The world over, students, faculties and/or parents are in revolt, determined to alter their educational systems. Generally speaking, governments and school administrations are willing to make small changes, but not the sweeping ones which will satisfy the opposition. Students For A Democratic Society, for example, which spear-headed the Columbia revolt in New York last spring, has announced itself determined to bring down the existing university structure wholesale—but only in that it represents the entire American competitive-imperialist system. The SDS members have at least recognized the true dimensions of their struggle, although it seems naive of them to have assumed that the U.S. is THE enemy of human rights.
The truth is that each and every organization, regardless of its size or purpose or location, is ultimately brutal, exploitative and oppressive—including SDS itself—unless it can see beyond the limits of material life.
Materialism means not merely unbounded acquisitiveness. It means the acceptance of material Nature as supreme, and therefore assumes that man must work out his destiny within the bounds of Nature. But Nature, as Darwin pointed out, imposes an unpitying competition of her own upon all beings within her grasp. Therefore even the socialist, even the pacifist must kill to prolong his life, must inflict pain on someone or something (like cattle or chickens) to secure his own pleasure.
The dream of a society without competition, in which human beings can develop to their utmost potential, is natural. It is the gravitation of intelligent beings toward spiritual awareness—for spiritual awareness entails relationships of love and happiness, without hatred, envy or deprivation. But such a spiritual awareness cannot be had through submission to the brute force of material Nature. It is only possible—for both individuals and societies—through the understanding of the distinction between spirit and matter, and of the exalted position of the Supreme Spirit, Sri Krishna. This understanding is the fruit of Krishna conscious meditation upon the Holy Names of God: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
There is something stupendous, something real and gigantic and possibly wonderful waiting in the half-shadows of tomorrow's dawn for mankind's young generations. The question is whether the dawn will break in splendor or tragedy, whether the young will carry forward the blight of atheistic ignorance to its awful conclusion in a world of death, or whether they will turn instead to spiritual enlightenment, both glorifying the future and forgiving the past.
As far as their stated endeavors to build something finer and more sane go, we can only applaud and commiserate with SDS and the many similar student activist groups. But to accomplish the reality of a new and just society, we must urge with all sincerity that such revolutionaries add the practice of Krishna Consciousness to their lives and movements. The rejection not only of materialistic social systems, but of the entire scheme of material life, is the real revolution by which the world can hope to see a better day.
by Nayana Bhiram Das
In September, 1965, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami—a holy man in the renounced order of life—landed in New York and introduced the Hare Krishna movement to the West. The movement is based on the chanting of the holy names of God: HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE/HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE. It has from time to time known great popularity in India, and now the Swami has set out to spread its influence in America. By July, 1966 Swamiji had already attracted enough young disciples to form the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. located in the East Village at 26 Second Avenue. In the religious corporation papers, it is noted that one of the main purposes of the society in propagating Krishna Consciousness is "to develop the idea within the members and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna)." The present column, devoted to the activities of the various Krishna Consciousness temples is therefore named Parts & Parcels in keeping with the Society's mission.
New Hare Krishna centers are constantly being opened in order to fulfill Lord Chaitanya's prophecy that Hare Krishna will someday be sung in every village and town throughout the world. Our latest center is called New Vrindaban, and is considerably more ambitious than any of our past endeavors. Located outside the Appalachian mountain town of Moundsville, 10 miles south of Wheeling, West Virginia, its purpose is "to serve as a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to Krishna, the Personality of Godhead." New Vrindaban consists of 133 acres of land, including a stream with a waterfall and bathing ghats, woods, fields, and pasturage; and a knoll called "Goverdan Hill." Only a house and a barn stand there now, but plans for the future are evolving quickly. As with all centers of Krishna Consciousness, this one is not located in the material world, but is spiritual by virtue of the work done there in devotion to God. Vrindaban in India is where Lord Krishna displayed His childhood pastimes as a cowherd boy, and one special feature of New Vrindaban is cow protection. Because of the great endeavor to build a spiritual city in the wilderness, with the dynamic determination to create a new and perfect human society, New Vrindaban will not be like the numerous country club ashrams popular with Yoga groups nowadays. Hayagriva Das Brahmachary, co-founder of the project, invites anyone interested to communicate with him c/o the Hare Krishna Temple at 26 Second Avenue in New York
—Nayana Bhiram Das Brahmachary
by Satsvarupa das
This is the topmost opulence
We are servants sitting in the court of
—Satsvarupa Das Adhikary
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Although I have come to this human form
Hare Krishna comes straight from Krishna Loka,
Lord Krishna has appeared as Sachi's Son,
Oh my dear Lord, O Son of King Nanda,
—translated by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Krishna Consciousness is the highest Yoga performance by trained devotional yogis. The Yoga system, as is stated in the standard Yoga practice formula given by Lord Krishna in The Bhagavad Gita, and as recommended in the Patanjali Yoga discipline, is different from the nowadays practiced Hatha Yoga, as is generally understood in the Western Countries.
Real Yoga practice means to control the senses and, after such control is established, to concentrate the mind on the Narayana Form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. Lord Krishna is the Original Absolute Personality, the Godhead, and all the other Vishnu Forms—with four hands, decorated with conch, lotus, club and wheel—are plenary expansions of Krishna.
In The Bhagavad Gita it is recommended that we should meditate upon the form of the Lord. For practicing concentration of the mind, one has to sit down in a secluded place sanctified by a sacred atmosphere, and the yogi should observe the rules and regulations of Brahmacharya—to live a life of strict self-restraint and celibacy. Nobody can practice Yoga in a congested city, living a life of extravagance, including unrestricted sex indulgence and adultery of the tongue.
