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Janmashtami

Janmastami: Krishna’s “birthday”?

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For convenience and to suggest a celebration, we sometimes say that Janmastami is Krishna’s birthday, since anyone we know of on Earth, either past or present, is apparently “born” into this world. However, this is not an accurate description for Krishna (who we understand as the original feature of God), or for any of God’s other incarnations.

Why?

There is no “birth” or “death” for God, since by definition He is primeval, always existing, the source of everything, who has no material form with a particular date of creation. In fact even the individual soul—ourselves—are spoken of as unborn (aja), since spiritually, eternally, we are all part of God. According to the Bhagavad-gita which is Krishna’s song or sermon, God is understood to “appear” at various times to serve His purposes. These purposes are generally understood to be reestablishing religious principles, to uplift and inspire the faithful, and to vanquish the miscreants who are causing major world problems. He is compared to the sun which appears to be “born” at sunrise, and “die” at sunset, but is actually always existing beyond our view.

The principal exponents of the “science” of Krishna are His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his followers. His title indicates that to understand God, who is infinite, we have to have the grace of God. That grace comes in a powerful way from a person who is dear to God, or from a pure “devotee” (bhakta) of God. By the grace of the Supreme Lord one finds a teacher of Truth, and by the grace of that teacher or guru, one obtains the shelter of God, or Krishna.

In the Gita, Arjuna (the main inquirer) is selected to be the recipient of Krishna’s confidential instruction, because he is devoted to God, and not envious of his greatness. The Vedas (meaning knowledge), although appearing to be from the East, or of “Indian” origin, are actually for everyone who is open to hear them. They are also called “revealed” knowledge, descending into the pure hearts of God’s faithful, or pure devotees. Though the Vedas are certainly quite intellectual, they are not a product of the intellect or senses. While meant to convince our intellect of the truths and greatness of God, these literatures also point out the limitations of reason for understanding the Supreme Spirit or that which is inconceivable to our experience.

Thus the Vedas are revealed to the pure devotees, and today we can hear about Krishna from those who are dear to him, and love him. What we hear, we will gradually realize by becoming purified through spiritual practice, and ultimately through obtaining the grace of Krishna, and his pure devotees. By getting to know Krishna, we will gradually love him, and when we fully love him, we will know him in our heart of hearts, as our dear most friend and well wisher. Spiritual love is the way to the heart of Divinity, and Krishna is the heart of Divinity.

Prabhupada refers to Krishna, as “the Supreme Personality of Godhead”. This epithet is an elaboration from a primary verse in the important scripture, Shrimad Bhagavatam, or the Bhagavat Purana. After describing many principle incarnations of God, it is indicated that such incarnations are unlimited, like the waves of the ocean. Though unlimited, the incarnations have a source of emanation, and that source is Krishna. Krishna then is seen as the original, supreme personality of the unlimited personalities of Godhead. He is the original candle that lights all the others.

When we speak of understanding Krishna, we have to mention the appearance of Chaitanya “Mahaprabhu” (greatest master), who is Krishna’s most recent incarnation, appearing 500 years ago in West Bengal. Lord Chaitanya is a confidential incarnation, a dual incarnation of both Krishna, and his greatest devotee, Shri Radha. Lord Krishna and Lord Chaitanya are both considered the source of all incarnations, though Lord Chaitanya is called the most merciful manifestation of Krishna. That is because he is giving a method to easily know and love Krishna (easy compared to other Vedic methods like yoga, sacrifice, or knowledge, etc.) through chanting Krishna’s names, hearing and speaking about his glorious adventures, and engaging in his service. Shri Chaitanya appeared as a devotee of Krishna or practioner of Bhakti, who demonstrated how to live a life of devotion by his example and followers.

The main disciples of Shri Chaitanya have described that God is like a multi-faceted jewel, which can be seen from many angles of vision. There is one spiritual system sustaining the universe and all of life, and the various religions present different views of the same subject matter. By studying the world’s religions, we see that God is generally viewed in relationship to the human beings of the world, with such names as the “creator”, “maintainer”, or “destroyer”, etc.

Krishna and his many other names, like Govinda, Gopal, Yashoda-nandana etc., refer to God on his own intimate terms, with his principles lovers in his rural village home called, “Vrindavana”. Krishna refers to the most confidential aspect of God when he wants to be himself and relax with his most closest friends and lovers. In Krishna’s home or abode, everyone and everything loves Krishna more than themselves or each other. He is their very life and soul.

Krishna is like a judge who is formally addressed on the bench as “your honor”, though seen at home as father to his children, and lover to the wife. Thus, Krishna is God at home without his crown or without the worship of awe and reverence. Krishna is God in love! He is human-like, approachable, accessible, and very kind, merciful and loving—in a sense appearing ordinary even, with no majesty or effulgence. Though with no overt aspects of the all-powerful God, Krishna is “all attractive” or irresistible to his most dear. One can’t take their eyes from him. Seeing him is always ever-fresh, each moment a new festival for the senses!

Of course his so-called “ordinary” appearance is in one sense deceiving, since he expands himself into Vishnu, or the Lord of the Universe, to take care of the manifestation and maintenance of the material world. Yet his intimate devotees or lovers do not care to see him as God, but as one of them, a cowherd person from their simple village of Vrindavana. Seeing God with awe and reverence prevents intimacy of loving exchanges, so Krishna being the connoisseur of love, prefers to live without it, and he has a special world where it is absent.

The other Vedic Deities all have a purpose within the world, but Krishna’s only purpose even when he comes to the material world, is to enjoy loving relationships. He is seen playing the flute, dancing with the cowherd boys and girls, wandering in the beauty of the forest, and tending cows. He has other expansions even to speak Bhagavad-gita or to live as a prince as he did in Dvaraka.

This feature of God, as Krishna, is charming to his faithful devotees, but sometimes bewildering to scholars or those from other religions. When the British ruled India, they studied the Vedas, with the idea of finding fault and debunking what they saw as heathenism. Thinking Krishna at best a great man of the world, they were shocked at his being a thief in youth, or a person who sported with others wives, or eventually married 16, 108 of his own. A huge theology exists to explain how everything Krishna does is for the good of all, and beyond worldly concepts of good and bad. Not knowing this science, the British considered the activities of Krishna a dangerous myth, which clouded peoples’ intelligence, so they were determined to give the “natives” the real truth of Christianity. Beginners in religion, think their path is the only way, and find enemies to rally against to unite their followers. The beginning motivation to serve God is fear, then personal gain, duty, and finally out of love. Love is the answer.

This brings us back to our original point of how to understand Krishna. Krishna reserves the right to not be manifest to everyone. He reciprocates with our level of interest in him, and our purity of purpose in our spiritual search. In addition no one can really take to Bhakti without the blessings of a devotee. Krishna says in the Adi Purana that, "My dear Partha, one who claims to be My devotee is not so. Only a person who claims to be the devotee of My devotee is actually My devotee." So we can begin to understand who Krishna is by hearing from his devotees. Krishna consciousness or Bhakti-yoga is the science of understanding Krishna, and developing our dormant love for him.

Everyone is ultimately a lover of God, but that love is transformed in the material realm into lust for the flesh which often passes as love. The most selfless love of the world gives us a glimpse of what real love is—for example the mother’s unconditional love for her infant. Although there are an infinite number of forms of God, and different religions and spiritual paths that reveal them, the Bhakti scriptures and Krishna.com are promoting the Krishna conception of God as the most attractive and intimate aspect of Divinity. Although this is arguably our subjective opinion, we believe it is a reasonable perspective which is substantiated in the Vedas. Some may disagree, but spirituality is a kind bias through love and affection. So by affection we feel that “objectively” Krishna is the most intimate and attractive form of God. Every path has its’ own reasoning, and those who follow it are convinced of it. However, love of Krishna has its’ own reasoning!

What is the best spiritual path, religion, or type of relationship with God? It is the one which is best for you, the one in which you best develop your love God, and for everyone and everything. For the Bhakti-yogis, God is a title, Krishna his most intimate name. From our study, realization and affection we are promoting Krishna. The “proof” of any path in is one’s experience.

