Om namoh bhagavate vasudevaya
Medicine for the conditioned soul
Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is performed in the parampara system i.e. it is conveyed from spiritual master to disciple. Such glorification is relished by those no longer interested in the false, temporary glorification of this cosmic manifestation. Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned soul undergoing repeated birth and death. Therefore who will cease hearing such glorification of the Lord except a butcher or one who is killing his own self?
Purport by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Hearing Krsna Katha
For Krsna katha, topics about Krsna consciousness, there must be a speaker and a hearer, both of whom can be interested in Krsna consciousness if they are no longer interested in material topics. One can actually see how this attitude automatically develops in persons who are Krsna conscious.
Krsna Katha versus Material desires
Although the devotees of the Krsna consciousness movement are quite young men, they no longer read materialistic newspapers, magazines and so on for they are no longer interested in such topics. Nivrita tarshay. They completely give up the bodily understanding of life. For topics concerning uttama sloka, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; the spiritual master speaks and the disciple hears with attention. Unless both of them are free from material desires they cannot be interested in topics of Krsna consciousness. A spiritual master and disciple do not need to understand anything more than Krsna, because simply by understanding Krsna and talking about Krsna, one becomes a perfectly learned person. Yasmin vijnate sarvam evam vijnatam bhavati
The Lord sits within everyone’s heart and by the grace of the Lord the devotee receives instructions directly from the Lord Himself who says in Bhagavad Gita:
sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto
mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca
vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedanta krd veda vid eva caham
(Bhagavad Gita 15.15)
I am seated in everyone’s heart and from Me comes knowledge, forgetfulness and remembrance. By all the Vedas I am to be known.Indeed I am the compiler of the Vedanta and I am the knower of the Vedas.
Disease of birth and death (bhava roga) \ Krsna katha (bhavo sada – free from birth and death)
Krsna consciousness is so exalted that one who is perfectly situated in Krsna consciousness under the direction of the spiritual master is fully satisfied by reading Krsna katha as found in Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita and similar Vedic literatures. Since merely talking about Krsna is so pleasing, we can simply imagine how pleasing it is to render service to Krsna. When discourses on Krsna katha take place between a liberated spiritual master and his disciple, others also sometimes take advantage of hearing these topics and also benefit. These topics are the medicine to stop the repetition of birth and death. The cycle of repeated birth and death by which one takes on different material bodies again and again is called bhava or bhava roga. If anyone willingly or unwillingly hears Krsna katha, his bhava roga, the disease of birth and death will certainly stop. Therefore Krsna katha is called bhavo sada, the remedy to stop the repetition of birth and death. Karmis or persons attached to material sense enjoyment generally cannot give up their material desires, but Krsna katha is so potent a medicine that if one is induced to hear Krsna kirtan, he will certainly be freed from this disease.
Story of Dhruva Maharaj
A practical example is Dhruva Maharaj who at the end of his tapasya was fully satisfied. When the Lord wanted to give Dhruva a benediction, Dhruva refused it:
‘Swamin kritartosmin varam yagnyace’
My dear Lord, he said, I am fully satisfied. I do not ask for any benediction for material sense gratification. We actually see that even young boys and girls in the Krsna consciousness movement have given up their long practice of bad habits like illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication and gambling because Krsna consciousness is so potent that it gives them full satisfaction. They are no longer interested in material sense gratification.
Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is performed in the parampara system, i.e. it is conveyed from spiritual master to disciple. Such glorification is relished by those who are no longer interested in the false, temporary glorification of this cosmic manifestation. Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned soul undergoing repeated birth and death. Therefore who will cease hearing such glorification of the Lord except a butcher or one who is killing his own self?
