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The Nectar of Devotion
Calcutta, January 25, 1973
Devotee: (reading) "...of bygone ages. According to the general opinion, a person may become governed by certain convictions derived by his own arguments and decisions. Then another person, who may be a greater logician, will nullify these conclusions and establish another thesis. In this way the path of argument will never be safe or conclusive. The Srimad-Bhagavatam recommends, therefore, that one follow in the footsteps of the authorities."
Prabhupada: Yes. To make progress in devotional service, one cannot manufacture anything. The authoritative statements of aca ryas, that we'll have to follow. Mahajana yena gatah sa panthah. We should not manufacture, invent anything. As they are stated in the sastras, confirmed by spiritual master and acaryas, that will be accepted. Nobody can say, "I think devotional service should be like this." No. Therefore spiritual master is the guidance. He is the representative of the acaryas. In this way, we should make progress, not by concoction. Go on.
Devotee: "Here is a general description of devotional service given by Sri Rupa Gosvami in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Previously, it has been stated that devotional service can be divided into three categories—namely devotional service in practice, devotional service in ecstasy, and devotional service in pure love of God. Now Sri Rupa Gosvami proposes to describe devotional service in practice. Practice means employing our senses in some particular type of work. Therefore devotional service in practice means utilizing our different sensory organs in service to Krsna. Some of the senses are meant for acquiring knowledge and are..., and some are meant for executing the conclusions of our thinking, feeling and willing. So practice means employing both the mind and the senses in practical devotional service. This practice is not for developing something artificial. For example, a child learns or practices to walk. This walking is not unnatural. The walking capacity is there originally in the child, and simply by a little practice he walks very nicely. Similarly, devotional service to the Supreme Lord is the natural instinct of every living entity. Even uncivilized men like the aborigines offer their respectful obeisances to something wonderful exhibited by nature's law, and they appreciate that behind some wonderful exhibition or action there is something supreme. So this consciousness, though lying dormant in those who are materially contaminated, is found in every living entity. And, when purified, this is called Krsna consciousness."
Prabhupada: This obedience, the sense of obedience to higher authorities, to love somebody, these propensities are there in everyone. Even a child, we have seen, when there is sankirtana, they also clap their hands. They also try to dance. This is natural. So this has to be little organized. That is called practice. Otherwise the things are there, dormant. Sometimes by bad association that dormant propensities are cut down. They forget. The present situation is like that. The so-called material advancement has curbed down the dormant propensities for loving God, or Krsna. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that jada-vidya saba mayara vaibhava. Jada-vidya saba mayara vaibhava, tomara bhajane badha. The more artificially we make advancement of material civilization, the more we become away from devotional service. Practically we can see. People are engaged in developing their material resources. Everyone is busy. And we, if our men approach, then they think it is simply waste of time. "All right. They're asking something. Give them some money. Let them go away, and let my business be done nicely." So this is the propensities observed (by) Bhaktivinoda Thakura: jada-vidya saba mayara vaibhava. The more we advance in material civilization, we become backward in Krsna consciousness. Our principle is, therefore, to minimize the artificial necessities of life, as much as possible. Nirbandhe krsna-sambandhe. Anasaktasya visayan. We should eat, sleep, not for material comfort. But eating is required. Without eating, we cannot live. Sleeping is required, to give rest for some time. For that purpose, we shall eat, sleep... Nirbandha krsna-sambandhe. Anasaktasya visayan. We should not be attached. That will make our spiritual progress firm. Yes. Go on. Go on.
Devotee: "There are certain prescribed methods for employing our senses and mind in such a way that our dormant consciousness for loving Krsna will be invoked as much as the child, with a little practice, can begin to walk. One who has no basic walking capacity cannot walk by practice. Similarly, Krsna consciousness cannot be aroused simply by practice. Actually there is no such practice. When we wish to develop our innate capacity for devotional service, there are certain processes which by our accepting and executing them will cause that dormant capacity to be invoked. Such practice is called sadhana-bhakti."
Prabhupada: Sadhana-bhakti, raga-bhakti, prema-bhakti—these three divisions. So first of all we have to accept sadhana-bhakti. Means practicing. Go on.
Devotee: "Every living entity under the spell of material energy is known to be in an abnormal condition of madness. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, 'Generally the conditioned soul is mad because he is always engaged in activities which are the causes of bondage and suffering.' Spirit soul in its original condition is joyful, blissful, eternal and full of knowledge. Only by his implication in material activities has he become miserable, temporary and full of ignorance. This is due to vikarma. Vikarma means actions which should not be done. Therefore we must practice sadhana-bhakti—which means to offer mangala-aratrika (Deity worship) in the morning, to refrain from certain material activities, to offer obeisances to the spiritual master and to follow many other rules and regulations which will be discussed here one after another. These practices will help one to become cured of madness. As a man's mental disease is cured by the direction of a psychiatrist, so this sadhana-bhakti cures the conditioned soul of his madness under the spell of maya, material illusion."
