Despite our lack of spiritual qualifications, we can transcend material existence by hearing Lord Krishna’s teachings.


anye tv evam ajanantah
shrutvanyebhya upasate
te ‘pi chatitaranty eva
mrityum shruti-parayanah


“Again there are those who, although not conversant in spiritual knowledge, begin to worship the Supreme Person upon hearing about Him from others. Because of their tendency to hear from authorities, they also transcend the path of birth and death.” – Bhagavad-gita 13.26

Generally people do not know the value of spiritual knowledge. They have been called mudha – “foolish” – and dushkritina. Dushkritina means always engaged in sinful activities. If you do not have Krishna consciousness, then your eating or sleeping or walking, whatever you are doing, is sinful. All of it is sinful.

You do not know how you are becoming responsible for killing so many ants while you are walking. We have seen that so many ants are loitering on the street, and you are killing them by walking. That means you are responsible. You cannot kill even a single ant without repercussion.

Therefore, unless you come to Krishna consciousness, whatever you are doing in your daily life is sinful. And you are becoming implicated. This world is so made that at every step you are creating some dangerous situation. For example, Lord Krishna says, bhunjate te tv agham papa ye pachanty atma-karanat (Gita 3.13). This means that generally people cook for themselves nice palatable foodstuffs to eat and enjoy. But they do not know that they are eating sinful reactions. What is the difference between this house and the house next door? Here we cook for Krishna, not for ourselves. Therefore we are being saved. Otherwise, if you don’t cook for Krishna, if you cook for yourself, then you are eating sinful reactions.

These things are to be learned. People generally do not know that they are in a dangerous position in this material life. Now you may think, “I am American,” “I am Indian,” “I am this,” “I am that,” “I am a big man,” but after death you have to accept another body. You are not dead simply by annihilation of the body. You are nitya, eternal. You have no birth, no death. Birth and death are simply the change of body. We have changed so many bodies already in this lifetime. I was a child, but the child body is no longer to be seen. That does not mean I am dead. I had my body of a child. That body is now finished. There is no such body. You can see in a photograph your childhood body, but where is that body? That body is gone, but you are living. Where is the difficulty to understand this? And Krishna says, na hanyate hanyamane sharire: the body being lost, the person is not lost (Gita 2.20). The person is living.

I was a young man like you. I was also very beautiful at that time. But where is that body? That body is gone, but that does not mean I am dead. Similarly, when this body, this old body, will not be workable, when the machine will not act, then I – or you, every one of us – will have to change. Suppose your car is going on then somehow or other it stops. Then you take another car and continue your journey. The car’s stopping to work does not mean that the man who is in the car also stops. No. He continues.

Therefore it is said in the Bhagavad-gita (2.20), na hanyate hanyamane sharire. Your work is not stopped. You are transferred to another body. The next body is not ready, but it will have to be manufactured. How? You have to enter into a particular type of mother, and the mother’s material ingredients will help you to manufacture a particular type of body. The body is also a car, a machine. It is said in the Bhagavad-gita (18.61), bhramayan sarva-bhutani yantrarudhani mayaya. The body has been described as yantra, a machine. It is just like a machine. And we can perceive that. As soon as some part of the machine of the body is slackened, or not in order, the body is in a diseased condition. You cannot work.

Our Insecure Position

We should not be very much satisfied or rest assured that “I am in a very secure position because I am American” or “I am this, I am that.” You are not in a secure position. At any moment this car, this body, will stop functioning and you will have to change. And you do not know what kind of change it will be. It may be a very nice change, or it may be a very bad change. So therefore it is a very dangerous position. It is very dangerous. You do not know what will happen, but you have to know. And you can know that – if you follow the scriptural injunctions in the Bhagavad-gita. You do not know what kind of body you are going to get next life, but you can know from Bhagavad-gita. You cannot speculate, but you can know from Bhagavad-gita.

