Published on December 5th, 2018 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image


Who Will Surrender to Krishna?

In Chapter 7 Text 15 of the Bhagavad-gita Krishna lists four types of miscreants were mentioned who will never surrender:

  1. The grossly foolish
  2. The lowest of mankind
  3. Those whose knowledge is stolen by illusion
  4. And those who partake of the atheistic nature of demons.

So then the question naturally arises: “Who will surrender to Krishna?” This is answered by Krishna in the next verse (Bhagavad-gita 7.16):

O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me–the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.

The common factor shared by all the men who surrender to Krishna is they are pious. Unlike the miscreants, they follow the regulative principles of the scriptures, the moral and social laws, and are, more or less, devoted to the Supreme Lord.

Among these pious men there are four classes who surrender to Krishna:

  1.  The distressed.
  2.  Those who are in need of money.
  3.  Those who are inquisitive,
  4.  And those who are searching after knowledge of the Absolute Truth.

These persons come to the Krishna for devotional service under different conditions. These are not pure devotees because they have some aspiration to fulfill in exchange for devotional service.

Pure devotional service is without aspiration and without desire for material profit. The Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu defines pure devotion thus: “One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Krishna favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service.”

When these four kinds of persons come to the Supreme Lord for devotional service and are completely purified by the association of a pure devotee, they also become pure devotees.

As far as the miscreants are concerned, for them devotional service is very difficult because their lives are selfish, irregular and without spiritual goals. But even some of them, by chance, when they come in contact with a pure devotee, also become pure devotees.

Those who are always busy with fruitive activities come to the Lord in material distress and at that time associate with pure devotees and become, in their distress, devotees of the Lord.

Those who are simply frustrated also come sometimes to associate with the pure devotees and become inquisitive to know about God.

Similarly, when the dry philosophers are frustrated in every field of knowledge, they sometimes want to learn of God, and they come to the Supreme Lord to render devotional service and thus transcend knowledge of the impersonal Brahman and the localized Paramatma and come to the personal conception of Godhead by the grace of the Supreme Lord or His pure devotee.

On the whole, when the distressed, the inquisitive, the seekers of knowledge, and those who are in need of money are free from all material desires, and when they fully understand that material remuneration has nothing to do with spiritual improvement, they become pure devotees.

As long as such a purified stage is not attained, devotees in transcendental service to the Lord are tainted with fruitive activities, and they search after mundane knowledge, etc. So one has to transcend all this before one can come to the stage of pure devotional service.

Of these, the wise one who is in full knowledge in union with Me through pure devotional service is the best. For I am very dear to him, and he is dear to Me.

Free from all contaminations of material desires, the distressed, the inquisitive, the penniless, and the seeker after supreme knowledge can all become pure devotees. But out of them, he who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth and free from all material desires becomes a really pure devotee of the Lord.

Of the four orders, the devotee who is in full knowledge and is at the same time engaged in devotional service is, the Lord says, the best.

By searching after knowledge one realizes that his self is different from his material body, and when further advanced he comes to the knowledge of impersonal Brahman and Paramatma. When one is fully purified, he realizes that his constitutional position is to be the eternal servant of God.

By association with pure devotees, the inquisitive, the distressed, the seeker after material amelioration and the man in knowledge all become themselves pure. But in the preparatory stage, the man who is in full knowledge of the Supreme Lord and is at the same time executing devotional service is very dear to the Lord. He who is situated in pure knowledge of the transcendence of the Supreme Personality of God is so protected in devotional service that material contaminations cannot touch him.

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34 Responses to Who Will Surrender to Krishna?

  1. Aishwary says:

    Hate Krishna Sir!
    My question is what should be the real intention of knowing bhagvada Gita?
    As mentioned in the fourth point in search of knowledge of absolute truth should we follow this concept?
    And one more point is that in bhagvada Gita it is mentioned that one should not have personally motive interpretations.
    What it actually means?
    Pls guide Sir!
    Hare Krishna!

    • One should hear the Bhagavad-gita in the same spirit and mood that Arjuna heard it from Krishna. Arjuna was Krishna’s friend and surrendered to Krishna and accepted everything Krishna said and followed His instructions. So we should understand that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally speaking in Bhagavad-gita. So we should surrender to Krishna, and we should submissively hear what He is saying in Bhagavad-gita, and, like Arjune, act on the instructions Krishna gives us as we read Bhagavad-gita.

