RELIGION OF THE HEART
Where is the evidence of a personal conception of God in the Scriptures of India?
Mahaprabhu said: Srimad-Bhagavatam pramanam-amalam, the Srimad-Bhagavatam is the proof and evidence of this conception. Srimad-Bhagavatam contains the gist of all the Vedas, and its 18,000 slokas are spotlessly pure and unalloyed, therefore it is given more honor than any other Scripture.
The third sloka of Srimad-Bhagavatam says, nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam, the Srimad-Bhagavatam is the mature fruit of the tree of Vedic literature and Vedic knowledge. If we try to realize the meaning of this verse we will realize nigama means the Vedas. Kalpa-taror means a wish-fulfilling tree, and galitam phalam means a delicious and fully ripe fruit, which is without the skin or seed and is extremely palatable and enjoyable like condensed ecstasy.
And the knowledge given in Srimad-Bhagavatam is made even sweeter because it comes through the mouth of Sukadev Goswami, the son of Vedavyasa. Vedavyasa was searching for a disciple who could express transcendental knowledge, so he chose Sukadev Goswami because Sukadev Goswami was qualified to receive transcendental knowledge; that is, he is always situated in the plane of such knowledge:
parinisthito 'pi nairgunya, uttama-sloka-lilaya
Krsna: the Supreme Controller and Original Source
The Lord has many forms. He has manifested Himself as Dvarakes, Mathures and Gopesvar. He has many different manifestations and forms. From His first expansion, which is Baladev, comes Vasudev, Sankarsan, Aniruddha and Pradyumna and a little lower, Narayan. From Narayan, there are various manifestations: Gunavataras, Lilavataras, Saktyaves Avataras, etc. Many Avataras come from Narayan and they are all manifestations of Lord Krsna.
But it is stated in the Brahma-samhita: isvarah paramah Krsnah sach-chid-ananda vigraha. The different manifestations are isvarah but the Param-isvarah is Krsna. He is anadir adir Govindah, sarva-karana-karanam—the original One, the Cause of all causes.
No cheating religion
Mahaprabhu said the Srimad-Bhagavatam contains the gist of the Vedic knowledge. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is pramanam-amalam, which means its evidence, its proof and its statements are all pure and unalloyed. There are no alloys mixed with the statements of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Amalam means unalloyed. Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.2) itself states:
dharmah projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam
Kaitavo means "cheating." There is no cheating in the religion given in Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Once Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj told me I was "cheating my stomach." When I was staying with him in Calcutta I used to study Srimad Bhagavad-gita from him in the morning. Sometimes he would ask me if I had taken breakfast, and whenever I would answer, "Yes," he would say, "What did you have?" If I would answer, "mudi," (puffed rice) he would say, "Oh, you are simply cheating your stomach!"
Religion can also cheat us. My "stomach" may be "full" of some religious conception, but it is being cheated! It is possible religion can fully exist in our body but in a cheating way. It may be possible we are being cheated of the real substance.
One must be a sadhu
Sadhus have a variety of different qualities, but extremely good sadhus are paramo nirmatsaranam. They are not envious or jealous of anyone. Matsaranam means enviousness. It is a very bad quality. Many sadhus have matsaranam. The Bhagavatam says, "There is no possibility of matsaranam in the knowledge I am giving. This is a unique type of knowledge; it is free of matsaranam."
How will one get the knowledge of the Srimad-Bhagavatam? Sadyo hrdy avarudhyate 'tra krtibhih susrusubhis tat-ksanat. If one is fully surrendered and has a good service mood, he will immediately get this knowledge. If one is fully surrendered and does not mix with any bad qualities, he will get transcendental knowledge. But the first condition is one must be a sadhu.
A sadhu means one who is honest and saintly. A sadhu is not one who just wears a saffron cloth. Saffron cloth is a symbol of Vedic identification. A deer hunter may be a sadhu if he is not envious and is surrendered to Krsna. Another good quality of a sadhu is that his heart is always hankering for the service of Krsna.
