Excerpted from Back to Godhead Magazine
Vol. 13, Number 102, 1978
“Consider this example: when the sun is in the sky, there is no question of darkness. Similarly, when the Hare Krsna mantra is vibrating on your tongue and you are hearing attentively, then your consciousness becomes Krsna consciousness, or clear consciousness, and there is no question of maya, or hazy consciousness. Just as when light and darkness come together the darkness cannot stand before the light, maya cannot remain in the presence of Krsna.
“In Bhagavad-gita, Krsna says to offer Him at least a leaf or a flower. It is not that Krsna needs a flower or leaf. He is full. He does not need you. But He wants you to come to Him in love. Therefore Krsna says, ‘Just stop all your nonsense and surrender to Me.’ “
“People are thinking that if they get a car and an apartment, everything will be all right. But the problems are still there. Still they must undergo death, old age, and diseaseóso how is everything taken care of? They are thinking in terms of this spot life. They do not know that they are eternal. There are so many kinds of bodies, and they don’t know which kind they will have to take in their next life. But if they take to Krsna consciousness, all problems are solved.”
Once, Srila Prabhupada commented on some big buildings being torn down: “They are torn down and rebuiltóso many strong buildings. There is no pleasure in it either way. Either in building them or tearing them down, nobody is happy. It is like with a small child: he is happy to get a toy and then is happy to break itóbut there is no real happiness. Or just like a boy and girl: they come together in union, and then they separate, divorce. There is no real happiness either in the union or in the separation. Real happiness is in union with Krsna and separation from maya [illusion].”
“Nobody knows what love is. As soon as you say ‘love,’ there must be a person. We have no experience of impersonal love. Everybody talks big words about ‘universal love’ and ‘brotherhood’ósimply word juggleryóbut no one has personal realization. Love means giving! I give something, and you give something in return. It is not that you can give Krsna just a flower and leaf and keep one hundred dollars for yourself. If you do that, He won’t love you in exchange; He is very clever. But if you give everything to Krsna, then He will give you intelligence by which to come back to Him.”
“People think it wonderful that Krsna had sixteen thousand wives. For an ordinary man to have sixteen wives is very difficult. But God is omnipotent. Why sixteen thousand wives? He could have had sixteen million or sixteen billion wives. But fools say that it is all imagination that He could have had sixteen thousand wives. As Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, ‘Fools and rascals deride My human form.’ He is inconceivable. They have no idea of the spiritual. They try to think of Krsna materially, but He is inconceivable. So they say that He doesn’t exist, that He is impersonal. They say that the sky is greater than Krsna because it is not limited by form. But they do not know that millions of skies are within the mouth of Krsna! They think it is all imagination, but He is simply inconceivable. You have to accept this. Krsna says, ‘All the universes are held up by one quarter of My energy.’ Fools and rascals do not know what even one universe is, and yet Krsna is upholding countless universes with one quarter of His energy. Just imagine what three quarters of His energy is. Even though Lord Siva and Lord Brahma have meditated on Krsna for thousands of years, still they do not know Him.”
“Even if men go to the moon, they won’t have attained perfection. Anywhere you go in the material world, you have to come back to birth and death. On any planet, you’ll find the four principles of material sufferingóbirth, death, disease, and old age. The period of my life may be very long, but after leaving this body I may be pushed into the womb of a mother on the moon planet and come out there. Wherever there is birth, there is deathóand in between there is disease and old age. But I am a spirit soul: I have nothing to do with these miseries. “The present life is meant for preparation, and you can prepare to go to any planet you desire. But if you go to the Krsna planet, you haven’t got to come back. So why not prepare to go to the Krsna planet?”
“The spirit soul is eternalóthe oldestóbut he is always fresh. For instance, although I am the oldest man here and you are all young, I have the same propensities as you. The body hampers my real happiness. Therefore, our problem is how to get out of taking one body after another. Krsna gives the solution. ‘If you go to My planet,’ Krsna says, ‘you will not come back again. You will get eternal life, full of knowledge, and you will enjoy with Me. Here is real information about the highest perfection of the living entity. It is not a bluff, nor is it artificial.”
“The name Krsna and Krsna Himself are identical, on the spiritual platform, everything is identical. In this material world you may talk on the telephone with someone a thousand miles away. You are hearing his voice, but you cannot derive the full benefit of being with the person himself. But with spiritual sound there is no such difference. You immediately make contact. In spiritual life there is no use thinking of something voidósimply struggling for it and wasting your time. Krsna consciousness is tangible. Why not contact Krsna? He is so nice and beautiful. He is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead by saintly persons, great scholars, and they have achieved success.”
“The more you make advancement in Krsna consciousness, the more you will see Krsna everywhereóon the bank of the river, on the streets, trees and lamp posts, and everywhere else. The more you see like that, the more you know you are making tangible advancement in Krsna consciousness. Actually, there is nothing but Krsna all around us. This is explained in the Gita. He is the taste of water, the light of the moon, the fragrance of the flower, the light of the sun, the sound in the sky, the power of the strong, and so on. So one who is actually making progress in Krsna consciousness can see Krsna everywhere. At every stage of life, who can avoid the sunlight, the moonlight, the fragrance of the flower, the taste of water? But one has to learn that Krsna is in all these varieties of existence. Without Krsna there is nothing. It is simply by the influence of maya that we forget the relationship of Krsna with everything that be.”
“There are two things you may want to ask about a floweróhow this flower is being produced by the energy of Krsna, and how you can create a flower the way He does. The first thing is to appreciate Krsna’s energyóthat He can produce a floweróand the second is’ ‘How shall I get yogic power so that as soon as I attempt, I can produce a similar flower?’
