How to Become a Devotee
(Compiled from notes on lectures of H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami)
Recently I was listening to a wonderful lecture on Srimad Bhagavad gita verse 9.34, by our beloved Guru Maharaja and I would like to share the transcendental messages for the benefit of all the readers.
Srimad Bhagavad gita 9.34:
man-manaa bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaaji maam namaskuru
maam evaisyasi yuktvaivam
"Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, become My devotee, offer obeisances to Me, and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me."
man manaa bhava - Engage Your mind in always thinking of Me:
The mind, however hard we try, cannot concentrate on anything, what to talk of spiritual matters that are not really visible to the skin eyes. Carma cakshu- eyes of the skin. As seen from the following Srimad Bhagavatam verse 11.7.7, all that we see with our skin eyes have no endurance.
yad idam manasaa vaacaa
nasvaram grhyamaanam ca
"My dear Uddhava, the material universe you perceive through your mind, speech, eyes, ears and other senses is an illusory creation that one imagines to be real due to the influence of maayaa. In fact, you should know that all of the objects of the material senses are temporary."
One sees so many things like his house, his wife, his children etc., and these are all temporary. Krsna wants to divert our mind from all these things to His nature alone. On the other hand, it is described in the pages of Bhagavatam that, mind being material, will always show only material things. If I am a Gold merchant, I will show you Gold and if I am a cloth merchant, I will show you cloth. Mind being material, presents material things before you and everything here is bewildering. That is a fact. Unless we come to this conclusion, our mind will never be diverted from material things. Whether we like it or not, the conclusion is there. Material things which are visualized by mind and other senses are very temporary in nature and are also destructive. Nobody can refute this. Any material situation cannot solve easily the problems of birth, death, old age and disease. In spite of so much advancement they cannot save us from these four things. Mind being encaged in these conditions, it cannot see beyond. It only grapples within these four things, and beyond that refuses to accept anything and all the worldly situations being conditioned with these four problems, have no capacity to make us happy. This is certain. Once a person visualizes the incapacity of material things to solve the unsolvable problems of birth, death, old age and disease, then he or she may try to find out the reality beyond. Paaraam - something transcendental to this.
Fortunately we have the original source which dissipates this knowledge through vedic culture. The essence of all the Vedas is given in Srimad Bhagavad Gita. Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo….Through all the Vedas, Krishna is to be known. This is the conclusion of the Vedas. So our culture has the conclusion. Krishna is also Vedanta krt- the compiler of the Vedas. So the Vedas are not written by a conditioned soul. Those conditioned by birth, death, old age and disease, cannot present the reality. The conditioned soul can present the conditional reality. But the actual reality has no conditions.
Krishna was present before the creation, with the creation He is there, and after annihilation of the whole show, He will remain. This is described in Srimad Bhagavatam 2.9.33:
aham evaasam evaagre
naanyad yat sad-asat param
pascaad aham yad etac ca
yo 'vasisyeta so 'smy aham
"Brahma, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead."
This is the knowledge and then He leaves us to realize it. If we realize this knowledge and put into practice, we will be happy. Otherwise we will be suffering. To the ratio you put the knowledge into practice, to that ratio you are enjoying. There is no other way. And that is why, our mind somehow or the other, with the different arguments given in the scriptures by Krishna, has got to be convinced of the point. There is no other means, we have to follow the way which he recommends, or otherwise suffer, as it is you are suffering. The whole world is full of suffering. Full of defeat. Paraabhavah taavad abodha jaato We are born in ignorance and that is why we are defeated all the time in this world. That is why there is no gain or meaning in this world. Nirmal prabhu has got a very nice explanation for WORLD - Walk Or Run, Lose Definitely. Whether you do your work slowly and silently or you do passionate work, you have to lose definitely. There is no gain in these activities. We may argue that people win. They have factories, business etc. The more the material things you have, the more worried you are and all your valuable time, which is allotted in this body for realization of the Supreme truth is wasted in managing the material things which are very temporary. So winning in this world is a great loss. Instead a man who does not possess anything, does not waste time at all. You are completely misguided regarding the winning point in this world. Here win means great loss and loss is alright. A person who does not have anything, can devote sometime at least for spiritual things. If we cannot do that, our human existence is useless.
