Qualified To See God
When you love Him, you will see Him always.
A lecture given in Los Angeles, December 25, 1973
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
avapur duravapam te
"Thus by pure consciousness due to constant devotional remembrance, the Pandavas attained the spiritual sky,
which is ruled by the Supreme Narayana, Lord Krishna. That is attained only by those who meditate upon the one
Supreme Lord without deviation. That abode of the Lord Sri Krishna, known as Goloka Vrindavana, cannot be
attained by persons who are absorbed in the material conception of life. But the Pandavas, being completely
washed of all material contamination, attained that abode in their very same bodies."
Dhyana means meditation. The Pandavas were always thinking of Krishna. While eating, sitting, sleeping, talking,
fighting—Krishna. That is Krishna consciousness. When Arjuna fought, Krishna was there. When the Pandavas
dealt in politics with Duryodhana, Krishna was there.
Krishna is Arjuna's friend. Krishna was always talking with him, staying with him, sleeping with him, eating with
him. Krishna consciousness is so nice that in our ordinary life we can deal with Krishna as Arjuna and the Pandavas
did. There is no difficulty in doing this. We simply we have to practice. That practice must be bhaktya, "with a
devotional attitude." Dealing with Krishna as the Pandavas did is only possible through devotional service. Krishna
was so near to the Pandavas on account of their devotion.
The sage Narada, while speaking to Yudhisthira, the eldest Pandava, praised the Pandavas: "Even yogis and
jnanis, speculative philosophers, cannot reach Krishna, but by your devotion Krishna is living with you as a friend
and sometimes even as your order carrier."
During negotiations with Duryodhana, the Pandavas once asked Krishna, "Take this letter and deliver it to
Duryodhana." And Krishna agreed—"Yes, I shall go." Krishna acted as an ordinary peon. He also acted as an
ordinary chariot driver—Partha-sarathi, the charioteer of Arjuna.
If you become a devotee of Krishna, then you can live with Krishna, even in this life. Krishna is omnipotent. If you
are really a devotee of Krishna, He will talk with you, He will dance with you, He will eat with you—everything.
Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva. By bhakti, prema—love—saintly persons, those who have
developed love of Krishna, can see Krishna at every moment. Sadaiva means "at every moment." Saintly persons
do not see anything except Krishna.
Rascals inquire, "Have you seen God?"
We may reply, "Not 'seen' God, sir. The saintly person is seeing God at every moment."
There is no question of seeing God only once. No. Sadaiva—at every moment.
Why can one see Krishna at every moment? Because Krishna is already there within us. Isvarah sarva-bhutanam
hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati. Krishna's location is given in the Bhagavad-gita: He is within your heart. So to see God
you don't have to go far away. Wherever you are you can see God.
Sarva-bhutanam means that God is not only within the human beings; He is also within the animals, the beasts,
the trees, the plants, the aquatics, the insects. He is within everyone, from Brahma, the greatest creature, down
Krishna Voice, Feb 2009 5
to the ant.
God is everywhere. Andantara-stha paramanu-cayantara-stham. God is within the universe, within your heart,
even within the atom. So what is the difficulty in seeing God? You simply have to make your eyes qualified to see
Him. That is the meaning of premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena. If you actually love somebody, you can see
him always. When you are in your office, you see him. When you are eating, you see him. If that is possible
materially, how much more must it be possible spiritually.
Seeing God always is possible only by bhakti, as described in today's verse: bhaktya visuddha-dhisanah pare.
Visuddha means "purified." Our consciousness is not purified at the present moment, but we can purify it by being
always in touch with Krishna. And that touch is made possible very easily by hearing about Krishna. Those who
come here to our classes may not know anything about Krishna, but God has given them ears, so they can hear
about Krishna. We are therefore discussing so many points about Krishna, and we have written so many books
simply about Krishna. People cannot imagine that sixty books can be written about God. There is no system of
religion where you can find so much information about God.
We should turn our attention to Krishna consciousness. We can chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna,
Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. We can read about Krishna our whole life, because
the literature about Krishna is so vast. Even if you read twenty-four hours daily, you'll have to devote your whole
life to finish this literature.
My Guru Maharaja published a daily newspaper in Mayapur called Nadiya Prakasha. A big politician once asked
him, "You are publishing a daily paper about God consciousness?"
"What are you writing about?" The politician was surprised. Politicians think that newspapers can be filled with
rubbish political news only. They cannot think that a newspaper can be filled by news from the spiritual world. They
have no idea of this. They have no idea even that there is a spiritual world.
My Guru Maharaja explained: "Why are you thinking of only one small newspaper? You do not know the spiritual
world. The material world is one fourth of the whole creation of the Lord. And the three-fourths portion is the spiritual
world. In this one-fourth portion there are innumerable universes. This is one of the universes. In each universe
there are millions of planets. And this planet is only a small planet in one universe. And on this earth planet there
are so many cities. And in each city there are so many newspapers. And each newspaper has so many editions.
This is the position of the material world.
"Now, consider the spiritual world. It is three times bigger than the material world. And there are so many spiritual
planets and so many universes and so many activities. So we can produce not just one newspaper about God
daily, but a newspaper every minute. Unfortunately, there are no customers. That is the difficulty. For material news
there are so many customers, but for spiritual news, no customers. You are thinking of one newspaper daily. We
could issue a newspaper of spiritual news every second."
We must be interested in the news of the spiritual world. Krishna consciousness can be achieved by ekanta-
matayo gatim—a person who has decided, "Now, in this life, I must go back home, back to Godhead." That
determination is described in the Bhagavad-gita:
vyavasayatmika-buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-sakha hy anantas ca buddhayo 'vyavasayinam
"Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus [Arjuna],
the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched."