For you, if it is proof in the reality of Krishna that you desire, then that remains to be uncovered or revealed through your thoughtful study of Vedic literature, associating with advanced devotees, and your sincere desire for union with God. God will reciprocate with you according to your desire to know and love him. Although Janmastami is the anniversary of Krishna’s appearance in the world, it can also represent a path unfolding in your life, or his appearance in your heart.

The Transcendence Comes Into View

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Lord Krishna’s Advent

“Our dear Lord, You have appeared in Your original unalloyed form, the eternal form of goodness, for the welfare of all living entities within this material world. Taking advantage of Your appearance, all of them can now very easily understand the nature and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead:”
—Srimad-Bhagavatam, Tenth Canto, Chapter Two

The Supreme Lord is not formless or impersonal. When we speak of Krishna, we speak of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What this means, essentially, is that the Godhead, the Supreme Truth, the source of everything, is ultimately the supreme individual person. According to the Vedic literatures, God has three features. First, He has His all-pervading, impersonal aspect. In this feature, He is the great light from which everything shines forth, the great primordial truth from which all other truths arise. Beyond this, however, He also has His aspect of Paramatma, the supreme knower who lives within the heart of everyone and gives everyone knowledge, memory, or forgetfulness. And ultimately God also has an independent personal aspect, His original eternal form of bliss and knowledge.

In this personal aspect, the Lord has not only a form but also a name, an abode, personal qualities, an eternal entourage, and spiritual activities.

Yet all these are beyond our direct sensory perception. Through sensory perception we can neither confirm nor deny God’s existence; all we can say is that He is not within the reach of our senses. Nor can we know God merely by speculation. The mind and intelligence are limited. So if God is unlimited, our minds and intelligence will prove too small to grasp Him.

But the unlimited, if He is truly unlimited, can reveal Himself and His unlimited nature, even in this material world. This is the purpose of Krishna’s appearance. As Bhagavad-gita explains, Krishna appears in this world from time to time (to favor His devotees, subdue the ungodly, and reestablish universal religious principles for the benefit of all living beings).

So although Krishna is the supreme absolute, the ultimate existence, the Supreme Lord of all creation, He also appears within this mundane world as a visible, historical person. When He does so, He enlightens us by showing us His eternal nature and His eternal transcendental form.

Janmashtami is what could be called Krishna’s birthday. But it’s not called that, because Krishna never takes birth like an ordinary man. An ordinary man takes birth in this world because he is forced to by the laws of nature. But Krishna’s “birth” is a transcendental drama staged by the Lord Himself. In this drama, the Lord allows certain exalted devotees to play the roles of His father and mother, and others appear as His friends and other associates.

From the very beginning, Krishna’s activities on earth were extraordinary. At the time of His so-called birth, He appeared before His parents as the majestic four-armed Lord Narayana. While still a child on his mother’s lap, He slew the great demon Putana. Throughout His 125 years on earth, Krishna performed wonderful superhuman activities. He exhibited the unlimited strength, beauty, wealth, fame, knowledge, and renunciation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In particular, He imparted sublime spiritual knowledge to His friend and devotee Arjuna, knowledge that endures in the sacred text Bhagavad-gita.

According to Bhagavad-gita, we can achieve freedom from the pangs of material suffering and return to the kingdom of God simply by understanding the transcendental birth and activities Lord Krishna enacts when He appears in this material world.

Yet, the Gita goes on to say, hardly anyone knows God as He is. In the absence of a clear understanding, we describe God negatively, in terms of what He is not, or in terms vague, enigmatic, and intangible. But when God personally descends to earth. He reveals His eternal form and His eternal transcendental qualities.

But even though God personally appears, one cannot understand Him merely by blunt materialistic vision. Even when Krishna was present, less intelligent men, unable to appreciate His transcendental superexcellence, thought Him an ordinary person of this material world. Similarly, unintelligent men in the present age think Krishna nothing more than a mythological hero. Yet great saints and sages throughout history have consistently accepted Lord Krishna as the Supreme Godhead. The sage Vyasadeva was the compiler of the Vedic literature and the author of Vedanta-sutra, perhaps the most demandingly logical treatise on spiritual inquiry ever written. Yet after completing Vedanta-sutra Vyasadeva felt that his life’s work would be incomplete if he failed to write one book devoted exclusively to describing the transcendental form, qualities, and pastimes of Lord Krishna. Would such a sage have suddenly abandoned his rigorous pursuit of truth to indulge in spinning whimsical mythological tales?

Lord Krishna is neither mundane nor mythological, but one can understand Him only by pure devotion. Indeed, this is the central theme of Bhagavad-gita, for this is the supreme principle of religion that Lord Krishna appears in this world to teach: that one should abandon all other forms of religion and simply surrender to Him in devotion. Pure devotion to God, pure love for God, is the ultimate goal of all religious principles.

From a historical point of view, Krishna appeared within this material world for 125 years and then left. But from a broader philosophical viewpoint we can understand that Krishna is always present everywhere, although sometimes He is visible and sometimes not.

When Krishna descended on earth five thousand years ago, He briefly made Himself visible to all. And from the Vedic literature it is understood that those whose eyes have been anointed with the ointment of pure devotion can see Lord Krishna in their hearts perpetually. Such exalted souls, however, are very rare.

How then are the rest of us to know God and develop our love for Him’? The Vedic authorities have conclusively decided that in the present age the most effective means for developing our love for God is to chant His holy names, especially as found in the Hare Krishna mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Because God is absolute, there is no difference between God and God’s name. So when we chant the holy name of the Lord, the Lord Himself is dancing on our tongue. As we continue to chant—sincerely, we associate directly with the Lord, and thus we advance in spiritual life.

Just as there is no difference between the Lord and His holy name, so also we cannot separate Krishna from His transcendental form. When Krishna’s form is present. Krishna Himself is present. The Vedic scriptures therefore recommend that one worship Krishna’s murti,His transcendental form in the temple. Although the murti appears to mundane eyes to be a mere statue, to the eyes of a pure devotee He appears as Krishna Himself. Of course, metal and stone and wood are material elements, but Krishna is present in these elements, for He is present everywhere. And when these elements are molded into Krishna’s form, the same Krishna who was present all along becomes visible to our eyes.

The pictures on these pages, therefore, are pictures of Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appears in this world for our benefit. And if we devote ourselves to Krishna and chant Lord Krishna’s holy name, under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master, our consciousness will be purified, and we will be able to perceive Krishna’s presence directly—while chanting Hare Krishna, while seeing the form of Krishna, and ultimately at every moment.

Janmashtami Lecture in Hamburg

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Srila Prabhupada in Europe

In this lecture, given in Hamburg, Germany on Janmastami day on September 4, 1969, Prabhupada stresses how important it is to use our senses to serve Krishna in order to be able to understand anything about Him.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The entire transcription of this lecture follows below the audio players—so, read along! If the audio player doesn't appear right away, refresh the page.

Hamburg part 1

Hamburg part 2

Hamburg part 3

sep 4, 1969

...avidya-karma-samjnanya
tåtiya shaktir ishyate

This is a verse from Vishnu Purana. It is stated there that vishnu-shaktih para, "The energy of the Supreme Lord is spiritual." Energy and the energetic, they are nondifferent. Just like the sunshine is the energy of the sun globe, but the quality of sunshine and the sun globe is the same. It is not different.

The sunshine is bright, illuminating, hot—similarly, we can understand the sun globe, the temperature may be very high, but the quality is the same.

So,

vishnu-shaktih para prokta [Cc. Madhya 6.154]

God has got one energy. That energy is spiritual energy. And kshetrajnakhya tatha para: and the same energy is manifested in another form, which is called kshetrajna, or marginal energy, or the energy in which we living creatures are acting.

Ksetrajnakhya tatha para.

And

avidya-karma-samjna, and tåtiya shaktir ishyate.

And besides these energies, there is another energy, which is avidya , ignorance. Karma-samjna : and it is based on fruitive activities.

Anya means besides these two energies, spiritual energy and the marginal energy, living entities, there is another energy, which is called avidya. Avidya means ignorance. And karma-samjna : and in that energy, one has to enjoy his, the fruit of his own labor.

This is the material world.

