulted the preachers on hearing Mahaprabhu's mandate but were soon converted by the influence of Bhakti inculcated by their Lord. The people of Nadia were now surprised. They said, Nimai Pandit is not only a gigantic genius but He is certainly a Missionary from God Almighty." From this time to His 23rd year, Mahaprabhu preached His principles not only in Nadia but in all important towns and villages around His city. In the houses of His followers. He showed miracles, taught the esoteric principles of Bhakti and sang His Sankirtan with other Bkaktas. Hi s followers of the town of Nadia commenced to sing the Holy Name of Hari in the streets and bazars. This created a sensation and roused different feelings in different quarters. The Bhaktas were highly pleased.

The Smarta Brahmins became jealous of Nimai Pandit's success and complained to Chand Kazi against the character of Chaitanya as un-Hindu. The Kazi came to Srivas Pandit's house and broke a Mridanga {khol) there and declared, that unless Nimai Pandit would cease to make noise about His queer religion, he should be obliged to enforce Mohammedanism on Him and His followers. This was brought to Mahaprabhu's notice. He ordered the town people to appear in the evening, each with a torch in his hand. This they did, and Nimai marched out With His Sankirtan divided in fourteen groups, and on His arrival in Kazi's house, He held a long conversation with the Kazi, and in the end communicated into his heart His Vaishnava influence by touching his body. The Kazi then wept and admitted, that he had felt a keen spiritual influence which had cleared up his doubts, and produced in him a religious sentiment which gave him the highest ecstasy. The Kazi then joined the Sankirtan par ty. The world Was astonished at the spiritual power of the Great Lord and hundreds and hundreds of heretics converted joined the bannar of Visvambhar after this affair.

It was after this that some of the jealous and low minded Brahmins of Kulia picked up a quarrel with Mahaprabhu and collected a party to oppose Him. Nimai Pandit was naturally a soft hearted Person though strong in His principles. He declared that party feeling and sectarianism were the two great enemies of progress, and as long as He should continue to be an inhabitant of Nadia belonging to a certain family, His mission would not meet with complete success. He then resolved to be a citizen of the world by cutting off His connection with a particular family, caste and creed and with this resolution He embraced the position of a Sannyasi at Katoa under the guidance of Keshav Bharati of that town, on that 24th year of His age. His mother and wife wept bitterly for His separation, but our Hero though soft in heart, was a strong Person in principle He left His little world in His house for the unlimited spiritual world of Krishna with mankind in general.

After His Sannyas He was induced to visit the house of Sri Advaita Prabhu in Santipur. Sri Advaita managed to invite all his friends and admirers from Nadia and brought Sachi Devi to see her Son. Both pleasure and pain invaded her heart when she saw her Son in the attire of a Sannyasi. As a Sannyasi, Sri Krishna Chaitanya put on nothing but a kaupin and a bahirvas (outer covering). His head was without hair and His hands bore a danda (stick) and a kamandalu (hermit's water pot). The Holy son fell at the feet of His beloved mother and said, "Mother! This body is yours and I must obey your orders. Permit Me to go to Vrindavan for My spiritual attainments". The Mother in consultation with Sri Advaita and others asked her Son to reside in Puri (town of Lord Jagannatha) so that she might obtain some information about Him now and then.

Mahaprabhu agreed to that proposition and in a few days left Santipur for Orissa. His biographers have described the journey of Sri Krishna Chaitanya (that was the name He got after His Sannyas)from Santipur to Puri in great detail.

He traveled along the side of the Bhagirathi as far as Chhatrabhog situated now in Thana Mathurapur Diamond Harbour, 24 Parganas. There He took a boat and went as far as Prayag Ghat in the Midnapore District. Thence He walked through Balasore and Cuttack to Puri, seeing the temple of Bhubaneswar on His way. Upon His arrival at Puri He saw Lord Jagannath in the temple and put up with Sarvabhauma at the request of the latter.

Sarvabhauma and Vedanta
Sarvbhauma was a gigantic Pandit of the day. His readings knew no bounds. He was the best Naiyaik of the times, and was known as the most erudite scholar in the Vedanta Philosophy of the school of Sankaracharya. He was born in Nadia (Vidyanagar) and taught innumerable pupils in the Nyaya Philosophy in his Tol there. He had left for Puri sometimes before the birth of Nimai Pandit. His brother-in-law, Gopinath Misra, introduced our new Sannyasi to Sarvabhauma who was astonished at His personal beauty, and feared that it would be difficult for the young Man to maintain Sannyas-dharma during the long run of His life. Gopinath who had known Mahaprabhu from Nadia had a great reverence for Him and told everyone that the Sannyasi was not a common human being. On this point, Gropinath and Sarvabhauma had a hot discussion. Sarvabhauma then requested Mahaprabhu to hear his recitation of the Vedanta Sutras to which the latter tacitly submitted . Sri Chaitanya heard with silence what the great Sarvabhauma uttered with gravity, for seven days, at the end of which the latter said, ''Krishna Chaitanya! I think you do not understand the Vedanta, as you do not say anything after hearing my recitations and explanations." The reply of Sri Chaitanya was that He understood the Sutras very well, but He could not make out what Sankaracharya meant by his commentaries. Astonished at this, Sarvabhauma said, "How is it that you understand the meanings of the Sutras and do not understand the commentaries which explain the Sutras? Ah well! If you understand the Sutras, please let me have your interpretations."

Mahaprabhu thereon explained all the Sutras in His Own way without touching the Pantheistic commentary of Sankara. The keen understanding of Sarvabbauma saw the truth, beauty and harmony of arguments in the explanations given by Sri Chaitanya and obliged him to utter that it was the first time that he found One, Who could explain the Brahma-Sutras in such a simple manner. He admitted also, that the commentaries of Sankara never gave such natural explanations of the Vedanta-Sutras as he had obtained from Mahaprabhu. He then submitted himself as an advocate and follower. In a few days Sarvabhabma turned out as one of the best Vaishnavas of the time. Report ran out and the whole of Orissa sang the praise of Krishna Chaitanya, and hundreds and hundreds came to Him and became His followers. In the meantime, Mahaprabhu thought of visiting Southern India, and He started with one Krishnadas Brahmin for the Journey.

Tour in Southern India
His biographers have given us a detail of the journey. He first went to Kurmakshetra where He performed a miarcle by curing a leper named Vasudeva. He met Ramananda Rai the Governor of Vidyanagar, on the banks of the Godavari and had a philosophical conversation with him on the subject of Prem-bhakti. He worked another miracle by touching (making them immediately, disappear) the seven Tal trees, through which Ram Chandra, the Son of Dasarath, had shot His arrow and killed the great Bali Raj.

He preached Vaishnavism and Nam Sankiratan throughout the journey. At Rangakshetra, He stayed for four months in the house of one Venkata Bhatta in order to spend the rainy season. There He converted the whole family of Venkata from Ramanuja Vaishnavism into Krishna-bhakti, along with the son of Venkata, a boy of ten years named Gopal, who afterwards came to Vrindavan and became one of six Gosvamins or Prophets serving under their Leader Sri Krishna Chaitanya. Trained up in Sanskrit by his uncle Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Gopal wrote several books on Vaishnavism.

