Munificent Lord Caitanya by Tusta Krsna Dasa
My dear Lord Sri Krsna,
Blue-hued friend of old,
Thoughtlessly we’ve neglected You
Our hearts have grown so cold.
Beneath this frigid coldness, though,
A spark of warmth still glows,
And by Your causeless mercy,
Each day this warmness grows.
500 years ago You came
To fan the fire of love
To elevate us, the fallen souls,
Beyond the heavens above.
You came as Sri Krsna Caitanya,
Brighter than the brightest of suns,
And in this garb of golden skin,
Countless hearts You won.
My dear Sri Krsna Caitanya,
When You descended You kindly brought
To innumerable living entities
What all great men have sought.
O merciful expansion,
Brighter than the sun,
O Love of God personified,
With body of golden hue,
So kindly You have done for us
What none other could ever do.
The most sublime opportunity
You’ve given to us, the fallen souls
To quit this material connection
And accept our eternal roles.
Now, as Your lowly servants
Though numbered we are few,
To spread Your glories everywhere
Is what we propose to do.
With the dawning of each day
We loudly chant Your names,
And wherever they are chanted,
Your causeless mercy rains.
And though our hearts be cold and black,
To You we humbly pray
For faith and determination
To melt this cold away.
O most merciful incarnation,
Sweeter than morning dew,
We offer all obeisances,
All obeisances unto You.
Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya
Is kind upon all living souls,
For He took His birth among us
To fulfill our spiritual goals.
When He descended upon this planet
His associates also came
Sri Advaita and Lord Nityananda,
Chanting the holy names.
With Him came Gadadhara,
An expansion of Radharani,
And Srivasa the pure devotee,
An embodiment of Narada Muni.
He came upon this earth
To bless the human race
With most valuable love of Krsna
His Divine Grace.
And by His perfect example
In action, deed and word,
He is showing us how to surrender
Unto the Supreme Lord.
Surrender to Krsna means
To become humble and meek;
To dedicate one’s life for
His service Is what all devotees seek.
Further surrender entails
Joining a family of spiritual spectrum,
Relying on Krsna’s mercy
And having faith in His protection.
Accepting things which are favorable
For advancement in spiritual life
And rejecting all things unfavorable,
Be they even home or wife.
By developing these humble processes
One will become surrendered,
And the Lord will surely notice
The service which he has rendered.
For such a serious soul
Who has attained this surrendered stage,
His prayers are always answered
The desire of every sage.
We should therefore follow in the footsteps
Of such exalted and pure devotees
As Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana,
Who headed the six Gosvamis.
Directly descending from Lord Caitanya,
There are so many more,
Such as Bhaktivedanta Swami
And his grandfather Gaurakisora.
To Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya
We should pray with humble heart
That by His example of full surrender
We may learn this saintly art.
For one who surrenders thusly
Will receive in this very life
The gift of liberation
And freedom from material strife.
Early Miracles Of Caitanya Mahaprabhu
by Amala Bhakta Dasa
Though Lord Caitanya is known as Krsna’s hidden incarnation, His biographers have preserved accounts of His displays of divinity.
Lord Caitanya, unlike ordinary human beings, was not conceived in His mother’s womb by seminal discharge. Rather, by His own free will, twelve months before His advent He miraculously entered His father’s heart; from there He transferred Himself to His mother’s womb, just as He had done about 4,500 years earlier when He appeared as Lord Krsna . And on February 18, 1486, in Mayapur, West Bengal , India , during a full-moon eclipse , Lord Caitanya appeared in this world.
He was named Visvambhara, which means, “one who protects and maintains the universe.” But He was also nicknamed Nimai and Gauranga- Nimai, because He was born under a neem tree, and Gauranga (which means “golden limbs”) because He had a golden complexion. The name Krsna Caitanya (“all -attractive living force”) was awarded to Him when He became a renunciant monk at age twenty-four.
Lord Caitanya’s horoscope clearly showed that He would be an intellectual genius, an amazing teacher of religion , and a world savior. And, according to Vedic astrology, the unique markings on His feet-flag, conch , disc, fish , thunderbolt-doubtlessly signified that He was an incarnation of God. These markings had previously been visible on Lord Krsna’s feet. Besides, Lord Caitanya’s ent ire form-His nose, arms, chin, eyes, knees, skin , and so on -like Lord Krsna’s, l showed all thirty-two symptoms of a great or divine personality.
TRICKING ADULTS INTO CHANTING
Even as a baby, the Lord made it clear that His mission would be to help people become God conscious. For example, He would often cry loudly, but when His mother’s friends would begin chanting God’s names and clapping, He would stop crying and begin smiling. But when they would think He was fully pacified and stop chanting, He would again begin crying. So they would again chant God’s names, and He would again stop crying and begin smiling. That was His cute way of tricking them into chanting God’s holy names throughout the day and blessing them with divine bliss. After a while, this sacred activity became a regular fun-filled game that brought laughter, delight, and wonder to those affectionate ladies.
WHY THE LORD HIDES HIS IDENTITY
Even to His parents, who were great devotees of God, Lord Caitanya rarely revealed who He was. He wanted to bless them with a relationship with Him full of informality and familiarity rather than awe and reverence. This closer relationship gives God more pleasure and satisfaction because it is more intimate and affectionate. However, He reserves such closeness for His extremely surrendered and devoted servants.
Thus Lord Caitanya’s parents did not regard Him as God but rather as their little, dependent, lovable child. They considered themselves His protectors and caretakers, even though He protects and cares for the entire world. As we will soon see, though the Lord enjoys playing the part of a helpless, innocent toddler, He can, when He so wishes, instantly reveal His divine nature and power.
BAFFLING THE THIEVES
One day Lord Caitanya, wearing golden ornaments, was wandering a lone near His home. Two thieves ambled into the area and spotted the child. Attracted by His glistening ornaments, they decided to steal them . Since there were people on the street, the thieves resolved to abduct the boy in a way that would appear as if they were playing with Him.
One of the thieves asked, “Son, where have you been all this time?”
And the other thief said, “Come on, son, let’s go home.”
The Lord smiled and said, “Yes, let’s go home.”
One of the thieves placed the Lord on his shoulders, and the other gave Him some candy. Then they walked toward their own house, where they hoped to steal the ornaments and kill the child.
After the thieves had gone some distance from the Lord’s neighbourhood, the Lord’s family members realized He was not near the house. Extremely anxious, they began searching for Him and calling, “Nimai! Nimai!” When they couldn’t find Him, they became frantic. They felt as if their very life had been stolen away.
As the thieves carried the Lord, something mystical happened. The Lord playfully clouded their minds. First, He made them walk on the wrong path, which led back to the Lord’s house. Then, when they reached His house, they thought they were at their own house.
“Okay, son,” one of the thieves said, “we’re home.”
“Yes, we are,” replied the Lord. “So you can put me down.’!
As the thief lowered the Lord to the ground, the Lord saw His family members in the distance desperately searching and calling out for Him. He ran away to His father, who picked Him up and hugged Him. Seeing Him, all the family members felt immensely relieved and blissful.
Then, by the Lord’s will, the thieves suddenly realized they weren’t at their home at all. Indeed, they were right where they had starred. How, they wondered, had they become so thoroughly deluded? Seeing the boy’s family members coming and fearing arrest, they fled from the area as fast as they could.
REVEALING HIS DIVINE FORM
One day an itinerant pious brahmana, who was on pilgrimage and always chanting Krsna’s name, wandered near Lord Caitanya’s house. When the Lord’s father, Jagannatha Misra, saw this effulgent devotee, he invited him in and properly honoured him.
Jagannatha Misra asked, “Would it be all right if I arranged for you to cook?”
“As you wish,” replied the holy man.
Jagannatha Misra brought him a variety of foodstuffs, and the holy man proceeded to happily cook them. When the food was ready, the brahmana began offering it to the household Deity of Lord Krsna. Just then , Lord Caitanya, the child, entered the room. Smiling at the brahmana, He took a handful of the rice and ate it.
“Oh, no !” cried the brahmana. “This restless boy has stolen Krsna’s food!”
Since food is supposed to be offered first to Lord Krsna, the child, by eating it first , had apparently made it unfit for Krsna.
Jagannatha Misra entered the room and noted his son’s offense. Angry and embarrassed, he wanted to strike his son to teach Him a lesson . But the brahmana checked him, because he understood the mischievous nature of children. Then Saci Devi, the Lord’s mother, to prevent her son from further stealing, carried Him to a neighbour’s house and watched Him carefully.
Jagannatha Misra brought more foodstuffs for the brahmana, who was happy to cook again. When the meal was ready, the holy man again began to offer it to Lord Krsna.
Meanwhile, at the neighbour’s house, Lord Caitanya mystically caused everyone there to forget about Him. Then He slid out of the house and returned home. Seeing the brahmana offering the food to Lord Krsna, the child smiled at him, took a handful of rice, and began eating it.
“Oh, no!” shouted the brahmana.
When Jagannatha Misra saw what his son had again done, he was determined to strike Him. But the brahmana stopped him and philosophically opined, “I guess, today it’s not my destiny to eat food that Lord Krsna has eaten.”
The family members persuaded the brahmana to cook again. But to make certain the Lord would not again interfere with the offering rite, they confined Him to His room. His father not only guarded the door, but also bolted it from the outside.
When the devotee finished cooking, he again offered the meal to Lord Krsna. At that moment, Lord Caitanya caused everyone else in the house to fall asleep. Then He mystically entered the kitchen and appeared beside the food offering.
Seeing Him, the holy man exclaimed, “Oh, no !”
But the Lord replied, “As you were offering the food, you asked Me to come and eat it. So I have come. You always want to see Me, so now I’m revealing Myself to you.”
Suddenly the child manifested Himself as the youthful Lord Krsna in a wonderful eight-armed formholding a disk, a club, a conch shell, and a lotus flower in four hands, holding fresh butter in one hand, putting butter in His mouth with another hand, and playing the flute with His remaining two hands. He further manifested the beautiful Vrndavana forest-the place of His most intimate pastimes-with its lovely birds, trees, milkmaids, and cowherds. Seeing all this, the brahmana swooned in ecstasy. When the Lord touched him, he regained consciousness.
Lord Caitanya said , “0 brahmana, you’ve been My servant for many births. When I appeared as Krsna in Nanda’s h ome, I revealed this same form to you and ate the food you offered Me. But you don’t remember this. Birth after birth you’ve been My servant. Persons who are not My servant cannot see My form. What I have told you is a secret. Please don’t tell anyone. If you reveal it during My present incarnation, I’ll destroy you. In this incarnation, I will begin the saitkirtana movement-the congregational chanting of Krsna’s holy names. In every country I will preach sankirtana and initiate pure loving devotional service in every home.”
Having given comfort and mercy to the brahmana, Lord Caitanya ate the offering, returned to His room, reassumed His child form, and lay down on His bed. Everyone else in the house remained asleep.
The brahmana then ate the Lord’s remnants, wept, danced, sang, laughed and cried out, “Victory to Krsna!”
This woke up everyone. When they all came and saw the brahmana eating peacefully, they became happy. The brahmana wanted to reveal that Lord Caitanya was Lord Krsna. But remembering the Lord’s dreadful warning, he restrained himself.
Amala Bhakta Dasa, well-known for his audio recordings of Krsna conscious books, is the author of The Life of Tulasi Devi, Mystical Stories from the Mahabharata, and Mystical Stories from the Srimad-bhagavatam.
Watch this short clip!
Lord Caitanya – The Joy of Mother Saci
Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appears within the material world in every age. Sometimes He appears as Lord Rama or some other incarnation, and sometimes He appears in His original, supreme form of Sri Krsna. But although He appears in different forms and different lands and among different peoples, His mission is always the same: to teach love of God as the prime necessity for humanity. Five hundred years ago He appeared in Bengal, India, as Lord Caitanya and showed the perfect example of devotion to Krsna by adopting the role of Krsna’s pure devotee.
An especially touching instance of Lord Caitanya’s exemplary behavior was His loving relationship with His mother, Sacidevi. Theirs was the ideal relationship between an enlightened, loving mother and her Krsna-conscious son.
When Lord Caitanya was still a boy, His older brother Visvarupa accepted the renounced order of life (sannyasa) and left home to travel as a missionary. Visvarupa’s leaving greatly upset His parents, but Lord Caitanya assured them that by accepting sannyasa Visvarupa was rendering the best service to His family. (The Vedic scriptures confirm that if one becomes Krsna’s pure devotee, his parents and many generations of his forefathers are liberated from material bondage and attain the kingdom of God.) To further comfort His parents, Lord Caitanya remained at home. And later, after His father’s passing, He married.
However, at the age of twenty-four Lord Caitanya left His mother and young wife and also entered the renounced order. He wanted to expand His sankirtana movement, to propagate more widely the congregational chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra. The Lord immediately departed for Vrndavana, but being overwhelmed with ecstatic love for Krsna, He lost all awareness of the external world and wandered for three days on the banks of the Ganges at Navadvipa. Finally, His chief associates, Sri Advaita and Nityananda Prabhus, induced Him to come to Advaita’s home.
When the Lord went to Sri Advaita’s home, a meeting with His mother occurred that was surcharged with feelings of both joy and grief. Upon seeing one another, they both became overwhelmed with emotion. When Mother Saci saw the Lord’s head without hair (a sign that He had taken sannyasa), she became distressed. She kissed the Lord and tried to observe Him carefully, but because her eyes were filled with tears, she couldn’t see. She implored Him, “Do not act like your elder brother Visvarupa, who took sannyasa and never visited me again.”
Lord Caitanya replied, “My dear mother, though I have accepted the renounced order, I shall never be indifferent to you.”
So the Lord stayed at Sri Advaita’s house for many days, conversing with Sri Advaita and other devotees by day, and at night chanting Hare Krsna in divine ecstasy. During this time Mother Saci took charge of cooking for her son. When the Lord danced in the kirtana He would jump high in the air and sometimes fall to the ground, and Mother Saci would pray that Lord Visnu would protect her son from hurting Himself.
After some days the Lord assembled all His devotees and said, “My dear friends, as long as I remain manifest I shall never give you up. Nor shall I be able to give up My mother. But after accepting sannyasa, asannyasi should not remain at his birthplace encircled by relatives. Please make some arrangement so that I may not leave you and at the same time people may not blame Me for remaining at home after takingsannyasa.”
