In the beginning of creation the Lord of all creatures sent forth generations of man and demigods along with sacrifices for Vishnu and blessed them by saying, “Be thou happy by this yajna because its performance will bestow upon you all desirable things”
Performance of Tapasya
We are reading this evening from the tenth verse of the third chapter of Sri Bhagavad Gita. Lord Sri Krishna is explaining in simple and clear words the purpose of this entire creation and the means by which all of our true desires will be fulfilled. The purpose of life was explained even before Lord Brahma created this universe. It is explained that from the navel of Garbodaksaya Vishnu, a beautiful lotus flower appeared. On that lotus flower was Lord Brahma, who is the great great great grandfather of every living being. When Lord Brahma was born he began to look in all four directions and he could not see anything but darkness. He did not know who he was or what he was to do or where he should go. He was immersed in a mist of utter darkness. At that time, the first sound vibration entered into his ears, ‘tapa’, that you should perform yajna, you should perform austerities and through these austerities everything will be revealed to you. Lord Brahma sat on that lotus flower and he began to meditate on the Supreme Personality of Godhead and through great effort and determination he pleased the Lord. When we please Krishna, our life is perfect. At that time Krishna appeared before Lord Brahma and fulfilled all his desires and then explained to him how to create this universe and what the purpose of this universe is. The purpose is to learn what the ultimate goal of life is and to perform any tapasya in order to realize that goal. Krishna explains that he ultimate goal of life is to know Him and to love Him. This great land of India, Bharatvarsa is meant to be the capital of the world for the dissemination of this transcendental knowledge. Bharatvarsa, India has since the beginning to time been the land of tapasya, not the land of technology. The land of the highest spiritual science and the ancestry of this great land of India is based exclusively on this principle.
Lord Buddha and Tapasya
We find Lord Buddha was a prince meant to inherit the entire kingdom. He had a beautiful young wife, everything a person would want for material enjoyment is his but he left it all. He detached Himself from everything for the purpose of realizing what is the highest truth, who am I? What is the true goal of life? He saw with his own eyes the miseries of birth, old age, disease and ultimately death and He could understand that whether one is rich or poor, whether one is a king or living in what we call the lower castes, whether one is man or woman, whatever the temporary designations we call ourselves in this world, inevitably we must suffer old age, disease and death. We cannot escape it. Krishna says in Gita “mām upetya punar janma duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ saḿsiddhiḿ paramāḿ gatāḥ.” Those who have proper intelligence know that the real problems of life is not how to get a better education or how to get a nice house or how to get more prestige within this world or how to maintain a family, the real problems of life are you must grow old, diseased and you must die. How are you going to solve that problem? Through getting a better car, through life insurance, through building nicer hospitals, at the most through that process we can temporarily forget the miseries that are in store for us or maybe postpone them for a few days or few years abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino ‘rjuna mam upetya tu kaunteya punar janma na vidyate. So you cannot escape. Sometimes we see educated people from this great land of India who are meant to be distributing transcendental knowledge to the rest of the world, they go to places like America because they want to enjoy material prosperity, the telephones work much better there and there are more television stations and the roads are wider and less traffic. The cars are better and the schools give them more refined type of education. But, Krishna explains in the Gita that from the highest planet Brahmaloka, which is much nicer than America down to the lowest planet patalaloka which is much more miserable than Bombay, they are all places of misery because they are places where birth and death are inevitable. What is the solution? What is the fulfillment of our real heart’s desire, that knowledge is found in Bhagavad Gita. We must understand that when Lord Buddha saw birth, old age, disease and death wanted to show by example what a man should do in this world. He dedicated His life to the solution to those problems. Materialistic people because of poor fund of knowledge say that there is no solution to these problems so just try to eat, drink, be married in such a way that you forget them. Where does it end? When the ostrich is being chased by the tiger and he sees that there is nowhere to run his ultimate refuge is to dig a hole in the ground and put his head in the ground and now I don’t see, if I don’t see, the tiger is gone and that means I can enjoy. Everything is alright! But, the reality is that the tiger is about to devour him. Unless we are trying to find solutions to the problems of this world, we will try to blind our eyes from these problems. We cannot, because it is all around us.