The Bhagavad-gita (14.18) says,


urdhvam gachchanti sattva-stha
madhye tishthanti rajasah
adho gachchanti tamasah


“Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the abominable mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.” Urdhvam gacchanti sattva-sthah: brahmanas, who are in the mode of goodness, will be promoted to the higher planetary system. Madhye tishthanti rajasah: those who are passionate will remain within this middle portion of the material world. And adho gacchanti tamasah: those in the mode of ignorance will go down. That means they’ll have to accept the body of an animal, or lower than that, or in the lower planetary system.

Everything about the different destinations of the soul after death is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. In chapter nine (9.25) Krishna says, yanti deva-vrata devan: those who are attached to worshiping the demigods will go to the particular planet of Indra, Candra, Lord Shiva, Brahma, and so on. Pitrin yanti pitri-vratah: those who offer oblations to the forefathers will go Pitriloka, the planet of the forefathers. Bhutani yanti bhutejya: those who are ordinary materialistic persons will remain in this world. And yanti mad-yajino ‘pi mam: “Those who are Krishna conscious will come to Me,” Krishna says. So why not become Krishna conscious and go directly back home, back to Godhead? This is our mission. You have to prepare for the next life.

Hard Work and No Gain

There are so many different types of next life, beginning from Brahmaloka, the highest planet, down to the smallest insect. So why should we try to make a better position within this material world? Why should we waste our time like that? We have seen that to occupy the post of president, Mr. Nixon had to work so much in the beginning. I was in America at that time. He was advertising, “America needs Nixon now.” He had to spend millions and millions of dollars, and there were so many cliques and there was so much political intrigue. But now, somehow or other, his presidency is gone. He has been dragged down.

Similarly, to go to the higher planetary system, you have to undergo so many austerities, penances. And even if you go to the Brahman effulgence you may fall, because there is no security in any place. But Krishna says, yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama: “But you can go to a place wherefrom you haven’t got to return. That is My param dhama – My supreme abode.” (Gita 15.6)

Krishna Becomes Visible to Us

So why not try for that? Krishna has agreed to take your service even though you cannot see Him yet. But you can see Him when He’s present in this murti, or deity. He’s physically present because you cannot serve Him directly without His being physically present. Krishna is everything. Because you cannot see Krishna otherwise, He has appeared before you just like a stone statue. You cannot see Krishna without His becoming a stone statue or a wooden statue. That is Krishna’s mercy. But that does not mean Krishna is stone. Krishna is everything.

To accept your worship, Krishna is here. Don’t consider, “Here is a stone deity.” No, He’s Krishna. He has agreed to be present before you in this way. Krishna is available in this form. Krishna is so kind. He says, “Offer Me service. I will accept it.” We should worship Krishna in that spirit. We should not think that we are worshiping a stone that cannot see and so we can do all nonsense in the deity’s room. No. He is seeing. Don’t be cunning. He’s more cunning than you. You can see, and He can see.

You know the history of the deity named Sakshi-gopala. An old brahmana and a young brahmana from Orissa traveled to Vrindavan on pilgrimage. While there, the old brahmana offered to give his daughter to the young brahmana to be his wife. To confirm the offer, the young brahmana had the old brahmana make the promise before the deity of Gopala, or Krishna. But when they returned to Orissa, the old brahmana’s sons and wife pressured him to deny that he had made the promise.

So the young man returned to Vrindavan and went before the deity and asked Him, “Sir, You have to go to give witness because the old man is not keeping his promise.”

Krishna said to the young devotee, “How are you proposing that I shall go? Can a stone deity walk?”

The young brahmana said, “Yes, if the stone deity can speak, He can also walk.”

So Krishna had to agree. “Yes, I’ll go.” First of all, Krishna wanted to avoid going. Then when He saw, “He’s not an ordinary devotee,” He said, “All right, I’ll go.” So He came from Vrindavan to Orissa.

