The Science of Self Realization by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Meditation and the Self Within
excerpted from Chapter 5
Can meditation solve our everyday problems? Is there life after death? Can drugs help us achieve self-realization? During a visit to South Africa in 1976, Śrīla Prabhupāda answered these and other questions for interviewer Bill Faill of the Durban Natal Mercury.
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa is a name for God that means “all-attractive.” Unless one is all-attractive he cannot be God. So Kṛṣṇa consciousness means God consciousness. All of us are small particles of God, equal in quality with Him. Our position as living entities is like that of a small particle of gold in relation to a large quantity of gold.
Mr. Faill: Are we something like sparks in a fire?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Both the fire and the spark are fire, but one is big, and the other is very small. Unlike the relationship between the spark and the fire, however, our relationship with God is eternal, although at the present moment we have forgotten that relationship due to contact with the material energy. We are facing so many problems only because of this forgetfulness. If we can revive our original God consciousness, then we shall become happy. This is the sum and substance of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is the best process by which to revive our original God consciousness. There are different processes of self-realization, but in the present age of Kali, people are very fallen, and they require the simple process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Now they are thinking that so-called material advancement is the solution to their problems, but this is not a fact. The real solution is to get out of the material condition entirely by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious. Because God is eternal, we are also eternal, but in the material condition we are thinking, “I am this body,” and therefore we must repeatedly change from body to body. This is due to ignorance. Actually we are not our bodies but spiritual sparks, parts and parcels of God.
Mr. Faill: Then the body is just like a vehicle for the soul?
This morning I was going through some files and came across this important verse from the Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila Chapter 22, text 100 describing the process of surrender. I always liked this verse because it describes the simple process of surrender; namely accepting things favorable to devotional service, rejecting things that are unfavorable to devotional service, and developing the faith that Krishna will give protection.“
’The six divisions of surrender are the acceptance of those things favorable to devotional service, the rejection of unfavorable things, the conviction that Kṛṣṇa will give protection, the acceptance of the Lord as one’s guardian or master, full self-surrender and humility.
One who is fully surrendered is qualified with the six following characteristics. (1) The devotee has to accept everything that is favorable for the rendering of transcendental loving service to the Lord. (2) He must reject everything unfavorable to the Lord’s service. This is also called renunciation. (3) A devotee must be firmly convinced that Kṛṣṇa will give him protection. No one else can actually give one protection, and being firmly convinced of this is called faith. (from purport)
I love all the “Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas“, particularly the ones written by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Śrīla Prabhupāda was also very fond of this song and sang it just before his lectures. We share it with you today.
Kṛṣṇa is the lover of Rādhā. He displays many amorous pastimes in the groves of Vṛndāvana, He is the lover of the cowherd maidens of Vraja, the holder of the great hill named Govardhana, the beloved son of mother Yaśodā, the delighter of the inhabitants of Vraja, and He wanders in the forests along the banks of the River Yamunā.
Śrīla Prabhupāda was very fond of this song and sang it just before his lectures. In Allahabad and Gorakhpur Śrīla Prabhupāda fell into a trance after singing the first two lines, and after some time he came back into external consciousness and said, “Now just chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.” Śrīla Prabhupāda said that this song is “a picture of Vṛndāvana. Everything is there—Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Vṛndāvana, Govardhana, Yaśodā, and all the cowherd boys.