Om agyan timirandhasya
chakshur anmilitam yena
tasmai shri guruve namah
Glories of Parikshit Maharaj
The Srimad Bhagavatam which is the conclusion of all the transcendental knowledge of the Vedic literatures spoken by Srila Vyasadeva is describing the essence of all transcendental realization and how to attain it. Srila Vyasadeva begins the Bhagavatam by describing the great emperor Parikshit; how he was cursed to die in seven days and how he responded to this apparent great misfortune. He relinquished all the things of this world which would distract his mind away from the Lotus Feet of Lord Hari. He approached the foremost of all ascetics, Srila Sukadev Goswami. He sat at his feet simply to hear this message in submissive, aural reception. Of course we all know the story but how much we must understand the importance of the example given by Srila Sukadev Goswami and Maharaj Parikshit. We see as long as you are interested in making advancement in your material life, as long as you are the slightest interested for material sense gratification, you cannot hear transcendental knowledge. Of course we are all attached to the bodily conception of life but those who have the strong desire to be liberated from the bodily conception of life; those who deeply aspire to free themselves from the clutches of the attachment between the senses and the objects and who want to understand the higher goals of life, they are fit to properly hear the message of Bhagavatam or the glories of the Lord. Maharaj Parikshit, when it was explained to him that he was to die within seven days he considered it a great benediction. Most of us would be very very fearful, would consider ourselves very unfortunate. After all, Maharaj Parikshit did not deserve it. He was a great king. He was a very righteous and pious man. He was a great devotee of the Lord since his birth. But by the arrangement of Krsna, he committed one small mistake and he was sentenced, he was given the death sentence. Very difficult situation. But Maharaj Parikshit because he understood the goal of life, he welcomed the death sentence. He welcomed it and was very happy to receive it. In fact he had the power to avoid it if he wanted. He himself was a very powerful mystic. He could have reversed the curse and challenged the inexperienced brahman who so foolishly cursed him. But Maharaj Pariskhit knowing the will of the Lord decided that the best way he could preach was to simply accept it happily. In fact Maharaj Parikshit was relieved when he received this curse, because he took it as the sign coming from Krsna that now it is time to retire from all worldly activities and simply think of Him. So obviously Maharaj Parikshit was not sightlessly concerned with material sense gratification. He was not the slightest bit attached to his high material position in life and this is the standard that we should all come to.
How to approach a saintly person?
We should not approach saintly persons with the desire for a material arrangement of happiness in this world. Because factually there are so many worldly materialistic persons who can provide that benediction upon you. You approach a saintly person for one reason and for one reason alone that by their blessings and their mercy we can be relieved of all material aspirations. We should never approach a saintly person with our material aspirations. If we do, we are cheating ourselves. As Dhruva Maharaj explained, he was approaching the Lord for broken pieces of glass but he attained a rare diamond. So similarly if you want broken pieces of glass do not go to the jewelry store but go to the garbage dump where there are all sorts of broken glass. If you want nice sex life, if you want nice comfortable living, if you want a position within society where people will respect you and adore you, then go to the garbage dump of materialistic persons. Bhagavatam says that crows are very fond of making pilgrimage to the garbage, they are eating the refuse. So similarly materialistic persons are very very fond of eating the refuse of material enjoyment, chewing the chew. And those persons who are the most expert at material enjoyment they are the leaders. So go to them. You do not go to the swan in the beautiful lakes where there are lotus flowers to find garbage. You go there to find the highest and the sweetest of all flavors. So similarly when we approach a saintly person in the mood of Maharaj Parikshit, we should approach a saintly person with this strong determination that I want Krsna, I want God. I am frustrated and disgusted with material life. Now let me seek out the highest. And factually there is only one place where we can receive the highest, from those who are living on the platform of transcendental life.
Glories of Sukadev Goswami
Sukadev Goswami, he was no longer interested in the slightest in anything material. Let us try to understand the position of Sukadev Goswami. He was obviously not interested in wearing nice clothes because he roamed through the jungles naked. He didn’t wear anything. He was obviously not interested in a comfortable place to live because he slept in the forest under a different tree every night. He definitely was not interested in being recognized as a very great guru or a great saintly person because he pretended to be a mad man. And the people of society condemned him and rejected him. In fact as he was walking through the forest, the common people, they thought he was so crazy that they were throwing refuse at him. They were shouting insults and blasphemies at him and he simply welcomed it all and was very happy to receive this reciprocation knowing that it was the result of his complete detachment from this material world. He accepted that it is the mercy of God. So Sukadev Goswami was not attached to any condition of this world.
