Excerpt from a lecture by HH Radhanath Maharaj.
Submitted by Manoj
"It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature and that I am the seed giving father."
In this world, people are very much proud of those persons who in the past have relationships with them as forefathers, ancestors. In countries like china and Japan, the basis of most of the religions is worshipping the spirits of their departed grand fathers, grand mothers, back back back like that. Here in India, we see, that in many many households there is the picture of the departed mother, father, grandfather, etc. usually in a more prominent place than the picture of Radha and Krishna.
So this natural tendency to adore, love, and worship, father, mother and so forth is within human society. Why is that there?
Because the ultimate father for every living being is Krishna. We are all his children. His sons and daughters. He is the seed giving father of all living beings. And our natural tendency is to be proud of Him as our father and to worship and love Him as our father. But because we have forgotten our real, true, eternal father, or because we only have a superficial understanding of who He is and what our relationship with Him is, we place that same tendency in worshipping those persons who have temporary relationships as such in this world.
In the vedic culture there is a ceremony called the Sraddha, which the eldest son, when the father dies, responsibly goes to a holy place as Gaya, to worship the Brahmins, the vaishnavas, and to offer food to the Supreme personality of Godhead who goes by the name of Gadadhara or Krishna. And then to take that prasadam and offer it to one's departed ancestors. And it is explained, that if this ceremony is performed correctly, then that prasadam purifies the hearts, the souls, of those persons and brings them closer to God. They are liberated from massive amounts of sins. And if they are in a hellish existence they are liberated from those sinful reactions. This is a natural tendency of love.
But how to truly show this love?
We should know that the greatest expression of love is to bring another living being closer and closer to Krishna. The Bhagavatam explains the conditioned soul is very much proud and attached to the place of his birth and to the people in whose family he has been born. They have been very much attached to this physical body. And they go to a place of pilgrimage, just to take a bath, without associating with the holy persons there. Such people, it is explained, their mentality is no better than an ass or a cow.
Because all attachments, all illusions, which are based on the bodily conceptions of life, the Bhagavatam explains, is the mentality of an ass or a cow.
But then we find in Mahabharat when Abhimanyu was killed, how much Arjuna was weeping and crying for his son. And Subhadra, who is none other than yoga maya herself, even she was crying, weeping that she had lost her son. And we find Vasudeva and Devaki, when their baby children were being killed by Kamsa, how much unbearable pain they were feeling in their hearts. And ofcourse when Lord Ramachandra was banished to the forest, how Dasarath Maharaj, he was in such an exalted position that he had the supreme personality of Godhead as his son, he felt such attachment to his son that he could not live. Within days, due to the pain of separation, he left this material world. He died in agony. And when Bharath, the brother of Sri Ram, came of Chitrakuth dhama and narrated the story of how Dasarath Maharaj had left the world, Lord Sri Ramachandra, the personality of Godhead, began to weep and cry. For many many moments and with great difficulty He collected His emotions to perform the last rites in the name of His father.
So what does this mean? Does this mean that Lord Rama, King Dasarath, Vasudev, Devaki, Arjuna that they had the minds of asses and cows? The Bhagavatam says like this. That anyone who thinks the body made of the three elements to be the self, to consider the relations to the body to be mine, to consider the place of birth to be worshippable, or one who goes to the holy places to bathe in rivers. Such a persons mind is an ass or a cow. Does this seem like a contradiction? Is Ramachandra's mind like an ass or a cow? He cried, He weeped.
Some people feel that to become detached is to become hard hearted. To simply not care. My father died. "It's all illusion, It's all maya, who cares. Krishna says, those who are wise lament neither for the living or the dead!", they think.
I remember, Srila Prabhupada, when one of his disciples, left him for sometime, he explained in a letter that he has been crying everyday praying to Krishna to please bring him back. Like a father to a son. But some people think, to become advanced in spiritual life, means to become hard-hearted. Detachment means, it's all an illusion. Why should I be interested. They think like that.
So on one hand, it explains that you should not be attached. And on another hand, we see the greatest souls showing such signs of attachment. So I would like to ask you in the audience here to figure out this apparent dilemma?
Why if you're not supposed to lament for the living nor the dead, and why if all feelings of relations to be an illusion, which make you an ass or a cow if you think that way, why are the greatest personalities crying when they loose their relations.
From the audience - Love.
Love. But we should understand that love. When an ordinary man cries, is that love? These great personalities are crying for a different reason. Some one who is on the bodily concept of life, it is true it is love. But we must understand the nature of that love. An ordinary person is thinking in terms of I and Mine. Iam this body and all things in connection with this body are mine. And therefore to loose someone, or something that is giving pleasure, security, or gratification to your body is so painful that it causes great great distress and lamentation.
But one who is detached from the bodily concept of life is detached from the sense gratification that anyone provides, therefore, he does not lament for the living nor the dead. But, amongst great souls, we find, even Narottam das Thakur, one of the greatest Pramahamsas in the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya, he is singing, je anilo prema dhana. He is beating his head in the stone, in anguish, feeling the pain of separation from the great Vaisnavas, who have left this world.
You see, the supreme personality of godhead, the greatest expression of love for Him, is longing for Him in separation. And those devotees who we see in relationship to Krishna, in any way, that weeping that crying is actually a feeling of separation from Krishna. Because the great Vaishnava devotees of the Lord, they are revealing Krishna to our lives. They are helping us understand to know and to love Krishna. Therefore, if we do not weep when they leave us, that means we have not learnt how to love in the mood of separation.