Human life is meant for Tapasya
Maharaj Bharat was also a great king, infact this country of India was named after him .Before that it was called Ilavarta. But Maharaj Bharat was such a great king, the son of Rishaba Dev. Before he was enthroned, his father gave him that great instruction nayam deho deha-bhajam nr-loke kastan kaman arhate vid-bhujam ye tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam uddhyed yasmad rahma-saukhyam tv anantam, now dear son you are about to become a king, yad yad acarati sresthas tat tad evetaro janah sa yat pramanam kurute lokas tad anuvartate what great men do common man will follow. So as a king you must understand what the purpose of your lie is. This human life is not meant for sense gratification Sense gratification, the enjoyment of this body is available for the dogs and the hogs. What is their enjoyment? The hog loves to eat stool. When the stool is moist he is very happy, when the stool is very dry he is very sad, he is always seeking more and more pleasures for his body. This human life is not meant to be spent like the cats, dogs and hogs. This human life is meant “tapo divya putra brahma saukhyam” it is meant for tapasya, tapasya which fructifies in the supreme pleasure of the self, understanding that I am not this body, I am the eternal soul. We are not this body, this body is being animated by consciousness, just like you eat some food and you don’t know what is happening, you don’t know how the food is being digested but because of the presence of that consciousness, everything in that body is happening automatically. The food goes through your throat, mixing with your saliva or digestive enzymes, it goes into your stomach, kidneys and liver are also helping in the digestive process, certain excretions come out of the food which release vitamins that goes into your blood, enters your heart, pumped up to your brain and to every other part of your body. When the consciousness leaves your body at the time of death, is there digestion? You cannot even chew the food, you cannot even look at the food, we are not these bodies, the difference between the living body and the dead body is the presence of consciousness and the presence of the consciousness is the symptom of existence of the atma, the soul. Human life is meant to realize, not only theoretically understand, but realize and experience the true essence of our soul and its relationship with this body and relationship with material nature and ultimately its relationship with paramatma or God.
This body is the microcosm of the universe. Because of consciousness within this universe the sun is rising and the moon is rising and the seasons are changing in very distinct order and the planets are all revolving in a particular way. Just as the consciousness creates the digestive process in the body, similarly, the supreme consciousness or Bhagavan is the reason for all of the wonderful functions that are taking place within the universe and ultimately within this cosmic manifestation. This human form of life is meant only for this purpose for the jivatma, the individual soul within our hearts to live in perfect harmony with the paramatma, the supreme absolute truth or Krishna. This is the subject of the Bhagavad Gita. Within this material world, there are three modes of material nature, tamo guna, rajo guna and satva guna, goodness, passion and ignorance and these modes of material nature are impelling every living being to engage in various types of activities and according to the nature of that activity, one becomes entangled, one becomes bound by this material nature. trai-gunya-vishaya veda nistrai-gunyo bhavarjuna nirdvandvo nitya-sattva-stho niryoga-kshema atmavan Krishna says the perfection of life is not to raise ourselves to better conditions of material life, the purpose of this life is to get out of the entanglement o the three modes of material nature. This material world is sometimes called as Durga, it is a prison house. If you are in a low grade of the prison house, your purpose is not to improve the situation. Some prison cells have adjoining bathroom, some prison houses have their own bathroom, some prison cells are infested with rats, in some prison cells, there are no rats. Is the goal of life to have a prison house with no rats and your own bathroom? The goal of life is to get out of the prison. What is the prison? The prison is the power of ignorance within our own mind that keeps us from understanding our true essence, our true glory and our relationship with Krishna.
