His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Bhakti Yoga Techniques

Public Lecture Part II delivered in Kouvola, Finland, 22 April 2005
(Second half of a public lecture series beginning with “Eternal Wisdom”, given the previous evening)

 

manusyanam sahasresu
kascid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam
kascin mamabetti tattvatah

 “Out of thousands among men, one will endeavor for perfection; and out of a thousand who endeavor for perfection, hardly one knows me in truth.” [BG 7.3]

 We see the truth of this here in Kouvola – that out of the huge population, we had one small auditorium here last night.  And out of this small auditorium, now we have four people.  This is predicted in the Bhagavad-gita.  So consider yourself very, very fortunate to have come to this stage of interest in Krishna consciousness.  Krishna consciousness means to come out of illusion.  It means to come out of all suffering conditions of life.  It means to enter into a state of consciousness which is eternal, full of bliss, and full of knowledge.  We promised last night that we would give you some practical tips on how to realize that enlightened state of consciousness.  And we will keep our word to you.

  Krishna consciousness means practical activity.  Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita,

yat karosi yad asnasi
yaj juhosi dadasi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kurusva mad-arpanam

 “Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, as well as whatever austerities you may perform – do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering unto Me.” [BG 9.27]

 We were speaking last night about being in harmony with the Supreme.  The key to harmonizing with the Supreme is to act in love and devotion, because the Supreme is a person.  Let’s say you’re married to someone: how do you act in harmony with that person?  You act for that person’s pleasure and satisfaction.  That’s what it means to be in a state of harmony with a person.  Thus similarly with God, the Supreme Person: if we can do everything for the pleasure of that Supreme Person, then we will be in a state of perfect harmony.  In this world we have a very good example of someone who acts in the harmonious way: a mother with a small child.  A mother does everything for her child.  She doesn’t even think about herself; she just does everything for the child.  This is the topmost example in this world of love of God - the love of a mother.  So this is how we have to think in our relationship with God.  We have to let every thought that goes through our minds be pleasing to the Lord; let every word that comes out of our mouths be pleasing to the Lord; and let every activity that we perform with our bodies be pleasing to the Lord.  This art is known as bhakti-yoga.

 In English we have the word “yoke;” this is derived from the Sanskrit word yoga.  Yoga means “that which links you with the Supreme.”  There are many different types of yogas.  There’s hatha-yoga; there’s jnana-yoga; there’s astanga-yoga, there’s dhyana-yoga . . . there are so many different types of yogas.  These are all different methods of how to link with the Supreme.  Of course, nowadays people think that yoga is some method of reducing bodily fat.  There are so many yoga studios.  But that is not the real purpose of yoga.  The real purpose of yoga is to link with the Supreme.  The yoga system is compared to a ladder, and there are many rungs on that ladder.  Hatha yoga, jnana yoga . . . in this way, different yogas, all the way to the top rung.  When you come to the top rung, that is called bhakti-yoga.

 So if you have nothing else to do with your life – you don’t have to worry about going to school, you don’t have to worry about earning a living, you have no duties or responsibilities – then you can do so many different yogas; and gradually, gradually, through many different lifetimes, you can progress up the yoga ladder.  But if you find that you’re very busy - that you have so many family responsibilities; or you’re a student with so many academic responsibilities; or you’re working a job and have so many occupational responsibilities – if you find yourself very busy, then I recommend that you take directly to bhakti-yoga.  It’s just like if you want to go to the top of a building, you can go up the stairwell or you can get on the elevator.  Now, if the building has only two or three floors, then it’s not a big deal.  But if the building has one hundred floors, then you should get on the elevator - otherwise, by time you get to your appointment on the hundredth floor it will be after 5 pm, and the office will be closed, and you won’t make your appointment in time.  So the intelligent person takes the elevator.  We have come all the way from America to teach you how to get on the elevator.

 Here’s the easy way:  We have what is called japa mala.  These are sacred chanting beads from India.  I request all of you tonight to purchase one set.  We’re not doing this to make money; we’re only covering our cost of bringing it from India.  I advise everyone to get one set of japa mala; and then take it home.

 This is how you chant with japa mala:  Hold it between the thumb and the second finger of the right hand.  You don’t chant with this finger [index finger], but with this finger [middle finger], like this - you chant on each bead.  You chant:

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare
 

Then you move to the next bead and do it again:

 Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

 This is all done inside your bead bag, which keeps the beads your beads sacred – it keeps them from getting dirty or banged around.  So you do this inside your bead bag (the bead bags are also here).

 Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

 So then you come all the way around to here - you finally come to the end bead . . . There’s a big bead on the end; you do not chant on this.  You just chant on the other beads. 

