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What is "bhakti?" What does "bhakti-yoga" mean?

Bhakti
Bhakti is derived from the Sanskrit word bhaj, which means - loving service. Yoga in Sanskrit means connection. Bhakti yoga means to connect to the supreme by means of loving pure devotional service. "Bhakti means 'devotional service.' " (The Nectar of Devotion [NOD], p xii) Bhakti connotes devotion, or love, and love implies service. Service refers to that activity which is intended to please the beloved. Thus "devotional service" is an eloquent definition of Bhakti. Love is the most fundamental drive of every living entity. We cannot be happy without satisfying this desire to love, and we will not be able to perfectly fulfill this desire without permitting its expansion to the most inclusive extent. "In the primary stage a child loves his parents, then his brothers and sisters, and as he daily grows up he begins to love his family, society, community, country, nation, or even the whole human society. But the loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until we know who is the supreme beloved." (NOD, p. xv) Love can become all-embracing only when we understand that Krishna is the supreme beloved, the root of all creation. By embracing Him we successfully embrace everyone, just as pouring water on the root of a tree successfully nourishes every leaf and branch. The Nectar of Devotion teaches us the science of loving every one of the living entities perfectly by the easy method of loving Krishna.

Bhakti-yoga
The word yoga means "to connect." Though yogas are commonly used for health and fitness, the Vedic texts explain that yoga is meant to connect with God. Bhakti means "devotion," or "devotional service," or "pure love." So Bhakti-yoga means to practice connecting with God, and reestablishing our relationship with Him, through acts of love and service, or devotional service. Bhakti-yoga and Vaishnavism are synonymous terms.

We all have love or Bhakti within our self. However, it is in dormant state. There is a simple way to awaken this dormant loving service to the supreme personality of Godhead. This process is laid down by Lord Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita. Lord Sri Chaitanya Maha Prabhu, the incarnation of Lord Krishna in this present age has mercifully made this process very simple and enjoyable. Srila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON has made this process famous all over the world. The process of awakening love is not just purifying but also fully satisfying. This purification process consists of three main principles - Chanting, dancing & feasting. Chanting of pure names of Lord can be done simply by regularly chanting Hare Krishna mahamantra Hare Krishna Hare Krishna / Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama / Rama Rama Hare Hare. The chanting can be done as minimum fixed rounds on japa mala or it can be done together in congregation with musical instruments. Dancing is also an important part of the purification to attain love. Dancing is done gracefully in front of the Lord. Dancing engages our whole body in glorification of the Supreme personality of Godhead. Feasting means only eating food that has been specifically cooked and lovingly offered to Lord Krishna.

Such food or also called prasadam is free of karma and does not entangle us in the cycle of repeated birth and death.

Bhakti: the means and the goal

Bhakti means love of God or, as Srila Prabhupada would often translate the word, pure devotional service to God. (The Sanskrit root of the word bhaktiis bhaj, which means loving service.) Bhakti is the essence of the eternal relationship we souls have with Krishna. In material existence, our Bhakti is covered by our material consciousness and misdirected away from Krishna and toward the temporary things of this world. Therefore we are never fully satisfied. We can awaken our natural Bhakti by practicing Bhakti. In other words, we can awaken our love for Krishna by performing acts of love for Him. Since yoga means connection, the process by which we connect with Krishna through acts of love is called Bhakti yoga. Theres much more to loving God than just saying, I love God. We attain pure love for Krishna through a gradual process that takes us through progressively higher realms of Bhakti. Fortunately, we can begin the process at any point in life or wherever we are in our spiritual journey. The Bhakti process is systematic and is laid out in detail by the followers of Sri Chaitanya in books such as Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (presented by Srila Prabhupada as The Nectar of Devotion). These books provide not only instructions but also guideposts by which the student of Bhakti can evaluate his or her progress. The awakening of Bhakti takes place in three progressive stages: (1) regulated practice, (2) attachment, and finally (3) pure love.

Stages of development of bhakti

Rupa Goswami, a direct disciple of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, traces the development of Bhakti, pure love for Krishna, in this way: Practice One begins with a preliminary interest in spiritual advancement and a conviction that material pursuits will never yield true happiness or perfection. One then associates with persons advanced in Bhakti. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, under whose instruction one begins to practice devotional service. By executing devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free of all material attachments and all habits that impede one's spiritual progress. Thus, with realized knowledge, one attains unshakeable faith and steadiness. And one acquires an insatiable thirst for hearing about and serving the Supreme Person, Sri Krishna. Maturation Gradually emotions for God intensify to the point of spiritual ecstasy. Perfection Finally one awakens pure love for Krishna, which enables one to see Him face to face, to speak with Him, and to live and enjoy with Him eternally.

Are Krishna consciousness and bhakti-yoga the same thing?


The word bhakti can be translated as Krishna consciousness, or "devotional service" terms Srila Prabhupada often used. When he started an institution where persons on the bhakti path could find fellowship and inspiration, he called it The International Society for Krishna Consciousness. All souls have an eternal relationship with Krishna. This relationship is what defines our identity. We are all originally Krishna consciousaware of our relationship with Krishna and always acting in that relationship. Now, in our material condition, we've forgotten that relationship, which is one of pure love. So awakening our Krishna consciousness means awakening our bhakti . The heart of bhakti practice is to hear about Krishna, because hearing makes us conscious of Him. And the more we are conscious of Krishna, the more our natural love for Him is drawn out. All bhakti practices are meant to serve the purpose of remembering Krishna. An understanding of this principle guides each bhakti practitioner in how to apply Krishna consciousness in daily life.

Nine bhakti practices

Practicing Bhakti purifies our consciousness, making us fit to revive our relationship with God. Krishna is all-pure. We are now contaminated by material consciousness and must again become all-pure before we can associate with Him. The authorized spiritual practices laid out by Krishna are sure to bring success to the sincere practitioner. The Srimad-Bhagavatam lists these nine Bhakti practices: 1. Hearing about Krishna. 2. Chanting, or speaking about, Krishna's transcendental name, form, qualities, pastimes, paraphernalia, and so on. 3. Remembering Krishna. 4. Serving Krishna. 5. Offering Krishna respectful worship in His Deity form. 6. Offering prayers to Krishna. 7. Becoming Krishnas direct servant.

8. Considering Krishna one's best friend. 9. Surrendering everything to Krishna by serving Him with body, mind, and words. To bear fruit, these practices must be performed under the guidance of a pure teacher, an advanced devotee of Krishna.

The five most powerful bhakti practices

To chant the Hare Krishna mantra. To hear and discuss Srimad-Bhagavatam. To offer services to the Deity at home or in the temple. To associate with the Lords devotees. To live in a holy place connected to Lord Krishna. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu emphasized the primacy of these five principles while instructing Rupa Goswami, one of His chief disciples.

Chanting God's Names

The names of God are identical to Him and are therefore transcendental. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught that chanting the great mantra Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness, or Krishna consciousness. By chanting this mantra one can feel transcendental happiness coming through from the spiritual realm. Most of us are entangled in material life, but even a materially engrossed person is quickly raised to the spiritual platform by chanting. The mantra is a spiritual call to the Lord and His internal energy. The mood of the chanting is like that of a child crying for its mother. It is a request to be returned to our natural position of pure devotional service to Krishna. By chanting the mantra sincerely, we invoke the mercy of the Lord's internal energy (Radha), who helps us achieve the grace of Krishna. If we can do only one thing for our ultimate benefit, it should be to chant the Hare Krishna mantra.

Reading Srimad-Bhagavatam
This beautiful Bhagavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyasadeva [in his maturity], is sufficient in itself for God realization. As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of the Bhagavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.SrimadBhagavatam 1.1.2 Srimad-Bhagavatam, spoken shortly after Lord Krishnas time on earth, is a treatise that explains the science of God in detail, including His creation, His eternal activities, the path to attain Him, and the lives of some of His great devotees. While the Vedas cover many subjects necessary for human civilization,Srimad-Bhagavatam is a purely transcendental literature whose purpose is to awaken our love for Krishna.

God is the substance or root of all categories, and since Srimad-Bhagavatam deals exclusively and exhaustively with God, one can know the substance of everything as well as the categories by reading this great book. Srila Prabhupada writes, By sufficient hearing of Srimad-Bhagavatam, the polluted aim of life, trying to enjoy matter, will subside, and the people will be able to live a peaceful life of knowledge and happiness. Patient, respectful, and submissive hearing of Srimad-Bhagavatam is a powerful force in awakening Bhakti.

Worshiping the Deity

God is spirit, but as Krishna reveals in the Bhagavad-gita, matter is His energy. Because we cannot perceive spirit in our present condition, Krishna allows us to see Him in His Deity form made of material elements. He tells us that the Deity installed according to the directions of the scriptures is identical to Him. Deity worship is an important process to purify our vision so that we can eventually see Krishna's spiritual form. Therefore Deity worship must be performed with attention and devotion. It is a tangible way to serve God directly in our present state. Deity worship is not idol worship, but is worship of the Lord according to His instructions. Idolatry is the worship of an imagined form of God.

Associating with Devotees


Bhagavad-gita (2.62) states that ones desires and ambitions develop according to the company one keeps. If we keep company with devotees of Krishna, we will develop our love for Krishna. The Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.25.25) says: In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and heart. By cultivating knowledge of the Supreme Lord one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed and his attraction to the Lord becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin. The term pure devotee can refer either to the most elevated devotee or to anyone sincerely trying to become a pure devotee. One interested in practicing Bhakti yoga should seek such persons. Srila Prabhupada writes, We have established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to give people an opportunity to associate with those who have not forgotten Krishna. Both beginning and advanced students of Bhakti who dont live near temples often hold meetings in one anothers homes, where they chant Hare Krishna, worship the Lord, share prasadam (vegetarian food offered to Krishna), read and discuss Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, discuss their efforts to practice spiritual life, and make plans for giving Krishna consciousness to others.

Living in a Holy Place

Any place directly connected to Krishna is spiritually identical to Him and is therefore an ideal place for practicing Bhakti yoga. There are many sites in India where Krishna, during various incarnations, performed activities for all to see. These places have special significance, and chief among them are Vrindavana (Uttar Pradesh), where Krishna Himself appeared, and Mayapur (West Bengal), where Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. The transcendental nature of these places greatly increases the power of the Bhakti practices performed there. Besides that, the atmosphere is surcharged with sights and sounds that invariably remind one of Krishna. And of utmost importance, in holy places one gets the company of pure devotees who can awaken love for Krishna within us. The most elevated devotees, such as the associates of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, can perceive at holy places the activities of the Lord that are always being enacted on the spiritual plane.

Any temple of Lord Krishna, or any other place where He is the focus, is also a holy place. So if we cannot live in a place like Vrindavana or Mayapur, we should make our homes into holy places and regularly visit the Lord's templesreplicas of the spiritual world.

To advance in spiritual life, what things should I avoid? What basic qualities should I try to cultivate?
Srimad-Bhagavatam lists four qualities essential for spiritual growth (fromFirst Canto, Chapter 17, Verse 24). mercy cleanliness self-discipline truthfulness Anyone who cultivates these qualities and sincerely chants Krishnas names can make rapid spiritual progress. Here are four activities that slow down spiritual progress: eating meat, fish, or eggs (destroys mercy) sex outside scriptural regulations (destroys cleanliness) intoxication (destroys self-discipline) gambling (destroys truthfulness) At first, these things may seem difficult to give up, but the spiritual satisfaction one gets from practicing Bhakti yoga makes it easy to live without them. Keeping company with fellow practitioners also helps one to gain strength and determination.

I want to do something to improve my spiritual life. Any suggestions?


Here are some recommended things to doespecially for a person who's interested in Krishna consciousness. First is a list of activities that can help anyone in their spiritual progress. Second is a list of attitudesconducive to the cultivation of spiritual consciousness. We hope you find something helpful here.

Favorable Activities Receive initiation from an authorized spiritual master. Chant the Hare Krishna mantra under a spiritual masters direction. Serve and seek guidance from a spiritual master. Observe the holy days related to Krishna. Worship Tulasi. Practice nonviolence, seeing all beings as equal on the spiritual platform. Always remember Krishna. Practice good personal hygiene. Live by religious principles, and act out of duty if spontaneous spiritual feelings havent yet manifest. Keep company with Krishnas devotees. Follow the teachings and examples of previous great devotees. Favorable Attitudes Live with a sincere desire to please Krishna, thus attracting His attention and mercy. Regard our suffering as Krishnas mercy, meant for our purification. Always offer Krishna respect and prayers. Be enthusiastic, determined, and patient in practicing bhakti-yoga(Krishna consciousness). Use everything in the service of the Lord. Be convinced that engagement in bhakti(devotional service) is real life. Take advantage of the company of Krishna's devotees to develop faith. Be confident that by honest endeavor, you will achieve success by Krishnas mercy.

Are there any things I should avoid, if I want to become Krishna conscious?
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind for anyone wanting to maintain a high level of spiritual consciousness. These are from the Upadeshamrita, or the Nectar of Instruction. To read more detailed explanations, click here. Unfavorable Activities To eat more than required or accumulate more than necessary. To work too hard for temporary things. To speak unnecessarily or speak about material things that have no connection to a life of bhakti. To follow scriptural rules and regulations blindly. To neglect to follow scriptural rules and regulations. To keep the intimate company of persons who have no interest inbhakti. Unfavorable Attitudes

To be deceitful. To be disturbed by material loss or gain, or overwhelmed by lamentation or anger. To be greedy for mundane achievements. To cause pain to any other living being. To offend Krishna's holy names. To offend the temple Deity.

Qualities of a pure devotee of Krishna

As one cultivates Krishna consciousness, these qualities gradually develop. A pure devotee of Krishna is said to have innumerable good qualities. The following list from the scripture Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita contains many of the prominent ones. A pure devotee is: merciful not defiant truthful equal to everyone faultless magnanimous clean aware that everything belongs to Krishna a performer of welfare work for everyone peaceful surrendered to Krishna desireless indifferent to material acquisitions fixed in Krishna consciousness

completely in control of bad qualities moderate in eating not obsessed with material things respectful without false prestige grave compassionate a friend to all poetic expert silent (speaks only about spiritual topics)

Vaishnava and Vaishnavism


Vaishnava
A Vaishnava is a devotee of Krishna or Vishnu.

Vaishnavism
Vaishnavism can be described as devotion to Krishna, or any of His divine incarnations. It is monotheism in which worship of a personal God is the focus. In sheer numbers, Vaishnavism prevails as the leading religious system over Shaivism, Shaktism, and the many other paths commonly associated with Hinduism. There are ancient texts that form the basis of this religion: the Vedas, thePuranas, the Mahabharata (including the Bhagavad-gita, the Ramayana,and the writings of great teachers). Some of these texts date back to the second century B.C., with an oral tradition that goes back to antiquity. Vaishnavism is known as sanatana dharma, or the eternal function of the soul. And it is also referred to as a bhakti-yoga, or the devotional path through which one can link with the supreme.

Bhakti Worldview

The Bhakti worldview rests upon the principle that God revealed Vedic knowledge to guide human civilization, with the ultimate goal being love of God. The Vedas can clear our vision and allow us to see the things of this world from the perspective of the highest truth. Over the centuries, great spiritual teachers have applied eternal Vedic principles to help people face the challenges of living a God-centered life in the material world. Today, we can get guidance from the books of Srila Prabhupada, a consummate practitioner of Bhakti yoga whose commentaries on Vedic texts discuss many of the issues of modern times.

Dont all paths ultimately lead to the same destination, so it doesn't matter which one you choose?
The Vedas explain that all human endeavor, material or spiritual, falls within four categories: work for personal gain in this world or the next (karma) the pursuit of knowledge about ultimate realityespecially with the desire to lose ones identity by merging into an imagined spiritual oneness (jnana) attempts at spiritual awakening through physical yoga and meditation (yoga) devotion to God (Bhakti) The benefits obtained by other endeavors are inferior to love of God, because (1) the happiness we pursue in this world always eludes us, (2) unguided or misguided inquiry into the meaning or life turns out to be futile and frustrating, (3) and even mastery in yoga cannot bring us to God. Hes a person, and He responds to pure love, no other approach. We find encouragement for each of these types of endeavor in all the religions and scriptures of the world, including the Vedas. But the highest teaching of any scripture is Bhakti, or love of God. The other

paths can help elevate us, but ultimately we must attain pure love of God. Only that will fully satisfy us. And nowhere is the science of Bhakti more clearly and elaborately explained than in the scriptures of the Vedic tradition, especially Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Dharma vs. Religion


Bhakti is not the dogma or belief of a particular religion. Bhakti is more accurately defined using the Sanskrit word dharma. Dharma means the inseparable quality that makes a thing what it is. A stones dharma is to be hard, waters is to be wet, fire's to be hot, sugars to be sweet. The living beings dharma is Bhakti. We exist to exchange in reciprocal love with God and to serve Him with devotion. Any scripture of any religion that teaches that principle is promoting Bhakti.

If Krishna consciousness is the Absolute Truth, why are there so many different religions in the world?
At the beginning of creation, Krishna spoke the knowledge contained in the Vedas, which are meant for all humanity. The Vedas reveal the nature of reality, including both the material and the spiritual realms, and carefully guide human beings toward the goal of love of God. Over time, Krishnas original message tends to get lost or changed. So Krishna renews His teachings, tailored to the people and their times. He comes Himself, sends His representatives, or empowers pure souls here to speak on His behalf. We are all familiar with the powerful messages, and their impact, of great souls such as Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Mohammed. According to Vedic tradition, Krishna Himself came to earth in 2977 B.C.. He stayed here for 120 years, and He spoke the Bhagavad-gita. And in A.D. 1486 He returned as Sri Chaitanya. Unfortunately, the pure teachings of Krishnas representatives may also get tampered with over time, and many sects built on partial truths spring up. But anyone who sincerely follows Krishnas empowered representatives without changing their message can make steady spiritual progress.

Getting Perfect Knowledge

In trying to understand reality, we have at our disposal essentially three means of acquiring knowledge: 1. direct perception 2. analysis and hypothesis 3. hearing from authorities Knowledge derived from direct perception, analysis, and hypothesis is by nature limited to what our senses or scientific instruments can perceive. But theres ample reason to believe that reality includes something beyond the reach of our senses. How can we explore that realm? Or, to be more direct, do we really expect to find God with our microscopes and telescopes? The Vedic tradition shows that hearing from authorities is the superior method. The Vedic method is to learn about the spiritual realm from sources within that realm, such as God Himself, His pure devotees in touch with Him, and His words in the scriptures. Though it is natural to be skeptical of claims of spiritual revelation, students on the Bhakti path gain an ever-deepening faith in the authenticity of the scriptures and saints of the Bhakti tradition, so pure and powerful is their message.

Faith
Confident, firm faith that by rendering transcendental loving service to Krishna one automatically performs all subsidiary activities is favorable to the discharge of devotional service.Sri Chaitanya, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya, 22.62

Atheists and agnostics denigrate religion by saying that it is based on faith, implying that their own positions are not. But faith doesnt belong solely to the domain of religion. Atheists have faith that there is no God. Agnostics have faith that Gods existence can never be proven. Why do different people believe in different concepts of reality? Our faith is not entirely our choice. Many factors affect our beliefs, especially our actions in past lives (our current beliefs are part of our karma) and various influences in this life (our family, friends, school, what we read, and so on). Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita that the overriding influence on our faith is the three modes of nature: goodness, passion, and ignorance. For example, good people tend to be favorably disposed toward God. In other words, their connection with the mode of goodness inspires belief in God. Persons on the Bhakti path nurture their faith in God by keeping company with His devotees, reading scriptures that emphasize devotion to Him, leading pure lives, and so on. From that faith grows spiritual attachment to Krishna and finally pure love for Him, the goal of life.

Social System
On the premise that human life is meant for spiritual progress, the Vedic literature presents as the ideal social system one that trains people, materially and spiritually, in four occupational groups and four stages of life. These occur naturally throughout the world and are not based on the family one is born into. The four occupational groups are the intellectuals, the governing/martial class, the mercantile/productive class, and the working class. And the four stages of life are student life, married/working life, retired life, and the renounced stage of life for full spiritual dedication. When everyone is situated comfortably according to his or her unique nature, there is smooth social interaction. Members of a peaceful society can concentrate on spiritual topics, and everyone should be encouraged to perform his or her duties as an offering to God. At the heart of the Vedic social system is the principle that a peaceful, prosperous society results when people put God in the center of their lives. The Vedic system stresses simple, thoughtful living, which includes respect and protection for each person, the environment, and all living things, in line with Krishnas natural laws.

Sex and Sexuality


The material energy degrades the wonderful qualities we souls possess in our pure state. Our greatest quality is our natural love for Krishna. In touch with the material energy, that love turns into lust, especially in the form of sexual attraction.

The Vedas explain that sexual desire is a powerful rope that binds us to the material world, life after life. And since human life is meant for freeing ourselves from this world and returning to Krishna, dealing with sexual desire is a crucial part of any spiritual path. Sex diffuses human energy and distracts the mind like no other activity. People striving for excellence in many walks of life often find sexual abstinence essential. This is especially true of those striving for spiritual perfection, since sex rivets one to bodily consciousness. Healthy sexuality means satisfying ones needs in a regulated way, with a plan to transcend and give up the need and desire for sex. The best regulation is to use sex in marriage only for procreation, with the intention of bringing children into the world and raising them in Krishna consciousness.

Morality
By his work, thoughts, and words, an intelligent man must perform actions which will be beneficial for all living entities in this life and the next.Sri Chaitanya, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 9.43 How do we know whats right or wrong? Is there an absolute standard of morality? The Vedic teaching, like that of other religious traditions, is that God determines whats right or wrong. His absolute word sets the standards for morality. Without God in the picture, invented morality has no ultimate value. The Vedic rules governing behavior take into consideration such variables as time, place, and circumstanceand even ones spiritual standing. For example, a person advanced on the spiritual path is held to a higher standard of compassion, self-control, charity, and similar qualities. The highest moral principle is to act toward God and all living beings in ways favorable to our spiritual progress. Everything belongs to God and is to be used in His service. As we progress in love for God, we will love all of Gods creatures and respect the rights of others, including animals. In thanks, a person on the Bhakti path gives back to God and the world, knowing full well that the best way to help others is to elevate them spiritually. Moral behavior includes material welfare work, but it is ultimately fruitless if devoid of spiritual knowledge.

Life Events
Because life is meant for elevating our consciousness and gaining release from the cycle of birth and death, the Vedas sanctify major life events with religious ceremonies. These ceremonies serve to remind us of lifes spiritual purpose.

The Vedas specify functions to perform at these major life events: conception, birth, when the child receives a name, when the child takes its first solid food, the start of education, spiritual initiation, marriage, and death. The rituals described are quite elaborate, yet the Vedas say that the powerful chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra is sufficient to purify any event, anything, and anyone.

History of the bhakti tradition

Vedic knowledge is carefully passed down from guru to disciple in spiritual lineages called sampradayas. Indias sampradayas carefully protect their traditions of deep spirituality, since any knowledge which is not received from an authorized sampradaya lacks real spiritual benefit. The Hare Krishna movement strictly adheres to the sampradaya system.Srila Prabhupada, the movements founder, represents the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiya sampradaya, which began with Lord Krishna and includes His most recent descent as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The lineage is known as the "Brahma sampradaya" because at the beginning of creation Lord Krishna Himself instructed Brahmathe first created being, and architect of the universe. The line later became known as the "Brahma-Madhva sampradaya" because of the prominent teacher Madhvacharya (A.D. 1238-1319). Still later, the line became known as the Brahma-Madhva-Gaudiyasampradaya, after the line was joined by Sri Chaitanya (1486-1534), who appeared in the region of Gauda (Bengal) and gave the tradition new life. The members of the sampradayaup to Srila Prabhupada, the founder and spiritual preceptor of the International Society for Krishna Consciousnessare listed below: 1. Lord Krishna 17. Brahmanya Tirtha 2. Brahma 18. Vyasa Tirtha 3. Narada 19. Lakshmipati 4. Vyasa 20. Madhavendra Puri 5. Madhva 21. Ishvara Puri (Nityananda, Advaita) 6. Padmanabha 22. Sri Chaitanya 7. Narahari 23. Rupa (Svarupa,

8. Madhava 9. Akshobhya 10. Jaya Tirtha 11. Jnanasindhu

12. 13. 14. 15.


