—By Satsvarupa das Adhikari
The Boston center has been eager to fulfill the wish of our beloved Spiritual Master Goswami A.C. Bhaktivedanta. Coming in the line from Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who so much stressed the public chanting of the Holy Names, our Guru has always instructed us that the best preaching of Love of God is the chanting of the Holy Names of God in the parks and in the streets. The benefit to every living entity—not just the humans—is inconceivably great. Just by hearing the Name of God one can be saved from the greatest danger, and his door to liberation, for eternal association with Krishna, will be opened. Lately, we have received letters from His Divine Grace emphasizing the importance of the chanting party: "Regarding your questions about Samkirtan party, I think you should try to always have Samkirtan going on. All other things are subsidiary. This chanting is our life and soul, so we must arrange our program so that there will be as much chanting on the streets and at college engagements as possible." (from letter of May 15, 1969)
We usually reach Boylston Street every day by 12 noon. Boston is very busy during the day, and at noon on Boylston we are able to reach thousands by chanting and instruct them in the sublime teaching of blissful eternal life lived with Krishna. His Divine Grace has written us, "Not only does chanting liberate us from all material impediments and diseases, but even in our conditioned state we like to hear the sweet melodious sound of the chanting. Only a person who is committing suicide or who is addicted to animal killing cannot relish the sweetness of this chanting. But even if they take to this chanting, they will become liberated." (letter of May 13)
After Boylston Street, we take the Samkirtan van, which is a completely spiritualized vehicle used only in the service of the transcendental Lord, and drive to nearby Harvard Square, Cambridge, where thousands await the Deliverance of the vibration from the spiritual sky, Hare Krishna, Hare Rama. About our transcendental van, Prabhupada has written us, in his letter of May 13th, "Now you have got a nice carriage and thus you can go anywhere you like." Harvard Square is supposed to be busier per square foot, and its real estate more commercially desirable than any other area in the country. In order to chant in such a crowded area without causing any civil difficulty, we had to inform the police of all our activities beforehand. Regarding this matter, Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta has written us, "Try to keep nice peace with the police as far as possible. Because our method is to be more tolerant than the tree and humbler than the grass on the street. We don't mind for so-called prestige. If keeping peaceful we can execute Krishna conscious duties, that is all we want." (letter of May 31st)
The scriptures declare that the Maha mantra is an incarnation of Krishna, or God, for this age. Under the order of our Guru, we appear sometimes at Fenway Park and sometimes along the Charles River, and every Sunday about 10,000 people who gather at the Cambridge Commons are exposed to the Hare Krishna benediction. We go wherever people gather, and sometimes, when we begin chanting where nobody is around, a crowd automatically gathers to hear the Names and see the dancing in glorification of Krishna. At all such gatherings we pass out wallet-sized cards which say, "We humbly request, you chant this mantra and your life will be sublime: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare."
Lord Chaitanya said the chanting would be spread to every town and village in the world. So we at least must spread it to every street and person in the Boston area.
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,
KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE/
HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA,
RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE
If You Are Interested In Becoming A Member Of Iskcon Write: Iskcon—New York For Further Details.
—By Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj
—A lecture delivered on the 27th August, 1933 at the Saraswati Assembly Hall of Sri Gaudiya Math, Calcutta on the occasion of the Advent Celebrations of Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: His Divine Grace Paramahansa Paribrajakacharya Sri Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj, Founder of the Gaudiya Math, is the Spiritual Master of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. It was He who sent Bhaktivedanta Swami to the Western world to deliver the message of Krishna Consciousness. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta is highly regarded throughout India, for during His lifetime He founded hundreds of centers in all parts of the country and had literally thousands of followers. This lecture, delivered three years before His Disappearance Day from this mortal world, commemorates the Advent of His own Father and Spiritual Master, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur, the Great-grandfather of the Krishna Consciousness Movement in America.]
All glory to Guru and Gauranga!
Dear Friends—I stand before you as a teller. I am going to tell you now a few words more on the Vedanta and specially its ontological aspect, morphology being a former changeable part of the same. My telling craves a reciprocity of your listening to my sound through your aural reception. Sound is the main substratum of the Vedanta which deals with a subject unapproachable by our present crippled imperfect senses. The ear cannot work as a receptacle unless we are willing to admit a sound, and this admittance depends on our taste and previous experience. This prior experience invites affairs within the phenomenal range, but the Vedantic sounds have a different aim. So our reciprocal situation will crown our efforts with success.
Many of our friends pose themselves as knowers when they have a true taste for knowledge. To acquire such knowledge they utilize their senses to associate with the conception of objects and their components. These knowers claim a subjective position to consider the synthetic as well as analytic values of their determination. The objects before them are known as phenomena which serve to engage their attention to scrutinizing the knowledge of the causes and the laws of all phenomena by their empiric and intuitive reasonings. This is, in other words, philosophising the object by mental speculation.
When the knowledge of a being is restricted to phenomena, it passes by the name of natural philosophy, but the psychological dealing of sentiments discloses a branch of knowledge known as mental philosophy.
All the philosophical speculations in connection with our sensuous perception are no bar to our wrangling over them. The outward representations in all cases, if reasoned, need not exactly identify themselves with the true objective stand; as for instance, our impression of a star is much more augmented when we are conversant with the coaching of an adept of astronomy or when scientific methods predominate over our erroneous convictions. The deceptive outward manifestations are not necessarily to be accepted when such delusions are detected by our true activity. The seeming reasons often carry us to a wrong direction and we are not favored with the Truth, and seeming truths are found tobe efficacious in particular circumstances with susceptibility of transformation. So ontology of unchangeable formation need not be neglected for alternative changing features.
The methods of thinking of different people of different countries are not the same. So we cannot expect identical results in philosophy. Happiness and virtue have been selected as the essence of philosophical speculation by both the Hellenic and Hebraic Schools, whereas in China they were meant for the preservation of loyal society and local constitutional Government. The mystic philosophy of the mediaeval Europe in its different varieties has invited apathetic reflection in the judgment of considerate persons. The animistic conception of Persia as well as impersonal idea have brought out criticisms from the Indian philosophers. The savage conception of philosophy as well had no favor with the critical and ethical arguments.
For a long time Indian Philosophy had been mentioned in six different phases bearing dissimilar methods of exposition and in the unrolling evolutionary process we have had a few dozen of philosophic views coming to us for our speculative considerations. Mind has been noticed as the functional agent of agreeing or disagreeing with a standard position of its finitudinal range. It is termed conscience or Buddhi when it is fixed. The egotistic function of mind in respect of mundane objects is called Ahankar or worker's activity of lording it over a partial phenomenal aspect. The Jiva or soul is different from phenomenal denomination, but the fettered condition of an individual soul has association with the material world.
The five old schools of philosophy of India do not vouchsafe to bear the same character with the Vedanta philosophy. Some super-sensuous methods are marked by the comparative studies though in the beginning such warnings need not be offered to the students of the Vedanta. The science of the Vedanta philosophy has also dealt with the aspects of formation concerning the constant changes of form resulting from an unfolded development and permanent unalterable elements in ever-altering forms.
The Vedanta deals with a theme beyond the finite views of phenomena. The subjects dealt with in that particular philosophy are not confined to any part of the material space, any definite span of time or any object of sensuous perception made up of any substance of this Universe. The activities of a being are measured in time, the playground of a being either linear, superficial or cubical is accommodated in space and the limited subjectivity or fleshy tabernacular entity is confined to phenomenon. The Vedantic scheme is quite different from such limited structural monuments though some people attempted to bring Vedanta within the prison bars of their senses.
Though Vedanta deals with ordinary language quite dovetailing the views of ordinary intelligentsia to gradually heave them up to the supersensuous regions where senses cannot work by their present implements or cannot help them by the words of their credulous friends, still the transcendental topics are imparted slowly through the linguistic and rationalistic attainments to differentiate the plane of transcendence and the undesirable transformable plane of enjoyments. As it is helping the journey of understanding, we need not stick to a stagnant view in order to gratify our senses at the cost of rationality and harmonious language exactly fitting our whims. So the method of studying this particular philosophy should never be confined to the same process of confusing the transcendence with our present plane of thought.
When the Absolute becomes the goal of a sentient being, such sentientism has a character other than the nature of phenomenal restrictions. But when it tends to limit activities to finite things of phenomena, we find a temper of lording it over the finite things which have mundane relativity among them. All activities of a spirit towards the direction of transcendental Absolute are to come under devotion or Bhakti, whereas the gratification of senses leads to an activity known as Karma of the actor. The Absolute has an unalterable complete situation void of all sexological divisions as well as of the three positions of the observer, observation and the observed; they become the functions of the gnostic or jnanins. The factor of time cannot have any supremacy over the Absolute.
Unlike phenomena where everything is liable to transformation during the course of time, the Absolute does not undergo any change, whereas the opposite element has a shaky position. The Absolute cannot be enjoyed by sensuous exploitations to bring any profit to mind and body. All the profits accrued by offering our services to the Absolute are never meant for our temporary happiness depriving others of the benefit. The theme of the Vedanta actually deprives the human frame and subtle body of the Bliss which is wrongly incorporated with the unalloyed absolute infinitesimals. By the word absolute infinitesimal I mean the individuation of the identical quality and not the quantity. The stuff of the Absolute is not liable to any change. No factor of time would have any cogent potency to mutilate it. No space is reserved for it like material entities. The Absolute when analyzed will go to show a division between the parts and the whole. The character of the Absolute will differ from non-Absolute as estimated by the properties of perfection and imperfection. The undesirable experience of regions of imperfection and inadequacies need not be carried over to the eternal aspects of origin, nature and ontological essence of the Vedanta.
The knowledge of the Vedantic field need not be restricted to the mere elementary formula excluding the Smarta elucidation and to treatises of such workers as have deviated from the strict path of Sruti. The untenable sectional views need not be included under the category of the Vedanta. The different inculcations offered by the explanations of the creative actors and destructive exploiters should not be confused with the Satvata Puranas and Pancharatras.
Besides the Smarta development of the Vedanta we have to deal with the various treatises written by the Vedanta scholars to enlighten us on the very points in our practical life. So we find that the Vedanta includes four-fold aspects which pass by the names of (1) Sruti Prasthan, (2) Nyaya Prasthan, (3) Smriti Prasthan and (4) Prakarana Prasthan. The first two series are accepted by impersonalists, with a very few quotations from books known as Smriti, whereas they do not admit the whole arena of Smriti for their Vedantic advancement.
The Upanishads are Scriptures accepted as the Vedas or Srutis. They are not only the Vedas but considered as the acme of the Vedic literature. The rational version of the Upanishads are philosophical in comparison with the adorative songs of Samhitas towards a pantheon of Vedic gods. Though the various Upanisadic mantras have apparently conflicting features, they are reconciled by the aphorisms of Sri Vyas in his Uttar-mimansa philosophy under different systematic logical categories known as Nyayas or Adhikaranas. Each theme of an Adhikaran has been fully dealt with by Panchanga or five-fold positions of logical system to meet all opposing controversies. The aphorisms have met with all polemical views of different philosophical systems which prove to go against the truth of the Srutis, and again the aphorisms are supported by the Upanishad-Mantras followed by Smritis and reasons offered in favor of the citatory passages termed as Bhashyas and their commentaries by erudite savants.
The leaders of interpretations have given us first hand information regarding the classified subjects, Nyayas or Adhikaranas briefly treated in the Sutras. Among these interpreters we find contending views of wranglers in offering their explanations Some of them differed with others in grouping together the Mantras under the same heading of a particular subject, and sometimes their views were found palpably varying with one another due to designed observations. They are liable to contract fourfold defects of misconception, inebriation, organic shortcomings and inclination for deception which do not permit them to have correct views. To illustrate this I give here a short discourse of the leaders of the different interpretations.
The early Bodhayana School, Tanka, Drabida, Bharuchi, Audolomy, Yamunachary and others have left for Ramanuja their opinions which are thoroughly different from the observations of Acharya Sri Shankar. For a comparative study we should survey the views entertained by the different leaders who have written their Bhasyas of the aphorisms prompting separate systems.
Shankar and Shrikantha are more or less analogous to each other, though Shrikantha has admitted the personality of Brahman in Shiva for some time, apart from henotheistic views, unlike Ramanuja whose conception of the Personality of Brahman in Vishnu-nomenclature is not a transitory element to be dissolved in indistinctive phase of Brahman. The Shrikantha cult merged in the system of Shankar together with his follower Appyaya Dikshit whose conversion to Shankara view has destroyed more or less his former writings of Shivarka Manidipika and Nyaya Rakshamani. According to Shankara his adoption of the illusory theory of Maya has explained the unreal positions of Jiva or individual soul and material world, whereas the theory of devotion or Bhakti has been accepted by theists as the sole medium of reaching the eternal destination. Shankara's targetted salvation—Nirvana, can be had through inflated unalloyed knowledge of an individual, free from the reference of eternal existence and beatitude, by annihilating himself to the non-perspective situation of Brahman where he should have no retention of individuality of his unalloyed entity save and except assumption of a hallucinative universality dispelling all empiric ignorance and bitter experience of defective designative finiteness. This would give him a theoretic relief of his existence.
