The Pleasure Principle
Pleasing the Perfect Master
During a lecture given in September 1968 in Seattle, Washington, Śrīla Prabhupāda says, “Can anybody in this meeting say that he’s not the servant of anybody or anything? No, because our constitutional position is to serve.” Then he proposes an idea new to most of his listeners: “If you agree to serve Kṛṣṇa, gradually you will realize that Kṛṣṇa is also serving you.” Śrīla Prabhupāda goes on to explain how by pleasing Kṛṣṇa the soul can enjoy unlimited happiness.
In this material world, everyone is trying to search out happiness and get relief from misery. There are three kinds of miseries caused by our material condition: ādhyātmika, ādhibhautika, and ādhidaivika. Ādhyātmika miseries are those caused by the body and mind themselves. For example, when there is some disarrangement of the different functions of metabolism within the body, we get a fever or some pain. Another kind of ādhyātmika misery is caused by the mind. Suppose I lose someone who is dear to me. Then my mind will be disturbed. This is also suffering. So diseases of the body or mental disturbances are ādhyātmika miseries.
Then there are ādhibhautika miseries, sufferings caused by other living entities. For example, human beings are sending millions of poor animals to the slaughterhouse daily. The animals cannot express themselves, but they are undergoing great suffering. And we also suffer miseries caused by other living entities.
Finally, there are ādhidaivika miseries, those caused by higher authorities such as the demigods. There may be famine, earthquake, flood, pestilence – so many things. These are ādhidaivika sufferings.
So we are always suffering one or more of these miseries. This material nature is constituted in such a way that we have to suffer; it is God’s law. And we are trying to relieve the suffering by patchwork remedies. Everyone is trying to get relief from suffering; that is a fact. The whole struggle for existence is aimed at getting out of suffering.
There are various kinds of remedies that we use to try to relieve our suffering. One remedy is offered by the modern scientists, one by the philosophers, another by the atheists, another by the theists, another by the fruitive workers. There are so many ideas. But according to the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you can get free of all your sufferings if you simply change your consciousness to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That’s all.
All our sufferings are due to ignorance. We have forgotten that we are eternal servants of Kṛṣṇa. There is a nice Bengali verse that explains this point:
kṛṣṇa-bahirmukha hañā bhoga-vāñchā kare
nikaṭa-stha māyā tāre jāpaṭiyā dhare
As soon as our original Kṛṣṇa consciousness becomes polluted with the consciousness of material enjoyment – the idea that I want to lord it over the resources of matter – our troubles begin. Immediately we fall into māyā, illusion. Everyone in the material world is thinking, “I can enjoy this world to my best capacity.” From the tiny ant up to the highest living creature, Brahmā, everyone is trying to become a lord. In your country many politicians are canvassing to become the president. Why? They want to become some kind of lord. This is illusion.
In the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement our mentality is just the opposite. We are trying to become the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa (gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ). Instead of wanting to become a lord, we want to become the servant of Kṛṣṇa.
Now, people may say this is a slave mentality: “Why should I become a slave? I shall become the master.” But they do not know that this consciousness – “I shall become the master” – is the cause of all their suffering. This has to be understood. In the name of becoming master of this material world, we have become the servants of our senses.
We cannot avoid serving. Every one of us sitting in this meeting is a servant. These boys and girls who have taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness have agreed to become servants of Kṛṣṇa. So their problem is solved. But others are thinking, “Why should I become a servant of God? I shall become the master.” Actually, no one can become the master. And if someone tries to become the master, he simply becomes the servant of his senses. That’s all. He becomes the servant of his lust, the servant of his avarice, the servant of his anger – the servant of so many things.
In a higher stage, one becomes the servant of humanity, the servant of society, the servant of his country. But the actual purpose is to become the master. That is the disease. The candidates for the presidency are presenting their different manifestos: “I shall serve the country very nicely. Please give me your vote.” But their real idea is somehow or other to become the master of the country. This is illusion.
So, we should understand this important point of philosophy: Constitutionally we are servants. Nobody can say, “I am free; I am the master.” If someone thinks like that, he’s in illusion. Can anybody in this meeting say that he’s not the servant of anybody or anything? No, because our constitutional position is to serve.
