November 6, 2005, Forestville, California We have no
business in this world
As living spirit souls, we are all part and parcel of God, Krishna. We
are eternally His servants. If we do not revive that relationship, then
our whole life is spoiled, because we are acting out of harmony, we are
acting independently. It is as if this hand were severed from my
body, lying on the floor, useless. It may be a hand, but it can't
perform any of the functions that the hand should be doing. Or
sometimes we see a person whose hand trembles beyond his control. That
indicates disease, and he must go for some treatment. Material
existence means to act independently of my relationship with God. The
result is always frustration. There can be no happiness or success,
harmony or peace until we bring ourselves back into this relationship.
At the present moment, practically the whole world is in this diseased
condition where people are living and acting independently of God. They
sometimes say, "There is no God." "That's nonsense," they'll laugh at
the idea. And the result is chaos. As we can see, one person is killing
another, one community is in conflict with another, one nation is at
war with another. Now we see this Iraq war, and there is talk of more
war. This is the result of a Godless society.
Each and every one of us is a part of the Supreme Whole, the Supreme
Lord, and the whole aim of human life is to simply revive that
relationship. Nothing else needs to be done, and everything else can be
dismissed, because we actually have no business in this world.
We are in a foreign place, just as a man who is in San Quentin is in a
foreign place. His natural place is to be free, out in society, living
as a law-abiding, contributing member, a useful citizen in harmony with
others. But because he is rebellious against the authority of the
government, he has to be segregated and put into an environment with
all others who have a similar rebellious attitude. We say they are
criminals because they do not submit to the laws and orders of the
state. Similarly, the material world is actually a prison for the
rebellious souls. The whole world is made in such a way to give
facility to these rebellious living entities.
But at the same time, in every age, the Lord appears, either as an avatar
or a prophet or as the son of God to give
instructions to the
purpose of life, of human life. Therefore we find, for example, Lord
Buddha said, "Do nothing. Time is too valuable to waste." That sounds
absurd to us to "do nothing" when there are so many things to be done,
but the only thing to be done by the human being is to revive his
relationship with God and go back to Godhead.
Struggle for Existence
The material world is made in such a way that no one can stay here for
more than a few years, 80 to 100 at most. It is temporary and full of
miseries. But ignoring those miseries, we get busy and create an
artificial environment in the name of science, economics, politics,
industry, technology, love, friendship and society. Factually, however,
no one can stay here. Everyone is in the grip of birth, old age,
disease and death. These are unavoidable. We may be very wealthy, very
powerful, very famous, very beautiful, but no one can prevail against
these four laws of nature: birth, old age, disease and death. When we
soberly study modern man's activities, all of our time and energy is
spent trying to avoid these four miseries. That's all that is going on
in this world. But these miseries are unavoidable, because the world is
made in that way. In Sanskrit it is called duhkhalayam and ashashvatam
[Bhagavad-gita 8.15]. Ashashvatam means it is
temporary, and duhkalayam
means it is miserable.
Besides these four main miseries, there are many others, and they are
grouped into three categories: adhyatmika, adhibhaudika,
adhidaivika. Adhyatmika miseries are those that
arise from simply
material body—headache, stomach ache, feer, cancer, toothache, cramps,
rashes, etc. The second, adhibhaudika, means that others are
misery—insect bite, dog bite, snake bite, thieves, robbers, rapists.
They are inflicting misery on me. I don't want these to happen, but
they do. The third is called adhidaivika, meaning the forces of
created by the devas, or those more powerful than us and who
our vision—the demigods. For instance, the big tsunami that we had last
year, or the big earthquake in Pakistan, Hurricane Katrina, tornados,
floods. These are beyond our control. We may boast about our science
and technology, but the fact is we are just being tossed about by the
interactions of this material nature. It is beyond our control.
To obstinately ignore these things is called material life, simply a
hard struggle to exist. This is not a question of religion. Krishna
consciousness is not a religion; it is a science. It is the science of
how a human being should live in this world and prepare himself to go
back home, back to Godhead. Because you will have to go. Even if one
says, "I don't believe in God, I don't care for God," still one has to
go. You will become old, diseased, and you will die. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita
(2.27), "For one who is born, it is
certain he will die,
and for one who has died, it is certain he will be born again." So we
are not talking of things that we believe. These are common
sense, scientific facts, and anyone can see it.
Energy of Krishna
So coming back to my original point ... this simple chanting process is
the most direct and effective way to reestablish the lost relationship
with God, with Krishna, and it doesn't require a person to be some sort
of yogi or scholar or even to understand the language. It is
sound. You chant and hear. It is a spiritual process, not a musical
performance. In material life, the musician wants to be adored. He will
play and sing, go through his repertoire of songs, and the audience
will applaud and give him some praise. Kirtan is not like that.