Just like when a man becomes ghostly haunted, he does something abnormal. He cannot recognize his own men. He calls his father by ill names. So many disturbances. So nunam pramattah kurute vikarma [SB 5.5.4]. They are so mad that they are engaged only in sinful activities. There are three karmas: karma, akarma, vikarma. Karma does not mean whatever you like you can do. No. Karma means prescribed duties. Janma karma, uh, guna karma. As you are under the spell of certain material modes of nature... Someone is under the modes of goodness, his karma will be different from the person who is under the spell of the modes of ignorance. That will be decided by the teacher, or by the acaryas. They are described in the Bhagavad-gita that one who is under the spell of goodness, his qualities, his symptoms are like this: satya sama dama titiksa [Bg. 18.42]. Similarly, one who is under the spell of passion, his symptoms are like this. Just like a diseased man... If you go to a physician, by your symptoms he can understand that you have got a certain type of disease and he gives you the right medicine. Similarly Bhagavad-gita you'll find who is under the spell of the modes of ma..., uh, yes, goodness. If he's very sober, intelligent, can understand things as they are, they are to be understood in the modes of goodness. Those who are very much passionate, simply wants to enjoy sense enjoyment, they are in the modes of passion. And those who are lazy, very fond of sleeping, nidralasya, he's to be understood in the modes of ignorance. These are the symptoms. And according to the modes, they act. Therefore bhakti is not prohibited to either of them. Either in goodness or passion or ignorance—it doesn't matter. Anyone can take to devotional service, sadhana-bhakti, provided he agrees to be guided by the direction of the spiritual master. Bhakti is transcendental. It doesn't matter whether one is in goodness, passion or ignorance. Anyone can take.
That is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita: mam hi partha vyapasritya ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah [Bg. 9.32]. Papa-yonayah means the lowest part of ignorance. So Krsna recommends that anyone, even in papa-yoni striya, vaisyas tatha sudras... Stri, women, and vaisya and sudra, they're also considered not very in higher position. But Krsna says all of them, if they take to real path of devotional service under the direction of spiritual master, then that is sadhana-bhakti. To act under the direction of spiritual master... Spiritual master directs means he knows sastra. According to the direction of sastra or acaryas, he gives direction. And if we follow, that is called sadhana-bhakti. That is called practice. In the beginning, sadhana-bhakti must be there. Then when you get attachment for Krsna, that is called raga-bhakti. And the more you increase your attachment for Krsna, then it will come to the stage of prema-bhakti. You don't become krsna-premi all of a sudden. "Now I have become krsna-premi. Let me cry." And then, after crying, "Oh, my throat is now dried up. Give me cigarette." This kind of bhakti has no value. You'll see so many sahajiyas, professionals: they can cry, but they have no love for Krsna. I have seen one professional reciter. He can cry, and he gathers many people around him. But by his writing, by his speech, we can understand that he has no faith in Krsna. In Bombay I have seen. When he writes... Tavac sobhate murkha yavan kincin na bhasate (?). A murkha, a rascal, can be beautiful as long as he does not speak or write. But as soon as one speaks and writes, we can understand what is the locus standus of that person. Simply crying will not help. One who will cry for Krsna, he will never come down to the material platform. That crying is not so easy. As Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to cry, He also said, "I am crying for make-show." So crying automatically comes when actually if we are in prema-bhakti. But we have to go that stage gradually, not by imitating. Sadhana-bhakti, raga-bhakti. Then prema-bhakti. Go on.
Devotee: "Narada Muni mentions this sadhana-bhakti in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Seventh Canto, First Chapter, 30th verse. He says there to King Yudhisthira, 'My dear King, one has to fix his mind on Krsna by any means.' This is called Krsna consciousness. It is the duty of the acarya, the spiritual master, to find the ways and means for his disciple to fix his mind on Krsna. That is the beginning of sadhana-bhakti."
