Published on July 12th, 2023 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


The Krishna Consciousness Movement is the Genuine Vedic Way

After reading an article on the Krishna consciousness movement in the Los Angeles Times, Srila Prabhupada begins an unusual correspondence with Dr. J.F. Stall, Professor of Philosophy and of South Asian Languages at the University of California, Berkeley…

Excerpt from the Los Angeles Times Article

“Dr. J. F. Staal, Professor of Philosophy and Near Eastern Languages at UC Berkeley and an instructor in Indian philosophy, believes that the Krsna sect is an authentic Indian religion and that its adherents are sincere. He attributes the Society’s rapid increase in members to the tendency of today’s younger generation to reject organized churchgoing while at the same time searching for fulfillment of a belief in mysticism.

“He points out, however, that persons who turn away from Christianity, Muhammadanism, and Judaism have usually lost faith with the personal god of those religions and are looking for a mystical religion without absolutes.

” ‘These people in the Krsna movement have turned to Hinduism, but, curiously, it is a cult that is highly personalistic,’ Staal said. ‘They accept a personal god, Krsna, and Christianity has that. I feel that they have transferred some of their Christian background to a Hindu sect.’

“He also feels that they spend too much time chanting to develop a philosophy. On these grounds he and others on the faculty turned down the request to grant credit for an experimental course in Krsna consciousness that will be taught during the winter quarter by Hans Kary, president of the sect’s Berkeley temple.”

Srila Prabhupada’s Letter to the Los Angeles Times

January 14, 1970
Los Angeles Times

Dear Sir:

With reference to your article in the Los Angeles Times dated Sunday, January 11, 1970, under the heading “Krsna Chant,” I beg to point out that the Hindu religion is perfectly based on the personal conception of God, or Visnu. The impersonal conception of God is a side issue, or one of the three features of God. The Absolute Truth is ultimately the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Paramatma conception is the localized aspect of His omnipresence, and the impersonal conception is the aspect of His greatness and eternity. But all these combined together make the Complete Whole.

Dr. J. F. Staal’s statement that the Krsna cult is a combination of Christian and Hindu religion, as if something manufactured by concoction, is not correct. If Christian, Muhammadan, or Buddhist religions are personal, that is quite welcome. But the Krsna religion has been personal from a time long, long ago when Christian, Muhammadan, and Buddhist religions had not yet come into existence. According to the Vedic conception, religion is basically made by the personal God as His laws. Religion cannot be manufactured by man or anyone except God superior to man. Religion is the law of God only.

Unfortunately, all the svamis who came before me in this country stressed the impersonal aspect of God, without sufficient knowledge of God’s personal aspect. In the Bhagavad-gita, therefore, it is said that only less intelligent persons consider that God is originally impersonal but assumes a form when He incarnates. The Krsna philosophy, however, based on the authority of the Vedas, is that originally the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. His plenary expansion is present in everyone’s heart in His localized aspect, and the impersonal Brahman effulgence is the transcendental light and heat distributed everywhere.

In the Bhagavad-gita it is clearly said that the aim of the Vedic way of searching out the Absolute Truth is to find the personal God. One who is satisfied only with the other aspects of the Absolute Truth, namely the Paramatma feature or the Brahman feature, is to be considered possessed of a poor fund of knowledge. Recently we have published our Sri Isopanisad, a Vedic literature, and in this small booklet we have thoroughly discussed this point.

As far as the Hindu religion is concerned, there are millions of Krsna temples in India, and there is not a single Hindu who does not worship Krsna. Therefore, this Krsna consciousness movement is not a concocted idea. We invite all scholars, philosophers, religionists, and members of the general public to understand this movement by critical study. And if one does so seriously, one will understand the sublime position of this great movement.