We may serve Kṛṣṇa, or we may serve our senses. But the difficulty is that by serving our senses we simply increase our misery. For the time being you may satisfy yourself by taking some intoxicant. And under the spell of the intoxicant you may think that you are nobody’s servant, that you are free. But this idea is artificial. As soon as the hallucination is gone, again you see that you are a servant.
So we are being forced to serve, but we don’t wish to serve. What is the adjustment? Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If you become the servant of Kṛṣṇa, your aspiration to become the master is immediately achieved. For example, here we see a picture of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna. [Śrīla Prabhupāda points to a painting of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra.] Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord; Arjuna is a human being. But Arjuna loves Kṛṣṇa as a friend, and in response to Arjuna’s friendly love Kṛṣṇa has become his chariot driver, his servant. Similarly, if we become reinstated in our transcendental loving relationship with Kṛṣṇa, our aspiration for mastership will be fulfilled. If you agree to serve Kṛṣṇa, gradually you will see that Kṛṣṇa is also serving you. This is a question of realization.
So, if we want to get free of the service of this material world, the service of our senses, then we must direct our service toward Kṛṣṇa. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī quotes a nice verse in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu concerning the service of the senses: kāmādīnāṁ kati na katidhā pālitā durnideśā. Here a devotee is saying to Kṛṣṇa that he has served his senses for a very long time (kāmādīnāṁ kati na katidhā). Kāma means “lust.” He says, “By the dictation of my lust I have done what I should not have done.” When someone is a slave, he’s forced to do things he does not wish to do. He’s forced. So, here the devotee is admitting that under the dictation of his lust he has done sinful things.
Then someone may say to the devotee: “All right, you have served your senses. But now you are done serving them. Now everything is all right.” But the difficulty is this: teṣāṁ jātā mayi na karuṇā na trapā nopaśāntiḥ. The devotee says, “I have served my senses so much, but I find they are not satisfied. That is my difficulty. My senses are not satisfied, nor am I satisfied, nor are my senses kind enough to give me relief, to give me pension from their service. That is my position. I had hoped that by serving my senses for many years they would have been satisfied. But no, they’re not. They are still dictating to me.”
Here I may disclose something one of my students told me: In old age his mother is going to marry. And somebody else complained that his grandmother has also married. Just see: Fifty years old, seventy-five years old, and the senses are still so strong that they’re dictating, “Yes, you must marry.” Try to understand how strong the senses are. It is not simply young men who are servants of their senses. One may be seventy-five years old, eighty years old, or even at the point of death – still one is the servant of the senses. The senses are never satisfied.
So this is the material situation. We are servants of our senses, but by serving our senses we are not satisfied, nor are our senses satisfied, nor are they merciful to us. There is chaos!
The best thing, therefore, is to become a servant of Kṛṣṇa. In Bhagavad-gītā [18.66] Kṛṣṇa says,
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
You have served your senses in so many lives, life after life, in 8,400,000 species. The birds are serving their senses, the beasts are serving their senses, the human beings, the demigods – everyone within this material world is after sense gratification. “So,” Kṛṣṇa says, “just surrender unto Me. Just agree to serve Me, and I will take charge of you. You will be free from the dictation of your senses.”
Because of the dictation of the senses, we are committing sinful activities life after life. Therefore we are in different grades of bodies. Don’t think that every one of you is of the same standard. No. According to one’s activities, one gets a certain type of body. And these different types of bodies afford one different grades of sense gratification. There is sense gratification in the hog’s life also, but it is of a very low grade. The hog is so sensual that it does not hesitate to have sex with its mother, its sister, or its daughter. Even in human society there are people who don’t care whether they have sex with their mother or sister. The senses are so strong.
So, we should try to understand that serving the dictations of our senses is the cause of all our misery. The threefold miseries that we are suffering – the miseries we are trying to get free of – are due to this dictation of the senses. But if we become attracted to serving Kṛṣṇa, we will no longer be forced to follow the dictation of our senses. One name for Kṛṣṇa is Madana-mohana, “He who conquers Cupid, or lust.” If you transfer your love from your senses to Kṛṣṇa, you will be free from all misery. Immediately.
So this endeavor to be the master – “I am the monarch of all I survey” – should be given up. Every one of us is constitutionally a servant. Now we are serving our senses, but we should direct this service to Kṛṣṇa. And when you serve Kṛṣṇa, gradually Kṛṣṇa reveals Himself to you as you become sincere. Then the reciprocation of service between Kṛṣṇa and you will be so nice. You can love Him as a friend or as a master or as a lover – there are so many ways to love Kṛṣṇa.