When the spiritual master leaves, the disciple cries incessantly. Infact Srila Prabhupada explains in Srimad Bhagavatam in the purport it is the duty of the disciple to weep incessantly when the spiritual master leaves the planet. Because he is crying in separation from God Himself, and the person who has revealed God.
And what about someone like a mother or father, who is so much not revealing God. Even the great souls have a tendency to cry in this situation. Why is that? Because, a person seeing the spirit soul in relationship with God, should not be weeping from separation from the person's body, but we can dove-tail that propensity in truth, by weeping to Krishna to lift up the soul of His beloved child. It is a fact that those who are near and dear to us, we should be especially sensitive to be begging and praying to Krishna to help them to become closer to His lotus feet. Infact Vasudeva dutt and other great Vaisnavas, were crying in pity for the people they never even saw or heard of before. Hoping they would come closer to Krishna, lamenting over their unfortunate condition in forgetfulness of Krishna.
So Krishna consciousness means to become the most soft hearted person in the entire universe. But not for our own sense gratification. Not due to our physical bodily attachments. But our soft heartedness is because of our love for the vaisnavas, love for the Guru, and love for every living being out of compassion. Until one's heart melts into liquid, Krishna is not accessible to that heart. Prabhupada said too much Jnana makes the heart real hard. But Bhakti melts the heart completely. A heart of compassion, but never on the basis of illusion, but on the basis of seeing Krishna, longing for Krishna, and showing the compassion of Krishna, feeling the compassion of Krishna for all living beings. This is the natural consequence of understanding this verse.
Krishna is the seed giving father of all the living beings. On the spiritual platform all living beings are our brothers and sisters. Brahmin, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, bramhachari, grhasta, vanaprastha, sannyas, they are all external. Black, white, Indian, American - they are all external. Krishna does not discriminate. Krishna only sees the quality of the heart. Unless we come to this platform, our so called religion, our so called discipline is all superficial. The fruit of genuine realization and love cannot take place.
I remember once Srila Prabhupada explained, and it is also printed in the Bhagavatam, that women are generally more God conscious than men. Because they have simple minds and are soft hearted. Men have a hard time in spiritual life, because they are very proud of their thinking processes. And they therefore are speculative and do not accept on the basis of faith and they discriminate and become hard hearted.
Philosophy is meant to bring us to the platform by which we learn how to love. If you memorize every scripture, every sloka in the entire history of man, you can never understand Krishna. Because Krishna is only understood in the heart. The heart is a place that is beyond reason, beyond intelligence, beyond logic.
Heart is the seed of love of devotion and all the great philosophies of the world are ultimately meant to bring us to the platform of love. Krishna explains loving Him with all our hearts. Krishna says in the Gita, Iam the source of all the spritual and material worlds and everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly worship Me with all their hearts. Because the heart is the seat of consciousness. To love Krishna means to surrender our consciousness to Krishna. To offer our consciousness to Krishna.
Whatever you do, you make a conscious offering to Krishna. And the chanting of the holy name means to attentively hear. Attentively hearing means, offering the essence of your life, your consciousness to the holy name, which is non-different than Krishna.
Therefore, nama-sankirtan, chanting of the holy name is the topmost simple and effective process of self-realization for all humanity. Because it is an immediate, direct, opportunity for us to totally offer our entire consciousness to Krishna. Just like in a sacred fire ceremony, the agnihotra, we take ghee and offer it to the fire. The fire is Vishnu and the ghee is consumed by the fire. So when we are chanting the holy name, we are factually doing the same thing. We are offering the very essence of our existence, which is our consciousness, which is seated within our hearts, we are offering that consciousness as an oblation into the fire of the holy name.
This is the meditation that should take place during our japa and during the holy kirtan of the Lord.
Ofcourse, Srila Prabhupada, as well as Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, Srila Viswanath Cakravarti Thakur, Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, all these great souls they are all teaching us that Krishna consciousness means to love Krishna from the heart, beyond logic and reason. But these great souls have written volumes and volumes and volumes of books. With exceedingly deep, profound, philosophical explanations of every aspect of reality.
So this also may appear to be a contradiction. But it is not at all. Because human beings have an intelligence. And our intelligence must direct our mind. Unless our intelligence is completely convinced on all levels of the truth and how to attain the truth, we will not put it into practice. But the conclusion of the truth, is we have to ultimately surrender. Which is the surrender of our consciousness, which is to love. Philosophy is like a map. Which is necessary to give us directions. But it can never take you there, never could take you there, never will take you there. Philosophy has never taken anyone to the goal of life. It can only show you the way.
It is by accepting the position of the most humble, menial servant, which is what the philosophy ultimately teaches us, and by surrendering to Krishna in that mood, is the only process by which we can understand God. So therefore, it is very necessary to scrutinizingly study the philosophy, but don't think that in and of itself will help you. We must understand the essence - Bhakti and you must put that into your life. And if you do, your heart will gradually melt. And in that state out of love, you will gradually begin to long more and more and more for the presence of God in your life. Prabhuapada would often tell us, the price of Krishna, is the tears that you flow from your eyes, in longing of separation from Him. We must learn to long for Krishna. We must learn to long for the compassion to help every living being who is a part and parcel of Krishna. And all of these glorious attributes are born from one who attentively chants the holy name - Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Chanting the holy name by attentively offering our consciousness to the process of hearing to each and every syllable. This is the goal of life and the means to attain it.