This is undoubtedly the most naive editorial you will read about the rioting at Columbia University:
Newsweek (May 6) reported: "In the office of [Columbia President] Kirk some students ... broke into his stock of liquor and cigars ..." But are they really to blame for imitating their seniors? If the foremost person of such a great university is engaged in smoking and drinking, it is hardly to be wondered at that his students tend toward licentiousness and disrespect. A teacher ought to be a paragon of the virtues he extolls, or at least ardent in his efforts. (And, what's more, he ought to be extolling virtue.) When he is himself immoral (and drinking liquor is every bit as immoral as smoking marijuana), then he can hardly be expected to elevate those under his charge.
The present state of chaos in education throughout the world is no more than the natural result of the aims (or, rather, aimlessness) of the modern educational system. And this is no more than a reflection of the aimlessness of today's civilization. On paper, in text books, it would seem that Mankind has just about reached the penultimate peak of knowledge, pleasure, comfort, security and power that he has ever known throughout countless millennia of evolutionary existence. And what we may call the older generation (those who lived through the Depression and fought the Second World War) are certain that this is so. Only the young, who are naive enough to wonder why their elders don't live up to the pretty ideals they preach, and why their lives are actually wretched and unhappy, seem to recognize the facts.
For although modern civilization is a boom on paper, it's a bust in practical terms. Even the naked primitives of the forest and desert are happier than modern civilized man, and it would be difficult to find an era anywhere in history as full of discontent as this one. Life carried on simply for the unlimited gratification of material and temporary senses is not worth living, and has no capacity to satisfy the intelligent human being. Without a transcendental purpose—without a direction toward final answers, toward the eternal and the Absolute—the human mission must always go unfulfilled, and human desire must always stand unsatiated and restless. Life not devoted to eternal fulfillment can only be devoted to death as its ultimate goal.
Civilization must serve the higher purposes of human life if it is not to decline into bestiality. And education must be made to lead the young members of society upward toward perfection in self-knowledge—in other words, toward the confrontation with, and love of, God. Unless these conditions are met and accounted for—unless the schools can be elevated above the standard of factories for producing factory workers—both education and civilization will continue to degenerate to the lowest stages of disorder, ineffectiveness and hopelessness.
And, above all, the men who govern and control education ought at least to be required to keep their personal lives free of vice and corruption, and should themselves be engaged in the higher pursuits of human consciousness. Or is there a double standard for students and teachers? Or are we so debased today that we don't expect austerity from those who claim the respect and hold the positions of austere men? Or is the "advancement" of the human condition just an advertising slogan?
The aimlessness of materialistic civilization is again nicely demonstrated in the rising crime rate so much in today's headlines in the United States. It seems never to occur to those who worry about these things that, instead of spending millions more on police to crush, and settlement houses to palliate, they might better direct their energies toward making more sensible laws.
It is the Law that makes criminals by defining what is right and what is wrong, what is legal and illegal. The present abominable state of near-chaos and utter disrespect for law and order is the result of stupid, impractical statutes created by businessmen for the sake of keeping and evolving nothing more than economic prosperity. But human life is meant for more than amassing bank balances, drinking Coke and staring dumbly at a television screen. Human life must target its energies upon the loving service of God if it is to be rewarding and happy. And if the laws of society disregard the Supreme Lord and the principles of religion, and ignore this single valid aim of civilization, then they can never be practical or successful.
Man cannot live as a dot on a statistical chart. Man cannot live as a mere economic unit, acting the role of an ant in a hill. Unless the deeper, more genuine and, ultimately, far more pressing need of man—the need to approach and know God, the Absolute Truth—can be fulfilled, then society will not be stable. And any attempt to regulate society simply for the sake of good business, though it may seem practical, will never work.
A note on yogis:
Those who are engaged in spending sums of money for Yoga lessons, private mantras, meditation courses and the like should stop at least once a day and ask themselves what it's all about. What is Yoga? What is its goal? If you don't know, then you must not know what you're doing, or what you're paying for.
The real Yoga system, as it comes down to us from the sages of ancient India, was meant to lead the practitioner to the stage of Samadhi, or trance, the mind having been fixed upon God in the Form of Four-Armed Narayana within the heart. The aim is to break all attachment with the bodily concept of life, and to identify oneself correctly as a pure, spiritual living entity, rather than as a product of material Nature. This is self-knowledge, or self-realization. It is a very difficult stage to attain, and impossible for one whose mind is concentrated on losing weight, retaining or increasing virility, achieving good health, or developing some occult powers.
At one time, the men of the Western world made their ways to the East—some in order to loot it, some to preach religion there. Now the trend seems to be reversed, but modern values being what they are, it's difficult to know the exploiters from the missionaries. Before paying out hard-earned money or giving away precious time, be discriminating, and examine what you're going into. If the goal is not pure consciousness, Krishna or God Consciousness, then it is not Yoga, but nonsense.
This man has changed the history of the world. Do you know him?
He's A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the Acharya (Holy Teacher) from India, who came to the U. S. in 1965 and touched off a major revolution.
The Swami's revolution affects not the external things of the world. It strikes at the very root of being—at consciousness. He has called his movement Krishna Consciousness.
