Kaliyuga – the Sinful age

The universal cycle is divided into Satyayuga – the golden age of religiosity and austerity, Treta yuga- where ¾ of the population remain God conscious, Dvapar yuga in which in the beginning 43 gradually dwindles until  it intersects Kali yuga. At the beginning of the age of Kali not more than 1/4th of the population follow any religious principles and gradually it becomes greater and greater in degradation until at the end of Kaliyuga, practically 100% of the population is utterly sinful. This age of Kaliyuga is the iron age, the age of darkness, the age of quarrel and hypocrisy. We find in the shastras, in the bhavgavat puran, there is a beautiful verse which describes how the great saints and sages will worship Kaliyuga more than any other age.


Great souls suffer to uplift conditioned souls

We know that great sages by nature are paradukha dukhi. That means their only sorrow is the sorrow of others. They only live for the welfare of others. They are even willing to suffer, to be humiliated and sometimes even be killed for the welfare of others. There’s a story where a sage was sitting on the bank of theGanges and saw a scorpion drowning. So he picked up this scorpion to save him but the scorpion just stung him. Of course the sting of a scorpion is very painful. So he picked it again and it stung. And again he dropped it and again he picked it up and again he stung. Dropped it again into water picked it again and again it stung. Somebody was watching this, and he asked this great sage what are you doing? Why do you keep picking out this poor creature? Why don’t you let it drown? Then he said it is the nature of a scorpion to sting and it’s the nature of a saintly person to be willing to endure even the greatest sufferings to help a living being in need. So this is the very nature of a great soul. We find throughout history the suffering of great souls like Srila Haridas Thakur who was caned in 22 market places, Lord Jesus was crucified. what suffering Srila Prabhupad went through. The followers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to this very day, have given their lives and sacrificed for the benefit of others. They have undergone  poverty, imprisonment, harassment, humiliation and if necessary willing to accept even death, if that’s what is required to uplift those who are suffering in ignorance.


Compassionate souls worship the age of Kali

So why would such compassionate souls worship the age of Kali, which is the age of the greatest suffering? mandasumandayo manda bhagya updrita.(SB 1.1.10) It is an age where people are spiritually incredibly lazy, unlucky, unfortunate, have less memory, short lives and are always in anxiety. Srila Prabhupada quotes the verse in the 12th Canto of Bhagavatam kaler doña-nidhe räjann asti hy eko mahän guëaù kértanäd eva kåñëasya mukta-saìgaù param vrajet, which says that the great devotees of the Lord worship the age of Kaliyuga, because in this age , anyone simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord  even if they are living in an ocean of faults, by the Sankirtan movement, they can attain the perfection of liberation . In no other age is the perfection of life so easily available. It is also described in one verse that what was available after 60 and 70 thousand years of performing tapasya (meditation) in the Satya yuga, performing grand, grand, grand sacrifices in the Treta yuga, intimately worshiping the Supreme personality of Godhead in Dwapara yuga, the same effect is achieved by simply chanting the Holy name of the God insanely in Kali yuga. Krishnavarnam  Tvishakrishnam sangopangastra parshadam yadnaihi sankirtana prayair yajanti hi sumedhasa


Sankirtan – the Yuga dharma of the age of Kali

It is said in the Bhagavatam by the nav yogendras, that those who have good intelligence in the age of Kaliyuga, will worship the Supreme Lord that comes in a beautiful form. Although He is blackish, he comes in a non-blackish form, in a form that is splendor of molten gold as Sri Gaur Sundar. And in this form he appears with his divine associates to teach the path of Yuga dharma – Sankirtan. Anyone who accepts this sacrifice, is the most intelligent amongst men, because if he simply takes to the process of chanting the Holy Name sincerely, he is guaranteed, by the mercy of the Lord Gauranga, the perfection of life in this life. Srila Prabhupada used to say that Self realization is not cheap. But Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was so merciful that he made it cheap. You have to pay a price. But it’s a very cheap price. Just follow the four regulative principles, humbly serve your Spiritual Master and chant the Holy names. The power of the Holy names will give you the mercy of God by which you can overcome all impossible obstacles. In this way, He has given so much for so little.


Sankirtan-the path to liberation

We read every morning, Chetodarpana marjanam bhava mahadavagni nirvarpanam.  Our glory to the Sankirtan movement which cleanses the heart which is covered by so many anarthas for millions of births. The power of the holy name is inconceivable, but it must be chanted offenselessly. Srila  Prabhupada would often quote this story of a man who was a Muslim. He was being killed by a boar in the forest. Muslims eat meat but not pigs (and the boar is a type of pig) because they are considered abominable as they eat their own stool. In Arabic, the word pig is translated as abominable one – meaning  haram. So he was calling out  “haram, haram, you abominable creature” when he left his body and he got liberation. He didn’t chant the name of Rama with any offense. He was not expecting any material results. He was not sinning on the strength of chanting. He was not blaspheming devotees, he was not blaspheming vedic literatures, he was chanting offenselessly . And because he chanted offenselessly the name of Rama , the power of name Rama brought him back to the state of liberation. Of course to go back to godhead you must go beyond just chanting offenselessly. You must chant purely, with attention and love.


The Holy Name dispels darkness/ignorance

Haridas Thakur was preaching everywhere that the chanting of the holy name of Krishnawas the only way in Kaliyuga to attain liberation. Harer nama harer nama harera nama eva kevalam, kalu nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha. And this name ofKrishna is so powerful, so glorious, it is like coming in the sun. When the sun rises, it dispels all ignorance and reveals itself in truth. The name of Krishna is non different thanKrishna. When the name arises in your heart –Krishna reveals himself in your heart and the light of it dispels all darkness. And he explains that namabhas – even if you are not chanting purely, but even if you are chanting offenselessly, before the name even arises in your heart and reveals itself, you attain liberation. Just like before the sun rises, there is light though the sun is not seen, not yet revealed. But as it is coming closer to being revealed ,all darkness is dispelled. So Srila Haridas thakur is explaining that before the pure chanting of the holy name takes place and God reveals himself in your heart, a mere byproduct of chanting , a subordinate principle which is automatic for chanting is mukti- liberation . This is the glory and power of the holy name.


The Holy Name gives pure love of God

Haridas Thakur says that liberation is insignificant and devotees care nothing for it. A devotee chants the holy name for one purpose alone- to attract the sun ofKrishnato rise in our hearts. When he shines, he lights our hearts with pure love of God and it is only pure love that has any meaning to a devotee. Devotees reject liberation before the principle of pure love. And there is one gyani who was very intellectual, very handsome very young, very pious- his name was Gopal Chakravarti who had come for Haridas’s lecture. He was a follower of the impersonal school and therefore his life was given for the purpose of liberation. He was performing so many sacrifices and he was giving so many lectures on the glories of mukti . He felt very insulted after hearing Haridas Thakur speak like this. He stood up in the assembly and chastised Srila Haridas Thakur. He said “what? This is blasphemy; this is an offense to Mukti, the highest perfection of life. I know it is not possible that you are correct. If you are wrong when you say that Mukti is nothing but an insignificant byproduct of love of God which takes place by mere reflection of the chanting of the Holy name, then may your nose fall to the ground.” And when Gopal Chakravarti spoke like this, the distinguished guests and hosts in the assembly thought that Haridas Thakur was being offended, so they stopped him. But Haridas was very humble and he said “Yes, if I am wrong let my nose fall”. And shortly after that Gopal Chakravarti contacted leprosy and his nose fell to the ground and he suffered horribly. But it actually was a benediction. Because his false pride was crushed by that suffering and ultimately he took shelter of the Lord and was delivered.

Krishna is non-different than his name

But Haridas Thakur was very strong and very uncompromising in explaining his own realizations of the infinite power of Holy name in this age of Kaliyuga specially. It is not that the name of God is more powerful in Kaliyuga, the name of God is eternally non- different than God, but you see it is such a simple process. In other ages, the Lord tests his devotees’ surrender to him, but in the age of Kali, that sort of austerity is not possible. Therefore, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to spread the Yuga-dharma in this age of Kali – the chanting of the Holy names. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said not to worry about anything except to have faith thatKrishnais non-different than his name. Srila Prabhupada used to tell us that if you simply have this faith thatKrishnais non different than His name, then you are liberated and that was Srila Prabhupad’s only weapon.


Srila Prabhupad’s miracle in the West

Srila Prabhupad had no money, and hardly spoke understandable English, but when he came to the west, he was armed with an invincible unflinching faith that Krishna’s name was so powerful that whatever situation you are in , the name of God can bring pure love. He had that faith. Others who were scholars and even pure devotees of the Lord, were enjoying Krishna in Vrindavan, but they couldn’t figure out how possibly even the people in the west, even the people out of the holy places in India how they could ever understand these things. Even today when we go to Vrindavan, very very great purified babajis , they cannnot understand – how it was possible for Guru Maharaj to go to these horrible places to preach to these horrible people who are so much in the mode of passion and ignorance. Even people in colleges inBombaycan’t believe that Srila Prabhupad even attempted to preach to these people. Such a waste of time for such crazy , puffed up materialistic sense enjoyers. Its inconceivable to them. But the devotees, they simply have that implicit faith that the name of God is so powerful , that anyone, whatever their classification is, however degraded they are, can attain the love of God by chanting the holy names of the Lord.


The deliverance of Jagai & Madhai

Dina hina yata chilo, harinam udhharilo. Narottam Thakur prays that the name ofKrishna is so great, that even the two most sinful of sinners, Jagai and Madhai were delivered utterly simply by taking the name of the Lord. No one in this age can be as fallen as Jagai and Madhai and they were delivered simply because one devotee , Lord Nityananda Prabhu was compassionate enough to tolerate their offenses and despite all their aggressions, was willing to administer to them the Holy name. They became Paramahansas. Lord Ramchandra, recreated the Satyayuga in Treta yuga and the same Lord Ramchandra appeared as Lord Gaur Sundar to create the atmosphere of theKingdom ofGod even in this age of Kali.


Satyayuga Temples in Kaliyuga

You see these temples that we are living in? They are not in Kaliyuga. So long as the devotees are taking shelter of the Holy name, it is Satyayuga in this room and as soon as you go out it, it is Kaliyuga. Why? because everyone here is simply surcharging everything with the holy name of Krishna. As soon as we forget the name, we are in Kaliyuga. As long as we are remembering Krishna, we are in the spiritual world, we are liberated. Srila Prabhuapda used to tell us in the earlier days, that all his disciples were liberated. We were just looking at each other like, are we really liberated..? (laughter). We had so many horrible desires in our minds. Some devotees they were not even following the 4 regulative principles. Devotees challenged Srila Prabhupada saying that they didn’t want to contradict him without thinking, but they didn’t feel liberated. He said the fact that you are chanting the holy names of the Lord regularly, humbly serving your spiritual master and following the 4 regulative principles, you are acting as liberated souls. The only thing is you haven’t yet realized the position you are in. We are in a liberated position though we haven’t realized it. But gradually by associating with the liberated souls and continue to render pure devotional service, you will realize it. That is the gift of our Gurumaharaj. He is giving us the ways and the means by which everyone of us, without doubt, can find pure love within our own hearts.


The merciful Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu

Parama karuna pahu dui jana, nitai gaurachandra  Srila Prabhupad has given us the mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who is the most merciful of all incarnations. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is the essence of all incarnations,because he is giving us that no one else has done- pure love of God, indiscriminately to anyone who simply accepts the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Simply we must chant according to their instructions, with the sincere heart. Hare Krishna.


Is there any question?

Question : How did Ajamila gain perfection of life though he was a fallen soul?

Maharaj : Ajamila, because he was a humble devotee, and because he was an honest and sincere devotee, in his youth,Krishnanever forgot him. Although due to certain conditioning and due to his association with a low class woman, he was not able to maintain his vows. He was simply overwhelmed by lust, but because he was basically was a sincere soul who couldn’t control his senses , he fell down, not out of envy, not out of greed, but just out of uncontrolled senses due to previous conditioning. But the Lord never left him, the Lord allowed him to go through all these circumstances,  but the Lord in his heart (the Bhagavatam says )impelled him to name his child Narayan. Knowing that his son would be his greatest attachment, knowing the he will chant the name of the child at the time of death,Krishnaarranged all these incidents, because he says my devotee never perishes. Ajamila was a sincere devotee, no matter how low he fell; the Lord was going to be there to pick him up at the right moment. And at the right moment, when he was about to leave his body, he chanted the name of his son Narayan, which was enough to bring the attention of Vishnudutas, who came to the scene to save him save from the Yamadutas. But he was conscious of that whole experience and he realized how he had wasted his life so fruitlessly and therefore they gave him another 12 years. He went to Haridwar and on the bank ofGanges, he completely fixed his mind on devotional service without deviation and went back to Godhead. He was most fortunate, as not only did he chant offenselessly, but he also had gained spiritual credits in the past.


Question : When we don’t have facilities we are compelled to do austerity….

Maharaj : By associating with austere people. We learn to value Krishna Consciousness as our greatest wealth. By associating with materialistic people, we learn to value money and position as the greatest wealth. In the association of persons who are detached, we learn to find pleasure in a simple life. Simple living, high thinking. Simple means however rich you are, just live a simple life, take what you need, and use the rest for the glorification ofKrishnaand for the upliftment of humanity. There is no need for huge bank balances, just take what you need to lead a simple life. If you don’t engage in  luxurious living or trying to show off to others, then what you need to spend your money for? Get simple Prasad, have a nice but simple home, what else do you need money for? Use it for Krishna, use it for projects which will help others to understandKrishna. This is simple living high thinking for grihasthas. And then even in the pool of filthy waters of this material society, you will remain like a lotus flower , untouched – it is not very difficult. But people, the most difficult thing is people who do not understand you. They will think you are crazy, they will warn you against it,  they will threaten you, that is Maya, speaking through them. Maya is always trying to complicate your life at every step while the devotees are trying to just make it very simple. We have to ignore Maya whoever she speaks through and accept the word ofKrishna. Just chant hare Krishna and be happy. All you need is holy name to live a simple life. You are earning lots of money? Use it forKrishna. Don’t stop earning it, use it forKrishna. That is the perfection of grihastha life. And you will have joy, you will have pleasure. Being free from greed in itself is such a relief. Its like a mountainous burden taken off from our hearts.

Udilo aruna purab bhage dwija mani gora amani jage Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his associates, every morning, just as the sun was rising, they would call – wake up, wake up, sleeping souls. You uselessly spend your entire day decorating your dead bodies, and your nights in complete ignorance of sleep and  passion of sex. Wake up wake up. Chant the holy names of Mukunda, Madhava and  Hari . Fill your mouth with the holy name ofKrishna , find true happiness and true bliss in the eternal self. That is our only business in this world. We have no other business. Nothing else.  Keep it simple. We should always remember that our life is simple. If we have any other business, our life becomes endlessly complicated.

Hare Krishna.

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.