When the mad demon, Hiranya Kashipu, roamed this world—long before the dawn of our modern recorded history—he was a scourge to the righteous, including his own son Prahlad. When the five-year-old boy took to praising the Lord, his father sought to kill him, and there was no one who might dare intervene, not even among the demigods of heaven. Yet Prahlad would not succumb to his father's threats, and so Hiranya Kashipu attacked him. It was then that the Lord appeared as Nrishingha Deva, Terror Personified, the half-lion half-man Incarnation Who tore the mighty demon apart with His claws. Even as Krishna, the Supreme Godhead, will respond to the devotee who seeks His protection—so will He respond to one who desires to be His enemy. And, as Krishna is the perfect Protector, so is He also the perfect Enemy. Krishna is All-Perfect, not one-sided. Yet even in striking His enemies, the Lord acts in love, for He is absolute—the very measure and standard of Love and Goodness. So upon Hiranya Kashipu as upon Prahlad, Nrishingha bestowed His Infinite Mercy. The difference lay only in the desire of the recipient. On our cover, we see Nrishingha receiving the loving respects of the boy Prahlad, as well as those of Garuda the Eagle of Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma the Four-Headed, and Narada Muni, the greatest of sages.
In trying to arrange for Kirtan (the singing of the Lord's Sacred Names) at the beautiful Reis Amphitheater in Lower Manhattan, we recently met with a solid rebuff. The Amphitheater is situated in a city-run project, and, according to the New York City Housing Authority Management Manual: "... No one is permitted to use the community facilities for religious, political or controversial purposes of any kind. Non-sectarian purposes alone are permitted."
We might argue that Shakespeare's plays (which are permitted) are religious, political, and undeniably controversial. In fact, it's to be wondered just what—other than air and water—could be construed as acceptable in "the community facilities."
But it is the underlying concept—of religion as an arena of petty squabblers, while the atheist stands aloof and unattached—which is worthy of our notice. This insidious philosophy has been gnawing at the entrails of modern civilization for many a long year, until today we find its banners unfurled in the Supreme Court decision forbidding God in the government-run classroom, as well as in the Housing Authority's carefully (if inanely) worded manual.
Although the Founding Fathers saw to the separation of Church and State with the good intention of having each operate unhampered by the other, they never considered God to be a sectarian concept. Nor did they, apparently, consider Godlessness to be a platform of aloof and serene indifference .
Atheism is a sect, to be sure. And the imposition of Godlessness upon the American people by members of its own Government is the triumph of this vicious minority over the mass of human society.
Evening, April 10, 1967
Today I shall speak before you of the history of a boy devotee. His name is Prahlad Maharaj. He was born in a family which was stubbornly atheistic. There are two kinds of men in this world: one is called demon, and the other is called godly, or the demigods. What is the difference between them? The main difference is that the demigods or godly persons are devoted to the Supreme Lord, and the demons are atheistic. They do not believe in God. They are materialists. These two classes of men are always there in this world. At the present moment, due to this Age of Kali, the number of demons has increased, but the classification is there from the history of the Creation. This incident which I am narrating to you occurred very, very long ago, a few million years after the time of the Creation.
This boy Prahlad Maharaj happened to be the son of the most atheistic person and the most materially powerful as well—so you will be interested to hear this history. This boy, because the society was materialistic, had no opportunity to glorify the Supreme Lord. The characteristic of a great soul is that he is very eager to broadcast glorification of the Supreme Lord. Just like Lord Jesus Christ: he was very much eager to broadcast the glorification of God, but people crucified him; people misunderstood him. Demoniac people. This is going on. Now Prahlad Maharaj was a five-year-old boy and, when he was in school, as soon as there was some recreation period, when the teacher was off, he would say to his friends, "My dear friends, come on, we shall speak something of Krishna Consciousness." I am just opening a scene, this is Srimad Bhagwatam, 7th Canto, 6th Chapter. The devotee Prahlad is saying: "My dear boys, my dear friends, this is the time, in this young age, to prosecute Krishna Consciousness." Before that he had discussions with his little friends, but they said, "Oh we shall now play—why take up Krishna Consciousness?" In answer to which, Prahlad Maharaj is stating, "If you are intelligent then you must begin Krishna Consciousness from this childhood!"
Srimad Bhagwatam offers knowledge—scientific knowledge about God. Bhagwatam means the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Dharma means the regulative principle to understand Krishna Consciousness. Why? Because this life, this human form of life, is very rare. It is a great opportunity: "My dear friends, you are born as civilised human beings, so this is the greatest opportunity." Although it is temporary—I do not know what is the length of my life. By calculation the human body is meant to exist in this age, not more than a hundred years. But as the Age of Kali advances, duration of life, memory, mercy, religiousness there are so many things, and they are all decreasing. Although it is temporary, yet you can achieve the highest perfection of life while in this human form.
Why is this so important? This is the opportunity—you can understand what is the Supreme Lord, the All-Pervading Lord. For other life forms, it is not possible. By the gradual evolutionary process we are coming to this plane, and so this is the opportunity, this human form of life. By Nature's law, a life is ultimately given to you so that you can promote yourself to the spiritual life and go back to Home, back to Godhead.
The ultimate goal of life is Vishnu. In another verse, Prahlad Maharaj will say: "The people who are in this material world, enamored by the material energy, do not know what the goal of human life is." Why? "They have been enchanted by the glaring external energy. They have forgotten that they are spiritual energy." This is explained later on; but here he says, "This life is an opportunity to understand the ultimate goal of my perfection, Vishnu." Why should we be very anxious to know Vishnu, or God? Prahlad Maharaj gives a reason: "Because Vishnu is the dearmost Person. That we have forgotten." We are all seeking for some dear friend—everyone is searching in this way. A man is searching for dear friendship in woman, and woman is searching for dear friendship in man. Or else a man is searching in man, and woman is searching in woman—this is going on, searching after some dear friend, some sweet friend. Why? Because I want some co-operation of that dear friend to help me. This is part of the struggle for existence, and this is natural. But we do not know that our most dear friend is Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We are searching after some dear friend, but we do not know who this dear friend can be.
Those who have read Bhagavad Gita will find this nice verse in the Fifth Chapter: "If you make friendship with Krishna, the Supreme Lord, then you can understand perfectly that everything that exists in this world or another world is all the property of Krishna—and He is the Proprietor and He is the Enjoyer of Everything." Why are you performing austerity? Why are you performing religious rituals? Why are you giving in charity? Why are you engaged in righteous activities? All these formulas—whatever you have manufactured—are meant for pleasing the Supreme Lord and nothing more. By your actions, by your righteous activities, when the Supreme Lord is pleased, you will get the result. The result is the thing. If you want to gain by your actions either material happiness or spiritual happiness, if you want to live in this planet or if you want to go to the other planets—the moon planet, the sun planet—there are so many planets—whatever you like; if you want to be a human being, if you want to be a tiger, cat, dog, nonsense—whatever you like, you will get. You will get: therefore He is the most sincere Friend.
