Verse: Caitanya-caritamrita ,Madhya lila 17.133
“näma cintämaëiù kåñëaç
The supreme lord is absolute. The supreme lord is eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss. In this age of Kali Yuga, He descends into this world of duality in the sound of his name. “kali-käle näma-rüpe kåñëa-avatära”. There is no difference between the Lord and his name. Just as Krishna is eternal full of knowledge and full of bliss. His name also is full of knowledge and full of bliss. There are so many historical references in the scriptures of how Lord Krishna protects His devotee, when His devotee is in danger.
Just as in Vrindavana there is the beautiful narration by Sukadeva Gosvami of when, the cowherd boys and the cows along with Krishna enter deep into the forest in Vrindavana.
In this material world any arrangement you make, you must admit you are still in condition of great danger. Srimad Bhagavatam explains
“samäçritä ye pada-pallava-plavaà
mahat-padaà puëya-yaço muräreù
bhavämbudhir vatsa-padaà paraà padaà
padaà padaà yad vipadäà na teñäm”
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.58
This is a place where there is danger in every step, and whoever you are, whatever arrangements you make, you cannot change that reality of material nature. Some people looking for safety and protection, they move into the city. But in the city, there is pollution, which is danger to your health. There is crime, dacoit, robs are danger to your life and wealth. As soon as you walk into the streets your life is in danger. There are rickshaws, motor cars, trucks, buses, trains, buffalos, cows, people, bicycles and any one of these can kill you within a minute. It does not matter who you are? No one is spared from the laws of nature. At the least expected moment danger strikes, just like last week, we have all heard the sad news of this great plane crash in Bangalore. There was not a single person on that flight who was expecting death that day, any more than ,anyone of us today expecting death this evening. Even one with millions , corers of rupees and great power and control,even such a person was not exempt form the dangers from the reality of this material existence.
Just two days back I was speaking with one man, vegetarian all of his life, very athletic, physically fit,always took care of his health, and one day he found that his body was utterly plagued with cancer. To do not speak in negative way, simply to depress people’s minds,but we are speaking realistically about the facts of life in this material world.
So then, people may say this is all due to the artificial condition of living, in the technological world in city,so let me go into the forest. In the forest you will find the bears, the leopards, the tigers, and the serpents. At any moment anyone can strike you. What to speak of falling trees, monkeys throwing, there are so many unexpected dangers that can come upon you.
So in this way the cowherd boys and the cows along with Lord Krishna would play with great joy in the forest of Vrindavana. All at once to their great surprise they found that a mighty fire with roaring flames was growing higher and higher, in all four directions & surrounded them. How is it? That such innocent playful boys surrounded , by this fire. None of the boys started that fire. But by the laws of nature the wind blows and sometimes it causes the branches of trees, like the bamboos, to rub with friction together and it causes the spark. That spark touches dry leaves and creates fire. That one little spark, when fanned by the wind, can destroy millions of acres of land.
Two years ago in the United States of America, no one started the fire, but just by the natural course of friction of the trees, a small fire started. It broke out into huge fires, because of the heat & the lack of rain,and literally hundreds and thousands of acres of forest was brought to the ground. It was 100% out of the control of man, to stop this fire. What to do?
Today I was talking to one young lady from California, the wealthiest state of all America. She was explaining to me that last year the city was struck by an earthquake, and practically the entire city tumbled to the ground, practically total destruction.
Everyone goes to California to enjoy. Of course people of India, I do not think ,too much convincing of these miseries of material life. The wealthiest countries of this world are very expert , trying to hide the reality of the miseries of the life. But I can frankly say, in India there is no hope of hiding the miseries of material life.
I say,according to the observance of many visits of India, it is utterly impossible in this country to in any way hide the miseries of material life. That is one of the glories of India. The illusion is very small,compared to anywhere else in this world.