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Daya-nidhi Vidya-nidhi Rajendra Jayadharm Purushotta

16.
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Sanatana) 24. Raghunatha, Jiva 25. Krishnadasa 26. Narottama 27. Vishwanatha 28. (Baladeva) Jagannatha 29. Bhaktivinoda 30. Gaurakishora 31. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati 32. A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Explanation of Bhakti yoga scientifically


Bhakti YogaA Method of Nonmechanistic Science: Part I
Sadaputa Dasa How can we study nonmaterial aspects of reality when were living in a world of matter? Modern mechanistic science rests on the premise that reality is ultimately reducible to a simple set of mathematical equations. Such a view fails to account for two important aspects of reality: consciousness, and complex biological form. Here, in the first of a series of articles excerpted from the conclusion of the book, Sadaputa describes how an alternative, nonmechanistic model can be verified through the science of bhakti-yoga. He begins with a summary of the essential features of this model. The world view of Bhagavad-gita is based on the postulate that conscious personality is the ultimate basis of reality. In this view there are two fundamental categories of conscious beings. The first category has a single member: the unique Supreme Person, Krishna, who is the primordial cause of all causes and who is directly conscious of all phenomena. The second category consists of the innumerable localized conscious beings, or jivatmas. The jivatmas are irreducible conscious persons, qualitatively the same as the Supreme Person. Yet they differ from the Supreme in that they are minute and dependent whereas He is unlimited and fully independent. We find a consistent picture of the phenomena of life in the philosophy of Bhagavad-gita. This philosophy accounts for the origin and maintenance of the complex forms of living organisms, it clarifies the nature of individual consciousness, and it explains the relationship between the conscious self and the body. The objection may be raised, however, that even though this philosophy may provide interesting speculative

solutions to certain fundamental scientific problems, it cannot be proved by the standard empirical methods of investigation. We agree with this statement. The two categories of conscious beings mentioned in Bhagavad-gita lie almost entirely outside the purview of empirical investigation, which is based on reason and ordinary sense perception. Our conscious awareness does include direct perception of itself, but apart from this our ordinary senses provide us information only about the configuration of material bodies. Through reason, introspection, and ordinary sense perception, we can infer that consciousness must arise from some entity distinct from matter as we know it, but these means cannot bring us to a truly satisfactory understanding of what this entity is. One could make similar remarks about the problem of proving the existence of a supreme conscious being. Many philosophers and scientists have argued that the physical complexity of living organisms is evidence for the existence of an intelligent creator. This is indeed a reasonable explanation of biological formfar more reasonable than that put forth by scientists of the evolutionary persuasion, who are still groping for a workable mechanistic explanation. Yet observations of biological form convey by themselves no clear picture of the creator, and it is indeed hard to see how a finite number of observations made within a limited region of space and time could prove very much about the nature of an unlimited eternal being. Arguments for the existence of God that rely on the evidence of nature usually rest indirectly on a preconceived idea of God derived from other sources. These arguments may show that such a conception of God is consistent with the facts of nature, but what these facts actually entail is at best an idea of God so vague and general as to be practically useless. So, if we cannot establish our alternative model of reality by standard empirical methods, how can we establish it? The key to verifying our model is provided by the unique nonmechanistic features of the model itself. According to Bhagavad-gita, the natural senses of the jivatma are not limited merely to picking up information from the sensory apparatus of a particular material body. Indeed, when ajivatma is so limited he is considered to be in an abnormal condition. He is like a person who has become so engrossed in watching a television program that he has forgotten about his own existence and has accepted the flickering, two-dimensional image on the screen as the all in all. Thus preoccupied with the fascinating show presented by the bodily senses, the embodied jivatma becomes oblivious of his higher cognitive faculties, which normally enable him to directly perceive both other jivatmas and the Supreme Person. It follows that if we are to verify our alternative model of reality, we must find a way to reawaken the full cognitive capacity of the conscious self. Here we shall outline a practical method for doing this, known as the process of bhakti-yoga, or devotional service. We shall present this process as a method of obtaining reliable knowledge about aspects of reality inaccessible by traditional methods of scientific research. We should note, however, that bhakti- yoga is not simply a method of obtaining knowledge. Rather, it is a means whereby each individual conscious self can attain the ultimate goal of his existence.

Bhakti-yogaA Method of Nonmechanistic Science: Part II


by Sadaputa Dasa Perhaps the main reason for the widespread dismissal of religion as blind faith is that many systems of theistic thought are not backed up by any verifiable direct interaction with the Supreme Person. Why is this so, we may ask, if the Supreme Person is as readily accessible as the proponents of bhakti-yoga claim? The following statement from Srimad-Bhagavatam [2.6.41] suggests an interesting answer to this question: The great thinkers can know Him [Krishna] when completely freed from all material hankerings and when sheltered under undisturbed conditions of the senses. Otherwise, by untenable arguments, all is distorted, and the Lord disappears from our sight. As indicated here, one of the most important principles of bhakti-yoga is that higher realization is impossible until the material senses are brought under control, In the materially conditioned state of consciousness, the jivatma (living entity) desires to enjoy his material situation and is completely preoccupied with the barrage of stimuli presented by his material senses. With his sensory channels overloaded, the jivatma is unable to perceive the presence of the Supersoul (the form of the Supreme Person in ones heart), although constitutionally able to do so. Since direct access to the Supreme Person is denied the jivatma with uncontrolled senses, he is prone to indulge in fanciful speculations that simply lead him further and further from the truth. To understand some of the practical problems involved in controlling the senses, we must first understand the concept of the material mind. As already pointed out (back to godhead, Vol. 16, No. 10), the jivatma is a complete conscious individual and, as such, is inherently able to carry out the mental functions of thinking, feeling, and willing. Yet the machinery of the body includes a psychic subsystem that duplicates some of these functions. This subsystem acts as an intermediate link between the natural senses of the jivatma and the sensory apparatus of the body. Before reaching the jivatma, data from the bodily senses pass through this subsystem, which enriches and modifies them by additional information representing various thoughts, feelings, and desires. This intermediate link consists of two components, one of which is the brain. Modern science conceives the brain to be the seat of all mental functions. According to Bhagavad- gita, however, the mind has an additional component (known in Sanskrit as manah, or material mind) that is distinct from both the brain and the conscious self. This material mind serves as a connecting link between the brain and the self. Since the material mind is composed of a kind of material energy, it could, in principle, be studied by ordinary empirical methods. At present there is no widely accepted scientific theory of the material mind, but parapsychological research may provide the basis for such a theory.

A discussion of the higher physics of the material mind would take us far afield, so here we shall simply make a few remarks about the functional relationship between the material mind and the brain. According to Bhagavad-gita, the material mind interacts directly with the brain, and the conscious self interacts with the material mind through the agency of the Supersoul. The relationship between the brain and the material mind is like that between a computer and a computer programmer. Consider a businessman who has programmed a computer to process his accounts. The computer, with its own memory and dataprocessing facilities, is an extension of the mans mind. Although the man is a complete person in his own right, he may come to depend heavily on the computer, and thus any damage to it would greatly impair his ability to conduct his business affairs. Similarly, the brain is a computerlike extension of the material mind, and even though the material mind can function independently of the brain, the mind tends to become dependent on the brain for the execution of certain data-processing operations. Together, the material body and the material mind act as a kind of false self, in which the real self (the jivatma) rides as a passenger. The false self is not conscious in its own right, though it seems conscious because it is animated by the jivatma. Both the brain and the material mind are mechanisms for symbol manipulation, and so they resemble man-made computers. The thoughts of the material mind are mere patterns of symbols, which are represented by actual thoughts only when perceived by the jivatma. But the embodied jivatma tends to accept the thoughts, feelings, and desires of the material mind as his own, and thus he falsely identifies himself as the persona these patterns of symbols represent. Since the material mind is the director of the material senses, we can control these senses by controlling the mind. Most of us, however, have never made a real effort to practice such control. So we may tend to underestimate both its importance and the difficulties involved in achieving it. We get some idea of these difficulties when we consider the powerful role that habit plays in our normal activities. The material mind is a reservoir of elaborate programs governing everything from gross movements to subtle attitudes, and thus our mental life consists of a succession of conditioned thoughts and feelings unfolding inexorably according to their own logic and the stimuli of the senses. Since we normally tend to identify the self with the material mind, we have no real idea what it would be like to be free from the material minds endless torrent of mundane images and associations. The Bhagavad-gita [6.7] describes such freedom as follows: For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquility. To such a man happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same. Once the material mind is under control, the natural senses of the jivatma are free to perceive the Supreme Person directly. In bhakti-yoga one achieves control of the material mind and senses by following certain positive and negative injunctions. The negative injunctions restrict one from activities that tend to agitate the material mind and distract one from the process of self-realization. The most fundamental of these injunctions prohibit indulgence in intoxication, meat-eating, illicit sexual affairs, and gambling. We do not have sufficient space to discuss in detail the psychological dynamics of these activities, but we may note simply

that those who engage in them tend to become more and more preoccupied with the actions and reactions of their material senses. For many scientific experiments, success depends on our carefully adjusting the physical conditions in the experimental apparatus. The process of bhakti-yoga is an experiment in which the body and the material mind are the experimental apparatus, and in which the negative injunctions are necessary (but not sufficient) conditions for success. These injunctions are essential. A person who neglects them will not be able to free himself from material entanglement, and his transcendental realizations will indeed be nothing more than products of self-deception.* We stress this point because there are many watered- down systems of yoga or meditation that neglect even the most basic rules for sense control. Seeking self- realization through such systems is like trying to ignite wood while pouring water on it. The positive injunctions of bhakti-yoga prescribe activities that directly engage the jivatma in service to the Supreme Person, Krishna. Ultimately these activities awaken the jivatmas natural love for Krishna. As a corollary to this reawakening, the jivatma automatically loses his attraction for the manifestations of his material mind, which are false theatrical displays inherently less interesting than the absolute reality of Krishna. Thus by engaging in active service to Krishna, one is able to attain the goal of mental control and free ones senses for further service to Krishna. The ultimate goal of one who practices bhakti-yoga is to serve Krishna directlya goal attainable when one is freed from entanglement in the affairs of the material mind and senses. One can readily obtain this freedom, in turn, by performing service to Krishna. Bhakti-yoga may thus seem like a vicious circle, but in practice it is a gradual process of development. First, one must bring the material mind under moderate control by adhering to the negative injunctions. Then one must render practical service to Krishna under the guidance of the guru. This service invokes Krishnas mercy, and one attains some realization of the Lord. As a result, ones attachment to the material mind is lessened, and one can further serve Krishna on a higher platform of realization. This leads one to further freedom from material desire and further realization of ones constitutional nature as a servant of Krishna. Srimad- Bhagavatam [1.2.19-20] sums up this process and its results as follows: As soon as irrevocable loving service is established in the heart, the effects of natures modes of passion and ignorance (effects such as lust, desire, and hankering) disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy. Thus established in the mode of unalloyed goodness, the man whose mind has been enlivened by contact with devotional service to the Lord gains positive scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead in the stage of liberation from all material association.

Bhakti-yogaA Method of Nonmechanistic Science: Part III

by Sadaputa Dasa The term science refers to knowledge we can reliably verify by practical methods. So to study a subject scientifically, we must clearly understand how to use our senses to obtain trustworthy knowledge of what we are studying. This article, which concludes a series from the forthcoming book Mechanistic and Nonmechanistic Science, examines how a person can take advantage of his innate transcendental senses to obtain direct knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, who is the ultimate object of study in the science of bhakti-yoga. One of the basic principles of bhakti-yoga, or devotional service, is that the Absolute Truth is not an impersonal void but rather the Supreme Person, full of variegated attributes. The Supreme Person, Krishna, possesses unlimited personal qualities, and He also performs unlimited transcendental activities in reciprocation with the innumerable jivatmas (living beings) who enjoy His association in a state of pure consciousness. The goal of one who practices devotional service is to revive that state of pure consciousness and enter Krishnas personal association. Service to Lord Krishna can take many forms, but since becoming aware of our relationship with Krishna requires that we first hear about Him. the process of hearing (shravanam) is fundamental. Hearing about the attributes and pastimes of Krishna reminds the materially conditioned jivatma of his own natural relationship with the Lord. Gradually, as the jivatma continues hearing, his desire to know about Krishna increases, and simultaneously his attachment to the affairs ofthe material bodyand mind diminishes. The philosophy of bhakti-yoga holds that knowledge of the Absolute must descend directly from the Absolute. Krishna is the original source of all material forms, and He is also the source of the literature of bhakti-yoga. This literature consists of scriptures that are either directly produced by Krishna Himself or else written by persons who are directly linked with Krishna in a transcendental relationship. Bhagavadgita is a scripture of the former type, and Srimad-Bhagavatam and Caitanya-caritamrita are scriptures of the latter type. As we have already pointed out (BACK TO GODHEAD, Vol. 16, No. 9), the subject matter of bhakti-yoga is preserved and disseminated by a community of gurus and sadhus (highly advanced souls), whose role in the regulation of transcendental knowledge is like that of the community of experts in a scientific field. All literature is simply information encoded in sequences of symbols, and unlimited amounts of information about Krishna can be encoded in this form. But since Krishna is all-pervading, information about Him differs from information describing ordinary configurations of matter. In our everyday experience we encounter patterns of symbols arranged according to the conventions of a language so as to represent certain events in a limited region of time and space. When we hear or read this information we are able to interpret the coded patterns, and as a result we become aware of a mental image of the events. But this mental image is something quite different from the events themselves. In contrast, when a jivatma perceives information describing the Supreme Person, the resulting mental images actually bring the jivatma into direct contact with the Supreme Person. Since Krishna is allpervading, images and sounds representing Krishna are nondifferent from Krishna Himself, and the

jivatma can directly understand this identity when free of his material conditioning. Such understanding cannot, of course, be simply a matter of manipulating material symbols; it directly involves the higher sensory and cognitive faculties of the conscious self. Since this point is quite important, let us explore it in greater detail. According to the philosophy of Bhagavad- gita, nothing is different from Krishna and yet nothing is Krishna except His own primordial personality. This seeming paradox is resolved in the following way: Krishna is the cause and the essence of all phenomena, and in this sense all phenomena are identical with Him; yet the phenomena of this world are merely external displays projected by Krishnas will, and His real nature is His eternal personality. The Absolute is highly specific, and therefore only certain symbolic patterns, and not others, can represent Krishna. By means of these patterns Krishna can make Himself available to the conditioned jivatma, and thus these material configurations are, nondifferent from Krishna in a direct personal sense. Such configurations remind the jivatma of Krishna, by whose mercy the jivatma soon revives his own higher vision and can see the Lord directly. This explanation may convey some idea of how the embodied jivatma, restricted entirely to material modes of sense perception, can begin to perceive the transcendental Supreme Person. In the initial stages of bhakti-yoga, the jivatmas perception of Krishna may seem to be completely dependent on the interactions of matter, but the essence of the jivatmas experience is not material. We can begin to understand this by considering that matter itself is a manifestation of Krishna and that material perception is simply a limited, impersonal way of seeing Him. In the highest stage of realization, the reciprocation between the jivatma and Krishna has nothing to do with the material manifestation. This relationship does not depend on the material body of the jivatma in any way, and it continues after the body has ceased to exist. According to the philosophy of bhakti-yoga, the material manifestation represents only a minor aspect of the total reality. There is a higher realm, inaccessible to material sense perception but nonetheless full of variegated form and activity. Since we are concerned here with how a materially embodied person can acquire knowledge, we shall not discuss this higher realm in detail. (Readers interested in this subject may consult Srimad-Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-Caritamrita.) The process of shravanam, or hearing, is complemented by the process of kirtanam, or glorifying the Lord by singing or reciting His names, qualities, and pastimes and by discussing these with others. We have argued (back to godhead, Vol. 16, No. 10) that the process of bhakti-yoga is scientific in the sense that it is a practical method of obtaining verifiable knowledge about the Absolute Truth. In the science of bhaktiyoga, however, the researcher approaches the Absolute with an attitude of reverence and devotion, in stark contrast to the aggressive and exploitative approach prevalent in modern science. By glorifying Krishna, the jivatma can awaken his natural love for Krishna, and then Krishna will be fully accessible to him on a personal level. One important form of kirtanam is the chanting of Krishnas names. Krishna has innumerable names, and there are innumerable ways to chant them, but by far the most common way of performing kirtanam is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare The Sanskrit term mantra refers to a pattern of sound that has a purifying effect on the mind. The Hare Krishna mantra consists of two names of the Supreme Person (Krishna and Rama) and one name of His energy (Hara). Grammatically the mantra is in the vocative case, so it is, in effect, an address to the Lord and His energy. The names that constitute the Hare Krishna mantra are examples of patterns of symbols that directly represent the absolute person and therefore have an absolute, inherent meaning. According to the philosophy of bhakti-yoga, Krishnas holy names are nondifferent from Krishna Himself, and one who chants and hears these names is brought into personal contact with Him. A person who has awakened his higher sensory capacities can actually perceive Krishna in His name. For others, the chanting of Krishnas names purifies them by reminding them of Krishna, and thereby brings about this awakening. One can obtain the results of chanting the holy names of the Lord by using any names that are actually connected with the Supreme Person and that are not mere concoctions of the material imagination. In His Sikshashtaka (Eight Verses of Instruction), Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the great teacher of bhakti-yoga who appeared in India in the fifteenth century, describes the significance of chanting the holy names of God: O MyLord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, in Your holy name there is all good fortune for the living entity, and therefore You have many names, such as Krishna and Govinda, by which You expand Yourself. You have invested all Your potencies in those names, and there are no hard and fast rules for remembering them. My dear Lord, although You bestow such mercy upon the fallen, conditioned souls by liberally teaching Your holy names, I am so unfortunate that I commit offenses while chanting the holy name, and therefore I do not achieve attachment for chanting. (Sikshashtaka 2). From this statement we see that the conditioned jivatma, benumbed by his preoccupation with the material mind and senses, will initially feel little desire to chant the Lords holy names. Yet by regularly chanting the holy names and following the regulative injunctions of bhakti-yoga, the jivatma gradually awakens his transcendental taste for the name and attains the stage of loving reciprocation with Krishna. Since the goal of one who chants the names of God is to develop love for Him, one must chant with an attitude compatible with this emotion. Caitanya Mahaprabhu described this attitude as follows: One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor but is always prepared to give all respect to others, can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord. (Sikshashtaka 3). Generally a person who has no direct knowledge of the Supreme Person cannot understand at first what it might mean to love the Supreme. But such a person can lay the groundwork for this understanding by adopting a nonexploitative attitude toward the Supreme Person and His creation. Indeed, this attitude is

the key to success in bhakti-yoga. For one who wishes to exploit the Supreme, the Supreme will remain unknowable. But if one truly gives up the desire for such exploitation, then the Supreme Person will reveal Himself by His own mercy. Once, in a letter to Max Born, Albert Einstein declared that his goal was to capture the Absolute Truth. Unfortunately, Einstein went about it the wrong way. The Absolute Truth cannot be forcibly captured by a minute part of the Absolute, but according to the philosophy of bhakti- yoga, the Absolute can be captured by love. Once one attains this love, direct knowledge of the Absolute becomes readily available. Yet, ironically, the development of this love is incompatible with the desire for knowledge or power. Knowledge is indeed a by-product of the process of bhakti-yoga, but it cannot be the goal of that process, for the key to the process itself lies in a fundamental reassessment of ones innermost goals. Although superficially this reassessment may seem simple, carrying it out requires a deep insight into ones own psychology. By bringing the inner self into personal contact with the Absolute, the process of bhakti-yoga enables one to attain this insight. Only by this means can one capture the Absoluteonce all desire to conquer the Absolute has been forsaken.

Bhakti explained by various Spiritualists


Karma, Jnana, and Bhakti Yoga
by Jayadvaita Swami [Yoga literally means to unite, to link with, to connect with God. The physical exercises we commonly associate with yoga help align our body, mind and spirit to achieve a peaceful state of samadhi, complete absorption in our spiritual reality. In this article, Jayadvaita Swami briefly explains three main paths of yoga given by Krishna in Bhagavad-gita.] According to the Vedic literature, there are three realms of human endeavorthe realm of karma, that of jnana, and that of bhakti.

Karma
Karma refers to action performed for the sake of the body and its senses. The work we do to earn a living is karma. The work we put into having a good time is karma too. When we eat, that's karma. When we sleep, that's karma. When we watch TV, listen to Beethoven, or Ravi Shankar, or Madonna, when we have kids, or drive our carwhen we do just about anythingthat's karma. Karma can be "extended" too. It's not only what we do directly for ourselves but also what we do for others, in relation to the body and senses. When we help out a friend, give food to the poor, serve in the Army, or show our uncle how to cheat on his tax returnsagain, it's all karma.

Karma may be "good" or "bad" (or, for that matter, mixed). So karma may bring good or bad results (or, again, mixed). These results are also sometimes called karma. (More precisely, they are karmic reactions.) Sometimes the results of karma are quick and obvious: work hard and get a good grade, overeat and get indigestion. But sometimes the results may take yearsor, according to Vedic literature, lifetimes. I may do something this life and get the results in the nextor ten lifetimes from now, or thousands. So karma and its results form an intricate web. If someone's born ugly or poor or sick, that's a sign of bad karma. Or if someone gets in trouble with the police, or gets in legal troublebad karma again. And good looks, good money, good healthgood karma. We're getting reactions now for what we've done in the past, and creating future reactions by what we're doing now. Gets complicated, doesn't it The scriptures of the worldthe Vedas includedtry to warn us away from bad karma and guide us towards good. But we don't always go along. And even when we do, the best that we get are good karmic results. And good or bad, we're still caught in the net, still entangled. Good karma or bad, we're still tied to the wheel of repeated birth and death.

Jnana
Jnana (pronounced "gyana") is the pursuit of knowledge. Of course, we may pursue any sort of knowledgehow to hammer a nail, or play the piano, or program a computer. Knowledge of history, or business, or medicine. But that's hardly above karma, and that's not really what's meant. Jnana, more precisely, pertains to the ultimate questions in life: Who am I? Why am I here? Why am I suffering? Where does everything come from? What is the purpose of life? What is everything finally all about? The realm of jnana is that of the philosopher, the intellectual, the thinker. By reflection, by speculation, by logic, intuition, and discourse, by exploring and evaluating ideas, we try to understand what is ultimately what. We may approach those ultimate questions through physics or biology or psychologyor, if we go deep enough, by thinking about almost anything. When somehow or other those questions come upon us, we enter the realm of jnana. But this too is a world we can get stuck in. We can spend lifetimes in speculation, questing and questing, and still be doing hardly more than playing games in our minds. The Vedic literature, therefore, offers guidance on the path of knowledge. It gives us access to the thoughts and realizations of sages who have been through this territory before. It aims, finally, to bring us from speculation to knowledge, from wondering to seeing, from seeking to finding.

Bhakti
Early along the path of Vedic knowledge, one comes to understand that he's a spark of pure consciousness, above the body, above even the mind. He sees that he uses the body and mindwhen he tells his finger to scratch his head it does so; when he directs his thoughts, they go from one subject or anotheryet the body and mind are distinct from his inner identity, his inner being. This understanding is called self-realization. Yet self-realization is not the end of it. By further introspectionunless one gets stuckone comes to understand that his own consciousness, his own spiritual existence, is not ultimate. Even in his own essential identity, he himself is not the be-all and end-all of everything. There are other living beings too, and they're not just projections of himself. And there's a material cosmos out there, hard and tangible and unlikely to be something he has merely imagined up. And even if he thinks that in reality such distinctions at last no longer exist, that in truth there is only absolute oneness, and that all else is but an illusion, a dream, he still has to ask himself, "Where does this illusion come from?" In this way his thoughts bring him to realize that there is an Absolute Truth, a source of all energies, all realities, and he sees himself to be a part of that Supreme Absolute. By considering his own identity as a conscious individuala conscious personhe ultimately realizes the individual personal nature of that Supreme Absolute. He recognizes the eternal relationship between himself and the Absolute. And in this way he enters the realm of bhakti, the realm of personal spiritual dealings between himself and the Absolute. In bhakti, the individual person joyfully devotes himself to serving the absolute Personality of Godhead, who joyfully and unlimitedly reciprocates. This is the postgraduate stage of self-realization.

The Yoga of Love


by Rohininandana Dasa One wet evening in 1972, when I was first learning about Krisna consciousness, I sat in a tent leafing through Srila Prabhupadas Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Occasionally I looked out gloomily through the rain to see the dim outline of the Pyrenees Mountains surrounding the little green valley in which I was marooned. The rain had fallen steadily for two days without sign of letting up. Even my sleeping bag was wet. My romantic idea of practicing yoga in the mountains was fast proving to be a dream only. All I could think of was dry clothes and a hot meal. Still, I had my Bhagavad- gita, and I continued turning the pages. Something caught my attention: The culmination of all kinds of yoga practices lies in bhakti-yoga. All other yogas are but means to come to the point of bhakti-yoga. Yoga actually means bhakti-yoga, and all other yogas are progressions toward the destination of bhakti-yoga. (Bg. 6.47, purport).