We have already stated that Yoga practice means controlling the senses, and the beginning of controlling the senses is to control the tongue. You cannot allow the tongue to take all kinds of forbidden food and drink, and at the same time improve in the practice of Yoga . It is a very regrettable fact that many unauthorized and stray so-called yogis now come to the West and exploit the leaning of the people towards Yoga. Such unauthorized yogis even dare to say publicly that one can indulge in drinking and at the same time practice meditation.
Five thousand years ago, in The Bhagavad Gita dialog, Lord Krishna recommended the Yoga practice to His disciple Arjuna, but Arjuna flatly expressed his inability to follow the stringent rules and regulations of Yoga. One should be practical in every field of activity. One should not waste his valuable time simply in practicing some gymnastic feats in the name of Yoga. Real Yoga is to search out the four-handed Supersoul within one's heart, and to see Him perpetually in meditation. Such continued meditation is called Samadhi. If, however, one wants to meditate upon something void or impersonal, it will require a very long time to achieve anything by Yoga practice. We cannot concentrate our mind on something void or impersonal. Real Yoga practice is to fix up the mind on the Person of the four-handed Narayana Who dwells in everyone's heart.
Sometimes it is said that, by meditation, one will understand that God is seated within one's heart always, even when one does not know it. God is seated within the heart of everyone. He is not only seated in the heart of the human being, but He is also there within the hearts of the cats and dogs. The Bhagavad Gita certifies this with the declaration of the Lord: Iswara, the Supreme Controller of the world, is seated in the heart of everyone. He is not only in everyone's heart, but He is also present within the atoms. No place is vacant, no place is without the presence of the Lord.
The feature of the Lord by which He is present everywhere is called the Paramatman. Atman means the individual soul, and Paramatman means the individual Supersoul. Both Atman and Paramatman are individual Persons. The difference between Them is that the Atman, or soul, is present only in one particular place, whereas the Paramatman is present everywhere .
In this connection, the example of the Sun is very nice. An individual person may be situated in one place, but the Sun, even though a specific individual entity, is present over the head of every individual person. In The Bhagavad Gita this is very nicely explained. Therefore, even though the qualities of all entities, including the Lord, are equal, the Supersoul is different from the individual soul by quantity of expansion. The Lord or Supersoul can expand Himself into millions of different Forms, while the individual soul cannot do so.
The Supersoul, being seated in everyone's heart, can witness everyone's activities, past, present and future. In the Upanishads the Supersoul is said to be sitting with the individual soul as a friend and witness. As a friend He is always anxious to get the individual soul back to home, back to Godhead. As a witness, He is the endower of all benedictions that result from the individual's actions. The Supersoul gives all facility to the individual soul for achieving whatever he may desire. But he instructs His friend, so that he may ultimately give up all other engagements and simply surrender unto God for perpetual bliss and eternal life, full of knowledge. This is the last instruction of The Bhagavad Gita, the most authorized and widely read book on all forms of Yoga.
The last word of The Bhagavad Gita, as stated above, is the last word in the matter of perfecting the Yoga system. It is further stated in The Bhagavad Gita that a person who is always absorbed in Krishna Consciousness is the topmost yogi. What is this Krishna Consciousness? Just as the individual soul is present by his consciousness throughout the whole body, so the Supersoul, or Paramatman, is present throughout the whole creation by His super consciousness.
This super consciousness cannot be imitated by the individual soul, who has limited awareness: I can understand what is going on within my limited body, but I cannot feel what is going on in another's body. I am present all over my body by my consciousness, but I am not present in any other's body by my consciousness. However. the Supersoul or Paramatman. being present within everyone, situated everywhere, is conscious of every existence. The theory that the soul and the Supersoul are one is not acceptable, because the individual soul's consciousness cannot act in superconsciousness. This super consciousness can only be achieved by dovetailing individual consciousness with the super consciousness; and this dovetailing process is called surrender, or Krishna Consciousness.
From the teachings of The Bhagavad Gita we learn very clearly that Arjuna in the beginning did not want to fight with his brothers and relatives, but after understanding The Bhagavad Gita, when he dovetailed his consciousness with the super consciousness of Krishna, it was Krishna Consciousness. A person in full Krishna Consciousness acts by the dictation of Krishna, and so Arjuna agreed to fight the Battle of Kurukshetra.
In the beginning of Krishna Consciousness this dictation of the Lord is received through the transparent medium of the Spiritual Master.
When one is sufficiently trained and acts with submissive faith and love for Krishna, under the direction of the bona fide Spiritual Master, the dovetailing process becomes more firm and accurate. At this stage Krishna dictates from within. From without, the devotee is helped by the Spiritual Master, the bona fide representative of Krishna, and from within the Lord helps the devotee as Chaita Guru, being seated within the heart of everyone.
To simply understand that God is seated in everyone's heart is not perfection. One has to be acquainted with God from within and without, and thus to act in Krishna Consciousness. This is the highest perfectional stage for the human form of life, and the topmost stage in all Yoga systems.
For a perfect yogi there are eight kinds of super-achievements:
• one can become smaller than an atom,
But when one rises to the perfectional stage of receiving dictation from the Lord, that is more than the stage of the material achievements above mentioned.
The breathing exercise of the Yoga system which is generally practiced is just the beginning of the system. Meditation on the Supersoul is just a step forward. Achievement of wonderful material success is also only a step forward. But to attain direct contact with the Supersoul and to take dictation from Him is the highest perfectional stage.
The breathing exercises and meditation practices of Yoga are very difficult in this age. It was difficult even 5,000 years ago, or else Arjuna would not have rejected the proposal of Krishna. This age of Kali is called the Fallen Age. At the present moment people in general are short-living and very slow in understanding self-realization or spiritual life. They are mostly unfortunate, and as such, if somebody is a little bit interested in self-realization, he is misguided by so many frauds. The only actual way to realization of the perfect stage of Yoga is to follow the principles of The Bhagavad Gita as they were practiced by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This is the simplest and highest perfection of Yoga practice.
