Lecture at Harvard University Divinity School, Cambridge

posted in: English 0


Date: May 7, 1969
Location: Boston

[kīrtana] [prema-dhvani] All glories to the assembled devotees. All glories to the assembled devotees. Thank you very much.


Prabhupāda: I shall speak or you shall speak? I shall speak?

Satsvarūpa: I shall speak?

Prabhupāda: What do you want? I shall speak or you?

Satsvarūpa: I think there’s enough people. You could speak.


oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

[I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who with the torchlight of knowledge has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance.]

You can… Because I have not seen this ordinary… Bring it. Yes. Yes.

sthāpitaṁ yena bhū-tale
svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ
dadāti sva-padāntikam

[When will Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, who has established within this material world the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Caitanya, give me shelter under his lotus feet?]

he kṛṣṇa karuṇā-sindho
dīna-bandho jagat-pate
gopeśa gopīka-kānta
rādhā-kānta namo ‘stu te

[O my dear Kṛṣṇa, ocean of mercy, You are the friend of the distressed and the source of creation. You are the master of the cowherd men and the lover of the gopīs, especially Rādhārāṇī. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.]

rādhe vṛndāvaneśvari
vṛṣabhānu-sute devī
praṇamāmi hari-priye

[I offer my respects to Rādhārāṇī, whose bodily complexion is like molten gold and who is the Queen of Vṛndāvana. You are the daughter of King Vṛṣabhānu, and You are very dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa.]

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

[My dear Lord, and the spiritual energy of the Lord, kindly engage me in Your service. I am now embarrassed with this material service. Please engage me in Your service.]

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I thank you very much for joining us in this evening of chanting together Hare Kṛṣṇa. The saṅkīrtana movement is a prescribed performance in this age. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Eleventh Canto, Ninth Chapter, sixth verse, there is a statement that,

kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣā-kṛṣṇaṁ
yajñair saṅkīrtana-prāyair
yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ

[SB 11.5.32]

[In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.]

Su-medhasaḥ, this Sanskrit word, means intelligent persons. Medhas. Medhas means brain substance, one who has got very good brain substance. The brain substance… According to psychology, there is difference of brain substance. Not the brain substance equally, of equal weight, in every man’s brain. You know, you are all educated students, psychology students. In our boyhood when we were a student in psychology class, Dr. Urquhart explained this brain substance. The man has got the highest brain substance—not all—up to sixty-four ounce. And woman has got the highest up to thirty-six or thirty-four.

Of course, we are not discussing that point. Our movement is a spiritual movement, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is beyond brain. Indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ, manasas tu parā buddhir [Bg. 3.42].

[The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.]

So there are different platforms and status of consciousness. Bodily consciousness means sensual consciousness. Above that, there is mental consciousness, speculative, philosophical, poetic. Above that, intellectual consciousness. And Kṛṣṇa consciousness—above intellectual consciousness.

So the recommendation is… That was a topic between Mahārāja Nimi and great sages called nine sages, navayogindra. Nava means nine, yogindra means mystic yogīs. So they were talking, and Mahārāja Nimi questioned the different incarnations in different ages. And Camasa Muni was replying. In that replying, he said that in the Kali-yuga, in this age…

This age called Kali-yuga. This Kali-yuga has begun about five thousand years ago. So he said, “In the Kali-yuga the process of self-realization is saṅkīrtana movement.” Saṅkīrtana. Saṅkīrtana means bahudhā, bahubhir militvā. When congregational chanting is done, that is called saṅkīrtana. So in this age the saṅkīrtana movement is recommended.

There is no question of what is your religion, what is my religion. Everyone can join in this saṅkīrtana movement, without any discrimination. That is the recommendation. Yajñair saṅkīrtana. This is also yajña, sacrifice. You are sacrificing some time, your valuable time, in joining with us to perform the saṅkīrtana movement. That is a sacrifice. And sacrifice means to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yajña. Yajña is the name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, yajñārthāt karma anyatra karma-bandhanaḥ [Bg. 3.9].

[Work done as a sacrifice for Viṣṇu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kuntī, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.]

Whatever you have to act, you have to act on the basis of pleasing the Supreme Lord. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavata there is another verse, that,

ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya
saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam

[SB 1.2.13]

[O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging the duties prescribed for one’s own occupation according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead.]

Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī is addressing the learned sages assembled in a place called Naimiṣāraṇya. That place is still existing in India, in northern India. It is very old place. Now the place is named Nimsar, but original name is Naimiṣāraṇya. So in that Naimiṣāraṇya meeting, the president, Sūta Gosvāmī, addressed the brāhmaṇas.

He said, ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā. Dvija-śreṣṭhā means in that assembly the high-class brāhmaṇas, very intelligent class of men, they assembled. So he addressed them, “My dear learned scholars, brāhmaṇas, the duty of the human society,” ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ…

The duties are different according to different divisions of social order and spiritual order. That is Vedic civilization. There are four kinds of social orders and four kinds of spiritual orders. The social orders are the brāhmaṇas, the kṣatriyas, the vaiśyas and the śūdras; or the intellectual class of men… Brāhmaṇa means intellectual class of men—one who devotes his life only in studying Vedas and acquiring knowledge and distributing that. Every time, in every age, there is a class of men who are intellectual class. So this intellectual class of men is called brāhmaṇa.

And the next class, the administrative class. Those who takes part in politics for administration of the state, government, they are called kṣatriyas. The actual meaning of kṣatriya is “one who protects a man from being hurt by others.” That is called kṣatriya. That means, that is the business of the administrators, government. So brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, then vaiśyas.

Vaiśyas means productive class, who are interested in producing things for consumption by the people. Mercantile class, industrialists, they are called vaiśyas. And the last class, fourth class, they are called śūdras. Śūdras means that they are neither intellectual, nor they’re administrator, nor industrial or mercantile, but they can serve others. That’s all.

So it is said that kalau śūdra sambhava. In the modern age, people are being taught in the university to become śūdra—neither brāhmaṇas nor kṣatriyas nor vaiśyas, generally. Because after education, they will have to seek after some service. He becomes a great technologist, but unless he gets a good job, his whole education is spoiled. You see? So therefore, in the Vedic śāstra it is said, in this age people are almost all śūdras. Kalau śūdra sambhava.

So the president of that meeting, Sūta Gosvāmī, said that it doesn’t matter whether one man is brāhmaṇa or a kṣatriya or a vaiśya or a śūdra. This is social order. And then spiritual order: brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. Brahmacārī means student, unmarried student, without any sex life. That is brahmacārī. And then gṛhastha, householder. Those who are living with wife and children, they are called householder, gṛhastha. Then vānaprastha, the retired persons. And then sannyāsa. After retirement, one dedicates his whole life for preaching work, preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is sannyāsa order.

So this is… These four divisions are in the spiritual order, and the other divisions are in the social order. Human society without these eight divisions—means social divisions and spiritual divisions—it is not called civilized. They must have. Therefore Sūta Gosvāmī said the social orders are there, and the spiritual orders are there, and each and every order, there are prescribed duties. The brāhmaṇas, they are engaged in such and such things, the brahmacārīs are engaged in such and such thing, the kṣatriyas are engaged… There are different prescribed duties.

Now Sūta Gosvāmī says that varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ. There are divisions of duties and divisions of social and spiritual order. That’s all right. But how one can understand that by executing his duty, he’s going to the path of perfection? Everyone should be confident that whatever he is doing, he’s doing for the perfection of life. That should be the aim of… In the modern education system… Not only education system; in every field of life, practically we do not know what is the ultimate goal of life. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ [SB 7.5.31].

[Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Viṣṇu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries.]

They do not know what is the goal of life. The goal of life is Viṣṇu, or the Supreme Lord, or God. That one has to understand what is the Supreme Lord, what is Absolute Truth, “What is my relationship with Him and what is my duty towards Him?” These things are to be known, and one has to adjust his life in that way. So Sūta Gosvāmī says, never mind in whatever order one may be situated, the perfection is saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam [SB 1.2.13].

[O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging the duties prescribed for one’s own occupation according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead.]

Ataḥ varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ dvija-śreṣṭhā svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya. One should try to test, “How my duties are being perfectly done?” That one has to see.

