(Reprinted from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust)
A lecture by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness


yuktasya bhaktams ca niyunjato 'pi
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

So this is one of the items, to learn how to decorate the Deity, sri-vigraha. Sri means goddess of fortune, Laksmi. Krsna is always associated with Laksmi. Srimati Radharani is the original goddess of fortune, and as all other Visnu-murti, Nara... Ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan [Bs. 5.39]. Krsna is always existing -- tisthan means existing -- with many other forms simultaneously: Rama, Nrsimha, Varaha and Narayana, Visnu. So Visnu and Narayana is... There are many expansion. You have seen on the cover of Srimad-Bhagavatam. There are different planets, and each and every planet there is the predominating Deity, Narayana, Visnu. They have got different names. So He is always associated with His eternal consort as well as devotees, many thousand, millions, in the spiritual world. In the material world... The creation of the material world is one-fourth demonstration of the whole creation, and this is one of the universes. In the material world there are innumerable universes. Yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti [Bs. 5.40]. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu was requested by one of His devotee that "Sir, You have come. You just liberate all the residents of this universe, and that will make me very happy. And if You think they are so impious they cannot be liberated, then I am ready to take up their sinful activities. But You take them away," at that time Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that "Even one universe is liberated, still there are so many universes. This universe is just like one mustard seed in the bag of mustard seeds." So just imagine how many universes are there. All these together, that is one-fourth energy demonstration of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said in the Bhagavad-gita, ekamsena sthito jagat [Bg. 10.42]. It is only one-fourth of the demon..., manifestation. The three-fourth manifestation -- in the spiritual world. So just imagine God's creation. It is inconceivable by us, but we can learn it by sravanam. That is the only way. We, even in this material world, in this universe, we have heard of so many planets, but it is not possible to go and see. They cannot go even in the moon planet, and still, they are very much proud of their advancement of knowledge. So we cannot understand even. But if we patiently hear from the right source, then we can, may have some..., we may have some conception. Just like in the Bhagavad-gita Krsna says, paras tasmat tu bhavah anyah [Bg. 8.20]. Bhavah, or svabhavah, or nature, there is another nature. So we have to hear. By hearing... This is the beginning of bhakti, sravanam. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh. We have to hear, and after hearing, we have to repeat. That is called kirtanam. So in this way there are nine different processes, you know. Navadha bhakti.

sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam
[SB 7.5.23]

So because these activities, devotional activities, are on the spiritual platform, all of them are Absolute. It is not that if you are hearing but you are not chanting, then your result will be little less than the other who is hearing and chanting. No. It is Absolute Truth. Just like if you taste a sugar candy, lump of sugar candy, from any side you taste, the sweetness is there. There is no difference, that if you taste this side, then it is more sweet than the other side. Krsna is complete Absolute Truth. So any side. If you become expert in hearing, that is as good as one is engaged in other eight processes or nine processes. That is stated in the sastra. Just like Pariksit Maharaja. He simply listened. He did not do any other process. Sri-visnu-sravane pariksit. They got liberation simply by executing one of the nine different processes. So sri-visnoh sravane pariksid abhavad vaiyasakih kirtane. Pariksit Maharaja got liberation simply by hearing. And Sukadeva Gosvami, he got liberation simply by chanting. And similarly, Prahlada Maharaja, he got liberation simply by memorizing, smarane; Laksmiji, simply by serving the lotus feet of Narayana. So Krsna consciousness is in the absolute platform. There is no relativity. In the temple worship, as there are so many different duties -- one is worshiping directly the Deity, decorating the Deity, and the other is washing the temple. It does not mean that the one who is cleansing the Deity, he is less important than the person who is in the temple room, Deity room. No. Because it is absolute. The Deity... As the Deity is important, similarly, the floor of the temple is also important, same importance, because absolute. So in executing our devotional service we are engaged in different duties. Somebody is cooking. Somebody is decorating the Deity. Somebody is cleansing the floor. Somebody is going to sell books. Somebody is doing something. Everything -- nirbandhe krsna sambandhe, in relationship with Krsna. Because the relationship is there with Krsna, then every activity which you are doing, that is complete. There is no such material distinction. Just like here in the material world somebody is sitting in the office chair and somebody is cleansing the office, so the cleaner is supposed to be lower than the officer, but in the spiritual world there is no such distinction. The officer and the cleaner, they are of the same importance. That is even Krsna, with Krsna. That is spiritual world. In Vrndavana the cowherds boys, they are playing with Krsna on equal terms. They do not know Krsna is God. They simply know how to love Krsna, that's all. There is no need of thinking that "Krsna is greater than the other cowherds boy. They are living entities." There is no such sense. Krsna wants that. That is Goloka Vrndavana worship. Simply the center is Krsna, and all the inhabitants of Vrndavana, they love Krsna, and they do not know anything except Krsna. This is Vrndavana life. Everyone knows that "Krsna is my very intimate friend." Somebody knows, "Krsna is my son," somebody knows that "Krsna is my master," and somebody is thinking, "Krsna is my lover." But center is Krsna. The cows, the calves, the friends, the gopis, and the cowherds boy, Krsna's father, Nanda Maharaja, Krsna's mother, Yasomati, and... Everyone's center is Krsna, "How Krsna will be happy?" This is Vrndavana life. If we try to follow the footsteps of the residents of Vrndavana, how to love Krsna, then our life is successful.

