Bhakti Is Only For Krishna
Real devotees are not after rewards
A lecture given in Bombay, April 1, 1974
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
kanksantah karmanam siddhim
yajanta iha devatah
ksipram hi manuse loke
siddhir bhavati karma-ja
"Men in this world desire success in fruitive activities, and therefore they worship the demigods. Quickly, of course,
men get results from fruitive work in this world."—Bhagavad-gita 4.12
Last night we were discussing the previous verse:
ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
manusyah partha sarvasah
"As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha."
Everyone is seeking the Absolute Truth in different ways. Worship of the demigods is one way of searching after
the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore demigod worship is recommended in the
Vedas, in the upasana-kanda.
The Vedas are divided into three kandas, or divisions: karma-kanda, for fruitive work; jnana-kanda, for philosophical
speculation; and upasana-kanda, for demigod worship. Therefore one name for the Vedas is trayi, "three."
The Srimad-Bhagavatam states, stri-sudra-dvijabandhunam trayi na sruti-gocara: "Women, the laboring class, and
friends of the twice-born cannot understand the Vedas." Dvija-bandhu—"friends of the twiceborn"—refers to those
who are born in families of brahmanas [intellectuals], kshatriyas [administrators], or vaishyas [farmers and merchants]
but who do not possess the qualities of these higher classes.
A brahmana's qualifications are given in the Bhagavad-gita (18.41):
samo damas tapah saucam
ksantir arjavam eva ca
jnanam vijnanam astikyam
"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom, and religiousness—these
are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work."
The kshatriyas' qualities are also given (18.42):
sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam
yuddhe capy apalayanam
danam isvara-bhavas ca
ksatram karma svabhava-jam
"Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity, and leadership are the natural
qualities of work for the kshatriyas."
The duties of the vaishyas are given (18.44):
"Farming, cow protection, and business are the natural work for the vaishyas."
And, finally, the duties of the shudras are given (18.44):
Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 5
"For shudras there is labor and service to others."
A shudra is satisfied by serving somebody, just as a dog is satisfied to have a nice master.
To get success in a particular type of occupational duty, people sometimes worship the demigods. That is described
here. Like us, demigods are also living entities, and all living entities are part and parcel of Krishna. Mamaivamso
jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah. There is no difference between the demigods and us, but they are more fortunate
to have gotten the post of Chandra [the moon-god], Surya [the sun-god], Indra [the king of the heavenly planets],
Brahma [the chief demigod], and so on.
To get success in material activities, people sometimes worship demigods. But in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna
explains that although in one sense demigod worship is worship of Him—because the demigods are part of Him—
demigod worship is avidhi-purvakam, done "in a wrong way." The vidhi, or "rule," is to worship the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. Demigod worship is something like bribing a doorman to enter the room of a great officer.
By demigod worship one can get results very quickly. But the results are antavat, "limited." Bhakti, however, is
unlimited. The less intelligent worship the demigods instead of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In India
especially we will find many devotees of the demigods. These devotees are not actually devotees. Devotion can
only be in connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who worship the demigods are not devotees,
because they want to get a reward from the demigods. But bhakti is not like that. The bhaktas, devotees, are not
after any reward from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the difference between bhakti and demigod
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu teaches us bhakti. He says, na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa
kamaye: "My Lord, I do not wish to ask from You opulence, riches, a nice wife, or many followers." These are
material opulences. So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, "I do not want all these things." Mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi: "I only want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth." That is the desire
of a devotee. He doesn't want liberation. He wants to serve the lotus feet of the Lord birth after birth—janmani
janmani. That is his aspiration.
The karma-kandiya, those on the platform of fruitive activities, are generally attracted by demigod worship. But
those detached from material happiness become attached to Krishna. We have to choose whether for temporary
benefit we shall worship demigods or for permanent benefit we shall worship Krishna. That is our choice. But
people generally choose the immediate result (ksipram hi manuse loke siddhir bhavati). That immediate result
may be palatable in the beginning, but it will produce bitter results at the end. But that we do not consider.
The immediate result and the remote result are described by the Sanskrit words sreyas and preyas. Preyas means
"immediate benefit," and sreyas means "ultimate benefit." Those interested in the ultimate benefit go back home,
back to Godhead. For them, worshiping the Supreme Lord is most beneficial. And those interested in temporary
benefit worship demigods. They may pray to goddess Durga, dhanam dehi, rupam dehi, yaso dehi: "Give me
wealth. Give me beauty. Give me fame." They forget that whatever material benefit they get will be lost with the
end of the material body, when everything is lost. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says, mrtyuh sarva-haras
caham: "At the end, I, as death, take away all your material possessions."
So to desire temporary benefits is not good. Because we are eternal—nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam—we
should be after eternal happiness, eternal benefit. That should be our business. Therefore we should not be karmis,
fruitive workers. Neither should we become jnanis, mental speculators. We should become yogis. And what kind
of yogi? Bhakti-yogi.
There are different types of yoga practice. Out of them, bhakti-yoga is the topmost. Krishna says, bhaktya mam
abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah: "I can be understood only through bhakti." Without being in bhakti-yoga one
cannot be happy or understand Krishna or one's relationship with Krishna. Evam prasanna-manaso bhagavad-
We hold this class for the benefit of human society. The Krishna consciousness movement is meant to allow us
to constantly hear about Krishna, talk about Krishna, chant about Krishna, eat about Krishna, work for Krishna,
sleep for Krishna, walk for Krishna. Anything we do in relationship to Krishna is pious. Punya-sravana-kirtanah.
Srila Rupa Gosvami recommends, nirbandhah Krishna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate: dovetail everything
with Krishna activities, Krishna consciousness. Then our life will be successful.
6 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
Krishna is sitting within your heart. When He sees that you are very serious about Him, then He helps you. We
have many dirty things within our heart, but as soon as we begin to hear about Krishna they become washed away.
Now we are hearing from Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. Krishna is speaking about Himself. Krishna is speaking
about the situation of the material world. He'll speak about the spiritual world. Everything is there in the Bhagavad-
gita. So if you regularly hear, that is the beginning of your success in life.
The Vedas are called shruti, "hearing." One has to hear the Vedas from the right person. That is the recommendation
of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. To achieve success in self-realization
or God realization, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recommends, sthane sthitah: "Just stay in your present position,
as a grhastha [householder] or as a brahmana or as a sannyasi [renunciant] or as a businessman or professional
man—it doesn't matter." But, sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih: "Just try to hear about Krishna." Sruti-gatam means
"aural reception." Tanu-van-manobhih: "And try to employ your body, words, and mind in Krishna's service."
