An explanation of a song
by the great spiritual teacher Narottama dasa Thakura,
given by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada,
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness,
some fourteen years ago in the Los Angeles Hare Krsna center.
Narottama dasa Thakura, who has written this song, is a famous acarya [spiritual master], and his compositions are accepted as Vedic truth. In this song he represents himself as a common man, as one of us. He laments, appealing to Hari, Lord Krsna, hari hari biphale janama gonainu: “My dear Lord, I have uselessly spoiled my life, because I have not worshiped You.”
People do not know that they are spoiling their life. They are thinking, “I’ve got a very nice apartment, a very nice car, a very nice wife, a very nice income, a very nice social position.” All these material attractions make us forget the purpose of our life—to worship Krsna.
In one verse [5.5.8], the Srimad-Bhagavatam summarizes the material attractions: pumsah striya mithuni-bhavam etam tayor mitho hrdaya-granthim ahuh/ ato grha-ksetra-sutapta-vittair janasya moho ‘yam aham mameti. The basic principle of material attraction is sex: pumsah striya mithuni-bhavam etam. A man hankers after a woman, and a woman hankers after a man. And when they actually engage in sex, they become very much attracted to each other: tayor mitho hrdaya-granthim ahuh. Hrdaya means “heart,” and granthim means “hard knot.” So when a man and a woman engage in sex, the hard knot in the heart is tied. “I cannot leave you,” he says. “You are my life and soul.” And she says, “I cannot leave you. You are my life and soul.”
For a few days. Then divorce.
But the beginning is sex. The basic principle of material attraction is sex. We have organized sex life in many social conventions. Marriage is a social convention that gives sex a nice finishing touch, that’s all. Sometimes it is said that marriage is legalized prostitution. But for keeping up social relations one has to accept some regulative principles, some restrictions on sense gratification. Therefore civilized human beings recognize that there is a difference between sex in marriage and sex outside of marriage, which is just like sex between animals.
In any case, when two people unite some way or other, their next demand is a nice apartment (grha) and some land (ksetra). Then children (suta). When you have an apartment and a wife, the next requirement is to have children, because without children no home life is pleasant. Putra-hinam grham sunyam: “Home life without children is just like a desert.” Children are the real pleasure of home life. Finally there is the circle of relatives, or society (apta). And all these paraphernalia have to be maintained with money (vittaih). So money is required.
In this way one becomes entangled in the material world and covered by illusion. Why illusion? Why are such important things—wife, children, money—illusion? Because although at the present moment you may think everything is all right—you have a nice arrangement of home life, apartment, wife, children, society, and position—as soon as your body is finished everything is finished. You’re forced to leave everything and move on to your next platform. And you do not know what your next platform will be. Your next body may be that of a human being or a cat or a dog or a demigod or anything. You do not know. But whatever it is, as soon as you leave your present body you will forget everything. There will be no remembrance of who you were, who your wife was, what your home was like, how big your bank balance was, and so on. Everything will be finished.
Everything will be finished in a flash, just like a bubble bursting in the ocean. The thrashing of the waves in the ocean generates millions and billions of bubbles, but the next moment they are all finished. Finished.
In this way material life is going on. The living entity travels through many species of life, many planets, until he comes to the human form of life. Human life is an opportunity to understand how we are transmigrating from one place 10 another, from one life to another, and simply wasting our time, not understanding what our constitutional position is and why we are suffering so much distress.
These things are to be understood in this human form of life. But instead of inquiring about our real position, we are simply engaged with mithuni-bhavam and grha-ksetra-sutapta-vittaih—sex, wife, home, property, children, society, money, and position. We are captivated with these things, and we are spoiling our life.
So Narottama dasa Thakura, representing us, is lamenting, “My dear Lord, I have spoiled my life.” Why? Manusya-janama paiya radha-krsna na bhajiya: “This human form of life is meant for understanding Radha-Krsna (the Lord and His energy) and worshiping Radha-Krsna. But instead of making contact with Radha-Krsna, I am simply spoiling my life in sense gratification.”
