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© 2004 - Hansadutta das

Wake Up to Your Real State of Consciousness

by Hansadutta das

February 7, 2003, California

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anta-kale cha mam eva
smaran muktva kalevaram
yah prayati sa mad-bhavam
yati nasty atra samsayah
(Bhagavad-gita 8.5)
And whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.
yam yam vapi smaran bhavam
tyajaty ante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya
sada tad-bhava-bhavita
(Bhagavad-gita 8.6)
Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.
tasmat sarveshu kaleshu
mam anusmara yudhya cha
mayy arpita-mano buddhir
mam evaishyasy asamshayah
(Bhagavad-gita 8.7)
Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Krishna and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain me without fail.
abhyasa-yoga-yuktena
chetasa nanya-gamina
paramam purusham divyam
yati parthanuchintayan
(Bhagavad-gita 8.8)
He who meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Partha [Arjuna], is sure to reach Me.

You know, people think of spiritual life, or the spiritual world as a "place", as a geographical place. But actually the spiritual world is a "state", just like sleeping is a state. A man is sleeping, he's here, but he's not here because he is in a different state. He may be having a pleasant state of dreaming, or unpleasant nightmare, or something delightful. So although he may be geographically present in a particular place, he's not actually present; he's in a different state. Like we say a man is in a happy state, or he's in a depressed state, or he's in an unconscious state. If he's administered anesthesia, anesthetic, we can cut on his arm or operate. He doesn't feel any pain—he's in a different state.

Material existence is also a state. We are identifying with a particular state, and therefore we experience certain reactions, or we experience it in a certain way. Therefore also even though we are in all apparently in the same material state of consciousness, everyone will experience the same thing differently. What you understand from this state, and you and you and you—everyone will be different. If we ask everyone to give a report, then everyone will give something different, because actually everyone is in a different state. Even in the material conception of life, or the material condition, if a dog comes into this room, although he is materially present, his state of being present is different. He will not be interested in this Hare Krishna or reading any book, or he'll just urinate on the floor. He has no capacity... his state of presence or consciousness is different, although he's apparently geographically in the same place.

So this chanting of the holy name of Krishna, is not a ritual. It's not a religious practice. It's a scientific method to bring us, or elevate us to the state of Krishna consciousness, the state of spiritual awareness. Just as a sleeping person—although he's in that state—if he hears... if he hears us calling, "Wake up, John, wake up!" the sound penetrates his state and brings him to this waking state. Sometimes we have the experience while we're sleeping... we have some unusual dream, and we actually begin to think, "This is too strange; I must be sleeping." We've all had this experience, and as soon as we do, we wake up. Isn't it?

Jim: Yes.

So similarly, or I should say, when we're sleeping, we are not aware of the fact that we're sleeping. We think we're awake. And when we are awake, we do not think that there is any other state. We never remember when we go from the waking state to the sleeping state. No one remembers. No one can watch out and say, "Oh, now I'm going to sleep." No. Somehow or other, we pass into the other state, the sleeping state. Even when the patient is administered the anesthesia, he passes into that other state, and he doesn't remember. When he again emerges, then he feels that "Oh yes, some time", but he is bewildered, there is some bewilderment. So in the present material state or material condition, we all accept it... it's accepted that this is our life, this is our normal state. And we're very busy with the wife and children and other responsibilities. Sometimes we are very happy, sometimes we are distressed, sometimes we're fearful, sometimes... anyway, times. Always in some flux, or morphing from one emotional state to another, even within the state of waking life.

From the Vedic literature we understand that this is also a temporary state. As sleeping is temporary and we accept it while sleeping as real, and we experience pains and pleasures and joys, similarly, this present material state in which we are moving is also not permanent. It's temporary. We only remain, or we will be in this state only for some time. And then, we say, a person "dies". But from the Bhagavad-gita we understand that we do not die, just as when we go to sleep we don't die, we simply enter, or slip into another state. When we wake up, we come to another state; when we have an operation we are in another state; when we are in love, then we're in the state where, hey, the whole world could burn, and we'd feel joyful. Because we're in a certain state. So similarly, when we pass from this state into what the common person thinks of as death, that also will be imperceptible. In other words, we will not be aware that "Oh, we have given up this material existence or this material body, and we're now in a different state." We will feel just as a person feels when he's sleeping. He doesn't feel that he's asleep; he feels he's quite awake, that he's in normal situation.