Ye prayaso 'jita jito 'py asi. One of Krishna's names is Ajita, "He who is never conquered." But anyone who, without
speculation, humbly and meekly hears about Krishna from the realized soul will one day will be able to conquer
The Krishna consciousness movement is meant to give everyone the chance to hear about Krishna. That hearing
is the first process—sravanam. And when one has heard very nicely about Krishna, then one can speak about
Krishna. And one must speak. One who has heard nicely about Krishna cannot remain without speaking about
Krishna. He must speak or preach. Hear and preach about whom? Vishnu, or Krishna.
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
"Hearing and chanting about Vishnu, remembering Him, serving His lotus feet, worshiping Him, offering Him
prayers, becoming His servant, becoming His friend, and offering everything to Him." These nine processes of
Krishna consciousness are being pushed forward by the members of the Krishna consciousness movement all
over the world. We have opened a center here in Bombay, the most important city of India. So we request you
all to come every day and try to understand the philosophy of Krishna consciousness, based on Bhagavad-gita,
Srimad-Bhagavatam, Vedanta-sutra, Ramayana, Mahabharata—all authentic scriptures. We are not concocting
or giving false interpretations. We are presenting Bhagavad-gita as it is, without any deviation.
So if we take advantage of this process of understanding—srnvatam sva-kathah Krishnah punya-sravana-kirtanah—
then gradually we shall be free from the results of all our past sinful activities. Hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani.
Abhadrani means "inauspicious things accumulated within our heart." By Krishna-kirtana—chanting about Krishna—
our heart will be cleansed. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recommends ceto-darpana-marjanam: The heart is like a
mirror, and it can be cleansed by the chanting of Hare Krishna. As soon as the heart is cleansed we can understand
what is Krishna, what I am, what my relationship is with Krishna, and how I should act in relation to Krishna.
Understanding these things is the perfection of life.
Thank you very much.
Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 7
SRILA PRABHUPADA SPEAKS OUT
Jesus and Christ Are Perfect—But You Follow Darwin
Here we conclude an exchange that took place in Perth, Australia, on May 9, 1975, between His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Carol Cameron, then a doctoral candidate in anthropology.
Srila Prabhupada: We live for seventy or eighty years, knowledge—or simply vague, indefinite knowledge—
but the followers of Darwin's theory are calculating a then why should you try to give knowledge to others?
span of millions or even billions of years. They are
Carol: Your Divine Grace, can you have perfect
calculating a span of millions, even billions, of years—
knowledge? Can knowledge be truly perfect?
and yet they will live for just seventy or eighty years. So
how are they making such an incredibly vast calculation? Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Simply mental speculation. Simply misleading the people. Carol: I mean, as far as I understand, ultimately I might
An honest man should not mislead others. He should be able to have perfect knowledge, but somehow it all
understand that his knowledge is limited. How can I put seems a bit doubtful. How could you ever be sure your
forward something that is merely my theorizing? That knowledge is perfect?
is not very good business.
Srila Prabhupada: Perfect knowledge you can have
These scientists, these so-called cultural leaders—they immediately—provided you take knowledge from the
are misleading the people. Just imagine. "I have no perfect. If you receive knowledge from a bogus person,
perfect knowledge. I am merely theorizing. Actually, I then how can you have perfect knowledge?
have nothing to offer but my unsubstantiated theories.
But that's all right. I'll mislead the people." A big bluff— Knowledge has to be received from some person. When
that is going on. An honest man should abstain from I go to a school or college or to a yoga society, actually
big bluffs. "But not a great scientist like me. I am theorizing I am going to a teacher or guru. So if your teacher or
and misleading the people with my big bluffs." guru is perfect, then you get perfect knowledge. But if
your teacher is a bogus person, then you get bogus
First of all, you must have accurate knowledge; then knowledge.
you bring knowledge to others. That is our proposition.
First of all, make your life Carol: So, again, if your teacher is perfect, the knowledge
perfect; then you try to give you receive is perfect?
knowledge. If you have no Srila Prabhupada: Yes.
Carol: And do you receive this perfect knowledge
Srila Prabhupada: Yes. For instance, we are giving
knowledge from Bhagavad-gita. This is perfect
knowledge. You take it; you become perfect.
Carol: And your actions become perfect actions?
Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Have you read
Carol: Not as yet. bell ring, you press your finger on the button in this way."
Srila Prabhupada: In Bhagavad-gita you'll find that the This is how the child gets perfect knowledge.
Lord instructs us, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto. "Always Submissively, he tries what his father has told him, and
think of Me." So we are doing this. "Hare Krishna, Hare he sees, "Oh, the bell is ringing."
Krishna, Krishna Krishna"—we are thinking of Krishna. So perfect knowledge is available. The child may be
The direction is there, and we are doing that. Therefore, imperfect, but the knowledge he has received—that is
our actions are perfect. If my physician says, "You take perfect. This is ordinary knowledge. And in the same
this medicine in such-and-such doses, and don't do this, way, if you get higher knowledge from a person who is
but do do that," then, if I follow, I'm cured. Perfect. perfect, then your higher knowledge is perfect.
Carol: Does a man, then, still have to judge and agonize But if you receive your knowledge—just like this
over his actions? anthropology business—from an imperfect person like
Srila Prabhupada: No. If you know that the knowledge Darwin, then the whole thing is imperfect. So why should
you are receiving is perfect—because the person giving we waste our time on imperfect knowledge?
you the knowledge is perfect—then there is no question Carol: Perhaps because we seem to have low standards
of judging. You simply follow. for what we consider a perfect person, we find scarcely
Carol: So it's a matter of complete faith. anyone we could call a perfect person.
Srila Prabhupada: Just like a child. A child assumes, Srila Prabhupada: So then, if people want to be cheated,
"My father is perfect." And actually, a father should be then I shall be a perfect cheater. [Laughter.] That is
perfect, at least for the child. In that way, whatever the another thing. I'll take my doctorate title and be a perfect
father or mother presents to him as knowledge, that is cheater.
perfect. For instance, the father says, "My dear child, Carol: But it is true that even if you look very sincerely
this is called a table." for someone who is perfect, you don't find anyone.