Lord Chaitanya practically demonstrated Krishna Consciousness Yoga simply by chanting the Holy Names of Krishna, as they are mentioned in the Vedanta, Srimad Bhagwatam, and many important Puranas. The largest number of Indians follow this Yoga practice, and in the U.S.A. also it is gradually growing in many cities. It is very easy and practical for this age, especially for those who are serious about success in Yoga. No other process can be succesful in this age.
The meditation process in right earnest was possible in the Golden Age of SatyaYuga because the people at that time lived for a hundred thousand years on the average.
If you want success in practical Yoga, take to the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, and feel for yourself how you are making progress. One should know for himself how much he is progressing in Yoga practice.
In The Bhagavad Gita this practice of Krishna Consciousness is described as Rajavidya, the king of all erudition; Rajaguhyam, the most confidential system of spiritual realization; Pavitra, the purest of all that is pure: Susukham, very happily performed; and Avayam, inexhaustible.
Those who have taken to this most sublime Bhakti Yoga system, this practice of devotional service in transcendental love of Krishna, can testify to how they are nicely enjoying its happy and easy execution. Yoga means controlling the senses, and Bhakti Yoga means purifying the senses. When the senses are purified, they are also, automatically, controlled. You cannot stop the activities of the senses by artificial means, but if you purify the senses they are not only kept back from rubbish engagement, but also they become positively engaged in transcendental service to the Lord.
Krishna Consciousness is not manufactured by us through mental speculation. It is the injunction of The Bhagavad Gita, Which says that, when we think in Krishna, chant in Krishna, live in Krishna, eat in Krishna, talk in Krishna, hope in Krishna, and sustain in Krishna, we return to Krishna without any doubt. And this is the substance of Krishna Consciousness.
by Rayarama Das
"Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men will follow in his footsteps. And whatever standard he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues." The Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 3.21
Here are some headlines from The New York Times on a moderately slow news day (September 5, 1968): FATAL BOMBING IN TEL AVIV STIRS MOB ATTACK ON ARABS; VIOLENCE PANEL TO STUDY CHICAGO; U. S. REASSESSING POLICIES IN WAKE OF PRAGUE CRISIS; OFF-DUTY POLICE HERE JOIN IN BEATING BLACK PANTHERS; KEISINGER WARNS U. S. ON RUSSIANS—SEES MILITARY THREAT RISING STEADILY, HE TELLS LODGE: SPLIT AMONG MILITARY LEADERS SHAKES ARGENTINA; FIGHTING RENEWED NEAR SAIGON—ENEMY DEATH TOLL IS PUT AT 146. These are, of course, only the more sensational and ominous developments, those of a somewhat international character. And, being a slow news day, very little was printed about Nigeria's cruel war with Biafra, about China's brutal and enervating Cultural Revolution, France's development of thermonuclear power, that same nation's student unrest, the continuing Korean crisis . the imminent civil war in Southern Rhodesia and South Africa, the armed border confrontation between India and China, and the literally innumerable other incidents and near-incidents of violence and warfare which plague today's world.
Americans of late—and most especially since the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy—have taken to scouring their consciences to determine if the U.S. is really as violence-ridden as it seems to be. But events on the newsfronts of the world suggest that there is no single nation or culture which has a monopoly on violence or brutality. And it is increasingly clear that no nation today is devoid of them.
Dispute—difference of opinion, conflict of interest—is everywhere present in the world at all times. But the resort to unpitying violence in the form of riot, guerilla warfare, armed aggression, and the threat of holocaust seems especially rampant now, while respect of any sort for law and moral order is disappearing.
Is civilization changing—or dying? Perhaps the process of change brings us near to death, like a caterpillar during metamorphosis. If this is so, then whether in change or the throes of death our situation remains critical and dangerous, and the type of men we choose to lead us now may well decide the fate of the human race for many thousands of years to come.
With this elementary consciousness of our position in history, let us consider here what sort of men are fit for contemporary world leadership what qualities we ought to seek in them and what the aim of their leadership should be.
One thing is sure: those who have led us in the past cannot lead us today and will not lead us in the future. This is because the world has changed. As Marshall McLuhan has indicated, electric technology—and specifically the rise of the new mass media—has irrevocably altered the course of civilization. It is not only that warfare has become prohibitively ferocious, but that people all over the world are now linked at least as closely as most next-door neighbors were a century ago. Contemporary man finds himself too much in sympathy with his common fellows to blithely contemplate their torture or annihilation by the superbly armed warriors of gigantic governments—even their own—much less to sing rousing battle hymns about the whole thing.
Perhaps the most striking instance of the new world unity among men which is arising can be found in the spontaneous student revolts which have suddenly afflicted the nations. The first true generation of the mass media has determined, it would seem, to tolerate the "old politics" no more, whether it can offer a ready, reasonable alternative or not. Co-ordination among such "underground" or youth movements has generally developed after, not before, they were set in motion in the various corners of the globe. In this sense theirs is a true mass movement, a spontaneous revolution.
What is the schism between "old" and "new" politics? What is its basis? Again, McLuhan has pointed out the situation, though he seems uncertain himself of the obvious implications.
The "old" politicians are those who cheer their national flags, sing their traditional anthems, attend their traditional churches, make the traditional pledges during the traditional speeches, hate their traditional enemies, and offer peace and prosperity for their people. The old politics, in a word, is nationalism.