It is a
spiritual activity, actually an activity of the soul. It has nothing to
do with this world.
The chanting of the Holy Name, or kirtan, is also seen in the
world in a perverted way. We see it when people gather at a rock
concert or at a political rally or at a football stadium. It is
wherever many people gather and become enlivened by some famous person
or persons, where they can participate in some musical performance. But
the difference is that in the material world, everyone wants to be
adored. Everyone is advertising himself or herself in one way or
another. Kirtan is just the opposite. We are trying to adore
Krishna, because Krishna is adorable.
Everything we see in our life is an energy of Krishna. There are
basically three energies: the spiritual energy, the material energy,
and the marginal energy.
We are familiar with the material energy: it is this world and this
body. They are made of material energy—earth, water, fire, air, ether,
mind, intellect and false ego, although the body is seen only in terms
of the first five (earth, water, fire, air and ether). We do not see
the mind, we do not see the intellect, and we do not see the false ego,
because they are subtle material energy. Everyone knows you have a
mind, and I have a mind. We see the effects of the mind expressed in
the gross instrument of this body. If a man is angry, we can see it on
his face; if he is happy, we can see that also on his face. Just as we
cannot see the wind; we can see the effects of it when the trees sway
back and forth.
I? Who are You?
The material energy consists of these eight elements, an above these
there is the living force. In Sanskrit it is called jiva atma,
spirit soul. The soul is moving this material body. Therfore [we say] my
body, my head hurts, my stomach aches, my body
like my coat, my pants, my book, my car.
I am not the coat, not the pants, nor the car. I am the person wearing
the coat and pants, the person driving the car. Similarly, I am not
this body; I am the proprietor or resident inside this body. As long as
the living force is present within this body, it appears very nice. We
say, "That woman is very beautiful" or "That man is very handsome", but
factually, the body is not beautiful. It is the soul that is beautiful.
As soon as the soul leaves the body, immediately the body becomes
repulsive to us. We do not want to be in the same room with a dead
body, even if it was a very beautiful girl five minutes earlier. We are
immediately repulsed. Why? Because the beauty that was that person is
in the living force that animated it. The body itself is actually very
obnoxious and repulsive. It is full of noxious ingredients. We saw that
when Hurricane Katrina wiped out the Gulf Coast, or when the tsunami
swept away all those people and buildings, the rescue crews had to wear
face masks, because the stench of rotting corpses was so intense.
The body is actually a machine. In Sanskrit it is called a yantra,
which means machine. (So we have mantra, yantra, tantra.)
This body is
a yantra, an organic machine. We are familiar with mechanical
with nuts and bolts and gears, etc. This body is a machine, but it is
organic. And the machine is only valuable when there is an operator,
just as this harmonium is only valuable if there is someone to operate
it. If no one is there to opearate it, it will simply sit there and not
make any sound, useless. Or this TV ... it is only useful if the spark
of electric force touches it. The body is simply a machine or an
instrument, and the operator is the soul, the living force.
Unfortunately, although this is extremely simple to understand, people
do not understand it. Everyone is acting not as the soul or operator,
but as the body, [thinking] "I am a German," "I am an American," "I am
a black man," "I am a white man," "I am a woman," "I am big," "I am
small," "I am fat," "I am thin," etc. This is the cause of all our
suffering: I have accepted something to be myself which is in fact NOT
myself. For instance, I didn't come here to see your dress; I came here
to see the person who happens to be wearing the dress. Similarly, we
are NOT this body; we are the living force. "That which pervades the
entire body is indestructible. No one can kill the imperishable soul."
(Bhagavad-gita 2.17) There is a verse in the Bhagavad-gita
a man gives up an old and useless dress and gets a new dress, the soul
gives up an old and useless body and gets a new body."
This is the process of transmigration of the soul. The soul is
transmigrating from one body to another. This is what we call
reincarnation. Even in this body, I have transmigrated from the small
body that comes out of the womb of my mother at birth, changed into a
baby's body, then a child's, a youth's, that of a young man, then
mature man, old man, then a dead man. But there is no death. It is just
a change of body. In the Bhagavad-gita (2.12) it is
explained, "Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor
all these kings, and never will there be a time when we shall cease to
Problems Generated from One Fundamental mistake
This is the basis of education. All of us are going to school to learn
reading, writing, arithmeic, but that is not education. Education
to learn what I am, where I come from, what I am doing here, what am I
supposed to do, and where will I go when I leave. This is education.
Without this, we are acting on a false premise.