So that perfection is recommended, hari-toṣaṇam: whether by your duty, by your action, the Supreme Lord is satisfied. Just like we want to satisfy… In the schools, colleges, we want to satisfy our professor, teachers, principal. Or as good citizen we want to satisfy our government or…

Similarly, you have to satisfy somebody. That is the perfection. The highest perfection is to satisfy hari-toṣaṇam. Hari means the Supreme Lord, and toṣaṇam means satisfaction. Whether by your work and duties, discharging your duty, the Supreme Lord is satisfied—that is your perfection. But this is very rare thing.

At the present moment practically nobody has any information what is his relationship with God or what is God. Practically, they are declaring “God is dead,” and “I am God, you are God, everyone is God.” These things are all… “There is void.” “There is no God,” “There is no control.”

So, so many things are going on. That is the disease of this present age. And this movement is practically against this idea of godlessness, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. The whole idea of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to fight against the idea of godlessness.

So the Bhagavad-gītā is there. We are fighting in two ways. One way is that this chanting, Hare Kṛṣṇa. Very simple thing. Everyone can join: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. By chanting this movement, by the vibration, gradually one’s heart, which is so contaminated that he is denying the existence of God, will be gradually simplified or clarified. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12].

[“’Let there be all victory for the chanting of the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, which can cleanse the mirror of the heart and stop the miseries of the blazing fire of material existence. That chanting is the waxing moon that spreads the white lotus of good fortune for all living entities. It is the life and soul of all education. The chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa expands the blissful ocean of transcendental life. It gives a cooling effect to everyone and enables one to taste full nectar at every step.’]

Just like the mirror, when it is overcast with dust, you cannot see your face nicely. But if you clear the dust, you can see clearly.

Similarly, our this disease, denial of God, or “God is dead,” “There is no God,” “I am God,” “You are God,” such kinds of conception is due to covering of material dust on the mirror of our heart. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam. If you simply chant this transcendental vibration, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, you don’t require any qualification and you don’t require that you have to become intellectual man or an administrator or a productive man or…

Never mind whatever you are; you be situated in your place, but you try to chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare. The result will be that your heart, the dust on the mirror of your heart, will be gradually cleansed. And when it is completely cleansed, then you will understand that you are not this body. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam [Cc. Antya 20.12].

All the problems of our life, whatever you may say—social, political, religious and whatever… There are so many problems. The whole material world is full of problems. These problems are compared just like blazing fire in the forest. Just like in the forest, there is fire, nobody can check. Although nobody goes to the forest to set fire, it takes automatically.

Similarly, in this material existence of life, we do not want any problem, but problems are created. Just like automatically there is fire in the forest without our endeavor, similarly, material problems are created automatically by our dealings, by our behavior.

So if you chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the first result will be that you will understand your real, constitutional position, for which many great mystics, sages and saints are meditating, “What I am?” That, I mean to say, procedure of spiritual realization will be the first installment, your profit. You’ll understand that ahaṁ brahmāsmi, “I am not matter, I am spirit soul.”

And as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, as soon as one is self-realized, that is called brahma-bhūtaḥ. Ahaṁ brahmāsmi: “I am not this body, I am spirit soul. I am part and parcel of the Absolute Truth.” This realization is called Brahman realization. And as soon as you come to the platform of Brahman realization, then the result will be brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54].

[And of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.]

You’ll be joyful. You’ll be free of all anxieties. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā. That is the sign. It is not that simply… I may advertise that I am self-realized, but my behavior will show whether I am self-realized or not. Everything is stated in the Vedic literature, that a brahma-bhūtaḥ person, a self-realized person, the symptom of the self-realized person is that he is joyful.

Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54]. Without any anxieties. This materialistic life means full of anxiety always. And spiritual life means without this anxiety. Just the opposite. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā.

And what is the symptom of being joyful? That is also stated: na śocati na kāṅkṣati. There is no lamentation for loss, and there is no hankering for gain. Everyone in this material world is hankering after some gain. And if you have got some gain, if it is lost, then he’s lamenting, “Oh, I have lost so much.”

So these two business… Hankering, when we do not possess, we hanker. And when we possess, it is lost. Because everything… The material waves are such that whatever we possess, we shall lose it. We have got this nice body; one day we have to lose it. Everything. You possess and lose, possess and lose. Therefore the…, punaḥ punaś car…, the same thing repeatedly: gaining and losing, and lamenting and hankering, lamenting and hankering. This is the position of material life.