So, you should try to love Kṛṣṇa, and you will see how much you are satisfied. There is no other way to become fully satisfied. Earning great amounts of money will never give you satisfaction. I once knew a gentleman in Calcutta who was earning six thousand dollars a month. He committed suicide. Why? That money could not give him satisfaction. He was trying to have something else.
So my humble request to you all is that you try to understand this sublime benediction of life, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa you will gradually develop a transcendental loving attitude for Kṛṣṇa, and as soon as you begin to love Kṛṣṇa, all your troubles will be eradicated and you will feel complete satisfaction.
Thank you very much. Are there any questions?
Question: When we engage the material energy in the service of Kṛṣṇa, what happens to it? Does it become spiritualized?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: When a copper wire is in touch with electricity, it is no longer copper; it is electricity. Similarly, when you apply your energy to the service of Kṛṣṇa, it is no longer material energy; it is spiritual energy. So as soon as you engage yourself in the service of Kṛṣṇa, you become free from the dictates of the material energy. Kṛṣṇa states that in the Bhagavad-gītā [14.26]:
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
“Anyone who seriously engages in My service immediately becomes transcendental to the material qualities and comes to the platform of Brahman, or spirit.”
So, when you apply your energy in the service of Kṛṣṇa, do not think that it remains material. Everything used in Kṛṣṇa’s service is spiritual. For example, each day we distribute fruit prasādam [fruit that has been offered to Kṛṣṇa]. Now, one may ask, “Why is this fruit different from ordinary fruit? It has been purchased at the market like any other fruit. We also eat fruit at home. What is the difference?” No. Because we offer the fruit to Kṛṣṇa, it immediately becomes spiritual. The result? Just go on eating kṛṣṇa-prasādam, and you will see how you are making progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Here is another example. If you drink a large quantity of milk, there may be some disorder in your bowels. If you go to a physician (at least, if you go to an Āyur-vedic physician), he’ll offer you a medical preparation made with yogurt. And that yogurt with a little medicine in it will cure you. Now, yogurt is nothing but milk transformed. So, your disease was caused by milk, and it is also cured by milk. How is that? Because you are taking the medicine under the direction of a qualified physician. Similarly, if you engage the material energy in the service of Kṛṣṇa under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master, that same material energy which has been the cause of your bondage will bring you to the transcendental stage beyond all misery.
Question: How can you make everything so simple to understand?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Because the whole philosophy is so simple. God is great. You are not great. Don’t claim that you are God. Don’t claim that there is no God. God is infinite, and you are infinitesimal. Then what is your position? You have to serve God, Kṛṣṇa. This is simple truth. The rebellious attitude against God is māyā, illusion. Anyone who is declaring that he is God, that you are God, that there is no God, that God is dead – he is under the spell of māyā.
When a man is haunted by a ghost, he speaks all kinds of nonsense. Similarly, when a person is haunted by māyā, he says, “God is dead. I am God. Why are you searching for God? There are so many Gods loitering in the street.” People who speak like this are all ghostly haunted, deranged.
So you have to cure them by vibrating the transcendental sound of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. This is the cure. Simply let them hear, and gradually they will be cured. When a man is sleeping very soundly, you can cry out beside his ear and he’ll awaken. So the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra can awaken the sleeping human society. The Vedas say, uttiṣṭhata jāgrata prāpya varān nibodhata: “O human being, please get up! Don’t sleep any more. You have the opportunity of a human body. Utilize it. Get yourself out of the clutches of māyā.” This is the declaration of the Vedas. So continue to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Awaken your countrymen from illusion, and help them get relief from their miseries.
Liberation to a Higher Pleasure
“Everyone is inviting, `Come on, enjoy sex.’ But no matter how hard you try to enjoy sex, you cannot be satisfied. That is certain. Unless you come to the spiritual platform of enjoyment, you will never be satisfied.” In this explanation of a Bengali song written several centuries ago by a great Kṛṣṇa conscious spiritual master, Śrīla Prabhupāda proposes that there is a pleasure higher than sex and tells us how to begin experiencing it.