Of course, I thought. Since the word yoga means to connect with the Supreme, the binding link of that connection must be bhakti. Following Srila Prabhupadas line of thought, I understood that when a jnani absorbed in empirically contemplating the distinction between truth and illusion comes to the point of understanding and accepting that the Supreme Truth is Krishna, he then becomes a yogi. Similarly, when a karmi busy working for material rewards comes to the point of feelingly offering the results of his work to Krishna, he also becomes a yogi. Prabhupada made it all so simple: karma + bhakti = karma- yoga; jnana + bhakti = jnana-yoga. I finally understood that yoga simply means to act for Krishnas pleasure. Either I could sit in my cold tent thinking, I have no desires, I own nothing, I am nothing, while secretly clinging to my world, in which I was the central character, or else I could agree, Yes, Krishna is the enjoyer, the Lord, and my dear friend. I felt a surge of happiness to think that perhaps I was not alone. With a light heart I lay down in my sleeping bag listening to the steady downpour pelting against the canvas and further soaking the sodden valley. Dawn came slowly and miserably. I was cold. I was so conscious of my painful body that a long time passed before I could bring myself to continue my reading and contemplation. I could see no end to the rain, which after three days seemed to seep into my bones. There was no question of packing up and trudging off. All I could feel enthusiastic about was cooking a hot meal with my diminishing supplies. As the pan heated on the camping stove (Krishnas stove, I remembered), with numb fingers I again opened up the Gita. This time it was Chapter Nine, text twenty-six: If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit, or water, I will accept it. In the purport Srila Prabhupada explains that there is a very simple process for achieving perfection: offering Lord Krishna our loving service and nothing more. This is wonderful! I thought. But wait a minute. Although Prabhupada says the process is very easy, he also says that the only qualification required is to be a pure devotee who loves Krishna. But I dont love Krishna. I barely know anything about Him. Basically I just love myself (and Im not even sure about that), so how can I reach the highest perfection of life in this way? Maybe I should meditate instead. I had tried meditating, withdrawing my mind from external stimuli. True, I had temporarily felt some peace by my efforts, but I was always faced with the fact that I had to live in a busy world. To go off and live in a cave in the Himalayas, or even a secluded wood nearer home, was beyond me. And even if I could, I might find myself in the same situationcold, hungry, and staring bleakly at the rain and meditating Rain, rain, go away, I read on: But preparing nice, simple vegetable dishes, offering them before the picture or Deity of Lord Krishna, and bowing down and praying for Him to accept such an offering enables one to advance

steadily in life, to purify the body, and to create fine brain tissues which lead to clear thinking. Above all, the offering should be made with an attitude of love. Krishna has no need of food, since He already possesses everything that be, yet He will accept the offering of one who desires to please Him in that way. The important element, in preparation, in serving, and in offering, is to act with love for Krishna. Perhaps I could try it with the soup, I thought. But still, its the love bit that stumps me. Surely Krishna wont accept my offering, devoid of love. But Prabhupada made it sound easy. Prepare a simple vegetable dish. I could do that. Bow down and pray to Krishna to accept such a humble offering. I could do that too. Certainly my offering would be humble, even if I wasnt. Besides, Ive got to start somewhere. Prabhupadas rightthe process is easy. Learning the right attitude is the hard part. That might take a long time. Still, with Krishnas help anythings possible. I followed Srila Prabhupadas directions and bowed down. Krishna, please accept this. Hare Krishna. I felt foolish, not knowing what to say, but deeper than my sense of foolishness was a laughing happiness rising within my heart. Yes, I had done the right thing. Lord Krishna and Prabhupada told me to do it, and Id done it. I looked at the soup and began to serve it out. Prabhupada had said serving was also important. I felt he was directing my every move. I was already familiar with the idea of eating in a mood of gratitude to God. But this was different. I had just offered something to the Lord, and now it looked as though He was offering it back. I sipped at the soup. I knew what taste to expect, because it was a simple vegetable soup. But besides the expected taste, a wonderful thrill began from my mouth down to my stomachand beyond. My whole being felt electrified. My heart felt it would burst. Something more was going on than a hungry man having breakfast. I had a sense of what bhakti is about. I was detached from the uncomfortable conditions (I had forgotten all about them), I knew (at least a little) what I was doing and who I was doing if for, and I was absorbed in transcendental thought. Bhakti, the yoga of love, did seem to include all to be gained from other yogas, and much more, because by linking with the Lord and serving Him I could feel His helping hand. A solitary mystic may gain mastery over some time and space, but unless he awakens love for Krishna, what has he ultimately gained? A little fame, power, or influence. Only bhakti is absolute, because only bhakti links us in a firm embrace with the Absolute Lord. I gazed at the rain, cheered by the warm sunlight of Krishna consciousness. I no longer felt alone.

Yoga for a Lofty Goal


by Nagaraja Dasa A dozen or so students gathered in the assembly room of the college dormitory for an introductory talk on bhakti- yoga. I got their attention and said wed now do some yoga. About half of them pulled their legs up into some semblance of the lotus position, waiting for tips on breathing and concentration. But instead of the sound of silence, they heard the sizzle of a small pair of hand cymbals. Eyes opened, jaws dropped. It didnt take long, though, before the students got the idea. Soon many were singing along with the Hare Krishna mantra, their faces lit up with smiles. After the demonstration, I asked the students to tell me what they thought yoga meant. I got the predictable responses, mostly having to do with sitting, stretching, twisting, and concentrating. Someone spoke of clearing the mind of all thoughts. Someone mentioned picturing yourself as identical with the One. Bhagavad-gita says that yoga means to connect with God, I began my talk, and thats why we chant Hare Krishna. Their pleased expressions showed they were losing misconceptions. When people see Hare Krishna devotees singing in the street, they probably dont think were doing yoga. But in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna teaches us how to make our whole lives yoga. Srila Prabhupada often said that his students were practicing yoga twenty-four hours a day. Todays so-called yoga usually aims at a healthy body and a peaceful mind. Thats fine if thats all you want. But the real purpose of yoga is to reestablish our relationship with Krishnaclearly a much loftier goal. The word yoga means to connect, and from it we get the word yoke. Krishna covers various kinds of yoga in the Gita, but theyre all meant for the same thing: to awaken our love for Him. Bhakti-yoga is not only the easiest type of yoga; Krishna declares it the best: And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Mehe is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion. (Bg. 6.47) Since the goal of yoga is to concentrate on God, what better way to do that than by bhakti- yogaserving Him in love? Prabhupada would scoff at the practice of doing fifteen minutes of meditation in the morning and then spending the rest of the day in material pursuits. Bhakti-yogis take their meditation to work. Krishna tells Arjuna to fight and remember Him. In all activities be conscious of Me, He says.

Prabhupada taught his disciples to mold their lives so they could never forget Krishna. He gave us a program of morning and evening practices focused on Krishna. He told us, as Krishna does, to offer the fruits of our work to Krishna. He told us to try to chant Hare Krishna always. After my talk, one of the students, Mira, thanked me for clearing up some confusion. I was always attracted to stories of yogis, she said, and now Im happy to hear I can be a student and a yogi at the same time. And I was happy to hear she understood.

Many Paths to One Goal?


by Ravi Gupta An Indian guest at our Sunday Feast once asked, Why do you talk only of Krishna-bhakti [devotion to Krishna]? Our tradition is so richjnana-yoga, dhyana-yoga, karma-yoga, hatha-yoga, raja-yoga, buddhiyoga, kundalini- yoga. Why do you limit Hinduism to bhakti-yoga? Unlike others, who say there is only one way, the beauty of our tradition is that we can choose any deity and any path, since they all lead to the same goal. Many Hindus share our guests belief, often basing their belief on verse 4.11 of the Bhagavad-gita, which they loosely translate as All paths lead to the same goal. After all, since God is all-pervading, they reason, where else can any path go? This, however, is a mistranslation of the verse. In fact, Krishna makes it quite clear in the Bhagavad-gita that our choice of which path to tread does make a difference. The verse goes like this: ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham mama vartmanuvartante manushyah partha sarvashah Srila Prabhupadas translation reads, As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pritha. (Bg. 4.11) Lord Krishna uses the possessive pronoun mama, mine and the singular noun vartma, path. In other words, there is but one pathKrishnas.

That we are all on Krishnas path doesnt mean that whatever we do leads us to Krishna. Imagine the spiritual path to be a great highway. Some of us are progressing slowly, some faster. As long as we move in the right direction, we make spiritual advancement. But if, desiring to be independent of the Lord, we turn our heads and go the other direction, we head into further ignorance. And whom we worship while on the path also matters. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (9.25)that those who worship ghosts go to the ghosts, those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors, and those who worship demigods go to the demigods. If all worship is the same, why the different destinations? These destinations are like exits on the spiritual highway. They simply divert us from the final goal. But what about the different spiritual paths described in the Bhagavad-gita, such as jnana-yoga, dhyanayoga, karma-yoga, and so on? Dont all of them lead to the same goal? Different bona fide methods for spiritual realization are like different lanes on the spiritual highway. All of them are heading toward the final goal, yet all but one of the lanes are fairly slow, and they can bring us only part way to success. Nearing the final destination, they all merge into another lane, which has been coming all along, namely bhakti- yoga, or devotional service to Sri Krishna. Krishna Himself says in Bhagavad-gita that He is the ultimate goal of all spiritual processes. For those performing dhyana-yoga He says, One should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life. For those performing karma-yoga He says, Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you performdo that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me. For those performing jnana-yoga He says, After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes. And for those who want to perform Vedic sacrifices, Krishna proclaims that He is the goal and beneficiary of all sacrifices. Although Krishna says clearly that He is the goal of all spiritual processes, He also says that only through bhakti- yoga can He be attained. One can understand Me as I am, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of Me by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God. (Bg. 18.54) And Krishna says at the end of the sixth chapter that of all yogiswith their different methods for spiritual realizationthe bhakta is the most intimately united with Him. Therefore, because Krishna says He is the goal of all spiritual paths but one can attain Him only through devotional service, all spiritual paths (at least those that are genuine) must lead to pure devotional service, which in turn leads to Krishna, the ultimate spiritual destination. The benefits obtained by other forms of yoga should impel one to serve the Lord.

Yoga That Works

by Dhanurdhara Swami The yoga most people are familiar with isnt meant for everyone. In fact, in this age its hardly possible for anyone. The Vedic literature tells of the sage Vishvamitras failure to become self-realized after sixty thousand years of rigid yoga practice, revealing how difficult it is for even the accomplished transcendentalist to reach perfection by the process of ashtanga-yoga.In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna was naturally concerned when Arjuna expressed a desire to leave the battlefield for a life of meditation. When, in the Sixth Chapter, Krishna presents an analysis of ashtanga -yoga, Arjuna finds it too difficult, and Krishna recommends a more feasible process. To properly understand ashtanga-yoga,one of the many systems of yoga described in Bhagavad-gita,one must first have a clear understanding of what yoga is. The term yoga literally means linking and refers to linking ones consciousness with the Supreme. The different yogic processes are named for the particular method adopted to reawaken ones relationship with the Supreme. For example, when the linking process is predominantly through ones work (karma),it is called karma-yoga, and when it is predominantly through philosophical analysis (jnana),it is called jnana- yoga. Ashtanga means eight parts, and ashtanga-yoga is an eight-step process of linking with the Supreme Lord through meditation on His form within the heart. It emphasizes controlling ones mind. The materially conditioned mind is absorbed in contemplating objects of sensual pleasure: sounds, tastes, sights, and so on. By stripping the mind of external engagements and developing spiritual conviction, the advanced yogi directs his mind to an awareness of the Supersoul. Ashtanga-yoga thus offers a feasible process for self-realization, and it certainly appeared to Arjuna to be a possible solution to his anxietiesthat is, until Lord Krishna explained the qualifications of a prospective yoga candidate: To practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and should lay kusha grass on the ground and then cover it with a deerskin and soft cloth. The seat should be neither too high nor too low and should be situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit and firmly practice yoga to purify the heart by controlling his mind, senses, and activities and fixing his mind on one point. One should hold ones body, neck, and head erect in a straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus, with an unagitated, subdued mind, devoid of fear. completely free from sex life, one should meditate upon Me within the heart and make Me the ultimate goal of life. (Bhagavad-gita 6.11- 14) Although Arjuna was a great warrior of the royal family and a close friend of the Supreme Lord. Sri Krishna, because he had responsibilities in his family life and occupation he represents the common man. He therefore expresses to Lord Krishna his doubt about achieving success by a yoga process that requires one to stay in a secluded place for the rest of ones life.

Furthermore, even if such retirement were possible, who but the most elevated renunciants could tolerate the rigid manner of sitting necessary for eventual perfection? Therefore, in an honest estimation of his capabilities. Arjuna rejects the ashtanga-yoga process as a suitable method for his enlightenment: O Madhusudana, the system of yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and undesirable to me. for the mind is restless and unsteady. The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate, and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind. (Bhagavad-gita 6.33-34) Although Lord Krishna had spent considerable time explaining this system of yoga to Arjuna. He basically agrees with Arjunas analysis: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind.... Unlike Arjuna, though. Krishna does see a path to ashtanga-yogas eventual success, for He adds: but it is possible by constant practice and detachment. The question therefore arises: What is the practice for controlling the mind, for certainly almost no one in this age can observe the strict rules and regulations of ashtanga- yoga,which demand restraining the senses and mind, observing celibacy, remaining isolated, and so on? The answer to how ashtanga-yoga can be practiced successfully is found in an understanding of Vedic cosmology. According to the Vedic literature, time in our universe proceeds in cycles of 4.300,000 years, which for our purposes can be called millennia. Each millennium is divided into four ages, called yugas,which rotate like seasons and have their own characteristics. According to the capabilities of the populace in each age, a particular practice of yoga is recommended. For example, in the Satya-yuga people live 100,000 years and are endowed with exceptional qualities of goodness. The Vedas thus enjoin, krite yad dhyayato vishnum: In Satya-yuga, meditation on Vishnu [ashtanga-yoga] is recommended. The Bhagavad-gita was spoken to Arjuna before the beginning of Kali-yuga, the last and most degraded part of the millennium. For most people today, even simple spiritual endeavors seem beyond them. The Vedas thus recommend, kalau tad dhari-kirtanat:In the age of Kali, bhakti-yoga based on chanting the names of the Supreme Lord is recommended. Although bhakti-yoga is a simple process compared to the rigors of ashtanga-yoga, bhakti-yoga based on the chanting of the Lords holy name is nonetheless considered the perfection of yoga. The perfection of any yoga system is achieved when the mind becomes incapable of deviating from the Supreme. This final stage of absorption is called samadhi and is described by Lord Krishna at the completion of His description of the ashtanga-yoga system: A true yogi observes Me in all beings and also sees every being in Me. Indeed, the self-realized person sees Me, the same Supreme Lord. everywhere. A bhakti-yogi is naturally fixed in this vision, because out of devotion he busily engages his senses in serving the Supreme Lord. Furthermore, because of the pleasure derived from such loving devotion, his mind remains fixed even in the midst of the greatest allurements. In contrast to Vishvamitra Munis failure to achieve success by ashtanga-yoga, we find the example of the great devotee Haridasa Thakura, who resisted the temptation of the Lords illusory energy personified

an incomparably beautiful woman. Haridasas perfection illustrates the superiority of the bhakti-yoga process of chanting the Lords holy name. The lives of the devotees of the Lord thus confirm His last instruction about yoga in the Sixth Chapter of the Gita: And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Mehe is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.

Kirtana-Yoga and the Maha-mantra


By Satyaraja Dasa Kirtana is a simple and effective way to commune with God.

The word kirtana means "praise" or "glory" and is the name given to glorification of God in song, especially in call-and-response style. There are different categories of kirtana. For example, namakirtana refers to singing God's sacred names, lila-kirtana celebrates the transcendental activities of God and His associates, sankirtana is group singing, and nagara-sankirtana is public chanting in the streets. There are numerous variations of these. Closely related is bhajana, or prayerful song. Devotees generally stand or dance while performing kirtana, and they sit to conduct bhajana. In addition, bhajana is generally more subdued than kirtana. Various sects and regions in India attribute different labels to different forms of prayerful song, sometimes defining bhajana as a subcategory of kirtana and vice versa. Kirtana is a simple and effective way to commune with God. The Padma Purana tells us, "Because Krishna's holy name and Krishna Himself are nondifferent, the name is fully complete, pure, and eternally liberated." In the material world, all things are relative and a thing is different from its name, but in the spiritual realm a thing and its name are one. That's the nature of the Absolute.

The implications here are tremendous. If God and His name are the same, by chanting one can get close to Him in every sense of the word. The chanter is close because God's name is on his or her lips; the chanter gets purified by close association and becomes godly, cleansed, divinely inspired-thus becoming closer to God's nature; and the chanter gets close to God through the intimacy of calling His name with love and devotion, achieving the goal of yoga, or linking with Him. Loving union with God is the ultimate effect of kirtana, but kirtana does not ask us to achieve the highest level at once. Instead, it dutifully takes us there gradually, sometimes in spite of ourselves. Kirtana is joyful at any stage, and it leads to higher and higher modes of spirituality. It gradually takes us beyond the physical, mental, and intellectual strata and situates us in transcendence. Thus, whether we approach chanting as mere entertainment, as a night out, as part of a yogic regimen, or as a method for getting close to God, we benefit from the practice and move upward toward the Supreme.

Kirtana Origins
According to the sages of India, kirtana transcends history: It is "imported from the spiritual realm," where God is glorified with blissful song and dance. As kirtana makes its way to the material world, we find it in humanity's earliest cultures and civilizations. For example, the Vedas and the Upanishads, among the world's oldest religious texts, describe the power of sound in minute detail, elaborating how certain mantras, when properly recited, reveal Ultimate Reality.Kirtana, then, claims both divine origin and a history traceable to the world's earliest scriptures. Vaishnavism, whose chief manifestation in the West is known today as the Hare Krishna movement, developed kirtana into a methodical practice, or science, leading to the goal of yoga. With the help of Vaishnava scriptures, such as the Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Bhagavad-gita,adherents came to understand chanting as a highly technical-if also blissful-discipline through which they could expect definite results on the spiritual path. The scriptures state that for each world age a specific method of God realization is particularly appropriate: In Satya-yuga, millions of years ago, one attained the Absolute through deep meditation, in Treta-yuga through opulent sacrifices, in Dvapara-yuga through deity worship, and in Kali, the current age, through chanting the holy name of the Lord. Even the celestial beings mentioned in the Vedic literature want to take part in this celebration of sacred sound. Lord Vishnu, for example, blows His conch shell as a call to spiritual awakening and in His original form as Krishna bewitches all living beings with His silky smooth flute playing. Lord Shiva plays his threatening drum during the dance of cosmic dissolution. Goddess Sarasvati is always depicted with a vina, a stringed instrument, in hand. She is the divine patron of music and bestows blessings on all students of God-centered music. Lord Brahma, Sarasvati's husband, creates musical scales using the mantras of theSama Veda and chants om to create the universe. The idea that material existence is generated through sound resonates with the Bible: "In the beginning was the Word." (John 1:1) A Vedic text states, "By divine utterance the universe came into being." (Brihad-aranyaka Upanishad 1.2.4) Vedic texts tell us that sound not only instigates the flow of cosmic creation but plays a significant role in humankind's ultimate goal: "Liberation through sound," says the Vedanta-sutra (4.4.22). Hence: kirtana.

Essential Vaishnava Practice


Kirtana is the core practice of Vaishnavas, originating from hoary times and the revelation of the Vedas. Although bhakti ("devotion") is eternal, it wasn't until the sixth century CE that it emerged as the core of a vibrant religious movement, with powerful yogis and alluring singer-poets transforming the countryside. They conveyed truths not only in Sanskrit, drawing on the original Vedas, but in vernacular languages, making full use of new compositions and contemporary song. Most productive were the Saivite Nayanars and the Vaishnava Alvars, whose devotional poetry might be seen as first steps in the development of modern kirtana. A bhaktimovement was in full flower, emphasizing the heart, the essence, rather than rituals and rigid observances. Bhakti literature and devotional song spread rapidly, accommodating the growing wave of seekers and spiritual adepts that inundated the land. As a result, four major lineages arose in South India, allowing primeval knowledge to flow north and, eventually, around the world. This was done through commentary and explication, practice and revelation. The four lineages owe a debt of gratitude to the following seers: Ramanuja (1017-1137), of the Sri Sampradaya; Nimbarka (ca. 1130-1200), of the Kumara Sampradaya; Madhva (1238-1317), who appeared in the Brahma Sampradaya; and Vishnu Swami (dates unknown), who reinvigorated the Rudra Sampradaya, later reformulated by Vallabhacharya (1479-1545) as Pushti Marga. Many branches, sub-branches, and diverse traditions sprouted from these essential four. Kirtana is most significant in the line of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1533). His Gaudiya Sampradaya, an offshoot of the Brahma-Madhva line, inspired all of India with ecstatic song and dance, illuminating the science of kirtana as never before. The Hare Krishna movement comes in the lineage of Sri Chaitanya. Sophisticated love poetry, systematic theology, and new revelations came from many quarters. Chief among these, perhaps, was the Gita-Govinda, Jayadeva's twelfth-century Sanskrit work on the love of Radha and Krishna. Other prominent bhakti poets and singers included Sura Dasa, Tulasi Dasa, Tukarama, Namadeva, Mirabai, Vidyapati, Candidasa, Swami Haridasa, Narottama, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Countless others wrote devotional songs about Radha-Krishna, elaborating on divine love as found in the spiritual world. Those who practice kirtana today are forever indebted to them.

The Maha-mantra
The Hare Krishna maha-mantra-Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare-is known as the greatest (maha) of all mantras because it contains the potency of all other spiritual sound. Chanting the maha-mantra is thus the most popular and effective form of kirtana. The maha-mantra is also considered the greatest chant because unlike other mantras it aims only for service to God. While the chanter of other mantras generally wants some earthly reward-health, daily bread, the protection of loved ones-the chanter of the maha-mantra asks only to be used as God's

instrument, to serve Him in love and devotion without any expectation of return. Srila Prabhupada gives us the following translation: "O Lord, O energy of the Lord, please engage me in Your divine service." Since the maha-mantra is composed solely of the names of God, how does one arrive at this translation? Simply put, the names composing the mantra are in the vocative case, used when petitioning or calling out to someone. So Hare means "O Radha," as Hare is the vocative form of Hara, a name for Radha, who personifies devotion to Krishna. Since Rama is a name for Krishna, the maha-mantra is a heartfelt petition to Radha-Krishna. What does the chanter of the maha-mantra ask of Radha-Krishna? Only for the privilege of serving Them in pure love.

A Deeper Meaning
The maha-mantra is a prayer with great depth that extends from a simple glorification of the Lord to an urgent request: "Please engage me in Your service." And yet it goes further still. Great acharyas, pure teachers who have passed down the mantra in disciplic succession, explain it in various deep ways. For example, Dhyanachandra Goswami, one of Lord Chaitanya's associates, explains it as follows: "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna"-the first four words of the mantra-refer to Radha and Krishna in union, celebrating Their love together (sambhoga bhava). "Krishna Krishna" signifies Their separation ( vipralambha bhava). Radharani is calling, "Krishna! Krishna! Where is My Krishna? Oh, please tell me, where is My Krishna?" In the next two words, Krishna calls out, too: "Hare! Hare! Where is My Radharani?" In the first half of the mantra, then, one finds the feelings of union and longing-spiritual emotions that bring intense realization and satisfaction. In the second half of the mantra, the same emotions increase and intensify. Krishna is called Rama because He is the source of all pleasure (rama). He is also called Radha-Ramana, or the joy of Radha. "Hare Rama, Hare Rama" means that Krishna is feeling ecstasy in the company of His darling Radharani. The divine lovers, Radha and Krishna, are together again, swimming in the reservoir of pleasure simply by being in each other's company. But then, "Rama Rama." They're separated once again. Radha is crying, "Where is that ecstasy I had with Krishna? Where is He?" She calls out His name twice: "Rama! Rama!" And He is also crying: "Hare! Hare! Where is the ecstasy I felt with Radharani? Where is My beloved?" So in both halves of the mantra there is union and separation. And as one advances spiritually, by engaging in kirtana, one can appreciate these emotions more and more.

Discover The Science of BhaktiYoga


by Caitanya Carana Dasa
The sooner we realize the benefits of bhakti-yoga, the faster we achieve peace and harmony within a techno-centric world.
As a spiritual teacher with a scientific educational background, I am often asked to give scientific presentations on spirituality. After such presentations, a question that comes up frequently is, Despite having a scientific background, why did you turn to spirituality? My usual answer is, I turned to spirituality, because of my scientific propensity, not despite it; I discovered that the spiritual path of bhakti-yoga is itself a form of science, and it is an essential component for balancing and complementing modern science. Several of my friends who have heard me say this suggested I pen it in the form of an autobiographical-cum-analytical article. This article, therefore, is an attempt to serve them as well as all those who are interested in the relationship between science and spirituality. I grew up in India during the 1980s, a period when the country was making significant strides in science and technology. Science fascinated me since my childhood for two principal reasons: one intellectual, one practical. I felt that the scientific spirit of enquiry could offer intelligent answers to the questions of an inquisitive mind. Also, I felt that technology television, cars, airplanes, and computers would practically make India modern and progressive. Pursuing my interest in sciences pragmatic side I studied electronics and telecommuni-cations engineering in one of Indias most reputed colleges, the Government College of Engineering, Pune. As my engineering studies neared a successful culmination, I was all set to follow the career graph that is the dream of most Indian students: to pursue further science studies in the United States. Little did I know that an opportunity to pursue a different kind of science was to open up for me in India itself. Teenage Perplexity During my teenage years, my childhood fascination with science had turned to perplexity. I had fancied science as a means to create a better world, but I was puzzled to see that my scientific colleagues who I felt were going to be the co-shapers of this better world didnt seem, in their personal lives, to be much better than the non-scientific masses. I was taken aback to find that several of my brilliant peers and seniors couldnt resist self-destructive indulgences like smoking and drinking. I had no over-moralistic fetish against smoking or other such selfdefeating indulgences. I knew several people who had that habit, including a close relative. I could attribute their habit to their deficient intelligence. However, to what could I attribute the self-destructive indulgence of those who had no such intellectual deficiency who had, in fact, more intellectual proficiency than me? Astrophysics had been one of my fascinations, but when I met an acclaimed double-doctorate USreturned astrophysicist, I was dismayed to find him a chain smoker. One of the consistent top performers in my department was also a chain smoker; I watched in distress as the chain dragged him first out of his fast-track career in a reputed software company due to failing bodily health, and finally out of his body itself. I was appalled when one of the senior professors in our department, who was also a compulsive smoker and alcoholic, committed suicide.

