Devotion To Krishna Is The Ultimate Goal Of Life

Devotion To Krishna Is The Ultimate Goal Of Life

NTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS

Founder-Ācārya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

The following presentation is an evening lecture by His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami, given on 20 December 2009 Mayapura, India. 

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami:

nāma oṁ viṣṇu -padaya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhūtale
śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine

namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe
nirviśeṣa śūnyavādi pāścātya deśa tāriṇe

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki jaya!

Hare Kṛṣṇa. How was your parikrama, circumambulation of the holy dhāmaParikrama means going around. So you started from the birth place of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and then, where did you go to? Srivasa-angam, Advaita-bhavān, Gadādhara-angan? Gaṅgā Nārāyaṇa, did you also go with them? Who was explaining about those places? Then did you go to Caitanya mutt? How many steps you took while you were travelling? And with each step you acquired the piety that is more than one thousand horse sacrifice.

Devotees: Haribol!

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: This is the benefit of coming to the holy dhāma. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Take full advantage of this.  Haribol! Somebody can go and lock the door. People should come on time. One cannot just walk in the class anytime one wants, it shouldn’t be done. When you go to a movie, do you go in the middle of the movie? When do you go to the movie? You go 15 minutes before the movie start. Why? Because if you miss the first scene then you may miss the whole thing. Similarly in a class if you miss first part of the class then you won’t understand what the class was for. Take your spiritual life seriously. So from tomorrow don’t be late for the class. You all are students. Or is it your habit to go class after the class starts? Or sometimes bunk the class also.

So today’s topic is: Devotion to Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate goal of life. How do we set our goal? What is the meaning of goal? As we discussed yesterday, spiritual life begins with the spiritual inquiry, brahma jijñāsā, the sincere inquiry about our spiritual identity. Now when we make sure about the spiritual path then what should be the goal? The goal should be the highest point, isn’t it? When you play football, where is the ball’s goal? At the end of the field, right? This side takes the opposite side to be the goal, and the opposite side, this to be the goal. To reach that highest point is the goal. So when we consider the goal of life, what should be the goal of life? There can be many secondary goals, but when we speak of the goal, we speak of the ultimate goal of life. Ultimate means the very end, very absolute. So when you do something, why do you it? You do something in order to gain something. Generally when you say you go to college, you are going to university, or you are running a business; why are you doing that? You are doing that to achieve something. Sometimes of course you do things aimlessly but that is not important. Aimlessly we should not do anything. There must be an aim to achieve the goal.

We have to consider that human form of life is a very special opportunity. How many of you believe in reincarnation? Practically all of you believe in reincarnation. Reincarnation means the soul’s return to this world. So that means you were here before and you came in this life. And what will happen in future? Will you stay in this body forever? Although everybody thinks that he is not going to die but death is inevitable. Someday we all are going to die. What will happen after death? When we leave this body, then what will happen? The soul will get another body. We cannot decide ourselves what kind of body we will get. Everyone would want to be born as a prince. Given a choice, everybody will want a fantastic opportunity. But can we select the opportunity ourselves? No. Although everybody wants to be born as a king but many people are born as a pauper. Not only this, many people will get other kinds of body, an animal body. That’s a possibility. We may get an animal body. We may get a reptile body. Can you imagine the body of a snake? Can you imagine a body of an insect? Can you imagine the body of a worm and what to speak a body of a tree or a plant? But these are all possibilities. While instructing Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu mentioned there are eight million four hundred thousand species of life. That means there are eight millions four hundred thousand possibilities of bodies. Out of that, only four hundred is human body. Now out of all these type of bodies: trees, plants, reptiles, aquatics, and so forth, animals; is any of those bodies desirable now when you have got a human form? If somebody comes and tells you okay prabhu, do you like to become born as an elephant? Would you like to be born as a tiger? May be somebody would like to be born as a tiger but you haven’t considered the hardships that a tiger has to go through living in the forest, no house to live in, winter, summer, no shelter. And just to get the food they struggle so hard. These are all different possibilities.

