The trouble with elections is that they tend to give us the distinct sensation that things have changed simply because our representatives in government have changed. Year after year, century after century, institutions, administrations and world leaders come and go with all their sackloads of systems, credos, experiments and cure-alls, while the common man plods on, never really getting what he wants out of it all: some final satisfaction.
Leaders have always exercised power—as much in Egypt of the Pharoahs as in modern America—by popular consent. That consent is sometimes directed toward an institution, as in the case of a monarchy, rather than toward a specific individual, which applies in a democracy, but it is always essential for effective government. And popular consent indicates that the world's leaders and governments reflect no more than the desires of the populace. Therefore, to consider why the people don't get the real satisfaction that each being seeks in life, we must not consider leadership as an entity apart and by itself. The habit of historians to place the blame for the world's ills solely—or even mainly upon our Neros, Attilas and Stalins is misleading. We must consider both the governed and the governor together—they cannot be separated—in order to get a valid picture.
Now, if our leaders are offering us what we want, and if we're following men who have, really, no more than that to qualify them, then we must recognize the fact that we are not unhappy merely because of our leaders: we are unhappy because of what we want. In this our leaders most certainly conspire with us, but they are not guilty by themselves. We are asking for—and our politicians are promising to deliver—our own enslavement, frustration and death. That is to say, we are seeking, to conquer material Nature, and all our victories in this struggle are Pyrrhic to the final degree.
According to the Vedic teachings, there are two reasons for our determination to defeat Nature, to bend her to our will and exploit her and ravage her: The first is that we each desire to be God. Because of this we have left the eternal spiritual association of the actual Godhead, and by His kindness He has given us the material world in which to enjoy according to our own choices. Under the illusion which each creature possesses—the ant and the platypus no less than Caligula or Hitler—that he is the center of existence, we are being constantly engaged in the struggle to exert our supremacy. And because that supremacy does not factually exist, we are continually subjected to defeat in one form or another.
The second reason for the struggle against Nature which is put forward by the Vedic sages is incompatibility. The living force is by constitution spiritual, spirit being described as unchanging, eternal, knowing and blissful. When the spiritual living entity takes on the form of a material body, he tends to falsely identify himself with that body—like a man in a dream who has forgotten his real self. Material Nature is basically mutable, and unconscious except when the life force is present. Therefore, when any creature accepts himself as a product of material Nature, he makes it impossible to achieve the fulfillment of his real and constitutional position.
What we must seek, then, if we are to find satisfaction, is a means of purifying consciousness in order to regain spiritual, total awareness. And the struggle for supremacy over Nature, which our leaders today assume without a second thought to be the real goal of human society, must be abandoned. The Krishna Consciousness Movement exists simply to offer this spiritual alternative to mankind, and our method—the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra—is a scientific and transcendental approach to this real and most basic problem of life.
We strongly urge all men at all levels of the human community to take up this process, and to thereby adopt an actual program of release from the bitter struggle with Nature Compared with the tremendous amount of time and money thrown into the democratic election process, this is an exceedingly easy, inexpensive proposition. Yet it means actual release, whereas our political upheavals offer no more than a change of guards at the gate of the material prison.
"Transformed hippes clad in saffron robes...chanting the
—Nayana Bhiram Das Brahmachary
—A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Great Apostle of love of God and the Father of the Sankirtan Movement, advented Himself in the City of Nabadwipa in Bengal, India. This was in February, 1486, by Christian reckoning.
By the will of the Lord there was a lunar eclipse on that evening. It is the custom of the Hindu public to bathe in the Ganges of any other sacred river during the hours of eclispe, and to chant the Vedic mantras for purification. When Lord Chaitanya was born during the eclipse, then, the whole India was roaring with the holy sound of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
These sixteen Names of the Lord are mentioned in many Puranas and Upanishads, and they are described as "Tarak Brahman," the Names for this age. It is stated in the "Shashtras," the accepted Scriptures, that offenseless chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord can deliver a fallen soul from material bondage. There inumerable Names for the Lord both in India and elsewhere, and all of them are equally good because all of them indicate the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But because these sixteen Names are especially recommended for this Age, called Kali Yuga, it is better for people to take the path of the great Acharyas, the saintly teachers who attained success by practice of this system.
This coincidence of the Lord's Appearance and the lunar eclipse make it clear what the mission of the Lord was to be. That mission was to preach the importance of chanting the Holy Names of God in this Age of Kali, or Quarrel. The present age witnesses quarrel even over trifling things, and therefore the Shastras have recommended that a common platform can be found in the performance of Kirtan, also called Sankirtan, the congregational chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord. Accompanied by melodious music and dancing, people can hold meetings, Kirtans, for glorifying the Lord in their respective languages. And if such performances are executed in an offenseless manner, it is sure and certain that such persons will gradually attain spiritual perfection without any of the effort of undergoing rigid methods of Yoga or asceticism.
During Sankirtan the learned and the fool, the rich and the poor, the Hindu and the Moslem, the Englishman and the Indian, the common man and the priest—all can give aural reception to the transcendental sound vibration of Hare Krishna, and thereby cleanse the dust from the mirror of the mind.
In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is stated that, "in this Age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient brain substance will worship the Lord and His associates by performance of Sankirtan Yajna (sacrifice)." So Lord Chaitanya and His inauguration of the Sankirtan Movement were not concotions, but present the fulfillment of what is stated in revealed Scripture, just as the Appearance of Lord Buddha, Shankara Acharya and all such Avatars are foretold in Vedic literature. And to confirm the Lord's mission, all the people of the world will accept the Holy Name of God as the common platform for the Universal Religion of Mankind.
The Advent of the Holy Name thus took place along with the Advent of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When the Lord was on the lap of His mother, the Child would at once stop crying as soon as the ladies surrounding Him chanted the Holy Name, clapping their hands. This peculiarity was observed by the neighbors of the Lord with awe and veneration. Sometimes the young ladies took pleasure in making Him cry, so that they could stop Him by chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Rama. From His very childhood, then, the Lord began to preach the importance of the Holy Name.
At the age of 16 He becamse the greatest scholar in all India, know as Nimai Pandit. He was then married with great pomp, and began to preach the Hare Krishna Movement as Nabadwipa. Some of the Brahmins there soon became envious and put many hindrances in His path, at length complaining to the Moslem magistrate about Him. The Kazi, as the official was called, took these complaints seriously, and he at first warned the followers of Lord Chaitanya not to chant the Name of Krishna loudly. But Lord Chaitanya asked His followers to disobey the orders of the Kazi, and they went on with their Sankirtan parties as usual.