Now, the child does not know what a table is, but he Srila Prabhupada: Therefore, we are giving this
understands from his father. The child says, "This is a information: "Here is Krishna. Here is the perfect person.
table." You take this." But you don't follow Him. Or, as I said
So when the child says, "This is a table," it is a fact. His to begin with, Jesus Christ is perfect. But you don't
knowledge is perfect. On the whole, the child may be follow him.
imperfect, but because he is repeating the perfect Carol: Mm.
knowledge of his father, whatever he is speaking is
perfect. Srila Prabhupada: You don't like to follow him. You
follow Darwin. Whose fault is it? The perfect person's
Actually, the child makes all sorts of inquiries from the fault? Or your fault? You don't like to hear from the
father. "Father, what is this?" perfect person. You want to hear from a humbug, bogus
The father smiles. "This is called a bell. To make the person. That is the defect.
Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 9
Above & left: A massive cake replica of
Govardhana Hill was made and offered to
the Lord by the devotees at the temple on
the occasion of Govardhana Puja.
Below: Devotees worship Mother Cow and
feed her prasadam fruits on Go Puja which
was celebrated at the temple on the same
day as Govardhana Puja.
10 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
Right: Sri Krishna and Balarama,
Below: The Govardhana Cake
which was offered to Them by the
Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 11
Giridhari alankara on Govardhana Puja
The huge replica of Govardhana made from cake, offered to the Lord on Govardhana Puja
12 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
Vrindavan Karthik Utsav 2009
at Sri Radha Vrindavan Chandra Mandir, Vrindavan
Above: Devotees offered a replica of Govardhana Hill made
from halwa as annakoota to the Lord on the occasion of
Govardhana Puja, at the Sri Radha Vrindavan Chandra temple
Above: A grand ratha carries the utsava
vigraha of Their Lordships during the
Ratha Yatra which was part of the Karthik
Utsava celebrations at Vrindavan.
Below: Devotees row the ceremonial
boat or nauka in the temple pond, taking
Their Lordships on a cool evening cruise
to the accompaniment of kirtana and
Above: Special Giridhari alankara of the
utsava vigraha of Their Lordships on
Govardhana Puja. Lord Krishna holds up
Govardhana Hill with Radharani and Rohini
to His left and His parents Yashoda and
Nanda to His right.
Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 13
Sam Surya goes to his city’s orphanage one day and moral scrutiny. Thus, under Hume’s theory, Sam’s donation
How Free Are We?
makes a large donation. Elsewhere in town, Andy is considered to be causally determined by his desire to
Andhakara robs a bank. What led these two to make donate, and yet is also considered free because it is done
such drastically different choices? Was it their own volition, willingly. Andy’s act of robbery is caused by his desire to
or the force of some other factor? In other words, were acquire money, but he remains morally culpable because
their actions predetermined, or did Sam and Andy have he was not forced to act against his wishes.
free will? Although with Hume’s soft determinism we finally have
These questions concern one of the pivotal debates in don’t have the power to decide to steal or not, then what’s Countless persons have endorsed some such a theory that connects individuals with their behavior,
Western philosophy. Are human beings destined to follow the use of sending such a message? Therefore, strict compromise—including the English philosophers Thomas whether it does so in a way that gives them actual freedom
a set course? Are we like children on an amusement park determinism can be rejected as counterintuitive and highly Hobbes, John Locke, and John Stuart Mill—and it more is questionable. Granting that it avoids the oppressive
ride that lets them steer right and left but inevitably takes impractical. or less represents the consensus of contemporary Western impersonalism of strict determinism and the chaos of
them along a fixed track? Or are we free to desire and philosophy. Among these, the mid–eighteenth-century categorical free will, does it actually bestow on humans
Categorical Free Will
do as we like, our lives a blank slate upon which we may Scottish philosopher David Hume made what is arguably the power of conscious choice? Critics have said no.
write anything and everything? Having rejected this extreme, let’s test out the other. As the chief presentation.
strict determinism tells us that Sam and Andy each had His theory has been
In this article we’ll take a brief look at how Western to act in a particular way, the opposite perspective tells referred to as soft
philosophy has addressed the problem of determinism us they could have acted in absolutely any way. This is determinism because it
versus free will, and then suggest how the Vedic literature the theory known as categorical free will. It holds that takes strict determinism
can offer additional insight into this most elusive yet human actions are in theory completely unconstrained and alters it in a way
important issue. and can unfold in an infinite number of ways. Our behavior that allows for personal
Before we begin, let’s be clear about the term “will”. From is not the preset product of any grand universal scheme, freedom and moral
a philosophical perspective, it is a nuanced concept that but is fluid and flexible. It essentially has no cause, for accountability. He starts
has undergone shifts in meaning over the years. that would limit its course. with the notion that
Nevertheless, for all practical purposes it can be taken every human action
Unlike the theory of strict determinism, which has had
as synonymous with “action.” Hence the debate over has a cause that
few adherents among Western philosophers, the theory
determinism versus free will is essentially a quest to determines how it will
of categorical free will has been embraced by many,
identify the cause of human behavior. Keeping this in unfold. If this cause is
including the French philosopher Rene Descartes in the
mind should help keep you from getting lost in what might something external to
early seventeenth century and the German philosopher
otherwise become a hazy jungle of abstract philosophical the individual, he refers
Immanuel Kant in the late eighteenth century. Indeed, it
jargon. to the resultant action
is a welcome relief from the stifling rigidity of determinism,
as involuntary. If this
Strict Determinism and it resonates with Western notions of liberty and
cause is an internal
independence. But as other philosophers have pointed
One perspective on this debate is to say that Sam Surya desire of the individual,
out (including those named in the next section), it goes
was destined to donate and Andy Andhakara was destined he refers to the
too far. They argue that a phenomenon either has a cause
to steal, and neither ever really had a say in the matter. resultant action as
(or causes) or is completely random; there is no third
This is the theory known as strict determinism. It holds voluntary. Whereas in
option. Therefore to say that human actions have no
that all human actions are the direct results of a sequence strict determinism all
cause is to say that they are random. But observation of
of causes and effects such that they are predetermined actions are caused by
the world around us shows that this is clearly not the
and can unfold in one and only one way. Thus, we do external forces and are
case. We don’t see mothers hugging their dirty laundry
not actually play any part in determining our actions. therefore what Hume
and throwing their babies into the washing machine.
Rather, they are caused by something beyond us. Western would call involuntary,
Rather, in place of such inexplicable chaos (the logical
philosophers have generally been loath to embrace this his soft determinism
consequence of this theory) we observe order and
view, and with good reason: strict determinism is contrary allows for both external
meaning in human behavior. Hence, categorical free will
to both common experience and the norms of civilization. and internal causes.
must also be rejected as illogical and unrealistic.