Madhva's eternal associative duality always maintains eternal devotional aptitude which is the common basis of all the four inculcators of Positive Truth. Maya or delusive energy is to be abandoned or overpowered by devotion which will give eternal relief to conditioned individual soul or spirit. Individual spirit is never to indulge itself in the imaginary inflation for becoming the universal non-designative Spirit. Individuals are eternally atomic isolated numberless entities. They have eternal cognitional, volitional and emotional attributions in them. They are prone to be forgetful of the direction of service towards their Eternal Master, the Fountainhead. In salvation they are never to lose their eternal special individuality, and this temporary captive individuation in the present sheath should never be considered as permanently neglecting the eternal ontological transcendental form. The individual souls and matter are not temporary production, but they are emanated from Brahman and both of them are reciprocated to each other. The Personal Body of Brahman known as Vishnu is the very center of all energies and attributes, be they temporary or eternal. He is all-potent and His Service is the eternal function of the individual spirits. The worldly pretensions of Maya are traced in the unusual desire of elevationists and salvationists. The devotees have no such pretensions like the fictitious believers of enjoyment or the salvationists like the Vedanta interpreter Shankar. Madhva's interpretation of the Efficient Cause is not challenged by his opponents, but his conception of material cause of the world has been misunderstood by the Mayavadins to be different from the unique situation of Brahman. The phase of the material cause is not isolated from Brahman but the yieldings of the material cause should in no case be confused as identical with Brahman The material cause has produced this phenomenon to befool conditioned Jivas or individual captive spirits, who have by their indolent mood behaved as enjoyers, but the real cause should be traced to have emanated from Him through one of His conflicting potencies for that purpose which is misunderstood by a hasty idealistic conception for outward reading. A true insight should surely convince a student of the Vedanta endowed with a true theistic mood that the unique existence of Brahman has brought forth simultaneously the phenomena of sentients and insentients.
The ontological view will surely tell us that Eternal Brahman is the all-pervading Supreme Cause of all manifestive eternal and transforming domains. All the Vedantic literatures, viz., Sruti, Nyaya, Smriti and Prakarana tend to delineate the Personality of the Unique Owner of all Eternal manifestations and their opposites and the conception of His Personality need not be morphologized by worldly temporal transforming attributes and at the same time He should not be denied His Spiritual Form, Attributions and spiritual eternal innumerable transcendental Qualities and unending and unrestricted Pastimes. Owing to His supersensuous situation, frivolous attempts should not be directed against Him by our antitheistic exploitations. He should be approached through Sruti or pure aural reception of transcendental sounds which should not be confused with mundane sounds which are temporary and meant for the gratifications of our senses. The mundane sounds are to submit to our inspectorial staff of senses whereas cogent transcendental sounds are enriched with super-delegated powers of Divinity to regulate the previous conviction of an enjoying captivated object who poses himself as a subject to lord it over the phenomena. The mind and all other wrong activities of senses are to be regulated by means of devotional temperament to proceed to the Region of eternal transcendental Beatitude. The approaching activity along the path of devotion will empower all individual captivated entities to throw off the thraldom of this enjoying region.
Over this, we can trace as well the development of the Vedantic aspects in the history and in many ritualistic works, known as Satvata Pancharatra, all of which went to show an advanced thought of the practical Vedanta. Moreover the commentators on the Puranas and the Pancharatras also give us facility to drink deep into the conception of the Transcendental Truth which will form an eterprize of the Vedantic extension. Some of the Prakarana books have significance of tending towards the impersonal goal. The analytical development has given us a long list of arguments refuting pure impersonalists where we find a foliage of 'Rasa' apart from its indolent aspects. This is no doubt a valuable addition to the Vedanta library. Vigilant writers will come up in the field of the Vedanta in its dualistic phase, vehemently protesting the pent up ideas of indolent pantheists by their synthetic propaganda towards the Absolute. This process may appear to us as an inductive process leading to pantheistic vision in the long run shaping convergently to one point. Many schools of philosophy in their progress tend to convert themselves to one thought where specification is utterly denied; in other words, they speak of many things which will be proselytized to one thing viz., indistinctive monism.
Some of the adventurers have been found to transform the substratum itself or proselytize their mundane exploitive journey to the theory of misconception. The analytic process meets the synthetic aspirant at a point, and we find a combined attempt of their development in literatures which are also included later on in the Vedantic School. Dvaitadvaita scholars of the Bhaskara and the Nimbarka schools have given us such views. The empiric starting from a perishable plane aiming at the indestructible direction could bring for us a cumulative view of the terminus. The system of the Vedanta philosophy should always look forward to approach the Absolute and not to any non-absolute search. The mundane morphological march need not be considered identical with the transcendental morphology which cannot in any case show its transiency and altering phases.
The origin of the Vedanta is innate in knowledge and inseparable from the same, though its practical phases may insist on tracing the cause where it submits to inspection. Nature seems to undergo a transformation, but a vigilant eye could easily discern the unalterable situation, as she has two apparent aspects viz., measurable and immeasurable. The measurable attributes vary according to the temporality and permanency of the measurer. Transcendental measurement is perfect and true and not liable to become a victim of mundane controversy arising out of transforming, imperfect, unretentive and finite relativities. The purpose or essence of the Vedanta is not conflicting as it has been reduced by wranglers to polemic exploitations which simply dissuade the puzzled entity of the observer.
The Absolute Infinity and absolute infinitesimals are not at loggerheads with one another. So the subjectivity and the objectivity described in the Vedanta Philosophy have different denominations from the present conception of the limited idealists who disown all types of objectivity. If we have a keen watch over the transcendental object we can eliminate the grossness and mundane subtleties. The new state of spirit need not have any relation with mundane manifestations. The unalloyed soul should not be disturbed by cutting asunder the transcendental links inseparable with the entity of the unalloyed spirit. We should not anthropomorphize our present crippled ideas when we traverse the Vedantic path. The potency of the Personality of the Transcendental Absolute (Purushottama) need not be restricted, out of our poor experience of this world which is of a faulty nature. The apotheotic conception should not prevail in the region of transcendence, as that plane is not to be confused with the world of three dimensions. The passionate views of imperfect limitations, if carried over to that region, would give a speculative transitory result which we should avoid for the safety of this particular philosophy. The origin of the Vedanta need not be epistemologized from the limited experience of phenomena. Of course our restless mind cannot resist such temptations, but we should be cautious not to disturb the peace and the harmonious system of transcendence. We are to approach, and not to mutilate, the reciprocal entities of transcendence. Our initiative faculty shows an unlimited scope of designing and shaping things according to our whims, but those are of no use, if such whimsical orders are not carried out by the transcendental Authority for reasons best known to Him. We have marked that our mind is offered viands for its consumption in the fettered situation and with the same we cannot utilize our mind and mental activities however ethical, may they impress on us here for our future movements in the eternal path of welcoming our volitional and cognitional enterprizes. An empiric mind with its intuitive aspirations cannot possibly work, unless helped by the spiritual Power Who does not bear the same demeanor of the present phenomenal impressions. It would be better for us if our exploited innovations do not accompany us during our acceptance of the conception of the Transcendence. Our present conscience and mind with all their paraphernalia cannot possibly claim the suzerainty of the Transcendence when our poor ego is quite adaptable to and contented with the dolls of the universal phenomena. We have got an enjoying caliber when we tread on the worldly path receiving help of our gross body and flickering mind. We have noticed that phenomena have direct connection with the mind and their paraphernalia. The mundane phenomena have a perishable value, whereas the distinctive character of phenomena beyond our conception, is not identical with our present store of knowledge. The phenomenal objects require modification and our different philosophical speculations require rectification, whereas the transcendental Region does not submit to such regulative admonition and chastisement. We are to approach the transcendental Truth Who does not require any aggressive exploitation from any quarter. The summum bonum of all knowledge, beatitude and unending time should not be mutilated for the safety of our eternal entity, which is absolute infinitesimal and not Absolute Infinity, as the inflation of our quantitative eternal ego is not expected to go beyond our own. The imperfection of grossness and subtlety should not claim to have their location in that region, as Parabyoma is never meant to accommodate the special characteristics of worldly phenomena. The subject matter of the Vedanta is not an innovation, so the origin was lying dormant in spirit, and the Vedantic sound need not have any origination in this material world. The transcendental Sound, though specified to exhibit a differentiative character, is not to be enjoyed by our enjoying senses.
We must necessarily convince ourselves that the essence of the Vedanta philosophy should terminate in the principle of devotion.
The last aphorism of the Vedanta Sutras tends to the impressions that Sound will bring us to the Region wherefrom a return journey along the path of knowledge is not possible. It goes to show a process leading to the Transcendence, where no foreign invasion can be invited to form an opposite party who can persuade a sojourner to shift himself from the transcendental termination. The place is not meant for an indolent being to benumb his unending progressive activity by dissociating his connections with the transitory dark and undesirable element. By the constant chanting of the Transcendental Name the aim of spiritual aspiration will be fulfilled, and no other process can remedy the evil of accepting the undeserving position of a worldly enjoyer. The whole line of our religious associative transaction should terminate in our activity of being an instrument of the transcendental Sound. The constant uttering from the lips of a transcendental devotee can only help a man to get rid of his limited activity for the limited perishable objects. The aural receptive entity is not to exert its influence to impede the course of the transcendental Sound who would be pouring in with the purpose of regulating the erring ego.
So an eternal devotee should not cease to chant the Eternal Name of Hari constantly without any interruption. The interceding—repelling and covering—energy of the Absolute will otherwise act on him. The antidevotional attitude will keep a reader of the Vedanta far off from the Absolute Truth. The sincere student of the Vedanta is expected to realize the presence of the Object of his eternal devotion and to be emotional. The mellow quality will display some symptoms which will bear testimony to his transcendental realization; otherwise it would prove his impervious character resembling that of stone or adamant, or in other words, he would be considered to be an unsuccessful reader of the subject. The conception of the Absolute Truth will never be in his possession, if he confines himself to his sensuous activities bearing a form to lord it over the worldly phenomena.
If he cares to learn from others the real nature of their experience to bring himself in touch with the objects that have not been within the range of his senses, he will profit much by such association and try to add to the store of his knowledge, which he could not have gathered by his attempts through the senses. When he welcomes the unprecedented nature of the Vedanta working in him his sensuous aggrandizement, he erroneously thinks himself amply awarded by the acquisition of experience of an expert who is running after an impersonal object void of all sorts of designation. He can avail himself of a partial view of indeterminate non-designative plane where the triple forms of mundane qualities are not expected to preponderate in exhibiting their significance. The Transcendental Sound becomes his engagement, he having secured the position of setting himself free from the egoistic exploitations of the phenomenal plane. Such a position would offer him the conception of the Absolute to Whom his only duty would be to offer his eternal services. This stage is known as regaining the true function after the expiry of his term of imprisonment as an enjoyer. Now he is in his proper health to engage himself as the eternal servitor of the Absolute, knowing his own position. The full conception of the Absolute will give him the facility of serving the eternal Master in the highest capability of devotion. In the Dahara Chapter of the Chandogya Upanishad, we find that all these passionate activities are fulfilled when true salvation is acquired. The passionate activities are proselytized to most perfect engagement with the Absolute. So eternal full recognition will render a servitor exactly fitting the Great Consort for Whom every unalloyed spirit should have her only activity.
The Consort Absolute will wait for the consort servitor. The parent servitor will meet the Child Absolute, the object of his or her only engagement. The eternal friend servitor will regain his position as such. The personal attendant servitors will meet their Master and offer their confidential services, for sheer love. The confidential service offered by the neutral entity will indirectly be directed to the Absolute without any cognisance on the part of the unalloyed individual spirit.
The different readings of the Vedanta under true guidance will give us the result that Personality of Godhead is not approached by identifying oneself with the transcendental Effulgence (Brahman) coming out from the transcendental Body of the Absolute and that the all-engrossing features (Paramatma or Universal Godhead) are but a part of the Absolute in Whom a freed soul does not merge. After such association the devotional aptitude will have a free play to join as a transcendental factor of His pastimes. He is the very Emporium of all potencies and the resortive ocean of all sorts of love. The detachable border-land potency, though liable to come under the clutch of a disposition to enjoy Nature's products and to welcome them as temporary servitors, can get a true direction by exchanging the enjoying mood for eternal devotion. Both the transcendental manifestation as well as the transformable mundane manifestations are simultaneously incorporated in the Absolute and differ from Himself like the rays of the sun and the glowing disc. The isolated individual phase of the servitor is eternally associated with Him. The analogy is drawn from the sun. The spirit, the glowing disc, the emanated rays and the penumbra are four aspects concerning the sun and inseparable from the existence of the sun. So the manifested world has association with the integral position of the Absolute. True devotion should be the method of reaching Him, where all activities of the freed souls should tend finally to the eternal service to please their Absolute Object of service. The one phase of harmony of the Absolute need not be metamorphosed into rupture, by courting different phases of the goal.
The Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya, by inculcation of His loving attitude towards absolute infinitesimals has disclosed the reading of the Srimad Bhagavatam as a standard light-house in our journey of life through the rough waters of the phenomenal ocean.
Renouncing temperament with all uncongenial phenomena has been ordained by instructing philosophers and theologians. The imaginary ideas of blind salvationists who had no occasion to witness the Absolute Truth have not been approved by the Supreme Lord, but He has advised us to acquaint ourselves with the reading of Krishna's Pastimes and to direct our services to the Adokshaja; and in that case our feeble limbs and senses cannot claim to approach Him unless we have a true serving mood. We would fail to offer our services to Him, if we think that our present acquisitions are enough to approach Him Who has however reserved the right of not being exposed to the mundane activities of the enjoyers of matter and motion.
