By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Lecture given in Seattle on September 30, 1968
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught that by directing to Krishna our natural inclination to love, we’ll progress in peace and happiness.
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesha-tanaya
ramya kachid upasana vraja-vadhu
-vargena ya kalpita
shastram bhagavatam pramanam amalam
prema pum-artho mahan
ittham gaura-mahaprabhor matam atas
tatradaro nah parah
“The Supreme Lord to be worshiped is the son of the king of Vraja. His personal abode is Vrindavana. The most favorable mode of serving Him is that which was practiced by the young maidens of Vraja. The scripture Bhagavatam is the spotless source of reliable knowledge, and pure love of God is the supreme goal of life. Such are the opinions of Gaura Mahaprabhu, and therefore we respect them implicitly.” (Chaitanya-mata-manjusha, by Srinatha Chakravarti)
Our program is to worship with love and devotion Govinda, the original person. Govindam adi-purusham. This is Krishna consciousness. We are teaching people to love Krishna, that’s all. Our program is to place your love in the proper place. Everyone wants to love, but they are being frustrated because their love is misplaced. People do not understand this.
They are being taught, “First of all, love your body.” Then, a little extended, “Love your father and mother.” Then, “Love your brother and sister.” Then, “Love your society, love your country, love the whole human society, humanity.”
But all this extended so-called love will not give you satisfaction unless you reach the point of loving Krishna. Then you’ll be satisfied. For example, if you throw a stone into a reservoir of water, immediately a circle is formed, and the circle expands and expands and expands. When the circle touches the shore, it stops. Until the circle reaches the shore, it goes on increasing. Similarly, we have to increase in love. You can say, “I love my society,” “I love my country,” “I love my human nation,” “I love living entities in general,” on and on. But if you directly touch Krishna, then everything is included. It is so nice. Krishna means “all-attractive,” so He includes everything. Why everything? Because Krishna is the center.
In a family, if you love your father, then you love your brothers, sisters, your father’s servant, your father’s home, your father’s wife – everyone. The central point is your father. This is a crude example. But similarly, if you love Krishna, then your love will be expanded everywhere.
Another example: If you love a tree, then you love the leaves, the flowers, the branches, the trunk, the twigs, everything. And if you simply pour water on the root, then your loving the tree will automatically serve all the parts of the tree. If you love your countrymen, if you want to see that your countrymen become educated and advanced economically and mentally and physically, then what will you do? You pay tax to the government. You don’t hide your income tax. You simply pay tax to the central government, and it will be distributed to the educational department, to the defense department, to the hygiene department, everywhere.
These are crude examples, but actually, if you want to love everything, then try to love Krishna. You’ll not be frustrated, because that kind of love is complete. When your love is complete, then you will not be frustrated. It is like being completely fed. If you are completely satisfied with food, then you say, “I am satisfied. I don’t want any more.”
This Krishna consciousness movement is very simple. It was inaugurated by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu especially, although it is very old, rooted in the Vedic scripture. But still, from the historical point of view this Krishna consciousness movement has existed since Lord Krishna appeared on this planet five thousand years ago. And later on, five hundred years ago, Lord Chaitanya expanded that movement.
Lord Chaitanya’s mission is to teach that Lord Krishna is the right person to worship, or to be subordinate to. Everyone is subordinate. To think otherwise is a false conception. Everyone wants to be independent, but nobody is independent. Everyone is subordinate. Nobody can say, “I am independent.” Can you say, any one of you, that you are independent? Is there anybody? No. Everyone is subordinate willingly. It is not that by force everyone becomes subordinate. A girl says willingly to a boy, “I want to become your subordinate.” Similarly a boy says to a girl, “I want to be your subordinate.” Why? Because that is our nature.
I want to be subordinate because my nature is to be subordinate. But I do not know this. I prefer to reject this subordination, but I must accept subordination because subordination is the fact. Take a worker, for example. He works here, but if he finds better wages in another place, he goes there. But that does not mean he becomes independent. He is subordinate. Lord Chaitanya teaches that if you want to be subordinate or if you want to worship somebody, then worship Krishna.
Who worships somebody? Unless you feel that somebody is greater than you, why will you worship that person? I worship my boss because I think he is greater than me. He gives me wages, a salary, six hundred dollars monthly. Therefore I must worship him; I must please him.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said that you should become a subordinate of Krishna. Aradhyo bhagavan vrajesha-tanayah. If you want to worship, worship Krishna. And next, tad-dhamam vrindavanam. If you want to worship somebody, then love Krishna or worship Krishna or His place, Vrindavana.
Everyone wants to love some place. That is now nationalism. Somebody says, “I love this American land.” Somebody says, “I love this Chinese land.” Somebody says, “I love the Russian land.” Everyone wants to love some land. This is called bhauma ijya-dhih. People are naturally inclined to love some material land. Generally, we love the place where we were born.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Because you are inclined to love some person, love Krishna. Because you want to love some land, love Vrindavana.” Aradhyo bhagavan vrajesha-tanayas tad-dhama vrindavanam. But if somebody says, “How to love Krishna? I cannot see Krishna,” then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita. If you want to know the process of worshiping Krishna, or loving Krishna, just try to follow the footprints of the gopis, the cowherd girls of Vrindavan. Their love is the highest perfectional love.