The devotees then approached Mother Saci with the Lord’s request. Mother Saci said, “It will be a great happiness for me if Nimai [Lord Caitanya] stays here in Navadvipa. But at the same time, if someone blames Him, it will be my great unhappiness. So here is my proposal: Let Nimai live at Jagannatha Puri. Then he will not leave any of us, and at the same time He can remain aloof as a sannyasi. Since Jagannatha Puri and Navadvipa are so close, I shall be able to get news of Nimai frequently. I do not care for my personal happiness, but only for His happiness. Indeed, I accept His happiness as My happiness.”
With these words Mother Saci gave the example for all mothers whose sons turn to genuine spiritual life. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada comments as follows:
“It is a great happiness for a mother if her son does not leave home to search out Krsna but remains with her. At the same time, if a son does not search after Krsna but simply remains at home, he is blamed by experienced saintly persons. Such blame certainly causes great unhappiness for a mother. If a mother wants her son to progress spiritually, she should allow him to go out searching for Krsna. But if she does not allow her son to search for Krsna, she is called ma, which indicates maya (illusion). By allowing her son to become a sannyasi and search for Krsna, Sacimata instructs all mothers of the world. She indicates that all sons should become devotees of Krsna and should not stay at home under the care of an affectionate mother.”
Thus, except for six years in which he toured South India, Lord Caitanya stayed at Jagannatha Puri for the remaining twenty-four years of His life. Every year the devotees from Navadvipa would come and visit the Lord, bringing food cooked by His mother. Lord Caitanya would also send prasada (spiritual food) from the Jagannatha temple to His mother in Navadvipa and ask her forgiveness for His entering the renounced order. In this way, despite their physical separation, Lord Caitanya and His mother associated spiritually. And the devotees glorify their eternal relationship of mother and son by chanting, “Jaya, Sacinandana! Jaya, Sacinandana! All glories to Lord Caitanya, the joy of Mother Saci!”
Sri Gaura-Purnima – Lecture by Srila Prabhupada
We reproduce herebelow a lecture given about this festival by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada at Mayapur on March 16, 1976
Pusta Krishna: “In this way, my Lord, You have appeared in different incarnations — as human beings, as animals, as a great saintly person, as demigods and as a fish and a tortoise. In this way You maintain the whole creation in different planetary systems and kill the demoniac principles in every age. My Lord, You therefore protect the principles of religion. In the age of Kali You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore You are known as Tri-yuga, or the Lord who appears in three yugas.”
lokan vibhavayasi hamsi jagat pratipan
dharmam maha-purusa pasi yuganuvrttam
channah kalau yad abhavas tri-yugo ‘tha sa tvam
So here is a very specific statement about Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is avatara. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, but He’s channa. Channa means covered, not directly, because He has appeared as a devotee. Avatara… Rupa Gosvami has found out that He’s avatara of Krishna. All the devotees, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Rupa Gosvami, and in the shastra, and the Upanishad, Mahabharata, in every… Sadhu-shastra. Avatara should be confirmed by great devotees, personalities, and must be collaborated with the statement in the shastra.
So here is another statement in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The directly, it is stated in the Eleventh Canto, you know,
yajnaih sankirtanaih prayair
yajanti hi sumedhsah
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, when He was being described before King Nimi by Karabhajana Muni the different incarnation in different millenniums, yuga-dharma-vrttam… Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is also described by Vrindavana dasa Thakura, yuga-dharma-palo. So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is described here as channah kalau. In the Kali-yuga He’s not appearing as other incarnations, not like Narasimhadeva or many, Vamanadeva, Lord Ramachandra. He is appearing as a devotee. Why? Now, this is the most magnanimous avatara. People are so foolish, they could not understand Krishna. When Krishna said, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam [Bg. 18.66], they took it: “Who is this person ordering like that, sarva-dharman parityajya? What right?” That is our material disease. If somebody is ordered to do something, he protests, “Who are you to order me?” This is the position. God Himself, Krishna, what can He say? He orders, the Supreme Person, Supreme Being. He must order. He’s the supreme controller. He must order. That is God. But we are so foolish that when God orders that “You do this,” we take it otherwise: “Oh, who is this man? He’s ordering like that. And sarva-dharman parityajya, ‘giving up everything’? Why shall I give Him?” Sarva-dharman: “I have created so many dharmas, ‘isms.’ I shall give it up? Why shall I give it up?” Therefore the same Lord came again as Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
Today is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance day, so we must discuss this very thoroughly, that, that Rupa Gosvami understood it. Therefore we have to go through guru. Rupa Gosvami is our guru. Narottama dasa Thakura said,
rupa-raghunatha-pade, hoibe akuti,
kabe hama bujhabo, sri-yugala-piriti
If we want to understand the transcendental position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then we have to go through guru, guru-parampara system. Otherwise it is not possible. Rupa-raghunatha pade hoibe akuti. Unless we accept this process, unless we submit… This whole process is submission. Krishna wants this. Sarva-dharman parityajya [Bg. 18.66]. So if you want to approach Krishna, you have to become very submissive. And to whom? “Krishna is not here. To whom I shall submit?” No. To His devotee, to His representative. The business is submission. So Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared this day for giving mercy to the fallen souls who are so foolish, they cannot take to Krishna consciousness. He is personally teaching how to take to Krishna consciousness. And that is this kirtana. You’ll find. You have seen the picture in our Teachings of Lord Chaitanya that in Prayag He was engaged in chanting, and Rupa Gosvami is offering his obeisances. That is the first meeting with Rupa Gosvami, and he composed this verse, namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te… [Cc. Madhya 19.53].
Devotees: …Krishnaya Krishna-Chaitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah.
Prabhupada: Yes. So this is channah-avatara. He’s Krishna, He has come to give you Krishna-prema, but He’s acting like a Krishna devotee. This is covered. He is not commanding now, “You do this.” Yes, He’s commanding, “Do this,” but in different way. Because people misunderstood, “Oh, who is this person commanding?” Even some so-called foolish scholar, he has said, “It’s too much to demand.” They have remarked like that. Yes, sophisticated persons, they are thinking like that.
But our process is to submit. Unless we submit, there is no hope of advancing in Krishna consciousness. That is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s teaching.
trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
[Cc. Adi 17.31]
If you want to chant Hare Krishna mantra, then you have to take this principle, trnad api sunicena. You have to become humbler than the grass. Grass, it is lying on the street. Everyone is trampling down. Never protests. In the lawn you are… Everyone is trampling the grass. There is no protest. Taror api sahisnuna. And tolerant than the tree. The tree is giving us so much help. It is giving us fruit, flower, leaves, and when there is scorching heat, shelter also. Sit down underneath. So beneficial, still, we cut. As soon as I like, I cut it down. But there is no protest. The tree does not say, “I have given you so much help, and you are cutting me?” No. Tolerant. Yes. Therefore Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has selected, taror api sahisnuna. And amanina manadena. For oneself one should not expect any respectful position, but he, the devotee, should offer all respect to anyone. Amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih [Cc. Adi 17.31]. If we acquire this qualification, then we can chant Hare Krishna maha-mantra without any disturbance. This is the qualification.
So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to teach these principles. He is Krishna Himself. There is no… Na caitanyat krsnat para-tattvam param iha. Para-tattvam, the Supreme Truth, is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Supreme Truth is Krishna, but Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is not different from Krishna. Na caitanyat krsnat para-tattvam param iha, yad advaitam brahmopanisadi [Cc. Adi 1.3]. The Brahman, advaita, monists’ Brahman, which is described in the Upanishad, yad, that factor, yad advaita brahmanopanisadi, Paramatma, and the Paramatma, Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan — this is the three features of the Supreme Absolute Truth.
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
bhagavan iti sabdyate
The Absolute Truth is one, advaya-jnana. There is no difference. But He, according to our qualification of understanding the Absolute Truth, He appears as Brahman, impersonal Brahman; He appears as localized Paramatma, Supersoul; and He appears as the beloved Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, according to the receiver. Ye yatha mam prapadyante [Bg. 4.11]. That is meant. If you want to understand the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman, you realize that. If you want to realize the Absolute Truth as Paramatma, everywhere, all-pervading, you can realize Him. And if you want to see Him as the most beloved, then you can also have. That is the meaning of ye yatha mam prapadyante. You can realize the Absolute Truth any way. He is prepared to manifest Himself as you desire.
So “as you desire” does not mean… That also, He is present because, here it is stated, nr-tiryag-rsi-deva-jhasavataraih. According to the evolutionary process, so there was water all over the universe. So at that time, dasa-avatara, kesava dhrta-mina-sarira jaya jagadisa hare. Similarly, He became tortoise. Then He becomes Narasimhadeva, He became Vamanadeva — so many. That is going on, nitya, nitya-lila. Don’t think the avatara comes only to the human society, no. But He appears amongst the animals, amongst the insects, amongst the trees. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita there is statement, “Among the trees, I am this tree. Among the animals, I am this animal. Among the persons… Among the fighters, I am this, I am this.” He’s everything, but just to point out a few… In another place He says, raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya [Bg. 7.8]. He is prepared to be appreciated by you in any condition of life if you take His instruction how to realize Him. And if you manufacture your own way, no, that is not possible. That is… Even if you are most ordinary man, still, you can realize Him. There is no difficulty. How? Krishna said, raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya: “My dear Arjuna, I am the taste of the water.” Now, who does not drink water? Anyone? The animal also drinks water and the human being also drinks water. But the animal cannot understand God, although God is there in the water, and the man can understand because he is human being. Therefore a human being is different from animal. If we remain like animals — we are drinking water, but we are not realizing Krishna — then you are animal. This is animals. And if we drink water — everyone drinks water many times — so many times we can remember Krishna. And that is the process of devotional… Smaranam. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam [SB 7.5.23].
So every time, if you drink water and remember Krishna, then you are on the devotional service. Where is the difficulty? But the fools will not take it. That is the… Where is the difficulty? Everyone drinks water, and as soon as you drink water when you are thirsty, and the taste of the water appeases your thirst, so if you simply remember that “In the Bhagavad-gita it is stated that this taste is Krishna,” then immediately you remember Krishna. And as soon as you remember Krishna, it is devotional service, smaranam. Where is the difficulty? Where is the difficulty for becoming Krishna conscious? Raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya prabhasmi sasi-suryayoh: “I am the illumination of the moon and the sun.” So who does not see the moonshine and the sunshine? In daytime you see the sunshine and at night you see the moonshine. So if you see the sunshine and moonshine and if you remember Krishna’s instructions that “This sunshine, moonshine, I am,” so where is the difficulty?
raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya
(sabdah khe paurusam nrsu)
Now, if you think, “Eh, I am so learned Vedantist. Why shall I study the sunshine-moonshine and what? I shall chant om.” (laughter) “Fool, this om I am. (laughter) You are so big Vedantist. You chant om, but that I am.” Pranavah sarva-vedesu. Every Vedic mantra is chanted after the vibration of omkara. Om tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti sur… This is the Vedic mantra always, every Veda. So either you become Vedantist or ordinary human being — does not know anything — you can realize Krishna. There is no difficulty.
So Krishna taught everything for becoming Krishna conscious, but still, we could not understand Krishna. Therefore Krishna came again: “These fools failed to understand Me, and now I shall teach how to become a devotee of Krishna by My personal behavior.” That is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, by His personal… Don’t think that because He’s playing the part… Just like somebody is giving massage to my body. So he’s not giving properly. So immediately I take his hand and I began to give massage, “Do like this. Do like this.” That does not mean I am masseur or I am servant of that person. Similarly, don’t forget that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Sri-krsna-caitanya radha-krsnna nahe anya. You are worshiping Radha-Krishna, and there is Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Deity also. There are some parties, they protest, “Why Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Deity should be placed along with Krishna?” But they do not know sri-krsna-caitanya radha-krsnna nahe anya. It is not different.
So Sri Krishna Chaitanya is Krishna. It is confirmed by the shastras. Here it is said, channah kalau yad abhava. In the Kali-yuga, directly He does not appear as the incarnation like Narasimhadeva or Vamanadeva or Lord Ramachandra, yes, but as devotee. So He’s the same incarnation, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Abhavat. “Therefore sometimes You are called as tri-yuga.” There are four yugas, but He is known… Because in three yugas He appears distinctly, and in the fourth yuga, the Kali-yuga, as devotee, therefore He’s called tri-yuga.
So today is the birthday or appearance day of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and this is the birthplace, this Mayapura, and you are all present here. It is a good fortune. Always remember Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and chant sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda…
Devotees: …sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda.
Prabhupada: This will make your life perfect. Thank you very much. (end)
Teachings of Lord Chaitanya
by His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada
Actually all the Vedic literature directs the human being toward the perfect stage of devotion. The path of fruitive activities, speculation, knowledge and meditation do not actually lead one to the perfectional stage, but the Lord actually becomes approachable by the process of devotional service; therefore one is recommended throughout all the Vedic literature to accept the process of devotional service. Lord Chaitanya quotes in this connection a verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam, 11th Canto, 14th Chapter, in which the Lord says, “My dear Uddhava, neither philosophical speculation no yoga achievements, nor penances can give Him such pleasure as can devotional service practiced by the living entities. He can be achieved alone by devotional service, and He is dear only to the devotees. If a person born in the lower or lowest family of humanity is a devotee, then he becomes freed from all contamination. Devotional service is the only path to achieve the Supreme Personality of God.”
This is also the only perfection accepted in all Vedic literature. As a poor man, upon receiving some treasure, becomes at once happy, similarly when one attains devotional service, automatically the pains of material existence are vanquished. As one advances in devotional service, one attains love of Godhead, and as he advances in the love for the Supreme he becomes free from all material bondage. Disappearance of poverty and liberation from bondage are not, however, the end results of love of Krishna. Actually, the love of Krishna or love of God exists in relishing the reciprocation of loving service. In all Vedic literature one will find that attainment of this loving relationship of the Supreme Lord by the living entities is the function of devotional service. Our actual functin is devotional service, and our ultimate goal of achievement is love of Godhead. Therefore in all Vedic literature Krishna is the ultimate center. By knowledge of Krishna, all problems of life are solved.