This material world is also energy of Krishna, or God, but here ignorance prevails. Ignorance is prominent. Avidya , ignorance. Therefore one has to work.

Practically one hasn't got to work, but because he is, one is in avidya , ignorance, therefore he has to work.

Avidya-karma-samjnanya tåtiya shaktir ishyate.

So actually, there is one energy: spiritual energy. Krishna, or God, is the whole spirit, and the energies emanating from Him, that is also spiritual.

Shaktih shaktimator abhinnah.

In the Vedic language we understand that the shaktiman , or the energetic, Krishna, and the energy, they are nondifferent. So this material energy is also nondifferent from Krishna.

In other words of Vedic language it is said,

sarvam khalv idam brahma:

"Everything is Brahman."

In the Bhagavad-gita also, Lord Krishna says that

maya tatam idam sarvam.

Sarvam means all, idam , this manifestation, this cosmic manifestation, whatever you are experiencing... Krishna says that "I am expanded as this cosmic manifestation."

Maya tatam idam sarvam. . .avyakta-murtina.

This impersonal feature, avyakta,

mat-sthani sarva-bhutani naham teshu avasthitah : [Bg. 9.4]

"Everything is resting on Me, or everything is expansion of Myself."

Naham teshu avasthitah:

"But I am not there." This philosophy, acintya-bhedabheda— simultaneously one and different—is our philosophy, inaugurated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, although it is in the Vedanta-sutras.

So everything is simultaneously one and different from the Supreme Lord. But there are two classes of philosophers.

One class says that God and the living entities are different, and there is another philosopher, monist philosopher. They say God and the living entities are one.

So this acintya-bhedabheda philosophy adjusts that "God and the living creatures, they are simultaneously one and different." They are one in quality, just like the energy and the energetic, the sun globe and the sunshine.

In quality, in sunshine there is heat, there is illumination, light. In the sun globe also, there is heat, there is illumination. But the degrees are quite different.

You can bear the heat and illumination of the sunshine, but you cannot go to the sun globe or you can bear the heat and temperature there. The scientist says that so many millions miles away, if somebody goes or some planet goes near the sun globe, it will immediately burn into ashes.

Similarly, God and ourself, Krishna and living entities, they are qualitatively one, but quantitatively, we are very minute. Anu . We are smaller than the atom.

Nowadays there is atomic theory. We can see the atoms within the holes of the windows when there is focus of sunlight. That is called prasarenu. Prasarenu means six atoms combined together, then it is visible.

Otherwise, atom is also not visible with our naked eyes. There is atomic theory, paramanuvada , in Vedic literature also. And Bhagavata says that the scientists may be one day able to count how many atoms are there within this universe. This is not possible, of course, but it is theoretically.

The Vedic—Srimad-Bhagavatam—says that "It may be possible one day by scientific research, one can count how many atoms are there within this cosmic manifestation. Still, it is not possible to know the Supreme Personality of Godhead by our ordinary sense perception."

Atah Sri-Krishna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih [Cc. Madhya 17.136].

Krishna, or God, is not perceivable by your material senses. It is not possible. Atah , therefore, Sri-Krishna-namadi. Atah Sri-Krishna-namadi. Namadi. Namadi means "beginning from His name." Because we try to understand Krishna beginning by chanting His holy name, Hare Krishna.

Then, after chanting Hare Krishna, when our heart is purified, then we can understand His form,

sac-cid-ananda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1].

So either His name or His form or His quality or His paraphernalia or His activities—none of these can be understood by your material senses. It is not possible.

Atah Sri-Krishna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih [Cc. Madhya 17.136].

Indriyaih , the senses. Then how it is understood?

Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah.

When we take to the transcendental loving service of the Lord, then the Lord reveals Himself. We cannot understand. He reveals Himself.

Therefore, sevonmukhe hi jihvadau. Jihva means tongue. The first business of is to engage the tongue in the service of the Lord.

How you can engage the tongue in the service of the Lord? By chanting and glorifying His name, fame, quality, form, paraphernalia, pastimes. This is the business of the tongue.

Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau .

When the tongue is engaged, gradually all other senses are also engaged in the service of the Lord. The tongue is the most important sense within our body; therefore for controlling our senses it is recommended that one should control first of all the tongue.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings in his song:

ta'ra madhye jihva ati lobhamaya sudurmati.

Our present conditional state is like this.

Sarira avidya-jal,

We are packed up in the network of this material body. It is just like a fish is caught within a net. Similarly, we are caught up by this network of this material body.

Not only this body—we are changing this net in various phases of life. There are 8,400,000's of holes of this network. This is a network of ignorance, avidya-jal. Avidya means ignorance.

Sarira avidya-jal jatendriya tahe kal.

And this network, my imprisonment within this network of ignorance, is being continued on account of these dangerous senses. Sense enjoyment. So out of these dangerous senses, Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, the tongue is the most dangerous. Tongue is the most dangerous.

The tongue... If we cannot control the tongue, then the tongue will oblige me to take different types of body, one after another. If I am very much fond of satisfying my tongue by flesh and blood, then nature, material nature, will give me facility to taste flesh and blood fresh and give me a body of the tiger.

If I do not discriminate of eating, then material nature will give me a body just like a hog, when we have to accept, as our food, stool.

So we are so-called materially suffering and enjoying according to this body. Therefore this body, this human form of body, is a great opportunity, because God realization begins by engaging the tongue.

Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau [Brs. 1.2.234].

By engaging the tongue in the loving service of the Lord, one can make advance(ment) in Krishna consciousness, ultimate realization of God, the tongue.

So this tongue, in the human body, can be engaged.

In other body, in the cat's body, dog's body, tiger's body—tiger may be a very powerful animal—(but) no animal is powerful or better than human beings. That is accepted.

So this human form of life is a great boon to the living entity who is traveling through the cycle of birth and death, perpetually changing different sorts of body. Here is the opportunity, human form of body. We can utilize the tongue properly and get out of these clutches.

Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau .

So seva, seva means service; jihva adau , beginning from the tongue. So if we can keep our tongue engaged, always chanting Hare Krishna mantra ... Because "Krishna," this sound, is not different from Krishna. Krishna is absolute. Nothing is different from Him. Krishna and Krishna's name is not different.

In the material sense, everything is different. I myself (am) different from this body. I am not this body. But Krishna is not like that. Krishna and Krishna's body is the same.

Avajananti mam mudha manusim tanum ashritah [Bg. 9.11].

Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, "Rascals and fools, they deride (at) Me because I appear as a human being. They are thinking just like ‘I am ordinary human being’."

Param bhavam ajananto — "These rascals do not know what is My influence and what I am."

Param bhavam — "What is My nature they do not know. Without knowing Me, they consider, 'Krishna is an ordinary human being.' "

Avajananti mudha —This very particular word has been used, mudha. Mudha means rascals. So in spite of this warning, there are so many rascals passing as big scholars.

They say like this—“when there is order of Krishna that ‘you surrender unto Me,’ (the rascals comment), it is not to Krishna but the unborn spirit which is within Krishna." He does not know that Krishna is not different from His body, Krishna is not different from His name, Krishna is not different from His fame.

Anything pertaining to Krishna is Krishna. They are monists, they are philosophizing that oneness, but as soon as they come to Krishna, immediately they divide: "Krishna is different from His body," or "Krishna's body is different from Krishna."

So atah Sri-Krishna-namadi . So Krishna's name and Krishna is not different. Therefore, as soon as my tongue touches the holy name of Krishna, that means immediately it associates with Krishna.

So if you constantly keep yourself associated with Krishna by chanting this mantra, Hare Krishna, then just imagine how you are being easily purified simply by this process, chanting— jihvadau —engaging the tongue in chanting.

And your tongue wants very palatable dishes to taste. So Krishna is very kind. He has given you hundreds and thousands of palatable dishes, remnants of foodstuff eaten by Him. You eat.

In this way, if you simply make it a determination that "I shall not allow my tongue to taste anything which is not offered to Krishna, and I shall engage my tongue always chanting Hare Krishna," then all perfection is within your hold.

All perfection.

Two simple things: Don't eat anything which is not offered to Krishna. That's all. Our Krishna prasadam are so variegated, nice varieties... The variety is the mother of enjoyment.