Vyasa, when he had an adorative temperament and sat for Samadhi with his devotional aptitude, witnessed, with his spiritual eye, the full transcendental Form of the Absolute incorporating the negative energy of Nescience which has the power to cover the senses of individual spirits who have been apathetic to their Master and indulged in their enjoying mood, posing as lords with predilections for embracing the triple mundane energy. Though the border-land potency is more powerful than the triple qualities of transformable nature and prefers to wait to serve at their command, still its predilecting nature can at any moment throw off the clutch of, and the affinity for, the phenomena, if she comes to know the desirability of her turning towards her master-the Eternal Fountainhead, the transcendental Bhagavan Krishna, which will give her permanent release from her exploitive march of courting the most undesirable position of an enjoyer here. This fact of devotional instruction had not been imparted before to the undeserving humanity, but the kind-hearted writer of the aphorisms in his genuine commentary Srimad Bhagavatam exposed the truth for the benefit of deserving souls. He was like a kindhearted shepherd of the congregation of individual souls who were sheep under his protection. He managed to hand over the cattle to the transcendental Cowherd to learn the nature of worship and desirability of flocking to Him. None was so kind to mankind as He, to disclose the fact that the object of service to any other phase of Krishna would not be so profitable as to target the object of unalloyed devotion to Krishna Who will, by the bye, help them to cut off their connection and the unusual affinity with the perishable objects. The unalloyed soul will be rescued from all apprehension arising out of the apathetic mood lying latent in the individual soul. The devotional engagement will enable us to comprehend the real position of self and no tempting nature would be able to win over the heart of the individual soul, dissuading him from his spontaneous transcendental loving service. The individual soul will be set free by his devotional practices to endure the affliction of separation of tempting things and will prefer to appreciate the only desirable object and to court His sweet pleasure, His sweet beatitude.
In closing up my telling, I offer my sincere sympathy to my friends who have allowed me to speak before them about the morphological and ontological aspects of the Vedanta Philosophy as inculcated by the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Who is ever kind to all humanity in all its stages. The Supreme Lord is the Manifest Form of all true, and His transcendental benign instructions will surely attract us to offer our eternal services when we refuse to submit to the foreign associations which are our temporary bearings, viz., the gross tabernacle and the subtle entity. He is so kind to us as to send His transcendental messengers to this world for heaving us up to His presence and to accept our transcendental candidature, though we are His undeserving, indolent eternal slaves to carry His true wishes to our friends.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada arrived at New Vrindaban, West Virginia on the morning of May 21st, 1969. It was his first visit to the mountain ashram, which is the first community in the West dedicated to Krishna conscious living. Prabhupada walked swiftly up the two mile road proclaiming that he enjoyed the walk, and quietly entered into country life for one month. In the morning he would usually take walks around the property and point out sites for building constructions. Sometimes in the late morning he would lie outside in the sun, and in the evening he would sit in a favorite spot beneath a persimmon tree and look out over the mountains. "You don't get tired outdoors like you do inside," he once said. He especially enjoyed the milk fresh from Surabi Gai. He urged us to develop the acreage so that civilization can see that all man needs is a little land and a cow to live properly.
[The following two talks were given on the nights of May 23 and June 22.]
"Glory to the Sri Krishna Samkirtan which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years together. Thus the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death, is extinguished. This Samkirtan movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction Moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it helps us to have a taste of the full nectar for which we are always anxious." In this Sri Krishna Samkirtan we feel cleansed for having washed in the ocean of transcendental bliss. Now present here at this meeting is an old man (I am 74 years old) and a child one year old. Yet everyone, beginning from the child up to the old man, can take part in this Samkirtan movement. Actually we can see practically that everyone is taking part in it. It is such a nice yoga system that there is no need for any material qualifications. If there are material qualifications, that is all right—we need not neglect them. We can dovetail all our material qualifications by rendering service to Krishna. That will make our material position successful.
All these children here at NewVrindaban are very fortunate. They are learning automatically how to chant, how to eat prasadam, how to say beads. They are very fortunate to have this tendency for Krishna consciousness, and it is the duty of the father and mother to raise children in Krishna consciousness so that the children can be saved from further bondage to birth and death. The Bhagavatam says that one should not become a father unless he is able to save his child from the impending mouth of death. Without Krishna consciousness no one can be saved from the cycle of birth and death. It is not possible. We are not this material body, but somehow we have contacted it, just like we contact some infectious disease. So long as we do not develop this Krishna consciousness we will never be able to free ourselves from contact with this material body. We may have a very nice body or a very bad body—that doesn't matter. There are many insects and germs which live for five minutes only, and there are living entities in Brahma Loka who live for five millions of years—but that doesn't matter. There are all varieties of life present here within this universe, and in Krishna's creation we will find both the gigantic and the minute. We can see here in New Vrindaban that there are very big trees and also very small ones, some so small and insignificant that we trample over them without even knowing it. So in the living condition there are so many varieties of life and so much changing of bodies, but the problem is not to promote ourselves from a small body to a big body, from an ant's body to an elephant's body, but to free ourselves from all material bodies altogether. Actually we have a spiritual body—satchitananda vigraha—a body just like Krishna's—and our goal should be to attain that. So this Krishna consciousness will give us this opportunity, and those who are grihastas, family men, have the duty to raise their children in Krishna consciousness so their children can take full advantage of the rare human life. Now in this New Vrindaban we will have a community of such enlightened fathers and mothers, and of sannyasins and brahmacharies. Actually we make no such distinctions. Whoever is in Krishna consciousness, whoever can understand the science of Krishna, can become a Spiritual Master, a teacher. In New Vrindaban we should live in such an ideal way that people will learn what human life and what human civilization actually are. What is the purpose of civilization? This we must teach the world. Thus I request those who are conducting New Vrindaban to develop this community in such a way that it will be exemplary.
Now this little one-year-old child is dancing and trying to chant Hare Krishna on beads. They have this natural tendency; they are simply to be instructed. They must have association of devotees, then there will be a new growth of superior population. They will not be like cats and dogs, but will actually be demigods. "Demigod" means devotee of Krishna, that's all. And "asura" (demon) means non-devotee. So there is a sufficient population of asuras in this world, and thus the people are not happy. This demonic civilization is actually killing the human race, and therefore it is the responsibility of Krishna conscious people to save the ignorant and the innocent. This human form of life is meant for ending all the miserable conditions of material existence, but people are being misguided, just like animals. It is not a good civilization. So one of the major advantages of New Vrindaban is that it is out of contact with the asuric civilization. It is Krishna's desire that no man of ordinary interest will come here. It is beyond the reach of the ordinary class of men. [Prabhupada laughs] Just like Hayagriva's father says, "I'll never walk up that road again." [Laughs]
So these nice children have come here, and I have especially requested Swami Kirtanananda to take care of them and also for this nice motherly girl, Satyabhama, and her husband to help. If you can just make one child Krishna conscious that will be a great service. Krishna will be very pleased. Many children will come here, for this place is very nice and Krishna will give us all opportunity. I will also come again, for I like it here, but first I must finish a little work which is still remaining—I want to go once to London and Germany—and then I'll entrust the whole preaching work to you.
Now let us cooperate. In New Vrindaban the women's business will be to take care of the children, to cook, to clean and to churn butter, and, for those who have the knowledge, to help in typing. No other hard work—that's all. But for the men, there is hard work—working in the field, taking care of the animals, collecting food, constructing buildings. So in this way we should cooperate. The girls who are here should prepare nice prasadam so that the boys can get their prasadam regularly. That is the duty of women. If men are given good prasadam on time, then they will work hard. And the churning business is for the girls—that will keep their health very nice. Yasoda, the mother of Krishna, although very exalted and so materially rich that she had many maidservants, still took pleasure in churning. And in Los Angeles recently there was a butter ceremony and people churned twelve pounds of butter at the meeting. So our Krishna consciousness movement is very appealing. We churn butter and have festivals and dance Hare Krishna. Just cooperate and try to improve this New Vrindaban scheme. It will certainly develop if you are sincere, for Krishna will send all help. Someday it will actually be a replica of Vrindaban. Kirtanananda Swami was in Vrindaban and so has an idea of what it is like. Now we have already instituted one Kesi Ghat here. So with cooperation this is all possible. Krishna will help you.
Now we shall discuss the compilation of Srimad Bhagavatam by Vyasadeva. There are millions of verses compiled by Vyasadeva—the Puranas, Vedanta Sutra, the Mahabharata. Mahabharata alone contains more than a hundred thousand verses. Similarly, there are other Puranas, and besides that the Upanishads. Vyasadeva is the editor and the compiler of all these Vedic literatures, but even after compiling all these he was not satisfied. Even after presenting the Vedanta Sutra in which he summarized all the Vedic knowledge, he was not satisfied.
The Vedanta Sutra contains the codes of all Vedic knowledge. Sutra means codes. The Vedanta Sutra begins with the words, "Athato brahma jijnasa." This is translated, "Now one should enquire after the Supreme Absolute Truth." This is the first injunction, and this verse can be explained in volumes of books, and there are so many different commentators who have explained this one verse. Someone says we should enquire after karmakanya, after finishing the sense gratificatory processes. Or after this, or after this. But the word is "athato," a very significant word meaning "now, therefore." "Therefore" means that you have enjoyed your material life as much as possible but are still confused and unhappy. In America you have just produced hippies. Frustration. Because the Americans have failed to achieve the highest pleasure of life despite their arranging all kinds of material facilities, therefore they should be eager to understand, and they should enquire what is the cause. So brahma jijnasa—what is the greatest happiness? Now you are enjoying material happiness, but you are not satisfied. You are confused. So you should enquire into the greatest happiness. Now we are trying to find out the Original Source of this cosmic manifestation. Why are we hankering after happiness? Why are we confused? What is the Original Source? The Original Source, it is replied immediately in the next sutra, either of happiness or of distress, of everything, is that wherefrom everything emanates. Distress emanates from it and happiness also emanates and these cosmic manifestations also emanate. The sky also emanates—everything emanates from the Supreme Source. How is it that both distress and happiness emanate and knowledge and ignorance also emanate? That is fullness. And how does everything emanate from that Original Source? That is explained in the Bhagavad Gita and in the Bhagavatam also. In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says, "I am the Source of everything. I am the Source of happiness, and I am the Source of distress. I am the Source of all this, of Brahma, Vishnu—everything, for there is no Source beyond Me." You will also find in the Bhagavad Gita that all dualities such as happiness and distress are reconciled in Krishna. "I am situated in everyone's heart, and from Me there is remembering and forgetting."
So why does one man forget and another man remember? Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that the actual constitutional position of all living entities is that of eternal servitude to God. That is the position of everyone. All entities are made for that purpose, but we forget, and that forgetfulness is also from the Supreme. Why does Krishna allow one to forget? Because one wants to forget. We all have a tendency to imitate. If we see someone is enjoying himself, we think, "Oh, why shouldn't I enjoy myself like him?" This is natural. We have the independence to think in that way. Similarly, among living entities whose business is to serve, there are those who want to imitate and become Krishna. Actually their position is that of a dog, but they want to become God. When living entities want to imitate in this way, they are immediately put into the clutches of Maya. Maya says, "All right you enjoy. Try to become God." So in this material world everyone is trying to become God. I am trying to become God, and you are trying to become God, and so there is competition between gods. We have forgotten that we are dogs in our efforts to become God, as if God is such a cheap thing that anyone can become Him. This tendency to try to become God is actually asuric. We have the example of Hiranya Kashipu. As soon as his little child would say, "Krishna, Narayan," Hiranya Kashipu would immediately become angry. "Oh, who is this Narayan?" he would ask. "Oh, He is God," his little child would say. "Oh, who is God? I am God. Are you trying to respect some other God?" This philosophy is always present, and now it is very prominent. Everyone is trying to become God. There are so many swamis coming to your country and saying, "Oh, I am God, you are God, he is God, that is God, this is God." So all this is going on.
In the lower stage they are grossly under the impression that I am this body, I am this mind or I am this intelligence, or I am God or so many other things. But the Bhagavatam explains the nature of the Supreme. The Supreme is that from which everything is emanating. And what is one of the characteristics of the Supreme? "He knows everything." There are many so-called incarnations of God who do not even know what is going to happen the next moment. So this Srimad Bhagavatam gives the characteristics of the Supreme. It is the proper explanation of the Vedanta Sutra. The author himself, Vyasadeva, in the Fifth Chapter of the First Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, explains how this commentary on the Vedanta Sutra (Srimad Bhagavatam) originally came to be written. After compiling huge volumes of Vedic literature, including the Vedanta Sutra, Vyasadeva was not satisfied. He was still morose. So Narada Muni, his Spiritual Master, could understand that he was seeking something. "Why am I morose?" Vyasadeva asked him. "I have tried to give knowledge to the people as far as possible, as I have known it from reliable sources, but I am still not satisfied." At that time, when Narada came to see him, Vyasadeva received him well, for it is the duty of the disciple to give a good reception to the Spiritual Master. And when he was seated nicely, he began to speak to Vyasadeva. "My dear son of Parasara, do you think that you'll be satisfied by identifying yourself with this material body or with this mind? That is not possible. You have compiled so many books based on this concept of life. Some living entities are considering that they are the body, and others are considering that they are the mind, and yet others are considering that they are the intelligence. But the self is none of these, for he is above them. He is transcendental. Unless one comes to that position there is no question of satisfaction."
