Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Holland: June 7, 2001 (morning)
[In this class, you could have heard a pin drop as over six hundred devotees sat spellbound in the large red pandal at Kijkduin Park, a beautiful campsite in Den Haag, Holland. Most of the devotees listening to this class of Shrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja had been chanting for five, ten, twenty, or thirty years. Many of us did not have a clear idea, however, of what was transpiring in our lives in relation to the way we had been chanting, or how the type of chanting we were doing directly controlled the situations in our daily lives. After Shrila Maharaja's class, so many commented that they were inspired by hearing such a complete explanation on the three types of chanting Hare Krishna and their results.]
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: There is a question: Suppose there is a person who is committing many offences, who is a murderer, who slaughters cows, and who is full of bad qualities. Suppose that sinful person somehow chants Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare. Will his chanting have any effect or not? What will be the gain? What will be the result?
Devotee: He will be purified.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Why does he not realize this at that time? The example is Ajamila. He was a very wicked person. Earlier in his life he was a good brahmana, but then he associated with a prostitute and became a murderer. He engaged in all kinds of sins, and he shared the fruits of his crimes with that prostitute. He chanted, but he chanted the name of his son, Narayana. What became of him? What was the result of his 'chanting'?
jayati jayati namananda-rupam murarer
katham api sakrd attam mukti-dam praninam yat
parama amrtam ekam jivanam bhusanam me
["All glories, all glories to the all-blissful holy name of Shri Krishna, which causes the devotee to give up all conventional religious duties, meditation and worship. When somehow or other uttered even once by a living entity, the holy name awards him liberation. The holy name of Krishna is the highest nectar. It is my very life and my only treasure."]
Jayati jayati namananda-rupam murarer. Namananda-rupam murarer. The holy names are the actual form of Murari. Mura was a very powerful demon who Krishna killed and gave liberation. Therefore one name of Krishna is Murari, and the form of this Murari is Krishna-nama. Katham api sakrdattam. In any way, if one utters only one name of Murari, Krishna, Madhava, Govinda, Rama, and so on, that name gives mukti. The devotee receives mukti very easily, and therefore Krishna has the name Murari.
Don't have any doubts. Previously Ajamila could not realize the glory of the name. But then his gurus, the associates of Narayana, came to him, and in their light he saw, "Oh, I have even crossed over death. Although no one can cross death, still, no death came to me. Oh, they saved me from death." At that time he realized that the name is very elevated and has vast power. Why could he not realize this before?
Now he realized his soul. It is by our soul that we can see the effect of the holy name – not by this body, not by these eyes, and not by mental speculation. Even a very wretched, wicked person who chants harinama can very easily be liberated and saved from death.
However, Krishna-prema will never come by this type of chanting. For this, something more will be required. Shrila Rupa Gosvami has written: yad-brahma-saksat-krti-nisthayapi, vinasam ayati vina na bhogaih / apaiti nama! sphurena tat te, prarabdha-karmeti virauti vedah. ["O Nama! The Vedas loudly declare that even without a devotee undergoing any suffering, his prarabdha-karma (the karma which constitutes this body), which cannot be eliminated even by resolute meditation on impersonal brahman, is at once mitigated by Your appearance on the tongue." (Shri Krishna-Namastakam, Verse 4)] What is the meaning? You should write down the meaning in your hearts.
Prema Prayojana dasa: Shrila Rupa Gosvami is comparing the process of chanting harinama and that of meditating on nirvisesa-brahma (the conception of a God without qualities). Even if one is completely absorbed, directly realizing impersonal brahma, his prarabdha-karma will not go away.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Remember that there are two kinds of brahma-jnana. The brahma-jnana of the Mayavadis is not jnana; rather it is aparadha, an offence. The brahma-jnana of Sukadeva Gosvami and the four Kumaras is right, and that brahma is the rays of the toenails of Krishna. That brahma is referred to in the verse beginning "Yasya prabha prabhavato," regarding the effulgence of Krishna. On the other hand, the nirvisesavada (impersonalism) of Sankaracarya is very bogus.