But now that we got the human form, we have the intelligence to decide whether we want any other type of body or not. Let’s consider why human form is so special. If I ask, if anybody wants to have a subhuman species, will anybody want it here? No, because the term itself is saying ‘subhuman’ meaning it is less than a human. Less than a human means lower species, degradation, demotion. Who wants to become demoted from his present situation? Everybody wants to be advanced, nobody wants to regress. If somebody comes and tells you that from third year you have to become degraded to second year, will you want it? Does anybody want to fail? Instead of progress does anybody want to regress? No. That’s why we should be very careful. Now that we have got the human form of life, we should not become demoted to any other species; we should progress. How will that progress be guaranteed? The progress will be guaranteed by our actions. It is our actions that will promote or demote. Just consider, while in your college if you prepare yourselves in the exams or throughout the year what will happen? At the end of the year you will be promoted to the next grade. But what will happen if you do not prepare nicely? You are running the risk of remaining in the same grade or getting thrown out of the college. Is it there that if you fail twice then you will be thrown out? No? You can carry on as many years as you want? Then what happens, if you will fail then what happens? Okay how many of you are IIT students here? Eight. Okay, so out of four, every year you can fail twice. Okay, very good. But in the human form we don’t have that facility. If you don’t prepare properly and fail once in this life, then what will happen? You will become demoted.

Now how many of you remember yesterday’s class? I was pointing out that human form of life is meant for athāto brahma jijñāsā. Human life is meant for spiritual advancement. That is the purpose of human life. We have two options. Do you know what those two options are? Lead your life centred around your body, or try to become situated in your spiritual identity. These are the only two options we have in this life. You can lead a life centred around your body, which means, sense gratification. Centred around body means giving pleasure to the body, and how do we give pleasure to the body? There are four ways of giving pleasure to the body: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Eating is fun, similarly sleeping. Mating is the sex life and defending is to defend the body’s facilities. These are the propensities, the activities that are the indication of the life centred around the body. And the other possibility is to aspire for spiritual development, self-realization. Self-realization- who is the self? Is the body the self? Who is the self?

Devotees: The soul.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: The soul is the self. Our real identity is the soul. Therefore self realization is the realization, recognition and identification of the soul; and to aspire for the ultimate achievement of it. These are the two possibilities. Now out of these two possibilities what should an intelligent person aspire for? One should aspire for self-realization. The life centred around benefit, advantage and gratification of the body, is a life with the animal propensities. This is because the animals also do that. Don’t the animals sleep? Animals can eat a lot. There was a competition of eating between a man and a bear [laughter]. The bear beat the man far before the man could even finish one tenth of it; the bear has finished the plate. There was huge pile of food in the plate and this man was supposed to be a voracious eater. He was a big man but nothing when compared to a bear. So a bear can eat much more than a man when it comes to eating. Sleeping again, a bear can sleep for six months a year. Throughout the six months of winter bear sleeps. Mating, in sex life the animals are much more efficient than human beings. And defending, yes men may be defending himself with nuclear weapons and all kinds of weapons, but an animal can defend himself very expertly in so many ways. If you go to the forest do you stand a chance in front of a lion, a tiger, or an elephant?

We can see that the animals can fulfil these animal propensities in a much better way than a human being can. Therefore, fulfilling these animal propensities cannot be the goal of life. But in today’s world you see how everybody is leading their lives? People are making lots of money but for what? How do they spend their money? They spend their money in eating, they go to expensive places. I have been told that in America there are some places, hotels, banquet, where one can pay six seven hundred dollars per plate per person. Six seven hundred dollars means about thirty-forty thousand rupees! This is how people are spending their money. They want to make money to spend it. Then sleeping; again they are making houses, big palatial buildings; but why do they build these houses? For sleeping. In the west it is a very common phenomenon to have all these big palatial buildings, and each building costing thirty, forty million dollars, but it is empty. Only the servants are living there. The owner is out six o clock in the morning to work so to make money or to attend business and they come back at 10’o clock, 11’o clock at night. So they come and what? They just sleep. Or people stay in big hotels, spends so much money just to sleep. So many arrangements are made just for sleeping and sometimes when they can’t sleep then what happens? They take some intoxicants. They can’t sleep; okay take some heroin, opium, and alcohol of course, nimbu-pāni. [laughter]

