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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Give Up all Kinds of Religion and Surrender unto Me

The so-called progressive modern civilization has produced reprobate human beings, whose sins have been accumulating over many lifetimes. Yet if they surrender to Lord Kṛṣṇa, even they will have all their sins eradicated forever. The process of devotional service and remembrance of Lord Kṛṣṇa will gradually dissipate unwanted, base desires from within their hearts. And those hearts, which previously sheltered immoral yearnings will become fully cleansed and auspicious.

The sinful and the destitute can understand their mistakes and misfortune only by Lord Kṛṣṇa's mercy. Once they begin to repent for their sins and surrender to the Lord, they are saved; they become purified and start manifesting saintly characteristics. And if even after a person takes to the devotional process some vestige of immorality remains in his character, that also will soon be eradicated by the Lord's grace. The single-minded devotee who never offends the Supreme Lord or His devotees is to be considered a saintly soul. Even if it seems that such a saint is not yet rid of all sinful propensities, he will never be destroyed, as are the yogīs and karmīs in a similar situation. This the Supreme Lord Himself has declared.

The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam's account of the deliverance of Ajāmila conclusively proves this fact. Once undeviating faith in devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa penetrates a person's heart, the process of purification is firmly underway, even though his external activities may show residues of sin. Lord Kṛṣṇa has boldly broadcast in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.31) His promise that His surrendered devotees can never be vanquished: kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati. That Lord Kṛṣṇa will always protect His devotees is proved in this verse, especially since the Lord, instead of declaring the promise Himself, asks the valiant prince Arjuna to do so on His behalf. The Lord may break His own promise, but because He is favorable to His devotees, He will always try to uphold their promises. By breaking His own promise and keeping Bhīṣmadeva's on the battlefield of Kurukṣetra, the Lord has proved beyond a doubt that He favors His surrendered devotees .

A brāhmaṇa or someone of noble birth endowed with beauty, wealth, and learning may fallaciously conclude that elimination of degraded habits still visible in a devotee can occur only in the case of a brāhmaṇa like Ajāmila. Ajāmila was a brāhmaṇa by birth, but on account of sinful activities caused by bad reactions from his past life, he began performing abominable activities. At the end of his life, however, his remembrance of the Supreme Lord absolved him of all sins. But deliverance is possible for everyone, not just those of high birth. Even the lowest people, who are naturally given to base activities, can reach the spiritual abode of Lord Kṛṣṇa if they simply surrender at His lotus feet. As He says in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.32):

māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya
ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ
striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās
te 'pi yānti parāṁ gatim

O son of Pṛthā, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth—women, vaiśyas [merchants], and śūdras [workers]—will attain the supreme destination.

When the lowest of human beings can attain the supreme destination by surrendering to Lord Kṛṣṇa, then what to speak of high-born brāhmaṇas? Those who follow the path of devotional service to the Supreme Lord are not hounded by caste and colour discrimination. Monotheism—one religion and one creed—is possible only under the shelter of Lord Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, and not in any other way.

The illusory potency, māyā, constantly terrorizes and shackles the people in the present Age of Quarrel, Kali-yuga. Due to forgetting their real identity as spirit souls, they bring disaster to the world. Under such a siege, modern-day thinkers and philosophers are desperately trying to bring purity and unity into society. They are conducting in-depth research into this problem. But Lord Kṛṣṇa long ago gave the solution to our modern problems in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.34):

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi yuktvaivam
ātmānaṁ mat-parāyaṇaḥ

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.

O people of the world! Please try to translate the Gītā's message into action and channel your thoughts toward Lord Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet. Serve Him with your mind and body. If you dovetail all your energy in the Lord's service, then not only will you feel intense exhilaration in this lifetime, but you will be immersed in eternal bliss in the spiritual world, perpetually serving Him. The most munificent incarnation of Godhead, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, recently advented in the Age of Kali to propagate this message. By the great fortune of all Bengalis, He appeared in Bengal and blessed the Bengali race. Thus Bengalis can preach His mission and instructions to the entire human race and deliver the people of the planet and themselves. The presentation of this knowledge in a systematic and scientific manner will bring about universal sublime peace. Yet the shocking fact is that thirteen unauthorized cults have mushroomed into prominence and are fast expanding their illegitimate fold with naive disciples. What one fails to comprehend is how the leaders of these cults, who have never accept discipleship and tutelage from any bona fide spiritual master, can suddenly rise to the position of spiritual master themselves. The subject matter that needs to be promulgated among the people is not some cheap, sentimental concoction meant to deceive them; it is in fact a deeply profound and esoteric theology. The words of Lord Caitanya can never be disseminated by unscrupulous self-styled "gurus" who fake spiritual sentiments to impress the ignorant mass of people. All saintly persons beware!

Our general experience is that impersonalists, given as they are to speculation and sophistry, hesitate to accept Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Godhead. Thus they will always be frustrated in their endeavors to know the Supreme Absolute Truth by dint of their own intelligence. They cannot perceive this shortcoming in themselves, and even if it is pointed out to them by persons who know the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they cannot grasp it. Such polluted consciousness is a result of not surrendering to Lord Kṛṣṇa. The Lord's name, form, qualities, pastimes, and paraphernalia are all transcendental and extraordinary; hence blunt material senses cannot perceive them. The sun becomes visible only by the help of sunlight; similarly, the Supreme Lord reveals Himself only to those engaged in His devotional service.

The facilities available to us in our material condition are many. One facility in the mode of goodness is intelligence, which gives us the ability to distinguish subtle elements and to discriminate between matter and spirit, and in this way to avoid coming under illusion. Also in the mode of goodness are tolerance, truthfulness, control of the senses, equanimity, and other such qualities. Added to the list are qualities in the mode of passion, such as strong desire, fearlessness, and unwavering determination, as well as qualities in the mode of ignorance, such as fear, madness, and distress over birth, death, old age, and disease. All these facilities are products of the Lord's external, material energy. Since māyā is under the Supreme Lord's control, all the above-mentioned qualities also emanate from Kṛṣṇa Himself. But Lord Kṛṣṇa is beyond the periphery of our sensual experience, and therefore simply cultivating the nobler qualities—those in the mode of goodness—is not sufficient spiritual practice to elevate us to the Lord's lotus feet. The only way to overcome māyā is to take complete shelter at the Lord's lotus feet. Kṛṣṇa states in the Gītā (7.14) that those who surrender to Him can easily cross beyond māyā. Once māyā is surmounted, one's endeavor is crowned with the realization that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As Lord Brahmā says in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.1):

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ

Kṛṣṇa who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other oridin and He is the prime cause of all causes.

Only when one is free from the influences of māyā can one perceive the transcendental opulence, power, fame, beauty, knowledge, and renunciation of the Supreme Lord. With this transcendental realization one can fathom the Supreme Lord's own words in the Bhagavad-gītā (10.8-10):

I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in my devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts. The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me. To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me."