This mismatch among my scientific colleagues between intellectual proficiency in their professional lives and intellectual deficiency in their personal lives left me deeply questioning my idealistic hope that science would herald a better world. Of course, I knew many other colleagues who led sensible, regulated, productive lives, pursuing science as a bright career. I had also encountered a few very few colleagues who shared my vision of science as a tool to improve the human condition. However, overall, my several years of study and stay in a science college slowly brought into the forefront of my awareness as a sharp jab what had earlier been a background nag: science, in and of itself, doesnt bring about a positive transformative effect on those who study it. Without that transformation of the individual, I felt that all attempts to improve the world through science, no matter how earnest, would inevitably fall short. I didnt know of any science that could transform the individual until I encountered bhakti-yoga, as it was presented to me by the Hare Krsna devotees. The Catholicity of Bhakti- yoga The devotees presented me with the books of Srila Prabhupada and several devotee-scientists, which I read like a starving man devouring a sumptuous feast. I found the scientific presentation of bhakti-yoga innovative and appealing. Although I had earlier read the works of several well-known Indian spiritual teachers, my scientific instincts had made me regard their claims and beliefs with a healthy skepticism. But here I found my scepticism anticipated and pre-empted. I had at times questioned the scientific validity of belief in God, but now, even before my raising the question I was presented the design argument for His existence. It intuitively appealed to my scientific sensibility; I saw the same intricate and delicate scientific structures and systems I had studied during my science education in a new light: as eloquent and poignant testimony to the working of a divine super-intelligence. I was also pleasantly surprised to know that these bhakti-yogis were not alone in seeing a designer behind the design in the universe; they share in a respected tradition that includes scores of the most eminent scientists in modern intellectual history Newton, Pasteur, Kelvin, Plank, and Einstein, to name a few. My scientific background had trained me to place a high premium on the intellectual tools of reason and logic. Naturally, I used these tools to scrutinize the philosophy of bhakti-yoga, as explained in its foundational texts, the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. Just as science had earlier appealed to my intellect, I now found the philosophy of bhakti-yoga similarly appealing. Like the propositions of science, the principles of bhakti-yoga had a magnificent intellectual catholicity to them. I found bhakti philosophy to be: 1. Universal: All living beings, irrespective of gender, nationality, caste, race, religion, and even species are the beloved children of the same one God (Bhagavad-gita 14.4). 2. Non-sectarian: The essence of ones spirituality is not ones religious label but ones selfless love for the same one God who is the goal of all religions (Srimad-Bhagavatam1.2.6). 3. Beneficent: Spiritual advancement inspires one to render broadminded, compassionate, heartfelt, holistic service toward all Gods children (Srimad-Bhagavatam3.25.21). 4. Sustainable: We are all spiritual beings, whose real happiness comes not by material acquisition but by spiritual realization (Bhagavad-gita5.2122). (I had already figured out that the only way humanity could sustain itself on the limited resources of our finite planet would be to become less materialistic.) A Self-transformative Spiritual Science

George Harrison

The second reason for my attraction to science had been its practical benefits; I was soon to discover that bhakti-yoga had remarkable pragmatic potency as well. I had been repeatedly and increasingly exasperated to see my lofty intellectual ambitions thwarted by the routine passions of youth. The bhakti-yoga practice of mantra meditation filled me with a sense of inner peace, pleasure, power, and purpose, thereby enabling me to thwart the passions that had thwarted me till then. My earlier readings in spirituality had given me the notion that bhakti-yoga was for unintellectual, sentimental people. But my experience was dramatically opposite; far from requiring me to abandon or even downplay my intellect, bhakti-yoga had facilitated me to better access, utilize, and develop my intellect. To check whether bhaktis transformational potency was a one-off fluke or a universal feature, I started sharing my new-found spiritual wisdom with my fellow engineering students. Those who accepted and practiced bhakti became positively transformed within a remarkably short time; they easily broke free from undesirable behaviors and indulgences and became better students, citizens, and human beings. For me, their transformation meant that bhakti-yoga had passed the scientific litmus test of repeatability. Soon I happened to read The Nectar of Devotion, a sixteenth-century treatise on the progression of devotion subtitled The Complete Science of Devotion. There I found a coherent and cogent theoretical framework within which to understand bhaktis empowering and freeing potency. This freedom is the predicted fourth stage, called anartha-nivrtti, in a well-defined nine-stage devotional trajectory that culminates in pure love for God. To me this systematic analysis with detailed description of each stage resonated with the scientific benchmark of predictability; a good scientific theory should predict the results of the experiments based on it in a clear way so that the theory can be either verified or falsified. This was exactly what the bhakti texts were doing and our experiment, or our experience, to be more precise, was verifying its predictions. Urgent Relevance I was soon to realize that the pragmatic benefits of bhakti-yoga were urgently relevant in our current techno-centric world. While technology had given us increasing ability to control the external world, it had provided us with little, if any, ability to control the internal world. Technology had led to the production of hi-tech commercials that could tempt even an intellectual scientist into chain-smoking, but it could not equip anyone with anymedicine or mechanism to regain the lost self-mastery. This inability to develop

self-mastery could have consequences much graver than the ill effects of smoking, which some might downplay as a negligible indiscretion or as a cultural norm. The inability to resist sexual temptations could lead to an epidemic of life-threatening sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS. The inability to resist anger could lead to shootings in schools and during fits of road rage. My apprehensions about the lopsidedness of technology-centered efforts to improve the world were vindicated when I read a statement by Albert Einstein: It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. My experience had shown me that science could improve our technology, but it couldnt improve our humanity. To me it was evident that improving our humanity necessitated that we become equipped with some means to increase our self-mastery, for that alone could enable us to act in humane ways. I had discovered that bhakti-yoga delineates clear principles and practices for making self-mastery a realistic attainment for one and all. Put in contemporary parlance, these principles state that all of us have a higher self and a lower self that battle perpetually. The higher self inspires us to be selfless, broadminded, and principled, whereas the lower self incites us to be selfish, mean-minded and opportunistic. Bhakti philosophy helps us understand that the higher self is who we actually are: pure, godly souls; the lower self, on the other hand, is who we think we are: our material bodies and minds, which cover and pervert our godly nature. Improving our humanity means empowering our higher self to control and conquer our lower self. That culture which equips and facilitates its people to nourish the higher self and starve the lower self is truly humane, for only in that culture will the people develop humane qualities.

Scientific = Materialistic?

Unfortunately, atheistic materialism masquerading as science also known as scientism has caused the unwarranted expulsion of spirituality from the world of science, thus creating the unnecessary dichotomy and duel between science and spirituality. Consequently, many people today mistakenly equate being

scientific with being materialistic. I could soon understand that this erroneous equalization was the root cause of the mismatch between professional competence and personal character I had seen in my scientific colleagues. The prevailing materialistic ethos left them with little or no intellectual room for knowledge of or belief in a higher self, let alone any impetus or facility to nourish that self. And, being participants-cum-victims of the same materialistic society as the rest of us, they remained just as vulnerable to the onslaughts of their lower self as we are. No wonder several of them could not resist their self-defeating indulgences. The narrow-mindedness that equates being scientific with being materialistic does a great disservice to the glorious potential of science as an open-minded search for the truth. And it does greater disservice to the glorious spiritual potential of humanity by forcing it down the blind alley of self-destructive materialism in the name of being scientific. To break this unfair monopoly of materialism on science, a widespread awareness of how spirituality can be scientific, as it is in the case of bhakti-yoga, needs to be created. Only such awareness will restore to scientifically minded people their freedom of choice for evaluating both materialism and spirituality for their merits and demerits and then making a wise choice. I feel fortunate to have been given that freedom of choice before it was too late in my life. And I strongly feel that every human being deserves this freedom of choice. Why should anyone be brainwashed into believing the white lie that in order to be scientific one has to be materialistic? In order to share with others the freedom of choice that had been granted to me I decided over a decade ago to focus my life on practicing and sharing the science of bhakti-yoga. Material science has its importance, but there were many who would be more than happy to take my seat in the American science college. There were very few who would become scientific spokespersons for bhakti-yoga. I felt impelled to choose the road less travelled. My fifteen years of sharing bhakti-yoga has provided repeated confirmations of my initial experience: bhakti-yoga is indeed a way and an eminently practical and powerful way to improve our humanity. I have seen hundreds if not thousands of people experimenting with and experiencing within the empowering effects of bhakti-yoga. As I look back at my journey initially through science and later through spirituality I can see a clear continuity: the same values and purposes guided me through both phases. The question that opened this article assumes a radical discontinuity, even incongruity, in the two phases, but I find this assumption unnatural, untrue, and undesirable. I see myself neither as a scientist nor as a spiritualist but as a human being who wants to improve himself and play his part in improving the world. For this purpose, I am willing and eager to use all possible resources, be they scientific or spiritual. I feel both have important roles to play: science can help us make things better; spirituality can help us make ourselves better. Of course, the interaction of science and spirituality is a complex, multifaceted topic, and not all aspects of science and all aspects of spirituality can be harmonized. But that is an entirely different topic. The focus of this article is to illustrate, through the journey of one human being, how we can benefit from the fruits of both these human enterprises science and spirituality so that our lives become easier externally and happier internally, and we become equipped and enriched to make a positive difference in the world. My readers can decide to what extent that purpose has been served. Caitanya Carana Dasa is the associate-editor of Back to Godhead (US and Indian editions). To subscribe to his free cyber magazine, visit thespiritualscientist.com. Contact him at ccd.rnsm@gmail.com

Should Christians (and other non-Hindus) beware of yoga?


by NitynandaChandra 0

Dallas Morning News,


Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box. Here's what we posed this week to the Texas Faith panel: The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Albert Mohler, caused a stir with a recent column decrying the practice of yoga by Christians. He did a follow-up, not backing down, but noting the fierce reaction to his original piece. Mohler wrote the column after reading Stefanie Syman's book The Subtle Body: The Story of Yoga in America, which describes how yoga has been adapted and secularized here. Mohler concluded the column this way: "Christians who practice yoga are embracing, or at minimum flirting with, a spiritual practice that threatens to transform their own spiritual lives into a `post-Christian, spiritually polyglot' reality. Should any Christian willingly risk that?" If you agree with Mohler, why? If you don't, do you see anything objectionable about how a Hindu spiritual practice has morphed into something quite commercial and secular in this country including "power yoga" and "hot yoga"? Are there cautions you would give to Westerners who want to borrow from non-Western religious traditions? Or should everyone, including Al Mohler, just limber up and chill out? After the jump, you'll find the panelists' responses:

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas The word yoga and religion have the exact same meaning. Yoga means to connect with God. Our English words "union" and "yoke" come from the Sanskrit root yoga. The Latin root of the word religion, means to re ligare - to reconnect with God. In the Bhagavad Gita, which is the ultimate exposition on all the yoga sciences, Lord Krishna describes, "And of all yogs, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me -- he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion." The branch of yoga that most people are familiar with is the physical and intellectual yoga known as the hatha yoga or ashtanga yoga system. This is an extremely ancient spiritual practice but very few often touch on the actual goal of that yoga or even know of its purpose. Hatha yoga, although very healthy for the body, is meant to bring one to higher level of consciousness, realizing the soul different from the body. One with such a vision does not seek happiness through the temporary body but rather invests their sense of happiness in that which is eternal. According to the ancient Patajali, the author of the Yoga Sutras & the founder of hatha yoga, one must become surrendered to God before one even begins the practice of asana, physical poses. This form of yoga requires one to live in a secluded place and to observe complete celibacy, and many other yamas and niyamas, or rules and regulations. Therefore this type of yoga was traditional done by monks and renunciates who have completely left family life behind in their old age. It not a generally recommended spiritual practice and in fact, the primary student of the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna, was never known to take up this practice although he is known as the best student of yoga. There is the mechanical process of yoga, the process of purifying ones consciousness and mind, elevating ones behavior and mentality so one can ultimately mediate on God. The ultimate outcome of such mediation is the desire to serve God. One can take stairs or one can also take the elevator. Taking the elevator means to start with the natural yoga, the organic yoga of the soul, Bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion. This is practice of loving God with all one's heart, mind, and soul in service. This is the ultimate recommendation of the Bhagavad Gita. So if those practitioners who are in contact with yoga are brought to that ultimate purpose of service in devotion then that is wonderful; otherwise, it is just gymnastics.

For more information read below


1)

Srimad Bhagavatam 11 th canto, 29 th chapter: Bhakti-yoga

Thinking that the previously described spiritual practice, based on detachment, is too difficult, Uddhava inquired about an easier method. In reply, Lord r Ka gave brief instructions on devotional service. The fruitive workers and mystic yogs, who are bewildered by the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and puffed up by their false identifications, refuse to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. But the swanlike men, those who know how to discriminate between the essential and nonessential, always take shelter at the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Lord Himself within the living entity as thecaittya-guru and without as the spiritual master who teaches by example eradicates all the misfortune of the spirit soul and reveals His own personal form. One should execute all duties for the sake of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, keeping ones mind absorbed in Him. One should take advantage of the sacred abodes of the Lord, where His devotees reside, and one should serve the Lord and celebrate the festivals and holidays in His honor. By understanding all living beings to be Lord Kas place of residence, one can attain the ability to see equally everywhere, and thus all faulty qualities of envy, false ego and so on will be removed. Bearing this in mind, the devotee should give up his proud relatives, his separatist outlook and his mundane embarrassment and should offer obeisances flat on the ground to all, even the dogs and outcastes. As long as one has not learned to see the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in all creatures, he must continue to use his body, mind and speech to worship the Supreme Lord in that manner of offering full obeisances to all. Because this eternal process of devotional service to the Supreme Lord is transcendental and has been established by the Lord Himself, it can never, to the slightest extent, be defeated or prove fruitless. When one offers himself completely to the Supreme Lord with exclusive devotion, the Lord becomes particularly pleased,

and thus the devotee achieves immortality, becoming qualified to obtain opulence equal to that of the Lord. After receiving these instructions, r Uddhava went to Badarikrama in pursuance of Lord Kas order, and by perfectly carrying out the instructions of the Supreme Lord, he attained the Lords transcendental abode. By faithfully serving these instructions spoken by the Personality of Godhead to Uddhava, the greatest of devotees, the entire world can become liberated.

2) Krsna Consciousness the Topmost Yoga System by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Krsna Consciousness The Topmost Yoga System Table of Contents Chapter One The Perfection of Yoga Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, speaks about the topmost system of yoga in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. There He has explained the hatha-yoga system. Please remember that we are preaching this Krsna consciousness movement on the authority of Bhagavad-gita. It is nothing manufactured. The bhakti-yoga system is authorized, and if you want to know about God, then you have to adopt this bhakti-yoga system because in the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita it is concluded that the topmost yogi is he who is always thinking of Krsna within himself. Krsna, the supreme authority, recommended the eightfold yoga system. The

first step of this yoga system is to select a very secluded and sacred place. Eightfold meditation cannot be performed in a fashionable city. It is not possible. In India, therefore, those who are very serious about practicing yoga go to Hardwar, a very secluded place in the Himalayas, where they remain alone and follow a very restrictive process for eating and sleeping. There is no question of mating. Those rules and regulations must be followed very strictly. Simply to make a show of gymnastics is not perfection of yoga. Yoga means control of the senses. If you indulge your senses unrestrictedly but make a show of yoga practice, you will never be successful. You have to select a sacred place; then you have to sit with half-closed eyes and concentrate on the tip of your nose. You cannot change your posture. There are many rules and regulations which cannot possibly be followed at the present. Even 5,000 years ago, when circumstances in the world were different, this yoga system was not practicable. Even such a great personality as Arjuna, who belonged to the royal family and was a great warrior and an intimate friend of Krsna's, constantly living with Him, after hearing this process of yoga from Krsna in a face-to-face discussion, said, "My dear Krsna, it is not possible to follow." He flatly admitted, "For me these rules and regulations and practicefor controlling the mind are not possible." We have to think, then: 5,000 years ago a personality like Arjuna expressed his inability to practice this eightfold yoga system, so how can we follow it now? In this age people are very short-lived. In India the average duration of life is thirty-five years. In your country it may be more than that. But actually, whereas your grandfather lived for 100 years, you cannot. These things are changing. The duration of life will be reduced. There are predictions in the scriptures that in this age, man's duration of life, his mercy and his intelligence are being reduced. Men are not very powerful; their duration of

life is very short. We are always disturbed, and we have practically no knowledge about spiritual science. For example, in the hundreds and thousands of universities all over the world there is no department of knowledge where the science of the soul is taught. Actually, we are all spirit soul. From Bhagavad-gita we understand that we are transmigrating from one body to another, even in our present lives. All of us had at one time the body of a small baby. Where is that body? That body is gone. Presently I am an old man, but I remember that I was once a small baby. I still remember when I was about six months old; I was lying down on the lap of my elder sister, who was knitting, and I was playing. I can remember that, so it is possible for everyone to remember that he had a small body. After the baby's body I had a boy's body; then I had a youthful body, and now I am in this body. Where are those bodies? They are gone now. This is a different body. It is explained in Bhagavad-gita that when I give up this body, I will have to accept another body. It is very simple to understand. I have changed so many bodies, not only from childhood to boyhood to youth, but according to medical science we are changing bodies every second, imperceptibly. This Process indicates that the soul is permanent. Although I have changed many bodies, I remember my baby body and my childhood body--I am the same person, soul. Similarly, when ultimately I change this body, I shall have to accept another. This simple formula is stated in Bhagavad-gita. Everyone can reflect on it, and there must be scientific research done in this area. Recently I received a letter from a doctor in Toronto. He suggested that there is body and there is soul. I corresponded with him. Actually, it is a fact. The soul is there. There is so much evidence, not only in the Vedic literature but even by ordinary experience. The soul is there, and it is

transmigrating from one body to another, but unfortunately there is no serious study on this subject in the universities. This is not very good. The Vedantasutra says, "This human form of life is meant for searching out the spirit, the Absolute Truth." The yoga system is used to search out the spiritual principles within this material world. That process for searching is recommended in Bhagavad-gita by Krsna Himself. When Arjuna said, "The system You are recommending, the hatha-yoga system, is not possible for me," Krsna assured him that he was the greatest of all yogis. He pacified him by saying not to bother about being unable to practice hatha-yoga. He told him, "Of all different types of yogis--hatha-yogis, jnana-yogis, dhyana-yogis, bhakta-yogis, karma-yogis--you are the best yogi." Krsna says, "Of all yogis, the one who is constantly thinking of Me within himself, meditating upon Me within the heart, is the first-class yogi." Who can think of Krsna always within himself? This is very easy to understand. If you love someone, you can think of him always within you; otherwise it is not possible. If you love someone, then naturally you think of him always. That is described in the Brahma-samhita. One who has developed love of God, Krsna, can think of Him constantly. When I speak of Krsna you should understand that He is God. Another name for Krsna is Syamasundara, which means that He is blackish like a cloud but very beautiful. In one verse of Brahmasamhita it is said that a santa, a saintly person, who has developed love for Syamasundara, Krsna, thinks of the Lord constantly within his heart. Actually, when one comes to the point of samadhi in the yoga system, he thinks, withoutcessation, of the Visnu form of the Lord within the heart. He is absorbed in that thought. Krsna, Syamasundara, is the original Visnu. That is stated in Bhagavad-gita. Krsna includes Brahma, Visnu, Siva and everyone else. According to Vedic

scripture, He expands first as Baladeva, Baladeva expands as Sankarsana, Sankarsana expands as Narayana, and Narayana expands as Visnu (Maha-Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu). These are Vedic statements. We can understand that Krsna is the original Visnu, Syamasundara. This is the perfect system. Anyone who is thinking of Krsna always within himself is a first-class yogi. If you want perfection in yoga, don't be satisfied only by practicing codes. You have to go further. Actually, the perfection of yoga is reached when you are in samadhi, always thinking of the Visnu form of the Lord within your heart, without being disturbed. Therefore yogis go to a secluded place, and by controlling all the senses and the mind and concentrating everything on the form of Visnu, they reach samadhi. That is called perfection of yoga. Actually this yoga system is very, very difficult. It may be possible for some solitary man, but for the general mass of people it is not recommended in the scriptures: harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam. kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha. "In this age of Kali one must chant the holy names of the Lord for deliverance. There is no other alternative. There is no other alternative. There is no other alternative." (Brhan-Naradiya Purana) The yoga system, as it was recommended in the Satya-yuga, the Golden Age, was to always meditate on Visnu. In the Treta-yuga one could practice yoga by performing great sacrifices, and in the next age, Dvapara-yuga, one could achieve perfection by temple worship. The present age is called Kali-yuga. Kaliyuga means the age of quarrel and disagreement. No one agrees with anyone else. Everyone has his own theory; everyone has his own philosophy. If I don't agree with you, you fight me. This is the symptom of Kali-yuga. The only method recommended in this age is chanting the holy name. Simply by chanting the holy name of God, one can attain that perfect self-realization which was attained by

the yoga system in the Satya-yuga, by performance of great sacrifices in the Treta-yuga, and by large-scale temple worship in the Dvapara-yuga. That perfection can be attained by the simple method of Hari kirtana. Hari means the Supreme personality of Godhead; kirtana means to glorify. This method is recommended in the scriptures, and it was given to us by Caitanya Mahaprabhu 500 years ago. He appeared in a town which is known as Navadvipa. It is about sixty miles north of Calcutta. People still go there. We have a temple center there. It is also a sacred place of pilgrimage. Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared there, and He started this mass sankirtana movement, which is conducted without discrimination. He predicted that this sankirtana movement would be spread all over the world and that the Hare Krsna mantra would be chanted in every village and town on the surface of the globe. In pursuance of the order of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, following in His footsteps, we are trying to introduce this sankirtana movement, chanting Hare Krsna, and it is proving very successful everywhere. I am preaching especially in foreign countries, all over Europe, America, Japan, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, etc. I have introduced this sankirtana movement, and now we have centers around the world. All eighty centers are being received with great enthusiasm. I have not imported these boys and girls from India, but they are taking this movement very seriously because it appeals to the soul directly. We have different stages of our life--the bodily concept of life, the mental concept of life, the intellectual concept of life, and the spiritual concept of life. Actually we are concerned with the spiritual concept. Those who are allured by the bodily concept are no better than cats and dogs. If we accept that "I am this body," then we are not better than the cats and dogs because their concept of life is like that. We must understand that "I am not this

body," as Krsna wanted to impress upon Arjuna in the beginning of His teachingof Bhagavad-gita: "First of all, try to understand what you are. Why are you lamenting in the bodily concept of life? You have to fight. Certainly you have to fight with your brothers, brothers-in-law and nephews, and you are lamenting. But first of all understand whether you are body or not." That is the beginning of Bhagavad-gita. Krsna tried to make Arjuna understand that he was not his body. This instruction was not for Arjuna exclusively, but for everyone. First of all we have to learn that "I am not this body," that "I am spirit soul." That is Vedic instruction. As soon as you come to this point of being firmly convinced that you are not this body, that is called the brahma-bhuta stage of Brahman realization. That is knowledge, real knowledge. Advancement of knowledge for eating, sleeping and mating is animal knowledge. A dog also knows how to eat, how to sleep, how to mate and how to defend. If our education extends only to these points (the dog is eating according to his nature, and we are also eating, but in a nice place, with nicely cooked food on a nice table), that is not advancement. The principle is still eating. Similarly, you may sleep in a very nice apartment in a sixstory building or in a 122-story building, and the dog may lie in a street, but when he sleeps and when you sleep, there is no difference. You cannot know whether you are sleeping in a skyscraper or on the ground because you are dreaming something which has taken you from your bed. You have forgotten that your body is lying there on the bed, and you are flying in the air, dreaming. Therefore, to improve the sleeping method is not advancement of civilization. Similarly, the dog has no social custom for mating. Whenever there is a she-dog, he mates on the street. You may mate very silently, in a secret place (although now people are learning how to mate like dogs), but the mating is there. The same principle applies to defending. A dog has teeth and nails with which he can