The soul is sac-cid-ananda, it is eternal, it is full of knowledge and full of bliss. Because we are under the misconception under ignorance that we are this body, and we are constantly engaging in activities under the three modes of material nature, sometimes we enjoy but ultimately we always have to suffer. This is not pessimistic, it is realistic, and it is a fact. Tapasya means we must with determination practice the process of purification and self realization. We must accept the process of yajna in our life. Therefore Maharaj Bharat when he was only a young man, he left his kingdom, left everything for the purpose of showing humanity that the first priority of life is to realize Bhagavan, Sri Krishna. Lord chaitanya Mahaprabhu, when he was only 24 years old he left everything to teach people the science of God Consciousness. India, Bharatvarsa, is the land which has become great because of these men and so many like them; Shankaracarya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya. We read in the newspapers that how here in India there is so much concern about economic trade with other countries in the world. How we could utilize the resources, the wonderful resources that God has given us in this nation for the purpose of exporting and developing a better economy. That is alright. No one has any objection if we can become stronger economically but we are cheating the world if we do not export our real natural wealth, the wealth of transcendental knowledge. Our own beloved spiritual master, His Divine Grace A C Bakthivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupad was living here in Bombay. Infact, very close to this place in Dadar. He was given the order by his spiritual master that you must take this knowledge of Sanatan Dharma and you should circulate it, distribute it to all the countries of the world. When he was seventy years old, the time when most people retire and try to find comfortable arrangements of life as possible, it was at that time he left, he left Bharatvarsa. At seventy years old, he had no money, he was a sadhu, a sanyasi.
When Srila Prabhupad boarded that cargo ship leaving the shores of India, he was going as an ambassador of all the people of India and all the saints of India to distribute the true wealth of bakthi, sanatan darma, transcendental knowledge. What were the goods that he brought with him? the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam. This is the wealth of India and he found that millions and millions of people in the world were starving for the teachings of Krishna, starving for the truth and realization that I am not this material body, I am the eternal soul. I am the eternal servant of Krishna, and yes, as he sat in a small park in New York city chanting the holy names, HareKrishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, people started coming, they wanted to understand and soon hundreds of temples, beautiful farm communities, millions and millions of books being distributed and millions of peoples life being changed. This is the wealth of your own ancestry; this is your inheritance, bharata-bhumite haila manushya janma yara janma sarthaka kari’ kara para-upakara. We have all inherited by taking birth in this land of India the responsibility to understand the Bhagavad Gita as it is, to understand the true teachings of Sanatan Dharma and to solve the problems of birth, old age, disease and death and perform the yajna, the sacrifice by which we can realize the true goal of life and give that goal to others. We are all part of Krishna, therefore we are meant for the enjoyment of Krishna. Krishna says in the Gita, aham bija-pradah pita. Krishna has created all living beings and he is the seed giving father of everyone. Srila Prabhupad used the example that the children of the father are all expansions of the father. Why does the father have children? The only reason the father has children is so that he can enjoy his children and he can enjoy with his children, in the same way, Krishna has expanded himself as all living beings so that he can engage in loving exchanges for his supreme enjoyment bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram suhrdam sarva-bhutanam jnatva mam santim rcchati. Everything is meant for the enjoyment of God, Krishna is the proprietor of all that exists and he is the sweetest, most intimate friend of all living beings. The yajna, Krisha is explaining here in Bhagavad Gita is how to dovetail all our activities for the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes, we think of tapasya or yajna as something very very painful land dry. But actually the tapasya htat is described in Bhagavad Gita is full of life, full of bliss. Krishna spoke the Gita to Arjuna to teach him that the perfection of life is to perform your duty not for the sake of doing your duty but for the sake of pleasing Me. There is a very rampant misconception that Bhagavad Gita teaches you must do your duty and if you do it honestly and faithfully, that is the perfection of life. But Krishna says here in the third chapter yajnarthat karmano ‘nyatra loko ‘yam karma-bandhanah tad-artham karma kaunteya mukta-sangah samacara, every type of work you perform ,if it is not done as a sacrifice for the pleasure of God, it is a bondage. Arjuna was a military man, he was a family man and he was a warrior. Arjuna was not a sanyasi, he was not a vedantist. After Krishna spoke the Bhagavad Gita to him, he was fully enlightened with transcendental knowledge. He was still a family man, still a military man but performed his duty for the pleasure of Krishna.