The Kazi then sent constables who broke some of the mrdangas (drums) while Sankritan was taking place. When Lord Chaitanya hard of this, He organized a civil disobedience movement at Nabadwipa. He was the pioneer of civil disobedience in India—and for the right cause. He organized a procession of a hundred thousand men, with thousands of mridangas and khartals (hand cymbals), and the procession passed over the roads of Nabadwipa without any fear of the Kazi.
At length the party reached the house of the Kazi, who fled upstairs in fear of the masses. The men assembled there showed hot tempers, but the Lord asked them to be peaceful. At this the Kazi came down, and a very nice discussion was held, concerning the Koran and the Hindu Shastras.
The Kazi questioned the Lord about cow sacrifice, which is prescribed in the Vedas, and the Lord replied that the method mentioned in the Vedas is not cow killing. In that sacrifice and old bull or cow is killed to give it freah, younger life by the power of the Vedic mantras. In the Kali Yuga, however, such cow sacrifice is forbidden an account of the absence of learned brahmins who can conduct the ceremony. In the Kali Yuga all sacrifices are forbidden because they are useless attempts when undertaken by the unlearned. In the Kali Yuga only the Sankirtan form of sacrifice is recommended for all practical purposes.
The Kazi was convinced by the authority of Lord Chaitanya, and at once became a follower of the Lord. He declared that, thenceforward, nobody might hindrances in the way of the Hare Krishna Movement.
Following tis incident, the Lord began to preach and propagate Sankirtan more vigorously than ever. In the course of His preaching work, He used to send out all His followers every day, including Srila Nityananda Prabhu and Thakur Haridas, two chief figures of His party. They would go from door to door and preach the cult of Srimad Bhagawatam, the science of love of Krishna. One day, as they were out on the road, these two cam upon two brothers named Jagai and Madhai. Born the sons of a respectable brahmin, the brothers has fallen to the most despicable position through low association. They were debauchees of the first order, meat eaters, woman hunters, and dacoits.
At once, upon learning of these two, Thakur Harida and Nityananda Prabhu decided that, if they could be delivered by the Holy Name, Lord Chaitanya would be all the more glorified. With this in mind they at once approached the two brothers, requesting them to chant the Holy Name of Krishna. The drunked brothers became enraged at this, however, and attacked Nityananda Prabhu. Both Nityanana Prabhu and Haridas Thakur hurriedly left the place, with the drunkards chasing them for a considerable distance.
The next day Nityananda Prabhu again came to see the brothers, but as soon as he approached them he was struck on the head with a piece of earthen pot, and blood spilled forth. Srila Nityanada Prabhu was so kind toward them that instead of protesting against their heinous act, he said, "It doesn't matter that you have thrown things at me. Still I request you to chant the Holy Name of the Lord."
One of the brothers was atonished at this behavior of Nityananda Prabhu, and he at once fell down at his feet, asking pardon for his sinful brother. The other was again attempting to hurt him, but Jagai checked him and implored hom to also fall down at the feet of Nityananda Prabhu.
Meanwhile the Lord, having heard of His devotee's injury, at once rushed to the spot determined to kill the pair, but Nityananda Prabhu reminded Him of His mission—namely, to deliver the hopelessly fallen soulds of the Kali Yuga. The brothers Jagai and Madhai were, after all, typical examples of the present day population. Because of Nityananda's intervention, and due to their own sincere surrender at that pure devotee's feet, Lord Chaitanya at length was pacified, and the brothers became welcome devotees of God.
For this purpose of delivering the debased population of the Kali Yuga, Lord Chaitanya appeared, and out of His causeless mercy He gave us the simple method of self realization: chanting the Holy Name of God: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And, He said, there is no other way in this era.
When the Lord was once asked by the great Mayavadi sannyasi, Prakashananda Saraswati, what was the reason for His diversion to the Sankirtan Movement, instead of studying the Vedanta Sutras as is the duty of a sannyasi, the Lord replied very humbly as follows:
"The reason for My diversion to the Sankirtan Movement from the study of Vedanta is that I am a great fool. And, because I am a great fool, My Spiritual Master forbade Me to play with Vedanta philosophy. He said it would be better for me to chant the Holy Name of the Lord, and that that would deliver Me from material bondage.
"In this Age there is no religion other then glorifying the Lord by the utterance of His Holy Name, and that is the injunction of all the revealed Scriptures. So on the order of my Spiritual Master I chant the Holy Name of Krishna, and I am now mad after this Holy Name. Whenever I utter it, I forget myself completely: sometimes I laugh, somtimes I cry, and sometimes I dance like a madman. I thought within Myself that I may have actually gone mad by this process of chanting the Holy Name, and there fore I inquired from My Spiritual Master about it. I told Him, 'I have become mad by chaning the Holy Name. What does this mean" Please let me know.'
"My Spiritual Master then informed me that it is the real effect of chanting the Holy Name that it produces transcendental emotion, which is a rare manifestation. This transcendental emotion is the sign of love of God, which is the ultimate end of life. The love of God is transcendental even to liberation (mukti), and as such it is called the fifth stage of spiritual realization—standing above the stage of liberation. The actual result of chanting the Holy Name of Krishna is to attain the stage of love of God, and it was good that I was favored with such a blessing."
Although Lord Chaitanya is Krishna Himself, for our example He has presented Himself as a great fool. God is full in six opulence, including all knowledge, and therefore He is never a fool. We can, hoever, follow the merciful example of Lord Chaitanya and take up this chanting with all determination, and we will in that way reach the ultimate perfection of life, which is love of God. Everything is there. We need only accept what is coming down to us in the line of disciplic succession from Krishna and from Lord Chaitanya.
When the Lord was traveling through the jungles of Jhalikanda (Madhya Bharat) on His way to Vrindaban, all the wild animals also joined with His Sankirtan Movement. The wild tigers, the elephants, bears, and deers all accompanied the Lord, and the Lord attracted them into His Sankirtan Movement. By this He proved that, bu propagation of the Hare Krishna Movement, even the wild beasts can live together in peace and friendship—what to speak then of men, who are supposed to civilized? No man in the world will refuse to join the Sankirtan Movement when he actually understands it, nor can the Lord's Sankirtan Movement have any restriction of caste, creed or color. Herein is direct evidence of the greatness of His mission, for He admitted even the wild animals to partake in Sankirtan.
