Collaborate with us to invoke and fully manifest Srila Prabhupada's Vani-presence.
690430 - Lecture Northeastern University - Boston
Prabhupāda: My dear boys and girls, I thank you very much for attending this meeting. We are spreading this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because there is a great need of this movement through the whole world. And the process is very easy. That is the advantage.
First of all, try to understand what is the transcendental platform. So far our living condition is concerned, we are in different platforms. So we have to first of all stand on the transcendental platform. Then there is question of transcendental meditation.
In the Bhagavad-gītā, in the Third Chapter, you'll find that we have got different status of conditional life. The first is indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur (BG 3.42).
Sanskrit, indriyāṇi. First thing is bodily conception of life. Every one of us in this material world, we are under this bodily concept of life. I am thinking Indian, "I am Indian." You are thinking you are American. Somebody's thinking, "I am Russian." Somebody's thinking, "I am somebody else." So everyone is thinking that "I am this body."
This is one standard, or one platform. This platform is called sensual platform, because so long we have bodily conception of life, we think happiness means sense gratification. That's all. Happiness means sense gratification because body means senses.
So indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ (BG 3.42). Lord Kṛṣṇa says that in the material concept of life, or bodily concept of life, our senses are very prominent. That is going on at the present moment. Not at the present moment; since the creation of this material world.
That is the disease, that "I am this body." Śrīmad-Bhāgavata says that yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke sva-dhīḥ kalatrAdiṣu bhauma ijya-dhiḥ (SB 10.84.13), that Anyone who has the concept of this bodily understanding, that 'I am this body' Ātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātu. Ātma-buddhiḥ means concept of self in this bag of skin and bone. This is a bag. This body is a bag of skin, bone, blood, urine, stool, and so many nice things. You see? But we are thinking that "I am this bag of bone and skin and stool and urine. That is our beauty. That is our everything."
There are many nice stories... Of course, our time is very short. Still, I wish to narrate one short story, that one man, one boy, was attracted by a beautiful girl. So the girl does not agree, and the boy is persistent. So in India, of course, the girls, they keep their chastity very strictly. So the girl was not agreeing. So she said, "All right, I agree. After one week you come."
She appointed, "Such and such time, you come." So the boy was very glad. And the girl took some purgative throughout the seven days, and she was passing stool, day and night, and vomiting, and she kept all these vomits and stool in a nice pot.
So when the appointed time came, the boy came, and the girl was sitting on the door. The boy inquired, "Where is that girl?" She said, "I am that girl." "No, no. You are not. You are so ugly. She was so beautiful. You are not that girl." "No, I am that girl, but I have now separated my beauty in a different pot." "What is that?"
She showed: "This is the beauty, this stool and vomit. This is the ingredient." Actually anyone may be very robust or very beautiful—if he passes stool for three or four times, everything changes immediately.
So my point is that, as stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that this bodily concept of life is not very sanguine. Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke (SB 10.84.13). This body, composition of several things like bones and skins and blood and urine and stool and secretion, so many things, that is not right calculation of self-realization.
Of course, those who are too much engrossed with the bodily concept of life, they have been recommended to practice the haṭha-yoga system. That is also mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā. Just like you'll find in the "Sāṅkhya-yoga."
This Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, as we have published, page number 153, there is a statement how one should practice this transcendental meditation. Verse number thirteen and fourteen, it is said, "One should hold one's body, neck and head erect in a straight line." (BG 6.13-14). This body..., this body, this head, this neck, and the body, whole body, trunk, should be erect in a straight line, and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Just like you have to sit like this and you have to look, not closing your eyes but half-closing your eyes, and you have to look on the point of your nose. "One should hold one's body, neck and head erect in a straight line and stare steadily at the tip of the nose. Thus, with an unagitated, subdued mind, devoid of fear, completely free from sex life, one should meditate upon Me," the Lord says.
Before that, the primary prescriptions, how one should practice this transcendental meditation, that one has to restrict especially sex life... One has to select a very solitary place and a sacred place, and he should sit down alone. This meditation process is not practiced in a place like this, where many men are gathering.
It is recommended, it must be a solitary place, sacred place, and alone. And then you have to sit, or you have to select your sitting place. There are so many things. Of course, those things cannot be explained within few minutes. If you are very much interested, you'll find in this book, "Sāṅkhya-yoga" chapter.
