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    By the mercy of our dear spiritual master Srila Prabhupada and by the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu we were able to find a very nice house to continue hosting our Krishna conscious programs such as kirtans, readings and feasts. We shifted from East to South London and we would like to invite you to visit us soon. Of course, the new house should never be taken as granted and we shall do our best to increase our service and commitment to the mission of Srila Prabhupada even more. The daily online livestreams on Facebook inspire hundreds of devotees to hear and discuss Srila Prabhupada's books and Prabhus invite friends to taste the bliss of the Sunday feasts. Although the location is changed, our determination to give Krishna consciousness to everyone has not. Please check out our new upcoming celebration of Lord Caitanya's appearance day and book yourself for one of our Sunday feast. As before, we hold an outdoor sankirtana every Saturday and you are invited to participate as well. Let's flood this world with Srila Prabhupada's mercy more and more. We shall conclude with a nice letter written by Srila Prabhupada on a similar occassion of acquiring a new house by devotees: Please accept my blessings. Your letter dated December 21 along with the picture of the new house was duly received by me while I was in Boston and we enjoyed the few days of meeting together in that Temple. It was a great transcendental pleasure to meet you all. Your statement in the letter, "All glories to Sankirtana, Prasadam and Srimad-Bhagavatam'' is very welcome. Before coming to your country, when I was in India and I was planning to come here, I was thinking in the same way. I was thinking that my preaching work in this country would be a difficult job for me on account of the country's position being completely different from the principles of Bhakti cult. At that time I was also thinking of chanting and dancing in Sankirtana as well as distributing prasadam in the matter of my preaching Bhagavatam. So this planning has by the grace of my Guru Maharaja and Krishna become successful in the practical field. Forty years before when two of my eldest God-brothers came to London with this mission they simply devoted their time in lecturing in some renowned public place and inviting some leading politician to preside over the meeting. You know very well that when I began my preaching work in New York I never followed this policy of lecturing amongst the stereotyped politicians or elites of the society. And if I would have followed such a policy, I think I would also have gone back to India without any success. I think this policy of Sankirtana, Prasadam and Srimad-Bhagavatam has been successful in all the centers. Please therefore follow this transcendental policy with heart and soul and make your center as spiritually opulent as far as possible. Your ever well-wisher, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Letter to: Brahmananda -- Los Angeles 6 January, 1970

  • Conversation between Lord Caitanya and Chand Kazi.

    Today we celebrate the divine appearance of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the inaugurator of the sankirtana movement, who is the self-same Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is a chapter from the book "Teachings of Lord Buddha (from the Vedic point of view)" compiled from the teachings of His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada that captures one of the wonderful pastimes of Lord Caitanya. The Lord says that He incarnates Himself in every millennium. This indicates that He incarnates also in the present Age of Kali. As stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the incarnation in the Age of Kali is Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who introduced the worship of Krsna by the sankirtana movement, the congregational chanting of the holy names, and spread Krsna consciousness throughout India. He predicted that this culture of sankirtana would be broadcast all over the world, from town to town and village to village. Lord Caitanya, as the incarnation of Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, is described indirectly in the confidential parts of the revealed scriptures; such as the Upanisads, Mahabharata and Bhagavatam. The devotees of Lord Krsna are very much attracted by the sankirtana movement of Lord Caitanya. This avatara of the Lord does not kill the miscreants, but delivers them by His causeless mercy. There is a story about how Lord Caitanya, who was then known by the name Nimai Pandita, started the civil disobedience movement. At that time Bengal, the province of India, was being governed by the Pathans, or Muhammadans, and so there ruled a Muhammadan magistrate called Kazi Saheb. The brahmanas of Navadvipa lodged a complaint to Kazi Saheb: “This boy, Nimai Pandita, has started a movement called Hare Krsna. People are getting excited to chant this Hare Krsna mantra, and He is propagating that one will get all perfection simply by chanting Hare Krsna.” The brahmanas thought, “If this boy makes propaganda and popularizes this Hare Krsna movement, then what about us?” They were from the priestly class, so naturally they were concerned about their livelihood. They thought, “If people take to this chanting exclusively, then what about our churches, mosques and temples? No one will come.” So they lodged a complaint to Chand Kazi: “Nimai Pandita is doing something that is against our Vedic rituals. It is not a Hindu religion.” Of course, Chand Kazi was a Muhammadan magistrate, but after all, he was meant to give justice to the people, so when the chief brahmanas complained, he took action and sent some constables to warn the followers of Lord Caitanya. The constables said, ‘You are causing a disturbance. There is a complaint. You cannot do this Hare Krsna chanting.” So the followers informed Caitanya Mahaprabhu, “Chand Kazi has warned us not to chant Hare Krsna. What shall we do?” Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Never mind, just go on chanting.” When the magistrate saw that they had not stopped, he sent some constables and the government police force; who broke their mrdangas and dispersed the crowd. When this information was given to Caitanya Mahaprabhu He said, “All right, then we shall start civil disobedience.” He called for many thousands of people. He was very popular. Although He was only a sixteen-year-old boy at that time, He was so learned that He even defeated a great scholar of the name Kesava Kasmiri. At the same time, this incidence shows that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was so popular that simply by His calling, many hundreds of thousands of people with mrdangas gathered. They began kirtana (chanting) in the street and went to the house of Kazi. At that time Kazi understood, “This is a mass movement. My order will not be effective. There will be some disturbance.” So he came to his senses and he wanted to make some compromise with Caitanya Mahaprabhu. First of all there was some discussion. Chand Kazi, just as Caitanya Mahaprabhu, was a very learned scholar, therefore he first wanted to find a compromise. He said, “Nimai, You are just like a boy to me, and according to our village relationship, You are my nephew because I used to call your maternal grand-father Nilambara Cakravarti ‘caca’ (uncle). So in that sense, Your mother is my sister. And because Your mother is my sister, You are my nephew. So why are You so angry upon Your uncle?” In India, even in the interior villages, all the Hindu and Muslim communities used to live very peacefully by establishing relationships amongst each other. The young men called the elderly members of the village by the name caca, or kaka, which means “uncle,” and men of the same age called each other dada, “brother.” The relationship was very friendly. There were even invitations from Muslim houses to Hindu houses and vice versa. Both the Hindus and the Muslims accepted the invitations to go to one another's houses to attend ceremonial functions. Even up until fifty or sixty years ago, the relationship between Hindus and Muslims was very friendly, and there were no disturbances. We do not find any Hindu-Muslim riots in the history of India, even during the days of the Muslims' rule over the country. The conflict between Hindus and Muslims was created by polluted politicians, especially foreign rulers, and thus the situation gradually became so degraded that India was divided into Hindustan and Pakistan. Previously, however, the relationships were nice. So to this Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “Yes, I have come to My uncle's house to be received very nicely, but my uncle went upstairs and I do not know why. So I am very glad that he has come down.” In this way, things were settled. Then they started talking. First of all Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Chand Kazi, “My dear mama (maternal uncle), what kind of religion is it that you eat your father and mother?” That was His first challenge. Kazi responded, “What are you saying? We eat our father and mother?” Lord Caitanya replied, “Yes, because you eat the cow. The cow gives you milk, so she is your mother. You are drinking milk and then killing your mother. The bull helps you in agricultural affairs by producing grains, so he is like the father, who gives you grains to eat. Therefore, you are killing your father and mother. Why is that?” Chand Kazi, as a very learned scholar, argued that cow-killing is similarly recommended in the Vedas. This conversation is also recorded in the pages of the Caitanya-caritamrta: tomara vedete ache go-vadhera vani ataeva go-vadha kare bada bada muni “As a learned scholar, the Kazi challenged Caitanya Mahaprabhu, ‘In Your Vedic scriptures there is an injunction for killing a cow. On the strength of this injunction, great sages performed sacrifices involving cow-killing.’” (Cc. Adi 17.158) The Vedas are transcendental literature that can be learned by the process of aural reception from the right source. The Vedas are, therefore, called “srutis”, i.e., the science that is learned by the process of hearing. In this Vedic literature, sacrifices of animals are sometimes recommended under religious rites. prabhu kahe,—vede kahe go-vadha nisedha ataeva hindu-matra na kare go-vadha “Refuting the Kazi's statement, the Lord immediately replied, ‘The Vedas clearly enjoin that cows should not be killed. Therefore, every Hindu, whoever he may be, avoids indulging in cow-killing.’” (Cc. Adi 17.159) It is said there that if one wants to eat meat, he should kill a goat before the goddess Kali and then eat it. Meat-eaters are not allowed to purchase meat or flesh from a market or slaughterhouse. There are no sanctions for maintaining regular slaughterhouses to satisfy the tongues of meat-eaters. As far as cow-killing is concerned, it is completely forbidden. Since the cow is considered a mother, how could the Vedas allow cow-killing? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu pointed out that the Kazi's statement was faulty. In the Bhagavad-gita (18.44) there is a clear injunction that cows should be protected: krsi-goraksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam. “The duty of vaisyas is to produce agricultural products, trade and give protection to cows.” Therefore, it is a false statement that the Vedic scriptures contain injunctions permitting cow-killing. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, jiyaite pare yadi, tabe mare prani veda-purane ache hena ajna-vani ataeva jarad-gava mare muni-gana veda-mantre siddha kare tahara jivana “In the Vedas and Puranas there are injunctions declaring that if one can revive a living being, he can kill it for experimental purposes. Therefore, the great sages sometimes killed old cows, and by chanting Vedic hymns they again brought them to life for perfection.” (Cc. Adi 17.160-161) This sacrifice was performed in order to exhibit the efficacy of powerful Vedic mantras which, if properly chanted, could perform wonders. For such a sacrificial purpose an old bull was therefore selected, and after sacrificing it on the altar of “yajna” the animal was again resurrected to live a new span of life. Therefore, unless one is able to revive the animal’s life, no such animal sacrifice should be attempted. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, jarad-gava hana yuva haya ara-vara tate tara vadha nahe, haya upakara kali-kale taiche sakti nahika brahmane ataeva go-vadha keha na kare ekhane “The killing and rejuvenation of such old and invalid cows was not truly killing but an act of great benefit. Formerly there were powerful brahmanas who could make such experiments using Vedic hymns, but now, because of the Kali-yuga, brahmanas are not so powerful. Therefore, the killing of cows and bulls for rejuvenation is forbidden.” (Cc. Adi 17.162-163) In this age, because such powerful brahmanas who can chant the mantras rightly and rejuvenate the animal back to life are lacking, it is not possible. Therefore, in the sastras these sort of sacrifices are forbidden. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu thus quoted a verse from authoritative scriptures, asvamedham gavalambham sannyasam pala-paitrkam devarena sutotpattim kalau panca vivarjayet “In this Age of Kali, five acts are forbidden: the offering of a horse in sacrifice, the offering of a cow in sacrifice, the acceptance of the order of sannyasa, the offering of oblations of flesh to the forefathers, and a man's begetting children in his brother's wife.” (Brahma-vaivarta Purana, Krsna-janma-khanda 185.180) Another explanation about meat-eating after sacrifice is given in the Bhagavata Purana. It is said there that sexual intercourse with a woman, meat-eating or indulgence in intoxication recommended in the Vedas is not for encouraging such animalistic habits. Due to natural instincts, such desires are already present in an animal, so there is no need to recommend it under the pretext of religious rites. The idea is different. Namely, these concessions are recommended in the sastras to restrict the animalistic habits. They allow meat-eating and intoxication only after sacrificial rites and sexual intercourse only within legal marriage in order to introduce the regulation of such extravagant sense-gratifying instincts. The regulative principles are so designed that in due course these animal-propensities may be subdued completely with the revival of one’s divine nature. For example, when the government opens a liquor shop, it does not mean the government is encouraging people to drink liquor. If the government does not allow drunkards to drink, they will create havoc and start to distill liquor illicitly. So just in order to prevent this situation, the government opens a liquor shop with very high prices. If the cost of the alcohol is one dollar, the government will charge sixty. The whole point is not to encourage drinking, but to restrict it. At least this was the original idea in India. Similarly, when there is allowance of sex life, meat-eating or drinking in the sastras, they are not meant to instigate people to go on with this business as much as they can, but they are meant for restriction. Prior to the advent of Lord Buddha, the portions of the Vedic literature dealing with animal sacrifice were grossly misused, and instead of subduing the animalistic propensities, men used to indulge in them with unrestricted extravagance. Just like nowadays, there is one particular so-called spiritual mission where the members claim to be devotees of goddess Kali. Their real mission is, however, to eat meat. That is why they have become devotees of goddess Kali. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained, these sacrifices were not meant to kill the animals, but to test the strength of the Vedic mantras. Thus when people began to eat meat unrestrictedly on the plea of Vedic sacrifice, Lord Buddha, who is the incarnation of Krsna, appeared to stop this animal killing. That is the meaning of the prayer about Lord Buddha written by the poet Jayadeva, nindasi yajna-vidher ahaha sruti-jatam sadaya-hrdaya darsita-pasu-ghatam kesava dhrta-buddha-sarira jaya jagadisa hare “My dear Lord, You have now appeared as Lord Buddha, and You are decrying the Vedic rituals because You have so much compassion for the poor animals who are being killed unnecessarily. All glories to Jagadisa, who has now assumed the form of Lord Buddha in order to enact His pastimes.” Another explanation of Lord Buddha’s appearance is as follows. It is said that because Krsna was constantly performing various types of sacrifices, and was inviting the demigods from the higher planetary systems, the demigods were almost always absent from their consorts. Therefore, the wives of the demigods, regretting the absence of their husbands, began to pray for the appearance of Lord Buddha, the ninth incarnation of Krsna in the Age of Kali. In other words, instead of being pleased that Lord Krsna had come, they began to pray for Lord Buddha because Lord Buddha stopped the ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices recommended in the Vedas, in order to discourage animal killing. The demigods' wives thought that if Lord Buddha appeared, all kinds of sacrifices would be stopped, thus their husbands would not be invited to such ceremonies and would not be separated from them. Sometimes people inquire, “Why don't the demigods from higher planetary systems come to this earth planet nowadays?” The plain answer is that since Lord Buddha appeared and began to deprecate the performance of sacrifice in order to stop animal killing on this planet, the process of offering sacrifices has been stopped, and the demigods do not care to come here anymore. PURCHASE THE TEACHINGS OF LORD BUDDHA (from the Vedic point of view) HERE

