Radhanath Swami clarifies upon Real Love versus Bodily Affection

At the time of death Hiranayakashipu’s other sons could not do anything to help him but by Prahlad’s prayers he was liberated. So that is real love. Sentimental affection may give a little superficial peace of mind but it dies with the body. Real love gives person eternal nourishment and it lives forever. So yes we should love, we should learn how to really love our parents, really love our children by prayers to Krishna as the unifying force between us.

Affection is incomplete because our existence is three fold. We have a body, we have a mind and we have a soul. We are the soul and this soul is in a cage within body and the mind. Now the Body has needs, mind has needs and soul has needs. Love means to bring about an expression of service for the welfare of a person one loves. If any two or one is not love, it’s worldly affection and it’s actually quite useless. Just like for instance sometimes we see in society parents are very concerned with one of the two material ailments. A parent will give child all kinds of money and give child all kinds of good food and give child all kinds of nice clothes so all for the body but no encouragement, no feeling of affection for the mind. So ultimately the child is miserable just like a spoiled child with all physical things and no mental support. We have seen in our country, parents get divorced and the child’s mind is split into total devastation, it’s crushed but yet mother gets a big alimony and he has all kinds of money, he has all kinds of fast cars, he has big-big house but the mind is ripped apart because of insecurity of divorced parents. So what kind of love is that? Mother and father are thinking that it doesn’t matter if we are divorced; we are giving him all this money and we are giving him all this education. Everything for body is there but because there is nothing there for mind, is that love? They are neglecting his need, it’s not complete. We also have a soul. In material life, even the best parents give all affection to the body. They work so hard to get money, to give a nice place, to give good education, they are very kind to the child, and they are very encouraging to the child. The body and the mind are served very nicely but what about the soul? The soul is starving. The soul is lonely. The soul can only be nourished by coming in unification with God. Unless the parents give that also, it’s not real love, it’s affection. It is material affection and it is incomplete and similarly a child treats the parents. Child may give parents a place to stay and be nice to the parents. That’s for the body and the mind but unless the child is giving the parents a unity with God, it is incomplete. It is not love, it is affection. Real love is complete service in knowledge of what that person is. Affection based on that principle. Real love is seeded in God consciousness and that was the difference between Prahlad and his other brothers. Prahlad knew what his father needed. Even though his father tried to torture him and tried to kill him in so many ways, Prahlad simply prayed for his father’s eternal happiness and ultimately by Prahlad’s prayers his father achieved eternal happiness. So that is the purest, highest and truest sense of love. It is the only real love because love originates in God and flows through those who know God and submit themselves to God. And real love is eternal. It doesn’t end with bodies, either of the lover or beloved. Real love is exchange between the soul and other souls in knowledge of God. Material affection, we should be grateful and appreciative to anyone who is offering us that and we should also give others that to our capacity and we must also be striving for perfect love and striving to give perfect love to others. In this age of Kali Yuga the simple and wonderful means that God has given us to awaken that true, pure, unmotivated love is to chant Krishna’s holy name. When we Chant the holy name of God we are giving the most intimate message to the others. We are giving them the means by which they can learn how to be truly love and be loved.

Radhanath Swami explain Human life versus Animal Life

Without self realization our existence has no higher quality than that of lower species. A civilization that develops great technology, science and basis of providing better place to these material bodies and emotion of our mind has not developed in any way beyond the animals. The animals have the technologies. The birds can fly with their wings better than we can fly with all of our most modern aircraft. The tiger can fight with his claws and his teeth better than even the most developed athlete. In this way all the animals, they are developed and empowered in certain ways for the purpose of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. For the purpose of maintaining their bodies, finding some temporary happiness, avoiding insecurities fear and pain and offering the same to its family members for those they have affection towards. What is our society today; it is the sophisticated form of animal civilization. The bird has its nest and we have our home. We go out all day to work very hard the bird also come back bringing some insects for its family members. The dog is running on four legs and we are running on four wheels. The hog is eating the garbage in the street and we are eating fine nicely prepared food in our homes and restaurant but the business of eating, the business of going from one place to another for the purpose of our bodily maintenance and sense enjoyment is the same as that of the dogs and the hogs. Therefore the shastra explains ‘athato brahmajignasa’ that the human form of life begins when we seriously inquire into the most relevant questions who am I, where am I coming from, why am I suffering, who is God, what is my relationship with God? When we ask these questions and we seriously knell our life to realize these answers then we are actually taking full advantage of this very rare and precious human form of life.

durlabha manava-janma labhiya samsare

There are eight million four hundred thousand species of life of which the human birth is very rare to waste. Not utilizing it for the ultimate state of liberation to realize our eternal blissful nature is the greatest tragedy of in all of creation so we are very grateful to all of you for coming and attending this wonderful Bhagawat Gita lecture series and these wonderful devotes who have been speaking for the past five days are very genuinely sincerely practicing what they are speaking and they are only speaking that authorized knowledge which they have received from great disciplic succession of spiritual masters.