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, who has written this song, is a famous ācārya [spiritual master], and his compositions are accepted as Vedic truth. In this song he represents himself as a common man, as one of us. He laments, appealing to Hari, Lord Kṛṣṇa, hari hari biphale janama goṅāinu: “My dear Lord, I have uselessly spoiled my life, because I have not worshiped You.”
People do not know that they are spoiling their life. They are thinking, “I’ve got a very nice apartment, a very nice car, a very nice wife, a very nice income, a very nice social position.” All these material attractions make us forget the purpose of our life – to worship Kṛṣṇa.
In one verse [5.5.8], the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam summarizes the material attractions:
tayor mitho hṛdaya-granthim āhuḥ
janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti
The basic principle of material attraction is sex: puṁsaḥ striyā mithunī-bhāvam etam. A man hankers after a woman, and a woman hankers after a man. And when they actually engage in sex, they become very much attracted to each other: tayor mitho hṛdaya-granthim āhuḥ. Hṛdaya means “heart,” and granthim means “hard knot.” So when a man and a woman engage in sex, the hard knot in the heart is tied. “I cannot leave you,” he says. “You are my life and soul.” And she says, “I cannot leave you. You are my life and soul.”
For a few days. Then divorce.
But the beginning is sex. The basic principle of material attraction is sex. We have organized sex life in many social conventions. Marriage is a social convention that gives sex a nice finishing touch, that’s all. Sometimes it is said that marriage is legalized prostitution. But for keeping up social relations one has to accept some regulative principles, some restrictions on sense gratification. Therefore civilized human beings recognize that there is a difference between sex in marriage and sex outside of marriage, which is just like sex between animals.
In any case, when two people unite some way or other, their next demand is a nice apartment (gṛha) and some land (kṣetra). Then children (suta). When you have an apartment and a wife, the next requirement is to have children, because without children no home life is pleasant. Pūtra-hīnaṁ gṛhaṁ śūnyam: “Home life without children is just like a desert.” Children are the real pleasure of home life. Finally there is the circle of relatives, or society (āpta). And all these paraphernalia have to be maintained with money (vittaiḥ). So money is required.
In this way one becomes entangled in the material world and covered by illusion. Why illusion? Why are such important things – wife, children, money – illusion? Because although at the present moment you may think everything is all right – you have a nice arrangement of home life, apartment, wife, children, society, and position – as soon as your body is finished everything is finished. You’re forced to leave everything and move on to your next platform. And you do not know what your next platform will be. Your next body may be that of a human being or a cat or a dog or a demigod or anything. You do not know. But whatever it is, as soon as you leave your present body you will forget everything. There will be no remembrance of who you were, who your wife was, what your home was like, how big your bank balance was, and so on. Everything will be finished.
Everything will be finished in a flash, just like a bubble bursting in the ocean. The thrashing of the waves in the ocean generates millions and billions of bubbles, but the next moment they are all finished. Finished.
In this way material life is going on. The living entity travels through many species of life, many planets, until he comes to the human form of life. Human life is an opportunity to understand how we are transmigrating from one place to another, from one life to another, and simply wasting our time, not understanding what our constitutional position is and why we are suffering so much distress.
These things are to be understood in this human form of life. But instead of inquiring about our real position, we are simply engaged with mithunī-bhāvam and gṛha-kṣetra-sutāpta-vittaiḥ – sex, wife, home, property, children, society, money, and position. We are captivated with these things, and we are spoiling our life.
So Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, representing us, is lamenting, “My dear Lord, I have spoiled my life.” Why? Manuṣya-janama pāiyā rādhā-kṛṣṇa nā bhajiyā: “This human form of life is meant for understanding Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa [the Lord and His energy] and worshiping Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. But instead of making contact with Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, I am simply spoiling my life in sense gratification.”
Then his lament goes on. Golokera prema-dhana hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana rati nā janmilo kene tāy: “Alas, why have I no attraction for chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa?” The chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is a transcendental vibration; it is not a material thing. It is imported from the transcendental abode of Kṛṣṇa. From there the transcendental sound of Hare Kṛṣṇa has come. This sound is like the sunshine coming from the sun. Although you cannot go to the sun – it is far, far beyond your reach – you can understand that the sunshine is coming from the sun globe. There is no doubt about it. Similarly, the vibration of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is coming from Kṛṣṇa’s planet, Goloka (golokera prema-dhana). And this chanting produces love of Kṛṣṇa. (Prema-dhana means “the treasure of love for Kṛṣṇa.”)
