by Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja
[Mathura, India: October 1996]
Because our senses can taste worldly things we either become attracted to those things or we reject them. We never try to attain something that is not pleasing to our senses. We do not like Krsna because we cannot perceive Him with our senses. Our eyes cannot see Him, our ears cannot hear His flute-playing, our nose cannot smell His flavor, and our tongues cannot speak His name or qualities. Because it is all beyond our senses and we are not tasting His attractiveness, we have no affection for Him. If we could taste Him, we could love Him. As long as we cannot taste His sweetness, we are not attracted to Him and we cannot know if He is good or bad.
We want to do what pleases us most. The liking for that activity is called ruci. Why do we not like to love Krsna? Why do we not like to serve Him? This is the point of our discussion today. We like that which gives us pleasure through our senses; but Krsna is such that He cannot be known by our senses. He is transcendental, and therefore He transcends our senses. Our senses cannot know Him nor can they reach Him. Through our senses, we cannot taste if He is sweet or not.
With our ears we hear from others that Krsna is very attractive and sweet, and that He is the best. Such hearing is devoid of realization, so we can either choose to believe what we hear or not. Those who believe it may attain Him after striving for Him, but those who do not believe it will never attain Him at any time. Is this not the truth? Therefore, what do those people who seriously want to attain Him have to do?
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam
"Any person who seriously desires to achieve actual happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusion of sastra by deliberation and argument and thus be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken complete shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.29.55)
If we want to know the best subject, Krsna, we should surrender to a person with complete knowledge of Him who is appointed to teach that subject. That person is Gurudeva. Gurudeva can explain Krsna to us because he is very near to Him and because he is serving Him. Gurudeva is Krsna's very intimate potency. Unless and until we accept Gurudeva's shelter, we cannot know the sweetness of Krsna. This is the reason why we do not like Him, or have no ruci for Him.
jivere krpaya kaila krsna veda-purana
"The conditioned soul cannot revive his Krsna consciousness by his own effort. But out of causeless mercy, Sri Krsna compiled the Vedic literature and its supplement, the Puranas." (Caitanya-caritamrta, Mad. 20.122)
At our stage, we are so overpowered by maya that we have no knowledge of Krsna. Who is Krsna? We cannot explain. We have no idea of who He is. The human being overpowered by maya has no knowledge of Krsna or God. He cannot see Krsna. He can see an airplane and how it works, and he can describe this to others. But he cannot explain who Krsna is because he has no knowledge of Him.
Why are we wise to material matters, but not transcendental matters? Krsna, prema and bhakti all are transcendental. Unless and until we take shelter of that person who is transcendental, we cannot know anything of the transcendental realm. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigaccet, "One must approach a bona fide guru to learn that transcendental knowledge." (Mundaka Upanisad 1.2.12) Our scriptures give this instruction. One who wants to know Krsna should go to a person who knows Him. That person is Gurudeva, the Divine Master.
You may say that one who endeavors with a sincere heart will receive everything, just as Ekalavya did. Although Dronacarya did not accept Ekalavya as his student, Ekalavya had a picture of Dronacarya in front of which he endeavored to perform the art of archery. Ekalavya was so successful that he possessed sabda bhedi bana, the skill of accurately shooting an arrow simply by hearing the sound of his target. Someone may quote the example of Ekalavya to ask why we can't attain knowledge of Krsna. "If we try, surely we will get it, so what is the need of surrendering to a guru? Krsna is not purchased by just some people; He is for all. He is not partial. Why will He not bless me? I will surely get His blessings if I try to get them." This sort of questioning is present in our knowledge.
But why did Ekalavya succeed in his archery and we have not in the matter of attaining God? Why? The answer is that archery is a material science. By a material process we can attain material knowledge. But spiritualism is not materialism, and Krsna cannot be attained by a material process. He is spiritual and the process to attain Him must also be spiritual, but we have no knowledge of spirit.
The education we received in school or college pertained to material subjects, not spiritual ones. They impart knowledge indirectly, not directly. They say that something exists that is spiritual but what that thing is, they cannot say. The physicians or the surgeons operate on this body but do not find the spirit. Until now, no instrument has been devised that can find it, that can know that spirit. However, everyone is bound to accept that when the spirit leaves the body, the body does not function. The presence of spirit is the main cause of the body's functioning.
The body is inert and material. It is always material. It is not sometimes spiritual and sometimes material. For example, I can move this stick. Has it become spirit just because it is moving? No. It is always material and inanimate. It has no sense, no feeling, no movement, etc. This body is just like that. But we think we are moving because of the presence of matter. No, the body moves because of the presence of spirit. What is that spirit? From where does it originate? Where does it reside? Our Vedas educate one in that spiritualism, sanatana-dharma.
