Religion of the Soul
His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
When Sanatan Goswami was coming to Puri, he went along the coast and because of the scorching sand he got blisters on his feet that gradually spread on all his body. Because all his body had become covered with the blisters, he thought, "This time I will throw myself under the wheels of the chariot!" Such a foolish thought came to his mind.
We too sometimes think like this. When things are not going well in our life, we think, "I will jump under a train," "I will take poison", "I will hang myself from the ceiling fan", "I will pour kerosine on myself and set myself on fire." How painful! These are all foolish thoughts. Every soul has its allotted time within the body, but any time I fancy I decide to take poison and leave the body. This is foolish.
So, when Sanatan Goswami got that bad idea, Mahaprabhu told him, "Sanatan, do you think the soul can reach the Lord by giving up the body?" Every moment so many souls give up their body, but it does not mean they reach the Lord. We live for seventy-eighty years, but mosquitos live for fifteen days (well, some live less—remember how we killed some mosquito here yesterday?), and during these fifteen days, they grow up, get married, get children, grandchildren, etc. They get attached to their family, wife, friends, sons, etc.
You know that Indra was the king of heaven, but even he had to be born as a pig—he lived in a heap of stool mixed with mud, and would dig his face in this mix and enjoy himself.
Before that, Indra had many apsaras in heaven who served him (just as there is no lack of demigods in this world, so is there no lack of demigoddesses also, they all live in heaven). One day, when Indra was enjoying with his apsaras, he forgot his own guru. The guru of the demigods is Brihaspati. When Brihaspati visited Indra, he asked him, "How are you, Indra? How are you doing?" but Indra had forgotten all about him. Brihaspati was insulted, "I am standing in front of him, but he is enjoying and not even looking at me. I am going to curse him! You will be born as a pig!" When Indra heard it, he became horrified and Brahma, who was present there, said to him, "Do not cry, I will come and save you."
Then, Indra was born as a pig. After a while, Brahma came searching for him, "Which of them is Indra?" To us, all pigs look the same, but Brahma is the creator (he is the one who creates Indra on the order of the Lord), so he could recognise him. So, when Brahma came to Indra, he found that the very king who was enjoying with so many demigoddesses, drinking nectar, had become a fat pig and was enjoying his other "nectar."
You had paneer rasa, paramanna, chutney today, you liked it a lot, but if you bring a pig and serve it this prasad on a golden plate, will it eat it? It will not. But if you bring it a bucket of stool, the pig will be so happy. The Lord creates this world and arranges food for everyone according to their tastes. The Lord knows what certain species like, and He provides that.
So, Brahma came looking for Indra, "Where did my Indra go?" and when he saw him, he was astonished, "My God, how fat he has become! He digs in the food with his face!" He started calling him, "Hey Indra! Hey Indra!" Why would he listen to him? He had no idea he was Indra before. Brahma hit him, "Hey, listen to me!" But Indra got annoyed and said, "Leave me alone, I am busy! I am eating!"
You can see in Kolkata also—as soon as people get off a train in Howrah, what a rush begins! Some people rush to the buses, some people run somewhere, sometimes there are accidents also—people run after money like crazy. If you come to them and say, "Please, Sir, hold on, stop, I want to give you a good book. Read it please." They have no time! "No, no, I have no time for that!" If you give them some good news, they say they have no time, they have no time to read! Even if you give them some prasad, they also have no time for that!
So, the same is here—just as Indra was so engrossed in his stool as a pig, we also come to this material world and become engrossed in pursuit of all kinds of unwanted things (anartha)... It took Brahma not just one or two years to convince Indra, it took him twelve years—he had tried in many ways to talk to Indra. In the meantime, Indra had got so many children (pigs get a dozen piglets at a time). To make Indra listen to him, Brahma started killing his piglets one after another, but Indra only got angry seeing his piglets leave. Brahma tried to bring him to senses, "You are Indra!" He did not listen.