The premise is the problem, because everyone is acting in terms of his
body, in the bodily concept of life. Therefore we see that not only
individually are people clashing on the bodily concept, but communally,
nationally, and internationally. Right now America is at war with
another nation. Why? Because they have a different body. When our
forefathers came to this country, they clashed with the local Native
Americans, because the Indians were thinking, "This is our land," and
the European settlers were thinking, "No, this is our land." Everyone
is fighting on the basis of the body, and on the basis of this body we
identify ourselves—"This is my family, this is my community, this is my
country, this is my friend, this is my enemy, " etc. And so all our
problems are generated from one fundamental mistake: I have accepted
something false as real. I am not this body. I am the soul within this
Therefore human beings are above the animals—inasmuch as they can make
this distinction, the difference between life and matter. Just
recently, one of our friends died. We don't say "he died"; [but] he
left his body. We say, "Oh, he's gone." Why do you say "he's gone"?
He's right there on the bed. Everything is there, all the ingredients
are still there. That means we never knew him. Even now, as we sit
in this room, I see you, you see me, you hear me speaking, but
factually we are only seeing the body. You are not seeing the person.
You hear me speaking, but it's not my lips or vocal chords that are
speaking. It's the living force, which is residing within the heart,
that is the origin of the sound. Just as when I have a cell phone and
get a call from my friend, and my friend is speaking. The cell phone is
not speaking; it's only an instrument that amplifies the sound of my
friend's voice. My friend may be 100 miles away. He is speaking, and I
don't see him, but I hear him.
The living force is the cause of the body's birth and maintenance. The
body grows, produces some offspring, it dwindles, and then vanishes.
The body will vanish, and this is to be understood systematically,
scientifically, just as the students are sent to school to learn their
ABCs, arithmetic and so many things, so that they can function. But the
most important thing we are NOT being taught is to distinguish my self
from my body. In fact, this knowledge is being deliberately withheld,
and so our children are being trained in all kinds of material
sciences, but the most important science, the science of the self, that
is not being taught.
In fact, a big debate is now raging again in the courts over whether
science should include teaching about intelligent design. Our entire
civilization is based on a false premise that we are a product of this
world, that many billions of years ago some amino acids mixed and life
came into being. This is a completely absurd, ridiculous idea, and yet
all modern society, education, economics, politics, etc. is based upon
this one erroneous premise: that we are the result of material
interaction. But that is not a fact. The fact is that life is not a
product of matter, no more than the electricity is being generated by
the TV, or that electricity is being generated by the light bulb.
Electricity exists separate from these appliances, and the appliance is
built around the electric energy. This is how things are developed.
of the Soul
Life is ever existing. It has no point of creation, and it has no point
of destruction. But matter does. Matter is created, it grows, it
produces offspring, it exists for some time, it dwindles, and then it
vanishes. If I break the light bulb or the TV, the electricity is not
broken; it simply shifts to another position. So when this body is
destroyed, or when this body comes to the point when it is no longer
workable or inhabitable... like a person who has an old automobile,
everything is breaking down—the transmission, the motor threw a
rod—what does he do? He steps out of the car and gets a new car. This
is the principle of transmigration of the soul.
It is a spiritual evolution, not a material evolution. A gorilla does
not transform or morph into a human being—that is absurd. No more than
my Ford will morph into a Cadillac or this TV will morph into a
computer. That is absurd. The process is spiritual evolution. As the
soul develops spiritually, it gets a different type of body. It may be
higher, it may be lower, it may be similar. Just as Angel rents this
house, but if she doubles or triples her income, or if she wins the
lottery, she may get a house ten times this size. Right? So it depends
on the evolution of her economic position. It is not that this house
will transform itself into the mansion. You simply abandon this house
and get a better house. Or if you lose your job, you may abandon this
house and live in a tent.
Thus we are transmigrating from one body to another. In the Bhagavad-gita
(15.8) there is a verse: "The living entity carries his different
conceptions of life from one body to another, as the air carries
aromas." The air itself has no aroma, but in association with
particular substances, like a rose garden, it smells very sweet. The
same air, when it passes over a garbage heap, will smell very foul.
Similarly, the soul has no material qualities; the soul is pure, sat-chid-ananda.
Sat means eternal, chid means full of all
knowledge, and ananda means blissful by nature, joyful. Just as
sugar is by nature sweet. It is not that we add something to make sugar
sweet. No, it is sweet by its very nature. Salt is by nature salty,
water is by nature liquid. Similarly, we are by nature joyful, but our
joyfulness is covered. Why? It is because we have under the spell of
illusion accepted something that is abominable. We have accepted
something that is artificial, this body, as my self, and on the basis
of this bodily identity, we are trying to establish our position in
this temporary, miserable world.