Sri Chaitanya visited numerous places in Southern India as far as Cape Comorin, and returned to Puri in two years by Pandarpur on the Bhima. In this latter place He spiritualized one Tukaram who became from that time a religious preacher himself. This fact has been admitted in his Abhangas which have been collected in a volume by Mr. Satyendranath Tagore of the Bombay Civil Service.

During His journey He had discussions with the Buddhists, the Jains and the Mayavadis in several places, and converted His opponents to Vaishnavism.

Dabir Khas and Sakar Mallik reclaimed
Upon His return to Puri, Raja Prataparudra Dev and several Pandit Brahmins joined the banner of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He was now twenty-seven years of age. In his 28th year he went to Bengal as far as Gaud in Maldah.

There He picked up two greater personages named Rupa and Sanatan. Though descended from the lines of the Karnatik Brahmins, these two brothers turned out demi Musalmans by their continual contact with Hussain Shah, the then Emperor of Gaud. Their names had been changed by the Emperor into Dabir Khas and Sakar Mallik and their master loved them heartily, as they were both learned in Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit and were loyal servants of the state. The two gentlemen had found no way to come back as regular Hindus, and had written to Mahaprabhu. while He was at Puri for spiritual help. Mahaprabhu had written in reply that He would come to them and extricate them out of their spiritual difficulties. Now that He had come to Gaud, both the brothers appeared before Him with their long standing prayer. Mahaprabhu ordered them to go to Vrindavan and meet Him there.

Instructions to Rupa and Sanatan
Chaitanya returned to Puri through Santipur where He again met His dear mother. After a short stay at Puri, He left for Vrindavan. This time He was accompanied by one Balabhadra Bhattacharya. He visited Vrindavan and came down to Prayag (Allahabad,) converting a large number of Mohammedans not by the scriptures of Vaishnavism but by argument from the Quran. The descendants of those converts are still known as Pathan Vaishnavas. Rupa Gosvami met Him at Allahabad. Sri Chaitanya trained him up in spirituality in ten days and directed him to go to Vrindavan on missions. His first mission was to write theological works explaining scientifically pure Bhakti and Prem. The second mission was to revive the places where Krishna Chandra had, in the end of Dvapara yuga, exhibited His spirtual Lila for the benefit of the religious world. Rupa Gosvami left Allahabad for Vrindavan and Mahaprabhu came down to Benares. There He put up in the house of Chandrasekhar and accepted His daily bhiksha (meal) in the house of Tapan Misra. Here it was, that Sanatan Gosvami joined Him and took instruction for two months in spiritual matters.

The biographers, specially Krishnadas Kaviraj have given us details of Sri Chaitanya's teachings to Rupa and Sanatan. Krishnadas was not a contemporary writer, but he gathered his information from the Gosvamins themselves, the direct disciples of Mahaprabhu. Jiva Gosvami, who was nephew of Sanatan and Rupa and who has left us his invaluable work, the Sat-sandarbha, has philosophized on the precepts of his great Leader. We have gathered and summarized the precepts of Sri Chaitanya from the books of those great writers.

Prakashananda Saraswati
While at Benares Sri Chaitanya had an interview with the learned. Sannyasis of that town in the house of a Maharatta Brahmin who had invited all the sannyasis as an entertainment. At this interview Chaitanya showed a miracle which attracted all the samnyasis to Him. Then ensued reciprocal conversation. The Sannyasis were headed by their most learned leader Prakasananda Sarasvati. After a short controversy, they submitted to Mahaprabhu and admitted that they had been misled by the commentaries of Sankaracharya. It was impossible even for learned scholars to oppose Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for a long time, as there was some spell in Him which touched their hearts, and made them weep for their spiritual improvement. Sannyasis of Benares soon fell at the Feet of Sri Chaitanya and asked for His grace (kripa).

Sri Chaitanya then preached pure Bhakti and instilled into their hearts spiritual love for Krishna which obliged them to give up sectarian feelings. The whole of Benares, on this wonderful conversion of the Sannyasis, turned out Vaishnavas, and they made a master 'Sankirtan with their new Lord. After sending Sanatan to Vrindavan, Mahapraphu went to Puri again by the jungles with His comrade Balabhadra. Balabhadra reported that Mahaprabhu had shown a good many miracles on His way to Puri, such as, making tigers and elephants dance on hearing the Name of Krishna.

Assembly at Puri

From this time, i.e, from His 31st year, Mahaprabhu continually lived in Puri in the house of Kasi Misra, until His disappearance in His forty-eighth year at the time of Sankirtan in the temple of Tota Gopinath. During these 18 years, His life was one of settled love and piety. He was surrounded by numerous followers, all of whom were of the highest order of the Vaishnavas and distinguished from the common people by their purest character and learning, firm religious principles and spiritual love in Radha-Krishna.

Svarup Damodar, who had been known by the name of Purushottam Acharya while Mahaprabhu was in Nadia, joined Him from Benares, and accepted His service as His secretary. No production of any poet or philosopher could be laid before Mahaprabhu, unless Svarup has passed it as pure and useful. Rai Ramananda was his second mate.

Both he and Svarup sang, while Mahaprabhu expressed His sentiment on a certain point of worship. Parmanada Puri was His minister in matters of religion. There are hundreds of anecdotes described by His biographers, which we do not think it mete here to reproduce. Mahaprabhu slept short. His sentiments carried Him far and far in the firmament of spirituality, every day and night, and all His admirers and followers watched Him throughout. He worshipped, communicated with His missionaries at Vrindavan, and conversed with those religious men who newly came to visit Him. He sang and danced, took no care of Himself and often times lost Himself in religious beatitude. All who came to Him, believed Him as the All Beautiful God, appearing in the nether world for the benefit of mankind. He loved His mother all along, and sent her mahaprasad now and then with those who went to Nadia. He was most amiable in nature. Humility was personified in Him. His sweet appearance gave cheers to all who came in contact with Him. He appointed Prabhu Nityananda as the missionary in charge of Bengal. He dispatched six disciples (Gosvamins) to Vrindavan to preach love in the up-country. He punished all of His disciples who deviated from a holy life. This He markedly did in the case of junior Haridas. He never lacked in giving proper instructions in life to those who solicited them. This will be seen in His teachings to Raghunath Das Gosvami. His treatment to Haridas (senior) will show how He loved spiritual men and how He defied caste distinction in case of spiritual brotherhood.

Mantra Meditation

Mantra Meditation Japa Mala

Mantra Meditation


On Chanting Hare Krishna
By A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Excerpt from Krsna Consciousness The Topmost Yoga System © Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness. As living spiritual souls, we are all originally Krishna Conscious entities, but due to our association with matter—since time immemorial—our consciousness is now adulterated by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called Maya, or illusion. Maya means that which is not. And what is this illusion? The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of material nature, while actually we are under the grip of the stringent laws of material nature. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all powerful master, it is called illusion. We are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer the stringent laws of material nature, but we are ever more dependent on it. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped at once by revival of our eternal Krishna Consciousness.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare is the transcendental process for reviving this original pure consciousness. By chanting this transcendental vibration, we can cleanse away all misgivings within our hearts. The basic principle of all such misgivings is the false consciousness that I am the lord of all I survey.

