cha mam eva
smaran muktva kalevaram
yah prayati sa mad-bhavam
yati nasty atra samsayah (Bhagavad-gita 8.5)
whoever, at the time of death, quits his body, remembering Me alone, at
once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.
yam vapi smaran bhavam
tyajaty ante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya
sada tad-bhava-bhavita (Bhagavad-gita 8.6)
state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will
attain without fail.
mam anusmara yudhya cha
mayy arpita-mano buddhir
mam evaishyasy asamshayah (Bhagavad-gita 8.7)
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.
paramam purusham divyam
yati parthanuchintayan (Bhagavad-gita 8.8)
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
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
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.
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
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,
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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...
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
is a silly thing to do—they're simply repeating, "Hare Krishna,
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
like this," or "Pick up that," or "Play the keys." The fingers don't
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
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.
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.