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura laments, hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana rati nā janmilo kene tāy: “Alas, why do I have no attachment for the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa?” Why should one be attached to this chanting? That is explained in the next line. Saṁsāra-biṣānale dibā-niśi hiyā jvale jurāite: “Chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa is the only remedy to relieve the heart from the burning poison of sense gratification.” Hiyā means “heart.” Our heart is always burning. Why? Because it is in touch with the sense-gratificatory process. No sense-gratificatory process can give me satisfaction, even though I try this way and that way, this way and that way. People are trying sense gratification in so many ways, and now they have come to the last point: the naked dance and … what is that short skirt?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Miniskirt, yes. [Laughs.] So, because in the material world the basic principle is sex, everyone is inviting, “Yes, come on, enjoy sex. Come on, enjoy sex.” But no matter how you try to enjoy sex, you cannot be satisfied. That is certain, because sense gratification is not your real platform of enjoyment. You are a spirit soul, and unless you come to the spiritual platform you will never be satisfied by any sense gratification. You’ll simply go on hankering after pleasure, but you will find no satisfaction.
Therefore, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says we are suffering in saṁsāra-biṣānale. Saṁsāra indicates our material demands for eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. These are just like fiery poison. Then he says, “My heart is burning from this poison, but I have not searched out the means of relief: the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa. I have no attachment for this chanting, and therefore I have spoiled my life.”
Then he says, vrajendra-nandana jei śacī-suta hoilo sei. The chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa was introduced by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, Vrajendra-nandana, in the form of Lord Caitanya, Śacī-suta. Kṛṣṇa took the part of the son of Mahārāja Nanda, the king of Vṛndāvana. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is called Vrajendra-nandana. And Lord Caitanya took the role of the son of mother Śacī; so He is known as Śacī-suta. The Supreme Lord takes pleasure when He is addressed with His devotee’s name, with His energy’s name. (His devotees are also His energy.) Although He has no father – He is the father of everyone – He accepts some devotee as His father when He appears on earth. When a pure devotee wants Kṛṣṇa as his son, Kṛṣṇa accepts the devotee as His parent.
So Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says that Vrajendra-nandana (Kṛṣṇa) has now appeared as Śacī-suta (Lord Caitanya), and Balarāma (Kṛṣṇa’s brother) has become Nitāi. And what is Their business? Dīna-hīna-jata chilo hari-nāme uddhārilo: saving all kinds of wretched, sinful conditioned souls by teaching them the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa. In this age, Kali-yuga, you cannot find a pious man or a saintly person. Everyone is addicted to sinful activities. But simply by distributing the chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, Lord Caitanya saved everyone, however fallen he might have been. “Come on!” He said. “Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and be delivered.”
What is the evidence that Lord Caitanya saved even the most fallen? Tāra sākṣī jagāi mādhāi. Jagāi and Mādhāi were two brothers who engaged in all kinds of sinful affairs. They were born into a very high brāhmaṇa family, but by bad association they became sinful. Similarly, in the present age, although the people of the West are descending from Āryan families, very nice families, by association they have become fallen. Their environment is full of illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating, and gambling. So Jagāi and Mādhāi are specimens of the modern population, and Lord Caitanya delivered them simply by inducing them to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.
So chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa will actually deliver all fallen souls, without doubt. This is not bogus propaganda. Whatever his past life, anyone who takes to this chanting process will become saintly. He will become a pure, Kṛṣṇa conscious person.
Chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa will purify our heart, our burning heart. Then we will understand, “I am an eternal servant of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa.” Ordinarily we can come to this understanding only after many, many births, as Kṛṣṇa confirms in the Bhagavad-gītā [7.19]. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate: “After many, many births, when a person becomes a man of wisdom, he surrenders unto Me.” Why? Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti: Because he knows that Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is everything. But that kind of great soul is very rare (sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ).
But Lord Caitanya has made it easy to become such a great soul. How? Simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Therefore at the end of his song Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, hā hā prabhu nanda-suta vṛṣabhānu-sutā-juta koruṇā karoho ei-bāro: “My dear Lord Kṛṣṇa, You are now present before me with Your internal potency, Your pleasure potency, Rādhārāṇī. Please be merciful to me. Don’t neglect me because I am so sinful. My past life is so black, but don’t neglect me. Please accept me. Don’t kick me away. I surrender unto You.”