Spiritual culture is present in India but not in other parts of the world. Therefore, people come to India to learn spiritual science. The Vedas, the Upanisads, all are present here. But we are sorry to say that we are ignorant of our own sciences. This is described by one Bengali poet, Michael Madhusudana Datta, who went to England for an education, for higher knowledge, and became a Christian. At the end of his life he wrote this lamentation:
lobhe kodi bhavan paradesi dikha dikhi duhka 'nyasu.
"What is not present in India? The best is here, but I am such a fool, I went to a Western country for a higher education."
So we are also foolish like that, going to England, America and Russia to get a higher education even though people from those countries admit that they are getting the best knowledge from India. We are so overwhelmed by maya, however, that we disrespect and disobey our superiors, our rsis and our scriptures, and we say that our scriptures are a myth. This true history is now called mythology. We consider it unnecessary to read our scriptures, thinking them good for nothing, and we educate our little boys accordingly. In this way they are becoming atheistic.
mithya aulik kalpana. kam-dhenu svarna lata chalanaya bhulbo na.
"In which part of the blue sky are the angels playing? In the forest of parijata flowers. This is untrue and imaginary. 'There are wish-fulfilling cows and golden vines ' I will never forget these cheating statements."
One Bengali lady poet named Man Kumari, said: "That there are angels in the blue sky is completely false. In what part of the sky are they present? It is said that they are playing there, but this is false. We have not seen them with our eyes; therefore they are not present." Her thinking is like this: "I am blind. I have no power to see, and therefore everybody is blind." She concludes that angels do not exist. She says, nilakasera kauna khane, porira sab korche khela. "In which part of the sky are they playing?" Parijata phul bone, "They are playing in the forest of parijata flowers. This is all false and imaginary; it is not true." Kam-dhenu svarna lata "Wish-fulfilling cows and golden vines? These statements are false."
Regarding the kama-dhenu, a wish-fulfilling cow, a description is given in the Mahabharata about a fight to secure that kama-dhenu from the father of Parasurama and Jamu. But Man Kumari says they are all false and that our scriptures are full of false explanations and statements. Such education is imparted to our boys, and so they have no regard for our sastras. She says, "There is no svarna lata the creepers are not made of gold."
In Vrndavana the plants are called kalpataru. Whatever you want from them, they can give. They say this is false. The earth and the sand of Vrndavana is made of precious gems, cintamani. Whatever you pray to them for, they can bestow. The water of Vrndavana is amrta, nectar. If you drink it, you will not die, you will never again take birth from a womb. Such are the statements about Vrndavana. But because we cannot perceive these realities with our senses, we conclude they are false and can never be true. Can a seven-year-old boy lift Govardhana hill? We think it is a falsehood. Because we are overpowered by maya, we do not know who Krsna is. We think that because we cannot perceive God with our eyes and other senses He is shapeless. Such is our thinking.
In the Upanisads it is stated:
yat prayanty abhisam-visanti tad brahma tad vijijnasasva
"You should understand brahma to be He from whom all living beings are born, by whose help they live and progress throughout life, and in whom they again enter." (Taittiriya Upanisad 3.1)
This is a description and definition of brahma. All these creations, animals and beasts are created out of brahma. In this creation, of which He is the creator, we see that human beings and other beings have a shape. How, then, is it possible for God to have no shape? That a child, a son, has a shape proves that his father and mother have shape. Unless they have shape, the child could not have shape. Mustard oil comes by pressing mustard seeds. This proves that mustard seeds contain mustard oil. If you press rubbish no oil will come out, because the potency to produce oil is not present in that rubbish. That everything comes from brahma and that there are various shapes in this creation, proves that all shapes are present in the Creator.
This is not only accepted in our sanatana-dharma, but in every dharma, as in the Christian religion. The Bible says: "God created man in His own image." What does this mean? Your form is not shapeless. In Christianity there are two schools of thought. One admits God has a shape, and the other does not. This is also stated in the Muslim religion where we see that there are also two differing views. Their scripture says, ina allaha khalaka main surat hi. "Allah created human beings in His own image."
Therefore, God is not shapeless. He has shape. Furthermore, He has every shape perceivable by our senses. He is omnipotent, the possessor of all power. We cannot imagine the extent of His power. We could never imagine a seven-year-old boy being able to lift Govardhana Hill. Only Krsna can do this. He also killed the demon Putana, whose breasts were smeared with poison. Krsna sucked and Putana died. But if we had sucked her breasts, we would have died. Putana had killed so many children in this way and she wanted to kill Krsna like this, also. But Krsna is not like other babies. He is the Creator, the source of all creation, but Putana could not understand this. If Krsna appears before us like an ordinary boy, we will not recognise Him as the Supreme Lord, the Almighty, because our senses cannot understand Him.