The chanting process is also authorized. Professor Staal’s feeling of disgust in the matter of constant chanting of the holy name of Krsna is a definite proof of his lack of knowledge in this authorized movement of Krsna consciousness. Instead of turning down the request to give Kary’s course credit, he and all other learned professors of the University of California at Berkeley should patiently hear about the truth of this authorized movement so much needed at present in godless society. [Credit for the course was later established.] This is the only movement which can save the confused younger generation. I shall invite all responsible guardians of this country to understand this transcendental movement and then give us all honest facilities to spread it for everyone’s benefit.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Spiritual Master of the Hare Krsna Movement

The Exchange Between Srila Prabhupada and Dr. Staal

January 23, 1970
Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta

Dear Swamiji:

Thank you very much for sending me a copy of your letter to the Los Angeles Times, now also published in the Daily Californian. I think you will agree with me that apart from publicity, little is gained by discussing religious or philosophic issues through interviews and letters in the press; but allow me to make two brief observations.

First, I know that devotion to Krsna is old (though definitely not as old as the Vedas) and has never been influenced by Christianity, Islam, or Judaism (I never referred to Buddhism in this connection). The differences between the personal and impersonal are relatively vague, but adopting this distinction for simplicity, I expressed surprise at seeing people who have grown up in a Western culture which stresses the personal take to an Indian cult which does the same. I am less surprised when people who are dissatisfied with Western monotheism take to an Indian philosophy which stresses an impersonal absolute.

Second, I never expressed nor felt disgust at the chanting of the name of Krsna. I am not only not irritated at it (like some people), but I rather like it. But it is an indisputable fact that the Bhagavad-gita (not to mention the Vedas) does not require such constant chanting. The Gita deals with quite different subjects, which I treat at some length in my courses on the philosophies of India.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

J. F. Staal

Professor of Philosophy and of South Asian Languages

January 30, 1970
J. F. Staal
Professor of Philosophy and of South Asian Languages
University of California
Berkeley, California

My dear Professor Staal:

I thank you very much for your kind letter dated January 23, 1970. In the last paragraph of your letter you have mentioned that you are not irritated at the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra (like some people), but rather like it. This has given me much satisfaction, and I am sending herewith a copy of our magazine, Back to Godhead, issue number 28, in which you will find how the students [at a program at Ohio State University] liked this chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, although all of them were neophytes to this cult of chanting. Actually this chanting is very pleasing to the heart and is the best means of infusing spiritual consciousness, or Krsna consciousness, into the hearts of people in general.

This is the easiest process of spiritual realization and is recommended in the Vedas. In the Brhan-naradiya Purana it is clearly stated that it is only chanting of the holy name of Hari [Krsna] that can save people from the problems of materialistic existence, and there is no other alternative, no other alternative, no other alternative in this age of Kali.

Western culture is monotheistic, but Westerners are being misled by impersonal Indian speculation. The young people of the West are frustrated because they are not diligently taught about monotheism. They are not satisfied with this process of teaching and understanding. The Krsna consciousness movement is a boon to them, because they are being really trained to understand Western monotheism under the authoritative Vedic system. We do not simply theoretically discuss; rather, we learn by the prescribed method of Vedic regulations.

But I am surprised to see that in the last paragraph of your letter you say, “It is an indisputable fact that the Bhagavad-gita (not to mention the Vedas) does not require such constant chanting.” I think that you have missed the following verse in the Bhagavad-gita, apart from many other similar verses:

satatam kirtayanto mam
yatantas ca drdha-vratah
namasyantas ca mam bhaktya
nitya-yukta upasate

(Bg. 9.14)

The engagement of the great souls, freed from delusion and perfect in their realization of God, is described here: satatam kirtayanto mam–they are always (satatam) chanting (kirtayantah) My glories and–nitya-yukta upasate–always worshiping Me (Krsna).

So I do not know how you can say “indisputable.” And, if you want references from the Vedas, I can give you many. In the Vedas, the chief transcendental vibration omkara is also Krsna. Pranava omkara is the divine substance of the Vedas. Following the Vedas means chanting the Vedic mantras, and no Vedic mantra is complete without omkara. In the Mandukya Upanisad, omkara is stated to be the most auspicious sound representation of the Supreme Lord. This is also confirmed again in the Atharva Veda. Omkara is the sound representation of the Supreme Lord and is therefore the principal word in the Vedas. In this connection, the Supreme Lord, Krsna, says, pranavah sarva-vedesu: “I am the syllable om in all the Vedic mantras.” (Bg. 7.8)

Furthermore, in Bhagavad-gita, Chapter Fifteen, verse 15, Krsna says, “I am seated in everyone’s heart. By all the Vedas, I am to be known; I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I know Veda as it is.” The Supreme Lord, seated in everyone’s heart, is described in both the Mundaka and Svetasvatara Upanisads: dva suparna sayuja sakhaya… The Supreme Lord and the individual soul are sitting in the body like two friendly birds in a tree. One bird is eating the fruits of the tree, or reactions of material activities, and the other bird, the Supersoul, is witnessing.

