Bhaktivedanta VedaBase ( Adjusted for blind person )

Back to Godhead Magazine 1966 - 2003
Back to Godhead Magazine #01,
October 23, 1966

Godhead is Light, Nescience is darkness.
Where there is Godhead there is no Nescience.

God appears, and God is Light,
To those poor souls who dwell in Night;
But does a Human Form display
To those who dwell in realms of Day.
—William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence”

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna-Krishna Krishna-Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama-Rama Rama-Hare Hare

Blessings of Krishna! BACK TO GODHEAD is a bi-monthly publication issued by the International Society For Krishna Consciousness. This publication is principally concerned with promulgating through the medium of essays, poems and articles the truths expounded by Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta, our spiritual leader, stresses that although Krishna and Rama took their births in India, they are not solely the “property” of India or Indians any more than Christ is the “property” of the Middle East. God and His truths know neither boundaries nor nationalities. Narrow sectarianism and ethnocentrism are only pitfalls on the path to liberation. God is neither Christian nor Jew, neither Moslem nor Buddhist nor Hindu—He is beyond all such designations. He is, in the Gita, Krishna, the Knower Who is not known, the Enjoyer, Who, in His spiritual Kingdom, enjoys Bliss-Knowledge-Absolute.
True devotees of Krishna neither reason nor argue about Him. “He who replies to words of Doubt, Doth put the Light of knowledge out,” wrote Blake. For the devotees, Krishna is an established fact. The devotees do, however, spread “Krishna-consciousness” to others, to convince them of Krishna’s existence through the “science of devotion.” Devotion to God is a “yoga,” a science, and it is to teach this science that Swami Bhaktivedanta has come to America. His method is simple: the chanting of the Holy Name of God, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,” a sixteen word chant prescribed by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the 15th and 16th centuries as being especially effective in this age of “Kali,” an age characterised by atheism, ignorance, chaos, and disagreement.
Spiritual foods, dancing, singing and chanting the praises of the Supreme Lord, study of the Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam are all parts of this bhaktiyoga method. This method boasts such illustrious adherents as Brahma, Shiva, Laxmi, Kumara, Narada, Vyasadeva, Madhya, Chaitanya, Bhaktisiddhanta and Swami Bhaktivedanta in the East, and, in the West, many of the Christian saints, St. Augustine, Meister Eckhart, Socrates, Plotinus, St. Theresa, St. John of the Cross, William Blake and Whitman. Now in the West, with a sudden resurgence of interest in God-consciousness, spiritual education is needed more than ever. As a confused mankind begins to enter into its third global war in this century, it is the duty of those advanced in bhaktiyoga to speak out and educate the unenlightened.
It is partly with such quixotic intentions that Back to Godhead is being issued. Following the orders of his spiritual master, His Divine Grace Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada, Swami Bhaktivedanta began the initial publication of Back to Godhead in 1944. This bi-monthly, published from 1944 to 1956 in Vrindaban, India (Vrindaban, 90 miles southeast of Delhi, was Krishna’s playground during His stay on earth.) established Swami Bhaktivedanta as the leading Personalist in India. This issue marks the first publication of Back to Godhead in the West. The editors welcome suggestions, essays, poems, letters, and articles concerned with Krishna katha (topics).
—Hayagriva Das Brahmachary
(Howard Wheeler)
Rayarama Das Brahmachary
(Raymond Marais)
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Notes transcribed by Woomapati Das Brahmachary (Wallace Sheffey)
From lectures given Sept. 5th and 17th, 1966.
There are different yoga systems, but they all have the same goal: realization of the Absolute Truth and re-establishment of our eternal relationship with Krishna. We have forgotten this relationship due to our association with material energy. Beginners in yoga should engage themselves in work for Krishna. It is difficult to keep the mind concentrated on the Super-soul without work. If a beginner tries to practice sitting in meditation, his mind will wander.
This is the age of Kali—an age of conflict. In this age, meditation is not recommended. Meditation was recommended for past ages when people were more virtuous and more religious. With each succeeding age, people have become less virtuous and less religious. This does not mean that nobody should practice meditation. If one is able to sit perfectly still and keep his mind completely concentrated on the Absolute Truth, he can successfully practice meditation. However, this is not possible for most people today.
Nowhere in the Bhagavad-Gita does Krishna tell Arjuna to sit idly while he works. Arjuna was Krishna’s friend. We can also be Krishna’s friends if we work for Him and keep our minds always fixed on Him. We should cease working for our own profit and always work for Krishna. We should be thinking of things to do for Krishna twenty-four hours a day. When our minds are fixed on Krishna, we become silent. In this way, whenever we sit still, we will be practicing perfect silent meditation because our minds will remain fixed on Krishna.
Work requires a purpose. We are always working, either for our own sense gratification or for Krishna. Practicing yoga means working without thought of personal interest, but solely for the mission of Krishna. What is this mission? To tell people about Krishna-consciousness, or God-consciousness. Lord Chaitanya told His disciples, “Preach this gospel that I teach. Whomever you meet, just try to inform him about the message of the Bhagavad-Gita.” We should inform the world about the message of the Gita. One who does this is on the platform of real yoga..
Man has the choice to elevate himself or to lower himself, in the spiritual realm as well as the material. We are the cause of our own happiness or suffering. If I try to elevate myself, I am a friend of myself. If I put myself into Hell, I am my own worst enemy. Other people can instruct us, but it is up to us to decide whether or not we want to follow the instructions. Heaven or Hell is our own choice. If I drive a car on the wrong side of the road, it is my own fault if I get into trouble.
The spell of illusion is strong. Even Arjuna balked at following Krishna’s instructions. Arjuna knew that only Krishna could enlighten him, but still he hesitated. Krishna never insists that we follow His instructions. He says that this is the way to happiness, but He does not insist. The choice is ours.
My mind is my friend when I can control it. It has been said that when we wake up and when we go to sleep, we should beat our minds a thousand times with a shoe. When the mind says things like, “Why sing ‘Hare Krishna?’ Why not take LSD?” we should beat it with the same shoe. However, if we always think of Krishna, no beating will be necessary. The mind will be our best friend.
Everything we have should be used for Krishna. We should use our tongue to speak of Krishna and to eat food properly prepared and offered to Krishna. We should use our eyes to look at pictures of Krishna, and our ears to hear a master speak of Krishna. We can use our feet to walk to Krishna’s temple, and our hands to hold the broom that sweeps the temple floor. We can use our nose to smell flowers offered to Krishna. We can use our genitals to produce children whom we will raise in Krishna-consciousness. Even if we cannot follow these suggestions, we can always chant, “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.” We must divert the mind from its material engagements and put it into Krishna-consciousness. It is not recommended to meditate on formless void. The mind should be focused on Krishna.
The mind is restless, so we should chant the Name of the Lord. The sound vibration of the chant is not different from the Lord Himself. In the material world, the name of a person is not the same as the person. If I need Mr. Jones it will not do any good to go into a room and simply chant his name. Krishna, however, is not a material person like Mr. Jones. Krishna’s Name and Krishna are the same. Krishna stays with the devotee who chants His Name. He dances on the tongue that chants “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.”
It does no good to absent-mindedly chant the Name of Krishna while your thoughts are elsewhere. Chanting will bring an uncontrolled mind under control. A yoga system is a process for bringing the mind under control, not a system for letting the mind wander unrestricted. We can control our minds by always concentrating on Sri Krishna. It is not necessary to go off to some lonely place and engage in difficult meditative practices. Not only is this unnecessary—it is impossible in this age. But chanting is easy and can be performed anywhere. Everyone can take part in it—women, children, scholars, black people, white people—everyone. Simply concentrate on Krishna. Listen to Krishna’s words with the ears and chant His name with the tongue.
We are Brahman, but not the Supreme Brahman. It is within our capability to become as good as the Supreme, but we can never become the Supreme Himself. We are Brahman, but we are covered. We must take the cover off. It is not a case of becoming Brahman; we are already Brahman, but we are entangled by illusory energy. The Supreme Lord is never caught up in illusion. A cloud cannot cover the whole sky. Even if the sky appears to be completely covered, we know that the covered part is only a small fraction of the entire sky. Similarly, the Supreme Lord cannot be covered by the cloud of illusion. When we are free from material entanglements we discover our real identity.
Living entities are in a material position. They can remain in the material world or they can realize their true identity and go to the spiritual world. People think that they can be happy in the material world, but they struggle day and night. They struggle on account of their perverted minds. The yoga systems are for purifying the mind. Meditation is too difficult. It is easier to be a devotee of Sri Krishna and to be always engaged in His service. One who continues in such bhaktiyoga becomes free from material contamination. As soon as he is free he knows that, “I am not this matter. I am Brahman.” As soon as he realizes this he feels the highest pleasure. He is filled with joy. Others may see him as poor and penniless, but he knows that he is the happiest man in the world. This realization has nothing to do with material wealth. A man in Krishna-consciousness can cheerfully accept poverty. One who is not in Krishna-consciousness, suffers even if he is wealthy. If one is in Krishna-consciousness, he is always happy. Poverty means nothing to him. In Krishna-consciousness, life is so blissful that any condition is a happy condition. This happiness is so great that nobody could ask for anything more.
Spiritual happiness is eternal; material happiness is temporary. For this reason, one who wants spiritual happiness must not eat too much nor indulge in unrestricted sex. When one feels this spiritual happiness, he has no need of material happiness. Material life is diseased life. Seeking material happiness is like seeking to prolong a disease because you think that you will enjoy the disease more than good health.
Spiritual life is full of knowledge and bliss, and is above death and ignorance. The spiritual man sees the Supreme Lord everywhere and in every living being. Because he loves Krishna, he sees Him everywhere. Every living being is situated in Krishna and Krishna is in every living being. The spiritual man does not see cows or men or women or fools; he only sees the Supreme Lord. A man in Krishna-consciousness does not walk around in a fog but does his work well, and with the touch of an expert. When one enters Krishna-consciousness he becomes a poet and writes hymns to God. A man of true learning is one who sees every woman except his own wife as his mother and treats her accordingly. He sees other peoples’ property as garbage, and he has unlimited compassion for all living creatures.
Krishna says, “He who sees Me everywhere and sees all in Me; I am not lost to him, nor is he lost to Me.” (Gita, 6.30) A person in Krishna-consciousness sees everything in relation to Krishna. If I use a tape recorder for sense pleasure, it is a material object; but if I use it to record a speech about Krishna it is spiritual. Krishna-consciousness means seeing everything in relation to Krishna and using everything for Him. Even money is spiritual if it is used for Krishna’s purpose.
Krishna says that when the yogi re-establishes his relationship with Him, then, “I will never leave his sight.” The perfection of yoga is to see Krishna everywhere. Even though the spiritual man sees Krishna everywhere, he still worships His form in the temple. He does not think that because Krishna is everywhere, it is of no use to go to the temple to worship. If Krishna is everywhere, He is also in the temple. Krishna is very kind to us. He lets us see Him everywhere and He lets us worship Him in the temple. The real yogi sees Krishna everywhere and still worships Him at the altar. The real yogi also spreads his happiness to others. Because he has become happy through Krishna-consciousness he tells others about it so they can become happy too. This is the true meaning of spiritual socialism. This gives the maximum benefits to the most people. Krishna Himself said that no man is dearer to Him than one who helps others.
When one enters the Kingdom of God he will know how unhappy he was in the material contamination. He will not want to go back. Returning to Krishna does not mean becoming Krishna. When a son returns home to his father he does not become his father. We can even become the father of Krishna, but we can never be equal to Him. We will always be subordinate to Him.
Poem by Kirtanananda
Poem by Kirtanananda
O Savior of the Lotus Eye,
I am unworthy of Thy Form Divine,
Whisper but Thy Name sublime,
Govinda, Govinda, Govinda.
O Krishna of the Lotus Breast,
Where compassion complete doth rest,
Just one embrace is all I ask,
That is enough for me.
O Lover of the Lotus Lips,
Press to my heart Thy tongue;
Enfold Thyself about myself,
Then shall we two be one.
Sprinkle the dust from Thy Lotus Feet
Over my mortal head;
Trample my flesh to pieces,
Then only Thou will be.
—Kirtanananda Das Brahmachary
Krishna the dew of morning,
Krishna the flower of noon,
Krishna the star of evening,
Krishna the all in all.
Krishna the Knower,
Krishna the Known,
Krishna the Subject and Object,
Krishna is All I know.
—Kirtanananda Das Brahmachary
(Keith Ham)
Flip Out and Stay
Flip Out and Stay
by Hayagriva Das Brahmachary
(Howard Wheeler)
Life is a succession of flashes. It is difficult for man, at any time in his history, to see himself as he really is. Events fall upon events with stunning rapidity, and from this vantage point, so arbitrarily designated as “America, 1960’s” we can see that these events have been tumbling from century to century with a snowballing effect and without any direction. Today we sense that the universe is truly explosive. Universe. Etymologically the word means “one turning,” or “one revolution.” Poetically it is easier to think of “universe” as meaning “one song,” or “The Song of the One,” “Song of Myself,” “Bhagavad-Gita,” or “The Song of the Lord.” The universe has been described by Pascal as a sphere whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. Each individual certainly feels this to be so, as it is the nature of each living entity to feel that the whole of life is revolving about him and that he is the measure of all things. So thinks the President in the Presidency, the laborer in his shop, the ant in his anthill. To quote Whitman, “There is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel’d universe.” This is the case, and, paradoxically, it is not the case. We constantly have glimpses of a larger Self, a Knower Who is not yet known and Who hints at being the center from which all things emanate, an Intelligence that omnipresently pervades creation, yet has, as an observer, His supreme eternal abode in a superior realm.
At this moment in history we may be inclined to wish that man would only stop—stop all his activities—and just look at himself. It would be much like the ant in the anthill suddenly becoming aware of itself as an ant in an anthill. It would be like stopping the camera of life and focusing on one of the frames of that great film, of capturing briefly one of those elusive succession of flashes, or somehow managing, as William James once cited, “to kiss your own lips.” Many of us know that those lips will stay there till we reach the other side. Perhaps some me—at this stage in their evolution—feel that the whole process would be too embarrassing. It would be like a government dignitary being caught naked in a harsh light, or being suddenly surprised in the bathroom. After all, evolution is not symmetrically progressive. Some entities seem trapped in the lower cellars for millenniums while others, with one birth, zip to the top and flip over the ledge. That final flip has been called liberation by the Hindus, nirvana by the Buddhists, and salvation by the Christians. Though concepts differ as to what the “flip” is to, the end result seems pretty much the same. There’s no return. Or, to use the language of the American LSD “hippies”: “no more bring-downs.”
How to flip and flip completely is the question. It is certainly not nobler in the mind to suffer those “slings and arrrows” of contemporary misfortune. Not at this point at least. If a man does stop and take that long look—catch himself between breaths as it were and feel the immensity of the past (decillions of exhausted winters and summers) pushing him into the unknown, eternity pushing him into eternity, toward the final merge he always seems to resist (if not always, why is he still struggling on the material planet?)—then man can easily see that the sound and the fury is robbing him of the best that is in him, that he is actually selling out his happiness for one thing or another (a loaf of bread, family honor, social standing, national prestige, or something else illusory) and that in reality, like the ant on the anthill, he doesn’t know who he is, what he is, where he is, where he’s been, where he’s going, or—most pathetically—who’s in charge.
Who is in charge?
Well, we can pretty much conclude that man isn’t. He can’t even affect his own destiny as history. In this century alone he hasn’t been able to keep from killing himself in two major wars. Now he’s undoubtedly beginning a third in Vietnam and is already unable to stop it. He certainly can’t affect the rotation of the earth on its axis, the rising and falling of the tides, the fire of the sun or the balance of the solar system and its motion within the galaxy. His “progress” is a sham—automobiles and planes only accelerate his deterioration—mass murder by bombs, suicide by speed. Birth, old age, disease and death join hands as firmly now as in prehistoric times. How has man made progress? Certainly none in this age of spiritual malnutrition. The word-pictures Hart Crane, the American poet, gives in “The Tunnel” section from The Brooklyn Bridge are most graphic depictions of life in contemporary New York:
Some day by heart you’ll learn each famous sight
And watch the curtain lift in hell’s despite…
Our tongues recant like beaten weather vanes…
The phonographs of hades in the brain
Are tunnels that re-wind themselves, and love
A burnt match skating in a urinal.
Daemon, demurring and eventful yawn!
Whose hideous laughter is a bellows mirth
—Or the muffled slaughter of a day in birth—
O cruelly to inoculate the brinking dawn
With antennae toward worlds that glow and sink;—
To spoon us out more liquid than the dim
Locution of the eldest star, and pack
The conscience navelled in the plunging wind,
Umbilical to call—and straightway die!
O caught like pennies beneath soot and steam,
Kiss of our agony thou gatherest;
Condensed, thou takest all—shrill ganglia
Impassioned with some song we fail to keep.
(From Hare Crane’s The Brooklyn Bridge)
Such is the cry given by “the Shelley of our age” over the rooftops of the “world’s most modern city.” The “Shrill ganglia” is contemporary civilization and the “song we fail to keep” is the Song Divine, the Song of God. Yet New York is the city other cities about the globe seek to emulate. One look at the faces of the occupants of this city tell us they are not of the “golden Manahatta” Whitman celebrated. No, those are the inhabitants of “the back forks of the chasms of the brain,” the dwellers of the “interborough fissures of the mind.” These are men who’ve never stopped to look at themselves and their position. These are the lost. Lost in the anthill. Lost in the firey mazes of space. Lost in the chaos of the radio static of propaganda. Lost to the archpriests of Moloch. Buddha declared two thousand years ago that everything in the material universe is “on fire.” Yet man still persists. He wants to be God. He wants to lord it over “his” little planet. He wants to control. He wants power. That is his karma. That is his illusion. That is his golden vanity. That is his habit. That is his hangup. And he trains his children to mimic him. “The sins of the fathers are visited on the children to the third and fourth generations.” (Exodus) No wonder so many young collegiates are trying to flip out permanently on super drugs. Perhaps they see that a creation, which is essentially beautiful, is being misused. Perhaps they sense a part of the truth; that man is not proprietor and lord of the creation, but is a custodian and servitor. Perhaps this is their way of saying, “We don’t want any part of this hell you’ve made for yourselves.” So they use psychedelics as a springboard to propel themselves into different realms, into realms previously only known to mystics. But the drug “flip” is only temporary. It is temporary because it is artificial. “Oh, satori,” one young LSD user was hear to say. “Yes, I’ve had that. It wasn’t all that great.” One really begins to wonder where all these “trips” are leading. And one thinks of old Whitman: “That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be,/ A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books./ Each moment and whatever happens thrills me with joy.” (“Song of Myself,” Sec. 24) This is cosmic consciousness. This is being awake to ourselves and to the Divine. This is realization.
Realization is not something we learn in a book or hear in a lecture. Realization is living the life for which man is intended. Realization does not imply withdrawal; realization is leading life and meeting destiny with opened eyes. Man does have an integral place in the universe, a unique and perfect place. If a leaf of grass is the “journey work of the stars,” how much more so is man? But man must begin to accustom himself to “the dazzle of the Light,” to wake up and see himself in his position—his constitutional position. This is not “void.” The creation is not void. It is filled with light, motion, and an infinite number of forms and objects. Buddha does not say it is void. “Emptiness IS form,” he says. Each moment we are being shown something by God who is eternally revealing Himself to us. If we would only let Him! We must listen to what He is telling us, to turn off to mankind and tune in to Him. We must learn our lesson well and learn to surrender to Him that He may teach and guide us. It is not necessary to close our eyes and try to think of void in our attempts to “reach” God. God is not so hard to reach. He tends to our every need without our asking Him. We can be in samadhi, or highest union with God, every moment of our lives, and while performing the most menial tasks. Our morning breakfast can be an ecstasy—without penance or meditation or drugs or laboorious study. The best method in this “Age of Kali,” an age characterized by chaos, disagreement, ignorance and quarrel, is the simple chanting of the praises and the Holy Name of God—continuously.

“Krishna” (the Name of God appearing in the Gita) “kirtan” (singing, chanting) is the simplest method for this age, introduced in America by this Society For Krishna Consciousness. This is the quickest way to flip out without coming down: “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare! Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare Hare!” Your associates will think you mad. That is the first sign of progress. Just let others be mad for maya, the old ephemeral lures of women and gold. One doesn’t have a choice of being mad in this madhouse society—most are already mad for the illusion, for the sham, the cheap, the tawdry, the counterfeit, and are being buffeted by the waves of lust, power, sensual pleasures, etc. But be mad instead for the Reality. First of all you will begin to notice how beautiful the creation is. Then you will progress into the eternal realms of the Creator, Krishna, Who is Bliss-Knowledge-Absolute. Allow Him and He will reveal things to you that have confounded the wise for centuries. Then you will find your eternal abode in Him, an abode in which there is no life or death to escape, but only the bliss of the Kingdom to enjoy. Is this such a mean pursuit for a man?
Poem by Kirtanananda
Poem by Kirtanananda
Thy Name, Dear Krishna, is music.
They Name is holy food.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama,
Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Jehovah, Jesus, Buddha too,
All are Thy Names and are blessed too.
Many Thy Names I know not yet—
What does it matter when I know You.
Kirtanananda Das Brahmachary
(Keith Ham)

BACK TO GODHEAD is published semi-monthly by The International Society For Krishna Consciousness at 26 Second Avenue (between 1st and 2nd streets) New York, New York 10003. 1 year subscription (24 issues) $3.00. Phone 627-2728.

FOUNDER: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

EDITORS: Hayagriva Das Brahmacharya (Howard Wheeler)
Rayarama Das Brahmachary (Raymond Marais)

Circulation: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)
Printing: Ranchor Das Brahmachary (Ronald King)
Srimad Bhagavatam
by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva
The original and genuine commentary on Vedanta philosophy by the author of Vedanta himself, Vyasadeva, now available for the first time in English with authorized explanation by Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam is the post graduate study of the Bhagavad-Gita, or the Science of Krishna. This book of transcendental knowledge contains information of classical Hindu culture, philosophy, sociology, economics, politics, aesthetics and Divine love. This unique edition of Srimad-Bhagavatam has been greatly appreciated by all learned societies of philosophy and theosophy and approved by the Indian State and Central Government Education departments and by the United States Government (Library of Congress catalogue #SA 64-1457).
Swami Bhaktivedanta’s edition contains Sanskrit, Sanskrit transliteration, English equivalents, translation and elaborate commentaries. Published by the League of Devotees, New Delhi, India, 1962-65. Price: $16.80 for 3 volumes (1200 pages). Postage paid by the Society.
Available from The International Society For Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, New York.
Easy Journey To Other Planets
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Every man is seeking pleasure in life. But he does not know where it is. This small booklet will give an idea of the perpetual pleasure of Krishna Consciousness. Price: 35 cents
Who Is Crazy?
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
A person who is illusioned by the temporary wonders of material energy is certainly a crazy man. Practically all men in material activities are insane in various degrees. How to cure this increasing epidemic is suggested here. Read it and be cured of all craziness. Price: 35 cents

Soon to be printed: Geetopanisad, or Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, translated and with commentaries by Swami Bhaktivedanta.

Available from The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y. Postage paid.

Back to Godhead Magazine #02,
November 12, 1966
This is the second issue of Back To Godhead, a publication devoted to promulgating bhaktiyoga, the science of God as expounded by Lord Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita. The International Society For Krishna Consciousness was incorporated in July, 1966. Over a short four months the Society has expanded sufficiently to warrant larger quarters than the small Second Avenue storefront temple. Therefore the Society is presently negotiating for the Temple Emanu-El building on Sixth Street (between First and Second Avenues). This building could provide living quarters for some 75 full time devotees, and would give the Society an auditorium for larger mass kirtan (singing and chanting) as well as provide space for other activities. To raise funds for the building and to acquaint more people with the kirtan movement and the philosophy of the Gita, the Society will hold kirtan at the Gate Theater, 162 Second Avenue (between 10th and 11th Streets) on the next three Sundays, November 13th, 20th, and 27th, and a kirtan and talk by Swami Bhaktivedanta at Judson Hall, 165 W. 57th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues) November 15th at 8 p.m. The Gate Theater performances will be benefit performances for the new building, but admission is free for the Judson Hall concert. Many downtown New Yorkers have become acquainted with “kirtan” recently through the Tomkins Square Park meetings over the past four Sundays. Since the weather will not permit outdoor kirtan, we hope to be able to offer this program in a new building that will enable more people to participate, without being crowded into a small storefront.
Even more New Yorkers became acquainted with the “Hare Krishna” chant recently at the November 5th Peace Parade from Tomkins and Washington Squares up to Times Square. The New York Times approximated that some 10,000 parade participants were protesting the Vietnam war, though the number looked closer to 30,000. Poet Allen Ginsberg, a friend of this Society, led the “Hare Krishna” mantra during the three hour jaunt, and many in the parade took up the chant. The scene might have duplicated Lord Chaitanya’s march some five hundred years ago when the Lord led thousands of people chanting “Hare Krishna” to the local magistrate’s building because the magistrate forbade chanting the praises of Lord Krishna in the streets. Poet Ginsberg, wearing white Gandhi pyamas and a stars and stripes top hat, sang the “Hare Krishna” chant to harmonium accompaniment at Times Square, and said that “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare” was “a magic formula chant to the gods of preservation that calms peoples’ hearts.” We also feel that when mankind sings the transcendental praises of the Supreme Lord instead of the praises of nationalism and materialism, he will not only have “peace on earth” but will have peace in his heart and soul.
—The Editors
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Notes transcribed by Woomapati Das Brahmachary (Wallace Sheffey)
From lectures given Sept. 13th and 20th, 1966.
We all begin our pursuit of the goal of life from a position of ignorance. Now, an ignorant person does not know of the science of God, but if he at least wants to hear of it, this is good. In fact, the Vedic literature is known as “Sruti,” which means to learn by hearing. Spiritual science does not require a high education, nor a high intellect. Simply by hearing we can pass over the ocean of birth and death. Scriptures are intended to help us in the passage beyond death. The basic principle of spiritual education is that the soul is eternal, but it is constantly changing its bodily dress. Most people don’t realize that they are eternal. The atheists say that if we want to be happy we should get money so that we can have more food and material pleasures. However, in spite of all our material comforts and scientific advancements, we have not been able to stop the miseries of birth, death, old age, and disease. It is these four painful, conditional states that prevent our having any real happiness. Only self-realization can put an end to this suffering. How is this done?
There could not be a material world without God. God is the origin of all creation. Cars and buses do not move themselves; there must be a driver. Similarly, the body does not move without the soul. Living beings, as we find them here, are a combination of matter and spirit. Matter cannot develop into a living being without the presence of spirit soul. The mother and father cannot produce a baby unless the spirit soul first enters into the womb to develop into the body of the baby. When cars, trucks, buses, people, animals, insects, or anything else moves, there is a combination of matter and spirit soul in operation. If these objects cannot move without the presence of the spirit soul, how can the universe move without the presence of the Super Soul, or God?
No material object moves by itself. Space satellites move with the help of the people on the ground. Machines need men at the controls. Without exception, whatever exists—moving or non-moving—is a combination of matter and soul.
Matter is characterized as impermanent, by nature mutable. Soul, our true identity, is eternal. We should not cling to what is temporary. Even the universe will pass away. We should persist in Krishna consciousness which will bring us to our eternal status and we should tell others about it so that they too can be freed. If they do not listen, still we should do our best. If we have done our best, it does not make any difference whether or not we have followers. Not everyone is ready for the perfection of human life. If we preach to animals, for example, they will not understand, because they are not ready. It is the same with people who do not listen. Lord Jesus Christ said, “Cast not your pearls before swine.”
Our eternal lives should be devoted to that which is eternal. When everything else is gone, the Supreme Lord will still exist. Krishna says, “I existed before creation, and after the end of creation I will exist.” The body vanishes when it dies, but the soul does not. When a baby grows, the baby eventually vanishes and a child appears in its place. The mother is not disturbed about the disappearance of her baby. The child eventually disappears, and an adult appears in its place. Death and rebirth is a process similar to this.
God is present everywhere. However, this does not mean that love of God is an impersonal love. Love requires a person for an object and cannot exist without a beloved. When we love God, He is always present. We can see God everywhere, if we love Him. Spiritual development is the development of the love of God. It is a process of give and take, like courtship. Love of God develops like love between man and woman. We begin by giving everything to God. We should be willing to give everything to God, because everything is already His. Even our bodies and senses belong to God. He gave us senses because we wanted to enjoy sense gratification. If we give everything to Krishna, Krishna will give Himself to us. When we have Krishna, we do not want anything else.
We say, “My body,” or, “my sense” because they are given to us to use, but we should know that they really belong to Krishna, and we should use them for His purposes. The fragmented consciousness should dovetail itself with the whole. Our body lives on food which is supplied by God, so why should we use it for purposes other than His? All our purposes should be spiritual, because spirit is the basis of all that is and seems to be. There is spirit in anything that grows, even mountains and stones. It is even confirmed by science that the universe is growing, so the universe must have spirit. A dead plant or animal no longer has the spiritual spark, so it does not grow. A child is supposed to grow, but a dead child, a child without the spiritual spark, does not grow. We living beings are by constitution spiritual. Our very consciousness is the symptom of this. Krishna is the Supreme Spirit, and as such He is the natural and true abode. The real objective of all the strivings of consciousness is the Supreme Lord.
When the scriptures say that Krishna is formless, they mean that He has spiritual form, and that He is also present everywhere. The sun can be used as an example: although there is only one sun, and nobody will deny that it has form, it is still seen and felt in many places at the same time.
When it is said that Krishna does not have senses, it means that He does not have imperfect senses like ours. The difference between Krishna and the living entities is that Krishna is great, and the living entities are subordinate. We are like small grains of gold dust, while Krishna is a gigantic piece of gold. When Krishna indulges in sense pleasure, it is to please His devotees. Krishna Himself has no need of sense gratification. Krishna has no desire to exploit His devotees. He will kindly allow a devotee to be His servant for the sake of granting the devotee his wish to serve. Krishna indulges in sense pleasures in order to return His devotees’ love. Of course, in His boundlessness, He always returns more than the devotee can give.
When the scriptures say that Krishna is beyond words, it means that He is infinite. It does not mean that He has no senses or speech. Krishna has all the qualities that we have, but His qualities are spiritual and pure and quite beyond measure. Our qualities are also spiritual, but they are covered by material nature, and they are, therefore, evidently limited.
Although Krishna’s planet is farther away than man can measure, He is also here, on this planet. He is always with His pure devotees. When we chant His name, He is on our tongues. Krishna is inside and outside everything. People say that Krishna cannot be born in a physical body. Why can’t He? If He can manifest Himself everywhere, why can’t He manifest Himself in a human womb and take birth like an ordinary child?
Krishna is simultaneously one and many. He is undivided but He appears to be divided. Those bound to material concepts say that when something is divided it cannot remain whole. They do not realize that Krishna is above the laws of material nature. In the spiritual realm it can be said that one minus one equals one. No matter how much you take from Krishna, He is always complete and perfect. That is His nature, as He Himself has revealed it to us.
by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva
The original and genuine commentary on Vedanta philosophy by the author of Vedanta himself, Vyasadeva, now available for the first time in English with authorized explanation by Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta.

The Srimad Bhagavatam is the post graduate study of the Gita, or the science of Krishna. This book of transcendental knowledge contains information of classical Hindu culture, philosophy, sociology, economics, politics, aesthetics and Divine love. Swami Bhaktivedanta’s edition contains Sanskrit, Sanskrit transliteration, English equivalents, translation and elaborate commentaries. Published by the League of Devotees, New Delhi, 1962-65. Price: $16.80 for 3 volumes (1200 pages). Postage paid by the Society. Available from The International Society For Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y.
Krishna: the Divine Lover
Krishna: the Divine Lover
by Hayagriva Das Brahmachary
(Howard Wheeler)
Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.
Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu.
Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
Save where you are how happy you make those.
So true a fool is love that in your will,
Though you do anything, he thinks no ill.
(Shakespeare, Sonnet 57)

Krishna is the Divine Lover in the Bhagavad-Gita. This means little to most men today, but when we realize that the entire creation is the Bhagavad-Gita, then we can see that this applies to us. Krishna is our Lover. We are His creation, and He is the Lover of the creation. Like the clever Lover that He is, He hides Himself from us at times so we may long for Him and call to Him. His love for us is actually very great, so great that we cannot begin to comprehend it. It seems to have a tinge of the diabolic in it when He hides Himself from us, but actually He does not hide Himself from us. He is before us all the time. We are simply searching for Him always, but do not recognize Him when He is before us. He is the Lover who satisfies even our smallest needs. Even our remotest desires come from and are directed to Him. His love is really not a matter of genitals, of material love-making, though that element is present. He is even a coarse, material Lover, if this is the way we want Him. But actually this is symbolic of His real love. If His real love were totally manifest to us, we would melt in its fire. His real love is there, but we have up to now been satisfied only with its symbols, with tokens of His love, and have interpreted these on the level of love between humans. Love between humans is on a finite, timely and limited plane. But love between man and Krishna is infinitely more complex. This courtship takes place over millions and trillions of years. For millenniums our individual souls have been wandering throughout the universe, following desire after desire, chaotic, lost to that eternal Lover who can truly satisfy us. For so many lives we have been confined to wandering in these endless rounds of birth, old age, disease and death. All this time our real Lover has been watching and waiting for us to turn to him. Before the beginning of this particular creation He has been watching our progress, our purification, waiting until we finally face Him, until we finally put aside our play, make-believe lovers and turn to Him Whom we truly love and Who can truly answer us.
Knowing Him, feeling His presence, is an excitement far greater than any teenager’s excitement on her first date with the boy she loves. Krishna is not a one-night date, nor is He only a partner for a lifetime. He is the Eternal Lover, His love is not timely, finite or limited. His love is eternal, infinite, and boundless as the great ocean of space. For the soul who loves Him, He plays endless carols of joy. He plays grand symphonies. He is the Lover with the flute. He sings rock and roll songs and strums a guitar. He plays piano, cymbals, drums. His symbolical manifestations are infinite, He sends numberless messengers, but His devotee is only made impatient by them. His devotee knows that these are only symbols of the Lover, that His avatars are only indications of His courtship. He drops signs and loveletters between cracks in the pavement. He writes His messages across the stars. Or He places them in little corners and crevices for us to stumble upon. These signs only drive the devotee madder for Him.
We really long to see His face, His true, eternal, spiritual form. We want Him to take us away, to devour us, to treat us as He likes—cruelly or friendly—anything rather than neglect or forget us. We would rather be cast in hell and have Him conscious of us than to be put in a paradise of material enjoyments and have Him forget us. For we know it is only He who can satisfy. Everything else is a mockery, a taunt. But then we begin to wonder how we can ever warrant His love. When we look at our miserable sinful lives, we wonder how we can ever be worthy of Him. A beloved must be worthy of the Lover. Our only hope is that our pitiable, hopeless condition makes us more lovable to Him. Our only refuge is in totally surrendering to Him, whether He wants us or not. One who loves someone does not wait for his Lover to move. He moves first, makes the first overtures to his Lover. We must begin to make overtures to Krishna, to think of Him constantly, to pray to Him, to offer everything to Him, to deny all others but Him, to be satisfied with nothing, with no one but Him alone. We must disdain any earthly facsimiles, all symbols. When we see beauty on this earth, any bodily beauty, we must remember that it really radiates from Him, that it is only a symbol of His beauty, a minute fraction of His beauty. When we feel the slightest desire or love for anything, we must realize that this desire and love are really for Him. When we see splendor and magnificence, we must be all the more aware that these are but His footprints. Many of us know what it means to be in love with another person—the anxieties, the tremblings, the sudden heartbeats, the loneliness, the constant dwelling of the mind on the lover, the calling of the beloved’s name, the hearing of the beloved in any piece of music, the seeing of the beloved in a painting, the impatience to have the beloved always near, the awful dread lest the beloved be secretly indifferent. All these are on a small, finite scale. All this can be felt by one person to another. All this is felt by one fragment of illusory energy for another fragment of illusory energy. And such feelings only last comparatively short times. How much greater must these feelings, thoughts, passions be between the soul and the Divine Lover? Especially when we realize that love for others has really been love for Him—disguised.
When we shake off the disguise, our love stands naked and unashamed. But our love is finite—it can never compare to the love of the Divine Lover. That which He feels for us we cannot comprehend. We can dissolve or swim or drown in His ocean of love, but we cannot comprehend it. It is limitless. We can rest or doze on His breast. It is limitless. His shoulders that lift us are mountains, His chest fields of grass and golden flowers. Resting on His Body we are carried eternally. There is no end to His glories and attributes. His glance is the creation, His voice the origin of all sound, His call our friendly awakening. How can we resist such a Lover? How unhappy we must be when He is not near, how small and miserable and incomplete. How much would we prefer death to being separated from Him. But we do not really love Him. That we live this miserable life on earth is testimony that we do not love Him. But now we should prepare for Him, wait for Him to call and take us out of this vile, loathsome, diseased bodily dwelling. We must wait for Him, as He has waited so long for us. We must prepare for Him. We must prepare to be worthy to meet Him for whom we pine, the Lover True for whom we long, to meet Him finally, face to face.
When asked if he were a devotee of Krishna’s, Lord Chaitanya said that he was a devotee in name only, that His crying for Krishna was only show for the masses, that if he were actually a devotee, he would have died long ago rather than have tolerated being separated from Krishna for even a moment. If we really love someone we don’t sit in a room calling his name. We go after him, sacrifice everything to be with him. We all know this to be true. It is in this way that the soul of man longs for Krishna. As long as we are separated from Him due to our entanglement in these physical bodies, as long as we put wife, family, money, country, occupation before Him, we cannot have Him. Even the highest demi-gods do not long for Krishna as man can long for Krishna. The demi-gods enjoy fantastically long lives of material pleasure and, although they are subservient to Him, they do not long for Him. They have to take rebirth on earth in a human body for their final liberation into Krishna’s Kingdom. But man’s life is really ideal for seeking Krishna. His life is too short and too unstable to expect any real happiness on this earth. Yet he lives long enough and is sufficiently intelligent to realize all that is necessary for liberation. He gains liberation when he fully understands that Krishna is everything, the Fountainhead that brings into being the entire manifested universe and dissolves this universe, all within Himself. “By Me, in My unmanifested form, are all things in this universe pervaded. All beings exist in Me, but I do not exist in them.” (Gita, 9.4) The man who does not enquire after Krishna is throwing away the most valuable prize in the universe, for he is actually throwing away a jewel for stones and committing suicide thereby. He foolishly tries to squeeze a brief seventy years of pleasure out of his body and says, “To hell with my eternal spiritual life, to hell with Krishna. Let me enjoy myself while I’m living here.” Or, in his frustration he seeks after “void.” Or he sleeps to forget everything. Such a man is not even on the level of the animal, for such a man betrays his own divine nature, whereas an animal is being true to its nature in leading its animal life. The animal life is meant for an animal, but it is not meant for man. Man’s life is intended for enquiring after God. Man’s life is intended for the pursuit of Ultimate Knowledge, which is God. Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, is Bliss-Knowledge-Absolute. Our enquiry after these things finally leads us to Him. “At the end of many births the man of wisdom seeks refuge in Me, realizing that Vasudeva is all. Rare indeed is such a high-souled person.” (Gita, 7.19) Man is intended to ask, “Whence this earth and these heavens? And these lands and seas and countries? And myself? My body? How is it formed from this earth, air, water and soil? How from the progeneration of my parents? Did I exist before my body? If so, how? And what about after death? How is the mind, the intelligence, different from the body? And how is the soul different from the body? I have heard that my sould is immortal, but what part of me is my soul? And this part of me that is my soul, is this also the Supersoul? Is this God? Or is it part of God? And if it is part of God, what then is its relation to God? And how is the soul different from the mind and ego? Does the mind die? Does the ego die? Certainly the body dies, but what about myself? What about my individuality, that which makes me different from all other beings in the universe? Does that individuality die? And what is it in me that makes me like every other living entity in the universe? And how is it that I am made in the image and likeness of God?” These are questions that should be asked by man. They are not impossible questions without answers. They can be answered simply and lucidly. Many of the answers are explicitly given in the Bhagavad-Gita. And many of the answers are shown to us by Krishna, for the answers cannot be given in words.
It is therefore man’s duty, if he is at all interested in his happiness, to turn to Krishna for knowledge. Krishna is the great Lover and Friend of all. He refuses no soul that honestly and humbly turns to Him. “For those who take refuge in Me, O Partha, though they be of sinful birth—women, vaisyas, and sudras—even they attain the Supreme Goal.” (Gita 9.32) But those who do not turn to Him, He casts again and again into diabolic wombs. “These cruel haters, these evil-doers, these vilest of men, I hurl always into the wombs of the demons in the cycle of births and deaths. Having fallen into the wombs of the demons and being deluded from birth to birth, they never attain Me, O son of Kunti, but go farther down to the lowest state.” (Gita, 16.19–20) Such souls suffer countless migrations in the 84 lacs species of life. Just because man and the world do not offer the individual soul hope, it does not follow that there is no hope. Much of the desperation and unhappiness in this age, especially in the youth, is due to this sense of hopelessness. Hopelessness is the dominant theme of man in the twentieth-century, especially after two major wars, and now, on the brink of an atomic conflagration, man thinks, “Oh hell, let me live it up while there’s still time. They might blow it all up tomorrow.” This desire to “live it up” is but a shadow of the real desire—the desire for eternal happiness and bliss. But due to material contact, this desire has become perverted. Man directs his desire for happiness to the earth and not to God. When the subject of God arises most men think it is time for a funeral or a horrible catastrophe. The last words of the Old Testament, “Lest I come down and smite the earth with a curse” seem to echo, in most men’s minds, as the last words of God. But man’s conception of God as something remote and even possible malevolent is due to man’s alienation from Him. Once man sees Krishna as the Eternal Lover of the creation Who only wants to see His children happy and with Him, all these fears, resulting from a sense of severance, vanish. Then man will not hesitate to look at the Lord face to face and yield to the overtures He has so long been making. Krishna consciousness is the beginning of this transcendental renaissance.
Poem by Kirtanananda
Poem by Kirtanananda
Again I am alone,
Again I sit and wait.
Where is the heavenly muse?
Where is my Lotus Lord tonight?
Are my senses dead
That I do not see the Lord of Light?
That I do not clasp His arm and rest on His sweet-scented breast?
My ears are worse than deaf
That at the sound of “Krishna”
I do not sink away and die.
Govinda, Krishna—awaken me, I plead.
Cut off these ears,
Pluck out these eyes,
That I might hear and see indeed.
Take all I have, my brief life,
And then I shall live in Thee.
—Kirtanananda Das Brahmachary
(Keith Ham)
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Every man is seeking pleasure in life. But he does not know where it is. This small booklet will give an idea of the perpetual pleasure of Krishna Consciousness. Price: 35 cents
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Every man is seeking pleasure in life. But he does not know where it is. This small booklet will give an idea of the perpetual pleasure of Krishna Consciousness. Price: 35 cents
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
A person who is illusioned by the temporary wonders of material energy is certainly a crazy man. Practically all men in material activities are insane in various degrees. How to cure this increasing epidemic is suggested here. Read it and be cured of all craziness. Price: 35 cents

Available from The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y. Postage paid.

BACK TO GODHEAD is published semi-monthly by The International Society For Krishna Consciousness at 26 Second Avenue (between 1st and 2nd Streets) New York, New York 10003.
1 year subscription (24 issues) $3.00. Phone 674-7428

FOUNDER: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

EDITORS: Hayagriva Das Brahmachary (Howard Wheeler)
Rayarama Das Brahmachary (Raymond Marais)

Circulation: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)
Printing: Ranchhor Das Brahmachary (Ronald King)
Back to Godhead Magazine #03,
December 1, 1966

God appears, and God is light,
To those poor souls who dwell in Night;
But does a Human Form display
To those who dwell in realms of Day.
—William Blake
By the Mercy of Krishna:
By the Mercy of Krishna:
Our Society has been holding Kirtan at a number of places in the city. During November, we were at the Gate Theater on Sundays and at Judson Hall on Tuesday, the 15th. In December, and possibly longer, we’ll be at Film Maker’s Cinematheque every Sunday at 3 p.m. The address is 25 West 41st Street, near Sixth Avenue. Admission will be free. Please come and bring your friends.
Although Back To Godhead has been circulating satisfactorily, we’d like to hear more in the way of comment from our readers, so please consider this an open invitation to give us your opinion of our magazine, and the philosophy to which it is devoted.
In closing, the editors would like to express their appreciation to Poet Allen Ginsberg, for his “Reflections on the Mantra,” which is an excerpt from a forthcoming novel, whose title is as yet undetermined.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare!
The Editors
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Notes transcribed from a lecture given September 23, 1966
The Paramatman, or the Supersoul, is distinguished from jivatman, the individual soul that enjoys the fruits of the body. Jivatman is under the spell of the material qualities, and he enjoys of suffers material activities and consequences, but Paramatman has nothing to do with the material qualities. Some people, who do not know, say that Paramatman and jivatman are the same, but they do not understand that Paramatman has nothing to do with material qualities. He may be compared to a doctor in the hospital tending to his sick patients. He himself is not sick. Only a fool would say that, because the doctor is in the hospital, he too must be sick, so it is the same with those who say that because jivatman and Paramatman live together in the same body, they are the same. Paramatman is never affected by material things like toothaches, even though He is in the same body. The devotee of Krishna must accept the duality of Paramatman and jivatman.
Krishna lives in the body, but He is transcendental. When He comes to earth, He has nothing to do with the material qualities. People in ignorance think that because Krishna is manifested in a human body He is just an ordinary man. This is explicitly denied in Bhagavad Gita: “Foolish persons deride Me when I assume this human form of my transcendental nature. They do so without knowing my supremacy over everything created.” (Gita, 10.11)
We must always distinguish between Paramatman and jivatman. In the Upanishads they are compared to two birds sitting in the same tree. One bird (jivatman) is eating the fruits of the tree, while the other bird (Paramatman) just sits and watches. Similarly, Krishna and Arjuna sat in the same chariot, but Arjuna knew that Krishna was the Supreme. We are also in the same chariot with Krishna, and we too should know that He is the Supreme. Even in the midst of the material world, Krishna is not attached. He does not act out of need, because he has no desires.
To become like Krishna, we should give up all material desires, and take shelter of Krishna. Everything that we do, we do with His permission. If we want to turn away from Him, He lets us; if we want to suffer, He lets us. We must first realize that we are suffering, and then ask why. When the question “why” arises in the mind, it is time to approach a spiritual master who is conversant with the Transcendental Nature, and is fully engaged in spiritual matters twenty-four hours a day. A spiritual master is a man who never leaves his spiritual work to seek sense gratification.
We must know that we are actually qualitatively one with Krishna. When jivatman knows that he is not this body, he becomes like Paratman. Jivatman is almost God, but not quite. Jivatman is wonderful, but not equal to God. The quality is the same, but the quantity is far different. For example, the rays of the sun spread all over the sky, but they come from the sun. Likewise, the Brahmajyoti illumines far and wide, but it emanates from Krishna. The soul is a spark in the heart, but its energy spreads all over the body. As the earth and sky are illumined by the sun, so the body is maintained by the spiritual spark. As the body is maintained by the individual soul, so the entire universe is maintained by God, or the Super-soul. I am not the Supreme. I merely illumine this body, but the Supreme illumines the entire universe.
Today, the twenty-third of September, is Radha’s birthday. She is fifteen days younger than Krishna. When Krishna was a boy, He played with the children of the countryside. Because He was so beautiful, all the girls prayed that someday He would be their husband. Radha loved Krishna the most, even more than the others. She is the symbol of the greatest worship.
Krishna and the girls were of the same age. Because girls are married earlier than boys, the girls were all married before Krishna. Despite their marriages, the girls all loved Krishna so much that whenever He played His flute, they would leave their homes and go to Him. This continued until Krishna was sixteen.
At the age of sixteen Krishna left His friends and went to live with His real father. All His friends spent the rest of their lives weeping and longing for Him. This too, is worship. Radha and Krishna met again during a solar eclipse at Kurukshetra. It was a meeting of love, but they were again separated. Radha is Krishna’s beloved. By her blessing, Krishna will accept us. Hare also means Radha, so when we chant “Hare Krishna” we chant “Radha Krishna.”
Reflections on the Mantra
Reflections on the Mantra
By Allen Ginsberg
Mantram (singular), mantra (plural) is a short verbal formula like Rolling Stones’ “I’m going home,” or Gertrude Stein’s “A rose is a rose is a rose,” which is repeated as a form of prayer meditation over and over until the original thin-conscious association with meaning disappears and the words become pure physical sounds uttered in a frankly physical universe; the word or sound or utterance then takes on a new density as a kind of magic language or magic spell and becomes a solid object introduced into the science fiction space-time place where the worshipper finds himself, surrounded by jutting mountain crags or city buildings.
After several minutes of devoted repetition—such as Alfred Lord Tennyson practiced with his own name (a form of worship of a form of the Self categorized by one Hindu as Atma Darshan. Self-communion translated—one might garland one’s own photo with flowers and kneel to worship that particular manifest image of Divinity)—it is possible that the awesome physical sound reverberating out of the body into the air might serve as a vehicle for the expression of nonconceptual sensations of the worshipper. That is to say, the magic formula pronunciation can be loaded with affects—feelings, emotions—(Bhakti or devotions is the Hindu term) passing through the body of the devotee. Feelings which arise spontaneously all the time, but rarely have suitable channels for direct expression. So that longer stretches of mantra chanting may become the opportunity for realization of certain blissful or horrific feelings which are latent and hitherto unrealized—tears may arise of which the devotee was not aware earlier. Or gaieties, or Hebraic solemnities. Thus the mantram may serve as an instrument for widening the area of immediate self-awareness of the singer; much as an intense conversation with psychoanalyst or lover, or priest or connection may bring out emotional news; singing (from olden times) deepens the soul of the singer. By deepens the soul, I mean not that the soul is added to like brick by brick, but that what’s already there becomes visible or audible. Well, we all know that about singing. I’m just explaining these simplicities to dispel mysterious notions or provincial resentments agains the use of oriental tricks.
Negro spirituals which involve deepening of the expression of a repeated refrain function like mantra. So lovers’ cries in moments of crisis like “Oh I’m coming, coming. I’m coming. I’m coming, etc.” Singing in the bathroom or on lonesome bridges may have some general function of providing situations where full force of feeling is slowly developed and outwardly expressed in solitude. From Yoruba drum-dance-and-shout worship rituals to electronic folk-rock we have developed Western situations to manifest our fugitive aetherial consciousness.
The Indian practice of mantra-chanting is ancient and useful to know; but I don’t know enough about it technically to be the right guru. I wish to explain what I do know through gossip and practice, and hope that scholarly holymen will make allowances for my ignorance.
One Oriental idea is suggestive: that the mantra in itself has magic or practical power irrespective of the sincerity or propriety of its pronunciation in a given situation; and that mere pronunciation of the mantra is a meritorious and mysterious art. On this assumption I take liberty to chant and explain mantram publicly.
The name of Shiva pronounced accidentally by a dying man asking for a glass of water was, on one occasion of legend cause for his immediate release from bondage to rebirth and suffering.
Why is that? Because, according to theory, the names of the Gods used in the mantra are identical with the Gods (or powers invoked) themselves. So that one who sings Shiva’s name becomes Shiva (Creator or Destroyer) himself. The subjective experience of repeated singing of Shiva’s name confirms this theory, as far as I have been able to tell. Obviously it is a subjective experience, not an “objective” one. Subjective sensation is what I’m interested in recovering contact with; and here interpret “objectivity” as a retreat from feelable phenomena.
The mantram is generally given by a teacher to pupil, and most often is to be kept secret, and recited aloud when alone, or silently with lips or only mentally; and recited continually, until the mind’s activities become fixed around the mantram. That way a continuum is begun that deepens till maybe deathbed. Fixing the mind on one point, focusing and deepening in one spot is a classical method of yoga meditation. Some mantra are all-India common property, and are universal, public. The late Swami Shivananda (May his self bless us all!) of Rishikesh recommended Hare Krishna as the Maha Mantra—Great Mantra—for this age, infallible publicly and privately for everyone. He was a large souled man, “Vishnu Himself” as one beautiful yogi explained in a hermitage across the river from Shivananda’s Ashram. Shivananda was the first “accredited” Guru I encountered; a year later at the confluence of Yamuna and Ganges rivers called Trivondrum in Allahabad at a great fair of half a million holymen and ladies, I passed by a larger wooden Nepalese structure where a lady saint supposed to be some Northern princess sat enthroned, with her attendants and worshipers gathered to one side around a harmonium (hand organ) and heard her smiling enrapt singing of the same Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Her face had an inner smile reflected, eyes half closed, the song had lilt of tenderness and odd inevitable sweet rhythm, and though I did notice it at the time, the song was impressed on my own memory. It came back after many adventures. I never knew her name.

August 1, 1966
by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva
The original and genuine commentary on Vedanta philosophy by the author of Vedanta himself, Vyasadeva, now available for the first time in English with authorised explanation by Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta.

The Srimad Bhagavatam is the post graduate study of the Bhagavad-Gita, or the Science of Krishna. This book of transcendental knowledge contains information of classical Hindu culture, philosophy, sociology, economics, poiltics, aesthetics and Divine love. This unique edition of Srimad Bhagavatam has been greatly appreciated by all learned societies of philosophy and theosophy and approved by the Indian State and Central Government Education departments and by the United States Government.

Swami Bhaktivedanta’s edition contains Sanscrit, Sanscrit transliteration, English equivalents, translation and elaborate commentaries. Published by the League of Devotees, New Delhi, India, 1962–65. Price: $16.80 for 3 volumes (1200 pages). Postage paid by the Society.

Available from the International Society For Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, New York.
The Unconditioned State
The Unconditioned State
by Rayarama Das Brahmachary
(Raymond Marais)
We are conditioned beings. Our thinking and communicating are done by means of symbols, such as words and colors and forms. By the use of words we try to understand our position in existence. Furthermore, we try to communicate—to teach and learn—through words. Words are experiences, surely. But they are experiences intended to convey other experiences—they are meant to be indicators of reality, rather than reality itself. For example, one does not run; one performs a certain action which, for the benefit of communicating with someone else, we call running. This is certainly so on the material plane, where words and actions are divisible.
In this day and age those who seek to know the Truth Absolute must come to grips with the problem of words. Are words an aid to our understanding of ourselves, or do they constitute an impediment? If we examine this question, we can see that they are either: words are, in fact, neutral tools which can be used, misused, or neglected. The theory that all words are false is patently absurd. Like the statement “I am lying,” it must be untrue if it is true.
Although we may use the same words, we each have different meanings for them, therefore the argument is put forth that we cannot accurately communicate anything by the use of words. This is because our comprehension depends upon our conditioning, which is different with each of us. Because our conditioning is unique, the meanings we give our words must be unique. This is the problem of word communication.
Therefore, the conditioned being is bound to fail in his attempts to communicate his experience to others. His experience itself, to begin with, is perceived through imperfect senses. But there is One, of Whom it is said:
… He is the Absolute Truth, and the Primeval Cause of all causes of these manifested universes—in creation, sustenance, and destruction. Directly and indirectly He is conscious of all different manifestations, but He is independent of any cause beyond Himself. (Srimad Bhagwatam)
Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is not conditioned. As the Source and Controller of all that is, the Lord is not bound in any way. When He speaks, it is from the Absolute level. he is within the heart of the hearer, as well as in the words of the scripture which He has given us to be heard. In that position, His words cannot be considered false.
Why then do men disagree as to the meanings of the scriptures? It is because they lack the necessary qualifications for understanding what the Lord says. Those qualifications are given in the Bhagavad Gita:
This same ancient yoga
Has been today declared to thee by Me;
For thou art My devotee and My friend;
And this is the supreme secret. (Gita, 9.3)
The supreme secret is that we must devote ourselves to God and to the study of His words. The Vedas, the Koran, the Holy Bible—all the scriptures of the world are comprehensible on this devotional level, and on no other. Once we have come to this level, we can obtain the knowledge which is revealed to us by God. Nor is this only theoretical knowledge:
This is sovereign knowledge, sovereign secret,
Supreme sanctity, known by direct experience,
In accord with the law,
Easy to practice and imperishable. (Gita, 9.2)
So, using the sovereign knowledge of the Lord, let’s examine the problem of conditioning. Conditioning generally means that which has been acquired artificially, or that which is not natural and original with the being. The materialistic thinker assumes that consciousness is a bio-chemical process, and therefore limits his concept of conditioning to that which is intellectually impose or adopted following birth. Of course, from this standpoint, there really is no question of an unconditioned state. If consciousness is bio-chemical, it depends upon one chemical interaction or another—which is conditioning however you want to look at it. Therefore, in Bhagavad Gita, the Lord clearly states that birth itself is in fact a conditioning.
All beings are born to delusion, O Bharata,
Overcome by the dualities
Which arise from wish and hate,
O Conqueror of the foe. (Gita, 7.27)
Lord Krishna further points to the unconditioned state—or the natural state, the attainment of which is the sole purpose of all scriptures.
But he who knows the true character of the two distinctions (of the soul)
From the modes of nature and their works, O Mighty-armed,
Understanding that it is the modes which are
Acting on the modes
Does not get attached. (Gita, 3.8)
We are, then, not doers of actions. Embodied souls, we have erroneously identified ourselves with the activities of material nature. This is our conditioning. It is a result of attachment, and the process of this attachment is also to be found in Bhagavad Gita:
The soul devoted attains to peace well-founded,
By abandoning attachment to the fruits of works,
But he whose soul is not in union with the Divine
is impelled by desire,
And is attached to the fruit (of action) and is bound. (Gita, 5.12)
We are bound not merely by the intellectualizing of experience. We are bound by our very craving for experience on the material plane – of which the intellectual process is a part. Having given ourselves over to this material sphere of activities, we are subject to its specific laws, and these condition our every action, thought, word and deed—from long before conception in the womb, until far after death, as we continue to be reborn, reborn, reborn.
The soul in nature
Enjoys the modes born of nature.
Attachment to the modes is the cause
Of its births in good and evil wombs. (Gita, 8.21)
These modes by which nature manifests itself are not escapable as long as we remain on the material level—whether we anesthetize, intellectualize or sexualize. Four verses from the Gita will clarify and explain the conditions of material existence:
The three modes
Goodness, passion and dullness
Bind down in the body, O Mighty-armed,
The imperishable dweller in the body.
Of these, goodness, being pure,
Causes illumination and health.
It binds, O blameless one, by attachment to happiness,
And by attachment to knowledge.
Passion, know thou, is of the nature of attraction,
Springing from craving and attachment
It binds fast, O son of Kunti,
The embodied one by attachment to action.
But dullness, know thou, is born of ignorance,
And deludes all embodied beings.
It binds, O Bharata, by developing
The qualities of negligence, indolence and sleep. (Gita 9.5-8)
I’ve underlined the word “all” in the eighth verse, because it is ignorance even to be in the modes of goodness or passion. To be embodied, and to accept the bodily concept of life, is here said to be ignorance. Under that preliminary ignorance, we are subject to the modes of nature—immutable blind laws which take no account of our wishes, as the graveyards ultimately indicate.
This is the conditioned state—and this is our forlorn position, over which we have almost no control. Almost, but not quite exactly. We do have one choice which we can make: that is the choice to withdraw from attachment to material activities, once we understand that they are being artificially imposed upon us.
Whatever pleasures are born of contacts (with objects)
Are only sources of sorrow.
They have a beginning and an end, O son of Kunti,
No wise man delights in them. (Gita, 5.22)
What, exactly, doer the wise mad do? It is a current belief that enlightenment, of liberation—or, for our purposes, the unconditioned state—will come, just as death will come, more or less on its own, with no real need for effort. It is believed that the conditioned state cannot be altered by any endeavor of ours. The Lord Himself, however, says differently. In the concluding chapter of Bhagavad Gita, He says:
Thus has wisdom more secret than all secrets
Been declared to thee by. Me.
Having reflected on it fully,
Do as thou choosest. (Gita, 18.63)
Although Krishna has all power, and can direct any course of events whatever—quite above the controls of nature—He prefers that the embodied being choose for himself. What Krishna wants is our happiness, which can only really be attained in the unconditioned state. However, He gives us the knowledge and the choice to take or reject it. To further stress this freedom, He says elsewhere:
Let a man lift himself by himself;
Let him not degrade himself;
For the self alone is friend to the self,
And the self alone is enemy to the self. (Gita, 6.5)
The Lord is friend to all beings. He never wavers and He never turns from us. It remains only for us to befriend ourselves by accepting His help. This will free us from bondage to material nature.
We have now seen something of the conditioned status under which we labor, but what is this freedom to which we aspire? What is the unconditioned state? It is commonly described as Sat-Chit-Ananda: eternal knowledge and bliss. This is our constitutional spiritual nature, which, through some catastrophic ignorance, we have given up. In this bodily concept of life we are temporary, in ignorance, and rarely happy for longer than a moment’s time. The unconditioned state means that we reach a position of constitutional joy, which no thing can thereafter affect.
When the soul is no longer attached to external contacts,
One finds the happiness that is in the Self.
Such a one who is controlled in yoga on God
Enjoys undying bliss. (Gita, 5.21)
It is further stated:
He who is able to resist
The rush of desire and anger,
Even here before he gives up this body,
He is a yogi; he is a happy man. (Gita, 5.23)
The happiness attained in reaching the unconditioned position is full, not empty. It is simply empty of care, sorrow and bondage.
That, on gaining which he thinks
That there is no greater gain beyond it –
Wherein established he is not shaken
Even by the heaviest sorrow;
Let that be known by the name of yoga,
This disconnection from union with pain.
This yoga should be practiced with determination,
With heart undismayed. (Gita, 6.22–23)
For supreme happiness comes to the yogi
Whose mind is peaceful,
Whose passions are at rest, who is
Stainless, and has become one in interest with God.
Thus making the self ever harmonized,
The yogi, who has put away sin,
Experiences easily the infinite bliss
Of contact with the eternal. (Gita, 6.27–28)
This is the unconditioned state. This is freedom. It is a state of transcendental consciousness, free from all the designations and entanglements which are a part of material consciousness. No materialist philosopher can claim to reach—or even to comprehend—this sphere. This freedom from designation is made even more explicit elsewhere in the Gita:
Even here (on earth) the created (world) is overcome
By those whose mind is established in equality.
God is flawless and the same in all.
Therefore are these established in God. (Gita, 5.19)
This is not a state of consciousness into which one comes, and then again goes. It is bliss, it is ecstasy—which is never again lost. Having recovered our natural, constitutional position, the Lord guarantees that we will not fall again. Having revived our full consciousness, we then pass beyond the strict laws of nature, beyond the bewilderment of maya, beyond the clutches of death.
How to achieve this state of freedom should be our next concern, now that we’ve seen what it is. To help us to achieve it is the purpose of all the scriptures and transcendental philosophies of the world. The Lord Himself incarnates upon this earth to aid us in our plight. Without Him, we would assuredly be lost. Furthermore, even the attainment of wisdom is a gift from the Lord. It cannot be squeezed out of Him, nor can it be devised by us. In our conditional position, our own prescriptions are the very cause of our bondage. But Arjuna explains the way of liberation for us:
The supreme mystery,
The discourse concerning the self
Which Thou hast given out of grace for me—
By this my bewilderment is gone from me. (Gita, 11.1)
So our problem is how to obtain the Lord’s grace, without which no final conclusion to the problems of conditional existence can be reached. Arjuna was, we recall, Krishna’s friend and devotee. We must somehow elevate ourselves to that level—then we too can have the grace of God, and the joy of eternal association with Him in His Kingdom. This Kingdom is described by the Lord in these terms:
The sun does not illumine that,
Nor the moon, nor fire.
That is my supreme abode
From which those who reach it never return. (Gita, 15.6)
The Lord’s abode is not illuminated by external means because it is self-illuminated. This material universe is by nature dark, and is lighted by means of fire and sun. But the spiritual world is by nature light, and so it requires no illumination.
Now to the problem of reaching the state in which we will be free of material designations. We have already seen that this can be done by ingratiating ourselves to God. The practice of yoga is one of the more popular methods now in use for spiritual advancement, and we have seen that Krishna Himself approves of yoga practice. But just what is yoga? This is a question worth examining. The hatha, raja, and jnana systems are current, and are quite acceptable. However, regarding this question of methods, Krishna says:
And of all yogis,
He who full of faith worships Me,
With his inner self abiding in Me,
Him I hold to be most attuned. (Gita, 6.47)
This worship of the Lord is called Bhakti Yoga. It is the highest form of yoga. Its practice is outlined throughout the Bhagavad Gita:
Always glorifying Me,
Strenuous and steadfast in vows,
Bowing down to Me with devotion,
They worship Me, ever-disciplined. (Gita, 9.14)
Glorifying God can be done by hearing, reciting, remembering, serving, worshipping, chanting, following instructions, befriending and totally surrendering to the Lord. Any one of these methods—when perfectly carried out—will lead to full liberation, in that each contains all the others. The practice of bhakti is a practice of twenty-four hour meditation on the Lord, in the course of all activities. It requires no special time to be set aside. It requires that all one’s time be surrendered to the Supreme Reality:
Whatever thou doest, whatever thou eatest,
Whatever thou offerest, whatever thou givest away,
Whatever austerities thou dost practice
—Do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.
Thus shalt thou be freed
From the good and evil results which are the bonds of action.
With thy mind firmly set on the way of renunciation,
Thou shall become free, and attain to Me. (Gita, 9.27–28)
This is the practice of bhakti yoga—devotional service to the Lord. This is the means for qualifying ourselves to receive the Lord’s grace. Then, by the grace of Krishna, we may come to know Him.
Today the use of artificial aids to consciousness expansion is very popular—but no one can say that LSD, mescaline or marijuana have brought him to the platform where he can “experience easily the infinite bliss / Of contact with the Eternal.” The use of a drug or chemical substance is a method which is not prescribed by those who made a science of God-consciousness thousands of years ago. Depending on the use of an external object is the very conditioning we are seeking to transcend—and cannot be said to be an “easy” means of experiencing infinite bliss and contact with the Eternal. If one has been locked away in prison, or is confined by some disease to a hospital bed—or if one has no money, no friends or no underworld contacts—then this means is indeed difficult.
As to whether the use of external chemical substances can actually bring about the fully unconditioned state, we must recall that Arjuna was freed from the bewilderment of ignorance by God’s grace. There was no mention of drugs, Krishna did not need them; nor did Arjuna when he saw the truth. Krishna still doesn’t need any chemical substances, and neither do we. Rather, these things are to be avoided by one who is serious about spiritual life. These are the words of Lord Sri Krishna, which apply quite nicely to this question.
The gateway to this hell
Leading to the ruin of the soul is threefold:
Lust, anger and greed.
Therefore, these three one should abandon.
The man who is released from these,
The three gates to darkness, O son of Kunti,
Does what is good for his soul.
But he who discards the scriptural law
And acts as his desires prompt him,
He does not attain either perfection
Or happiness or the highest goal.
Therefore let the scripture be thy authority
For determining what should be done and what should not
be done.
Knowing what is declared by the rules of scripture,
Thou shouldst do thy work in this world. (Gita, 16.21–24)
The abandonment of scripture, then, is the abandonment of the means prescribed by God to facilitate the recovery of our natural status. He Whose knowledge is perfect has given us this way, for our ease and speedy advancement. To follow other paths is merely to waste our time, and to throw ourselves back into the entangling grip of the senses. Super-psychic sensuality is still sensuality, and will not lead one to freedom from the governance of the material world—nature and her three over-interacting, pitiless modes.
It is only by devotion to God that freedom can be achieved. If one is devoted to God, he manifests his devotion by following the laws of God, as they are revealed in scripture. Without making one’s devotion practical in this way, one cannot achieve practical results. Theoretical devotion may lead to theoretical liberation—but that is of no real value to us.
The unconditioned state—the consciousness of our real and eternal position in existence—must be known by direct experience, or it is uncertain and incomplete. The formula given by Krishna is very simple—and it can be practiced anywhere, under any circumstances.
Abandoning all duties,
Come to Me alone for shelter.
Be not grieved,
For I shall release thee from all evils. (Gita, 18.66)
Poem by Brahmananda
Poem by Brahmananda
Just as in the dawning sun
the shadow a tree throws
is long,
but as the sun rises
it shortens,
recoiling into the tree
until at noon
the tree casts no shadow
but only stands alone,
ablaze in the purifying light:
So the shadow I cast
as my Consciousness of Krishna
until my shadow dissolves
and I stand
under His Lotus Feet,
and pure.
—Brahmananda Das Brahmachary
(Bruce Scharf)
An introduction to Geetopanishad, the Bhagavad Gita as It Is. Swamiji is presently working on a complete translation of the text of the Gita. Now this introduction is available. 35 cents
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Every man is seeking pleasure in life. But he does not know where it is. This small booklet will give an idea of the perpetual pleasure of Krishna Consciousness. Price: 35 cents
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
A person who is illusioned by the temporary wonders of material energy is certainly a crazy man. Practically all men in material activities are insane in various degrees. How to cure this increasing epidemic is suggested here. Read it and be cured of all craziness. Price: 35 cents

Available from The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y. Postage paid.
* * *
BACK TO GODHEAD is published semi-monthly by The International Society For Krishna Consciousness at 26 Second Avenue (between 1st and 2nd Streets) New York, New York 10003.
1 year subscription (24 issues) $3.00. Phone 674-7428

FOUNDER: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

EDITORS: Hayagriva Das Brahmachary (Howard Wheeler)
Rayarama Das Brahmachary (Raymond Marais)

Circulation: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)
Printing: Ranchhor Das Brahmachary (Ronald King)

Back to Godhead Magazine #04,
December 15, 1966
By the Mercy of Krishna
By the Mercy of Krishna
Our Society has been holding Kirtan at Film Makers Cinematheque Theater, which is at 125 West 41 Street. Our engagement extends for all four Sundays in December, from 3 to 6 P.M. The admission is free and the invitation is open—please come and bring your friends.
By the time this issue of Back to Godhead is released, our 33-Ÿ LP album of chanting should be on sale in various parts of the city. The record features our regular Kirtan, as well as some mantra sung by Swami Bhaktivedanta. So natural is the urge to rejoice while listening to this chanting of the Lord’s names that everyone—company personel and onlookers included—began dancing during the last session at the recording studio. This is the real meaning of Kirtan: Rejoice, and glory to the Lord!
Within a month of this date Krishna Consciousness should have arrived in full bloom on the West Coast. We’re hoping to open a center there, in San Francisco, within the next month. In mid or late January, there will be a Mantra-Rock Rejoicing, at which the Swami will appear. Also aiding in our program will be Mr. Allen Ginsberg, who has already rendered much valuable service to Krishna, especially in propagating the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra.
We’ll have more to say about the West Coast next issue—since that’s where the editors expect to be, laying groundwork for the Swamiji.
The Editors
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Notes transcribed from a lecture given September 8, 1966
The energy of the body emanates from the heart. The spiritual spark, or soul, is situated in the heart, and from there it expands to fill the body. The size of this spiritual atom is 1/10,000 of the tip of a hair. It cannot be detected by scientific means, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.
To understand the science of the soul, we must have certain qualifications, which are:
Humility: We should not try to force others to respect us because we are Krishna Conscious. We should preach with humility and respect for others. For example, instead of saying, “Every-you know is a lot of nonsense,” we should say, “I know you are a learned man, but please forget it for a moment and listen to me.” We should not expect to be always well-received, either. Jesus Christ preached the word of God, and He was crucified for it. Humility includes acceptance of difficulties from others.
We should preach Krishna’s word to whomever we meet, but in so doing, we should not try to manufacture a new religion. People want a new religion, but what is there new to preach? We are as old as eternity, so what need have we of the new? Nature’s law is not new—the sun still rises in the East and sets in the West, as it has always done. We still eat and sleep. God is not new. Sometimes, to make people listen, it is necessary to explain the old religion in new terms. This is like putting old wine in new bottles. There is nothing wrong with this, as long as the wine is not adulterated in the process.
Non-violence: We should give the same liberty to others that we want for ourselves for all living beings have the right to live and eat. In nature there is food for all, and every creature has its own allotment. There are different varieties of food for different tastes. Human beings have a responsibility to all creatures. We do not have the right to kill any creature, not even the insects.
There is also another kind of violence. If we do not do our best to bring Krishna Consciousness to other beings, we are acting violently toward them. If we do not act to relieve suffering in others, we are doing them an injustice. Krishna Consciousness means the real end of all suffering, so everyone has the right to Krishna Consciousness.
Patience and simplicity: We should not try to hurry Krishna up. Our thoughts and our speech should also be controlled. We will see Krishna when He chooses. We should render service without reservation to the spiritual master.
Purity: There are two kinds of purity: external and internal. External purity is bodily cleanliness. Internal purity means keeping the mind always on Krishna. There are times when it is not possible to keep the body clean, due to external conditions, but external conditions need not keep the mind from being clean. We can and should always keep our internal purity, regardless of external conditions.
Steadfastness: One who is convinced that he must realize Krishna at all costs will be steadfast. Krishna Consciousness requires self control so that one will not be distracted.
Indifference to sense objects: Smoking, for example, only serves for sense gratification; it is not necessary for the maintenance of the body. This kind of indulgence is a distraction from Krishna Consciousness. Krishna Consciousness subdues the demands of the senses.
Self-effacement: This is the elimination of the false self. We must realize that we are not this body. The body should be maintained for the sake of using it in the service of Krishna. If proper food is not available, then other food may be eaten for the sake of maintaining the body. However, improper food may be eaten only when there is no other food available.
Non-attachment: The devotee should regard desirable and undesirable conditions equally. The householder should be detached from his family. He should take care of his family and fulfill his responsibilities, but he should not let his family stand in the way of his service to Krishna.
Perception of the evils of birth, death, old are, and disease will guide us to Krishna Consciousness. In Krishna Consciousness, we will have transcended all evils, all sufferings, and all delusions.
Poem by Acyutananda
Poem by Acyutananda
These dying temple flowers,
By the end of this day
Will see Krishna’s abode.
Are they not luckier
Than me?
—-Acyutananda Das Brahmachary
(Charles Barnett)
Experience of Karma Yoga
Experience of Karma Yoga
by Satsvarupa Das Brahmachary
(Stephen Guarino)
Karma means “material activities subjected to reaction.” Karma binds us with each act. Yoga means “that which connects, links with the Supreme.” Yoga is the process of Self-liberation. These two words combine in a single process called Karmayoga which is the seeking-and-attainment of self realization (liberation) through action.
Everyone has to act. According to Lord Krishna,
Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to one’s acquired qualities of the modes of material nature, and thus nobody can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment. (Gita, 3.5)
Everyone has to do something, but by the grace of Krishna we can be freed from that place where every action is followed by bondage. If a man is fixed in God-consciousness he does not engage himself in action that is binding, like excessive food indulgence or drug addiction or sexual promiscuity. For instance, no Krishna conscious man should pursue sexual encounters for once he moves into such activities, misery will claim him since he is bound to his action. Without Yoga, Karma is entanglement—action quickly becomes binding and one suffers the good or bad consequences. The lives of such Karmis lead either to aimless chaotic activity on the phenomenal level or directly to hell. The real way out of the action-nightmare is Karmayoga. In the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna says,
… if a sincere person tries to control the sense organs and begins Karmayoga in Krishna consciousness, without being attached, he is far better. (Gita, 3.7)
He is “far better,” he is “sorrowless” because he does not suffer the consequences of his action.
A simple way to begin is to give all you earn to Krishna. That is a start. It releases you at once. If all you earn goes to Krishna, you are saved from a whole area of materialism. Let the world know that any money coming into your hand is going to Krishna—and you are free from great danger.
In Karmayoga, when you are working for Krishna, you can do your office tasks, speak to people on business, and do whatever you duty happens to be, for it all becomes part of your single aim: to return to God. The more God-conscious you become, the more effectively you can function. Whereas formerly you found yourself trapped, once you take to Karmayoga and sacrifice every act to Krishna, then your main objective is not to get out of trouble but to love God. Then no powerful mundane personality will awe or frighten you. You can do your work well and unafraid because you work unattached. And your work goes well.
How can you control your sense organs? In the matter of techniques, sincerity is what is needed. In spiritual effort, when you try hard you succeed. As you work, chant the name of God, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare.” This means “Hail God,” please accept me, be associated with my humble dealings on Your behalf.
Sitting at your desk, waiting for the elevator, answering the phones—make these moments moments of decision and re-affirm your purpose. Are you Karma-yogi? Then don’t let your sense wander! Remember: Why have you come here? Why are you working? Why are you living? Who do you love? Make all your answers—Krishna. Control is gained by being thoughtful of your position. This “thoughtfulness” is the beginning of God-consciousness. Wherever you are God offers this consciousness and you must not fail to grasp it. Aim your heart to this end. When the crowd goes mad, as so often happens, you will not be swept away—if you remember Krishna. Remember, you are in control only because Krishna is controlling—receive His rays. That is real control. Work for Him.
This is not a punishing technique. The punishment is dealt by the material nature. According to the Bhagavad Gita we are in these bodies because we desired to have sensual enjoyment and because we more or less hate God.
All beings are born to delusion O Bharata (Arjuna) overcome by the dualities which arise from wish and hate, O conqueror of the foe (Arjuna). (Gita, 7.27)
The material world is a prison. Factories are producing artificially needed items, and offices are producing artificially created services, at the great cost of daily brute labor. The karma yogi, who is forced by his original desire into one of three modes of material nature (goodness, passion, ignorance) is, by way of his control and sacrifice, receiving a sublime touch unknown to the ordinary fruitive worker. He is a tiny speck of God; he realizes this and takes it seriously. In the presence of the Supreme he is asking for the touch of association, and nothing more. The advanced form of Karmayoga is called Bhaktiyoga, namely “devotional service to God.” As he serves God with his body, words and intelligence, and guided by the principles of the revealed scriptures, the Karma or Bhakti yogi is developing a personal individual relationship with the Supreme. He is not working for his own gain, nor for a formless impersonal concept, but for the Supreme revealed Lord, and the actuality of his position is that he feels the touch of the Supreme.
This process leads to Krishna. It is a question of realizing the Godhead. If God is realized only through His grace you should at least try to see that this Grace is open to you. As stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam, we are bewildered by the Lord:
No one can understand, oh Lord, your transcendental pastime which appears to be human, and is misleading. (SB, 2.8.28)
It is bewildering of course, that you, O Soul of the Universe, have to work although inactive, have to take birth although unborn and are the vital force. Still you yourself descend amongst the animals, men, sages, aquatics. They are verily bewildered. (SB, 2.8.29)
When you work for God, the wages are the chance of understanding Him. Our brains are tiny. To realize the Personal God is most difficult. We have His Word (scripture), His Form (Sri Krishna), His devotees (Lord Chaitanya and the disciplic succession)—and today, most easily available and life-saving, His Holy Name for chanting. But we are nonetheless stupid and covered up by contamination. Without Grace the human brain can conjecture about God for eternity and get nowhere. Nonsense-babbling is endless, fools crowd the streets and governments, waves of illusion throw us around like flies—therefore we must be wary and take shelter of the Supreme Lord. Faced with this material nature, and yet in sight of Divine Light, the Karma yogi has said, “Let me work for Him. God is a person not like me. But yet like me. Let me do His work here. Since I must act, let my actions be for Him—I am nonsense, but He is the True Reality of which everything on earth is a mistaken reflection.”
A karma yogi does not lose heart. He is not staggered or made “punchy” by labor. There is not the taste of dread despair in his labor—not the terror of the abyss, not the wholesale nausea over having to live, not the mad fear of Yamaraj, the Death messenger—at worst the path gets very hard, but the Karma yogi does what he can, and beyond that point the Supreme provides. The Lord—as revealed in the Bhagavad-Gita—has promised protection and deliverance to such a devotee:
Come to Me alone for shelter. Be not grieved, for I shall release thee from all evils. (Gita, 18.66)
Karma yoga is the fulfilling of His promise in reciprocal love, through the energy of His work.
Poem by Brahmananda
Poem by Brahmananda
To think, “I am chanting Krishna’s Name,”
is to think of oneself
and not of Krishna.
We should chant Krishna’s Name
without thinking.
To be self-conscious
is to be unconscious.
of Krishna
is not thoughts
but Knowledge
of Krishna.
—Brahmananda Das Brahmachary
(Bruce Scharf)
The Process of Surrender in God Realization
The Process of Surrender in God Realization
by Hayagriva das Brahmachary
(Howard Wheeler)
Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice to Me, bow down to Me. Having thus disciplined yourself, and regarding Me as the Supreme Goal, you will come to Me. (Gita, 9.34)
Surrendering, in thought, all actions to Me, regarding Me as the Supreme Goal, and practising steadiness of mind, fix your heart, O Arjuna, constantly on Me. (Gita, 18.57)
Surrendering all unto the Supreme Lord is a difficult if not impossible task for must people. This is because they are not aware of the peace such surrender brings. There are many kinds of surrender: there is surrender in war, when the defeated side surrenders in order to preserve whatever life and property remain. This is a willful surrender to a superior force—some thing like a plea for mercy in the hope of avoiding death and total devastation. Then there is surrender in a totally hopeless situation, the surrender of a man, for instance, facing an unavoidable death. And there is also willful surrender to some thing overwhelmingly pleasant—like the surrender to a lover, or surrender to some desire or to the senses. Such surrenders are qualified by extraneous desires and circumstances, but there is a total and perfect surrender—the surrender unto the Will of the Supreme Lord. In the West, Christ is an example of complete surrender unto the Father—He was aware of His impending crucifixion long before it took place, but He surrendered totally and willfully. On the cross His last words were, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke, 23/46) In the Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna also surrendered unto the Supreme Lord by engaging himself in the battle of Kurukshetra and killing those he did not want to kill, only because Lord Krishna commanded him to do so.
Since there are many kinds of surrender, there are many degrees of completeness because some types of surrender are more total than others. By and large they all entail abandonment of certain designations: of birth and parentage, of career and material possessions, of mind, of the body and its senses, of doctrines and concepts. Abandonment of delusion followed by submission to the Divine, to the Will of the Father, is the process of surrender. Such a surrender, when it is total, is in reality the abandonment of momentary misery and darkness for an eternity of bliss and light.
We seldom think of it, but every night when we go to sleep we surrender consciousness and all its concomitants—birth and parentage, possessions, mind, body, senses and conceptualization. Our individual consciousness fades as we push off in the night into the somnolent state. It is only our conjecture that we will awake the next morning in the same bed and in the same body. It is conjecture and faith. So surrender and faith do not belong to a few people only—rather they belong to all men, for all men surrender everything when they go to sleep and all men have faith in something, even if it is nothing more than rising the next morning. But this is usually surrender and faith in ignorance. When a man does not know what he is surrendering to or what he has faith in, then he is in ignorance.
What is the process of perfect surrender? Surrender in knowledge principally involves the abandonment of the modes of ignorance and passion and the misconceptions arising from them. The surrender of birth and parentage means that one relinquishes the false notion, resulting from identification with the body, that he is the son of (for example) Mr. and Mrs. Jones, born at a particular time, that his age is such and such, and that he is an American or Russian or Indian because he is born in that particular place. All these designations are attached to the gross body. In actuality, he is spirit-soul, forever free, unborn, unbegot and eternal, not “belonging” to parents or nation, but the sole property of the Supreme Lord. Christ even addressed his earth-mother, “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” (John, 2/4) and also said, “Who is my mother, or my brethren? … Behold my mother and my brethern! For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother (Mark, 3/33–35) To say that one is an American or Indian or whatever is the grossest ignorance, for such thought implies identification with the gross body instead of the Supreme Spirit Man was born” … not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John, 1/13) In this regard, misconceptions result in bondage and finally reduce one, by identification with the body, to the status of an animal who might say, “I am a pig and I belong to Mr. Jones’ farm.” Society encourages this attitude in its insistance on “birth certificates” and “identification papers,” etc. Such are the shackles of delusion. In truth, all things are the property of the Creator, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and all things have the tag of the Super-soul. The man in knowledge says, “I am not this body. I am spirit-soul, a part and parcel of the Supreme Soul. I have neither beginning nor end. My bliss is in my eternal relationship with the Supreme Spirit, God.” One can maintain this only after surrendering the false designations of birth and parentage which are attributed to ignorance.
Surrender of nationality and nationalism, like surrender of parentage and birth, follows when one no longer identifies with the gross body and the designations attached to it. In this age, especially, nationalism is one of the greatest tyrannies. For the sake of country and “freedom,” men are willing to commit innumerable atrocities and transgressions against the laws of God. The first commandment, “I am the Lord Thy God, Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me,” explicitly forbids man to place the commands of his country before the commands of the Lord. In this age, however, the trend is to make the State god. Worship of the State is forced upon the people by brute power, and to encourage this the State promotes atheism and atheistic doctrines. Communism, as practised in Russia and China, is such an atheistic doctrine denying the existence of God and advocating worship of the State. Many people in the United States fear that this country’s pursuit of materialism is quickly leading it into the same atheistic position. When the disciples of the Pharisees asked Christ whether it were lawful to give tribute to Caesar, Christ asked them whose image and superscription they saw on the coin, and they said, “Caesar’s.” Christ then said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matt, 22/21) Had a man in transcendental awareness, who sees God every where, been asked whose image he saw on the coin, he would have automatically said, “God’s.” A wise man knows that all things belong to God and that God is omnipresent. Of course Christ had an apt reply for the ignorant men who were trying to trick Him, but He would not have given the same reply to a holy man or an incarnation like Himself, for they would have said, “Nothing belongs to Caesar. All things belong to God and it is our duty to render everything unto Him.” In the tradition of spiritual communism, no allegiance, no money, no rendering of any kind is given to the State, but all thing are rendered unto the Supreme Lord. Therefore the abandonment of nationalism in total surrender to God-consciousness is revolutionary in the truest and most radical sense. Even in the face of death, one should be willing and prepared to maintain his belief in the truth that all things belong to God.
Surrender of one’s career, of one’s material possessions, etc. is also very difficult for most people who are trained to place value in these things. Regarding material possessions, Christ said;
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matt, 6/19–21)
When the rich young man asked Him what he could do to have eternal life, Christ said, “If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” (Matt, 19/21) The reason for the relinquishment of worldly possessions is easy to understand. We should not be attached to that which is ephemeral and illusory, but to that which is eternal. Only the Reality, the eternal, can bestow real happiness upon us. It is ignorance to search for happiness in a dungheap. But the glitter of materialism deludes many, despite constant and consistant warnings from the authorities and the scriptures. Material possessions also give rise to other false conceptions, the sense of “I” and “mine”, when in truth all thing belong to the Supreme Lord. Private property is non-existent among truly God-conscious people. The earth and its possessions belong to the Lord. He alone creates them, He alone preserves them, and He alone destroys them.
Similarly, surrender of the body and sense enjoyments born of passion and ignorance appears like poison at first to people who have been trained to believe that the body and sense enjoyments are to be cultivated. Of all sense-enjoyments, the sex drive is the strongest in all creatures and is the greatest bind to the material world. There have been many examples of great saints and sages falling prey to sexual temptation. Many of the demi-gods, who are themselves attached to sex-enjoyment, send beautiful creatures to tempt holymen into sexual play. “The turbulent senses violently carry off the mind even of a wise man striving for perfection,” Krishna tells Arjuna. (Gita, 2.60) We may of ourselves be able to somewhat restrict our sexual activities, but the desires will still remain. Lord Jesus Christ said, “Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matt, 4/28) The only solution is to re-direct the sex-drive into desire for the Supreme Lord. We must dovetail all our desires to Him. The desires themselves come from the Lord, and it is He only who can satisfy them. We must have desires—they are healthy—but we must learn to understand what these desires are really for. Observing that Socrates had an eye for beautiful youths, Diotima, Socrates’ teacher, suggested that if he knew what the beauty in youths really represented, he would be after something else—namely, eternal Beauty, undefiled by human contact.