I said alcohol is like nimbu-pāni. By making all these arrangements, actually the entire human society is revolving around one propensity, sex life. Many stories, histories are there. Do you know the history of Homer’s Iliad? What is it based on? One beautiful girl, the beautiful queen called Helen. She was the wife of a king of Greece, Agamaemnon. The prince of a country called Troy Paris fell in love with this woman. They fell in love with each other and she ran away with him; and a big battle took place. In that battle many people died. One whole country was destroyed. Why? Just because one man wanted to have sex life with another woman. There are so many such anecdotes in the history. Like in order to get a beautiful woman they got into war. Even Mahābhārata also, you can say it was centred around Draupadī.

And about defending, everyone is trying to defend himself from imminent death. But that is for what? Defend what? Body, the body from dying. Do you know which the biggest and most lucrative money spending industry is today? The most lucrative money spending industry is the medical industry and next to that is the intoxication industry then comes the food industry. People spend more money in intoxicant than in food. Now the point is, why medical industry is so lucrative, so profitable? Because nobody wants to die and because they don’t want to die they are taking medicines. They are ready to spend any amount of money to be alive. But Bhāgavatam is saying that the human form of life should not be wasted for these animal propensities, āhāra, nidrā, bhaya, maithunan caĀhāra means eating, nidrā means sleeping, bhaya means defending (from fear) and maithuna means sex life. They are paśu bhisamāna. They are animal propensities. They are there in the animal society. Animals are leading their lives for these four activities. Now should a man live his life for fulfilling these animal propensities? Yes or No? How many of you are saying no?

Very good. Then what should be the goal of life? Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is describing labdhvāsudurlabhamidaṁbahu-sambhavāntemānuṣyam. Mānuṣyam means human form of life; labdhvā means now that you have received this human form of life; sudurlabham, durlabh means rare and sudurlabham means extremely rare; bahu-sambhavānte after many many possibilities. There are possibilities of 8 million possibilities. After transcending those 8 million possibilities, you have got this human form of life. So what should we do with this human form of life? Should we lead the human form of life to go back to those 8 million lower species of life or should we try to achieve something higher? How many of you are for trying to achieve something higher? Very good. Now the question is what is that higher goal? Human form of life, therefore, is a wonderful possibility, wonderful opportunity. Why is it a wonderful opportunity? Because human being have developed intelligence, developed consciousness. Do you know what is the specialty of human consciousness? Consciousness has been divided into different categories. The lowest category of consciousness is the consciousness of trees and plants. Their consciousness is covered. They are conscious but their consciousness is covered. Are those trees conscious? Yes they are conscious. But when you look at a tree, does it look conscious? Can you ask a tree, “Hey! What’s your name?” The tree will never answer. So the tree is not answering. You beat it or cutting it, it doesn’t respond. Why? Because it’s consciousness is practically covered.

Then beyond that state of covered consciousness is shrunken state of consciousness. Shrink means becoming compressed, becoming smaller; the consciousness is there but it is in a shrunken state. From insects and worms to the animals; they all fall in that category, in the shrunken state of consciousness. The Sanskrit word for that is saṅkucita cetaḥsaṅkucita. What’s the Hindi word for shrink? Saṅkucita; in Hindi? As we say saṅkoca, means to shy. Saṅkucita cetaḥ. Then come the human beings, who are beyond the animal category. Human consciousness is very special. Human consciousness has been therefore compared to a bud. Have you seen a bud of a flower? How does the bud look like? The petals are shrunken, saṅkucita, but this has the ability to bloom; that is the advantage of human form of life. You can expand your consciousness. But in order to expand your consciousness, you need two factors. Or for a bud to bloom, what does it need? You keep a bud in a dark room, will the bud bloom? No. Consider a lotus bud. If you keep the bud in a dark room the lotus will not bloom, but when the lotus is exposed to the sun, then the lotus begins to bloom, provided the lotus is in water. If the lotus is not in water the lotus will not bloom. So for the bud to bloom into a flower it need two factors: shelter of the water and exposure to the sun. Therefore for human consciousness to develop there is a need for the exposure to the sun (Kṛṣṇa), and shelter of water (the bonafide spiritual master). Under the guidance of a bonafide spiritual master you become exposed to Kṛṣṇa, then the consciousness begins to bloom. That’s the fourth stage of consciousness.