The Gopis’ Perfect Love
There are different kinds of love or worship in the world. The beginning is “O God, give us our daily bread.” This is the beginning. When we are taught to love God, we are instructed, “Go to the temple, go to church, and pray to God for your necessities, for your satisfaction of your grievances.” That is the beginning. But that is not pure love. Pure love, the perfection of pure love, can be found amongst the gopis. They are the example or pure love.
How do they love Krishna? Krishna was a cowherd boy, and with His friends, other cowherd boys, He used to go with His cows to the pasturing ground the whole day. That was the system. People at that time were satisfied with land and cows. That is the solution to all economic problems. They were not industrial; they were not servants of anyone. Simply get production from the land and take milk from the cows, and the whole food problem is solved.
Krishna used to go to the pasturing ground, and the gopis were at home. That is the Vedic system. They would stay at home and be protected by the father, the husband, or the elder sons. But Krishna was, say, miles away in the pasturing grounds, and the gopis at home were thinking, “Oh, Krishna’s feet are so soft. Now He’s walking on the rough ground. The stones are pricking His soles. He must be feeling some pain.” Thinking in this way, they used to cry. Just see. Krishna is miles away, and they are simply thinking of what Krishna is feeling: “Krishna may be feeling like that.”
This is love. They are not asking Krishna, “My dear Krishna, what have You brought from the pasturing grounds? What is in Your pocket? Let me see.” No. They were simply thinking of Krishna, thinking of how Krishna will be satisfied. They used to dress themselves nicely because they would think about going before Krishna with a nice dress. “Oh, He’ll be happy to see it.”
Generally, a boy or a man becomes happy to see his lover or wife nicely dressed. Therefore it is the nature of the woman to dress nicely. And according to the Vedic system, a woman should dress very nicely just to satisfy her husband. That is the Vedic system. If her husband is not at home, then she should not dress nicely. There are injunctions. There are different dresses for different women. By seeing the dress one will understand what she is. One can understand by seeing the dress that she is an unmarried girl. One can see by the dress that she is married. One can see by the dress that she is a widow. One can see by the dress that she is a prostitute. The dress was so important.
But we are not going to discuss these social concerns now. We are discussing the love affairs of Krishna.
The relationship of Krishna and the gopis was so intimate and so unalloyed that Krishna Himself admitted, “My dear gopis, it is not in My power to repay you for your love.” Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He became bankrupt. “My dear gopis, it is not possible for Me to repay my debts which you have created by loving Me.” That is the highest perfection of love. Ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu.
I’m describing the mission of Lord Chaitanya. He is instructing us that the only lovable object is Krishna and His land Vrindavana. And the process of loving Him is the vivid example of the gopis. There are different stages of devotees, and the gopis are on the highest platform. And amongst the gopis, the supreme is Radharani. Nobody can surpass the love of Radharani.
Literature on Love
Now, to learn this science of loving God, there must be some book, some authoritative literature. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, shrimad-bhagavatam pramanam amalam: The Srimad-Bhagavatam is the spotless description of understanding how to love God. There is no superior description. From the beginning it is teaching how to love God. The first verse in the First Canto is janmady asya yatah . . . satyam param dhimahi: “I offer my unalloyed devotion unto the Supreme, from whom everything has emanated.” If you want to learn how to love God, or Krishna, then study Srimad-Bhagavatam. And to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam, the preliminary study is Bhagavad-gita.
So study Bhagavad-gita to understand the real nature or identity of God and yourself and your relationship with God, and then, when you are a little conversant – when you are prepared to say, “Yes, Krishna is the only lovable object” – then the next book you take is Srimad-Bhagavatam. Bhagavad-gita As It Is is the entrance. Students pass their school examinations and then enter the college. So you pass your school examination – how to love God – by studying Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Then study Srimad-Bhagavatam. That is the graduate study. And when you are still further advanced, post-graduate, then study Teachings of Lord Chaitanya.
There is no difficulty. The fact is that we have to learn how to love Krishna. The direction is there and the method is there, and we are trying to serve you as far as possible. We are sending our students into the streets to invite you. And if you kindly take up this opportunity, then your life will be successful. This human form of life is meant for developing love for God. In all other lives we have loved. We have loved our children, we have loved our wife, we have loved our nest in the bird’s life, in the beast’s life. There is love. There is no necessity of teaching a bird or beast how to love the children. There is no necessity, because that is natural. To love your home, to love your country, to love your husband, to love your children, to love your wife, and so on, all this love is there more or less in the animal kingdom also. But that sort of love will not give you happiness. You’ll be frustrated because this body is temporary. Therefore all these loving affairs are also temporary, and they are not pure. They are simply a perverted reflection of the pure love existing between you and Krishna.
If you really want peace, if you really want satisfaction, if you don’t want to be confused, then try to love Krishna. This is the plain program. Then your life will be successful. The Krishna consciousness movement is not something manufactured to mislead and bluff the people. It is a most authorized movement, authorized by the Vedic literature, the Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Vedanta-sutras, Puranas. And many, many great saintly persons have adopted this means. The vivid example is Lord Chaitanya. You see His picture. He is in the dancing mood.
You have to learn this art; then your life will be successful. Prema pum-artho mahan. You haven’t got to practice anything artificial and speculate and bother your brain. We have the instinct to love others. That is natural. But we are misplacing our love, and therefore we are frustrated. Frustrated. Confused. If you don’t want to be confused, if you don’t want to be frustrated, then try to love Krishna, and you’ll feel for yourself how you are making progress in peacefulness, in happiness, in everything that you want.
Thank you very much.