So, all of us should follow in the footsteps of Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura. The purificatory process is chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. And as soon as our heart is purified, we will become completely convinced that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord and that we are His eternal servants. We have forgotten this. We are serving, but instead of serving the Lord we are serving our senses. We have never become the master. We are not the masters of our senses; we are the servants of our senses. That is our position.
So why not become the servant of the Supreme Lord instead of remaining the servant of your senses? Actually, you can become the master of your senses only when you become the servant of Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise, it is not possible. Either godāsa or gosvāmī: that is your choice. A person who is the servant of his senses is called godāsa, and a person who is the master of his senses is called gosvāmī. He controls his senses. When his tongue wants to eat something that is not offered to Kṛṣṇa, he thinks, “O tongue, you cannot taste this thing. It is not kṛṣṇa-prasādam [food offered to Kṛṣṇa].” In this way one becomes a gosvāmī, a master of his senses.
When a person does not allow his senses to do anything for sense gratification but acts only for the service of Kṛṣṇa, that is called devotional service. Hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate: Devotional service means to engage your senses in satisfying the master of the senses. The supreme master of the senses is Kṛṣṇa. Now we are trying to use our senses for our personal service. This is called māyā, illusion. But when we engage the same senses in the service of Kṛṣṇa, that is perfection. We don’t stop the activities of the senses, but we purify the senses by engaging them in the service of the Lord. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Thank you very much. Any questions?
Devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda, how is it that Lord Jesus is called the son of God? If Kṛṣṇa is usually the son, how is Jesus—
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Not “usually.” Kṛṣṇa is the supreme father, but He becomes His devotee’s son out of His love. Being a son is not Kṛṣṇa’s constitutional position; being the father is His constitutional position (ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā). But sometimes He voluntarily becomes a son to taste His devotee’s fatherly or motherly love for Him.
When a pure devotee prays, “My dear Lord, I want You for my son,” Kṛṣṇa accepts his prayer. Vasudeva and Devakī became Kṛṣṇa’s parents in this way. In a previous life they underwent severe austerities. They were married, but they had no sex. They were determined that unless they could get the Lord as their son they would not have a child. So they performed severe austerities for many thousands of years. Then the Lord appeared to them and asked, “What do you want?”
“Sir, we want a son like You.”
“How can you get a son like Me? I’ll become your son!”
So Kṛṣṇa, the Lord, is the father of everyone, but He voluntarily becomes the son of His devotee. Otherwise, His position is always the supreme father.
Devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda, I read in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that when one becomes a liberated soul he attains perfect freedom and that sometimes his freedom is on the same level as Kṛṣṇa’s or even more than Kṛṣṇa’s. Can you explain this?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. Take Vasudeva, for example. He’s more than Kṛṣṇa. Or mother Yaśodā. You have seen the picture of Yaśodā binding Kṛṣṇa?
Devotee: Kṛṣṇa looks like a little baby?
Śrīla Prabhupāda: Yes. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is feared by everyone, but He becomes fearful of mother Yaśodā: “My dear mother, kindly do not bind Me. I shall obey your orders.”
So mother Yaśodā has become more than God, more than Kṛṣṇa. The māyāvādī [impersonalistic] philosophers want to become one with the Lord, but our philosophy is to become more than Kṛṣṇa. Why one with Kṛṣṇa? More than Kṛṣṇa. And, actually, Kṛṣṇa does make His devotee more than Himself. Another example is Arjuna. Kṛṣṇa took the part of his chariot driver. Kṛṣṇa was actually the hero of the Battle of Kurukṣetra, but He gave that position to His devotee: “Arjuna, you become the hero. I shall be your charioteer.”
Kṛṣṇa is just like a father who wants to see his son become more than himself. If the father has an M.A., he wants to see his son get a Ph.D. Then the father is satisfied. He’ll not tolerate an outsider’s becoming more than him, but he’s glad if his son becomes more than him. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord, wants to see His devotee become more than Himself. That is His pleasure.
Kṛṣṇa, Enchanter of the Soul
“A man is attracted by a woman, a woman is attracted by a man, and when they are united in sex, their attachment for this material world increases more and more. … But our business is not to be attracted by the glimmer of this material world; our business is to be attracted by Kṛṣṇa. And when we become attracted by the beauty of Kṛṣṇa, we will lose our attraction for the false beauty of this material world.”
