Srila Prabhupada encourages us to take advantage of the readily available information about the spiritual world.
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Lecture given in Nairobi on November 1, 1975.
Instead of rotting in this world of darkness, we can accept Krishna’s invitation and go to His world of light.
“The devotee should first concentrate his mind on the Lord’s lotus feet, which are adorned with the marks of a thunderbolt, a goad, a banner and a lotus. The splendor of their beautiful ruby nails resembles the orbit of the moon and dispels the thick gloom of one’s heart.” – Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.28.21
This is the beginning of meditation, sanchintayet. It is not nirvishesha, nirakara – formless – meditation. What is this meditation? Sanchintayed bhagavatash charanaravindam. First of all meditate on the lotus feet, charanaravindam, of Krishna. If you minutely see Krishna’s feet, then you will find that markings of symbols are there. Our feet and Krishna’s feet are different. Why a difference? Because on the soles of Krishna’s feet these marks are there: vajra, ankusha, dhvaja, saroruha – thunderbolt, elephant goad, flag, and lotus.
Sometimes Vishnu’s lotus feet are depicted in paintings, and these signs are there. So sancintayet means to meditate on these things minutely. “Here are the lotus feet of Krishna, and on His soles these marks are painted.”
Krishna’a feet are very brilliant, beautiful. Everything about Krishna is beautiful. Uttunga-rakta-vilasan-nakha-cakravala. This is the special significance of Krishna’s hands. His nails are raised and reddish. If you see the brilliance and effulgence of Krishna’s fingernails, then the result will be ahata-mahad-dhridayandhakaram: the darkness of your heart will be dispelled.
In this material world we are living in darkness, hridayandhakaram. Our heart is dark. We do not know what is what. So if you simply concentrate on the lotus feet of Krishna as they are described – such as the marks there – then, in contact with such a vision, the dirty things in your heart will be attacked: “Get out!” Ahata.
Jyotsnabhir ahata-mahad-dhridayandhakaram. Mahat means very great. This is our material condition. We are covered, absorbed in so much darkness, and still we want to show some intelligence. This is material existence. Therefore we always say “fools and rascals.” Someone does not know anything clearly, and he simply wants to see with imperfect eyes through imperfect instruments like the microscope or the telescope. What is the value of this? It is simply andhakara, darkness. We experience at every moment that if there is no sun, then what is the value of this world? We have got good experience. In the western countries where there is no sun, it is hell, simply hell – simply hell without sun. All the condemned countries are devoid of sunlight.
This morning we were saying that London is without sunlight practically throughout the whole year. Long ago, in 1969, on television the interviewer asked me, “Where is hell?” and I said, “It is here in London.” [Laughter.] That was published in the paper. Always dark and always moist and always so cold. So this is hell. “Why do you have to search out hell? Here is hell. You simply bring money from outside by exploiting others and construct a big, big building. It is a little attractive. People come here as tourists. Otherwise, who comes here to see the hell?”
Why the Sky Is Blue
Anyone’s heart is always clouded with ignorance and rubbish knowledge. This material world is tama, ignorance. A Vedic injunction is tamasi ma: “Don’t remain in this darkness.” If there is light, why shall we remain in the darkness? That is intelligence. If there is light, why should we rot in the darkness? There is light, Brahman, the world of spirit. Go to that Brahman world, not this material world. What is that Brahman world? The world where there is complete effulgence of the bodily rays of Krishna. That is the Brahman world. Here the bodily rays of the sun make clear what we can see, so brilliant. What is the sunshine? It is the bodily rays of the sun. Why don’t you believe that? The example is there; you learn. If a material thing like the sun globe or the sun-god has got so much bodily effulgence that it is keeping light all over the universe, just imagine what is the bodily brilliance of Krishna.
That is described in the shastra, the scripture: yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti . . . (Brahma-samhita 5.40). “I serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead Govinda, the primeval Lord, whose transcendental bodily effulgence, known as the brahma-jyoti, which is unlimited, unfathomed, and all-pervasive, is the cause of the creation of unlimited numbers of planets, etc., with varieties of climates and specific conditions of life.”
Krishna’s body is bluish; therefore you see the sky as bluish because the effulgence in the spiritual world is bluish and that is being reflected through the sky. Krishna’s bodily light is being reflected in millions and trillions of universes. Yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti.
Jagad-anda. Jagat means this world, and anda means round or egg-shaped. We don’t say the world is flat. Shastra never says that it is flat. Long, long ago, in the beginning, it was called round, anda. And goloka also means round. Goloka Vrindavana – Lord Krishna’s eternal abode. Everything is round. Every universe is egg-shaped. We see one universe, but there are many millions of universes. And in each and every universe there are so many planets. Ashesha means you cannot count them. They are unlimited in one universe, and there are millions of universes. What is your material knowledge? What do you know? You are trying to go to the moon planet. That is your mistake. What about the millions of universes?
