In this Age of Kali, characterized by chaos and quarrel, the pursuit of spiritual life is considered to be difficult. Handicapped by symptomatic disturbances of the age (short life span, poor memory, and political turmoil), few if any can take up the path of self-realization by means of meditative yoga, temple worship or study of the Vedas. These methods were prescribed in other ages for spiritual advancement. Despite the problems which beset us in this age of quarrel, we can take advantage of the process of Samkirtan Yajna or congregational chanting of the Holy Names of God.
This process is especially recommended for self-realization in this age. By performance of Samkirtan, one can achieve the perfection of human life, and the process is so simple that anyone can take it up without qualification.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, an incarnation of Krishna, advented Himself on this planet 500 years ago in India for the purpose of delivering the conditioned souls from the clutches of material nature. Lord Chaitanya's appearance in the Age of Kali has particular significance because His purpose was to introduce, by His personal teachings, the most practical means of self-realization in this age—the performance of Samkirtan. Lord Chaitanya, accompanied by His associates, spread the transcendental sound vibrations of Hare Krishna throughout India by holding Samkirtan in the streets of the cities. His purpose was to reach the mass of people, and in this respect His unique movement was in contrast with temple worship, for in this way anyone anywhere could benefit from the transcendental sound vibrations of Hare Krishna.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, spiritual master of ISKCON, is in the line of disciplic succession from Lord Chaitanya. Under the directions of his spiritual master, he has come to America to spread the Samkirtan movement to the Western world. His Divine Grace has instructed his disciples to follow the example of Lord Chaitanya in chanting Hare Krishna in the streets of the cities and preaching Lord Chaitanya's message of Samkirtan. By following these instructions, the Society, which began as a storefront on the Lower East Side of New York City, has grown to include twenty centers in major cities of the West. Each day a Samkirtan party from each center goes out into the streets of its respective city to chant Hare Krishna, accompanied by traditional instruments including mridunga (Indian drum) and kartals (cymbals), and to distribute literature about this important movement. His Divine Grace says that Samkirtan is the life and soul of the Hare Krishna movement, and we, his disciples, can appreciate this insight by practical experience. Membership is rapidly increasing, and many people are taking up the charting of Hare Krishna due to the influence of Samkirtan. This process can be adopted by anyone at any stage of life, for anyone can chant Hare Krishna. Although simple to perform, this Samkirtan movement can bestow upon its sincere followers the perfection of life.
Lord Chaitanya, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, wanted the Hare Krishna Mantra to ring in every town end city of the world to make one world of fully Krishna conscious servitors. His pure devotee His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami is fulfilling this Great Dream.
BERKELEY—2710 Durant Avenue
Become a part of Reality. Attend Bhakti Yoga Classes and lectures on The Bhagavad Gita As It Is at ISKCON every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 7 P. M ., and every morning at 7 A.M.
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness was formed in 1966 by Prabhupada A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, who came from India on the order of his Spiritual Master to preach love of God to the people of the West. Prabhupada is in a line of disciplic succession going back directly 500 years to the time when Lord Chaitanya appeared in India, and from there back still further-5000 years—to the time when Krishna first spoke The Bhagavad Gita to His disciple Arjuna.
Krishna Consciousness is experienced as a process of self purification. Its means and end are an open secret, and there is no financial charge for learning Krishna Consciousness or receiving initiation into the chanting of Hare Krishna. The gist of devotional service to Krishna is that one takes whatever capacity or talent he or she has and dovetails it with the interests of the Supreme Enjoyer, the Lord, Sri Krishna. The writer writes articles for Krishna, and we publish periodicals in this way. The businessman does business in order to establish many temples across the country. The householders raise children in the science of God, and husband and wife live in mutual cooperation for spiritual progress. These activities are done under the sanction of the expert Spiritual Master, and in line with the Scriptures. Devotional service in Krishna Consciousness means regular chanting in the temple, hearing talks about the Pastimes of Krishna from Srimad Bhagwatam, and taking foodstuffs prepared for and offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
By books, literature and records, the Society is dedicated to awakening the worldwide public to the normal, ecstatic state of Krishna Consciousness, so that all may regain their eternal position of favorably serving the will of Krishna. Sankirtan—congregational chanting—is carried to the people: in public parks, schools, on t.v., in the theater, on the streets. Krishna Consciousness is not an idler's philosophy. Rather by chanting and by engagement in the service of Krishna, anyone who takes part will experience the state of "Samadhi," ecstatic absorption in God-consciousness, 24 hours a day!
As the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness is non-sectarian, any man, Hindu or Christian, will become better in his faith by chanting the Holy Name of God and by hearing The Bhagavad Gita. Without knowledge and realization and loving service to the One Supreme God, there can be no religion. Let everyone rejoice in the Sankirtan Movement, and we may see the fulfillment of the prediction made by Lord Chaitanya 500 years ago: that the chanting of the Holy Names of God, Hare Krishna, would be carried to every town and village of the world. Only in this way can real peace prevail. It is sublime and easy.
HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA,
If You Are Interested In Becoming A Member Of Iskcon Write: Iskcon—New York For Further Details.
SWAMI A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA
Ohio State University Welcomes Prabhupad
[EDITOR'S NOTE: On the night of May 12, 1969 His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and poet Allen Ginsberg filled a campus auditorium at Ohio State University in Columbus to twice the capacity. About two thousand students flooded the stage and aisles, and soon after His Divine Grace led the chanting, the students jumped from their seats, crowded the stage and danced and chanted ecstatically to a mantra most of them had never heard before. His Divine Grace jumped up and down on the dais and threw flowers from his garland at the students who scrambled for them and then joined arms to dance. Poet Ginsberg was surprised at the student response and afterwards said that he had never before seen so many students "burst out their skins" to chant and dance so vigorously. The night was testimony to the immediate power of the mantra—one can feel its power without being acquainted with the philosophy and without even previously hearing the mantra or even knowing what the words mean. The following two speeches were delivered to the students immediately after the chanting. The first, given by poet Gineberg, is an introduction to A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami's samkirtan movement. The second is A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami's introduction to the simplest and most effective method of God realization—mantrayoga. His speech is an epitome of the basic principles underlying Krishna Consciousness and a challenge to the students to pursue a path of knowledge which is superterrestrial.]
Allen Ginsberg's Speech
The amazing thing was that everybody was able to get up and dance after sitting frozen, not knowing quite what to do. When ancient rhythms are flowing through everybody's body, then certainly everybody desires to dance and sing rather than be frozen. But such is the nature of our conditioning in this which is called the Kali Yuga according to Hindu theology, Hindu religion, Hindu belief, Hindu metaphysics, Hindu cosmography ... probably corresponding to what in our Western tradition we know as the Gnostic tradition through Paraceleus, Jacob Boehme and William Blake. This is an Orient version of what may be the same tradition, suppressed in the west when the CIA took over religion in 313 A.D. [laughter and applause] when Constantine, Caesar, made a deal with the church to suppress all alien thoughts and heresy and to formulate a square version of heaven and hell.
The Kali Yuga concept is one that you can now in a sense interpret ecologically. If you have been following the scientifical pronouncements of doom possibility coming over television, radio and slick magazine lately, as well as from the underground press, you'll notice that there's increasing attention to the fact that our own fecal materials, the waste products of our robots, have now so polluted Lake Erie that it's now a great lake of green-blue slime, biologically dead, that our atmosphere, the planetary atmosphere, is increasingly polluted with carbon wastes, and that we are so sunk in our attachment to automobile exhaust fumes, to sulphur wastes from great steel factories producing metals that can be sent flying to explode on the other side of the planet with the collaboration of the science faculties of such universities as this, [applause and laughter] that we find ourselves increasingly sunk into what is called the materialistic habit like the junkie stuck on his junk, people hooked on matter and on their own identity in matter, taking their own identity from their faces, noses, bodies and immediate physical city complex around them, not realizing another sweeter, deeper but wilder or "transcendental" identity than the identity of the one-dimensional man that Marcuse has talked about. So what we are proposing here is a modern-minded view, or some indications of a modern Western, i.e. Gnostic-Marcuse view of Kali Yuga as applying to our own situation.
As it stands, I read in the paper today, the prognosis (according to U Thant in today's paper, according to the head of the U .N.) is that mankind has almost ten years to reverse the political, social, moral, emotional course of the planet and alter our technology, alter our consciousness radically enough to preserve human existence on the planet. [applause] This is not only official U.N. pronouncement, but it's also the pronouncement of most of the ecologists, biologists and ecosysthenic students of the planet who are presently considering the ecological disruption that we have caused through our greed and destructiveness.
The Oriental analysis has it, however, that we have a good deal more time. The Kali Yuga or the age of heavy metal entanglement, Iron Age, lasts 432,000 years, and we are only 5,000 years into it. So there is 427,000 years to go. In a conversation with Swami Bhaktivedanta today I was enquiring more about the details of the theology which I found in a book called the Bhagavat Purana. He explained that according to Hindu analysis we are 5,000 years into the descent from a lighter age, the Age of Brass, the disappearance of Lord Krishna, the Preserver, or the Supreme Form of the Preserver aspect of the universe, of ourselves or of Vishnu. The disappearance of Krishna historically is 5,000 years ago. We are 5,000 years into the Age of Iron, and we have 10,000 years in which to chant Hare Krishna, which is to say repeating the Name of the aspect of preservation, hope, that particular vibration of dancing joy, transcending our cosmo-political worries. We have 10,000 years for that play, before there is a total descent into one-foot-tall monsters who will eat each other up for meat because all the vegetables have disappeared because the DDT has completely cleared out any biological life form except mammals who go around eating each other at that point.
I have known Swami Bhaktivedanta for about three years, since he settled in the Lower East Side New York, which is my territory or my neighborhood. It seemed to me like a stroke of great intelligence of him to come, not as an uptown swami [laughter], but as a real down home street swami [laughter] and make it on the street in the Lower East Side and also opening a branch on Frederick Street in San Francisco, right in the center of Haight Ashbury neighborhood. The people who were tripping in Haight Ashbury several years ago, coming down, wanting some more permanent eternal reassurance, formula, ritual, magic, hope, feel, or truth, zeroed in on the Frederick Street rug laden, perfumed, incensed ashram where chanting would be heard at dawn, as they were coming down off a trip all night. A great many people who were hung on acid or other varieties of chemical psychedelics found it much more stable to practice a prolonged ritual, or sadhana, following the instructions of Swami Bhaktivedanta which are old classical Indian style instructions for rituals, daily living, diet, sexuality, book-consciousness, apparel, hand gestures, a very complicated, ritualized yoga, a very ancient one also.
I thought Swami Bhaktivedanta made a great move in coming to the Lower East Side and to Haight Ashbury and then, naturally because people dig chanting, centers formed in other parts of the United States so that there are small street level houses or store front centers in Vancouver, in L.A., in Montreal, up in Buffalo, down in—there are some Buffalo chanters here—"Chant," incidentally, comes from the word "enchant," by the way, which means to make a magical spell about oneself. There's a Santa Fe center also. In other words, the importation of a very strange Oriental form, almost a hard-shelled Baptist Oriental form in the sense of its traditionality and its fundamentalism, its reliance on ancient texts and interpretation of ancient texts by a long tradition of teachers ... it's strange that so far out and ritualized an Indian form should take root in the United States a little more naturally than the more protestant Vedanta Society or the extremely rigorous Zen groups that have taken root. I think partly it's due to the magnanimity or generosity by the old age charm, wisdom, cheerfulness of Swami Bhaktivedanta, his openness of heart, his willingness to come down onto the street and his sense of his own divinity and the divinity of others around him that it's been possible for the bhakti-yoga cult of India to be planted very firmly here in America so that now there are communes or ashrams functioning on the basis of the Krishna rituals, which are in some respects a model for all those anarchists and political people who are interested in establishing indigenous American communes. The regulations on food, on sexual relations, which generally cause much confusion in mutually held pads, the regulations on sleep and thinking process are an interesting model to study for those who are interested in forming affinity groups or large family communes.
I will have my turn at language tomorrow because I am giving a poetry reading at the student union. So, I will cut myself off now and be brief and leave the rest of the evening to Swami Bhaktivedanta who will give a language explanation or whatever he wants to say, of the cultural or metaphysical or religious roots. So the rest of this evening Swami Bhaktivedanta will explain his Divine Self and then we will continue chanting. [applause]
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami's Speech
Om ajnana timarandhasya jnananjnana salakaya chaksurumilitamyena tasmai sri gurave namah. My dear boys and girls, I thank you very much for your coming here and participating in this samkirtan function, or, as it is called, samkirtan yajna, sacrifice. There is a statement in Srimad Bhagavatam: Samkirtanai yajnai jajantihi sumedhasah. In this age, as poet Ginsberg has explained to you, in this age which is called Kali Yuga, a very degraded age from the spiritual point of view and from the material point of view also, people are reduced in their duration of life, in their merciful tendency, in their strength and in their stature. If you study it scrutinizingly, you will see that your stature is reducing, your memory is reducing and your duration of life is reducing in this Kali Yuga. There are many symptoms. So Bhagavat recommends performing this sacrifice or samkirtan for self realization in this age. The samkirtan yajna is so nice that at once you get transcendental ecstacy, and from spiritual consciousness you'll try to join. Even a child desires like that. This is the effect of the samkirtan yajna. Lord Chaitanya, the inaugurator of this movement five hundred years ago, says that if you chant this mantra, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, HareHare/HareRama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare then the first installment of your gain will be that all the dirty things in your heart will be cleansed. Ceta darpana marjanam. Then when we are in clean heart, the next stage will be Bhava maha davagni nirvapanam. The problems of material existence will be solved, and when we are spiritually steady on this platform of samkirtan yajna, then our original consciousness, Krishna Consciousness and its concomitant joyfulness begin. This is also explained in Bhagavad Gita: brahmabhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati samah sarvesu bhutesu mad-bhaktim labhate param. It is said there that when one comes to the platform of pure spiritual consciousness or Krishna Consciousness he becomes completely joyful—brahmabhuta prasannatma. Prasanna means joyful; atma means soul. And the symptom is na socati na kanksati: he neither laments nor hankers.
In material existence we have two diseases: hankering for things which we do not possess and lamenting for things which are lost. But actually we do not possess anything. Everything belongs to God. That is the Vedic injunction: Isavasya idam sarvam. Whatever we see is the property of the Supreme Lord, and this claiming that "This is my property and this is my body, this is my country, this is my home, this is mine, this is mine—" is called illusion. Actually we do not possess anything. So when you actually come to spiritual consciousness, you understand that nothing belongs to you. Brahmabhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati. Kanksati means hankering and na socati means lamenting.