So this was the first point Narada Muni made. Vyasadeva was very great, born of a great father and very learned and fortunate. Yet, all of his books were based on the concept of the body and the mind. Therefore he could not find happiness. After the Battle of Kurukshetra, Vyasadeva wrote the Mahabharata, the history of this planet, and in it he deals with the four interests of human beings—dharma, artha, kama, and moksha. In a human society, or at least in a peaceful human society, people must have religion (dharma) and some good economic development (artha), and they must have some nice arrangement for sense gratification (kama), and after they have failed to become satisfied with these, they next need liberation (moksha) from the material bondage. So these are the four basic needs of humanity. But Narada indicates here that these are not the highest. There is a final interest and ultimate need, and that is given in Srimad Bhagavatam. Becoming liberated is not final. Merging into the existence of the Absolute is not the ultimate. Therefore in the Srimad Bhagavatam we find from the very beginning that these four principles (dharma, artha, kama, and moksha) are cast aside. The great commentator, Sridhar Swami, says that one should not even aspire for liberation. That should be the position of the devotee. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said that he cared nothing for liberation. Life after life he only wanted Lord Krishna's causeless devotional service.
Srimad Bhagavatam should be studied very carefully, scrutinizingly. There are eight commentaries which are authorized, and there are many ordinary commentaries which are not, but actually Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita are within themselves illuminating, just like the sunlight. One does not need a lamp to see the sunlight, and similarly one does not need commentaries to understand these great works which are self-illuminated. Simply if you try to understand them word by word, you will attain enlightenment. Yet, there are acharyas who can help. Here we can see that Vyasadeva, the great sage, is enquiring from Narada, and that is the duty of the disciple. Just like Sukha Goswami says, one should be inquisitive and one should enquire from a Guru, a Spiritual Master, who can actually give right knowledge. The Spiritual Master is one who can answer all questions. And what should one enquire? Should one enquire about the rate of stocks just like a businessman? No. That is also explained in Srimad Bhagavatam—one should enquire about that which is beyond this darkness. Only when one is inquisitive to understand the spiritual worlds should he accept a Spiritual Master. Otherwise there is no need. A Spiritual Master is not a fashion or a fad. One should be very serious and make enquiry and then assimilate the answers. After hearing and assimilating, one should distribute the knowledge to the world. That is the order of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
So Narada tells Vyasadeva that he has written very well and that his knowledge is very wonderful. He gives him all credit for having enquired about Brahman, not about ordinary things. Brahman means that which is eternal, not temporary. So Vyasadeva has enquired, assimilated and delineated many wonderful things in the history of the Mahabharata, and he has set forth all information concerning the four principles of perfection. The Bhagavad Gita is also contained in that Mahabharata. Yet after setting down all of this, Vyasadeva was morose. Here, out of respect, Narada addresses Vyasadeva: "My dear prabhu, you have done such wonderful things, and you are so very learned. You have enquired about transcendental subject matter, and you have compiled so many fine books. Therefore why are you lamenting?"
This discussion between Narada and Vyasadeva is given in the First Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, and it is very interesting. In it Narada indicates that Vyasadeva is unhappy because he has not dealt with the transcendental pastimes of Lord Sri Krishna. But the Srimad Bhagavatam, which deals with these pastimes, is the completion of Vyasadeva's work and is consequently the cream of Vedic knowledge. Vyasadeva felt incomplete before writing it. Therefore it is not possible to have complete Vedic knowledge without studying it. We shall further discuss this conversation between Narada and Vyasadeva at another lecture.
—By Hayagriva das Adhikari
Part I (Continued in Issue No. 31)
"Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, self-control and calmness, pleasure and pain, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, non-violence, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity, charity, fame and infamy are created by Me alone." (Gita, 10.4-5)
Just before relating His various opulences to Arjuna, Lord Sri Krishna gives this list of conditions and qualities by way of an introduction. In no way is this list complete, but what is given should be considered to be of special significance. Krishna is the Original Cause of everything, and consequently He is the Cause of all good and bad qualities and all states of existence. Because of our limited perception, whatever we see in this phenomenal world has a dual nature: good and bad, pleasure and pain, hot and cold, joy and sorrow, and so on. "O son of Kunti, the non-permanent appearance of heat and cold, happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed." (Gita, 2.14) Actually these states are alloyed qualities of the Supreme Lord. They exist in Krishna in full, and they are seen in part in the living entities.
What is real intelligence? At the risk of seeming facetious, it can be stated that there are two kinds of intelligence: stupid intelligence and intelligent intelligence. The first variety is material, the second spiritual. Sometimes we say that a person is an intelligent driver. This means he knows how to drive a car well. Or a man like Henry Ford takes a few scraps of metal, assembles them and makes a machine that can run down the road. This may be an example of technology and may take some intelligence, but according to the Gita, this is mundane or material intelligence.
So what is real intelligence? Real intelligence is to know and understand that Krishna is the Supreme and I am part and parcel. It is the ability to analyze things in their proper perspective, to understand the finer activities of nature and how things work in nature. A child may be interested simply in the anatomical or the automatic in watching a train run down a track or in watching a baseball player hit a ball, but one who is actually intelligent tries to understand the active principle behind the train and the body. A child thinks that a motor car in the street is running of its own accord, or if he sees a record player he wonders what a fine discovery it is because there is music coming out of it. In the same way the scientists observe nature and wonder how so much is happening, and most often they spend their time observing and describing an infinitude of natural functionings. They may be keen observers like the hawk, but what conclusions do they draw from hundreds and hundreds of years of research? They already admit that despite all their research they have not even scratched the surface in their investigation of natural phenomena. And they will simply go on observing for millions and millions of years. In this way they will compile volumes and volumes of books of observations, but there will be no cohesive vision to unify them. There is a proverb that says, "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." Mundane scientists, educators and professional men, like the fox, may have billions of scraps of information at their fingertips, but they have no unifying vision like the hedgehog. The hedgehog knows that its quills will protect him against a million foxes, and similarly a man of vision knows that he can withstand countless mundane wranglers. For instance, Lord Jesus Christ was more certain of one thing than anyone in the world. He knew that God the Father was the Supreme and that He was His son and servant. He was not so much interested in the workings of nature, for He knew the principle behind nature and His relationship to it. And because He knew this and could express this and because He sacrificed His life for this, He has influenced the lives of countless millions.
So the gross observation of nature is not intelligence. Simply watching the machine run is not enough. We must try to find out who is working the machine. Philosophers and scientists are not working of their own accord but under the spell of material energy. They are subject to birth, old age, disease and death. They are subject to the functionings of their bodies and are dependent on the resources in nature for their very existence. Everything is being carried on completely independent of them. No man can keep his heart beating after that organ is exhausted. No man can give air to the earth and no man can make the sunrise in the morning or stop it from setting in the evening. All of the workings of nature are conducted by a Force beyond nature, by a Super natural. In the Gita, Krishna asserts this Super natural to be Himself. "This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti producing all the moving and unmoving beings; and by its rule this manifestation is created and annihilated again and again." (Gita, 9.10) Nature, then, is simply the agent. The real worker is Krishna. Therefore one who has real intelligence, real buddhi, knows that he is just an instrument in the hands of Krishna.
The English word "know" comes from the Sanskrit word gnanum by way of the Greek word gnosis. Real knowledge is the ability to understand and discriminate between spirit and matter. This is not the type of knowledge that is taught in universities. The reference here is to transcendental knowledge of which the universities are in dire need. In the Fourth Chapter of Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna says that work done in a spirit of renunciation culminates in transcendental knowledge and that one should try to learn the truth by approaching a Spiritual Master, inquiring from him submissively and rendering service unto him. Because the Spiritual Master has seen the truth, he can impart knowledge to his students. And what is the fruition of this knowledge? It is stated very plainly. "When you have thus learned the truth you will know that all living beings are My parts and parcels—and that they are in Me and are Mine." (Gita, 4.35) This knowledge is priceless and bestows the highest benefits. Sri Krishna says that such knowledge will bear even the most sinful of sinners across the ocean of miseries. "In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has achieved this enjoys the Self within himself in due course of time. A faithful man who is absorbed in transcendental knowledge and who subdues his senses quickly attains the Supreme spiritual peace." (Gita, 4.38-39)
Therefore if one wants to be free from all doubt and delusion he must cultivate spiritual knowledge. The first step in cultivation is to understand the difference between matter and spirit and by thus understanding transcend the material platform of body consciousness, of thinking that I am this body. There is something in the body which is working the body. Matter is animated due to the touch of spirit. It is dependent on spirit. We must be able to distinguish between the two. Unfortunately today in all of our universities study is restricted to matter only, and spirit is neglected. An automobile is given all attention, but the man, the driver, is neglected. In the Second Chapter of Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna elaborately explains that Arjuna is not that body and that the soul exists apart from the body. We are a combination of matter and spirit in our contaminated state. In actuality, we are all spirit, superior energy, but because we wanted to enjoy material nature we became embodied in the inferior energy. Therefore the conditioned living entity is called the marginal energy of Krishna.
Knowledge of the inferior energy is temporary because matter is temporary. We may become chemists or engineers in this life and acquire so much knowledge, but at death all of this knowledge will be finished. We will no longer be chemists or engineers. But because the spirit soul doesn't die, whatever knowledge we acquire about the spirit soul does not die with the body. It is retained and carried into our subsequent lives. If we develop 10% spiritual knowledge in this body, when we get our next bodies we will continue from 11%. Of course the best thing is to finish it 100% now because human life is meant for the elevation of the spirit, not for the exploitation of matter for sense enjoyment.
Krishna consciousness is dormant within every living being. If one approaches a mahatma, a Spiritual Master, this dormant knowledge can be awakened. In Srimad Bhagavatam it is said that the living entity is a spiritual spark that wanders not only from one body to another but from one planet to another. He is wandering in his search for Absolute Knowledge, and he does not know that his best course is to find a Spiritual Master who is well versed in the scriptures, who has realized Krishna and who chants His glories, Hare Krishna. In order to cross the great ocean of material nescience, one must have a good ship, a good captain and a favorable atmosphere. To cross this ocean we already have a very good ship, this human form of life. This kind of ship is not always obtainable. We have come to this stage by gradual evolutionary process from aquatics, birds and animals. So we should use this opportunity, and if we have a good captain, a Spiritual Master to steer us, then the atmosphere of Krishna consciousness will be supplied by the Lord. So if there is no hurricane and if there is a good ship and a good captain delivering the message of Bhagavad Gita, take advantage and cross. As soon as one becomes fully conscious of his position apart from the gross material body, then he becomes free from material consciousness. One should acquire this knowledge of spirit slowly but surely. One should not blindly accept but use his developed consciousness. This knowledge also depends upon one's mode of living. Therefore one has to develop the other positive qualities enumerated.
Freedom From Doubt And Delusion
In the Fourth Chapter of Gita Krishna says, "But ignorant and faithless men who doubt the revealed scriptures go to ruin and perish. For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next." (Gita, 4.40) Doubt has been called the shadow of truth. At the very beginning of one's spiritual life, a devotee is invariably beset by a legion of doubts. These doubts, which are but demons of innumerable colors and forms, all have one purpose: to obscure the light of truth from the vision of the devotee. Francis Bacon once wrote, "In contemplation if a man begins with certainties he shall end in doubts, but if he be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties." In this age, especially, one is inclined to disbelieve and doubt—to doubt scripture, to doubt God, to doubt oneself. This age is called Kali yuga and is characterized by strife, doubt, ignorance, chaos and disagreement. So at the outset of one's spiritual life, needless to say, innumerable doubts will present themselves. These demon doubts always surround the threshold of Knowledge-Bliss-Absolute. As the neophyte stands at this threshold, confused and fearful, the doubts assail him and tell him to turn back and not jump into the ocean of Divine bliss, and the timid soul, afraid of being hurt, hardly believing that it is eternal bliss and knowledge awaiting him, often fidgets and sometimes turns back in fear and disbelief.
Doubt is directly opposed to faith on the battlefield of the soul. Doubt and disbelief are the enemies of faith. If we have faith in a particular man, then we trust him in all kinds of ways, but if we have doubts about a man, then we trust him with nothing. Our relationship with the Divine is similar: our faith and trust in Him is inversely proportionate to the degree of doubt. The more we trust Him the more He reveals Himself to us, and the more He reveals Himself to us, the less we doubt. In the Bhagavad Gita Arjuna stands out as a man with a great deal of faith in Krishna. He was offered a chance between commanding a great army without Krishna or a small army with Krishna as his chariot driver. He chose Krishna as his charioteer and rejected the large army because he had faith in Krishna. Nonetheless, before the Battle of Kurukshetra, even with Krishna as his charioteer, he was beset with doubts. But Lord Krishna dispels all these doubts with the light of knowledge. He tells Arjuna, "Therefore the doubts in your heart risen out of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge. Armed with yoga, O Bharata, stand and fight." (Gita, 4.42) After Krishna spoke the knowledge of Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna, Arjuna said, "My delusion is gone. I have regained my memory through Your Grace, O Krishna. I am firm, I am free from doubt, I will act according to your word." (Gita, 18.73) Doubt, fear, and delusion are interrelated. They are all the sons of ignorance and are all to be found on the roads of darkness. Knowledge is the sunshine that triumphantly disperses darkness and its consorts. Doubt is due to delusion. One is deluded who thinks that that which is unreal is real and who therefore does not know the nature of reality. Matter is illusion and spirit is reality. Therefore one who knows and can distinguish between matter and spirit is not deluded. Knowledge, therefore, as stated above, is understanding the nature of matter and spirit. Just as Krishna dispelled the doubts of Arjuna on the battlefield, the Spiritual Master imparts knowledge to his disciple and dispels the doubts that destroy his spiritual life. "If the sun and moon should doubt, they'd immediately go out," Blake wrote. Lord Krishna proclaims that just a little advancement in the Dharma He is teaching can "protect one from the most dangerous type of fear." (Gita, 2.40) So if one doubts the knowledge imparted by Lord Krishna and the Spiritual Master, one remains in ignorance and continues to be deluded about the nature of matter and spirit and so confuses his body with his Self and fears death.