So in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati. As soon as you come to that platform, prasanna, joyfulness, then samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. The next stage is that you look everyone on the same level. There is no distinction between black and white or the Indian or American or Russian or this and that. No. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18].

[The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].]

One who is actually learned, he sees everyone on the same level of spiritual understanding. So brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. This is the stage of acquiring Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām

[Bg. 18.54]

[And of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.]

Then he comes to the standard of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, when he can begin his duties in transcendental lovings towards the Absolute Truth. And when we begin that activity, that spiritual activity, then we can understand, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti [Bg. 18.55], what is God.

[One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.]

These are the stages. We cannot understand by speculative method. God is unlimited, and we are very limited. Our knowledge is limited because our senses, the instruments by which we acquire knowledge, that is imperfect and limited. Just like my eyes. I cannot see perfectly. I cannot see the eyelid. I cannot see the distant place. Although I am very proud that “I want to see face to face,” but what you can see?

What is your value of your instrument, seeing? That is imperfect. Therefore we cannot get perfect knowledge by these imperfect senses. By sense perception, by direct utilization of our senses, we cannot get perfect knowledge. The perfect knowledge you can get when your senses have been purified to the perfect order. Then you can see.

So that stage is brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā. When you are on the brahma-bhūtaḥ, or spiritual, self-realization platform, then your senses are purified and you can see things in two perspectives. And at that stage, you can see God also. You can talk with God also. Just like in the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated, premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti [Bs. 5.38].

[I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is Śyāmasundara, Kṛṣṇa Himself with inconceivable innumerable attributes, whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love.]

You have… Most of you know the yoga. The yoga system means to see the Supreme Person, or the Absolute Truth, or the Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, within your heart. That is the perfection of yoga. Dhyānāvasthita-tad-gatena manasā paśyanti yam… [SB 12.13.1].

[Sūta Gosvāmī said: Unto that personality whom Brahmā, Varuṇa, Indra, Rudra and the Maruts praise by chanting transcendental hymns and reciting the Vedas with all their corollaries, pada-kramas and Upaniṣads, to whom the chanters of the Sāma Veda always sing, whom the perfected yogīs see within their minds after fixing themselves in trance and becoming fully absorbed in thoughts of Him, and whose limit can never be found by any demigod or demon—unto that Supreme Personality of Godhead I offer my humble obeisances.]

Dhyānāvasthita, by meditation, one can see. So this perfectional stage can be achieved when you are in the brahma-bhūtaḥ stage, Brahman realization stage.

So Lord Caitanya said that if you chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, the first installment of your gain will be that your heart, which is contaminated now with so many materialistic dust, it will be cleansed. And next stage will be bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam [Cc. Antya 20.12].

[“’Let there be all victory for the chanting of the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, which can cleanse the mirror of the heart and stop the miseries of the blazing fire of material existence. That chanting is the waxing moon that spreads the white lotus of good fortune for all living entities. It is the life and soul of all education. The chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa expands the blissful ocean of transcendental life. It gives a cooling effect to everyone and enables one to taste full nectar at every step.’]

That means you’ll realize yourself that “I am not this matter, I am soul. And my relationship with God is this. God is like this.” And gradually, you will develop your love for God. You have got that love. Dormant love is there, but because we do not know what is God, because we do not see the beauty of God, because we do not know the mercy of God, therefore our love has been forced or placed in the dog.

Instead of God, we have placed our love on dog. So we have to simply change. Our love is distributed in the matter in so many ways. That will not make me happy, because I am not matter; I am a spirit soul. I have to transfer my love towards the Supreme Spirit, God, then I’ll be happy.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is a process by which you can transform your love from matter to God. That’s all. You have got love, but you are being frustrated. You are being frustrated. You are being baffled. Your love is not placed in the proper place. Therefore we have to make our choice, “Where I shall place my love?” Then I’ll be satisfied.

That is replied in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam,

sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktiradhokṣaje
ahaituky apratihatā
yayātmā suprasīdati

[SB 1.2.6]

[The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.]

Ātmā, self. Everyone is seeking after peacefulness, peacefulness of ātmā, or self. So this is the process recommended. Not recommended; it is the fact, that sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo. In whatever occupation you are situated, doesn’t matter. You have to see simply whether by your occupation the Supreme Lord is satisfied, or your love for the Supreme Lord is increasing.