So, the whole purpose of practicing, or the purpose of the human being, human life is to actually become Krishna conscious, or come to our permanent state, the state which is not covered or bewildered or mixed up with something foreign, like sleeping or being awake or being unconscious or being happy or being sad. Our permanent state. Where we are completely awakened and engaged in our spiritual life. So that state is called Brahma-bhuta. Brahma-bhuta prasanatma means spiritual, awakened. Where there is no hankering and no lamenting. Where there is no necessity or aspiration. There is no want; everything is complete. It is the state of being satisfied in one's spiritual existence.

There is such a state, but for the ordinary persons, they're so absorbed in this external material energy that they think it is just something imaginary, something religious. They think, "We may speculate, but we don't actually believe it, we're busy here, with this, with the wife, children, house, car, making money. We're very much absorbed there. We have no time. Sometimes if we have time we may think about it a little, but we don't take it serious, just ordinary people.

The Krishna conscious person is he who has accepted, "Yes, I have a permanent existence, and it is beyond this." And he is trying to establish himself by following the process which is given by the previous acharyas, the spiritual master, the Bhagavad-gita.

So the whole process... to come to the point, the whole process is condensed into this simple chanting Hare Krishna. There are many things to be done: to not eat meat, no intoxication, no illicit sex, no gambling, and to rise in the morning, take bath. There are many, many practices for the spiritual aspirant, or devotee, which will help him, which augment or compliment his endeavor. But the whole thing is condensed into one essential practice, which is the chanting of the holy name of Krishna. Just like a person, when he grows up a little, he becomes a student, kindergarten, grammar school, high school, university, and sometimes post-graduate study and sometimes apprenticeship, but the whole thing focuses, or the whole purpose is one thing: to get some money. He is doing all this—why? Because he has to earn money. Why? Because money is the medium through which all necessities are gained—to get food, to get shelter, to get wife, children, so forth, everything. So all these preliminary activities help me to do what? To earn money either as a doctor or a lawyer or a carpenter or whatever. Ultimate aim is get money. The Germans say, "Gelt regelt die Welt": money rules the world. Therefore we find sometimes a person who has no schooling, no education, can't read or write, still he's making money—like Henry Ford. Or sometimes in India, big businessmen, they may be multimillionaires but they can't read or write. They can sign their names only. Prabhupada gives one example: the man is saying, "Please fill in the cheque for me to so-and-so, for so many rupees," then he signs it. That's all he knows. So, as in material life, where everything ultimately rests in getting money, similarly, in spiritual life, everything comes to this point: to chant the holy name of Krishna. Even all the Vedic wisdom is compressed into this one thing, the holy name of Krishna.

Just as... again coming back to material activities, the cheque, the man is giving you the cheque, but if his name, signature, is not on the cheque, then it has no value. It may be worth 3 million dollars, but the cheque must have the name. So the name is the beginning and is the end of everything. When we meet someone, we must exchange the name. And if you fail to remember the man's name when you meet again, that's a no-no, very bad. We must have the name. And if we go traveling, immigration immediately asks, "Your name, your passport." If you can't produce your name, your identity, then you can't enter. Entrance into spiritual life really—everything else aside—depends on this simple thing, the Holy Name of Krishna.

And from whom do we get the name? Just like from whom do we get our material name? We get from our father. We are not present at the time, but he gives the name, and that's recorded, that's your name. So the name... we get the name of Krishna from the spiritual master, the person who has the name, who has Krishna.

Although it's a very simple thing, Bhaktisiddhanta says, "Ordinary people think it's silly. They hear the devotees, they see the devotees chanting Hare Krishna, and they think this is a silly thing to do—they're simply repeating, "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare." [And they think] that "there are so many things we could do—earn money and have some... make progress in life." Bhaktisiddhanta says no, that the name itself, even more than the scripture, can deliver or completely put the chanter, the practitioner immediately in touch, or on the platform of the absolute, or in the state of absolute spiritual consciousness. And how that is so is... that is the power of Krishna. Just as in the material world, if you have the name, or the code word, you can enter into someone's bank account, and withdraw. [Laughter] So we see even in ordinary dealings that just the name has tremendous power. That is because in the absolute, that principle is perfectly applicable. The name Krishna is as good as Krishna.