(The doctrine of the predestination of souls, espoused Indeed, he emphasizes
by St. Augustine in the fifth century and championed by Soft Determinism the latter by explaining
the leaders of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth that human beings will
So while strict determinism leaves us with no room to
century, is one major exception.) Far from feeling forced always act according to
breathe, it turns out categorical free will opens the door
into every action we take, we instinctively feel we can their strongest internal
far too wide. Neither theory allows for us to have a
desire unless forcibly
make choices in our lives. Therefore, the thought that we conscious influence on our actions. What of the middle
constrained by some
have no control whatsoever over what we do is repulsive. ground, something between these two extremes? Such
And the laws that govern society have meaning only if a perspective would allow Sam and Andy to cause their
citizens can decide to follow them or not. For example, actions in some way that reconciles determinism and free Hume concludes by
we would perhaps support punishing Andy Andhakara to will. Human behavior could then be understood as neither deeming such
send a message to the community that stealing is bad capricious nor automatically enacted irrespective of voluntary action “free”
and others should not follow his example. But if citizens individual wishes. and therefore liable to
14 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 15
They have noted that although under Hume’s theory activities that are in actuality carried out by the three
individuals act voluntarily, they do not act freely. This is modes of material nature.” Thus, our freedom does not
because the internal desires that cause their actions lie in the tangible realm of physical matter.
are not under their conscious control. For example, Sam
To some people the implication of such evidence is that
voluntarily acts in accordance with his desire to give
free will is simply illusory and that enlightenment involves
charity (and so feels like he is acting freely), but where
accepting that we are the powerless pawns of a
does this desire come from? Did he choose to have the
deterministic world. Historically, Western philosophers
kind of personality that is inclined to give?
have even been led to clump the Vedic worldview
No. We could either trace its development through his together with other Eastern philosophies and dismiss
experiences, education, and parenting, or resign them all under the condescending label of “Asiatic
ourselves to a simple, “He was born that way.” In either fatalism.” But this is only half the Vedic equation. Equally
case, we must acknowledge that the very factors that compelling (and arguably even more important) is the
resulted in Sam’s wanting to help out the orphanage Vedic evidence of freedom and the power of conscious
are clearly not subject to his conscious control. Rather, choice.
his desire is the deterministic product of his background,
For example, the Vedic literature contains a plethora of
and it compels him to act accordingly. He is not free to
rules, regulations, and rituals. Many prominent Vaishnava
act otherwise. Thus, we are not justified in calling Sam’s
philosophers have used the same logic we cited earlier
and Andy’s respective actions free, and praising or
in defeating strict determinism to claim that such scriptural
censuring them accordingly. In fact, soft determinism
prescriptions (and their associated rewards and
ultimately leads us to the same dead end as strict
punishments) can have meaning only if the living entity
determinism, albeit with a little more scenery on the
has some degree of factual independence. Indeed, “The
Supreme Personality of Godhead has so dexterously
Although strict determinism and categorical free will formulated and applied the laws of material nature
proved easy to dismiss (both in this article and in the governing punishment and reward for human behavior
annals of Western philosophy), you will likely agree that that the living being is discouraged from sin and
soft determinism seemed more promising. But it still left encouraged toward goodness without suffering any
us short of what we are searching for: a viable explanation significant interference with his free will as an eternal
of the cause of human action. Certainly the answer soul.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.24.14, Purport by
does lie in some sort of synthesis of determinism and Prabhupada’s disciples)
free will, but Western philosophy can take us no further
It is important to note here, however, that as the mind
in this direction. We therefore now consider the
is considered material in the Vedic understanding, it is
philosophy of ancient India. Within the Vedic scriptures
subject to the same rigid control that was attributed to
we find a perspective that genuinely reconciles
the body above. So just as the free will of the living
determinism and free will in a way that makes sense to
being cannot extend to the actions of the physical body
our heads and is agreeable to our hearts.
and senses, so too it cannot extend to the actions of
The Soul’s Free Will the mind or intelligence. Thus, the free will Prabhupada
speaks of must be restricted to the domain of the spirit
We begin by reviewing the deterministic side of the
soul proper, and it must be the actions of this soul that
equation. Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that all
merit the various punishments and rewards he speaks
living beings have eternal spiritual forms of which the
of. But how does the soul act? Prabhupada explains
physical bodies we see are only temporary coverings.
that it is through desire. Not only that, he goes one step
The root cause of this encasement is known in Sanskrit
further to reveal that the desire whether “to surrender
as ahankara. Though this term is usually translated as
to God or not is the essential expression of our free
false ego, it literally means “I am the doer.” Because
we are made of spirit, not matter, we have no ability to
independently manipulate matter, and to think we do is And there, at last, is our answer and the Vedic resolution
the ultimate binding delusion. Far from being a controller, of the problem of determinism versus free will. As human
by inhabiting a physical body we come under the control beings, our freedom is limited to desiring to come closer
of nature, because the body, being matter, acts according to God or to move farther away from Him. Material
to the laws of nature. The real agent behind the nature, under the supervision of God, takes care of the
movements of the material world is the energy of God rest. According to our past desires, we are provided at
in the form of the three material principles, or modes: birth with a suitable body through which the modes of
maintenance (goodness), creation (passion), and material nature help us perform actions appropriate to
destruction (ignorance). Krishna sums up this whole those desires. Within the constraints of this body, which
dynamic by observing, “The spirit soul bewildered by range from our mental disposition to the karmic results
the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of due to us while in it, we have the opportunity to form
16 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
new desires. These desires may take many forms, but
they will always be reducible to one of two broad
categories: desires to be closer to God, or desires to
be farther away from Him. Our new desires then create
karmic reactions that in turn determine our next body.
No Deterministic Dead End
This Vedic understanding of free will thus saves us
from the dead end that soft determinism led us to. We
can trace the manifold desires that cause a person to
act back from the upbringing of his present life to his
nature at birth, to the desires of his previous lives, and,
underlying it all, to his progressive desire to surrender
to or rebel against God. Freedom reigns at this final,
primary level, while determinism dominates all
subsequent links in the chain. We could thus call the
Vedic model a sort of binary free will.
For example, Sam Surya, in his previous birth, must
have had godly desires (e.g., selfless desires to forego
pleasures for a higher purpose). As a result, he was
probably born with an innate generosity and received
good training from his parents and early teachers, both
of which allowed him to progress towards God. Andy
Andhakara, on the other hand, must have had ungodly
desires (e.g., selfish desires that focused on his own
well-being at the cost of others), which led him to be
born in a degraded situation favorable for expressing
and acting upon such desires. The key to understanding
how this works is in realizing that karma applies on a
subtle, as well as a gross, level. Good actions don’t
just create good circumstances; they also create the
desire to do further good actions. And vice versa.