  • Early Life of Lord Caitanya Described by Bhaktivinoda Thakura

    Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is a great (acarya) teacher in the disiplic line of the Brahma-madhva Gaudiya school of Vaishnavism. Here in this excerpt from "Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: His Life and Precepts," which details the the life of Lord Caitanya in brief. Please read on to get yet another perspective on the life and teachings of Sri Caitanya. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was born in Mayapur in the town of Nadia just after sunset on the evening of the 23rd Phalguna 1407 Sakabda, answering to the 18th of February, 1486, of the Christian Era. The moon was eclipsed at the time of his birth, and the people of Nadia were then engaged, as was usual on such occasions, in bathing in the Bhagirathi with loud cheers of Haribol. His father, Jagannatha Misra, a poor brahmana of the Vedic order, and his mother, Saci-devi, a model good woman, both descended from brahmana stock originally residing in Sylhet. Mahaprabhu was a beautiful child, and the ladies of the town came to see him with presents. His mother's father, Pandita Nilambara Cakravarti, a renowned astrologer, foretold that the child would be a great personage in time; and he, therefore, gave him the name Visvambhara. The ladies of the neighborhood styled him Gaurahari on account of his golden complexion, and his mother called him Nimai on account of the nimba tree near which he was born. Beautiful as the lad was, everyone heartily loved to see him every day. As he grew up he became a whimsical and frolicsome lad. After his fifth year, he was admitted into a pathasala where he picked up Bengali in a very short time. Most of his contemporary biographers have mentioned certain anecdotes regarding Caitanya which are simple records of his early miracles. It is said that when he was an infant in his mother's arms he wept continually, and when the neighboring ladies cried Haribol he used to stop. Thus there was a continuation of the utterance of Haribol in the house, foreshewing the future mission of the hero. It has also been stated that when his mother once gave him sweetmeats to eat, he ate clay instead of the food. His mother asking for the reason, he stated that as every sweetmeat was nothing but clay transformed, he could eat clay as well. His mother, who was also the consort of a pandita, explained that every article in a special state was adapted to a special use. Earth, while in the state of a jug, could be used as a water pot, but in the state of a brick such a use was not possible. Clay, therefore, in the form of sweetmeats was usable as food, but clay in its other states was not. The lad was convinced and admitted his stupidity in eating clay and agreed to avoid the mistake in the future. Another miraculous act has been related. It is said that a brahmana on pilgrimage became a guest in his house, cooked food and read grace with meditation upon Krsna. In the meantime the lad came and ate up the cooked rice. The brahmana, astonished at the lad's act, cooked again at the request of Jagannatha Misra. The lad again ate up the cooked rice while the brahmana was offering the rice to Krsna with meditation. The brahmana was persuaded to cook for the third time. This time all the inmates of the house had fallen asleep, and the lad shewed himself as Krsna to the traveler and blessed him. The brahmana was then lost in ecstasy at the appearance of the object of his worship. It has also been stated that two thieves stole away the lad from his father's door with a view to purloin his jewels and gave him sweetmeats on the way. The lad exercised his illusory energy and deceived the thieves back towards his own house. The thieves, for fear of detection, left the boy there and fled. Another miraculous act that has been described is the lad's demanding and getting from Hiranya and Jagadisa all the offerings they had collected for worshiping Krsna on the day of Ekadasi. When only four years of age he sat on rejected cooking pots which were considered unholy by his mother. He explained to his mother that there was no question of holiness and unholiness as regards earthen pots thrown away after the cooking was over. These anecdotes relate to his tender age up to the fifth year. In his eighth year, he was admitted into the tola of Gangadasa Pandita in Ganganagara close by the village of Mayapur. In two years he became well read in Sanskrit grammar and rhetoric. His readings after that were of the nature of self-study in his own house, where he had found all-important books belonging to his father, who was a pandita himself. It appears that he read the smrti in his own study, and the nyaya also, in competition with his friends, who were then studying under the celebrated Pandita Raghunatha Siromani. Now, after the tenth year of his age, Caitanya became a passable scholar in grammar, rhetoric, the smrti and the nyaya. It was after this that his elder brother Visvarupa left his house and accepted the asrama (status) of a sannyasi (ascetic). Caitanya, though a very young boy, consoled his parents, saying that he would serve them with a view to please God. Just after that, his father left this world. His mother was exceedingly sorry, and Mahaprabhu, with his usual contented appearance, consoled his widowed mother. It was at the age of 14 or 15 that Mahaprabhu was married to Laksmidevi, the daughter of Vallabhacarya, also of Nadia. He was at this age considered one of the best scholars of Nadia, the renowned seat of nyaya philosophy and Sanskrit learning. Not to speak of the smarta panditas, the Naiyayikas were all afraid of confronting him in literary discussions. Being a married man, he went to Eastern Bengal on the banks of the Padma for acquirement of wealth. There he displayed his learning and obtained a good sum of money. It was at this time that he preached Vaisnavism at intervals. After teaching him the principles of Vaisnavism, he ordered Tapana Misra to go to and live in Benares. During his residence in East Bengal, his wife Laksmidevi left this world from the effects of snakebite. On returning home, he found his mother in a mourning state. He consoled her with a lecture on the uncertainty of human affairs. It was at his mother's request that he married Visnupriya, the daughter of Raja Pandita Sanatana Misra. His comrades joined him on his return from pravasa or sojourn. He was now so renowned that he was considered to be the best pandita in Nadia. Kesava Misra of Kashmir, who had called himself the Great Digvijayi, came to Nadia with a view to discuss with the panditas of that place. Afraid of the so-called conquering pandita, the tola professors of Nadia left their town on pretence of Invitation. Kesava met Mahaprabhu at the Barokona-ghata in Mayapur, and after a very short discussion with him he was defeated by the boy, and mortification obliged him to decamp. Nimai Pandita was now the most important pandita of his times. It was at the age of 16 or 17 that he traveled to Gaya with a host of his students and there took his spiritual initiation from Isvara Puri, a Vaisnava sannyasi and a disciple of the renowned Madhavendra Puri. Upon his return to Nadia, Nimai Pandita turned religious preacher, and his religious nature became so strongly represented that Advaita Prabhu, Srivasa and others who had before the birth of Caitanya already accepted the Vaisnava faith were astonished at the change of the young man. He was then no more a contending naiyayika, a wrangling smarta and a criticising rhetorican. He swooned at the name of Krsna and behaved as an inspired man under the influence of his religious sentiment. It has been described by Murari Gupta, an eyewitness, that he shewed his heavenly powers in the house of Srivasa Pandita in the presence of hundreds of his followers, who were mostly well-read scholars. It was at this time that he opened a nocturnal school of kirtana in the compound of Srivasa Pandita with his sincere followers. There he preached, there he sang, there he danced, and there he expressed all sorts of religious feelings. Nityananda Prabhu, who was then a preacher of Vaisnavism and who had then completed his travels all over India, joined him by that time. In fact, a host of pandita preachers of Vaisnavism, all sincere at heart, came and joined him from different parts of Bengal. Nadia now became the regular seat of a host of Vaisnava acaryas whose mission it was to spiritualize mankind with the highest influence of the Vaisnava creed. The first mandate that he issued to Prabhu Nityananda and Haridasa was this: "Go, friends, go through the streets of the town, meet every man at his door and ask him to sing the name of Hari with a holy life, and you then come and report to me every evening the result of your preaching." Thus ordered, the two preachers went on and met Jagai and Madhai, two most abominable characters. They insulted the preachers on hearing Mahaprabhu's mandate, but were soon converted by the influence of bhakti (devotion) inculcated by their Lord. The people of Nadia were now surprised. They said, "Nimai Pandita is not only a gigantic genius, but he is certainly a missionary from God Almighty." From this time to his twenty-third year, Mahaprabhu preached his principles not only in Nadia but in all important towns and villages around his city. In the houses of his followers he shewed miracles, taught the esoteric principles of bhakti and sang his sankirtana with other bhaktas. His followers of the town of Nadia commenced to sing the holy name of Hari in the streets and bazaars. This created a sensation and roused different feelings in different quarters. The bhaktas were highly pleased. The smarta brahmanas became jealous of Nimai Pandita's success and complained to Chand Kazi against the character of Caitanya as un-Hindu. The Kazi came to Srivasa Pandita's house and broke a mrdanga (khola drum) there and declared that unless Nimai Pandita ceased to make noise about his queer religion he would be obliged to enforce Mohammedanism on him and his followers. This was brought to Mahaprabhu's notice. He ordered the townspeople to appear in the evening, each with a torch in his hand. This groups, and on his arrival in the Kazi's house, he held a long conversation with the Kazi and in the end communicated into his heart his Vaisnava influence by touching his body. The Kazi then wept and admitted that he had felt a keen spiritual influence which had cleared up his doubts and produced in him a religious sentiment which gave him the highest ecstasy. The Kazi then joined the sankirtana party. The world was astonished at the spiritual power of the Great Lord, and hundreds and hundreds of heretics converted and joined the banner of Visvambhara after this affair. It was after this that some of the jealous and low-minded brahmanas of Kulia picked a quarrel with Mahaprabhu and collected a party to oppose him. Nimai Pandita was naturally a soft-hearted person, though strong in his principles. He declared that party feelings and sectarianism were the two great enemies of progress and that as long as he should continue to be an inhabitant of Nadia belonging to a certain family, his mission would not meet with complete success. He then resolved to be a citizen of the world by cutting his connection with his particular family, caste and creed, and with this resolution he embraced the position of a sannyasi at Katwa, under the guidance of Kesava Bharati of that town, on the 24th year of his age. His mother and wife wept bitterly for his separation, but our hero, though soft in heart, was a strong person in principle. He left his little world in his house for the unlimited spiritual world of Krsna with man in general. After his sannyasa, he was induced to visit the house of Advaita Prabhu in Santipura. Advaita managed to invite all his friends and admirers from Nadia and brought Sacidevi to see her son. Both pleasure and pain invaded her heart when she saw her son in the attire of a sannyasi. As a sannyasi, Krsna Caitanya put on nothing but a kaupina and a bahirvasa (outer covering). His head was without hair, and his hands bore a danda (stick) and a kamandalu (hermit's water pot). The holy son fell at the feet of his beloved mother and said, "Mother! This body is yours, and I must obey your orders. Permit me to go to Vrndavana for my spiritual attainments." The mother, in consultation with Advaita and others, asked her son to reside in Puri (the town of Jagannatha) so that she might obtain his information now and then. Mahaprabhu agreed to that proposition and in a few days left Santipura for Orissa. His biographers have described the journey of Krsna Caitanya (that was the name he got after his sannyasa) from Santipura to Puri in great detail. He traveled along the side of the Bhagirathi as far as Chatrabhoga, situated now in Thana Mathurapura, Diamond Harbour, 24 Parganas. There he took a boat and went as far as Prayaga-ghata in the Midnapura District. Thence he walked through Balasore and Cuttack to Puri, seeing the temple of Bhuvanesvara on his way. Upon his arrival at Puri he saw Jagannatha in the temple and resided with Sarvabhauma at the request of the latter. Sarvabhauma was a gigantic pandita of the day. His readings knew no bounds. He was the best naiyayika of the times and was known as the most erudite scholar in the Vedanta philosophy of the school of Sankaracarya. He was born in Nadia (Vidyanagara) and taught innumerable pupils in the nyaya philosophy in his tola there. He had left for Puri some time before the birth of Nimai Pandita. His brother-in-law Gopinatha Misra introduced our new sannyasi to Sarvabhauma, who was astonished at his personal beauty and feared that it would be difficult for the young man to maintain sannyasa-dharma during the long run of his life. Gopinatha, who had known Mahaprabhu from Nadia, had a great reverence for him and declared that the sannyasi was not a common human being. On this point Gopinatha and Sarvabhauma had a hot discussion. Sarvabhauma then requested Mahaprabhu to hear his recitation of the Vedanta-sutras, and the latter tacitly submitted. Caitanya heard with silence what the great Sarvabhauma uttered with gravity for seven days, at the end of which the latter said, "Krsna Caitanya! I think you do not understand the Vedanta, for you do not say anything after hearing my recitation and explanations." The reply of Caitanya was that he understood the sutras very well, but he could not make out what Sankaracarya meant by his commentaries. Astonished at this, Sarvabhauma said, "How is it that you understand the meanings of the sutras and do not understand the commentaries which explain the sutras? All well! If you understand the sutras, please let me have your interpretations." Mahaprabhu thereon explained all the sutras in his own way without touching the pantheistic commentary of Sankara. The keen understanding of Sarvabhauma saw the truth, beauty and harmony of arguments in the explanations given by Caitanya and obliged him to utter that it was the first time that he had found one who could explain the Brahma-sutras in such a simple manner. He admitted also that the commentaries of Sankara never gave such natural explanations of the Vedanta-sutras as he had obtained from Mahaprabhu. He then submitted himself as an advocate and follower. In a few days Sarvabhauma turned out to be one of the best Vaisnavas of the time. When reports of this came out, the whole of Orissa sang the praise of Krsna Caitanya, and hundreds and hundreds came to him and became his followers. In the meantime Mahaprabhu thought of visiting Southern India, and he started with one Krsnadasa Brahmana for the journey. His biographers have given us a detail of the journey. He went first to Kurmaksetra, where he performed a miracle by curing a leper named Vasudeva. He met Ramananda Raya, the Governor of Vidyanagara, on the banks of the Godavari and had a philosophical conversation with him on the subject of prema-bhakti. He worked another miracle by touching (making them immediately disappear) the seven tala trees through which Ramacandra, the son of Dasaratha, had shot his arrow and killed the great Bali Raja. He preached Vaisnavism and nama-sankirtana throughout the journey. At Rangaksetra he stayed for four months in the house of one Venkata Bhatta in order to spend the rainy season. There he converted the whole family of Venkata from Ramanuja Vaisnavism to Krsna-bhakti, along with the son of Venkata, a boy of ten years named Gopala, who afterwards came to Vrndavana and became one of the six Gosvamis or prophets serving under their leader Sri Krsna Caitanya. Trained up in Sanskrit by his uncle Prabodhananda Sarasvati, Gopala wrote several books on Vaisnavism. Caitanya visited numerous places in Southern India as far as Cape Comorin and returned to Puri in two years by Pandepura on the Bhima. In this latter place he spiritualized one Tukarama, who became from that time a religious preacher himself. This fact has been admitted in his abhangas, which have been collected in a volume by Mr. Satyendra Nath Tagore of the Bombay Civil Service. During his journey he had discussions with the Buddhists, the Jains and the Mayavadis in several places and converted his opponents to Vaisnavism. Upon his return to Puri, Raja Prataparudra-deva and several pandita brahmanas joined the banner of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He was now twenty-seven years of age. In his twenty-eighth year he went to Bengal as far as Gauda in Malda. There he picked up two great personages named Rupa and Sanatana. Though descended from the lines of the Karnatic brahmanas, these two brothers turned demi-Moslems by their continual contact with Hussain Shah, the then Emperor of Gauda. Their names had been changed by the Emperor into Dabira Khasa and Sakara Mallika, and their master loved them heartily since they were both learned in Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit and were loyal servants of the state. The two gentlemen had found no way to come back as regular Hindus and had written to Mahaprabhu for spiritual help while he was at Puri. Mahaprabhu had written in reply that he would come to them and extricate them from their spiritual difficulties. Now that he had come to Gauda, both the brothers appeared before him with their long-standing prayer. Mahaprabhu ordered them to go to Vrndavana and meet him there. Caitanya returned to Puri through Santipura, where he again met his dear mother. After a short stay at Puri he left for Vrndavana. This time he was accompanied by one Balabhadra Bhattacarya. He visited Vrndavana and came down to Prayaga (Allahabad), converting a large number of Mohammedans to Vaisnavism by argument from the Koran. The descendants of those converts are still known as Pathana Vaisnavas. Rupa Gosvami met him at Allahabad. Caitanya trained him up in spirituality in ten days and directed him to go to Vrndavana on missions. His first mission was to write theological works explaining scientifically pure bhakti and prema. The second mission was to revive the places where Krsnacandra had in the end of Dvapara-yuga exhibited His spiritual lila (pastimes) for the benefit of the religious world. Rupa Gosvami left Allahabad for Vrndavana, and Mahaprabhu came down to Benares. There he resided in the house of Candrasekhara and accepted his daily bhiksa (meal) in the house of Tapana Misra. Here it was that Sanatana Gosvami joined him and took instruction for two months in spiritual matters. The biographers, especially Krsnadasa Kaviraja, have given us details of Caitanya's teachings to Rupa and Sanatana. Krsnadasa was not a contemporary writer, but he gathered his information from the Gosvamis themselves, the direct disciples of Mahaprabhu. Jiva Gosvami, who was nephew of Sanatana and Rupa and who has left us his invaluable work the Sat-sandarbha, has philosophized on the precepts of his great leader. We have gathered and summarized the precepts of Caitanya from the books of those great writers. While at Benares, Caitanya had an interview with the learned sannyasis of that town in the house of a Maratha brahmana who had invited all the sannyasis for entertainment. At this interview, Caitanya shewed a miracle which attracted all the sannyasis to him. Then ensued reciprocal conversation. The sannyasis were headed by their most learned leader Prakasananda Sarasvati. After a short controversy, they submitted to Mahaprabhu and admitted that they had been misled by the commentaries of Sankaracarya. It was impossible even for learned scholars to oppose Caitanya for a long time, for there was some spell in him which touched their hearts and made them weep for their spiritual improvement. The sannyasis of Benares soon fell at the feet of Caitanya and asked for his grace (krpa). Caitanya then preached pure bhakti and instilled into their hearts spiritual love for Krsna which obliged them to give up sectarian feelings. The whole population of Benares, on this wonderful conversion of the sannyasis, turned Vaisnavas, and they made a master sankirtana with their new Lord. After sending Sanatana to Vrndavana, Mahaprabhu went to Puri again through the jungles with his comrade Balabhadra. Balabhadra reported that Mahaprabhu had shown a good many miracles on his way to Puri, such as making tigers and elephants dance on hearing the name of Krsna. From this time, that is, from his 31 st year, Mahaprabhu continually lived in Puri in the house of Kasi Misra until his disappearance in his forty-eighth year at the time of sankirtana in the temple of Tota-gopinatha. During these 18 years, his life was one of settled love and piety. He was surrounded by numerous followers, all of whom were of the highest order of Vaisnavas and who were distinguished from the common people by their purest character and learning, firm religious principles and spiritual love of Radha-Krsna. Svarupa Damodara, who had been known by the name of Purusottamacarya while Mahaprabhu was in Nadia, joined him from Benares and accepted service as his secretary. No production of any poet or philosopher could be laid before Mahaprabhu unless Svarupa had passed it as pure and useful. Raya Ramananda was his second mate. Both he and Svarupa would sing while Mahaprabhu expressed his sentiments on a certain point of worship. Paramananda Puri was his minister in matters of religion. There are hundreds of anecdotes described by his biographers which we do not think it meet here to reproduce. Mahaprabhu slept short. His sentiments carried him far and wide in the firmament of spirituality every day and night, and all his admirers and followers watched him throughout. He worshiped, communicated with his missionaries at Vrndavana, and conversed with those religious men who newly came to visit him. He sang and danced, took no care of himself and oft-times lost himself in religious beatitude. All who came to him believed in him as the all-beautiful God appearing in the nether world for the benefit of mankind. He loved his mother all along and sent her mahaprasada now and then with those who went to Nadia. He was most amiable in nature. Humility was personified in him. His sweet appearance gave cheer to all who came in contact with him. He appointed Prabhu Nityananda as the missionary in charge of Bengal. He dispatched six disciples (Gosvamis) to Vrndavana to preach love in the upcountry. He punished all of his disciples who deviated from a holy life. This he markedly did in the case of Junior Haridasa. He never lacked in giving proper instructions in life to those who solicited them. This will be seen in his teachings to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. His treatment to Haridasa (senior) will show how he loved spiritual men and how he defied caste distinction in spiritual brotherhood.