You owe it to yourself to know what A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami is saying to the people of America and India. These are his writings:
ESSENCE OF THE VEDAS: BHAGAVAD GITA AS IT IS
Every serious student of Yoga, Transcendental Meditation and the mystic sciences of the Orient looks to the Bhagavad Gita as the single imperative item on his bookshelf. Find out what the Swami, whose translation of the Gita will be published by Macmillan Co. in October, 1968, has to say about this Scripture and Its immortal, urgent message. price: 50c
ON CHANTING THE HARE KRISHNA MANTRA
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 always inaccurately. Here the Swami, who first delivered the chant to the West, explains the real meaning and purpose of the Hare Krishna Mantra. price: 25c
Sanity, self, society—and how to perfect them. Mantra Yoga, the scientific writings of the great Hindu mystics, and the eternal pleasure principle. price: 50c
The Battle of Kuruksetra
Modern historians differ as to the age of the various Vedic Scriptures, but the Scriptures themselves seem to agree that they were formally compiled five thousand years ago. Vyasadeva, the greatest of great sages, took the vast and voluminous teachings of the Absolute, which had been handed down by word of mouth since time beyond measure, and committed everything to writing for the benefit of modern man. It is on this literature that the Hindu religions of later times have been based. One of the more important of the works thus handed down to us is the Mahabharata, the chronicle of the last ages of Earth up to the commencement of the present era, called Kali Yuga, or the Age of Dissension.
The most significant event in the previous age was the Appearance of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, upon this planet, and the display by Him of His eternal Qualities, Pastimes, and Paraphernalia. Among His other acts, the Lord took part in the Kurukshetra War as Charioteer for His beloved friend Arjuna, and it is engaged in this activity that He is pictured on this month's cover.
Unwilling to take the part of an active combattant, Sri Krishna offered to lend His army to one side in the conflict, and His Personal friendship to the other. Arjuna's enemies chose God's energy, while the devoted Bowman chose God's friendship. This is a lesson to Mankind, one he seems never to comprehend: for it was Arjuna who triumphed at Kurukshetra, after eighteen days of bloody fighting. Thus the great devotee broke the power of the atheist King Duryodhana, and established the just reign of his own brother, Yudhisthira.
Yudhisthira's nephew, Maharaj Parikshit, was the last ruler of this world before the onset of Kali Yuga. In a sense, the Battle of Kurukshetra marked the real ending of Dwapara Yuga, the Middle Age, though the virtues of both Yudhisthira and his nephew staved off the darkness for some time.
More important than the Battle or the flux of the Ages of Earth, however, is the transcendental message of love, devotion, peace and supreme glory which is revealed in the great dialog between Krishna and Arjuna which took place just before the onset of the fighting. This dialog is called The Bhagavad Gita. This is the science of the Eternal, which the Lord chose to deliver in this fashion at Kurukshetra, and one who studies this science, like Arjuna, will know "opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality," and will stand beyond the clutches of Death. And, again like Arjuna, the devotee by his love can engage the Supreme Lord to steer him through all danger.
The Saint Who Wasn't
by Rayarama Das
SIDDHARTHA, a novel by Hermann Hesse; 153 pps; New Directions Books, $1.15.
SIDDHARTHA could only have been written by a European scholar, and even though the setting is India, circa the start of the 5th Century B. C., and the characters are all Indians and, in fact, even though the Message and Meaning of the book are suposed to be timeless and without designation—every line and page seems to crackle with European Heaven, European Hell, European misconceptions about both Vedic doctrine and Hindu everyday life, and above all, European cynicism regarding "reality."
To begin with, Hermann Hesse's conception of the Hindu era in which his characters live is straight from an encyclopedia. There are, it would seem, two streams of religious or philosophical thought through which Siddhartha wades during his lifetime: one is the polytheism of his family and the established Brahminical order; the other is the impersonal "merging" into the Absolute, dear to the ascetics. There is never a trace of Vaishnavism in SIDDHARTHA the book, nor the least tendency toward worship of one Supreme Being within the heart of Siddhartha the character. This is no small omission, for we must understand that Vaishnavism—the Devotional Service of God—has always been and remains even today the mainstream of Vedic thought.
Except for scholars. The scholars have taken Sankaracharya as the greatest thinker in Vedic history, and they have developed and lauded his theories regarding the impersonal, immutable, undifferentiated nature of the Absolute with such fervor, that the people of the West—who are, after all, at the mercy of the scholarly sect—have come to believe that Sri Sankara's teaching is THE Hindu philosophy. Other than the sublime impersonal, the scholars see only a bewildering pantheon of "many gods," which seems to be such an annoyance to them that they've never bothered to look into that "pantheon" very seriously or open-mindedly.
Beginning with F. Max Muller, and even going back before him, the prejudices and arrogances of the narrowly scholastic community have filtered out the devotional aspects of Vedic culture in bringing the Sacred texts of India to the West. And so it isn't surprising that Hermann Hesse—who clearly is an armchair mystic—should seemingly know nothing of the monotheistic sects which form the real living core of Hindu philosophy; and it's also not surprising that God the Person barely gets a nod in Hesse's book. This is, however, a meter of the superficiality of the man's "search" for Truth—and the search of Siddhartha and the search of Siddhartha's creator can hardly be separated. Otherwise, there would be no scope in a magazine of philosophy for the review of a novel. We aren't interested here in aesthetics, style, or even imagery. We're simply anxious to approach the Truth, the Absolute.
Why review SIDDHARTHA at all, then? The reason is that the book has had a tremendous influence upon people young and old—but especially young—who are themselves in search of Truth, or at least of something better than hard-rock, aimless materialism. For Siddhartha the character is a searcher, a discontent, a wanderer, always anxious to find something final—peace. (And isn't that our old friend European War-Weariness dominating Siddhartha's thoughts? Maybe not. We all do want peace, some way or other.) And in this sense Siddhartha is very much representative of modern man, and, far more, of modern youth.
