PART ONE : "The Glories of Devotional Service"

Chapter 4
Preparing to Understand
Krsna's Transcendental Pastimes


tava vikriditam krsna, nrnam parama-mangalam
karna-piyusam asadya, tyajanty anya-sprham janah

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.6.44)

Krsna's Pastimes are unlimited and unfathomable. They are completely beyond our material and limited conception. Although we can't understand anything of Krsna's Pastimes from here, they are nevertheless supremely auspicious for everyone and are our goal of life.

Devotee: Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj Prabhupada published the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam in a summary form as the Krsna books. There he described the Pastimes of Krsna with the gopis. He says if someone reads these Pastimes, or hears about them from a bona fide authority in Krsna consciousness, all that is lusty in his heart will disappear. Could you please explain how this is possible?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Yes. The sloka you are referring to is this:

vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam cha visnoh
sraddhanvito 'nusrnuyad atha varnayed yah
bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kamam
hrd-rogam asv apahinoty achirena dhirah

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.33.39)

"Anyone who with faith hears or describes the Lord's playful affairs with the young gopis of Vrndavan will attain the Lord's pure devotional service. Thus he will quickly become sober and conquer lust, the disease of the heart."

But there is a serious condition given in this sloka and Srila Prabhupada has explained what that condition is: that it is necessary to hear about Krsna consciousness from a bona fide authority in Krsna consciousness. And when one hears from a bona fide authority, that authority will not at first explain Krsna-lila but will start by trying to turn you into a good "receiver" of those Pastimes. He will prepare you so you can properly receive and understand those Pastimes. When you become a good receiver, or when you are qualified to hear those Pastimes, that authority will explain the Pastimes of Krsna with the gopis. Otherwise you will not be able to understand that supramental theory. It will not come to you in a proper way.


Faith: the basis of all religions

When one receives transcendental knowledge from his Guru and is firm in his faith to his Guru, that person will begin to practice Krsna consciousness. Without solid faith we cannot do anything. Faith is the basis of all religions, not only Vaisnavism. In Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, faith is the basis. It is necessary to have firm faith in great personalities like Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur as well as our entire Guru-parampara. It is necessary to have faith in the words of Lord Krsna as expressed in Srimad Bhagavad-gita. Lord Krsna Himself said to Uddhava in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.12.14-15):

tasmat tvam uddhavotsrjya, chodanam pratichodanam
pravrttim cha nivrttim cha, srotavyam srutam eva cha
mam ekam eva saranam, atmanam sarva-dehinam
yahi sarvatma-bhavena, maya sya hy akuto-bhayah

"Take shelter of Me and you will get the love, beauty, charm and ecstasy for which you are searching. But you must keep faith in My words or you will not get what you want."

Another important verse is:

tasmad gurum prapadyeta, jijnasuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare cha nisnatam, brahmany upasamasrayam

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.3.21)

"The Guru must be qualified and the disciple must have faith. Then Gurudev will come forward and one can approach him with humility, honor and faith."

Faith is necessary, otherwise it is not possible. After one's faith develops, the seed of the bhakti-lata can be planted by a sadhu in the fertile ground of a faithful heart, and with good nourishment it will grow.


No imitation

When one begins to practice Krsna consciousness all his anarthas, or impurities, will leave him. Then he will be able to understand the Pastimes of Lord Krsna. But first his Guru must consider him a qualified candidate, then that spiritual authority will describe the Pastimes of Radha and Krsna—not before. If we hear those Pastimes without being qualified they will destroy our spiritual bhakti-lata-bija, the seed of the creeper of devotion. They will kill us—that is they will destroy our spiritual life of devotion and we will fall into the hellish garbage of sahajiyaism, or imitationism.

