[The following is a translation of Srila Gurudeva’s conversation with the devotees in Hindi.]
Srila Gurudeva: In many cities of England and Holland, and here in Houston also, I spoke on tattva. You should know the answers to questions like, “Who am I? Who is Krsna? What is maya? From where have we descended? Where will we go? And what is our duty, especially of those who are going to die in a moment? What is also the duty of those who are going to die after two days, three days, ten years, hundred years, or a thousand years? Regardless of how many years they spend in this material world, they are destined to die. One who has taken birth must die. Just because Bhagavan is not seen or perceived by the material senses, one doubts His existence. But it is the indisputable truth that everyone must die. There is one more thing that is true along with death. There is so much anguish in this world.
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All the teachings of the epics like the Veda, Upanisads, and Puranas is one – engage in the bhajan of Krsna. Even if you have left all your duties and have failed to collect much money, wealth, reputation, name and fame; there is no harm in that. Even if you are forced to beg and despite begging receive nothing; even then, there is nothing to be concerned about.
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If you achieve pure love for Krsnacandra, then your life is successful. Everything is in vain despite having performed all duties, except engaging in bhajan. Everything becomes like “Guda-gobara.”
So, while you are still in this human body, at once chant Krsna’s name. Even if you become the Prime Minister, happiness will not be obtained. Therefore, don’t expect any happiness from this material world. You will have to leave everything behind in this world. Hence, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said:
nri-deham adyam su-labham su-durlabham
plavam su-kalpam guru-karnadharam
puman bhavabdhim na taret sa atma-ha
Krsna has given you this human form of life. You have also obtained a bona fide guru; a realized soul. By Krsna’s grace, you have also obtained sadhu-sanga. In sadhu-sanga, you are always taught, “Engage yourself in the bhajan of Krsna. There is no one more merciful than Krsna.” Putana wanted to kill Krsna, but He gave her a position of a mother in Goloka. Who can be so merciful? Brahma-jnanis engage in austerities for millions of years, while always chanting, “Aham-brahmasmi.” Achieving perfection in their knowledge, they attain siddhi. Yet, Putana achieved a position much higher than theirs. Therefore, you should do the bhajan of Krsna. And if you don’t do so, then consider yourself to be an atma-ghati – a killer of the soul. I will speak one pastime of Srimad-Bhagavatam that relates to what I am saying.
Once, while herding the cows, Krsna reached the forest of Bhandirvan along with all His sakhas. They joyously played on their flutes, and also sang and danced with the cows. Bhandirvan is near to Vrndavana, although it is on the opposite side. He let the cows drink the water of the Yamuna, and they took rest under the shade of a large tree. While they chewed on their cud, they happily rested under the shade of the Bhandirvat-tree. The cows at once stood up and ran towards a field that had very soft and green grass. At that time, Krsna was taking butter, roti, and all other preparations with His sakhas. His mother had sent many preparations, which were delicately wrapped in leaves. The sakhas sat around Krsna while forming lakhs of circles around Him. Krsna sat in the middle, while every cowherd boy thought that Krsna was only sitting with Him. Even the boy who was sitting at a great distance from Krsna thought, “Krsna is sitting right beside me.” While laughing and joking, every sakha joyously fed Krsna with so much love. Every cowherd boy felt this way. This is the causeless mercy of Krsna and a manifestation of His inconceivable potency.
As Krsna was being fed by the cowherd boys, the cows went on their way. Previously, the cows would never wander away from Krsna. But on seeing the fresh, green grass everywhere, the cows went to graze on them. But a blazing fire consumed a piece of land that was extremely dry. The cows entered an area, which had many sharp canes. They entered inside but were unable to find a way out. The sakhas became anxious and thought, “Where have the cows gone?” They looked for the cows here and there, but they could not find them. The Gopalas stopped eating and started looking everywhere. They didn’t ask Krsna or Baladeva Prabhu about the whereabouts of their cows. They went behind a trail of chewed grass, and hoof prints, and eventually reached the area of canes where the cows were trapped. In the meantime, Kamsa’s demons saw this and thought, “Oh this is very good.” They then set fire to the forest. The wind blew the blazing forest fire in all the directions and in a few minutes, it seemed that the entire forest was being reduced to ashes. The sakhas and cows were surrounded by this fire on all four sides. All were about to die.