Tonight I was asked to speak on the subject of how to practically apply teachings of Gita to your life. According to Bhagawat Gita, Krishna explains that there are two types of knowledge. There is jnan and there is vijnan. Jnan means the theoretical knowledge and vijnan means realized knowledge – understanding through direct perception and experience. You cannot have vijnan without a preliminary understanding of jnan or theory. Just like, it has been explained that Krishna Consciousness is a great science. First we have the theory and then by practicing the principles of that theory we are meant to demonstrate an experience of realization of the truth to substantiate the ability of that theory. What you have heard in last five days is jnanam, theoretical understanding, in order to convince your intelligence, in order to develop a type of faith. But unless we put it into practice in our life it is all useless. It is just like if I want to go to Delhi, I may get a roadmap and then after getting roadmap I may ask directions from the people who have been there and once I get exactly which road to take, how to get there that is preliminary but then to reach Delhi I have to apply that knowledge, get in my motor car and go. Having all directions and the map is like scriptures; the directions are like sadhus but unless we follow and unless we do it, though we may know everything about Delhi, we will never see Delhi. Or similarly if you are sick, you go to physician and the physician will give you a prescription for medicine and you go to the pharmacy and you see the whole selection of medicines and you pick up just the ones that is right for your disease but if you never take the medicine, what is the use of having the right medicine. If you don’t have the right medicine and you take the wrong one you will have contrary effects but we must take the medicines then the effects will be there. Similarly, theoretical knowledge of Bhagavat Gita has to be applied to our lives. Krishna spoke Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. What was Arjuna’s position in society? Arjuna was a grihastha, he had wife, and he had family. Arjuna also had a very important occupation in society. He was a warrior. He was not a sanyasi and he was not even a Brahman. Why did Krishna speak Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna? Because he wanted to speak the Bhagawat Gita to someone who is just like you and me, to the common person who has duties in this world, who has responsibilities to family? In fact, in the beginning first chapter, Arjuna wanted to give up and become a renunciant and Krishna explained no, that is not Sanatan dharma. Sanatan dharma means to perform your duty but perform duty in consciousness of truth in devotion to me.

The teachings of Bhagawat Gita are so important. How did Krishna end? He ended by explaining to Arjuna, “now I have taught everything to be known to perfect your life and now you have the choice either to follow what I say and fight for me or not?” And what was Arjuna perfection? After he heard Bhagawat Gita, he didn’t just go home and sit on the throne and think about it. He didn’t simply discuss with others but he went out into his profession, into his occupation as a warrior and he fought hard. He performed his duties with greater power and enthusiasm than anyone else. People have the misconception that if we try to follow the Gita and we try to live a very spiritual life then we will in-effective in our social, occupational responsibility but Krishna rejects this idea because what is the higher motivating force- selfish, lust, ego, love. The purest love in this material world is considered the love between a mother and a child because what does the mother get from the child? nothing but troubles and headaches, it is a selfless service. But a good mother: How dedicated she is! She will stay up all night and all day and will do anything for the child because there is sense of love. Whatever our occupation may be in this world, whether we may be a father or a mother or a student or a business man or a architect or a politician or a warrior or a farmer, whatever we may be, if we perform our duty with the consciousness of love and devotion, we will perform our duty with greater determination than any one who is simply working for money.

Duryodhana was fighting motivated by greed. Arjuna was fighting in service of Krishna. Arjuna was motivated to fight harder and to become more successful and similarly if we follow Arjuna’s footsteps and follow our work with great determination based on this knowledge of the Gita, Krishna guarantees that we will be victorious in our lives. Srila Prabhupad brought these teachings in the purest form to the modern world.