So one has to, from the bodily concept of life, one has to transcend himself to the spiritual platform. That is the whole..., meaning of whole process. Just like I began to say that in the beginning our self-realization means we are thinking this body. Indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur (BG 3.42). Then one who has transcended this bodily concept of life, he comes to the platform of mind. Indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ. Manaḥ means mind.
Somebody, some people, some of..., practically the whole population of the world, they are under the bodily concept of life and, above them, there are some people who are on the mental concept of life. They are thinking "mind." And somebody is on the intellectual platform of life.
- indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur
- indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
- manasas tu parā buddhiḥ...
- (BG 3.42)
Buddhiḥ means intelligence. And, when you transcend the intellectual platform also, then you come to the spiritual platform. That realization first of all required. Before you practice transcendental realization, you have to reach to the transcendental platform. That transcendental platform is called brahma-bhūtaḥ.
Perhaps you have heard this word Brahman, ahaṁ brahmāsmi. That is transcendentalist, that "I am not this body, I am not this mind, I am not this intelligence, but I am spirit soul." That platform. Then what is the symptoms of a person who has reached that platform? Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati (BG 18.54). When you reach to the platform of Brahman realization... Brahman realization means transcending. We are talking on the transcendental meditation. So transcending the bodily concept of life, transcending the mental concept of life, transcending the intellectual concept of life, when you come to the real spiritual platform, that is called brahma-bhūtaḥ stage.
So brahma-bhūtaḥ stage, it is not simply word, that "I have realized Brahman." There are symptoms. Everything has got symptoms, how one has realized Brahman. That stage is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā.
When one is on the transcendental platform, brahma-bhūtaḥ stage, his symptom is that he's always joyful. Joyful. There is no moroseness. No. And what is joyful? That is also explained. What is joyfulness? Na śocati na kāṅkṣati: he does not hanker after anything, neither he laments.
In the material platform we have got two symptoms: hankering and lamenting. The things which we do not possess, we hanker after it: "I must have it. I must have it. I must have this, this, that..." Gṛha-kṣetra-sutāpta-vittaiḥ (SB 5.5.8). There is nice explanation how this hankering, hankering is expanded. This hankering expanded: this whole material world is hankering after sex life. That is the basic principle of hankering. Puṁsāṁ mitho. Puṁsāṁ striyo mithunī-bhāvam etam. This is Sanskrit language. Mithunī-bhāvam means sex life. Either in human society or animal society or bird society or insects'—everywhere you will find that sex life is very prominent. That is materialistic way of life, indriyāṇi, senses.
So the everyone... A boy is hankering after a girl, a girl in hankering after a boy; or a man is hankering after woman, woman is hankering... This is going on. This is not unnatural. This is the natural life. And tayor mitho, the hankering is there. But as soon as they meet, or unite, it becomes a hard knot, tayor mitho hṛdaya-granthim āhuḥ (SB 5.5.8), a hard knot in the heart, that "I am matter. I am this matter. This world belongs to me. This country belongs to me. This body belongs to me." That means hard knot. Instead of transcending from the concept of body life, it becomes still more hard knot. It is very difficult.
Therefore those who are practicing yoga, or trying to be on the transcendental platform, the restriction is that one must cease from sex life, if you at all interested. But that is not possible. Therefore our this method, we don't say "Stop sex life," but we say "Don't have illicit sex life." Illicit sex life... Of course, even there is no question of transcendental life, that is a question of civilized life. Civilized life.
In every civilized society—it may be Hindu society or Muslim society or a Christian society—any civilized human society, there is the system of marriage. And beyond marriage, if there is sex life, that is called illicit sex life. That is never indulged in any society. So what to speak of transcendental life? Transcendental life must be purified from mental concoction or bodily concept of life. It is the transcendental platform. Tayor mitho hṛdaya-granthim āhuḥ.
So these things are very restricted in order to reach that transcendental platform. But in this age, in this Age of Kali, where everything is disturbed, always full of anxieties, and the life is very short... That is also explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: prāyeṇa kalau asmin yuge janāḥ. Life is very short, and they are not interested for any transcendental subject matter. They are interested only with the bodily concept of life. Mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ (SB 1.1.10). And always disturbed by so many anxieties. How he can ascend to the platform of transcendental realization? It is very difficult in this age.