  • What Are The Teachings of Lord Caitanya?

    The following is an excerpt from the Prologue of Srila Prabhupada's book Teachings of Lord Caitanya. There is no difference between the teachings of Lord Caitanya presented here and the teachings of Lord Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita. The teachings of Lord Caitanya are practical demonstrations of Lord Krsna's teachings. Lord Krsna's ultimate instruction in the Bhagavad-gita is that everyone should surrender unto Him, Lord Krsna. Krsna promises to take immediate charge of such a surrendered soul. The Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is already in charge of the maintenance of this creation by virtue of His plenary expansion, Ksirodaka-sayi Visnu, but this maintenance is not direct. However, when the Lord says that He takes charge of His pure devotee, He actually takes direct charge. A pure devotee is a soul who is forever surrendered to the Lord, just as a child is surrendered to his parents or an animal to its master. In the surrendering process, one should (1) accept things favorable for discharging devotional service, (2) reject things unfavorable, (3) firmly believe that the Lord will always protect His devotee, (4) feel exclusively dependent on the mercy of the Lord, (5) have no interest separate from the interest of the Lord, and (6) always feel meek and humble. The Lord demands that one surrender unto Him by following these six guidelines, but the unintelligent so-called scholars of the world misunderstand these demands and urge the general mass of people to reject them. At the conclusion of the Ninth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna directly orders, "Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me alone, and offer obeisances unto Me alone." By so doing, the Lord says, one is sure to go to Him in His transcendental abode. But the scholarly demons misguide the masses of people by directing them to surrender not to the Personality of Godhead but rather to the impersonal, unmanifested, eternal, unborn truth. The impersonalist Mayavadi philosophers do not accept that the ultimate aspect of the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one desires to understand the sun as it is, one must first face the sunshine and then the sun globe, and then, if one is able to enter into that globe, one may come face to face with the predominating deity of the sun. Due to a poor fund of knowledge, the Mayavadi philosophers cannot go beyond the Brahman effulgence, which may be compared to the sunshine. The Upanisads confirm that one has to penetrate the dazzling effulgence of Brahman before one can see the real face of the Personality of Godhead. Lord Caitanya therefore taught direct worship of Lord Krsna, who appeared as the foster child of the king of Vraja. Lord Caitanya also taught that the place known as Vrndavana is as good as Lord Krsna because, Lord Krsna being the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, there is no difference between Him and His name, qualities, form, pastimes, entourage and paraphernalia. Lord Caitanya also taught that the mode of worshipping the Lord in the highest perfectional stage is the method practiced by the damsels of Vraja. These damsels (gopis, or cowherd girls) simply loved Krsna without any motive for material or spiritual gain. Lord Caitanya also taught that Srimad-Bhagavatam is the spotless narration of transcendental knowledge and that the highest goal in human life is to develop unalloyed love for Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Caitanya's teachings are identical to those given by Lord Kapila, the original propounder of sankhya-yoga, the sankhya system of philosophy. This authorized system of yoga teaches meditation on the transcendental form of the Lord. There is no question of meditating on something void or impersonal. When one can meditate on the transcendental form of Lord Visnu even without practicing involved sitting postures in a secluded place, such meditation is called perfect samadhi. That this kind of meditation is perfect samadhi is confirmed at the end of the Sixth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, where Lord Krsna says that of all yogis, the greatest is the one who constantly thinks of the Lord within the core of his heart with love and devotion. On the basis of the sankhya philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, which maintains that the Supreme Lord is simultaneously one with and different from His creation, Lord Caitanya taught that the most practical way for the mass of people to practice sankhya-yoga meditation is simply to chant the holy name of the Lord. He taught that the holy name of the Lord is the sound incarnation of the Lord and that since the Lord is the absolute whole, there is no difference between His holy name and His transcendental form. Thus by chanting the holy name of the Lord one can directly associate with the Supreme Lord by sound vibration. As one practices chanting this sound vibration, one passes through three stages of development: the offensive stage, the clearing stage and the transcendental stage. In the offensive stage of chanting one may desire all kinds of material happiness, but in the second stage one becomes clear of all material contamination. When one is situated on the transcendental stage, one attains the most coveted position -- the stage of loving God. Lord Caitanya taught that this is the highest stage of perfection for human beings. Yoga practice is essentially meant for controlling the senses. The central controlling factor of all the senses is the mind; therefore one first has to practice controlling the mind by engaging it in Krsna consciousness. The gross activities of the mind are expressed through the external senses, either for the acquisition of knowledge or for the functioning of the senses in accordance with the will. The subtle activities of the mind are thinking, feeling and willing, which are carried out according to one's consciousness, either polluted or clear. If one's mind is fixed on Krsna (His name, qualities, form, pastimes, entourage and paraphernalia), all one's activities -- both subtle and gross -- become favorable. The Bhagavad-gitas process of purifying consciousness is the process of fixing one's mind on Krsna by talking of His transcendental activities, cleansing His temple, going to His temple, seeing the beautiful transcendental form of the Lord nicely decorated, hearing His transcendental glories, tasting food offered to Him, associating with His devotees, smelling the flowers and tulasi leaves offered to Him, engaging in activities for the Lord's interest, becoming angry at those who are malicious toward devotees, etc. No one can bring the activities of the mind and senses to a stop, but one can purify these activities through a change in consciousness. This change is indicated in the Bhagavad-gita (2.39), where Krsna tells Arjuna of the knowledge of yoga whereby one can work without fruitive results: "O son of Prtha, when you act in such knowledge you can free yourself from the bondage of works." A human being is sometimes restricted in sense gratification due to certain circumstances, such as disease, but such proscriptions are for the less intelligent. Without knowing the actual process by which the mind and senses can be controlled, less intelligent men may try to stop the mind and senses by force, but ultimately they give in to them and are carried away by the waves of sense gratification. The eight principles of sankhya-yoga -- observing the regulative principles, following the rules, practicing the various sitting postures, performing the breathing exercises, withdrawing one's senses from the sense objects, etc. -- are meant for those who are too much engrossed in the bodily conception of life. The intelligent man situated in Krsna consciousness does not try to forcibly stop his senses from acting. Rather, he engages his senses in the service of Krsna. No one can stop a child from playing by leaving him inactive; rather, one can stop the child from engaging in nonsense by engagimg him in superior activities. Similarly, the forceful restraint of sense activities by the eight principles of yoga is recommended for inferior men; superior men, being engaged in the superior activities of Krsna consciousness, naturally retire from the inferior activities of material existence. In this way Lord Caitanya teaches the science of Krsna consciousness. That science is absolute. Dry mental speculators try to restrain themselves from material attachment, but it is generally found that the mind is too strong to be controlled and that it drags them down to sensual activities. A person in Krsna consciousness does not run this risk. One therefore has to engage one's mind and senses in Krsna conscious activities, and Lord Caitanya teaches one how to do this in practice. Before accepting sannyasa (the renounced order), Lord Caitanya was known as Visvambhara. The word visvambhara refers to one who maintains the entire universe and who leads all living entities. This very same maintainer and leader appeared as Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya to give humanity these sublime teachings. Lord Caitanya is the ideal teacher of life's prime necessities. He is the most munificent bestower of love of Krsna. He is the complete reservoir of all mercies and good fortune. As confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Bhagavad-gita, the Mahabharata and the Upanisads, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna Himself, and He is worshipable by everyone in this age of disagreement. Everyone can join in His sankirtana movement. No previous qualification is necessary. Just by following His teachings, anyone can become a perfect human being. Anyone who is fortunate enough to be attracted by Lord Caitanya is sure to be successful in his life's mission. In other words, those who are interested in attaining spiritual existence can easily be released from the clutches of maya by Lord Caitanya's grace, now presented in book form as Teachings of Lord Caitanya, which is nondifferent from the Lord. The conditioned soul, engrossed in the material body, increases the pages of history by all kinds of material activities. Teachings of Lord Caitanya can help the members of human society stop such unnecessary and temporary activities and be elevated to the topmost platform of spiritual activities, which begin after liberation from material bondage. Such liberated activities in Krsna consciousness constitute the goal of human perfection. The false prestige one acquires by attempting to dominate material nature is illusory. Illuminating knowledge can be acquired from Teachings of Lord Caitanya, and by such knowledge one can advance in spiritual existence. Everyone has to suffer or enjoy the fruits of his activity; no one can check the laws of material nature that govern such things. As long as one is engaged in fruitive activity, one is sure to be baffled in the attempt to attain the ultimate goal of life. I sincerely hope that by understanding Teachings of Lord Caitanya human society will experience a new light of spiritual life, which will open the field of activity for the pure soul. om tat sat A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami 14 March 1968 (The Birthday of Lord Caitanya) Sri Sri Radha-Krsna Temple New York, N.Y. TLC Prologue

  • The Golden Avatar - Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu's Life and Teaching

    Watch this incredible and beautiful documentary about Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Golden Avatar of Krsna. Lord Caitanya is Krsna Himself, and He has appeared in this world very recently, only 500 years ago! The teachings of Lord Caitanya and the teachings of Krsna in the Bhagavad Gita are one and the same, but Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives us a practical example of how to surrender unto Krsna and worship Him in this age of Kali.

  • Did We Fall From the SPiritual world?

