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 8, 1966

The energy of the body emanates from the heart. The spiritual spark, or soul, is situated in the heart, and from there it expands to fill the body. The size of this spiritual atom is 1/10,000 of the tip of a hair. It cannot be detected by scientific means, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.

To understand the science of the soul, we must have certain qualifications, which are:

Humility: We should not try to force others to respect us because we are Krishna Conscious. We should preach with humility and respect for others. For example, instead of saying, “Every-you know is a lot of nonsense,” we should say, “I know you are a learned man, but please forget it for a moment and listen to me.” We should not expect to be always well-received, either. Jesus Christ preached the word of God, and He was crucified for it. Humility includes acceptance of difficulties from others.

We should preach Krishna’s word to whomever we meet, but in so doing, we should not try to manufacture a new religion. People want a new religion, but what is there new to preach? We are as old as eternity, so what need have we of the new? Nature’s law is not new—the sun still rises in the East and sets in the West, as it has always done. We still eat and sleep. God is not new. Sometimes, to make people listen, it is necessary to explain the old religion in new terms. This is like putting old wine in new bottles. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as the wine is not adulterated in the process.

Non-violence: We should give the same liberty to others that we want for ourselves for all living beings have the right to live and eat. In nature there is food for all, and every creature has its own allotment. There are different varieties of food for different tastes. Human beings have a responsibility to all creatures. We do not have the right to kill any creature, not even the insects.

There is also another kind of violence. If we do not do our best to bring Krishna Consciousness to other beings, we are acting violently toward them. If we do not act to relieve suffering in others, we are doing them an injustice. Krishna Consciousness means the real end of all suffering, so everyone has the right to Krishna Consciousness.

Patience and simplicity: We should not try to hurry Krishna up. Our thoughts and our speech should also be controlled. We will see Krishna when He chooses. We should render service without reservation to the spiritual master.

Purity: There are two kinds of purity: external and internal. External purity is bodily cleanliness. Internal purity means keeping the mind always on Krishna. There are times when it is not possible to keep the body clean, due to external conditions, but external conditions need not keep the mind from being clean. We can and should always keep our internal purity, regardless of external conditions.

Steadfastness: One who is convinced that he must realize Krishna at all costs will be steadfast. Krishna Consciousness requires self control so that one will not be distracted.

Indifference to sense objects: Smoking, for example, only serves for sense gratification; it is not necessary for the maintenance of the body. This kind of indulgence is a distraction from Krishna Consciousness. Krishna Consciousness subdues the demands of the senses.

Self-effacement: This is the elimination of the false self. We must realize that we are not this body. The body should be maintained for the sake of using it in the service of Krishna. If proper food is not available, then other food may be eaten for the sake of maintaining the body. However, improper food may be eaten only when there is no other food available.

Non-attachment: The devotee should regard desirable and undesirable conditions equally. The householder should be detached from his family. He should take care of his family and fulfill his responsibilities, but he should not let his family stand in the way of his service to Krishna.

Perception of the evils of birth, death, old are, and disease will guide us to Krishna Consciousness. In Krishna Consciousness, we will have transcended all evils, all sufferings, and all delusions.

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