How, then, can He be understood? Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet, "To learn that transcendental subject matter, one must approach a spiritual master." (Mundaka Upanisad 1.2.12)
Dhruva went to the forest and cried, "O Madhusudana, come to me and fulfill my desire. I want to sit on my father's throne." To attain this, he gave up everything, even eating. With much endeavor he performed great austerities. Although Narayana was satisfied with Dhruva, He could not appear before him. He called his son Narada and said, "Narada, go and see how Dhruva is suffering."
Why did Narayana Himself not go to him? Narada could have said, "You go; he is calling You", but instead he went personally to Dhruva. Why was it necessary for Narada to go to Dhruva when Dhruva was actually calling for Narayana?
The reason is that if Narayana had gone to Dhruva, he would not be able to understand who He was. To enable him to understand, Narada was sent there as that Divine Master, that agent of God's purpose, Gurudeva, who can bestow all knowledge about the reality of God. Unless and until we accept that agent, we cannot know and understand Sri Krsna, nor can we have ruci for Him.
santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-puru am tam aham bhaj mi
"I perform bhajana of the primeval purusa, Sri Govinda, who is Syamasundara Krsna. His form has inconceivably unique qualities, and His suddha-bhaktas perpetually see Him in their hearts with the eye of devotion anointed with the salve of love. (Brahma-samhita 5.38)
With these material eyes He is not visible. But the eyes must be smeared with that anjana, or salve. That salve is called prema. Therefore, devotional eyes are necessary. The highest stage of devotion is called prema. That sum of all knowledge is known through the subject matter of prema. Unless and until we apply that premanjana, it is not possible to know Him, to love Him or to get a sweet taste, ruci, for Him.
This prema, however, is not easily attained. We have to progress through different stages.
sango 'tha bhajana-kriya
tato 'nartha-nivrttih syat
tato nistha rucis tatah
athasaktis tato bhavas
sadhakanam ayam premnah
pradurbhave bhavet kramah
"In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service.
By executing devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from all material attachment, he attains steadiness in self-realization, and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna. This taste leads one further forward to have attachment for Krsna consciousness, which is matured in bhava, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love for Krsna. Real love for Krsna is called prema, the highest perfectional stage of life." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.4.15-16)
Since many stages are there, one must graduate from many classes. The first is sraddha. What is sraddha?
krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta haya
"Sraddha is confident, firm faith that by rendering transcendental loving service to Krsna, one automatically performs all subsidiary activities. Such faith is favorable to the discharge of devotional service." (Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya 22.62)
If one serves Krsna, all will be served. But we do not even believe in the very first stage. We think, "What is the value of serving Krsna in the temple when there are human beings suffering due to lack of food and clothing? What is the need of pouring milk on Govardhana Hill? Daily so much milk goes down the drain; there is such a waste of food. What is the necessity of pouring ghee on the fire? Why waste so many flowers? All these things are useless. If we offered them to the poor, it would be more practical." This is the thinking of people who have no faith, no sraddha. But such thinking has no value. Krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta haya, "by serving Krsna, everyone is served." Tasmin tuste jagat tustah, "When one pleases Him, everyone is pleased." But nowadays one prefers to give pleasure to the poor instead of giving pleasure to God. Their thinking is opposite to this conclusion of sastra, as is the doctrine they preach.
These ideas also prevail in the political sphere. People are thinking, "It is not necessary to worship God and there is no need of our religion. There is no God." It is a godless society. If we ask them where this phenomenal world comes from, they answer, "From nature". But when we ask, "Where, then, does nature come from?" there is silence. However, Krsna has said: mama yonir mahad-brahma tasmin garbham dadamy aham. "My prakrti, or material nature, is the womb which I impregnate with the jivas." (Bhagavad-gita 14.3)
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha
"My material external energy has eight divisions: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego." (Bhagavad-gita 7.4)
prakrtim viddhi me param
yayedam dharyate jagat
"O Maha-baho, you should know that my external energy, which consists of eight divisions, is inferior. There is another potency of mine known as the jiva-svarupa, which is superior and which accepts this material world for the purpose of enjoying the fruits of karma." (Bhagavad-gita 7.5)
Krsna says, "Everything has been created by Me."