Whatever you want from Him! But the intelligent man does not want anything which is materially contaminated.
In the Bhagavad Gita you will find that Krishna says, you can elevate yourself to the highest planet, which is known as Brahmaloka—where the duration of life is millions and millions of years. You cannot figure it; your arithmetic will be ineffective. The statement in the Bhagavad Gita is that Brahma's duration of life is so great that four million, two hundred thousand years make one day to him. Krishna says, whatever position you may like, beginning from the ant right up to Brahma, you can have. But the repetition of birth and death will be there. But if, some way or other, by discharging Krishna Consciousness in Devotional Service—"if you come to Me, then you don't have to come back again to this miserable material existence."
Prahlad Maharaj said the same thing: that we are searching after the most dear friend, Krishna, the Supreme Lord. Why is He the most dear Friend? By nature He is dear. Why? Well, what is the dearmost thing within yourself? Have you analyzed? You are yourself the dearmost thing. I am sitting here, but if there is fire alarm, I shall at once take care of myself. "How can I save myself?" You forget your friends, you forget even your children—"let me first of all save myself." Self preservation is the first law of Nature.
Atma, self, of the grossest type means this body, and in the subtler sphere the mind is atma, and in the real sense atma means the soul. We are all very fond of our atma, either this body or this mind or the soul. In the gross stage we are very fond of protecting this body, and in a subtler stage we are very fond of protecting the mind; and, above this mental, intellectual plane, where the atmosphere is spiritualised, there we understand: "I am not this mind, and not this body. Aham Brahmasmi—I am the part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. That is the platform of real understanding.
Now, Prahlad Maharaj says that, of all living entities, Vishnu is the Supreme Well-Wisher. Therefore we are searching after Him. It's just like the child crying. What is it longing for? It is longing for the mother. But it has no language to express this. By nature it has its body, born of the mother's body, and so there is an intimate relation with the mother's body. The child won't like any other woman. The child is crying, but when the woman who is the child's mother comes and takes it up, at once it becomes pacified. It has no language to express all this, but the real demand is there. Similarly, we are trying to protect this body. Everyone is. This is self preservation. It is a natural law of the living entity, just as eating is a natural law and sleeping is a natural law. I am defending the body because within the body there is soul.
What is this soul? The soul is the part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. As you want to protect this hand or this finger, because it is the part and parcel of this whole body, so therefore we are trying to save ourselves because this is the defending process of the Supreme. The Supreme does not require any defense—it is our Love towards Him, now perverted. Just like the finger and the hand toward the whole body: as soon as I want the hand to come here, it comes, and as soon as I want the finger to play on the drum, it plays. This is the natural position. We are searching after God, to be dovetailed in that Supreme; but we do not know it, under the spell of illusory energy. That is our mistake. Now, here is an opportunity, in human life. You have come to understand about Krishna Consciousness, about your real goal of life, because you are human beings. I cannot invite the cats and dogs to sit down here. That is the difference between cats and dogs and human beings. A human being can understand the necessity of life. If I lose the opportunity, it is a great catastrophe.
Prahlad Maharaj said, "God is the dearmost Personality of All. We have to search after God." Then, what about these material necessities of life? Prahlad Maharaj replied to this, "You are after sense gratification, I know that." This sense gratification is achieved by the contact of this body. A hog has got his certain type of body, and his sense gratification is eating stool. The thing which is most obnoxious to you—because you at once, after evacuating, leave that place to get free from the bad smell—but the hog is waiting. As soon as you evacuate, he will at once enjoy. Why are other animals not attracted? Because the form of pleasure-seeking is due to that particular body. We have different types of sense gratification according to the particular type of body. It is said here, "My dear friends, sense gratification is achieved according to the particular type of body." Everyone who has this material body, is subject to sense gratification. Don't think that the hogs eating stools are unhappy. No, they are getting fat in that way. They are very happy.
Now, if a hog can achieve sense gratification, why not a human being? But that is not our achievement. That is by Nature, it is given; the facilities of the hog's body are offered by Nature, and the facilities of a dog's body are also offered by Nature; and, too, the facilities of the human body are also offered by Nature, or God. Why should you bother yourself for facilities which you are destined to receive in any case, by Nature's law? In every form of life these bodily demands are supplied, by the arrangement of Nature. How is this gratification arranged? Just as it is arranged for distress: Do you like fever? No. Why does it come? I do not know. But it does come, does it not? Yes. Did you try for it? No. So how does it come? By Nature. That is the only answer. Similarly, if miseries come by Nature, your happiness also comes by Nature. Don't bother about it. That is the instruction of Prahlad Maharaj. If you can attain the miseries of life without effort, similarly, you can have your happiness of life also without effort.
Then, what is your real business in this human form of life? You have to cultivate this Krishna Consciousness. Other things will be obtained by Nature's law, or God's law. Even if I don't try, whatever I have to achieve by my past work and through my particular type of body, will be supplied. At any stage or form of life, facility is given for sense gratification. As you do not try for misery, so also happiness will take place outside your control. Your real business, therefore, is to seek out the higher goal of human life.
Editor's Note: This is the first of a short series of lectures on the life and teachings of Prahlad Maharaj, delivered by the Swami in April and May of this year.
One of the greatest of saints, author of the famous Bhakti Sutra, or Philosophy of Divine Love, Narada Muni is also the Deliverer of the Maha (Hare Krishna) Mantra to the planet Earth. Empowered by God with the freedom to travel throughout the material and spiritual Creation in his eternal Form, carrying his stringed vina and clapper, Narada fills the ether with the singing of the glories of the Lord; and visits innumerable planets, often undertaking to preach the gospel of transcendental love.
by Damodara das
Who can understand the power of The Name?
Damodara das Adhikari
One evening in the summer of 1966 a friend and I were waiting for a downtown bus on Second Avenue between First and Second Streets. We were going to a Fulton Street loft to rehearse music for a mixed-media show. My friend had gone into a luncheonette for a moment when I noticed, through the window of a storefront across the avenue, an orange-robed Indian man with a shaved head lecturing to a small group of young people. I remembered reading a short article in the Village Voice a few weeks before about Swami Bhaktivedanta, who had come to the United States to spread the devotional practice of chanting mantras of God's Name. So I guessed this must be the same Swami. When I saw him, I imagined myself walking across the street, going into the storefront, sitting down, chanting, and renouncing all worldly connections. But it was only my imagination, I told myself—after all, I was married, I was in the process of going to a rehearsal, and I didn't know anything about the Swami anyway. So my friend and I got on a bus. "Imagine!" I said to him. "A holy man in a Second Avenue storefront!"