Then his lament goes on. Golokera prema-dhana hari-nama-sankirtana rati na janmilo kene tay: “Alas, why have I no attraction for chanting Hare Krsna?” The chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra is a transcendental vibration; it is not a material thing. It is imported from the transcendental abode of Krsna. From there the transcendental sound of Hare Krsna has come. This sound is like the sunshine coming-from the sun. Although you cannot go to the sun—it is far, far beyond your reach—you can understand that the sunshine is coming from the sun globe. There is no doubt about it. Similarly, the vibration of the Hare Krsna mantra is coming from Krsna’s planet, Goloka (golokera prema-dhana). And this chanting produces love of Krsna. (Prema-dhana means “the treasure of love for Krsna.”)
Narottama dasa Thakura laments, hari-nama-sankirtana rati na janmilo kene tay: “Alas, why do I have no attachment for the chanting of Hare Krsna?” Why should one be attached to this chanting? That is explained in the next line. Samsara-bisanale diba-nisi hiya jwale juraite: “Chanting Hare Krsna is the only remedy to relieve the heart from the burning poison of sense gratification.” Hiya means “heart.” Our heart is always burning. Why? Because it is in touch with the sense-gratificatory process. No sense-gratificatory process can give me satisfaction, even though I try this way and that way, this way and that way. People are trying sense gratification in so many ways, and now they have come to the last point: the naked dance and . . . what is that called—that short skirt?
Srila Prabhupada: Miniskirt, yes. [Laughs.] So, because in the material world the basic principle is sex, everyone is inviting, “Yes, come on, enjoy sex. Come on, enjoy sex.” But no matter how you try to enjoy sex, you cannot be satisfied. That is certain, because sense gratification is not your real platform of enjoyment. You are a spirit soul, and unless you come to the spiritual platform you will never be satisfied by any sense gratification. You’ll simply go on hankering after pleasure, but you will find no satisfaction.
Therefore, Narottama dasa Thakura says we are suffering in samsara-bisanale. Samsara indicates our material demands for eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. These are just like fiery poison. Then he says, “My heart is burning from this poison, but I have not searched out the means of relief: the chanting of Hare Krsna. I have no attachment for this chanting, and therefore I have spoiled my life.” Then he says, vrajendra-nandana jei saci-suta hoilo sei. The chanting of Hare Krsna was introduced by Krsna Himself, Vrajendra-nandana, in the form of Lord Caitanya, Saci-suta. Krsna took the part of the son of Maharaja Nanda, the king of Vrndavana. Therefore Krsna is called Vrajendra-nandana. And Lord Caitanya took the role of the son of Mother Saci; so He is known as Saci-suta. The Supreme Personality of Godhead takes pleasure when He is addressed with His devotee’s name, with His energy’s name. (His devotees are also His energy.) Although He has no father—He is the father of everyone—He accepts some devotee as His father when He appears on earth. When a pure devotee wants Krsna as his son, Krsna accepts the devotee as His parent.
So Narottama dasa Thakura says that Vrajendra-nandana (Krsna) has now appeared as Saci-suta (Lord Caitanya), and Balarama (Krsna’s brother) has become Nitai. And what is Their business? Dina-hina-jata chilo hari-name uddharilo: saving all kinds of wretched, sinful, conditioned souls by teaching them the chanting of Hare Krsna. In this age, Kali-yuga, you cannot find a pious man or a saintly person. Everyone is addicted to sinful activities. But simply by distributing the chanting of Hare Krsna, Lord Caitanya saved everyone, however fallen he might have been. “Come on!” He said. “Chant Hare Krsna and be delivered.”
What is the evidence that Lord Caitanya saved even the most fallen? Tara saksi jagai madhai. Jagai and Madhai were two brothers who engaged in all kinds of sinful affairs. They were born into a very high brahmana family, but by bad association they became sinful. Similarly, in the present age, although the people of the West are descending from Aryan families, very nice families, by association they have become fallen. Their environment is full of illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating, and gambling. So Jagai and Madhai are specimens of the modern population, and Lord Caitanya delivered them simply by inducing them to chant the Hare Krsna mantra.
So chanting Hare Krsna will actually deliver all fallen souls, without doubt. This is not bogus propaganda. Whatever his past life, anyone who takes to this chanting process will become saintly. He will become a pure, Krsna conscious person.
Chanting Hare Krsna will purify our heart, our burning heart. Then we will understand, “I am an eternal servant of the Supreme Lord, Krsna.” Ordinarily we can come to this understanding only after many, many births, as Krsna confirms in the Bhagavad-gita [7.19]. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate: “After many, many births, when a person becomes a man of wisdom, he surrenders unto Me.” Why? Vasudevah sarvam iti: because he knows that Vasudeva, Krsna, is everything. But that kind of great soul is very rare (sa mahatma sudurlabhah).
