By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktidevanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society For Krishna Consciousness
Lecture given in New York on July 31, 1971
Krsna is everywhere, and He revels Himself to each of us according to our relationship with Him.
“I worship the Personality of Godhead, Govinda, who enters the existence of every universe and every atom by one of His plenary portions and thus manifests His infinite energy throughout the material creation.”—Sri Brahma-samhita 5.35
Govinda, Krishna, creates the material world by one of His plenary expansions. Not one universe, but billions of universes. As you see, within this universe there are millions and trillions of planets. Similarly, there are millions and trillions of universes. Govinda enters each universe, and then it develops. This is similar to what takes place when a man and a woman combine to create a particle of matter and then the jiva soul enters and the body develops. Matter has no power to develop on its own. Govinda enters into matter, and therefore the universe develops. It is very easy to understand. A combination of matter cannot produce any development.
The atomic theory, paramanu vada, states that this material world is a combination of atoms. But we say that within the atom is Govinda. Anor aniyan mahato mahiyan: Govinda is greater than the greatest and smaller than the smallest.
We cannot imagine how small Govinda can be. We cannot even see atoms with our naked eyes. According to the Vedic description, one atom is called a paramanu. Unless six atoms combine together, we cannot see them.
Brahma says tam aham bhajami: “I am worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” We are in disciplic succession from Brahma. Our process is to follow the footsteps of the acharyas, the great spiritual masters in our line. That is called the parampara system. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that to make progress in knowledge one has to worship the acharya: acharyopasanam. We accept the teachings of the acharyas in the parampara system. We do not bother trying to figure out how Govinda enters into the atom. That is not our business. Our acharya Lord Brahma says that Govinda enters, and we accept. That’s all. Our business is finished.
That is the Vedic way of understanding. We take knowledge from the authority and do not bother unnecessarily speculating. We don’t waste our time in that way. Our time is very valuable. Instead of researching how Govinda enters into the atom, we chant Hare Krishna and utilize our time in that way.
This line of disciplic succession is very nice. All knowledge coming from it is perfect. Take it and be spiritually advanced.
We have the example of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya to show how complete this knowledge is. He was a great Mayavadi scholar, an impersonalist, but Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inspired him to surrender unto Him. He became Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s admirer and follower after Chaitanya Mahaprabhu defeated him in understanding of the Vedanta-sutra. That story is there in our Teachings of Lord Chaitanya. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya became convinced that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna. He wrote a hundred verses about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, two of which are available in the Chaitanya-charitamrita. He was a very learned scholar. He composed one hundred verses about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and handed them over to Him. In all those verses he admitted, “You are Krishna.”
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, of course, was very pleased that Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya understood, but because He was playing the part of an acharya and hiding His identity as Krishna, He asked, “Why have you written all these things?” He immediately tore up the verses and threw them away. But the devotees were able to recover two of them. This is the first one:
“Let me take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, who has descended in the form of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to teach us real knowledge, His devotional service, and detachment from whatever does not foster Krishna consciousness. He has descended because He is an ocean of transcendental mercy. Let me surrender unto His lotus feet.” (Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya 6.254)
“You are the same Sri Krishna, and You have come to teach us vairagya-vidya.” Vairagya-vidya means to become unattached to this material world. We are accepting different types of body on account of our attachment. We want to enjoy. That is illusion. We cannot enjoy. We are simply suffering, but we are accepting it as enjoyment.
The Illusory Attempt to Enjoy
The attempt to enjoy is very distinctly visible wherever you go. So many buses and cars are running, and so much luggage is being loaded in the street. It is all great humbug. Prahlada Maharaja said maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan: “Foolish people make elaborate plans for material enjoyment.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.9.43) They are taking so much trouble to load these big, big cases, but because they’re getting, say $40 a day, they think, “I am enjoying.” Actually a man is working so hard, just like an ass or a hog, day and night, but because he is getting some money and with that money he is gratifying his senses, he thinks “I am happy.” This is illusion. He does not for a second know what real happiness is. The illusory happiness of the material world means sex life, that’s all. How long does it stay? Minutes. But they’re working so hard for that. This is called illusion. Actually the man is being killed, but he thinks, “I am enjoying.” This is illusion – taking something to be the opposite of what it actually is.
Prahlada Maharaja was very sympathetic: “I am simply anxious for these rascals who have created a humbug civilization for temporary happiness.” They have created ugra karma, “horrible work.” This is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. They are working, working in the huge factory, day and night melting iron. They get some money and they’re happy. They do not know how they’re wasting their valuable life. This is called maya, illusion. Why so much work? Why are you working so hard? Do you think that if you get a hundred dollars per day you can eat more chapatis than me? The rascal does not know that he will eat the same number of chapatis, four or five or six, but he’ll work so hard.