It was a very intriguing situation for me. I had been involved in various impersonal philosophies, and especially Buddhism, for a few years. And by this time a little psychedelic seasoning had been added. My interest had always been with the traditional forms, and not "new" organizations. So I knew how important it was to have a good guru, and how important it was to obey him strictly. Of course, I considered myself an impersonalist, and the Swami taught that God's highest aspect is as a person. So I lost interest.
Krishna has a big bag of tricks, though, and by His grace I began to tire of chemical wonderlands, rigid discriminatory eliminations and material analyses. For such a long time I had been saying, "Not this, not that," just as Lord Buddha had suggested, and had arrived at a potpourri system of my own speculations gleaned from various books I had read, all culminating in Nothing, that big impersonalist Void, the source of many a searcher's "wipe-out." God, I thought, was on the third or fourth level down (depending on what day it was). Now, how is anybody to get out of such a jailhouse of intellectualization?
As for myself, I started to think that, psychologically speaking, I needed a devotional tonic. This was an ignorant way of putting it. Simply, impersonalism didn't satisfy my desire to know the Absolute. But for myself at that time, I felt that all that eliminating was getting stale, and what I needed was some group chanting.
So on a mid-October Sunday afternoon my wife and I went over to Tompkins Park to find out what this Krishna Consciousness was all about. By this time I had read an article in the East Village Other about Swami and his followers, and knew they would be chanting in the park. I expected to hear "Hare Krishna" droned out in a low, single-toned way, like most Buddhist chants. But then I heard the cymbals: one-two-three, one-two-three: a kind of intoxicating flamboyance, considering what I was used to, and very magnetic. I walked a little faster, and saw heads bobbing up and down, arms waving. What was this? No black-robed Zens here! Then I heard it. A song! A beautiful, endless song! Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna! I had to get closer to it, so I pushed through the onlookers. And there he was, Swami, the center of all this whirling-dervish ecstasy, surrounded by every kind of outlandish hippie and frustrated office worker imaginable, scrutinized by solid neighborhood Ukranians and ragged Puerto Rican kids; Swami, banging on a drum, seventy-odd years old, in complete control of this transcendental songfest. How could I keep from chanting at once? It was impossible. And even though I'm pretty shy, I even found myself dancing a little. Hare Krishna!
From that point on the fire of devotional service began to melt my icy Buddhist intellect. I found it hard to accept most of the philosophy at first, but the plain fact of the matter was that Swami gave better answers and better explanations than anyone else. After a while—two or three months—there was only one possibility: he was right!
So it took me a long time to "meet" Swami. I guess the first time I really met him was one morning the next April just after he had returned from opening the San Francisco temple. He had been away from New York for some time, and I had been very anxious to ask him to initiate me. And that morning I finally asked him. And just when I asked him, I realised that Swami Bhaktivedanta was my Spiritual Master.
All glories to Sri Guru!
Damodara das Adhikary (Dan Clark)
by Satsvarupa das
Child Prahlad remembering
Satsvarupa das Brahmachary (Stephen Guarino)
by Satsvarupa das
Satsvarupa das Brahmachary (Stephen Guarino)
by Madhusudan das
Let my fingers feel the beads, with which I repeat and count His Holy Name
Madhusudan das Brahmachary (Michael Blumert)
I find, Oh Govinda
Mrinalini devi dasi (Maureen Conley)
A Cool Day with Dark Storm Clouds
"Krishna must have such fun—"
Damodara das Adhikary (Dan Clark)
These waters speak of our Lord
Rabindasvarupa das Brahmachary (Bob Lefkowitz)
Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada was born in 1873 at Jagganath Puri. His father, Kedar Dutta Bhaktivinode Thakur, was magistrate of the city and superintendent of Jagganath temple. Once, during the Rathajatra Car Festival, the car stopped in front of the family's house and, taking the opportunity, the mother of Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati came out with the baby and put him on the Lotus Feet of Jagganath. A garland from the hand of Jagganath fell down on the baby.
Prabhupada was educated in Calcutta and became professor of Mathematics and Astronomy. In his childhood he once took a mango which was meant as an offering for the Deity. When his father rebuked him, saying that he should not have taken the fruit which was meant for the Lord, the child took it very seriously and thought himself a great offender, promising not to take mango again throughout his whole life. He was know as Bimal Prasad Dutta before his renunciation, or sannyasi. On account of his writing a book on astronomy known as "Sruya Siddhanta," he received the title Siddhanta Saraswati. And, when he took sannyasi, preaching the gospel of Lord Chaitanya, he was known as Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati. He was acclaimed a great scholar in Calcutta, and the celebrated Dr. Kalidas Nag used to call him "a living encyclopedia."
Thakur Bhaktivinode trained his son in childhood for preaching, and after taking sannyasi Prabhupada started the Gaudiya Mission Institution. All the Gaudiya Maths in different parts of India, plus one in London and another in Berlin—altogether 64 branches—were started by him. At present his worthy disciples have increased the number of preaching centers in different parts of the world. So Thakur Bhaktivinode was the initiator of Krishna Consciousness, working from Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya. And Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati was the priest of the movement. Today, his disciples are continuing to expand this great work wherever they can be heard.
by Madhusudan das
Let thy soul shine forth
Madhusudan das Brahmachary (Michael Blumert)
from the book "Sree Krishna-Chaitanya" by Professor Sannyal
[In Part II, Professor Sannyal described the gathering of great learned Pandits to hear the teachings of Srila Thakur Haridas, at which time Gopal Chakravarti arose in offense against the Saint. Consequently, Gopal was stricken by leprosy—the circumstances of which will be described in Part III.]
The world is gratuitously assumed by a pseudo-rationalism to be the only reality and the attempt is therefore made to ascertain the methods by following which we can attain the gratification of the senses, which function appears to be the relationship naturally subsisting between ourselves (?) and the world. The senses are assumed to be an integral and undetachable part of ourselves. The mind is identified with the senses on the one hand and with the soul on the other. The senses connect the mind, or the soul, by this assumption, with the external world. The senses are the eyes of the whole system. All pain and pleasure suffered by the mind are due to the way in which the mind directs the senses in their relations with the world. The mind cannot apparently know by intuition, at any rate ordinarily, all the consequences of any particular mode of employment of the senses. The mind can, indeed, try to guess about them. But it can never be quite sure about any occurrence till after actual experience. This uncertainty is supposed to be reducible to certainty if it could be possible to know from experience the uniform "laws" that are assumed to govern all phenomenal occurrences under all circumstances. This hypothesis of the uniform operation of the "laws" of Nature has been built up by the accumulated "experiences" of the race. But as the occurrences themselves present an infinity of complications it has not been possible to attain to anything like certainty in isolating the single threads of the web in order to be certain to reproduce all the occurrences of Nature in the Laboratory.