Krishna Consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived. This simplest method is recommended for this age. By practical experience also, one can perceive that by the simple chanting of this Mahamantra, or the great chanting for deliverance, one can at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum. In the material concept of life we are busy in the matter of sense gratification as if we were in the lower animal stage of life. A little elevated from this status of sense gratification, one is engaged in mental speculation for the purpose of getting out of the material clutches. A little elevated from this speculative status, when one is intelligent enough, one tries to find the Supreme Cause of all causes—within and without. And when one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind and intelligence, he is then on the transcendental plane. This chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra is enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower status of consciousness—namely sensual, mental, and intellectual. There is no need, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need for mental speculation, nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this Mahamantra. It is automatic, from the spiritual platform, and as such anyone can take part in vibrating this transcendental sound vibration without any previous qualifications. In a more advanced stage, of course, one is not expected to commit offenses on grounds of spiritual understanding.

In the beginning, there may be the presence of all transcendental ecstasies—which are eight in number. These are: 1) being stopped as though dumb; 2) perspiration; 3) standing up of hairs on the body; 4) dislocation of voice; 5) trembling; 6) fading 7) crying in ecstasy; and 8) trance. But there is no doubt that chanting for a while takes one immediately to the spiritual platform and one shows the first symptom of this in the urge to dance along with the chanting of the Mantra. We have seen this practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting and dancing. Of course, for one who is too entangled in material life, it takes a little more time to come to the standard point, but even such a materially engrossed man is raised to the spiritual platform very quickly. When it is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord in love, it has the greatest efficacy on hearers, and as such this chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effects can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of non-devotees should be avoided. Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects.

The word Hare is the form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krishna and Rama are forms of addressing the Lord Himself. Both Krishna and Rama mean the Supreme Pleasure, and Hara is the supreme pleasure-energy of the Lord. The Supreme Pleasure Energy of the Lord helps us to reach the Lord.

The material energy called Maya is also one of the multi-energies of the Lord. We the living entities are also the energy—marginal energy—of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises, but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the Superior Energy, called Hara, it is established in its happy, normal condition.

These three words, namely Hara, Krishna and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the Mahamantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His Energy to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother's presence. Mother Hara helps the devotee to achieve the Lord Father's grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this Mantra sincerely.

No other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age of quarrel an hypocrisy as is the Mahamantra.



The Search for Happiness Search for Happiness

The Search for Happiness Search for Happiness

The Search for Happiness

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja


Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja AND AFFECTION

I’m very happy to be traveling and preaching in the Western countries, but I have not come to give anything new. I am simply following Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, and giving the same thing that he came to the West to give. Svami Maharaja is my bosom friend and instructing guru. He also did not come to this world to give anything new; rather, he has simply given what he received from his Gurudeva and from all the teachers in our disciplic succession, which goes back to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna Himself. However, He came in the form of His own devotee to teach us the process of transcendental devotional service, by which we can develop pure love and affection for Him.


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all the teachers in His line want us to be happy. Everyone wants to be happy, but generally we can only find a very little happiness and affection in this world, and even then it is mixed with sorrows and suffering.

Why is it that we are unhappy, even though we have so many possessions? We should consider this. Napoleon was not a street beggar, and neither was President Kennedy.

Princess Diana was also not a street beggar; she was not at all ugly, foolish, or ignorant. On the contrary, she had name, fame, beauty and everything one could desire, and she was married to Charles, but she was still not happy.

Why is it that even people who seem to have everything are unhappy, in spite of their wealth and opulence? We should think about this very seriously. If we don’t, we are no better than animals. You have heard of Mussolini. His political power made him quite a giant, and Hitler was more than a giant, but they were not happy.

We should reflect on the way that we are living at present, and look into the future, asking ourselves, “Will I be happy in the future, if I continue doing what I am doing now, and following the process that I am following now?” When we ask ourselves this question, we will see that we are going in the same direction as those people have gone. They were all unhappy, and if we go in that direction, we will also be unhappy.

There are many very rich people — for example presidents and prime ministers — who are unhappy, even though they have plenty of opulence, and facility for enjoyment. One day, they, too, will become old and die, and they will lose everything that they have in this world.

Nowadays we have become very advanced in material life, from the kitchen department to medical science. We have produced many wonderful inventions, especially in the areas of communication, transportation and medicine. If a limb or an organ is damaged, we can change it for another. A dead man’s eyes can be removed and given to a blind person, so that he can see. Surgeons can even replace a defective heart with a new one. Nonetheless, we still have to become old, and we still have to die.

As far as the advancement of material science is concerned, America is at the forefront, but are Americans happy? If they are, why are they all quarrelling with each other? Why do so many of them commit suicide? We should see that material advancement cannot make us happy.


We don’t want to be old, and we don’t want our hair to become white. We don’t want our eyesight to become worse; and we certainly don’t want to become blind. We want to remain young and very beautiful forever, but after some time we will be forced to become old.

Generally, men do not want to marry women who are old and no longer beautiful. Old age is ugly, and who wants to marry someone who is ugly?

No one wants to marry Old Age, but she will force us to marry her, whether we want to or not. Old Age will take away your teeth, and you’ll have to use false teeth instead. We can make some artificial arrangement to make our white hair black, and our teeth beautiful. In the end, though, we’ll have so many wrinkles, like all other old people.

You’ll have to marry Old Age and become old. Perhaps you won’t be able to walk. Finally, many people will come and help you go to the last resting place of the body: to the cemetery or the crematorium. In India, thousands of people take the dead body to the crematorium, and there they burn it to ashes. Other people bury dead bodies; in that case, worms and insects eat some of the body, and the rest rots. If your body is not burned or buried, many wild dogs, jackals and hogs may come and quarrel over it: “Oh, that’s my piece. Why did you take it?” Then the body will become stool. Ultimately, the body is bound to rot, or to become ashes or stool. This is the truth about the body, to which we are so attached. The body will die and disappear forever, but we don’t want to think that we will die and disappear forever.

We should consider whether in fact we are this body, or the soul within the body. It is a fundamental truth that there is all the difference in the world between our real self, which is the soul, and this body. Knowing this, we have to be detached from this body, and from worldly, lusty desires. We should also inquire where the soul has come from.

We are parts and parcel of God, of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This material world is not our homeland; it is a place for refugees. We have come to this world as refugees, and one day we’ll have to give it up at a moment’s notice. Then where will we go?


Modern scientists have discovered nuclear weapons, and they are continuing with their research. They want to discover weapons of destruction that are so powerful that the whole world can be finished in a moment. But this is not progress and advancement. Where is the love and affection between husband and wife? Where is the love and affection between father and children? Where is the love between one country and another? Why do we have to have such complicated and difficult systems with passports and visas? Why? I often come and go between India and different countries in the world.

My only business is to teach people about Krishna consciousness, but the officials make it so difficult. Why? Inventions and the advancement of material science are bringing the different parts of the world much closer to each other. Unfortunately, they are also creating many problems. The main problem is that love and affection is disappearing from everyone’s heart. That is why everyone is unhappy. That is why they quarrel amongst themselves, and want to control each other.

People are obviously not happy in their married life, or in their life outside the home. If their standard of happiness has advanced so much, why do they change wives three, four, twelve, or even twenty times, like dogs changing their mates?

