What is Hare Krishna?
Hare Krishna Mantra
Personality of Godhead
A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Events: Kirtan Festival
World Sankirtan Party
© 2004 - Hansadutta das
How Can You Love Someone You Don't Know?by Hansadutta das
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Who is God?Guru means heavy. The guru can never be moved. He will sit tight there, heavier than the Himalayas. He is the person who is rooted in Vedic knowledge.
What is Vedic knowledge? Krishna says, "I am the compiler of the Vedas, the knower of the Vedas, and by all the Vedas I am to be known." (Bhagavad-gita 15.15)
Krishna is not simply God. God is a title, indicating an office or position. The person who holds an office is different from that office. In other words, the word God or knowledge that there is a God is insufficient, incomplete. We must know the person who is God. Who is God? What is God doing? Is He sleeping? Void? Impersonal? Unknowable? Unthinkable? Does He have a name? These questions have to be confronted.
Jesus repeatedly told his followers, "Whatever I do, I do it on behalf of the Father. I and the Father are one." And praying to God, he says, "I have kept them [his disciples] in Your name." In fact, this is not a new philosophy. Christ did not reveal anything new. Neither did he reveal anything specific about God the Father. In the Bible we do not find very much about the names of God, descriptions of Him and His activities. For that matter, we do not see any clear conception of our relationship to God. How shall we love such a God? Where is the question of love? When we speak of love, there must be a person, some qualities, characteristics, features which distinguish him from everyone else.
We cannot love an inert object, because that object has no capacity to reciprocate our love. Love involves an exchange, some reciprocation, awareness-- I am aware of you, you are aware of me. The table may be the energy of someone we love, but we cannot love a table. We may be fond of it, because it is a reflection of the person whom we love. When we see a beautiful work of art, we ask, "Who did this?" Naturally we want to find out who is the creator of the object, the person who has expanded his energy into that creation.
We can love God only if we actually come to learn something about Him--what He looks like, where He is, what He does, what our relationship to Him is.
Indifferent to GodPeople are very much enamored of this material creation, but the material world is only the external, inferior energy of Krishna. Generally people, if they talk of God, mistakenly accept the material energy to be God, and they are always very busy trying to manipulate God's energy. Now there is a trend in society to go back to nature, to become harmonious with nature. People think in this way they're becoming closer to God, but actually they're going farther away from God, because the material energy is the external energy of Krishna.
Instead, we must submit and allow God to manipulate us. We, as spirit soul, are one of God's energies. Krishna has two energies: para-prakriti and apara-prakriti, superior and inferior energies, respectively. By this is meant that the living spirit soul is the superior energy of the Lord; whereas earth, water, fire, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego are the inferior energy, nature. The struggle for existence, whether in the urban environment or "back to nature," is called maya, or illusion, because the living entity mistakenly believes that he is enjoying material nature, lording it over material nature through art, science, music, economics, and so on. In reality, however, the original spiritual nature of the living entity is humble submission to the Supreme Lord, Krishna.
Spiritual life means to allow God to manipulate us and to give up the exploiting attitude. But we cannot begin to serve God, unless we hear something about God.
The question Who is God? does not come up. It is deliberately avoided, because as soon as we understand that God is an individual, a person, the supreme person, then we face the question of surrender. Surrender becomes unavoidable.
So many people in this room will say, "Love, love, love," but when we say, "Love Krishna," they immediately object, "Why Krishna?" They want to keep their faith general, impersonal. In this way they can keep God within their own scheme of things.
People think, "Why should I serve God? What does He need with my service?" Mostly people do not think about it. They are totally indifferent to serving God. Oh, they may willingly agree, "God is in my heart," but He's not there in the room? He's not in the temple? He's not in the book? People ask, "God is everywhere, so why should I go to the temple?"
But God is a person, a distinct individual. Krishna Himself says in Bhagavad-gita, "One who knows Me as the source of everything is the knower of Truth." In the name of religion people cover the personal concept of God with an impersonal, nameless void, and thus they do not agree to surrender to God.
This kind of thinking is rejected by the guru. The guru says that we must surrender to Krishna. Christ also taught, "Whatever I do, I do on behalf of my Father." This is one conception of God: He is the Supreme Father. In the Vedic literatures, Krishna is described as the supreme eternal, leader of all other eternals, maintaining them and fulfilling all their desires. But very specifically speaking, He is Krishna, just as the President is not just the President, leader of all other Americans; he is specifically Ronald Reagan.
The Personality of GodheadIf man is made in the image of God, then God must have some form. Whatever we ourselves exhibit in our individual personalities, characteristics and forms originate from Krishna, and so Krishna must also have personality, characteristics and form. But not like ours. His qualities and features are supreme, unlimited, unmatched, unrivalled. The very name Krishna means most beautiful and all attractive.
Jesus was called the Christ, in Greek, christos, meaning lover of God, or one who is anointed with love of God. In fact this word is derived from the Sanskrit krista or Krishna. Jesus sacrificed everything for Krishna, and he taught this principle to everyone in his time. But now his teachings have become obscured. Christians are unable to say who is this Jesus, who is God, what is His name or anything else about Him.