Unlike the blank slate of free will or the fixed track of
determinism, this blend of the two might be likened to
an interactive movie that lets you make choices at key
moments and then unfolds automatically until the next
decision. If we make choices favorable to reestablishing
our relationship with God, like Sam Surya, we’ll get
more and better options of this kind the next time. If
we make choices that hamper our connection with God,
like Andy Andhakara, the godly options will diminish in
scope and quantity. Either way, what happens in
between the decision points is the preset product of
innumerable past choices.
When we finally evolve to the point where we
unreservedly and uninterruptedly desire only to be
closer to God, then we break the chain of successive
physical bodies and can return to the divine abode.
There, having revived our original spiritual bodies, we
will be completely independent of the laws of nature
that so rigidly control us in this world. Thus we come
to the ultimate paradox of free will. When we are at
every moment lovingly offering our free will at the feet
of God for His pleasure rather than ours, then and only
then are we the most free.
Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 17
Waking from the Dream By Jahundvipa Dasa
We souls inhabiting the material world are under the universe continues. So in relation to Lord Brahma’s
influence of Krishna’s illusory potency, Maya Devi. Just perception of time, our lives are so short and insignificant
as one forgets his life during a dream at night, we who that for all practical purposes they might as well never
live in the material world live in ignorance of our real have been. Similarly, in the eternal time of the spiritual
identity and are considered to be asleep. The “reality” realm, Lord Brahma and the universe we live in are as
to which we have become so accustomed is a dream. insignificant and nonexistent as we are in relation to the
Our spiritual existence, the one we have forgotten—our universe. Krishna explains this in the Bhagavad-gita
eternal existence in the spiritual realm—is the reality. (8.17-20):
How can we distinguish between reality and illusion? By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together
In a dream, everything seems quite real. We go through form the duration of Brahma’s one day. And such also
the same register of emotions and impressions as when is the duration of his night.
we are awake. Dreams seem real enough. What, then, At the beginning of Brahma’s day, all living entities
makes a dream unreal? In the Bhagavad-gita Lord become manifest from the unmanifest state, and
Krishna has given the answer by pointing out that reality thereafter, when the night falls, they are merged into
is that which exists without cessation, that which the unmanifest again.
continues and is everlasting. A dream, therefore, since
it has a beginning and an end, cannot be real. Real Again and again, when Brahma’s day arrives, all living
existence is continuous. entities come into being, and with the arrival of Brahma’s
night they are helplessly annihilated.
“Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that
of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no Yet there is another unmanifest nature, which is eternal
endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no and is transcendental to this manifested and
change. This they have concluded by studying the nature unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never
of both.” (Bhagavad-gita 2.16) annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that
part remains as it is.
When Lord Krishna speaks of the material body as
“nonexistent,” He is referring to its being temporary; its Another Plane
existence is not a permanent fact. “Nonexistent” does Krishna says that there is an eternal realm of existence
not mean that the material body and the material world beyond this manifested, temporary world. Here on this
are simply not there at all, or that they are “false,” as plane all our experiences and activities are dreamlike
some impersonalists say. because they will be reduced to fleeting memories; then
In contrast to eternal time, our current temporary they will evaporate in time as if they had never taken
existence is fleeting and insubstantial—a short flash, place. And finally we will go to sleep at death. But on
like a dream. Even a long dreamlike life will come to an the spiritual plane we will possess a continuous
end, and in the realm of eternity our lifespan of sixty or experience of eternality. We will have woken up to our
eighty years is such a miniscule glimpse in the vastness real life.
of eternity that it doesn’t even register. The same is true That’s why our present existence in a body that changes
of the computer I am writing on. Even if I left it sitting from childhood to youth to old age is unreal and
alone on my desk and never touched it, time would dreamlike. Our life in this particular body has a beginning
eventually destroy it, its identity or form ceasing to exist. and an end, and for that reason it is a dream. Our life
However long that would take is immaterial. To us a is not unreal in the sense that it does not take place.
thousand or a million years may seem like a substantial Obviously it does. If I bash my head against a wall, it
amount of time. But from the point of view of, say, Lord will hurt, and that pain is real enough. So the unreal
Brahma, the first created living being in the universe factor about the body is that it ends. And it can never
(who lives for the unimaginable length of time of 311.04 fulfill its promise of the happiness we are always hoping
trillion years), surely my computer, the desk my computer for.
sits on, as well as the house that surrounds the desk, That’s the real illusion of material life. One may consider
cannot be said to exist. Before Lord Brahma even has enjoyment in the material world substantial. What’s
time to finish his morning ablutions, we would have died wrong with enjoying? What’s wrong with seeking some
and been born thousands of times. happiness? The answer is that the pleasure of life always
Lord Brahma’s lifespan is the same as the lifespan of ends. That’s what’s wrong. Such pleasure can never
the universe we live in. That is, he lives as long as the satisfy the self, because the self is eternal and therefore
18 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
hungers for lasting pleasure. (Bhagavad-gita 8.16)
“An intelligent person does not take part in the sources Now, if there weren’t any alternative to such a material
of misery, which are due to contact with the material life, existence would be bleak indeed. Many people who
senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning have no knowledge of the positive alternative of Krishna
and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in consciousness find the truth about the material world
them.” (Bhagavad-gita 5.22) a depressing message. But just as a dream denotes
something real, so our temporary material life is nothing
As we can see from Krishna’s words here, not only can
but a distorted reflection of our real, eternal life.
we not find satisfaction in temporary pleasures, but the
same pleasures will also cause us suffering. Misery The screen of material perception now covers our
always follows material happiness. Because the soul is consciousness and mentality. That’s why we think it is
eternal by constitution, we cannot find satisfaction in possible to find happiness in the material world through
the temporary. Life in the material world can never satisfy the material body. The soul has stepped outside its real
us, no matter how much sense gratification we get. It environment of eternality and entered the temporary
is exactly like in a dream. We may experience some world of matter. Srila Prabhupada compared this to a
sense of happiness as we engage in pleasurable fish on dry land. Outside its natural element, the fish
activities, but we always have to wake up to the reality cannot enjoy and soon withers and dies. No matter how
of misery and lamentation. In a dream we wake up to much pleasure the fish is offered, it will not be able to
our daily life, and in life we wake up to disease, old age, enjoy it because it is out of its natural element. Similarly,
death, or some other calamity. we have to wither and die again and again, pathetically
flapping for a few inconsequential moments on the
Fading Memories shores of time. This cycle will continue endlessly, until
In life the activities we engage in become memories, we wake up to our real existence.