That is the recommendation of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Prema pum-artho mahan. Pum-artho means purusartha, or the goal of life. The goal of life in the material world, generally, not for the animals but for the human being, the goal of life, generally-religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation. Dharma, artha, kama, moksa [SB 4.8.41, Cc. Adi 1.90]. Some people are interested to become pious, religious, because by becoming pious and religious their economic development will be automatically there. And some of them are interested in simply in economic development for satisfaction of the senses. And some of them -- they are considered to be the topmost-interested in liberation. But a Krsna conscious devotee, he is not interested in either of these four items. He is interested how to love Krsna. That is pure devotion. That is paneama-purusartha (?). So people do not know it. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum [SB 7.5.31]. People do not know it generally. If one is very pious man, he wants to be religious, moralist, religious. And others, karmis, they are interested how to develop economic position. And others, they are simply interested in sense gratification. This is material world. And when these materialistic persons are disgusted, then they want liberation. Their liberation means to become one, merge into the existence of the Supreme. That is not very difficult. They give the example that the water mixes with the vast mass of water, and they become one. But that is not the fact. You can make an experiment that you take a little red water and put it in the ocean. The ocean does not become red. So chemically also, the water, they are composition of molecules of water. But it is mixed with water. That is a fact, but there is another process which evaporates the water. Suppose you are mixed with the water. The Mayavadi philosophy, that "We... Let us mix with the big water. Then I become big..." Because here in the material world he tried to become big in so many ways but he could not become big, therefore he wants to merge into the biggest, Brahman, so that he thinks that he will become... He is already Brahman. So the Brahman effulgence is combination of so many sparks of living entities.

So this philosophy, to merge into the big Brahman, Supreme Brahman, or effulgence, brahmajyoti, that is not very secure position. It is said in the sastra that aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adhah: [SB 10.2.32] they fall down. We have seen that many Mayavadi philosophers or sannyasis, they give up this world as mithya, false, but after some time, they again come to this false material world for some philanthropic work, humanitarian work, because they could not get Krsna. If you have left this world as false, then why you are coming again to give service to the world? No. They could not get. Aruhya krcchrena param padam [SB 10.2.32]. Param padam means Brahman. Patanty adhah: "They fall down." Why? Anadrta-yusmad-anghrayah: "Because they neglected the lotus feet of Krsna." They did not get any shelter. Just like if you go very high in the sky but if you don't get a shelter, then again you come back. Just like these moon-planet-goers, they attempted many times jumping, but they could not get any shelter. They have come back again. Now they have I think left off. What is that? "Grapes are sour." After jumping, jumping, the jackal, when he could not get the grapes, then he says that "Grapes are sour." That is... (laughter) "No need." So these so-called scientists, after jumping like the jackal, could not get any place in the moon planet, and they have come down again. It is not possible. You cannot go to any of the planets, although they are material. You cannot... Just like you cannot go to any country without getting the visa permit, similarly... There are many planets. They are open for your entrance, but not in that way, that by force you will go. That is not possible.

Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita it is said, yanti deva-vrata devan [Bg. 9.25]. You have to qualify yourself to enter into such planets. They are called heavenly planets. You cannot enter by force. Therefore we are conditioned. We are not free. We are conditioned. We should always remember that we are conditioned by the material nature. We cannot... We are not free. We are not independent. That we are forgetting. At the present moment the trained-up civilization is that everyone is thinking that he is independent, he can do whatever he likes, he can manufacture his own process of religious principles. These maddened ideas are there. No. Religious principle you cannot manufacture. Just like law. You cannot say that "I will manufacture my own law." No. That is not possible. Law means state's law, and you have to abide by that. That is law. You cannot avoid it. You cannot say that "I won't accept the state laws. I will make my own laws." That is not possible. Dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. Dharma means the laws and the regulation given by God. That is dharma. Therefore Krsna said, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. This is real dharma. And Bhagavata says, dharmah projjhita-kaitavah atra: "In the Srimad-Bhagavatam all cheating types of religious principle is rejected." The real dharma is to surrender to Krsna. That is real dharma. And any religion which does not teach this principle, to surrender to God, Krsna, and love Him... that is real religion. Therefore Bhagavata teaches that real religion, Bhagavata-dharma. And Bhagavata declares in the beginning that "All cheating type of religious system is rejected, kicked out." Projjhita. Projjhita means just like you wash your floor or sweep your floor and collect the dust and throw it away, similarly, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam the unwanted so-called religious system, they have been collected and thrown away. Here in the Srimad-Bhagavatam there is only one religious system, which is spoken in the Bhagavad-gita in the last chapter, Eighteenth Chapter, that sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. If we accept this principle, then we enter into the Bhagavata-dharma. Otherwise there is no entrance in the Bhagavata-dharma.

For the Mayavadi who wants to become one with the Supreme... You can become one. One means the same thing, a small portion of the water. But our philosophy is not to mix up with the water superficially but enter into the water and live there like fish, big, big fish. That is our philosophy. What is the use of becoming one with the water? Go within the water and live there like a whale fish, perpetually. That is our philosophy. So that is secure philosophy, because as soon as actually you become a big fish within the water, there is no question of evaporation. But if you live, remain superficially on the water, then you will be evaporated again and again thrown outside, then again come as river. So your coming and going, repetition of birth and death, will not stop. But one should become a big fish, there is no evaporation. These things are explained in the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu by Rupa Gosvami. So don't be misled by this Mayavada philosophy, that you fall into the water. Tohe janame punah tohe visarata (?). They say that "Enter into the Supreme." You can enter, but what is the benefit? You will be again evaporated. Aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adhah [SB 10.2.32]. Because living entity by nature is anandamayo 'bhyasat (Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12), by nature they want pleasure, every one of us. Every one of us, we are struggling so hard. Why? To get some pleasure. Nobody is trying so hard to making suicide. Is anybody there in this material world who is working so hard for ultimately making suicide? No. Everyone is trying to become happy. Anandamayo 'bhyasat (Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12). Because he wants. That is his nature, sat-cit-ananda: eternal life, full of knowledge and full of bliss. This is real life. So if we simply accept eternity like the Mayavadis, then what about the other two items? Or if we simply live in knowledge... Suppose theoretically I know so many things to prepare-rasagulla, sandesa, halava, kachori -- but if I do not practically taste what is halava, what is kachori, then what is the use of simply having knowledge? So the Mayavadi philosophy like that, jnana, simply knowledge. That knowledge is there in the Bhagavad-gita in the beginning, the first lesson: dehino 'smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam [Bg. 2.13]. "Within the body there is the soul. That soul is eternal." Na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. Na jayate na mriya... This is the first lesson, that "I am Brahman. I am spirit soul. I am eternal. I do not die even after the annihilation..." This is the first lesson. It doesn't require much time, that we have to devote our whole life to understand that "I am Brahman." It can be understood even by a child. It is not very difficult. But how to engage myself as Brahman, that requires education. That is,

sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam
[SB 7.5.23]