But the Vedic literatures tell us God is Krishna. And Krishna is not alone. He is accompanied by Radharani, His eternal consort. Have you never wondered where the principle of man and woman originated? In every form of life there is male and female. Sigmund Freud became very famous because he pointed out that everything in this world revolves around sex attraction. The Vedas call this the principle of prakriti and purusha, or the enjoyed and the enjoyer. Krishna is called Mahapurusha, or the supreme enjoyer, and Radharani is His enjoyed. Everything in the spiritual world and material creation is a reflection of Radha and Krishna, the absolute, divine couple. Love in the material world is merely a reflection of the divine love between Radha and Krishna, just as the image you see in the mirror is a reflection of your own face. But that image, that reflection, is perverted, backwards. The right side of your face appears to be the left. Similarly, the attraction between male and female in the material world is a perverted imitation of the absolute reality of Radha and Krishna. In this world it takes on different aspects according to the nearness to or distance from God.
When Radha and Krishna are understood from a bonafide source, the guru, then we can understand everything else in this world. "Upon knowing this, there remains nothing further to be known." ( Bhagavad-gita )
And wherever Radha and Krishna are, there also are Krishna's eternal associates, His devotees. God is not alone. He is always accompanied by His devotees. God is a person. He is not just sitting there bored, because there is nothing for Him to do. Krishna is always enjoying so many pastimes.
Who Am I?And we are meant to enjoy with Him. We cannot enjoy ourselves, because we are eternally subordinate to Krishna, meant to serve Krishna and in this way enjoy with Him. Krishna says, "Just surrender unto Me. I'll take care of everything. Do not fear." (Bhagavad-gita 18.66) In this world we find that even kings and princes are unable to enjoy. Everything is done for them, and so they become easily bored. That's why we see that generally kings and princes, sons of aristocratic families, become degraded, taking intoxication, indulging in illicit sex. They lead very unhappy lives. One cannot enjoy himself, no matter how great he may become, however powerful, however knowledgeable, however wise. Only when we surrender in humility to Krishna can we know what enjoyment is.
When we discover who God is and who we are--I am servant of Krishna --and actually begin to serve Krishna, that service to Krishna becomes our only satisfaction, no matter how menial. "In that proportion as one surrenders unto Me, I reveal Myself to him." ( Bhagavad-gita 4.11) That surrender is bhakti, devotion.
Guru is he who directs everyone: surrender to Krishna, serve Krishna. He is just pointing to Krishna. There are many so-called gurus, but none are pointing to Krishna. Instead they write books about themselves. They never mention Krishna. They call the Vedas the "Hindu books" and Krishna they call the "Hindu god."
You must know what God looks like, what He eats . . . what does He want? Without knowing Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you cannot know your own identity. Only with knowledge of Krishna is it possible to develop real love of God. And even this knowledge is not enough. We must actually do something for Krishna; otherwise, our knowledge is just dry and does not satisfy the heart. Krishna does not care how imperfect our service may be, but He sees our attitude, our feeling for Him, just as parents do not reject a child because he makes a mistake or trouble in undertaking to do some service.
Step-by-step ProcessPeople ask, "Why are you always chanting?" This chanting is like the crying of a child for its mother or father. This helpless crying attracts Krishna, just as the sincere crying of a child attracts the attention of the mother and father. Of course, the child soon learns the trick, and cries merely for attention. This technique does not work, however, because the parents do not come unless he is crying urgently, desperately. Similarly, our chanting may not be very pleasing to the ear, it may be off-key or off-beat, but Krishna accepts the feeling.
There must be faith. Faith is the beginning of any endeavor, whether spiritual or mundane. So put faith in Krishna, Parameshwara, God of gods. Krishna is that Supreme God, creator of innumerable universes. In one breath of Maha-Vishnu we have all come out of Him. There are as many universes as there are mustard seeds in a bag, and all of these universes are generated in one breath, one exhalation of the Supreme Lord. When Maha-Vishnu inhales, the whole creation is dissolved, everything and everyone enters back into Him.
The word Veda means knowledge. So the Vedas are there for man to get knowledge of who God is, knowledge about Krishna, knowledge about ourselves. When we get this knowledge, we will serve Krishna. The desire will spring up from within our heart, Let me do something for Krishna! In this way love develops spontaneously.
Actually, we cannot serve Krishna, not directly, but we can serve Krishna's devotee. We have to approach Krishna in this way, because we do not know Him, we do not know how to serve Him. This is our hope, that maybe we can do something for a devotee. If we can please Krishna's devotee, then maybe He will be pleased. If His devotee accepts us, then maybe Krishna will accept us.
Surrender means to give everything to guru, the devotee of Krishna. In this way we get rid of so many unholy connections, in order that they may not tempt us into thinking that they are our masters. Surrender begins with the realization I belong to Him, everything belongs to Him. This is essential. In a sense, once you come in touch with Krishna, it's all over. Your attraction for material enjoyment is killed. And once Krishna decides He wants us, we are finished. We may put up so many reasons, arguments, resistance, but Krishna is like a tank. He will march in and take us. Krishna is the supreme master. Even in the Bible we read how when Krishna wanted someone, He did not consider what position that person was in. Krishna will always have His way. When He wants someone, He will take Him. Krishna is unreasonable. He wants something for His own pleasure.
Now time is gone. Krishna is attracting us, but we don't have enough time. We have to let Krishna do what He wants, even without knowing what He wants. We do not always know. Sometimes He reveals to us, but at no time is it possible to know everything about Krishna. We just serve Him regardless. We are His servants, whether we agree to serve voluntarily, enthusiastically, joyfully, or serve in resistance. Just like in the navy. Those who resist are thrown into detention, into the brig, and there they are forced to serve anyway. Those who do not resist but who also do not serve enthusiastically, who just go along, eventually are discharged from military duty. But those who serve enthusiastically receive a special award: Krishna.