Yet the book SIDDHARTHA is not written as a probe, but rather as a dogma. The dogma? Reject all dogmas. And in this SIDDHARTHA the book fails to fulfill any meaningful purpose in human society, and fails furthermore in living up to the faith of those who may read it with the hope of finding a direction there for themselves. For although, in his wanderings, Siddhartha studies with forest mendicants, and encounters none other than Lord Buddha Himself, he rejects them all for a life of sin. The moral here may escape you, but that's only the half of it. The other half is that the author himself never really lets us in on what Lord Buddha is teaching. There's a great deal of talk about how He looks—holy fingers, holy hands, etc.—but hardly more than the most superficial glance at His doctrine. The same with the forest mendicants. Their teachings are refuted, but never examined. How they look we are told, and also how they suffer, but not what they believe in.
The real principle of spiritual understanding—like the pursuit, practically speaking, of any branch of knowledge—is to hear the teachings of a realized soul, an expert. Knowledge is acquired by hearing. To walk out of a classroom because a teacher doesn't appear to be knowledgeable would be an act of awful folly. And to accept or reject spiritual knowledge because someone looks "holy," or doesn't, is also foolish. Yet this is as far as Hermann Hesse lets us go in understanding any philosophy but his own. Even the conversation between Siddhartha and Gotama Buddha is one-sided, and all the Buddha really gets to say is to watch out against being too clever. At least He looks perfect.
The plot of the book is simple if perplexing: Siddhartha has a restless impulse to fulfill himself, and, feeling that he's exhausted the store of knowledge that his father and home-town teachers can give him, he sets off into the forest with a band of wandering ascetics. After some time, this life also seems to be leading him nowhere, and so he leaves the ascetics to go to see Gotama Buddha, Whose reputation is at this time stirring all India. But one look at the Buddha (looks count for everything here, please remember), and Siddhartha knows that he can only gain wisdom through his own experience. In a chapter which is oddly entitled "The Awakening," Siddhartha leaves the Buddha, and then wanders off into—sin. Yes, having come to the conclusion that he's every bit as good as Lord Buddha, Siddhartha sinks into worldliness. There's no mention of the Buddha falling into worldliness, and the reader is left to wonder where any equality between these two can exist.
After a life of sensuousness, in which he accomplishes nothing, Siddhartha realizes how low he has fallen, and leaves this situation too. He comes at length to a river, and to a ferryman who has apparently reached perfection by listening to the gurgle of the waters. Here Siddhartha stays, and here he too reaches "perfection."
Throughout this book, beginning with the last sentence of the very first paragraph, Siddhartha is constantly having "awakenings," as the author calls them. Immediately afterward, however, Siddhartha drops like a torpedo into sin and nonsense—"Sansara." What passed for an awakening to Herr Hesse was clearly his own invention. That first paragraph says, for example, that the hero "Already ... knew how to recognize Atman within the depth of his being, indestructible, at one with the universe." Casually, just like that. Again this is a display of the author's ignorance of the science of the Absolute, for Atman is Self, and Siddhartha at this point is only a boy, and hasn't even yet begun his search for himself.
Nor, as he rolls into full gear, does he ever really succeed in his quest. Leaving the Buddha, with that assumption of equality between them (a pretension never once mitigated by a tinge of humility throughout this book), Siddhartha goes, not to heaven, but to a harlot's bed. He falls into sin, and here the philosophy of Hermann Hesse really begins to reveal itself. Like Rasputin, he seems to have felt that sin is good for a man. As good as virtue, anyway. At the end, fully enlightened, Siddhartha says (among a great many other unfortunate things): "... it seems to me that everything that exists is good—death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly." "...It was necessary for me to sin, ... I needed lust, ... I had to strive for property ... in order to learn to love the world ... to leave it as it is, to love it and be glad to belong to it."
Yes, you're better off just looking, just staying at the surface, if you want anything "holy" out of this. For, to follow this philosophy through, we must assume that sinfulness teaches us—after some time, of course—to "love the world." But, according to the great Teachers whom Hesse is aping, loving the world was the very cause of sin—and neither the one nor the other has ever been highly esteemed by the Buddha, Lord Jesus, Lord Chaitanya, or any other sacred Teacher of validity. What's more, by Herr Hesse's definition, we should assume that Adolf Hitler—the greatest sinner of our time if ever there was a sinner—was really our greatest saint, the world's number one lover. Too bad we didn't know it at the time.
The idea that one can come to wholly accept the world exactly as it is, and live peacefully in this way, was not new with Hermann Hesse. Nor has the failure of such a philosophy in practical terms discouraged increasingly more men—today especially—to accept this doctrine. Yet this is a concept of life which must ever be wholly intellectual, for one who actually did accept everything would have nothing to say to anyone; and if that were so, books like SIDDHARTHA would never have come into existence, and we'd never have heard of such a philosophy in the first place.
To help the world, to live happily in this life or any other, to live at all, one must act, and action means discrimination between this and that, up and down, left and right, good and evil. Those who have no capacity to discriminate because of a lack of knowledge or of real values on the Absolute platform, have two choices to make: they can go with things, or pretend that it's all illusion. From the latter. Siddhartha goes to the former state of consciousness, and readers of the book may find themselves at a loss to figure out whether anything was accomplished after all.
Indeed the (again ludicrously one-sided) dialog between Siddhartha and his lifelong friend Govinda at the end of this book is an item-by-item refutation of every principle of religion, morality and spiritual life ever handed down by the great Teachers of Mankind. If such a philosophy of sin, laissez-faire, and atheism ("[I had] to learn to love the world, and no longer compare it with some kind of desired imaginary world, some imaginary vision of perfection ...") is popular and sells a lot of copies in an age when God is reputed to be dead (He certainly was for Hesse) and when moral decay is rotting human civilization like an unchecked cancer. no one should be surprised.