Prabhupada: Yes. This is very important thing. Some way or other, one has to fix up his mind in Krsna. And Krsna is not stereotyped. It is general. If you want to serve Krsna, there are so many ways. Just like in our society: somebody is painting, somebody is writing on typewriter, sometime somebody is engaged in propagating or selling the magazine or editing the magazine. So many different duties. So it is, it is the spiritual master's business to see the disciple, in which way he has got the tendency. And he tries to utilize his natural tendency in the matter of serving Krsna. One has got tendency for a certain thing. That tendency can be engaged in Krsna's service also. It is not difficult. Simply it requires training and guidance. Sva-karmana tam abhyarcya, samsiddhi labhate narah [Bg. 18.46]. One has got a particular tendency to work. By that work, if it is nicely done, you can satisfy Krsna. Our only business is to satisfy Krsna. Svanusthitasya dharmasya samsiddhir hari-tosanam [SB 1.2.13]. Whatever business you may have, it doesn't matter. Whatever talent you have got, it doesn't matter. If you can utilize that talent for Krsna's satisfaction, then your life is successful. Go on.
Devotee: "Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given us an authorized program for this purpose, centered around the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra."
Prabhupada: The general practice by everyone, whatever tendency he may have, differently. But the general platform is to chant Hare Krsna maha-mantra. That will pave the way for everyone. Go on.
Devotee: "This chanting has so much power that it immediately attaches one to Krsna. That is the beginning of sadhana-bhakti. Somehow or other, one has to fix his mind on Krsna. The great saint Ambarisa Maharaja, although a responsible king, fixed his mind on Krsna, and similarly anyone who tries to fix his mind in this way will very rapidly make progress in successfully reviving his original Krsna consciousness. Now this sadhana-bhakti, or practice of devotional service, can also be divided into two parts. The first part is called regulative principles. One has to follow these different regulative principles by the order of the spiritual master, or on the strength of authoritative scriptures, and there can be no question of refusal. That is called vaidhi, or regulated. One has to do it without any argument. Another part of sadhana-bhakti is called raganuga. Raganuga refers to the point at which, by following the regulative principles, one becomes a little more attached to Krsna and executes devotional service out of natural love. For example, a person engaged in devotional service may be ordered to rise early in the morning and offer aratrika, which is a form of Deity worship. In the beginning, by the order of his spiritual master, one rises early in the morning and offers aratrika, but then he develops real attachment. When he gets this attachment he automatically tries to decorate the Deity and prepare different kinds of dresses and thinks of different plans to execute his devotional service nicely. Although it is within the category of practice, this offering of loving service is spontaneous.
So the practice of devotional service, sadhana-bhakti, can be divided into two parts—namely, regulative and spontaneous. Rupa Gosvami defines the first part of devotional practice, or vaidhi-bhakti, as follows: 'When there is no attachment or no spontaneous loving service to the Lord, and one is engaged in the service of the Lord simply out of obedience to the order of the spiritual master or in pursuance of the scriptures, such obligatory service is called vaidhi-bhakti.' These principles of vaidhi-bhakti are also described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Second Canto, First Chapter, verse 35, where Sukadeva Gosvami instructs the dying Maharaja Pariksit as to his course of action. Maharaja Pariksit met Sukadeva Gosvami just a week before his death, and the King was perplexed as to what should be done before he was to pass on. Many other sages also arrived there, but no one could give him the proper direction. Sukadeva Gosvami, however, gave this direction to him as follows: 'My dear King, if you want to be fearless in meeting your death next week (for actually everyone is afraid at the point of death), then you must immediately begin the process of hearing and chanting and remembering God.' If one can chant and hear Hare Krsna and always remember Lord Krsna, then he is sure to become fearless at death, which may come at any moment."
Prabhupada: Yes. This is our prescription, that "Chant Hare Krsna mantra without any stop." And even death comes... Death may come at any moment, but if at the time of death, somehow or other, you can utter "Krsna" or remember Krsna, as soon as you utter the name of Krsna, you remember Krsna's form, Krsna's pastimes, everything. So let us chant Hare Krsna mantra twenty-four hours. There is no, I mean to say, impediment. Anyone... Ahaituky apratihata. Nobody can check it. If you are determined that "I shall always chant Hare Krsna mantra," nobody can check. But we do not feel so much attached to the chanting. Therefore it is checked. So therefore we have fixed up a certain rounds. Just like we have given to you sixteen rounds. At least, as a regulative principle, you must chant. Then gradually we may increase and automatically chant Hare Krsna mantra. That will be very good approach. Go on.
Devotee: "In the statements of Sukadeva Gosvami it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is Krsna. Therefore Sukadeva recommends that one should always hear about Krsna. He does not recommend that one hear and chant about the demigods. The Mayavadis (impersonalists) say that you can chant any name, either that of Krsna or those of the demigods, and the result will be the same. But actually this is not a fact. According to the authorized version of Srimad-Bhagavatam, one has to hear and chant about Lord Visnu (Krsna) only."