When all Indra's children were gone, he only had his wife left. Indra pleaded with Brahma, "All my children are gone, only my wife remains, please spare her!" but Brahma finished her too—he is the creator, so he made her get sick and she died. Indra became overwhelmed with sadness, "Oh no, how unfortunate I am! I am all alone now! But that man has been telling me all the time, 'Indra, Indra, Indra'—why does keep on saying it?" Then Brahma spoke to him again,
"Have you remembered now that you were Indra before?"
"Well, tell me, I want to hear it. What does Indra mean? What does he look like?"
"You were Indra! By the curse of your Guru you had to become a pig!"
"Really? I was Indra? How did I look when I was Indra? Will I be able to eat if I become Indra?"
"Yes, of course. I created you and I gave you a mouth also!"
Then Brahma took his kumandal out, chanted "Om Vishnu, Om Vishnu," dropped some water and then the ghost of Indra came out of the pig. Indra looked at himself and was amazed, "I am so beautiful!"
"Listen to me carefully!" said Brahma. "I have come to you in the form of your Guru to teach you something."
Then, Indra listened to Brahma and his pig's birth was finished—he came back to heaven as Indra.
Learn the proper conception. I have two books here, Sri Upadesh (First and Second Volume), you can read it. I have distributed leaflets also about vegetarianism—if you cannot give up meat and fish completely, you should read it carefully. It is important no matter what religion you belong to—whether you follow Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism. Actually, we do not preach any religion—we are not Hindus, we are not Muslims, we are not Christians, we are not Buddhists. We are eternal servants of Krishna. Neither do we belong to any caste—we are not sannyasis, we are not brahmans:
নাহং বিপ্রো ন চ নরপতির্নাপি বৈশ্যো ন শূদ্রো
naham vipro na cha nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro
"I am not a brahman, I am not a ksatriya, I am not a vaisya or a sudra. Nor am I a brahmachari, a householder, a vanaprastha or a sannyasi. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna, the maintainer of the gopis. He is like an ocean of nectar, and He is the cause of universal transcendental bliss. He is always existing with brilliance."
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 13.80)
We are not ksatriya, vaisya or sudra—we are eternal servants of Krishna. This is what we have forgotten, and this is what Gurus come to this world to remind us about. What religion do we preach? We preach jaiva-dharma—religion of the soul. I, you, we all have one religion—this religion is service to the Lord, chanting the Name of the Lord. This is the religion we preach about to everyone. We do not preach Hindu dharma—we do not preach this 'seedless' religion. We think about all souls—be it birds, beasts, plants, trees, insects, etc. Some souls are born as a mango tree or a guava tree—if you offer their fruit to Govinda, then when the tree dies one day, it will get a chance to serve Govinda next life. It can actually get a human birth jumping over many births.
Many souls have to cross 8 000 000 species first before getting a human birth, but even if one is born as a human, it does not mean that they will be born as a human again—many will have to go back and get other births. If you practise Krishna consciousness in this life, then you will not get a bad birth, you may get a human birth again, become a devotee and continue your service. As Bhaktivinod Thakur says, "Kita janma hau yatha tuya dasa, bahir-mukha brahma-janma nahi asa (কীট জন্ম হউ যথা তুয়া দাস বহির্ম্মুখ ব্রহ্মজন্মে নাহি আশ): I do not want to be Brahma or Indra, I do not mind being born as an insect as long as I can be your servant, Prabhu."
What do the Vraja gopis say? "We do not want to be gopis next life! We want to be born as some shrub (gulma-lata)! Then devotees may sit near us some time, chant Your glories and Names. And if we are born as some grass, then devotees will walk upon us and their feet dust will fall on our heads. This is our aspiration." That is why when you go to Vrindavan, you must walk there very carefully—all the trees, plants, grass there were gopis. Taking birth as all those bushes, trees, grass, etc. they listen to Krishna katha... Uddhav Maharaj also said, "I do not wish to be born as Brahma. Seeing the gopis cry, hearing the gopis speak, I want to be born as a tree here and hear the gopis—hear them glorify Krishna, hear them speak about Krishna and His pastimes!"
We must always engage ourselves in the service of Guru and Vaishnavs, then we can reach the Lord...
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