The Nectar of Instruction

Nectar of Instruction

Continuing with our series on the Nectar of Iststuction (Upadeśāmṛta), we are posting Text 6, the very important instructions given by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī on the position of a person situated in Krsna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada explains in the purport that a person engaged in devotional service must be free from material motives. In this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, one’s consciousness is what needs to be changed. How we should view the pure devotee, and also the warning is there how to avoid offenses at the feet of the Vaiṣṇavas. Very important instructions.

The Nectar of Instruction
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Text Six More

Killing of Dhenukāsura

During the Purusottama Month, it is always good to read and chant more. It is also important is to remember the wonderful pastimes of the Lord.

…After the demon was thrown into the trees, all the friends and associates of Dhenukāsura immediately assembled and attacked Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa with great force. They were determined to retaliate and avenge the death of their friend. But Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma began to catch each of the asses by the hind legs and, exactly in the same way, wheeled them around. Thus They killed all of them by throwing them into the palm trees. Because of the dead bodies of the asses, there was a panoramic scene. It appeared as if clouds of various colors were assembled in the trees. Hearing of this great incident, the demigods from the higher planets began to shower flowers on Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and began to beat their drums and offer devotional prayers.

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The Human Form of Life

“The very first step in self-realization is realizing one’s identity as separate from the body. “I am not this body but am spirit soul” is an essential realization for anyone who wants to transcend death and enter into the spiritual world beyond. It is not simply a matter of saying “I am not this body,” but of actually realizing it. This is not as simple as it may seem at first. Although we are not these bodies but are pure consciousness, somehow or other we have become encased within the bodily dress. If we actually want the happiness and independence that transcend death, we have to establish ourselves and remain in our constitutional position as pure consciousness.” (from Beyond Birth and Death)

THE HUMAN FORM OF LIFE

Srila Prabhupada would often pose the question: ‘what is the difference between a live body and a dead one?’ He would point out that if we are nothing but chemicals, then these chemicals are also present in the dead body. What is it that distinguishes a living form from a non-living form? The answer, Srila Prabhupada taught, is consciousness, or awareness. All living forms display this symptom of consciousness to one degree or another. That is why we call them living rather than dead. Even the small microbial germ or the common houseplant shows signs of consciousness, whereas our dining table and chairs do not.

Srila Prabhupada would stress that although different forms of life display different degrees and levels of consciousness, it is in the human form that we find the highest development of consciousness. He taught that since humans had the highest level of self-awareness it was a complete waste if he simply engaged in the same activities as the animals.

But what is it about our consciousness that makes it so different from that of the insect, the bird, the beast, or even the monkey? These creatures eat and we also eat; they sleep and we also sleep; they reproduce and we reproduce; they defend themselves and so do we. That we can perform these functions with greater sophistication may be one indicator that we possess higher consciousness, but it does not fully explain our excellence above all other forms of life.

Srila Prabhupada explained that the real difference is found in our ability to question our existence, reflect upon our selves, and inquire into our own nature and the nature of God. We can create languages, ponder the meaning of life, and puzzle in wonderment over the night sky. Such an endowment is not present in any other form of life.

The Vedas therefore advise that in this human form of life we should be inquisitive to know who we are, what the universe is, what God is, and what the relationship is between ourselves, the universe, and God.

We should inquire about the solution to the ultimate problems of life, namely birth, death, old age, and disease. Such questions cannot be asked by the cats and dogs, but they must arise in the heart of a real human being.

YOU ARE NOT THIS BODY

Without exception, all material phenomena have a beginning and an end. A prominent idea of modem culture is that consciousness is an­other such material phenomenon. Thus it is believed that consciousness (or the self) also ends with the death of the material body. This point of view, however, remains only an assumption. It has not been proven true by any scientific observation or experiment. Srila Prabhupada was highly critical of Western culture’s strong identification of the self with the material body as he explains in the second canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam:

“The whole materialistic world, based on the conception of the material body as the self, is ignorant of the science of God. The materialist is always busy working for the welfare of the material body, not only his own but also those of his children, kinsmen, communitymen, countrymen, etc. The materialists have many branches of philanthropic and altruistic activities from a political, national and international angle of vision, but none of the field work can go beyond the jurisdiction of the misconception of identifying the material body with the spirit soul. Unless, therefore, one is saved from the wrong conception of the body and the soul, there is no knowledge of Godhead, and unless there is knowledge of God, all advancement of material civilization, however dazzling, should be considered a failure.”

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