The Path to Joyfulness
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Hearing and chanting about Krishna frees us from material contamination and uncovers our original state of pure consciousness.
harer nama harer nama
harer nama eva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
"In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari [Krishna]."
—Brihan-naradiya Purana 3.8.126
This is a verse from Vedic scripture, Brihan-naradiya Purana. "In this age, if you want to realize yourself, then the simplest process is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra." The Hare Krishna mantra has so much transcendental power that simply by participating in this chanting process, gradually you will come to the highest transcendental position. How does it happen? That is described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17):
shrinvatam sva-kathah krishnah
hridy antah stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrit satam
"Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted." Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is present before you in three features. You simply have to make your senses perfect to perceive Him. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a person—a person like you, like me. Just as we are facing each other, similarly, when you are spiritually perfect, you will be able to see Krishna exactly like this, face to face.
Krishna is not impersonal, but He has an impersonal aspect. He is present in three features: by His personal feature, His impersonal feature, and His localized feature. By His personal feature He is always present in His abode in the spiritual sky, known as Krishnaloka or Vaikunthaloka. And by His impersonal feature He is present as the Brahman effulgence. You will find in the Bhagavad-gita (14.27) brahmano hi pratishthaham: "I am the source of the Brahman effulgence." Similarly, in the Brahma-samhita (5.40) it is stated,
yasya prabha prabhavato jagadanda-koti-
tad brahma nishkalam anantam ashesha-bhutam
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, whose effulgence is the source of the nondifferentiated Brahman mentioned in the Upanishads. Being differentiated from the infinity of glories of the mundane universe, it appears as the indivisible, infinite, limitless, truth." Like the sun, Govinda, Krishna, has rays from His body. The sunshine is the rays of the body of the sun-god, which you are seeing every day. And you can see the sun globe. But if some day you get such scientific power that you can go through the sun planet, then you can see the sun-god there. It is not imagination; it is a fact. On every planet someone is predominant. On this planet the president of United States is a predominant personality. Similarly, in every planet there is a predominant personality, and the predominant personality in the sun globe is called Vivasvan. His name is in the Bhagavad-gita (4.1): imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam. Krishna says, "First I spoke this Bhagavad-gita, bhakti-yoga (imam . . . yogam), to the sun-god, Vivasvan." His name is there. Your president's name is Mr. Nixon. Similarly, on every planet there is a president, and the president of the sun is called Vivasvan. He spoke this yoga system to his son Manu, who is still present. He is known as the father of mankind. From the word manu has come "man." Manu then spoke this yoga to his son Ikshvaku.
In this way, by disciplic succession, either from the father to the son or from the spiritual master to the disciple, this knowledge is coming. It is called the parampara system. It is similar to the way you would know the name of your forefather. Your grandfather's grandfather's name was known to his son, then his son, then his son, then his son, then your father, then you. You cannot know directly; you have to know by the steps. That is the process. Similarly, you cannot imagine what God is. You have to hear from the disciplic succession coming from God. Then you will understand what God is. That is how to understand the personal feature of God.
The impersonal feature of God is called Brahman. Sarvam khalv idam brahma: "Everything is standing on Brahman." Everything in the material manifestation depends on the sunshine. As soon as there is sunshine, there is green foliage. As soon as there is no sunshine, there are no leaves, there is no greenness. So everything depends on sunshine. And the sunshine depends on Krishna. Therefore Krishna is the original cause of all causes.
God in the Heart
That is Krishna realization. You can realize Him personally, you can realize Him impersonally, and you can realize Him as localized. Ishvarah sarva-bhutanam hrid-deshe ’rjuna tishthati: "Arjuna, that Supreme Personality of Godhead is situated, localized, in everyone's heart." (Bhagavad-gita 18.61) Consider the sun again. The sun globe is there, and the sun globe's effulgence is the impersonal representation of the sun-god. And suppose there are five million people standing in the sunshine. Everyone will see the sun above his head. That is localized. You go five thousand miles away and ask your friend here, "Where is the sun?" Your friend will say, "It is above my head." And you will see that it is above your head. As it is materially possible, why not spiritually? So spiritually, Krishna is within your heart. You simply have to realize that.
How can you realize it? That is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam as I quoted earlier: shrinvatam sva-kathah krishnah punya-shravana-kirtanah. If you chant the Hare Krishna mantra—even if you do not realize its spiritual power, if you simply come here and chant and dance—you are getting piousness. You are becoming purified because you are chanting and hearing.
This temple is here just to give you facility for your purification. Why don't you take advantage? I am very glad that you have all come, and it will further our enjoyment and pleasure if you come and join. Please come here, join here. We have a very nice arrangement. We supply prasadam, we have dancing, we have chanting. Why should you not come?
