By Hansadutta das
this story to a friend Printer
Having given up lust, anger, greed
and delusion, one should ask himself: "Who am I?" Those who are devoid
knowledge of the self are the greatest fools, for they shall burn
the inner recesses of hell.
In the Bhagavad-gita (3.36) Arjuna asks
Krishna, "What is it that causes a man to commit sinful acts even
though he is sometimes unwilling to do so, as if being forced to commit
them?" Krishna immediately replied, "It is lust only, which covers a
man's real knowledge and bewilders him." (Bhagavad-gita
3.37) Lust for material enjoyment brings about our entanglement in the
material world. This lust is originally exhibited as our pure love for
Krishna. When the
living entity turns away from Krishna and acts independently, he
attracted at that time to sense gratification in the shape of wealth,
and prestige. These are the three attractions for the conditioned soul.
However, the material atmosphere is always changing, as Krishna says in
Bhagavad-gita (8.4) --"Material nature is
endlessly mutable."--and therefore the living entity is never happy in
life, because the eternal soul cannot be satisfied by any temporary
object, however grand it may be. The prime example is the Western
where we find tremendous material wealth, comfort, enjoyment, big
with skyscrapers, airplanes and nightclubs. There is so much facility
material enjoyment, yet no one is happy. Everyone is frustrated.
A handful of the frustrated population in America and
Europe are accepting the Krishna consciousness movement and trying to
purify their existence and go back home, back to Godhead. Actually,
conditioned life is a diseased condition of the soul. The disease of
the conditioned soul is that he wants to lord it over material nature.
He wants to usurp the position of the supreme living entity. Everyone
is trying to become the greatest person in his field. That is called ahankara.
Ahankara means false ego, or false identity. The conditioned soul
ignores the Supreme Lord and then deludes himself into thinking that he
is supreme. That is a natural reaction. If we ignore the supreme
authority, then naturally the next conclusion is that "I am the supreme
authority." Even in ordinary, daily activities, we find that the
conditioned souls are so deluded that they think that by incorporating
a democratic system of government they are actually in control, because
it allows everyone to vote for the leader of his choice. People think
that a government "of the people, by the people, for the people" will
make them supreme, because "without our vote, the leader cannot assume
office." This is a symptom of the diseased condition of the soul.
Another symptom of this disease is manifested in the
Mayavada philosophy. Followers of this philosophy--Mayavadis, as they
are called--think that they are the Supreme, that they are God. That is
the epitome of maya (illusion). Disease has to be cured. The
only cure for the disease of lording it over material nature is to be
trained in devotional service by a pure devotee of the Lord. Yoga
and jñana cannot really give the conditioned soul
freedom from material existence, from the bondage of birth and death,
because in yoga and jñana devotion is absent.
Without devotion, without bhakti, the
living entity cannot approach God. Krishna tells Arjuna, "Only by
devotional service can I be seen as I am, standing before you. Thus you
can enter into the mysteries of My understanding." (Bhagavad-gita
11.54) Not by penance or austerity, nor by knowledge--none of these can
actually deliver us from our present entanglement. Only bhakti,
or unconditional surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can
take a person out of material existence.
Bhakti is our natural condition. Just as the
waking condition of life is natural and the sleeping condition is
temporary. Sleeping is not our natural state. Similarly, the exploiting
mood is unnatural. It is a disease. The serving mood, or the devotional
mood--that is natural. Devotion must be expressed in relation to the
Supreme--not to the demigods, not to our country, not to our family,
but to Vishnu.
Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum: "No
one is aware that the aim of life is to satisfy Vishnu." (Srimad-Bhagavatam
The living entity has only one master, and that is
Vishnu. Therefore the living entity has only one engagement: to serve
Vishnu. He has only one thing to know: Vishnu. If this consciousness is
awakened, then life will become very simple and joyful. As long as we
are in ignorance about our eternal relationship with Vishnu, we shall
be always unhappy, just as a child separated from his mother is always
unhappy. The living entity, devoid of devotional service to Krishna, is
Advancement of material science, medicine, technology
and other fields of knowledge is actually only a diversion created by
the conditioned soul averse to the service of Krishna. These fields
actually have no utility in and of themselves, except that they keep us
diverted from devotional life and entangled in the cycle of birth and
death. Material advancement and spiritual advancement hardly complement
one another. However, whatever exists at the present moment, in the
shape of technological advancement or economic development, can be
purified simply by using these technological and medical wonders to
broadcast the message of Krishna. Everything can be dovetailed for
devotional service to Krishna. That is the purpose and aim of this
movement: to teach people how to dovetail their activities
in Krishna consciousness.
Everything has some relation with Vishnu, because
everything is an exhibition of His energy. Therefore Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita:
yat karoshi yad ashnasi
yaj juhoshi dadasi yat
Whatever one performs as work, whatever one
eats or gives away in charity, or whatever one may perform as penance,
that should be done as an offering unto Me, and by this principle of
work you will be freed from all sinful reactions and come to Me. (
Simply by applying all our energy, words and
intelligence to serve Vishnu, automatically our whole life is
transformed. Consequently, the lust with which we are now burning also
becomes transformed back into the original love of Krishna.
yesham tv anta-gatam papam
When one becomes freed from the sinful
reactions of this life and previous lives, then only can he engage
himself in devotional service. (Bhagavad-gita 7.28)
The way to counteract the reactions of past sinful
activities is to engage one's self in devotional service. In the
Brahma-samhita it is also said that all the reactions to our
sinful deeds are burned up by dovetailing our energy to satisfy
Another effect of devotional service is that one becomes immediately
enlightened and becomes detached from material existence.
