Brazil, 5 December 2017
Watch this class here
I want to speak on how to develop your spiritual life. These four things are common in animal and human life – eating, sleeping, defending and mating. Is this true or not? Animals like cats and dogs are also eating, sleeping, defending and mating. As human beings, we are also doing the same things. But one speciality of human life is we are able to practice spirituality and learn how to attain to the Lord. For this regard our scriptures explain, you have to practice bhakti yoga. The practice of karma or jnana will not give bhakti. Bhakti is svatantra, independent. Bhakti does not depend on karma, jnana, yoga or tapasya. But karma, jnana, yoga and tapasya fully depend on bhakti to give anything. They can not give anything independently. Everything they give is dependent on bhakti. For example, karma will give fruits. But actually, if you surrender to the Lord, you will get the same fruits. Jnana means knowledge. Independently, knowledge can not give liberation; you get liberation from bhakti. So the scriptures very clearly explain, bhakti is svatantra. Svatantra means independent. Bhakti does not depend on karma, jnana, yoga and tapasya.
Bhakti yoga is very simple. Especially in this Kali-yuga, bhakti yoga simply means chant the holy names and surrender to lotus feet of Guru and Krishna. Because in Kali-yuga there are so many faults. Not only one, but there are innumerable faults in living entities. ‘Kaler dosa-nidhe rajan asti hy eko mahan gunah’. In Kali-yuga there are so many faults in human beings. Animals do not have faults because they have no knowledge. Everything they do is spontaneous and natural. Do you understand? But as human beings, we have to control our senses and not commit offenses. So you should not live in comparison to animals who only eat, sleep, defend and mate. ‘Kaler dosa-nidhe rajan asti hy eko mahan gunah’. In Kali-yuga there is one very good qualification though. What is this qualification? ‘Kirtanad eva krsnasya’. If you chant the holy names, then all of your sinful activities are destroyed from your heart. Then you will attain shuddha bhakti. Do you understand? Because in this Kali-yuga, the Lord invested all of His potency, shakti in His holy names. So who does not want to chant the holy names and not practice bhakti? It is very simple. ‘Kreteyad dhayato Vishnum, tretayam yajato makhair, dvapara paricharchayam, kalau Keshava sankirtanam’. In Satya-yugas people performed hard austerities to meditate on the Lord. In Treta-yugas people performed fire sacrifices. Lord Ramachandra performed many fire sacrifices. Many rishis, munis also performed fire sacrifices. Chanting, “Svaha, svaha…”, while sitting in front of a big fire and tossing in ingredients.
In Kali-yuga people become very tired from performing just one fire sacrifice. They will begin to sweat so much. Even here, there is a fan on, the window is open, air is coming in and everyone is still sweating. If we would do a fire sacrifice here with wood and a big fire, you would all run away. But in Treta-yuga, they performed many fire sacrifices, not just one. Also, in Kali-yuga it is not possible to perform proper fire sacrifices. But this does not mean we are not performing fire sacrifices. We do fire sacrifices, but they are not done as like in Treta-yuga. ‘Dvapara paricharchayam’. In Dvapara-yuga they performed worship to the Lord. In Kali-yuga we also worship the Lord, but in Dvapara-yuga it was not done as easily as now. To properly worship the Lord one would have to engage themselves for 24 hours. Do you understand? From morning to evening and evening to morning, for 24 hours you are absorbed in worshipping the Lord. In Dvapara-yuga it was very difficult to worship to Lord. What is your worship like? Sometimes you may even forget to bring your Thakuraji with you. (Gurudev chuckles) Once the car is moving you say, “Gurudev. Oh, I forgot my Thakuraji.” Is this true or not? Every one is keeping deities, but sometimes they forget to take their Thakuraji when they travel. Sometimes they even forget to offer stuffs to Thakuraji. Do you understand? For this regard the scriptures explain in Kali-yuga one can not actually properly worship to Thakuraji. This does not mean I am saying, do not worship Thakuraji. You have to worship Thakuraji.
sādhu-saṅga, nāma-kīrtana, bhāgavata-śravaṇa
mathurā-vāsa, śrī-mūrtira śraddhāya sevana
sakala-sādhana-śreṣṭha ei pañca aṅga
kṛṣṇa-prema janmāya ei pāṅcera alpa saṅga
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya 22.128-129)
[One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Śhrīmad-Bhāgavatam, reside at Mathurā and worship the Deity with faith and veneration. These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Kṛishṇa.]
