Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja


I’m very happy to be traveling and preaching in the Western countries, but I have not come to give anything new. I am simply following Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, and giving the same thing that he came to the West to give. Svami Maharaja is my bosom friend and instructing guru. He also did not come to this world to give anything new; rather, he has simply given what he received from his Gurudeva and from all the teachers in our disciplic succession, which goes back to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna Himself. However, He came in the form of His own devotee to teach us the process of transcendental devotional service, by which we can develop pure love and affection for Him.


Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all the teachers in His line want us to be happy. Everyone wants to be happy, but generally we can only find a very little happiness and affection in this world, and even then it is mixed with sorrows and suffering.

Why is it that we are unhappy, even though we have so many possessions? We should consider this. Napoleon was not a street beggar, and neither was President Kennedy.

Princess Diana was also not a street beggar; she was not at all ugly, foolish, or ignorant. On the contrary, she had name, fame, beauty and everything one could desire, and she was married to Charles, but she was still not happy.

Why is it that even people who seem to have everything are unhappy, in spite of their wealth and opulence? We should think about this very seriously. If we don’t, we are no better than animals. You have heard of Mussolini. His political power made him quite a giant, and Hitler was more than a giant, but they were not happy.

We should reflect on the way that we are living at present, and look into the future, asking ourselves, “Will I be happy in the future, if I continue doing what I am doing now, and following the process that I am following now?” When we ask ourselves this question, we will see that we are going in the same direction as those people have gone. They were all unhappy, and if we go in that direction, we will also be unhappy.

There are many very rich people — for example presidents and prime ministers — who are unhappy, even though they have plenty of opulence, and facility for enjoyment. One day, they, too, will become old and die, and they will lose everything that they have in this world.

Nowadays we have become very advanced in material life, from the kitchen department to medical science. We have produced many wonderful inventions, especially in the areas of communication, transportation and medicine. If a limb or an organ is damaged, we can change it for another. A dead man’s eyes can be removed and given to a blind person, so that he can see. Surgeons can even replace a defective heart with a new one. Nonetheless, we still have to become old, and we still have to die.

As far as the advancement of material science is concerned, America is at the forefront, but are Americans happy? If they are, why are they all quarrelling with each other? Why do so many of them commit suicide? We should see that material advancement cannot make us happy.


We don’t want to be old, and we don’t want our hair to become white. We don’t want our eyesight to become worse; and we certainly don’t want to become blind. We want to remain young and very beautiful forever, but after some time we will be forced to become old.

Generally, men do not want to marry women who are old and no longer beautiful. Old age is ugly, and who wants to marry someone who is ugly?

No one wants to marry Old Age, but she will force us to marry her, whether we want to or not. Old Age will take away your teeth, and you’ll have to use false teeth instead. We can make some artificial arrangement to make our white hair black, and our teeth beautiful. In the end, though, we’ll have so many wrinkles, like all other old people.

You’ll have to marry Old Age and become old. Perhaps you won’t be able to walk. Finally, many people will come and help you go to the last resting place of the body: to the cemetery or the crematorium. In India, thousands of people take the dead body to the crematorium, and there they burn it to ashes. Other people bury dead bodies; in that case, worms and insects eat some of the body, and the rest rots. If your body is not burned or buried, many wild dogs, jackals and hogs may come and quarrel over it: “Oh, that’s my piece. Why did you take it?” Then the body will become stool. Ultimately, the body is bound to rot, or to become ashes or stool. This is the truth about the body, to which we are so attached. The body will die and disappear forever, but we don’t want to think that we will die and disappear forever.


We should consider whether in fact we are this body, or the soul within the body. It is a fundamental truth that there is all the difference in the world between our real self, which is the soul, and this body. Knowing this, we have to be detached from this body, and from worldly, lusty desires. We should also inquire where the soul has come from.

We are parts and parcel of God, of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This material world is not our homeland; it is a place for refugees. We have come to this world as refugees, and one day we’ll have to give it up at a moment’s notice. Then where will we go?


Modern scientists have discovered nuclear weapons, and they are continuing with their research. They want to discover weapons of destruction that are so powerful that the whole world can be finished in a moment. But this is not progress and advancement. Where is the love and affection between husband and wife? Where is the love and affection between father and children? Where is the love between one country and another? Why do we have to have such complicated and difficult systems with passports and visas? Why? I often come and go between India and different countries in the world.

My only business is to teach people about Krishna consciousness, but the officials make it so difficult. Why? Inventions and the advancement of material science are bringing the different parts of the world much closer to each other. Unfortunately, they are also creating many problems. The main problem is that love and affection is disappearing from everyone’s heart. That is why everyone is unhappy. That is why they quarrel amongst themselves, and want to control each other.

People are obviously not happy in their married life, or in their life outside the home. If their standard of happiness has advanced so much, why do they change wives three, four, twelve, or even twenty times, like dogs changing their mates?

Why? Everyone wants peace and happiness in their lives, but I don’t think that the advancement of material science has actually made any one happy. Happiness really depends on love. We cannot find happiness without prema, or love and affection. This is our real necessity: happiness and love. We want pure happiness, and pure love and affection, but we can’t find them here. Nevertheless, they do exist. We are trying to find happiness by developing impure love and affection for imperfect personalities. The Vedic literatures tell us that we can only be happy by developing pure love and affection for the supremely pure personality, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Throughout the Vedas and Upanisads we read that we are parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Our constitutional nature is to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead with love and affection. Unfortunately we have forgotten this, and that is why we are bound by maya in this material world. Maya has imprisoned us, and she is giving us the sorrows and sufferings of life: birth, death, old age, disease, and so on. This is just so that we will understand that we cannot be happy in this world.

We cannot become happy by making material arrangements, or by trying to fulfill material desires, or by collecting material possessions. We can only be happy in this world and the next by serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. We should chant and remember His holy names and glories.