Assuming that the above object of scientific endeavour will be realisable in practice in the long run, its success should make it possible for us to prolong the possibility and scope of sensuous enjoyment ad infinitum. If we fail to be perfectly "happy" by the complete elimination of "pain" by the proper employment of the "forces" of Nature in the way that is calculated to produce such a result under the then-known "laws of Nature," our labors should still have really no abiding value for ourselves. But has our "experience" up to the present moment taken us an inch towards the realisation of unmixed or lasting pleasure? Is "pleasure" really different from "pain"? Or is it only different by circumstance? That which is food for the goose is food for the gander, is not found to be more true than most hypotheses. Variation, which is sought to be eliminated, is found on close inspection and analysis to be itself the indispensable condition of the pleasures. We are, therefore, left inevitably to the present condition of necessary and complete ignorance in order to have any "pleasure" at all by our dealings with the world by means of our senses.
It is argued that pleasure and pain might themselves by enriched, deepened and broadened by more experience and that it is worth our while to help this process in a conscious manner. To this the answer would be that the better and more detailed realisation of our utter ignorance, in the midst of the mockery of a civilization that is claimed to be based upon knowledge, would be a self-contradiction that is not likely to appeal to the assorting instinct of our rational nature and is calculated to make our condition no better than it is. Civilized wickedness and filth are not preferable to any nuisance of the uncivilized state. Satan, who may be allowed to possess the perfection of worldly culture, is probably more miserable than the uncivilized Gond. It would be difficult for the unbiased reason of man to choose between materialistic savagery and materialistic civilization.
"Ignorance is misery," says one of the wisest of proverbs. Increase of ignorance is not any decrease of misery. Ignorance is supposed to be the state of all empiric knowledge which is improperly assumed to be alone available to man. Our very nature is sometimes supposed to be incapable of real enlightenment. This axiom of pessimism is exploited for advising man to turn a deaf ear to the Teacher of the Absolute. It is even more disastrously utilized for condemning the devotees themselves.
It cannot be otherwise. The soul is in this case identified with the mind-cum-body. Abandonment of the mind, therefore, appears as equivalent to the abandonment of the soul, or to self-immolation. The mind seems to be our all. Groping in perpetual ignorance appears as our inevitable function, mis-called "Search for the Truth." Empiric enthusiasts imaginatively describe this process as the "eternal quest." These metaphors and denunciations do not, however, help us in any way; but, on the contrary, they only tend to obstruct the process of the real quest.
Gopal Chakravarti is a typical Brahmana of the pseudo-Vedantic School of Shankara. He has no doubts regarding the goal of the Vedanta. According to him the attainment of the Knowledge (?) of the Brahman, Who possesses no distinctive function at all that is capable of being defined, is the goal. By the attainment of the knowledge of the real Nature of the Brahman, the individual soul is freed from all the miseries of his apparent existence which only seems to be limited and is, therefore, only supposed to be miserable. As there is only One Entity, the Brahman, Who is ever (?) free from all defects and all merits, the goal can be no other than complete absorption (?) into the One. On the attainment of this desirable goal there is no difference between the devotee, devotion and the Object of devotion. The service (?) of the Brahman is thus only a temporary means to a final end, which means being different from the end and is, therefore, necessarily terminable with the attainment of the goal. It is the highest form of religion to try to realise, by the appropriate methods, the knowledge of, and absorption into, the undifferentiated Brahman. When the individual soul becomes one with the Brahman the state of separate existence and necessity for any kind of distinguishable function terminate together. According to Gopal Chakravarti and his associates this knowledge of the Brahman is higher than service and the termination of both knowledge and service is the highest goal. Gopal is quite sure that this is the only teaching of the Scriptures. It may be observed at this place that Shankara does not discard the principle of worship, but declares its tentative necessity which is terminable on self-realisation which, according to him, is identical with complete absorption into the One.
Thakur Haridas distinguishes between devotion, work and knowledge. The soul in the bound state desires one of two alternative functions: If he is optimistic he wants greater scope for enjoyment. If he happens to be pessimistic, he hankers for emancipation from the misery of mundane existence.
The latter, the pessimist, sometimes thinks that real emancipation is impossible so long as the consciousness of one's being different or separate from the One persists. It is to this extreme school of atheistic Vedantists, advocating unification with the Brahman, that Gopal Chakravarti, like most cultured people of his day as well as of this, happened to belong by his empiric predisposition. According to this school fruitive work leads to empiric knowledge and the latter to the third position of inexpressible oneness with the Brahman. Devotion or service is classed under fruitive work, which is assigned a lower position than empiric knowledge. The process of advance to the goal of complete unification with the One, according to this school, is devotion (blind faith rendering possible utilitarian work of a low order) (Bhakti?) leading to work of a higher order (Karma), which, in its turn, leads up to empiric knowledge of the uselessness of all knowledge and all activity terminating in perfect absorption into the One.
Haridas is neither a pessimist nor an optimist. He is an absolutist. He is convinced that the theory of complete absorption into the One is logically unsound and opposed to the real teaching of the Scriptures. The alternatives of enjoyment and abstention from enjoyment exhaust, indeed, the possibilities of function of the mind and body; but they have no application to the soul who is located beyond the reach of body and mind. The soul is substantially different from the mind and body. The soul is the substantive reality while the mind is only his perverted reflection in the mirror of limited existence. The mind is the material shadow, so to say, of the soul who is the spiritual substance. The mind is a material phenomenon galvanised into the appearance of self-consciousness by the impulse communicated to it by the deluded soul. Mind is the shadow of the perverse soul mirrored in matter. This description is, and can be, but an imperfect and misleading analogy of the relationship that actually subsists between mind and soul. The shadow of the material substance is not categorically different from the substance itself, both of them being material phenomena. The shadow of the soul in this case is, however, categorically different from the soul, being a material phenomenon pure and simple. The soul in his spiritual or natural condition is categorically different from material phenomena. The soul is self-conscious itself. There can be no such thing as ignorance in the soul. There can be no such thing as genuine self-consciousness in the mind which is non-soul. The apparent self-consciousness of the mind is really a state of complete ignorance which is given its shape and color by the qualities of matter: grossness, limitation, perishability, changeableness, etc. These unwholesome traits are non-existent and impossible in the soul.