Krishna explains in Gita:

evaà paramparä-präptam

imaà räjarñayo viduù

Bhagavad-Gita [4.2]

This knowledge comes through the disciple succession.

dharmaà tu säkñäd bhagavat-praëétaà

Srimad Bhagavatam [6.3.19]

Real religion can only be inaugurated by God. However intellectual, however philosophical, however charismatic we may be we can never be the author of the truth. Krishna is the absolute truth and the scriptures reveal the absolute truth because the scriptures are written and inspired by God himself and since the time of creation a great succession of disciples has preserved the original teaching. So, the Lord and His divine grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad had come in that most illustrious and sacred disciplic succession of spiritual masters and he was the humble servant of that line of mighty souls. When he came to west, he was different than all the others teachers or any other gurus or yogis or sadhus or maharishis that we ever met because he was taking such a humble position. He explains that I am not speaking what I think; I am simply like a postman delivering the pure message of Krishna as I have heard of my spiritual masters. According to the Vedic system, this is the only possible way of recieving the truth. The truth is not accessible simply to the intellectuals or philosophers or tapasvis. The truth is accessible to one who humbly and submissively hears from one who knows the truth and by practicing what he hears, one can realize. Srila Prabhupada translated the Bhagavad Gita as it is. Outside of India hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of translations of Gita were available but not a single one of them invoked a change in life of a single person,

over hundreds and hundreds of years. But Shrila Prabhupad’s translations, millions of people all over the world gave up all the sinful activities and began to apply the purest and most important of all the religious principles and surrendered their lives to Krishna and dedicated the life selflessly to teach that science to others.

One time somebody asked Prabhupada, “you are a great guru. Can you show me any miracle?” Srila Prabhupada looked at his followers and said, “these people, they were addicted to illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat eating. They had no conception of religion, no conception of Krishna and now they are living completely pure life of saints. This is my miracle”. And this is the greatest miracle: to change peoples’ life, to change peoples’ heart.

Radhanath Swami explains the Significance of Temples in Society

Today, there are so many university/colleges in India. People are so anxious to get their children in a good college so they can have higher education. And no doubt, in the relative sense, these universities are giving a higher sense of education but unfortunately practically in every college/university we have forgotten the meaning of education. Education comes from the word educare, it is a Greek word which means to bring out that which is inherent within yourself. Education means to realize and understand ‘who you are?’. The real knowledge is within you, the greatest knowledge. How to extract it? It is explained that relative knowledge combined with absolute knowledge is whole knowledge. Therefore Krishna explains in Bhagavat Gita:

räja-vidyä räja-guhyaà

pavitram idam uttamam

Bhagavad-Gita [9.2]

This is the highest, the king of education, and the knowledge of ‘who I am?’, ‘what is the purpose of life?’ and my own ‘eternal nature’. This is originally the purpose for which great temples were established. Unfortunately all over the world and especially in India, the temples are such a terrible disappointment. They are no longer educational institutions to teach us theoretically and practically how to perfect our lives and transform our consciousness. Temples have become businesses. People go to the temples, they travel long-long distance just to see the deity, to offer some money for some pooja, to get some charity perhaps, to receive some Prasad and then to go away and think that I have done my pious duty as a Hindu and basically most temples offer no more facility than this. But great saint like Madhvacharya, Ramanujacharya, when they established temples, they made them university of scientific knowledge filled with professors, real sadhus, real scholars of the scriptures. When we come to the temple, we should be educated in the science of God consciousness, science of the soul, science of self realization and we should practically step by step touch higher and higher understanding and how to apply them to our life. When we leave the temple we should have the inspiration and understanding my which we can pursue the perfection of religion within our everyday life. Therefore the temple is meant to be as educational institution not only higher education but the highest education. But here in India, it’s so unfortunate, so dis-heartening to see that people will send their children to school for fifteen twenty years, they put so much pressure on them to study to get good grades in exams but when the children want to go to temple to understand about God they say, “NO, you don’t have to go to a temple to learn about God, you can stay at home and do your pooja and learn here. The highest science, the greatest philosophy: stay-home-and-learn-it just by waving some lamps before the form of the Lord and doing your cooking and cleaning the house. Then why not to tell them to stay at home and staying home they will get PHD in engineering, architecture or B.Com. You send the best years of their lives to be trained for the low relative sciences and for the highest most sophisticated sciences you say “no need to go to temples, stay at home”. The dignity of whole culture and heritage is destroyed by this mentality and we can’t blame people because generally the temples are for nothing but some rituals which you can’t perform at home. But Lord Sri Krishna and Srila Prabhupad and these great personalities have given us the greatest and most important facility of a place with spiritual atmosphere to learn how to perfect our lives.