So, when you take shelter of a bonafide spiritual master and thus become exposed to Kṛṣṇa then what happens? What is happening to you all? Are you becoming spiritually more aware? How many of you think that you are getting more information about spiritual identity? Is your consciousness developing? Right? Very good. Why is it happening? Because you have been now exposed to Kṛṣṇa under the guidance of the vaiṣṇavas. They are the spiritual masters. The vaiṣṇavas are giving you the information, right? The devotees of Kṛṣṇa are giving you the information and as a result of that your consciousness is developing. When you continue in this way, pursuing this path, what will happen then? Ultimately your consciousness will be fully exposed to Kṛṣṇa. You will be fully Kṛṣṇa consciousness; you will become a pure spiritual soul; you will become a pure devotee of the Lord! Do you believe in that? That is the final stage of consciousness. Fully-bloomed consciousness. Did you get the five stages of consciousness? What is the first stage? How many of you remember, raise your hands? Okay. Covered consciousness. Then what’s the second stage of consciousness? How many of you remember? Why so many other hands are not going up? Okay, shrunken state of consciousness. Then what’s the third stage of consciousness?

Devotee: Bud.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Bud. Bud stage of consciousness and which living entities fall in that category? Human beings. Human beings fall in that category. In Sanskrit it is called mukulita cetaḥmukulita means kali. Is mukulita word there in Hindi? Yes? Hindi and Sanskrit are close, Hindi originated from Sanskrit only. Mukulitacetaḥ. Then what is the fourth stage of consciousness? Blooming stage of consciousness. What is the Sanskrit name for that? Vikasita cetaḥ. And what is the fifth stage of consciousness? Fully-bloomed stage of consciousness. Now who has this opportunity? Does an animal have this opportunity? Who has this opportunity? That is why the human form of life is so special. Otherwise what is the definition of a human being? How many of you remember? Although I didn’t mention in the class but then there is an understanding, a common saying, “Man is a civilized animal”. Animal kills it prey and eats it. Men goes to a very exclusive restaurant and eats his food. Actually it’s the same, eating. Goal of life becomes eating. Sleeping; an animal sleeps in a cave in the forest and a man lives in a palace in a metropolis. Mating and defending. So obviously these animal activities should never become the goal of a human being, rather the purpose of human life should be to achieve the ultimate goal of spiritual emancipation, spiritual awareness, recognizing its own spiritual identity and recognizing his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that is the meaning of the word self-realization. Prabhupāda wrote the science of self-realization, that is the goal of human life, to pursue the science of self-realization, not computer science.

Or medical science, electrical engineering, chemical engineering, or mechanical engineering. Okay you all are doing it; it’s fine but should that be the ultimate goal? These are the temporary goals. To earn money you have to have an occupation. If you prepare yourself nicely through your studies then you get a descent, dignified life. But that should not be the ultimate goal. What should be the ultimate goal? The ultimate goal should be to recognize your spiritual identity. There are secondary goals, for example, when you are studying in the university, there the goal is to finish your studies and get the degree, right? But at the same time when you are in the university you are doing other things also, right? Sometimes you are representing the university’s cricket team or football team. So for that also you are practicing, for that also you are exerting yourself, putting your efforts. But you didn’t go to the university to play for the university cricket team. The actual goal is to study the subject and get the degree. Similarly in our life also the studying in the colleges and university to get an occupation is also a secondary goal but what is the ultimate goal, final goal of the human life? How many of you can answer this question? What should be the final goal of human life?