The Lord said that according to Padma Purana, there are different Puranas for worshipping different types of demigods, but such indications for worship only bewilder persons into thinking that the demigods are Supreme. And yet if the Puranas are scrutinized and studied it will be found that Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the only object of worship. For example, in the Markandeya Purana, there is mention of Devi worship, worship of the goddess Durga or Kali. But in that same Chandika it is also stated that all these demigds whether in the shape of Durga or Kali are different energies of Vishnu. Therefore, even the study of the Puranas will reveal Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to be the only object of worship. The conclusion is that directly or indirectly all types of worship are more or less indicating a worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. In the Bhagavad Gita it is confirmed that anyone who worships other demigods is in fact only worshipping Krishna because the demigods are different parts of the body of Vishnu or Krishna. That such worship of demigods is really irregular is clearly stated in the Bhagavad Gita: Abidhipurvakam. Srimad Bhagavatam confirms this also by the question: What is the object of worshipping different types of demigods?
In Vedic literature there are three divisions of ritualistic activities; one is called karma-kanda, or purely ritualistic activities; another is called upasana, or speculating on the Supreme Absolute Truth. What then is the purpose of the ritualistic sections of Vedic literature, and what is the purpose of different mantras or hymns indicating the worship of different types of demigods? And what is the purpose of philosophical speculation on the subject of the Absolute Truth? The Srimad Bhagavatam replies that all these different methods defined in Vedic literatures indicate the worship of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu. They are all indirect ways of worshipping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sacrifices contained in the ritualistic portion of the literatures are to satisfy the Supreme Lord Vishnu because yajna is specifically meant to satisfy Vishnu. Vishnu’s Name is also Yogesvara, or Lord of the Yogis. The neophytes are not all on the transcendental level; therefore according to their situations in the different modes of material nature they are recommended to worship different types of demigods so that gradually they may rise to the transcendental plane and be engaged in devotional service of Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For example, it may be said that some of the neophytes are attached to flesh eating, and for them, the Puranas prescribe that they can eat flesh after offering it to the deity Kali.
The philosophical sections of the Vedic hymns are meant to enable one to distinguish the Supreme Personality of Godhead from Maya. After indicating the position of Maya, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is approached in pure devotional service. That is the purpose of philosophical speculation. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad Gita in the 7th Chapter, Bahunam janmanam ante… “The philosophical speculators and empiric philosophers, after speculating for many, many births, ultimately come unto the Supreme Lord Krishna, and accept that Vasudeva is everything.” Therefore all Vedic rituals and different types of worship or philosophical speculation are all ultimately aiming at Krishna.
The Lord then told Sanatana Goswami about Krishna’s multiforms and His unlimited opulence; he also described the nature of the spiritual manifestation, the material manifestation, and the manifestation of the living entity. He also informed Sanatana Goswami that the planets in the Spiritual Sky, known as Vaikunthas, and the universes of the material manifestation are to be known as different types of universes, for they are creative manifestations of the two different types of energies, namely the material energy and the spiritual energy. Therefore as Krishna Himself is concerned, He is directly situated in His spiritual energy, or specifically in His internal potency. To help us understand the difference between the manifestation of the spiritual energy and the material energy, there is a clear analysis in the Second Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam of the two manifestations. Also, Sukadeva Goswami, by commenting of verse one of the Tenth Canto, makes a clear analytical study as follows. Lord Chaitanya accepts Sukadeva Goswami as an authorized commentator on the Srimad Bhagavatam. Therefore He quotes his writing in this connection, and He explains that in the Tenth Canto of the Bhagavatam the life and activities of Krishna are described because Krishna is the shelter of all other manifestations. Therefore Sukadeva Goswami worshipped and offered his obeisance unto Krishna, the Shelter of everything.
This purport maintains that in this world there are two different principles; the one principle is the origin, or the shelter of everything, and the other principle is the deduction from the original principle. The principle on which everything rests, as it is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam, begins Janmadyasya, and in the Vedanta Sutra the same aphorism appears, janmadyasya the Supreme Truth is the shelter of all manifestations. That Supreme Truth is called Asraya. All other principles which remain under the control of the Asraya-tattva, or the Absolute Truth, are called Asrita, or subordinate corollaries and reactions. The purpose of the material manifestation is to give the conditioned soul a chance to become liberated and return to the Asraya-tattva, or the Absolute Truth. So everything that is created in the cosmic creation is dependent on the Asrita-tattva, or the Supreme Absolute Truth. As such, in the creative manifestation or the Vishnu manifestation, and in different types of demigods and manifestations of energy, the living entities, the material elements everything, is dependent on Krishna, the Supreme Truth. In the Srimad Bhagavatam everything, directly and indirectly, is indicated to have Krishna as the Supreme Shelter. Therefore the analytical study of Krishna is the perfect knowledge, as it is confirmed in the Bhagavad Gita.
Lord Chaitanya described the different features of Lord Krishna in the following manner, and asked Sanatana Goswami to hear attentively: He said that Krishna originally is the Son of Nanda Maharaja and He is the Absolute Supreme Truth. He is the cause of all causes, Lord and He is the origin of all emanations and all incarnations, but there in the Vraja or Goloka Vrindavan He is just like a young boy. His form is eternal, full of bliss and full of knowledge Absolute. He is the shelter of everything, and He is the Proprietor or Master of everything. In this connection Lord Chaitanya gives evidence from Brahma Samhita, fifth chapter, first verse, which states that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His Body is full of knowledge, eternal and blissful. He is the original Person known as Govinda and He is the Cause of all causes. Therefore, Krishna is the Original Personality of Godhead; He is full of all six opulences and His abode is known as Goloka Vrindavan, the highest planetary system in the Spiritual Sky. Lord Chaitanya also quotes a verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam, the First Canto, third chapter, in which it is stated clearly that all the incarnations described in that particular verse are either direct expansions of Krishna or are indirectly expansions of the expansions of Krishna. But the Krishna Name mentioned there is the Original Personality of Godhead, and He appears on this earth, in this universe or in any other universe when there is a disturbance created by the demons, who are always trying to disrupt the administration by the demigods.
To understand Krishna, there are different processes: the process of empiric philosophical speculation, the process of meditation in the mystic yoga system, and the process of Krishna Consciousness, or devotional service. Accordingly, in these different process, 1) by empiric philosophical speculation, the feature of impersonal Brahma or Krishna is understood; 2)by the process of meditation of yogi mysticism, the feature of the Supersoul all-pervading expansion of Krishna is understood; and 3) by devotional service in full Krishna Consciousness, the Original Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is realized. In this connection Lord Chaitanya quotes first from the Srimad Bhagavatam, First Canto, 2nd chapter, which states that those who are knowers of the Absolute Truth describe the Absolute Truth in three features: some describe the Absolute as impersonal brahma, and some describe the Absolute Truth as the localized all-pervading Supersoul, and some know that the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. In other words, Brahma, the impersonal manifestation, and Paramatma, the localized manifestation, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are One and the same, but according to the different processes adopted He is realized in different features known as Brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Impersonal Brahma realization is simple realization of the effulgence emanating from the transcendental body of Krishna. We compare this effulgence of the transcendental body of Krishna to the sunshine just as the sun disc is there, the sun planet is there, and the sun god is there, and the sunshine is the shining effulgence of that original sun god, similarly, brahmajyoti, the spiritual effulgence or impersonal Brahma, is nothing but the personal effulgence of Krishna.
To support this version Lord Chaitanya quotes one important verse from Brahma-Samhita where Lord Brahma says, “I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, by Whose Personal effulgence there is the unlimited manifestation of the Brahmajyoti, and in that Brahmajyoti (the impersonal manifestation of Krishna’s Bodily effulgence) there are innumerable universes, each full of innumerable planets.” Lord Chaitanya further describes that the Paramatma all-pervading feature situated in everyone’s body is but a partial manifestation or expansion of Krishna, but because Krishna is the Soul of the soul, there He is called Paramatma, or the origin of Paramatma. In this connection Lord Chaitanya quotes one verse from Srimad Bhagavatamconcerning the talks of Maharaja Pariksit, while hearing about the transcendental Pastimes of Krishna in Vrindavan, inquired from his spiritual master Sukadeva Goswami as to why the inhabitants of Vrindavan were so much attached to Krishna. To this question Sukadeva Goswami answered that Krishna should be known as the Soul of all souls; he is the Soul of all individual souls and He is also the soul of the localized Paramatma. He was present in Vrindavan for the benefit of all human beings and therefore He was acting just like a human being to attract persons to Him and to show that He is not formless. He is also as good as other human beings, but He is the Supreme and other living beings are all subordinate to Him. All living beings therefore can enjoy spiritual bliss, eternal life and full knowledge in His association. Lord Chaitanya quotes also a verse from Bhagavad Gita in which the Supreme Lord speaks to Arjuna about His different kinds of opulences, saying that He Himself enters into this universe by one of His plenary portions, just like Garbohodaksayee Vishnu, and He also enters in each universe as the Ksirodaksayee Vishnu and then expands Himself as Supersoul in everyone’s heart. Therefore, He says, if anyone wants to understand the Supreme Absolute Truth in perfection, he must take to the process of devotional service in full Krishna Consciousness. Then it will be possible for him to understand the last word of the Absolute Truth.
Sage Markandeya’s Predictions for Kali Yuga
The following translation of Mahabharata (Book 3, Vana Parva, Markandeya Samasya) is taken from the century old unabridged version by Kisari Mohan Ganguli. We have updated the English. –Ed.
King Yudhisthira said, “O foremost of all speakers, O Muni of Bhrigu’s race, that which we have heard from you about the destruction and re-birth of all things at the end of the yuga is wondrous indeed! I am filled with curiosity, however, in respect to what may happen in the Age of Kali. When morality and virtue will come to an end, what will remain? What will be the prowess of men in that age? What will they eat, and what will be their amusements? What will be the period of life at the end of the yuga? What also is the limit, having attained which the Krita Age will begin anew? Tell me all in detail, O Muni, for all that you are narrating is varied and delightful.”
Thus addressed, that foremost of munis Markandeya began his discourse again, delighting that tiger of the Vrishni race and the other sons of Pandu as well, saying, “Listen, O monarch, to all that has been seen and heard by me, and to all, O king of kings, that has been known to me by intuition from the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. O bull of the Bharata race, listen to me as I narrate the future history of the world during the sinful age.
Assault on the Four Legs of the Bull of Dharma
“In the Krita age, everything was free from deceit and guile and avarice and covetousness; and morality like a bull standing on all the four legs. In the Treta Yuga, sin took away one of these legs and morality then only three legs. In the Dwapara, sin and morality are mixed half and half; and accordingly morality is said to have two legs only. In the dark age (of Kali), O best of the Bharata race, morality mixed with three parts of sin lives by the side of men. Accordingly morality then is said to wait on men, with only a fourth part of itself remaining.
“Know, O Yudhisthira, that the duration of life, energy, intellect and physical strength of men decrease in every yuga. O Pandava, the brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas and shudras, (in the Kali age) will deceive others with their practices of morality and virtue. Men in general will deceive their fellow man by spreading a false net of virtue. And men with bogus reputations of learning will, by their acts, cause Truth to be contracted and concealed. And in consequence of their short duration of life, they will not be able to acquire much knowledge. And due to their poor fund of knowledge, they will be devoid of wisdom. And for this, covetousness and avarice will overwhelm all of them. And—wedded to avarice, wrath, ignorance and lust—men will entertain animosities towards one another, desiring to take one another’s lives.
“Brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaishyas—their virtue contracted and divested of asceticism and truth—will all be reduced to the level of shudras. And the lowest orders of men will rise to the position of the intermediate ones, and those in intermediate stations will, without a doubt, descend to the level of the lowest ones. O Yudhisthira, such will become the state of the world at the end of the yuga. Men will regard their wives as their (only) friends. And men will live on fish and milk of goats and sheep, for cows will become extinct. Even those persons who observe vows—all will become covetous. Opposing one another, men will seek to take the lives of one another. People will become atheists and thieves. They will even dig the banks of streams with their spades and sow grains thereon, yet even those places will prove barren for them at such times.
“Those men who are devoted to ceremonial rites in honor of the deceased and of the demi-gods will be avaricious, and will also appropriate and enjoy what belongs to others. The father will enjoy what belongs to the son; and the son, what belongs to the father. And those things which are forbidden in the scriptures will also be enjoyed by men. The brahmanas, speaking disrespectfully of the Vedas, will not practice vows. Their understanding will be clouded by the science of disputation and they will no longer perform homa sacrifices. And deceived by false reasoning, they will direct their hearts towards everything mean and low. And men will till low lands for cultivation, employing cows and calves that are a mere one year old for drawing the plough and carrying burdens.
“And sons having slain their fathers; and fathers having slain their sons will incur no disgrace. They will frequently save themselves from anxiety by such murderous deeds, and even glory in them. And the whole world will be filled with mleccha behavior and notions. Sacred ceremonies and sacrifices will cease and joy will be nowhere to be found, and general rejoicing will disappear. Men will rob the possessions of helpless persons of friendless persons who have no one to help them. Men will be possessed of little energy and strength, without knowledge and given over to avarice, folly and sinful practices. Men will accept with joy the gifts offered by wicked people with words of contempt. O son of Kunti, the kings of the earth will have hearts wedded to sin. And though they will be without knowledge, they will always be boastful of their wisdom. These kings will challenge one another out of a desire of taking each other’s lives. Towards the end of that period the kshatriyas will become the thorns of the earth. They will be filled with avarice and swollen with pride and vanity. Unable and unwilling to protect (their subjects), they will take pleasure in inflicting punishments only. And attacking and repeating their attacks upon the good and the honest, and feeling no pity for the latter, even when they will cry in grief, the kshatriyas will, O Bharata, rob their subjects of their wives and wealth.
“No one will ask for a girl (for purposes of marriage) and no one will give away a girl (for such purposes), but the girls will themselves choose their lords, when the end of the yuga comes. The kings of the earth, their souls steeped in ignorance, and discontented with what they have, will rob their subjects by every means in their power. And without doubt the whole world will be mlecchified. And when the end of the yuga comes, the right hand will deceive the left; and the left, the right.