So here the innocent cowherd boys and helpless cows were surrounded by flames that are reaching the clouds in the sky. What can they possibly do to protect themselves? They realized that they are in hopeless and helpless condition. That, the fact is everyone of us at this very moment is in hopeless and helpless condition. The fact is that this very moment, if Krishna or God is not to save you, you will die in a second. If god is not providing you air to breathe,in a moment you will die. If god is not providing the rains,very soon we all will die. If god does not keep the sun just exactly in the proper location, we all will burnt to death or freeze to death. How many of us have learned ,the art of keeping our heart beating. You do not know,how your heart is beating. That is a super natural power, the power of god that is keeping your heart beating beyond any power of your intelligence. If he does not keep the heart beat, within a minute you die. The fact is we are ,24 hours a day ,in a hopeless and helpless condition completely depending on the mercy of God. That everyone agrees? Raise your hand if you agree.Raise your hand if you disagree.
So the cowherd boys in their helpless and hopeless condition, there was only one shelter,to turn to Krishna. Krishna, we have no other shelter, than you. We are your devotees. The cowherd boys and the cows with tears in their eyes, they looked upon the beautiful form of Govinda with the helpless feeling of a dying man, looking at the picture of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. “Mare Krishna rakhe ke, rakhe Krishna mare ke”. Lord if you want to kill me, there is no one and nothing, that I can do to protect myself. My lord if you want to protect me, not even the blazing fire meeting the sky , in all four surroundings can touch me. For Krishna there is nothing that is difficult. What is impossible condition of life for us, is most simple for Krishna.
If the entire fire brigade of all over India, were to try to put off a forest fire, there will be no effect. By all material standards, the cowherd boys were finished. They had only one defense from all devouring death, they had the faith that Krishna was their friend and protector.
Krishna told them to close their eyes. At that time he was just a small child of the name Gopal. And with the effortlessness of a playful child, he simply inhaled all the flames of the fire within an instant, he consumed it, into his mouth.
Indeed what dangerous condition, whatever impossible situation we are in life, for Krishna to help us is no more difficult for Him, than to simply inhale one breath in His childish, innocent manner.
When the cowherd boys and cows opened their eyes they saw the beauty of the Vrindavana forest, all around them. And they began to dance and celebrate the glorious mercy. They began to dance and glorify the infinite mercy of their friend and protector Krishna. So that same Krishna is constantly before us, when we call upon His holy names,with all of His power and all of His glories. In fact it is said that the only safe place in this entire material creation is where one is seeing glorify Krishna.
For one who remembers the name of the Lord, even at the moment of death there is no danger. “anta-käle ca mäm eva smaran muktvä kalevaram” Krishna says one who remembers me at the time of death attains eternal life in the spiritual world. Through the process of chanting the Lord’s name, we can find peace and real hope in every condition of life, and be free from the imminent dangers of this existence. It is factually the only protection. So let us welcome within our hearts the great opportunity at hand to take sincerely as the priority of our life the shelter of the holy name of the god. There is no more auspicious atmosphere than where the devotees come together to resound the pure vibration of Hari nama kirtan. It is a fact that when devotees come together to congregationally vibrate the pure sound of Krishna’s name ,this material world cannot exist in that atmosphere, that place is in truth, Vaikuntha,the place where there is no danger, no anxiety, no birth, and no death.
Our guru maharaja His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada , once in the city of Chicago, a city very famous for crime,he was speaking with a lieutenant of the police force. This Lieutenant asked Prabhupada, what recommendation do you have to help or rescue the city from the great rise in crime,that causes everyone great fear. He said, all you have to do ,that everyday at noon when there is the lunch break, everyone in the city , order by law to congregate in designated areas, to chant the holy names of the lord,to have beautiful kirtan of the lord and then you distribute Prasad. If you simply do this Chicago will become Vaikuntha. The lieutenant replied that I’ll have to discuss this with the members of the city council. So the great souls, the sadhus, they are giving everyone a chance to find the pure atmosphere of Vaikuntha right in the very place you are living today. To simply take to the process of the congregational chanting of the holy names,you are associated with Vaikuntha. Gradually by associating with this Vaikuntha atmosphere, your heart will become Vaikuntha. We have a very attentive student here today,in Caitanya-caritamrita there is a dog just like this, who become very attractive to the devotees, chanting the holy name. In only within few months time, he was directly sent to the spiritual world. That is the great power of the chanting of the god’s name. Whether you are in high class or low class, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, or human or dog simply by hearing the name of god, you will become purified.
Q: Maharaja the question is, you are come from America. Here there is poverty in India? Can you tell us the reason behind poverty?