Everyone wants to be number 1. Everyone wants to be "the lord of all I
survey". Americans think they are the best, the Chinese think they are
the best, the Muslims are thinking they are the best, the Blacks are
thinking, "No, we are the best," and this is the history of the world.
It is simply a perpetual quarrel for lording it over the resources of
material nature. And as long as that mentality remains—that "lording it
over" mentality, "I, me, and mine" and "I am everything, everything
belongs to me"—then we have to return to this material world again and
again. That is the principle: whatever it is that attracts you will
pull you back once again to this temporary, miserable material world,
and you will again be subjected to the terrifying cycle of birth, old
age, disease and death.
Already Know This
The entire process of Krishna consciousness is to change our attraction
or attachment, our aspiration, ambition or point of fascination to
Krishna, to become Krishna conscious, conscious that I am not part of
this world, I am not a product of this world, and I am not an American,
not a German, not this body, not fat nor thin, not beautiful nor ugly,
conscious that I am part and parcel of Krishna, and as such I am an
eternal servant of Krishna, forever and ever, just like my hand is the
eternal servant of this body.
And that servitor attitude is not something laborious. It is joyful and
pleasing. For my hand to scratch an itch is very pleasing, both for the
itch and the hand. And when there is hunger, the hand brings food to
the stomach. The hands don't eat the food; the hands offer the food to
the center, to the stomach, and by doing that, the hands are also
nourished. They eat via the center. Similarly, we are also part and
parcel of Krishna, and unless we come to the platform of acting in that
way... Not that we just speak some philosophy, but we actually behave
in that way: I am part and parcel of Krsihna, and I serve Krishna.
Unless we come to that point, we are just like cats and dogs wandering
around, looking for scraps of food, and our life is useless. We may be
very sophisticated with big machines and skyscraper buildings,
airplanes and space shuttles, but it is a cat's and dog's life. Why?
Because that's what cats and dogs do. They simply quarrel over a bone.
They have no consciousness that "I am NOT this body." The cat is
thinking, "I am a cat", and the dog is thinking, "I am a dog". So they
quarrel. If the human beings are also trained and educated to think and
behave in that same way, then what is the use of it? It is a futile,
hopeless and useless life. This is what distinguishes the human being
from the animal: the human being can understand what he is, but if he
makes no endeavor to understand these things, he remains just like a
cat or a dog.
This simple chanting process immediately brings us in touch with
Krishna. And as soon as we are in touch with Krishna, our natural
inclination to serve Krishna awakens.
In fact, the very notion of education does not mean that I force some
lessons upon you that you must now memorize. No. Education comes from
the Latin word educere, which means to educe, draw out what is
already there within you. You all already know this [Krishna
consciousness], I know this, we all already know that we are part and
parcel of Krishna. But it has to be educed, to be drawn out of us, and
that is the teacher's business: to draw out the understanding that
there is a difference between a dead body and a living body. So then
the question is, "What is that difference?" There is a difference. The
scientists go on writing volumes and volumes as if it were some
mysterious thing, but it's not. A child can understand this! That there
is a difference between a dead body and a living body. Bhagavad-gita
and Srimad-Bhagavatam, all these Vedic books of knowledge
present in a scientific, systematic way what the difference is, how to
understand it, and how to act in that consciousness, how to act in that
So the chanting process doesn't require any previous qualifications.
Just as I do not have to be a trained electrician to put my finger into
the socket and become electrified with volts of electricity. If I do
it, I will immediately become charged, in touch with the powerhouse.
Similarly, if you chant the Holy Names of Krishna, whether you believe
it or don't believe it, you will be in touch with Krishna. It has
nothing to do with believing or not. If you do it, you will become
Krishna-ized. You will become Krishna conscious.
Missing Link in Education
Thank you very much. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
Nick: Tell us how old this science of the soul is.
Hansadutta: Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Lord
Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra 5,000 years ago. In
the Bhagavad-gita (4.1) Krishna says, "I instructed this
imperishable science of yoga to the sun god Vivishvan, and Vivishvan
instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind. Manu in turn instructed
it to Ikshvaku." In this way it was delivered by disciplic succession.
So by Vedic calculations, it is many millions of years old. It is not a
It is not a dogma; it is a science. We have so many
sciences—engineering, chemistry, psychiatry, economics, medicine, but
the science of sciences, raja vidya, the king of science of
knowledge, is the science of the self. The science of life: what is
life, and what is matter. But no one is studying this. There is no
school or educational department where you can systematically study and
find out what is the soul. We are simply being given the bum's rush. We
just get the diploma and go to work, get married, work hard.
