The Perfection of Self-realization

Krishna and the gopis

…Kṛṣṇa’s only business is satisfying the devotees, and their only business is satisfying Kṛṣṇa. This is the reciprocation of love… The Supreme Personality of Godhead, wanders on the banks of the Yamunā to please the gopīs, the cowherd boys, the birds, the bees, and the cows and calves. These are not ordinary birds, bees, cows, calves, or men; they have all reached the summit of self-realization and thus, after many, many lives, have attained a position whereby they can play with Kṛṣṇa. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement can enable everyone to go to Kṛṣṇaloka and become Kṛṣṇa’s associate as a friend, servant, father, or mother. Kṛṣṇa is agreeable to take any of these positions in relation to His devotee.

The Science of Self Realization
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 8, Attaining Perfection

The Perfection of Self-realization

In this concluding chapter of Science of Self Realization, Śrīla Prabhupāda discusses the ultimate goal of the science of self-realization—full realization of the Supreme Self, Kṛṣṇa. The development of self-realization begins with the understanding that the self is not material—not a physical body—but pure spiritual energy. Next, one realizes that the pure, spiritual self is eternally a part of the Supreme Self, Kṛṣṇa. Finally one learns how to live fully in that eternal, blissful, transcendental relationship. One who has attained this state has attained life’s supreme perfection.

When Kṛṣṇa was on this earth, all the residents of Vṛndāvana loved Him. Indeed, they knew nothing but Kṛṣṇa. They did not know whether Kṛṣṇa is God or not God, nor were they disturbed by such thoughts as, “I shall love Kṛṣṇa if He is God.” Their attitude was one of pure love, and they thought, “He may or may not be God—it doesn’t matter. We love Kṛṣṇa, that’s all.” This then is the platform of real, unalloyed love. When one thinks, “If Kṛṣṇa is God, I shall love Him,” it should be known that this is not the platform of pure love but of conditional love. While on earth, Kṛṣṇa exhibited extraordinary powers, and the vraja-vāsīs, the residents of Vṛndāvana, often thought, “Oh, Kṛṣṇa is such a wonderful child. Maybe He is some demigod.” They thought in this way because people were generally under the impression that the demigods were all-powerful. Within the material world the demigods are powerful, but people are not aware that Kṛṣṇa is above all of them. The highest of the demigods, Brahmā, gave his opinion of this matter in the verse īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ [Bs. 5.1]: “Kṛṣṇa is the supreme controller, and His body is full of knowledge, bliss, and eternality.” Little did the residents of Vṛndāvana know of Kṛṣṇa’s power as the ultimate controller and master of all the demigods. What is noteworthy is that their love for Him was not subject to such considerations.

As the residents of Vṛndāvana loved Kṛṣṇa unconditionally, similarly Kṛṣṇa loved them unconditionally. Vraja-jana-vallabha, giri-vara-dhārī. When the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana stopped performing sacrifices to Lord Indra, the chief demigod of the heavens, they placed themselves in a very dangerous position. Indra became very angry and sent powerful clouds that rained over Vṛndāvana incessantly for seven days. The whole area began to flood, and the inhabitants became very disturbed. Although He was only seven years old, Kṛṣṇa saved the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana by lifting Govardhana Hill and holding it up as an umbrella to shield the village. Lord Kṛṣṇa thus taught the demigod Indra that his disturbances could be stopped simply by His little finger. Seeing this, Lord Indra bowed down before Kṛṣṇa.

Thus Kṛṣṇa also became known as Gopījana-vallabha, which indicates that His only business is to protect the gopī-jana. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement aims at teaching people how to become gopī-janas, or pure lovers of Kṛṣṇa. When we reach that stage of pure love of God, the Lord will save us from any danger, even if it means His lifting a hill or a mountain. Kṛṣṇa did not have to practice some yoga system in order to lift Govardhana Hill. As God, He is all-powerful, even as a child. He played like a child and dealt with others like a child, but when there was need, He manifested Himself as God Almighty. That is the nature of Kṛṣṇa, or God: He does not have to practice meditation or follow some system of yoga in order to become God. He is not a manufactured type of God, but is God eternally.