That is the test of perfection. And when your love is increased in that way, adhokṣaje ahaituki—ahaituki means without any cause, without any reason, and apratihatā, without any impediment—then you’ll see yayātmā suprasīdati. Your ātmā is fully satisfied. Svāmin kṛtārtho ‘smi [Cc. Madhya 22.42]

[“[When he was being blessed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Dhruva Mahārāja said:] ’O my Lord, because I was seeking an opulent material position, I was performing severe types of penance and austerity. Now I have gotten You, who are very difficult for the great demigods, saintly persons and kings to attain. I was searching after a piece of glass, but instead I have found a most valuable jewel. Therefore I am so satisfied that I do not wish to ask any benediction from You.’]

“My dear Lord, I am now fully satisfied. I have no more any demand.”

The material world, material life, means simply demands, increasing the demands. That is the modern way of life, increasing artificial demand and being frustrated. That is our life. But if you want satisfaction, not frustration, not bafflement, then increase your love for God. And the process is very simple, recommended in this age.

You haven’t got to perform any severe austerity, penance, or you have got to go to the forest or Himalayan mountain or you have to do this, that. Nothing. You be situated in your place, whatever you may be. But if you simply chant this mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, you will gradually develop.

Your first…, the first installment will be that your heart will be cleansed of all material contamination. Then you’ll be situated on the brahma-bhūtaḥ stage. Oh, prasannātmā! Oh, joyfulness! Without being joyful, you cannot understand what is God. If your mind is disturbed always, you cannot meditate, neither you can understand what is God, what you are. It is impossible. Therefore we have to accept any process which can make me joyful.

That is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. We have got… Simply we are not chanting by sentiment. We have got enough literature, philosophy, background. It is not that we are sentimentalist. But this is a fact, that if you simply… You do not require to read all this literature. If you can, it is very good, but if you have no time, simply chant these sixteen words,

Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Make an experiment.

We are not charging anything. We are not cheating you, that “Give me some fifty dollars or twenty dollars. I’ll give you some secret mantra.” No. It is open. You can take. Everyone can take. Everyone.

We are chanting. You can chant with us and practice it, and there is no hard-and-fast rules and regulation. You can chant anyway, anywhere. Whether you are in the college, whether you’re on the street, whether you are sleeping, lying, or whatever, you can chant. Because God has given you this tongue and you can chant. And this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, a dog or cat cannot chant although he has got the tongue. So you have got the facility. By God’s mercy you have got this facility to chant the holy name of God.

If you think that Kṛṣṇa is Indian God’s name, actually it is not Indian God’s name. Kṛṣṇa never claims that He’s Indian or Hindu. Most of you have read Bhagavad-gītā. He claims everyone as His son. Not only human society—the animal society, bird society, beast society, plant society, aquatic society—all. Sarva-yoniṣu. Sarva means all. Yoni, yoni means species of life. Everyone, all living entities, Kṛṣṇa says. Kṛṣṇa must be… If He is God, He must claim that, that “The material nature is their mother and I am their father.”

So Kṛṣṇa is for everyone. Not that… Don’t think that Kṛṣṇa is for the Indian or for the Hindus. No. Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa. This Kṛṣṇa is for everyone. For the human being, for the animals—everyone. So if you think that Kṛṣṇa is belonging to some particular country or religion, then you can chant your own way. If in your religion, in your scripture, there is any God’s name, you can chant that also. Our only propaganda is that you increase your love of God.

And the simple process is to chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. There is no charge for it. There is no loss on your part. There is no inconvenience on your part. At any moment, at any place. There is no restriction. So why don’t you take advantage of this great boon to the human society?

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not any sectarian movement. It is practically postgraduate movement of all religion. Any religion, they have got some idea of God. But here, we are explaining what is God, how great He is, how you can establish your relationship with Him. These things are there.

So any religious person, or any person, without being religious, if anyone joins with us in this saṅkīrtana movement, his life will be sublime. And our method is very simple. We place before you to judge and join with us. That is our request.

Thank you very much. [devotees offer obeisances]

Any question?


Student (1): Apparently, there are two parts to this. The first, the kīrtana singing and dancing, to some extent resembles the rock music that appears in the Western world within the last five years. Very notably the Beatles song last year, “Hey Jude,” in the second part, is very similar in tune to this. The second, which is quite remote, but there is a connection—your message is similar in some ways to the message of evangelical or fundamentalist teachers in Christianity, who are taking the name of Jesus Christ…

Prabhupāda: That’s all right.