Self-realization should be the ultimate goal of life; to recognize our spiritual identity that should be the goal of life. Now spiritual realization also has different levels. The first stage of spiritual realization is the recognition or realization of Brahman; that is the spiritual light, spiritual energy, spiritual reality. Just understand that beyond this material nature there is a spiritual world. General understanding of the spiritual world is that it is a world of light. How is this world? Material world is full of light or full of darkness?

Devotees: Darkness.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Material world is full of darkness because only when the sun comes up and moon comes up there is some light, but otherwise this world is in darkness. But beyond this world of darkness there is another world, the world of light. That is the initial understanding of spiritual world, the world of light and that aspect is known as Brahman realization. But then when you enter into the spiritual world, the world of light, then you find that there are spiritual planets. And in that spiritual planets there are spiritual personalities. There is a Supreme Spiritual Personality but before you make that approach, then there is another approach. Actually, initially we make an external effort to understand the spiritual reality; then we come to the Brahman realization, but Brahman realization is not the absolute or the ultimate realization of the spiritual world. That is the external way of understanding the spiritual reality. Through knowledge, you go externally and come to Brahman realization, but Brahman realization is like coming to a dead end, you can’t go any more, any further beyond. Then what is the natural tendency? The natural tendency is to go within. And that process is known as yoga, aṣṭāṅga yoga, dhyāna yoga, etc. Through yoga one sees the Supersoul in the heart. Is the Lord present in everyone’s heart? Is the Lord present in your heart? How many of you think, yes? Please raise your hands. Wonderful! The Lord is there in your heart. So when you go within then you see the Lord in the heart. How do you see him? How do you see Him in the heart?

Devotee: Paramātmā.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: As the Paramātmā. So brahmetiparamātmeti and then when you see the Paramātmā, how do you feel? What is your attitude? What is your reaction to Him? When you see Paramātmā, what are you? Who are you? You are a jīvātmā. A little jīvātmā sees the Paramātmā. How should he feel? He should feel very small and he should surrender. He surrenders. This surrender leads to bhakti. And through bhakti the Lord becomes manifest in His Bhagavān form. Bhagavān means the Supreme Personality of Godhead, brahmeti paramatmati bhagavān iti śabdyate, right? Through jñāna you see the Brahman. Is the Brahman the ultimate spiritual goal? No. Through yoga you see Paramātmā. Can the yoga be the ultimate goal? Then after Paramātmā realization you surrender yourself to the Lord and start to render devotional service and then only the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān becomes manifest to you. So what should be the ultimate goal? Devotional service. BhaktiJñāna is not the ultimate goal. Yoga is not the ultimate goal. So the ultimate goal of life is devotion to Kṛṣṇa. Did you find the ultimate goal of life? Does anybody have doubt about that? How many of you agree with me? Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. So now that you have found the ultimate goal of your life what are you going to do? Become devotee of the Lord. Can you become a devotee of the Lord being a student? Can you? Is there any difficulty? Sure? Okay, so even as a student you can become a devotee. After you finish your studies and take up a job, then will you continue your devotional service or will you give it up? Can you be a devotee while working? Can you continue with your devotion? Yes, how many of you think that you will be able to do that, please raise your hands. Very good. Many of you will get married. After getting married can you practice devotional service? It seems that everyone is silent [laughter].

So, I think you are silent because you don’t want to get married! Or you think after getting married you will not be able to practice devotional service. Anyway, so how many of you think even if you get married, still you can practice devotional service? How many of you think you will? Okay I will repeat [laughter]. How many of you think that even if you get married, not that you have to get married, just in case you get married, you will be able to practice devotional service? Okay, thank you.