Deceit Abounds in Kali Yuga
“Men with false reputations of learning will feign truthfulness, and the old will betray the senselessness of the young, and the young will betray the dotage of the old. And cowards will have reputations for bravery and the brave will be cheerless like cowards. And towards the end of the yuga men will cease to trust one another. Full of avarice and folly, the whole world will have but one kind of food. And sin will increase and prosper, while virtue will fade and cease to flourish. And brahmanas and kshatriyas and vaishyas will disappear, leaving, O king, no remnants of their orders. Towards the end of the yuga all men will become members of one common order, without distinction of any kind. And fathers will not forgive sons, and neither will sons forgive their fathers.
“When the end approaches, wives will not wait upon and serve their husbands. And at such a time men will seek those countries where wheat and barley form the staple food. O monarch, both men and women will become perfectly free in their behavior and will not tolerate one another’s acts. O Yudhisthira, the whole world will be mlecchified. And men will cease to gratify the demigods by offerings of shraddhas. No one will listen to the words of others and no one will be regarded as a preceptor by another. O ruler of men, intellectual darkness will envelop the whole earth, and the life of man will then be measured by sixteen years, on attaining to which age death will ensue. And girls of five or six years of age will bring forth children and boys of seven or eight years of age will become fathers. O tiger among kings, when the end of the yuga will come, the wife will never be content with her husband, nor the husband with his wife.
“The possessions of men will never be much, and people will falsely bear the marks of religion, and jealousy and malice will fill the world. And no one will, at that time, be a giver (of wealth or anything else) in respect to anyone else. All the inhabited regions of the earth will be afflicted with dearth and famine, and the highways will be filled with lustful men and women of evil repute. At such a time, the women will also entertain an aversion towards their husbands. And without doubt all men will adopt the behavior of the mlecchas, become omnivorous without distinction, and cruel in all their acts.
“O foremost of the Bharatas, urged by avarice men will, at that time, deceive one another when they sell and purchase. And without knowledge of the ordinance, men will perform ceremonies and rites, and, indeed, behave as they please. When the end of the yuga comes, urged by their very dispositions, men will act cruelly, and speak ill of one another. People will, without compunction, destroy trees and gardens. Men will be filled with anxiety as regards the means of living. And, O king, overwhelmed with covetousness, men will kill brahmanas and appropriate and enjoy the possessions of their victims. Successive generations, oppressed by shudras and afflicted with fear—and crying ‘Oh!’ and ‘Alas!’—will wander over the earth without anybody to protect them. When men will begin to slay one another, becoming wicked and fierce and without any respect for animal life, then will the yuga come to an end.
“O king, even the foremost of the regenerate ones, afflicted by robbers, will quickly fly in terror like crows. They will seek refuge, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, in rivers and mountains and in inaccessible regions. O lord of the earth, always oppressed by bad rulers with burdens in the form of taxes, the foremost of the regenerate classes will in those terrible times take leave of all patience. They will perform improper acts by even becoming servants of the shudras. Shudras will expound the scriptures, and brahmanas will wait upon and listen to them thus settling their course of duty accepting such interpretations as their guides. And the low will become the high, and the course of things will look contrary.
Where the Supreme Lord is Not Worshipped
“Renouncing the worship of the Supreme Lord, men will worship bones and other relics deposited within walls. And, at the end of the yuga, the shudras will cease to wait upon and serve the brahmanas. And in the ashrams of great rishis, and the teaching institutions of brahmanas, and in places sacred to the Supreme Lord and sacrificial compounds, and in sacred tanks, the earth will be disfigured with tombs and pillars containing bony relics and not graced with temples dedicated to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All this will take place at the end of the yuga, and know that these are the signs of the end of the yuga. And when men become fierce and destitute of virtue and carnivorous and addicted to intoxicating drinks, then does the yuga come to an end.
“O monarch, when flowers will be begot within flowers, and fruits within fruits, then will the yuga come to an end. The clouds will pour rain unseasonably when the end of the yuga approaches. And at that time ceremonial rites of men will not follow one another in due order; and the shudras will quarrel with the brahmanas. And the earth will soon be full of mlecchas, and the brahmanas will fly in all directions for fear of the burden of taxes. And all distinctions between men will cease as regards conduct and behavior, and afflicted with honorary tasks and offices, people will fly to forest retreats and subsist on fruits and roots. And the world will be so afflicted that rectitude of conduct will cease to be exhibited anywhere. And disciples will set at naught the instructions of preceptors, and seek even to injure them. And preceptors will become impoverished and will be disregarded by men. Friends and relatives and kinsmen will perform friendly offices for the sake of the wealth only that is possessed by a person. And when the end of the yuga comes, everybody will be in want.
Planetary Positions Marking the Beginning of Satya Yuga
“All the points of the horizon will be ablaze, and the planets and constellations will be destitute of brilliancy, and the planets and planetary conjunctions will be inauspicious. And the course of the winds will be confused and agitated, while innumerable meteors will flash through the sky, foreboding evil. And the Sun will appear with six others of the same kind. And all around there will be din and uproar, and everywhere there will be conflagrations. The Sun, from the hour of his rising to that of setting, will be enveloped by Rahu. And the demigod of weather, Indra of a thousand eyes, will shower rain unseasonably.
“When the end of the yuga comes, crops will not grow in abundance. The women will always be sharp in speech and pitiless and fond of weeping. They will never abide by the commands of their husbands. When the end of the yuga comes, sons will slay fathers and mothers. Women, living uncontrolled, will slay their husbands and sons. O king, when the end of the yuga comes, Rahu will swallow the Sun unseasonably. And fires will blaze up on all sides. Travelers, unable to obtain food, drink and shelter (even when they ask for these), will lie down on the wayside refraining from urging their solicitations.
“When the end of the yuga comes, crows and snakes and vultures and kites and other animals and birds will utter frightful and dissonant cries. And when the end of the yuga comes, men will cast away and neglect their friends and relatives and attendants. O monarch, when the end of the yuga comes, men—abandoning their countries, directions, towns and cities—will seek for new ones, one after another. And people will wander over the earth, uttering, ‘O father, O son’, and such other frightful and rending cries.
“When those terrible times will be over, the creation will begin anew. Men will again be created and distributed into the four orders beginning with brahmanas. And about that time, in order that men may increase, Providence, according to His pleasure, will once more become propitious. And then when the Sun, the Moon, and Brihaspati will join together in the constellation Pushyami (in the sign of Cancer), the Krita age will begin again. Once more clouds will shower seasonably as the stars and stellar conjunctions again become auspicious. And the planets, duly revolving in their orbits, will become exceedingly propitious. All around, there will be prosperity and abundance and health and peace.
The Brahmana Kalki Will Save the World
“Commissioned by the will of Providence, a brahmana of the name of Kalki will take his birth. And he will glorify the Supreme Lord (and He will be His part incarnation). He will possess great energy, great intelligence, and great prowess. And he will take his birth in a place of the name of Shambhala in an auspicious brahmana family. And vehicles and weapons, and warriors and arms, and coats of mail will be at His disposal as soon as He will think of them. And He will be the King of kings, ever victorious with the strength of virtue. And he will restore order and peace in this world crowded with creatures and contradictory in its course. And that blazing brahmana of mighty intellect, having appeared, will destroy all things. And He will be the Destroyer of all, and will inaugurate a new yuga. Surrounded by other brahmanas, the brahmana named Kalki will exterminate all the mlecchas wherever those low and despicable persons may take refuge.” P
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Patita Pavana das Adhikary, Ed.
Sri Rasikananda Deva Goswami
In the Christian year 1590 (Sakabda 1512), on the first day of the bright fortnight of the month of Kartik, during the night of the festival Dipamalika, when the houses are decorated with rows of lamps, Sri Rasikananda Deva made his appearance in this world. His father was Sri Acyuta Deva, the king of Rohini. After passing many years without having a male issue, Sri Acyuta Deva, by the mercy of Sri Jagadisa (Jagannath), was blessed with this jewel of a son. The village of Rohini or Royni was situated within the country known as Mallabhumi, encompassed on one side by the Suvarnarekha River (Suvarna meaning golden and rekha, a line). This Suvarnarekha River cleansed the sins of all the local people. Near Royni was another village of the name Barayita, by the side of which flowed the Dolanganadi River, whose banks were adorned with beautiful gardens. Raja Acyuta Deva very affectionately maintained his subjects and was famous for impeccably observing the rites attendant upon kings. In the village of Royni the son of King Acyuta appeared as the sun appears in the eastern sky and became dearly beloved by the people. He was known as Rasikananda and also Murari. As he grew up, shining qualities appeared by degrees in his person that caused the further exaltation of his family, just as the waxing moon gradually expands its influence in the night sky and causes the sea to rise. At a very young age he became quite proficient in all of the scriptures. He was very devoted to his parents, especially his mother, whose name was Bhavani. His father married him at very young age. Murari’s wife Syamadasi was a mine of good character who hailed from the village of Ghonta Sila, not far from Royni on the banks of the Suvarna Rekha, where in days of old the Pandavas had lived in exile. One day, Murari was sitting in a lonely place, wondering when and where he might become so fortunate as to get shelter at the lotus feet of a spiritual preceptor. Just then a voice from the sky addressed him, “Don’t be in anxiety, you will become the disciple of Sri Syamananda.” Having heard this proclamation, Rasik Murari became very jubilant, and began to repeatedly murmur the name Syamananda, as though chanting japa. From moment to moment his eagerness increased without diminition, as tears flowed from his eyes by his chanting of the name of Syamananda. He was in such a state that he spend most of the night sleeplessly, calling to his master Syamananda. Finally, towards the early morning, he drifted off to the land of dreams, where he saw his spiritual master, the very figure of charm and grace. Smilingly, Syamananda informed him, “When tomorrow the eastern sky becomes tinged with pink, you will obtain me.” Saying this, Syamananda disappeared. Rasikananda’s heart began to swell in ecstatic bliss. Then, with the first rays of morning which dispel the dense darkness of the world, the wise Murari sat silently watching the path. After some time Syamananda approached from the distance, looking as beautifully effulgent as the sun and surrounded by his disciples like Sri Kishora dasa and others. His smiling face was like the lotus flower that opens to greet its friend the sun, and his chest was as broad as a door. His captivating appearance was made all the more irresistable by the sweet sounds of ‘Sri Krsna Caitanya-Nityananda’ emanating from his lotus mouth. Absorbed in intense love he moved along the path like the clouds move in the sky. When Rasika caught sight of this divine form, he fell down in front of him to touch his lotus feet. In great ecstasy Shyamananda embraced him and began to bathe him with his tears of ecstatic love. Sri Rasika Murari then felt himself to be one of the most fortunate living beings within this universe. On an auspicious day Syamananda initiated Rasika and his wife in Radha-Krsna mantra. After that, Rasikananda began to travel with his guru, during which time he became a very intimate disciple. Syamananda then bestowed upon him the service of Sri Radha- Govinda Deva at Sri Gopiballabhapur. Rasikananda became totally engaged in their Lordships service, and the devotees were charmed by his excellent services. At Gopiballabhpur and other places he began to seriously take up the preaching of the message of Sri Gaura-Nityananda. By his influence many atheists and unbelievers were transformed into devotees of Sri Gaura-Nityananda. “By the tremendous influence of Rasikananda’s preaching, many rogues, robbers and atheists were delivered from their sinful activities and received his mercy. He distributed the jewel of devotion even to the infidel Mohammedans, as he travelled from village to village, in the company of his disciples. He even converted the wild elephant which was sent for his destruction into his disciple and engaged him in the service of Krsna and the Vaisnavas. That wicked miscreant who sent the elephant, a Mohammedan, bowed at his feet when he realised his mistake. It is not possible to count the number of living entities that were extricated from the ocean of material existence by Rasikananda Deva’s association. He was always intoxicated with the chanting of the Holy Name. Who cannot but be overwhelmed by hearing about his uncommon qualities?” [B.R. 15.86] By Sri Rasikananda’s mercy many Mohammedans, who were actually just impious and wicked atheists, became worshipers of the Supreme Lord. Also many virtuous kings and zamindars such as the king of Mayurbhanj named Vaidyanatha Bhanj, the king of Patashpur known as Gajapati and Candrabhanu, the king of Moyna, took shelter at his lotus feet. What to speak of those pious and noble gentlemen, even the sinful zamindar Bhima, the Mohammedan Suba Ahmadbeg and the wicked atheist Srikar also surrendered themselves at his lotus feet. A vicious, wild elephant was tamed by Rasikananda’s transcendental influence and henceforward was known as Gopala das. Later, two jungle tigers likewise gave up their ferocious nature. Accepting the order of his guru, Sri Syamananda, on his head, Rasikananda preached the message of Sri Gaursundar in the world for approximately 16 years. Thereafter he entered into his eternal pastimes through the lotus feet of Gopinatha at Remuna. On the first day of the bright fortnight in the month of Phalguna, Sakabda 1574 (Christian year 1652), Rasikananda quietly slipped out of the village Santa without anyone’s notice and walked to Remuna. Arriving there, he discussed Krsna-katha with the devotees there for a while and instructed everyone to serve Sri Krsna with devotion. Then, after requesting them to begin sankirtana, he entered the temple of Sri Gopinatha, and after touching Kshira-chora Gopinatha’s lotus feet, which bestow complete fearlessness, he entered into their ultimate shelter.
Rasikananda prabhu’s samadhi is at the Temple of Kshira-chora Gopinath at Remuna just in front and to the right as you go in the main gate, with the temple to the left, and admin’ offices straight ahead.
Sri Rasikananda had three sons: Sri Radhananda, Sri Krsna-Govinda and Sri Radha-Krsna. The present servants of Sri Sri Radha-Govindadeva at Gopiballabhapur are their descendents. He composed Sri Shyamananda-sataka, Srimad Bhagavatastaka as well as other hymns and songs. His Sripat Gopiballabhpur can be reached from Calcutta by taking a train to Khavagpur, and a bus to Gopiballabhpur from there. There is also a temple of Rasikananda at Puri. One year, during Lord Jagannatha’s Ratha-yatra festival, Rasikananda Deva was preaching somewhere in the country, but when he realised that it was time for Ratha-yatra he dropped everything and rushed like the wind in order to come to Nilacala in time for the festival.