How much enjoyment you want with your tongue? You can have simply by eating Krishna prasadam . And the more your tongue is purified, the more you relish the chanting of Hare Krishna mantra .

Relish.

Anandambudhi-vardhanam . It is stated by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu that it increases the ocean of bliss, transcendental bliss.

Ocean does not increase—we have no experience within this material world. If (the) ocean would have increased, then all the lands would have been swallowed up many long, long years ago. Ocean does not increase.

But this ocean, transcendental bliss, is increasing. Some of you must have experienced, those who are actually relishing.

The authorities like Rupa Gosvami, he says that "What I shall chant with one tongue? If I would have millions of tongues, then I could chant a little more. And what I shall hear with two ears?"

So he's expecting, he's aspiring to have millions of ears and trillions of tongues to relish this chanting Hare Krishna. So that is another stage, of course, when this chanting will be so melodious that we shall try to have more ears and more tongues to utilize it.

Atah Sri-Krishna-namadi
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih

[Cc. Madhya 17.136].

By our present senses, we cannot understand what is Krishna, or what is God, what is His name, what is His form, what is His quality.

Therefore immediately, if we try to understand Krishna by His picture, "Oh, Krishna is embracing Radharani or the gopis," we shall mistake. Because unless our senses are purified, we shall accept Krishna and Radharani as ordinary young boy or girl and their dealings.

But actually it is not. It is pure.

Caitanya-caritamrita has distinguished that the loving affairs of the gopis with Krishna and the ordinary—these lustful dealings of human beings— there is a gulf of difference.

He compares that the gopis' love with Krishna is gold, and our so-called love here is iron. As there is difference between gold and iron, similarly there is difference between the loving affairs of gopis with Krishna and these mundane, so-called lusty affairs between men and women or boys and girls.

It is never equal.

Therefore, atah Sri-Krishna-namadi na bhaved ... [Brs. 1.2.234]. These present senses, these impure senses, contaminated senses, cannot understand Krishna; therefore we should follow this principle:

sevonmukhe hi jihvadau.

First of all, engage (in) chanting Hare Krishna.

There is Radha and Krishna. Hara is Radha, and Krishna, there is. But don't try to understand by the present senses, but simply chant their holy Name, Hare Krishna. Then,

ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12].

When your, the dust on the mirror of your heart will be cleansed, and it will cleanse by simply chanting,

ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam,

. . . and there will be no more any material condition.

That is the next stage. If you chant Hare Krishna mantra without any offense, then immediately the stage will be that you are freed from all material anxieties.

That is the test—how I am advancing in chanting will be tested “how far you are free from material anxieties.” That's all.

Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam [Cc. Antya 20.12].

Then real life begins.

So long you are perturbed by material disturbances, you should know that your spiritual life has not begun. This is confirmed in everywhere:

Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na shocati na kanksati [Bg. 18.54]

Prasannatma — Bhagavad-gita says, "When one is Brahman realized..." Brahman realized means one who understands that I am not this body. I am pure spirit soul, eternal servitor of Krishna.

Simply understanding that "I am not this body. I am spirit soul," is not enough. That is not sufficient knowledge.

Of course, that is good. That is just on the marginal step between matter and spirit. But you have to transcend completely this material existence and come to the platform of spiritual understanding. So, for that purpose, you have to go further after Brahman realization. Brahman:

brahma-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54]

If you are actually Brahman realized, the symptom will be that you are always joyful, no anxiety—“Anxiety, why...?”

Everything is very nicely discussed in Srimad-Bhagavatam;

Bhayam dvitiyabhiniveshatah syad

When you forget Krishna, or God, and if we think there is something else than Krishna, then we are afraid. And those who are convinced and realized souls that “there is nothing but Krishna, where is the cause of fearfulness?”

Therefore those who are pure devotees, they are not disturbed even in most distressed condition of life. What they think? They think, tat te 'nukampa ...: "My Lord, it is Your great mercy that You have put me into this distressed condition:"

Tat te 'nukampam su-samiksamanah [SB 10.14.8]

So in the distressed condition, the devotees take it an opportunity that "I have got a very nice opportunity to remember God constantly. Krishna, You are so kind that You have given me this distressed condition."

So this Krishna consciousness is very nice. If we try to make progress on this line, we'll feel even:

Yasmin sthite gurunapi duhkhena na vicalyate [Bg. 6.20-23]

Bhagavad-gita says if one is situated in Krishna consciousness, even in the terrible situation, fearful situation, he is not afraid.

Just like Prahlada Maharaja. You see? Prahlada Maharaja, a five-years-old boy, his father tortured him like anything. But he was not afraid. He was not afraid. This is the Krishna consciousness state. The boy is not afraid.

Even in such tortured condition, when his father challenged him, "Prahlada, with whose strength you are so powerful that you do not care for me?" he immediately answered, "My dear father, by whose power you are talking like that?"

So Krishna consciousness is so nice that even one is put into the terrible condition of distress, he is not perturbed.

Narayana-parah sarve

There are many verses like that. We can quote hundreds.

Narayana-parah sarve na kutashcana bibhyati [SB 6.17.28]

If one becomes Krishna conscious, he is not afraid, any condition of life.

Na kutashcana bibhyati. Svargapavarga-narakesv api,

If he is put into the hell or in heaven or in the spiritual world or any world, he is happy.

Tulyartha-darshinah —he thinks everything is all the same: "Either you put me in the hell or heaven or this or that, (it) is all the same." Because he is always with Krishna, chanting Hare Krishna. Krishna is always with him.

So where is the cause of being afraid that "This place is not good; this place is very good?” No. Wherever Krishna is there is very good. That's all.

So we have to practice and train the tongue very nicely.

Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah [Brs. 1.2.234]

And the more our tongue is engaged in the loving service of Krishna... It is very nice service. You simply chant and eat Krishna prasadam. Is it very difficult service? Everyone will accept, "Oh, yes." But unfortunately, everyone does not accept. (laughter) (chuckles) You see.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore says,

etadrishi tava kripa bhagavan mamapi

"My dear Lord, You are so kind that You have approached Me in..., by transcendental sound. Or You are always with Me." You can be. If I take, then Krishna is always with me. If I reject, then... That is the (ignorance)...

"Krishna is everywhere" means as soon as we accept, Krishna is immediately with us. And as soon as we reject, oh, He is far, far away. So Krishna can be with us very easily simply by this chanting or engaging the tongue in His service.

So Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommended this process, or He inaugurated this process in this age. Although it is not new system, but He especially introduced because His incarnation is to reclaim the fallen souls of this age.

So He... [break] ...before advent of Krishna he's simply planning, "As soon as Krishna will take birth, I will kill him."

This is the plan of the demons, to kill God. Atheism. "God is dead"—that is also killing, one sort of killing. "There is no God. I am God." These are all different processes of trying to kill. But God is never killed. Rather, they are killed. That is the whole history everywhere.

Guest: I don't follow. Is it...? Whose choice is it to be a demon? Is it the living entity's choice, complete choice, to be demonic, against God, or is it a part of Krishna's energy to put demons, or to have created him that way?

Prabhupada: No...

Guest: Is it completely each individual's choice to be demonic, or...?

Prabhupada: Yes. Demon means when he is forgotten, when has lost his sense, that is demon. When has lost his sense, that is demon.

Demon means mayayapahrita-jnanah [Bg. 7.15]. Maya, by the influence of maya , the true aspect of knowledge is taken away.

Anyone who is trying to establish it that "There is no God," he is demon. That's all.

There are so many philosophers, so many atheists, so many scientists. Their only business is to deny God. They are demons. Yes?

Guest: Then is there individual complete choice?

Prabhupada: That is ignorance. Yes. Apahrita-jnanah means just like a madman. For the time being, his natural knowledge is taken away. Crazy.

What do we mean by crazy? For the time being, his knowledge is taken away.

Similarly, when a living entity is in that position, as somebody has taken away his knowledge, that is demonic condition. But he can be reestablished again in knowledge.

Just like a crazy man is sent—mental disorder, to hospital for treatment; again he comes as a sane man. Similarly, the demons are just like crazy men. Even they are treated with Krishna consciousness, they can be reverted to their own position.