Student (1): …and excluding everything other than complete devotion to Christ. Would you comment on this?

Prabhupāda: Yes. That’s very nice. We completely agree. We say that chant the holy name of God. The vibration, the sound which you chant, that must be the holy name of God. Then it is all right.

It doesn’t matter what is the language. Language has nothing…, no significance. But this word “Kṛṣṇa,” we consider it is transcendental vibration because all great saints and ācāryas, they chanted, especially Lord Caitanya.

As I explained from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇam [SB 11.5.32].

[In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.]

Kṛṣṇa varṇa, kṛṣṇa varṇayati. Lord Caitanya was always chanting, “Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa.” Therefore He is called kṛṣṇa varṇayati, kṛṣṇa-varṇam. Tviṣākṛṣṇam: by complexion He’s not black. Kṛṣṇa was blackish, but Lord Caitanya, He was golden colored.

So kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam: always associated by followers. Yajñair saṅkīrtana, chanting and dancing with Kṛṣṇa’s name. Yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ: this form of the Lord should be worshiped by persons who are intelligent.

So if you follow the method, evangelist, that is also very nice, or this method… The business should be that we must realize in this human form of life what is our relationship with God. If we fail to do that, then we are misusing this human form of life.

In the Garga Upaniṣad it is said, etad viditvā ya prayāti sa brāhmaṇa. Etad aviditvā ya prayāti sa kṛpaṇa.

[“He is a miserly man who does not solve the problems of life as a human, and who thus quits this world like the cats and dogs, not understanding the science of self-realization.”]

Brāhmaṇa, brāhmaṇa means broadminded, liberal. So one who… Everyone will die. The cats and dogs and human being, everyone will die. But the Garga Upaniṣad says that if one dies after understanding the science of God, then he is perfect.

He is brāhmaṇa. His life is broader, mahātmā. And if one dies without understanding this, he is kṛpaṇa. Kṛpaṇa means miser. Miser means… Suppose if you have got millions of dollars. If you cannot utilize it, if you simply waste it, then you are kṛpaṇa, miser. You do not know how to spend money.

Similarly, we have got this body which is worth…, not millions—trillions, and more than that, because we can realize in this life what is our relationship with God, what is God. We can understand. But if we don’t do that, simply we waste our time in sense gratification, then we are kṛpaṇa, miser. We are losing our opportunity. So these things are there.

So in whatever way you like, either this evangelistic way or this way or that way, try to understand what is God and what is your relationship with God, and try to invoke your dormant love of God. Then your life will be perfect. That is our mission. If you have got your own method, that’s all right. You take it. Otherwise we are giving this method, very simple. You take it. Your life will be sublime. That is our request.


Student (2): …question you stated. If [we devote] time trying to figure out our relationship to God, perhaps that takes time away from trying to figure out our relationship with all men. And I think I would anticipate your answer, I think, upon the… You’re talking about ātmā, and if one clearly has perception of the reality of their own ātmā, he would also see others as himself. Right? And to know his self and his God through others.

But that doesn’t really answer. It doesn’t mean we’ll be able to decrease that condition. A lot of people suffer in this world, and they suffer for pretty indefiable[?] reasons: economic exploitation, racists trying to put structures, militaristic powers. And it seems somehow we might be able to do something to attack those kinds of evils and suffering in the world, other than telling a man to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and the world will be solved.

Prabhupāda: That is automatically solved. If you chant, if you come to this God consciousness, those things will be automatically solved. Just like if you get million dollars, then your fifty dollars’ business will be automatically solved.

Student (2): Yeah, I guess that you could believe that.

Prabhupāda: Not believe. Is practical.

Student (2): And I think the reason I don’t believe that is because history has told me differently. History has told me that people who have managed to achieve freedom for themselves have not achieved it by doing something like chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. And I refer you to…

Prabhupāda: You can show in the history there was chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa? Is there any history?

Student (2): I won’t say chanting only Hare Kṛṣṇa, but give you a similar time and place.

Prabhupāda: What is that similar time?