In this material world everyone is attracted by sex. This is a fact. As the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says, yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukhaṁ hi tuccham: “The happiness – the so-called happiness – of household life begins from maithuna, or sexual intercourse.”
Generally, a man marries to satisfy sex desire. Then he begets children. Then, when the children are grown up, the daughter marries a boy and the son marries a girl for the same purpose: sex. Then, grandchildren.
In this way, material happiness expands as śryaiśvarya-prajepsavaḥ. Śrī means “beauty,” aiśvarya means “wealth,” and prajā means “children.” People think they are successful if they have a beautiful wife, a good bank balance, and good sons, daughters, daughters-in-law, and so on. If one’s family consists of beautiful women and riches and many children, one is supposed to be a most successful man.
What is this success? The śāstra [scripture] says this success is simply an expansion of sexual intercourse. That’s all. We may polish it in different ways, but this same sex happiness is also there in the hogs. The hogs eat the whole day, here and there – “Where is stool? Where is stool?” – and then have sex without any discrimination. The hog does not discriminate whether he has sex with his mother, sister, or daughter.
So, the śāstra says we are encaged in this material world only for sex. In other words, we are victims of Cupid. Cupid, or Madana, is the god of sex. Unless one is induced by Madana, one cannot be engladdened in sex life. And one of Kṛṣṇa’s names is Madana-mohana, “He who vanquishes Cupid.” In other words, one who is attracted to Kṛṣṇa will forget the pleasure derived from sex. This is the test of advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Another meaning of madana is “to intoxicate or madden.” Everyone is maddened by the force of sex desire. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says, puṁsaḥ striyā mithunī-bhāvam etaṁ tayor mitho hṛdaya-granthim āhuḥ: “The whole material world is going on because of the attraction between male and female.” A man is attracted by a woman, a woman is attracted by a man, and when they are united in sex their attachment for this material world increases more and more. After marriage, the man and woman seek a nice home and a job or some land for farming, because they have to earn money to get food and other things. Then come suta (children), āpta (friends and relatives), and vittaiḥ (wealth). In this way the attraction for the material world becomes tighter and tighter. And it all begins with our attraction for madana, the pleasure of sex.
But our business is not to be attracted by the glimmer of this material world; our business is to be attracted by Kṛṣṇa. And when we become attracted by the beauty of Kṛṣṇa, we will lose our attraction for the false beauty of this material world. As Śrī Yāmunācārya says,
yad-avadhi mama cetaḥ kṛṣṇa-pādāravinde
nava-nava-rasa-dhāmany udyataṁ rantum āsīt
tad-avadhi bata nārī-saṅgame smaryamāṇe
bhavati mukha-vikāraḥ suṣṭhu niṣṭhīvanaṁ ca
“Since I have been attracted by the beauty of Kṛṣṇa and have begun to serve His lotus feet, I am getting newer and newer pleasure, and as soon as I think of sexual intercourse my mouth immediately turns aside and I spit.”
So, Kṛṣṇa is Madana-mohana, the conqueror of Madana, or Cupid. Madana is attracting everyone, but when one is attracted by Kṛṣṇa, Madana is defeated. And as soon as Madana is defeated, we conquer this material world. Otherwise, it is very difficult. As Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā [7.14],
daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva ye prapadyante
māyām etāṁ taranti te
This material world is very difficult to overcome, but if one surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa and catches His lotus feet very strongly – “Kṛṣṇa, save me!” – Kṛṣṇa promises, “Yes, I’ll save you. Don’t worry, I shall save you.” Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: “My dear Arjuna, you can declare to the world that I will protect My devotee who has no other desire but to serve Me.”
Unfortunately, people do not know that our only business is to take shelter of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. We have no other business. Any other business we may do simply entangles us in this material world. The aim of human life is to get out of the clutches of the material world. But, as the Bhāgavatam says, na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum: “People do not know that their ultimate goal in life is to realize Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa.”
So, it is very difficult to turn people to Kṛṣṇa consciousness in this age. Still, Caitanya Mahāprabhu has ordered us to distribute this knowledge all over the world. So let us try. Even if the people do not take our instruction, that is no disqualification for us. Our only qualification is simply to try our best. Māyā [illusion] is very strong. Therefore to take the living entities out of the clutches of māyā is not a very easy thing. My Guru Mahārāja had so many temples all over India, and sometimes he would say, “If by selling all these temples I could turn one man to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, my mission would be successful.” He used to say that.