“This, my dear Socrates,” said the stranger of Mantinea, “is that life above all others which man should live, in the contemplation of beauty absolute; a beauty which if you once beheld, you would see not to be after the measure of gold, and garments, and fair boys and youths, whose presence now entrances you … But what if man had eyes to see the true beauty—the divine beauty. I mean, pure and clear and unalloyed, not clogged with the pollutions of mortality and all the colors and vanities of human life—thither looking, and holding converse with the true beauty simple and divine? Remember how in that communion only, beholding beauty with the eye of the mind, he will be enabled to bring forth, not images of beauty, but realities (for he has hold not of an image but of a reality), and bringing forth and nourishing true virtue to become the friend of God and immortal, if mortal man may.” (From Plato’s Symposium)
Furthermore, the impossibility of satisfaction in sexual relations is apparent when we recognize such happiness to be conditioned—an orgasm lasts only a few brief seconds, there are many impurities and imperfections between partners, and the body grows old and eventually decays, leaving one impotent and sexually undesirable. Shakespeare also was aware of the futility and squalor behind every sexual act.
Th’ expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjur’d, murd’rous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust;
Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and prov’d, a very woe;
Before, a joy propos’d; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
(Shakespeare, Sonnet 129)

When one begins to understand that one is really seeking the Lord when looking for happiness in sex-enjoyment, than one can begin to make progress in properly directing this drive. There is also sexual enjoyment in the spiritual world but it is far different. Transcendental sex enjoyment is eternal, infinite, undefiled by material contact and indescribable. The love men and women experience on earth is but a limited and perverted reflection of the great ocean of love and bliss that is in the spiritual world. But a man will not set aside one pleasure until he receives a greater one. Therefore Krishna says, “The objects of the senses fall away from a man practising abstinence, but not the taste for them. But even the taste falls away when the Supreme is seen.” (Gita, 2.59) So the surrender of sexuality is easy when a greater pleasure awaits a man, but impossible when he gets nothing in return. “Rama” means “Enjoyer.” Krishna and His consort Radha represent the pleasure principle on the transcendental plane. One who abandons earth-lovers for the Divine Lover is never disappointed. “Not the desirer of desires attains peace, but he into whom all desires enter as the waters enter the ocean, which is full to the brim and grounded in stillness.” (Gita, 2.70) A man who is constantly aware of the unchangable Reality within never looks outside for enjoyment. For him no agitation is created by the objects with which he comes in contact during his life on earth.
Incidently, in this connection hatha yoga has led many people astray in its emphasis on body development. Many hatha yoga teachers only incidentally mention union with the Supreme Lord as the goal of all yoga. Instead they advertise that their students look and feel younger longer and enjoy healthy sex lives into their old age. Instead of liberating the individual soul from attachment to the body, hatha yoga more often has the opposite effect in that it fosters bondage to the flesh through emphasis on the body. Christ said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John, 3/6) St. Paul also warned, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall be also reap. Far he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” (Galatians, 5/7–8) Like hygiene and college gym courses, hatha yoga is a materialistic science. Real yoga is not concerned with maintaining and repairing a faulty, obsolete engine, but with doing away with the engine altogether.
There are other pitfalls of sense gratification—for example, overindulgence in food is often a pitfall for the man who has only succeeded in sublimating the sex-drive. There are many other material enjoyments too that must be relinquished before man is totally free. The body also must be surrendered, as Christ surrendered His body at the crucifixion. Many men surrender their bodies to the armies of the world without taking a second’s thought. Socrates surrendered his body when he drank the hemlock. He also preached the immortality of the soul.
And when you see a man who is repining at the approach of death, is not his reluctance a sufficient proof that he is not a philosopher but a philosoma, not a lover of wisdom, but a lover of the body, and probably at the same time a lover of either money or power, or both. (Socrates, from Plato’s Phaedo)
Socrates considered the body an unnecessary encumbrance for the man in pursuit of wisdom, for it is always getting in his way. All men know that the body must eventually be surrendered, but the wise, established in the eternal and unmanifested Self, neither fear nor avoid this surrender.
In surrendering the body unto the Supreme Lord, one surrenders “the Field” with its constituents: I-consciousness; understanding, or the determining faculty; energy; the ten senses, namely ears, eyes, nose, tongue, skin, hands, feet, vocal organ, and the organs of evacuation and generation; the mind; the five objects of senses, sound, sight, touch, smell, taste; desire; hatred; pleasure; pain; the aggregate, the combination of the body and the senses, intelligence; and fortitude, the state of mind that maintains body and mind. Finally Krishna advises the total and complete surrender of all doctrines and concepts. “Abandon all dharmas and come to Me alone for shelter. I will deliver you from all sins; do not grieve.” (Gita, 18.66) This then is the epitome of devotion to the Supreme Lord—the willful surrender of everything into His hands. In the West we are given the example of Christ as perfect sacrifice and surrender.
Surrender can either be gradual or sudden. This is the age of Kaliyuga, an age characterized by disagreement, ignorance and sudden death. In this age it is best not to waste time. Mankind is already on the brink of a nuclear holocaust. Total surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord is the only solution. In the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna gives the example of the Asvattha Tree. “Asvattha” literally means “that which does not endure till the next day.” Because of its changing nature, the entire phenomenal (material world is compared to the Asvattha tree.
They speak of an imperishable Asvattha Tree with its root above and branches below. Its leaves are the Vedas, and he who knows it knows the Vedas. Above and below spread its branches, nourished by the gunas (goodness, passion and ignorance). Sense-objects are its buds; and its clustering roots spread downward in the world of men, giving rise to action. Its true form is not comprehended here, nor its end, nor its origin, nor even its existence. Having cut down this firmrooted Asvattha with the strong axe of detachment, one should pray, “I take refuge in that Primal Being from whom has streamed forth this eternal activity,” and seek that Goal from which they who have reached it never return. (Gita, 15.1-4)
Such is the true method of perfect surrender.
(Bhagavad Gita As It Is)
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Bhagavad Gita is widely recognized as the compendium of all Vedic wisdom, yet there are few who have the necessary qualifications to understand and teach this all-important scripture. Swami Bhaktivedanta—who is a devotee in the line of disciplic succession from Arjuna—is one of these few. His classic introduction is vastly illuminating.
Price: 35 c
by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva
The original and genuine commentary on Vedanta philosophy by the author of Vedanta himself, Vyasadeva, now available for the first time in English with authorized explanation by Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta.
The Srimad Bhagavatam is the post-graduate study of the Bhagavad Gita, or the Science of Krishna. This book of transcendental knowledge contains information of classical Hindu culture, philosophy, sociology, economics, politics, aesthetics and Divine love.
This unique edition of Srimad Bhagavatam has been greatly appreciated by all learned societies of philosophy and theosophy and approved by the Indian State and Central Government Education Departments, and by the United States government.
Swami Bhaktivedanta’s edition contains Sanscrit, Sanscrit transliteration, English equivalents, translation and elaborate commentaries. Published by the League of Devotees, New Delhi, India, 1962-65. Price: $16,80 for 3 volumes (1200 pages). Postage paid by the Society.
Available from the International Society For Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, New York.
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Every man is seeking pleasure in life. But he does not know where it is. This small booklet will give an idea of the perpetual pleasure of Krishna Consciousness. Price: 35 cents
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Every man is seeking pleasure in life. But he does not know where it is. This small booklet will give an idea of the perpetual pleasure of Krishna Consciousness. Price: 35 cents
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
A person who is illusioned by the temporary wonders of material energy is certainly a crazy man. Practically all men in material activities are insane in various degrees. How to cure this increasing epidemic is suggested here. Read it and be cured of all craziness. Price: 35 cents

Available from The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y. Postage paid.
BACK TO GODHEAD is published semi-monthly by The International Society For Krishna Consciousness at 26 Second Avenue (between 1st and 2nd Streets) New York, New York 10003.
1 year subscription (24 issues) $3.00. Phone 674-7428

FOUNDER: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

EDITORS: Hayagriva Das Brahmachary (Howard Wheeler)
Rayarama Das Brahmachary (Raymond Marais)

Circulation: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)
Printing: Ranchhor Das Brahmachary (Ronald King)

Back to Godhead Magazine #05,
January 1, 1967
By the mercy of Krishna:
By the mercy of Krishna:
The editors of Back To Godhead, along with our revered teacher, Swami Bhaktivedanta and our godbrothers of the Society, wish to express our deep hopes for a happy New Year—one in which peace and enlightenment may bless the hearts of all men. This, of course, is not just a holiday greeting, but the fervent motivation of our lives in devotional service the year round. Praise be to Krishna for giving us such a sweet task.
The picture which follows our cover in this issue is the product of our new art director, Jodavani Devi Dasi. It portrays Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and His disciples during kirtan. When He was present on this earth four hundred and eighty years ago, Lord Chaitanya introduced the ancient practice of Samkirtan as the remedy for the ills of our present age, and it is this remedy that is being promulgated by this Society.
Our record album, tentatively titled “Krishna Consciousness”, has yet to appear, but we’re hoping to have it released within the next two weeks.
Our San Francisco activities have been postponed until late in January, but a temple and center there are now being established. So it looks to us as though Krishna Consciousness is destined to grow and to influence events on the American West Coast. We hope this is but the modest beginnings of a world-wide movement. The influence of the kirtan movement stands to reason—after all, who has more influence than the Supreme Personality of Godhead?
Hare Krishna!
The Editors
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Notes transcribed from lectures given September 20, 22, 1966.
The Bhagavad-Gita is an authoritative statement given to Arjuna by Lord Krishna. It must be borne in the mind that the Bhagavad-Gita was spoken on a battlefield. Before the battle, Arjuna declined to fight with his own kinsmen. After the Bhagavad-Gita was spoken, he changed his mind and fought. There was not much time for this discussion—one hour at the most—for the opposing armies were already lined up, and eager to begin the combat.
After hearing about the yoga of meditation, which requires going to a secluded place and sitting perfectly still with the eyes focussed on the tip of the nose, Arjuna said, “Dear Krishna, I think this system is too difficult for me, on account of my agitated mind.” In the material world our minds are agitated. The nature of the material world is such that we cannot be free from anxieties.
God has many names, according to His different activities. Arjuna here addresses Krishna as “Killer of Demons,” because Arjuna sees his own mind as a demon. The sum and substance of any yoga system is to control the mind. Arjuna said that his mind was so agitated, that it was impossible for him to practise meditation. Now, Arjuna, a great warrior, was a personal friend of Lord Krishna, and he was able to understand the Gita in less than an hour whereas today people can’t understand it in an entire lifetime. If Arjuna, who was so intelligent and spiritually receptive that he could understand the Gita in an hour, said that meditation was too difficult for him, what about us? We are not even in the same category as Arjuna, who was Krishna’s friend, and who was so intelligent. If it was impossible for Arjuna, can it be possible for us? It is impossible to still a hurricane, and it is equally impossible to still the mind by force. We can control the mind, however, by always thinking of Krishna. Krishna Consciousness is the perfect form of yoga.
Meditation was good in a former age, when people lived millions of years. In the age after that the best method was sacrifice. After that, it was temple worship. Today, the best method is to chant the Name of the Lord, especially “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” Today, we don’t live long. We are unfortunate, disturbed and unintelligent. The whole world is fighting. In times such as these, how can we perform anything as difficult as meditative yoga? Bhakti yoga—Krishna Consciousness, and “Hare Krishna”—is recommended for the present age. Meditation for the sake of impressing others or yourself will never be successful for even Krishna said that meditation was too difficult in this age. Meditation requires renunciation, but today, even renunciation is too difficult.
In Krishna Consciousness there are only four things that must be renounced: illicit sex, intoxication, gambling, and meat-eating. These four activities agitate the mind. Renunciation of these is easy in Krishna Consciousness for the process of bhaktiyoga is so easy that these four things become distasteful. Krishna Consciousness does not completely discourage sex, but it discourages sex outside of marriage. One who is serious about spiritual advancement cannot encourage illicit or promiscuous sex. If we really want to control the mind it is not necessary to give up sex and food altogether. We can eat food that is properly cooked and offered to Krishna, and we can get married. Keeping the mind always in Krishna Consciousness is samadhi. When one is in Krishna Consciousness, he is leading a renounced life, even if he is not a monk. Success in any form of yoga is not possible without control of the mind.
Once we start on a yoga system, we must stick with it. The desire for spiritual advancement should be there. Out of many men, only a few will try for perfection. Out of thousands of these, only a few will reach it, for it is a difficult process. However, if you want to be a physician, you must study until you graduate. Spiritual advancement is just like that—except that the rewards are eternal.
Arjuna asked Krishna, “What happens to one who starts to study yoga and then gives up?” Krishna replied that when a cloud gathers together, there is a possibility of rain, but if the wind blows the cloud away, there is no rain. There may be thunder and wind, but there will be no rain. Similarly, if one starts the yoga process and quits, he will not have success. Arjuna asked this question so that, in the future, people would not get discouraged and quit.
Bhagavan means one who has complete and perfect riches, strength, knowledge, renunciation, beauty, and fame. Famous people come and go, but God is always famous. God, or Bhagavan, is One Who has the above attributes in completeness and perfection. Krishna is the proprietor of all riches but He can renounce them at a moment’s notice. We receive spiritual knowledge from Krishna, but He Himself had no need of a spiritual master. We must believe One Who is in complete knowledge. We accept the authority of the newspaper, so why insist on seeing before believing the Bhagavad-Gita? The Gita comes from the highest authority, therefore we must make an attempt to study the Gita well suffer no degradation, even if he fails. One who makes an attempt to study the Gita will never be vanquished. This the Lord guarantees.
When one is self-realized, he makes no distinctions between man and animal, or lower and higher. Ideas of high and low, and other pairs of opposites, belong to the material world. When one is in the transcendental position, and sees Krishna everywhere, he is fit to enter into the Kingdom of God. He knows the Supreme Soul, the workings of nature and of the body, and the relationships of these to each other. When one is in his relationship with the Supreme Lord, all things are of equal value. This is not to say that the living entity is seen as equal to the Supreme Lord, or that all distinctions are obliterated. This would be equivalent to being proficient in a language and not being able to distinguish nouns from verbs.
We are all part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. The realized man therefore sees all things as part of the Supreme Lord. He sees all things as Spirit Soul, in different dress. One who is bound to the material world in order to become fit to enter into the Kingdom of God. Krishna comes Himself, or sends His Son or servants to help us—but people still prefer to live on the level of cats and dogs. They want to exploit nature for business purposes, and live sensuously like animals.
The work of nature goes on under the direction of God, to give a chance to the conditioned souls. This world’s miseries remind us that we cannot be happy outside of the Kingdom of God. We have no control over the rain or the snow. We should understand that we are helpless—that whatever we do, we are forced to do. Even the blinking of our eyes is controlled by material nature. We have no independence. We are continually being slapped by material nature, and we keep asking for more. The intelligent person knows he is being slapped and kicked.
The condition of the world has deteriorated because we have fools for leaders and teachers. We must first realize the helplessness of our situation before we can surrender to God. We cannot get material nature to stop slapping us, just as a prisoner cannot stop the harassment of prison life. Wen must be released from the prison of this material nature, for material nature condemns us. When we decide to return to God, spiritual nature helps us. Just as we are free to move on land, but not in the water, so we are truly free in the spiritual world, but not in the material world.
Flowers for Krishna
Flowers for Krishna
By Rayarama Das Brahmachary
(Raymond Marais)
Why does sunlight fade the carpet but not flowers?
And who is the sun?
Behold the countless eyes of day,
Numberless daisies ashiver with ecstasy upon the meadow field.
The meadow is a pure, radiant meadow.
Sacrifice is love, I think.
No, not a balloon full of laughing gas
Which has but to burst to fill the ether with merriment—
Although that is nearly adequate.
A flower too! A flower too!
O, make me a sacrifice!
Make me love!
An eye of day.
Surely, what the simple daisies do I can do,
What can I give who am already given beyond measure?
O, it is a kind of merging,
For the lover and the beloved quite forget themselves
In their passion.
Krishna: The End of Knowledge
Krishna: The End of Knowledge
By Hayagriva Das Brahmachary
(Howard Wheeler)
At the end of many births the man of wisdom seeks refuge in Me, realizing that Vasudeva is all. Rare indeed is such a high-souled person. (Gita, 7.19)
Today, for the majority of students attending universities and institutions of higher learning, the question of the end of knowledge, the destination of the long pursuit, hardly ever comes to mind. One’s eyes are usually fixed on graduation day and the diploma that signifies entrance into a good-paying job. For most, the goal of knowledge is money and the material pleasures it buys.
The more intelligent see the goal in the pursuit itself—as in a literary education, the goal is the enjoyment of literature itself, or, as in mathematics, the goal is in postulating and proving certain theorems. Nothing more is desired. It is like the pleasure a man gets in building a cabinet, or a painter in painting a picture. The act itself is its own reward. So for the more intelligent, education itself is its own reward—the neither need nor seek extraneous compensations.
Yet the true artist, the true technician, always honest with himself, never allows his perspectives to stray too far, never allows himself to be too attached to his work. Seeing himself as a man in time and space, seeing his work and the earth in their relationship to the universe, in time and space, seeing all works, even the grandest—the earth itself and the entire material universe—to perishable, he is not attached. He is happy in his work mainly because of his detachment. He is like the child who happily makes sand castles so diligently on the beach yet leaves them when his father takes him home. He doesn’t care if the waves wash them away. It is a matter of always having things in perspective. This may be said not only of a man’s work or art; it may be said of a man’s entire life.
He who bends to himself a Joy
Doth the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the Joy as it flies
Lives in Eternity’s sunrise.
(From William Blake’s Gnomic Verses)

“Knowledge” itself is elusive. The wisest have always claimed to know nothing. One is always getting the impression that mankind is still in kindergarten, especially as one gradually becomes more certain that “This life’s five windows of the soul/Distorts the Heavens from pole to pole.” (Blake, From The Everlasting Gospel) Socrates was always claiming to know nothing, and Whitman echoed him: “I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my faintest wish. That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be.” (Song of Myself, 24) The time arrives when man sees himself and his “accomplishments” as nothing more than the dabblings of a child, fabrications to pass the time, games to distract.
It is at this point that “knowledge” begins to break down. Man begins to question, “What is this ‘knowledge’ I’ve been so long pursuing? What are its purposes, its categories? Am I on the right path in this pursuit, or am I deluding myself?” If such a man is fortunate, he will turn to a scripture such as Bhagavad-Gita for guidance, and he will see that Krishna Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, divides knowledge into three “gunas” or qualities: sattva, rajas, and tamas—namely, goodness, passion, and ignorance.
The knowledge by which one indestructible Substance is seen in all beings, undivided in the divided—know that that knowledge is of the nature of sattva (goodness). (Gita, 18.20)
Such is the knowledge of the good or holy man who sees “the touch of the One in the play of the many.” Such a man is never deluded for behind the play of maya he always sees One Actor—the Supreme Lord. That this knowledge is rare today accounts for the abundance of misery in this kaliyuga, this age of ignorance, chaos and disagreement. Transcendental knowledge is in the mode of goodness automatically. Those who cultivate knowledge beyond this body culminating in the firm conviction that “I am not this body, I am spirit-soul,” begin from the mode of goodness, or sattva. Knowledge in goodness is the starting point for self-realization. Men seeking transcendental knowledge have nothing to do with knowledge in the modes of passion and ignorance. Rather, people who see their own interest as separate from spiritual knowledge are in the inferior modes.
But that knowledge through which one sees in all beings various entities of different kinds as differing from one another—know that that knowledge is of the nature of rajas (passion). (Gita, 18.21)
A man whose knowledge is in the mode of passion comprehends different souls dwelling in different bodies in constant conflict with one another. This point of view immediately places such a man in the position of defending “that which is mine” and working for his own benefit, for he sees diversity, and is involved in the struggle which is born out of diversity. Such a man very vigorously struggles to maintain his particular interest against the interests of others. He is also constantly trying to improve conditions in the material world, and of course conditions are continually overwhelming him. He does not understand that he will never be happy in the material world any more than a fish will be happy on land, for in truth he is not matter, but spirit. He will never be happy on this earth, regardless of the number of gadgets he may devise for his convenience and material comfort, for he is still confined to the prison-house of birth, disease, old age and death.
Finally, Krishna speaks of “knowledge” in ignorance:
And the knowledge that is confined to one single effect as if it were the whole, and is without reason, without foundation in truth, and trivial—that knowledge is declared to be of the nature of tamas (ignorance, or dullness). (Gita, 17.22)
Such a man is simply happy with a little food, a place to sleep, some sex enjoyment and a few other pleasures to make life “tolerable.” He considers his body to be the cause of effects and of things into which he comes into contact, and he is therefore a slave to his body, working always with his body comfort in mind. Such men are on the level of the animals—they have no desire for improvement either in this world or in the next. Their conception of the universe is strictly physical and they have no idea of a Supreme Spirit behind the material guise. Of them it is said, “the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John, I/5)
A brief review of the fields of contemporary knowledge reveals passion and ignorance to be the two predominant modes. In the “humanities,” for instance, history (from the transcendental viewpoint) truly becomes a pack of lies perpetrated on the dead, so much senseless conjecture and family gossip. Of what use is history? Its only justification is that man can learn from it and it can give man a sense of direction; in this century alone there have been two major wars and thousands of books have been written about them, horrors that might well have been forgotten have been dug up, revitalized and dealt to the public in tons of newsprint. Still mankind rushes stubbornly into a third holocaust. History only teaches that it teaches nothing. That most historians are cynics is testimony to this.
Speculative philosophy becomes the most useless of all gestures—stacks and stacks of words that are only good for burning on a cold night. Rationalizing, speculation, intellectualizing a la Western philosophic tradition have only led—at most—to dry and dusty treatises and pipe-arguments. Similarly, literature may contain some beautiful stories, but in this century it so often consists of many stylistic conceits and materialistic nonsense—students had rather dissect the jittery personalities of Faulkner, Pound, Hemingway than road their works. After so many years, man has finally become wary of words and those who use them. “Were you thinking that those were the words, those upright lines? Those curves, angles, dots?/ No, those are not the words, the substantial words are in the ground and sea,/They are in the air, they are in you.” (Whitman, “A Song of the Rolling Earth”) In the realm of words, poetry, often accused of being the most senseless and useless mode of man’s expression, seems to be the only one worth retaining. Poetry is the music of words, and music of transcendental praise does not belong to the sphere of “knowledge.” But history which only records struggle on the material plane, and philosophy that is filled with vain speculation, and literature that also depicts materialistic struggle and is written to amuse without enlightening and is the work of authors desirous of money and fame—such fields of knowledge are in the modes of passion.
Like history, philosophy, and literature, science has only succeeded in implementing man with encumbrances that mainly serve to divert his energy. For example, because there are so many automobiles, man feels the need to travel more and more. Now man is spending so much energy to reach the moon—for what specific reason, no one can really say, save for the psychological need he must feel to escape earth. However, advanced yogis and those advanced in Krishna-consciousness know that such vehicular interplanetary travel is most difficult, if not impossible. Space travel is not difficult—the gross materialists are simply going about it the wrong way. Furthermore, science has principally helped man to destroy himself most effectively. In the realm, science has proved itself most helpful and progressive. Extermination. When God gave man gunpowder He knew the little bangs would grow into bigger and bigger ones. In this field, science is most adept. “They murder to dissect” is now a bland statement. Always what Hart Crane called “the iron dealt cleavage,” iron, metal, science cutting flesh. It is a familiar story. Yet these madmen, masters of extermination, receive large financial grants from universities and foundations to further pursue the annihilation of the race. They are always trying to kill God, but God cannot be killed. Yet science, the pursuit of the firecracker, is considered knowledge. At its best when it attempts to satisfy the material desires of man by helping him attain adequate food and shelter or curing his physical diseases for a short duration, it is knowledge in the mode of passion. And when science shackles man with modern “conveniences” or frivolous gimmicks or when it exterminates man by monstrous bombs and military devices, then it is asuric—it is knowledge in the mode of ignorance and darkness. Although modern man places all his hopes in science, the wise know this to be the knowledge of the madhouse.
And while mentioning madhouses, the lunatics of psychology, one of the latest “departments of knowledge,” are known to be on the loose, supported by a considerable amount of police-power. These “PhD” testgivers, judgers of sanity, can haul any citizen off the streets of (for example) New York City, throw him in Bellevue Observation Ward, and keep him there “indefinitely.” If the unfortunate soul happens to manage a squeal of protest, these heavy-handed soul-searchers throw him into their own Bellevue Kangaroo Court then clap him away into a rat-infested State bedlam supervised by doctors and orderlies whose sadism would have afforded Kraft-Ebing some juicy histories. Many sensitive and intelligent men are broken by the doctors of psychology who manage them much like they manage their white mice. Either conform to the madness of contemporary civilization or you’re “psychotic,” they tell modern man. So this latest branch of “knowledge,” in the mode of darkest ignorance, is affording man one of the biggest detours on his road to happiness.
Many examples of similar diversions can be given: mathematics are concerned with number games. No mathematician has ever been able to prove that one equals one, and besides, reducing everything to an equation helps no one. Politics is an animal farm for the power-hungry, the vanity of vanities, and business and finances are simply the arts of throat-cutting. In that sense they hold hands with science. Sociology is concerned with the dying and anthropology with the dead. The language into which one is born affords a sufficient number of confusing symbols without one’s trying to learn others. Most comparative linguists never manage to master their own native tongues. And astronomy. One glance at the sky and any fool can tell you the stars are innumerable. All these fields of knowledge are in the modes of passion and ignorance.
Such are the branches of “knowledge” offered by man, a poor serving indeed, hardly worthy of consideration let alone a lifetime’s devotion. The principle of money-making keeps most of them in business, and behind the money-making principle is the principle of sense-gratification. And sense-gratification mainly includes eating, merry-making, sleeping sex-life and defending. So take these away and the whole structure of “knowledge” collapses. It’s all really rather basic after all. But the veneer, glossed by centuries of deceit, is thick indeed, and many are entrapped. The real problems of birth, old age, disease, and death go unsolved and untouched. So it is said that “Grace is given of God, but knowledge is bought in the market.”
How to get out? How to put an end to trickery and delusion, the fruits of false knowledge? Krishna says:
At the end of many births the man of wisdom seeks refuge in Me, realizing that Vasudeva is all. Rare indeed is such a high-souled person. (Gita, 7.19)
By Me, in My unmanifested form, are all things in this universe pervaded. All beings exist in Me, but I do not exist in them.
And yet the beings do not dwell in Me—behold, that is My divine mystery. My Spirit, which is the support of all beings and the source of all things, does not dwell in them.
As the mighty wind blowing everywhere ever rests in the aethereal space (akasa), know that in the same manner all beings rest in Me.
At the end of a cycle all beings, O son of Kunti, enter into My Prakriti (nature), and at the beginning of a cycle I generate them again.
Controlling My own Prakriti, I send forth, again and again, all this multitude of beings, helpless under the sway of maya. (Gita, 9.4-8)
Fools disregard Me when I assume a human form; for they are unaware of My higher nature as the Supreme Lord of all beings. Being of the deceitful nature of fiends and demons, they cherish vain hopes, perform vain actions, pursue vain knowledge, and are devoid of judgement.
But the great-sould men, O Partha, who are endowed with the divine nature, worship Me with undisturbed minds, knowing that I am immutable and the origin of all beings.
Ever glorifying Me, always striving with self-control, remaining firm in their vows, bowing before Me, they worship Me with love and unwavering steadiness.
Others, again, offer the oblation of knowledge and worship Me either as one with them or as distinct from them; and still others in various ways worship Me, whose form is the whole universe. (Gita 9.11-15)
Therefore worldly knowledge, by the standards of the Gita, is concerned with maya, the illusion, or the play of God. All things that are perceived by the senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, smell) and by the mind are ephemeral, illusory. While the human being is in contact with them, they seem real enough, but when they are past they have no more reality than dreams. One can easily understand this by thinking of the past years in one’s life. Now those past years are no more tangible than dreams. Similarly, this moment that is now passing is seemingly real, but in the future, with retrospection, it will also have that dream-like quality. World War II is now over. Now that it is over it only seems like a bad dream. This is the nature of all things in the material world. They are here one moment and gone the next. It is impossible to hold onto them for any length of time. Because they do not endure, because they are all ephemeral, they are called maya, illusion. Life itself, then, is maya. As long as we are perceiving things through these bodies, we are entangled by maya. Life is very much like being rushed through a a tunnel of dreams. We plunge in one side (birth) and are cast into the tunnel’s darkness. While rushing through this darkness all kinds of illusory forms glash past—sounds, sights, tastes, touches, odors … all confront us, all kinds of men and women, countries, lands, earths, solar systems and all the paraphernalia of the material universe presents itself to us. Then suddenly we come out the tunnel (at death) and are once again in the Light. It is this Light, not the tunnel, that is the Reality. Those who are concerned with knowledge of the tunnel are deluded. The tunnel universities and tunnel occupations and pastimes are not for wise men. The truly wise are concerned with the Reality. The Reality is the Kingdom of Krishna, of God, which is the true and eternal abode of Bliss-Knowledge-Absolute. It is in this Kingdom, not in the tunnel, that we are free and blissful. The tunnel is only darkness, confusion and pain. One has often heard that this world is darkness and that we see, as it were, “through a glass darkly.” This is what William Blake meant when he wrote:
This life’s five windows of the soul
Distorts the Heavens from pole to pole,
And leads you to believe a lie
When you see with, not thro’, the eye
That was born in a night, to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in the beams of light.
(William Blake, The Everlasting Gospel)
Since our concerns are not really with the tunnel, since our real happiness cannot be found in the tunnel, what are we to do? Are we to kill ourselves to get out of our miserable condition? No, we have no right to do this. Even our own material body does not belong to us: we have no right to put an end to it. “Man is a prisoner who has no right to open the door of his prison and run away,” Socrates said. “A man should wait, and not take his own life until God summons him.” Socrates was one of the few philosophers in the West to understand that the body is the abode of darkness.
The body is a source of endless trouble to us by reason of the mere requirement of food; and it is liable also to diseases which overtake and impede us in the search after true being: it fills us full of loves, and lusts, and fears, and fancies of all kinds, and endless foolery, and in fact, as men say, takes away from us the power of thinking at all. Whence com wars, and fightings, and factions? Whence but from the body and the lusts of the body? Wars are occasioned by the love of money, and money has to be acquired for the sake and in the service of the body; and by reason of all these impediments we have no time to give to wisdom; and, last and worst of all, even if we are at leisure and betake ourselves to some speculation, the body is always breaking in upon us, causing turmoil and confusion in our enquiries, and so amazing us that we are prevented from seeing the truth. It has been proved to us by experience that if we would have pure knowledge of anything we must be quit of the body—the soul in herself must behold things in themselves: and then we shall attain the wisdom which we desire, and of which we say that we are lovers; not while we live, but after death; for if while in company with the body, the soul cannot have pure knowledge, one of two things follows—either knowledge is not to be attained at all, or, if at all, after death. For then, and not till then, the soul will be parted from the body and exist in herself alone. In this present life, I reckon that we make the nearest approach to knowledge when we have the least possible intercourse or communion with the body, and are not surfeited with the bodily nature, but keep ourselves pure until the hour when God himself is pleased to release us. And thus having got rid of the foolishness of the body we shall be pure and hold converse with the pure, and know of ourselves the clear light everywhere, which is no other than the light of truth. (Socrates, from Plato’s Phaedo)
To come out the tunnel of darkness into the light of truth therefore is the end of knowledge. The light of truth emanates from God, Krishna, Who is the abode of all wisdom and truth. Our happiness then is in surrendering to the Godhead who will put an end to all the false “knowledge” of the tunnel. The light of His truth scatters ignorance and darkness as the sun in the material universe scatters the darkness of night. While we are in the tunnel, we have certain guidebooks to follow that will lead us into the light. The Gospel of Christ is such a “guidebook.” The Bhagavad-Gita is another guidebook. The Koran and Buddhist sutras are also authorised guidebooks. We should be careful, however, to make certain our guidebook is authorised scripture and not mere human speculation.
As long as we are in the tunnel of darkness thinking ourselves these bodies and administering to the demands of these bodies, we will not be happy. We will be like diseased men scratching their sores, making their disease worse. The “knowledgeable” man, PhD, MD, or LSD, who thinks himself this body and who attaches importance to its fame and administers to its desires, is a first class fool with a skin disease. He does not deserve to be listened to, regardless of his teachings. The wise man knows that he is under the spell of illusion due to material contact. He surrenders himself to the Lotus Feet of Krishna and becomes automatically freed from material contamination. He cries “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama” at the Lotus Feet of the Lord, imploring liberation from his diseased condition. And, if he is sincere, real knowledge is communicated to him by Krishna, knowledge that I am not this body: I am spirit soul, ever blissful and ever free. I am Brahman, and my joy is in eternal association with the Supreme Lord. This is real knowledge and is transcendental to knowledge in the mode of goodness, passion and ignorance. It is the beginning of Krishna consciousness. The process of chanting clears away the dirt of materialistic “knowledge” and makes one eligible to receive real knowledge from the Supreme Lord. It is only in this transcendental knowledge that this life becomes worth living and in which the next life is eternally blissful.
An introduction to Geetopanishad, the Bhagavad Gita as It Is. Swamiji is presently working on a complete translation of the text of the Gita. Now this introduction is available. 35 cents
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Every man is seeking pleasure in life. But he does not know where it is. This small booklet will give an idea of the perpetual pleasure of Krishna Consciousness. Price: 35 cents
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
A person who is illusioned by the temporary wonders of material energy is certainly a crazy man. Practically all men in material activities are insane in various degrees. How to cure this increasing epidemic is suggested here. Read it and be cured of all craziness. Price: 35 cents

Available from The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, N.Y. Postage paid.

BACK TO GODHEAD is published semi-monthly by The International Society For Krishna Consciousness at 26 Second Avenue (between 1st and 2nd Streets) New York, New York 10003.
1 year subscription (24 issues) $3.00. Phone 674-7428

FOUNDER: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

EDITORS: Hayagriva Das Brahmachary (Howard Wheeler)
Rayarama Das Brahmachary (Raymond Marais)

Circulation: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)
Printing: Ranchhor Das Brahmachary (Ronald King)
Back to Godhead Magazine #06, January 20, 1967
Blessings of Krishna!
Blessings of Krishna!
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is officially opening its San Francisco branch at 518 Fredricks Street. Swami Bhaktivedanta has flown out to the West Coast and will be introduced to the California audience January 29th by Mr. Allen Ginsberg, poet, at a Hare Krishna Festival. The interest in Krishna Consciousness expressed by San Francisco residents has been encouraging.
The Society's activities and kirtan have been recently filmed by CBS for presentation on the "Eye on New York" program to be televised in three to four weeks. Many of the Society members spoke of their experience with Krishna Consciousness.
The Society is continuing negotiations for a new building, but nothing definite has been ascertained.
During Swamiji's absence, kirtans will continue to be held at the temple during the usual times. There may or may not be group discussions.
The picture appearing in this month's issue of Back to Godhead depicts Lord Chaitanya and His disciples flying high. The artist is Jadurani Devi dasi, who is currently painting twenty-four canvases of Lord Vishnu in various four-handed positions.
The Editors
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Notes transcribed from a lecture given Wednesday, December 7, 1966.

“On The Teachings of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu"
If you want Lord Krishna, then there is no other way except by devotional service. As for yoga, ritualistic performances, and the study of Vedic or other scriptural literature-all these forms are recommended to help us further ourselves. But, if you want to be in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you have to engage in devotional service.
Lord Chaitanya gives evidence of this from the Vedic literature. There is a verse in this connection in Srimad Bhagavatam. In it, Lord Krishna is instructing Uddhava. Uddhava was a great devotee—even greater than Arjuna. (There are three classes of devotees. The first class devotees are represented by the Gopis, the dancers of Vrindavan. Uddhava was next, and Arjuna represents the third.) Uddhava was instructed just as Arjuna was. In Srimad Bhagavatam, Krishna says that God is one, and that to act in devotional service is also one. Now, your body has nine holes or openings; two ears, two eyes, the mouth, the nose and the genitals. If you want to supply foodstuff to the body, there is only one way—through the mouth. You can't supply food through the genitals. Similarly, if you want God, there is one way, bhakti. The foolish say that any path we accept will bring us to God. They are misguiding you. You can't reach God by any other means than by devotion.
Impersonal, localized and universal—these are all forms of realization, but they are not perfect. If you want to know perfection, as its existence is stated in all Vedic literature, then read Lord Chaitanya who points out that, in the Srimad Bhagavatam, the way is called bhakti. You can never know the Lord fully, but you can know Him partially. The highest peak of human perfection can be reached by bhakti.
This process of devotional service is very dear to one who is acting in transcendental service. It is not simple. Belief in God is not sufficient. The ultimate goal is to attain love of God. To believe in God is not the end. You should further develop yourself to become God's order-supplier—that is the way to perfection. Generally, people keep God as their order-supplier, and they ask and thank God for daily bread. The ultimate devotion, however, is rendered when we supply for God. Yasoda was so advanced that Krishna as a child was dependent on her. The mother's system was, "If you become naughty, I shall punish you." The Lord says that when His devotee makes Him dependent on him, then He is pleased. The devotee wants to serve God—that is why God depends upon him. The mother is safe in keeping the child in perfect order. We must see that He is always in order. Thus, although nobody can conquer Him, His devotee can conquer Him by pure love. Such is the process of devotional service.
Lord Chaitanya confirms that if you want to know Krishna, then devotional service is the only way. Devotional service is transcendental. While we are in the material world, we have this material body. So here this practice is apprenticeship. Of course, the same situations will be there in the spiritual kingdom. Though this is really only practice, even in practice we will feel the transcendental flavor. In this apprenticeship, if one follows the proper course, what is the result? Just as when a poor man gets sufficient money, all his sufferings are gone at once and as soon as the sun is in the sky, the darkness immediately goes away, similarly, as soon as get a taste of devotional service, our whole life becomes happy at once.
A person in Krishna Consciousness can't be distressed by material activities. By execution of devotional service, you devote your activities to God, and thus develop your love of God. As soon as you get a taste for Krishna, you lose your taste for material life. As soon as you develop your love for Krishna, all this is gone. As long as you have a tinge of taste for the material world, you have to undergo transmigration from one body to another. The material body is meant for miseries-the threefold material miseries, and the specific miseries of birth, death, disease and old age. Krishna says that love for God begins after many births, when one surrenders unto Krishna. Therefore, we have a great opportunity before us, and we must get ourselves out of material contamination now. With this belief and determination you will make advancement. As you are determined, your taste for association with devotees will develop.
Then you have to execute devotional service according to the prescription of Lord Chaitanya. As soon as your devotional service and prescribed duties are performed, you become free from all material activities. You first have the taste, then you gradually develop and become fully in trance. You can't attain love of God immediately. Nevertheless, the love of God is there within you if you become submissive by hearing and if you practice chanting the tongue should be engaged in glorifying God and in eating Krishna prasadam. As soon as you confirm your submission by engaging the tongue, your service will actually start. Taste Krishna prasadam, speak of Krishna, and chant for Krishna. As you engage yourself, God will reveal Himself to you. You have to please Him by attaining the devotional service attitude. If you execute devotional service, you will develop love. As you develop love for Krishna, you are freed from material contamination. As you develop your love of devotion, you develop your freedom. One should not think, "Now I am happy," or, "I have become liberated." These are the by-products. Becoming happy is not the end. The ultimate goal is to be absorbed in love of God in which you are crying in torment because of separation from Him. That means reaching perfection. If you love someone and they die, you will see everything barren and naked. But when you give your attachment to Krishna, that love will never be finished. That is the perfection of life. That is the love of Krishna.
by Satsvarupa Das Brahmachari (Stephen Guarino)
When we were chanting
Hare Krishna
and the light of the sky
was going in and out
My pleasure was so
great I was afraid
lest I be swept to Indra's heaven
and there given a chariot ride
down the length of the rainbow.
Whereas here on earth,
standing on Houston Street,
I can chant the Holy
Name of Krishna and
He is with me
(kindly dancing on my tongue),
Who is the Source of Everything.
On Peace
On Peace
By Rayarama Das Brahmachari
Krishna delivered the message of the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra, just as two titanic armies were about to clash. The trumpets and conch shells heralding the battle had already been blown, and the bows were drawn tight with their arrows ready to fly. The horses were nervous, the warriors tense with anticipation of mortal combat. It was at this point that Arjuna had second thoughts. Although he was convinced of the righteousness of his cause and had the direct sanction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, he became sickened at the prospect of leading his army into civil war. He could see no good result coming from the battle. He decided to leave the field—ruined and dishonored—and to adopt a life of poverty, although he was by birth and upbringing a prince of splendid position.
At that point, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, advised Arjuna to fight. The course of the conversation which followed between these two is the instruction of the Bhagavad Gita. This may seem an unlikely tree from which to pluck the fruit of peace—but we shall soon see that the fruit is there, and that it is well within our reach.
To begin His instructions to Arjuna, the Lord made clear the difference between the body and the soul. Arjuna's misgivings were all on the level of material consciousness—he was considering the ills, comforts and relationships of the body. Krishna politely called him a fool for this, and then explained that the living entity—the real being—is not matter at all. The real person is the soul., the pure spirit that dwells within the body. Krishna speaks of the soul in these terms:
He who thinks that this slays
And he who thinks that this is slain—
Both fail to perceive the truth:
This one neither slays nor is slain.
He is never born, nor does he die at any time,
Nor, having being, will he cease to be.
He is unborn, eternal, permanent and primeval.
He is not slain when the body is slain.
(Gita, 2.19-20))
It is to this real person, and not to the material covering, that Bhagavad Gita is addressed. The material covering—the body—is born, and is quite as ephemeral as a flicker of sunset color. Of the soul, however, these things are not true. Again, Lord Sri Krishna says:
Weapons do not cut this self,
Fire does not burn him,
Waters do not wet him,
Nor does the wind make him dry.
He is uncleavable. He cannot be burnt.
He can neither be wetted nor dried.
Though he pervades the body, he is eternal, unchanging, and immovable.
He is the same forever.
(Gita, 2.23-24)
This is the real person, who has by mischance fallen into this ocean of material misery. Here, he is not at home. He has identified himself with the body, and is therefore suffering the pangs of disease, old age, death and rebirth. All the impermanence and insecurity of the ever-changing material universe are his—although he is in fact "eternal, unchanging and immovable…the same forever."
Before we can actually consider the problem of peace, we must make clear this distinction between matter and spirit. This is what Krishna did for Arjuna, before going on with the teaching of Bhagavad Gita. And so this distinction is necessary for our further understanding also. The great acharya and our grand spiritual master Sri Srimad Bhakti Sidhanta Sarasvati Goswami used to tell the following brief story to his disciples, to illustrate this point:
Once a man fell into a lake. Being unable to swim, he shouted and cried for help, flailing desperately in the water. A well-meaning passerby, seeing the man's plight, leapt into the lake and swam to him. The rescuer, upon reaching the drowning man, took off the man's coat and then brought it back to shore. He was very proud of himself, but the people on the shore jeered at him for being a terrible fool. He had brought the drowning man's coat to safety, but the man himself had by now gone down to his death.
In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says:
Just as a person casts off worn-out garments
And puts on others that are new-
Even so does the embodied soul cast off worn-out bodies
And takes on others that are new.
(Gita, 2.22)
Just as we would deride the fool who brought the drowning man's coat to shore—so we must deride the doers of good deeds in our present society, who ignore the soul—the true, imperishable person—and make prodigious efforts towards the relief of the body. Fortunes are cast into the fire for saving people's bodies, but in the end everyone surely dies. Meanwhile, the real living entity within goes on suffering indefinitely, neither its disease nor its very existence being regarded.
This applies to our present strivings for peace in the world as well. All our grave and earnest efforts are being directed at the body—to prevent its death on the field of battle—yet no one can stay the hand of death, nor turn the sun back on its course, nor stop the coming of dusk. We think that conditions in Vietnam are pitiable, but we ignore the pitiable conditions on the Bowery, in Harlem—and, yes, even in Levittown.
We are all suffering at the hands of material nature, because it is alien to us. No man can live contentedly in the midst of the North Atlantic, nor can a whale find a peaceful home on the Great Plains. The eternal spirit soul, in similar fashion, is out of its natural environment when, under the cloud of illusion, it accepts the bodily concept of life. Its plight is duly noted by the Lord:
The living entities are
Eternal fragmental portions of Myself.
They are dragging on in a bitter struggle for existence in material nature
With the six senses, including the mind.
(Gita, 15.7)
Because we are eternal, we seek eternal surroundings. But we have accepted material nature, and so our strivings for happiness, security and peace are carried out here, where they cannot be brought to success. In the Eight chapter of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, "The basis of all created things is mutable nature." (Gita, 8.4). As the basis of the created—or material—world, mutability is not separable from the material world. Just what this mutability consists of and how it acts is elsewhere described by the Lord, in discussing the three modes by which nature manifests itself.
Goodness prevails, overpowering
Passion and ignorance, O Bharata.
Passion prevails, overpowering goodness and ignorance.
Even so ignorance prevails, overpowering goodness and passion.
(Gita VIX/10)
This is the working of nature—both within man and within the whole context of material creation. Just as there are many men today who are laboring dearly for peace—so there are even more men (obviously) who are laboring for war. This is an eternal process, according to Lord Sri Krishna. At one time the forces of goodness prevail, at another the powers of passion, and then again—as in a dark or stagnant age-the forces of ignorance are most prominent.
This revolving wheel cannot be stopped. It is not a phenomenon peculiar to human activities, but a universal law—the mutability of material existence. Even on a much higher scale, the very cosmos itself is subject to this restless activity. Here is the Lord's description of cosmic evolution:
At the coming of day
All manifested things come forth from the unmanifested
And at the coming of night
They merge in that same unmanifested.
This very same multitude of existences
Arising again and again
Merges helplessly at the coming of night, O Partha,
And streams forth into being at the coming of day.
(Gita, 8.18-19)
What peace then shall we find here? Here, there is only a perpetual struggle to survive, where survival is assuredly impossible. The Utopian concept of a world without war—a world of material peace and comfort—is an imagination. There is aplace of true peace and, more than comfort, eternal ecstacy—but it is not here in the sphere of cosmic evolution.
However, we have already seen that the living entity is not matter. Although he has identified himself with the body, he is actually eternal, and lives on after the annihilation of the body. He lives on, in fact, beyond the annihilation of the very universe—through cosmic days and nights without end. His real position lies outside the spinning modes of material nature.
The master (of the body) does not act,
Nor does he cause others to act,
Nor does he connect work with its fruit.
It is nature that accomplishes these things.
(Gita 5.14)
Disturbance, turbulence and unrest, the grim struggle for existence, the savage grappling for impossible survival—these are nature's actions. The real living spark does not participate. He merely lends his consciousness, and therefore he suffers. But, when he can withdraw his attachment, and fix himself in his real nature—then he is free, for he has broken his artificial ties with nature. Being established in one's real identity, we must therefore conclude, is the meaning of peace. No aspect of body consciousness can bring peace, because the body is only an artificial covering—itself the cause of our unhappiness, subject by its very constitution to the limits of day and night, and day and night again, and on and on again.
WE can have real peace. We can withdraw ourselves from our attachment to matter, and fix ourselves in ourselves as we really are—full of knowledge, blissful and eternal. This real peace can be had first of all in personal terms—immediately and directly for the individual. The Lord, in His infinite kindness, appeared on this earth to help us find the way to peace. Here is His formula for the individual:
Whatever thou doest, whatever thou eatest,
Whatever thou offerest, whatever thou givest away,
Whatever austerities thou dost practice—
Do that, O son of Kunti (Arjuna), as an offering to Me.
Thus shalt thou be freed
From the good and evil results which are the bonds of action.
With thy mind firmly set on the way of renunciation,
Thou shalt become free, and attain to Me.
(Gita 9.27-28)
Renunciation is the path of freedom to peace. Renunciation does not mean holing up in a cave or in a jungle. It is much simpler than that. Renunciation means offering everything to God. Everything already belongs to God, but we have foolishly set ourselves up as independent lords and masters—and so we are in agony life after life, never resting, never happy and never at peace. Even if we come to know some flickering shadow of these things, the hand of death touches us, and all is gone—the millionaire, the general, the movie star and the madman—all must go then and there, and none may have even a moment's delay, whatever his assets. But the man who understands the Lord—this man finds peace which is sweeter than all April's blossoms—and which will never end. This formula is given most explicitly in the Fifth chapter of Bhagavad Gita:
And having known Me as the Enjoyer of sacrifices and austerities,
The great Lord of all the worlds,
The friend of all beings,
He attains peace.
(Gita, 5.29)
These three items of knowledge, then, will bring us peace: First, that God is the Enjoyer of everything, and that everything is meant for His enjoyment. Second, that God is the Lord and Master of all worlds. And, third, that the Lord is friend to all beings, whatever their aspect. If we accept these principles, we have drawn ourselves out of the entanglement of material nature. If the nations of the world and their government will accept these principles, then we can actually have world-wide peace at once. There will be no need to battle over some land, some sky, some jewels or some influence if we realize that all these things are the property of God. It is because we imagine them to be ours that we are killing each other for them. We come to this earth naked and we go empty-handed—and while we're here we struggle ferociously for some clods of clay. But these things are not ours. They will never be ours. They are God's, and we are also God's.
Modern civilization is deeply engrossed in the search for peace, but for all the efforts made, no peace has been found. Nations are engaged in vicious warfare—and individuals are likewise so engaged in the course of their daily lives. In Sweden today there is no war, and yet the people are committing suicide in appalling numbers. No armies are contesting the roadways in New York or California, but you cannot count the dead which pile up on them everyday. There is no more peace in Stockholm or in the Bronx than there is in Vietnam—only the fashion of the struggle and its attendant agonies are different. This is because we have failed to recognized the Lord. Our godless civilization is a disaster on every account.
There is a Sanskrit verse which translates approximately like this: "Eating, sleeping, defending and mating are instincts common to animals and men. But the extra instinct, which distinguishes the human from the animal, is his religious instinct." Human life is characterized by its highly-developed consciousness. Unless we use this developed consciousness to find out the answers to the problems of existence, then we are using only our animal instincts. In other words, without at least a serious enquiry into the nature of our being, our life cannot be said to be human.
This society as it stands today, then, is not human society. It has cast aside all interest in God and the spirit, and has bent all its energies to sophisticating and elaborating upon the gratification of those simple instincts which we hold in common with the dogs, the hogs and the buffalo. Because war disturbs one's ability to enjoy his animal propensities, our society has decided to find some means to abolish war. It has not taken any consideration of the Lord, however, That would also mean giving up our deep attachment to those propensities which we share with the less-conscious animals. However, without god-consciousness, we are no more than sophisticated dogs. This is why the United Nations is a failure, and why it will continue to fail. There is no more hope of a workable peace coming from the General Assembly than there is from the city pound.
The leaders who are attempting to guide our civilization away from disaster are unmindful of God. Being ignorant of God, they are themselves blind to all truth, and at the mercy of the modes of nature. They cannot possibly accomplish anything but deviltry. The words of this writer will be less trenchant than the following three verses from Bhagavad Gita, in which the Lord Himself speaks on this subject:
Deluded by these
Threefold modes of Nature,
This whole world does not recognize Me,
Who am above them and imperishable.
This Divine maya (illusory energy) of Mine,
Consisting of the three modes, is hard to overcome.
But those who take refuge in Me alone
Cross beyond it.
The evil-doers, the foolish,
The lowest of Mankind—whose minds are carried away by illusion
And who partake of the nature of demons—
These do not seek refuge in Me.
(Gita 7.13-15)
Lord Krishna doesn't mince His words. We may know then, on His authority, that most of the leaders—intellectual as well as administrative—of our modern world, are evil-doers, fools, the lowest among Mankind—and that their knowledge has been carried away by illusion (in other words, they are mad). Do not expect peace in our time. These men who now lead us are particularly qualified only for the grim mischief which we have already so lavishly tasted in this Twentieth Century. As to whether these men are likely to bring about peace in spite of their poor qualifications—by chance, as it were—here are two more verses which pretty nicely examine this possibility:
The deluded despise Me
Clad in human body,
Not knowing My higher Nature
As Lord of all existences.
Partaking of the deceptive nature of fiends and demons,
Their aspirations are vain,
Their actions vain and their knowledge vain
And they are devoid of judgment.
(Gita, 9.11-12)
The fact is that there are probably at least as many atheists campaigning for peace as there are engaged in war right now. Bhagavad Gita says that all of these men are devoid of judgment. We can expect no good from them. The Lord Himself avows this, and the events of history attest to the truth of His words.
Even if a political peace can be established, it will not mean that peace has come to Mankind. Peace is a thing of the heart, the mind and the soul. Peace can be absent from the placid shores of some sylvan meadow stream, and it can also be had in the midst of brutal violence and mayhem. Even so slight a thing as a smile on the rush-hour bus is a conquest of material nature. Peace is an inner quality. It is a gift of God bestowed upon those who are wise enough to accept Him as the Supreme Enjoyer, Lord of all world, and Friend of all beings.
The great-souled (mahatmas), O Partha
Who abide in the divine nature,
Knowing Me the imperishable source of all beings,
Worship Me with undistracted devotion.
(Gita, 9.13)
These are the qualifications which we should look for in our leaders. They are rarely found, to be sure, but if we actually want peace among men, then we must seek out such people. Of course, even the present leaders of the world can quickly attain the status of great-souled. Let them take up the chanting of the Lord's Holy Names, to purify their minds. Let them recognize the Lord's sovereignty of God, and the sacredness of all that belongs to Him. Let them make it their business to propagate God-consciousness among the people whose earthly destinies they wish to guide. These measures will bring peace to this planet.
And, if we want peace within—the real peace which affects the soul and not merely its outer covering of the body—then we must ourselves bow down with undistracted devotion to the Lord. This is what Arjuna did. Thereupon, though he waded into the monstrous melee at Kurukshetra, he was free from the good and evil reactions of his deeds, because he acted not on his own behalf, but at the bidding of the Lord, Sri Krishna. Arjuna the warrior continued to be a warrior, but he was at peace, in worshiping God. We too need not retreat from the world in order to find real peace. We need only turn to the Lord. In Him lies the end of all pursuits. The words of Arjuna, upon seeing the Lord's Universal Form, well apply to us, as well as to all creatures in all ages:
And why should they not do Thee homage, O exalted One, Who
art greater than Brahma, the original father?
O Infinite Being, Lord of gods,
Refuge of the Universe, Thou art the Imperishable,
The being and the non-being and what is beyond even that.
Thou art the first of the gods, the Primal Person,
The Supreme Resting Place of the world.
Thou art the knower and That which is to be known and the Supreme Goal.
By Thee is this universe pervaded, O Thou of Infinite Form!
Thou art the wind, the destroyer,
The fire, the sea-god, the moon and the grandsire of all.
Hail, hail to Thee a thousand fold!
Hail, hail to Thee again and yet again!
Hail to Thee in front, hail to Thee behind,
And hail to Thee on every side, O All!
Boundless in power and immeasurable in might,
Thou dost penetrates all and therefore Thou art All!
(Gita, 9.37-40)
One who recognizes these truths has found the genuine splendor of all existence—and he has found peace as well. He is not a weakling or a fool; he is a realist in the highest sense of the word. Let the madmen whose fingers have closed on the gold and the flesh of this world have their brief game of play. We must seek Reality. One who is sincere in his quest for peace will look to the root cause of the world's distress—and he will find it in the hardness of his own heart. So, let's pry open the doors that have sealed off the pure, radiant chambers of our hearts. Let's pray for peace with these words of Arjuna:

Thou art the Father of the world, of the moving and the unmoving.
Thou art the Object of its worship, and its venerable Teacher.
None is equal to Thee. How then
Could there be one greater than Thee in the three worlds,
O Thou of incomparable greatness?
Therefore, bowing down and prostrating my body before Thee,
Adorable Lord, I seek Thy grace.
Thou, O God, shouldst bear with me as a father with his son,
As a friend to his friend—as a lover to his beloved.
(Gita 11.43-44)
Some Questions to Lord Krishna
Some Questions to Lord Krishna
(Questions probably not conducive to enlightenment)
From Hayagriva Das Brahmacari (Howard Wheeler)
Is it true
That Thou art blue
And art the Supreme
Godhead too?

I also hear
You like to toy
About Vaikuntha
As Cow Boy.

Swamiji says
You always wear
A peacock feather
In Thy Hair

And that Thy Feet
And colored red
And leave a lotus
Where'er You tread

And that eternally
You play
Upon Thy flute
The Vedic Way.

And that in battle
You gave the Gita
To Arjuna
That we might read 'er.

But is it true?
May we traverse?
Within Thy Mouth
The universe?

O Lord Divine,
Who dares to doubt it?
Thy cosmos shouts
Thy praise throughout it.
Because, O Lord,
The Milky Way
Is but cow's milk
You drank one day.

And I believe
We really float
Within Thy Belly
Like a boat.

And time will come
When You'll discharge
Our galaxy
Upon Thy yard.

Then we'll look up
To see Thy Face
And Thy true Form
With all its Grace.

"Welcome," You'll laugh
And give a kick
And like a cow boy
Play a trick.

Lasso devotees,
Corral and tie
All those who to
Vrindavan fly.

And call to us,
"Come on, ladies!
I've made rice, dhall,
And chopaties."

Then I will know
That it is true
That Thou art blue
And Godhead too.
By Satsvarupa Das Brahmacari (Stephen Guarino)
When we go chanting
Hare Krishna
under the blue sky,
with drums and cymbals
through the streets,
who can measure
the essence of that?

From a cloud hung a
waterspout, the sun
was going in and out,
buildings, faces, and
cars, people-seemed the same
stopping to look at us
in awe.
"We are unbustable," said
He meant when
we chant
Hare Krishna
We are unbustable and made
100% pure
by virtue of the Holy Name
Of Krishna.

This world
like a pit of a fruit
spat out of My Lord's Mouth
and the uneaten flesh
that clung thereto
became our forest & crops
& the juice the sea
& the Lord spitted the Heavens
And we germs from this Mouth
Oh how Glorious Our Lord
His mere touch Infinite Wonder
Our existence the breath of His Bliss
We the recoil of His Wisdom
And on that one day my Lord
He ate just 1,000 of such
fruits in an hour
as He walked through His garden
toward the place of His bath.
—By Ravindra Svarupa Das Brahmacari
(Bob Lefkowitz)
Back to Godhead Magazine #07, February 1, 1967
Regarding Psychedelics
Regarding Psychedelics
The following is a letter received by the editors which pretty well speaks for itself:
Dear Editors,
In your December 1st issue of Back to Godhead, you ask for comments by your readers when they feel it necessary, and I would herewith like to offer a humble observation.
Far too far often I find your philosophy hyper-critical of LSD and other psychedelic chemicals. Speaking personally, I would be much more likely to join in your celebration if it were not for the fact that I do not wish to be made to feel guilty about my past ingestions of these mysterious sacraments. Furthermore, in all honesty, I am sure you will admit that the majority of people now deeply interested in Krishna Consciousness would never have been so were it not for the spark of spiritual curiosity ignited in them by their LSD sessions.
This is an age of machine misery and computerized death, and any avenue of spiritual seeking which the American people seek to trod is far better than its alternative. Don't choke yourself off by participating in an undeclared war against acid and grass. People will come to you without this. No doubt more than you are presently receiving. Let the beauty of your quest speak eloquently for itself, and let all people you reach be proud of their own humble search. Too many of us have been guilty for too long, and we are tired of it.
I hope I have made my point. I think it is an important one.
Peace and love,
San Francisco, California.

First of all, we would like to express our gratitude and appreciation for this sincere and well-put comment. We've withheld the writer's name rather than chance hurting him in some way. In response to his questions, Hayagriva Das (Howard Wheeler) has written the following essay entitled, "Psychedelic Drugs and Krishna Consciousness," which will also be published as a separate pamphlet. We hope this question and answer will clarify our position for all who are in doubt of it. We will be glad to hear more and more from our readers on this subject.
And now, Mr. Wheeler's essay:
Psychedelic Drugs and Krishna Consciousness
Psychedelic Drugs and Krishna Consciousness
Due to the recent psychedelic drug movement in America, many people have come to us and asked about the Society's stand regarding LSD, gunga (marijuana), peyote, mescaline, psylocibin, yage, etc. in reply, we would like to say that as a society, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has nothing to do with drugs or drug intoxication. We are neither for nor against the use or repression of such drugs. We are not qualified to judge positive or negative effects, and therefore our policy is one of non-interference, especially in regards to legalization, administration, etc. Believing that people naturally do what they like, we feel that it is not our mission to condemn the actions of others but to suggest, in a positive way, their adopting Krishna Consciousness and chanting the Maha (Hare Krishna) Mantra. Drugs and drug movements are not our concern. We are interested in the eternal Reality, which is Krishna, the Supreme Lord.
However, members of the Society and those seriously pursuing Krishna Consciousness, following the Vedic Way and the injunctions of the Spiritual Master (guru) Swami A.C Bhaktivedanta, do not take intoxicants such as alcohol and drugs. Our authorities are the Spiritual Master, the Bhagavad Gita, and, of course, Lord Krishna—and none of these recommend the use of drugs for spiritual development.
There are a number of reasons we do not encourage psychedelic drugs for those who are interested in pursuing Krishna Consciousness.
1. We believe that our natural state of consciousness is one of ecstasy. Therefore it is not necessary to attempt to alter our consciousness by a chemical process. In actuality, we are eternally in samadhi, in union with God, being His eternal parts and parcels. This is our constitutional position-it is not a position brought about by fasting, vigils, drugs, self-mutilation, etc. the position is already there. If we do not see our position or understand it, it is due to our ignorance. They way our of ignorance is Krishna Consciousness, which helps us to attain our natural unconditional state of freedom and bliss (Sat-Chit-Ananda) in Krishna. To the best of our knowledge, drugs only construct a reliance on a material substance and lead to bondage to that substance—therefore, for our purposes, they do not lead to unconditional freedom, but to spiritual regression.
2. Drugs, as an artificial means of exhilaration, are not new. Psychedelics in the form of peyote and "magic" mushrooms have been known to American Indians for hundreds of years, and thousands of years ago, "soma" and similar drugs are recorded to have been used in India. Over the centuries, psychedelics have been known to and rejected by great saints, mystics, sages, incarnations and spiritual leaders. A 130 years ago, the American transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson was also aware of attempts to attain cosmic consciousness by abortive, artificial means:
It is a secret which every intellectual man quickly learns, that beyond the energy of his possessed and conscious intellect he is capable of a new energy (as of an intellect doubled on itself) by abandonment to the nature of things; that beside his privacy of power as an individual man, there is a great public power on which he can draw, by unlocking his human doors, and suffering the ethereal tides to roll and circulate through him; then he is caught up into the life of the Universe….For if in any manner we can stimulate this instinct, new passages are opened for us into nature; the mind flows into and through things hardest and highest, and the metamorphosis is possible…This is the reason why bards love wine, mead, narcotics, coffee, tea, opium, the fumes of sandalwood and tobacco, or whatever other procurers of animal exhilaration. All men avail themselves of such means as they can, to add this extraordinary power to their normal powers.
(From Essays, 2nd Series, "The Poet.")
However, Emerson makes it clear that he does not condone such artificial means, which he considers to be used by an inferior type of man. He also deems the results to be imperfect and temporary, for in actuality deterioration and dissipation are provoked by reliance on external stimuli.
Never can any advantage be taken of nature by a trick. The spirit of the world, the great calm presence of the Creator, comes not forth to the sorceries of opium or of wine. The sublime vision comes to the pure and simple soul in a clean and chaste body. That is not an inspiration, which we owe to narcotics, but some counterfeit excitement and fury. Milton says that the lyric poet may drink wine and live generously, but the epic poet, he who shall sing of the gods and their descent unto men, must drink water out of a wooden bowl…His cheerfulness should be the gift of the sunlight; the air should suffice for his inspiration, and he should be tipsy with water.
(From "The Poet")
3. The great mystics, incarnations, sages, religious leaders, etc through the ages never used drugs in their spiritual undertakings nor advocated their adherents taking them. This includes Lord Krishna, Brahma, Vasudeva, Narada Muni, Shakara, the great Indian Acharyas, Lord Chaitanya, Lord Buddha, Lao Tzu, Huang Po, Confucius, Mohammed, Socrates, Plato, Lord Jesus Christ, His apostles and disciples, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. John of the Cross, innumerable other Christian saints and mystics, the metaphysical poets, Milton, Dante, William Blake, the American transcendentalists, Emerson, Thoreau, Emily Dickinson and Whitman—the list can extend indefinitely. And typically, the principle religions of the world—Buddhism, Taoism, Mohammedism, Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism—forbid the use of drugs by their adherents. Obviously, drugs are not necessary for spiritual realization, and they are not recent discoveries. Children feel no need for them; nor will adults if they only see things as they truly are.
4. Krishna Consciousness involves a firm belief in Krishna, the Supreme Lord, Who is the Absolute Controller and Proprietor of all things. He has not given any indication that drugs provide a legitimate means for reaching Him. He sets down the way by which man may reach His Supreme eternal Abode in the Bhagavad Gita, and no mention is made of drugs. Quite the contrary, He condemns those who follow their own way to the exclusion of Scriptures (Gita 9.3; 16.23-24).
5. From our personal observation of LSD-users who have come to the Society under the influence of or shortly after an LSD "trip," we have found them to been generally confused, disoriented, and badly in need of help. Their conversations have not indicated them to be enlightened beings. Many have had to resort to hospitalization, psychiatrics, etc. Not only are the drugs'results artificial and imaginary, but it they tend to make the user think himself to be further spiritually progressed than he actually is. Many young "avatars" have dropped by the Society to teach Swami Bhaktivedanta about God. In fact, some have claimed to be the Shining, Omnipotent One.
6. The effects of the drugs are only temporary; the drug user is "up" shortly after taking the drug, but after a few hours he "comes down." Krishna Consciousness teaches how to "stay high forever" without bringdowns, by chanting one's way into eternity. Nor do drugs free one from material hankerings such as food, sex desires, etc..,but sometimes rather provoke desires.
7. Some members of the Society experienced psychedelic drugs extensively before meeting Swami Bhaktivedanta, and they now no longer take them. Some consider their previous drug experiences as a kind of spiritual "undergraduate" study and now consider Krishna Consciousness to be graduate school study. Krishna Consciousness teaches one how to swim in the spiritual ocean without water-wings.
In conclusion, we would like to encourage the positive and age-old method of Krishna Consciousness, approved by the great acharyas (spiritual masters) of India, as a true method of spiritual advancement and development. The results are eternal. Through sincere practice, one can come to know his relationship to God, to the world, God's relationship to the Universe and to the individual soul, and ultimately one can attain realization that one is not matter but spirit soul eternally related to the Supreme, and, through Krishna's grace, reach His supreme and eternal Abode. We encourage psychedelic drug users to finish their experimentation, graduate once and for all, and take up God realization under a qualified spiritual master such as Swami Bhaktivedanta. Then they can chant their way into eternity and face God independent of "sugarcubes."
Issued by:
The International Society
for Krishna Consciousness
26 Second Avenue
New York, New York

For further information, write the Society.
By the Mercy of Krishna
By the Mercy of Krishna
We hope that the foregoing letter and reply have clarified the position of the Society on the issue of psychedelic drugs. (The reason for the somewhat confused numbering of pages is that the bulk of our magazine is typed on stencils far in advance of publication, and the present additions caught us off guard. Sorry.)
We would like to express our appreciation for the fine work of our art directress, Jadurani Devi Dasi (Judy Koslofsky), whose picture of Lord Krishna follows our cover.
The opening of the Radha Krishna Temple at 518 Frederick Street in San Francisco's Haight Ashbury district has been a very satisfying success. The West Coast certainly seems certainly seems to be fertile ground for the growth of Krishna Consciousness. Regarding the arrival of Swami Bhaktivedanta on Monday, January 16, at San Francisco airport, here is an excerpt from a letter sent by one of the editors, who was present:

“There were well over fifty people, chanting and holding flowers. Great crowds had gathered to learn of the dignitary. They must have been quite amazed as Swami—with a smile as broad as San Francisco Bay—came through the door. He walked through a gauntlet of well-wishers who each bestowed a blossom into his hands. Then we marched to the parking lot chanting and holding hands. It was ecstasy in itself; I can't describe how beautiful it was. But, naturally, nothing could surpass Swamiji himself for beauty, as he soon showed us. For, while we were waiting for the baggage to arrive, he raised his hands and began to dance, with Ron holding his umbrella over him to keep off the sunlight. Allen Ginsberg was there also, and he joined us, as everyone began to dance and sing. As he danced, Swamiji took handfuls of the flowers which had been given him, and distributed them to just about each and every person there."
Six days after his arrival, the Swami initiated four devotees, and on the following day performed a wedding ceremony, at which a hundred and fifty guests were present. Kirtan is being held at the Frederick Street Temple on the same schedule as here on Second Avenue, so if you happen to be out that way, do stop in and join the chanting.
Although we haven't had any words on the Mantra Rock Dance at the Avalon Ballroom as yet (it is in progress even as this is being written, Sunday, January 29), we feel confident that the affair will be a great success. The kind participation of Allen Ginsberg, the Greatful Dead, Moby Dick and a number of other celebrities is duly noted and much appreciated.
Hare Krishna
The Editors.
On Chanting Hare Krishna
On Chanting Hare Krishna
By A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
The transcendental vibration established by the chanting of HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE is the sublime method for reviving our transcendental consciousness. As living spiritual souls, we are all originally Krishna Conscious entities, but due to our association with matter—since time immemorial—our consciousness is now adulterated by the material atmosphere. The material atmosphere, in which we are now living, is called Maya, or illusion. Maya means that which is not. And what is this illusion? The illusion is that we are all trying to be lords of material nature, while actually we are under the grip of the stringent laws of material nature. When a servant artificially tries to imitate the all powerful master, it is called illusion. We are trying to exploit the resources of material nature, but actually we are becoming more and more entangled in her complexities. Therefore, we are engaged in a hard struggle to conquer the stringent laws of material nature, but we are ever more dependent on it. This illusory struggle against material nature can be stopped at once by revival of our eternal Krishna Consciousness.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare is the transcendental process for reviving this original pure consciousness. By chanting this transcendental vibration, we can cleanse away all misgivings within our hearts. The basic principle of all such misgivings is the false consciousness that I am the lord of all I survey.
Krishna Consciousness is not an artificial imposition on the mind. This consciousness is the original energy of the living entity. When we hear the transcendental vibration, this consciousness is revived. This simplest method is recommended for this age. By practical experience also, one can perceive that by the simple chanting of this Mahamantra, or the great chanting for deliverance, one can at once feel a transcendental ecstasy coming through from the spiritual stratum. In the material concept of life we are busy in the matter of sense gratification as if we were in the lower animal stage of life. A little elevated from this status of sense gratification, one is engaged in mental speculation for the purpose of getting out of the material clutches. A little elevated from this speculative status, when one is intelligent enough, one tries to find the Supreme Cause of all causes—within and without. And when one is factually on the plane of spiritual understanding, surpassing the stages of sense, mind and intelligence, he is then on the transcendental plane. This chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra is enacted from the spiritual platform, and thus this sound vibration surpasses all lower status of consciousness—namely sensual, mental, and intellectual. There is no need, therefore, to understand the language of the mantra, nor is there any need for mental speculation, nor any intellectual adjustment for chanting this Mahamantra. It is automatic, from the spiritual platform, and as such anyone can take part in vibrating this transcendental sound vibration without any previous qualifications. In a more advanced stage, of course, one is not expected to commit offenses on grounds of spiritual understanding.
In the beginning, there may be the presence of all transcendental ecstasies—which are eight in number. These are: 1) being stopped as though dumb; 2) perspiration; 3) standing up of hairs on the body; 4) dislocation of voice; 5) trembling; 6) fading 7) crying in ecstasy; and 8) trance. But there is no doubt that chanting for a while takes one immediately to the spiritual platform, and one shows the first symptom of this in the urge to dance along with the chanting of the Mantra. We have seen this practically. Even a child can take part in the chanting and dancing. Of course, for one who is too entangled in material life, it takes a little more time to come to the standard point, but even such a materially engrossed man is raised to the spiritual platform very quickly. When it is chanted by a pure devotee of the Lord in love, it has the greatest efficacy on hearers, and as such this chanting should be heard from the lips of a pure devotee of the Lord, so that immediate effects can be achieved. As far as possible, chanting from the lips of non-devotees should be avoided. Milk touched by the lips of a servant has poisonous effects.
The word Hare is the form of addressing the energy of the Lord, and the words Krishna and Rama are forms of addressing the Lord Himself. Both Krishna and Rama mean the Supreme Pleasure, and Hara is the supreme pleasure-energy of the Lord. The Supreme Pleasure Energy of the Lord helps us to reach the Lord.
The material energy called Maya is also one of the multi-energies of the Lord. We the living entities are also the energy—marginal energy—of the Lord. The living entities are described as superior to material energy. When the superior energy is in contact with the inferior energy, an incompatible situation arises, but when the superior marginal energy is in contact with the Superior Energy, called Hara, it is established in its happy, normal condition.
These three words, namely Hara, Krishna and Rama, are the transcendental seeds of the Mahamantra. The chanting is a spiritual call for the Lord and His Energy to give protection to the conditioned soul. This chanting is exactly like the genuine cry of a child for its mother's presence. Mother Hara helps the devotee to achieve the Lord Father's grace, and the Lord reveals Himself to the devotee who chants this Mantra sincerely.
No other means of spiritual realization is as effective in this age of quarrel an hypocrisy as is the Mahamantra.
These red berries of devotion
Mark the sweet names of God
And in touching them I pluck the fruit of paradise.
These red berries of devotion
Are clusters of my soul's delight
Gathered on a branch of the Real Tree, Whose Roots
I cannot fathom.
Sacred as the flute of Krishna's atmosphere
A treasure most sublime,
I praise these sparkling young red berries of devotion.
—Rayarama Das Brahacari
(Raymond Marais)
The Man of Wisdom
The Man of Wisdom
by Satsvarupa Das Brahmachary
(Stephen Guarino)
According to the Bhagavad Gita, those "virtuous ones" who actually come to God, are of four kinds: "The man in distress, the seeker for knowledge, the seeker for wealth, and the man of wisdom." (Gita 7.16) The distressed, who ask sanctuary at the Feet of the Lord, are quickly given ease and shelter. This is a fact: the life of devotional service leads one out of the entanglements of the perishable world. Refuge is granted through worship. For those in distress (anyone without Krishna Consciousness is in some measure of distress) God's mercy grants peace, the easing of their burden. Whatever the frustration, whatever the pain, whatever the loneliness, loss or tragedy, it is balmed with the sincere and faithful hearing of the Vedic message (scripture).People in distress, however, are liable to come and go. With the rise of new "opportunities," or after a period of rejuvenation in association with the Lord and His devotees, the distressed may leave the Supreme's service in order to make a fresh attack on the mazes of illusion, thus falling back into the clutches of the temporary, material world.
The second "virtuous one" is the man who is seeking knowledge. He is curious to know God. God is All-Famous, and so the curious man becomes interested, and wants to know Him. Curiosity is a good reason—as any reason is—to turn to God, but if such a man applies only his curiosity to the Godhead, his intellectual enquiry will soon show itself to be endless, since the Divine Person cannot be measured by our human potencies. The Ruler of all universes and planets, the Source and Proprietor of Life and Wisdom will be enquired after by the speculative, knowledge-seeking man in birth after birth, until at long length the seeker concludes that "Vasudeva (Krishna) is All." (Gita, 7.19). Only then does the imperishable wisdom begin.
In a similar way, the seeker for wealth (whose virtue is in turning to God to satisfy his desires), will probably never actually be satisfied, not even by a deluge of gold. Neither will he ever advance closer toward God, until he goes beyond wanting God to be his order-supplier. In the Gita Lord Krishna says, "But temporary is the fruit gained by these men of small minds." (Gita, 7.23)
That leaves us the man of wisdom. "Of these, the wise one, who is ever in constant union with the Divine, whose devotion is single-minded, is the best. For I am supremely dear to him, and he is dear to Me." (Gita, 7.16). Why is the man of wisdom dear to God? Because he wants nothing in return. The man of wisdom puts aside his desires for those things for which others are searching, and seeks Krishna's pleasure. He realizes that his true, original life is beyond the color of this temporary world of sense-pleasure, sadness, wealth-hankering and puffed-up knowledge-seeking. The wise man knows that he is transcendental, like Krishna. Krishna is above, and unaffected by, the pangs of bondage; and we are Krishna's parts and parcels. While of course Krishna has the power to bestow gold and to dry up our tears of misery, asking for these things is like praying in hell-fire for a sumptuous meal and a woman, rather than asking for release from the flames. Krishna is transcendental, and when we pray to Him it is for mere association with Him. Never mind the list of special requests for our particular situation on Earth. Just pray to see Krishna. Krishna is the fullest Enjoyer and the wise man has the single desire to become His devotee. We have a chant in praise of Krishna: "Hare Krishna, Hare Rama." This chant bestows the very wisdom we are speaking of. Therefore, the wise man's position is to withdraw from all material attachment, both good and evil, and to chant the Holy Name of God. This is the wise man's single need and prime duty.
How does the wise man subsist? He subsists on the nectar of transcendental service to the Lord. He feeds and cares for his body as you would care for the upkeep of a functionary push-cart. He eats for Krishna, after first offering his food to Him. He works at Krishna's business and talks on Krishna's behalf. Krishna says in the Gita, "Whose devotion is single-minded is best." Single-minded devotion is best because Krishna says so, and he is the Single Supreme Person. Devotion to that to which we are inseparably connected is, after all, wise. Since we are all parts of the Godhead, our constitutional function is to serve as His parts, just as the hands serve the body, of which they are part. The hands never try to consume food themselves, absorbing it through the fingernails. Nor do they make a request of the body that they be given their "independence." Yet, the hand performs well in its own miraculous sphere, making music, typewriting, grasping weights. Why, therefore, are we clamoring to God for special benediction? We already have the blessings of function: to serve the Eternal eternally. The wise man is aware of his natural, original position and is using both body and soul in the service of his Lord. If we frantically try to consume God's gifts for our own enjoyment, we will very quickly reach the fruitless end of this mortal road, and will have to begin again: and, if we are not wise, the next time we will again meet the end of the road.
To do transcendental service is to surrender our will unto His will. But no, we have to learn it again and again, stubbornly—we have to learn that we actually have no business apart from God. We are wise when we reach the conclusion that God is the Bestower and is truly All. "Vasudeva is all that is." (Gita, 7.19)

“When thou hast known it, thou shalt not fall again into this confusion, O Pandava, for by this thou shalt see all existences without exception in the Self, then in Me. (Gita, 4.35)
Our independence from Him is our illusion. Similarly fantastic is the pursuit of our own gratification, the desire for love apart from Him, or wealth apart from Him, or happiness apart from Him. The wise man leaves the mirage in favor of the Reality. Absolute Reality is to willingly serve the Lord. We are already His servitors; we cannot avoid the work. All miseries stem from forgetting this factual situation: There is the Lord, and there are ourselves—and we are His own. He is dear to us because we are dear to Him. Love is the key. And the wise man loves God.
Doubt, Thy Name is Bondage
Doubt, Thy Name is Bondage
By Hayagriva Das Brahmacari
(Howard Wheeler)
But the man who is ignorant and without faith and always doubting goes to ruin. Nor this world nor the world beyond nor happiness is for the doubting soul. (Krishna in the Gita, 4.40)
If the sun and moon should doubt
They would immediately go out.
—William Blake

Doubt has been called the shadow of truth. At the very beginning of one's spiritual life, a devotee is invariably beset by a legion of doubts. These doubts, disguised as demons of innumerable colors and forms, all have one purpose: to obscure the light of truth from the vision of the devotee. Francis Bacon once wrote, "In contemplation, if a man begins with certainties he shall end in doubts; but if he be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties." In this age especially one is inclined to disbelieve and doubt—to doubt Scripture, to doubt God, to doubt oneself. This age is called "Kaliyuga" and is characterized by strife, doubt, ignorance, chaos and disagreement. So at the outset of one's spiritual life, needless to say, innumerable doubts will present themselves. These demon doubts always surround the threshold of Knowledge-Bliss-Absolute. As the neophyte stands at this threshold, confused and fearful, the doubts assail him and tell him to turn back, not to jump into the ocean of Divine bliss, and the timid soul, afraid of being hurt, hardly believing that it is eternal bliss and knowledge awaiting him, often fidgets at the threshold and sometimes turns back in fear and disbelief.
Doubt is directly opposed to faith on the battlefield of the soul. Doubts and disbelief are the enemies of faith. If we have faith in a particular man, then we trust him in all kinds of ways, but if we have doubts about a man, then we trust him with nothing. Our relationship to the Divine is similar: our faith and trust in Him is inversely proportionate to the degree of doubt. The more we trust Him, the more He reveals Himself to us, and the more He reveals Himself to us, the less we doubt. In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna stands out as a man with a great deal of faith in Krishna. He was offered a choice between commanding a great army without Krishna or a small army with Krishna as his chariot-driver. He chose Krishna as his charioteer and rejected the large army because he had faith in Krishna. Nonetheless, before the battle of Kurukshetra, even with Krishna as his charioteer, he was beset with fears and doubts. But after Krishna spoke the Bhagavad Gita to him he engaged in the fearful battle and said, "My delusion is gone. I have regained my memory through Your grace, O Krishna. I am firm; I am free from doubt. I will act according to You word." (Gita, 18.73). Of course, Christianity affords the classic example of "Doubting Thomas" who would not believe until he actually placed his fingers in the wounds of Christ. "Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." (John, XX/29)
Doubt and fear are interrelated. They are both the sons of ignorance. They are all to be found in the realms of darkness. Knowledge is the sunshine that triumphantly disperses darkness and its consorts. Because this age of Kaliyuga is an age characterized by darkness, ignorance and disagreement, doubt and fear are predominant at this time. Kaliyuga, thankfully, does not last forever, but when mankind is in the midst of it, it seems interminable. Yet even in this age it is possible to transcend these inferior modes—one can transcend when one is in Krishna consciousness, God-consciousness. It has been calculated that Kaliyuga lasts 432,000 years and that we have now been through 5,000 years of the yuga, but those in Krishna Consciousness are transcendental to all this darkness, for they are in the realms of eternal light, bliss and knowledge. Nonetheless, to arrive at the transcendental platform in this age, one has to disentangle oneself from the Kaliyuga labyrinth. It is during the disentanglement that maya, illusion, doubt, ignorance and dispair make their most vigorous assaults.
In the West, especially, so much doubt is due to the method of approach: empiricism, the pursuit of knowledge by observation and experiment, which began spreading like a disease in the 17th century in Europe and was well established by the 18th. Locke and Hume were the great "observers" of the phenomenal world and the methodology resulting from their speculative philosophies fostered the skepticism that gradually corrupted faith for the Western mind. In the 18th century, William Blake, a Christian visionary and a personalist, blasted the European skeptics and the method of scientific empiricism in some brilliant verse. For example:
Mock on, mock on, Voltaire, Rousseau;
Mock on, mock on; 'tis all in vain!
You throw the sand against the wind,
And the wind blows it back again.
And every sand becomes a gem
Reflected in the beams divine;
Blown back they blind the mocking eye,
But still in Israel's path they shine.
The Atoms of Democritus
And Newton's Particles of Light
Are sands upon the Red Sea shore,
Where Israel's tents do shine so bright.
In Universities today, however, the empiricists are considered more "respectable" than Blake, and the words of scientists are considered more potent and reliable than the Word of God as revealed in Scripture. Man is now in the material universe; he wants to "know" this universe, and as far as he is concerned, science is his best tool. Science is based on empiricism, and doubt is the basis of empirical proof. The knowledge that man is now seeking to acquire is, according to the Gita, knowledge in the modes of passion and ignorance because science is concerned with knowledge of the material universe, and this knowledge acquired by science is being used by man to lord it over the material nature. This has "progressed" to such an extent that there have been recent attempts to institute a religion based on chemicals (psychedelic drugs) and the empirical process of psychology. Vain men are trying to used their tiny brains to puncture a realm that can only be known through faith, devotion, and the grace of God. As a result the Supreme has strictly confined them to the material universe and the limited knowledge associated with it, which is no more than knowledge in the modes of passion and ignorance. They are only scientists and they know nothing of the transcendental spiritual realms that compose three fourths of the creation. Because they are recalcitrant children of darkness, they have been confined to material nature and their attempts to break out of it through super drugs and sputniks will always prove futile because their scientific methodology, based on doubt and empiricism, will continue to drag them back to the material world. Thinking the physical, material universe the all in all, they set about conquering it like children and blatantly deny the spiritual (non-empirical) worlds and, in addition, deny God, devotion, and the Scriptures that point to the spiritual worlds. The scientist never acknowledge that he automatically accepts so much on faith—his very breath, for example, that makes it possible for him to pursue science and the empirical path.
Such respected "oracles," great-grandsons of old Europe's age of skepticism, have succeeded in instilling doubt in the minds of the young, especially in universities, and have taught them to disbelieve the Scriptures and the Supreme Lord. As a result, general disbelief in the unseen is common. Not that the Supreme Lord is unseen, but His material energy (maya) serves as a guise. "Veiled by My maya born of the gunas, I am not revealed to all. This deluded world knows Me not as the unborn and eternal." (Gita, 7.25). This maya, illusory energy, is the property of the Lord Himself and is kept under His control. "Controlling My own Prakriti (Nature), I send forth, again and again, all this multitude of beings, helpless under the sway of maya." (Gita, 9.8). He is therefore the Unseen Player behind the play. Science and the empirical method teach man to doubt the unseen, and as a result man frantically searches for signs that can be scurried off to the laboratory for analytical investigations. Christ said, "A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign," and Whitman (a "disreputable" mystic and poet) wrote in Son of Myself, "I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars…and a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels….And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds the learning of all times." Of course this is roughly dismissed as "sentimentalism" by the learned scientists and empiricists.
But what do they give in return? Legions and generations of "sullen mopers and doubters." They briskly dismiss the Scriptures, guidebooks to the Divine, and replace them with analytical textbooks. Totally under the dictates of their senses, they teach their students to trust their senses only. Altogether dismissing the Real, which they think the unreal, they substitute the unreal which they call the "real," and label this process as education. In addition, because so many ignorant religionists in this age are indiscriminately citing the Scriptures, people are naturally repelled—they associate the ignorant proponents of the Scriptures with the Scriptures themselves and consequently turn away altogether from the authorized guidebooks. Since institutionalized religion only offers a closed door intellectually, many turn to the scientists and professional academicians for guidance. Of course, these men are only too happy to be gurus, and they lead their followers cheerfully into the swamp of materialism and delusion.
Due to this insurmountable barrier, constructed by centuries of rationalization, speculation and conceit, God-realization has become increasingly difficult. First of all the inherited wall of ignorance and passion must be reduced to ruble. This is a hard task indeed for a lonely soul caught in the involvements of the social order. It necessitates a great deal of stamina, conviction, courage, and knowledge. The masterminds of deceit are clever in their defense of materialism and in their attacks against the Supreme Lord and the spiritual worlds. Krishna says, "Men of demoniac nature know not what to do and what to refrain from doing. Purity is not in them, nor good conduct, nor truth. They say, 'The world is devoid of truth, without a moral basis, and without a God. It is brought about by the union of male and female, and lust alone is its cause: what else?' Holding such a view, these lost souls of little understanding and fierce deeds rise as the enemies of the world for its destruction." (Gita, 17.7-9). Typically, these demoniacal creatures, who instill doubt in others, cannot answer for death, which poses an inevitable end to their bodies and material possessions. For them, death is an embarrassing subject, an inevitability that is somehow to be overlooked or avoided. The recognition of death and its inevitability, the sensing of one's finite self, the body and its constituents, to be moving towards death, can be the first step in reducing the wall of ignorance and passion to rubble. Doubts may still remain, but at least a man conscious of the inevitability of death and its implications may be able to see through the shallow guise of materialism and its allurements. The perception of one's miserable material condition and the desire to escape death can mark the beginning of the spiritual life. A this point one may approach a spiritual master.
Unfortunately, the doubts are immediately transferred to the spiritual master. Because there are so many unqualified, self-proclaimed gurus, the neophyte is naturally dubious in the beginning. His way of thinking has been so conditioned by science and the materialists that he may often see the guru as "quaint" or "old-fashioned" or perhaps just short of mad. Of course, there is the initial difficulty of finding a competent spiritual master in this age of Kaliyuga, but if, through the grace of the Supreme Lord, one is so lucky, then one's trust is strengthened through increasing association and gradually, by the help of the guru and through the grace of the Supreme Lord, the darkness of one's doubts are one by one dispelled by the light of knowledge. In this process, the Supreme Lord may speak in several ways to dispel fear, ignorance and doubt—through the guru, through the Scriptures, or directly. In this matter, Lord Krishna speaks through the Bhagavad Gita: "Now listen to the wisdom of yoga, armed with which, O son of Pritha (Arjuna), you will break through the bonds of karma. In this no effort is ever lost and no harm is ever done. Even very little of this dharma saves a man from the Great Fear." (Gita, 2.39-40) This Great Fear is caused by the seemingly endless circle of birth and death, the net that is continually entrapping the materialists, scientists and speculative philosophers who turn from the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord alone can grant liberation from this cycle to which the individual soul has been confined since time immemorial. He only grants this to the soul who, in all sincerity, turns to Him and surrenders to Him. "Take refuge in Him alone with all your soul, O Bharata. By His grace will you gain Supreme Peace and the Everlasting Abode." (Gita, 18.62)
In the process of surrender, innumerable doubts continually assail the neophyte, especially as he approaches the threshold of liberation. Maya, the material nature, is very strong, and the memory of one's past karma, the ghosts of habit, still linger before the candidate for liberation, trying to get him to retreat while retreat is possible. They are constantly reminding the individual soul of his weaknesses and imperfections, which in truth may still be there and are recognized by the neophyte. In this regard, the attempts of the neophyte toward purification and perfection of self are continually thwarted by his lower nature. Krishna warns of this: "There is no creature here on earth, nor among the gods in heaven, who is free from the three gunas born of Prakriti." (Gita 18.40) Therefore Krishna does not expect perfection of the individual living entity: "One ought not to give up the work to which one is born, O son of Kunti, though it has its imperfections; for all undertakings are beset with imperfections, as fire with smoke." (Gita, 18.48) Rather, the process is one of surrender and devotion to the Supreme Lord who grants liberation through His boundless Grace, not through the "earnings" of the devotee. This Grace enables one to come to Him despite one's imperfections. "For those who take refuge in Me, O Partha, though they be of sinful birth—women, vaisyas, and sudras—even they attain the Supreme Goal." (Gita, 9.32) even Lord Jesus Christ, the symbol of perfection in the Western World, deprecated His human nature to teach others. When addressed as "Good Master," Christ said, "Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God." (Matt, XIX/17) Therefore recognition of one's imperfections due to material contact should not be an impediment on the path back to Godhead. One should run roughshod over them, trampling them and the creeping doubts they nourish.
But how does one run roughshod over imperfections and doubt? How does one win the bout to rout out doubt, clearing the road back to Krishna? Once it is clear that doubt is the hell of the human soul, and that, as Petrarch once wrote, "The end of doubt is the beginning of repose," we can then begin to recognize doubt as doubt, as a keen eye can recognize weeds in a garden, and we can begin to uproot the cause of unhappiness. Seeing that doubting the Supreme Lord, His words as revealed in Scriptures, His emissaries, and ultimately our very selves, only leads to a self-defeating unhappiness, we can be therefore willing to discard our doubts. As Krishna says in the Gita, "The man who is ignorant and without faith and always doubting goes to ruin. Not this world nor the world beyond nor happiness is for doubting soul." (Gita 4.40) The will to dispel doubts is a big step toward taking the leap of faith, that "terrifying" plunge out the open threshold of material existence and into the spiritual ocean. Partly the disbelief of one's own ability to attain self-knowledge, doubt is conquered swiftly by knowledge imparted by the Grace of the Supreme. Krishna says: "Solely out of compassion for them (His devotees), I, dwelling in their hearts, dispel with the shining lamp of wisdom the darkness born of ignorance." (Gita, 10.11) Once the Supreme is seen, then the darkness of doubt is scattered by His light. The process of seeing God is the process of God-realization, Krishna Consciousness, and is most easily accomplished in this age through the process of bhakti-yoga, or devotional service which basically entails chanting the Holy Names (Hare Krishna, Hare Rama), in addition to working detached from the fruits of labor, reading the Scriptures, following the regulations of the spiritual master, and totally surrendering to the Supreme Lord. This process may be gradual or sudden, but as one progresses in the dharma one chooses to follow, doubts, fears and ignorance are overcome. "With sins destroyed, doubts dispelled, senses controlled, and devoting themselves to the welfare of all beings, the sages attain freedom in Brahman." (Gita, 5.25)
Therefore recognition of doubt and disbelief as fetters binding one to unhappiness is the first step in cutting these fetters. In our present state of material bondage, we are bound by nature to the flesh. We can hardly, out of our own efforts, break loose from the grip of a force that has been binding us since time immemorial. Surrendering to the to the Supreme Lord, Krishna, we must petition Him to release us. Recognition of our release from material bondage is the process of enlightenment.
This enlightenment of the devotee perfectly enables him to distinguish the spirit from the matter because the knot of spirit and matter is unlocked by the Lord. This knot is called ahankara which falsely obliges a living being to become identified with matter. As soon as, therefore, this knot is loosened, the cloud of all doubts are at once cleared. He sees his Master and fully engages himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, making a full termination of the chain of fruitive action. In the material existence, a living being creates his own chain of fruitive work and enjoys the good and bad effects of those actions life after life. But as soon as he engages himself in the loving service of the Lord, he at once becomes free from the chain of karma and all his actions no longer create reactions in the material energy. (Swami Bhaktivedanta, Purport, Srimad Bhagavatam, Vol. I, p. 133.)
This process of breaking free is the process of liberation. This is achieved through devotional service to the Supreme Lord, for it is the Supreme Lord only Who awards liberation. Liberation is incomplete as long as one has not surrendered to Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. "At the end of many births the man of wisdom seeks refuge in Me, realizing that Vasudeva is all. Rare indeed is such a high-souled person." (Gita, 7.19) transcendental service of the Lord carries us into eternity. At death, all material connections are severed, but this transcendental service continues. Although this cannot be "proved" to the empirical scientist, it is revealed beyond the shadow of a doubt to the devotee by the Supreme Lord. "Proclaim it boldly, O son of Kunti, that My devotee never perishes." (Gita, 9.31) knowledge that the Lord keeps His word in this matter dispels all fear and doubt. This is beyond all mundane considerations, and the devotee is advised not to engage in idle debates with mundane word-wranglers, for "He who replies to words of doubt/Doth put the light of knowledge out." (Blake.)
There is no doubt in the ocean of Divine Bliss. Doubt, fear and ignorance belong to this relative world which is the abode of darkness, the perverted reflection of the spiritual world. Doubts and fears assail the man who is about to break away from material bondage. In the spiritual world, the Kingdom of God, doubt is impossible because there we are in the abode of Bliss-knowledge-Absolute, having been lifted, through grace, into a region where we can come to know the fullness of our nature and God Himself. Acting as a sort of quaint American guru, the poet Whitman in Song Of Myself delineates his own spiritual fears and doubts and exhorts the young nation to take the spiritual plunge willingly.
Down-hearted doubters dull and excluded,
Frivolous, sullen, moping, angry, affected, dishearten'd atheistical,
I know everyone of you, I know the sea of torment, doubt, despair and unbelief…
Be at peace bloody flukes of doubters and sullen mopers..
Each who passes is considered, each who stops is considered,
Not a single one can it fail.
Dear son,
Long enough have you dreamed contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of
every moment of your life.
Long have you timidly waded holding a plank by the shore<
Now I will you to be a bold swimmer,
To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to
me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair.
Finally, we might recall the example of Sir Isaac Newton who saw himself as a child on the seashore, and his discoveries nothing but the colored shells. He realized he had no knowledge of the great ocean that lay before him, yet he perceived what he could with the faith of a child, and the knowledge he thereby acquired shed light that has dispelled a great deal of ignorance, fear and doubt. How much more light a fully surrendered devotee of the Supreme Lord could shed to dispel doubts and ignorance would be, in comparison, inestimably greater. But he must first be willing to take the plunge and splash in.
Back to Godhead Magazine #08,
February 15, 1967
By the mercy of Krishna:
By the mercy of Krishna:
It is our great pleasure to report that the Mantra Rock Dance, held at the Avalon Ballroom in San Francisco on January 29 in order to raise funds for the Radha Krishna Temple there has proved a great success. The assistance of poet Allen Ginsberg is noted, and deeply appreciated. As a result of this success, the spread of Krishna Consciousness on the West Coast is steadily gaining momentum. The Swami has given lectures at the Christian Yoga Society’s ashram, and to other groups in that area. Furthermore, the construction of an ashram in upper California is now being planned.
The picture which immediately follows our cover this issue is more of the fine work of our art directress, Jadurani Devi Dasi (Judy Koslofsky). It portrays Krishna, hiding in a tree, with His girl friends, the Gopis, below. Krishna had taken the girls’ clothing while they were bathing, and would not return it unless each came to ask for hers personally. This is meant to teach us that we must be willing to stand naked before the Lord, if we want His association.
At the close of this issue, (again, forgive our numbering of pages) we have added the only writings of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the originator of the Samkirtan movement. These eight prayers have been rendered into English by Swami Bhaktivedanta, and into verse by Hayagriva Das (Howard Wheeler). We hope to publish them again, in the near future, along with an essay on Lord Chaitanya.
Hare Krishna,
The Editors.
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Notes transcribed from lectures given December 21, 22, 1966.
Lectures on the Chaitanya Charitamrita
Liberation from material bondage is called Nirguna. As soon as we are transcendental to the three modes (gunas) of material mature, we are liberated. There is a Vedic injunction that living in the city or village is for those in the state of rajas (passion); living in the forest is for those in the mode of sattva (goodness); and those who live in the liquor store or gambling casino are in tamas (ignorance). When you live in a temple of Krishna, that is Nirguna.
Only Vishnu is actually Nirguna. The three gunas cannot affect Vishnu (Narayana, Krishna). Those in touch with Krishna are similarly above the modes—so it is quoted from the Srimad Bhagawatam by Lord Chaitanya. It must be accepted that we are transcendental and liberated from the modes if we are engaged for Krishna. Such a person is liberated. But Krishna-consciousness is also a declaration of war against Maya. Maya is so powerful, how can you hope to save yourself? Yet, if you simply adhere to Krishna consciousness, there will be no power to get you into the province of personal sense-gratification which is maya’s domain. In the spiritual world there is only activity for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord. No power in the world can drag you down if you are situated in the Supreme. If you simply think, How can I serve Krishna?—even then you will become liberated, so what to speak of actually doing something?
Although it may be snowing outside, you have the means to stay inside and be protected. Similarly, Vishnu and Vishnu bhakta (devotion) are not affected by the modes. The foolish think that Krishna is one of us. Whereas it is He who provides and He who is the Proprietor.
Krishna is the Original Lord and Vishnu is His plenary expansion. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna Himself says, “There is nothing Supreme over Me.” In Brahma Samhita it is said that, “Govinda is the Original, and from Him come all other Vishnu expansions.” This is like the original candle from which one can light innumerable candles. These others may be of equal power, but you have to accept the one as original. When Krishna came, He was completely free from all rules and regulations. Rama, on the other hand, took only one wife and later banished her when public criticism was turned against her—thus Rama followed the codes and regulations for a King. Krishna, however, called girls at night to come and dance with Him. He followed no rules or regulations; for Him there is no law. Other incarnations came to fulfill some particular purpose, but they did not exercise full power. It is widely confirmed that He is the Supreme Person. Not even Radha, His Eternal Consort, nor the Gopis could control Him when He wanted to leave Brindaban.
Shiva and Brahma are order-carrying servants of Krishna. Krishna is the only Master, and everyone else is His servant. We are servants of the servants of His servants, thus extended a million times. He who realizes this is liberated. But he who thinks that he is God is a dog. Lord Chaitanya said, I am not a Brahmin, I am not a Hindu, I am not a Sannyasi—I am the servant’s servant’s servant. When you learn that, you will be in Krishna consciousness. Liberation is not to become God, but the dog of God.
Realization means to know, “I am not this matter.” That is all right, but what are your activities? Liberation is to have activities based on realization, in other words, devotional service. When you give up your obligation to Maya, you then become obliged to Krishna consciousness. One just doesn’t say “I am American,” or “I am married”—there must be some activities of an American or a married person. Just to say “I am Brahman” is insufficient. What are your activities? Nonsense? Do you mean to say Brahman means nothingness or death? There are activities which turn on Brahman realization. But those with little brain substance cannot see beyond the giving up of the world. Therefore, after giving up the world and family and taking sannyasi (the renounced order), they again come down and open hospitals, do philanthropic work, and take up the worship of man. Those sannyasis who open hospitals are applauded, and those who preach Krishna are thought of as third class and old fashioned by people in general.
Explanation of Krishna’s “separation” from the Gopis: This is a spiritual matter and cannot be understood in terms of material or physical separation. The Gopis’ intense crying when Krishna left Brindaban is spiritual and eternal. On the spiritual platform, there is no difference between crying for Him and being with Him. If there were separation, how could it be transcendent? To be crying for Him they are fixed on Him, thinking of Him. This is absolute. Lord Chaitanya also cried for Krishna. To actually cry for Krishna is the most perfect realization.
In Chaitanya Charitamrita, Lord Chaitanya quotes from the Srimad Bhagawatam and Brahma Samhita in which Brahma says, “I am appointed by the Supreme Lord, and Shiva is also an appointed agent. We are under the control of the Supreme Lord. Actually, nobody is free or independent of God. Furthermore, nobody is equal to or greater than He.” This is spoken by Brahma to his disciple Narada who said, “So far as we know, you (Brahma) are the Supreme; yet sometimes you meditate and worship.” In answer to this, Brahma informed him of his real position.
The energy of the Lord is said to be in three forms, whether conceived of materially or spiritually. Perceived materially, the energies are divided into goodness, passion and ignorance. On the spiritual plane, the energies are divided into spiritual, material and marginal potencies.
Lord Chaitanya goes on now to discuss the six kinds of incarnations. These are: Purusha, Leela, Guna, Manantra, Yuga, and Saktavish. Thus far he has discussed Purusha, Leela and Guna avatars. Now he explains Manu and Yuga. He is telling Sanatan Goswami, his disciple, that there are countless avatars of Manu. They come in one day of Brahma. One day of Brahma is equal to 1,000 yugas or 4,300,000 of our earth years. Similarly one night of Brahma has the same duration, and he lives 100 years, consisting of such days and nights. Within these twelve hours of a day of Brahma there are fourteen Manus. In one such month there are 420 Manus, in one such year, 5,040. So there are 504,000 Manus in one Brahma lifetime. And there are innumerable Brahmas.
Therefore, these incarnations can’t be counted. What is more, all these Manus and Brahmas live during one outgoing breath of Maha Vishnu. There is no way of measuring the power. Because our intelligence cannot cope with this, we dismiss our source as void, or else we speculate endlessly on it. But we have evidence from Vedic literature, on which we can to some extent gauge the size and scope. Evidence comes in three forms: (1) Higher authority, which is the surest; (2) Direct perception, which is often not available; and (3) The age-old tradition of parampara, or disciplic succession of knowledge. The source of evidence of my father’s identity is my mother. I must hear this from her. Similarly, we hear of the Supreme from Mother Vedas.
The Manu avatars are rulers. Manu is the father of man. He gives directions on how to live to the conditioned souls—who are conditioned because they wanted to enjoy material nature. The Manus say, “Enjoy in this way, and you can come back to Godhead.” Manu Smriti and Manu Samhita are law books of the Hindus. So for those who are serious, the sages and saints, such as Manu, point the way. After each and every dissolution, Manu comes. There is one Manu avatar in each universe. They have names, but they are uncountable.
The Yuga incarnations occur in every millennium. There are four Yugas, the Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali Yugas. When 1,000 yugas pass, that is 12 hours of Brahma. Each Yuga is divided into four. The Satya Yuga lasts 18 lacs, or 1,800,000 years. The Treta Yuga lasts 1,100,000 years; Dwapara lasts 800,000 years and the Age of Kali lasts 432,000 years. At present, 5,000 years of Kali Yuga have passed. There are 427,000 years of Kali yet to go. Kali Yuga means the age of quarrel, hypocrisy and ignorance. This situation will grow more intolerable as the yuga progresses. One should know that earth is a condemned place. If one is satisfied with a condemned condition, as the Bowery bum is satisfied lying in the road, he cannot make progress. We are always in the grip of Nature, and consequently we are suffering the three-fold miseries of material existence. Spiritualists are said to be pessimists, and this is actually quite true. One must be.
The Vedic literature offers us an ideal place, where we can go after the leaving of this condemned place. We must try for it. Try for Krishna. Unless one tries, he is defeated. We are born ignorant, and if one is educated more and more into ignorance, as we are today, then all is defeated. One should ask—is there a remedy? The Vedanta Sutra states: “Now (in the human form) it is time for you to inquire into your Brahman life.” This is the knowledge that I am not this body, I am spirit-soul. But to simply know this without living according to one’s knowledge is pointless. To act like Brahman is to be a Vaishnava. The act is called Bhakti, or devotional service. As soon as you begin activity in Krishna consciousness, you at once attain Brahman. The more you act, the more firmly you become situated in spiritual life. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, “My dear Arjuna, declare it to all the world, that my devotee never perishes.” We should try to follow this concept as it is found in the Vedic literatures, and under the proper guidance.
Poem by Brahmananda
Poem by Brahmananda

