by Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Los Angeles, California: June 8, 1998
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Do you want to ask any questions?
Elderly lady: I don't know what to ask. What organization is this?
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Bhudhara prabhu can answer.
Bhudhara dasa: There is very little organization actually. This is all happening by God's grace. This is Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja. He is a teacher and a guru, and he lives in Mathura, India. He is a scholar and a writer, and he gives lectures. Many people come and listen to him talk about God, as well as high topics about God. He talks about how one can develop love and affection for God, and love and affection for our fellow man. He talks about how to live in peace and harmony, and eventually, at the end of this life, go back to God.
He has come to America, and we have been taking him from city to city. We have been in Washington, New York, Houston, and now Los Angeles; and after this we are going to San Francisco. We are inviting people to come and have some exchange with him, to ask him questions, and to learn about this science called Krsna consciousness. Have you heard about Hare Krsna?
Elderly lady: Yes, I think I was in a place like this some years back. His picture was on the wall.
Devotee: You've seen pictures of Krsna?
Elder lady: There were flowers, fruits, and a handkerchief on the alter. Do you know the symbolic meaning of this?
Bhudhara dasa: These are simple offerings of love. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna says, "If you offer Me something with love and devotion, like a flower, some vegetable, or some fruit or water, I will accept it."
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: We see that there is no difference between God and Krsna. It's the same idea. Krsna is very merciful. If you pray to Him and glorify Him by any song, or by any word, He will hear and He will be pleased. You can pray, "Oh God, You are so merciful."
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja sings, and the devotees join in: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: This means, "O Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are so merciful. You have given me this human body, intelligence, a heart so soft and full of love and affection. I want to serve You eternally, so please be merciful to me."
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja sings again, and the devotees join in: "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti."
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: When we are dying, when we are on our death-bed, there is no one to help us. We are not even able to take a breath. We are full of mucus and we want to take a breath, but we cannot. We want to move our hands from here to there, but we cannot do so. We cannot do anything. At that time we pray, "Oh God, You are so merciful. Be pleased with me; sprinkle Your mercy upon me. Take me to Your eternal abode, where I will serve You."
We want to be free from becoming old and again taking birth in this miserable world. There is so much pain at the time of birth, and there is so much pain at the time of death; so we must pray to God. He is everywhere. He is in everyone and in all atoms of the world. He hears whatever you utter. When you weep and sing and glorify Him, He will at once hear you and come to you and liberate you forever.
We never pray to Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead: "God, give me bread and butter." Rather, we want to serve Him with bread and butter. We want that this chain of birth and death and suffering will be stopped forever.
This body is not my self. It is something like a garment. The body is covered with a garment, and it is also like a garment. One day, when we become old, we will have to give up this garment. Surely, we will have to do so.
What is God? What is the soul? You can realize this only in this human body; otherwise it is not possible. If you are an animal, a tree, a creeper, or an insect, you cannot realize this; you cannot understand all these truths. You can understand something only in this human body. You have some intelligence given by the Lord, so try to use it.
Also, don't kill animals and eat their flesh and eggs. If you do, your mind and heart will become like them. If you eat the flesh of hogs and pigs, your mentality and heart will become like them. Your nature will be changed to be like them. What is the meaning of meat? ME-EAT. If you eat meat, that animal will come as a human and eat you. So don't take meat, eggs, and other bad things. God has given fruits, milk, butter, curd, and so many other nice foodstuffs. Personally, I have never taken meat, eggs, or wine in my entire life.
If you want to be pure to serve God, then you must follow this. There is only one religion, that religion is natural, and that natural religion is love and affection to God and everyone. Even a dog, a lion, a bear, and a tiger have love for their wife and children. Although they may eat the flesh of others, they have love for their families. To love is natural for all. Trees also love; they want to love each other. How? Little creepers love trees and embrace them.
If you touch a tree's leaf as though caressing it, the tree will be very happy. If you take a knife to cut the branches, the tree will be scared. It will tremble. If you tell a dog, "Come on, come on," he will come. And if you are mean, then the dog will attack you. So, our nature - the nature of the soul - is love.
We should practice this at home. We should love our mother and father, for they have done so many things for us. We should love our wife and children; not divorcing each other twenty or thirty times.
If you have love, it may be gradually transferred to God. If you have no love and you are always quarrelling, you cannot have the mercy of God. We should try to discover this love in our heart, and try to practice chanting the holy names: "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare."
All the names of Krsna are the embodiment of love. "Hare" is the embodiment of love. "Krsna" is very charming and beautiful, and He is the embodiment of love. "Rama" is the embodiment of love. If you are in touch with this love, your life will be happy; otherwise it is not possible. If a man is always cruel to others, he cannot be happy.
Elderly lady: Do you believe in reincarnation?
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: We see that two children take birth at exactly the same time, but one has no backbone, no intelligence, and eyes that cannot see. The other child is born as the son of President Clinton or a very rich person. Why are there such differences? In India, and also in Western countries, some people remember their past life. There are many examples of this.
So, we believe in reincarnation. If you don't believe in this, all your ideas will be illogical. Why is one person very intelligent, and why is one so unintelligent that he is like a donkey? Why is one person very beautiful and one is not beautiful at all? The philosophy of reincarnation answers these questions. There are so many reasons to believe this.
Devotee: Couldn't you say that because the father or mother are beautiful, the child will be beautiful?
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: We see many fathers and mothers who are very beautiful, but their sons or daughters have crooked teeth, or ugly faces, or no bones; or eyes that cannot see. The soul is immortal, but he has adopted this material position by forgetting God and by the subsequent touch of maya, illusion.
Why is a person in jail. He has done something wrong. Similarly, we are now in jail - the jail of the deluding energy called maya. We are being crushed by maya.
If you realize this fact, you will at once pray to God, "Save me. Save me." Have you heard of the Vedas? They are very old scriptures. These facts are written in the Vedic scriptures, and we realize this.
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Is my mother hearing all these things? You are like my mother.
Elderly lady: I am like your mother? Yes, I hear you. I had a surgery some years ago. Do you know medical terms?
Bhudhara dasa: No, he is a doctor of the soul, not the body.
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: I had surgery too, so you are like me. You are my mother - the son and mother both had surgery.
Elderly lady: Do you have a living mother?
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: That mother has left this world, but there are so many mothers. I think that this young lady is also my mother, and you are too. All ladies are my mother. We think like this in India.
Elderly lady: I am glad to have such a gracious son.
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Our relation should be eternal.
Elderly lady: So we never die?
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: No, I do not have to die, and I will teach you a trick so that you will also not die.
Elderly lady: What happens to those who die? What happens to their soul?
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: According to their activities, they will have to taste the fruits in their future birth. They will take birth again.
Elderly lady: So we should go to the cemetary and pray to God to take their soul in His possession?
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Yes, we want this. We are trying to help everyone, and that is why we perform kirtana, congregational chanting of the holy name and fame of Krsna. We chant "Hare Krsna" so that even trees, animals, dogs, and even any person who doesn't want to hear, can receive spiritual benefit. We chant, "Hare Krsna" very loudly, so that the transcendental sound vibration will go everywhere. And we give some prasadam, remnants of food offered to God. This will help them.