The point is, the ultimate goal of life should be devotion to Kṛṣṇa. Why? Because when you become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa then you can finish your business in this material nature and go back to the spiritual sky. Is this material nature a very nice place? How many of you think that this material world is a wonderful place? No one? Okay, I can see that all of you have become very wise. And that’s very good! If you feel that this is not a place to be in; this is not a place where you want to be, then what should you do? You should try to get out of here. And what is the most wonderful, easiest, most simple and most easily accessible way to get out of this material nature? Devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thank you all very much. All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Questions by devotees and Answers by HH Bhakti Charu Swami

Question: [inaudible]

Answer: Endlessly. Question is, “How many times the soul comes to this material nature?”. Endlessly. We cannot count how many times we have been here. How many times means how many different bodies. Oh, do you mean how many times a soul comes to this material world from the spiritual world? Just once. Because once you go back would you like to come back when you have seen what it is like? So once bitten twice shy. Actually we have fallen from the spiritual world, and now that we are here, we realize that this is terrible place to be in. Do you want to come back again once you go and see how wonderful the spiritual world is? The answer to your question is just once. Because now that we go back we are not going to come back. Would you like to come? Okay. [laughter] Thank you.

Question: Guru Mahārāja, how can we become really convinced that the best gift we can give to our parents is devotion to Kṛṣṇa? Because we want to make our parents happy and being a student we think we can do that by getting good placement.

Answer: Okay. Very good point. The best way to give your parents this most wonderful gift is by showing yourself! By showing them how happy you have become practicing Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. When they will see you then they will become convinced. Sometimes if you go and tell them they may not take you seriously, right? So you practice it with all sincerity; you show the world how your life has changed. Then that will be the best way to make them understand; that’s the best way to convince them, okay? Otherwise you can go and speak to them. Do you think they will be convinced? I don’t know about your parents, maybe they will. But in most cases parents will not take you seriously. They will probably say “Wo pāgal ho gāya hai. College maijaakar kya śikhā hai. What did you learn going to the college? Did I send you to the college to learn Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa? Wo to ghar mai betha kar bhi kar sakte hain. College jaane ka kya jaroorat tha.” Anyway don’t worry about your parents now; you practice it sincerely. Okay.

Question: Hare Kṛṣṇa. We know that devotion to Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate goal of life. But as there are secondary goals also, so while achieving secondary goals we tend to forget that devotion to Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate goal. How not to forget that?

Answer: Yes, the best way to remember this goal is to remain in the association of devotees who are pursuing the same goal; to be with the devotees. Because otherwise- say for example, as I told you, in the university or in the college you have a secondary goal. Do you play for college team? No. Okay somebody who is playing for the college team does practices to represent the college cricket team, but if he plays all the time then will he pass the exam? While practicing cricket, he also has to remember that I have to study and pass my exams. So when he comes back to the dorm, then he says, “Other students are studying, I have to study also”. But if he is always playing; if he is always with those who are only practicing cricket, then he may forget that the actual goal is to study and pass the subject. Similarly in order to remember our spiritual goal, we have to be in the association of devotees who have the same goal and who will remind us. Such association will compel us to be fixed in our spiritual life. Okay. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Question: Hare Kṛṣṇa Guru Mahārāja. To achieve the ultimate goal of life we have to surrender to guru, dīkṣā guru and śikṣā guru. In ISKCON, there is a system that we can make our dīkṣā guru with our choice but we can have many śikṣā gurus. So my question is, “how we can judge the qualification of śikṣā guru?”  I mean to whom we can surrender or to whom we cannot surrender?

Answer: That is something you will find yourself. Listen to the advanced devotees and then you see who is inspiring you in your spiritual life. Those who you are inspiring you in your spiritual life through their instructions they are your śikṣā gurus, right? Śikṣā  gurus can be many. But the way to recognize your śikṣā guru is: who is inspiring you the most through his instructions in your spiritual life. And go.

Question: Isn’t the process should be that there can be a system that dīkṣā guru can appoint some śikṣā guru to you?

Answer: Not necessary. In a society like ISKCON there are so many advanced devotees, there is no need to take the approval of the dīkṣā guru. Whoever is inspiring you.

Question: So is it like we have to approach each and every devotee to guide us?

Answer: Yes, whoever is encouraging you, inspiring you.

Question: Hare Kṛṣṇa Guru Mahārāja. I have read in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books that out of eighty-four lakh species, four lakh species is of human form. Then what type of human forms those 4 lakh type of species are like?