“Day After Day, Life After Life”
To go to Krishna’s Abode
a ladder is provided.
We must pull ourselves up
rung by rung.
There is Maya
swirling like smoke
above, around, below.
By simply
Krishna’s Name
with sincerity,
and purified desire,
we clear away the smoke
and see standing rungs above us,
Beloved Swamiji.
How easy it is then to pull ourselves up
one more rung.
But if we forget
and say, “Oh, I have advanced another rung,”
the smoke quickly engulfs us
and Swamiji is lost
from our sight.
So we stand there;
we cannot fall off the ladder,
(This is Krishna’s Mercy.)
we just stand there
on whatever rung we are on.
We only need to remember
“I am not the provider;
Krishna is the Provider,”
and the smoke melts away,
and we see
standing there
a few rungs above us,
looking down,
bright-eyed and smiling,
beckoning us to reach up
one more rung towards
Again it is so easy
to pull ourselves up
one more rung.
And no matter how many rungs
we pull ourselves up,
standing there always
above us is
helping us
to help ourselves
get out of this foreign place
and go back
Back to Godhead.
—Brahmananda Das Brahmachary
(Bruce Scharf)
Poem by Ranchhor
Poem by Ranchhor
Set adrift again
perverse ocean of duality
billowing the sails
(leading to hell)
ever entangling web of hate
minds sullied with repeated contamination
hearts overladen with dust
from the harvests of senses unrestricted
wastelands of forgetfulness
imperfect, illusioned,
covered …
This Maya
proportionately miserable
lurking (hands out stretched)
awaiting those mode accomplices
(of unreality)
attached to the darkness of ignorance …
all pervading Lord
shine on the lotus seeds
(that are Your devotees)
till they bloom
(with the fragrance of You)
and drift upstream through the modes
empowered by Your spotless disciples
resting at Your Feet
perfect (in full remembrance)
—Ranchhor Das Brahmachary
(Ronald King)
Poem by Brahmananda
Poem by Brahmananda
What if every person on this planet
only chanted and sang and danced and lived
every hour
of every day
of every life?
—Brahmananda Das Brahmachary
(Bruce Scharf)
The Transmigration of the Soul
The Transmigration of the Soul
by Rayarama Das Brahmachary
(Raymond Marais)
The transmigration of the soul, sometimes called reincarnation, is a much misunderstood phenomenon. This is because the doctrine has often been presented by philosophers who do not actually believe in the existence of the individual spirit soul. However, transmigration has no meaning except on this basis. In trying to explain the infinite variety which we actually see around us in terms of abstract Oneness or Void, these philosophers have twisted the Vedic teachings quite out of shape. Justifiably, therefore, most people cannot grasp this concept—they either get a very vague picture of it, or they laugh it off as ridiculous.
The transmigration of the soul is, however, presented very lucidly and scientifically in the Bhagavad Gita, that marvelous battlefield conversation which sums up the essence of Vedic knowledge in the space of seven hundred verses. Bhagavad Gita was taught by Lord Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It stands to reason that the doctrines of the Supreme Divine Person do not lend themselves easily to impersonal philosophical speculation. This is why the impersonalist thinkers so befuddle their readers when they try to use the Gita’s authority to back up their own theories. If we are to learn from Bhagavad Gita, as from any scripture given man by God, then we must put aside our preconceptions, and accept what is said to us—as it is spoken.
Although the impersonalist philosopher makes the claim that everything is one, the Lord Himself draws a line of distinction for us:
Earth, water, fire, air,
Ether, mind,
Understanding, and false ego—
This is the eightfold division of My nature.
This is My lower nature.
Know My other and higher nature
Which is the soul,
By which this world is upheld, O Mighty-armed.
(Gita, 7.5)
This means that Lord Krishna manifests His creation through two energies. The one—matter—is called lower because it is mutable, and because it depends upon the other for its existence. The other energy is the soul, which is called higher because it is immutable, eternal, and because it depends directly upon the Lord Himself—The Supreme Energetic—for its existence and activities. Futhermore, the lower nature has no independent consciousness, whereas the higher nature is composed of an infinitude of individual, independent sparks of consciousness, identical in quality with the Lord Himself, Who is the Supreme Soul.
A basic difference between God and the individual soul now comes into view: the Supreme Consciousness is all-pervading, but the individual consciousness is limited. Although the Lord is the awake indweller in all manifestations, the individual living entities are each subject to a limited range. They too can extend their consciousness, but on a smaller scale. This they actually do when they adopt the material concept of life, and identify themselves with the body, which is nothing but matter, or lower energy. Unlike the Lord, however, the living entities tend to forget themselves while in contact with matter. For this reason, they are classified in a third category, as marginal energy, although they are constitutionally spiritual. This forgetfulness is the source of all woe, and the mechanism of all bondage.
The soul, being eternal, does not die when the body dies, even though it imagines itself to be the body. It simply goes on to take up habitation in another form. Lord Krishna describes this as follows:
Just as a person casts off worn-out garments
And puts on others that are new,
Even so does the embodied soul cast off worn-out bodies,
And take on others that are new. (Gita, 2.22)
Although this may seem a very far-fetched notion to the man who hasn’t given it much thought—and even more so to one who hasn’t make the distinction between body and soul—it is actually a principle which we see illustrated for us every day of our lives—and in our own lives at that. This is how the Lord puts it for us to comprehend:
As the soul passes, while in this body,
Through childhood, youth and age,
Even so is its taking on of another body.
The wise are not perplexed at this. (Gita, 2.13)
Even modern medical science agrees that the body is perpetually changing. And yet, there is that constant “I,” that has been here since my first memories, and I am still unchanged. In this way we can see that the change of body is always occurring. The change from one body to another is only a bit more emphatic in that, in the process, we lose most of the remembrances of past life.
The factors guiding this change from one body to another can also be understood in terms of the daily processes of the organism. The food I take today will determine the structure and soundness of my body tomorrow. Good, nutritious food will assure me a healthy, strong body. Poor or careless diet will assure me ill-health, and unclean food will result in disease. Food determines the nature of the body. In changing from body to body, it is conscious association that acts as the determining factor.
Thinking of whatever state
He at the end gives up his body,
To that state does he attain, O son of Kunti,
Being always absorbed in thinking of it. (Gita, 7.6)
The living being thus puts in an application, so to speak, in terms of its devotion. That to which it is devoted is given it in full. The much talked-about genetic code is actually the application blank-stamped by nature and approved by the Lord, Who is willing to let everyone have what they want.
All this is accomplished through the agency of the three modes by which material nature manifests itself. Because the soul has lost consciousness of its real identity, and has given itself over to nature, it is limited to nature’s means of expression, which consists of the modes. The situation is outlined in the Thirteenth Chapter of Bhagavad Gita:
The soul in nature
Partakes of the modes born of nature.
Attachment to the modes is the cause
Of its births in good and evil wombs. (Gita, 13.21)
The three modes are goodness, passion and ignorance. They may be characterized as follows: Goodness applies to duty, purity, health and knowledge. Passion is the principle of attraction, avarice, lust, anger and activity. Ignorance is the principle of inertia, negligence, indolence, stupor and blindness. All three are material manifestations, not found on the spiritual platform. As regards the transmigration of the soul from one body to another, the modes work in this way:
Those who are established in goodness rise upwards;
The passionate remain in the middle regions;
The dull, steeped in the lower events of the modes,
Sink downwards. (Gita, 14.18)
The concept of rising applies to more highly developed consciousness, and therefore sinking applies to less developed consciousness. This is the principle of karma, or worldly activity. Those who devote their lives to, and work in accordance with, a particular mode or concept, will quite naturally cling to that concept at the time of death. By concept, I do not mean some abstraction. I mean that to which one is actually actively devoted, irrespective of his announced public philosophy. Thus, one’s activities in this life prepare the ground for the next birth.
The results of actions performed under the influence of the different modes is more fully described elsewhere in the same chapter by Sri Krishna.
When the embodied soul meets with dissolution
When goodness prevails,
It attains to the pure worlds
Of those who know the Highest.
Meeting with dissolution when passion prevails,
It is born among those attached to action.
If it is dissolved when ignorance prevails,
It is born in the wombs of the deluded. (Gita, 14.14-15)
Thus we learn that pious activities will lead one to rebirth on heavenly planets. Activities in passion will usually lead to rebirth on earth, or on similar worlds where greed and lust are the dominating forces. Those who have given themselves over to ignorance, meanwhile, take birth among the lower animals, plants, and even among living stones, such as mountains.
Before going into greater detail about these births and the modes which determine them, let’s examine the actual occurrence of transmigration, as the Lord describes it to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita.
The living entities are eternal fragmental parts of Me.
They are dragging on
In a bitter struggle for existence in material nature,
With the six senses, including mind.
When the soul takes up a body
And when he leaves it,
He takes these (mind and senses) and goes
Even as the wind carries perfumes from their places.
(Gita, 15.7-8)
Although the mind forgets its past activities when it is brought to a new birth, it does retain impressions. This is why some people have been able to recall events from their previous lives. This is not to be confused with the phenomenon of organic misfunction called deja-vu, in which we actually experience the same thing twice within a thousandth of a second. These impressions of past lives are real, and they have a strong influence on our present actions.
Mind and the senses are actually very subtle forms of matter, which we keep as long as we remain in material nature, or until the period dissolution of the universe. The body is the gross covering of the soul, and mind and the senses are the subtle. It is through the medium of the mind that the spirit surrenders consciousness of itself, and loses its identity. Mind is the seat of the senses, and mind, having become the focal point of consciousness, is also the tape on which our activities are registered, determining—according to the modes—what our next birth will be. This is why control of the mind is essential to spiritual and worldly progress alike. The yoga process is actually nothing more than the science of controlling the mind. The system of bhakti yoga also tackles this problem, but on a slightly different level.
Having obtained some idea of what transmigration is and how is works, let’s examine the influence of the modes of nature upon our activities, and learn what effect these have upon the cycle of rebirth. Lord Krishna says:
The fruit of good action
Is said to be of the nature of goodness and pure;
The fruit of passion is pain,
And the fruit of dullness is ignorance. (Gita, 14.16)
Those who devote their lives to hellish activities can expect to take rebirth in a hellish situation. This is the justice which is a constitutional part of nature, and from which no being is exempt: “… For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall be also reap.” (Galatians, 5.7)
To many people, the idea of eternal damnation has always stood as a most unreasonable proposition in the teaching of Lord Jesus Christ. It is incomprehensible to them how the Lord can give frail man a single chance to choose his way, and then cast him forever into hell. Modified by the principles of reincarnation, however, the prophecy of the gnashing of teeth takes on new meaning. Here is Lord Krishna on this subject:
Given over to self-conceit, force and pride,
And also to lust and anger,
These malicious people despise Me,
Dwelling in the body of themselves and others.
These cruel haters, worst of men—
I hurl these evil-doers only into
The wombs of demons
In this round of births and deaths.
(Gita, 16.18-19)
As for those who, though bound by material nature and unable to give up their attachment to it, nevertheless follow the scripture and have some faith in God, things are different. The fruits of goodness are presented in these terms:
The knowers of the three Vedas who drink the soma juice and are cleansed of sin,
Worshipping Me with sacrifices, pray for the way to heaven.
They reach the holy world of Indra,
An enjoy in heaven the pleasures of the gods.
Having enjoyed the spacious world of heaven,
They return to the world of mankind when their merit is exhausted.
Thus conforming to the doctrine enjoined in the three Vedas, and still desirous of enjoyments,
They obtain what is subject to birth and death.
(Gita, 9.20-21)
This is the fruit of actions performed in the mode of goodness—that is, according to scriptural law and with faith in God. However, it is worth noting that this is the type of birth gained by those who still love this material world, and like all things material, it is perishable. Even on the highest of all material planets, the Brahmaloka, where life is immensely long, and where there are ample facilities for pleasure on a scale unimagined here, still the law of birth and death continues. Even for Brahma himself, whose life span is coequal with the life span of the universe, birth, death, old age and pain exist.
From the realm of Brahma downwards,
All worlds are subject to return to rebirth.
But on reaching Me, O son of Kunti,
There is no return to birth again. (Gita, 8.16)
Just as the craving for the fruits of material activities leads one on to take his next birth in this material situation, and then on and on again—so there are spiritual activities too, and these lead one, by association, to take his birth in the spiritual world, in his natural, constitutional and final form as pure spirit soul. Just what these spiritual activities are and how the association with one’s own true spiritual self can be established is enunciated in all the scriptures of the world.
These whose thoughts
Are set on Me,
I straightway deliver
From the ocean of death-bound existence, O Partha.
On Me alone fix thy mind,
Let thy understanding dwell in Me.
In Me shalt thou live thereafter.
Of this there is no doubt. (Gita, 12.7-8)
And so it is that God guarantees eternal life to those who accept His association. Actually, we are all servitors of the Lord in our true position as His spirit soul parts and parcels. Therefore, returning to our conscious, natural status means returning to our relationship of service to God. If we do not worship God, then we worship some other thing, for we are by nature worshipful. Maintaining these secondary relationships keeps us from Him, and thus from our own full consciousness of Self. Further information of birth in the spiritual world—the Kingdom of God—is given elsewhere in Bhagavad Gita.
Those who are freed from pride and delusion, who have conquered the evil of attachment,
Who, all desires stilled, are ever devoted to the Supreme Spirit,
Who are liberated from the dualities known as pleasure and pain and are undeluded,
Go to the eternal state.
The sun does not illumine that,
Nor the moon nor fire.
That is My supreme abode,
From which those who reach it never return.
(Gita, 15.5-6)
The Kingdom of God is not artificially illuminated, because it is self-effulgent. There is no dead matter of any kind there. All things are fully alive, fully aware and awake—and all things are fully, blissfully engaged in the service of God. This answers the question as to why so few men go there, or even aspire to that state: it is for those who serve. All who dwell there, including the Lord Himself, are full of love, and are engaged in devoted service. Men in their foolishness do not seek this position, nor have they any taste for it—and therefore they do not attain to it. But the one who realizes the sweetness of devotion and who recognizes his real position as the servitor of God, will associate with God by means of transcendental loving service here during this life, and will then take his next birth according to that association.
We must, now, realize that all men buy and pay for their own sufferings. Who plants thistles and expects to harvest grain? We do, all of us. In actuality, the unhappiness of this earthly existence is what we want and what we ask for. The Lord merely supplies our demands.
As men approach Me,
So do I accept them.
Men on all sides
Follow My path, O Partha. (Gita, 4.11)
Nevertheless, because of His unbounded love and mercy, Krishna advents Himself—or sends His representatives from the spiritual sky—here on earth, in order to give us knowledge of these things, and to offer the wandering lost souls an opportunity to return home, back to Godhead.
For the protection of the good,
For the destruction of the wicked
And for the establishment of righteousness,
I come into being from age to age.
He who knows thus in its true nature
My divine birth and works,
Is not born again when he leaves this body,
But comes to Me, O Arjuna.
(Gita, 4.8-9)
We are the beloved children of the Lord of All Existences, and we can have anything we want from Him. This is the secret of God’s love for all beings. What we have to do is to understand our real position, so that the real being can have real happiness by knowing what to ask for. Death is actually a birthday party, at which Krishna presents us with just what we wanted, in the form of rebirth. Understanding this, the sublime and infinite kindness of God, what can we want beyond His association? He Himself is the dearest of all delights, and His service is the most joyful of all activities.
Poem by Hayagriva
Poem by Hayagriva
Second Avenue Samadhi
Standing outside the storefront
of Swamiji’s Society
for Krishna Consciousness,
I look up and down
Manhattan’s Second Avenue
at derelicts
Puerto Ricans
sundry fruitive laborers
and wonder.
Hare Krishna, I think
and look at the
Cosmos Parcels Express Corporation
across the way
like the very
cosmos itself
in its white and green
and at the
Gonzalez Funeral Home and
Weitzner Brothers Memorials Corporation’s
heavy tombstones
broadcasting death
to all,
and at the
Red Star Bar’s
Seagram’s 7 sign blinking
red and yellow relief for
exhausted karmis, poor
fruitive laborers.
Hare Krishna, I think,
and walk down the sidewalk
past the revolving
red, white and blue
Mobil Gasoline Sign
buzzing and ringing bells of gas pumps
feeding the dumb, steel chariots
of Detroit.
Hare Krishna, Hare Rama, I think,
wondering what Swamiji
must think
of (God bless) America,
and walk on down
the sidewalk’s silent
cigarette butts
that stare up like
little crushed universes
of capitalism.
And think
Hare Krishna
on the corner of Houston Street
and Second Avenue
where I stand a long time
Hare Krishna,
hands in my pockets and
the dying sunlight fade
over buildings and off
the far silver parapets
of the
Brooklyn Bridge
that reaches over
the river
like an altar
to Krishna.
—Hayagriva Das Brahmachary
(Howard Wheeler)
Poem by Becker
Poem by B. R. Becker
Death paddled his dory past my fishing pole
And he missed me, for who could this body be?
Time leaped along a line of light that years ago
yearned to be with me.
And he missed me too,
or when will the stars stop spinning?
I pour my spirit from a cup for God to drink.
He will wassail and I will kiss the flowers.
—B. R. Becker
Eight Prayers of Lord Chaitanya or Lord Chaitanya’s Mission
Eight Prayers of Lord Chaitanya
or Lord Chaitanya’s Mission
Lord Chaitanya (1486-1535) introduced the Samkirtan movement of chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Rama in India and is considered to be a complete incarnation of Krishna Himself. He is known, therefore, as Krishna Chaitanya. The Eight Prayers, or Instructions are Lord Chaitanya’s only literary contribution. All other Chaitanya literature is written by His disciples.
Glory to Thy Name, O Lord!
Glory to Thee, O Krishna!
Glory to Samkirtan!
Chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare,
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
my heart is purified,
the dust of this world
swept away,
and the fires of birth and death
Through Thy Names alone, O Krishna,
I am liberated
from the binds of the flesh,
for Thy Names spread the rays
of the benediction moon,
rejuvenate transcendental knowledge,
expand the ocean of transcendental bliss,
and enable all to taste
the true nectar of the pleasure
that all desire,
for by hearing Thy Name alone, O Krishna,
all men are blessed.
Because only Thy Names, O my Lord,
can bless all Thy creations,
Thou hast millions of Names
like Krishna, Rama, Govinda,
Madhusudana, Nandanandana, Devakinandana,
Yasodanandana, Radharamana, Gopinath,
and in Thy Names, my Lord,
Thou hast imparted
Thy transcendental energies
giving grace to all
to chant Thy praise
without difficulty,
making Thyself
so easily approachable, O Lord,
by Thine omnipotence,
by Thy compassion.
Truly all misfortune and unhappiness
is due to neglect
of Thy Holy Names,
O Krishna.
Chanting Thy Names, O Lord,
in all humility,
mindful of my own
as tolerant as the grass,
forbearing as the tree, prideless, unattached,
like a leaf in the wind,
offering respect to all
without requiring
respect for myself—
in such a state, O Krishna,
I can sing Thy Name
O Nandanandana, Supreme Lord,
I do not pray for wealth,
beautiful women, disciples of my own,
nor for objects of sense enjoyment
nor for materials, O Lord—
I pray only
that I may serve
at Thy Lotus Feet
with causeless, unalloyed devotion
life after life after life.
Yet somehow, O Krishna,
although Thy eternal servitor,
I have fallen into this ocean
of birth and death
and am now tossed and overwhelmed
by the tumultuous waves
of material existence.
O Krishna, kindly lift me
from these waters of misery and death
and place me as one of the atoms
at Thy Lotus Feet.
O my Lord, when shall my eyes
praise Thee with tears of Love
flowing constantly by chanting
Thy Holy Name?
And when, O Krishna,
shall my voice falter
and my hair rise
and I tremble to vibrate
Hare Krishna, Hare Rama?
Feeling Thy separation, O dear Lord,
to me a moment is a millenium.
When may I see Thee, at last, O Krishna?
Now, as Thy rain,
tears flow down my cheeks.
I am lost without Thee
in a vacant and empty world—
O Thou Shining One,
Answerer of all, be merciful.
O dear Krishna, You may crush me
as a woman at Thy Feet
or handle me roughly
by Thine embrace
or break my heart
by Thy absence,
for Thou art free, O Lord,
to do as Thou pleasest;
but still Thou are always
my worshipful Lord
for Thou art no other
than my Lord of life.
By A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Bhagavad Gita is widely recognized as the compendium of all Vedic wisdom, yet there are few who have the necessary qualifications to understand and teach this all-important scripture. Swami Bhaktivedanta—who is a devotee in the line of disciplic succession from Arjuna—is one of these few. His introduction to the Geetopanishad, or Bhagavad Gita as it is, is a classic in its own right.
By A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
In WHO IS CRAZY? And KRISHNA, THE RESERVOIR OF PLEASURE, the Swami explains the illusion of materialism, and the process of acquiring true vision in the perpetual bliss of Krishna Consciousness.
A 33 Ÿ long playing record on the Happening label, in which the devotees perform Kirtan (chanting the Hare Krishna Mantrum), and which further includes mantras sung by the Swami in praise of his spiritual master. Available from the Society.
—Incense—30 sticks. . .25c
—Beads, made of wood; along with a booklet of instructions regarding their stringing and general value in chanting the Hare Krishna Mantram. 1 package.. . . .$1. 50
Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhou—literally “the ocean of the pure nectar of devotional service”—was written by Srila Rupa Goswami, who was a disciple of Lord Chaitanya, the originator of the Samkirtan movement. Lord Chaitanya is considered to be a full incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The work of His disciple reflects, as the title infers, the very finest essence of transcendental life—a life of pure love of Godhead. In two parts, a total of sixty pages. 50cents.
by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva
The original and genuine commentary on Vedanta philosophy by the author of the Vedanta Himself, Vyasadeva—now available for the first time in English with an authorized commentary by Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta.
The Srimad Bhagawatam is the post-graduate study of the Bhagavad Gita, or the Science of Krishna. This book of transcendental knowledge contains information of classical Hindu culture, philosophy, sociology, economics, politics, aesthetics and Divine Love.
This unique edition of Srimad Bhagawatam has been greatly appreciated by all learned societies of philosophy and theosophy and approved by the Indian State and Central Government Departments of Education, and by the United States Government. Swami Bhaktivedanta’s edition contains Sanscrit, Sanscrit transliteration, English equivalents, translation and elaborate commentaries. Published by the League of Devotees, New Delhi, India, 1962-65. Price: $16.80 for 3 volumes (1200 pages). Postage paid by the Society.
Available from the International Society For Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, New York, 10003.
BACK TO GODHEAD is published semi-monthly by The International Society For Krishna Consciousness at 26 Second Avenue (between 1st and 2nd Streets) New York, New York 10003.
1 year subscription (24 issues) $3.00. Phone 674-7428

FOUNDER: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

EDITORS: Hayagriva Das Brahmachary (Howard Wheeler)
Rayarama Das Brahmachary (Raymond Marais)

Circulation: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)
Printing: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)

Back to Godhead Magazine #09,
March 1, 1967
By the Mercy of Krishna:
By the Mercy of Krishna:
We’re very happy to be able to report that Swami Bhaktivedanta has been lecturing at various places in and around San Francisco during his visit there, including the Berkeley campus.
A donation of land has made it possible to begin plans for an ashram in Northern California.
A third Krishna Consciousness center has now been opened—this one in Montreal, Canada. Although we don’t have much to report on activities there as yet, we expect to make great strides in spreading the Samkirtan movement when that city’s World’s Fair, called “Expo 67,” opens in April. We’re hoping to have the Swami present at that time.
Krishna Consciousness has taken to the television airwaves both in San Francisco and New York. In the former case, a local station, KPIX, carried a program on the Haight-Ashbury section on Tuesday evening, February 21, in which Samkirtan and the temple were mentioned. In the case of New York, the station is CBS and the program “Eye On New York.” Unfortunately, as this is being written, it’s too early for us to say any more than that. In our next issue, however, we’ll be able to consider the response to these endeavors.
In the meantime—wouldn’t you like to send us a letter? Our post man needs the work, and what’s more we’d like to hear from you. Let us have your comments, suggestions and criticisms regarding the Samkirtan movement in general, and Back to Godhead in particular.
Hare Krishna.
The Editors.
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Notes transcribed from a lecture given September 4, 1966
To begin to understand the Truth, one must surrender oneself, because surrender is the beginning of spiritual life. Ultimately, we must surrender to God. To do this, one should find a bonafide spiritual master and question him, just as Arjuna questioned Lord Krishna. The disciple should also render service to the master.
Material life is based on false ego. One thinks, “I am this,” or, “I am that,” leading ultimately to “I am God.” Man is an insignificant spiritual spark, but he is puffed up with imaginary thoughts of what he is. He thinks he is moving the sun, but he cannot overcome even a toothache.
There are two kinds of energy: prakriti and purusha. Prakriti is the passive or female principle, and purusha is the active or male principle. Purusha is the enjoyer; prakriti is the enjoyed. Purusha is the predominator; prakriti is the predominated.
Living entities are prakriti. They may think that they are the enjoyers, but their true function is to be enjoyed. They think that they are the predominators, but their true function is to be predominated.
Living beings are a form of energy. Where there is energy, there must be a field for the energy. The body is the field and the soul is the knower and the owner. One thinks, “This is my hand,” or, “This is my ear,” but who is this “I?” It is pure spirit soul. That which is “mine” is the field. Every individual soul has a different field of activities.
Krishna said, “Know Me as the Knower of all fields.” So there are two knowers, Krishna and myself. But Krishna knows more than I. Although I know what goes on in my body and mind (to an extent), I do not know what goes on in yours. In this way, my knowledge is limited. Krishna knows everything that goes on everywhere. His knowledge is not limited, and that is the difference between us.
Krishna sits with everyone as a friend. It is like two birds in a tree. One bird eats the fruit of the tree while the other bird sits and watches. We are like the bird that eats, while Krishna is the other bird, watching and waiting for us to turn to Him.
People who worship a Personal God accept this duality of individual soul and Super Soul. When the individual entity dovetails his own consciousness with the Supreme Consciousness, he becomes superconsciousness. In the spiritual world, all consciousnesses are in resonance.
God is all-pervading. He is in all of the many universes. He is in every atom and in every living being.
To doubt
is to say, “God is wrong.
I will find my own answers.”
But do you know
who you are?
where you came from?
why you are here?
To know the answers
to all questions
all you need to know
is that you are a fragment
of Krishna.
—Brahmananda Das Brahmachary
(Bruce Scharf)

“Good Help Nowadays”
After all, it is Kaliyuga.
But still, I do wish
As I hear of the beauty of the Lord
That I could learn to praise Him.
And when I hear of the kindness of the Lord,
I long to glorify Him.
But my mouth is barren and my voice is cracked,
And all I know of is stone
—if a man can be stone.
So I must beg my Lord
To give me the means
And the method
And the strength
And the will
To serve Him.
And after all that, O Krishna—
What is there left that I can do for You?
—Rayarama Das Brahmachary
(Raymond Marais)

These waters speak of our Lord
they are continually descending down
as a man bowing
as a man bowing.
like a cup emptying.
Yet in reverence & humility
the fulfillment & recognition
as a man bowing
like a cup emptying
these waters run down from the mountains
into the sea
and speak of our Lord
for it is only by running into the sea
that the river never grows dry
it is only by devotion to the Lord
that a man never dies
Yet the river is without salt
and man without memory
but he has been remembered
from all eternity
indeed the cup cannot be emptied
from all eternity Neither can the cup be turned
upside down or right side up
for gravity clashes in other realms
and the river descends in praise
like a man bowing
bowing in His Love.
—Rabindrasvarupa Das Brahmachary
(Bob Lefkowitz)
The Spiritualization of Energy
The Spiritualization of Energy
by Hayagriva Das Brahmachary
(Howard Wheeler)

“The world is charg’d with the grandeur of God . . . .”
—Gerard Manly Hopkins
(Mantra to be sung at the top of your lungs to whatever tune you like from dawn to dawn to dawn without cessation forever and ever and ever into eternity.)

All that we ever see
Is God’s blissful energy.
O God’s blissful energy!
O God’s blissful energy!
God’s blissful energy
All just for you and me.
O God’s blissful energy.
Blissful, blissful energy!
Wipe your eyes
So you can see,
Blow your cool,
Don’t play the fool—
Can’t you see?
We’re His very
Sing it, shout it,
Tell the entire
World about it.
Chant it, rant it!
Dance, enhance it.
Don’t sit and sigh,
Let’s all get high.
Don’t feel morose,
Have a double dose
It’s always, always
ALWAYS free!
Don’t be suspect,
It’s direct
From God to thee,
And it’s FREE!
Blissful, blissful
E N E R G Y!

“‘Hare’ means ‘the energy of the Lord.’ So when we sing ‘Hare Krishna,’ we are saying, ‘O Lord, O the wonderful energy of the Lord, O Lord please accept me who am no more than the straw in the street.’”—- Swami Bhaktivedanta
Krishna, the Supreme Lord, is Energetic. In fact, Krishna is the Energetic Supreme Person. Everything is His energy; everything we come into contact with during our brief lives is energy, and what’s more it’s Krishna’s energy. This may sound staggeringly simple (or staggeringly unacceptable) but the degree of our realization of this fact will account for our happiness in this world and in whatever spheres we encounter after death.
As far as man is concerned, the Lord’s energy can be broken into three categories: material energy, marginal energy, and spiritual energy. Material energy is called inferior or external energy, Prakriti, or Nature. Spiritual energy is called superior or internal energy, Purusha, or Spirit. The combination of the two creates marginal energy. Liberated souls without material bodies are examples of spiritual energy. Man, as a conditioned embodied soul, is an example of marginal energy. He is both matter and spirit. And a rock or a piece of metal is an example of material energy. All are emanations of Krishna, the Indwelling Spirit of all things. The process we are interested in involves transferal of ourselves from inferior, material energy (Nature) into the realm of superior, spiritual energy (what has been called the Kingdom of God). This transferal has been referred to as “salvation” by the Christians and “liberation” by the Hindus.
In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna has explicitly stated that Nature, His external, inferior energy, is under His control. “Prakriti, under My guidance, gives birth to all things, moving and unmoving; and because of this, O son of Kunti, the world revolves.” (Gita, 9.10) Again, He states that Nature Herself rests in Him, that He, in brief, contains Nature.
As the mighty wind blowing everywhere ever rests in the akasa (ethereal space), know that in the same manner all beings rest in Me. At the end of a cycle all beings, O son of Kunti, enter into My Prakriti (Nature), and at the beginning of a cycle I generate them again. Controlling My own Prakriti, I send forth, again and again, all this multitude of beings, helpless under the sway of maya. (Gita 9.6-8)
It is Nature, Prakriti, that is called maya or illusion, because it is a perverted, temporary covering of the eternal Reality. All phenomena meeting our senses is termed maya. This includes our very bodies, the bodies of others, all the boys and girls and men and women and animals and aquatics and fowls and insects, the earth and grass and trees, plains, deserts, mountains and oceans, the towns and cities, roads and junctions, signboards, railroads, highways and skyways with all concomitant paraphernalia: clouds and rain and snow and hail and sun, moon and stars and whatever visible through microscope or telescope, on earth or down in the deepest seas or in the highest material planet or sun and whatever else visible or invisible from the tiniest atom to the largest whirling galaxy—all this and whatever else comes to mind is God’s blissful energy, is His Prakriti, or Nature, which He controls, and all, without exception, is maya, illusion, and is therefore subject to the rigid elementary laws governing creation, maintenance and destruction. All this phenomena, which in its entirety comprises the material universe, has been said to be “on fire.” The material universe has been likened to a forest fire because it is by nature always changing and raging. There is no peace for embodied beings in such a place. It has not been designed for peace or happiness. It is called, therefore, Krishna’s inferior energy. It is blissful for Krishna because Krishna is not attached to it—it has consequently been described as His leela, or “play.” But for the embodied, conditioned beings, caught in the ocean of maya, this “play” can be very painful and terrifying. This is because this multitude of beings, not perceiving the eternal Reality behind the play, is “helpless under the sway of maya.” Some men, however, through God’s grace, have been able to perceive the Omnipotent One, the Living God, shining in all His effulgent glory behind His maya. The poet Coleridge in The Destiny of Nations writes of “the clouds that veil His blaze,” in some sublime poetry revealing his knowledge of the One Reality governing the play of the many:
For all that meets the bodily sense I deem
Symbolical, one mighty alphabet
For infant minds; and we in this low world
Placed with our backs to bright Reality,
That we may learn with young unwounded men
The substance from its shadow.
This phenomenal universe, a “mighty alphabet for infant minds,” passes across the Face of the Supreme like clouds passing across the sun. Yet every particle of this universe, being His creation, reflects a bit of Himself, however pervertedly. From this shadow of Reality we may briefly deduce the substance, and by so doing turn from the shadow to the substance. Socrates, in the famous parable of the cave in Book VII of The Republic, speaks of mankind as being chained in a cave with their backs to the blazing fire of Reality, only capable of making out shadows of one another which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave. When at first confronted with the blazing light of Reality, men, not accustomed to it, turn away, their eyes dazzled, for they are used to the cave and require to grow accustomed to the upper world. But once their sight is accustomed to the sight of the upper world, they would disdain returning to their prior condition. The shadows, thrown on the wall of the cave, are analogous to the illusory energy of Krishna. The light of the upper world is His superior energy. Our process, in the spiritualization of energy, is a process of moving out the cave, of turning from maya, the inferior energy of Prakriti, to the spiritual light of the Imperishable.
In the Gita, Krishna Himself differentiates between His two energies: Prakriti, or Nature, His inferior energy; and Purusha, or Spirit, His superior energy.
Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence, false ego—such is the eightfold division of My separated material energies. Besides these there is another energy of Mine which is superior, which is the living entity, by which the world is utilized. (Gita, 7.4-5)
Prakriti, therefore, is indefinable and beginning less nescience in which conditioned souls have been entangled since time immemorial. Conditioned souls are, in actuality, Purusha, or spirit soul, and as such they have no business being entangled in matter. They are Purusha in so much as they are part and parcels of the Supreme Lord. It is the Self, or Spirit-soul, entangled in Prakriti, Nature, that brings about birth, suffering and death. Krishna informs us:
Prakriti is said to be the cause of the generation of the body and the organs, and Purusha is said to be the cause of the experience of pleasure and pain. Purusha, embodied in Prakriti, experiences the gunas (the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance) born of Prakriti. It is attachment to these gunas that is the cause of his (the soul’s) birth in good and evil wombs. (Gita, 13.20-21)
Furthermore, to insure us that all individual entities in the material universe are deluded by Prakriti, Krishna says, “There is no creature here on earth, nor among the gods in heaven, who is free from the three gunas born of Prakriti.” (Gita, 18.40) If this is the case, then how is liberation possible?
Liberation from Prakriti is possible through the spiritualization of energy. Krishna assures us, “He who knows Purusha and Prakriti, along with the gunas, is not born again, howsoever he may comport himself.” (Gita, 13.23) How is this possible? Through a) Knowledge, b) Performance of duties with renunciation of the fruits of labor, c) Devotion to Krishna, and d) Grace given by Krishna to His devotee. Combined, these constitute a sure formula for flipping our of material energy and into spiritual energy. Of course this involves a process of change; up to this point your life has been like a deflated balloon. The process of spiritualization, whereby you turn the material energy in your life into spiritual energy, is like blowing up the balloon and blissfully watching it pop. It was Newton who discovered that every object or body in the universe attracts every other body or object. This is not only true of heavenly bodies—it is true of ourselves. The attraction of energy for energy is basic and natural. This attraction largely operates on the basis of the sex drive. Now the process for eternal happiness is in redirecting all energies to Krishna. Our energies must not be attracted to Prakriti (maya), the illusory energy of Socrates’ cave. Rather, all energies should be one hundred percent directed to Krishna and His eternal Spiritual Kingdom. This is what the spiritualization of energy entails. It is a turning from the illusion to the Reality.
I have mentioned that liberation is made possible by a) Knowledge. In regards to Knowledge, that is, the ability to distinguish between the Reality and the illusion, Krishna says, “Even if you are the most sinful of sinners, yet by the raft of Knowledge alone will you be borne over all sin. Verily, there exists no purifier on earth equal to Knowledge.” (Gita, 4.36, 38) In describing the man of knowledge, Krishna characterizes him in this way:
He who sees inaction in action, and action in inaction, he is wise among men, he is a yogi, and he has performed all action. He whose undertakings are all free from desires and self-will, and whose works are consumed in the fire of Knowledge—he, by the wise, is called a sage. Giving up attachment to the fruit of action, ever content, and dependent on none, though engaged in work, he does no work at all. Free from desire, with body and mind controlled, and surrendering all possessions, he incurs no sin through mere bodily activity. Satisfied with what comes to him without any effort on his part, rising above the pairs of opposites, free from envy, and even-minded in success and failure, though acting, he is not bound.
(Gita, 4.18-22)
The man in true knowledge, according to Krishna, is always in communion with the Supreme Lord. His life has been purified through desirelessness and renunciation of the fruits of action (not action itself). He sees Krishna as the Reality behind all form, the Supreme Spirit behind the material guise. “The knowledge by which one indestructible Substance is seen in all beings undivided in the divided—know that that knowledge is of the nature of sattva (goodness).” (Gita, 18.20) For him, energy is already spiritualized. It is only a matter of seeing properly.
Knowledge can be acquired through b) Performance of duties with renunciation of the fruits of labor, and c) devotion to Krishna. Krishna says that “He who neither hates nor desires may be known as constantly practicing renunciation.” (Gita, 5.3) Krishna further states that renunciation of action is not possible without the performance of action. In practicing Krishna-consciousness and spiritualizing one’s life, one does not sit stock still in a room staring at the wall. Rather, one is always engaged in action, devoting one’s action to Krishna and surrendering the fruits of action to Him. Action is not separate from knowledge; rather, they are intimately related. “It is children, and not the wise, that speak of the path of knowledge and the path of action as distinct,” Krishna says. “He who is firmly set on one reaches the end of both.” (Gita, 5.4)
How does one spiritualize energy through renunciation of the fruits of action? First, we recognize that nothing belongs to us. All things belong to Krishna, for He is the proprietor of all energy. For instance, when typing an essay, a man in Krishna consciousness is not performing the same action as a man who is bound by the sense of “I” and “mine,” although an observer may not see a difference. A man on the spiritual platform sees the typewriter as Krishna’s, the paper and ink as Krishna’s, the words as Krishna’s and the fingers that type as Krishna’s. In his action he sees nothing but Krishna’s energy at work. For him there is nothing but God’s blissful energy. He is not attached to this action because he sees “the inaction in action,” that is, he knows that it is simply the senses busy with their objects: or, illusory energy at work. He knows that the real Self remains inactive. In this way he is free from all taint of ego, for he is not the doer. Krishna instructs us in this way:

“I do nothing at all,” thinks the yogi, the knower of Truth; for in seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, and tasting; in walking, breathing, and sleeping; in speaking, emitting, and seizing; in opening and closing the eyes, he is assured that it is only the senses busied with their objects. He who works without attachment, resigning his actions to Brahman, is untainted by sin, as a lotus-leaf by water.
A selfless man who has renounced the fruit of his action attains peace, born of steadfastness. But the man who is not selfless and who is led by desire is attached to the fruit and therefore bound. (Gita, 5.8-10, 12)
Detached action is made easier through practice. Through such detached action, one becomes purified from actions in the modes of passion and ignorance. Then one is in a better position to execute pure devotional service to Krishna. It is through pure devotional service—chanting of the Holy Names, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”—that one receives grace from Krishna enabling liberation from the material energy.
Regarding such devotional service, Krishna is outspoken in the Gita. He makes it clear that the wisest man worships Him (Krishna) alone.
All beings, from their very birth, O Bharata, are deluded by the spell of the pairs of opposites arising from desire and aversion. But the men of virtuous deeds, whose sin is ended, are free from the delusion of the pairs and worship Me with firm resolve. (8.27-28)
That Supreme Purusha (Spirit), in whom all beings abide and by whom the entire universe is pervaded, can be attained, O Partha, by whole-souled devotion directed to Him alone. (8/22)
There are two beings in the world: the Perishable and the Imperishable. The Perishable comprises all creatures, and the Imperishable is said to be the Unchanging.
But there is another Being, the Highest, called the Supreme Self, who, as the Immutable, pervades and sustains the three worlds.
As I surpass the Perishable and as I am higher even than the Imperishable, I am extolled in the world and in the Vedas as the Supreme Personality.
He who, undeluded, knows Me thus as the Supreme Personality—he knows all, O Bharata, and he worships Me with all his heart. (Gita, 15.16-19)
How then is worship and devotional service carried out? There have been many methods used. Meditation, sacrifice and temple worship were common practice in more religious ages. In this age of irreligiosity, however, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a 15th century incarnation of Krishna, has suggested the method of Samkirtan, that is, a method of bhaktiyoga utilizing the Maha Mantra, the chanting of “Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.”
The greatest spiritualizer of all energy is this Maha Mantra, the Great Hare Krishna Mantra, which obliterates all materialistic dust by dint of transcendental sound vibration. As Lord Chaitanya and Swami Bhaktivedanta are always pointing out, the words “Hare Krishna” and Krishna are non-different. Lord Chaitanya said, “In these transcendental Names (Hare Krishna, Hare Rama) you have invested all your transcendental energies . . . .” Because Krishna is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, He is present in the very sound of His Holy Names. When we say the word “Krishna,” Krishna is there by His sound representation. We are always anxious to “see” God. But why do we put such stress on seeing God? As He reveals Himself to us, we will see more and more of Him, but we should take advantage of the fact that we can also “hear” Him through His sound representation. Hearing Him is just as good as seeing, tasting or feeling Him. As the origin of sound, He is sound personified. Religion has actually been defined as the worship of God through sound. The transcendental sound vibrations of the “Hare Krishna” Mantra provide the quickest and most effective means for purifying our lives, spiritualizing energy, and making us eligible for “promotion” to the spiritual Kingdom of God.
When one chants the sixteen word mantra (HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE) one should be careful to follow certain rules in regard to the chant. One should never:
1. Blaspheme the Lord or His devotees
2. Consider the Lord and the demigods on the same level or assume that there are many gods
3. Interpret the Holy Name (All personal interpretations, being conceptualizations of the inconceivable, will of necessity lead one astray. Lord Chaitanya suggested chanting the Holy Name with all humility, thinking oneself lower than the straw on the street and begging the Lord to accept him.)
4. Minimize the authority of the Scriptures or of the spiritual master under whom one is studying
5. Commit sin on the strength of chanting
6. Instruct the glories of the Name to the unfaithful or demoniac
7. Compare the Holy Name with material piety or mundane goodness (The Holy Name is transcendental to all worldly conceptions of sanctity.)
8. Be attentive while chanting the Holy Name (This is a matter of personal, mental discipline. The tendency of the mind to wander will render the chant less effective. One should concentrate on each syllable as one emits it, fully aware that the sound representation of the Supreme Lord of the Universe is passing through one’s body.)
9. Be attached to material things, especially while engaged in chanting. (One should be oblivious to one’s circumstances or surroundings when chanting. The mind should be totally fixed on the Supreme Lord.)
If the rules are consistently broken, then the Lord will render the chant ineffective, for one is then not worthy to chant His Name. The Maha Mantra is not the “hit song of the week,” but the hit song of Eternity, and as such should be chanted with all due reverence and concentration. If one keeps the rules 20% of the time, then the chant will work 20%. If he keeps the rules 50% of the time, then the chant will work 50%, and so on up to 100%. Also, the more frequently one chants, the more effective the chant becomes. One need not chant in a temple with instruments and other devotees, though this is highly desirable. One can chant softly to oneself while at work or walking down the street or on the bus or subway or in the privacy of the home. And if no supplementary instruments (such as cymbals or harmoniums or drums) are available, one can always clap one’s hands softly. The hands and the voice are the original instruments of praise, and as such are especially pleasing to Krishna. In such a simple way we can be transferred out of Prakriti, material energy, into Krishna’s spiritual realm.
It has been argued that in actuality there are no distinctions between material and spiritual energy, that in reality all energy is spiritual energy. If this is the case, then why does Krishna, in the Bhagavad-Gita, make the distinction between Prakriti, his inferior nature, and the jiva (living entity), His superior nature? True, once we are pure, liberated devotees of the Supreme, we are in the spiritual kingdom, having overcome the inferior modes of Prakriti. One whose primary thought is serving the Supreme, in whatever condition he may be, is liberated. In his Purports to Srimad Bhagavatam, Swami Bhaktivedanta clarifies this point.
There is no difference between matter and spirit for the Lord, although there is a gulf of difference between the two in the case of the conditioned living being. As for the Lord, there is nothing except spiritual existence, so also there is nothing except spiritual existence for the pure devotee of the Lord in his intimate relation with the Lord. (Srimad Bhagavatam, Vol. II, p. 696)
As to what constitutes a pure devotee, Swami Bhaktivedanta writes:
… those who see everything in the Lord and everything of the Lord and also sees in everything an eternal relation with the Lord so that there is nothing within his purview of sight except the Lord—are called the Mahabhagwatas, or the first grade devotees of the Lord. Such first grade devotees of the Lord are perfect in all respects.
(Bhaktivedanta, Purport, Bhagawatam, Vol II, p. 708)
Krishna Himself speaks in this way of His pure devotee: “He who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, to him I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me.” (Gita, 6.30) Even Lord Chaitanya, God Himself incarnated as a devotee, lamented the inadequacy of His devotion, often saying that if He really loved Krishna He would have died long ago rather than endure separation for a moment. So even Lord Chaitanya taught separation from the Supreme Lord due to His descent into material nature. Until we reach the absolute transcendental levels, we must admit to the duality of matter and spirit, for we are conditioned souls and conditioned souls, entangled in material nature, are marginal energy, a combination of matter and spirit. One might ask how spiritual energy can ever be under the grip of material energy. Well, that is the very conditioning of conditioned souls—if they weren’t under the grip of the material energy they would be unconditioned. This is the difference between conditioned souls and the Supreme Lord. Krishna, who controls Prakriti, is never under the control of maya. That would mean that maya, the inferior energy of Krishna, is stronger than Krishna. No, Krishna is never illusioned. It is the conditioned individual souls that have fallen under the influence of the material nature through contact with it. The process of renunciation and devotion is the process of making oneself eligible to receive the Lord’s grace which will free the individual soul from the entanglements of material energy. It is this process that is called salvation, or liberation. A devotee who considers the Supreme Lord to be his ultimate aim and takes refuge in Him will certainly be transferred to the eternal spiritual realm. This is the promise of Krishna:
Fix your heart on Me, give your love to Me, worship Me, bow down before Me; so shall you come to Me. This is My pledge to you, for you are dear to Me.
Abandon all dharmas and come to Me alone for shelter. I will deliver you from all sins; do not grieve. (Gita, 18.64-65)
This is Krishna’s promise not only to Arjuna but to all devoted men. Because, in this age, we have fallen below the status of even a warrior like Arjuna, Lord Chaitanya incarnated Himself to introduce the Samkirtan method of spiritual realization. This method of chanting “HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE” is the quickest and most direct way to Krishna. The chant is an instant spiritualizer, transforming the singer into spiritual energy and clearing the way easily to his ultimate liberation for returning home, back to Godhead.
A Work-Prayer to Krsna:
A Work-Prayer to Krsna:
Dear Lord, as I begin this day,
assure me that Your energy is in
Your Name. I ask no boon but to
be allowed to do everything for
You, and transform the mundane
into actual service acceptable
to Your mercy in Your inconceivable
On the Job,
A Second Essay on Karma Yoga
by Satsvarupa Das Brahmachary
(Stephen Guarino)
In the few minutes before 9 A.M. the office karmis are rushing to each other for idle talk. Pray that you will have no business with anyone which will divert you from those thoughts that lead like arrows back to home, back to Godhead. The work begins, and hopefully the chant is in everything and everything is in the chant.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Karma yoga is not only a matter of the paycheck going to Krsna and not to the sense gratification of the worker. It has to be done favorably. (The Lord doesn’t need your karma yoga at the office; your joy in the morning doesn’t sustain Him, nor do you cause the planets to float in space. But your faith and devotion please Him—“My devotee is dear to Me.” (Bhagavad Gita, 12.14). You must establish moment to moment links with the Supreme. Therefore, the practice of penances in mind, speech and body is prescribed, and we shall see why.
The Gita declares purity, uprightness, continence, and non-violence to be the penance of the body. “The utterance of words which give no offense, which is truthful, pleasant and beneficial” is said to be the penance of speech. Serenity of mind, gentleness, silence, self control, the purity of mind—is called the penance of the mind. (Bhagavad Gita, 17.14-16) These penances, performed without expecting reward, put one in the nature of goodness. Goodness is the level from which we can most easily progress to the Transcendental. If you are shackled in the illusion of nonsense-talk, or is you are gambling with co-workers on the outcome of sports, and “killing time” whenever possible, then you are not likely to be performing actions acceptable as yoga (toward union with God). Be absorbed. The work is the medium. “Hard to understand is the way of works.” (Gita, 4.17)
When the actual eating-up of work and work-time commences—that Krsna consciousness is not merely a sentiment or spiritual recreation, that your love for Krsna is not merely a good-time, speculative, “fair-weather” friendship—these truths get tested in the fire of work. To the limited eye, what is going on in the office is simply the action of fruitive workers engaged in mundane turmoil. The boss is saying he is God, and he is applying the full force of his authority upon the workers and clerks. Of course in some instances, the boss-worker relationship is going smoothly. Whether he is favored or oppressed by his boss does not concern the karma yogi; he is really not concerned this way or the other with the prevailing mundane temperament. It is part of a karma yogi’s skill that he is able to perform work expertly. He maintains an even temperament under fire, and as a constant activity of work he avoids all embarrassment. To the karma yogi, this desk, these drawers, these forms and files are the paraphernalia of a sacrifice. He is practicing celibacy, and concentration, and meditation and worship. “He who is trained in the way of works … he is not tainted by works, though he works.” (Gita, 5.7)
The true yoga of the Bhagavad Gita, in which one takes a firm seat covered with sacred grass, a deerskin and a cloth one over the other, in a solitary place, for the purpose of the purification of the soul—is a way leading to the same realization (love of Krsna) for which the karma yogi, in his shirt, pants and neck-tie, is ever intent on. In the Chapter of the True Yoga (VI) the Lord describes him at his task:

“Serene and fearless, firm in the vow of celibacy, subdued in mind, let him sit, his mind turned to Me and intent on Me alone.” (6.14).

“With the heart undismayed,” and disconnected from union with pain, the karma yogi makes his hymn to Krsna while fully engaged in the tasks of the office. Because he is using the body—which includes the mind—to perform these tasks, his senses are occupied with the sense objects in sacrifice: by offering each act to God, he “is not touched by sin, even as a lotus leaf (is untouched) by water.” (Gita, 5.10) Even in the beginning stages, a sincere devotee can practice such work in relaxation and with no uneasy sense of being scrutinized by the world. The devotee is confident that everything belongs to Krsna. Fixed in the assured protection of the Supreme Lord, there is no worldly power that can drag him down. The medium of work is a constant purification, a form of penance, and its end-aim is to achieve love through His service. As long as he works, he can’t go wrong.
Karma yoga has been described by Swami Bhaktivedanta as yoga for those who are addicted to work and activity; in this sense it is being practiced by the man who “can’t stop” fruitive work itself, but who is enlightened enough to dovetail his labor with the pleasure of the Supreme. This description of karma yoga places it in a transitional stage between material and spiritual life. The direct, karma-less service is called bhakti yoga, or devotional service. Bhakti is loving service of man to the Supreme Lord; such a devotee in bhakti performs only the Lord’s work in the world, as a direct, confidential servant, who is compact in love for his influential Master. We can understand that the karma yogi is on the path to bhakti. He (the karma yogi) is working behind enemy lines (with the karmis) and waiting for the day when the Supreme Lord will bring him closer into confidence. Man cannot presume to speed up his approach to God—he can’t take Krsna by “storming” His abode. A man in karma yoga turns over his work to the Supreme Personality, Krsna, Who is realized within his heart—where he perceives that he himself is part of God. And it is also realized personally in that ecstatic inconceivable name of Krsna—found kindly dancing on the karma yogi’s tongue when saying the Maha Mantra:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare.
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Average workers who are trapped in the material (non-spiritual) concept of work believe that they themselves are matter, and the work is matter, and so they slug it out—one piece of matter against another—for a fixed rate of pay, for a certain number of hours a day. They will make demands for reduced hours and more pay and better lighting, but they make no demand for karma yoga, the only process which can relieve them from hopeless labor.
As a fellow worker we humbly invite each and every employee at any job whatsoever to take to this process of dove-tailing with God-consciousness—in action. The principles of karma yoga are sound. The results are definite and immeasurably good. Try it whole-heartedly for one week—chant the Holy Name all day and sing it at lunch hour, and chant yourself to sleep at night. See for yourself. No one will have to tell you.
The Flood
The Flood
An infinite ocean of bliss!
Is it milk?
Or pure love energy?
Dancing, on a sea of chimes,
Arms stretched out
In a rain of sweetness;
Legs, dancing for God,
Dancing to His tune;
Alan, leaping to the chant
Like a drunk Cossack.
Everyone’s astonished—
At last—
This is Krishna Consciousness!
by Daniel Clark
Two Fools
Two Fools
A short dialogue
by Daniel Clark
Fool Number One:
Am I talking to Krishna?
Am I talking to an angel?
Am I talking to my wife?
Am I talking to myself?
One moment without you is an agony in Hell.
And even more hellish is the fact that I don’t know it’s happening.
Fool Number Two:
The fool searches to do something for himself alone.
Afterwards he sees his stupidity and thinks,
“Was I searching for the ground floor of experience?”
“A base of pure physicality upon which all else may be built?”
“A definition of my individual existence?”
Then he feels again the all-encompassing negation, the denial.
He knows where the physical ends if it is followed.
It ends in Hell.
It is a planet, it exists somewhere out there,
There is a head magistrate, officers, and so on,
A specific “training course” for each capital transgression;
And after Hell, release; perhaps as a rock.
The fool gets another chance.
Fool Number One:
There must be a memory of something like that,
Somewhere in my head, and at times I escape to it.
It’s easy to escape into memories,
To try to make the present into an ideal that turns out to be Hell.
Fool Number Two:
The past is suffused with Hell,
The present is suffused with Hell,
The future is suffused with Hell.
Hell is the reduvctio ad absurdam of material life.
Stop trying to prove you can do it alone.
You can’t, you need Krishna, you need your wife,
Your idea is a grotesque joke without them,
Your conception of God is pretty stupid if God didn’t give it to you.
Give up;
Give up this silly notion that you have to prove something to somebody.
God loves you as you are;
Anyway, He knows all about your schemes,
And finds them unpleasant.
Is there any other reason He doesn’t give you all His love?
Take off your mask, face it;
You don’t exist,
You are only part and parcel of Krishna,
Yes, and your wife too;
How else can you love each other?
Fool Number One:
All that confuses me.
Crying is better,
Giving up even the attempt to understand,
Giving up hope of liberation, love,
Giving up hope of hope, and crying.
Crying is better, because somehow in crying I know
Krishna loves me.
All I can do is call His Name,
And hope He hears me:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare;
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare!
Following our Cover
Following our Cover
is a picture of Vasudeva, Who is a plenary expansion of Krishna (in other words, a fully empowered incarnation representing the Lord engaged in one of His eternal and infinite pastimes). With Vasudeva is Lakshmi, His consort, Who is further identified as the Goddess of Fortune. The stencil was drawn by our art directress, Jadurani Devi Dasi, who is further identified as Judy Koslofsky. She’s good fortune to us.
The Origin of the Civil Disobedience Movement
(and excerpt from the introduction to the First Volume of Srimad Bhagwatam. The following is part of the life-sketch of Lord Chaitanya Who lived in the Sixteenth Century in India and is considered to be the fullest incarnation of Krishna.)
The Lord was then married with great pomp and gaiety and began to preach the congregational chanting of the Holy Name of the Lord at Nabadwipa. Some of the Brahmins became envious of His popularity and put many hindrances in His path. At last these Brahmins complained about the matter before the Muslim Magistrate at Nabadwipa. Bengal was then governed by Pathans and the Governor of the Province was Nawab Hussain Shah. The Muslim Magistrate of Nabadwipa took the complaints of the Brahmins seriously, and at first he warned the followers of Nemai Pandit (Lord Chaitanya) not to chant the Name of Hari loudly. But Lord Chaitanya asked His followers to disobey the orders of the Kazi and they went on with their Samkirtan party as usual. The Magistrate then sent constables and broke some of the Mrindangams (drums) which were being used in Kirtan. When Nemai Pandit heard of this incident, he organized a civil disobedience movement at Nabadwipa. He is the pioneer of the civil disobedience movement in India—for the right cause. He organized a procession of one hundred thousand men with thousands of Mrindangams, and the procession passed over the roads of Nabadwipa without any fear of the Kazi who had issued the order. At last the party reached the house of the Kazi, who went upstairs out of fear of the mass movement. The men, assembled there at the house of the Kazi, showed a haughty disposition, but the Lord asked them to be peaceful. At this time the Kazi came down and pacified the Lord by addressing Him as his nephew. He said that Nilambar Chakrabarty was called by him “Chacha”, or “uncle,” and as Srimati Chachidevi the mother of Nemai Pandit became his sister. He asked Nemai Pandit whether a sister’s son can be angry with his maternal uncle. Why should be not be respected? In this way, the whole incident was mitigated, and there was a long discussion of the Koran and Hindu Shastras between the two learned scholars. The question of cow-killing was also raised by the Lord and they properly replied with reference to the order of Koran. The Kazi also questioned the sacrifice of cows mentioned in the Vedas, and the Lord replied that the sacrifice of cows mentioned in the Vedas is not considered cow-killing. In that sacrifice an old bull or cow is sacrificed to give it a fresh, younger life by the power of the Vedic Mantra. In the Kali Yuga (the present age of discontent) such cow sacrifice is forbidden on account of the absence of learned Brahmins able to conduct such ceremonies. In the Kali Yuga, therefore, all Yajnas (sacrifice) is forbidden because it is a useless attempt by foolish men. In the Kali Yuga only the Samkirtan process is recommended for all practical purposes. The Kazi was convinced, and he became a follower of the Lord. He declared that thenceforward no one was to hinder the Samkirtan Movement started by the Lord. The Kazi’s crematorium is still existent within the area of Nabadwipa, and all Hindu pilgrims go there to show their respects. The Kazi’s descendants were residents of Nabadwipa, but they never objected to Samkirtan, even during the days of the Hindu-Muslim riots.
by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva
The original and genuine commentary on Vedanta philosophy by the author of the Vedanta Himself, Vyasadeva—now available for the first time in English with an authorized commentary by Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta.
The Srimad Bhagawatam is the post-graduate study of the Bhagavad Gita, or the Science of Krishna. This book of transcendental knowledge contains information of classical Hindu culture, philosophy, sociology, economics, politics, aesthetics and Divine Love.
This unique edition of Srimad Bhagawatam has been greatly appreciated by all learned societies of philosophy and theosophy and approved by the Indian State and Central Government Departments of Education, and by the United States Government.
Swami Bhaktivedanta’s edition contains Sanscrit, Sanscrit transliteration, English equivalents, translation and elaborate commentaries. Published by the League of Devotees, New Delhi, India, 1962-65. Price: $16.80 for 3 volumes (1200 pages). Postage paid by the Society.
Available from the International Society For Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, New York, 10003.
BACK TO GODHEAD is published semi-monthly by The International Society For Krishna Consciousness at 26 Second Avenue (between 1st and 2nd Streets) New York, New York 10003.
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FOUNDER: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

EDITORS: Hayagriva Das Brahmachary (Howard Wheeler)
Rayarama Das Brahmachary (Raymond Marais)

Circulation: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)
Printing: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)
Back to Godhead Magazine #10, March 20, 1967
By the Grace of Krishna--
By the Grace of Krishna—
March has already been an eventful month for all three centers of the Society—in San Francisco, Montreal and New York.
Swami Bhaktivedanta led kirtan at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. to the delight of some 400 stomping, dancing, chanting students. The local Palo Alto newspaper caught up the student enthusiasm for Swamiji and the Hare Krishna Mantra by reporting that a new dance called “The Swami,” a “trance dance,” has replaced the “twist” and “frug.” The students at Stanford danced for 70 minutes with fervor, hands held over their heads a la Lord Chaitanya.
Even more successful have been the Sunday Golden Gate Park kirtans in San Francisco which have been led by Swamiji and devotees weekly. Banners, kettle drums, cymbals, trumpets, mridangam, bongos, tambourines and voices have been attracting some 500-700 at the park kirtans every Sunday. A “love feast” in the San Francisco center has also initiated a Pacific Ocean Sunset Kirtan held at the beach every Tuesday at sundown. Lord Krishna freely provides all splendor.
The new center at 3720 Park Avenue, Montreal, Canada has been throwing Mantra Rock Dances for temple benefit, utilizing local rock and roll bands and lights. The Mahamantra, Kirtanananda reports, “is being made an integral part of the dance.” San Francisco devotees have also been chanting the Mahamantra at local dances.
The New York center is engaged in negotiating for a large building in the downtown Manhattan area. This building would be an important spiritual center for New York and the nation, and as such warrants the work and contributions not only of full-time devotees but of all people interested in spiritual rejuvenation in America. HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE.
—The Editors
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Notes transcribed from a lecture given December 21, 1966.
Lord Chaitanya is describing the Leela Avatars. There are innumerable avatars: Rama Nrsimha, Kalki, etc. In Srimad Bhagavatam some names are mentioned. All the incarnations, and especially the Leela avatars, descend to settle disturbances caused by demons.
There are, for these purposes, two types of men: devotees and demons. The devas (devotees) are demigods; they are completely Krishna conscious, and are entrusted with universal management. The demons or asuras (atheists) are meant for creating disturbances. When the number of asuras greatly increases and life becomes intolerable for the devas, then the Lord comes in the form of one of His plenary expansions. As stated in the Bhagavad Gita, “Just to deliver the faithful and to annihilate the unfaithful, I come in every millenium.” This is the function and purpose of the Leela avatars.
Lord Chaitanya tells Sanatan Goswami that He will now speak of incarnations of material qualities, the Guna Avatars. Each quality of material nature is controlled by the Supreme Lord in His expansions as Vishnu, Who is a full plenary expansion of God with 94% of the known godly qualities; Lord Shiva, a pure devotee, has 84% of the godly qualities, and Brahma, who is a living entity (like ourselves) with 78% of the godly qualities. Each one is a part and parcel of the Lord (Krishna). The guna avatars are in charge of material affairs. Lord Shiva is the avatar of Ignorance—but he is not ignorant, just as a prison official visiting the prison is not subject to its rules. Similarly, Brahma creates and initiates—passion comes from Brahma. Vishnu maintains these and all plural eternals in the material sphere—but He is the singular eternal.
What is the constitution of Brahma? There are innumerable living entities. Many of them are devotees, but they want to enjoy the material world and take favor from God. Brahma is in this position. Sometimes Krishna Himself becomes Brahma, when suitable living entities are not available. Just as a diamond has the power to illuminate, its power to shine being derived from the sun, so the powerful creator Brahma inherits power from the Supreme Lord. Brahma’s power is tiny in comparison; it is not originally luminous like the sun. This material universe is created by him at certain intervals, stays for some time, and then is destroyed.
As with Brahma, sometimes when Lord Shiva is not available, Krishna accepts management of the modes of ignorance. Shiva is a direct expansion of God, but because He is in the department of ignorance he is not quite God. Shiva means auspicious. His business is destruction. There is a popular statue of Shiva dancing, surrounded by the fires of annihilation. Material energy is under the control of Shiva. Shiva is the father and material energy (Durga) is the mother. Because, unlike Krishna, Shiva has this connection with illusory energy, Shiva is not quite God. He stands between the living entity and Krishna. Lord Chaitanya quotes the Brahma Samhita on Lord Shiva: “If you mix something sour with milk, it becomes yogurt; such is the difference between Krishna and Shiva.” Once made into yogurt it cannot be changed back into milk, although it has the same constitution. Those who worship Shiva cannot derive the same benefits as those in Krishna consciousness. Shiva is not different from Krishna, but he is altered by his association with matter—as he takes on the jobs of destruction and tamas (ignorance) management.
Vishnu is never in touch with material energy. Vishnu is beyond the material worlds. Sankaracharya accepted this Supreme position of Narayana (Vishnu), although he was an impersonalist. Therefore, Vishnu’s Body is Sat-Chit-Ananda, full of knowledge, eternal, and blissful.
The Teachings of Lord Caitanya
The Teachings of Lord Caitanya
By A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
In the instruction of Lord Chaitanya to Sanatan Goswami we can understand the Science of God in the matter of His transcendental Form, His opulences, and His devotional service—for everything is being described to Sanatan Goswami by the Lord Himself. At the time Sanatan fell at the feet of the Lord and with great humility asked about his real identity. He spoke as follows: “I am born of a lower family, my associations are all abominable, and I am fallen and the most wretched of mankind. I was suffering in the dark well of material enjoyment, and I never knew the actual goal of my life. I do not know what is beneficial to me although in the ordinary way I am what is known as a great learned man; in fact, I am so much of a fool that I even accept that I am a learned man. You have accepted me as your servant and you have delivered me from the entanglement of material life; now you can tell me what my duty is in this liberated state of life.” In other words, we see by this plea that liberation is not the final word of perfection; there must be activities in liberation. Sanatan clearly asks, “You have saved me from the entanglement of material existence; now after liberation, what is my duty? Kindly explain it to me.” Sanatan further inquired “Who am I? Why are the three-fold miseries always giving me trouble? Finally, tell me how I will be relieved from this material entanglement? I do not know how to question about spiritual advancement of life, but I beg that you kindly, mercifully let me know everything that I should know.”
This is the process of acceptance of a spiritual master by the disciple. One should approach a spiritual master and humbly submit to him and then inquire from him about one’s spiritual progress. The Lord was pleased by Sanatan’s submissive behavior and He replied to him as follows: “You are already benedicted by Lord Krishna, therefore you know everything and you are free from all miseries of material existence.” The Lord further replied that because Sanatan was in Krishna Consciousness, naturally, by the grace of Krishna, he was already conversant with everything, but, “Because you are a humble devotee you are asking me to confirm what is already realized by you. This is very nice.” These are the characteristics of a true devotee. In the Narada sutra it is said that one who is very serious about developing his Krishna Consciousness, by the grace of the Lord, has his desire for understanding Krishna very soon fulfilled. The Lord said, “You are a suitable person for protecting the devotional service of the Lord, therefore it is my duty to instruct you in the science of God, and I will explain to you one of the orders.”
It is the duty of a disciple approaching a spiritual master to enquire about his constitutional position. In response to that spiritual process, Sanatan has already asked, “What am I and why am I suffering from threefold miseries?” The threefold miseries are called adhyatmic, adhibhautic, adhidaivic. Adhyatmic means pertaining to the body and mind, therefore there are two kinds of miseries suffered by the living entity: sometimes he is suffering bodily, and sometimes he is distressed mentally—both are miseries. We are put into miseries even in the womb of the mother. And there are also many forms of misery that take advantage of our delicate body and give us pain. Miseries inflicted by other living entities are called adhibhautic. There are many living entities such as bugs born of eggs, that give us miseries while we are sleeping in bed. There are many living entities, like cockroaches, that sometimes give us pain, and there are other living entities born on different kinds of planets, and they also give us miseries. So far as adhidaivic miseries are concerned, they are offered by the demigods from the higher planets. For instance, sometimes we suffer from serious cold weather, sometimes we suffer by the thunderbolt, sometimes earthquakes, tornadoes, droughts and all other natural disasters. So we are always in either of these three kinds of miseries. Sanatan’s enquiry was, “What is the position of the living entities? Why are they always put into these three kinds of miseries?” Sanatan has admitted his weakness; although he was known by the mass of people as a great learned man (and actually he was a highly learned scholar in the Sanskrit language)—and although he accepted the designation of a very learned man given him by the mass of people, yet he did not actually know what his constitutional position was, and why he was subjected to the threefold miseries.
The necessity of approaching a spiritual master is not a fashion, but is for him who is seriously conscious of the material miseries and who wants to get out of them; it is the duty of such a person to approach the spiritual master. We find similar circumstances in the Bhagavad Gita. When Arjuna was perplexed by so many problems, whether to fight or not to fight, he accepted Lord Krishna as his spiritual master. There also it was a case of the Supreme Spiritual Master instructing Arjuna about the constitutional position of the individual entity. In the Bhagavad Gita we are informed that the constitutional position of the individual entity is spirit soul; he is not matter, therefore as a spirit soul he is part and parcel of the Supreme Soul, Absolute Truth, Personality of Godhead. We also learn that it is the duty of the spirit soul to surrender, for only then can he be happy. The last instruction of the Bhagavad Gita is that the spirit soul is to surrender completely unto the Supreme Soul, Krishna, and in that way realize happiness. Here also, Lord Chaitanya in answering the questions of Sanatan is repeating the same truth, but without giving him information of the spirit soul which is described in the Gita. He begins from the point where Krishna ended his instruction. It is calculated by great devotees that Lord Chaitanya is Krishna Himself. And as He ended His instruction in the Gita, from that point he begins His instruction again, to Sanatan. The Lord said to Sanatan, “Your constitutional position is that you are pure living soul. This material body is not the identity of your real self, neither is your mind your real identity, nor your intelligence, nor is false ego the real identity for self. Your identity is that you are eternal servitor of the Supreme Lord, Krishna. Your position is that you are transcendental. Superior energy of Krishna is spiritual in constitution, and inferior external energy is material. In other words, you are between the material energy and the spiritual energy, therefore your position is marginal. In other words, you belong to the marginal potency of Krishna. You are simultaneously one with and different from Krishna because in a sense you are spirit, therefore you are not different from Krishna; but because you are only a minute particle of Krishna, you are therefore different from Krishna.”
This simultaneous oneness and difference always exists in the relationship between the living entities and the Supreme Lord. From the marginal position of the living entity, this “simultaneously one and different” is understood. The living entity is just like a molecular part of sunshine, whereas Krishna is compared to the blazing and shining sun. Lord Chaitanya compared the living entities to the blazing sparks from the fire, and the Supreme Lord to the blazing fire of the sun. The Lord cites in this connection a verse from Vishnu Purana in which it is stated that everything that is manifested within this cosmic world is but a different energy of the Supreme Lord. For example, as the fire emanating from one place exhibits its illumination and heat all around, similarly the Lord, although situated in one place in the spiritual world, is manifesting His different energies everywhere, and the whole world of cosmic representation is but different manifestations of His energy. The energy of the Supreme Lord is transcendental and spiritual, and the living entities also belong to that energy, but there is another energy which is called hard-working material energy, which is covered by the cloud of ignorance and therefore divided into the three modes of material nature. Lord Chaitanya quoted from Vishnu Purana that all inconceivable energies are there in the Supreme Personality of (sic:) ceivable energy is there in the Supreme Lord, and the whole cosmic manifestation is acting due to the same inconceivable energy of the Supreme Lord. For example, as the heat of the fire is all perceivable, similarly the inconceivable energy of the Supreme Lord is always perceivable by an intelligent person.
The Lord says that the living entities are also known as ksetrajna, or “knower of the field of activities.” In the Gita in the 13th Chapter the living entity is described as ksetrajna, the body is described as the field of activities, and the living entity is the knower of that field. Although the living entity is constitutionally conversant with spiritual energy, or has the potency of understanding, he is being covered by the material energy, and he consequently understands this body to be himself. This is called false ego. In material existence, under this false ego, the bewildered living entity is changing his different bodies and suffering different kinds of miseries. The knowledge of understanding his true position is present to various extents in different varieties of living entities. In other words, it is to be understood that the living entity is part and parcel of the spiritual energy of the Supreme Lord. The material energy is inferior energy, and therefore man has the potency to uncover this material energy and utilize the spiritual energy. It is stated in the Bhagavad Gita that the superior energy is covered by the inferior energy. Due to this covering, the living entity is subjected to the miseries of the material world, and, according to the different degrees of obscuration, is proportionately suffering material miseries. Those who are a little enlightened are suffering less, but on the whole, everyone is subjected to material miseries on account of being covered by the material energy. The Lord also quoted from the Gita, 7th Chapter, in which it is stated that earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, intelligence, and ego, all combine together to form the inferior energy of the Supreme Lord. But the Superior Energy is the real identity of the living entity; on account of that energy the whole material world is working. The cosmic manifestation, made of material energy or material elements, has no power to act unless it is moved by the Superior energy, the living entity. So actually, the conditional life of the living entity is forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Lord in Superior energy. When that relationship is forgotten, conditional life is the result. Only when man revives his real identity, that of eternal servitor of the lord, does he become liberated.



Last night I saw
In a dream orchard
Hanging from the branches of the trees
In place of fruit
Clusters of golden finger cymbals
Which tingled in the breezes
As if they were thousands of tiny frozen lotus flowers
Shimmering and tingling;
and flocks of devotees in streaming yellow robes
danced up and down between the rows of trees
with upraised arms that looked like the curved necks
of swans
and heads tilted and eyes that looked lost
because they had found
which only Krishna can bestow
to His pure devotees;
and beneath one of the trees sat Swamiji
as if enthroned
beating His drum intently
smiling, placed
and chanting
While all the yellow-robed marionettes swirrled about him
And the timbriled trees tingled from each breath of Krishna
Oh Krishna, if in my next thousand births
This dream is all You reveal to me of Your Kingdom
Then it would be enough.

—Brahmananda Das Brahmachary
(Bruce Scharf)
Meditation on the Gita
by Sri Shankaracharya
Purports by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Text rendered into verse
by Hayagriva Das Brahmachary
(Sri Shankaracharya—or Shankara—is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva, according to Padma Puranam. Appearing in India in the 6th century A.D., he single-handedly drove the Buddhist philosophy out of India and re-established Vedic culture, all in his short lifetime of 32 years. Although he took up the impersonalist guise to better battle the Buddhists-impersonalism is much akin to Buddhism-the commentary rendered below, as well as other writings, reveal him to be, in actuality, devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna. Shankara’s most famous treatise is Vivekachudamani, and his other words include Sarirak Vhasya and Prayers for Krishna.)
O Bhagavad Gita,
Through Thy eighteen chapters
Thou showers upon Man
The immortal nectar
Of the Wisdom of the Absolute
O Blessed Gita
By Thee Lord Krishna Himself
Enlightened Arjuna.
Afterward, the ancient sage Vyasa
Included Thee in the Mahabharata
O Loving Mother,
Destroyer of Man’s rebirth
Into the darkness of this mortal world,
Upon Thee I meditate.
Salutations to thee, O Vyasa.
Thou art of mighty intellect,
And thine eyes
Are large as the petals
Of the full-blown lotus.
It was thou
Who brightened this lamp of Wisdom,
Filling it with the oil
Of the Mahabarata.

Srimad Sankaracharya was an impersonalist from the materialist point of view. But he never denied the spiritual form known as Sat-Chit-Ananda Vigrata or the Eternal all-blissful Form of Knowledge which existed before the material creation. When he spoke of Supreme Brahman as impersonal he did not mean that the Lord’s Sat-Chit-Ananda Form was to be confused with a material conception of Personality. In the very beginning of his commentary on the Gita, he maintains that Narayana, the Supreme Lord, is transcendental Personality, and He has nothing to do with the material Personality. Lord Krishna is the same Supreme Personality and has no connection with the material body. He descends in His spiritual eternal Form, but foolish people mistake His body as like unto ours. Sankara’s preaching of impersonalism is especially meant for teaching foolish persons who consider Krishna to be an ordinary man composed of matter.
No body would care to read the Gita if it had been spoken by a material man, and certainly Vyasadeva wouldn’t have even bothered to incorporate it into the history of the Mahabharata. According to the above verses, Mahabharata is the History of the Ancient World and Vyasadeva is the writer of this great epic. Bhagavad Gita is identical with Krishna; and because Krishna is the Absolute Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no difference between Krishna and His words. Therefore the Gita is as worshipable as Lord Krishna Himself, both being Absolute. One who hears Bhagavad Gita “as is” actually hears the words directly from the lotus lips of the Lord. But unfortunate persons say that the Gita is too antiquated for the modern man who wants to find out God by speculation or meditation.
I salute Thee, O Krishna,
O Thou, Who art the refuge
Of ocean-born Lakshmi
And all who take refuge
At Thy lotus Feet.
Thou art indeed
The wish-fulfilling tree
For Thy devotee.
Thy one hand holds a staff
For driving cows,
And Thy other hand is raised—
The thumb touching the tip
Of Thy forefinger,
Indicating Divine Knowledge.
Salutations to Thee, O Supreme Lord,
For Thou art the Milker
Of the ambrosia of the Gita.

Srimad Sankaracharya explicitly says, “You fools, just worship Govinda and that Bhagavad Gita spoken by Narayana Himself,” yet foolish people still conduct their research word to find out Narayan; consequently they are wretched and waste their time for nothing. Narayana is never wretched nor Daridra; rather, He is worshipped by the Goddess of Fortune, Lakshmi, as well as all living entities. Sankara declared himself to be “Brahman,” but he admits Narayana or Krishna to be the Supreme Personality Who is beyond the material creation. He offers his respects to Krishna as the Supreme Brahman or Param Brahman because He (Krishna) is worshipable by everyone. Only the fools and enemies of Krishna who cannot understand what Bhagavad Gita is (though they make commentaries on it) say, “It is not personal Krishna to whom we have to surrender ourselves utterly, but to the unborn, beginningless Eternal who speaks through Krishna.” Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. Whereas Sankara, the greatest of the impersonalists, offers his due respects to Krishna and His book Bhagavad Gita, the foolish say that “it is not to the Personal Krishna.” Such unenlightened people do not know that Krishna is Absolute and that there is no difference between His inside and outside. The difference between inside and outside is experienced in the dual material world. In the Absolute World there is no such difference because in the Absolute everything is spiritual (Sat-Chit-Ananda) and Narayana or Krishna belongs to the Absolute World. In the Absolute World there is only the factual Personality, and there is no distinction between body and soul.
The Upanishads
Are as a herd of cows,
Lord Krishna, Son of a cowherd,
Is their Milker,
Arjuna is the calf,
The supreme nectar of the Gita
Is the milk,
And the wise man
Of a purified intellect
Is the drinker.

Unless one understands spiritual variegatedness, one cannot understand the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. In the Brahma Samhita it is said that Krishna’s Name, Form, Quality, Pastimes, Entourage and Paraphernalia are all anandachinmoyarasa—in short, everything of His transcendental association is of the same composition of spiritual bliss, knowledge and eternity. There is no end to His Name, Form, etc., unlike the material world where all things have their end. As stated in the Bhagavad Gita, only fools deride Him, whereas it is Sankara, the greatest impersonalist, who worships Him, His cows and His pastimes as the Son of Vasudeva and pleasure of Devaki.
Thou Son of Vasudeva,
Destroyer of the demons Kamsa and Chanura,
Thou Supreme Bliss of Mother Devaki,
O Thou Guru of the Universe,
Teacher of the Worlds,
Thee, O Krishna, I salute.

Sankara describes Him as the Son of Vasudeva and Devaki. Does he mean thereby that he is worshipping an ordinary material man? He worships Krishna because he knows that Krishna’s birth and activities are all supernatural. As stated in the Bhagavad Gita (4th Chapter), Krishna’s birth and activities are mysterious and transcendental and therefore only the devotees of Krishna can know them perfectly. Sankara was not such a fool that he would accept Krishna as an ordinary man and at the same time offer Him all devotional obeisances, knowing Him as the son of Devaki and Vasudeva. According to Bhagavad Gita, only by knowing the transcendental birth and activities of Krishna can one attain liberation by acquiring a spiritual form like Krishna. There are five different kinds of liberations. One who merges into the spiritual auras of Krishna, known as impersonal Brahman effulgence, does not fully develop his spiritual body. But one who fully develops his spiritual existence becomes an associate of Narayana or Krishna in different spiritual abodes. One who enters into the abode of Narayana develops a spiritual Form exactly like Narayana (four-handed) and one who enters into the highest spiritual abode of Krishna, known as Goloka Vrindaban, develops a spiritual Form of two hands like Krishna. Sankara, as an incarnation of Lord Shiva, knows all these spiritual existences, but he did not disclose them to his then Buddhist followers because it was impossible for them to know about the spiritual world. Lord Buddha preached that void is the ultimate goal, so how could His followers understand spiritual variegatedness? Therefore Sankara said Brahma Satya Jagat Mithya, or material variegatedness is false but spiritual variegatedness is fact. In the Padma Puranam Lord Shiva has admitted that He had to preach the philosophy of Maya or illusion in the Kaliyuga as another edition of the “void” philosophy of Buddha. He had to do this by the order of the Lord for specific reasons. He, however, disclosed his real mind by recommending that people worship Krishna for no one can be saved simply by mental speculations composed of word jugglery and grammatical maneuvers. Shankara instructs further: Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam Mudhamate; Prapte sannihite khalu marane nahi nahi, raksati du krim karane. “You intellectual fools, just worship Govinda, just worship Govinda, just worship Govinda. Your grammatical knowledge and word jugglery will not save you at the time of death.”
Of that terrifying river
Of the battlefield of Kurukshetra
Over which the Pandavas victoriously crossed,
Bhishma and Drona were as the high banks,
Jayadratha as the river’s water,
The King of Ghandara the blue water-lily,
Salya the shark, Kripa the current,
Karna the mighty waves,
Ashvatama and Vikarna the dread alligators,
And Duryodhana the very whirlpool—
But Thou, O Krishna, wast the Ferryman!
May the spotless lotus of the Mahabharata
That grows on the waters
Of the words of Vyasa
And of which the Bhagavad Gita
Is the irresistably sweet fragrance
And its tales of heroes
The full blown petals
Fully opened by the talk of Lord Hari,
Who destroys the sins
Of Kaliyuga,
And on which daily light
The nectar-seeking souls,
As so many bees
Swarming joyously—
May this lotus of the Mahabharata
Bestow on us the Highest Good.
Salutations to Lord Krishna,
The Embodiment of Supreme Bliss,
By Whose grace and compassion
The dumb become eloquent
And the lame scale mountains—
Him I salute!

Foolish followers of foolish speculators cannot understand the meaning of offering salutations to Lord Krishna, the embodiment of Bliss. Sankara himself offered his salutations to Lord Krishna so that some of his intelligent followers might understand the real fact by the example set by their great Master Sankara, the incarnation of Lord Shiva. But there are many obstinate followers of Sankara who refuse to offer their salutations to Lord Krishna, and instead mislead innocent persons by injecting materialism into Bhagavad Gita and confusing innocent readers by their commentaries and consequently the readers never have the opportunity to become blessed by offering salutations to Lord Krishna, the cause of all causes. The greatest disservice to humanity is to keep mankind in the darkness about the science of Krishna or Krishna Consciousness by distorting the sense of the Gita.
Salutations to that Supreme Shining One
Whom the creator, Brahma, Varuna,
Indra, Rudra, Marut and all divine beings
Praise with hymns,
Whose glories are sung
By the verses of the Vedas,
Of Whom the singers of Sama sing
And of Whose glories the Upanishads
Proclaim in full choir,
Whom the Yogins see
With their minds absorbed
In perfect meditation,
And of Whom all the hosts
Of gods and demons
Know not the limitations.
To Him, the Supreme God Krishna, be all salutations—
Him we salute! Him we salute! Him we salute!

By recitation of the ninth verse of his meditation quoted from Srimad Bhagavatam, Sankara has indicated that Lord Krishna is worshipable by one and all, including himself. He gives hints to materialists, impersonalists, mental speculators, “void” philosophers and all other candidates subjected to the punishment of material miseries-just offer salutations to Lord Krishna, Who is worshipped by Brahma, Shiva, Varuna, Indra and all the other demigods. He has not mentioned however the name of Vishnu because Vishnu is identical with Krishna. The Vedas and the Upanishads are meant for understanding the process by which one can surrender unto Krishna. The yogins try to see Him (Krishna) within themselves by meditation. In other words, it is for all the demigods and demons who do not know where the ultimate end is that Sankara teaches, and he especially instructs the demons and the fools to offer salutations to Krishna and His words, the Bhagavad Gita, by following his footprints. Only by such acts will demons be benefited, not by misleading their innocent followers by so called mental speculations or showbottle meditations. Sankara directly offers salutations to Krishna as if to show the fools, who are searching after light, that here is the light like the sun. But the fallen demons are like owls that will not open their eyes on account of their fear of the sunlight itself. These owls will never open their eyes to see the sublime light of Krishna and His words the Bhagavad Gita. They will, however, comment on the Gita with their closed owl-eyes to mislead their unfortunate readers and followers. Sankara however discloses the light to his less intelligent followers and shows that Bhagavad Gita and Krishna is the only source of light. This is all to teach the sincere seekers of Truth to offer salutation to Lord Krishna and thus surrender unto Him without misgivings. That is the highest perfection of life and that is the highest teaching of Sankara, the great learned scholar whose teachings drove the void-philosophy of Buddha out of India, the land of knowledge. Om Tat Sat
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Krishna Consciousness in American Poetry
Krishna Consciousness in American Poetry
by Hayagriva Das Brahmachary
(Howard Wheeler)
Part I: Emerson
In the past 130 years the United States has swiftly travelled a long way down the road of materialism and atheism and has done a great deal in bringing the rest of the world down that road with them. It is a dead end road, but anyone jumping off that bumbling, rambling bandwagon is likely to encounter squatting along the roadside as fine a company of transcendental “bums” as one could ever want to meet—Emerson, Thoreau, Miss Emily Dickonson, Whitman, and “roaring boy” Hart Crane. There are some others, but these are the principle American transcendental waysiders who keep their fires of love and canned beans of joy and bliss warm for the hungry, wearied traveller.
There is little doubt in the minds of most truly intelligent man that America has been betrayed by the money-hungry, power-hungry atheist class of men. They have initiated that rambling bandwagon of capitalism that is presently wending its merry way to hell under the banners of Progress, Prosperity, Materialism, Power, and Sense Enjoyment. Even the countries that have previously boasted considerable God-consciousness, such as India, are now scrambling to get on the bandwagon. As a result, the devotees of the Supreme Lord are feeling more isolated and generally “out of it” socially. They lock their doors, close their windows, and chant softly in order not to disturb their atheist neighbors. At least this is the cast in the big American cities. There is no transcendental hero or bearded bard of Fifth Avenue sounding his “barbaric yawp all over the roofs of the world.” The hollow men with heads of straw are holding the wagon reins, and even a whisper frightens them.
This calamity is largely due to there never having been sufficiently powerful spiritual leaders in America. Although some of the early settlers came to this country seeking religious freedom, the New World soon came to represent a challenge of material conquest—gold and land—rather than a spiritual promise. The Christian Church was imported from Europe, and spasmodically—with Jonothan Edwards, Edward Taylor, and the revivalists of the 1830’s and 50’s—the air was surcharged with spirituality. But after the Civil War this country began to ascend the ladder of Material Progress: the bumbling, rambling bandwagon started rolling down the open road to chaos, and the sages started jumping off. Since then the real spiritual gurus have been chased out, killed, or cancelled amid the waves of official materialist propaganda, or perhaps given quaint roles in the Great American Circus. What great poets and sages America has given birth to have had to attain their realization in a secular way, and with God’s help and grace. With many it was a lonely battle—there were no systems planned for them. For the American, the cosmic way to spiritual universe was uncharted, and the few who managed to make their ways to it were often eccentric poets, polite mendicants, hermetic spinsters, mad geniuses—in short, the American “transcendental bums.”
From a spiritual point of view, India is most fortunate in its parampara system of God-realization, a system of disciplic succession steming from Brahma, the creator-god. This system utilizes the guru-brahmachary (student) principle of desseminating transcendental knowledge from generation to another. Krishna speaks of this is the Gita:
The eternal yoga I taught to Vivasvat (the Sun god); Vivasvat taught it to Manu (the father of mankind); and Manu taught it to Ikshvaku (ancestor of the earth-warriors). Thus handed down from one to another, it became known to the royal sages. But through long lapse of time, this yoga has been lost to the world. (Gita, 4.1-2)
To re-establish this yoga on earth, Krishna spoke the Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna. In the West, the best example that can be given of disciplic succession is the Roman Catholic Church which traces its papal history directly from Christ and St. Peter, the first Vicar of Rome. Such systems are useful, especially for guiding the mass of people who look to higher authorities in spiritual matters. The dangers of such a system are also obvious: the system may become regimentalized, it may deviate from the original teachings, it may become corrupt and die, it may become narrow and secular—in which cases the parampara system stumbles over itself and deals a death blow to God-consciousness. The system is legitimate, but man is frail and subject to error.
There was never such a system in America. America is a new country—not even 200 years old—a baby compared to Vedic culture and civilization. The saints, sages and poets of this country do not generally work out their salvation or progress in God consciousness through the parampara system, or, for that matter, through any orthodox religious system. Many seem to have been directly favored by the Supreme Who endowed them with prophetic powers and Who gave them poetic powers with which to praise Him and direct grace by which to attain Him. In fact, direct revelation—always the Supreme’s gracious gift—seemed natural in a country where individualism and the new, free man were spiritual ideals. One often hears in Whitman and other transcendentalists the sigh of relief for their release from the rotting philosophic, literary and religious traditions of Europe. And the Supreme Lord seems to have taken many of them by the hand, showing them how to “celebrate” Him and justify His ways to man. God is not limited and neither are His ways, and although man may be confined to stringent systems and rules, He is beyond all rules and reveals Himself to whomever He pleases. The tendency of many religionists to place the Supreme under the regulations of their religions is vain and silly.
The Supreme Lord has been directly praised by many great poets in the West—notably Dante, the English metaphysical poets, St. John of the Cross, Milton and Blake—great Christian poets who managed to utilize the orthodox terminology of religion and the Bible as the basis of their poetry. Other poets, although secular in their approach, wrote of the Absolute in different ways, often using the medium of Nature. This is the case for Wordsworth in his famous “Ode: Intimations of Immortality,” and Keats’ reciprocal serenade between himself and the Supersoul in “Ode to a Nightengale.” Byron in “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” uses the ocean as a symbol of the Absolute, and it is easy to see Krishna as Coleridge’s Kubla Khan. The “unseen presence” of Shelley’s West Wind is addressed as “Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;/Destroyer and preserver.” In fact, one might say that all the major English poets (especially of the 19th century) had to plug into the Supreme Consciousness for their inspiration.
In America, the poets’ Krishna or cosmic consciousness was given a boost by the “transcendentalist” movement in the early 19th century. Prior to this time, Edward Taylor (1645-1729), a New England Puritan poet, wrote excellent metaphysical poetry in praise of Christ. No major force emerges, however, between Taylor and Emerson, the first superior literary mind of the 19th century.
In his introduction to Nature, Emerson writes:
The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should now we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? And a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs. The sun shines today. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts.
This is a capsule statement of the zeit-geist catching hold in the literary circles of New England during the 1830’s—a new land, a new man, a new relation to God. This relationship to God is intimately tied up with the land and Nature which serve as springboards into the realms of the eternal. Emerson describes his mystical experiences in this way:
Standing on the bare ground—my head bathed by the blithe air and uplifted into infinite space—all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am a part and parcel of God. The name of the nearest friend sounds then foreign and accidental: to be brothers, to be acquaintances, master or servant, is then a trifle and a disturbance. I am the lover of uncontained and immortal beauty. (From Nature)
Emerson was also aware of attempts to attain this cosmic consciousness by abortive, artificial means:
It is a secret which every intellectual man quickly learns, that beyond the energy of his possessed and conscious intellect he is capable of a new energy (as of an intellect doubled on itself) by abandonment to the nature of things; that beside his privacy of power as an individual man, there is a great public power on which he can draw, by unlocking, at all risks, his human doors, and suffering the ethereal tides to roll and circulate through him; then he is caught up into the life of the Universe, his speech is thunder, his thought is law, and his words are universally intelligible as the plants and animals.. For if in any manner we can stimulate this instinct, new passages are opened for us into nature; the mind flows into and through the hardest and highest, and the metamorphosis is possible. (From Essays, 2nd Series, “The Poet”)
Regarding narcotics and the psychedelics of his day, Emerson writes:
This is the reason why bards love wine, mead, narcotics, coffee, tea, opium, the fumes of sandalwood and tobacco, or whatever other procurers of animal exhilaration. All men avail themselves of such means as they can, to add this extraordinary power to their normal powers. (From “The Poet”)
However, Emerson makes it clear that he does not condone such artificial means, which he considers to be used by an inferior man. He also deems the results to be imperfect and temporary and imaginary, for in actuality deterioration and dissipation are provoked by reliance on external stimuli.
Never can any advantage be taken of nature by a trick. The spirit of the world, the great calm presence of the Creator, comes not forth to the sorceries of opium or of wine. The sublime vision comes to the pure and simple soul in a clean and chaste body. That is not an inspiration, which we owe to narcotics, but some counterfeit excitement and fury. Milton says that the lyric poet may drink wine and live generously, but the epic poet, he who shall sing of the gods and their descent unto men, must drink water out of a wooden bowl.. His cheerfulness should be the gift of the sunlight; the air should suffice for his inspiration, and he should be tipsy with water. (From “The Poet”)
In “The Poet,” as in other essays, Emerson is prophesying the great poetic vindicator of his philosophy—Whitman. Emerson’s philosophy draws a great deal on Plato and the Bible, but the English romanticists and German philosophers of the 19th century also find their ways into his works. He envisions the self-reliant man in direct relationship with God, free from all “animal exhilarations” such as narcotics, society, and materialism, and also free from the intellectual shackles of the Old World, intoxicated instead with “air and water” in the great virgin woods of America. In this way he struck the theme for the transcendental man in America—and Thoreau and Whitman were to be the most famous embodiments of his vision.

This liberated man is a man free from all encumbrances. He is dependant on no one. He stands alone with his Creator upon the new and fertile American landscape, and he is the epitome of rugged individualism. Emerson’s famous “Self Reliance” essay advises in this way:
A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages.. Trust thyself; every heart vibrates to that iron string. (From “Self Reliance”)
Later, Whitman was also to exhort his reader to see the direct revelation:
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books, You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
(From “Song of Myself,” section 2)
Emerson felt that part of man’s slavery is due to his attachment to the past—his functioning on old premises, theories and actions—in short, his enslavement to karma. Break them off, he advises, and disregard apparent contradictions.
In your metaphysics you have denied personality to the Deity, yet when the devout motions of the soul come, yield to them heart and life, though they should clothe God with shape and color. Leave your theory, as Joseph his coat in the hands of the harlot, and flee. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. (“Self Reliance”)
Abandonment of mundane conceptualization and open acceptance of the infinite diversity of the Creator and His creation are considered by Emerson to be characteristics of the mahatma, the great-souled man. In Whitman’s words, “Do I contradict myself?/ Very well then I contradict myself,/ (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” (“Son of Myself,” 51) This great souled man has no time for fault-finding, scoffing, argumentation or lamentation. He is blissful, ecstatic, absorbed in Krishna-consciousness. Nor is he attached to anything on the earth.
Nothing is secure but life, transition, the energizing spirit.. People wish to be settled; only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them. (Emerson’s “Circles”)
This is non-attachment as practised by the free man who does not anchor however calm the waters. For him the universe is not a house for sleepers. It is an open road for travelling souls.
Although the poetic strain is everywhere apparent in Emerson’s essays and philosophy, he was not able to completely express his thoughts in his own poetry. This remained for Whitman to do. Emerson did write poems, but he is remembered instead for his essays, which represent him better. Emerson did write a poem called “Brahma,” that appears to be influenced by certain verses in the Gita, especially Krishna’s injunction: “He who looks on the Self as the slayer, and he who looks on the Self as the slain—neither of these apprehends aright. The Self slays not nor is slain.” (Gita, 2.19) Emerson actually paraphrases this verse in “Brahma,” his best poem:
If the red slayer think he slays,
Or if the slain think he is slain,
They know not well the subtle ways I am the doubter and the doubt,
I keep, and pass, and turn again.
They reckon ill who leave me out;
When me they fly, I am the wings;
I am the doubter and the doubt,
And I the hymn the Brahmin sings.
Far or forgot to me is near;
Shadow and sunlight are the same;
The vanished gods to me appear;
And one to me are shame and fame.
The strong gods pine for my abode,
And pine in vain the sacred Seven;
But thou, meek lover of the god!
Find me, and turn thy back on heaven.
That the above poem was influenced by the Bhagavad Gita is not surprising, for it is reported that Emerson’s copy of the Gita was more “widely used than the one in the Harvard College Library.” No doubt Emerson was fully competent to deliver lectures on Krishna consciousness, but he was not competent to celebrate his great ideas in poetry, for his own poetry is too often stilted and sing-song. And although Henry David Thoreau, Emerson’s youthful disciple, also tried verse, the ascetic of Walden Pond is also best remembered for his Walden and other essays. The poetry of the new God consciousness of 19th century America had to wait for the 1855 “yawp” of another man.

(Next Issue: Krishna Conscious In American Poetry, Part Ii: Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson)
Samsara Blues
Samsara Blues
I got those Samsara blues,
Thinking good or bad? Win or lose?
All that smokin’ and talkin’ meth
Just turns the wheel of birth and death.
I’ll never attain liberation
By mere sense gratification
LSD and marijuana
Won’t get me to Nirvana,
And meditating on the Void
Only gets me paranoid
Remembering I’m not this body,
Telling her I’m Brahmachary,
There’s really nothing to control
‘Cause I’m eternal spirit soul.
Fixed up in Krishna Consciousness,
Who cares about the Maya mess?
So forget that Uncle Sam Thing,
Just keep chanting, chanting, chanting
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare.
In material entanglement what calms me?
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.
Krishna chase away those Samsara blues!
That’s what I said.
—Hari Das Brahmachary
(Harvey Cohen)


The editors welcome poems, songs, essays. Please mail contributions to Editor, c/o International Society for Krishna Consciousness, 518 Fredrick Street, San Francisco, California.

Also available from the Society:

Essays by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami: WHO IS CRAZY AND KRISHNA THE RESERVOIR OF PLEASURE (50 cents) INTRODUCTION TO GEETOPANISHAD (35 cents) and SRIMAD BHAGWATAM (3 volumes) translated and with Purports by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.

BACK TO GODHEAD subscriptions: 1 year (24 issues) $3.
Printing: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)

Back to Godhead Magazine #11, April, 1967
On Our Cover
On Our Cover
is the Lord, Sri Krishna, in full battle array. As Creator of all that be, God is no stranger to violence. It too is His play-for He has the full knowledge of the eternal, indestructible nature of all living entities, and His warrior spirit is on the same plane as His loving attitude. Warrior or lover, Krishna is Absolute.
God accepts men in whatever relationship they crave to have with Him. If, like the atheists, they wish for there to be no God, then Krishna hides Himself from them, and gives them proofs to uphold their sentiments. If one wants the Lord as his friend, however, he finds Krishna always with him, kind and loving and playful. And if, as so many do, you want Krishna as your father, He will supply you fully with all needs, as indeed He does anyway.
Again, if one seeks to be the enemy of God, he will find God neither impotent no unwilling to join the contest. And, just as most indomitable, most implacable Foe. He never turns from any proposition, for He is full in renunciation, and neither fears nor longs for anything. Furthermore, those who die by the Lord's hand directly attain to immediate salvation, which is so ardently sought after by others.
By the Mercy of Krishna
By the Mercy of Krishna
The above picture is reproduced from the front pages of the Boston Globe, April 27, 1967. It shows Rayarama Das and Brahmananda Das holding kirtan at the Franklin Park zoo Be-in of the previous day. This was Boston's first such gathering, and a great number of people joined in the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Such encouraging interest has added impetus to our hopes of establishing a center in that city.
Please forgive the late appearance of this issue, which is in fact out of sequence, as it carries Part II of Hayagriva Das' Krishna Consciousness In American Poetry, the third part of which appeared last issue. Back to Godhead has been undergoing considerable transformations, of which we'll speak at greater length shortly. Before that, here are some ISKCON bulletins:
*The Society's record album, KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS, has been selling wonderfully well wherever it has reached the public, and is already on sale as far away as London.
*The great Love Feast which the New York Temple was planning has come to nothing, but a different program of monthly—though modest-feats is still being considered.
*The Ratha Yatra Chariot Festival will begin on July 9 with a parade through New York's streets to a beach-provided a suitable beach can be found.
*The San Francisco Temple's Chariot Festival is all set; we'll publish details next issue.
*As shown on our second page, New York's Tompkins Square Park on the Lower East Side at 7th Street and Avenue A will again resound with the chanting of the Maha-Mantra on Sunday afternoons, beginning May 7, at 3pm.

This brings us back to Back to Godhead. Last issue we promised that, although the cover was about to be changed, the price was not. Now we feel like those politicians who've promised to do away with the taxes: once in office, they find things to be not what they had hoped for: Beginning with the May issue, No.13, Back to Godhead will be offset printed from cover to cover, and will include considerably more pictorial material than it has in the past. Printing will greatly aid circulation, as many stores flatly refuse to carry mimeographed work. It will also, unfortunately, force us to raise the price of the magazine. This and future editions will contain more than double the present amount of material, and will appear monthly rather than semi-monthly. After reviewing the May Back to Godhead, why not write and tell us what you think of the change? We'll be hoping to hear from you.
Hare Krishna
The editors.
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Notes transcribed from a lecture given December 21, 1966.
Lord Krishna says, Although I am equal to everyone and no one is My enemy or My special friend, and there is no particular favor for anyone, still—and "still" here indicates that there is a special case—for anyone who is engaged in My service, so I am engaged in his service. In the Gita, God states that He also becomes a devotee to us. Love is not one-sided; it is reciprocal. Although God is great, He takes part in our lives. It is clearly stated in the Gita that He takes pleasure in serving the devotee.
Someone may say, If a devotee is engaged in the service of the Lord, but his behavior isn't up to standard, what happens to him? Of course, a devotee is in the process of developing the 26 saintly qualities—but the one all-important qualification is that he be a devotee. If he lacks other qualifications but is unflinching in devotion, if his conduct is not good but still he does not divert his attention to demigods and others, fixing it only on Krishna—then the Lord says that he is to be reckoned as sadhu in view of his Krishna consciousness. Sadhu means honest, religious and pious. If I have a bad character but think Krishna consciousness is the right course of action and I take to it, then, even if I can't lose my bad habits, I am considered honest, pious and religious according to Krishna. One may now say, Although one may call him a sadhu, he's not a hundred percent so. But Krishna says, Yes, he is a hundred percent sadhu, regardless of whatever else he may be, if he is devoted to Me.
We must not cling too tightly to the rules and regulations of Vedic culture. All people should be given a chance to develop Krishna Consciousness. Rupa Goswami, a great Acharya, said, "The first business is to see that, somehow or other, people become Krishna conscious. As far as rules are concerned, if one takes to this line, then regulations will follow, just as the servant follows his master." The Lord says that, because one has taken to Krishna Consciousness, he will very soon become a pious man. If you take to Krishna Consciousness very sincerely—chanting, and with rules and regulations—you will very soon become a pious man. If you want to sit on the high court bench, you have to have many credentials, along with the proper background and training; but with Krishna Consciousness, if you'll just sit on the bench, all education will follow. You will relish Krishna Consciousness so much that you will readily give up all nonsense.
The whole world is chasing after sense gratification, but the man in Krishna Consciousness will very quickly give it up. You don't have to train yourself to stop sense gratification. Just chant and hear—you will enjoy this so much that you will automatically give up what is not conducive to spiritual life. Chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. In this fashion, a man will easily attain to perfect, eternal blissful life.