The soul is capable of forgetting his real nature, mistaking himself to be a material entity. The soul is not above one possible weakness, willful rebellion against the Truth. It is a real blunder on the part of the soul to choose to be a rebel. But the soul is perfectly free to refuse to serve the Truth, i.e., Godhead. He thereby proves deliberately false to his own substantive nature, because it is the constituent function of the soul, in his natural state of perfect spiritual existence, to be the exclusive servant of the Truth. The soul who rebels against Godhead is punished by his exile to the phenomenal world and by incarceration in the double material case of mind and body. This point will be further elucidated later.
Fruitive work and empiric knowledge are functions of the mind and, therefore, purely material phenomena. By means of such work and knowledge the deluded soul cannot realise his natural function for the plain reason that they are not his proper function at all. By means of work and knowledge the soul only moves in a vicious circle of material existence which is seemingly conscious but is really one of absolute ignorance. This is the explanation why, by means of the undifferentiated knowledge of the Brahman, freedom from the fetters of work and knowledge of this anomalous existence can be attained by crores of years of endeavour. This is what Gopal says. The delay is, however, not due to the complexity of the process, as he supposes it to be. So long as a person continues to suppose that an impersonal all-pervasive Entity is the goal of knowledge one is not yet freed from the real ignorance of his spiritual function. This must be so, because Truth is not impersonal.
Neither is Truth a person in the sense in which the mentalists, including Shankara, apparently want us to understand the term. Spiritual personality is categorically different from the distorted empiric notion of the same. Until the nature of the Personality of the Truth is properly grasped, one continues in the deluded state which is also the state of limitation (bondage). Therefore Gopal Chakravarti is right, although he is unaware of it, in holding that the chance of emancipation of a person who has attained to the notion of Godhead as an impersonal and inactive, although all-pervasive and transcendental, Entity, is very slight. Gopal does not understand that his ideal person is also necessarily no less deluded than himself if he supposes his condition to be the goal.
The interpretation of the text relied upon by Gopal Chakravarti, said Thakur Haridas, is that of a person who does not understand the Nature of the Name by reason of his having no access to Him. The deluded person is no longer consciously contradicting himself and is not, therefore, insincere in the sense of being double-tongued. He is certainly to be pitied. Neither can his conduct be regarded as sincere inasmuch as it is opposed to his real nature of which he only happens to be ignorant by his own conscious perversity. The empiric casuist who affects to believe in the impersonal nature of the Truth is only pushing his conscious perversity of the choice of untruth to its logical conclusion. If the deliberate error is not ignored his conduct cannot be regarded as consistent, being altogether untrue .
Gopal Chakravarti's source of error lay deeper than the plane on which he stood and was, therefore, naturally incomprehensible to him in his condition of cultured perversity. The Vaishnavas, who alone understand the real cause of the worldly ailment, alone possess the true spirit of toleration. Thakur Haridas showed his toleration of the rank atheism of deluded Gopal Chakravarti by abstaining from disturbing him further. This toleration really means the withdrawal of his causeless, apparently aggressive, mercy from a deluded soul whose opposition to Godhead is likely to be increased by the process. It is the greatest possible misfortune that can befall a conditioned soul to miss the special mercy of the Vaishnava by his successful opposition to the Truth. The apparent intolerance of a Vaishnava is as helpful to a person as his tolerance of evil. The Vaishnava never cooperates with the offending soul in his sinful activities. He does not agree to be false to himself and his eternal Master to please the confirmed apostate. Such sympathetic toleration of evil is a grave offence against the Truth notwithstanding the significant fact that it alone is relished by the pantheistic school of the pseudo-Vedantists.
The point reached marks almost the limit of rational discussion toward the spiritual issue which is open to the empiricist. He cannot proceed further without discarding the method of empiricism by giving up completely the process of his unaided effort. It was not possible for Gopal Chakravarti to retrace his steps by any other method. That he was not at all prepared for this is proved by his offensive conduct towards Thakur Haridas who had, therefore, no other alternative but to leave him to the mercies of Maya. But the actual good will of Haridas towards the offender bore its fruit in the swift punishment, that could be intelligible to the sufferer himself, that smote him in the form of leprosy. Gopal was, thereby, afforded an excellent opportunity of revising his impersonal doctrine. But he was of course free to avail of it or not.
The Godless attitude is an attitude of absolute confidence in one's own judgment and power. The atheist is not at all disposed to submit to another in any circumstances. He has to be compelled to submit to non-God because he can consistently submit only to compelling force. Such submission alone is appreciated in the state of sin and ignorance which is a radically false position and necessarily entails constant irrational conduct on a really rational being unnaturally disposed to accept the same through the no less unnatural fear of punishment.
The Holy Name of Godhead is not a thing of this world. The Name of Godhead is identical with Godhead Himself. The Godhead appears in this world in the Form of the Name on the lips of His pure devotees. He appears as the transcendental Sound on the spiritual lips of the soul in the state of grace.
The Name of Godhead appearing on the lips of a pure devotee as the Transcendental Sound, is perceptible as such only to the spiritual ear. These statements are likely to appear absurd and puerile to the dogmatic impersonalist. Can the soul, he will persist to ask, have lips and ears? Can the soul have senses? But—can the empiricist know, even if he have?
The transcendentalists maintain that the soul has an infinity of senses of which the physical senses are a perverted reflection. There cannot even be the shadow of existence of the physical senses if there were no substantive spiritual senses. But there are also the spiritual senses themselves as distinct from but not unrelated to their corresponding shadowy reflections in this phenomenal world. This is involved in the very definition of the Absolute. The spiritual sense is categorically different from the physical sense. The spiritual senses are perfect and self-conscious, there being no interval or barrier of time or space between the sense and its possessor. The spiritual body is indivisible and perfectly self-conscious in every part and is identical with the owner of the body. All this is incomprehensible to us although it is perfectly consistent with the fundamental principles of indivisible substantive existence, that are also acceptable to the empiricist. The empiricist, although he may sometimes, under pressure of his own logic, seem to agree with the conclusions of transcendentalism, finds it impossible to adopt them in practice. The absolute conduct is not possible on the mundane plane to which he finds himself strictly confined by his own postulates backed by the real Deluding Potency.
