The editors of Back to Godhead welcome correspondence pertaining to the subject matter of Krsna consciousness. All letters will be personally replied, and correspondence of special interest will be published regularly.
Dear A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami,
Please allow me to offer my respectful obeisances unto your lotus feet. And please allow me to introduce myself. I am 26 years old boy. I have spent about two years and a half in a hippy-like way after escaping out of the society and family. Meanwhile I have tried to get on the way for the salvation. I have studied about Indian religions including some Buddhist Texts. But every effort I made was quite in vain and illusion because I was just trying to forget my sins and mistakes and to hide them from myself and others. People calls me by the nickname Damari, meaning keeping silent or the mouth is locked. It shows how my deeds and words have been meaningless. I did not know how foolish I have ever been, living in the false world.
About two weeks ago came the change. I was forced to see the reality what I had ever been. I found my mind quite dead. I felt myself as an evil spirit, following the path of a demon. It was hell of faithless, cold and painful. I got insane. I wandered out of the city and walked on for four days without eating but some small cookies and two bottles of milk. Actually I was thinking of killing myself. But it was a great fortune for me that I knew the Mantra of Hare Krsna. While walking I often chanted. My mind was rushing back and forth between death and life. But finally chanting made me to think that I should try the last chance of liberation. I knew the law of karma, so I knew killing myself does not help. To be killed is not this life but this ego. Then new self appears.
Fortunately I knew International Society since its beginning in this country, and lately I have visited New Gaya often. So I have come here. Already a week has passed. Sudama and I are working very hard every day. I’m sure making devotion helps me a lot. Chanting, too. But still I do not have confidence that I can be good as devotee. I must learn how to love Krsna from the beginning.
Oh Prabhupada, please teach this stupid boy how to make devotion out of love. Please help me to become the servant of Krsna. I do not want to come back to maya. Please accept my obeisance, or I am hopeless. All glories to Your lotus feet.
Your humble servant, Damari, Toshio Inoue
Surat, India 17 July 1971
My Dear Sri Satsvarupa dasa Adhikari:
On page 32 of BTG No. 32 His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in reply to a disciple’s inquiry, observes: “Hearing the vibration of the Hare Krsna mantra automatically reminds one of Krsna’s Pastimes, Form, Qualities, etc.”
Apropos to this, some of my friends quite at home in comparative religion humbly ask: What about those born before the advent of the Krsna avatara [incarnation] who never heard and never had the haziest notion of Sri Krsna or His Pastimes, etc.?
They believed in the prior avatara of Rama and what went before, and so how could they be established in Krsna consciousness or endeavor to attain Krsna-loka or even aspire to be “Krsna-ized”?
This just defies our comprehension, as the Supreme Cosmic Personality of Krsna appeared only 5000 years ago.
So will you very kindly enlighten and satisfy our consciousness on the subject?
Sincerely thanking you in anticipation, and with respectful obeisances.
Jai Sri Krsna!
Life Member ISKCON
July 29, 1971
Dear Mulchand Deomal:
It was very encouraging to hear from you again. Please accept my humble obeisances. It is so nice to understand that you are discussing and meditating upon the Krsna consciousness philosophy.
Regarding your question: Srila Prabhupada has said, “Hearing the vibration of Hare Krsna automatically reminds one of Krsna’s pastimes, form, qualities, etc.” So you have asked, how could people who lived before the advent of Krsna avatara “who never heard or had the haziest notion of Sri Krsna” meditate on Him by chanting? The fact is that information about the pastimes of Krsna, His words and His glories is eternally existent. In the first verse of the Fourth Chapter of the Gita we read that Krsna spoke the bhakti-yoga principles to the sun-god long, long ago (it is calculated at 140 million years ago).
The Vedic literature was compiled 5,000 years ago, but prior to that the Vedic information was passed down by hearing from bona fide spiritual masters. And what is the purport of that Vedic science? You will find it in the Third Chapter of First Canto, Srimad-Bhagavatam. Krsnastu bhagavan svayam: although there are many avataras and they are all parts of the Supreme Godhead, Krsna is Bhagavan Himself, the source of all incarnations.
It is not that Krsna is a mundane historical person who appeared 5,000 years ago and had no previous existence. He is the eternal Absolute Truth. So information of Krsna was available from bona fide spiritual masters, even before the advent of Krsna and even before Vyasadeva compiled the Vedic literature in writing. In the Satya-yuga, the Golden Age, thousands of years ago, spiritual perfection was attained by the process of meditation for thousands of years. But the goal ot that meditation was the same as the perfection of chanting Hare Krsna: realization that Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the source of all emanations. This realization culminates in performing acts of devotional service.
Another point is that you say that people only knew about the avatara of Rama. But Lord Rama is also Krsna. Meditating upon or glorifying the pastimes of Lord Rama is the same as glorifying Krsna. The only difference is that Lord Rama is a Visnu expansion, and Krsna, Govinda, is the original form of the Supreme Person—but both Rama and Krsna are the Personality of Godhead.
We conditioned souls have all forgotten Krsna’s pastimes—whether we lived before, during or after the advent of Krsna in Vrndavana, we have all forgotten Him and haven’t the “haziest notion” of Him. But love of Krsna is our original, constitutional state of consciousness. The Krsna mantra is to bring back our eternal memory of Krsna.
I hope you can understand that knowledge and memory of Krsna is natural to us; it is not a mundane historical thing, that some have it and some don’t—everyone is servant of Krsna. Moreover, it is not that Krsna only appeared in one place at one time, but His pastimes, as manifested with Yasoda and the cowherd men and gopis, are eternally manifest, in one universe after another, one second after another, eternally. Our perfection will be to become liberated from the recurring process of birth and death in the material world and to join Krsna in His pastimes as they occur within the material universes and eternally exist in Goloka Vrndavana in the spiritual sky.