    Srila Prabhupada gives an elaborate answer to this question in the following conversation. Devotee (4): Srila Prabhupada, you say in your books so many times that somehow or other we have fallen into this material world due to our enviousness or our independence. Prabhupada: Many, there are many reasons. Devotee (4): I can't seem to get a grasp on this at all. If we in our original constitutional position as part and parcel of Krsna, and in that position, that original position of full knowledge and full bliss and being in our eternal nature... Now I have some experience of how strong this material energy is and how maya works somewhat, but if I had known this and had this full knowledge, then I would have had this knowledge of how maya works and how I might fall. Prabhupada: You read the life of Jaya, Vijaya, Hiranyakasipu, Hiranyaksa? They were Krsna's doorkeepers. How they fell down? Did you read it? Did you read the life of Hiranyakasipu or Hiranyaksa? Devotee (4): Yes, Prabhupada. Prabhupada: So how they did fall? They are from Vaikuntha. They are Krsna's personal associates, keeping the doorkeepers. How did they fell down? Anyway, there is chance of falling down at any moment. Devotee (4): Well, in his family they wanted to enjoy the material world. Prabhupada: Whatever it may be, the falldown is there. So because we are living entities, we are not as powerful as Krsna, therefore we may fall down from Vaikuntha at any moment. Iccha-dvesa samutthena sarge yanti parantapa. Find out this verse. Pusta Krsna: iccha-dvesa samutthena dvandva-mohena bharata sarva-bhutani sammoham sarge yanti parantapa [Bg. 7.27] "O scion of Bharata [Arjuna], O conqueror of the foe, all living entities are born into delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate." Prabhupada: Purport. Pusta Krsna: "The real constitutional position of the living entity is that of subordination to the Supreme Lord, who is pure knowledge. When one is deluded into separation from this pure knowledge, he becomes controlled by illusory energy and cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The illusory energy is manifested in the duality of desire and hate. Due to desire and hate the ignorant person wants to become one with the Supreme Lord and envies Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Pure devotees, who are not so deluded or contaminated by desire and hate, can understand that Lord Sri Krsna appears by His internal potencies. But those who are deluded by duality and nescience think that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is created by material energies. This is their misfortune. Such deluded persons symptomatically dwell in dualities of dishonor and honor, misery and happiness, woman and man, good and bad, pleasure and pain, etc., thinking 'This is my wife, this is my house; I am the master of this house, I am the husband of this wife.' These are the dualities of delusion. Those who are so deluded by dualities are completely foolish and cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Prabhupada: So even in the Vaikuntha, if I desire that "Why shall I serve Krsna? Why not become Krsna?" I immediately fall down. That is natural. A servant is serving the master, sometimes he may think that "If I could become the master." They are thinking like that, they are trying to become God. That is delusion. You cannot become God. That is not possible. But he's wrongly thinking. Vipina: Why doesn't Krsna protect us from that desire? Prabhupada: He's protecting. He says, "You rascal, don't desire, surrender unto Me." But you are rascal, you do not do this. Vipina: Why doesn't He save me from thinking like that? Prabhupada: That means you lose your independence. Vipina: And no love. Prabhupada: That is force. (indistinct) prema. In Bengali it is said "If you catch one girl or boy, 'You love me, you love me, you love me.' " Is it love? (laughter) "You love me, otherwise I will kill you." (laughter) Is that love? So Krsna does not want to become a lover like that, on the point of revolver, "You love me, otherwise I shall kill you." That is not love, that is threatening. Love is reciprocal, voluntary, good exchange of feeling, then there is love, not by force. That is rape. The... Why one is called lover, another is called rape? Vipina: But isn't it by force anyway? If we don't love Krsna, we suffer. Prabhupada: That is your business. You'll suffer. But that Krsna does not force you. He says the real, "You love me, you'll be happy. If you don't love, you suffer." But that is your business. Vipina: So what is the choice? Prabhupada: Choice is yours. If you are rascal, you don't make the choice, the best choice. You suffer. The rascals, they suffer. And intelligent men, they do not suffer. If you are intelligent, then Krsna says that "You surrender to Me," you surrender, then you are intelligent. If you are rascal, then you reject and you suffer. When a father says to his rascal son, "My dear son, you just hear me, do like this, you'll be happy." If he does not do it, he'll suffer. There is no other alternative. Guest (2): Srila Prabhupada, why is the material world made on the level of a jailhouse? It's made on the level of a jailhouse, that, I've been told, the attitude of a jail instead of the attitude. Prabhupada: Yes, because there will be so many criminals. Therefore government has to construct a jailhouse. It is government's not desire. It is expensive, unnecessary. But because there are rascals who will become criminal, the government has jailhouse. So one who wants to remain independent of Krsna, for them there is material world, "All right, you remain here." Vipina: We also say that Krsna is fulfilling the desires of every living entity. So if we want to enjoy independent of Krsna, why doesn't He let us really enjoy independent of Him? Prabhupada: That is not possible. That is maya it is called. You are not enjoyer, you are servant. Because you are willing to become enjoyer, you suffer, that's all. You are not enjoyer. Vipina: Then He's not fulfilling the desire. Prabhupada: No, you wanted to enjoy-enjoy at your risk. Sometimes you'll become the king of heaven, and sometimes you become the germs in the stool. Vipina: Hm, enjoy at your risk. (laughter) Prabhupada: Yes. No, that is the fact. Vipina: Instead of under His protection, you enjoy at your risk. Prabhupada: Therefore He advises, "Rascal, you give up all this enjoying spirit. You just surrender to Me, you'll be happy." But we don't accept it. Therefore sometimes we are in the heavenly kingdom, sometimes as a worm in the stool. That is going on. That is your risk. Evening Darsana -- July 8, 1976, Washington, D.C.

  • Liquid beauty

    "Beauty is truth, truth is beauty," said Keats. "That is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." Or is it? In this charming yet cutting essay, which first appeared in the old tabloid version of Back to Godhead (November 20, 1958), Srila Prabhupada tells the unforgettable story of "liquid beauty." There may sometimes be arguments about whether "truth" and "beauty" are compatible terms. One would willingly agree to express the truth, one might say, but since truth is not always beautiful -- indeed, it is frequently rather startling and unpleasant -- how is one to express truth and beauty at the same time? In reply, we may inform all concerned that "truth" and "beauty" are compatible terms. Indeed, we may emphatically assert that the actual truth, which is absolute, is always beautiful. The truth is so beautiful that it attracts everyone, including the truth itself. Truth is so beautiful that many sages, saints, and devotees have left everything for the sake of truth. Mahatma Gandhi, an idol of the modern world, dedicated his life to experimenting with truth, and all his activities were aimed toward truth only. Why only Mahatma Gandhi? Every one of us has the urge to search for truth alone, for the truth is not only beautiful but also all-powerful, all-resourceful, all-famous, all-renounced, and all-knowledgeable. Unfortunately, people have no information of the actual truth. Indeed, 99.9 percent of men in all walks of life are pursuing untruth only, in the name of truth. We are actually attracted by the beauty of truth, but since time immemorial we have been habituated to love of untruth appearing like truth. Therefore, to the mundaner "truth" and "beauty" are incompatible terms. The mundane truth and beauty may be explained as follows. Once a man who was very powerful and strongly built but whose character was very doubtful fell in love with a beautiful girl. The girl was not only beautiful in appearance but also saintly in character, and as such she did not like the man's advances. The man, however, was insistent because of his lustful desires, and therefore the girl requested him to wait only seven days, and she set a time after that when he could meet her. The man agreed, and with high expectations he began waiting for the appointed time. The saintly girl, however, in order to manifest the real beauty of absolute truth, adopted a method very instructive. She took very strong doses of laxatives and purgatives, and for seven days she continually passed loose stool and vomited all that she ate. Moreover, she stored all the loose stool and vomit in suitable pots. As a result of the purgatives, the so-called beautiful girl became lean and thin like a skeleton, her complexion turned blackish, and her beautiful eyes sank into the sockets of her skull. Thus at the appointed hour she waited anxiously to receive the eager man. The man appeared on the scene well dressed and well behaved and asked the ugly girl he found waiting there about the beautiful girl he was to meet. The man could not recognize the girl he saw as the same beautiful girl for whom he was asking; indeed, although she repeatedly asserted her identity, because of her pitiable condition he was unable to recognize her. At last the girl told the powerful man that she had separated the ingredients of her beauty and stored them in pots. She also told him that he could enjoy those juices of beauty. When the mundane poetic man asked to see these juices of beauty, he was directed to the store of loose stool and liquid vomit, which were emanating an unbearably bad smell. Thus the whole story of the beauty-liquid was disclosed to him. Finally, by the grace of the saintly girl, this man of low character was able to distinguish between the shadow and the substance, and thus he came to his senses. This man's position was similar to the position of every one of us who is attracted by false, material beauty. The girl mentioned above had a beautifully developed material body in accordance with the desires of her mind, but in fact she was apart from that temporary material body and mind. She was in fact a spiritual spark, and so also was the lover who was attracted by her false skin. Mundane intellectuals and aesthetics, however, are deluded by the outward beauty and attraction of the relative truth and are unaware of the spiritual spark, which is both truth and beauty at the same time. The spiritual spark is so beautiful that when it leaves the so-called beautiful body, which in fact is full of stool and vomit, no one wants to touch that body, even if it is decorated with a costly costume. We are all pursuing a false, relative truth, which is incompatible with real beauty. The actual truth, however, is permanently beautiful, retaining the same standard of beauty for innumerable years. That spiritual spark is indestructible. The beauty of the outer skin can be destroyed in only a few hours merely by a dose of a strong purgative, but the beauty of truth is indestructible and always the same. Unfortunately, mundane artists and intellectuals are ignorant of this beautiful spark of spirit. They are also ignorant of the whole fire which is the source of these spiritual sparks, and they are ignorant of the relationships between the sparks and the fire, which take the form of transcendental pastimes. When those pastimes are displayed here by the grace of the Almighty, foolish people who cannot see beyond their senses confuse those pastimes of truth and beauty with the manifestations of loose stool and vomit described above. Thus in despair they ask how truth and beauty can be accommodated at the same time. Mundaners do not know that the whole spiritual entity is the beautiful person who attracts everything. They are unaware that He is the prime substance, the prime source and fountainhead of everything that be. The infinitesimal spiritual sparks, being parts and parcels of that whole spirit, are qualitatively the same in beauty and eternity. The only difference is that the whole is eternally the whole and the parts are eternally the parts. Both of them, however, are the ultimate truth, ultimate beauty, ultimate knowledge, ultimate energy, ultimate renunciation, and ultimate opulence. Although written by the greatest mundane poet or intellectual, any literature which does not describe the ultimate truth and beauty is but a store of loose stool and vomit of the relative truth. Real literature is that which describes the ultimate truth and beauty of the Absolute.

  • Is the World a Good Place?

    You've probably heard of the universe, it's that place where, like, everyone lives. Is it all it's made out to be? Bhaktin Dora gives a review of the material world in this interesting article. The material world and the life we live within it is unnatural for the self. First of all we have to realize, which is not difficult, that the living being is always subject to distress. Indeed, during his life, the living being is forced to undertake all sorts of actions with the only aim being to satisfy his family, society, nation and so on. From the very beginning of his life, even a baby is subject to suffering; his parents are not being able to understand when he tries to express himself, and they give him food or medicine without understanding the cause of these cries. When childhood comes, he is forced to go to school without anyone understanding the usefulness of such so-called education. At school, the child encounters all sorts of difficulties with his classmates, teachers or parents. Indeed, everyone here is demanding results from others, so he will be forced to obey the so-called authorities. Then comes the time when we become young adults; society asks us to choose a job that we will practice all our life in order to feed and house ourselves. So every morning we go to work, and only in the evening we come back to rest. For most of us, this kind of life; eating, sleeping and working very hard for needs as simple as food and a place to rest, is normality. Of course, in the meantime, diseases are added to the picture, and consequently our body makes us suffer in different ways throughout our life. We are subject to constant pain, sometimes physical, sometimes emotional, sometimes psychological. These pains are only due to the fact that we do not know who we are, and who is our eternal benefactor. All these sufferings are not natural for the soul. Why should we suffer? Why is this life synonymous with distress? Simply because we are not in the right place. Let us consider our true nature first, and then understand that we have the right to happiness and that anxiety is not natural for the soul. As a matter of fact, all the problems of existence stem from misunderstanding our true nature. The identification with the body is the source of all anxiety since it generates pseudo duties towards society or our family. But these are all illusory and temporary. As this body is perishable, so are the joys and sorrows that accompany it. The soul, on the other hand, is imperishable and eternal and is not subject to the uncomfortable moments that the body is forced to undergo. The soul is eternally bound to the Lord, the Supreme Self, and enjoys unlimited bliss. The mass of men have no knowledge of their eternal, spiritual nature, which is why they strive to serve their gross material senses without ever being satisfied, for as this body is temporary, so are all the actions that are performed on the material level. But the human life is not meant for the gratification of the senses. It is a fact that all living beings on earth eat, sleep have sex and defend themselves. It is not necessary to be an advanced being to live like that. Dogs, cats, insects and everything else moving and non-moving can perform these four gross activities. But the intelligent man must realize that his human form is more advanced and that the purpose of life is not to live like a dog. It is plain to see that great researchers, scientists or philosophers are all humans. We have never seen cats or dogs in politics or making mathematical calculations. Since we have, however, seen animals eating, sleeping, reproducing and defending themselves, we can conclude that such primal activities do not require great intelligence. A sensible man has to understand and question the purpose of his existence in order to avoid living like an animal. If he wants to stop suffering, he will have to inquire about his real identity. His real identity is the only thing that can fulfill him since it is eternally linked to the Lord. He may try to serve his senses, his family or society, but he will never be free from anxiety. The only way to be free is to know one’s eternal nature, which is to serve God, Krishna, the Supreme Person. This is the real freedom. Not this so-called freedom, to satisfy one's own desires, which can only lead one into the darkness of illusion. This human life is therefore meant for the supreme realization, and it is the only way to escape the clutches of matter.

  • Q&A: How To Become Convinced About Krishna Consciousness?

    Raghu: Hi! I'm sort of familiar with your philosophy, but the attractions of material life strongly sway me. I'd love to be convinced like you guys.. what do I do? By the way, huge respect to you guys. my heart fills with admiration looking at what you'll are doing Purujit dasa: Hare Krishna Prabhu. The whole secret is good association. The best association is Srila Prabhupada. I highly advise you to hear his lectures, read his books, watch his videos on youtube. This is the source of all our inspiration. Thank you for your inquiry and kind words. your servant Purujit Dasa