If one is merely disposed to regard any sound as transcendental, such wish alone will not make the sound of his choice to become really transcendental. Similarly, if a person is disposed to regard a transcendental Sound as an occurrence of the mundane atmosphere such attitude will not also affect the subjective nature of the transcendental Sound. There is real difference between the transcendental Sound and mundane sound. The transcendental Sound is identical with the object denoted by the sound. The mundane sound is separated from the object denoted by it by the intervals of time and space. To hear the mundane sound of the name of a Lion is not the same thing as to see the beast. On the spiritual plane the very word 'Lion' is identical with the animal. The animal is fully realisable by and in the hearing of his name. Whereas the real nature of the mundane animal, denoted by the mundane sound, ever remains a thing unknown.
The Name of Krishna is identical with Godhead. But the Name of Krishna does not manifest Himself on mundane lips nor to the mundane ear. The Name Krishna appears in His Form of the Transcendental Sound on the spiritual lips of His devotees and is heard by the spiritual ear of the submissive soul by the Grace of Krishna. The Name Krishna is identical with the Possessor of the Name. The Name Krishna appears to the listening ear, as He is, only by degrees. As soon as the dormant soul catches the first faint reflection of His Light he is at once completely free from the bondage of ignorance and sin. It is the Name Who comes of His Own accord to our fettered soul. The bound jiva, or living entity, has no access to the Presence of Krishna on his own initiative. Krishna's Approach is heralded by the harbinger of Light whose first glimmerings on their appearance put an end to all misconception regarding the categorical difference between light and darkness .
Unless and until the soul becomes aware of the true nature of spiritual existence by being so enlightened by the Source of all consciousness, he is sure to mistake the mind for his real self and the mental function as the only knowledge. If at this stage he does not wilfully shut his eyes but keeps them turned towards the growing Light he gradually and in due course obtains the sight of the concrete Source of all light. This is the mode of Appearance of the Holy Name. The sight of Krishna is alone capable of inspiring love for Krishna. This the position of Thakur Haridas as explained by himself to the Pandits who were in assembly at the house of the Mazumdars.
Thakur Haridas mercifully explains that the different concrete forms of the so-called 'liberation' concocted by the mentalists as their unknowable summum-bonum are the outcome of the desire for sensuous gratification. If one could live in the happy realms of Krishna described in the Scriptures, the empiricist supposes that such a person should be enabled to enjoy more good things than are available on the Earth if his condition is really worth having. The same desire for extended opportunities of sensuous enjoyment happens also to be the real motive behind the formulation of the other 'forms' of the empiricist's 'saved' existence. The grossness of the ideal of liberation is fully unmasked when one is told that the salvationist's "final" form is to become the equal of Godhead by merging with the Object of his worship!
It is to this unnatural and profane position that the unchecked speculations of the mentalists are logically bound to lead in the long run. Thakur Haridas ascribes the grossness of the ideal to the attitude of the empiric thinker, the insatiable desire for sensuous pleasure.
The desire to enjoy is categorically different from, and wholly incompatible with, the desire to serve, to love. If one feels a real desire to serve Krishna he would lose all taste for his own enjoyment. All impurity, unwholesomeness and misery are fortunately and mercifully ordained by the Lord as the inevitable consequence of the insatiable desire for selfish enjoyment. But the soul who turns away from immediate enjoyment by considerations of greater prospective enjoyment in the sequel, cannot also for that very reason realise the condition of loving devotion to the Feet of the Lord, however strongly impressed he may profess to be of the desirability of such a state. He is, no doubt, free to think that he really desires it; but at the same time he is wholly incapable of ever attaining to it by such desire. But, says Thakur Haridas, he may nevertheless attain to love for Krishna by the Chanting of the Holy Name, by the Grace of the Holy Name Himself. This is the special Dispensation for the Age which is so irremediably speculative; and there is no other way open to this Age for attaining to the loving service of Krishna.
Haridas refers to the texts of the Scriptures to prove the truth of his statements. This is the only proper use of the Shastras. The Shastras bear witness to the Truth of the realisations of all really pure souls.
There is one other fact which is worthy of our notice. The Pandits of the learned assembly, headed by Hiranya Mazumdar, the master of the house, took the side of Thakur Haridas. They not only strongly censured the conduct of Gopal Chakravarti in the open assembly but Hiranya Mazumdar thought it his duty to renounce all further connection with a Brahmana who could be guilty of an act of discourtesy to the devotee of Godhead. Nevertheless the Pandits and Mazumdar himself felt themselves involved in the sin of Gopal Chakravarti by the unhappy circumstance of their having had to hear most reluctantly the blasphemous words uttered by Gopal in their presence. For this sin the only expiation, prescribed by the Shastras, was to seek in all humility the pardon of Thakur Haridas, not for the offender, but for themselves. This is not mere courtesy, but an unavoidable necessity if one really wants to serve the Truth. Any association, deliberate or accidental, with untruth tends to obscure our vision of the Truth, Who is, indeed, a very Jealous Master. Those who are disposed to serve the Truth with causeless, loving devotion, throw to the winds all considerations of ignorant propriety or ignorant justice and are never satisfied by serving the Truth by all their senses at all times and in all circumstances. By the grace of Thakur Haridas this instinct of loving devotion actually manifested itself in the conduct of those who had listened with faith to the Absolute Truth from his pure lips.
Sri Raghunathdas Goswami was a child at this time. He used to visit the Thakur in his hut during his stay at Chandpur. The boy was the fortunate recipient of the mercy of Thakur Haridas. This is considered by Sri Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami as the real cause of Raghunath Das's subsequent unique devotion to the Feet of Sri Chaitanya. The mercy of a sadhu acts equally on all persons, irrespective of age, sex or condition—all of whom have an equal chance of being benefited by associating with a real sadhu. The interests of the soul are not capable of being adversely affected by any worldly conditions. The boy's soul has no defect of immaturity any more than that of an old man the advantage of maturity. Such maturity or immaturity has no relevancy in one's associating with a sadhu. The boy's soul, equally with the soul of the old man, may or may not be disposed to listen to the words of a sadhu for the genuine purpose of acting up to the same. It is as necessary for a child to associate with a sadhu as for an adult; but in neither case can one be sure of obtaining the mercy of the sadhu with whom he may choose to associate. The sadhu is kind to one who is really inclined to serve Godhead. It is the function of a sadhu to foster one's inclination for the service of the Lord by means of his conduct and words. The articulated sound is, however, the sadhu's unambiguous weapon to fight all un-Godliness. It should puzzle the muddled brain of the whole race of self-conceited empiricists to understand why and how the sadhu need have no other work except talking about almost anything to whom he likes. Any person who is spoken to by a sadhu, even for the tiny space of a second, has every chance of attaining the real object of life which is unattainable by infinite endeavour by any other method. Nay, it is our duty to listen to a real sadhu, if we are fortunate enough to meet him, in preference to all other duties, which are not only of secondary importance, but are a positive obstruction on the path of the highest and only good. End—Part III
Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, beyond Whom nothing exists and before Whom nothing is equal. Being and non-being, void and variety rest in Him and He is the Possessor of all opulences: wealth, fame, beauty, knowledge, strength and renunciation. He is the Goal of all seeking, the Maintainer of all existences, the well-wishing Friend to all living entities. And His loving Service is the highest state of bliss.
by Damodara das
The Earth was green and abundant
Damodara das Adhikary (Dan Clark)
by Brahmananda das Brahmachary
A girl who had been coming to Kirtan wants to be initiated 30 minutes before Swamiji is to leave for the airport. He says Yes, so while all the devotees are rushing about, making last minute preparations, Swamiji sits on his white sheet in his room, chanting the Lord's Names on her beads, bringing another soul Back to Godhead, fulfilling his Master's mission up to the last minute, serving Krishna always.