So this is temporary. This demoniac nature is temporary due to the contact with maya . Therefore the whole business is how to get out of the clutches of maya . Then there is no more demonic nature. It is artificial...superficial. It comes and goes. As it comes artificially, so it can go also. And the driving method is this Krishna consciousness.

Guest: So maya is temporary, and the only thing that is eternal is Krishna and the spiritual energies.
Prabhupada: Yes. Spiritual energy. That is eternal. That is eternal.

So we are... due to our ignorance, we have been very much serious with the temporary situation of maya and we have forgotten the eternal position. This is our present conditional life.

Now this Krishna consciousness movement means His treatment to reclaim the living entity from the clutches of maya . Then he is situated in his natural position. [break]

Why Krishna Appears Here

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Easy

(of all places)

Krishna in the forest

Reasonable people demand reasons: "Why did the chicken cross the road? Why is the sky blue? Why is there air?"

Our questioning spirit manifests early:

Time for bed, honey.

Why?

It's eight o'clock.

Why do I have to go to bed at eight o'clock?

Because I said so.

Why?

Because I'm your mother.

Why?

Because I gave birth to you.

Why?

Time for bed, honey.

Why?

Why does Krishna appear here?

The "whys" of the unlimited are hard to grasp for us endlessly questioning types. This is because the Absolute Truth--although He contains all logic--is also beyond all logic.

Lord Brahma, the exceedingly well-informed engineer of universal creation, once tried (unsuccessfully) to figure out Supreme Reality by himself. Finally, he was able to understand Krishna as "sarva karana karanam" ("the cause of all causes").

In other words, the ultimate answer to "Why . . .?" is "because Krishna wanted it."

But why does Krishna come to this planet? Because He wants to. Why does He want to? What does He have to gain from coming here?

What does Krishna Himself say about that? Krishna tells Arjuna that He comes to deliver His devotees from repeated birth and death. He comes to authoritatively tell us--"I created you, here's who you are. I also created this world, and you don't belong here. Here I am, and here's what to do"--not just let us perpetually guess about the meaning of our lives.

Many imagine God as cold, aloof, uncaring, power mad, domineering--all the things humans in positions of power tend to become. Krishna comes to dispel those notions, to give us a chance to relate with Him as He is, not as we imagine Him to be.

Like a loving parent, Krishna cares about us, even if we don't care about Him. We belong to Him. He's also within us--twenty-four seven, as Supersoul, guiding our activities--but that's apparently not enough. He wants to be involved in our lives.

Why would someone want to be involved in the lives of people who don't want that?

As the Supreme Person, Krishna is supremely social. We manifest our personalities in relationship with other persons. Krishna is complete in Himself; simultaneously, He has unlimited desires to relate to unlimited numbers of other people and thus unlimitedly manifest His unlimited personality. He is self-satisfied--He doesn't see "friends" and "enemies"--and at the same time He takes our indifference to Him supremely personally.

This is why He wants our company, even if we don't want His. He doesn't force Himself on us. He wants our love, but true love can't be forced.

To those fortunate few who want to see, He shows Himself--"Here I am! Remember Me? You used to love Me!" He comes to give a taste of the absolute, spiritual reality--"Remember this? this is what you're missing!"--one in which we are perpetually free to be ourselves, to be at our best, to develop deep, satisfying, spiritual relationships to the max without having to worry about impending death or taxes.

We may have completely forgotten our true selves, Krishna, and our love for Him, still He doesn't write us off. He says that if we love Him, He will love us. Again and again and again Krishna comes to this world, in as many incarnations as there are waves on the ocean.

Why does Krishna come? For His sake and for ours.

Read about Krishna's Appearance

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Easy

Janmastami: Krishna’s “birthday”?

A yearly reminder that Krishna intervenes in human affairs, so that we'll have something to talk about besides the same old mundane news—none of which is ever really "new" anyway.

Read here


The Advent of Lord Krishna

Please enjoy this famous excerpt from Krishna Book by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, wherein he describes the transcendentally amazing events leading up to and surrounding the all-auspicious appearance of Lord Krishna in this world...

Listen here


He Has Appeared in this Beautiful Form

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A four-part talk on the history of Krishna’s appearance, given in the actual place where Krishna appeared on Earth, Vrindavan, India, by Radhanath Swami. Recorded at Gokula Mahavan, the site of some of Krishna's earliest childhood pastimes.

(**NOTE: If the audio player isn't visible immediately, refresh the page.)

Part One: The Importance of Hearing Krishna's Pastimes

Considering our vulnerable position in material existence, Radhanath Swami explains some of the benefits of hearing about Krishna, as well as the dangers of remaining absorbed in prajalpa, or materialistic subjects.

He then introduces the dangerous condition of the Earth that prompted the demigods to pray for Krishna’s appearance.

Part Two: the Conditions Under Which Krishna Appears

Just as Balarama appears in the womb of Devaki before Krishna appears—to purify and prepare the atmosphere there—here's what has to happen in our own lives before Krishna will appear in our hearts:

“When we take shelter of Krishna in a spirit of devotion, fear the power of maya, and never let go of Krishna’s mercy, never let go of the association of devotees who are saving us at every moment, we become purified.”

We hear the interesting socio-political situation in Vrindavan that resulted in Nanda Maharaja becoming king, and the mystery of how Krishna originally came to Vrindavan.

Part Three: Krishna Appears

How Nanda Maharaj first received news of Krishna’s birth, how the residents of Vrindavan celebrated the occasion, and the arrival (and departure) of Putana, a shape-changing witch who had a plan to kill Krishna.

Part Four: "Just Like a Sweet, Helpless Little Baby"

The "nourishing milk of transcendental wisdom," regarding who is a guru and who is not.

Also, how Krishna dispatched Shakatasura, another shape-changing demon who took the form of a big cart full of pots and pans.

Janmashtami Lecture in London

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Sri Krishna Janmashtami

Janmāṣhṭamī
Lord Śrī Krishna’s Appearance Day Lecture
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

London, August 21, 1973

Prabhupāda:
(chants maṅgalācaraṇa prayers) His Excellency, the High Commissioner; ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for your coming here and participating in this ceremony, Janmāṣṭamī, advent of Krishna. The subject matter I’ve been ordered to speak on is advent of Krishna. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gītā,

janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya

This fact, that we can achieve such a stage of life when we can stop our birth and death… Sa ’mṛtatvāya kalpate. This morning, I was explaining this verse:

yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete puruṣaṁ puruṣarsabha sama-duḥkha-sukhaṁ dhīraṁ so ’mṛtatvāya kalpate

Amrtatva means immortality. So the modern civilization, they have no idea, either the great philosopher, great politician or great scientist, that it is possible to attain the stage of immortality. Amṛtatva. We are all amṛta. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, na jāyate na mrīyate vā kadācin. We living entities, we never die, never take birth. Nityaḥ śāśvato yaṁ, na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre Every one of us, we are eternal, nityaḥ śāśvato; Purāṇa, the oldest. And after annihilation of this body, we do not die. Na hanyate. The body is finished, but I have to accept another body. Tathā dehāntara prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati. Dehino ’smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā.

