By acquiring a comfortable material position in life with a nice family, friends, etc., one strives for permanent sense satisfaction while ignoring the fact that his real satisfaction is not to be found in the material sphere. A man driving his car may feel proud of his attractive auto, he may become worried and feel pain when the car is struck, out of his attachment, yet when he sees a nicer car with more gadgets he will leave his old car for the new one. In the continued changing of vehicles the man forgets that he does not even need the car because he has already been provided by his Creator with all facilities for his transportation wherever he wishes to go.
The individual soul also needlessly accepts material body after body to enjoy in assorted avenues of sense gratification within the material world. Ignorant of his true nature (which is that he is eternally satisfied, in full knowledge, and not in need of external material happiness for satisfaction), he becomes attracted by ever-changing material forms and seeks to enjoy them.
Krsna, the Supreme Lord, speaking in Bhagavad-gita, explains the position of the living entity in the material world: “The living entities in this conditional world are My fragmental parts, and they are eternal. But due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.”(Bg. 15.7) He also kindly explains to His disciple Arjuna in this book of instruction to the bewildered souls that the living entities are of His superior energy. Lord Krsna has multi-energies—He is the controller of both the inferior (material) and superior (spiritual) natures. He is called the Energetic, since from Him everything is emanating. “Of all that is material and all that is spiritual in this world, know for certain that I am both the origin and dissolution.”(Bg. 7.6) If the living entity accepts the control of the source of all energies, he then becomes rightly situated in his original spiritual nature, and he becomes the same in quality as the Energetic.
Real satisfaction and perfect knowledge are attainable when the individual abides by the will of the Lord. Ignorance of the Lord means forgetfulness of our eternal position as His eternal loving servants. If a teacher tells his student to go to the slum of the city to impart to the ignorant all he has taught his pupil, the student may directly do as the instructor asks, or, while in the slum, he may begin to mix with the degraded population, become attracted to their unclean ways, and neglect his master’s instructions. He may try to enjoy the pleasures of the unclean, perverted area, with which by nature he has nothing to do.
Until he remembers his teacher’s superior instructions—by which he has come to the contaminated area—he remains under the control of the inferior instructions of the impulses of the senses. When he recalls and agrees to complete the task given him by his master, he then can pick himself up to his original transcendental position and execute his purpose. When he returns to his master to deliver the desired result, then he experiences real satisfaction.
The living entity forgets his real nature while in contact with the Lord’s inferior material nature, and until he begins functioning in his factual position, he remains in the cruel clutches of material nature. “The divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” (Bg. 7.14)
This is the process for becoming free from the bewilderment and illusion inflicted upon us by the Lord’s inferior energy, called maya. The foolish and miscreant are covered by this creative potency and do not understand the real nature of the Lord. The beginning of the process is surrender, and the perfection is complete surrender in full knowledge of the Lord’s position and the living entities’ duty to the Lord. The Lord says, “To those who are constantly devoted and who worship me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me. Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.”(Bg. 10.10-11)
For the eternally conditioned souls, such as ourselves, who have been wandering in maya’s territory for an indefinite length of time, the surrendering process is difficult. The Lord, though, helps the endeavoring souls to become free from His illusory energy. He comes Himself to deliver the pious and annihilate the miscreants as well as to reestablish the principles of religion. He sends His representatives such as His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada as spiritual masters, and He sends saintly persons to impart knowledge unto the living beings. He incarnates in the form of scriptures such as Bhagavad-gita in which He personally instructs, and in other scriptures such as the Bible and Koran. Also, He is seated in the heart of each living entity, and He lends instruction to the individual who seeks His association.
This process of reclaiming the conditioned soul is perfectly explained by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada in a purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam. The Lord does not desire that living beings should be illusioned, but He also does not interfere with the task of the illusory energy because such performances of the illusory energy are necessary for reformation of the conditioned soul. The affectionate father will offer all facilities to a runaway son who is seeking a way to come home to him, but if the son becomes again disobedient, the father will not hesitate to punish the foolish child. Krsna is always inviting us to return to His supreme abode to enjoy transcendental peace with Him. And if the living entity follows Arjuna’s example and surrenders to the Supreme Lord, the originally existing affection and devotion to the Lord is again awakened. The entire process is completed when there is surrender by the living entity to the Supreme Lord.
The Lord says, “Always think of Me. Become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me The result is that you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” (Bg. 18.65) One should always act in such a way that all his daily activities are in connection with Krsna. He should mold his life in such a way that, throughout twenty-four hours, he cannot but think of Krsna. By cultivating devotional service one can fix his mind on the lotus feet of the Lord and become perfect. Regardless of the type of work performed, if it is executed in Krsna consciousness it becomes a glorious act of love offerable to the Supreme Personality.
The characteristics of pure devotional service are described by a pure devotee, Srila Rupa Gosvami, in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
1) Pure devotional service brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress.
2) It is the beginning of all auspiciousness.
3) It automatically puts one in transcendental pleasure.
4) It is rarely achieved.
5) Those in pure devotional service deride even the conception of liberation.
6) Pure devotional service is the only means to attract Krsna.
These characteristics give us a hint of the inconceivable potency of transcendental loving service to the Lord, Sri Krsna. The name Krsna means all-attractive, but one who fully engages in Krsna’s service can attract even the all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna.
The distresses we suffer are the results of sinful actions we have committed in the past and those that we are presently committing. Also, in the future we must suffer for the sins which we have committed because of our ignorance. Ignorance is no excuse for sinful activity. So we are caught in a chain of reactions to our past misdeeds that we still have to undergo as long as we remain unsurrendered to the Lord. Krsna instructs in the Bhagavad-gita that He will protect us from sinful reactions as long as we surrender to Him. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam He explains to His devotee Uddhava, “My dear Uddhava, devotional service unto Me is just like a blazing fire which can burn into ashes unlimited fuel supplied to it.” (Bhag. 11.14.18) This statement is explained by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada: “As the blazing fire can burn any amount of fuel to ashes, so devotional service to the Lord in Krsna consciousness can burn up all the fuel of sinful activities.”
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Even the seeds of future sins lying in the heart and also the seeds of desire can be removed by simply chanting the mahamantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This chanting process was recommended by the Lord Himself when He appeared as Lord Caitanya 485 years ago to deliver the living beings by exemplifying the path of pure devotional service, which can bring the fallen souls of this age back home. Therefore, it is the duty of everyone to engage in the process of hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord or to execute any or all of the activities recommended in devotional service. Thus one can become free from the distressing knot of false identification and inferior engagement in material activities that keeps us bound up in illusion.
I offer my most humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada who has brought us out of the deadly condition of material existence by the chanting of the mahamantra, the Great Chant for Deliverance: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. “By the mercy of the spiritual master, who is a pure devotee, and by the mercy of Krsna, one can achieve the platform of devotional service. There is no other way.” (Caitanya-caritamrta) In this age of Kali, simply chant the Hare Krsna mantra.