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Turning Our Love Toward Krishna

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Turning our love towards Krishna

by His Holiness Kirtanananda Svami

Editor’s note: In June of 1972, after a Sunday love feast at the Los Angeles Temple, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada was scheduled to give an address to his disciples. While the disciples awaited the arrival of Srila Prabhupada in the sanctuary, one of Srila Prabhupada’s earliest disciples, Kirtanananda Svami, delivered the following talk. It is followed by Srila Prabhupada’s address.

Kirtanananda Swami with Sannyasa Danda  at New Vrindavan 1974.I have no qualification to stand before you tonight and present myself as a teacher. I am not a teacher, but am simply here to relate what I have heard, what I have known through my association with a pure devotee of the Lord. We have learned from reading Srimad-Bhagavatam that the process for receiving spiritual knowledge is simply this: somehow or other, by some circumstance or good fortune, or by some past deed we have committed perhaps even by accident, we must attain the association of a pure devotee of the Lord. By such transcendental association, we get a chance to hear. If we take up that hearing process seriously, we have a chance to perfect our lives. This is a fact. We can actually see this demonstrated simply by looking around. Six months ago, where were these young people, who now have such glowing faces? Where were they one year or two years ago, before they met Srila Prabhupada? Thus we can see that Srila Prabhupada is changing the face of the globe. How? Not by any cheap magic, but by His association. His association gives us a chance to learn the real principles of religion, the actual principles of spiritual life. This is not a difficult process; it is actually the easiest process in the world because it is normal. Indeed, it is our constitutional position.

We are all eternally Krishna conscious and are all parts and parcels of Krishna. This is declared by Krishna Himself in Bhagavad-gita, wherein He says, “You are all My parts and parcels. I am the seed-giving father of every living entity.” Anyone can understand that the qualities of the father are also present in the child. This Krishna consciousness, therefore, is not a foreign condition imposed upon us. Somehow or other we have temporarily forgotten it, and we must have that knowledge revived. And reviving that knowledge is what the pure devotee does. At a press conference in London, a reporter asked Srila Prabhupada, “What have you come here to teach?” Prabhupada replied, “I have come to teach what you have forgotten -Krishna.” Thus we have forgotten our eternal loving relationship with Krishna, and Srila Prabhupada is simply teaching anyone who will listen how we can revive that loving connection with Krishna.

Factually we all have a connection with Krishna that can’t be broken. We may remember it, or we may forget it; we may have a connection in love, or we may have a connection in another way. We may even be connected with Krishna in envy, fear or hatred. The point is that everyone is connected to Krishna and that everyone believes in Him. Who doesn’t believe in Krishna? Someone may say, “I am an atheist.” This simply means that he doesn’t believe in Krishna as a friend. But doesn’t he believe in death? For such a person, Krishna is cruel death. Everyone believes in Krishna in one way or another. Some believe in Him as their friend, some believe in Him as their lover, some as their enemy. Kamsa was believing in Krishna as an enemy, thinking, “He has come to destroy me.” Thus Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita, “In whatever way you want to approach Me, I will also approach you. If you want to approach Me with envy, I am cruel death, or I am your eternal enemy.” Time is the destroyer of everyone, and Krishna says, “I am time.”

How do we want to be connected to Krishna? Do we want a loving connection or another kind of connection? What is the advantage? It must be obvious. Where there is a loving connection, there is the chance of reviving our normal relationship. We are all eternally related to Krishna by love because He is the father of everyone. He is the source of everything. Govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami. He is the cause of all causes, the original person. There is actually no question of anything but love. The question is simply how long you want to take until you revive that love of Krishna. How long will you be satisfied with loving all the reflections of Krishna? How long will you be satisfied by all the temporary manifestations of Krishna?

This afternoon Srila Prabhupada was talking about Krishna’s energy, and he said that everything is Krishna’s energy. For Krishna there is no difference between material and spiritual, but for us there is a difference. If we simply love this energy of Krishna, what is the result? This energy is temporary, changing. Our platform of love is shifting, and therefore we are frustrated because our desire is to be connected with that eternal reservoir of pleasure. Everyone is looking for the loving fountain of youth. Everyone wants pleasure, youth, beauty, fame, knowledge, strength and renunciation. But how can we get all these things? How can we get more than some flickering reflection? Krishna consciousness is the process of reviving this connection with Krishna, who is the reservoir of all these qualities.

The word Krishna means all-attractive, and factually when Krishna was present personally on this earth 5,000 years ago, He displayed all these qualities unlimitedly. He displayed unlimited wealth, unlimited beauty, unlimited knowledge, strength, fame and renunciation. Whatever He did, He did as God. He didn’t have to become God by some mystic process or by meditating on this or that. He was God from the moment of His appearance, and He acted in that way.