So, although the Lord was the greatest scholar of Vedanta at the meager age of 16 years, still His only request was that, in this Age of Kali, you simply chant Hare Krishna and your life will be sublime.
Lord Chaitanya left only 8 slokas, or verse, of His instructions to the general mass of people, which are known as Sikshastak. These are included herein:
By Goursundar Das Adhikari
The Battle of Edge Hill was fought centuries ago in England when Cromwell's Roundheads met the army of King Charles I. Blood, they say, ran in rivers. After the field was cleared, silence reigned until, two months later, a crowd of thousands of Northamptonshire residents, including clergymen and special aides sent by the King, stood watching as strange, ghostly figures performed the same awful fight all over again. In England today, near the battlefields of the War of the Roses, people still sometimes hear the sounds of artillery exploding, soldiers shouting, metal crashing, and the wounded crying horribly. No one is sure where it comes from.
All sorts of similarly "impossible" events challenge the aloofness of our comfortable modern scholars and scientists. Unknown, unexplainable phenomena cover so much of the four dimensions with which science is busy that it is curious anyone can remain indifferent to them.
Ghosts are denied any existence in the modern scheme of things, but nevertheless the exploits of such beings are widely reported in newspapers, periodicals and books, and on television as well. And the case for the reality of the "spirit world" is being championed today by a small group of investigators called Parapsychologists. Parapsychology encompasses all the inexplicable happenings that other branches of research choose to ignore, and rather well-documented volumes from all the ages of history represent evidence that this is no meager or faddish endeavor.
In the "Saturday Evening Post," July 2, 1966, a very interesting account was presented of the strange experiences of Joe Hyams and his wife, actress Elke Sommers. They had purchased a house in 1964, and right from the start report was made of a stranger on the premises who could not be identified. He appeared one night in the bedroom of Mrs. Hyams' mother, but again vanished. Frequent noises in the dining room proved inexplicable. Mr. Hyams found that, although he would make sure to lock a certain window at night, it often was found unlocked again in the morning. He also heard the front door open and close, even when he was alone in the house with it tightly fastened on the inside. The chairs in the dining room often sounded as though they were being pushed around, but when he went to investigate, the room would appear empty and quiet. The noises were recorded on a tape recorder hidden for the purpose.
Mr. Hyams left the house for a time, and had it placed under a detective's surveillance. One night all the lights went on and all the windows and doors of the deserted house were opened. The detective could not find the reason for this. Later, the house was put in the charge of a family friend. He kept the place locked up, but always found the front door open when he came back to the house. Then a repairman observed a large gentleman in the dining room who seemed to evaporate into space.
Mr. Hyams solicited the services of several mediums, people purportedly attuned to the psychic world, who reported the presence of a tall man in his fifties, a doctor who had died of a heart attack and was determined to remain in the house. Mr. Hyams further found that the previous owners had also had eerie experiences in the house. By the second year of Mr. Hyams' ownership, over thirty mediums, sensitives and investigators had checked the place and agreed unanimously that it was haunted.
New York City is full of haunted houses. In a book entitled "True Experiences with Ghosts, " edited by Martin Ebon, a Mr . Wainwright Evans has given his description of one such house, 422-1/2 West 46th Street. When Miss Ruth Faison Shaw moved into that residence, she inquired of its history and found that it had once been the coach house of George Clinton, first governor of New York. The governor's coachman had lived in the rooms above the stables with his young wife. One evening the pregnant wife saw an apparition of the "Old Moor. " This "Old Moor" had been hanged on the Battery for mutiny at sea, and buried in what was then a field close to the house. The coachman's wife was terrified, came running down the stairs, fell and died. The baby was saved and raised by the coachman, who observed that whenever the child was ill, an apparition of his mother lingered nearby.
Later, one of Clinton's granddaughters, Margaret, used to play in the house. She very much enjoyed dressing in old-fashioned clothes and running down the stairs, pretending to be a ghost. One day she, too, fell and died, and needless to say she also became a ghost. Her figure was frequently seen in later years—running down the same staircase. When the building became older and was abandoned for a time, local vagrants would often sleep there, until one night they fled away in fear, having seen the ghost of little Margaret.
Miss Shaw stayed at 422-1/2 for some time without noticing anything strange. But then one afternoon to the good woman's shock she too beheld Margaret running down the stairs. The little ghost was frequently seen by Miss Shaw from then on, always re-enacting her ghostly drama.
Thousands of encounters of this nature have been reported, and it is far from rational to dismiss them simply by deprecating the character of the observer . The real basis for objection to their stories seems to be, in the final analysis, simple incompatibility with official modern scientific theory . Actually, so-called scientists themselves are cornered when pressed for sound explanations from their side.
All modern science appears superficial when real problems of conscious existence are raised, as in the case of the presence of ghosts. The essential, genuinely rational science aims at the liaison of self consciousness and eternal Truth. The pursuit of anything less, although it may befool all the scholars in the world, is an intolerable waste of the human life span and energy. The man who is really intelligent will try to free himself from the somewhat inflated designations of the organization of prejudice currently worshipped by its votaries as Science. And we should recognize clearly the fact that materialism can be every bit as superstitious an act of faith as unsubstantiated spiritual and psychic phenomena.
Nearly all people have some contact with the world of ghosts. My Spiritual Master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, has mentioned several interesting stories, one of which relates to a disciple of his grand Spiritual Master, Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj. The disciple had detected some strange festival being performed in the jungle at the dead of night, and although cautioned not to go there, he could not resist a closer inspection. He came upon a big feast being served, and was offered many nice foods including rasgolla, sandesh, hallavah, and paratas, very tasteful dishes popular in India. The young man accepted a whole sackful of food, and left the place. Then, when he was ready to eat, he sat down and opened the bag. He was amazed to find it full of stool. Later, Srila Jagannath Das Babaii explained to him that this was the prank of ghosts, who often appear at night in various forms to do mischief.
My Spiritual Master has also told of an interesting adventure he once had as a boy. His family lived for a while in a very large house where a young gentleman had killed himself. Swamiji several times saw the man's translucent form passing close by. The ghost was well known, as he had frequently been seen by many people. A school teacher who was holding classes in one wing of the house also informed him that the place was haunted. She said that the ghost had talked with her, and she knew his sad history: The ghost had been a debauchee in his previous life, and had squandered a huge family fortune. Later, overcome by remorse, he had committed suicide.