Answer: You are one of them. [laughter]

There are four hundred thousand or four lakh different types of human forms. So many different types. And all the human beings fall in this category. But Caitanya Mahāprabhu made the distinction like out of these four hundred thousand species, some are uncivilized, some are half civilized and some are civilized. So those who do not have any spiritual inclination, they are uncivilized. They may live in big cities, in big palaces, driving big cars dressing up very fancily, nicely but that is not the criteria for civilization. The actual consideration for civilization is whether he is spiritually inclined. If he is not, he is uncivilized. Those who have some spiritual inclination, they are half civilized. But those who are absorbed or involved in cultivating their relationship with Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are civilized. So at least I can say that you are one of the civilized human being. Thank you.

Question: Mahārāja if somebody has a desire to become a first class servant of Kṛṣṇa, then how should he mould his life like what should be his life style, attitude and mood, can you explain?

Answer: Okay. The first consideration is that he should be in a situation where he can very easily practice spiritual life. That is the first consideration. The second consideration is that he should be in the association of devotees. The third consideration is that he should be able to be actively involved in rendering devotional service to Kṛṣṇa. These are the three considerations. Out of these three, you can see what is the best possibility? To live in a temple. If he can’t live in a temple, then at least he could be near the temple where he can go and render devotional service and have association of devotees. If that is not possible then we can create a situation where we can practice devotional service without any difficulty, right? Like we are creating the BASE, where those who are serious, they can practice their spiritual life in the association of devotees. So the main consideration here is rendering devotional service in the association of devotees. That is the desirable situation for spiritual advancement. Yes. Do you have a question?

Question: Hare Kṛṣṇa Guru Mahārāja. You have said that there are three levels of science of self-realization, first brahman, paramātmā, and bhagavān realization. But as we know that in Kaliyuga it is very hard to perform yoga, the first step is dhyāna. And in Kaliyuga, if a devotee comes and starts rendering service to Lord Kṛṣṇa, even indirectly, he is just realizing bhagavān realization. Thus we can see that he is making the same effect that a man performing higher austerities by doing yoga in satya yuga makes. He is doing yoga and after many, many years, he realize paramātmā in his heart.

Answer: Very good point. So out of different practices, the easiest one is rendering devotional service. But this is the highest; this is the mercy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came and gave us this system of direct devotional service for this age, otherwise in other ages one had to achieve his perfection in yoga, like first through jñāna he will come to the platform of yoga and from yoga he will come to the platform of devotion, after achieving perfection in their respective processes. You can see now, what a benefit we have, what an amazing good fortune we have. Direct promotion! Generally what you do? You go to school, to college, to university and then you get the degree. But here the degree is awarded straight away. No more going to school, no more going to college. Direct admission to PhD or different degree course in the university; that is the good fortune that we have.

Question: Hare Kṛṣṇa Guru Mahārāja. Please accept my humble obeisances. Please explain us how the place affects the spiritual development?

Answer: How the place affects the spiritual development? Yes, the place affects the spiritual development through the devotees. The most important consideration is actually the association of devotees. We go to holy places because we can get the association of devotees there. If you go to a holy place, but don’t associate with a devotee, then there won’t be any meaning. Right? Like they can see that so many people are coming to Māyāpur, but they don’t associate with the devotees. They are coming here for sightseeing, tourism, right? So they are getting some benefit but not the actual benefit. Okay. The point is, place is important but the effectivity of the place becomes manifest through the association of devotees. Okay.

Question: How to develop our love or our devotion for Kṛṣṇa? Is it enough to chant the holy name?

Answer: Okay I get it. Devotion means love for Kṛṣṇa. How does a person fall in love with somebody? How does one fall in love with somebody? Because of some quality of that person. When you see somebody is very handsome, you fall in love with him. When you see that somebody is very famous, you fall in love with him. When you see that somebody is very rich, you fall in love with him or if somebody is very powerful you fall in love with him. So it is the quality of that person that makes us fall in love with that person. So in order to fall in love with Kṛṣṇa we have to become aware of His qualities. Now, Kṛṣṇa has all the attractive qualities. Kṛṣṇa is all attractive. But how do you get to know about the qualities of Kṛṣṇa? By hearing about Kṛṣṇa from the devotees of Kṛṣṇa. Or by reading about Kṛṣṇa, which is also same as hearing about Kṛṣṇa. So Kṛṣṇa is most beautiful and when you get to see how beautiful Kṛṣṇa is, won’t you fall in love with Him? When you get to know that Kṛṣṇa is the richest, won’t you fall in love with Him? Kṛṣṇa is the most famous, Kṛṣṇa is the most powerful, Kṛṣṇa is the wisest. Now you let me see, how you cannot fall in love with Kṛṣṇa?

