The Hammer - 27
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The Hammer For Smashing Illusion

Shankaracharya's famous "Bhaja Govinda"

By Hansadutta das
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Text 27

One should recite the Bhagavad-gita and the thousand names of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should meditate without cessation on the transcendental form of Lord Krishna, who is the husband of the goddess of fortune. One should direct the mind towards the association of saintly people. One should also distribute one's wealth to the devotees of the Lord, who due to having given up material life, are considered materially impoverished.

Do's and Don'ts of Spiritual Life

In this connection there are several very important verses in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The basis for advancing in Krishna consciousness is hearing and chanting (shravanam kirtanam vishnoh ). No one can go for even a minute without hearing or talking about something. Therefore hearing and talking are recommended, but especially hearing and talking about Vishnu. In the conditional stage, everyone is eager to hear and talk about the things of this temporary material world. Because a conditioned soul is in the bodily concept of life, he is therefore interested in anything pertaining to his bodily maintenance, such as eating, sleeping, defending and sex. If we study anyone's speech or anyone's writing in the mundane world, we find that they speak and write only of these four things: eating, sleeping, defending and sex. This is the whole range of mundane hearing and chanting. Because the materialist has no information of anything beyond the temporary material body, he thinks this body is everything, and all his activities are concerned with the upkeep and maintenance of this body. However, our real interest should be how to get out of the temporary material body, and regain our original, eternal life of Krishna consciousness. In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said:

shrinvatam sva-kathah krishnah
hridy anthah stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrit satam
Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma, or Supersoul in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.17)

This is the World of Dualities Where Nothing is Harmonious

Transcendental sound is as good as the transcendental Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. That is the nature of the absolute world. Anything--whether it be the name, the picture, the pastimes or the person--anything connected with the Supreme Absolute Personality of Godhead is as good as He is. Therefore we practice chanting the holy name of the Lord.

In this verse it is also recommended to hear Bhagavad-gita and to chant the thousand names of Vishnu (vishnu sahasra-nama ). Desiring to advance in Krishna consciousness, one hears and chants about Krishna. It is not something to be done in order to achieve something else, as the materialistic person undertakes one kind of activity in order to achieve another kind of result. That is the world of duality, where nothing is harmonious. But chanting and hearing about Vishnu is itself the means and the end. As soon as we hear and chant about Vishnu, then we are actually liberated. We are actually in touch with Vishnu, and this is the perfection of spiritual life--simply to be in the association of Vishnu and the devotees of Vishnu (sadhu-sanga).

nashta-prayeshu abhadreshu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-shloke
bhaktir bhavati naishthiki
By regular attendance in classes on the Bhagavatam and by rendering service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart of the candidate is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact. ( Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.18)

How to Remove Everything Troublesome to the Heart

Regularly hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam and associating with and rendering service to pure devotees removes everything troublesome to the heart. Troublesome and dirty things in the heart are the upadhis (designations) which we have accumulated since time immemorial in our association with the material nature. Everyone is misidentifying himself with the temporary covering of this body. On the basis of that misconception, we accept so many false relationships and duties in the material world, such as father, mother, brothers, sisters, countrymen. Consequently, we are obliged to the family members, community members, nation and so forth, and in this way, everyone is bound up in material existence. As soon as we come in touch with the message of the Srimad-Bhagavatam and render service to pure devotees, then these upadhis (designations) are swept out of the heart, and we can see our real position. The result is we become joyful. That is explained in the next verse:

As the effects of nature's modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire and hankering, disappear from the heart, the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.19)
The same situation is described in Bhagavad-gita (18.54). Krishna says:
brahma-bhutah prasannatma
na shochati na kankshati
samah sarveshu bhuteshu
mad-bhaktim labhate param ram