Therefore Arjuna, who was being taught by Kṛṣṇa that "You try this practice of transcendental life," but Arjuna said... Arjuna means he was taking this instruction five thousand years ago. He was a royal prince. He was very much advanced in so many things. He said, "My dear Kṛṣṇa, it is not possible to practice this transcendental process of ascending by yoga practice, this haṭha-yoga practice. It is not possible."
He refused. He refused, that "Because I am a family man, I have come here to fight for my, I mean to say, political interest, how I can practice this system, that I have to go to a solitary place, I have to sit down like this, I have to practice like this, I have to cease from sex life? So it is not possible." Just try to understand.
So transcendental platform by the haṭha-yoga system, practicing all the rules and regulations, is not possible in this age at all. If somebody is trying to practice that thing in so-called ways, that is not... Actually, you cannot perform this transcendental meditation in city life. It is not possible.
That is very clearly stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. You'll read. So you have to live in the city. You have to live with your family. You have to live with your friends. It is not possible to go to the forest and find out a secluded place.
So here, in this age, if you want to rise on the transcendental platform, then, as it is recommended by Vedic literature, kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt: "In this age, simply by chanting the holy name of God..." Kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt (SB 12.3.52). We are introducing this system not to make it very easy by our mental concoction. It is recommended. It is practiced.
Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu introduced this transcendental meditational process. You'll see. You have already seen that these boys and girls, as soon as they begin chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, immediately there is a transcendental feeling. If you practice, you will understand how you are feeling transcendentally. The easiest process.
Now I have begun this movement in this country, say, from 1966. So I began in New York in a small storefront, and gradually they came. Now it is spread. There are about fifteen, sixteen branches all over your country, and these boys are practicing simply, the simplest process, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
This sound vibration, this transcendental sound vibration, immediately will carry you on the transcendental platform. And if you kindly hear also... You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and try to hear, so that your mind is absorbed in the sound vibration. And this "Kṛṣṇa" sound vibration means Kṛṣṇa. Because Kṛṣṇa is absolute, God is absolute, there is no difference between God's name and God.
Just like in the material world there is difference between water and the name "water," the "flower" and the thing flower, in the spiritual world, in the absolute world, there is no such difference. Therefore, as soon you vibrate this transcendental sound, "Kṛṣṇa," "Hare," "Rāma," immediately you associate with the Supreme Lord and His energy.
Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa... The meaning of this transcendental vibration is Hare... Hare means "O the energy of the Supreme Lord." Everything is being done by the energy of the Supreme Lord. Parasya brahmaṇaḥ śaktiḥ (CC Madhya 20.110, Viṣṇu Purāṇa). Just like you have got practical example. This material world means creation of the energy of the sunshine. Every one of you—you are all scientific students—you know that all these planets, they are rotating on account of heat and light of the sun. And similarly, the whole creation, material and spiritual creation, they are manifestation of the energy of the Supreme Lord.
Just like the sunshine is the energy of the sun globe, similarly, there is a supreme planet, which is called Kṛṣṇaloka, or Goloka. These things are mentioned in the Vedic literature, Brahma-sūtra, Brahma-saṁhitā. If you want, you can read them. There is immense literature for this information.
So we are praying to the energy of the Supreme Lord and the Supreme Lord, "Please pick me up. Please pick me up. I am in this transcend..., the bodily concept of life. I am in this material existence. I am suffering. Please pick me up to the spiritual platform so that I will be happy." Because, as I explained just a minute before, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (BG 18.54)
As soon as you come to the transcendental platform, you become joyful, happy. Joy... That is the sign. It is not that simply you say that "I am in the transcendental meditation. I am a..." No. Actually you have to become happy. How you have to become happy? Na śocati na kāṅkṣati. There is no hankering; there is no lamentation. And material life means as soon as we are hankering after sex conjugation, and as soon as there is conjugation, atha gṛha-kṣetra-sutāpta-vittaiḥ (SB 5.5.8). As soon as we are united, man and woman, then I want a nice apartment, I want some business, I want some land, I want some friends, I want some society. Similarly, we extend our bodily concept of life. There is no question of transcendental platform.
So we have to wind up from the material concept of life to the spiritual concept, or spiritual platform. That is called brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati (BG 18.54). When one who is on the spiritual platform, he has no more hankering, no more lamentation. Why he should be hankering? He knows that "I don't want anything material. Why shall I be hankering? Whatever is, I mean, barely required, I must be satisfied with that thing."
