What is Hare Krishna?
Hare Krishna Mantra
Personality of Godhead
A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Events: Kirtan Festival
World Sankirtan Party
© 2004 - Hansadutta das
By Constant Practiceby Hansadutta das
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Hansadutta: Chanting Hare Krishna is the process of awakening ourselves to our actual essence, essential, what I am. Is the tongue chanting? Is my voice box chanting? Where is the sound coming from? The sound is initiated by the soul. Without the soul, no sound, isn't it? A dead body is not going to make any sound. The origin of the sound "Hare Krishna" is actually Krishna, because He is the soul of the soul. "I am seated in everyone's heart." (Bhagavad-gita 15.15) Heart means not the flesh and blood heart, but soul. I am the soul, within the soul, Krishna is there.
Gerend Chew: Krishna is within the soul?
Hansadutta: Yes. He is within. He is the soul of the soul.
Gerend Chew: He is the soul of the soul?
Hansadutta: "I am in them. They are in Me. I am never lost to them, and they are never lost to Me." (Bhagavad-gita 6.30) "I am seated in everyone's heart." Hridi sannivistho: "I am seated in everyone's heart." (Bhagavad-gita 15.15) Heart means the soul. He is the soul of the soul. Therefore, the sound "Krishna" is actually present always. We only vibrate it. Just as air is always there. You do not make the air; you only breathe it in… out, in… out. The life… all the forms are there. You do not make them; you only see them. Similarly, the sound "Krishna" is always there. You simply vibrate it and hear it. Important point. You vibrate it and hear it.
Gerend Chew: So Krishna is in the soul?
Gerend Chew: Not beside the soul?
Hansadutta: No, not beside it. Within the soul.
Gerend Chew: Within the soul. As Paramatma?
Hansadutta: Yes, as Paramatma. As Paramatma. And Krishna says, "From Me comes remembrance and forgetfulness. Knowledge, remembrance and forgetfulness come from Me." (Bhagavad-gita 15.15) When Krishna wants you to know something, He will reveal it. That's the process of spiritual understanding.
Therefore we chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare… because just by this chanting Hare Krishna, you are in harmony with Krishna. You are with Krishna. You are in touch with Krishna. And that is to be realized—"Oh, I am in touch with Krishna." Krishna is everywhere. I am always with Krishna. I am never separated. Everything is a manifestation of the energy of Krishna, either external or internal. Either external or internal. So chanting Hare Krishna is not a ritual. It is the most essential… it's like breathing air. We never think of it, but without breathing, the body cannot be maintained for more than a minute or two. Breathing. Above breathing, above air is sound. Earth, water, fire, air, ether. Ether means the place where sound… Krishna says, "I am that sound." If you just make the sound, you'll be with Krishna. And by constant practice, we become aware of how essential it is, that this is more important than breathing air, that I am that subtle vibration of living force, and I am with Krishna, and Krishna is with me. So we practice chanting Hare Krishna, and we hear Krishna. We see Krishna. We taste Krishna prasadam. And we speak of Krishna. We think of Krishna. When everything becomes harmonized with Krishna, that is Krishna conscious. But that takes a long time of practice. It is practiced. It takes a long time.
Gerend Chew: How to make the chanting more powerful? Take shorter time? Is it possible?
Hansadutta: No. It is a matter of quality. To improve the quality of chanting means quantity. Quantity improves the quality. Just like a man is a musician… he [Krishna Lila das] knows. So he has to play a long time. He has to practice. The more he practices, the more the quality will improve, isn't it? Quantity… we can do the quantity. The quality comes from Krishna Himself. You cannot make Krishna. Krishna will manifest, reveal Himself. You follow? We can only chant: "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna," but the quality… that is Krishna's mercy. That He reveals Himself. Therefore we find Bhaktisiddhanta chanted 180 rounds every day for nine years. A hundred eighty. How did he do that? Why did he do that? Because he was relishing association of Krishna. It is not artificial, not mechanical. Of course we are mechanical, but mechanical chanting will bring actual quality. Just like mechanically practicing music, or the ball players throwing the ball, throwing the ball, throwing the ball. He's practicing day and night. A businessman is practicing. A lawyer is practicing. An architect is practicing. Everyone is practicing. A criminal is practicing. Isn't it? So the more one practices, the more the quality of one's professional life will improve. That's the secret. Therefore Lord Chaitanya says chanting always. Like breathing always. Now, the yogis practice breathing, don't they? Everyone is breathing. A common person says, "What's the big deal—breathing? I'm breathing. Why?" But you see, the yogis understand that by improving the quality of their breathing, by learning how to breathe properly, everything improves—their consciousness, their health, their longevity. It's impersonal practice. We go one step further. We not only breathe; we chant the name of Krishna. That improves our breathing, our everything, and gradually Krishna reveals Himself, and we become fixed in Krishna consciousness. Sadhana means practice. Sadhana. As the materialistic people practice to become expert at something, we also practice. And Lord Chaitanya's teaching is always… one can chant the holy name of the Lord always in a humble state of mind.