  • Sudama Vipra Blessed by Krishna

    The following is an excerpt from Srila Prabhupada's "Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead", which is a summary study of the Tenth Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam. King Pariksit was hearing the narrations of the pastimes of Lord Krsna and Lord Balarama from Sukadeva Gosvami. These pastimes are all transcendentally pleasurable to hear, and Maharaja Pariksit addressed Sukadeva Gosvami as follows: "My dear lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is the bestower of both liberation and love of God simultaneously. Anyone who becomes a devotee of the Lord automatically attains liberation without having to make a separate attempt. Because the Lord is unlimited, His pastimes and activities for creating, maintaining and destroying the whole cosmic manifestation are also unlimited. I therefore wish to hear about other pastimes of His which you may not have described as yet. My dear master, the conditioned souls within this material world are frustrated by searching out the pleasure of happiness derived from sense gratification. Such desires for material enjoyment are always piercing the hearts of conditioned souls. But I am actually experiencing how the transcendental topics of Lord Krsna's pastimes can relieve one from being affected by such material activities of sense gratification. I think that no intelligent person can reject this method of hearing the transcendental pastimes of the Lord again and again; simply by hearing, one can remain always steeped in transcendental pleasure. Thus one will not be attracted by material sense gratification." In this statement, Maharaja Pariksit has used two important words: visanna and visesa-jna. Visanna means "morose." Materialistic people invent many ways and means to become fully satisfied, but actually they remain morose. The point may be raised that sometimes transcendentalists also remain morose. Pariksit Maharaja, however, has used the word visesa-jna. There are two kinds of transcendentalists, namely the impersonalists and the personalists. Visesa-jna refers to the personalists, who are interested in transcendental variegatedness. The devotees become jubilant by hearing the descriptions of the personal activities of the Supreme Lord, whereas the impersonalists, who are actually more attracted by the impersonal feature of the Lord, are only superficially attracted by the Lord's personal activities. As such, in spite of coming in contact with the pastimes of the Lord, the impersonalists do not fully realize the benefit to be derived, and thus they become just as morose as the materialists do in pursuing their fruitive activities. King Pariksit continued: "The ability to talk can be perfected only by describing the transcendental qualities of the Lord. The ability to work with one's hands can be successful only when one engages himself in the service of the Lord with those hands. Similarly, one's mind can be peaceful only when one simply thinks of Krsna in full Krsna consciousness. This does not mean that one has to have very great thinking power: one has to understand simply that Krsna, the Absolute Truth, is all-pervasive by His localized aspect of Paramatma. If one can simply think that Krsna, as Paramatma, is everywhere, even within the atom, then one can perfect the thinking, feeling and willing functions of his mind. The perfect devotee does not see the material world as it appears to material eyes, for he sees everywhere the presence of his worshipable Lord in His Paramatma feature." Maharaja Pariksit continued by saying that the function of the ear can be perfected simply by engagement in hearing the transcendental activities of the Lord, and the function of the head can be fully utilized when the head is engaged in bowing down before the Lord and His representative. That the Lord is represented in everyone's heart is a fact, and therefore the highly advanced devotee offers his respects to every living entity, considering that the body is the temple of the Lord. But it is not possible for all men to come to that stage of life immediately, because that stage is for the first-class devotee. The second-class devotee can consider the Vaisnavas, or the devotees of the Lord, to be representatives of Krsna, and the devotee who is just beginning, the neophyte or third-class devotee, can bow his head before the Deity in the temple and before the spiritual master, who is the direct manifestation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, in the neophyte stage, in the intermediate stage or in the fully advanced, perfected stage, one can make the function of the head perfect by bowing down before the Lord or His representative. Similarly, one can perfect the function of the eyes by seeing the Lord and His representative. In this way, everyone can elevate the functions of the different parts of his body to the highest perfectional stage simply by engaging them in the service of the Lord or His representative. If one is able to do nothing more, he can simply bow down before the Lord and His representative and drink the caranamrta, the water which has washed the lotus feet of the Lord or His devotee. On hearing these statements of Maharaja Pariksit's, Sukadeva Gosvami was overwhelmed with devotional ecstasy because of King Pariksit's advanced understanding of the Vaisnava philosophy. Sukadeva Gosvami was already engaged in describing the activities of the Lord, and when asked by Maharaja Pariksit to describe them further, he continued to narrate Srimad-Bhagavatam with great pleasure. There was a very nice brahmana friend of Lord Krsna. As a perfect brahmana, he was very elevated in transcendental knowledge, and because of his advanced knowledge, he was not at all attached to material enjoyment. Therefore he was very peaceful and had achieved supreme control over his senses. This means that the brahmana was a perfect devotee, because unless one is a perfect devotee he cannot achieve the highest standard of knowledge. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita that a person who has come to the perfection of knowledge surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, any person who has surrendered his life for the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead has come to the point of perfect knowledge. The result of perfect knowledge is that one becomes detached from the materialistic way of life. This detachment means complete control of the senses, which are always attracted by material enjoyment. The senses of the devotee become purified, and in that stage the senses are engaged in the service of the Lord. That is the complete field of devotional service. Although the brahmana friend of Lord Krsna was a householder, he was not busy accumulating wealth for very comfortable living; therefore he was satisfied by the income which automatically came to him according to his destiny. This is the sign of perfect knowledge. A man in perfect knowledge knows that one cannot be happier than he is destined to be. In this material world, everyone is destined to suffer a certain amount of distress and enjoy a certain amount of happiness. The amount of happiness and distress is already predestined for every living entity. No one can increase or decrease the happiness of the materialistic way of life. The brahmana, therefore, did not exert himself for more material happiness; instead, he used his time for advancement of Krsna consciousness. Externally he appeared very poor because he had no rich clothes and could not provide rich clothes for his wife. Because their material condition was not very opulent, they were not even eating sufficiently, and thus both he and his wife appeared very thin. The wife was not anxious for her personal comfort, but she felt concerned for her husband, who was such a pious brahmana. She trembled due to her weak health, and although she did not like to dictate to her husband, she spoke as follows. "My dear lord, I know that Lord Krsna, the husband of the goddess of fortune, is your personal friend. You are also a devotee of Lord Krsna, and He is always ready to help His devotee. Even if you think that you are not rendering any devotional service to the Lord, still you are surrendered to Him, and the Lord is the protector of the surrendered soul. Moreover, I know that Lord Krsna is the ideal personality of Vedic culture. He is always in favor of brahminical culture and is very kind to the qualified brahmanas. You are the most fortunate person because you have as your friend the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Krsna is the only shelter for personalities like you because you are fully surrendered unto Him. You are saintly, learned and fully in control of your senses. Under the circumstances, Lord Krsna is your only shelter. Please, therefore, go to Him. I am sure that He will immediately understand your impoverished position. You are a householder; therefore without money you are in distress. But as soon as He understands your position, He will certainly give you sufficient riches so that you can live very comfortably. Lord Krsna is now the king of the Bhoja, Vrsni and Andhaka dynasties, and I have heard that He never leaves His capital city, Dvaraka. He is living there without outside engagements. He is so kind and liberal that He immediately gives everything, even His personal self, to any person who surrenders unto Him. Since He is prepared to give Himself personally to His devotee, there is nothing wonderful in giving some material riches. Of course, He does not give much material wealth to His devotee if the devotee is not very much fixed, but I think that in your case He knows perfectly well how much you are fixed in devotional service. Therefore He will not hesitate to award you some material benefit for the bare necessities of life." In this way, the wife of the brahmana again and again requested, in great humility and submission, that he go to Lord Krsna. The brahmana thought that there was no need to ask any material benefit from Lord Sri Krsna, but he was induced by the repeated requests of his wife. Moreover, he thought, "If I go there I shall be able to see the Lord personally. That will be a great opportunity, even if I don't ask any material benefit from Him." When he had decided to go to Krsna, he asked his wife if she had anything in the home that he could offer to Krsna, because he must take some presentation for his friend. The wife immediately collected four palmfuls of chipped rice from her neighborhood friends and tied it in a small cloth, like a handkerchief, and gave it to her husband to present to Krsna. Without waiting any longer, the brahmana took the presentation and proceeded toward Dvaraka to see his Lord. He was absorbed in the thought of how he would be able to see Lord Krsna. He had no thought within his heart other than Krsna. It was of course very difficult to reach the palaces of the kings of the Yadu dynasty, but brahmanas were allowed to visit. When the brahmana friend of Lord Krsna went there, he, along with other brahmanas, had to pass through three military encampments. In each camp there were very big gates, and he also had to pass through them. After the gates and the camps, there were sixteen thousand big palaces, the residential quarters of the sixteen thousand queens of Lord Krsna. The brahmana entered one palace which was very gorgeously decorated. When he entered this beautiful palace, he felt that he was swimming in the ocean of transcendental pleasure. He felt himself constantly diving and surfacing in that transcendental ocean. At that time, Lord Krsna was sitting on the bedstead of Queen Rukmini. Even from a considerable distance He could see the brahmana coming to His home, and He could recognize him as His friend. Lord Krsna immediately left His seat and came forward to receive His brahmana friend and, upon reaching him, embraced the brahmana with His two arms. Lord Krsna is the reservoir of all transcendental pleasure, yet He Himself felt great pleasure upon embracing the poor brahmana because He was meeting His very dear friend. Lord Krsna had him seated on His own bedstead and personally brought all kinds of fruits and drinks to offer him, as is proper in receiving a worshipable guest. Lord Sri Krsna is the supreme pure, but because He was playing the role of an ordinary human being, He immediately washed the brahmana's feet and, for His own purification, sprinkled the water onto His head. After this the Lord smeared the body of the brahmana with different kinds of scented pulp, such as sandalwood, aguru and saffron. He immediately burned several kinds of scented incense and, as is usual, offered him arati with burning lamps. After thus offering him an adequate welcome and after the brahmana had taken food and drink, Lord Krsna said, "My dear friend, it is a great fortune that you have come here." The brahmana, being very poor, was not dressed nicely; his clothing was torn and dirty, and his body was very lean and thin. He appeared not very clean, and because of his weak body, his bones were distinctly visible. The goddess of fortune Rukminidevi personally began to fan him with the camara fan, but the other women in the palace were astonished at Lord Krsna's behavior in receiving the brahmana in that way. They were surprised to see how eager Lord Krsna was to welcome this particular brahmana. They wondered how Lord Krsna could personally receive a brahmana who was poor, not very neat or clean, and poorly dressed; but at the same time they could realize that the brahmana was not an ordinary living being. They knew that he must have performed great pious activities; otherwise why was Lord Krsna, the husband of the goddess of fortune, taking care of him so much? They were still more surprised to see that the brahmana was seated on the bedstead of Lord Krsna. They were especially surprised to see that Lord Krsna had embraced him exactly as He embraced His elder brother, Balaramaji, because Lord Krsna used to embrace only Rukmini or Balarama, and no one else. After the brahmana had been received nicely and seated on Lord Krsna's own cushioned bed, he and Krsna took each other's hands and began to talk about their early life, when they had both lived under the protection of the gurukula (a boarding school). Lord Krsna said, "My dear brahmana friend, you are a most intelligent personality, and you know very well the principles of religious life. I believe that after you finished your education at the house of our teacher and after you sufficiently remunerated him, you must have gone back to your home and accepted a suitable wife. I know very well that from the beginning you were not at all attached to the materialistic way of life, nor did you desire to be very opulent materially, and therefore you are in need of money. In this material world, persons who are not attached to material opulence are very rarely found. Such unattached persons haven't the least desire to accumulate wealth and prosperity for sense gratification, but sometimes they are found to collect money just to exhibit the exemplary life of a householder. They show how by proper distribution of wealth one can become an ideal householder and at the same time a great devotee. Such ideal householders are to be considered followers of My footsteps. I hope, My dear brahmana friend, that you remember all those days of our school life when you and I were living together at the boarding school. Actually, whatever knowledge you and I received in life was accumulated in our student life. "If a man is sufficiently educated in student life under the guidance of a proper teacher, his life becomes successful in the future. He can very easily cross over the ocean of nescience, and he is not subject to the influence of the illusory energy. My dear friend, everyone should consider his father to be his first teacher because by the mercy of one's father one gets this body. The father is therefore the natural spiritual master. Our next spiritual master is he who initiates us into transcendental knowledge, and he is to be worshiped as much as I am. The spiritual master may be more than one. The spiritual master who instructs the disciple about spiritual matters is called the siksa-guru, and the spiritual master who initiates the disciple is called the diksa-guru. Both of them are My representatives. There may be many spiritual masters who instruct, but the initiator spiritual master is one. A human being who takes advantage of these spiritual masters and, receiving proper knowledge from them, crosses the ocean of material existence is to be understood as having properly utilized his human form of life. He has practical knowledge that the ultimate interest of life, which is to be gained only in this human form, is to achieve spiritual perfection and thus be transferred back home, back to Godhead. "My dear friend, I am Paramatma, the Supersoul present in everyone's heart, and it is My direct order that human society follow the principles of varna and asrama. As I have stated in the Bhagavad-gita, human society should be divided into four varnas, according to quality and action. Similarly, everyone should divide his life into four parts. One should utilize the first part of life in becoming a bona fide student, receiving adequate knowledge and keeping oneself in the vow of brahmacarya, so that one may completely devote his life for the service of the spiritual master without indulging in sense gratification. A brahmacari is meant to lead a life of austerities and penance. The householder is meant to live a regulated life of sense gratification, but no one should remain a householder for the third stage of life. In that stage, one has to return to the austerities and penances formerly practiced in brahmacari life and thus relieve himself of the attachment to household life. After being relieved of his attachments to the materialistic way of life, one may accept the order of sannyasa. "As the Supersoul of the living entities, I sit in everyone's heart and observe everyone's activity in every stage and order of life. Regardless of which stage one is in, when I see that one is engaged seriously and sincerely in discharging the duties ordered by the spiritual master and is thus dedicating his life to the service of the spiritual master, that person becomes most dear to Me. As far as the life of brahmacarya is concerned, if one can continue the life of a brahmacari under the direction of a spiritual master, that is extremely good; but if in brahmacari life one feels sex impulses, he should take leave of his spiritual master, satisfying him according to the guru's desire. According to the Vedic system, a gift is offered to the spiritual master, which is called guru-daksina. Then the disciple should take to householder life and accept a wife according to religious rites." These instructions given by Lord Krsna while talking with His friend the learned brahmana are very good for the guidance of human society. A system of human civilization that does not promote varna and asrama is nothing but a polished animal society. Indulgence in sex life by a man or woman living single is never acceptable in human society. A man should strictly follow the principles of brahmacari life or, with the permission of the spiritual master, should get married. Single life with illicit sex is animal life, for the animals have no such institution as marriage. Modern society does not aim at fulfilling the mission of human life, which is to go back home, back to Godhead. To fulfill this mission, the system of varna and asrama must be followed. When the system is followed rigidly and consciously, it fulfills this mission, but when followed indirectly, without the guidance of superior authority, it simply creates a disturbing condition in human society, and there is no peace and prosperity. Krsna continued to talk with His brahmana friend: "My dear friend, I think you remember our activities during the days when we were living as students. You may remember that once we went to collect fuel from the forest on the order of the guru's wife. While collecting the dried wood, we entered the dense forest and by chance became lost. There was an unexpected dust storm and then clouds and lightning in the sky and the explosive sound of thunder. Then sunset came, and we were