As soon as one renders devotional service
to Krishna, then immediately from within Krishna gives to him causeless
and detachment. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.7)
Krishna is within the heart of every living entity.
Thus, according to Bhagavad-gita, knowledge, remembrance
and forgetfulness all come from Krishna. We can know only as much as
Krishna allows us to know. We are all under the supervision of superior
authorities. We are all under the control of Krishna, either directly
or indirectly. Material nature is also working under the direction of
Krishna, and the living entity is, at the present moment, trapped in
the material atmosphere, just as a
man who has fallen into the ocean is at the mercy of the ocean. He
save himself. He may be a good swimmer, but ultimately, the ocean is so
that if he tries to save himself, he will be overpowered and drown.
Similarly, the material atmosphere is a kind of ocean which is tossing
us up and down on the waves of time. Ultimately, every living entity is
drowning in the
ocean of birth and death. These elements are battering us, and our
is to try to swim and remain above the water line of old age, disease
death. But no one survives. Krishna says, "Material nature is very
difficult to overcome, but one who has surrendered unto Me can very
easily cross beyond it." (Bhagavad-gita 7.14) Surrendering
to Krishna is just like getting lifted out of the ocean and put on dry
land or being placed on a big ship crossing over the ocean. This
movement for Krishna consciousness is just like a ship crossing the
ocean of birth and death. We have been pulled aboard the big ship and
are now engaged in devotional service to cross the ocean back home,
back to Godhead. Without unconditional surrender there is no
possibility of getting out of the material ocean.
The yogis, the jñanis, the karmis
are all swimming in this ocean of birth and death. Even the jñanis
and yogis who go up to realise Brahman or Paramatma--unless
they actually accept devotional service--again slide down for want of
spiritual bliss in devotional life. They fall down again to get bliss
in Material life. We must have some bliss. Ananda-maya 'bhyasat.
We cannot be blissful simply remaining suspended in
the Brahman effulgence (sat). We cannot be blissful simply by
situated in knowledge (cid). We must be engaged in bhakti,
which immediately gives us sat, cid and ananda (bliss).
That is the aim of every living entity: to be blissful, joyful.
The sum and substance of the Lord's position is ananda-maya
'bhyasat. He is always blissful. He has nothing to be unhappy
about. He has nothing to work for. Therefore He is always blissful. As
part and parcel of Krishna, we also hanker for that bliss. We
get that bliss when we surrender and serve Krishna. As long as we do
not accept bhakti-yoga, we will not enjoy a blissful
life, and we will have to try to get some taste out of mundane
of which sex is the topmost material enjoyment.
Therefore we find that everyone, from Lord Brahma down
to the ant, is after sex. One of the prerequisites for entering into
spiritual life is that we have to give up mundane sex. Therefore we
have four regulative principles--no illicit sex, no meat eating, no
intoxication, no gambling. We have to give up the attempt at mundane
pleasure; otherwise, we cannot reach genuine spiritual bliss. These
principles are the beginning and basis of bhakti-yoga.
Following some preliminary rules and regulations, some do's and don'ts
will help us. Then gradually, we become purified ( anartha nivritti).
We get some taste (ruchi). In this way, we go up, up and out of
material life and into pure life of Krishna consciousness.
manmana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
"Always think of Me and become My devotee." ( Bhagavad-gita
18.65) We are always thinking. We think of
our wife, children, money, work, friends, cat and dog. Everyone is
thinking incessantly. Even at night we think. Our thinking has to be
purified-- manmana bhava mad-bhakto/mad-yaji mam namaskuru.
Krishna says, "Always think of Me, become My devotee, bow down to Me,
worship Me, give your love to Me. Surely you will come to Me." (Bhagavad-gita
9.34) We can practice thinking of Krishna when we serve Krishna. We may
drive an automobile for Krishna. We may sell some books for Krishna. We
wash the pots for Krishna, cook for Krishna or sing for Krishna.
Everything, when executed for the satisfaction of
Krishna, brings about Krishna consciousness. We become conscious of
Krishna, because whenever one carries out some activity, he naturally
thinks, "Why am I doing this?" In the course of any activity, we meet
obstacles and then begin to re-evaluate our activity--"Is this worth
doing? Why am I doing
this?" Naturally, our mind will then always conclude, "Oh, I am doing
for Krishna, or for Krishna's representative, the spiritual master." In
this way, we can mold our minds to think of Krishna, chant Hare
Krishna, see the deity of Krishna and take the prasadam
(spiritual food) of Krishna. Everything becomes Krishna. That is the
process or treatment for the diseased living entity, to put himself in
the hands of a pure devotee of Krishna and be engaged in the service of
Krishna. Hare Krishna.