Nationalism, or sectionalism, is the obvious cesspool from which the diseases of war and famine arise. It is, to be sure, the bedrock of the United Nations and the cornerstone of our modern governments' world views. Yet it is the real reason people starve in India while the U.S. pays its farmers not to produce, and it is the glaringly apparent reason why Russia and the United States, under the absurd banners of "world" communism and democracy stand ready to obliterate life on this planet. Nor is any detente likely to change matters in the long run, even if a temporary nuclear accord can be reached. For other nations want power too, and the fact that it is simply power to destroy blindly—and entails inevitably being destroyed in turn—does not deter them. Thus France and China are anxiously, avidly joining in the H-bomb race, and others can be expected to do so in the near future—Israel, West Germany India, Italy, Japan.
Nationalism is the old politics because it views men with narrow common interests as kindred, to the exclusion of others, and because it sanctions all the evils that men can work upon one another, so long as the victim stands outside one's own community. But electric technology has made the world one community, and so the old lines of thought cannot apply. Nationalism is the politics of ignorance and ceaseless war, of misery, greed, rape, murder and starvation. Electric technology—the television, the photo-filled newspaper and the movie house do not permit the sort of insulation and indifference to such things that a single simple headline used to allow. And they tend to break down the degree of callousness—of alienness—that men of different nations used to be able to feel toward one another.
We are, by virtue of modern technology, one world family with a thousand governments, and this is the canker that rots us. The "new" politics, then, the politics by which we must be guided if we are to survive, is not just a matter of personal integrity, as the popularity of Eugene McCarthy and George Wallace in America seems to clearly indicate. It is true that the unpitying camera cannot help but reveal liars and frauds, as it has done for many during the current presidential race in the U.S., but this is only the beginning, only the first fruit of electric technology. The real and ultimate result is the consciousness within the minds of the world's people that they are one and not many.
And the new politics can then be seen to be the politics of world unification, the politics of a higher consciousness of brotherhood transcending the limits of race, nation or creed.
Genghis Khan wrote a lawbook by which he hoped to perpetuate the world government which his tremendous conquests had established. Although himself a nomadic shamanist, it is interesting to note that the first of the laws in his "Yassak" reads:
It is ordered to believe that there is only one God, creator of heaven and earth, who alone gives life and death, riches and poverty as pleases Him—and who has over everything an absolute power.
The Mongol warlord understood, as all the great men who have attempted to unite the world under one government have understood, that without a principle transcending earthly ties—that is, transcending sectionalism—no universal government could endure. As Napoleon put it: "No society can exist without morality; there is no good morality without religion. "
The reader may wonder if I mean to hold up Genghis Khan or Napoleon Bonaparte as examples of the world leader required by our times. The answer is no. First of all, though the Mongol's concept of world government was in many ways admirable, events most certainly demonstrated him a failure, for his empire did not endure, much less continue to expand, long beyond his death. Like Machiavelli, he conceived that men are best ruled by fear as opposed to love, and it was with this conviction that he initiated his campaigns of terror against the peoples of Asia and Europe. What we need today is neither a terrorist nor a Machiavellian, for the mass media no longer permit such extravagances within the human community. Indeed, dissimulation and terrorism are the very things now to be cast off by the human race if it is to live.
Again, Napoleon's hopes of uniting Europe foundered on two principles: the first being his own self-interest, the second his irrepressible tendency to place France and her people at the forefront of the world. He made France not the liberator but the despoiler of those who had suffered under the abuses of the Old Regime, and in the end it was the people, not the rulers, of Europe who defeated him.
The world leader required by our times—the man or men for whom history and technology have conspired together to set the stage—cannot be a Frenchman or a Mongol, nor an American, Chinaman or Russian. He must stand above the designations of sectionalism, and he must be able to elevate the people of the world with him. And he must have at heart not his own aggrandizement, but the true and transcendant welfare of all the people of the world.
These are not ordinary qualifications, and they are not found in men the way that Napoleon's military genius or Augustus's administrative skill were found. They must be consciously, intentionally developed. Everyone accepts certain designations of family, race, religion and nationality from birth, without question. Even where one of these concepts is absent, another is present. But the true universalist cannot accept such exclusive designations. He must be capable of going beyond these things, he must be capable of comprehending the essence of the life force itself. In other words, he must be a man with knowledge of spiritual, or absolute, existence—a self realized soul. And this self realization is a matter of serious personal determination.
If we examine the causes of nationalism, we will see that it stems ultimately from the identification of oneself with the body. The body is born in a particular place, with certain relationships, loyalties, debts and duties already existing to absorb one's interest. But the relationships of the body, like the body itself, are all ephemeral. One who accepts himself as having no spiritual existence beyond the space-and-time limits of the body cannot possibly avoid identification with one or another of the exclusive groups to which his body belongs. He cannot, therefore, be a true world leader.
The point to be noted is that spiritual knowledge is the requirement—the absolute requirement—for the man who would unify our world, establish peace and justice and, still more, happiness. I say it is the absolute requirement because without it such great men as Alexander, Genghis Khan, Napoleon and who knows how many first-rate administrators, executives, humanists, autocrats and demagogues have failed to do the job. For, though the Mongol and the Corsican correctly realized that religion was the ultimate means of unification, they were themselves not truly religious. They sought to use religion to cement together their empires, and here lay their basic error.
Religion must never justify its existence by service to a state or society, nor allow itself to be prostituted in that way. Religion is not a means to a stable society. It is a pathway to knowledge of God, it is the means of developing love of God. It is liberation from material existence, not a material device or adjustment. When it loses this orientation, when religion no longer serves to bring the individual to direct experience of the existence of God, then it is false and useless—a true opiate of the people.
The religion from which a stable and happy society springs is not, oddly enough, the false, society-oriented religion. Such a religion is ever the harbinger of revolution and disintegration, as witness Christendom these last few hundred years. Only the true religion which strives, and exhorts mankind to strive, after face-to-face knowledge of God can actually bring about peace and stability in the world. One who does not himself believe in God—much less know Him by his own serious devotional endeavors—cannot, therefore, create union among men by means of religion. Such leaders offer only the tradition, the hollow tasteless husk of a creed, and it is in turning from this in search of something better that the world so often finds itself in ferment.
