20 June 2019
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What is the meaning of human life?
Eating, sleeping, defending and meeting, these four things are common between human life and animal’s life. The human life means how to practice devotional service to the Lord. Try to understand, in every life, all of us have enjoyed all kinds of sense gratifications and we’ve never been satisfied.
There’s an English saying: “chewing the chewed”. This life we are also doing the same things; running behind the opposite sex, money, fame, honour, prestige. But one thing is certain, we won’t carry even a coin with us. We’re going to leave everything behind.
You can ask your friends if they will go with you. No one are going with you, because you have come alone, so you have to go alone too. When you were born, you had empty hands, and when you give up this body you will also have empty hands. But if you practice devotional service to the Lord, then someone is going with you – the one who had come with you and will also go with you. Who had come with you when you were born? Guru and Krishna.
This is unknown to you. You don’t know about Him, but He is always with you. He had come with you and He will also go with you.
Why you are not turning your face towards Him? You turned your face towards Maya, the illusion potency of Lord, and now she’s beating you. For this regard, you are suffering because of many kinds of stress and unhappiness.
You are not turning your face to worship Him. You are running behind the one who’s not your friend, and then he will beat you. For this regard, all the scriptures explain: turn your face towards the ones who are your real friends, Guru and Krishna, the ones who are always with you. You are not alone. They live within your heart. Just turn your face and then you will realize about Him.
Maybe the question will come, “how will I turn my face towards the Lord?”. Chanting the Holy Names, surrendering and serving to Guru and Krishna. Without the chanting of the Holy Names, there will be no method which could make you realize it.
So, try to understand this philosophy that shows that the essence of life is to perform bhajana and sadhana, cause this human life is very rare, and at any moment or any second we could give up this body. Life is very fragile, just like bubbles in the water. There is no guarantee of how long we will stay in this material world.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam, we can notice only one person who got this guarantee. He found out he would stay alive just for seven days. Who is it? Pariksit Maharaj. He was completely confused about what to do, then he called many sadhus. Very humbly, he asked to many of them about what to do, and they gave him different instructions.
Not all the sadhus are the same. There are many different kinds of sadhu: karmi-sadhu, jñani-sadhu, yogi-sadhu, bhakta-sadhu.
The karmi-sadhu told, “you have to perform karma”. The jñani-sadhu, “study the scriptures, and then you will get the liberation”. The yogi-sadhu said, “you need to practice yogi-sadhana, astanga-yoga”.
Those different sadhus gave different instructions and Pariksit Maharaj got completely confused, thinking, “what to do now?”. Then, by the mercy of Krishna, Sukadeva Goswami Pada arrived in the audience.
Sukadeva gave the perfect conclusion about what to do. He told him, “In your last seven days of life, you must practice a specific type of yoga called bhakti-yoga. You need to listen about God and chant His Holy Names”.
If you practice bhakti-yoga, your life will be successful. But what is bhakti-yoga?
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
(Brham-naradiya Purana, 38.126)
[“To attain one’s spiritual goal in Kali-yuga, there is no other way, there is no other way, there is no other way than to chant the holy name, chant the holy name, chant the holy name”.]
In this Kali-Yuga, there is no other process. Just chant the Holy Names and listen to hari-katha. That’s a simple way. Even if you are lawyer, doctor, student or businessman. You can perform your prescribed activities, but in a simple way, you can chant the Holy Names. Chant two rounds in the morning and two rounds in the evening.
You can stay with your family members, wife, children, that’s not a problem. You don’t need to give up anything, but one day they will surely give up you. You don’t want to give up them, but they will do this to you. One day we will give up this body because this is the law of nature. But who will not die? The soul.
This body will die, but the soul will never die, because it’s eternal and transcendental. What happens is a transmigration of the soul from one body to another body. For a specific time you are in this body. You don’t know how long, but it’s all predicted and predestined.
The scriptures explain that you need to try to see and realize about your soul and about who you are. But how do you know?
The soul is very, very small, more than a molecule, so you cannot see it with your material eyes. For this regard, it’s not so easy to realize about it.
In the Shrimad Bhagavatam, there is a very nice beautiful story.
Once, a person was running and running, here and there. Then he came close to a mountain, and seeing the beauty of that place, he decided to stay there.
For a few years, he was staying there all alone. Then, after some days, one very nice young woman came to him. She said, “You are alone and I’m alone. Why don’t we stay together and help each other?”, then the man thought, “Oh, that’s a good idea!”.
They married and stayed together. Then an illusion came. They’ve got attached to each other. They could not stay alone anymore. Before they were all alone, but now they could not be like this, cause they were so attached to each other.
Then one day, a big storm came, and his wife left the body. The man thought, “what to do now?”. But while he was running, he found another wife, a new one.
Many shlokas in the Shrimad Bhagavatam explain. In this material world, things are going on this way. Try to understand that the essence of life is about how to practice bhajana and sadhana to Krishna. Then if you do it, your life will be successful.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains, “always associate with devotees of the Lord and do bhajana and sadhana”, that means sadhu-sanga. Always associate with a sadhu.