We Krishna devotees are the best intelligent class. We don’t work but we get our chapatis. Let the rascals work, but we get our chapatis.
People sometimes envy us. Gargamuni was telling me that in Los Angeles some neighbors were asking, “How do you get money? You are living in such a nice place, and you are eating so nicely. Where do you get money?” They are envious. So I told Gargamuni, “Why don’t you ask them to come and join? You can say, ‘Then you can also eat and dance like us. Why are you working so hard?'”
But they will not do that. This is maya. My Guru Maharaja used to say, “Let the whole city or the whole country – everyone – come here. I shall provide them with food.” But they will not do that.
Suffering Because of Ignorance
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam Shukadeva Goswami explains that material happiness is due to pious activities. Unless you are pious, you cannot be happy, even materially. Rupa Goswami has analyzed – you will read in The Nectar of Devotion – that distress is due to ignorance, simply ignorance. You can see that those who are not educated cannot get a good job. Therefore their distress is due to a lack of knowledge. So actually our distress is due to ignorance, and in ignorance only we commit sinful activities.
We devotees of Krishna are trying to remove the ignorance of the people. Therefore we are giving the best service to human society. We are trying to polish or cleanse their hearts, which are contaminated with the thinking that “I am American,” “I am Indian,” “I am this,” “I am that,” “I have to work,” “I have got my business.” Cleansing your heart means to bring you to the understanding that you have nothing to do with these things; you are simply the eternal servant of Krishna. Engage yourself as the eternal servant of Krishna and become happy.
Because we are ignorant of our constitutional position, we have created all these problems. Actually there is no problem. For example, at night in dreams we create so many problems, but actually there are no problems. But I am dreaming that I am in such and such position: I am being harassed, somebody is taking my money, somebody is pinching me, I am in front of a tiger, there is a ghost – so many things. Actually there is no problem, but by dreaming I am creating them mentally. Asango hy ayam purushah. The Veda says that the purusha – the atma, the soul – has no connection with all these things. But we have created, by material concoction, so many problems.
The process of Krishna consciousness is for removing this dreaming condition of life. That is possible. As Shukadeva Goswami explains in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the process generally begins with atonement. This is for the karmis, persons who are grossly ignorant and unnecessarily working very hard for some material result. For them the recommendation is “You have done this mistake; all right, atone for it.” But they’ll commit the mistake again.
Those who are a little advanced in knowledge think, “I am making atonement but then again committing the same thing. I am getting medicine from the physician, and again I am being infected by the same disease. How long will this business go on?” When one comes to this discussion within himself, then he’s a little further advanced than the rascal karmis. He’s a jnani.
Above both of them are the bhaktas, Krishna’s devotees. Yogis come to thejnan platform. Karmi, jnani, yogi, and bhakta. Only a bhakta can be peaceful; others cannot. The karmis cannot be peaceful, the jnanis cannot be peaceful, the yogis cannot be peaceful; only the bhaktas can be peaceful. Why? Because everyone except the shuddha-bhakta, the pure devotee, has desires.
Inclined to Love Krishna
Suddha-bhaktas have no desire but to serve Krishna. They are simply happy by serving Krishna. They do not want to know Krishna even. They don’t bother to know whether Krishna is God or not. They want to love Krishna, that’s all, whatever Krishna may be. They don’t love Him because He is God, the omnipotent, the all-pervasive Narayana. No, no. In Vrindavan the cowherd boys and girls do not know whether Krishna is God or something else, but they are so much inclined to love Krishna. That’s all. That is their position. They are not Vedantists, they are not yogis, they are not karmis; they are village girls and boys. They want to see Krishna happy, that’s all. That is their position.
Yogis and jnanis are trying to understand God, but they do not know they are in illusion. The karmis are in illusion because they are working so hard for a moment of illusory happiness. Therefore, they are rascal number one. How can they have peace? There is no question of peace for them. And the jnanis want to get relief from the hard work of this material world. Brahma satyam jagan mithya. They reject the material world as mithya, false. That is a little higher than the karmis, because the karmis have taken this material world as everything. “Here we shall be happy.” Their dharma is to always think how they shall live peacefully here in the material world. That is their dharma, their religion. I’ve talked with many so-called religious people, and their religion means to make a peaceful atmosphere within this material world. But the rascals do not know that people have been trying for millions of years to make this world peaceful. It has never happened, and it will never happen.
How can it happen? This place is meant for giving you troubles and miseries. Krishna, the creator, says, duhkhalayam ashashvatam: this is a place simply for suffering, and it is also temporary. (Gita 8.15) You cannot make an agreement: “All right, let me suffer the three-fold miseries, but I will stay here.” That will not be allowed. You cannot stay. You will be kicked out. Make your good bank balance, skyscraper house, wife, children, cigarette, wine, liquor, and think “I am living very peacefully.” That’s all right, but one day comes – “Please get out.”