 When you go one time around the beads, it’s called one “round” . . . So those who have formally taken the vow of initiation into this chanting will chant at least 16 times around the beads every day.  That means they will meditate on the Holy Names of Krishna one and a half to two hours every day.  When you begin, you may chant whatever you can comfortably chant – one time around, two times around, four times around – and then gradually you’ll build up the strength to chant 16 times around.  You become used to it.  So if you will chant regularly on these beads, and if you will read these books – study our literatures, spend some time every day reading our literatures - then you will find that you are actually making spiritual progress every day in your life.  You will find that within your heart you will be getting many lights of spiritual realization.  In our present state of consciousness we are in the darkness of ignorance.  But the more you chant Hare Krishna and the more you read these books, you will get so many lights within your heart.  And gradually, gradually all of the darkness will go away, all the illusion will go away, all the anxiety will go away.  So this is our natural process.

 To avoid activities which inhibit our progress, we follow certain principles also.  To purify our consciousness we follow certain principles to help us fix our minds on Krishna’s name.  We follow a simple vegetarian diet and we offer our food to Lord Krishna before we eat it.  We limit our sexual activities to procreational purposes rather than recreational purposes.  We have no need for taking liquor or marijuana because the Holy Name, the Hare Krishna mantra, gets us intoxicated: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna / Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama / Rama Rama, Hare Hare.  And we don’t foolishly throw our money away on gambling.  People are amazed at how we can give up these activities; but actually we find that these activities bring us down from the high state of spiritual consciousness we enter by chanting Hare Krishna.  In other words, we’re getting so much pleasure from chanting Hare Krishna!  Anything that takes away from the sweet pleasure of relishing the Holy Names of Lord Krishna we want to give up, because it’s a negative thing - it doesn’t give us happiness.

 People sometimes wonder, how can you just keep going on, every day, saying Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, day in and day out?  I’ve been chanting Hare Krishna since 1971, on the same set of beads!  Srila Prabhupada chanted on these beads and then mailed them to me in 1971 . . . Do I look I’m tired of chanting Hare Krishna?  Do I look like I’m enjoying this Hare Krishna chanting?  This chanting is sweet.  You many wonder how you could chant this same thing for 34 years – every day, for two hours! – and not get tired of it.  I can tell you the reason why.  It’s because deep within the heart of every living being is an ocean of unlimited happiness.  You have a huge, unlimited ocean of transcendental pleasure right there within you.  It’s simply covered right now.  This chanting Hare Krishna is like a pipe:  it’s like drilling a pipe through the desert of the heart, down to that reservoir of unlimited pleasure; it’s like boring a hole down deep into that reservoir and pumping out that nectar from within.  Just imagine if you were suffering in poverty, if you were in a horrible state of poverty, and then you found out that you had one billion euros worth of gold coins buried in your backyard.  Just imagine that I told you exactly where to dig to find those one billion euros of gold coin and that I gave you the proper shovel, which could easily dig through the earth.  Do you know what that shovel is? 

 Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

 If you will take this Hare Krishna mantra and chant it faithfully every single day – the morning is the best time; you get up early and you take your bath, then you sit down and meditate on Krishna’s names, first thing – then I guarantee you will become the wealthiest person in all of Finland.  Why only Finland - you will be the wealthiest person in the universe! – if every day you will chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna / Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama / Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

 So we give you, in a nutshell, the process of bhakti-yoga.  You chant the Hare Krishna mantra; you give up activities which distract your mind away from God; you hear from bona fide spiritual master and the bona fide Vaisnava devotees of the Lord who will guide you in this scientific system of self-realization.  And the result will be that you will achieve a state of unlimited bliss.

 You may say, oh, Sankarshan das Adhikari is simply hyping us into chanting Hare Krishna.  But I’m not bringing my words here tonight.  I have simply come here as a messenger on behalf of Lord Krishna.  I am delivering to you the words of Krishna.  Krishna guarantees in the Bhagavad-gita that if you take up this Krishna consciousness/bhakti-yoga system, that is will be simply recreation.  He guarantees susukam.  You will not be able to find anything whatsoever troublesome about this process – it is simply recreation.  That is the Lord’s description.  Do you think God is a liar?  An ordinary person may try to lie to make some money – like a businessman; he will lie.  He will say, “For you, no profit.”  An ordinary person may have to lie; but God doesn’t have to lie because he’s all-powerful.  Therefore the words given in the Bhagavad-gita are true words; they are not make-believe words.  When Krishna says, “it is simply recreation” - susukam – we can understand that it is a fact.