Although He is God, He enjoys loving relationships with His devotees, and in order to satisfy His devotees, He often takes roles that appear to be subsidiary. Kṛṣṇa often likes being the child of a devotee, and thus He became the beloved child of Yaśodā, Yaśodā-nandana. Because He is God and everyone worships Him, no one chastises Him. However, Kṛṣṇa enjoys being chastised by His devotee father and mother, and because Kṛṣṇa takes pleasure in being chastised, the devotees also take up the role, saying, “All right, I shall become Your father and chastise You.” Similarly, when Kṛṣṇa wants to fight, one of His devotees becomes the demon Hiraṇyakaśipu and fights with Him. In this way, all Kṛṣṇa’s activities are carried out in connection with His devotees. If we aspire to become such associates of Kṛṣṇa, we must develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness, awareness of Kṛṣṇa.

Yaśodā-nandana vraja-jana-rañjana. Kṛṣṇa’s only business is satisfying the vraja-janas, and their only business is satisfying Kṛṣṇa. This is the reciprocation of love. Yamunā-tīra-vana-cārī: Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, wanders on the banks of the Yamunā to please the gopīs, the cowherd boys, the birds, the bees, and the cows and calves. These are not ordinary birds, bees, cows, calves, or men; they have all reached the summit of self-realization and thus, after many, many lives, have attained a position whereby they can play with Kṛṣṇa. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement can enable everyone to go to Kṛṣṇaloka and become Kṛṣṇa’s associate as a friend, servant, father, or mother. Kṛṣṇa is agreeable to take any of these positions in relation to His devotee. How He does so is all described in our book Teachings of Lord Caitanya. To realize our relationship with Kṛṣṇa, we have but to follow in the footsteps of Lord Caitanya and His chief associates, the six Gosvāmīs—Śrī Rūpa, Sanātana, Śrī Jīva, Gopāla, Raghunātha dāsa, and Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa. These Gosvāmīs were always engaged in chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and dancing in ecstasy. They taught that when one is merged in kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, or the chanting of the holy names of Kṛṣṇa, he merges into the ocean of love of Kṛṣṇa. As soon as the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s name is vibrated, one can immediately merge into the ocean of love. That is the sign of pure devotion. Thus at kīrtanas the six Gosvāmīs would merge immediately into the ocean of love of Godhead.

The six Gosvāmīs were dear not only to the other devotees of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu but to the nondevotees as well. A pure devotee’s position is that he has no enemy because he is not envious. A pure devotee is always open to everyone, and he does not discriminate that this person can be allowed to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and that person should not be allowed. On the material platform, which is a platform of dualism, there are differences between high and low, man and woman, and this or that, but on the spiritual platform there are no such distinctions. The pure devotee, seeing everything with an equal mind, is therefore nonenvious. Because he is nonenvious, he is worshipable. Indeed, it may even be said that a person is worshipable simply if he is nonenvious, for it is only possible to be nonenvious on the spiritual platform. This is also the verdict of the Bhagavad-gītā (5.18–19):

brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śvapāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ

ihaiva tair jitaḥ sargo
yeṣāṁ sāmye sthitaṁ manaḥ
nirdoṣaṁ hi samaṁ brahma
tasmād brahmaṇi te sthitāḥ

“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater. Those whose minds are established in sameness and equanimity have already conquered the conditions of birth and death. They are flawless like Brahman, and thus they are already situated in Brahman.”

Such a position can be obtained by one who has acquired the mercy of Lord Caitanya. Upon obtaining His mercy, a person can deliver suffering humanity from material contamination. Because the six Gosvāmīs were such devotees, we offer our respectful obeisances unto them with the mantra: vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau. The six Gosvāmīs were expert in scrutinizingly studying all the scriptures with the aim to establish real religion in the world. They left many books to guide us, the most famous of which is Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (The Nectar of Devotion), which gives the neophyte devotee initial direction. The Gosvāmīs always worked very hard, day and night, and their business was simply writing books, chanting, and dancing. Indeed, they were practically released from the bodily necessities of eating, sleeping, mating, and defending themselves out of fear. There was no question of mating at all, nor was there any question of fearing or defending, for they were totally absorbed in Kṛṣṇa. At most they used to sleep one and a half hours daily, and they ate practically nothing. Whenever they felt hungry, they would simply go to a householder’s home and beg one or two pieces of bread.

