Being Devoid Of Krishna Is Danger
(Compiled from notes on lectures of H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami)
In the fifteenth chapter of the first canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, we find that Arjuna comes back from Dwaraka after hearing the news of the departure of Lord Krishna to His eternal abode and seeing the unprecedented dejection of Arjuna, Maharaja Yudhistira asks him about the reason for his grief. At that time, Arjuna with strong feeling of separation from Krishna, speaks a number of verses remembering and feeling obliged to the Lord for all the benefactions. In Srimad Bhagavatam 1.15.21 he speaks about the reason for him being defeated by infidel cowherd men when he was guarding the bodies of all the wives of Krishna.
tad vai dhanus ta isavah sa ratho hayaas te
so 'ham rathi nrpatayo yata aanamanti
sarvam ksanena tad abhud asad isa-riktam
bhasman hutam kuhaka-raaddham ivoptam usyaam
"I have the very same Gandiva bow, the same arrows, the same chariot drawn by the same horses, and I use them as the same Arjuna to whom all the kings offered their due respects. But in the absence of Lord Krishna, all of them, at a moment’s notice, have become null and void. It is exactly like offering clarified butter on ashes, accumulating money with a magic wand or sowing seeds on barren land."
In his transcendental purport Srila Prabhupada writes categorically,
"One should not be puffed up by borrowed plumes. All energies and powers are derived from the supreme source, Lord Krishna, and they act as long as He desires and cease to function as soon as He withdraws. All electrical energies are received from the powerhouse, and as soon as the powerhouse stops supplying energy, the bulbs are of no use. In a moment’s time such energies can be generated or withdrawn by the supreme will of the Lord."
In the above verse the word ‘isha-riktam’ is very important for us to understand. ‘isha’ means ‘Krishna, the Supreme Controller’ and ‘riktam’ means ‘void of’. Our lives become useless and full of danger, devoid of Krishna. If we want to save ourselves from being devoid of Krishna, understanding and practicing certain things become essential and I am summarising herewith the following points spoken by our beloved Guru Maharaja in this regard.
1. Understanding the greatness of Krishna
2. Understanding the uselessness of the material body
3. Leading a simple life
4. Peaceful attitude
5. Wasting time is the greatest crime
6. Changing our life style
7. Understanding that nothing depends on us
8. Krishna is our capital
Maharaja gave a number of wonderful instructions on the above points and I shall try to transcribe them to the best of my ability, by his blessings.
1. Understanding the Greatness of Krishna:
The first difficulty is that we have no idea of the greatness of Krishna. General mass, they think that they know about Krishna but they are completely ignorant. We are heir-apparent to the Vedic culture but it has become a ritual and we have to be careful about it. Ritual means just doing. That’s it. In the shop there is one corner and that is the temple. They light agarbathi (incense) and forget about the whole thing. That is ritual. That should go away. The sincerity can only be there when we understand Him. Ritual has no meaning at all. Because we do not have any heart or bhaava or mellow, we have no attraction. In order to develop the mellow, we must know the person. In order to describe Krishna there are innumerable verse in Srimad Bhagavad gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. These verses are divided in two parts. The first part is how to behave ourselves and improve the quality of our life. The other part of the verses are clear description of Krishna. A few verses we should try to understand in order to understand the greatness of the Lord. Otherwise our lives are useless. Our life becomes ‘isha riktam’ devoid of Krishna. We try to put everything else first and last is Krishna. That is our difficulty.
2. Understanding the uselessness of the material body:
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.10.10 states,
deva-samjnitam apy ante
"While living one may be proud of one’s body, thinking oneself a very big man, minister, president or even demigod, but whatever one may be, after death this body will turn either into worms, into stool or into ashes."
These are the three things we have to remember. At the end, as soon as the atma (soul) and the paramatma (Supersoul) leave the body, the body will be converted in to stool if the body is eaten by the birds. If the body is buried, it will become insects and if the body is burnt, it will become ash. Such a big body and the ash is only a palmful. So what is there to be proud of?
We do not know one thing. The bones and the flesh do not have the capacity to give mobility. It is only the air in the body that moves. Air is the main thing and it is the energy of Krishna. Till the air is there we are moving about, seeing and hearing. As soon as it is gone, the body is there but it doesn’t work at all. Srila Prabhupada gives a very nice example. If we pump the air into the balloon, it will fly. But as soon as there is a pinprick in the balloon, the air will come out, and that balloon without any life will fall down on the ground. However hard we try in our life, our life is like that of the balloon. For balloon, we require a pinprick to take the air out. But this body doesn’t require pinprick. It just goes away within no time- null and void. As soon as Krishna rejects (tvad upekshitaanaam) the body is gone. So what is there to be proud of? Everything is depending on air. Suppose air is absent from this planet, there won’t be any life. All the movement is because of air, and with the movement there is consciousness or cetanaa. There is the motive power and it moves. The motive power is supplied by the heart and that is why the heart is very important. In one hour, nearly 5 litres of blood is supplied to the different limbs and again the dirty blood is collected and because of the air, it is purified and again supplied. How much dirty things are within? In our body, except mutra and vista (urine and stool) we don’t have anything. You drink, it becomes mutra. You eat, it becomes vista. We are doing both and that is needed for the survival of the body. The minimum goes in, that is the best. That is why we get up at 4.00 AM and since then, till 9.00 AM we do not have anything. Otherwise, ordinary people don’t get up early. As soon as he gets up, he must have tobacco or tea or some intoxicant.