“Why? It is my house. I have my bank balance, I have my factory, I have everything. Why shall I get out?”
“Yes, get out. Don’t talk. Get out.”
That day he sees God.
“I did not believe in God. Now here is God, making everything finished.”
Everything finished. Sarva-harash chaham. Krishna says, “I am God for the demons when I take away everything from them at the time of death.” (Gita 10.34)
“You do not believe in God? All right, here I am. Today I am here. I have come to you to take away everything, whatever you have. Now get out!”
They will see God on that day.
So why not see God here? Radha-Krishna. When Krishna as Lord Nrisimha comes to kill the devotee Prahlada’s demoniac father, Prahlada is seeing God: “Oh, here is my Lord.” And his father, Hiranyakashipu, is seeing God as death. Those who are challenging, “Show me God,” will see God as Hiranyakashipu saw Him: as death. Everyone will see God.
One who is sane knows “I am eternally related with Krishna, God. He loves me, and my duty is to love Him. He is so kind that even though I do not love Him, still He gives me food. He gives me fruits, flowers, grains, whatever I want.”
God is supplying everything. You cannot manufacture anything. Krishna, God, is so kind that He is supplying food to the atheist also. But the atheist has no knowledge to even ask, “Where am I getting my foodstuff from?” That is ignorance. They are committing so many sinful activities. It is due to ignorance, nothing but ignorance. Atheist means in gross ignorance, that’s all. Otherwise, any person who is honest can see God everywhere, always.
Seeing Krishna Everywhere
Krishna says, “Try to understand Me. Try to see Me everywhere.”
How? First of all He says, raso ’ham apsu kaunteya: “I am the taste of water.” (Gita 7.8) When you are thirsty, you require a glass of water. Drink it, and when you feel happy you can understand that the quenching power of the water is Krishna. That is Krishna realization. Prabhasmi shashi-suryayoh. As soon as there is sunrise you see Krishna. Krishna says, “I am the sunshine; I am the moonshine.” (Gita 7.8) So why don’t you try to see Krishna? In the Bhagavad-gita there is a big list. For example, Krishna says, “I am the lion amongst the animals.” He took the shape of a lion to kill Hiranyakashipu. “I am the banyan tree.” Krishna has described so many ways to see Him.
In the beginning, if one is not fortunate enough to see Krishna although He is sitting in this temple, let him see Krishna in these other ways. If he’s not fortunate to come here and to see Krishna, take prasada, and dance in ecstasy, then let his unfortunate condition be diminished by seeing Krishna in water, in sunshine, in moonshine, in this and that.
Krishna is visible, but Krishna is visible only to the devotees. Naham prakashah sarvasya yoga-maya-samavritah: “I am not exposed to everyone; I am covered by the curtain of yoga-maya.” (Gita 7.25) One who has developed love of Krishna can see Krishna within his heart twenty-four hours a day.
Krishna consciousness is a very nice proposition. Please take to it. We are canvassing. We are sending our devotees to the street, begging, “Please come to our temple; be Krishna conscious.” That is our business. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted it. Go door to door, even at the risk of life, and ask these rascals to come to Krishna consciousness. They’re thinking, “Oh, we are very happy.” That is illusion. The happiness will be finished within a second. As soon as death will come, finished.
But someone can say, “Death will come to you also.”
“Yes, that’s all right.”
“Then why do you distinguish my death and your death?”
“Because you do not know where you are going, but I know where I am going. That is the difference.”
“How do you know?”
“What does He say?”
“Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti: one who has understood Krishna, who has served Krishna sincerely and seriously, is not going to come again to take any material body.” “Then where does he go?”
“Oh – ‘Mam eti: he comes to Me.'” (Gita 4.9)
How can you go to Krishna unless you have a body like Krishna? Yes, that is the position. You cannot enter into fire without being fire. Similarly, the next life for the devotees is sach-chid-ananda-vigrahah, eternal body, blissful life, dancing with Krishna in the rasa dance. You have seen the paintings of the cowherd boys and girls. Shukadeva Goswami says that these boys who are playing with Krishna in Vrindavan accumulated the results of their pious activities for many millions of years. The Bhagavad-gita (7.28) also says,
“Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life and whose sinful actions are completely eradicated are freed from the dualities of delusion, and they engage themselves in My service with determination.”
Sinful activity cannot touch those who are simply engaged in pious activities. That is natural. If you are engaged in some type of activity, then you are not engaged in other activities. Similarly, if you simply engage yourself in pious activities, the reaction of sinful activities cannot touch you. Then you are released from duality.
You are all engaged in that business. There is no scope for sinful reaction in your life, provided you follow the four principles: no intoxication, no meat-eating, no illicit sex, no gambling. And chant Hare Krishna, sixteen rounds. Is it very difficult? So do it, rigidly, and be happy.
Thank you very much.