Na dhanam na janam na sundarim
Kavitam va jagadisa kamaye
Krishna Consciousness and Sense gratification
He was not attached to wealth, he was not attached to women, he was not attached to distinction or aggrandizement. He was only attached to one thing, always remembering Krsna and always glorifying the Lord through his every act, his every word, his every thought. So this is the real combination which gives birth to transcendental realization. When we approach a bona fide spiritual master, a bona fide saintly person with a desire for Krsna consciousness, with a desire for detachment, knowledge and devotion and when we approach such a person who is no longer interested in material life, then our spiritual life really begins. Of course the unfortunate situation is that because the material energy is so powerful that sometimes we forget why we initially or originally came to spiritual life. Sometimes, as time goes on we become very complacent. The things that we so enthusiastically renounced or rejected when we began our spiritual life, we begin to consider that these things are really not so bad after all. Maya is like a thief. Her business is to steal whatever propensities you have to serve Krsna. Of course for a materialistic person, they just leave their front door wide open and go to sleep and the thief of maya just walks right in and steals everything away. But for a devotee who has learnt from a bona fide spiritual master that sense gratification and Krsna consciousness are total opposites, you cannot have both.
Bhogaisvarya prasaktanam tayapahrta cetasam
Vyavasayatmika buddhih samadhau na vidhiyate
(Bhagavad Gita 2.44)
That for those who are too much attached to material opulence and sense enjoyment, the resolute determination for devotional service cannot take place. Without detachment there is no possibility of attachment to Krsna. So therefore a devotee is trained to lock every door and every window so that the thief of maya cannot enter into his consciousness.
How maya enters in our lives- (story of Arab and a camel)
We follow the four regulative principles and we keep our mind filled with hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. In this way, maya has no place to enter. Sometimes it is said that Krsna consciousness is like the razor’s edge. A little inattention and there will be blood. What does that mean? If we become the slightest bit inattentive, if we leave even one crack of the basement window the slightest bit open, you can know for sure maya will find that and she will very very quietly, gradually open it and creep in and you will not even know that she’s there. And very very meticulously, and carefully and quietly she will little by little take one, another of the treasures of your home, your consciousness and by the time you wake up you realize there is nothing left. This is the way maya works in relationship to a devotee. Very subtle. You give in a little, and then a little more and then a little more and you do not even realize that you are giving in. You are thinking Ah, just a little, after all we are not fanatics. After all a little sense gratification is healthy. Gradually a little becomes a little more, that becomes a little more, that becomes a little more and you are thinking, actually I am a good devotee, I am doing everything just right and before you realize you are totally fallen, you have nothing. You have lost all your attraction for Krsna consciousness, you have lost all your attraction for austerity, your intelligence has been stolen away. You are completely in illusion, completely bewildered and then finally it all makes sense, how did this happen to me? Srila Prabhupada told a story about the camel, it was very cold in the desert and the Arab man had just one tent, just big enough only for him and he had a fire in the tent, it was very warm. The camel came and said please let me in the tent, I am very cold. No no it is only big enough for one person, you have to stay outside. So he was very fixed to his determination. But the camel said my nose is very cold, just my nose, let me put my nose in. The Arab said alright but only your nose, nothing else. It is the beginning of the end. You give one inch to maya there is no end. So the camel put his nose in. After some time he said I cannot see, my eyes are freezing, please let me put my eyes in, only my eyes. And he said alright only your eyes. And after some time, you know camels are very very attached to their necks, they have very big necks. My neck is freezing, you don’t know what its like, please just my neck… and then his front legs and then his back legs and then his tail and then pretty soon the Arab was outside , freezing on the ground, and the camel was nicely enjoying the evening in the tent. It is a foolish sounding story but it is the story of our lives if we are not careful.
How to protect ourselves from maya?
If you give maya an inch, she will take everything imperceptibly. Therefore we must be very careful, very cautious from the very beginning. And how are we careful? It’s no mystery, it’s no great secret. If we always organize and manage our life under the supervision of great souls who are detached from material enjoyment, if at every step we move with their blessings, then there is no chance that maya can creep into our life. But as soon as we take our life into our own hands, as soon as we become so ridiculously proud to think that I can decide what is best for me, then what we are doing is we are simply putting the welcome man out; maya please come. Therefore the great souls, they never act independent of the guru and the sadhus. And we find that even the greatest personalities, by their example, they humble themselves before the great souls and take instruction just to show the common man. When Lord Ramachandra was living in the forest with Viswamitra Muni, and actually throughout His entire life, He would practically never make a major decision in His life without first approaching Viswamitra Muni, Vashishta Muni or the great devotees to inquire do I have your blessings to do this? Knowing that without the blessings of the great souls anything that we do is condemned, anything that we do is simply by the power of maya’s influence. You know often times, Srila Prabhupada tells us that in preaching if we want to really really go into a situation that is difficult and establish Krsna consciousness, we must go in like a needle and out like plough. Have you heard this saying? If a person is ready for Krsna consciousness, you go in like a plough and you come out like a bomb and material life is obliterated and all that is left is Hare Krsna. But for a person who is very very closed to receiving spiritual knowledge, you have to go in like a needle, like a little pin. He doesn’t even know you are coming. Once you get in you come out like a plough. Now do you think that maya does not know our philosophy? Everything that guru teaches us, maya hears. And she knows that this is the way to destroy a person who is Krsna conscious. She takes our own philosophy and uses it against us. She comes in like a needle and out like a plough for those who are devotees. So we must be very very careful. The needle of maya cannot enter our life as long as we are being protected by the grace of Krsna and His devotees. Therefore we should be very very careful. We should be very careful not to do anything, not to say anything and we should even avoid, as far as possible, thinking anything that does not have the auspicious blessings of our spiritual master and the great souls. We should know that anything contrary to the instructions of the great saintly persons is maya. She may disguise herself just like Ravana. How did he catch Sita? He disguised himself as a very saintly person correct? Because Sita, she would not have allowed herself to be vulnerable to a wicked-minded person, he disguised himself as a very pious and gentle sadhu. And therefore Sita was thinking, there is no reason to guard myself against him, he’s a great saint. He is asking for something I should give. And Ravana, after she went beyond the limits where she was protected by the order of Ram and Lakshman, she was simply stolen away. In the same way maya will steal us. Maya appears to be our best friend. Sometimes she even appears to be Krsna Himself. And then we put trust in maya and then we want to reciprocate and offer up ourselves in the service of maya and before we know it we are in the hands of Ravana, we are in the hands of the material energy. So it is not difficult. Krsna consciousness is very simple. We never have to be subject to this condition of life.
Krsna consciousness-simple for the simple
Krsna consciousness is simple for the simple and complicated for the complicated. If you simply are submissive and humble. If you simply accept, I know nothing but Krsna’s representatives, they know everything and before making any major decisions in our life, before making any decisions, we must be sure that our decision is confirmed by higher authorities. If we always act in this way, maya has no place in our life. She can tempt us, she can taunt us, she can harass us, but she cannot come into our life The doors are locked. As soon as you take your life in your own hands you are maya’s property. So therefore we must approach spiritual life, prani pashnina sevayya. We must enquire submissively from guru and we must render service. If we always keep our minds filled with the transcendental vibration through hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord and we know that we should only chant and hear the glories of the Lord from those persons who are detached from material enjoyment and we are always receiving our instructions and our direction in life from them and them only and if we always keep our mind and our senses and our words engaged in their loving service, the service of such great souls, then we are in a fearless condition, nothing can stop our spiritual progress. Its very simple, just be humble, just be submissive. Simply accept the guidance of great souls in your life. Accept the guidance of guru, sadhu and sastra, and there are no dangers, isn’t that simple? Why do we complicate things with our own mental conceptions, our own mental speculations? So we should just chant Hare Krsna and be happy.
Thank you very much.