This is the true teachings of Gita, we must learn to orient all of our activities in the service of Krishna. How do we do that? Krishna explains that we have to perform all of our work in consciousness of Him, Krishna Consciousness. Sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah, abandon all verities of religion, surrender to Krishna. Krishna will relieve you from all sinful reactions and we will free from fear. How to surrender to Krishna? man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru mam evaisyasi satyam te pratijane priyo ‘si me always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and bow down to Me, in this way you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this. To learn to perform our duty in consciousness of Krishna does not mean that we have to change our occupation or change our ashram, it means that we have to change our heart and actually it is very simple, it has been made very simple in this age of kali yuga, to give everyone without any exception, every chance of perfecting their life and achieving the highest goal in this very life. The Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna appeared in this world, in this age of kali yuga in order to establish the yuga dharma. Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is declared by the scripture to be the yuga avatar and He taught us th yajna for this age. krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam sangopangastra-parsadam yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah those who have good intelligence in the age of kali will worship the Lord by the chanting o the holy names. By coming in the association of other devotees and raising their arms high and very loudly calling out the holy names, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare , Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Story of Gajendra
In the eighth canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam there is a story. In a mountain named Trikuta, there was an elephant named Gajendra. This story really reveals the nature of this world and the goal of life. Gajendra had anything a person could possibly want. He was the king of the jungle. Even the lions and tigers respected him and feared him. All the other creatures felt that he was their protector and their friend. He had a wonderful family with wife, chaste and loving and beautiful children. His wife and children were so proud of their father. Where ever he went he was respected, he was adored and loved. Who in this world, in this day and age is loved and respected by everyone? He had nothing to fear. One day he went on an excursion with his family members for the purpose of enjoying with his loved ones. Something like a holiday ! He went to a beautiful lake with crystal clear water and he went in the lake and began to splash the water on all of his family members to give them pleasure and they were so happy and he was so happy that he was making them happy. But at the least expected moment a crocodile came and bit into his leg and made it bleed. He was biting harder and harder and trying to drag Gajendra deeper into the lake. He was so powerful .He had so much resources. He was thinking what do I have to fear? He began to fight against this crocodile but as he was fighting the crocodile was biting him harder and harder and because the crocodile was in the water which was his natural place, not the natural place of an elephant, the crocodile was getting stronger and stronger and Gajendra was getting weaker and weaker. He realized with all of his strength and all of his wisdom he was in a hopeless condition. There was nothing he could do to save himself. At that time, he looked at all of his friends and they looked back at him. There is nothing they could do. He looked at his wife and he looked at his children, there was nothing that any of them could do. When he was on the verge of death, at that time, due to his previous association with devotees of the Lord in his previous birth as Maharaj Indradyumna, Krishna gave him the remembrance of how to pray to the Lord. With his trunk, he picked a lotus flower and raised it in the air and began to pray, My dear Lord, see what an ignorant fool I have been, becoming so attached to these fallible soldiers who cannot save me when I need help the most. It is a fact that the family will not help you when you need help the most nor will the government, nor will all of your bank balance, nor will any of your own intelligence or physical strength, it is only Krishna who can save when you are in a desperate condition I am your eternal servant Krishna, please liberate me once and for all from the bondage of all this material attachments and place my consciousness eternally in your loving service. He was in a helpless state of mind and in that condition he cried out for Krishna’s help by chanting the holy names Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.