One must decide, "This life is not an ordinary life like that of the cats and dogs. It is human life. I have advanced
intelligence, and it is possible in this life to go back home, back to Godhead, simply by cultivating spiritual knowledge.
So why shall I waste my time like cats and dogs?" That determination is required. "The cats and dogs are busy
in eating, sleeping, and sex life—and one day they die. So why shall I waste my time in that way? I have good
intelligence. Krishna has provided me a better standard of life. I can lie in a nice room, not like the cats and dogs
on the street."
And Krishna has provided such nice foodstuff—fruits, grains, milk—which we can offer Him. Krishna has given
different food for different animals and human beings. Krishna has given stool for the pigs and such nice foodstuff—
fruits and grains and milk—for the human being. It is not that every food is for everyone. No. "One man's food is
another man's poison." Stool is also a kind of food. Everything is a kind of food. Even the stone is food. Pigeons
6 Krishna Voice, Feb 2009
eat stones. They can digest them. The gorillas in the African jungles eat fruits harder than iron bullets. If you
hammer on a bullet, it may bend. But that fruit will not bend. And the gorillas chew them just as you chew peanuts.
Human beings determined to go back home, back to Godhead, have their food. For them, no meat-eating. For
them, fine kachauri, rasagulla, puri. "You are what you eat." If you eat stool, then you are stool. After all, this body
will be stool. After death, the body becomes stool or ashes or earth. If the body is buried, in due course it will turn
into earth. If it is burned, as done by the Hindus, it will turn into ashes. And if the body is simply thrown away at
death, as done by the Parsees, it will be eaten by animals and birds, like vultures. So the body will become the
stool of a vulture. That's all.
Our beautiful body will become one of three things: stool, earth, or ashes. And we are taking so much care—for
stool, earth, and ashes. And the occupier of the body? Forgotten. That is the position of modern society with its
so-called advanced scientists.
Those who think "I am this body" are third-class rascals. The present world is simply full of third-class rascals
because everyone is thinking, "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am white," "I am black," "I am Hindu," "I am
Muslim," "I am Christian." Such thinking is simply "I am this body." That's all.
One must become completely cleansed of this misconception. Virajena atmanaiva. Virajena means to become
completely washed, cleansed. Raja means "the material world," and vi means vigata, "without." It is very difficult
to come to the position of complete purification. Therefore it is said here, avapur duravapam: It is very difficult to
come to this stage of life, but the Pandavas did it. For whom is it very difficult? Asadbhih, for those attached to
Asat means "temporary." There are two kinds of things: those that will exist permanently and those that will not
exist. Temporary things may exist for a few minutes, a few hours, or a few years. The material world is asat,
because it will not exist. The material body will also not exist. Everyone knows that. Everyone knows that the body
is born at a certain date, will continue for a certain number of years, will produce some by-products, will change
into different forms, will become old, will dwindle, and one day will be finished.
These are called sad-vikara, "six changes." This is not progress. If one is progressing in age, that is not progress;
that means he is going to death. I am seventy-eight years old. So I have already died seventy-eight years. I have
only, say, two to five years left. People say "advanced age." No. Advanced in death, not advanced in age.
So that is the meaning of asat: The body will not stay. It has begun to die from the very moment of birth. If you
ask a mother how old her child is and she says "One month," that means the child has already died one month.
And he has a certain balance of months and years before he dies. He is simple waiting for death.
Our duration of life is called asat. And material existence is also asat. Narottama Dasa Thakura therefore sings,
sat-sanga chadi kainu asate vilasa/ te karane lagila ye karma-bandha-phansa: "I gave up sat-sanga, the spiritual
society, and I associated with the material society. Therefore I am now entangled by karma, one reaction after
Spiritual realization is difficult for persons attached to temporary things. Why? Visayatmabhih: Because they are
simply attracted by the four principles of material life—eating, sleeping, sex life, and, one day, death. One must
be above these interests. One must be sane. One must think, "These interests are there in the animals. So if I
am also interested in only these things, what is the difference between the dog and me?"
There must be something more. That information is given in the Bhagavad-gita: avinasi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam
idam tatam. The body is perishable, asat, but there is another thing, which is sat, permanent. What is that? It is
that which spreads all over the body. If you pinch your body you feel pain. Why? Because there is consciousness.
Consciousness is permanent. And as soon as the consciousness is gone from someone's body, you can chop off
the hand and there will be no response.
Those not interested in understanding consciousness and the origin of consciousness are asat. They cannot
understand spiritual life. Therefore the beginning of spiritual life is to understand consciousness. The Bhagavad-
gita says, dehino 'smin yatha dehe: In the temporary body is the proprietor of the body. That point is to be
understood. Who can understand? Vidhuta-kalmasa, "those who are washed of all sinful acts." Therefore we
prescribe, "Don't associate with sinful activities." What are the sinful activities? Meat-eating, intoxication, gambling,
and illicit sex. One must be washed of these to understand spiritual life. If you think, "I will do whatever I want,"
then you will remain in the material world life after life. That is the point.
Thank you very much.
Krishna Voice, Feb 2009 7
SRILA PRABHUPADA SPEAKS OUT
Nonsense Commentary On Bhagavad-Gita
This conversation took place in Allahabad, India, on January 18, 1971.
Guest (1): We believe in an incorporeal God.
Srila Prabhupada: Who says, "incorporeal"?
Guest (1): It is scripture—jyotir linga,
Srila Prabhupada: You are bringing in
something else besides Bhagavad-gita. You
should know that we are preaching
Bhagavad-gita. So this jyotir linga—all these
theories—they are not in Bhagavad-gita.
They may be in other literature, but we are
particularly interested in preaching
Bhagavad-gita. Because Bhagavad-gita
has been wrongly preached all over
the world by nonsense
commentary, we want to
Therefore our society is specifically named "Krishna deviates from the original text of the Gita is nonsense.
conscious." Guest (2): Swamiji, by declaring other interpretations
Guest (1): What is wrongly preached about the Gita? nonsense ...
