“God Only Cares How Much You Love Him”

Srila Prabhupada

…Everyone will say that “My system of religion is better than yours.” That is quite natural. A Hindu will say, “Oh, I am better than the Christian.” Christian will say, “I am better than the Hindu.” But Bhagavata says that that is not the test of religion. Bhagavat says, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje [SB 1.2.6]. That type of religion is the best by which one develops love of Godhead. That’s all. The test is how much you have developed love of Godhead. Bhava-grahi janardana. In Vedic literature it is said that God, Krsna, simply accepts your bhava or your situation, how much you have developed your attraction for God, or Krsna. That is taken into account. He does not take account that “Oh, you are very rich. You are very beautiful. You are very opulent,” or “You are very poor. You are not beautiful.” These considerations are not there. The only consideration is how much you love God. Then your life is successful. (Srimad Bhagavatam Lecture 7.9.12, Montreal)

Full Lecture

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Lecture
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 7, Chapter 9, Text 12
Given August 19, 1968
Montreal

Prabhupāda:

tasmād ahaṁ mahi gṛṇāmi vigata-
viklava īśvarasya yathā manīṣam
nīco jayā guṇa-visargam anupraviṣṭaḥ
pūyeta yena hi pumān anuvarṇitena
[SB 7.9.12]

This is the prayer of Prahlāda Mahārāja, a great devotee of Lord. So he has described that although he was born of an atheistic family, but still, Kṛṣṇa, or God, does not take account of a devotee, in which family he belongs. Kṛṣṇa does not take account, God does not take account of the family of breeding. He’s equally kind to everyone. You have seen the picture, that Kṛṣṇa is loving both the calves and as well as the gopīs. In the spiritual platform, there is no such distinction that one is on the higher level or one is on the lower level. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18]. In the Bhagavad-gītā, therefore, it is said that those who are actually learned, they have no such distinction. Although in material consideration, according to the body, there is distinction, in the spiritual platform there is no such distinction. Kṛṣṇa therefore says in the Bhagavad-gītā, māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye ‘pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ [Bg. 9.32]. Anyone, it does not matter in which family he belongs to, if he takes shelter unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, never mind what he is. He may be a man, he may be a woman, he may be a śūdra, he may be a brāhmaṇa or he may be black or he may be white. Everyone can approach to the highest platform of devotional service. It is open field.

So Prahlāda Mahārāja, although he was born of an atheistic family, he’s taking courage: “The Lord has no such distinction; therefore I shall pray according to my capacity.” Bhāva-grāhī janārdana. Bhāva. The Personality of Godhead takes account of your mental… Not exactly mental—your spiritual attraction, how much you are attracted. This attraction is the main thing. As I have several times explained in this meeting, that sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharma yato bhaktir adhokṣaje [SB 1.2.6]. What is the highest type of religion? Everyone will say that “My system of religion is better than yours.” That is quite natural. A Hindu will say, “Oh, I am better than the Christian.” Christian will say, “I am better than the Hindu.” But Bhāgavata says that that is not the test of religion. Bhagavat says, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje [SB 1.2.6]. That type of religion is the best by which one develops love of Godhead. That’s all. The test is how much you have developed love of Godhead. Bhāva-grāhī janārdana. In Vedic literature it is said that God, Kṛṣṇa, simply accepts your bhāva or your situation, how much you have developed your attraction for God, or Kṛṣṇa. That is taken into account. He does not take account that “Oh, you are very rich. You are very beautiful. You are very opulent,” or “You are very poor. You are not beautiful.” These considerations are not there. The only consideration is how much you love God. Then your life is successful.

So Prahlāda Mahārāja, therefore, taking courage, that the material qualifications are not assets to approach God, but it is only devotional service, service attitude. “Kṛṣṇa, or God, I love You. I can sacrifice You… I can sacrifice everything for You.” Just like Lord Jesus Christ. He sacrificed even his life. The gopīs, they also sacrificed everything for Kṛṣṇa. This is wanted. The degree of sacrifice, the degree of attachment is taken into consideration by God, not any material opulence. So Prahlāda Mahārāja is encouraged. Tasmād ahaṁ vigata-viklava īśvarasya sarvātmanā mahi gṛṇāmi yathā manīṣam: “Therefore I shall try to offer my prayers according to my capacity.” It is not that because one does not know Sanskrit or a particular type of language and he cannot pray very nicely with poetic simile, metaphors… These things are not required. Simply you have to open your feelings of love of Godhead. Then He’s pleased. It does not depend on the particular type of language or poetic ideas. No. There is one verse in the beginning of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that,

tad-vāg-visargo janatāgha-viplavo
yasmin prati-ślokam abaddhavaty api
nāmāny anantasya yaśo ‘ṅkitāni yat
śṛṇvanti gāyanti gṛṇanti sādhavaḥ
[SB 1.5.11]

It is said that a verse written in broken language… Suppose a person, a great devotee, is writing some prayers for God, but he has no idea of the rhetorical or prosodic method, the system of poetry. He has no such idea, but he is simply expressing his feeling. But if that feeling is correct, even the language is broken… There are many examples. Just like a child, he prays mother, parents, simply by crying. It has no language, but the mother understands what is the feeling of the child. It is the feeling that is taken into consideration, not the language. So Prahlāda Mahārāja very much encouraged, that tasmād ahaṁ vigata-viklava.

