Krishna, The Ultimate Object of Knowledge
In the revealed scriptures the ultimate object of Knowledge is Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead. The purpose of performing sacrifices is to please Him, yoga is for realizing Him and all fruitive activities are ultimately rewarded by Him only. He is supreme knowledge and all severe austerities are performed to know Him. Religion, dharma, is rendered in loving service unto Him. He is the supreme goal of life.
Here we see all spiritual activities are meant for realizing Vasudeva, Krishna. Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the name Krishna means the “all-attractive person”. So Krishna is a person and we are also people but Krishna is the supreme person. Krishna is nitya and all of us are nityanam, it means there are many of us but there is only one Krishna. The is one Vedic verse: nitya nityanam cetanas cetananam, it means Krishna is the singular person who is supplying all necessities to all other persons. We are like Krishna in quality but we are very small and Krishna is very great. We are tiny and He is infinite. The analogy of the ocean and the drop of sea-water is given. If you analyze a drop of sea-water you can determine the proportion of salt and different chemicals in it and in this way you can come to some conclusion of the situation of the entire ocean because the drop of sea-water is a sample of the ocean. Similarly we are samples of Krishna, we are tiny infinitesimal particles of Krishna. We are individuals eternally and Krishna is also an individual eternally.
Krishna is eternal, He has no beginning or end, and we are also eternal, we have no beginning or end. We have accepted these material bodies and are identifying with these material bodies thinking, “I am an Australian man, I am an American man, I am an English man.” But our bodies are temporary things. The bodies are born at a certain point in time, the bodies get old and ultimately they will die. We are changing our body all the time, we start with a child’s body, then we get a boy’s body, then we get a man’s body, then an old man’s body and then we have to leave this body. So the body is always changing, but the soul remains the same. The soul is the passenger in the machine of the body. Krishna describes this in the Bhagavad-gita. (2.13)
dehino ‘smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
dhiras tatra na muhyati
“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.”
The idea is we are changing bodies all the time but the soul, the person, the spirit is the same. He does not change. Therefore the purpose of our life here is not to try and make a comfortable arrangement for things connected to the temporary body. If we analyze the body we will find many senses, and the different senses can be satisfied in different ways. Our eyes always want to see something very beautiful, the tongue wants to taste very delicious foods, the hands want to touch something nice, soft, our genitals want to be satisfied by sex life. These are the demands of the body. To some extent we have to fulfill the bodily demands, we have to eat something, we have to sleep sometime, we have to look after the body to a certain extent, but that is not the main purpose of human life. The main purpose of human life is to get off the bodily platform and understand, “I am not this body, I am the spirit soul, I am the person within and my business is to serve Krishna.”
We have to reestablish our original consciousness. Our original consciousness is Krishna consciousness, our real consciousness. In our original consciousness we are in our original position which is sat [eternal], cit [full of knowledge] and ananda [full of bliss]. That is our real nature. We are eternally youthful, we are full of knowledge and we are full of pleasure. But we have come here to this material world and have taken on these material bodies which are exactly the opposite. They are asat, they are getting old, they are going to die. It is a very uncomfortable thing for us because the soul is eternally youthful but we have taken on this material body which is getting old and dying, so we are naturally uncomfortable, it is not at all a natural position for us to get old and die, we don’t like it.
The spiritual world is cit, it means full of knowledge, but here our bodies are acit, full of ignorance, we don’t know anything here. We are so full of ignorance that we can’t understand anything that is going on around us. We have these big universities which are imparting so-called knowledge. The scientists are trying to understand the world around them through their process of observation and experiment, but it’s all nonsense, it’s all speculative knowledge, full of faults and useless actually. We are always trying to find some knowledge but here we are full of ignorance. We are naturally full of knowledge so being full of ignorance is not a very nice thing for us. The other thing is this material world is nirananda, instead of it being ananda, full of pleasure, it is full of anxiety. Everybody knows it, we are full of anxiety at every moment. But this is not the natural position of the soul, his position is to be in full bliss, but if one is full of anxiety where is the bliss? So we can’t be happy here in the material world.
When one tells people this world is a miserable place and one can’t be happy here it is generally a very unpopular thing to say. I have discussed it in various places. I even saw people in our own group alt.religion.viasnava arguing the world was not a miserable place! But this is crazy. This world is full of suffering, it is even constructed as a place of suffering. Krishna describes in the Bhagavad-gita it is dhukalaym-asasvatam, it means a distressful, miserable place where repeated birth and death are going on. So we are in this miserable place where repeated birth and death are going on, but everybody is thinking it is a very comfortable place, a very happy place. But it’s not at all. Everybody can see. If we just stand back and look at what is going on around us you can see people are suffering like anything. In the western world we have developed things and now many people have a lot of money and they are buying nice cars and nice houses and so many things but they are no happier than people were before without these things. This is also a very unpopular thing to say. If you tell people all this technology, all this advancement, has done nothing to make people happier, they become very upset, but it is true. People are not happier now than they were fifty years ago or five-hundred years ago. We have not solved any of the problems: birth, old-age, disease and death. The disease hasn’t reduced either, even though we have so much advanced modern medicine there are still so many terrible diseases they can’t cure. AIDS is a very big thing, people are dying like anything, cancer is there, there are so many problems, so many diseases, people are dying. So disease hasn’t stopped. Now we have “invented” so many new ways to die! We have car accidents, plane crashes, bomb explosions and so many other things. War is still going on. People are still dying in war. So many problems are still there. We have not solved the problems.