Srila Prabhupada: Yesterday, for instance, I went to Srila Prabhupada: You cannot interpret! First of all, my
that Gita Samiti [Gita Society]. There is a lamp [on proposal is that you cannot interpret.
display]. Why is there a lamp instead of Krishna? Guest (2): We'll come to that. But if I say that you are
Guest (1): I don't know. not interpreting correctly, that does not make me correct.
I must be correct also.
Srila Prabhupada: You do not know. Therefore I say
there is wrong preaching. Why is there a lamp in place Srila Prabhupada: I am correct as long as I present
of Krishna? Does Krishna say this? the correct thing. If I present Krishna as He is, then I
Guest (1): The Gita Samiti people must evolve with this
idea because ... Guest (2): Swamiji, most respectfully, how do you judge
that "I am correct"?
Srila Prabhupada: No, no. The Gita is spoken by
Krishna. So why is there no picture of Krishna? Srila Prabhupada: Because I am presenting what
Krishna says. First of all, you answer this: What is the
Guest (1): They didn't put the picture. standard of correctness? You cannot create correctness.
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That means they have not When Krishna says man-mana bhava mad-bhaktah—
understood Krishna. Therefore, this so-called Gita "Just surrender unto Me, become My bhakta [devotee]—
Society is not bona fide. Suppose there is a political how can you say, "It is not to Krishna [one must
meeting. You keep Gandhi's photo or Jawaharlal Nehru's surrender]?" Is this not nonsense? If I say, "Give me a
photo, because they are political leaders. Yet in this glass of water" and you say, "It is not to Swamiji [that
Gita Samiti they are preaching Bhagavad-gita, and there the glass of water should be given]," isn't that an
is not a single picture of Krishna. This is misguided. interpretation?
They are wrongly representing Bhagavad-gita. So our Guest (1): But surrender is what Jesus Christ says,
position is to rectify that wrong propaganda about Mohammed says, everyone says.
Bhagavad-gita. Srila Prabhupada: Let others surrender to Christ. But
Guest (2): What is that wrong propaganda? why don't you surrender to Krishna?
Srila Prabhupada: That is one instance. And there are Guest (1): That is true, but ...
many other instances. In the Ninth Chapter there is the Srila Prabhupada: That is true, but you do not know
verse man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam how.
namaskuru. [Krishna says to Arjuna: "Engage your mind
always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer Guest (1): Your way of thinking and your purpose is
obeisances to Me, and worship Me."] One respected that Lord Krishna should be the Lord of the whole
scholar says, "It is not to the person Krishna [but to the universe, so ...
unborn within Krishna that one must surrender]." Where Srila Prabhupada: Yes, Lord Krishna is the Lord of the
does the scholar get this nonsense idea? universe.
Guest (1): V—has also said that ... Guest (1): So that is what you want to say to me?
Srila Prabhupada: They are all nonsense. Anyone who Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Feb 21 Ekadashi Feb 14 Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
Feb 22 break fast Thakura — Appearance
Fasting till noon
Mar 7 Ekadashi
Mar 8 break fast Ratha Yatra in Hubli
Feb 21 Ratha Yatra in Dharwad
Mar 11 Sri Gaura Purnima — Appearance of
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
Fasting till moonrise
Krishna Voice, Feb 2009 11
Long before the advent of Linnaeus, the existing species at all times. Bugs and behemoths, trees and tigers—all
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
Evolution and the Human Mission 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
evolutionary process was made. In both instances, the by Rayarama das Brahmachary way both direct and indirect. Because of our natural
earlier work was by far the more exhaustive, although it position of servitude, turning from the service of the Lord
was done in mind of spiritual values, and with scant heed The answer to this question is also the answer to another human life is merely the manner of living of a sophisticated means that we must turn to some other service. This is
to the speculative studies of the material world which are swine. No, for Man has the ability to wonder—and the the service of Maya, Illusion, for only God's service is
question: What is meant by advancement? The biologists,
so much a part of the scientific tradition to which Linnaeus ability to find out, too. Therefore, in the Vedas it is said true.
anthropologists and ecologists of today's repute do not
and Darwin belonged. Indeed, the Vedic analyses are recognize the concept of advance and recession, at least that, when a man first questions, "What am I? How am Thus we can see that, willfully, we have made our own
cosmic in scope, depending as they do upon the not officially—for they say that it is anthropomorphic, I here?"—then his human life begins. beds in this world of defeat.
revelations of seers whose minds were attuned to the unpragmatic, impractical. Within their range of vision this
absolute knowledge possessed by God. Their theses are This human status is attained after millions upon millions Until the spirit soul enters upon the human platform, he
is certainly so. Without some spiritual understanding, no of births. To be sure, the living spirit soul must progress remains blind and innocent of sin. He simply goes on
complete, and are meant to point out and define the conclusion or goal can ever be perceived in anything, to
specific place of human life in the universal order, as well through the bodies of each and every one of those eight from birth to birth, species to species, until he has risen
be sure. But to the man who has some spiritual million four hundred thousand species, before he can to the level where his body permits the flowering of long-
as to indicate the role for which the human being is understanding a sure and unshakable goal is ever before
intended. achieve civilized existence. This is a long, excruciating dulled and suppressed consciousness. At this point,
him, its banners hailing his attention at every turn. This transmigration through a universe of never-ending intractable evolution ceases, for the greater consciousness
To begin with, the living entities are divided into eight goal is spiritual perfection, self-realization as it is most frustration, pain and defeat. For the living entity cannot leaves the entity literally master of his own fate. He may
million, four hundred thousand species. Although not all often termed. know eternal life, knowledge, or bliss complete as long choose to end the material entanglement in which he has
of these species exist on any one planet, they are to be How is self realized? How is self obscured? The key word as he identifies himself with matter; and no understanding so long been caught, he may choose to continue human
found within this universe as a whole. What's more, no here is consciousness. That the dog has a soul may be of one's true identity is possible at any stage below the existence, or he may hurl himself back into the sea of
species may ever be said to be extinct—not even those a fact, but the dog has no consciousness of this, and human. Thus, all life in this material world means raging mortality from which he has barely just emerged.
