By Sankarshana Dasa
If we become qualified, we can have a powerful effect on world history.
The most exciting and enlightening life one can possibly experience in Kali-yuga, the current age, is a life dedicated to pushing forward the Krishna consciousness movement for the benefit of all the suffering, bewildered souls of this age. By accepting the task of freeing the world from anxiety, the devoted propagator of Krishna consciousness lives a life free from anxiety. Because of his selfless life of service dedicated to the welfare of all living beings, he is described as being an ocean of mercy and as one who suffers to see the suffering of others.
Just as the Srimad-Bhagavatam is revolutionary because it is meant to bring about a spiritual revolution on this planet, the lives of those who propagate the culture of the Srimad-Bhagavatam are also revolutionary. These transcendental revolutionaries are situated on the cutting edge of world history. Their daily activities of pushing forward the Krishna consciousness movement are the most significant events in history. They are having the biggest impact on world history by their daily activities of deeply imbibing and mercifully broadcasting the transcendental name, fame, forms, qualities, and pastimes of the all-powerful, all-beautiful, all-renounced, all-knowledgeable, all-wealthy, and all-famous Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna. These spiritual revolutionaries are the vanguard of the prema tsunami, the tidal wave of love of God that has already begun to inundate the world in fulfillment of the prediction of Krishnadasa Kaviraja Goswami: “The Krishna consciousness movement will inundate the entire world and drown everyone, whether one be a gentleman, a rogue, or even lame, invalid, or blind.” (Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi 7.26)
When one humbly accepts this revolutionary mission as his life and soul, on the order of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and the spiritual masters in His line, he must remember that he can be successful in having an uplifting impact on this universe only to the extent that he has revolutionized or uplifted his own heart. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura compares a Vaishnava to a touchstone, which can turn iron into gold. The more Krishna conscious one is, the more one can inspire the nondevotees to take to the path of Krishna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada says that the devotee who is completely offenseless in his chanting becomes jagad-guru and influences the entire world to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
Becoming Offenseless Chanters
Therefore even more important than the endeavor to save the world is to save ourselves by becoming offenseless chanters of the Lord’s holy names. That means to avoid the ten kinds of offenses against the holy names, which are given as follows in the Vedic scriptures:
The first offense is to be critical of those who have dedicated their lives to spread the Krishna consciousness movement. Such devotees are always to be loved and respected, even if we sometimes have a difference of opinion with them. Krishna says that unless we are the devotees of His devotees, then we are not His devotees. Therefore in all conditions we must remain the devotees of His devotees.
The second offense is think that chanting the names of the demigods is on the same level with chanting the name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu or Krishna. We must always remember that Krishna is not one of the gods. Rather He is the God of the gods.
The third offense is to disobey the order the spiritual master. One who is serious to awaken his Krishna consciousness must take shelter of and become initiated by a bona fide spiritual master and accept the spiritual master’s orders as his very life and soul.
The fourth offense is to blaspheme the Vedic literature or any literature written in pursuance of the Vedic version. Any literature that glorifies the Supreme Personality of Godhead in an authorized way is not of this world. It is transcendental and will deliver its readers to the spiritual world. We must always maintain veneration and respect for all such literature.
The fifth offense is to consider the glories of the holy name an exaggeration. The holy name, being Krishna Himself, is fully empowered with all of the unlimited potencies and glories of the Lord. Even one pure utterance of Krishna’s name can destroy the reactions for sinful activities performed over millions and billions of lifetimes. This is the inconceivable power of Lord Krishna’s holy name.
The sixth offense is to concoct perverted theories about the holy name. We should simply understand Krishna and His name according the version of the saintly teachers, the spiritual master, and the Vedic wisdom.
The seventh offense is to intentionally commit sinful activities with the idea that it is okay to sin and then neutralize that sin by chanting.
The eighth offense is the chant the holy names for some material purpose, like getting a new job or a new car, or winning a lottery.
The ninth offense is to instruct an unwilling audience about the transcendental glories or spiritual significance of the holy name. We should first give them the opportunity to become purified by hearing the sweet chanting of Krishna’s names. Then we can instruct them in the science of the holy name.
The tenth offense is to not be interested even after hearing of the transcendental nature of the holy name. In other words, we must develop genuine taste for Krishna’s holy name. Otherwise we are offenders against the name.
Those who want to become empowered to push forward the Krishna consciousness movement must become expert in avoiding all of these offenses, because we become empowered to liberate the world only to the extent that we are liberated.