      Purpose of Bhagavad-gita is to know Krishna and to surrender to Krishna by accepting a bonafide pure devotee spiritual master who can guide us.

      So Srila Prabhupada has given us his ‘Bhaktivedanta Purports’. Prabhupada is living in his transcendental purports and by reading his Bhagavad-gita As It Is We can take full advantage of both the personal instruction and guidance of Srila Prabhupada and of Krishna.

      So do it, read Srila Prabhupada’s books and put the instructions you get from Krishna and Prabhupada into practice in your day-to-day life and you will make rapid spiritual advancement and be very happy in Krishna Consciousness.

  2. ashish says:

    hare krishna,
    thanks for the mails that you sent since last decade, though i have not much time to read the complete mails but just a glimpse of that have really motivated me to bend towards Krishna, there is something about krishna that can be tagged as magnetic, one automatically gets attracted towards Lord Krishna, I would be glad if the mail could also include some illustrations and images from the krishna epic.
    best regards
    hare krishna

  3. Harigopal D J says:

    Dandavat and Pranams. I
    Thank your grace for enlightening on the subject.

  4. Astha says:

    Hare Krishna Sir…

    First of all. heartiest thanks for your mails.

    It was my great good fortune that sometime back I came across Srila Prabhupada books that awakened my deep love for my supreme beloved.

    I want to spend my life in the devotional service of my dear beloved krishna only. I feel transcendental pleasure with him and have no attraction left for any material thing.

    But my family forcing me to get married..

    Please guide me what to do.. I am financially independent…

    • Hare Krishna Astha

      You can serve Krishna as a married person. Krishna conscious is possible in any stage of life. So the point is to become Krishna conscious wherever you find yourself in the material world and to try to encourage the other people around you to become devotees also.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  5. Nailesh G Joshi says:

    Hare Krishna prabhu ji Dandvat pranam,

    Please accept my humble obeisances
    All glories to Srila Prabhupada, All glories to Srila Guru Maharaja.

    Can you guide me. If person having responsiblity of family & if he wants to become full time devotee. How he can become?

    • Hare Krishna Nailesh

      If you have the family responsibility you can become a devotee with your family in your own house.

      That is Lord Caitanya’s recommendation. Many of Lord Caitanya’s devotees wanted to leave their homes and travel with Him but He almost always advised them to stay in their homes and speak about Krishna there and become the guru in their homes. So you can become Krishna conscious in your own home and preach to your family members and engage them in serving Srila Prabhupada and Krishna.

      That is the best way.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  6. rajeev says:

    I have heard that all the donations in iskon mandirs go to america is it true? if true what is utilization of money collected. ? why there are few iskon temples in few cities of India ? why iskon has not gone to root levels (villages) in india? if u don’t give me right answer then there is something wrong!


    • Hare Krishna Rajeev

      I have nothing to do with today’s ISKCON but I do know that the donations from the Indian ISKCON temples do not go to America. They have a centralized management system in India based in Mumbai. So some of the donations may go there. But they will not go to America. It is actually the other way around. The American money is going to India. The original ISKCON temples in India are all built with American money and the current huge construction at Mayapur is with money coming from outside of India.

      Srila Prabhupada did not encourage his disciples to open temples in the Indian villages because at that time mostly they did not speak the local languages.

      We are not very much interested in many temples really. Prabhupada’s mission is book distribution and sankirtan. Distribution of transcendental literature and the congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra. So devotees from one temple can travel all over India and perform sankirtan and distribute Srila Prabhupada’s books. That is the real point. In this age of Kali-yuga the religious process of the age is not temple worship. It is sankirtan. The congregational chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra and the distribution of Srila Prabhupada’s books.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  7. vanshika says:

    Prabhu, something was attached with this article (newsletter) when I saw it in my mailbox. What’s it? Its not opening, I tried in my PC and phone both, but still not opening. Help
    Hare Krishna

    • Hare Krishna Vanshika

      There is no real attachment. It is a very small 1×1 pixel image. That is put in by the mailing program. It is not a real attachment.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  8. Vanshika says:

    And ya, I am posting this after reading the above article. I know philosophers study only dry knowledge and material remuneration has nothing to do with spiritual improvement. But its confusing me more “As long as such a purified stage is not attained, devotees in transcendental service to the Lord are tainted with fruitive activities, and they search after mundane knowledge, etc. So one has to transcend all this before one can come to the stage of pure devotional service.”
    Am I running for mundane knowledge ???
    Pleaseeee answer soon.

    • Hare Krishna Vanshika

      Mundane knowledge is knowledge that is not related to Krishna. It is knowledge related to the material world.

      And “fruitive activity” means that one performs some action because he wants to get some benefit from it. It comes from the idea of a fruit tree. You plant a fruit tree in your garden and water it and look after it because you want to get the fruit from the tree and enjoy it yourself.

      So if we do something, even apparently spiritual, but we have some idea of enjoying the fruits [the result] of that activity in some way, then that is devotional service tainted with fruitive activity.

      Of course we can not expect that immediately we can be on the platform of pure devotional service. But we have to try for it very seriously. And the instructions how to get to this platform of pure devotional service are there in Srila Prabhupada’s books. A devotee wants to be constantly engaged in the service of Krishna 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that is the idea. Always remember Krishna, never forget Krishna.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • vanshika says:

        Yes Prabhu!
        I am not interested in planting a fruit tree, even it will give me fruits for limited time, no satisfaction and they’ll be material!
        Satisfaction, Which is possible only by only selfless service towards Krishna!!! I dont want anything in return. I feel satisfied only in his service, I’ll do that!!!
        Thankyou for guidence:)
        HARI BOL…!

  9. Vanshika says:

    Hare Krishna prabhu
    All glories to guru and Gauranga
    I wanted to ask an important ques regarding my future. I have been thinking to opt for philosophy and psychology, in my upcoming 2 years of high school and university as well. But I am afraid that it may affect my KC, or I should say, the way i Iook at the world from KC eyes. But there is an opportunity to realize how better and beautiful our gaudiya vaishnav and Veda vyas’s philosophies are by studying the comparison. I’d like to tell u what it includes (M.A. In Philosophy); •The Problem of Consciousness- C. Mcginn.
    •The Philosophy and Psychology of Personal Identity- J. Glover
    • Plato- the man and his work .A. E. Taylor
    •Philosophy of Plato-G. C. Field.
    •History of W. Phil-Classical Mind .W. T. Jones.
    •S.K. Belvalkar Vedanta Philosophy.
    •P.S. Sivaswamy Aiyar . Evolution of Hindu Morals.
    •History of Dharmashastra . P.V. Kane.
    •A History of Indian philosophy Vol. II and III – Dr. S. N. Dasgupta.
    •Brahma sutra Bhasya- Text with Tr. By- Swami Veereshwarananda Ramkrishna Mission, Mysore.
    •Philosophy of Sankara- Dr. Rao Vihari Das.
    Study On Personalities such as:
    •J. Krishnamurthi
    •Textual Study in Yoga
    •Textual Study in Jainism
    •Hathayoga Text
    •Textual Study in Buddhism
    •Ancient Greek Philosophy
    •Medieval Philosophy
    •Islamic Philosophy
    •Contemporary Continental Philosophy
    •Shaivism, Shaktism
    •Environmental Ethics
    •Current Trends in Analytical Philosophy
    •Jaina Metaphysics
    •Samkhya Yoga Metaphysics
    •Philosophy of feminism
    •Buddhist Metaphysics
    And much more…
    I believe that it may not change or influence me, but still I don’t have anybody so intelligent around me here in our sampradaya, who would understand my confusion and advice me. So I think you can answer this question clearly for me.
    Maths, science are a total no, and philosophy also because there is a college In Vrindavan for philosophy where I want to teach which will give me the chance to live in Vrindavan!
    (Ya, and prabhupad’s books will remain as fresh as they always are and they are the only one leading me to love for Krishna.)
    being stupid, and leaving everything on my luck is not very good. I know that the things which are writtin in by the lord will happen somehow or other we have no control over it. But we cant sit empty handed, I think u understand and will help me from your best as you always do.
    Hare Krishna

    • Hare Krishna Vanshika

      Sounds very painful. Mayavadi bhasya sunali haya sarva nas “One who hears the Mayavadi philosophy will never be able to understand Krishna consciousness.” It is so poisonous.

      The attractive part of Mayavadi philosophy is that it is the Vedic philosophy, which is the best philosophy for sure, without surrender, without Krishna, without a personal God. They have the brahman effulgence as the supreme and of course there is nothing personal in the brahman effulgence. Nothing to bow down to, no one greater that me, no God to surrender to.

      So this is very, very attractive to philosophically inclined people in the material world. Because we all come here to the material world because we have rejected the idea of surrendering to Krishna and serving Krishna. We do not want Krishna to be the center of attention. We want to be the center of attention ourselves. We do not want to worship Krishna, we want people to worship us…

      So for such people the Mayavadi philosophy is great. Great philosophy without Krishna, without God, without surrender.

      Really if you would spend the time studying Srila Prabhupada’s books you would become the greatest philosopher, you would understand everything very clearly, all philosophy, everything in all these books.

      So I would not do it myself. But of course it is up to you.

      You will be surrounded by Mayavadis and you know association is very powerful. We become like the people we associate with. It is very hard to avoid this…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • vanshika says:

        Hare Krishna Prabhu ji,
        IT’S A BIG NO, if Krishna is not there I’ll not be there. And Prabhu, I understand why you say its up to me (don’t feel like saying it Prabhu, I know you’ll advice me only what you’ve learned from prabhupada!) and I very well understand “One who hears the Mayavadi philosophy will never be able to understand Krishna consciousness.” so, I choose Krishna not mayavadi philosophy and you know yesterday night I was thinking upon this, that studying mayavadi philosophy will only be a time waste and spoiling element for my kc. Moreover I don’t even understand other philosophies then Veda vyas’s , gauranga and prabhupada’s.
        You know.. My heart says no somewhere to the mayavadi philosophy, as my priority is Krishna now, not being the famous (centre) one of the world. That’s why I asked you, to clear the confusion. And thanx for this reply, clearing my confusion, by seeing my priority Krishna consciousness!!! 🙂
        Thankyou very much Prabhu, you are really following prabhupada honesty!
        I remember I heard somewhere that once a disciple of prabhupada came to him with the request of studying aurveda, but prabhupada gave him a book on Krishna and said or Morden science has evolved very much no need to learn aurveda learn the real knowledge needed (krsna). And that diciple understood it very well and said okay to prabhupada and smiled.
        We can think he was just saying about aurveda, and I am saying about studying mayavadi philosophy!!! Total spoil!
        So I’ll not run towards mundane knowledge! I’ll run towards Krishna only !!! :))
        Thankyou very very much! 🙂
        Hare Krishna
        Jai prabhupada!!!

        • Hare Krishna Vanshika

          The thing is if we use our energy and time to actually study all of Srila Prabhupada’s books and to be constantly engaged in the service of Srila Prabhupada then we will come out to be the greatest philosophers and greatest teachers and most qualified and most respected persons.

          So there is no need to study all these mundane books.

          We will get all the real knowledge both material and spiritual and be respected by everyone as greatly learnered and wise persons simply by studying Srila Prabhupada’s books.

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

  10. Rohit says:

    I personally feel that the Krishna Consciousness is the ultimate goal of ones life.
    Also, I have some questions about the other paths like the Dhyana Yoga- Meditation Techniques , what role they play in our life?
    I mean the meditation techniques like the- Kriya Yoga, Isha Kriya, Sudarshan Kriya or some other tools, what role they play in our lives?


    • Hare Krishna Rohit

      Yoga, meditation, kriya-yoga, etc it is useless in this age. Not beneficial at all. Complete waste of time. You will not get any benefit form it. In this age the yoga process is chanting:

      Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
      Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  11. stewart scholl says:

    Thank you for the scholarly insight on the Bhagavad Gita.

  12. Vanshika says:

    Hare Krishna prabhu
    You’ll be glad to hear that now Krishna has engaged my ma in chanting and now she is chanting from 1 month, 1 round everyday! With the panc tattva mantra. I hope she’ll do more in future.
    Prabhu I had a question, shall we shut the kirtan online? And shall I speak less? I mean like… I am confused.. Going mad!! Haelp help help! :((
    Hare Krishna

    • Hare Krishna Vanshika

      It is very good that your mother is now chanting Hare Krishna. That is by your good association for sure. It is very wonderful!

      The most important thing is that we are Krishna conscious ourselves. If we are not ourselves properly situated in Krishna consciousness then we can’t help anyone else. So our first duty is always to chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day, strictly follow the four regulative principles, and read Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day. If we stick to these things very seriously then we will not get confused and go mad.

      As far as the kirtan online I do not think it is really possible. At least not just with text messages. Kirtan means hearing and chanting. So to have a kirtan someone has to chant and the other people have to hear the chanting and repeat it. That is kirtan. So if you can’t hear the other people chanting you can’t really have a kirtan. And of course kirtan works best with a group of devotees who are all themselves following the four regulative principles, chanting at least 16 rounds, reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, etc.

      Not that you should speak less, but you have to make sure that when you speak you are delivering the pure message of Krishna consciousness that you have read in Srila Prabhupada’s books without adding anything to it or removing anything from it. Then speaking is good.

      You have to be aware that many of the people on also many of the people you will find in a Hare Krishna temple, although they may present themselves as great devotees and say they are strictly following everything, etc, are often not really very serious devotees at all. Kali-yuga is the age of quarrel and hypocrisy, so generally people do not tell the truth in Kali-yuga. They say one thing but do something completely different. So you can not guarantee these people are good association.

      We have to be guided by Srila Prabhupada and Krishna so when we are feeling stressed like this it is good to take shelter of chanting Hare Krishna and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. If you chant Hare Krishna and read Srila Prabhupada’s books for long enough then gradually everything will become clear and you will understand what is the best thing to do.

      Really internet is not the best communication system for preaching Krishna consciousness and associating with devotees in my opinion. It works much better if you can talk to people directly, face to face, and convince them to take a Prabhupada book and give a donation to help with the printing cost. This is the most powerful preaching and distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books is the most pleasing thing to Srila Prabhupada and pleasing Srila Prabhupada is the secret to rapidly advancing in Krishna consciousness.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • Vanshika says:

        Hare Krishna prabhu! 🙂
        Thankyou for such an genius reply, actually I wanted to hear this. U know prabhu, I always get a intuition from inside that ya I should do this (what you’ve adviced) but then I think I should not use my brain and go with logic, but now I realise that common sense is very important to be followed!! And many times I also get special instructions / intutions or I shall write orders from prabhupada! Which result to be proved right! But not always I will use my mind as I am conditioned soul, u explained it falliable, so i’ll do the prabhupad’s and yours stuff!!!
        And ya, mom is chanting beacuse of prabhupad’s knowledge and logics I use to give my mom!
        Thankyou thankyou thankyou very much! I really wanted to hear this!!! Very helpful 🙂
        Hare Krishna!
        HARI BOL…

        • vanshika says:

          And ya Prabhu you are very right not everybody is the pure devotee of Krishna! That can be realized being there! Hari bol..
          But I’ll never ever leave prabhupada. HARI BOL..

          • Hare Krishna Vanshika

            Yes. It is a problem of course. Mostly people have their own ideas. We have come to this material world because we want to put ourselves in the center, we do not want to surrender to Krishna, we do not want to surrender to anyone. That is the material disease. A pure devotee of Krishna is a very, very rare thing. You know there are thousands of translations of Bhagavad-gita in English but no one in the West became a devotee of Krishna by reading any of these Bhagavad-gitas. But when Srila Prabhupada published his “Bhagavad-gita As It Is” so many people all over the world read it and could actually understand the true nature of Krishna and wanted to surrender to Krishna and serve Him…

            There are so many who present themselves as devotees but do not want to surrender to Srila Prabhupada, do not want to surrender to Krishna, they have their own ideas like our friend’s “every path leads to God”. Total nonsense. Completely against Krishna, completely against Prabhupada. But he presents himself as a devotee of Krishna and says it is OK if you follow Prabhupada but it is also OK if you follow anyone else because all the paths lead to God….

            It is poison. Nonsense. What can I say?

            It is very hard to keep public forums bona fide… Anyhow we shall see how it develops…

            Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

            Madhudvisa dasa

  13. Sushmita says:

    Pranam Madhuvidasa ji

    Thank u very much for ur explanations.
    Hare Krishna hare Krishna Krishna Krishna hare hare hare Ram hare Ram Ram Ram hare hare

  14. Mahesh J C says:

    Hare Krishna!

    Pranaam Madhudvisadasji,
    Thank you for a lovely explanation of the devotee and a non devotee of Krishna.

    You quote from The Bhakti-Rasamrta-Sindhu which defines pure devotion thus: “One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Krishna favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service.”

    Can you please enlighten me giving some examples how I should go about performing this transcendental loving devotional service to Krishna?

    I am already following the four regulative principles described in the scriptures.

    Yours humbly,

    • Hare Krishna Mahesh Prabhu

      Yes. You have asked the perfect question. “How to perform this transcendental loving devotional service to Krishna.”

      That is the most important question and the most important realization. As the essence of water is that it is wet, as the essence of fire is heat, as the essence of sugar is sweetness there is also an essential factor that we living entities have. As you can not separate the wetness from the water, the heat from the fire or the sweetness from the sugar there is a similar essential quality of the living entities that can not be separated from the living entities. As there is no meaning to fire without heat, there is no meaning to sugar without sweetness and no meaning to water without wetness, similarly we have to discover that essential element of the living entities.

      Actually this essential element which can not be separated from us, which is our dharma, our eternal occupation, is service. The living entities are made to be servants. We are made to serve. There is no meaning to our existence without service. In the material world we are all puffed-up and all trying to become masters. But it is not our nature to be the master, it is our nature to be a servant. And we will always be a servant. As water is always wet, fire is always hot and sugar is always sweet we are always servants. It is our dharma. If we are not serving then it is like saying sugar is not sweet, but sugar must be sweet, if it is not sweet it is not sugar. So we must be serving. We can not exist without serving. It is our nature. As sugar is sweet and the sweetness can not be separated from the sugar we are servants and that nature of being a servant can not be separated from us.

      You can study any ‘big’ man in the world. All are ultimately servants. The President of a country has to serve the people of the country, the managing director of a big company has to serve the company and the shareholders, the movie star has to serve the fans by acting in such a way that will please the fans. Everyone, no matter how big, is a servant. That is our nature, we can not do anything else except serve.

      Everyone is going to work to serve, when they come home they serve the wife and the family, and the wife is serving the husband. Everyone is serving. Serving is the only thing we can do. Serving is our nature. This serving nature can not be separated from us.

      So the only difference between a devotee and a non-devotee is that the devotee serves Krishna under the direction of Krishna’s pure devotee and the non-devotee serves maya [the illusion that he can be happy without serving Krishna].

      So to become a devotee means giving up serving maya [the illusion of being happy independently from serving Krishna] and instead serving Krishna under the direction of a pure devotee of Krishna.

      The direction of a pure devotee of Krishna is the key point because in our conditioned state we have no direct connection with Krishna. We have no way of knowing what we should do to serve Krishna. So we have to find a bona fide spiritual master who is a pure devotee of Krishna who can direct us in such a way that we also can be elevated to the platform of pure devotional service.

      In one sense it is very simply but in another sense there is so much to learn. Practically speaking Srila Prabhupada has perfectly answered your question in almost 100 books and thousands of hours of audio recordings. So really to properly find the answers we have to read Srila Prabhupada’s books. So many claim to be followers of Srila Prabhupada but they do not read his books. Or they read Bhagavad-gita but not much else. That is not following Prabhupada. Prabhupada spent so much time and energy writing his books to answer your question elaborately: “Please enlighten me giving some examples how I should go about performing this transcendental loving devotional service to Krishna.” That is the subject of all of Srila Prabhupada’s books. So you have to read the books. Not that it is possible that Prabhupada took 100 books to explain it and I can just put a paragraph here and you will understand it. That is not possible. It is a small question with a big answer. So the perfect answer is already there in Prabhuapda’s books. We have to read them.

      You may know that the Srimad-Bhagavatam was spoken by Sukadeva Goswami to Maharja Pariksit just to answer your question: “Please enlighten me giving some examples how I should go about performing this transcendental loving devotional service to Krishna…” And it took Sukadeva Goswami 7 days and nights to answer this question and the questions and answers were so invigorating and inspiring and ecstatic that everyone at that meeting was so interested and enlivened that Sukadeva Gosvami and Maharaja Pariksit spoke continuously for the whole seven days and nights and no one even felt hungry or thirsty for the whole 168 hours. That is amazing!

      So it took Sukadeva Gosvami 18,000 verses in Srimad-Bhagavatam to answer your question. The actual situation was that the King, Maharaja Pariksit, had been cursed by a foolish brahmana boy to die within seven days by being bitten by a snake-bird. So in those days the brahmana’s, even the boys, were actually powerful, and their curses came true. So the King was faced with the problem of dying in seven days so he went to the banks of the Ganges to prepare for his inevitable death. And all the great saint and sages gathered to advise Maharaja Pariksit how to prepare for death. We are all in the same position as Maharaja Pariksit. We are all going to die in a few days. Maharaja Pariksit was guaranteed to have seven days, but we do not even have seven minuted guaranteed. We can die at any moment. So we should also be very interested in the answer to the Kings question. King Pariksit asked Sukadeva what he should do to prepare for his impending death. And the answer was the 18,000 verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

      Every word of Srimad-Bhagavatam is important. I was just listening to Srila Prabhupada speaking on Srimad-Bhagavatam and he said it will take a serious devotee at least one month to study each verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam. So to study thoroughly the whole 18,000 verses it will take 18,000 months or 1,500 years.

      So if we are to actually properly understand the answer to your question then we have to be prepared to spend the time studying Srimad-Bhagavatam. That is the only way. If the answer could be given in a few words then Sukadeva Goswami would not have spend so much time answering this question, Srila Prabhupada would not have written so many books answering this question. It is a small question with a big answer. And if we really want to find the answer to this question and make our lives perfect then we have to read all of Srila Prabhupada’s books. Not just once but over and over again. Constantly.

      There are two things we have to do constantly. One is kirtania sada hari “Always chant Hare Krishan” and also nityam bhagavata seva “Always hear the Srimad-Bhagavatam”. So we have to organize our lives in such a way that we can be constantly chanting Hare Krishna and constantly reading the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

      Krishna consciousness is not something we do for one or two hours a day. It is something we have to do constantly. 24 hours a day. We have to always remember Krishna and never forget Krishna. This one principle contains all the other regulative principles of Krishna consciousness.

      So the preliminary things we have to do are we have to chant at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day and we have to strictly follow the four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat eating, no gambling and no intoxication, and we have to read Srila Prabhupada’s books at least 1-2 hours a day. This is just the beginning. We have to actually surrender to these things and strictly follow them. It is a process. We have to surrender and follow the process. Without at least accepting and following these basic things there is no question that we can have any idea of Krishna or service to Krishna. So this is the beginning. Chanting at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day and strictly following the four regulative principles and reading Srila Prabhupada’s books. And as you follow these things and read Prabhupada’s books you will find the answer to your question. There is no other way. If you actually want the answer you have to follow the process.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • Mahesh J C says:

        Hare Krishna!

        Thank you, Madhudvisa dasaji, for your detailed explanation.
        I am truly blessed by Krishna’s Grace to have your association.
        I will certainly try and follow your suggestions.

        One last doubt I want to share with you to clear my mind. Do I have to be initiated to observe these rules or I can continue to perform my familial duties of a Grihastha while simultaneously devoting my thoughts, words and actions to Krishna?

        • Hare Krishna Mahesh

          Initiation actually means ‘beginning’. So if you read Srila Prabhupada’s books and you surrender to the things like chanting at least 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna mantra every day and strictly following the four regulative principles and read Srila Prabhupada’s books and when you find Srila Prabhupada giving you some instruction as you read and you accept these instructions from Srila Prabhupada and follow them then that is actual initiation.

          There are many examples of ‘devotees’ who physically sat in the fire yajna performed by Srila Prabhupada and appeared to be initiated by him but who never surrendered to Srila Prabhupada. So they are not really initiated at all.

          Initiation is not the formal ceremony, the fire sacrifice, etc. These are just external things. The real initiation is the surrender of the disciple to following the instructions of the bona fide spiritual master. If the surrender is not there there is no initiation.

          So if you are very seriously following the instructions of Srila Prabhupada then the initiation will automatically happen.

          And yes, your family life, household life, that is no bar to advancement in Krishna consciousness. Many great devotees were grhastha’s, many of Lord Caitanya’s principle disciples were grhastha’s. Srila Prabhupada himself was a grhastha. So being a family man and continuing to perform your family duties can be done at the same time as you are devoting your thoughts, words and actions to Krishna.

          Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

          Madhudvisa dasa

      • cindy vanden abeele says:

        hare krishna madhudvisa dasa, i am a girl of the age of 27 and i love krishna,

        but i cannot leave my coke light (the drink i mean) i am still addicted to it;

        does it also fall under intoxication and do i offend krishna in this way when i chant i my room but without japa beads but while drinking my cola light? Has this also an spiritual effect or only chanting on japa beads?

        i want to surrender fully to krishna!!
        thank you for your time

        • Chanting Hare Krishna always has spiritual benefit, on or off beads. The more you chant Hare Krishna the more you will advance in spiritual life and the less you will be attached to the coke lite. It takes time but you will see your love for Krishna grow and at the same time your material attachments will drop away.

About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!

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