and these memories are like dreams. All the good and We have come to the material world because we desired
bad experiences we have been through in life are now to imitate Krishna’s position as the supreme enjoyer
just memories—fleeting and without substance—like a and controller. Since we can never usurp Krishna’s
dream we may have had. We forget them as if they position, He has kindly put us to sleep in material life
never happened. There is in essence no difference so that we can dream that we are the enjoyers and
between a dream we once had and an experience that controllers.
actually happened to us. When an old man sits outside
the mall wearily eyeing the young ladies hurrying by, it The genuine spiritual process of Krishna consciousness
is of little comfort to him to think about all the pleasures helps the soul sleeping in the lap of Maya to wake up
he once had with women. to reality—the reality of spiritual life. In reality, we are
eternally full of knowledge and bliss. But being asleep,
Sometimes people say that they have lived a full life, we cannot see that. Instead we try to find happiness in
that they have nice memories to fall back on. But the our dreams—be they the pursuit of love, family, success,
fact is that the memories of past pleasures are not wealth, or any number of temporary solutions. We seek
enough to satisfy us. The memories of enjoyment we happiness outside ourselves, when the happiness is
had in the past or hope to have in the future cannot there all the time within. We are like a deer that neglects
satisfy the deep longings for fulfillment that live in our a nearby brook and runs into the desert to find water.
hearts. Our senses and mind can find some temporary
The sages tell us that the solution to this pitiful condition,
relief in relationships, or even in possessions, but then
the means to get out of this existential ignorance, is to
it is over. Even if we love the same person faithfully
chant the Hare Krishna mantra. Therefore the members
throughout our whole life and that person loves us back,
of the Hare Krishna movement are very eager to get
the happiness cannot last—there is bound to be
everyone to chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna
separation, and then misery sets in. There is no way to Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama
avoid it: material life is headed for lamentation. Rama, Hare Hare. The Kali-santarana Upanishad says
Krishna says, “From the highest planet in the material of the maha-mantra, “It is the only means by which to
world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein counteract the evils of Kali-yuga. After having searched
repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains through all the Vedas, one will find no more sublime
to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” form of religion.”
Nov 13 Ekadashi Nov 28 Gita Jayanti
Nov 14 break fast Dec 5 Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
Nov 28 Ekadashi Disappearance day
Nov 29 break fast Fasting till noon
20 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
KRISHNA'S KIND SOLUTION:
Train Calves, Don't Eat Them! By Suresvara Dasa
Bir Krishna the calf loves coconut fudge, and Sita the teamstress knows it. Her pockets bulge with the sweet as
she and Bir walk to the training ring. Today the calf will learn his first call: "Get up!"
The earth is soft from the recent rain. Sita carries a lash and leads Bir with a rope tied to a blue halter. The calf
bounds through a cluster of gnats, then slows as they come to the ring. What's this?
The gate opens, and Bir walks in to explore. He treads the edge and sniffs the white hardwood boards. The ring
is twenty-four feet in diameter. Hoofprints stud the grass and mud, the signatures of oxen training. The calf's eyes
blink and widen at his new surroundings. Sita wants to reassure her charge. She strokes his head behind the ears.
"Good boy, Bir."
Time to teach the call. Sita walks to the center of the ring and lets the rope slacken. She raises the lash and taps
Bir on the rump ("Get up!"), goading him forward. She follows him closely, indicating with her body he should keep
going. When he stops, another tap. "Get up!"
A few times and Bir has made the connection between the tap and the call. "Good boy, Bir. Come here ..." The
calf walks over to Sita, who kneels and holds up a piece of fudge. A crumb falls on the kerchief crowning her hair,
flaxen from the sun. A flick and a lick and Bir has it, his lotus eyes beaming. They are making a pact, animal and
human, sealed in mud and trust.
At three months, Bir is the youngest calf at Gita-nagari, the Hare Krishna farm community in central Pennsylvania.
Unlike his brethren in modern "factory farms," Bir will never suffer the "veal-crate fate." Every year, more than one
million male calves are born into darkness, and kept there, chained round the neck in a stall so tiny they can neither
stand up nor turn around. To keep their flesh pale and tender, they are denied sunlight, exercise, and even solid
food. Their liquid diet of growth stimulators, antibiotics, powdered skim milk, and mold inhibitors gives them an
iron deficiency that satisfies the consumer's demand for light meat, sold as "premium" or "milk-fed" veal.
After three months of living in diarrhea, at an age when they could be trained to work, they are butchered.
Bir is learning remarkably fast. Sita doesn't have to follow him so closely anymore. Just the call and a tap and he
moves forward. Has he learned his lesson well enough to move without the lash?
Sita looks Bir in the eyes and raises the lash. "Bir ... get up!"
The calf takes a few steps forward, then stops.
A swat on the rump and off he goes at the end of the rope, now circling behind her. Out of eye contact, he starts
to slow, then speeds up again at the sound of the call. Sita beams. "Broke to the word" on the first lesson! Out
comes the rest of the fudge. "Good boy, Bir. Very good boy."
To the modern farmer, Sita and Bir are an anachronism, a picture in a history book. The caption reads: "Here's
how our farmers used to raise bulls—for work!"
But has it been a good deal, the ox for the tractor? His muscle for the engines that roar and pollute and suck up
gasoline at soaring prices? His legs for the giant wheels that crush and compact? His enriching manure for chemical
fertilizers that exhaust the earth and contaminate the water table? His labor for his meat, whose industry signals
the decline of our health? Such is the progress of science without religion.
Factory farming finds its antithesis in the animal liberation movement. Disgusted by man's exploitative dominion
over animals, many animal rights advocates hold that animals should not have to work for humans and that humans
have no right to use animal products.
The genuine advocate is often a vegan. Appalled by the dairy industry's collusion with the slaughterhouse, he
shuns the cow's milk as well as her meat. There is an irony here. A cow produces an average of ten times more
milk than a calf can consume. To deny humanity her milk is really to deny that she is our mother. And hence the
Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 21
possibility that we might treat
her as such.
The same with the bull. To
deprive humanity of his labor
is to obscure his natural
relation to us as a father, who
tills the ground to provide food.