In this way, everyone is confused and bewildered, unhappy and
frustrated. Especially American people. They have everything. There is
no scarcity. They have nice food, nice climate, good machines,
skyscrapers, a very powerful country, and physically beautiful people,
but they're unhappy. Why? Because they are acting on this false premise
that "I am this body", simply busy with the body day and
night—everywhere. There is no shop for the soul; only shops for the
body. You can get clothing, shoes, food, go to the movies, have sex,
have drinks, go to motels, hotels, fly in airplanes, drive cars, but
there is no place where I can go to have spiritual understanding and be
scientifically educated to bring out my spiritual awareness. There is
Therefore it's all useless, a total waste of time. It's simply a big,
bombastic arrangement for sense gratification. All a mistake, a
colossal mistake. It is the BIGGEST mistake. This is the greatest
terrorism. People are now always speaking of terrorism, but there is no
greater terror than to die repeatedly, to become old, to become
diseased. Krishna consciousness is that education that will facilitate
you getting free from birth, old age, disease and death. This is the
whole aim of Vedic civilization.
I don't want to repeat this again. To be packed up in the womb of the
mother for nine months, then be forced out through the small vaginal
opening, then be helpless, go to school, learn lessons, do the
homework, compete as a youth with other youths, get a job, then get
married, then more children... do we want to repeat all this again? No,
we don't want to repeat it. But this is the prospect of the material
way of life. "Oh, you could not understand that you have nothing to
do with all this? You could not understand the difference between the
body and the soul? Then again you must come. Oh, now you want to be a
bigger man than you were? Fine, take it."
There is a definition of God in the Vedic literature (Katha
Upanishad 2.2.13) : nityo nityanam chetanas chetananam.
Nitya means eternal. All of us are eternal living spirit
soul or living force. We are a spark of infinitesimal spiritual force.
We are a sample of the infinite. But amongst all the eternal spirit
souls, there is one who is the leader. What is He doing? He maintains
everyone and fulfils all their desires. That is God. Whatever you want,
He will fulfil it. But at the same time, He comes and gives the
systematic understanding of how to get out of this perpetual struggle
If you are obstinate, if you don't care, okay, struggle like cats and
dogs. Life has got a purpose. Not that it is all arbitrary or whatever
you like or decide, wehre you simply concoct some ideology or
philosophy. No. There is a standard curriculum for the human being,
just as when you go to a university they have a standard curriculum.
They don't just let the students arbitrarily decide what they want to
study. No. "This is the class, this is the professor, this is the
textbook, these are the requirements, and this is what you'll achieve
if you do all the required course work." Unfortunately, the most
important curriculum of the human being, spiritual life, has been
dismissed as useless, and we are taught instead that no, we should be
busy earning money and so forth.
Do We Go from Here? Nick: Krishna wants us to live a simple lifestyle, have
some land, keep a cow, etc. How do we live simply like that?
Hansadutta: Chant Hare Krishna first. We must start from
where we find ourselves. Modern society has created so many artificial
needs that it is very, very difficult to pursue spiritual life as in
the previous ages. The Vedic model was that you simply had some land,
and you built a simple cottage with whatever building materials were
available locally, you cultivated your own food, kept a cow for milk, a
bull for labor and transportation, and bingo, your needs were met in
the most efficient and practical ways so that you could pursue self
realization and go back to Godhead. But today there are so many
encumbrances that you can't keep a cow; you have to keep a car. If you
don't have a car, you can't function. If you don't have a computer, you
can't function. Now it's the cell phone, and it will continue on and
on, forever entangling us with more and more complexities. It has all
been lost, and in America you hardly ever see a cow, what to speak of
Nick: Why is the cow so important to the Krishnas?
Hansadutta: It is a vast subject matter, you're going to
find out. The main thing is to just chant Hare Krishna, and all the
rest of the details will come on a need-to-know basis. In half an hour,
you can't explain an entire civilization and way of life.
to Accept Higher Authority Lisa: You are talking about eternal soul and its
evolution, but you also mentioned that if you're not happy being a
small man, you can be a big man, so that makes it possible, and that's
a whole other body. How does that relate to... or is it also possible?
What is your view on the resurrection, where we keep our same body?
Hansadutta: Do you mean the Christian perspective? Are you
Hansadutta: I was brought up Christian. Yes, they have
some idea that at some point everyone will be resurrected. But it's of
Lisa: "It's absurd," you said?
Hansadutta: Yes, of course it is. How will that happen?
Everyone knows that the body decomposes after some time and turns to
dust. It decomposes.
Lisa: It's almost like believing in things not seen, like
Jesus walked the earth, or God is the creator of all things.
