Everything you need to become Krishna conscious at home

The Buffalo Lectures of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

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For those who have developed the urge for hearing the spiritual message, the message becomes purified without any doubt. The idea is that Krishna or God, in His Supersoul form, is situated in everyone’s heart. And He is sitting like a friend, not as an enemy. Because God is the Father of everyone, so He is always friendly, merciful. Just like when an invalid son is there: the father is always looking for when the son will be cured, will come back home. That is the father’s desire; and, similarly, we are not so much anxious to approach God, but God is very anxious to recall us from this dungeon house of material existence. Therefore He sends Lord Jesus Christ, or He comes Himself, or He sends His confidential devotees. This is going on—not only in the human society, but in other societies also. In animal society, in bird society there are incarnations of God and messengers of God. That information we have.

Prabhupada and devotees at an immense kirtan at the University of Buffalo.

Prabhupada and devotees at an immense kirtan at the University of Buffalo.

So God is always anxious to accept us. In the Upanishads it is said that God and the living entity are sitting in one tree, just like two birds. One bird is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird is only the witness. There are these descriptions in the Upanishads, of how God is always looking to see when I shall turn my face towards Him. He is always sitting, waiting, in my heart. And when we hear about Krishna from The Bhagavad Gita or the Srimad Bhagwatam, at that time God becomes very pleased.

This applies not only to The Bhagavad Gita or Srimad Bhagwatam, but to any literature that is giving information of God, any scripture—say the Bible—from which one hears about God. God becomes pleased that now this living entity is coming towards Him, now this son is coming home. He becomes very glad.

Kirtan on the University lawn.

Kirtan on the University lawn.

This is nicely explained in the Gita: when Krishna sees that a man is trying to learn about Him, by hearing and chanting about God, He is pleased, and He offers help. Even if you do not understand the purport, still it is pious activity. Just if you have the conviction. It is not that everyone who goes to church follows all the rules and regulations, and understands the Bible, or that everyone who goes to the temple understands everything. But going there and giving aural reception to the transcendental message from different scriptures about God, that will make one pious.

So in reading The Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagwatam, sometimes you may not understand, because it is originally in Sanskrit. But we devotees try to explain the message as far as possible, and if you will kindly come here and simply try to hear, then gradually you will become pious. You’ll be pious, even if you do not achieve anything else. “Pious” means you become freed from sinful reactions. This Hare Krishna chanting, even though you do not understand it, if you simply come and chant and dance with us, it will make you pious. You will achieve piety or sinlessness; it is so nice.

And what is the benefit of becoming pious, or achieving piety? That is explained in the Gita: By repeated transmigration from one body to another in this material world, we are simply accumulating reactions to sinful activities. That’s all. So long as we have no information of God, no information of Krishna, we are simply living like animals and accumulating sinful reactions. And our hearts are polluted, contaminated. There is so much misunderstanding between human nations, human bodies, this man and that man; it is due to our accumulated contamination in the heart. You are my enemy or you are my friend—for what? Because you have got a body and its relationship to mine is contaminated.

Rupanuga Das speaking ta an art festival crowd.

Rupanuga Das speaking ta an art festival crowd.

Generally, everyone is envious of everyone else. Everyone thinks of others as his enemies. I see in your country so many signboards—No Tresspassers, No Peddlars—that means everyone is an enemy. Otherwise, why should I restrict? No admission. That is the way of nation to nation also. America is my enemy, Russia is my enemy—so China is thinking. So this world is full of enviousness and hate, because every one of us has accumulated past sinful activities, which are stocked up now in our hearts.