Even if you slightly come in contact with any of these five things, you can attain Krishna prema. Sadhu-sanga, associating with a sadhu. Nāma-sankīrtana, chanting the holy names. Bhāgavata-śhravaṇa, listening to Shrimad Bhagavata katha or Chaitanya Bhagavata katha. Then Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will give so much mercy to you. Because in this Kali-yuga who will give mercy? Krishna will not give mercy. Who will give you mercy? Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So if you want to receive the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, you have to listen to Chaitanya Bhagavata katha, Mahaprabhu katha, Gaura katha.
So who wants to receive the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu? Everybody please come (inviting audience to upcoming trip), be enthusiastic. If you do not have money, you can all travel in one bus. You can take some books and distribute as you travel, and after a few days you will arrive there. Why not? If your desire comes, then you will go. But if you think, “Oh it is very far. How will I go there?” Then this is not a true desire. Many devotees like Amala distributed books while going everywhere. He distributed books in the airport and also in many places. He was always travelling everywhere for book distribution. So bhāgavata-śhravaṇa, mathurā-vāsa, sādhu-saṅga, nāma-sankīrtana. Mathurā-vāsa means staying in Mathura mandala, that means Vraja mandala. Then you will attain Krishna bhakti. So why I am saying this? Because in Kali-yuga we must also worship Thakuraji. Though you worship Thakuraji, some faults may still come. You can not properly worship Thakuraji. Is this true or not? But in Kali-yuga the process is very simple, just chant ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare’. In Kali-yuga there are no any rules or regulations when chanting the holy names. Just simply chant the holy names and you will attain the Lord.
Just give up bad things. You should control your tongue. Try to understand. This is very important. That means never criticize any one, nor any sadhu (satāṁ nindā) and chant ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare’. If you chant the holy names you will attain shuddha–bhakti. Because as I mentioned, the Lord invested all of His potencies in His holy names. If bhakti manifests in your heart, then three things will automatically come. What are these the three things? Who knows? I have said this many times. What are they? Jnana, vairagya and seva-vritti, the tendency to serve guru and Krishna.
bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir
anyatra caiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ
[Devotion, direct experience of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from other things — these three occur simultaneously for one who has taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead].
If you practice devotional service to the Lord, seva–vritti will come. Seva–vritti means the tendency to serve Guru and Krishna. Seva–vritti will come, this is the first symptom. Second, jnana, knowledge will come. What types of knowledge will come? Spiritual knowledge. What are the three types of knowledge? The three types of knowledge that come are called ‘tat-padartha jnana, tvam-padartha jnana, and jiva-brahma-aikya jnana’. Tat–padartha jnana means knowledge of God, knowing who the Supreme Personality of Godhead is, Svayam Bhagavan. This type of knowledge will simultaneously come. Who is Svayam Bhagavan? The Shrimad Bhagavatam says, ‘Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam’.
ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam
[All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Śrī Kṛiṣhṇa is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists.]
Krishna is Svayam Bhagavan. Another type of knowledge is tvam–padartha jnana, knowledge about the soul. What is the soul? The soul is the part and parcel of Lord.
[The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.]
Learn this shloka, in the Bhagavat Gita the Lord says, “All living entities are My part and parcel.” You are not this body. You are the soul. The soul resides in this body. What is this body like? A cloth.
vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi
tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī
[As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.]
This body is like a cloth. When a cloth becomes old, you will automatically give up the old cloth and acquire a new cloth. Is this true or not? In the same way, you will automatically give up this body when it becomes old, take another body and return as a newborn baby. Just as old leaves fall down and simultaneously small leaves sprout on trees. Have you seen this before? Old leaves are falling down, while new leaves are sprouting. Because this is the nature of the material world. Similarly, when one becomes old, they give up their old body and again take a new body. Then one day, that new body becomes old and you will give it up and acquire a new body again. The cycle continues in this way.
