Monday, 19 March 2012

Krishna Bhakti - The Highest and Ultimate Perfection

Lecture Transcription of Class by HH Bhakti Vijnana Goswami Maharaj
Date: March 16, 2012 in Damodardesh

Bhagavad Gita 9.32

mam hi partha vyapasritya
ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayaḥ
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras
te 'pi yanti param gatim
“O son of Prtha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth — women, vaiśyas [merchants] and śūdras [workers] — can attain the supreme destination.”

This verse describes the power of Krishna bhakti. Krishna himself says that as far as eligibility for Krishna Bhakti is concerned, Krishna Bhakti is the most universal process and anyone can perform it. In India, which is called tapo-bhumi, or the land of tapasya, there are many techniques or processes for spiritual elevation to a higher state of consciousness.

Sadhana means something which is instrumental in achieving the goal – sadhya. The goal of human life is to elevate one’s consciousness. We can see even from the construction of the human body that it’s a vertical structure and every other specie has more or less a horizontal structure or downward structure. The only body which goes straight up is human body and all other species of life look down. There are many human beings also who are mostly concerned with the lower strata of human existence but the human existence in actuality is meant to be progressive and elevate the consciousness. Everyone has a spiritual tendency and craving but the problem is that the materialistic tendencies called Karma are so strong that it binds us. There are many techniques for elevation and ultimately all have one common thing - to weaken the physical tendencies. All the techniques which are there for spiritual development are meant to weaken these animalistic tendencies in human beings and strengthen the spiritual tendencies.

For each process there is an eligibility or adhikara. One cannot engage in this process without having the proper eligibility.

There are four processes as below:-

- One is Karma-yoga in which we have to follow very strict rules laid down in the Vedic scriptures. To be eligible to perform Karma-yoga, we should be born in a particular family and should know our Gothra. We have to follow certain traditions and dharma-sastras. However, ultimately it does not work in Kali-yuga as to go against the flow/tendency of the modern society which is strongly dominated by the lower modes of passion and ignorance is very difficult. For example, in reality the food which we eat in Kali-yuga can never be sattvic food as it is grown with heavy chemicals and fertilizers. So, it is very difficult to perform this strict yoga practice which requires a sattvic lifestyle, calm and disciplined mind and a certain culture. Karma-yoga has very high eligibility with regards to birth and a regulated mindset by following the rules & regulations.

- There is jnana-yoga in which we have to renounce everything and try to meditate on the Supreme. For performing Jnana-yoga we have to be completely renounced, we have to know Shastras, we have to know Sanskrit, we have to be able to meditate and really withdraw the mind from all the attractions – and Dubai is surely not a place for Mediation! We have to go high out on the Himalayas where the atmosphere is conducive but now even over there the contamination of Kali-yuga has reached. We recently went up high in the Himalayas for a pilgrimage to only find coca-cola bottles there. [Laughter] Modern culture is everywhere!

- Then there is astanga-yoga where we have to do different asanas and completely silence the mind. In Astanga-yoga we have to be conceived and born in a certain way, we need to have a flexible body and be able to withdraw the mind and senses from the sense objects. I was recently asked to speak about Yoga and Pranayama in a gathering and people were very inspired. After the lecture, an old lady came to me and said; ‘My Dear Son, why didn’t you come 30 years back?’ [Laughter] So I was telling her something which she was not eligible for.

- Finally there is Bhakti-yoga.

Ultimately, all the first three processes being employed in Kali-yuga do not bring the ultimate perfection. They may bring little relief from stress but in actuality it does nothing. There is only one process which works in Kali-yuga and that is Bhakti-yoga. This is said on the authority of Krishna Himself. Krishna very clearly says in the ninth chapter of Bhagavad-Gita which describes Bhakti-yoga, that everyone and anyone is eligible to perform this process and not only to perform the process but also achieve the ultimate result of this process which is not only liberation but higher than liberation.

In a previous verse, (BG 9.30) Krishna says, api cet su-duracaro bhajate mam ananya-bhak – even if you are a sinner, you still can perform Bhakti and very quickly all these tendencies which we have will be vanished from our consciousness. Krishna says even if you acquire some strong sinful propensity (su-duracar which means very bad and sinful activities) very quickly you will become Dharmatma or very righteous. We all had these propensities at some point within us and somehow or the other, they become weakened very quickly. The lowest of the lowest of mankind is eligible of attaining the highest perfection of Krishna Bhakti by taking up this process of chanting Hare Krishna.