In the morning we get up and we throw ourselves before the Lord. This is humility. And because of this humility the body is getting nourished. Humility is required for a healthy body. As soon as you are proud, your circulation doesn’t go normal. That is the thing. All the six enemies kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada, matsarya stop the circulation of blood.
The first ABC of spiritual knowledge is that we have to be very humble ‘trnaadapi sunicena..’ and we are proud of so many things. Pride and spiritual progress cannot go together. Those who are really humble, they can go to Krishna by following the spiritual process. Srila Prabhupada has not complicated bhakti. He has made it very simple. Bhakti is very important and it doesn’t require anything. It only requires the constant remembrance in our mind that I have to perform bhakti. I have to chant my rounds, I have to read Srimad Bhagavatam, I have to come to the temple, I have to fall down before the Lord. Just by offering dandavat pranams, it is acupressure. For dandavat there is a nice word in Sanskrit saashtaanga dandavat. Sa ashtaanga – with eight limbs we fall down and as soon as we fall down, these 8 points are pressed. These are the 8 very vital points wherein energy is produced by pressing. The more you offer dandavats, the healthier you will be. To offer dandavats, we have to be very humble. Otherwise the suit is there and we are concerned that the crease should not go away.
Somehow or the other, with humility try to understand the uselessness of this body and this body is very dear to us. How can we be proud of a bag of stool and urine? The scientists say that every seven years all the living cells are changing and we have a new body. This body is nothing but a lump of ignorance.
3. Leading a simple life:
We should have the minimum things for subsistence. More than that is theft. Because electricity is there and lights are there, we are careless during the day. We don’t have any idea that this bright sunshine is going to finish. In the evening it is dark. But we do not worry because in the darkness again we have electricity and so we don’t work during the day and we work afterwards. Now this sin we have to repay. Now the point has come, so much electricity is used and we have no fuel to create electricity and for fuel we spend so much. So we have to find the alternative and we are using nuclear power and it is a disaster. In England, they have used so much nuclear power to create electricity. If you want to shave, shaving machine is there, if you want chutney mixie is there and for washing, washing machine is there. Bulbs and lights are very powerful. If you fly over the city during night, the city appears to be burning. This is really a sin and nuclear power has a waste-ash. Wherever the powerhouse is, you will have some waste and around 20 miles radius, nothing grows. The land becomes completely useless and so because they want to throw the nuclear ash, they try to throw into the ocean. So fish cannot survive and aquatics become extinct.
Thus we are all in a very dangerous position and we are moving towards head on crash. So extensive preaching is required and preaching means reaching the people. Reaching the people taking Prabhu (Krishna) with us is preaching (Prabhu plus reaching). And may be somebody will try. But don’t be discouraged. Prabhupada was all alone. He could have thought ‘I am all alone. Who is going to hear me?’ If he had thought like that we would not be here. So if one man can do so much, how much we should all be doing. Prabhupada always told, ‘Don’t make my deities and put on the altar. Otherwise they will think that I am an incarnation and whatever I have done nobody can do. No ..No… everybody can do. I am sincere and you are not. That’s it.’
4. Peaceful attitude:
Anything anti-Bhagavatam or Bhagavad gita, you are harming your health. That you do not know. There is very intimate connection between the well-being of the body and following of Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad gita. Apart from spiritual progress, for our material life to also run smoothly, we have to have these things. If something happens to the body, doctors also recommend bed rest. They want us to be peaceful. Bed rest means we have to keep quiet and they want us to keep quiet. So our Vedic culture has supplied the peaceful attitude. From early morning we are peaceful. We cannot have any peace, unless we have some attraction for the supreme peaceful personality ‘Shaanthaaya’. That is why ‘shaantaah’ is the main quality of the devotees. You can only be peaceful if you have a firm shelter. The small child doesn’t worry at all because he knows that my father is very powerful. 'I have caught hold of his finger and I am safe.' So he crosses the road also. He is not afraid because he has caught the fingers of his father. So if we catch the finger of Krishna, we will never be afraid.
Nowadays permanency is completely absent in everything. Formerly, the kings were there and they were taking care of everything. So people were having a peaceful life. I remember, if they get a pensionable job, they will be at ease. Now you get a job and again the sword is hanging on your head, this is horrible and it is killing the population. It is better to shoot them off. If your father is organized, you have plenty of money, or you are living on investment or whatever, so far so good. Our peace of mind should never be disturbed.
5. Wasting time is the greatest crime:
It is said in the scriptures,
kaalakshepo na kartavyah
ksheenam aayuh kshane kshane
yamasya karunaa naasti
kartavyam hari kirtanam
"The precious time should not be wasted, because our lifespan is getting reduced every moment and Yamaraja has no mercy and he will catch us by the neck. Hence our duty is to do Hari kirtana."