“In Benares there was a yogi who could just take a plate and you’d find a rasagulla, a sweetmeat. Because of this power, many scholars said, ‘Oh, he is a great yogióhe can manufacture a rasagulla.’ People are captivated by magicóso foolish. What is its worth? One rasagulla, four cents. And another, again four cents. Don’t be allured by a magician. He can play so many tricks, but that is not perfection. Just try to revive your eternal relationship with Krsna. What magic can anyone show before God?”
“Cleanse the mind and intelligence, and the body is automatically cleansed. The hatha-yoga system is for those who have a gross bodily concept of the self. Krsna says to Arjuna, ‘You are grieving for those for whom you shouldn’t grieveóthe living and the dead.’ This is the first ‘slap’ by Krsna in the Second Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. When Arjuna surrendered, Krsna at once gave him a verbal slapó’You are nonsense.’ A spiritual master can do that. They were talking as friends, but then Arjuna surrendered: ‘You just teach me.’ This is only in the Second Chapter, yet this principle is at once established. See how much of the book is left.
“Krsna says that the wise man doesn’t care for the material body. But hatha-yoga mainly concentrates on the body. By bodily exercise one wants to have Krsna’s love! If this were possible, all wrestlers and sportsmen would have achieved Krsna’s love.
“The preliminary stage is to make the body suitable for elevating one’s consciousness. We in Krsna consciousness keep the body clean, just as we keep a coat clean, but we don’t think we are the coat. The mind is the controller of the senses. Therefore, Lord Caitanya’s program of chanting begins with the cleansing of the mind, and this takes care of the cleansing of the body. Otherwise, where is the time? Separately, it takes a long time to make the body fit and perfect to receive Knowledge. That is why it is said that only a high-class intellectual can accept Krsna consciousness. After many births, one surrendersóbut why not surrender at once and become a wise man? If someone is offering me a million dollars, why should I say, ‘No, thank youóI’ll earn it myself, ten dollars at a time’?”
“Krsna is very kind, but He is especially kind to His sincere devotees. Krsna is always with us, within our hearts, and He is always ready to give us directions. But because everyone is independent, Krsna responds according to our mentality. If one voluntarily cooperates with Krsna’s desire, Krsna responds to one’s call very eagerly. Krsna descends to teach us Bhagavad-gita, begging our cooperation, and anyone who cooperates with Him is blessed.”
“If you really want Krsna, you will realize Him quickly. But most people want maya on the plea of wanting Krsna. Somebody goes to Krsna and asks, ‘Please supply me this maya.’ People go to church and pray, ‘Please give us our daily bread.’ They aren’t asking for Godóthey’re asking for bread, for maya. But even if I want maya, it is better that I ask Krsna for it. One day my relationship with Krsna will be so nice that I will forget maya and want Krsna.
“So if you have a desire for maya, you should still take to Krsna consciousness. Just like Dhruva Maharaja: he wanted to worship Krsna with the desire to achieve the kingdom of his father. Of course, when he finally saw Krsna he said, ‘I don’t want anything but You.’ But Krsna is so kind: ‘You came to Me for this purposeócome on, take it.’ Dhruva said, ‘No,’ but Krsna told him, ‘No, take it. You will enjoy itóbut then you’ll leave it behind, and I assure you that you’ll come to Me.’ Without separate desires, Krsna consciousness is very nice, but even with desires, one should come forward to Krsna. One’s other desires will be fulfilled. If one follows some path besides Krsna consciousness, one’s separate desires may be fulfilled, but he won’t get Krsna.”
Someone asked, “What is the Krsna conscious person’s attitude towards others?” Srila Prabhupada replied, “He sees everyone as part and parcel of Krsna. The Krsna conscious person thinks, ‘They are suffering from not knowing Krsna, so let me bring them to Krsna.’ This is the highest service. Everyone is suffering, so to act in Krsna consciousness is the highest service. After all, they are suffering on account of detachment from Krsna.”
“Krsna consciousness never becomes old, it is fresh eternally. Do you know of any book five thousand years old that reads as fresh as Bhagavad-gita? Live in spiritual understanding and you’ll never become faded.”
“Don’t try to do something artificial. Krsna does not say, ‘Come to Me after being qualified by studying Vedanta No. He says, ‘Come as you areósimply surrender.’ And you should say, ‘Krsna, I surrender to You.’ Krsna makes no condition. He doesn’t say, ‘Yes, you can surrender if you have undergone courses in gymnastics and Vedanta and have gotten your M.A.’ This is all nonsense. Simply surrender. The more you surrender, the more you advance. If you are not sincerely surrendered, you are missing the point. I have told you the secret, now make your choice. Krsna is guiding everyone.”
“We want unlimited life, unlimited pleasure, unlimited knowledgeóbut this is not possible in conditional life. Liberation from the material condition is recommended. If you want to get free from the material clutches, the first prescription is that you should go to a mahatma. Mahatma means one whose heart and mind and life are expanded. Bhagavad-gita recommends sevaóyou have to approach a person who knows the science of how to get out of the clutches of material life, and then you have to surrender fully to him.
“Surrender does not mean that you don’t question, that you simply have to take everything blindly. After explaining the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna, Krsna said, ‘My dear Arjuna, I have now explained the most secret knowledge. Consider what I have said, and then do whatever you like.’ The spiritual masterówhether he is the representative of Krsna or is Krsna Himselfódoes not force. Force has no effect: even a child, if forced, won’t act.
“With a cool head we have to approach a person who knows the science. Find a person you can surrender to. Don’t surrender to one who’s not an authority. And if you approach a real authority, don’t think, ‘Oh, let me accept this spiritual masteróso many people have accepted him.’ Try to understand the science nicely. If you think the man teaching you is a real authority, surrender to him. Try and understand with all reason and argument. You’ll find something sublime.”