The King of Knowledge

Just knowing “I am not this body but am spirit soul” is not sufficient. We have to escape this entanglement of material nature. This is called mukti, liberation. Out of many thousands of persons who are in self-knowledge as to what and who they are, only one or two may be actually liberated.

And out of many thousands who are liberated, only one or two may understand what and who Krishna is. So understanding Krishna is not such an easy job. Thus in this age of Kali, an age characterized by ignorance and chaos, liberation is out of the reach of practically everyone.

One has to go through the whole ordeal of becoming civilized, then religious, and then one has to perform charities and sacrifices and come to the platform of knowledge, then to the stage of liberation, and finally, after liberation, to the understanding of what Krishna is. This process is also indicated in Bhagavad-gita:

brahma-bhutah prasannatma
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param

“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments or desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” (Bg. 18.54)

These are the signs of liberation. The first symptom of one who is liberated is that he is very happy. It is not possible to find him morose. Nor does he have any anxiety. He never frets, “This thing I don’t have. Oh, I must secure this thing. Oh, this bill I have to pay. I have to go here, there.”

One who is liberated has no anxieties at all. He may be the poorest man in the world, but he neither laments nor thinks that he is poor. Why should he think that he is poor?

When we think that we are these material bodies and that we have possessions to go with them, then we think that we are poor or rich, but one who is liberated from the material conception of life has nothing to do with possessions or lack of possessions. “I have nothing to lose and nothing to gain,” he thinks. “I am completely separate from all this.”

Nor does he see anyone else as rich or poor, educated or uneducated, beautiful or ugly, etc. He does not see any material dualities, for his vision is completely on the spiritual platform, and he sees that every living entity is part and parcel of Krishna.

Thus seeing all entities in their true identity, he tries to take them back to Krishna consciousness. His viewpoint is that everyone—whether he be brahmana or sudra, black or white, Hindu, Christian, or whatever—should come to Krishna consciousness. When one is situated in this way, then: mad-bhaktim labhate param [Bg. 18.54]—he becomes eligible for becoming a pure devotee of Krishna’s.
Practically speaking, this process is not very easy in this age of Kali. In Srimad-Bhagavatam a description is given of the people of this age. Their duration of life is said to be very short, they tend to be phlegmatic and slow and to sleep a great deal, and when they’re not sleeping, they are busy earning money. At the most they only have two hours a day for spiritual activities, so what is the hope for spiritual understanding?

It is also stated that even if one is anxious to make spiritual progress, there are many pseudo-spiritual societies to take advantage of him. People are also characterized in this age as being unfortunate. They have a great deal of difficulty meeting the primary demands of life—eating, defending, mating, and sleeping—necessities which are met even by the animals.

Even if people are meeting these necessities in this age, they are always anxious about war, either defending themselves from aggressors or having to go to war themselves. In addition to this, there are always disturbing diseases and economic problems in Kali-yuga.

Therefore Lord Sri Krishna considered that in this age it is impossible for people to come to the perfectional stage of liberation by following the prescribed rules and regulations.

Thus out of His causeless mercy, Sri Krishna came as Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and distributed the means to the highest perfection of life and spiritual ecstasy by the chanting of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

This process of chanting is most practical, and it does not depend on whether one is liberated or not, or whether one’s condition is conducive to spiritual life or not—whoever takes to this process becomes immediately purified. Therefore it is called pavitram (pure).
Furthermore, for one who takes to this Krishna consciousness process, the seeds of latent reactions to his sinful actions are all nullified. just as a fire turns whatever we put into it to ashes, this process turns to ashes all the sinful reactions of our past lives.

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