Actually life is becoming more and more difficult. This technology is supposed to bring us happiness, but it is actually making life very painful. On one hand we have to work very hard to get the money to buy all the technology and on the other hand there are very few jobs because the computers are doing lots of the work… Many of the jobs have become very degrading and people are suffering.
In the Krishna consciousness movement we have to present an alternative. We have to show people life is meant to be centered around serving Krishna. But that’s not all, we have to show people you can be happy serving Krishna. It is a joyful thing. Krishna consciousness is a very special thing, a very beautiful thing, because it means everybody can work together with one central goal, serving Krishna. So no matter what we do, instead of doing it for ourselves, if we do it for Krishna then we can cooperate with unlimited numbers of people working together with the same central goal. I can preach about Krishna, somebody is gardening for Krishna, growing nice vegetables and flowers for Krishna, somebody is cleaning Krishna’s temple, somebody is worshipping the Deity of Krishna, somebody is going out on the street and preaching about Krishna, somebody is selling Srila Prabhupada’s books about Krishna, somebody is performing Hari-Nam sankirtana, glorifying the holy name of Krishna. Even someone could be doing an ordinary job and giving the fruits of his labor to Krishna. All of these people can work together because we are all working for Krishna. That’s the joy of Krishna consciousness. It’s susucam, a very joyful thing. People are not going to join unless they see the devotees are happy!
But there is a problem now in ISKCON. They are not joyful. It’s because of bogus leadership. We need to have proper leadership. There has to be a pure devotee. They have ignored Srila Prabhupada’s instructions and that is the problem. So the ISKCON devotees are miserable now because they are not following the instructions of the pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada. So we have to reestablish the instructions of Srila Prabhupada and understand what we are trying to do in the Hare Krishna movement is to practice pure devotional service. We are not very interested in this mixed devotional service, coming to the temple on Sunday and just doing a little service, but this is not the best platform, it is a start of course, but we have to dedicate our lives to Krishna, we have to do everything for Krishna. In this way we can become pure unalloyed devotees of Krishna. This is Srila Prabhupada’s mood. Prabhupada wanted devotees, people who were prepared to give everything, to surrender to Krishna. There may not be so many, but that doesn’t matter but if we have a few pure devotees that will be a very powerful force. Very effective preaching.
The main thing is to always remember Krishna and to never forget Krishna. If we can do that, if we can always remember Krishna and never forget Krishna that is the perfection of Krishna consciousness. So we have to make changes in our life to enable us to always remember Krishna and never forget Krishna. It’s not an easy thing to do if we live an ordinary mundane life. That’s why Srila Prabhupada created the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. (ISKCON) It’s supposed to be an association of pure devotees. An association of people who have no other desire than to serve Krishna, to develop their love for Krishna. It is a place where everyone can come and take the association of pure devotees. That’s the idea. So the devotees in the Hare Krishna temples have to have this mood of pure devotional service, always remembering Krishna. Srila Prabhupada gave us a very perfect program to help us to come to this platform of always remembering Krishna. So we have to follow the program. Every morning we have to get up before four and attend Mangal Arotik, chant sixteen rounds of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare, greet the Deities, worship Srila Prabhupada, hear the Srimad-Bhagavatam class, see the Deities, take some carinamrta, worship and water Srimati Tulasi Devi, and then be engaged all the time, 24 hours, serving Krishna. Srila Prabhupada gave the perfect program to achieve this, book distribution. We can go out there on the street and spend our whole day asking people to take the books and chant Hare Krishna. This is perfect.
We have to be engaged in some way so 24 hours a day we can remember Krishna. That’s what Krishna consciousness means! It is the perfection of life and the purpose of the Hare Krishna movement. Of course we can have many congregational members and so on but the devotees in the temple who are presenting themselves as devotees and preaching have to be on this platform, always remembering Krishna, never forgetting Krishna. They are pure devotees, people who have decided to give everything to Krishna.
Krishna consciousness is not a cheep thing. We are seeing nowadays people are taking it very cheeply but it’s not so cheep. Krishna consciousness cannot be had just by coming to the Sunday feast, of course it is a very good thing, to come to the Sunday feast regularly, but devotees want to live in the association of devotees. Devotees don’t like to associate with the materialists. That is one of the worst things. There is a place in the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta where Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu describes He would rather be locked up in a cage with a wild tiger than live in the association of materialistic persons. The association of materialistic people is so horrible because they are always involved in mundane things, mundane talking, sex and so many nonsense things, so to associate with them is hellish for the devotees. So if one is a devotee he will naturally want to live with the other devotees and dedicate his life to serving Krishna. So this is the idea. We need some serious people who want to surrender to Krishna and serve Krishna. Of course no one wants to. So we have to do it ourselves, taste the nectar of Krishna consciousness and preach, distribute prasadam and chant Hare Krishna. If we are pure then someone will be attracted. It doesn’t matter if we are only a small band of men. We can just travel and preach and change the face of the earth!
Thank you very much. Hare Krishna!
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.28-29 Madhudvisa dasa July 28 1995