seemingly progressive developments like eohippus which therefore he suffers. So it is with all living beings. Spirit vanquishment. Brief though it be, this human life is supremely important.
have so enchanted Charles Darwin's successors. soul being the true and constitutional position of the Now, before continuing with the subject of evolution and The process by which the human makes his choice and
Occasionally, a breed of beings will disappear from one creature, its realization in the form of direct experience the meaning of that study in terms of human purpose, by which that choice is fulfilled is called karma. Karma
planet, or appear on another where it was not before means the attainment of Truth, of Reality, and, therefore, we must wonder, after all: How did it begin? How am I means an action and its attendant reaction. I chop a
known to exist—but the Vedic literature rules out the one's life can only actually begin at this point. To one tree... it falls. That is karma. In a similar sense, the manner
here? In the Bhagavad-Gita, the Lord explains,
concept of extinction. without spiritual enlightenment, Truth is an elusive in which I lead this human life creates a certain effect
phantom, and so is happiness. Consciousness of Truth, All beings are born to delusion O Bharata,
(At this point, we may clearly see that the man who is which is manifested in my next birth. The culmination of
Overcome by the dualities
dependent upon and faithful to the limited scope of vision of one's real identity, then, is the goal of life, for all beings one's life is its final moment:
Which arise from wish and hate,
of empirical science may not in good humor proceed with seek immortality, knowledge and bliss, whatever their Thinking of whatever state
O Conqueror of the foe. (VII, 27)
us. We shall later take up the particular limitations of the station. He at the end gives up his body,
individual living entity, and explain why he therefore ought The living entity wishes to become the Lord, the ruler and
The very wealthy, even on this Earth, do not generally To that being does he attain, O Son of Kunti,
not to rely upon the knowledge acquired by his senses master—and so he is given a domain in which he may
turn to spiritual life, because they are engrossed in material Being ever absorbed in the thought thereof. (B.G. VIII,
and their mechanical extensions such as the telescope, fulfill his longings:
enjoyment. They consider the spiritualist or 6)
spectroscope, and radio wave transmitters. But for the transcendentalist to be the crier of sour grapes, as though In ancient days the Lord of creatures
moment, we must simply say that Vedic knowledge was This is the vital, crucial decision, but one may not make
they with their riches can avoid the death which he whom Created men along with sacrifice and said,
delivered by entities far more developed than any earthly it at that last instance. Indeed, the mind will cling to its
they have derided has transcended. As Lord Jesus Christ By this shall ye bring forth, and this shall be unto you
doctorate can attest to, and leave skepticism unappeased.) ways—and so reflect the life it has known. And in this
said, a camel may pass through the eye of a needle with That which will yield the milk of your desires. (B.G. III,
lies the tragedy or triumph of Man. If he has lived as a
The Padma Purana classifies the species of life thus: greater ease than may a rich man go to God. Yet the 10)
goat, then he will get the body best suited to his wishes.
9,000,000 aquatic; 2,000,000 vegetable; 1,000,000 opulences of this planet are mere baubles as compared So Krishna, the God Who loves all beings, has given us And, has he lived as a friend to the eternal God, then he
crawlers (such as worms and reptiles); 1,000,000 birds; to the abundance to be found on the heavenly planets, what we craved, and by sacrifice we had the means to will have birth in that eternal association, and end rebirth
3,000,000 four-legged beasts; and 400,000 humans. where dwell the demi-gods. And, therefore, they for all be eternally joyful even here, without His direct association. altogether.
These divisions are not made in the same spirit as are their highly developed bodies and minds, are not so But the living entity cannot be what he is not—he cannot
those of modern science, needless to say. For example, fortunate as we—for we have the more inclusive vision This is the crux of all Vedic philosophy: one can end the
be God. Whereas the Lord is in all ways perfect, His
gorillas and monkeys are considered human, as are the of life and death, which is inevitable for them as much as round of birth and death. It can be done. One must simply
fragmental portions suffer from certain constitutional
demi-gods of the heavenly planets. And just as we are for us. And, with our vision, is increased the opportunity sever his ties to material existence in the proper manner.
imperfections, which are chiefly classed as four: the living
to transcend the mortal state. Here is the formula:
advanced above the apes, so are the demi-gods advanced entity is certain to make mistakes, he is envious, he is
over us—and often the gap is greater. Furthermore, those The development of spiritual consciousness is possible subject to illusion, and his senses are imperfect. With Save work done as and for sacrifice
humans whom we see before us on this planet are divided only to the human species—and especially so for the these unfortunate shortcomings, having gone so far to This world is in bondage to work.
into various more-or-less fixed gradations of primitive and civilized humans. This advanced, comprehensive sunder the loving relationship with God, it is easy to see Therefore, O Son of Kunti, do thy work as a sacrifice,
civilized. For, so far as the Vedic seers are concerned, consciousness is, in fact, the only quality which actually how the state of paradise, known both to Judaic and Becoming free from all attachment. (B.G. III, 9)
the civilized life of Earth is the penultimate in the distinguishes man from the other creatures. For the pig Vedic scriptural history, was lost. Yes, the Bhagavad-Gita says that the only means of
evolutionary process. and the horse and the ant all have sex life, all eat foods It is the eternal religion of all beings to serve. By eternal liberation from the forest of action-reaction is to act without
How so, when the demi-gods are admitted to be more which please them, all sleep and all have weapons. And religion it is meant that this is something which cannot regard for the fruits of work. In other words, to work for
developed than we? they have their politics, as well. We cannot conclude that be taken from the entity—something which he manifests God. Give Him your money, give Him your intelligence,
12 Krishna Voice, Feb 2009 Krishna Voice, Feb 2009 13
give Him your energy. Again, Sri Krishna says, it. This is the domain of the spiritualist. How then has
Those who, laying all their actions on Me, it come about that our world has turned from God? Why
Intent on Me are people by the millions accepting post-dated checks
Worship, meditating on Me, from the men of science, whose finest pragmatic
With unswerving devotion; accomplishments are to move some tons of dead earth
These whose thoughts from one spot to another at great speed?
