A lecture by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, reveals Himself in His original form only to those who strive to serve Him with eagerness and devotion. Under the guidance of a fully self realized spiritual master and in the association of other aspiring devotees, a candidate for Krsna consciousness cultivates the desire to know the Supreme Lord as He is, shown here standing in His characteristic threefold-bending way on the bank of the River Yamuna in His eternal abode, Vrndavana.
“The seriously inquisitive student or sage, well equipped with knowledge and detachment, realizes the Absolute Truth by rendering devotional service in terms of what he has heard from the Vedic literature, Vedanta-sruti [Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.12]
People sometimes ask, “Have you seen God?” or “Can you show me God?” Sometimes we meet these questions. So the answer is “Yes, I am seeing God. You can also see God; everyone can see God. But you must have the qualification.” Suppose something is wrong with a motorcar; it is not running. Everyone is seeing it, but a mechanic sees it differently. He’s qualified to see it with greater understanding. So he replaces some missing part, and immediately the car runs. But although for seeing a machine we require so much qualification, we want to see God without any qualification. Just see the folly. People are such rascals, they are such fools, that they want to see God with their imagined qualifications.
Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, naham prakasah sarvasya yoga-maya-samavrtah: “I am not exposed to everyone. My energy, yogamaya, is covering Me from their vision.” So how can you see God? But this rascaldom is going on—this “Can you show me God?” “Have you seen God?” God has become just like a plaything, so that cheaters advertise some ordinary man by saying, “Here is God. Here is an incarnation of God.”
Na mam duskrtino mudhah prapadyante naradhamah. Sinful rascals, fools, the lowest of mankind—they inquire like that: “Can you show me God?” What qualification have you acquired by which you can see God? Here is the qualification: tac chraddadhana munayah. One must first of all be faithful (sraddadhana). One must actually be very much eager to see God. Not that one takes it as a frivolous thing—”Can you show me God?”—or as some magic. They think God is magic. No. One must be very serious and think, “Yes, I have been informed about God. So if there is a God, I must see Him.”
There is a story in this connection. It is very instructive, so try to hear. One professional reciter was publicly reciting the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and he was describing that Krsna is very highly decorated with all kinds of jewels when He goes to tend the cows in the forest. So, there was a thief in that meeting, and he thought, “Why not go to Vrndavana and plunder this boy? He’s in the forest with so many valuable jewels. I can go there and catch the child and take all the jewels.” This was his intention. So he was serious. “I must find that boy,” he thought. “Then in one night I shall become a millionaire.”
The thief’s qualification was his feeling: “I must see Krsna! I must see Krsna!” That anxiety, that eagerness, made it possible for him to actually see Krsna in Vrindavana. He saw Krsna in just the same way as the Bhagavatam reader had described. Then the thief said, “Oh, You are such a nice boy, Krsna.” He began to flatter Him; he thought that by flattering Him he would easily take all the jewels. Then he proposed his real business: “May I take some of these ornaments? You are so rich.”
“No, no, no,” said Krsna. “My mother will be angry! I cannot give them away.” Krsna was playing just like a child.
So the thief became more and more eager for Krsna to give Him the jewels, but by Krsna’s association he was becoming purified. Then at last Krsna said, “All right, you can take them.” Then the thief became a devotee immediately, because by Krsna’s association he had been completely purified. So somehow or other you should come in contact with Krsna. Then you’ll be purified.
The gopis are another example of great eagerness to see Krsna. The gopis came to Krsna, being captivated by His beautiful features. They were young girls, and Krsna was so beautiful. Actually they were lusty when they came to Krsna, but Krsna is so pure that they became first-class devotees. There is no comparison to the gopis’ devotion, because they loved Krsna with heart and soul. That is the qualification. They loved Krsna so much that they didn’t care for family or reputation when they went out in the dead of night. Krsna’s flute was sounding, and they were all fleeing their homes. Their fathers, their brothers, their husbands all said, “Where are you going? Where are you going in this dead of night?” But the gopis didn’t care. They neglected their children, their family, everything. Their only thought was “We must go to Krsna.”