The truth is that it is society which must be made to justify itself in terms of the spiritual advancement of its people, as both Gandhi and Toynbee have foreseen. And the world leader who will succeed in uniting the human race is the man who can affect this change in disposition. He cannot be a man interested in self-aggrandizement, for knowledge of God leads one to glorify God only, to serve and love and obey God only. Nor can he be a man of any section, with any special, narrow interest to serve, for God is one without a second, as He is described in all the world's authentic Scriptures; and all that exists is His. All beings without exception belong to Him, are His beloved children, and therefore must be treated with the utmost regard, and must be offered the full happiness and peace of spiritual perfection.
One with this consciousness of God as the Supreme Father of all, as the Possessor of all and the Friend of all, is fit for world leadership today, and only such a spiritually advanced person can hope to overcome the strictures of sectional interest in establishing the world union which electric technology has made practical, and history essential, for our survival.
There are, and always have been, innumerable doctrines of a grand and sweeping nature which call for peace, disarmament, brotherhood, and harmony, but modern history has not found one which will work. Neither communism, socialism, capitalism, totalitarianism, democracy, nor whatever is really acceptable for the welfare of all. If communism excludes individual enterprise, capitalism is a system for the exploitation of the poor. And no scheme, whether economic or political, has taken account of the welfare of living beings other than humans. Based ultimately on personal avarice, existing only to adjust the exploitation of the world's wealth for the benefit of many or few, such grand and all-inclusive world views falter at one point or another, such as Russian national predominance within the communist movement, or American—and before that British—industrial hegemony among the democracies.
The present writer, however, has no such scheme to offer. The Krishna Consciousness movement which I serve has indeed a dialectic, and what's more an outright science of societal organization, but the point and essence of this essay is that the world cannot be "saved"—that is to say unified—by schemes. It must be saved by men, and only men who have made themselves perfect in the science of God realization are fit for such a task. To be perfect in God realization means to have purified one's consciousness from the false designations of the material concept of life, and to have risen to the platform of spiritual awareness. Such awareness is universal in scope. and does not recognize the petty and vicious pretensions of sectional society, nor even of human society as opposed to other life forms.
This purification of consciousness has been outlined scientifically within the context of the Vedic Scriptural writings of India. and it is to these Scriptures that the leaders of tomorrow's world must look if they are to achieve the required consciousness of universal love. Other Scriptures are, to be sure, not excluded by such a study, and it is exactly because they are all-inclusive, rather than exclusive, that the Vedic writings have real value for us now.
The Vedic wisdom can be summarized in a simple phrase: The single worthwhile goal of life is to develop love of Godhead. And the system for the development of that love is presented in many different ways. Especially recommended for this age, where the strains of life seem not reduced but magnified by electric technology, is the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. By constant repetition of this transcendental sound vibration it is possible to arrive at the position of purified awareness of God. Such an awareness necessarily entails awareness of the eternally existing relationships between all creatures and their Creator and thereby endows one with the intelligence required for true world leadership.
This is a scheme not for societies so much as for individual people, and its value lies here. For if the people, individually, can find satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness in the advancement of spiritual life, then society will necessarily be peaceful and stable.
We can therefore see that a perfect society is a natural and inevitable byproduct but not the goal of true religion. And the world leaders of tomorrow are those who will encourage the people in this pursuit of God consciousness—and who will themselves pursue it, thereby offering their lives as examples .
The business of such world leaders can be outlined simply:
• to pursue with heart and soul the quest for personal fulfillment in devotional service to God,
• to unify the world under one government,
• to institute a system of law based on spiritual goals, which will have as its guideline the great Scriptures of the world,
• and to create an atmosphere of God consciousness for the actual benefit of all beings.
Utopian? Electric technology has made each one of these goals wholly practical, while the outcries of the new generation for a way of life more sane, more hopeful and more intimately fulfilling show that the human race is ready, if not waiting.
by Rayarama Das Brahmachary
Sacred Temple City of the Ganges
by Jayagovinda Das Brahmachary
Formerly Rishikesh was a special retreat of the ''sadhus," the saintly wise men, reserved for "tapasya," the performance of austerities. But today this type of meditation has been replaced by the singing of sacred mantras and hymns during joyful gatherings known as Kirtans. Entire families attend and participate, and all throughout the day the town's atmosphere is enlivened by this singing.
In the authentic, carefully preserved Vedic writings called "Shastras," or Scriptures, there is a prophecy regarding the present age of industry and science, and a special mantra is offered for God realization in this era: HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE/HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE. And so by following a natural tendency to sing and dance, people are able to act in accordance with the Scriptures, and thus make progress in spiritual understanding while they enjoy life.
Much of the population of Rishikesh is made up of pilgrims, visiting this as one of a series of holy places in the area of the Himalayas. Everyone takes a dip in the sacred Ganges before retiring to rooms provided free of cost to weary travelers by the different temples. Whether rich or poor, no distinction is made. There are many such places in India, maintained by the wealthy for the spiritual upliftment of the population in general. This principle is quite firmly established throughout the country, and is one of the main causes for the existence of a more spiritually oriented population. The most common Indian has some knowledge of the existence of the spirit from which consciousness emanates, and is trained to act, in some way, to uplift himself to the spiritual platform. The result is a genuinely happy people, for all that one is led to believe in the West; and a population with a deep sense of security as well—which may surprise many westerners, but is quite true.
How the sacred Ganges came into being makes a very nice story: Vamana, the Dwarf Incarnation of God, kicked a hole with His foot in the shell of the universe, and a drop of the Causal Ocean leaked in. This droplet was caught by Lord Shiva, a powerful demigod and great devotee of the Lord. Shiva kept it in his hair for some time and then released it, and it became the River Ganges, which runs down through all the fourteen worlds.