Are set on Me, When we speak of the common good among men, the
I straightway deliver first and most general thought to arise is that of politics.
From the ocean of death-bound existence, After all, isn't every politician from the President to the
O Partha. (B.G. XII, 6 & 7) town dogcatcher promising Utopia in exchange for your
vote? Those who are genuinely moved to aid their
This is the way. Those not willing to follow it cannot
suffering fellow men are, of course, as rare as rubies
hope to gain God's association. That a strong attachment
in the Arctic—yet even the few who have such sentiments
to money, sex-life or fame exists is understood. But that
simply serve as agents of Illusion if they have no spiritual
attachment must be transferred to God. If it is not, then
understanding. And at their heels follow their people,
the individual's consciousness can never be fixed upon
sheep to the block. If Mankind's mortal sufferings are
Him. For those who, like Nietzsche, want to go on in
to be relieved, we must have leaders of a higher caliber,
the sea, the Lord has no anger. But He has pity, and so men of intelligence, who can see what the mission and
He explains our plight to us for our own consideration: purpose of human life actually are. Without such vision,
At the coming of day, all manifested things no one can help his fellow man or himself.
Come forth from the unmanifested Ideal leadership is outlined in the Bhagavad-gita, by
And at the coming of night they merge Lord Krishna. There He says:
In that same, called the unmanifested.
This very same multitude of existences As the unlearned act from attachment to their work
Arising again and again So should the learned also work, O Bharata,
Merges helplessly at the coming of night, O Partha, But without any attachment,
And streams forth at the coming of day. With the desire to maintain the world order.
But, beyond this unmanifested, Let him not unsettle the minds
There is yet another, Of the ignorant who are attached to action.
Unmanifested eternal being, The enlightened man doing all works in a spirit of yoga,
Who does not perish. Should set others to act as well. (B.G. III, 25 & 26)
This Unmanifested is called the Imperishable. This is good leadership. Those who are themselves
Him they speak of as the Supreme Status. mad for riches and fame cannot be expected to serve
Those who attain to Him return not. the people wisely. Those who are limited by the bodily
That is My supreme abode. concept of life are blind men, and those who imagine
This is the Supreme Person, O Partha, themselves outside God's shelter are worse:
In Whom all existences abide
And by Whom all this is pervaded; The evil-doers who are foolish, lowest of the humans,
Who can, however, be gained by unswerving devotion. Whose minds are carried away by illusion
And who partake of the nature of demons,
(B.G. VIII, 18-22) Do not seek refuge in Me. (B.G. VII, 15)
And so we can see that the perfection of human life, It is a current fashion to exercise any limitless number
indeed the goal of goals in all this universe, is to transcend of theories as to why the United States is declining so
the material engagement and to enter into the eternal noticeably in moral vigor. The answer stares the historian
Abode of Krishna—through devotional service. This is in the face from the page of every letter and document
the purpose to which a man ought wisely to dedicate written by the Founding Fathers: they believed in God—
his life. Otherwise, that life is necessarily dedicated to most of them actually and ardently. This is what America
death, for only by God's grace can we cross the chasm lacks today, and nothing more, twist though you may
of doom inherent in the flesh. Once spiritual life begins, for a different explanation.
once the transcendental consciousness is awakened, One who has the true welfare of his fellow man in mind
death has been conquered and life fulfilled beyond the ought to make all strenuous efforts to lead them to the
sweetest of dreams. gateway of God's Kingdom. Here, in devotional service,
lies the end to suffering; lies peace, plenty and life
These concepts are not new ones, nor are they Indian,
eternal. What more can one hope to offer? This is
nor even Vedic. They are found in the Bible and the
release from the age-long cycle of birth and death, and
Koran as well as in other great scriptural literature. The
this is what all beings crave despite their delusions.
scientist may only examine the phenomenon of mortality,
but he may never fully comprehend, much less overcome At the end of many lives
14 Krishna Voice, Feb 2009
The man of wisdom resorts to Me, Becoming a great soul, though the breed is a rare one,
Knowing that Vasudeva (Krishna) is all that is. is not difficult. One simply chooses to dissociate from
Such a great soul is rarely to be found. (B.G. 19) material activities and to take up the spiritual line. Krishna
Offer the fruit of wisdom, ripened for millenia, to your Himself will guide you from there.
fellows. This is the real act of love, this is the true public Abandoning all duties,
service. And, in the process, you will yourself be freed: Come to Me alone for shelter.
Having come to Me Be not grieved,
These great souls do not return to rebirth, For I shall release thee from all evils.
The place of sorrow, impermanent, (B.G. XVIII, 66)
For they have reached the highest perfection. This is the way to perfection. And, unless he takes this
(B.G. VIII, 15) proffered gift, a man's living is vain and wasted and
The Great-souled, the Mahatma, is a perfected being, dedicated to death. In the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, it
a human who has gone all the way to the goal, having is couched in these rather straightforward words:
turned to the Lord. He is the final, finished product of "There are 8,400,000 species of life among living entities.
evolution, and he has transcended that process by If one living being, having passed through this long cycle
which he has risen—by dint of his own willingness to of births, comes to the human standard, and then
love, and with the grace of Krishna. foolishly misuses it, he has simply spoiled everything."