Why? Everyone wants peace and happiness in their lives, but I don’t think that the advancement of material science has actually made any one happy. Happiness really depends on love. We cannot find happiness without prema, or love and affection. This is our real necessity: happiness and love. We want pure happiness, and pure love and affection, but we can’t find them here. Nevertheless, they do exist. We are trying to find happiness by developing impure love and affection for imperfect personalities. The Vedic literatures tell us that we can only be happy by developing pure love and affection for the supremely pure personality, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Throughout the Vedas and Upanisads we read that we are parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Our constitutional nature is to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead with love and affection. Unfortunately we have forgotten this, and that is why we are bound by maya in this material world. Maya has imprisoned us, and she is giving us the sorrows and sufferings of life: birth, death, old age, disease, and so on. This is just so that we will understand that we cannot be happy in this world.

We cannot become happy by making material arrangements, or by trying to fulfill material desires, or by collecting material possessions. We can only be happy in this world and the next by serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. We should chant and remember His holy names and glories.

God, Love and Reincarnation

God, Love and Reincarnation Image

Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaj

by Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

[Los Angeles, California: June 8, 1998]

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Do you want to ask any questions?

[Elderly lady:] I don't know what to ask. What organization is this?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Bhudhara prabhu can answer.

[Bhudhara dasa:] There is very little organization actually. This is all happening by God's grace. This is Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. He is a teacher and a guru, and he lives in Mathura, India. He is a scholar and a writer, and he gives lectures. Many people come and listen to him talk about God, as well as high topics about God. He talks about how one can develop love and affection for God, and love and affection for our fellow man. He talks about how to live in peace and harmony, and eventually, at the end of this life, go back to God.

He has come to America, and we have been taking him from city to city. We have been in Washington, New York, Houston, and now Los Angeles; and after this we are going to San Francisco. We are inviting people to come and have some exchange with him, to ask him questions, and to learn about this science called Krsna consciousness. Have you heard about Hare Krsna?

[Elder lady:] Yes, I think I was in a place like this some years back. His picture was on the wall.

[Devotee:] You've seen pictures of Krsna?

[Elder lady:] There were flowers, fruits, and a handkerchief on the alter. Do you know the symbolic meaning of this?

[Bhudhara dasa:] These are simple offerings of love. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna says, “If you offer Me something with love and devotion, like a flower, some vegetable, or some fruit or water, I will accept it.”

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] We see that there is no difference between God and Krsna. It’s the same idea. Krsna is very merciful. If you pray to Him and glorify Him by any song, or by any word, He will hear and He will be pleased. You can pray, “Oh God, You are so merciful.”

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja sings, and the devotees join in:] Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] This means, “O Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are so merciful. You have given me this human body, intelligence, a heart so soft and full of love and affection. I want to serve You eternally, so please be merciful to me.”

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja sings again, and the devotees join in:] “Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti.”

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] When we are dying, when we are on our death-bed, there is no one to help us. We are not even able to take a breath. We are full of mucus and we want to take a breath, but we cannot. We want to move our hands from here to there, but we cannot do so. We cannot do anything. At that time we pray, “Oh God, You are so merciful. Be pleased with me; sprinkle Your mercy upon me. Take me to Your eternal abode, where I will serve You.”

We want to be free from becoming old and again taking birth in this miserable world. There is so much pain at the time of birth, and there is so much pain at the time of death; so we must pray to God. He is everywhere. He is in everyone and in all atoms of the world. He hears whatever you utter. When you weep and sing and glorify Him, He will at once hear you and come to you and liberate you forever.

We never pray to Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead: “God, give me bread and butter.” Rather, we want to serve Him with bread and butter. We want that this chain of birth and death and suffering will be stopped forever.

This body is not my self. It is something like a garment. The body is covered with a garment, and it is also like a garment. One day, when we become old, we will have to give up this garment. Surely, we will have to do so.

What is God? What is the soul? You can realize this only in this human body; otherwise it is not possible. If you are an animal, a tree, a creeper, or an insect, you cannot realize this; you cannot understand all these truths. You can understand something only in this human body. You have some intelligence given by the Lord, so try to use it.

Also, don't kill animals and eat their flesh and eggs. If you do, your mind and heart will become like them. If you eat the flesh of hogs and pigs, your mentality and heart will become like them. Your nature will be changed to be like them. What is the meaning of meat? ME-EAT. If you eat meat, that animal will come as a human and eat you. So don't take meat, eggs, and other bad things. God has given fruits, milk, butter, curd, and so many other nice foodstuffs. Personally, I have never taken meat, eggs, or wine in my entire life.

If you want to be pure to serve God, then you must follow this. There is only one religion, that religion is natural, and that natural religion is love and affection to God and everyone. Even a dog, a lion, a bear, and a tiger have love for their wife and children. Although they may eat the flesh of others, they have love for their families. To love is natural for all. Trees also love; they want to love each other. How? Little creepers love trees and embrace them.

If you touch a tree’s leaf as though caressing it, the tree will be very happy. If you take a knife to cut the branches, the tree will be scared. It will tremble. If you tell a dog, “Come on, come on,” he will come. And if you are mean, then the dog will attack you. So, our nature – the nature of the soul – is love.

We should practice this at home. We should love our mother and father, for they have done so many things for us. We should love our wife and children; not divorcing each other twenty or thirty times.

If you have love, it may be gradually transferred to God. If you have no love and you are always quarrelling, you cannot have the mercy of God. We should try to discover this love in our heart, and try to practice chanting the holy names: “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”

All the names of Krsna are the embodiment of love. ‘Hare’ is the embodiment of love. ‘Krsna’ is very charming and beautiful, and He is the embodiment of love. ‘Rama’ is the embodiment of love. If you are in touch with this love, your life will be happy; otherwise it is not possible. If a man is always cruel to others, he cannot be happy.

[Elderly lady:] Do you believe in reincarnation?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] We see that two children take birth at exactly the same time, but one has no backbone, no intelligence, and eyes that cannot see. The other child is born as the son of President Clinton or a very rich person. Why are there such differences? In India, and also in Western countries, some people remember their past life. There are many examples of this.

So, we believe in reincarnation. If you don't believe in this, all your ideas will be illogical. Why is one person very intelligent, and why is one so unintelligent that he is like a donkey? Why is one person very beautiful and one is not beautiful at all? The philosophy of reincarnation answers these questions. There are so many reasons to believe this.

[Devotee:] Couldn't you say that because the father or mother are beautiful, the child will be beautiful?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] We see many fathers and mothers who are very beautiful, but their sons or daughters have crooked teeth, or ugly faces, or no bones; or eyes that cannot see. The soul is immortal, but he has adopted this material position by forgetting God and by the subsequent touch of maya, illusion.

Why is a person in jail. He has done something wrong. Similarly, we are now in jail – the jail of the deluding energy called maya. We are being crushed by maya.

If you realize this fact, you will at once pray to God, "Save me. Save me." Have you heard of the Vedas? They are very old scriptures. These facts are written in the Vedic scriptures, and we realize this.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Is my mother hearing all these things? You are like my mother.

[Elderly lady:] I am like your mother? Yes, I hear you. I had a surgery some years ago. Do you know medical terms?

[Bhudhara dasa:] No, he is a doctor of the soul, not the body.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] I had surgery too, so you are like me. You are my mother – the son and mother both had surgery.

[Elderly lady:] Do you have a living mother?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] That mother has left this world, but there are so many mothers. I think that this young lady is also my mother, and you are too. All ladies are my mother. We think like this in India.

[Elderly lady:] I am glad to have such a gracious son.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Our relation should be eternal.

[Elderly lady:] So we never die?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] No, I do not have to die, and I will teach you a trick so that you will also not die.