“My dear Arjuna," the Lord says, "Declare it boldly to the world, that My devotee never perishes." Why doesn't He Himself tell it? Krishna has promised that He will protect His devotee. God can violate His own promise, but He will protect the devotee who will spread His word. At the battle of Kurukshetra, Krishna was on one side with Arjuna, while His soldiers were on the other side. He declared, "I shall join Arjuna, but I shall not fight. I shall simply take some work: I shall drive Arjuna's chariot." But in the fight, when Arjuna was hard-pressed by Bhisma, the Lord broke His word. Bhisma had been accused by his comrades of not fighting hard enough because he had so many dear relatives in Arjuna's camp. And so he promised that he would kill all five enemy leaders—the Pandava brothers—on the next day of battle. For this purpose he had five special arrows which Duryodhana kept. Now, Krishna sent Arjuna to Duryodhana—who was king of the opposing forces—after that day's battle. Arjuna went to the king's camp and was received. He now asked Duryodhana to fulfill the promises of a boon he had made, and Duryodhana agreed to do whatever Arjuna asked. Arjuna asked for the five arrows, which were promptly handed over to him.
Aware of Krishna's hand in this, Bhisma resolved to kill His devotee or else force Him to break His promise and fight. On the battlefield the next day Bhisma fought Arjuna so fiercely that Krishna had to grab the wheel of the their shattered chariot and run up to him, demanding that he stop. "It were better I break My promise," said the Lord, "than that you kill Arjuna."
So the Lord said, "You are My devotee…You tell them that anyone who takes to Krishna Consciousness will never be destroyed." What is destruction? When we lose our spiritual consciousness, we lose our identity. As a spiritual being you have eternal bliss and all knowledge, but here you are in a wretched condition, already destroyed—without bliss, eternity or full knowledge. Unless you revive your spiritual awareness, you are destroyed by illusory energy. But whosoever takes to this process will never return to this material world of sense gratification and misery. Soon or later he will be taken up by the Lord, according to how he approaches Krishna Consciousness.
Material existence is ignorance of the spiritual world. We are being kicked around like footballs from body to body—in one birth American, then Indian, then Chinese, etc. This process of Krishna Consciousness is the only way to attain full spiritual life. Eternity, bliss and knowledge are awaiting us. Why should we refuse them? Nor is this a mere theory. Don't think that Bhagavad Gita is imaginary—people have taken it for thousands of years; in its written form it is 5,000 years old and, before that, it was taught to the sun-god millions of years ago. The Gita is followed by all great acharyas.
Take to this process and you will be saved from the material world. If you are thrown in the ocean, it is practically your destruction even if you swim well. To struggle here in the material world is also your destruction. Get out of the ocean. Krishna promises that He will take you from the ocean of birth and death. Save yourself from destruction.
Now, someone may ask, "Is there any qualification? Krishna appeared to be Hindu, and the acharyas are very learned; how can one take to Krishna Consciousness if he is not learned or belonging to a particular creed? But Krishna says that even women (who are generally considered to have small endowment for spiritual advancement), sudras and vaishyas (the lower classes) and even lower can come too. Lord Krishna surpasses all formalities of social structure. All can come. There is no bar to spiritual consciousness. If you simply take to Krishna Consciousness, the Lord is there, and He will give you all protection. One in Krishna Consciousness is already liberated. This is its beauty. Never mind what you are. Take to it. You will reach the perfection of life. Your progress is guaranteed. Just take to this process.
Prayer to Vishnu
Prayer to Vishnu
In the morning
after heavenly porridge,
we go out the door,
down the street
flying with the Maha-Mantra
through dual atmosphere
of sad and glad,
trying to forget all that nonsense
and just fight for
reaching Krishna.
Soaring with the Maha-Mantra
into all that sad-glad material
blue sky and flags
and karmis hurrying to work
Vishnu! Guide me, protect me,
Keep me assured to expect
Mercy in You.
How do I keep my mind on You?
With mace and conch shell and
lotus and disc,
You, Great, kind, Unattached Ruler of
Universal Good,
let me turn within to You—
soul of me, turn to Vishnu!
let me dwell in Him,
and the rest can go on and on.
The sighing faces at work,
the demigod bosses,
bowing to the temporal Office….
it can go on and me with it,
but give me strength
to bear for You
acts in Your Name,
and since I'm unconcerned,
it can go on to the end.
I say I want to
get out
to where
You are
just to be at Your Feet—
but what do I do? Why
don't I answer every question
with Vishnu? Why do I flinch
when they ask me why I'm flowering
just by the thought of You
—You the Indweller in all of us—
even the office boys who think
existence is a kind of joke which
they control.
Enable me
to turn a braver face to You
and then to talk out everywhere
for You and say:
"everyone should turn to
Godhead and yearn for that."
Empower me, try me
with the courage
to do much more
so that at least
I can begin
at the foot of Love.
—Satsvarupa Das Brahmacary
(Stephen Guarino)
The Supreme Gift is Krishna Consciousness
The Supreme Gift is Krishna Consciousness
This is an invitation to all Men and Women of Good Will to Benefit the Human Race and all other Inhabitants of planet Earth by distributing the Peace and eternal Bliss of KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS.
Wherever you live, you can do this work. This is called the Devotional Service of the Lord, and it is simply a matter of finding others who may be receptive to the philosophy and practice of Love of Godhead. Inquire at your neighborhood Shops to see if the storekeepers will retail Back To Godhead Magazine, or our record album, "KRISNA CONSCIOUSNESS." Speak with your Friends and Relatives about Krishna consciousness. Perhaps you can hold Kirtan with them at regular Meetings.
Kirtan means Chanting the Lord's Praises—such as the Maha-(Hare Krishna) Mantra—and reading from authorized Scriptural literature, such as Bhagavad Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Holy Bible, Koran, Chaitanya Charitamrita, and others of the same stature. This will Purify consciousness, and the active participation will immensely benefit All concerned.
The most valuable Asset for Spiritual Life is the ability to Serve the Lord actively. Take this opportunity. See for yourself whether the effect is simply Abstract Theoretics, or the practical experience of Sublime Love. And you may have the added Satisfaction of Knowing that Humankind cannot fail to be Elevated by your Labors, be those Labors great or small.
We were doing it together
and there was no imperfection—
the Prayer in our hearts,
and Krishna: there was only
One Sea of Ecstasy
We were bowing down
and there was no effort.
Before us the Prasadam offering
was alive, the plate and food ecstatic.
The altar was fashioned of Ecstasy.
The flowers, candle, the very flame,
all were made of ecstasy. Everything
a maddening sweet Scent, breathing,
bursting our pores in universes of pleasure,
drowning, a blissful rush of fragrant waves.
We were borne on Ecstasy, Thoughts of
Krishna swelling over and over, washing us away…
Then, how did we get there? In that bed,
moving, awakening only for a brief
remembering murmur (falling asleep
I promised not to forget):
Later you said you had a dream
about giving Christmas presents
or something? (Yes, it is December).
But was I not there also? Oh Krishna…
Now it is noon and you say there
was no dream at all, that you
were agreeing only to please me!
"Surely, you have only forgotten…"
Rupanuga says, "Oh Maya, Maya,
Maya, such a Thief you are!
Stealing memories and leaving
dreams that disappear."
—Rupanuga Das Adhikary
(Robert F. Corens)
Two in One
Two in One
And if I saw God in the woods?
and I see God in cement
and God in the sky
And God in the headlights?
would that be good?
or would that be bad?
And if I saw the woods in God?
and I see cement in God
and the sky in God
and the headlight in God?
would that be good?
or would that be bad?
And if I saw the air in God?
and I see God in the air?
The Teachings of Lord Chaitanya
The Teachings of Lord Chaitanya
by Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Part II
Nobody can trace out the history of the living entity's entanglement in material energy; therefore the Lord says that it is beginingless. Beginingless means that conditional life exists prior to the creation-it is simply manifested with and after the creation. Due to this forgetfulness, the living entity, although spirit, is suffering all kinds of miseries of material existence. It is to be understood here also that there are other living entities who are not entangled in this material energy. Such living entities are situated in the spiritual world, and they are called liberated souls. They are also always engaged in Krishna Consciousness and in devotional service. The activities of those who are under the conditions of material nature are taken into account, and in their next life, according to such activities, they are offered different grades of material bodies. In the material world the spiritual soul in conditional life is subjected to different rewards and punishments. When he is rewarded he is elevated to the higher planets due to his righteous activities, and there he becomes one with the many demigods; and when he is punished for his abominable activities he is thrown into different kinds of hellish planets, and there he suffers the miseries of material existence more acutely. The Lord gives a very nice example of this punishment; formerly a king used to punish a criminal by dunking him in the river and then raising him again for breath, and then again dunking him in the water; now, material nature punishes and rewards the individual entity in just the same way. When he is punished he is dunked into the water of material miseries, and when he is rewarded he is taken out of it for some time. Elevation of the living entity to higher planets or to a higher status of life is never permanent. He has to come down again to be drowned in the water. All this is going on in this material existence. Sometimes he is elevated to the higher planetary system, and sometimes he is thrown into the hellish condition of material life.
In this connection the Lord recites a nice verse from Srimad Bhagavatam taken from the instruction of Narada Muni to Vasudeva, father of Krishna. In this quotation from the nine sages who were instructing Maharaja Nemi it is stated that forgetfulness of the relationship with Krishna is called maya. Actually, maya means that which is not. It has no existence. Therefore that the living entity has no connection with the Supreme Lord is a false conception. He may not believe in the existence of God, or he may think he has no relationship with God, but these are all so-called "illusions," or maya. Due to his absorption in this false conception of life, man is always fearful and full of anxieties; in other words, such a Godless concept of life is maya—therefore one who is actually learned in the Vedic literatures surrenders unto the Supreme Lord with all devotion and accepts Him as the Supreme Goal. When a living entity becomes forgetful of the constitutional position of his relationship with God, then he is at once overwhelmed by the external energy, and this is the cause of his false ego or identifying his body as self. His whole conception of the material universe is due to his false conception of Body. He therefore becomes attached to this body and the by-products of this body. To get out of this entanglement he has simply to perform his duty—to surrender unto the Supreme Lord with intelligence, with devotion, and with sincere Krishna consciousness.
A conditioned soul falsely thinks himself happy in the material world, but if he is favored by an unalloyed devotee—by hearing instruction from an unalloyed devotee—he gives up the desire for material enjoyment and becomes enlightened in Krishna Consciousness. As soon as one enters into Krishna Consciousness, his desire for material enjoyment at once is vanquished, and gradually he becomes free from material entanglement. For example, because there is no question of darkness where there is light, Krishna consciousness is like the light that dispels the darkness of material sense enjoyment. One who is engaged in Krishna Consciousness generally has no desire for material enjoyment. A Krishna Conscious person is never under the false conception that he is One with God. He does not think that he would be happy by working for himself. He engages all his energy in the service of the Supreme Lord, and thereby becomes released from the clutches of illusory energy, or material energy. In this connection the Lord quotes a verse in the Bhagavad Gita, 7th chapter, to the effect that the material energy containing the three modes of material nature, is very strong. It is very difficult to get out of the process of material energy, but one who surrenders unto Krishna easily comes out from the clutches of Maya.
The Lord continued to teach that the conditioned soul, for each and every moment in which he is engaged in some fruitive activity, is forgetting his real identity. Sometimes when he is fatigued, when he is tired of material activities, he wants liberation and wants to become one with the Supreme, but other times he thinks that by working hard for his sense gratification he will be happy. In both cases he is covered by material energy. For the enlightenment of such bewildered conditioned souls who are working in false identification, the Lord has presented before us so many Vedic literatures, like the Vedas, the Puranas, Vedantasutra—all intended to guide the human being back to Godhead. Lord Lord has presented further instructions advising that when a conditioned soul is recognized by the mercy of the spiritual master and when he is guided by the Supersoul, he takes advantage of the various Vedic literatures, becomes enlightened, and makes progess in his spiritual realization. It is understood that Lord Krishna is always merciful to His devotees, therefore He has presented all these Vedic literatures by which one can understand his relationship with Krishna and can act in that relationship with the result that he is benefited with the ultimate goal of life.
Actually every living entity is destined to reach the Supreme Lord, and every one can understand his relationship with the Supreme Lord. The execution of duties to attain perfection is known as devotional service, and in fullness such devotional service becomes love of God, the factual goal of life for every living entity. The living entity is not intended to achieve success in religious perfection or economic development or sense enjoyment. Religiosity, economic development, sense enjoyment, and liberation should not actually be desired by the living entity. The real desire of the living entity should be to achieve the stage of loving transcendental service of the Lord. The All-attractive features of Lord Krishna help one in attaining Krishna Consciousness, and when one is engaged in Krishna Consciousness he can realize the relationship between Krishna and himself. In this connection the Lord quotes one story from the commentary of Mahabharata which occurs in Srimad Bhagavatam, fifth Canto. The story involves the instruction of Sarvajna to a poor man who came to Sarvajna to have his future told. When Sarvajna saw the horoscope of the poor man he was at once astonished that the man was so poor, and he said to the poor man, "Oh, why are you so unhappy? I see from your horoscope that you have some hidden treasure left to you by your father. The horoscope, however, states that your father could not disclose his hidden treasure to you because he died in a foreign place. But now you can search out the hidden treasure left by your father and be happy." This story is cited because the living entity is suffering due to his ignorance of the hidden treasure of the father. The hidden treasure of the Father, Krishna, is love of Godhead. In every Vedic literature the conditioned soul is advised to find that hidden treasure which is known as love of God. As stated in the Bhagavad Gita, Vadaisachasarvai aham evavedyam. A conditioned soul, although he is the son of the Wealthiest—the Personality of Godhead—does not realize it. Therefore the Vedic literature is given to him to help him search out his father and his paternal property.
Sarvajna further advised the poor man, "Don't try to dig on the Southern side of your house to find the hidden treasure. If you do so then you'll be attacked by a poisonous wasp and you will be baffled in finding the treasure. The search should be to the eastern side where there is actual light which is called devotional service, or Krishna Consciousness. On the Southern side there is ritualistic performances of the Vedic scripture, and on the Western side there is speculative empiric knowledge, and on the Northern side there is the yoga system or meditational process of self realization. If somebody searches for his ultimate goal by the ritualistic process then he will be baffled. Such a process involves performance of rituals under the guidance of the priest who takes money in exchange of service. A man thinks he'll be happy by such performances, but actually that will not make him happy. Even if he does gain some result therefrom, it is only temporary and his material distresses will continue, so he never becomes happy by such a ritualistic process—the hidden treasure on the Northern side is compared with one's self-realization by dint of the meditational process. By the meditational process, even if one attains perfection-he thinks he is One with the Supreme Lord—this merging into the Supreme by the living entity is something like the great serpent swallowing up the smaller serpent. From practical experience we see sometimes that the big serpent swallows up a smaller serpent, and the merge into the spiritual existence of the Supreme is analogous. The small serpent is, therefore, searching after perfection, and he is understood to be swallowed by the big serpent. Digging on the Western side is compared to the hidden treasure protected by yakasa. He is the evil spirit that protects hidden treasure. The idea is that hidden treasure can never be delivered by one who asks favor of Yakasa for attaining the hidden treasure—the result is that he will simply be killed. The Jnanis or the yogins are analogous to the serpent relationship of the meditational process. The speculative process of self-realization, or yoga perfection of self-realization, is suicidal in this case. Actually one has to dig for the hidden treasure from the Eastern side which is called devotional service in full Krishna Consciousness. That is the perpetual hidden treasure, and when one attains to that achievement, he becomes perpetually rich. One who is poor in devotional service and Krishna Consciousness is always in need of material gain. Sometimes he is suffering the "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," and sometimes he is baffled; sometimes he is following the philosophy of monism and therefore losing his identity, and sometimes he is swallowed up by the big serpent. By giving up all these things and becoming fixed in Krishna Consciousness or devotional service to the Lord, he achieves the perfection of life.
My Subway Song of Love
My Subway Song of Love
A formidable endeavor,
To enter the labyrinthine depths
And pass among the shuffling, shuttling
Subway mob—
Shoving, scuffling, rushing with the hour
In a gray atmosphere which only merchant greed will adorn,
In a foul, burnt-iron, screeching hell.
Here beneath the surface
So little as a smile can signify the conquest of material nature—
But few emerge victorious.
Yet, swaying and jolting in our passage as we span a borough,
Are we not like posies in the wind?
Are we not touched and kissed and tickled
In a passion we ourselves cannot abate?
O, do you hear the whine in the clatter?
Some poor, sun-starved deity is wandering these passages with us,
And he is singing the song of our hearts,
He is the herald of our Spring, the crier of our own true need:
Is Krishna Among You? Is Krishna Among You?
Yes, yes! He is here! But
Everything blurs somehow,
The lights flicker from time to time,
And when they're back the crowds are milling-like shadowy sheep.
There are the boys with their books and bragging
Pretty as their own pretty dreams.
There I see the girls with their giggles and their hairdos and in their
eyes I spy the calm wisdom possessed by veterans of a
thousand mock-tea parties, awaiting their time to come,
not to be seen with basketballs and guns, and not distracted.
The mother's careless hand upon the child's cheek takes my eye
The old man's grumbling, and the embarrassed lady of means
Quite thrill me by their tragic play.
Oh yes, this is a tragic playground.
Fellow passengers, I regard you all fondly,
Wink and smile, don't let me embarrass you……
This is only the prelude to my message.
In a moment I shall rise and go to each and every one,
(Nor will I miss a single car throughout this train)
And in each ear I shall whisper something special that I know, and share it,
for I love you dearly.
I will say:
Don't tell anyone else, but
It's all much sweeter than you feared.
Yes, yes indeed, my dear, my pal,
Just don't believe them no matter what they say.
They have deceived you and told you monstrous lies…
It is not all in the eyes, it is not all in the thighs.
It is all in the heart.
Krishna, Who is all
Is in your heart.
The glory of the Lord shimmers even in this dirt,
This hell is as splendid as the glittering night skies,
And the shadows of the subway do not diminish us,
But have themselves become sublime.
Rayarama Das Brahmacary
(Raymond Marais)

Close your eyes to all this
Roaring illusion
And dance in the white light uncontaminated
By shades of birth and place.
The cymbal sound is clear,
We need no yearning clarion call
Here, breathing the springtime
Winds of His immortal laughter.
Night Shower Sutra
Night Shower Sutra
Bathroom light bulb bulging energy
Blissfully from the ceiling,
White tile walls radiant,
I strip naked, chanting,
chanting, I prepare my billionth bath
maneuvering myself behind rubber-plastic curtains
and into the tub as if
for the first time
and turn on hot and cold water
simultaneously and watch with joy
the ceiling burst into countless
water-drop universes.

“Krishna is water! Hare Hare Hare!"
I chant joyfully, while the light bulb
like Vivasvan, sun-god, pours his energy,
blissful, blissful, blissful kilowatts
all out for Lord Bhagavan in excelsus
while each joyous drop spurts
to mirror Mr. Sun-bulb
showering dear mythical body
with a water orgy,
showering hairs and flesh
with warm water sensation.
Sensation is emptiness,
emptiness sensation
says Lord Buddha-woodha. Ah-cha!
Sensation is not different from Krishna, I add,
nor is Krishna different from sensation,
indeed, Krishna , Krishna is sensation,
Water sensation,
Shower sensation over Hayagriva's feathers,
giving a shower ecstasy
over the millennium,
a bathroom satori,
a washtub samadhi,
free of charge.
Krishna is soap, I think, grabbing the Ivory,
slippery on my belly as I lather
watching with awe
a trillion rainbow'd soapbubbles
run down my pubic tangle
while Niagara
falls down my back.
"Hare Krishna, Hare Rama," I sing,
chanting the white cosmic bathtub
and universal gurgling drain
and soap and wondrous water shower
and washrag and bulging light bulb
and billowing steam clouds and my own
miraculous body,
certain my nightly shower
greater indeed than Rome,
more glorious than Greece,
dwarfing indeed, St. John's
tiny revelation,
as I lather my beard
with decillions of bubbles
while holy waters flow to my voice
sacred, sacred, sacred, sacred, sacred waters
and I thinking,
Next shower I'll have to bring
my fingercymbals.
Hayagriva Das Brahmacary
(Howard Wheeler)
I breathe His Name
An for a lasting second He's there
Now gone . . . inhale.
Now He stays for one whole breath
At a time
Now Gone . . . I inhale.
How marvelous this situation, that
He shows Himself in these
Interval distances of my lungs.
This vital air supplied by Him
Is so precious . . .
I chant like a bellows,
Krishna, Krishna, and spiritual
Blazes ignite, scorching my delusions,
Leaving my ancient self pure and vibrant.
I wipe my eyes and wake up
To this eternal spring morning.
Did all that dark, clouded suffering really happen,
Or did I just close my eyes
For a moment?

Achyutananda Das Brahmacary
(Charles Barnett)
Prayer of Self Study
Prayer of Self Study
Of bondage I come,
Yet must free myself and awaken.
Forgive me my inexcusable cravings, my petty wants
For denying the greatness and the Gift which
has been bestowed upon me.
Life in the fullest awakefulness in Thee—
My gift; my opportunity.
Yet I pursue my dreams, and remember not
my every deed; engrossed
are my many false selves
in this sensual play.
Hear me, Krishna, bearer of Lofty contemplations, that
I might transform these scattered games
into my search for Thee-the
Self True in Thee.
I deny not that in my separation
I made myself a glutton by the wealth of
my passions.
Now let Thy grace and divine love strip me naked
unmercifully! I seek no mercy, for I know well
the deadly lies, and am fearful.
Let me view now! Now let me see the sickness
and tormented state of my being………my deceiving lies told!
Let this be my work, my prayer, my meditation.
Open me true to those facts
Which my false selves have long hidden away fearfully.
May I prepare myself for the glimpses of truth in my inner soul,
The shattering pulses agone in the
bubbling waters of creation,
The bursting bumble-bee's hum…..the
piercing ecstatic Bliss.
I be a son lost! You son of spirit
Sent to bear body; this fleshy burden…..
Forsake me not then, Golden Godstar above,
Reawaken me in spirit, that I may
perceive Thine Infinite forms.
There are also millions and millions
upon this tiny earth-bubble-and they the many
have forgotten the life of spirit, and the hurdle to overcome:
this illusion we have long assumed to be the Reality.
O these little ones………….the universe created around them, for them!
Give unto these, Krishna, the gift to realize their
might step out to the threshold of our
Infinite Holy Godstar.
—Devakananda Das Brahmacary
(Ronald Hoyt)

In the valley of the heart
lies the seed of the spirit—
Water thy seed
With rains of love.
Seek the source
which shines within
as the flower faces
the sun
and drinks thereof.
When the wind blows,
sway as gently
as the tree stretches
from side to side,
keeping thy roots
rooted in God.
Open the heart
singing songs of love,
rejoice in the Name of the Lord
as the bird that sings
at the sight of the sky.

—Harsha Devi
(Hope Patrick)
Just See What a Nice Thing it is.
Just See What a Nice Thing it is.

“This birth of you and I
is just a footstep
along the way.
So it is with this child before me,
who is hearing Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.
It will not go in vain—
it will act,
because it is spiritual—
not material—
Just see what a nice thing it is….
he tried to take the cymbals from his mother's hands….
he wanted to play….
he tried to dance….
so he just sat and beat his tow tiny hands together and gurgled,
applauding Krishna in his fashion,
as we chanted Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.
It is such a nice thing,
how it delights the children,
and what to speak of you and me?"

—Brahmananda Das Brahmacary
(Bruce Scharf)
(Rendered from Swami Bhaktivedanta's lecture)

Krishna Consciousness in American Poetry
Krishna Consciousness in American Poetry
By Hayagriva Das Brahmacary
(Howard Wheeler)
Part II: Thoreau and Dickinson

Thoreau made Emerson's injunction of "plain living and high thinking" famous when he set out to live outside Boston on an isolated tract of Emerson's land surrounding Walden Pond. Since then, Walden has come to symbolize American asceticism. During most of Thoreau's mature years, he and Emerson were good friends, and Thoreau even lived in the Emerson home, relieving the Concord sage of many practical duties. Thoreau believed in Emerson's transcendental philosophy, and his passionate temperament carried this philosophy to the limit of rebellion against society and initiated his retreat into the woods at Walden. It was also due to Thoreau temper and arrogance that his friendship with Emerson ran into some rough weather, nonetheless the tow men generally weathered these storms. Thoreau was an ardent admirer of Indian literature, and when Whitman's Leaves of Grass was first issued in 1855, Thoreau went to Whitman with Emerson's compliments, and observing that "Song of Myself" was "remarkably like the Hindus," asked the poet whether he was acquainted with such writings. "No," Whitman said. "Tell me about them." Thoreau supplied Whitman with a list of books for reading, and included the Bhagavad Gita. In Walden, Thoreau writes in this way about the Gita:
Thus…..the sweltering inhabitants of Madras and Bombay and Calcutta drink at my well. In the morning In bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita, since whose comparison years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and literature seem puny and trivial; and I doubt if that philosophy is not to be referred to a previous state of existence, so remote is its sublimity from our conceptions. I lay down the book and go to my well for water, and lo! there I meet the servant of the Brahmin, priest of Brahma and Vishnu and Indra, who still sits in his temple on the Ganges reading the Vedas, or dwells at the foot of a tree with his crust and water jug. I meet his servant, and our buckets as it were grate together in the same well. The pure Walden water is mingled with the sacred water of the Ganges. (From Walden)
In Walden, Thoreau even wrote at greater length about the Gita, and it is clear that the words of Krishna figured prominently in the transcendentalist movement. The transcendentalist ideal was to attain union with God through "plain, healthy living," avoidance of the frills of society and all forms of artificial intoxication, avoidance of dogmatic "Church religions," and abandonment to the direct revelation of the Supreme—Who usually spoke through His Nature, or Prakriti, revealing His Supreme Purusha, or what Emerson called, "the Over-Soul." "The overpowering reality," Emerson says, "is that unity, that oversoul within which every man's particular being is contained and made one with all other…Within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the Eternal One." For the transcendentalists, direct contact with Nature was as good as direct contact with the Divine, for it served as a springboard to ultimate realization of Him. Nature was a wise, familiar and loving guru.
Just six years before Emerson's Nature was published in 1836, the greatest peotress in literary history was born in Amherst, Massachusetts. Though she had little contact with the New England transcendentalists, Emily Dickinson wrote poems of transcendental love that reveal her qualifications as a New England gopi. For example:
Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!
Futile the winds
To a heart in port—
Done with the compass
Done with the chart.
Rowing in Eden!
Ah! The sea
Might I but moor
Tonight in thee!

It is love that figures prominently in Dickinson's poetry, love for the creation—evinced in her Nature poems—and love for the Creator—expressed in her poems of the soul, death, time, eternity and Christ. She writes:
Love is anterior to life,
Posterior to death,
Initial of creation,
The exponent of breath.

Her poems are intimate, intensely personal, and as one reads them one feels oneself to be actually transgressing, breaking into an elder sister's packet of love poems. Emily Dickinson became a recluse early in her life and seldom left her father's house in Amherst. She never intended that her poems be published, but after her death in 1886 her poems were salvaged and published in a series of three volumes. She never married, and though she was reportedly once interested in Rev. Wadsworth, her interests seem wholly absorbed in transcendental matters. Capable of expressing her most subtle thoughts in verse, she is never at a loss for the perfect metaphor. Compared to Whitman, her style seems tinsel and delicate, but her poems—for all their delicate appearances—carry the weight and deliver the wallop of poetic genius. Poetically, she is far superior to Emerson, Thoreau and the other New England transcendentalists. One pictures her standing with fearless love and faith before the Infinite, actually handling God, Nature, eternity and death with a feminine finesse. This is enabled by her capacity to surrender.
My rivers run to Thee:
Blue sea, wilt welcome me?
My river waits reply.
Oh sea, look graciously!
I'll fetch thee brooks
From spotted nooks,—
Say, sea,
Take me!
Her love poetry is unmistakably directed to the Divine:
I envy seas whereon he rides,
I envy spokes of wheels
Of chariots that him convey,
I envy speechless hills
That gaze upon his journey….
At times she actually seems to chastise God when He appears to be far from her, leaving her to stand alone before death. For example:
1) I know That he exists
Somewhere in silence.
He has hid his rare life
From our gross eyes.
2) Tis an instant's play,
'Tis a fond ambush,
Just to make bliss
Earn her own surprise!
3) But should the play
Prove piercing earnest,
Should the glee glaze
In death's stiff stare,
4) Would not the fun
Look too expensive?
Would not the jest
Have crawled too far?
Certain poems reveal her experiencing doubt and also wondering about her own sanity, but she always emerges from these bouts victorious, with a firm faith in the Divine and the immortality of the soul.
I never saw a moor,
I never saw the sea;
Yet know I how the heather looks,
And what a wave must be.
I never spoke with God,
Nor visited in heaven;
Yet certain am I of the spot
As if the chart were given.
That she "never spoke with God" is doubtless claimed for the poem's sake, the atheist class that turns from God, and considers this class of men to be pitifully drowning in their own ocean of disbelief.
The maker's cordial visage,
However good to see,
Is shunned, we must admit it,
Like an adversity.
For her, as for Whitman, the "kelson of the creation is love."
Who has not found the heaven below
Will fail of it above.
God's residence is next to mine,
His furniture is love.
As with Emerson and Thoreau, her transcendental exhibition is often stimulated by direct contact with Nature, and she gets drunk with air and water.
I taste a liquor never brewed,
From tankards scooped in pearl;
Not all the vats upon the Rhine,
Yield such an alcohol!
Inebriate of air am I,
And debauchee of dew……
She writes poems celebrating the intimate details of Nature; the bee, the bat, the hummingbird, the robin, the butterfly, the flowers, the snake, the plants, grass, spiders, the rat, squirrel, jaybird, the rainbow and the wind—all are equally wonderful to her. Some of her Nature poetry is even cosmic, as the beautiful poem beginning "The moon was but a chin of gold…."
Yet Nature is held in perspective. Throughout her poetry, death is her constant companion, and she often considers her sojourn on this earth as a sojourn in exile. Her real life and true lover are in eternity.
Not in this world to see his face
Sounds long, until I read the place
Where this is said to be
But just the primer to a life
Unopened, rare, upon the shelf,
Clasped yet to him and me.
She pictures herself as sailing on a "wondrous sea" toward the eternal shore where there are no storms and all ships at rest. While she is at sea, she prays, "Grant me, O Lord, a sunny mind,/ They windy will to bear." For her, eternity is revealed in the exquisite solitude of the Soul.
The Soul's superior instances
Occur to Her alone,
When friend and earth's occasion
Have infinite withdrawn….
Eternity's disclosure
To favorites, a few,
Of the Colossal substance
Of immortality.

Death is the coachman of the carriage that carries her into eternity, and therefore is honored and glorified.
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held by just ourselves
And Immortality.
This carriage rides her past all the phenomena of the physical, material universe, off into a superior, timeless realm.
Since then 'tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.
In another poem, she likens death to the Spirit's discarding an old over-coat.
Death is a dialogue between
The Spirit and the dust.
"Dissolve," says Death. The Spirit, "Sir,
I have another trust."
Death doubts it, argues from the ground.
The Spirit turns away,
Just laying off, for evidence,
An overcoat of clay.
To what degree she saw Christ as her Savior from the clutches of death is not certain. However, a number of poems indicate that she accepted Christ as her Savior, and one poem actually implores His help.
At least to pray is left, is left.
O Jesus! In the air
I know not which thy chamber is,—
I'm knocking everywhere.
Thou stirrest earthquake in the South,
And maelstrom in the sea;
Say, Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
Hast thou no arm for me?
That Emily Dickinson is an excellent candidate for "gopi-hood" is undebatable. She seems to have had fewer personal problems than Thoreau and Emerson whose experiences in cosmic consciousness appear at times to have shaken their stolid New England personalities. She is definitely unattached to her earth life, considering the life to come as the great promise. She lets the Lord know she is "ready to go" on that carriage ride into Eternity in this way:
1) Tie the strings to my life, my Lord,
Then I am ready to go!
Just a look at the horses—
Rapid! That will do!
2) Put me in on the firmest side,
So I shall never fall;
For we must ride to the Judgment,
And it's partly down hill.
3) But never I mind the bridges,
And never I mind the sea;
Held fast in everlasting race
By my own choice and thee.
4) Good-bye to the life I used to live,
And the world I used to know;
And kiss the hills for me, just once;
Now I am ready to go!
Emerson, Thoreau and Dickinson represent the major forces in the transcendental movement in America in the last century. Rebellion had indeed begun against the encroaching materialism that was triumphing in the cities and spreading through the veins of the young nation. Emerson warned young men against going to Boston and New York. Stay with your Maker in the open air, me enjoined. Thoreau retreated to the woods of Walden, and Emily Dickinson hardly ventured outside her house. But there was one courageous Olympian capable of shouting the good news of God and the universe for all men around the earth to hear, for men in cities as well as in the fields and forests—Whitman, who could absorb both good and evil in his Leaves, and who was capable of translating what was previously considered untranslatable. The great song of cosmic consciousness in America was left for him to sing. And he was to be the mendicant-bard of the American roadside.

(Next Issue: Krishna Consciousness In American Poetry, Part III: Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself")
Back to Godhead Magazine #12, April 21, 1967
By the Mercy of Krishna
By the Mercy of Krishna
No, you didn't miss the April First issue of Back to Godhead. We did. There's a long story involved, but suffice it to say that we're very sorry to have done so. We'll certainly print that edition, and put it into circulation, as soon as possible. It contains Part II of Hayagriva Das's "Krishna Consciousness in American Poetry," dealing with Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson, and so we know it will be especially valued by our readers.
The pictures in this issue are of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the founder of the Sankirtan movement, in the ecstasy of chanting the lord's Names. They are the work of our prolific art directress, Jadurani Devi Dasi (Judy Koslofsky). Incidentally, we are very happy to announce the arrival of two new devotees, from our San Francisco temple, who have joined the art department. They are Gaurasundara Das Adhikary and his wife, Govinda Devi Dasi (Gary and Bonnie McElroy.)
Since the Swami's return to New York on April 9, we've had two initiation ceremonies on Second Avenue, adding five devotees to our ranks. They are Damodara Das Adhikary (Dan Clark), Maha-Purusa Das Brahmacary (Mark Babbitt), Dwarkadish Das (Donald Dogherty), Madhusudana Das (Michael Blumert), Purusottam Das (Paul Auerback), and, from the Montreal center, Pradyumna Das (Paul Sherbow.)
The Swami's arrival at Kennedy Airport, by the way, was a grand event. More than two hundred well-wishers were on hand, and we had kirtan for more than two hours. To all who were present, we offer our thanks for your inspiring enthusiasm.
Now that Summer is at hand, the New York temple will resume its Sunday afternoon Kirtan program at Tompkins Square Park on Seventh Street and Avenue A, from 3 to 6 P.M. We also plan to have a giant love feast late in the same month, with poet Allen Ginsberg in attendance. More on this as things develop.
On July 9, both the San Francisco and the New York centers will hold the great Chariot Festival, which includes a parade to the edge of the sea, the distribution of a vast quantity of blessed food along the way, plenty of chanting, and the introduction, in that dramatic fashion, of the worshipable Lord Jagannatha Swami—of Whom we'll have much to say in future issues.
Incidentally, Swami Bhaktivedanta will be at Lewison Lounge in City College, to hold kirtan and deliver a brief lecture at noon on May 4. If you are free, why not come and join us?
Next issue, our magazine will have a new cover, mathead, and the first of a series of somewhat different layouts. But the price, the name, and our earnest endeavors will be unchanged.
Until then, Hare Krishna.
The editors.
Questions and answers
Questions and answers
(Questions asked by congregation and devotees and answered by Swami A.C Bhaktivedanta, New York, Sept-Dec.1966)
Q: What is the relationship between Christ and Krishna?
A: Don't you know? What does it say in the Bible? Christ is the Son of God.
Q: He is also God.
A: Yes, the Father and the Son are One. The Son serves the Father and They are qualitatively One.
Q: Then they are the same?
A: Where do you get "the same?" The Father is the Father and the Son is the Son. If you are the son, then you and your father are one. But if you say, "I am not only the Son but the Father also," then you are speaking nonsense. How can you be the son and the father?
Q: No, but according to the Catholic position they are One. It's inexplicable.
A: If it's inexplicable then why did you ask? But there is an explanation, and I'm giving it to you. Christ is the Son of God and He is One in the Father. But he is the Son and continues to be the Son, and the Father continues to be the Father. You can't say the Son and Father are equal.
Q: You say Arjuna was a soldier and he didn't want to fight, but Krishna was there and He told him to fight. Arjuna had Krishna to tell him to fight, but who can we listen to today?
A: Arjuna belonged to one of the four social castes into which civilization was divided: Brahmin, Ksatriya, Vaisya, and Sudra. The Ksatriyas class is meant to fight. In fact, the word means "to hurt." They are there to protect the weak from being hurt. If I go out onto the street and someone attacks me and you do not come to my aid, then you are not in the Ksatriya spirit. There is always weak and there is always strong and there is always fighting. The Ksatriya class is meant to fight. Krishna asked Arjuna to fight against those who had been harassing the weaker Pandavas, and Arjuna's objection was on family grounds. In the two World Wars, Germany attacked the weaker countries and you went over to help the weaker countries fight. That was Ksatriya spirit. There will always be fighting and Ksatriyas.
Q: But who do we have for authorities today?
A: By what authority is a man hanged? You have the law books. You have the authority of the Scripture. But the real point is to become engaged in Krishna Consciousness; then He will dictate from within you what is Absolute beyond question. Also, there is in the Srimad Bhagavatam a list of offenses for which it is no sin to kill. If a man tries to set fire to your house—kill him! Don't stand by and say, "Oh, I'm a non-violent man," while he burns down your house. That is nonsense. If a man comes to kidnap your wife—kill him. There are similar injunctions. You should fight in these cases. Why not?
Q: What is the difference between karma yoga and bhakti yoga?
A: Karma yoga is for those who are too much addicted to their activities. With karma, you do something, there is a result and you enjoy or suffer. Those who are too much addicted to their activities are advised to link these activities with the Supreme. Then that is yoga. Karma yoga is a transition stage; bhakti yoga is direct and is for those who are not addicted to karma but who are engaged directly in the service of the Lord. Sometimes ordinary karma and bhakti appear the same. We (in bhakti) have nothing to hate in the material world. Everything has its Source in God. For the bhakti, there is no materialism. The materialist is one who doesn't realize the Source. For the advanced devotee there is nothing material.
Q: Is Lord Jesus Christ mentioned as an avatar in Vedic literatures?
A: Yes. There it is mentioned that there are innumerable avatars who can be identified by their symptoms. Jesus Christ displayed these symptoms. He spoke of the Absolute Truth. He didn't bother with temporary things.
Q: Can a man believe Krishna is dead?
A: Yes. Why do you say "a man?" Many men believe that way.
Q: Can they say it and actually believe it?
A: Yes, if they have no knowledge of God science. If they do not see the signs. But one in Krishna Consciousness knows, "Yes, He is here."
Q: Nietzche can say, "God is dead" but yet "Krishna lives." Is this because Krishna is consciousness?
A: God isn't dead. God and Krishna are the same.
Q: But some men call God wrong things.
A: Neither God is dead nor Krishna is dead. They are the same thing.
Q: A person can say God is dead, but can he act that way in fact?
A: There is no question of disbelief. I'll give you a crude example. Everyone is under Government's laws, do you agree?
Q: Yes.
A: Someone may say, "I don't care for law," or someone may say, "God is dead," but the law and God will nonetheless act upon him. If someone says, "I don't care for law," he will be placed in prison and forced to obey laws. Those who refuse to believe God are put into the material world to suffer reactions of sins under the laws of Nature. Those who obey Him live peacefully and are eligible to be transferred to the spiritual kingdom of bliss, eternity and Knowledge. A person can accept or not accept—it doesn't matter. Either in the spiritual or material energy, God will act upon him. A man trying to enjoy the material world is treated to the "drowning man" punishment by Nature. By this process a man is plunged into the river until he is almost drowned, then he is pulled out by the hair. His gasping for breaths of fresh air is his enjoyment….then at once he is again plunged into the water, and so on and on in an endless cycle.
Q: You mentioned the two different worlds. What relationship the two different worlds?
A: Let's take a circle to represent the entirety of the two worlds. I say a "circle," but it is limitless. The circle is the Brahmajyoti effulgence. Within this great circle, down in one section, is a little circle. This little circle represents the material world. The remainder of the large circle is filled with spiritual planets of which the topmost is Krishnaloka. Dwelling in bliss in the numberless Vaikuntha planets are the devotees of adoration. Those of pure love who forget that Krishna is greater than them get transferred to Krishnaloka. In Vaikunthaloka they wear diamond necklaces and worship the Lord as Narayana in full opulence and adoration. In Krishnaloka, Goloka Vrindavan, they wear simple cowerd dress. There they do not know who is Krishna and who is an ordinary boy. Although all function in equal freedom from contamination in these spiritual planets, there is differentiation.
Q: If the reflection of the Original is valueless, isn't revelation valueless since it is maya?
A: Yes….if it doesn't lead one back to the Original. People are engaged in the reflection and they don't return to the Source, and that is due to ignorance. We are in the reflection and are being baffled, but we don't question why we are being baffled. There is a song, "I thought I was building my cottage safely, but it was burnt to ashes." Anything we do here is patchwork. How long can you have happiness? It will soon vanish. This sense of the transitory nature of material existence should come to one. One's life is a failure unless he develops spiritual knowledge. Fight with maya and go to do real tree—that should be the aim of knowledge.
Q: You say the reflection itself has no value—but its value is in the spiritual world?
A: Yes. Because it is reflection, you can't touch it or use its fruit. Similarly, the material world is a reflection of spiritual happiness. But when we go to enjoy the material world, we are frustrated. We are struggling in the reflection with no knowledge of the spiritual world. People are also falsely thinking that this reflection is all. Their lives are failures because they have no spiritual knowledge of the true source. The aim of knowledge is the Source.
Q: Is the attainment of love of Krishna without knowing Him possible?
A: Yes. In the Bhagavad Gita, it is stated that if you love, He will dictate within you. One who is so engaged in love of Krishna, Krishna shows him special favor. He becomes compassionate and dissipates and destroys the darkness due to ignorance. Because Krishna is situated in everyone's heart, He dictates information. He who loves Krishna does not remain in ignorance and engage himself in nonsense. He becomes perfect in knowledge.
Q: Can you reach love through understanding?
A: If you love, understanding will come. Both ways. Some of us here understand nicely—no one understands perfectly—but even a person who does not understand Krishna due to strong material attachments—is given intelligence in order to understand Him.
Teachings of Lord Chaitanya
Teachings of Lord Chaitanya
By Swami A.C Bhaktivedanta
Part III
Actually all the Vedic literature directs the human being toward the perfect stage of devotion. The path of fruitive activities, speculation, knowledge and meditation do not actually lead one to the perfectional stage, but the Lord actually becomes approachable by the process of devotional service; therefore one is recommended throughout all the Vedic literature to accept the process of devotional service. Lord Chaitanya quotes in this connection a verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam, 11th Canto, 14th Chapter, in which the Lord says, "My dear Uddhava, neither philosophical speculation no yoga achievements, nor penances can give Him such pleasure as can devotional service practiced by the living entities. He can be achieved alone by devotional service, and He is dear only to the devotees. If a person born in the lower or lowest family of humanity is a devotee, then he becomes freed from all contamination. Devotional service is the only path to achieve the Supreme Personality of God."
This is also the only perfection accepted in all Vedic literature. As a poor man, upon receiving some treasure, becomes at once happy, similarly when one attains devotional service, automatically the pains of material existence are vanquished. As one advances in devotional service, one attains love of Godhead, and as he advances in the love for the Supreme he becomes free from all material bondage. Disappearance of poverty and liberation from bondage are not, however, the end results of love of Krishna. Actually, the love of Krishna or love of God exists in relishing the reciprocation of loving service. In all Vedic literature one will find that attainment of this loving relationship of the Supreme Lord by the living entities is the function of devotional service. Our actual functin is devotional service, and our ultimate goal of achievement is love of Godhead. Therefore in all Vedic literature Krishna is the ultimate center. By knowledge of Krishna, all problems of life are solved.
The Lord said that according to Padma Purana, there are different Puranas for worshipping different types of demigods, but such indications for worship only bewilder persons into thinking that the demigods are Supreme. And yet if the Puranas are scrutinized and studied it will be found that Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the only object of worship. For example, in the Markandeya Purana, there is mention of Devi worship, worship of the goddess Durga or Kali. But in that same Chandika it is also stated that all these demigds—whether in the shape of Durga or Kali—are different energies of Vishnu. Therefore, even the study of the Puranas will reveal Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to be the only object of worship. The conclusion is that directly or indirectly all types of worship are more or less indicating a worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. In the Bhagavad Gita it is confirmed that anyone who worships other demigods is in fact only worshipping Krishna because the demigods are different parts of the body of Vishnu or Krishna. That such worship of demigods is really irregular is clearly stated in the Bhagavad Gita: Abidhipurvakam. Srimad Bhagavatam confirms this also by the question: What is the object of worshipping different types of demigods?
In Vedic literature there are three divisions of ritualistic activities; one is called karma-kanda, or purely ritualistic activities; another is called upasana, or speculating on the Supreme Absolute Truth. What then is the purpose of the ritualistic sections of Vedic literature, and what is the purpose of different mantras or hymns indicating the worship of different types of demigods? And what is the purpose of philosophical speculation on the subject of the Absolute Truth? The Srimad Bhagavatam replies that all these different methods defined in Vedic literatures indicate the worship of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu. They are all indirect ways of worshipping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sacrifices contained in the ritualistic portion of the literatures are to satisfy the Supreme Lord Vishnu because yajna is specifically meant to satisfy Vishnu. Vishnu's Name is also Yogesvara, or Lord of the Yogis. The neophytes are not all on the transcendental level; therefore according to their situations in the different modes of material nature they are recommended to worship different types of demigods so that gradually they may rise to the transcendental plane and be engaged in devotional service of Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For example, it may be said that some of the neophytes are attached to flesh eating, and for them, the Puranas prescribe that they can eat flesh after offering it to the deity Kali.
The philosophical sections of the Vedic hymns are meant to enable one to distinguish the Supreme Personality of Godhead from Maya. After indicating the position of Maya, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is approached in pure devotional service. That is the purpose of philosophical speculation. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad Gita in the 7th Chapter, Bahunam janmanam ante… "The philosophical speculators and empiric philosophers, after speculating for many, many births, ultimately come unto the Supreme Lord Krishna, and accept that Vasudeva is everything." Therefore all Vedic rituals and different types of worship or philosophical speculation are all ultimately aiming at Krishna.
The Lord then told Sanatana Goswami about Krishna's multiforms and His unlimited opulence; he also described the nature of the spiritual manifestation, the material manifestation, and the manifestation of the living entity. He also informed Sanatana Goswami that the planets in the Spiritual Sky, known as Vaikunthas, and the universes of the material manifestation are to be known as different types of universes, for they are creative manifestations of the two different types of energies, namely the material energy and the spiritual energy. Therefore as Krishna Himself is concerned, He is directly situated in His spiritual energy, or specifically in His internal potency. To help us understand the difference between the manifestation of the spiritual energy and the material energy, there is a clear analysis in the Second Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam of the two manifestations. Also, Sukadeva Goswami, by commenting of verse one of the Tenth Canto, makes a clear analytical study as follows. Lord Chaitanya accepts Sukadeva Goswami as an authorized commentator on the Srimad Bhagavatam. Therefore He quotes his writing in this connection, and He explains that in the Tenth Canto of the Bhagavatam the life and activities of Krishna are described because Krishna is the shelter of all other manifestations. Therefore Sukadeva Goswami worshipped and offered his obeisance unto Krishna, the Shelter of everything.
This purport maintains that in this world there are two different principles; the one principle is the origin, or the shelter of everything, and the other principle is the deduction from the original principle. The principle on which everything rests, as it is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagavatam, begins Janmadyasya, and in the Vedanta Sutra the same aphorism appears, janmadyasya—the Supreme Truth is the shelter of all manifestations. That Supreme Truth is called Asraya. All other principles which remain under the control of the Asraya-tattva, or the Absolute Truth, are called Asrita, or subordinate corollaries and reactions. The purpose of the material manifestation is to give the conditioned soul a chance to become liberated and return to the Asraya-tattva, or the Absolute Truth. So everything that is created in the cosmic creation is dependent on the Asrita-tattva, or the Supreme Absolute Truth. As such, in the creative manifestation or the Vishnu manifestation, and in different types of demigods and manifestations of energy, the living entities, the material elements—everything, is dependent on Krishna, the Supreme Truth. In the Srimad Bhagavatam everything, directly and indirectly, is indicated to have Krishna as the Supreme Shelter. Therefore the analytical study of Krishna is the perfect knowledge, as it is confirmed in the Bhagavad Gita.
Lord Chaitanya described the different features of Lord Krishna in the following manner, and asked Sanatana Goswami to hear attentively: He said that Krishna originally is the Son of Nanda Maharaja and He is the Absolute Supreme Truth. He is the cause of all causes, Lord and He is the origin of all emanations and all incarnations, but there in the Vraja or Goloka Vrindavan He is just like a young boy. His form is eternal, full of bliss and full of knowledge Absolute. He is the shelter of everything, and He is the Proprietor or Master of everything. In this connection Lord Chaitanya gives evidence from Brahma Samhita, fifth chapter, first verse, which states that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His Body is full of knowledge, eternal and blissful. He is the original Person known as Govinda and He is the Cause of all causes. Therefore, Krishna is the Original Personality of Godhead; He is full of all six opulences and His abode is known as Goloka Vrindavan, the highest planetary system in the Spiritual Sky. Lord Chaitanya also quotes a verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam, the First Canto, third chapter, in which it is stated clearly that all the incarnations described in that particular verse are either direct expansions of Krishna or are indirectly expansions of the expansions of Krishna. But the Krishna Name mentioned there is the Original Personality of Godhead, and He appears on this earth, in this universe or in any other universe when there is a disturbance created by the demons, who are always trying to disrupt the administration by the demigods.
To understand Krishna, there are different processes: the process of empiric philosophical speculation, the process of meditation in the mystic yoga system, and the process of Krishna Consciousness, or devotional service. Accordingly, in these different process, 1) by empiric philosophical speculation, the feature of impersonal Brahma or Krishna is understood; 2)by the process of meditation of yogi mysticism, the feature of the Supersoul all-pervading expansion of Krishna is understood; and 3) by devotional service in full Krishna Consciousness, the Original Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is realized. In this connection Lord Chaitanya quotes first from the Srimad Bhagavatam, First Canto, 2nd chapter, which states that those who are knowers of the Absolute Truth describe the Absolute Truth in three features: some describe the Absolute as impersonal brahma, and some describe the Absolute Truth as the localized all-pervading Supersoul, and some know that the Absolute Truth is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. In other words, Brahma, the impersonal manifestation, and Paramatma, the localized manifestation, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are One and the same, but according to the different processes adopted He is realized in different features known as Brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Impersonal Brahma realization is simple realization of the effulgence emanating from the transcendental body of Krishna. We compare this effulgence of the transcendental body of Krishna to the sunshine—just as the sun disc is there, the sun planet is there, and the sun god is there, and the sunshine is the shining effulgence of that original sun god, similarly, brahmajyoti, the spiritual effulgence or impersonal Brahma, is nothing but the personal effulgence of Krishna.
To support this version Lord Chaitanya quotes one important verse from Brahma-Samhita where Lord Brahma says, "I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, by Whose Personal effulgence there is the unlimited manifestation of the Brahmajyoti, and in that Brahmajyoti (the impersonal manifestation of Krishna's Bodily effulgence) there are innumerable universes, each full of innumerable planets." Lord Chaitanya further describes that the Paramatma all-pervading feature situated in everyone's body is but a partial manifestation or expansion of Krishna, but because Krishna is the Soul of the soul, there He is called Paramatma, or the origin of Paramatma. In this connection Lord Chaitanya quotes one verse from Srimad Bhagavatam concerning the talks of Maharaja Pariksit, while hearing about the transcendental Pastimes of Krishna in Vrindavan, inquired from his spiritual master Sukadeva Goswami as to why the inhabitants of Vrindavan were so much attached to Krishna. To this question Sukadeva Goswami answered that Krishna should be known as the Soul of all souls; he is the Soul of all individual souls and He is also the soul of the localized Paramatma. He was present in Vrindavan for the benefit of all human beings and therefore He was acting just like a human being to attract persons to Him and to show that He is not formless. He is also as good as other human beings, but He is the Supreme and other living beings are all subordinate to Him. All living beings therefore can enjoy spiritual bliss, eternal life and full knowledge in His association. Lord Chaitanya quotes also a verse from Bhagavad Gita in which the Supreme Lord speaks to Arjuna about His different kinds of opulences, saying that He Himself enters into this universe by one of His plenary portions, just like Garbohodaksayee Vishnu, and He also enters in each universe as the Ksirodaksayee Vishnu and then expands Himself as Supersoul in everyone's heart. Therefore, He says, if anyone wants to understand the Supreme Absolute Truth in perfection, he must take to the process of devotional service in full Krishna Consciousness. Then it will be possible for him to understand the last word of the Absolute Truth.
This mandarin child waits for hidden dragon
Sleeping sound in hollow mountain pine.
Wanting yet in breath of bowing lower,
Reverence serves to further keeping still.
At dawn the dragon yawning breath like thunder
Vibrates waves of gentle wind and fire,
Spinning dusty clouds are burst in shower
Arousing subtle bloom of mandarin child.
Sweetly Krishna rains on fond surrender
Swelling empty lake with endless water,
Joyous singing spirit mounts the dragon
Bowing ever still this mandarin child.
—Haladhar Devi Dasi
(Holly Lefkowitz)
On Being Crazy
On Being Crazy
That's right, look at me,
all of you,
peeking over your Housewife Stabbed In Queens,
and your stock market scores,
and your baseball scores,
and your Viet Nam scores;
Just keep looking at me,
as I sit across from you,
fingering these ripe, red beads,
Hare Krishna.
Don't be afraid, I won't hurt you.
Don't snicker, please.
Consider me—
I love.
Is it so very strange for a lover
to sing his Beloved's Name?—
especially when by singing
flowers sprout out of his eyes
and planets fall out of his mouth?
I hope I am disturbing you
with these round, golden chimes
that I ring
to the sound
of His Names.
Madam, you have now stopped fretting about your declining body. And, my dear girl, you have stopped wondering if he's going to ask you.
Young man, you have stopped worrying about no knowing who you are.
And you, sir, have now stopped escaping into last nights' vapid sexual promise.
Now you are all hearing
a lullaby
bringing warm tides of peace.
I am singing for us all
Glories to Govinda
on our way to work.
How beautiful amid the subway roar vibrate the Names of God!
The living of your spiritual life has begun now
with this instant of listening,
thousands of births rendered unnecessary, cancelled
with this rebirth.
Understand God
in the Transcendental,
and singing His Name
uncovers the transcendental spark of Him
that is each of us,
and we are purified to see Him
and to learn
how to love Him.
So, sing with me.
Sing the names of the Lord.
what better way to praise Him?
Oh no, don't fall back into your everydaythesame newspapers,
Please, look at me—HARE KRISHNA
listen—HARE RAMA
watch me, I'm dancing
out the door,
down the platform,
dancing my way to work….
You're right, I'm crazy,
from love
of Krishna
and the joy of chanting His Names.
Here I am rattling Krishna's spinal cord in this cloth bag,
and they think I'm crazy!
—Brahmananda Das Brahmacary
(Bruce Scharf)
Krishna Consciousness in American Poetry
Krishna Consciousness in American Poetry
By Hayagriva Das Brahmacary
(Howard Wheeler)
Part III: Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself."
O joyous seer!
Recorders ages hence, yes, they shall hear
In their own veins uncancelled thy sure tread
And read thee by the aureole 'rond thy head
Of pasture-shine, Panis Angelicus!
(Hart Crane's homage to Whitman, in The Bridge)

Aside from Shakespeare, more books have been written about Walt Whitman than any other American or British writer. The interest generated by Whitman testifies to his universal appeal and to the complexity of his thought, poetry, and personality. In high schools in American today many of his poems are required reading and hardly a college student of American literature has not read his "Song of Myself." There are many varying interpretations of him, naturally, but undoubtedly he emerges most strongly as a mystical, intensely spiritual man, for his poetry and life reveal him as such. Living in 19th century America (1819-92), he was influenced by the transcendentalists (especially Emerson), witnessed the Civil War as a stretcher-bearer in the Washington hospitals, and lived to see and abhor the encroaching materialism that he feared was undermining the young nation's spirituality. But in addition, as a poet, seer and sage, he experienced much more—for he was a mahatma in the true sense, and was even adept at cosmic travel. He know well that the "great Camerado" is there, and his "Song of Myself" is something of an American Song of the Lord, though it is not accepted as authorized Scripture.
Whether or not Whitman possessed certain unusual spiritual powers is beside the point. His sense of cosmic consciousness seems as highly developed as Christ's and Buddha's—at least his Leaves of Grass testify as strongly in his case as the Evangelists and the Sutras do for Christ and Buddha. Actually, all men are eternal, but the point is they don't know it. as Whitman writes: "I am the mate and companion of people, all just as immortal and fathomless as myself, (They do not know how immortal, but I know.)" (SofM,7) "Song of Myself" reveals Whitman to be fully aware of both his divinity and immortality, and indicates that he was at a highly advanced state of God consciousness. This state seems to have been precipitated by a revelation (or illumination) that occurred at the age of about 36, when the Supreme Lord touched him one June morning in the woods, and was sustained throughout his life to greater and lesser degrees. This initial illumination gave birth to America's greatest poetic outburst—"Song of Myself," a hymn of joy celebrating the Creator, the creation, and the immortality of the soul. Other poems in Leaves of Grass shed additional light on his philosophy and science of God, but only his first major poem, the "Song of Myself" of 1855, is considered here. It is this poem that provoked Emerson's unconditional praise ("I greet you at the beginning of a great career") and brought Thoreau to Whitman's Brooklyn printshop with lists of Hindu writings.
In the poem's opening lines. Whitman strikes the theme of the unity of the creation, the "song of me rising from bed and meeting the sun," proclaiming the creation to be non-different from the Creator.
I celebrate myself, and sing myself
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you. (section 1)
The "Self" speaking here is Bhagavan, using the poet as a mouthpiece, Paramatma speaking through jivatman. This cosmic "I" is non-different from His creation, for He permeates every atom, and every atom belongs to Him—yet He is also beyond this creation which He spins as a spider spins its web. "and these tend inward to me, and I tend outward to them…And of these one and all I weave the song of Myself." (Sec.15)
The vision of the unity of the creation, the insight that the creation rests in the Creator, is communicated to the jivatman, Walt Whitman, by Bhagavan in an overwhelming mystical experience. In this experience, Bhagavan functions in the rasa of lover, and Whitman the beloved, in what is an early climax in the poem and one of the greatest statements in our literature of the exquisite beauty and wonder of the entire creation, from the grand pervading Spirit of God to the seemingly insignificant "mossy scabs" and "pokeweed."
I mind how once we lay such a transparent summer morning,
How you settled your head athwart my hips and gently turn'd over upon me,
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged your tongue to my bare-stript heart,
And reach'd till you felt my beard, and reach'd till you held my feet.

Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all
the argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own,
And that all the men ever born are also my brothers, and the women my sisters and lovers,
And that a kelson of the creation is love,
And limitless are leaves stiff stiff or dropping in the fields,
And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,
And mossy scabs of the worm fence, heap'd stones, elder, mullein and poke-weed. (Sec.5)
Throughout this creation, the Self functions unattached. The dates, wars, sicknesses, etc. "come to me days and nights and go from me again,/ But they are not the Me myself." (4) The finite Whitman is ofter jolted and bruised in the game, the leela or play of the Lord, but his true Self is always the untouched and unattached Witness within:
Apart from the pulling and hauling astands what I am,
Stands amused, complacent, compassionating, idle, unitary,
Looks down, is erect, or bends an arm on an implacable certain rest,
Looking with side-curved head curious what will come next,
Both in and out of the game and watching and wondering at it. (4)
This Supreme Self is not a part of the material creation, though the material creation is His song. "I am not an earth nor an adjunct of an earth." (7) This Self, in which Whitman has seen his own jiva to be integrally one, is totally full and self-sufficient in itself.
I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content,
One world is aware and by far the largest to me, and that is myself. (20)
For Whitman, the individual body and soul are no less wonderful and worshipful than the Supreme. As part and parcel of the Supreme, he sees himself as good as the Supreme, as eternal and as divine. "Walt Whitman, a kosmos, of Manhattan the son," he described himself, then goes on to delight in the miracle of himself, which is the miracle of any man, and, indeed, of life itself. "Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles, and each part and tag of me is a miracle." (24) He sees his individual soul as journeying in eternity through countless cosmic changes, traveling from the infinity of the past to the present.
Immense have been the preparations for me,
Faithful and friendly the arms that have helped me.
Cycles ferried my cradle, rowing and rowing like cheerful boatmen,
For room to me stars kept aside in their own rings…
All forces have been steadily employ'd to complete the delight me,
Now on this spot I stand with my robust soul. (44)
It is his soul that ascends "dazzling and tremendous as the sun," and that laughs "at what you call dissolution," and that looks at the crowded heavens and questions, "When we become the enfolders of those orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of everything in them, shall we be filled and satisfied then?" and answers, "No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond." (46) for it is his soul that is "tenon'd and mortis'd" in the granite of eternity. With a clean sweep of his hand, he absorbs previous incarnations, "outbidding" them and bestowing equal divinity on the average, common man:
Magnifiying and applying come I,
Outbidding at the start the old cautious hucksters,
Taking myself the exact dimensions of Jehovah…
Buying drafts of Osiris, Isis, Belus, Brahma, Buddha…
Taking them all for what they are worth and not a cent more,
Admitting they were alive and did the work of their days….
Accepting the rough deific sketches to fill out better in myself,
bestowing them freely on each man and woman I see…
The supernatural of no account, myself waiting my time to be one of the Supremes…
By my life-lumps! Becoming already a creator… (41)
The surety of this conviction results from his perception of the omnipresence of the Supreme Lord. He sees the creation "lav'd" all over by the Creator, as a fish by the water of the ocean.
Why should I wish to see God better than this day?
I see something of God each hour of the twenty-four, and each moment then,
In the faces of men and women I see God, and in my own face in the glass,
I find letter from God dropt in the street, and every one is sign'd by God's name,
And I leave them where they are, for I know that whereso'er I go
Others will punctually come for ever and ever. (48)
The Supreme Lord, for such a devotee, is common, actually cheap. He is the one Great Commodity that can be purchased without money, for it is love alone that finds and binds him. "I or you pocketless of a dime may purchase the pick of the earth." The Lord is eager for His creation to love Him, and He gives Himself freely.
What is commonest, cheapest, nearest, easiest, is Me,
Me going in for my chances, spending for vast returns,
Adorning myself to bestow myself on the first that will take me,
Not asking the sky to come to my good will,
Scattering it freely forerver. (14)
Yet Whitman intimates that the Creator has His own Superior Abode, where He "waits" for all in eternity.
My rendezvous is appointed, it is certain,
The Lord will be there and wait till I come on perfect terms,
The great Camerado, the lover true for whom I pine will be there. (45)
Interestingly enough, Whitman envisions a purification process by which his individual soul can return to God "on perfect terms." The soul leaves the body, as Krishna says, "As the wind carries away the scents from their places." (Gita 15.8) but before he can go to Krishna, he must qualify. Krishna is the "steady and central," the "lover true," "the Great Camerado" Who satisfies completely. In His ocean of bliss, Whitman's individual soul debouches.
I ascend from moon, I ascend from the night,
I perceive that the ghastly glimmer is noonday sunbeams reflected,
And debouch to the steady and central from the offspring great or small. (49)
A quotation from "Passage to India," a later poem, should throw considerable light on the relationship between jivatman (the individual soul) and Paramatma, the Supreme Soul:
Bear me indeed as through God regions infinite,
Whose air I breathe, whose ripples hear, have me all over,
Bathe me O God in thee, mounting to thee,
I and my soul to range in range of thee.

O Thou transcendent,
Nameless, the fibre and the breath,
Light of the light, shedding forth universes, thou center of them,
Thou mightier center of the true, the good, the loving,
Thou moral, spiritual fountain-affection's source-thou reservoir,
(O pensive soul of me—O thirst unsatisfied-waitest not there?
Waitest not haply for us somewhere there the Comrade perfect?)
Thou pulse—thou motive of the stars, suns, systems,
That, circling, move in order, safe, harmonious,
Athwart the shapeless vastnesses of space,
How should I think, how breathe a single breath, how speak, if out of myself,
I could not launch, to those, superior universes?
Swiftly I shrivel at the thought of God,
At Nature and its wonders, Time and Space and Death,
But that I, turning, call to thee O soul, thou actual Me,
And lo, thou gently masterest the orbs,
Thou matest Time, smilest content at Death,
And filest, swellest full the vastnesses of space.
("Passage to India," section 8)
For Whitman, the soul, after death, retains its individual identity and becomes a great fish swimming in God's ocean of bliss. For him, faith in the Supreme Lord means faith in his individual soul. Bathing in the light of God, the individual soul itself takes on the divine properties of creator, launching "superior universes." But this is never through any separate, individual or derived power—it simply results from God's using the living entity as an agent, as a powerhouse of electricity uses an electric bulb to diffuse its light. The lightbulb sheds the light, but it is dependent on the "pulse," the "motive of the stars, suns, systems," which is the Supreme Lord.
It is apparent that this God consciousness is also synonymous with "cosmic consciousness," for the universe figures prominently in "Song of Myself," and though it is considered wonderful, it is not considered as wonderful as the eternal soul. The universe is created, maintained for a while, and then destroyed.
I open my scuttle at night and see the far-sprinkled systems,
And all I see multiplied as high as I can cipher edge but the rim of the farther systems.
Wider and wider they spread, expanding, always expanding,
Outward and outward and forever outward…
There is no stoppage and never can be stoppage,
If I, you, and the worlds, and all beneath or upon their surfaces, were at this moment reduced back to a pallid float, it would not avail in the long run,
We should surely bring up again where we now stand,
And surely go as much farther, and then farther and farther…(45)
Through all the cosmic changes, the soul remains the same forever. Whitman exhorts men and women to maintain their placidity through all these cosmic changes, for their souls remain untouched by them.
There is no object so soft but it makes a hub for the wheel'd universe,
And I say to any man or woman, Let your soul stand cool and composed
before a million universes. (48)
Whitman himself is not frightened by the cosmic leela, in fact he is delighted by it, and seems to have had an ability for "astral traveling," like Narada Muni, the Eternal Spaceman.
To me the converging objects of the universe perpetually flow,
All are written to me, and I must get what the writing means. (20)
My ties and ballasts leave me, my elbows rest in sea-gaps,
I skirt sierras, my palms cover continents,
I am afoot with my vision. (33)
I hear you whispering there O stars of heaven,
O suns—O grass of graves—O perpetual transfers and promotions,
If you do not sway anything, how can I say anything? (49)
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at d runway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags., (52)
As far as the methods of God consciousness are concerned, Whitman was too much of an individualist to have anything to do with institutionalized religion. Like Thoreau and many other transcendentalists, he was strictly secular. Fulfilling Emerson's image of the free man independent of the past and of the past's institutions, Whitman declares, "No friend of mine takes his ease in my chair,/ I have no chair, no church, no philosophy…" (46) By surrendering everything to God, he takes on responsibilities and actions but relinquishes fruits and results. He holds "creeds and schools in abeyance," and permits to speak "Nature without check with original energy." (1) It is this social independence that has made orthodox religionists wary of him.
Why should I pray? Why should I venerate and be ceremonious?
Having pried through the strata, analyzed to a hair, consel'd with doctors and calculated close,
I find no sweeter fat than sticks to my own bones. (20)
Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touched from,
The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer than prayer,
This head more than churches, bibles, and all the creeds. (24)
This attitude is not due to irreverence or irreligiosity, but is the logical outgrowth of his enlightenment. Krishna Himself says, "To the enlightened Brahmin all the Vedas are of as much use as a pond when there is everywhere a flood." (Gita, 2.46) Having reached shore, Whitman simply discards his raft. Consequently he has been criticized by religionists who profess godliness but whose hearts are in the wrong place due to ignorance and entanglement. Such hypocrites disgust Whitman.
I think I could turn and live with animals, they're so placid and self-contained…
They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God…
Not one kneels to another, not to his kind that lived thousands of years ago….(32)
For him it is not the outward show that is important—rather, by their fruits ye shall know them, and the fruits of the soul are joy and bliss, not lamentation. "What have I to do with lamentation?" He makes it clear, however, that he is not anti-church or anti-religion.
I do not despise you priests, all time, the world over,
My faith is the greatest of faiths and the least of faiths,
Enclosing worship ancient and modern and all between ancient and modern…
Drinking mead from the skull-cup, to Shastas and Vedas admirant, minding the Koran…
Accepting the Gospels, accepting him that was crucified, knowing assuredly that he is divine….(43)
Like many true devotees, Whitman considered it a great virtue "to argue not concerning God," knowing Him to be beyond words and theosophies. "Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself." (3) It was possibly the vain discussions about God that drove him out the churches into the open fields and lonely night-time beaches of Long Island. "Logic and sermons never convince,/ The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul." (30) And least of all does he advocate discussions with atheists and non-believers.
Backward I see in my own days where I sweated through fog with linguists and contenders,
I have no mockings or arguments, I witness and wait. (4)
Writing and talk do not prove me,
I carry the plenum of proof and everything else in my face,
With the hush of my lips I wholly confound the skeptic. (25)
Whitman has been accused of a childish, "unrealistic" optimism and of a total disregard of evil forces in the universe. He was well aware of evil forces—he did not stay in a closet, but was active in the Civil War. The evil forces were there, but in actuality he was transcendental to them. Since the Supreme Lord is in control, evil also has its place. One of Whitman's greatest assets is his ability to absorb evil without being tainted by it. "I am not the poet of goodness only, I do not decline to be the poet of wickedness also." (22) Like the Supreme Himself, as a poet he purifies what was previously indecent, revealing the divine function behind the guise.
Through me forbidden voices,
Voices of sexes and lusts, voices veil'd and I remove the veil,
Voices indecent by me clarified and transfigur'd.
I do not press my fingers across my mouth,
I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and heart,
Copulation is no more rank to me than death is. (24)
I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,
The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me,
The first I graft and increase upon Myself, the latter I translate into a new tongue. (21)
Seeing himself in all creatures, seeing the perfect unity of the creation as a "song of myself," he does not criticize the mysterious ways of God, nor does he judge men heavily. Whenever he sees a man falling prey to a vice, he sees himself doing the same. This divine quality of tolerance and forgiveness possibly turned him away from the hypocrites of religion who are prone to criticize and condemn others for the faults that are in themselves. Whitman does not believe in criticizing and condemning (knowing this is not in man's jurisdiction), but in helping—or as Christ said, "I came not in of the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Me might be saved." Good and evil exist within the modes of Prakriti (Nature) and Whitman knows his real Self to be beyond the modes.
What blurt is this about virtue and about vice?
Evil propels me and reform of evil propels me, I stand indifferent,
My gait is no fault-finder's or rejecter's gait,
I moisten the roots of all that has grown. (22)
Whoever degrades another degrades me,
And whatever is done or said returns at last to me. (24)
In all people I see myself, none more and not one a barley-corn less,
And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them. (20)
This echoes Christ's "Judge not that ye be not judged, for wherein ye judge another thou condemn'st thyself." Whitman was a mahatma who believed in a merciful God who wants men to love Him, not in a God Who created a world just to condemn it. Whitman does not condemn or lament. With open eyes he regards the demoniac and atheistic and considers with wonder that such absurdities and incongruities can be.
What behaved well in the past or behaves well today is not such a wonder,
The wonder is always and always how there can be a mean man or an infidel. (22)
Throughout "Song of Myself," Whitman discourages man in looking for signs and wonders. It is the sage who seeks the Divine and miraculous in all things. His method or Krishna Consciousness involves seeing God every second in the most commonplace and generally accepted things. He stresses the great miracle of the commonplace, of daily life. "A…clod, a stone, and gold are the same." (Gita, Vishnu/8) to him because he sees all things reflecting the Divine.
The bull and the bug never worshipp'd half enough,
Dung and dirt more admirable than was dream'd….(41)
I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my faintest wish…
That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be,
A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. (24)
He chooses the most commonplace, most handy phenomena as the great symbol to bind the creation—the grass, which grows among all people irrespective of color, caste, or creed. Grass is the Great Democrat of the vegetation, and as Whitman's Leaves of Grass, it accepts and welcomes all.
This is the grass that grows wherever the land is and the water is,
This the common air that bathes the globe. (17)
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars…
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the narrowest hinge in my hand puts to scorn all machinery,
And the cow crunching with depress'd head surpasses any statue,
And a mouse is miracle enough to stagger sextillions of infidels… (31)
And to glance with an eye or show a bean in its pod confounds the learning of all times… (48)
Like Emerson, Whitman saw the haunting past as one of man's greatest enemies. The past is completed and the future uncertain, so these only serve to divert man's mind and energy from the overwhelming importance of the eternally exfoliating present. "This minute that comes to me over the past decillions,/ There is no better than it and now." (22) Whitman declared that the man in Krishna Consciousness must be aware of the constant miracle and wonder of the present, and not allow his mind to wander over the past or things to come. Death comes now, birth comes now, liberation comes now, the vision of God comes now, or, as Christ said, "The kingdom of God is at hand." "The clock indicates the moment, but what does eternity indicate?" Whitman asks, and the answer is now. Guru Whitman instructs the neophyte:
Long enough have you dream'd contemptible dreams,
Now I wash the gum from your eyes,
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life. (46)
Being at "one" with the creation necessitates acceptance of the moment as being the best possible; happiness lies in the delight of suddenly awakening to find yourself here after so many trillions of years. The is eternal, and we are eternal. Only appearance change.
I have heard what the talkers were talking, the talk of the beginning and the end,
But I do not talk of the beginning or the end.
There was never any more inception than there is now,
Nor any more youth or age than there is now,
And will never be any more perfection than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell than there is now. (3)
Whitman also believes in the transmigration of the soul, from lower forms of life and from body to body. "And as to your Life I reckon you are the fore." (49) When he sees animals, he is reminded that he was doubtless one himself in the past. The animals "bring me tokens of myself…I wonder where they get those tokens,/ Did I pass that way huge times ago and negligently drop them?" (32) In fact, he sees his body and his spirit as integral with all the forms of the creation, that he incorporates the lower forms then "distances" them in his evolution toward the Godhead.
I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots,
And am stucco'd with quadrupeds and birds all over,
And have distanced what is behind me for good reasons,
But call anything back again when I desire it. (31)
As for the future, he does not put returning to earth again out of the question. "Believing I shall come again upon the earth after five thousand years…(43)
As for death, Whitman, the courage teacher, welcomes it as joyfully as anything else. In fact, he is called the poet of "death and lilacs" because of his frequent and beautiful treatments of death throughout Leaves of Grass. ("What is finally beautiful but love and death?) "I know I am deathless," he proclaims. (20) The Supreme Lord Himself accompanies the soul through the passage of birth and death, so why fear? Rather, there is cause for welcome.
Has any one supposed it lucky to be born?
I hasten to inform him or her it is just as lucky to die, and I know it.
I pass death with the dying and birth with the new-wash'd babe, and am
not contained between my hat and boots.
The Lord witnesses the passing of the individual soul through various dresses (bodies) and knows its history of rebirths, as Krishna affirms in the Gita, "Many a birth have I passed through, O Arjuna, and so have you. I know them all, but you know them not." (Gita, 4.5) Even in this lifetime, Whitman was well acquainted with death, witnessing innumerable deaths of soldiers in the Washington hospitals. In fact, he muses that the leaves of grass may even transpire from the breasts of young men. This is not morbid; life and death are one, inextricably woven.
The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if ever there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceas'd the moment life appear'd.
All goes onward and outward, nothing collapes,
And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier. (6)
Life is an omnipresent force, and death simply a transition to another form of material existence or, possibly, liberation and union with the Great Camerado.
And as to you Death, and you bitter hug of mortality, it is idle to try to alarm me.
And as to you Corpse I think you are good manure, but that does not offend me,
I smell the white roses sweet-scented and growing,
I reach to the leafy lips, I reach to the polishe'd breasts of melons. (49)
At the conclusion of the poem, Whitman magnificently describes the parting of the soul from the body. "I depart as air," he begins, then finally concludes, "I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love, If his bodily remains to Nature, his spirit returns to the eternal abode. His concluding lines remind one of Krishna's "Abandon all dharmas and come to me alone for shelter." (Gita, 18.66):
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you. (52)
It is the ultimate promise of the Supreme—an eternal abode of peace, knowledge and bliss—that Whitman is indicating. He was aware that Krishna is waiting there for all His children to return to Him. By Krishna's grace, he was communicated this knowledge to write for an American audience—and world audience—in an age of materialistic chaos and anti-spiritualism. In such a difficult age, Krishna sends His blessings in many ways, and it is by His grace that we find joyful Walt loafing along the American roadside like a polite old mendicant, offering his Leaves of Grass to the dizzy and wearied Twentieth Century traveler, offering indeed a "matchless gift" and promise:
Do you see O brothers and sisters?
It is not chaos or death—it is form, union, plan—it is eternal life—it is happiness. (50)
(Next Issue: Krishna Consciousness In American Poetry, Part Iv: Hart Crane's The Bridge and the 20th Century.)
Poem to Walt Whitman
Poem to Walt Whitman
You too found Him all attractive,
And your thoughts of Him you called Leaves of Grass
For His green handiwork bends beneath His Feet,
And you knew well those leaves of life
Transpire from the breasts of the dead.
Those leaves of grass for you
Were tokens designedly dropped by the Lord, His handkerchief,
"Bearing the owner's Name somewhere in the corner,
That we may stop and look and say Whose?"
And those Leaves of yours, dead Greybeard,
Were leaves you dropped so graciously for me.
I first found them ten years ago
When at sixteen, on the Atlantic beach, the Florida sands,
Beneath the baking sun I read
Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking
And marveled at it all.
And today, in Golden Gate Park,
The Great Camerado spread a carpet
Of young April grass,
And we sat upon the delicate leaves
To sing to Bhagavan, His Song of Myself.
And looking at the grass,
Shining radiant, green in the sun, I thought
Of Time and Life and Death,
All the living and all the dead,
And chanted Hare Krishna
Just to feel the cosmos vibrate,
And feeling a sudden terror
When it did.
Just when I feared everything would pop,
I thought of you,
Who "smilest content at death,"
And chanted much louder
To see His light and leaves of grass
Play before me, an endless carillon, endless miracle.
Then I felt giddy with joy.
How lucky I am, camerado,
To have such a great friend like you
Reach across the century
Just to comfort me.

—Hayagriva Das Brahmacary
(Howard Wheeler)
Back to Godhead Magazine #13,
June, 1967
On the Cover
On the Cover
is Tridandi Goswami A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami the Swami, who has recently suffered ill health, first began publishing Back to Godhead Magazine in the 1940’s. Now 72 years old, he is the founder and revered teacher of the International Society For Krishna Consciousness. In addition to his continuing essay on The Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, this issue contains some letters to, and replies by, Swamiji, as well as an address written by him, and delivered by his disciple, Kirtanananda Das, at Tompkins Square Park on Sunday, June 4.
All glories to Guru Maharaj.
By The Mercy of Krishna:
By The Mercy of Krishna:
This is the first edition of Back To Godhead to come off our presses. Although the difficulties involved in operating an offset press, especially in view of our inexperience, are great—we nevertheless feel that this is only the first ray of a glistening future for the Society’s publications department.
Our mission is to spread the Samkirtan movement, as it was inaugurated by Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu about 480 years ago. We mean to avail ourselves of every opportunity to do this, for it is the Lord’s pleasure to have us thus devote ourselves to His loving service; and what’s more, this is the only real act of love which one living entity can offer to another—that is, the knowledge of Infinite God. And so we hope to perfect our publishing operations to the finest possible level of art and skill in every facet. And, because this is all in praise of Krishna, it is our delight, not our task, to do so.
Another medium which well served the Lord recently was television. On Thursday evening, May 25, Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta and several of his disciples appeared on the Alan Burke Show, on New York’s WNEW—channel 5. The program was extremely well-received, and Mr. Burke’s kindness and respect toward the Swami was most appreciated. Our deep thanks go to him for this great service.
Hare Krishna
The Editors
Teachings of Lord Chaitanya
Teachings of Lord Chaitanya
Part IV—The Forms of Krishna’s Manifestations and Incarnations
By devotional service one can understand that Krishna first of all manifests Himself as Sayamrupa, His Personal Form, then as Tadekatmarupa, and then Avesarupa. In these three features He manifests Himself in His transcendental Form. The feature of Sayamrupa is the form in which Krishna can be understood by one who may not understand His other features. In other words. the form in which Krishna is directly understood is called Sayamrupa, or His Personal Form. The Tadekatmarupa is that form which most resembles the Sayamrupa but has some differences of bodily features. This Tadekatmarupa is divided into two manifestations, called the Personal expansion and the Pastime expansion. As far as Avesarupa is concerned, sometimes Krishna empowers some suitable living entity to represent Him; when a living entity is acting as a representative of the Supreme Lord, he is called Avesa avatar, or Saktavesh avatara. His Personal Form is again divided into two: Sayamrupa and Sayapraksa. As far as His Sayamrupa is concerned, it is in that form that He remains always in Vrindaban (also called Pastime Form) with all the inhabitants of Vrindaban. That Personal Form is again divided into two, known categorically as Prabhavav and Braibhava Forms. For example, Krishna expanded Himself in multi forms in the Rasa Dance, and when He danced with the Gopis, He expanded Himself in multi forms to dance with each and every Gopi who took part in that dance. Similarly, He expanded Himself also in 16, 000 forms at Dwarka when He married 16, 000 wives.
There are some instances of great mystics also expanding their bodily features in different way, but that sort of expansion by yoga process is not applicable to Krishna. There are instances in the Vedic history such as Saubhary Rishi, a sage who expanded himself into eight forms by the yoga process, but that expansion was not actually into eight forms—it was simply a manifestation, for Saubhary remained one. But as far as Krishna is concerned, when He manifested Himself in different forms each and every one of them was a separate individual. When Narada Muni visited Krishna at different Palaces at Dwarka, he was astonished, and yet Narada is never astonished to see the expansion of the body of a yogi since he knows the trick himself. But in a verse in the Srimad Bhagawatam states that Narada was astonished to see the expansion of Krishna. He explains his wonder as to how the Lord was present in each and every house of the 16,000 palaces with His queens. Krishna Himself was in a different form with each queen, and He was acting in different ways. For example, in one Form He was talking with His wife; in another Form He was engaged with His children and yet another Form He was performing some household work. These different activities are called actions in the Lord’s different emotions, and when He is in these “emotional” Forms, the expansions are known as Vaibhavapraksa. Similarly there are other unlimited expansions of the Forms of Krishna, but even when they divided or expanded in such unlimited Forms they are still one and the same. There is no difference between one Form and another; that is the Absolute conception of the Personality of Godhead.
In the Srimad Bhagawatam it is stated in the 10th canto, 40th chapter that at the time when Akrura was carrying both Krishna and Balarama from Gokula to Mathura, he entered into the water of the Yamuna and could see all the spiritual planets in the spiritual sky—he saw there the Lord in His Vishnu Form along with Narada and the four Kumaras, and he saw how they are worshipping. This is described in the Srimad Bhagawatam as “Form.” It is stated in the Bhagavat Purana that there are many worshippers who are purified by different processes of worship, as the Vaisnav, or the Aryan who also worship the Supreme Lord according to their convictions and their spiritual understanding; each process of worship involves the understanding of different Forms of the Lord mentioned in the Scriptures, but the ultimate idea is to worship the Supreme Lord Himself. In the feature of His Vaibhavapraksa, the Lord manifests Himself as Balarama. The feature of Balarama is as good as Krishna; the difference is that Krishna is blackish and Balarama is whitish. The Vaibhavapraksa Form was also displayed when Krishna appeared in the four handed form of Narayana before Devaki when He was appearing in this world, and by the request of His parents He transformed Himself into a two handed Form. Therefore, sometimes He becomes four handed and sometimes He becomes two handed. When He is in a Form of two hands that is actually Vaibhavapraksa, and when He is four handed that is Vravhavabilasa. In His Personal Form He is just like a cowerd boy and He thinks Himself, but when He is in the Vasudeva Form He thinks Himself as the son of a Ksatriya, and He feels Himself also as a Ksatriya or a princely administrator.
Form, Opulence, Beauty, Wealth, Attractiveness, and Pastimes are fully exhibited in His Form as the Son of Nanda. In some of the Vaisnav literature it is found that sometimes in His Form as Vasudeva He becomes attracted to the Form of Govinda in Vrindaban; sometimes as Vasudeva He desires to enjoy like Govinda, although the Govinda Form and the Vasudeva Form are one and the same. There is a passage in the Laleeta Madhava 4th chapter in which Krishna addresses Uddhava as follows: “My dear friend, this Govinda, Form as a cowherd boy attracts Me. I wish to be like the damsels of Vraja and be attracted by this Govinda Form.” Similarly, in the Laleeta Madhava, 8th chapter, Krishna says: “O how wonderful it is, Who is this Personality? Exactly after seeing Him I am attracted by Him, so that now I am desiring to embrace Him just like Radhika. When this Form of Krishna becomes a little differentiated, it is called Tadekatma.
In this Tadekatmarupa or Form there are two divisions also: one is called Svamsa. Both in the Vilasa and Svamsa forms also there are many differential features which are also divided into Prabhava and Braibhava. As far as Vilasa Forms are concerned, there are innumerable Prabhava Vilasa. Krishna expands Himself as Vasudeva, Samkarsan, Pradyumna, Aniruddha. Sometimes the Lord thinks Himself a cowherds boy, and sometimes He thinks Himself the son of Vasudeva, a Ksatriya, and this “thinking” of Krishna is called “Pastimes.” In His Prabhava Prakasa and Prabhava Vilasa He is in the same Form but appears differently as Krishna and Valadeva. As mentioned above, His expansion as Vasudeva, Samkarsan, Pradyumna, and Aniruddha is in the Original Chaturvuha, or four armed Forms.
There are innumerable four armed Formal manifestations in different planets and different places. For instance, this four Formal manifestation is both in Dwarka and Mathura eternally. And from these four Forms originally there are the principle twenty four Forms, named differently in terms of the different adjustments of the symbols in the hands—and they are called Baibhivabilasa. The same four Formal manifestations of Krishna is in each planet of the Spiritual Sky, called the Narayan loka or Vaikuntha loka. In the Vaikuntha loka He is manifested in a four handed Form called Narayan. And from each Narayan there is a manifestation of the four formal Forms as mentioned above. Therefore Narayan is in the center, and the four formal Forms are surrounding the Narayan Form. Each of the four Forms again expands in three different Forms, and they all have their different names, beginning from Keshava, and they are twelve in all. Such Forms are understood by different names according to the different placements of the symbols in the hands of Narayan. As far as the Vasudeva Form is concerned, in the four formal Forms they are three, namely Keshava, Narayana, and Madhava. The three Forms of Govinda are known as Govinda, Vishnu, and Sri Madhusudana. It should be noted however that this Govinda Form is not the same Govinda Form as manifested in Vrindaban (as the son of Nanda). Similarly, Pradyumna is also divided into three Forms known as Trivikrama, Vamana, and Sridhara, and similarly there are three Forms of Aniruddha known as Hrisikesa Padmanabha and Damodara.

End of Part IV
Poems by Vidyapati
Poems by Vidyapati
(Vidyapati (1352-1448) a famous and popular court poet of Mathila, India, wrote these Radha-Krishna love songs which find their correspondence in the West to the poems of St. John of the Cross as songs of bhakti between the soul of man and his Creator. In Bengal, Vidyapati’s use of Radha and Krishna as ideal lovers led many Bengalis to regard him as a Vaishnava. Bengali scholars visiting Mathila brought back copies of his songs, and in the 15th century Lord Chaitanya read them with enthusiasm. In fact, Jayadeva, Chandidas and Vidyapati were Lord Chaitanya’s favorite poets. Chaitanya freely adopted the songs of Vidyapati as Vaishnava hymns. The poems rendered below are excerpted from Love Songs of Vidyapati, Translated by Deben Bhattacharya, George Allen Unwin Ltd. , London, 1963.)
Black Stone
Your glances tempt their love.…
O Krishna, Krishna,
You are known to be wise.
How can I tell You what is right?
Gold is tested on the black-stone,
The love of a man by his nature.
Fragrance reveals the flower and its pollen
And the eyes and the tears
The dawn of love.
Nights of Joy
O friend:
How can you ask me
What I feel?
In talk, love always grows,
Is always new.
Since I was born
I’ve seen his beauty
With insatiate eyes.
His gentle voice
Brushed my ears.
Thrilled, I long for more.
Nights of spring
Passed in joy,
Yet still the game of love
Has new delights.
I’ve held Him to my heart
A million ages,
Yet longing flares again.
A host of lovers,
Their love reduced to ashes,
Know nothing of its power….
My Body Hid My Body
My eyes encountered Him
And left me.
The lotus snubbed the sun
And fled away.
The moon and the night-lily
Unite in love.
Madhava I saw today,
But with art I hid my passion.
Shyness dropped with my clothes.
My body hid my body.
My heart was another’s.
Krishna I saw Everywhere.
Clouds filled the sky
And the God of love,
Piercing her heart, withdrew.
Leaning vk fortnight
Radha fades.
Is she the pale crescent moon
Of the wet monsoon sky?
Krishna, You have turned Your face away,
Inflicting pain unbearable.
Her hair, dishevelled,
Veils the beauty of her face
As evil shadows eat the glowing moon.
Strings of blossom in her hair
Wantonly play
As flooded rivers
Twine about their twins.
Exquisite today,
This sport of love,
As Radha rides on Krishna.
Beads of sweat glisten on her face
Like pearls on the moon,
A present to her
From the God of love.
With all her force
She kisses her lover's lips,
Like the moon swooping
To drink a lotus bloom.
Her necklace dangles
Below her hanging breasts;
Like streams of milk
Trickling from golden jars.
The jingling bells around her waist
Sang glory to the God of love.
Smiles and Laughter
Blue lotuses
Flower everywhere
And black kokilas sing…
King of the seasons,
Spring has come
And wild with longing
The bee goes to his love.
Birds flight in the air
And cowherd-girls
Smile face to face…
Krishna has entered
The great forest.
New To Love
New to love,
I shrank from loving
Yet the night grew And all was done.
I did not relish
Sweets of dalliance.
My shyness warred against my will…
He seized my garland,
Held my hair
And pressed his heart
Against my smothered breasts
But, in my clumsy innocence,
Alone, with none to aid,
I could not please.
He wanted everything
In one great rapture
And to my painful shame
I gave so little.
The spell of passion went.
I said
Eyes of Danger
To gaze on Krishna was my greatest wish,
Yet seeing Him was filled with danger.
Gazing has bewitched me, no will remains,
I cannot speak or hear.
Like monsoon clouds,
My eyes pour water.
My heart flutters.
O friend, why ever did I see Him
And with such joy deliver Him my life?…
Master of Love
My Krishna is so very clever.
With no effort on his part,
He broke my all-resisting pride.
Today He came garbed as a yogi
To mystify me by an exquisite act…
But He was overwhelmed at seeing my face.
When He begged the jewel of My pride,
I knew how cunning was His ming.
And then what He said
I am too shy to repeat.
No one even knew
That this was the master of love.
The Quest
So long our world was new,
We were one like fish and water.
Such was our love.
A sharp word passed between us.
My dear love smiled
And gave no answer
Krishna, in the same bed with me,
Seemed in a far-away land.
In the forest where no one moves,
My love now smiles,
My love now speaks.
I shall dress as a yogini
And look for my love.
Bold Love
I am going today, dear friend,
And shall not fear the elders at home.
Words will not trouble me.
With sandal paste my skin will glisten.
I shall deck myself in pearls.
My eyes look brilliant with no mascara.
I shall cover my body in white
And walk with leisured steps.
When the sky is lit with the smiling moon
From staring eyes I shall not flinch
Nor shall I hide.
So much did I conceal
From fear of others,
Even the currents of my love.
War of Youth
Two armies were engaged in war
As childhood merged in youth.
Knotted, the hair of Radha fell.
At times, she hid her limbs,
At times, released her charm.
Her eyes in innocence roved here and there.
The skin about her rising breasts
Was tinged with red.
Her feet became
As restless as her heart.
The god was waking up in Radha.
His eyes were closed with love.
Waves of Lightning
Her feet showered lotuses.
The glitter of her body
Brought waves of lightning.
The enchanting beauty
Has entered my heart.
Her eyes opened
Like lotuses in flower.
Her widening smile
Cast nectar-spells on all.
Her sidelong glances
Issued darts of love.
I saw her beauty
Only in a flash
But thinking of it
Fills three different, worlds.
At the River
Hold my hand.
Caress me, Krishna.
I will give you
A wondrous garland.
The friends are gone,
But which way, Krishna,
I do not know.
I will not walk
With You, Krishna,
But at the river
By the lonely bank
There I will meet You.
Krishna Consciousness in American Poetry
Krishna Consciousness in American Poetry
Part IV: Hart Crane’s The Bridge and the 20th Century
The victory of the North in the Civil War was also a victory of industrialism in America, for the industrial North had proved the importance of the machine—the machine meant power. Henry Adams, in his Education, proclaimed the Dynamo to be to the modern age what the Blessed Virgin Mary was to 13th century Europe. The machine was to be the new God, and the scientists the priests. What Crane was to call the "iron dealt clevage" had already cut across the new nation. In his Democratic Vistas (1871). Whitman warned America of spiritual degeneracy and cautioned that science without spirituality would only lead mankind into chaos. In his 1872 Preface to Leaves of Grass, he indicates the true function of science:
With Science, the Old Theology of the East, long in its dotage, begins evidently to die and disappear. But (to my mind) Science—and may be such will prove its principal service—as evidently prepares the way for One indescribably grander—Time’s young but perfect offspring—the New Theology—heir of the West—lusty and loving, and wondrous beautiful. For America, and for today, just the same as any day, the supreme and final Science is the Science of God—what we call science being only its minister—as Democracy is or shall be also.
Crane was familiar with all of Whitman’s writings, and the following excerpt from and 1876 Preface is also indicative of Crane’s attitude toward science and its spiritualization:
Only … joyfully accepting Modern Science, and loyally following it without the slightest hesitation, there remains ever recognized still a higher flight, a higher fact, the Eternal Soul of Man, (of all Else too,) the Spiritual, the Religious—which it is to be the greatest office of Scientism, in my opinion, and of future Poetry also, to free from fables, crudities and superstitions, and launce forth in renewed Faith and Scope a hundred fold. To me the worlds of Religiousness, of the conception of the Divine, and of the Ideal, though mainly latent, are just as absolute, in Humanity and the Universe as the world of Chemistry, or anything in the objective worlds.
(Whitman, 1876 Preface to Leaves of Grass)
Ironically, today the greatest, of the modern scientists proclaims the spiritual to be the most important single fact in life, and the source of all true science. Albert Einstein:
The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the source of all true science. He to whom emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.
In his essay “Modern Poetry,” Hart Crane calls Science “the uncanonized Deity of the times” that “seems to have automatically displaced the hierarchies of both Academy and Church.”
It was Hart Crane (1899–1932) who directly took up Whitman’s job of creating a poetry of vision that extends beyond civilizations and histories into the grand significance of man in his relationship with the eternal. Crane has been called the greatest poetic genius that America has produced, “the Shelley of our age,” as Robert Lowell called him, for in his short, chaotic life he was able to create a poetic myth that extends and endures beyond narrow literary confines. Crane was also one of the first great poetic geniuses to bump heads with the Machine Age—and he refused to let the mechanical chaos of the 20th Century triumph. In “Modern Poetry” he writes:
The function of poetry in a Machine Age is identical to its function in any other age; and its capacities for presenting the most complete synthesis of human values remain essentially immune from any of the so-called inroads of science. … For unless poetry can absorb the machine, i. e. , acclimatize it as naturally and casually as trees, cattle, galleons, castles and all other human associations of the past, then poetry has failed of its full contemporary function.
Crane’s job, as he saw it, was to inject his vision of God into machinery. He sees Science and its Machine capable of taking two paths—the road to Hell (symbolized by the subway in “The Tunnel”) or the road to God (symbolized by the Brooklyn Bridge). He recognizes, the Brooklyn Bridge as a magnificent technological achievement that is capable of “singing” God. When Crane wrote The Bridge, his magnus opus, he lived in Brooklyn, and his apartment window afforded him a scenic view of the East River, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Coincidently, his apartment was the same apartment the bridge’s architect used during its construction. Musing out the window at the Bridge, that gateway to Whitman’s “golden Manahatta” the harplike “altar” soon came to represent a unifying force in Crane’s roaring life, and in his greatest poem Brooklyn Bridge metamorphosizes into “Thou steeled Cognizance”, the symbol of the Absolute in a technological age of chaos. The Bridge is a long poem divided into eight sections, “Ave Maria,” “Powhatan’s Daughter”, “Cutty Sark”, “Cape Hatteras”, “Three Songs”, “Quaker Hill”, “The Tunnel”, and “Atlantis”. Together they represent an odyssey of the soul through the horrors and paltry, sensual joys of the tunnel of life and the soul’s subsequent release into the eternal bliss of the spiritual realms. Throughout the soul’s odyssey the Bridge is there, but it is removed from all struggle. It awaits the sojourner as the eternal Reality. “I stop somewhere waiting for you”, is the promise, for God awaits all in eternity; He waits for the individual soul to turn from Maya, and turn to Him. In the opening Poem, the Bridge, as the symbol of Godhead, is presented in triumph through “white rings of tumult”, as Krishna is surrounded by His Brahmajyoti effulgence. The picture is one of eternality, omnipotence, and freedom.,
How many dawns, chill from his rippling rest
The seagull’s wings shall dip and pivot him,
Shedding white rings of tumult, building high
Over the chained bay waters Liberty—
The City and its “chained bay waters” are bound however by an inextricable workday business karma. In his Wall Street office, man falls from his realization of this vision.
Then, with inviolate curve, forsake our eyes
As apparitional as sails that cross
Some page of figures to be filed away;
—Till elevators drop us from our day …
At this point Crane likens the phenomenal creation to a motion picture cinema with mankind bending toward the screen, as the deluded men in Socrates’ cave watch with fascination the illusory reflections thrown on the wall of the cave, unaware that the reflections are only dream fantasies and that in actuality their faces are turned from the bright Reality. But the true nature of “Maya” as a reflection of the Reality is revealed to “other eyes,” namely the poet and seer, though hidden from the multitudes, for the Divine reserves the right to disclose Himself only to His chosen.
I think of cinemas, panoramic sleights
With multitudes bent toward some flashing scene
Never disclosed, but hastened to again,
Foretold to other eyes on the same screen;
Meanwhile the great Magician Whose creation is merely a “sleight of hands” trick, stands in His Supreme Abode across the harbor, eternally “unspent” by dint of His own freedom.
And Thee, across the harbor, silver-paced
As though the sun took step of thee, yet left
Some motion ever unspent in thy stride,
Implicitly thy freedom staying thee!
Arjuna saw "the heroes of the mortal world rush into Thy (Krishna’s) fiercely flaming mouths," (Gita, 11.28) but in the age of Kali the heroes are reduced to one mad “bedlamite” jumping from the Bridge’s parapets. This is also a prefiguration of Crane’s suicidal jump from the back of a boat in 1932.
Out of some subway scuttle, cell or loft
A bedlamite speeds to thy parapets,
Tilting there momently, shrill shirt ballooning,
A jest falls from the speechless caravan.
Amidst this madness, the gift of the Divine lies in His pardon and in the relative anonymity of the individual soul.
And obscure as that heaven of the Jews,
Thy guerdon … Accolade thou dost bestow
Of anonymity time cannot raise:
Vibrant reprieve and pardon thou dost show.
Then the Bridge is addressed as “harp and altar, “ which it tends to resemble. The forces surrounding this Absolute are forces of cosmic, not human, fury. No human toil can ever conceive or construct a miracle that is the answer to all prayers, the cry of all lovers, the fulfillment of all desires and prophecies.
O harp and altar, of the fury fused,
(How could mere toil align thy choiring strings!)
Terrific threshold of the prophet’s pledge,
Prayer of pariah, and the lover’s cry,—
Its “swift unfractioned idiom” is a monolithic omnipotence that has power to condense eternity. To the sigh of stars, the dharma is indicated. It is the personal figure of the Deity that lifts night in His powerful arms.
Again the traffic lights that skim thy swift
Unfractioned idiom, immaculate sigh of stars,
Beading thy path—condense eternity:
And we have seen night lifted in thine arms.
In the poem’s conclusion, the Cognizance, Who is eternally awake as His creation (the river, the ocean, the prairie) flows eternally beneath Him, is petitioned to descend into the iron age, and, by His descent, to give mankind a new myth by which to worship Him.
O Sleepless as the river under thee,
Vaulting the sea, the praries’ dreaming sod,
Unto us lowliest sometime sweep, descend
And of the curveship lend a myth to God.
In the “Ave Maria” section of The Bridge, the Deity is invoked by the New World “discoverer,” Columbus, as he sails back to Spain. Columbus, like Whitman in a later day, is a mystical explorer, a seer and leader, who knows Krishna to be as an ocean “athwart lanes of death and birth.” As an explorer, he enters into the Creator’s “burning blue” savannahs and petitions His assurance that his “sail is true,” Without such faith, man can accomplish nothing. Crane’s Columbus knows the Creator to be omnipotent and omnipresent, and fittingly praises His “teeming span” and “primal scan” that surveys all in His domain from the sacred Ganges to the Chan.
O Thou who sleepest on Thyself, apart
Like ocean athwart lanes of death and birth,
And all the eddying breath between doth search
Cruelly with love thy parable of man—
Inquisitor! incognizable Word
Of Eden and the enchained Sepulchre,
Into thy steep savannahs, burning blue,
Utter to loneliness the sail is true.
… O Thou
Within whose primal scan consummately
The glistening seignories of Ganges swim;—
Who sendest greeting by the corposan,
And Teneriffe’s garnet—flamed it in a cloud,
Urging through night our passage to the Chan;—
Te Deum laudamus, for thy teeming span!
White toil of heaven’s cordons, mustering
In holy rings all sails charged to the far
Hushed gleaming fields and pendant seething wheat
Of knowledge,—round thy brows unhooded now
—The kindled Crown! acceded of the poles
And biassed by full sails, merideans reel
Thy purpose—still one shore beyond desire!
The sea’s green crying towers a-sway, Beyond
And kingdoms
naked in the
trembling heart—
Te Deum laudamus
O Thou Hand of Fire
Again, God is presented surrounded by dazzling lights. Images like “seething wheat of knowledge” are typical of Crane who telescopes two interrelated ideas in one phrase. For man, God is both bread (sustenance) and knowledge. Again, His omnipotence is stressed in such phrases as “meridians reel Thy purpose.” The “Hand of Fire” is God’s Shiva (Destroyer) aspect. Columbus is well aware that God can enable him to return with news of his discovery or kill him with one swift stroke. Kingdoms naked in the trembling heart” echo Christ’s “The Kingdom of God is within you.” As in other instances, Columbus prefigures a later figure in the poem, Whitman, as a seer and man of faith. In the second section of the poem we are shifted again to the Twentieth Century in a part entitled “The River” which is none other than the river of life. Here we are given a graphic picture of the wild, bumbling 20th Century Express that roars its way to hell to jazz rhythms. The Express is the 20th Century machine run wild without spiritual direction.
—while an EXpress makes time like
Science—Commerce and the Holy Ghost
Radio Roars In Every Home We Have The Northpole
Wallstreet And Virginbirth Without Stones Or
Wires Or Even Running brooks connection ears
and no more sermons windows flashing roar
Breathtaking—as you like it … eh?
So the 20th Century—so
whizzed the Limited—roared by and left
three men, still hungry on the tracks, ploddingly
watching the tail lights wizen and converge,
slipping gimleted and neatly out of sight.
The three men are mendicants, “hobo trekkers” who have jumped off the wild American bandwagon that is bumbling its way toward “Progress” and Materialism. These are the transcendental waysiders with whom Crane identifies, outcasts who somehow know something of God, though they cannot articulate their knowledge
Each seemed a child, like me, on a loose perch,
Holding to childhood like some termless play. …
Like Whitman, these hobos “confess no rosary or clue,” but their wanderings have put them in intimate contact with the Deity.
Yet they touch something like a key perhaps.
… They know a body under the wide rain …
They lurk across her, knowing her yonder breast
Snow-silvered, sumac-stained or smoky blue—
Is past the valley-sleepers, south or west.
—As I have trod the rumorous midnights, too,
And past the circuit of the lamp’s thin flame
(O Nights that brought me to her body bare!)
Have dreamed beyond the print that bound her name.
Trains sounding the long blizzards out—I heard
Wail into distances I knew were hers.
Papooses crying on the wind’s long mane
Screamed redskin dynasties that fled the brain,
—Dead echoes!. But I knew her body there,
Time like a serpent down her shoulder, dark,
And space, an eaglet’s wing, laid on her hair.
They travel over the body of God (here referred to in the feminine gender) that contains and reconciles both time (the serpent) and space (the eagle). Contrasted with the wandering mendicants is the “Sheriff, Brakeman and Authority,” repressive forces in the 20th Century, that “smile out eerily what they seem” and joke at heaven’s gate.” Such absurd men who try to lord it over the creation are borne down the river of life despite themselves. Crane’s condemnation of the 20th Century American materialists is severe—he sees them as “grimed tributaries to an ancient flow” (a flow that could be Vedic civilization). Without God they can “win no frontier,” make no progress, but only “drift in stillness.”
Down, down—born pioneers in time’s despite,
Grimed tributaries to an ancient flow—
They win no frontier by their wayward plight,
But drift in stillness, as from Jordan’s brow.
The River of Life is much greater than any tributary civilization, and it sweeps all along with it in its course. This is also a River of dreams whose unity or “knit of identity” rests in the Self that is the same in all. Man is eternal in this river, for each man is the father of his father endlessly reincarnated.
The River, spreading, flows—and spends your dream.
What are you, lost within this tideless spell?
You are your father’s father, and the stream—
A liquid theme that floating niggers swell.
The theme the River sings is the Song of God as it heaps itself free from its bed to flow into the great Gulf of the Supreme Lord. The dream of life, of history, pours into the sea, its only will is in rapidly flowing unchecked, in spending itself of its confines and meeting and praising God in His great Gulf.
… Ahead
No embrace opens but the stinging sea;
The River lifts itself from its long bed,
Poised wholly on its dream, a mustard glow
Tortured with history, its one will—flow!
—The Passion spreads in wide tongues, choked and slow,
Meeting the Gulf, hosannas silently below.
In the “Cape Hatteras” section of The Bridge, Whitman is canonized by Crane as the great American poet-sage-guru-seer-saint who could perceive the Deity beneath the inherent sweetness of the earth and, like Columbus, the great Navigator, maintain his vision of the Godhead despite innumerable impediments—in Whitman’s case, the Civil War, industrialism, and the incipient madhouse of the Stock Exchange.
O Saunterer on free ways still ahead!
Not this our empire yet, but labyrinth
Wherein your eyes, like the Great Navigator’s without ship,
Gleam from the great stones of each prison crypt
Of canyoned traffic … Confronting the Exchange,
Surviving in a world of stocks. …Sea eyes and tidal, undenying, bright with myth!
Crane also states that it was Whitman who inspired The Bridge:
Our Meistersinger, thou set breath in steel;
And it was thou who on the boldest heel
Stood up and flung the span on even wing
Of that great Bridge, our Myth, whereof I sing!
The poet’s and humanity’s duty, as Crane sees it, is to meet the challenge Whitman gives them.
… To course that span of consciousness thou’st named
The Open Road—thy vision is reclaimed!
What heritage thou’st signalled to our hands!
… O joyous seer!
Recorders ages hence, yes, they shall hear
In their own veins uncancelled thy sure tread
And read thee by the aureole ‘round thy head
Of pasture-shine, Panis Angelicus!
Crane calls for a cohesive force in the Machine Age, one that will empregnate science and machinery with the. vision of God. The airplane pilot, “Falcon-Ace,” carries with him the hope of the race, and the Vedic injunctions are also in his veins, written in his wrists.
Remember, Falcon-Ace,
Thou hast there in thy wrist a Sanskrit charge
To conjugate infinity’s dim marge—
Anew … !
The next to last section of The Bridge, “The Tunnel,” stands as the most graphic depiction in verse of the hell man has constructed for himself in the 20th Century. The New York City subway comes to symbolize mankind’s tunnel of horrors that result from the improper use of the machine. “The Tunnel” does serve a positive function, however, for as in Dante’s Divine Comedy, one gets to heaven by going through hell. Hence the Blake quotation heading this section: “To find the Western path/ Right thro’ the Gates of Wrath.” It is in this tunnel that we hear the cries and bellows of a chaotic demonic mankind caught in the endless rounds and boroughs of samsara.
Some day by heart you’ll learn each famous sight
And watch the curtain lift in hell’s despite …
Our tongues recant like beaten weather vanes. …
The phonographs of hades in the brain
Are tunnels that re-wind themselves, and love
A burnt match skating in a urinal. …
In these “back forks of the chasms of the brain” and “interborough fissures of the mind,” Crane sees Edgar Poe, poet laureate of the tunnel of horrors, riding like a ghost with Death in his eyes “below the toothpaste and the dandruff ads.” As the train bends to a scream before diving under the East River, Crane delivers the most vehement accusation ainst the iron age in verse:
Daemon, demurring and eventful yawn!
Whose hideous laughter is a bellows mirth
—Or the muffled slaughter of a day in birth—
O cruelly to inoculate the brinking dawn
With antennae toward worlds that glow and sink;—
To spoon us out more liquid than the dim
Locution of the eldest star, and pack
The conscience navelled in the plunging wind,
Umbilical to call—and straightway die!
O caught like pennies beneath soot and steam,
Kiss of our agony thou gatherest;
Condensed, thou takest all—shrill ganglia
Impassioned with some song we fail to keep.
The “shrill ganglia” is contemporary civilization without a living spiritual myth, and the “song we fail to keep” is the Song of God. The section ends on a note of triumph, however. The subway rises up the slope from under the River and emerges in the open air where Crane sees the Bridge standing as a great Word promising eternal life.
And yet, like Lazarus, to feel the slope,
The sod and billow breaking,—lifting ground,
—A sound of waters bending astride the sky
Unceasing with some Word that will not die …!
The ‘Word” is the dharma that releases man from what Krishna called “the Great Fear,” death and the endless cycles of rebirths. Crane asks “Or shall the hands be drawn away, to die?” and the reply is that Shiva, the destroyer aspect, the “hand of Fire,” only gathers us to God. “Kiss of our agony Thou gatherest, / O Hand of Fire/gatherest—” leads logically into “Atlantis,” the great promise of the poem, which is a wonderful, tumbling description (the only one given in American verse) of the wonders of the spiritual universe. In “Atlantis,” the lost mythical city, the Bridge is celebrated in all its beauty, majesty, omnipotence, eternality, and knowledge. Religion, myth, science and technology merge to make a new and joyous music. “Music is then the knowledge of that which relates to love in harmony and system,” Crane quotes Plato, then sings the Absolute.