Hansadutta: Everything that you know is unseen. Just as if
I say, "Who is your father?" You will say, "This man", but how do you
know? Did you see your father at the time of conception? You didn't
see. You have heard it from your mother that "This man is your father",
right? My point is that everything we laern, we learn it by hearing
from higher authorities. Everything. The children are sent to school,
and the teacher says, "This is A, this is B, this is C." And they learn
it. We cannot learn without hearing from higher authority. So when we
want to know things that are beyond our perception, we want to know
what am I in the ultimate sense, then w have to hear from higher
authority. That higher authority is shastra, scripture, or God,
Krishna... or in the Christian world there is the Bible. Every
community on earth has a scripture. Unfortunately, people do not follow
them. That's another thing. But there are scriptures in every
community. If I want to know my actual spiritual identity, ideally I
should hear it from the highest authority, Krishna Himself. So if I can
submit to that, then I can have higher understanding. But if I don't
submit, then I have to remain in the dark. Just as when I was a child,
I hated school. I wouldn't go. I just absolutely refused, so the result
was that I couldn't read or write. It's a choice that every individual
has to make.
There are two kinds of knowledge. One is material, which concerns
itself with how to properly take care of this body. That's also
important. We have to learn how to eat and sleep, read and write,
defend ourselves. That's material knowledge. But above that, we must
also cultivate the spiritual knowledge, that after everything is said
and done, what am I actually, what is my actual identity? That
education is received just like ordinary education. We have to receive
it from higher authority, from a teacher. You have to submit, you have
to do the homework, you have to make sacrifice. For spiritual
knowledge, you have to make a sacrifice. It is not a parlor room thing,
something whimsical. There are authorities.
Lisa: So you're saying that the resurrection is just
something that somebody said?
Hansadutta: I am not an expert in the Bible, but I can't
imagine that that is in the Bible. There may be something about
resurrection, but I don't think it has to do with bringing the old body
out of the grave and reconstituting it like powdered milk.
Lisa: Now, what about everything that you believe... did
you hear that from somebody? Or do you have like a testimony?
Hansadutta: No, there are standard books of knowledge.
It's not t hat we just hear it from some arbitrarily. There is a
Lisa: A what?
Hansadutta: It's called disciplic succession.
Hansadutta: Just like you go to Harvard School of Law.
They have professors who have credentials that you can check out. There
is a standard system in place to qualify you. Similarly, disciplic
succession means that this is a line of authority through which the
Chelsea: How does this idea of sort of faith in the system
connect with the scientific experience that you can have by chanting
Hansadutta: Right. There is really no difference. The
principle is the same; it's just a question of the source. Do you
Hansadutta: Yes, everywhere you go you have to accept
higher authority. When you read the newspaper, you are accepting
authority. When you watch CNN, you are accepting authority. When your
mother says, "This man is your father", you are accepting authority. So
everything we know we have gotten it from higher authority. Now we
wimply have to find which authority is most perfect or most complete.
When Prabhupada, our spiritual master, went to Moscow and there met
with Professor Kotofsky, he asked the professor, "What's the difference
between you and me? You say there is no God, but you accept Lenin and I
accept Krishna. What's the difference? You have to accept authority."
Either you accept Lenin or Mao or Kennedy or Bush or Krishna, at every
turn we find that we have to submit to higher authority. If you want to
get a job, you have to submit. The business of the human being is to
determine where is that perfect authority. It should not be accepted
blindly. It is a question of using your own intelligence,
discrimination and sincerity. It depends on sincerity of purpose.
Free to Pursue the Goal of Life Hansadutta: Yes, discernment and intention. In that sense,
everyone has freedom. God has given everyone freedom. But that means
you can make a mistake. When we make mistakes, then we have to pay, and
that is karma. When we do something which is mistaken, that
will react. Everything has a reaction, cause and effect, action and
reaction. People don't understand that they are free. They don't really
understand it, but actually you are free. But that freedom is ... just
like a citizen ... he is free, but he can't go down a one-way street
the wrong way. There will be a reaction.
To know what we are in the whole scheme of things, this is the purpose
of life. To know what am I, where am I, how did I get here, what am I
to do while i'm here, and where will I go when I leave. Life is a
puzzle for people. They're puzzled. I always give this example:
sometime parents buy a jigsaw puzzle, a big box full of pieces, but
they also give the box top with the complete picture, so then the child
will start to fit the pieces together to match the picture on the box
top. But if there were not any picture, oh, then it would be
impossible. We are living in a society where they have NOT given us the
complete picture. No one knows the goal of life, and everyone is simply
speculating, theorizing, guessing, cheating, bluffing and exploiting.
Very simply put: what is the goal? The goal is to get free from the
cycle of birth, old age, disease and death. The goal is to reestablish
my relationship with God.
