Everything you need to become Krishna conscious at home

From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta

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Notes transcribed from a lecture given September 23, 1966

The Paramatman, or the Supersoul, is distinguished from jivatman, the individual soul that enjoys the fruits of the body. Jivatman is under the spell of the material qualities, and he enjoys of suffers material activities and consequences, but Paramatman has nothing to do with the material qualities. Some people, who do not know, say that Paramatman and jivatman are the same, but they do not understand that Paramatman has nothing to do with material qualities. He may be compared to a doctor in the hospital tending to his sick patients. He himself is not sick. Only a fool would say that, because the doctor is in the hospital, he too must be sick, so it is the same with those who say that because jivatman and Paramatman live together in the same body, they are the same. Paramatman is never affected by material things like toothaches, even though He is in the same body. The devotee of Krishna must accept the duality of Paramatman and jivatman.

Krishna lives in the body, but He is transcendental. When He comes to earth, He has nothing to do with the material qualities. People in ignorance think that because Krishna is manifested in a human body He is just an ordinary man. This is explicitly denied in Bhagavad Gita: “Foolish persons deride Me when I assume this human form of my transcendental nature. They do so without knowing my supremacy over everything created.” (Gita, 10.11)

We must always distinguish between Paramatman and jivatman. In the Upanishads they are compared to two birds sitting in the same tree. One bird (jivatman) is eating the fruits of the tree, while the other bird (Paramatman) just sits and watches. Similarly, Krishna and Arjuna sat in the same chariot, but Arjuna knew that Krishna was the Supreme. We are also in the same chariot with Krishna, and we too should know that He is the Supreme. Even in the midst of the material world, Krishna is not attached. He does not act out of need, because he has no desires.

To become like Krishna, we should give up all material desires, and take shelter of Krishna. Everything that we do, we do with His permission. If we want to turn away from Him, He lets us; if we want to suffer, He lets us. We must first realize that we are suffering, and then ask why. When the question “why” arises in the mind, it is time to approach a spiritual master who is conversant with the Transcendental Nature, and is fully engaged in spiritual matters twenty-four hours a day. A spiritual master is a man who never leaves his spiritual work to seek sense gratification.

We must know that we are actually qualitatively one with Krishna. When jivatman knows that he is not this body, he becomes like Paratman. Jivatman is almost God, but not quite. Jivatman is wonderful, but not equal to God. The quality is the same, but the quantity is far different. For example, the rays of the sun spread all over the sky, but they come from the sun. Likewise, the Brahmajyoti illumines far and wide, but it emanates from Krishna. The soul is a spark in the heart, but its energy spreads all over the body. As the earth and sky are illumined by the sun, so the body is maintained by the spiritual spark. As the body is maintained by the individual soul, so the entire universe is maintained by God, or the Super-soul. I am not the Supreme. I merely illumine this body, but the Supreme illumines the entire universe.

Today, the twenty-third of September, is Radha’s birthday. She is fifteen days younger than Krishna. When Krishna was a boy, He played with the children of the countryside. Because He was so beautiful, all the girls prayed that someday He would be their husband. Radha loved Krishna the most, even more than the others. She is the symbol of the greatest worship.

Krishna and the girls were of the same age. Because girls are married earlier than boys, the girls were all married before Krishna. Despite their marriages, the girls all loved Krishna so much that whenever He played His flute, they would leave their homes and go to Him. This continued until Krishna was sixteen.

At the age of sixteen Krishna left His friends and went to live with His real father. All His friends spent the rest of their lives weeping and longing for Him. This too, is worship. Radha and Krishna met again during a solar eclipse at Kurukshetra. It was a meeting of love, but they were again separated. Radha is Krishna’s beloved. By her blessing, Krishna will accept us. Hare also means Radha, so when we chant “Hare Krishna” we chant “Radha Krishna.”

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