lost in the dark jungle. After this, there was severe rainfall; the whole ground was overflooded with water, and we could not trace out the way to return to our guru's asrama. You may remember that heavy rainfall -- it was not actually rainfall but a sort of devastation. On account of the dust storm and the heavy rain, we began to feel greatly pained, and in whichever direction we turned we were bewildered. In that distressed condition, we took each other's hand and tried to find our way out. We passed the whole night in that way, and early in the morning, when our absence became known to our gurudeva, he sent his other disciples to search us out. He also came with them, and when they reached us in the jungle they found us very much distressed. "With great compassion our gurudeva said, ‘My dear boys, it is very wonderful that you have suffered so much trouble for me. Everyone likes to take care of his body as the first consideration, but you are so good and faithful to your guru that without caring for bodily comforts you have taken so much trouble for me. I am glad to see that bona fide students like you will undergo any kind of trouble for the satisfaction of the spiritual master. That is the way for a bona fide disciple to become free from his debt to the spiritual master. It is the duty of the disciple to dedicate his life to the service of the spiritual master. My dear best of the twice-born, I am greatly pleased by your acts, and I bless you: May all your desires and ambitions be fulfilled. May the understanding of the Vedas which you have learned from me always continue to remain within your memory, so that at every moment you can remember the teachings of the Vedas and quote their instructions without difficulty. Thus you will never be disappointed in this life or the next.'" Krsna continued: "My dear friend, you may remember that many such incidents occurred while we were in the asrama of our spiritual master. Both of us can realize that without the blessings of the spiritual master no one can be happy. By the mercy of the spiritual master and by his blessings, one can achieve peace and prosperity and be able to fulfill the mission of human life." On hearing this, the learned brahmana replied, "My dear Krsna, You are the Supreme Lord and the supreme spiritual master of everyone, and since I was fortunate enough to live with You in the house of our guru, I think I have nothing more to do in the matter of prescribed Vedic duties. My dear Lord, the Vedic hymns, ritualistic ceremonies, religious activities and all other necessities for the perfection of human life, including economic development, sense gratification and liberation, are all derived from one source: Your supreme personality. All the different processes of life are ultimately meant for understanding Your personality. In other words, they are the different parts of Your transcendental form. And yet You played the role of a student and lived with us in the house of the guru. This means that You adopted all these pastimes for Your pleasure only; otherwise there was no need for Your playing the role of a human being." Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul of all living entities, knows everyone's heart very well. He is especially inclined to the brahmana devotees. Lord Krsna is also called brahmanya-deva, which means that He is worshiped by the brahmanas. Therefore it is understood that a devotee who is fully surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead has already acquired the position of a brahmana. Without becoming a brahmana, one cannot approach the Supreme Brahman, Lord Krsna. Krsna is especially concerned with vanquishing the distress of His devotees, and He is the only shelter of pure devotees. Lord Krsna engaged for a long time in talking with Sudama Vipra about their past association. Then, just to enjoy the company of an old friend, Lord Krsna began to smile and asked, "My dear friend, what have you brought for Me? Has your wife given you some nice eatable for Me?" While addressing His friend, Lord Krsna looked upon him and smiled with great love. He continued: "My dear friend, you must have brought some presentation for Me from your home." Lord Krsna knew that Sudama was hesitating to present Him with the paltry chipped rice, which was actually unfit for His eating. Understanding the mind of Sudama Vipra, the Lord said, "My dear friend, I am certainly not in need of anything, but if My devotee gives Me something as an offering of love, even though it may be very insignificant, I accept it with great pleasure. On the other hand, if a person is not a devotee, even though he may offer Me very valuable things, I do not like to accept them. I actually accept only things offered to Me in devotion and love; otherwise, however valuable a thing may be, I do not accept it. If My pure devotee offers Me even the most insignificant things -- a little flower, a little piece of leaf, a little water -- but saturates the offering in devotional love, then not only do I gladly accept such an offering, but I eat it with great pleasure." Lord Krsna assured Sudama Vipra that He would be very glad to accept the chipped rice he had brought from home, yet out of great shyness Sudama Vipra hesitated to present it to the Lord. He was thinking, "How can I offer such an insignificant thing to Krsna?" and he simply bowed his head. Lord Krsna, the Supersoul, knows everything in everyone's heart. He knows everyone's determination and everyone's want. He knew, therefore, the reason for Sudama Vipra's coming to Him. He knew that, driven by extreme poverty, he had come there at the request of his wife. Thinking of Sudama as His very dear class friend, He knew that Sudama's love for Him as a friend was never tainted by any desire for material benefit. Krsna thought, "Sudama has not come asking anything from Me; being obliged by the request of his wife, he has come to see Me just to please her." Lord Krsna therefore decided that He would give more material opulence to Sudama Vipra than could be imagined even by the king of heaven. He then snatched the bundle of chipped rice which was hanging on the shoulder of the poor brahmana, packed in one corner of his wrapper, and said, "What is this? My dear friend, you have brought Me nice, palatable chipped rice!" He encouraged Sudama Vipra, saying, "I consider that this quantity of chipped rice will satisfy not only Me but the whole creation." It is understood from this statement that Krsna, being the original source of everything, is the root of the entire creation. As watering the root of a tree immediately distributes water to every part of the tree, so an offering made to Krsna, or any action done for Krsna, is to be considered the highest welfare work for everyone, because the benefit of such an offering is distributed throughout the creation. Love for Krsna is distributed to all living entities. While Lord Krsna was speaking to Sudama Vipra, He ate one morsel of chipped rice from his bundle, and when He attempted to eat a second morsel, Rukminidevi, the goddess of fortune herself, checked the Lord by catching hold of His hand. After touching the hand of Krsna, Rukmini said, "My dear Lord, this one morsel of chipped rice is sufficient to cause him who offered it to become very opulent in this life and to continue his opulence in the next life. My Lord, You are so kind to Your devotee that even this one morsel of chipped rice pleases You very greatly, and Your pleasure assures the devotee opulence in both this life and the next." This indicates that when food is offered to Lord Krsna with love and devotion and He is pleased and accepts it from the devotee, Rukminidevi, the goddess of fortune, becomes so greatly obliged to the devotee that she has to go personally to the devotee's home to turn it into the most opulent home in the world. If one feeds Narayana sumptuously, the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, automatically becomes a guest in one's house, which means that one's home becomes opulent. The learned brahmana Sudama passed that night at the house of Lord Krsna, and while there he felt as if he were living on a Vaikuntha planet. Actually he was living in Vaikuntha, because wherever Lord Krsna, the original Narayana, and Rukminidevi, the goddess of fortune, live is not different from the spiritual planets, Vaikunthaloka. The learned brahmana Sudama did not appear to have received anything substantial from Lord Krsna while at His palace, yet he did not ask anything from the Lord. The next morning he started for his home, thinking always about his reception by Krsna, and thus he merged in transcendental bliss. All the way home he simply remembered the dealings of Lord Krsna, and he felt very happy to have seen the Lord. The brahmana thought, "It is most pleasurable to see Lord Krsna, who is most devoted to the brahmanas. How great a lover He is of the brahminical culture! He is the Supreme Brahman Himself, yet He reciprocates with the brahmanas. He also respects the brahmanas so much that He embraced to His chest such a poor brahmana as me, although He never embraces anyone to His chest except the goddess of fortune. How can there be any comparison between me, a poor, sinful brahmana, and the Supreme Lord Krsna, who is the only shelter of the goddess of fortune? And yet, considering me a brahmana, with heartfelt pleasure He embraced me in His two transcendental arms. Lord Krsna was so kind to me that He allowed me to sit on the same bedstead where the goddess of fortune lies down. He considered me His real brother. How can I appreciate my obligation to Him? When I was tired, Srimati Rukminidevi, the goddess of fortune, began to fan me, holding the camara whisk in her own hand. She never considered her exalted position as the first queen of Lord Krsna. I was rendered service by the Supreme Personality of Godhead because of His high regard for the brahmanas, and by massaging my legs and feeding me with His own hand, He practically worshiped me! Aspiring for elevation to the heavenly planets, liberation, all kinds of material opulence, or perfection in the powers of mystic yoga, everyone throughout the universe worships the lotus feet of Lord Krsna. Yet the Lord was so kind to me that He did not give me even a farthing, knowing very well that I am a poverty-stricken man who, if I got some money, might become puffed up and mad after material opulence and so forget Him." The statement of the brahmana Sudama is correct. An ordinary man who is very poor and prays to the Lord for benediction in material opulence, and who somehow or other becomes richer in material opulence, immediately forgets his obligation to the Lord. Therefore, the Lord does not offer opulences to His devotee unless the devotee is thoroughly tested. Rather, if a neophyte devotee serves the Lord very sincerely and at the same time wants material opulence, the Lord keeps him from obtaining it. Thinking in this way, the learned brahmana gradually reached his own home. But there he saw that everything was wonderfully changed. He saw that in place of his cottage there were big palaces made of valuable stones and jewels, glittering like the sun, moon and rays of fire. Not only were there big palaces, but at intervals there were beautifully decorated parks, in which many beautiful men and women were strolling. In those parks there were nice lakes full of lotus flowers and beautiful lilies, and there were flocks of multicolored birds. Seeing the wonderful conversion of his native place, the brahmana began to think to himself, "How am I seeing all these changes? Does this place belong to me or to someone else? If it is the same place where I used to live, then how has it so wonderfully changed?" While the learned brahmana was considering this, a group of beautiful men and women with features resembling those of the demigods, accompanied by musical chanters, approached to welcome him. All were singing auspicious songs. The wife of the brahmana was very glad on hearing the tidings of her husband's arrival, and with great haste she came out of the palace. The brahmana's wife appeared so beautiful that it seemed as if the goddess of fortune herself had come to receive him. As soon as she saw her husband present before her, tears of joy fell from her eyes, and her voice became so choked up that she could not even address her husband. She simply closed her eyes in ecstasy. But with great love and affection she bowed down before her husband, and within herself she thought of embracing him. She was fully decorated with a gold necklace and ornaments, and while standing among the maidservants she appeared like a demigod's wife just alighting from an airplane. The brahmana was surprised to see his wife so beautiful, and in great affection and without saying a word he entered the palace with her. When the brahmana entered his personal apartment in the palace, he saw that it was not an apartment but the residence of the king of heaven. The palace was surrounded by many columns of jewels. The couches and the bedsteads were made of ivory and bedecked with gold and jewels, and the bedding was as white as the foam of milk and as soft as a lotus. There were many whisks hanging from golden rods, and many golden thrones with sitting cushions as soft as lotus flowers. In various places there were velvet and silken canopies with laces of pearls hanging all around. The structure of the building stood on excellent transparent marble, with engravings made of emerald stones. All the women in the palace carried lamps made of valuable jewels. The flames and the jewels combined to produce a wonderfully brilliant light. When the brahmana saw his position suddenly changed to one of opulence, and when he could not determine the cause for such a sudden change, he began to consider very gravely how it had happened. He thus began to think, "From the beginning of my life I have been extremely poverty-stricken, so what could be the cause of such great and sudden opulence? I do not find any cause other than the all-merciful glance of my friend Lord Krsna, the chief of the Yadu dynasty. Certainly these are gifts of Lord Krsna's causeless mercy. The Lord is self-sufficient, the husband of the goddess of fortune, and thus He is always full with six opulences. He can understand the mind of His devotee, and He sumptuously fulfills the devotee's desires. All these are acts of my friend Lord Krsna. My beautiful dark friend Krsna is far more liberal than the cloud, which can fill the great ocean with water. Without disturbing the cultivator with rain during the day, the cloud brings liberal rain at night just to satisfy him. And yet when the cultivator wakes up in the morning, he thinks that it has not rained enough. Similarly, the Lord fulfills the desire of everyone according to his position, yet one who is not in Krsna consciousness considers all the gifts of the Lord to be less than his desire. On the other hand, when the Lord receives a little thing in love and affection from His devotee, He considers it a great and valuable gift. I am a vivid example of this: I simply offered Him a morsel of chipped rice, and in exchange He has given me opulences greater than those of the king of heaven." What the devotee actually offers the Lord is not needed by the Lord, for He is self-sufficient. If the devotee offers something to the Lord, it acts for his own interest because whatever a devotee offers the Lord comes back in a quantity a million times greater than what was offered. One does not become a loser by giving to the Lord; one becomes a gainer by millions of times. The brahmana, feeling great obligation to Krsna, thought, "I pray to have the friendship of Lord Krsna and to engage in His service, and to surrender fully unto Him in love and affection, life after life. I do not want any opulence. I only desire not to forget His service. I simply wish to be associated with His pure devotees. May my mind and activities be always engaged in His service. The unborn Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, knows that many great personalities have fallen from their positions because of extravagant opulence. Therefore, even when His devotee asks for some opulence from Him, the Lord sometimes does not give it. He is very cautious about His devotees. Because a devotee in an immature position of devotional service may, if offered great opulence, fall from his position due to being in the material world, the Lord does not offer opulence to him. This is another manifestation of the causeless mercy of the Lord upon His devotee. His first interest is that the devotee not fall. He is exactly like a well-wishing father who does not give much wealth into the hand of his immature son, but who, when the son is grown up and knows how to spend money, gives him the whole treasury house." The learned brahmana thus concluded that whatever opulences he had received from the Lord should be used not for his extravagant sense gratification but for the service of the Lord. The brahmana accepted his newly acquired opulence, but he did so in a spirit of renunciation, remaining unattached to sense gratification, and thus he lived very peacefully with his wife, enjoying all the facilities of opulence as the prasadam of the Lord. He enjoyed varieties of food by offering it to the Lord and then taking it as prasadam. Similarly, if by the grace of the Lord we get such opulences as material wealth, fame, power, education and beauty, it is our duty to consider that they are all gifts of the Lord and must be used for His service, not for our sense enjoyment. The learned brahmana remained in that position, and thus his love and affection for Lord Krsna increased day after day; it did not deteriorate due to great opulence. Material opulence can be the cause of degradation and also the cause of elevation, according to the purposes for which it is used. If opulence is used for sense gratification it is the cause of degradation, and if used for the service of the Lord it is the cause of elevation. It is evident from Lord Krsna's dealings with Sudama Vipra that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very, very much pleased with a person who possesses brahminical qualities. A qualified brahmana like Sudama Vipra is naturally a devotee of Lord Krsna. Therefore it is said, brahmano vaisnavah: a brahmana is a Vaisnava. Or sometimes it is said, brahmanah panditah. Pandita means a highly learned person. A brahmana cannot be foolish or uneducated. Therefore there are two divisions of brahmanas, namely Vaisnavas and panditas. Those who are simply learned are panditas but not yet devotees of the Lord, or Vaisnavas. Lord Krsna is not especially pleased with them. Simply the qualification of being a learned brahmana is not sufficient to attract the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Not only must a brahmana be well qualified according to the requirements stated in scriptures such as Srimad Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, but at the same time he must be a devotee of Lord Krsna. The vivid example is Sudama Vipra. He was a qualified brahmana, unattached to all sorts of material sense enjoyment, and at the same time he was a great devotee of Lord Krsna. Lord Krsna, the enjoyer of all sacrifices and penances, is very fond of a brahmana like Sudama Vipra, and we have seen by the actual behavior of Lord Krsna how much He adores such a brahmana. Therefore, the ideal stage of human perfection is to become a brahmana-vaisnava like Sudama Vipra. Sudama Vipra realized that although Lord Krsna is unconquerable, He nevertheless agrees to be conquered by His devotees. He realized how kind Lord Krsna was to him, and he was always in trance, constantly thinking of Krsna. By such constant association with Lord Krsna, whatever darkness of material contamination remained within his heart was completely cleared away, and very shortly he was transferred to the spiritual kingdom, which is the goal of all saintly persons in the perfectional stage of life. Sukadeva Gosvami has stated that all persons who hear this history of Sudama Vipra and Lord Krsna will know how affectionate Lord Krsna is to brahmana devotees like Sudama. Therefore anyone who hears this history gradually becomes as qualified as Sudama Vipra, and he is thus transferred to the spiritual kingdom of Lord Krsna.