Our purpose is not to construct big, big buildings, although that is sometimes required for spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness and for giving shelter to people. But our main business is to turn the faces of the bewildered conditioned souls toward Kṛṣṇa. That is our main purpose. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and other Vaiṣṇavas have warned us to be careful about constructing too many big temples, because our attention may be diverted toward material things. In other words, we may become forgetful of Kṛṣṇa.
Of course, ultimately nothing is material. Thinking something is material is simply an illusion. Actually, there is nothing but spirit. How can there be anything material? The Supreme Lord is the Supreme Spirit, and since everything is coming from Him, what we call the material energy is also coming from Him and is thus ultimately spiritual.
But the difficulty is that in this material world, Kṛṣṇa’s inferior energy, there is the possibility of forgetting Kṛṣṇa. People are engaged in so many activities – we can see this very clearly in the Western countries – and they are inventing so many modern facilities, but the result is that they are forgetting Kṛṣṇa. That is material – this forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa.
Actually, there is nothing except Kṛṣṇa and His energies. As Nārada Muni says, idaṁ hi viśvaṁ bhagavān ivetaraḥ: “This world is Kṛṣṇa, Bhagavān.” But to those in ignorance it appears different from Bhagavān. For a mahā-bhāgavata, a pure devotee, there is no conception of material and spiritual, because he sees Kṛṣṇa everywhere. As soon as he sees anything we call material, he sees it as a transformation of Kṛṣṇa’s energy (pariṇāma-vāda). Lord Caitanya gave the following example:
sarvatra haya nija iṣṭa-deva-sphūrti
A pure devotee may see a tree, but he forgets the tree and sees the energy of Kṛṣṇa. And as soon as he sees the energy of Kṛṣṇa, he sees Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, instead of seeing the tree he sees Kṛṣṇa.
Another example is the sun and the sunshine. As soon as you see the sunshine, you can immediately think of the sun. Is that not so? In the morning, as soon as you see the sunshine shining in your window, you can immediately remember the sun. You are confident the sun is there, because you know that without the sun there cannot be any sunshine. Similarly, whenever we see something, we should immediately think of Kṛṣṇa with reference to that particular thing, because that thing is a manifestation of Kṛṣṇa’s energy. And because the energy is not different from the energetic, those who have understood Kṛṣṇa along with His energies do not see anything except Kṛṣṇa. Therefore for them there is no material world. To a perfect devotee, everything is spiritual (sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma).
So, we have to train our eyes to see Kṛṣṇa everywhere. And this training is devotional service to Kṛṣṇa, which is a process of purification:
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate
As soon as we are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we give up our false designations, and our seeing, touching, smelling, and so on become nirmala, or purified, by being engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa. Then we can immediately see Kṛṣṇa everywhere. As long as our eyes are not purified we cannot see Kṛṣṇa, but as soon as they are purified by the process of devotional service, we will see nothing but Kṛṣṇa.
So, Cupid is one of the agents of the illusory, material energy, but if we are perfectly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, Cupid cannot pierce our heart with his arrows. It is not possible. A good example is Haridāsa Ṭhākura. When Haridāsa Ṭhākura was a young man, a nicely dressed young prostitute came to him in the middle of the night and revealed her desire to unite with him. Haridāsa Ṭhākura said, “Yes, please sit down. I shall fulfill your desire, but just let me finish my chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa.” Just see! It’s the dead of night, and in front of Haridāsa Ṭhākura is a beautiful young girl proposing to have sex with him. But still he’s steady, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. But he never finished his chanting, so her plan was unsuccessful.
So, Cupid cannot pierce our heart when we are fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There may be thousands of beautiful women before a devotee, but they cannot disturb him. He sees them as energies of Kṛṣṇa. He thinks, “They are Kṛṣṇa’s; they are meant for His enjoyment.”
A devotee’s duty is to try to engage all beautiful women in the service of Kṛṣṇa, not to try to enjoy them. A devotee is not pierced by the arrows of Cupid, because he sees everything in relationship with Kṛṣṇa. That is real renunciation. He does not accept anything for his own sense gratification but engages everything and everyone in the service of Kṛṣṇa. This is the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Thank you very much.
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