Lecture at the Hindu
Temple of Birmingham, AL
SDA: Weíre very happy to be here tonight with all of you ladies and gentlemen. Whenever gatherings like this happen, it is a most auspicious thing. There are so many gatherings in this material world. People are gathering for stock exchange. Theyíre gathering for cinema. Theyíre gathering for so many things, but when we can gather to realize who we are, who is God, what is our relationship with God, that is a very special thing. Why is it special? The Lord Himself actually manifests in that meeting.
Weíre reading tonight from Bhagavad-Gita, 5th Chapter, text 29.
One who knows Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices, austerities, the supreme owner of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.
There is a great call for peace now all over the world. The political leaders are saying that we have to have peace. If you elect me I will bring peace. Thatís the political platform of peace. They should take a hint from Bhagavad-Gita. That is the actual formula for peace. As long as we try to make peace based on some material formula like the League of Nations, United Nations, they will always remain imperfect.
Peace must be based upon God. Otherwise it is artificial. You may have peace temporarily, but again war will break out. Just imagine one body of water. If I throw a rock at that body of water, concentric circles will spread out in that pond. If you throw your rock in the water then you throw your rock in the water, what happens to those waves? They clash. But if each and every one of us can throw our rock in exactly the same spot, then there is no clash.
Everyone can still throw their rock in the pond, but we must find that central point that is common to everyone. That is the peace formula. You must find that common point which is true for everyone whether youíre a Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Jain, Sikh, even an Atheist. What is that common central point whether youíre an animal, a plant, a god in the heavenly planets, svargaloka or youíre being punished down in the nether-regions for your past sins, what is that common point that unites us all?
Krishna here is giving us some insider information. There are three things we must understand. God can be a vague idea, but Krishna here is giving us some concrete information. We can actually understand what the real meaning of the word God is.
Bhoktaram yajna-tapasam is the first point. Second: Sarva-loka-mahesvaram. The third point is Suhrdam sarva-bhutanam. The first point is that Krishna, God is the supreme enjoyer. Why is He the supreme enjoyer? That is the second point.
Sarva-loka-mahesvaram. I am the owner of everything. All the planets are My property. Just like in married life, the husband enjoys his wife, but he cannot enjoy other menís wives. That is sinful. If you are the proprietor, just like you have your house, you enjoy your house, or your car. Whatever you own you have a right to enjoy. So, because God owns everything, itís all for His pleasure.
This is two of the three points. The third point: Suhrdam sarva-bhutanam. In the Sanskrit language, there are different words for friend. There is Mitra, bandhu and suhrt. Hrt means heart. Suhrt means bosom friend, a very close intimate friend. Suhrdam sarva-bhutanam. Krishna is that very intimate, close friend of all living entities, not just some casual relationship like mitra. Or a little closer like bandhu. He is the most dear intimate friend. Just consider how dear a friend is Sri Krishna.
He manifests in the heart as paramatma. A four-armed form of Vishnu within the heart. That is Krishnaís expanded form. According to the Vedas, we transmigrate from this birth to that birth to that birth. We are in that samsara-cakra. This is like a prison, and we are going from this cell to that cell, to this cell to that cell. But this suhrt paramatma, Krishna in the heart, He is such a dear friend that He comes with us.
If you got convicted of some crime, and you got sentenced to five years in prison, just think which of your friends would give you five years to keep you company in jail. Can you think of any friends that would give up five years to keep you company in prison? It would be hard to think of which one of my friend would be willing to come into prison for five years. They may come once a week to visit me, and bring me some gifts, and cheer me up. But of all my dear friends, who would come and sit with me for five years in prison? That is Krishna.
Weíre going from this cell to that cell, this cell to that cell, lifetime after lifetime and Krishnaís going with us at every minute as paramatma, the four-armed form of Vishnu in the heart. He is coming with us from body to body to body as our best friend. And what is He doing? Heís just waiting for that day when we will come back to Him.
There is a nice simile given in the Vedic literatures to describe the Lord in the heart. It is described there in a simile fashion that there are two birds sitting in the tree. This body is the tree. In that tree there are two birds sitting. One bird is eating the fruits of the tree, thatís us. The other bird is witnessing us while we eat the fruits of the tree. That is Krishna, or paramatma. Every time we go through births and deaths, we just go from one tree to another, thatís all. The bird is still there, but the body is different. Just a different tree. We are the fruit eating bird, trying to enjoy this material world as a human, trying to enjoy in this form and that form. The other bird, who is the witness, who is that paramatma, that suhrt, wherever we go, He flies along with us and sits there side by side with us as a witness. There are actually two selves within our heart. There is us, the individual living being, and there is God Himself: paramatma, Krishna.
If we can realize these three wonderful qualities of God, the result will be weíll become completely peaceful. Jnatva mam santim rcchati. He achieves peace, one who knows Me in this way. Jnatva mam one who knows me, peace he attains. Sanskrit kind of reverses it from English. Jnatva mam santim rcchati. Knowing Me, peace he achieves. Knowing Me, as I have mentioned with these three things, then he achieves peace.
So, if you look out at the world, you see people killing one another. Terrorists blowing up so many things. It means we are not knowing Godís three features. Supreme enjoyer, Supreme proprietor, Supreme friend. As a world society, we have failed to realize what is God. That is a fact. They may realize. They may not realize. But at least we can realize. We know these great saints of India, the great rsis, sadhus, they can be in the midst of complete turmoil on all sides, but theyíre not disturbed. This is the beauty of our Vedic culture of India. Of course there are saints all over the world. Thereís no doubt there are Christian saints, there are some Muslims who are actually austere and saintly Iíve heard.