Then the next stage is Sama sarvesu bhutesu. Then you can see everything or every living entity on an equal status. People are trying to come to that platform of oneness, but that is only possible when you come to the spiritual platform or Krishna Consciousness. On the material platform it is not possible. Practically we see that the United Nations is trying to come to oneness of all nations, but they have failed. Simply the flags are increasing. Instead of being united, we are increasing our flags. So, if you actually want oneness then you must come to that platform of brahmabhutah prasannatma—joyfulness.
Everyone is hankering after joyfulness, but how can that joyfulness be obtained? That is explained in the Srimad Bhagavatam:
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
Atma means soul, yourself. Here we are all hankering after peace and tranquility. How is this possible? Bhagavat says Yaya atma suprasidati. Suprasidati means becoming completely satisfied. How is this possible? sa vai pumsam paro dharmo. That is the first class occupational duty by which you develop your love of God. That is first class, the test of religion. Every religion has some conception of God. That's all right. But if by following the principles of that religion you see that you are developing your love for God, then that is first class. Otherwise Bhagavat says it is simply wasting time laboring. Dharma svanusthitam pumsam visvaksena kathasu yat. Note padayet ratimyadi srama eva hi kevalam. The Bhagavat says that if you are a very nice man, very honest in your occupational duty, that is all right. But if by discharging your occupational duty you do not develop your eagerness to understand what is God and what is love of God, then Bhagavat says that it is simply laboring and wasting time.
And why should we try to increase our love of God? That is also explained. Ahoituku apratihata yaya atma suprasidati. We should love God without cause, without any cause. But we go to the temple and chant with a motive. We go there and pray, "God, give us our daily bread. I have come to You for my bread." This is not love of God. This is love of bread. [applause and laughter]
So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has given a nice example of love. He's playing the part of Radharani. Radharani is the conjugal consort of Krishna. Our Krishna Consciousness is not dry. You see the picture of Radha and Krishna. Krishna is a boy sixteen-years-old and Radharani a young girl, a little younger than Krishna. They are enjoying. Radha Krishna pranaya vrikriti ahladini saktirasmat. There are different potencies of God. Parasya sakti vividaiva sruyate. In the Vedic literatures you will find that God has many energies. Parasya shakti. Shakti means energy, power. Vivedaya—multifarious. Parasya shakti natasya sama adhikascha drisyate—this is the injunction of the Vedas: You cannot find anyone equal to or greater than God. Nobody can be equal to God; nobody can be greater than God. Then it is not God. Natasya sama adhikascha. Sama means equal. Odhica means greater. They have analyzed who is God. The great sages, the liberated sages are not fools and rascals who will accept anyone as God. No. They will test. And this is the test. If you find somebody who is neither lower than anyone nor equal to anyone, then he is God. There are many other definitions of God. Analytical studies.
So try to understand God. This is the only business of the human form of life-not that we have simply to eat, sleep, mate and defend. That is animal business. The animal knows how to eat, how to sleep, how to mate and how to defend, in its own way. So that is common formula for human beings or animals. But there is one other facility in the human society or in the human being. He can understand God, what is God. If I explain to a human being, however illiterate or uneducated he may be, if he simply has these two ears he will understand what God is. Therefore the Vedic information is called Sruti. Just try to hear. You don't have to be educated or literate. God has given you these two ears and you can learn. You simply have to learn from the authorized sources and then you will understand God. And when you understand God then you develop love of God, and when you develop love of God without any motives and without any impediments, then you will find Swamin kritarthosmi baram na yache. I have no more demands. I am completely satisfied.
Try to come to this platform, the transcendental stage. You cannot be happy simply by material advancement. That is not possible. That is explained in the Srimad Bhagavatam: Parabhavastat abodha jatam. Everyone of us are rascals, born ignorant, but we have the capacity to take the message of God from authorized sources. That we have. So Bhagavat says: Parabhayastat abodha jatam. All living entities are born ignorant, and whatever they are doing for the advancement of society, culture, education is only for their ultimate defeat if they do not enquire about what they are. Parabhavastat abodha jatam yabanna jijnasita atmatattvam. Atma tattvam means so long as we do not enquire, "What am I? What is God? What is this material nature? What are these activities? What is our relationship?"—if these enquiries are not there, then all our activities are simply defeat. Parabhavastat abodha jatam yabanna pritimoyee vasudeve. As long as one does not develop his dormant love of God—Namnechyate deha yogenatavat—he will not be able to get out of these repeated births and deaths, the transmigration of the soul.
This transmigration of the soul, these repeated births and deaths, is a diseased condition of the spirit soul. That you do not know. And in our educational system there is no department of knowledge teaching what the soul is, what is after death or what was before birth. There is no science. It is very lamentable. Education in the name of simply eating, sleeping and mating is not education. Not if my bodily conception continues. The Bhagavat says: Yasya atma buddhi kunape tridhatuke. Anyone who is thinking that his body of flesh and bones is Self—he is an ass. [applause and laughter] Khava means ass. And because they conceive this body to be the Self, they don't even have common reason. This bag of flesh, bone, blood, urine, stool and secretion—can this be soul? Can this be Self? Yet they are exercising this body to try to find out the soul. The soul is there, but you cannot see it by material instrument. It is very fine. It is one ten-thousandth part of the tip of your hair. This is explained in the Vedic literature. So how can you find it with your material eyes? You cannot see it, and because you cannot see it you are concluding that there is no soul. That is ignorance. There is soul, and this body has developed on the platform that there is soul, and that soul is migrating from one body to another. That is called evolution, and that evolutionary process is going on through 8,400,000 species of life. There are aquatics, birds, bees, plants and so many species of life, and now we have this developed consciousness, this human form of life. We should properly utilize it. That is our Krishna Consciousness movement. We're simply educating people, "Don't waste your valuable life, this human form of life. If you are missing this chance, you are committing suicide." This is our propaganda.
So don't commit suicide. Take to this Krishna Consciousness. The process is very simple. You don't have to take difficult processes like the yoga system or the philosophical speculative systems. Those are not possible in this age. I am not simply speaking from my own experience, but I am taking the experience of these acharyas and these stalwart sages. They say, Harer nama harer name harer namaiba kevalam, kalau nasteva nasteva nasteva gatir anyatha. If you want to realize yourself, if you want to know what your next life will be, if you want to know what God is, if you want to know what your relationship with God is, then all these things will be revealed to you, this real knowledge will be revealed by your simply chanting this mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. It is practical. We are not charging anything. We are not bluffing you, saying, "I shall give you some secret mantra and charge you fifty dollars." No. It is open for anyone. Please take it. That is our request. We are begging you—don't spoil your life. Please take this mantra and chant it wherever you like. There is no hard and fast rules you have to follow. Wherever you like, whenever you like, in any condition of life, just like we chanted one half hour before. Chant in any condition and you will feel ecstasy.
So you can continue chanting this Hare Krishna mantra. It is given to you free. But if you want to know what this Hare Krishna mantra is, through philosophy, through knowledge, through logic, then we have volumes of books. Don't think that we are simply dancing sentimentalists. No. We have background. So try to understand this Krishna Consciousness movement. I have especially come to your country to deliver you this good message because if you accept this, if you can understand this science of Krishna Consciousness, then other parts of the world will also follow and the face of the world will be changed. That is a fact. Therefore I request that you take this Hare Krishna mantra with you and chant wherever you live, in whatever condition you are in. You don't have to change.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has recommended: Sthane stitha srutigatam tanubang manobhi. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu discussed spiritual realization with one of His great devotees, Ramananda Roy, and Ramananda placed before Him many theories expounded in the Vedic literature, and at last Ramananda gave this verse from Srimad Bhagavatam: Jnane prayasam udapasya namato eva. "Don't foolishly try to speculate to understand the Unlimited. It is not possible." By your tiny senses you cannot understand the Unlimited. It is not possible. Therefore the first recommendation is Jnane prayasam udapasya: don't try to be a speculator to understand the Ultimate Truth. Lavandar—just become meek and humble. Sanmukharitam bhavadiyavartam-and try to receive the message from the authorized sources. Sthane sthita srutigatam manoghi—in whatever condition you work, you don't have to change. You simply hear. Then a day will come when you will be able to conquer the Supreme Lord who is unconquerable. God is great. Nobody can conquer Him. But if you simply follow this process in whatever condition you are in, if you simply try to hear about God from authorized sources, then one day you will be able to conquer God ... within your hand.
This is also confirmed in the Brahma Samhita: Advaita achyuta anadiananta-rupam, Vedesu durlabha adurlabha atmabhaktai. You cannot find where God is simply by searching the Vedas or the scriptures. You have to conquer Him by your love. He'll reveal Himself to you. That is also explained in The Bhagavad Gita: Tesam satata yaktanam bhajatam pritipurvakam dadami buddhiyogam tat yena mam upayantite. Everything is clearly explained there. Please try to read this Bhagavad Gita As It Is. It is the science of God. You will understand and you will realize. And chant this Hare Krishna mantra. This mantra will cleanse your heart, and after your heart is cleansed, if you read one chapter of Bhagavad Gita, you will gradually understand what is God, what you are and what your relationship with God is, and when you understand all these things and develop your love of God, then you will become perfectly happy. So we want to see you all happy. That is our program. Sarve sukhino bhavantu. Everyone of you become happy. But you must take the path of happiness. This is the path—Krishna Consciousness. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Thank you.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The following conversations between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and poet Allen Ginsberg took place at the Radha Krishna Temple in Columbus, Ohio May 11, 12 and 14, just before and just after the meeting with the Ohio State student body. These conversations, packed with gems—anecdotes, theology, reminiscences, candid remarks, exhortations, Vedic allusions, wisdom, humor, prophecy and joy—are important because they contain succinct yet complete answers to questions many Westerners, and especially young Americans, find themselves asking—either verbally or emotionally—about Krishna Consciousness. They are also important because they reveal some of the major concerns of the most important ambassador of The Bhagavad Gita to ever come to the West and this century's most famous American poet. The conversations are directly transcribed from tape recorder and are included in their entirety in two installments.]
[It is about 9:30 at night, May 11, 1969 at the Radha Krishna Temple, a large three-story house, in Columbus, Ohio, the "All-American City." Disciples of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada usher Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky into Prabhupada's room. Allen has just flown in from Louisville, Kentucky and is concluding a long tour of college poetry readings before retiring to his upstate New York farm. Prabhupada, recently arrived from the Boston temple, is initiating the new Columbus center. When Allen enters, Prabhupada smiles broadly.]
ALLEN: Hare Krishna. [He offers obeisances.] So, we will sing tomorrow.
ALLEN: Is this your first visit here?
PRABHUPADA: The first visit, yes.
ALLEN: Do you have the whole house?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, they are doing very nicely. At noon we had some meeting in the university [Ohio State]. Kirtan. Wherever we go, kirtan and speaking. You have seen our book Lord Chaitanya's Teachings? [He hands Allen a copy.]
ALLEN: No, I haven't seen that. That's new.
ALLEN: ISKCON published. Printed where?
ALLEN: Printed in Japan. Beautiful. Very industrious. It's marvelous.
PRABHUPADA: The next book is coming. Nectar of Devotion.
ALLEN: What will that be, your own writing?
PRABHUPADA: No. It is authorized translation of Rupa Goswami's book Bhakti-Rasamrita Sindhu.
PRABHUPADA: Rupa Goswami. Lord Chaitanya's principal disciple. There are six Goswamis, direct disciples of Lord Chaitanya, and three other confidentials. So amongst the six Goswamis, Rupa Goswami is the principal. He was finance minister in the government of Nawab Hussain Shah in Bengal. But when Lord Chaitanya started His movement he was captivated and he resigned from government service and joined. He wrote immense literature. I was just saying, Narottam Das Thakur says, "Ruparaghunatha pade haive akuti kave hama bujhava se jugalapiriti." One can understand the conjugal love of Radha and Krishna when he goes through the literature presented by these Goswamis. So this first book is Bhakti-Rasamrita Sindhu, The Ocean of Nectar of Devotion. That is a very authorized book using quotations from various Vedic literatures about Radha Krishna, and of the different stages of relationships with Krishna, shantarasa, vatsalya, admiration. God is great. This is also one stage, appreciating the greatness of God. Then further development, dasya, willing to serve. "Oh, God is so great. I must serve." Because every one of us is serving somebody. Why not serve the Supreme? Nobody is free from service because we are constitutionally servants. Either you become a servant of the great or maya. Just like in any condition of our lives we have to abide by the laws of the state. If we say that we won't abide, then we come to the prison house. We will be forced. Similarly, maya and Krishna. If we don't abide by Krishna, then come to maya. We cannot be free. That is not our position. Freedom is frustration.
ALLEN: Do you remember a man named Richard Alpert?
ALLEN: He used to work with Timothy Leary in Harvard many years ago. Then he worked in India and found a teacher and is now a disciple of Hanumanji, a devotee of Hanuman. We were talking about maya and the present condition of America and he said that his teacher in India told him that LSD was a Christ of the Kali Yuga for Westerners in that as the Kali Yuga got thicker and thicker that also salvation would have to be easier and easier and—
PRABHUPADA: That is a very nice testament, that in the Kali Yuga salvation is very easier. That is the version of Srimad Bhagavatam also. But that process is this kirtan, not LSD.
ALLEN: Well, the reasoning there was that for those who would only accept salvation in purely material form, in chemical form finally, completely material form, Krishna had the humor to emerge as a pill.
PRABHUPADA: The thing is that when it is material form, then where is the salvation? It is illusion.
ALLEN: The subjective affect is to cut out attachment. During the—
PRABHUPADA: If you have attachment for something material, then where is this cutting attachment? LSD is a material chemical. So if you have to take shelter of LSD, then you take help from matter. So how are you free from matter?
ALLEN: The subjective experience is that while in the state of intoxication of LSD, you realize that LSD is a material pill, and that it does not really matter.
PRABHUPADA: That is risky. That is risky.
ALLEN: So, if LSD is a material attachment, which it is, I think, then is not the sound, the sabda [sound incarnation], also a material attachment?
PRABHUPADA: No. Sabda is spiritual. Originally, just like in Bible it is said, "Let there be creation." This is sound. This is spiritual sound. Creation was not there. The sound produced the creation. Therefore sound is originally spiritual. And from sound, sky developed, from sky air developed, from air fire developed, from fire water developed, from water land developed.
ALLEN: Sound is the first element?
ALLEN: What was the first sound, traditionally?
