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Krishna Rescues His Devotee from the Ocean of Death

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The Supreme Lord rescues His devotee from the ocean of birth and death. A soul suffering in material existence can never save himself from the ocean of repeated birth, old age, disease. and death. But if he comes to understand Lord Krsna to be the Absolute Truth, the cause of all causes, he surrenders to Him and invokes His mercy. Then the Lord lifts His long-lost devotee out of the ocean of misery and takes him back to the eternally blissful spiritual world. (Here Lord Krsna appears in His form as four-armed Visnu, riding His bird-carrier Garuda.)

The Supreme Lord rescues His devotee from the ocean of birth and death. A soul suffering in material existence can never save himself from the ocean of repeated birth, old age, disease, and death. But if he comes to understand Lord Krsna to be the Absolute Truth, the cause of all causes, he surrenders to Him and invokes His mercy. Then the Lord lifts His long-lost devotee out of the ocean of misery and takes him back to the eternally blissful spiritual world. (Here Lord Krsna appears in His form as four-armed Visnu, riding His bird-carrier Garuda.)

A talk given in October 1968 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, at the Society’s center in Seatlle.

Govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami. We are interested in understanding Govinda, or Krsna, the original person. And if one can understand the original person, then one understands everything. This is explained in the Upanisads: Yasmin vijnate sarvam evam vijnatam bhavati. “If you can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or the Absolute Truth, you understand everything.”

Similarly, the Bhagavad-gita [6.22] says, yam labdhva caparam labham manyate nadhikam tatah: “One who understands Krsna thinks there is no greater gain.” Everyone is trying to gain something according to his own position or his own idea. Not everyone is searching after the same thing. Somebody is searching after intoxication, somebody is searching after sex, somebody is searching after money, somebody is searching after knowledge—people are searching after so many things. But there is one thing that will make us so satisfied that we shall say we do not want anything more. And that is perfect understanding of Krsna.

If you simply understand Krsna, your knowledge is perfect: you understand everything. You understand science, you understand mathematics, you understand chemistry, physics, astronomy, philosophy, literature—everything. It doesn’t matter what department of knowledge or what kind of activity you are engaged in; if you can find the Supreme by your activity or pursuit of knowledge, that is your perfection. You are a scientist? All right: by your scientific research find the Supreme. Then your science is perfect. You are a businessman? With your money just search out the Supreme. You are a lover? Just search out the supreme lover, Krsna. You have an aesthetic sense? You are looking for beauty? If you find Krsna, your desire for beauty will be satisfied.

The name Krsna means “the all-attractive one.” He’s attractive to the lovers, He’s attractive to the wise men, He’s attractive to the politicians, He’s attractive to the scientists. He’s even attractive to the rogues. When Krsna entered Kamsa’s wrestling arena, various kinds of people saw him differently. Among those who had come from Vrndavana, the young girls saw Krsna as the most beautiful person, and the older ladies saw Him as a loving child. But the demonic wrestlers saw Krsna as a deadly thunderbolt. They saw the same Krsna, but they thought, “Oh, here is a thunderbolt that will kill us!” However strong you may be, if you are struck by a thunderbolt you are finished. And Kamsa’s wrestlers saw Krsna in that way—as a deadly thunderbolt.

So you can establish a relationship with Krsna in any of twelve kinds of rasas, or humors. For example, sometimes you may want to see a very ghastly scene in some drama. You may take pleasure in seeing somebody murder somebody else. One of our students in Montreal told me that his father took pleasure in watching bullfights in Spain. One person may see it as horrible, but another person is enjoying: “Oh, it is very nice.” So, Krsna can accommodate both persons. If you love horrible things, Krsna will present Himself to you as Nrsimhadeva. [Srila Prabhupada imitates a roar] And if you want to see Krsna as your loving friend. He will show Himself to you as Vamsi-dhari [He Who Carries a Flute] or Vrndavana-vihari [The Enjoyer of Vrndavana]. If you want Krsna as a loving child, he will appear to you as Gopala [The Cowherd Boy].

So, there are twelve kinds of humors, and Krsna can accommodate all of them. Therefore He is known as akhila-rasamrta-sindhu, “the nectarean ocean of all the different humors.” If you are trying to find water and you go to the Pacific Ocean—oh, you will find unlimited water. There is no comparison to the amount of water there. Similarly, whatever you want, if you approach Krsna you will find an unlimited supply—just like water in the Pacific Ocean. That is why Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, yaa labdhva caparam labham manyate nadhikam tatah. If a person can approach or gain the Supreme Absolute, he’ll be completely satisfied. He’ll say, “I have no more hankering. I have everything to my full satisfaction.”

And if one is situated in that transcendental position, then what happens? Yasmin sthito na duhkhena gurunapi vicalyate: “Even if there is very severe distress, one is not disturbed.” There are many instances of this in the Vedic scriptures. For example, the Pandavas were placed in so many distressful conditions, but they never faltered. They never asked Krsna, “Dear Krsna, we are Your friends, so why are we undergoing so much severe difficulty?” No, they never said that. They were confident that because Krsna was their friend, in spite of all the difficulties they would come out victorious.