Etymologically the word "fear," coming from the Anglo-Saxon faer, literally means "a sudden attack," and it is akin to the Old High German word fare which basically means "ambushed, snared, or entrapped." So we are entrapped by material nature and are constantly being attacked by it. And because of this we are always in a fearful condition in the material world. Fearfulness is due to worrying about the future. When a person has no knowledge about the next life, when he thinks his body is all in all, then he is always in anxiety to protect that body from the onslaught of other living entities, from natural catastrophes and from diseases arising from the body itself. Therefore fear is due to one's absorption in illusory energy. It is often said that all fears boil down to the basic fear of death. At death only the gross material body dies. So it is only when one identifies himself with the gross body that he fears death. Fear is therefore due to ignorance of one's real identity. Conversely, fearlessness is due to one's knowledge of his constitutional position. One who is in Krishna consciousness has no fears because his activities are non-material and assure him of going to the spiritual sky, back to Godhead at death. He is established in the Divine consciousness apart from the body consciousness, and because he has knowledge of the next life he is never in anxiety. His eternality is asserted by Lord Krishna Himself, "Proclaim it boldly, O son of Kunti, that My devotee never perishes." (Gita, 9.31) Krishna also says that He is both the personification of fear and death itself, Yamaraj. Because a bhakta always sees Krishna, death is not something unknown or strange to him, and because he knows the constitution of the soul, he knows that death is simply a transition to life. With the Names of Krishna on his lips, he fears nothing, for Krishna says that His Names contain all His potencies. And in the Srimad Bhagavatam it is said that the vibration of Krishna's Names strikes terror into fear itself.
We cannot expect that all men will be first class. There may be men in goodness or in passion or in ignorance, but one should always be tolerant and forgiving. In Krishna consciousness one doesn't really have any connection with this man or that man. He is simply connected to the philosophy and the process of life. On a ship one may not find everyone to his liking, but he should nonetheless sit down firmly in his cabin and take advantage of the crossing. The minor offenses of others should be forgiven as a penance. Lord Chaitanya says that if one wants to chant Hare Krishna he should become as tolerant as a tree. Everyone commits offences against trees. People cut them down, snatch leaves from them and break twigs and branches. But still the trees supply fruits and flowers and shade. To chant the Hare Krishna mantra, one should be as forgiving and forebearing as the grass which does not protest even though it is trampled down. After all, offenses are committed against the gross body. How is it possible to offend the ever blissful soul? Puffed-up artificial honor is simply connected with the body. Whether one is aking or a poor man, whether one is honored or insulted, kingdom, poverty, insult and honor will all be finished at death. One should realize that he is spirit and has nothing to do with honor or dishonor. Becoming God conscious is declaring war against material nature. And so material nature puts all impediments in one's way.
One may be insulted, but one should never become disturbed by this. Ananda, one of Lord Buddha's disciples, was once asked by Lord Buddha what he would do if, when going to a town to preach the dharma, the inhabitants insulted him. Ananda replied, "Oh, I would bless them for not injuring me." Then Lord Buddha asked what he would do if the inhabitants threw stones at him and injured him, and Ananda replied, "Oh, I would bless them for not killing me." Finally Lord Buddha asked what he would do if they killed him, and his disciple replied, "Oh, I would bless them for delivering me from all the sufferings of this material world." Similarly, Lord Jesus Christ was crucified because He preached God consciousness. And yet while He was dying on the cross, He said, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Lord Jesus, by His very life and teachings, emphasized the importance of forgiveness in this age of Kali. Similarly, Lord Krishna says that the wise man is always forgiving and is the same both in pleasure and pain, honor and dishonor. In Srimad Bhagavatam Maharaj Parikshit insulted Samika Rishi by placing a dead snake on his shoulder, but the sage considered this unimportant and readily forgave him. However his son, Sringi, who was puffed-up with brahminical powers, did not forgive Maharaj Parikshit, but cursed him, and for this Sringi was condemned. The best policy then in this age of Kali is to forgive others as one would have himself forgiven by Lord Krishna.
The word "truth" comes from the Anglo-Saxon word treowe and originally from the Sanskrit word derew, both meaning "tree." The idea is that one who is truthful is as firm, upright and strong as a tree. When one is truthful, he does not misrepresent the facts, but presents them fully for the benefit of others. Of course it is conventional from the social point of view to speak the truth only when it is palatable to others, but this is not what is meant by truthfulness. One should always speak the truth under all circumstances, although it may seem to be unpalatable at the time. Flattery, like insult, is directed to the body. How can one flatter the spirit soul? So, neglecting to be truthful for the sake of flattering others is indulging in a type of sense gratification. In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is said that the Absolute Truth is that from which everything emanates. So we should understand what the Absolute Truth is, and we should always speak according to that understanding. Then we will be speaking truthfully. Lord Jesus Christ has said, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The truth frees us because when we tell the truth we do not become entangled by trying to compromise with material situations, which are always changing. Because we know the Absolute Truth, which is, "God is great and we are subservient," we have a center for speech, thought and action and so are straightforward in all our dealings. By not becoming entangled in a chain of lies, we are set free.
If we don't accept our subservient position before God then we have to do it before material nature. It is a false notion that we are independent. We cannot be absolute. Nature's law forces us to starve, forces us to take breath, forces us to get sick and die. Materialistic ideas of independence and freedom are but the wishful pipedreams of feverish brains. In America the slaves thought that when they would be set free, all their problems would be solved, but the Emancipation Proclamation was just the beginning of their problems. Similarly, India, although eating well under British rule, was hankering for independence. But now that she is free she is starving and begging. So what is this independence? It is simply illusion. We are all put under the jurisdiction of material nature. Our freedom only comes when we are subservient to the Absolute Truth. When one serves the government he partakes of the opulence of the government, and when one serves the Absolute Truth he partakes of the qualities of the Absolute Truth and so becomes truthful and free from illusion. He speaks of the Absolute Truth for the benefit of others, and he does not invent but bases his statements on scripture. It is often said that God is truth and is referred to as Absolute Truth because He is never at variance with truth. This is to say that He is never false or in a state of illusion, nor can there be any duplicity in Him.
Meister Eckhart once wrote, "What is Truth? Truth is something so noble that if God could turn aside from it, I could keep to the truth and let God go." This means that the concept of "God," which is the concept of Absolute Controller, is not as important as Absolute Truth. Out of helplessness we yield to the Absolute Controller, but out of love we yield to the Absolute Truth.
A swami is one who can control the senses. Generally we are all servants of our senses. Our eyes will make us turn from something horrible to look at something beautiful. Our nose will make us avoid stench and sprinkle ourselves with perfumes and lotions. Our ears will make us avoid unpleasant sounds and buy phonographs and go to concerts to hear the music we like. Our hands and sense of touch will make us buy expensive clothing to cover our bodies and make us hunt for sexual partners. And our tongue will make us go to the grocery store to buy expensive foods and make us go to restaurants to partake of the concoctions of special chefs. And our mind will make us buy intoxicants so we can get dizzy, have hallucinations, and feel "happy" for a moment. And all of these senses combined make us work very, very hard throughout our lives to serve them nicely. Then when we are under their control and serving them very nicely, they suddenly all leave us at death. "An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them." (Gita, 5.22) So the senses are hard ungrateful masters who are never satisfied. They drag the self into the darkest regions of the universe and make him endure all kinds of ignominies.
The attraction the senses have for their objects is called lust. And in the Third Chapter of Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna tells Arjuna, "It is lust only which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath; and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world," (Gita, 3.37) that turns one from the Divine. "As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, similarly, the living entity is covered by different degrees of this lust. Thus, a man's pure consciousness is covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which veils the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him. Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bharatas, in the very beginning curb the great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization." (Gita, 3.38-41) Throughout the Gita, self-control is of central importance, and Krishna emphasizes that the man who is in communion with Him can control himself. As long as one is under the control of the material senses there is no question of mukti or liberation. And of all the senses the mind is the strongest, for it controls the other senses. After Lord Krishna gives instructions in Samkhya yoga in Chapter Six of the Gita, Arjuna says that this yoga appears impractical and unendurable to him because the mind is restless and unsteady. "The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind." (Gita, 6.34) The Lord admits that it is very difficult to curb the restless mind but, "It is possible by constant practice and by detachment." (Gita, 6.35) He then tells Arjuna that "one who strives by right means to control the mind is assured of success." (Gita, 6.36) The mind is central to the control of other senses. "One should engage oneself in the practice of yoga with undeviating determination and faith. One should abandon without exception all material desires born of ego and thus control all the senses on all sides by the mind." (Gita, 6.24)
It is not possible to control the senses by denying them absolutely. Activity is the symptom of the living entity. Lord Krishna says that one cannot remain inactive for even a moment. Therefore the senses must be engaged. In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna enumerates ways whereby the mind and senses can be engaged in self realization and thus controlled. There is the very difficult path of meditation, Samkhya yoga, according to which one must select a seat in complete solitude, sit erect and cross-legged, refrain completely from all sex life, stare at the tip of his nose, regulate his breathing, shut out all external objects and go into a trance meditating on the Super Soul within. This was recommended for the previous age and is practically impossible now. It is certainly impractical for Westerners whose legs ache after about fifteen minutes of lotus posture, what to speak of days. Another method for controlling the senses is Karma yoga, which is the process of engaging the senses in action and work in a spirit of detachment and renunciation. And a third method is Jnana yoga, by which the senses are engaged in the study of scripture. All of these culminate in Bhakti yoga, which is the highest, easiest and most profitable method for this or any age. In Bhakti yoga, the senses are controlled by total devotion to the Supreme. One classic example of total devotion was Maharaj Amburish who adopted all the processes of devotional service and attained perfect success. It was he who engaged his mind on the Lotus Feet of the Lord, his voice in describing the spiritual worlds, his hands in cleansing the temple of the Lord, his ears in submissively hearing the words of Lord Sri Krishna, his eyes in visualizing the deities of the Lord, his body in touching the bodies of the devotees, his nostrils in smelling the flowers offered to the Lord, his tongue in tasting the food offered to the Lord, his legs in visiting the temple of the Lord, and all the energy of his life in executing the services of the Lord without in the least desiring his own sense gratification. All of these enabled him to be completely successful in controlling the senses. It should be noted that he did not control his senses by trying to negate them, by trying to meditate on the void or even by practicing austerities. For, after all, he was speaking and working, associating with others, eating, traveling about, smelling flowers. He led a life of full engagement. Yet his senses were perfectly controlled because they were absorbed in the service of Krishna. So it is not that we have to deny our senses. In fact, this is not possible. But we must engage our senses positively, following in the footsteps of Maharaj Amburish. One who can control his senses in such a way is called a swami, for the senses are actually acting under his order. "Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is a yogi and is happy in this world." (Gita, 5.23)
It is also said that next to the mind the most difficult sense organ to control is the tongue, for when one can control the tongue, he can control all the other senses. And if he cannot control the tongue, all the other senses run riot. The tongue is controlled by chanting Hare Krishna and eating prasadam, spiritual food. The business of the tongue is to vibrate the transcendental sounds and to taste the transcendental food. In this way, it will be restricted from idle talk, meat-eating, smoking, etc.
We are not stones but men, and our senses are superior to dull matter. Lord Krishna says, "Mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he, the soul, is even higher than intelligence. Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence, one should control the lower self by the higher self and thus by spiritual strength conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust." (Gita, 3.42-43) The material senses which belong to the lower self are actually reflections of the transcendental senses which belong to the higher self. The process of total devotional engagement of the senses as practiced by Maharaj Amburish transcendentalizes our senses. "For one who has conquered his mind, it is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy." (Gita, 6.6)
Once the senses are controlled, one becomes calm. He does not always worry about making money in order to be able to buy things to gratify them. Because the mind and the senses are controlled by engagement, the self is not disturbed by the dictation of the senses. He hears them but tolerates them as a man may tolerate a nagging wife. The desires of the senses may come and go, but he is always calm because he knows that they are controlled against their will by devotional engagement. It is not possible to stop the flow of desires, but it is possible not to be disturbed by them. Lord Krishna says, "A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires—that enter like rivers into the ocean which is ever being filled but is always still—can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires. A person who has given up all desires for sense gratification, who lives free from desires, who has given up all sense of proprietorship, who is devoid of false ego—he alone can attain real peace." (Gita, 2.70-71)
A person in the Divine consciousness is also calm because he is established in Krishna who is the Ultimate Security. As stated before, he is not fearful of death because he knows his identity beyond the body. Rivers are turbulent when they are running to the sea, but their waters become calm when they enter the great ocean. When the individual consciousness is severed from its relationship with the Divine, it is restless and turbulent, but when it enters the great ocean of the Divine consciousness it becomes calm.