Through the bound cable strands, the arching path
Upward, veering with light, the flight of strings,—
Taut miles of shuttling moonlight syncopate
The whispered rush, telepathy of wires.
Up the index of night, granite and steel—
Transparent meshes—fleckless the gleaming staves—
Sibylline voices flicker, waveringly stream
As though a god were issue of the strings. …

And through that cordage, threading with its call
One arc synoptic of all tides below—
Their labyrinthine mouths of history
Pouring reply as though all ships at sea
Complighted in one vibrant breath made cry,—
“Make thy love sure—to weave whose song we ply!”

White tempest nets file upward, upward ring
With silver terraces the humming spars,
The loft of vision, palladium helm of stars.

Like hails, farewells,—up planet-sequined heights
Some trillion whispering hammers glimmer Tyre .
The Bridge is seen through a vision of blazing light, which is none other than the white, pervasive light of love. It is the Bridge that yokes “wave to kneeling wave,” unifying the creation in one mighty song of itself. “The vernal strophe chimes from deathless strings!”
From gulfs unfloding, terrible of drums,
Tall Vision-of-the-Voyage, tensely spare—
Bridge, lifting night to cycloramic crest
Of deepest day—O Choir, translating time
Into what multitudinous Verb the suns
And synergy of waters ever fuse, recast
In myriad syllables,—Psalm of Cathay!
O Love, thy white, pervasive Paradigm …!
The Bridge is beyond this relative world of time and space. It defies all mundane conceptions, logic, explanation, or description. Crane’s verse—a fusion of images—is peculiarly adept to give a sense of its wonder and power. It is the Bridge that controls the creation from lark’s northward flight to the glowing star. And it is the Bridge that leads man lovingly from the realms of time into the realm of eternal bliss.
O Thou steeled Cognizance whose leap commits
The agile precincts of the lark’s return;
Within whose lariat sweep encinctured sing
In single chrysalis the many twain,—
Of stars Thou art the stitch and stallion glow
And like an organ, Thou, with sound of doom—
Sight, sound and flesh Thou leadest from time’s realm
As love strikes clear direction for the helm.
Swift peal of secular light, intrinsic Myth
Whose fell unshadow is death’s utter wound. …
As in Whitman, the Bridge is a secular force in the New Age of the Machine. Without its unifying influence, man dies. Science is only a “minister” to this eternally young Deity, assigning Him a new beatitude, a new attribute as the God of Science and the Machine Age.
Forever Deity’s glittering Pledge, O Thou
Whose canticle fresh chemistry assigns
To rapt inception and beatitude,—
Always through blinding cables, to our joy,
Of thy white seizure springs the prophecy:
Always through spiring cordage, pyramids
Of silver sequel, Deity’s young name
Kinetic of white choiring wings … ascends.
Crane, at this point, sees his own chaotic life as a transgression against the Deity and, begging His pardon, bequeaths himself to His dazzling light while proclaiming the Deity Everpresent beyond the realms of time, unified as One Song, One Bridge, reconciling time and space omnipotently in Himself.

Unspeakable Thou Bridge, to Thee, O Love.
Thy pardon for this history, whitest Flower,
O Answerer of all,—Anemone,—
Now while thy petals spend the suns about us, hold—
(O Thou whose radiance doth inherit me)
Atlantis,—hold thy floating singer late!
So to thine Everpresence, beyond time,
Like spears ensanguined of one tolling star
That bleeds infinity—the orphic strings,
Sidereal phalanxes, leap and converge:
—One Song, one Bridge of Fire! Is it Cathay,
Now pity steeps the grass and rainbows ring
The serpent with the eagle in the leaves.
Whispers antiphonal in azure swing.
The Bridge was the only great poem of God consciousness in America to follow Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” and Crane’s early death no doubt cut short some even greater works. Today, thirty-seven years after The Bridge’s publication (1930), no poet in America has taken up the work begun by the transcendentalists, Whitman, and Crane: which is the work of all true poetry, the harmonization of God with the age. Today the poets in America are too busy with protest poems to positively affirm the Presence of the Supreme Lord Who is also the Lord of the Space Age. A true poet shows how God is visible in every age. Many of the young poets have jumped off the bumbling rampaging American bandwagon and are sitting alongside the American roadside like transcendental mendicants, but they don’t offer warm fires of love and truth. They simply grumble that the 20th Century Express is going too fast and in the wrong direction. No one is saying, “Here, this way.”
Krishna Consciousness is now indicating the direction. In American poetry the way has already been trod to a point. The post-war “Beat” poetry was a betrayal of Whitman’s and Crane’s positive vision. Now a poetry of the New Consciousness is needed, especially since the youth are discovering that the grand poetic vision is true and are beginning to explore “inner space.” Nor can the dry, corncob, speculative poetry of the Academy delineate this vision. A true poet is needed. “Nature and Man shall be disjoin’d and diffused no more,” Whitman wrote in “Passage to India.” The true son of God shall absolutely fuse them.” The fusion of Nature, God, the machine, Science and Man should be begun from the pivot of a solid and timeless theology, such as is set down in the Gita, not by recent concoctions of self-proclaimed avatars. May we soon hear a new strong voice singing in America to justify Whitman’s vision—
After the seas are all cross’d, (as they seem already cross’d,)
After the great captains and engineers have accomplish’d their work,
After the noble inventors, after the scientists, the chemist, the geologist, ethnologist,
Finally shall come the poet worthy that name,
The true son of God shall come singing his songs.
Poem to Hart Crane
Poem to Hart Crane
How many dawns you stood to watch the Bridge
Usher the sun from Brooklyn to New York,
Or how many dawns the Beauty of His Face
Entranced you with that white pervasive smile,
I know not; nor have these quick forty years
Changed the Changeless—the Twentieth rolls on,
The hustler’s at his corner and the boys
Still wind themselves to Wall Street’s karmic tick.
Aloft new steel-winged astronauts doth soar,
While underground demonic subways roar
And sweltering masses advertise our doom—
Here no tokens of the heart, nor love can bloom.
Yes, Grecian sex and rum would drive you mad
As they did yesterday. Greenwich Village
Still sells bodies, books, and promises new fads,
Though “Bolero” and the bottle you might trade
For rock ‘n’ roll and cubes of LSD—
Have to keep up—Twentieth Century Limited,
You know, roars fast to keep your prophecy:
“Kiss of our agony, thou gatherest,
O Hand of Fire—gatherest,” and now the bombs
Multiply like weekly subway ads
While Bowery bums blow spindrift off their beer.
That typewriter won’t type Sanscrit, Hart! Oh
Take a boat. Why not? The season’s ripe,
His sovereign Smile is beckoning on His foam…
Why even now I catch His breezes fresh,
Gifts of seahorse couriers winged home.

“The bottom of the sea is cruel,” you say,
But knowing Greybeard’s promise you take off
Your coat and jump—O brave, eternal, true
Is His strong azure Breast that catches you.
Radha Krishna
Radha Krishna
In the days when the Infinite Lord dwelt at Vrajabhumi as boy, He was the darling of all the much-blest people of that neighborhood. Each had some particular rasa toward Krishna—that is, some sublimely sweet relationship. The highest of these relationships was that experienced by the Gopis, Krishna’s girl friends, who were of approximately the same age as Himself. The Gopis’ love for Krishna stood above the purest performance of ritual devotion, and beyond even His supreme capacity to reciprocate. They are considered to stand at the height of all perfection among living entities. And the foremost of these maids was Radharani. She is the Lord’s pleasure potency, His Eternal Consort, and His Most Beloved. In the Maha Mantra, the word Hare is another name for Radha.
How I Met Swami Bhaktivedanta
How I Met Swami Bhaktivedanta
Haridas Das Brahmachary
(Harvey Cohen)
I knew right away that he was my teacher. It was like something that happens in books.
In September 1965 I went up to Ananda Ashram, an hour and a half out of New York City. I went there mostly to get out of the city. The Indian guru who presided at the Ashram I had met before in New York at a Yoga Society. Many of my friends were involved with him studying Raja Yoga, a form of meditation. They were very enthusiastic and tried to persuade me to come uptown with them to their meetings.
To tell the truth, although I liked their teacher personally, I could never meditate successfully. My mind would always wander after a few minutes. All kinds of images drifted into my consciousness, and I would feel I wasn’t normal or as serious as the others who seemed able to sit calm and immobile for great periods of time. “It was such a good meditation,” they would exclaim after a session. I couldn’t figure it out.
Anyhow, I had to have a change from the city for many reasons. My friends said the Ashram was peaceful and beautiful with a big lake and woods. I took a but and felt gradually better as I got further from New York. It was a holiday weekend, Labor Day, and I didn’t have a reservation. I didn’t know you needed a reservation for a Yoga Camp. Arriving at two in the morning didn’t make my reception any warmer but the person in charge let me in and gave me a bed. I was beginning to get that feeling again—that I was an outsider and not ready for Yoga discipline.
Next day everyone got up early and went to morning meditation. The guru was resplendent in golden Indian style jacket and his devotees were already deeply into it when I entered the room. All the cushions were taken and I picked a spot in the back of the room where I could lean against the wall to facilitate my meditation. I noticed some of my friends, eyes closed in lotus position. Seated at one side was an older Indian man in saffron dyed thermal underwear and wrapped in a pinkish wool blanket. He seemed to be muttering to himself and I later discovered that he was praying. It was Swami Bhaktivedanta. His forehead was painted with a white V-shaped sign and his eyes were half shut. He seemed very serene.
There was a lecture by the guru of the Ashram and a girl read from book. Then another meditation, this time with everyone concentrating on a circle drawn on the wall. I couldn’t do it. The circle kept changing it’s size and shape, and after a while began to fill with strange forms. My attention drifted to the faces around the room and all of them seemed involved with the circle. I looked out the window through the lacy curtains to the lake. It was green and misty and beautiful, and even if I couldn’t get interested in Raja Yoga I felt happy to be out of New York City and into the country.
It began to rain. We left the meditation room and filed to the dining room a few hundred yards away in another building. The morning session was evidently success from the conversation at breakfast. There was a Swedish nature film scheduled which I had seen, so I went to my room, sat on the single mattress on the floor and began to read. The rain was increasing and beating against the windows. It was peaceful and I was glad to be alone. I read for a while. Suddenly I sensed someone standing in the doorway. Looking up I saw it was the Swami. He was wrapped in his pink blanket. “Can I come in?” he asked. I nodded yes and he asked if he could sit in the chair in the corner. “What are you reading?” he smiled. “Kafka Diaries” I replied, feeling a little embarrassed. “Uh.” he said, and I put the book down. He asked what I was doing at the Ashram and if I was interested in Yoga. “What kind of yoga are you studying?” “I don’t know much about it” I answered, “but I think I’d like to study Hatha Yoga.” This didn’t impress him. “There are better things than this,” he explained. “There are higher, more direct forms of yoga. Bhaktiyoga is the highest—it is the science of God devotion”. The Swami continued, “We are all dependent. No one is independent. Everyone here is thinking “Who am I?” I can answer that in one second, I am a servant. We are all servants. Servants of what? Of whom? Servants of God. All of us are serving someone or something, a boss a cat or dog, our family, our country. Why don’t we admit this? We should serve the highest master. We should serve the Supreme Lord. This is our constitutional position and the only way to be happy and become liberated from material bondage.” As he spoke I got the overpowering realization that he was right. He was speaking the truth. And it was as if I had never heard it before. All of my questions were answered without having to ask him anything. I felt he read my soul. A creepy ecstatic sensation came over me that this man was my teacher that all my life was a mere preparation to this moment. His works were so simple and yet they seemed to come from the deepest wisdom. I lost all sense of time and place. It was truly a turning point in my life and I knew it.
After that for the rest of the weekend I kept looking at him. He sat so calmly and had such dignity and warmth. He asked me to visit him when we returned to the city. The room he occupied was a tiny office in the back of the Yoga Society in uptown Manhattan. I began to go there regularly and we sat facing each other on the floor, just him and me in this little office with his typewriter and a new tape recorder he had purchased on top of two suitcases, a box of books he had brought from India and a color reproduction of dancing figures which he looked at often. I told Swami Bhaktivedanta that I was an artist and he asked me to “please paint this picture” which he explained was of Lord Chaitanya and his disciples dancing and chanting praises to Krishna, the Supreme Lord. The painting was called Samkirtan. Whenever I came to visit him, Swami would always be happy to see me. He became my mother and father as well as my teacher and friend. I told him the most intimate things about myself. We chanted Hare Krishna together in his room many nights that winter in New York. Praise to Krishna, praise to God.
I couldn’t wait to get the train uptown from my apartment in Greenwich Village so I could see him. Everything and everyone I knew gradually receded into the hum of the city, and Swami Bhaktivedanta became the most important person in my life. I stopped seeing the woman psychologist I had gone to for therapy after the sudden death of both my parents. My relationships with friends began to change. They no longer were my center. Krishna was becoming my center and Swami Bhaktivedanta was showing me the way. It was as if the cloud that had been covering my soul was slowly lifting and the light within me was beginning to shine out. The whole world seemed to shift around me. Going home from those unforgettable evenings with Swamiji I chanted on the train, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, and didn’t care what anyone thought.
Haridas Das Brahmachary (Harvey Cohen)
All Glories to Lord Ramachandra
All Glories to Lord Ramachandra
Lord Rama appeared on this planet many long ages ago. He is the Lord as the Perfect King, for He was King of this world, known then as Ilavativarsha. Lord Rama’s life, and His war against the atheist King Ravana, are the subject of the famous Ramayana.
The Ogre's Lament
The Ogre's Lament
by Rayarama das
Gnarled within
And gnarled without,
I am the lumbering, lusting
Brute denizen of this concrete swamp,
The minion of immemorial shadow.
I am the killer and the coward,
I the beast of rages,
The blind and ugly madman
Chasing other madman
Through the death-choked catacombs of Time.
And now, as a burrowing mole might chance upon the noon sun all ablaze,
I have come to You, O Krishna,
And my savage throat,
Clogged with ghastly carrion,
Cannot cherish You.
O, I am a lover who cannot love!
I am a fool addressing Wisdom!
I am the gloomy grotesque, daring to praise the
glistening Pinnacle of beauty!
I croak and shamble,
Beetle my brows,
And groan at the prospect:
How (O how!) - I would adore You—
If I only might? If only I were other than I am!
Nor does it lessen my grief to realize
That in Your infinite splendor
Even I am bathed,
As the sun baths the deep pits of Earth in passing over them.
No. I remain inconsolable!
My heart is bleeding,
And the blood is like a tortured sea
Being churned by the white hot blasts
Of Your unimagined loveliness.
Rayarama das Brahmachary
(Raymond Marais)
Krishna and the Vedic View:
Krishna and the Vedic View:
The Swami Responds
Dear Swami,
In some of your writings, you use the term Krishna, the Divine Lover. Do you mean that Krishna is the Universal Erotic Principle? Or is Krishna a symbol for universal brotherhood?
Len Berkowitz

Dear Mr. Berkowitz,
It might be more accurate to say that eroticism—by which I assume you mean sexual activity—is a reflection of Krishna’s Eternal Pastimes. Krishna is our eternal Lover, regardless of what body we may be in, if any. Sex must refer to the material body, but Krishna is unlimited, and His love is also unlimited. Neither time nor space can effect Them, as they do the body. As for brotherhood—that presupposes a common father. As Krishna, God, is our common Father, an understanding of our relationship to Him must produce the true sweet brotherhood which our present civilization so sadly lacks.

Dear Swamiji,
Do you claim that the Vedic mythology is actually true?
Roger Cagloff

Dear Mr. Cagloff,
Do you claim it isn’t?

Dear Swami,
What is the relationship between God and the material universe?
Maureen McShane

Dear Miss McShane,
This material universe is shining from the body of the Lord. We are as the sunlight, He the Sun.

Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,
I’ve heard that you believe in many gods. Is this true? How can you say that Krishna is God, if you follow many gods?
Sincerely, Kay Duffield

Dear Miss Duffield,
The demi-gods are like the ministers of state. Each fulfills a particular function, controlling a particular agency of Nature, so to speak. And Krishna, God, is like the King. God is One, but His energies, agencies and agents are infinite. Some are very powerful, like Brahma, the creator of this material universe, and some are relatively insignificant, like the dust of the roadside, or a flea. But all are God’s, and only He should be followed—nobody else, ever.

Dear Swamiji,
What are the upper planets? Is this the Christian heaven, or Kingdom of God?
Yours truly,
Ronald Holmes

Dear Mr. Holmes,
The Vedic literature informs us that there are three planetary systems in the material world—the upper (heavenly) planets, the middle planets, and the lower, or hellish planets. This earth, for example, is a middle planet. The Kingdom of God, however, is Spiritual. It is transcendental to matter, and exists in the spiritual sky. The material planets are also within the spiritual sky—but in a section which is covered by the unfortunate cloud of Illusion.

Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,
Could you please answer a question for me: Is there such thing as a spiritual sky? And if so, what is meant by the term? I’ve heard it used, but think maybe it’s a mistranslation of some Hindu concept. Thanks.
Sutton Dale

Dear Mr. Dale,
The spiritual sky is not a concept, but a fact. Nor is it Hindu; it is beyond any material designation whatever. In the Bhagavad Gita and other Vedic writings this sky is described as being self-illuminated. That is to say, every atom of that sky is alive, conscious. Sky, or space, is considerably more extended than our modern scientists would have us believe. That is because their instruments are faulty and limited. But don’t be fooled: you can yourself experience the spiritual sky, just as you can now perceive the blue vault over this planet. It simply requires finding out how to do so.

Dear Swami,
What is the Causal Ocean?
Your friend,
Judy Johnson

Dear Miss Johnson,
Can you picture a deep-sea fish wondering, What is the atmosphere? The outer wrapping is difficult to see from the middle of the inside.

Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,
I’ve heard a little about your Krishna Consciousness movement, and frankly I’m more than a bit skeptical. What is Krishna? Is it the Hindu concept of the Absolute Truth, like Om? Is it Void? Or is it a fearful character, like Jehovah? Another thing that bugs me is, how come Krishna isn’t even mentioned as one of the Hindu Trinity?
Harry Fox

My dear Mr. Fox,
Please rest at ease—Krishna is not a fearful character. In the Bhagavad Gita, He declares Himself to be the dearest Friend to all living beings. Om is the sound representation of Krishna. Like the Jewish Jehova, Krishna is a Name of God. But, again, let me assure you, He is your good Friend. In fact, He is your eternal Lover. You have simply forgotten Him. My movement is simply the work of an emissary come from your Divine Lover—hoping to make you remember Him. As for the Void and the Hindu Trinity: do not lose sleep over them. They will not bite you. I shall take up those topics another time, when space permits.

Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,
I have been chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra for a week. Am I liberated now?
Mrs. Jean McGillis

Dear Mrs. McGillis,
When you eat a good meal, do you have to ask the waiter if you are full? Keep chanting.
Your well-wisher
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Dear Mr. Wheeler,
A number of days ago, I read an article in the “National Insider” called: “The Secrets Of Krishna Consciousness.” I quote you: “The Communists say that everything belongs to the State, we know that everything belongs to God. The key word is consciousness—and I attained it purely by chanting the 16 words over and over again. It is the vibrations you see. … “Frankly, I don’t see. When you speak of consciousness, I assume that you mean awareness. Now I know that my awareness changes in quality, that is, my awareness varies in intensity. Or I would say that my perception varies in sharpness. Now my question is this: are you saying that your perception of the world, what is, or reality has changed; or are you saying that your consciousness change has allowed you to perceive a different world from the one which you perceived before the change in consciousness? Let me put it another way. A number of years ago, the thought came to me that God is not a person; it came to me that God is a state. It seemed to me that one is always in the state of God, but that most of the time we do not perceive ourselves as being in this state. Am I making any sense to you? You spoke of consciousness expansion. What did you mean by it? I assume that you mean that you are less distracted and more able to perceive the world without projecting your own feelings and what have you onto it. Am I right or wrong.?
Suffice to say, I would be very grateful any information that you could give me on Krishna Consciousness. I agree with Swami Bhaktivedanta when he says that “Modern civilization is paying too much attention to the body and not enough attention to studying the nature of consciousness…”
Sincerely yours,
Stephen V. Crosby, Jr.
Penn. State College

Dear Mr. Crosby,
The Reality of God is eternal and does not change. It is Sat Chit Ananda that is, eternal bliss and knowledge Absolute. It is also Consciousness and Intelligence. It is also beyond Consciousness and Intelligence. As the Supreme Personality, it is He (i. e. Krishna), and He is pure Spirit, or Soul (Purusha) which is imperishable, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Nothing can really be predicated about Him. He is.
Now, in regards to our individual consciousness—this can be changed. In fact, it is constantly being changed from day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment. We are conditioned beings and imperfect. Our senses are imperfect. We do not always perceive the omnipresent Spirit, but this does not mean that He is not there. Our imperfect senses “get in the way”. This is what is meant when it is said that the Supreme is “veiled by Maya, or Illusion.” The Lord’s Prakriti, or material energy, emanates from Him, and entangled in this energy, we lose sight of the Origin, the Ultimate Source which is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna.
The process of changing our consciousness to God Consciousness is the process of chanting the Holy Names of God: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This is simple and scientific and sublime. For example, music changes your consciousness very quickly. If you hear rock and roll, you might think of sex. If you hear Bach’s Mass in B you may have a religious ecstasy. These sounds remind you of certain things… they change or direct your consciousness to these things.
Similarly, chanting Hare Krishna directs our consciousness to Krishna, and turns it away from Maya. The more you chant, the more your consciousness changes, the more God conscious you become. Then God will reveal Himself to you. It is a matter of preparing yourself to “see” the Supreme. Who are you that the Supreme should stand before you? What is man that God should be mindful of him? First we must qualify ourselves.
I could write interminably about the chant, but will stop here. By consciousness expansion I mean seeing God in everything, as the eternal Reality underlying all forms.
Howard Wheeler
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
The innovating spark behind the present Samkirtan Movement was Lord Chaitanya, Who appeared in India approximately 480 years ago. Chaitanya is the perfect Form of Radha and Krishna, together as One. His mission was to teach devotional service of God, and to provide in Himself the perfect example of such transcendental life.
On the opposite page we see Lord Chaitanya, along with His disciples, Nityananda Prabhu (first on the reader’s left), Adwaita Prabhu (next on the left), Gadadhar (first on the right) and Srila Srivas. These great benefactors of the human race passed nearly all their time in the ecstasy of chanting the Holy Names of God: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare!
I Wanted to
I Wanted to
by Damodara Das
I sat on a suburban hillside
And watched, across a small valley,
The opposite rise of land,
Covered with low gray houses.
Where I was in the grass,
By a Black Birch tree
With Branches good for toothbrushes,
Two pheasants slowly picked
Their way through the dry leaves.
Across on the other hill,
Dim noises crackled from the roads
And rooftops. Robins whistled.
It gently faded into brilliance.
I held the light back from me,
Not desiring the Void any more,
Only trying to understand it.
Seven years ago used beer
To hold Revival Meetings.
Six years ago I used a lunatic system
Of “Time and Energy” to forget God.
Five years ago I used Bartok
To make a window disappear.
Four years ago I used logic
To prove everything was nothing.
Three years ago I used film
To eliminate the blood problem.
Two years ago I contemplated mist.
One year ago I saw the Void.
Brittle, metallic stupidity.
The buzzing crash of electrons.
But now Swami told us
Something more that included
The mute impersonal glare.
Swami told us the truth,
And this was just illusion.
Swami told us about people,
And this was just physics.
Swami told us about love,
And this was just eternity.
God takes care of this, somehow,
All this ignorance.
Why was it illusion?
It appeared to be all-inclusive.
There was first the physical,
Then the rattling of the physical,
Then the dissemination into light.
But it didn’t include
What Swami told us.
And he told us the truth.
I remembered the crashing electrons.
I paid attention and realised
The crashing was in this body,
Not in the hillside over there.
In my sense of it, the sight of it,
The sound of it, smell, touch, taste.
It appeared to be all-inclusive
Because this body was a network
With a beginning and an end.
Void-consciousness was body-consciousness.
And the hillside didn’t give a damn.
The hillside was still there,
Going about its business,
And I was wrapped up in this body.
My senses only wanted to sense themselves.
To get to the hill I needed faith.
God made the hill and it was not Void.
He put it there,
I couldn’t deny it.
I relaxed beyond my senses,
I relaxed into faith in God.
Staring at a hillside,
Gathering sense impressions,
Arranging them on a sheet of
Celluloid in front of me,
Pulling it, stretched,
Away from the hillside,
Forced up to me.
Then it burned and disappeared
In a hard shining fire.
But the hill was still there.
I went to the temple that night
Only because I wanted to.
Dancing there was Swami;
Chanting, there was Swami;
Sitting, there was Swami;
Who else told us the truth?
The truth is
Swami told us that.
Everything else is extra.
Swami told us that too.
Damodara Das Adhikary
(Dan Clark)
An Address to American Youth
An Address to American Youth
By A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
(Delivered Sunday, June 4, at Tompkins Square Park
by Kirtanananda Das Brahmachary)
My dear young beautiful boys and girls of America. I have come to your country with great hope and a great mission. My Spiritual Master, Om Vishnupad Paramhansa Paribrajaka Acharya Sri Sriman Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharaj, asked me to preach this cult of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the Western World. That was the seed-giving incident. Gradually the seed fructified, and I was prepared to come to the Western World. Still, I do not know why I was so much attracted by the land of America. But from within Krishna dictated that instead of going to Europe I should better go to America. So you can see that I have come to your country under order of superior authority. And even after arriving here, when I perceived that some of the youngsters are being misled, confused and frustrated—this is not the condition in your country only, but in every country, the young people are neglected, although it is they who are the flower and future hope of everyone—so I thought to myself that if I go the American youth with my message and they join with me in this movement, then it will spread all over the world and then all the problems of the world will be solved. How I would like to be with you in person today, but Krishna has prevented that, so please pardon me and accept my blessings in this written form.
This process of Samkirtan—this singing and dancing—is so nice because from the very beginning it places everyone on the spiritual platform. There are different platforms or levels to our existence: the bodily platform, the mental platform, the intellectual platform, and the spiritual platform. When you stand on the spiritual platform then all the problems created by the necessities of the body, mind, intellect, and ego become solved. Therefore I appeal to you to join this movement most seriously. The process is very simple: we ask everyone to come join with us in chanting, hear something of the philosophy of life taught by Lord Krishna, take a little prasadam (foodstuff that is prepared and offered to the Lord), and peacefully, with refreshed mind go home. That is our mission.
We do have certain restrictions; practically, they are not restrictions, but something better in place of something inferior. The other day, Mr Alan Burke questioned me on his television program, “Swamiji, why do you insist on marriage?” And I answered him, “Unless one becomes peaceful in home life, how can he make any advance in any other area of life or knowledge? Therefore everyone should get married—just to be happy and peaceful.” You are all beautiful, nice educated boys and girls—why shouldn’t you get married and live happily? If you live peacefully, regulated lives, eating nothing but Krishna prasadam, then the tissues in your brain will develop for spiritual consciousness and understanding.
However, if you are not agreeable to these simple restrictions, still I request you to join the chanting with us. Everybody can do that, and that will gradually clarify everything, and all problems will be solved, and you will find a new chapter of your life. Just this week I have received a letter from a girl in New Jersey who has had such an experience. She writes:

“Dear Swamiji,
You don’t know me by name, but I am the girl who joined your parade in Washington Square this past Saturday.
When I first saw your group I thought you were all crazy. Either that or on dope of some kind. After listening and talking with some you I realized that it was neither of those. You people plainly believed in what you were doing and I admired you for that much; but my curiosity drove me further and I had to find out why. So I followed you and as I did, the chant you sang began to take hold. The next thing I knew I felt free of myself and I was singing too. I didn’t know where I was or where I was going but I was too elated to care. It wasn’t until we stopped that I learned where I was.
By that time I had picked up bits and pieces of what Krishna Consciousness was about. One of your members asked me to visit your temple and I followed you still further, hoping to discover just what it was that made you feel so strongly about something I’d never heard of.
After having taken a meal with you and reading your literature I left; but not alone. I took with me a new awareness of life. It occurred to me how futile my desires for the material things in life were: that a new dress, or big house or color television were not important. If only people would open their eyes to the endless number of pleasures God has already given us, there would be no need to look any further.
You people are truly lucky. You may have had to do without many things but because of this you are able to enjoy the simple God-given treasures of the world. Because of your beliefs, you are the wealthy; and I thank you for sharing a bit of that wealth with me.
So we invite you to please chant with us—it is such a nice thing; come to our temple if you like; take a little prasadam; and be happy. It is not very difficult if you just chant this HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE. That will save you. Thank you very much, and God bless you.
Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
(Bhagavad Gita As It Is)
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Bhagavad Gita is widely recognized as the compendium of all Vedic wisdom, yet there are few who have the necessary qualifications to understand and teach this all-important scripture. Swami Bhaktivedanta—who is a devotee in the line of disciplic succession from Arjuna—is one of these few. His introduction to the Geetopanishad is a classic in its own right.
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
In WHO IS CRAZY? and KRISHNA, THE RESERVOIR OF PLEASURE, the Swami explains the illusion of materialism, and the process of acquiring true vision in the perpetual bliss of Krishna Consciousness.
A 33 Ÿ long playing record on the Happening label, in which the devotees perform Kirtan (chanting the Hare Krishna Mantrum), and which further includes mantras sung by the Swami in praise of his spiritual master. Available from the Society.
—Incense—30 sticks. . .25c
—Wooden Beads, with a booklet which offers a fast, easy way to string them, and which further explains their general value in chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra. 1 package.. . . .$1. 50
—Indian Hand Cymbals. .1 pair...$1.25
—HARE KRISHNA lapel buttons. . . 10c each
by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva
The original and genuine commentary on Vedanta philosophy by the author of the Vedanta Himself, Vyasadeva—now available for the first time in English with an authorized commentary by Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta.
The Srimad Bhagawatam is the post-graduate study of the Bhagavad Gita, or the Science of Krishna. This book of transcendental knowledge contains information of classical Hindu culture, philosophy, sociology, economics, politics, aesthetics and Divine Love.
This unique edition of Srimad Bhagawatam has been greatly appreciated by all learned societies of philosophy and theosophy and approved by the Indian State and Central Government Departments of Education, and by the United States Government. Swami Bhaktivedanta’s edition contains Sanskrit, Sanskrit transliteration, English equivalents, translation and elaborate commentaries. Published by the League of Devotees, New Delhi, India, 1962-65. Price: $16.80 for 3 volumes (1200 pages). Postage paid by the Society.
Available from the International Society For Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, New York, 10003.
* * * * * * * * *
BACK TO GODHEAD is published monthly by the International Society For Krishna Consciousness at 26 Second Avenue, New York, New York, 10003. 1-year subscription (12 issues) $4. 00. Phone 674-7428.
FOUNDER: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
EDITORS: Hayagriva Das Brahmachary (Howard Wheeler)
Rayarama Das Brahmachary (Raymond Marais)
CIRCULATION: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)
PRINTING: Purushottam Das Brahmachary (Paul Auerbach)
Jaigovinda Das Brahmachary (Jeffrey Havener)
The Artists
The Artists
THE ARTISTS whose work so beautifully graces our pages are, to begin with, Jadurani Devi Dasi, directress of the Art Department. Jadurani Prabhu’s work appears on the inside cover, and on the back cover. Her other work includes a prolific, output of oil paintings on such subjects as Yasoda Krishna, Radha Krishna, Narayana (a series of twenty-four canvases), Guru Maharaj, Narada Muni, and numerous others.
The pictures of The Bridge, Radha Krishna, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Lord Ramachandra were drawn by Gaursundar das Adhikary (Gary McElroy) and his wife Govinda Devi. In addition to their illustrations for Back To Godhead, they’re engaged in creating a slide film strip on the life of Prahlad Maharaj.
All glories to these fine servants of the Lord.
Back to Godhead Magazine #14, 1967
On the Cover
On the Cover
Kaliya was a many-headed serpent who dwelt in a pool of the River Yamuna, and whose poison was so potent that the entire river thereabouts was polluted. But when the Supreme Lord appeared at Vrindavan as a cowherd boy, five thousand years ago, He sanctified the Yamuna and drove Kaliya from its waters. At first the mighty serpent thought to slay this mere foolish child, but then the Child began a dance upon the viper's heads, and with every touch of Krishna's feet, a head was crushed. At length, Kaliya repented his evil deeds, and took center of the Lord, realizing how truly blest he was—for even the demigods of the highest planets ever crave to be in contact with the dust of the feet of God.
By The Mercy of Krishna:
By The Mercy of Krishna:
As must be widely known by now, Swami Bhaktivedanta, our beloved spiritual master, was stricken with severe illness in May. Although he has been unable to make public appearances since that time, the work which he instituted has continued in all three of the temples devoted to the preaching of Krishna Consciousness.
It is by the grace of the spiritual master that the darkness of illusion is expelled from the heart and mind of the fortunate student, and so it is that the Swami is held in utmost reverence by his disciples.
To be sure, Krishna regards the service of His pure devotee as greater than service rendered directly unto Him. And we whom the Lord has graced by contact with the Swami have no desire but to serve our teacher with all our powers, and to aid in his work of propagating the great Samkirtan Movement. The work of the genuine spiritual master and the service of God are in no way different.
We ask all men of good will to join us in praying Lord Krishna to allow Swamiji to remain on this planet, where his inspiration is so desperately needed!
Hare Krishna.
The Editors
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
I offer my obeisances unto my spiritual master who has opened my eyes in the midst of darkness.
We are in the darkness of material nature and it is the duty of the Spiritual Master to open our eyes to the light. In our conditional state, we cannot see things as they are. But, by the mercy of the Spiritual Master, we can come to see things, through aural reception. The first way to receive knowledge is by direct perception, through the senses. For example, if I see you playing a drum, that is a kind of knowledge acquired.
However, of all forms of learning, the first class perception is to receive knowledge from direct authorities. According to Vedic literature, hearing from authority is perfect knowledge. Direct sensual perception is imperfect. For example, if a motorman sees a car, he knows what it is, but if a child sees it, he can't know. Simply by use of the senses, we can't know anything certainly. The child is not an expert, as the motorman is. In medicine, if you wish to be a doctor, you must study with a doctor. So, if in material things authority is necessary, how can we learn of God on our own? The Vedic recommendation is that, if you wish to have transcendental knowledge, you must go to a Spiritual Master.
But whom shall I accept for my Spiritual Master? There are two qualifications to look for: first, he must be one who has heard perfectly from his master. And what is the proof of this? That, secondly, he lives fully in the knowledge he has received. Bhagavad Gita is the science of God. In other scriptures, there is a concept of God. But, take this example: We can see that the flower is red, and the leaf is green. But a botanist will give you far more perfect and subtle knowledge. So, there is theoretical knowledge and practical knowledge.
The science of God means that we should have, of course, knowledge of the Lord. We cannot have full, practical knowledge of God. Even with a leaf, we cannot know all about it. This is because, by nature, we are limited. In Bhagavad Gita you will find it stated that we are small particles. In Padma Purana the measurement of the soul is given as the tip of the hair divided by 100, and then again. But we have no way to imagine such things. Sometimes we imagine there is no soul. That soul is within you, but persons with less intelligence say there is none.
The Vedic way to understand is to learn from authority. A child must depend upon its mother in order to know who its father is, and there is no recourse to her authority. So, similarly, the Supreme Father—God—what is He? How can we know? We can know through the Vedic literature, the merciful mother. The Vedas are called mother, and Smriti, the additional Scriptural literature, is called sister. We must learn of God from the authority of God. Bhagavad Gita is accepted in Indian theological society. There are two divisions in this theological community: the personalist and the impersonalist. The personalists are divided into four, but all four are personalists. All bona fide impersonalists follow Shankaracharya. Now in his commentary on Bhagavad Gita, Shankaracharya says, “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is Krishna.” If we want to learn of God, we have Bhagavad Gita, which is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.
It is best to accept authority, but questions and doubts are not forbidden. The means of study are outlined in Bhagavad Gita. First you must surrender to a man of knowledge. We have to search out such a person. But simply finding a Spiritual Master is not enough. Next comes inquiry. And, too, there must be service. This is described in every Vedic writing. The same process is always followed: find a bona fide Spiritual Master, surrender, query, and serve.
In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is the Spiritual Master and Arjuna is the pupil. Krishna and Arjuna are of the same age. They are related, as cousin-brothers, and Krishna's sister is Arjuna's wife. Krishna is playing like an ordinary man. So, on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Krishna and Arjuna were talking as friends, but when the talks got nowhere, Arjuna accepted Krishna as his Spiritual Master. Only this surrender to one in higher knowledge can resolve our bewilderment.
Bhagavad Gita is also known as Geetopanisad. At the end of each chapter you will find: ity srimad bhagavad gita supanisatsu, etc. Out of many Upanisads, nine are very important. But Bhagavad Gita is the essence of all Upanisads. In others, there is a faint idea of God, but in the Gita this God is clearly described. In Isopanisad, the glaring effulgence of the Lord is spoken of. This effulgence is like the sunshine, which can obscure our view of the sun. The effulgence blocks our vision of the Lord. The sun, which we see every day, is unapproachable. There is no way for us to go to the sun planet. What then to speak of God? There is a God-planet also, but it is far, far away. The generally accepted name is Bhagavad Gita, but I have named it Geetopanisad, because that is used at the end of each chapter.
Some American lady asked me for a good translation, but I could not offer one. There are many Bhagavad Gitas in English, but the commentaries are poor.
How to understand Bhagavad Gita as it is, is mentioned in 4th chapter, first 3 verses. This yoga was first spoken to the sun god, then to his son Manu, then to his son Iksaku, and then to Mankind. Now Krishna says that, in the course of time, that line of knowledge was broken. There were many scholars then, but still Krishna says that Bhagavad Gita was lost. Ordinary scholarship is insufficient for understanding Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna was nothing more than a fighter. He was neither a scholar nor a Vedantist. He was not even a Brahmin. He was a great fighter. Spiritually, however, he was Krishna's friend. It is naturally understood that the mystery of Bhagavad Gita was given to Arjuna because of this friendship toward the Lord, and Arjuna's understanding is presented in the 10th chapter.
As on a medicine bottle there is a dosage direction, so the Gita should be studied according to the directions of the Gita. This is done through disciplic succession. Arjuna was accepted as the next in line from Krishna. If we follow him, then our understanding is necessarily perfect.
The First Days of Spring
The First Days of Spring
by Damodar das
The aroma of the chant is a bee,
Buzzing, calling, a magnet pulling
Me away from wife and friends,
Forgetful of all but Krishna,
A baby—
God is a cowherd boy, a baby,
All of us are babies, crying
For our mother, Krishna,
A little bee, buzzing,
And stinging me, a cruel lover,
When I scream so hard for You
And You don't let me see You—
My body is exhausted, my voice broken—
Look what You've done to me!
I can't understand You, but I love You—
Do what You want with me—
I'll never know why You cheat me,
It only seems to be cheating because I'm a fool,
Do whatever You want—
Ruin me—
Your sting is all I ask for,
And perhaps a glimpse, now and then,
Of Your Lotus Feet—
Damodar das Adhikary (Dan Clark)
The Deliverance of the Fallen
The Deliverance of the Fallen
by Satsvarupa das
Mercy is kindness delivered from the Supreme Power. People are partaking of mercy whether they acknowledge it or not; Krishna's Mercy shines into all the acts of the universe.
Our position as living entities is that we have sensual bodies. According to Vedic wisdom we have these bodies because we wanted them:

“All beings are born to delusion Bharata, overcome by the dualities
which arise from wish and hate, O Conquerer of the foe.” (7.27 Bhagavad Gita)
In delusion, hating God, we thought we could better enjoy ourselves as lords of matter—and so, at our wish, we have been put into these bodies which are bound by the three-fold miseries (those arising from the body and mind, those inflicted by other living entities, and those inflicted by Nature). Chief among these are the miseries of birth, death, old age and disease. And yet this very state of temporal life, beset with unavoidable misery, is revealed, on thoughtful examination, to be the mercy of the Supreme.
In our original constitutional position we are infinitesimal fragments of the Supreme Consciousness:

“The living entities are eternally fragmental parts of Me. They are dragging on in a bitter struggle for existence in the material Nature, with the six senses including mind.” (15.7 Bhagavad Gita)
We cannot lose this status, even entangled in the delusions that led to our desiring the perishable body, we cannot lose our eternal part and parcel constitution. Being put into material bodies is God's mercy, and being given the chance to return to Him is also His mercy. This constantly radiating mercy of the Lord is without cause. We are His fragmental portions and He is compassionate toward us, even if we make ourselves strangers and enemies to Him.
His mercy is clearly seen in the Sanskrit word Maya. Maya means “what is not.” It also has a second meaning- “God's grace”. It works this way: Maya is the illusory energy, the material world. Maya is what is perishable, what we living entities take as the real and the all-in-all. These 60 to 100 years of life, the family ties, the working hard for a living, the struggle to get on, the struggle to enjoy with mind and body, the attachment to matter as the final substance—these temporal things work as illusion when we think of them as permanent. In other words, when we forget God and look on the world without Him, we are in illusion. When we do not transcend this world, that is Maya.
But Maya is also “God's grace.” If we want illusion, it is granted to us. God has the power to smash us into powder for being disobedient sons, but as we go on, forgetful of Him, constructing our Times Squares of the world and living for the ‘enjoyment’ of our blunt, misery-bound senses, the Supreme Lord gives us—does not deny us—this freedom for mischievous self-damage. He has shown us the approach to Himself- to Him Who is defined as Sat-Chit-Ananda Vigraha, eternity, knowledge and bliss in their fullness—and we choose instead to mate and sleep, to defend and eat alone. And for this revolt we are given more mercy; we are given more and more of what we want, even if what we want is the lower animal status, or hell. And so the transmigration of the eternal individual soul progresses.
If we live demoniac lives we are granted more of the same—that is, mercy. The godly rise and reach His abode. The demons refute their eternal portion and come back to this world to enjoy the pangs of duality (i. e. pleasure and pain, life and death, heat and cold, etc.) If you study it, you can see that the world is all-merciful: whoever wants problems, has them. The Lord has granted you the facilities to spend your life as you wish. You have His instruction and can lift yourself or be your own enemy. In the Bhagavad Gita Sri Krishna states:

“Fixing thy thought on Me, thou shalt, by My grace, cross over all difficulties; but if, from self-conceit, thou wilt not listen, thou shalt perish.” (18.58 Bhagavad Gita)
After many births a person may find himself disillusioned with Maya and the pleasures of the body, or if he is so fortunate he may have gained some devotion toward the transcendental Lord of all life—and such a person may desire to go back to Home, back to Godhead where there is real pleasure in association with Krishna.

“Those men of virtuous deeds in whom sin has come to an end, freed from the delusion of dualities, worship Me steadfast in their vows.” (7.28 Bhagavad Gita)
To live for the pleasure of the merciful Lord is called devotional service. Everything is God's; the flowers, the grains, the morning, the opportunity contained in a human life, everything goes back to Him, just as the streaming sunlight, which penetrates every corner of darkness, can be followed back to its source in the sun. Life in devotional service is the offering of the consciousness in everything we do, as a gift to Krishna. We are assured in the Bhagavad Gita that He will accept our gesture.

“Whosoever offers to Me with devotion a leaf, a flower, a fruit, or water, that offering of love, of the pure of heart I accept.” (9.26 Bhagavad Gita)
When we offer our food to the Lord that is called prasadam, which in Sanskrit means “mercy”. When we offer our speech, our bodily acts and our human consciousness, this is also devotional service, and releases us from the bondage of birth and death and brings inner peace and equipoise to all our hours. This service is the secret of yoga, described as the “plus” to life or the link with Godhead. Once it is attained, one never comes back to the perishable and sorrowful. This is confirmed by scriptures:

“Achieving that transcendental devotional service a man becomes perfect, immortal and peaceful.” (Narada Bhaktisutra, Code 4)

“Great souls who are engaged in devotional service and attain the Supreme Lord do not again come back to this miserable material conditional life.” (8.15 Bhagavad Gita)
But how does this state come about? If, admittedly, long long ago we chose these bodies for sensual enjoyment, in ignorance—how does enlightenment come about? That too, is Krishna's mercy. We don’t grow wise automatically. Whenever anyone takes a step away from dullness or ignorance, that is a manifestation of His mercy. That is why a yogi or a devotee is called a fortunate man. Every individual life is an opportunity for one to realise his actual goal and purpose—those who don't miss the opportunity are receiving the mercy of the Lord. Swami Bhaktivedanta writes:

“Such pure devotional service of the Lord cannot be achieved without the mercy of the pure devotee or the bona fide Spiritual Master, and the Supreme Lord Himself. If some body is fortunate enough to find a pure devotee for his Spiritual Master, then that Spiritual Master by his causeless mercy imparts the knowledge of pure devotional service… only by the combined mercy of the Supreme Lord and the Spiritual Master.” (from the Purport to Code 8, Narada Bhaktisutra)
The present age is called Kali Yuga, a period of 432,000 years symptomized by quarrel and disorder. Evidence of Kali Yuga is seen in people's turning away from God. In our own country, the USA, and in this city of New York, we can see the proud citadel of Maya in its arrogant, temporal victory. Witness the flags and towers of uptown buildings dedicated completely to the 80-100-year life span of economics, politics and sense pleasure. The insidious illusion and perversion of mass advertising has dulled millions into daily acceptance of a nightmarish war on the integrity of the human mind. Add to this the administrative cheating, the promotion of political wars, the disillusionment of the nonconformists and the bewilderment of the drug-takers—and you have perfect ingredients for Kali Yuga. And it is supposed to get worse.
Simultaneously, we are witnessing the mercy of Swami Bhaktivedanta's Samkirtan movement. Swamiji is in the line of disciplic succession from Lord Chaitanya, Who originated the movement of chanting the Lord's Holy Name 500 years ago in India. Chaitanya's movement is the magnanimous light of Supreme mercy shining through the death-fog of Kali Yuga. Lord Chaitanya offers to all Mankind the invitation to sing God's Name, and join with Him in our original association.
Even an intelligent man is pelleted and polluted by the constant force of mass media; and so it grows increasingly difficult for him to see his real obligations in this life. But we do have obligations. We all have the human form of life—and our single purpose should be to realise ourselves and to discover the ultimate goal for which we are living. That goal is Krishna.
By chanting God's Name in the age of Kali Yuga, The Lord is conveniently available to everyone—through the Mercy of Lord Chaitanya. Swami Bhaktivedanta writes:

“Lord Chaitanya is especially merciful to the innocent, unsophisticated person. His name is Patitpama, or the deliverer of the most fallen conditioned soul.” (from Teachings of Lord Chaitanya)
Lord Chaitanya is offering every man, woman and child this gift: simply chant the Lord's Name, and you will see that with this chanting, comes everything else truly desired-the blessing of the full moon of pleasure and peace. Through the magnanimity of Lord Chaitanya what is available is the greatest gift—Love of Godhead, and it is simply handed over. This strong, helping hand of Lord Chaitanya is so direct that many may miss it; they think their entanglement and the world's entanglement to be so complicated that any direct solution is a hoax. But nothing is too complicated for God. Nor do those who have seriously tried the chant speak of it except in terms of strength and ecstasy and constant revivification, as though they have drunk of a secret, magic water from an eternal source.
The people who have taken to chanting in this age are fortunately released from all desires and impure hankerings even while moving in the midst of materialistic insanity. Those who are constantly chanting the Lord's Name are not troubled by impersonal conceptions of void or atheism, nor do they foolishly think themselves God. It is said that Krishna Himself takes control of such surrendered souls and brings them further to Himself, The All Attractive. In the Vedic scripture Srimad Bhagawatam, set down 5000 years ago, it is stated:

“In this age of Kali, people who are endowed with sufficient brain substance worship the Lord, Who is accompanied by His associates, by performance of Samkirtan Yajna (Sacrifice by chanting the Holy Name.” (Srimad Bhagawatam 1st canto)
Again, note that the gift is “endowed.” Mercy is operating. We begin to chant and the highest reciprocation between the Supreme Lord and His infinitesimal sparks is at once established and grows ever greater, more intimate, and more pure. Instead of spending our time engrossed in the senses and the temporal world, we are singing His Name; and as we sing we realise that He is the giver of all abilities, even the mis-spent. Then, how fortunate to be singing the Name of the Source- while at the Feet of the Source itself! The Lord has endowed His Name with His full presence. Hare Krishna, Hare Rama is a sound incarnation. It is not an ordinary thing. It is not a laborious exercise. Nor is the chant a secret guarded by a few priests. In this age of severely limited concentration, Samkirtan is the auspicious way to God. Here indeed is the highest mercy for the living entities.
Satsvarupa das Brahmachary (Stephen Guarino)
Poem by Bhaktajan
Poem by Bhaktajan
High ring - low moan
Chanting the sacred mantra
Propelling the spiritual part of us
into oblivion
While the illusion of this material day
Slowly drifts into the now meaningless mire of the material world.

Years go by
Frantic searches for possession of the vanishing things
of earth,
while an oblivion, so staggering, is waiting for those whose good fortune
it is
to be able to comprehend the Consciousness of Krishna.

Giant servant in a land of midgets,
who claim to have freedom.
They are servants of things that vanish before their eyes
Tomorrow, cherished things will vanish
And hands will clap for the magician
And eyes will cry for the loss
Singers’ beautiful voices - dry with age
While spirits and God throw thousands of
enlightenments into their path - only
to be over-shadowed by the rain forest of the physical,
the perishable worshipped
while the never ending is ignored

But, there are those who have tasted the
Nectar of Krishna's sweet fruit
And, have lost taste for everything else
For them this world, too, is bliss.
Bhaktajan das Brahmachary (John Kinney)
My Position
My Position
by Brahmananda das
i've grown accustomed to the birth
of infants
who grow into children;
and die—
like i am doing.
And, i've grown accustomed to the bloom of the earth every spring
and its demise every winter.
The oceans i've crossed, the far-away mountains, the sky,
the nightly stars,
the concrete cities and the atomic bomb;
my body
that is steadily running down—
there is nothing that surprises me;
it is all part of this life
on this planet.

But when i hear
that universes,
infinite in number,
(which means i cannot conceive how many)
are created by a single exhalation of breath
of Mahavishnu, who is
only a single portion
of You;
or that You
as Baby Krishna
contain all
these uncountable-by-me universes within
Your mouth:
then for me to consider myself a god
is perverse.
Look what i rule!—
these few square inches i stand upon
on this planet;
and for only the next 50 years,
or the next few minutes,
(what control do i have?).
i deserve this punishment of standing here on my square inch kingdom,
suffering separated,
with death being no escape but only a reinstatement
into the suffering.

Oh my Lord God,
i do not know Who You are!
i hear
that You are All-Knowledge, All-Bliss, Absolutely. i am lower
than the dust on the temple floor
which serves
by being walked upon by the Lotus Feet
of my Spiritual Master;
yet i think myself gorgeous, proclaiming
myself the enjoyer
of this body,
and other bodies, and what i perceive
with these senses;
and enjoying them
(trying) like anything.
i am a fly that rubs its hands together and drools
over a piece of excrement.

Is it any wonder that i suffer from not knowing who i am!
i have not surrendered.
i have not surrendered.
i am a strutting lord, thinking (deep-down) i know
what puffed-up Brahma (the four-headed one) cannot know.
Only Your pure devotees know.
So, i sit here,
Your Holy Names, weeping
for You
Who i do not know.
Brahmananda das Brahmachary (Bruce Scharf)
Thakur Haridas Part 1
Thakur Haridas
Part 1
From the book “Sree Krishna-Chaitanya”
by Professor Sannyal
It will not be out of place at this stage to introduce the great personality who is the practicing teacher (Acharya) of the chanting of the Holy Name, the special Divine Dispensation for the Age of discord (Kali Yuga), the establishment of which is one of the Purposes of the Appearance of Lord Chaitanya in this world. Thakur Haridas is the eternal associate of the Supreme Lord and appears in the Company of the Lord whenever and wherever the Lord Himself chooses to make His Appearance. Thakur Haridas plays a different role in the different Avataras of the Lord. In this Avatara he is the Acharya of the Holy Name.
The Holy Name is both the Method and Object of worship of every pure soul. In the Kali Age nothing less than the Name Himself can effect the deliverance of fettered souls. This Teaching of Lord Chaitanya is exemplified by the life of Thakur Haridas. In order, therefore, to be able to understand the method and object of worship that can alone be acceptable to a highly controversial Age like the present, which is least disposed to take anything on trust, it will be necessary to follow attentively the events of the life of the Acharya.
The fashionable theology at Nabadwip, which was the cultural centre of Bengal at the time of the Appearance of the Lord was frankly atheistical. The Philosophical School of the New Logic (Naba Nyaya) may be described as the attempt of our empiric reason to deny the necessity as well as practicability of all worship. The jiva is himself discovered to be both worshipper and worshipped. Worship itself is supposed to be but a concoction of the jiva's own erroneous speculations. The position to which one of the most highly developed systems of the Philosophy of Logic led the people of Nabadwip, at the time of the Appearance of the Lord, and through them was accepted by people all over the country, was exactly what was specifically the worst fitted for understanding the uncompromising pure form of worship which it was the Will of the Lord to propagate by the life of Thakur Haridas. Whatever name might be borne by the different systems of speculative philosophy they are in common agreement as regards the logical necessity of atheism. Even the Geeta and the Bhagavatam were taught at Nabadwip at this period as Scriptures of atheism. It gives us an idea of the audacity and range of activity of the New School of Logic of Nabadwip that it could devise interpretations even of the unambiguous texts of the Bhagavatam itself in favour of their theory of rankest atheism. It is only to be expected in these circumstances that the Scholarship and acumen of Bengal should be generously recognised in all parts of the country and abroad and even by the atheistical Vedantists of Benares, who have always claimed for themselves the theological leadership of philosophical atheism in India.
Thakur Haridas made his appearance in the village of Budhan in the District of Jessore in East Bengal. This has made that part of the country since then a centre of the worship of Godhead by means of the Kirtan. Thakur Haridas was born in a Muhammedan family. He comes into the light of our definite narrative under his changed name of Haridas, which means literally 'the servant of Hari'; Hari being the Name of Godhead in the Scriptures. So Haridas must have given up his family and society in some manner that is not definitely known to us, had been the recipient of the mercy of a Vaishnava and had already made extraordinary progress on the path of pure devotion, although he was in the first flush of youth when he is found living as a recluse in the forest of Benapole in he native District of Jessore. In the depth of the forest he resided in a solitary hut, worshipped the holy Tulasi, chanted daily the Holy Name three lacs (300, 000) of times night and day and ate food cooked in the homes of Brahmanas, which he obtained by begging.
The Hindu Chief, who was in charge of the Local Administration of that part of the country, bore the name of Ramchandra Khan. He was one of the greatest of atheists and a hater of the servants of Vishnu (literally, the One All-pervading Lord). Haridas was treated with great reverence by the people, and Ramchandra Khan found this intolerable. He could not rest till he had actually devised a plan for effecting the humiliation of Thakur Haridas. For this purpose he did not hesitate to stoop to the basest of devices.
Ramchandra Khan, finding that Haridas was reputed to be absolutely free from all vices, hit upon a plan of creating in him the vice by exposing which he hoped to accomplish his ruin. He summoned to his help the most famous harlots and told them to destroy the chastity of Haridas who was under the vow of continence as an ascetic. One of the harlots, who was young and possessed great beauty, undertook to effect his ruin in the course of three days. Ramchandra Khan pressed her to take an armed footman (paik) who was to catch him red-handed and bring both of them for punishment. But the harlot proposed that she should at first go by herself and after being with Haridas once take the paik to capture him on her second visit.
That harlot, having put on her best attire, then presented herself at nightfall at the solitary cell of Thakur Haridas. After making her obeisance to the Tulasi she went up to the entrance of the cell and bowing to the Thakur remained there standing. She then sat down at the doorstep, exposing her body to the view of Haridas, and made confession of her uncontrollable passion for him praying to be favoured by his intimate society.
Thakur Haridas agreed to fulfill her wish after he had finished chanting the due number of the Names, bidding her in the meantime to wait and listen to the Samkirtana of the Name which he chanted. The harlot on this assurance remained seated there as Haridas went on with his loud chant of the Holy Name till break of day. The harlot came away disappointed when it was morning, and informed Ramchandra Khan that Haridas had promised to enjoy her society and that the promise would be carried out when she met him next night.
As the harlot presented herself before Thakur Haridas on the second evening he expressed his request that as on the previous occasion he could not keep his promise to her for the reason that he must complete the chant of the due number of Names. He would however, certainly fulfill her desire after the chanting of the due number of Names had been completed; and he accordingly bade her wait there and listen to the chanting of the Name. The harlot made obeisance to the Tulasi and the Thakur and sat listening to the chanting of the Holy Name. But she naturally grew restive as the night was drawing to a close. The Thakur, noticing her impatience, told her that he had taken the vow of chanting a crore of the Name in course of the month. He had expected to finish the full number that night but could not do so although he had chanted Him the whole night. The number would be certainly completed by the next night and then the vow would be fulfilled and he would be in the position to enjoy her company. The harlot reported accordingly to Ramchandra Khan.
On the third evening the harlot duly made her appearance and, after making obeisance to the Tulasi and the Thakur, sat at the entrance of the cell listening to the chanting of the Holy Name, chanting the Same herself, till the close of that night. The mind of the harlot was changed by chanting the Holy Name all night in the company of Thakur Haridas. She now fell prostrate at the Feet of Thakur Haridas and confessed to him everything regarding the plot of Ramchandra Khan. She said she had committed endless sin as she was a harlot by trade. She begged the Thakur to save her, who was so vile, by his mercy.
Haridas Thakur replied that he knew everything about the Khan and would have left the place three days ago. He had delayed his departure by three days on her account. The harlot then prayed that he might mercifully instruct her as to how she was to get rid of the miseries of the worldly life. Thakur Haridas then tendered her this advice: 'Give away everything of your household to the Brahmanas. Come and stay here in this cell. Chant constantly the Holy Name. Worship the Tulasi. You will then obtain the Feet of Krishna in no time'. After saying this and instructing her in the Holy Name the Thakur rose up and left the place, chanting the Name of Hari.
Then that harlot on obtaining the command of the Guru gave away to the Brahmanas all the wealth that she had. With shaven head and a single piece of cloth to wrap her body in, she lived in that cell and took the Holy Name three lakhs of times in course of every night and day. She worshipped the Tulasi, ate uncooked food by chewing, and often fasted. The senses were controlled and love of Godhead manifested itself. She became a famous devotee and a great spiritual teacher; and Vaishnavas of the highest order often came thither to have a sight of her. The people were astonished by this wonderful behaviour of the quondam harlot and bowed with reverence whenever they spoke of the greatness of Haridas.
As the above theme is the subject of the highest importance to the present Age I have tried to keep scrupulously to the words of Sree Kaviraj Goswami in describing this famous event of the life of Thakur Harides. The chanting of the Holy Name of Krishna imparted by a pure devotee rescued a youthful harlot who had tried to seduce the saint at the instigation of a most profligate atheist. By this process the harlot was not merely rescued from a life of shame but became a devotee of the Lord fit to lift others to the plane of perfect purity.
The chanting of the Holy Name can, therefore, reclaim the worst of sinners. The Holy Name has to be heard with reverence from the lips of a pure devotee. The Holy Name has to be received as a Sacrament from a pure devotee by complete submission at his feet. The Holy Name so received has to be constantly chanted by being free from all offence. The Tulasi has to be worshipped. All earthly possessions and all association with worldly people, especially in matters of food, clothing and residence, must be disowned. By this method, in a short time, the highest spiritual state is realisable. That state consists in serving exclusively the Feet of Krishna. This is the special Divine Dispensation for this Age of discord announced by the spiritual Scriptures and promulgated by the Supreme Lord, Sree Krishna-Chaitanya, through His eternal servant, Thakur Haridas.
The obvious objection to the above, that is likely to suggest itself to those who are too strongly addicted to the concerns of this world, is that it does not sufficiently appeal to the rationalistic imagination. The scheme seems to be dry and sterile. It also appears to be both meaningless and impracticable. Every admittedly futile speculation, despite its futility, seems to be more worthy of the serious consideration of the worldling than any transcendental proposition. Appearances are decidedly against the acceptance of the teaching of Thakur Haridas by the average merely intellectual worldling.
In the first place Thakur Haridas seems to ignore wholly the life that is ordinarily led by people all over the world. The new life that is proposed has apparently no point of contact with the life previously led by the disciple after election. This is not likely to appeal to those to whom the theory of materialistic evolution has become as it were the very breath of their nostrils. ‘Is a real gap or abrupt revolution possible in the world of life?’ ‘Can there be any such thing as the absence of proper purpose anywhere on the part of anybody in this fair world?’ Such and similar questions are bound to rush into the brain of all mental speculationists the moment they are asked to take the Holy Name of Krishna to the exclusion of every worldly function. The proposal seems to be so puerile and so queer and so utterly destructive of all that is near and dear to the heart of the average man!
It is for this reason that the sadhus are on principle opposed to discuss spiritual subjects with persons who do not really seek the Truth. Those who think that for them there is no driving necessity for such a quest are not likely to follow seriously any elucidation of propositions that have nothing to do with anything in which they feel really interested. The complete denial of any place to empiric conclusions, in the life that is proposed for the novice, is a staggering blow to most people who feel instinctively that they should refuse to listen to what obviously amounts to nothing short of an incitement to the commission of suicide.
The spiritual purpose itself cannot, however, be explained away nor whittled down by means of clever interpretations. The actual doings and sayings of Thakur Haridas stand in the way of those who try to do so. The Thakur literally acted as he taught. He acted also in accordance with the plainest meaning of his words. So there can be no ambiguity whatsoever.
The harlot's condition was not essentially different from any other worldling. The irrepressible desire for complete renunciation of the world is the natural and inevitable result of the appearance of any real inclination for the spiritual life. The awakened worldly mind understands the necessity of committing mundane suicide in order to be reborn as the immaculate soul for the purpose of realising the life eternal. The material mind is not a figment of the empiric imagination. It is a real envelope and has to be completely discarded. It will not do to imagine this enveloping darkness as possessing anything in common with the light. The material mind is like a sheet of impenetrable darkness that completely shuts out the light of the soul. The soul is by his nature self-effulgent and has nothing to do with the material mind which acts as a screen to cut off the light of the soul from the view of the observer who uses the mind for such a purpose. This is fact and not a hypothesis like the so-called 'truths' and 'facts' conceived by the material mind in the vanity of its ignorance. The spiritual realisation of the categorical difference and relation of utter incompatibility between mind and soul' is the first unique experience on the threshold of the awakened spiritual life.
The harlot was not 'converted' by speculative arguments addressed to the mind but simply by listening to the Name of Hari from the lips of Thakur Haridas and chanting the Same herself in his company. She had apparently the advantage of possessing at the very outset a natural regard for Thakur Haridas and for his advice and also for the holy Tulasi. This was the only antecedent condition of her redemption. Was it, therefore, blind and traditional faith that actually saved her in this crisis?
The answer must be in the negative. Those who are most officiously given to the cult of blind faith are not necessarily attracted towards the actual devotee. The affinity for the true soul is itself a spiritual, that is to say perfectly self-conscious, impulse. It must be most carefully distinguished from the blind, material impulse which is so common and which, as a matter of fact, is the worst form of obstacle in the way of the realisation of the spiritual life. The instinctive affinity of the harlot for Haridas is an activity of the soul and as such is, therefore, perfectly moral, perfectly self-cognisant and categorically different from the sensuous sentimentality that ordinarily passes in this world as 'blind' faith. Faith is the instinctive attitude of the soul towards the Truth and can, therefore, never be blind. It is the blind who in their blindness confound true faith with the counterfeit ware with which alone they happen to be, unfortunately for themselves, only too familiar.
Real faith can alone lead one to the presence of the pure soul. The material mind cannot reach the proximity of a sadhu. The harlot possessed the spiritual faculty by which it was possible for her to really approach Thakur Haridas. The Shastras say that this true instinctive reverence for sadhus is the result of previous unconscious association with the pure devotees of the Lord.
For the proper unconscious association with sadhus also sensuous sentimentality is often the chief hindrance. The sensuous sentimentalist seeks the gratification of his own senses. He, therefore, is least disposed to serve the sadhu on the account of the latter. It is going against his grain. The sadhus accordingly keep away from philanthropists, as these are not willing to learn to get rid of their sentimentality. A pseudodevotee, who parades his false sentimentality, readily enough obtains the cheap reverence of all worldly persons as his due, by misunderstanding of the purpose of the Scriptures. Such a person is not likely to bow to the sadhu, as he really wants to be served himself. Plain worldly people are likely to be more easily benefited by the process of unconscious association with the sadhus. Those who bring with them any previously formed notions regarding the nature of the sadhus, find it difficult to get rid of those false sentiments which stand in the way of their associating on a proper footing with the real sadhus. The only natural way of associating with the devotees of Godhead consists in doing whatever the sadhu wants one to do and in the way that he advises, without expecting any desirable or undesirable result to oneself therefrom. The harlot possessed something like this natural faith in sadhus by reason of her previous unconscious association with the devotees of Godhead.
End Part I
Poem by Madhusudan
Poem by Madhusudan
Dear Krishna,
You supply all devotees with
sufficient amount of You
to always help us keep our minds off evil Maya
and on Your Holy Name, Fame and Form—
and we never come down
from the sweet sufficient amount—
As we chant we only proceed up from that point,
at Your pleasure—
Madhusudan das Brahmachary (Michael Blumert)

Samkirtan means singing the Glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. In the picture on the opposite page, we see Kirtan as it was performed on the shore of the Pacific in March, 1967. Leading the Kirtan is Tridandi Goswami A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, founder of the International Society For Krishna Consciousness. The San Francisco Radha Krishna Temple holds Kirtan at the beach every Tuesday night, for the pleasure of the Lord and the benefit of all living beings.
Great Whirling Disc of Krishna
Great Whirling Disc of Krishna
Great whirling disc of Krishna
sitting i a sunlit time ago
ocean feet over
norte churned up water—
your wishes are plump oranges
and magic flowers.

you that the spray nuzzles
in among the conch shells—
well wisher to the several hebrew turtles
may they live a thousand eons!
(just my toes scraping coral
barracuda unborn mind)
the spirit omnipresent…
(it was the arm
lifting the sailboat over the barbwire moon.)
simply. simply. more slowly.
did you not hear the gods
flying round the landed quest?
your flowers blew in on the wind
and made a roof
for my house of palm.
bengal poet is a sandcrab
shell shaped food for cosmo
Krishna beings
vegetables and fruits from seas
enormous heart.
happy Herdsboy—ocean melting unity.
our bicycles shall gobble up
tibetan trails
Ted J. Berk
The Great Delusion of the Grand Ascension or the Call of Maya
The Great Delusion of the Grand Ascension
The Call of Maya
by Rupanuga das Adhikary (Robert Corens)
One of life's great delusions is that Self-realization is an automatic process, that simply by staying alive for sixty or a hundred years we will come to know what life is all about. This silly conceit remains, in old age as in youth, generally unfulfilled.
Psychology and other techniques have convinced us, through endlessly speculative exercises, to believe that self-realization (note the small S) involves a mere material display of our potency. After all, what is the materialist—gross or subtle—doing, but materializing ideas (his own or more likely someone else's)? Nothing is actually created by us; all is a play between the senses and their objects. The play of Maya is going on, and it is Krishna alone who is the actual and Supreme Enjoyer.
In this country, we are presently preoccupied with conditioned and false ideas of what our “real” needs are and our labors are meant to guarantee some bodily or mental comfort. Unfortunately, people striving in such a system, even though unhappy and miserable, continue to the graveyard in their search for merely the smallest bit of material peace or pleasure. Their efforts are folly because real happiness is transcendental to the material world. Most people,
Bewildered by many thoughts, entangled in the meshes of delusion and addicted to the gratification of desires … fall into a foul hell. (Bhagavad Gita 16.16)
Describing the wisdom of Yoga to Arjuna, Krishna says:
In this, O joy of the Kurus, the resolute (decided) understanding is single; but thoughts of the irresolute (undecided) are many-branched and endless. (Bhagavad Gita 11.14)
We must decide whether to choose God and to love Him, or not; and this is the choice of our lives. Krishna gives us the power to concentrate upon Him. If we choose not to think of Him, our minds continue out of control, lost in the impermanent flux of our desires.
The great delusion of the grand ascension is that, by concocting our own intellectual adjustments and mental speculations, we can rise up to knowledge of or union with the Absolute Truth, God. For example, it is often thought that God is some great esoteric secret, properly cherished deep within. However, knowledge of Krishna is public not private, and readily available to those who truly seek It. The sentimental need for privacy is material only, an excuse for personal unauthorized concoctions. If we want a confidential relationship with Krishna, we must take shelter of Him, chanting His Holy Names.
There are so many practicing impersonalists in the world, striving to merge into or become Krishna. Such persons are transcendentalists who haven't really leaped into the Spiritual Ocean. Either they are afraid of accepting their eternal individuality, or they want to be God, which for them means merging with the Effulgent Rays of Lord Krishna's Body. They are mistaking their true position. Swami Bhaktivedanta calls this spiritual suicide, or giving up the natural position of Sat-Chit-Ananda. It is the realization of our eternal (Sat) feature only, with ignorance of Chit (full knowledge) and Ananda (complete bliss). Thus His Maya shields the Personality of Godhead, Krishna, from those who do not want Him.
Such a misfortune begins with the prevalent conception that Self-realization is an ascending process. Actually, the complete revival of our God Consciousness depends always upon the Grace of Krishna Himself. This is a descending process; it comes down to us from the Spiritual Platform and does not arise from our material level. We cannot know God by some mechanical process, which would automatically place a false limitation upon Him. To the impersonalist, whose concept of God is limited in that it is incomplete, Krishna remains hidden behind His glaring Effulgence.
Now we can see how far this delusion of ascension reaches, for it keeps the conditioned souls milling about in the impermanent worlds of fantasy and false promise, and can eventually drag the impersonally realized soul down from the Golden Effulgence of Krishna and back into the material ocean. Our eternal position is that of part and parcel. Our perfection is to realize our individual relationship as spirit soul, in sweet loving service of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If we choose to lose ourselves in speculative worlds or even in His Loving Rays, then we fall far short of our true destination. As a man heading home after an over-extended absence settles for another vacation, we choose foolishly and poorly.
This faith in the ascending process accounts for the skeptical notion that the Maha Mantra is just too easy, too good to be true. After all, we complain, how can one know God simply by chanting His Names? The ascending process is supposedly “progress,” which means it is needlessly complicated. The puffed-up and pompous living entity, who has this misconception of what it means to be independent or “free,” must fill his life with pointless confabulations, unworkable fantasies, arbitrary “goals,” and other nonsense, merely to lend meaning to such independence. All the same, no amount of philosophizing can disentangle us from our material inheritance, which is never actually at our disposal anyway, but is under the complete control of Lord Krishna. We possess the illusory freedom of drowning in the material turbulence while thinking we are flying. Our actual freedom is in complete surrender to, and dependence upon, Lord Krishna. Of course, we cannot change our allegiance from the material to the spiritual instantly, but we can make an immediate start by chanting HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE. Simply by reading this line you have started.
Those much enamoured of the ascending process are too blinded to accept the bona fide Spiritual Master, whose Grace is necessary for spiritual advancement. They cannot accept the Divine Grace of the Spiritual Master because they do not believe that it is by Krishna's kindness, distributed through the pure devotee, that He may be known. The Spiritual Master is the living proof of Krishna's Divine Grace; in fact, He is Divine Grace itself.
Learn by humble reverence, by inquiry and by service. The men of wisdom who have seen the truth will instruct thee in knowledge. (Bhagavad Gita 4.34)
Spiritual Masters who teach impersonalism are generally descended from Shankaracharya. Factually, Shankaracharya, like Lord Buddha, taught his disciples what they were able to comprehend; he himself was a pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna, as is verified in his Meditation on the Gita:
You fools, just worship Govinda (Krishna)! Just worship Govinda! Just worship Govinda! Your grammatical knowledge and word jugglery will not save you at the time of death.
One engaged in Krishna Consciousness is automatically on the Spiritual Platform when serving, chanting, or reading the Scriptures. When the first Syllable of the Maha Mantra, HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE dances on our tongue we immediately transcend impersonality as well as the material worlds. As our practice and sincerity increase, our position becomes factually revealed to us without a doubt.
To those who are constantly devoted and worship with love, I grant the concentration of understanding by which they come to Me. Out of compassion for those same ones, remaining within My own state, I destroy the darkness born of ignorance by the shining lamp of wisdom. (Bhagavad Gita 10.10-11)
We can struggle with Krishna, rebels with no cause but our own illusion. If we want, Krishna will even be our Enemy and smash us, for He gives us only what we desire; He enjoys everything.
Those who engage in the ascending process are actually struggling with Krishna, thinking “I can do it on my own,” or “to ask for help would show weakness,” or “surrendering would mean slavery” and on and on. So they flee into the worlds of geegaws, mandalas, psychedelic pacifiers and other material activities. Behold the great Wall Street monopoly set, who are all merely wasting their living energies in games of money. Their least and greatest efforts are alike spent on the wholly perishable.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna informs us that we have only the right to act, and no right to the fruits of actions; for the fruits belong to Him as Sacrifice. Only the number one fool believes that his private machinations are worth the risk of eternal knowledge and bliss, no matter how fancy and glittering the outcome may appear. In reality he ascends nowhere, but becomes more deeply entangled by the tentacles of his activities. Maya, the illusory energy of the material world, is never more fascinating or seductive than when she appears to a man as his own personal reward and pleasure. This is the ascending process, the call of Maya.
Man did not, with his puny intellect, discover or invent the Scriptures, the Word of God, That contains all that can be asked. Krishna Himself, by His Causeless Mercy, tells us how to come home to Godhead. This great gift descends from the Spiritual Sky. Otherwise, we could never know it. Transcendental concepts are not from the material plane and can certainly not be improved upon, much less replaced by the pitiful endeavors of embodied souls.
Our actual position—the position of all living entities—is Sat-Chit-Ananda. Why settle for less? Krishna facilitates our returning to Godhead because He Loves us and wants us to come Home. Swami Bhaktivedanta's instructions, the Maha Mantra, the Scriptures—all are Krishna's Divine Grace.
Let us go to Him
Who is always waiting,
By the Touch of our Beads,
In the Taste of the Prasadam Feast,
At the Ends of our tongues,
In the sweetness of our music,
For the Sweat of our works:
No atom moves without His Grace,
No man lives without His Love,
Whose Home is Goloka Vrindabana,
Whose Name is KRISHNA.
As Suradas, the blind saint, sat chanting the Holy Names of God, there approached him, daily, a Child of splendid beauty, who brought a good portion of food and milk. Gentle Suradas gladly accepted the food, and blessed the Boy, Whom he could not see, never realizing that it was Krishna Himself. For the Lord takes delight in rendering service unto His devotees. But the devotee seeks only to serve the Lord, never to be served by Him—and so Krishna played this secret game of love. This is the sublime nature of competition in the spiritual life.
On Installation of the New Deity
On Installation of the New Deity
to Hayagriva das and Upendra das
by Satsvarupa das
I don't know
if it's Monday
Wednesday or Friday
I'm up on my feet
—our temple has a new Murti!

Blackish Krishna
Lord of the Dance
—oh now we can
really sing and play
—this Murti is
real God-brother!

His toes and palms are pink and
His foot is black
His leg is crossed in curving posture
His robes are bright yellow
His chest is grand
His eyes are huge
His crown is gold
His arms are bent holding a black flute
He stands in the heart of our
temple surrounded
with incense and flowers
and barefoot dancing servants
wearing faded yellow robes
play cymbals and organ,
Sing His Kirtan
Hare Krishna!
Hare Krishna!

Take heart, here's new
singing to the evergreen
He is Shyamsundar and
shining like a fresh rain cloud.
Satsvarupa das Brahmachary (Stephen Guarino)
How I Met A.C. Swami Bhaktivedanta
How I Met A.C. Swami Bhaktivedanta
Brahmananda das Brahmachary
(Bruce Scharf)
In my second year of college I took LSD. In my third year of college I read Whitman and Henry Miller, paused, and continued eating drugs. In my fourth year, one summer day by the seaside, I first read the Bhagavad Gita and learned that spiritual life meant not to take drugs but, as Krishna ordered, “Surrender unto Me.” But, how do you surrender to God? What does “surrender” mean? And who is God?
So I read Ramakrishna, Lao Tzu, Buddha, and countless countless commentaries and interpretations and concluded that spiritual understanding was not a home-study course. I had to live it. I had to find a spiritual master.
I hung around the oriental bookstores, looking for my guru; thinking the old lady at Orientalia a sage; seeing people who passed me on the street and wondering, “Are you my guru? Are you my guru?” Uptown I wandered to the swamis who sat enthroned with harems of soggy old ladies fanning them with their talk. Still, they were swamis. I spoke to one who told me to either get married or stop fornicating. It seemed natural. I stopped searching for that ultimate satisfaction in sex, and immediately I felt liberated from having to play the “male” role. I stopped eating meat; it came naturally, but still I was feeling for my guru.
One evening an old drug friend came by with a leaflet, saying that he had just been to a storefront several blocks away where there was this swami who spoke bad English into a tape recorder, and Allen Gineberg was there. The leaflet read, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Incorporated—and offered ecstasy through transcendental sound vibrations. Right?
So I went. And I chanted HARE KRISHNA, not knowing what I was singing. It just sounded very pretty. And after the service I walked the streets, singing HARE KRISHNA; only I couldn't remember the tune or the proper order. So, I sat in Washington Square, while some guys near me were panting over a stick of pot, and I sang HARE KRISHNA to my own tune that was so wrong I had to eliminate the final HARE HARE. It was such a beautiful experience, so beautiful in fact that I actually did not want to realize I was enjoying it, because as soon as you examine it and say, “It's nice,” you are thinking about it. This is something you just want to experience purely without any self-consciousness. It's called “bliss.” I knew I would never be the same again.
I went back the next morning and learned the tune and the words properly, and it was even better. The next day my job as an elementary school teacher was to begin. How could I go to a job? I just wanted to sit in that bare storefront and sing HARE KRISHNA. So that morning I paced the streets thinking my parents had spent all this money for my education, and I was trying to be responsible, and it was to be my first real job. I wandered into a church. It was so quiet. I started humming HARE KRISHNA and then chanted softly so as not to disturb the handful of worshippers there, and at once the ties of family and responsibility snapped. How foolish of me to hesitate in giving up everything. I fancied myself so free and I was binding myself to what other people would think of me.
I walked straight back to that storefront and asked a Minerva-haired fellow if I could speak with the Swami. We crossed an open courtyard where a tall, thin boy with eyes that never seemed to blink sat typing in the summer morning sunshine, like a scribe in a Lower East Side monastery.
Upstairs A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami sat in faded saffron robes on a mat with a typewriter, stacks of papers, and a yellow tin box before him. He greeted me with a smile that was gigantic, like an ocean, and such jolly eyes, and I had the feeling he had been expecting me. I told him my desire to give everything up, my job, my family, my responsibilities, everything, and be his student. “It is not necessary to renounce your activities. Just change your consciousness! You keep your job and your responsibilities, but just chant HARE KRISHNA. This is Krishna Consciousness.”
I agreed, declaring that all my wages were his. “Thank you very much,” he said.
Later I feared I had been too hasty, but chanting burns away all doubts. I am no longer Bruce Scharf who went to college, read great books, took drugs, had sexual experiences, and wondered who he was and what he was doing here. Now I am Brahmananda das Brahmachary who is struggling to serve his Spiritual Master sincerely and submissively. It is so difficult yet so natural.
Krishna and the Vedic View:
Krishna and the Vedic View:
The Swami Responds
Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,
Could you please explain the Vedic concept of Universal Time? It seems to me that this is a bewilderingly complex system of thought.
Yours truly,
Henry Langdon

Dear Mr. Langdon,
Universal Time is no more complex than the relationship of a second to a minute to an hour to a day. History is divided into series of four Yugas, or sub-Ages. Each complete series is 4,200,000 years long. One thousand of such complete ages make one day of Brahma. Brahma is the creator of this Universe, and his life span is co-equal to it. Brahma's day is a thousand ages, and his night is also a thousand ages. And Brahma lives one hundred years. Thus, we can calculate the duration of this universe at something over three hundred billion years. I hope this answers your question.

Dear Swami,
How long does it take to attain perfection in Krishna Consciousness? Thank you, Walter Arden

Dear Mr. Arden,
One second is more than enough. The perfection of Krishna Consciousness is found in complete surrender unto the Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna. If you are capable of such surrender, then don't delay even one more heartbeat. The Maha (Hare Krishna) Mantra will help you to be able to surrender, by giving you direct experience of the Lord's presence. By thus understanding His Beauty, Kindness and other Attributes, you will realize the value of His association, and will at once surrender for His sake.
Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,
Is it necessary to have a spiritual master in order to achieve Krishna Consciousness? Or is the chant alone enough?
Helen Lee

Dear Miss Lee,
Chanting will put you directly in touch with the Source—Krishna Himself. But the spiritual master is Krishna's direct representative, and he too is of incalculable value for your spiritual progress.

Dear Swamiji,
Why was this material world created, if God truly loves us?
N. Ogden

My dear N. Ogden,
Do you think the government builds its prisons in hopes that they'll be filled? But there is a need. As the criminal must be removed from moral society, so the living entities who reject God must leave the spiritual realm, where all adore Him.

Dear Swami,
You say that unalloyed service to the Lord is the purest devotion. But how can we always put faith in Krishna's mercy, and at the same time never ask Him for anything?
Thank you,
Marie Moskowitz

Dear Miss Moskowitz,
We need never ask for the Lord's mercy. It is given us freely and abundantly at all times. Even the atheist enjoys it. But what we must have is God's loving service, if we are to know true happiness. Make this loving service the object of your every prayer, and see the result yourself.

Dear Swamiji,
What's wrong with pleasure?
D. T. Mervin

Dear D. T. Mervin,
Until you serve Krishna, you cannot know what pleasure is.

Dear Swami,
If one has rejected God, will God still take him back?
Miss Anita Keough

My dear Miss Keough,
We are all here due to mistakes. Krishna only cares for our love.

Dear Swami,
Is it necessary to pursue all the different yogas in turn in order to reach the Ultimate?
Yours truly,
John The

Dear Mr. The,
You can walk the stairs to the top of the Empire State Building if you like. But the elevator is also there. Try chanting Hare Krishna.

Dear Swami,
Why do so many people neglect the Lord, if He is the center of everything?
Brendan Jones

Dear Mr. Jones,
Why do some men lie down on the Bowery Street? There is independence, and independence means one can choose wisely or foolishly.
Ever your well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
From an April Morning Talk by Swami
From an April Morning Talk by Swami
by Damodara das
There is a nice example
When I was flying from San Francisco—
The plane was flying
Above the cloud ocean.
When I came first from India
I saw the water ocean
And the cloud ocean is just the same,
Round all round.
Above the cloud is the sun
And though we came down through the cloud
And everything in New York is cloudy,
Still, above the cloud
The sun is shining.
Cloud cannot cover the whole world—
It can't even cover
The whole United States,
Which is not even more
Than a speck in the universe.
From the sky
The skyscrapers are very tiny;
From God's position
All this nonsense becomes insignificant.
I, the living entity,
Am very insignificant,
And my tendency is to come down.
The sun hasn't got
The come-down tendency.
The Supreme Lord doesn't come down
To Maya, or under the cloud.
But we have the tendency
To be controlled by Maya.

Do you know how Maya kicks?
The she-ass kicks the male ass
When he comes for sex.
Among the cats they fight and whine.
These are the teachings of Nature—
She tricks. It is like the capture of an elephant.
He is caught in the forest
By use of a trained she-elephant
Who leads him
And makes him fall into a pit.
versified by Damodara das Adhikary (Dan Clark)
Teachings of Lord Chaitanya
Teachings of Lord Chaitanya
Part V
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
All of these twelve different Forms of Lord Krishna are known as the predominating deities of the twelve months. According to the Vaishnav almanac, the months are called by different Names of Krishna. This calendar begins from the month of Margasirsa, which is equivalent to late October-November. The month of November is known by the Vaishnavas as Keshava, December is called Narayan, January is called Madhab, February is called Govinda, March is called Vishnu, April is called Vasudevan, May is called Trivikram, June is called Vamana, July is called Sridhas, August is called Hrisikesa, September is called Padmanava and October is caIled Damodar. This Damodar is different from the Damodar in Vraja. The Name Damodar was given when Krishna was bound by ropes by his mother—but the Damodar Form in the month of October is a different manifestation.
Similarly, the Vaishnava community marks different parts of the body, and each mark is known by one of these twelve different Names of the Supreme Lord. The mark on the forehead is called Kesava, and for the belly, the breast, and the arms there are different names; the Names that are used for the months are also used for this purpose.
The four formal Forms, the Vasudeva, Samkarshan, Pradyumna and Aniruddhya, are also expanded in the Vilasa Murti. They are eight in number, and their names are Purushottam, Achyuta, Nrisingha, Janardana, Hari, Krishna, Adhoksha and Upendra. Out of these eight names, Adhoksha and Purushottam are the Vilasa or Forms of Vasudeva. Similarly, Upendra and Achyuta are the Vilasa Forms of Samkarshan; Nrisingha and Janardana are the Vilasa Forms of Pradyumna; and Hari and Krishna are the two Vilasa Forms of Aniruddhya. This Krishna is different from the original Krishna. All these twenty-four Forms are known as the Vilasa manifestations of Pravhav (four-handed) Form, and they are differently named according to the different position of the symbolic representations, that is, the mace, the disc, the lotus flower and the conchshell. Out of these twenty-four Forms, there is also a division of Vilasa and Vhaibhava. Names mentioned herein, such as Pradyumna, Trivikram, Vamana, Hari, Krishna—are also different in features. Then in regards to the Prahava Vilasa of Krishna, which is Vasudeva, Samkarshan, Pradyumna and Aniruddhya, there are in total twenty further variations. All of them preside over Vaikuntha planets in the Spiritual Sky and are situated in eight different directions; although each of them is eternally in the Spiritual Sky, some of them are manifested in the material world also. In the Spiritual Sky all the planets dominated by the feature of Narayan are eternal, and the highest topmost planet in the Spiritual Sky is called Krishna Loka. That Krishna Loka is divided into three different portions: 1. Gokula, 2. Mathura and 3. Dwarka. In the Mathura portion, the Form of Keshav is always situated. This is also represented on this earthly planet. In India there is a place called Mathura where Keshav Murti is worshipped; similarly there is a Purushottam Form in Jagganath Puri and in Orissa; and in Prayag or Allahabad there is Madhav Brindu Madhar, and, similarly, there is the Form of Madhusudan in Mandhar hill. In Anandanrnya there is the Form of Vishnu, and in Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya, there is the Form of Hari. So there are also many other Forms situated elsewhere on this earthly planet.
Not only in this universe, but in all the other universes, such Forms are distributed all over. On this earthly planet also it is indicated that all the portions of the whole earth are divided into 7 islands or continents, it is understood that on each and every island there are similar Forms, but at the present moment they are found only in India. They are indicated to be in other parts of the world, but at the present there is no information where they are situated. But from Vedic literature we can understand there are Forms in other parts of the world. These different Forms of Krishna are distributed all over the world and the universes to give pleasure to the devotees. Not that the devotees are only born in India, but in all other parts of the world there are devotees who have simply forgotten their identity. Such Forms-incarnate have come not only to give pleasure to the devotees, but to reestablish the devotional service and other activities vitally concerning the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Some of them are incarnations as mentioned in the scriptures, such as the Vishnu incarnation, Trivikram incarnation, Nrisingha incarnation and Vamana incarnation.
In the Siddartha Samhita there is a description of the 24 Forms of Vishnu named differently according to the different positions of the symbolic representations in the 4 hands. In ascribing the different nomenclatures to the different descriptions of Vishnu Murti, the counting should begin 1. with the lower right hand and then rising to the 2. upper right hand, then 3. to the upper left hand and then 4. down to the lower left hand. In these 4 hands are held the four representations: club, wheel conch shell and lotus flower; all in varying positions. Thus in this fashion Vasudeva is represented by 1. club, 2. conchshell, 3. wheel and 4. lotus flower. Similarly, Samkarshan is represented by club, conch shell, lotus flower and wheel. Pradyumna is represented by wheel, conch shell, club and lotus flower. Aniruddhya is represented by wheel, club, conch shell and lotus flower. In the Spiritual Sky also, the representation of Narayan is calculated as follows, at 20 in number: Hrisikesha is represented by conch shell, wheel, flower and club. Narayan is represented by conch shell, lotus flower, club and wheel. Sri Madhava is represented by club, wheel, conch shell and lotus flower. Sri Govinda is represented by wheel, club, lotus flower and conch shell. Vishnu Murti is represented by club, lotus flower, conch shell and wheel. Madhusudan is represented by wheel, conch shell, lotus flower and club. Trivikram is represented by lotus flower, club, wheel and conch shell. Vamana is represented by conch shell, wheel, club and lotus flower. Sridham is represented by lotus flower, wheel, club and conch shell. Hrisikesh is represented by club, wheel, lotus flower and conch shell. Padmanava is represented by conch shell, lotus flower, wheel and club. Damodar is represented by lotus flower, wheel, club and conch shell. Purushottam is represented by wheel, lotus flower, conch shell and club. Sri Achyuta is represented by club, lotus flower, wheel and conch shell. Sri Nrisingha is represented by wheel, lotus flower, club and conch shell. Janardan is represented by lotus flower, wheel, conch shell and club. Sri Hari is represented by conch shell, wheel, lotus flower and club. Sri Krishna is represented by conch shell, club, lotus flower and wheel. Adhoksaja is represented by lotus flower, club, conch shell and wheel. Upendra is represented by conch shell, club, wheel and lotus flower.
According the Hayasirsa Pancharacha, there are sixteen Forms and they are also different in name according to the different positions of the wheel and club. The conclusion is that the Supreme Original Personality of Godhead is Krishna—He is called Leela Purushottam and He is principally in Vrindaban as the son of Nanda. It is also learned from the Hayasirsa Pancharacha that nine Forms are protecting two Puris known as the Mathura Puri and the Dwarka Puri, and they are in the 4 Forms like Vasudeva, Samkarshan, Pradyumna, and Aniruddhya; and besides these four Forms there are Narayan Forms, Nrisingha Forms, Hayagriva Forms, Varaha Forms and Brahma. The above descriptions are different manifestations of the Prakhas and Vilasa Forms of Lord Krishna.
Now Lord Chaitanya is informing Sanatan Goswami that there are different forms of the Svamsa also; Svamsa Forms are divided into the Samkarshan division and incarnation division. From the Samkarshan division come the three Purusha avatars, namely the Karanodakshayee Vishnu, Garbhodakshayee Vishnu and Khirodakshayee Vishnu; and the other division, also called avatar, includes the Lord's incarnation as Fish, as Tortoise etc. There are 6 kinds of different incarnations: 1. the Purusha avatar, 2. the Leela avatar, 3. the Guna avatar, 4. the Manu avatar, 5. the Yuga avatar, and 6. the Saktavesh avatar. Out of six kinds of Vilasa manifestations of Krishna there are 2 divisions based on His age. They are called Balya and Pauganda. The original Form of Krishna as the son of Nanda enjoys Himself in the two Forms of His childhood, namely Balya and Pauganda.
The conclusion is that there is no end of the expansions and incarnations of Krishna. Here Lord Chaitanya describes some of them to Sanatan just to give him an idea how the Lord is expanding and how He is enjoying. This is confirmed in the Srimad Bhagawatam, in the 1st canto, 3rd chapter. It is said there that there is no limit to the emanations of incarnations of the Supreme Lord, just as there is no limit to the number of waves in the oceans. As far as the incarnations are concerned, the first incarnations of Krishna are as the 3 Purusha avatars, namely the Maha Vishnu avatar, Garbhodakshayee avatar and Khirodakshayee avatar. This is confirmed in the Shastrasirsa Stotra. Krishna's energies are also divisable into three: His energy of thinking, His energy of feeling, and His energy of acting. In His energy of thinking He is the Supreme Lord; in His energy of feeling He is Lord Vasudeva; and in His energy of acting He is Samkarshan Valaram. Without thinking, feeling and acting there is no possibility for the creation. Although there is no question of the creation of the Spiritual world, there is nonetheless creation of this material world; both the Spiritual world and the material world are manifestations of the active energy of the Forms of Samkarshan and Balarama of Krishna. In the Spiritual world, the Vaikuntha planets and the Krishna Loka planet are situated in His energy of thinking. Although there is no creation of the eternal Spiritual world, still it is to be understood that the Vaikuntha planets are depending on the thinking energy of the Supreme Lord. This thinking energy is described in the Brahma Samhita, 5th chapter, 2nd verse; where it is stated that the Supreme Abode known as Goloka is manifested just like a lotus flower with hundreds of petals. Everything is manifested by the Ananta, Balarama, or Samkarshan Form. The material cosmic manifestation and the different universes are manifested through Maya, or material energy. The material nature of the material energy is not the cause of all this cosmic manifestation. Rather, it is caused by the Supreme Lord's different expansions through the material nature; without superintendence of the Supreme Lord there is no possibility of any creation. The Form by which the energy of the material nature is created is called Samkarshan. It is understood that under the superintendent energy of the Supreme Lord this cosmic manifestation is created. The example is given of the iron which becomes red hot in contact with fire—when it is red hot it becomes also like fire. In the Srimad Bhagawatam, 10th canto, 46th chapter, it is said that Rama and Krishna is the Origin of all living entities. These two Personalities enter into everything. It may even now appear that they are differently situated.
A list of the incarnations occurs in the Srimad Bhagawatam, 1st canto. They are as follows: 1. Chaturdasham, 2. Narada, 3. Nara, 4. .Mathsa, 5. Yajna, 6. Naradayan, 7. Kardemenkopeel, 8. Dutakria, 9. Hayasesha, 13. Hansa, 11. Dukupria or Eprishnee Garva, 12. Hrisha, 13. Prithu, 14. Narasingha, 15. Kurma, 16. Dhanantari, 17. Mohini, 18. Vamana, 19. Parkava, 20. Radavendra, 21. Vyas, 22. Brahma Balarama, 23. Krishna, 24. Buddha, 25. Kalki. Out of these 25 Leela avatars almost all of them appear in one day of Brahma, which is called a Kalpa, and therefore they are sometimes called kalpa avatars. Out of these, the incarnation of Hanghan Mohini is not permanent, but Kapila, Notatria, Risha, Nonanaree and Vyas are 5 eternal Forms, and they are more celebrated. The incarnation of Tortoise, Fish, Naradayan, Baraha, Hayagriva, Rishnagumbra, Valumbera, Baladeva are considered as incarnations of Vaibhava. Similarly, there are three incarnation of the qualitative modes of Nature. They are called Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva.
Of the Mananta avatars there are fourteen in number: 1. Yoga, 2. Beevu, 3. Shutersan, 4. Hari, 5. Vaikuntha, 6. Arjed, 7. Vaman, 8. Sadvoboma, 9. Risha, 10. Vishuction, 11. Darmashetu, 12. Sudama, 13. Jodeshel, 14. Behead bama. Out of these fourteen incarnations of Mananta, Yoga and Vaman are also Leela avatars. The balance are Mananta avatars. These fourteen Mananta avatars are also known as Bhaiva avatars.
The four Yugas are also described in the Bhagvatam: in the Sattya Yuga the incarnation of God is white; in the Treta Yuga the incarnation of God is red; in the Dwapara the incarnation of God is blackish; and the incarnation in the Kali Yuga is also blackish but sometimes, in a special Kali Yuga, the color is yellowish or golden. As far as the Saktavish avatars are concerned, they are Kapila and Deshaga, the Shresh avatar, Ananta, Brahma (sometimes the Lord Himself becomes Brahma), Jutershan (as the incarnation of Knowledge), Narada (as the incarnation of devotional service), King Prithu (as the incarnation of administrative power), and Barshnav (as the incarnation of subduing evil principles).
The One Real Eloquent Art of the Worlds
The One Real Eloquent Art of the Worlds
by Satsvarupa das
is playing her vina
inspiring the
speech makers and musicians
But only God-praise is
Somehow they get at
her, though,—the others—
from her generosity flows
measured lyrics, sounds, forms
of swan and river and
lotus and dye.