Someone will say, "There is no God, I don't believe in God." That means
you don't know what God means. God means controller. Whoever controls
over you, that person is your god. It may be your mother, maybe your
father, maybe the policeman, maybe the government, but everyone is
controlled by some god. Now I have to find out who is the Supreme God,
the God of gods. He whom no one controls, He who controls everything
and everyone, but no one controls Him. That is Krishna.
Therefore in Bible it is said, "Love the Lord thy God with all thy
heart, all thy mind and all thy soul." This is the business of the
human being, nothing else. Everything else you can forget about. You
can dismiss it, because it won't help you. This is because whatever
fortune or misfortune you are going to get is coming to you by dint of
your karma. It is all locked into place at the moment of birth,
so there is no benefit or need to struggle hard to improve your lot in
life. You can't do it. It's impossible. Just chant Hare Krishna.
If life is nothing but a combination of chemicalas, as the scientists
would have us believe, then why is it when the two chemicals in the
form of male and female combine, we get something different every time?
Why? If we combine hydrogen and oxygen, we always get water, H20. We
always get water, not sand or milk. We always get the same thing. You
combine the same chemicals, you always get the same thing—yes or no?
Yes. But why is it that when a man and a woman combine sexually it's
sometimes a boy and sometimes a girl, sometimes stupid and sometimes
smart, sometimes ugly and sometimes beautiful, sometimes nothing,
infertility? Why? Because life is not generated by matter.
But that is the very basis of modern science, education, technology.
Everything is based on this false premise that by material interaction
life is generated. So I say make a mosquito. Here are the chemicals, so
make one. Make a glass of milk. The grass is there, put it in a machine
and mix it up. It can't be done. Why can't it be done? The cow is
making milk. The cows are making milk day and night. Right? Why can't
the scientists do it, if everything is nothing but chemicals? Why not
produce milk and get rich? It cannot be done. Even a small insect... it
cannot be done. They can make a big jumbo jet, but they can't make a
mosquito, which is after all just a tiny airplane.
So we are being cheated. These so-called scientists are bewildering us.
If the scientist is so great, why doesn't he make another scientist,
another Einstein? Why didn't they inject something and bring him back?
Why didn't Mr. Einstein himself invent something that he could inject
so he wouldn't die? He could not, because the very proposal that you
can generate life by combining matter is absurd. It's false. Just like
all the darkness in the universe cannot produce one spark of light. But
one spark of light can dispel the darkness. In the second world war, if
a soldier lit a cigarette, a sniper from a mile away could shoot him.
This is our misfortune. We are living in a society that is based on
something that is so fundamentally erroneous, as a result we are
working for nothing, working for things we don't need. We only need
four things: how to get free from birth, from disease, old age and
death. In fact, everyone is working just to avoid these four things.
Just think. Why are you going to work? Because you like working?
Someone will say, "I like what I do. I love my job." So you would work
if they stopped paying you? No. Because you need the money to eat, to
sleep, pay rent, right? So we are all busy trying to somehow or other
avoid these four things (birth, disease, old age and death), and
Krishna says, "You can't avoid them. You have to surrender to Me, and
when you finish this term, then you can be released, but not
otherwise." It cannot be done by science. Real science is to know what
I am. If I don't know what I am, then what do I know? Right? When the
policeman stops you, he says, "Let me see your driver's license. Who
are you?" You say, "Well, I don't have it." Then "Who are you?" "I
don't know." That will not go over with the cop, will it? We know
everything except what I am. Everything we know—what is deep in the
ocean, we're flying in space, we're probing DNA, we're doing this and
that, and boasting. But if I say, "Who are you?" you'll say, "I'm an
American." What is that? It means this body, a bag of stool. It's a bag
of stool and urine. Lord Buddha said, "This body is a bag with nine
holes from which blood, stool, urine, pus and mucus ooze out. How can I
love such a thing?" But we do. We love this body. Everybody is
looking for somebody to love, right?
Only Necessity to Connect with Him Chelsea: So is it exclusively Krishna? I mean is this
consciousness available to—
Chelsea: But we chant "Krishna."
Hansadutta: No, everyone can be Krishna conscious. Why
not? The very word Christ comes from the word Krishna. Christ
comes from the Greek word christos, which means the lover of
God, and christos in Greek comes from the Sanskrit Krishna,
which means the all-attractive, Supreme Lord. Christ is not the
name of Jesus; it is his title, like "King" or "President". It means
the lover of God, the lover of Krishna. The word Krishna is not
only universal, it is transcendental.
Chelsea: So it is the same? Whether we call it Buddha or
we call it Shiva or we call it Christ, it's the same?