So without any doubt, īśvarasya, of the Lord, sarvātmanā, wholeheartedly, without any reservation, if I say, “My dear God, my dear Kṛṣṇa, from today I surrender unto You. Please protect me,” this very language, this very feeling will give you all protection. It is so nice. He does not require to be very learned man. In the spiritual platform there is no such consideration. Tasmād ahaṁ vigata…īśvarasya sarvātmanā. So the qualification is, without any reservation—”So much for God, so much for my sense gratification,” there is reservation. In the Bhagavad-gītā also the same thing is ordered by Kṛṣṇa: sarva-dharmān parityajya [Bg. 18.66]. Don’t divide your energy, that “So much energy for God, so much energy for māyā, or matter.” No. Sarvātmanā. Fully. Then whatever energy you have got, that is sufficient to approach God. It doesn’t matter what you are. Sarvātmanā mahi gṛṇāmi yathā manīṣam. Yathā manīṣam means “as far as it is possible by me.” Nīco ajayā, “although I am born low,” guṇa visargam anupraviṣṭaḥ, “but as soon as the vibration of Lord’s name will enter unto me, so I am, I may be qualitatively very low…” Just like there are three qualities. Someone may be in the quality of goodness, someone may be in the quality of passion, someone may be in the quality of darkness, or ignorance. But Kṛṣṇa, or God, is transcendental to all qualities, because He’s Supreme Spirit. We are also transcendental to all qualities, but at the present circumstances we are under the clutches of this qualitative existence. Somebody is very good man, somebody is very passionate man, somebody is ignorant fool. These are all qualitative representation of this material world. But as soon as you come to the platform of God, you transcend all the qualities. All the qualities. There is no such distinction, “good man,” “bad man,” “this man” or “that man.” In the Bhagavad-gītā also it is stated,

māṁ ca vyabhicāriṇi
bhakti yogena yaḥ sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
[Bg. 14.26]

Anyone who is engaged in unalloyed devotional service to the Lord, without any reservation—avyabhicāriṇi, not adulterated, simply pure love of Godhead, ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam [Cc. Madhya 19.167], favorably—how God will be pleased. With this feeling, if one is engaged in devotional service, māṁ ca vyabhicāriṇi bhakti yogena yaḥ sevate… If anyone is engaged in that way, then what is his position? Sa guṇān samatītyaitān [Bg. 14.26]. There are three qualities of the material nature, namely goodness, passion and ignorance. He at once transcends. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]. Immediately he is spiritually identified. Immediately.

So this process of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, if we do it very nicely… Nicely does not mean that we have to become a very nice musician or very artistic singer. No. Very nicely means sincerely and with great attention. The process is the highest yoga system. This transcendental vibration, if you simply concentrate your mind on the vibration “Hare Kṛṣṇa…” Other kinds of yoga system is not possible in this age. You cannot meditate on a particular subject matter because mind is so agitating and changing that you try to fix up your mind on a particular subject matter, but mind flickers from one subject to another, another, to another. Then it becomes something else. But this vibration is so nice that even if your mind is flickering, the sound will force you to, I mean to say, draw your attention. “Hare Kṛṣṇa.” So therefore… And it is very easy. For other sort of meditation, you have to learn how to sit down, how to fix up your body. You have to select a nice place, a solitary place, a purified place. You have to sit down in a certain posture. So many things. Those things are not possible at the present age because we are so much disturbed by the present atmosphere, everyone. Just like this morning you have news that the Russians have captured Czechoslovakia. How much distressed they are. I heard from the newspaper that several of them were crying. So this is the position. Padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadam [SB 10.14.58]. Every step, there is danger. The material conditional life is so obscure that every step. Therefore the first-class process of yoga is this bhakti-yoga. Simply you turn your attention to this vibration and chant it according to your capacity. It does not require any pre-education. Prahlāda Mahārāja said yathā manīṣam. Yathā manīṣam means “as far as it is in my power.” So you can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa as far as in your power. That means you can chant whenever it is possible. It is not that you have to go to a temple on a particular time and chant. No. While you are walking, you can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Practically we see, when we pass on the street, some of the children, seeing us, say, “Hare Kṛṣṇa. Hare Kṛṣṇa.” Even the children, they can also chant. It is so nice thing. Because they have no convention. So this chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa will give him some effect. Yathā manīṣam sarvātmanā.