But for me the pure One,
Krishna, is all
I want to know,
and my divine teacher
is he who shows
me Krishna-direction.
First teacher is my Spiritual Master
Swami Bhaktivedanta father of light,
and then my God-brothers and sisters,
by their slightest actions in His favor—

'All we want to do
is please Him.
Anything else is
less than that.'
Also bugs are teachers
running up the sides of
bowls accompanied
by God.
And sunlight is a teacher.
Everything shows me
I am God's,
all atoms are His.

Every painting reflects a piece of His Nature,
Every voice is raised by Him,
He knows the minor spirits and demons,
He observes the wasted lives.
He is all—and you Mr. Artist, what is your proficiency?
Grab a broom and sweep
the temple floor.
Learn—know God is in clear
water and fragrant air
and beyond all the suns
and moons.

Begin serving the Lord—
and you can know what it is all about
He is within you
He is everywhere
He is the Supreme
Person and He dwells in the Spiritual Sky
Everything you need is in the
Bhagavad Gita and
can be learned at the feet of a Spiritual
Master who is a pure servant of God
like Swami Bhaktivedanta.

Very soon you'll
learn the topmost eloquence
—it's Hare Krishna
Good wherever you go.
If you learn it
you'll see the Promise
God made to man, Learn it now
for wherever you go.
Chant it always,—
the one real art of the worlds:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Satsvarupa das Brahmachary (Stephen Guarino)
Human Welfare Activities
Human Welfare Activities
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Once, when I met the founder of a human welfare society, I suggested a little improvement on it by keeping all the items of the plan in touch with the plannings of the Bhagavad Gita. The whole theme of the Bhagavad Gita is to do everything in relation with the wish of the Supreme Lord. Arjuna was sufficiently educated in politics, sociology, family affairs, education and all that is required for human welfare, but he was lacking in the sense of service for the Supreme Lord. So far as Arjuna was personally concerned, he was actually quite cognisant, but he assumed the role of a common man who did not know how to work according to the plan and desire of the Lord. That was the beginning of Bhagavad Gita.
Arjuna pretended to become a pious man, and he desired to be nonviolent, refraining from the painful acts of bloodshed on the battlefield. Such a pious attitude, without knowing the desire of the Supreme Lord, was condemned by Sri Krishna. He described such a psuedo-pious attitude as befitting an unadvanced person. Piety, non-violence and all such good qualities are judged in terms of their purpose. A small boy, without knowing the effect of his pious activity, gave to his ailing brother some pieces of foodstuff when his brother asked for it. The ailing brother was suffering from typhoid fever and as he was a child, he asked his younger brother to give him the food. The younger brother, without knowing the result of his charitable work, gave this to the suffering brother. When the whole thing was disclosed to the mother, the charitable younger brother was severely punished for the food could well prove fatal to the diseased boy. This is our practical experience.
Simply to do charitable work without knowing the effect of it is to act in the mode of ignorance. So far as charities, penances and sacrifices are concerned, they are all of three qualities: Charity done in full cognisance of the authoritative injunctions is called Sattvik, or in goodness. Charity done with the purpose of getting something in return is called Rajasik, or in the mode of passion. And charity done in darkness, without knowing its effect, done under some superior pressure or request, is called Tamasik, or in the mode of ignorance. The same applies to other good works also. Tamasik charity and Sattvik charity are two different items altogether. One leads to degradation while the other leads to elevation. Therefore simple charity, penance and sacrifices may not be always good, unless accompanied by a descriptive and discriminative knowledge.
Human welfare activities in full scientific knowledge will certainly elevate the status of human society. Now, the aim of welfare activity must be first of all ascertained. This means we must consider the aim of life. Is the aim of life to live for a number of long years? The Bhagawatam says no. It is not such. Because, so far as longevity is concerned, the life of some tree is far longer than that of a human being: The longest duration of life of the human being is not more than 100 years. But in the vegetable kingdom some trees live more than one thousand years. A human being will answer that the tree may live for one thousand years but the signs of life are absent there. The main sign of life is breathing. The Bhagawatam, in answer to this, will say that there are many many big bellows which can breathe more vehemently than a man. So breathing is no special qualification. There are beasts who can produce more children than the human being. They also eat sumptuously according to their own standard of life. And so, according to Bhagawatam, which is the practical commentary on the Vedanta Sutra, the only aim of life should be to hear the message of the Supreme Lord, wherein only lies the sum total welfare of human society.
In the Bhagavad Gita the ultimate instruction is to surrender unto the will of the Supreme Lord, and in that manner the surrendered soul is protected in all ways by the Lord from all the frailties of human life. Arjuna understood this principle and he altered his decision to leave the battlefield. Therefore, to know the Supreme Lord and to know our eternally existent relationship with the Lord does not mean to give up all activities. But to know Him, our relationship with Him and our duties to Him is the highest knowledge. And to impart this knowledge to one and all is the highest welfare activity in human society.
Our Prayer
Our Prayer
by Brahmananda das
Our obeisances to You, Golden One, Prince of Him, Gouranga.
Obeisances to Your pure disciples.
Obeisances to our grand master, Bhaktivinode Thakur.
Obeisances to Guru Maharaj, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati.
Obeisances to all our spiritual masters past, present, future:
Join us, please, in our plea
To the Lord of everything that is,
You, Who spin planets and hatch ant eggs
While You play Your flute and dance.

So unworthy are we to ask anything.
Constantly we wander to Your Maya
And forget it is Yours.
What humility do we have?
Why do we not surrender to You instantly?
Yet, Lord, only to Your mercy can we turn.

Our Father, Our Master, Our Child, Our Sweetheart, Our Friend,
Is stricken
By Your Maya. Please,
We beg,
Ask, Your servant, to restore His Body
So He can fix us up
In Your Service.

We do not know how to serve You.
Let Him, Who has sacrificed everything to You,
Teach us.
To take Him from us
Is to pull the breast,
Swollen with You,
From our infant mouths.
Brahmananda das Brahmachary (Bruce Scharf)
My dear friend, if you still have an inclination to enjoy material life with society, friendship and love, then please do not see the boy named Govinda Who is standing in a three-curved way, smiling, and skilfully playing on His flute with His lips brightened by the full moonshine.
Karmi Office
Karmi Office
by Satsvarupa das
Karmis spread a
mental blanket
out over the office
talking to each other
so smart
and clever
Never praising the

Not even seeing in
their actions that
He is all
or they may even
say it but it means
nothing because
they have no
knowledge of God
and they have no knowledge
of God
they do not serve and

I am packed in
here like any other
Satsvarupa das Brahmachary (Stephen Guarino)
(Bhagavad Gita As It Is)
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Bhagavad Gita is widely recognized as the compendium of all Vedic wisdom, yet there are few who have the necessary qualifications to understand and teach this all-important scripture. Swami Bhaktivedanta—who is a devotee in the line of disciplic succession from Arjuna—is one of these few. His introduction to the Geetopanishad is a classic in its own right.
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
In WHO IS CRAZY? and KRISHNA, THE RESERVOIR OF PLEASURE, the Swami explains the illusion of materialism, and the process of acquiring true vision in the perpetual bliss of Krishna Consciousness.
A 33 Ÿ long playing record on the Happening label, in which the devotees perform Kirtan (chanting the Hare Krishna Mantrum), and which further includes mantras sung by the Swami in praise of his spiritual master. Available from the Society.
—Incense—30 sticks. . .25c
—Wooden Beads, with a booklet which offers a fast, easy way to string them, and which further explains their general value in chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra. 1 package.. . . .$1. 50
—Indian Hand Cymbals. .1 pair...$1.25
—HARE KRISHNA lapel buttons. . . 10c each
by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva
The original and genuine commentary on Vedanta philosophy by the author of the Vedanta Himself, Vyasadeva—now available for the first time in English with an authorized commentary by Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta.
The Srimad Bhagawatam is the post-graduate study of the Bhagavad Gita, or the Science of Krishna. This book of transcendental knowledge contains information of classical Hindu culture, philosophy, sociology, economics, politics, aesthetics and Divine Love.
This unique edition of Srimad Bhagawatam has been greatly appreciated by all learned societies of philosophy and theosophy and approved by the Indian State and Central Government Departments of Education, and by the United States Government. Swami Bhaktivedanta’s edition contains Sanscrit, Sanscrit transliteration, English equivalents, translation and elaborate commentaries. Published by the League of Devotees, New Delhi, India, 1962-65. Price: $16.80 for 3 volumes (1200 pages). Postage paid by the Society.
Available from the International Society For Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, New York, 10003.
BACK TO GODHEAD is published monthly by the International Society For Krishna Consciousness at 26 Second Avenue, New York, New York, 10003. 1-year subscription (12 issues) $4. 00. Phone 674-7428.
FOUNDER: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
EDITORS: Hayagriva Das Brahmachary (Howard Wheeler)
Rayarama Das Brahmachary (Raymond Marais)
CIRCULATION: Gargamuni Das Brahmachary (Gregory Scharf)
PRINTING: Purushottam Das Brahmachary (Paul Auerbach)
Jaigovinda Das Brahmachary (Jeffrey Havener)

Back to Godhead Magazine #15, 1967
On the Cover
On the Cover
On the wedding day of Vasudeva to the maid Devaki, her mighty brother Kamsa learned by a mystic voice that her eighth son would prove, in time, to be his slayer. For the Earth then was oppressed by evil, and the Lord had promised to Appear, to drive out the cruel and vicious leaders and restore the reign of righteousness. Kamsa well recognized his own preeminence amongst the forces of darkness. He now pitted himself against God, Who had chosen the virtuous Devaki to bear Him, and imprisoned the couple. But God's will cannot be shackled, nor His purposes obstructed. There in the palace, He came to Devaki, and through the glance of Vasudeva He entered her, and thenceforth she showered light like the sun, for the Source of all brightness was with her. And when the time came, whilst all the worlds rejoiced and the stars glittered and the blossoms opened themselves unafraid—though the hour was midnight—and the fragrances of heaven and earth intermingled to form a sublime atmosphere—at last He came, the Eternal, the Ineffable, the Primeval Person. Though unborn, the Lord took birth through Devaki—first in His four-handed form, and then, upon her request, He assumed His Primal Form, as Lord Krishna, Refuge of the Universes, the Babe of Mathura.
By The Mercy of Krishna:
By The Mercy of Krishna:
The reaction to our recent editions of Back To Godhead, beginning with issue no. 13, has been very satisfying, and ought to guarantee the continuance of this move toward an ever finer magazine. We feel that a large measure of this success is due to the fine work of our art staff, headed by Goursundar das Adhikary (Gary McElroy) and Jaigovinda das Brahmachary (Jeffrey Havener). Goursundar's wife Govinda Devi Dasi, is his close collaborator in all projects. In addition to these three, there are Haimavati Devi Dasi (Helena Kary) and Jadurani Devi Dasi (Judy Koslofsky). In the future issues, as we (hopefully) gain on our deadlines, we hope to make even more elaborate presentations.
This issue falls just after the Appearance Days of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, and of our Spiritual Master, Sri Bhaktivedanta Swami, and so is especially devoted to celebrating Their Glories.
Swami Bhaktivedanta has returned to Vrindavana in India, in hopes of recovering his health, which has recently suffered severe setbacks, and prolonged uncertainty. In our next issue, we'll present the story of the Swami's departure, but for now it may cheer one and all to know that Swamiji's health is improving markedly. We have hopes of seeing him back in America within the next six months. Thanks be to God.
Hare Krishna
The Editors
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Friday evening, Dec. 30, 1966
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna is advising Arjuna. “I am speaking to you a still more confidential part of knowledge, because you are My dear friend.” As stated in the 4th Chapter, the Bhagavad Gita is spoken to Arjuna because of his one qualification—he was a devotee. The Lord says that the mystery of Bhagavad Gita is very confidential. Without becoming an unalloyed devotee you cannot know it. In India there are 645 different commentaries on Bhagavad Gita. One professor has even pictured Krishna as a doctor and Arjuna as the patient, and has interposed his own commentary in that way. The people have taken it that everyone is perfect, and he can interpret scripture in his own way. As far as we are concerned, we agree to read Bhagavad Gita according to the Parampara system of disciplic succession. It is being taught by the Supreme Person because, “You are My dear friend. I desire that you become prosperous and happy. So I speak to you.” He wants everyone to be happy and peaceful and prosperous, but they do not want it. The sunshine is open to everyone, but if someone wishes to remain in darkness, what can the sunshine do for him? So the Bhagavad Gita is open to everyone.
There are different species of life. Lower and higher grades of understanding exist; that is a fact. But Krishna says anyone can come to Him. If he has lower birth or whatever, it doesn't matter. Bhagavad Gita is transcendental subject matter. Everyone can understand, provided he goes along with this basic principle. The principle is stated in the 4th Chapter: Bhagavad Gita is coming down: “I first of all instructed this yoga system to the Sun-god Vivaswan, who taught it to Manu, who taught it to Ikshaku.” From him the disciplic succession is coming down, but “in course of time the disciplic succession was broken.” Arjuna is made the new disciple.
In the 2nd Chapter Arjuna surrenders: “So far, we have been talking as friends, but now I accept you as my spiritual master.” Anyone following the principle in this line must represent Arjuna. Krishna is speaking as the spiritual master of Arjuna. And Arjuna says, “Whatever You are speaking, I accept.” Read it like that. Not, “I like this so I accept. This I don't like, so I reject it.” Such reading is useless nonsense.
So the teacher must be a representative of Krishna, His devotee; and the student must be like Arjuna; then the study of Krishna consciousness is perfect and otherwise it is a waste of time. In Srimad Bhagawatam it is stated: “If anyone wants to understand the science of Krishna, he should associate with pure devotees. When discussions take place between pure devotees, the potential of spiritual language will be revealed.” Scholarly discussion of Bhagavad Gita is futile. In the Upanishads it is stated, “To one who has got firm faith in God and similar faith in God's representative all the import of Vedic language will be revealed.”
We must have the qualification of being a devotee. Become dear to God. My spiritual master used to say, “Don't try to see God. Just act in such a way that God will see you.” We have to qualify ourselves. By your qualification God Himself will come and see you.
One who can perceive God is transcendental to all material demands. We are always dissatisfied in the material world with circumstances that won't continue. Happiness is temporary, temporary plight will also exist only for some time, cold, heat, duality, all this is coming and going. To get in the Absolute stage is the process of Krishna consciousness. He is seated in everyone's heart, and as you become purified He will show you the path and in the end when you quit this body, you will go to the spiritual sky.

“Nobody knows Me,” He says. “My influence, My power and extension. Even the maharishis (great thinkers) don't know.” “I am the Original Person of all demigods and the Original Person of all rishis.” There are so many forefathers whom we don't know, nor do we know Brahma and the demigods. What little do we know? We can't reach that foremost platform where we can touch God by our own methods. We gather knowledge by limited senses and Krishna can't be reached by the mind (the center of these senses). Imperfect senses can't reach The Perfect Knowledge. Mind and sense manipulation can't reach Him. However, if you engage your senses in Service of the Lord, then He will reveal Himself through your senses.
People can say, What is the use of understanding God? What is the use? Let Him stay in His place, let me stay in my place. But in the Shastras it states that pious activities will raise us to beauty, knowledge, good birth, and that by impious (sinful) activities we suffer. Suffering is always there, pious or impious, but a distinction is nevertheless made. But he who knows God becomes freed from all sinful reactions. If we reject God, we can never be happy.
Monday evening, Jan. 2, 1966
Lord Chaitanya says that nobody knows Him. What to speak of human society, if you take the demigods who are more advanced and intelligent, they don’t know either. The seven great sages whose planet is near the North Star—they also do not know. Krishna says: “I am the Original, the Source of all these demigods.” He is the Father of everything. Not only the origin of the demigods but of the sages—and the universe itself. The Srimad Bhagawatam describes how the Universal Form took place and everything is emanating from Him. Also the origin of Paramatma and Impersonal Brahmajyoti is in Him. “Of everything, of any conception, I am the Source.”
The Absolute Truth is realized in 3 phases. It is One non-dual Truth in 3 phases. Brahman—the glowing effulgence; localised Supersoul; and Bhagawan—the Supreme Person. There are many expansions of the Supreme Person—all planets are emanations from the Superior Deity, as is stated in the Puranas, Upanisads, Bhagwat—all is summarized in the Bhagavad Gita.
If nobody knows the Supreme Person of God, how can He be known? He can be known when the Supreme Lord comes before you and reveals Himself to you. Then you can know. Our senses are imperfect, they cannot realize the Supreme Truth. When you adopt a submissive attitude, and you chant, then realization begins from the tongue. To eat and vibrate sound is the business of the tongue. If you can control your tongue for Prasadam and make sound vibration of the Holy Name—by surrender of the tongue you control all other senses. If you cannot control your tongue, you cannot control the other senses. You taste and become spiritually advanced. You can have this process at your home: offer food to Krishna and chant the Mantra and offer obeisances:
Namo Bramanya devaya
go brahmana hitaya cha
jagat hitaya Krishnaya
Govindaya namo nama.
Everyone can offer food, and take it with friends, and chant before the picture of Krishna, and lead a pure life. Just see the result—the whole world will become Vaikuntha, where there is no anxiety. All is anxious with us because we have accepted this material life. Just the opposite is so in the Spiritual world. No one knows how to get out. Taking an intoxicant doesn't help; the same anxieties are there when you are finished being drunk. If you want to be free and want life eternal with bliss and knowledge, take to Krishna. No one can know Him, but still there is a way. This is the process of Krishna consciousness.
In Srimad Bhagawatam it is stated, nobody can conquer Him or approach Him, but He becomes conquered. How? Let persons remain in their own position, but let them give up nonsense speculation through volumes of books. Thousands of books are printed and read, and after 6 months are thrown away. This way and that way—how can you know the Supreme by speculation with your blunt senses? Give up research—throw it away—just become submissive, acknowledge yourself that you are limited and subordinate to both material Nature and God. Nobody can be equal to or greater than God. So be submissive. Try to hear about the glories of the Supreme Lord from an authorized source. Authority is handed over by disciplic succession. If we can understand by the same authority as Arjuna, that is authority.
God is always ready to reveal Himself. You just become Krishna conscious. Follow the path traversed by the great Acharyas, then everything will be known. And, although He is unconquerable, He can be known in your home, even though the sages themselves don't know Him.
If you take to this process and follow its principles, what will be the result?
As soon as you understand, you will know the Supreme Lord as the Cause of all Causes, but He Who is not caused by any other cause. He is the Master of all planets. This is not accepting blindly. God has given you the power of reason, the power of arguing—but don't argue falsely. If you want to know the transcendental science you must surrender. Surrender to authority and know Him by signs. Don't surrender to a nonsense. Find one who is coming in disciplic succession: who is fully convinced about the Supreme Absolute Truth. If you find such person, surrender and try to please him, serve him and question him. Surrender unto him is surrender to God. But question to learn, not to waste time.
The process is there, but if we waste time by intoxication we will never see Him, the Unconquerable. Follow the principles and slowly but surely, without any doubt, you will know as you go along. You'll know you're on the proper path. “Yes, I'm making progress,” you'll say. And it is very easy, and you can execute and be in a happy mood. Study, take part with music, Prasadam,—and nobody can cheat you by this process. But if you want to be cheated—then go to the cheaters.
Try to understand Krishna consciousness from the authoritative source, and apply it in your life. Amongst the dying mortals, you become the most intelligent because you are freed from sinful actions. If you act only for Krishna, then you are freed from all reactions. There can be no anxiety over what is auspicious or inauspicious, because he is in touch with the Most Auspicious. This is the process. Ultimately we can get in touch with Krishna. Life will be successful.
Anyone can adopt it. It is very simple.
Wednesday evening, January 4, 1967
Here is a nice formula presented by Krishna Himself: that one should understand the position of Krishna. He is unborn and without any Cause. We have got the experience that we are born and we have a cause. Our father is our cause. If someone poses himself as God, he has to prove that he is unborn and uncaused. Our practical experience is that we are born. Krishna is not born—we have to understand this. Understanding this is to be firmly convinced that He is the Cause but is not caused, and since he is not caused He is the Proprietor of all manifestations. Whoever understands this simple philosophy is not illusioned.
But we are illusioned. We are claiming ownership of the land. Yet, before my birth the land was here, and after my death it well be here still. How long will I go on claiming, in body after body—“This is my land! This is my land!” Is it not nonsense?
We should know that whatever we are doing in the material concept of life is illusion. You have to understand whether you are illusioned or not. And all conditioned souls are illusioned. He who learns to be disillusioned gets free of all encumbrances. If you want freedom from all bondage you have to understand God. There is no neglecting this; it is the prime duty of the human form of life.
Out of millions of entities, one may be enlightened. Generally we are all born fools. As soon as I take birth, I am nurtured by parents and educated to falsely claim some land as my own. National education means to make you more foolish. Am I not foolish? I am changing my body and dress—here, changing, changing, you have so many minds and dresses—why do you claim this one? Why don't you understand: “This dress is nice, but next moment I may be in another.” You are in the grip of Nature. You can't say what dress you will have: “Nature, make me American.” No, material nature controls. If you live like a dog—here, take a dog's dress! If you live godly—here, take God! I may be able to dictate to my students, but I can't dictate to the Government. And even the Government cannot dictate to Nature. Out of many fools somebody tries to understand what I actually am—dog? American? Russian? This real enquiry goes on. If you enquire, you have to ask someone besides yourself. Crossing the street in a place you don’t know, you have to ask the policeman or some gentleman. For what I am you have to go to some authority. What is a spiritual master? He is a person conversant with the science of Krishna. Nobody enquires, but if a man does he can make progress and come to this understanding: Krishna is the Cause of all Causes.
The followers of scripture and higher authority enquire of Krishna. Those addicted to sinful activities can't enquire—they go on in intoxication. The righteous, pious man inquires and goes to God. Facility is given to people in the process by the authority—to make people happy, not to exploit them. The purpose of ISKCON is this: to understand the science of God. You want happiness. Here it is. You are distressed due to sinful reactions. If there is no sinful reaction, there is no suffering. One who knows Krishna without doubt is relieved of all reactions. Krishna says, “Come to Me and I will give you freedom from all reactions.” Don’t disbelieve it—He can give you shelter—He has all power. If I give you that promise, I have no such power and I may have to break my promise. But if you associate with Krishna consciousness your dormant relationship with Krishna will be evoked. You have got a relationship with Him. There is no question of disbelieving, it is simply foolishness, the dormant relationship is there. We want to serve Krishna but simply by the spell of Illusion we think we have no connection with Him. We go on doing all “independent” nonsense, and we are always anxious. When we associate with these dormant feelings for Krishna, we will be joyously engaged in Krishna consciousness.

“God is unborn” indicates that He is different from the material world. We have no such experience of an unborn being here. This city was born. Our history is filled with such dates. Spiritual nature is unborn—at once we can see the difference. The material nature is born. You have to understand, if Krishna is Unborn, then He is spiritual and not like one of us. Krishna is not like some extraordinary person who was also born. He is not born. So how can I decide that He is an ordinary man? “Those who are fools and rascals think of Me as an ordinary man,” Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita. He is different from everything in this world. He is anadi—without any cause.
Krishna may be spiritual, we will admit, but there are other spiritual bodies. We have a spiritual body like Krishna's but it is born. It is not exactly born. It is like the sparks of the fire—the sparks are not born apart from the fire—it is actually not born, it is there. We are not born—we are the sparks come out of the Original Form. Even though we are not born, still the spark is come of Krishna: so we are different, we are not Krishna. Simultaneously we are one and different; the sparks of the fire are fire but they are not the original fire. So far as quality is concerned, we are the same. It is like the difference between father and son. Father and son are different and nondifferent, at the same time. The son is an expansion of the father, but he cannot claim he is the father—this is nonsense.
Because Krishna is declaring Himself to be the Supreme Proprietor, therefore He is different from anyone. If I am the proprietor of New York State, I am still not New York State. In every step there is duality. No one can say we are completely and in every way one with God. Analytically studied, you can understand Krishna and your position in a nice way. Then at once you become free from sinful reactions. This process will help you: Chant Hare Krishna and cleanse your mind, and you will catch up the message. One has to be qualified. If you chant and hear, you will approach God. All things will become clear and illuminated. We welcome you to participate.
Yasoda and Krishna
Yasoda and Krishna
Of the states of love manifested between God and His devotee, one of the most exalted is that exhibited by Yasoda and Krishna: although He is the Supreme Absolute Truth, Krishna accepts the role of Son before His fond worshipper, and she with great concern feeds Him, thinking His health may suffer should He not eat well.
by Satsvarupa das
What difference will it make?
if I go down to the river to look for You
in the stream of the water—
or if I sit down here before Your picture,
Either way it is the same because
I have Your Name to recite over and over
and it seems I have actually done both,
by thinking of the river I have gone there
and I've come back to where I have not left—
sitting before Your picture.
Everything seems empty and vacant
because I am not worthy
and do not really have You as my Lover and Friend.
Or I do not understand
that You Love me beyond what I can measure
—I cannot realize that.
I think only that You should love me
more than anyone
and then I think I am unspeakably low.
Nothing saves me but Your Name—
Not so much the literature of great learned Goswamis
delineating the 12 categories of relationship to You,
and not by saying the word Bhakti, Bhakti, Bhakti
can I bring it about.
But to say “KRISHNA,” and say all the words of the mantra
—and actually saying it hundreds and thousands of
times, alone with You—then I’m pacified.
Though the truth is I am lazy and
as empty handed as any impersonalist philosopher,
still recitation of Your Name is a balm
to this separated soul who is trying to come back
just on Your Name.
Satsvarupa das Brahmachary (Stephen Guarino)
Getting Across
Getting Across
by Damodara das
A weak, starving man was walking
Slowly through a landscape of
Dead trees and barren thorn bushes.
On his back was a large sack
Filled with heavy grey stones.
He had nothing except these stones.
He loved his stones;
One was round, one was square,
And one was like a pyramid.
He took them out every now and then
To feel them. Then he
Put them back into the sack
And stumbled slowly on.
One day he came to a river;
The first he had ever seen.
On the other side was an amazing
Lush landscape of rich mountains,
Waterfalls, fruit trees, birds,
Gardens, and brilliant golden
Temples with happy children
Laughing, playing with deer.
Strong men with clear eyes
Came to the edge of the river
And shouted to him,
“Come over here! Come over here!
Just swim across the river!”
But the man said,
“I can't! I'd have to leave
My stones! I couldn't swim
With my stones! I'm too weak!”
“Leave them! Don't be foolish!
We have stones here—perfect stones,
Diamonds, dazzling rubies!”
“Yes, but my stones are round,
Square, and one is a pyramid!”
“We have better stones here—
What are you waiting for?”
“But, I'd have to give up my stones!”
“We just said, we could give
You better ones!”
“Yes , but they're not mine!”
“Why should that bother you?
What you have is nothing!
Look at all the beauty here!”
“Well, suppose you swim to me
And carry me over to your side.”
“With your stones?”
“Yes, with my stones.”
“No, we can't do that.
Nothing can get those stones
Across the water. They belong
Over there; but you do not!
You belong over here!”
Just then the man turned
To his side of the river
To see a thin creature
Loaded with stones
Jump into a thick mist downstream
And drown. It was screaming,
“Nothing! Nothing!” as it died.
Another one came, quietly,
And walked calmly in to drown.
It had no stones, but said, “Nothing.”
The man looked at the mist,
And at the temples,
And he looked at himself.
Then he remembered something
He had forgotten, a long time ago.
He threw his stones away
And swam back across the river to get it.
The people greeted him with dancing,
And he found he was in the home of God.
Damodara das Adhikary (Dan Clark)
How I Met A.C. Swami Bhaktivedanta
How I Met A.C. Swami Bhaktivedanta
by Madhusudan das
I had a “normal” childhood, had fights with the kids on the block, envied my older brother for his associations with pretty girls, and tried to be a number one lover myself, all through my school days.
I started taking marijuana in my senior year in high school. After my first semester of college, at the age of 17, I went travelling through Europe and North Africa trying to squeeze some enjoyment out of all I came across.
After running out of money I came back to the Village, where I somehow came upon the joy-spreading chanters of HARE KRISHNA in Tompkins Square Park. My feeling about it was that it was nice; however, at this time I did not think that there was anything serious in these names of God—I thought that these were merely words. I also thought it strange to have a rug in the middle of a park. I did not inquire further.
I began drowning myself in psychedelic drugs such as LSD and DMT, thinking myself a very advanced creature. At the same time I became serious about my relationship to everything around me, and asked questions as to who I was and where I was going. I then went to the Haight-Ashbury area in San Francisco, to live with some people I had met in the Village.
I got too serious about bodily relationships with people and the world, thinking that I was this body and relating to everything in this manner. In trying to be a “virtuous creature,” I was seeking the perfection of life in these relationships, through drugs—which I truly felt to be the answer to the problems of Mankind. I deemed myself one of the discoverers of the newly-found panacea. Such is an example of illusion. In my quest for knowledge—that is, in finding the answers to my questions—the question, Who is God? arose. This was the supreme quest. Then during one “trip” I was sure I had realized God, and afterward desperately tried to put what I thought to be my new knowledge to practical use. I soon entered a mental hospital.
I was then delivered back to New York and started sessions with a therapist.
One day, by the grace of God, I came upon the temple storefront. The first thing that struck me was that the people were so warm and friendly and had no arrogance of attitude. They answered my numerous questions completely, for as I have learned, this is a complete philosophy and the practical method is guaranteed.
After coming to service once, I returned for each one after that. Dancing and chanting the praises of Lord Krishna is so nice. Our kind Lord reveals Himself to His devotees in proportion to their devotion. Much of the revelation comes automatically during chanting, for the chanting of the Lord's Name is our meditation and a most important part of the process of God consciousness.
At the time I came, Swami Bhaktivedanta was at the San Francisco temple, but his message is so fine that I was attracted to Krishna and to the Swami by the teachings he had given to his disciples.
Some time later, as Swamiji was arriving at the airport, I and some of my God-brothers-to-be were preparing the feast. We were very anxious to meet our guru. Finally, we were told that he was downstairs in the temple, and we hurriedly fumbled there to greet our Spiritual Master. He was clad in saffron robes and grandly sitting on his throne-like altar. He was a magnificant sight, as I beheld him every morning at Kirtan. Never have I met a person who exhibited the godly qualities of this man. It is my pleasure to try to be the loving servant of my Spiritual Master, and through him to learn to serve Krishna.
Madhusudan das Brahmachary (Michael Blumert)
Thakur Haridas Part 2
Thakur Haridas
Part 2
Part II
From the book “Sree Krishna-Chaitanya by Professor Sanyal
[In Part I, Professor Sanyal has described how Thakur Haridas was accosted by a harlot, at the instigation of Ramchandra Khan. Instead of falling to the woman's wiles, however, the Thakur converted her to the path of Krishna Consciousness.]
The immoral life that was being actually led by the harlot did not stand in the way of her redemption. The point is made absolutely clear by the fact that she went to Thakur Haridas for the purpose of seducing him. This shows also that her instinctive faith in sadhus was not coloured by any conventional moral sentiments. This was an adventure. Too rigid empiric morality obstructs spiritual awakening more effectively than even confirmed immorality. This is due to want of humility and spirit of submission to the sadhu that is sure to be engendered more or less by the dogmatic professor of conventional morality. True morality is never possible prior to spiritual awakening. That which passes as morality in the society of worldlings, is only a hypocritical, and, therefore more dangerous form of immorality. The moral instinct proper, which belongs to the soul, must not be confounded with this hypocritical immorality and its conventions. The harlot was not hampered by the conventions of a hypocritical morality. She possessed an open mind with a natural liking for the society of really pure souls, although she herself was actually leading a life that is condemned by moralists. But as it is not possible for a person to be really and fully moral before he realizes the nature of his true self, the case of the harlot, instead of being worse, was in certain respects better than that of the conventional moralist who is rigidly committed to the casuistical defence of the unspiritual life that he actually leads.
It is not, of course, intended to undervalue the principle of morality in any way. That instinct, in its pure form, as in the case of every other instinct, belongs to the soul. The form in which it passes current in the world is only the perverted reflection of the real principle and is not conducive to spiritual life. Its apparent advantages are strictly confined to this perverted existence. Whatever tends to reconcile us to the worldly life, stands self-condemned for that very reason. Empiric morality is fully open to this charge of pandering to the unspiritual life. As a matter of fact neither conventional morality nor conventional immorality are praised by the sadhus, as, by themselves, they stand without any relation to the Truth. As soon as our conduct gets related to the Truth it assumes its natural state which has nothing to do with either the conventional moral or immoral principle of this world. To call spiritual conduct merely moral in the ordinary conventional sense of the world, would, therefore, be wholly misleading. Spiritual conduct is no doubt perfectly wholesome, being free from all affinity with the unwholesome things of this world. The so-called 'moral' conduct based on worldly experience owes all its value to its worldly utility. This fact categorically differentiates spiritual 'purity' from worldly morality. There is, of course, no possibility of immoral conduct on the spiritual plane. In the absence of all possibility of immorality there is no scope for worldly morality in the realm of the Absolute. The Kingdom of Godhead accommodates all varieties of conduct by endowing all of them with perfect wholesomeness. Can such conduct be appropriately called 'moral' in the conventional sense of the term?
For instance, the trade of the harlot is in this world generally held to be utterly immoral. Is it possible for the 'ethical' mind to conceive of a state of existence that is infinitely higher than any conceivable worldly moral excellence?
Those fanatics who, grossly misunderstanding the nature of the subject treated by the spiritual Scriptures, set up as orthodox and uncompromising 'believers' in the 'letter' of the Scriptural texts and try to 'reform' the 'abuses' of this world by immoral regulations that are profanely attributed to Godhead Himself on the strength of such silly and mischievous interpretation, deserve to be put into the pound in the company of those 'innocent' creatures that are mercifully denied the quality of voicing their 'notions' for harming everybody. There are hypocritical pedants who affect to hold up their nose at the very sound of the name of a harlot and forthwith prescribe penitential punishment of the most atrocious kind for reforming their morals in 'obedience' to the injunctions of the Holy Scriptures. The Devil is also permitted to quote the Scriptures for his purposes.
Fanatics and hypocrites were in possession of the stage of the tragic drama of worldly life at the time when Thakur Haridas emerged before the bewildered vision of those pseudo-religionists and began to supply by his actual conduct the real explanation of the only purpose of all the Scriptures, by electing the harlot as the fittest and the very first object of the Divine Grace. He was naturally opposed by the renegade Brahmana Ramchandra Khan, who, in order to exploit the letter of the Scriptures for the accomplishment of his villainy, gave it out as his 'duty' to put down by all means a Muhammedan who had the temerity to set up as the expounder of the Shastras of the Hindus!
This brings us to the principle of hereditary caste. The teaching of the Shastras belongs exclusively to the twice-born. The Shastras themselves lay down elaborate rules by which to constitute the community of the Brahmanas who are to be the only teachers of them. This last part of the system had been allowed to pass out of the memory of the people, and, in its place, had been substituted by gradual and insidious steps and by general connivance, the principle of heredity. The hereditary Brahmanas by the strict Shastric test are no Brahmanas at all. Ramchandra Khan was the champion of this corrupt system, not for any real regard born of sincere conviction for the merits of the system itself or from any knowledge of the Shastras, but, as it always happens in such cases, from malice and insolence.
If Haridas Thakur would practice the function strictly reserved for hereditary Brahmanas then the whole system of caste based upon the principle of heredity is challenged at its source. If a Muhammedan can become a Brahmana. the present social system of the Hindus, which is claimed to be part and parcel of the Religion, is utterly demolished. This was bound to agitate profoundly all caste-Hindus.
Nor was this all. The chanting of the Holy Name of Krishna was also practiced with a loud voice. This was an entirely novel mode of worship to the Hindus of that time. The new out-caste apostle of the eternal religion, in opposition to all current rituals and forms of worship, was declaring to admiring Hindus an apparently new form of worship as the one enjoined by the Shastras. Could all the contemporaneous Hindus be so utterly mistaken that they required to be imparted ab initio the knowledge of the fundamentals of their own religion by a Muhammedan, against the teaching of all the hereditary Brahmanas, the exclusive teachers of the same by the rules of the Shastras themselves?
It is quite easy to imagine the intense consternation and hostility that were naturally aroused in an Age of casuistical fanaticism by the preaching of the simple doctrines of the Religion of the Truth. The chanting of the Holy Name of Godhead is the only sacrament of the true religion prescribed for the present Age. This simplification is in keeping with the spirit of all the other sacraments authorised by the Shastras. The other sacraments are not suitable for this Age which is too addicted to sceptical argumentation ad nauseum. As soon as one realises the true nature of the soul, all his activities are thencefoward naturally and necessarily performed on the spiritual plane. The narrow ceremonial view of the sacrament is due to the imperfect spiritual vision of the observer. The sacrament may, therefore, differ in the different Ages in its external appearance, which is, however, the only view that is open to the novice for whose special benefit it is ordained.
The chanting of the Holy Name is liable to the least objection even as sacrament, from a casuistical Age. The Mercy of Godhead must be sought willingly, nay with the keenest hankering that is born of positive liking, for obtaining real touch with Him in order to serve Him by means of the spiritual senses of the pure soul.
The sacrament implies a real mutual personal relationship between the Lord and His servant. It is definite, concrete and loving, but in the spiritual (not abstract, notional or concocted i. e., purely mental) sense. The personality, senses and functions of the soul are not comprehensible to, nor admissible by the mind. The mental refusal to recognise the substantive existence of the soul, is the greatest curse of this Age of dogmatic empiricism. This piece of dogmatism must be got rid of.
The empiric reason is confronted to a fight at its own weapons when it is summoned to admit the rationale of the worship of Godhead by means of His Name only. The Name of Godhead must not also be supposed to connote or denote anything of this world, in no shape, neither as precept nor concept. This should in all conscience more than satisfy the passion for abstraction of even the Moslem iconoclast.
The next point is that the Name of Godhead must be admitted as true and not as a mere concoction of the material mind. The Scriptural Name of Godhead is not a thing of this world. The Scriptural Name is Himself Divine. The Scriptural Name requires to be served with the tongue by an attitude of humble supplication for manifesting His Divine Nature to the pure serving essence of our soul. Even the most rabid iconoclast need have no cause of complaint against such service. It is this pure service that was practiced by Thakur Haridas, which, he maintained, was the only sacrament enjoined by the Scriptures as suitable for this Age of wrangling sophistry (Kali Yuga.) The implications of this position will be more fully developed in course of this Narrative at the proper stages.
As the service of Godhead is the eternal function of the individual soul in the state of grace, it transcends all mental and physical activities. The Shastras accordingly reserve the service of Godhead to those who are twice-born. The terms Brahmana (one who has knowledge of Godhead as the Great) and Dwija (twice-born) applied to persons who are eligible for the service of Godhead, refer to the individual soul in the state of grace and not to caste. If Thakur Haridas be regarded as a Moslem born, it is then the physical body that is denoted by the Name Thakur Haridas. If Ramchandra Khan claimed to be a Brahmana on the strength of his seminal birth in a Brahmana(?) family, he also supposed his physical body to be Brahmana. The objection of Ramchandra Khan to Thakur Haridas, on the strength of such foolish interpretation of the Shastras, was met by Thakur Haridas with pity and indifference. Ramchandra Khan did not possess the good fortune of the harlot, whom he made the dupe of his deviltries, to be enabled to listen to the Holy Name of Godhead from the lips of Thakur Haridas. A Brahmana, who claims to be such by right of seminal birth, is less fit for spiritual service than even an open-minded harlot.
From Fulia, Thakur Haridas moved off to Chandpur. The village of Chandpur was situated in the present District of Hughly in the neighbourhood of Tribeni. Balaram and Jadunandan Acharyas, the purohits (family-priests) of Hiranya and Gobardhan Mazumdars of Tribeni, had their residence in the village of Chandpur which lay to the east of Tribeni. The word 'Mazumdar' is the equivalent of 'Majmu adar', the title of an accountant of the royal revenues under the Nawabs. Balaram Acharya was the disciple of Thakur Haridas and regarded himself as his servant. Haridas stayed with Balaram Acharya in the latter's house. Balaram Acharya with great care made arrangements for the residence of the Thakur in the village. Haridas lived there in a hut and accepted the alms of food at the house of Balaram Acharya. The boy Raghunath Das, son of Bobardhan, was at this time studying under Balaram Acharya. Raghunath used to go to Thakur Haridas for a sight of the saint. Haridas was merciful to the boy. Thakur Haridas's mercy was the cause of subsequent attainment of spiritual enlightenment by Raghunath Das. The following event occurred while Thakur Haridas was staying at Chandpur.
One day Balaram Acharya, by his humble supplications, induced Thakur Haridas to repair to a gathering at the house of the Mazumdars. The two brothers stood up on seeing the Thakur and, falling at his feet, offered him a seat with great respect. There was present in the assembly a very large number of Pandits, Brahmanas, and other worthy people. The two brothers Hiranya and Gobardhana were also very learned persons. All present spoke highly in praise of Thakur Haridas. This met with the hearty approval of the brothers. It was known to all that the Thakur recited the Holy Name three lakhs (300, 000) of times daily. The Pandits accordingly talked about the greatness of the Name as Thakur Haridas assumed his seat in their midst.
Some of the Pandits said that the cure of all sinfulness automatically results from uttering the Name of Godhead. Others expressed the view that the individual soul (jiva) is freed from the miseries of this life by uttering the Name. Haridas declared that those two were not proper fruits of chanting of the Name. Love to the Feet of Krishna is aroused by taking of the Name. Haridas said that the condition of a person who realises such love is described in a sloka of the Bhagawatam (Bhag. 11.2.35). “A person, who is habituated to serve Krishna in the ways enunciated above (viz., hearing, chanting, etc.,) loses all control over his mind and, by reason of realising the quality of love by chanting the Name of Krishna, experiences an anxious restlessness of the heart. He loses all consideration for the opinion of the people and laughs, cries, shouts, sings and dances at intervals.” Salvation and destruction of sinfulness are only attendant results—“Just as the rising of the Sun dispels all darkness, so also no sooner does the Name of Hari manifests Himself than He forthwith destroys all the sins of the persons who utters His Name.”
Haridas requested the Pandits present to explain the above sloka. All the Pandits desired Thakur Haridas to elucidate its meaning to them. Haridas who had recited the sloka now said that even before the Sun actually begins to appear darkness is dispelled by his approaching light and the fear from thieves, ghosts and demons is also destroyed; and, on his actual appearance, all useful activities begin to be performed. In like manner sins and other evils are destroyed by the reflected light of the approaching Sunrise of the full manifestation of the Name; while, on the actual appearance of the Name, love to the Feet of Krishna is aroused. Salvation is a trivial result which is effected by the dim reflection cast by the Name as His Appearance draws nigh. The devotee does not wish to accept salvation which is at first offered by Krishna. Haridas quoted the two following slokas of the Bhagawatam in support of his contention (Bhag. 6.3.42; 5.19.2): “If the dying Ajamila could attain to the realm of the Vaikuntha by calling upon Hari, which happened to be the name of his son, who can estimate the effect if the Name is chanted with faith?” “My own,” says Krishna, “Never accept the different forms of salvation, e. g., attainment of My realm, attainment of power and wealth and fame similar to Mine, the privileges of dwelling near Me, even the favour of becoming one with Myself; all of which privileges I offer them unreservedly. They covet nothing except My service.”
Gopal Chakravarti was a Brahmana who belonged to the household of the Mazumdars, being employed to carry letters and money to the king. He had to go up to Gauda and appear before the Padishah himself in connection with the discharge of his official duties. He used to convey twelve lakhs of rupees annually to the king. He was, in his early youth, very handsome and a very good scholar. Gopal lost his patience on hearing that salvation can be obtained by the dim refection of the Name. He then spoke in great anger.

“Pandits who are in assembly here,” said Gopal. “All of you have heard the conclusion announced by one whose trade is to amuse people by dance and song. Emancipation, which is unattainable by means of knowledge of the Brahman in crores of births, is held by him to follow automatically the manifestation of the dimmest reflection of the Name.”
At this point Haridas entreated Gopal not to entertain any doubt on the subject, as the Shastras themselves declare that liberation from the bondage of the world results at once from the appearance of the dim reflection of the Name. The bliss of liberation is utterly trivial in comparison with the happiness of loving service. It is for this reason that the devotees do not accept liberation. The Thakur then quoted the sloka of Haribhaktisudhodaya (H. Bh. S. 14-31): “Teacher of the universe, to me, immersed in the pure ocean of bliss by meeting Thee, the bliss of the attainment of the knowledge of the Brahman (the Great Nourisher) appears to be as contemptible as the tiny speck of water filling a hole in the ground indented by the hoof of cattle.”
The Brahmana now became furious. He shouted out that he would assuredly cut off his nose if liberation does not result from the dim reflection of the Name. On hearing the blasphemy the members of the assembly gave vent to their sorrow at the behaviour of Gopal. Mazumdar reproved him severely. Balaram Acharya expressed his indignation by remarking that the offender was a fool fit only for hair-splitting sophistry and was perfectly ignorant of the principle of devotion. How could he go the length of insulting even Thakur Haridas! He was doomed to perdition beyond all help.
Haridas rose to leave the place as he heard the words of the Brahmana. Mazumdar forthwith severed all his official connection with Gopal and with all the assembled persons fell prostrate at the feet of Thakur Haridas. Haridas smiled and spoke sweet words. He said that none of them had done anything offensive except that Brahmana. The Brahmana was also not to blame. His addiction to controversial discussion was the cause of his strange behaviour. The greatness of the Name is not realisable by futile discussion. How could he, therefore, understand those principles? He then bade them depart to their homes in peace, expressing the wish that no one might come to grief by his connection with himself.
Hiranya-das came back to his house after receiving this assurance of pardon and forbade Gopal to cross his threshold. In course of three days the offending Brahmana was attacked with virulent leprosy. His very prominent nose rapidly melted away. The fingers of his hands and feet, rivalling the champaka buds in their delicacy, all shrivelled up and dissolved away by the corrosive force of the malady. On beholding this all the people were filled with great wonder. They praised Haridas and made obeisance to him with reverence.
Sri Krishna Kaviraj Goswami concludes the above account with the pregnant observation that although Haridas did not feel offended by the conduct of the Brahmana yet did Godhead award the offender the punishment due to his transgression. It is the nature of the devotee of Godhead that he ever pardons the faults of the ignorant. It is Krishna's Nature that He cannot bear any calumniation of His devotees even through ignorance.
Haridas was grieved at heart on hearing of the misery of the Brahmana. He apprised Balaram Acharya of his intention to leave the place and proceed to Shantipur.
The account is prefaced by Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami with the remark that the event narrated is most wonderful for the reason that it contains the clear elucidation, from the lips of the Acharya himself, of the Divine Dispensation of the present Age. The reader must not forget the point, which is the centre of interest of the whole narrative detailed in this work, viz., that Thakur Haridas is the Acharya, or the practicing teacher, authorized by Godhead to promulgate the congregational chanting (Samkirtana) of the Holy Name, which is the mode of worship that alone can demolish the worst form of atheism in the name of 'free' thinking which is unfortunately so prevalent nowadays all over the world; and which is the terrible but inevitable natural consequence of the exclusive worship of Mammon by all the resources of mind and body.
End—Part II
Be born again.
This time a perfect child.
This time immortal.
This time happy, forever blissful

Be born again!
This time let your crying ring
out to the stars!
This time just scream in eternal ecstasy,
“I' m back. I'm back!”
This time, you fool, Just worship Govinda,
Just worship Govinda, Just worship Govinda!!
Purushottam das Brahmachary (Paul Auerbach)
by Damodara das
Pradyumna, Pradyumna,
Pradyumna Prabhu, walking in the park.
Pradyumna walking in the park.
Yellow and blue, shaved head Prabhu,
Walking in the park through the families.
Pradyumna walking through the families.
The grass is green, bright green
Where Pradyumna walks, blue and yellow,
Chanting on his beads, walking,
Walking through the families
In Montreal, walking to the temple,
Prabhu walking so nicely, walking
To the temple among the citizens
Who do not notice he is chanting,
Chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,
On his beads as he walks, Krishna
Krishna, to the temple, Hare Hare,
Straight to the temple, Hare Rama,
Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Krishna kirtan,
Hare Hare, walking to Krishna's temple.
Yellow and blue on a green field,
A Brahmachary flag for Lord Krishna.
But still the people do not sing,
Do not follow him, the children do not
Laugh and dance with flowers at his feet.
How can they ignore the call, Krishna's call,
The urge to sing His Name, the urge
To follow Pradyumna Prabhu, a devotee
Of The Lord, walking, Pradyumna Prabhu,
Walking in the park, Pradyumna!
Damodara das Adhikary (Dan Clark)
In Krishna's Abode
In Krishna's Abode
The streets and houses are made of touchstone,
And all the trees are fulfillers of desire.
The cows give limitless nectarlike milk,
And the Lord is served by many fair goddesses of Fortune.
O! I worship that Cowherd Boy,
Who is the Supreme Enjoyer
Krishna and the Vedic View:
Krishna and the Vedic View:
The Swami Responds
Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,
As simply as possible, could you tell me what the real essence of your message is? I find all philosophers to be long on wind but short on solid meaning. Please try to be clear. Thank you.
John M. Taylor

Dear Mr. Taylor,
I shall try: My message is that humankind can find real—not theoretical or abstract—peace and happiness only through association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And this association is established most quickly and easily through the congregational chanting of the Lord’s Holy Names. My followers and I sing the Maha Mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. However, other authorized Names, such as Jehovah, Jesus Christ and Allah are quite acceptable, as God has a limitless supply of Personal Names. I hope this is lucid, and further hope you will take up this practice of Kirtan, or singing the Lord’s Names.

Dear Swami,
Who is Narada Muni? When you say on your record album cover that he’s a spaceman, do you mean that he uses a flying saucer?
Yours truly,
Marjorie Sherman

Dear Miss Sherman,
Narada is one of the principal saints mentioned in Vedic literature. As stated on the record cover it was he who delivered the Maha Mantra to Earth. Narada Muni doesn’t use a flying saucer, because his body is completely spiritual, and therefore has no limitation in material time or space.

Dear Swami,
If God loves us, why doesn't He stop warfare?
Elizabeth Arthur

Dear Miss Arthur,
The Lord presents Mankind with all means of understanding His Fatherhood, and our brotherhood toward one another. But He doesn't impinge upon the minute quantity of independence that we have. If we choose to ignore Him, He permits us. Greed treachery and warfare are natural results of this ignorance. As for the major horror of war, death: that is merely an illusion. The living entities are by constitution eternal, in spite of material appearances. But great suffering is undeniably there, due to our unfortunate ignorance .

Dear Swami,
Are there any esoteric principles in Krishna Consciousness, revealed only to advanced students?
Thank you,
Ben Ordway

Dear Mr. Ordway,
Why not take up Krishna Consciousness and see?
Ever your well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
The Highest Sense
The Highest Sense
by Satsvarupa das

“Every second of human life is meant for making an ultimate solution of the problems of life, i. e., repetition of birth and death and revolving in the cycle of 84 lakhs of different species of life.”—Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
We have only minute
independence but it
overwhelms us. The
energy of our body we
run like a crazy machine
to hear it roar only—
the fingertips the ears
the monkey we are—what
nonsense without spirit soul!

Like a dog we run
2 miles one way and
return 2 miles the other way,
stopping at hotels and
motels, slamming and opening
the car door and eating
any junk put on the counter and talking
about the newspapers and the radio—what
rubbish without cultivation of the soul!

We are driving the
machine but we’re so obsessed
we think “I am the machine”
and we waste
our power and only a few times a day
we have to think “What is God?”
but we dismiss it, “Who cares?”
throw Him away! We are God!” and
the highest pleasure is to
park our machine in some
garage with another machine
and run our engines
together and we
call that Love.

The aim of life is spirit
even the hogland fools should know it
this is the highest pleasure:
the soul as the only Sense.
Drive those cars into towns
in the morning and at night
and use the hotels—for kirtan parties to stay overnight
and chant Hare Krishna and give out great
prasadam feasts of sweet rice, halavah and pouris
offered to Lord Sri Krishna's Senses
and use the main ballroom and the hall and the theater
and the public park and the downtown road
for mass dancing to the sound of voice and cymbals
and drums of kirtan and let the neons light up:
and speed the cars and planes
to cities like Dwarka built just to please Him
and turn the Love for cats and dogs and machines
into Krishna Who reciprocates His devotees
as Friend and Master and Lover—He
will hear this rejoicing of
victory over matter
and will release us from this
nasty world, which even if transformed,
will have to perish
when only Krishna will be standing
in a nicely curved position,
dark blue like a rain cloud,
and playing His flute.
Satsvarupa das Brahmachary (Stephen Guarino)
Truth and Beauty
Truth and Beauty
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
It has often been argued whether truth and beauty are terms compatible with one another. One would agree willingly, some say, to express the truth, but since truth is not always beautiful—indeed it is frequently rather startling and unpleasant—how is one to express truth and beauty at the same time?
In reply to this we may inform all concerned that Truth and Beauty are indeed compatible terms. Truth which is Absolute is always beautiful. It is so beautiful that it attracts everyone, including itself. Truth is so beautiful that many sages, saints and devotees have left everything for its sake. Mahatma Gandhi, the idol of the modern world, dedicated his life for experimenting with Truth, and all his activities were targetted towards Truth only.
Why Mahatma Gandhi?—every one of us is drawn by an urge towards Truth, because it is not only beautiful, but possesses all power, all resources, all fame, all renunciation and all knowledge as well.
Unfortunately, people have no information of the actual Truth, and 99.9 per cent of men in all ranks of life are following the principles of Untruth in the name of Truth and its quest. We are actually attracted with the beauty of Truth, but we are, since time immemorial, habituated to love untruth in the name of Truth. And therefore, to the mundane thinker, Truth and Beauty are incompatible terms. Mundane Truth and beauty are explained as follows:
A man fell in love with a beautiful girl. He was very powerful and strongly built, but his character was doubtful. The girl, meanwhile, was not only beautiful in appearance, but also saintly in character. As such the beautiful girl did not like the proposal of the powerful man. The powerful man, however, insisted upon his lustful desires, whereupon the beautiful girl requested the man to wait for only seven days and after that she fixed up a time when they could meet. The strong man agreed, and with high expectations began to count the hours, waiting for the moment when he was fixed to meet the girl.
The saintly girl, however, in order to manifest the real beauty of relative Truth, adopted a means which is very instructive: She took a very strong dose of purgative medicine, and for seven days continually she passed loose stool and vomitted all that she ate. All the loose stool and the vomit she stored up in suitable reservoirs. As a result of this laxative medicine, the so-called beautiful girl became lean, thin as a skeleton, and turned gloomy of complexion, with her beautiful eyes pushed into the socket of the skull.
At the appointed hour, she was waiting anxiously to receive the man in love.
The man appeared on the scene well-dressed and well-behaved, and asked the waiting girl, who was depressed in appearance, about the beautiful girl who had called him there. The man could not recognize the waiting girl, as the same beauty whom he was asking for. The girl was in a pitiable condition, and the foolish man, in spite of repeated assertions, could not recognise her. All due to the action of the medicine.
At last the girl told the powerful man the story of her beauty, that she had separated the ingredients of beauty, and stored them up in the reservoirs. She told him that he could have and enjoy the juices of beauty stored up in these reservoirs if he wanted them. The man agreed to see the juices of beauty, and thus he was directed to the store of loose stool and liquid vomit, which were emanating unbearable odors. Thus the whole story of the liquid beauty was disclosed to him. The characterless man, by the grace of the saintly girl, was now able to distinguish between the shadow and the substance, and thus he came to his senses.
That is the real position of every one of us who are attracted by false material beauty. The girl above-mentioned developed a beautiful material body as she desired in her mind, but she was actually apart from that temporary material manifestation of body and mind. She is in fact a spiritual spark, and so also is the man in love, who was attracted by the false skin of the girl.
Many great thinkers, poets, artists and people in general, are deluded by the outward beauty and attraction of the relative truth, and are unaware of the spiritual spark which is both Truth and Beauty at one and the same time. The spiritual spark is so beautiful that on its leaving the body no one any longer wishes to touch it, even though the body may be decorated with the most costly jewels.
And because we are all after a false, relative truth, we find it to be incompatible with real beauty. The truth is so permanently beautiful that it maintains the same standard of beauty as it is for millions upon millions of years. Besides that, the spiritual spark is indestructible. The beauty of the outer skin can be destroyed in a few hours time by one small dose of strong purgative, but the beauty of Truth is always the same, and is indestructible just as it is. Unfortunately, mundane writers are ignorant of the beautiful sparks of spirit, as well as of the fiery resources of these spiritual sparks and their interrelations of transcendental pastimes. When these pastimes are displayed here by the Grace of the Almighty, the foolish persons who cannot see beyond the gross senses mistake such pastimes of Truth and Beauty as being within the same field as the store of loose stools and liquid vomit. Thus they come to despair, and then declare that Truth and beauty cannot be accommodated at one and the same time.
The mundane thinkers do not know that the Whole Spiritual Entity is the beautiful Person attracting everything as the Prime Substance, the Prime Source and the Fountainhead of everything that be. And the infinitesimal spiritual sparks, as parts and parcels of the Whole Spirit, are qualitatively the same—beautiful and eternal entities. The difference is that the Whole is eternally the Whole, and the parts are eternally the parts. Both of them are the Ultimate Truth, Ultimate Beauty, Ultimate Knowledge, Ultimate Energy, Ultimate Renunciation and Ultimate Opulence.
Any literature which does not describe such Ultimate Truth and Beauty is a store of loose stools and liquid vomit of the relative truth. Real literature is that which describes this Ultimate Truth and Beauty.
Evolution and the Human Mission
Evolution and the Human Mission
by Rayarama das Brahmachary
(Raymond Marais)
Long before the advent of Linnaeus, the existing species of life had been analyzed and categorized in the uniquely scientific scriptural literature of India. And, at about the same distance in time from Darwin, a presentation of the evolutionary process was made. In both instances, the earlier work was by far the more exhaustive, although it was done in mind of spiritual values, and with scant heed to the speculative studies of the material world which are so much a part of the scientific tradition to which Linnaeus and Darwin belonged. Indeed, the Vedic analyses are cosmic in scope, depending as they do upon the revelations of seers whose minds were attuned to the absolute knowledge possessed by God. Their theses are complete, and are meant to point out and define the specific place of human life in the universal order, as well as to indicate the role for which the human being is intended.
To begin with, the living entities are divided into eight million, four hundred thousand species. Although not all of these species exist on any one planet, they are to be found within this universe as a whole. What’s more, no species may ever be said to be extinct—not even those seemingly progressive developments like eohippus which have so enchanted Charles Darwin's successors. Occasionally, a breed of beings will disappear from one planet, or appear on another where it was not before known to exist—but the Vedic literature rules out the concept of extinction.
(At this point, we may clearly see that the man who is dependent upon and faithful to the limited scope of vision of empirical science may not in good humor proceed with us. We shall later take up the particular limitations of the individual living entity, and explain why he therefore ought not to rely upon the knowledge acquired by his senses and their mechanical extensions such as the telescope, spectroscope, and radio wave transmitters. But for the moment, we must simply say that Vedic knowledge was delivered by entities far more developed than any earthly doctorate can attest to, and leave skepticism unappeased.)
The Padma Purana classifies the species of life thusly: 9,000,000 aquatic; 2,000,000 vegetable; 1,000,000 crawlers (such as worms and reptiles); 1,000,000 birds; 3,000,000 four-legged beasts; and 400,000 humans. These divisions are not made in the same spirit as are those of modern science, needless to say. For example, gorillas and monkeys are considered human, as are the demi-gods of the heavenly planets. And just as we are advanced above the apes, so are the demi-gods advanced over us—and often the gap is greater. Furthermore, those humans whom we see before us on this planet are divided into various more-or-less fixed gradations of primitive and civilized. For, so far as the Vedic seers are concerned, the civilized life of Earth is the penultimate in the evolutionary process.
How so, when the demi-gods are admitted to be more developed than we?
The answer to this question is also the answer to another question: What is meant by advancement? The biologists, anthropologists and ecologists of today's repute do not recognize the concept of advance and recession, at least not officially—for they say that it is anthropomorphic, unpragmatic, impractical. Within their range of vision this is certainly so. Without some spiritual understanding, no conclusion or goal can ever be perceived in anything, to be sure. But to the man who has some spiritual understanding a sure and unshakable goal is ever before him, its banners hailing his attention at every turn. This goal is spiritual perfection, self-realization as it is most often termed.
How is self realized? How is self obscured? The key word here is consciousness. That the dog has a soul may be a fact, but the dog has no consciousness of this, and therefore he suffers. So it is with all living beings. Spirit soul being the true and constitutional position of the creature, its realization in the form of direct experience means the attainment of Truth, of Reality, and, therefore, one's life can only actually begin at this point. To one without spiritual enlightenment, Truth is an elusive phantom, and so is happiness. Consciousness of Truth, of one's real identity, then, is the goal of life, for all beings seek immortality, knowledge and bliss, whatever their station.
The very wealthy, even on this Earth, do not generally turn to spiritual life, because they are engrossed in material enjoyment. They consider the spiritualist or transcendentalist to be the crier of sour grapes, as though they with their riches can avoid the death which he whom they have derided has transcended. As Lord Jesus Christ said, a camel may pass through the eye of a needle with greater ease than may a rich man go to God. Yet the opulences of this planet are mere baubles as compared to the abundance to be found on the heavenly planets, where dwell the demi-gods. And, therefore, they for all their highly developed bodies and minds, are not so fortunate as we—for we have the more inclusive vision of life and death, which is inevitable for them as much as for us. And, with our vision, is increased the opportunity to transcend the mortal state.
The development of spiritual consciousness is possible only to the human species—and especially so for the civilized humans. This advanced, comprehensive consciousness is, in fact, the only quality which actually distinguishes man from the other creatures. For the pig and the horse and the ant all have sex life, all eat foods which please them, all sleep and all have weapons. And they have their politics, as well. We cannot conclude that human life is merely the manner of living of a sophisticated swine. No, for Man has the ability to wonder—and the ability to find out, too. Therefore, in the Vedas it is said that, when a man first questions, “What am I? How am I here?”—then his human life begins.
This human status is attained after millions upon millions of births. To be sure, the living spirit soul must progress through the bodies of each and every one of those eight million four hundred thousand species, before he can achieve civilized existence. This is a long, excruciating transmigration through a universe of never-ending frustration, pain and defeat. For the living entity cannot know eternal life, knowledge, or bliss complete as long as he identifies himself with matter; and no understanding of one's true identity is possible at any stage below the human. Thus, all life in this material world means vanquishment.
Now, before continuing with the subject of evolution and the meaning of that study in terms of human purpose, we must wonder, after all: How did it begin? How am I here? In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord explains,
All beings are born to delusion O Bharata,
Overcome by the dualities
Which arise from wish and hate,
O Conqueror of the foe. (VII, 27)
The living entity wishes to become the Lord, the ruler and master—and so he is given a domain in which he may fulfill his longings:
In ancient days the Lord of creatures
Created men along with sacrifice and said,
By this shall ye bring forth, and this shall be unto you
That which will yield the milk of your desires. (B.G. III, 10)
So Krishna, the God Who loves all beings, has given us what we craved, and by sacrifice we had the means to be eternally joyful even here, without His direct association. But the living entity cannot be what he is not—he cannot be God. Whereas the Lord is in all ways perfect, His fragmental portions suffer from certain constitutional imperfections, which are chiefly classed as four: the living entity is certain to make mistakes, he is envious, he is subject to illusion, and his senses are imperfect. With these unfortunate shortcomings, having gone so far to sunder the loving relationship with God, it is easy to see how the state of paradise, known both to Judaic and Vedic scriptural history, was lost.
It is the eternal religion of all beings to serve. By eternal religion it is meant that this is something which cannot be taken from the entity—something which he manifests at all times. Bugs and behemoths, trees and tigers—all creatures are engaged in service. Indeed, the Lord Himself, the Prime and Primal Being, is also the Prime and Primal Servant, giving to all creatures their sustenance in every way both direct and indirect. Because of our natural position of servitude, turning from the service of the Lord means that we must turn to some other service. This is the service of Maya, Illusion, for only God’s service is true.
Thus we can see that, wilfully, we have made our own beds in this world of defeat.
Until the spirit soul enters upon the human platform, he remains blind and innocent of sin. He simply goes on from birth to birth, species to species, until he has risen to the level where his body permits the flowering of long-dulled and suppressed consciousness. At this point, intractable evolution ceases, for the greater consciousness leaves the entity literally master of his own fate. He may choose to end the material entanglement in which he has so long been caught, he may choose to continue human existence, or he may hurl himself back into the sea of raging mortality from which he has barely just emerged. Brief though it be, this human life is supremely important.
The process by which the human makes his choice and by which that choice is fulfilled is called karma. Karma means an action and its attendent reaction. I chop a tree… it falls. That is karma. In a similar sense, the manner in which I lead this human life creates a certain effect which is manifested in my next birth. The culmination of one’s life is its final moment:
Thinking of whatever state
He at the end gives up his body,
To that being does he attain, O Son of Kunti,
Being ever absorbed in the thought thereof. (B.G. VIII, 6)
This is the vital, crucial decision, but one may not make it at that last instance. Indeed, the mind will cling to its ways—and so reflect the life it has known. And in this lies the tragedy or triumph of Man. If he has lived as a goat, then he will get the body best suited to his wishes. And, has he lived as a friend to the eternal God, then he will have birth in that eternal association, and end rebirth altogether.
This is the crux of all Vedic philosophy: one can end the round of birth and death. It can be done. One must simply sever his ties to material existence in the proper manner. Here is the formula:
Save work done as and for sacrifice
This world is in bondage to work.
Therefore, O Son of Kunti, do thy work as a sacrifice,
Becoming free from all attachment. (B.G. III, 9)
Yes, the Bhagavad Gita says that the only means of liberation from the forest of action-reaction is to act without regard for the fruits of work. In other words, to work for God. Give Him your money, give Him your intelligence, give Him your energy. Again, Sri Krishna says,
Those who, laying all their actions on Me,
Intent on Me
Worship, meditating on Me,
With unswerving devotion;
These whose thoughts
Are set on Me,
I straightway deliver
From the ocean of death-bound existence,
O Partha. (B.G. XII, 6 & 7)
This is the way. Those not willing to follow it cannot hope to gain God's association. That a strong attachment to money, sex-life or fame exists is understood. But that attachment must be transferred to God. If it is not, then the individual’s consciousness can never be fixed upon Him. For those who, like Nietzsche, want to go on in the sea, the Lord has no anger. But He has pity, and so He explains our plight to us for our own consideration:
At the coming of day, all manifested things
Come forth from the unmanifested
And at the coming of night they merge
In that same, called the unmanifested.
This very same multitude of existences
Arising again and again
Merges helplessly at the coming of night, O Partha,
And streams forth at the coming of day.
But, beyond this unmanifested,
There is yet another,
Unmanifested eternal being,
Who does not perish.
This Unmanifested is called the Imperishable.
Him they speak of as the Supreme Status.
Those who attain to Him return not.
That is My supreme abode.
This is the Supreme Person, O Partha,
In Whom all existences abide
And by Whom all this is pervaded;
Who can, however, be gained by unswerving devotion.
(B.G. VIII, 18-22)
And so we can see that the perfection of human life, indeed the goal of goals in all this Universe, is to transcend the material encagement and to enter into the eternal Abode of Krishna—through devotional service. This is the purpose to which a man ought wisely to dedicate his life. Otherwise, that life is necessarily dedicated to death, for only by God's grace can we cross the chasm of doom inherent in the flesh. Once spiritual life begins, once the transcendental consciousness is awakened, death has been conquered and life fulfilled beyond the sweetest of dreams.
These concepts are not new ones, nor are they Indian, nor even Vedic. They are found in the Bible and the Koran as well as in other great scriptural literature. The scientist may only examine the phenomenon of mortality, but he may never fully comprehend, much less overcome it. This is the domain of the spiritualist. How then has it come about that our world has turned from God? Why are people by the millions accepting post-dated checks from the men of science, whose finest pragmatic accomplishments are to move some tons of dead earth from one spot to another at great speed?
When we speak of the common good among men, the first and most general thought to arise is that of politics. After all, isn't every politician from the President to the town dogcatcher promising Utopia in exchange for your vote? Those who are genuinely moved to aid their suffering fellow men are, of course, as rare as rubies in the Arctic—yet even the few who have such sentiments simply serve as agents of Illusion if they have no spiritual understanding. And at their heels follow their people, sheep to the block. If Mankind's mortal sufferings are to be relieved, we must have leaders of a higher caliber, men of intelligence, who can see what the mission and purpose of human life actually are. Without such vision, no one can help his fellow man or himself.
Ideal leadership is outlined in the Bhagavad Gita, by Lord Krishna. There He says:
As the unlearned act from attachment to their work
So should the learned also work, O Bharata,
But without any attachment,
With the desire to maintain the world order.
Let him not unsettle the minds
Of the ignorant who are attached to action.
The enlightened man doing all works in a spirit of yoga,
Should set others to act as well. (B.G. III, 25 & 26)
This is good leadership. Those who are themselves mad for riches and fame cannot be expected to serve the people wisely. Those who are limited by the bodily concept of life are blind men, and those who imagine themselves outside God's shelter are worse:
The evil-doers who are foolish, lowest of the humans,
Whose minds are carried away by illusion
And who partake of the nature of demons,
Do not seek refuge in Me. (B.G. VII, 15)
It is a current fashion to exercise any limitless number of theories as to why the United States is declining so noticeably in moral vigor. The answer stares the historian in the face from the page of every letter and document written by the Founding Fathers: they believed in God—most of them actually and ardently. This is what America lacks today, and nothing more, twist though you may for a different explanation.
One who has the true welfare of his fellow man in mind ought to make all strenuous efforts to lead them to the gateway of God's Kingdom. Here, in devotional service, lies the end to suffering; lies peace, plenty and life eternal. What more can one hope to offer? This is release from the age-long cycle of birth and death, and this is what all beings crave despite their delusions.
At the end of many lives
The man of wisdom resorts to Me,
Knowing that Vasudeva (Krishna) is all that is.
Such a great soul is rarely to be found. (B.G. 19)
Offer the fruit of wisdom, ripened for millenia, to your fellows. This is the real act of love, this is the true public service. And, in the process, you will yourself be freed:
Having come to Me
These great souls do not return to rebirth,
The place of sorrow, impermanent,
For they have reached the highest perfection.
(B.G. VIII, 15)
The Great-souled, the Mahatma, is a perfected being, a human who has gone all the way to the goal, having turned to the Lord. He is the final, finished product of evolution, and he has transcended that process by which he has risen—by dint of his own willingness to love, and with the grace of Krishna.
Becoming a great soul, though the breed is a rare one, is not difficult. One simply chooses to dissociate from material activities and to take up the spiritual line. Krishna Himself will guide you from there.
Abandoning all duties,
Come to Me alone for shelter.
Be not grieved,
For I shall release thee from all evils.
(B.G. XVIII, 66)
This is the way to perfection. And, unless he takes this proffered gift, a man's living is vain and wasted and dedicated to death. In the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, it is couched in these rather straightforward words:

“There are 8,400,000 species of life among living entities. If one living being, having passed through this long cycle of births, comes to the human standard, and then foolishly misuses it, he has simply spoiled everything.”
All glorious news! The chariot pushes it's way
across Creation to deliver us back.
Behold the mighty driver with all the universe
streaking through His hair. It's Krishna! Our Lord.
So full in bliss, let our arms fly up. Let us
jump, leap, prance into the dance of the jivas.
Dance Hare Krishna, Hare Rama! We're free
again at last. O thunderous joy, leave your
body behind, we're free again at last!
Yes, my mother, my friends. It was always
so easy. The purple trees, the golden fields
were always ours to begin with. Simply chant
Hare Krishna, Hare Rama.
Then ripened with love, we'll gather for Krishna
to pluck us up. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.
The task is ended at last.
Purushottam das Brahmachary (Paul Auerbach)
The Name
The Name
Now—it is a joy to say His Name
and hear of His Fame—
Sometimes, I just can't say His Name enough!
“Say it faster, faster—Krishna, Krishna
Harder, harder
Think deeply, concentrate—Krishna
I'm Yours—”
When I suddenly remember to
continue saying Krishna
it's like a long-needed
soft cool breeze
on a hot afternoon—
My obeisances forever to You, Krishna
My obeisances forever to You, Swamiji
I shall always chant the Name of the Lord
in order to feel the
soft cool breeze
of His presence.
Madhusudan das Brahmachary (Michael Blumert)
Krishna Consciousness is the awakening to joy on a plane of experience far beyond the mundane or the physical—the sublime bliss of the pure spirit soul in a conscious ecstasy of love for the Perfect Object of Love, the Supreme Godhead, Sri Krishna.
Kirtan means the praise of Krishna in song, dance, music and the taking of spiritual food. It is the mature status of the eternal living entity, the final pleasure of all pleasures which waits at the end of myriad quests through an ocean of births and deaths.
Kirtan is the sweet fruit of virtuous life, the drink from the nectar of true love, the joy ineffable.
Kirtan is practiced at all Radha Krishna Temples—in San Francisco at 518 Frederick Street—in Montreal at 3720 Park Avenue—in New York at 26 Second Avenue—and in Santa Fe at Box 25, Route 3, Seton Village. Why not come and bring whoever you love?
BLISS—what was once only a word now becomes an experience. With HARE KRISHNA you transcend everything—even your body. This is real freedom.
BLISS—wherever and whenever you want it. Try it and see. It's so easy even children do it.
THE SOUNDS OF KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS are recorded by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and his disciples. This is an invitation to take a trip to the World which lies beyond the senses.
26 2nd Ave.
N.Y.C. 10003
The Artists
The Artists
Our special gratitude to Goursundar Das Adhikary and his wife Govinda Devi Dasi for their portrayals of Thakur Haridas, Krishna Loka, Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda (on the back cover), and the Appearance of Lord Sri Krishna, which is on the front cover. Also to Jadurani Devi Dasi for Yasoda and Krishna.
All glories!

Back to Godhead Magazine #16, 1968
On the Cover
On the Cover
When the mad demon, Hiranya Kashipu, roamed this world—long before the dawn of our modern recorded history—he was a scourge to the righteous, including his own son Prahlad. When the five-year-old boy took to praising the Lord, his father sought to kill him, and there was no one who might dare intervene, not even among the demigods of heaven. Yet Prahlad would not succumb to his father’s threats, and so Hiranya Kashipu attacked him. It was then that the Lord appeared as Nrishingha Deva, Terror Personified, the half-lion half-man Incarnation Who tore the mighty demon apart with His claws. Even as Krishna, the Supreme Godhead, will respond to the devotee who seeks His protection—so will He respond to one who desires to be His enemy. And, as Krishna is the perfect Protector, so is He also the perfect Enemy. Krishna is All-Perfect, not one-sided. Yet even in striking His enemies, the Lord acts in love, for He is absolute—the very measure and standard of Love and Goodness. So upon Hiranya Kashipu as upon Prahlad, Nrishingha bestowed His Infinite Mercy. The difference lay only in the desire of the recipient. On our cover, we see Nrishingha receiving the loving respects of the boy Prahlad, as well as those of Garuda the Eagle of Vishnu, Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma the Four-Headed, and Narada Muni, the greatest of sages.
By The Mercy of Krishna,
By The Mercy of Krishna,
In trying to arrange for Kirtan (the singing of the Lord’s Sacred Names) at the beautiful Reis Amphitheater in Lower Manhattan, we recently met with a solid rebuff. The Amphitheater is situated in a city-run project, and, according to the New York City Housing Authority Management Manual: “… No one is permitted to use the community facilities for religious, political or controversial purposes of any kind. Non-sectarian purposes alone are permitted.”
We might argue that Shakespeare’s plays (which are permitted) are religious, political, and undeniably controversial. In fact, it’s to be wondered just what—other than air and water—could be construed as acceptable in “the community facilities.”
But it is the underlying concept—of religion as an arena of petty squabblers, while the atheist stands aloof and unattached—which is worthy of our notice. This insidious philosophy has been gnawing at the entrails of modern civilization for many a long year, until today we find its banners unfurled in the Supreme Court decision forbidding God in the government-run classroom, as well as in the Housing Authority’s carefully (if inanely) worded manual.
Although the Founding Fathers saw to the separation of Church and State with the good intention of having each operate unhampered by the other, they never considered God to be a sectarian concept. Nor did they, apparently, consider Godlessness to be a platform of aloof and serene indifference .
Atheism is a sect, to be sure. And the imposition of Godlessness upon the American people by members of its own Government is the triumph of this vicious minority over the mass of human society.
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
From The Lectures of Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta
Evening, April 10, 1967
Today I shall speak before you of the history of a boy devotee. His name is Prahlad Maharaj. He was born in a family which was stubbornly atheistic. There are two kinds of men in this world: one is called demon, and the other is called godly, or the demigods. What is the difference between them? The main difference is that the demigods or godly persons are devoted to the Supreme Lord, and the demons are atheistic. They do not believe in God. They are materialists. These two classes of men are always there in this world. At the present moment, due to this Age of Kali, the number of demons has increased, but the classification is there from the history of the Creation. This incident which I am narrating to you occurred very, very long ago, a few million years after the time of the Creation.
This boy Prahlad Maharaj happened to be the son of the most atheistic person and the most materially powerful as well—so you will be interested to hear this history. This boy, because the society was materialistic, had no opportunity to glorify the Supreme Lord. The characteristic of a great soul is that he is very eager to broadcast glorification of the Supreme Lord. Just like Lord Jesus Christ: he was very much eager to broadcast the glorification of God, but people crucified him; people misunderstood him. Demoniac people. This is going on. Now Prahlad Maharaj was a five-year-old boy and, when he was in school, as soon as there was some recreation period, when the teacher was off, he would say to his friends, “My dear friends, come on, we shall speak something of Krishna Consciousness.” I am just opening a scene, this is Srimad Bhagwatam, 7th Canto, 6th Chapter. The devotee Prahlad is saying: “My dear boys, my dear friends, this is the time, in this young age, to prosecute Krishna Consciousness.” Before that he had discussions with his little friends, but they said, “Oh we shall now play—why take up Krishna Consciousness?” In answer to which, Prahlad Maharaj is stating, “If you are intelligent then you must begin Krishna Consciousness from this childhood!”
Srimad Bhagwatam offers knowledge—scientific knowledge about God. Bhagwatam means the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Dharma means the regulative principle to understand Krishna Consciousness. Why? Because this life, this human form of life, is very rare. It is a great opportunity: “My dear friends, you are born as civilised human beings, so this is the greatest opportunity.” Although it is temporary—I do not know what is the length of my life. By calculation the human body is meant to exist in this age, not more than a hundred years. But as the Age of Kali advances, duration of life, memory, mercy, religiousness there are so many things, and they are all decreasing. Although it is temporary, yet you can achieve the highest perfection of life while in this human form.
Why is this so important? This is the opportunity—you can understand what is the Supreme Lord, the All-Pervading Lord. For other life forms, it is not possible. By the gradual evolutionary process we are coming to this plane, and so this is the opportunity, this human form of life. By Nature’s law, a life is ultimately given to you so that you can promote yourself to the spiritual life and go back to Home, back to Godhead.
The ultimate goal of life is Vishnu. In another verse, Prahlad Maharaj will say: “The people who are in this material world, enamored by the material energy, do not know what the goal of human life is.” Why? “They have been enchanted by the glaring external energy. They have forgotten that they are spiritual energy.” This is explained later on; but here he says, “This life is an opportunity to understand the ultimate goal of my perfection, Vishnu.” Why should we be very anxious to know Vishnu, or God? Prahlad Maharaj gives a reason: “Because Vishnu is the dearmost Person. That we have forgotten.” We are all seeking for some dear friend—everyone is searching in this way. A man is searching for dear friendship in woman, and woman is searching for dear friendship in man. Or else a man is searching in man, and woman is searching in woman—this is going on, searching after some dear friend, some sweet friend. Why? Because I want some co-operation of that dear friend to help me. This is part of the struggle for existence, and this is natural. But we do not know that our most dear friend is Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We are searching after some dear friend, but we do not know who this dear friend can be.
Those who have read Bhagavad Gita will find this nice verse in the Fifth Chapter: “If you make friendship with Krishna, the Supreme Lord, then you can understand perfectly that everything that exists in this world or another world is all the property of Krishna—and He is the Proprietor and He is the Enjoyer of Everything.” Why are you performing austerity? Why are you performing religious rituals? Why are you giving in charity? Why are you engaged in righteous activities? All these formulas—whatever you have manufactured—are meant for pleasing the Supreme Lord and nothing more. By your actions, by your righteous activities, when the Supreme Lord is pleased, you will get the result. The result is the thing. If you want to gain by your actions either material happiness or spiritual happiness, if you want to live in this planet or if you want to go to the other planets—the moon planet, the sun planet—there are so many planets—whatever you like; if you want to be a human being, if you want to be a tiger, cat, dog, nonsense—whatever you like, you will get. You will get: therefore He is the most sincere Friend.
Whatever you want from Him! But the intelligent man does not want anything which is materially contaminated.
In the Bhagavad Gita you will find that Krishna says, you can elevate yourself to the highest planet, which is known as Brahmaloka—where the duration of life is millions and millions of years. You cannot figure it; your arithmetic will be ineffective. The statement in the Bhagavad Gita is that Brahma’s duration of life is so great that four million, two hundred thousand years make one day to him. Krishna says, whatever position you may like, beginning from the ant right up to Brahma, you can have. But the repetition of birth and death will be there. But if, some way or other, by discharging Krishna Consciousness in Devotional Service—“if you come to Me, then you don’t have to come back again to this miserable material existence.”
Prahlad Maharaj said the same thing: that we are searching after the most dear friend, Krishna, the Supreme Lord. Why is He the most dear Friend? By nature He is dear. Why? Well, what is the dearmost thing within yourself? Have you analyzed? You are yourself the dearmost thing. I am sitting here, but if there is fire alarm, I shall at once take care of myself. “How can I save myself?” You forget your friends, you forget even your children—“let me first of all save myself.” Self preservation is the first law of Nature.
Atma, self, of the grossest type means this body, and in the subtler sphere the mind is atma, and in the real sense atma means the soul. We are all very fond of our atma, either this body or this mind or the soul. In the gross stage we are very fond of protecting this body, and in a subtler stage we are very fond of protecting the mind; and, above this mental, intellectual plane, where the atmosphere is spiritualised, there we understand: “I am not this mind, and not this body. Aham Brahmasmi—I am the part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. That is the platform of real understanding.
Now, Prahlad Maharaj says that, of all living entities, Vishnu is the Supreme Well-Wisher. Therefore we are searching after Him. It’s just like the child crying. What is it longing for? It is longing for the mother. But it has no language to express this. By nature it has its body, born of the mother’s body, and so there is an intimate relation with the mother’s body. The child won’t like any other woman. The child is crying, but when the woman who is the child’s mother comes and takes it up, at once it becomes pacified. It has no language to express all this, but the real demand is there. Similarly, we are trying to protect this body. Everyone is. This is self preservation. It is a natural law of the living entity, just as eating is a natural law and sleeping is a natural law. I am defending the body because within the body there is soul.
What is this soul? The soul is the part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. As you want to protect this hand or this finger, because it is the part and parcel of this whole body, so therefore we are trying to save ourselves because this is the defending process of the Supreme. The Supreme does not require any defense—it is our Love towards Him, now perverted. Just like the finger and the hand toward the whole body: as soon as I want the hand to come here, it comes, and as soon as I want the finger to play on the drum, it plays. This is the natural position. We are searching after God, to be dovetailed in that Supreme; but we do not know it, under the spell of illusory energy. That is our mistake. Now, here is an opportunity, in human life. You have come to understand about Krishna Consciousness, about your real goal of life, because you are human beings. I cannot invite the cats and dogs to sit down here. That is the difference between cats and dogs and human beings. A human being can understand the necessity of life. If I lose the opportunity, it is a great catastrophe.
Prahlad Maharaj said, “God is the dearmost Personality of All. We have to search after God.” Then, what about these material necessities of life? Prahlad Maharaj replied to this, “You are after sense gratification, I know that.” This sense gratification is achieved by the contact of this body. A hog has got his certain type of body, and his sense gratification is eating stool. The thing which is most obnoxious to you—because you at once, after evacuating, leave that place to get free from the bad smell—but the hog is waiting. As soon as you evacuate, he will at once enjoy. Why are other animals not attracted? Because the form of pleasure-seeking is due to that particular body. We have different types of sense gratification according to the particular type of body. It is said here, “My dear friends, sense gratification is achieved according to the particular type of body.” Everyone who has this material body, is subject to sense gratification. Don’t think that the hogs eating stools are unhappy. No, they are getting fat in that way. They are very happy.
Now, if a hog can achieve sense gratification, why not a human being? But that is not our achievement. That is by Nature, it is given; the facilities of the hog’s body are offered by Nature, and the facilities of a dog’s body are also offered by Nature; and, too, the facilities of the human body are also offered by Nature, or God. Why should you bother yourself for facilities which you are destined to receive in any case, by Nature’s law? In every form of life these bodily demands are supplied, by the arrangement of Nature. How is this gratification arranged? Just as it is arranged for distress: Do you like fever? No. Why does it come? I do not know. But it does come, does it not? Yes. Did you try for it? No. So how does it come? By Nature. That is the only answer. Similarly, if miseries come by Nature, your happiness also comes by Nature. Don’t bother about it. That is the instruction of Prahlad Maharaj. If you can attain the miseries of life without effort, similarly, you can have your happiness of life also without effort.
Then, what is your real business in this human form of life? You have to cultivate this Krishna Consciousness. Other things will be obtained by Nature’s law, or God’s law. Even if I don’t try, whatever I have to achieve by my past work and through my particular type of body, will be supplied. At any stage or form of life, facility is given for sense gratification. As you do not try for misery, so also happiness will take place outside your control. Your real business, therefore, is to seek out the higher goal of human life.
Editor’s Note: This is the first of a short series of lectures on the life and teachings of Prahlad Maharaj, delivered by the Swami in April and May of this year.
Narada Muni
Narada Muni
One of the greatest of saints, author of the famous Bhakti Sutra, or Philosophy of Divine Love, Narada Muni is also the Deliverer of the Maha (Hare Krishna) Mantra to the planet Earth. Empowered by God with the freedom to travel throughout the material and spiritual Creation in his eternal Form, carrying his stringed vina and clapper, Narada fills the ether with the singing of the glories of the Lord; and visits innumerable planets, often undertaking to preach the gospel of transcendental love.
The Divine Name Sets the World A-Spinning
The Divine Name Sets the World A-Spinning
by Damodara das
Who can understand the power of The Name?
The simple pronouncing of It
Clears the mind of all dirt,
Softens the heart, gladdens the heart,
Makes the sincere person laugh,
Relax, feel the Bliss of God’s association,
Cry, see Govinda’s Lovely Form before him,
Makes the devotee bow down
At the merest glimpse of Krishna’s Lotus Feet,
Sing, dance, lose consciousness of himself,
Until all he can do is chant, chant,
And go mad with this chanting,
And go mad without the chanting—
Watch out for The Name of Krishna!
It will make you a madman!
Damodara das Adhikari
(Dan Clark)
How I Met A.C. Swami Bhaktivedanta
How I Met A.C. Swami Bhaktivedanta
One evening in the summer of 1966 a friend and I were waiting for a downtown bus on Second Avenue between First and Second Streets. We were going to a Fulton Street loft to rehearse music for a mixed-media show. My friend had gone into a luncheonette for a moment when I noticed, through the window of a storefront across the avenue, an orange-robed Indian man with a shaved head lecturing to a small group of young people. I remembered reading a short article in the Village Voice a few weeks before about Swami Bhaktivedanta, who had come to the United States to spread the devotional practice of chanting mantras of God’s Name. So I guessed this must be the same Swami. When I saw him, I imagined myself walking across the street, going into the storefront, sitting down, chanting, and renouncing all worldly connections. But it was only my imagination, I told myself—after all, I was married, I was in the process of going to a rehearsal, and I didn’t know anything about the Swami anyway. So my friend and I got on a bus. “Imagine!” I said to him. “A holy man in a Second Avenue storefront!”
It was a very intriguing situation for me. I had been involved in various impersonal philosophies, and especially Buddhism, for a few years. And by this time a little psychedelic seasoning had been added. My interest had always been with the traditional forms, and not “new” organizations. So I knew how important it was to have a good guru, and how important it was to obey him strictly. Of course, I considered myself an impersonalist, and the Swami taught that God’s highest aspect is as a person. So I lost interest.
Krishna has a big bag of tricks, though, and by His grace I began to tire of chemical wonderlands, rigid discriminatory eliminations and material analyses. For such a long time I had been saying, “Not this, not that,” just as Lord Buddha had suggested, and had arrived at a potpourri system of my own speculations gleaned from various books I had read, all culminating in Nothing, that big impersonalist Void, the source of many a searcher’s “wipe-out.” God, I thought, was on the third or fourth level down (depending on what day it was). Now, how is anybody to get out of such a jailhouse of intellectualization?
As for myself, I started to think that, psychologically speaking, I needed a devotional tonic. This was an ignorant way of putting it. Simply, impersonalism didn’t satisfy my desire to know the Absolute. But for myself at that time, I felt that all that eliminating was getting stale, and what I needed was some group chanting.
So on a mid-October Sunday afternoon my wife and I went over to Tompkins Park to find out what this Krishna Consciousness was all about. By this time I had read an article in the East Village Other about Swami and his followers, and knew they would be chanting in the park. I expected to hear “Hare Krishna” droned out in a low, single-toned way, like most Buddhist chants. But then I heard the cymbals: one-two-three, one-two-three: a kind of intoxicating flamboyance, considering what I was used to, and very magnetic. I walked a little faster, and saw heads bobbing up and down, arms waving. What was this? No black-robed Zens here! Then I heard it. A song! A beautiful, endless song! Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna! I had to get closer to it, so I pushed through the onlookers. And there he was, Swami, the center of all this whirling-dervish ecstasy, surrounded by every kind of outlandish hippie and frustrated office worker imaginable, scrutinized by solid neighborhood Ukranians and ragged Puerto Rican kids; Swami, banging on a drum, seventy-odd years old, in complete control of this transcendental songfest. How could I keep from chanting at once? It was impossible. And even though I’m pretty shy, I even found myself dancing a little. Hare Krishna!
From that point on the fire of devotional service began to melt my icy Buddhist intellect. I found it hard to accept most of the philosophy at first, but the plain fact of the matter was that Swami gave better answers and better explanations than anyone else. After a while—two or three months—there was only one possibility: he was right!
So it took me a long time to “meet” Swami. I guess the first time I really met him was one morning the next April just after he had returned from opening the San Francisco temple. He had been away from New York for some time, and I had been very anxious to ask him to initiate me. And that morning I finally asked him. And just when I asked him, I realised that Swami Bhaktivedanta was my Spiritual Master.
All glories to Sri Guru!
Damodara das Adhikary (Dan Clark)
Prayer to Maharaj Prahlad
Prayer to Maharaj Prahlad
by Satsvarupa das
Child Prahlad remembering
Lord Nrisingha is safe
from all harrassment.
No elephant will crush him underfoot,
No snake will bite him,
No fire will burn him.
The blissful sweet boy-devotee
is protected by the soothing rays
of Lord Nrisingha’s Lotus Feet.

Maharaj Prahlad may your remembrance
protect me who am at
Krishna’s doorstep proclaiming
devotional service in this town of demons.
May your holy sweet smile,
the grace of you surrounded
by the soft light of
fierce Nrisingha-remembrance
guide me also, through
the hazards and riots of
your enemies who care nothing for the Lord.

May I grow to relish
thoughts of Nrisingha’s nails
and His dear beauty, His Power—
May I take shelter with the half-lion half-man Krishna!
Satsvarupa das Brahmachary (Stephen Guarino)
The Giver of the Holy Name
The Giver of the Holy Name
by Satsvarupa das
Without Krishna
it’s like being deep asleep in a nightmare
with no inkling of how to get out.
So you act out the nightmare.

In Reality Krishna comes with a sword,
the Son of a prince, riding a white horse.
You just take Him in the Form of the Name:
HARE KRISHNA! and you’re released from the nightmare.

Then you can begin loving service.

But who will give you that one Name?
Where is there such a dear friend
who will say it to you?
Oh you have to seek for him!
Look for him wherever he is and go there.
He is the Spiritual Master
who can open your eyes
from the darkness of ignorance
by His Divine Grace.
Satsvarupa das Brahmachary (Stephen Guarino)
Everything for Krishna
Everything for Krishna
by Madhusudan das
Let my fingers feel the beads, with which I repeat and count His Holy Name
Let my eyes behold the sight of His Lotus Feet
Let my ears hear the sounds of His Glory
Let my nose smell the incense offered to Him with love
Let my tongue taste the remnant food eaten with His Holy Mouth
Let me always engage my body in activities which are centered around Him.
Whatever I may possess at a time, let me give it in His Service,
For I am that eternal perceiver behind this fleeting matter; not that I am finger or nose or eye,
Which I may possess only for a while and then by the Laws of Nature must give up—
That constant “I” remains while the possessions always change.
These fleeting things I can never keep for myself.
The only thing I can keep forever is my choice to love Him or not.
Krishna is one companion Who, if I choose, will never leave my consciousness.
He is the Eternal Friend of everyone, giving the Choice:
I may choose another forgetful body,
Or use this one to understand the Divine.
Let me act for Krishna, talk for Krishna and think of Krishna
Forever and with love.
Madhusudan das Brahmachary (Michael Blumert)
The Essence of Water
The Essence of Water
I find, Oh Govinda
Thy Presence in this bowl of water
It sits there, upon Thine Altar
And the bowl sighs with contented
And I,
I faint with love
By just knowing this.
Mrinalini devi dasi (Maureen Conley)
A Cool Day with Dark Storm Clouds

“Krishna must have such fun—”
She said—Jadurani Devi Dasi—
She had never touched a cow before,
And now, in the fields
She is smiling as twelve cows
Nuzzle her and lick her hands—
She is chanting the Name
Of her beloved Gopala,
And the cows gather around her
In a semicircle, watching, blinking,
Their heads brushing the pale green blanket
Draped over her shoulders—
And she sings His Name—
And her eyes say,
“Krishna is so beautiful—”
Damodara das Adhikary (Dan Clark)

These waters speak of our Lord
they are continually descending down
as a man bowing
as a man bowing.
like a cup emptying.
Yet in reverence & humility
the fulfillment & recognition
as a man bowing
like a cup emptying
these waters run down from the mountains
into the sea
and speak of our Lord
for it is only by running into the sea
that the river never grows dry
it is only by devotion to the Lord
that a man never dies
Yet the river is without salt
and man without memory
but he has been remembered
from all eternity
indeed the cup cannot be emptied
from all eternity Neither can the cup be turned
upside down or right side up
for gravity clashes in other realms
and the river descends in praise
like a man bowing
bowing in His Love
Rabindasvarupa das Brahmachary (Bob Lefkowitz)
Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada
Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada
Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Prabhupada was born in 1873 at Jagganath Puri. His father, Kedar Dutta Bhaktivinode Thakur, was magistrate of the city and superintendent of Jagganath temple. Once, during the Rathajatra Car Festival, the car stopped in front of the family’s house and, taking the opportunity, the mother of Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati came out with the baby and put him on the Lotus Feet of Jagganath. A garland from the hand of Jagganath fell down on the baby.
Prabhupada was educated in Calcutta and became professor of Mathematics and Astronomy. In his childhood he once took a mango which was meant as an offering for the Deity. When his father rebuked him, saying that he should not have taken the fruit which was meant for the Lord, the child took it very seriously and thought himself a great offender, promising not to take mango again throughout his whole life. He was know as Bimal Prasad Dutta before his renunciation, or sannyasi. On account of his writing a book on astronomy known as “Sruya Siddhanta,” he received the title Siddhanta Saraswati. And, when he took sannyasi, preaching the gospel of Lord Chaitanya, he was known as Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati. He was acclaimed a great scholar in Calcutta, and the celebrated Dr. Kalidas Nag used to call him “a living encyclopedia.”
Thakur Bhaktivinode trained his son in childhood for preaching, and after taking sannyasi Prabhupada started the Gaudiya Mission Institution. All the Gaudiya Maths in different parts of India, plus one in London and another in Berlin—altogether 64 branches—were started by him. At present his worthy disciples have increased the number of preaching centers in different parts of the world. So Thakur Bhaktivinode was the initiator of Krishna Consciousness, working from Mayapur, the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya. And Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati was the priest of the movement. Today, his disciples are continuing to expand this great work wherever they can be heard.
Another Burst Via Krishna
Another Burst Via Krishna
by Madhusudan das
Let thy soul shine forth
In the coming of this new age.
Krishna Kirtan is getting in full drone,
with the sound of
joyous voices and people dancing like
Merry Madmen chanting Hare Krishna.
Mass chanting—Loud-Long-Hot-Fast-Hari Vol!
Where is the end or the beginning?
Only in us, not in Krishna
We need only be aware that we’re
part of His Foreverness
So let’s always chant His Name and forever
Partake of His Absoluteness—and
Tell people everywhere—Hare Krishna
Let thy soul shine forth
Display it for everyone
This is the way to be
Think of Krishna always—GOD IS—
WE ARE—only in relation to Him.
Begin the course of “Full Knowledge.”
Krishna Kirtan is the way to be
Madhusudan das Brahmachary (Michael Blumert)
Thakur Haridas Part 3
Thakur Haridas
Part 3
Part III
from the book “Sree Krishna-Chaitanya” by Professor Sannyal
[In Part II, Professor Sannyal described the gathering of great learned Pandits to hear the teachings of Srila Thakur Haridas, at which time Gopal Chakravarti arose in offense against the Saint. Consequently, Gopal was stricken by leprosy—the circumstances of which will be described in Part III.]
The world is gratuitously assumed by a pseudo-rationalism to be the only reality and the attempt is therefore made to ascertain the methods by following which we can attain the gratification of the senses, which function appears to be the relationship naturally subsisting between ourselves (?) and the world. The senses are assumed to be an integral and undetachable part of ourselves. The mind is identified with the senses on the one hand and with the soul on the other. The senses connect the mind, or the soul, by this assumption, with the external world. The senses are the eyes of the whole system. All pain and pleasure suffered by the mind are due to the way in which the mind directs the senses in their relations with the world. The mind cannot apparently know by intuition, at any rate ordinarily, all the consequences of any particular mode of employment of the senses. The mind can, indeed, try to guess about them. But it can never be quite sure about any occurrence till after actual experience. This uncertainty is supposed to be reducible to certainty if it could be possible to know from experience the uniform “laws” that are assumed to govern all phenomenal occurrences under all circumstances. This hypothesis of the uniform operation of the “laws” of Nature has been built up by the accumulated “experiences” of the race. But as the occurrences themselves present an infinity of complications it has not been possible to attain to anything like certainty in isolating the single threads of the web in order to be certain to reproduce all the occurrences of Nature in the Laboratory.
Assuming that the above object of scientific endeavour will be realisable in practice in the long run, its success should make it possible for us to prolong the possibility and scope of sensuous enjoyment ad infinitum. If we fail to be perfectly “happy” by the complete elimination of “pain” by the proper employment of the “forces” of Nature in the way that is calculated to produce such a result under the then-known “laws of Nature,” our labors should still have really no abiding value for ourselves. But has our “experience” up to the present moment taken us an inch towards the realisation of unmixed or lasting pleasure? Is “pleasure” really different from “pain”? Or is it only different by circumstance? That which is food for the goose is food for the gander, is not found to be more true than most hypotheses. Variation, which is sought to be eliminated, is found on close inspection and analysis to be itself the indispensable condition of the pleasures. We are, therefore, left inevitably to the present condition of necessary and complete ignorance in order to have any “pleasure” at all by our dealings with the world by means of our senses.
It is argued that pleasure and pain might themselves by enriched, deepened and broadened by more experience and that it is worth our while to help this process in a conscious manner. To this the answer would be that the better and more detailed realisation of our utter ignorance, in the midst of the mockery of a civilization that is claimed to be based upon knowledge, would be a self-contradiction that is not likely to appeal to the assorting instinct of our rational nature and is calculated to make our condition no better than it is. Civilized wickedness and filth are not preferable to any nuisance of the uncivilized state. Satan, who may be allowed to possess the perfection of worldly culture, is probably more miserable than the uncivilized Gond. It would be difficult for the unbiased reason of man to choose between materialistic savagery and materialistic civilization.