But the soul, atma, is eternal and transcendental. It just goes from one body to another. Now our soul has acquired this human body. For this regard we are given a particular bodily identification. We think, “I am a man or I am woman.” When our soul enters a dog or a cat, we will also identify as a dog or cat. This means every life we are changing our bodies. But the soul never changes. The soul is called eternal and transcendental. The soul never dies and the soul never takes birth.
na jāyate mriyate [vā kadācin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre]
[For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.]
The soul never dies nor does it take birth. Who takes birth? This body takes birth and this body dies. For this regard shastras state, you have to know about your soul, atma. That is called tvam–padartha jnana. What are the three types of knowledge? Who remembers? Tat–padartha jnana, knowledge of God and then tvam-padartha jnana, knowledge about the soul. What is the third? Jiva–brahma–aikya jnana, oneness with the Brahma, otherwise known as impersonalism. This knowledge should be rejected. Impersonalists are saying, “All of you are Brahma, aham brahmasmi.” You are not Brahma, you are part and parcel of the Lord. You are the eternal servant of the Lord, ‘jivera svarupa haya krishnera nitya dasa’. All living entities are eternal servants of Lord Krishna. When you practice bhakti, three things will come. Firstly, seva vritti, tendency to serve to Guru and Krishna. Secondly, knowledge will come and third vairagya. What does vairagya mean? Renunciation or detachment from material things. Try to understand this. When vairagya comes, what will you think? You will think, “I am not a person from this material world, I am a person from Goloka Vrindavana.” You are not Brazilian, you are not Indian nor American. You are the resident of Goloka Vrindavana. You may think, “I am Brazilian.” But no, you are not Brazilian. What happens automatically if you practice bhakti? These types of realization come and also vairagya comes.
I will tell you a very nice and beautiful story. Once a bride and groom were going to their house just after their marriage. They had on very nice and beautiful clothes and were decorated very nicely. Because when someone gets married, they wear very nice and beautiful ornaments and clothes. One gets very nicely decorated for a marriage ceremony. Do you understand? Because they prepare for many years, not just one year. When some one performs a marriage ceremony, they prepare for many years. First, you have to plan where you will get married, India or Brazil? First one must think, “Where will I get married? Then, which place there? Will it be a very nice and beautiful place or not?” Do you understand? One must also pay a lot of money. A marriage ceremony is not planned in just one day. You have to collect many kinds of things. Is this true or not? In addition to collecting many kinds of ornaments, all of the relatives must also collect many kinds of ornaments as presents. Is it also done this way in your country?
If you are rich, then there will be many relatives. You may also have to collect many kinds of saris, silk saris from different countries. Not just from one country, maybe very expensive saris from India or Japan. So now, the bride and bride groom were decorated very nicely with beautiful ornaments and clothing. In the meantime, one sadhu was sitting under a tree. The sadhu then noticed the bride and groom walking. What was the name of this sadhu? Shrinivasa Acharya. What was his name? Remember, Shrinivasa Acharya. Do you know the katha of Shrinivasa Acharya from our guru parampara? So, Shrinivasa Acharya was sitting under a tree. The bride and groom were walking and behind them people followed playing many kinds of instruments. The bride and groom were in the front and behind many people were dancing, singing, and playing different kinds of instruments. Do you understand? Many were following the bride and groom and were all happily dancing and singing. Do people do the same things here?
If you go to India, I will show you how they spend so much on their marriage ceremonies. So this sadhu, Shrinivasa Acharya was sitting under a tree with some devotees. Shrinivasa Acharya told them, “Look how foolish they are. Look how both the bride and groom are about to jump in the fire. Look how foolish they are and the people following are foolish too. They are dancing and singing. Someone is about to jump in the fire and people behind them are celebrating. After a few minutes of jumping in the fire, they will begin to cry. Now they are dancing and singing, just look how they celebrate. But after a few minutes, they will also begin to cry. Look at this stupid nonsense, the bride and groom are both knowingly jumping in to the fire, as like two snakes biting each other.” The groom was listening to the words Shrinivasa Acharya used. Who was that groom? Ramachandra Kaviraja. What did he automatically do when heard this katha? He was stunned, then Ramachandra Kaviraja told, “I will no longer celebrate.” Then Ramachandra Kaviraja completely surrendered to the lotus feet of Shrinivasa Acharya.