But in the meantime the festival had already begun. Lord Jagannath, Who felt reciprocal separation from His dear devotee Rasikananda, caused the Rath to stop. Though the king summoned his elephants to push the Ratha, under no circumstances could they budge it, not even an inch. Then Lord Jagannatha, seeing that the king was becoming frustrated, informed him that he was waiting for His devotee Rasika. Finally Rasikananda Deva arrived, carrying with him many offerings of silk clothes and other presents. He fell down to offer his dandavats before Lord Jagannatha, and the king requested him to pull the rope at which the cart began to easily move along the road, just as the clouds move in the sky. Later the king requested Rasikananda to accept a gift of land so he might establish a temple there. Rasikananda requested the place known as Fultota Math, which is now known as Kunja Math. There he installed the Deity of Sri Bat Krsna. The Deity is now known as Sri Sri Radha-Rasika Raya.
Srila Jagannatha dasa babaji (1776-1894) tirobhava tithi glorification
compiled by Yasoda nandana dasa
shri–jagannathaya te namaha
“I offer my respectful obeisances to Jagannatha dasa Babaji, who is respectful to the entire community of devotees and who discovered the place where Lord Chaitanya appeared.”
Brahma Madhva Gaudiya mangalacarana
Srila Prabhupada explains the bona fide disciplic succession .
Books : Srimad-Bhagavatam : Canto 3: “The Status Quo” : SB 3.13: The Appearance of Lord Varaha : SB 3.13.8 : PURPORT :
Brahmā is the direct recipient of Vedic knowledge from the Personality of Godhead, and anyone discharging his entrusted duties in disciplic succession from Brahmā is sure to gain fame in this life and salvation in the next. The disciplic succession from Brahmā is called the Brahma-sampradāya, and it descends as follows: Brahmā, Nārada, Vyāsa, Madhva Muni (Pūrṇaprajña), Padmanābha, Nṛhari, Mādhava, Akṣobhya, Jayatīrtha, Jñānasindhu, Dayānidhi, Vidyānidhi, Rājendra, Jayadharma, Puruṣottama, Brahmaṇyatīrtha, Vyāsatīrtha, Lakṣmīpati, Mādhavendra Purī, Īśvara Purī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Svarūpa Dāmodara and Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī and others, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Kṛṣṇadāsa Gosvāmī, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Viśvanātha Cakravartī, Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī, Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Adi-lila : Adi 1: The Spiritual Masters :
The direct disciple of Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī was Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, who accepted Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī as his servitor. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura accepted Śrīla Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī, who initiated Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, who in turn initiated Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī, the spiritual master of Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, the divine master of our humble self.
Books : Sri Caitanya-caritamrta – 1975 Edition : Cc. Madhya-lila : Madhya 16: The Lord’s Attempt to Go to Vrndavana : Madhya 16.281 : PURPORT : yasyatma-buddhih kunape tridhatuke svadhih kalatradisu bhauma ijya-dhih yat-tirtha-buddhih salile na karhicij janesv abhijnesu s :
Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīnivāsa Ācārya, Śrī Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, Śrī Bhagavān dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and later Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura of Calcutta always engaged in nāma-bhajana and certainly did not live anywhere but Vṛndāvana. Presently, the members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement throughout the world live in materially opulent cities, such as London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Moscow, Zurich and Stockholm. However, we are satisfied with following in the footsteps of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and other ācāryas. Because we live in the temples of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and continuously hold hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana-the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa-we consequently live in Vṛndāvana and nowhere else. We are also following in the footsteps of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by attempting to construct a temple in Vṛndāvana for our disciples throughout the world to visit.
Lectures : Bhagavad-gita Lectures : Bg 2: Lectures : Bhagavad-gita 2.13 — Pittsburgh, September 8, 1972 : 720908BG.PIT :
So the process of hearing is very important. So our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to propagate that “You hear from the authority, Kṛṣṇa.” Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is accepted in the present age and in the past age. In the past age, great sages like Nārada, Vyāsa, Asita, Devala, very, very great stalwart scholars and sages, they accepted. In the Middle Age, say 1,500 years ago, all the ācāryas like Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka… Practically, Indian Vedic civilization, it is still existing on the authority of these ācāryas. And it is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā: ācāryopāsanam. If you want to learn factually things, then you should approach ācārya. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda, “One who has accepted ācārya, he knows things as they are.” Ācāryavān puruṣo veda. So we are receiving knowledge through the ācāryas. Kṛṣṇa spoke to Arjuna, Arjuna spoke to Vyāsadeva. Arjuna actually did not speak to Vyāsadeva, but Vyāsadeva heard it, Kṛṣṇa speaking, and he noted down in his book Mahābhārata. This Bhagavad-gītā is found in Mahābhārata. So we accept the authorities of Vyāsa. And from Vyāsa, Madhvācārya; from Madhvācārya, so many disciplic succession, up to Mādhavendra Purī. Then Mādhavendra Purī to Īśvara Purī; from Īśvara Purī to Lord Caitanyadeva; from Lord Caitanyadeva to six Gosvāmīs; from six Gosvāmīs to Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja; from him, Śrīnivāsa Ācārya; from him, Viśvanātha Cakravartī; from him, Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī; then Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī; Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura; my spiritual master. The same thing, we are preaching. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. It is nothing new. It is coming down from the original speaker, Kṛṣṇa, by disciplic succession. So we are reading this Bhagavad-gītā. Not that I have manufactured some book and I am preaching. No. I am preaching Bhagavad-gītā. The same Bhagavad-gītā as it was first spoken forty millions of years ago to the sun-god and again it was repeated five thousand years ago to Arjuna. The same thing is coming down by disciplic succession, and the same thing is presented before you. There is no change.
Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures : Canto 1: Lectures : SB 1.5: Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.12-13 — New Vrindaban, June 11, 1969 : 690611SB.NV :
So this is necessary. Therefore it is said samādhinā, means “Don’t manufacture your meditation.” Samādhi, this trance by meditation, cannot be attained by something manufacturing. Anu: “Just follow the great predecessor ācārya.” Samādhinā anusmara tad-viceṣṭitam. Tat means the acyuta, acyuta, the activities of the Lord. Therefore we have to learn Kṛṣṇa consciousness through the disciplic succession. Our, this sampradāya, the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, is also in the same line-Nārada, Vyāsadeva. Nārada is the disciple of Brahmā. It is, therefore, called, this sampradāya… This party is called Brahma-sampradāya. Brahma-madhva-gauḍīya-brahma-sampradāya. Originally from Brahmā. Brahmā instructed Nārada. You’ll find in the Bhāgavata. Brahmā is instructing Nārada. Now you see Nārada is instructing Vyāsadeva. Similarly, Vyāsadeva instructed Madhva Muni. Now, Madhva Muni, by disciplic succession, Mādhavendra Purī. Now, Mādhavendra Purī instructed Īśvara Purī. Īśvara Purī instructed Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya instructed the six Gosvāmīs. The six Gosvāmīs instructed Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja. Kṛṣṇadāsa instructed Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Viśvanātha Cakravartī. Viśvanātha Cakravartī, Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī. In this way, there is a clear line of disciplic succession.
Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures : Canto 7: Lectures : SB 7.6: Lectures : Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.1 — New York, April 9, 1969 : 690409SB.NY :
Now, this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam which is in this table, this book is a great, grand edition of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Each verse contains eight commentaries by great stalwart devotees. They represent different disciplic succession of devotee. They are… There are four authorized disciplic successions. As I have already mentioned that Brahmā is one of the authorities, similarly, he has got the disciplic succession from Brahmā. From Brahmā to Nārada, from Nārada to Vyāsadeva, from Vyāsadeva to Madhvācārya, from Madhvācārya to Mad… I am making shortcut. From Madhvācārya to Mādhavendra Purī, from Mādhavendra Purī to Īśvara Purī, from Īśvara Purī to Lord Caitanya, from Lord Caitanya to Svarūpa Dāmodara, from Svarūpa Dāmodara to six Gosvāmīs, Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, from Gosvāmīs to Kṛṣṇadasa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, the author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, and from him Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, and from Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Viśvanātha Cakravartī, from Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura to Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī, from Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī to Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, from Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura to Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, and from Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī my spiritual master, and then we are descended.
Srila Prabhupada explains how Jagannathta dasa babaji ascertained the birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
Lectures : Festival Lectures : His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada’s Appearance Day, Lecture — Mayapur, February 21, 1976 : 760221BA.MAY :
Prabhupāda: Today, the auspicious day of our predecessor spiritual master, Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Paramahaṁsa Parivrājakācārya Aṣṭottara-śata Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s mission… Apart from his life, we are especially stressing on the mission of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. This place, Māyāpur, was formerly known as Miyapura. Mostly it is inhabited by the Muhammadans. Some way or other it converted into the name of Miyapura instead of Māyāpur. Still, people are very much doubtful where is the birth site of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. And Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was researching to find out the actual place. So under the direction of Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, this present Yogapīṭha was ascertained to be the birth site of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. So Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in the beginning wanted to develop this place very gloriously, befitting the holy name of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. So he started this movement of developing Māyāpur. He could not finish it, so it was handed down to Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. So under his effort, assisted by his disciples, this place has gradually developed, and our attempt is also to develop this place. Therefore we have named this temple Māyāpur Chandrodaya. We have got great ambition to develop this place nicely and gloriously, and fortunately we are now connected with foreign countries, especially with the Americans. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s great desire was that the Americans would come here and develop this place and they would chant and dance along with the Indians.
Conversations : 1974 Conversations : March, 1974 : Morning Walk — March 3, 1974, Mayapura : 740303mw.may Srila Prabhupāda: So that signboard… [break] Yes.
Nitāi: What’s the story behind the rediscovery of Māyāpura?
Srila Prabhupāda: Eh?
Nitāi: Is there some story related to the way in which Māyāpura was found by Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī?
Srila Prabhupāda: The Ganges is going sometimes that side, then this side. So it was under the impression that original Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s birthsite is now under water. Or there were many theories and suggestions. Later on, Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī said that “Here is the…” Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Nitāi: In previous days, it was a very big city.
Srila Prabhupāda: (Bengali)
Indian: Ācchā. (end)
Lectures : Arrival Addresses and Talks : Arrival Address — Los Angeles, June 20, 1975 : 750620A2.LA :
Prabhupāda: We have no new discovery. We don’t manufacture. This is our process. We simply follow the predecessor’s instruction. That’s all. Our movement is very easy because we haven’t got to manufacture something. We simply repeat the words and the instruction given by the predecessor. Kṛṣṇa instructed Brahmā, Brahmā instructed Nārada, Nārada instructed Vyāsadeva, Vyāsadeva instructed Madhvācārya, and, in this way, then Mādhavendra Purī, Īśvara Purī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, then the Six Gosvāmīs, then the Śrīnivāsa Ācārya, Kavirāja Gosvāmī, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Viśvanātha Cakravartī, Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, and then we are doing the same thing. There is no difference. That is the specific procedure of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. You are singing daily, guru-mukha-padma-vākya, cittete koriyā aikya, ār nā koriho mane āśā **. Very simple thing. We are receiving the transcendental knowledge through guru-paramparā succession. So we have to simply take instruction from guru, and if we execute that to our heart and soul, that is success. That is practical.
Thirty-eight years ago I became a vegetarian. In all this time I have not eaten any dead animals, and I’ve avoided any food ingredients derived from animal body parts. No cows, sheep, pigs; no fish, no chicken – and, specially here in London, no jellied eels. Are you impressed?
No, I didn’t think so. Neither am I really. In fact, I hardly think of myself as a ‘vegetarian’ at all. Its been such a long time – all my adult life – that I’ve even forgotten the taste of meat. I just can’t remember it. And I never struggle with the temptation to eat meat. The thought just doesn’t arise.
I’ve arranged my life so that its easy for me to cook and eat only with vegetables and grains as raw ingredients. And I don’t have any friends who chomp on dead flesh, either. If I get invited to dine with other families, which I do often, then they are vegetarians, too. And the vegetarian food I eat is delicious, which makes it even easier to be a veggie.
But I still have to be careful. I’ve been so long living in this pleasant veggie bubble that the psychological processes by which I choose to not eat meat have been somewhat dulled. I don’t actively think about being a vegetarian very much. Like a muscle that’s wasted away, the part of my brain that discriminates between meat and non-meat has partially atrophied due to lack of exercise.
I’ll give you an example of my wimpy veggie brain-muscle: Some years ago I was on a train on my way up to Manchester. I hadn’t had any breakfast and I was hungry. Then a fellow passenger walked by with something mysterious in a brown paper bag from the buffet car. The smell wafted across my nostrils and immediately I became interested. It took me a full three seconds of rummaging through long-lost olfactory memories to classify the smell as ‘bacon sandwich.’ At which point my discrimination kicked in and I made a choice: “Oh, I don’t eat those…”
Which is not good enough, is it? As sleepy as I was that morning, I should have been alert and discriminating. Discrimination is good, you see. Discrimination, for so long abused as a bad thing, is actually a good thing. We all have to discriminate between things we can eat and things we can’t. Only babies and mad people don’t discriminate about what they put in their mouth.
Because if you eat things you shouldn’t you might end up with food poisoning, disease, death, monstrous karmic reactions – or all of the above.
And this is something that has always puzzled me: why do we discriminate unfavourably between kittens and pigs? Why do we term one ‘pet’ and the other ‘food?’ Why do we want to stroke one and make cute baby sounds, then pick up the other, slice its rear end and stick it between two slices of bread? I’ve never quite understood that.
And neither has Melanie Joy, who makes quite a good case for preserving and refining our sense of viveka, or discrimination, in the video at the end of this short piece.
So a word to all my friends, specially those who have been vegetarian for a long time: Statistics from the Vegetarian Society reveal that the main reason given for their members abandoning a veggie diet is the bacon sandwich. Yes, that’s right. Do not underestimate that most humble of non-veg dishes.
And to all my Indian friends: I must remind you that bacon is part of a pig, which is an animal, and if you eat one – or sell one – you are betraying all that your grandmother held sacred. Doesn’t matter that all your English friends think you’re foolish for being a vegetarian for ‘religious reasons,’ or that you don’t want to be different from everybody else. Eating animals is entirely unnecessary, bad for the planet, bad for your heart and colon, and morally indefensible.