The mission of such saintly persons is but to make suffering humanity happy by elevating everyone to spiritual consciousness. In the material world, everyone is trying to exploit one another—one nation is trying to exploit another nation, one society is trying to exploit another, one businessman is trying to exploit another, etc. This is called the struggle for existence, and out of it the people who are struggling have invented a law called “Might is right,” but we can actually see that even the most powerful must struggle, just as in the current world situation. There is a great struggle going on between Russia, America, and China. Because of such struggle, everyone is suffering. Indeed, the very struggle for existence means suffering. The pure devotees of Kṛṣṇa, however, are interested not in exploiting others but in helping people become happy, and therefore they are worshiped on all planets. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita even said that a rich man and a learned man cannot be compared, for a rich man may be honored in his own country or on his own planet, but a learned man, a devotee of God, is honored wherever he goes.

Nor for a devotee is there a distinction between heaven and hell, because Kṛṣṇa is with him in both places. Where there is Kṛṣṇa, there is no question of hell; every place is Vaikuṇṭha. Haridāsa Ṭhākura, for instance, did not enter the Jagannātha temple at Purī, for he was born in a Muhammadan family, and the Hindus opposed the Muhammadans’ entering the temple. Haridāsa Ṭhākura did not let this disturb him, however. He thought, “Oh, why should I go and disturb them? I shall chant here.” Consequently Lord Caitanya, who is Lord Jagannātha Himself, came daily to see Haridāsa. This is the power of a pure devotee: he doesn’t have to go to Jagannātha; Jagannātha comes to him. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to go see Haridāsa Ṭhākura daily when the Lord was going to bathe in the sea. The Lord would enter Haridāsa’s cottage and ask, “Haridāsa, what are you doing?” and Haridāsa would reply, “Please come in, my Lord.” This then is the actual position of a devotee. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says that worship of His devotee is even more valuable than worship of Himself. The devotee is actually able to deliver Kṛṣṇa, for he knows the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the science of hearing Kṛṣṇa’s words, eating kṛṣṇa-prasādam, and enjoying Kṛṣṇa. The impersonalists and voidists may preach dry philosophical treatises on ahaṁ brahmāsmi— “I am spirit”—but ultimately who will be attracted? What is the difference between someone who thinks, “I am a stone,” and someone who thinks, “I am void”? Why should we become stone, wood, or void? Our actual position should be in reciprocating loving affairs with Kṛṣṇa.

The spark of love for Kṛṣṇa is struck by the spiritual master, the pure devotee. As for myself, my spiritual master, His Divine Grace Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, ordered me to take up the responsibility of spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the Western world. His Divine Grace had a great desire to preach Lord Caitanya’s message in the West, and my success is both his grace and pleasure. When I first met my spiritual master, I was a very young man in India, a nationalist, engaged in a very responsible office. But although I did not want to go, one of my friends, who is still living in Calcutta, forcibly took me to His Divine Grace. I was reluctant to see him because in our home our father used to receive many sannyāsīs and I was not very satisfied with their dealings. I thought that Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja might be a similar man, and if he were, what business would I have in seeing him? But my friend took me forcibly. “Why not see him?” he asked. I finally relented and went with him, and I profited.

On my first visit, His Divine Grace said that it was necessary for educated boys like me to go to foreign countries and preach the gospel of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. I replied that India was a foreign-dominated nation and that no one would hear our messages. Actually, at the time foreigners considered Indians very insignificant because in the face of so many independent nations India was still dependent, being dominated by Britain. At the time there was one Bengali poet who actually lamented that even uncivilized nations were independent, whereas India was dependent on the British. His Divine Grace convinced me that dependence and independence are simply temporary conditions, and he pointed out that because we are concerned with the eternal benefit of humanity, we should take up this challenge of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This meeting with His Divine Grace, my Guru Mahārāja, took place in 1922, half a century ago.