In reality Krishna tells us that the Aprarabdha Karma (with which we are born) can be completely eradicated. Usually for other processes, they claim that some part of our aprarabdha Karma can be diminished but it is said in Padma Purana:
aprarabdha-phalam papam
kutam bijam phalonmukham
kramenaiva praliyeta
The dormant unmanifested karmic reactions or results of sins which will manifest later on (apraarabdha phalam), the sinful propensity awakened due to the unmanifest reactions (kuta), the strong desire to commit sin (bija) and the resultant suffering experienced due to engaging in a sinful action (phalonmukham), are completely  destroyed in the above sequence in the a life of a devotee who is full attached and absorbed (rataatmanam) in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The apraabadha is the easiest and the first to be destroyed and can also be destroyed to some extent by other processes, but the later things like Kuta, Bija and Praarabdha (manifested reaction which we experience when we sin) cannot be destroyed by any other spiritual processes except Bhakti- yoga.

Vishnu Bhakti - if one has very strong attachment to follow this process then all the tendencies of sinful reactions can be eradicated gradually. So many samskaras are stored in our consciousness that we have no idea how they will manifest. So much heaps and heaps of karma and tendencies are there in order to keep us happily engaged in this material world for many lifetimes.

Aprarabdha phalam is destroyed first, then comes Kuta. Kuta is basically the tip of the Iceberg and under the iceberg, there is a huge amount of material stored. So Kuta basically means the sub-conscious propensities. We all have some propensity to sinful life and we are born with these propensities. Sometimes, we are not even aware of these propensities. Next is Bija which means the seed or desire in our heart. If we study astrology, we can know about the sinful propensities or papa-grahas in the chart and they indicate the sinful propensities and astrology shows the time when they will manifest, however, for the time-being they may be dormant. These desires are always manifest. Sometimes we are successful in suppressing them and sometimes not. Phalonmukha is fully-blown up propensities or karma.

But here in this verse we understand that our aprarabdha Karma, Kuta, Bija and Phalonmukha will gradually be eradicated from our consciousness if we perform Krishna Bhakti.

There is a Sanskrit Logic that if you take a needle and if you take 100 petals of Lotus, if we go with this needle through the 100 petals of the Lotus, practically all the 100 petals will be pierced at the same time by the needle. In the same way, the process of Krishna Bhakti can very quickly eradicate the sinful tendencies. The secret here is explained by the word ‘Vyapasritya’ which means one really has to take shelter and apply himself fully and completely to this process with full faith. This is the glory and power of this process.

I would narrate my personal story before I became a devotee. Once devotees were walking with Srila Prabhupada and somebody started complaining to Srila Prabhupada, that ‘Indians are so tricky and we have to very careful with them!’ Then Prabhupada stopped and said that, ‘I am also Indian.’ They stared apologizing and said Prabhupada you are different. Srila Prabhupada said, ‘I’m not different because I also tricked you.’ [Laughter] So I was also tricked by a devotee who told me that if I chant this Hare Krishna Mantra, then I will gain good health and my aura will be strong and I will see aura of others. So I started chanting this Mantra and it’s been 32 years, I didn’t see any aura. [Laughter] The point is when I started chanting the Mantra, I could immediately feel the difference, that there is something which is coming to my consciousness which was not there before. At one point, my career was finished, my family members became morose because I was a hope for the family and everything collapsed yet I was happy. What I could do, I was happy. I felt lightness because all this burden of karma which is stored and is suppressing our consciousness was being eradicated.

We can all achieve amazing results no matter who we are, if we have sraddha (faith). If our faith is exclusive then one can achieve the result very quickly. Once I got a letter from a lady who was reading Bhagavad-Gita, and she said that when I read Bhagavad-Gita I cry because deep within my heart, I feel that every word of this book is true and that for a long time I was searching for something and now I am fulfilled. This lady must be very advanced as she had tears of love because of this powerful process of Krishna Bhakti. When Caitanya Maharprabhu came to the poor Brahmana who was crying by only looking at the picture of Bhagavad-gita, Caitanya Mahaprabhu said you are the Acarya of Bhagavad-gita because you have full faith.

So following this process means complete change in the consciousness. Now we are bound up by material attachments but by this process, we become free. This faith in Krishna gives complete shelter to everyone. In reality we are all foreign to this world. This place is not for us but when we come to Krishna Consciousness we have this amazing feeling that I am home, I am back home because Krishna is there and He is my eternal father.

Recently, I again got a letter from a devotee who is very new to Krishna Consciousness and she writes, ‘I chant 16 rounds everyday but then when I finish my 16 rounds, I cannot stop chanting and therefore I am chanting 32 rounds but because of household chores I reluctantly have to stop but I am always chanting Hare Krishna.’ So this is how people become advanced so quickly by this process if they have faith.

So, the secret here is that if we apply ourselves completely in this process and have full faith then very quickly we will achieve great success. We will feel the presence of Krishna in our heart at every moment of our life.

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