Better Than the Animals
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The first lesson in spiritual education draws a
clear line between who is and who isn’t.
A lecture in Los Angeles in April 1973
dehino ’smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
dhiras tatra na muhyati
“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.” (Bhagavad-gita 2.13)
Here the Supreme Personality of Godhead states that you are not the body. This is the first instruction for spiritual understanding—to know, “I am not this body.”
The so-called yogis are exercising the body and studying the psychology of the mind according to so many charts and humbug methods. But our philosophy is teaching that since we are not this body, where is the question of exercising the body for spiritual realization? If I am not this body, then how can I realize myself simply by a gymnastic process? This is the yogis’ mistake.
Then there are the karmis—fruitive workers, or materialistic persons—who want bodily comforts. Their only idea is how to get the best comfort for the body, or, in other words, the senses. We have eyes, ears, a nose, a mouth, a tongue, hands, genitals. So many senses we have, and as soon as we are in the bodily concept of life, we immediately feel the need for sense gratification.
But Krsna says to Arjuna, “You are not this body.” Therefore my self-interest does not depend on bodily comforts. The materialists do not know this. In the present age, everyone is busy gratifying his senses. In India, where all kinds of philosophies have been cultivated, the atheist philosophy of sense gratification is also present. Carvaka Muni used to be the leader of the atheist class of philosophers. His philosophy is like the Western philosophy of hedonism: “As long’ as you have this body, eat, drink, and be merry.” Carvaka Muni also said that: rnam krtva ghrtam pibet. “Somehow get ghee [clarified butter] and enjoy nicely cooked foods.” Bodily enjoyment begins with the tongue. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura, following in the footsteps of previousacaryas [spiritual masters], says, “If you want to control your senses, first control your tongue.” Then we can begin to purify our senses so we will one day understand Krsna.
In the Vedic scriptures it is said, atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih: “With these blunt material senses we cannot understand Krsna.” It is not possible. The senses are so imperfect that you cannot acquire any perfect knowledge, material or spiritual, with them.
Now the scientists are studying the moon. But besides the moon there are millions and trillions of other planets they cannot say anything about because their senses are imperfect. I can see, say, up to one mile. But when there is a question of millions and trillions of miles, how can I use my senses to acquire perfect knowledge?
So, we cannot get even perfect material knowledge by using these senses; then what to speak of spiritual knowledge, knowledge of God? That is beyond your conception. Therefore the scriptures say, atah sri-krsna-namadi, na bhaved grahyam indriyaih: “Krsna cannot be known by our material mind and senses.”
If you try to know God by mental speculation, that is frog philosophy. Dr. Frog tried to calculate the length and breadth of the Atlantic Ocean while sitting in his well. Similarly, trying to understand God with our limited mind and senses is hopeless.
Then how is it possible to understand God? sevonmukhe hi jihvadau, svayam eva sphuraty adah: “If you employ your tongue in the service of the Lord, He’ll reveal Himself to you.” Revelation. Therefore we have to control the tongue. What is the tongue’s business? The tongue’s business is to taste and to vibrate. So vibrate your tongue in the service of the Lord: chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Hare Krsna means, “O my Lord Krsna, O energy of Krsna—Srimati Radharani—both of You kindly engage me in Your service.”
As Narottama dasa Thakura sings, ha ha prabhu nanda-suta, vrsabhanu-suta-juta: “My dear Lord Krsna, You are well known as the son of Nanda Maharaja, and Your eternal consort, Srimati Radharani, is known as the daughter of King Vrsabhanu.” Then, koruna karoho ei-baro: “Now I have come to You. Please, both of You be merciful to me.” Na theliho ranga-pay:”Don’t neglect me or kick me away with Your lotus feet.”
Of course, even if Krsna kicks us and pushes us away, that is still our great fortune. For example, when Krsna was kicking the hoods of the Kaliya serpent, Kaliya’s wives prayed, “My dear Lord, we do not know how this culprit Kaliya became so fortunate that You are now kicking his hoods. All the great, great sages and saintly persons meditate upon Your lotus feet for millions of years, trying to get a glimpse of them, but this Kaliya is being repeatedly kicked by those feet. We do not know what he did in his past life that he’s so fortunate.”
So, we cannot understand Krsna by our mental speculation, our limited senses. That is not possible. We have to engage in His service. How?sevonmukhe hi jihvadau: “Beginning with the tongue.” The tongue is our greatest enemy, and it is also our greatest friend. If you allow your tongue to do whatever it likes—smoking, drinking, eating meat—then it is your greatest enemy. But if you can control the tongue, then you can control all the other senses automatically.
The tongue should always be used for glorifying the Supreme Lord. That is our business with the tongue. And the tongue should not be allowed to eat anything except krsna-prasadam [vegetarian food offered to Krsna]. Then you become liberated, simply by controlling the tongue. But if you allow the tongue to do anything and everything, then it is very difficult to make any spiritual advancement.
Spiritual education begins when I understand, “I am not this body, and therefore satisfying the senses is not my business.” If I am not this body, why should I bother myself to satisfy the bodily senses? This is Lord Krsna’s very first instruction in the Bhagavad-gita.
The karmis [fruitive workers], jnanis [mental speculators], and yogis are all trying to satisfy the demands of the body. The karmis are directly doing that: “Eat, drink, be merry, and enjoy.” That is their philosophy. And the goal of thejnanis is simply to understand that they are not this body (neti neti). And theyogis are all trying to come to the point of controlling the senses by bodily exercises, hatha-yoga. So their center of activity is also the body.
But our philosophy begins with the understanding that you are not the body. You see? When the karmis, jnanis, and yogis pass their B.A. examination in studying this body, then they may be able to understand their real function as spirit souls. But our philosophy begins with Krsna’s instruction that “You are not this body.” So Krsna consciousness is a postgraduate study of spiritual philosophy.
We have seen so many big, big politicians and scholars in India who write commentaries on the Bhagavad-gita, but what they write is based on the bodily conception of life. The great leader Mahatma Gandhi had his photograph taken with the Bhagavad-gita. But throughout his whole life he worked under the bodily conception: “I am Indian,” “I am American,” “I am Canadian.” But if we are not this body, where is the question of being Indian, American, or Canadian?
Science of Self Realization
Yet even though these commentators are absorbed in the bodily concept of life, they still preach from the Bhagavad-gita. What can they understand of theBhagavad-gita? If one feels, “I belong to this nation, I belong to this family, I belong to this community, I belong to this race, I belong to this religion,” then he is deeply in the bodily concept of life. But in the very beginning the Bhagavad-gita teaches that you are not this body.
So, the yogis are trying to understand the self by bodily exercise, the jnanisare trying to understand fully that they are not the body, and the karmis, like animals, cannot understand that they are not the body. So, factually, the karmis, jnanis, and yogis are only a little bit elevated above the animals. That’s all.
Here is an example. In India people pass stool in the open field, and at the end of the day, because there is so much sunshine, the upper side of the stool becomes dry. The lower side is still moist. So somebody may say, “This upper side is very good because it is dry.” But after all, it is all stool, whether this side or that side. Similarly, these rascals who are in the bodily concept of life are thinking, “I am a nationalist,” “I am a yogi,” “I am this,” “I am that.” But as long as you are in the bodily concept of life, you are no better than an animal.
That is the exact statement of the Srimad-Bhagavatam [10.84.13]:yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke sva-dhih kalatradisu . . . sa eva go-kharah. Go-kharah means “a cow or an ass.” Animals. Who is an animal?Yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke means “a bag of mucus, bile, and air.” So one is an animal if he thinks, “I am this body, this bag full of mucus, bile, and air.” And one is also an animal if he thinks, “I have my family, society, children, wife, and country. They are all mine.”
Through the wife we beget children. We expand. The Sanskrit word is stri,”expansion.” I am one, but as soon as I get a wife I become two, then three, then four, then five. But extending these material expansions, these bodily expansions, means to deepen our illusion. Janasya moho ‘yam aham mameti.Our illusion is to think, “I am this body, and everything in relation to this body is mine.” So as long as we remain in the bodily concept of life, our illusion will increase. It will never decrease. Therefore Krsna’s first instruction to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita is, “You are not this body.” Arjuna was in illusion, thinking, “I am this body, and those on the other side-my brothers, my nephews, my grandfather-they are all my relations. How can I kill them?” This is illusion. To dissipate this illusion, this darkness, Krsna says in the first lesson, “You are not this body.” The Lord says, dehino ’smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara tatha dehantara-praptir: “You’ll have to change this body, as you have already changed it. You were once a baby. Then you changed your body to a child’s body, then to boyhood, and then to youthhood. And you’ll change your body to an old man’s body. As you have already changed it so many times, there will be another change at death. Then you’ll have to take another body.” Very simple logic. And in the following verses Krsna says, “So don’t fear that your nephews or grandfather or guru will die. They’ll not die; they will simply change their bodies. That’s all.”
Krsna also says, dhiras tatra na muhyati. Dhira means “one who is sober, whose brain is nice and cool.” Such a person will not be bewildered when there is a change of body at death. He will think, “What kind of body am I going to get next?” That is the real problem.
But these rascals in the colleges and universities do not know about the next life. Still they are proud of their intelligence. They do not know how they have come to their present body or what kind of body they’re going to get next. No intelligence. Sometimes they even say, “Suppose I get a dog’s body in my next life. What is the harm?” Yes. In a university in Hawaii a student said that. Supposedly he’s being educated, but he does not care if he’s going to become a dog in his next life. This is the education. And in Moscow, Professor Kotovsky said to me, “Swamiji, after this body is finished, everything is finished.” Just see! This is the position of the so-called professors and students in the universities. All rascals. This is our challenge. They are all rascals because they are in the bodily concept of life. They are directly seeing that the body is changing in this life, but still they’ll not believe that after this body is finished, they’ll get another body.
It is very logical. Dehino ’smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara tatha dehantara-praptir. Exactly in the same way as we have changed our body so many times, we’ll have to change it again at death. Therefore one who is intelligent should try to understand what kind of body he is going to get next. That is intelligence.
Now, what kind of body you can get is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita[9.25]:
yanti deva-vrata devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya
yanti mad-yajino ‘pi mam
If you want to, you can go to the higher planetary system, where the demigods live for hundreds and thousands and millions of years. There you will have thousands and thousands of times better facilities for sense gratification. Otherwise, why would people want to go to the heavenly planets? Krsna says that if you try to go to the higher planetary system, you can go. There is a process. For example, to go to the moon planet one must be expert in karma-kanda, pious fruitive activities. Then by the result of pious activities you can be promoted to the moon. That is mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. But you cannot enter the moon by force, with your rocket ships. That’s not possible. Suppose I’ve got a nice motorcar in America. If I want to enter another country forcibly, is it possible? No. I must get a passport or visa. I must get the sanction of the government; then I can enter. It is not that because I have a very good car I’ll be allowed in.
So, the scientists’ attempt to go to the moon is foolish and childish. They cannot go. Therefore nowadays they’ve stopped going. They do not speak of their moon trips anymore. They are realizing their failure. But there is a possibility of going to the moon. You can go if you adopt the real process. Similarly, you can go to the Pitrloka, the planet of the ancestors, by offering sraddha andpinda to the forefathers. Or you can remain on this earthly planet by worshiping ghosts and spirits (bhutas). Similarly, you can go back home, back to Godhead, by worshiping Krsna. Now, one may ask, What is the benefit of going back home, back to Godhead? Krsna explains in the Bhagavad-gita [8.15]: mam upetya punar janma duhkhalayam asasvatam napnuvanti: “If you come to Me, you won’t have to again accept a material body, which is full of miserable conditions. You will remain in your spiritual body.”
So, our Krsna consciousness movement is meant for elevating all living entities to Krsna’s spiritual kingdom. Anyone who follows the principles of Krsna consciousness will surely go back home, back to Godhead. That is certain. Of course, if you deviate, if you become attracted by maya [illusion], that is your business. But we are. giving you all the information you need.
The process is simple. Chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, become purified, always remain liberated from the material clutches, and try to understand Krsna. As Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita [4.9], janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti: “If you simply try to understand Me, then after quitting this body you’ll come to Me.” This is our philosophy. It is very simple, and everything is explained by Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita. Try to realize this philosophy and preach it for the benefit of the whole world. Then everyone will be happy.
Thank you very much. Hare Krsna.
The Hymns of Brahma
by Subhananda Dasa
The Hymes of Brahma
The article that follows is adapted from the Introduction to the recently published Bhaktivedanta Book Trust edition of Sri Brahma-samhita, a celebrated Vaisnava text. This important new publication is an expanded edition of the first English-language version of Brahma-samhita published in India in 1932 featuring the translation and commentary of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami (1874-1937). Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, a great Vaisnava saint and scholar, was the guru of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder and spiritual master of the Interntional Society for Krishna Consciousness.
The origins of the text known as Sri Brahma-samhita are lost in cosmic antiquity. According to Vedic tradition, these “Hymns of Brahma” were recited or sung countless millennia ago by the first created being in the universe, just prior to the act of creation. The text surfaced and entered calculable history early in the sixteenth century, when it was discovered by a pilgrim exploring the manuscript library of an ancient temple in what is now Kerala State in south India. Prior to the introduction of the printing press, texts like Brahma-samhita existed only in manuscript form, painstakingly handwritten by scribes and kept under brahminical custodianship in temples, where often they were worshiped as sastra-Deity, or God incarnate in holy scripture.
The pilgrim who rescued Sri Brahma-samhita from obscurity was no ordinary pilgrim, and His pilgrimage was meant not for self-purification, as is the custom, but for world-purification. He was Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saint, mystic, religious reformer, and full incarnation of the Supreme Lord. Sri Krsna, descending into the present epoch for the salvation of all souls.
At the time of His discovery of the text, Sri Caitanya was touring south India, preaching His message of love of Krsna and promulgating the practice of sankirtana congregational singing of the holy names of God. Sri Caitanya commenced this tour shortly after becoming a monk (sannyasi), at age twenty-four. and the tour lasted approximately two years. After a southward journey from Puri (in Orissa State) to holy places such as Sri Ranga-ksetra, Setubandha, Ramesvaram, and finally Kanyakumari (Cape Comorin), He turned northward and, traveling along the bank of the Payasvini River in Travancore State, reached the temple of Adi-kesava in Trivandrum District.