Except human being, nobody hoards. Pigeons want to eat the grains, but they do not have a bag. They eat and go away. They do not worry for tomorrow. Nobody has got the hoarding capacity except the man. We are the only greedy pigs. We go and take whatever we need and then take something to hoard. These tendencies are driving us away from the reality. We do not understand that Krishna is the root of everything, the cause of all causes, the Supreme prime cause. We have completely overlooked it and because of that we are suffering unsurpassable miseries. This is because we have not diverted our minds to |Krishna. He says, ‘man manaa bhava’- ‘please become absorbed in Me.’
'bhava mad–bhakto' - Become My Devotee:
We may pretend that ‘I am a devotee’. Frankly speaking we are not devotees. He is devoted to us and not us to Him. We tell Him, ‘I want to go to America. You arrange’ and He arranges. We want Him to be devoted to us. A devotee does not demand anything. He works for the Lord’s satisfaction. That is devotion. We do not force Him to work for our satisfaction. That is a real devotee. Only we should chalk out our programs in the way He will be satisfied and not us. Srimad Bhagavatam tells us how we can satisfy Krishna in verse 4.31.19:
santustyaa yena kena vaa
tusyaty aasu janaardanah
"By showing mercy to all living entities, being satisfied somehow or other, and controlling the senses from sense enjoyment, one can very quickly satisfy the Supreme Personality Of Godhead, Janaardana."
If we try to achieve the above three things, then He is satisfied. The devotee chalks out his program according to
a) M- Merciful attitude
b) S- Satisfaction
c) C- Control of the senses
If we always remember MSC, we cannot go wrong at all. This is how we have to become a devotee. This means we have to be devoted to Him. We are so very illusioned that we want Him to be devoted to us, and claim that we are devotees. As soon as we come to the real knowledge, our whole attitude to the material world changes. In the material world, then we know that our minimum necessities have to be met so that the soul and the body can be together to realize the Supreme Absolute Truth. Otherwise we do not have any other business here. So that is our freedom. We are completely free from hoarding and developing our economic situations. We do not want, and suppose something comes in our way that should be used for Krishna in a merciful attitude. This satisfies Krishna. There are innumerable instructions which help these three things. But only these three principles have to be cultivated, and whatever arguments are given in the scriptures, we should study to develop these three qualities and we will see the end result is that He is satisfied. His satisfaction should be our supreme goal. Samsiddhir hari toshanam. We may be situated in our own prescribed duties according to our qualities but the end result should be Hari toshanam.
I am sure that we are not short of minimum necessities. Maximum necessities means artificial necessities and they will make you miserable in the world. Both ways they are killing. Your body will not be alright and definitely your spiritual life will be destroyed. Artificial necessities should not be increased. So far as possible, night work is to be completely avoided. The night is not meant for work. It is only meant for rest. The lights also should be very dim. Before night, whatever we should do, we should do. Then take japa beads in your hand. There is no need to see anything. That is all. Please try to follow these things. The whole Srimad Bhagavatam is surrounding around these three things.
Those who try to follow these three things, they are dear to Him. Otherwise they have to suffer their own actions. Those actions which we follow for Krishna’s satisfaction have no reaction. As soon as you control your senses, your speech is completely controlled. Bad words will never come out of your mouth. First the mind is contaminated and then the mouth opens. Not to open your mouth for bad things means not to think about the bad things. So we stop completely the thinking process of the worldly things. Any way we cannot dictate anything in the world. Everything is going on according to the desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So why to meddle into Him? So just speak minimum for the material things. Maximum should be Krishna consciousness. Our tongue should only open for Krishna. Nothing else and that is the safest way to behave in this world. Nobody will bang you saying that you are not talking anything else at all. Worldly returns we are not interested in. So if you are not interested in worldly returns, naturally you will not exploit anything. If we want to increase the artificial necessities, you have to grab. There is another difficulty in family life. You may try to be simple but children may be captivated by illusory energy. So far as possible, try to instruct them to be very simple. If you are lucky, your wife will cooperate with you. Otherwise no. But whether there is cooperation or no cooperation, we have to die alone. So we have to chalk out our own program in the family life also. All different mentalities are coming together in a family. They should be pointed out the root thing. Tell them what is to be done and it is up to them whether to do it or not. But we have done our duty to the best of our ability. In this way, take out always the essential things from the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad gita and that is ‘bhava mad bhakto’.