The fashionable members of American society affectionately known as "hippies" often trace a close connection to the world of ghosts. The ancient Vedic literature informs us that ghosts are attracted to places and persons dominated by intoxication and uncleanliness, as they have greater influence over those whose minds are weakened or crippled by intoxication.
Intoxication is actually a prolonged process of committing suicide. Suicide means destroying the physical body, be it quickly or slowly. And nearly all intoxicants, such as coffee, liquor, L.S.D., marijuana and tranquilizers, are harmful to the human organism to one degree or another. Ghosts, in fact, usually are the victims of suicidal folly, being encouraged by the delusion of materialistic nihilism. Due, however, to the fact that the living entity is eternal, the search for self-annihilation yields only more troublesome entanglement with the laws of material Nature.
The superintendent of this department of ignorance is Lord Shiva, who is often described as the leader of a huge army of ghosts. The experience of ghostly phenomena—such as the Delirium Tremens of the alcoholic—is only too well known to those habituated to intoxication.
According to the Vedic teachings, the living entities are not simply material combinations. They are eternal spiritual sparks manifesting their presence within bodies of matter. The agency which connects a material body to the living spirit force is technically known as the mind. The mind is a temporary extension into the field of matter projected by a living being. The mind is the conductor of living activities in relationship to the material body. The Vedic analysis is therefore helpful in describing the situation of material existence as the incarnation of living souls within material minds and bodies.
The souls enter and exit various temporary habitations at the historical reference points known as birth and death. At death the unusable body must be abandoned. The subtle body, the mind—which is also material—then receives a replacement body, according to its cravings and condition at that moment. By too intensive a focusing of consciousness on the past stages of life, one may sometimes fail to progress to anew body. In such a state one remains with only a subtle or mental body. The soul, conditioned by matter yet existing without a gross physical body, remaining only in subtle, mental form, is known as a ghost.
Ghostly life is said to be most unpleasant. The unfortunate ghost is troubled by a variety of material cravings, which he has not the necessary body to satisfy. For example, the desire for palatable food remains, but there is no tongue or stomach to manage it. The pressures of such frustrated hankerings often drive miserable ghosts to extremes. Essentially no more then disembodied minds, they usually become demented, and try tormenting those who still have physical bodies. Many ghosts even try to control normal people's bodies, or else to scare them to death, so that they will also become ghosts. One who dies in great horror, or too greatly attached to his physical body, his environment, or his possessions, or by suicide, becomes a ghost.
There is a lesson in this which we should try to perceive. One's living, from day to day, should be carefully considered, and directed not by the events of the past or the fallacies of materialistic hope, but by the consciousness of that which is real and eternal, that which lies beyond the dualities of material life.
The only recourse to an existence of recurring hope and sorrow, happiness and then pain, is to somehow surrender at the Lotus Feet of Krishna, the Supreme Controller of all existences. The soul has a realm natural to it and compatible with it, which lies beyond the twisted world of matter. That spiritual sky, described at length in many of the Vedic writings, such as The Srimad Bhagwatam, is to be attained only by Krishna's Grace, through His representations here. The primary service to be rendered by us in order to gain the Lord's grace is the chanting of transcendental sounds which will invoke Krishna Consciousness. The vibration of the Hare Krishna Mantra, the most exalted of transcendental vibrations, provides some interesting side effects in that it drives away ghosts, with all their sinister intentions, and insures the chanter that he himself will not have to accept such a horrible existence in the future. Of course, the value of the chant in terms of stimulating spiritual emotion far outweighs any such negative considerations, but the fact of its exorcising power remains.
The real purpose of the mantra is to offer the highest benediction to all the fallen, miserable living entities, in the form of pure love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who determines to penetrate the vast, haunted cosmic facade will be able to do so by adopting this method . And, by perfection of the chanting process, he will in due course attain the eternal loving association of Lord Krishna.
By Rayarama Das Brahmachary
On Tuesday evening, October 8, Dr. Benjamin Spock received the Gandhi Peace Award at the Community Church of New York. This award is a far-distant poor relative of the Nobel Prize, which went this year to the less controversial figure of a French jurist. There was no big money gift at the Community Church, as is the case at the Oslo affair, though there was a nice medallion, the weight of which pleased Spock. Nor was there any press to speak of at the Gandhi Award, the New York Times didn't do a "Man in the News" piece on Spock as it did on Rene Cassin, the world's governments didn't—and wouldn't dare praise the American pediatrician on the floor of the U.N. General Assembly.
There are other differences, far deeper ones, between these two personalities and their approaches to peace; though, as we'll see, the differences don't go quite deep enough.
The eminence of M. Cassin stems essentially from his part in formulating the United Nations' Declaration of Human Rights. This document is such a marvel of compromise and euphemism that not one member of the General Assembly voted against it when it was adopted in 1948—the year Russia sealed her iron curtain across Eastern Europe. The Declaration deals with such glossy fancies as the universal right to life, liberty and security of person; freedom from arbitrary arrest; freedom of movement, residence, speech, press, assembly and worship. These were the human rights which M. Cassin and his associates felt could be accepted by all nations, religions and races unanimously. And they were—in theory. On paper, where nobody has to get serious.
The United Nations, naturally, has no power to enforce laws, much less standards of morality, upon its member states, but the Declaration was meant to focus the weight of world opinion on specific issues. In the words of one writer: "...when the Assembly of the United Nations gives its judgment, that judgment has a thundering authority as the voice of mankind."
The "thundering authority" theory is the bedrock of the United Nations and its mission of peace today. It is a forum rather than an actual court of universal justice, and the notion that such a forum carries real power is the latest thing in opiates for the people. Of course, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the Dominican Republic and Vietnam, the Middle East and quite a number of other conflicts—more than fifty in all since the Second World War ended—have shown us that forums don't mean all that much. Men like Rene Cassin construct their wonderful compromises and legalisms, and try to speak to mankind in terms of fair play and honor, while the people who actually run things go on with their brutal business unaffected.
Dr. Spock on war and peace
Dr . Spock has a somewhat different attitude toward peace. He cares less and less, apparently, for what passes in the world as legality. In his speech accepting the Gandhi Award, he urged those present to become more aggressive in their efforts for peace. "We must stop wringing our hands and become active," he declared. All those left of center tend, in his estimation, to be hypercritical of one another, while the rightists—the hawks—"keep their eyes right on the ball," which means power and money.