The result, if you try to hear about Krishna, is that Krishna will help to cleanse away these contaminated things, accumulated during years and years of darkness. Because the very hearing is piety, therefore it will act on your heart. And how will it act? All the contaminated things within my heart will be cleansed away. Just like, when you have accumulated so many unclean things, if you set fire to them, all these unclean things will be turned to ashes, and everything will be disinfected. Simply one fire, one match. You gather all the garbage together, all varieties of contaminated garbage, and if you set fire to that garbage all will be cleansed. It is just like our contaminating so many things daily, and then the sunshine purifies it. This is also a medical process: sterilization. So, as there is in the material world a sterilizing process, this is a spiritual sterilizing process: simply hear of Krishna, then all nonsense things within the heart will be pure, cleansed.

Rupanuga Das teaching Bhakti Yoga, University of Buffalo.

Rupanuga Das teaching Bhakti Yoga, University of Buffalo.

And who cleanses? The Lord Himself is sitting within you. He’ll cleanse your heart. He’ll cleanse your heart; you cannot. You have no power, you see. You have been so much contaminated that you have no power. But He’ll take charge. In The Bhagavad Gita it is also said that, “you just surrender unto Me. I shall give you protection from all sinful activities.” So if God, Krishna, gives you protection, then you are safe.

Our sufferings are due to our sinful activities. And what do we mean by sinful activities? Sinful activities means acting in ignorance. When a living entity is in ignorance, he commits sinful activities. Therefore knowledge is so valuable. This crude example I can give you: I have come from India. In India, the motor cars are driven on the left side, and in your country I see it is on the right. Now, if I drive my car here in the Indian way, to the left side, then I become a criminal, I become subject to arrest. And if I say in the court, “I did not know that in your country the law is different,” that is no excuse. That means I became a criminal because I was in ignorance.

Similarly, all sinful activities are due to ignorance. Therefore we should know things as they are. And how can you know things as they are? You have to approach a superior person who himself knows things as they are. That will make you free from all sinful reactions. And this hearing process is very important. If you have a chance to hear from a person who can present things very nicely, or rightly, then you get knowledge, and you become free from all sinful reactions. It is a logical conclusion.

Krishna Himself takes charge of cleaning the heart, and when He Himself takes charge, everything is purified. In The Bhagavad Gita it is said that Krishna is sitting within your heart, but that He talks to you when you become a devotee. Otherwise He is simply Witness; that’s all.

You cannot do anything without the sanction of the Lord sitting within, but He gives sanction. Just like a persistent child: he wants to do something wrong, and his parents say, “All right, you do whatever you like.” Similarly, God is always ready to give us good advice, but we do not follow Him. Because we have a little freedom, we misuse it; and at that time He gives sanction: “All right—you do it. That is your wish.” But God is not responsible for the action or reaction. The sinful action and its reaction or the pious action and reaction-these are not the creations of God. They are created by you. You are independent. You can act as you like. God only gives you His sanction.

God is always situated in your heart, and He is helping you as you like, as you are asking. But if you are surrendered, if you say, “Now, from this day, my dear Lord, I shall act according to Your instruction,” then He takes charge. Otherwise you are free. You can do whatever you like, and the action and reaction will have to be suffered. I do not know—I was a student in Scottish Churches College in Calcutta. That was a missionary college. So I attended Bible class half an hour, and I remember one very great scholar and missionary priest, Dr. Altman. He was my professor, professor of psychology, and he was also taking class in the Bible. I remember once in that class—I do not know whether in your Bible the law of karma is admitted or not—but he protested that, “In your Hindu system the law of karma is there, and if one has done something sinful, therefore he is punished.” So he inquired, “What is the evidence that you have done something?” At that time I was a student, I could not reply. But after studying The Bhagavad Gita and other Vedic literature, I was prepared to answer him. Here it is. Here is the Witness. You may forget what you have done, but Krishna is not forgetful—He is always sitting within you. So, when you have done as you wanted to do, He reminds you, “All right, you did this.”