Krishna Voice, Feb 2009 15
Hatha Yoga and the Bhagavad-gita
By Satyaraja Dasa
How the Gita teaches the eight steps of hatha yoga, the topic of Patanjali’s Yoga-sutras.
According to a 2003 survey by the Sporting Goods major accomplishment is that he took age-old practices
Manufacturers Association, an estimated 13.4 million meant for improving the body and the mind and codified
Americans practice yoga, and many more experiment them for the benefit of spiritual practitioners.
with it every year. Yoga is everywhere—from Mumbai But Patanjali’s Yoga-sutras merely hint at the truths
to Moscow to Monte Carlo. But while yoga is meant to illuminated in the Bhagavad-gita, which might be
bring one closer to God, many of today’s yogis have a considered the post-graduate study of Patanjali’s work.
different agenda, the most common being to keep their Even so, Patanjali intended his method to be used for
bodies in shape. ultimate spiritual benefit, as some of his verses, especially
“They’re not necessarily deeply spiritual, but looking later ones, clarify. Still, many yoga practitioners today
more to do yoga as another form of exercise,” says use his method solely for physical and mental health
Jennifer McKinley, co-founder and general manager of because in the beginning of his work Patanjali mainly
Plank, a Charlestown, Massachusetts, maker of chic, focuses on basic methods related to the body and the
high-end yoga mats, totes, and other accessories. mind, without much spiritual commentary.
Launched in 2005, the company projects sales in the In sutra 3.2, for example, we learn that dhyana, or
upcoming year that will rival that of Western exercise meditation, is the one-pointed continuous movement of
equipment. the mind toward a single object. But Patanjali’s technique
In an increasingly secular world, we naturally want to can be used for concentration on any object, not just
adapt valuable ancient techniques for contemporary on God. And even though he tells his readers the point
purposes, but yoga is losing its essence in the process. of his sutras—to get closer to God—one may be tempted
to use his methods for selfish ends, as he says later in
Yoga is a science left to us by the sages of India. The the text. Ultimately, one-pointed concentration is for
word yoga literally means “to link up,” and its implication, focusing on God, though it’s not until one graduates to
originally, was similar to the Latin root of the word the Bhagavad-gita that one clearly learns how to do
religion, which means “to bind back.” Thus, yoga and this.
religion are both meant to bring us to the same end:
linking up and binding with God. As Professor Edwin Bryant points out in his excellent
article Patanjali’s Theistic Preference, Or, Was the
The Inner Message of the Yoga-sutras Author of the Yoga-sutras a Vaishnava?1 Patanjali was
Today’s yogis might find it interesting that traditionally trying to gear his diverse audience toward the worship
the preeminent text on yoga is Bhagavad-gita—not of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, even if he was
Patanjali’s famous Yoga-sutras. But the Gita is not your doing so in a roundabout way. Much like today, many
usual yoga text, full of difficult bodily poses and strenuous forms of religion beleaguered the India of his time;
meditation techniques. Rather, it offers a practical outline practitioners worshiped numerous aspects of the
for achieving the goal of yoga—linking with God—by Supreme. Consequently, he opted for a stepwise
encouraging the chanting of Krishna’s names, by approach in his Yoga-sutras that he believed would
teaching how to act under Krishna’s order, and by accommodate his varied audience.
explaining the importance of doing one’s duty in spiritual Still, he asserts that the ultimate object of meditation is
consciousness. These activities, properly performed Ishvara, which means “controller” and generally refers
under the guidance of an adept, allow one to bypass to God. Although there are many controllers and many
much of what is considered essential in conventional forms of the Godhead, Bhagavad-gita (18.61) says that
yoga. the ultimate ishvara is Krishna. Other texts tell us this
And yet there is harmony between the Gita and the as well. Consider the ancient Brahma-samhita (5.1):
Yoga-sutras. For example, both Lord Krishna and ishvarah-paramah krishnah
Patanjali indicate that we must transcend all false sac-cid-ananda vigrahah
conceptions of “I” and develop love for God, which anadir adir govindah
Patanjali calls ishvara-pranidhana (“dedication to God”). sarva-karana-karanam
Patanjali wrote in the third century CE, but little is known “Krishna, who is known as Govinda, is the Supreme
about his life. His only surviving text, the Yoga-sutra, Godhead [ishvarah-paramah]. He has an eternal blissful
would indicate that toned physical and mental tabernacles spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other
are helpful in the pursuit of spiritual truth. In fact, his origin, and He is the prime cause of all causes.”
16 Krishna Voice, Feb 2009
Patanjali advises his audience to choose an ishta- should lay kusha grass on the ground and then cover
devata, a deity of their choice. His reasoning is it with a deerskin and a soft cloth. The seat [asana]
transparent: He is trying to teach a method of meditation, should be neither too high nor too low and should be
and learning this method is easiest if one practices on situated in a sacred place. The yogi should then sit on
a subject close to one’s heart. it very firmly and practice yoga to purify the heart by
controlling his mind, senses, and activities and fixing
Did Patanjali have Krishna in mind when he outlined
the mind on one point.”