Student (2): Well, in Russia, in the nineteenth century, there were people who were religious, who traveled the countryside chanting the word “Jesus Christ.” It was quite prominent then. Tolstoy tells us about it. And I would assume that a similar kind of teaching was given. The only problem I see with that is that I don’t think it would solve the very basic human problems.

Prabhupāda: So do you think that Russia has solved their questions? That their problems, all problems are solved?

Student (2): I would say that in 1917 the state of the Russian peasants was fundamentally better by the Revolution.

Prabhupāda: Well, the history will repeat itself again. It will be wars again. So do you think by adopting the Russian method, people have become very happy?

Student (2): No.

Prabhupāda: Then? So we manufacture something. This material world is like that, problematic. That I have already explained. Just like the blazing fire. So the answer is given in the Bhagavad-gītā, daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī mama duratyayā [Bg. 7.14].

[This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.]

In this material world, the onslaught of the material nature is very, very severe. Nobody can surpass it. In some way or other it will come in a different form. The problem will not be solved. The problem can be solved, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te, when one surrenders unto God, Kṛṣṇa.

Then he can surpass this onslaught of material nature. So that is the real remedy. Unfortunately, people does not take that process. But if anyone accepts this process, his problems are solved. That is the fact. That is the fact.

But we do not expect that everyone can accept this process. But if anyone can accept this process, at least his personal problems will be solved. But it is the duty of such God conscious persons to distribute the message. If anyone likes, he can take, he can solve his problems. And if he does not take, that business is the own business. What can I do?

But any material method, either this Russian method or American method or Indian method, anything, materialistic method, that cannot solve the material problems. That is a fact. If you want to solve all the problems, then you have to invoke your dormant love for God. That is the solution. There is no other solution.


Student (3): I was wondering how important the choice of words are to the chanting. And if, perhaps, if you just count to ten in your mind or out loud, I thought it might work just as well.

Satsvarūpa: [explaining] “Could you just count numbers and think about God and that would work just as well? Are the names important?”

Prabhupāda: Count words?

Satsvarūpa: Could you just count—one, two, three, four—and that would work just as well.

Prabhupāda: Well, that is not possible, of course, but as soon as stop counting, you can chant. [laughter] That’s not difficult.


Student (4): What is consciousness?

Prabhupāda: Consciousness is very difficult to understand? Now you are talking, and when you don’t talk, you lie down. People will say this man has become unconscious. So this is the distinction. When you are in full knowledge of things, that is consciousness.

It is not difficult to understand. Sometimes teachers say to the student, “Do it conscientiously, with attention.” When our full attention is there, full absorption, full concentration of the mind, that is consciousness.

And another way of consciousness is the feeling which is spread all over your body. Just like I pinch over your head or any part of your body, you feel—that is consciousness. But when this body is dead or when you are out of this body, if I chop up your body, there is no consciousness. That is the distinction between consciousness.

Avināśi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idaṁ tatam

[Bg. 2.17].

[Know that which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul.]

In the Bhagavad-gītā the consciousness is stated: avināśi. Avināśi means cannot; never dies. Always living. Avināśi tu tad viddhi. You just try to understand that thing without always living. What is that? Yena sarvam idaṁ tatam—by which your whole body is spread by air. And anywhere of your body, that consciousness is spread. And that substance, consciousness, is always living. When you leave this body this consciousness goes to another body.

Just like the air passes, the flavor the air carries, from one garden to another place, similarly, this consciousness will carry you to another body after your death. After you leave this body… Just like we are changing our consciousness also from childhood consciousness to boyhood, boyhood to youthhood, and the old age.

The consciousness is carrying me although the body is changing. Similarly, when you change this body, the consciousness will carry you to another body. That consciousness is always living. It is never dead. So much explanation is you’ve [indistinct]

[break] Because they don’t take it.

Student (5): Then why are we born without feeling.

Prabhupāda: That’s your independence. If you like, you can take it. If you don’t like, you don’t take it. There are so many things. If you like, you take it; if you don’t like, you don’t take it. There is no enforcement. Every individual soul has got little independence. Not full independence.

That can be used properly; that can be misused also. That depends on me. I am the master. So similarly… Just like the government. The government does not force anybody to go to the criminal department, neither government forces anybody to come to the university department. It is your individual liberty. You become criminal or a high standard scholar.