“Ignorance is misery,” says one of the wisest of proverbs. Increase of ignorance is not any decrease of misery. Ignorance is supposed to be the state of all empiric knowledge which is improperly assumed to be alone available to man. Our very nature is sometimes supposed to be incapable of real enlightenment. This axiom of pessimism is exploited for advising man to turn a deaf ear to the Teacher of the Absolute. It is even more disastrously utilized for condemning the devotees themselves.
It cannot be otherwise. The soul is in this case identified with the mind-cum-body. Abandonment of the mind, therefore, appears as equivalent to the abandonment of the soul, or to self-immolation. The mind seems to be our all. Groping in perpetual ignorance appears as our inevitable function, mis-called “Search for the Truth.” Empiric enthusiasts imaginatively describe this process as the “eternal quest.” These metaphors and denunciations do not, however, help us in any way; but, on the contrary, they only tend to obstruct the process of the real quest.
Gopal Chakravarti is a typical Brahmana of the pseudo-Vedantic School of Shankara. He has no doubts regarding the goal of the Vedanta. According to him the attainment of the Knowledge (?) of the Brahman, Who possesses no distinctive function at all that is capable of being defined, is the goal. By the attainment of the knowledge of the real Nature of the Brahman, the individual soul is freed from all the miseries of his apparent existence which only seems to be limited and is, therefore, only supposed to be miserable. As there is only One Entity, the Brahman, Who is ever (?) free from all defects and all merits, the goal can be no other than complete absorption (?) into the One. On the attainment of this desirable goal there is no difference between the devotee, devotion and the Object of devotion. The service (?) of the Brahman is thus only a temporary means to a final end, which means being different from the end and is, therefore, necessarily terminable with the attainment of the goal. It is the highest form of religion to try to realise, by the appropriate methods, the knowledge of, and absorption into, the undifferentiated Brahman. When the individual soul becomes one with the Brahman the state of separate existence and necessity for any kind of distinguishable function terminate together. According to Gopal Chakravarti and his associates this knowledge of the Brahman is higher than service and the termination of both knowledge and service is the highest goal. Gopal is quite sure that this is the only teaching of the Scriptures. It may be observed at this place that Shankara does not discard the principle of worship, but declares its tentative necessity which is terminable on self-realisation which, according to him, is identical with complete absorption into the One.
Thakur Haridas distinguishes between devotion, work and knowledge. The soul in the bound state desires one of two alternative functions: If he is optimistic he wants greater scope for enjoyment. If he happens to be pessimistic, he hankers for emancipation from the misery of mundane existence.
The latter, the pessimist, sometimes thinks that real emancipation is impossible so long as the consciousness of one’s being different or separate from the One persists. It is to this extreme school of atheistic Vedantists, advocating unification with the Brahman, that Gopal Chakravarti, like most cultured people of his day as well as of this, happened to belong by his empiric predisposition. According to this school fruitive work leads to empiric knowledge and the latter to the third position of inexpressible oneness with the Brahman. Devotion or service is classed under fruitive work, which is assigned a lower position than empiric knowledge. The process of advance to the goal of complete unification with the One, according to this school, is devotion (blind faith rendering possible utilitarian work of a low order) (Bhakti?) leading to work of a higher order (Karma), which, in its turn, leads up to empiric knowledge of the uselessness of all knowledge and all activity terminating in perfect absorption into the One.
Haridas is neither a pessimist nor an optimist. He is an absolutist. He is convinced that the theory of complete absorption into the One is logically unsound and opposed to the real teaching of the Scriptures. The alternatives of enjoyment and abstention from enjoyment exhaust, indeed, the possibilities of function of the mind and body; but they have no application to the soul who is located beyond the reach of body and mind. The soul is substantially different from the mind and body. The soul is the substantive reality while the mind is only his perverted reflection in the mirror of limited existence. The mind is the material shadow, so to say, of the soul who is the spiritual substance. The mind is a material phenomenon galvanised into the appearance of self-consciousness by the impulse communicated to it by the deluded soul. Mind is the shadow of the perverse soul mirrored in matter. This description is, and can be, but an imperfect and misleading analogy of the relationship that actually subsists between mind and soul. The shadow of the material substance is not categorically different from the substance itself, both of them being material phenomena. The shadow of the soul in this case is, however, categorically different from the soul, being a material phenomenon pure and simple. The soul in his spiritual or natural condition is categorically different from material phenomena. The soul is self-conscious itself. There can be no such thing as ignorance in the soul. There can be no such thing as genuine self-consciousness in the mind which is non-soul. The apparent self-consciousness of the mind is really a state of complete ignorance which is given its shape and color by the qualities of matter: grossness, limitation, perishability, changeableness, etc. These unwholesome traits are non-existent and impossible in the soul.
The soul is capable of forgetting his real nature, mistaking himself to be a material entity. The soul is not above one possible weakness, willful rebellion against the Truth. It is a real blunder on the part of the soul to choose to be a rebel. But the soul is perfectly free to refuse to serve the Truth, i.e., Godhead. He thereby proves deliberately false to his own substantive nature, because it is the constituent function of the soul, in his natural state of perfect spiritual existence, to be the exclusive servant of the Truth. The soul who rebels against Godhead is punished by his exile to the phenomenal world and by incarceration in the double material case of mind and body. This point will be further elucidated later.
Fruitive work and empiric knowledge are functions of the mind and, therefore, purely material phenomena. By means of such work and knowledge the deluded soul cannot realise his natural function for the plain reason that they are not his proper function at all. By means of work and knowledge the soul only moves in a vicious circle of material existence which is seemingly conscious but is really one of absolute ignorance. This is the explanation why, by means of the undifferentiated knowledge of the Brahman, freedom from the fetters of work and knowledge of this anomalous existence can be attained by crores of years of endeavour. This is what Gopal says. The delay is, however, not due to the complexity of the process, as he supposes it to be. So long as a person continues to suppose that an impersonal all-pervasive Entity is the goal of knowledge one is not yet freed from the real ignorance of his spiritual function. This must be so, because Truth is not impersonal.
Neither is Truth a person in the sense in which the mentalists, including Shankara, apparently want us to understand the term. Spiritual personality is categorically different from the distorted empiric notion of the same. Until the nature of the Personality of the Truth is properly grasped, one continues in the deluded state which is also the state of limitation (bondage). Therefore Gopal Chakravarti is right, although he is unaware of it, in holding that the chance of emancipation of a person who has attained to the notion of Godhead as an impersonal and inactive, although all-pervasive and transcendental, Entity, is very slight. Gopal does not understand that his ideal person is also necessarily no less deluded than himself if he supposes his condition to be the goal.
The interpretation of the text relied upon by Gopal Chakravarti, said Thakur Haridas, is that of a person who does not understand the Nature of the Name by reason of his having no access to Him. The deluded person is no longer consciously contradicting himself and is not, therefore, insincere in the sense of being double-tongued. He is certainly to be pitied. Neither can his conduct be regarded as sincere inasmuch as it is opposed to his real nature of which he only happens to be ignorant by his own conscious perversity. The empiric casuist who affects to believe in the impersonal nature of the Truth is only pushing his conscious perversity of the choice of untruth to its logical conclusion. If the deliberate error is not ignored his conduct cannot be regarded as consistent, being altogether untrue .
Gopal Chakravarti’s source of error lay deeper than the plane on which he stood and was, therefore, naturally incomprehensible to him in his condition of cultured perversity. The Vaishnavas, who alone understand the real cause of the worldly ailment, alone possess the true spirit of toleration. Thakur Haridas showed his toleration of the rank atheism of deluded Gopal Chakravarti by abstaining from disturbing him further. This toleration really means the withdrawal of his causeless, apparently aggressive, mercy from a deluded soul whose opposition to Godhead is likely to be increased by the process. It is the greatest possible misfortune that can befall a conditioned soul to miss the special mercy of the Vaishnava by his successful opposition to the Truth. The apparent intolerance of a Vaishnava is as helpful to a person as his tolerance of evil. The Vaishnava never cooperates with the offending soul in his sinful activities. He does not agree to be false to himself and his eternal Master to please the confirmed apostate. Such sympathetic toleration of evil is a grave offence against the Truth notwithstanding the significant fact that it alone is relished by the pantheistic school of the pseudo-Vedantists.
The point reached marks almost the limit of rational discussion toward the spiritual issue which is open to the empiricist. He cannot proceed further without discarding the method of empiricism by giving up completely the process of his unaided effort. It was not possible for Gopal Chakravarti to retrace his steps by any other method. That he was not at all prepared for this is proved by his offensive conduct towards Thakur Haridas who had, therefore, no other alternative but to leave him to the mercies of Maya. But the actual good will of Haridas towards the offender bore its fruit in the swift punishment, that could be intelligible to the sufferer himself, that smote him in the form of leprosy. Gopal was, thereby, afforded an excellent opportunity of revising his impersonal doctrine. But he was of course free to avail of it or not.
The Godless attitude is an attitude of absolute confidence in one’s own judgment and power. The atheist is not at all disposed to submit to another in any circumstances. He has to be compelled to submit to non-God because he can consistently submit only to compelling force. Such submission alone is appreciated in the state of sin and ignorance which is a radically false position and necessarily entails constant irrational conduct on a really rational being unnaturally disposed to accept the same through the no less unnatural fear of punishment.
The Holy Name of Godhead is not a thing of this world. The Name of Godhead is identical with Godhead Himself. The Godhead appears in this world in the Form of the Name on the lips of His pure devotees. He appears as the transcendental Sound on the spiritual lips of the soul in the state of grace.
The Name of Godhead appearing on the lips of a pure devotee as the Transcendental Sound, is perceptible as such only to the spiritual ear. These statements are likely to appear absurd and puerile to the dogmatic impersonalist. Can the soul, he will persist to ask, have lips and ears? Can the soul have senses? But—can the empiricist know, even if he have?
The transcendentalists maintain that the soul has an infinity of senses of which the physical senses are a perverted reflection. There cannot even be the shadow of existence of the physical senses if there were no substantive spiritual senses. But there are also the spiritual senses themselves as distinct from but not unrelated to their corresponding shadowy reflections in this phenomenal world. This is involved in the very definition of the Absolute. The spiritual sense is categorically different from the physical sense. The spiritual senses are perfect and self-conscious, there being no interval or barrier of time or space between the sense and its possessor. The spiritual body is indivisible and perfectly self-conscious in every part and is identical with the owner of the body. All this is incomprehensible to us although it is perfectly consistent with the fundamental principles of indivisible substantive existence, that are also acceptable to the empiricist. The empiricist, although he may sometimes, under pressure of his own logic, seem to agree with the conclusions of transcendentalism, finds it impossible to adopt them in practice. The absolute conduct is not possible on the mundane plane to which he finds himself strictly confined by his own postulates backed by the real Deluding Potency.
If one is merely disposed to regard any sound as transcendental, such wish alone will not make the sound of his choice to become really transcendental. Similarly, if a person is disposed to regard a transcendental Sound as an occurrence of the mundane atmosphere such attitude will not also affect the subjective nature of the transcendental Sound. There is real difference between the transcendental Sound and mundane sound. The transcendental Sound is identical with the object denoted by the sound. The mundane sound is separated from the object denoted by it by the intervals of time and space. To hear the mundane sound of the name of a Lion is not the same thing as to see the beast. On the spiritual plane the very word ‘Lion’ is identical with the animal. The animal is fully realisable by and in the hearing of his name. Whereas the real nature of the mundane animal, denoted by the mundane sound, ever remains a thing unknown.
The Name of Krishna is identical with Godhead. But the Name of Krishna does not manifest Himself on mundane lips nor to the mundane ear. The Name Krishna appears in His Form of the Transcendental Sound on the spiritual lips of His devotees and is heard by the spiritual ear of the submissive soul by the Grace of Krishna. The Name Krishna is identical with the Possessor of the Name. The Name Krishna appears to the listening ear, as He is, only by degrees. As soon as the dormant soul catches the first faint reflection of His Light he is at once completely free from the bondage of ignorance and sin. It is the Name Who comes of His Own accord to our fettered soul. The bound jiva, or living entity, has no access to the Presence of Krishna on his own initiative. Krishna’s Approach is heralded by the harbinger of Light whose first glimmerings on their appearance put an end to all misconception regarding the categorical difference between light and darkness .
Unless and until the soul becomes aware of the true nature of spiritual existence by being so enlightened by the Source of all consciousness, he is sure to mistake the mind for his real self and the mental function as the only knowledge. If at this stage he does not wilfully shut his eyes but keeps them turned towards the growing Light he gradually and in due course obtains the sight of the concrete Source of all light. This is the mode of Appearance of the Holy Name. The sight of Krishna is alone capable of inspiring love for Krishna. This the position of Thakur Haridas as explained by himself to the Pandits who were in assembly at the house of the Mazumdars.
Thakur Haridas mercifully explains that the different concrete forms of the so-called ‘liberation’ concocted by the mentalists as their unknowable summum-bonum are the outcome of the desire for sensuous gratification. If one could live in the happy realms of Krishna described in the Scriptures, the empiricist supposes that such a person should be enabled to enjoy more good things than are available on the Earth if his condition is really worth having. The same desire for extended opportunities of sensuous enjoyment happens also to be the real motive behind the formulation of the other ‘forms’ of the empiricist’s ‘saved’ existence. The grossness of the ideal of liberation is fully unmasked when one is told that the salvationist’s “final” form is to become the equal of Godhead by merging with the Object of his worship!
It is to this unnatural and profane position that the unchecked speculations of the mentalists are logically bound to lead in the long run. Thakur Haridas ascribes the grossness of the ideal to the attitude of the empiric thinker, the insatiable desire for sensuous pleasure.
The desire to enjoy is categorically different from, and wholly incompatible with, the desire to serve, to love. If one feels a real desire to serve Krishna he would lose all taste for his own enjoyment. All impurity, unwholesomeness and misery are fortunately and mercifully ordained by the Lord as the inevitable consequence of the insatiable desire for selfish enjoyment. But the soul who turns away from immediate enjoyment by considerations of greater prospective enjoyment in the sequel, cannot also for that very reason realise the condition of loving devotion to the Feet of the Lord, however strongly impressed he may profess to be of the desirability of such a state. He is, no doubt, free to think that he really desires it; but at the same time he is wholly incapable of ever attaining to it by such desire. But, says Thakur Haridas, he may nevertheless attain to love for Krishna by the Chanting of the Holy Name, by the Grace of the Holy Name Himself. This is the special Dispensation for the Age which is so irremediably speculative; and there is no other way open to this Age for attaining to the loving service of Krishna.
Haridas refers to the texts of the Scriptures to prove the truth of his statements. This is the only proper use of the Shastras. The Shastras bear witness to the Truth of the realisations of all really pure souls.
There is one other fact which is worthy of our notice. The Pandits of the learned assembly, headed by Hiranya Mazumdar, the master of the house, took the side of Thakur Haridas. They not only strongly censured the conduct of Gopal Chakravarti in the open assembly but Hiranya Mazumdar thought it his duty to renounce all further connection with a Brahmana who could be guilty of an act of discourtesy to the devotee of Godhead. Nevertheless the Pandits and Mazumdar himself felt themselves involved in the sin of Gopal Chakravarti by the unhappy circumstance of their having had to hear most reluctantly the blasphemous words uttered by Gopal in their presence. For this sin the only expiation, prescribed by the Shastras, was to seek in all humility the pardon of Thakur Haridas, not for the offender, but for themselves. This is not mere courtesy, but an unavoidable necessity if one really wants to serve the Truth. Any association, deliberate or accidental, with untruth tends to obscure our vision of the Truth, Who is, indeed, a very Jealous Master. Those who are disposed to serve the Truth with causeless, loving devotion, throw to the winds all considerations of ignorant propriety or ignorant justice and are never satisfied by serving the Truth by all their senses at all times and in all circumstances. By the grace of Thakur Haridas this instinct of loving devotion actually manifested itself in the conduct of those who had listened with faith to the Absolute Truth from his pure lips.
Sri Raghunathdas Goswami was a child at this time. He used to visit the Thakur in his hut during his stay at Chandpur. The boy was the fortunate recipient of the mercy of Thakur Haridas. This is considered by Sri Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami as the real cause of Raghunath Das’s subsequent unique devotion to the Feet of Sri Chaitanya. The mercy of a sadhu acts equally on all persons, irrespective of age, sex or condition—all of whom have an equal chance of being benefited by associating with a real sadhu. The interests of the soul are not capable of being adversely affected by any worldly conditions. The boy’s soul has no defect of immaturity any more than that of an old man the advantage of maturity. Such maturity or immaturity has no relevancy in one’s associating with a sadhu. The boy’s soul, equally with the soul of the old man, may or may not be disposed to listen to the words of a sadhu for the genuine purpose of acting up to the same. It is as necessary for a child to associate with a sadhu as for an adult; but in neither case can one be sure of obtaining the mercy of the sadhu with whom he may choose to associate. The sadhu is kind to one who is really inclined to serve Godhead. It is the function of a sadhu to foster one's inclination for the service of the Lord by means of his conduct and words. The articulated sound is, however, the sadhu’s unambiguous weapon to fight all un-Godliness. It should puzzle the muddled brain of the whole race of self-conceited empiricists to understand why and how the sadhu need have no other work except talking about almost anything to whom he likes. Any person who is spoken to by a sadhu, even for the tiny space of a second, has every chance of attaining the real object of life which is unattainable by infinite endeavour by any other method. Nay, it is our duty to listen to a real sadhu, if we are fortunate enough to meet him, in preference to all other duties, which are not only of secondary importance, but are a positive obstruction on the path of the highest and only good. End—Part III
All Glories to Lord Sri Krishna
All Glories to Lord Sri Krishna
Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, beyond Whom nothing exists and before Whom nothing is equal. Being and non-being, void and variety rest in Him and He is the Possessor of all opulences: wealth, fame, beauty, knowledge, strength and renunciation. He is the Goal of all seeking, the Maintainer of all existences, the well-wishing Friend to all living entities. And His loving Service is the highest state of bliss.
The Urge to Roar the Holy Name
The Urge to Roar the Holy Name
by Damodara das
The Earth was green and abundant
But very quiet, very sad;
Then by the urge of the devotees
The subterranean rocks and fires
Began to rumble, then to roar
The Holy Names of God;
The whole Earth sang like a bell
And was happy at last:
Pink and silver flowers sprouted
On every tree, every bush;
Devotees in iridescent golden robes
Danced on hillsides, chanting loudly,
And in temples incense burned
And sweet fruits were offered
To graceful Radha Krishna deities.
That was the power of The Name!
Damodara das Adhikary (Dan Clark)
Swami's Departure
Swami's Departure
by Brahmananda das Brahmachary
A girl who had been coming to Kirtan wants to be initiated 30 minutes before Swamiji is to leave for the airport. He says Yes, so while all the devotees are rushing about, making last minute preparations, Swamiji sits on his white sheet in his room, chanting the Lord’s Names on her beads, bringing another soul Back to Godhead, fulfilling his Master’s mission up to the last minute, serving Krishna always.
He emerges from His apartment, smiling, a transcendental mother who has just delivered another child into eternal life. As he has done so many times before, he descends the stairs, taking each step gracefully, and sweeps across the courtyard—a young bride going to join her beloved. Entering the temple, before the painting of Guru Maharaj he offers his obeisances, prostrating himself on the floor, humbly, as an atom of His Lotus Feet. And, walking to the waiting taxi, he embraces Achyutananda, and then Gargamuni, who stoops to touch his forehead to the pavement.
Some devotees have already left by subway, and some by our chariot, and some ride with him in the taxi. Brahmananda sits in the front crying, and Swamiji reaches over and slaps him on the back—a father giving his loving son support, a pal, and Rayrama only rivets his eyes to Swami, ever-attentive, and Kirtanananda, sparkling, sits beside the most beautiful man in the world.
Swami says in the taxi, “There is no question of separation. The sound vibration fixes us up together, even though the material body may not be there. What do we care for this material body? Just go on chanting HARE KRISHNA, and we will be packed up together. You will be chanting here, and I will be chanting there, and this vibration will circulate around this planet.”
And Swamiji says, “I may be going, but Guru Maharaj and Bhaktivinode are there. I have asked them to kindly take care of all of you, my transcendental children. The grandfather always takes care of the children much better than the father. Do not fear.”
And Swamiji says, “I think this is what Krishna desires. I have come to you, but now in this old age I may be going there to Vrindaban, and you may be coming there to me and be trained up, and we will spread this movement all over the world. Rayrama—you will go to England. Brahmananda—you want to go to Japan or Russia? That’s all right. “
And Swamiji says, “When Kirtanananda sees Vrindaban, he will not be able to understand how I could have left that place to come to this place. It is so nice. There are no motor cars there like here, rushing Whoosh! Whoosh! and smelling. Only there is HARE KRISHNA. Everybody, always chanting. Thousands and thousands of temples. I will show you, Kirtanananda. We will walk all about there, and I will show you.”
And Swamiji says, “I can understand you feeling separation. I am feeling for my Guru Maharaj.”
As the cab pulls up to the terminal, the chariot also pulls up behind it, and devotees pour out, chanting, cymbals clashing, chanting HARE KRISHNA HARE RAMA, into the Air India terminal. And the ticket man runs out from behind his protective counter and demands excitedly, “What is the meaning of this?” “We want to ride in your airplane,” one devotee says. “Oh, yes, yes. I see,” says the man. “Air India?” asks Swamiji. “El-Al?” says the man, misunderstanding, thinking the robed Brahmacharys to be Arabs of some kind. “El-Al is over …” “No, Air India. We want to go to India.” “Oh, yes, yes. I see.”
And Kirtanananda stands at the counter, while Swamiji sits in a nearby chair chanting; dispatching all the paper business, Kirtanananda a beautiful young American Brahmachary in his black suit and red tie and his budding flag. He gives the man his passport, and the man looks at the identification picture taken two years ago of a bearded, run-down youth and now at this beautiful Brahmachary standing before him. “Are you sure you are Keith Gordon Ham?” “That was taken before I met the Swami. I have changed.” “Yes, yes. I see.”
Upstairs we all go to the lounge. The milling people spread apart, and Swamiji sits in a chair, and all his disciples nestle together at His feet. “Kirtanananda, why not play the record? They will enjoy.” And Swamiji sits and looks at all the awe-struck people and smiles his unforgettable, oceanic smile. So the portable phonograph is set up and HARE KRISHNA, HARE RAMA is vibrated, filling what was a lounge with Sat-Chit-Ananda. The devotees dance and sing, and Swamiji, enthroned, just smiles contentedly.
When the record ends, Hansaduta asks, “Should we collect?” “Why not?” says Swamiji. So Hansaduta jumps up and says, “Our mission is to spread Krishna Consciousness. We have a temple in New York. We are always badly in need of money. Please help us.” And a solitary soldier steps foward and offers Hansaduta his hat, so Hansaduta goes around to all the people that are waiting, standing by the bar, drinking and smoking intoxicants, killing both time and themselves, and allows them to benefit by sacrificing for God’s service, and the soldier’s hat becomes filled with dollars and coins.
And Swamiji says, “Our traveling is very auspiciously beginning. We had a nice Kirtan, and we had a nice collection. It is all Krishna’s Mercy.” And a young airport exec-on-the-move rushes over and says that collections are not allowed in the terminal, while the bar’s cash register rings. “But you are collecting,” says Brahmananda. “Yes, this is the Age of Kali,” says Swami.
The other side of the record is played, and the devotees cry and cry. Swamiji leans over and looks into Goursundar’s pained eyes and says, “Everything all right?” in the way that only Swamiji can say it, which automatically makes everything all right. And Swamiji turns to admire steadfast Rupanuga. “You look just like Rupa Goswami. Very beautiful.” “Himavati, you must come to Vrindaban and carry a water pot on your head like those Indian girls there in the picture. Can you learn? That will be nice. Nice young village girls.” “You look beautiful, Swamiji,” says Brahmananda. “Oh? No trace of disease?” asks Swamiji. “No, no. You’re beautiful. Kirtan makes it go away.” “That’s all right.” And then Swamiji says, “When Vivekananda came to this country his picture was taken with so many old ladies. I have seen it circulated in India.” And Swamiji smiles knowingly.
Suddenly the time arrives for Swamiji to leave. The disciples prostrate themselves, declaring their obeisances. Swamiji arises and pats them on the head—a mother blessing her brood. Swamiji goes to silent and sad Jadurani and clasps her chin with his kind hand. “You are doing very nicely. You go on doing your painting work. It is a great service you are doing. Krishna will be pleased.” Then he glides out the door, and the devotees swarm after him like protective drone bees following their queen. The devotees try to get past the gate and go with their Master, but the guard prevents them. Adwaita sees a door that promises the observation deck, but which is barred by a shiny steel turnstile, demanding a dime. The devotees duck under and jump over the gate, like an army storming a barricade.
Outside, a gentle rain is washing the airfield, and the devotees race across the wet deck; and there, below, are Swamiji and Kirtanananda walking across the field! The devotees scream KRISHNA! KRISHNA! Swamiji turns and waves and then climbs the movable stairway; on the top he turns and uplifts his arms, pausing for a long moment, blessing his transcendental children, standing there, majestic, having come to this iron land and sown the seed of HARE KRISHNA, a space-age Narada Muni, saffroned and beautiful—Gouranga!
Our Master, our Friend, our Father, our Mother, our Child, our Sweetheart is gone! The devotees cry frantically; they can only utter HARE KRISHNA! A pack of madmen, not caring for anything. Loving, chanting, increasing the ocean of transcendental bliss; jumping up and down, gorging themselves with the taste of the full nectar which is their only desire. Bhaktas, the greatest of all yogis. And out pops Kirtanananda from inside the plane onto the platform, and he stands there and dances to HARE KRISHNA—dances while all around him are the whines of the great airliners and the scurry of the attendent vehicles and the scampering ground crews; the flashing lights and the evening rain. Dancing, arms uplifted, beseeching the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the devotees dance with him, their Prabhu, tears of Love decorating their eyes, flowing in torrents, all of us in ecstasy. A stewardess reaches out of the plane and taps Kirtanananda on the shoulder several times before he realizes it, and he dances into the plane, and the plane is sealed.
The motors whine, the tail flaps move, the lights flash, and the devotees scream and cry, Damodar growling out HARE KRISHNA, HARE RAMA, and Adwaita clashing his cymbals wildly like a machine running out of control. The devotees pull back as the exhaust blasts out from the plane, but Jadurani stays there, the smoke and the gas and the heat singeing her face; dancing, choking HARE KRISHNA, HARE RAMA. With a great roar the airliner moves forward, and the devotees rush to the railing and then run down the deck, screaming KRISHNA! KRISHNA! as the plane moves away from its roost into the night, and becomes only a distant light.
The devotees wait and watch. It has stopped raining. Govinda says that raindrops are the tears that the Gopis are shedding for their Krishna, and we can understand that. The devotees wait and wait, but they cannot see the plane. Their eyes are not able to see it, but they know it is there. And the devotees wait and watch until one devotee says Let’s go back, and they walk off reluctantly, looking behind, trying to see but not being able to see. And the next morning at Kirtan Brahmananda reads:
I do not know anyone except Krishna as my Lord, and He shall remain as such even if He handles me roughly in His embrace; or He may make me broken-hearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything, but He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally.
Krishna and the Vedic View
Krishna and the Vedic View
The Swami Responds
Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,
I’ve read that your Krishna Consciousness is a non-sectarian science of the soul. How is it, then, that you follow some particular concept of God—Krishna rather than a more universal concept, such as the One, or the All-Pervading Light? I like your movement very much, but I do feel this to be a clear contradiction in your philosophy. Yours truly,
Owen Darcy

My dear Mr. Darcy,
Thank you for your interest, and for your question also. I assure you that Krishna is not a concept: He is the Supreme, Original Person. Everything that exists is His energy, and He is the sole Energetic. He pervades His energy because He has complete and limitless control over it. All that exists, then, is of Him, from Him, possessed, pervaded and maintained by Him—therefore He is the One, All-Pervading, and the Resting Ground of the Universes. But He is more even than this. He is thus held to be an Individual: the Whole is more than the sum of the parts. This omnipotence is called the Lord’s simultaneously one and different Nature.

Dear Swami,
I have always read that self-realization can only be attained by cutting oneself off from human society. Do you agree with this? Thank you,
Jereld Penne

Dear Mr. Penne,
No, I don’t agree. In India also this was long held to be true but my Spiritual Master, Sri Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati taught that one can use the implements of modern civilization for the service of the Lord, and thus attain to the highest perfection. This was his great contribution. In the Bhagavad Gita, as well, Lord Sri Krishna says that he who preaches the message of God to his fellow men is the most dear devotee (Chaps. XVIII, verse 68). One must, of course, be among one’s fellow men in order to do this.

Dear Swami,
Is Krishna really Nirvana?
Thank you,
William Guttenroth

Dear Mr. Guttenroth,
Nirvana is the negation of material life; Krishna is the positive joy of spiritual existence.

Dear Swami,
Your philosophy states that the soul or Self is eternal, and that God, the Supreme Self, is also eternal. If this is so, then how is God to be considered the Creator ?
Mary Welch

Dear Miss Welch,
Creator means the Source, and creation means the emanation from that Source. The Creator and the creation are both eternal—but the creation depends upon the Creator, and not vice versa. It is like the sun and the sunlight. They are always together, but the sun is supreme and independent, while the sunlight is subordinate. Still, they are not separable, as we are eternally inseparable from God.
Ever your well-wisher,
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Hare Krishna
Hare Krishna
Join us in Kirtan—the ecstasy of
Krishna Consciousness—at our temples:
Boston, Massachusetts—95 Glenville Avenue, Allston
Tel: 542-7910
Los Angeles, Cal.—5364 West Pico Boulevard
Tel: 937-9556
Montreal, Canada—3720 Park Avenue
Tel: 854-6541
New York City—26 Second Avenue
Tel: 674-7428
San Francisco—518 Frederick Street
Tel: 731-9671
Sante Fe—411 B West Water Street
Kirtan is held regularly on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings at 7:00; and every morning at 7:00 in all Krishna Consciousness temples.
by Krishna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva
The original and genuine commentary on Vedanta philosophy by the author of the Vedanta Himself, Vyasdeva is now available in English with an authorized commentary by Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta.
The Srimad Bhagwatam is the post-graduate study of the Bhagavad Gita, or the Science of Krishna. This book of transcendental knowledge contains information of classical Hindu culture, philosophy, sociology, economics, politics, aesthetics and Divine Love.
This unique edition of Srimad Bhagwatam has been greatly appreciated by all learned societies of philosophy and theosophy and approved by the Indian State and Central Government. Price: $16.80 for 3 volumes (1200 pages). Postage paid by the Society.
Available from the International Society For Krishna Consciousness, 26 Second Avenue, New York, New York, 10003.
KIRTAN In San Francisco
Rejoicing in the pure consciousness of Krishna, the Perfect One—this is the final unending delight.
Dancing to the Names of God—singing the Names of God—this is true ecstasy, eternal awakening to Self—and to what lies beyond Self.
Krishna the Cowherd Boy, Krishna the Baby, Krishna the Source of all that exists—Krishna is our Lord, the Refuge of the Universes.
Join us for Krishna Kirtan—the joyful chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra—in San Francisco at 518 Frederick Street, 7 AM or 7 PM daily.
Swami A.C. Bhaktivedanta invites you to dive deeply into the ocean of ecstasy which lies just beyond the mind. Chant HARE KRISHNA with the Swami on this unique record album—KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS!
Hear the sacred sounds that have been vibrated by the banks of the Ganges since before history itself. Accompanied by tamboura, harmonium, drums and cymbals, the Swami will draw you personally into SAMADHI—the supreme perfection of Yoga.
Also on this record album, Swami Bhaktivedanta explains the true meaning and glory of the HARE KRISHNA MANTRA. $3.25
26 Second Avenue
N.Y.C., 10003
On Chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare: These sixteen words, comprising in themselves the essence of Krishna Consciousness, have been sung by the holy men of India since time immemorial. Today, the Maha, or Hare Krishna, Mantra has been found on the lips of the leaders of the new generation movements in East and West alike; it has been called the “Hippie anthem;” and it has been explained endlessly—and mostly inaccurately. Here, Swami Bhaktivedanta, who first delivered the chant to the West, explains the real meaning and purpose of the Hare Krishna Mantra. $.25
Essence of the Vedas:
Bhagavad Gita As It Is
Widely recognized as the compendium of all Vedic wisdom, the Bhagavad Gita is much read but little understood. Here the Swami—a devotee of Lord Sri Krishna in the line of disciplic succession from Arjuna—offers a classic introduction to this sublime Scripture, and reveals the true meaning of Lord Krishna’s Appearance in this world. $.50
Two Essays
In “Who Is Crazy?” and “Krishna the Reservoir of Pleasure,” the Swami explains the illusion of materialism, and the process of acquiring true vision, unconditioned by the effects of material Nature. And, too, he offers the guidelines for life in perpetual bliss—total samadhi—Krishna Consciousness. $.50
On the Back Cover
On the Back Cover
In order to establish the principles of Devotional Service in this Age of Discord, the Lord appeared upon the Earth near the close of the Fifteenth Century, in the Form of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Chaitanya displayed in Himself the perfection of Krishna Consciousness, and it was He Who urged the singing of the Holy Names of God as the single most effective means for the development of spiritual life in modern times. Because He is a complete incarnation of the Supreme Godhead, Krishna, He is known as Krishna Chaitanya. Sri Nityananda Prabhu is the direct manifestation of the Lord, His eternal Companion, sometimes known as Balarama-Nityananda. Together, these Two spread the Samkirtan movement throughout India, and today its momentum continues, until, as Lord Chaitanya predicted, every city, farm and village of the world will ring with the sound of God’s praises.

Back to Godhead Magazine #17, 1968
This is undoubtedly the most naive editorial you will read about the rioting at Columbia University:
Newsweek (May 6) reported: "In the office of [Columbia President] Kirk some students … broke into his stock of liquor and cigars …" But are they really to blame for imitating their seniors? If the foremost person of such a great university is engaged in smoking and drinking, it is hardly to be wondered at that his students tend toward licentiousness and disrespect. A teacher ought to be a paragon of the virtues he extolls, or at least ardent in his efforts. (And, what’s more, he ought to be extolling virtue.) When he is himself immoral (and drinking liquor is every bit as immoral as smoking marijuana), then he can hardly be expected to elevate those under his charge.
The present state of chaos in education throughout the world is no more than the natural result of the aims (or, rather, aimlessness) of the modern educational system. And this is no more than a reflection of the aimlessness of today’s civilization. On paper, in text books, it would seem that Mankind has just about reached the penultimate peak of knowledge, pleasure, comfort, security and power that he has ever known throughout countless millennia of evolutionary existence. And what we may call the older generation (those who lived through the Depression and fought the Second World War) are certain that this is so. Only the young, who are naive enough to wonder why their elders don’t live up to the pretty ideals they preach, and why their lives are actually wretched and unhappy, seem to recognize the facts.
For although modern civilization is a boom on paper, it’s a bust in practical terms. Even the naked primitives of the forest and desert are happier than modern civilized man, and it would be difficult to find an era anywhere in history as full of discontent as this one. Life carried on simply for the unlimited gratification of material and temporary senses is not worth living, and has no capacity to satisfy the intelligent human being. Without a transcendental purpose—without a direction toward final answers, toward the eternal and the Absolute—the human mission must always go unfulfilled, and human desire must always stand unsatiated and restless. Life not devoted to eternal fulfillment can only be devoted to death as its ultimate goal.
Civilization must serve the higher purposes of human life if it is not to decline into bestiality. And education must be made to lead the young members of society upward toward perfection in self-knowledge—in other words, toward the confrontation with, and love of, God. Unless these conditions are met and accounted for—unless the schools can be elevated above the standard of factories for producing factory workers—both education and civilization will continue to degenerate to the lowest stages of disorder, ineffectiveness and hopelessness.
And, above all, the men who govern and control education ought at least to be required to keep their personal lives free of vice and corruption, and should themselves be engaged in the higher pursuits of human consciousness. Or is there a double standard for students and teachers? Or are we so debased today that we don’t expect austerity from those who claim the respect and hold the positions of austere men? Or is the "advancement" of the human condition just an advertising slogan?
The aimlessness of materialistic civilization is again nicely demonstrated in the rising crime rate so much in today’s headlines in the United States. It seems never to occur to those who worry about these things that, instead of spending millions more on police to crush, and settlement houses to palliate, they might better direct their energies toward making more sensible laws.
It is the Law that makes criminals by defining what is right and what is wrong, what is legal and illegal. The present abominable state of near-chaos and utter disrespect for law and order is the result of stupid, impractical statutes created by businessmen for the sake of keeping and evolving nothing more than economic prosperity. But human life is meant for more than amassing bank balances, drinking Coke and staring dumbly at a television screen. Human life must target its energies upon the loving service of God if it is to be rewarding and happy. And if the laws of society disregard the Supreme Lord and the principles of religion, and ignore this single valid aim of civilization, then they can never be practical or successful.
Man cannot live as a dot on a statistical chart. Man cannot live as a mere economic unit, acting the role of an ant in a hill. Unless the deeper, more genuine and, ultimately, far more pressing need of man—the need to approach and know God, the Absolute Truth—can be fulfilled, then society will not be stable. And any attempt to regulate society simply for the sake of good business, though it may seem practical, will never work.
A note on yogis:
Those who are engaged in spending sums of money for Yoga lessons, private mantras, meditation courses and the like should stop at least once a day and ask themselves what it’s all about. What is Yoga? What is its goal? If you don’t know, then you must not know what you’re doing, or what you’re paying for.
The real Yoga system, as it comes down to us from the sages of ancient India, was meant to lead the practitioner to the stage of Samadhi, or trance, the mind having been fixed upon God in the Form of Four-Armed Narayana within the heart. The aim is to break all attachment with the bodily concept of life, and to identify oneself correctly as a pure, spiritual living entity, rather than as a product of material Nature. This is self-knowledge, or self-realization. It is a very difficult stage to attain, and impossible for one whose mind is concentrated on losing weight, retaining or increasing virility, achieving good health, or developing some occult powers.
At one time, the men of the Western world made their ways to the East—some in order to loot it, some to preach religion there. Now the trend seems to be reversed, but modern values being what they are, it’s difficult to know the exploiters from the missionaries. Before paying out hard-earned money or giving away precious time, be discriminating, and examine what you’re going into. If the goal is not pure consciousness, Krishna or God Consciousness, then it is not Yoga, but nonsense.
This man has changed the history of the world. Do you know him?
He’s A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the Acharya (Holy Teacher) from India, who came to the U. S. in 1965 and touched off a major revolution.
The Swami’s revolution affects not the external things of the world. It strikes at the very root of being—at consciousness. He has called his movement Krishna Consciousness.
You owe it to yourself to know what A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami is saying to the people of America and India. These are his writings:
Every serious student of Yoga, Transcendental Meditation and the mystic sciences of the Orient looks to the Bhagavad Gita as the single imperative item on his bookshelf. Find out what the Swami, whose translation of the Gita will be published by Macmillan Co. in October, 1968, has to say about this Scripture and Its immortal, urgent message. price: 50c
The Maha or Hare Krishna Mantra has been found on the lips of the leaders of the new generation movements in East and West alike; it has been called the “Hippie anthem;” and it has been explained endlessly—and always inaccurately. Here the Swami, who first delivered the chant to the West, explains the real meaning and purpose of the Hare Krishna Mantra. price: 25c
Sanity, self, society—and how to perfect them. Mantra Yoga, the scientific writings of the great Hindu mystics, and the eternal pleasure principle. price: 50c
43 East Tenth Street
New York City, 10003
On the Cover
On the Cover
The Battle of Kuruksetra
Modern historians differ as to the age of the various Vedic Scriptures, but the Scriptures themselves seem to agree that they were formally compiled five thousand years ago. Vyasadeva, the greatest of great sages, took the vast and voluminous teachings of the Absolute, which had been handed down by word of mouth since time beyond measure, and committed everything to writing for the benefit of modern man. It is on this literature that the Hindu religions of later times have been based. One of the more important of the works thus handed down to us is the Mahabharata, the chronicle of the last ages of Earth up to the commencement of the present era, called Kali Yuga, or the Age of Dissension.
The most significant event in the previous age was the Appearance of the Supreme Lord, Sri Krishna, upon this planet, and the display by Him of His eternal Qualities, Pastimes, and Paraphernalia. Among His other acts, the Lord took part in the Kurukshetra War as Charioteer for His beloved friend Arjuna, and it is engaged in this activity that He is pictured on this month’s cover.
Unwilling to take the part of an active combattant, Sri Krishna offered to lend His army to one side in the conflict, and His Personal friendship to the other. Arjuna’s enemies chose God’s energy, while the devoted Bowman chose God’s friendship. This is a lesson to Mankind, one he seems never to comprehend: for it was Arjuna who triumphed at Kurukshetra, after eighteen days of bloody fighting. Thus the great devotee broke the power of the atheist King Duryodhana, and established the just reign of his own brother, Yudhisthira.
Yudhisthira’s nephew, Maharaj Parikshit, was the last ruler of this world before the onset of Kali Yuga. In a sense, the Battle of Kurukshetra marked the real ending of Dwapara Yuga, the Middle Age, though the virtues of both Yudhisthira and his nephew staved off the darkness for some time.
More important than the Battle or the flux of the Ages of Earth, however, is the transcendental message of love, devotion, peace and supreme glory which is revealed in the great dialog between Krishna and Arjuna which took place just before the onset of the fighting. This dialog is called The Bhagavad Gita. This is the science of the Eternal, which the Lord chose to deliver in this fashion at Kurukshetra, and one who studies this science, like Arjuna, will know “opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality,” and will stand beyond the clutches of Death. And, again like Arjuna, the devotee by his love can engage the Supreme Lord to steer him through all danger.
Book Review
Book Review
The Saint Who Wasn’t
by Rayarama Das
SIDDHARTHA, a novel by Hermann Hesse; 153 pps; New Directions Books, $1.15.
SIDDHARTHA could only have been written by a European scholar, and even though the setting is India, circa the start of the 5th Century B. C., and the characters are all Indians and, in fact, even though the Message and Meaning of the book are suposed to be timeless and without designation—every line and page seems to crackle with European Heaven, European Hell, European misconceptions about both Vedic doctrine and Hindu everyday life, and above all, European cynicism regarding “reality.”
To begin with, Hermann Hesse’s conception of the Hindu era in which his characters live is straight from an encyclopedia. There are, it would seem, two streams of religious or philosophical thought through which Siddhartha wades during his lifetime: one is the polytheism of his family and the established Brahminical order; the other is the impersonal “merging” into the Absolute, dear to the ascetics. There is never a trace of Vaishnavism in SIDDHARTHA the book, nor the least tendency toward worship of one Supreme Being within the heart of Siddhartha the character. This is no small omission, for we must understand that Vaishnavism—the Devotional Service of God—has always been and remains even today the mainstream of Vedic thought.
Except for scholars. The scholars have taken Sankaracharya as the greatest thinker in Vedic history, and they have developed and lauded his theories regarding the impersonal, immutable, undifferentiated nature of the Absolute with such fervor, that the people of the West—who are, after all, at the mercy of the scholarly sect—have come to believe that Sri Sankara’s teaching is THE Hindu philosophy. Other than the sublime impersonal, the scholars see only a bewildering pantheon of “many gods,” which seems to be such an annoyance to them that they’ve never bothered to look into that “pantheon” very seriously or open-mindedly.
Beginning with F. Max Muller, and even going back before him, the prejudices and arrogances of the narrowly scholastic community have filtered out the devotional aspects of Vedic culture in bringing the Sacred texts of India to the West. And so it isn’t surprising that Hermann Hesse—who clearly is an armchair mystic—should seemingly know nothing of the monotheistic sects which form the real living core of Hindu philosophy; and it’s also not surprising that God the Person barely gets a nod in Hesse’s book. This is, however, a meter of the superficiality of the man’s “search” for Truth—and the search of Siddhartha and the search of Siddhartha’s creator can hardly be separated. Otherwise, there would be no scope in a magazine of philosophy for the review of a novel. We aren’t interested here in aesthetics, style, or even imagery. We’re simply anxious to approach the Truth, the Absolute.
Why review SIDDHARTHA at all, then? The reason is that the book has had a tremendous influence upon people young and old—but especially young—who are themselves in search of Truth, or at least of something better than hard-rock, aimless materialism. For Siddhartha the character is a searcher, a discontent, a wanderer, always anxious to find something final—peace. (And isn’t that our old friend European War-Weariness dominating Siddhartha’s thoughts? Maybe not. We all do want peace, some way or other.) And in this sense Siddhartha is very much representative of modern man, and, far more, of modern youth.
Yet the book SIDDHARTHA is not written as a probe, but rather as a dogma. The dogma? Reject all dogmas. And in this SIDDHARTHA the book fails to fulfill any meaningful purpose in human society, and fails furthermore in living up to the faith of those who may read it with the hope of finding a direction there for themselves. For although, in his wanderings, Siddhartha studies with forest mendicants, and encounters none other than Lord Buddha Himself, he rejects them all for a life of sin. The moral here may escape you, but that’s only the half of it. The other half is that the author himself never really lets us in on what Lord Buddha is teaching. There’s a great deal of talk about how He looks—holy fingers, holy hands, etc.—but hardly more than the most superficial glance at His doctrine. The same with the forest mendicants. Their teachings are refuted, but never examined. How they look we are told, and also how they suffer, but not what they believe in.
The real principle of spiritual understanding—like the pursuit, practically speaking, of any branch of knowledge—is to hear the teachings of a realized soul, an expert. Knowledge is acquired by hearing. To walk out of a classroom because a teacher doesn’t appear to be knowledgeable would be an act of awful folly. And to accept or reject spiritual knowledge because someone looks “holy,” or doesn’t, is also foolish. Yet this is as far as Hermann Hesse lets us go in understanding any philosophy but his own. Even the conversation between Siddhartha and Gotama Buddha is one-sided, and all the Buddha really gets to say is to watch out against being too clever. At least He looks perfect.
The plot of the book is simple if perplexing: Siddhartha has a restless impulse to fulfill himself, and, feeling that he’s exhausted the store of knowledge that his father and home-town teachers can give him, he sets off into the forest with a band of wandering ascetics. After some time, this life also seems to be leading him nowhere, and so he leaves the ascetics to go to see Gotama Buddha, Whose reputation is at this time stirring all India. But one look at the Buddha (looks count for everything here, please remember), and Siddhartha knows that he can only gain wisdom through his own experience. In a chapter which is oddly entitled “The Awakening,” Siddhartha leaves the Buddha, and then wanders off into—sin. Yes, having come to the conclusion that he’s every bit as good as Lord Buddha, Siddhartha sinks into worldliness. There’s no mention of the Buddha falling into worldliness, and the reader is left to wonder where any equality between these two can exist.
After a life of sensuousness, in which he accomplishes nothing, Siddhartha realizes how low he has fallen, and leaves this situation too. He comes at length to a river, and to a ferryman who has apparently reached perfection by listening to the gurgle of the waters. Here Siddhartha stays, and here he too reaches “perfection.”
Throughout this book, beginning with the last sentence of the very first paragraph, Siddhartha is constantly having “awakenings,” as the author calls them. Immediately afterward, however, Siddhartha drops like a torpedo into sin and nonsense—“Sansara.” What passed for an awakening to Herr Hesse was clearly his own invention. That first paragraph says, for example, that the hero “Already … knew how to recognize Atman within the depth of his being, indestructible, at one with the universe.” Casually, just like that. Again this is a display of the author’s ignorance of the science of the Absolute, for Atman is Self, and Siddhartha at this point is only a boy, and hasn’t even yet begun his search for himself.
Nor, as he rolls into full gear, does he ever really succeed in his quest. Leaving the Buddha, with that assumption of equality between them (a pretension never once mitigated by a tinge of humility throughout this book), Siddhartha goes, not to heaven, but to a harlot’s bed. He falls into sin, and here the philosophy of Hermann Hesse really begins to reveal itself. Like Rasputin, he seems to have felt that sin is good for a man. As good as virtue, anyway. At the end, fully enlightened, Siddhartha says (among a great many other unfortunate things): “… it seems to me that everything that exists is good—death as well as life, sin as well as holiness, wisdom as well as folly.” “…It was necessary for me to sin, … I needed lust, … I had to strive for property … in order to learn to love the world … to leave it as it is, to love it and be glad to belong to it.”
Yes, you’re better off just looking, just staying at the surface, if you want anything “holy” out of this. For, to follow this philosophy through, we must assume that sinfulness teaches us—after some time, of course—to “love the world.” But, according to the great Teachers whom Hesse is aping, loving the world was the very cause of sin—and neither the one nor the other has ever been highly esteemed by the Buddha, Lord Jesus, Lord Chaitanya, or any other sacred Teacher of validity. What’s more, by Herr Hesse’s definition, we should assume that Adolf Hitler—the greatest sinner of our time if ever there was a sinner—was really our greatest saint, the world’s number one lover. Too bad we didn’t know it at the time.
The idea that one can come to wholly accept the world exactly as it is, and live peacefully in this way, was not new with Hermann Hesse. Nor has the failure of such a philosophy in practical terms discouraged increasingly more men—today especially—to accept this doctrine. Yet this is a concept of life which must ever be wholly intellectual, for one who actually did accept everything would have nothing to say to anyone; and if that were so, books like SIDDHARTHA would never have come into existence, and we’d never have heard of such a philosophy in the first place.
To help the world, to live happily in this life or any other, to live at all, one must act, and action means discrimination between this and that, up and down, left and right, good and evil. Those who have no capacity to discriminate because of a lack of knowledge or of real values on the Absolute platform, have two choices to make: they can go with things, or pretend that it’s all illusion. From the latter. Siddhartha goes to the former state of consciousness, and readers of the book may find themselves at a loss to figure out whether anything was accomplished after all.
Indeed the (again ludicrously one-sided) dialog between Siddhartha and his lifelong friend Govinda at the end of this book is an item-by-item refutation of every principle of religion, morality and spiritual life ever handed down by the great Teachers of Mankind. If such a philosophy of sin, laissez-faire, and atheism (“[I had] to learn to love the world, and no longer compare it with some kind of desired imaginary world, some imaginary vision of perfection …”) is popular and sells a lot of copies in an age when God is reputed to be dead (He certainly was for Hesse) and when moral decay is rotting human civilization like an unchecked cancer. no one should be surprised.
But popularity doesn’t certify Truth, and the intelligent reader should reject the rampant speculations and back-and-forth enlightenments—as well as the life of sin-virtue—which the book SIDDHARTHA recommends. Siddhartha may have come to love the world, but he certainly never reached knowledge of the Absolute or of himself, for his creator never had such knowledge to imbue him with. Yet there is an Absolute Truth, an Absolute Knowledge, a Supreme Person—and it is unfortunate to say the least that so many people are deluded into wasting their precious time sentimentalizing over a specious display such as this, rather than take up the real study of God as it is found in the Scriptures Hesse so blithely refutes. If only he would have studied them first. Who knows that he mightn’t have had an “awakening” or two himself.
Rayarama Das Brahmachary
by Harsharani Devi
Dear Swamiji
I offer my respects unto the Lotus
Feet of my Spiritual Master,
Who is always herding cows
In Goloka Vrindaban with His
Dearmost Friend, Krishna.
Sometimes He is running barefoot
Through the forest chasing cows
And sometimes He is hiding behind
A tree waiting for Krishna to
Return with the spoils from
Mother Yasoda’s butter pots.
I offer my respects unto the Lotus
Feet of my Spiritual Master, Who is
Always thinking of what He can
Do in service of His Dearmost
Friend Krishna and never wanting
Anything in return.
Harsharani Devi Dasi
Krishna's Dishes
Krishna's Dishes
The woods are so dark and rich and deep and calling me tonight. “Come out. Come out of the temple and walk amidst our splendor,” say the trees. The moon is a white sliver and it rocks me back and forth: “Come out, come out, come out and see the twinkling heavens.” The sunset burns the hill it sets behind—so warm, so golden. There has never been such a sunset or such air. Have I ever smelled the air so pure as on this night? So clear, so soft, so fragrant… Ah, but I must wash some dishes for Krishna… In that small task all the wonders of this night are revealed to me. I am so fortunate to be washing Krishna’s dishes…
Himavati Devi Dasi
The Butter Thief
The Butter Thief
by Satsvarupa Das
Lord Krishna
Blackish, plump
Standing on the shoulders
of His pals,
His two hands around the
covered bowl of butter
hanging on ropes from the ceiling,
has stolen my understanding.
Yasoda is ducking out the door.
He reaches two hands for the bowl.
The Selfsame One God Who descended
as the Hog, and Nosed out the Globe when the
Earth was put in a filthy place by demons,
The Same One Lord Who
As Nrisingha the half-man half-lion
Split apart a pillar and leaped
for grabbing demon Hiranakasipu
in His Nails of Lotus Palms,
has stolen my understanding.
Pious sage-monkeys of Vrindaban
reach out paws to
receive butter from His Hand.
He stands on the backs of His pals,
His arms held over His head,
hands around the butter-bowl.
All Glories to the Master of the Universe!
When is Krishna coming to steal my soul?
—Satsvarupa Das Brahmachary
The Return of Swamiji
The Return of Swamiji
by Madhavendra Das Brahmachary
April 17, 1968
John F. Kennedy Airport
Just hearing that Swamiji was coming back to New York, the devotees, having felt separation from their Spiritual Master, were filled now with so much bliss. Their joyful shouts of “Haribol!” filled the temple at Kirtan.
On the day Swamiji was to arrive, the temple was swarming with activity like a beehive. After morning Kirtan, Hansaduta and Brahmananda gave everyone some task to help prepare things. The brahmacharinis made garlands of flowers, and the brahmacharys cooked a feast. Others made a banner, cleaned the temple, arranged for transportation.
By noon all preparations were finished and the devotees took Prasadam, their spiritual food. Gargamuni called from San Francisco to say that Swamiji was on the plane, flying to us. In this way the Swami encircles the world with Krishna Consciousness.
A bus and a van arrived to take us to the airport. All the transcendental paraphernalia was loaded into the van. The devotees filed out of the temple, and a joyous Kirtan started. At this time many friends of the Society were arriving, anxious to meet Swamiji with us, and so there was a nice crowd.
Finally Brahmananda got everyone onto the bus. The caravan to Kennedy Airport began, a saffron-robed brahmachary driving a van of devotees, all chanting Hare Krishna along the Van Wyck Expressway. Arriving at the Airport, the devotees paraded into the American Airlines Terminal, before them a green-and-yellow banner displaying the Holy Names of God. Inside the Terminal, chairs were pushed aside and a rug was put on the floor. A garlanded painting of Radha-Krishna was set upon an easel, and surrounded by vases of flowers. In front of all this, candles and incense were lighted. Hansaduta, playing a mridangam drum, led Kirtan. A crowd of spectators and American Airlines officials watched as the devotees danced in ecstasy to the Holy Names of the Lord.
Finally Swamiji’s plane arrived, and the Swami stepped out into the Terminal Building and walked over to the seat prepared for him, as all the devotees offered their obeisances. Brahmananda, Purushottam, Rayarama, Balai, and Himavati offered garlands to him, and gasped with joy as Swamiji touched their heads in approval.
Then Swamiji was offered his khartals, and he led Kirtan. After this he lectured to the assembled people:

“God has got millions and trillions of Names,” he said. “Lord Chaitanya recommended that we chant the Name of God. He chanted Hare Krishna, and so we also chant Hare Krishna. But if you don’t like the Name Krishna, you can chant any Name of God that you have got. This chanting of the Lord’s Names is the only means to peace and prosperity in the world.”
Swamiji would have like to talk a little longer, but the Airline officials said they must prepare for the next flight, so everyone got up to leave.
There was a procession out of the airport, Annapurna and Kanchanbala strewing rosewater and rose petals in Swamiji’s path as he walked to the car followed by news reporters.
In the car, driving toward Manhattan, with its giant skyline flashing up above the horizon, the discussion turned to Maya, Illusion. “Maya seems to be getting stronger these days,” Mr. Kallman said, as he drove the Swami along.
Swamihi replied, “It’s not that we have to worry about Maya. It’s a question of how we are related to Maya.” Mrs. Kallman was sitting in the front seat with her husband and the Swamiji gave this example: “Mr. Kallman, if I relate to Mrs. Kallman as Mrs. Kallman, then the relationship is all right, is it not? But if I approach her not as Mrs. Kallman, then there must be some trouble.”
Swamiji was looking out of the car window, and he saw the Empire State Building looming over the city. “The situation of Maya is like the Empire State Building. It is very nice,” the Swami said. “One should look at the Empire Stated Building and think: It is a very nice building, if only it was used for Krishna’s purposes. Not that modern civilization is bad, but it should be used for Krishna’s purposes.”
He went on to say: “The achievements of modern civilization are like Zeros. So many nice things, all just like Zeros. There are so many Zeros, but they still only add up to Zero. But then, if One is added, all the Zeros have some value. That One that has to be added is Krishna. If Krishna is there, so many Zeros with One in front of them will add up to a very substantial accomplishment.”
Now they were in front of the temple. Swamiji got out of the car and went inside where all the devotees and friends of the Society were sitting. Upon seeing Swamiji, everyone bowed down to pay obeisances to him, and he went upstairs to his apartment.
Sitting in his room, many garlands still about his neck, Swamiji said: “Now I am home! I can never forget this apartment, because this is where I started my mission.” He was beaming happily, looking about the small three-room flat which his disciples had painted and cleaned only days before. “When I left, I was very much fearful that the Society would diminish. But instead, it has increased. I am very much pleased.” Swami gave Brahmananda and Rayarama a garland each, and come downstairs to speak at Kirtan. Our joy cannot be described in words or pictures or photos. The pure devotee was pleased. It was a most auspicious day.
To Rupamanjari, Who Knows the Heart of Lord Chaitanya
To Rupamanjari,
Who Knows the Heart of Lord Chaitanya
by Rupanuga Das
O Dear Gopis!
O purest of the Pure
So dear to Krishna,
Who can help you look for Him,
When suddenly He leaves
The Sacred Rasa Dance,
Black Cloud adorned with lightning,
Disappearing in the dark
Tangled wood.

O Dear Lalita, Visakha,
Kantchenbala, where did He go?
Did you see a hint of gold
Beyond those whispering trees, wet
With the shimmering drops of moonlight?

Watching for soft red sparks of ruby,
For lights of white pearl, always
Searching His Sweet Name,
Krishna, Krishna, Krishna!
Krishna, Krishna, Krishna?

Listening for His maddening Flute, and
The soft step of His Lotus Foot,
Red palm aglow in the quietly loving grass.
Filling your nostrils with the blissful
Cool night breeze, to catch
The warm Fragrance of Him,
Infinitely surpassing the essence
Of blue lotus and honey.

Seeking in every bower’s heart.
Ah, but RADHARANI knows
His hiding place.
Did you pass by the wonderful
Four-Armed Narayan, with
His Mace, Disk, Conch, and Lotus
Who tried with all His Might
To hold His disguise?
Yet two arms kept fading
Before the Glories of Radha’s Love,
Revealing a Beautiful Cowherd Boy,
Smiling, as He raised a flute
To His lips.
—Rupanuga Das Adhikary
Food for the Soul
Food for the Soul
by Himavati Devi Dasi
In Bhakti Yoga, all activities can be turned to spiritual advancement. This article describes how to spiritualize your eating—and enjoy ecstasy at every meal.
Krishna Consciousness is a way of life that is practiced twenty-four hours a day. It fulfills the needs of the spirit, the mind and the body. We are pure spirit soul encased in these material bodies: the subtle body of mind, and the gross body, of which the five senses are a part. The need of spirit is to become uncovered and return back to home, back to Godhead upon leaving this body. The way this is achieved is by chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra and by regulating the needs of the body, which are eating, sleeping, fearing and mating.
Surrender is the first step. Surrender to a pure soul, the Spiritual Master comes with chanting and hearing this Mantra, and eating Krishna Prasadam, food specially prepared and offered to the Lord, then distributed to friends and family. These two activities produce attachment to Krishna Consciousness.
Here we will discuss Krishna Prasadam. Prasadam is spiritual food because it has been offered to Lord Krishna through the chanting of the following mantras three times each in front of the picture or statue of the Deity:
Namah om Vishnupadaya Krishnapresthaya bhutale srimate Bhaktivedanta swamin iti namine.
Namo maha badanaya Krishna prema predayate Krishnaya Krishnachaitanya namine goura tvishe namah.
Namo brahmanya devaya go brahmana hitaya cha jagat hitaya Krishnaya Govindaya namo namah.
Krishna eats the food and then we take the remnants. The good taste of the food is thus enhanced, and the body and mind become healthy while the soul remains engaged in service to the Lord.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says that you may offer Him a leaf, a flower, some water, some fruit; and, if offered with love as a devotee of Krishna, then He will accept such an offering. Elsewhere in the Bhagavad Gita, He says that when something is given to Him in sacrifice, that activity is Him, and that He becomes the offering. So you can easily see that eating this Krishna Prasadam is most beneficial for making progress in Krishna Consciousness. Eating Prasadam is associating with Krishna Himself, just as chanting His Name is associating with Krishna, the Supreme Personality, the All-Blissful.
Prasadam is first of all prepared specifically for Krishna, in the way that He likes it. The Spiritual Master therefore gives all the recipes and methods of preparation to his disciples according to the system of “parampara” (disciplic succession), and so we may be sure that we are preparing what is acceptable to Krishna.
Everything used during preparation is clean. All fruits, vegetables, nuts, rice and other grains that can be washed are washed, and all utensils, pots and dishes are washed before using. Anything that drops on the floor is washed. The cook’s hands are kept clean. So, during preparation, don’t touch your hair, clothes, body, garbage can, floor, etc. Since the food is being cooked for Krishna there should be no tasting or smelling, except when urgently required.
When Prasadam is all prepared place on a nice metal (preferably silver) platter, along with yogurt and cold water in nice metal bowls. Place on your altar and offer to Lord Krishna. After chanting the mantras you may remove the food and “take” to your heart’s content.
Now you’re ready to cook for Krishna. Following are four recipes for a nice noon meal:
Food for Krishna: Recipes for the Transcendental Pleasure of the Lord
Food for Krishna:
Recipes for the Transcendental Pleasure of the Lord
by Yamuna devi dasi & Himavati devi dasi
Egg Plant Puki
1 lb. butter
1 tsp. cumin seed
1 tsp. salt
egg plant
¼ cup turmeric powder
¼ cup water
Melt butter in pan; add cumin seeds. Brown (don’t burn). Cut egg plant in wedges, dip into batter—made of turmeric powder, salt and water. Cover all sides of egg plant nicely. Then place in pan over medium heat to deep fry each side. Cook until soft all thru. Remove and drain in colander.
Dry Potatoes
Boil potatoes until cooked thru (test with knife). Peel, cut into large pieces and brown in a little butter and cumin seed, with a pinch of turmeric and salt.
Strawberries and Yogurt
Half cup plain yogurt (not skim milk) 4 strawberries cut up into little pieces and 4 teaspoons sugar, mix, serve cold.
(Fried Bread)
Make dough; 3 parts whole wheat flour to 1 part white flour and water as desired. Let stand, then knead to medium soft consistency (15 minutes at least). Make large balls (2-inch diameter) and roll out about 8 inches round so it’s nice and thick. Spread top with melted butter and fold in half. Roll out again, spread top with butter again, fold into quarter. Rollout again, then melt enough butter to fry one in a pan (medium low flame). Fry on each side, pressing with spoon turning frequently until it turns reddish. Then it’s done.
Perfection in Yoga
Perfection in Yoga
By Subal das Adhikary
In the Bhagavad Gita (6.2) Krishna defines Yoga as “linking oneself with the Supreme.” Yoga means to get into touch with the Supreme Lord. That Supreme Lord is Bhagavan Sri Krishna, as is stated in Srimad Bhagwatam (1.2.28):
The ultimate knowable object in the revealed Scriptures is Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead. The purpose of performing sacrifices is to please Him; the mystic paraphernalia are performed for realizing Him; all fruitive activities are ultimately rewarded by Him only. He is the Supreme knowledge, and all severe austerities are performed just to know Him. Religion means to do devotional service unto Him. And He is the Supreme Goal of life.
Vasudeva, Sri Krishna, is all-in-all. The whole purpose of this human form of life is to realize Him, and to re-establish our relationship with Him. Yoga is not meant for any other purpose, such as gaining mystic powers, recognition, wealth, or any other material benefits. The loving service of Govinda, Krishna, is itself the indescribable nectar to be derived from its practice.
And, of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshipping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in Yoga. (Bg. 6.47)
How does one go about achieving this relationship? In the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad Gita, Krishna gives an outline of the Yoga system, consisting of going to a secluded, sacred place; laying out a special seat; meditating, etc. And Arjuna, a great devotee, rejects it as impractical and unendurable. If Arjuna rejects this system, then who today can take it up? Actually, no one. Or, if we must yield a step for argument’s sake, perhaps one or two men out of billions. As for the rest of humanity, Yoga is not for them, as it is thus outlined. We are five thousand years into the Age of Kali, this Age of Chaos and Destruction. Man’s life span is shortened, he lives in surroundings which are unconducive to spiritual growth, and his mind is in turmoil. How can he hope to sit in meditation, controlling the mind and senses?
However, the factual perfection of Yoga is available to everyone, by chanting HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE, HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE . This is the simple and sublime method recommended by great authorities for this Age. By chanting this Maha Mantra, or the Great Chanting for Deliverance, one is immediately placed on the spiritual platform, surpassing all lower levels of existence. And Krishna is present before you. Krishna being Absolute, His Name is non-different from His Form, Pastimes, Entourage, or Abode. Through this chanting, one can experience the transcendental bliss derived from association with the Lord, and gain full knowledge of spiritual matters.
We are all servants by nature, and Krishna is the Master of everything by His Divine Nature. We are always serving Him, whether indirectly through the agency of His illusory energy, Maya; or directly under the guidance of His bona fide representative. Krishna Consciousness is the direct transcendental loving service of the Lord. It is not merely a method for achieving some higher goal: it is itself the perfection of all Yoga systems, the final goal of all life, and especially the goal of human life. The devotee desires no reward. Love of God is its own reward. He simply desires to be blessed, life after life, with the service of Krishna and the rememberence of His Holy Names.
At this moment, when so many people are becoming infatuated with Yoga, many are being misled into every manner of nonsense and evil by the so-called spiritual leaders, who desire cheap adoration from the innocent public. In the Bhagavad Gita (3.6) Krishna says:
One who restrains the senses and organs of action, but whose mind dwells on sense objects, certainly deludes himself, and is called a pretender.
In his purport to this Verse, our Spiritual Master, A C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, has written:
There are many pretenders who refuse to work in Krishna Consciousness, but make a show of meditation, while actually dwelling within the mind upon sense enjoyment. Such pretenders may also speak on dry philosophy, in order to bluff sophisticated followers. But, according to this verse, these are the greatest cheaters. For sense enjoyment one can act in any capacity within the social order, following the rules and regulations of a particular situation of life, and thus make gradual progress in purifying his existence. But if any man makes a show of becoming a yogi, while actually in search of the objects of sense gratification, he must be called the greatest cheater, even though he sometimes speaks of philosophy. His knowledge has no value because the effects of such a sinful man’s knowledge are taken away by the illusory energy of the Lord. Such a pretender’s mind is always impure, and therefore his show of yogic meditation has no value whatsoever.
We are faced today by many pretenders who claim to be spiritual leaders, holy men, swamis, etc. But most of these men fall under the headings of intoxicant leaders, mental speculators, and atheists who do not have an iota of devotion in them. It is necessary to choose a spiritual master in order to make progress, but we must be careful and use discrimination, or else we will be badly misled. The true spiritual master is Krishna’s bona fide representative, and only he can impart to us the highest good.
A spiritual master must receive his knowledge from someone who is in a line of disciplic succession, originating from Lord Sri Krishna. He must hear this knowledge correctly, realize it for himself, and then impart it to the student without changing it. This is the only way to gain true knowledge. The spiritual master is well versed in spiritual matters, and is the embodiment of religious practices. These are some of the identifying characteristics of Krishna’s representative. And, by surrendering to him, one can achieve the perfection of Yoga, devotion to Krishna—and even Krishna Himself.
Service - Knowledge - Liberation
Service - Knowledge - Liberation
by Brahmananda Das
Service of the Absolute Truth
means to render service
unto the Absolute Personality of Godhead.

The neophyte devotee has no capacity to approach
the Absolute Personality of Godhead with his present,
material senses.
By submissively serving the bona fide spiritual master
who is a bridge between the Lord
and the neophyte,
he is automatically fixed up into
the transcendental service of the Lord.

And, by so doing even for some days
the neophyte gains
knowledge which leads him
to extricate himself from the perpetual habitation
in the material world after world after world
and be promoted
to the transcendental world
to be one of the liberated associates
of the Lord
in the Kingdom of God.
[versified from the lectures of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami by his disciple Brahmananda Das Brahmachary]
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami & Allen Ginsberg: A Conversation
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami & Allen Ginsberg:
A Conversation
Recorded by Guru Das Adhikary
Swamiji had come to San Francisco in late January, 1967 for the opening of the Krishna Consciousness Temple there, at 518 Frederick Street. Allen Ginsberg had always shown friendly and helpful interest in the Society; and he agreed to attend a giant “Mantra Rock Festival,” which the temple members were planning to hold in the Avalon Ballroom. And so, a few days before that event, the good poet came to early morning Kirtan (7 A. M.), and later joined the Swami upstairs in the apartment his pupils had rented for him.
We were sitting in the glow of this holy man, munching on Indian sweetballs cooked by the Swami, when Allen Ginsberg came through the door, a warm smile on his face.
The Swami offered him a sweetball: “Take.”
They sat in silence for a few moments, radiating mutual love.
SWAMIJI: Allen, you are up early.
GINSBERG: Yes. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing since I arrived in San Francisco.
SWAMIJI: That is what happens when one becomes famous. That was the tragedy of Mahatma Gandhi also. Wherever he went, thousands of people would crowd about him, chanting, “Mahatma Gandhi ki jai! Mahatma Gandhiki jai!” The gentleman could not sleep.
GINSBERG: (smiling) Well, at least it got me up for Kirtan this morning.
SWAMIJI: Yes, that is good.
A few days before, the San Francisco Chronicle had published an article called “Swami in Hippie Land,” in which the reporter had asked: “Do you accept ‘hippies’ in your temple?”
The Swami had replied, “Hippies or anyone—I make no distinctions. Everyone is welcome.”
SWAMIJI: Allen, what is this “hippie?”
GINSBERG: The word “hip” started in China, where people smoked opium lying on their hips. [He demonstrates.] Opium and its derivatives then spread to the West, and were looked down upon by the people in power, who were afraid of the effects. As a result, the hip people created their own culture … language, signs, symbols.
San Francisco is a spiritual “shivdas” [meeting ground]. The word hip has changed into hippie today. But basically, Swamiji, the young people today are seekers. They’re interested in all forms of spirituality.
SWAMIJI: Very nice.
GINSBERG: The hippies will all fall by at one time or another.
There was some discussion regarding New York’s Lower East Side and the Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco—both of which are locations of Krishna Consciousness temples, and are well-known to Allen Ginsberg. Then:
SWAMIJI: You have not had LSD, Allen?
GINSBERG: I have had it.
SWAMIJI: It is dependence, Allen.
GINSBERG: It’s like a car—a mental car—to resolve certain inner things.
SWAMIJI: Krishna Consciousness resolves everything. Nothing else is needed.
They then discussed the upcoming dance at the Avalon. Allen Ginsberg felt that certain mantras would be more palatable to American ears than others, and that he would like to try his tune at the dance. Swamiji agreed: “Very nice.”
Poet Ginsberg said he was not yet ready to become a devotee, but that he chants the Maha Mantra every day, and will do so until he leaves this Earth. The Swami thanked him for the work he’d already done in spreading the Kirtan (Krishna Conscious) Movement, and assured him that, if he chanted Hare Krishna daily, “everything will be perfect.”
Allen Ginsberg then prostrated himself, and, touching the Swami’s feet, he symbolically wiped the dust from them onto his forehead. Then, with a few sweetballs in a paper bag under his arm, he took his leave.
Can You Dream Hare Krishna?
Can You Dream Hare Krishna?
by Satsvarupa Das

Yes this Hare Krishna
if you practice in dream
that you are chanting Hare Krishna
you are dancing in the temple
you are seeing Lord Jagganath
you are seeing Krishna
you are talking with Swamiji
or your friends, it is simply practice.

Just like a businessman sees in a dream
he is dealing with some customer. Why?
The whole day he has done that.

The whole day and whole night
if you engage simply in chanting Hare Krishna
you will be in Krishna Consciousness
very easy.
versified by Satsvarupa Das Brahmachary
Living and Dying Absurd
Living and Dying Absurd
An analysis of materialistic madness
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
[Evening lecture on the teachings of the boy Prahlad Maharaj, April 12, 1967]

Prahlad Maharaj is instructing his young friends: “My dear friends, material enjoyment means agitating the senses. You have this material enjoyment—sense enjoyment—my dear friends, and your only thought is how to enjoy these senses, that’s all. By contact of this body.” In possession of a particular body we have particular senses and we enjoy. Just like a camel: a camel enjoys thorny twigs. Camels are very fond of thorny twigs. Why? Because when they chew the thorny twigs blood comes out of the tongue, and they are tasting their own blood. And the camel is thinking it is very nice. He is eating thorny twigs, and the twig is cutting his tongue and blood is oozing out. He is tasting his own blood, but he thinks, “I am enjoying.” This is sense gratification. Sex life is also like that. We are tasting our own blood, and we think we are enjoying. This is our foolishness.
Every living entity has contracted this material body; he is a spiritual being but because he has a tendency to enjoy, to make exploitation of this material energy, he has contracted a body. There are different varieties of life. There are 8,400,000 species of living entities, each with a different body. According to the body, they have their senses in order to enjoy a particular type of pleasure. Prahlad Maharaj says this body and its particular type of enjoyment go together. Suppose you are given the thorny grass or twigs: Ladies and gentlemen, here is very nice food, it is certified by the camels, it is very good. Would you like to take? “No! What nonsense are you offering me?” Because you have got a different body, you have no taste for that. But if you offer it to a camel, because he has that particular type of body, it is a very nice thing.
This is going on—one man’s food is another man’s poison. If you are offered something which is not your food, you cannot take it. These different kinds of enjoyment are according to the particular type of body. That is the conclusion. The stool-eater hog will not accept any nice foodstuff such as cake. Give him stool, and it will be very nice. If you are offered the stool, you say, “What are you offering?” Because you have got a different body.
There are different kinds of material enjoyment, but those who are actually intelligent know that this particular type of enjoyment is due to this body. Actual happiness, however, is that which is not enjoyed by these material senses. Actual happiness is enjoyed by the spiritual senses. Now these are covered by matter, and therefore we are entrapped. Now Prahlad Maharaj says, Whatever it may be, you can have this sense enjoyment in any type of body. Then what is our enjoyment? Eating, sleeping, defending and mating. But this sort of sensual enjoyment—whether you have a dog’s body, or a hog’s body, or a god’s body—whatever you are in this material world, you have some sort of enjoyment offered by the Supreme Lord. Such material happiness is had by the arrangement of Nature. As you get miseries without your endeavor, similarly you will get your material enjoyment without trying for it. This is the conclusion.
Therefore, you should not endeavor to achieve material happiness. It will come. The lower animals have no business, no profession, but still they eat; they live. So Prahlad Maharaj says, You need not make your endeavor for achieving material pleasure. That will come. Because you have this body, it is predestined that this bodily enjoyment—as you are fit to enjoy—will come. How will it come? There is happiness and misery: If misery comes without calling for it, so happiness will come without calling for it. This is the philosophy.
Therefore, we should not be very anxious to aggravate or increase our material happiness. Always in civilization those who have no spiritual happiness are hankering after these sense enjoyments. So Prahlad Maharaj says, Your life is limited. Although it is very valuable, it is also very limited. And our duty is, in some way, to dovetail ourselves in Krishna Consciousness, and to act accordingly. You should not be very busy aggravating your material sense enjoyment. You cannot increase it. There are so many different kinds of body, and they are guided by Nature’s law: you have to eat like this, you have to live like this, you have to sleep like this—this is already arranged.
Our higher intelligence comes with this human body: we have higher consciousness. We should try for the higher enjoyment of life, which is spiritual enjoyment. And how can that spiritual enjoyment of life be achieved? You should not waste your time simply hankering after material enjoyment. Then, what is to be done? One should engage himself in the Supreme Lord, Who gives the pleasure of liberation. We should turn our attention to achieving the Lotus Feet of Krishna, Who can give us liberation from this material world.
How long do we have to engage ourselves? Prahlad Maharaj says, We are now in the material entanglement. This material entanglement is that I have this body. I will quit this body after a few years, and then I will have to accept another body. Once you take up one body and enjoy as your body’s senses dictate, then you prepare another body by such sense enjoyment; and you get another body as you want it. There is no guarantee that you will get a human body. That will depend on your work. Did you work just like a god? You get a god’s body. This is not in your hands; it is in the hands of Nature. Our duty is not to speculate on what we are going to get after what we have been—don’t take account of this. At the present moment, let us understand that we have this material body. Now if we want to have our spiritual consciousness or Krishna Consciousness developed then we should at once engage ourselves—dovetail ourselves in this Krishna activity. That is auspicious for further progress of your life.
How long should you do it? So long as this body does not stop working. We do not know when it will stop functioning. The great saint, Parikshit Maharaj, got seven days notice: “Your body will fall in a week.” But we do not know when our body will fall. Just after going on the road, there may immediately be some accident. We should always be prepared that death is there. We should not be very optimistic that everyone is dying but I shall live. Why will you live if everyone is dying? Your father has died, your mother has died, your sister, your other relatives … why should you live? You will also die. And your children will also die.
Therefore, before death comes, so long as we have this human intelligence, let us engage in Krishna Consciousness. This is the prescription by Prahlad Maharaj.
This material body is called “purusam.” Everybody is anxious to enjoy. Purus means to enjoy, or enjoyer. There is nobody in this material world who does not like to enjoy sense gratification. Therefore, either male or female—the body may be what it is—but the desire, the ambition, is to enjoy material life. So it is called purusam.
We do not know when it will stop, but let us immediately engage in Krishna Consciousness and act according to that. And if I immediately engage myself in Krishna Consciousness, then what about my living? That arrangement is there. I am very happy to inform you that one of our students in a branch is so confident: there was some disagreement. One student said “You are not looking after how we will maintain the establishment,” and he replied, “Oh, Krishna will supply. ‘I take charge.’ ” This is a very nice conviction, it is very good; I was glad to hear it. If cats and dogs and hogs can get food, and we are going to be in Krishna Consciousness and fully devote our service to Krishna, will He not arrange my food also? Is Krishna so ungracious? No. He looks.
In the Bhagavad Gita you will find that the Lord says, “My dear Arjuna, I am equal to everyone. Nobody is the object of My envy and nobody is My special friend, but for one who is engaged in Krishna Consciousness, I have got special attention.” Just like a father whose small child is completely dependent on the mercy of the parents: The parents have special attention for that child. Although the parents are equally good to all the children, to the small children who are always asking, “Mother!” they have great concern. “Yes, my dear child? Yes?” This is natural.
If you are completely dependent on Krishna, He Who is supplying food to the dogs, birds, bees—to 8,400,000 species of life—why should He not supply to you? This conviction—this is called surrender. Not that, because Krishna is supplying my food, I shall now sleep. No, you have to work. One should engage himself in Krishna Consciousness—that is required.
Now calculate our duration of life. In this age it is calculated that we can live at most to a hundred years. Formerly, the human being used to live up to 100,000 years. In the Satya Yuga, or Age of Goodness, they used to live 100,000 years. In the next age, Treta Yuga, they used to live for 10,000 years, and in the next, called Dwapara Yuga, they used to live for 1,000 years. Now in this Age, called Kali Yuga, the estimation is for 100 years. But gradually, as the Kali Yuga progresses, we are reducing our duration still further. Anyone can understand that. Suppose my grandfather lived 100 years, my father lived for 90 years, so I am going to live for 70 years and my son is going to live for 50 years and his son is going to live for 30 years. This is the progress of our modern material civilization. And we are very proud that we are happy, and increasing our civilization. The result is that you come here to enjoy material life, and the duration of life is shortened. This is called Maya, Illusion.
Now accepting that we live for 100 years: Those who have no information of spiritual life, their life is reduced; and one who has not conquered sense enjoyment, or who is unable to control the mind, his age is also reduced. Those who are too much addicted to sense gratification, according to this calculation, their utmost life is 50 years. Even if he has 50 years, because he has no information of spiritual life, his night is wasted by sleeping and sex life. That’s all. He has no other business. And in the daytime, what is his business? “Where is money? Where is money? Because I must maintain this body.” And when he has money: “Now let me speed for my children, for my wife.” Then where is your spiritual realization? At night you spend your time in this way, and by day spend in this way—is that your mission of life? How horrible such a life is.
The average person is illusioned in childhood—playing football, sporting. Up to twenty years, easily, you can go on like that. Then when you become old, another twenty years you cannot do anything. When a man becomes old, then his senses cannot function. You have seen many old men; nothing to do, simply resting. Just now we have received a letter from our student that his grandmother is suffering for the last three and a half years, paralyzed. So in old age, everything is finished, as soon as you get sixty years old. Therefore, the beginning to twenty years is spoiled; and even if you live for a hundred years, another twenty in the last stage of life are also spoiled. So forty years of your life are spoiled in that way. And in the middle age there is very strong sex appetite: So another forty years can be lost. Forty years, twenty years, and twenty year eighty years gone. How long are you going to live?
This is the analysis of life by Prahlad Maharaj. We are spoiling our life instead of using it.

Back to Godhead Magazine #18, 1968
Item 18 of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical on birth control, “Humanae Vitae,” begins: “It can be foreseen that this teaching will perhaps not be easily received by all…” The Pope’s words have rung true, for his stand against “conjugal acts made intentionally infecund” goes directly counter to the grain of our licentious civilization. A storm of controversy has arisen, and the Pope has been widely denounced as a reactionary—all in the name, we take it, of the poor starving people of Peru and India.
The idea behind the birth control debate seems to be that it is wholly impractical to ask people to do something which they are determined not to do. We refer to the Pope’s admission that his stand “undoubtably requires ascetical practices” of his followers. Apparently no small number of people both Catholic and outside the Church were hoping to get a clear go-ahead on unlimited sense enjoyment without so much responsibility as a dignified cat or dog would accept. And the fact that they looked to the Pope for sanction in the first place indicates surprisingly abusive disrespect for his high office and person.
Whatever we may think of people who imagine that they can coerce their ways into the kingdom of God with placards and protest letters, we must wonder if it wouldn’t be more worthwhile for them to use such determination to follow their supposed leader rather then to oppose him? They might find themselves capable of far more asceticism than they thought. We also must wonder if these same people who ardently demonstrate for the Pill ever take such effort in preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ—or in following its tenets themselves. But, as The Bhagavad Gita—one of the most authoritative of India’s Vedic Scriptures—states, passion has the power to steal intelligence away.
Sex life, according to the Vedic wisdom, is the greatest cause of material bondage because it is the greatest pleasure of material life. Therefore it must be restricted, and the restriction is to marry and to have sex only for the purpose of generating children. Furthermore, these children are not meant to be mere products of lust—which is called demoniac birth—but should be conceived with the full loving intention to deliver them into the hands of God so that they can have liberation from the bondage of material Nature. The Christian doctrine is clearly identical in its essentials, although there are several minor points of difference along the way.
To say that people will not follow such a teaching cannot refute the teaching itself. Krishna, or God, is not relative but Absolute. His doctrines and rules—such as the restrictions on sex life—are not meant to take all the fun out of life; the rules are meant as guideposts to help the conditioned soul reach his ultimate destination, the confrontation by direct experience with the Absolute Truth. One may follow or ignore the guidepost as he chooses—but if he wants to reach the goal, common sense will force him to follow it. Nor will a democratic consensus change the way, any more than a Gallup poll could put New York City on the West Coast.
The path of sin means any path which does not lead to knowledge of Krishna. Sin has no other meaning. And virtue, or saintliness, means any course of thought or action which will lead to Krishna. The center, the criterion, then, is Krishna—God. Those who are so intent today upon changing all the rules have apparently lost sight of this. Until God returns as the only and absolute center of gravity in their lives, nothing that they do can be considered worthwhile or happy, be it with or without ecclesiastical approval. And if Krishna is placed at that center, then even the most rigorous asceticism will be joyful and will lead them to fulfillment. It is not a question of how much sex one is allowed to have, but of how much one wants God.
Another part of the same message by the Pope is well worth noting:
On this occasion, we wish to draw the attention of educators, and of all who perform duties of responsibility in regard to the common good of human society, to the need of creating an atmosphere favorable to education in chastity, that is, to the triumph of healthy liberty over license by means of respect for the moral order.
The main reason why it appears impractical to ask people to practice sexual abstinence today is that the modern social atmosphere is literally drenched in sexual stimuli. This is because sex sells anything, and our upright businessman’s world will do anything to sell, however degrading or depraved it may be.
If children are raised in a moral, religious atmosphere and are not hounded and battered by sex-sale gimmicks throughout their lives, then restraint will not be difficult for them as they grow older. But if sensual connotations pervade their minds almost from the very moment of birth, then they will necessarily crave sex to an exaggerated degree from the earliest point of puberty and even earlier.
Today’s bold and daring underground revolutionaries whose stock-in-trade is primarily sex—and who proclaim themselves liberated because of their sexual “frankness”—do not realize that they are actually only displaying the chains placed upon their minds from birth by a rapaciously greedy industrial society, one which has trained its every facility—from movies, magazines, television and comics to subway ads and public health services—upon them to induce them to buy, buy, buy.
And the so-called generation gap is nothing more than the magnitude of hypocrisy exhibited by those who have created this hellish atmosphere in expressing surprise at its effects. As The Holy Bible says, the sins of the father are visited upon the son.
If human civilization is to endure at all, there must be a radical alteration of this pattern of indoctrination-through-sex into limitless consumption. This is a problem which today’s public-spirited governments and philanthropic groups might take up to actually benefit mankind. But it is more likely they will prefer the Pill to any real solution of our human ills—and will push ahead as busily as possible to create their Utopian world of sub-human industrial sex-slaves. All in the name, to be sure, of freedom.
This man has changed the history of the world. Do you know him?
He’s A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the Acharya (Holy Teacher) from India, who came to the U. S. in 1965 and touched off a major revolution.
The Swami’s revolution affects not the external things of the world. It strikes at the very root of being—at consciousness. He has called his movement Krishna Consciousness.
You owe it to yourself to know what A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami is saying to the people of America and India. These are his writings:
Every serious student of Yoga, Transcendental Meditation and the mystic sciences of the Orient looks to the Bhagavad Gita as the single imperative item on his bookshelf. Find out what the Swami, whose translation of the Gita will be published by Macmillan Co. in October, 1968, has to say about this Scripture and Its immortal, urgent message. price: 50 cents
The Maha or Hare Krishna Mantra has been found on the lips of the leaders of the new generation movements in East and West alike; it has been called the “Hippie anthem;” and it has been explained endlessly—and always inaccurately. Here the Swami, who first delivered the chant to the West, explains the real meaning and purpose of the Hare Krishna Mantra. price: 25 cents
Sanity, self, society—and how to perfect them. Mantra Yoga, the scientific writings of the great Hindu mystics, and the eternal pleasure principle. price: 50 cents
43 East Tenth Street
New York City, 10003
Spiritual Names
Spiritual Names
The reader may note that, with only a few exceptions, the names of those who produce and contribute to BACK TO GODHEAD are, to say the least, not Anglo-Saxon. The reason for this is that they are spiritual names, awarded to his disciples by the Spiritual Master at initiation.
Krishna, the Supreme Lord, is described in the Vedic Scriptures as having innumerable Names, each of Which is fully as powerful as God Himself. Being transcendental to material Nature, and non-dual, God and His Names are not separable. Thus the Name of God is God, and God is His Name. This is the spiritual significance of the Maha Mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. By singing God’s Names, one comes into actual direct contact with God, and in this way one’s consciousness can be purified of its false material associations.
Aside from Krishna—Who is the Original Godhead—the Lord has many, many other Names, some of Which are found in Vedic literature, such as Madhusudana, Narayana, Damodar, Vishnu, and so on. When a student takes formal initiation under the guidance of a Spiritual Master, the latter gives him a Name of the Lord, followed by the word “das”—the servant of.
Spiritual initiation means the actual beginning of spiritual life—real life—and so the spiritual name awarded at that time is the real name of the pupil from that moment onward.
Names of very great devotees and saints are also sometimes awarded, such as Rayarama, who was a disciple of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Madhavendra, who was Lord Chaitanya’s grand-Spiritual Master. This is, of course, quite like the Christian tradition of naming children after the saints at baptism, except that spiritual initiation must be chosen freely by the pupil—normally after a period of preliminary study with the Guru. And spiritual initiation must be asked for by the pupil, never vice versa.
It should be noted that these Names of God are not Indian, though they are known and revered particularly in that country. The Lord appeared many times in India, but He is no more a product or property of India than is the Sun of the East, where it first appears. Lord Jesus Christ, in the same sense, can not be held as a Judaean god or culture figure.
Nor does the acceptance of the spiritual name imply Indianization on the part of the pupil. The process of spiritual realization entails the rejection of all material and bodily designations such as nationalism, sectarian religious faith, sex, race, or social status. The Names of Krishna, being transcendental and sublime, have nothing whatever to do with locality or era.
The word “brahmachary,” signifying a knower or pursuant of Brahman, the Absolute, is given to denote an unmarried student living a regulated, celibate life of full service to the Spiritual Master. “Adhikary” denotes a married man. And the words “devi dasi” denote women, either married or not.
Book Review
Book Review
The Critique
by Alan W. Watts; 148 pps. Collier Books, 95 cents.

THE BOOK purports to be a reinterpretation of Vedanta, one of the ancient Scriptures of India. This is necessarily like re-writing The Bible, and it wouldn’t be possible not to come up with at least a few solid statements of deathless value.
However, being an interpretation rather than a presentation, and being full to the brim with independent speculations, THE BOOK often fails to serve any valid purpose. In its negative principles, it does stand up well. Alan Watts does tell us quite a bit about the taboo against knowing who you are. And when he stays close to his title in this way he has something to say. It is only when he goes on to try positive concepts that he becomes elusive.
He says, for instance, that there is, after all, no reason to awaken from illusion anyway. Knowledge and ignorance, life and death, pleasure and pain are all parts of a “game”—the Game of Black-and-White—which the One Being is playing with Himself. But this would leave no reason for THE BOOK to have been written, and so Mr. Watts tells us “that it is part of ‘things taking their course’ that I write.” After which, all criticism is apparently expected to die down with a bewildered “Oh.”
But this dodge is really insufficient to justify either THE BOOK or the philosophy behind it. It is, in fact, the sort of thing one might expect to hear from a slick Uptown Swami after a clever but self-defeating lecture on Oneness, rather than from a renowned thinker of a more serious order. The idea that God, or the Absolute, or whatever, is so limited that He must create agony and stupidity to keep Himself amused—while any one of us could probably do better—is really both naive and absurd. Again, Mr. Watts advises us to remember that this is only a way of putting it, not the real thing exactly. Exactly what the real thing is he doesn’t say.
After politely leaving aside this flaw, if we plunge along into THE BOOK, we’ll come to some very nice passages in which the writer has outlined the endless complications of materialistic existence. He tells us about college administrations and their troubles (an interesting critique in that THE BOOK is copyrighted 1966, and therefore in some ways prophesies the events of this year); he tells us how difficult it is to take a walk in these days of police-state-ism; how society has ganged up together to agree to accept falsehood as truth—and how in this way modern man has become. divided against both himself and his environment.
But once more, the positive side of all this just doesn’t stand scrutiny, for all the twistings and turnings of the author’s reasoning. The basic concept of identity to which Mr. Watts points is Oneness—everything is one, and cause and effect are simply manifestations of that same one, are themselves one, and thus there really is no cause and effect: things just take their course. This is a philosophy dear especially to the debauched, degraded and depraved of every generation—not only today, but as far back as Rome, Egypt, and before even that. By this philosophy, no sin or crime, no evil or shortcoming need be accounted for. It simply happens, takes place, and no one is to blame . All is One, so who could be blamed ?
Yet this is always a philosophy by which none can actually live. It’s a mental exercise, an excuse for atrocities at worst, a parlor conversation ploy at best—never a philosophy of life. No one steps before an onrushing train, careless of death, and simply shrugs, “It’s all One.” Even Mr. Watts must cross at the green if he wants to enjoy his royalties. No one wears a cotton boll in place of a cotton shirt, on the consideration that there is no cause and effect. Even the author has to make concessions here: “The point is not that we should forthwith abandon penicillin or DDT [i.e., in abandoning our attempt to conquer Nature]: it is that we should fight to check the enemy, not to eliminate him.”
In other words, don’t take your troubles or triumphs too seriously, but go on with them anyway. Don’t try to make a permanent solution. “We must learn to include ourselves in the round of cooperations and conflicts, of symbiosis and preying, which constitutes the balance of nature…” he writes; and yet, wouldn’t we be the only species who didn’t take it all seriously? And wouldn’t that be just as absurd as attempting totally to subdue Nature? What is lacking here is an understanding of the fact that what specifically qualifies human consciousness and sets it apart from that of the beasts is its very ability to seek out a final solution—its determination to pursue and uncover the Absolute, or God. And if modern man has gone mad, it is because he is attempting to find that solution through the exploitation of material Nature, rather than through the development of spiritual life. To abandon the pursuit of a solution wholly is simply another form of defeat.
The advice that we should take things as they come is, in itself, no more than any backyard washerwoman would say after hearing of her neighbor’s arthritis, old age and abuses.
And the idea of Oneness never will explain how all these varieties we experience came about, or what to do with them.
This goes even further into the realm of the absurd when the author quotes Erwin Schrodinger as saying that, “eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.” But the present keeps changing here in this material world, and even though it has no end, it certainly isn’t always the same. Therefore, to adjust the mind to such a concept of non-differentiation is not to approach reality but, rather, to ignore the world as it is. And, even if the world is only an illusion, then that illusion itself, with all its varieties, still must require an explanation.
According to the actual Vedic sources, the material world with its varieties is illusory in that it is temporary. The real or spiritual world is eternal. But still, the material does exist. It exists as the reflection of the real, perverted through the individual’s deluded consciousness. And, just as a mirror cannot show even false grapes without real grapes existing, so this material illusion can only reflect actual varieties. And, in the same sense, ego—one’s sense of individuality—is only a reflection of actual and immortal individuality, which exists in the spiritual world, in the Kingdom of God.
That there are varieties—blues, reds, yellows, ups and downs, ins and outs, I’s and Thou’s—which never disappear or are corrupted—essences, in other words—is perhaps inconceivable to the mundane intellect; but it is the very dependence upon mundane intellectual scholarship which is the basic fault in Alan Watts’ writings from beginning to end.
The Vedic system, along with all authentic Scriptural systems of God realization, enjoins strict and rigorous personal discipline upon those who wish to understand the Truth. Simply to read some words in a book without comprehending the practical facts by realization is incomplete, and must lead to the sort of distortions and contradictions of which THE BOOK is guilty. Truth must be perceived and manifested on three levels: in the mind, in the speech, and in action. Unless all three are absorbed in the Absolute, then realization, the direct personal experience of the existence of the Absolute, cannot be had.
It is by service to a spiritual master who is himself realized in a particular study or discipline that one is able to advance in understanding, just as an apprentice learns from a master, rather than from a manual. Without this service and without the guidance of a realized soul, no valid comprehension can be attained. The purely scholastic approach has been likened to bees licking on the outside of a bottle of honey: they may see it and smell it, but they can’t really taste it, and so fail to get satisfaction. To go on blithely reading books which are crying out for you to engage your activities in spiritual life, and then to write your own theses about them, while never having followed their injunctions, is the height of arrogant foolishness.
Yet this would seem to be Mr. Watts’ system, and he writes off as “myth” any passages that might tend to disturb him or his readers into active commitment.
Again we’re left with nothing to live by. When THE BOOK has been read, it can be forgotten without loss or bother, for it has said nothing. Again, the author is aware of his own shortcomings, and so he has slipped in a chapter called “So What?”
But “So What?” is also just a dodge. Its principal passage reads: “If, then, after understanding, at least in theory, that the ego-trick is a hoax and that, beneath everything, ‘I’ and ‘universe’ are one, you ask, ‘So what? What is the next step, the practical application?’—I will answer that the absolutely vital thing is to consolidate your understanding, to become capable of enjoyment, of living in the present, and of the discipline which this involves.”
Whatever “consolidate your understanding” may mean, becoming capable of enjoyment is no stranger to us. The only trouble is that everyone is already trying to enjoy in one way or another, from the President down to the neighborhood street sweeper—and yet no one is succeeding. Simply to tell people that they must learn to enjoy might make you popular, but it isn’t a “practical application” after all. How to enjoy remains the real problem.
Bind and double bind, triple bind, quadruple bind—they weave themselves like the glittering tentacles of a fabulous serpent throughout the mental corridors of THE BOOK. We’re told that, to enjoy, we must stop trying to enjoy. But that takes an effort too—that’s also trying to enjoy. And trying not to make an effort not to try to enjoy…? So it goes on, the mind twists on through the labyrinths of illusion, seeking an out, but never finding more than a new path that brings us back to the old starting point: you are not this body. Negative and true.
But for the positive, we’ll all be better off if we turn to the real Vedanta Itself. For there, and in the associated Vedic Scriptures, positive statements are made very succinctly by great sages who actually lived with their minds, words and deeds fixed on God, on the Supreme Transcendence. You are not this body, they agree. You are spirit soul—Absolute—Brahman. They also say this, and they say it in a straight-forward fashion. And there is Param Brahman, a Supreme Spirit, as well.
As for knowing one’s absolute or spiritual nature in full, the sages tell us to find a realized spiritual master, submit to him, serve him and inquire of him regarding Truth. He, being in knowledge, can reveal and explain, and can offer the example of perfection by his own life.
Alongside this, how involved and subtle the writings of Mr. Watts necessarily appear. One almost gets the impression that, above all else, his interest is to avoid criticism; and perhaps this explains the vagueness and negativity of his approach, like a wounded man waving his sword to confuse his enemy in hopes of avoiding a blow, but never of delivering one.
Mr. Watts further displays a surprising ignorance of the principles of devotional service when, on page 79, he states that the idea that everything belongs to God and should be used for God is a kind of stewardship, based on the hope of future reward. For it is devotion itself, manifested in this world as loving service to God, which is the topmost perfection of human consciousness, and of life. There is, in authentic devotional circles, no question of reward greater than love of God itself.
Turn from this, Mr. Watts advises us, because the individual ego is a hoax perpetrated upon us by the ignorant. And turn from the Void concept as well—that also is illusion . Approach life with “the fullest collaboration with the world as a harmonious system of contained conflicts—based on the realization that the only real ‘I’ is the whole endless process.” Again, if you’ll pardon our bluntness, So What? The words sound meaningful, and yet there seems to be something missing: the meaning itself. On and on, Mr. Watts offers mental adjustments which will, supposedly, make you happy. Like weight-watching, if you tend toward materialistic fads, you can give THE BOOK a try. But it doesn’t promise to offer anything final. Death is still there, life is still there, unfulfilled.
Perhaps the words of Sri Shankara Acharya, who also invented an interpretation of the Vedanta many hundreds of years ago, and who is still widely renowned for his gigantic scholarship, will best serve to cap off our consideration of THE BOOK. He wrote:
You intellectual fools I Just worship Govinda [Krishna]! Just worship Govinda! Just worship Govinda! Your grammatical knowledge and word jugglery will not save you at the time of death!
The Nationalism of Pure Consciousness
The Nationalism of Pure Consciousness
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
When a man enters the room of a friend, the friend receives the man with all cordiality, and offers him the best couch for his comfort. The friend may accept this welcome and sit along with his host in all security. Does this mean that the man who has entered the house of his friend should consider the sitting room to be his own property? Certainly, he will not think so unless he has gone mad. Still, his consciousness of the fact that none of the paraphernalia of the friend’s sitting room belongs to him does not disturb him in the least in sitting down securely. With this pure consciousness of facility, along with his friend who is actually the proprietor of the sitting room, he is comfortable.
But if the man, after some time, madly thinks that because he was allowed to enter into the parlor of his friend he has therefore become its proprietor—then what will be his lot? The natural consequence of this unlawful desire of the intruding friend will be police action, instigated by the real proprietor of the room, and trouble will disrupt the friendly relationship. And if the man then leaves the room, being unable to occupy it as his own, and impertinently tells his friend that he is renouncing the right of proprietorship in disgust certainly the proprietor friend will laugh at him, wondering when and how the proprietorship of the room could have been awarded to the intruder in the first place.
This is the real position of the conditioned soul who enters into any given position of life in the cycle of birth and death. The living entity simply changes his dress according to the price of the dress he has paid for. In the shop of material Nature there are 8,400,000 different types of dresses, and the living entity is allowed to put on any one of them according to the price he is able to pay.
Leaving aside all other dresses, let us consider the dress of the human body. In the dress of the human body a living entity is more puzzled than in the dress of the beast, due to the particular garment. The dress of the human body is also exhibited in 400,000 varieties, or species. There are many different dresses of humanity, and almost all of them are no more civilized than the jungle beasts. As such, they have very little idea of the civilized form of national sentiment.
Out of the 8,400,000 different dresses exhibited by the living entities, only the highest civilized human being is conscious of national feeling. This national feeling has created the different civilized nations of the world, but because almost every one of those nations is guided by the sense of nationalism through impure rather than pure consciousness, they are always busy making pacts and blocs for the security of each one’s position.
The impure consciousness of nationalism has kept all the big heads of the world’s nations ever active for an amicable adjustment of everyone’s national interest. They have now made a United Nations Security Council, and are trying in vain to find the right adjustment. The impure consciousness of every nation has made it impossible to come to the safety point, and what is needed, therefore, is to awaken pure consciousness by the propagation of spiritual education, leading back to Godhead. This work was undertaken by the Lord Himself in the Form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
What is pure consciousness? The idea of pure consciousness is specifically described in the Scripture called Ishopanishad, where it is said:
Everything that we see in this material world or in matter belongs to the domain of the Supreme Lord. You can therefore enjoy what has been offered to you by Him, but you must not accept any other’s property.
The living entity, in any of the above-mentioned eighty-four hundred thousand varieties of dresses, enters into the domain of the Lord. The agent of the lord, material Nature, gives him all facilities to live in that domain, and provides him with all the comforts of air, light, shelter, food, drink, residence, and all facilities for acquiring knowledge. The lower grade living beings, such as the aquatics, the plants and trees, the reptiles, birds, beasts and beastly human beings living in the jungle take all the facilities offered by Nature, and make progressive evolution by a gradual process: From aquatics to plant life, from plant to reptile, from reptile to bird, from bird to beast. The human form of life is evolved out of the life of the beast.
As guests of the material Nature, all these non-human living entities do not bother much about conventional civilization, and do not mishandle the products of material Nature . But civilized man, because of his developed consciousness, can and does mishandle the laws of Nature, thinking in terms of proprietorship over his particular place of appearance (country, city, etc.), and thus becomes entangled in the matter of designations. Civilized man thus makes an error in the name of advanced civilization. These civilized nations forget completely that the particular places offered to them for residential purposes all belong to the proprietorship of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord is the proprietor of all the “Lokas,” or planets. In The Bhagavad Gita Krishna makes this statement:
I am the Beneficiary of all sacrifices and penances, and I am the Supreme Lord of all the planets and universes. I am the benevolent friend of all living beings, and, when knowing this, one can enjoy perfect peace.
The so-called civilized nations have forgotten the fact that the places of residence particularly specified for them by the Supreme Lord do not belong to them, but remain the property of the Supreme Lord. He has given the nations particular places of residence and comfortable life in order to make progress in the matter of pure consciousness. The Lord has not allowed us to remain in such places simply to create a hell by developing a training ground for hooligans, ruffians, demons and unbelievers. He is the Supreme Friend of all living entities, and therefore He has made the codes of Scripture, such as the Vedas and Puranas, to guide the civilized nations. Without such codes, they may become diverted by the influence of Maya, or impure consciousness, to consider the places of their appearance to be their own property.
The particular place of residence alloted to us must be protected from the disturbing forces of demons and nonbelievers—not as the proprietors of the land, but with full consciousness of servitorship toward the Supreme Lord.
Out of an impure consciousness, Sri Arjuna—in the epic of the Mahabharata—declined to fight on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. He forgot for the time being that he was not the proprietor. The Supreme Proprietor is Sri Krishna, and Arjuna is only a servitor. This fact was explained in The Bhagavad Gita from different angles of vision, and ultimately, when the illusion of proprietorship was dissipated, the pure consciousness of Arjuna was awakened by the mercy of the Lord, and Arjuna agreed to abide by the order of the Supreme Lord. His attitude of nonviolence, adulterated with a sense of proprietary right, was condemned by Sri Krishna at the very inception of the idea. It is sheer nonsense to conceive of the devotees of Godhead as so many inert elements within society. Real devotees of the Lord, like Sri Hanuman (of the Ramayana) are neither violent nor nonviolent on their own account—but they can be both violent and nonviolent in the service of the Lord. This is the criterion of pure consciousness.
Nationalism in pure consciousness, as it was exemplified by Sri Arjuna and Hanuman, brings in real peace to the world. Such pure consciousness is aroused by devotional activities. Unbelievers in the supremacy of the Absolute Lord cannot have pure consciousness. Nationalism, however, guided by the principles of devotional service—of which Sri Arjuna presented the typical example—is the goal of our life.
Evolution—The God That's Failling
Evolution—The God That's Failling
By Rayarama Das Brahmachary
Recently, some college students ardently proclaimed a certain comic book writer to be their modern mythmaker, in honor of his exciting and weird superhero tales. This proclamation led me to reflect that, after all, a myth is supposed to be something that people believe in, or once did. My Webster’s Dictionary defines the word like this: “a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people, or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon … an ill-founded belief held uncritically especially by an interested group.”
Clearly. comic book stories don’t fit this definition because they never pretend to be, or to have been, real. They are tales, but not exactly myths. If we want to consider the actual mythology of modern times, we have to look into the present beliefs which are “held uncritically” by modern man. There are many such beliefs, and the strongest and most fixed would seem to be typified by the commercial slogan: “Doctors recommend.” For this is the Day of Science. Science rules supreme in judgement and in reverence over civilized man’s every thought, word and deed, just as the oracles, omens and stars once influenced the lives of the Babylonians and Greeks. In education, for example, tremendous amounts of money are going towards scientific research, to the almost utter neglect of other areas of learning. In fact, many large corporations find that their top scientific minds can’t write reports in simple intelligible English.
In an article entitled ‘The Humanist Heartbeat Has Failed,” in the May 24, 1968 issue of LIFE, Professor James H. Billington remarks that. “A paltry one out of every thousand dollars of government funds given for basic research in 1966 went to the humanities. The much smaller amount given by private foundations to support research and teaching was some 23 times greater in the sciences than in the humanities.” These are big odds, and it isn’t rash to draw the conclusion that science is today valued above all other studies and pursuits.
Science itself, of course, is neither bad nor good. It is a tool, like a scalpel: and if it’s used for cutting throats instead of cancers, the fault lies in the heart and mind of the man—or men—who are controlling it. Science—the attempt to comprehend and adjust to, or control, material Nature—has accomplished some nice feats: disease control, communications, heating, transportation. It would be as senseless to condemn these things as it would be to put a scalpel on trial for murder. At the same time, it would be equally senseless to laud these things as though they had given life some meaning, as though they had contributed to any real advancement in the human condition of consciousness. This would be like awarding the Nobel Prize to an iron lung.
The Quality Of Life
All who live must die even the Universe itself lives and dies—and so to prolong life is not to insure it against the end. “Death comes when it will come,” and even the greatest scientific genius cannot hold life longer than his due. Some years ago the foremost physicist of India died in a simple plane crash—and all the inventions of science (including the plane itself) proved of no avail to him.
So it is not to avoid death that we should work, but to instill into what life we have some real quality—to use this life well and wisely. Otherwise it is a living death, even at its best. According to the great Scriptures of the world—the Bible, Koran, Bhagavad Gita, and others—the highest perfection of human life is reached in confrontation with God, followed by submission, love, and eternal association. Eternal association means that, in awakening to the existence and love of God, the living being becomes freed from the entanglements and designations of the material world, of which the body and its attendent annihilation are primary.
It would seem a simple matter to recognize the fact that life without goals, life without quality, life without value—is quite like the life of a machine. It is robot life. And an educational system which is devoted to fitting the human mind for a specified place in the modern machine complex is a school for the living dead. And, as I will try to prove, the replacement of God by evolution in the modern school system, and thereby in the thinking processes of modern man, has produced only zombies. But with one flaw: human beings don’t like to act the part of zombies, and the alternative is likely to be revolt, corruption, and the ruin of what civilization we have.