PRABHUPADA: The Vedas say OM. So, at least we can understand from your Bible that God said, "Let there be creation," so this is sound, and there is creation. God and His sound are nondifferent ... Absolute. I say, "Mr. Ginsberg." This sound and you are a little different. But God is not different from His energy. Sakti saktimatorabheda. Shakti (energy) and shaktimakt (the energetic) are nondifferent. Just like fire and heat. They are nondifferent, but heat is not fire. You cannot differentiate heat from fire or fire from heat. But fire is not heat.
ALLEN: Well, the sound Krishna—
PRABHUPADA: Yes, is not different from Krishna.
ALLEN: Under all circumstances?
PRABHUPADA: All circumstances, yes. But it is a question of my appreciation, of my realization. That depends on my purity. Otherwise this Krishna sound and Krishna are nondifferent. Therefore, if we vibrate the sound Krishna, then immediately we are in contact with Krishna, and Krishna is pure spirit and immediately I become spiritualized, just like if you touch electricity, immediately you are electrified. And the more you become electrified, the more you become Krishnized. So when you are fully Krishnized, then you are on the Krishna platform. Tvaktadeham punarjanma naiti mameti kounteya. Then when you are fully Krishnized, you no more come back to this material existence. You remain with Krishna. The impersonalists say "merging." That is less intelligent. Merging does not mean losing individuality. Just like a green bird enters a green tree. It appears to be merging, but the bird has not lost his individuality. There is still individuality. Similarly, Krishna says in the Second Chapter of Gita that "I, you, Arjuna, and all these people assembled—it is not that they did not exist previously, neither is it that they will not exist." This means I, you and all these persons were all individuals in the past. In the present we see, practically, and in the future they remain individuals. And individually we are, in our present existence, every one of us, individual. You have your individual views; I have my individual views. We agree on a common platform ... that is a different thing ... but we are individuals. That is our nature. Therefore there is disagreement sometimes. So the individuality is never lost. But our proposition, bhakti marga, is to keep individuality and agree. Our surrender means we agree with Krishna in everything, although we are individual. If Krishna says that we have to die, we die, out of love. But we are individual—that we cannot deny. But, "Why should I die?" That prerogative I have got. Just like Arjuna was told, "Now I have taught you Bhagavad Gita. Now whatever you like, you do." Yatha ecchasi tatha kuru. "As you like." He doesn't touch individuality. But Arjuna voluntarily surrendered—"Yes!" Karisye vacanam tava. "Yes, I shall do what you ask." He changed his decision. First he decided not to fight, but then he agreed. Karisye vacanam tava. This agreement—this is oneness. That oneness does not mean to mix up homogeneously. No. He keeps his individuality and Krishna keeps His individuality. This is oneness—not to lose individuality. We cannot lose our individuality. We are individually made, originally. Krishna is individual, we are individual, everyone is individual. Merging means merging in that total agreement. That is liberation. Totally, without any disagreement. And that is the perfection: to keep individuality and agree with God in total agreement. That is perfection. And imperfection? So long as we are in rebellious condition, that is material. Because one who has a slightest desire to disagree with Krishna cannot live there [in Krishna's abode]. There the only predominant figure is Krishna. So those who are trained fully to agree with Krishna are accepted as associates. Bhagavad Gita says, Bahunam janmanamante jnanavan mam prapadyate. "After many, many births of cultivating knowledge in spiritual life, the fully conversant wise person surrenders unto Me." Bahunam janmanam. "Fully unto Me." How does he surrender? Vasudevah sarvamiti. "Ah! Krishna is everything!" The Vedanta Sutra gives hint: janmadyasya yatah. What is Brahman? What is the Supreme? Janmadyasya yatah. The answer is "Brahman is That or He who is the original Source of everything." But we have to find out Who is the original Source. So that requires wisdom. So when one is perfectly wise after many, many births, after culture, he sees, "Here is the Origin—Krishna!" Vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah. "That mahatma, that great soul, is very rare to be seen." So we are giving the short cut process. What one has to attain after many, many births, we are simply saying surrender to Krishna. That is Krishna Consciousness. This is the greatest boon or contribution to the human society. And if actually one is wise, then he will take our word that if one has to come to this point after many, many births, that Krishna is everything, Vasudeva sarvamiti, why not accept it immediately?
ALLEN: Do you take rebirth literally?
PRABHUPADA: Yes. What is the difficulty?
ALLEN: I just don't remember having been born before.
PRABHUPADA: You don't remember your childhood? That does not mean you had no childhood. Do you remember when you were a small boy? What did you do?
ALLEN: Certain things. Not very small, but—
PRABHUPADA: Or when you were in the womb of your mother? Do you remember?
PRABHUPADA: Does it mean that you were not?
ALLEN: No, it does not mean that I was not.
PRABHUPADA: Then that you do not remember is not a reason. That is explained in Bhagavad Gita:
dehino 'smin yatha dehe
Although I do not remember what I did in my mother's womb, it does not mean that I had no little body. The body changes. I am there. Therefore I change this body, I remain. That is just common sense reasoning. I'm changing my body every day, every moment. Your childhood body and this body are not the same. You have changed this body. But that does not mean you are a different person.
ALLEN: But I have really never seen or heard anything but what I see and hear now. What I see and hear is what I can remember. I have never heard any reasonable or even thrilling description of previous incarnation or previous births.
PRABHUPADA: You have never heard?
ALLEN: I have never heard anything sensible sounding about it, anything that actually makes me think, "Ah, that must be."
PRABHUPADA: And why not? Your body in the mother's womb from the first day of the father and mother's sex life comes just like a pea. Then it develops. So from the pea you have come to this point. The body is changing, so what is the astonishment if you change this body and again take another pea body? What is the difficulty to understand?
ALLEN: Well, the difficulty to understand would be to understand that there is any permanent being, or any continuity of any form of consciousness from one body to another.
PRABHUPADA: Then you have to consult. Just like when you cannot understand something, you consult some great authority. Is it not?
ALLEN: Not enough to make me dream of it at night. No. Not enough to make me love it. Words are not enough. Authority is not enough to make me love it.
PRABHUPADA: You do not accept authority?
ALLEN: [Emphatically] Not enough to love.
PRABHUPADA: No. ... love, apart from love—consult, consult.
ALLEN: No, it's not that I don't accept authority—it's just that I can't even understand an authority that says that I am there when I don't feel myself there.
PRABHUPADA: Suppose when you are in some legal trouble you go to a lawyer. Why do you say you cannot understand? When you are diseased you go to a physician. The authority you accept.
ALLEN: In America we have had a great deal of difficulty with authority. Here it is a special problem.
PRABHUPADA: No, that is misunderstanding. Our authority we have to accept. The child has to accept authority. He always asks, "Mother, what is this? Father, what is this?" That is the beginning point. Ask, ask, ask. That is the way of acquiring knowledge. Tat vijnartham sagurum ebam abhigacchet. The Vedic injunction is that if you want to understand that science you must go to guru.
ALLEN: And you understand your previous lives from the descriptions in authoritative texts or from introspection?
PRABHUPADA: No. We have to collaborate. Just like in The Bhagavad Gita it is said sucinam srimatam gehe yogabhrasto 'bhijayate. "One who could not finish this Krishna Consciousness takes birth in two places, either in a very rich family or in a very pure brahmin family, a brahminical culture family." So from my life I experienced that when I was a very little child, six or seven years old, I was very much fond of Krishna, and I got the opportunity of these two things. Although my father was not very rich, he was pure Vaishnav. He was a great devotee of Lord Krishna.
ALLEN: In Calcutta?
PRABHUPADA: In Calcutta. And accidentally, I was born in a very rich family. You have seen that picture in my Calcutta, dancing? Kashi Molik's family? They are very aristocratic family. I did not belong to that family, but I was born in that family. And from the very beginning the Kashi Molik family has a nice Radha Krishna temple. So I was standing before the Deity and I said, "Ah, here is Krishna. Ah, people say He is dead. How is that?" And then I asked my father, "Oh, I shall worship Krishna. Give me Deity." So my father gave me Radha Krishna and whatever I was eating, I was offering. So the statement of the Shastras and my factual experience collaborate. We have to take an instance like that, you see. Sadhu shastra guru vakya. We have to test everything from three physicians: the spiritual master, scripture and holy man. Scripture means a writing just like the Bible. What is the Bible? Scripture. Why is it scripture? It fully contains the instruction of sadhu, holy man, of a spiritual master, Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore it is scripture. Scripture means the statement of a liberated holy man. That is sadhu. Therefore scriptures should be tested through the holy man and the spiritual master. The spiritual master should be tested through scripture and holy man, and holy man should be tested through spiritual master and scripture.
ALLEN: What is the difference between holy man and scripture?
PRABHUPADA: No difference. But one has to test whether he is holy man. Then he has to collaborate it with the statement of the scripture. A spiritual master has to be tested whether he is holy man and whether there is collaboration with the statements of the scripture. Sadhu sastra guru vakya tinete kariya aikya. Just like in the law court, the experienced lawyer is speaking and giving evidence. Sadhu Sastra. And the judge is giving judgment. Here is a statement, here is a law book. So the judge is also testing how the lawyer is speaking and how it is collaborating with the law book. Similarly, everything has to be tested in that way. The scripture should be consulted, and we should not accept any man as spiritual master or holy man if he does not collaborate with the statements of the scripture. He should be rejected.
ALLEN: What should we sing tomorrow? Have you thought of an arrangement for the program?
PRABHUPADA: As you like.
HAYAGRIVA: We have the auditorium which will seat at least one thousand. Then maybe five hundred or more can stand or sit on stage.
PRABHUPADA: So how are you feeling about chanting?
ALLEN: I have been chanting steadily all along now. I enjoy it more and more. Lately Peter and I have been chanting together on stages and lately we have been singing Ragupati Raghava Raja Ram. Is that part of your canon also?
PRABHUPADA: No, there is no harm, but this chanting of Hare Krishna mantra is recommended in the scripture.
ALLEN: The Hare Krishna is the most pleasing of the chanting as far as I am concerned. Do you want to do that continuously or do you want any other, like Gopala?
PRABHUPADA: I think that this Hare Krishna should be chanted.
ALLEN: See, we have two and a half hours.
PRABHUPADA: In the beginning we should have kirtan and at the end we should have kirtan and in the middle we can speak. You can speak about Krishna Consciousness.
ALLEN: I think you had better speak because you are more eloquent on it, and you understand in the language what you want to say.
PRABHUPADA: I will speak. You will also speak.
ALLEN: You might not like what I say. [laughs]
PRABHUPADA: So you say how you are experiencing. That is all right. Yat yat bibhutimat sattva. You have Krishna's blessings upon you. You are not ordinary man.
ALLEN: I am not certain that I am worthy of that.
PRABHUPADA: That's all right. But I know that you are not ordinary man.
ALLEN: Well ... I recently stopped smoking, by the way, finally. With a car crash I quit. But I haven't stopped eating meat. So what is the—
PRABHUPADA: You remain with us for about three months. Then you forget. You remain with us. [everyone laughs] With your associates just come to New Vrindaban and we shall live together.
ALLEN: You have a farm there?
PRABHUPADA: Yes. And you will forget everything. Fully Krishna conscious.
ALLEN: We have a farm also now in upstate New York. We have a vegetarian table also in the farm. We have a cow, goats. But—
PRABHUPADA: From an economic point of view, if one man has a cow and four acres of land he has no economic problem. That we want to start. He can independently live in any part of the world. Simply he must have one cow and four acres of land. So let the people be divided in four acres of land and a cow and there will be no economic question. All the factories will be closed. [everyone laughs]
[At this point, Allen and some of the New Vrindaban members discuss some of the problems of farming.]
PRABHUPADA: There is a proverb that agriculture is the noblest profession. Is it not?
PRABHUPADA: And Krishna was a farmer, cowherd boy. Yes, and in Vedic literature you will find that the richest man is estimated by the possession of grains and cows. If he has sufficient quantity of grains, then he is rich. And actually that is a fact. Keep cows and have sufficient grains and the whole economic problem is solved. As for eating and sleeping ... you can take some wood and four pillows. Of course in your country it is cold, but in India all year they are lying under the sky.
ALLEN: Men lived this way for 20,000-30,000 years. Till the 19th Century.
PRABHUPADA: We have to think, "Plain living, high thinking." The necessities of this bodily existence should be minimized—not unhealthy, but healthy to keep oneself fit. But the time should be utilized to develop Krishna Consciousness, spiritual life. Then his whole problem is solved.
ALLEN: So tomorrow we will be chanting. Now the next question I had in mind, we'll be doing kirtan, then language, speech, then end with kirtan.
PRABHUPADA: Language is also kirtan. Kirtan means glorifying. That is kirtan. Just like Sukhadeva Goswami continually spoke to Maharaj Parikshit. That is also stated: Sri visnu sravane pariksit avavad vaiasakikirtane. The son of Vyasadeva, Sukhadeva Goswami, became liberated simply by kirtan. But what is that kirtan? He never played musically; he simply explained Srimad Bhagavatam. This is also kirtan. This is called samkirtan.
[At this point,. Allen and Hayagriva discuss the technical plans and the music for the chanting scheduled at Ohio State the next night. Finally Allen changes the subject to poetry.]
ALLEN: Let's check the pitch of the harmoniums tomorrow. [to Prabhupada] I have been learning to write music. My guru was a poet named William Blake. You know Blake?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, I know Blake.
ALLEN: So, I have been writing music. He is a lot like Kabir. I have been learning to meditate music in singing songs by William Blake, which I have written music to. So those are in the wind.
PRABHUPADA: I can give you so many songs.
ALLEN: Would you like to hear one of the Blake songs?
[Allen and Peter harmonize and sing Blake's "To Tirzah." Prabhupada listens with open-eyed amusement and delight.]
ALLEN AND PETER:
Whate'er is born of mortal birth
Thou, Mother of my mortal part,
Didst close my tongue in senseless clay,
PRABHUPADA: He believed in spiritual body. That is nice. That is Krishna Consciousness.
ALLEN: He apparently fits into the West into what is called the Gnostic tradition, which has similar bhakti ideas related to the Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Similar cosmology. He was my teacher.
PRABHUPADA: He did not give much stress to this material body?
ALLEN: No, at the end of his life he didn't.
HAYAGRIVA: Blake died chanting.
[Allen and Peter then sing Blake's "The Chimney Sweeper." Afterwards one of Prabhupada's disciples announces that it is five to eleven.]
ALLEN: Let everybody retire.
PRABHUPADA: So, Mr. Ginsberg, you take first of all.
[Prabhupada offers him two flower garlands from the picture of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. They are put around Allen's neck and Allen offers obeisances.]