If one has these qualities he will get the transcendental knowledge given in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Mahaprabhu said, Srimad-Bhagavatam pramanam-amalam, "The knowledge which is revealed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam is spotlessly pure and it is the ripened fruit of all the Vedas, and that fruit is love for Krsna, or Krsna-prema."
Real Krsna-prema: stronger than a cobra's poison
The English word "love" cannot fully express the real meaning of prema as given in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta but it is the only equivalent word we have heard in the English language. As conditioned souls we do not know what prema is and we do not know how to properly express it.
Srila Rupa Goswami, the highest cultural representative of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, has written many beautiful expressions about prema, but the word "love" is not sufficient to express the ideas he has written about. For example, he says:
pidabhir nava-kala-kuta-katuta-garvasya nirvasano
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya 2.52)
"Once you get love for Krsna you cannot live without it for a moment or you would die. The ecstatic feelings you experience in union with Krsna are inconceivable. Krsna-prema transcends all other types of ecstatic beauty and tastes. Nothing can surpass it. Whoever has a touch of Krsna-prema cannot live without it. If he was to leave it, he could not conceive of the pain of separation. It is stronger than a cobra's poison. The burning sensation that comes from a cobra's poison is nothing compared to the feelings of separation from Krsna."
Expressions of Divine Love
Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami has given many beautiful expressions regarding the sweet sound of Krsna's flute, His beautiful, charming and all-attractive personality, as well as the sweet association of chanting and dancing with Him.
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya 2.29)
"Of what use are eyes if one does not see the face of Krsna, which resembles the moon and is the birthplace of all beauty and the reservoir of the nectarean songs of His flute?"
krsnera madhura vani, amrtera tarangini,
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya 2.31)
"Topics about Krsna are like waves of nectar. If such nectar does not enter one's ear, the ear is no better than the hole of a damaged conchshell."
mrga-mada nilotpala, milane ye parimala,
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya 2.33)
"One's nostrils are no better than the bellows of a blacksmith if one has not smelled the fragrance of Krsna's body which is like the aroma of musk combined with that of the bluish lotus flower. Indeed, such combinations are actually defeated by the aroma of Krsna's body."
Mahaprabhu showed these ecstatic symptoms of love of God when He was mad with Krsna-prema. He could not live one second without Krsna. He was always fainting. When he regained consciousness He would again madly search for Krsna.
Revelation by hearing
All these things have been expressed in Bengali or Sanskrit in Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta but the language in which they appear is not the vital factor. Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami declares that you do not need to know Bengali, Sanskrit or any language in order to understand the expressions of the Chaitanya-charitamrta. You only need to hear them. Their meanings will reveal themselves in your heart simply by hearing.
The Vedanta is a good example of this. Who knows the meaning of the Vedanta? No one. When we initiate students we give them various mantras like the Guru Mantra, the Gayatri Mantra, the Krsna Mantra, etc. The students do not know the meaning of these mantras, and it is not necessary to know the meaning. If one meditates on these mantras, their meaning will reveal themselves in one's heart.
One day Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami was a little disturbed by others who were criticizing him for using so many Sanskrit verses, so he said:
yeba nahi bujhe keha, sunite sunite seha,
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya 2.87)
How will those who do not know Bengali or Sanskrit understand the meanings of the verses of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta? He advised, "Just try and hear the transcendental sound of the verses. Take them into your heart. They will reveal themselves automatically and you will see everything. They are not dead matter but a living substance. The transcendental sound vibration is also a living entity. You can feel it and you can see it." Yeba nahi bujhe keha, sunite sunite seha, "Even if one does not know the language, he will understand the subject matter simply by hearing the verses of the Chaitanya-charitamrta attentively."
When Radharani heard the Name of Krsna, She said:
sai keva sunaila syama nama
"I don't know who said these two syllables, 'Krs-na,' but when they entered My heart, My whole body became intoxicated with that Name. I do not know whose Name it is and I do not know how sweet it is but I need that association." Radharani became mad with the Name of Krsna, and Chandidas has expressed this in his poetry.