Prema Prayojana dasa: Shrila Gurudeva is clarifying this point. One person is a Mayavadi, following Shri Sankaracarya's conception that nirvisesa-brahma is the supreme Absolute Truth. Those who have that conception are offenders. Those who realize the brahma-jyoti, like Sukadeva Gosvami, are not making any offence to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If anyone is absorbed in that effulgence which is coming form Krishna, what will be the result? "Yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda koti/ kotisv asesa-vasudhadi-vibhuti-bhinnam" (Brahma-Samhita 5.40). If anyone will meditate on that brahma, all his aprarabdha karma will be destroyed. Aprarabdha karma, the results of the activities performed in previous lives and which are not yet fructified, will disappear. However, his prarabdha karma, the results of fruitive activities that are fructifying right now in the form of this material body, remains. The body that we have now is our prarabdha karma, and this prarabdha karma will not be destroyed by meditation on brahma.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: They will have to taste all the fruits of previous activities that are in this body. Other karmas, like aprarabdha and kuta, will all be destroyed, but they will have to taste this prarabdha karma..
Prema Prayojana dasa: Krishna's name is so powerful. Apaiti nama! sphuranena tat te, prarabdha-karmeti virauti vedah. Throughout the Vedas it has been explained that at the very moment Krishna-nama appears on the tongue of the chanter, all karma -- past, present, future, and even this prarabdha karma, is all totally destroyed.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: But there is something more. "Apaiti nama! spuranena tat te." It must actually be the holy name. In other words it must be suddha-nama, the pure name, the pure holy name, chanted without any offence. If that pure name is not coming, but rather nama-abhasa (a reflection of the name) and especially nama-aparadha (offences to the name) are there, you will have to taste the fruits of your prarabdha karma. On the other hand, if the pure name is coming, that is called sphuranena. Spuranena is the revelation of Krishna as His name.
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah
Sphuratyada has the same meaning as spuranena. Krishna is directly revealed as His name. That pure name will come by a certain process, the first step of which is sadhu-sanga, association with self-realized devotees. Then, by sadhu sanga, something of tattva, philosophical established truths, will be understood, and then one will realize why he should be initiated and how the desire to serve Krishna can be fulfilled.
Guru-nistha, faith in guru, is essential for this, but how will guru-nistha come? It will come by accepting an elevated devotee and taking real diksa. By that factual diksa, di – divya-jnanam (transcendental knowledge of one relationship with Krishna) – a thick relation with Krishna will come. At that time all tattvas, like Krishna-tattva, jiva-tattva, maya-tattva, bhakti-tattva, and all other tattvas will be known. At that time all kinds of 'ksa', bad things like offences, worldly attachments, sense gratification and so on will go away by this quality of the name. Also at that time, one serves gurudeva in a visrambha mood. Visrambha mood means lokika sada-bandhuvat, serving gurudeva as an intimate friend, and accepting him as one's very heart.
By such chanting of harinama, the pure name will come automatically, and at that time prarabdha karmeti virauti vedah. Prarabdha karma will disappear. If prarabdha karma goes away, however, at once the body will die. Therefore, by Krishna's arrangement the body does not die. It the body dies, how will one practice bhakti-yoga? The body does not die, but if any illness comes to the devotee, or any good or bad events, it will be by the wish of Krishna. It is given to further develop the devotee's Krishna consciousness. It is not due to his karma. The karma of Bharata was not his prarabdha karma or any other karma. It was the wish of Krishna Himself.
By the wish of Krishna, in a certain pastime Narada, due to pride, apparently became attached to lust. This was not actually the case, however. He is a transcendental person. Lust cannot touch him. Krishna as Ramacandra simply wanted to caution ordinary devotees, who succumb to pride, that they should be careful. Otherwise, even if one considers himself as great as Narada, still he can come to this. If one is proud, he cannot be saved from lust. It was simply for example that Ramacandra set up this pastime with Narada. Prarabdha karmeti virauti vedah. The chanter of suddha-nama has no prarabdha karma.
The Vedas tells us that if anyone is doing nama-aparadha, the result is that he may become wealthy. Why? So that his bhakti will be covered by wealth. He may drink, he may eat meat, he may take drugs, and he may engage in so many other sins – as we see in the case of Nalakuvera and Manigriva. If there is wealth, it is very hard to do bhajana. Ambarisa Maharaja and others like him can do so, but we cannot do so if we are wealthy. Even a sannyasi may fall down by wealth, and this has also been explained in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Wealth takes us very far away from Krishna. "Nityartidena vittena durlabhenatma-mrtyuna" (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.3.19). What is the meaning?