So these things begins after self-realization. Otherwise, why one should be interested about Visnu, sravanam kirtanam visnoh? One is interested, "What is the report of the share market?" That's all. He should hear that? No. The sastra says, "No. You should hear about Visnu only." That is our Krsna consciousness movement, that "You hear about Visnu, Krsna, and not anybody else. There are so many politicians, big, big other materialistic person. We can hear about him. Just like people are reading the biography of big, big politicians and spoiling their time. We are not interested. We are not interested. We are interested only to hear about Visnu. That is Krsna consciousness. We are inter... So many biographies are there. People are interested. But our literature... We have published so many, about fifty books -- only on Krsna. That's all, nothing else. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh. These three processes is going on. The publication means sravanam kirtanam visnoh [SB 7.5.23]. Or smaranam pada-sevanam. They are of Visnu. That is Krsna consciousness movement. Stick to this principle. Don't try to hear anything else. Tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavah.

tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo
yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api
namany visnu-yaso 'nkitani
srnvanti gayanti grnanti sadhavah
[SB 1.5.11]

And, on the other hand, na tad vacas citra-padam harer yaso pragrnita kar..., na pragrnita karhicit, tad vayasam tirtham. To the devotees, a literature, a so-called literature, very nicely written, with decorated words, metaphorism and these things... Tad-vag-visargo, na tad vacas citra-padam, very nicely, literally very nicely decorated, na tad vacas citra-padam harer yaso na pragrnita karhicit, but there is no mention about Krsna and His glories... Just like especially in the Western countries you have got newspaper, big, big bunch of newspaper, but not a single line is there about Krsna, not a single. So for the devotees this kind of literature is compared with the garbage. Tad vayasam tirtham. Just like vayasam, crows. The crows gather together where? Where everything nuisance thrown away, they gather together. You will find. That is the nature amongst the class of bird. Where all nasty things are thrown away, the crows will gather. The another bird, swans, they will not go there. The swans will gather in a very nice garden with clear water, lotus flower, and birds, and singing. They will gather there. As there are... By nature, there are different classes of animals, even in the birds, beasts. "The birds of the same feather flock together."

So where the crows go, the swans do not go. And where the swans go, the crows have no access. Similarly, the Krsna consciousness movement is meant for the swans, not for the crows. So try to remain swans, raja-hamsa or paramahamsa. Hamsa means swan. Even if we have got this little place, don't go to the place of the crows, the so-called clubs, restaurant, brothel, dancing club, and... People are... Especially in the Western countries, they are very much busy with these places. But don't remain crow. Become swans simply by this process, chanting and hearing about Krsna. This is the process, to remain paramahamsa. Dharma-projjhita-kaitava atra nirmatsaranam. Dharma-projjhita-kaitava atra paramo nirmatsaranam [SB 1.1.2]. This Bhagavata-dharma, this Krsna consciousness, is meant for paramo nirmatsaranam. Matsara, matsarata. Matsara means envy. I am envious of you. You are envious of me. This is material world. Just like so many envious persons are there in this quarter, simply lodging complaint against us. We have got good experience of this. So the Bhagavata-dharma is meant for paramo nirmatsaranam. Matsarata means one who cannot endure or can tolerate others' advancement. That is called matsarata. That is the nature of everyone. Everyone is trying to advance more. The neighbor is envious: "Oh, this man is going ahead. I could not." This is... Even if he is brother, even if he is son, this is the nature of the... So therefore this Bhagavata-dharma is not meant for such persons, who are envious. It is meant for the paramo nirmatsaranam, who has given up this envy or envious attitude ultimately. Now, how it is possible? It is possible only when you have learned how to love Krsna. Then it is possible. Then you will see that "Everyone is Krsna's part and parcel. So he is suffering for want of his Krsna consciousness. Let me speak something about Him, about Krsna. Let me give some literature to him about Krsna so that one day he will come to Krsna consciousness and become happy." This is sravanam kirtanam smaranam process. We should ourself also continuously hear from authoritative literature, person, and continuously go on chanting the same thing, repetition. That's all. Then everything will be happy atmosphere. Otherwise the crows assembly in the garbage will continue, and nobody will be happy.

Thank you very much. (end)
(Srila Prabhupada Departure Lecture, London, March 12, 1975)
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