The goal of Vedantic study, therefore, is to know the Supreme Lord, Krsna. This point is stressed in the Bhagavad-gita, Chapter Eight, verse 13, where it is stated that by the mystic yoga process, ultimately vibrating the sacred syllable om, one attains to His supreme spiritual planet. In the Vedanta-sutras, which you have certainly read, the Fourth Chapter, adhikarana 4, sutra 22, states positively, anavrttih sabdat: “By sound vibration one becomes liberated.” By devotional service, by understanding well the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can go to His abode and never come back again to this material condition. How is it possible? The answer is, simply by chanting His name constantly.

This is accepted by the exemplary disciple, Arjuna, who has perfectly learned the conclusion of spiritual science from the yogesvara, the master of mystic knowledge, Krsna. Recognizing Krsna to be the Supreme Brahman, Arjuna addresses Him, sthane hrsikesa…: “The world becomes joyful hearing Your name, and thus do all become attached to You.” (Bg. 11.36) The process of chanting is herein authorized as the direct means of contacting the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead. Simply by chanting the holy name Krsna, the soul is attracted by the Supreme Person, Krsna, to go home, back to Godhead.

In the Narada-pancaratra it is stated that all the Vedic rituals, mantras, and understanding are compressed into the eight words Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Similarly, in the Kali-santarana Upanisad it is stated that these sixteen words, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, are especially meant for counteracting the degrading and contaminating influence of this materialistic age of Kali.

All these points are elaborately presented in my book Teachings of Lord Caitanya.

The process of chanting is, therefore, not only the sublime method for practical perfection of life but the authorized Vedic principle inaugurated by the greatest Vedic scholar and devotee, Lord Caitanya (whom we consider an incarnation of Krsna). We are simply following in His authorized footsteps.

The scope of the Krsna consciousness movement is universal. The process for regaining one’s original spiritual status of eternal life, full with bliss and knowledge, is not abstract, dry theorizing. Spiritual life is not described in the Vedas as theoretical, dry, or impersonal. The Vedas aim at the inculcation of pure love of God only, and this harmonious conclusion is practically realized by the Krsna consciousness movement, or by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra.

As the goal of spiritual realization is only one, love of God, so the Vedas stand as a single comprehensive whole in the matter of transcendental understanding. Only the incomplete views of various parties apart from the bona fide Vedic lines of teaching give a rapturous appearance to the Bhagavad-gita. The reconciliative factor adjusting all apparently diverse propositions of the Vedas is the essence of the Veda, or Krsna consciousness (love of God).

Thanking you once again,

Yours sincerely,

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

February 8, 1970
Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta

Dear Swamiji:

Thank you very much for your kindness in sending me your long and interesting letter of January 30, together with the last issue of Back to Godhead. So far I have had a few discussions with members of your society here, but they were not entirely satisfactory from my point of view. But now I have your much more authoritative letter, whereby the discussion moves to a higher level.

And yet, I am afraid, you have not convinced me that all the scriptures you quote prescribe only chanting of the name of Krsna. Let me refer only to the most important ones.

In the Bhagavad-gita (9.14), kirtayantah need not mean chanting of the name of Krsna. It may mean glorifying, chanting, reciting, talking, and refer to songs, hymns, descriptions, or conversations. The commentators take it that way. Sankara in his commentary merely repeats the word, but Anandagiri in his vyakhya classes kirtana as vedanta-sravanam pranava-japas ca, “listening to the Vedanta and muttering om” (that the Vedic om is Krsna is said in the Bhagavad-gita, where Krsna is also identified with many other things, and which is smrti, but not in the Vedas, which are sruti). Another commentator, Hanuman, in his Paisaca-bhasya, says that kirtayantah merely means bhasamanah–“talking [about].”

More important, I think, than the precise meaning of this word, is that the entire verse does not require that everyone always engage in kirtana, but merely states that some great souls do so. This is obvious from the next verse, which states that anye, “others,” engage in jnana: yajnena… yajanto mam, “worshiping me… with the worship of knowledge.” The Bhagavad-gita is broad-minded and tolerant of a variety of religious approaches, although it also stresses one aspect above all others (i.e., sarva-phala-tyaga).*

Sarva-phala-tyaga means “renunciation of all the fruits of one’s work.”

Finally, in the last sutra of the Vedanta-sutra, anavrttih sabdat…, sabda refers to the scripture or to the revelation of the Vedas, as is clear from the context and from the commentators. Sankara quotes a number of texts (ending with ity adi-sabdebhyah, “according to these sabdas“) to support this, i.e., to support the statement that “according to the scripture there is no return.” He also refers to sabda in this sutra by saying mantrartha-vadadi…,mantras, descriptions, etc.” Vacaspati Misra in the Bhamati supports this and clarifies it further by adding that a contrary view is sruti-smrti-virodhah, “in conflict with the smrti and the sruti.

Thanking you once again for your kind attention.

Yours very sincerely,

J. F. Staal

February 15, 1970
J. F. Staal

Professor of Philosophy and of South Asian Languages

My dear Dr. Staal:

I am very glad to receive your letter dated Sunday, February 8, 1970. I am very much pleased also to note the contents.

Regarding convincing you that all scriptures prescribe chanting of the name of Krsna, I can simply present the authority of Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya recommended, kirtaniyah sada harih (“Hari, Krsna, is constantly to be praised” (Siksastaka 3)). Similarly, Madhvacarya quotes, vede ramayane caiva harih sarvatra giyate (“Hari is sung about everywhere in the Vedas and Ramayana“). Similarly, in the Bhagavad-gita (15.15) the Lord says, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah (“By all the Vedas, I am to be known”).

In this way we find all the scriptures aiming at the Supreme Person. In the Rg Veda (1.22.20) the mantra is om tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah (“The demigods are always looking to that supreme abode of Visnu”). The whole Vedic process, therefore, is to understand Lord Visnu, and any scripture is directly or indirectly chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord, Visnu.

Regarding the Bhagavad-gita, verse 9.14, kirtayantah certainly means glorifying, chanting, reciting, and talking, as you have said; but glorifying, chanting, or reciting about whom? It is certainly Krsna. The word used in this connection is mam [“Me”]. Therefore, we do not disagree when a person glorifies Krsna, as Sukadeva did in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. This is also kirtana. The highest among all Vedic literatures is the proper place for such glorification of the Supreme Lord, Krsna, and this is to be well understood from the verse:

nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
suka-mukhad amrta-drava-samyutam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah

“O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.3)

It is said that Maharaja Pariksit attained salvation simply by hearing, and similarly Sukadeva Gosvami attained salvation simply by chanting. In our devotional service there are nine different methods for achieving the same goal, love of Godhead, and the first process is hearing. This hearing process is called sruti. The next process is chanting. The chanting process is smrti. We accept both sruti and smrti simultaneously. We consider sruti the mother and smrti the sister, because a child hears from the mother and then again learns from the sister by description.

Sruti and smrti are two parallel lines. Srila Rupa Gosvami therefore says:

pancaratra-vidhim vina
aikantiki harer bhaktir
utpatayaiva kalpate

(Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.101)

That is, without references to sruti, smrti, Puranas, and Pancaratras, unadulterated devotional service is never achieved. Therefore, anyone who shows a devotional ecstasy without reference to the sastras [Vedic scriptures] simply creates disturbances. On the other hand, if we simply stick to the srutis, then we become veda-vada-ratah,* who are not very much appreciated in the Bhagavad-gita.

[Bg 2.42] “Engaged in merely mouthing the words of the scriptures, but not understanding or practicing them.”

Therefore Bhagavad-gita, although smrti, is the essence of all Vedic scripture, sarvopanisado gavah.* It is just like a cow which is delivering the milk, or the essence of all the Vedas and Upanisads, and all the acaryas, including Sankaracarya, accept the Bhagavad-gita as such. Therefore you cannot deny the authority of the Bhagavad-gita because it is smrti; that view is sruti-smrti-virodhah, “in conflict with the smrti and the sruti,” as you have correctly said.