This simple thing, at the present moment, they are lacking knowledge, that we, all living entities, part and parcel of Krishna, we are eternal, we are blissful, and we are cognizant. Krishna is described in the Vedic śāstras:

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ Krishnaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam

Sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ. God, Krishna, when I speak Krishna, that means God. If there is any important name… God, it is sometimes said God has no name. That’s a fact. But God’s name is given by His activities. Just like Krishna accepted the sonhood of Mahārāja Nanda, or Yaśodāmāyī, or Devakī, or Vasudeva. Vasudeva and Devakī were Krishna’s real father and mother. Nobody is real father and mother of Krishna, because Krishna is the original father of everyone. But when Krishna comes here, advents, He accepts some devotees as His father, as His mother. Krishna is the original, ādi-puruṣaṁ. Ādyaṁ Purāṇa- puruṣam nava-yauvanaṁ ca He is the original person. Then must be very old? No. Adyam purāṇa puruṣam nava-yauvanam ca. Always fresh youth. That is Krishna. When Krishna was on the battlefield of Kurukṣetra, you have seen the picture, He’s just like a boy of twenty years or, at most, twenty-four years old. But at that time, He had great-grandchildren. Therefore, Krishna is always youth. Navayauvanam ca. These are the statements of Vedic literatures.

advaitam acyutam anādiṁ ananta-rūpam ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca vedeṣu durlābhaṁ adurlābhaṁ ātmā-bhaktau

So, to understand Krishna, simply if we read as a formality the Vedic literature, it will be very difficult to understand what is Krishna. Vedesu durlābhaṁ. Although all the Vedas are meant for understanding Krishna. In the Bhagavad-gītā, it is said, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo. Aham eva vedyo. What is the use of studying Vedas if you do not understand Krishna? Because the ultimate goal of education means to understand the Supreme Lord, the supreme father, the supreme cause. As it is said in the Vedānta- sūtra, janmādy asya yataḥ. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. Brahma-jijnasa, to discuss about the Supreme Absolute Truth, Brahman. What is that Brahman? Janmādy asya yatah. That Brahman means wherefrom everything emanates. So science, philosophy, means to find out the ultimate cause of everything. That we are getting from the śāstras, Vedic literature, that Krishna is the cause of all causes. Sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam . Sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam.

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ Krishnaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam

Cause of all causes. Just like try to understand. I am caused by my father. My father is caused by his father. He is caused by his father, his father… Go on searching, then you’ll ultimately come to somebody who is the cause. But He has no cause. Anādir ādir govindaḥ I may be cause of my son, but I am also result of the cause, my father. But the śāstra says that anādir ādir, He is the original person, but He has no cause. That is Krishna. Therefore, Krishna says that janma karma ca me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ . The advent of Krishna, it is very important thing. We should try to understand Krishna, why He advents, why He comes on this material world, what is His business, what are His activities. If we simply try to understand Krishna, then what is the result? The result is tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya . You get that immortality. The aim of life is to achieve immortality. Amṛtatvāya kalpate.

So in the advent of Krishna, we shall try to understand the philosophy of Krishna. His Excellency was speaking of peace. The peace formula is there, spoken by Krishna. What is that?

bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati

If the politicians, diplomats, they are trying to establish peace in the world… The United Nation is there, and there are many other organizations. They are trying to have real peace and tranquillity, no misunderstanding between man to man, nation to nation. But that is not happening. That is not happening. The defect is that in the root is wrong. Everyone’s thinking “It is my country. It is my family. It is my society. It is my property.” This “mine” is illusion. In the śāstra it is said, janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti This “I and my” philosophy is illusion.

So this illusion means māyā. māyā… If you want to get out of this illusion, māyā, then you have to accept the Krishna’s formula. Mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te. Everything is there in the Bhagavad-gītā for guidance if we accept the philosophy of Bhagavad-gītā as it is. Everything is there. Peace is there, prosperity is there. So that is a fact. Unfortunately, we do not accept it. That is our misfortune. Or we misinterpret it. Krishna says in the Bhagavad- gītā, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru. Krishna says that “You always think of Me,” man-manā bhava mad-bhakto. “Become My devotee.” Mad-yājī, “You worship Me.” Māṁ namaskuru, “And offer obeisances unto Me.” Is it very difficult task? Here is Krishna’s Deity. If you think of this Deity, Rādhā-Krishna, is it very difficult? Man-manā. You come into the temple and, just as a devotee, offer your respect to the Deity, man-manā bhava mad- bhakto. As far as possible try to worship the Deity, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati. Krishna does not want your whole property. Krishna is open to the poorest man for being worshiped. What He is asking? He says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati: “With devotion, if a person offers Me a little leaf, a little fruit, a little water, I accept it.” Krishna is not hungry, but Krishna wants to make you devotee. That is the main point. Yo me bhaktyā prayacchati. That is the main principle. If you offer Krishna little things… Krishna is not hungry; Krishna is providing food for everyone. Eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān. But Krishna wants your love, your devotion. Therefore He is begging little patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ. Man-manā bhava mad-bhakto. There is no difficulty in understanding Krishna and to accept Krishna consciousness. But we’ll not do that; that is our disease. Otherwise, it is not difficult at all. And as soon as we become devotee of Krishna, we understand the whole situation. Our philosophy, Bhāgavata philosophy, is also communism because we consider Krishna the supreme father, and all living entities, they are all sons of Krishna.

So Krishna says that He is the proprietor of all planets, sarva-loka- maheśvaram. Therefore whatever there is, either in the sky or in the water or in the land, they’re all Krishna’s property. And because we are all sons of Krishna, therefore every one of us has the right to use (the) father’s property. But we should not encroach upon others. This is the formula of peace. Mā gṛdha kasya svidhanam, īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam. Everything belongs to God. You are sons of God. You have got the right to use father’s property, but do not take more than you need. That is punishable. These things are stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Stena eva sa ucyate, in the Bhagavad-gītā, “he’s a thief.” If anyone takes more than he needs, then he’s a thief. Yajñārthāt karmaṇo ’nyatra loko ’yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ. If for the satisfaction of Krishna… Yajña means Krishna’s another name is Yajñeśvara. So you act for Krishna, you take prasāda Krishna. That what we are teaching here. In this temple, we are residing Americans, Indians, Englishmen, Canadians, Africans, different parts of the world. You know that. Not only in this temple, all over the world. [break]

…when we forget this philosophy, that Krishna is the supreme father, Krishna is the supreme proprietor, Krishna is the supreme enjoyer and Krishna is the supreme friend of everyone. When you forget this, then we come into this material world and struggle for existence, fight with one another. This is material life. So you cannot get… The politicians, diplomats, philosophers, they have tried so much, but actually nothing has become fruitful. Just like the United Nations. It was organized after the second great war, and they wanted that peacefully we shall settle everything. But there is no such thing. The fighting is going on between Pakistan and India, between Vietnam and America, and this and that. It is not the process. The process is Krishna consciousness. Everyone has to understand this fact, that we are not proprietor. Proprietor is Krishna. That’s a fact. Just like America. Say two hundred years ago the Americans, the European migrators, they were not proprietor—somebody was proprietor. Before them, somebody was proprietor or it was vacant land. The actual proprietor is Krishna. But artificially you are claiming that “It is my property.” Janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti. This is called māyā.

So Krishna advents for give us lesson. Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata. Krishna says, “My dear Arjuna, I come when there is discrepancies in the process of religious life.” Dharmasya glānir bhavati. And what is dharma? The simple definition of dharma is dharmāṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat- praṇītam. This is dharma. Dharmāṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam. Just like what do you mean by law? Law means the word given by the state. You cannot make law at home. That is not possible. Whatever the government gives you, that “You should act like this,” that is law. Similarly, dharma means the direction given by God. That is dharma. Simple definition. You create dharma. I have created this dharma, another man creates another dharma; these are not dharma. Therefore, where the Bhagavad-gītā ends, that sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ , this is dharma—to surrender to Krishna. Any other dharma, they are not dharma. Otherwise, why Krishna asks sarva-dharmān parityajya: “Give up”? He said that dharma-saṁsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge: “I advent to establish the principles of religion.” And at last He says, sarva-dharmān parityajya. That means the so-called dharmas that we have manufactured, man-made dharmas, they are not dharmas. Dharma means what is given by God. But we have no understanding what is God and what is His word. That is the modern civilization defect. But the order is there, God is there—we won’t accept. Where is the possibility of peace? The order is there. Krishna says, the Supreme, bhagavān uvāca. Vyāsadeva writes bhagavān uvāca. One should know what is bhagavān. Vyāsadeva could have written Krishna uvāca. No. He says… If one may misunderstand Krishna, therefore he writes in every stanza, every verse, śrī bhagavān uvāca. So Bhagavān is there. Bhagavān is speaking. Bhagavān is accepted by all the ācāryas. Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇusvāmī. Latest, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu also, even Śaṅkarācārya, he also accepts Krishna—sa bhagavān svayaṁ Krishna. So the verdict of the modern ācāryas, and in the past also, Vyāsadeva, Nārada, Asita, everyone accepted Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Arjuna, who heard from Krishna, after understanding Bhagavad-gītā, he said, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān puruṣam ādyaṁ śāśvatam.