Evolution And Society
Instead of pleasing God, modern children are taught to “please evolution,” as it were. They are taught that the human race was thrown up out of Chaos by blind chance (“or God, if you like,” the teachers used to tell us. I don’t know if they can still say things like that in an American public school). Blind chance may just as easily throw us away again, and so the obvious necessity in the grim struggle for survival is to find a way to defeat both blind chance and all other competing species at the same time. Thus, we are taught, Mankind has constructed society, and society has so far proved the most effective step toward permanence that evolution has ever taken.
Society in this sense means the banding together of creatures of like mentality and structure for the purpose of prolonging the lives of the individuals of the community or species. This is done, apparently, by crippling, castrating or annihilating all other species of life. It is a concept of sophisticated bestiality, more ferocious in both fact and theory than the ravages of plague or the march of an ant army. And it is based on ignorance as utter as that of an ant—no, more profound yet, because the ant is at least acting as an ant. The human consciousness is capable of “graduating” from the school of evolution into the “workaday” world of spiritual life, and unless it is used in this way, it’s not human at all.
And the great ignorance here is the idea that killing other creatures, or trying to control the intricate functions of Nature, will lead to eternal existence either for oneself or one’s race or species. This is like trying to tune in a television station on a radio receiver. The body is product of material Nature, and the first law of Nature is change. Therefore the body, in one form or another, must die. It is only the soul—or consciousness, if you like—which goes on, because this consciousness, in its purified state, is independent of Nature.

These attempts at prolonging life and putting off death are reflections of the irrepressible tendency of all forms of life to gravitate toward immortality. This is because of the eternal nature of the soul, which inhabits each living form. The form is temporary, but the soul is not, and it is trying, in ignorance, to get back to its original position. And, in its ignorance, the struggle for survival, the competition with other life forms, goes on, and consumes the energy, the attention, the hopes of the creature, until it dies and takes a new body, to try again.
Now the difficulty in trying to “please evolution”—that is, develop oneself so that the race, if not the individual, can continue to survive—is that no one really knows what will work and what won’t in the long run. Many a modern moralist has tried to construct an ethical system on such foundations, but the fact that evolution remains a theory, remains uncertain in so very many of its details, must frustrate every effort at coherence and consistency. No one knows what activities of the human race will “eliminate it from evolution,” as Lecomte de Nouy has rephrased sin. And no one knows what activities will help it to survive. There are no known principles here, the theories of life origins change almost monthly, and so the attempt to establish a “moral” system, or any system whatever, must come to nil.
Morality means how to act towards some goal. But if the goal is unknown, uncertain, untried, unstable, and unfriendly—then where is the scope for a workable morality? And yet, without morality, without mutually agreed-upon patterns of behavior, society cannot exist. And society, we have been told, “pleases evolution”—it will help us to survive .
So we come to a double bind, an irreconcilable fault in the whole scheme of materialistic moralizing. We are trying to “please evolution” without knowing what it wants.

Theory And Process Of Evolution
That there is evolution, and that there is a goal, an end, to the process, is not refuted here. In fact, the concept of evolution can be found in The Padma Purana, one of the Vedic Scriptures of vast antiquity. In this Purana, it is stated that the living forms in this Universe first arose as the aquatic animals, then evolved to the land vegetables, then on to reptiles, insects, birds, beasts and, at the end, humans. Even the most skeptical scholar cannot date The Padma Purana later than a good many hundred years before Darwin, and so this is a surprising example of scientific theory very slowly catching up to what was already presented by revelation long ago.
Evolution, according to the Vedas, is the process of the gradual development of consciousness from body to body, until the civilized human form is reached. Development of consciousness means that consciousness is more comprehensive, not merely different: a tree may experience the warmth of the sunlight and the cold of the night, but he will never experience running or jumping. The human, however, experiences in principle all that the tree has known, and more. In this way complete consciousness, or the perfection of conscious development, means to experience the sum total, the Absolute Truth. And the Absolute Truth is God.
So the goal of evolution is for the living being, after innumerable lifetimes of experience within body after body (The Padma Purana lists 8, 400, 000 species), to come to an awareness of his actual, transcendental position in relationship to Krishna, the Godhead. This direction of development, then, is “natural.” It is the obvious and intended course of progress for the human life form. All other life forms are only like the grades in a school, leading to the senior year. And, from that senior grade, one is expected to go forward out of school, not merely to remain fixed, or even to fall behind.

Human Purpose
Because the human life form is possessed of this advanced consciousness, it is “natural” for human beings to seek a direction, a way out of the struggle for survival, a solution to the riddle of immortality vs. death. One cannot, as so many philosophers would like to, blunt off the edge of this sword of awareness, become directionless, and at the same time find happiness. For happiness means fulfillment, and fulfillment for human life means the attainment of complete consciousness, unaffected by the conditions of time or Nature. This is the ultimate perfection. And, I must restate for emphasis, the drive toward this perfection is “natural” in man.
Now, the general drift of materialistic civilization has always been toward the fulfillment of these same drives, but through the exploitation of Nature rather than through the development of spiritual consciousness. The discovery and development of the theory of evolution is, after all, only an outgrowth of man’s attempt to achieve immortality and full knowledge on his own. This exploitation of Nature, however, always leads to frustration. Take nuclear energy for an example: along with all the promise of a superefficient, wonderfully comfortable world comes the terrible reality of the Bomb.
Material Nature is endlessly changing, and the patterns would seem to be quite without limit. Therefore the plans which are laid toward the control and utilization of Nature are generally defeated: There is always at least one factor that no one thought of, and this changes everything.
A nice example of this is the theory of evolution itself: It is at basis a try at clocking the changes of Nature in order to get one jump ahead, and in this way insure preservation of the species, if not of the individual. And yet, as this article is meant to prove, the theory itself has become a factor in the dissolution of modern civilization. This is that double bind again, which is inescapable so long as one’s footing remains firmly on the material platform. As soon as everything becomes automatic and predictable, life has lost its zest, and human nature will tend to blaze a new trail, even over the ruins of what went before, in its inexorable pursuit of the Absolute . This is why over-sophistication is generally the precursor of decline in any society. When people have fooled themselves into imagining that they know everything, they have lost their reason to live. Not because full knowledge is a bleak state, but because they don’t actually know, and the “everything” they foolishly accept, out of pride or by education, is utterly unfulfilling. In this sad situation, oblivion becomes a welcome prospect.

Spiritual Fulfilment
Unlike material pursuits, which must end in defeat, spiritual life is an eternal adventure. There is, in the awakening of full consciousness, a satisfaction unparalelled by any experience of the mundane world, as the words of all great saints and mystics attest. And, in the development of loving relationships with God, there is an eternal competition to give pleasure rather than to take—a competition between the devotee and Krishna, Who happily responds. And there is a security in the faith in eternal life which no concept of materialistic philosophy can establish.
Faith is, of course. the whipping boy of modern science. But no scientist has ever produced a theory or concept to remotely approach it in terms of human happiness. On the contrary, modern cynics are little more than dead stones compared to those who actually believe in God, in goodness, and in the immortality of the soul. The hopeless condition of modern mentality is a result of this loss of faith, and if this is progress, one must sincerely wonder where it’s pointing. Not that faith is ever absent. It has simply, now, been fixed in the material concept of life—in science, evolution, and so forth.
At this point, we can see that the goals of the materialist and of the spiritualist are, to a degree, the same: eternal life (for self or race, as you like), full knowledge, and bliss. And we can further see that the latter two, happiness and knowledge, are qualities of awareness, or consciousness . It takes no more than the proper adjustment in one’s consciousness to have happiness and knowledge—and eternal life too, though this will be less apparent. However, if one involves one’s consciousness simply in understanding the mechanics of the material universe, the driving of awareness away from self and into the complexities of an unpredictable machine can only result in ignorance and misery—and death, too, though this again will be less apparent.

Now, how to reach one’s goals, as mentioned before, is called morality. We should understand this point clearly: one doesn’t just behave. One acts toward some goal. He may desire to please parents, society, evolution, teachers, God, lust, etc. But, always, one’s conduct, at least in the human form of life, has direction. And this conduct and its direction are called morality.
Today, morality as we’ve known it has collapsed because the goals are anything but clear, and not really desirable. People, in being asked to “please evolution,” are asked to submit blindly to the good of the whole, according to the principles of an unsure theory. It is not the sort of request an intelligent person could comply with, and so our present youth, the first real target of full-scale evolutionism, has revolted, has lost hope, and is on the verge not only of smashing the old society, but of replacing it with a blind and vicious, utterly licentious anarchy.
No real morality can be built along materialistic lines. This is because in the end materialism offers nothing but death to its devotees. Educated away from God, facing the bleak prospect of sacrificing their lives to an uncaring force of Nature, it is little wonder that modern youth has rejected the old standards, and is hurling all its energies into grasping sense gratification to the fullest for what little time it may have. This is, after all, the intelligent thing to do under the circumstances.

The “Moral” Populace
Those who imagine themselves to be moral, but who have no understanding of the existence of God, are indeed more damned than those whose lives are devoted to unlimited sex and liquor. At least the sinful haven’t deceived themselves, and can therefore be saved by reasonable arguments. The self-righteous, convinced of their own perfection, are unapproachable by man or God. They are the truly evil in society, the worst of men, and it is of them that anarchy and all the other corruptions of society are spawned.
From such “moralists”—and it would seem that hardly any other kind exists today—revolt and ruin spring in full virulence, and not, please note, from the “wicked.” Not that the criminal elements of society are “good.” But they are, after all, at the mercy of the “good,” who have taught them the arbitrary rules of good and bad. Only when God sets the standard and that means God as He presents Himself in Scripture can the real values of human life, of all life, be set.
This may seem Utopian, but please understand that it isn’t the faithful who are the ranting visionaries of today. The evolutionists and materialists in general are far more extravagant when it comes to building Utopias than any mystic out of Arabia. The only difficulty is that the materialistic Utopias have a way of failing to workout. Look, if you need an example, into any grade school textbook, and read about New York City. How wonderful it must be! So many giant buildings, so many bridges, so many trains, so many museums and monuments, so many people, millions of dollars, tons of food, dozens of restaurants, hundreds of
theaters, scores of parks, zoos, gardens. The millennium. Then take a walk through the streets of New York City. Talk to the people. The balloon will break with stunning speed. As the saying goes, “I wouldn’t wanna live there.”
This is the frustrating nature of materialistic success. There is, in fact, no success without God. And, for one whose heart is set on God, there is no failure.

More than all else, the basic shortcoming in educating children to “please evolution” is that no scope is admitted for the individual’s hopes and desires. All must be sacrificed to the Whole, to the country or race or species or life force. Such a philosophy is far more grim than the grimmest Calvinism, far more hopeless and barbarian than the mythologies of the Norse.
The highly developed consciousness which is “natural” to human life is thus diverted, and like a sword turned back by an iron buckler, it may well cut the man who holds it. Prevented from pursuing his real direction, modern man—and more especially modern youth—is restless and empty, hopeless and angry, anxious and tragic and dangerous.
No philosophy, no morality, no system of thought or discipline has ever arisen which can, pragmatically, take the place of that real religion which is a vehicle for reaching God. In God consciousness the individual has his specific, eternal relationship with the Creator, Lover, Friend and Father of all. And acting as friend, child, lover and creature of God, the individual is able to benefit all who live, by offering to them the opportunity to advance out of the struggle for survival, and into the transcendental position of love of Godhead.
In this way. Krishna Consciousness fulfills the needs, completely and eternally, of the individual, the community, both human and universal—and of the Whole, which is the desire of the Supreme Godhead, Sri Krishna. This is not merely an alternative to chaos and anarchy. Such an alternative would necessarily be mundane. This is a final solution for the living being. It is the end of evolution.
Food for Krishna
Food for Krishna
For this issue we’ve chosen a few nice sweet preparations for you to enjoy.
Simply Wonderful
(This name was given to this preparation by our Spiritual Master, who made this comment upon tasting these easy-to-make, quick-to-prepare sweets.)
1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup powdered milk (non-instant)
¼ cup water
½ vanilla bean
Chop up vanilla bean and heat in butter. Then add all ingredients and rub together. Work into small balls. Offer to Krishna and ENJOY!
Halavah (2 servings)
1 cup farina
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1-½ cups water
Melt butter over low heat, add farina and stir constantly for 35 minutes. While you roast the farina, bring water and sugar to boiling point in a separate pot, and simmer. When the farina is thoroughly roasted (be careful not to bum) put into sugar water and stir until firm. Now your halavah is ready to offer and serve. It’s a delighfful breakfast treat.
Puris are wonderful with rose petal jam. This recipe will make 10-12.
1 cup white flour
3 tablespoons melted butter (or ghee)
Sift white flour, add ghee and sift again so that butter is distributed evenly. Then add water and make a soft dough. Knead for 15 minutes. Roll into balls 1-1/2 inch diameter, then roll out each ball, using oil on your rolling pin and board. This will prevent sticking, and make for easier handling. Fry on high heat in ghee, once on each side. (Ghee is made by clarifying fresh sweet butter: Place a pound of butter in a small pot and let it stand on lowest heat for 8 hours. Then skim impurities off the top. The impurities can be used for frying vegetables.)
Rich Molasses Bread
2-½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup white flour
½ cup molasses
½ cup water
½ cup raisins
1 teasp. grated orange or lemon peel
½ cup sugar
2-½ cups buttermilk
½ cup chopped walnuts
2-½ teasp. baking soda
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter pan and sprinkle flour. Combine all dry ingredients in bowl. Combine all wet ingredients in separate bowl. Then add wet to dry, stir quickly, pour into pan and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn heat to 325 degrees and bake 1 hour. This bread can be served with rose petal jam, butter, or cream cheese.

Back to Godhead Magazine #19, 1968
The world over, students, faculties and/or parents are in revolt, determined to alter their educational systems. Generally speaking, governments and school administrations are willing to make small changes, but not the sweeping ones which will satisfy the opposition. Students For A Democratic Society, for example, which spear-headed the Columbia revolt in New York last spring, has announced itself determined to bring down the existing university structure wholesale—but only in that it represents the entire American competitive-imperialist system. The SDS members have at least recognized the true dimensions of their struggle, although it seems naive of them to have assumed that the U.S. is THE enemy of human rights.
The truth is that each and every organization, regardless of its size or purpose or location, is ultimately brutal, exploitative and oppressive—including SDS itself—unless it can see beyond the limits of material life.
Materialism means not merely unbounded acquisitiveness. It means the acceptance of material Nature as supreme, and therefore assumes that man must work out his destiny within the bounds of Nature. But Nature, as Darwin pointed out, imposes an unpitying competition of her own upon all beings within her grasp. Therefore even the socialist, even the pacifist must kill to prolong his life, must inflict pain on someone or something (like cattle or chickens) to secure his own pleasure.
The dream of a society without competition, in which human beings can develop to their utmost potential, is natural. It is the gravitation of intelligent beings toward spiritual awareness—for spiritual awareness entails relationships of love and happiness, without hatred, envy or deprivation. But such a spiritual awareness cannot be had through submission to the brute force of material Nature. It is only possible—for both individuals and societies—through the understanding of the distinction between spirit and matter, and of the exalted position of the Supreme Spirit, Sri Krishna. This understanding is the fruit of Krishna conscious meditation upon the Holy Names of God: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
There is something stupendous, something real and gigantic and possibly wonderful waiting in the half-shadows of tomorrow’s dawn for mankind’s young generations. The question is whether the dawn will break in splendor or tragedy, whether the young will carry forward the blight of atheistic ignorance to its awful conclusion in a world of death, or whether they will turn instead to spiritual enlightenment, both glorifying the future and forgiving the past.
As far as their stated endeavors to build something finer and more sane go, we can only applaud and commiserate with SDS and the many similar student activist groups. But to accomplish the reality of a new and just society, we must urge with all sincerity that such revolutionaries add the practice of Krishna Consciousness to their lives and movements. The rejection not only of materialistic social systems, but of the entire scheme of material life, is the real revolution by which the world can hope to see a better day.
Parts & Parcels
Parts & Parcels
by Nayana Bhiram Das
In September, 1965, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami—a holy man in the renounced order of life—landed in New York and introduced the Hare Krishna movement to the West. The movement is based on the chanting of the holy names of God: HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE/HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE. It has from time to time known great popularity in India, and now the Swami has set out to spread its influence in America. By July, 1966 Swamiji had already attracted enough young disciples to form the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. located in the East Village at 26 Second Avenue. In the religious corporation papers, it is noted that one of the main purposes of the society in propagating Krishna Consciousness is “to develop the idea within the members and humanity at large, that each soul is part and parcel of the quality of Godhead (Krishna).” The present column, devoted to the activities of the various Krishna Consciousness temples is therefore named Parts & Parcels in keeping with the Society’s mission.
New Hare Krishna centers are constantly being opened in order to fulfill Lord Chaitanya’s prophecy that Hare Krishna will someday be sung in every village and town throughout the world. Our latest center is called New Vrindaban, and is considerably more ambitious than any of our past endeavors. Located outside the Appalachian mountain town of Moundsville, 10 miles south of Wheeling, West Virginia, its purpose is “to serve as a holy place of transcendental pastimes, dedicated to Krishna, the Personality of Godhead.” New Vrindaban consists of 133 acres of land, including a stream with a waterfall and bathing ghats, woods, fields, and pasturage; and a knoll called “Goverdan Hill.” Only a house and a barn stand there now, but plans for the future are evolving quickly. As with all centers of Krishna Consciousness, this one is not located in the material world, but is spiritual by virtue of the work done there in devotion to God. Vrindaban in India is where Lord Krishna displayed His childhood pastimes as a cowherd boy, and one special feature of New Vrindaban is cow protection. Because of the great endeavor to build a spiritual city in the wilderness, with the dynamic determination to create a new and perfect human society, New Vrindaban will not be like the numerous country club ashrams popular with Yoga groups nowadays. Hayagriva Das Brahmachary, co-founder of the project, invites anyone interested to communicate with him c/o the Hare Krishna Temple at 26 Second Avenue in New York
—Nayana Bhiram Das Brahmachary
Jagannath Puja
Jagannath Puja
by Satsvarupa das
This is the topmost opulence
and all the courtiers and fools, jesters, politicos
who ever packed great emperors’ palace rooms,
hobnobbing and scraping before the throne,
are no more than figs to this, the transcendent glory
of my Godbrother Jadunandan and I
sitting before the altar late Sunday,
under the throne of Jagganath Lord of the Universe.
We are servants sitting in the court of
the Supreme. We are here!
Jagganath is worshippable Krishna
—and we are here! All Glories to Jagganath’s kindness!
All Glories to our Spiritual Master, whose mercy has
placed us at Your Lotus Feet, liberated and joyful!
Now, let us refresh You with some service!
—Satsvarupa Das Adhikary
Poem of Narottama das Thakur
Poem of Narottama das Thakur
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Although I have come to this human form
My Lord I have passed my life uselessly.
I did not care to serve Radha and Krishna
Yet I have swallowed poison carelessly.
Hare Krishna comes straight from Krishna Loka,
But with chanting I have no connection.
Day and night I’m burning in this dark world
Without working to make the correction.
Lord Krishna has appeared as Sachi’s Son,
Balarama has descended as Nityai.
By chanting, the wretched have all been saved,
Including even Jagai and Madhai.
Oh my dear Lord, O Son of King Nanda,
Together with Brishabanu’s daughter—
“I’ve no shelter but Radha and Krishna,”
Humbly prays Narottama Das Thakur.
—translated by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Super Consciousness
Super Consciousness
by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
Krishna Consciousness is the highest Yoga performance by trained devotional yogis. The Yoga system, as is stated in the standard Yoga practice formula given by Lord Krishna in The Bhagavad Gita, and as recommended in the Patanjali Yoga discipline, is different from the nowadays practiced Hatha Yoga, as is generally understood in the Western Countries.
Real Yoga practice means to control the senses and, after such control is established, to concentrate the mind on the Narayana Form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna. Lord Krishna is the Original Absolute Personality, the Godhead, and all the other Vishnu Forms—with four hands, decorated with conch, lotus, club and wheel—are plenary expansions of Krishna.
In The Bhagavad Gita it is recommended that we should meditate upon the form of the Lord. For practicing concentration of the mind, one has to sit down in a secluded place sanctified by a sacred atmosphere, and the yogi should observe the rules and regulations of Brahmacharya—to live a life of strict self-restraint and celibacy. Nobody can practice Yoga in a congested city, living a life of extravagance, including unrestricted sex indulgence and adultery of the tongue.
We have already stated that Yoga practice means controlling the senses, and the beginning of controlling the senses is to control the tongue. You cannot allow the tongue to take all kinds of forbidden food and drink, and at the same time improve in the practice of Yoga . It is a very regrettable fact that many unauthorized and stray so-called yogis now come to the West and exploit the leaning of the people towards Yoga. Such unauthorized yogis even dare to say publicly that one can indulge in drinking and at the same time practice meditation.
Five thousand years ago, in The Bhagavad Gita dialog, Lord Krishna recommended the Yoga practice to His disciple Arjuna, but Arjuna flatly expressed his inability to follow the stringent rules and regulations of Yoga. One should be practical in every field of activity. One should not waste his valuable time simply in practicing some gymnastic feats in the name of Yoga. Real Yoga is to search out the four-handed Supersoul within one’s heart, and to see Him perpetually in meditation. Such continued meditation is called Samadhi. If, however, one wants to meditate upon something void or impersonal, it will require a very long time to achieve anything by Yoga practice. We cannot concentrate our mind on something void or impersonal. Real Yoga practice is to fix up the mind on the Person of the four-handed Narayana Who dwells in everyone’s heart.
The Supersoul
Sometimes it is said that, by meditation, one will understand that God is seated within one’s heart always, even when one does not know it. God is seated within the heart of everyone. He is not only seated in the heart of the human being, but He is also there within the hearts of the cats and dogs. The Bhagavad Gita certifies this with the declaration of the Lord: Iswara, the Supreme Controller of the world, is seated in the heart of everyone. He is not only in everyone’s heart, but He is also present within the atoms. No place is vacant, no place is without the presence of the Lord.
The feature of the Lord by which He is present everywhere is called the Paramatman. Atman means the individual soul, and Paramatman means the individual Supersoul. Both Atman and Paramatman are individual Persons. The difference between Them is that the Atman, or soul, is present only in one particular place, whereas the Paramatman is present everywhere .
In this connection, the example of the Sun is very nice. An individual person may be situated in one place, but the Sun, even though a specific individual entity, is present over the head of every individual person. In The Bhagavad Gita this is very nicely explained. Therefore, even though the qualities of all entities, including the Lord, are equal, the Supersoul is different from the individual soul by quantity of expansion. The Lord or Supersoul can expand Himself into millions of different Forms, while the individual soul cannot do so.
The Supersoul, being seated in everyone’s heart, can witness everyone’s activities, past, present and future. In the Upanishads the Supersoul is said to be sitting with the individual soul as a friend and witness. As a friend He is always anxious to get the individual soul back to home, back to Godhead. As a witness, He is the endower of all benedictions that result from the individual’s actions. The Supersoul gives all facility to the individual soul for achieving whatever he may desire. But he instructs His friend, so that he may ultimately give up all other engagements and simply surrender unto God for perpetual bliss and eternal life, full of knowledge. This is the last instruction of The Bhagavad Gita, the most authorized and widely read book on all forms of Yoga.
Krishna Consciousness
The last word of The Bhagavad Gita, as stated above, is the last word in the matter of perfecting the Yoga system. It is further stated in The Bhagavad Gita that a person who is always absorbed in Krishna Consciousness is the topmost yogi. What is this Krishna Consciousness? Just as the individual soul is present by his consciousness throughout the whole body, so the Supersoul, or Paramatman, is present throughout the whole creation by His super consciousness.
This super consciousness cannot be imitated by the individual soul, who has limited awareness: I can understand what is going on within my limited body, but I cannot feel what is going on in another’s body. I am present all over my body by my consciousness, but I am not present in any other’s body by my consciousness. However. the Supersoul or Paramatman. being present within everyone, situated everywhere, is conscious of every existence. The theory that the soul and the Supersoul are one is not acceptable, because the individual soul’s consciousness cannot act in superconsciousness. This super consciousness can only be achieved by dovetailing individual consciousness with the super consciousness; and this dovetailing process is called surrender, or Krishna Consciousness.
From the teachings of The Bhagavad Gita we learn very clearly that Arjuna in the beginning did not want to fight with his brothers and relatives, but after understanding The Bhagavad Gita, when he dovetailed his consciousness with the super consciousness of Krishna, it was Krishna Consciousness. A person in full Krishna Consciousness acts by the dictation of Krishna, and so Arjuna agreed to fight the Battle of Kurukshetra.
In the beginning of Krishna Consciousness this dictation of the Lord is received through the transparent medium of the Spiritual Master.
When one is sufficiently trained and acts with submissive faith and love for Krishna, under the direction of the bona fide Spiritual Master, the dovetailing process becomes more firm and accurate. At this stage Krishna dictates from within. From without, the devotee is helped by the Spiritual Master, the bona fide representative of Krishna, and from within the Lord helps the devotee as Chaita Guru, being seated within the heart of everyone.
Mystic Powers
To simply understand that God is seated in everyone’s heart is not perfection. One has to be acquainted with God from within and without, and thus to act in Krishna Consciousness. This is the highest perfectional stage for the human form of life, and the topmost stage in all Yoga systems.
For a perfect yogi there are eight kinds of super-achievements:
• one can become smaller than an atom,
• one can become bigger than a mountain,
• one can become lighter than the air
• one can become heavier than any metal,
• one can achieve any material effect he likes (create a planet, for example),
• one can control others like the Lord,
• one can travel anywhere within (or without) the universe freely,
• one can choose his own time and place of death, and take rebirth wherever he may desire.
But when one rises to the perfectional stage of receiving dictation from the Lord, that is more than the stage of the material achievements above mentioned.
The breathing exercise of the Yoga system which is generally practiced is just the beginning of the system. Meditation on the Supersoul is just a step forward. Achievement of wonderful material success is also only a step forward. But to attain direct contact with the Supersoul and to take dictation from Him is the highest perfectional stage.
The breathing exercises and meditation practices of Yoga are very difficult in this age. It was difficult even 5,000 years ago, or else Arjuna would not have rejected the proposal of Krishna. This age of Kali is called the Fallen Age. At the present moment people in general are short-living and very slow in understanding self-realization or spiritual life. They are mostly unfortunate, and as such, if somebody is a little bit interested in self-realization, he is misguided by so many frauds. The only actual way to realization of the perfect stage of Yoga is to follow the principles of The Bhagavad Gita as they were practiced by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This is the simplest and highest perfection of Yoga practice.
Supreme Knowledge
Lord Chaitanya practically demonstrated Krishna Consciousness Yoga simply by chanting the Holy Names of Krishna, as they are mentioned in the Vedanta, Srimad Bhagwatam, and many important Puranas. The largest number of Indians follow this Yoga practice, and in the U.S.A. also it is gradually growing in many cities. It is very easy and practical for this age, especially for those who are serious about success in Yoga. No other process can be succesful in this age.
The meditation process in right earnest was possible in the Golden Age of SatyaYuga because the people at that time lived for a hundred thousand years on the average.
If you want success in practical Yoga, take to the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, and feel for yourself how you are making progress. One should know for himself how much he is progressing in Yoga practice.
In The Bhagavad Gita this practice of Krishna Consciousness is described as Rajavidya, the king of all erudition; Rajaguhyam, the most confidential system of spiritual realization; Pavitra, the purest of all that is pure: Susukham, very happily performed; and Avayam, inexhaustible.
Bhakti Yoga
Those who have taken to this most sublime Bhakti Yoga system, this practice of devotional service in transcendental love of Krishna, can testify to how they are nicely enjoying its happy and easy execution. Yoga means controlling the senses, and Bhakti Yoga means purifying the senses. When the senses are purified, they are also, automatically, controlled. You cannot stop the activities of the senses by artificial means, but if you purify the senses they are not only kept back from rubbish engagement, but also they become positively engaged in transcendental service to the Lord.
Krishna Consciousness is not manufactured by us through mental speculation. It is the injunction of The Bhagavad Gita, Which says that, when we think in Krishna, chant in Krishna, live in Krishna, eat in Krishna, talk in Krishna, hope in Krishna, and sustain in Krishna, we return to Krishna without any doubt. And this is the substance of Krishna Consciousness.
The Official Electric Globe Direction Finder
The Official Electric Globe Direction Finder
by Rayarama Das

“Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men will follow in his footsteps. And whatever standard he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” The Bhagavad Gita As It Is, 3.21
Here are some headlines from The New York Times on a moderately slow news day (September 5, 1968): FATAL BOMBING IN TEL AVIV STIRS MOB ATTACK ON ARABS; VIOLENCE PANEL TO STUDY CHICAGO; U. S. REASSESSING POLICIES IN WAKE OF PRAGUE CRISIS; OFF-DUTY POLICE HERE JOIN IN BEATING BLACK PANTHERS; KEISINGER WARNS U. S. ON RUSSIANS—SEES MILITARY THREAT RISING STEADILY, HE TELLS LODGE: SPLIT AMONG MILITARY LEADERS SHAKES ARGENTINA; FIGHTING RENEWED NEAR SAIGON—ENEMY DEATH TOLL IS PUT AT 146. These are, of course, only the more sensational and ominous developments, those of a somewhat international character. And, being a slow news day, very little was printed about Nigeria’s cruel war with Biafra, about China’s brutal and enervating Cultural Revolution, France’s development of thermonuclear power, that same nation’s student unrest, the continuing Korean crisis . the imminent civil war in Southern Rhodesia and South Africa, the armed border confrontation between India and China, and the literally innumerable other incidents and near-incidents of violence and warfare which plague today’s world.
Americans of late—and most especially since the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy—have taken to scouring their consciences to determine if the U.S. is really as violence-ridden as it seems to be. But events on the newsfronts of the world suggest that there is no single nation or culture which has a monopoly on violence or brutality. And it is increasingly clear that no nation today is devoid of them.
Dispute—difference of opinion, conflict of interest—is everywhere present in the world at all times. But the resort to unpitying violence in the form of riot, guerilla warfare, armed aggression, and the threat of holocaust seems especially rampant now, while respect of any sort for law and moral order is disappearing.
Is civilization changing—or dying? Perhaps the process of change brings us near to death, like a caterpillar during metamorphosis. If this is so, then whether in change or the throes of death our situation remains critical and dangerous, and the type of men we choose to lead us now may well decide the fate of the human race for many thousands of years to come.
With this elementary consciousness of our position in history, let us consider here what sort of men are fit for contemporary world leadership what qualities we ought to seek in them and what the aim of their leadership should be.
One thing is sure: those who have led us in the past cannot lead us today and will not lead us in the future. This is because the world has changed. As Marshall McLuhan has indicated, electric technology—and specifically the rise of the new mass media—has irrevocably altered the course of civilization. It is not only that warfare has become prohibitively ferocious, but that people all over the world are now linked at least as closely as most next-door neighbors were a century ago. Contemporary man finds himself too much in sympathy with his common fellows to blithely contemplate their torture or annihilation by the superbly armed warriors of gigantic governments—even their own—much less to sing rousing battle hymns about the whole thing.
Perhaps the most striking instance of the new world unity among men which is arising can be found in the spontaneous student revolts which have suddenly afflicted the nations. The first true generation of the mass media has determined, it would seem, to tolerate the “old politics” no more, whether it can offer a ready, reasonable alternative or not. Co-ordination among such “underground” or youth movements has generally developed after, not before, they were set in motion in the various corners of the globe. In this sense theirs is a true mass movement, a spontaneous revolution.
What is the schism between “old” and “new” politics? What is its basis? Again, McLuhan has pointed out the situation, though he seems uncertain himself of the obvious implications.
The “old” politicians are those who cheer their national flags, sing their traditional anthems, attend their traditional churches, make the traditional pledges during the traditional speeches, hate their traditional enemies, and offer peace and prosperity for their people. The old politics, in a word, is nationalism.
Nationalism, or sectionalism, is the obvious cesspool from which the diseases of war and famine arise. It is, to be sure, the bedrock of the United Nations and the cornerstone of our modern governments’ world views. Yet it is the real reason people starve in India while the U.S. pays its farmers not to produce, and it is the glaringly apparent reason why Russia and the United States, under the absurd banners of “world” communism and democracy stand ready to obliterate life on this planet. Nor is any detente likely to change matters in the long run, even if a temporary nuclear accord can be reached. For other nations want power too, and the fact that it is simply power to destroy blindly—and entails inevitably being destroyed in turn—does not deter them. Thus France and China are anxiously, avidly joining in the H-bomb race, and others can be expected to do so in the near future—Israel, West Germany India, Italy, Japan.
Nationalism is the old politics because it views men with narrow common interests as kindred, to the exclusion of others, and because it sanctions all the evils that men can work upon one another, so long as the victim stands outside one’s own community. But electric technology has made the world one community, and so the old lines of thought cannot apply. Nationalism is the politics of ignorance and ceaseless war, of misery, greed, rape, murder and starvation. Electric technology—the television, the photo-filled newspaper and the movie house do not permit the sort of insulation and indifference to such things that a single simple headline used to allow. And they tend to break down the degree of callousness—of alienness—that men of different nations used to be able to feel toward one another.
We are, by virtue of modern technology, one world family with a thousand governments, and this is the canker that rots us. The “new” politics, then, the politics by which we must be guided if we are to survive, is not just a matter of personal integrity, as the popularity of Eugene McCarthy and George Wallace in America seems to clearly indicate. It is true that the unpitying camera cannot help but reveal liars and frauds, as it has done for many during the current presidential race in the U.S., but this is only the beginning, only the first fruit of electric technology. The real and ultimate result is the consciousness within the minds of the world’s people that they are one and not many.
And the new politics can then be seen to be the politics of world unification, the politics of a higher consciousness of brotherhood transcending the limits of race, nation or creed.
Genghis Khan wrote a lawbook by which he hoped to perpetuate the world government which his tremendous conquests had established. Although himself a nomadic shamanist, it is interesting to note that the first of the laws in his “Yassak” reads:
It is ordered to believe that there is only one God, creator of heaven and earth, who alone gives life and death, riches and poverty as pleases Him—and who has over everything an absolute power.
The Mongol warlord understood, as all the great men who have attempted to unite the world under one government have understood, that without a principle transcending earthly ties—that is, transcending sectionalism—no universal government could endure. As Napoleon put it: “No society can exist without morality; there is no good morality without religion. “
The reader may wonder if I mean to hold up Genghis Khan or Napoleon Bonaparte as examples of the world leader required by our times. The answer is no. First of all, though the Mongol’s concept of world government was in many ways admirable, events most certainly demonstrated him a failure, for his empire did not endure, much less continue to expand, long beyond his death. Like Machiavelli, he conceived that men are best ruled by fear as opposed to love, and it was with this conviction that he initiated his campaigns of terror against the peoples of Asia and Europe. What we need today is neither a terrorist nor a Machiavellian, for the mass media no longer permit such extravagances within the human community. Indeed, dissimulation and terrorism are the very things now to be cast off by the human race if it is to live.
Again, Napoleon’s hopes of uniting Europe foundered on two principles: the first being his own self-interest, the second his irrepressible tendency to place France and her people at the forefront of the world. He made France not the liberator but the despoiler of those who had suffered under the abuses of the Old Regime, and in the end it was the people, not the rulers, of Europe who defeated him.
The world leader required by our times—the man or men for whom history and technology have conspired together to set the stage—cannot be a Frenchman or a Mongol, nor an American, Chinaman or Russian. He must stand above the designations of sectionalism, and he must be able to elevate the people of the world with him. And he must have at heart not his own aggrandizement, but the true and transcendant welfare of all the people of the world.
These are not ordinary qualifications, and they are not found in men the way that Napoleon’s military genius or Augustus’s administrative skill were found. They must be consciously, intentionally developed. Everyone accepts certain designations of family, race, religion and nationality from birth, without question. Even where one of these concepts is absent, another is present. But the true universalist cannot accept such exclusive designations. He must be capable of going beyond these things, he must be capable of comprehending the essence of the life force itself. In other words, he must be a man with knowledge of spiritual, or absolute, existence—a self realized soul. And this self realization is a matter of serious personal determination.
If we examine the causes of nationalism, we will see that it stems ultimately from the identification of oneself with the body. The body is born in a particular place, with certain relationships, loyalties, debts and duties already existing to absorb one’s interest. But the relationships of the body, like the body itself, are all ephemeral. One who accepts himself as having no spiritual existence beyond the space-and-time limits of the body cannot possibly avoid identification with one or another of the exclusive groups to which his body belongs. He cannot, therefore, be a true world leader.
The point to be noted is that spiritual knowledge is the requirement—the absolute requirement—for the man who would unify our world, establish peace and justice and, still more, happiness. I say it is the absolute requirement because without it such great men as Alexander, Genghis Khan, Napoleon and who knows how many first-rate administrators, executives, humanists, autocrats and demagogues have failed to do the job. For, though the Mongol and the Corsican correctly realized that religion was the ultimate means of unification, they were themselves not truly religious. They sought to use religion to cement together their empires, and here lay their basic error.
Religion must never justify its existence by service to a state or society, nor allow itself to be prostituted in that way. Religion is not a means to a stable society. It is a pathway to knowledge of God, it is the means of developing love of God. It is liberation from material existence, not a material device or adjustment. When it loses this orientation, when religion no longer serves to bring the individual to direct experience of the existence of God, then it is false and useless—a true opiate of the people.
The religion from which a stable and happy society springs is not, oddly enough, the false, society-oriented religion. Such a religion is ever the harbinger of revolution and disintegration, as witness Christendom these last few hundred years. Only the true religion which strives, and exhorts mankind to strive, after face-to-face knowledge of God can actually bring about peace and stability in the world. One who does not himself believe in God—much less know Him by his own serious devotional endeavors—cannot, therefore, create union among men by means of religion. Such leaders offer only the tradition, the hollow tasteless husk of a creed, and it is in turning from this in search of something better that the world so often finds itself in ferment.
The truth is that it is society which must be made to justify itself in terms of the spiritual advancement of its people, as both Gandhi and Toynbee have foreseen. And the world leader who will succeed in uniting the human race is the man who can affect this change in disposition. He cannot be a man interested in self-aggrandizement, for knowledge of God leads one to glorify God only, to serve and love and obey God only. Nor can he be a man of any section, with any special, narrow interest to serve, for God is one without a second, as He is described in all the world’s authentic Scriptures; and all that exists is His. All beings without exception belong to Him, are His beloved children, and therefore must be treated with the utmost regard, and must be offered the full happiness and peace of spiritual perfection.
One with this consciousness of God as the Supreme Father of all, as the Possessor of all and the Friend of all, is fit for world leadership today, and only such a spiritually advanced person can hope to overcome the strictures of sectional interest in establishing the world union which electric technology has made practical, and history essential, for our survival.
There are, and always have been, innumerable doctrines of a grand and sweeping nature which call for peace, disarmament, brotherhood, and harmony, but modern history has not found one which will work. Neither communism, socialism, capitalism, totalitarianism, democracy, nor whatever is really acceptable for the welfare of all. If communism excludes individual enterprise, capitalism is a system for the exploitation of the poor. And no scheme, whether economic or political, has taken account of the welfare of living beings other than humans. Based ultimately on personal avarice, existing only to adjust the exploitation of the world’s wealth for the benefit of many or few, such grand and all-inclusive world views falter at one point or another, such as Russian national predominance within the communist movement, or American—and before that British—industrial hegemony among the democracies.
The present writer, however, has no such scheme to offer. The Krishna Consciousness movement which I serve has indeed a dialectic, and what’s more an outright science of societal organization, but the point and essence of this essay is that the world cannot be “saved”—that is to say unified—by schemes. It must be saved by men, and only men who have made themselves perfect in the science of God realization are fit for such a task. To be perfect in God realization means to have purified one’s consciousness from the false designations of the material concept of life, and to have risen to the platform of spiritual awareness. Such awareness is universal in scope. and does not recognize the petty and vicious pretensions of sectional society, nor even of human society as opposed to other life forms.
This purification of consciousness has been outlined scientifically within the context of the Vedic Scriptural writings of India. and it is to these Scriptures that the leaders of tomorrow’s world must look if they are to achieve the required consciousness of universal love. Other Scriptures are, to be sure, not excluded by such a study, and it is exactly because they are all-inclusive, rather than exclusive, that the Vedic writings have real value for us now.
The Vedic wisdom can be summarized in a simple phrase: The single worthwhile goal of life is to develop love of Godhead. And the system for the development of that love is presented in many different ways. Especially recommended for this age, where the strains of life seem not reduced but magnified by electric technology, is the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. By constant repetition of this transcendental sound vibration it is possible to arrive at the position of purified awareness of God. Such an awareness necessarily entails awareness of the eternally existing relationships between all creatures and their Creator and thereby endows one with the intelligence required for true world leadership.
This is a scheme not for societies so much as for individual people, and its value lies here. For if the people, individually, can find satisfaction, fulfillment and happiness in the advancement of spiritual life, then society will necessarily be peaceful and stable.
We can therefore see that a perfect society is a natural and inevitable byproduct but not the goal of true religion. And the world leaders of tomorrow are those who will encourage the people in this pursuit of God consciousness—and who will themselves pursue it, thereby offering their lives as examples .
The business of such world leaders can be outlined simply:
• to pursue with heart and soul the quest for personal fulfillment in devotional service to God,
• to unify the world under one government,
• to institute a system of law based on spiritual goals, which will have as its guideline the great Scriptures of the world,
• and to create an atmosphere of God consciousness for the actual benefit of all beings.
Utopian? Electric technology has made each one of these goals wholly practical, while the outcries of the new generation for a way of life more sane, more hopeful and more intimately fulfilling show that the human race is ready, if not waiting.
by Rayarama Das Brahmachary
Sacred Temple City of the Ganges
by Jayagovinda Das Brahmachary
Formerly Rishikesh was a special retreat of the ‘‘sadhus,” the saintly wise men, reserved for “tapasya,” the performance of austerities. But today this type of meditation has been replaced by the singing of sacred mantras and hymns during joyful gatherings known as Kirtans. Entire families attend and participate, and all throughout the day the town’s atmosphere is enlivened by this singing.
In the authentic, carefully preserved Vedic writings called “Shastras,” or Scriptures, there is a prophecy regarding the present age of industry and science, and a special mantra is offered for God realization in this era: HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE/HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE. And so by following a natural tendency to sing and dance, people are able to act in accordance with the Scriptures, and thus make progress in spiritual understanding while they enjoy life.
Much of the population of Rishikesh is made up of pilgrims, visiting this as one of a series of holy places in the area of the Himalayas. Everyone takes a dip in the sacred Ganges before retiring to rooms provided free of cost to weary travelers by the different temples. Whether rich or poor, no distinction is made. There are many such places in India, maintained by the wealthy for the spiritual upliftment of the population in general. This principle is quite firmly established throughout the country, and is one of the main causes for the existence of a more spiritually oriented population. The most common Indian has some knowledge of the existence of the spirit from which consciousness emanates, and is trained to act, in some way, to uplift himself to the spiritual platform. The result is a genuinely happy people, for all that one is led to believe in the West; and a population with a deep sense of security as well—which may surprise many westerners, but is quite true.
How the sacred Ganges came into being makes a very nice story: Vamana, the Dwarf Incarnation of God, kicked a hole with His foot in the shell of the universe, and a drop of the Causal Ocean leaked in. This droplet was caught by Lord Shiva, a powerful demigod and great devotee of the Lord. Shiva kept it in his hair for some time and then released it, and it became the River Ganges, which runs down through all the fourteen worlds.
In the early morning and evening hours at Rishikesh the hills ring with bells, announcing the temple worship of Lord Narayan and Lord Sri Krishna, two forms of the Supreme God. People rise with the sun and flock to the temples to see the performance of a ceremony where symbolic items—the five-light ghee lamp, the water-filled conch, and a pretty folded handkerchief—are passed before the deities’ eyes, along with the chanting of Sanskrit mantras and verses of praise.
The deities are called “Archa Vigraha,” a form of incarnation of God. They are made in the image of God, according to the descriptions of Him found in Scripture, and He enters into their forms in order to accept the worship of His devotees. The deities are carefully attended, exactly like living persons: they are fed, bathed, clothed, and offered beds for taking rest.
The temple ceremony ends with the splashing of the ceremonial waters on the crowd. Just raise your hand and the “Pujari” the priest, will give you a liberal sprinkling. Then there comes distribution of delicious sweets called “prasadam,” food which has first been offered to and accepted by the deities. During this distribution the deities are fanned and given rest. Everyone then returns to his ordinary business, inspired by the sight and worship of the deities. And everyone will surely return again and again to experience that inexplicable feeling of goodness from having stood in the sacred presence.
The deities are sometimes considered to be like clocks: The clock is a representative of time, and by looking at the clock one can see time . Even if he destroys his clock, however, and cannot see it, time itself is not destroyed.
Rishikesh is a heaven in itself, and the beautiful Deities at Swargashram, a temple situated on a nearby peninsula along the Ganges, make it even more perfect, with God Himself to preside over it. It is a place of matchless scenery, and a place where the soul is at home.
Three Features of the Absolute
Three Features of the Absolute
by Subal Das Adhikary
There are three classes of transcendentalists, according to the degree of realization of the absolute truth. One class of transcendentalists are the devotees, who have realized the Absolute Truth to be the Supreme Person, or God. A second class of transcendentalists are the yogis, who have realized the Supersoul Feature of the Absolute Truth, or all-prevading consciousness. And the third class of transcendentalists are the philosophers, who generally can only realize the impersonal feature of the Absolute.
Bhagavan, the Supreme Person, is held to be the ultimate in the Absolute Truth, according to the Vedic writings, which define and delineate the aspects of the Supreme in systematic and scientific fashion. Paramatman, the Supersoul, is a partial manifestation of the Supreme Person, and Brahman is the glowing bodily effulgence of the same Supreme Person.
Impersonal Brahman realization is often compared to knowledge of the sunshine. A higher realization is to understand that there is a localized sundisc; and the study of that feature is compared with knowledge of the Supersoul. The highest realization is to know of the sun planet and its inner workings. This compares with intimate knowledge of the pastimes of the Supreme Original Person, Sri Krishna.
These three features of the Absolute Truth are simply different perspectives of the same One Reality, according to the angle of vision of the seer. From a distance a mountain may appear to be a gray cloud, but as we get closer to it we can distinguish different features, such as villages, rivers, or wooded areas. And, when we have reached the mountain, we can distinguish individual blades of grass, rocks, and animals.
When we realize the Supreme Person, this includes realization of His partial manifestation and of His effulgence, both being emanations from Him. However, simply realizing His effulgence, or partial manifestation, does not include realization of His Personal feature. In The Brahma Samhita, one of the most important Vedic Scriptures, it is said:
I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, only the tip of the toe of Whose Lotus Feet is approached by the yogis who aspire after the transcendental, betaking themselves to Pranayama [breath control] by drilling the respiration: or by the jnanis [philosophers], who try to find the non-differentiated Brahman through the process of elimination of the mundane, a process extending over thousands of millions of years.
Realization of Brahman or of Paramatman is, therefore, incomplete realization, and the systems of Yoga and philosophical reasoning are also incomplete. That the only way to know the Supreme Absolute Truth perfectly is through devotion is the message of The Brahma Samhita, as it is of all the great Vedic Scriptures which have come down to us from the remotest antiquity.
The impersonalists generally cannot realize the spiritual focus of the Supreme Person. Being frustrated in one’s attempts at sense gratification on the materialistic sphere, “by the process of elimination of the mundane,” that is, by saying “not this, not that,” (neti, neti) one may “try to find the non-differentiated Brahman.” Intellectually, through reason and logic, one speculates on the absolute Truth. Due to a poor fund of knowledge, however, such a philosopher tends to misinterpret the Scriptures, and comes to deny the Personal feature of the Lord. This process can go on for “thousands of millions of years,” as the soul progresses from birth to birth to birth. Finally, after achieving realization of the non-differentiated Brahman, the Absolute Nature he tries to merge with It, desiring to lose his individuality—to become God. This is called spiritual suicide, because we are all eternally individual living entities. This absolute individuality is confirmed in The Bhagavad Gita, by far the most widely revered of all the Vedic Scriptural texts, in the words of the Supreme Person Himself:
In fact, there never was a time when I was not, nor when you and all these kings were not. Nor hereafter shall We cease to be.
The soul is never born, nor does it die; nor does it exist by coming into being. For it is unborn, eternal everlasting and primeval; even though the body is slain, the soul is not.
Further, in The Brahma Samhita, it is said:
The same soul is eternal and exists for all eternity, without any beginning, joined to the Supreme Lord by the tie of eternal kinship.
It is possible to “merge” with the impersonal Brahman, and to temporarily suspend our individuality. If we see an airplane fly very high into the sky, it may go out of our sight and thus seem to have merged with the sky. However, the fact is that if the airplane does not land on another planet, it must again return to earth. Similarly, if we do not reach one of the innumerable transcendental planets within the spiritual sky, we must again at some time take our birth in this material world.
It is the nature of the individual soul to be situated on a planet, be it material or spiritual. In this way he can enjoy the variegatedness of life. Spiritual variegatedness, we should understand, is far superior to its material reflection. Variety is, after all, the basis of pleasure and happiness. And the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is known as Sat-Chit-Ananda Vigraha, “eternity and bliss in the fullest perfection.” When we realize the impersonal Brahman, we realize only His Eternal (Sat) quality, without approaching the Knowledge (Chit) and Bliss (Ananda) aspects of the Absolute.
The Opulence Of God
The impersonalist further thinks that he can become God by merging with the impersonal Brahman. This is a dangerous form of atheism. The thought that someone can become God should be seen as patent nonsense. Is God so insignificant that a dog can become God? God must be eternally God, and we are eternally His parts and parcels—His servitors. Qualitatively we are indeed the same as God—one with Him, as is frequently said—but quantitatively there is a vast difference. The Vedic wisdom says that Krishna, God, possesses six opulences in full: all wealth, all fame. all beauty, all power, all knowledge and all renunciation. We also possess these six opulences, but in very minute quantities. If anyone can actually show that he possesses these qualities in full, then he must be accepted as God. If not, then he has no claim to divinity. If you claim to be God, then you must demonstrate that you are God, and not simply live like a dog.
The qualities of Krishna, the Godhead, have also been seen as sixty-four in number by great sages. And the living entity is said to possess 78% of these qualities. He can never possess all 100%.
Now, if we say we are God, but that we have temporarily forgotten, this is also insubstantial. God never forgets. If God were subject to forgetfulness or Maya, Illusion, then Maya would be more powerful than God. So what then would be the meaning of the word “god”?
Wanting to become God is the very cause of our downfall into the material existence. We must realize that we are always subservient to God. We are eternally His infinitesimal parts and parcels. It is because we are so infinitesimal that we are subject to delusion by the material energy of the Lord. He, however, is always transcendental and in full control of His illusory energy, even when He appears amongst us, as He sometimes does. This is confirmed in The Brahma Samhita by the following two verses:
The Lord of Gokula [Krishna] is the transcendental Supreme Godhead, the Own Self of Eternal Ecstasies. He is superior to all superiors, and is busily engaged in the enjoyments of the transcendental realm, and He has no association with His mundane potency.
The external potency, Maya, who is the shadow of the Chit [intelligence] potency, is worshipped by all people as Durga, the creating, preserving agency of this mundane world. But I adore the Primeval Lord Govinda, in accordance with Whose will Durga conducts herself.
If we take a drop of water from the ocean and analyze it, we will find that its chemical composition is the same as that of the ocean. In the same way, we are microscopic samples of God, but can we say that the drop of water is the ocean? In the Upanishads, the measurement of the spirit soul is given as one ten-thousandth the ultimate tip of a hair. Yet, we tend to become so inflated as to claim to be God. We are like sparks from a fire. The sparks are indeed fire, but when they fly out of the fire they are subject to extinction. Similarly, we can only remain in our transcendental position by remaining in contact with Krishna, the Supreme Whole.
Through practice of the eightfold Yoga system—Astanga Yoga, that is, which consists of posture, controlling the breath, concentration, meditation, etc.—the yogis can realize the partial manifestation of the Supreme Person, Which is known as the Supersoul, or Paramatman. This Paramatman is situated in everyone’s heart as the indwelling Witness and Guide. In the Upanishads the relationship between the individual soul and the Supersoul is compared to two birds sitting in one tree. One bird is eating the fruit of the tree, while the other bird simply sits and watches. The individual soul is compared to the eating bird, and the Paramatman to the bird who is watching. The Paramatman witnesses all our actions, and awards us the fruits of these actions:
That Supersoul enters into the bodies of the created beings and, according to the modes of material Nature, causes the living beings in different bodies to enjoy, by the subtle mind and the effects of Nature. (Srimad Bhagwatam 1:2:32)
He is also waiting to help us go back to home, back to Godhead, should we decide to turn to Him for guidance. He is our dearmost Friend. But the conditioned souls have chosen to ignore Him. Still, He is so kind as to stay with us constantly, and to try converting us to our real and happy state.
Realization of the Supersoul is a step higher than realization of the impersonal Brahman. It recognizes both eternity (Sat) and knowledge (Chit). Yet the bliss, Ananda, of full spiritual realization is still missing. Narada Muni, a very great saint, says in The Srimad Bhagwatam:
It is true that by practicing restraint of the senses in the Yoga system one can get relief from the disturbances of desire and lust; but that is not sufficient to give the satisfaction to the soul which is derived from devotional service to the Personality of Godhead. Only devotional service to the Personality of Godhead can fully satisfy the soul, by developing love of Godhead, unalloyed Prema, which is the perfectional stage of life.
In the Sixth Chapter of The Bhagavad Gita, Krishna describes the Yoga system to Arjuna, and Arjuna rejects it as being too difficult. Arjuna was such a very intelligent man that he understood The Bhagavad Gita in about an hour, as it was spoken to him by Lord Krishna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Today men are studying The Gita for lifetimes and still cannot understand it. Also, Arjuna had the qualification of being Krishna’s friend and devotee. Yet he said:
O Madhusudana [Krishna], the system of Yoga which You have summarized appears impractical and unendurable to me, for the mind is restless and unsteady.
For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind.
If the great-souled Arjuna rejected this system as being too difficult for him 5,000 years ago, how can we, who are far inferior to Arjuna and who are living in an age that is very unconducive to spiritual practice, hope to perfect this system of Yoga? Our duration of life is shortened, we have poor memory, meager intelligence, and are unfortunate in so many ways. This Yoga system was the recommended means for spiritual realization in the “Satya Yuga,” or Golden Age of a long-gone antiquity. Now we are in the midst of a new age, called “Kali Yuga,” which is characterized by quarrel, chaos, and heavy iron industry. And for realization in this age the chanting of the Holy Names of God is recommended by many authorities and Scriptures. According to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Who appeared some 500 years ago in India:
In the Age of Kali there is no other religion than glorifying the Lord by utterance of His Holy Names, and that is the injunction of all the revealed Scriptures.
In Satya Yuga, by practicing the Yoga system—with devotion—one could realize Krishna, the Supreme Person. But even then there were many pitfalls along the way. For example, some yogis might become attracted by the development of their mystic powers. The yogi who misuses these powers for personal gain surely brings his spiritual progress to a halt.
Other yogis, having realized the Paramatman, think that they have realized the Absolute Truth in full, and therefore do not go on to realize the Supreme Person, of Whom the Supersoul is only a partial manifestation. Others are caused to fall down by attraction for material sense enjoyment. The senses are artificially controlled by the Yoga system, but as soon as some opportunity for sense enjoyment presents itself, the senses may again exert themselves to take advantage of it. Another mistake is to falsely identify the individual soul with the Supersoul, and again come to the faulty conclusion that one is God Himself.
Devotional Service
The really intelligent transcendentalist will immediately take shelter of the Lotus Feet of Krishna, and serve Him with devotion. In this way he can know the Supreme Absolute Truth in full, as the Supreme Person. Krishna is unknowable, but through His Grace, He may reveal Himself to his devotees. Scriptures, and the great saints, the mahatmas, tell us over and over again to simply surrender to God, and in this way reach the perfection of life. Krishna is Sat-Chit-Ananda Vigraha, the form of eternity, knowledge and bliss in perfection. He is calling mankind to go back to home, back to Godhead, trying to wake him up from the gross dream of material life. He offers man a very simple process, and the only possible obstruction to achieving the goal is man’s own failure to accept it.
Of this devotional process, Lord Krishna in The Bhagavad Gita says:
Surrendering all duties, seek refuge in Me alone. I shall absolve you of all sins, so do not grieve.
And, in The Srimad Bhagwatam, the great sage Vyasadeva writes:
Thus the enlivened man, affected by contact with devotional service to the Lord, can positively have scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead, liberated from all material association.
Eternal Dharma
Eternal Dharma
The religion nobody has to join
by Satsvarupa Das Adhikary
Krishna Consciousness is the science of God realization. By this science, we can understand that all living entities are parts and parcels of God. As samples of the Whole, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we share the same qualities as He. God is all blissful, and so, originally, we are blissful. As He possesses all knowledge and as He is eternal, similarly we, in our natural position, are eternal and knowing. According to all authoritative Vedic Scriptures, such as The Bhagavad Gita (Song of God), Srimad Bhagwatam, and Upanishads, as well as The Holy Bible and Koran, the difference between God and the living entities, or parts and parcels, is that God is great and we are small. He is infinite and we are infinitesimal. Since we are small parts and parcels of the Supreme, we are apt to be covered by ignorance; when this occurs, our bliss and eternity become temporarily suspended. This ignorance is due to the misuse of our free will. And true freedom for us is to act with dependence on God, Who is the Absolute Truth, the Source from Whom everything emanates. At the ultimate stage, the goal of life for all human beings is to attain love of God as the topmost perfection.
In this current age, material science is predominating over all subjects, including the tenets of religion. It is, therefore, a very enlivening matter that we can understand the principles of eternal religion, or “Dharma,” from the point of view of the modern scientist. The materialistic scientist, however, too often takes for granted that the ultimate source of energy is simply a material combination. By execution of the spiritual science of devotional service in Krishna Consciousness, one can understand the true position of matter as a mass of ingredients only, whereas the spirit is the Creator and mover. The Creator may remain unseen in the background, but that does not mean that there is no Creator. All beings must learn the necessary information whereby they can admit the existence of a gigantic intelligence behind the gigantic form of the material universe. The Supreme Being, Who has such a gigantic intelligence—quantitatively greater than ours—is the ultimate Creator, the all-attractive Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.
The eternal religion, called in Sanskrit “Sanatan Dharma,” has no history of beginning or end. By the analytical processes of modern science, we can see that Sanatan Dharma is the business of all the living beings of the Universe. This Sanatan Dharma, being without bounds, is necessarily non-sectarian. When a man professes to belong to a particular faith with reference to time and the circumstances of birth, then he claims to be a Hindu, Moslem, Christian, Buddhist, etc. These are non-eternal designations. A Hindu may change his faith to become a Moslem, or a Moslem may change his faith to become a Christian. But in all circumstances, the change of religious faith does not allow a person to change his eternal engagement—the engagement of rendering service.
Service, according to the Vedic sources, is the eternal “Dharma,” or religion of the living entity. Whatever position one may be in—in terms of time or space—he is always rendering service to someone outside himself. This is true not only for man, but for all species of life without exception. And because it is an eternal engagement, the “religion” of service can never begin or end or be transmuted. Its existence is absolute, just as the spiritual existence of the living being himself is absolute.
Krishna Consciousness means rendering direct and favorable service to the Source of everything. Only by the process of direct service to the Lord can the living entity become free from the transmigration of the soul through the world of material miseries, characterized by disease, old age, birth and death. Only by loving service can he go back to Godhead, back to the eternal spiritual realm, and take part in the eternal pleasure prevailing there.
In this present age, called theAge of Kali (hypocrisy and quarrel), the method of liberation prescribed by the Scriptures is to chant the Holy Names of God continually. God or Krishna is non-different from His Name, because He is Absolute and all-powerful. Therefore He is in His Name. God is everywhere, and so He is present in His Name. The utterance of the Name “Krishna” is the establishment of a transcendental sound vibration. By this simple process of chanting the Absolute Names of God, as contained in the Maha Mantra or Great Chanting—HARE KRISHNA, HARE KRISHNA, KRISHNA KRISHNA, HARE HARE/HARE RAMA, HARE RAMA, RAMA RAMA, HARE HARE—one’s life will become sublime. It is only a question of taking one’s already existing “religion,” or tendency to serve, and consciously redirecting it to the perfect object of service, Krishna. Such purified consciousness is the ultimate state of spiritual achievement for the living entity.
Back to Godhead Magazine #20, 1968
Changing Guards
The trouble with elections is that they tend to give us the distinct sensation that things have changed simply because our representatives in government have changed. Year after year, century after century, institutions, administrations and world leaders come and go with all their sackloads of systems, credos, experiments and cure-alls, while the common man plods on, never really getting what he wants out of it all: some final satisfaction.
Leaders have always exercised power—as much in Egypt of the Pharoahs as in modern America—by popular consent. That consent is sometimes directed toward an institution, as in the case of a monarchy, rather than toward a specific individual, which applies in a democracy, but it is always essential for effective government. And popular consent indicates that the world's leaders and governments reflect no more than the desires of the populace. Therefore, to consider why the people don't get the real satisfaction that each being seeks in life, we must not consider leadership as an entity apart and by itself. The habit of historians to place the blame for the world's ills solely—or even mainly upon our Neros, Attilas and Stalins is misleading. We must consider both the governed and the governor together—they cannot be separated—in order to get a valid picture.
Now, if our leaders are offering us what we want, and if we're following men who have, really, no more than that to qualify them, then we must recognize the fact that we are not unhappy merely because of our leaders: we are unhappy because of what we want. In this our leaders most certainly conspire with us, but they are not guilty by themselves. We are asking for—and our politicians are promising to deliver—our own enslavement, frustration and death. That is to say, we are seeking, to conquer material Nature, and all our victories in this struggle are Pyrrhic to the final degree.
According to the Vedic teachings, there are two reasons for our determination to defeat Nature, to bend her to our will and exploit her and ravage her: The first is that we each desire to be God. Because of this we have left the eternal spiritual association of the actual Godhead, and by His kindness He has given us the material world in which to enjoy according to our own choices. Under the illusion which each creature possesses—the ant and the platypus no less than Caligula or Hitler—that he is the center of existence, we are being constantly engaged in the struggle to exert our supremacy. And because that supremacy does not factually exist, we are continually subjected to defeat in one form or another.
The second reason for the struggle against Nature which is put forward by the Vedic sages is incompatibility. The living force is by constitution spiritual, spirit being described as unchanging, eternal, knowing and blissful. When the spiritual living entity takes on the form of a material body, he tends to falsely identify himself with that body—like a man in a dream who has forgotten his real self. Material Nature is basically mutable, and unconscious except when the life force is present. Therefore, when any creature accepts himself as a product of material Nature, he makes it impossible to achieve the fulfillment of his real and constitutional position.
What we must seek, then, if we are to find satisfaction, is a means of purifying consciousness in order to regain spiritual, total awareness. And the struggle for supremacy over Nature, which our leaders today assume without a second thought to be the real goal of human society, must be abandoned. The Krishna Consciousness Movement exists simply to offer this spiritual alternative to mankind, and our method—the chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra—is a scientific and transcendental approach to this real and most basic problem of life.
We strongly urge all men at all levels of the human community to take up this process, and to thereby adopt an actual program of release from the bitter struggle with Nature Compared with the tremendous amount of time and money thrown into the democratic election process, this is an exceedingly easy, inexpensive proposition. Yet it means actual release, whereas our political upheavals offer no more than a change of guards at the gate of the material prison.
Just Like a Ghost
Just Like a Ghost
By Goursundar Das Adhikari
The Battle of Edge Hill was fought centuries ago in England when Cromwell’s Roundheads met the army of King Charles I. Blood, they say, ran in rivers. After the field was cleared, silence reigned until, two months later, a crowd of thousands of Northamptonshire residents, including clergymen and special aides sent by the King, stood watching as strange, ghostly figures performed the same awful fight all over again. In England today, near the battlefields of the War of the Roses, people still sometimes hear the sounds of artillery exploding, soldiers shouting, metal crashing, and the wounded crying horribly. No one is sure where it comes from.
All sorts of similarly “impossible” events challenge the aloofness of our comfortable modern scholars and scientists. Unknown, unexplainable phenomena cover so much of the four dimensions with which science is busy that it is curious anyone can remain indifferent to them.
Ghosts are denied any existence in the modern scheme of things, but nevertheless the exploits of such beings are widely reported in newspapers, periodicals and books, and on television as well. And the case for the reality of the “spirit world” is being championed today by a small group of investigators called Parapsychologists. Parapsychology encompasses all the inexplicable happenings that other branches of research choose to ignore, and rather well-documented volumes from all the ages of history represent evidence that this is no meager or faddish endeavor.
In the “Saturday Evening Post,” July 2, 1966, a very interesting account was presented of the strange experiences of Joe Hyams and his wife, actress Elke Sommers. They had purchased a house in 1964, and right from the start report was made of a stranger on the premises who could not be identified. He appeared one night in the bedroom of Mrs. Hyams’ mother, but again vanished. Frequent noises in the dining room proved inexplicable. Mr. Hyams found that, although he would make sure to lock a certain window at night, it often was found unlocked again in the morning. He also heard the front door open and close, even when he was alone in the house with it tightly fastened on the inside. The chairs in the dining room often sounded as though they were being pushed around, but when he went to investigate, the room would appear empty and quiet. The noises were recorded on a tape recorder hidden for the purpose.
Mr. Hyams left the house for a time, and had it placed under a detective’s surveillance. One night all the lights went on and all the windows and doors of the deserted house were opened. The detective could not find the reason for this. Later, the house was put in the charge of a family friend. He kept the place locked up, but always found the front door open when he came back to the house. Then a repairman observed a large gentleman in the dining room who seemed to evaporate into space.
Mr. Hyams solicited the services of several mediums, people purportedly attuned to the psychic world, who reported the presence of a tall man in his fifties, a doctor who had died of a heart attack and was determined to remain in the house. Mr. Hyams further found that the previous owners had also had eerie experiences in the house. By the second year of Mr. Hyams’ ownership, over thirty mediums, sensitives and investigators had checked the place and agreed unanimously that it was haunted.
New York City is full of haunted houses. In a book entitled “True Experiences with Ghosts, “ edited by Martin Ebon, a Mr . Wainwright Evans has given his description of one such house, 422-1/2 West 46th Street. When Miss Ruth Faison Shaw moved into that residence, she inquired of its history and found that it had once been the coach house of George Clinton, first governor of New York. The governor’s coachman had lived in the rooms above the stables with his young wife. One evening the pregnant wife saw an apparition of the “Old Moor. “ This “Old Moor” had been hanged on the Battery for mutiny at sea, and buried in what was then a field close to the house. The coachman’s wife was terrified, came running down the stairs, fell and died. The baby was saved and raised by the coachman, who observed that whenever the child was ill, an apparition of his mother lingered nearby.
Later, one of Clinton’s granddaughters, Margaret, used to play in the house. She very much enjoyed dressing in old-fashioned clothes and running down the stairs, pretending to be a ghost. One day she, too, fell and died, and needless to say she also became a ghost. Her figure was frequently seen in later years—running down the same staircase. When the building became older and was abandoned for a time, local vagrants would often sleep there, until one night they fled away in fear, having seen the ghost of little Margaret.
Miss Shaw stayed at 422-1/2 for some time without noticing anything strange. But then one afternoon to the good woman’s shock she too beheld Margaret running down the stairs. The little ghost was frequently seen by Miss Shaw from then on, always re-enacting her ghostly drama.
Thousands of encounters of this nature have been reported, and it is far from rational to dismiss them simply by deprecating the character of the observer . The real basis for objection to their stories seems to be, in the final analysis, simple incompatibility with official modern scientific theory . Actually, so-called scientists themselves are cornered when pressed for sound explanations from their side.
All modern science appears superficial when real problems of conscious existence are raised, as in the case of the presence of ghosts. The essential, genuinely rational science aims at the liaison of self consciousness and eternal Truth. The pursuit of anything less, although it may befool all the scholars in the world, is an intolerable waste of the human life span and energy. The man who is really intelligent will try to free himself from the somewhat inflated designations of the organization of prejudice currently worshipped by its votaries as Science. And we should recognize clearly the fact that materialism can be every bit as superstitious an act of faith as unsubstantiated spiritual and psychic phenomena.
Nearly all people have some contact with the world of ghosts. My Spiritual Master, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, has mentioned several interesting stories, one of which relates to a disciple of his grand Spiritual Master, Srila Jagannath Das Babaji Maharaj. The disciple had detected some strange festival being performed in the jungle at the dead of night, and although cautioned not to go there, he could not resist a closer inspection. He came upon a big feast being served, and was offered many nice foods including rasgolla, sandesh, hallavah, and paratas, very tasteful dishes popular in India. The young man accepted a whole sackful of food, and left the place. Then, when he was ready to eat, he sat down and opened the bag. He was amazed to find it full of stool. Later, Srila Jagannath Das Babaii explained to him that this was the prank of ghosts, who often appear at night in various forms to do mischief.
My Spiritual Master has also told of an interesting adventure he once had as a boy. His family lived for a while in a very large house where a young gentleman had killed himself. Swamiji several times saw the man’s translucent form passing close by. The ghost was well known, as he had frequently been seen by many people. A school teacher who was holding classes in one wing of the house also informed him that the place was haunted. She said that the ghost had talked with her, and she knew his sad history: The ghost had been a debauchee in his previous life, and had squandered a huge family fortune. Later, overcome by remorse, he had committed suicide.
The fashionable members of American society affectionately known as “hippies” often trace a close connection to the world of ghosts. The ancient Vedic literature informs us that ghosts are attracted to places and persons dominated by intoxication and uncleanliness, as they have greater influence over those whose minds are weakened or crippled by intoxication.
Intoxication is actually a prolonged process of committing suicide. Suicide means destroying the physical body, be it quickly or slowly. And nearly all intoxicants, such as coffee, liquor, L.S.D., marijuana and tranquilizers, are harmful to the human organism to one degree or another. Ghosts, in fact, usually are the victims of suicidal folly, being encouraged by the delusion of materialistic nihilism. Due, however, to the fact that the living entity is eternal, the search for self-annihilation yields only more troublesome entanglement with the laws of material Nature.
The superintendent of this department of ignorance is Lord Shiva, who is often described as the leader of a huge army of ghosts. The experience of ghostly phenomena—such as the Delirium Tremens of the alcoholic—is only too well known to those habituated to intoxication.
According to the Vedic teachings, the living entities are not simply material combinations. They are eternal spiritual sparks manifesting their presence within bodies of matter. The agency which connects a material body to the living spirit force is technically known as the mind. The mind is a temporary extension into the field of matter projected by a living being. The mind is the conductor of living activities in relationship to the material body. The Vedic analysis is therefore helpful in describing the situation of material existence as the incarnation of living souls within material minds and bodies.
The souls enter and exit various temporary habitations at the historical reference points known as birth and death. At death the unusable body must be abandoned. The subtle body, the mind—which is also material—then receives a replacement body, according to its cravings and condition at that moment. By too intensive a focusing of consciousness on the past stages of life, one may sometimes fail to progress to anew body. In such a state one remains with only a subtle or mental body. The soul, conditioned by matter yet existing without a gross physical body, remaining only in subtle, mental form, is known as a ghost.
Ghostly life is said to be most unpleasant. The unfortunate ghost is troubled by a variety of material cravings, which he has not the necessary body to satisfy. For example, the desire for palatable food remains, but there is no tongue or stomach to manage it. The pressures of such frustrated hankerings often drive miserable ghosts to extremes. Essentially no more then disembodied minds, they usually become demented, and try tormenting those who still have physical bodies. Many ghosts even try to control normal people’s bodies, or else to scare them to death, so that they will also become ghosts. One who dies in great horror, or too greatly attached to his physical body, his environment, or his possessions, or by suicide, becomes a ghost.
There is a lesson in this which we should try to perceive. One’s living, from day to day, should be carefully considered, and directed not by the events of the past or the fallacies of materialistic hope, but by the consciousness of that which is real and eternal, that which lies beyond the dualities of material life.
The only recourse to an existence of recurring hope and sorrow, happiness and then pain, is to somehow surrender at the Lotus Feet of Krishna, the Supreme Controller of all existences. The soul has a realm natural to it and compatible with it, which lies beyond the twisted world of matter. That spiritual sky, described at length in many of the Vedic writings, such as The Srimad Bhagwatam, is to be attained only by Krishna’s Grace, through His representations here. The primary service to be rendered by us in order to gain the Lord’s grace is the chanting of transcendental sounds which will invoke Krishna Consciousness. The vibration of the Hare Krishna Mantra, the most exalted of transcendental vibrations, provides some interesting side effects in that it drives away ghosts, with all their sinister intentions, and insures the chanter that he himself will not have to accept such a horrible existence in the future. Of course, the value of the chant in terms of stimulating spiritual emotion far outweighs any such negative considerations, but the fact of its exorcising power remains.
The real purpose of the mantra is to offer the highest benediction to all the fallen, miserable living entities, in the form of pure love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One who determines to penetrate the vast, haunted cosmic facade will be able to do so by adopting this method . And, by perfection of the chanting process, he will in due course attain the eternal loving association of Lord Krishna.
Dr. Spock & The Good Guys & The Bad Guys
Dr. Spock & The Good Guys & The Bad Guys
By Rayarama Das Brahmachary
On Tuesday evening, October 8, Dr. Benjamin Spock received the Gandhi Peace Award at the Community Church of New York. This award is a far-distant poor relative of the Nobel Prize, which went this year to the less controversial figure of a French jurist. There was no big money gift at the Community Church, as is the case at the Oslo affair, though there was a nice medallion, the weight of which pleased Spock. Nor was there any press to speak of at the Gandhi Award, the New York Times didn’t do a “Man in the News” piece on Spock as it did on Rene Cassin, the world’s governments didn’t—and wouldn’t dare praise the American pediatrician on the floor of the U.N. General Assembly.
There are other differences, far deeper ones, between these two personalities and their approaches to peace; though, as we’ll see, the differences don’t go quite deep enough.
The eminence of M. Cassin stems essentially from his part in formulating the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights. This document is such a marvel of compromise and euphemism that not one member of the General Assembly voted against it when it was adopted in 1948—the year Russia sealed her iron curtain across Eastern Europe. The Declaration deals with such glossy fancies as the universal right to life, liberty and security of person; freedom from arbitrary arrest; freedom of movement, residence, speech, press, assembly and worship. These were the human rights which M. Cassin and his associates felt could be accepted by all nations, religions and races unanimously. And they were—in theory. On paper, where nobody has to get serious.
The United Nations, naturally, has no power to enforce laws, much less standards of morality, upon its member states, but the Declaration was meant to focus the weight of world opinion on specific issues. In the words of one writer: “…when the Assembly of the United Nations gives its judgment, that judgment has a thundering authority as the voice of mankind.”
The “thundering authority” theory is the bedrock of the United Nations and its mission of peace today. It is a forum rather than an actual court of universal justice, and the notion that such a forum carries real power is the latest thing in opiates for the people. Of course, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the Dominican Republic and Vietnam, the Middle East and quite a number of other conflicts—more than fifty in all since the Second World War ended—have shown us that forums don’t mean all that much. Men like Rene Cassin construct their wonderful compromises and legalisms, and try to speak to mankind in terms of fair play and honor, while the people who actually run things go on with their brutal business unaffected.
Dr. Spock on war and peace
Dr . Spock has a somewhat different attitude toward peace. He cares less and less, apparently, for what passes in the world as legality. In his speech accepting the Gandhi Award, he urged those present to become more aggressive in their efforts for peace. “We must stop wringing our hands and become active,” he declared. All those left of center tend, in his estimation, to be hypercritical of one another, while the rightists—the hawks—”keep their eyes right on the ball,“ which means power and money.
Dr. Spock entered the war-and-peace business officially in 1962 when he joined the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. Before that, he had achieved great fame as a pediatrician. His book, “Baby and Child Care,” has sold over 20 million copies, and rivals The Bible as the all-time American bestseller. It has gone into twenty-six foreign language editions, and has made Spock the almost unquestioned authority on the subject of child-raising in the Western World, as well as much of the East.
Spock’s concern for children led him naturally to consider the world in which they have to live, and he has found the prospects none too bright. He has said: “I think it’s no longer sufficient to protect children from just the familiar physical diseases and the usual emotional stresses. Now the greatest danger to life—by far—is from nuclear disaster.“
Of his decision to engage actively in the peace movement, the Doctor has commented: “Kennedy said the United States had to resume testing to stay ahead. And obviously you can’t stop testing if you’re behind. It seemed clear that the buildup would continue until there was a nuclear war or a nuclear accident. It made me realize that there wouldn’t be peace and disarmament unless people demanded it.“
Demanding peace has now become Spock’s primary business. He has twice been arrested for his agitation, and in the more recent instance has been convicted of conspiracy to aid and abet U.S. draft resistors. As he has not scrupled to break the law, he has likewise not scrupled to work with any and everyone who will strive for peace. In replying to criticisms of his seeming lack of discrimination, he has said: “My usefulness to the peace movement is in recruiting people from the middle of the road … I’m willing to cooperate with anyone who’s halfway responsible and wants to end this terrible war.“
The “terrible war,” of course, is Vietnam, America’s most excruciating blunder in a long, long time, wherein the “military-industrial elite” sought to establish a base for American forces on communist China’s southern flank—and neglected to consider that the people who live in that region might object.
Dr. Spock said, however, in his speech at the Community Church, that Vietnam “is not an exception or an aberration. It’s only one example of the increasingly imperialistic tendency of the United States,“ extending into the military, economic and industrial affairs of the world. Actually, he might quite as accurately have added that Vietnam represents only a single episode in the vast drama of exploitation and brutality which has marked as much of mankind’s history as modern researchers have been able to reveal.
Peace in any time
As mentioned above, there has been no real shortage of major violent conflicts since the close of World War Two, and we all know that there was no shortage of them before that. In other words, the world never lacks a war, even though nowadays we don’t call them by that name, ever, though it has become fashionable not to “declare war,“ thus committing oneself to “victory”—and possibly annoying one’s people with a sense of insecurity that might make them question their leaders.
Dr. Spock, Senator Eugene McCarthy and quite a sizable number of others raised their voices against the Vietnam War in the U. S. recently, and as a result they toppled Lyndon Johnson from his pinnacle of power, forcing him to think the wiser of running in the 1968 election. And yet a measure of the futility of the peace movement’s endeavors can be witnessed in the fact that not one of the three serious presidential candidates is running on a peace platform. In fact, the most “dovish” of the three is the Vice-President, the very man most committed to defending the administration’s policy.
The peace movement—and by this I mean not only the present McCarthy- and Spock-led insurrection, but the cause of world peace itself, going back at least to the Hague Conferences which preceded the First World War, and following through the League of Nations which preceded the Second, right up to our own United Nations—the peace movement has proved itself a dismal failure. In fact, the more vocal and determined our peace advocates are, the more horrifying and all-inclusive grow the wars that punctuate their protestations, until today we await, half-expectantly, the moment when someone presses The Button, and our glittering civilization goes up in a white hot flash.
The reasons for this are not very apparent: The way men feel in their hearts is not a topic for newspaper headlines. But it is necessary to understand that nations cannot be peaceful if their individuals are belligerent, they cannot be sane if their people are mad, they cannot be stable if their inhabitants are disgusted and discontent. The international situation that confronts us today is only a magnification of the interpersonal situation of exploitation, deception and malice which forms the daily atmosphere of our lives. And so long as the more basic problem remains unsolved, the larger one will not be solved either.
Dr. Spock has reached much the same conclusion, as he pointed out in a recent interview. ‘It seems to me,” he said, “that I see that the problems of America and the problems of the world are moral problems.“ And, further: “Man can’t live without a moral sense. He is a naturally religious person, or at least a believing person. When he becomes disenchanted or cynical he turns rotten very fast. He has to have moral, ethical and preferably religious beliefs.“
The trouble here, of course, is not morality itself. It’s not as though Lyndon Johnson and Dean Rusk have declared themselves against it, and have launched a policy of deliberate evil upon the world, or that they don’t believe in anything. Quite the contrary, they’re fully convinced, it seems clear, that theirs is the truly moral course, and the prosecution of Spock and numerous others in the courts is a natural corollary to such a concept of morality. And the conflict now existing between the hawks and the doves is not a matter of the moral vs. the amoral; it is a question of whose morality is correct.
This was made glaringly apparent in a Meet the Press interview last January, when Douglas Kiker of NBC News asked the Reverend Wm. Coffin, one of Spock’s co-defendants in the conspiracy case, whether he was “advocating” that young men turn in their draft cards in protest of the war. The Rev. Coffin replied: “…if you came to me as a student at Yale and said ‘Should I turn in my draft card’ the last thing I would ever tell you to do is turn in your draft card. That is such an eminently personal decision that you have to make it yourself.“
The point of most of the newsmen’s questions on that occasion, and the point which led to the conviction in court, the point Rev. Coffin seemed strangely to avoid, is whether men can decide for themselves what is moral and what is not. The legalist, the “Establishment,” says that men cannot, that society depends upon men agreeing among themselves as to what they may and may not do—and then sticking to the agreement. The peace activists, strangely enough, do not disagree with this view, with the exception of a small anarchist element. What the peace activists say, however, is that a small group—America’s “military-industrial elite”—have usurped the power of agreement from the people, and are forcing a war upon them which they do not desire, and that this “elite” is, therefore, damaging society.
To go on from here any further into the pros and cons, the moralities and amoralities of the particular Vietnam issue can only involve us in the sort of bickering which everyone else has so fruitlessly engaged in for so many long years. Instead, let’s step back a pace and examine the situation in a slightly different light. This is the light of spiritual knowledge, as it is conveyed to us not by our individual “consciences”—which I do not doubt both Johnson and Spock possess equally—but spiritual knowledge as it is found in the scriptural teachings of the world.
For what the Rev. Coffin failed to establish in his rather lame retorts to the Meet the Press panel was that morality is not created by men, whether in a mob or alone. In any dispute between two parties to which no compromise or solution can be found, there must be a resort to a third party—a higher, standard authority, who can judge the situation properly. And the authority in questions of morality can only be God, the Absolute Truth. To realize why this is so, why an ordinary handshake between the President and the pediatrician can’t solve things, to see how there could be an irrevocable right or wrong beyond the letter of the law, we must inquire into the nature of morality itself.
Public morality means the good of the people. And according to the standard Scriptures of the world, the real good, the very perfection of human life, lies in each being’s personal confrontation with the Godhead, known in the Vedic writings as Sri Krishna. Because Krishna is absolute—that is, because He is the supreme good for every single being at every single moment without limit in time or space—knowledge of Krishna is the only worthwhile goal of human life.
No government can, therefore, offer anything to its people which is beneficial—neither money nor power nor peace—if it fails to offer an approach to God. And any dissenting movement, regardless of the particular situation, must be judged by the same standard. Now, if God realization is the only true goal of human existence, then morality—the good of the people—indicates whatever way of life will bring them to this stage. And, except in terms of this pursuit of God realization, “morality” does not exist.
Further, the approach to God cannot be created at a convention of human minds; it has already been outlined by God Himself, as He has directly addressed mankind through The Holy Bible, The Koran, The Bhagavad Gita, and the other Scriptures of the world. Therefore what is necessary now, for Dr. Spock and the Rev. Coffin quite as surely as for President Johnson and his allies, is to look into the directions and teachings of the Scriptures. The solution to the problems of war and peace can be found there, because the single valid, irrevocable standard of morality can be found there: the guidance and revelation of God, Who declares Himself in The Gita to be the Friend and Maintainer of all creatures without exception or discrimination. Without reference to this standard of morality, neither the doves nor the hawks can actually claim morality as their own.
Institutional humanism
The first mantra of Sri Ishopanishad, one of the oldest of the Upanishads, states:
Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one must not accept other things, knowing well to Whom they belong.
This is a call for a change in consciousness, not a change of institutions. It states that one must recognize the supremacy of God in the practical terms of ownership, and that Krishna’s ownership extends to every being and object. Simply to pray to God to supply us with peace, after we’ve prayed for Him to supply us with plenty, is not the pure consciousness recommended in Sri Ishopanishad.
Similarly, in The Holy Bible, when asked what the first commandment of the Lord might be, Jesus Christ replied:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Love here is not an intonation or formality. It is advised to love God “with all thy heart,“ no simple matter. But Jesus Christ taught that, with this as the first business of life, the pure love of other beings could be achieved.
Like the message of Sri Ishopanishad, this message of Lord Jesus implies the ownership of God over man. To love God completely is to give oneself into His hands completely, to serve Him and follow Him completely.
It will be unnecessary, I think, to labor the point. There is a real fulfillment for human beings, and that fulfillment lies in the realm of transcendental bliss, the ecstasy of love of God. It has nothing to do with material prosperity, with material peace or war. And to achieve this state of fulfillment, one must recognize—in the most concrete of terms, terms of property rights—that God is supreme . If Americans, if Vietnamese, if peace workers and military strategists alike can give up their false concepts of ownership, if the United Nations can stop trying to parcel out the world’s wealth as though it were the exclusive possession of mankind, then peace will prevail. Otherwise, the situation that presents itself is one of thieves trying to divide their spoils with equanimity. Being thieves in the first place, equanimity can never realistically be expected.
In this sense we must also look at the present labors of the peace movement as no more than karma—the reverse side of the coin of war. One man is trying to exploit Nature through battle, another through law, another through human consensus, another through fair play. Someone offers communism. Someone offers compassion. Someone offers freedom of the press. The problem, however, lies not in our systems, but in our directions. Until the human race gives up all its schemes for exploiting Nature, it will never be free of the evils of Nature. It will never be able to release itself from the dualities of pleasure and pain, affluence and poverty, war and peace, which are a part of Nature. And, furthermore, these schemes cannot be given up unless there is something better, something more desirable, to replace them. This most desirable of objects is love of God.
That the Rev. Coffin wastes his valuable time testing the constitutionality of worldly laws is therefore a commentary upon the pointlessness of the peace movement. That Dr. Spock stands at his side, trying to create in a nation’s institutions a kind of humanism which its people do not feel in their own hearts, with his clinical advocacy of “preferably religious” convictions, punctuates the problem. The secular atmosphere of the Community Church auditorium, with its images only of Gandhi and Schweitzer, with its hymnals that proclaim true worship to be the “celebration of life,“ where God is only called upon to help us push forward our own affairs, perhaps completes the picture. It is a picture of good men chasing bad men, who are chasing good men all in circles, endlessly.
By Sudama das brahmacary
|t was a very hot day in Oregon, in August of 1968. I awoke rather early, which for me and the people I was around at that time was somewhat unusual. Usually, coming down from last night’s drugs, everyone would rise sometime after noon. On that day, as on every day, I awoke with a feeling of separation, a searching for, a longing for…
All my friends at that time were also into this feeling of separation, searching for something and someone to say what we all wanted to hear, that would guide us out of material existence, the Maya that we were all living under. Someone to answer the questions in our minds. We were all, I think unhappy; yet we would smile and pretend to one another that everything would work out, that the world would be all right very soon. We didn’t know that there is no happiness in material existence, or that drugs and sex are only temporary, or that our search for complete sense gratification on the material plane would run us, like everyone, further and deeper into the pit of mundane existence. Instead of progressing out of the concept of the body, we all thought that putting drugs inside the body would be the answer to our search. The unfortunate thing is that most of my friends still think and feel that way.
On that early-rising day, I started out for a walk through the woods, mostly to get away from all the nonsense, and also to read. Most of the books that had held my interest during the past three or four years had dealt with Eastern thought, astrology, occultism, Zen, Tibetan and Hatha Yoga, etc. But most of those books that I had come across I could not finish. They were all lacking something.
A friend of mine, who was living on the farm where I was a guest at the time, had his school bus—made into his home—parked nearby in the woods. He had a small library there, and I set out for the bus knowing that it would be deserted just then. I entered the bus and went straight for the bookshelf. Every book on the shelf I had seen before, except for three brown hardbacks entitled “Srimad Bhagwatam,“ volumes 1, 2, and 3, by A. C . Bhaktivedanta Swami. There was dust covering the three volumes. I picked them up and dusted them off and started reading the very first page that had print on it:

“All Glory to Sri Guru and Gouranga.“
The language hypnotized me, to say the least, and I couldn’t put the book down. After about two days of reading, I began to feel out of place around my friends. My only thoughts were of those books and that author. I knew that it was time for me to leave Oregon. I started making plans to go to India and search out this Swami Bhaktivedanta.
The day of my departure from Oregon, I asked my friend for the volumes, which he was not reading. At first I was afraid he would refuse me the books, but I thought that if I was meant to read them, they would be mine. I had grown very attached to them. His answer to me was yes: “The books are yours now, take them with you.” I was overjoyed.
I took a plane to Los Angeles to see my family. I told them of my plans to go to India and seek out the Swami. They were all for my happiness and my journey, and gave me as much help as possible. I was to leave in a month. Then I went to San Francisco to make arrangements for my trip.
While reading the first volume I had seen, “Radha Krishna Temple, Vrindaban U. P. “ as the publisher’s address. Now I remembered that there was a Radha Krishna temple in San Francisco, and so I walked to the temple and saw a devotee by the name of Sachisuta Das Brahmachary. I asked him when services were held, and he told me that they had Kirtan in the mornings at 7 a.m., and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. I returned the following Monday morning, to find out with surprise that the same Swami Bhaktivedanta I was planning to go and find would be arriving in about two weeks.
During those next weeks the temple became my home, and all the devotees I felt were my true friends. I surrendered myself to Krishna and to Swamiji, and was welcomed by all the devotees. The Sunday of Swamiji’s arrival came, and when I saw my Spiritual Master, tears came flowing. My tears of ecstasy have not yet stopped, nor will they ever.
The Knowledge Implosion
The Knowledge Implosion
By Nayana Bhiram Das Brahmachary
More than one out of every five American adults, 25 million in all, are actively engaged in some form of educational pursuit, according to a recent Carnegie Corporation Survey. The above figures do not include unmarried people under 21, who make up most of an additional 5 million undergraduate students. And it doesn’t speak of public school students at all. As more people are engaging their leisure time in educational activities, naturally greater sums are being spent on books. Publishers in the U.S. report sales of last year’s books to have totalled $1.2 billion, a 10.6% increase over the previous year, and the general trend over the past fifteen years is in this direction. The printing industry has also been affected by the upsurge of interest in learning, to the extent that it now produces 16,000 printed sheets of paper an hour. The fact is that the world in general and the United States in particular are witnessing an unprecedented demand for knowledge, ranging from the latest in technology to the most obscure of trivia. There are many reasons put forward for this, such as prosperity, economic rivalry in cold war competition, technological advancement, etc. Media analyst Marshall McLuhan credits television with having whetted the world’s appetite for more knowledge in depth. With its “stress on participation, dialogue, and depth,” McLuhan observes, tv is largely responsible for the crash programming in education. Its appeal to the tactile rather then visual sense has brought on the great inundation of paperback books.
Setting aside the medium itself, and venturing into the forbidden realm of the message, what is it that people are learning; and just what, if anything, do they expect to find out? According to Sigmund Freud, all questions that children ask can be reduced to one: “Where do I come from, and who am I?” The pioneering psychoanalyst asserted that a child wants to find out about the process of sexual reproduction, but because of an insufficient fund of knowledge, cannot comprehend its full significance. Hence the child asks so many questions. Sex, however, does not provide a real solution to our quest for an ultimate source or absolute identity. Sex is the vehicle of material birth, but not the key to the source. It does not tell us the origin or nature of consciousness, which is the real “I” that the child is asking about.
The first principle of Krishna Consciousness, as found in The Bhagavad Gita and other Vedic sources, is expressed in the Sanskrit formula, “Aham Brahmasmi.“ I am not this body, but pure spirit soul. Therefore, any ultimate answers, in order to give complete satisfaction to the individual, must of necessity relate to the spirit, and also to the Supreme Spirit, or Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna. This is explained in the First Canto of The Srimad Bhagwatam, where in addressing the sages of Naimisharanya, Suta Goswami says t