How do we know? We can only know it if we chant. Again... I know I use this example so many times... if I give a child a cheque for a million dollars, and I say, "That's a million dollars, you can buy 50 bicycles with this," he can't believe it, it's unbelievable. But if I give him a handful of pennies, he'll be very happy. He'll think, "Oh, that's a great gain." Although the child has no awareness or cannot take advantage of the cheque, it doesn't mean that the cheque is not a million dollars; it is. A person who knows how to handle the cheque, who knows the procedure, he can get the million dollars. Isn't it? Yes. So everything depends on chanting the name Krishna correctly, or properly, which means without offence. Just like everything depends on handling the cheque correctly. You have to produce some I.D. and so forth. There is some procedure for cashing the cheque.

So there is a procedure for chanting the holy name. And it is just to chant and to hear—is the first thing. To chant and to hear. You must hear the name. Chant and hear. And then there are ten offences to avoid. But even if one chants offensively... in other words, even if his chanting is imperfect, the name is so powerful it will act. We can imagine just the child, he's got the cheque for a million dollars, he's playing with it, and someone who knows, who sees it, he would be immediately alarmed, and attentive. So anyone who chants the holy name of Krishna, even... (there are so many statements, and some of them are in that Kirtan book) even jokingly, and inattentively, and so forth and so on, the name still it will act. It will act. So that's called either nama aparadha or nama bhasa. Nama bhasa produces... immediately a person is liberated. Not only is he liberated, but anything that he desires he will get. It will come to him. Any material desire he has, he will get that. That of course is not the object of chanting the name. Generally, in religious circles, people chant or pray because they want something. They want some material benediction. The chanting is not like that. The chanting is just to associate with Krishna, just to be with Krishna. Prabhupada always says, like a sincere child crying for mother. The child doesn't want anything. The child just wants to feel the presence of the mother, so the child is crying. The chanting of the holy name is meant to give us the easy and immediate facility to associate with Krishna.

And that association will do everything. We will not do anything. We can't do anything. We can't do anything, because we are infinitely minute or small. Infinitesimal. And God is infinite. We are like a leaf on the tree, and Krishna is the whole tree. So the leaf cannot do anything. The perfection of the leaf is to be attached to the tree. Just like my finger. The perfection of my finger is to be part of this body. The finger can't see anything or think anything. The finger is just getting the impulse, "Do this, scratch here," or "Defend yourself like this," or "Pick up that," or "Play the keys." The fingers don't see the keys. The eyes see the keys and give direction, and everything is being coordinated. So we don't think of it like that, but actually this is our position: that we are part and parcel of Krishna, and Krishna is giving inspiration. In material life, we are not connected; we are disconnected. Therefore, there is no... there is just labor. There's just confusion, bewilderment, frustration in life, because we are working alone. Just like if my finger is working alone, what will it do? If my finger is separated from my body, or my hand is separated, it can't act, because the potency, direction and inspiration for the hand to produce the music comes from the whole body. So in that exact same way, we are—as living spirit soul—part and parcel of Krishna.

And the chanting of the holy name of Krishna immediately... just like on a cell phone you push the numbers, immediately you can speak with your friend in New York or San Francisco by sound. There's connection. He says "Do this, go left", etc. This is the meaning. This is the importance of chanting.

It's not something "Oh, we do because we're Hare Krishna's, so we should chant." No. Nothing is more substantial. Nothing is more valuable than chanting Hare Krishna. There is nothing more important. This is the most valuable thing. But like a child receiving the cheque for one million dollars, if we don't chant, if we don't believe it, if we don't accept the chanting on the word, on the authority of the spiritual master and the scriptures, then we will not derive any benefit. Although we have something very valuable, we will not get anything, any benefit. We will not benefit. It will be spoiled maybe. The cheque... some clever person may take it away. So we should think about it in this way. This is the essential, most important thing to be done. In fact, it is so important that Lord Chaitanya says that it should be done without cessation, without stopping. It should always be done, always, non-stop.


Hansadutta das
Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Trustee, BHAKTIVEDANTA BOOK TRUST
WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY


Wake Up to Your Real State of Consciousness/ WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY
©2004-Hansadutta das
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