The sadhu can protect you. No one can protect your life. Be carefully associated with a sadhu, and not with an asadhu. Sometimes I like to tell a very nice beautiful story:
Once, there were two fishes living in a very beautiful pond. One of them was a fish whose nature was tama-guna, and the other one was a fish whose nature was sattva- guna. The sattva-guna fish was like a sadhu, while the other one was completely asadhu. However, both were living together, feeling love and affection for each other.
The sattva-guna fish always used to give very nice advices to the tama-guna fish. Try to understand it according to our guna. Guna means the mode of nature. If you are in the sattva-guna mode, the mode of goodness, you always eat sattva-guna food like fruits, cereals, vegetables, rice, dahl, milk, maha-prasada. If your nature is tama-guna, the mode of ignorance, you will eat other things; bad things like fish, meat, eggs, alcohol.
The sattva-guna fish always gave good advices to the tama-guna fish, “Hey, don’t do this, don’t do that!”, and sometimes he listened and sometimes not. This sattva-guna fish was very calm, quiet and tolerant. The tama-guna fish was very angry and egotistical. All shastras explain that this is the symptom of tama-guna, the mode of ignorance. In Bhagavad-gita, Krishna tells Arjuna about all the symptoms of these different modes.
Sometimes, the tama-guna fish accepted the sattva-guna fish’s advice and sometimes not. He was always running here and there.
One day, he went to another pond to search for tama-guna foods, and the sattva-guna fish thought, “where is my friend? Three or four days passed and he is still not coming”.
The sattva-guna fish called his friend, “hey, come staying with me in this pond!”, and the other one answered, “no, I don’t like to stay with you because there are better food to eat here”.
The sattva-guna fish said, “No, no! Stay with me, your life will be successful if you stay with me here in this pond”. This sattva-guna fish represents the sadhu. Sadhu always says, “Hey, stay with me”. And sometimes the tama-guna fish accepts it, and sometimes not.
So, finally the tama-guna fish said, “Ok, I will go with you”, and then they were together again. One day, a fisherman had put his net on that pound and both fishes were caught. The tama-guna fish became very angry with his friend, “Hey, I was fine in that nice place! You called me and now look, we are in the net of a fisherman! Now we will die! Actually, you are the cause of my death, because I was fine there, I came here just because of you, and now both of us are going to die!”
The fisherman got the two fishes and had put them on a small pot. Then, the sattvik fish said, “Don’t worry! Krishna is our maintainer and our protector”.
The tama-guna fish replied, “How is it possible? Now we are on the pot! The fisherman will take us and cut us in pieces!”, and the sattva-guna fish said, “No, don’t be angry, calm down, calm down”.
“Hey! We are going to die, and you are telling me to be calm, how is it possible? I believed in you, I had faith in you, but now I’ve lost it completely, because we are both going to die!”, the tama-guna fish said.
But the sattvik fish was very calm, “Krishna is our maintainer. Krishna is our protector”. Then, the fisherman took both of them and gave them to his wife.
Some fishes are very sticky, so it’s necessary to put some ashes upon them so it becomes easier to make the cut. So, the wife of the fisherman had put some ashes on the fishes, and they’ve started to feel so much pain.
The tamasik fish said, “Look! You said that Krishna is our maintainer and our protector, but in a couple of seconds, she will cut our necks!”.
The sattva-guna fish replied, “Don’t worry, Krishna is our maintain… Hey! How is it possible?”. The wife was about to cut them in pieces, when the fisherman heard that the king had built a very nice beautiful pond. According to the Vedic culture, when you inaugurate a new pond, you need, first, to put two fishes there.
And the king said, “At this moment, if someone brings me two fishes, this person will be rewarded with a lot of money”. Then the fisherman said, “Hey, my wife, don’t cut them, don’t cut them! The king just declared that if someone offers him two fishes, he will give this person a lot of money!”.
The fisherman took both fishes to the king. At that time, the king and the priest worshiped the fishes and had put them on the water. Then, the king declared, “These two fishes are the first ones on the pond, so no one is allowed to cut them while they are alive here”.
The king also made some marks on the fishes’ head for showing that they were special. Then the fishes stayed there, running and swimming.
At that time, the sattva-guna fish said, “Look! Is Krishna our maintainer and protector or not?”, and the tama-guna fish answered, “Yes, now I believe in you and I have faith in your words. From now on I’ll give up all my tama-guna tendencies and be always with you, because you’ve saved my life”.
Actually, this is called sadhu-sanga. Sadhu is always protecting your life. Without sadhu-sanga, there’s no method which can make your life successful.
What is the moral of this story? Always have firm faith in the instructions of sadhu and Guru, and always remember that Krishna is our maintainer and our protector.
Nitai Gaura Premandande Hari Hari Bol!
Transcriber: Taruni Gopi Dasi (Matinhos/Brazil)
Editor: Vrndavana Chandra Das (Santo Antonio do Pinhal/Brazil)