[Elderly lady:] What happens to those who die? What happens to their soul?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] According to their activities, they will have to taste the fruits in their future birth. They will take birth again.

[Elderly lady:] So we should go to the cemetary and pray to God to take their soul in His possession?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Yes, we want this. We are trying to help everyone, and that is why we perform kirtana, congregational chanting of the holy name and fame of Krsna. We chant “Hare Krsna” so that even trees, animals, dogs, and even any person who doesn’t want to hear, can receive spiritual benefit. We chant, “Hare Krsna” very loudly, so that the transcendental sound vibration will go everywhere. And we give some prasadam, remnants of food offered to God. This will help them.

Editorial Advisors: Svami B.V. Madhava, Brajanath dasa, Prema-prayojana dasa
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Assistant editor: Hariballabha dasi
Transcriber: Tulasi dasi
Typist: Kundalata dasi
Proofreader: Vasanti dasi

How to Find a Sadhu? Sadhu

How to Find a Sadhu? Sadhu

Srila Gour Govinda Swami

Questions and Answers with
Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja

Devotee: How does one recognize a sadhu?

Gour Govinda Swami: Cry before Krishna. Only He can help you to find a sadhu. You can’t recognize a sadhu. You have no vision to see the sadhu. If you try by yourself to recognize sadhu, then you will be cheated. If you are serious, then cry before Him. “O Krishna! I am your servant!”

ay nanda-tanuja kinkaram
patitam mam visame bhavambudhau
krpaya tava pada-pankaja-
stita-dhuli-sadrsam vicintaya

Mahaprabhu has taught us this. This is crying before Krishna. “O nanda-tanuja, son of Nanda Maharaja, I am your kinkara, your sevant. Somehow or other I am fallen here in this dreadful ocen of material existence and I have been drowning from time immemorial. But I want to serve you. How can I serve you? How can I become a speck of dust at Your lotus feet? Please help me.” Just cry. Without the help of sadhu you cannot approach Krishna. You can’t utter Krishna’s name. When you cry like that, Krishna is there in your heart as paramatma. He will say, “Oh now he is crying for Me.” Then he makes an arrangement.

This is the proper way. If by your own effort you try to recognize a sadhu, you will be cheated. You can’t see a sadhu. You have no vision at all. You see only all outward, external things. You can’t see the real thing. There are many persons who are only outwardly sadhus. You will be enchanted by their external activities: “Oh, he is a great sadhu! Yes, he is producing gold!” You will be cheated.

You can’t get a real sadhu [in this way]. A real sadhu is one who is competely absorbed in Krishna, day and night, twenty-four hours. He has gotten Krishna. He is with Krishna. He can give you Krishna. You can’t see him. You have no vision. Only you can cry for Krishna from the core of your heart. This is not an external cry. It is internal. Then Krishna, who is in your heart, will see that you are crying and he will help you. He will make arrangement for you to meet such a sadhu. That is the arrangement of Krishna. When you meet such a person you will feel some spontaneous attraction from the core of your heart. That attraction is the proof.

Devotee: To meet a sadhu is so rare. How can one get the opportunity?

Gour Govinda Swami: It’s a fact that it is rare, but if you are really crying for it then Krishna can make an arrangement. It is impossible for you, but nothing is impossible for Krishna.

Home program in Vancouver, Canada: May 1993

Message for Planet Earth Message for Troubled Planet

Message for Planet Earth Message for Troubled Planet

Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Excerpt from Krsna Consciousness The Topmost Yoga System © Bhaktivedanta Book Trust

Every living entity is searching after peace. Everyone, from the aquatics to the highest form of human being, from the ant up to Brahma, the first creature of this universe, is searching after peace. That search is the main objective of life, and it constitutes the very struggle for existence. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said that the only peaceful man is he who is in full Krishna consciousness, for he has no demands. He is akarmi, which means he does not suffer the reactions of his activities, that he has no desire, is self-sufficient and has nothing to ask. Such a person, fully situated in Krishna consciousness, is completely peaceful.

Everyone else falls into three other classes—bhuktis, muktis, and yogis. The bhuktis hanker after material happiness and enjoyment. These are the people who want to eat, drink, be merry and enjoy a life of the senses. There are different modes of enjoyment according to the body, and people are searching after sense enjoyment on this planet, on other planets, here, there, and everywhere. The main objective of this pursuit is simply to gratify the senses. Such are the bhuktis. The next class, a little more elevated, is the mukti class, those who, fatigued and frustrated by sense gratification, desire liberation from material entanglement. These Salvationists, however, also have some desire—the desire to be free from this material entanglement. The yogis, the third class, are busy searching after mystic perfection. There are eight kinds of mystic perfection which grant one the ability to become smaller than the smallest, heavier than the heaviest, lighter than the lightest, etc. Ordinary persons who are after sense gratification, and those who are Salvationists, and those who are after mystic perfection—all have some demand. This is not true of the devotees, however. They have no demands because they simply want to serve Krishna. They are awaiting the order of Krishna, and that is their satisfaction. If Krishna tells them to go to hell, they are prepared to go, and if He says, “You come to me,” they are also prepared to go. Because they have attained the perfect ional stage, they have no demands.

It is because we are in material bondage that we have so many demands. The masses of people simply want sense gratification, and those who are a little more advanced want mental satisfaction, and those who are even more refined strive to show some magical power in this world. All of these are in material bondage in different ways. Therefore a person who is Krishna conscious prays to the Lord: “My dear Lord, when shall I be fully absorbed in Your thoughts or Your service? When shall I be simply conscious of You and free from all mental demands?” Being absorbed in the thought of Krishna is not simply being absorbed in some abstract, concocted speculation. It is actual meditation on the Supreme Person that is indicated. By such meditation, all mental concoction and desires are completely eradicated.

At present we are hovering over the mental plane. The mind is constantly driving us to go here and go there, and it is to our benefit that we stop taking dictations from it. In order to do this, we have to establish ourselves in our constitutional relationship with Krishna as His servant. “I shall simply be Your eternal servitor,” we should think. “And I shall be very cheerful, for I have my master.” Those who are not in Krishna consciousness are guideless, and because they are their own guides and are uncertain, they are always fearful. A person who is in Krishna consciousness, however, has the advantage of having this supreme guide; therefore he has no fear. As long as a child is under the care of his parents, he has no fear, but as soon as he is free of them, he finds so many impediments. When we engage in Krishna consciousness one hundred percent, we will immediately become very peaceful, for we will immediately gain liberation from all mental concoctions.

For this reason Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that those who are in Krishna consciousness are actually peaceful because they have no demands. Those who are after sense enjoyment, salvation and yogic mystic perfections are all always full of anxiety. As long as one is full of anxiety, he should know that he is still under the grip of material nature, and as soon as one is free from all anxiety, he should know that he is liberated. Fears and anxieties exist because we do not know Krishna, the Supreme Lord, the supreme controller. Instead, we ascribe to other conceptions and are therefore always anxious.

Yet there are many difficulties which arise when we begin to take to Krishna consciousness. For example, Prahlada Maharaja, although five years old and a pet child, found that his father became his enemy and tried to kill him just because he was a devotee of the Lord’s. This is the way of the world; as soon as one becomes a devotee of the Lord, he finds so many obstacles presenting themselves. But one should be assured that these obstacles will not be serious hindrances or impediments on the path. Despite all obstacles, we should always be personally prepared to become Krishna conscious, otherwise we can only turn to the kingdom of maya, illusion. Maya will try to defeat us as soon as she sees that a living soul is leaving her grip, but as soon as we become Krishna conscious and fully surrender unto the Supreme Lord, we have nothing more to fear from this illusion. Therefore the Krishna conscious person is a perfectly peaceful person.