Dr. Spock entered the war-and-peace business officially in 1962 when he joined the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. Before that, he had achieved great fame as a pediatrician. His book, "Baby and Child Care," has sold over 20 million copies, and rivals The Bible as the all-time American bestseller. It has gone into twenty-six foreign language editions, and has made Spock the almost unquestioned authority on the subject of child-raising in the Western World, as well as much of the East.
Spock's concern for children led him naturally to consider the world in which they have to live, and he has found the prospects none too bright. He has said: "I think it's no longer sufficient to protect children from just the familiar physical diseases and the usual emotional stresses. Now the greatest danger to life—by far—is from nuclear disaster."
Of his decision to engage actively in the peace movement, the Doctor has commented: "Kennedy said the United States had to resume testing to stay ahead. And obviously you can't stop testing if you're behind. It seemed clear that the buildup would continue until there was a nuclear war or a nuclear accident. It made me realize that there wouldn't be peace and disarmament unless people demanded it."
Demanding peace has now become Spock's primary business. He has twice been arrested for his agitation, and in the more recent instance has been convicted of conspiracy to aid and abet U.S. draft resistors. As he has not scrupled to break the law, he has likewise not scrupled to work with any and everyone who will strive for peace. In replying to criticisms of his seeming lack of discrimination, he has said: "My usefulness to the peace movement is in recruiting people from the middle of the road ... I'm willing to cooperate with anyone who's halfway responsible and wants to end this terrible war."
The "terrible war," of course, is Vietnam, America's most excruciating blunder in a long, long time, wherein the "military-industrial elite" sought to establish a base for American forces on communist China's southern flank—and neglected to consider that the people who live in that region might object.
Dr. Spock said, however, in his speech at the Community Church, that Vietnam "is not an exception or an aberration. It's only one example of the increasingly imperialistic tendency of the United States," extending into the military, economic and industrial affairs of the world. Actually, he might quite as accurately have added that Vietnam represents only a single episode in the vast drama of exploitation and brutality which has marked as much of mankind's history as modern researchers have been able to reveal.
Peace in any time
As mentioned above, there has been no real shortage of major violent conflicts since the close of World War Two, and we all know that there was no shortage of them before that. In other words, the world never lacks a war, even though nowadays we don't call them by that name, ever, though it has become fashionable not to "declare war," thus committing oneself to "victory"—and possibly annoying one's people with a sense of insecurity that might make them question their leaders.
Dr. Spock, Senator Eugene McCarthy and quite a sizable number of others raised their voices against the Vietnam War in the U. S. recently, and as a result they toppled Lyndon Johnson from his pinnacle of power, forcing him to think the wiser of running in the 1968 election. And yet a measure of the futility of the peace movement's endeavors can be witnessed in the fact that not one of the three serious presidential candidates is running on a peace platform. In fact, the most "dovish" of the three is the Vice-President, the very man most committed to defending the administration's policy.
The peace movement—and by this I mean not only the present McCarthy- and Spock-led insurrection, but the cause of world peace itself, going back at least to the Hague Conferences which preceded the First World War, and following through the League of Nations which preceded the Second, right up to our own United Nations—the peace movement has proved itself a dismal failure. In fact, the more vocal and determined our peace advocates are, the more horrifying and all-inclusive grow the wars that punctuate their protestations, until today we await, half-expectantly, the moment when someone presses The Button, and our glittering civilization goes up in a white hot flash.
The reasons for this are not very apparent: The way men feel in their hearts is not a topic for newspaper headlines. But it is necessary to understand that nations cannot be peaceful if their individuals are belligerent, they cannot be sane if their people are mad, they cannot be stable if their inhabitants are disgusted and discontent. The international situation that confronts us today is only a magnification of the interpersonal situation of exploitation, deception and malice which forms the daily atmosphere of our lives. And so long as the more basic problem remains unsolved, the larger one will not be solved either.
Dr. Spock has reached much the same conclusion, as he pointed out in a recent interview. 'It seems to me," he said, "that I see that the problems of America and the problems of the world are moral problems." And, further: "Man can't live without a moral sense. He is a naturally religious person, or at least a believing person. When he becomes disenchanted or cynical he turns rotten very fast. He has to have moral, ethical and preferably religious beliefs."
The trouble here, of course, is not morality itself. It's not as though Lyndon Johnson and Dean Rusk have declared themselves against it, and have launched a policy of deliberate evil upon the world, or that they don't believe in anything. Quite the contrary, they're fully convinced, it seems clear, that theirs is the truly moral course, and the prosecution of Spock and numerous others in the courts is a natural corollary to such a concept of morality. And the conflict now existing between the hawks and the doves is not a matter of the moral vs. the amoral; it is a question of whose morality is correct.
This was made glaringly apparent in a Meet the Press interview last January, when Douglas Kiker of NBC News asked the Reverend Wm. Coffin, one of Spock's co-defendants in the conspiracy case, whether he was "advocating" that young men turn in their draft cards in protest of the war. The Rev. Coffin replied: "...if you came to me as a student at Yale and said 'Should I turn in my draft card' the last thing I would ever tell you to do is turn in your draft card. That is such an eminently personal decision that you have to make it yourself."
The point of most of the newsmen's questions on that occasion, and the point which led to the conviction in court, the point Rev. Coffin seemed strangely to avoid, is whether men can decide for themselves what is moral and what is not. The legalist, the "Establishment," says that men cannot, that society depends upon men agreeing among themselves as to what they may and may not do—and then sticking to the agreement. The peace activists, strangely enough, do not disagree with this view, with the exception of a small anarchist element. What the peace activists say, however, is that a small group—America's "military-industrial elite"—have usurped the power of agreement from the people, and are forcing a war upon them which they do not desire, and that this "elite" is, therefore, damaging society.
To go on from here any further into the pros and cons, the moralities and amoralities of the particular Vietnam issue can only involve us in the sort of bickering which everyone else has so fruitlessly engaged in for so many long years. Instead, let's step back a pace and examine the situation in a slightly different light. This is the light of spiritual knowledge, as it is conveyed to us not by our individual "consciences"—which I do not doubt both Johnson and Spock possess equally—but spiritual knowledge as it is found in the scriptural teachings of the world.