Ans: I see more wealth here, than in the most upper class neighbourhoods of America. Real wealth is faith in God. Real wealth is the willingness to hear the glories of the lord. Where there is no faith, where there is no devotion, where there is no renunciation of sinful activities, that place is a place of the most horrible poverty. Real wealth is devotion. This is the wealth that can bring prosperity to the heart. Money , luxuries of life, without devotion only create a burning anxiety in the heart. When I was a young child, a certain times of my life, I lived in quite a wealthy neighborhood,but I was always very inclined toward seeking friendship with poor people. Because I found that the rich people were always trying to be somebody that was not them. They are always trying to be create an image of somebody that they were not. Filled with pride, filled with greed, there was no peace in their lives. Real wealth is simplicity and faith on God. Whether you are living in a beautiful palace or whether you are living in the jungle or in the streets,if you have that simplicity or faith in God, you are the wealthiest amongst all men,and if you do not have that simplicity or faith in god you are in poverty.
If you are not interested to hear the glories of the lord, being poor or rich is not the qualification. The question is, are you interested to associate with the message of god,if you are ,you are the wealthiest man on earth. If you are not, no matter what material conditions are, you are the most unfortunate man on earth.
Q : You are from America, but the place we are sitting today they do not have any proper food to eat. How does this philosophy can be applied over here, where there are so many difficulties of basic needs of material life?
Ans: It is the duty of those that have to provide those who do not have. Where there is Krishna Consciousness this compassion is natural. Where there is no Krishna Consciousness there is greed. That is the problem. So to the degree we become Krishna Consciousness to that degree the material and spiritual necessities of life will be available for all. The problem is Lack of God consciousness, and the only solution is, hearing in Krishna Consciousness.
Q: Our movement is preaching Krishna bhakti. People are devoted to Ganesha, shiva, or devi, So what is the position of Krishan Bhakti in front of other gods?
Ans: In Bhagavad-Gita,Krishna declares that the various demigods are worshiped by people who have material desires. And the demigods can give material benedictions that fulfill those desires. But all such material benedictions like everything of this material world are temporary and ultimately culminate in frustration and separation. But Krishna, He is supreme godhead, He is the giver of Bhakti, prema, or love,and it is said that love gives eternal peace and eternal happiness to one’s life. Srimad Bhagavatam explains,
“Sa vai punsam paro dharmo yato bhakti radhokshaje
Ahaituki apratihata yaya atma samprasidati”.
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.6.
The supreme occupation for all humanity is that which brings one to the point of unmotivated uninterrupted loving service to the Lord. This is the benediction that Krishna gives. Unmotivated, uninterrupted loving service which is the platform of consciousness, which can completely satisfy the soul. There is no material arrangement, that can satisfy the soul. The demigods they can provide various fulfillment of desires for material arrangements,but Krishna can fulfill your heart with that supreme peace and love, which is Bhakti, which is eternal condition of the soul.
Q: How do we understand the rich and the poor conditions, and Krishna bhakti ?
Ans: Richness and poorness is the result of one’s previous material karma. But what ever situation you are in due to past karma, you should understand that real wealth, is the inner realization of self realization, finding the wealth of love and peace within your own heart. That peace is eternal. The wealth of a rich man, it is only a temporary arrangement,when his pious activities are exhausted, he will become poor. The suffering of a poor man, the result of the sinful activities, when they are exhausted he will become rich. It is all temporary. But the peace within the heart, which comes through the devotion to God, that is eternal wealth and that is what we should ultimately strive to attain. The real wealth of the heart can only be attained when we please Radha and Krishna. A devotee of the lord takes pleasure in seeing Krishna satisfied. Krishna, he says, “patraà puñpaà phalaà toyaà yo me bhaktyä prayacchati” with a leaf, a flower, a little water is satisfied. I’ll give you a nice example. Sometimes we give lectures at very rich people’s houses, sometimes very poor people’s houses. But what I have found is even in the most exquisite beautiful bungalows in all of Bombay, we have not seeing such a pleasing arrangement for Radha and Krishna to sit, that we are seeing here this evening. They appear to be descending in all the opulence in Vrindavana. Seeing this is the real opulence of the eyes.