In the Mahabharata we find that the same thing has happened. Draupadi, such a beautiful, clever and chaste lady, she was married to the greatest conquerors in the whole world, the Pandavas. When she was dragged by the hair by Dussasana into the assembly of the Kurus, Dhuryodhana ordered, strip her naked. Today, women of other countries, low class women are very much fond of being seen as close to naked as possible. For a civilized woman, it is a fate worse than death. For a woman to lose her chastity is worse than losing her life. So Draupadi, when her sari was being pulled from her, she turned to Yudhistir, to Sahadev, to Nakula, to the greatest bowman in all the creation, Arjuna and to the most powerful of all warriors Bhima. She was thinking what I would have to fear with husbands like them! But they all looked down to the ground in shame, they could not help her. She tried with her own strength to hold the sari but she was just a woman and Dussasana was a maharati, a great warrior. When she realized that when there was no power of her own or her loved ones or society that could save her, at that time, she raised her arms, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. Actually she cried out with intense determination and devotion, she cried out Krishna’s names, Hey Krishna, Hey Govinda! She prayed in a helpless state of mind in an utterly humble state of mind, knowing that only Krishna could save her.
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught us that we must chant the holy names in a humble state of mind if we want that chanting to attract the grace and power of Krishna. Trinadapi sunechena taroriva sahishnuna. Amanina manadena keertaneeya sada Hari. This is the most important instruction because it teaches us how to practice the yuga dharma in such a way that we will attain the ultimate goal of pure unmotivated bakthi, prema, love of Krishna. We must become more humble than a blade of grass, more tolerant than the tree, ready to offer all respects to others and to expect no respect to oneself. In this way we can chant the holy names of the Lord constantly. So do not be fooled, do not be cheated by the propaganda of this material world to think that there is any commodity other than the devotion to Krishna that will give you any relief or any real pleasure. Whatever your duty, whatever your occupation, whatever your ashram, perform it in bakthi, in devotion to the Lord and it is simple. Regular association with devotees, sadhu satsang, in that association we must make intimate friendships, we must learn how to become the servant of the Lord’s servants, we must reveal our minds and hear the truths.
In that association we learn the sublime eternal teachings of the Gita and the Bhagavat. We then apply these principles in our own life and in our home. While living at home, we should make our home into God’s temple. In the blessed best place of our home we should put Krishna and we should worship him, offer our family and offer all of our wealth at His lotus feet. We should perform arati, we should regularly read the divine books, Bhagavat Gita, Bhagavatam, with the commentaries of the great devotees of the Lord like Srila Prabhupad. We should live a pure life, no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat eating and every day we should chant Krishna’s holy names. It is like medicine. If it is taken regularly according the prescription of the great spiritual teachers, it will cleanse our hearts of all ignorance of all lust, pride and envy, freed of all anger and illusion and will allow the true original quality of our soul to shine through us. Not only will we bring light and joy to our own lives but bring light and joy to all of our loved ones and to the world. It is very simple; everyone can do it today, without changing your occupation but changing your consciousness by the association of devotees and chanting of the holy names. Let us all find true refuge in the lotus feet of Krishna by becoming humble servants of his servants and very loudly crying out His holy names Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. In our own private homes to chant on the japa mala and completely absorb our hearts, minds and our senses in the holy name is a necessary sublime process for purifying our lives but it is also essential that we come together as we come together tonight to engage in the yuga dharma, the congregational chanting of the holy names. Because this congregational chanting of Krishna’s holy names not only purifies ultimately our own lives and everyone who is present but the sound vibration is carried throughout the entire world and entire universe to bring about and awakening of pure God consciousness in the hearts of all living beings and it is for this reason, out of supreme compassion that Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Krishna avatar has pleaded with all of us to take seriously this sankirtan movement. Lord Chaitanya taught us that by raising our arms through this process we are reaching out for the kind refuge of the Lord’s mercy. When we all come together in sankirtan we become one, one in spirit and one in loving devotion and the sound vibration that emanates in this sankirtan becomes one voice to change this world. So let us loudly raise our hands and chant the holy names, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.