Continued in issue number 31.
by Uttara Dasi
Just at the end of night, when all is still
So an Acharya comes, bearing the light
If we but keep His teachings in our hearts
I therefore offer this most humble prayer
—By Rupanuga das Adhikari
The symptoms of spiritual deprivation are the same for everybody in the material world. Consider that we are all subject to birth, disease, old age, and death. We suffer from the three-fold miseries: miseries inflicted upon us by our own minds and bodies, by other living entities (viruses, mosquito bites, wars), and by Nature in the form of hurricanes, floods and other dangers and inconveniences. In addition, we are always imperfect, prone to make mistakes, and illusioned, and our memory is poor. Our senses are blunt and imperfect, we cannot see through a piece of paper a tiny fraction of an inch thick, and at night we are blind without artificial lighting. Any scientist knows that we are capable of perceiving only a minute portion of the known vibratory spectrum of the material world, great areas of which are invisible to our senses and our inventions.
A sane man should accept this as the description of the human condition and as the actual plight of his personal self. Failure to recognize this is the work of illusion, and because we are illusioned we make mistakes and cannot be perfect no matter how hard we try. All because we have forgotten God.
Spiritual deprivation is forgetfulness of God. This is the only reason that what we see around us is happening at all. What we see around us, this material world, is the embodiment of our forgetfulness. At a time not traceable even in the Vedas, the most ancient of scriptures on this planet, we desired to be imitations of the Supreme Lord. We wanted to lord it over our private domains, and that Supreme Personality of Godhead, infinitely kind in His Love, gave us what we desired. But since such desire to be as powerful as the Supreme was born of illusion, what else could be reaped but another illusion, this material world, this reflection of the Kingdom of God? Because we wanted to forget our relationship with God, He gave us this world in which to live out our forgetfulness. We will remain here until we remember that we are actually His servants and recover our love for Him, our Master. Our personal realization of this is called Krishna Consciousness.
We must begin our recovery from the disease of forgetfulness by understanding that we are deprived, mired in this material misfortune, bound in this body by the immutable laws of nature. Can this misery be doubted? Ask any man if he is happy and contented. If he says yes, we automatically do not believe him, because experience teaches us that whatever happiness comes our way is only temporary. Yet it is our illusion, as with the drunk lying in the Bowery and the pig eating stool, to be thinking that we are happy. Or, if we do admit that we are mostly unhappy, we do not know what to do about it.
Mention God and we are embarrassed, flying into impersonal and abstract concepts such as "Society," "moral responsibility," "existentialism" or some political issue. This instant depersonalization, when the mind refuses to concentrate on thoughts of God, is speculation leading away from our Real Self. Afraid of becoming personal about our real business, we seek shelter in ultimate voidism.
In this perpetual struggle to cope with happiness and misery, adjustments can be made, but never permanently; there is neither victory nor escape, only certain defeat in death or rebirth. Our misery and happiness automatically accrue to us by the control of nature. Nature or Maya—the material energy—controls us, and Krishna The Supreme Personality of Godhead controls Maya. Krishna tells us:
The whole cosmic order is under Me. By My Will is it manifested again and again, and by My Will is it annihilated at the end.
We control nothing, not even our own minds and bodies. As long as we think that we are of this matter, then we serve matter. As long as we serve matter, we are out of control, quite beserk. In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna says,
One who is not in transcendental consciousness can have neither a controlled mind, nor steady intelligence, without which there is no possibility of peace. And how can there be any happiness without peace? (2.66)
We are merely the guests of time and space until we start to remember Krishna; then He will allow us a little control and our Self-realization, our Spiritual Life begins.
Until that time, a person manufactures his own brand of deprivation—with considerable cooperation, especially from the "psychotherapist" or "psychoanalyst." It is our misfortune that we can produce no better offer for guidance than these bogus spiritual masters (or the fashionable heir-apparent, the psychedelic guru). Although psychological theories center around deprivation as the primal cause of mental disturbance, the conception is material only. Therefore, any adjustment must necessarily be temporary, and where then is the cure? It is sought in the realignment of our desires. It is said in explanation that our desires are still attached to our parents, and our search for love and happiness will fail because it is still infantile. Therefore we must detach such desire from that parent who never fulfilled it, and re-attach it to someone or even something else which will. Hopefully another woman, a wife or a husband.
There are a number of variations on the theme, but the premise is the same: deprived of love we are unable to develop and to give love, and thus we cannot be happy. The skill of the therapist is to manipulate the so-called unconscious desire and to re-attach it consciously to the fulfilling object. Yet still there is the anxiety that always goes with desire, and there is no cure for frustration.
All this is only sexual and economic adjustment and is a reflection of the real life taking place right now on the Spiritual Plane, where every living entity is eternally in exchange of love with God. On the material plane, the embodied soul takes all Krishna provides in love for us, but gives nothing in return. Krishna is in love with us, but we are not in love with Him. There is no question of being deprived of God's love; rather we are in love with our own desires, our minds and bodies. As Swami Bhaktivedanta says, we are merely tasting our own blood.
It is a fact that the history of bodies as worked out in ancestry and family relationships, communities, organizations and countries, has nothing to do with us. It all goes on quite automatically, in order to provide us with a particular body, time, and space so that our individual desires can be facilitated. As spirit-soul we are related only to the Supreme, and we are all brothers because our positions are the same although individual: we are the servants of the servants of the servants of servants of servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. "Relatives" and relativity belong to the material world. The spirit-soul knows no generations, only the transcendental connection between the disciple and his Spiritual Master, and all the Spiritual Masters in the line of Disciplic Succession, all the way up to Krishna Who is the Supreme Guru. There is no other family tree.
We are all disturbed by involvement in the turmoil of this material world. Insanity is the condition of the material mind and senses, it is only the matter of degree which remains to be gauged. There are a number of people whom we would all agree are insane, because they hear voices and see things and tell crazy stories. Are they not sleeping? Dreaming? But are we awake, with our private worlds of fantasies and confabulations? Who is crazy? It is only a matter of degree.
Obviously, the insane man is the opposite of intelligent. But who is intelligent? Do we know who we are, where we came from, where we are going? Where are the sages who can tell us the meaning of life? Intelligence means how well we know God. Knowledge of the Absolute Truth is the only real knowledge there is.
The living being is by constitution transcendental to material engagements, but he is now imprisoned by the external energy and therefore he thinks himself one of the material products, due to such unholy contact. And due to this unholy contact, the pure spiritual entity suffers all material miseries under the modes of material nature. The living entity misconstrues himself as a material product. This means that the present perverted way of thinking, feeling, and willing of the living being under material conditions is not natural for him, but that he has his normal way of thinking, feeling, and willing as much as there is a difference between a normal healthy man and the diseased man. (Srimad Bhagavatam, Vol. I, Chap. 7, Text 5)
In the final analysis, all misery, all disease, all frustration and dissatisfaction are symptoms of spiritual deprivation because existence in matter is itself this deprivation. The psychiatrist senses this as a separation, a lack of love, but he has no knowledge of love of Godhead. And it is not that God fails to give us His love, for it is always within our hearts, but that we fail to return it. Our anxiety comes from this separation, all other separation is illusion. The love that our parents perhaps never gave us was a love between body and body; it was a thing of identifications, or material attachments between material bodies.
Therefore, there is only one problem for all of us, the body. Our problem is that we think that we are this body or matter. That is the only real disease. But we are not this body; we are spirit-soul and our real attachment, our real desire is the Spiritual Love of Godhead. If we love God we automatically love all living entities.
We can choose God anytime we want, or we can remain separated and disturbed. The facility for separation is worked out in the arrangement of the immutable laws of Karma which govern the transmigrations of the soul. Karma means that to every action there is a reaction leading to further action-reaction, good for good and bad for bad, continuously involving further commitment and entanglement. The aggregate of these activities, including past lives, determines the type of body we take, birth after birth after birth. Living a miserable life, we take a miserable birth because we get only what we want. Our desire has always been our destiny. Unfortunately, the tendency is often downward: in the Vedas are described lower planets where the only light is provided from jewels in the heads of serpents.
There is no end to this samsara, or wheel of birth and death; we have been so engaged since time immemorial. What does the therapist armed with shock treatments and the fantasies of sons and lovers know of this? What does the self-appointed guru think he is doing? Prodding the Supreme Personality of Godhead with a pill? Such is the power of our ancient bad habits.
We cannot by such imagination free ourselves. We cannot cure ourselves merely by changing the objects of our material desire because by doing so we remain only on the material plane, this distorted reflection of the Spiritual World. It is a choice we must make: love of God or love of matter. There is no half-way house. As soon as Krishna sees that we are trying to revive our love for Him, He will help us. And just as anxiety goes with desire in the material world, so anxiety will accompany our desire for Krishna Consciousness, but this anxiety has now become an aspect of our transcendental love of Godhead. We must give up the symptoms of spiritual deprivation, and develop the symptoms of God-realization.
We can develop these symptoms by thinking about the Supreme Person—His Name, His Fame, His Pastimes. This process of being so engaged in the Goal of all life is called bhakti, or devotional service. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness demonstrates and teaches, under the expert guidance of a Spiritual Master, how to develop a taste for this love of Godhead. By hearing, chanting, remembering, serving, singing, dancing, reading, eating, and telling others, our distorted consciousness becomes purified. It is not that we have to stop our work, whatever it is, but that we have enough faith to chant HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE/HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE.
If we can follow this, then no longer disturbed we gradually become peaceful. The bleak duality of the pleasure-pain world cannot engage us, our illusions lose their grip on us: deprivation ends as we recover the memory of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami assures us that "advancement can be tested by the decreased taste for material consciousness: there will be no more taste for material miseries and happiness. YOU WILL BE CURED.")
—By Kirtanananda Swami
Love. Love is a very pleasing word, for everyone wants to love or be loved. It is the natural propensity of the living entity, and where there is no natural object of love we sometimes find perverted objects of love. A mother cat deprived of her kittens may nurse a mouse, or a dog may nurse a kitten. Similarly we see so many childless women, with no object of love, loving dogs and cats as if they were their own children. Love there must be, but love for what? That is the question. Everyone is actually loving something, either his wife, or family, or country, or party, or hobby, or some intellectual pursuit, or at last his senses. Some object there must be. Everyone is loving something.
But what about the Absolute Truth? Why not love the Absolute Truth, Krishna? Actually, love for Krishna is dormant within each of us, but because we have no conscious love for Him we are frustrated in various objects of love, and, therefore, in the material world, love is 99.9% frustration simply because the love isn't in the right place. When you love Krishna you love everyone, but the converse is never true. If you water the root of a plant, all the leaves and branches are nourished; but it is not the same thing to simply water the leaves and branches. Therefore we must learn to love Krishna, for only those who love Him perfectly can love others. They are called liberated souls, and they live in the spiritual world eternally. Such eternally liberated souls never come back to this material world; but the eternally conditioned souls have been groping their way through these sundry planetary systems since time immemorial. For us there is no exit, for in this wandering, forgetful condition we have forgotten our love of Krishna.
This love of Krishna is not something vague or illusory, nor is it impersonal. Actually, love can never be impersonal, for love means an exchange between two persons. But the Supreme Lord is a person, and the living entity is a person, and in such loving transcendental affairs, it may be forgotten who is God and who is not, but the center is always Krishna. Without Krishna the eternally liberated soul feels mad. He wants to think Krishna. He wants to dream Krishna. He wants to eat Krishna. He wants to do everything for Krishna. Simply Krishna. The spiritual world means simply loving Krishna. That is all. That love for Krishna is pure and true; so if anyone thinks he has tasted pleasure in a perverted love affair of the material world, just imagine the pleasure of a perfectly centered love affair with the Absolute Truth Sri Krishna—a sat chit ananda love affair. That is the perfectional stage: the lovable object is eternal; the lover is eternal; the bliss is eternal. Unfortunately, in our conditioned state we have forgotten this love of Godhead, and we now think it is our business to hate God. Sometimes we think, "Oh my God, foolish people are gathered to worship God." By nature we are all lovers of God. But here is the illusory world, and in this maya, we think that He is our enemy. This is maya, what is not. But because we have forgotten Krishna, we think we are adverse to Him; therefore we are perpetually entangled in the threefold miseries; not only threefold, they are sevenfold: they are the miseries of birth, old age, disease, and death, and the miseries of this body, the miseries of nature, and the miseries inflicted by other living entities.
Those in ignorance may not understand the miserable condition they are actually in. Indeed they may think they are happy, but that does not actually alleviate their condition. The drunkard lying in the gutter may think he is happy, but he is simply intoxicated. Actually he is in a miserable condition, and when the intoxication ceases he will be fully conscious of it. Likewise, the conditioned living entities may be intoxicated, thinking they are happy for some brief moment, but the inevitable result is that the intoxication wears off and they are again miserable. This is called samsara, or the entanglement in miseries. Sometimes we try to compensate for this miserable condition of so-called enjoyment, but the result is a more and more hellish life. We are going round and round in various species of life, eating nasty things, acting fiendishly, and on account of our ignorance we are trying to lord it over the material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities.