This eagerness is required. We must be very, very eager to see Krsna. Many gopis who were forcibly stopped from going to Krsna lost their lives because of their great feelings of separation. So this eagerness is wanted; then you can see God. Whether you are lusty or a thief or a murderer or whatever it may be—somehow or other you must develop this eagerness, this desire: “I must see Krsna.” Then Krsna will be seen.
The first thing Krsna is looking for is how eager you are to see Him. Krsna will respond. If you are actually eager to see Krsna—whether you are lusty, or you want to steal His ornaments, or some way or other you have become attracted to Krsna—then it is sure your efforts will be successful. But you must desire Krsna only. In this connection, Rupa Gosvami has written a verse:
The idea is that one gopi is advising another gopi, “My dear friend, there is one boy—His name is Govinda. He is standing on the bank of the Yamuna near the Kesi-ghata, and He is playing on His flute. He is so beautiful, especially during this full-moon night. If you have any intention to enjoy in this material world with your children, husband, or other family members, then please do not go there.” Bhangi-traya: Krsna always stands in a three-curved way with His flute. That is Krsna’s tri-bhanga form, bending in three places. So the one gopi says to the other, “If you think that you’ll enjoy your life more in this material world, then do not go to see Krsna. Do not go there.” The idea is that if you once see Krsna, then you’ll forget all this nonsensical materialistic enjoyment. That is seeing Krsna.
When Dhruva Maharaja saw Krsna, he said, svamin krtartho ‘smi varam na yace: “My dear Lord, I don’t want anything else.” Dhruva Maharaja went to see Krsna to get the kingdom of his father, and when he saw Krsna, Krsna offered, “Now, whatever benediction you want, you take.” Dhruva said, “My dear Lord, I no longer have any desire.” That is seeing Krsna.
So, if you’re eager to see Krsna, regardless of whatever motive you have, somehow or other due to your eagerness you’ll see Krsna. That is the only qualification.
In another verse, Rupa Gosvami says, krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih kriyatam yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate. (I have translated the words Krsna consciousness from krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita.) So here Rupa Gosvami advises, “If Krsna consciousness is available, please purchase it immediately. Don’t delay. It is a very nice thing.” Yes, Krsna consciousness is available. You can purchase it from this Krsna consciousness movement. But what is the price? It is such a nice thing, but you have to pay the price. What is that? Tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam: simply your eagerness. That is the price. You have to pay this price. Then you get Krsna, immediately. Krsna is not poor, and the Krsna-seller—the Krsna devotee—he’s also not poor. He can distribute Krsna free. And he’s doing that. You simply have to purchase Him by your eagerness.
Someone may say, “Oh, eagerness? I have eagerness.” Ah-h-h . . . but it is not so easy. Janma-koti-sukrtair na labhyate: this eagerness cannot be achieved even by executing pious activities for millions of births. If you simply go on performing pious activities, still this eagerness is not available.
So, this eagerness is a very important thing, but it can be awakened only by the association of devotees. Therefore we are giving everyone a chance to invoke that eagerness; then you’ll see God, face to face. This life is meant for seeing Krsna. It is not meant for becoming dogs and hogs. Unfortunately, the whole modern civilization is training people to become dogs and hogs. It is only this institution—this Krsna consciousness movement—that is teaching people how to see Krsna. It is so important.
Tac chraddadhana munayo jnana-vairagya-yuktaya. By eagerness, you’ll automatically be enriched with knowledge and detachment. Knowledge does not mean “Now we have discovered this atomic bomb.” That is not knowledge. What knowledge is that? People are already dying, and you have discovered something that will accelerate death. But we are giving knowledge to stop death. That is Krsna consciousness; that is knowledge. Jnana-vairagya-yuktaya. And as soon as you get this knowledge, automatically you become detached from all this nonsensical materialistic happiness.