[break] …has to make his choice. He has got the freedom. He may be Kṛṣṇa conscious or he may be material conscious. If he’s material conscious, he’ll never be happy. If he becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, he’ll be always happy. Now it is up to you whether to accept this or that.

Student (6): How would you say the chant in English?

Prabhupāda: Chant in English?

Student (6): Yes. How would you say it in English?

Devotee: He wants a translation in English.

Prabhupāda: So there are many boys. You can have the translation. We have got our translation in many literatures. In our paper, Back to Godhead, in many books. We have got many books. So translation is there. We are simply publishing so many English translation. So there is no scarcity of translation.


Student (7): Are you happy always in reflection?

Prabhupāda: What do you think? What do you think? I’m happy or not happy? What is your opinion? And if I say false, why do you believe? If I say falsely, “I am happy,” will you believe it? If I say falsely, “I am happy,” will you take it?

Student (7): That I don’t know.

Prabhupāda: Yes?

Student (6): If I can rephrase that, if you were American, how would you say the chant? In other words, I know it has many translations, but what would it mean to you? How would you say it in English?

Prabhupāda: English, the translation… What is that?

Jadurāṇī: These words are Sanskrit. He wants to know if they were English what would they be?

Prabhupāda: Well, proper names cannot be translated. You know that. Suppose if your name is John, and if I come from India I cannot translate into Indian language. I have to speak “John.” You see? Just like people say “Swami Bhaktivedanta.” Is there any translation, “Bhaktivedanta Swami”? Proper noun is never translated. That everyone knows.

But the meaning can be translated. So we have got translation of the meaning, what is this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra means. But so far chanting is concerned, that if I call you, you are American boy, Mr. John, so I’ll have to call you Mr. John. I cannot translate into Sanskrit and call you.


Student (8): How important is your diet?

Prabhupāda: Oh, that is a very important thing. If you read Dr. George Bernard Shaw’s book, You Are What You Eat, you see. So if you eat like human being, then you can increase your qualities of human being. If you eat like cats and dogs, you increase the quality of cats and dogs. That’s all. So we must have discrimination what to eat.

That is there in the human world. Eating is there, but everything eatable. Even stool is eatable by a certain kind of animal, but that does not mean that stool has to be eaten by human being. Human being must have discretion what kind of food will be just suitable for my health, for my intelligence, for my brain. So these things are prescribed.

If we eat things which are in goodness… They are prescribed in the Vedic literature that wheat, rice, sugar, milk product, vegetables, fruits, these things are in goodness. So if you want to increase your quality of goodness, that is required for God realization. Unless you are situated in the quality of goodness, you cannot be promoted to the higher platform.

So your eating should be arranged within this group: rice, wheat, sugar, milk product, vegetables and fruits. In your country you have got enough nice grains, nice fruits, enough supply of milk, butter. So there is no question of accepting any other food. You can accept foodstuff within this group and become healthy and good brain, good conscience. You can engage yourself in God consciousness. That is possible.

So therefore, “Discrimination is the best part of valor.” We should discriminate what kind of food we should eat. We cannot eat anything and everything. That discrimination must be there.


Student (8): Would it not be better if intellectual [indistinct] and would it not be better for them to leave the father and devote their status, instead, to the Lord?[?]

Prabhupāda: Of course, in the beginning I said that there is no question of changing your position. In whatever position you are, either you are a student or a lawyer or something else, you can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and realize yourself. We don’t recommend that you change your position. That is not our recommendation.

But if you can [be] fully devoted in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is very nice. But don’t do it whimsically. There will be a mature platform when you can do that. Just like I was a family man; I was living with my family. I have got my wife, sons, daughters, grandchildren. So in this old age I left them. So I’m not in difficulty, although I am alone. I came in your country alone. That’s a long history.

So that dependence on God, when you actually develop, then you can give up everything, depend only on God. But don’t do it by whimsically. No. That will not do. You stay in your position, realize yourself, then time will come when God will dictate you, “You can do…, become free from all obligation.”

So please join with us in the kīrtana.


[kīrtana] [prema-dhvani] All glories to the assembled devotees. All glories to the assembled devotees. [obeisances]

Hare Kṛṣṇa. So this is very simple method: chant, dance, eat nicely, and realize God.

First of all give to the audience, then…

[devotees chanting japa]

Why don’t you collect something, door? [end]

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