So everything is there. Especially in India, we have got so much asset for understanding God. Simple thing. Everything is there ready made. But we won’t accept. So what is the remedy for such disease? We are searching after peace, but we won’t accept anything which is actually giving us peace. This is our disease. So this Krishna consciousness movement is trying to awaken the dormant Krishna consciousness in everyone’s heart. Otherwise, how these Europeans and Americans and other countrymen, they never heard of Krishna four or five years ago, how they are taking Krishna consciousness so seriously? Krishna consciousness is there in everyone’s heart. It has to be awakened only. That is described in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta

nitya-siddha Krishna-bhakti ‘sādhya’ kabhu naya śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya

It is awakened. Love for Krishna, devotion for Krishna, is there within everyone’s heart, but he has forgotten. So this Krishna consciousness movement is simply meant for awakening that Krishna consciousness. This is the process. Just like when you are sleeping, your, I have to call you loudly—“Mr. such and such, such and such, get up. You have got this business.” No other senses will act when you are sleeping. But the ear will act. Therefore, in this age, when people are so fallen they will not hear anything, if we chant this Hare Krishna mahā-mantra, he’ll be awakened to Krishna consciousness. This is practical.

So actually if we are anxious for peace and tranquillity in society, then we must be very serious to understand Krishna. That is our request. Don’t take it neglectfully, the Krishna consciousness movement. This movement can solve all the problems of life, all the problems in the world. Social, political, philosophical, religious, economical—everything can be solved by Krishna consciousness. Therefore, we request those who are leaders—just like His Excellency is present here—you should try to understand this Krishna consciousness movement. It is very scientific, authorized. It is not a mental concoction or sentimental movement. It is most scientific movement. So we are inviting all leaders from all countries: try to understand. If you are sober, if you are actually reasonable, you’ll understand that this Krishna consciousness movement is the sublime movement for the welfare of the whole human society. That’s a fact. Anyone may come. We are prepared to discuss this subject matter. Krishna bhūliyā jīva bhoga vāñchā kare. We should not…

Our human life, the ultimate goal of human life is to achieve immortality. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti , This is our…, we have forgotten this. We are simply leading the life of cats and dogs, without any knowledge that we can achieve that perfection of life when there will be no more birth, no more death. We do not understand even that there is possibility of amṛtatvam. But everything is possible. Amṛtatvam. Nobody wants to die. That’s a fact. Nobody wants to become old man, nobody wants to become diseased. This is our natural inclination. Why? Because originally, in our spiritual form, there is no birth, no death, no old age, no disease. So after evolutionary process down from the aquatics, birds, beasts, plants, trees, when you come to this form of human form of body after… Aśītiṁ caturaś caiva lakṣāṁs tād jīva-jātiṣu. This is evolutionary process. We come to the human form of body. Then we should know what is the goal of life. The goal of life is amṛtatvam, to become immortal. That you can become immortal simply by becoming Krishna conscious. Krishna says. It is a fact. We have to simply understand. Janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ. If you try to understand Krishna in truth, tattvataḥ, then, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti, after giving up this body, you don’t accept any more material body. And as soon as you don’t accept any material body means you become immortal. Because by nature we are immortal.

So Krishna advents, Krishna advents to teach us this lesson, that “You are immortal by nature. As spirit soul you are part and parcel of Me. I am as immortal. So you are also immortal. Unnecessarily, you are trying to be happy in this material world.”

mamaivāṁso jīva bhūto jīva-loke sanātanaḥ manaḥ saṣṭanindriyāni prakṛti-sthāni karṣati

Simply struggle for…, unnecessarily. The best thing is that you have enjoyed sense life in so many varieties of life, as cats, as dogs, as demigods, as tree, as plants, as insect. Now, in this human form of life, don’t be captivated by sensuous life. Just try to understand Krishna. That is the verdict of the śāstras. Nāyaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛloke kaṣṭān kāmān arhate viḍ-bhujāṁ ye . To work very hard like dogs and hog for sense gratification is not the ambition of human life. Human life is meant for little austerity. Tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena śuddhyet sattvam. We have to purify our existence. That is the mission of human life. Why I shall purify my sattva existence? Brahma-saukhyam tv anantam. Then you get unlimited pleasure, unlimited happiness. That is real pleasure. Ramante yogino ’nante satyānanda-cid-ātmani iti rāma-padenāsau paraṁ brahmābhidhīyate.

So, at least in India, all the great personalities, saintly persons, sages and ācāryas, they have cultivated this spiritual knowledge so nicely and fully, and we are not taking advantage of it. It is not that those śāstras and directions are meant for the Indians or for the Hindus or for brāhmaṇas. No. It is meant for everyone. Because Krishna claims

sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya sambhavanti mūrtayaḥ yaḥ tāsāṁ mahad brahma yonir ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā

Krishna claims that “I am everyone’s father.” Therefore, He is very much anxious to make us peaceful, happy. Just like the father wants to see his son is well situated and happy; similarly, Krishna also wants to see every one of us happy and well-situated. Therefore He comes sometimes. Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati This is the purpose of Krishna’s advent. So those who are servants of Krishna, devotees of Krishna, they should take the mission of Krishna. They should take up the mission of Krishna. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s version.

āmāra ajñāya guru hañā tāra ei deśa yare dekha, tare kaha, ‘Krishna’-upadeśa

Krishna-upadeśa. Just try to preach what Krishna has said in the Bhagavad-gītā. That is the duty of every Indian. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says.

bhārata-bhūmite manuṣya janma haila yāra janma sārthaka kari para-upakāra.

So Indians, Indians are meant for para-upakāra. Indians are not meant for exploiting others. That is not Indians’ business. Indian history is all along for para-upakāra. And formerly, from all parts of the world, used to come to India to learn what is spiritual life. Even Jesus Christ went there. And from China and from other countries. That is history. And we are forgetting our own asset. How much we are callous. Such a great movement, Krishna consciousness, is going on all over the world, but our Indians are callous, our government is callous. They do not take. That is our misfortune. But it is the Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission. He says any Indian, bhārata bhūmite manuṣya janma, if he’s human being, he must make his life perfect by taking advantage of this Vedic literature and distribute the knowledge all over the world. That is para-upakāra. So India can do. They are actually appreciating. These Europeans, American young men, they are appreciating that how great… I get daily dozens of letter, how they are benefited by this movement. Actually, that is the fact. It is giving the life for the dead man. So I shall specially request the Indians, especially His Excellency, kindly cooperate with this movement, and try to make successful your life and others’ life. That is the mission of Krishna, advent of Krishna.

Thank you very much. (end)

Advent of Lord Krishna

Complexity: 
Medium

Sri Krishna and the parrot

Harinama dasi reads The advent of Krishna from the Krishna Book—a summary of the Tenth Canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam which describes the activities of Krishna Himself.

Duration: 25 min.

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Harinam Cintamani dasi narrates several of Lord Krishna's pastimes.

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Janmashtami, Krishna’s “birthday”?

Complexity: 
Medium

For convenience and to suggest a celebration, we sometimes say that Janmastami is Krishna’s birthday, since anyone we know of on Earth, either past or present, is apparently “born” into this world. However, this is not an accurate description for Krishna (who we understand as the original feature of God), or for any of God’s other incarnations.

Why?

There is no “birth” or “death” for God, since by definition He is primeval, always existing, the source of everything, who has no material form with a particular date of creation. In fact even the individual soul—ourselves—are spoken of as unborn (aja), since spiritually, eternally, we are all part of God. According to the Bhagavad-gita—Krishna’s song or sermon—God is understood to “appear” at various times to serve His purposes. These purposes are generally understood to be reestablishing religious principles, to uplift and inspire the faithful, and to vanquish the miscreants who are causing major world problems. He is compared to the sun, which appears to be “born” at sunrise, and “die” at sunset, but actually always exists beyond our view.

