Heaven or Hell

Srila Prabhupada in New York City

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…The Kṛṣṇa conscious person can go even to hell and still be happy. The pure devotee is never unhappy in any condition of life.

For a devotee, being situated in the heavenly planets and being in the hellish planets are equal, for a devotee lives neither in heaven nor in hell but with Kṛṣṇa in the spiritual world. The secret of success for the devotee is not understood by the karmīs and jñānīs. Karmīs therefore try to be happy by material adjustment, and jñānīs want to be happy by becoming one with the Supreme. The devotee has no such interest. He is not interested in so-called meditation in the Himalayas or the forest. Rather, his interest is in the busiest part of the world, where he teaches people Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started for this purpose. We do not teach one to meditate in a secluded place just so that one may show that he has become very much advanced and may be proud of his so-called transcendental meditation, although he engages in all sorts of foolish materialistic activity.

A Vaiṣṇava is not interested in such a bluff of spiritual advancement. Rather, he is interested in enlightening people in Kṛṣṇa consciousness because that is the only way for them to become happy. One wanders within the universe, life after life, but by the grace of a devotee, a servant of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one can get the clue to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and then not only become happy in this world but also return home, back to Godhead. That is the real target in life… The members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement must be fully convinced that without Kṛṣṇa one cannot be happy. Thus the Kṛṣṇa conscious person avoids all kinds of pseudo spiritualists, transcendentalists, meditators, monists, philosophers and philanthropists. (from Purport to SB 7.9.44)

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Om, Oṁkāra, or the Praṇava, is the Seed of Transcendental Realization

…Oṁkāra, or the praṇava, is the seed of transcendental realization, and it is composed of the three transcendental letters a-u-m. By its chanting by the mind, in conjunction with the breathing process, which is a transcendental but mechanical way of getting into trance, as devised by the experience of great mystics, one is able to bring the mind, which is materially absorbed, under control.

Oṁkāra is the seed of all transcendental sound and it is only the transcendental sound which can bring about the desired change of the mind and the senses. Mind or desire cannot be stopped, but to develop a desire to function for spiritual realization, the quality of engagement by the mind has to be changed.

In the Bhagavad-gītā, the praṇava (oṁkāra) has been accepted as the direct, literal representation of the Supreme Absolute Truth. One who is not able to chant directly the holy name of the Lord, as recommended above, can easily chant the praṇava (oṁkāra). This oṁkāra is a note of address, such as “O my Lord,” just as oṁ hari om means “O my Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” As we have explained before, the Lord’s holy name is identical with the Lord Himself. So also is oṁkāra. But persons who are unable to realize the transcendental personal form or name of the Lord on account of their imperfect senses (in other words, the neophytes) are trained to the practice of self-realization by this mechanical process of regulating the breathing function and simultaneously repeating the praṇava (oṁkāra) within the mind.

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The Gopīs Attracted by the Flute

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…Kṛṣṇa was very expert in playing the flute, and the gopīs were captivated by the sound vibration, which was not only attractive to them, but to all living creatures who heard it. One of the gopīs told her friends, ”The highest perfection of the eyes is to see Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma entering the forest and playing Their flutes and tending the cows with Their friends.“

Persons who are constantly engaged in the transcendental meditation of seeing Kṛṣṇa, internally and externally, by thinking of Him playing the flute and entering the Vṛndāvana forest, have really attained the perfection of samādhi.

Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Chapter 21

The Gopīs Attracted by the Flute

Kṛṣṇa was very pleased with the atmosphere of the forest where flowers bloomed and bees and drones hummed very jubilantly. While the birds, trees and branches were all looking very happy, Kṛṣṇa, tending the cows, accompanied by Śrī Balarāma and the cowherd boys, began to vibrate His transcendental flute. After hearing the vibration of the flute of Kṛṣṇa, the gopīs in Vṛndāvana remembered Him and began to talk amongst themselves about how nicely Kṛṣṇa was playing His flute. When the gopīs were describing the sweet vibration of Kṛṣṇa’s flute, they also remembered their pastimes with Him; thus their minds became disturbed, and they were unable to describe completely the beautiful vibrations. While discussing the transcendental vibration, they remembered also how Kṛṣṇa dressed, decorated with a peacock feather on His head, just like a dancing actor, and with blue flowers pushed over His ear. His garment glowed yellow-gold, and He was garlanded with a vaijayantī necklace. Dressed in such an attractive way, Kṛṣṇa filled up the holes of His flute with the nectar emanating from His lips. So they remembered Him, entering the forest of Vṛndāvana, which is always glorified by the footprints of Kṛṣṇa and His companions.

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