the yoga process and its goal of love of God? For one
learned in the Vedic literature, it is obvious that the Here Krishna uses the word asana in a general rather
answer is yes. In the words of Edwin Bryant: than technical sense. He is talking about sitting to focus
Krishna is … promoted by the Gita as possessing all
the … qualities listed by Patanjali as pertaining to ishvara, It’s easy to lose focus, and that’s basically Arjuna’s
namely, being transcendental to karma, of unsurpassed argument against hatha yoga. In fact, Patanjali himself
omniscience, teacher of the ancients, untouched by identifies nine obstacles on the path: doubt, disease,
Time, represented by om, and awarding enlightenment. lethargy, mental laziness, false perception, lack of
Krishna is not touched or bound by karma (Gita, IV.14, enthusiasm, clinging to sense enjoyment, lack of
IX.9), and, in terms of omniscience, He is the beginning, concentration, and losing concentration. His
middle and end of all (X.20 & 32), who pervades the commentators list several others as well, including
entire universe with but a single fragment of Himself inordinate attraction to yogic powers, a misconceived
(X.42). Krishna taught the ancients (here specified as view of meditation, oversimplification of yoga’s eight
Vivashvan, the sun god, who in turn imparted knowledge limbs, and irregularity of practice. All of these problems
to Manu, the progenitor of mankind [IV.1]) and is Himself are traceable to the difficult nature of Patanjali’s method
Time (X.30 & 33; XI.32). He is also the syllable om and are why Arjuna views hatha yoga as virtually
(IX.17). And, of course, Krishna assures His devotees impossible. By the end of the Sixth Chapter he
that He will free them from the snares of this world such denounces it as too difficult. Krishna agrees, telling
that they attain the supreme goal (IX.30-32; X.X; VIII. Arjuna that the ultimate yogi always thinks of God. He
58). There is thus perfect compatibility between further tells him that such meditation is real yoga, implying
Patanjali’s unnamed ishvara and Krishna as depicted that using one’s body and mind in Krishna’s service is
in the Gita.2 the perfect asana.
The commentarial tradition of the Yoga-sutras bears The Gita also discusses pranayama, or breath control,
this out. Patanjali’s major commentators were Vyasa the fourth limb. Krishna says that yogis can use the
(fifth century CE, not to be confused with the compiler incoming and outgoing breath as offerings to Him. He
of the Vedic literature), Vachaspati Mishra (ninth century speaks about dedicating one’s life breath to God. He
CE), Bhoja Raja (eleventh century CE), and tells Arjuna that His devotees’ prana, or air of life, is
Vijnanabhikshu (sixteenth century CE). All identify the meant for God and that Arjuna should use it “to come
ishvara of the Yoga-sutras with Vishnu or Krishna and to Me.” In fact, if one follows Arjuna’s example and offers
show how the Bhagavad-gita expresses the culmination every breath to Krishna—by speaking about Him,
of all Vedic wisdom relating to yoga. chanting His glories, and living for Him—there is little
need for breath control as delineated in Patanjali’s
The Gita’s Eight Limbs sutras. Breathing for God is the essence of pranayama.
The Bhagavad-gita addresses all eight limbs of raja- Srila Prabhupada writes, “Chanting of the holy name of
yoga, the form of yoga popular today as ashtanga yoga the Lord and dancing in ecstasy are also considered
or hatha yoga.3 For example, yama, the first limb, pranayama.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.23.8, Purport)
consists of five ethical principles: truthfulness, continence, The fifth limb of yoga, pratyahara, deals with the
nonviolence, noncovetousness, and abstention from withdrawal of the senses, a major subject in the
stealing. These fundamental disciplines of yoga are Bhagavad-gita. In the Second Chapter Krishna tells
mentioned in the Gita, as is niyama, the second limb, Arjuna that the yogi withdraws his senses from sense
which consists of things like worship, cleanliness, objects, “as the tortoise draws its limbs within the shell.”
contentment, austerity, and self-reflection. Taken superficially, this might seem to suggest full
Now, the third limb of Patanjali’s method, asana, is less renunciation of the world. But that’s not what Krishna
obvious in the Gita. The term asana appears infrequently is getting at. Rather, as other verses make clear, He’s
on Lord Krishna’s lips. But when it does, it refers to “the teaching how to renounce the fruits of work, not work
place where one sits for spiritual practice.” The Gita itself, and how to be in the world but not of it. In other
does not give tips on sitting postures. Its Sixth Chapter, words, His teaching centers on how to withdraw one’s
though, comes close. Verses 11 and 12 state: “To attachment to sense objects for personal enjoyment.
practice yoga, one should go to a secluded place and He instructs us to use these same objects in the service
Krishna Voice, Feb 2009 17
of God. That is true pratyahara. of absorption but engages the senses of onlookers as
The Upper Limbs well. In sutra 1.28, Patanjali, too, promotes “constant
And then we have the culmination of yoga practice—
the last three limbs of raja-yoga: dharana, dhyana, and Overall, Patanjali’s ambivalence might appear confusing.
samadhi, or concentration, meditation, and complete When he first mentions ishvara-pranidhana, dedication
absorption. to God, he presents it as optional, while later he gives
it far more attention, with six verses elaborating on the
While yama and niyama are preliminary steps, these nature of ishvara. In the beginning he seems to allow
three are called samyama, “the perfect discipline” or variance in the object of meditation (1.34-38), but
“perfect practice.” Bhagavad-gita speaks extensively of ultimately he advises the yogi to focus on ishvara, who
these upper limbs. For example, Lord Krishna states, in Patanjali’s words is the “special supreme soul” who
“Just fix your mind upon Me, the Supreme Personality alone can bestow samadhi, yogic perfection.
of Godhead, and engage all your intelligence in Me.