defend himself, and you have atom bombs. But the purpose is defending, that's all. Therefore, scripture says that human life is not meant only for these four principles of life, bodily demands. There is another thing--a human being should be inquisitive to learn what is Absolute Truth. That education is lacking. According to Vedic civilization a brahmana is a learned man, or one who knows the spirit. In India, brahmanas are addressed as learned men, but in fact they cannot be brahmanas by birth. They are expected to know what is spirit. By birth everyone is a sudra, a fourth-class man, but he may be reformed by the purificatory process. There are ten kinds of purificatory processes. One undergoes all these processes and at last comes to the spiritual master who gives him the sacred thread as recognition of his second birth. One birth is by your father and mother, and the other birth is by the spiritual master and Vedic knowledge. That is called second birth. At that time the candidate is given a chance to study and understand what is Veda. By studying all the Vedas very nicely, he actually realizes what is spirit and what is his relationship with God, and then he becomes a brahmana. Above that situation of impersonal Brahman understanding, he comes to the platform of understanding Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; then he becomes a Vaisnava. This is the perfectional process. Chapter Two Yoga and the Master of Yoga Yoga means the connecting link between the soul and the Supersoul, or the Supreme and the minute living creatures. Lord Sri Krsna is that Supreme, the Personality of Godhead. Being, therefore, the ultimate object of yoga, Krsna's name is yogesvara, the master of yoga. At the conclusion of the Bhagavad-gita, it is said: "Where there is Krsna,

and where there is Arjuna, the greatest of bowmen, there, undoubtedly, is victory." The Bhagavad-gita is a narrative spoken by Sanjaya, the secretary of Maharaja Dhrtarastra. This is just like airwaves from the radio: the play is going on inthe auditorium, but you can hear from your room. So, just as we now have such a mechanical arrangement, at that time there were also certain arrangements, although there was no machine. Anyway, the secretary of Dhrtarastra could see what was going on in the battlefield, and he was in the palace, telling this to Maharaja Dhrtarastra, who was blind. Now, the conclusion made by Sanjaya was that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the yoga performance is described, it is said that Krsna's name is yogesvara. No one can be a better yogi than the master of yoga, and Krsna is the master. There are many different types of yoga. Yoga means the system, and yogi means the person who practices that system. The object of yoga, the ultimate goal, is to understand Krsna. Therefore, Krsna consciousness means to practice the topmost type of yoga. This topmost yoga system was described by Krsna in the Gita to His most intimate friend, Arjuna. In the beginning, the Lord said that this system can be practiced only by a person who has developed attachment for it. This Krsna conscious yoga system cannot be practiced by an ordinary man who has no attachment for Krsna, for it is a different system, and the topmost--bhaktiyoga. There are five types of direct attachment, and there are seven types of indirect attachment. Indirect attachment is not bhakti. Direct attachment is called bhakti. If you are attached to Krsna by the direct method, it is called devotional service, and if you are attached to Krsna by an indirect method, it is not devotional service. But that is also attachment. King Kamsa, for example, was the maternal uncle of Krsna; and there was a warning that Kamsa would be

killed by one of his sister's sons. So he became very anxious about the sons of his sister, and he decided to kill his sister. Devaki, Krsna's mother, was saved by her husband, Vasudeva, who made a compromise and proposed to his brotherinlaw as follows: "You are afraid of the son of your sister. So your sister herself is not going to kill you." He requested, "Don't kill your sister. Save her, and I promise that all the sons born of her will be brought to you, and if you like you can kill them." Vasudeva did this in order that his poor wife might be saved. And Vasudeva thought, "When Devaki's son is born, Kamsa may have a change of heart." But Kamsa was such a great demon that he killed all the sons of Devaki. It was told that the eighth son of the sister would kill him. So, when Krsna was in the womb of His mother, Kamsa was always thinking of Krsna. You may say that he was not Krsna conscious, but actually he was. Not directly, not for love's sake, but as an enemy. He was Krsna conscious as an enemy. So, that is not devotional service. One in devotional service is Krsna conscious as Krsna's friend, Krsna's servant, His parent, or His lover. You may want Krsna as your lover, or as your son; you may want Krsna as your friend, you may want Krsna as your master, you may want Krsna as the Supreme Sublime. These five different kinds of direct relationships with Krsna are called devotion, or bhakti. They entail no material profit. The concept of accepting God as a son is superior to the concept of accepting God as a father. There is a distinction. The relationship between father and son is that the son wants to take something from the father. The father's relationship with the son is that the father always wants to give something to the son. Therefore, the relationship with God or Krsna as son is better than the relationship with Krsna by one who thinks, "If I accept God as my father, then my business will be to ask for my necessities from the father." But, if I become

the father of Krsna, then from the very beginning of His childhood, my business will be to serve Him. The father is the parent of the child from the very beginning of his birth; therefore the concept of this relationship of Vasudeva and Devaki is sublime. Krsna's foster mother, Yasoda, is thinking, "If I do not feed Krsna sumptuously, He will die." She for. gets that Krsna is the Supreme Lord, that He is sustaining the three worlds. She forgets that only one Lord is supplying thenecessities of all the living entities. This same Personality of Godhead has become the son of Yasoda, and she is thinking, "If I do not feed Him nicely, He will die." This is love. She has forgotten that it is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who has appeared before her as a little child. This relationship of attachment is very sublime. It requires time to understand, but there is a position where, instead of asking, "O God, please give us our daily bread," you can instead think that God will die if you do not supply bread to Him. This is the ecstasy of extreme love. There is such a relationship between Krsna and His devotee Radharani, the greatest devotee, the greatest lover of Krsna. Mother Yasoda is His lover as a parent; Sudama is His lover as a friend; Arjuna also as a friend--there are millions and billions of different kinds of direct devotees of Krsna. So the yoga systems as described here lead to bhakti-yoga, and bhakti-yoga can be practiced by persons who have developed attachment to Krsna. Others cannot practice it. And, if anyone is able to develop that attachment, the relationship will be that he will understand God, Krsna, perfectly. However we may try to understand God by our different theories or speculations, it is still a difficult job. We may say that we have understood God, but it is not possible to understand Him as He is, because we have limited senses, and He is unlimited. It is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that our senses are imperfect, all of

them. We cannot understand even the material world perfectly. You have seen so many planets and stars in the sky at night, but you do not know what they are. You do not even know what the moon planet is, though men have been trying for so many years to go there in sputniks. Even this one planet, Earth! We do not know what varieties there are even on this planet! If you go to the sea, to the sky, your perception is limited. Our knowledge is, therefore, always imperfect. On that we must agree. If we foolishly think that we have acquired all forms of knowledge and we have advanced in science, this is another foolishness. It is not possible. And, when it is not possible to understand even the material things which we daily see with our eyes, what can we say of the spiritual world and Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead? He is the supreme spiritual form, and it is not possible to understand Him by our limited senses. Then why are we bothering so much for Krsna consciousness, if it is not possible? If these imperfect senses cannot realize Krsna as He is? The answer is that if you become submissive, if you develop the spiritual attitude of following Krsna, and you are as a servant or a friend, as a parent or as a lover--if you begin to give service to the Supreme Lord then you can begin to know Him. Your service begins with the tongue. How? By the tongue you can chant Hare Krsna, and by the tongue you can taste Krsna prasadam, spiritual food. So, the beginning of the process is very nice. You can chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--and whenever prasadam is offered to you by Krsna, by His kindness, you accept it. The result will be that if you become submissive, and if you begin this service--chanting and eating prasadam--Krsna will reveal Himself before you. You can't understand Krsna by speculation; that is not Possible, because your

senses are imperfect. But if you begin this process of service, then it will be possible--one day Krsna will reveal Himself to you: "I am like this." just as Krsna is revealing to Arjuna. Arjuna is a devotee, and he is submissive, and he is in contact with Krsna as a friend. Therefore Krsna is revealing to him. The Bhagavad-gita was spoken to Arjuna, not to any Vedantist philosophical speculator. In the beginning of the Fourth Chapter, you will note that Krsna says, "I am speaking to you that ancient system of yoga." It is stated, "unto you." Arjuna was a ksatriya, a fighter. He was a householder, not even a sannyasi, not a renouncer--but these are not qualifications to understand Krsna. Suppose I say I have become a sannyasi mendicant--this is not a qualification, that I can now understand Krsna. Then what is the qualification? This: One who has developed the service spirit, with love and devotion, can understand Me." Noother. Not the big scholars and mental speculators; but a child can understand Krsna, if he has full faith in Him. So faith and devotion qualify one. Simply by such faith and service you will understand that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Just as we are preaching Krsna consciousness; we are not wasting your time or our time, because we are in full faith that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Theoretically or practically, you should accept Krsna as the Supreme Person. Theoretically, there is the revealed scripture. You will understand from the Vedic literature, from the great devotees in the past and in the present. For the present, there is Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya is the great authority. None is greater. He was mad after Krsna. And then, after Him, His six disciples, the gosvamis, have left us an immensely valuable literature-especially Jiva Gosvami. They have written volumes on Krsna. So, under disciplic succession, we have come to this point; and if you like past history, then go

back a long, long time to Vyasadeva. He is known to have written the SrimadBhagavatam and other literature on Krsna. Srimad-Bhagavatam is nothing but a description of Krsna. Vyasa is also the writer of the Bhagavad-gita. The Gita was spoken by Krsna and noted down by Vyasa, who put this Gita into the Mahabharata. So Vyasadeva accepts Krsna as the Supreme Person. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam he has given the description of the different incarnations; there are twenty-five of Them. And, in the conclusion, he says that the descriptions that are given of different incarnations are all parts of the representations of God. But Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. He is not part, but one hundred percent--one hundred percent God. So there is the evidence of authority. And, practically, if we believe the sastras, the scriptures, then we can see: Who can be more powerful than Krsna? Who can be more beautiful than Krsna? Who can be more famous than Krsna? Krsna appeared five thousand years ago, but His knowledge, which He gave in the form of the Srimad Bhagavad-gita, is still worshiped. It is worshiped not only by the Hindus or the Indians, but is read all over the world. In your country there are at least fifty different editions of the Bhagavad-gita, written by different men. Similarly, in England, in Germany, in France and in all other countries, you will find hundreds of editions of the Gita. So, who can be more famous? There are many other evidences, if you believe in sastra: Krsna married 16,108 wives, and He provided each one of them with a big palace, and each one of them had 10 children, and from the 10 children there were many other children born. So we have the evidence of revealed Scriptures; and in the Brahma-samhita also, Krsna is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is a very old book, supposed to have been written by Brahma, the first living being in the universe.

In that Brahma-samhita, it is said, isvarah paramah krsnah. Isvara means God. There are many gods. It is said that there are so many demigods, and there is the Supreme God. So Brahma-samhita says, isvarah paramah krsnah--He is the God of gods. Isvarah paramah krsnah, and then: sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah--and His body is eternal, and full of bliss and knowledge. And next: anadih--He has no beginning, but He is the beginning of everyone. Anadir adir govindah. Go means senses, go means cow, and go means land. He is the proprietor of all land, He is the proprietor of all cows, and He is the creator of all senses. We are after sense pleasure, but our perfection of sense pleasure can be achieved only when we reciprocate our pleasure with Krsna. Therefore, His name is Govinda, the Supreme Original Personality of Godhead. The same Personality of Godhead personally spoke about Himself to Arjuna in the Gita. How can you say that somebody, by his thinking, by speculation, can say something about God that is more important than what is being said by Krsna Himself? It is not possible. No one can speak better than Krsna about God, because God Himself is speaking. If you speak about yourself personally, who can say more than you? So, if you have faith, if you believe theoretically or practically in Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then, by thespeeches that are delivered by Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita, you can understand God. There is no difficulty. And, if you believe Krsna, then the result will be that you can understand God--how He is working, how His energies are acting, how He is manifesting, what is this material world, what is the spiritual world, what are the living creatures, what is their relationship--so many things are to be found in God's literature. The whole Vedic literature deals with three things: the first is your relationship with God; then, next, after you understand your relationship with

God, you can act in that way. just as a man or woman may not be related, but as soon as the relationship is established that one is husband and the other is wife, then the dealings begin. Once they understand their relationship with God, people generally believe that God is the father, and the son's business is to ask Father for whatever he needs. But that is really a lesser relationship. If you understand God perfectly, then there are intimate relationships also. Your intimate relationship will be revealed when you are perfectly liberated. Each and every living creature has a particular relationship with God, but we have, for now, forgotten. When that relationship is revealed in the process of devotional activities, or Krsna consciousness, you will know that that is the perfection of your life. Krsna consciousness is a great science; it is not a sentimental speculation regarding love. It is based on scientific propositions described in the Bhagavad-gita, in the Vedas, and in the Brahma-samhita; and it is accepted by authorities like Lord Caitanya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Narada, Asita, Vyasa--there are so many authorities. Krsna consciousness is not an ordinary lovemaking or moneymaking business; it is reality, and if you stick to it seriously, your life will be perfect. Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, "After giving up this body, one who knows Me in truth does not come back again to this material world to accept a material body." Then what happens to him? He goes to Krsna, back home, back to Godhead. This Krsna consciousness movement is directly giving people understanding of Krsna. We are giving knowledge of Krsna based on these authorized scriptures: Bhagavad-gita and the Vedas. Veda means knowledge, and Vedanta means the ultimate end of knowledge. What is that end of knowledge? That is Krsna. Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah. By knowing all the Vedas, the ultimate conclusion

should be Krsna. This conclusion comes after many, many births. After culturing knowledge for many, many births, when one actually becomes wise, then he surrenders unto Krsna. How can he surrender? He knows that Vasudeva, Krsna, is everything. Whatever we see is simply a manifestation of the energy of Vasudeva. One must be convinced on this point, and then he becomes a devotee. Krsna therefore advises that whether you understand or not, simply surrender unto Him. What Krsna taught in Bhagavad-gita, we are also teaching, without different manufactured ideas. That is our Krsna consciousness movement. It is open to everyone, and the process is very simple. We have our centers. If you want to take advantage of this movement, you are welcome. You will be happy. Chapter Three Beyond the Laws of Nature In materialistic life we cannot control our senses and mind. The mind is dictating, "Enjoy your senses in this way," and we are enjoying our senses. Materialistic life means sense gratification. This sense gratification process is going on life after life. In the many varieties of life there are different standards of sense gratification. Krsna is so kind that He has given us full liberty to gratify our senses. We are part and parcel of Krsna; we have small particles of all the desires of Krsna. Our existence is a small particle of God's, just like a small particle of gold which has all the qualities of the original gold. Krsna has thepropensity for sense gratification. He is the original sense gratifier. It is stated in Bhagavad-gita that Krsna is the supreme enjoyer. Our enjoying spirit exists because it exists originally in Krsna. The Vedanta-sutra says that everything originates from Krsna. Param Brahman, or the Absolute Truth, means that from which everything is generated. Therefore, our desire for sense gratification is coming from Krsna. Here is the perfect

sense gratification--Krsna and Radharani. Young boys and girls are similarly trying to enjoy their senses, but where is this propensity coming from? It is coming from Krsna. Because we are part and parcel of Krsna, the quality of desire for sense gratification exists within us. But the difference is that we are trying to gratify our senses in the material world; therefore we are perverted. In Krsna consciousness one gratifies his senses in association with Krsna. Then it is perfect. For example, if there is a nice sweetball or some nice foodstuff and the finger picks it up, it cannot enjoy. The foodstuff has to be given to the stomach, and then the finger can also enjoy. Similarly, we cannot gratify our senses directly. But when we join with Krsna, when Krsna enjoys, then we can enjoy. That is our position. The finger cannot eat anything independently; it cannot enjoy the nice sweetball. The finger can pick it up and put it in the stomach, and when the stomach enjoys, then the finger enjoys. We have to purify the propensity of material sense gratification. That is Krsna consciousness. For Krsna consciousness we have to be purified. What is that purification? We cannot enjoy anything directly, so we have to enjoy through Krsna. For example, we take prasadam. The nice prasadam, the foodstuff that is prepared, is not taken directly--we take it through Krsna. First of all, we offer to Krsna, and then we take it. What is the difficulty? There is no difficulty, but you become purified. The eating process is the same, but if you eat directly then you become materialistically encumbered. If you offer to Krsna, however, and then take it, then you become freed from all contamination of material life. That is stated in Bhagavad-gita. Devotees take prasadam after offering it to Krsna. That is called sacrifice. Whatever you offer to Krsna or Visnu is called sacrifice. Whatever we

do here, within this material world, is some sort of sinful activity, even if we do not know it. Killing is sinful activity, even if we do not kill willingly. When you walk down the street you are killing many animals. Whenever you drink water, you are also killing. Below a water pot there are many ants and microbes that are being killed. Whenever you light a fire, there are many small microbes that also burn in the fire. When you grind spices with a mortar and pestle, many small microbes are killed. We are responsible for this. Willingly or unwillingly, we are becoming entangled in many sinful activities. Therefore, Bhagavad-gita says that if you take the remnants of foodstuff after offering sacrifice, you become freed from all contamination. Otherwise, one who cooks to eat personally without offering to Krsna is simply eating sinful reactions. This is our position. Therefore, it is stated that because people generally cannot control their senses, they engage in the materialistic way of life in which repeated birth and death in different species takes place. I do not know what is my next life, but the next life will come. Before us there are many species of life; I can take birth in any one of them. I can become a demigod, I can become a cat, I can become a dog, I can become Brahma-there are so many forms of life. In the next life I shall have to accept one of these forms, even if I do not want to. Suppose someone asks, "In your next life would you like to take the form of a dog or a hog?" I would not like it. But the law of nature says that after giving up this body, when I am not existing in this body any more, I will have to accept another body according to my karma. That is in the hands of nature. It is arranged by superior supervision. You cannot order, "Give me the body of Brahma, give me the body of Indra or a king or something exalted." That is not in your hands or in my hands; that will bejudged by the superior agency of God, Krsna, and you will be given a body.

Therefore, it is our duty to prepare a body which will help us go back to Krsna. That is Krsna consciousness. Prahlada Maharaja, a great authority, says that one must take instruction from others. One must take instruction from a guru, a spiritual master. One should not take instruction from anyone unless one accepts him as a guru. But even one who has a nice guru cannot remain Krsna conscious if he is determined to remain in this material world. If my determination is to remain in this material world to enjoy material life, then for me Krsna consciousness is impossible. Everyone in the material world is engaged in all kinds of political, philanthropic and humanitarian activities to make material life happy and prosperous, but this is not possible. One should understand that in the material world, however one may try to make adjustments, he cannot be happy. To cite an example I have given many times, if you take a fish out of water, you can give it a very comfortable velvet bedstead, but still the fish cannot be happy; it will die. Because the fish is an animal of the water, it cannot be happy without water. Similarly, we are all spirit soul; unless we are in spiritual life or in the spiritual world, we cannot be happy. That is our position. Everyone is trying for that spiritual realization. But we do not know. Therefore, we are trying to be happy here, in material conditions. We are becoming frustrated and confused. Therefore, we have to withdraw this understanding that we shall be very happy by making adjustments to this material world. Then Krsna consciousness will be effective. The boys and girls who are our students have been very scornful of the materialistic way of life. Their fathers and guardians are not poor. There is no scarcity of food or material enjoyments. Why are they being frustrated? You may

say that because India is poverty-stricken the people are frustrated, but why have American boys and girls been frustrated? That is the proof that the materialistic way of life cannot make you happy. You may go on for some time trying to become happy, but happiness will never come from materialistic life. That is a fact. Those who are trying to be happy by making material adjustments cannot take to Krsna consciousness. Frustration and confusion with materialistic life is the qualification to come to Krsna consciousness. These boys and girls have a good qualification; they are coming to Krsna consciousness. There is a verse in Srimad-Bhagavatam which states that sometimes to show special favor to His devotees Krsna takes away all one's material opulence. For example, the Pandavas were bereft of their kingdom, although Krsna was present there. Krsna was present as their friend, and still they were bereft of their kingdom. They lost their property, their wife was insulted, and they were driven away to the forest. This question was posed by Yudhisthira Maharaja to Krsna. "How is it," he inquired indirectly, "that You are our friend and that we are put into such difficulty?" Krsna replied to Yudhisthira Maharaja, "This is My special favor." Sometimes we cannot understand the special favor of Krsna. So this frustration of the American and English boys with the materialistic way of life is a good sign for accepting Krsna consciousness. Of course, one does not need to become poor to take to Krsna consciousness. But if anyone has the desire to become spiritually advanced while at the same time enjoying material life, that is not possible. These are two contradictory aspirations. One must become determined to be happy in spiritual life. That is real happiness. Krsna Consciousness the Topmost Yoga System by His Divine Grace A.C.

Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This is an evaluation copy of the printed version of this book, and is NOT FOR RESALE. This evaluation copy is intended for personal noncommercial use only, under the fair use guidelines established by international copyright laws. You may use this electronic file to evaluate the printed version of this book, for your own private use, or for short excerpts used in academic works, research, student papers, presentations, and the like. You can distribute this evaluation copy to others over the Internet, so long as you keep this copyright information intact. You may not reproduce more than ten percent (10%) of this book in any media without the express written permission from the copyright holders. Reference any excerpts in the following way: Excerpted from Krsna Consciousness the Topmost Yoga System by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, courtesy of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, www.Krishna.com. This book and electronic file is Copyright 1972-2003 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, 3764 Watseka Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034, USA. All rights reserved. For any questions, comments, correspondence, or to evaluate dozens of other books in this collection, visit the website of the publishers, www.Krishna.com. This human form is especially meant for coming to that standard of spiritual life by tapasya, by voluntarily rejecting the materialistic way of life. In the history of India there were many great kings like Bharata Maharaja who even at a very young age practiced tapasya. Bharata Maharaja at the age of only twentyfour years left his young wife, young children and the whole empire Bharatavarsa and went to the forest for meditation. There are many such instances. Prahlada Maharaja was questioned by his father, Hiranyakasipu, "Who has taught you this Krsna consciousness?" A king's son does not mix with anyone else; he simply

takes lessons from the appointed teachers. How is it then that this boy, who was only five years old, was so Krsna conscious? His father was surprised, so he asked him, "How have you taken to Krsna consciousness?" The answer was, "My dear father, Krsna consciousness cannot be achieved by a person like you, whose job is always simply to enjoy this material world." Hiranya means gold, and kasipu means softly cushioned bed. Materialistic life is spent chewing the chewed. Take, for instance, a father. A father knows that he has responsibilities, so he works hard to maintain his family. It is very difficult to keep the high standard of living in this age, so one must work very hard and engage one's son in the same way. In spite of very bad experience with materialistic life, still one engages his son in the same way. This happens again and again, so it is like chewing chewed things. Once I have chewed sugar cane and taken its juice, it is thrown out in the street, and if someone wants to taste it to see how sweet it is, he is chewing the chewed. Similarly, we don't have very good experience with this materialistic life, this hard struggle for life, but human beings, as it is stated in the SrimadBhagavatam, are born of the quality of passion. There are three qualities in the material world: goodness, passion and ignorance. Because people are in the mode of passion, they love to work very hard. That hard work is considered happiness. In London you will see everyone engaged in hard work. In the morning, all the buses and trucks travel with great speed, and people go to the office or factory from morning until late at night. They work hard, and it is called advancement of civilization. Some of them are frustrated; they don't want it. There will be frustration--after all, it is hard work. Hogs, too, are working hard day and night, thinking, "Where is stool? Where is stool?"That is their business. Therefore, in one sense this kind of civilization is a hog and dog civilization. It is not human civilization. Human civilization means sobriety. One should be

inquisitive. A human being should be inquisitive to know these things: Who am I? Why am I put into this condition of working very hard to get only a few grains? Why am I in this uncomfortable situation? Where did I come from? Where do I have to go? The Vedanta-sutra begins by stating that a human being should beinquisitive to know who he is, where he comes from, and where he has to go. Krsna consciousness is for those who have come to detest this material world. They are good candidates for developing Krsna consciousness. They will inquire why these men are working so hard and what their goal in life is. That is answered in Srimad-Bhagavatam. people are working so hard because they do not actually know what the goal of life is. Everyone says that he is looking after his self-interest, but he does not know what his self-interest is. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnu. He should know that his real self-interest is to make progress toward Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They do not know this. Why don't they know it? Because they have hopes which are very difficult to fulfill. I may hope for something which is possible; that is good. But if I hope for something which is never possible, that is hope which will never be fulfilled. We are a composition of the external and internal energies of God. The gross external energy is this gross material body, and the subtle external energy is the mind, ego and intelligence. Behind both energies--the gross external energy and the subtle external energy--is the soul, the internal energy. This body is made of earth, water, fire, air and ether. This is called gross external energy, and there is also a subtle external energy of mind, intelligence and false ego. And behind that, the soul is there. I am the proprietor of this body. Just as one is covered by a shirt and coat which are external to his real body, similarly we are covered by this gross body made up of earth, water, fire, air and ether, which is the gross external energy

of God, or Krsna, and the mind, ego and intelligence, which are subtle. Thus we are covered. I may think that simply by having a nice shirt and coat I can be happy, but is it possible? Unless you eat nicely, unless you sleep nicely, unless you have your sense gratification, will you be happy simply by putting on a costly shirt and coat? No. That is not possible. We want to be happy by adjustment of this external energy. That cannot be. You are spirit soul--you must have spiritual food, you must have a spiritual life, and then you can be happy. As you cannot be happy simply by having a nice shirt and coat, similarly simply by the materialistic way of life you cannot be happy. There is gross matter and subtle matter. Gross matter includes high skyscraper buildings, machines, factories, nice roads, good cars, etc. Subtle matter includes nice songs, poetry, philosophy, etc. People are trying to be happy with this gross and subtle material existence. That cannot be. Why have people accepted this sort of civilization? Because they are led by blind leaders. We are conducting this Krsna consciousness movement, and very few are interested. But suppose we advertise some falsehood--"If you follow this path, within six months you will become God, and you will be all-powerful." Many people would come. This is actually one blind man leading other blind men. Suppose one blind man says, "All right, come, follow me. I shall help you crossing this busy Mulberry Street." He is blind, and the followers are also blind. The result will be that they will be hit by some car or truck and they will all die. We do not know that we are bound by the stringent laws of material nature. How can we become free from this material bondage? We have to take instruction from those who are not blind, whose eyes are opened and who are liberated from