There is another sloka in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.33.30) that describes how Lord Siva can digest an ocean of poison:

naitat samacharej jatu, manasapi hy anisvarah
vinasyaty acharan maudhyad, yatharudro 'bdhi-jam visam

If one does not hold such a powerful position as Lord Siva and drinks an ocean of poison, he will be destroyed. The play of the Sweet Absolute is like that, it is beyond the lustful plane of this world. Since we live in the lustful plane it is necessary to cross that plane by our practices. Then we will be able to understand the Pastimes of Radha and Krsna, and transcendental consciousness will appear in us.

Since these are higher level topics, before we can approach them, it is necessary to change our consciousness from material to spiritual consciousness. It is necessary to pass through all the stages and varieties of material consciousness and come to the brahma-bhutah stage and we can do that by devotion. Then we will become qualified to hear the Pastimes of Radha and Krsna and transcendental consciousness will appear within us.

If anything wrong remains within us in that plane it is known as a shadow of lust. This will be quickly demolished and very soon we will get clean Krsna-prema, or love, affection and service to Krsna. When our enjoying mood and spirit disappears we will become qualified for the service of the Vraja-gopis. The Srimad-Bhagavatam has given us this caution but one phrase is very important in the above sloka and that is, "the qualified spiritual master."


Devotee: How can one get a qualified spiritual master?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: It depends on the jiva-soul's own fortune, or his sukrti. Not everyone is able to get a qualified spiritual master, but in the age of Kali there is special help for the conditioned souls, like the many instructions Lord Krsna gives in the Bhagavad-gita. There are also many incarnations and associates of the Lord who have appeared in this world. If we are able to get at least some light from them, we may search for a great personality from whom we can get the property of Krsna consciousness. And this searching spirit will come by reading the literature of the divine devotees of the Lord.

Devotee: During the battle of Kuruksetra not only perfected souls saw Krsna but everyone saw Him. Duryodhana and others also saw Krsna. I am an ordinary person then why am I not able to see Krsna?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: We can see Krsna but what kind of Krsna do you want to see? You are seeing Krsna. It may be in a photo or may be in the form of a deity.

Devotee: In the human form just like everybody. How can I recognize the 'human' form of Krsna?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Yes, we can see that if we will get that vision. Arjuna wanted to see the Visvarupa, Universal Form of Krsna, but before showing that to Arjuna, Krsna said, "You cannot see Me with these eyes so I am giving you divine eyes. Now you can see Me."

na tu mam sakyase drastum, anenaiva sva-chaksusa
divyam dadami te chaksuh, pasya me yogam aisvaram

(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 11.8)

In this sloka Krsna said to Arjuna, "I am giving you transcendental vision, now you can see Me." If I get transcendental vision by the grace of Krsna, then I can see Krsna. If we wait a few years maybe through science we will be able to see many things. Through scientific research we can see many things and that is not transcendental, no doubt, but it is one kind of vision, which is recognized as 'transcendental' by mundane people.


Proper source

It is necessary to discover where our deficiency or disease is. After we hear about Krsna consciousness, more and more hankering for Krsna consciousness should develop within us. This hankering is a good sign but to get such hankering it is necessary to go to the proper source or the proper "university." All universities are not the same. If you want to study physics, mathematics or chemistry you must go to a teacher who can teach you those subject matters. You must train under his guidance. If we want everything in a cheap way, you won't get anything; you will only get imitation knowledge. You will get an imitation stone, not a real diamond.

If I feel it is necessary to elevate myself from my present position in this mundane environment to a higher stage, I must go to that type of qualified source who can take me from this world. I must practice under his guidance. When the time for higher study comes, we must go to the proper type of expert who can give us higher knowledge.

Devotee: My experience is that the lust within me is not disappearing. At times it is suppressed but again it comes back. I think it hasn't actually disappeared. Is this correct?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Yes. It will completely disappear if we can keep ourselves in the plane of service; and the stage by stage process for doing that is given in the Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu (1.4.15-16):

adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sango 'tha bhajana-kriya
tato 'nartha-nivrttih syat tato nistha ruchis tatah

Lust will remain with us up to the plane of ruchi. Ruchi means "taste." Lust will disappear from our hearts when we become firmly situated in the plane of ruchi. When a special kind of attraction or taste for service to the Lord appears, I will be promoted to that plane of service. Then lust will leave and ruchi will develop. Lust will exist below the standard of ruchi. Sometimes it will come and sometimes it will go, and sometimes it will be suppressed.