Gerend Chew: Do other senior devotees chant regularly?
Hansadutta: You know, Gerend, I don't know. I hope so. [laughter] Because the tendency is when you become… when you get some recognition, you get diverted. You think, "Oh, I'm very important," so chanting is not…. Because it's such a simple thing, you see…. We tend… as soon as we get some worldly or external facility—recognition or wealth—we tend to neglect chanting. That's the danger. That is the danger. And that actually has been the problem for all devotees at all times. When there is some external favourable… then we become negligent and think everything is okay. In politics also, in business also, when a person achieves a level of success, he becomes puffed up. And at that time, the tendency is to fall, to neglect the basic principle of sadhana practice. That tendency is there.
Even in Bhagavad-gita (9.14) Krishna says, satatam kirtayanto mam: "Always chanting My glories, endeavouring with great determination, bowing down before Me, great souls worship Me with devotion." Until we come to the plane of brahma-bhuta, of awakening that I am spirit—not matter, the tendency is to fall. Until the person is firmly awake, standing up on two feet, the tendency is to go back to sleep in the bed. We can't wake up lying in the bed. [laughter] We can drift back to sleep. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma. (Bhagavad-gita 18.54) Brahma-bhutah means that stage where the conditioned soul has actually awakened, come to the plane where—not mentally or intellectually—spiritually he's awake. What is the symptom? Na sochati na kankshati: he has no more… he loses all fear. He becomes completely fearless. Why? Because he sees that he has nothing to do with this world. He actually sees that. Just like when a man wakes up from a nightmare, he feels relief, because he realises, "Oh, it was just a dream that I lost my money or my car." Sometimes we have some dream where we have so much anxiety, but when we wake up, "Oh, thank goodness that was just a dream." We have all had this experience. That awakening of Krishna consciousness, spiritual consciousness, from that stage you don't fall. But that also is not final. That is the actual beginning of real devotional service. At that time. Just like when a man is released from prison, he feels, "Oh, at last!" Once he's out the gate… but that also is not complete. He must now find engagement, service. Otherwise he may be again?. So it is possible even from the brahma-bhutah stage to again become materially entangled. Devotional service means to be engaged in that brahma-bhutah plane, to be engaged in the service of Krishna.
The Mayavadis… this is the difference between Mayavadis and devotees: Mayavadis just want to remain in this brahma-bhutah spirit, that's all, at the gate. Okay, they won't participate in worldly life, but you see, the soul is the servant of Krishna. Unless he takes up the service, he may again drift back into the service of maya.
There are levels, stages of Krishna consciousness. The Buddhists try for nirvana. The Mayavadis for brahma-nirvana. The yogis for Paramatma, and the devotees for devotional service to Bhagavan. There are different stages. This is very scientific. And this science should be taught systematically like any subject—like engineering, chemistry, business management. There are rules. There are levels of awareness, of consciousness, and they are very distinct.
And because there is no education at all, people are just engaged with gross… with trying to secure a place in the material environment. Like Singapore. That's the history of Singapore. From the jungle it became an international centre for business, but it doesn't… it will not solve my problem. My problem is that I'm going to die. And even while I'm living comfortably, I'm not happy. I don't find any happiness. And people are bewildered. They don't know why. Why I'm dissatisfied? Because I need more money, because I need more political prestige. And this creates madness. Nunam pramattah kurute vikarma (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.4). This constant striving, lusting after more material sense gratification creates madness. And that madness can be seen in places like America and Europe, where they have long ago succeeded in all the things that Singapore is just coming into. Long ago. And they've been through World War I and World War II, and it… [recording interrupted] … into speculating on the stock market. Every hour things are changing. It's accelerating, and the technology of the computer fuels that madness by accelerating the trades. It used to be… just two years ago, 300 million shares traded on the stock exchange, and it was extraordinary. Today, 600 million is ordinary. And the fluctuations are swinging five percent. This acceleration, this intensity is going to at one point just explode. Explosive. And create a very chaotic, fearful financial, political environment.
Our business is to remain Krishna conscious. We know that this is all a hallucination, a dream. Prabhupada always used the example that material existence may be very luxurious, like in Singapore, or it may be very hellish like in Bosnia and Lebanon and Israel. But it's all material. Stool—wet or dry—is stool. Here it's dry, and there it's wet, it's very messy, but it's the same thing. It's stool. Stool—wet or dry—is stool. And that's basically what material existence is. At its best, it's dry, and at its worst, it's wet. We have to always be sober, and that soberness comes from taking shelter in the holy name, making that our practice. If we perfect this one thing, chanting the holy name—"Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna…"—if we can perfect this one thing, we are perfect.
By Constant Practice/ WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY ©2004-Hansadutta das
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