Transcendental knowledge exists everywhere. It is like ether. Ether exists everywhere but we cannot see it. Transcendental knowledge, or Krsna consciousness, exists in everyone's heart—Krsna is in everyone's heart. A Maha-Bhagavat devotee can see Krsna's full manifestation everywhere: yaha yaha netra pare taha Krsna sphure—a Maha-Bhagavat will see Krsna wherever he looks. Gaura Kisor Das Babaji Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur and Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj were like this.
The transmission of transcendental knowledge from one's heart to another's is possible. We can understand this if we take the example of a radio or television set. What is inside these machines? Electronic components: transistors, tubes, and other material elements. Electricity is a material element and it is also present.
When everything is properly adjusted and the electrical current is made to flow, the television set will work. It will give sound, picture and everything. If such transmission is possible in this mundane world through electricity then wherever there is transcendental knowledge, that transcendental knowledge can also certainly appear. It is only necessary to make our hearts like a radio or a television receiver.
Srila Guru Maharaj said, "Everything exists in consciousness." We have a transcendental body and a transcendental form. So if we have such a body why can't transcendental knowledge reveal itself in our heart? It can and we can feel it. We can see transcendental knowledge. It is a living entity, a living substance. It is only necessary to adjust ourselves like a receiver, or a television set, and then transcendental knowledge will reveal itself in our hearts.
Once Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur was asked if he had seen Krsna. His reply was, "What benefit will you get by knowing whether I have seen Krsna or not? How will that benefit you? I can show you Krsna but you must make your heart like a receiver by doing what I tell you. It is not important to know whether I have seen Krsna or not. If you want to know Krsna and if you come through the proper channel you will see Him." This was the answer given by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Mahaprabhu said this is real Krsna consciousness, or the full-fledged theism of the jiva-soul. We must try and get it.
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur has given a very nice expression:
taniya anite vrksa e karkasa mana
"I brought a wish-fulfilling tree, the kalyana kalpataru, down to this world from the spiritual sky. As I was bringing it down it lost some of its beauty; but if you water it, take care of it and give it good nourishment it will reveal itself in your heart." This is the benedictine tree of divine aspiration.
Sacrifice, service, dedication
Mahaprabhu delivered transcendental knowledge to the conditioned souls in order to rescue them from the illusory environment and to give them their real service life, which is a life full of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He said real liberation is muktir hitvanyatha-rupam svarupena vyavasthitih—it is more than simply liberation from the material world. Real mukti is when we get a life of complete and full service in the service world.
There are three planes of existence: the plane of exploitation, the plane of renunciation and the plane of dedication. We need to go to the plane of dedication and leave the plane of exploitation. The plane of renunciation is also not a suitable place to exist. There is nothing there except equilibrium and non-differentiation (abscissa). The plane of dedication is necessary and it is the most important plane for us. We need to go there; we need to sacrifice ourselves there.
All the Vedic mantras say we must sacrifice ourselves in the plane of dedication. In the Vedic mantra, "svaha" means, "First dedicate yourself. See to your own self first." Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (6.5): atmaiva hy atmano bandhur, atmaiva ripur atmanah, "The mind is the conditioned soul's best friend or his worst enemy." We must see to our own self first—charity begins at home.
Since we live in this illusory environment we cannot see Krsna, His devotees, His glories, His Dham, His Pastimes or His Name and fame. We cannot see anything of Krsna in this environment because our eyes are covered by illusion. First it is necessary to clean our mirror and then we can see our figure in the mirror.
Mahaprabhu said: cheto darpana-marjjanam. What should you do first? When you return home after a long trip there must be dust in your room, so first clean your room. When you first get Krsna consciousness, try and clean the mirror of your mind—cheto darpana-marjjanam bhava-mahadavagni nirvapanam—then you will see your position. You will see what is happening in your mental and physical position. Clean up everything and then you will see Mahaprabhu's conception, which is expressed in this sloka by Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur:
aradhyo bhagavan brajesa tanayas tad dhama vrndavanam
Part One: The Glories of Devotional Service
|"HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS | HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS"|
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