Everyone wants peace in the world, but no one knows how to attain it. The defect in the philosophy of the peace marchers was noted by the Archbishop of Canterbury when he said, “You want the kingdom of God without God.” If we at all want peace, we have to understand that peace means knowing God. This is stated in Bhagavad-gita. Unless we are in touch with the Supreme Lord, Krishna, we cannot have peace, for this is the real key to the peace formula. The real peace formula is that one must know that God is the proprietor of all this universe, including the United States, Russia, China, India, etc. Because we claim that we are the proprietors, there is fighting, discord and disagreement. In such consciousness, how can there be peace? We first must accept the fact that God is the proprietor of everything and that we are simply guests on this planet for at most one hundred years. We come and we go, and while we are here, we are absorbed in the thought that “This is my land. This is my family. This is my body. This is my property.” We do not stop to consider that when there is an order from the Supreme, we will have to leave this home, body, property, family, money, bank balance, etc. Our position has to be totally vacated. When material nature takes us in her grip at death and offers different kinds of bodies, she says, “Now my dear sir, you accept this body.” In this way we are forced to accept an American body, Indian body, Chinese body, cat’s body, dog’s body, etc. We’re not even the proprietors of these bodies, yet we are claiming to be these bodies. This is all due to ignorance. In such ignorance, where is the possibility of peace? Peace can only be had when we understand that God is the proprietor of everything. Our friends, family and relatives are guests of time. When we accept this knowledge, we will have peace.

We are searching for a friend to give us peace and tranquility, and that friend is Krishna, God. If we would just make friends with Him, we will find that everyone is our friend. God is situated in everyone’s heart, and if we make friends with Him, He will dictate from within so that we will be treated in a friendly way. If we make friends with the police commissioner, we will receive some advantages, or if we make friends with the president, so many people will be our friend. Similarly, if we make friends with God, everyone will be our friend. If everyone understands that God is everyone’s friend and that He is the supreme proprietor, the world will become peaceful. This is the verdict of Lord Chaitanya’s.

In Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Chaitanya Charitamrita and in all other Vedic literatures as well as in the literatures of all other religions, this very fact is presented: God is the proprietor, and He is the only friend. If we simply understand this, we will have peace, for this is the perfect peace formula. But as soon as we encroach on God’s property, claiming it to be our own, there will be police action taken in the form of material nature, which will inform us that we are not the proprietors. We can only have what is allotted by God.

Our only business is to elevate ourselves to perfect Krishna consciousness and nothing more. If we deviate from this law, or if we don’t accept this principle, or if we want to enjoy more, then we will have to suffer. There is no question of forgetting, for those who are in Krishna consciousness know nothing but Krishna. Therefore Lord Chaitanya says that one who is Krishna conscious has no demands and is at peace. This is a fact, for actually only those who are Krishna conscious are peaceful and unafraid. They are neither in heaven, nor in hell, nor anywhere else, for they are always with Krishna. Consequently wherever they remain is Vaikuntha. Krishna is never lost to them because He resides everywhere as Paramatma, the Supersoul in the hearts of all living entities. We should be careful to understand, however, that although Krishna lives within the heart of the hog, He is not being subjected to the punishments of a hog. The Lord and His devotees are always transcendental to the modes of material nature. Lord Sri Krishna Himself as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, seeing the pitiable condition of the general populace in the present day, directly distributes love of Godhead, and He distributes it freely due to His compassion for the suffering living entities.

Yet although love of God is being given freely and easily, people do not care for it. Guru Maharaja Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati used to say that if we take a langera mango, which is the highest quality mango in India, very costly, sweet, and tasty, and go from door to door and try to distribute it freely, people will doubt: “Why has this man brought this langera mango? Why is he trying to distribute it freely? There must be some motive behind it.” Similarly, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu distributes this Krishna consciousness freely, but people are so foolish that they think, “What is there to simply chanting Hare Krishna? This is meant for the foolish who cannot speculate and who do not have any higher standard of knowledge.” But factually this is not the case. In Bhagavad-gita it is said that out of millions and millions of people, only a few are so fortunate as to be interested in Krishna consciousness. We should not neglect this information, for it is very rare. If we prosecute Krishna consciousness, our lives will be successful, and our mission of human life will be fulfilled. The gift of Krishna consciousness is very valuable and very rare. Of the innumerable living entities who are wandering and transmigrating in the 8,400,000 species of life, he who takes to Krishna consciousness is most fortunate, for he has found a great spiritual treasure.

Sometimes devotees of the Lord go from door to door as beggars. This is the custom in India, where sannyasis in the renounced order often go to a householder’s door to beg. These sannyasis are very well received, and they do not ask for anything in particular but for whatever one can afford. If one simply offers a chapati to a pure devotee who comes to his door, he is made spiritually rich. When one is advanced in spiritual wealth, he offers a good reception to devotees, as far as possible. According to the Vedic system, even if an enemy comes to one’s home, he has to be received in such a way that one will forget that he is an enemy.

If by chance we receive training from a teacher who is a saintly person and a pure devotee of the Lord, by such contact we become pure. Therefore Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that the fortunate person who has had some spiritual asset in his past dealings will seek the association of pure devotees. The seed of Krishna consciousness is received by the mercy of the guru, the spiritual master, and by the mercy of Krishna. When the spiritual master and Lord Krishna will that a person become Krishna conscious, the seed of Krishna consciousness very nicely fructifies. When one’s spiritual assets make him so fortunate that he becomes spiritually enlivened, he meets a bona fide spiritual master. By the grace of that spiritual master he can receive the seed of Krishna consciousness. That is the result of his inner urge, his questioning: “Where can I get this association? Where can I get this awareness?”

Krishna is within us, and as soon as He sees that we are very sincere, that we are seeking, He sends a bona fide spiritual master. By a combination of Krishna and the spiritual master, we receive the seed of Krishna consciousness. The seed is there constitutionally. If we have a very nice seed of a rose bush, what is our duty? Are we to lock it up in a safety vault in a bank? Our duty is to sow it in the ground. The seed of Krishna consciousness must be sown within the heart, not within the earth, but within our very selves. And after sowing the seed we must pour a little water on it, and that water is sravanam kirtanam, hearing and chanting. Once the seed is sown within the heart, we only have to pour a little water on it to make it grow.