So that is a..., a very, not very nice proposal to the materially advanced world at this present moment. People will not accept it. Therefore this process, transcendental... Yukta-vairāgya. It is called yukta-vairāgya. You just remain in your place. This is the facility of this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
You haven't got to change your place. You remain. You are student: you remain a student. You are businessman: you remain businessman. You are woman, man, or anyone, any, black, white, anyone—you remain in your position. Simply you try to hear.
Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ (SB 10.14.3). You just remain in your position. You simply hear. Kindly give your aural reception to this transcendental sound. Very simple process. No charges. We are not charging anything, that "You give us so many dollars, then I shall give you this mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa." It is publicly distributed. You simply catch up and try it. You'll... Very quickly you'll come to the transcendental platform, and when you hear the chanting, that is transcendental meditation.
This process is recommended in all scriptures of Vedic literature, and it is followed by Lord Caitanya and His disciplic succession for the last five hundred years, and people are achieving good result. Not only in India; here also, the young boys and girls who have joined this movement... You try to understand what is this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, how transcendental meditation is possible.
We are not sentimentalists. We have got many books. Just like here is our Bhagavad-gītā As It Is and Teachings of Lord Caitanya. We have got our magazine, Back to Godhead. We have got Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, five volumes. So many things. Īśopaniṣad. It is not that we are sentimentalist. We are backed by high philosophical thoughts and everything.
But if you take this simple process, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, you immediately are elevated on the transcendental platform without reading so many big literatures, philosophy or understanding. That is the gift to the present conditional souls of the world by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu in accordance with this Vedic sanction.
So our request is that you give a try. You simply chant, at home or anywhere. There is no restriction that "You have to chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra in such and such place, in such and such condition." Niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ (CC Antya 20.16). There is no restriction of time and, I mean to say, circumstances or atmosphere. Anywhere, at any time, you can meditate. You are...
No meditation is possible while you are walking on the street. But this meditation is possible: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. And go on with your work. You are working with your hands? You can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare. So this is very nice. So kindly accept this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
At the same time, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that,
- nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktis
- tatrārpitā niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ
- (CC Antya 20.16)
Lord Caitanya says that the Lord's name... Lord's name is not, I mean to say, limited with Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the perfect name. Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive. And Rāma means the supreme pleasure. So if God is not all-attractive and supreme pleasure, then what is the meaning of God? God must be. He must be the supreme pleasure.
Otherwise how you can be satisfied with Him? Your heart is hankering after so many, so many pleasures. If God cannot satisfy you with all the pleasures, Rāma, then how He can be God? Therefore these two names, Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, and all-attractive. If Kṛṣṇa cannot be attractive to any person, then how He can be God? He is attractive actually.
So these three names... We are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. So if you think, "Oh, this is Indian name. This is Hindu name. Why shall we chant? Why shall I chant the Hindu name?" There are some sectarian people, they may think like that. But Lord Caitanya says, "It doesn't matter. If you have got any bona fide name of God, you chant that. But you chant God's name." That is the prescription of this movement.
And do not think that this movement is a proselytizing movement, from Christian to Hindu, or Hindu to... No. You remain Christian, Hindu, Jew or Muhammadan; it doesn't matter. Our process if that if you are really to perfect your human form of life, then try to learn, develop your dormant love of Godhead. That is perfection of life. That is perfection of your life. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6). You profess any type of religion, but just test whether your religion is perfect or you are perfect, whether you have developed your love for God than any other love. We have distributed our love in so many things. When all those love will be concentrated simply on God, that is perfection of life. Love is there, but because we do not know, because we have forgotten our relationship with God, therefore we are imposing our love on dog. That has been our disease.
So we have to transfer our love from so many dogs to God. That is the perfection of life. And we are not teaching any particular type of religion. We are simply teaching that you love God. And this is possible simply by chanting these three names, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare... It is sixteen names.
Actually there are three names: Hare, Kṛṣṇa and Rāma. Rāma means the supreme pleasure, Kṛṣṇa means all-attractive, and Hare means the energy. Then it is perfect. Energy and the Lord, that is whole sum and substance of all creation, cosmic manifestation, anything. They are detailed in this Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, but that is the sum and substance of everything.
Thank you very much. (devotees offer obeisances)
(break) I told you. "Kṛṣṇa" means all-attractive. Have you got any idea, all-attractiveness? How one can be all-attractive, have you got any idea? Will any of you explain?