In the early morning and evening hours at Rishikesh the hills ring with bells, announcing the temple worship of Lord Narayan and Lord Sri Krishna, two forms of the Supreme God. People rise with the sun and flock to the temples to see the performance of a ceremony where symbolic items—the five-light ghee lamp, the water-filled conch, and a pretty folded handkerchief—are passed before the deities' eyes, along with the chanting of Sanskrit mantras and verses of praise.
The deities are called "Archa Vigraha," a form of incarnation of God. They are made in the image of God, according to the descriptions of Him found in Scripture, and He enters into their forms in order to accept the worship of His devotees. The deities are carefully attended, exactly like living persons: they are fed, bathed, clothed, and offered beds for taking rest.
The temple ceremony ends with the splashing of the ceremonial waters on the crowd. Just raise your hand and the "Pujari" the priest, will give you a liberal sprinkling. Then there comes distribution of delicious sweets called "prasadam," food which has first been offered to and accepted by the deities. During this distribution the deities are fanned and given rest. Everyone then returns to his ordinary business, inspired by the sight and worship of the deities. And everyone will surely return again and again to experience that inexplicable feeling of goodness from having stood in the sacred presence.
The deities are sometimes considered to be like clocks: The clock is a representative of time, and by looking at the clock one can see time . Even if he destroys his clock, however, and cannot see it, time itself is not destroyed.
Rishikesh is a heaven in itself, and the beautiful Deities at Swargashram, a temple situated on a nearby peninsula along the Ganges, make it even more perfect, with God Himself to preside over it. It is a place of matchless scenery, and a place where the soul is at home.
by Subal Das Adhikary
There are three classes of transcendentalists, according to the degree of realization of the absolute truth. One class of transcendentalists are the devotees, who have realized the Absolute Truth to be the Supreme Person, or God. A second class of transcendentalists are the yogis, who have realized the Supersoul Feature of the Absolute Truth, or all-prevading consciousness. And the third class of transcendentalists are the philosophers, who generally can only realize the impersonal feature of the Absolute.
Bhagavan, the Supreme Person, is held to be the ultimate in the Absolute Truth, according to the Vedic writings, which define and delineate the aspects of the Supreme in systematic and scientific fashion. Paramatman, the Supersoul, is a partial manifestation of the Supreme Person, and Brahman is the glowing bodily effulgence of the same Supreme Person.
Impersonal Brahman realization is often compared to knowledge of the sunshine. A higher realization is to understand that there is a localized sundisc; and the study of that feature is compared with knowledge of the Supersoul. The highest realization is to know of the sun planet and its inner workings. This compares with intimate knowledge of the pastimes of the Supreme Original Person, Sri Krishna.
These three features of the Absolute Truth are simply different perspectives of the same One Reality, according to the angle of vision of the seer. From a distance a mountain may appear to be a gray cloud, but as we get closer to it we can distinguish different features, such as villages, rivers, or wooded areas. And, when we have reached the mountain, we can distinguish individual blades of grass, rocks, and animals.
When we realize the Supreme Person, this includes realization of His partial manifestation and of His effulgence, both being emanations from Him. However, simply realizing His effulgence, or partial manifestation, does not include realization of His Personal feature. In The Brahma Samhita, one of the most important Vedic Scriptures, it is said:
I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, only the tip of the toe of Whose Lotus Feet is approached by the yogis who aspire after the transcendental, betaking themselves to Pranayama [breath control] by drilling the respiration: or by the jnanis [philosophers], who try to find the non-differentiated Brahman through the process of elimination of the mundane, a process extending over thousands of millions of years.
Realization of Brahman or of Paramatman is, therefore, incomplete realization, and the systems of Yoga and philosophical reasoning are also incomplete. That the only way to know the Supreme Absolute Truth perfectly is through devotion is the message of The Brahma Samhita, as it is of all the great Vedic Scriptures which have come down to us from the remotest antiquity.
The impersonalists generally cannot realize the spiritual focus of the Supreme Person. Being frustrated in one's attempts at sense gratification on the materialistic sphere, "by the process of elimination of the mundane," that is, by saying "not this, not that," (neti, neti) one may "try to find the non-differentiated Brahman." Intellectually, through reason and logic, one speculates on the absolute Truth. Due to a poor fund of knowledge, however, such a philosopher tends to misinterpret the Scriptures, and comes to deny the Personal feature of the Lord. This process can go on for "thousands of millions of years," as the soul progresses from birth to birth to birth. Finally, after achieving realization of the non-differentiated Brahman, the Absolute Nature he tries to merge with It, desiring to lose his individuality—to become God. This is called spiritual suicide, because we are all eternally individual living entities. This absolute individuality is confirmed in The Bhagavad Gita, by far the most widely revered of all the Vedic Scriptural texts, in the words of the Supreme Person Himself:
In fact, there never was a time when I was not, nor when you and all these kings were not. Nor hereafter shall We cease to be.
The soul is never born, nor does it die; nor does it exist by coming into being. For it is unborn, eternal everlasting and primeval; even though the body is slain, the soul is not.
Further, in The Brahma Samhita, it is said:
The same soul is eternal and exists for all eternity, without any beginning, joined to the Supreme Lord by the tie of eternal kinship.
It is possible to "merge" with the impersonal Brahman, and to temporarily suspend our individuality. If we see an airplane fly very high into the sky, it may go out of our sight and thus seem to have merged with the sky. However, the fact is that if the airplane does not land on another planet, it must again return to earth. Similarly, if we do not reach one of the innumerable transcendental planets within the spiritual sky, we must again at some time take our birth in this material world.