this material bondage. One must take instruction from such persons, and then he will understand his self-interest. Otherwise, if one who is blind takes instruction from a blind man, it will not be possible for him to be liberated from material bondage. What is self-interest? What is the interest of a child when it is crying? It is searching after the mother's breast. Anyone who knows this immediately brings the child to its mother--"Take care of your child; he is crying." The mother takes him to her breast, and the child is immediately happy. The child cannot express what he wants, so he simply cries. But one who knows what he is cryingfor helps him, and the child becomes happy. Similarly, because we are part and parcel of Krsna, the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we are actually crying for Krsna. But these false leaders, these blind leaders who do not know, are giving stone instead of bread. How can one be happy? I have already explained the gross external energy and the subtle external energy. Those who are interested in this gross and subtle external energy will never have their ambition of life fulfilled. One who is interested in Visnu and in showing the path of Visnu is the real friend. One who is giving Krsna consciousness is the real friend of the world. No others can give happiness to human society. That is the explanation given by Prahlada Maharaja. You cannot manufacture a process of happiness by tackling this material energy. That is not possible because the material energy is not under your control. It is controlled by the Supreme. How can you overpower the material energy? It is not possible. That is explained in Bhagavad-gita. It is not possible to overcome the stringent laws of material nature. Krsna says, "It is My energy; I am the controller. But one can surrender unto Me." All the material activities of the cosmic manifestation are going on just to

bring the rebellious souls back to Godhead. That is the situation. Maya's stringent laws are there. Why? What is the purpose of the police force or the military force? The purpose is to keep the citizens obedient to the state. If a citizen is disobedient to the state law, he is immediately put into police custody. Similarly, anyone who has rebelled against the superiority of God is put under the stringent laws of material nature, and he must suffer. That is the position. Therefore, his self-interest is to seek out the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender unto Him. That will make him happy. Otherwise, if he simply tries to accept material things and become happy, that is not possible. Prahlada Maharaja gives a hint as to how one can seek out the path of Visnu, or Krsna consciousness. He says that we have created so many unnecessary things and become entangled by them. In the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that we should desire to get out of this unnecessary trouble and to be free from the problems which are created. This morning I saw a picture of Berlin which was sent by one of my disciples. I have been to Berlin and to Moscow, and both are very nice cities. Berlin is a very nice city and London is also a very nice city, but why do the people engage in fighting and bombing every other city? Why has this happened? Because they have lost their interest in Visnu, God. Therefore, they are thinking, "You are my enemy; I am your enemy," and they fight like cats and dogs. But as soon as we come to the Visnu understanding, the Krsna understanding, these advanced cities, these advanced civilizations, can be maintained very nicely. You'll be happy, you'll eat nicely, dance nicely, live nicely and go back home, back to Godhead. Enjoy this life and the next life. That is our request. Everyone should take the Krsna consciousness movement seriously and try to understand it seriously. It is authorized on the Vedic principle; it is not

something manufactured or unauthorized. We are opening centers in different parts of the world to give an opportunity for people to understand their real interest: Visnu, Krsna. That is our mission. Kindly help us and join us. Chapter Four The Goal of Yoga In the Bhagavad-gita, the Sanskrit word mam is frequently used. This word means "unto me." Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, says, "unto Me"-Krsna. We cannot interpret this in a different way. When I say, "Bring me a glass of water," it means that I am the person in want of the glass of water, and if you supply to me and not to others, then it is right. When Krsna says, "unto Me," that means Krsna. But philosophers are still interpreting--they say "unto something else." Even grammatically this is wrong. One who has developed attachment to Krsna is Krsna conscious. They say if you have attachment for your lover you always think of her. That is lover consciousness. It is natural. It is stated that a woman who has another lover besides her husband shows herself very attentive to her household duties, but is always thinking, "When shall my lover and I meet in the night?" This is an example. It is possible, in spite of our false engagement, if we love somebody, to think of him always. If materially it is possible, why not spiritually? That is the whole teaching of the Bhagavad-gita. In the Gita, Krsna says to Arjuna, "As a fighter, you have to fight. You cannot step away from the fighting. It is your duty." Nowadays I have practical experience that the draft board of your country is calling for boys to join the army, but they are not willing. They are not willing because they are not trained as ksatriyas, warriors. They are trained as sudras, laborers. Therefore the caste system is very scientific. A section of people should be trained as brahmanas, men of knowledge. Those who are intelligent enough in the society

should be picked and trained in higher philosophical science. And those who are less intelligent than the brahmanas should be given military training. We require everything in society--not only military men. How can everyone be a military man? Because they are sending sudras, ordinary workers, to Vietnam, these are unnecessarily being killed. Any country which is very proud of scientific advancement, and yet does not know how to organize its society, is a fool's society. In the Bhagavad-gita Krsna says that there are four divisions of society, brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra. That is natural. Some are inclined toward spiritual advancement, and these are the brahmanas. Now we are training boys who are spiritually inclined and they are unnecessarily being forced into military service. The foolish have no knowledge that some boy is being trained up in higher science. Why should he be destroyed when he is being perfected? The intellectual persons, those boys who have brahminical qualifications, are being restrained in brahmacarya student life: they don't take to meat-eating, they don't take part in illicit sex. They are being trained as complete brahmanas, the highest intellectuals, the most purified persons in society. If there is one brahmana in a whole family, then the whole family--the whole society--becomes sanctified. But today they have no knowledge of how to train a brahmana, or how to train a ksatriya. In the other fields of action, in the work of sudras and vaisyas there is nice training. If anyone wants to be a businessman, there are colleges or technological schools. That's very nice. But why should everyone be dragged into technology? Just as in your body: for proper maintenance we require the head, the arms, the belly and the legs. All these parts of the body are required. You cannot say, "We do not require the head." That is nonsense--we require everything. Suppose there is a body without a head--it is a dead body.

If the body is now intact, but there is no head, it is called a dead body. The head is considered to be the intellectual part of the body. Similarly, if there is no brahmana in the society, it is a dead body. If there is no spiritual man in the society, it is a dead society. Therefore, Krsna says, "I have created the four divisions of society, according to quality and work." If someone is working as a brahmacari-brahmana and has acquired the quality of understanding Krsna, the Supreme Lord, then why should he be called for army action? The arm of the body is the ksatriya. Of course that is required; to protect the society, to protect the country, a military arrangement should be there. No one will disapprove. But not the brahmanas. It is putting a race horse before the work cart. A race horse is required for different purposes. The other beasts of burden--asses, mules and oxen--are required for pulling carts. I say this frankly--everyone may read it--that any society where there are no spiritual persons or Krsna consciousness is a rascal society, because it has no head. Where there is a headless man, there is a dead body. And if there is nobrain, there is no head; if the brain is not working properly then he is a madman; if he has no head at all, then he is a dead man. Do you think that in a dead society or a mad society there can be any peace? No. If the society is full of madmen, then where is the question of peace? Therefore, Krsna consciousness is the most important study in present-day society. The men who are leading the society, the President and the Secretary of Defense, should have the intelligence to understand this science of the soul. The other day when coming to your country I met a secretary of the Japanese government in Tokyo. I wanted to explain to him that he should cooperate with this movement, but he said, "Oh, we cannot cooperate with any religious movement." He is one of the chief secretaries of the government, and he is such

a fool. He is taking this movement as a religious movement, just as we have so many sentimental religions. But this is not sentimental. This is the necessity of society: a class of men should be Krsna conscious. Otherwise the society is doomed; it is going to hell. And, when such rascals are at the head of the government, how can there be peace? How can you expect peace in a dog's society? The dogs are by nature howling--"Woof! Woof! Woof!"--as soon as they see other dogs. So do you mean to say there will be peace if you turn human society into dog society, into cat society, into tiger society? The tiger is very powerful; he can kill many other animals. But does that mean he is a very important animal? No, he has no use in society. And now we are very powerful, and we have good weapons to fight with, and we can kill many people. But these are no qualifications for good men or a good society. We are not meant to manufacture a society of monkeys or tigers or asses--or rascals who work very hard. Do you mean to say a society of asses will derive any benefit from life? No. For those who have developed an attraction to Krsna, attachment can be developed. Before my coming to the West, there was no movement like this Krsna consciousness, but now it is developing. Krsna was not born in your country; you do not accept Krsna as your religious God. But Krsna is so attractive that although you are a foreigner, you are not foreign. To Krsna you are not a foreigner. He claims everybody. We make Him foreign, but this is our foolishness. In the Gita Krsna says, "My dear Arjuna, there are many different forms and different species of life undoubtedly. But I am their father." Just see how Krsna is universal. He is claiming not only human society, but animal society, bird society, beast society--everyone. He says, "I am the father." So how can

Krsna be foreign? It is a mental concoction. They say Krsna is Indian or Krsna is worshiped by the Hindus and therefore He is one of the Hindu Gods; and they think that Krsna is saying, "Yes, I am the Hindu God. Yes, I am Indian." But He is like the sun. Why American sun or Indian? Nothing is American or Indian; that is all artificial. "This planet belongs to the humans, that's all." This is your communism. This present communism is defective because the Russians say that Russia is for the Russians or China is for the Chinese. Why not for others? Just think in terms of human communism! Why human communism? Living being communism! If you take this world as belonging to human society, that is defective. It belongs to everyone! It belongs to the tree community; it belongs to the beast community. They also have a right to live. Why should you cut the trees? Why should you send the bulls to the slaughterhouse? This is injustice. How can you gain justice by yourself doing injustice? We have no Krsna consciousness. We do not know that Krsna is our original father and that we are all His sons. The tree is my brother, the ant is my brother, the bull is my brother. The American is my brother, the Indian is my brother, the Chinese is my brother. Therefore, we have to develop Krsna consciousness. We talk all this nonsense of universal brotherhood and United Nations--all nonsense. Either you acknowledge the Father, or else you have no idea of how to realize brotherhood or humanity. Therefore, they are talking for years and years. They are the same fools. Can't you see theU.N.? They have headquarters in New York. They are simply talking nonsense, that's all. That is their business. So unless there is full Krsna consciousness, there cannot be any improvement of the world condition. Krsna says that you have to develop your attachment for Him. Begin at the beginning, but you can do it; it is not artificial. I have a few sincere

students here, just developing; they are not complete, but they are developing Krsna-attachment. Otherwise, why should they waste their time chanting Hare Krsna? They are doing it, and it can be done. You can develop love for anything if you try for it. But Krsna development is very natural. Because Krsna is not a thing belonging to a particular type of religion or sect. Krsna claims, "I belong to everyone." Therefore originally, we are all connected with Krsna; but we have simply forgotten. This process of chanting is to evoke your remembrance of Krsna. It is not that we are inducting something artificially into you. No, Krsna is already connected with you, but you have forgotten. And we are trying to give you the process for reviving your original consciousness. So you can come to our temple; that is the beginning. You can see Krsna or Krsna's devotees, and you can chant Hare Krsna. Krsna is not different from His name because He is absolute. He is nondifferent from His words. The name Krsna and the person Krsna are not different. Because everything is Krsna. Oneness, the philosophy of monism or pantheism, is imperfect. When that oneness comes in understanding Krsna, that is perfection. If Krsna is the Supreme Absolute Truth from whom everything is emanating, then everything is Krsna. Just as you have a gold mine and are preparing so many golden utensils and ornaments and many other things. But they are all gold because the original is gold. So you may name it "earring," but you have to add "gold"--golden earring. You may name it "necklace," but it is gold, because originally it came from the gold mine. Similarly, originally, everything is coming from Krsna. If He is Supreme, the Absolute Truth, then nothing is different from Him. Just as, whether you say earring or necklace or bangle or wristwatch, these are all made of gold, and so they are gold. But, at the same time, you cannot say

that this is all gold--you must say, "This is a gold necklace. This is a gold earring." The mayavadi, or impersonalist, will say that everything is Brahman. But "everything is Brahman" is not right. This is very nicely explained in the Gita, in the Thirteenth Chapter: "I am expanded all over. That is My impersonal feature." Krsna is everywhere in His impersonal feature, but still He is a person. The Mayavadi philosopher thinks that if Krsna has become everything, then where is the possibility of Krsna here, apart? This is complete rascaldom because it is thinking in a material way. There is no spiritual knowledge. In the material way, suppose you take a piece of paper and tear it into particles and throw it all over. The original paper has no existence. This is material. But we get information from the Vedas that the Absolute Truth is so perfect that if you take away the whole, still the whole remains. One minus one equals one. The material way of thinking is one minus one equals zero; but spiritually it is not like that. Spiritually, one minus one equals one, and one plus one equals one also. Krsna is everything. The Mayavadis, the impersonalists, see our Deities here and say, "Oh, they have installed some wooden forms, and they are worshiping them as God." But one who knows Krsna science understands that Krsna is everything and therefore can appear in everything. With electricity, the current is everywhere along the line, so wherever you touch you will feel it. Similarly, the Krsna current in His impersonal form is everywhere, and it is the technician who knows how to use the force. Before we have a phone installed, we have a telephone conversation, and we simply inform the person, before we even talk money, that he should come immediately to find out where the connection can be made. And he comes out and does his work; and we do not notice, because he knows

the technique. So, one must know how to connect with Krsna. Krsna is everywhere-this is Krsna consciousness. But one must know how he can derive Krsna from the features of Krsna's form in wood or iron or metal. You have to learn how to contact Krsna everywhere in everything. That is explained in the system of yoga. Krsna consciousness is also yoga, the perfect yoga, the highest of all yogic systems. A yogi may come, and we can challenge him, saying that this is the topmost yoga system, though at the same time it is very simple. You don't have to exercise your body over a period of weeks before you feel some power. But in Krsna consciousness you won't feel tired. All of our students are simply anxious to be overloaded with work in Krsna consciousness. "Prabhupada, what can I do?" And they are actually doing it. In the material world, if you work for some time you'll feel weak. Of course, I am not exercising myself. I am an old man of seventy-two years. I was ill, I went back to India; but I want to work. Actually, I could retire from all these activities, but as far as I can, I want to work; I want to learn day and night. At night I will work with the dictaphone, and I am sorry if I cannot work. This is Krsna consciousness. One must be very anxious to work. It is not an idle society. No, we have sufficient engagements: editing papers, selling papers. Simply find out how Krsna conscious you can be. If you want to be really at peace, if you want to be happy, then develop Krsna consciousness. And the beginning is to develop attachment for Krsna. The process which we have prescribed is chanting and dancing before the Deities, and offering prasadam, spiritual food. This will make you more Krsna conscious. The yoga system as it is described in the Bhagavad-gita is different from the bogus yoga system which is going on in the West these days. The yoga systems which have been introduced into the West by so-called yogis are not bona fide.

Yoga is difficult: the first thing is to control the senses. That is the position of the yogi: he is not allowed to indulge in sex life. If you indulge in intoxication, if you indulge in meat-eating, and if you indulge in gambling and sporting--all nonsense--you cannot at the same time become a yogi. I was astonished when a yogi came here, having advertised in India that you can be a yogi even though you may be addicted to drinking. This is not the yoga system. This is not standard. You can call it yoga, but it is not the standard yoga system. The yoga system is especially difficult for this age. In the SrimadBhagavatam we understand that yoga means to concentrate one's attention on the Superself, Visnu. He is situated in your heart. And, in order to concentrate your attention, you have to control the senses. The senses are working just like infuriated horses. If you cannot control the horses of your carriage, it will be dangerous. Just imagine that you are seated in a carriage and your horses are so furious that they are dragging you to hell. Then what is your position? The yoga system means to control these senses. The senses are also compared to serpents: The serpent does not know who is its friend and who is its enemy. It bites anyone. And, as soon as the serpent bites, the result is death. Similarly, if the uncontrolled senses work in their own way, then you should know that you are in a dangerous position. It has been said that when one becomes too sensual, he loses his temper, he loses his identity, he forgets himself. Infuriated by the senses, a man will attack even his children, even his daughter. Therefore, for those who are advancing in spiritual life--not only for them but for everyone--the sastras, scriptures, say that you should not sit in a secluded place even with your mother, even with your daughter or your sister. Why? Because the senses are so strong that if they become infuriated, you will forget whether she's mother,

sister, or daughter. You may say that this may be true only for some foolish persons, but sastra says no--you should not sit in a secluded place even with your mother, sister or daughter, because the senses are so strong that even though you may be very moral, you may still be attracted by sex. Our position in this world, our suffering in this world, is due to the body. This body is the cause of all miseries, and the ultimate goal of life should be to get out of this material body and be situated in the spiritual body. This is a foreign atmosphere. The soul is free spiritually, but it has been conditioned by this material atmosphere. And the body is of this matter. A human being is fit to inquire as to whether he is this body or something else. This can be understood very easily. I am not this body, because at the time of death the body remains--although everyone cries, "Oh, the poor man is gone!" The man is lying there. Why do you say he is gone? He is lying there! At that time, we can come to our senses: the body is not the man. The real man is gone. The childhood body is changed to the youthful body, and the childhood body is gone. Similarly, when the boyhood body is gone, you'll have to accept a body like mine, an old man's body. The body is changing. Not only year after year, but at every second the body is changing. Still, you are situated there. This is very simple to understand. And because the body is there, we are suffering. Everyone is trying to get out of suffering, in any field of action; in the economic field, in the political field, or any field of activity, social or national, everyone is trying to get out of misery. There is no other activity. Either nationally or socially, individually or collectively, we are all suffering; and this suffering is due to the body. Yoga means to inquire. What am I? If I am not this body, then what am I? I am pure soul. Now, if my bodily activities or sensual activities are incorrect, I

will not be able to understand myself--what I am--and the Bhagavad-gita says that we are all grand fools. Why fools? Since we have this body, we are fools. If somebody invites you to come to his apartment but you know it is full of danger, do you think you would like to go there? "Oh no," you will say, "I am not going there. If it is full of danger, why shall I go?" Similarly, don't you think that the body is full of danger? Then, why are you going there, taking repeated birth? When you are flying in a plane, you are always fearful that there may be a crash. And what is this crashing? It is due to the body. The soul cannot be affected by crashes. But you are always afraid. The soul is ever-existing, and the body will not exist. And because you are existing and the soul has accepted the nonexisting body, therefore you suffer. The problem, then, is how to get out, just as you try to get out of a fever. The fevered condition is not your permanent life. Permanent life is enjoyment, but due to the fever you cannot enjoy life. When you are sick you cannot go out; you have to rest and take so many medicines and formulas. But we don't want that--"Why should I be a sick person?" But you are diseased. Similarly, we should always know that this bodily conditional stage of the pure soul is a diseased condition. And anyone who does not know that he is suffering from disease is a fool. He is Fool Number One. The sastra says, everyone is born a fool: because he has this body, therefore he was born a fool. No being, either American or Indian, cat or dog, is free from this. You have come to disease, that's all. If you feel, "I am an American," that is a kind of disease; if you feel, "I am an Indian," that is also a disease; if you feel, "I am a cat," that is a disease. You are not a cat, you are not a dog, you are not Indian, you are not fair, you are not black. You are your soul--that is your identity! And one who does not understand this

truth, that "I am pure soul," is defeated in all his activities. Lord Jesus Christ taught like that: If you lose your soul and gain the whole world, what do you gain? People do not know what they are, and yet they work just like madmen. Just see, all these people are working, and they are madmen. They are not Americans or Indians, Germans or Japanese. They are nothing of the kind. They have been given a chance to come to this naughty place, this Earth; and so, being born in a particular place, they have a particular kind of body-and they are mad after it. The Bhagavad-gita says that just as our outer garments are changed, so this body is changed. Yoga means the process of getting out of this materialembodiment. Just as you are repeating changes of dress, so you are repeating birth and death, and this is the cause of your miseries. If you do not understand this, then all your activities end in defeat. Yoga means to get out of this embodiment, and it means to know oneself. This body is born of the parents. Similarly, as pure soul, you are also the source of its birth. We do not mean birth beginning historically from a certain day and ending on a certain day. No; the soul is not like that--it has no beginning, and it has no end. But in the Bhagavad-gita it is said that the soul is part and parcel of God. God is eternal, God is full of joy and bliss. The position of the Absolute Person, the Godhead, is that He is full of bliss, eternal, and full of knowledge. And, because we are also part and parcel of the Supreme, we have partial blissfulness and eternality, and we are full of knowledge, according to our infinitesimal size. The human beings are understood to be the most intelligent of all living creatures, but they are misusing their intelligence. How? They are misusing their intelligence by devoting it to the animal propensities. These animal propensities are eating, sleeping, mating and fearing. You can analyze the trend

of modern civilization: everyone is busy with these four principles of animal life. They are sleeping and creating some cushions for comfortable sleep. They are creating palatable dishes for the eating propensity. They are exciting sex very nicely, for the mating necessity. And they are defending their country with so many atom bombs--that is the fear propensity. But these symptoms you will find among the animals. They are also sleeping according to their own ways, and they are defending. They may not have the atom bomb, but they have some way of defending. You can kill your enemy, or he can kill you, but there is actually no defense. You cannot defend yourself; wherever you drop the bomb, it will hurt you, due to nuclear radiation. So this is not the solution of your problems. The solution of your problems is to get out of the conditioned state of life. That is called yoga--to link yourself to the Supreme. There is a Supreme. This material creation is so nice--don't you think there is a friend behind it? The sky is so beautiful, the foodstuff is being produced, the moon is rising in due course, the sun is rising in due course, supplying heat for your health, supplying heat to the planetary systems. Everything is arranged very nicely; and yet the fools say there is no brain behind it, but it is all happening automatically. The fact is that there is God, Krsna, and we are all parts and parcels of Krsna. We have been conditioned in some way or other in this material atmosphere. But now we have this human form of life, and so we have to get out of the entanglement. But getting out is not possible. You cannot get out of the entanglement of the material body unless you develop your Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness is not artificial--don't think that. This is the greatest necessity of the human being. Krsna consciousness, God consciousness, is there

within you. Don't you find, when there is a kirtana performance, that the more innocent a person is, the sooner he begins? Immediately, the child begins to clap, begins to dance. This is within him; and it is very simple, this Krsna consciousness. So, unless you develop Krsna consciousness, there is no rescue from the entanglement of conditioned life. This you have to understand. This is not some sentiment. No, it is a great science. You have to understand it nicely. Then the human form of life will be successful, and otherwise it is defeated. You may become a very great nation, but that is not the solution of the problem of life. By the grace of Krsna, I am able to serve you with my life's energy. I left the United States in 1967 in poor health; but life and death--everything-depends on Krsna. I thought, "Let me go back to Vrndavana, because Vrndavana is a sanctified place where Krsna consciousness is very strong." I thought that I might go there and die in Krsna consciousness. Of course, if you are always in the atmosphere of Krsna consciousness, then here also you can have Vrndavana.Vrndavana is not a particular place that is called Vrndavana. Krsna says, "It is not that I live in the Kingdom of God, Vaikuntha; nor is it that I live in the heart of the yogi." The yogi wants to find out where Krsna is within the heart. But Krsna says, "I am not in the abode in the spiritual sky, nor am I in the heart of the yogi." Then where are You? Krsna says, "I stay where My pure devotees are chanting My glories." That is Vrndavana. So, if that is Vrndavana, then I am there. There is no difference. Wherever there is electric light, there is electricity. It is naturally understood. Similarly, wherever there is Krsna consciousness, it is Vrndavana. We can create Vrndavana by the mercy of Krsna, if we chant Hare Krsna. Perfect this Krsna consciousness; try to understand the philosophy behind it. It is a science, not

a bluff. We can speak from any angle of vision. Krsna consciousness is the great necessity of human society. Learn it and appreciate it, comprehend it and assimilate it--and teach it. It is very simple. If you offenselessly chant Hare Krsna, everything will be revealed from within because Krsna is sitting within you. If you are strong and have faith and conviction in Krsna, as well as in the spiritual master, the transparent via medium to Krsna, then Krsna is there. The Vedas say that if you have implicit faith in God and implicit faith in your bona fide guru, who teaches you Krsna consciousness, then the result will be that all the Vedic scriptures will be revealed authoritatively. The process is spiritual; it does not require any material qualifications. The speculators who are not realized souls are covered in delusion and are simply wasting their time. Whatever they may do in their official class, they remain the same foolish rascals. But our Krsna conscious students will feel a change in their lives, a change in happiness, and a change in youth, also. This is reality. I shall request you, my dear young girls and boys, to take Krsna consciousness very seriously, and you will be happy--your life will be perfected. It will be the sublime addition to your life. It is not a bluff. We have not come here to collect some money. Money is supplied by Krsna. I am going back and forth to India--not only I, but my students as well. For a rich man there would be many expenditures; it would cost ten thousand dollars or such trips. But our business is Krsna, and He will supply. I do not know where the money comes from, but Krsna supplies. In Krsna consciousness, you will be happy. You are the young generation; you are the flower of your country and society. practice this most sublime system, Krsna consciousness. Be happy and make others