Conditions for growth

Lust has a very sweet name. It is called mano-bhava. Mano-bhava means it takes birth in the mind; it appears in the mind. If the mind is clear, lust will automatically go to Krsna. Lust will not come to your mind. We can understand lust grows in the mind because if the mind is absent, or if your mind is disturbed, lust will not come to you. This is the proof lust grows in the mind. When the mind is absent, lust is not present. It will grow in your mind when a particular situation arises.

Once the demigods and asuras were churning the ocean. After they finished, Lord Krsna appeared in the form of Mohini Murti to distract the asuras. When Lord Siva saw her, he chased after her. Normally Lord Siva isn't like that, but a particular situation developed and he ran after Mohini Murti.

This proves lust grows in the mind. Everyone can understand this if they will try. In the primary stage it is necessary to control lust; and in the final stage it will not appear because Krsna is Reality the Beautiful. All attachment, attraction and service will automatically go to Krsna. Love, affection and everything will go to Krsna and lust will disappear. It will not come again. Before that it will come and go. But don't be fearful—it will be removed; it will be removed by dharma-buddhi. Lust can be removed by dharma-buddhi, and dharma-buddhi means religious intelligence.

Once Krsna asked Maharaj Yudhisthir about this subject. Krsna is very naughty, and He asked Maharaj Yudhisthir this question because Maharaj Yudhisthir never told a lie. His question was very dangerous.

Krsna said, "Your mother looks like an eighteen or twenty-year-old girl. She is very beautiful. Have you ever been polluted in your mind by seeing her?"

Yudhisthir said, "Yes. Sometimes I am shocked to see her, but I control everything with my religious intelligence." This answer is found in the Mahabharat.


Hare Krsna: all in all

Devotee: Could you please speak about Gayatri diksa or second initiation?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Diksa means initiation. Harinam diksa is the main initiation in our Vaisnava religion. In the age of Kali-yuga, if you do not take second initiation—called Gayatri diksa in our society—that will not be harmful if you took the Harinam Mahamantra from a bona fide Guru.

Generally people take initiation from a bona fide Guru in order to save themselves from the material environment. The Gayatri diksa mantra is for second initiation but the Lord Himself has given a special prescription for the age of Kali: the Lord has manifested Himself through the Guru-parampara in the form of the Harinam Mahamantra. There are no rules and regulations for chanting the Harinam Mahamantra. This is stated in the Scriptures, but if I say this, I will be an offender to Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, but the sloka is this (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya 15.110):

akrstih krta-chetasam sumanasam uchchatanam chamhasam
achandalam amuka-loka-sulabho vasyas cha mukti-sriyah
no diksam na cha sat-kriyam na cha purascharyam manag iksate
mantro 'yam rasana-sprg eva phalati sri-krsna-namatmakah

The gist is, "You chant the Hare Krsna Mahamantra and be happy." This sloka is very strong. Srila Prabhupada gave four directives; but what will happen if someone cannot follow these four directives?


Medicine and diet

Prabhupada's instructions were, "If you want the proper results of chanting the Hare Krsna Mahamantra, you must follow the four directives." If you want good results in curing a disease, you must take medicine—but you must also follow a proper diet. Then the disease will go away very easily. This is the harmony between this sloka and Srila Prabhupada's instructions.

Prabhupada said if you engage in nonsense activities and take the Harinam Mahamantra it will take time before the results of chanting come to you. Prabhupada considered everyone a sick man. A sick man must have a good diet. On some days I am taking only milk and sago (tapioca), because my health isn't always good. If I take too many fried foods my sugar will increase. So the diet must be appropriate.