We donít say that religion is exclusive property of India. Thereís religious principles everywhere, but we see the most highly advanced understanding in the Vedic world. Its like in dictionaries. You can have a little pocket dictionary. You can have a collegiate dictionary, and you can have a full unabridged dictionary. Very heavy. You cannot carry that, you have to put it somewhere and leave it sitting there. If you try to carry it with you, even if you have a backpack, youíll have a hard time carrying an unabridged dictionary. Its so big. The Vedic wisdom, that is the unabridged dictionary.
How is it that the sages had so many names for God? How is it possible? Here in the West, they just have one name, God. They say the Lord. One or two names like Jehovah. A few names only. How is it the sages of India had so many names for God? How is that? Iíll give you a very simple example. You know the Eskimos living in the north pole? They have many names for ice. Many many many names for ice. In America and India, we donít have many names for ice. I know Iím from Texas and we just call it ice. Just one word because we rarely see it. Thank God. But the Eskimos have many many many names for ice. Why? Because theyíre intimately associated with it all the time. They say thereís type, thereís that type, this stage that stage. They have it down. They know the science of ice, inside and outside.
The great Vedic sages had so many names. We have Vishnu Sarasranama. That is only the tip of the iceberg. There are millions and billions and trillions of names for God. A thousand names is just a little sample. One thousand names of God is nothing. Nothing. Nothing. How is it? Because the most intimate knowledge of God exists in India.
Now India is rushing after technology so these things are becoming more and more forgotten, so we have to preserve this cultural heritage of India. Technologically, India may be backward, but technology is not everything. There are two tracks. In the Isopanishad it describes.
The train is running on two tracks. If you want the full blessings of immortality, you must cultivate material knowledge and spiritual knowledge side by side. Both things. In our colleges and state universities, they say no spiritual knowledge. Material knowledge only. This is wrong. There must be spiritual knowledge and material knowledge, side by side. If we want the full blessings of immortality. This is stated in the Isopanishad.
We see so much material knowledge, but how chaotic the world is now. We have so much material advancement. This is an mp3 recorder. Forty gigabytes are in this little recorder. Can you imagine? How many hundreds of lectures I can record, when I travel all over the world, so my disciples can easily transfer to CDs. We have very great advancement in material technology. Now you can even get a little mp3 recorder on your watch that will record nine hours. Thatís now available. The technology is so advanced but were now in more of a chaotic condition on this planet than ever before.
If Al Qaida gets ahold of nuclear weapons, you can just imagine what will be the situation. Just imagine if President Bush gets an emergency phone call. The Al Qaida is saying, we have nuclear weapons planted in the heart of Manhattan and you must give in to our demands, or we will activate the nuclear explosion. President Bush says no we donít negotiate with terrorists. Iíll give you five minutes, George. Five minutes later the whole New York City goes up in a mushroom cloud. Complete destruction. These things are not out of the realm of possibility now. What has happened with the world situation?
But we have great hope. Krishna is saying, Here is the formula for peace. If this scientific knowledge of God can be universally taught throughout the world, then we wonít have to face such calamities and death. Therefore Iíve dedicated my whole life for this. I couldíve earned a very good living working corporate America. But, Iíve given all that up. My wife is also with me. Weíve given this up and weíve simply dedicated our whole life for spreading this scientific knowledge of Vedic wisdom all over the world for the benefit of all the living beings. The world is in a very very dangerous position at this very minute. Here is the solution for all of the problems.
The politicians cannot give it. Theyíve proven that theyíre not able to solve the problems. By material means you cannot solve the problems. How many years have they been trying to find Osama Bin Laden, and even if they find him, somebody else will be there to take his place. You cannot do it by military means, by economic means. You must do it by spiritual means. Thatís how you can bring solid peace and happiness to the world. Material political, economical things are alright. Those can also be there. In the Vedic culture all the aspects are there. You have Brahmana Ksatriya Vaisya and Sudra. Brahmanas are the head, ksatriyas are the arms vaisyas are the belly and sudras are the legs. Everybody works together in harmony under the direction of the brahmanas who are the head.
The brahmanas in the original Vedic culture were very pure. Lovers of God. Not that they were interested what they can get. They were interested in how they can give to everyone, and bless everyone. Even during the time of that great Indian king, Chandragupta. Who was his brahmana? Canakya Pandita. Chandragupta offered him to come live in the palace. He said no. He lived in a simple hut outside of the kingís palace. A simple hut he was living in. He didnít want any opulence. Even though the king is willing to give him everything. It was because of the expert guidance of Canakya Pandita that Alexander the Great was not able to conquer India. This Canakya Pandita was brilliant in morality, spiritual value, politics. He was expert in everything, but he didnít want anything for himself. He just wanted to give service. Live very simply.
Even in more recent times, 500 years ago in India in our Hare Krishna movement we have our world headquarters in West Bengal. Youíll be hearing more about it. Weíre going to build the most magnificent temple in the world. It is in the planning stages now. Weíre going to build the most magnificent temple in the world. It will rival any temple thatís ever been built on the face of this planet. Its now being planned. One of our devotees, Ambarish prabhu, he is the great grandson of Henry Ford. He has some good means to organize and help this project go forward. Being a member of the Ford family and he is taking a leadership role to organize this construction. Youíll be hearing about this. It will be the most beautiful magnificent temple in the entire world built in West Bengal on the bank of the ganga, the Ganges.
Five hundred years ago there was a city nearby called Krishnanagar. There was one king, Krishnacandra. He heard that there was one brahmana in his kingdom who was in a state of poverty. So, he said no no. No brahmanas can be in poverty in my kingdom. I cannot tolerate such a thing. The brahmanas must be well cared for. No brahmana can be suffering in my kingdom, so he went to where this brahmana was. The young boys would come and he would teach them Sanskrit, Bhagavad-Gita and Vedic knowledge.
He came and said that I see youíre in poverty condition. I want to give you some wealth. Youíre impoverished my dear brahmana. He said impoverished condition? You see this tamarind tree here? I have no difficulties. My students, when they come for lessons, they bring some rice in their hands. My wife, she cooks that rice and she takes the tamarind leaf and boils it with the rice and we eat very nicely. The rice with tamarind. So, I donít need any support. Iím very well cared for by Godís arrangement.
This was the actual brahmanas. They werenít interested in any money. They just wanted to give knowledge, they wanted to give service. Thatís all. It even carried over into the early days of the Greek empire. The early Greek empire was founded by kings of India. The son or grandsons of Maharaja Tejas, the Indian king, they founded the Greek and Roman Empire. Indian culture was actually the whole world in former times. Especially the early Greek philosophers believed in reincarnation. They believed in knowledge passed down from previous gurus, which is the Indian system. Krishna says in the Gita:
This knowledge is understood through a line of gurus. Coming down from Krishna Himself. So the early Greek philosophers also had this idea that we have traditional knowledge coming down from previous teachers. Alexander the Great, the famous warrior, there was one of the Greek philosophers named Diogenes, heís famous for his austerity. He was living in a barrel. He didnít live in a house. He just found one barrel and thatís where he lived inside the barrel. So, Alexander came to him and said, my dear Diogenes, youíre living here in this barrel, is there any way I can be of any service to you? He looked up and said yes, you can get out of the way. Youíre blocking the light.
Those whoíre actually knowledgeable donít want to take anything or have some money exchange. They are not greedy for money. They are not greedy for prestige. They are not greedy for power. They have no desire like that. They simply want to give knowledge. They dedicate their whole life for giving knowledge. What is the knowledge they are giving? The knowledge here from the Vedic wisdom.
If the society in general can be educated to understand, whether we call God as Krishna Allah Jehovah Rama Vishnu Govinda Christ, this is not the point. The point though is to understand what is the science of God. Why do we argue over the name of God, when we must understand the science of God. There is that person that Supreme Being who actually is the enjoyer of everything because He owns everything and Heís the best friend. If these three points can be understood, then all of the points of the world can be solved. This must be taught everywhere. It must be taught in the schools. But the schools are saying no, nothing about God.
If you try to teach about God, some atheist will make a court case. When I was a boy, growing up in America, every day we would pray to God. Public school. Every day. There was no drugs, and there was no guns. And we prayed every day. So, now the Supreme Court has ruled that you cannot have prayer in schools. They got rid of prayers then in came the drugs, and in came the guns and they cant figure out why we have this drugs problem and gun problem in the schools. They cant figure out that it because we took the prayer out. They cant understand these things.
The Supreme Court Justices are so dull headed that they canít understand. The government leaders are so dull that they canít understand. There may be a few that can understand, but theyíre in the minority. The majority canít understand. Because we took God out, therefore, all these problems have come in. You have to have something. You canít just take everything away and expect people to be peaceful. You have to have some basis for peace. And this is the basis of peace. To put God back in the center. That is the basis for peace.
Theyíre thinking, well we can have peace by the United Nations. God is not the center of the United Nations. Thatís why there are so many wars going on all over the world. Ever since the United Nations was formed there was never a day where the whole world was peaceful. Never one day since the U.N. was formed was there a day without some conflict on the planet. The United Nations has been an absolute failure because God is not in the center. Thatís the problem. In the Krishna consciousness movement, we are trying to build a spiritually united nations. Weíre having very nice success. We have centers all over the world.
In fact, the Russian Government has donated land for us to build a Krishna temple in Moscow. Itís a huge opulent Radha Krishna temple in Moscow. That is inconceivable. A few years ago, who could imagine, the Russian government donating land for a Radha Krishna temple. In America the government wonít do such a thing because of separation of church and state. But in Russia, which was formerly the bastion of atheism, now the Russian government is donating land for a Radha Krishna temple. So, weíre working all over the world, in the Hare Krishna movement. Weíre working all over the world to create this atmosphere and understanding not just in the Hindus, but in everyone. The Christian, the Muslim, the atheist, Jews, we can all understand we have a common denominator, thatís that there is a supreme being, weíre all His children, weíre meant to understand Him as the supreme enjoyer, the supreme proprietor, and the supreme friend.
Weíre working to educate the whole human society. Normal welfare work we do too. We have devotees feeding the tsunami victims in Sri Lanka right now. The Hungarian government donated 20,000 dollars to help the Hare Krishna movement do the tsunami relief. Weíre doing all this aspect too, but after all the villages are rebuilt, then what are we going to do? Simply building villages and feeding is not all. After you get the villages rebuilt and the people all fed again and well situated, then you have to give them knowledge of who they actually are. That youíre not your material body. Youíre an eternal spirit soul. Part and parcel of God. You have to educate them in higher spiritual knowledge and understanding so these conflicts donít break out.
That we are doing. That is our mission. We are doing this mission. We ask you to kindly cooperate with us in this program. Kindly cooperate with us to make the world peaceful. Let us work together as a team and make this world peaceful and happy for everyone, in every corner of the world. Why only in America should they have prosperity? Does that make sense? Itís nice if we get situated here by birth, or by immigration. Itís nice if youíre situated in a prosperous land. Who wouldnít want to be? But why should other people be stuck in a poverty condition? Is that a very nice thing? So many Indian villages and third-world countries, why should they be stuck in a poverty condition?
If this scientific understanding of God can be spread all over the world, every man woman and child can be peaceful and prosperous on this planet. Well clothed well fed and well housed. Everyone. You think God cannot feed everyone? Thereís enough facilities for everyone to be well fed. In India, even the animals are starving and skinny. You can see their ribs. So, our Krishna consciousness movement means that the animals should even be fatty and happy. What to speak of human beings. Everyone.
It is possible because the Lord is the father of all living beings. We have mothers and fathers here. Donít you make sure that your children are well situated? Theyíre well fed. Theyíre well clothed, thereís sufficient funds for their education. Donít you personally see to that as a labor of love for your children? Of course you do. So, if ordinary parents here in this world do so much for their family, how much will God do? He has unlimited ability to provide everything. God is already doing it, so why arenít people getting it? Because itís being mismanaged.
The material facilities are being mismanaged. The politicians are cheating. The people are cheating all the time. Food relief is sent in to third world countries, and people will take it and sell it on the black market. The people never even get it. Thatís why when we do the relief, we personally go and give it out. We donít just send money to some black hole somewhere. We go personally out there and distribute the food, so we know the people are really getting it.
This verse is actually the key to solve all the problems of the whole world. This one verse, if applied and taught throughout the world in every educational institution, promoted by every government, through all channels of media, radio, tv, internet, magazines, newspapers, if this knowledge can be promoted, and so weíre doing that, weíre calling upon all the media outlets, government leaders, colleges and universities, please, weíre asking them all to propagate this verse of Bhagavad-Gita.
This will solve all the problems of the world.
But they say, oh no. Separation of church and state. We can not do it. We will simply teach technology. What can we do? At least those who are fortunate will come forward, hear this knowledge, apply it in their lives and become peaceful and happy. At least those are fortunate will come and get it. We are sad to see that for lack of government support we cannot save so many others from anxiety.
We are very happy to see that you have all assembled to hear these words of Lord Sri Krishna. These words of enlightenment, illumination and great happiness. We are very much appreciative that youíve listened so nicely. If you have any questions, Iíll be happy to try to answer them.
Srila Gurudeva, the Lord is unlimited, therefore His names are unlimited.
SDA: Thatís right.
Every name of the Lord is actually a description of the Lord. Krishna means the all-attractive. Is this correct?
SDA: Sometimes it is said that God has no name. What does that mean? I heard Prabhupada explain this on a tape. Iíll try to remember exactly how he answered it. No name means He has no one particular name. But He has names according to His different qualities, attributes, pastimes and relationships. You canít pin down that this is His one name and thatís it. In that sense He has no name. Actually He has unlimited names.
When mother Yasoda ties Him around the belly with rope, He is called Damodara. The rope-bellied one, literally. God has names according to His qualities pastimes relationships qualities activities and attributes. Thatís how He has no name.
Partha Sarathi. The chariot-driver of Arjuna. Krishna actually relishes these names because He loves His devotees. He likes whatever name thatís in relationship with one of His devotees. Partha Sarathi. He loves that because Arjuna is so dear to Him. He loves if we call Him Arjunaís chariot driver. He just loves that. He just relishes it like anything because Arjuna is so dear to Him. So, in this way, Krishna has unlimited names. Rama, Jehovah, even the non Vedic names are also names of Krishna ultimately. They also have spiritual potency.
Q2: Your mission is to spread the word and make everybody enlightened and happy. You said only if Godís grace is there, will you get it, and the suffering that is there is from the previous karma. How can you change the personís karma?
SDA: Thatís a very intelligent question. I appreciate that question. Youíre a philosopher. I appreciate that. If it requires previous pious activities to be fortunate enough to get the blessings of spiritual enlightenment, then how can you really even help someone? You could say you just have to wait for their karma to come around. Until theyíre ready for it. This is described in the Caitanya Caritamrta. Everyone has heard of Bhagavad-Gita. Bhagavad-Gita is the bachelors degree of Vedic wisdom. You may have also heard of the Bhagavata Purana. That is considered Masters degree. But then there is one not so widely known, Caitanya Caritamrta. That is PhD level. In the Caitanya Caritamrta it is described.
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
That one living entity who is rotating through this karma cakra sometimes going up, sometimes going down throughout the brahmanda wandering by the laws of karma throughout the universe. Bhagyavan means fortunate. So a living entity who is kona bhagyavan jiva, he comes in contact with guru., and by the combined mercy of guru and Krishna, he gets the seed of bhakti planted in the heart. So, even if you are the most sinful man. There is a very nice example.
500 years ago in Navadvipa. There were two gundas, they were the leaders of the gundas. They were horrible. They would rape women, murder. They had no scruples. Anything to make money they would do. They became blessed by the mercy of guru and Krishna. They became great devotees.
Thereís one great Vaisnava song writer named Narottama dasa Thakura. They became such great Vaisnavas that he put there name into a nice bhajan which has been sung for centuries. There song is sung because they got that mercy. So, if one has the good fortune of coming in contact with a bona fide guru, even if youíre the most sinful man, your karma would have you suffer for a hundred thousand lifetimes in a hellish condition, if you come in contact with a bona fide guru, he can plant the seed of bhakti in your heart by his Krishna sakti. It will change your karma. Karma cannot be changed, but by the mercy of guru and Kirishna, it can be changed.
It is stated that by the mercy of guru, you get Krishna. By the mercy of Krishna, you get guru. If, somehow you are fortunate enough to come into contact with a bona fide spiritual master, and when your in that contact, if youíre attentive, and youíre submissive to what heís saying, youíre willing to just drink it in, youíre not fighting him and resisting him intellectually, drinking it in like a sponge, then the guru will actually plant the seed of bhakti in your heart. Then, if you will nurture and nourish that seed of bhakti by chanting the names of God, from that moment, if you take up the practice of chanting the names of God, and give up your sin, no more papa abandon sinful activities, then that seed of bhakti will flourish, and youíll become an enlightened being.
Thatís why the sadhus travelled all over the world so they can plant the seed of bhakti. Just like we have in America that old legendary Jonny Appleseed. Guru is like Jonny Bhakti seed. He travels all over the world looking for a receptive audience so he can plant that seed of bhakti in the heart. So he then encourages them that Iíve planted the seed of bhakti in your heart, now you must chant
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,
and give up sinful life. Stop all forms of meat eating. Donít take intoxicants. Use sex for procreation; donít just use it for recreation, that spoils your energy. And donít waste your money on the lottery, gambling. Chant the names of God, give up sinful activities, then that seed of bhakti wont die. It will actually blossom.
What youíre saying is true, but if you come in contact with a bona fide
spiritual master, and you attentively and submissively hear him, then
everything changes. You
accept that seed of bhakti in
your heart. Everything
changes. Those millions of
lifetimes of karma that you
were stuck in changes.
Thatís what happened to me.
I was blessed by guru. I
was blessed by guru maharaja.
I left that karmic world of mortality when I took
When I surrendered to him, I entered into that realm of
immortality. You can do the
same thing if you like.
Q3. Is there always a separation between me and God?
SDA: In India we know thereís the common controversy, dvaitavada/ advaitavada. Thereís one that says that the real perfection is complete oneness. The other says no there is always twoness. This controversy was actually resolved 500 years ago by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He taught this philosophical principle acintya bhedabheda tattva. Which means that the absolute truth is simultaneously, inconceivably one and different. There is perfect oneness with God, that is a fact. But that oneness contains twoness also. You have oneness and twoness existing simultaneously. The beauty of that is that love is not extinguished. Youíre married. You have a wife. Do you love your wife? Would you like to keep loving your wife? Of course, because thatís your source of happiness and inspiration. That loving relationship with your wife. If you and your wife cease to exist, then you wouldnít be able to love her anymore. You would miss out on that love you have with your wife.
So, love requires two. Krishna and you. At the same time, we donít want any conflict. We want that perfect harmony of oneness, donít we? So, the perfect stage is not just oneness, the perfect is to have oneness and twoness simultaneously. Then you have the perfect harmony of oneness, but you have the ability to exchange love back and forth between the lover and the beloved. So, the bhakti path, some say that in bhakti you ultimately merge, that its all one. That is described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Three different levels of understanding of the absolute truth. One level of understanding is called brahman realization. The next stage is called paramatma realization. Then the ultimate stage is called bhagavan realization.
Those who say that everything is ultimately one, they have reached the level of brahman realization. Everything is spirit. Thatís good. Its better than being a materialistic person, lost in karmic activities. That is good. That is an absolute position of realization. But you can actually go further and deeper.
The next step is called paramatma realization where you realize the four-armed form of Vishnu within your heart and within everything. That four-armed form of Vishnu exists within every atom and between every atom. All pervading. Youíre sitting on Vishnu. Heís in the rug, Heís everywhere. One who can see Vishnu everywhere has achieved paramatma realization. But the highest level, known as bhagavan realization, then you know that beyond this material existence, Krishna has His original abode in the spiritual world.
His intimate pastimes with His devotees are going on eternally there. Let me enter into that lila of Lord Sri Krishna. Such loving exchanges are eternal. That is the real bhakti path. It does not negate the advaitavadis. We accept their principle, but we go deeper. Within that oneness there is twoness. Oneness without variety eventually becomes boring.
Here in this temple room, thereís so many varieties. You have this god, that god. You have so many persons here of so many varieties. If you were to enter into a dimension where there is nothing, everything was absolutely the same, there is no variety, that would become boring after a while. Thereís no form, its all just light. Thereís nobody to talk to. You become lonely.
This is why it is stated in the Bhagavat Purana,
Even though they undergo great penances and austerities kricchrena, to enter into that brahman that oneness, after some time, patanty adho, they fall back down to karma cakra because they hav e no regard for the lotus feet of Krishna.
You may float in the sky of brahman for some time after great penances and austerity, just like you can put a sputnik or satilite into orbit, but after some time it must come back to the planet, weíre planetary creatures by nature. Now, weíre in the material planets, but those who achieve bhagavan realization, they achieve the Krishna planet within the spiritual world.
Those who try to go into outer space, and not onto another planet, are like the oneness philosophy. They may go there for some time. They may be relieved from all the pangs of worldly existence, but unless theyíre qualified by developing love for that Supreme, to enter into His abode and serve Him in love, they come back again, Bhagavatam says, to the material existence.
Theyíre favorite example is a drop of water merging into the ocean. Youíve heard of that one? But if you think about it, ok, the rivers flow into the sea and merge into the ocean, sounds great. But you know what? They donít stay in the ocean. That water evaporates and comes back to the land again. What remains in the ocean are the aquatics, the fish. They stay there.
They donít come out to the land. They stay in the ocean, swimming happily. So, those who embrace the idea of exclusive oneness want to merge into that ocean, but they donít realize that they will evaporate and after some time come back to the worldly existence. But those who actually agree to enter into that ocean as eternal beings, with form and personality, like the fish in the ocean, they remain there. Supreme fishes with form and personality.
The Vedas have these two conceptions. Theyíre both valid conceptions and they actually work in harmony with each other. Some people try to take this idea of absolute oneness and divorce it from the idea of Godís personality. They donít realize that these two concepts work together harmoniously.
The Vaisnavas understand the impersonal oneness principle and integrate it into their philosophy. They keep it. They donít reject it. But the impersonalists reject the idea of a personal God. They kick Him away ultimately. The Vaisnavaís take the impersonal and personal conceptions both as valid. Both work in harmony with each other. That is a higher principle.
Q4: Earlier youíd given a very nice example of two birds. There is one bird thatís eating the fruit and another that is observing. In ignorance we think that I am the bird eating the fruit, but through bhakti or any other path, we come to understand that I am the bird that is observing, and the other bird dies away. Is that right?
SDA: Actually the bird that is enjoying the fruit, he becomes a servant of the witnessing bird.
Q4: But that means that he can never become the witnessing bird, he can never become Krishna.
SDA: Yes. Thatís right. The impersonalistís idea is to become God. But our Vaisnava philosophy is why become God, when you can become greater than God? Is not Mother Yasoda personally running after God with a whipping stick? The advaitavadiis want to merge into God, thinking that is the supreme position. They donít realize that the Vaisnava becomes the controller of God. He becomes greater than God. Look at Arjuna. Heís telling Krishna to drive my chariot this way and that way.
A Vaisnava becomes greater than God. God is ajita He is unconquerable, but He becomes jita or conquered by His devoteeís love. Why do you want to become God? That is an inferior position. You become the servant of God, and by your love, you will conquer and control the Lord. That is a higher position.
Why do you want to take some subordinate position? Take the supreme position. Become a Vaisnava. God will be under your control.
Q4: Arjuna was free of ego, therefore he had submission. But ego is there. Therefore submission can not come.
SDA: Ego has two meanings. Ego means identity. There is false ego and real ego. The false ego is I am the center of everything. I am the center of existence. Everything is for me. In this world everyone is corrupted by false ego. You think youíre the center, I think Iím the center, heís thinking heís the center, sheís thinking sheís the center. Thereís so much conflict. Because weíre all thinking that Iím the center. Iím God. Everybodyís walking around like Iím God. You serve me because Iím the supreme.
Thatís the material disease. Thatís the difficulty with this philosophy that you become God. We all think that weíre God, thatís why weíre butting heads with each other. Youíre not honoring me, and Iím God. Thatís how people act and think. People everywhere think and act like theyíre the center of the Universe. Thereís an old saying that you have to look out for good old number one. Weíre very egocentric, thinking that weíre the center. Because of that, thereís so many conflicts. Our egocentricity is either focused on ourselves or we extend it out to our family, our community, our nation. Its another form of egocentricity. Itís simply extended egocentricity.
The philosophy that Iím God, or I become God, is not practical for solving the problems of the world because it just reinforces the idea that Iím the center. It gives us some basis for continuing to be selfish. Itís also weak in other ways.
When I first studied Indian philosophy this was one of the first books I read. It said actually youíre God, but youíre playing hide-and-go-seek with yourself. YouĎve forgotten and you just have to remember. But how is it possible that if youíre actually God, how is it possible that you can forget youíre God ? How could you lose your position as God? What power could take it away from you? You would never be able to lose that position. That would mean forgetfulness is greater than God. Forgetfulness would be God then.
This philosophy that actually Iím God, Iíve just forgotten it, I just have to remember, may sound very attractive because we are egocentric creatures, we donít like to admit it, but itís a fact. Psychologists are trying to help us get over it so we can live peacefully together, but we are egocentric. In our egocentricity, weíre very attracted to this philosophy that Iím God, I just forgot, now I have to remember it. We think itís great. I tried to make it in politics, I couldnít do that. I tried to make it in education, I didnít make it there. I flunked out. I tried to make it in business, I went bankrupt, but now Iíve got a way to be one up. Iím God.
I wanted to be one up in so many ways and fell flat on my face, but now Iíve got it, Iím God. Now I can be one up by some impersonal philosophy.
Q5: Is the ultimate perfection to merge with God? What is moksa?
SDA: Yes and no. (laughter) Howís that for a clear answer? Merging with God in purpose. Jesus Christ is a perfectly enlightened being. His prayer is a good example. Father, not my will, but Thy will be done. He doesnít say Father, let me become You. He wantís his will to merge with Godís will. We do merge with God in the sense that we merge our purposes with His purpose. I have no will and desire separate from Yours. But we keep our personality separate from so that exchange love with Him. He doesnít want to lose a loving relationship with Him. He wants to have us separate and one at the same time. Totally in harmony with Him, but exchanging love with Him.
Iíll give an example. Here in this temple we have Hanumanji. We know how devoted he is to Lord Rama. If we said Hanuman, you can become Rama and Sita will be yours. He would take his tail and knock you over so hard you wouldnít wake up for five days if you told him he could become Rama. He would be fiercely angry. Youíre telling me I can become Rama!? Get out of here you rascal! I am the servant of Rama.
You go pray to Hanuman and tell him that and see what happens in your dreams tonight. Youíll have horrible nightmares if you do that.
That is a Vaisnava. He never wants to become his master. And that is perfect oneness. Actually, itís a very common philosophy in India.
IT comes from Sankaracarya. When Krishna left this world 5,000 years ago, Vedic culture deteriorated. There used to be yajnaswhere they took an old cow into the sacrificial fire and the same jiva would be rejuvenated with a fresh calfís body. That was the power of the Vedic Brahmanas. So, just prior to the advent of Buddhadeva, the people were saying that the Brahmanas are killing and eating cows! They were distorting the scriptures to justify cow killing. So Buddha appeared.
This is predicted also in Srimad-Bhagavatam 5000 years ago. It even gives his parentís names and everything. So, Buddha came and the people were so degraded that they couldnít here proper Vedic philosophy. So, he said, I reject the Vedas. If you kill cows, youíll get the karmic reaction and suffer like anything. He simply taught ahimsa, nonviolence. He taught atheism.
When the Indian emperor Ashok became Buddhist, Vedic culture was killed and Buddhism became the religion of the whole continent. It was part of a divine plan by Sri Krishna to reestablish Vedic culture. It was step one. The Vedic was so corrupted, just wipe the whole thing out. That was step number one. Step two was to order Lord Shiva to come and introduce this philosophy that you all are talking about. So Sankaracarya came and taught this advaitavada philosophy. How will you attract people to Vedic culture? He took the Vedanta Sutra in which God is sometimes described as being without form. Of course it says both nirguna and saguna. Both things are given. He has qualities and He has no qualities. Both things are given.
But through expert word jugglery and arguments, he was able to put forward this idea establishing the impersonal oneness and that you have to merge into that oneness. Just what you are all talking. This was taught by Sankaracarya many centuries ago in India for the purpose of driving out Buddhism and reestablishing Vedic culture.
First thing was wipe it all out. Get rid of the Vedic culture completely because it was so corrupt. Then introduce it in an impersonal way that will attract the atheistic Buddhists, that was step number two. Then Krishna sent a whole slew of Vaisnava acaryas beginning with Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Nibarkacarya, Visnusvami and finally Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It came to the point of acintya bhedabheda tattva expounded by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Inconceivably and simultaneously one and different.
Sankaracarya himself was actually a Vaisnava. At the end of his life he sang
Bhaja Govinda Bhaja Govinda Bhaja Govinda Mudha Mate
His own disciples he called mudhas. Rascals, fools, asses. Your grammatical knowledge and word jugglery will not save you at the time of death, you simply worship Govinda worship Govinda Worship Govinda. But they didnít want to hear anything of it. Why should I worship Govinda? I am Govinda. They didnít take his final instruction. They only took the earlier instruction that actually, you are God, you just have to realize it by merging.
That was simply a device to attract the atheistic people. If someone is an atheist, they donít believe in God, and you tell them that actually you are God, theyíll think maybe Iíll believe in God after all. If Iím God it sounds pretty good. I think I can believe in God again if Iím God. It sounds pretty good.
It was a device to gradually introduce the full Vaisnava culture expounded clearly in the Gita. Its clearly given in the Bhagavad-Gita. Krishna says surrender unto Me. How many times does the word Me appear in the Bhagavad-Gita? Have you counted it? Mam?
The impersonalists say that is not Krishna, the impersonal brahman is speaking through Krishna. But, where does Krishna ever say it is the impersonal brahman? Krishna says brahmano hi pratisthaham. I am the source of that impersonal brahman. Nowhere in the Gita does it say this is the impersonal brahman speaking through the mouth of Krishna who is simply some allegory, illusory manifestation of brahman.
Q6: Every religion speaks of peace, so why is there so much conflict?
SDA: Because theyíve lost the actual religion. Theyíve bastardized it into what we call religiosity. The pure essence of religion has been lost in the kali yuga. Thatís the problem.
Religion is one, it cannot be two. Because God is one. How many suns are in the sky. There is one. We may have many names for it. You may call it the sun. In Hindi you may call it surya. In Spanish, el sol. But the sun is only one. Do we start a war that itís el sol? No! Itís the sun! No, itís surya!
Thatís whatís happening right now in the world.
The religious leaders themselves do not have the proper knowledge. Theyíre teaching improper concepts to their people. They donít know the science of God. Thereís a universal science of God. Theyíve politicized it. Theyíve made a sectarian political thing and spoiled it.
VPM: Theyíre teaching religion based on their bodily concept of life, therefore there will be conflict.
SDA: The problem is we still think weíre this body. Thatís where ignorance begins. If you think that Iím a male, Iím a female, Iím an Indian, Iím a Christian, thatís the problem. We have to come to the platform: aham brahmasmi, Iím spirit. Spirit is one, spirit cannot be two. Of course weíre individual spirit souls, but weíre all of the same quality. Not that thereís female spirits and male spirits and Hindu spirits and Christian spirits. No. A spirit is the same quality no matter what sort of ethnic background you have or religious tradition you have.
Weíre all the same. So, why are we fighting? Weíve made these bodily distinctions. I am Hindu, Iím American, Iím male, Iím female, Iím black, Iím white. Weíve made all these bodily distinctions. We have to get off the bodily platform. Then we can come to the level of peace.
VPM: Then they will understand religion also.
SDA: Yes, thatís right. Absolutely. We will absolutely understand religion if we get off the bodily platform. I try to avoid using the word Hindu because its another sectarian concept. Actually the word was coined by the Muslims. Its not even our word. They imposed it on us actually.
We took it. Alright, Iím a Hindu. At a time the Muslims were ruling. So, alright youíre the ruler, so if you say Iím a Hindu, Iím a Hindu. But actually that is a word coined by the Muslims. The true universal religion is called sanatana-dharma :The eternal occupation of the soul. Itís the same for everyone on the whole planet. The dharma of the living entity is to render service to the supreme. That is inseparable. Everyone wants to serve.
Q7 : How do we go about attaining that perfect oneness in twoness?
SDA: Krishna makes a point, He says:
Just try to learn the truth by approaching Sri Guru, the spiritual master, inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.
So, if you approach guru to get knowledge of how to achieve perfect oneness in twoness. Guru will enlighten you how to do it. It is described in Bhagavad-Gita in detail.
Actually, you can take this card. We have an e-course. Itís very popular on the internet now. Thousands of people all over the globe are taking my free e-course now. You can just write your email address. Sheís offering it to enroll you. If you donít want to do the typing, you can write it on a piece of paper and she will make sure youíre enrolled. Do you have a piece of paper? If anybody wants to be enrolled we have a little sign-up sheet.
Its free. Itís a regular thing with a remove me link on the bottom, if you decide that you donít like it. We have a course where we can train you how you can do this. In a one hour lecture, I canít give you everything. I get you started, but we give personal council all free of charge. We do this as a service for you. If you want to achieve this perfect state of oneness and twoness simultaneously, we will teach you how to do this step by step and give you personal counseling. Go to backtohome.com.
Every day people are signing up from all over the world for our free course. It just keeps growing and growing and growing. I never had any idea that it would be this popular. I have to travel all over the world now. I was sitting there in Austin Texas and I had this idea to go on the web and teach self-realization. Now I travel all over the world.
After this trip Iím going to Europe. To Finland, to Latvia, we go to India. We have students all over India. Now we have students in Australia. Mataji and I are travelling all over the world now. Email is one thing, but face to face meeting is the most powerful thing. So I have to travel so my students can see me. I can personally guide them and train them.
The basic principles are given in the Bhagavad-Gita. Everything is there. Krishna is saying satatam kirtayanto mam. If you chant the names of God, of course there are thousands and millions of names, and they are all powerful and potent, but the Vedic sages have given specifically in the Kali Santarana Upanisad, that these names are the most powerful and potent in this age for realizing the truth:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
Krishna also recommends in chapter three that My devotees are released from all papa because they offer their food to Me before eating. So this is the basic practice. If you want some daily disciplined activity, then you chant the Hare Krishna mantra, and Krishna doesnít take meat fish or eggs, so you take your fruits vegetables, dairy products and grains and make them as an offering to Sri Krishna. Donít just give Him some sugar candy. Whatever you eat you offer to Sri Krishna. You chant His name.
Do these two things and that will jump start your spiritual perfection. Work with me individually personally. Me and mataji will guide you personally through telephone and we will also be coming back here a little later on in Spring. We can meet with you personally. If you want to take this seriously, weíll give you all personal guidance and love to help you achieve it. We need to order some of these books.
This Bhagavad-Gita As It Is is the most lucid explanation and elaborate commentary by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, my Guru Maharaja. This is the most popular copy, far and above. Its translated into dozens of languages. There is even an Arabic copy. Some Muslim people became Vaisnavas and risk their lives to translate it into Arabic.
VPM: In Kazakhstan the Muslims are becoming devotees.
SDA: Itís a completely Muslim country and one of our Vaisnava preachers went there. He risked his life to go in there. Let me take a chance to preach Krishna bhakti. The Muslims are building a Krishna temple. You can imagine. Many of the Muslims have become Vaisnavas wearing tilak and dhoti and chanting Hare Krishna. Thereís one lady in Turkey whoís invited me to come there.
Weíre planning to go to Istanbul to preach Krishna bhakti in Turkey. She is distributing my e-course and translating it into the Turkish language. She has an email list of Muslim people sheís giving my lessons. Weíre trying to make a revolution. Some people say that Hindus donít spread it. But actually there are many of the great saints of India who were very much eager to distribute the knowledge also, not just keep it.
Is the Supreme Lord Hindunath or Jagannath? If He is Jagannath, then everyone can appreciate Him. Why should we keep Him only for the Hindus? They do that in Puri still. I went there. I have been strictly following Vaisnava principles. Iím an initiated brahmana. Iím one of the greatest gurus in the history of the world. But they would not let me into Jagannath temple. They said that you are not born Hindu, you cannot come.
VPM: I was interrogated too.
She was with me so they thought she was polluted by associating with one of these angrayzes, but somehow she got in. I had to sit outside and they wanted me to give them money. I asked is the Lord Jagannath, or Hindunath? He is Jagannath so I am also part of jagat, this universe, so Heís my Lord also. Why are you not allowing me in? But they would not budge. Crazy people sometimes.
Theyíre very proud. Yes I am Brahmin and I keep all the non-Hindus away from Jagannath.
VPM: They have conflicts between Hindus and Muslims.
SDA: This is called sectarian consciousness. Dividing, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, now letís fight. No. Jagannath means we are all the children of God. All one family. Why are we fighting? Let us all love God together. Let us all bow down together. Weíll have one big kirtan we will chant Hare Krishna, they sing Allahu Akbar, they sing Praise Jesus. One big Super Maha Kirtan. It can all come together in one big voice. Why should we fight?
We recognize all the great saints. We recognize Mohammad. Actually he was a great saint, but he was preaching to murderers in the desert. Why is the Koran so low-class compared to the Vedas? Because he had to tell them donít have sex with your mother. Low class desert gundas. Donít have sex with your mother he had to tell them. So its no wonder that there are still some rough and tumble scalliwag type characters to begin with. But Mohammad was a great saint dealing with very low class people trying to elevate them. Christ was a great saint, Mohammad was great saint. Thereís no reason we canít come together and find a common ground.
The politicians are not allowing it because they use that animosity between the people to keep themselves in power.
If anyone wants to talk with me personally, privately they can come. Those who we talked with last night about the aryan invasion theory, Iíd like to give them the link. Western scholars say that the aryan culture came from Europe. When they discovered India they found it to be so advanced that they concluded that it couldnít have originated in India. It must have come from Europe. So they invented a whole theory that it originated in Europe and I have a scholarly article that shows it is bogus.
Ours is not simply dry philosophy where we just talk and go, no. We distribute prasadam also.
Transcribed by His Grace Jagannatha Dasa