This confidence is called saranagati, full surrender. There are six points of surrender to Krsna, and one of these is to have full faith that Krsna will protect us. It is the kind of faith that a small child has in his mother or father. The child thinks, “My mother is here, so there is no danger.” I’ll narrate a practical experience of this. In Calcutta, in my younger days, I was once traveling in a tram with my youngest son. He was only two or three years old. So the conductor, as a joke, said to him, “Give me your fare.”

The boy said, “I have no money.”

“Then get off.”

Immediately the boy answered, “Ah, here is my father. You cannot ask me to get off, because my father is here.” This is the psychology of saranagati, full faith in the protection of a superior.

In the Bhagavad-gita [9.31] Krsna assures us of full protection. Kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati: “My dear Arjuna, son of Kunti, declare to the world that My devotee will never be vanquished.” So if you surrender to Krsna, then even the greatest danger will not agitate you. That is a fact. Such a thing is Krsna! Try to achieve this greatest boon: Krsna.

So one who worships Krsna is very intelligent. As Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita [10.8],

aham sarvasya prabhavo
mattah sarvam pravartate
iti matva bhajante mam
budha bhava-samanvitah

I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise, who know this perfectly, worship Me in full ecstasy.” Who worships Krsna? That is described here: budhah, the most intelligent person. Buddha means “wise,” and budha means “one who is wise or full of knowledge.” Many people are searching after knowledge. Here in Seattle you have Washington University, and many students have come to acquire knowledge. But one who has acquired the perfection of knowledge, or the highest platform of knowledge, is called budha. So one who worships Krsna is very learned and wise, and at the same time he feels spiritual ecstasy (bhava-samanvitah). “Such a person,” Krsna says, “worships Me, or loves Me.” Why? Because he understands that Krsna is the origin of everything (aham sarvasya prabhavah). In other words, he knows that Krsna is the ultimate source of everything, the Supreme Absolute Truth.

The Vedanta-sutra says that human life is meant for searching out this Absolute Truth, or Brahman (athato brahma-jijnasa). In other lives we have enjoyed sense pleasure to the fullest extent. According to Darwin’s theory, human beings evolved from monkeys. In India there are many monkeys, and we have seen that each and every monkey has at least twenty-five girlfriends. So, as human beings what more can we enjoy in the way of sex pleasure? Hogs also have dozens of sex partners. They make no distinction between mother, sister, daughter. They simply enjoy sex indiscriminately. Now, do you mean to say that human life is meant for living like the monkeys and hogs and cats and dogs? Is that the perfection of human life—enjoying sense gratification?

No. We have enjoyed sense gratification in various forms of life. Now, the Vedanta-sutra says, we should inquire into Brahman, the Absolute Truth. What is that Brahman? We are all Brahman, spirit, but Krsna is Parabrahman, the Supreme Spirit (isvarah paramah krsnah). For example, you are all Americans, but President Johnson is the supreme American. Similarly, the Katha Upanisad [2.2.13] says, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam: “Of all the eternal living entities, there is one who is supreme.” That is God, the most perfect eternal person, the most perfect living force.

Then, eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman: “One living force, the Supreme, is supplying all the demands of all other living entities.” For example, in a family the father supplies the necessities of the wife, the children, the servants, and so on. Similarly, the government tries to supply the necessities of all the citizens. But whether you are the father of a small family or the head of a big government, your ability to supply is limited. You may feed your family, you may feed your society, you may feed your countrymen—but you cannot feed everyone. There are trillions of living entities. Who is supplying them food? Who is supplying food for the thousands of ants within the hole in your room? When we go to Green Lake, we see hundreds of ducks. Who is taking care of them? And living entities are being fed not only on this planet but on trillions of planets in trillions of universes. Who is feeding them? God. Everyone is dependent on Him, and He is supplying all necessities.

God’s arrangement is complete (om purnam adah purnam idam). For example, on this planet, earth, everything is complete. The water in the seas and oceans is taken up by the sunshine and transformed into clouds. Then it is distributed all over the land, and the vegetables and food grains grow. It is a complete arrangement.

Now, an intelligent person will ask, Who has made this complete arrangement? The sun is rising in due time, the moon is rising in due time, the seasons are changing in due time. So how can you say there is no God? There is evidence for God in the Vedas and in every other scripture, and great representatives of God, like Lord Jesus Christ, have given information of God. Although Jesus Christ was crucified, he never changed his opinion about God. So we have evidence about God from nature, from the scriptures, and from great personalities. But if one still says, “God is dead; there is no God,”what kind of man is He? He is a demon. He’ll never understand God.

Now, just opposite to the demon is the budha, the wise man. Anyone who is wise, intelligent, knows that Krsna is the cause of all causes (sarva-karana-karanam). By the law of cause and effect, everything has a cause. So if you find the first cause, the cause of all causes, you’ll find Krsna. As the Vedanta-sutra says, janmady asya yatah: “The Supreme is that from which everything has emanated.”

You cannot say that everything has sprung up automatically. That is foolishness. Modern scientists say, “In the beginning, perhaps there was a chunk and then a big bang and then creation.” But this is all “perhaps.” This kind of knowledge is useless. If I ask the scientists, “What is the cause of the chunk?” they cannot reply.