In The Bhagavad Gita and in all Vedic literature it is affirmed that the Lord is sitting in the heart. As soon as we surrender unto Him He takes charge, and He says, “I have taken charge of one who has pursued this Krishna Consciousness, or devotional service, seriously and sincerely.” And He’s within. He says, “I give that devotee the needed intelligence.” What kind of intelligence? That by which he can come quickly back to home, back to Godhead. That is Krishna’s taking charge.

A child does not know his way in life. He is a soul surrendered to his parents. The parents take charge of him, and the parents know how this boy should be raised, how his life will be fruitful—so many things. The boy is free, though he is completely in the hands of his parents. Similarly, if we surrender unto Krishna, who is sitting within our hearts, then He takes charge of us. And He says, “Just to favor them [such devotees] specifically.” God is good, but He is especially kind and merciful to the devotees. That is not unnatural. You may ask, “Why is God specifically merciful and kind to the devotee?” But it is not unnatural. Suppose in the street so many children are playing: If there is some danger, and if someone goes and picks up his own child, you cannot say that that is not good. “There are other children, why do you not take care of them?” It is natural, and no one can blame him: “Oh, you did not take up the other child. Why?” Nobody blames him; it is natural. It is good that his child is given first care. Similarly, everyone is the child or son of God—that’s all right; but one who has taken to the service of the Lord, he gains the special interest of God. Just like in your Bible it is said that Lord Jesus is the only son. Because he has given his life for God’s service, therefore he’s taken such special care of. So this is the process of Krishna Consciousness.

Krishna says, “Because a devotee has surrendered unto Me, and I am sitting within him, I take charge of him.” And even though one is ignorant or does not know any of the Vedic literature, if he is not learned—still, he will be made learned. That is stated in The Bhagavad Gita, that in order to show them special favor, He eradicates the darkness of ignorance. How? “I am sitting within, and I enlighten him with the torch of knowledge, which is very awesome, just like sunlight.” Sunlight is very bright; you don’t require to see the sun with the help of a lamp. Similarly, Krishna within, the Supreme Lord, enlightens the devotee. This is the secret of knowledge.

You cannot acquire knowledge through your deficient senses. But, if you surrender unto God, the knowledge will be revealed. Even if you cannot understand what God is. After all, it is very difficult. You cannot know, even in this material world, what things are going on. So how can you know or understand God? God is so great, unlimited. But if He reveals Himself unto you, then you can understand. That is the process. This revelation is possible when you are surrendered. If you are surrendered, if you have given up everything for God, then He is in your heart and will give you all knowledge, all help, everything. It becomes simple.

So it is explained in the Gita that He cleanses and He directs. Just like the father says, “Oh my dear son, do this, do this.” And the child becomes expert, although he is not expert. The guidance is expert. And who can give better guidance than God? So if God gives you knowledge, who can give you better knowledge than Him? He is better than anyone. So surrender unto Him. He is within you, and He will give you intelligence and knowledge

Then, what is the effect of such knowledge? The cleansing process means cleansing off the influence of material nature. The material world is working under three modes—the mode of goodness, the mode of ignorance and the mode of passion. There are certain entities who are in goodness, there are certain entities who are in passion and certain entities who are in ignorance. When God takes charge of you, then it is automatically understood that you are transcendental even to goodness. Spiritual quality is transcendental to goodness. That transcendental platform is not very easily attained, but at least the qualify of goodness is immediately achieved. Material goodness is immediately achieved. That is explained in the Gita.

The hearing process in spiritual life means hearing about God. Not hearing the newspaper or any political news. No. You must hear the words of God, the words of Krishna. In this way the cleansing process progresses daily by such hearing about God. And the result will be that you’ll enhance your devotion.

“Uttama Sloka” means God. “Uttama” means very nice and transcendental. “Sloka” means verses. Just like when you offer prayers to the Lord, they are selected words and very nice verses. Therefore another name for God is Uttama Sloka. So, to that Supreme Personality who is offered nice verses, unto Him a devotional attitude becomes fixed. That is the second stage of spiritual life, and the third stage comes when one is fixed in devotional service unto the Supreme Lord. At that time the modes of passion and ignorance—the whole world is moving under passion and ignorance-these modes become cleansed away.