But popularity doesn't certify Truth, and the intelligent reader should reject the rampant speculations and back-and-forth enlightenments—as well as the life of sin-virtue—which the book SIDDHARTHA recommends. Siddhartha may have come to love the world, but he certainly never reached knowledge of the Absolute or of himself, for his creator never had such knowledge to imbue him with. Yet there is an Absolute Truth, an Absolute Knowledge, a Supreme Person—and it is unfortunate to say the least that so many people are deluded into wasting their precious time sentimentalizing over a specious display such as this, rather than take up the real study of God as it is found in the Scriptures Hesse so blithely refutes. If only he would have studied them first. Who knows that he mightn't have had an "awakening" or two himself.
Rayarama Das Brahmachary
by Harsharani Devi
I offer my respects unto the Lotus
Harsharani Devi Dasi
The woods are so dark and rich and deep and calling me tonight. "Come out. Come out of the temple and walk amidst our splendor," say the trees. The moon is a white sliver and it rocks me back and forth: "Come out, come out, come out and see the twinkling heavens." The sunset burns the hill it sets behind—so warm, so golden. There has never been such a sunset or such air. Have I ever smelled the air so pure as on this night? So clear, so soft, so fragrant... Ah, but I must wash some dishes for Krishna... In that small task all the wonders of this night are revealed to me. I am so fortunate to be washing Krishna's dishes...
Himavati Devi Dasi
by Satsvarupa Das
—Satsvarupa Das Brahmachary
by Madhavendra Das Brahmachary
April 17, 1968
Just hearing that Swamiji was coming back to New York, the devotees, having felt separation from their Spiritual Master, were filled now with so much bliss. Their joyful shouts of "Haribol!" filled the temple at Kirtan.
On the day Swamiji was to arrive, the temple was swarming with activity like a beehive. After morning Kirtan, Hansaduta and Brahmananda gave everyone some task to help prepare things. The brahmacharinis made garlands of flowers, and the brahmacharys cooked a feast. Others made a banner, cleaned the temple, arranged for transportation.
By noon all preparations were finished and the devotees took Prasadam, their spiritual food. Gargamuni called from San Francisco to say that Swamiji was on the plane, flying to us. In this way the Swami encircles the world with Krishna Consciousness.
A bus and a van arrived to take us to the airport. All the transcendental paraphernalia was loaded into the van. The devotees filed out of the temple, and a joyous Kirtan started. At this time many friends of the Society were arriving, anxious to meet Swamiji with us, and so there was a nice crowd.
Finally Brahmananda got everyone onto the bus. The caravan to Kennedy Airport began, a saffron-robed brahmachary driving a van of devotees, all chanting Hare Krishna along the Van Wyck Expressway. Arriving at the Airport, the devotees paraded into the American Airlines Terminal, before them a green-and-yellow banner displaying the Holy Names of God. Inside the Terminal, chairs were pushed aside and a rug was put on the floor. A garlanded painting of Radha-Krishna was set upon an easel, and surrounded by vases of flowers. In front of all this, candles and incense were lighted. Hansaduta, playing a mridangam drum, led Kirtan. A crowd of spectators and American Airlines officials watched as the devotees danced in ecstasy to the Holy Names of the Lord.
Finally Swamiji's plane arrived, and the Swami stepped out into the Terminal Building and walked over to the seat prepared for him, as all the devotees offered their obeisances. Brahmananda, Purushottam, Rayarama, Balai, and Himavati offered garlands to him, and gasped with joy as Swamiji touched their heads in approval.
Then Swamiji was offered his khartals, and he led Kirtan. After this he lectured to the assembled people:
"God has got millions and trillions of Names," he said. "Lord Chaitanya recommended that we chant the Name of God. He chanted Hare Krishna, and so we also chant Hare Krishna. But if you don't like the Name Krishna, you can chant any Name of God that you have got. This chanting of the Lord's Names is the only means to peace and prosperity in the world."
Swamiji would have like to talk a little longer, but the Airline officials said they must prepare for the next flight, so everyone got up to leave.
There was a procession out of the airport, Annapurna and Kanchanbala strewing rosewater and rose petals in Swamiji's path as he walked to the car followed by news reporters.
In the car, driving toward Manhattan, with its giant skyline flashing up above the horizon, the discussion turned to Maya, Illusion. "Maya seems to be getting stronger these days," Mr. Kallman said, as he drove the Swami along.
Swamihi replied, "It's not that we have to worry about Maya. It's a question of how we are related to Maya." Mrs. Kallman was sitting in the front seat with her husband and the Swamiji gave this example: "Mr. Kallman, if I relate to Mrs. Kallman as Mrs. Kallman, then the relationship is all right, is it not? But if I approach her not as Mrs. Kallman, then there must be some trouble."
Swamiji was looking out of the car window, and he saw the Empire State Building looming over the city. "The situation of Maya is like the Empire State Building. It is very nice," the Swami said. "One should look at the Empire Stated Building and think: It is a very nice building, if only it was used for Krishna's purposes. Not that modern civilization is bad, but it should be used for Krishna's purposes."
He went on to say: "The achievements of modern civilization are like Zeros. So many nice things, all just like Zeros. There are so many Zeros, but they still only add up to Zero. But then, if One is added, all the Zeros have some value. That One that has to be added is Krishna. If Krishna is there, so many Zeros with One in front of them will add up to a very substantial accomplishment."
Now they were in front of the temple. Swamiji got out of the car and went inside where all the devotees and friends of the Society were sitting. Upon seeing Swamiji, everyone bowed down to pay obeisances to him, and he went upstairs to his apartment.
Sitting in his room, many garlands still about his neck, Swamiji said: "Now I am home! I can never forget this apartment, because this is where I started my mission." He was beaming happily, looking about the small three-room flat which his disciples had painted and cleaned only days before. "When I left, I was very much fearful that the Society would diminish. But instead, it has increased. I am very much pleased." Swami gave Brahmananda and Rayarama a garland each, and come downstairs to speak at Kirtan. Our joy cannot be described in words or pictures or photos. The pure devotee was pleased. It was a most auspicious day.
by Rupanuga Das
O Dear Gopis!
—Rupanuga Das Adhikary
by Himavati Devi Dasi
In Bhakti Yoga, all activities can be turned to spiritual advancement. This article describes how to spiritualize your eating—and enjoy ecstasy at every meal.
Krishna Consciousness is a way of life that is practiced twenty-four hours a day. It fulfills the needs of the spirit, the mind and the body. We are pure spirit soul encased in these material bodies: the subtle body of mind, and the gross body, of which the five senses are a part. The need of spirit is to become uncovered and return back to home, back to Godhead upon leaving this body. The way this is achieved is by chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra and by regulating the needs of the body, which are eating, sleeping, fearing and mating.
Surrender is the first step. Surrender to a pure soul, the Spiritual Master comes with chanting and hearing this Mantra, and eating Krishna Prasadam, food specially prepared and offered to the Lord, then distributed to friends and family. These two activities produce attachment to Krishna Consciousness.
Here we will discuss Krishna Prasadam. Prasadam is spiritual food because it has been offered to Lord Krishna through the chanting of the following mantras three times each in front of the picture or statue of the Deity:
Namah om Vishnupadaya Krishnapresthaya bhutale srimate Bhaktivedanta swamin iti namine.
Krishna eats the food and then we take the remnants. The good taste of the food is thus enhanced, and the body and mind become healthy while the soul remains engaged in service to the Lord.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that you may offer Him a leaf, a flower, some water, some fruit; and, if offered with love as a devotee of Krishna, then He will accept such an offering. Elsewhere in the Bhagavad Gita, He says that when something is given to Him in sacrifice, that activity is Him, and that He becomes the offering. So you can easily see that eating this Krishna Prasadam is most beneficial for making progress in Krishna Consciousness. Eating Prasadam is associating with Krishna Himself, just as chanting His Name is associating with Krishna, the Supreme Personality, the All-Blissful.
Prasadam is first of all prepared specifically for Krishna, in the way that He likes it. The Spiritual Master therefore gives all the recipes and methods of preparation to his disciples according to the system of "parampara" (disciplic succession), and so we may be sure that we are preparing what is acceptable to Krishna.
Everything used during preparation is clean. All fruits, vegetables, nuts, rice and other grains that can be washed are washed, and all utensils, pots and dishes are washed before using. Anything that drops on the floor is washed. The cook's hands are kept clean. So, during preparation, don't touch your hair, clothes, body, garbage can, floor, etc. Since the food is being cooked for Krishna there should be no tasting or smelling, except when urgently required.
When Prasadam is all prepared place on a nice metal (preferably silver) platter, along with yogurt and cold water in nice metal bowls. Place on your altar and offer to Lord Krishna. After chanting the mantras you may remove the food and "take" to your heart's content.
Now you're ready to cook for Krishna. Following are four recipes for a nice noon meal:
by Yamuna devi dasi & Himavati devi dasi
Egg Plant Puki
1 lb. butter
Melt butter in pan; add cumin seeds. Brown (don't burn). Cut egg plant in wedges, dip into batter—made of turmeric powder, salt and water. Cover all sides of egg plant nicely. Then place in pan over medium heat to deep fry each side. Cook until soft all thru. Remove and drain in colander.
Boil potatoes until cooked thru (test with knife). Peel, cut into large pieces and brown in a little butter and cumin seed, with a pinch of turmeric and salt.
Strawberries and Yogurt
Half cup plain yogurt (not skim milk) 4 strawberries cut up into little pieces and 4 teaspoons sugar, mix, serve cold.
Make dough; 3 parts whole wheat flour to 1 part white flour and water as desired. Let stand, then knead to medium soft consistency (15 minutes at least). Make large balls (2-inch diameter) and roll out about 8 inches round so it's nice and thick. Spread top with melted butter and fold in half. Roll out again, spread top with butter again, fold into quarter. Rollout again, then melt enough butter to fry one in a pan (medium low flame). Fry on each side, pressing with spoon turning frequently until it turns reddish. Then it's done.
By Subal das Adhikary
In the Bhagavad Gita (6.2) Krishna defines Yoga as "linking oneself with the Supreme." Yoga means to get into touch with the Supreme Lord. That Supreme Lord is Bhagavan Sri Krishna, as is stated in Srimad Bhagwatam (1.2.28):
The ultimate knowable object in the revealed Scriptures is Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead. The purpose of performing sacrifices is to please Him; the mystic paraphernalia are performed for realizing Him; all fruitive activities are ultimately rewarded by Him only. He is the Supreme knowledge, and all severe austerities are performed just to know Him. Religion means to do devotional service unto Him. And He is the Supreme Goal of life.
Vasudeva, Sri Krishna, is all-in-all. The whole purpose of this human form of life is to realize Him, and to re-establish our relationship with Him. Yoga is not meant for any other purpose, such as gaining mystic powers, recognition, wealth, or any other material benefits. The loving service of Govinda, Krishna, is itself the indescribable nectar to be derived from its practice.
And, of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshipping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in Yoga. (Bg. 6.47)
How does one go about achieving this relationship? In the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna gives an outline of the Yoga system, consisting of going to a secluded, sacred place; laying out a special seat; meditating, etc. And Arjuna, a great devotee, rejects it as impractical and unendurable. If Arjuna rejects this system, then who today can take it up? Actually, no one. Or, if we must yield a step for argument's sake, perhaps one or two men out of billions. As for the rest of humanity, Yoga is not for them, as it is thus outlined. We are five thousand years into the Age of Kali, this Age of Chaos and Destruction. Man's life span is shortened, he lives in surroundings which are unconducive to spiritual growth, and his mind is in turmoil. How can he hope to sit in meditation, controlling the mind and senses?
However, the factual perfection of Yoga is available to everyone, by chanting HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE . This is the simple and sublime method recommended by great authorities for this Age. By chanting this Maha Mantra, or the Great Chanting for Deliverance, one is immediately placed on the spiritual platform, surpassing all lower levels of existence. And Krishna is present before you. Krishna being Absolute, His Name is non-different from His Form, Pastimes, Entourage, or Abode. Through this chanting, one can experience the transcendental bliss derived from association with the Lord, and gain full knowledge of spiritual matters.
We are all servants by nature, and Krishna is the Master of everything by His Divine Nature. We are always serving Him, whether indirectly through the agency of His illusory energy, Maya; or directly under the guidance of His bona fide representative. Krishna Consciousness is the direct transcendental loving service of the Lord. It is not merely a method for achieving some higher goal: it is itself the perfection of all Yoga systems, the final goal of all life, and especially the goal of human life. The devotee desires no reward. Love of God is its own reward. He simply desires to be blessed, life after life, with the service of Krishna and the rememberence of His Holy Names.
At this moment, when so many people are becoming infatuated with Yoga, many are being misled into every manner of nonsense and evil by the so-called spiritual leaders, who desire cheap adoration from the innocent public. In the Bhagavad Gita (3.6) Krishna says:
One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense objects, certainly deludes himself, and is called a pretender.
In his purport to this Verse, our Spiritual Master, A C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, has written:
There are many pretenders who refuse to work in Krishna Consciousness, but make a show of meditation, while actually dwelling within the mind upon sense enjoyment. Such pretenders may also speak on dry philosophy, in order to bluff sophisticated followers. But, according to this verse, these are the greatest cheaters. For sense enjoyment one can act in any capacity within the social order, following the rules and regulations of a particular situation of life, and thus make gradual progress in purifying his existence. But if any man makes a show of becoming a yogi, while actually in search of the objects of sense gratification, he must be called the greatest cheater, even though he sometimes speaks of philosophy. His knowledge has no value because the effects of such a sinful man's knowledge are taken away by the illusory energy of the Lord. Such a pretender's mind is always impure, and therefore his show of yogic meditation has no value whatsoever.
We are faced today by many pretenders who claim to be spiritual leaders, holy men, swamis, etc. But most of these men fall under the headings of intoxicant leaders, mental speculators, and atheists who do not have an iota of devotion in them. It is necessary to choose a spiritual master in order to make progress, but we must be careful and use discrimination, or else we will be badly misled. The true spiritual master is Krishna's bona fide representative, and only he can impart to us the highest good.
A spiritual master must receive his knowledge from someone who is in a line of disciplic succession, originating from Lord Sri Krishna. He must hear this knowledge correctly, realize it for himself, and then impart it to the student without changing it. This is the only way to gain true knowledge. The spiritual master is well versed in spiritual matters, and is the embodiment of religious practices. These are some of the identifying characteristics of Krishna's representative. And, by surrendering to him, one can achieve the perfection of Yoga, devotion to Krishna—and even Krishna Himself.
by Brahmananda Das
Service of the Absolute Truth
[versified from the lectures of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami by his disciple Brahmananda Das Brahmachary]
Recorded by Guru Das Adhikary
Swamiji had come to San Francisco in late January, 1967 for the opening of the Krishna Consciousness Temple there, at 518 Frederick Street. Allen Ginsberg had always shown friendly and helpful interest in the Society; and he agreed to attend a giant "Mantra Rock Festival," which the temple members were planning to hold in the Avalon Ballroom. And so, a few days before that event, the good poet came to early morning Kirtan (7 A. M.), and later joined the Swami upstairs in the apartment his pupils had rented for him.
We were sitting in the glow of this holy man, munching on Indian sweetballs cooked by the Swami, when Allen Ginsberg came through the door, a warm smile on his face.
The Swami offered him a sweetball: "Take."
They sat in silence for a few moments, radiating mutual love.
SWAMIJI: Allen, you are up early.
GINSBERG: Yes. The phone hasn't stopped ringing since I arrived in San Francisco.
SWAMIJI: That is what happens when one becomes famous. That was the tragedy of Mahatma Gandhi also. Wherever he went, thousands of people would crowd about him, chanting, "Mahatma Gandhi ki jai! Mahatma Gandhiki jai!" The gentleman could not sleep.
GINSBERG: (smiling) Well, at least it got me up for Kirtan this morning.
SWAMIJI: Yes, that is good.
A few days before, the San Francisco Chronicle had published an article called "Swami in Hippie Land," in which the reporter had asked: "Do you accept 'hippies' in your temple?"
The Swami had replied, "Hippies or anyone—I make no distinctions. Everyone is welcome."
SWAMIJI: Allen, what is this "hippie?"
GINSBERG: The word "hip" started in China, where people smoked opium lying on their hips. [He demonstrates.] Opium and its derivatives then spread to the West, and were looked down upon by the people in power, who were afraid of the effects. As a result, the hip people created their own culture ... language, signs, symbols.
San Francisco is a spiritual "shivdas" [meeting ground]. The word hip has changed into hippie today. But basically, Swamiji, the young people today are seekers. They're interested in all forms of spirituality.
SWAMIJI: Very nice.
GINSBERG: The hippies will all fall by at one time or another.
There was some discussion regarding New York's Lower East Side and the Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco—both of which are locations of Krishna Consciousness temples, and are well-known to Allen Ginsberg. Then:
SWAMIJI: You have not had LSD, Allen?
GINSBERG: I have had it.
SWAMIJI: It is dependence, Allen.
GINSBERG: It's like a car—a mental car—to resolve certain inner things.
SWAMIJI: Krishna Consciousness resolves everything. Nothing else is needed.
They then discussed the upcoming dance at the Avalon. Allen Ginsberg felt that certain mantras would be more palatable to American ears than others, and that he would like to try his tune at the dance. Swamiji agreed: "Very nice."
Poet Ginsberg said he was not yet ready to become a devotee, but that he chants the Maha Mantra every day, and will do so until he leaves this Earth. The Swami thanked him for the work he'd already done in spreading the Kirtan (Krishna Conscious) Movement, and assured him that, if he chanted Hare Krishna daily, "everything will be perfect."
Allen Ginsberg then prostrated himself, and, touching the Swami's feet, he symbolically wiped the dust from them onto his forehead. Then, with a few sweetballs in a paper bag under his arm, he took his leave.
by Satsvarupa Das
versified by Satsvarupa Das Brahmachary
An analysis of materialistic madness
[Evening lecture on the teachings of the boy Prahlad Maharaj, April 12, 1967]
Prahlad Maharaj is instructing his young friends: "My dear friends, material enjoyment means agitating the senses. You have this material enjoyment—sense enjoyment—my dear friends, and your only thought is how to enjoy these senses, that's all. By contact of this body." In possession of a particular body we have particular senses and we enjoy. Just like a camel: a camel enjoys thorny twigs. Camels are very fond of thorny twigs. Why? Because when they chew the thorny twigs blood comes out of the tongue, and they are tasting their own blood. And the camel is thinking it is very nice. He is eating thorny twigs, and the twig is cutting his tongue and blood is oozing out. He is tasting his own blood, but he thinks, "I am enjoying." This is sense gratification. Sex life is also like that. We are tasting our own blood, and we think we are enjoying. This is our foolishness.
Every living entity has contracted this material body; he is a spiritual being but because he has a tendency to enjoy, to make exploitation of this material energy, he has contracted a body. There are different varieties of life. There are 8,400,000 species of living entities, each with a different body. According to the body, they have their senses in order to enjoy a particular type of pleasure. Prahlad Maharaj says this body and its particular type of enjoyment go together. Suppose you are given the thorny grass or twigs: Ladies and gentlemen, here is very nice food, it is certified by the camels, it is very good. Would you like to take? "No! What nonsense are you offering me?" Because you have got a different body, you have no taste for that. But if you offer it to a camel, because he has that particular type of body, it is a very nice thing.
This is going on—one man's food is another man's poison. If you are offered something which is not your food, you cannot take it. These different kinds of enjoyment are according to the particular type of body. That is the conclusion. The stool-eater hog will not accept any nice foodstuff such as cake. Give him stool, and it will be very nice. If you are offered the stool, you say, "What are you offering?" Because you have got a different body.
There are different kinds of material enjoyment, but those who are actually intelligent know that this particular type of enjoyment is due to this body. Actual happiness, however, is that which is not enjoyed by these material senses. Actual happiness is enjoyed by the spiritual senses. Now these are covered by matter, and therefore we are entrapped. Now Prahlad Maharaj says, Whatever it may be, you can have this sense enjoyment in any type of body. Then what is our enjoyment? Eating, sleeping, defending and mating. But this sort of sensual enjoyment—whether you have a dog's body, or a hog's body, or a god's body—whatever you are in this material world, you have some sort of enjoyment offered by the Supreme Lord. Such material happiness is had by the arrangement of Nature. As you get miseries without your endeavor, similarly you will get your material enjoyment without trying for it. This is the conclusion.
Therefore, you should not endeavor to achieve material happiness. It will come. The lower animals have no business, no profession, but still they eat; they live. So Prahlad Maharaj says, You need not make your endeavor for achieving material pleasure. That will come. Because you have this body, it is predestined that this bodily enjoyment—as you are fit to enjoy—will come. How will it come? There is happiness and misery: If misery comes without calling for it, so happiness will come without calling for it. This is the philosophy.
Therefore, we should not be very anxious to aggravate or increase our material happiness. Always in civilization those who have no spiritual happiness are hankering after these sense enjoyments. So Prahlad Maharaj says, Your life is limited. Although it is very valuable, it is also very limited. And our duty is, in some way, to dovetail ourselves in Krishna Consciousness, and to act accordingly. You should not be very busy aggravating your material sense enjoyment. You cannot increase it. There are so many different kinds of body, and they are guided by Nature's law: you have to eat like this, you have to live like this, you have to sleep like this—this is already arranged.