It is not that we reach any stage in spiritual life where we will no longer have to hear or chant. This process goes on continuously. As with any plant, if we stop pouring water on it, it will dry up and not produce any fruit, so the plant of Krishna consciousness must be constantly watered by the process of hearing and chanting. Maya is so strong, so powerful, that as soon as she sees an opportunity she will at once try to dry the plant up. But by the process of pouring on the water of chanting and hearing, the plant of Krishna consciousness grows unlimitedly. There is a limit to the growth of every plant that we see; it grows, grows, and finally reaches a point where it stops. But the plant of Krishna consciousness grows in such a way that it does not rest in any part of the material universe because a Krishna conscious person is not satisfied with any planetary facility in any part of this material universe. Even if we offer a devotee a place in Siddha Loka, where the inhabitants are so powerful and elevated that they can fly in the sky without airplanes, he will not be satisfied. The plant of Krishna consciousness does not stop at any planet in the material universe but penetrates the covering of this universe, and even after reaching the causal ocean continues to grow. Even when it reaches the spiritual sky it is not satisfied with any Vaikuntha planet but continues to grow to enter into the highest planet of the spiritual sky, known as Krishna Loka. This planet is shaped just like a lotus flower, and it is the supreme abode of Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is there that the plant finds Krishna’s lotus feet and rests. As soon as the plant of Krishna consciousness captures Krishna’s lotus feet, it takes shelter saying, “There, I have finished my journey. Let me expand and bare fruit here.” In this way we come to enjoy Krishna’s association. In this position, the devotee attains the perfection of peace.

II. Hearing, Chanting and Serving

Most people encounter difficulties in their search for peace because they have failed to control their minds. The nature of the mind is that it is very flickering; it accepts some things and rejects others. Consequently the mind is never at peace. One minute we may decide to do something, and at the next minute we may reject the idea. In this way we try to be satisfied by pursuing so many different paths of action. The principles of religion aim at controlling the mind. Only in the human form of life can we take to these religious principles, for in animal society there is no question of acting in accordance with religious principles. In Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, etc., the basic principle of yoga, which is mind control, can be found.
Of all the senses, the mind is the most important. It is the center of all senses. The body is a combination of senses, and if the mind is disturbed, the senses cannot act. If a man’s mind is in disorder, a man is called mad because the man cannot use his senses properly. He cannot think properly, feel properly, nor act properly.

Some five thousand years ago there was a great meeting of sages at Naimisaranya, in India, and Suta Gosvami, who was presiding over the assembly, spoke to the great sages about satisfying the mind. He said that if we want to satisfy the mind and actually attain to peace, we will have to take to the transcendental process of Krishna consciousness. Essentially this process is a process of rendering service.

It is the nature of man, or his dharma, to serve. Service is not only characteristic of man but of all other living entities as well. We often see animals serving their cubs, or ants serving their community, or bees serving their hives—that spirit of service is characteristic of all. We render service either out of a sense of love or a sense of superiority. No one can claim that he does not serve anyone. We must be serving, and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu points out that it is the prime duty of all living entities to understand that their position is to serve God. That is our real dharma, our real constitutional position. We are eternal servants of God, and therefore we cannot possibly escape rendering service. If we are not serving God, we are rendering service to our personal selves, to our bodies, to our families, to our society, community, or nation. Just as liquidity is characteristic of water, or sweetness is characteristic of sugar, so service is the characteristic of the living entity. It is the basic ingredient and cannot be taken away. In chemistry certain characteristics are understood to be intrinsic as far as certain chemicals are concerned. We have to understand that the dharma of service is intrinsic for the living entity.

When the word dharma is translated into English, it is often described as a kind of faith, but in Sanskrit the word dharma does not mean that. Dharma refers to the inherent characteristic of a particular thing, that which cannot be changed. A man’s faith can be changed—today one can be a Hindu and tomorrow a Christian. The essential characteristic of service, however, cannot be changed. This service is the perfect characteristic of the human being. It is transcendental, not material. Transcendental refers to that which is beyond this material conception, beyond the material energy. In Bhagavad-gita, Sri Krishna speaks of His material and transcendental energies in this way:

bhumir apo ’nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahamkara iti ’yam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha
apare ’yam itas tv anyam
prakrtim viddhi me param
jivabhutam mahabaho
yayedam dharyate jagat

“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, and false ego—altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies. Besides this inferior nature, O mighty Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine which is all living entities who are struggling with material nature and sustaining the universe.” (Bg. 7.4)

Just as there is superior and inferior energy, so there is superior and inferior service. Inferior service is service rendered for some material purpose. In the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Vyasadeva says: “He who serves the inferior energy is engaged in pretending, falsity and cheating.” (Bg. 7.5)

Sridhara Swami, the great commentator on Srimad-Bhagavatam, says that in general people are interested in four kinds of religious principles—religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation. Generally people are interested in some material benefit. Why? They desire sense gratification. If we get material riches, we can satisfy our senses according to our desires. In this way there are different motives for rendering service.

But transcendental service is devoid of such motives. Suta Gosvami, the speaker of Srimad-Bhagavatam, says that by executing transcendental service one can advance his natural love for God. Everyone has a natural love for God, and in the Chaitanya-Caritamrta it is said that this love is everlasting. This transcendental love is not attained by practice; it is already there. It simply has to be cultivated.

In Bhagavad-gita it is stated that when a man becomes addicted to something good, he gives up bad habits. For instance, a child sometimes plays very mischievously, but when he grows up he devotes himself to study, he reads and writes and goes to school and becomes sober and gentle. A person cannot be taught things by force; it must be natural. In Krishna consciousness movement we have experienced that thousands of American and European boys and girls are taking to Krishna bhakti, devotional service to Krishna, although four years ago they had never even heard the name of Krishna. Upon initiation into the service of Krishna, they willingly gave up the practices of intoxication, meat-eating, illicit sex and gambling. Although they engaged in these practices almost from the beginning of their lives, they abandoned them because they were taught them unnaturally. As soon as one comes to his natural position, which is dormant and everlasting, he gives up his artificial life.

If Krishna bhakti is natural for everyone, how is it invoked in everyone? Information of this is given in scripture. We must patiently hear about Krishna. The Krishna consciousness movement is based on this principle—one must listen to the message given by Krishna or to the message given about Krishna. The message given by Krishna is Bhagavad-gita, and the message given about Krishna is Srimad-Bhagavatam. Everyone can listen to these messages; there is no impediment. If we simply give aural reception to these messages, our dormant Krishna consciousness will be invoked naturally. The centers for the International Society for Krishna consciousness are being opened all over the world just to give people the chance to hear about Krishna. If we hear about Krishna, we can speak about him, and this process is called sravanam kirtanam. Sravanam means hearing, and kirtanam means speaking, describing, or chanting. When many men and women get together and glorify, chant or sing about Krishna, it is called sankirtana. Sankirtana is particularly appropriate for this age and is advocated by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

In the Satya Yuga, a previous age characterized by longevity and piety, people could advance in spiritual consciousness by meditation. In this fallen age meditation is not easy, but it was possible in Satya Yuga when people would live for 100,000 years. Valmiki Muni, for example, meditated for 60,000 years and reached perfection. Of course in the present age this is not possible. Even if we lived for such a long time, our minds are so disturbed and we are engaged in so many impious activities that it is impossible to meditate. One or two great yogis may be able to meditate properly, but for the masses of people it is not possible.

Meditation means concentration on Vishnu, not on something impersonal or fictitious. When yogis meditate, they fix their minds on Vishnu, the Supersoul expansion of the Lord. The Supreme Personality of Godhead lives in everyone’s heart. We simply have to meditate upon Him to realize Him, and this meditation was very easily performed in the Satya Yuga.

In the next millennium, Treta Yuga, the same results were achieved by performing great sacrifices. In accordance with the Vedic injunctions for sacrifice, many tons of butter and grains were sacrificed to the fire. Obviously today no one has sufficient money to perform such sacrifices, and even if the money were available there are no qualified brahmanas to perform the sacrifice. Traditionally, the priests who executed the sacrifice were tested to see whether they were qualified. The first test was to see whether or not the priest chanted the mantra perfectly. An animal would be placed into the fire, and if the mantra were chanted perfectly, the animal would come out with a new life. Such a task cannot be performed today because there are no qualified brahmanas, nor is all the additional paraphernalia available.

