Philosophy of Krishna Consciousness
Please enlighten me on this statement from the Bhagavad-gita: "According to Chanakya Pandita, women are generally not very intelligent and therefore not trustworthy." (Bhagavad-gita 1.40, Purport)
Since I am a woman I will make some effort to answer, please forgive me if I'm unable ;-)
These types of statements appear here and there in various books. Often after a long discussion on the topic Srila Prabhupada will say something like:
"But these women are not ordinary women. They are preachers. They are preachers. They are Vaishnava. By their association, one becomes a Vaishnava." (Morning walk, Bombay 1974)
Hrdayananda : Even some of these women, they're not married but they are serving Krishna.
Prabhupada: Yes. Striyo vaishyas tatha shudras [ Bg. 9.32]. This striya, generally they take it, "Even she is prostitute," striya. Te 'pi yanti param gatim: "They can also go back to home, back to Godhead." Mam hi partha... If he takes Krishna very seriously, then everything is possible. No impediment. Ahaituky apratihata. Krishna's devotional service is so strong that it cannot be checked by any material impediments. The smartas, they are thinking like that, "How these mlecchas and yavanas can become a brahmana?" But they do not know that by Krishna consciousness one can jump over.
Mayam etam taranti te. Daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya [ Bg. 7.14]. Maya is very strong. Therefore there are gradual process. Varnasrarama-dharma, karma-tyaga, this, that, so many things, pious activities, rituals. But this is the process, step by step, to cross over maya. But Krishna said, mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te. Anyone who surrenders to Krishna sincerely, immediately he crosses over. As Krishna says in another place, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami: [ Bg. 18.66] "I'll do immediately." So maya means papa. Unless one is sinful, he cannot be in maya. So if one surrenders, then he, means, immediately crosses over maya. So these smarta brahmanas, they consider this thing. They are thinking, "How a person born in other families, they can become brahmana?" (Morning walk, 1976, Mayapur).
"In Kali-yuga, everyone is unintelligent—both men and women: Kalau sudra-sambhavah: in the age of Kali, everyone is a sudra. Because the whole population of the world consists only of sudras, there is a decline of spiritual knowledge, and people are unhappy." ( Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.12.48, Purport)
People aren't very intelligent because they're thinking they are this body. This is the problem. And generally, women are more "into" their bodies; they worry about their hair, makeup, dress, etc. very much. They're valued for their beauty and consider themselves worthy only if they are beautiful, by one standard or another. Very few really escape this misconception. This is less intelligent. So, to the degree a woman or a man thinks like this he/she is less intelligent. This thinking is more common in women—at least it has been in the past—but men are catching up :-).
On the spiritual path, however—once someone has begun to take Krishna's service seriously and is strictly following the prescribed vows and rules—then Krishna is equally available to everyone, regardless of their karmic qualification. We get our bodies, intelligence, wealth, beauty, etc, due to previous karma and so having a women's body can often be problematic. Problematic also is having a stupid body, ailing body, ugly body, etc. etc. These things can make it difficult for us to progress outside of the material consciousness.
Being born in Kali Yuga is a difficulty in itself as people are "lazy, misguided, unintelligent and prone to quarrel over nothing" ( Srimad-Bhagavatam 1:1:10). However, this difficulty may also inspire us to leave this unfavorable material situation and get serious about looking for something better. Furthermore, by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy, spiritual life in Kali-yuga is made easier for everyone by offering the opportunity to chant Hare Krishna and serve the Lord in simple devotional activities.
I hope this is helpful.
Hare Krishna! Thanks for your question.
A transcendental being is any soul who is not influenced by the material energy, is not driven by the contact of the senses with their objects and who is absorbed in awareness of their spiritual existence.
I hope this is helpful.
If I could answer that in one letter it would solve millions of people's problems ;-) Including my own. Here are some thoughts on the subject:
First, there is a difference between theoretical and practical knowledge. I may believe that I'm a spirit soul, that I'm different from this body, but when I stub my toe, I may become completely bodily conscious in less than a second.