I was officially initiated in 1933, just three years before the passing of Guru Mahārāja from this mortal world. At the last moment, just a fortnight before his passing away, he wrote me a letter repeating his instructions. He specifically said that I should try to preach this gospel among English-speaking people. After receiving this letter, I sometimes dreamed that Guru Mahārāja was calling me and that I was leaving home and following him. I was dreaming in this way and thinking, “I have to give up my home. My Guru Mahārāja wants me to give up my home and take sannyāsa.” At the same time I thought, “This is horrible. How can I leave my home? My wife? My children?” This is called māyā. Actually I did not want to give up my home life, but Guru Mahārāja made me give it up. Following his orders, I left my home, including a few children, but now Guru Mahārāja has given me many nice children all over the world. Thus by serving Kṛṣṇa no one becomes a loser, and this is an example from my own practical experience.

When I left India alone in 1965, I feared that I would have a great deal of trouble. The Indian government would not allow me to take any money out of the country, so I came with only a few books and forty rupees. I arrived in New York City in such a condition, but it was all by the grace of Guru Mahārāja and Kṛṣṇa. Everything happens by the combined mercy of Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master. In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is stated that the mercy of Kṛṣṇa and guru are combined. This is the secret of the success of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Kṛṣṇa is always within us, and consequently He knows everything about our purposes, and He gives us the opportunity to work as we decide. If we decide to enjoy this material world, Kṛṣṇa gives us the intelligence to become a very shrewd businessman or a popular politician or a cunning man so that we can earn money and enjoy ourselves. According to the standards of material life, many people are becoming great. They begin as very poor men and soon, by good fortune, become millionaires. We Should not think, however, that they are attaining such success by their own puny endeavors. Without intelligence, no one can improve, and that intelligence is given by Kṛṣṇa. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa states that He is seated in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul and that by His will a man can remember, and by His will a man can forget. Kṛṣṇa supplies forgetfulness and remembrance according to the living entity’s desire. If we want to forget Kṛṣṇa and enjoy the material world, He will give us the necessary intelligence so that we can forget Him for good.

Many people are thinking, “I can enjoy this material world very nicely. Everyone is having such a good time. There is no reason I can’t enjoy myself as much as they.” This idea is illusion because there is no real enjoyment in the material world. We may rise to a very high position like President Kennedy. We may be very good-looking, very famous, very intelligent, and well educated, very wealthy and very powerful, and we may have a very beautiful wife and children and hold the highest position in the country—but at any moment we are subject to be shot down. This is the nature of the material world: we have to face danger at every step. There is no question of having pleasure without impediments. Even when the pleasures are earned, they are earned after a great deal of struggle and sacrifice, and whatever pleasure may be acquired is temporary, for in the material world there is no pleasure that can give us constant and unending enjoyment. Only Kṛṣṇa can give us that.

Therefore Kṛṣṇa instructs in the Bhagavad-gītā that it is the welfare of every living entity to give up this nonsensical material activity and just surrender unto Him. Unfortunately, in this age people are so attracted by the glitter of material nature, to illusion, or māyā, that they are not very interested. Kṛṣṇa even declares that if one surrenders unto Him, He will give all protection from all sinful reactions, but still people are so attached that they cannot do it. People always fear that by surrendering to Kṛṣṇa they will lose something, just as I feared losing my family by going to the Western world and preaching. But Kṛṣṇa is so kind that if He takes anything away, He will reward us a thousandfold.

The spiritual master is also kind in that he begs from door to door, country to country, town to town: “My dear ladies and gentlemen, my dear boys and girls, please take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” In this way he renders very confidential service to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord who gives the orders, and the spiritual master executes those orders; therefore the spiritual master is very dear to Kṛṣṇa. Whether Kṛṣṇa sends him to heaven or to hell makes no difference to him. For the spiritual master, a pure devotee, heaven and hell are both the same if there is no Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In hell people are suffering in so many ways, and in heaven they are enjoying their senses in so many ways, but a devotee of the Lord can live any place where there is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and since he brings this consciousness with him, he is always self-satisfied. If he is sent to hell, he will be satisfied simply chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. In fact, he does not believe in hell but in Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, if he were put in heaven, where there are so many opportunities for sense gratification, he would also remain aloof, for his senses are satisfied by Kṛṣṇa Himself. Thus for the service of the Lord a devotee is prepared to go anywhere, and for this reason he is very dear to Kṛṣṇa.

Renounced impersonalist philosophers say that this world is false and that the impersonal Brahman is truth. But if they are asked to go out into society where material sense gratification predominates, they will refuse for fear of being affected by those conditions. For a Kṛṣṇa conscious person, however, there is no such difficulty. Because he is controlled and has taken shelter of Kṛṣṇa, he is not afraid of going anywhere.