In the following millennium, Dvapara Yuga, it was possible for temple worship to be performed perfectly. Today even old temples are neglected; no one is taking care of them properly. The Christian churches and the temples and churches in England and America are now being sold because people are not taking care of them. People are gradually becoming atheistic in this age, and they have lost interest in going to the church or temple. Therefore this process is not recommended in this age.

The conclusion is that the process of sravanam kirtanam, hearing and chanting, is particularly suitable for this age. Everyone can hear, and everyone can chant. There is no difficulty. This can be done under any circumstance, at any time, in any condition of life, by anyone. This process of chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare was given to the world by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who descended on this earth specifically to give this process as the dharma for this age. By means of this process, purification of the senses is easily achieved, and the attitude of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is invoked. It is the most efficient means of realizing our constitutional position as servants of the Supreme.

That process by which we can advance our understanding of our constitutional position is to be known as a first class religious process. We are everlastingly servants of God, but unfortunately we have forgotten Him. We have forgotten our relationship with God as servants. As pointed out before, the attitude of service is there in everyone, but in material consciousness we are rendering service to our senses, to our family, society, etc. In any case, the service spirit is there, but it is pervertedly reflected. Because we are covered by gross and subtle material elements, our spirit of service is being misused. Suta Gosvami says that the spirit of service which is inherent in all of us can be perfectly realized when we come to the platform of rendering service to the Supreme Lord.

The method of rendering service is transmitted by the parampara system, which passes knowledge down from master to disciple. The most efficient process for the perfection of all religious systems, the process by which our minds can be pacified, is this process of bhakti-yoga, the rendering of transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord who is beyond the perception of our material senses. Another name for God is Adhoksaja, which means “beyond the perception of our material senses.” We can see directly, eat, touch and smell directly, but we cannot perceive God directly through these material senses. Because we cannot see God directly, we are not to assume that He has no form. When Krishna was personally present on this planet, people saw His form. In addition, there are descriptions of Krishna’s transcendental form given by Lord Brahma in the Brahma-samhita. In the beginning of the creation, Brahma realized the Personality of Godhead by tapasya (penance), and Brahma-samhita was sung by him in praise of Sri Krishna. Through so many authorities we come to understand Krishna as having form. In rendering service to Krishna, there is no question of voidism or impersonalism. Transcendental loving service must be rendered to a personal God, the Supreme Person.

Service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead can not be checked by any material conditions. If we engage ourselves in His service, we will never be impeded by any material considerations. It is not that we cannot serve God because we are too busy, or because we are too rich or too poor, or because we are black or white or whatever color. Anyone can serve God in any circumstances whatsoever. Once we take to this process of pure devotional service, we will never be checked.

In order to attain the perfection of pure devotional service, we should worship God without purpose and without motive. The demigods are worshipped with a motive, but Krishna is served without any motive. In Bhagavad-gita it is affirmed by Sri Krishna Himself that the demigods are worshiped out of desire.

kamais tais-tair hrtajnanah
prapadyante ‘nyadevatah
tam-tam niyamam asthaya
prakrtya niyatah svaya

“Those whose minds are distorted by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.” (Bg. 7.20) It is the wise man, however, who turns to Krishna and worships Him without motive.

bahunam janmanam ante
jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma sudurlabhah
“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes, and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” (Bg. 7.19)

We must take shelter of the Supreme Lord according to the rules and regulations of the scriptures and not whimsically. If we take shelter of Him in this way, we will attain the highest perfection of life, regardless of the birth we take.
mam hi partha vyapasritya
ye ‘pi syuh papayonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras
te ‘pi yanti param gatim

“O son of Pritha, anyone who will take shelter in Me, whether a woman, or a merchant, or one born in a low family, can yet approach the supreme destination.” (Bg. 9.32)

In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that if we want to attain real peace, we must be peaceful individually. Only when we are peaceful individually can we be peaceful nationally or collectively. A person may be satisfied in his own way, but if others are dissatisfied, there is disturbance. If we would come to the platform of Krishna consciousness and engage in the transcendental loving service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, our minds and souls will be fully satisfied, and peace will be possible. There will only be peace in the world when we turn to the Supreme Lord and glorify Him. In all scriptures we find that we should glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Somehow or other, we must worship Him on the platform of glorification and service. There is no necessity to perform austerity, penance and meditation because it is understood that by devotional service the perfection of austerity, penance and meditation is already reached. If we do not come to the point of worship of God, what is the value of austerity? We may consider ourselves a Christian or a Hindu, and we may execute our prescribed duties very nicely and think that we are working in accordance with our system of religion, but if we are not attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His pastimes, there is no benefit.

Unfortunately in this age people are not attached to or attracted by God and His pastimes. Throngs of people would assemble for a political meeting, but if the subject matter is Krishna or God, no one is interested. This is due to the influence of the age. The fact remains, however, that if we faithfully discharge our duties as a politician, a businessman, a professional man, a laborer or whatever, and do not develop Krishna consciousness, then our work is fruitless. The very aim of life is God consciousness, and the Srimad-Bhagavatam says that activities that do not bring us to God consciousness are simply a waste of time. The Vedanta Sutra also indicates that human life is especially meant for inquiring about the Supreme Absolute Truth. If that inquiry is not invoked in human life, the human form of life is spoiled. We are born in ignorance, without Krishna consciousness, without understanding our relationship with God. If we continue like this, we are actually defeated, regardless of how victorious we may think we are in our business or profession.

If we are too attached to this material world, we have to return again, and according to our karma we have to accept another body. There are 8,400,000 forms of bodies, and according to our work we can be put in any one of them. We may try to avoid nature’s law, but it is not possible. At death material nature again throws us into the cycle of birth and death. In these millions of forms of life, we have no control over where we will be placed next. Therefore the scriptures enjoin that we should try to evoke Krishna consciousness before death comes.

Death is certain. When death comes, it takes away everything—home, family, country, dress, apartment, etc. Everything is finished. We then have to accept another body and construct another house, another society, etc. This cycle is going on and on, and in this way Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu points out that the living entities are wandering in so many bodies all over this universe. Sometimes we may appear as Brahma, sometimes as an ant, sometimes as a demigod, a man, a fish, an insect and so on. While wandering in this way, the living entity is most fortunate if he gets in touch with the guru and Krishna.

If we get a very valuable seed of a lotus flower and do not utilize it, the seed will not fructify, but if we plant it, the seed will grow, and one day a very beautiful lotus flower will blossom. The seed of Krishna consciousness is given, and if we cultivate it, our life will be successful. Krishna consciousness is a great science. It is authorized, not concocted. It is based on scripture, not mental speculation, and it is very easy to execute. If we try to meditate on our own, we will run into great difficulties and will ultimately fail, but in this age the process has been made very easy. Let us just try to approach a bona fide spiritual master, or a representative of Krishna, and under his direction take this seed of Krishna consciousness and sow it in our hearts and water it by hearing and chanting. If we continue hearing and chanting, the seed will grow. Simply by beginning this process we will quickly come to the stage whereby we will realize that this is the quickest, easiest, and most reliable way to peace.