Complete understanding that I'm not this body would be indicated by a dedication to satisfying the real me, the soul, by exclusively serving Krishna by various devotional activities, without any attraction or contemplation of material objects offering any pleasure. Since I can honestly say that now and again I consider deeply the possibility of finding pleasure in material objects, I can conclude that I haven't completely realized my spiritual nature, or my eternal loving relationship with Krishna. Perhaps you're also in that position ;-)
Even if we're not fully realized, we can at least be aware of our shortcomings, and develop a desire to become realized. It's up to us to accept the prescribed medicine, diet, and exercise regimen in order to gain the strength and wellness required to achieve our stated goals. Srila Prabhupada and the disciplic succession are wise physicians. They have prescribed worshiping the Lord, reading sacred books, associating with devotees, visiting holy places (including the temple) and chanting the holy name as the major curative elements in moving from theoretical to practical knowledge. Based on our faith in the doctors and the process they recommend—as well as our determination to follow their order—we can advance.
Now this idea of "completely" is tricky because our complete surrender is measured not only minute by minute but also over our lifetime. We may advance, and then we may slip, but the continued attempt to return to the path does not go unnoticed! It is a part of the required exercise for making advancement.
Patience, conviction of success, confidence that guru and Krishna are our well wishers and are arranging things so that we will come out okay, and also being humble enough to admit that I am small and the path is long; all of these factors allow us to have the proper attitude so that we can stay with the gradual development of Krishna Consciousness until we achieve success.
And that, too, comes in stages. We gradually acquire the pieces that, when assembled, indicate that we're absorbed in Krishna and willing to follow His order, and surrender. It's rare that this event is an immediate, one-time epiphany, although it can be. Such a sudden and complete transformation is very, very rare.
If we're sincerely praying, looking for opportunities to serve Krishna—and weighing various other options against that one overriding and positive choice—we can avoid misusing our free will. We should know that if we're aspiring for Krishna's lotus feet then He is arranging things to strengthen us, to see how strong we are, to see how sincere we are, and to teach us lessons.
Sometimes we appear to get "misused" when in fact we're simply learning a lesson we need to learn; and if we learn it, it will bring us closer to Krishna! The devotees see challenges and apparent difficulties as stepping stones to spiritual advancement. Because of this, they see Krishna everywhere—that His hand is guiding them. They consider nothing to be outside of His guidance because nothing happens without His will—especially in the life of someone trying to serve Him.
Actually we only have two ways of using our free will; 1) to serve Krishna, the Supreme Person, or 2) to serve maya, Krishna's material energy. Whichever one we choose will determine what happens next. We have this choice every second of the day, twenty-four hours a day, and seven days a week. With each choice there are millions of 'sub choices' but basically these are the two main categories.
The problem is that each choice starts a chain reaction; our next choice becomes determined by the previous one, and we have less control of what our choice will be. For example, let's say I decide not to drink alcohol. But then I make the decision to go to a party where alcohol is served. My friends are drinking, and my determination not to drink diminishes. As the party goes on and people keep encouraging me to drink, my initial decision not to drink will become more and more difficult to uphold.
When we make the choice to serve Krishna, our subsequent choices should support that first choice. Krishna will also assist in building our strength and determination to continue down that path.
So to answer your question specifically, according to Krishna the best way to use our free will is to decide to serve Krishna—to use everything in His service. When we decide that, He becomes pleased. When He's pleased, we also become pleased, and our eternal, loving relationship with Him develops.
And conversely, if we choose to serve the material energy we'll keep moving in that direction. But, since we are spiritual by nature, whatever "happiness" we get from the material energy will be temporary and ultimately end in disappointment.
I hope this is helpful.
The Supreme Person is called parameshwara, the supreme controller. We need His sanction for success in any endeavor. The perfection of inner happiness is to establish a loving relationship with God. He's situated within us, He pervades everything, and He also resides in his original spiritual form in the spiritual world.
