What is Hare Krishna?
Hare Krishna Mantra
Personality of Godhead
A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Events: Kirtan Festival
World Sankirtan Party
© 2004 - Hansadutta das
The Beginning, Middle and End of Spiritual Life
by Hansadutta dasa
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By sound everything has to be learned. We don't learn things unless we hear about them. When the children go to school for learning, they hear the sound A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and then the teacher shows them by demonstration. Sound is primary, and seeing is secondary. People want to see God. They say, "Can you show me God? I don't see Him. Where is He?" But we don't have eyes to see; we have to hear first. The eyes have to be trained to see. Just as a boy is trained to see what time it is. If I show him the watch, he can't see. He sees the watch, but he can't actually say what time it is, because he has to hear about the arrangement first, how the long hand and the short hands move, the different numerals, and the second hand, etc. So without hearing, he can't say what time it is. Although he sees, he doesn't see. From the Bible... Jesus said, "They have eyes, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not." So we want to see God, and God can be seen, but He can't be seen with material eyes. He must be seen with spiritual eyes. Because in fact, it is not this eye that sees; the eye of flesh and blood doesn't see anything, just as your glasses don't see anything; but the person who wears the glasses, he sees. The glasses are just an instrument through which the light passes. So similarly if we go further, the eye of flesh and blood also does not see. It's just a via medium. The ear doesn't hear. Everything is seen and heard by the soul.
So unless the soul is awakened, there is no seeing God, because God is the soul of the soul. We are soul, but God is also soul. He is the supreme soul, and although He is the supreme soul, He is smaller than the individual soul. He is the Soul of the soul. We are soul, and as living spirit soul, because we are in touch with these bodies, these bodies are moving, they have a temperature, they grow and change, etc. But within my soul there is Krishna. Krishna says, "I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me alone come knowledge, remembrance and forgetfulness."--Bhagavad-gita As It Is So Krishna is within the heart, but it doesn't mean the heart of flesh and blood; it means within the soul. He is the soul of the soul, He is the Supersoul, He is within the heart of every soul, and therefore He knows everyone and everything.
So we say we want to see Him, but our seeing is externally oriented. We are always looking outside, when in fact Krishna is inside. He is not outside. Of course, He is outside also, but until we see ourselves as living spirit soul rather than as a dead, material body we won't be able to see Krishna.
The material body is always dead, just as a car is always dead. It's the living driver who pushes the buttons and makes the car move. But even when the car is moving, it's still a dead piece of machinery, which is being manipulated by the living driver. So this body, which is a combination of earth, water, fire, air and so on, is dead at every stage. It's a dead lump of matter, but because the soul permeates it, it moves. That which pervades the entire body is indestructible, no one can kill the imperishable soul. It cannot be cut, dried, wet or blown away. Once having been, it never ceases to be.--Bhagavad-gita As It Is Spiritual life begins when we understand "I am not matter; I am spirit. I am not a product of this world. I don't belong to this world. Just as I don't belong to this shirt. I am not a product of the shirt; the shirt was cut to fit my body. Similarly, I am not a product of this body." This body is a shirt, a covering which has been formed or fitted over the soul. The soul also has form; otherwise the body would not have any form. God has form; otherwise God's children would not have form. There is no such thing as formlessness. Everything has form. So the first step in God realization is to distinguish the soul from the body. The body is simply a machine or a dress, and the soul is the proprietor, the resident or the inhabitant of the body. The body is a machine, and the soul is the driver.
But above the soul is the Supreme Soul, and He is present within every individual soul, and He is conscious and recording everything. Everything is known to the Supreme Soul. Just as you are the individual soul, and you know everything that's going on in your own body. If there is some pain in your toe, or on the tip of your head or on your finger, you feel it. Even though you are sitting just here, every part of your body is felt by you. So the Supreme Body, the universe--if we accept it as the universal form of the Lord--He is aware of everything in every part of the creation. Only we are not aware, we are unconscious. We think that we are alone and independent, and that we can do anything we want, and there will be no consequence. No, there will be a consequence. Just as whatever you do to this body, the soul feels it. If you step on a nail, immediately you feel pain, and all of your energies and attention rush to that part to attend to it.
So the whole aim of human life it to become conscious of the Supreme Soul, and that includes the self. We are part and parcel of the Supreme Soul.So when we become Krishna Conscious, then we are included. Just as when the sun rises, we can see everything, and the self also. We are included in the seeing, and everything else; we can see everything else too.