See the Fourth of Sankaracarya’s meditations.

Regarding Anandagiri’s quotation that kirtana means vedanta-sravanam pranava japas ca [“listening to the Vedanta and muttering om“], the knower of Vedanta is Krsna, and He is the compiler of Vedanta. He is veda-vit and vedanta-krt. So where is there a greater opportunity for vedanta-sravana than to hear it from Krsna?

Regarding the next verse, in which it is mentioned that jnana-yajnena… yajanto mam, the object of worship is Krsna, as indicated by mam [“Me”]. The process is described in the Isopanisad, mantra 11:

vidyam cavidyam ca yas
tad vedobhayam saha
avidyaya mrtyum tirtva
vidyayamrtam asnute

“Only one who can learn the process of nescience and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessings of immortality.”

The culture of vidya, or transcendental knowledge, is essential for the human being, otherwise the culture of avidya, or nescience, binds him to conditional existence on the material platform. Materialistic existence means the pursuit or culture of sense gratification, and this kind of knowledge of sense gratification (avidya) means advancement of repeated birth and death. Those who are absorbed in such knowledge cannot learn any lesson from the laws of nature, and they do the same things over repeatedly, being enamored of the beauty of illusory things. Vidya, or factual knowledge, on the other hand, means to know thoroughly the process of nescient activities while at the same time culturing transcendental science and thereby undeviatingly following the path of liberation.

Liberation is the enjoyment of the full blessings of immortality. This immortality is enjoyed in the eternal kingdom of God (sambhuty-amrtam asnute), the region of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and is the result obtained by worshiping the Supreme Lord, the cause of all causes, sambhavat. So in this way real knowledge, vidya, means to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna; that is jnana-yajnena, the worship of knowledge.

This jnana-yajnena… yajanto mam is the perfection of knowledge, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita (7.19):

bahunam janmanam ante
jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma sudurlabhah

“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me [Krsna], knowing Me to be the cause of all causes, and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.”

If one has not yet come to this conclusion of knowledge and simply indulges in dry speculation without Krsna, then his hard speculative labor is something like beating empty husks of grain. The unhulled rice and the empty husks of rice look very much the same. One who knows how to get the grain out of the unhulled rice is wise, but one who beats on the empty husk, thinking to get some result, is simply wasting his labor uselessly. Similarly, if one studies the Vedas without finding the goal of the Vedas, Krsna, he simply wastes his valuable time.

So to cultivate knowledge for worshiping Krsna culminates after many, many births and deaths when one actually becomes wise. When one becomes wise in this way, he surrenders to Krsna, recognizing Him at last to be the cause of all causes and all that is. That sort of great soul is very rare. So those who have surrendered to Krsna life and soul are rare sudurlabha mahatmas. They are not ordinary mahatmas.

By the grace of Lord Caitanya that highest perfectional status of life is being distributed very freely. The effect is also very encouraging; otherwise, how are boys and girls without any background of Vedic culture quickly occupying the posts of rare mahatmas simply by vibrating this transcendental sound, Hare Krsna? And simply on the basis of this chanting, the majority of them (those who are very sincere) are steady in devotional service and are not falling down to the four principles of material sinful life, namely (1) meat-eating, (2) illicit sexual connection, (3) taking of intoxicants, including coffee, tea, and tobacco, and (4) gambling. And that is the last sutra of the Vedanta-sutra, i.e., anavrttih sabdat [“By sound vibration one becomes liberated”].

One has to learn by the result (phalena pariciyate). Our students are ordered to act like this, and they are not falling down. That they are remaining on the platform of pure spiritual life without hankering to culture the above principles of avidya, or sense gratification, is the test of their proper understanding of the Vedas. They do not come back to the material platform, because they are relishing the nectarean fruit of love of God.

Sarva-phala-tyaga [“renunciation of all the fruits of one’s work”] is explained in the Bhagavad-gita by the Lord Himself in the words sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: “Give up everything and simply surrender unto Me [Krsna].” The Hare Krsna mantra means “O Supreme Energy of Krsna and O Lord Krsna, please engage me in Your eternal service.” So we have given up everything and are simply engaged in the service of the Lord. What Krsna orders us to do is our only engagement. We have given up all resultant actions of karma, jnana, and yoga; and that is the stage of pure devotional service, bhaktir uttama.

Yours sincerely,

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

February 25, 1970
Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta
International Society for Krishna Consciousness

Dear Swamiji:

Thank you very much for your very interesting letter of February 15, 1970, with enclosure.

I am afraid that whenever you quote a passage purporting to show that only the chanting of the name Krsna is required, I can quote another one which requires something else, adding, yadi sloko ‘pi pramanam, ayam api slokah pramanam bhavitum arhati: “If mere verses are authoritative, this verse also ought to be regarded as authoritative.” And there may be no end to this in the foreseeable future, as Patanjali also says, mahan hi sabdasya prayoga-visayah: “For vast is the domain for the use of words.”

Yours very sincerely,

J. F. Staal

3764 Watseka Avenu
Los Angeles, California 90034
April 24, 1970

Dear Dr. Staal:

I beg to thank you very much for your kind letter dated February 25, 1970. I am sorry that I could not reply to your letter earlier because I was a little busy in the matter of purchasing a new church estate at the above address. We have secured a very nice place for a separate temple, lecture room, my quarters, and the devotees’ residential quarters, all together in a nice place with all the modern amenities.

I beg to request you to visit this place at your convenience, and if you kindly let me know a day before, my students will be very glad to receive you properly.

Regarding our correspondence, actually this quotation and counter-quotation cannot solve the problem. In a court both the learned lawyers quote from law books, but that is not the solution to the case. The determination of the case is the judgment of the presiding judge. So argument cannot bring us to a conclusion.

The scriptural quotations are sometimes contradictory, and every philosopher has a different opinion, because without putting forward a different thesis, no one can become a famous philosopher. It is therefore difficult to arrive at the right conclusion. The conclusion is, as above mentioned, to accept the judgment of authority. We follow the authority of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is nondifferent from Krsna, and His version according to Vedic scripture is that in this age this chanting is the only solution for all problems of life. And that is actually being shown by practical experience.

Recently there was a big procession of our students in Berkeley on the Advent Day of Lord Caitanya, and the public has remarked as follows: “This crowd of men is not like others, who assemble to break windows and create havoc.” This is also confirmed by the police in the following words: “Members of the Krsna consciousness movement cooperated fully with the police, and their efforts to maintain peaceful order throughout the parade were so successful that only minimal police involvement was required.”

Similarly, in Detroit there was a big peace march, and our men were appreciated as “angels” in the crowd. So this Krsna consciousness movement is actually needed at the present moment as the panacea for all kinds of problems in human society.

Other quotations will not act very appreciably at this time. In a drugstore there may be many medicines, and all may be genuine, but what is required is that an experienced physician prescribe medicine for a particular patient. We cannot say in this case, “This is also medicine, and this is also medicine.” No. The medicine which is effective for a particular person is the medicine for him–phalena pariciyate.

Yours very sincerely,

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Final Note by Srila Prabhupada


In a court of justice two lawyers put forward their respective relevant arguments taken from the authorized law books to decide a point, but it is up to the judge to decide the case in favor of one of the litigants. When the opposing lawyers put forward their arguments, both of them are legal and bona fide, but the judgment is given as to which argument is applicable to the particular case.

Lord Caitanya gives His judgment on the authority of sastras that the chanting of the holy names of the Lord is the only means to elevate one to the transcendental platform, and actually we can see it is effective. Each and every one of our students who has seriously taken to this process may be examined individually, and any impartial judge will find it easy to see that they have advanced in their transcendental realization further than any philosophers, religionists, yogis, karmis, etc.

We have to accept everything favorable to the circumstances. Rejection of other methods in a particular circumstance does not mean that the rejected ones are not bona fide. But for the time being, taking into consideration the age, time, and object, methods are sometimes rejected even though bona fide. We have to test everything by its practical result. By such a test, in this age the constant chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra undoubtedly proves very effective.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

[From Science of Self Realization]

Tags: , , , , , ,

About the Author

Founded the Hare Krishna Movement in 1966 in New York. In only 11 years he spread the movement all over the world. He wrote more than 80 books including Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Sri Isopanisad. Prabhupada's books constitute a complete library of Vedic philosophy, religion, literature and culture.