Sri Caitanya’s principal biographer, Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, writes in Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila, Ch. 9) that upon beholding the holy image of Adi-kesava (Krsna) in the temple, Sri Caitanya swooned in spiritual ecstasy, offered fervent prayers, and chanted and danced in rapture, a wondrous sight that was beheld with astonished appreciation by the devotees present.
Lord Krishna with the Gopis
After discussing esoteric spiritual matters among some highly advanced devotees, Sri Caitanya found “one chapter of the Brahma-samhita.” (What we now have as Brahma-samhita is, according to tradition, only one of a hundred chapters composing an epic work lost to humanity.) Upon discovering the manuscript. Sri Caitanya felt great ecstasy and fell into an intense mystic rapture that overflowed onto the physical realm, producing a profusion of tears, trembling, and perspiration. (We would search the literature of the world in vain to find a case in which the discovery of a lost book inspired such unearthly exhilaration!) Intuiting the Sri Brahma samhita to be “a most valuable jewel,” Sri Caitanya employed a scribe in handcopying the manuscript and departed with the copy for His return journey north.
Upon His return to Puri (Madhya-lila, Ch. 11), Sri Caitanya presented Brahma-samhita to appreciative followers like, Ramananda Raya and Vasudeva Datta, for whom Caitanya arranged copies to be made. As word of the discovery of the text spread within the Vaisnava community, “each and every Vaisnava” copied it. Gradually, Brahma-samhita was “broadcast everywhere” and became one of the ‘ major texts of the Gaudiya-Vaisnava canon. “There is no scripture equal to the Brahma-samhita as far as the final spiritual conclusion is concerned,” exults Krsnadasa Kaviraja. “Indeed, that scripture is the supreme revelation of the glories of Lord Govinda, for it reveals the topmost knowledge about Him. Since all conclusions are briefly presented in Brahma-samhita, it is essential among all the Vaisnava literatures” (Madhya-lila 9.239-240).
In spite of the seemingly topical complexity of the text, the essential core of the Brahma-samhita consists of a brief description of the enlightenment of Lord Brahma by Lord Sri Krsna followed by Brahma’s extraordinarily beautiful prayers elucidating the content of his revelation: an unearthly, beatific vision of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, and His eternal, transcendental abode, Goloka Vrndavana, beyond the material cosmos. This core of the text stretches from verse twenty-nine through fifty-six, and a brief, subsequent exposition by Lord Krsna on the path of Krsna-bhakti, love of God, brings the text to a close.
The Brahma-samhita’s account of Lord Brahma’s enlightenment is quite interesting and can be summarized here. When Lord Garbhodakasayi Visnu desires to recreate the universe, ** (According to the Puranas the material cosmos is created and destroyed in a perpetual cycle through eternity, and so the act of creation is not a one-time affair but one that is repeated an infinite number of times.) a divine golden lotus flower grows from his navel, and Brahma is born from the lotus. As he is not born from parents, Brahma is known as Svayambhu, “self-existent” or “unoriginated.” Upon his emergence from the lotus. Lord Brahma begins in preparation for his role as secondary creator to contemplate the act of cosmic creation ** (Once the physical universe and it’s constituent parts are brought into being by Lord Visnu, Brahma’s role in the creation act is to evolve the multifarious types of bodily forms (species) to be inhabited by the innumerable conditioned living beings (jivas) in accordance with their previous karma-actions performed by them during their existence in previous millennia.) but, seeing only darkness about, is bewildered in the performance of his duty. Sarasvati, the goddess of learning, appears before him and instructs him to meditate upon the kama-bija mantra (klim krsnaya govindaya gopijana-vallabhaya svaha), promising that this mantra “will assuredly fulfill your heart’s desire.”
Lord Brahma thus meditates upon Lord Krsna in His spiritual realm and hears the divine sound of Krsna’s flute. The kama-gayatri mantra (klim kamadevaya vidmahe puspa-banaya dhimahi tan no ‘nangah pracodayat), the “mother of the Vedas,”is made manifest from the sound of Krsna’s flute, and Brahma, thus initiated by the supreme primal preceptor Himself, begins to chant the Gayatri. As Srila Prabhupada puts it, “When the sound vibration of Krsna’s flute is expressed through the mouth of Brahma, it becomes gayatri” (Teachings (of Lord Caitanya, p. 322).
Enlightened by his meditation upon the holy Gayatri, Brahma “became acquainted with the expanse of the ocean of truth.” Inspired by his profound and sublime realizations, his heart overflowing with devotion and transcendental insight, Lord Brahma spontaneously begins to offer a series of poem prayers to the source of his enlightenment and the object of his devotion, Lord Sri Krsna. These exquisite verses form the heart of Brahma-samhita.
Returning From Jagannath Puri
There is nothing vague about Brahma’s description of the Lord and His abode. No dim, nihilistic nothingness, no blinding bright light, no wispy, dreamy visions of harps and clouds; rather, a vibrant, luminescent world in transcendental color, form, and sound a sublimely variegated spiritual landscape populated by innumerable blissful, eternally liberated souls reveling in spiritual cognition, sensation, and emotion, all in relationship with the all-blissful, all-attractive Personality of Godhead. Here is a sample:
I worship Govinda [Krsna], the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of laksmis or gopis.
I Worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, with blooming eyes like lotus petals, with head decked with peacock’s feather, with the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and His unique loveliness charming millions of Cupids. . . .
I worship [Goloka Vrndavana] . . . where every tree is a transcendental purpose tree; where the soil is the purpose gem, all water is nectar, every word is a song, every gait is a dance, the flute is the favorite attendant, . . . where numberless milk cows always emit transcendental oceans of milk.
The commentator [Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati] reminds us that in the transcendental region of Goloka are found the same elements as are found in the mundane worlds, but in their highest purity and beauty: “trees and creepers, mountains, rivers and forests, water, movement, speech, music of the flute, the sun and the moon, tasted and taste . . .” Krsna’s divine abode, Goloka Vrndavana, is a world in the fullest and realest sense.
There are those who will have difficulty with Brahma’s highly graphic and personalistic depiction of the spiritual world and of the liberated state. Some, for instance, whose conception of transcendence is determined by a certain logical fallacy based on the arbitrary assumption that spirit is the literal opposite of matter (and thus that because matter has form and variety, spirit must necessarily be formless and unvariegated), conceive of ultimate reality as some sort of divine emptiness. However, any conception of transcendence that projects or analogizes from our limited sensory and cognitive experience within the material world is, by its very nature, limited and speculative and thus unreliable. No accumulated quantity of sense data within this world can bring us to knowledge of what lies beyond it. Residents of the material world cannot get even a clue of transcendence, argues our Brahma-samhita commentator, “by moving heaven and earth through their organic senses.”
The Brahma-samhita teaches that transcendence, truth, ultimate reality can be apprehended only by the mercy of the supreme transcendent entity, the Absolute Truth Himself, and that perception of ultimate reality is a function not of speculative reason but of direct spiritual cognition through divine revelation. This revelation is evolved through bhakti, pure, selfless love of God. Only by such spiritual devotion can Krsna be seen: “I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord . . . whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love” (Bs. 38). Further, as our commentator explains, “the form of Krsna is visible [to the eye of the pure spiritual self] in proportion to its purification by the practice of devotion.”
Bhakti as a state of consciousness, then, is attained through bhakti as a practice, a discipline. For this reason, Lord Krsna, in His response to Brahma at the end of the text, summarizes the path of bhakti in five aphorisms. This devotional discipline goes beyond conventional piety. It necessitates “constant endeavor for self-realization” (Bs. 59), involving both a turning from worldliness and sense gratification and an adherence to spiritual practices and behavior, under the guidance of authorized scripture. Through such practice, then, the materialist is soon purified of his tendency toward philosophical negation and comes to understand the nature of positive transcendence.
Others will find Lord Brahma’s vision of the spiritual realm problematic for a related, but perhaps more subjective, emotional reason that goes to the heart of the human condition. There is a kind of ontological anxiety, a conscious or subconscious apprehension about beingness or existence itself, that goes along with embodied life in-the-world that accompanies the soul’s descent into the temporal, endlessly changing world of matter. Material bodies and minds are subjected to a huge variety of objective and subjective discomfitures, unpleasantries, and abject sufferings. Viewed philosophically, embodied personhood, false-self (ahankara), is, to a greater or lesser degree, innately a condition of suffering.
Because personal existence has been experienced by materialists as essentially painful, writes Srila Prabhupada in his Bhagavad-gita commentary, “the conception of retaining the personality after liberation from matter frightens them. When they are informed that spiritual life is also individual and personal, they become afraid of becoming persons again, and so they naturally prefer a kind of merging into the impersonal void” (Bg. 4.10, purport). Entering the path of bhakti, however, such persons can gradually begin to experience their real, spiritual selves and a release from egoistic anxiety. In that purified state, they become able to relish Brahma’s vision of blissful, personal spiritual existence in Goloka.
Still others, however, might criticize Brahma-samhita on the grounds that the text, being quite specific and concrete in its depiction, merely offers another limited, sectarian view of God and His abode a view in conflict with other, similarly limited views. Such persons prefer a kind of genericized Deity who doesn’t offend variant theological views with definable, personal attributes. Brahma-samhita, however, is not a polemic against “competing” conceptions of the Deity (except those, of course, which would deny His transcendental personhood). Vaisnava tradition does not dismiss images of the Divine derived from authoritative scripture from beyond its own cultural and conceptual borders. It respects any sincere effort at serving the Supreme Person, although it holds its own texts as most comprehensive and authoritative. It promotes neither an arrogant sectarianism that would constrain transcendence to exclusive cultural, ideational, or linguistic forms (while burning a few heretics), nor a syncretistic ecumenism that would try to pacify all claimants on the truth by departicularizing it into bland vagary. Let the syncretistsand the sectarians come together to appreciate, at least, the aesthetic magnificence of Lord Brahma’s theistic epiphany.
What we are experiencing through Lord Brahma in his samhita is not mystic hallucination or quaint mythologizing or an exercise in pious wishful thinking. We are getting a glimpse, however dimmed by our own insensitivities, into the spiritual world as seen by one whose eyes are “tinged with the salve of love.” We are seeing, through Brahma, an eternal, transcendental world, of which the present world is a mere reflection. Goloka is infinitely more real than the shadowy world we perceive daily through our narrow senses. Brahma’s vision of the spiritual realm is not his alone. It is shared by all those who give themselves fully unto the loving service of Lord Krsna though Brahma admits that Goloka is known “only to a very few selfrealized souls in this world” (Bs. 56). We are asked not to accept Brahma’s account of transcendence uncritically and dogmatically but to avail ourselves of the spiritual discipline, bhakti-yoga, that will gradually lead us to our own experiential understanding of this highest truth.
In his commentary to the twenty-eighth verse of the Brahma-samhita Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati writes that Lord Caitanya “taught this hymn to His favorite disciples inasmuch as it fully contains all the transcendental truths regarding Vaisnava philosophy,” and he asks his readers to “study and try to enter into the spirit of this hymn with great care and attention, as a regular daily function.” Srila Bhaktisiddhanta’s disciple Srila Prabhupada was very fond of Brahma’s prayers to Lord Krsna, and there are several recordings of Srila Prabhupada singing these prayers with intense devotion. We therefore invite readers to dive deeply into the sweet, transcendental ocean of Brahma’s hymns as a daily meditation.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare
Hare Krishna Maha Mantra
We’ve all heard the Hare Krishna mantra at some time, but what the heck is so special about this mantra? Why are we supposed to spend time chanting it? What can it do for us?
First of all, let me explain a little about mantra-yoga. Mantra-yoga is actually a mystical tradition found in almost every spiritual path in the world. It may involve the softly spoken repetition of a prayer or mantra for one’s own meditation, or it may be the congregational singing of spiritually uplifting songs, prayers, or the sacred names of the Supreme Being. It all involves the same process, but in the Eastern tradition it is called mantra-yoga because it is the easy process of focusing our minds on the Supreme, which helps spiritualize our consciousness. Man means the mind, tra means deliverance. Therefore, a spiritual mantra is the pure sound vibration for delivering the mind from material to spiritual consciousness. This is the goal of any spiritual path. Although all spiritual traditions have their own prayers or mantras, the Vedic mantras are especially powerful and effective in uniting us with the spiritual realm. However, a complete yoga process is generally a blend of a few yoga systems, such as bhakti-yoga with mantra-yoga. Therefore, bhakti-yoga, as described in the previous chapters, also includes mantra-yoga, or the process of concentrating on the sound vibration within a mantra. This is especially important in this age of Kali.
Many years ago the brahmana priests could accomplish many kinds of wondrous deeds simply by correctly chanting particular mantras. Many of these mantras still exist, but it is very difficult to find those who can chant them accurately. This is actually a safety measure because if the wish-fulfilling mantras were easily chanted, there would no doubt be many people who would misuse them. But other mantras that are available can easily help purify one’s consciousness, give spiritual enlightenment, and put one in touch with the Supreme.
In Bhagavad-gita (10.25) Sri Krishna explains that He is the transcendental om mantra and that the chanting of japa (chanting a mantra quietly for one’s own meditation) is the purest of His representations and sacrifices. It is understood that by chanting japa and hearing the holy sounds of the mantra, one can come to the platform of spiritual realization. This is the process of mantra-yoga. Even though the mantra is powerful in itself, when the mantra is chanted by a great devotee, it becomes more powerful. This is the effect when a disciple is fortunate enough to take initiation from a spiritually powerful master who gives him a mantra for spiritual purposes. Then the disciple can make rapid progress by utilizing the mantra.
In this age of Kali-yuga the process of chanting japa or mantra meditation is much more effective than practicing other spiritual paths that include meditating on the void or Brahman effulgence, or trying to control the life air within the body as in raja-yoga. Only a very few can become perfect at moving the life air up to the top of the head or raising the kundalini force up through the various chakras. And meditating on the void becomes useless as soon as there is the slightest external distraction, which in this age of Kali is a continuous thing. Therefore, the most effective means of focusing the consciousness is to concentrate on the sound vibration of a mantra.