Question: Is it not to just follow the instructions of Mahārāja or Guru because we don’t see Kṛṣṇa ourselves?

Answer: That is there but the real attraction comes from becoming aware of Kṛṣṇa’s qualities. Take the mike, who is next? Hitesh give it to him. So I will take the last question and there are some questions, more coming from internet. Yes.

Question: Hare Kṛṣṇa Guru Mahārāja. How can we convert our studies to devotional service?

Answer: Okay, you consider that you are studying to please Kṛṣṇa, right? This is one way of pleasing Kṛṣṇa. Because you are doing it, do it for Kṛṣṇa. Arjuna is fighting for Kṛṣṇa, therefore its devotional service. Similarly when you are studying make it a way for pleasing Kṛṣṇa. Okay.

Questions from the internet (www.māyāpur.tv)

Question: Although you mentioned that the path of material enjoyment is inferior but it seems so attractive to the conditioned soul because of the past conditionings. What are the steps to cross over this problem? For example, to overcome should I chant more rounds regularly without fail but what if I fail to do that, what should I do then?

Answer: Yes, don’t fail. Make it a point to chant regularly nice rounds. If you realize that to be fixed up in spiritual life and to avoid the allurements of māyā this is the way, then be fixed up on that. Chant your rounds nicely; associate with the devotees nicely; and read Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books attentively. The rest will automatically happen.

Question: At the time of death does the Supersoul assume the form of Kṛṣṇa or does He personally come? I am asking because once Śrīla Prabhupāda told you that in the devotee’s heart Kṛṣṇa is personally present.

Answer: Yes, well there is no way of knowing that. It’s not that only at the time of death Kṛṣṇa will come. The question is, whether you have developed your pure devotion to Kṛṣṇa? If you have developed pure devotion to Kṛṣṇa, then even before death Kṛṣṇa will come to you. Kṛṣṇa is there with you but it’s only with your pure devotion you can see Him. premāñjana-churita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti; the word sadaiva means ‘all the time’; hrdayaṣu vilokayanti, ‘sees Him in the core of his heart’. So pure devotee always sees Kṛṣṇa.

Question: Guru Mahārāja, if one is very serious about Kṛṣṇa Consciousness but is still unable to give up past bad habits then is it because of past offenses or it simply means he is not serious about it?

Answer: The past sinful reaction may have its affect but Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is so purifying that it can purify one of all his past habits. But sometimes, because he is practicing, some past bad habits may at some point become dominant. But one should try to avoid that, try to overcome that and the best way to do that is by remaining in the association of devotees. You remain in the association of devotees then you will be free, if you are not in the association of devotees you are running the risk of becoming victims of your past sins.

Question: Guru Mahārāja it says that for one who is performing bhakti, jñāna and  yoga processes are already achieved, please elaborate on this point.

Answer: Yes, I just mentioned in answer to one of the questions that there are different stages, jñāna, then yoga and then finally bhakti. Generally one goes step by step. First step is jñāna – philosophical approach, then yoga – aṣṭāṅga yoga process; then after achieving the perfection of aṣṭāṅga yoga one comes to the platform of bhakti. That is the gradual progress. So therefore when one is in bhakti, then it has to be understood that he has already transcended the platform of jñāna and yoga. If you are in the university then isn’t it naturally concluded that you have already passed and finished your high school and college? Now if somebody is in the university, did he already pass through school and college, yes or no? So that’s what bhakti is.

Okay thank you all very much. I will end now. Hare Kṛṣṇa. All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.

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Editing : HG Radha Piyari dasi