Krishna Consciousness-The Yoga for the Modern Age

Krishna Consciousness-The Yoga for the Modern Age
The Science of Self Realization by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
from the chapter “Practicing Yoga in the Age of Quarrel”

harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
[Adi 17.21]

“In this age of Kali there is no other religion than glorifying the Lord by utterance of His holy name, and that is the injunction of all the revealed scriptures. There is no other way, there is no other way, there is no other way.” This verse appears in the Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa. Harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam. Simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. There is no other alternative. Kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā. In this age, Kali, there is no other alternative for self-realization. So we have to accept it.

There is another similar verse in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In the Twelfth Canto, Third Chapter, Parīkṣit Mahārāja was informed by Śukadeva Gosvāmī of the faults of this age, and now all the symptoms of the age of Kali are apparent. In the conclusive portion, however, Śukadeva Gosvāmī said, kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ: “My dear king, this age, Kali, is full of faulty things, but there is one good opportunity.” What is that? Kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet: “Simply by chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one can become liberated and go back to Godhead.”

This is practical and authorized, and one can also test himself to see how he is advancing simply by chanting. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not something new, something that we have introduced or manufactured. It is authorized on the Vedic principles, authorized by ācāryas like Caitanya Mahāprabhu and others. And the method is very simple; there is no loss. We are not charging anything, we are not asking for fees and giving the people some secret mantra and promising them that within six months they will become God. No. This is open for everyone—children, women, girls, boys, old people—everyone can chant and see the results.

To further this end we not only are establishing New Vṛndāvana, our farm project in West Virginia, but are establishing other spiritual communities, such as New Navadvīpa and New Jagannātha Purī. We have already started New Jagannātha Purī in San Francisco, and the Ratha-yātrā festival is going on. This year there will be a great ceremony of Ratha-yātrā in London also. There will be three cars, for Jagannātha, Subhadrā, and Balarāma, and they will be taken to the River Thames. And America has imported New England and New York, so why not New Vṛndāvana? We should especially establish this New Vṛndāvana, because Lord Caitanya recommended, ārādhyo bhagavān vrajeśa-tanayas tad-dhāma vṛndāvanam: “ Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja, in the Vṛndāvana-dhāma of Vrajabhūmi, is the supreme worshipable Deity, and His place Vṛndāvana is also worshipable.” The Western boys and girls are taking to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and they should have a place like Vṛndāvana. Swami Kīrtanānanda, who went to Vṛndāvana with me two years ago, knows what Vṛndāvana is like, so I have instructed him to construct at least seven temples. In Vṛndāvana, there are five thousand temples of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, but the most important temples are seven, established by the Gosvāmīs. Our program is to live in New Vṛndāvana, depend on agriculture and cows as an economic solution, and peacefully execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa—that is the Vṛndāvana scheme. Yuktāhāra-vihārasya… yogo bhavati duḥkha-hā (Bhagavad-gītā 6.17). This human form of life isn’t meant for increasing artificial needs. We should be satisfied just to maintain the body and soul together, and the rest of the time we should enhance our Kṛṣṇa consciousness, so that after leaving this body we won’t have to take another material body, but will be able to go back home, back to Godhead. That should be the motto of human life.

Material life means eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, and spiritual life means something more than this. This is also the difference between animal life and human life. In animal life, the common formula is eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. A dog eats, a man also eats. A man sleeps, and a dog also sleeps. A man has sex life, and the dog also has sex life. The dog defends in his own way, and man also defends in his own way, maybe by atomic bombs. These four principles are common to human beings and animals, and advancement of these four principles is not human civilization but animal civilization. Human civilization means athāto brahma jijñāsā. In the Vedānta-sūtra the first aphorism is athāto brahma jijñāsā: “Now is the time for inquiry about Brahman.” That is human life. As long as one is not spiritually inquisitive, jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam, he is an animal, because he lives according to these four principles, that’s all. He must be inquisitive to know what he is and why he is put into these miseries of birth, death, old age, and disease. Is there any remedy? These matters should be questioned. That is human life; that is spiritual life.

Spiritual life means human life, and material life means animal life. That’s all. We have to make the adjustments that are recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā. Yuktāhāra-vihārasya. For instance, because I am going to be a spiritual man does not mean that I shall give up eating. Rather, my eating should be adjusted. The Bhagavad-gītā describes what class of food is first class, in goodness, and what class of food is in passion, and third class, in ignorance. We have to raise ourselves to the sattvic (goodness) platform of human civilization, then revive our transcendental consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Everything is there in the śāstras. Unfortunately, we do not consult them.

evaṁ prasanna-manaso
bhagavad-bhakti-yogataḥ
bhagavat-tattva-vijñānaṁ
mukta-saṅgasya jāyate
(Bhāg. 1.2.20)

Unless one is liberated from the clutches of these three modes of material nature, he cannot understand God. Prasanna-manasaḥ. One must be a Brahman-realized soul. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati (Bg. 18.54). These injunctions are there, so one should take advantage of these śāstras and preach. That is the responsibility of intelligent men. The mass of people know that God is great, but they do not know how great God actually is. That we will find in the Vedic literature. That is our duty in this iron age. That is hari-kīrtana, paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam: glorification of the Supreme.

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