There are two mantras that are especially recommended in the Vedic literature. One is omkara or the om mantra, and the other is Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, which is known as the maha or great mantra. It is explained that these two mantras can deliver one to the realm beyond material existence.
Omkara (pranava) is considered to be the sound incarnation of the Supreme Personality of God and is identical with the Supreme Lord. It is beginningless, changeless, supreme and free from any external contamination. The Narada-pancharatra states: “When the transcendental sound vibration is practiced by a conditioned soul, the Supreme Lord is present on his tongue.” The Atharva-veda and the Mandukya Upanishad both mention the importance of omkara. Omkara is said to be the beginning, middle, and end, and is eternal, beyond all material restrictions or contaminations.
Actually, the chanting of omkara is generally practiced by those engaged in the mystic yoga process. However, anyone who chants Vedic verses will also be chanting om, because om is often included as the bija or seed mantra at the beginning of many such verses or other mantras. By chanting om and controlling the breathing perfectly, which is mostly a mechanical way of steadying the mind, one is eventually able to go into trance or samadhi. Through this system, one gradually changes the tendencies of the materially absorbed mind and makes it spiritualized. But this takes many years to perfect and such a slow process is hardly practical in this age. If one is not initiated into the brahminical way of knowledge, he will find it difficult to understand the depths of omkara and will not likely be able to get the desired results from chanting it. Therefore, it is not advised that people in general chant omkara in this age of Kali-yuga and with the expectation of reaching full spiritual perfection because they are often not qualified or unable to chant it properly to attain the inner depths of spiritual completion.
The mantra that is meant to be chanted in this age is easy and is actually more directly connected with the Supreme than the sound vibration of omkara because it contains the direct holy names of the Lord. So the mantra for Kali-yuga is the maha-mantra, or great mantra for deliverance, which is Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Top 6 benefits of Spiritualizing your busy life and HOW?
Author: Stephen Knapp
busy_lifeHow to spiritualize our lives is easier to explain than why, especially when we are so busy with numerous responsibilities or goals that we face everyday. After all, if we are already so busy, why should we feel that we need to spend more of our time in spiritual pursuits? Where are we going to get the time and how is that going to help? This is a common excuse that many people use to justify the reason why they have no time for spiritual practice. However, there are points we need to consider.
1. Everyone wants to find joy and happiness. For what other reason are you working or studying? We are working to acquire money, security, a better future for ourselves or our family, or to make improvements in our occupation. Yet, we need to clearly understand that spirituality is the key to real happiness. And by that I mean the happiness that reaches the soul, and not that which merely occupies the ever-changing demands of our mind and senses. It is through spiritualizing our lives that we can change our attitude to joy, and not look at things with the humdrum attitude of “Another day, another dollar” or something similar. This is not unusual because we often see that without spirituality life becomes empty and without real purpose or any deep meaning. By adding spirituality to our lives, it often improves our attitude and is reflected in every other area of our life, including job performance, relations with others, family cooperation, our flexibility, the way we handle problems or inconveniences, and the way we may even inspire others to do the same.
2. Spiritualizing our lives means to spiritualize our consciousness. It is through such spiritual awareness that we can recognize the transcendental essence of all beings. We are all spiritual in nature, but this remains invisible to us as long as we do not uplift the vibratory level of our consciousness. So if we want respect, and if we feel that people need to increase their appreciation and love for each other, this can easily be accomplished by recognizing the similarity we have with one another on the spiritual level. It is through spirituality that can most easily change the selfish interest we have toward ourselves and our clan to a broad or universal love.
Most problems between people or countries or ethnic groups reflect the lack of love, compassion and understanding we have for each other, which is the essence of the dharmic principles we need to be follow.
3. Spirituality also offers an uplifting view of life. Once we are truly spiritualizing our lives, whatever troubles we have begin to appear as if they are only an interesting play of energy in which we are temporarily involved. We can see that such difficulties are not actually part of our real identity. They are only going on around us and we take them seriously only to the degree that we feel they are affecting us and our inner happiness.
Spirituality gives us the courage and lightheartedness to face the difficult situations in life, or the drama around us, and to realize we are different from such externals. By this I mean that we can perceive that we are spiritual beings that are interacting on the temporary material platform. Therein whatever joy or sorrow we experience comes and goes like the winter and summer seasons. It is temporary and that is all we can expect from it because that is all it can offer. But without spiritual understanding, we take these temporary ups and downs and the pursuit for material happiness very seriously. So if we want more than this, or something deeper, we need to reach our real identity through the spiritual path.
4. Spirituality teaches us the art of living, but also the art of dying. This is the means by which we recognize the temporary nature of life and that we must always be prepared for death and for attaining the best position in our next existence. It is considered that without such preparation our life is not complete and we have not used it properly, regardless of whatever else we may accomplish.
5. Spirituality means that you see the big picture. And what is the big picture? It is that this life is but a moment on our great path toward self-realization. That great path encompasses many lifetimes. Each one is like a flash of lightning in the span of eternity. So our progress through the big picture evolves around and depends on our spiritual development. That is all we carry with us from one life to the next. Whatever material assets we attain in this life ripens in this one existence only, whereas spiritual progress is viewed over many, many lifetimes. Whatever spiritual benefits we are experiencing now may have been developed many lifetimes ago. Similarly, our spiritual practice today may provide us with benefits in this life as well as many lifetimes that may follow.
The big picture is that all you have ever been through, including so many lives before this one, has brought you to this very moment. You are the son or daughter of the past, the product of all your experiences and actions. But you are also the father of the future, starting from this particular point in time. It is up to you to decide what to do and where you will take yourself from this point onward. Your possibilities are endless, and spiritual development only increases the possibilities that you have.
6. Genuine spirituality also means that we accept responsibility for ourselves, what we do, how we affect others and our environment and how we have the power to change our situation. So if we want to improve such things, then we can find that the basis of dharma and genuine spirituality is also the foundation for the improvement of everything in this world. However, we need to emphasize that such spirituality is above the conventional form of religions, which are often dogmatic and based on the emphasis of local traditions and ethnic recognition. This means that their foundations are not the Universal Spiritual Truths that are found in sanatana-dharma that can be applied to everyone, at anytime and anywhere in this universe. Real dharma means those spiritual principles that can be applied directly to the soul or real identity of the living being regardless of the temporary material condition or status in which he or she is presently found.
HOW DO WE DO THIS
chanting on beads hare krishnaSo how do we manage our time to include the necessary spiritual practice? Spiritual practice means two things, the sadhana and the study. The sadhana itself can mean your meditation, your chanting of japa such as the Hare Krishna mantra, reciting your prayers, or doing your puja or worship. The value of this is often underestimated. What it does is incorporate the spiritual vibration into your consciousness. The next part is to do the study, reading the spiritual books to educate yourself in the tradition and your understanding of spiritual knowledge and of the importance of your dharmic practice.
So as we do this on a daily basis, we will naturally carry that spiritual consciousness with us wherever we go. For example, you may have a special room where you do your spiritual activities, and if you are burning incense, you might carry the scent with you in your clothes. Then whenever you smell the aroma it makes you think of the atmosphere in your special room. When that happens you may feel the same uplifting mood that you felt when doing your spiritual practice in your room. So we have to learn how to carry that special atmosphere in our consciousness throughout the day.
Reading Srimad BhagavatamSo if you are convinced as to why we should spiritualize our lives, then we have to make spirituality as one of the main foundations of our life. It must be viewed as a corner stone upon which we build everything else. So it must be one of the main ingredients in our daily schedule.
You have a life with only so much time, which means you must be careful with how you spend it. An example is that your life can be represented by a water glass. The glass can only hold so much, and once it is filled, that is it. You can’t put any more into it. So how will you fill it? If you have an assortment of stones, sand and water, what will you begin to put into it first? If you fill it with small stuff, then you will not have any room for the big things, the important items. So first you put in the rocks, or those things which are the most important. These may include school, work, family, but also your spiritual practice. These are four stones. So put those in the glass before you put in anything else. Then in between the stones will fit the sand, the small stuff. And even in between the sand will fit the water, the smaller and less important things. But first always include and make time for the important items, the rocks or foundation of your life, and spiritual practice must be one of them.
So you should set aside an hour or more in your daily schedule to do your spiritual practice. If you take an hour, then you can divide it into a half-hour for your sadhana or meditation, and another half-hour for your study. Spiritual life is like a train that runs on two tracks, and your sadhana and study together provide the necessary tracks for smooth progress for that train to keep on a rolling. The early morning is always the best time to do this. But some time in the evening also may be suitable for you. However, whatever time you choose, it is necessary to continue with it. Like a daily shower, you can’t stay clean unless you do it everyday. Similarly, you can’t stay spiritually purified or uplifted and enthused unless you are steady at it.
Furthermore, you may never know when you will need your spirituality. You may need it when dealing with others, settling disputes, carrying out your family duties, and so on. But most importantly, you will never know when you will meet with the final test when you die. That certainly separates those who are prepared from those who are not. I had a friend who spent all of his time on his college studies. Then with only six months left to go before qualifying for his Ph.D., he died in a car crash. Of course, it was completely unexpected. So you never know when death may strike. So the point is that you continue to make your plans for this life and take care of your responsibilities, but also make time for your spiritual development.
The final point to remember is that any path of accomplishment requires self-sacrifice, no matter whether you are attempting to acquire material benefits or spiritual advancement. We are always looking to develop our future, no matter whether it is with a better job, a nicer home, or financial security for our family, or other things. But if you can reach that strata where there is no more sacrifice, no more war, no more difficulties, but instead find universal love and understanding and cooperation, don’t you think that is a sacrifice worth doing? Don’t you think that is an endeavor worthy of attempting? Don’t you think the knowledge of this is worth spreading to let the whole world know of it or how to reach it?
There is no reason why we cannot bring an increasing amount of the spiritual atmosphere to this earth planet. We can indeed change things here and bring improvements in so many ways. But we need to start with ourselves first, and that depends on our spiritual practice and the spiritual principles we incorporate into our own lives. From there it can spread through our sphere of influence, however big or small that may be. We all want peace and cooperation, but you will never get that as long as we see our differences, which will always be there on the material platform. So we must rise above that to a higher level of reality, the higher dimension. And this dimension is all around us. All we have to do is train our consciousness to be able to tune into it so that it opens up to us. Then through our continued spiritual development we can enter into it. That is the ultimate advantage of spiritualizing our lives and making time for it.
Vedic Evidence and The Scientific Conclusion
My Dear Dr. Bigelow:
Please accept my greetings. Recently I have read an article in the Gazette by Rae Corelli entitled “Heart Surgeon Wants to Know What a Soul Is,” and it was very interesting. Your comments show great insight, and so I thought to write you on this matter. Perhaps you may know that I am the founder-acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. I have several temples in Canada Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and Hamilton. This Krsna consciousness movement is specifically meant to give every soul his original spiritual position.
Undoubtedly the soul is present in the heart of the living entity, and it is the source of all the energies for maintaining the body. The energy of the soul is spread all over the body, and this is known as consciousness. Since this consciousness spreads the energy of the soul all over the body, one can feel pains and pleasures in any part of the body. The soul is individual, and he is transmigrating from one body to another, just as a person transmigrates from babyhood to childhood, from childhood to boyhood, from boyhood to youth and then to advanced old age. Then the change called death takes place when we change to a new body just as we change our old dress to a new dress. This is called transmigration of the soul.
When a soul wants to enjoy this material world, forgetting his real home in the spiritual world, he takes this life of hard struggle for existence. This unnatural life of repeated birth, death, disease and old age can be stopped when his consciousness is dovetailed with the supreme consciousness of God. That is the basic principle of our Krsna movement.
As far as heart transplant is concerned, there is no question of success unless the soul is there in the heart. So it has to be accepted. In sexual intercourse, if there is no soul, there is no conception, no pregnancy. Contraception deteriorates the womb so that it no longer is a good place for the soul. That is against the order of God. By the order of God, a soul is sent to a particular womb, but by this contraceptive he is denied that womb and has to be placed in another. That is disobedience to the Supreme. For example, take a man who is supposed to live in a particular apartment. If the situation there is so disturbed that he cannot enter the apartment, then he is put at a great disadvantage. That is illegal interference and is punishable.
The undertaking of “soul research” would certainly mark the advancement of science. But advancement of science will not be able to find the soul. It can simply be accepted on circumstantial understanding. You will find in the Vedic literature that the dimension of the soul is one ten-thousandth the size of a point. The material scientist cannot measure the length and breadth of a point Therefore it is not possible for the material scientist to capture the soul. You can simply accept the soul’s existence by taking it from authority. What the greatest scientists are finding, we’ve explained long ago.
As soon as one understands the existence of the soul, he can immediately understand the existence of God. The difference between God and the soul is that God is a very great soul and the living entity is a very small soul, but qualitatively they are equal. Therefore God is all-pervading, and the living entity is localized. The nature and quality are the same.
The central question, you say, is “Where is the soul, and where does it come from?” That is not difficult to understand. We’ve already discussed that the soul is residing in the heart of the living entity and that it takes shelter after death in another body. Originally the soul comes from God. Just as a spark comes from fire, and when the spark falls down it appears to be extinguished, the spark soul originally comes from the spiritual world to the material world, In the material world he falls down into three different conditions which are called the modes of nature. When a spark of fire falls on dry grass, the fiery quality continues. When the spark falls on the ground, it cannot display its fiery manifestation unless the ground is favorably situated. And when the spark falls on water, it becomes extinguished. As such, we find three kinds of living conditions. One living entity is completely forgetful of his spiritual nature; another is almost forgetful, but still there is an instinct of spiritual nature; and another is completely in search of spiritual perfection. There is a bona fide method for the attainment of spiritual perfection by the spiritual spark soul, and if he is properly guided then he is very easily sent back home, back to Godhead, wherefrom originally he fell down.
It will be a great contribution to human society if this authorized information from the Vedic literature is presented to the modern world on the basis of modern scientific understanding. The fact is already there. It simply has to be presented for modern understanding. If you desire, I shall give you more information in this connection, and you can present it in scientific words. If you so desire, you can publish this letter in the paper also.
Hoping to hear from you soon.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada