His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Sofia University Lecture

Sofia, Bulgaria (5 May 2006)

 

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah

[Sri Guru Pranama]

 

sri-caitanya-mano-bhistam sthapitam yena bhu-tale
svayam rupah kada nahyam dadati sva-padantikam

[Sri Rupa Pranama

vande ‘ham sri-guroh sri-yuta-pada-kamalam sri-gurun vaisnavams ca
sri-rupam sagrajatam saha-gana-raghunathanvitam tam sa-jivam
sadvaitam savadhutam parijan-sahitam krsna-caitanya-devam
sri-radha-krsna-padan saha-gana-lalita-sri-visakhanvitams ca

[Mangalacarana]

he krsna karuna-sindho dina-bandho jagat-pate
gopesa gopika-kanta radha-kanta namo ‘stu te

[Sri Krnsa Pranama]

tapta-kancana-gaurangi radhe vrndavanesvari
vrsabhanu-sute devi pranamami hari-priye

[Sri Radha Pranama]

vancha-kalpataryubyas ca krpa sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavenebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah

[Sri Vaisnava Pranama]

sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda
sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda

[Panca-tattva Maha-mantra]

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

[Hare Krsna Maha-mantra]

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that I come today to your great university here in the great city of Sofia, in the great country of Bulgaria.  We are traveling all over the world to describe the way of life, culture and religion, and the objects of philosophical research of the Vedas.

There is one common factor that we all share.  What is that one thing that we all share with each other?  That is called ‘life.’  I am living and you are also living.  At least, it seems that we are all living.  Sometimes we may feel like we’re dead, also.  But actually, we are all living.  So life is one thing that we all share together. 

So what is the object of philosophical research?  The actual object of philosophical research is how to get the most out of life.  It’s just like when you go shopping at the grocery store you want to get the most for your money.  Don’t you?  Similarly, when we live our lives, we should see how we can get the most out of our lives. 

So what is it that we are looking for in our lives?  Happiness, right?  Is there anybody here who doesn’t want to get happiness out of life?  If you don’t want happiness out of your life, please raise your hand.  Nobody raised their hand.  I didn’t see a one of you raise your hand.  Therefore I can understand that every one of you would like happiness out of your life.  Does anybody disagree with my philosophical conclusion?  Everybody in this room wants to get happiness out of their life.  So this is the object of philosophical research: how to get happiness out of your life. 

Now, the good news is that there are two states of living.  There is natural life and there is unnatural life.  The good news is that natural life is full of bliss.  Natural life is happy life; unnatural life is unhappy life.  So all we really have to do to tap into a life of unlimited happiness is to learn how to be natural.  The difficulty is, in our modern-day society we are taught to be unnatural.  Therefore, in spite of all of our attempts to be happy, in so many ways we are unhappy.  So all we really have to do through philosophical research is to understand how to wake up and actually become happy.

So I’ve come all the way from America – I’m traveling all around Europe; I have been to Germany, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania – and now I have come to Bulgaria to share with you the secret of life: how to get happiness at every minute.  Not just a little happiness, but unlimited happiness.  That, I will teach you how to attain.  If you will listen carefully to my lecture tonight, I will teach each and every one of you how to achieve a state of unlimited happiness. 

If I told you that you had a treasure of ten trillion Euros buried in your backyard, would that get you interested?  How many of you could use having ten trillion Euros in your bank account?  Would that get you interested if I told you how you could get ten trillion Euros tonight, or not?  “Nah – who cares about ten trillion Euros?  I’ve already got all the money I need; I don’t need ten trillion Euros.”  But tonight I’m going to offer you a technique – I’m going to teach you a method which will enable you to achieve a fortune which is more valuable than ten trillion Euros.  But you can’t sleep!  You have to wake up and pay attention.  If you sleep you’ll miss it!  So everyone kindly wake up and pay attention, because tonight I am going to give you the most valuable information you’ve ever been exposed to in your entire life.

This is the actual purpose of philosophical research.  Philosophy means to actually understand the difference between truth and untruth.  Pursuit of the truth is known as philosophy.  So you may say, “How could I ever figure out the truth?  This philosopher says it’s one thing; another philosopher says it’s another thing; this philosopher says it’s this thing – there are hundreds of philosophers and they all say it’s something different.  So how do I actually find out what is that truth?”

Some people say, “Well, I don’t really think that there is an absolute truth, because everyone just has their opinion, and there is no absolute truth.”  But this is not a sound philosophical principle.  We cannot absolutely state that there is no absolute truth, because that would be an absolute truth itself.  So therefore, there must be an absolute truth, because its negation is absurd.  In the ancient Vedic philosophy it is stated, athato brahma-jijnasa [Vedanta Sutra, 1.1.1]:  “Now that you have achieved the human form, you must find out what is the Absolute Truth.”   This is the purpose of human existence.

Everyone is meant to be a philosopher.  Everyone is meant to find out what is that Absolute Truth, but mostly we are taught how to find money.  “Where is money?  Money, money, money, money, money.”  You’re not taught to seek out that Absolute Truth.  But you know what?  Money cannot buy you happiness.  The richest people on this planet are miserable.  Money is okay – you need it to pay your bills – but it will not make you happy.  That’s the point.  It’s only when you realize the Absolute Truth that you can actually be happy. 

So tonight I will teach you how to realize the Absolute Truth. 

The good news is that you already have the Absolute Truth within you.  Just as within a match fire already exists, and all you have to do is strike the match – tscheew! – and then the fire will come out from within the match, so too, the knowledge of the Absolute Truth is already present within your heart.  You have that right now.  That knowledge of the Absolute Truth is already present within your heart.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a PhD or if you’re illiterate.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a college professor or you’re a ditch-digger – you have the knowledge of the Absolute Truth within you.  And if you can come in contact with the proper teacher, one who knows the science of the Absolute Truth, then he can teach you how to ignite that consciousness of the Absolute which is there within you.  This is the philosophical research in the Vedas: how to find out that Absolute Truth within. 

Now, with a match, how do we light the match?  There has to be a striking surface, right?  And that striking surface has to be dry, doesn’t it?  In the same way, there is a method of stimulating the Absolute Truth to become ignited.  There is a striking surface; if you come in contact with that striking surface, it will stimulate the awakening of that divine consciousness within you.  This is the great contribution of the ancient philosophical texts known as the Vedas.  They give that striking surface.  This is called mantra.

Mantra is a Sanskrit word.  You’ve heard of the word mantra?  Yes, very good; this gentleman is familiar with it – very good.  [To individual] You must be learned.  That’s very good. [Back to group]  In the Sanskrit language, every syllable of the words has meaning.  The word mantra breaks down into two syllables.  Man refers to the mind; and tra means “deliver.”  So a mantra is a sound vibration which, if you hear that sound vibration repeatedly, will deliver your mind from all the untruth which is cluttering it right now.

Once you clear away that untruth out of your mind, will your mind be blank?  No.  That Absolute Truth which was sitting within you will become fully manifest.  It’s just like recently, when I was doing a lecture tour in Australia, I went to a beautiful community in the mountains called New Govardhan; in the morning, the valley was filled with dense fog, but when that morning sun came up, it burned away all the fog.  Right now, our hearts and minds are clouded with the fog of untruth, and the brilliant sun which drives away the fog is called mantra.  So the great philosopher-sages of ancient India would use these mantras as a tool of philosophical discovery to drive away the untruth that was clouding their hearts.

There are many, many mantras.  At the beginning of my lecture tonight, I quoted many mantras for you. 

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah

This is called mantra.  Because I have come here tonight to deliver you the Absolute Truth, I had to make sure that there was no untruth clouding my consciousness before I began the lecture.  So to drive away the untruth which might be clouding my own consciousness, I first chanted mantras.  The first mantra I chanted was om ajnana-timirandhasya, etc; the last mantra I chanted was – who remembers that one?  That last mantra I chanted was:

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

In the English language we have this saying – I don’t know if you have this saying in the Bulgarian language – “I will save the best for last.”  So, of all the mantras that are there in the Vedas – in which there are thousands and millions of mantras – I saved the best of the mantras for the last. 

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

That is called maha-mantra, which means “the great chanting for deliverance.”  By chanting any holy name of God or this Hare Krishna mantra, one can clear all the untruth out of one’s consciousness.  One can then live a way of life which is completely free of anxiety, which is most highly cultured, and which captures the essence of the real meaning of religion.  We have mistakenly turned religion into some basis of fighting with each other.  But the real meaning of religion is to bring everyone together as a loving family.  That is the real meaning of religion.  Religion is actually one: to love God.  Whether I call Him Allah or Christ or Krishna or Jehovah, there’s one religion – to love God.  And by the power of chanting mantra you can realize that one, true religion of loving God.  You will realize the highest truth which separates reality from illusion for the welfare of all beings throughout the entire world. 

It is described in the flyer that we will look at “both perceptions of reality, the Eastern and Western ones.”  But these relative divisions of East and West do not exist on the absolute platform.  On the absolute platform there is no such thing as Eastern philosophy or Western philosophy.  It’s just like people in the West get hungry, don’t they?  You get hungry, don’t you.  Now if somebody in the West gets hungry or somebody in the East gets hungry, is there any difference?  No.  Hungry is hungry, whether you have an Eastern ‘hungry’ or a Western ‘hungry.’  Hungry is hungry.  So actually, true philosophy is neither Eastern nor Western.  If there is a true philosophical concept, it is true in the West and it is also true in the East. 

I was thinking that some of you might have some questions.  If anyone has a question, I’ll be happy to try to answer it for you.  I’ve given you the formula of how you can achieve the supreme happiness, how you can enjoy life like anything at every minute by clearing all the untruth out of your consciousness by chanting a mantra, such as the Hare Krishna mantra.  You can also use the name of Christ as a mantra, or a Muslim can use the name of Allah as a mantra.  Any name of God can be used as a mantra to drive all the ignorance out of the heart. 

So does anyone have any questions?  . . .  I’ve heard that Bulgarians are very intelligent.  Is that true?

[From audience: Yes, it’s true.]

It’s true.  Very good.  Intelligence means asking questions.  So do any of you intelligent Bulgarians have any questions?

Q1 –

What do think about following the Eastern way of thinking and Western application?

A1 –

The Eastern way of thinking and Western education?

No – application.

Western application?  The fact is that in the East, in India, the great philosophers, the great Vedic sages, had a very deep realization of the Absolute Truth, and we here in the West can take advantage of that.  If something is good, we can take it from any part of the world.  It’s just like I am coming from America, but I have taken advantage of these ancient teachings from the sages in the Vedas.  If something is good, why not take it - from any part of the world?  For instance, I have an MP3 recorder which is recording this lecture.  It is made in Korea.  Korea is the East.  So do I think, “I don’t want anything that is Eastern”?  No.  If something good is coming from the East, like an MP3 recorder, then I will take it.  So if the science of mantra is coming from the East and it’s very powerful and effective, then I can take it, even though I am a Western person.  Does that answer your question?

I was thinking more about how the wisdom comes from the East and the modern technology comes from the West, and when they come together they work - ?

Yes.  Wisdom is from the East and technology is from the West.  This is a very intelligent question.  I appreciate it very much.  Thank you for that nice question.

There’s a very nice example given in this regard.  Just imagine that you have a blind man (he can’t see) and you have a lame man (he can’t walk – he’s crippled).  Now both of these men are handicapped, so they have some difficulty with how to get things done in life.  But if they come together as a team, you see – the crippled man, he has very good eyes; and the blind man, he has stout legs - if the crippled man will ride on the shoulders of the blind man, then the two of them together can do very wonderful things.  Here in the West we are technologically strong, like the blind man with good legs; and in the East they have very profound spiritual wisdom, but they are technologically backward.  So if we can combine the wisdom of the East with the technology of the West, then we can make every single man, woman and child on the face of this planet happy and free of scarcity.  Every single family on this whole planet can be prosperous, peaceful and happy.  So we want to combine the East and the West.  The lame man and the blind man have to work together. 

Next question?

Q2 –

[inaudible]

A2 –

Fanaticism means there’s no philosophy.  Philosophy without religion is mental speculation, and religion without philosophy becomes fanaticism.  So therefore religion and philosophy have to be combined.  You understand?

Sometimes words tend to be distorted, and words [are told to] people who don’t understand them . . .

That’s right.  This gentleman is making a very nice point - thank you very much.  In today’s society, the leaders, often times themselves in a state of ignorance, are in a mood of exploiting other people, and they use their positions simply to say things that are very misleading and are actually untrue.  The whole world right now is suffering under such unenlightened leaders.  So what is required is a person or persons who actually know what is the Absolute Truth and who are free of any tendency to cheat others - who simply want to serve.  Such a person is known as a bona fide spiritual master.  This is what is required in the modern society.  The society right now is like a chicken with its head cut off.  We do not have enlightened leaders right now in the world, and therefore everywhere people are unhappy and miserable.  So what is required is the bona fide spiritual master – that person who knows things as they are and who is a selfless servant of all living beings; who has no desire for material profit, adoration or distinction, but who simply wants to do the highest welfare for all.  That is what is needed in the modern-day society.  We require the bona fide spiritual master to guide us out of chaos. 

Next question?

Q3 –

The goal of your philosophy is to go to heaven.  Can you make some kind of parallel between your kind of philosophy and Epicurean philosophy?

A3 –

What kind of philosophy?  [trying to clarify – pronunciation unclear]

[Other person]  Hedonism.

Q4 – [same inquirer as Q3]

You say that what is needed is a spiritual leader who will guide humanity.  Do you think that people are mature enough to accept such a leader?

A4- 

Right now, they’re not.  It requires education.  That’s why I’m traveling all over the world – to provide that education.  Now, what we’re teaching is not hedonism.  The happiness that we are teaching is how to be happy by giving service to God and all living beings.  It’s the happiness of giving service.  That’s the happiness we are talking about, not the happiness of Playboy Magazine – so-called happiness. 

Yes?

Q5 –

You accept that the goal of life is to achieve happiness.  Isn’t happiness just a means by which we can achieve the happiness which is the goal itself?

A5 –

What do you consider to be the ultimate goal?

It is written in the Vedas.

Yes.  The Vedic wisdom describes this.  In Bhagavad-gita it is specifically stated:

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
        [Bg 18.66]

Lord Krishna says, “Give up all other duties and just fully surrender to me.”  There are so many guiding principles throughout the Vedas, but they all culminate in full surrender to Lord Krishna, just like there are so many roads that lead into Sofia.  So all the different Vedic instructions ultimately come to the point of Lord Krishna.  Krishna says, vadais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham: “By all the Vedic wisdom I am to be known and understood.” [Bg 15.15]  So if we accept Vedic authority, then we have to understand that the Vedas are ultimately culminating in Krishna. 

Next question?

Q6 –

I want to know, how exactly do the words transform the mind?

A6 –

All right.  She wants to know how the power of mantra will transform your mind.  That’s a very nice question; thank you very much.

It’s just like the example I gave of the sun burning away the fog.  The Absolute Truth is fully manifested in the form of the mantra, and you also have the Absolute Truth within you.  But in between the mantra, which is your object of meditation, and your pure, realized consciousness lays a huge quantity of fog.  As you chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, it keeps burning away the fog, and gradually the Absolute Truth which is there within you becomes fully realized and manifest.  If you really want to know how it works, I can tell you how to find out: take up the chanting on a regular, daily basis – at least 15-20 minutes every morning – and then you’ll know how it works.  If you want to know how the ice cream tastes, I may intellectually describe it to you, and you may get some idea; but if you really want to know how the ice cream tastes - take a bite.  And then you’ll really know. 

Next question?

Q7 –

A method by which we are not only chanting mantras . . . but we are also meditating and sustaining our bodies - like some combined method . . .

A7 –

What was the question?

Isn’t it dangerous to chant mantras only, without proper training . . . ?

We have a whole training program.  Mantra is just one of nine different aspects.  We’re bringing mantra because that’s the introduction – that’s the entry point.  Mantra will get you through the door, and then you have to be trained how to function in the transcendental existence.  There are nine different steps.  It’s called navavidha bhakti, the nine different processes of self-realization.  The first thing is to hear the mantra from the mouth of the spiritual master.  That’s the first step.  The second step is that you chant the mantra; then you meditate on the words.  And then you worship the Lord – you engage in service.  There’s a complete program described in the Bhagavad-gita.  You can read this Bhagavad-gita As It Is by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada; that will give all details on how to do the system.  It is summarized in the ninth chapter, verse number twenty-seven:

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

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

So the idea is that you learn how to transcendentalize everything you’re doing, twenty-four hours a day.  Whether you’re a student, a professor, a housewife, a politician, an airline pilot, a rock-and-roll star, a soccer player – whatever your occupation is.  Whatever your activities are - eating, sleeping, mating, or defending yourself - one learns from the spiritual master how to transcendentalize all of these activities so that you are living in a pure, meditative state twenty-four hours a day.  You will enter into a meditative state and you will always remain in that state.  It’s just like right now, as I am giving this lecture, I am in a pure state of meditation.  I may appear to be an ordinary lecturer here at the university, but actually I am in a state of deep meditation right now. 

Next question?

Q8 –

There are so many ways of meditation – some are deep meditation, some are chanting mantras – is the effect of all these varieties of meditation the same?

A8 –

According to Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras, the actual purpose of meditation is to fix the mind on Lord Vishnu, or God.  Nowadays, many people think that meditation means that you just make your mind blank.  But you know what they end up doing?  They’re sitting there thinking, “I have to make my mind blank; I have to make my mind blank; I have to make my mind blank; I have to make my mind blank” – that’s not blank!  You’re mind is full of the thought that you have to make your mind blank.  So the point is that you can’t really blank your mind out.  The mind is active by nature; therefore you require something transcendental that you can absorb your mind in – something which is beyond this material existence.  This is known as the perfection of meditation.  So that’s what we are teaching.

The techniques used in the various types of meditation are very different.

In Sanskrit language there’s a very nice saying - phalena pariciate: “A thing is judged by its result.”  The proof of the pudding is in the eating . . . in other words, the easiest way to know what is the most effective technique is to try them all and see what works the best. 

Question?

Q9 –

When we are trying to see the other person’s courtyard, which means when we are trying to use another approach – like we are getting the Indian approach now – we have forgotten our own Bulgarian spiritual approach and now we are trying to use that of other cultures ...

A9 –

As long as we are thinking “Bulgarian,” “American,” “Indian,” etc, we are not on a liberated platform. 

This is what I am actually saying . . . and probably they will be inspired, but the most important thing when they . . .  this kind of movement is that they . . .

Yes, this is very important.  Therefore, we recommend that everyone should read Bhagavad-gita As It Is.  Write that down: Bhagavad-gita As It Is.  Find that book at your bookstore, or – does anybody here know where Bhagavad-gita As It Is can be obtained?  We have some here, actually.  We have a few copies if anybody wants to get one tonight and take it home.  Your point is good, because you’ll hear so many things.  This way, we can actually read the book and try it on, see how this works. 

How will we explain . . . this science . . . from high levels . . . ?

Yes, yes.  This is called ‘bodily consciousness.’  We have this false idea that “I’m a man” or “I’m a woman,” and there’s so much exploitation that goes on based on this false conception.  The real being is actually within.  It’s just like now, I’m wearing this chadar.  I can take off this chadar also.  You see?  And I still exist.  Similarly, I’m wearing a male body right now.  And even if I take off this male body, and in my next birth I take birth as a woman, I’m still the same person.  I’m just wearing a different kind of chadar, that’s all.  So I’m neither a man nor a woman.  I’m a spiritual being, and according to karma I take different bodies – male body sometimes, female body sometimes.  So if in society we can recognize that we are all the same, that we are all spiritual beings, then it will put a stop to all this exploitation based on gender.  So that’s why I’m advocating this spiritual consciousness – because it will automatically solve all the problems with the human society – gender problems, economic problems, political problems, medical problems – all problems solved. 

Why are women not allowed to be spiritual masters?

Oh, you don’t allow them to be spiritual masters?  We allow them to be spiritual masters.  You do not allow them here in Bulgaria to be spiritual masters?  Is there some law against it in Bulgaria?  In America they’re allowed to be spiritual masters. 

In the books it said so.

Which book is that?  We don’t have any book that says that.  In our book it says that just as a man or a woman can be a college professor, similarly a man or a woman can be a spiritual master.  It is simply based on qualification.  It’s not that someone can say, “Well, I’m a woman, so you have to make me a spiritual master,” or “I’m a man, so you have to make me a spiritual master.”  Gender is neither a qualification nor a disqualification for being a spiritual master.  To actually be a spiritual master is not a post that somebody can award you with.  It is a matter of enlightened consciousness which is awakened within your heart.

We have great women spiritual masters within our tradition.  Jahnava Mata is one of them.  The spiritual master is not someone who is appointed by some body.  Anybody who has the divine consciousness fully enlightened within them is automatically the spiritual master of the whole universe.  It can even be a small child – it doesn’t matter. 

Next question?

Q10 –

Why is the human being initially deprived of this spiritual truth?

A10 –

Well, we all originally had it; we were in God’s kingdom and we all had it.  But free will always exists.  One can choose to love God or to leave God.  It’s very rare that someone would want to leave, because living in God’s kingdom as a fully enlightened being is definitely a better deal.  But just like the mother who tells her children, “Do not stick your hand in the fire, or you’ll get burned” – sometimes one naughty, very curious child will disobey the mother.  He will stick his hand in the fire.  And he will get burned.  So sometimes in God’s kingdom a living being who becomes a little naughty and overly curious will think, “Why should I serve God?  Why not be God myself?”  So then they come into this world of illusion.  They come to one place where they can try to be God, and try to compete with all the other people who are trying to be God.  You know what the name of that place is?  Sofia, Bulgaria.  Well, it’s true of my town, too – I’m not picking on you.

[Other inquirer] All that you said is a metaphor.

No-o.  It’s real.

It’s really real?

It’s real.  It’s not simply metaphor.  Is this lectern a metaphor?  It’s real.  What I’m telling you is just as real – it’s even more real than this lectern. 

Next question?  Is there anyone in the back who hasn’t asked a question yet?  Okay – this gentleman here -

Q11 -

All this time you have been speaking of some kind of religion?

A11 –

Not really.  We’re talking about something higher than religion here.

What is it – what would this higher thing be?

It depends on how you look at the word ‘religion’ - whether you look at it in a sectarian sense or a philosophical sense.  The word can be used in two different ways, right?  It depends on how you’re using it. 

From the Vedic point of view.

Oh, okay.  From the Vedic point of view, religion is one.  The actual word in Sanskrit is dharma.  The English word ‘religion’ – I don’t know what it is in Bulgarian – but the English word comes from the Latin word ‘religio,’ which means to re-link.  So the real meaning of ‘religion’ is to re-link the individual consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness.  It has nothing to do with whether you’re a Hindu, a Christian, a Jew or whatever.  Every one of us is part and parcel of the Supreme Consciousness.  It’s just like you are conscious of the pains and pleasures of your body - that’s why you’re rubbing your forehead now.  But I don’t feel that itch in my forehead.  So your consciousness is spread throughout your body, and my consciousness is spread throughout my body.  But there is Superconsciousness Who is conscious of my itch and your itch also.  When the individual consciousness dovetails with the Supreme Consciousness, that is the real meaning of religion. 

What about distortion – the removal of the knowledge from religion?

Religion without knowledge is not true religion; it’s religiosity.  If someone has no knowledge of God, then they are in illusion and present themselves as a religious person.  But if they do not actually know God – if they do not actually know that Absolute Truth – then what they are doing has no practical value.

What about the Brahmins?  Are they religious or . . .

Of course, nowadays it’s just completely lost in India.  But in the Vedic times – we’re talking about four or five thousand years ago – the brahmanas were highly enlightened spiritual masters who had perfected the art of dovetailing the individual consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness.  They were the actual leaders of the Vedic culture.  The government was run by monarchs, by kings.  But the monarch would manage his kingdom under the guidance of his guru, who was a brahmana.  So in this way, the whole government went on in a very enlightened way under the guidance of the brahmanas.  Everyone was peaceful and happy.  So we want to revive that here in the modern-day world.  We want to bring back brahminical culture so the entire planet can become peaceful and happy.  For anyone who would like to be trained how to become a brahmana, we have a limited supply of books here, and at the end of the program, if you’d like to get one, you will get a personal autograph from me along with a personal blessing just for you.  But we only have a limited supply, so it’s first come, first serve.

Next question?

Q12 –

What is the ultimate goal of this path of self-realization?

A12 –

The ultimate goal of self-realization is to realize who you are and who the Supreme Self is.  You need to know who you are –

I’m asking, once you reach this ultimate goal, what will happen then?

Once you reach the ultimate goal, you will enter into timelessness.  You will attain a state of immortality, or deathlessness, in which you will realize your eternal existence beyond your material body.  Even while functioning in this material world, in your ordinary duties, you will realize who you are eternally, beyond this temporary body, and you will be so blissful you couldn’t believe that so much happiness could ever be tasted here in this material world.  You will have access to unlimited knowledge, unlimited happiness, unlimited love and unlimited abundance.  And all you have to do is chant to get it started: 

Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare

Q13 –

[inaudible] media . . . he’s a Buddhist, actually, and once we chant the . . . Sutra, I think it was, we will  . . . something like . . .

A13 –

Yes, yes, yes.  I was taught that mantra back in 1969.  They chant that mantra for material things.  But if we chant for material things we won’t achieve the full benefit of mantra.  As long as I desire something within this material world, then I remain attached to this material world.  This material world by its very nature is a world of suffering.  We suffer birth, death, old age and disease.  If you want the full benefit of mantra then you should chant to get liberated from this material world.  You shouldn’t chant to get money, to get power, to get fame – do not chant mantra for this purpose.  Chant mantra to cure your heart of all material desires – to awaken pure love for God within you heart.  For that purpose the Hare Krishna mantra is the ideal mantra.  There are other nice prayers as well – we’ll not say it’s the only mantra – but I met the followers of that mantra you mentioned, and they told me that this mantra is for when you want to get a new car, or something like that. 

So it’s kind of the lowest end of mantra? 

Yes – not very high level. 

 . . . when I chanted this mantra for the first time I found that I did not feel spiritual relief . . .

You’re an intelligent man.  You’re an intelligent man.

Any other questions?  [To individual] I’ll recognize you, but I want to give others a chance, because you’re easy to see here.  Anybody in the back who didn’t – okay -

Q14 –

Do you think . . . there are other organizations who achieve the same goal as you, apart from your movement?

A14 –

Yes.  Actually, it’s not a matter of “this movement” or “that movement.”  You cannot institutionalize enlightenment.  There are enlightened people in our movement and there are unenlightened people also.  Simply joining a movement does not automatically make you an enlightened being.  We recognize an enlightened person not by what movement they belong to.  But if they have fully awakened that divine consciousness within, then we recognize them – that’s the criterion. 

Q15 –

This question relates to the last person’s question . . .  It would be very nice if you were to tell the people not to read only one scripture or one teaching . . . the individual is not always compatible with the actual teaching.

A15 –

Truth is one.  That’s a fact.  What is true is true and what is untrue is untrue.  So we encourage people to read, to chant - whatever will bring them to the truth.  We cannot encourage people to read or chant that which will keep them in a state of untruth.  It’s not that every piece of literature on this planet will bring them to the truth.  Most of the literature which sits in the bookstores nowadays will actually keep them in a state of untruth.  We don’t say that the truth is only found in our books.  We never say that.  But we do say that truth is found in these Vedic literatures.  It’s just like there are many dictionaries, and they all contain the truth.  There’s a pocket dictionary you can put in your shirt pocket; there’s a collegiate dictionary you can put on your desk at home; and there’s the unabridged dictionary in your library.  They’re all giving the truth.  But one goes into more detail, that’s all.  So there are many books of truth in the world.  But if you go to the unabridged dictionary, everything is there in full detail.  The Vedas are the unabridged dictionary. 

I’d like to add something.  We all know the  . . .

That’s right.

No offense meant, but I’d like to say something.  Many times our false ego pushes us to take some wrong directions –

Yes.

You mentioned that every one of us who wants to get a book will also get an autograph from you.  The autograph is just another manifestation of your ego . . .

I say that your statement is a manifestation of your ego.  What do you say to that?

[inaudible]

I’ll tell you exactly why I said that.  It has nothing to do with my ego.  The fact is that these books contain the highest truth, and we like to see people take them and get the advantage of them.  We have practical experience that a lot of people actually enjoy getting the autograph, that it makes them more inclined to get the book - that’s all.  It has nothing to do with my ego.  I consider myself to be lower than dog stool - okay?  Listen – I consider myself to be lower than dog stool.  It’s not a question of ego. 

I would like to say something else.  . . . I am manifesting symptoms that my . . . ego is working – my heart beating and I am . . . I don’t want you to take my words wrongly . . .

The best way to learn is to ask questions rather than to take the role of trying to teach me something.  If you actually want to advance, the best thing is to be in the role of the student, not to come here to teach me something.  You’re trying to take the role of teacher.  That is not going to help you advance. 

What I’m talking about is . . . ignorance and the spiritual . . .

Actually, this is an opening for questions.  If somebody wants to give their own lecture and philosophy, you can arrange to give your own lecture here.  That’s fine.  But this forum is for people who want to inquire.  If you want to give your own lecture, then you can book a room and give your own lecture here.  That’s fine.  You can come tomorrow and do your own lecture.  But I’ve come here to give a presentation and to see if there are any questions to further explain what I have said. 

Question?

Q16 –

Five thousand years ago, although there were very good teachers, human society started to degrade.  Now I understand why it has happened – because now the disciples are not very obedient, not very good.  That’s why we are degraded.

A16 –

That’s fine; but are there any questions?  Any new questions?  Questions from anyone who hasn’t inquired yet?

So what’s the schedule . . . ?  When is the end of the program?  At eight o’clock?  Okay – we have a few more minutes for questions.  Someone who hasn’t inquired yet will get recognized first.  Anyone else?  Yes. 

Q17 –

 . . . want to re-establish the brahminical culture and the Vedic religion . . . what is the relationship between the Vedic culture and Buddhism?  We know that . . .

A17 - 

Lord Buddha is predicted in the Vedas - in this ancient text, Srimad Bhagavatam.  In this book, Srimad Bhagavatam, which was written five thousand years ago, Lord Buddha’s appearance was predicted.  So Lord Buddha appeared over a thousand years later, after He was predicted in this book.

Srimad Bhagavatam actually contains a very detailed explanation of how Buddhism relates to the Vedic culture.  The pure Vedic culture existed five thousand years ago in India.  But then five thousand years ago, when we entered the Age of Kali, the Vedic culture became degraded.  So the first step toward the reinstatement of Vedic culture was the introduction of Buddhism.  Lord Krishna incarnated in the form of Lord Buddha to put a stop to animal killing.  He taught the principle of ahimsa, non-violence.  He taught the principle of karma – that if you cause another living being to suffer, then you must suffer as reaction to that suffering.  When the people understood that by killing the cows and eating them that they themselves would suffer in the future, they gave up cow-killing.  This is what Lord Buddha taught – ahimsa, or non-violence.  So then later on, other great teachers came and gradually brought the pure Vedic culture back to India. 

So – is there one last question?  From someone who’s been wanting to ask a question and hasn’t asked it yet?

Q18 –

You said the most important element is knowledge, that religion is knowledge.  But which is more important, according to the Vedas – the knowledge or the faith?

A18 –

The ultimate position is to love of God.  But because we have so many doubts, knowledge is required to clear the way.  In Sanskrit language, the ultimate is called bhakti, or devotion.  That is more important than knowledge.  But because we have so much skepticism, knowledge is required to clear the way for bhakti, or devotion. 

So, we’d like to thank you all very much.  If you’d like, you may get a book here – if you think it’s an egotistic thing, you will not get a signature.  Thank you very much.

__________________________________________

Transcribed by Her Grace Labangalatika devi dasi

Index of Transcribed Lectures

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