For what the Rev. Coffin failed to establish in his rather lame retorts to the Meet the Press panel was that morality is not created by men, whether in a mob or alone. In any dispute between two parties to which no compromise or solution can be found, there must be a resort to a third party—a higher, standard authority, who can judge the situation properly. And the authority in questions of morality can only be God, the Absolute Truth. To realize why this is so, why an ordinary handshake between the President and the pediatrician can't solve things, to see how there could be an irrevocable right or wrong beyond the letter of the law, we must inquire into the nature of morality itself.
Public morality means the good of the people. And according to the standard Scriptures of the world, the real good, the very perfection of human life, lies in each being's personal confrontation with the Godhead, known in the Vedic writings as Sri Krishna. Because Krishna is absolute—that is, because He is the supreme good for every single being at every single moment without limit in time or space—knowledge of Krishna is the only worthwhile goal of human life.
No government can, therefore, offer anything to its people which is beneficial—neither money nor power nor peace—if it fails to offer an approach to God. And any dissenting movement, regardless of the particular situation, must be judged by the same standard. Now, if God realization is the only true goal of human existence, then morality—the good of the people—indicates whatever way of life will bring them to this stage. And, except in terms of this pursuit of God realization, "morality" does not exist.
Further, the approach to God cannot be created at a convention of human minds; it has already been outlined by God Himself, as He has directly addressed mankind through The Holy Bible, The Koran, The Bhagavad Gita, and the other Scriptures of the world. Therefore what is necessary now, for Dr. Spock and the Rev. Coffin quite as surely as for President Johnson and his allies, is to look into the directions and teachings of the Scriptures. The solution to the problems of war and peace can be found there, because the single valid, irrevocable standard of morality can be found there: the guidance and revelation of God, Who declares Himself in The Gita to be the Friend and Maintainer of all creatures without exception or discrimination. Without reference to this standard of morality, neither the doves nor the hawks can actually claim morality as their own.
The first mantra of Sri Ishopanishad, one of the oldest of the Upanishads, states:
Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one must not accept other things, knowing well to Whom they belong.
This is a call for a change in consciousness, not a change of institutions. It states that one must recognize the supremacy of God in the practical terms of ownership, and that Krishna's ownership extends to every being and object. Simply to pray to God to supply us with peace, after we've prayed for Him to supply us with plenty, is not the pure consciousness recommended in Sri Ishopanishad.
Similarly, in The Holy Bible, when asked what the first commandment of the Lord might be, Jesus Christ replied:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Love here is not an intonation or formality. It is advised to love God "with all thy heart," no simple matter. But Jesus Christ taught that, with this as the first business of life, the pure love of other beings could be achieved.
Like the message of Sri Ishopanishad, this message of Lord Jesus implies the ownership of God over man. To love God completely is to give oneself into His hands completely, to serve Him and follow Him completely.
It will be unnecessary, I think, to labor the point. There is a real fulfillment for human beings, and that fulfillment lies in the realm of transcendental bliss, the ecstasy of love of God. It has nothing to do with material prosperity, with material peace or war. And to achieve this state of fulfillment, one must recognize—in the most concrete of terms, terms of property rights—that God is supreme . If Americans, if Vietnamese, if peace workers and military strategists alike can give up their false concepts of ownership, if the United Nations can stop trying to parcel out the world's wealth as though it were the exclusive possession of mankind, then peace will prevail. Otherwise, the situation that presents itself is one of thieves trying to divide their spoils with equanimity. Being thieves in the first place, equanimity can never realistically be expected.
In this sense we must also look at the present labors of the peace movement as no more than karma—the reverse side of the coin of war. One man is trying to exploit Nature through battle, another through law, another through human consensus, another through fair play. Someone offers communism. Someone offers compassion. Someone offers freedom of the press. The problem, however, lies not in our systems, but in our directions. Until the human race gives up all its schemes for exploiting Nature, it will never be free of the evils of Nature. It will never be able to release itself from the dualities of pleasure and pain, affluence and poverty, war and peace, which are a part of Nature. And, furthermore, these schemes cannot be given up unless there is something better, something more desirable, to replace them. This most desirable of objects is love of God.
That the Rev. Coffin wastes his valuable time testing the constitutionality of worldly laws is therefore a commentary upon the pointlessness of the peace movement. That Dr. Spock stands at his side, trying to create in a nation's institutions a kind of humanism which its people do not feel in their own hearts, with his clinical advocacy of "preferably religious" convictions, punctuates the problem. The secular atmosphere of the Community Church auditorium, with its images only of Gandhi and Schweitzer, with its hymnals that proclaim true worship to be the "celebration of life," where God is only called upon to help us push forward our own affairs, perhaps completes the picture. It is a picture of good men chasing bad men, who are chasing good men all in circles, endlessly.
The simple and tasteful way to translate your eating into spiritual blis, according to the teachings of the great sages of India. This is the Vedic method of conducting the ordinary affairs of life in transcendental consciousness.
Uddhava das Brahmachary
The simple diet of the yogis consists of a combination of milk products, grains, fruits and vegetables. All the nourishment to carry on the normal activities of life can be obtained from these four sources. The person who cooks these items, before tasting anything himself, offers the meal to God, and thereby serves another, higher puspose of life—to please the Supreme Lord. Since Yoga means linking one's consciousness with the Absolute Truth, this method od eating is perfectly suited to it, and has been practiced by sages throughout history.
In this world it is impossible to cease all activity. One must think, breathe, talk, and eat. As Krishna Consciousness teaches one to perform these activities in order to please the Lord, the yogi eats only what is pleasing to Krishna. In the revealed Scriptures of all religions God Himself tells man what he may eat, so that he can know what is pleasing to the Lord. In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says to offer Him a fruit, a leaf, a flower, or some water. He doesn't ask for meat. So the devotee does not eat meat, simply because Krishna does not eat meat. It is not so much for health or for moral principles per se, because if Krishna desired, then the devotee would eat meat. But by serving Krishna's will in this way, both the devotee's health and his moral strength are automatically served. The devotee also does not eat such vegetables as onions, garlic and mushrooms, because Krishna does not like them.
The point of all actions in Krishna Consciousness is to please Lord Krishna, and so the diet of the yogi is selected according to Krishna's desires. In this third installment of Food for Krishna, we offer recipies for the yogi's mainstay or basic diet.
1 cup white rice
Wash rice carefully in cold water and drain. Measure water into a pot along with the salt, tumeric and rice. Stir nicely and cover tightly. Cook over a low flame for twenty minutes. Garnish with sweet butter to taste, and offer to Krishna. Serves 4.