We all want to love and be loved; that is our nature. Consequently we are loving so many temporary objects. We love our friends or children, and when we become frustrated with loving our children, we take to loving dogs. We cannot stop that tendency to love, nor should we. We must, however, purify it. Instead of loving the creation, we have to love the creator. Instead of loving the energy, we have to love the energetic. Instead of loving the leaves of the tree, we must love the root. When we water the root, the whole tree is automatically nourished. Krishna consciousness is simply learning how to water the root of everything-learning how to love Krishna. We automatically love all of Krishna’s energy and all living entities because they are part of Krishna. How can we claim to love Krishna and not love all the parts of Him? On the other hand, how can we claim to have brotherhood if we have no knowledge of the Father? If we simply gain knowledge of the Father, we can automatically love all His sons and daughters. This is not possible otherwise. Loving the Father means loving the children. However, if we start out trying to love each of the children independently, we will never be successful. Mankind has been trying this process for thousands of years with no success. The attempt is unsuccessful because everyone is missing the central point-Krishna.

The process of yoga is the process of connecting with Krishna. It is not artificial; it is natural. It is not external to us; it is actually our nature. It is made very simple by the grace of the pure devotee. Of course, he is not making this up; he is presenting the process to us exactly as he received it from his spiritual master. This is his greatness. He is presenting exactly what he heard from his spiritual master, who received it just as Caitanya Mahaprabhu presented it:

harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha

In this age of Kali, self-realization is very difficult. Our duration of life is short, and our memory is also short. We have no great interest in philosophy, nor have we any great aptitude. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, however, that if we simply chant this Hare Krishna mantra, or any name for God, we can revive our loving connection with Krishna. Thus Lord Caitanya is accepted as the most munificent incarnation of Krishna.

namo maha-vadanyaya
Krishna-prema-pradaya te
Krishnaya Krishna-caitanya-
namne gaura-tvise namah

“We offer our humble obeisances to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krishna Himself and who is more munificent than any other incarnation, including Krishna Himself, because He is doing what no other incarnation has ever done-distributing love of Krishna freely to whomever will just come and take it, to whomever will simply hear.”

We began by saying that spiritual life begins when one somehow or other associates with a pure devotee. That association means hearing from a pure devotee. Then it is up to us. The pure devotee says, “Just surrender to Krishna. Krishna and His name are nondifferent; therefore if you simply surrender to this process of chanting Hare Krishna, you will attain the perfection of life.” One attains the human form of life only after a long struggle, after an evolutionary process through 8,400,000 species of life. It is a rare opportunity, and we should not take it lightly. Unfortunately we spend our lives as if we have no other business than simply making a livelihood-eating, sleeping, defending and mating. The human form of life, however, is different from other forms because in this life we can make a solution to all the problems of existence. Srimad-Bhagavatam says that this human form of life is an ideal boat for crossing the ocean of birth and death. If one is fortunate enough to meet a pure devotee, the spiritual master, he can acquire the proper captain, and Krishna, in the form of Srimad-Bhagavatam, is the breeze that will carry us across.

In Krishna consciousness there are no contradictions. The pure devotee says, “Simply surrender unto Krishna.” Krishna says, “Simply surrender unto Me.” The devotee does not say, “Surrender to me.” Nor does he say, “Surrender to yourself.” Nor does he say, “Surrender to your wife, or surrender to your country.” He tells us simply to surrender to Krishna, the cause of all causes, the original person, that beautiful form standing in a three-curved way, playing a flute and tending His surabhi cows. Krishna dances in ecstasy with the gopis, inviting all the conditioned souls to come back home. He invites us to come join in those eternal pastimes of love.

But in order to come we must learn how to love. That is our problem; we have forgotten how to love Krishna. Consequently we rush to and fro in this material world trying to love this and that-wife, country, society, cats, dogs. Thus we are always frustrated. Why? Because we cannot harbor our love there indefinitely. A person may love his wife very much, and she may love him very much, but what ultimately happens? At some point she disappoints her husband, or her husband disappoints her, or she dies or her husband dies. Their love, therefore, just becomes a means of disappointment. Everyone is looking for love, for friendship, and that love and friendship cannot be fulfilled in this changing world. Our fulfillment lies in taking to this Krishna consciousness movement.

(At this point Srila Prabhupada, the spiritual master, enters the sanctuary. All the devotees greet him with shouts of praise and offer obeisances. Srila Prabhupada then begins to address the assembled devotees and guests.)

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