He emerges from His apartment, smiling, a transcendental mother who has just delivered another child into eternal life. As he has done so many times before, he descends the stairs, taking each step gracefully, and sweeps across the courtyard—a young bride going to join her beloved. Entering the temple, before the painting of Guru Maharaj he offers his obeisances, prostrating himself on the floor, humbly, as an atom of His Lotus Feet. And, walking to the waiting taxi, he embraces Achyutananda, and then Gargamuni, who stoops to touch his forehead to the pavement.
Some devotees have already left by subway, and some by our chariot, and some ride with him in the taxi. Brahmananda sits in the front crying, and Swamiji reaches over and slaps him on the back—a father giving his loving son support, a pal, and Rayrama only rivets his eyes to Swami, ever-attentive, and Kirtanananda, sparkling, sits beside the most beautiful man in the world.
Swami says in the taxi, "There is no question of separation. The sound vibration fixes us up together, even though the material body may not be there. What do we care for this material body? Just go on chanting HARE KRISHNA, and we will be packed up together. You will be chanting here, and I will be chanting there, and this vibration will circulate around this planet."
And Swamiji says, "I may be going, but Guru Maharaj and Bhaktivinode are there. I have asked them to kindly take care of all of you, my transcendental children. The grandfather always takes care of the children much better than the father. Do not fear."
And Swamiji says, "I think this is what Krishna desires. I have come to you, but now in this old age I may be going there to Vrindaban, and you may be coming there to me and be trained up, and we will spread this movement all over the world. Rayrama—you will go to England. Brahmananda—you want to go to Japan or Russia? That's all right. "
And Swamiji says, "When Kirtanananda sees Vrindaban, he will not be able to understand how I could have left that place to come to this place. It is so nice. There are no motor cars there like here, rushing Whoosh! Whoosh! and smelling. Only there is HARE KRISHNA. Everybody, always chanting. Thousands and thousands of temples. I will show you, Kirtanananda. We will walk all about there, and I will show you."
And Swamiji says, "I can understand you feeling separation. I am feeling for my Guru Maharaj."
As the cab pulls up to the terminal, the chariot also pulls up behind it, and devotees pour out, chanting, cymbals clashing, chanting HARE KRISHNA HARE RAMA, into the Air India terminal. And the ticket man runs out from behind his protective counter and demands excitedly, "What is the meaning of this?" "We want to ride in your airplane," one devotee says. "Oh, yes, yes. I see," says the man. "Air India?" asks Swamiji. "El-Al?" says the man, misunderstanding, thinking the robed Brahmacharys to be Arabs of some kind. "El-Al is over ..." "No, Air India. We want to go to India." "Oh, yes, yes. I see."
And Kirtanananda stands at the counter, while Swamiji sits in a nearby chair chanting; dispatching all the paper business, Kirtanananda a beautiful young American Brahmachary in his black suit and red tie and his budding flag. He gives the man his passport, and the man looks at the identification picture taken two years ago of a bearded, run-down youth and now at this beautiful Brahmachary standing before him. "Are you sure you are Keith Gordon Ham?" "That was taken before I met the Swami. I have changed." "Yes, yes. I see."
Upstairs we all go to the lounge. The milling people spread apart, and Swamiji sits in a chair, and all his disciples nestle together at His feet. "Kirtanananda, why not play the record? They will enjoy." And Swamiji sits and looks at all the awe-struck people and smiles his unforgettable, oceanic smile. So the portable phonograph is set up and HARE KRISHNA, HARE RAMA is vibrated, filling what was a lounge with Sat-Chit-Ananda. The devotees dance and sing, and Swamiji, enthroned, just smiles contentedly.
When the record ends, Hansaduta asks, "Should we collect?" "Why not?" says Swamiji. So Hansaduta jumps up and says, "Our mission is to spread Krishna Consciousness. We have a temple in New York. We are always badly in need of money. Please help us." And a solitary soldier steps foward and offers Hansaduta his hat, so Hansaduta goes around to all the people that are waiting, standing by the bar, drinking and smoking intoxicants, killing both time and themselves, and allows them to benefit by sacrificing for God's service, and the soldier's hat becomes filled with dollars and coins.
And Swamiji says, "Our traveling is very auspiciously beginning. We had a nice Kirtan, and we had a nice collection. It is all Krishna's Mercy." And a young airport exec-on-the-move rushes over and says that collections are not allowed in the terminal, while the bar's cash register rings. "But you are collecting," says Brahmananda. "Yes, this is the Age of Kali," says Swami.
The other side of the record is played, and the devotees cry and cry. Swamiji leans over and looks into Goursundar's pained eyes and says, "Everything all right?" in the way that only Swamiji can say it, which automatically makes everything all right. And Swamiji turns to admire steadfast Rupanuga. "You look just like Rupa Goswami. Very beautiful." "Himavati, you must come to Vrindaban and carry a water pot on your head like those Indian girls there in the picture. Can you learn? That will be nice. Nice young village girls." "You look beautiful, Swamiji," says Brahmananda. "Oh? No trace of disease?" asks Swamiji. "No, no. You're beautiful. Kirtan makes it go away." "That's all right." And then Swamiji says, "When Vivekananda came to this country his picture was taken with so many old ladies. I have seen it circulated in India." And Swamiji smiles knowingly.
Suddenly the time arrives for Swamiji to leave. The disciples prostrate themselves, declaring their obeisances. Swamiji arises and pats them on the head—a mother blessing her brood. Swamiji goes to silent and sad Jadurani and clasps her chin with his kind hand. "You are doing very nicely. You go on doing your painting work. It is a great service you are doing. Krishna will be pleased." Then he glides out the door, and the devotees swarm after him like protective drone bees following their queen. The devotees try to get past the gate and go with their Master, but the guard prevents them. Adwaita sees a door that promises the observation deck, but which is barred by a shiny steel turnstile, demanding a dime. The devotees duck under and jump over the gate, like an army storming a barricade.