They called out, “Ha Krsna! Save us! Hey Baladevaji save us!”
When they called out in this way, Krsna and Baladeva appeared there at once. Krsna told them, “Don’t be afraid. Close your eyes. I have come; there is no need to fear.”
Why did Krsna tell them to close their eyes? There is a reason behind these words. Once, Krsna ate clay and Yasoda found out. With a stick in hand, she asked Krsna, “Did You eat any clay?”
“No mother, I have not eaten any clay.”
“You are lying.”
“I did not eat any clay.”
“Then why are Your friends saying otherwise?”
“They are liars. They just fought with Me. When I was eating the butter you sent Me, they tried to snatch it away. Hence, they fought with Me and are speaking lies.”
“Why is Your brother, Baladeva, also saying that You ate clay?”
“Baladeva also asked Me for butter and I refused. So, He joined their party.”
Therefore, at the time of the forest fire, Krsna thought, “Yasoda chastised Me for eating clay. If I swallow fire in front of the sakhas, then what will Maiya think? She will twist My ears and chastise Me. So, I should not show the sakhas that I am going to swallow the fire.”
What did Krsna do? He told the sakhas, “Close your eyes.” He didn’t want the sakhas to see. If they would see that Krsna swallowed the fire, then they would become extremely scared.
They will think, “Oh Krsna is going to die. He has taken fire in His mouth.”
So, Krsna told them, “You should close your eyes and open them after a minute.”
Then, they all did so. When the sakhas opened their eyes, they found themselves sitting under the shade of the Bhandira tree, the banyan tree. They saw the cows were eating their cud peacefully and with much delight. The sakhas also had food in their hands. They thought, “Did we just see a dream? Was a magical trick performed on us? What happened to us?”
Try to understand one secret behind this pastime. Since millions of lives we have forgotten Krsna and have fruitlessly stayed in this material world. “Go,” means cows, Vedas, the senses, and knowledge. The word – “Go,” has many meanings. A Sanskrit word doesn’t have only one meaning. The word has many meanings; the word can have even fifteen to twenty meanings according to the specific context. So, in this regard, Go means the cows and senses. Our senses are compared to the cows. Krsna is there in our heart as a friend. This has been told in the Vedas. If someone wants to perform something bad, then a voice from the inside will say, “Don’t do this.” This voice will warn you every time you want to do something bad. Who says this? That Friend of ours says this. He is the witness to our happiness and misery. He observes all our actions. But, He doesn’t taste the fruits of our actions; He is only the witness. But we think, “I am the taster of the fruits of my actions.” We do karma, to taste the fruits. Therefore, we suffer.
So, the witness to the jivatma’s actions is Krsna. Our senses are like the cows. Without Krsna’s permission, the cows went to eat the grass. Similarly, we search for happiness like the cows searching for green grass. You study and become qualified. You search for a job or start a business. You earn much money, but think, “O brother, I don’t have a wife. I want to marry a beautiful lady. I will become happy by this.” But after getting married, your wife is unable to beget a son. You are in a great dilemma now. After great difficulty a son is born. But the son is a great trouble-maker. He doesn’t listen to anyone. He leaves you after getting married. He then lives comfortably with his wife and children. While your wife and yourself suffer greatly in his separation. In the same way, we intently search for happiness and make much effort. But at the end of our lives, we realize, “I didn’t attain any happiness.” Ask your father, grand-father, or your great grand-father if they were ever happy in their lives.
They will reply, “I have never been happy in my life.”
But they will tell you, “Oh but you should get married.”
Your mother will say, “I want to see your son and die.”
But that same son leaves his father and lives comfortably with his wife and children. But what becomes of him? He suffers the same fate as his father when he becomes old. O brother, you must realize that there is no happiness in samsara. Even if there is happiness, it is a mere semblance. Our senses are never satisfied. There are many rich people in this world, but their stomach is never filled by their wealth. They want more. They have many factories. Some do business illegally and get caught. They then go to jail. Where is happiness? Even though one has much money, if he still hankers for more — then he is very poor although he is externally rich. He is the poorest person.