Shripad Madhava Maharaja: Gurudeva has just explained about wealth. Nityartidena. To earn money is very difficult, and to use it properly is very difficult. ["Wealth is a perpetual source of distress, it is most difficult to acquire, and it is virtual death for the soul. What satisfaction does one actually gain from his wealth? Similarly, how can one gain ultimate or permanent happiness from one's so-called home, children, relatives and domestic animals, which are all maintained by one's hard-earned money?" (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.3.20)]
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: In earning, in spending ...
Shripad Madhava Maharaja: And in protecting it.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: It always gives suffering.
Shripad Madhava Maharaja: Those persons cannot do bhajana properly. Gurudeva just gave the example of the sons of Kuvera. Kuvera is the predominating deity of wealth. Janma aisvarya sruta Shri. If you come from an aristocratic family, if you have too much opulence, if you are very learned, and if you are very handsome, you cannot do bhajana properly. If you have wealth, then all bad qualities are bound to come to you if you have not surrendered yourself to the lotus feet of a bona fide gurudeva and are not in good association. If you have wealth, then even if you are very ugly and you have many bad habits, yet you can keep a learned or handsome person as your servant. Nityartidena vittena durlabhenatma-mrtyuna. Wealth causes you to kill your own soul.
Therefore, if you have money, if you have wealth, you must be in good association in order to use it properly. If you are like Ambarisa Maharaja and Yudhisthira Maharaja, then you can be saved. Otherwise, you will be entangled by that wealth, and you are bound to misuse it and spoil your life.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: A nama-aparadhi can have wealth, a very beautiful husband, a beautiful wife, very good and beautiful children, gardens, dogs, and so on. These things have come due to wealth. If you are not very wealthy, your children will generally not become highly learned and qualified. Bodily paraphernalia is collected by that wealth, which is like a death. How, then, can they do anything to help you?
If you are doing nama-aparadha and vaisnava-aparadha, but still you are chanting the name, what will be the result? Especially if you are criticizing Vaisnavas, you will have to go to hell. The holy name cannot bear that anyone criticizes His devotees. Krishna will make another kind of hell for you, a special kind of hell. These present hells are not enough.
A different result comes by chanting nama-abhasa. [This is the stage of chanting where offences have almost stopped and one is freed from the result of sins. Nama-abhasa is a glimpse of the light of the pure holy name. It is almost transcendental.] The chanter may take birth in a religious family to easily continue his bhakti, and he will cross over death. He will be liberated by his nama-abhasa. [In this connection 'crossing death' and 'liberation' means that at the time of death the agents of Yamaraja will not come to punish him. Rather, he will be promoted to a better opportunity for bhakti.] If he is not doing any vaisnava-aparadha or nama-aparadha, if nama-abhasa is continuously coming, then it may be that by the effect of exalted devotee association or by the mercy of gurudeva and Vaisnavas and Krishna, in this life one pure name will come on his tongue. You can realize this if you are always chanting harinama and are not criticizing or committing any offences to any Vaisnava.
Then, very soon, by the process given by Rupa Gosvami and especially given by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in His Shri Siksastaka, the pure holy name, with all kinds of rasa and all kinds of associates, will come and dance on your tongue. Maha-rasa-lila will be dancing on your tongue. This is sure. At that time there will be no sleepiness or idleness at all. You will be like Shrila Haridasa Thakura, or more than that. You will be like Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, and also Shrila Sanatana Gosvami.
These Gosvamis never knew where was night and where was day. Sometimes they ate nothing. They were only weeping, weeping, weeping, all day and night. Why were they weeping? Sometimes a feeling of separation came in their hearts by the name: "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare."
In the names Hare and Krishna, Radha and Krishna are meeting. The pure chanter will realize the rasa dance and all the other sweet pastimes of Radha and Krishna in Their meeting. In Rama Rama, or Hare Hare, or Krishna Krishna, a separation mood will come. Krishna has gone for cow-herding and the gopis are in their homes or in the many groves. The gopis were remembering Krishna in their homes in this way:
"Barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram / bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam vaijayantim ca malam / randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair / vrndaranyam sva-pada-ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih" ["Wearing a peacock-feather ornament upon His head, yellow karnikara flowers on His ears, a yellow garment as brilliant as gold, and the Vaijayanti garland, Lord Krishna exhibited His transcendental form as the greatest of dancers as He entered the forest of Vrindavan, beautifying it with the marks of His footprints. He filled the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips, and the cowherd boys sang His glories." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.21.5)]
The gopis were seeing Krishna playing His flute, accompanied by Baladeva, and millions of friends and cows were following behind Them. The sweet melody of the flute was entering the ears of the gopis, at once taking their hearts, and then returning to Krishna. At that time the gopis became restless and followed that 'thief.' They called out, "Where are You taking my heart?" Sometimes feeling separation and sometimes meeting, a devotee can meditate on pastimes such as this. Why he will sleep? He will not be able to sleep.