Then guṇa-visargam anupraviṣṭaḥ. This vibration, as soon as enters within your mind, anupraviṣṭaḥ, because this vibration is absolute, there is no difference between Kṛṣṇa and His name. So Kṛṣṇa is always within you. God is always within you as the Supersoul. So this transcendental sound immediately reminds you, so you become immediately connected. And it is said that those who are engaged in such yoga system, bhakti-yoga system… Śṛṇvatāṁ sva kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ [SB 1.2.17]. This chanting vibration is so nice that at least you become pious. Puṇya śravaṇa-kīrtana. Anyone who hears, he becomes purified. Puṇya śravana-kīrtana. Hṛdy antaḥ sthaḥ. And the Supreme Lord Paramātmā, Supersoul, is within you. As soon as you begin chanting, then hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi. Abhadrāṇi means all dirty things that you have accumulated birth after birth, due to this material contamination… Hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi vidhunoti. Vidhunoti. Vi means “particularly,” and dhunoti, “washes.” Suhṛt satām. Because He’s always our friend. God is always our friend. We do not know that. That is the difficulty. We have lost our friendship with God, and we are trying to make friendship with this and that, with this and that. That is the cause of disturbance in the world. They are trying for establishing peace in the world, but they do not know what is the method of establishing peace.

The method of establishing peace is described in the Bhagavad-gītā, suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati.

bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ
sarva-loka-maheśvaram
suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
[Bg. 5.29]

If you want śānti-śānti means peace—then you should simply understand that everything belongs to God. That’s all. Actually it is. Nothing belongs to you. If you are intelligent, if you scrutinizingly study, everything belongs to God. Nothing belongs to me. Even this body does not belong to me. I have come with this body given by God, open-handed, without any asset. And I shall pass away from this world leaving this body open-handed. So actually nothing belongs to me. It is simply māyā, illusion, that we are thinking, “This is mine. This is mine. This is mine.” This is the cause. Just like the Russians, they have occupied Czechoslovakia. They are thinking, “It is mine.” Or somebody is thinking, “It is mine.” This is the cause of… Because it is ignorance. But actually, everything belongs to God. If this sense is spread all over the world—”Nothing belongs to anyone but God, and we are all sons of God”—that is the best communism. Everyone—animal, man, everything—everyone has got right to live. Everyone is God’s son. And the whole property belongs to God. If this philosophy is taught, then there will be peace. Otherwise there is no question of peace. So bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram [Bg. 5.29]. And suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānām. And He is the friend, the sinceremost friend of everyone. Why not? If we are sons of God, who can love more than the father? Naturally, there is affection and love of the father towards children. Don’t you find it, how He is providing? Even, although we are disobedient, still, He is supplying all the necessities of our life. He’s supplying light, He’s supplying water, He’s supplying air—the essential necessities of your life. Without sunlight you cannot live. Without water you cannot live. So by grace of God, you are getting; still, you are so ungrateful that we do not remember God or offer our gratitude. That is the cause. This godless civilization is the cause of disturbing peace. Bhoktāraṁ sarva…, yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaraṁ suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānām [Bg. 5.29].

So this bhakti process is to acknowledge the supremacy of God. He is the maintainer of everyone, as it is stated in the Vedic literature. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām eko bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). Eko. Eko. That one, He’s also living entity like you and me. Man is made after God. Therefore God has got two hands, two legs; therefore you have got two hands, two legs. Imitation. So that eko, that one, is the maintainer of these many so-called gods. We are also gods in this sense because we are part and parcel of God. Just like a particle of gold is also gold, but that does not mean that the particle of gold is equal to the gold mine. That is the real understanding of philosophy. We are gods undoubtedly. In which way? Qualitatively. God is gold. Because we are part and parcel of God, therefore we are also gold. But He is big gold. He is the greatest gold. God is great. We are smallest gold. And if we understand this philosophy, then we become naturally submissive and our constitutional position… And then our prayer as subordinate, submissive, it is very nicely placed, and God accepts, and then our lost friendship is reestablished. That is the highest perfection of life. Caitanya Mahāprabhu preached this philosophy, prema pumārtho mahān, that if you want success of your life, then try to achieve your lost loving relationship with God. Then your life is successful. If you want to have success otherwise, that is your defeat.