Don’t think that the deity is stone. The young brahmana said to Gopala, sakshad vrajendra-nandana: “You are directly Krishna.” But He is available according to our capacity to understand Him.

The deity is not different from the original Krishna. Krishna’s name, Krishna’s form, Krishna’s qualities, Krishna’s pastimes – everything about Krishna is absolute. You’re chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. It is not only a sound; it is Krishna personally. You are in direct touch with Krishna when you chant Hare Krishna. This realization is Krishna consciousness.

How to Learn About Krishna

So how can one learn about Krishna consciousness? Those who do not know can come to this Krishna conscious center, and they will understand by hearing from the members. We are opening so many centers. Why? Because people do not know about Krishna and it is our duty to give them the chance to know. They’ll inquire. They’ll see how we are worshiping Krishna, how we are offering prasadam, how we are serving. They also can go back home, back to Godhead by learning from us. It is a school. We are teaching others.

Unfortunately, people do not take the opportunity to learn this great science. They are so unfortunate. We are canvassing, we are going door to door, we are publishing books, we are flattering them, “Please come here. Take prasadam. Hear something from Bhagavad-gita.” “No.” They have no time. They are working like cats and dogs. They will agree to transfer from this body to another abominable body, but they’ll not try to stop the repetition of birth and death. Maya is so strong.

It is our duty to preach, to broadcast the message of Bhagavad-gita as far as possible. That is our duty. It is not that it is a formality; it is our duty. We are all eternally the servants of Krishna. That we have forgotten. Now, in this life, we have surrendered to Krishna and accepted His service. “Krishna, for so long I forgot You. I am Your eternal servant, but I forgot. Now, in this life, I can understand. Therefore I surrender unto You.” This is our life. Krishna consciousness means, “Krishna, I forgot You. I forgot my relationship with You. But now I have come to know that I am Your eternal servant. Therefore engage me.”

We cannot avoid serving. Everyone in the material world is serving. We are not masters here. In the material world everyone is a servant: servant of the family, servant of the community, servant of the nation. Everyone is a servant. Nobody is a master. But what kind of servant am I? Servant of my senses. I am the servant of the society, the servant of the family, the servant of so many things. The summary is that I am the servant of my senses.

Because I want sense enjoyment, I become the servant of my wife. Actually, this is the position. I accept a woman as my wife, but the real meaning is that I accept to become her servant. If I cannot satisfy her nicely, then she’ll rebel. So I want to satisfy her senses. Then I serve my sons, my daughters, even my servants. Nowadays, you pay a servant, but if he’s dissatisfied, he immediately resigns. So you have to flatter him so he may not go away.

In this way we are servants; we are never the master. But by illusion we cannot understand this. Why do I take the responsibility of family life and become the servant of so many others? Because I want to satisfy my senses. Therefore I am the servant of nobody, but I am the servant of my senses. This is the position. So when I forget to become the servant of Krishna, then I become the servant of my senses. My position as servant remains the same.

If I give up the service of my senses and accept the service of Krishna, then I am liberated. This is the position. One who is intelligent understands, “I have been the servant of lust, anger, greed, illusion, envy, and so on, but not one of them is satisfied. Nobody is satisfied.” You go on serving, but these masters are never satisfied.

Consider Mahatma Gandhi. He was serving his country, but his countrymen killed him. It is a fact. So you cannot satisfy anyone. Who can give more service to his country than Mahatma Gandhi? But what was the return? His countrymen killed him. This is the return. You go on serving your senses in the name of your country, society, and family, and they’ll never be satisfied. So why should you be so serious about serving someone other than Krishna? That is sensible.

Better to serve Krishna. Then you surpass the jurisdiction of birth and death. You conquer the repetition of birth and death simply by this process of hearing. If you simply hear Bhagavad-gita from realized souls regularly, by hearing alone you will be able to conquer birth, death, old age, and disease. This is the result.

Thank you very much.