 And if you’re skeptical, we can understand that.  This is the age of skepticism.  Just like today, one of the prabhus took me to speak at one college where the teacher was simply full of skepticism.  Everyone doubts everything.  So even if you are feeling some doubt, we can understand that . . . But here is my request to you:  Seriously try this chanting of Hare Krishna for six months.  I simply ask you to try this process of Krishna consciousness for six months.  If you do not find that you have become the happiest person you have ever known – and I go on record tonight - this is being taped – if you do not find that you are the happiest person you could ever imagine you could ever be, after chanting Hare Krishna and following these simple principles for six months, I will give you ten thousand euros cash.  So even if you are skeptical, you have nothing to lose.  Either you will become the happiest person you could ever be, or you will be ten thousand euros richer.  You can’t lose!

 Does anyone have any questions?

 Q1 – I am practicing Transcendental Meditation.  Are there any of the same elements in this bhakti-yoga, in order to get to a level of consciousness that is more purified?

 A1 – There are some similarities between that Transcendental Meditation and Krishna consciousness.  One of major differences is that we are not charging any money for the mantra.  If you have a mantra that will actually deliver a person from all anxiety you should freely give it to the whole world.  Why charge money so that only some people can have it and others cannot?  Why cannot all people be happy?  They are teaching you to chant the mantra for 20-30 minutes, twice a day.  But Krishna actually instructs satatam kirtayanto mam [BG 9.14] – that actually 24 hours a day you should be absorbed in this consciousness.  So you may sit down and be absorbed in the mantra for 20 minutes, twice a day.  But we are teaching you how to actually be absorbed 24 hours a day in the mantra, because not only do we chant on the beads for 1 ˝ - 2 hours a day, but we learn how to turn every thought that goes through our mind, 24 hours a day, into a meditation.   Every word that comes out of your mouth is a meditation, and every activity you perform with your body, 24 hours a day, is also a meditation.  So in the Transcendental Meditation method they give some idea about chanting a mantra and transcending, and that’s very nice concept; but we teach you how to be absorbed in a state of transcendental meditation 24 hours a day.  So if you think that transcendental meditation is a very nice thing, then we will teach you how to perfect the art of transcendental meditation. 

 Q2 –Why does the chanting bring pleasure?

 A2 – The chanting brings us pleasure because it resituates us in our original, spiritual nature.  It’s just like a fish is naturally happy when he is in the water: if the fish is on the land, no matter what facility you may give him on the land, he will not be happy.  So in this material world we are like fish out of water.  No matter how much nice facility we may have in this world, we are never happy.  What do you think: am I right or wrong?  You agree, I am right?  Of course, all the devotees also agree – otherwise they wouldn’t be devotees.  So yes, we all agree then - that this material world is like being a fish out water, and there’s no amount of material facility that can make us happy here, because this is not our natural environment.  So the chanting makes us happy, because the chanting resituates the spiritual being back in his or her original, spiritual nature.  It’s just like taking the fish and tossing him back in the water.  That little fish is immediately happy like anything, swimming here and there.  So yes, chanting naturally makes us happy.

 Do you have any more questions?

 If you have no more questions, then let me inform you of my special policy.  You might not like my policy.  My policy is this: if you do not ask me questions, then I will ask you questions.  It is much more difficult to be the one who is asked the question than the one who asks the questions.  So if you don’t feel like being, as we say in English, “picked on” – by being asked what could be very pointed questions, in front of everyone in this room – then you would be intelligent to ask me some questions. 

 Q3 –Would you please tell us who Krishna is?

 A3 – Aah . . . this is the most wonderful of all questions.  I am so happy you have asked this question.

 Who is Krishna?  Krishna is called Bhagavan – this means “the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”  Krishna is the original source from which everything is coming.  In the Bible He is called “God.”  He is that original, supreme Person, and he is all-attractive.

 All of the qualities in this world which attract us are found in Krishna to an unlimited degree.  What are the qualities that attract us?  The first quality that attracts us is power.  If someone is very powerful, then everyone wants to see [him].  Consider, who is powerful in this world?  George Bush.  You might not like him, but he is powerful.  If George Bush were walking down the street in Kouvola, everyone would be looking – “Oh, there’s George Bush; he has come to Kouvola.”  Another quality that attracts us is beauty.  If Miss Universe were to walk into the room, all eyes would see – especially all the men would want to see – “Oh, Miss Universe has come; let us see that woman who has been voted the most beautiful woman in the universe; let us see what is her beauty.”  Another quality that attracts us is renunciation.  Just like Mother Teresa - she was a very, very renounced lady.  Because of her being so renounced she became dear to the whole world.  Another quality that attracts us in knowledge.  If Albert Einstein were to come to Kouvola, everyone would like to go hear Albert Einstein . . . Or if someone is very wealthy – like if Bill Gates were to come to town, everyone would want to see: “Oh, Bill Gates is here.”  If even you don’t have any other quality – beauty, knowledge, wealth, renunciation – if you can somehow become famous, then you’ll also become very attractive.  Just like the Beatles – from out of nowhere, they became famous, and everybody was interested to see: “Oh, the Beatles are coming.”  So these are the qualities that attract us:  power, beauty, renunciation, knowledge, wealth, and fame.