The principal exponents of the “science” of Krishna are His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and his followers. His title indicates that to understand God, who is infinite, we have to have the grace of God. That grace comes in a powerful way from a person who is dear to God, or from a pure “devotee” (bhakta) of God. By the grace of the Supreme Lord one finds a teacher of Truth, and by the grace of that teacher or guru, one obtains the shelter of God, or Krishna.

In the Gita, Arjuna (the main inquirer) is selected to be the recipient of Krishna’s confidential instruction, because he is devoted to God, and not envious of his greatness. The Vedas (meaning knowledge), although appearing to be from the East, or of “Indian” origin, are actually for everyone who is open to hear them. They are also called “revealed” knowledge, descending into the pure hearts of God’s faithful, or pure devotees. Though the Vedas are certainly quite intellectual, they are not a product of the intellect or senses. While meant to convince our intellect of the truths and greatness of God, these literatures also point out the limitations of reason for understanding the Supreme Spirit or that which is inconceivable to our experience.

Thus the Vedas are revealed to the pure devotees, and today we can hear about Krishna from those who are dear to him, and love him. What we hear, we will gradually realize by becoming purified through spiritual practice, and ultimately through obtaining the grace of Krishna, and his pure devotees. By getting to know Krishna, we will gradually love him, and when we fully love him, we will know him in our heart of hearts, as our dear most friend and well wisher. Spiritual love is the way to the heart of Divinity, and Krishna is the heart of Divinity.

Prabhupada refers to Krishna, as “the Supreme Personality of Godhead”. This epithet is an elaboration from a primary verse in the important scripture, Shrimad Bhagavatam, or the Bhagavat Purana. After describing many principle incarnations of God, it is indicated that such incarnations are unlimited, like the waves of the ocean. Though unlimited, the incarnations have a source of emanation, and that source is Krishna. Krishna then is seen as the original, supreme personality of the unlimited personalities of Godhead. He is the original candle that lights all the others.

When we speak of understanding Krishna, we have to mention the appearance of Chaitanya “Mahaprabhu” (greatest master), who is Krishna’s most recent incarnation, appearing 500 years ago in West Bengal. Lord Chaitanya is a confidential incarnation, a dual incarnation of both Krishna, and his greatest devotee, Shri Radha. Lord Krishna and Lord Chaitanya are both considered the source of all incarnations, though Lord Chaitanya is called the most merciful manifestation of Krishna. That is because he is giving a method to easily know and love Krishna (easy compared to other Vedic methods like yoga, sacrifice, or knowledge, etc.) through chanting Krishna’s names, hearing and speaking about his glorious adventures, and engaging in his service. Shri Chaitanya appeared as a devotee of Krishna or practioner of Bhakti, who demonstrated how to live a life of devotion by his example and followers.

The main disciples of Shri Chaitanya have described that God is like a multi-faceted jewel, which can be seen from many angles of vision. There is one spiritual system sustaining the universe and all of life, and the various religions present different views of the same subject matter. By studying the world’s religions, we see that God is generally viewed in relationship to the human beings of the world, with such names as the “creator”, “maintainer”, or “destroyer”, etc.

Krishna and his many other names, like Govinda, Gopal, Yashoda-nandana etc., refer to God on his own intimate terms, with his principles lovers in his rural village home called, “Vrindavana”. Krishna refers to the most confidential aspect of God when he wants to be himself and relax with his most closest friends and lovers. In Krishna’s home or abode, everyone and everything loves Krishna more than themselves or each other. He is their very life and soul.

Krishna is like a judge who is formally addressed on the bench as “your honor”, though seen at home as father to his children, and lover to the wife. Thus, Krishna is God at home without his crown or without the worship of awe and reverence. Krishna is God in love! He is human-like, approachable, accessible, and very kind, merciful and loving—in a sense appearing ordinary even, with no majesty or effulgence. Though with no overt aspects of the all-powerful God, Krishna is “all attractive” or irresistible to his most dear. One can’t take their eyes from him. Seeing him is always ever-fresh, each moment a new festival for the senses!

Of course his so-called “ordinary” appearance is in one sense deceiving, since he expands himself into Vishnu, or the Lord of the Universe, to take care of the manifestation and maintenance of the material world. Yet his intimate devotees or lovers do not care to see him as God, but as one of them, a cowherd person from their simple village of Vrindavana. Seeing God with awe and reverence prevents intimacy of loving exchanges, so Krishna being the connoisseur of love, prefers to live without it, and he has a special world where it is absent.

The other Vedic Deities all have a purpose within the world, but Krishna’s only purpose even when he comes to the material world, is to enjoy loving relationships. He is seen playing the flute, dancing with the cowherd boys and girls, wandering in the beauty of the forest, and tending cows. He has other expansions even to speak Bhagavad-gita or to live as a prince as he did in Dvaraka.

This feature of God, as Krishna, is charming to his faithful devotees, but sometimes bewildering to scholars or those from other religions. When the British ruled India, they studied the Vedas, with the idea of finding fault and debunking what they saw as heathenism. Thinking Krishna at best a great man of the world, they were shocked at his being a thief in youth, or a person who sported with others wives, or eventually married 16, 108 of his own. A huge theology exists to explain how everything Krishna does is for the good of all, and beyond worldly concepts of good and bad. Not knowing this science, the British considered the activities of Krishna a dangerous myth, which clouded peoples’ intelligence, so they were determined to give the “natives” the real truth of Christianity. Beginners in religion, think their path is the only way, and find enemies to rally against to unite their followers. The beginning motivation to serve God is fear, then personal gain, duty, and finally out of love. Love is the answer.

This brings us back to our original point of how to understand Krishna. Krishna reserves the right to not be manifest to everyone. He reciprocates with our level of interest in him, and our purity of purpose in our spiritual search. In addition no one can really take to Bhakti without the blessings of a devotee. Krishna says in the Adi Purana that, "My dear Partha, one who claims to be My devotee is not so. Only a person who claims to be the devotee of My devotee is actually My devotee." So we can begin to understand who Krishna is by hearing from his devotees. Krishna consciousness or Bhakti-yoga is the science of understanding Krishna, and developing our dormant love for him.

Everyone is ultimately a lover of God, but that love is transformed in the material realm into lust for the flesh which often passes as love. The most selfless love of the world gives us a glimpse of what real love is—for example the mother’s unconditional love for her infant. Although there are an infinite number of forms of God, and different religions and spiritual paths that reveal them, the Bhakti scriptures and Krishna.com are promoting the Krishna conception of God as the most attractive and intimate aspect of Divinity. Although this is arguably our subjective opinion, we believe it is a reasonable perspective which is substantiated in the Vedas. Some may disagree, but spirituality is a kind bias through love and affection. So by affection we feel that “objectively” Krishna is the most intimate and attractive form of God. Every path has its’ own reasoning, and those who follow it are convinced of it. However, love of Krishna has its’ own reasoning!

What is the best spiritual path, religion, or type of relationship with God? It is the one which is best for you, the one in which you best develop your love God, and for everyone and everything. For the Bhakti-yogis, God is a title, Krishna his most intimate name. From our study, realization and affection we are promoting Krishna. The “proof” of any path in is one’s experience.

For you, if it is proof in the reality of Krishna that you desire, then that remains to be uncovered or revealed through your thoughtful study of Vedic literature, associating with advanced devotees, and your sincere desire for union with God. God will reciprocate with you according to your desire to know and love him. Although Janmastami is the anniversary of Krishna’s appearance in the world, it can also represent a path unfolding in your life, or his appearance in your heart.

Janmashtami Audio

Complexity: 
Medium

Prabhupada on Janmashtami

Recorded lectures with full transcriptions of Srila Prabhupada speaking on Janmashtami, Krishna's appearance anniversary, in:

Reading from his book Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead

  • The Advent of Lord Krishna:
  • The Birth of Lord Krishna:

Read along on Vedabase.com

"Now He Has Appeared in this Beautiful, Dark Bluish Form"

Excerpts from a three-and-a-half hour talk on the history of Krishna’s appearance, given in the actual place where Krishna appeared on Earth, Vrindavan, India by Radhanath Swami.


Narrated Pastimes

Harinam Cintamani dasi narrates several of Krishna's pastimes.

Amala Bhakta dasa narrates the birth of Krishna.

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