ALLEN: Thank you.
[The next day, May 12th, Allen comes in early in the morning, having spent the night at the temple. Prabhupada immediately suggests that he write poetry on the subjects and pastimes of Krishna. He mentions one of the peculiar qualifications of a devotee, that of lunacy.]
PRABHUPADA: The poet, the lover and the lunatic. [He laughs] So the Krishna lover is also another kind of lunatic or poet, you see.
ALLEN: Except that it [writing of Krishna] would mean concentrating all my consciousness on the one single image of Krishna.
PRABHUPADA: Not image.
ALLEN: Or the one single thought or name or feeling or awareness.
PRABHUPADA: So for that we have varieties of duties. You are seeing that all these boys are always engaged. Similarly, everywhere they are always engaged in Krishna. We even want extra time for the service of Krishna. Twenty-four hours are not sufficient for us. Yes, then we shall see that we are sleeping, wasting time. The Goswamis used to sleep for one half hour only, and that was sometimes forgot.
ALLEN: [laughs] To dream?
PRABHUPADA: Always engaged! Thousands of books they have written. If there was no writing, there was chanting, dancing, talking ... engaged in Krishna Consciousness always. That we have been taught by our Guru Maharaj—twenty-four hours engagement with Krishna. So maya has no scope to enter in our minds. She always remains here, therefore here is fire, I cannot touch. Bhaktidas says, Bhakti yadistaee bhagaban sthiratarasyat daivena phalatidivya kishora murti. Mukti mukulitanjali sevate asman dharmartha kama samaya pratiksa. Vilvamangala, a great devotee, executed devotional service for seven hundred years. He lived for seven hundred years in Vrindaban. In that picture you have seen Surudas?
ALLEN: Surudas? The poet?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, he is known as Surudas.
ALLEN: Teacher of Tulsidas? Or student of Tulsidas?
PRABHUPADA: He may be different, but Vilvamangala Thakur was also blind. You know the story of Vilvamangala? Vilvamangala Thakur, in his previous-life, elevated himself to the loving stage of Krishna. Not exactly ... the stage just previous—bhava, ecstasy. But somehow or other he could not finish, so according to the instruction of Bhagavad Gita he was given birth in a nice brahmin family. Sucinam srimatam gehe ... a rich family and at the same time a brahmin family. But richness generally or sometimes leads down to wine, women and intoxication. So by bad company he became a woman hunter, prostitute hunter. He was too much addicted to one woman—Chintamani. So his father died and he did not marry what in your country is called a girl friend and in our country is called a prostitute. So he was nuts about that prostitute, Chintamani. He was performing the rituals, but he was thinking of his girl friend Chintamani—"When I shall go there—" So he asked his servants, "Oh, give me some food and I shall go to Chintamani." Anyway, he performed rituals, or did not perform, for his mind was there, and he took some nice foodstuffs, and then he went. There was a big river and it was raining heavily, and the river was flooded, so he thought, "How shall I go to the other side?" One dead body was floating and he thought it was a log, so he took the help of the dead body and went to the other side. And it was heavily raining, and then when he reached Chintamani's home, he saw the door was locked. So he jumped over the wall by taking the tail of a serpent, and when he reached inside the locked door, Chintamani was astonished and asked, "How did you come?" So he told her he had to cross the river. He said everything like, "Oh, I cannot stay without you." So, she was very much inquisitive. "Oh, how did you come? How did you jump over this wall?" He told her everything. So at that time Chintamani thought, "Oh, this man is so much addicted to me." Then she told him, "If this much attraction you have for Krishna, oh, how nice your life would be." So immediately he took to sannyas because he was addicted to that position in his previous life. Immediately he left. He was going alone to Vrindaban, and on the way he saw another beautiful woman. His business was to be attracted by woman, so he again became attracted, and he followed her. This woman, after entering her home, told her husband, "This man has been following me from a distant place." Then the husband asked him, seeing he was a rich man, a brahmin, "What is this?" And he said, "Oh, I've been attracted by your wife, by the beauty of your wife!" "All right, come on! You enjoy my wife. You are brahmin." So he was received well, and at night he was given a place. Then he asked that woman, "Mother, will you give me your hairpin?" So he took the hairpin and pushed it in his eyes. "Ah, these eyes are my enemy." Then he became blind, and in that blindness he was worshipping Krishna and Krishna was coming to him, and he'd sing, dance and supply milk. So this Vilvamangala Thakur wrote one book, Krishna Karnamritam, which is very valuable. That was very highly esteemed by Lord Chaitanya.
ALLEN: What century is that?
PRABHUPADA: Vilvamangala Thakur was some seven hundred years ago. There are many poets. He was a great poet. If you read this Krishna Karnamritam poetry, oh you will find ... [laughs] There are many nice poets.
ALLEN: Jayadev I know. And I know some Baul poetry.
PRABHUPADA: You just try to read this Narottamdas Thakur especially. That song you were reading last night, "Nitai Pada Kamala," is Narottamdas Thakur's. Oh, for the Vaishnav, to become poet is another qualification. Vaishnav has twenty-six qualifications. [laughs] And one of them is to become poetical. All the Vaishnavas are poets. [laughs]
REKA: Because they are so deep in love with God.
PRABHUPADA: Poetry comes out of deep love for something.
[One of Prabhupada's disciples, Hrishikesh, reads a list outlining the twenty-six qualifications for a devotee.]
ALLEN: Whose list is that? Is that an old list or did you make that up for young Americans?
PRABHUPADA: No. It is taken from Vaisnava Shastra. This is a test to see whether you are becoming Krishna conscious or not. You have to test yourself, whether you are developing these qualities.
ALLEN: I am slowly developing all qualities except sanity. [all laugh]
PRABHUPADA: Insanity for seeking Krishna, that is required. Yes, unless you become insane after Krishna ... Just like Lord Chaitanya. His wish was to become insane after Krishna.
ALLEN: Is Kabir in the Vaishnav tradition? What tradition is he in actually?
PRABHUPADA: He is impersonalist on the whole. And he has some Vaishnav thought, that's all. Perverted thoughts.
ALLEN: So who is the most perfect of the Vaishnav poets? Mirabai? Have you used her songs here?
PRABHUPADA: Yes. In India she is very popular. Most of her poems are written in Hindi and some of them have been interpreted. Mirabai was a devotee. She saw Rupa Goswami and she has written many poems.
ALLEN: Oh, she was a contemporary of Chaitanya?
ALLEN: Did they meet?
PRABHUPADA: No. She appreciated the fact that Lord Chaitanya is Krishna, and she has written a song that "Now You have left aside Your flute and now have taken a sannyasi garb." In that way she has written nice poetry. "And where is Your hair and peacock feather? Now You are bald headed." In this way she appreciated. Her life was also excellent. Her father gave her a small Krishna doll to play with and she developed love of Krishna as husband.
ALLEN: What position does Ananda Mayima have now?
PRABHUPADA: She is also impersonalist. She is not a devotee. There are many impersonalists. They take advantage. They say, "Chaitanya's path and Sankara's math." Follow the principle of Chaitanya, but ultimately take the conclusion of Sankara. That means—
ALLEN: What was the conclusion of Sankaracharya?
PRABHUPADA: Sankaracharya's conclusion was to defeat Buddhism. They did not know it, but actually when there was too much animal killing and people became almost atheists under the shadow of Vedic rituals, Lord Buddha appeared. He wanted to stop man from the sinful activities of killing unnecessarily under the plea of Vedas. So he invented ahimsa, non-violence. And because people will give evidence, so they use the Vedas. They are not following actually the Vedic rituals, but they are just like crooked lawyers who take advantage of law books. So Lord Buddha said, "I do not follow Vedic rituals; I have nothing to do with Vedas. This is my own formula." Jayadeva has written one prayer, so Vaishnavas will understand how God is great: Nindasi yajnabidhe rahaha sruti jatam. "My dear Lord, now You have appeared as Lord Buddha. You are decrying the Vedic rituals." Sruti jatam means Vedic. Why? Sadaya hridaya darsita pasughatam. "You are so compassionate to see the poor animals being killed unnecessarily." Kesava dhrite buddha sarira jaya jagadisa hare. "All glories to Jagadisa. You have now assumed the form of Lord Buddha. And You are playing His pastimes." So Lord Buddha is accepted as an incarnation of Krishna. In Srimad Bhagavatam it is stated that He is the ninth incarnation.
ALLEN: Who was eighth?
PRABHUPADA: Eight was Valadeva, Krishna's elder brother, Balaram.
ALLEN: Buddha is ninth and Valadeva is eighth.
PRABHUPADA: The tenth is KaIki.
ALLEN: What is Kalki's nature?
PRABHUPADA: Kalki's nature is described in Bhagavatam. He'll come just like a prince, royal dress with sword and on horseback, simply killing, no preaching. All rascals killed. No more preaching. [Allen laughs.] You laugh, but they will have no brain to understand what is God.
ALLEN: There'll be no brain to understand God?
PRABHUPADA: They'll be so dull ... so dull.
PRABHUPADA: It requires brain to understand, just like in the Bhagavat it is stated Evem prasanna manaso bhagabat bhakti yogatah ... fully joyful by Bhakti Yoga. Bhagavat tattva vijnam muktasamgasya jayate. And freed from all material contamination. He can understand God. Do you think God is such a cheap thing that everyone will understand? Because they do not understand they present some nonsense. "God is like this, God is like that, God is ..." And when God Himself comes and says, "Here I am. Krishna," they don't accept it. They create their own God.
ALLEN: So, Kalki comes at the end of Kali Yuga?
ALLEN: Is Kalki connected with the Kali Yuga cycle?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, Kalki. Yes.
ALLEN: So He would come at the end of the Kali Yuga to end the Yuga.
PRABHUPADA: Then Satya Yuga will begin.
ALLEN: Which is?
PRABHUPADA: Satvic means pious. People will be pious, truthful, long living.
ALLEN: Are those the people who remain or whatever new creation comes out of destruction?
PRABHUPADA: Some of them will remain. It will not be completely extinguished. Some of them will remain, the pious. Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskritam. All miscreants will be killed and out of them there must be some pious to remain.
ALLEN: Do you think of this in terms of an historical event that will occur in the lifetime of your disciples?
PRABHUPADA: No. This will happen at least 400,000 years from now, at least. So at that time my disciples will be with Krishna. [Everyone laughs joyfully.] And those who will not follow them ... they will see the fun. [laughs]
ALLEN: Will people still be chanting Hare Krishna in 400,000 years?
PRABHUPADA: No. Hare Krishna will be finished within 10,000 years. There will be no more Hare Krishna.
ALLEN: So what will be left?
PRABHUPADA: Nothing. There will be I shall kill you and eat you, and you shall kill me and eat me. That will be left. There will be no grain, no milk, no sugar, no fruit, so I will have to eat you, and you will have to eat me. Full facility for meat eating. [Everyone laughs.] Krishna is very kind. [Laughter again] He will give facility. "All right, why cows and calves? You take your own son."
PRABHUPADA: Just like serpents, they eat their own offsprings. Tigers. So this will all happen. There will be no brain to understand, no preacher, nothing else. So, go to the dogs. And then Krishna will come. "All right, let me kill you so that you are saved."
ALLEN: Do you see it as actually a historical thing in 10,000 years for the chanting or the diminishing chanting of Hare Krishna?
ALLEN: Well, then do you think that more people would chant Hare Krishna? Or fewer?
PRABHUPADA: Oh yes, more people.
PRABHUPADA: Up to 10,000 years.
PRABHUPADA: Then diminish.
ALLEN: So what is the purpose of right now in a world increase?
PRABHUPADA: People will take advantage of this, up to 10,000 years.
ALLEN: This is like the last rope.
ALLEN: The last gasp. [laughter]
PRABHUPADA: So, the sooner we take shelter of Krishna Consciousness ...
ALLEN: Then according to Vedic theory, when did this Yuga begin?
PRABHUPADA: Kali Yuga has begun 5,000 years ago.
KIRTANANANDA MAHARAJ: This wave within Kali Yuga in which Hare Krishna increases and then diminishes lasts about 10,000 years, and that began five hundred years ago.
PRABHUPADA: The duration of Kali Yuga is 432,000 years. Out of that we have passed 5,000 years. There is balance of 427,000 years. Out of that, 10,000 years is nothing.
ALLEN: Yes. Where is all this stated?
PRABHUPADA: Vedic literature. Bhagavat Purana.
ALLEN: Bhagavat Purana has the detailed analysis of what goes on in the Kali Yuga? There are some translations of that?
PRABHUPADA: In the Twelfth Canto, Kali Yuga descriptions are there, and you will find now all the descriptions are coming true. There is one statement: Svikarameva hi udbahe. "Marriage will be performed simply by agreement." And that is being done. And, Labanyam Kesadharanam. "People will think that one becomes very beautiful by keeping a bunch of hairs." That is coming true. These are written there. All things are there.
ALLEN: In the Bhagavat Puranam is there also provision for the Chaitanya cult?
PRABHUPADA: Oh yes. Krisna barnam tvisa a Krisnam. That is in the book Teachings of Lord Chaitanya. It is the first quotation there.
ALLEN: So it is on this quotation from Bhagavat Puranam that Chaitanya built His system?
PRABHUPADA: No, no. That is a program already presented, and He came to execute the program, just like our meeting is already programed. I come and execute it. That's all.
PRABHUPADA: It is said, "In the Kali Yuga the Supreme Lord comes as One Who always chants the Holy Name of Sri Krishna, Who is Sri Krishna Himself, Whose complexion is yellow." You'll see this in Srimad Bhagavatam, 11th Canto, 5th Chapter, 32 verse. So we have accepted Lord Chaitanya as Krishna not impractically. There are evidences in Upanishads, Mahabharata, Puranas, in Bhagavat, all Vedic scriptures.
ALLEN: Well, then within this period of 10,000 years, only those who hear Krishna's Name can worship Krishna by chanting.
PRABHUPADA: Kirtanateva Krisnasya muktasamga param brajet. That is also stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam.
ALLEN: So also only those who practice Krishna chanting can get moksha?
PRABHUPADA: Can be immediately liberated and go back to home, back to Godhead.
ALLEN: And everybody else gets involved deeper and deeper in the Yuga.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. So if anyone believes in the Shastras, he should take to this Krishna Consciousness. That is intelligence—to take advantage of authorized scriptures. You will find in the Bhagavata that there is history of Chandragupta and that Germans will become kings, that means English occupation, Mohammedan occupation, Kikitesu, meaning the Bihar province in India. Bhavisyati ... because Bhagavat Puranam was written 5,000 years ago and Lord Buddha appeared about 2,600 years ago. So therefore it is stated Bhavisyati. "In future, just in the beginning of the Kali Yuga, the Lord will appear as Buddha, his mother's name will be Anjanasuta and his business will be to cheat the atheists."
ALLEN: To cheat the atheists?
PRABHUPADA: Yes. Sanmohaya suradvisam. Suradvisam means atheist. Suradvisam—those who are envious of the Lord's devotees ... that means atheists. So, to bewilder ... what is that bewildering? The atheists became so much absorbed in this animal killing that they forgot everything about God. So they say, "What is God? It does not matter." Lord Buddha says, "Yes, there is no God. There is no God. Void. But what I say, you follow. Yes, that is all right." But He is God. Is this not cheating? [laughs]
ALLEN: Well, yes, except that He claims to neither be God nor not God.
PRABHUPADA: But He does not say that I am God; He says that there is no God.
ALLEN: No, He doesn't saythat there is no God either. He says—
PRABHUPADA: That's it, that's it anyway. [laughs]
ALLEN: All conceptions of the existence of the Self as well as all conceptions of the non-existence of the Self as well as all conceptions of the existence of the Supreme Self, as well as all the conceptions of the non-existence of the Supreme Self are equally arbitrary, being only conceptions.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, that is jugglery of words, but the principle is that they did not believe in God. So still the Buddhists say they don't believe in God. But they are worshipping God, Lord Buddha. There are so many temples. In the same way as we worship. This is transcendental cheating.
ALLEN: Transcendental cheating. [laughter]
PRABHUPADA: Just like sometimes the father has to cheat his child. That is not cheating. That is welfare. But apparently he likes cheating, you see. The child is insistent on some point. "Yes, yes, you are right. But you do it like this and you are a very good boy." But in Vaishnav Vedic literature He [Buddha] is God. The godless are worshipping God in a different way. If there is nothing, why should they worship Buddha?
ALLEN: Well, strictly speaking, one does not worship Buddha.
PRABHUPADA: There are big, big temples in Burma and Japan—
ALLEN: But the practice in the temples is—
PRABHUPADA: Maybe. That is a little different, that is all. But the temple worship, the God is there.
ALLEN: In Zen Buddhism and in—
PRABHUPADA: That is later invention. Originally, the statue of Lord Buddha was worshipped all over.
ALLEN: Originally there was no Buddha, there was a wheel for the doctrine, the dharma, a wheel and then a parasol.
PRABHUPADA: But we can see from historical, archaeological evidences that—
ALLEN: Then when the Europeans came to India—
PRABHUPADA: It is not a question of Europeans.
ALLEN:—then they made a statue of a human faced Buddha.
REKA (Bengali lady): No, no. It was much different than that. Because I saw the great posture of Buddha, the way He died in a little village, I saw Buddha in the nirvana, a twenty-two foot gold statue, just the way he lied when He died. Paranirvana pose, exactly twenty-two feet long. And it was made just after His death.
ALLEN: What I had understood was that like the Jews and the Muslims, in the original first few centuries of Buddhist meditation, made use of a wheel for the dharma or parasolor a bo tree as the image of Buddha, but no—
REKA: When Buddha died, they started making statues of Him.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, that is the archaeological evidence. Archaeological evidence is that Buddha statues are worshipped.
ALLEN: The museum at Mathura has the earliest human statues which—
PRABHUPADA: Buddha is worshipped by the statue. That is historical. And there are many temples in Burma, China, Japan, Buddhist temples. But these Buddhist temples began not exactly after Buddha's disappearance, at least 1,000 years later. That is a fact.
ALLEN: Yes, that is much later.
PRABHUPADA: Yes, much later. Because when Buddhism was driven out of India, then in Japan and China the Buddhists became Taoists. That is almost after 1,000 years. Otherwise, all India was Buddhist, the whole of India. Sometimes the Jagannath temples are sometimes interpreted (actually it is not so) to be Buddhist.
ALLEN: I think I told you I had darshan with Jagannath.
ALLEN: Yes, I got inside the temple. I was silent and made believe I was a madman. I had long hair and white pajamas.
PRABHUPADA: Just like some Punjabi.
ALLEN: So I went inside and when anybody came to ask me anything I was afraid of opening my mouth.
PRABHUPADA: There is no enemy of the dumb. Bobarsatrunai.
ALLEN: So I just kept my mouth closed and got down on my knees and touched their feet, so they all thought that I was crazy and they kept away from me. [Laughter]
PRABHUPADA: So you had a nice view of Jagannath?
ALLEN: Yes. It was very beautiful. I was there, with Peter also, for about a week. Yes.
PRABHUPADA: So, you were there several times?
ALLEN: One time. I was afraid to go in and out many times. I figured I got away with it once and I didn't went to—
PRABHUPADA: In that Aquarian Gospel it says that the Lord Jesus Christ lived in the Jagannath Temple. He was thick and thin with the priests. One preacher was very friendly. And he was discussing philosophical subjects with them.
ALLEN: So according to the Aquarian Gospel Christ was in Jagannath Puri.
PRABHUPADA: Yes. And He saw Rathayatra, as we are performing in San Francisco.
PRABHUPADA: So Lord Jesus Christ saw.
ALLEN: We went to Mathura also. We were on the road several days. In Vrindaban for about a week.
PRABHUPADA: You stayed there in Vrindaban?
ALLEN: Yes, for about a week.
PRABHUPADA: You have seen Vrindaban nicely?
ALLEN: Well, we went from one temple to another, sang, sat by the River, went to the little garden where the tree is and met two bhakti devotees I mentioned, Sri Mata Krishnaji and Banki Behari.
PRABHUPADA: Banki Behari?
ALLEN: Yes. They translated from Mirabai into English. Good translations. They were published in the Barati Vidya Bhavan series. They have about four or five books. One Sufis, Yogis, Saints, Poets, like Muktesvara. And then another of Mira, two volumes of Mira and then a life of Mira. And one on the Kumbha Mela.
PRABHUPADA: They're good scholars?
ALLEN: Yes, good scholars. They know Blake also. They know English.
PRABHUPADA: In which year have you been in Vrindaban?
ALLEN: Oh, 1962 in Vrindaban.
PRABHUPADA: Oh, at that time I was there.
ALLEN: Yes, we probably passed on the street. [both laugh] You were there then? 1962?
PRABHUPADA: Yes, I left Vrindaban in 1965. From 1956 I was there.
ALLEN: I would like to go and live there for a while and stay. I liked it when I was there. It would be a good place to live.
HAYAGRIVA: Are you going there next year?
ALLEN: I think pretty soon I will be going back. I have to stabilize the farm. Hare Krishna.
[Allen offers obeisances and takes leave.]
Ohio State University Students Write Their Reactions To Hare Krishna
[Editor's Note: Below are excerpts taken from the essays of sixteen Ohio State University freshman students who wrote their reactions to Hare Krishna and A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami for their freshman English class. These are interesting testimonies because they come not from San Francisco hippies or New York mystics, but from Mid-Western, middle-class, middle-brow American teenagers who are just beginning their college careers. Out of about a hundred similar themes, these statements are typical. They verify Lord Chaitanya's teaching that Hare Krishna is for all types of men in all places at all times.]
"It was with eager anticipation that I entered Hitchcock Hall Auditorium on May 12. All around me were different types of people, of all ages. There were a few adults, perhaps professors, who were still in their business suits. Many students were dressed in skirts and sweaters or jeans and a shirt. But there were many shudents who had come barefoot, wearing bells and beads. Downstairs, the entire stage was filled, and all the people reminded me of a can of sardines, it was so crowded. My mind wandered as I looked at all the faces, and I wondered what they were thinking, expecting. The magical chanting began and people all around the stage were beginning to sway with the beat of the drums, clapping their hands and chanting the words, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. At first, most of the people in the balcony hesitated to join in the chant and clap their hands. It was as if we in the balcony were separated from those people on the ground floor, as if we were just watching, but not participating. Gradually, however, we too began to feel the beat of the drums awakening within us, and before I knew it, the entire audience in the balcony was also caught in the magical rhythm of the chant. People around me were standing, as if mysteriously enticed out of their seats by a strange force. I too was hypnotized by the beat of the drums and rhythmic chanting of the words. People below us were joining in circles, wildly lost in their own gyrations, conscious only of the drums and the complete content that overwhelmed them. To me, it was as if I were really 'high,' and able to release all my inner anxieties and frustrations. I was swept with exhiliration and it was a great feeling to know that I could scream the words as loud as I wanted, and nobody would care. Flowers were thrown to the audience. It was as if everyone had taken a 'magical mystery tour.' Before I realized where the time had gone, the evening was over. As Mardel and I slowly left our seats and walked down the stairs, we saw many people milling about the building. Little was said between us, for we were each engrossed in our own thoughts, still not entirely believing what we had just witnessed and participated in. Yet we both know that, indeed, something magical had occurred, if only because of the satisfaction that we carried home with us in our hearts."
"It is hard to begin to write of a night, of an experience, where so much has happened at once, an experience in which one actually feels a part of a large group, an experience which draws one from his chair and moves his lips to a chant, and an experience which provokes one to thought. To have all this in one night is a rarity.
"I arrived at the scene of the meeting, Hitchcock Hall, about a half-hour early, hoping to get a good seat. When I entered the building I was truly surprised. It was packed. The halls were packed; so were the seats, the aisles, the balcony, and the stage. I pushed my way through the crowd into the auditorium and finally squeezed into a seat. I was really tight until the session began.
"I looked around at the huge crowd and after sizing it up (hip, straight, curious) I looked to the stage. The first person I noticed was Mr. Wheeler (my English teacher) on stage close to Swami Bhaktivedanta. He beat out the rhythm on a large drum for the chanting. Also on stage I saw Allen Ginsberg, who was discussing microphone difficulty with one of the sound equipment people. Most impressively and most importantly sat Swami Bhaktivedanta, surrounded by his pupils and a mass of people on the stage. While I was looking around I noticed the noise, people talking, doors buzzing, and mikes screeching, but soon quiet was indeed heard. The Swami was seated and the meeting began.
"The first chant began, led by the Swami. The chant, Hare Krishna, was sung slowly until the words were memorized, and then it began to gain in strength and speed. The chanting, coupled with the reaction of the mass of people, made me tingle. At first I thought the people dancing on the stage were phony, but by chanting and dancing and concentrating on the chant I suddenly felt free and happy. Just to forget the problems I had and express myself in such a way (chanting and dancing) was a unique and indeed pleasant experience. I can say that for the first time in a long time I felt I had no problems. The mantra was quite effective. From the chanting the program moved to Allen Gineberg's introduction to the Swami and the message and philosophy of Swami Bhaktivedanta."
"I was a little hesitant at the beginning of the chanting of Hare Krishna, but after seeing that everyone else was joining in I did the same. It was fantastic. The more I repeated the words of the mantra the better I felt. A strange feeling seemed to seize control of my entire body. My mind became disconnected from material matters, and all of my energy seemed dedicated to achieving what the Swami later said was a complete state of consciousness. The musical instruments seemed to fit all of the chanting together into a perfect rhythm which made me want to clap and dance. I thought the chanting of Hare Krishna to be a truly different experience, and I must say it really turned me on.
"Swami Bhaktivedanta's speech was very stimulating. It helped me find something that I have been searching for for a long time. He said when you find God you will be filled with the love of God and you will be satisfied. The Swami's speech inspired me to search deeper for the love of God. He said that one would need a clean heart and an open mind. I am now trying to accomplish this, and I must say it is an extremely hard thing to do. I believe I am gaining a new outlook on life, and it is a very wonderful feeling. I received a great deal of understanding from this meeting and when I left I had really gained something."
"I found worth in the speeches. I think that the Swami really makes good sense. His speech involving materialism was excellent. It made me reflect upon myself and my goals. I wholeheartedly agree with him on the subject. It made me realize that most people only concern themselves with monetary possessions. They work and strive all of their lives for money and everything concrete which it can buy. There are so many important things of value which money cannot buy. No one truly appreciates them until they are gone.
"Fortunately, I happened to notice a few of my friends in the audience. They have been repeatedly warned against materialism. When I discovered the nature of the speech, I suspected that they would immediately be rude and 'turn off' the Swami. It was interesting to note their reactions. They sat perfectly still and paid full attention to the Swami. It seemed that he had a sort of hypnotic control over them. Later, I asked them what they thought of the purport of the speeches. Two of them thought they were good and were beginning to realize their 'mistake.' The other one listened, but is too deep in materialism to take heed to advice. To get through to two out of three persons deserves credit."
"Only a few of the more daring joined the chanting in the beginning, but as it went on, those less daring were made to feel left out and soon joined the others. Those on stage were in their zenith; their faces flowed with wide smiles. To sit there and merely watch gave one an inner desire to stand up and become a part of this. More and more of the audience gave in to this desire and began clapping their hands and chanting as the session went on.
"Suddenly a summit was reached and the atmosphere overwhelmed everyone—the constant clanging produced by the Swami, the incessant rhythm of the drum, the buzzing background sound of the sitar and the clapping of the audience caused an emotional catharsis, as if everyone were summoned by a divine force. They all rose at once, and started chanting. The inner emotion proved overpowering, and I found myself rising and clapping my hands as I began to chant. It was wonderful. Everywhere there were smiling faces and happiness poured over everyone like a sparkling liquid. At the end, everyone sat down; I was left with an empty feeling as if something had been taken away from me. I wanted to chant some more."
"During the middle of the chant, I found myself almost lost in the continuous rhythm of Hare Krishna. Obviously the chanting had the same effect on most of the audience. The same people who walked into Hitchcock Hall sure that they could not be moved by the chanting, left the building feeling a little removed from mundane reality. I found the entire evening an enlightening experience, and I feel that anyone who believes in anything as strongly as those who believe in Krishna consciousness should be respected for it."
"I was impressed most by the Swami's philosophy of God. I understood this philosophy to mean that the only way to happiness is through God. He said that one cannot achieve happiness from liquor, drugs, cigarettes, and other vices which are entirely material and cannot make one spiritually content. One must have spiritual enlightenment, and this can be had through the chanting of Hare Krishna. This chant excites the soul and, in a way, gets one 'high,' but this is a spiritual highness and not like getting high on alcohol or drugs. I was expecting the Swami to preach some new type of religion and a new God, but was surprised when he did not. He said it was not actually a religion at all but a science."