Consequently, when devotees meet in a place where there is no Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no harm, for they take the opportunity to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and infuse the place with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This opportunity should always be taken. It is not that one should close himself up in a room and chant alone. The great sage Nārada is a spaceman who travels all over the universe. Although he can dwell in the most elevated planets, he sometimes goes to hell and preaches there. That is the beauty of a servant of God—he is always acting out of love for Kṛṣṇa and His parts and parcels.

The underlying principle of devotional service is unalloyed love for Kṛṣṇa. Regardless of the position of a particular devotee—as friend, servant, parent, or lover of Kṛṣṇa—his service is unconditional, for Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not dependent on any material condition. It is transcendental and has nothing to do with the modes of material nature. A devotee is not afraid to go anywhere, and because of this he sees all material conditions as equal. In the world we may say that this is a good place to be and that is a bad place, but, as pointed out before, the devotee is not subject to these mental concoctions. For him the basic principle of material existence is bad, for material existence means forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa.

In the neutral stage of devotion one may give more importance to the impersonal effulgence of the Lord and to the Supersoul within the heart, but Kṛṣṇa consciousness actually develops when one thinks, “Kṛṣṇa is my very intimate master of intimate relationships.” In the beginning, of course, impersonal realization and realization of the Supersoul are part of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The partial realization of God in His impersonal aspect or in His aspect as Supersoul enables one to develop veneration for the Lord, but when one has an intimate relationship with Kṛṣṇa as a friend, master, son, or lover, then the veneration disappears.

This platform of personal relationship is certainly higher than the impersonal platform or the platform of Supersoul, or Paramātmā, realization. In the neutral conception, one simply realizes that he and the Absolute Truth are one in quality, or he realizes that he is part and parcel of the Supreme. That is certainly knowledge, for when one develops a personal relationship with Kṛṣṇa as servant, he begins to appreciate the full opulence of the Supreme Lord. One who realizes that God is full in six opulences actually begins rendering service. As soon as one becomes aware of the greatness of Kṛṣṇa and understands Kṛṣṇa’s superiority, his service begins. The awareness of God’s greatness in. creases when transcendental service is rendered. A person who serves the Lord in order to satisfy the senses of the Lord becomes satisfied, because Kṛṣṇa is the Supersoul and the individual living entity is His part and parcel. If He is satisfied, then the living entity is satisfied. If the stomach is satisfied, then all the parts of the body are satisfied, for they receive nourishment through the stomach. When one of my Godbrothers began to fan my Guru Mahārāja on a very hot day, Guru Mahārāja asked, ‘ ‘Why are you fanning me all of a sudden?” The boy replied, ‘ ‘Because if you are satisfied, we are all satisfied.” This is the formula—we should not try to satisfy our senses separately, but should try to satisfy Kṛṣṇa’s senses. Then naturally we will become satisfied.

A Kṛṣṇa conscious person is always trying to give satisfaction to Kṛṣṇa, and this is the beginning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Because in the impersonal conception there is no form of God, there is no opportunity to satisfy His senses. However, one who sees Kṛṣṇa as master can render service. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa is referred to as Hṛṣīkeśa, master of the senses. When it is understood that the Absolute Truth is the master of the senses, that our senses are products of His senses, and that they should therefore be utilized for the satisfaction of His senses, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which is dormant within everyone, begins to awaken. Once Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked, “What is the difference between the neutral position in relation to Kṛṣṇa and the relationship of master and servant?” In both cases one can understand that Kṛṣṇa is great, but in the neutral position there is no inclination for service. Therefore the master-servant relationship between Kṛṣṇa and the living entity is more elevated. Then when one attains friendship with Kṛṣṇa, another transcendental quality is added. There is the conception that God is great and that service must be rendered unto Him, but there is also an extra feeling: “Kṛṣṇa is my friend. Therefore I must treat Him in such a way that He will be happy.” With a friend we are not simply content with rendering service but in making him actually happy and satisfied. There is also equality in such a relationship, for Kṛṣṇa and the devotee relate on equal terms. Thus devotees in this position actually forget Kṛṣṇa’s superiority. When Kṛṣṇa’s boyfriends used to ride on Kṛṣṇa’s shoulders playing games, they did not think that they were greater than Him. There is no question of sense gratification or self-glorification, for the relationship is based on pure love. The devotee’s only desire is to give pleasure to Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa also takes His friends on His shoulders to derive pleasure from them. Sometimes a person simply accepts the fact that his friend will slap his face—but there is no question of inferiority in such an action. When friendship and mutual pleasure are the basis of the relationship, there is no question of insult or inferiority.