He was a very rich person, the son of king, but he gave up all of his ornaments. He gave up everything. Why am I saying this? Because when bhakti manifests in one’s heart, this type of renunciation will come. One will think, “Why am I going to jump in the fire? Why am I going to embrace a cobra snake? But if bhakti has not manifested, one will run towards the fire and jump in. Try to understand this. Then Ramachandra Kaviraja completely surrendered to the lotus feet of Shrinivasa Acharya and performed bhajana and sadhana. Do you understand? His Guru was very elevated. Once Shrinivasa Acharya was completely stunned, he closed his eyes and was sitting still. For seven days his body did not move, he did not drink water or take anything. Every one was thinking, “Oh, what happened? Maybe he left his body.” Then Narottama Dasa Thakura came. Narottama, Shyamananda and Shrinivasa all took siksha from Jiva Gosvamipada. They were all very elevated. Narottama Dasa Thakura told, “No. Shrinivasa Acharya did not give up his body. He is still here. He is just in his samadhi, trance.” He instructed, “Bring his disciple Ramachandra Kaviraja.” When Ramachandra Kaviraja arrived, he realized, “Ah, my Gurudev is in his samadhi, trance.” He told everyone, “Now I will go to where my Gurudev is, I will bring him back. But until I return to my body, do not touch me or Gurudev’s body.”
Ramachandra Kaviraja sat in front of his Gurudev and began to meditate. He went to Vrindavana, Goloka Vrindavana. With his transcendental body, Ramachandra Kaviraja went to Goloka Vrindavana. There he saw the very nice and beautiful Yamuna river with many kinds of blossomed lotuses and many kinds of chirping birds. The peacocks were spreading their tails and on both sides of the banks of Yamuna there were many trees. The water of the Yamuna was clear as a crystal. Do you understand? The water was like a very nice and beautiful blue crystal. Then he saw Shrimati Radhika and all of Her sakhis, Lalita and Vishakha, taking a bath in the Yamuna. Rupa Manjari, Rati Manjari and all Her sakhis were there. It was such a beautiful setting, all of them were jumping in the water. Then he saw his Gurudev. Who was his Gurudev? Shrinivasa Acharya. Ramachandra Kaviraja’s Guru is Shrinivasa Acharya. Shrinivasa Acharya’s Guru, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami was also there.
Ramachandra Kaviraja said, “Gurudev, what you are doing here? Everybody is waiting for you. What are you doing here?” Shrinivasa Acharya replied, “Do you know? Shrimati Radhika just lost Her nose ring. So all of the sakhis, Lalita, Vishakha, and others were all searching. They are trying to find the nose ring of Shrimati Radhika.” But they could not find the nose ring. So Ramachandra Kaviraja said, “Do not worry Gurudev.” Ramachandra Kaviraja jumped in the water of the Yamuna. In the Yamuna there were two lotuses and one stem. He found Shrimati Radhika’s nose ring in the middle of that stem. Ramachandra Kaviraja then took the nose ring and offered it to his Guru Shrinivasa Acharya. Shrinivasa Acharya gave it to his Guru, Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. Then Gopala Bhatta Gosvami gave it to Rupa Manjari, Rupa Gosvami. Rupa Gosvami as Rupa Manjari gave it to Lalita sakhi. Lalita Devi put the nose ring on Shrimati Radhika. Then Shrimati Radhika became very pleased and asked, “Oh, who found this?” Lalita Devi answered, “This new Manjari has come, she found it.” Shrimati Radhika was very pleased and gave a blessing to Ramachandra Kaviraja and all of his guru vargas. Ramachandra Kaviraja then told his Gurudev, “Please come, everyone is waiting.” Then both Guru and disciple returned back to their bodies. Bolo Ramachandra Kaviraja ki Jai, Shrinivasa Acharya ki Jai, Narottama Dasa Thakura ki Jai! Because of this Narottama Dasa Thakura always associated with Ramachandra Kaviraja. For this regard they are saying, ‘Ramachandra sanga mage Narottama Dasa’. Narottama Dasa was always hankering how to get association with Ramachandra Kaviraja. Bolo Vrindavana Bihari Lal ki Jai!
Transcriber: Sanatan das (USA)
Editors: Divya Premamayi dasi (Slovakia), Sanatan das (USA)