And if you join us, then gradually you will realize what you are, what God is, what this world is, what your relationship with God and this world is. Then your life becomes successful. You'll not be confused. You will understand what is real life. Simply by the spell of the material qualities you have become covered. But if you come here, if you hear and chant, then gradually you will realize everything.
Krishna is within you. He is sitting within your heart as a friend, not as an enemy. Krishna is always your friend. Suhridam sarva-bhutanam (Bhagavad-gita 5.29). You are searching out friends to talk with, to joke with, to love. Krishna is sitting there for that purpose. If you make friendship with Krishna, if you love Krishna, then your life will be successful. You haven't got to search out any other friend. The friend is already there. Whether you are a boy or a girl, you will find a nice friend within yourself. That is the yoga system—when you realize this friend.
This friend is so nice that as soon as you become a little inclined to hear about Him—about Krishna, not any other nonsense talks, simply about Krishna—then Krishna will be so pleased. He is within us. But we cannot see Him, we cannot realize Him, due to our contamination.
We have contaminated ourselves with so many material desires. Krishna consciousness is pure. Seawater is pure, but as soon as it touches the land, it becomes impure, cloudy, muddy. Similarly, your consciousness, because you are part and parcel of Krishna, is as clear as Krishna, but you have contacted the contamination of this material world, the muddy things of three qualities: ignorance, passion, and goodness. If you hear about Krishna, these muddy things will be precipitated and they will be separated. Then, gradually, proportionately, as you clear these muddy qualities of the material nature, you come to pure consciousness.
First you come to consciousness in the mode of goodness. You thus become a brahmana. What are the qualities of a brahmana? Lord Krishna say in the Bhagavad-gita (18.42),
shamo damas tapah shaucam
kshantir arjavam eva ca
jnanam vijnanam astikyam
"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom, and religiousness—these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work." When you come to the brahminical stage, then you will be truthful. The first thing is truthfulness, satyam. Then shamam, self-controlled. Then damam, the senses and mind are controlled. We are driven by the uncontrolled mind and uncontrolled senses. But when we come to the brahminical position, then our mind and senses become controlled.
Just like our students, all our students—how are they controlling their mind and senses? They are also born in your country. They are also Americans. None of my students are Indian. But how are they controlling themselves to refrain from illicit sex life? How are they controlling themselves not to drink, not to take any intoxicants? How are they controlling themselves not to take part in gambling and meat-eating? You Americans are born eating meat. How have they given it up? Because they have come to the stage of brahminical understanding.
Another brahminical quality is titiksha, tolerance. My students were practiced to all these habits, and by my word they have given them up. They may be feeling some inconvenience, but they are tolerating. That should be done. Arjava means simplicity. They have taken my words on simple faith. Jnanam means that they understand what Krishna consciousness is, and vijnanam means that they are applying it practically in their life. Astikyam means that they believe in the shastras, the Vedic literature.
Brahma-karma svabhava-jam: "This is the nature of a brahmana." Therefore, as soon as I see these qualities in a student, I give him the sacred thread: "Yes. You are now recognized as a brahmana."
From the brahmana stage you have to become a Vaishnava. That is the transcendental stage. Chanting and hearing will raise you to higher and higher stages of life. The Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.18) states:
bhaktir bhavati naishthiki
"By regular attendance in classes on the Bhagavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact." Bhagavata-sevaya means to serve the Bhagavata. There are two kinds of Bhagavata: the Srimad-Bhagavatam and the devotee of the Lord. These boys and girls are engaged in reading the Bhagavatam, the Bhagavad-gita, and other books that give them knowledge about Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And they have accepted a devotee as their spiritual master, and they are serving him. By this process, they will become fixed up in the transcendental loving service of God.
Coming to Joyfulness
"Thus established in the mode of unalloyed goodness, the man whose mind has been enlivened by contact with devotional service to the Lord gains positive scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead in the stage of liberation from all material association." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.20) Evam prasanna-manasah: "In this way one becomes joyful." Joyfulness is our original consciousness, but due to our material contamination, we are not joyful. We are morose; we are full of anxiety. But as soon as we become freed from this material contamination, we are joyful.
Bhagavata-tattva: the science of God. This is a science to understand God. There are different departments of science to understand different subjects. Similarly, you can understand bhagavata-tattva, the truth of God, by practicing bhakti-yoga, and you become joyful. Yes. This is practical.
This is a great science. Don't be confused and frustrated. Take this. It is very easy. Come to this temple and chant and dance and take prasadam and be joyful and be happy.
Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.