The whole basis of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and a relationship with Kṛṣṇa is the pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa Himself. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the damsels of Vraja, and Kṛṣṇa’s cowherd boyfriends are all expansions of Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure potency. We all have a tendency toward pleasure, because the source from which we emanate is fully potent in pleasure. Impersonalists cannot think in these terms, for they deny the pleasure potency; therefore the impersonalist philosophy is incomplete and inferior. Those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness recognize the pleasure potency in Kṛṣṇa and in all His paraphernalia—His friends, servants, father, mother, and consort. All relationships with Kṛṣṇa that aim at satisfying Kṛṣṇa’s senses are manifestations of Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure potency.

As far as the individual soul is concerned, it is originally a part and parcel of this pleasure potency, of the reservoir of pleasure Himself. However, due to contact with material nature, the soul has forgotten its actual position and has become trapped in the evolutionary process of transmigration from one body to another. Thus one struggles hard for existence. Now we must extricate ourselves from the sufferings of the struggle, from the countless transmigrations that force us to suffer the miseries of birth, old age, disease, and death, and come to the point of our eternal life in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That eternal life is possible. If one tries his best in this human form of life, in his next life he will get a spiritual body. The spiritual body is already within the gross material body, but it will develop only as soon as one becomes free from the contamination of this material existence. That is the aim of human life and the actual self-interest of all people. Self-interest is actually realizing, “I am part and parcel of God. I have to return to the kingdom of God and join with Him.” Just as we have a social life here, God has a social life in the spiritual kingdom, and we can join Him there. It is not that after finishing this body we become void. In the Bhagavad-gītā (2.12) Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna, “Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings, nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.” Our existence is therefore eternal, and the changes of birth and death are simply the changes of the temporary material bodies.

The actual process for achieving eternal life is not at all difficult. This process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is based on knowledge received from Kṛṣṇa, the most perfect being. Knowledge received from others is defective because the conditioned soul is certain to commit mistakes, certain to be illusioned, certain to cheat, and certain to have imperfect senses. The knowledge received from Kṛṣṇa, however, actually enables us to see Kṛṣṇa. Someone may challenge, “Can you show me God?” and our answer is, “Yes. God can be seen at every moment.” Kṛṣṇa says, raso ’ham apsu kaunteya: “I am the taste of water.” We drink water every day, and the taste of water is there, so if we think of this taste as Kṛṣṇa, we will have begun realizing God every day. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa further says, prabhāsmi śaśi-sūryayoḥ: “I am the light of the sun and the moon.” Every day we receive sunlight, and in the evening there is moonshine, so if we think of the source of these emanations, we will ultimately become God conscious. There are so many similar instances given in the Bhagavad-gītā, for Kṛṣṇa is the beginning, middle, and end of all manifestations. If we want to become God conscious and realize our own essence, it is not very difficult. We only have to understand God in truth—how He appears, how He disappears, and what His functions are—then we can become eligible to enter into the kingdom of God. After quitting this material body, a person who understands God, Kṛṣṇa, does not return again to earth to accept another material body. Where does he go? Kṛṣṇa says, mām eti: “He comes to Me.” That should be the aim of any intelligent human being.

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108 Imporant Slokas from the 1972 Bhagavad-gita As It Is

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The Hare Krishna Cookbook

Songs of the Vaisnava Acaryas

Bhagavad-gita As It Is 1972 Edition “Online”

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Srimad Bhagavatam Online

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Raja-Vidya the King of Knowledge

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Important Slokas from the Brahma-samhita

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Slokas from the Sri Isopanisad

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Prayers By Queen Kunti (Slokas)

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Gajendra’s Prayers of Surrender (Slokas)

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A Short Statement of the Philosophy of Krishna Consciousness

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July 9th Letter

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The Hare Krishna Explosion

Reference Material/Study Guide

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