"I was very skeptical as I entered the auditorium where the Yoga meeting was to be held. Knowing very little about the subject, I did not know what to expect. My first reaction was one of surprise at the large number of people that filled the auditorium. Many of the students were dressed in absurd 'hippie' costumes, but they appeared as bewildered as I was. I had recently read an article about Allen Ginsberg and easily identified him on the stage. The Swami and his disciples then drew my attention, and I studied their strange garments and shaved heads. After some technical difficulties, the Swami began to chant. At first only the people on the stage joined him, but gradually the contagious melody spread through the crowd. The people on the stage began clapping their hands and dancing and some of the people in the audience followed suit. Soon I was lost in the excitement of the crowd and amazed at the hypnotic effect of the chanting as I timidly joined them."
"The shouting at first was unbearable, but I continued to chant softly and soon found myself shouting too.
"After about ten minutes the whole room shook with the vibrations from everyone's screaming throats. A large circle was formed on the stage and people were dancing around and chanting over and over again 'Hare Hare, Hare Krishna.'
"Clapping and yelling I felt a release within myself. Whether it was one of freedom, rebellion or the mere excitement of so many screaming people, I did in fact realize a definite change in my inner feelings, in my consciousness. As the chanting died down, I left the room, and as I started to walk home the whole world seemed very tomb-like to me. It was too still without the chant piercing my ears. I walked home asking myself how one. man and one chant could have so much control over so many people."
"Being caught right in the center of all the commotion on stage, I became one of the many who made up the largest 'turned on' groups ever. It felt great and wonderful to free the soul and lift a heavy load from my mind after a trying day.
"After waiting in the lobby of the overcrowded auditorium for more than a couple of hours and becoming impatient, instinct overtook my sense and I followed my nose to find a way to get closer to the Swami and the origin of the action. I ended up on the backstage scene where I was no more than ten feet from the Holy Man himself. The setting was breath-taking. There was a mound of golden cushions about the glowing spirit. There were hundreds of people and glaring, blaring television lights in front of me. On a silver platter beside the Swami were fruits like jewels and a goblet of gold, holding a thirst quenching liquid. About this majestic set were situated the musicians and devotees who played the 'Pied Pipers' music, leading the followers in the chanting. Giving the stage players no room were the followers who were enchanted and enticed. All wanted to become closer, yet ever closer to Krishna and Rama.
"I have had the experience to being 'turned on' before, but never like this. The sensation grabs one's soul and mind and carries them to far off places like a great and ever flowing river."
—Vance E. Nichols
"I was most impressed with the overall affect mantra produced. The evening of May 12th, 1969 was the first time I ever witnessed unity among all types of people. Even though many persons there were ignorant of the interpretation of the chants, everyone joined.
"I never knew mantra existed before, and I certainly am glad I was exposed to it. My one experience with mantra enhanced my belief in my fellow man. I needed someone like Swami Bhaktivedanta to see that unity and compatibility among people is possible. Swami Bhaktivedanta and mantra made me aware of a larger purpose of life, one with a greater meaning in terms of true goals."
"The chanting of Hare Krishna had a marvelous effect upon me. While chanting Hare Krishna all else was forced from my mind and all I could do was chant and dance. Nearly everyone in the auditorium was dancing and chanting, and there was a feeling of love and peace circulating through the auditorium."
"The Monday night meeting with Swami Bhaktivedanta and Allen Ginsberg was the first of its kind that I ever attended. Upon entering the Hitchcock Hall auditorium I was shocked at the whole audience standing and chanting Hare Krishna. This chant continued for fifteen minutes with every person, including myself, participating. By participating I soon forgot all my conscious worries and thoughts. It was as though my mind was free to roam as it pleased. No one special idea or thought stayed with me for more than several minutes. I was completely caught in the rhythm of the chant and enjoyed every minute of it, as did the entire audience.
"The stage in the auditorium was jammed with people captured by the powers of the Hare Krishna chant. Men and women alike were swaying back and forth and dancing wildly across the entire stage. In the audience the scene was practically the same. Every living soul was clapping his hands, stamping his feet and chanting Hare Krishna to the beat of the cymbals and drums on the stage. The audience seemed to forget about its problems, classes, and everything else while this chanting was in progress. Allen Ginsberg and Swami Bhaktivedanta kept the whole group of lively people enjoying the whole evening."
"Monday evening May 12 was an evening that I will remember for a very long time. The Ohio State Yoga Society produced an event by which people could release themselves from the problems of the world and participate in a new light. Swami Bhaktivedanta was very impressive and preached a self-releasing speech. The audience reacted to his speech in many ways. I saw some people laugh, some meditating deeply, and even some in a trance-like expression.
"The chant was about enjoyment in the fullest sense and was directed to the Supreme God. I also detected restlessness for peace, and a sense of love for all. The audience was quick in response to the Swami's encouragement to join in. People were practically hypnotized, 'leaping out of their skins' as Mr. Ginsberg stated. In addition, the audience showed enjoyment, and there was a feeling of a released pressure. The chanting was in a tempo that was very distinct and gave the impression of power, and at the same time released worries by giving supreme enjoyment. Hence, I feel that the Yoga Society was a huge success in its attempt to try out a belief that is new in Columbus."
"The audience rose to their feet and began chanting and clapping. The entire audience seemed to be awed and enchanted by the chanting. I felt a sense of tranquility and friendliness between everyone present. I was amazed the way everyone joined in and chanted without hesitation. Allen Ginsberg and Swami Bhaktivedanta were greatly respected by the audience, as shown by the silence when the Swami spoke and by the responsive chanting of the masses. Although it was hard to understand the Swami, he was graciously received when he spoke."
"For many the evening was a totally new experience, for others a link in the chain leading to the realization of where to fit in the puzzle of life. We are obligated to Allen Ginsberg and Swami Bhaktivedanta for revealing a new course for students to follow."
New York's WNEW-TV chose to include Samkirtan Party as part of the opening show in their new series, "Helluva Town" on June 29, 1969. Our chanting performance was recorded on video tape one sunny afternoon on Fifth Avenue in front of a large statue of Atlas, who is holding the Earth on his shoulders with great effort. It was remembered by the devotees that Prabhupada, on seeing this statue some time before, had remarked that Atlas' brow was wrinkled with the great strain of lifting the Earth planet, but that Lord Krishna is floating all the planets and all the universes too, and yet He doesn't have to exert Himself at all—He continues to play His flute blissfully, sporting with the cowherd boys .
Similarly, the Samkirtan Party chanted with relaxed bliss, vibrating Krishna's Holy Names as the TV crew wound around them with cables and microphone cords, straining to record the bliss of Lord Chaitanya's movement. At first they were confused by the repetitive chanting and the party's colorful appearance—and the interviewer reflected this confusion. But as the joyful sounds worked their influence, the crew became friendlier, and by the end of the taping, Gene Rayburn, the interviewer, was joining the chant and recommending his viewers to try it too.
The TV show, appearing on a Sunday night at 10:30, devoted its first 25 minutes to a variety of entertainments and causes that aptly confirmed the show's title, "Helluva Town." But the last 5 minutes with Samkirtan was heavenly. And it was quite frankly presented that way. The announcer said, "So, in the midst of all this turmoil, if you want some peace of mind ..." and the refreshing Hare Krishna chant was heard. Devotees were interviewed, and one bystander proclaimed, "I don't know what it is, but it sure is great." Gene Rayburn joined in chanting, and the Mahamantra continued as the show's end credits rolled up the TV screen.
We couldn't have done it any better ourselves—except that we would have given Samkirtan 30 minutes instead of 5. But the message of the show was clear—after engaging in so many frustrating, nonsensical engagements for sense-gratification, the man of intelligence turns to devotional service for real pleasure—the satisfaction of blissfully serving the Supreme Lord.
Krishna Consciousness came to Hamburg in October, 1968. Two Americans and one native German formed the team for the first center in Central Europe. The Hamburg Krishna Consciousness center will especially occupy itself with the task of translating and publishing the great volume of Krishna Consciousness literature into the German language. The German branch of ISKCON Press was begun in April with the purchasing of a large offset press (now known as "Radha Press"), and since that time the staff has been built up to put out a regular monthly edition of Back to Godhead, which, translated into German, becomes ZURUCK ZUR GOTTHEIT. The first major work to be published by ISKCON Press will be BHAGAVAD GITA AS IT IS as published by Macmillan & Co. last year. The work for this began in August.
Nord Deutsch Rundfunk, the major television station of Northern Germany, filmed Kirtan in Hamburg's streets for a one-hour special program in October. The cameras also came into the temple to record the colorful festivities within.
by Satsvarupa Das Adhikary
Once, at the dawn of the universal creation a great sacrifice was performed by the leaders of mankind,—namely Marichi, Dakha and Basistha. All great personalities, powerful sages, philosophers and demigods, along with their followers assembled. Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva were also present. When Dakha, the leader of the Prajapatis (the first progenitors of the universe), entered into the assembly his bodily luster was so bright that practically everyone else present seemed insignificant. Influenced by Dakha's luster, they gave up their places and stood in respect. Lord Brahma is considered to be the first living entity of the universe and the creator of all the material planets and entities. Lord Brahma is directly empowered by the Original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna or Vishnu, and so he was logically presiding at the head of the assembly. Although Lord Brahma did not rise to honor Dakha, he adequately welcomed him with words and asked him to take a seat of honor. Lord Shiva alone remained seated without showing any respect to the effulgent Prajapati. Dakha was very offended seeing Lord Shiva sitting there, and instead of taking his seat, Dakha began to speak strongly against him.
So begins the history of a great sacrifice and misunderstanding between Dakha and Lord Shiva, which resulted in widespread destruction. It is fully related in the Fourth Canto of Srimad Bhagwatam, the Vedic scripture which deals exclusively in the narration of the transcendental Pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, and His pure devotees.
Lord Shiva is a pure devotee of Lord Krishna, who is accepted as the Supreme Lord by the purport of all Vedic literature, Upanishads, Puranas and Vedanta Sutra, and by the disciplic succession of spiritual masters. The intelligent human being who worships the Supreme Lord Krishna or His immediate expansion, Vishnu, is called a "Vaishnava." And in the Vaishnava Purana it is stated that Sambhu (Lord Shiva) is the greatest Vaishnava: "Vaishnavanan natan Sambhu." Lord Shiva himself declares, in the Shiva Purana, that one should take to devotional service of the Supreme Lord Vishnu. Being a pure devotee and a confidential deputed agent of Krishna, Lord Shiva is beyond reproach in all his actions.
But Dakha spoke against Lord Shiva: "All sages and brahmins and firegods present here, please hear me with attention as I am speaking about the manners of gentle persons. I am not speaking out of ignorance or envy." Dakha very tactfully presented to the assembly that he was going to make a sensible speech, and not out of enviousness. Although he was speaking like a man in ignorance by intending to attack Lord Shiva's behavior, and although all present were perfectly aware of the exalted position of Lord Shiva, yet Dakha was so envious that he tried to cover his poisonous statements with a plea for gentleness and nonenviousness. He then launched verbally into Lord Shiva and said that he has ruined the good name of the demigods and that he is unclean. Dakha then stated, "Although Lord Shiva has already accepted a position subordinate to me, by marrying my daughter, yet he is not respectful to his father-in-law." The fact was that Lord Shiva's wife, Sati, was the daughter of Dakha and they had married under the instructions of Lord Shiva's father, Lord Brahma. Since Lord Shiva was actuallly the son-in-law of Dakha, one might ask, why did he not stand up and pay respects when Dakha arrived, and that might have prevented the total holocaust which, as we shall see, soon followed. The answer is that at the time Dakha entered, Lord Shiva was meditating, as he always is, on the Form of the Supreme Lord who dwells in the hearts of all creatures. As the greatest Vaishnava, he was in trance of ecstasy, meditating on the One God of all Being and Nonbeing who is alone factually worthy of all our reverence. In meditation, he might not have seen Dakha enter the arena of the sacrifice. But Dakha took the opportunity of cursing him because he was holding an envious attitude toward him for a long time.
Actually, those who are self-realized think of everybody as a temple of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as He resides in everyone's body. The respect paid to the body is not paid to the material body, but to the Presence of the Supreme Lord within the body. By offering obeisances to the Supersoul, Lord Shiva had already offered respects to the Supersoul of Dakha and there was no need of offering respects to Dakha's body. But Dakha, not being a transcendentalist, could not appreciate Lord Shiva's irreproachable behavior. To be always in meditation on the Supreme Lord is not a conjurer's trick or something to be imitated. Nor is it anything like meditating on the impersonal void. Just as we are persons, but limited to our individual bodies, so the Supreme Lord Krishna is an individual Person, but He is at the same time one and different from the creation. He is Single, One without a second, and yet He is all-pervading. By His Mercy He is present in everyone's heart, giving the intelligence and pure memory whereby one can go back to Him for personal association in eternal bliss and all knowledge. Lord Shiva then was fixed in mind on the Absolute and therefore he should not have been reproached. Dakha however was thinking only in bodily, materialistic terms, and considered his body insulted by the behavior of his exalted son-in-law. Before the great assembly he vilified Lord Shiva.
Dakha said: "Shiva remains in the filthiest places like the crematorium, and his companions are ghosts and demons and he remains like a madman. He never bathes regularly and puts a garland made of the skulls of dead bodies around his neck for ornamentation. He is very dear to the crazy beings in the mode of ignorance. On the request of Lord Brahma I handed over my chaste daughter to him although he is devoid of all cleanliness and his heart is filled with nasty things."
The name Shiva is auspicious, and yet those who do not bathe regularly are supposed to be in association with the ghosts and crazy creatures. Lord Shiva appeared like that, but his actual transcendental position is that he is very kind to persons who are in the darkness of the mode of ignorance, the drunkards and the unclean. He is so compassionate on the lowest of the low that he gives such creatures shelter and gradually makes them elevated to spiritual understanding. This is the explanation of Lord Shiva's transcendental position, according to the authoritative literature. It is stated in the Vedas that Lord Shiva is all-auspicious, so by his association even the most fallen souls can be elevated. In the creation of the Supreme Lord there are different kinds of living creatures, some of them are in the quality of goodness, some in the quality of passion and some in ignorance. Lord Vishnu takes charge of the persons who are advanced Vaishnavas or Krishna conscious, Lord Brahma takes charge of the persons who are very much attached to material activities, but Lord Shiva is so kind that he takes charge of persons who are grossly in ignorance and whose behavior is less than the animals.