We are hankering to possess so many things. This is called passion. And when we are in loss of something we cry for it. This is ignorance. And the material disease is that everyone is hankering for something which he does not possess, and lamenting when he has lost his possessions. This is the material disease. The materialists have only these two businesses; no third business. Simply hankering after something which one does not possess, and when that possession is lost, lamenting, “Oh, I have lost it!” So this is ignorance. What you have lost? What have you brought that you have lost? You came empty-handed. What did you possess in the beginning? Then why are you crying? This is called “sudra,” unnecessarily lamenting. Unnecessarily lamenting. Suppose you had millions of dollars, and if you have lost that, then there is reason. But if you did not possess anything, where is the cause for lamenting? That is ignorance. What did you possess? What is your proprietorship? Nothing! This is ignorance. But still I am proclaiming myself the proprietor, the master of this body—but I cannot keep it.

Therefore I must know that I possess nothing. Everything is given to me for my use; that’s all. This is knowledge. And as soon as we come down to this idea that we can possess, it is ignorance. Because I try to possess falsely I am wasting my life.

These modes of material nature—passion and ignorance—are pushing me to acquire and possess. You can possess something because you have a body. You must possess something, but then there is greediness. Say I have one thousand dollars income, and I live very nicely. Then I want two thousand dollars. And if I get that, again I am hankering, “No, four thousand dollars! No, eight thousand dollars. No, ten thousand dollars! No, a million dollars!” There is no limit to the impetus of the modes of passion. But when a person becomes a devotee, a surrendered soul, he is freed from these two material modes of nature, passion and ignorance. Then the mode of goodness is there. He becomes situated on the platform of goodness.

When one is not disturbed by the modes of passion and ignorance, then it is understood that he is on the platform of goodness. The heart is no longer influenced by passion and ignorance. Then he remains in goodness. And as soon as he comes to the platform of goodness, he remains happy. If you want to become happy, then you have to elevate yourself to this platform of goodness. Then you will feel happiness. When one is on the platform of goodness, or when one is transcendental, he has no more hankering or lamenting.

The next stage, when there is no more lamentation or hankering and you are situated in goodness, is transcendental. Now, how we have come to the platform of goodness? It is due to devotional service. We are reading and hearing Srimad Bhagwatam and the Gita, and, by dint of engaging ourselves in devotional service, we can be elevated to the platform of goodness, and become jolly. Then one can understand the transcendental science of God; not before. Then one can understand. So you have to elevate yourself to this platform of goodness by starting devotional service. Then, when your heart is free from all material anxieties, just as in the clear sky you can see the sunlight very nicely, so when you are posted in that position, you’ll understand the science of God. It is a science. It is not a hobby or a sentiment. It is not a religious sentiment. Religious sentiment without philosophy is ignorance, and philosophy without religious sentiment has no value. Philosophy without religious sentiment is dry speculation; simply wasting time. And religion without philosophy is fanaticism. So both should be combined. Then it is the science of Godhead.

We are trying to open so many centers to teach this science. And, if you take the time to simply hear of this, you will be benefitted. We are not charging anything, there is no fee. So why not come? The world is suffering for want of this knowledge, Krishna Consciousness. Men are becoming less than animals. So this is not progressive civilization. If you want to save human society, then you must take to Krishna Consciousness. Otherwise you are doomed. Hare Krishna.

Butter-churning Festival in Los Angeles.

Butter-churning Festival in Los Angeles.

Butter-churning Festival in Los Angeles.

Butter-churning Festival in Los Angeles.

Music festival in Hawaii

Music festival in Hawaii

Kirtan in a Santa Fe park.

Kirtan in a Santa Fe park.

Chanting on the beach in Atlantic City.

Chanting on the beach in Atlantic City.

 

 

 

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