2 cups whole wheat flour
Mix flour and water to make a dough, and knead for ten minutes to a consistency less than the feel of your ear lobe (see photo on previous page). Make th dough into one-inch balls, and then roll out into 1/8-inch thick circles (see photo opposite). Pre-heat a skillet to medium-high, and place a chapati on the dry skillet. Watch closely: in a few minutes the edges will curl up slightly. Cook a few seconds longer, until the whole chapati begins to puff up. Remove from skillet with tongs, and hold over an open high flame, turning often. If chapati has been made correctly, it will puff up like a balloon (see photo above). Now it's done.
Brush finished chapati with weet butter and out into a covered pot to keep it warm. When all are finished, offer to Lord Krishna. Serves 4-6
3 cups powered milk
Place water in pot. Stir in milk. Beat with hand mixer for one minute. Place on medium heat. Smash up the ripe bananas and add to milk. Stir in honey. Melt butter in small cup. When butter is hot, place one finely chopped vanilla bean into it. Let cook for a few minutes, don't burn, then stir into milk. Let nectar come to a boil. Remove from heat. Add cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir. Allow to cool before before offering to the Lord. Serves 4-5.
String Beans & Eggplant
1 large eggplant, chopped
Boil stringbeans in water until soft. Drain and set aside. Place oil in frying pan, heat till smoking. Add cumin seeds and crsuhed chili pepper and cook until burnt. Add choppsed eggplant and stir. Add the water, stire, and cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is soft as butter. Mix in the cooked stringbeans, add the salt and tumeric. Cook five minutes, with lid off, then offer to Sri Krishna. Serves 2-3.
1 cup split peas
Wash split peas nicely in plenty of cold water and drain. Measure water, split peas and tumeric into a pot, stir and cover. Heat to boilding, then lower flame and cook, stirring occasionally, until medium thick soup forms (about 1 hour). Stir in salt, cover and set aside. Place oil into a small pot, or metal measuring cup. Heat over flame until smoking. Add cumin seeds and chili peppers, and cook until burnt.
CAUTION: This next step must be done with care: With a pair of tongs, drop this hot cup upside down into soup, cup and all. (The cover of the pot makes a good shield to gaurd your face against the hot soup, which tends to splatter.) Add the butter and offer. Serves 4.
By Sudama das brahmacary
|t was a very hot day in Oregon, in August of 1968. I awoke rather early, which for me and the people I was around at that time was somewhat unusual. Usually, coming down from last night's drugs, everyone would rise sometime after noon. On that day, as on every day, I awoke with a feeling of separation, a searching for, a longing for...
All my friends at that time were also into this feeling of separation, searching for something and someone to say what we all wanted to hear, that would guide us out of material existence, the Maya that we were all living under. Someone to answer the questions in our minds. We were all, I think unhappy; yet we would smile and pretend to one another that everything would work out, that the world would be all right very soon. We didn't know that there is no happiness in material existence, or that drugs and sex are only temporary, or that our search for complete sense gratification on the material plane would run us, like everyone, further and deeper into the pit of mundane existence. Instead of progressing out of the concept of the body, we all thought that putting drugs inside the body would be the answer to our search. The unfortunate thing is that most of my friends still think and feel that way.
On that early-rising day, I started out for a walk through the woods, mostly to get away from all the nonsense, and also to read. Most of the books that had held my interest during the past three or four years had dealt with Eastern thought, astrology, occultism, Zen, Tibetan and Hatha Yoga, etc. But most of those books that I had come across I could not finish. They were all lacking something.
A friend of mine, who was living on the farm where I was a guest at the time, had his school bus—made into his home—parked nearby in the woods. He had a small library there, and I set out for the bus knowing that it would be deserted just then. I entered the bus and went straight for the bookshelf. Every book on the shelf I had seen before, except for three brown hardbacks entitled "Srimad Bhagwatam," volumes 1, 2, and 3, by A. C . Bhaktivedanta Swami. There was dust covering the three volumes. I picked them up and dusted them off and started reading the very first page that had print on it:
"All Glory to Sri Guru and Gouranga."
The language hypnotized me, to say the least, and I couldn't put the book down. After about two days of reading, I began to feel out of place around my friends. My only thoughts were of those books and that author. I knew that it was time for me to leave Oregon. I started making plans to go to India and search out this Swami Bhaktivedanta.
The day of my departure from Oregon, I asked my friend for the volumes, which he was not reading. At first I was afraid he would refuse me the books, but I thought that if I was meant to read them, they would be mine. I had grown very attached to them. His answer to me was yes: "The books are yours now, take them with you." I was overjoyed.
I took a plane to Los Angeles to see my family. I told them of my plans to go to India and seek out the Swami. They were all for my happiness and my journey, and gave me as much help as possible. I was to leave in a month. Then I went to San Francisco to make arrangements for my trip.
While reading the first volume I had seen, "Radha Krishna Temple, Vrindaban U. P. " as the publisher's address. Now I remembered that there was a Radha Krishna temple in San Francisco, and so I walked to the temple and saw a devotee by the name of Sachisuta Das Brahmachary. I asked him when services were held, and he told me that they had Kirtan in the mornings at 7 a.m., and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. I returned the following Monday morning, to find out with surprise that the same Swami Bhaktivedanta I was planning to go and find would be arriving in about two weeks.
During those next weeks the temple became my home, and all the devotees I felt were my true friends. I surrendered myself to Krishna and to Swamiji, and was welcomed by all the devotees. The Sunday of Swamiji's arrival came, and when I saw my Spiritual Master, tears came flowing. My tears of ecstasy have not yet stopped, nor will they ever.
By Nayana Bhiram Das Brahmachary
More than one out of every five American adults, 25 million in all, are actively engaged in some form of educational pursuit, according to a recent Carnegie Corporation Survey. The above figures do not include unmarried people under 21, who make up most of an additional 5 million undergraduate students. And it doesn't speak of public school students at all. As more people are engaging their leisure time in educational activities, naturally greater sums are being spent on books. Publishers in the U.S. report sales of last year's books to have totalled $1.2 billion, a 10.6% increase over the previous year, and the general trend over the past fifteen years is in this direction. The printing industry has also been affected by the upsurge of interest in learning, to the extent that it now produces 16,000 printed sheets of paper an hour. The fact is that the world in general and the United States in particular are witnessing an unprecedented demand for knowledge, ranging from the latest in technology to the most obscure of trivia. There are many reasons put forward for this, such as prosperity, economic rivalry in cold war competition, technological advancement, etc. Media analyst Marshall McLuhan credits television with having whetted the world's appetite for more knowledge in depth. With its "stress on participation, dialogue, and depth," McLuhan observes, tv is largely responsible for the crash programming in education. Its appeal to the tactile rather then visual sense has brought on the great inundation of paperback books.
