“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said, ‘Now hear, O son of Prtha, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with your mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.”‘ (Bhagavad-gita 7.1)
The yoga system Krsna mentions here is very simple and sublime. You have to simply engage your mind in thinking only of Krsna, of the form of Krsna. And how should you think of Him? With attachment (asakti). If you love somebody, you always want to see him; your attachment is so strong that if you don’t see him you become restless. Different people have different attachments, but attachment is always there. Somebody may be attached to a dog, and somebody may be attached to God. But attachment is there.
Srila Rupa Gosvami has explained very simply how we should be attached to God. He says, “My dear Lord, as a young man awakens his attachment immediately upon seeing a young girl, or as a young girl becomes attracted as soon as she sees a young boy, let me become attached to You.” This kind of attachment is natural. Nobody has to go to the university to learn it.
Simply by seeing a young girl, a young boy thinks, “Oh, here is a nice, beautiful girl.” And a young girl thinks, “Oh, here is a nice, beautiful boy.” Similarly, we should think, “Oh, here is Krsna, here are topics about Krsna, here is Krsna’s temple.”
Another example is that our attachment should flow toward Krsna like the current of a river. A river automatically flows down to the sea. Just as the river is flowing toward the sea spontaneously, without any artificial attempt, our love should spontaneously flow toward Krsna, or God. That is the perfection of yoga.
Yoga means “connection.” In the beginning we may revive our connection with Krsna artificially, but when that connection comes spontaneously, without any check, just like the river water going down incessantly to the sea, then we will be perfect in yoga. Nobody can check the flowing river. Why does the river go to the sea? It is simply natural; there is no artificial reason why it is going there. Similarly, when our love for Krsna will glide down like that, without any personal motive, we will have achieved perfection in yoga.
Spontaneous love for God does not depend on any external cause. Its only cause is the love itself. Therefore it is called ahaituki. Ahaituki means “without any cause or motive.” Generally people go to a temple or church with a personal motive to fulfill. For example, the Christians go to church and pray, “God, give us our daily bread.” The motive is the desire for bread. But when you go to church without any motive except to glorify God, that is real love. Of course, it is also nice to think, “God will give me bread; therefore let me go to church.” But this motivated faith may be lost. If we approach God for some material benefit, our faith in Him may break at any time. So that is not the platform of real love of God. Real love is without personal motivation.
And this love is also apratihata, “unable to be checked.” Real love for God cannot be checked by any material condition. Nobody should say, “Because I am a poor man I have to work very hard, so I cannot love God now.” People often talk like that: “I shall wait. When I get millions of dollars in my bank account I shall take to Krsna consciousness. Now let me earn money.” This is not bhakti. This is not attachment to Krsna.
Here Krsna says we should practice yoga under His protection (mad-asrayah). This means we must take shelter of Krsna or His representative and try to practice that yoga by which we will attain spontaneous love for Krsna. Now we have no attachment for Krsna. So, to awaken that attachment there are some regulative principles we must follow. For instance, we say, “No illicit sex.” The Vedic system teaches that one must get married and live according to religious principles. Then the husband and the wife can satisfy their desire for sex by begetting good children. There is no prohibition against sex; it is allowed. But not illicit sex. Engaging in illicit sex means you increase your attachment for sex, not for Krsna. Therefore it is forbidden.
Also, no meat-eating. Meat- or fish- or egg-eating—any nonvegetarian diet—is simply an attachment of the tongue. Nobody dies from not eating meat. That’s a fact. When we were babies we depended on milk, either our mother’s breast-milk or cows’ milk. Therefore the cow is also our mother. Just as we drink breast-milk from our mother, we drink milk from mother cow. You must not kill your mother; that is a great sin. Therefore meat-eating is prohibited. But people have become so sinful that they do not consider, “When I was young this cow supplied her blood in the form of milk to feed me, to keep me alive. But now that lam grown up, I am so ungrateful that I am going to kill her and eat her flesh.” This is the advancement of modern education: that people have learned how to kill their mother.
In every religion, killing is prohibited or very much restricted. In the Christian religion you have the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill.” But nearly everyone is violating this commandment. Then where is your claim to being a Christian? If you violate the injunction given by Lord Jesus Christ, how can you claim to be a Christian? That is our question. And even if one is not a Christian, killing is most sinful and should be avoided as far as possible.