Dakha cursed Lord Shiva out of envy and called him the lowest of the demigods and not worth being offered oblations or taking part in the sacrifice. One of the great commentators on the Srimad Bhagwatam, Sri Viswanath Chakravarty, says in regard to this curse of Dakha by which Lord Shiva was cut off from participating in the sacrifice, that it was an indirect blessing for Lord Shiva. As the greatest devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead it is not worthy that Lord Shiva should eat and sit with materialistic persons like the demigods who might be a distraction to his prosecution of devotional service. So he was saved from the calamity of their non-Krishna conscious association.
Dakha was a very powerful mystic brahmin, but under the deadly influence of anger, he declared he could not bear to carry on in the presence of the unclean Lord Shiva, and so he left the area of sacrifice. All the sages and Lord Brahma requested Dakha, "Please do not leave our company"-but in spite of all requests Dakha left the place under the effect of cruel anger. In the Bhagavad Gita it is advised that anyone interested in spiritual advancement must avoid lust, anger and passion, but Dakha was attacked by all three. Nandikesvar, one of the chief associates of Lord Shiva, also caught the evil influence of anger, and he prepared to curse Dakha as well as all the brahmins present there who merely sat by and tolerated the cursing of Lord Shiva. Goswami A.C. Bhaktivedanta writes of this situation: "There is a longstanding dissension among the neophyte Vaishnavas and Shivites, by which they are always at loggerheads. Some brahmins are not admirers of Lord Shiva and might enjoy his being cursed, but this is due to their ignorance of Lord Shiva's position (as the greatest Vaishnava)." Nandikesvar in his anger did not follow the example of Lord Shiva who was silent and tolerant. Nandikesvar could not tolerate the insult to a Vaishnava and he countercursed Dakha and his followers, stating that whoever supported Dakha would be bereft of transcendental knowledge of the soul and devoid of knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He called Dakha a pretentious householder, with only superficial knowledge of the Vedas; and such a person, he stated, although following the rules and regulations of the Vedas, will be attached to the temporary material sex happiness as the all-in-all, with no knowledge of the spiritual, eternal, blissful life. Lord Shiva's aide further deemed that whoever attacked Lord Shiva would be doomed to continue seeking happiness in the nescience of materialistic education and working for mundane rewards, and would therefore continue perpetually in the cycle of birth and death. Such attacks on the brahmins are applicable to the so-called brahmins of the present Age of Kali who claim brahminical or spiritual status simply on the basis of heredity or birth in a family of brahmins. In the scripture Vedanta Sutra, it is stated that the human form of life is meant for realizing the Supreme Brahman or Absolute Truth and that is the real business of a brahmin. But the so-called brahmins cursed by Nandikesvar were more interested in living for maintaining the perishable material body and elevating their family position. And worst of all they refused to recognize the pure devotee of the Lord, in the personality of Lord Shiva. Ignited by the envy of Dakha, Nandikesvar wrongly cursed all the brahmins present in a nondiscriminate condemnation. The whole issue became so complicated that those who were not strong enough forgot their positions, and cursing and counter-cursing went on in the great assembly.
As a reaction to Nandikesvar's cursing, the brahmin sage, Brighu, delivered a brahminical curse to all followers of Lord Shiva, as follows: "One who takes the vow of satisfying Lord Shiva or who follows those principles certainly becomes an atheist, as he becomes diverted from the scriptural injunction." It is understood that the devotees of Lord Shiva sometimes imitate the characteristics of Lord Shiva rather than follow his example. Lord Shiva once drank an ocean of poison, so the followers of Lord Shiva, without being able to drink even a fragment of poison, imitate him and take intoxicants.
Brighu delivers the curse that if somebody follows such principles of intoxication, he must become an infidel against the principles of Vedic regulation. Lord Krishna Himself declares in the Bhagavad Gita that He descends and corrects the regulative principles when there is too much general disregard of the prescribed rules for spiritual progress. So anyone seriously interested in prosecuting spiritual life has to follow the footsteps of the Supreme Lord, the scriptures and the teachings of His deputed controllers or Mahajans. We have to follow their example, and we are warned not to imitate Krishna or His controllers. Lord Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill in His Childhood Pastime while on earth, and no human being can possibly imitate Him in this. Lord Shiva is a Mahajan or authority in Krishna Consciousness and his unusual activities on behalf of Krishna may be completely independent of the injunctions of the scriptures. But his followers may not assume his stature. The Srimad Bhagwatam plainly states, "One should not try to drink an ocean of poison, imitating Lord Shiva." Brighu further states that the followers of Lord Shiva will turn against the conclusion of the scriptures. It is confirmed in the Padma Purana that Lord Shiva himself (as Sri Shankaracharya) was ordered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to preach impersonal philosophy for a particular purpose, just as Lord Buddha preached the philosophy of nirvana for a particular purpose. These purposes are mentioned in the scriptures, in those instances where it is required to preach some philosophical doctrine which is against the Vedic conclusion. In the Shiva Purana, Lord Shiva says to his wife Parvati, "In the Kali Yuga, in the body of a brahmin [Shankara], I will preach the Mayavadi [impersonal] philosophy in order to baffle the atheists." So it is found that the followers of Lord Shiva are mostly Mayavadi impersonalists who believe in becoming one with the Supreme. Lord Shiva himself, however, by virtue of austerity and devotion, is more conversant with the actual constitutional position of the individual soul and the Supreme Soul. As stated in the Chaitanya Charitamrita, Krishna is the Supreme Soul and we are His Parts and Parcels; our position is qualitatively one with God, but eternally subordinate in quantity. The most elevated persons, the pure devotees, engage their lives, minds and intelligence in all varieties of service to the Whole Spirit, Krishna. Lord Shiva, as the greatest Vaishnava, was fully aware of all such intricacies, but Brighu cursed both Shiva and his followers as one in fault. He said, "The vow of worshiping Lord Shiva is so foolish that they imitate and keep bunches of hair on their heads and live the life of wine and flesh indulgence and do not take baths." Brighu's point is that those who live without any spiritual regulation are foolish and become devoid of transcendental knowledge. He curses Nandikesvar and says, "Not due to my cursing shall you become an atheist, but you are already situated as an atheist and therefore condemned."
When the cursing and recursing was going on, Lord Shiva was silent and sober and didn't speak a word. Lord Shiva is described as always tolerant, but he became sorry at the unnecessary anger. In order to stop them, he left the arena of the sacrifice, and his disciples followed.
Dakha's Second Sacrifice
Thereafter Dakha began another performance of sacrifice, and he deliberately did not invite Lord Shiva. Generally, although such sacrifices were meant for pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, yet all the demigods, and especially Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, were always invited; otherwise the sacrifice was not complete. But Dakha, being very proud of his position as chief of the Prajapatis, and envious and inimical to Lord Shiva, thought to avoid them. He could understand that the purpose of sacrifice is to please the Supreme Lord. His supposed logic in avoiding Lord Shiva was that if Vishnu is satisfied by his sacrifice, then what was the need of satisfying His followers? But Lord Krishna says, "Worshiping My devotees is better than worshiping the Lord Himself." And in the Shiva Purana it states, "The best mode of worship is to offer oblations to Vishnu, and better than that is to worship the devotees of Krishna." Dakha's Shiva-less sacrifice was therefore inauspicious from the start.
But, many sages and demigods from all parts of the universe, with their wives nicely dressed and decorated, were attending the sacrificial ceremony. When Sati, the daughter of Dakha, saw that from all directions the beautiful wives in fine clothing were going there along with their husbands in airplanes, she too became anxious to go and approached her husband, Lord Shiva. She proposed to him that if he would desire to go to the ceremony, then they could go. Being a woman, Sati had some attachment for dressing up and participating in social functions and meeting her relatives in the assembly. But Lord Shiva was a different personality, and not interested in material enjoyment. Sati pleaded that she was not so transcendentally advanced as her great husband and therefore still had a strong desire for a nice social, family gathering; so she begged that they might dress with ornaments and go there like the others. But on hearing reference to Dakha's sacrifice, Lord Shiva remembered the heart-piercing malicious speeches delivered at the last sacrifice, and he became sorry at heart. There is a question raised here: Why did a liberated personality like Lord Shiva feel so unhappy due to the cruel words of Dakha? The answer is that Lord Shiva is an expansion of Vishnu, assigned as controller of the material quality of ignorance. Although he is completely self-realized and enlightened, yet because he is in charge of the material mode of ignorance, he is sometimes affected by the pleasure and pain of the material world. In the spiritual world one may also feel sorry, but in that absolute existence, either pleasure or so-called pain is full of bliss. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna appeared on the Earth in Vrindaban, He had childhood pastimes in which He was chastised by His foster mother Yasoda, and He sometimes cried. But His shedding tears is not in the mode of ignorance. Also, when Krishna played with the cowherds girls, the gopis, it sometimes appeared that they were distressed, but actually that feeling was full of bliss. The temporary material world is declared by the Vedic knowledge to be a perverted reflection of the eternal Kingdom of God, so every variety of feeling that exists here in the material world also exists originally in the spiritual world. But in the spiritual world all the varieties of apparent pleasure and pain are perceived as eternal bliss, whereas in the material world, there is a dualistic perception of pleasure and pain due to the contamination of the modes of passion and ignorance. Lord Shiva is self-realized but due to his contact while in charge of the material mode of ignorance, he could feel sorrow. His position is therefore unique. He is sometimes called almost-God. He is compared in the Brahma Samhita to yogurt. Lord Vishnu the Supreme Personality of Godhead is compared to milk. Yogurt is also milk, but due to fermentation it has become changed. That is the position of Shiva: he has the full godly qualities but he is changed because of contact with matter. Only Vishnu the Supreme Personality of Godhead is 100 percent transcendental and above the material manifestation. Even when He enters the material atmosphere He enters as the Purifier and spiritualizes all matter in contact with Him. As the greatest worshiper of Vishnu, Lord Shiva willingly accepts the position of serving as controller of the mode of ignorance, and he is called the shelter of the most fallen.
Lord Shiva could foresee that as soon as Sati would reach the house of her father, Dakha, being so puffed up with the mistaken identification of the body as the self, would be angry with her although she was faultless. Therefore he ordered her not to go. As the wife of Lord Shiva, she would certainly be insulted by Dakha and his followers; Shiva told her that no one can bear such family insults and that it would be equal to her death if she went. But Sati made womanly pleas. She addressed her husband as he who has no equal in the material world. She knew that no one can match Lord Shiva in his equality to everyone, so why then wasn't he acting equally toward her by letting her go to the ceremony? It is described that Sati took shelter of a woman's last weapon—weeping—and she began walking back and forth in the rooms, like a swinging pendulum, divided in mind whether to obey her husband or to go to her father's sacrifice. At one point she begged her husband calling him Blue-Throated One. Lord Shiva is known widely by this name for a compassionate feat he once undertook. Once some demons and demigods took a sea journey in order to churn the ocean for the purpose of producing nectar. The first effect at churning, however, produced only poison, but Lord Shiva in anxiety that some less strong persons might drink it, took the ocean of poison himself and held it in his throat—which turned blue. Sati called him Blue-Throated and intimated, "You are so kind to others, why not to me?" Finally Sati forcibly left her husband's protection and started out alone towards Dakha's house.
When Lord Shiva saw Sati bent on going, he sent his men with her, and he also followed seated on his bull and accompanied by thousands of disciples. When Sati reached Dakha's house she was greeted only by her mother and sisters. Dakha, her father, completely ignored her. On account of her association with Lord Shiva, he forgot all his affection for his own daughter. Such is the material-familial conception of love, that even by the slightest provocation all intimate affection is gone and a whole relationship is finished. Sati was grieving over this insult and at the same time, as she looked over the arena of sacrifice, she saw that there was no oblation or sacrificial offering being made to Lord Shiva. At once she became angry and looked as if she were about to burn her father just with her eyes. Whenever one offers oblations in the fire, Lord Shiva is one of the demigods honored by the chanting of the mantra, Namah Shivayah Swaha. But under Dakha's instructions the brahmins deliberately omitted Shiva's offering and were not uttering that mantra. She became doubly insulted. The followers of Lord Shiva, the ghosts, were ready to do harm to Dakha, but Sati stopped them in the name of her husband. She was so angry and sorry, however, that she began to condemn Dakha and his sacrifice, speaking in the presence of the large gathering. Anger is usually abominable and leads to the destruction of intelligence. But Sati's anger was special. Regarding such anger, which is transcendental, Goswami A.C. Bhaktivedanta writes as follows: "When Vishnu and the Vaishnava are insulted, one should be angry. Lord Chaitanya, who is the preacher of nonviolence, meekness and humility, became angry when the Vaishnava Nityananda was insulted by Jagai and Madhai, and He wanted to kill them. That should be the attitude when Vishnu and the Vaishnava are blasphemed or dishonored. One should not be tolerant when a person is offending Vishnu or a Vaishnava." So Sati spoke personally to Dakha in her devotional anger:
"Lord Shiva is the most beloved personality of all living entities—he is universal. Nobody is his enemy, nobody could envy him—only one who is envious by nature. Only you could find fault in him. If somebody has just a little good quality Lord Shiva magnifies it, but you have found fault with such a great soul." Lord Shiva is so magnanimous that he grants his followers whatever they desire. He is sometimes called Asutos, or one who is satisfied very easily. Once a devotee of Lord Shiva asked the irregular benediction from Lord Shiva that whoever the devotee would touch, that person's head would fall off. Lord Shiva granted him as he desired. Such a benediction was not very good because the devotee tried to touch the head of Lord Shiva as soon as he was given the power. Still, Lord Shiva considered the devotee's good quality, that he had come to him and worshiped him and satisfied him.