 If you study all the personalities in history - if you study all the personalities that ever existed throughout the entire universe in all of history - you will see that nobody equals or excels Krishna in power, beauty, renunciation, knowledge, wealth or fame.  Therefore Krishna is all-attractive.  Every feature that attracts us exists in Krishna in full, beyond what anyone else possesses.  Srila Prabhupada explains that actually God has no name – because He has so many millions and billions of names, you can’t say that He has any one name.  But, as Prabhupada explains, if there is any one name which should be given to God, that name is Krishna, because He is all-attractive.

 Lord Sri Krishna is residing forever in His spiritual abode.  He never becomes an old man with a beard.  He always stays as a fresh youth – a sixteen-year-old boy.  He always wears a beautiful peacock feather in His hair.  And he plays the flute so beautifully that it attracts everyone to hear His beautiful flute music.  From time to time He comes to this universe to bless us with His association.  Five thousand years ago He appeared in India in a place called Vrindavana.  And that place is still celebrated even today as the most holy of all pilgrimage places.  Last night we saw some slides of Vrindavana.  This is why India is such a holy place – because whenever Lord Krishna decides to come to this universe, He comes to this planet Earth and he goes to that place called Vrindavana, India, because He loves that place more than any other.  Just as might love your Kouvola, Krishna loves His Vrindavana; that is His home here.

 That very same Krishna, who lives in the spiritual world eternally, and who from time to time manifests on this earthly plane, is also living in your heart right now.  And if you will chant His names with love and devotion - Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna / Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama / Rama Rama, Hare Hare – then you will feel His loving kindness upon you, and your dormant love for Him will become awakened.  This is the perfection of spiritual life.  It is called Krishna prema:  pure love of Krishna.

 So that’s a little something about Krishna.  We could go on for millions of years telling you about Krishna because the glories of Krishna are unlimited.  Every morning we study from a book called the Srimad Bhagavatam.   It is all about Krishna.  It has 18,000 verses, and it is only the tip of the iceberg of Krishna’s unlimited glories.  Lord Brahma, the first created being in this universe, has written beautiful, beautiful prayers describing Lord Krishna -   perfectly composed Sanskrit poetry:

 isvarah paramah krsnah
sac-cid-ananda-vigrah
anadir adir govindah
sarva-karana-karanam

 In this way he has described Krishna.  He says isvarah paramah krsnah: the supreme controller is Krishna.  Sac-cid-ananda-vigrah: he has and eternal form which is full of bliss and knowledge.  Anadir adir govindah: Krishna is anadir, which means that He has no origin.  He doesn’t come from anything anywhere else.  Adir means that Krishna is the origin of everything, and govindah, that He is known as Lord Govinda, one who gives pleasure to the cows.  And sarva-karana-karanam means that Krishna is the cause of all causes.  So in this way Lord Brahma has so beautifully glorified Lord Krishna:

cintamani-prakara-sadmasu kalpa vrksa
laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam
laksmi-sahasra-sata-sambhrama-sevyamanam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

 In this way Lord Brahma has written many beautiful prayers describing Lord Sri Krishna.  So if you would like to study this subject matter of Krishna, you will find an unlimited wealth of information.  You can fill up your entire life studying what Krishna is, and you will never feel tired.  By that absorption in loving service to Krishna, that day will come when Krishna will personally reveal Himself to you.  But He only reveals Himself to those who are fully in love with Him.  So simply try to develop your love for Krishna.  That is our request.  Have you seen Krishna’s painting?  On the right and the center paintings – that’s Krishna with the cow, playing the flute; and in the middle is Krishna with the topmost of all His devotes, Srimati Radharani.  Here’s Krishna when He was a little baby.  So simply try to develop your love for Krishna; simply try to develop your Krishna consciousness and your life will be sublime.

 Are there any other questions? . . .

 We’ll stop our formal presentation at this time.  You can meet individually with any of the devotees; if anyone wants to meet with me also, I’m available.

 We thank you all very much for coming tonight.  We have come together by Krishna’s arrangement; let us always remain together by chanting

 Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

 

Thank you very much.

__________________________________________

Transcribed by Her Grace Labangalatika devi dasi

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