It is the nature of the individual soul to be situated on a planet, be it material or spiritual. In this way he can enjoy the variegatedness of life. Spiritual variegatedness, we should understand, is far superior to its material reflection. Variety is, after all, the basis of pleasure and happiness. And the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is known as Sat-Chit-Ananda Vigraha, "eternity and bliss in the fullest perfection." When we realize the impersonal Brahman, we realize only His Eternal (Sat) quality, without approaching the Knowledge (Chit) and Bliss (Ananda) aspects of the Absolute.
The Opulence Of God
The impersonalist further thinks that he can become God by merging with the impersonal Brahman. This is a dangerous form of atheism. The thought that someone can become God should be seen as patent nonsense. Is God so insignificant that a dog can become God? God must be eternally God, and we are eternally His parts and parcels—His servitors. Qualitatively we are indeed the same as God—one with Him, as is frequently said—but quantitatively there is a vast difference. The Vedic wisdom says that Krishna, God, possesses six opulences in full: all wealth, all fame. all beauty, all power, all knowledge and all renunciation. We also possess these six opulences, but in very minute quantities. If anyone can actually show that he possesses these qualities in full, then he must be accepted as God. If not, then he has no claim to divinity. If you claim to be God, then you must demonstrate that you are God, and not simply live like a dog.
The qualities of Krishna, the Godhead, have also been seen as sixty-four in number by great sages. And the living entity is said to possess 78% of these qualities. He can never possess all 100%.
Now, if we say we are God, but that we have temporarily forgotten, this is also insubstantial. God never forgets. If God were subject to forgetfulness or Maya, Illusion, then Maya would be more powerful than God. So what then would be the meaning of the word "god"?
Wanting to become God is the very cause of our downfall into the material existence. We must realize that we are always subservient to God. We are eternally His infinitesimal parts and parcels. It is because we are so infinitesimal that we are subject to delusion by the material energy of the Lord. He, however, is always transcendental and in full control of His illusory energy, even when He appears amongst us, as He sometimes does. This is confirmed in The Brahma Samhita by the following two verses:
The Lord of Gokula [Krishna] is the transcendental Supreme Godhead, the Own Self of Eternal Ecstasies. He is superior to all superiors, and is busily engaged in the enjoyments of the transcendental realm, and He has no association with His mundane potency.
The external potency, Maya, who is the shadow of the Chit [intelligence] potency, is worshipped by all people as Durga, the creating, preserving agency of this mundane world. But I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda, in accordance with Whose will Durga conducts herself.
If we take a drop of water from the ocean and analyze it, we will find that its chemical composition is the same as that of the ocean. In the same way, we are microscopic samples of God, but can we say that the drop of water is the ocean? In the Upanishads, the measurement of the spirit soul is given as one ten-thousandth the ultimate tip of a hair. Yet, we tend to become so inflated as to claim to be God. We are like sparks from a fire. The sparks are indeed fire, but when they fly out of the fire they are subject to extinction. Similarly, we can only remain in our transcendental position by remaining in contact with Krishna, the Supreme Whole.
Through practice of the eightfold Yoga system—Astanga Yoga, that is, which consists of posture, controlling the breath, concentration, meditation, etc.—the yogis can realize the partial manifestation of the Supreme Person, Which is known as the Supersoul, or Paramatman. This Paramatman is situated in everyone's heart as the indwelling Witness and Guide. In the Upanishads the relationship between the individual soul and the Supersoul is compared to two birds sitting in one tree. One bird is eating the fruit of the tree, while the other bird simply sits and watches. The individual soul is compared to the eating bird, and the Paramatman to the bird who is watching. The Paramatman witnesses all our actions, and awards us the fruits of these actions:
That Supersoul enters into the bodies of the created beings and, according to the modes of material Nature, causes the living beings in different bodies to enjoy, by the subtle mind and the effects of Nature. (Srimad Bhagwatam 1:2:32)
He is also waiting to help us go back to home, back to Godhead, should we decide to turn to Him for guidance. He is our dearmost Friend. But the conditioned souls have chosen to ignore Him. Still, He is so kind as to stay with us constantly, and to try converting us to our real and happy state.
Realization of the Supersoul is a step higher than realization of the impersonal Brahman. It recognizes both eternity (Sat) and knowledge (Chit). Yet the bliss, Ananda, of full spiritual realization is still missing. Narada Muni, a very great saint, says in The Srimad Bhagwatam:
It is true that by practicing restraint of the senses in the Yoga system one can get relief from the disturbances of desire and lust; but that is not sufficient to give the satisfaction to the soul which is derived from devotional service to the Personality of Godhead. Only devotional service to the Personality of Godhead can fully satisfy the soul, by developing love of Godhead, unalloyed Prema, which is the perfectional stage of life.
In the Sixth Chapter of The Bhagavad Gita, Krishna describes the Yoga system to Arjuna, and Arjuna rejects it as being too difficult. Arjuna was such a very intelligent man that he understood The Bhagavad Gita in about an hour, as it was spoken to him by Lord Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Today men are studying The Gita for lifetimes and still cannot understand it. Also, Arjuna had the qualification of being Krishna's friend and devotee. Yet he said:
O Madhusudana [Krishna], the system of Yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady.
For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind.
If the great-souled Arjuna rejected this system as being too difficult for him 5,000 years ago, how can we, who are far inferior to Arjuna and who are living in an age that is very unconducive to spiritual practice, hope to perfect this system of Yoga? Our duration of life is shortened, we have poor memory, meager intelligence, and are unfortunate in so many ways. This Yoga system was the recommended means for spiritual realization in the "Satya Yuga," or Golden Age of a long-gone antiquity. Now we are in the midst of a new age, called "Kali Yuga," which is characterized by quarrel, chaos, and heavy iron industry. And for realization in this age the chanting of the Holy Names of God is recommended by many authorities and Scriptures. According to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Who appeared some 500 years ago in India:
In the Age of Kali there is no other religion than glorifying the Lord by utterance of His Holy Names, and that is the injunction of all the revealed Scriptures.