Prabhupada knew Western society has no rules and regulations of life. They hold a big license for enjoyment, and the name of that license is "teenager." Society has given young people a big license for sense enjoyment and that is, "Oh, he is a teenager." That means a teenager can do anything. The parents and the society are all giving enthusiasm for this.

But Prabhupada wanted to control this. At least he thought it was necessary to give them the knowledge that they should not kill others. If a father has a lot of money and takes his teenager gambling and loses everything, that is not good. Prabhupada said: "Do not kill others, do not gamble, and do not take drugs." He also said don't take other intoxication or have illicit sex.

The life of this world is a sexual life. Through that, birth and death and happiness and sadness come to us. But you can use this process in your practicing life. Sexual life can also give you the supreme benefit. You only have to be a devotee and serve Krsna with your wife and children. That is legal and in this way you can proceed in your practicing life and difficulties will not come to you.

It is necessary to know the meaning of everything and for that a Guru is necessary. A Guru will say what is good and what is bad. Prabhupada also said this. He had some experience of the Western world, but not full experience.

In the beginning Prabhupada wanted to make a "Guardian ruled family" in which everyone in the family would happily worship Lord Krsna. He wanted to make a Vaisnava village in Mayapur, but I have seen this was not possible.


Everything is within us

Many different kinds of activities are going on in the Western world and this influence is entering the Indian culture and destroying it. It is destroying the Vedic culture but what can be done? Kali is the master of this age. He is the guardian now. To avoid Kali's influence is difficult but those who are Krsna conscious must try to proceed under the shelter of Krsna consciousness. Then other influences will not come.

An example is everyone takes food, but one who is Krsna conscious does not take food. What do you think? Is he fasting? No. He takes maha-prasadam. First he offers food to Lord Krsna and then he takes the remnants of that prasadam. Then reactions won't come to him. Krsna says in Srimad Bhagavad-gita:

yajna-sistasinah santo, muchyante sarva-kilbisaih
bhunjate te tv agham papa, ye pachanty atma-karanat

"Whoever cooks for himself eats sin but when one prepares food for the Lord and offers it to Him, those preparations become transcendental because the Lord Himself is transcendental."

The remnants of prasadam give us spiritual strength and life. This is the Krsna conscious person's life. Everything is within you but you must be Krsna conscious.


Valuable property

When we have a physical body, there will be physical problems. But everything is valuable if I can use it properly. Narottam Das Thakur said, karmarpane krodha bhakta-dvesi jane, lobha sadhu-sange Hari-katha (Sri Prema-bhakti-chandrika).

We can use everything for Krsna consciousness; we must use what is within us wisely. This is the meaning of the four directives given by Srila Prabhupada. But that slokaakrstih krta-chetasam sumanasam uchchatanam chamhasam—should not give us enthusiasm to break the rules or to do anything and everything as we may like.

We are getting Krsna consciousness in the cheapest way. Because of this we cannot understand what we are getting and what we are losing. If you pay a thousand dollars for one day you will think it is very valuable but if you get it very cheaply how will you understand its value? You offer one flower at the lotus feet of Krsna or Gurudev and afterwards you throw it away. It may not be in an inauspicious place, but you throw it away.

Everything can produce spiritual property—sabda, sparsa, rupa, rasa, gandha: experience by sound, touch, sight, taste and smell—all can give us good results if we adjust them in the proper way for our spiritual benefit.







Part One: The Glories of Devotional Service
1 The Service of Vrndavan
2 The Lord is not Impersonal
3 Evidence of the Conception of a Personal God in the Scriptures of India
4 Preparing to Understand Krsna's Transcendental Pastimes

Part Two: Krishna's Four Super-excellent Qualities
1 Krishna's Sweet Pastimes
2 Krishna's Wonderful Associates
3 Krishna's Transcendental Flute
4 Krishna's Unparalleled Beauty and Opulence