There is a painting of the goddess Durga riding a lion with a trident in her hand, piercing the breast of a demon. The lion she rides is a symbol of raja guna, passion, full of anger and lust. Satya guna, goodness, is full of knowledge, and tama guna, ignorance, is complete forgetfulness, like the Bowery drunkard—neither angry, lustful, knowledgable-simply lying in the gutter. The demon's characteristic is to challenge the Lord. And the trident represents the threefold miseries of material nature So whether it be the miseries of bedbugs or other troublesome creatures, or the miseries of famine and pestilence, or the miseries of this body, we are all under the control of this material nature, and the trident is pressing against our chest. Those who are enlightened know that this is a miserable condition, whereas others say, "That is all right." "We are enjoying very nicely." In this way we are being kicked, like a football, thrown first to the party of lust and then to the party of anger. If the football thinks, "I am free, I am moving of my own accord," what is that freedom? Simply the freedom to be kicked; as the ball is kicked by the player, so we are being kicked by the power of lust and anger, the concomitants of material nature.
In this way we are passing our lives. But if by chance we get the association of a saintly person, a pure devotee of the Lord, then by His mercy, this illusion becomes vanished. Therefore it is advised that everyone should seek the association of a saintly person, so that this ghost of ignorance may be removed; simply by taking shelter of a saintly person the kicks of material nature can be stopped. Actually, the trouble is in our mind, and it is there like a knot. It is called the mental knot of matter, and by the instruction of the Spiritual Master it is cut. That instruction is sometimes called the sword of discrimination, and in the second chapter of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna very elaborately explains this knowledge to His disciple Arjuna. In the 16th, 17th, and 18th verses Krishna says: "Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the non-existent there is no endurance, and of the eternal there is no cessation. Seers have concluded this by studying the nature of both. That which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul. Only the material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is subject to destruction. Therefore, fight, O descendant of Bharata."
Real knowledge, therefore, is to be able to distinguish that which is eternal from that which is temporal, to perceive the difference between body and soul, to know that matter is not spirit. Matter is dependent on spirit—that is knowledge; and Real Intelligence is to understand the finer activities of this nature and how things are happening. A child is interested simply in the anatomical or automatic. He thinks a motor car is running in the street on its own accord. He sees a tape recorder or a microphone and thinks no more of it than the surface appearance. But not one of these instruments works unless the spirit soul touches them. That is intelligence. To know the spirit soul that is behind the body as the activating principle is called buddhi. Try to find out who is working the machine. Simply grossly seeing is not intelligence. Unfortunately our men of high standing, our writers, our teachers, our leaders have become more interested in technology than Ultimate Knowledge. They clap very loudly at the latest convention and say "How wonderful" to the newest invention, but where is the scientist who can bring forth a substance and say, "Here, inject this in my body when I die and I will come back again." If they could do that, there would be no scarcity of scientists or any other great brains. The truth is that the so-called scientists and philosophers are not working of their own accord but under the spell of material energy. In Bhagavad Gita, Ninth Chapter, tenth verse, Krishna says, "This material nature is working under my direction." So nature is simply the agent, or the efficient cause, but Krishna is the real Cause. Similarly, He tells His disciple, Arjuna, that it is actually He Himself who has killed all the soldiers and kings on the battlefield, and He simply invites Arjuna to be His instrument for victory. So buddhi or knowledge means to understand that we are simply an instrument in the hands of Krishna; and therefore, work in Krishna consciousness means to work on the account of Krishna; but if you try to work against Krishna, frustration is inevitable.
Therefore, real knowledge is not book knowledge, nor is it specific knowledge. Some of us at our ashram, New Vrindaban, in West Virginia, have had experience recently that in spite of all of our so-called intelligence, we sometimes cannot even control a cow or a horse or hitch a wagon; but any old farmer in the neighborhood can do any of these things. Similarly, I cannot build a nest like the bird, or make a dam like the beaver. These specific activities may be technology, but they are not knowledge. Knowledge is to know matter from spirit. There is something in the body by which the body works, but that something which pervades the body and makes it work, that is unknown to modern educators; and modern education takes account only of the material side; and the result, therefore, is that today we have a civilization of fools. The automobile is designed and redesigned, but the driver is neglected, so much so that a caption in Scientific American magazine read, "For manufacturing matter, a soul is killed."
Real intelligence means that one gives more attention to the spiritual side of existence, for that is the active principle. Only this kind of discrimination between matter and spirit or between the temporal and the eternal can create a really advanced civilization, technically called an Aryan civilization. This word Aryan is a Sanskrit word which means advanced, advanced in spiritually based civilization and knowledge. When Arjuna declined to fight on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra, Krishna said that he was acting like a non-Aryan because he had lost his knowledge and become like the non-Aryan. That knowledge which he was neglecting was spiritual knowledge, knowledge that he was not that body, that he was pure spirit, part and parcel of the Supreme Whole, Krishna. A non-Aryan civilization, conversely, means a civilization based on the ideas of bodily sense gratification, and that is the unfortunate modern condition.
But this human form of life is not meant merely for sense gratification. In the human form of life, the soul has developed consciousness, developed by a long, slow process of evolution—from aquatics, to birds, to beasts, to man. If in this human form of life we are using this developed consciousness simply to carry out the engagements that all other animals carry out, namely, eating, sleeping, defending, and mating, how can this be called advanced civilization? Rather it is a civilization fit for dogs and hogs. On the contrary, this human form of life is meant for ending this material entanglement, and, therefore, we require a civilization that promotes God consciousness, Krishna consciousness, or love of Godhead. Today, however, people have forgotten this, and they have forgotten how to love God, and so they think God is dead. Now, inevitably, material nature is kicking them: war, pestilence, overpopulation; yes, overpopulation because no one is graduating. If I open a school and admit 100 new students every year, but never graduate a single soul, my schoolhouse will soon be bursting at the seams. Because we have forgotten the path back to Godhead, back to home, this human form of life is becoming crowded; no one is being promoted and we are being blocked; and so by nature's course there is some pestilence, some war, something to break it up. We have received the greatest gift of God, this human form of life, which is meant to develop our spiritual consciousness; and God has given us so many great books of knowledge, but who has any use for them today?
If we follow the animal propensity, just like a hog after a sow, we cannot consider ourselves civilized. We must be sober, distinct from animal life, jealous of this body achieved after so many millions or trillions of years of births. There are so many varieties of bodies, and why is this form of man so rare? Because from here we can attain the highest perfection. But still we are only attached to money. Money may deliver us a substance for some time, but it is not permanent. But if we are sober and ask how we shall use this most valuable life, that will be our perfection. We do not know how soon death will come, and so we should not neglect this life. Prahlad Maharaj was instructed by the great sage Narada and became a teacher of Krishna consciousness at five years of age, whereas a 300 year old tree or a 5 million year old stone may have no utilization. A five-year-old boy who has this knowledge has perfection. Don't say, "Oh I am so young, let me enjoy for now. I will become Krishna conscious when I am old." Your next breath is not assured, and the Bhagavatam warns that one should not be puffed-up because of long duration of life, for that is only in comparison to the cats and dogs. "Don't you see the tree?" Bhagavatam says, "It lives 500 years or 1,000 years. "Yes," you may say, "but it can't breathe." "Oh don't you see the bellows? It breathes." "Yes, but the bellows can't enjoy sex life," you may say. "Oh, dogs and hogs, don't they enjoy sex life? Don't they eat? Why are you so proud, man?" Rather our pride should be in Krishna consciousness, otherwise we are simply animalistic. Only Krishna consciousness is freedom from bewilderment. Therefore, take advantage of your intelligence, reason and knowledge in Krishna consciousness. Don't spoil your life. Act for Krishna.
The Kam Day Parade
—by Govinda Dasi
The Kam Day Parade is a yearly event commemorating the reign of the Hawaiian King Kamehameha. This parade is known to draw thousands, so we were naturally anxious to take advantage of this opportunity for propagating Krishna consciousness.
Despite the uncertainty due to rainy weather, the boys started into town the day before the parade, collecting banana leaves, flowers, etc. for decorating our truck to make it look like a float. They worked nearly all night on it, and meantime the girls made trimming and painted signs for decoration, so that by morning the truck was no longer recognizable as a 1960 GMC pickup, but was rather a beautiful flower-laden Krishna consciousness float.
We arrived at the Magic Island Fairgrounds at 8:00 next morning, and finished the decorating, then got in line at 10:00 and waited two hours for our turn to move out. At noon the announcer called out through his microphone: "The Hare Krishna Temple—step out!" So we began our five mile march down the main street of Honolulu, before 55,000 people, TV cameras, etc. Goursundar, Balabhadra, Turyadas, and Sudama, and a new boy named Charles were dancing and chanting before the float; Jadurany, Jayasri and Govinda Dasi sat atop the float singing and tossing flowers to the crowd; and Vamandev was driving the truck beneath its layers of leaves and flowers. Our procession was bewildering to most of the people, but a number of young people chanted as we passed, many adults clapped, dozens of children scrambled after the flowers tossed down by the girls, and many simply gazed in awe—for we were undoubtedly the most unusual and unexpected float in the parade! The other floats bore Hawaiian hula dancers, ukulele players, actors appearing as Hawaiian kings and queens, etc., but we had nothing to do with Hawaiiana, so the officials seemed a bit embarrassed.
As we reached the end of the march, the Iolani Palace Gates, we approached the largest part of the crowd, including the government officials. We went right up to the speaker stand, then off to the side and the parade was over. We were escorted by motorcycle patrolmen back to Magic Island to dismantle the float. We were televised again on the evening news broadcast.
It was a successful appearance since many thousands heard the Holy Name, along with khartal and mridanga, and saw the small procession of devotees for the first time in their lives.
Kirtan Hawaiian Style
Jimmy Hendrix, we were told, is the biggest in the rock business, so there were thousands of people, mostly young, expected at his shows at the Waikiki Shell. Sure enough, the Shell was jam-packed on Friday night, May 30; the gate was 26,000 in all. It was crowded both inside and outside when we arrived there with our cymbals, bells and guitar.
There were only four of us, Sudama, Turyadas, Barbara, and myself. Goursundar and Balabhadra had gone to Maui and the Big Island, Hawaii, to search out land or a suitable house for a temple and/or ashram there.
We sat down just beside the ticket office and gate and began chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, with the sound of Hendrix's mammoth amps rumbling in the background. Very soon a circle of fifty or so people gathered; some joined, some stared, some left and were replaced by others. This went on for a couple of hours, with more and more remaining to join us in chanting. In fact, we began to hear Hare Krishna singing coming from within the Shell—and as we learned later, Hendrix's equipment was not working properly, so it was a bad show, and everybody inside began to chant Hare Krishna along with us. The show was called off early and re-scheduled for Sunday. The people began to stream out the gate, and many joined us, forming a circle which got larger by the minute. I got up and began to dance around the circle, inducing others to join us. A few joined at first, and many others stood around clapping and singing loudly Hare Krishna. Then as the show was closing down, thousands of kids streamed out the mouth of the Shell, looking for excitement. They found it. Hundreds began crowding around, loudly singing, and began dancing madly, dancing round and round, jumping up into the air, arms upstretched crying, "Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare!" The frenzy of the mob increased in tempo, and almost instantly there was an ocean of arms and heads, waving and shouting, "Rama Rama, Hare Hare!" Everyone was radiant, smiling, joyfully relishing the beauty of Krishna Samkirtana. A little boy climbed a tree above to see the singing ocean, and I handed him a picture of Lord Chaitanya to hold up high above the crowd. The mob, unknowingly, was performing the greatest yajna (sacrifice) for spiritual upliftment in the present age of Kali! I lifted up my arms to reach up to Lord Chaitanya's Merciful Lotus Feet, and hundreds also began lifting their arms, swimming in the Ocean of Mercy surrounding the Lotus Feet of our Preceptor, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj. It was so beautiful to witness this Ocean of Mercy flowing so freely for all. All were glorifying Chaitanya Mahaprabhu with Harer Nama Samkirtana. The crowd's pace heightened, and the police were pushing them, trying to make way for the remainder of persons leaving the Shell. The chanting crowd was now so large that it was blocking the gate, so Sudama and Turyadas started a parade to lead the mob into the park to continue chanting on the grass beneath the full moon and banyan trees. The whole mob followed them to the park, and I remained to gather the Hare Krishna banners, scattered instruments, magazines, etc. In the park the chanting continued at a heightened pace, and I began selling BTG magazines. Then four police cars screeched up, blue lights blinking, and insisted that we disperse. I explained patiently that being a religious organization we were chanting the Names of God, etc., but they were interested only in park permits (which, incidentally, are not available at all), so we had to leave. Turyadas, Sudama and I began to lead the mob in a parade to the sidewalk. Then Sudama turned and gave a short talk and invited everyone to our Sunday Love Feasts in Kaaawa. "You don't need a permit. There's seven acres of land. Just come and we can chant Hare Krishna all day and all night!" The crowd nodded and roared. Then we were given a ride home by some very interested young people.