In Satya Yuga, by practicing the Yoga system—with devotion—one could realize Krishna, the Supreme Person. But even then there were many pitfalls along the way. For example, some yogis might become attracted by the development of their mystic powers. The yogi who misuses these powers for personal gain surely brings his spiritual progress to a halt.
Other yogis, having realized the Paramatman, think that they have realized the Absolute Truth in full, and therefore do not go on to realize the Supreme Person, of Whom the Supersoul is only a partial manifestation. Others are caused to fall down by attraction for material sense enjoyment. The senses are artificially controlled by the Yoga system, but as soon as some opportunity for sense enjoyment presents itself, the senses may again exert themselves to take advantage of it. Another mistake is to falsely identify the individual soul with the Supersoul, and again come to the faulty conclusion that one is God Himself.
The really intelligent transcendentalist will immediately take shelter of the Lotus Feet of Krishna, and serve Him with devotion. In this way he can know the Supreme Absolute Truth in full, as the Supreme Person. Krishna is unknowable, but through His Grace, He may reveal Himself to his devotees. Scriptures, and the great saints, the mahatmas, tell us over and over again to simply surrender to God, and in this way reach the perfection of life. Krishna is Sat-Chit-Ananda Vigraha, the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss in perfection. He is calling mankind to go back to home, back to Godhead, trying to wake him up from the gross dream of material life. He offers man a very simple process, and the only possible obstruction to achieving the goal is man's own failure to accept it.
Of this devotional process, Lord Krishna in The Bhagavad Gita says:
Surrendering all duties, seek refuge in Me alone. I shall absolve you of all sins, so do not grieve.
And, in The Srimad Bhagwatam, the great sage Vyasadeva writes:
Thus the enlivened man, affected by contact with devotional service to the Lord, can positively have scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead, liberated from all material association.
The religion nobody has to join
by Satsvarupa Das Adhikary
Krishna Consciousness is the science of God realization. By this science, we can understand that all living entities are parts and parcels of God. As samples of the Whole, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we share the same qualities as He. God is all blissful, and so, originally, we are blissful. As He possesses all knowledge and as He is eternal, similarly we, in our natural position, are eternal and knowing. According to all authoritative Vedic Scriptures, such as The Bhagavad Gita (Song of God), Srimad Bhagwatam, and Upanishads, as well as The Holy Bible and Koran, the difference between God and the living entities, or parts and parcels, is that God is great and we are small. He is infinite and we are infinitesimal. Since we are small parts and parcels of the Supreme, we are apt to be covered by ignorance; when this occurs, our bliss and eternity become temporarily suspended. This ignorance is due to the misuse of our free will. And true freedom for us is to act with dependence on God, Who is the Absolute Truth, the Source from Whom everything emanates. At the ultimate stage, the goal of life for all human beings is to attain love of God as the topmost perfection.
In this current age, material science is predominating over all subjects, including the tenets of religion. It is, therefore, a very enlivening matter that we can understand the principles of eternal religion, or "Dharma," from the point of view of the modern scientist. The materialistic scientist, however, too often takes for granted that the ultimate source of energy is simply a material combination. By execution of the spiritual science of devotional service in Krishna Consciousness, one can understand the true position of matter as a mass of ingredients only, whereas the spirit is the Creator and mover. The Creator may remain unseen in the background, but that does not mean that there is no Creator. All beings must learn the necessary information whereby they can admit the existence of a gigantic intelligence behind the gigantic form of the material universe. The Supreme Being, Who has such a gigantic intelligence—quantitatively greater than ours—is the ultimate Creator, the all-attractive Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.
The eternal religion, called in Sanskrit "Sanatan Dharma," has no history of beginning or end. By the analytical processes of modern science, we can see that Sanatan Dharma is the business of all the living beings of the Universe. This Sanatan Dharma, being without bounds, is necessarily non-sectarian. When a man professes to belong to a particular faith with reference to time and the circumstances of birth, then he claims to be a Hindu, Moslem, Christian, Buddhist, etc. These are non-eternal designations. A Hindu may change his faith to become a Moslem, or a Moslem may change his faith to become a Christian. But in all circumstances, the change of religious faith does not allow a person to change his eternal engagement—the engagement of rendering service.
Service, according to the Vedic sources, is the eternal "Dharma," or religion of the living entity. Whatever position one may be in—in terms of time or space—he is always rendering service to someone outside himself. This is true not only for man, but for all species of life without exception. And because it is an eternal engagement, the "religion" of service can never begin or end or be transmuted. Its existence is absolute, just as the spiritual existence of the living being himself is absolute.
Krishna Consciousness means rendering direct and favorable service to the Source of everything. Only by the process of direct service to the Lord can the living entity become free from the transmigration of the soul through the world of material miseries, characterized by disease, old age, birth and death. Only by loving service can he go back to Godhead, back to the eternal spiritual realm, and take part in the eternal pleasure prevailing there.
In this present age, called theAge of Kali (hypocrisy and quarrel), the method of liberation prescribed by the Scriptures is to chant the Holy Names of God continually. God or Krishna is non-different from His Name, because He is Absolute and all-powerful. Therefore He is in His Name. God is everywhere, and so He is present in His Name. The utterance of the Name "Krishna" is the establishment of a transcendental sound vibration. By this simple process of chanting the Absolute Names of God, as contained in the Maha Mantra or Great Chanting—HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE/HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE—one's life will become sublime. It is only a question of taking one's already existing "religion," or tendency to serve, and consciously redirecting it to the perfect object of service, Krishna. Such purified consciousness is the ultimate state of spiritual achievement for the living entity.