Sati continued before her father and all persons gathered: "Lord Shiva is the friend of all living entities. He fulfills all desires of the common man as well as the higher personalities who are seeking after transcendental bliss. You think yourself superior to Lord Shiva as his father-in-law and you call him inauspicious for associating with the demons in the burning crematorium, with the locks of hair thrown all over his body and garlanded with human skulls—but greater personalities than you, such as Lord Brahma, honor Lord Shiva by accepting flowers offered to his feet. So you do not know that he is always transcendental. He must be, otherwise, why would such a person like Brahma worship him?" Offering many arguments based on authoritative Vedic information, Sati as a chaste wife, faithfully defended her husband from the slander of her father, Dakha. She certainly spoke in the spirit of eulogy as it was her duty to elevate Lord Shiva to the highest position; but it was not on sentiment, but by facts. Lord Shiva is not an ordinary entity. Someone may take the narrative of Sati as imaginative and conclude that there is no such person as Lord Shiva, but that is not the conclusion of the pure devotees who accept the authority of scriptures and the living chain of spiritual masters in disciplic succession. Doubt-ridden and cynical persons think that there can be no one as wonderful as Lord Shiva. This is because they themselves are limited in body and mind, and they ascribe their limitations to all personalities. Actually it is not so wonderful that there are powerful controllers of universal affairs such as Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma and other demigods. Even in common affairs the president of the country is the final authority in government, and yet he has agents who assist him in his mission. Similarly, the Supreme Controller, God, or Krishna, expands Himself into qualitative incarnations like Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva and He also empowers ordinary living entities with unusual powers and long duration of life in accord with His inconceivable will. In common affairs or in the workings of nature, men of a poor fund of knowledge see everything as happening automatically. But mature examination to the end of things reveals that there is also personal control behind the wonderful happenings in government, science and nature. The space ships are not flying independently across the sky without the control by the brains of great scientists on earth; the staggeringly complex electronic computers cannot work without the human touch. Similarly, the gigantic space satellites called planets are controlled by a Great Intelligence or God. If artists study and labor so hard to paint the image of a flower, and never duplicate its original freshness and beauty, then who can seriously think that the thousands of varieties of natural flowers are produced "automatically" without the touch of the superior Artistry? Storms at sea, the movements of the luminaries in the sky as well as the movements of our hands and fingers, can all be traced to a power beyond our limited selves, to a Supreme Controller, the Cause of all causes, the Personality of Godhead. The wisdom of submissive reception of authoritative scripture enables one to understand what is inconceivable to the mundane senses and mental speculations of strictly materialistic scientists or philosophers. Those who hear and live in the spirit of devotional service have it revealed to them through the heart, with complete sane conviction, that there is a Controller. And to them it is understandable that for His Pleasure He can expand into multi-energies and personalities for control of universal affairs.
All the Vedic literatures describe Lord Shiva as the agent of destruction. When annihilation is due in the cyclical course of time, after a fabulously long time span by human standards, it is Lord Shiva who is the personal destroyer of the world systems. And until that time he willingly serves as the master of the mode of ignorance and offers his compassion to the most degraded souls so that they can be gradually elevated and have hopes of going back to Home, back to the Kingdom of God. We have specific information about the character of Lord Shiva from Vedic literature, the scripture which is likened to the mother of the conditioned souls. In ordinary life, the mother is the sole authority for knowing who one's father is. So if we want that information on how the controllers of the universe are acting, where they reside and what they are doing, we have to turn to the authority or mother, Vedic scriptures. It is not a question of imagination, but of knowledge. The impersonalists or atheists who say that the scriptures are merely stories can never gain entrance into the Pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His associates like Lord Shiva.
Sati was not merely talking. She was deeply mortified to be so intimately connected to Dakha who had committed offenses at the lotus feet of Lord Shiva. Sati said to Dakha: "I have this body produced by you. And I am therefore connected with you and very much ashamed. I shall not any more bear this unworthy body which is received from you who have blasphemed Lord Shiva. If someone takes poisonous food, the best thing is to vomit." As the potency of Lord Shiva, his wife Sati could have easily killed Dakha. But to best save her husband from ill fame, as if he had no power to himself fight Dakha, she decided to give up her own body. The Vaishnava feels personally at fault for even hearing blasphemy against Lord Krishna or His pure devotee. The body being the source of her unhappiness, she decided to quit her body at once. Dressed in yellow garments, Sati sat on the ground facing the northern side, closed her eyes and became absorbed in the mystic yoga process. She took the required sitting posture, and then carried the life air upwards towards the navel and gradually raised it to the heart and towards the pulmonary passage, and from there she raised the life force between her eyebrows; meditating on the lotus feet of Lord Shiva, she became cleansed of all taints of sin and then quit her body in blazing fire by meditation on fiery elements. Srimad Bhagwatam states, "When the body of Sati was annihilated by anger, there was a great tumultuous roar heard all over the universe." Most astonishing was that Dakha remained disrespectful and unmoved by his chaste daughter and made no attempt to stop her death. Dakha was supposed to provide for all living entities, and his own daughter deserved the most respectful treatment. While the assembled persons were still talking among themselves about the passing away of Sati, Lord Shiva's attendants made ready to kill Dakha and rushed at him with their weapons. As they were coming forward forcibly, the sage Brighu saw the danger and immediately uttered mantras and hymns by which the destroyers of sacrificial performances can be killed. As soon as Brighu offered oblations in the fire thousands of demigods became manifested in the fire and they began to attack the ghosts and attendants of Lord Shiva, scattering them in all directions.
Lord Shiva was at a distance from the sacrifice, but when he was informed that his wife was dead due to Dakha's insult and that his associate soldiers were driven away he became angry. The Srimad Bhagwatam describes his fury: "Lord Shiva in anger pressed his lips with his teeth and from the bunch of hair on his head he snatched a piece of hair that blazed like fire, and laughing like a madman he dashed the hair to the ground. Then appeared a personality as tall as the sky, equipped with thousands of weapons and arms, of a black color and as bright as three suns." Lord Shiva sent this gigantic demon of personified anger to kill Dakha. In Bhagavad Gita Krishna declares, "Of generals I am Lord Shiva," so he is the most formidable of commanders. Led by the demon of anger his army swept into the sacrificial arena and prepared to plunder everything in sight. Seeing the approaching army, the brahmins and their assembled women were filled with anxiety, all due to the danger created by Dakha. In fact the wife of Dakha foresaw, "This is the same Lord Shiva who at the time of dissolution destroys the worlds." So there was no comparing the tiny power of Dakha to that of Lord Shiva. Goswami A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami writes, "At the time of dissolution, Lord Shiva with his trident in hand dances over the rulers of different planets and his hair is scattered like the clouds over all directions, and he deluges the different planets with torrents of rain. "
The followers of Lord Shiva are described as running around the sacrificial arena with bodies like shark-fish. They pulled down the pillars of the altars, entered residential and kitchen departments, broke pots and urinated on the sacrificial ground. Some of them blocked the way of the fleeing sages and shackled the women. Two priests who had shown their teeth during the cursing of Lord Shiva had their teeth extracted by the soldiers of Lord Shiva, and a continuous shower of stones was set up, so that all the members of the sacrifice were in miserable condition and running for fear of their lives. It is described that such horrible fighting was not exactly on an inimical basis; everyone present was very powerful, and they all wanted to show their strength by Vedic mantra or mystic power.
Finally Dakha was beheaded by the giant-like personality created by Lord Shiva. The party of Lord Shiva gave out joyful exclamations and the brahmins in charge of the sacrifice also exclaimed in grief at the death of Dakha in such a manner. Dakha's head was thrown on the sacrificial fire and the whole area was set on fire by the followers of Lord Shiva who then departed for their master's place in Kwelas.
The defeated and injured demigods, priests and all members of the sacrificial assembly then approached Lord Brahma with great fear. They offered their obeisances and spoke in detail to him of all that had happened. Lord Brahma already knew what had happened, and having known beforehand he did not attend the sacrifice. When he had heard everything from the members, he replied: "You cannot have happiness if you blaspheme great personalities like Lord Shiva." Lord Brahma said it was good for Dakha that he had been killed, otherwise, without that punishment, he would have committed more and more offenses and would be entangled in future lives. Knowing Lord Shiva's easy, compassionate nature, Lord Brahma advised: "If you go to him without any reservation of mind and surrender unto him and ask to be excused at his Lotus Feet, he is very easily pleased and it will be nice. He has recently lost his wife and is afflicted by the unkind words of Dakha. So go and beg his pardon, who is so powerful that by his anger all the planets can be destroyed."
After instructing all the demigods, Lord Brahma took them along with him and left for the place known as Kwelas Hill, the abode of Lord Shiva. Srimad Bhagwatam describes Kwelas as having different kinds of mountains, filled with valuable trees and plants and deer. There are different types of waterfalls with transparent water. Peacocks, cuckoos and other birds are always vibrating as if in rhythmic tune. There are many varieties of flowers, animals like the forest cow and buffalo, and plenty of decorated lakes. All the demigods were struck with wonder at the opulence of Kwelas. Under a huge banyan tree where it was silent and with unbroken shade, Lord Shiva sat as grave as time eternal, and the demigods approached him. He was encircled by famous saintly persons like the four Kumaras and Narada. Lord Shiva sat with his left leg on his right thigh and his right hand raised in the position of teaching or Tarkamudra, with the fingers opened and the second finger raised. He was instructing the saint Narada, and it is understood that if Narada was forming the audience, the topic must have been bhakti, or devotional service to Krishna. Brahma very respectfully payed obeisances to Lord Shiva on behalf of the party of the demigods. Lord Brahma requested that the priests whose limbs had been broken by the jaws of Lord Shiva's soldiers be restored by Lord Shiva's grace. "Please accept your portion of the sacrifice and let it be properly completed." Lord Shiva was pacified by this, and he spoke as follows: "My dear father, Brahma, I do not mind the offenses created by the demigods because they are childish and less intelligent, and I do not take a serious view of it, but whatever I have done is just to punish them in order to set them right." By this, Sambhu (Lord Shiva) expressed his desire for everyone's welfare and asserted that he had chastised only in the way a father punishes his son, not as an enemy. All the priests' injuries were gradually healed and even Dakha was revived to life by Lord Shiva's placing the head of a goat on his trunk. Although he had a goat's head and a human trunk, Dakha was revived in his previous individual consciousness, because it is not the head or bodily construction that makes individuality but the spirit soul whose symptom is consciousness. When he saw Lord Shiva, just by his presence, Dakha became purified in mind. Tears rolled from his eyes and he was finally sorry and affected by the death of his daughter Sati. He could hardly express himself in prayers, overwhelmed with nonduplicitous love and respect for Lord Shiva. "Although I was punished by you for my ignorance, I understand that you have not withdrawn your mercy. I know both yourself and Lord Vishnu are kind to the friends of brahmins."
After begging forgiveness from Lord Shiva, and with the permission of Lord Brahma, Dakha again began the sacrifice in the regular way with fire and oblations. And first they offered oblations of the Holy Name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, in order to make the whole situation purified. Goswami A.C. Bhaktivedanta writes in this matter: "Performance of sacrifice is a very difficult task. In this present Age of Kali (Age of Quarrel) those who are intelligent know it is neither possible to perform the costly sacrifices nor to invite the demigods to participate. Therefore in this age, the Srimad Bhagwatam recommends Samkirtan Yajna (chanting of the Holy Names) as the means to keep the balance of social peace and prosperity and attain spiritual perfection. Samkirtan Yajna means to chant the Holy Names, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, and invite people and distribute Prasadam. This sacrifice will please all the demigods, and there will be peace and prosperity. The difficulty of performing Vedic rituals is that if you do not satisfy even one demigod out of many hundreds and thousands, just as Dakha could not satisfy Lord Shiva, then there is disaster. But in this age the performance is simplified by the chanting of Hare Krishna. And by pleasing Krishna all the demigods become satisfied automatically."
The sacrificial arena had been desecrated by the followers of Lord Shiva and the recitation of the Name of Vishnu was required to sanctify the procedure. Of course Lord Shiva was now present, and he is all-auspicious, but because in the past his followers had broken the arena and passed urine and done many obnoxious things, so only by chanting the Name of Vishnu in devotion was purity found again. And as complete benediction to this famous Yajna, Lord Narayan (Vishnu) appeared there, seated on the shoulder of Garuda His birdcarrier, and illuminated the whole arena. Lord Vishnu is described as of a beautiful transcendental blackish hue, dressed in yellow garments and many ornaments and appearing in an eight-armed form bearing conch, shell, wheel, club, lotus, arrow, bow, shield and sword and being extraordinarily beautiful. Just His smile was pleasing to the whole world and captivated the audience of Dakha, Brighu and all present.
Lord Shiva, beholding the personified object of his constant meditation, bowed and spoke in ecstacy before the Supreme Controller of the worlds. He said: "My dear Lord, my mind and consciousness are always fixed on Your Lotus Feet, which are the Source of all benedictions and fulfillment of desires. They are worth worshiping. With my mind fixed in meditation on Your Lotus Feet I am no longer disturbed by persons who blaspheme, claiming that my activities are not purified. I do not mind their accusations and I excuse them out of compassion, just as You are compassionate to all living entities." So here is the key to the character of Lord Shiva. By his own declaration the most powerful personality in the material world never forgets his transcendental relationship as servant of the Lord; and he continues always in Krishna Consciousness in order to remain free from material afflictions. Without such personal meditation on the Supreme Lord, no one can be free of contaminating material activities, characterized by the disadvantages of birth, death, disease and old age and the struggle for existence. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna assures that the dedicated soul who serves with love will never be vanquished by the material devastations. He says: "You simply surrender unto Me and I will give you protection." The practical example of Lord Shiva's worship is that liberation means, not some negative, temporary abeyance of trouble by meditation on the void, but practical eternal engagement in loving service to the Personality of Godhead. Those who cannot surrender their own personality, by submissive hearing, unto the Supreme Person must return again and again to the round of birth and death for attempted enjoyment and suffering in the material world. That is the verdict of the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagwatam.
By the grace of Lord Vishnu the sacrifice was completed to His full satisfaction.
Finally, out of so many incidences that make up Lord Shiva's eternal career, and prove him glorious, there is one activity which is offered as his most glorious pastime in association with the Supreme Lord Krishna. This activity is stated in the Third Canto of Srimad Bhagwatam: "The blessed Lord Shiva becomes all the more blessed by bearing on his head the holy waters of the Ganges, which has as its source the water that washed the Lord's Lotus Feet. His Feet are like a thunderbolt hurled to shatter sin stored in the mind of the devotee meditating on him." The gist of this incident is a reference to the entrance into the material world of the sacred river Ganges which flows through many planetary systems. Lord Shiva carried this water down in his hair when it first emanated from the Causal Ocean which is the outside covering of this universe. By carrying this water, the auspicious Lord Shiva becomes even more auspicious. No one should laugh at or attempt to criticize Lord Shiva's unconventional activities or foolishly attempt to imitate him as a so-called Shivite. Lord Shiva is great for doing humble service unto the Greatest. He is no voidist or impersonalist speculating on the Absolute as we often hear him described. With half-closed eyes and beautiful austere form, seated in meditation, he fixes his mind on the dearmost object, his Lord. And that is why he is called the greatest Vaishnava.
by Patit Uddharan
Paramhansa of the nectar lake
Or is this a helping hand You lend
My feeble memory cannot recall—
Tell me please of life's true goal
Your blessings I crave as now I see
So tell me please of Vrindaban
KRISHNA! Yes that is the Name
Now tell me of His jewelled throne
I see in nectar that You swim
And of devotees whom He holds so dear
Now unto Your Lotus Feet I'll cling
O Paramhansa of our land,