The next night there were only three of us, and we began chanting outside in the same spot. This time we displayed a big sign, advertising the Hare Krishna Love Feast, and a brightly colored Hare Krishna Mantra Banner. We hung these high from the tree's limbs so that when the mob gathered they could see the banners. This time, the same thing happened. Just as quickly—hundreds were dancing and roaring to the sound of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. There was once a break in the chanting (which was long out of control), and due to the instigation of others the crowd began chanting, "We are one, we are one ...," but very quickly, within five minutes, they tired of this and returned to resounding loud vibrations of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The tumultuous chanting and dancing mob once again overwhelmed the gate keepers, so Sudama led them in a parade into the park, where the chanting continued for some time until once again the police came, complaining of our permitless trespassing in the public park.
Because Friday night's audience was dissatisfied with the show, Hendrix jammed on Sunday for free—so there were lots and lots of people there on Sunday, and we were there again too. By now, everyone was talking about Krishna's Bliss, and the "far-out chanting things" of the two nights before, so we had no trouble getting our crowd. This crowd wasn't so rowdy, but was standing together, all two hundred, singing loudly, but peacefully. One boy held up candles and incense. This time there was only Turyadas, Frankie and I, so Turyadas stood in the middle of the chanters strumming the guitar, while I chanted round the outside playing cymbals, and Frankie sold BTG magazines. Everything was nice; everybody was chanting and loving it, but once again, the police started complaining and pushing the crowd to break it up. The police were very unsympathetic and not interested in Krishna consciousness. We had to stop at their insistence. But we had already made our main propaganda and met with overwhelming success on all three nights.
Heroine Govinda Dasi
[EDITOR'S NOTE: The title for this article was suggested by our Spiritual Master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada]
Hawaii: The Pleasure Fair was a program for young people, held in the Waikiki Shell (a huge park and amphitheatre) on June 20 and 21, 12 noon till 12 midnight, which drew over 12,000 youth both days. There were musical performances, arts and crafts displays, distribution of young peoples' publications, etc.
Goursundar, Balabhadra, Turyadas, and Frankie went in early on Thursday, June 19th, the day before the Fair opened, in order to construct our booth. They got a donation of small planks, which they nailed together to build a simple shed roof frame which they covered with canvas. The walls were made of bamboo screens. The next day they again came early and decorated the booth with altar, cloths, banners, etc. It was undoubtedly the nicest booth in the whole Fair. We got an electrical extension so that we could play the tape recorder and also use it as an amplifier in our kirtans there. We had a dozen friendly musicians for whom we got free passes to play with us on stage.
On the first day of the Pleasure Fair, we were supposed to open up the whole event at 12 noon with kirtan, but due to the Fair's opening later than scheduled, we went on stage at 2:30. It was a really beautiful kirtan performance. Goursundar played rhythm guitar, Turyadas bass and Turya's nice friend, John, played lead guitar, with drums, cymbals, flutes, sitar—and several giant amplifiers. We could be heard for blocks around! It was a beautiful band! People very much appreciated it, and many boys and girls sang along with us. The shell is like an outdoor acoustical amphitheatre. The stage has a huge concrete shell-shaped backing, which, along with the giant amplifiers, sends out sound clearly a great distance—so Hare Krishna was vibrating throughout the Fairgrounds, as well as in the outlying park where thousands could hear. So the first on-stage performance of the Hare Krishna Temple band was a huge success.
Then after kirtan, we opened our booth, where Lord Jagannath stood on a silk-covered altar bearing flowers of all sweet sorts. We offered and distributed noon prasadam to all passers-by, and we held kirtan off and on all day, talked with people, played kirtan and lecture tapes, Govinda album, and distributed coconut luddu prasadam. Many hundreds of youth passed, stopped, and gazed at the merciful Lord Jagannath. Toward evening many people came and stood in a circle by our booth chanting. We had aratrik announced on stage through the amplifiers, so everyone heard that at 8:00 a beautiful ceremony as is performed each evening in the ancient temples of India, aratrik, would be performed at the Hare Krishna Temple booth. Many came to see the beautiful ceremony, and Lord Jagannath seemed very pleased with all the people standing and clapping.
One young man, known widely as Sai, came by our booth and bowed to make offering of fruit to the Lord. He chanted with us, and invited us over to his yoga tent to chant Hare Krishna. So at 9:00 we had a Hare Krishna parade over the hill. But up on the hill, where thousands of youth were roaming, the parade stopped and we were playing instruments and singing, and within minutes, a huge crowd of several hundred was jumping up and down, arms upstretched, dancing and chanting Hare Krishna joyously. This glimpse of Lord Chaitanya's Mercy brought tears to the eyes of the devotees. This went on until we were asked to move on, because it was such loud singing that it was drowning out the group performing down on the stage, despite their amplifiers! So we had a big parade—chanting Hare Krishna—across the Fairgrounds. We tried to get to Sai's booth, but the cops stopped us for some reason, so we all went back to the Hare Krishna Temple booth! (Lord Jagannath was happy to receive so many chanters.) We had a beautiful kirtan at our little outdoor temple. Sai later came to our Sunday Love Feast, and chanted with us, took prasad, and invited us to his ashram to hold a big Samkirtan party in the future.
Goursundar, Balabhadra, and Turyadas remained overnight at the Fairgrounds with Lord Jagannath, and Sudama, Jadurany, Jayasri and myself all came home about 2 a.m. to rest for Saturday's 12 hour engagement there.
When we arrived back at the Fairgrounds on Saturday noon, we learned that Jesse (the boy who promoted the Fair) wanted to have a parade all the way down the Waikiki beach to advertise his Pleasure Fair. So we took up the idea, and began immediately to build a Jagannath Car (Vamandev did it in less than an hour!) and covered it with silks, and flower garlands, so that within an hour we had a very beautiful carry-car for Jagannath—to be borne on the shoulders of Balabhadra and Turyadas. We led the parade. About a hundred followed the cart out the Fair gates and down the side walk-Jagannath was going to the beach! We walked along the beach, chanting, playing mridanga and kartals, and hundreds of people saw the Lord's parade. Some joined, some chanted, some only clapped, and many did nothing but watch the procession in wonder. We went down the full length of Waikiki beach and returned to the sidewalk of Kalakaua, the busiest street in Honolulu, all singing loudly Harer Nama. Many, many more saw in awe the Lord's Pleasure Ride. We went through the International Marketplace, where hundreds heard the echo of the chanting—and, as we were told later, a radio microphone in the International Marketplace was lowered and the echo of our kirtan went over the air to hundreds more! Back on Kalakaua a number of "hippies" joined us, dancing and chanting down the sidewalk. On approaching the Shell fairgrounds, we invited them all to our Temple booth, where they joined us for aratrik and kirtan. We offered some apple juice (donated by Jesse) and distributed it to all the people in the parade. It was all very beautiful-everything perfectly timed, due to Lord Jagannath's Mercy.
At our booth we chanted and played recordings all day, and hundreds of people came throughout the course of the evening. There was a constant turnover of young people. We would take turns leading kirtan, with the help of the recorder as amplifier, and many joined us, asked questions, read our literature, etc.
Toward evening, I was crossing the hill and, passing an enclosed tent, I peeked in to see an altar with a man's picture, flowers, candles, etc., and learned that it was a booth glorifying a prominent "incarnation" of God. A young man inside was giving an informal talk to a dozen or so persons, so I stopped in to see what he was saying. He was speaking of love of God, and how this could be achieved by a process of elevation through sense gratification, yogic powers, etc. At the highest point, he said, we understand that we are God.
I was astonished to hear these things, so I questioned him. "What scriptures do you follow?"
He said, "His own writings."
"Who is this man you are worshiping?"
He said, "He is an avatar of God, he is Rama and he is Krishna."
The so-called incarnation he was speaking of actually has none of the qualifications of God, and I was becoming angry that such an ordinary mortal was being passed off as the Supreme Lord. I began to speak loudly so that all could hear: "You have no scripture, you have no disciplic succession, you are blindly following the teachings of this rascal! What proof do you have that this man is God? Has he shown you any evidence? Krishna lifted Goverdhan Hill as a Child when He appeared on this planet, but this man has not done any wonderful thing. Rather, I see by his picture that he is old and wrinkled and ugly, ready for death to take him; and yet you so foolishly believe that he is God. In the Vedas, the avatars' appearances are fully described along with the birthplace and philosophy of each avatar. There is no mention of this rascal! You say that he is the last avatar of this age, but the Vedic authorities say that Kalki will come in 427,000 years. You fail to mention Lord Chaitanya, who appeared 486 years ago, and propagated the Samkirtan movement all over India, who drenched the universe in love of Godhead. His mission, His golden color—everything—was described by Vyasadeva, the compiler of all the Vedas, 5,000 years ago. But instead of accepting the authorized incarnation of Lord Chaitanya, you believe the word of an ordinary man who tells you, 'I am God, and you can become God too,' without even asking for scriptural evidence or proof of his lordship. This is very unfortunate.
"In the last half-century, so many of these cheaters have come to this country from India to mislead the people, proclaiming, 'I am God,' and holding in their hand a cigarette or a wine bottle. What kind of foolishness is this? We are all suffering in this material world, kicked this way and that like dogs, and yet you say you are God? You can never become God! You are conditioned, controlled by God. God is supreme, you are minute. Qualitatively you are one with God, you have in your pure spiritual state godly qualities, but you can never become quantitatively as great as God. We are simultaneously one and different—qualitatively one but quantitatively different—like the gold ring and the gold mine. The quality is the same, but one is far more vast. Krishna states it plainly in The Bhagavad Gita: 'My dear Arjuna, all these living entities are My parts and parcels.' But instead of accepting Krishna's words as they are, you are listening to some fool who will only mislead you. He can never give you any proof of his lordship. Krishna showed His Universal Form. He said to Arjuna, 'You just surrender unto Me!' But rather than do that simple thing, you choose to follow the imperfect speculations of some so-called swami, and consequently you are being completely misled."
The young man was very astonished to hear that we could never become God. He tried to argue, but was defeated on every point. Appearing like a fool before so many people, the boy was very upset and tried to compromise and stop the argument. He said, "All right, I will come down to your booth and we can discuss it further," and he called in one senior student to talk with me.
A girl in the crowd was upset because I wasn't "emanating love." I told her, "How can I emanate love? This rascal is misleading so many people, and I am feeling compassion for them on account of their innocence. If the boy next to you was trying to kill you, should I not say something to stop him? Or do you think I should stand quietly, emanating love, and watch him murder you?"
She insisted, "I am everywhere, I am everything," but I showed her that this was not possible. "You are finite, and are confined to your body. You cannot experience the pains and pleasures of my body, nor at any time in the future will such awareness come to pass. Why don't you take Krishna's teaching in Bhagavad Gita?"
She said, "Krishna was one man only, and there are many others to listen to. It doesn't matter which way you do it; it's all the same thing."
I showed her the flaws in her thinking. In every Veda Krishna is established as the Supreme Personality of Godhead; never is He said to be just an ordinary person; this is stated plainly in The Bhagavad Gita and confirmed by Vedic authorities. But the girl was unable to abandon her misconceptions about the identity of God.
The senior student arrived on the scene, holding a cigarette. So I questioned him: "You claim to be God, but I see that you are serving Maya: does that mean Maya is greater than God?"
He said, "It doesn't matter what I do, I can do anything, smoke 25 packs a day. That doesn't change anything. It's love that matters."
I said, "You cannot share your love between God and Maya. If you really love God there will be some symptoms, and I see only symptoms of service to Maya." I led him to our booth, and he began to tell me how he had been searching for God over nine years, and was still perplexed. "I've been studying for over nine years with so many different mental speculators, and I'm tired of intellectual games; I don't want to argue."
I told him, "O.K. You've tried these rascals for nine years, now you try Chaitanya Mahaprabhu," and I put on a kirtan tape. He sat and listened to it, and the younger student also came down the hill and joined him.
He asked me if there was any kind of literature about our movement. I showed him The Bhagavad Gita As It Is and Back to Godhead; he wanted to buy a Gita but had little money, so he bought a Godhead. He admitted, "This way may prove better," and said that he would like to learn more about Krishna consciousness.
Suddenly, a man came to our booth and began arguing that it is possible for something to generate from nothing (there was no necessity of a God or Creator), so Goursundar challenged him and told him that something can never originate from nothing. He offered evidence: we have no experience of something which has been spontaneously generated from nothing. Sometimes, in India, a scorpion is found in a bag of rice, and the less intelligent people think that the rice has produced the scorpion; but those who are intelligent can understand that actually the scorpion must have come from an egg laid by a mother scorpion. Similarly, some people may think that life has been spontaneously generated from matter, but those who are intelligent know that all life is the creation of God. The man was unable to defeat these arguments, and he became so angry that he struck Goursundar on the chin.
Goursundar was bleeding, and we were scheduled to appear on stage again. It took fifteen minutes to bandage Goursundar's chin, and then we appeared on stage chanting Hare Krishna as the grand finale of the Fair. There were thousands of young people in the audience who appreciated our amplified kirtan. Afterward, we took Goursundar to the hospital, where he had to have ten stitches in his chin.
Having received bona fide spiritual knowledge from our Spiritual Master, it is our responsibility to spread this knowledge, even though there may be some inconvenience or even some danger of bodily harm. At least, because I have a girl's body, when I shout and defeat the impersonalists, they may become very angry but they never hit me.
Not only did we have the opportunity of defeating the impersonalists and atheists who take pleasure in misleading innocent people, but thousands of people were able to enjoy the actual spiritual bliss of chanting Hare Krishna—Supreme Pleasure at the Pleasure Fair.