Setting aside the medium itself, and venturing into the forbidden realm of the message, what is it that people are learning; and just what, if anything, do they expect to find out? According to Sigmund Freud, all questions that children ask can be reduced to one: "Where do I come from, and who am I?" The pioneering psychoanalyst asserted that a child wants to find out about the process of sexual reproduction, but because of an insufficient fund of knowledge, cannot comprehend its full significance. Hence the child asks so many questions. Sex, however, does not provide a real solution to our quest for an ultimate source or absolute identity. Sex is the vehicle of material birth, but not the key to the source. It does not tell us the origin or nature of consciousness, which is the real "I" that the child is asking about.
The first principle of Krishna Consciousness, as found in The Bhagavad Gita and other Vedic sources, is expressed in the Sanskrit formula, "Aham Brahmasmi." I am not this body, but pure spirit soul. Therefore, any ultimate answers, in order to give complete satisfaction to the individual, must of necessity relate to the spirit, and also to the Supreme Spirit, or Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna. This is explained in the First Canto of The Srimad Bhagwatam, where in addressing the sages of Naimisharanya, Suta Goswami says that there is "public welfare" even in just asking about God.
There is no benefit or public welfare in material questions and answers, because ultimately they cannot save us from—nor clearly explain—death. This is illustrated in the story of the scholar and the boatman: In India, where there are many rivers, travel by ferryboat is not uncommon. Once there was a pedantic scholar who, while being ferried across a river, kept plaguing the boatman with his useless questions:
"Do you know astronomy?"
"No," replied the poor boatman, "I'm ignorant and don't know anything about astronomy."
"Oh," scoffed the scholar." Then 20% of your life has been wasted. Do you at least know any literature?"
The boatman again had to admit, "No. In fact, I can't even read."
"Then 50% of your life has been wasted." And so on.
While the two were thus engaged, a tempest arose and smashed at the boat, which began to capsize. All at once the scholar lost his composure, and started yelling for help.
"Can't you swim?" enquired the boatman.
The poor puffed up scholar had never learned.
"Now, one hundred per cent of your life has been wasted!" the boatman cried through the foaming storm.
Anyone who studies this and that branch of knowledge, without taking up Krishna Consciousness, the ultimate inquiry into knowledge of the Absolute, has simply wasted 100% of his life. Only knowledge of Lord Sri Krishna, the Godhead, can save one from death. Information on the material platform is always becoming obsolete because this material world is only temporary, both in its totality and in its parts. Whatever is here is here for some time only, and then it passes away. So this human life with its valuable asset of developed consciousness should not be wasted in dabbling at mental play.
Eating, sleeping, mating, and defending are aspects of cat and dog life as much as of human. The human form, however, is meant for more—for self realization. This term means to understand that I am part and parcel of God, Sri Krishna, and that my true nature is to render loving service to Him. The aim of education, as well as the overall aim of civilization itself, should be this self realization.
Unesco, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is currently pursuing a massive campaign to combat illiteracy, and has proposed that no less than $480 million be spent in the next ten years in order to make 330 million adults literate. Simply propagating literacy for its own sake, however, is of little real benefit to anyone so long as the basic questions regarding identity, being, and God are neglected. What good is learning about material Nature if one does not know how to escape from its miseries? Instead of eradicating ignorance, the U.N. is actually spreading it so long as it tries to impose upon mankind a sophisticated world view centered on the economic exploitation of Nature, rather than to offer an inquiry into the origin of material Nature itself. And beyond this lies knowledge of the distinctions between matter and the spiritual living force. Ignorance can only really be eradicated by the propagation of Krishna Consciousness, which teaches these things. This method of God realization is simple and sublime, and anyone can take it up, just by chanting the names of God: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Lord Chaitanya, Who was an incarnation of Krishna Himself, posed as one of the many fools of the present age in introducing this chanting of Hare Krishna. His Spiritual Master had told Him, He once explained, that He could not understand the Vedanta philosophy, and so was forbidden to tamper with it. Certainly, the Lord was no fool, but He was setting an example for us to follow. For if He, as the greatest scholar of His day, agreed not to engage in mental speculation, then we certainly should not do so.
There is another story of Lord Chaitanya and an illiterate brahmin whom He met one day as He was walking through a wood. The brahmin was holding a volume of The Bhagavad Gita in his hands and was weeping emotionally. When the Lord enquired why he was weeping, the brahmin opened The Gita and pointed to an illustration of Krishna driving Arjuna's chariot, at which he wept anew.
"Although I cannot read," explained the brahmin, "I'm holding this Gita and seeing how the Lord is so merciful! He is driving Arjuna's chariot just like a servant, because of His love for His pure devotee."
"Ah! You are the true Bhagavad Gita scholar!" Lord Chaitanya exclaimed.
All the pedants, scholars and fools who try to study the Vedic writing do not know that to surrender to Krishna in love is the final teaching of the Vedas. In The Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says: "I am the Knower, the Compiler, and the Goal of the Vedas. "As Lord Chaitanya pointed out, this understanding is the real aim of all education.
Modern educational systems are generally a failure because, even though seemingly advanced in terms of paraphernalia, the emphasis is on material advancement rather than spiritual, and the people are therefore more miserable than ever, despite the wondrous achievements of technology. People are more miserable because any attempt to exploit and lord over material Nature is doomed to frustration and failure. And any system which encourages people to hope for the conquest of Nature and the glorification of man in the place of God is merely an agency of torment, aggravating the misfortunes of the material condition.
Real advancement in education comes through hearing of the transcendental pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna and His pure devotees. Krishna Consciousness, therefore, is the highest form of education. There is no question here of learning something alien. Rather, this science will revive the dormant Krishna Consciousness already present in our hearts. We have only to try it—to inquire and serve—and we will realize our eternally blissful and fully knowledgeable nature. When we are Krishna conscious, we can see Krishna in everything, and understand that everything belongs to Him. This is real knowledge.