Increase Your Love for Krishna
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhuapada
Lecture given in Vrindavan, India, October 28, 1976
Human civilization should help us love God, and not pull us down into ignorance.
evam manah karma-vasham prayunkte
pritir na yavan mayi vasudeve
na muchyate deha-yogena tavat
“When the living entity is covered by the mode of ignorance, he does not understand the individual living being and the supreme living being, and his mind is subjugated to fruitive activity. Therefore, until one has love for Lord Vasudeva, who is none other than Myself, he is certainly not delivered from having to accept a material body again and again.”
This is an important verse. It presents the problem of our contact with the material body: deha-yogena. This is the real problem of life, but nobody knows it. Especially these days, people cannot understand that “This material body is a foreign element, and somehow or other I am victimized by it, entrapped within it.” This is the real problem, but people do not know it. That is called avidya, ignorance.
There are two kinds of strong avidya. One is the result of rajo-guna, the mode or quality of passion, and the other is the result of tamo-guna, ignorance. Tamo-guna is a very dense covering, and rajo-guna is a little more open.
Sattva-guna, the mode or quality of goodness, brings illumination. It involves the brahminical qualifications. When one is in the sattva-guna, he can understand, “I am not this body. I am different from this body.” For persons in the sattva-guna, life is easier.
Human civilization means not to drag somebody who is already in the sattva-guna, or in a family of people in the sattva-guna, down to the tamo-guna. But modern civilization does that. The allurement of material civilization is so strong and so bad that those who, because of previous pious activities, were born in a brahmana family are being dragged to the tamo-guna behavior of those not trained in spiritual culture. They are learning how to drink, how to eat meat, how to have illicit sex. These are the symptoms of the lowest level of tamo-guna.
There are different degrees of guna, and the three gunas are manifested into 8,400,000 forms of life. You can calculate it. Three multiplied by three equals nine. Nine multiplied by nine, eighty-one. So therefore there are so many varieties. But human civilization should be so arranged that everyone, despite the mixture of modes influencing him, is gradually drawn again to the sattva-guna. That is human civilization.
People in the sattva-guna should not be dragged again to the tamo-guna. Somebody, by pious activities, by good work, is already in the sattva-guna, but the social, political, and economic arrangement is so bad that he is dragged to the tamo-guna. That is not civilization. That is degradation. Civilization means elevation. The aim of life is to become disconnected from this material body. That is civilization. Otherwise, it is not civilization; it is animal life.
The Platform of Loving Krishna
The Krishna consciousness movement is an attempt to bring human society to the proper platform of civilization. It is a very scientific movement. By a gradual process, it brings one to the platform of vasudeva pritih, love of Vasudeva, or Krishna. That love is bhakti. Pritih means love of Krishna. “Civilization” means to bring one to the platform of loving Krishna.
If you love somebody intensely, your lover or beloved is everything to you. That is love, as in the mother’s love for her child. She is always anxious to take care of the child. Her whole attention is on the child.
These are examples. They are not actually love, but a perverted reflection of love. This love does not stand forever, but nature dictates that you love your child like this, you love your husband like this, your wife like this, your country like this, your society like this. There are different grades of demonstration of love. When the demonstration of love is concentrated on Vasudeva, Krishna, that is the highest perfection of life.
We have a natural tendency to love, but because we do not know Vasudeva, Krishna, we do not know where to place our love. If we place our loving tendency in Krishna, Vasudeva, then that tendency becomes fruitful and perfect. That is desired. Therefore it is said,
dharmah svanushthitah pumsam
notpadayed yadi ratim
shrama eva hi kevalam
“The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.8)
janayaty ashu vairagyam
jnanam ca yad ahaitukam
“By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.7) Placing your loving tendency in Vasudeva can be done perfectly by bhakti-yoga, not by any other method. There are different yoga systems—karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, dhyana-yoga. Real yoga means loving Vasudeva, Bhagavan. Therefore Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord, says in the Bhagavad-gita (6.47),
yoginam api sarvesham
shraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
“And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me—he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.”