Our higher intelligence comes with this human body: we have higher consciousness. We should try for the higher enjoyment of life, which is spiritual enjoyment. And how can that spiritual enjoyment of life be achieved? You should not waste your time simply hankering after material enjoyment. Then, what is to be done? One should engage himself in the Supreme Lord, Who gives the pleasure of liberation. We should turn our attention to achieving the Lotus Feet of Krishna, Who can give us liberation from this material world.
How long do we have to engage ourselves? Prahlad Maharaj says, We are now in the material entanglement. This material entanglement is that I have this body. I will quit this body after a few years, and then I will have to accept another body. Once you take up one body and enjoy as your body's senses dictate, then you prepare another body by such sense enjoyment; and you get another body as you want it. There is no guarantee that you will get a human body. That will depend on your work. Did you work just like a god? You get a god's body. This is not in your hands; it is in the hands of Nature. Our duty is not to speculate on what we are going to get after what we have been—don't take account of this. At the present moment, let us understand that we have this material body. Now if we want to have our spiritual consciousness or Krishna Consciousness developed then we should at once engage ourselves—dovetail ourselves in this Krishna activity. That is auspicious for further progress of your life.
How long should you do it? So long as this body does not stop working. We do not know when it will stop functioning. The great saint, Parikshit Maharaj, got seven days notice: "Your body will fall in a week." But we do not know when our body will fall. Just after going on the road, there may immediately be some accident. We should always be prepared that death is there. We should not be very optimistic that everyone is dying but I shall live. Why will you live if everyone is dying? Your father has died, your mother has died, your sister, your other relatives ... why should you live? You will also die. And your children will also die.
Therefore, before death comes, so long as we have this human intelligence, let us engage in Krishna Consciousness. This is the prescription by Prahlad Maharaj.
This material body is called "purusam." Everybody is anxious to enjoy. Purus means to enjoy, or enjoyer. There is nobody in this material world who does not like to enjoy sense gratification. Therefore, either male or female—the body may be what it is—but the desire, the ambition, is to enjoy material life. So it is called purusam.
We do not know when it will stop, but let us immediately engage in Krishna Consciousness and act according to that. And if I immediately engage myself in Krishna Consciousness, then what about my living? That arrangement is there. I am very happy to inform you that one of our students in a branch is so confident: there was some disagreement. One student said "You are not looking after how we will maintain the establishment," and he replied, "Oh, Krishna will supply. 'I take charge.' " This is a very nice conviction, it is very good; I was glad to hear it. If cats and dogs and hogs can get food, and we are going to be in Krishna Consciousness and fully devote our service to Krishna, will He not arrange my food also? Is Krishna so ungracious? No. He looks.
In the Bhagavad Gita you will find that the Lord says, "My dear Arjuna, I am equal to everyone. Nobody is the object of My envy and nobody is My special friend, but for one who is engaged in Krishna Consciousness, I have got special attention." Just like a father whose small child is completely dependent on the mercy of the parents: The parents have special attention for that child. Although the parents are equally good to all the children, to the small children who are always asking, "Mother!" they have great concern. "Yes, my dear child? Yes?" This is natural.
If you are completely dependent on Krishna, He Who is supplying food to the dogs, birds, bees—to 8,400,000 species of life—why should He not supply to you? This conviction—this is called surrender. Not that, because Krishna is supplying my food, I shall now sleep. No, you have to work. One should engage himself in Krishna Consciousness—that is required.
Now calculate our duration of life. In this age it is calculated that we can live at most to a hundred years. Formerly, the human being used to live up to 100,000 years. In the Satya Yuga, or Age of Goodness, they used to live 100,000 years. In the next age, Treta Yuga, they used to live for 10,000 years, and in the next, called Dwapara Yuga, they used to live for 1,000 years. Now in this Age, called Kali Yuga, the estimation is for 100 years. But gradually, as the Kali Yuga progresses, we are reducing our duration still further. Anyone can understand that. Suppose my grandfather lived 100 years, my father lived for 90 years, so I am going to live for 70 years and my son is going to live for 50 years and his son is going to live for 30 years. This is the progress of our modern material civilization. And we are very proud that we are happy, and increasing our civilization. The result is that you come here to enjoy material life, and the duration of life is shortened. This is called Maya, Illusion.
Now accepting that we live for 100 years: Those who have no information of spiritual life, their life is reduced; and one who has not conquered sense enjoyment, or who is unable to control the mind, his age is also reduced. Those who are too much addicted to sense gratification, according to this calculation, their utmost life is 50 years. Even if he has 50 years, because he has no information of spiritual life, his night is wasted by sleeping and sex life. That's all. He has no other business. And in the daytime, what is his business? "Where is money? Where is money? Because I must maintain this body." And when he has money: "Now let me speed for my children, for my wife." Then where is your spiritual realization? At night you spend your time in this way, and by day spend in this way—is that your mission of life? How horrible such a life is.
The average person is illusioned in childhood—playing football, sporting. Up to twenty years, easily, you can go on like that. Then when you become old, another twenty years you cannot do anything. When a man becomes old, then his senses cannot function. You have seen many old men; nothing to do, simply resting. Just now we have received a letter from our student that his grandmother is suffering for the last three and a half years, paralyzed. So in old age, everything is finished, as soon as you get sixty years old. Therefore, the beginning to twenty years is spoiled; and even if you live for a hundred years, another twenty in the last stage of life are also spoiled. So forty years of your life are spoiled in that way. And in the middle age there is very strong sex appetite: So another forty years can be lost. Forty years, twenty years, and twenty year eighty years gone. How long are you going to live?
This is the analysis of life by Prahlad Maharaj. We are spoiling our life instead of using it.