This is the grave error of
religion without science, for as
soon as man stops working
the ox, he wants to kill him. It
is no accident that the
technology that produced the
tractor also produced the
The vegan rightly challenges
exploitation and murderous
abuse. Yet decades, even
centuries, of abuse do not
preclude the possibility of
kindly use. And that is what
Krishna's cowherds have to
In a field near Sita and Bir,
Rasala Dasa, Sita's husband,
works a team of oxen tedding
hay. After hay is cut, it is
tedded, or fluffed up, so air
can circulate through it for
faster drying. Frequent rains
have made the cutting
especially thick. The oxen pull
a long-fingered device that
grabs the hay and throws it up
in the air. Rasala walks on their
left side, calling commands so
they go straight over the rows. Rasala rests the oxen periodically as the sun nears the meridian. They will finish
the field before it sets.
Sure a tractor can do more—more harm than good! In a couple of years Bir will join the oxen, spared the veal
crate and the steer market. To work him in devotional service is to synthesize science and religion.
"The Vedic way is to farm with the ox," writes ISKCON farm historian Hare Krishna Dasi, "as humanity has done
for thousands of years, and as much of the world is still doing—small-scale, personal, noncapitalistic, nonexploitive
farming. We don't have to ruin the world to produce food. We can live a simple, sweet agricultural life, as Krishna
"This doesn't mean we have to be primitive, either. There is a large role for developing appropriate technology—
like ox-powered energy generators and methane digesters—beyond strictly agricultural applications."
Granted, the golden calf of historical progress is a tough idol to topple. Yet listen to the Vedic view of the earth
when Krishna visited some fifty centuries ago. "The clouds showered all the water that people needed, and the
earth produced all the necessities of man in profusion. Due to its fatty milk bag and cheerful attitude, the cow used
to moisten the grazing ground with milk" (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.4).
"The years like great black oxen tread the world," wrote the poet W. B. Yeats, "And God the herdsman goads them
on behind." Time will tell if our modern world can recover the good life Krishna gave us. But doers like Rasala and
Sita can't wait for the world. Working oxen is too rewarding.
"There's a new moon coming," says Sita with a twinkle. "Get up!"
22 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
Humble Servant in Kingly Dress
By Satyaraja Dasa
Maharaja Prataparudra, a king who played a central role in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s life, is mentioned in all
of Lord Chaitanya’s sacred biographies as well as in secular historical records. For example, Prabhat Mukherjee,
a scholar of Orissan history, has written several books on the Chaitanya tradition, touching on Maharaja Prataparudra’s
genealogy and political career. Such historical accounts tell us that the wise king Purushottam Deva ruled Orissa
until 1497, when he was succeeded by Prataparudra, who ruled until 1540, about seven years after Sri Chaitanya
Mahaprabhu returned to His eternal abode. Following the tradition of kings in his line, Prataparudra accepted the
titles Gajapati and Gaudeshwar. His empire extended from the Ganges in Bengal to Karnataka, with his capital
city in Cuttack, Orissa.
Though his capital was in Cuttack, like Gajapati kings before him he is also associated with Puri, the holy city in
Orissa on the Bay of Bengal. Puri is the home of the Jagannatha temple and has been a pilgrimage site for
Historical documents tell of Prataparudra’s battles with both Hussein Shah, the ruler of Bengal, and King Krishnadeva
Raya of Vijayanagar, a South Indian kingdom. Hussein Shah played a role in the history of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:
Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami, leading disciples of Lord Chaitanya, were ministers in the Shah’s government
before retiring to join Lord Chaitanya’s mission.
Despite recurring battles during his rule, King Prataparudra led a disciplined and religious life. This is evident from
the following account, given to the Vijayanagar emperor by a spy in his court:
[The Gajapati king] gets up from bed early in the morning two hours before sunrise and salutes two Brahmins
before looking at any other person. Then accompanied by the Sixteen Patras [the Brahminical council], he goes
on a ride of about twenty or thirty miles before returning to the palace. After taking his bath, he engages himself
in the daily worship of Lord Jagannath, after which he takes his midday meal. After food, he recites the Ramayana.
Then, putting on official robes bedecked with jewels, he sits in the court and transacts his daily business.
—From Dr. R. Subrahmanyam, The Suryavamsi Gajapatis of Orissa
A book called Sarasvati-vilasa, accepted as authoritative by Orissan historians, says that King Prataparudra had
four queens, named Padma, Padmalaya, Ila, and Mahila. It is also written that by the time of his death, Prataparudra
had thirty-two sons and several daughters. Among his many children, Sarasvati-vilasa highlights the life of one
son, Purushottam. Chaitanya-charitamrita (Antya 3.9.99) and Bhakti-ratnakara (6.65) also speak of Purushottam,
confirming information from secular texts.
Documents of the Jagannatha temple inform us that even before meeting Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Prataparudra
followed the custom of sweeping the road before Lord Jagannatha’s chariot. They also tell us that he was well
educated and a patron of learning and brahminical culture. He had already acquired knowledge of the Srimad-
Bhagavatam and discussed truths about Krishna with Ramananda Raya, one of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s most
important associates and the governor, under the king, of Rajamahendri in the south.
Ramananda Raya dedicates the prefatory verse of every song in his devotional play Jagannatha-Vallabha-Natakam
to King Prataparudra, indicating the extent of the king’s attraction for hearing the pastimes of Radha and Krishna.
The king’s soft, devotional heart is perhaps most clearly evident in the story behind a painting he commissioned.
After many of the Lord’s intimate associates had passed on, the king wanted to “immortalize” them for the pleasure
of the remaining Vaishnavas, particularly for Srinivasa, a greatly respected second-generation devotee of Sri
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As the story goes, when Srinivasa arrived in Puri he hoped to study the Bhagavatam
under Gadadhara Pandita. But Gadadhara’s manuscript had been irreparably damaged by his tears of spiritual
ecstasy. So he sent Srinivasa back to Bengal to get another copy. But by the time he returned, Gadadhara had
passed away, leaving Srinivasa disconsolate. To assuage Srinivasa’s grief, Maharaja Prataparudra gave him the
painting, so that he could regularly meditate on the Lord and His devotees. The grandson of Srinivasa later gave
Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 23
it to a devotee named Nanda Kumar, which is how it arrived in Kunja-ghat, Kumar’s ancestral home.
The authenticity of this painting has come into question. Did King Prataparudra actually commission? This doubt
has been exacerbated by the fact that there are several modern renditions of the original work, all with variations.
Gopal Gosh, of the Vrindavan Research Institute (UP, India)—where such things are thoroughly analyzed and
catalogued—states after extensive study, “There is no doubt about the authenticity of the painting.” Still, not
everyone agrees. But it is certain that the painting has been part of the tradition for several centuries.