Thus you will live in Me always, without a doubt. My Patanjali says in sutra 3.3 that samadhi occurs when
dear Arjuna, O winner of wealth, if you cannot fix your the object of your meditation appears in your heart of
mind upon Me without deviation, then follow the regulative hearts without any competitors or distractions. You have
principles of bhakti-yoga [abhyasa-yogena]. In this way no other interest, as if your intrinsic nature loses meaning.
develop a desire to attain Me.” (Bg. 12.8–9) The Bhagavad-gita makes it clearer. In samadhi your
The process of Krishna consciousness is practical intrinsic nature doesn’t lose meaning. Rather, it takes
dharana, or spiritual concentration. By seeing paintings on new meaning: You see yourself in relation to Krishna.
of Krishna, we use our sense of sight for God; by You are now His devotee; He’s the focus of your life.
chanting and hearing we engage the tongue and the That state of perfect and total absorption is called Krishna
ear; by offering incense to Krishna we engage our sense consciousness.
of smell. All the senses can help us engage in dharana, Footnotes: 1. Edwin F. Bryant, “Patanjali’s Theistic
leading to advanced states of meditation and absorption. Preference, Or, Was the Author of the Yoga-sutras a
The holy name is particularly effective in this regard. Vaishnava,” in The Journal of Vaishnava Studies, Volume
That’s why Krishna says that of austerities He is the 14, Number 1 (Fall 2005).
austerity of japa, private chanting, especially while 2. Ibid.
counting on beads. Chanting is the king of austerities
because by chanting we can easily reach the goal of 3. This has been pointed out by my friend Graham
yoga. It all comes together in the practice of japa because Schweig, professor of religion at Christopher Newport
by chanting God’s names we focus on Him with our University, Virginia. Much of the material in this article
voice, ears, and sense of touch. And kirtana, on the eight limbs of yoga comes from his interviews
congregational chanting, not only takes us to deep levels and lectures.
Under the Vidya Dana Scheme,
Akshaya note books were
distributed at the Government
Composite High School,
Hegganahalli, Bangalore North
The note books were distributed
by the donor and area MLA
Sri Muniraju S, on January 10,
18 Krishna Voice, Feb 2009
Sri Sadananda Maiyya, Managing Director, MTR
Foods, Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, President ISKCON
Bangalore and cine actor Sri Ganesh inaugurate
the annual food festival, Tastes of India, at the
Open Air Theatre in the ISKCON temple premises
at Rajaji Nagar (above-right).
Sri Ganesh shares sweets with school children
who are Akshaya Patra beneficiaries, at the
Bangaloreans relish the variety of delectable
vegetarian sattvic fare at the food festival (below).
Krishna Voice, Feb 2009 19
Ratha Yatra 2009
(below) Chief Guest, Sri Sri Sri Adichunchungiri Balagangadharanatha
Swami, with Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, President ISKCON Bangalore,
Sri Narendra Babu, MLA Mahalaxmipuram and Dr. Ashwathnarayan,
MLA Malleshwaram, at the inauguration of the annual Sri Sri Krishna
Balarama Ratha Yatra in Bangalore, January 2009.
One more award for Akshaya Patra
The CNBC India Business Leader
Awards were conferred in Mumbai
on January 22nd, 2009 and
Akshaya Patra received the award
under the Social Enterprise of the
year category. (right) The Akshaya
Patra Foundation Chairman, Sri
Madhu Pandit Dasa receives the
award from Cine Actor, Sri Aamir
20 Krishna Voice, Feb 2009
Imagine an event that has cows walking the ramp! ISKCON Bangalore partnered
with Radio Mirchi for this unique Shankranthi event called Kombu Mela to promote
the cause of cattle protection, held on Shankrathi evening at the ISKCON Open
Air Theatre. This Love Your Cow festival had youth grouped in teams of three each,
dressing up the cows in various decorations consisting of cloth, beads and other
ornamentation and then accompanying them to walk the ramp in a fun filled
competition. Three of the best decorated cows won the Punyakoti (1st) prize, the
Nandini (2nd) prize and the Surabhi (3rd) prize. The cows were given brightly
coloured badges announcing their prizes and were also crowned with flower garlands
and honoured with fruit and vegetable garlands, which they later shared with the
(left & right) Competitors at the
Kombu Mela and (below) the
prize winning cows with their
News from Hubli
VAIKUNTHA EKADASHI CELEBRATIONS
Around 15,000 people thronged the ISKCON
Temple at Rayapur to enter the Vaikuntha Dwara
on Vaikunta Ekadashi, where the beautiful
Diorama Deities of Sri Lakshmi Narayana
accompanied by the devatas like Brahma,
Narada, Garuda gave audience to the devotees.
The Vaikuntha Dwara was inaugurated by Sri
Pradyumna Acharya, a renowned Madhva
scholar. Thousands of people participated in the
Laksharchana seva and Venkateshwara homa.
Sri Jagadish Shettar had darshana of Their
Lordships and participated in various sevas.
Krishna Voice, Feb 2009 21
Spanish Deputy Prime Minister, Smt. Maria
Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, during her visit
to the ISKCON Sri Radha Krishna temple.
Dr. Veerendra Hegde of SDM Society visited
the Akshaya Patra kitchen in Hubli
Gokaldas Exports Ltd. contributed Rs. 1 crore
to the Akshaya Patra program. Seen here are
(left to right) Smt. Dayawanthi Hinduja,
Sri Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman, TAPF,
Sri Rajendra Hinduja, Sri. Madanlal Hinduja
and Sri Dinesh Hinduja.
Bharat Electronics donates bus to Akshaya Patra
Sri V. V. R. Sastry, Chairman
and Managing Director, Bharat
Electronics, is seen here,
flagging off the bus that was
donated by the company to the
Akshaya Patra mid day meal
22 Krishna Voice, Feb 2009
Krishna Voice Monthly Magazine, February 2009 Vol10, No.1 Price Rs 15/-
Posted on 5th or 10th of the Month at MBC, Manipal, License to post without prepayment No. WPP(CO-8), Reg No. KA/BGGPO
2521/ 2009-11, Registered with Registrar of Newspapers for India under No. RNI 71022/99, Posted at MBC, Manipal, 576104.
Laksharchana Seva before the Vaikuntha Dwara at ISKCON Bangalore’s Vaikuntha Hill, Kanakapura Road, Bangalore.