Whatever else we do here is all useless waste of time. Minimum time has to be utilized for maintenance. But nowadays the tax pattern of the government is so very horrible, that people have to waste nearly 24 hours of the day just to maintain. The more you chant, the less will be this struggle. The world is highly competitive and how much wakeful we must be to remain in this material world? More than that we have to be wakeful about the spiritual things. I do not know how to insist in your life to sacrifice some time for Bhagavatam but that is a must. You please steal time, wherever it is possible.
6. Changing our life style:
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.7.7 states:
yasyaam vai sruyamaanaayaam
bhaktir utpadyate pumsah
Simply by giving aural reception to this Vedic literature, the feeling for loving devotional service to Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, sprouts up at once to extinguish the fire of lamentation, illusion and fearfulness."
The result of hearing, ‘shruyamaanaayaam’ is the development of loving devotional service. Out of so many ways of devotional service, some service must be followed. Otherwise you cannot label yourself as a bhakta, unless you chant or read or hear eagerly. The devotees are shravana vyagra cetasah - very eager to hear about the Lord. We should not hear through one ear and let out through the other. It should be retained and our lifestyle must change. Srila Prabhupada has brought so much change in our lives.
We should try to help the others as far as possible and then leave it to Krishna and He will eventually direct. How much Srila Prabhupada had toiled and moiled to change the hippies? To that extent, we must try day and night. Srila Prabhupada had given everything in his books. As soon as our life is ‘isha riktam’ ‘devoid of Krishna’, it is dangerous. Vacant mind is a devil’s workshop. Arjuna says in this verse that everything is the same but Krishna is not there. Firstly, we should all be on sound footing. Unless we are on a sound footing, how can we convince others? In America they have researched and found out that people learn only 7% by hearing. 35% they learn by seeing and 100% they learn by associating with the person. So hypocrisy can never win. Prabhupada used to tell one story. There was a solicitor. He was newly qualified and he wanted to run the office. He had organised a nice office. Telephone was there but it was not yet connected. He saw somebody coming to the office. He thought that a customer has come and he wanted to impress the customer. He pretended to talk on the phone to prime minister, chief minister and so on. After he thought that he had sufficiently impressed the customer, the solicitor asked the person, ‘How can I help you?’. The person said, 'I am the technician who has come to connect your new phone'.
How long are we going to show what we are not? You may show here and there but eventually the truth is out. It is in our interest to progress very sincerely. To progress in devotional service is based on the following statement of Srila Prabhupada:
"Devotional service, which is based on the foreground of full knowledge combined with detachment from material association and which is fixed by the aural reception of the Vedanta-shruti, is the only perfect method by which the seriously inquisitive student can realize the Absolute Truth."
7. Understanding that nothing depends on us:
The world was going on before we were born. We are here and the world is going on and after us also, the world will not stop. Because everything depends on Krishna’s will and Krishna is not under our control. He has the representative called time and time is also not under our control. Otherwise, if I can, I will go back to 18 years of age. But I cannot do that. This is the fact and because nothing is under our control, we cannot ourselves do anything. This humility must be there and those who are really humble, they can go to Krishna by following the spiritual process.
Somehow or the other try to understand the futility of this body and all the relations. Understand that nothing depends on us. The source of income is not the source of maintenance. We have mixed both of them together. We think, because I have income, I am maintained. Maintenance is completely different. Otherwise, why should Ambani die? If Krishna wishes, a new born child also, without mother, he is alright. Otherwise, with mother also, they can’t survive. So source of maintenance is Krishna. That is known as ‘pushti’. Poshan is coming from Him. The more the living entity is attached to Krishna, poshan will go on. Otherwise it is impossible. Don’t run after the unnecessary mirage of money.
8. Krishna is our capital:
We have to learn to connect ourselves to Krishna. The problem is, we don't care if Krishna is there or not but we want to pull on and this tendency is called ‘jijivisha’ in Bhagavatam. We have to add Krishna in our life and in Kali yuga only chanting of the Holy names can help. If we are ‘isha riktam’ what are we going to give to the public? Krishna is our capital. And we have to have Him. Otherwise we can’t survive. The tiny particle has to serve the supreme particle. If we serve we will be alright. So many prime ministers and presidents were there. And during their life time they were worshiped. But now nobody remembers them. This is the position of the leaders. Srila Prabhupada only caught hold of Krishna. He was only speaking about Bhagavatam, chanting, bhajans nothing else. Fortunately Krishna so much favoured him that we have temples now all over the world. The whole planet is divided into latitudes and longitudes and on every time zone we have a temple. At the moment it is 7.00 AM somewhere and with ghee lamp Prabhupada puja is going on. Again it changes and again in another longitude is going on. Thus 24 hours a day Prabhupada puja is going on. Show me one leader who is worshipped like this. What is the reason? He preached about Krishna and nothing more. Anybody who glorifies Krishna sincerely is bound to be worshiped.
The above instructions of our beloved Guru Maharaja save us from the danger of ‘isha riktam’, being devoid of Krishna and hence let us try our best to follow them.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Hare Rama Hare Rama
and be happy.