Prabhupada: Sravanam kirtanam visnoh, it is specially mentioned. Not that as the Mayavadis say, that you can chant any name. No. Sastra says, sravanam kirtanam visnoh.
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
So, as it is recommended by the sastras, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, we should chant this. Why other demigods' names? The Mayavadi philosophers, they misguide us. Sastra says, harer nama, harer nama, harer nama. Three times. Only the name of Lord Sri Krsna, Hari.
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
[Cc. Adi 17.21]
There are many places. Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. This is said by Sukadeva Gosvami. Simply by chanting this Hare Krsna mantra, one becomes liberated and transferred to the spiritual world. Kalau dosa-nidhe rajann hy asti eka mahan gunah. In this age, there are so many faults, but there is one sublime benefit, that is this, that simply by chanting Hare Krsna mantra, one becomes freed from this material world and is transferred to the spiritual world. Go on.
Devotee: "So Sukadeva Gosvami has recommended to Pariksit Maharaja that in order to be fearless of death one has to hear and chant and remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, by all means. He also mentions that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is Sarvatma. Sarvatma means the 'Supersoul of everyone.' Krsna is also mentioned as Isvara, the Supreme Controller, who is situated in everyone's heart. Therefore if some way or other we become attached to Krsna, He will make us free from all danger. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that anyone who becomes a devotee of the Lord is never vanquished. Others, however, are always vanquished. Vanquished means that after getting this human form of life a person does not come out of the entanglement of birth and death and thus misses his golden opportunity. Such a person does not know where he is being thrown by the laws of nature.
Suppose one does not develop Krsna consciousness in this human form of life. He will be thrown into the cycle of birth and death involving 8,400,000 species of life, and his spiritual identity will remain lost. One does not know whether he is going to be a plant or a beast or a bird or something like that, because there are so many species of life. The recommendation of Rupa Gosvami for reviving our original Krsna consciousness is that somehow or other we should apply our minds to Krsna very seriously and thus become fearless of death. After death we do not know our destination because we are completely under the control of the laws of nature. Only Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is controller over the laws of nature. Therefore if we take shelter of Krsna seriously, there will be no fear of being thrown back into the cycle of so many species of life. A sincere devotee will surely be transferred to the abode of Krsna, as affirmed in the Bhagavad-gita."
Prabhupada: We are under the control of the material nature. Everyone can realize it. Nobody can be free. But the process of freedom is also stated there: Daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya, mam eva ye prapadyante [Bg. 7.14]. If anyone takes to the lotus feet of Krsna, surrenders there, and be engaged in His service, then these laws of nature will be slackened, or almost nil. Karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam [Bs. 5.54]. These are the statements of the sastras. Laws of material nature means karma. You act in a certain way and you get the result, good or bad; that is called karma. Sat-karma or asat-karma. Actually everything is asat-karma. Antavat tu phalam tesam tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam [Bg. 7.23]. So even taking, accepting that good work is nice, but it is also bondage. Suppose you give in charity. So the laws of nature is that if you give one by charity, you get four. So now to accept that four, you have to take birth again. Therefore Narottama dasa Thakura says, karma-kanda jnana-kanda sakali visera bandha. Karma-kanda means if you act very piously, next life you get good birth, good opulence, money, janma isvarya-sruta, good education, beautiful body. These are the resultant actions of sat-karma. And asat-karma means you become poor, ugly, without any education, no riches, always hungry. These are the results of asat-karma. So this is called karma-kanda. And jnana-kanda means to try to merge into the existence of the Lord, which, even if we do, but because you are under the impression of impersonalism, you again fall down. So both by the action of karma-kanda and jnana-kanda one is not secure. Therefore Narottama dasa Thakura says, sakali visera bandha. Poison, either in a golden pot or in iron pot, it is the..., the effect is the same. So bhakti is neither for karma-kanda nor for jnana-kanda. Jnana-karmady-anavrtam [Cc. Madhya 19.167]. That is real bhakti.
Bhakti should not be contaminated by karma and jnana. Bhakti should remain pure. Then the result will be very quick and nice. Go on.
Devotee: "In the Padma Purana also the same process is advised. There it is said that one should always remember Lord Visnu. This is called dhyana, or meditation—always remembering Krsna. It is said that one has to meditate with his mind fixed upon Visnu. Padma Purana recommends that one always fix his mind on the form of Visnu by meditation and not forget Him at any moment. And this state of consciousness is called samadhi, or trance."