In all other yoga systems there is a little tinge of vasudeva-bhakti, but they are not pure bhakti and will not be immediately fruitful. The results will take a long, long time. In the Bhagavad-gita (7.19) Lord Krishna says,
bahunam janmanam ante
jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma su-durlabhah
“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” If yoga is not pure bhakti-yoga, success will take a very, very long time. Bahunam janmanam ante means “after many births.”
For those who are advanced in spiritual life, there is every possibility of being born as a human being in the next life. But those who are ignorant do not know what their next birth will be. There will be a change of body—that is a fact. But those who are in the sattva-guna are sure to get their next life in human society. So even if, somehow or other, you fail in this life, you will get another chance in your next life in the human form. Lord Krishna says that you will be born either in a very nice, pure brahmana family or in a Vaishnava family, a family of devotees of the Lord. Birth in a Vaishnava family is better than birth in a brahmana family.
Because the children in our Hare Krishna society have been born into Vaishnava families, they are practicing bhakti-yoga from the beginning. Like their parents, they are playing the karatalas [hand cymbals], chanting, dancing, offering obeisances to the Lord, and becoming absorbed in the temple atmosphere. Don’t think that this is an ordinary opportunity. It is a very great opportunity. From the very beginning of life they are getting the impression of bhakti-yoga. Their spiritual activities are not going in vain.
Even if a child is playing karatalas in imitation of the adults, it is not really in imitation. He has been given the chance for spiritual life. He was previously a Vaishnava. Somehow or other he could not make his life perfect. Therefore, he has been given another chance. So naturally he has the tendency to play the karatalas, to offer flowers to the Lord, to offer obeisances. The children take pleasure in it because of their previous life, because of the yoga they performed. Their bhakti-yoga was not perfectly done, so somehow or other they are getting the chance from the very beginning of life to continue. Of course, if somebody did not get the chance from the very beginning of life, he can also begin the practice at any time.
The ultimate aim is Vasudeva. That is the ultimate goal. You have to come to this stage—vasudeva sarvam iti: fully, firmly convinced that “Vasudeva is my life. Vasudeva is everything. Krishna is my life.”
Vrindavana: The Highest Stage
The highest perfection is visible in the Vrindavana atmosphere, especially in the gopis, Krishna’s cowherd girlfriends. Everyone in Vrindavana, even the trees and plants, even the grains of sand, is attached to Krishna. That is the nature of Vrindavana. We cannot suddenly get the highest stage of attachment to Krishna exhibited by the residents of Vrindavana, but still, wherever we stay, if we practice bhakti-yoga we can make progress toward that stage.
We are promoting attachment to Krishna, and our efforts are becoming successful. People are taking up the practices of bhakti-yoga. People with no spiritual qualifications are taking to Vasudeva. Their love for Krishna is increasing.
That is natural. It is said in the Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya 22.107),
nitya-siddha krishna-prema ‘sadhya’ kabhu naya
shravanadi-shuddha-citte karaye udaya
“Pure love for Krishna is eternally established in the hearts of living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, the living entity naturally awakens.”
We are eternal. We are not destroyed by the destruction of the body. We continue to exist. Similarly, our devotion to Krishna continues. It is simply covered. As today’s verse states, avidyayatmany upadhiyamane: the living entity is covered by avidya, ignorance. We forget Krishna; that is avidya. And as soon as we take Krishna as our life and soul, that is vidya, knowledge, or the removal of the covering of ignorance.
Anyone can very easily take Krishna as his life and soul. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (18.66),
mam ekam sharanam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
mokshayishyami ma shuchah
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” Why does Krishna tell us to abandon all varieties of religion? Because any other so-called religious system—any religious system besides surrender to Krishna—is avidya. It will keep you in ignorance, in the condition where there is no light. And the Vedic injunction is tamasi ma jyotir gamah: “Don’t keep yourself in the darkness of ignorance; go to the light.”