12 Responses to The Krishna Consciousness Movement is the Genuine Vedic Way

  1. Brijesh Dani says:

    Hare Krishna Madhudvisa Prabhu,

    Thankyou for your prompt and enlightening reply.
    Surely,there’s a lot to think over and more importantly realize spiritually.

    I am trying almost my best to follow the guidelines of spiritual practice as you outline it often.
    But to be frank,I am finding it a little bit difficult to maintain the minimum standard….be it chanting or following the regulative principles or reading prabhupada’s books.

    But one thing is for sure-I have been definitely attracted to krishna consciousness for quite a number of years now….and the attraction is still there.
    Infact,I have been following you on the internet ever since you started your…around 1997 when i got exposed to the Hare Krishna movement on the internet.

    Thank you so very much.
    Hare Krishna !

  2. Brijesh Dani says:

    Hare Krishna Madhudvisa prabhuji,

    Thanks for responding to my comment.I understand your situation.
    And I am definitely encouraged by your articles and comments which I
    eagerly read from your site.

    And I am trying my best to follow the regulative principles and read
    Srila prabhupada’s books and chant the Hare krishna mantra as much as

    But I request you to answer one question for which I have not been able
    to get a clear answer.

    The soul is sat-cit-ananda and the spiritual body is sat-cit ananda.
    Are they two separate entities ? Are they inseparable ?
    Does a soul always need a body -gross,subtle or spiritual to exist or
    enjoy ?

    Thank you very much

    • Hare Krishna Brijesh

      I have to stress that the chanting of at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily, the following of the four regulative principles and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day is not optional. This is the minimum standard for one who wants to become Krishna consciousness. And this chanting and the following of the regulative principles will purify your consciousness and enable you to understand things on the spiritual platform.

      The problem is that so many aspects of Krishna consciousness are avan manasa gochara, it means beyond the ability of the mind to conceive and not perceivable by the senses. We have to realize that the spiritual world is something that is completely different from the material world and it is beyond the capabilities of our material mind and senses to perceive and conceive. It is not possible to understand these spiritual concepts with mundane logic and arguments.

      So to understand Krishna consciousness the material mind and senses have to be purified, therefore the chanting and regulative principles are essential.

      I wrote the wrong thing here before but just heard from Srila Prabhupada the answer to your question. He said that the spirit soul is the same in the material or spiritual worlds, and as in the material world the material body is developed from the material elements in the spiritual world your same spirit soul is there and there it can develop a spiritual body from the spiritual energy. So it seems that the spiritual body develops in the spiritual world in a similar way to the material body developing in the material world only the substance from which it develops is spirit not matter.

      And Srila Prabhupada also said that the process of Krishna consciousness is able to transform our material bodies into spiritual bodies. That is because ultimately even the material energy is Krishna’s energy and if the material energy is used in the service of Krishna then it no longer acts as material energy but acts as spiritual energy.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  3. Brijesh Dani says:

    Hare Krishna Madhudvisa Prabhuji,

    Please accept my humble obeisances.

    I have a few questions…Please find some time to answer them.

    1.Krishna is the origin of everything.That means there must have been a
    time when there was no spiritual world,no material world and nothing
    except Krishna with all the jivas and His energies and everything in
    the body of that correct ?

    2.What made krishna to manifest the jivas and the spiritual worlds and
    material worlds?

    3.Are the jivas and the spiritual worlds and material worlds stil
    emanating from the body of krishna and will continue endlessly or is it
    that krishna has manifested everything that is possible for HIM ?

    4.In the conditioned state of life the jiva is separate from the
    material body and there is duality because their natures are completely
    different or to be more precise opposites? right?

    5.The soul is sat-cit-ananda and the spiritual body is sat-cit
    ananda.Are they two separate entities ? Are they inseparable ? And
    there is no duality in the spiritual world because they are of the same
    nature ?

    6.Does a soul always need a body -gross,subtle or spiritual to exist or
    enjoy ?

    7.The soul is eternal-does that mean the “soul” was actually not
    created but eternally existing with krishna before and after
    manifesting from the body of krishna ??

    8.Energy cannot be created or destroyed .Can krishna create “souls” or
    destroy them completely out of existence ?

    9.Krishna is credited with giving minute independence to the
    infintesimal jiva…was the minute freedom always existing or that it
    has been deliberately granted to the jiva by krishna ? and that it can
    be taken away from jiva and if it is taken away then the jiva is as
    good as a robot or even worse ?

    10.What actually happens to the jiva at the time of death ? where does
    the jiva exist at the time of death and after death before taking
    another birth ?

    I will be very grateful if you can find time to answer the above 10
    questions at your convenience.

    I visit your site daily and it is always inspiring,enlightening to read
    the articles and comments.

    Thank you very much.


    • Hare Krishna Brijesh

      I am trying to encourage you and the other readers here to read Srila Prabhupada’s books themselves and actually take the time themselves to chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra daily and to strictly follow the four regulative principles.

      If you actually surrender to this process and find some time yourself to read Srila Prabhupada’s books on a regular basis you will be amazed to find Srila Prabhupada will answer so many of your questions.

      If you want me to answer your questions please just ask one or two, then I can answer, but hundreds of people are asking questions, you have to consider that. And the answers to most of your questions will become very obvious to you if you simply follow the process I have outlined of reading Prabhupada’s books, chanting the Hare Krishna mantra at least 16 rounds a day and following the four regulative principles. And if you do not surrender to this process, even if I answer your questions, you will not ‘get it..’

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  4. sanjay says:

    i feel i work so hard but i do not get even the words of appreciation.

  5. Vik says:

    @Madhudvisa ji idea that he clearly changed his mind about, in lieu of the beautiful traditional design that they later came up with ..which has been rather unceremoniously dropped because the new management claimed it was out of budget.

    i have also read ALL transcripts of conversations by Prabhupada regarding the capitol building design, and let me assure you they are rather ambiguous and never even clearly state whether he liked the entire building or was talking about just the ‘dome’ of the building!

    Nevertheless Krishna watches 🙂 and whatever must come to pass, will.

    • The problem is it is supposed to be the “Temple of the Vedic Planetarium” but they have no idea at all about the structure of the universe according to Srimad-Bhagavatam so they can not build the Planetarium…

      Srila Prabhuapda never intended it to be a traditional Indian temple at all. It is supposed to be a Vedic Planetarium that is meant to attract scientists and thinkers from all over the world and present a revolutionary new scientific view of the structure of the universe based on Srimad-Bhagavatam.

      As you say Krishna is watching, but Krishna does not just watch. Krishna is within the hearts of everyone so He can move them in any way He wants to. So really it is in His hands Prabhu…

      But it does seem a little insane to me to desigh and start building a planetarium if you don’t have a clear idea about the universe you are going to put inside it…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  6. Vik says:

    i’m with Prof.Staal all along. i like a person who goes after what he believes (i’m guess that’s what Srila Prabhupada was doing too, but guess m just biased, coz i honestly also believe in what Prof.Staal what trying to say.)

    Of course, this is from from the 70s (1970 in fact) and lots has changed over 4 decades Srila Prabhupada is now with us only in spirit, sadly he passed away on Nov 14th 1977, complaining through his last days, on his death bed, to those his closest, that he was quiet sure he had been poisoned. 40 years later Alfred Ford aka Ambarisa Das has donated $40 million for the very holy cause of ‘religious tourism’ in his support for the building of the new ISKCON temple at Mayapur (ISKCON headquarters), which as decided by the financiers is going to look like the ‘Capitol Building’ at Washington DC. In arguments with protesters, Ford said that they’re “definitely not” going to build some boring old fashioned pyramid shaped temple!

    The Capitol Building ..the genuine ..Vedic Way 😉

    • Actually the Capitol Building idea is Prabhuapda’s idea but is is supposed to house a “Temple of the Vedic Planetarium,” unfortunately ISKCON has no idea about the Vedic planetarium they are supposed to be building inside it… So it is a bit of a problem for sure…

  7. pete says:

    Of course i”m partial but Srila Prabhupada turned a dog like me into a scholar.
    tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreyah uttamam…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back to Top ↑