Outside, a gentle rain is washing the airfield, and the devotees race across the wet deck; and there, below, are Swamiji and Kirtanananda walking across the field! The devotees scream KRISHNA! KRISHNA! Swamiji turns and waves and then climbs the movable stairway; on the top he turns and uplifts his arms, pausing for a long moment, blessing his transcendental children, standing there, majestic, having come to this iron land and sown the seed of HARE KRISHNA, a space-age Narada Muni, saffroned and beautiful—Gouranga!
Our Master, our Friend, our Father, our Mother, our Child, our Sweetheart is gone! The devotees cry frantically; they can only utter HARE KRISHNA! A pack of madmen, not caring for anything. Loving, chanting, increasing the ocean of transcendental bliss; jumping up and down, gorging themselves with the taste of the full nectar which is their only desire. Bhaktas, the greatest of all yogis. And out pops Kirtanananda from inside the plane onto the platform, and he stands there and dances to HARE KRISHNA—dances while all around him are the whines of the great airliners and the scurry of the attendent vehicles and the scampering ground crews; the flashing lights and the evening rain. Dancing, arms uplifted, beseeching the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the devotees dance with him, their Prabhu, tears of Love decorating their eyes, flowing in torrents, all of us in ecstasy. A stewardess reaches out of the plane and taps Kirtanananda on the shoulder several times before he realizes it, and he dances into the plane, and the plane is sealed.
The motors whine, the tail flaps move, the lights flash, and the devotees scream and cry, Damodar growling out HARE KRISHNA, HARE RAMA, and Adwaita clashing his cymbals wildly like a machine running out of control. The devotees pull back as the exhaust blasts out from the plane, but Jadurani stays there, the smoke and the gas and the heat singeing her face; dancing, choking HARE KRISHNA, HARE RAMA. With a great roar the airliner moves forward, and the devotees rush to the railing and then run down the deck, screaming KRISHNA! KRISHNA! as the plane moves away from its roost into the night, and becomes only a distant light.
The devotees wait and watch. It has stopped raining. Govinda says that raindrops are the tears that the Gopis are shedding for their Krishna, and we can understand that. The devotees wait and wait, but they cannot see the plane. Their eyes are not able to see it, but they know it is there. And the devotees wait and watch until one devotee says Let's go back, and they walk off reluctantly, looking behind, trying to see but not being able to see. And the next morning at Kirtan Brahmananda reads:
I do not know anyone except Krishna as my Lord, and He shall remain as such even if He handles me roughly in His embrace; or He may make me broken-hearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything, but He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally.
The Swami Responds
Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,
I've read that your Krishna Consciousness is a non-sectarian science of the soul. How is it, then, that you follow some particular concept of God—Krishna rather than a more universal concept, such as the One, or the All-Pervading Light? I like your movement very much, but I do feel this to be a clear contradiction in your philosophy. Yours truly,
My dear Mr. Darcy,
Thank you for your interest, and for your question also. I assure you that Krishna is not a concept: He is the Supreme, Original Person. Everything that exists is His energy, and He is the sole Energetic. He pervades His energy because He has complete and limitless control over it. All that exists, then, is of Him, from Him, possessed, pervaded and maintained by Him—therefore He is the One, All-Pervading, and the Resting Ground of the Universes. But He is more even than this. He is thus held to be an Individual: the Whole is more than the sum of the parts. This omnipotence is called the Lord's simultaneously one and different Nature.
I have always read that self-realization can only be attained by cutting oneself off from human society. Do you agree with this? Thank you,
Dear Mr. Penne,
No, I don't agree. In India also this was long held to be true but my Spiritual Master, Sri Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati taught that one can use the implements of modern civilization for the service of the Lord, and thus attain to the highest perfection. This was his great contribution. In the Bhagavad Gita, as well, Lord Sri Krishna says that he who preaches the message of God to his fellow men is the most dear devotee (Chaps. XVIII, verse 68). One must, of course, be among one's fellow men in order to do this.
Is Krishna really Nirvana?
Dear Mr. Guttenroth,
Nirvana is the negation of material life; Krishna is the positive joy of spiritual existence.
Your philosophy states that the soul or Self is eternal, and that God, the Supreme Self, is also eternal. If this is so, then how is God to be considered the Creator ?
Dear Miss Welch,
Creator means the Source, and creation means the emanation from that Source. The Creator and the creation are both eternal—but the creation depends upon the Creator, and not vice versa. It is like the sun and the sunlight. They are always together, but the sun is supreme and independent, while the sunlight is subordinate. Still, they are not separable, as we are eternally inseparable from God.
Ever your well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
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ESSAYS BY SWAMI A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA
On Chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare: These sixteen words, comprising in themselves the essence of Krishna Consciousness, have been sung by the holy men of India since time immemorial. Today, the Maha, or Hare Krishna, Mantra has been found on the lips of the leaders of the new generation movements in East and West alike; it has been called the "Hippie anthem;" and it has been explained endlessly—and mostly inaccurately. Here, Swami Bhaktivedanta, who first delivered the chant to the West, explains the real meaning and purpose of the Hare Krishna Mantra. $.25
Essence of the Vedas:
Bhagavad Gita As It Is
Widely recognized as the compendium of all Vedic wisdom, the Bhagavad Gita is much read but little understood. Here the Swami—a devotee of Lord Sri Krishna in the line of disciplic succession from Arjuna—offers a classic introduction to this sublime Scripture, and reveals the true meaning of Lord Krishna's Appearance in this world. $.50
In "Who Is Crazy?" and "Krishna the Reservoir of Pleasure," the Swami explains the illusion of materialism, and the process of acquiring true vision, unconditioned by the effects of material Nature. And, too, he offers the guidelines for life in perpetual bliss—total samadhi—Krishna Consciousness. $.50
In order to establish the principles of Devotional Service in this Age of Discord, the Lord appeared upon the Earth near the close of the Fifteenth Century, in the Form of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Chaitanya displayed in Himself the perfection of Krishna Consciousness, and it was He Who urged the singing of the Holy Names of God as the single most effective means for the development of spiritual life in modern times. Because He is a complete incarnation of the Supreme Godhead, Krishna, He is known as Krishna Chaitanya. Sri Nityananda Prabhu is the direct manifestation of the Lord, His eternal Companion, sometimes known as Balarama-Nityananda. Together, these Two spread the Samkirtan movement throughout India, and today its momentum continues, until, as Lord Chaitanya predicted, every city, farm and village of the world will ring with the sound of God's praises.