mata dhata pitamahah
vedyam pavitram omkara
rk sama yajur eva ca
"I am the mother, the father, the maintainer and the grandsire of the universe. I am the object of knowledge and the purifier. I am the syllable om. I am also the Rg, Sama and Yajur Vedas." (Bhagavad-gita 9.17)
murtayah sambhavanti yah
tasam brahma mahad yonir
aham bija-pradah pita
"O Kaunteya, the mahad brahma, great material nature, is the mother from whose womb all species of life are born, and I am the seed-giving father." (Bhagavad-gita 14.4)
Everything is created by Him. Pita He is the father of all beings. By serving Him, everything connected with Him is satisfied. Everything has a connection with Him. He is the shelter of all. Nothing can rest without His shelter. Tasmin tuste jagat tustah, "When one pleases Him, everyone is pleased."
pranopaharac ca yathendriyanam
tathaiva sarvarhanam acyutejya
"By giving water to the root of a tree one satisfies its branches, twigs and leaves, and by supplying food to the stomach one satisfies all the senses of the body. Similarly, by engaging in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord one automatically satisfies all the demigods and all other living entities." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.31.14)
By watering the root of a tree, every part of the tree will be served. The root will distribute water to every part of the tree, according to its necessity. Our senses are functioning: our eyes are seeing, our ears are hearing, our hands are working, etc. What should we do to nourish them? Should we feed them separately by giving some butter and bread to the eyes and ears? No. That is not the proper process. Through the mouth we supply the stomach with food and the stomach distributes it throughout the body as necessary. Tathaiva sarvarhanam acyutejya, "In the same way, only by worshipping Sri Bhagavan is everyone worshipped."
I will serve Acyuta, who is the root. By serving the root everyone is served. This is stated in the Vedas and Puranas. We endeavour to serve everyone with our hearts and souls, but the result is opposite to what we expect. The more we try, the more opposite is the result. We think that by such service we will become increasingly happy, but instead we become more unhappy. Why? Because the process is wrong.
In ancient days everyone worshipped God. Everyone tried to satisfy Him by their actions. But nowadays everyone thinks: "It is unnecessary to serve God. Instead serving of God, we should worship and satisfy the depressed and the poor." We are now pursuing such thought, but Krsna says: "If you love Me, everyone will be served." This is the teaching of sastra.
manusim tanum asritam
param bhavam ajananto
"When I appear in My human-like form, foolish people with mundane intelligence disrespect me, because they cannot comprehend My nature as the Supreme Lord of all beings." (Bhagavad-gita 9.11)
This is the statement of Krsna. Avajananti mudha. "Those who are overwhelmed by maya have no proper knowledge. They regard Me as a mere man." "Krsna is a cowherd boy," they think. They do not know who He is. Sri Krsna says, "What of them, even Brahma could not understand Me. In My lila in Vraja, Brahma saw Me with the cowboys and thought,'This is My creation. I created Nanda Maharaja, and Krsna is his son.'" Later, Krsna revealed Himself to Brahma, and upon receiving such mercy Brahma prayed:
naumidya te 'bhra-vapuse tadid-ambaraya
laksma-sriye mrdu-pade pasupangajaya
"Lord Brahma said: "My dear Lord, You are the only worshipable Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore I offer my humble obeisances and prayers just to please You. O son of the king of the cowherds, Your transcendental body is dark blue like a new cloud, Your garment is brilliant like lightning, and the beauty of Your face is enhanced by Your gunja earrings and the peacock feather on Your head. Wearing garlands of various forest flowers and leaves and equipped with a herding stick, a buffalo horn and a flute, You stand beautifully with a morsel of food in Your hand." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.1)
"O Lord You are worshipped by everybody. You are my worshipable object. I am not worshiped by You." Uncountable times Brahmaji became perplexed before Krsna. This place where Brahmaji became bewildered is still present in Vrndavana and we shall go there. This pastime is not a myth, although our schools and colleges teach that it is. It is in fact the truth. This sort of education destroys our faith and should be revised and replaced with the traditional method of the olden days. We should not give up the education of our ancient Vedas and Puranas.
Now we receive education according to Western teachings: "Eat, drink and be merry". We think that if we dress in a coat and in trousers and speak English, we will be a high-class man. New ideas are introduced: "Why should we control marriages? Marriage should be performed anywhere and with anyone we like." Everything has been destroyed and European and Western styles have been introduced. And we say: "See, we are like you, we are following you. We have become so free, we have become your slaves."
This tendency not to submit to and learn our Vedic knowledge and culture, is the main reason why we do not have sraddha and thus why we do not in turn develop a liking for Krsna. This should be considered. Hare Krsna.
lecture delivered at Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha in Mathura, October 1996 by Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Maharaja