The Bhāgavata says, parābhavas tāvad abodha-jāto. We are all born ignorant. Unless there is ignorance, nobody takes birth in this material world. Anyone—may be he is Brahmā or the smallest insignificant creature like a germ or an ant—everyone has got body, a particular type of body. So anyone who has got this material body, he is more or less sinful. That is the verdict. Without being sinful, we do not get this material body. And as soon as we are out of the influence of this material energy, sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]. How? Māṁ ca vyabhicāriṇi-bhakti-yogena. Simply by bhakti-yoga. Simply by engaging yourself cent percent, without any deviation, in the devotional service of the Lord, you immediately become freedom or liberation from this material bondage. And if you keep yourself in that position, then you are liberated in this life, and after leaving this body, you get your liberated body. That is mukti. Mukti means hitvā anyathā rūpam. Mukti means when you give up your material contaminated life. Hitvā anyathā rūpaṁ sa guṇena avasthiti. To be, I mean to say, situated in the constitutional position, that is called mukti. So our constitutional position is that God is great and we are small. And our position is that God is the Supreme and we are subordinate, and our business is to serve God. This is our position. We are serving, but instead of serving God, we are serving dog. That is the position. But service is there. So when you, actually when we serve God, then we can serve everyone. Because that is real position. Just like if you love your father, then you can love your brothers also. Because you know that “If I don’t love my brothers, then father will not be pleased.” The center must be the father. So without loving father, you cannot love your family members. Similarly, without loving God, you cannot love, exhibit love, in any way. You may advertise yourself, universal brotherhood and so on, so on. This will be all failure because the center is missing. The present defect is that the center is missing; therefore there is no peace in the world. So we have to search out the center. What is that center?

ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ
[Bg. 10.8]

One who has searched out the center, Kṛṣṇa, that “Here is the fountainhead of everything,” iti matvā bhajante mām, the intelligent person engages himself in the service of the Supreme Lord and thus he gets peace and prosperity of life.

Thank you very much. Any question?

Young man: How did the gopīs surrender unto Kṛṣṇa? You said they surrendered everything. How did they do it?

Prabhupāda: Gopīs’ surrender is the perfection of life. That is the highest perfectional stage of surrender. So that stage is very far, far away. First of all, learn to surrender; then you… Just like let us first of all enter into the school; then talk of M.A. examination. The gopīs’ love is just like M.A. examination. So people are not even schooling. So first we have to surrender by the regulative principle, by the order of the spiritual master: “You do this, you do that, you do this, you do that.” Then gradually, ādau śraddhā, if you have got faith, then ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅga [Cc. Madhya 23.14-15]. Sādhu-saṅga means to associate with the bona fide spiritual master and abide by his order. Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅga ‘tha bhajana-kriyā. And as soon as you intimately associate with the spiritual master, he teaches you how to develop devotional service. Bhajana-kriyā. And if you are perfectly executing devotional service, then anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt, then all your misgivings and misunderstanding will be cleared. Then niṣṭha, then you get firm faith. Beginning is the faith, but when your misgivings are all, I mean to say, eradicated, then the firm…, faith becomes firm. Tato niṣṭha tataḥ rucis. Then after firm faith, you come to the stage of taste. It is very nice, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Tato niṣṭha tataḥ rucis tathāsakti, then attachment. Then you cannot leave. Then ecstasy. Then you come to the stage of gopī love. Don’t try to come to the stage of gopī immediately. First of all, follow the rules and regulation. Gradually, when misgivings are all gone, you have got firm faith, attachment, ecstasy, then come to this stage.(?) But the ideal is to come to that stage. Just like a student’s ideal is to pass the M.A. examination. But that requires time and endeavor, patience. Not immediately. Yes?

Rukmiṇī: When we learn to love Kṛṣṇa, do we transcend goodness?

Prabhupāda: Transcend? What is that?

Haṁsadūta: When we learn to love Kṛṣṇa, do we transcend goodness?

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Goodness is very good in this material world, but that is also a bondage. If I think, “Oh, I am very learned man. I am very good man,” that is also bondage. We have to go far above even goodness, which is called śuddha-sattva. Śuddha-sattva means pure goodness. Now here the sense of goodness, “I am very good,” this is mixed with the quality of passion. I am feeling proud of my goodness; therefore as soon as there is pride, it is mixed up with the quality of passion. So therefore you’ll find all the Vaiṣṇavas, they never think that he’s very good. He thinks, “Oh, I am the lowest. I am the most fallen.” Caitanya-caritāmṛta kar says, “If anyone recites my name, then all his pious activities immediately becomes vanquished.” You see. This is the platform. Tṛṇād api sunīcena. Always thinking very humble and meek. That is above goodness. If I think that I am very good, that is also material. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. To think very poor or think very rich or think very bad or think very good, they are all material qualifications. Simply think, “I am the humble servant of the Supreme Lord.” That is the, mean, unalloyed goodness.

Janārdana? You can chant. And you can take khol. (end)

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