So, we must find out the original cause, God, and if we cannot find Him then we have to follow the great souls who have realized God (Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah). We have to follow the authorized personalities. If you are a Christian, just follow Jesus Christ. He says God exists, so you should accept that God exists. He says that God created the universe, so you should accept this.

Similarly, in Bhagavad-gita God says, aham sarvasya prabhavah: “I am the origin of everything.” We have to accept this statement. We have to study authorized scriptures, and we have to accept the words of great personalities and follow their example. Then Krsna consciousness, or God realization, is very easy. There will be no stumbling blocks on the path of our understanding God.

There are so many scriptures: the Bhagavad-gita, the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the Bible, the Koran. In every human society there is some conception of God according to the circumstances and the people. So you have to try to understand God through the scripture. Therefore the Vedanta-sutra says, athato brahma-jijnasa: “Try to understand God by inquiry.” This inquiry is very important. In our process, Krsna consciousness, it is said, adau gurvasrayam sad-dharma-prccha: “One has to accept a bonafide spiritual master and inquire from him about God.”

So we should be intelligent and inquire about Brahman, the Absolute Truth. Human life is meant for this inquiry. And after inquiring, inquiring, inquiring, what is the result? That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita [7.19]. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate: “After many, many births of inquiry, when one actually becomes a wise man, a man of knowledge, he surrenders unto Me, Krsna.” Why? Vasudevah sarvam iti: he understands that Vasudeva, Krsna, is the cause of all causes.

So, if we want to be intelligent, we can adopt the process of inquiring into the Absolute Truth. On the other hand, if we are actually intelligent we will take to Krsna consciousness immediately. It is being offered to us by the most magnanimous incarnation, Lord Caitanya. He is offering us love of Krsna, the highest goal of life. That is why Srila Rupa Gosvami offers his obeisances to Lord Caitanya in this way: namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te. “O my dear Lord Caitanya, You are the most magnanimous of all incarnations because You are directly giving krsna-prema, love of Krsna.” Ordinarily, love of Krsna cannot be achieved even after many, many births, but Lord Caitanya delivered it cheaply. “Here, take it!” He said. Rupa Gosvami could understand that Lord Caitanya was Krsna Himself, because Rupa Gosvami knew it would not have been possible for anyone else to offer love of Krsna so cheaply.

And, actually. Lord Caitanya is Krsna. Five thousand years ago Krsna came personally and taught the Bhagavad-gita. He simply said, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: “Just give up everything and surrender to Me.” But people misunderstood Him. Therefore, five hundred years ago Krsna came as a devotee, Lord Caitanya, and directly offered krsna-prema to the people in general.

So we request everyone to take up Krsna consciousness. You’ll feel, “I don’t want anything more. I am satisfied—fully satisfied.”

Thank you very much. Are there any questions?

Devotee: How can we render perfect service to Krsna?

Srila Prabhupada: By increasing your anxiety to serve Him. If you are full of anxiety to serve Krsna, that is a real asset. After all, Krsna is unlimited; so what service can we actually offer to Him? He already has unlimited servants, so what service does He require from you and me? He’s perfect in Himself; he doesn’t require any service. But if you are anxious to serve Him, He will not refuse your service That is His mercy; that is His magnanimity.

So, the more you increase your anxiety to serve Krsna, the more perfect you become in devotional service. Krsna is unlimited, so your anxiety to serve Him will become unlimited. There will be a competition: the more you serve Krsna, the more He will accept your service and the more He will give you the intelligence to serve Him better. The spiritual world is unlimited. There is no end of service, and there is no end of accepting service.

I will give you evidence from Srila Rupa Gosvami, our predecessor spiritual master. He says, krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih kriyatam yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate: “My dear gentlemen, if you can purchase a sense of loving Krsna—an anxiety to love Krsna more and more—then please immediately purchase it.”

“All right,” you may say, “I shall purchase it. But what is the price?”

Laulyam, says Rupa Gosvami. “Simply your eagerness, that’s all.”

This eagerness to love Krsna is not available even after many, many lives of pious activity. So if you have a pinch of that anxiety to serve Krsna, you should know that you’re most fortunate. Even if you have only a pinch of anxiety to serve Krsna, He will give you the intelligence to serve Him more and more. Krsna can understand everything. He’s within me; he’s within you. So he says in the Bhagavad-gita [10.10],

tesam satata-yuktanam
bhajatam priti-purvakam
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upayanti te

“To anyone who is engaged with love and affection in My service, without any hypocrisy, I give the intelligence by which he can come back to Me.” And what profit will you get by going back to Krsna? Yad gatva na nivartante: once going back to Krsna’s abode, you will never return to this miserable material world. Please read Bhagavad-gita As It Is. You’ll get perfect knowledge of the science of God, the only subject necessary for human beings to study.

So, great eagerness to serve Krsna is the perfection of Krsna consciousness. Increase that eagerness, and Krsna will enlighten you. He will help you advance in Krsna consciousness, and your life will be successful .

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