But Lord Caitanya has made it easy to become such a great soul. How? Simply by chanting Hare Krsna. Therefore at the end of his song Narottama dasa Thakura says, ha ha prabhu nanda-suta vrsabhanu-suta-juta koruna karoho ei-baro: “My dear Lord Krsna, You are now present before me with Your internal potency, Your pleasure potency, Radharani. Please be merciful to me. Don’t neglect me because I am so sinful. My past life is so black, but don’t neglect me. Please accept me. Don’t kick me away. I surrender unto You.”
So, all of us should follow in the footsteps of Narottama dasa Thakura. The purificatory process is chanting Hare Krsna. And as soon as our heart is purified, we will become completely convinced that Krsna is the Supreme Lord and that we are His eternal servants. We have forgotten this. We are serving, but instead of serving the Lord we are serving our senses. We have never become the master. We are not the masters of our senses; we are the servants of our senses. That is our position.
So why not become the servant of the Supreme Lord instead of remaining the servant of your senses? Actually, you can become the master of your senses only when you become the servant of Krsna. Otherwise, it is not possible. Either godasa or gosvami: that is your choice. A person who is the servant of his senses is called godasa, and a person who is the master of his senses is called gosvami. He controls his senses. When his tongue wants to eat something not offered to Krsna, he thinks, “O tongue, you cannot taste this thing. It is not krsna-prasadam [food offered to Krsna].” In this way one becomes a gosvami, a master of his senses.
When a person does not allow his senses to do anything for sense gratification but acts only for the service of Krsna, that is called devotional service. Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate: devotional service means to engage your senses in satisfying the master of the senses. The supreme master of the senses is Krsna. Now we are trying to use our senses for our personal service. This is called maya, illusion. But when we engage the same senses in the service of Krsna, that is perfection. We don’t stop the activities of the senses, but we purify the senses by engaging them in the service of the Lord. This is Krsna consciousness.
Thank you very much. Any questions?
Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, how is it that Lord Jesus is called the son of God? If Krsna is usually the son, how is Jesus—
Srila Prabhupada: Not usually. Krsna is the Supreme Father, but He becomes His devotee’s son out of His love. Being a son is not Krsna’s constitutional position; being the father is His constitutional position (aham bija-pradah pita). But sometimes He voluntarily becomes a son to taste His devotee’s fatherly or motherly love for Him.
When a pure devotee prays, “My dear Lord, I want You for my son,” Krsna accepts his prayer. Vasudeva and Devaki become Krsna’s parents in this way. In a previous life they underwent severe austerities. They were married, but they had no sex. They were determined that unless they could get the Lord as their son they would not have a child. So they performed severe austerities for many thousands of years. Then the Lord appeared to them and asked, “What do you want?”
“Sir, we want a son like You.”
“How can you get a son like Me? I’ll become your son!”
So Krsna, the Lord, is the father of everyone, but He voluntarily becomes the son of His devotee. Otherwise, His position is always the Supreme Father.
Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, I read in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that when one becomes a liberated soul he attains perfect freedom and that sometimes his freedom is on the same level as Krsna’s or even more than Krsna’s. Can you explain this?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Take Vasudeva, for example. He’s more than Krsna. Or Mother Yasoda. You have seen the picture of Yasoda binding Krsna?
Devotee: Krsna looks like a little baby?
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is feared by everyone, but He becomes fearful of Mother Yasoda: “My dear mother, kindly do not bind Me. I shall obey your orders.”
So Mother Yasoda has become more than God, more than Krsna. The mayavadi [impersonalistic] philosophers want to become one with the Lord, but our philosophy is to become more than Krsna. Why one with Krsna? More than Krsna. And, actually, Krsna does make His devotee more than Himself. Another example is Arjuna. Krsna took the part of his chariot driver. Krsna was actually the hero of the Battle of Kuruksetra, but He gave that position to His devotee: “Arjuna, you become the hero. I shall be your charioteer.”
Krsna is just like a father who wants to see his son become more than himself. If the father has an M.A., he wants to see his son get a Ph.D. Then the father is satisfied. He’ll not tolerate an outsider’s becoming more than him, but he’s glad if his son becomes more than him. Similarly, Krsna, the Supreme Lord, wants to see His devotee become more than Himself. That is His pleasure.