Your first business in life is to increase your spontaneous attachment for God. That is the primary business of human life, because only in the human form of life can you do that. And as soon as you increase your attachment for Krsna, your life is successful. “Successful” means that you won’t have to accept any more material bodies. You will get a spiritual body and go to Krsna—back home, back to Godhead. Therefore, if you increase your attachment for Krsna, the benefit is that you make a solution to all the problems of your life.
To increase your attachment for Krsna, in the beginning you have to follow some regulative principles, some restrictions. For instance, a doctor will prescribe a treatment: “Don’t eat this. Don’t do this.” And he will also say, “Do this.” Similarly, in Krsna consciousness there are so many do’s and don’t’s. We have to accept the do’s and avoid the don’t’s (anukulyasya sankalpah pratikulyasya varjanam). This is how to cultivate Krsna consciousness favorably. We have to accept only those things favorable for awakening our attachment for Krsna, and reject everything else. So, if illicit sex is unfavorable for your advancement in Krsna consciousness, you must reject it. You cannot argue. That will not help you. Similarly, you must reject intoxication, meat-eating, and gambling. Illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication, and gambling-these are the four pillars of sinful life. The roof of sinful life is held up by these four pillars. In the beginning of Krsna consciousness, when you are actually going to take Krsna consciousness seriously, you must give up these four pillars of sinful life.
Today some souls will be initiated. This means that they are going to take up Krsna consciousness very seriously. So, the first business of one who is serious to take up Krsna consciousness is to break these four pillars of sinful life. Then there will be no chance of sin. As Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita [7.28],
yesam tv anta-gatam papam
bhajante mam drdha-vratah
“One who has given up sinful activity and is simply engaging in pious activity—such a person is unbewildered and attains firm faith in Krsna consciousness.”
What are pious activities? First is yajna, performing some sacrifice. For example, today we are holding a fire sacrifice. Then another pious activity is giving charity for spreading Krsna’s propaganda. The Krsna consciousness movement is making propaganda, so we require money. Money is Krsna’s energy. Everyone is holding Krsna’s money, and the sooner they spare some of that money for the sake of Krsna, the better off they’ll be. Suppose I am holding your money illegally. If I give it back to you, I become released from my criminal activities. Or suppose I have stolen something from your pocket and then I feel the pain of my conscience: “Oh, this stealing is not good.” So, as soon as I return it to you, the thing is settled. But if I hold on to it, I am a criminal and will be punished. Similarly, all those persons who are holding Krsna’s money, not returning it to Krsna, are criminals. And they will be punished.
How will they be punished? That we have seen. Recently there was a war between Pakistan and India. So, according to one’s capacity, everyone in India had to contribute money to the war effort. All the rich men had to contribute fifty lakhs of rupees [about half a million dollars]. Many millions of rupees were collected and used to produce gunpowder—Svaha!*
So, if you don’t execute this svaha, you will have to execute that svaha. The Vietnam War is going on—Svaha! So many young men—Svaha! So much money-Svaha! Therefore, better learn how to make a svaha for Krsna. Otherwise you will have to make a svaha for maya [illusion].
*Svaha isa Sanskrit word spoken by the chief priest in a Vedic sacrifice as he pours clarified butter in the sacred fire, causing the fire to blaze up.
So, one must perform sacrifice and give in charity for Krsna. Then there is tapasya. Tapasya means voluntarily accepting all kinds of restrictive principles. Now we are addicted to all kinds of nonsense, but unless you stop all nonsensical activities, you cannot understand Krsna consciousness. If you want to be serious, you must give them up.
In this way we have to increase our attachment for Krsna. And if we increase our attachment for Krsna, we will reach the perfection of yoga. Krsna consciousness is the topmost yoga system. As Krsna states in the Bhagavad-gita [6.47], Yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantar-atmana . . . sa me yuktatamo matah: “Of all yogis, one who is always thinking of Me is the best.” You can always think of someone if you are attached to him. Otherwise, you cannot. It’s not possible. If you love somebody, you will always see his picture, his form, in your mind. Always. As it is said in the Vedic literature, Brahma-samhita, premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti. We have to purify our eyes so we can see God within, and that purification is possible when we apply the ointment of love of God to our eyes daily. A doctor may prescribe that we apply some ointment to improve our eyesight. Similarly, you will see God when your vision is clarified by premanjana, the ointment of love of God.