Material fame and success can't help anyone attain God. They can be used in God's service—by a God conscious person—but for those who only believe what they perceive with their gross senses, it's hard to make spiritual progress.
Krishna is the source of all incarnations of God like Narayana and Vishnu, and Srimati Radharani is the source of all expansions of Krishna's divine energy, para prakriti, or pleasure potency. Laksmidevi, the goddess of fortune, is one of Srimati Radharani's many expansions that accompany the Lord in His many incarnations.
"The beloved consorts of Lord Krishna are of three kinds: the goddesses of fortune, the queens, and the milkmaids of Vraja, who are the foremost of all. These consorts all proceed from Radhika." (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 4.74-75)
" “The transcendental goddess Srimati Radharani is the direct counterpart of Lord Sri Krishna. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord.”(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 4.83)
"According to expert opinion, Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, is a subordinate expansion of Srimati Radharani. As Krishna has numerous expansions of vishnu-murtis, so His pleasure potency, Radharani, also has innumerable expansions of goddesses of fortune."
—Krishna Book, Ch. 47)
"Simple living"—as it applies to the philosophy and practice of Krishna consciousness—can mean many things, such as; freedom from greed and extravagance, straightforwardness in social dealings, focusing exclusively on serving the Supreme Person, and working honestly and in harmony with natural laws while depending on God's mercy. The English poet William Wordsworth wrote,
"Plain living and high thinking are no more:
The homely* beauty of the good old cause
Is gone; our peace, our fearful innocence,
And pure religion breathing household laws."
"Another feature of the devotee is nirihaya, simple living. Niriha means "gentle," "meek" or "simple." A devotee should not live very gorgeously and imitate a materialistic person. Plain living and high thinking are recommended for a devotee. He should accept only so much as he needs to keep the material body fit for the execution of devotional service. He should not eat or sleep more than is required. Simply eating for living, and not living for eating, and sleeping only six to seven hours a day are principles to be followed by devotees."( Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.22.24, Purport)
This sense of the word "simple" is rooted in the idea that an intelligent person should spend as much time as possible cultivating spiritual awareness and not get carried away by material circumstances or desires:
"The Vedic philosophy teaches that the top priority in life should be reawakening our relationship with the Lord. Therefore a sensible man should never allow himself to get so wrapped up in his material duties that they sap all his energy and kill his desire for serving Krishna. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who was both a great Vaishnava and a responsible magistrate in the Indian government, said that we should balance our material and spiritual needs, but that we should favor the latter. In other words, we should earn our livelihood in the spirit of simple living and high thinking." (Mukunda mala stotra, mantra 18)
Simple living requires minimizing bodily needs and accepting whatever comes by the arrangement of Providence. To this end, Srila Prabhupada always spoke in favor of local, self-sustaining, agrarian economies for meeting life's needs without over endeavor.
"When everyone is working in the city to produce nuts and bolts, who will produce food grains? Simple living and high thinking is the solution to economic problems. Therefore the Krishna consciousness movement in engaging devotees in producing their own food and living self-sufficiently so that rascals may see how one can live very peacefully, eat the food grains one has grown oneself, drink milk, and chant Hare Krishna." (Teachings of Queen Kunti, 18)
In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna describes the ideal social system for simple living—varnashrama-dharma. In that model, people work according to their nature, for the common good, with the consciousness that everything belongs to the Supreme Person and life is meant for serving Him.
"Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by the Lord. One should therefore accept only those things necessary for himself, which are set aside as his quota, and one should not accept other things, knowing well to whom they belong."(Sri Isopanishad, Mantra One)
Simple living essentially means living to please God. Individual applications of this may differ. At the time of this writing, most of us are not living an agrarian lifestyle; varnashrama-dharma is not the current world model for civilization. It remains our own responsibility to apply such principles in our own lives by seeking guidance from scripture and spiritually advanced persons.
The process is indeed simple, but the application is likely to keep us fully occupied during this lifetime. Again and again, at higher and higher levels along our spiritual path, we will likely find ourselves referring to "simple living" guidelines such as these:
"One's devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) overendeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Krishna consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements."