So the process of seeing is to hear. We have to hear Krishna. We hear about Krishna from the pure devotee, from the self-realized soul. We hear from him, just as the child hears from the father--"Your name is John, this is your mother, this is your house, this is your uncle, do this, don't do that," etc. The spiritual master is our real father. Our material father and mother give us this body, but our spiritual father, the spiritual master gives us our real life, our spiritual life. So we have two births: one material, and the other, spiritual. Even Jesus said, "You must be born again". What does he mean by that? He means that you must have a spiritual awakening or an initiation into spiritual understanding. It is not that you will literally be born twice into a material bod. No. That second birth is the awakening of Krishna consciousness, which takes place when we hear from the spiritual master.
So this is the process, and the essence of that hearing is the Holy Name of Krishna, because the Holy Name of Krishna is Krishna. There is no difference between the sound Krishna and the person Krishna, because God is absolute, and therefore His Name and His Self are nondifferent. When we chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, we are in touch with Krishna, and that touch, that connection will do everything. Just as the plants are in touch with the sun, and by the touch of the sun the plants are undergoing photosynthesis and assimilating all the nutrients and growing. But without the sun, nothing will happen. You can water them, you can fertilize them, but the sunlight must be there. That is the ultimate catalyst. So the Holy Name is the catalyst. It is the means and the end. It is the goal, and it is the means to the goal. As soon as you say Krishna, you have arrived. Hare Krishna.
When the baby comes out from the womb, as soon as the baby takes a breath everything is all right, the baby is alive. So just as that breath is the beginning of the baby's life, this chanting of the Holy Name is the beginning of our spiritual life. And it is the end and the middle of spiritual life. It IS spiritual life. Our whole life depends on this chanting of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. Just as the breathing in and out, in and out from the moment you emerge from the womb, that's nice, but it's not the end; it must go on. It must go on day and night, whether you're jumping, running, laughing, eating, sleeping. Always there must be breathing in and out. That is the constant of our life. So, the chanting is the constant. Nothing is more important. Everything must be done to maintain it, just as a man must do everything to maintain his breathing.
So this is the significance of chanting Hare Krishna. It is not a whimsical, silly sentimental thing that foolish people do because they have nothing better to do. No. This is a science. There is a soul, there is Krishna, and there is a technique for coming in touch with Krishna and developing Krishna consciousness, or developing our spiritual life as much as everyday the mother breast-feeds the baby, and the baby is growing. Right? Yes, everyday. It is a constant. It is a practice. The child becomes a man, and the man must eat. He must have certain sadhanas, certain practices to maintain his life that he cannot do without--he must eat, he must take a bath, he must brush his teeth, he must wash his clothes, so many things. But the primary thing that he can't do without is breathing. He may go without a meal for two days, he might go 20 days without eating, but he can't go without breathing. Similarly, we can't go without chanting Hare Krishna. As soon as we stop chanting, we're in difficulty.
Therefore we find that those great devotees, great Acharyas, are always chanting the Name and Fame of Krishna. Remember, we discussed this verse the other night? Satatam kirtayanto mam: "Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion."--Bhagavad-gita As It Is
And the sum and substance of that devotion is chanting Hare Krishna, talking about Krishna, hearing about Krishna, cooking Krishna prasadam , doing something for Krishna, etc. But the beginning is the Name. The Name is the beginning, and that gradually expands into other activities, and they are no different from chanting. But the chanting must be the basis: the breathing pattern must be established. At first, the child is just breathing. Really the child doesn't do anything. He can't walk, he can't talk. He's just breathing, and the mother is breast-feeding. But gradually, as time goes by, he starts to walk, then he starts to jump, then he's talking, he's making things, then going to school, and on and on, expanding. But breathing is the basis of everything; without that, nothing else can go on. So without chanting Hare Krishna, there is no spiritual life. If a person is not chanting Hare Krishna, he has no spiritual life. I don't care what anyone says... if a person is not chanting the Holy Name of the Lord--either Lord Jesus or Lord Buddha or Lord Caitanya or Lord Krishna--that person has no spiritual life. He may be a great scholar or a great philosopher or a great politician, but there is no spiritual life without chanting the Holy Name of the Lord. It's as simple as that. Therefore even Jesus said, "I have kept them in your Name".
Of course, the Christians by and large have lost this essential point long ago, but that doesn't mean that there is no Name. There is a Name. If every one of God's children has a name, why would God Himself have no name? Why would He be without a Name? How can He be God if He is missing something? He also has a Name. Of course, He has innumerable Names, but any Name, if you chant it, you are connected. Hare Krishna.
The Beginning, Middle and End/ WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY ©2004 - Hansadutta das
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