Radhanath Swami explains the Significance of Sadhus’ Association

So what do we learn and how to apply the Krishna Consciousness in our lives. The first important thing according to all the scriptures for spiritual advancement is association with devotees.

Sadhu sanga sadhu sanga sarva shastra kohe…

This means that the association with the sadhu is the most precious and valuable gift of God in all of the creation and what is the sadhu? Sadhu does it means somebody wearing saffron, someone who has shaved head, someone who hasn’t married and someone who roams around naked? Shrimad Bhagwatam explains that a sadhu is one who is tolerant, one who is compassionate, one who is self controlled, one who lives his life for the benefit of others, one who knows the science of God Consciousness and who practices it. You can be a businessman, you can be wearing a suit and a tie and be a perfect sadhu. Someone who is actually living and teaching the pure principles that Krishna has taught is a Sadhu and association with such persons, persons who are like us aspiring on the path, is the most important single factor in our spiritual life. Why? Because we are what we associate with, this is the law of nature; in fact it is an irresistible law of nature. Every parent knows if my child associates with bad children, my child would be bad and my child associates with good people, my child will be good. This is a very important responsibility of any parent, to very carefully watch whom your child is associating with. If you put an iron rod in fire by that association, the iron rod will take on all the qualities of fire and our Guru Maharaja used to say that ‘If you don’t believe it then you touch it’. When you touch it, it will be burnt as if you have touched fire directly. And similarly you put the iron rod in ice and leave it there, due to the ice it becomes as cold as ice. This is a law of nature. Who we associate with, we become. In fact one of the greatest philosophers and more or less of the western world said like this, “show me who you associate with and I will tell you exactly who you are”. WE shouldn’t associate, if we want to make spiritual advancement, intimately on a social level with the people who are too materialistic and addicted to sinful activities. Just like if you are an alcoholic, the last person you want to associate with is an alcoholic because it becomes practically impossible to resist in that association. Krishna reveals himself in the association of the devotee so we must be very careful. Krishna, supreme Lord will see our sincerity: How much we want spiritual life? and Who we choose to associate with in our life?. When we associate properly with devotees, then the next stage in spiritual advancement is the accepting the guidance of the Guru.

Radhanath Swami guides on Finding a bonafide Guru

Krishna explains in Gita…

tad viddhi praëipätena

paripraçnena sevayä

upadekñyanti te jïänaà

jïäninas tattva-darçinaù

Bhagavad-Gita [4.34]

If you want to know the truth, you must approach someone who knows the truth, who has realized the truth. God is transcendental. He is not approachable through our intelligence. In the Shastra, it is explained that God is not approachable through even many million births of tapasya, through many million births of studying the scriptures. He reveals himself through the self realized souls who repeat the true essence of scriptures.

There are two processes of knowledge, of acquiring knowledge. One is ascending, whereby on own capacity we try to come to higher stages of knowledge and the other is descending, to simply accept the truth as it is spoken by the God Himself and repeated by the spiritual masters. So anyone who is very serious about spiritual life must accept guidance. How do we know who is a proper spiritual master? We have already briefly described, it is a very great science and explanation. But in brief: One who is perfectly repeating what God has spoken as it has been given in disciplic succession and who is living by those teachings. Krisna explains in Gita

sarva-dharmän parityajya

mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja

ahaà tväà sarva-päpebhyo

mokñayiñyämi mä çucaù

Bhagavad-Gita [18.66]

Abandon all the varieties of religion and surrender to me. The spiritual master wouldn’t tell us that he is God; the spiritual master wouldn’t tell us that you are God. The spiritual master will tell us ‘How to surrender to God?’, ‘How to serve God?’, ‘How to love God?’. When we find such a person who is representing the proper system, then we know. Try to know that when you put your heart into your life at the mercy of the guru, this is a very-very serious matter. It’s like an operation to your very soul that you are asking to be performed. Now if you need heart surgery and you go on street and say that I need a heart surgeon and many people will come and tell you that I can give you heart surgery. You just give me money and I will make you all right. What will you ask for, where did you study, where did you get your degree, which books did you read and which professor did you study those books under? Will you accept the surgeon who just sat home and who studied the books himself? You want a surgeon who has studied the books under the directions of experienced professors who taught him thoroughly and those professors learnt from other professor and other professors learnt from other professors. Will you take a surgeon who doesn’t have those qualifications? But yet, people today, if a guru can show some magical tricks or could say something very nice and it look very beautiful then we accept. That is not good. WE must know: Are you speaking according to the proper books and have you learnt from proper teachers. If so, we can trust that the person can actually reveal true knowledge to us. In this world where there is so much confusion and so much bewilderment it is so important to have the guidance of a proper teacher. What does such a person teach us on behalf ofe Krishna,wHow to be Krishna Consciousness in family life? Most of you are Grihastas, you have wife, husband and children. So what we want to teach at this point on in this class today is how simple and practical living the teachings of Gita are to apply to our life. We are hoping that after this brief explanation you have no questions about how you can live a life dedicated to Bhagavat Gia, this very day on. In our family we must know that everything belongs to Krishna.