How to be Free from Hankering and Lamenting

That is the stage of Krishna consciousness which is free from hankering and lamenting. It is characterized by a continuous joyful mood (prasannatma). In that mood, one can render pure devotional service to Krishna (mad-bhaktim labhate param ). The conditioned soul is always hankering. He has many desires to fulfill. He wants more money. He wants a bigger position. He wants to enjoy with the opposite sex. These hankerings are always disturbing him. On the other hand, he is always sorrowful and lamenting because of his failure to achieve the desired objects of his senses. Even if the conditioned soul is successful in attaining the objects of sense enjoyment, which are wealth and women, he is always in distress, because someone is trying to plunder his riches or women or usurp his position. In every stage of material activity, there is this hankering and lamenting. However, when a person comes in touch with the message of Krishna through the bona fide representative of the Lord, the spiritual master, then the first thing that takes place is he becomes free from this disturbance of hankering and lamenting. He becomes peaceful.

Thus established in the mode of unalloyed goodness, the man whose mind has been enlivened by contact with devotional service to the Lord gains positive scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead in the stage of liberation from all material association. Thus the knot in the heart is pierced, and all misgivings are cut to pieces. The chain of fruitive actions is terminated when one sees the Self as master. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.20-21)

Cutting Away the Knot of Attachment

The whole purpose of executing devotional life (hearing, chanting, remembering, rendering service, worshipping, making friendship with the Lord) is to cut away the knot of material attachment. As long as there is attachment for material enjoyment, there will always be distress because the eternal soul cannot be satisfied by possessing temporary material objects. The eternal soul wants eternal life. He wants full knowledge and eternal bliss. This eternal bliss is possible only when he is re-established in his eternal relationship with Krishna.

Every living entity has an eternal relationship with God. That is what makes every living entity unique. The Lord is a unique individual, and the living entities are also unique and individual, but only in their relationship with Krishna. When the living entity is in ignorance, he tries to establish relationships in the material world. They all end in frustration because material relationships are based on the temporary, material body and therefore cannot satisfy the soul's hankering for eternal bliss and knowledge.

The only medicine for the frustrated conditioned soul is krishna-katha, hearing the message of Krishna from Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Vedic literatures and rendering devotional service to Krishna's devotees. These two practices bring about a complete transformation in the life of a conditioned soul. He becomes totally purified and free from all doubts, and remains situated on the platform of joyful life, which is free from lust, anger, greed, lamentation and illusion. All these disturbances vanish, just as a sleeping man who is experiencing a nightmare immediately gets relief when he is awakened. It is very important that all the devotees regularly either hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, read Srimad-Bhagavatam, explain Srimad-Bhagavatam, or distribute Srimad-Bhagavatam in the form of books to others. This will always keep the heart pure and clean, immune from the influence of the modes of material nature, just as a person who keeps a regular diet and habits cannot be attacked by disease. According to the Ayurvedic conception, all disease is already present within the body, but as long as a person keeps a good diet and regular habits, i.e. rising early, bathing, and so on, disease cannot manifest itself. But as soon as a person becomes negligent in his diet or his hygienic routine, then disease can take hold of the body.

Lusty Desires--The Seeds of Sinful Reactions

Lusty desires, the seeds of sinful reaction, are also there within all of us, but they cannot take hold if we always keep ourselves strong and pure by regularly hearing krishna-katha and performing devotional service. The material principle of repetition used in advertising can also be used by the devotee. He must repeatedly hear the message of Krishna. Hearing once is not enough. We must hear it again and again and again. Because we must hear something, if we are not hearing krishna-katha, then we are hearing maya-katha (topics of illusion). We are hearing about politics, economics, sex, intoxication. We must hear something at every moment. Therefore the devotees should become practiced in hearing krishna-katha, to speak krishna-katha, to work in Krishna consciousness. Krishna says, "No one can stop acting even for a moment. What good can repression accomplish?" (Bhagavad-gita 3.5) Therefore we should always be careful to act only for Krishna and Krishna's representative, the spiritual master. We must act, we must hear, we must speak, we must eat. We cannot stop anything, but we can change the quality of our hearing, speaking, working and thinking. We can change our quality of activity by bringing everything in relation to Krishna. Hare Krishna.

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Hansadutta das
Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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