. . .and on the positive side:
"There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as sravanam kirtanam vishnoh smaranam [SB 7.5.23]—hearing, chanting and remembering Krishna], (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous acharyas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service."
Perhaps it's not so simple to live simply in this day and age, but if it weren't possible at all it wouldn't be so highly recommended and therefore such a worthwhile endeavor.
*In context, the word "homely" also means unsophisticated and unpretentious, qualities even more sorely lacking in present-day society than in 1802, when the poem was written.
Repentance is the sincere regret and remorse we feel when we've done something dishonest, immoral, or otherwise harmful to others or ourselves. Anyone with a healthy conscience regrets doing something wrong. It's arrogant and blind to think that we may do as we please, no matter what the consequences. A repentant person naturally wants to undo whatever wrong has been done, or try to counteract the misdeed with pious activity. The past can't be changed, however, and good deeds can't nullify bad ones.
"Repentance comes in the mind of a good soul as soon as he commits something wrong."
"There are methods of prayaschitta, or atonement, but they are inadequate to cleanse one of sinful reactions. One can be cleansed of sinful reactions only by devotional service, as stated in regard to the history of Ajamila:
"Only a rare person who has adopted complete, unalloyed devotional service to Krishna can uproot the weeds of sinful actions with no possibility that they will revive. He can do this simply by discharging devotional service, just as the sun can immediately dissipate fog by its rays." (SB 6.1.15) If one is under the protection of a devotee and sincerely renders service unto him, by this process of bhakti-yoga one is certainly able to counteract all sinful reactions."
Vedic scriptures give many prescriptions for how to become free from the consequences of improper behavior, but such reformative measures, prayaschitta, can't free us from the mentality that produced the misbehavior. Neither can pious activity eradicate our stubborn desire to enjoy life independently from the supreme enjoyer, the Supreme Person, Krishna. This is why Krishna consciousness—which begins with hearing about Him or hearing His instructions—is the most direct means of atonement for any wrongdoing.
"Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who relishes His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted."
"Chanting the holy name of Krishna counteracts all sins—more than one can possibly commit . . .This is why we are stressing the chanting of Hare Krishna so much. Pious activities, austerity, sacrifice—everything is done simply by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. There is no need of any other process of yoga, atonement, or austerity and penance. Simply by chanting without offense one achieves the results of all other ritualistic performances prescribed in the Vedas."
When we agree to allow Krishna—the supreme authority—to manage our lives, and we follow His instructions, He promises to free us from all reactions to our past misdeeds. Even if we've surrendered to Krishna but still commit some sinful activity, the only recommended process for purification is to continue on the path of bhakti-yoga, devotional service, and make stronger efforts to avoid relapses.
" . . . repentance is natural for a good man . . ., and such repentance delivers a devotee from all kinds of sins accidentally committed. The devotees are naturally faultless. Accidental sins committed by a devotee are sincerely regretted, and by the grace of the Lord all sins unwillingly committed by a devotee are burnt in the fire of repentance."
"Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination."
"If one reads Bhagavad-gita very sincerely and with all seriousness, then by the grace of the Lord the reactions of his past misdeeds will not act upon him." (Gita-mahatmya 2)
The simple act of chanting God's names with faith can eradicate the reactions of more sins than anyone can commit. This is one reason why pure devotees of God continuously chant His names while always conscious and regretful of their past sinful behavior. Krishna intensely wants us to return to Him, and He often creates situations for His devotees that appear to be karmic reactions but are actually divinely dispensed curative treatments meant to inspire us to completely abandon all irrational hopes for material enjoyment. Through constant, humble service to God, devotees always seek His mercy and accept whatever comes as His benediction.
". . . Simply by chanting one holy name of Hari, a sinful man can counteract the reactions to more sins than he is able to commit." (Brihad-vishnu Purana)
"If one chants the holy name of the Lord, even in a helpless condition or without desiring to do so, all the reactions of his sinful life depart, just as when a lion roars, all the small animals flee in fear." (Garuda Purana)
"By once chanting the holy name of the Lord, which consists of the two syllables ha-ri, one guarantees his path to liberation." (Skanda Purana)
"My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim."
". . . a devotee earnestly awaits the mercy of the Supreme Lord even while suffering the painful effects of previous sinful activities. Lord Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that a devotee who fully surrenders unto Him is no longer liable to suffer the reactions of his previous karma. However, because in his mind a devotee may still maintain the remnants of his previous sinful mentality, the Lord removes the last vestiges of the enjoying spirit by giving His devotee punishments that may sometimes resemble sinful reactions.
"The purpose of the entire creation of God is to rectify the living entity's tendency to enjoy without the Lord, and therefore the particular punishment given for a sinful activity is specifically designed to curtail the mentality that produced the activity. Although a devotee has surrendered to the Lord's devotional service, until he is completely perfect in Krishna consciousness he may maintain a slight inclination to enjoy the false happiness of this world. The Lord therefore creates a particular situation to eradicate this remaining enjoying spirit. This unhappiness suffered by a sincere devotee is not technically a karmic reaction; it is rather the Lord's special mercy for inducing His devotee to completely let go of the material world and return home, back to Godhead . . ."
Our fundamental regrettable misdeed is leaving Krishna's company and coming to the material world. By doing so, we've made our lives endlessly difficult. We've become entangled in a long, long chain of karma, good and bad activities, that keeps us undergoing repeated birth, death, old age and disease. We should regret this, repent our poor judgment, and get to work on reestablishing our relationship with Krishna.
" . . . In full Krishna consciousness, he [the devotee] regrets his past experiences in material existence. This regret is very beneficial because it purifies the living entity of material, conditional life. He then prays to the Lord to engage in His service, and at that time, Krishna grants liberation from the clutches of maya."
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear."
More source notes on this topic:
- Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 1.43, Purport:
"There is a system in the varnashrama institution by which before death one has to undergo the process of atonement for his sinful activities. One who is always engaged in sinful activities must utilize the process of atonement called the prayascitta. Without doing so, one surely will be transferred to hellish planets to undergo miserable lives as the result of sinful activities."
- Srimad-Bhagavatam, 6.1.15, Purport:
"As for atonement, if one has caught even a slight glimpse of devotional service, all needs to undergo prayaschitta, atonement, are superseded. Therefore atonement is certainly unnecessary when one has achieved spontaneous love . . ."
- Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.3.34, Purport:
"He [Krishna] can turn the external energy into internal by His will. Therefore by His grace the external energy, which is employed in illusioning those living beings who want to have it, subsides by the will of the Lord in terms of repentance and penance for the conditioned soul. And the very same energy then acts to help the purified living being make progress on the path of self-realization."
- Srimad-Bhagavatam, 4.26.21, Purport:
". . .the devotee accepts a reversal of his position in life as a benediction by the Lord and consequently offers the Lord more obeisances and prayers, thinking that the punishment is due to his past misdeeds and that the Lord is punishing him very mildly. The punishment awarded by the state or by God for one's own faults is actually for one's benefit . . . If one accepts punishment as a reward dealt by the master, he becomes intelligent enough not to commit the same mistake again."
- Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.8.26, Purport:
"It is said in the shastras that by once uttering the holy name of the Lord, the sinner gets rid of a quantity of sins that he is unable to commit. Such is the power of uttering the holy name of the Lord. There is not the least exaggeration in this statement. Actually the Lord's holy name has such powerful potency."
- Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.20.26:
"It is firmly declared that the steady adherence of transcendentalists to their respective spiritual positions constitutes real piety and that sin occurs when a transcendentalist neglects his prescribed duty. One who adopts this standard of piety and sin, sincerely desiring to give up all past association with sense gratification, is able to subdue materialistic activities, which are by nature impure."
Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.20.26, Purport:
" . . . Those persons directly engaged in self-realization . . . need not give up their regular duties and perform special penances to atone for an accidental falldown. . . To purify an accidental falldown, one who is engaged in transcendental realization need not adopt any procedure beyond his own spiritual practice . . . one should not practice Krishna consciousness or self-realization superficially or casually; rather, one should sincerely and earnestly desire freedom from one's past sinful life . . . one must constantly practice Krishna consciousness. Thus, essential piety is to give up material sense gratification and engage in the loving service of the Lord. One who engages his senses, mind and intelligence twenty-four hours a day in the Lord's service is the most pious person, and the Lord personally protects such a surrendered soul."
"Having awakened faith in the narrations of My glories, being disgusted with all material activities, knowing that all sense gratification leads to misery, but still being unable to renounce all sense enjoyment, My devotee should remain happy and worship Me with great faith and conviction. Even though he is sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee knows that all sense gratification leads to a miserable result, and he sincerely repents such activities."
Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.20.27-28, Purport:
"Therefore, although sincerely lamenting occasional lapses into sense enjoyment, he [a devotee] never gives up his enthusiasm to serve Lord Krishna. If a devotee becomes too morose or discouraged in devotional service, he may drift into an impersonal consciousness or give up his devotional service to the Lord. Therefore, the Lord here advises that although one should sincerely repent, he should not become chronically depressed. One should understand that because of his past sins he must occasionally suffer disturbances from the material mind and senses, but one should not therefore become a devotee of detachment, as do the speculative philosophers."
- Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.5.42:
"One who has thus given up all other engagements and has taken full shelter at the lotus feet of Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is very dear to the Lord. Indeed, if such a surrendered soul accidentally commits some sinful activity, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is seated within everyone's heart, immediately takes away the reaction to such sin."
Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.5.42, Purport:
"Since devotional service is itself the most purifying process, a sincere devotee who has accidentally stumbled on the path should immediately resume his pure devotional service at the lotus feet of the Lord. And thus the Lord will protect him, as stated in Bhagavad-gita ( 9.30)"
- Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 9.30, Purport:
". . .it may be seen that a person in Krishna consciousness commits some act which may be taken as most abominable socially or politically. But such a temporary falldown does not disqualify him. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that if a person falls down but is wholeheartedly engaged in the transcendental service of the Supreme Lord, the Lord, being situated within his heart, purifies him and excuses him from that abomination. The material contamination is so strong that even a yogi fully engaged in the service of the Lord sometimes becomes ensnared; but Krishna consciousness is so strong that such an occasional falldown is at once rectified. Therefore the process of devotional service is always a success."
Srimad-Bhagavatam, 6.2.27, Purport:
"When one is elevated to the platform of devotional service by the grace of the Lord and the spiritual master, one first regrets his past sinful activities. This helps one advance in spiritual life. . . the duty of a pure devotee is to regret his past sinful activities in illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling. Not only should one give up his past bad habits, but he must always regret his past sinful acts. This is the standard of pure devotion."
Srimad-Bhagavatam, 6.2.34, Purport:
"We must be conscious of the difference between our present and past conditions and should always be very careful not to fall from the most exalted life."
- Two Energies, Two Choices
- Repentance and penance are nothing more than attitude.
- Books:A Second Chance
- a near-death experience gives one former priest a life-changing wake-up call.
Transplanting the heart doesn't transplant the soul. The soul, according to Bhagavad-gita, is seated in the region of the heart. But when the heart moves, the soul doesn't.
When the surgeons switch the natural heart for a plastic one, the soul merely switches seats, like a man rising from his chair to accept a new one. So the soul of Dr. Barney Clark, for example, lived on in his artificial heart.
But whether made of flesh and blood or plastic and metal, the heart is just an inanimate pump for the bodily machine. And eventually the whole machine will break down, forcing the soul to transmigrate to a new body.
Unfortunately, the highly skilled mechanics who built Dr. Clark's heart didn't know anything of the science of the soul. If they had, they would have spent more time trying to give Dr. Clark a way to achieve eternal life in his original, spiritual body rather than a few extra weeks or months in his desperately ill material one.