Prabhupada: Yes. Satatam, satatam smartavyah visnuh. This is the injunction. One should always remember Visnu, the form of Visnu. That is possible only when we have enhanced a little in the path of loving Krsna, or Visnu. Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti [Bs. 5.38]. So everything is possible provided we are serious. Then everything is possible. Go on. Otherwise why Rupa Gosvami has taken so much trouble in the matter of giving us Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, quoting from so many, innumerable sastras? Sad-dharma-pravarta. Nana-sastra-vicaranaika-nipunau sad-dharma-pravartakau. The Gosvamis were so compassionate with the fallen human society that he, especially Rupa Gosvami... All the Gosvamis, they first of all searched out all the datas of spiritual life and quoted them, in each and every line. Sufficiently he quoted from sastras. This is the business of sadhu. Sadhu-sastra-guru. They'll act in the same way. There is no difference of opinion. Sadhu-sastra-guru-vakya tinete kariya aikya. One has to see a sadhu by corroborating his statements according to the sastras or another sadhu.
Devotee: "We should always try to mold the activities of our lives in such a way that we will constantly remember Visnu, or Krsna. That is Krsna consciousness."
Prabhupada: Just like in the temple. Here, every business is in connection with Krsna. Otherwise what is the difference between this house and the next door? There, Krsna is not there. And this, just in this door, everything is Krsna. That is the difference between ordinary house and temple. Ordinary house, they're also busy in purchasing things from the market, cooking them and eating very nicely, sufficiently. But according to sastras, they're eating all sins. Ye pacanty atma-karanat [Bg. 3.13]. Bhunjate te agham papam. The... In a temple, same business is going on—same marketing, same cooking, same eating, everything is going on—but in relationship with Krsna. Where this relationship is there, always, Krsna, then every house becomes a temple. That is required. We are simply setting example that how we can execute our daily affairs in connection with Krsna. That is our propaganda. So every grhastha, every house, where is the difficulty? Everyone can install the Deity. All the family members can gather together, chant Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and read sastras, as we are doing in this temple. But the present tendency is that we have..., they have got sufficient time to smoke, they have got sufficient time for playing cards, they have sufficient time for drinking, going to the cinema, going to the sports. But they have no time for developing Krsna consciousness. This is the difficulty. As soon as you talk of them, talk to them about Krsna consciousness, they'll immediately say, "Sir, we have no time." And for other things, the paraphernalia of Kali-yuga, they have got enough time. They'll read newspapers, all full of rascal news. "One man has stolen, one man has kidnapped, one man has stabbed." These news, he'll very, with great interest he'll read. And as soon as we present Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, "Oh, this is not good." This is the position.
Therefore there is a great necessity for pushing on this Krsna consciousness movement. That is the best welfare activity to the human society. All of them, they are rascals. Abodha-jata. In the sastra it is said, parabhavas tavad abodha-jata. They are being defeated by the onslaught of material nature. These rascals, they do not know. They are thinking they have become great leaders, philanthropists, nationalists, politicians, scientists, philosopher—but they're killing themselves and others. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnu. They do not know how to make progress. Therefore a person who has understood little value of this Krsna consciousness, he should take this movement very seriously and distribute to the fallen souls. That is the best work. That is the best work. Go on.
Devotee: "Whether one concentrates his mind on the four-handed form of Visnu or on the form of two-handed Krsna, it is the same. The Padma Purana recommends: somehow or other, always think of Visnu without forgetting Him under any circumstances. Actually, this is the most basic of all regulative principles. For, when there is an order from a superior about doing something, there is simultaneously a prohibition. When the order is that one should always remember Krsna, the prohibition is that one should never forget Him. Within this simple order and prohibition, all regulative principles are found complete. This regulative principle is applicable to all varnas and asramas, the castes and occu..."
Prabhupada: Yes. Regulative principles are meant for everyone, all varnas and asramas. Not that "I am now sannyasi. I have got the highest platform. Therefore regulative principles is not meant for me. It is for the kanistha..." This is rascaldom. Yajna-dana-tapah-kriya na tyajyam. Yajna-dana-tapah. Tapasya. Following the regulative principles means tapasya. So "I have renounced the world. Renounced. I have become a sannyasi, renounced the world..." That doesn't mean I have renounced all these things, yajna-dana-tapah-kriya. No. These things are not to be renounced. Yajna-dana-tapah-kriya na tyajyam. They are not to be renounced. Yajna-dana-tapah-kriya pavanani manisinam. Even if you are, have become a great saintly person, still you should consider, continue yajna-dana-tapah-kriya. This is the injunction of the sastra. It should not be given up at any stage. Pavanani manisinam.
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