happy. This is the real mission of life. Chapter Five Our Real Life The Bhagavad-gita says that out of many thousands of human beings, one may try to make perfection of his life. Man is an animal, but he has one special prerogative, rational thought. What is that rational thought? Reasoning power, argument. Now, reasoning power is there in dogs and cats as well. Suppose a dog comes up to you; if you say, "Hut!" he'll understand. The dog will understand that you don't want him. So, he has some reasoning power. But what is the special reasoning power of the human being? As far as the bodily necessities are concerned, the reasoning power is there even in the animal. If a cat wants to steal some milk from your kitchen, she has very nice reasoning power: she is always looking to see when the master is out and she can take. So, for the four propensities of animal life--eating, sleeping, mating and defending--there is reasoning power even in beasts. Then, what is the special reasoning power of the human being, by which he is called the rational animal? The special reasoning power is to inquire, "Why am I suffering?" This is special reasoning. The animals are suffering, but they do not know how to remedythe suffering. But human beings are making scientific advancement and philosophical advancement, cultural advancement, religious advancement--progress in so many lines--because they want to be happy. "Where is the point of happiness?" This reasoning power is especially given to the human being. Therefore, in the Gita, Krsna says, "Out of so many men, one may know Me." Generally, the people are just like animals. They simply do not know anything beyond the necessities of the body: how to eat, how to sleep, how to mate and how to defend. And the Bhagavad-gita says, out of many thousands, someone may

develop this reasoning power: "Why am I suffering?" He asks this question: "Why am I suffering?" We do not want to suffer, but suffering is forced upon us. We do not want too much cold, but too much cold and too much heat are forced upon us. When there is some impetus to awaken this reasoning power, it is called brahma jijnasa. This is found in the Vedanta-sutra. The first verse says that now, this human form of life is meant for asking the question of how to solve the problem of suffering. So Krsna says that this special prerogative of the human being is nut awakened very easily, except by some good association. Just as we have this Krsna conscious association. If we attain such association, where nice things are discussed, then that awakening of reason, that special prerogative of the human being, will come. As long as this question does not arise in one's mind, he should understand that whatever activities he is doing will lead to his defeat. He is simply leading an animal life. But, not when these questions arise: Why am I suffering? What am I? Am I meant for suffering? Am I meant for troubles? I am undergoing troubles by nature's laws, and by the state's laws. So the question of freedom is how to become free from all these troubles. The Vedantasutra also says that the soul, my actual self, is by nature joyful. Yet, I am suffering. Lord Krsna further says that when these questions arise, gradually one comes to God. Those who have awakened to these questions are said to lie on the path of perfection. And, when the question of God and our relationship with God comes, that is our final perfection of life. Now, Krsna says that out of many thousands of people, one may try to make perfection of this life; and out of many millions of such persons on the path of perfection, only one may understand Krsna. So understanding Krsna is not very

easy. But it is also the easiest. It is not easy, but at the same time it is the easiest. It is the easiest if you follow the prescribed forms. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has introduced this chanting of Hare Krsna. He has not exactly introduced it; it is in the scriptures. But He has especially propagated this formula. In this age this is the easiest method of selfrealization. Simply chant Hare Krsna. It can be done by everyone. In my classroom, I am perhaps the only Indian. My students are all Americans, and they are taking part in the chanting very nicely, chanting and dancing. That means that, in any country, in any place, this can be performed. Therefore it is the easiest. You may not understand the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita. That is also not very difficult; but still, if you think that you cannot understand, you can still chant very easily: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna. If we want to understand God, Krsna, this is the beginning. The easiest beginning--simply chanting. Now, there are many students of my ISKCON institution. This institution is open a little over a year; but some of the students, by simply chanting, by the grace of Krsna, have advanced in such a way that they can talk about the science of God, and they will very easily answer those human questions. So, this is the easiest method of transcendental meditation. Krsna says that out of many millions of people, one may understand Him. But, by chanting of this Hare Krsna, as introduced by Lord Caitanya--chanting and dancing--you can understand Krsna within a very short time. Knowledge begins not from Krsna, but from things which we are accustomed to see every day. Land is gross. If you touch it, you can feel its hardness. But, as soon as the land becomes still finer, it is water, and the touch is soft. And then again, from water to fire, still finer. After fire or electricity the air is still finer; and after air, the sky, ether, is finer still. Beyond ether, the

mind is still finer; and beyond the mind, intelligence is still finer. And, if you go beyond intelligence to understand the soul, it is finer still. From these elements people have discovered so many sciences. There are many scientists, for example, who are soil experts; they can say, by analyzing a particular type of earth, what kind of minerals are there. Somebody seeks out silver, somebody seeks out gold, somebody seeks out mica. This is knowledge of gross things--the earth. If you go to finer substances, then you study water, or liquid things, such as petrol and alcohol. Go still finer, and from water you will go to fire and electricity. If you study electricity, you have to study all sorts of books. And, from this finer fire, you will come to air. We have so much advancement in our airplanes; we are studying how they move, how they are made--now sputniks and jets--so many things are being discovered. Next comes the study of the ethereal: electronics, ethereal transformations from one thing to another. Then, finer still, is the mind--psychology and psychiatry. But for intelligence, rationalism, there is only a little philosophical speculation. And what about the soul? Is there any science of the soul? The materialists have none. Material science has advanced to the study of the ether, or the mind and intelligence, but there is no advancement beyond that. Beyond intelligence, they do not know what exists. But here in the Bhagavad-gita you can find this. The Bhagavad-gita begins at the point after intelligence. When Arjuna was perplexed at the outset, his intelligence was perplexed--whether to fight or not to fight. Krsna begins the Gita from the point where intelligence fails. How does knowledge of the soul begin? It is just like a child is playing. You can understand this child's body is now so small, but one day this child will be grown up, like you or me. But the same soul will continue. So, by intelligence,

you can understand that although the body is changed, the soul is there. The same soul which was existing in the body of the child is still continuing in the body of the old man. Therefore the soul is permanent, and only the body has changed. This is a very easy thing to understand. And the last change of this body is death. As at every moment, every second, every day, every hour, the body is changing, so the last change is when one cannot act with the body, and so he has to take another one. Just as, when my cloth is too worn out or old, I cannot put it on; I have to take a new cloth. It is similar with the soul. When the body is too old or unworkable, I have to change to another body. This is called death. This is the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita, when the preliminary knowledge of the soul is there. And you will find that there are only a few who can understand the existence of the soul as permanent, and of the body as changeable. Therefore Bhagavan, Lord Krsna, says that, out of many, many millions of people, one may understand it. But still, the knowledge is there. If you want to understand it, it is not difficult. You can understand it. Now, we should inquire into the existence of the ego, the finest material substance. What is ego? I am pure soul, but with my intelligence and mind I am in contact with matter, and I have identified myself with matter. This is false ego. I am pure soul, but I am identifying falsely. For example, I am identifying with the land, thinking that I am Indian, or that I am American. This is called ahankara. Ahankara means the point where the pure soul touches matter. That junction is called ahankara. Ahankara is still finer than intelligence. Krsna says that these are the eight material elements: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego. False ego means false identification. Our nescient life has begun from this false identification--

thinking that I am this matter, although I am seeing every day, at every moment, that I am not this matter. Soul is permanently existing, while matter ischanging. This misconception, this illusion, is called ahankara, false ego. And your liberation means when you are out of this false ego. What is that status? Aham brahmasmi. I am Brahman, I am spirit. That is the beginning of liberation. Of course, one may be suffering from disease, from fever, and the temperature may come down to normal, 98.6 degrees. So he is now normal, but that is not the cure. Suppose for two days he has a 98.6 degree temperature, but with a slight change of diet, a slight change of behavior, the temperature rises immediately to 100. Relapse. Similarly, simply purifying the mind, rejecting this false ahankara identification--I am not this body, I am not this matter; I am soul-this is not liberation. It is only the beginning of liberation. If you stick to this point, and continue--just as you might continue your activities and keep your temperature at 98.6 degrees--then you are a healthy man. For example, in the West now there is some propaganda for taking intoxication. The people want to forget the bodily existence. But how long will you forget? There will be a relapse. You can forget for one hour or two, by intoxication, and think that I am not this body. But unless you are actually on the platform of understanding yourself by knowledge, it is not possible to continue. Still, everyone is trying to think, "I am not this body." They have experience that they are suffering so much on account of bodily identification, and so, "If only I could forget my bodily identification!" This is only a negative conception. When you actually realize yourself, simply understanding that you are Brahman will not do. You have to engage in the activities of Brahman. Otherwise you will fall down. Simply flying very high is no solution to the problem of going to the moon. Nowadays the fools are trying to go to the moon, but they simply go 240,000 miles up from the Earth, touch the

moon, and return. They are very proud. There is so much talk of aeronautics: crowds and meetings and conferences. But what have they done? What are 240,000 miles in that vast sky? If you go 240 million miles, still you are limited. So this will not do. If you want to go high, you must have permanent shelter. If you can take rest there, then you cannot fall down. But if you have no rest, then you will have to fall down. The airplane goes high, seven miles, eight miles up from the earth, but it comes down immediately. So, simply understanding ahankara means no more than understanding the false identification. Simply understanding that I am not matter, I am soul, is not perfection. The impersonalist, the void philosopher, simply thinks of the negative, that I am not this matter, I am not this body. This will not stay. You have to not only realize that you are not matter, but you have to engage yourself in the spiritual world. And that spiritual world means to be working in Krsna consciousness. That spiritual world, that functioning of our real life, is Krsna consciousness. False ego I have already explained. It is neither matter nor spirit, but the junction--where the spirit soul comes into contact with matter and forgets himself. It is just as, in delirium, a man is diseased and his brain becomes puzzled, and gradually he forgets himself and becomes a madman. He is gradually forgetting. So there is the beginning of loss, and there is one point where he forgets. That beginning point is called ahankara, or false ego. Chanting the maha-mantra--Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--is the process not merely of putting an end to this false conception of the self, but it goes beyond that, to the point where the pure spirit soul engages in his eternal, blissful, all-knowing activities in the loving service of God. This is the height of conscious

development, the ultimate goal of all living entities now evolving through the cycles and species of material nature. Krsna Consciousness the Topmost Yoga System by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This is an evaluation copy of the printed version of this book, and is NOT FOR RESALE. This evaluation copy is intended for personal noncommercial use only, under the fair use guidelines established by international copyright laws. You may use this electronic file to evaluate the printed version of this book, for your own private use, or for short excerpts used in academic works, research, student papers, presentations, and the like. You can distribute this evaluation copy to others over the Internet, so long as you keep this copyright information intact. You may not reproduce more than ten percent (10%) of this book in any media without the express written permission from the copyright holders. Reference any excerpts in the following way: Excerpted from Krsna Consciousness the Topmost Yoga System by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, courtesy of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, www.Krishna.com. This book and electronic file is Copyright 1972-2003 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, 3764 Watseka Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034, USA. All rights reserved. For any questions, comments, correspondence, or to evaluate dozens of other books in this collection, visit the website of the publishers, www.Krishna.com. Chapter Six The Hare Krsna Mantra The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness As living

spiritual souls, we are all originally Krsna conscious entities, but due to our association with matter from time immemorial, our consciousness is now adulterated by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called maya, or illusion. Maya means that which is not. And what is this illusion? The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of material nature, while actually we are under the grip of her stringent laws. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all-powerful master, it is called illusion. We are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, although we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer nature, we are ever more dependent on her. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped at once by revival of our eternal Krsna consciousness. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare is the transcendental process for reviving this original pure consciousness. By chanting this transcendental vibration, we can cleanse away all misgivings within our hearts. The basic principle of all such misgivings is the false consciousness that I am the lord of all I survey. Krsna consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original natural energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived. This simplest method of meditation is recommended for this age. By practical experience also, one can perceive that by chanting this maha-mantra, or the Great Chanting for Deliverance, one can at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum. In the material concept of life we are busy in the matter of sense gratification as if we were in the lower animal stage. A little elevated from this status of sense gratification, one is engaged in mental

speculation for the purpose of getting out of the material clutches. A little elevated from this speculative status, when one is intelligent enough, one tries to find out the supreme cause of all causes--within and without. And when one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages ofsense, mind and intelligence, he is then on the transcendental plane. This chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower strata of consciousness--namely sensual, mental and intellectual. There is no need, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need for mental speculation nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this maha-mantra. It is automatic, from the spiritual platform, and as such, anyone can take part in vibrating this transcendental sound without any previous qualification. In a more advanced stage, of course, one is not expected to commit offenses on grounds of spiritual understanding. In the beginning, there may not be the presence of all transcendental ecstasies, which are eight in number. These are: (1) Being stopped as though dumb, (2) perspiration, (3) standing up of hairs on the body, (4) dislocation of voice, (5) trembling, (6) fading of the body, (7) crying in ecstasy, and (8) trance. But there is no doubt that chanting for a while takes one immediately to the spiritual platform, and one shows the first symptom of this in the urge to dance along with the chanting of the mantra. We have seen this practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting and dancing. Of course, for one who is too entangled in material life, it takes a little more time to come to the standard point, but even such a materially engrossed man is raised to the spiritual platform very quickly. When it is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord in love, it has the greatest efficacy on hearers, and as such this chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effects can

be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of nondevotees should be avoided. Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects. The word Hara is the form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krsna and Rama are forms of addressing the Lord Himself. Both Krsna and Rama mean the supreme pleasure, and Hara is the supreme pleasure energy of the Lord, changed to Hare (Hah-ray) in the vocative. The supreme pleasure energy of the Lord helps us to reach the Lord. The material energy, called maya, is also one of the multi-energies of the Lord. And we the living entities are also the energy, marginal energy, of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises; but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the superior energy, called Hara, it is established in its happy, normal condition. These three words, namely Hara, Krsna and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the maha-mantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His energy, to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother's presence. Mother Hara helps the devotee achieve the Lord Father's grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this mantra sincerely. No other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy as the maha-mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Chapter Seven How Bhakti-yoga Works In the Bhagavad-gita Krsna tells His disciple Arjuna, "I am disclosing a most confidential part of knowledge to you, because you are My dear friend." As is

stated in the Fourth Chapter, the Bhagavad-gita is spoken to Arjuna because of his one qualification: he was a devotee. The Lord says that the mystery of the Bhagavad-gita is very confidential. Without being an unalloyed devotee you cannot know it. In India there are 645 different commentaries on the Gita. One professor has proposed that Krsna is a doctor and Arjuna is His patient and has made his commentary in that way. Similarly, there are commentators and people who have taken it that everyone is perfect, and that they can interpretscripture in their own way. As far as we are concerned, we agree to read the Bhagavad-gita according to the instructions given in the Gita itself. This has to be taken through the parampara, the system of disciplic succession. It is being taught by the Supreme Person because "you are My dear friend. I desire that you may become prosperous and happy. Therefore I speak to you." Krsna wants everyone to be happy and peaceful and prosperous, but they do not want it. Sunshine is open to everyone, but if someone wishes to remain in darkness, what can the sunshine do for him? So the Gita is open to everyone. There are different species of life, and lower and higher grades of understanding exist-that is a fact. But Krsna says that this knowledge is for anyone. If one has lower birth or whatever, it doesn't matter. The Bhagavad-gita offers transcendental subject matter everyone can understand provided he goes along with the principle as stated in the Fourth Chapter. That is, that the Gita is coming down in disciplic succession: "I first of all instructed this yoga system to the sun-god Vivasvan, who taught it to Manu, who taught it to Iksvaku." From Krsna the disciplic succession is coming down, but "in course of time the disciplic succession was broken." Arjuna is therefore made the new disciple. In the Second Chapter, Arjuna surrenders: "So far we have been talking as friends, but now I accept You as my spiritual master." Anyone following the principle in this line accepts the guru as Krsna, and the student must represent Arjuna.

Krsna is speaking as the spiritual master of Arjuna, and Arjuna says, "Whatever You are saying I accept." Read it like that--not: "I like this, so I accept it; this I don't like, and so I reject it." Such reading is useless nonsense. The teacher must be a representative of Krsna, a devotee, and the student must be like Arjuna. Then this Krsna consciousness study is perfect. Otherwise it is a waste of time. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated: "If anyone wants to understand the science of Krsna, he should associate with pure devotees. When discussions take place among pure devotees, the potency of spiritual language is revealed." Scholarly discussion of the Gita is futile. In the Upanisads it is stated: "To one who has firm faith in God, and similar faith in God's representative, all the import of Vedic language will be revealed." We must have the qualification of being a devotee. Become dear to God. My spiritual master used to say, "Don't try to see God. Act in such a way that God will see you." We have to qualify ourselves. By your qualification God Himself will come and see you. If one can perceive God, he is transcendental to all material demands. We are always dissatisfied in the material world in circumstances that won't continue; happiness is temporary, and temporary plight also will not exist for much time. Cold, heat, duality--it is all coming and going. To get to the absolute stage is the process of Krsna consciousness. Krsna is seated in everyone's heart, and as you become purified He will show you the path. And in the end you will quit this body, and you will go to the spiritual sky. "No one knows Me," Krsna says, "My influence, My power and My extent. Even the maharsis [the great thinkers] don't know. I am the origin of all demigods and the origin of all rsis." There are so many forefathers we don't know of, and there are Brahma and the demigods--what do we know? We can't reach to the

platform where we can grasp God. We gather knowledge by limited senses, and Krsna can't be reached by the mind, the center of the senses. Imperfect senses can't grasp perfect knowledge. Mind and sense manipulation can't reach Him. If you engage the senses in the service of the Lord, however, then He will reveal Himself through your senses. People may say, "What is the use of understanding God? What is the use? Let Him stay in His place, let me stay in my place." But in the sastras, the scriptures, it is stated that pious activities will raise us to beauty, knowledge and good birth; and that by impious (sinful) activities, we suffer. Suffering is always there, pious or impious, but a distinction is made. He who knows God, however, becomes freed from all possible sinful reactions, which no amount of piety can accomplish. If we reject God we can never be happy. Not even considering human society, if you take the demigods who are more advanced and intelligent, they also don't know Krsna. The seven great sages whose planet is near the North Star also do not know. Krsna says: "I am the original, the source of all these demigods." He is the father of everything, not only the origin of demigods, but of the sages--and the universe. The SrimadBhagavatam describes how the universal form took place, and everything is emanating from Him. Also Krsna is the origin of Paramatma, the Supersoul; and the impersonal brahmajyoti, the shining effulgence, is in Him. Of everything, of every conception, "I am the source." The Absolute Truth may be realized in three phases, but is one nondual truth. Brahman (the glowing effulgence), localized Supersoul, and Bhagavan--the Supreme Person--are three features or aspects of God. If no one knows the Supreme Personality of Godhead, how can He be known? He can be known when the Supreme Lord comes before you and reveals Himself to you. Then you can know. Our senses are imperfect, and they cannot realize the Supreme

Truth. When you adopt a submissive attitude and chant, realization begins from the tongue. To eat and to vibrate sound is the business of the tongue. If you can control your tongue for prasadam, spiritual food, and make the sound vibration of the holy name, then by surrender of the tongue you can control all the other senses. If you cannot control your tongue, you cannot control your senses. Taste prasadam and become spiritually advanced. You can have this process at your home: offer vegetarian foods to Krsna, chant the Hare Krsna mantra and offer obeisances: namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca jagat-hitaya krsnaya govindaya namo namah Everyone can offer, and then take the food with friends. And chant before the picture of Krsna, and lead a pure life. Just see the result--the whole world will become Vaikuntha, where there is no anxiety. All is anxious with us because we have accepted this material life. Just the opposite is so in the spiritual world. No one, however, knows how to get out of the material concept. Taking an intoxicant doesn't help; the same anxieties are there when you are finished being drunk. If you want to be free and want life eternal with bliss and knowledge, take to Krsna. No one can know God, but there is this way:. the process of Krsna consciousness. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that no one can conquer Him or approach Him, but He becomes conquered. How? Let people remain in their own positions, but let them give up nonsense speculation through volumes of books. Thousands of books are printed and read, and after six months thrown away. This way and that-how can you know the Supreme by speculation on the information supplied by your

blunt senses? Give up research--throw it away--just become submissive; acknowledge that you are limited and subordinate to material nature and to God. No one can be equal to or greater than God. So be submissive. Try to hear about the glories of the Supreme Lord from authorized sources. Such authority is handed over by disciplic succession. If we can understand by the same authority as Arjuna, that is real authority. God is always ready to reveal; you just become Krsna conscious. Follow the path traversed by the great acaryas, the devoted teachers, and then everything will be known. Although He is unconquerable and unknowable, He can be known in your home. If you take to this process and follow the principles, what will be the result? As soon as you understand, you will know that the Supreme Lord is the cause of all causes, but that He is not caused by any other cause. And He is the master of all planets. This is not accepting blindly. God has given you the power of reason, the power of arguing--but don't argue falsely. If you want to know the transcendental science you must surrender. Surrender to authority andknow Him by signs. Don't surrender to a fool or a rascal. Find one who is coming in disciplic succession, one who is fully convinced about the Supreme Absolute Truth. If you find such a person, surrender and try to please him, serve him and question him. Surrender unto Him is surrender to God. Question to learn, not to waste time. The process is there, but if we waste time by intoxication we will never see Him, the unconquerable Lord. Follow the principles and slowly but surely, without doubt, you will know. "Yes, I'm making progress," you'll say. And it is very easy, and you can execute it and be in a happy mood. Study, take part with music, eat prasadam. And no one can cheat you by this process. But if you want to be cheated--go to the cheaters. Try to understand it from the authoritative source and apply it in your life.