If that kind of name is not coming, then we are not uttering suddha-nama (the pure holy name). There are two kinds of name. When we are chanting the name by mind, forcibly, it is like a vibration of sound. It is not the pure name. However, although it is asuddha-nama (some nama-aparadha and some nama-abhasa) our Gosvamis have said that such chanting is part of the process of bhakti. It is called sadhana-bhakti.
There are two kinds of sadhana, and they are called vaidhi-bhakti sadhana (sadhana regulated by sastric injunctions) and raganuga-bhakti sadhana (sadhana impelled by greed to follow in the wake of the Vrajabasis). When we are engaging our tongue and all other senses for the purpose of achieving transcendental bhakti, that engagement is also called bhakti. It is not exactly bhakti, but still it is called so.
An example can be given of a boy going to school. Although he was weeping very much and crying out, "I will not go to school," still the father or mother took him in their arms and forcibly took that boy to school. Then, in school, a red book with so many pictures was given to him, and the teacher asked him, "Oh, what is this?"
"This is a book."
"Now open the book."
The boy opened the book.
"What is this?"
"Oh, it is a mango."
"'A' is for 'apple.' Now you know that this is an apple." The boy became very happy, and the teacher said further, "You are a very good boy. You are very intelligent. And B – ball, C – cat. Now you are learned. You are a good student."
On the next day the boy eagerly inquired, "Mommy, when will I go to school?" Learning to recognize the picture of a ball is not actually study, but this activity is like studying.
Here is another example. Suppose I want to have a fire sacrifice. I order you, "O Gaurasundara, you should go and bring some bricks and make a place." "O, you should go and bring some ghee and some paraphernalia." "You should go and bring that book, Hari-bhakti-vilasa." "And you, you should bring some dry wood. And you should also bring some very green leaves of mango."
Is this the fire sacrifice? It can never be so. What is the fire sacrifice? It is your offering of yourself as you toss grains into the fire: "Svaha! Svaha!" Sva means myself. "Om Krishnaya svaha" means I am offering myself to the lotus feet of Krishna. This is the real fire sacrifice. To bring all the paraphernalia has also been accepted as part of the fire sacrifice, however, because it is gotten for the sacrifice. Similarly, when we are chanting and doing sadhana, devotional practices performed by these mortal senses and this body, still it has been called bhakti.
"Krti-sadhya bhavet sadhya-bhava sa sadhanabhidha / nitya-siddhasya bhavasya prakatyam hrdi sadhyata" (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.2). What is the meaning?
Syamarani dasi: "Krti-sadhya bhavet sadhya." This verse was spoken by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Shri Sanatana Gosvami, and it is also quoted by Shrila Rupa Gosvami in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. This is the definition of sadhana-bhakti.
There is something that is eternally situated in the heart of every living entity, and that is the emotional sentiments in relation to Krishna. Bhava-bhakti, the sprout of the beautiful plant of Krishna-prema, is eternally situated in the heart of every jiva. What is my constitutional relationship with Krishna, what I look like, what is my service; these are already in my heart in potentiality, as a seed.
There is a process by which that bhava-bhakti becomes awakened in the heart. It is already there, and it awakens in the heart by the nine processes of bhakti beginning with chanting and hearing. "Sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya" (Chaitanya-caritamrta Madhya 22.107). It is not brought about by anything external. It is already in the heart. The process, which is executed by the material senses and which awakens bhava-bhakti, is called sadhana-bhakti. If my aim and objective is not that very bhava-bhakti, if there is some other aim, then I am not doing sadhana. I am doing sadhana-abhasa, a shadow or semblance of sadhana-bhakti.
Prema Prayojana dasa: Shrila Gurudeva gave the two examples to show the nature of sadhana -- the boy saying "A is for apple," and the fire sacrifice. This is to show that sadhana is not actually bhakti, as bhakti is the vritti, function, of svarupa-sakti. Unless bhava has begun to appear, the activities cannot actually be called bhakti. Yet, Rupa Gosvami has included sadhana within the umbrella name of bhakti because it is essential to perform this in order to make the platform on which svarupa-sakti vritti, or in other words bhava-bhakti, will manifest.