Practical Application of Bhagavad Gita

Krishna says in Gita

bhoktäraà yajïa-tapasäà


suhådaà sarva-bhütänäà

jïätvä mäà çäntim åcchati

Bhagavad-Gita [5.29]

That he is the proprietor of everything and everyone, this body doesn’t belong to us. This body belongs to God and the proof of proprietorship is control. If you own a car, can someone come and take it away from you. You have the title, you have control. Do we have control of this body? We have limited control but the ultimate control is in the hands of time. Do you have power to stop your body from getting it older?, Do you have power to stop your body from getting diseased?; Do you have power to prevent death? Ultimately by the power of time, Krishna who is time itself takes away everything. He reveals that he is the true owner of all that exists so we should admit that. Body belongs to God and therefore body of all our family members belongs to God and our house belongs to God and all our money belongs to God. To accept and admit this principle is the beginning of making our family Krishna Consciousness. The duty of a husband is to be a perfect spiritual leader and Guide for the rest of the family. The duty of the husband is not only to provide the food and shelter but to provide the most necessary need and that is transcendental knowledge.

In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is explained that one has no right to take the position of a father or a mother unless one is prepared to deliver his/her children the cycle of birth and death. Simply to make crores and crores of Rupees and suffer so many anxieties in the process and die and leave it behind to your children and they too have to suffer through the same process, to maintain it and then they die and leave it to their children. Is that a great thing? The greatest thing is to leave your children with that process by which they can be removed from all suffering eternally, to give them the treasure of self realization and love of God. That is the real duty of a father and that is the real duty of a mother. And according to the shastra the child is putra, the child’s duty to his parents is to become so highly realized and pure that through the practice of proper sraadha and spiritual life, whatever deficiencies may be in our fore-fathers, they will be sent back to spiritual world just by the strength of our devotion. The example is Prahlad; he was the son of Hiranayakashipu. By the power of his devotion his father was liberated, that is the main duty of a child. To give the highest gift to the parents and duty of the parents is to give the highest gift to the child. And at the same time the provisions in the material sense must also be there, that will naturally be there. We must develop sacred relationship and we must understand our responsibility within our family to one other. By following the four regulative principles in our home, we keep freedom from entangling our self in further sinful activity. The four regulative principles for spiritual life are: no illicit sex, no sex life outside of proper marriage, no intoxication, illicit sex creates corruption, it makes the mind filthy. Intoxication bewilders and is counter-productive from awakening our original state of consciousness. We are already intoxicated by the illusions of material energy. In spiritual life we want to sober up, we want to come back to our natural state. So therefore taking those substances that alter our consciousness causes us to be addicted and depend on those material substances. These are very-very contrary to spiritual advancements which include any type of alcoholic beverages, any types of intoxicating drugs, cigarettes. Even coffee and tea are very much addictive. We become dependent on these. So these things are not healthy for our spiritual progress. We should also live a life of non-violence, of compassion. Therefore, we should give up eating meat, eating fish, eggs, any food without that creates karmic bondage, bloodshed and death to other living creature. And we should also avoid gambling. Gambling creates a sense of very-very whimsical consciousness and also when we accept that everything belongs to God, how we can gamble whimsically what is God’s property. We should utilize that everything that comes to us in the most productive and intelligent way.tThat is Krishna Consciousness. We should follow moral and spiritual honesty as well as charity. We should be very honest and straight forward in our ordinary dealings in our homes, in our occupations. Honesty and charity can be categorized in three modes of material nature. To tell a lie, and that lie creates harm or suffering to another living being, is in the mode of ignorance.

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.