Though there is compelling historical evidence for Pratapuradra’s existence and his reign in sixteenth-century
India, as we have seen, his importance as a monarch is overshadowed by his spiritual significance in the pastimes
of Lord Chaitanya. The book Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, by Kavi Karnapura, is accepted by spiritual masters in
Lord Chaitanya’s line as the authority on identifying the associates of Lord Chaitanya. In Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika
(118) the author writes, “Maharaja Prataparudra, who was as powerful as Lord Indra, had formerly been Maharaja
Indradyumna, who began the worship of Lord Jagannatha.” It is no wonder, therefore, that as Prataparudra this
soul is intimately connected to Jagannatha yet again, but this time through the grace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
On a Quest to Meet the Lord
The blessings that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu showered on King Prataparudra have been documented in most of
Lord Chaitanya’s biographies: Murari Gupta’s Kadaca, Vrindavana Dasa Thakura’s Chaitanya-Bhagavata, Kavi
Karnapura’s Chaitanya-charitamrita-maha-kavya and Chaitanya-candrodaya-nataka, Locana Dasa’s Chaitanya-
mangala, and Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami’s Chaitanya-charitamrita. They tell essentially the same story:
King Prataparudra, though a monarch, was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. Naturally, when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu,
Krishna Himself, came to Puri, the king wanted to see Him. But Mahaprabhu told His associates, “I cannot give
him what he wants. Because he is a king, he is like a black serpent.” Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then made His
position clearer. “For a renunciant like Me,” He said, “it is risky to associate with two kinds of people: women, and
persons involved in worldly matters.”
Although this particular king was a very advanced devotee, Mahaprabhu, on principle, still denied him His association.
Lord Chaitanya was very strict, setting an example for others who would take up the life of renunciation. When
Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acharya, Ramananda Raya, and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya—all beloved associates
of Lord Chaitanya—requested Him to see the king, He told them, “I’ll leave Puri and going to Alalanatha, or
somewhere else. I will not remain here. You can remain here with him. But I will not.” This is how strongly He felt
about avoiding the association of men involved in money and power.
Disappointed, Prataparudra was ready to renounce the world himself. If Lord Chaitanya would not see him because
of his royal position, then why not give it up? Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Ramananda Raya, and the others told
Lord Chaitanya of the king’s determination, and Lord Chaitanya was pleased. Still, He stood by His vow of
renunciation and again asserted that He would avoid the king, despite the king’s devotion.
Nityananda Prabhu then suggested that Lord Chaitanya, out of His mercy, send the king a piece of His outer
garment to appease him. Lord Chaitanya did so, and Prataparudra worshiped that garment as if it were Lord
Ultimately, the great devotee Ramananda Raya interceded on the king’s behalf, and by his prodding, Lord Chaitanya
agreed to see the king’s son. After all, Lord Chaitanya reasoned, “a son is one’s own self born again,” as the saying
goes. And the young prince was naturally not as ensconced in worldly matters as his father. So Lord Chaitanya’s
associates brought the boy to Him.
The prince was dark-hued and handsome, reminding Lord Chaitanya of Krishna Himself. Lord Chaitanya showed
him special mercy. Upon seeing the boy, Mahaprabhu embraced him, and the young prince swooned in ecstatic
love for Krishna. Later, he went to his father, Prataparudra, who naturally embraced his son as well and received
that same intense love.
Feeling Lord Chaitanya’s ecstatic love for Krishna, the king now wanted to be in Mahaprabhu’s presence more
than ever. Sarvabhauma then devised a plan: The Rathayatra festival would soon be held in Puri, and in spiritual
bliss Mahaprabhu would no doubt dance like a madman before the cart of Lord Jagannatha. After a while, Lord
Chaitanya would want to rest and would retire to a nearby garden. At that point, the king could, in the dress of a
commoner, approach Lord Chaitanya while reciting intimate passages from the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
24 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
These sweet verses never failed to move Lord Chaitanya into ecstatic trance. Mahaprabhu would then embrace
the king under the assumption that he was a simple Vaishnava.
The day of the festival finally came, and it was marked by the king’s humble act of sweeping the road before Lord
Jagannatha. When Mahaprabhu saw this, He was inclined to the king more than ever, and He bore this in mind
as He ecstatically sang and danced before the majestic cart. At one point, His mystic reverie reaching a crescendo,
He nearly pass out. By His divine arrangement He allowed Prataparudra to be right at His side to catch Him in
his arms. The touch of the king, however, restored Mahaprabhu to His senses, and He chided Himself for having
touched a worldly person. The Chaitanya-charitamrita tells us something deeper: Lord Chaitanya inwardly relished
His association with the king but needed to set an example for others in the renounced order of life.
Sarvabhauma’s plan, too, was enacted later on in the festival, and the king indeed received the embrace of Lord
It is said that Prataparudra turned over the kingdom to his son even while Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was present
in this world. Soon after Lord Chaitanya’s passing, he was so grief-stricken that he left Puri. According to Bhakti-
ratnakara (3.217-221), “When the king heard that Lord Chaitanya had departed, he fell to the ground and lamented.
Hitting his head again and again, he fell unconscious, and only the company of Ramananda Raya kept him alive.
The king was unable to bear the absence of Lord Chaitanya, and so he left Puri, staying elsewhere for the rest
of his days.”
Historian N. N. Vasu writes in his Archeological Report of Mayurbhanj that Maharaja Prataparudra started for
Vrindavana but didn’t make it there. While en route, he passed away in the village of Ramachandrapur in the
Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. The name of the village was then changed to Pratappur in his honour, and it is known
by that name today.
Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 25
Krishna Voice Monthly Magazine, November 2009 Vol10, No.11 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.
AKSHAYA PATRA HELPS FLOOD VICTIMS
In some of the worst hit areas
during the recent floods in
Karnataka and Andhra
Pradesh, the Akshaya Patra
Foundation supplied food for
thousands of hapless victims.
Mantralaya, Shiraguppa taluk
(Raichur district), Kustagi
taluk (Koppal district),
Food is airlifted from the Bellary
kitchen as part of flood relief
Puliyogare is packed for distribution to victims at the Bellary Akshaya Patra kitchen
Lingsugur taluk (Raichur
district) are some of the
locations where the Akshaya
Patra volunteers distributed
cooked food to flood victims.
Many of these people have
lost their houses and were
stranded without any of their
possessions. Those who
managed to hold onto some
of their things could not light
fires to cook as they did not
have firewood or any other
fuel. Wherever the Akshaya
Patra vans went, hands
reached out to grab whatever
food they could. The Akshaya
Patra kitchen in Bellary
reaches nutritious meals
everyday to over 1 lakh under
privileged school children,
The Akshaya Patra van brings hope to hungry flood victims
mostly in the rural areas.