Amongst the dying mortals, you will become the most intelligent because you are freed from sinful actions. If you act only for Krsna, then you are freed from all reactions. You will have no anxiety over what is auspicious or inauspicious because you will be in touch with the most auspicious. This is the process. Ultimately, we can get in touch with Krsna. Life will be successful. Anyone can adopt it, because it is very simple. Here is a nice formula presented by Krsna Himself: one should understand the position of Krsna. He is unborn and without any cause. We have experience, all of us, that we are born, and we have a cause; our father is our cause. If someone poses himself as God, he has to prove that he is unborn and uncaused. Our practical experience is that we are born. Krsna is not born. We have to understand this. Understanding this is to be firmly convinced He is the cause, but is not caused; and since He is not caused He is the proprietor of all manifestation. One who understands this simple philosophy is not illusioned. We are generally illusioned. We are claiming ownership of the land. But before my birth the land was here, and after my death it will still be here. How long will I go on claiming, in body after body, "This is my land! This is my land!"? Is it not nonsense? One has to be out of illusion. We should know that whatever we are doing in the material concept of life is illusion. We have to understand whether we are illusioned or not. And all conditioned souls are illusioned. He who learns to be disillusioned gets free of all encumbrances. If we want freedom from all bonds, then we have to understand God. There is no neglecting this; it is our prime duty. Out of millions of entities, one may be enlightened. Generally we are all born fools. As soon as I take birth I am nurtured by parents and educated to falsely claim a land as my own. National education means to make you more

foolish. Am I not foolish? I am changing my body like a dress life after life. You have so many minds, so many dresses--why do you claim this one? Why don't you understand: "This dress is nice, but next moment I may be in another." You are in the grip of nature. You cannot say what dress you will have: "Nature, make me American." No; material nature controls. If you live like a dog--here, take a dog's dress. If you live a godly life-here, take God. Out of many fools someone tries to understand what I actually am. Dog? American? Russian? This real inquiry goes on. If you inquire, you have to ask someone, not just yourself. When crossing the street in a place you don't know, you have to ask the policeman or some gentleman. For "what I am" you have to go to an authority also. What is a spiritual master? He is a person conversant with the science of Krsna. Ordinarily nobody inquires; but if a man does, he can make progress and come to this understanding: Krsna is the cause of all causes. Four kinds of people, followers of scripture and higher authority, inquire about Krsna. Those addicted to sinful activities can't inquire. They go on in intoxication. The righteous, pious man inquires and goes to God. Facility is given to people in this process by the authority--to make people happy, not to exploit people. The purpose of ISKCON is, in this way, to understand the science of God. You want happiness. Here it is. You are distressed by sinful reactions. But if there is no sinful reaction there is no suffering. One who knows Krsnawithout doubt is relieved of all reactions. Krsna says, "Come to Me, and I will give you freedom from all reactions." Don't disbelieve it. He can give you shelter; He has all power. If I give you such a promise, because I have no such power I may break the promise. If you associate yourself with Krsna consciousness your dormant relationship with Krsna will be evoked. You have a relationship with Him. There is no question of disbelieving; it is simply foolishness. The dormant relationship is

there. You want to serve Krsna, but simply by the spell of illusion we think we have no connection with Krsna. We go on doing all "independent" nonsense and we are always anxious. When we associate with these dormant feelings for Krsna, however, we will become engaged in Krsna consciousness. "God is unborn" indicates that He is different from the material world. We have no such experience of the unborn. This city was born--history is filled with dates. Spiritual nature, however, is unborn, and at once we can see the difference. The material nature is born. You have to understand; if Krsna is unborn then He is spiritual, not like one of us. Krsna is not some "extraordinary person who was also born." He is not born. So how can I decide He is an ordinary man? "Those who are fools and rascals think of Me as an ordinary man," Krsna says in the Gita. He is different from everything in this world. He is anadi, without cause. Krsna may be spiritual, but there are other spiritual bodies. We have spiritual bodies like Krsna's, but they are born. They are not exactly born; it is like the sparks of the fire. The sparks are not born from the fire; they are actually there. We are also not born; we are sparks that come out of the original form. Even if we are not born, the spark comes out of Krsna, so we are different; the sparks of the fire are fire, but they are not the original fire. As for quality, we are the same as Krsna. It is like the difference between father and son. Father and son are different and nondifferent at the same time. The son is an expansion of the father, but he cannot claim that he is the father; that would be nonsense. Because Krsna is declaring Himself supreme proprietor, He is therefore different from anything. If I am the proprietor of New York State, I am still not New York State. In every step there is duality. No one can say we are

completely one with God. When you can understand Krsna's and your own position in a nice analytical way, then at once you become free from sinful reactions. This process will help you. Chant Hare Krsna and cleanse your mind, and you will receive the message. One has to be qualified. If you chant and hear, for no payment, you will approach God. All things will become clear and illuminated. Chapter Eight Sources of Absolute Knowledge We require to hear about the method of relishing the Srimad-Bhagavatam the most elevated text on the science of God consciousness, the matured and ripened fruit of the tree of Vedic wisdom. The Sanskrit word rasa means juice, just like the juice of an orange or a mango. And the author of the Srimad-Bhagavatam requests that you kindly try to taste the rasa, or juice, of the fruit of the Bhagavatam. Why? Why shall I taste the juice of the fruit of the Bhagavatam? Because it is the ripened fruit of the Vedic desire tree. As a desire tree, whatever you want you can have from the Vedas. Veda means knowledge; it is so complete that whether you want to enjoy in this material world or you want to enjoy spiritual life, both kinds of knowledge are there. If you follow the Vedic principles, then you will be happy. This is like the codes of the state. If the citizens obey, then they will be happy, there will be no criminal trespassing, and they will enjoy life. The state does not come to you for nothing just to trouble you, but if you live according to the state law there is no question of unhappiness. Similarly, this conditioned soul, the living entity, has come here to this material world for enjoyment and for material happiness. And the Vedas are the guidance: all right, enjoy--but you enjoy according to these principles. That is called Veda. Therefore, everything is there. Just as we sometimes perform a

marriage ceremony in the temple. What is this marriage ceremony? It is the combination of man and woman, boy and girl. They are already there they are living like friends--what is the use of this marriage ceremony? It is Vedic: the Vedas account for living together, sex life, but under some special regulations so that you may be happy. The ultimate end is to become happy. If you follow the Vedic rules and restrictions, that will not mean that you will be kept from eating or not allowed to sleep, not allowed to defend or to have sex life. It is not like that. Your bodily necessities are the same as those of the animals; the animals also eat, they also sleep, they also mate and also defend. So we require these things also. But the Vedas prescribe some regulations: you act in this way, so that you will not be unhappy. If you follow the regulation, ultimately the result will be that you will be free from the material entanglement. This material life is not meant for the spirit soul. It is simply a misunderstanding that you want to enjoy this material life. But Krsna, the Supreme Lord, gives us specific orders so that we can enjoy, in such a way that, at the end, we will understand that this is not our proper life--our proper life is spiritual. This human form of life is perfected as soon as we come to the understanding of spiritual existence--that I am Brahman. Otherwise, if I do not take care of my spiritual life, then the result is that I must live as the cats and dogs do. There is every possibility that my next life will be an animal life. And if, by chance or by a freak of nature, I get into animal life, then millions and millions of years will be required before again coming to this human form of life. So the human form of life is meant for self-realization, and the Vedas are the direction. Now in the Bhagavad-gita you will find that Krsna says that to study or to follow the rules and regulations of the Vedas actually means to come to the

understanding of Krsna consciousness. That is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam also. So the Vedas give you the chance to gradually come to the point of understanding Krsna, after many, many births. But the Bhagavatam is called the essence of life, the ripened fruit of the Vedas, because the Bhagavatam gives you directly what is needed in your life. The Vedas are divided into four: Sama, Rg, Atharva and Yajur. Then these are explained by the Puranas, of which there are eighteen. Then these are still further explained by the Upanisads, of which there are 108. The Upanisads are summarized in the Vedanta-sutra, and the Vedanta-sutra is still again explained by the Srimad-Bhagavatam, by the same author. This is the process. So the Bhagavatam is the essence of all Vedic knowledge. Naimisaranya is a very famous and sacred forest in northern India, where all the rsis, the sages, generally go to aid their spiritual advancement of life. This Srimad-Bhagavatam was first discussed in this age in that forest. When it was discussed, the great saint Suta Gosvami was asked by his audience: Now that Krsna has gone back to His abode, with whom is transcendental knowledge now resting? This question was raised. The Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Krsna Himself, and it contains all descriptions of jnana-yoga, karma-yoga, dhyana-yoga and bhakti-yoga. Now this inquiry was made: Where can you get spiritual knowledge, now that Krsna is gone? The answer was that Krsna, having departed, has left us the Srimad-Bhagavatam. It is the representation, the sound representation, of Krsna. The Bhagavatam is not different from Krsna, as the Gita is not different from Krsna. They are absolute. Krsna and Krsna's sound vibration are not different. Krsna and Krsna's name are also not different. And Krsna and Krsna's form, again, are not different. This is absolute. It requires realization.

This Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam are sound incarnations of Krsna. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is also the literary incarnation of Krsna, and it is the fruitof Vedic knowledge. You may have experience that there is a bird which is called a parrot. The parrot's body is green, and his beak is red. The specific qualification of the parrot is that whatever you say he can imitate. That parrot bird is touching the ripened fruit, and, naturally, if the fruit is ripened on the tree, it becomes very tasteful. Again, if the fruit is tasted by the parrot, it becomes still more tasteful. That is nature's way. So, here, it is said that this Srimad-Bhagavatam is just like the ripened fruit of Vedic knowledge, and at the same time it is touched by Sukadeva Gosvami, Suta's spiritual master. Suka means parrot in Sanskrit. This Srimad-Bhagavatam was first explained by Sukadeva Gosvami, though the author is his father, Vyasa. Sukadeva was only sixteen years old when he was taught the Bhagavatam, and he was illumined. He was already liberated in the impersonal concept of the Absolute, but after hearing the Bhagavatam from his father, he became attracted by the pastimes of Krsna, and he became a preacher of the Bhagavatam. First he explained it before Maharaja Pariksit, the great king. A short history of Maharaja Pariksit is that he was a very pious king, but unfortunately by some of his acts he was cursed by a brahmana boy to die within seven days. In those days if a brahmana should curse someone it would come true. They had the power to curse or give benediction. So Pariksit understood that within a week he would have to die, and he prepared himself. He gave up his kingdom, entrusting it to his son, Maharaja Janamejaya, and he detached himself from the family and sat down on the banks of the Ganges near Delhi. It was not exactly the Ganges; it was actually the Yamuna. There, because he was a great emperor, many learned sages came. Pariksit now inquired from all the great sages present there: "What is my

duty? I am going to die within seven days; now what is my duty? You are all learned sages; please just prescribe for me." So someone said to practice yoga, some said to practice jnana, the cultivation of knowledge; there were different opinions. But at that time Sukadeva Gosvami entered the forest, and although Sukadeva was only sixteen, he was so learned and reputed that all the old sages, including his father, Vyasadeva, stood up to show him respect. He was so learned. So when he appeared, it was agreed. "Here is Sukadeva Gosvami. Let him decide what to do. We appoint him as our representative." Sukadeva Gosvami was thus authorized to speak, and he was asked, "What is my duty? I am very fortunate that you have come in this momentous hour. Kindly tell me what is my duty." Sukadeva Gosvami said, "All right, I shall explain to you the SrimadBhagavatam." Then everyone present agreed. As the Bhagavatam was first spoken by Sukadeva Gosvami, it is therefore mentioned that as the parrot touches ripened fruit and it becomes even sweeter, so this Srimad-Bhagavatam, because it was touched first by Sukadeva Gosvami, has become still more tasteful. The idea is that any Vedic literature, especially the Bhagavatam or the Gita, should be learned as spoken by a realized soul. Especially this literature, which is called Vaisnava literature, should not be heard from a person who is not a devotee. This point I have several times stressed. Those who are nondevotees, those who are mental speculationists, those who are fruitive workers, those who are meditators or mystic yogis, cannot explain the science of God. This is especially mentioned also by Sanatana Gosvami, another great saint; those who are not in devotional service, nongodly, those who have no faith in God--such persons should not be allowed to speak on the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, or any literature which is in relationship with the Supreme

Lord. So it is not that anybody can speak the Bhagavatam or the Gita and we will have to hear it. No. Sanatana Gosvami especially prohibits us: we should not hear of the Supreme Lord from one who is not purified. One may ask, "How can you taint the words of Krsna, which are naturally transcendentally pure? What is the harm if we hear from the nondevotee?" This question may be raised. The example given here is that milk is very nice andnutritious, but as soon as it is touched by a serpent it becomes poison immediately. The serpent is very envious. He bites and puts to death immediately, unnecessarily, and therefore is considered the cruelest animal amongst the living entities. In the sastra nonviolence is recommended, as in every scripture, but the serpent and the scorpion are allowed to be killed. You cannot say that milk is so nutritious, and we can drink--what is the harm if it is touched by serpents? No--the result will be death. One should not hear at least the Bhagavad-gita and the Srimad-Bhagavatam from those who are not devotees of the Lord, who have no realization of God and who are envious of Him. Their touch renders it poison. The words of the Lord are always sublime, but as soon as they are touched by the serpent-like nondevotee, one should be very careful about hearing. In the Bhagavatam, it is indicated that as soon as Sukadeva touched it, it became delicious. This is the distinction. Basically it is the ripened fruit of Vedic knowledge, but at the same time it has been touched by Sukadeva Gosvami. The Lord is the supreme object of yoga and the reservoir of all transcendental pleasure; He reveals Himself only to His devotees and by the mercy of His devotees all can relish His intimate association. Chapter Nine The Real Peace Formula Every living entity is searching after peace. That is the struggle for

existence. Everyone, from the aquatics to the highest form of human being--from the ant up to Brahma, the first creature of this universe--is searching for peace. That is the main objective. Lord Caitanya said that a person who is in full Krsna consciousness is the only peaceful man because he has no demands. That is the special qualification of a person who is in Krsna consciousness. He is akamah. Akamah refers to those who have no desire, who are self-sufficient, who have nothing to ask and who are fully peaceful. Who are they? They are the devotees who are situated in Krsna consciousness. All others fall into three classes. One class is bhukti, those who are hankering after material happiness and enjoyment. These people want to eat, drink, be merry and enjoy. There are different modes of enjoyment according to the body. People are searching after sense enjoyment on this planet, on other planets, here, there and everywhere. Their main object is to gratify the senses. That is called bhukti. The next class is those people who are fatigued or frustrated in sense gratification and therefore want liberation from this material entanglement. And then there are those who, in search of knowledge, speculate about what the Absolute Truth is. Thus there are some who want sense enjoyment, and others, the salvationists, who are seeking liberation. The salvationists also have some desire, the desire to be free from this material entanglement. Then there are those who are yogis; they are searching after mystic perfection. There are eight kinds of mystic perfection which grant the ability to become the smallest, to become the heaviest, or to get whatever one desires. Ordinary persons who are after sense gratification and those who are salvationists or who are after mystic perfection all have some demand. But what about the devotees? They have no demands. Because they simply want to serve Krsna, they are waiting for the order of Krsna, and that is their satisfaction.

If Krsna wants the devotees to go to hell, they are prepared to go to hell. And if Krsna says, "You come to Me," they are prepared to go. They have no demands. This is the perfectional stage. There is a very nice verse in which a devotee prays: "I shall simply be conscious of You, my dear Lord, Krsna conscious, free from all mental demands." Actually, because we are in material bondage, we have many demands. Some people want sense gratification, those who are a little more elevated want mental satisfaction, and those who are still more refined want to show some magic jugglery of power in this world. They are all in material bondage in differentcapacities. Therefore, a person who is Krsna conscious prays to the Lord: "My dear Lord, when shall I be fully absorbed in Your thoughts or Your service?" "Your thoughts" are not simply abstract, concocted speculation; it is a practical mode of thought. "I shall become peaceful." All mental concoction--I want this, I want that--will be completely eradicated. We are hovering over the mental plane. We have given power of attorney to the mind, and the mind is driving us--"Come here, go there." One has to stop such nonsense. "I shall simply be Your eternal servitor. And I shall be very cheerful, for I have my master." All others who are not in Krsna consciousness are guideless. They are their own guides. The person who is Krsna conscious has the supreme guide; therefore, he has no fear. For example, as long as a child is under the care of his parents he has no fear. But as soon as he becomes free, he finds many impediments. This is a crude example, but similarly, when one becomes completely free from all mental concoction and engages one hundred percent in Krsna consciousness twenty-four hours a day, he will be peaceful at once. That is peace. Therefore, Caitanya Mahaprabhu says that those who are Krsna conscious, because they have no demands, are actually peaceful. Those who are after sense

enjoyment, salvation and yogic mystic perfection are always full of anxiety. As long as one is full of anxiety, one should know that he is still under the grip of material nature. And as soon as one is free from all anxiety, one should know that he is liberated. This fearful anxiety exists because we do not know Krsna, the Supreme Lord, the supreme controller. Instead, we have other conceptions, and therefore we are always anxious. There are many examples, such as Prahlada Maharaja. He was only five years old, a pet child, but because he was a devotee of the Lord, his father became his enemy. This is the way of the world. As soon as one becomes a devotee of the Lord he finds so many obstacles. But those obstacles will not hinder one or be impediments on the path. We should always be personally prepared to become Krsna conscious. Otherwise, there is only the kingdom of maya, illusion. Maya will try to defeat us as soon as she sees, "Oh, here is a living soul going out of my grip." As soon as one becomes Krsna conscious and fully surrenders unto the Supreme Lord, he has nothing more to fear from this illusion. The Krsna conscious person is the perfectly peaceful person. Everyone wants peace in the world. The peace marchers do not know how to obtain peace, but they want peace. I read a speech of the Archbishop of Canterbury in which he said, "You want the kingdom of God without God." This is our defect. If you want peace at all, then accept that peace means to understand God. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Unless you are in touch with the Supreme Lord, Krsna, you cannot have peace. Therefore, we have a different peace formula. The real peace formula is that one must know that God is the proprietor of all this universe, including the United States of America. He is the proprietor of Russia, He is the proprietor of China, He is the proprietor of India, of everything. But because we claim that we are the proprietors, there is

fighting, there is discord, there is disagreement, and how can there be peace? First of all, one has to accept that God is the proprietor of everything. We are simply guests for fifty or a hundred years. We come and go, and while one is here, he is absorbed in this thought: "This is my land. This is my family. This is my body. This is my property." And when there is an order from the Supreme for one to leave his home, his property, his body, his family, his money and his bank balance and it is all gone, one has to take another place. We are under the grip of material nature, and she is offering different kinds of bodies: "Now, my dear sir, you accept this body." We accept an American body, an Indian body, a Chinese body, a cat's body or a dog's body. I am not the Proprietor even of this body, yet I say that I am this body. Actually, this is ignorance. And how can one have peace? Peace can be had when one understands that God is the proprietor of everything. One's friends, one's mother, one's mother's father and thePresident are all guests of time. When this knowledge is accepted, then there will be peace. We are searching for a friend to give us peace and tranquillity. That friend is Krsna, God. Just make friendship with Him; you'll find everyone to be your friend. Because God is situated in everyone's heart, if you make friendship with God, He will dictate from within so that you will also be treated in a friendly way. If you make friendship with the police commissioner, you receive some advantage. H you make friendship with President Nixon, everyone will be your friend because everyone is under the President. If you want something from any officer, simply call President Nixon, and he will say, "All right, look after this man." Everything is taken care of. Just try to have friendship with God, and everyone will be your friend. If all people understand this very nice fact, that God is everyone's friend and that He is the supreme proprietor, they will become peaceful. That is explained also by Lord Caitanya.

In Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritamrta, or any Vedic literature or any other literature in any other religion, the same fact is presented: God is the proprietor. God is the only friend. If you understand this, then you'll have peace. This is the peace formula. As soon as you encroach on God's Property, calling it your own, material nature, the police action, will be there: "You are not the proprietor." You can simply have what is allotted to you by God. Your business is to elevate yourself to perfect Krsna consciousness and nothing more. If you deviate from this law, if you don't accept this principle, if you want to enjoy more, then you have to suffer more. There is no question of forgetting. Therefore, Lord Caitanya says, "One who is Krsna conscious has no demands. Thus he is at peace." Those in Krsna consciousness do not know anything more than Krsna. Actually only those who are Krsna conscious are peaceful, unafraid of anything. They are neither in heaven nor in hell nor anywhere but with Krsna, so for them everything is Vaikuntha, without fear. Similarly, Lord Krsna as Paramatma, Supersoul, lives everywhere. He lives in the heart of a hog also. The hog eats stool, but that does not mean that because the Supreme Lord is in the heart of the hog, He is also subjected to such punishment. The Lord and His devotees are always transcendental to the modes of material nature. Persons who are completely Krsna conscious are very rare and very peaceful. Out of millions and millions of people, it is very difficult to find one who is actually Krsna conscious; this position of Krsna consciousness is so rare. But Krsna Himself, as Lord Caitanya, seeing the pitiable condition of the present day, is directly giving free love of Godhead. Yet because love of God is being given freely and so easily, people do not

care for it. My spiritual master used to say that if you take a langera mango, which is a first-class, topmost quality mango in India, very costly, very sweet and very tasteful, and go from door to door and try to distribute it freely, people will doubt: "Why has this man brought this langera mango? Why is he trying to distribute it freely? There must be some motive behind it." Similarly, Lord Caitanya distributed this Krsna consciousness langera mango very cheaply, but people are so foolish that they think, "Oh, they are simply chanting Hare Krsna; what is there to it? This is meant for the foolish, who cannot speculate and do not have any higher standard of knowledge." But that is not so. It is said: "Out of millions and millions of people, only a few are interested in Krsna consciousness." Do not neglect this information; it is very rare, and if you practice Krsna consciousness, your life will be successful. Your mission in human life will be fulfilled. This seed of Krsna consciousness is very rare and very valuable. Lord Caitanya said that innumerable living entities are wandering and transmigrating in the 8,400,000 species of life, one after another. Out of so many, one may come who is fortunate, who has spiritual fortune. Sometimes devotees of the Lord go from door to door. Their policy is to go as beggars. So in India, beggars, especially sannyasis, are very much respected. Ifa sannyasi comes to a house to beg, he is very well received: "Swamiji, what can I do for you?" The devotee beggar won't ask for anything, but whatever one can give, even one capati, makes one spiritually rich. That man who offers a capati to a pure devotee who comes to his door is made spiritually rich. When one is advanced in spiritual wealth, he offers a good reception to devotees as far as possible. According to the Vedic system, even if your enemy comes to your house, you have to receive him in such a way that you will forget that he is your enemy. That is the general system for receiving a pure devotee who has sacrificed everything for the Lord.

These are instructions for householders. The householder should come out of his home during noontime and call out for anyone who is hungry to please come and take the food. Only if no one comes in answer to his call can the chief of the household take his meals. There are so many rules and regulations just to train a man to become godly. They are not superstitious or superfluous. The human being should be trained to be godly. Because he is part and parcel of God, he is given the chance to be trained. This training is given because some day or other the person may be Krsna conscious. If by chance during this training he meets a teacher who is a saintly person and a pure devotee of the Lord, then by such a contact he becomes pure. Therefore, Lord Caitanya said that the fortunate person who has had some spiritual asset in his past dealings will seek the association of a pure devotee. The seed of Krsna consciousness is received by the mercy of guru, the spiritual master, and by the mercy of Krsna. When the spiritual master and Lord Krsna will that a person must have Krsna consciousness, then the seed very nicely fructifies. That spiritual asset makes one fortunate, and thus he becomes spiritually enlivened, and then he meets a bona fide spiritual master, and, by the grace of the spiritual master, he can receive the seed of Krsna consciousness. That is his inner urge: "Where can I get this association? Where can I get this awareness?" This process is recommended; it is the general process of spiritual advancement. Krsna is within you, and as soon as Krsna sees that you are very sincere, that you are seeking, He sends a bona fide spiritual master. This combination of Krsna and the spiritual master is the cause of one's receiving the seed of Krsna consciousness. The seed is there. If you have a very nice seed of a rose bush, what is your duty? If you have a seed of any nice plant, it is

your duty not to lock it up in the safety vault of a bank. Your duty is to sow it in the ground. Where should you sow that seed? If you have information of Krsna consciousness, you just sow it in your heart. Not in this earth, but in the earth within yourself. And after sowing a seed you have to pour a little water on it, so that water is hearing and chanting. Once the seed is sown in the heart, just pour on a little water, and it will grow. This process should not be stopped by the thought that because one is initiated there is no need of hearing and chanting. It should go on continuously. If you stop pouring water on a plant, it will dry up, it will not produce any fruit. Similarly, even if you are highly elevated in Krsna consciousness, you cannot stop this process of hearing and chanting because maya is so strong, so powerful, that as soon as she sees, "Ah, here is an opportunity," at once you will dry up. By the process of pouring water, that plant of Krsna consciousness grows. How does it grow? There is a limit to every plant you see; it grows and grows and grows, but there is a limit where it stops growing. But the plant of Krsna consciousness grows in such a way that it does not rest in any part of this material universe because a Krsna conscious person is not satisfied with planetary facilities in any part of this material universe. Even if you offer him Siddhaloka, where the inhabitants are so powerful and elevated that they can fly in the sky without airplanes, he will not be satisfied. There is a planet, Siddhaloka, according to Srimad-Bhagavatam, where the inhabitants do not need airplanes or spacecraft to fly from one planet toanother. Above Siddhaloka there are many other planets. I saw that the latest modern opinion is that every star is a sun, and there are different planetary systems, solar systems; but according to Vedic literature there are innumerable universes which are separate identities. The limit of this universe is the

outermost sky. The modern scientist says that each and every star is a sun. But Vedic literature does not say that. Vedic literature informs us that there is only one sun in each universe, but there are innumerable universes, and thus there are innumerable suns and moons. The highest planet of this universe is called Brahmaloka. And Lord Krsna says, "Even if you approach the highest planet, you have to come back again." Sputniks and astronauts are going very high, and here on earth people are clapping; but after just a brief time they come down again. However one may clap, he cannot do more than that. Similarly, those who are materialistic can go high up to Brahmaloka where Brahma is, but those who are Krsna conscious will reject even that. They neglect even the impersonal brahmajyoti. They don't care for it. The covering of this universe is far, far greater than this space which we are now in. The outside of the universe is ten times the space within, so one has to penetrate that covering, and then reach Viraja, the Causal Ocean. The Buddhist philosophical perfection is to reach that Viraja. When this material existence is completely finished, it is called viraja, according to Vedic language. But the Krsna conscious person not only penetrates the covering of this universe, but after he reaches that Causal Ocean, which is the neutral position, he continues. The plant grows so nicely from Brahmaloka to Viraja to the spiritual sky, and even when that plant reaches the spiritual sky, it is not satisfied with any Vaikuntha planet. The highest planet in the spiritual sky is Krsnaloka. It is just like a lotus flower, where Krsna is standing. And there, when the plant finds Krsna's lotus feet, it rests. Just as a creeper grows and grows and grows and at last attaches itself to something and then expands, when the devotional plant gets to the lotus feet of Krsna, it expands. As soon as this Krsna consciousness creeper

captures Krsna's lotus feet, it takes shelter. "There. Now I have finished my journey. Let me expand here." To expand means to enjoy Krsna's association. There the devotees are satisfied. That creeper has to go on, and thus those who are already in Krsna consciousness, if they have their natural growth, relish the fruit of that creeper even in this life. If you continue this chanting and hearing process, you will grow and grow and actually reach Krsna's lotus feet and there relish His association. Krsna Consciousness the Topmost Yoga System by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This is an evaluation copy of the printed version of this book, and is NOT FOR RESALE. This evaluation copy is intended for personal noncommercial use only, under the fair use guidelines established by international copyright laws. You may use this electronic file to evaluate the printed version of this book, for your own private use, or for short excerpts used in academic works, research, student papers, presentations, and the like. You can distribute this evaluation copy to others over the Internet, so long as you keep this copyright information intact. You may not reproduce more than ten percent (10%) of this book in any media without the express written permission from the copyright holders. Reference any excerpts in the following way: Excerpted from Krsna Consciousness the Topmost Yoga System by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, courtesy of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, www.Krishna.com.This book and electronic file is Copyright 1972-2003 Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, 3764 Watseka Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90034, USA. All rights reserved. For any questions, comments, correspondence, or to evaluate dozens of other books in this collection, visit the website of the publishers,

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