So, you must practice how to love Krsna. First you have to rise early in the morning. You don’t like to, but you think, “I will rise early to satisfy Krsna.” This is the beginning. Then, “I have to chant sixteen rounds of the Hare Krsna mantra on my beads.” You may be lazy, you may not want to do it, but if you want to love Krsna you must do it. You must do it. In the beginning you have to learn how to love Krsna, but when you actually come to the state of love of God there is no question of “have to.” You will spontaneously follow the regulative principles, because love is there.
Learning to love Krsna is something like developing love in our ordinary affairs. If I love a girl, I will give her a flower or other present. This is one of the six exchanges of love: you have to give a gift to your beloved. You also have to accept gifts from him (dadati, pratigrhnati). Then guhyam akhyati prcchati: opening one’s mind to the beloved. Guhyam means “very confidential things,” and akhyati means “disclosing.” You must disclose you innermost thoughts to your beloved, and he’ll disclose his innermost thoughts to you. Then bhunkte bhojayate caiva—giving the lover something to eat and accepting food from him. These are the six ways of increasing love. If you act in these ways with Krsna, you will develop love for Him.
Now we are taking so many things from Krsna. Krsna is giving us everything; all our necessities are being supplied by Him (eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman). It is not possible to manufacture fruits, flowers, and grains in a factory. Krsna is giving them to us. So, we are living at the cost of Krsna, and if after cooking the grains we do not offer them to Krsna, is that very gentlemanly?
In the Krsna consciousness movement we cook foodstuffs and then offer them to Krsna. What is wrong with this? The rascals say, “These Krsna conscious people are heathens because they offer food to some stone.” Just see! These rascals are less intelligent. They do not know that God eats. As Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita [9.26],
patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhaktya-upahrtam
“When My devotee offers Me something within the categories of vegetables, grains, fruits, and water or milk, I eat it, because he has brought it with devotion and love.” The devotee thinks, “Krsna, You have given us so many nice foodstuffs, and I have cooked them. You please partake of the preparations first.” This is love.
Suppose your father has given you many things, and you feel obliged to him. So when you cook something you will give it to him first, saying, “My dear father, I have cooked this. It is very nice, so please you eat it first.” He will answer, “Oh, it is very nice? All right, give some to me.” He will be so pleased with you. Actually, what you cook is already your father’s property, so you cannot really give anything to him. Similarly, you don’t actually have anything to offer to Krsna. But if you become a little intelligent, you will offer Him back what already belongs to Him and in this way develop your love for Him. If you remain a rascal, your human life is spoiled, but if you become a little intelligent, your life is successful.
God is giving us our daily bread, so why not offer it to Him first? That is intelligence. And rascaldom is to think, “God is giving me bread, so I shall eat it. That’s all. I am meant only for eating.” And why not for offering? We should feel gratitude toward God: “God has given me this bread, so let me offer it to Him first. Then I may eat.” What is wrong with this idea? What is the loss? But the lowest of mankind do not even know that because God has given them something to eat, they should first offer it to Him before eating. And when you offer something to Krsna, to God, He will eat it but then leave everything for you as prasadam. This is God’s power.
So, bhakti-yoga, or Krsna consciousness, is the process that will increase your attachment for Krsna. We do not say, “Christians are bad, Hindus are good.” No, we don’t say that. We simply say, “Now in this human form of life, learn how to love God. For so long you have loved dog, now try to love God.” That is our propaganda. We don’t criticize anyone; we simply want to see whether he has developed his love for God. That’s all. You can do it as a Christian, as a Hindu, or as a Mohammedan. We don’t care. But we want to see whether you are actually a lover of God. If you are not, then we tell you, “Please try to love God in this way.” What way is that? By sravanam kirtanam visnoh—simply hearing about Krsna and chanting about Krsna. Is that very difficult? If you have not yet learned how to love God, take up this process. If you simply hear about Krsna in this temple, without doing anything else, your life will become perfect.