Therefore our knowledge is very, very limited, poor. We have a poor fund of knowledge, and still we are proud. An example is given of a small fish in a pond. It flaps and makes a small sound like phor-phor-phor-phor. But the big fish is in the deep water and can do so much more. We take knowledge from the big fish, not from the small fish. Phor-phor-phor-phor – this kind of knowledge will not satisfy us. We take from the big fish, one who knows.
Then who knows? Krishna knows. And one who knows from Krishna also knows, or has real knowledge. Acharyavan purusho veda (Chandogya Upanishad 6.14.2). One who is acharyavan, who has taken shelter of an acharya, a bona fide spiritual master, knows. Why? Because the acharya receives knowledge from Krishna and distributes knowledge to the disciple. That is perfect knowledge. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet (Mundaka Upanishad 1.2.12): “To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.” These are the instructions.
Living in a World of Darkness
Actually we are in darkness. This whole world is dark. It requires, therefore, the sunlight, the moonlight, the electric light, the fire, the lamp, because it is dark. But there is a spiritual world, where there is no need of such sources of light. In the Bhagavad-gita (15.6) you’ll find, na tad bhasayate suryah: there is no need of this surya. Surya, the sun, is required because this material world is dark, very, very dark, dense darkness. And we are born in this darkness. Our heart is full of darkness. Simply by Krishna’s grace there is sun, there is moon, there is fire, there is electricity. Therefore we can see. Otherwise we remain in the darkness.
But if you go to the spiritual world . . . Tamasi ma: “Don’t keep yourself in this darkness; come to the light.” “What is that? The sun is present there? The moon is there?” No. There is no need.
“That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.” (Gita 15.6) We are trying to go to that world where there is no need of sun, there is no need of moon, there is no need of electricity. And somehow or other, if you can go there – yad gatva na nivartante – then you haven’t got to come back into this darkness. This is the Krishna consciousness movement.
At least in one life try to go back to that place. Then your whole problem will be solved. You are paying so much for the electricity bill, and if there is no sun, you are in a rotten place. So why do you suffer in this way? “Come here,” Krishna says. “There is no need of sun; there is no need of electricity.” And the prime gain is that if you can go there, there is no need of coming back.
Those who have no information of the spiritual world stick to this material world, as everything is here. But those who have got knowledge – the mahatmas, those whose atma, or self, is very great – who can understand the greatness of God and His great knowledge and take knowledge from Him, they are perfect.
So here is the knowledge. Everything is there in the spiritual world. Krishna is giving the information. Not that “back to home, back to Godhead” is our imagination. No, not imagination. It is like somebody giving you information of America. “America is very rich. There are so many big, big bridges and roads and motorcars.” So naturally you become inclined. “Why not see how America is?” Similarly, here is the information about the spiritual world, and why don’t you try to go back to home, back to Godhead?
What is this foolishness of staying in the material world? Why should you pay the electric bill? Go there and live there. The spiritual world is not lighted by the sun, the moon. Na tad bhasayate suryah. Because everyone is effulgent, every planet is effulgent, there is no need of these things. There is no ignorance. There is no scarcity. There is no miserable condition. That place is called Vaikuntha. Vaikuntha means vigata kuntha yasmad iti vaikuntha – the place where there is no anxiety.
Kuntha means anxiety. Here every man, even the richest man, is full of anxiety. Your president is the richest person in this country, and he is the third richest man in the world. But do you think he is without anxiety? No. That is not possible. He is full of anxiety that someone may take his position. This is the anxiety of all politicians. Even the king of heaven, Indra, is also full of anxiety. There are demons like Hiranyakashipu who sometimes drive away King Indra and enjoy his heavenly planet. This is going on everywhere, not only on this planet. In all planets, wherever you go, the same condition prevails. Lord Krishna says:
“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” (Gita 8.16) Don’t think that by going to the heavenly planet you’ll be happy there. No. There is no possibility. Either you go to the heavenly planet or you go to hell, you will have to undergo the threefold miserable conditions.
Therefore Krishna is coming and inviting us. On behalf of Krishna, we are also inviting others. And how can you go there? Very simple. Krishna has given you the simple program. What is that?
“Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” Simply follow these four principles without arguing foolishly and rascally. Man-mana: “Always think of Me,” Krishna says. It is not that I am saying this, but Krishna is personally saying it. Bhava mad-bhaktah: “Just become My devotee.” Mad-yaji: “Worship Me.” And mam namaskuru: “Offer your obeisances to Me.”
It doesn’t require any MA or PhD degrees. It doesn’t require that. Apratihata. Bhakti is apratihata, without any hindrance. Nobody can say “Because I am poor . . . ,” “Because I am uneducated . . . ,” “Because I am black . . . ,” “Because I am white . . .” – no “because.” In any condition of life, you can become a devotee and go back to home, back to Godhead. This is the Krishna consciousness movement. No material condition can check it. This is our movement.
Thank you very much.