  • Srila Prabhupada on Hegel

    The following is an excerpt from a series of conversations with Srila Prabhupada on the topic of Western philosophy. These can be found in the book entitled Dialectic Spiritualism. Hayagriva: And, uh, we can go on to Hegel? Prabhupada: Yes. Hayagriva: He did quite a bit of reading in Indian philosophy, but it seems to be confined to impersonal... Prabhupada: Yes. Hayagriva: ...the Upanisads. Prabhupada: It is simply, Upanisads is just the opposite -- spirit is not matter. That is the instruction of Upanisads. Hayagriva: He writes, "Spirit, in so far as it is the spirit of God is not a spirit beyond the stars, beyond the world. On the contrary, God is present, omnipresent and exists as spirit in all spirits. God is a living God who is acting and working. Religion is a product of the divine spirit. It is not a discovery of man but a work of divine operation." Prabhupada: This is very important thing, that a man cannot manufacture religion. That is very important point. Therefore we say religion means the words, the order given by God. Just like Krsna says: sarva-dharman parityajya. [Bg 18.66] [Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.] "You have manufactured so many religious system. You give up, kick it out. It has no value. Here is religion." And in the beginning He said, dharma-samsthapanarthaya: "I have appeared to re-establish the principle of religion." [Bg 4.8] [In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.] And He says at last that, "Give up. Kick out all this so-called religion. Here is religion." What is that? Mam ekam saranam: "You just surrender to Me." This is religion. And Bhagavata [6.3.19] says, dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam: "The order given by God, that is religion." Otherwise everything is bogus, it has no meaning. The same example: law means which is given by the government. You cannot say, "I have prepared the law." Who will care for you? Even the small law, "Keep to the right," that is religion. If you say, "What is the wrong? If I keep to the left..." No. That will not be accepted. "Keep to the right," is religion and, "Keep to the left" is criminal. So religious, pious and impious, everything on the order of Krsna, or God. If you follow strictly the instruction of Krsna, then you are religious, pious, transcendental, devotee, everything. And if you defy Krsna, you manufacture your own way, then you are rascal, asura: na mam duskrtino mudhah prapadyante naradhamah [Bg 7.15]. He is naradhamah. This is the way. Lowest of the mankind: naradhamah, who do not follow the instruction of Krsna; our God. [Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto Me.] Hayagriva: He writes, "The lifting of the spirit to God occurs in the innermost regions of spirit upon the basis of thought. Religion as the innermost affair of man has here its center and the root of its life. God is in his very essence thought and thinking, however His image and configuration, configuration be determined otherwise." Prabhupada: His image, if God is absolute, His image is also God. If God is absolute, then His words are also God. That is absolute conception. There is not different. So the image which we worship in the temple, if it is actually image of God, then it as good as God. God is absolute. God says that, "This earth, water..., so everything is My energy." So even if you say, "This image is made of stone," but the stone is God's energy, bhumi -- earth. So there is a regulative principle, just like a wire, a copper wire, it is carrying electricity. Although the copper wire is not electricity, but it is carrying electricity. Similarly, if you take even material -- otherwise spiritually everything is God, that is another thing. But materially if we distinguish that the copper wire, it appears as copper wire but if you touch, "Oh, there is electricity." So it is manipulated. Similarly, by the rules and regulation as enunciated by the experienced spiritual master and guru. Ah then even if you think it is stone, it is God. The same example, you see it is electric wire, but it is electricity. Similarly: arcye visnau sila-dhir gurusu nara-matih [Padma Purana]. It is..., this has been warned: don't think that this sila -- stone, is God. Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu, as soon as saw Jagannatha, immediately fainted. So we have to be trained up by the instruction of God -- how to realize God everywhere. Hayagriva: Hegel considered, "History and theodicy to be integral." He looks on history, "As a justification of God," and he rejects the Vedic conception of history because he doesn't see it, "Unfolding any particular meaning." That is, "Universes are created, maintained and annihilated in an apparently meaningless way." For Hegel, "History has to tell the story of man's elevation to God. Apart from the history of man, God would be alone and lifeless. God seems to depend on human history. God is not transcendental but is manifest in the world." Prabhupada: But if He is dependent on history, how He is God? This is nonsense proposal. [laughing] He is dependent on history! Hayagriva: Doesn't the history of mankind necessarily... Prabhupada: Whatever it may be, God is independent -- svatantra. Janmady asya yatah anvayad itaratas ca arthesu abhijnah svarat [SB 1.1.1]. Svarat -- independent. He does not depend on anything; still He is God. That is God. If He is dependent on anything, then He is not God. Hayagriva: But does the history of man necessarily make any sense? He, he saw it as progressing, as man, here again is evolution... Prabhupada: As soon, as soon as there is creation there is history. From the very beginning, that this is the point of creation and it will go on, history, until it is ended. Just like as soon as you are born, your horoscope is made -- the history. Now throughout your whole life there are so many activities. And after, we also believe next, next life the history continues. But superficially we make history from the beginning to the end of this body, that's all. But God is not subject to such rule that, "God is created at a certain point and He is ended at a certain point." Then where is the question of history? There is no history. History is for the small things. For me there is past, present, future. For God there is no such thing as past, present, future. So where is the history? History means past, present, future. Hayagriva: Yes. Prabhupada: But God has no past, present, future. So where is history? It is all nonsense. He does not know what is the meaning of God. Hayagriva: Hegel placed a great deal of emphasis on human freedom. Prabhupada: There is no freedom. That is another nonsense. Hayagriva: Yes. [Laughter] Prabhupada: [laughs] He is subjected to birth, death, old age. Where is his freedom? That is another nonsense. Hayagriva: He accuses the Orientals, mainly the Indians... He says, "The Orientals do not know that the spirit is free in itself or that man is free in himself. Because they do not know it, they are not free." Prabhupada: But is he free? Why he died? [laughs] The Orientals he is accusing. Why he died? This is their nonsense speculation. Hayagriva: He says, "They only know that the one" -- that is, the one Brahman -- "Is free; therefore such freedom is only arbitrary." Prabhupada: Then why he says that the human being should be free? Hayagriva: He says, "This one, supreme one is therefore a despot, not a free man, not a man. Only the Germanic nations have in and through Christianity achieved the consciousness that man as man is free and that freedom of the spirit constitutes his very nature. This consciousness arose first in religion and the innermost region of spirit." Prabhupada: Christian religion is that the man either goes to heaven or goes to hell. So he has got the freedom either go to hell or go to heaven. This freedom he has got. But who gives him hell or heaven? He has got the freedom to make choice, but when he is going to hell, then where is his freedom? That where is the distinction between hell and heaven? These are... If he is Christian he should answer that the man is given chance, once, either to go to hell or go to heaven. So all right, if he goes to heaven it is all right. Then if he goes to hell, where is freedom? This common sense also, that every citizen has got the freedom to live as free citizen or to go to the jail, but one who goes to the jail -- where is freedom? And who gives him the chance of free citizenship or prisoner's life? Therefore his freedom is dependent on somebody, higher principle, who gives him chance to remain free or go to prison. That God is the supreme controller. He gives the living entity freedom to make his choice, either go to hell or go to heaven, but he is not completely free as God is free. Hayagriva: He says, "The grandeur of Indian religion and poetry as well as Indian philosophy have been acknowledged especially in their rejection and sacrifice of the senses." Now his conception is typical nineteenth century... Prabhupada: He has no study of the Vedic literature; a still he poses himself to remark on the Vedic literature. That is his ignorance. Hayagriva: He considers the goal of Indian philosophy to be spiritual as well as physical extinction; nirvana. Prabhupada: Physical extinction, everyone says that -- even Christian religion says -- you go to hell, go to heaven. So who goes to heaven? Who goes to heaven? What is the qualification? Then reasonably, one who has given up this physical. Hayagriva: He says, "Spiritual extinction as well as physical, nirvana." Prabhupada: But then he has no idea what is spiritual. Spiritual is eternal: na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg 2.20]. How does he [indistinct] it. That spiritually... Spirit is also annihilated, then where is the difference between matter and spirit? Imperfect knowledge. [For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.] And still they are big philosopher. Scanty knowledge. Hayagriva: He sees, "The religion of India as a religion in which man is handed laws from a God who is exterior to man, from a will that is entirely foreign to man. And he sees this to be opposed to what he considers to be a more advanced religion, in which the individual soul is lifted to the supernatural through the use of reason, internal sanction or subjective confirmation." In other words, he sees, "The Indian religion as being blind following of an exterior will." He, he says that, "Man can only attain God through the exercise of his own free will." Prabhupada: Then why the animals cannot? Animal is given complete free will. Hayagriva: He says, "Animals have no will." Prabhupada: That is another foolishness. If he has no will, why he goes to different direction? Hayagriva: He says that, "Animals have no right to life because they have no will." Prabhupada: Just see. What is the symptom of life? First of all settle up, how do you know? We can distinguish that this table has no life, that a small ant on the table there is life. How you distinguish, that here is life, there is no life? Then what is the symptom of life? If the symptom of life is there in animal, there is life. Why does he say there is no life? What is this philosophy? There is life. He is eating; you are eating. He is sleeping; you are sleeping. He is having sex; you are having sex. He is also afraid of enemy; you are also afraid. Then why do you say that you have life, he has no life? What is the symptom of life? This is the primary symptom of life. So if he has got these primary symptoms of life, how do you say he has no life? That means you have no intelligence even. Hayagriva: He associates religion with... Prabhupada: As this table has no life, because the table does not require to eat, the table does not require to sleep... But another thing a small ant, he is hankering after, "Where is a little sugar?" hankering, eating. That is life. Hayagriva: He would see that as instinct. Prabhupada: So what is nonsense instinct? The man has got these [laughs] symptoms and the small ant has got these symptoms. That is life. That vague description, and still they are big philosopher. No perfect knowledge. Hayagriva: He associates religion with art. He says, "Religion represents or pictures the absolute, whereas philosophy conceives or thinks of it." Prabhupada: Yes. So religion without philosophical basis is sentiment. It has no value. Hayagriva: And for him God is necessarily manifest in the finite; therefore he places the incarnation of Christ, the incarnation of God as central in the Christian religion. That is in order to, in order to be manifest God has to become finite. God has to become man. Prabhupada: Then if God is man, if He is taken as man, then why His instruction should be followed? Hayagriva: Excuse me? Why His instructions...? Prabhupada: Should be followed? You are man, I am man. Why should you follow my instructions? Hayagriva: Well he says..., he says you shouldn't, because there's no exterior will to be followed. This is Hegel's philosophy. Prabhupada: Then he is godless, God has no use [?], will. Either he is godless or God has no will. Is it not? Then he is animal and if he says the animal has no will, then God becomes exactly like animal. Hayagriva: Speaking of the body and the soul he says, "The body, insofar as it is an uncultivated piece of external existence, is inadequate to the spirit. The spirit must first take possession of it in order to make it it's animated tool. But in reference to other people, I am essentially free even as to my body. It is but a vain sophistry that says that the real person, the soul, cannot be injured by maltreatment offered to one's body. Violence done to the body is really done to me." Since the body, he says is the tool of the soul... Prabhupada: Yes. Hayagriva: ...if you injure the body of a person, you are actually injuring the person... Prabhupada: Yes. Hayagriva: ...because you are injuring his property. Prabhupada: Yes. But why the Christians killing? Hayagriva: How is that? Prabhupada: Why the Christians are killing -- animals? Hayagriva: Yes. If that's the case, why, why mistreat the animals, animal bodies? Prabhupada: Hm? Hayagriva: The animals have no right to life he says, "Because they have no will." Prabhupada: That is his foolishness. He has got will. When you take to the slaughterhouse, he protests. Hayagriva: He says, "Mankind has the right of absolute proprietorship. A thing belongs to the accidental first-comer who gets it." Prabhupada: What accident? Hayagriva: To... A thing belongs... Or whoever comes first. Say there's a gold mine. If I get there first, it's mine, because I'm the first-comer. Prabhupada: That means that, "Might is right." Hayagriva: Yes. Prabhupada: But gold, they say, if he says gold is there, whose gold it is? Hayagriva: He says the first-comer... Prabhupada: No, no. First of all you go and say... First of all you become proprietor. But who is the actual proprietor of the gold, when you did not go? You may go first and claim proprietorship, but the gold was there. So whose property it is? Gold was there. Who made that gold? Who kept that gold? This question must be there. Hayagriva: He says, "It's mine because I put my will into it." Prabhupada: That's all right. It is mine, you have first gone there, accepted. But who kept the gold there? Who made the gold there? And if somebody has made the gold and kept the gold, you go first and capture it, then you are a thief. Is it not? I have kept something there, and somebody comes first, "Ah it is mine," then he is a thief because the gold is already there, it's kept by somebody. You did not take his permission; you simply claimed, "Because I have come first, I am the proprietor." You are not proprietor. But if the gold was kept there for taking part of it to enjoy it by everyone, and you take it by might -- "I have come here first" -- then you are a thief; you are not a philosopher. You have no sense who kept that gold, who manufactured that gold -- you did not take his permission. Because you have come first, therefore you become proprietor -- then you are not a philosopher; you are thief, ordinary thief. "Might is right," "I have come" philosophy. "Therefore I am proprietor." Hayagriva: "Because I will it to be mine..." He says, "Because I come first and will it to be mine, it is mine." Prabhupada: That's all right. By force you can do that, you are doing that. Hayagriva: "And I can relinquish it because I can will to relinquish it." Prabhupada: But first thing is that if you have got will, but reasonable will, that first of all you have to think, "Who has kept this gold here? I am claiming proprietorship simply by coming here, but who has kept this gold here?" Why don't you think like that? What kind of human being you are? Hayagriva: A final point he believed that, "Man should have the freedom to choose his occupation." He writes, "In the Platonic state, subjective freedom was of no account. Since the..." Prabhupada: That means there are already different occupations, and you have freedom to select one of them. But the occupation is already there, created by somebody else. You have the freedom to make a choice. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita [Bg 4.13], catur-varnyam maya srstam: "I have created these four principles of occupational duties." [According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.] Catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah. Now, if according to your qualification you can make a selection, "I, I like this occupation." But the occupation is already there. Just like a shopkeeper, he has got varieties of goods. This the customer goes, he can say, "I like this." "All right, you can take it. This is the price." Similarly, the occupational duties are already there. The [indistinct] is already there. That is created by God. Now you can select one of them according to the price you can pay. That is the... Hayagriva: Not according..., not according to birth? Prabhupada: Huh? Hayagriva: Not according to birth? Prabhupada: No. Hayagriva: He thinks... He says, "In many Oriental states this assignment..." [break] He says, Hegel, "In the Platonic state, in Plato's Republic, the government assigns each individual his occupation. In Oriental states..." In..., for instance in India, he says, "This assignment results from birth." The subjective choice, which ought to be respected, requires free choice by individuals, and he considers this the basic right. Prabhupada: No. The thing is just like Bhagavan Krsna said: catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah. This is going on all over the world. The occupation is that just like engineering occupation. So who can become engineer? Guna-karma, one who has acquired the qualification of engineering profession and is actually acting as engineer. That is wanted. Guna-karma. Krsna never says, "Birth." But later on because an engineer trains his boy as engineer, so naturally he becomes also engineer. Formerly, as we understand from the history of Ajamila... He was a son of a brahmana, and he was being trained up as a brahmana. That was the system. Not that because he has born in the brahmana family he becomes brahmana. No. He has got the chance of being trained up as brahmana by the brahmana father. So it became later on as caste, by birth, because naturally a brahmana father trains his son to become brahmana. But when the brahmana's son becomes a cobbler, that does not mean he is still brahmana. [break] If a brahmana's son has become a cobbler, he should be called a cobbler, or a cobbler's son has become a brahmana he should be called a brahmana. Not by the birth. But it became a qualification of birth because formerly it was easy, because he is dealing with his father and father is brahmana. So automatically, fifty percent he becomes brahmana and fifty percent by training, then he becomes complete brahmana by association, by family. So it is not that a cobbler cannot become brahmana, if he also acquires the qualification of a brahmana. Narada said [SB 7.11.35], tat tenaiva vinirdiset. [If one shows the symptoms of being a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra, as described above, even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be accepted according to those symptoms of classification.] If he has already acquired the qualification of brahmana then he should be called a brahmana. Not that a brahmana's sons becomes qualified as a cobbler, tannery expert and he remains brahmana. That is not. He has no knowledge. Then that means if you have studied all the Vedic literature, he could not say like that. The injunction is: tat tenaiva vinirdiset. The qualification, if you find elsewhere, then he should be designated by the qualification. A doctor's son, instead of taking up the life of medical life, if he becomes engineer, so he should be called engineer, not doctor. Tat tenaiva vinirdiset, it is clearly said. So the Krsna's plan that, "I have created four divisions according to quality and work," catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma [Bg 4.13]; that is final. [According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.] One must have the qualification and he must work. If... He must have the brahminical qualification and he must act as a brahmana. Simply theoretical will not do. Just like we are giving sacred thread to a person who is born in low family, but we are training him also to act as a brahmana. Not that you take the sacred thread and go be..., work as cobbler. No. You must be engaged in Deity worship, brahmana's work, business -- then you are a brahmana. Otherwise you are not a brahmana. Hayagriva: In a very often-quoted passage Hegel writes, "God is only God insofar as He knows Himself. His self-knowledge is more over His consciousness of Himself in man and man's knowledge of God, a knowledge that extends itself into the self-knowledge of man in God." Prabhupada: That, if he accepts that, then why not man takes knowledge of God from God? Then his knowledge is perfect. Why he should speculate? Hayagriva: He considers man to be essential to God. Prabhupada: But he, he has accepted God and man... Hayagriva: Yes. Prabhupada: So to possess the knowledge of God, the best duty of man is to take knowledge from God -- about God. I know myself, that he says, that God knows Himself. So if God knows, that is natural. I know what I am. So if you take knowledge of me from me instead of speculating, that is perfect knowledge. So here in the Bhagavad-gita, the God is explaining Himself. So if you simply take the knowledge given by God, then you're perfect in knowledge of God. Why you are speculating? You are wasting time. Take the knowledge from God about Him, and then you are in perfect knowledge. Why should you speculate? Suppose I am studying you, I am speculating, "Well, Hayagriva may be like this, he might have so much money, he might have so much bank balance, even he is living like that," this is speculation. But if I say, "Hayagriva, what you are?" you say, "I have got this, I do like this," that is my perfect knowledge. Why shall I speculate? Hayagriva: Well then you wouldn't be able to write so many books. Prabhupada: Huh? No. When I have got perfect knowledge, then I can write. Hayagriva: Then. Prabhupada: Without perfect, whatever I write, that is nonsense! That is nonsense. That is the difference -- parampara system. All these philosophers, they are simply talking nonsense, and whatever we are writing -- there is meaning. Why? Because we are studying God from God. This is our perfection. We are not speculating about God. That is the difference. Now I'm expanding my knowledge so that you can understand. That is my writing. But my basic principle is that I have understood God from God, not by speculation. That is my qualification. If I know God from God, then my knowledge about God is perfect. Then whatever I write, that's perfect. Therefore Visvanatha CakravartiThakura says: saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair [Gurv-astaka 7], that therefore all scriptures accept the guru -- spiritual master, as directly the Supreme Lord. The spiritual master is to be honored as much as the Supreme Lord, because he is the most confidential servitor of the Lord. This is acknowledged in all revealed scriptures and followed by all authorities. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of such a spiritual master, who is a bona fide representative of Sri Hari [Krsna]. Why? He does not speak anything nonsense. That is; therefore he is called servitor God. He is serving God, giving the same knowledge as God has given to him; therefore he is perfect. Saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair uktas tatha bhavyata eva. So knowledge, if we, God..., if we take God, what is God, if we understand from God then our knowledge of God is perfect. Simply by speculating you cannot become perfect. That is not possible. So if, if Mr. Hegel...? Hayagriva: Yes. Prabhupada: He is Hegel now God [?] ? What is his...? Hari Sauri: Hegel. Hayagriva: Hegel. Prabhupada: Ah. So if he accepts God and he inducts a man, the man should take knowledge from God about God. Then his knowledge of God is perfect. He should not speculate. And if he has no such source of taking knowledge from God, then his conception of God is also false. If he has got actually the conception of God, then he should take knowledge from God -- what He is. That is perfect knowledge. He was talking of Oriental knowledge. This is Oriental knowledge: they know who is God and they take knowledge from God -- about God. But here, Occidental -- they speculate about God. What they will know about God? Whatever they speculate, that is imperfect -- because he is imperfect. Hayagriva: He equates idea, reason, God and the Absolute very much like the Greeks. Prabhupada: Everything is there, but if you take knowledge from God, then that is perfect. And if you make your own ideas -- you do not take the ideas of God -- that is imperfect. Hayagriva: He does say, "Reason is also infinite form, that which sets this material in motion..." Prabhupada: This is, this is, this is real reasoning that, "I am imperfect or limited. How I can speculate on the unlimited? So better let me learn from the unlimited about the unlimited." That is perfect knowledge. Hayagriva: One final point is that he sees, "The worship of animals and plants to be a form of pantheism." He refers to... Prabhupada: No. Hayagriva: Indian religion... Prabhupada: But Indian, that he does not know; a still he speaks. That is the most regretful situation. Hayagriva: Yes. Prabhupada: If God says that, "Amongst the plants I am this plant..." Hayagriva: Tulasi, Tulasi. Prabhupada: Whatever it may be. Hayagriva: Yes. Prabhupada: So the Hindus, they worship, follow God's instruction. That is they have got, well in a certain sense. God has said that, "Amongst the plants, I am this plant," so I worship. They are not worshiping all, every plant. Hayagriva: This isn't..., then this differs from the pantheists, who would worship, say, everything. Prabhupada: They, they will worship any nonsense, but here it is God consciousness. God has said that, "I am this," so "I am...," I shall worship. That is God, God consciousness. God has said. He has complete faith in God. Just like pranavah sarva-vedesu: "All Vedic knowledge I am the omkara." [Bg 7.8] [O son of Kunti [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.] Therefore they follow: om tad visnu paramam [Rg Veda 1.22.20], every mantra is followed by. [The lotus feet of Lord Visnu are the supreme objective of all the demigods. These lotus feet of the Lord are as enlightening as the sun in the sky.] How he has known omkara is God? That God has said: pranavah sarva-vedesu. So God is giving instruction how He should be realized. So they are following that. They are realized; they realize actually. And what is the use of speculating? He will never understand God because he is speculating with his limited knowledge. Hayagriva: So... Prabhupada: God is unlimited. Hayagriva: So although God is all animals and all plants... Prabhupada: [coughs] That isn't... Hayagriva: Although God is everything, we concentrate on... Prabhupada: No. Hayagriva: ..these particular... Prabhupada: That is especially prohibited. Mat-sthani sarva-bhutani: "Everything is in Me, but I am not there." Just like the body of a dog. The body is on the soul; the platform is the soul. Otherwise there is no meaning of the body. So the body of the dog is depending on the soul of the body. But that does not mean the dog's body is God. Na caham tesv avasthitah. Find out this verse, Mat-sthani sarva-bhutani naham tesu avasthitah. They are taking just as Vivekananda; they, the body of a daridra, poor man, is resting on God, Narayana... Hayagriva: Yes. Prabhupada: ...but he is taking the body as Narayana. That is his knowledge, imperfect. He is saying daridra-narayana. God has become daridra. And he is taking the consideration of the body; therefore he is thinking God has become daridra. The body of a daridra, poor man, is depending on Narayana, but he is taking the body [chuckles]... Hayagriva: Yeah. Prabhupada: Narayana. He is such a fool, and he is going on. Ah. Find out... Hari Sauri: maya tatam idam sarvam jagad avyakta-murtina mat-sthani sarva-bhutani na caham tesv avasthitah [Bg 9.4] Prabhupada: Read the purport. Hari Sauri: Translation. "By Me in My unmanifested form this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them." Prabhupada: "On service of his origin." What is? On His Majesty's service. What is that slogan? Devotee: "On His Majesty's service." Prabhupada: Ah. On every envelope. That does not mean the..., Her Majesty is there. The Majesty, Her Majesty's power, order is everywhere. Mat-sthani sarva-bhutani. The government is acting with the seed on Majesty's service, but that does not mean Her Majesty is there. This is simultaneously one and different, acintya-bhedabheda. Majesty is there because the order is there, but still personally he is not there. So the..., another that Vivekananda say, is that daridra, in daridra -- Narayana is there. But not that daridra -- is Narayana. But he has no vision. He is talking of this daridra as Narayana. This is mistake. Narayana is there undoubtedly, but not that daridra is Narayana. This is impersonalism, Mayavada mistake. That is pantheism. Hayagriva: Pantheism. So when Krsna says, "I am sex life according to dharma," then this means that He can be perceived in this way. Prabhupada: Yes. If you, just like garbhadhana ceremony. That is not a secret thing. That garbhadhana ceremony is that, "I am going to beget a child. I am going to have sex with my wife for begetting a Krsna conscious child," so that Krsna is remembered. While having sex, if he remembers, "Krsna, give me a child who will be Your devotee," that is the duty of the father. So this kind of sex is Krsna. And if we have sex for enjoyment, that is not. That is demonic. That is the, Krsna says... Hayagriva: But Krsna is present nonetheless. Prabhupada: Krsna is always present, but if when you hold a ceremony, garbhadhana ceremony that, "I am going to have sex with my wife for begetting a Krsna conscious child," then you remember Krsna. And at the time of sex, the mentality of the father and mother, that is acquired by the child. There is rules and regulations for garbhadhana ceremony, and in the Bhagavata you will find that as soon as a..., the..., one gives up the garbhadhana ceremony, he is a sudra. So who is observing this garbhadhana ceremony at the present moment? Therefore everyone is sudra. Kalau sudra-sambhavah [Skanda Purana]. Everyone is born as sudra. [In the Age of Kali everyone is born a sudra.] The father and mother gave birth as sudra. So this birthright of brahmana is no longer in this day. Even they falsely claim, "Because I am born of a brahmana father I am brahmana," that sastra will not support. Whether garbhadhana ceremony was performed? And nowadays especially, who knows that he is son of a brahmana? The woman is intermingling with everyone, and who has given birth of the child? Whether he is actually a brahmana's son, a sudra's son, who knows it? [Laughs] So how he can claim by birthright, a brahmana? That is not possible. Therefore everyone is sudra. But he can be trained as a brahmana. That is pancaratriki-vidhi. We are following this pancaratriki-vidhi, not Vedic vidhi. Vedic vidhi is different. Pancaratriki. By training. He has got little tendency, little fire, to become Krsna conscious. All right, fan it, make the fire bigger than this. But if he gives up the firing process, he remains fire, cutting more [?] unfinished. Sravana-kirtana-jale karaye secana [Cc Madhya 19.152], that a small seed, you sow it and regularly pour water... Just like Govinda dasi introduced this Tulasi. She is responsible for introducing Tulasi in the Western countries. [When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of sravana and kirtana [hearing and chanting], the seed will begin to sprout.] Hayagriva: So, so the Tulasi, the actual... To get back to the original point, the actual philosophy behind reverence for the Tulasi plant or the cow or the sexual ceremony, the basis then would be remembrance of Krsna, that these can bring remembrance of Krsna. Prabhupada: Yes. Hayagriva: Because Krsna says so, but... Prabhupada: Just like Krsna says: satatam cintayantam mam, "Always thinking of Me," that is the process of consciousness, Krsna consciousness. Satatam kirtayanto mam yatantasca drdha-vratah [Bg 9.14]. [Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.] Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto [Bg 9.34]. "Always think of Me." So somehow or other you think of Krsna, then you will become Krsna conscious, purified. [Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.] Hayagriva: But you shouldn't think of Krsna in any..., in another way, for instance a palm tree or... Prabhupada: Then every, every can be. Eh? Then He is giving indication that, "Amongst the trees I am this." So you take it. Hayagriva: Yes. Prabhupada: Just like Krsna said: raso 'ham apsu kaunteya [Bg 7.8]. He said that, "I am the taste of the water." So you are drinking water always. [O son of Kunti [Arjuna], I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.] The taste which quenches your thirst and you feel satisfaction, that is Krsna. Now if you follow Krsna's instruction, "Now I am drinking water. Now I am feeling satisfaction. Now this satisfaction is Krsna," then you remember Him. Hayagriva: Hegel mistook this for pantheism. Prabhupada: Hm? Hayagriva: Hegel mistook this for pantheism. Prabhupada: He has mistaken in so many ways. [laughs] Sarvange gha, kotha deba malama. Just like our... Not Pradyumna. If somebody has boils all over the body, then where it will be operated? Better kill this body. [laughing] So he has got so many boils, this Hegel and Segel, all, [laughs] you see? Because they are speculators. They have no definite knowledge. Speculators cannot have definite knowledge. Therefore our Professor Dimmock has said, "Here is definite definition of Gita." What is that? Just see. Then it is so. He has appreciated it. You cannot see, on the... Hari Sauri: They only put two lines of what he said in there. He says this... Prabhupada: Yes. That is his word. Hari Sauri: Oh. Prabhupada: Read it all whole thing. Hari Sauri: "Definitive English edition of Bhagavad-gita. By bringing us, bringing us a new and living interpretation of the text already known to many, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada has increased our own understanding manyfold." Prabhupada: That is a definite, not vague, speculative. That is the difference between my translation and others. Therefore I have given the name, "As It Is." So there will be no scope for speculation. As soon as you speculate, you are rejected. Therefore others are seeing some danger that, "This Bhaktivedanta's..., this Bhagavad-gita As It Is is accepted, then where we are?" Hayagriva: Everybody wants to speculate. Prabhupada: That's all. [laughs] We are, I have stopped it. They cannot speculate on the words of Bhagavad-gita. That is our mission. Won't allow you to speculate. You are finite, imperfect. How you can by speculation give the unlimited, infinite? How it is possible? That is reasonable... Waste of time, misleading others. Andha yathandair upaniyamanah [SB 7.5.31]. [Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Visnu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries.] You are blind; how you can show others, blind men? They are already blind. You open your eyes, then take the leadership of the blind. Ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya. [Gautamiya-tantra] That is our process. [I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master who, with the torchlight of knowledge, has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance.] Devotee: That's all. Hayagriva: That's all. Prabhupada: All right. [end]

  • Chanting with the Transformer

    The following is the video from the first day of Kartika. Dancing with the devotees is out of this world. Please join us.

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