Devotee: By taking everything (indistinct).
Prabhupāda: Yes. Otherwise, how He can be all-attractive? That is explained. I will explain what is Kṛṣṇa. All-attractive, we have got idea. If one man is very rich, he is attractive. If one man is very strong, he is attractive. If one man is very beautiful, he is attractive. Man or woman, it doesn't matter.
If one man is wise, he is attractive. In this way there are six opulences: richness, strength, influence, beauty, wisdom and renunciation. When these six things are in complete in one person, that is all-attractive. So Kṛṣṇa exhibited all these things, six opulences, in one person. Therefore He's all-attractive.
Student: You said something about the energy of Kṛṣṇa. Er, is He the energy that divides the energy from everything, or is He all...? Everything comes down to just another form of energy, another form of complexity, so everything is suited to one thing and yet it's different?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Just like by electric energy you have got heater, at the same time, cooler also. The energy is one, but in one place it is utilized for heating; in another place it is utilized as cooling. Similarly, this, er... Take the energy of sunlight. The sunlight is one, but by the sunlight some flowers are becoming red, some flowers are becoming blue, the leaves are becoming green. So everything is due to the same energy, sunlight, but the variety is there. Variety is there.
So energy may be one. Just like in your country, by electric energy you are working in so many ways. So do not, I mean to say, make minus all these varieties, the energy in diverse varieties. Therefore the whole conception is, Brahman conception is, that unity in diversity. Everything is working by the energy of the Supreme Brahman, and in the energy we have got different diversities. So we cannot neglect the diversities, although the energy is one.
Student: Is God is a state of mind?
Prabhupāda: No. That I have explained, that we have different stages of understanding. The first stage is this bodily concept of life. That is material and gross. Then mental stage, that is finer, subtle. And intellectual stage, that is still subtler. And you have to transcend all these stages, up to intellectual stage. That is spiritual stage. God is complete spirit, full spirit.
Indian woman: Is God the one energy you speak of?
Prabhupāda: God is... What is your question? "God is one energy?" No. God is not one energy. God is one, but He has diverse energies. Parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.8, CC Madhya 13.65, purport). In the Vedic literature we understand that God is one, but His energies are many, multi-energies. We are also one of the energies of God, we living entities. We are also energy. That is stated in the, er... Apareyam itas tu vidhi me prakṛtiṁ parā (BG 7.5). Lord Kṛṣṇa says to Arjuna that "These material energies, namely fire...," I mean to say, "earth, water, fire, air, mind, intelligence, ego, they are inferior energy. Beyond this inferior energy, there is another, superior energy. That superior energy is called jīva-bhūto mahā-bāho." These living entities, they are superior energy. Yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat (BG 7.5): "They are," I mean to say, "ruling over these material energies."
So living entity is superior energy, and this material energy is inferior energy. Therefore we are trying to control over the material energy, but because we are very small, it is not possible to have full control over the material energy. After all, this is energy of... Just like we can utilize the sunshine some way or other, but it is not possible for us to utilize the whole sunshine. It is not possible.
So that is called māyā. The superior energy, living entity, is trying to control over the inferior energy, material energy. But because we are very minute, small, it is not possible to have full control over the material energy. Rather, we are being controlled by the material energy due to our smallness. These things are very nicely explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, Seventh Chapter. If you are interested, you'll find.
Student: You say there's great joy in achieving the transcendental platform. Why? Why necessarily joy and not sorrow?
Prabhupāda: Because you are seeking after joy. Because you are originally transcendental, spirit soul. You're hankering after..., your business is to come to that platform of joyfulness. But you are somehow or other put into this material platform. You are not having fulfilled your joy. Just like you belong to this land, and if you are put into the ocean, Atlantic Ocean, however expert swimmer you may be, you cannot be happy. You have (to) come back to the land; then you can be happy.
Similarly, we are all spiritual souls, spiritual sparks. Just like the sunshine. Sunshine means there are molecular parts of shining principles. Similarly, we are also molecular parts and parcel of God, who is ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12), in the Vedānta-sūtra. He is full of joy. So we, as part and parcel also, we are full of joy. So unless we come in contact with the Supreme, our joyfulness will never be fulfilled. Therefore we have to come to the spiritual platform if we want to have that full spiritual or full joyfulness... (break) (end)