Convince with Our Conviction
If we want to convince others of Krishna consciousness, we must be thoroughly convinced ourselves. If we are still doubtful ourselves, how will we convince others? In this regard, Srila Prabhupada told his disciples in Vrindavan on November 7, 1976:
God is all-powerful, but when we hear that God at the age of seven years lifted Govardhana Hill, immediately we dismiss: “Oh, this is all mythology.” Why? If He has inconceivable power-He is all-powerful-is it very difficult for Him to lift Govardhana Hill? “No, we don’t believe in God. Even if we believe, we want to believe in our own way that is bhavyam, conceivable.” But He is durvibhavyam. You cannot conceive.
We have to remember that Krishna’s glories are far, far beyond the limits of our conceptual powers. We have to connect with His inconceivable qualities through love, and then when we become qualified with full conviction, we will able to see Him at every minute. The more we are convinced, the more we will be empowered to convince others. Conviction is contagious. If someone is absolutely convinced that Krishna is God, he can convince the entire world. Srila Prabhupada is the best example of this. If we took a survey in New York City asking people if they believe in God, many would say yes. But if we told them that God is a little blue cowherd boy who wears a yellow silk dhoti and a peacock feather in His hair, and who stands on the bank of the river Yamuna in the moonlit night, attracting the gopis to come and associate with Him by playing His flute, many people would think we are crazy. How did Srila Prabhupada convince so many thousands of American boys and girls that Krishna is God? His conviction convinced them. Such conviction comes through loving service to Krishna, not through mental gymnastics.
Two Fields to Purify
Our field of action is twofold: within and without. We have to purify our inner vision by loving service to the Supreme Lord and His pure devotees. And then we have to purify the vision of the world population by educating them in the science of Krishna. In regards to these realms of action, Srila Prabhupada has explained in his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.18.9: “Therefore we should pray to Lord Nrisimhadeva to sit in our hearts. We should pray, bahir nrisimho hridaye nrisimhah: ‘Let Lord Nrisimhadeva sit in the core of my heart, killing all my bad propensities. Let my mind become clean so that I may peacefully worship the Lord and bring peace to the entire world.'”
We pray to become fully Nrisimhadeva-ized within our hearts, and we pray that the entire world can become Nrisimhadeva-ized. This is the meditation of a person fully dedicated to inundating the world with Krishna bhakti. The spiritual revolution begins within one’s own heart. If one wants to inundate the world with bhakti, he must first inundate his own heart with bhakti. One must develop a mood of complete humility, realizing one’s utter incompetence to spread Krishna consciousness, while at the same time enthusiastically endeavor to do so for the pleasure of guru and Krishna. Srila Prabhupada explains the proper mood one should have while endeavoring to be a spiritual revolutionary:
The author of Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, Srila Rupa Goswami, very humbly submits that he is just trying to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world, although he humbly thinks himself unfit for this work. That should be the attitude of all preachers of the Krishna consciousness movement, following in the footsteps of Srila Rupa Goswami. We should never think of ourselves as great preachers, but should always consider that we are simply instrumental to the previous acharyas, and simply by following in their footsteps we may be able to do something for the benefit of suffering humanity.
—The Nectar of Devotion, Introduction
Just as Arjuna was an instrument in the hands of Lord Krishna to defeat all the Kuru warriors on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, we should humbly place ourselves as instruments in the hands of Lord Chaitanya and our guru to defeat the demoniac influence of the age of Kali.
The demoniac class of men has brought the earth planet under its control. Their team is very large. It consists of practically the entire human population. So what can a miniscule team of servants of God do to have a revolutionary impact on world history? It seems impossible, doesn’t it? But just as light is more powerful than darkness, the followers of God are destined to ultimately be successful in the struggle between the culture of light and the culture of darkness.
Does one have to wait until his heart is completely pure, until he has fully realized Krishna, before he tries to enlighten others with Krishna consciousness? No. Whatever one has realized about Krishna, he should propagate it as far as possible to a world completely ignorant about Krishna. When Krishna sees his sincere endeavor, He will give His devotee more transcendental realization. In other words, the more you give Krishna, the more you get Krishna.
Therefore if you have not already done so, kindly at this very moment dedicate your life for revolutionizing your own heart and the entire world. It will be the most auspicious commitment you have ever made in millions upon millions of lifetimes.