mat yaaji: Worship Me.
Our whole life should be His worship.
maam namaskuru: Offer Obeisances unto Me:
We should always throw ourselves before the deities. If children are trained from childhood to do like this, the future generation will be safe. They should recite at the moment some verses from Srimad Bhagavad gita and Srimad Bhagavatam and eventually they will be interested. These things have no limit. But worldly things we should always put the limit. They are limited. All our banks and companies are limited companies. They will not register without the word ’limited’. So they know that we are limited. But here on the spiritual side, the study of Srimad Bhagavad gita and Srimad Bhagavatam has no limit. Study of scriptures and realizing them has no limit. Please go on endeavouring on this side.
If you really want to be a dashing personality, do this. Otherwise, we are building skyscrapers, this and that. In this way we are wasting our valuable time on things which are not permanent and we are full of miseries. If Krishna willing, you have plenty of riches, use it for Him. As it is, riches are not going to continue. Everything is changing in this world. Whatever you are having today, just by hoarding it, the value decreases. Inflation bites it. By just keeping it, we are losing it. Today we may be having so much money. Tomorrow we may loose everything. In this age, the safest way is Krishna’s service. Otherwise it is going to vanish. Again there is another risk. We may have so much balance and we may die and what will happen to the balance? Somebody will pounce on it.
Considering all the above, we have to put into practise the following four things as Krishna says:
man manaa – Engage your mind always in thinking of Me
bhava mad bhakto- Become My devotee
mat yaaji – Worship Me
maam namaskuru – Offer obeisances unto Me
If we do these things, He guarantees ‘maam evaisyasi’- ‘you will come to Me.’.
‘yuktvaivam' means ‘Being so absorbed’. This is absorption. Mind is absorbed. Our whole existence is absorbed. In our worship all our sense are absorbed. As soon as we are absorbed like this, definitely we will go to Him.
‘aatmaanam’ means ‘your soul’ and ‘mat paraayanah’ means ‘devoted to Me’. There is no difficulty in devoting the soul. The soul is part and parcel of Krishna and is already devoted. The soul is a tiny particle and the tiny particle has to be devoted to the supreme particle. The result is that when the material faculties are absorbed in Krishna, the soul is definitely going to be absorbed. There is no difficulty. But many times, we force the material faculties not to absorb in Krishna and the soul is dragged into it. Soul is the force behind. Force may be directed in the correct or wrong direction. Here the correct direction is given. The four things we have to do are given. Mind is just like the engine because it is the controlling sense. If the mind is absorbed, everything will follow just like the compartments following the engine.
The first line of the purport is very important to ponder over. "In this verse it is clearly indicated that Krishna consciousness is the only means of being delivered from the clutches of this contaminated material world." The main contamination is lust because of which we are entangled here. As soon as we accept the material body, we have to be born, we have to die, we have to become old and we have to become diseased and this is a great loss. Lust drags you to accept material bodies again and again. We should come to our senses. Mind is the main thing and the best way to deal with it, is given in Srimad Bhagavad gita 6.26
yato yato niscalati
manas cancalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad
aatmany eva vasam nayet
"From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self."
There are also innumerable verses from Srimad Bhagavatam giving instructions on dealing with the mind. Thus there is scope for unlimited research and this is the way to develop and improve our lives for the better.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Hare Rama Hare Rama
and be happy.