Hansadutta: No, God has got His names, specific names,
just as you have got your specific name. If I called you Charlie, that
wouldn't be appropriate, because it is not your name. Everyone has got
a name, so God has His names too. He has many names, just like you have
got 3 or 4 names—your middle name, your nickname, last name, first
name. God, being unlimited, has unlimited names, but that doesn't mean
anything I manufacture will do. Just like a dollar bill is just paper,
but any paper won't do. Toilet paper won't do. God has got His specific
He is a person, just as you are a person, I am a person. He is the
Supreme Person. Whatever you can do, whatever we find in you or in me,
it is a sample of what is there in God. Just as in a drop of ocean
water there is a very small amount of salt, so I have to know that the
entire ocean has a vast amount of salt. We say that we are made in the
image of God, so God must be a person, because we are all persons. God
is not a material person; He is a spiritual person, a transcendental
person, and our only necessity is to connect again with Him.
Just like these children here. If you leave them alone with no parental
contact, they will panic. Why? Because they want to know, "Where is my
mother? Where is my father?" As soon as they are reunited, then they
immediately feel happy again. Our unhappiness has one cause: we are
separated from Krishna. That's all. When that connection is
reestablished, then everything is fine. We don't care. But in the
absence of our relationship with Krishna, we are always miserable,
always making plans and schemes how to be happy. There is no need for
making a plan or a scheme; we simply need to connect with Krishna.
That's all. There is no other necessity. All these other necessities
are artificial. The child is only thinking, "Where are my mother and
father?" When they connect, then everything is okay. "My father will
take care of everything." They have no fear.
So the Supreme Father, Krishna, is the Supreme. He is great, and we are
small. He is infinite, and we are infinitesimal. We are a sample of the
infinite. We are also eternal and full of knowledge, but His is
infinite, and ours is small. Now we are trying to be big. Everyone
wants to be big like Bush. He's thinking, "Bring it on!" They're
bringing it on, they're going to crush him. Everyone is thinking like
that. Kennedy also, but they shot him. Finished, just like that.
Napoleon was big. Hitler was big. Mao Tse Tung was big. This is our
disease: thinking "I am big." Everyone want to be bigger and bigger,
but we have to take the other tack, which is "No, I am small, and I
want to serve the big." When I was a boy growing up in New York, I was
kind of skinny, and I came from Germany, and everyone was beating me up
all the time. So I figured out, "I have to get a big friend." So I got
a big friend, and he always protected me. So Krishna is the biggest
Woven into God's Creation Lisa: So personally, for me, I'm looking for any way that
I can communicate with God, or feed my soul, or connect with my higher
power, and this chanting is very powerful. Its sound, its visual...
it's tangible, so it really works in a big way.
Hansadutta: Yes, so simply do it. There is another way...
you can chant by yourself with beads. as soon as you chant Hare
Krishna, you are immediately in contact with Krishna, in resonance with
Krishna, and imperceptibly and naturally, everything will fall into
focus and harmony in your life.
We also have four regulative principles. Of course, not everyone will
follow all of them immediately, but you should know that there are some
do's and don'ts. We do not eat meat, fish or eggs. We do not indulge in
illicit sex. We don't gamble, and we avoid intoxicants, including tea,
coffee and cigarettes. Why? Because these things are first of all
unnecessary. We call them anarthas. If you don't smoke, you
won't die. If you don't drink, you won't die. If you don't gamble, you
won't die. You'll be okay. These things create physical and mental
disturbances. Like intoxicants make your mind disturbed, cloudy,
unclear thinking. Gambling disturbs you mentally, financially, and
socially. meat eating also will create very severe health problems like
cancer and so forth. Besides that, it is karmically very severe.
Because you are killing, you will have to be killed. Just as if I pinch
you, you'll feel that, and you will pinch me back, or you might slap
me. The creation is a seamless whole. We are not separate from the
creation; we are woven into it like the threads of my coat here. So we
are woven into God's creation, and if you transgress the laws, you will
get a reaction.
Chelsea: And so Rama and Krishna are the same?
Hansadutta: Yes, Rama and Krishna. Krishna is seen in
different aspects according to the devotee's particular devotion. Just
like your friends see you one way, but when the policeman stops you in
the car for speeding, he sees you in another way, and your mother sees
you in another way. You are the same person, but you have different
relationships or different aspects. Like the High Court judge. When
he's on the bench, the guilty defendants are terrified, but when he
comes home from work to his kids, they will make him get on his hands
and knees to carry them around the living room. Right? So the same
person is seen differently according to the relationship. So God is
seen according to the devotee's liking. Yes. Hare Krishna.
Jim: [Calling everyone to eat] Prasadam!
Hansadutta: Yes, we have prasadam. We call it prasadam,
the mercy of Krishna.
Chelsea: Thank you.
Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Trustee, BHAKTIVEDANTA BOOK TRUST
WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY