A Brahman describes his past lives activities  to Prahlad Maharaj

The great Brahman speaking with Prahlad Maharaj is sharing with us his realizations. The realizations by which hearing can enlighten one to detach oneself from the fruitive endeavors of this world. And attach oneself only to the lotus feet of those great Sadhus who are dedicated in the service of the Lord. He is describing  here how the spirit soul in its process of transmigrating through the  84 lakh species of life, has practically seen and considered everything.  He is describing that he had been a King, living in palaces, wearing crown, silken robes, fine ornaments, traveling on backs of elephants, or on beautiful chariots and horses. And he described that in some times I found myself naked like a mad man, people thinking that I am haunted by a ghost.  Indeed in this world there are so many varieties of  material ways to enjoy or suffer.  But after being through all of them one realizes the futility of material life.  In fact, we read in Srimad Bhagavatam how the Lord puts the living entity in a situation, in this world, where he can see and consider all alternatives until every last hope is exhausted and one is convinced that there is no other shelter thanKrishna.  Then you have to continue traveling, experiencing new varieties of methods to try to be happy.


Sri Narada Muni in past life as a maidservant’s son serves Mahabhagavatas

In the story of the maidservant’s son [In Sri Narada Muni’s past life] , which we find in the first canto, it is described that he was just an ordinary maid servant’s boy but by the grace of God he was given the association of Sadhus.. They were living in the forest and doing the Chaturmasya. A group of Mahabhagvats,  highly elevated spiritual personalities, happened to stay with them in the forest for those four months.  And he had the opportunity of hearing from them and rendering service to them, even taking the sanctified Prasad form their plates.  In fact, hearing from the great souls and rendering service is the first and foremost process of purification.  Some times we preach that chanting of the holy name is the most important process in Kaliyuga.  But factually, preliminary to chanting the holy names is to hear and render service to the great souls.  Because it is through their mercy that we learn how to chant the holy name property.  It is said in Bhagavatam


nashta-prayeshv abhadreshu

nityam bhagavata-sevaya

bhagavaty uttama-sloke

bhaktir bhavati naishthiki (SB 1.2.18)

“That by regularly hearing the Bhagavat philosophy and by rendering service to those persons who are enunciating Bhagavat philosophy by their life and words, a great service is done, and the Lord in our heart  taking great pleasure in our activities, purifies us of all material contaminations and  reveals Himself within our own hearts.” So this young maid servant’s son, hardly even literate, he was given the great fortune by the gift of God to hear from great souls and to become their menial servant.  This is the process and the only process to make the spiritual advancement – to hear from the great souls and to become their menial servant.  What does it mean to become menial servant?  This young boy, he was not thinking himself of any qualification whatsoever.  He was just thinking that it was by the great mercy of God that he was being allowed to bring them some Prasad, to clean up after they ate Prasad, to just ask, “Iis there anything  I can do for you?”. That is the perfection of life. No one should ever consider that his service is so great, so important, that it warrants credit.  Because if you are thinking like that, that means you are no longer menial servant.  And if you are not a menial servant, you have missed the whole point of Krishna Consciousness. Menial means – “I am nothing.”  Whatever I can do for the devotees that is the perfection of my life. That is the greatest opportunity I have in  my life, just to do something to please the devotees.  And because this child was so humble, in his submission or reception or his desire to serve, he got the heart-felt blessings from the Sadhus.  A Sadhu cannot give his heart-felt blessing unless you approach him in this way. A Sadhu is giving his blessings to every one. But the heart- felt blessing come from one who actually is recipient of that mercy.  And it is only through meekness, humility and menially serving that the heart-felt blessing of the Sadhus comes upon into ones life. Without those blessing we cannot approach God.  So, therefore, when he received the heart-felt blessings then Krishna was satisfied with him andKrishnatook over his life. Krishnaestablished with him faith, and this child was thinking. “My God! I do not want any longer to just sit at home to help my mother serve.  The Sadhus have gone now what am I going to do.  I want to take to the path of God realization. I want to become a renunciant – one who gives up everything for the service of Krishna.” But in this predicament I have to take care of my aged mother.


īśvarah sarva-bhūtānāḿ

hrd-deśe ‘rjuna tisthati

bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni

yantrārūdhāni māyayā (BG 18.61)


“The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.”


Seeing the arrangement of Krishna even in materially worst situations

Krishnais directing everyone from within heart. According to your faith and according to the arrangement He wants to make, He is directing everyone. That is why a devotee should come to the platform of complete fearlessness.  Because the devotee has nothing to fear because he knowsKrishnais in everyone’s heart. “If  I am surrendering to Krishna, Krishnawill only allow and direct others to do what I need.” What needs to be accepted for my purification.  SoKrishnain the heart of a serpent struck his mother and killed her.  Then this child, he was the only son, he was just a small boy, he had no one to protect him, he has no one to facilitate his livelihood, but he was thinking,” Krishna is so kind that he has killed my mother. My mother, because she has served the great souls, she is obviously going to some higher destination. There is no doubt about that.  But  now I am free to completely dedicate all my time to self-realization.”  And in this spirit of renunciation, which is actually the highest expression of love even to his mother, A materialist cannot understand this.  A materialist will think, “How hard hearted he is! His mother is dead and he is glad.  How was this possible?” You see, a saintly person, his compassion is upon the soul.  He was fully aware that due to the association of Sadhus, the Mahabhagavatas, his mother would become a great devotee in her next life, if not  go back to Godhead. And not only that but he knew for well by hearing from the great souls that whatever spiritual advancement he makes his mother shares as well, wherever her soul may be. She gets the credit.  So, therefore, he considered, “If I am free to become completely self realized, if I become perfectly pure, my mother gets liberation and goes back to godhead.  So, therefore, the greatest thing I can do for my mother is to become Krishna Consciousness.  And therefore, now I am completely free to becomeKrishnaconsciousness.” So he was feeling actually glad, not only that he was free to serveKrishnawithout impediments, but he was also feeling glad because he could do the greatest act of love in service as a son to his mother.  In Sanskrit the word ‘Putra’ is the word for a son.  Putra means one who delivers his fore fathers from hellish conditions. When a son performs the proper oblations in the service of Lord Hari, when the son becomes purified through devotion to God, then whatever sinful karmic reactions his ancestors, his fore fathers may be suffering or enjoying, they are purified from all those things, and they become liberated in the state ofKrishnaconsciousness.

The boy embarks on a great spiritual journey fully depending on Krishna

So, therefore, this child simply  left and with complete faith in God.  He began to travel.  And where did he travel? Krishnawithin his heart wanted to give him full experience of the world, of the material existence. He was simply watching. He was simply observing, trying to see how people were thinking, how people were  living.  Trying to see  howKrishnawas revealing Himself in different circumstances of this world.  SoKrishnain his heart led him to the big metropolis cities.  And his trip led him to search out all the alternatives within those cities.  And then he went to the towns and traveled and saw what was taking place in those towns – looking forKrishnaconsciousness there.  And then he went to the little villages.  And from little villages he traveled into the agricultural fields. From the agricultural fields he traveled into the forests.  And from forests he traveled into the deepest darkest jungles.  In this way he saw how all classes of men were living.  In this way he understood to his own realization, that there is no alternative except taking complete shelter ofKrishnafor relief from happiness and distress in this world.  He saw the animals in the jungles, the simple field workers in the agricultural fields, the very simple life of the village people, the hard working life of the town people, and the very passionate people of the city.  He saw that they were all simply enjoying and suffering the results of their past karmas.  Therefore he could understand there was really no difference.  He could see the mode of goodness, the mode of passion and the mode of ignorance in all these temporary situations – different varieties of happiness and distress. But in essence it is all t he same. It is all material.  It is all temporary.


Prahlad Maharaj has said,


“matir na krsne paratah svato va,

mitho bhipadyeta grhavratanam,

adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram,

punah punas carvita carvananam” (SB 7.5.30)


“That only the most foolish person remains within this human life attached to sense gratification, and he spends his valuable time simply chewing what has already been chewed.”

All the happiness and distresses in this world, we already had millions of times, and each time we have been frustrated by them and still trying to find more.  Prahlad Maharaj has described that this whole process of trying to  find pleasure in this world is nothing but chewing that which has already been chewed, and chewed and spit out and chewed again.  Therefore, a wise man becomes indifferent to sense gratification. He struggles and strives for the higher realization of God consciousness.  So this maid servant’s son, he gave up all hope of  happiness  in this world.  He  had seen every thing. As Narottam Das Thakur has said,  “I have seen and considered this whole world, and without youKrishna  no one and nothing can save me.”  That was the realization of this boy.


The Boy gets Darshan of Krishna in Meditation and reborn later as Narada

And thus he sat down in meditation, in prayer, chanting the holy names, and meditating on the Lord within his heart.  And when Krishna saw that he had honestly and genuinely given up all hope for happiness any where except in Him at that time only didKrishnareveal Himself.  And whenKrishnarevealed Himself, this child said, “How beautiful! how wonderful! all my desires are now fulfilled simply by the Darshan  of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  I have nothing to be attained.” And then the vision disappeared from his eyes and he felt so alone in separation that where is that lord of my life who has been so kindly appeared to me.  And he began to perform the same meditation process again seeking out the beauty of the Lord within his heart but to no avail.  And then the Lord spoke to him. He heard the sweet voice of the Lord within the silence of his own heart.  And Bhagavan Sri Krishna spoke to him and told him, “I am the Paramatma and in this life you will not see me again.  But because you have no taste for anything except Me, you will be indifferent from all the pleasures and pains of this world, and you will always be longing to see me again.  And this longing to see me, those tears of your longing to see me will wash away all material contamination and misconceptions within your heart and in your next birth you will be my eternal associate. You will never forget me.  You will see me everywhere and in every thing.”  So that child for the rest of his life he simply longed for that vision of Sri Krishna.  He was constantly immersed in chanting His names and remembering the Lord.  And then that child in due course of time left his body and in the next day of Brahma he became the son of Brahma.  And he is celebrated throughout all the Vedic literatures as the great Narada Muni. That pure soul whose only business is to enlighten others in the path of Bhakti, devotion to Sri Hari.


Material Happiness and Distress is Fleeting

So now he has seen and experienced so much of this world, and this Avadhoot Brahman is echoing the same message.  He is describing that we have all seen and considered every thing of this  world practically speaking.  Why do we want to chew that what has already been chewed?  Why are we still trying to find relief and happiness in the process of  sense gratification.  How many times we had sense gratification in this birth?  What to speak in previous births. How many times we are frustrated?  How many times we are put in hopeless condition?  Sense gratification is hopeless.  Material attachment is a hopeless condition.  To put our hope in what is hopeless is the greatest illusion.  Therefore, this great Brahman is describing how, because he has put his only hope in life in God, in the lotus feet of Krishna, and in the service of His devotees, therefore, he is no longer interested in the phantasmagoria of the glare of this material existence.  And he is describing here that in this world different people have different mentalities.  According to the three modes of material nature every person is the unique in his consciousness.  And therefore, he says, ”It is not my business to either praise them or blame them.”  Someone who has material qualities, of course one who has advanced in spiritual qualities are saintly persons, want to praise such a person.  But as far as material quality,  he is saying “It is not my business to praise such people.”  Because those material qualities – Prabhupada explains it here that they are all just very superficial.  Whether one is elevated to a high position, or whether one is degraded to the lowest position,  to  a saintly person it makes very little difference.


Vidya Vinay Sampanne

Bramhane Gabhi Hastini

Suni caiva svapake ca

Panditah Sama Darsinah (BG 5.18)


“A saintly person sees a highly learned Brahman, an elephant, a cow, a dog, or the lowest of humanity – chandala (Dog-eater), he sees them all with  equal  vision.“

He says that a particular position in society is just based on karma.  A Brahman is in the mode of goodness and the chandala is in the mode of ignorance.  And the various animals in different degrees of passion and ignorance.  He sees the soul in every ones heart and therefore, he is the well wisher of every soul.  Therefore, as far as he is concerned there is no value of material qualification so why should I praise some one who has them. And there is no fault in disqualification.  In fact, saintly person sees more glory in disqualification than  in qualification.


Krishna is easily obtained by the materially impoverished

Queen Kunti was a Maha-bhagavat (Great saintly devotee of the Lord).  Queen Kunti was such an elevated soul that she happens to be the maternal aunt ofKrishna. She was the sister of Vasudev –Krishna’s paternal father.  And therefore, her prayers are so full of devotion and realization that an entire chapter of Srimad Bhagvatam – the Maha Purana – is dedicated only to her.  And great paramhamsas have been chanting her prayers with love for thousands and thousands of years, being inspired by her realizations.  And she is praying, “My dear Lord Krishna please cut all my attachments.”

edhamāna-madaḥ pumān
naivārhaty abhidhātuṁ vai
tvām akiñcana-gocaram (SB 1.8.26)

The most fortunate people are those who are impoverished because they are not proud.  People with high education, with high birth, with physical beauty and with lots of money,  their tendency is to become very proud.  They lose the menial mentality that I am simply nothing but servant of Krishna. The more you know how great is Krishna and that Krishna is everything, when you see everything, When you understand everything in the form of the glory of God then you realize that you are nothing, so infinitesimally small, there is nothing to say about yourself. There is nothing to think about yourself. Just think about Krishna. Think about how great is Krishna! As long as you think you are great you cannot understand Krishna’s greatness. But when you realize that you are nothing then your heart is completely open to appreciate the glory and greatness of Krishnaand the glory of His devotees. So that is the fact we are nothing. And if we think we are something,  than we are more nothing than nothing. We are less nothing than nothing.  And that is the mentality that we should strive to acquire for the service to  the Lord and His devotees. So therefore what is there to praise or blame?  Queen Kunti is saying that this false pride is such an impediment in spiritual life that I consider, “You my dear Lord Krishna are akincan gocaram, You are the property of the impoverished. You are never the property of proud.” Bible says “pride cometh before a fall”. So. therefore, what about great kings? Bhagavatam is describing such powerful and distinguished personalities who were kings. In the 12th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, it describes what qualification a literature must have to be an authorized Purana.  And one of the qualification is it must tell great history of the great kings of  the past. And we are read Srimad Bhagvatam is constantly talking about Maharaj Priyavrata, Maharaj Agnidro, Maharaj Rishabhdeva, Maharaj Bharat, Maharaj Ambarish, Maharaj Dhruva, Maharaj Prahalad, Maharaj Parikshit, Maharaj Yudhisthir, Maharaj Rantideva, Maharaj Ramchandra, Maharaj Ugrasena. The list goes on and on. Srimad Bhagavatam is filled with the stories of great kings. And they were all, practically pure devotees of Lord Hari. So, why Kunti is saying akincanam gocaram? These are kings, they are not impoverished.Krishna is the property of only those who are impoverished she says. Because in their hearts they were impoverished. Although they were living in palatial buildings with great wealth, incredible intelligence, influence, power, popularity. In their hearts they always felt themselves impoverished – “I am nothing! I am the most menial! I am the most insignificant! ButKrishna by His grace – He is putting in me in this position. It’s all His. It’s all by the blessings of the Sadhus that I am allowed to this service but personally I am nothing.” This is the way all great devotees thinks of themselves. Whatever situation is. And therefore a devotee only sees the humility in persons heart. He doesn’t care anything for anything else about that person. Everything is superficial, external and meaningless. A person only sees how one is willing to take  the humble  position of menial servant of the servant. and he praises and glorifies that quality it another. Any other quality it’s nothing to praise. It’s all material. And that is what this great Brahmin is saying. I do not praise anyone for what they can do and I do not blame anyone for what the  cannot do. This is all karma. This is all meaningless. I only see the surrender of a person. That it what means to beKrishna consciousness. And a devotee simply sees the heart of another. And when he sees that in the heart, he glorifies, he adores that principle. And that is what Avadhoot Brahmin is explaining here. He has no business either blaming or praising anyone for their material conditions of life. He only desires all their welfare. And real Sadhu must be on this platform. It is very important. Because if a saintly persons gets attracted by the facilities which other could give him then he is no longer impartial. He would be merciful to the wealthy but he wouldn’t care less about the poor. He will be very anxious to help those who are distinguished in society. But those who are illiterate and down trodden, he will not have time for them. Therefore a real devotee of the Lord is the welfare worker of everyone. And the supreme example of this is Lord Nityananda Himself. When He would travel through countryside, teaching people to take holy name of Lord Sri Krishna, He did not discriminate. He did not discriminate between who is rich and who is poor. Between who is literate and illiterate. Between who is man and who is woman. Who is old and who is young. He made no  discrimination between who is famous and who is infamous. He did not make even slightest discrimination between who is sinful and who is pious. Who is religious and who is irreligious. Sometimes today’s people are very proud of living inIndia and coming from Brahmin family and they are very pious and not breaking the principles. And sometimes it is very difficult to preach these people because they already know everything. Yes, they never eat meat. They never had intoxication, never gambled or illicit sex. They have been doing their Puja since their birth. And they are proud of it thinking, ”I am very spiritually advanced, and what can you tell me I am born in this culture.”

Saints distribute Love of God to all without any Discrimination

Recently we were inTomkinSquarePark, the place where Srila Prabhupada had established Krishna Consciousness. A place where entire population is either drug addicts, alcoholics.

So who is more advanced? Therefore Lord Ntyananda did not see the difference between those who are sinful and those who are not sinful. He saw every living entity is potentially a pure devotee ofKrishnaand therefore I have to give every body the chance not that I reject the rich for poor nor do I reject the poor for rich. In fact, he is even merciful to animals, the lower species. Give them Prasad too. They deserve it much as any body else. This is the quality of a saintly person.  He is equal to all. He simply wants to be welfare servant of every living being. He wants to be the servant of the servant. He wants to be the humble servant every creature on earth. He sees that the soul is longing forKrishnain everyone’s heart. And all material qualification that people are  so busy blaming and praising people for it is all just an illusion, meaningless. So therefore a person comes to kill me or offer flower  to me, I do not see the any difference in that person. I only see my service to that person. This is the way a saintly person sees. My service is somehow to get that person to chant the holy names. What he does to me? What his mentality is? That is between him andKrishna. My service is to try to get him some how or other to accept the name ofKrishnain his life. Therefore a devotee is well wisher of everyone. He is simply praying for everyone’s welfare. He doesn’t see anyone as his friend or enemy. He sees everyone as his prabhu, his master. That isKrishnaconsciousness.


Thank you very much.



Maharaj : The Sadhu is not discriminating, in the sense Sadhu wants to see everybody like that. That is the only quality the Sadhu appreciates. Because he knows that is the only quality pleasing toKrishna. That is the  only quality which brings one to spiritual advancement. That quality is the opulence on the spiritual level.Krishna says He sees no difference between gold and dirt on the ground. People are very anxious to decorate themselves with gold ring and gold jewellery. But Sadhu sees there is no difference between a cup of dirt which everybody can pick up and throw away and beautiful gold ornaments that people are just taking care to decorate themselves. There is no difference. Because he sees that material qualifications has nothing to do with the reality of soul. It cannot bring you closer toKrishna. The only thing that can bring closer toKrishna is the humble attitude of service. Therefore he sees the humility, that service attitude as the most glorious opulence. He appreciates that. He praises that in another. He doesn’t praise any other quality.



Maharaj : the chanting is the prayer to engage in His service. The service is always there. The service is eternal. There are nine processes of devotional service. And chanting is a service in itself. Sravanam, kirtanam. It is the  second process of devotional service. And through chanting our heart becomes purified. And in that purified state then, our every word, our every thought and our every deed is naturally and spontaneously is in the service ofKrishna and in the service of  His devotees. In one sense everything we do become our chanting. Whatever we do we are glorifyingKrishna.



Maharaj : Srila  Prabhupada explains that the heart is just the place of residence. The soul is the person. At the time of heart transplant that really has nothing to do whether person is existing in that particular body. In other words if you have a karma to live in a particular body for so long then they can change the hearts. The soul just goes to one heart to next. As long as he is destined to stay in body, you can change the heart million times. That has nothing to do with the karma of a living entity. When it’s time him to go, he goes. This heart or that heart. Every cell in your body is changing every seven years. How much old are you? The questioner replies – he is 28 years old. Majaraj :  “That means you already had four hearts. As far as cellular make up of heart, your heart has gone through four complete transformation in the life. But the soul remains throughout complete changing of the body. Body Is always changing. By the nature’s way it changes very gradually. The cells die and new cell is born. Old cells die and new cell is born. In this process your whole body is being completely  replanted of new cells in gradual form. So heart transplant is more a sudden change. Cellular point of view  you had four hearts in your life.  So rather then going through seven year heart transplant they just do it all at once. But the soul remains there. You can give another heart. Heart is just the residence for  the soul. Sometimes you are evicted from one apartment you go to another apartment. So this is not very difficult to understand.


Question. – Inaudible

Maharaj : This is all his lila. Srila prabhupada said there is Nitya siddha, Kripa siddha and Sadhana siddha . Nitya siddha is one who is never been conditioned by material nature. He is always been in his constitutional position. Sometimes those soul by the order of the God descend in to this world to help the Lord with His mission. And there is Kripa siddha, like Jagai and Madhai, who had no qualification whatsoever but by the very rare mercy of the Lord they attained perfection without doing anything. and there is Sadhana siddha, the person who is conditioned to the modes of material nature, to the repetition of birth and death. But by associating spiritual persons and spiritual disciplines they purify their lives and through that they attain perfection of life. So these are  the three categories. But factually whether you are Sadhana siddha or Kripa siddha once you attain Siddha position you become a Nitya siddha. So there is really no difference – it’s all just a dream. Just like now you are awake. Now someone who has never been asleep is always awake. But someone who has been sleep he wakes up, is there really any difference then a person who really never wants to sleep. Once he is awake he is awake. His dream is over. So really you are in the position of Nitya siddha again. So once you attain that position of perfect Krishna consciousness you understand that you always been perfectKrishna consciousness but you were dreaming for a little while. So now I have woken up. The soul is always perfectlyKrishna consciousness. Sometimes it’s dreaming it’s different. So we have to understand these personalities in Srimad Bhagavatam are not ordinary personalities.Krishna has orchestrated many of these peoples lives in such a way just to give transcendental instruction for the world to follow.

Thank you very much.

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.