Then, who is a rich person? One who is rich will be satisfied by what he has. He will not have any cares. Only a Bhagavad-bhakta will think like this; only he will be satisfied. No other person will be satisfied by what he has. Therefore, understand this. Live happily. Be content with what Prabhu has given. Never be anguished in your life. And, always engage yourself in the bhajana of Bhagavan. So, these cows are likened to the senses.
Engage in the bhajan of Krsna even if you are unable to. Always be engaged even if your consciousness is disturbed. In happiness or distress, always be Krsna conscious. Never leave this path. Krsna is antaryami, the indwelling witness who knows everything. Just as Krsna saved the cows and cowherd boys who called out to Him, He will also rescue you in dire times. If someone calls out, “Hey Nath,” He will immediately appear. Draupadi’s condition was very serious; she was being disrobed. She had no support. The Pandavas could not help her; Bhisma Pitamaha could not help her and neither could Dronacarya. None could help her.
In great anguish, she cried out, “Now my life is leaving me. I am going to lose my chastity.” As soon as she called out to Krsna, the Lord appeared in less than a moment. She called out to Him knowing that there was no one who could help her. If we take shelter of Krsna like this, then He will surely save us. No one else can save us. But, He will always help and save us. There are innumerable such pastimes explained in the Puranas, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and other scriptures. When abominable Ajamila was being taken away by the Yamadutas, he called out to his son who was named — Narayana. Although he called out to his son, the Lord’s messengers appeared and saved him.
All of you know the life of Valmikiji. He was a dacoit, and a murderer. He had killed so many brahmanas and rsis that their brahmin threads filled many wells. When he met Naradaji, he ran to kill him.
Naradaji raised his hands and said, “Stop.” As soon as Naradaji said this, Valmiki became like a piece of stone. He could not move an inch. He stood motionless.
Naradaji told him, “You cannot kill me. For whom are you committing so many sins? Will your wife and parents take a share of your sins? You are killing many people just so you could feed your family. Isn’t it?”
“Go and ask them if they will take a share of your sinful acts or if you have to suffer the results of all your sins by yourself.”
Valmiki replied, “Oh you are a very intelligent person. You want to fly away from here that is why you are speaking in this way. I will not go. But I will only go and ask them if I can bind you to a tree.”
“Okay you can bind me to a tree.”
After binding Naradaji to a tree, Valmiki went home and asked his father, “O dear father, I have committed much sin. I have killed lakhs of people and stolen their wealth. Don’t you have a share in my sin?”
“O my son, I supported and nourished you during your childhood. At that time, I didn’t let any of my sins touch you. Therefore, although you are bound to feed me now – I will not accept any of your sins. I will eat what you have collected immorally, but I will not accept any of your sins. Now I don’t want to take any share of your bad actions.” His father’s reply was completely clear.
Valmiki then went and asked his mother, “Maiya, I am committing much sin and feeding you. Will I have to suffer for my sin entirely or will you take a share?”
“O my son, I fed you while you were in my womb. I will not accept any of your sins. To take care of me, you are committing much sin. But why should I suffer?”
The wife gave the same answer that she will not accept any of her husband’s sins. Valmiki returned to Narada Gosvami and asked, “What should I do? No one wants to accept a share of my sins.”
“Okay. Close your eyes,” Naradaji said.
He then sprinkled some water from his water pot on Valmiki’s eyes. Valmiki saw that all the people he had killed stood in line with weapons in hand to exact their revenge on him. It seemed that up until all the people took their turns killing him, millions of lives would pass; the line was so long. Valmiki became terrified by this sight. Naradaji then again sprinkled water on him and bought him back to his senses.
Falling at Narada Gosvami’s feet, Valmiki pleaded and said, “Please save me.”
“Okay. Then break your bow and arrow and throw away all your weapons. Chant, ‘Rama, Rama.’”
Although Valmiki tried chanting Rama Rama, he was not able to. He was such a great sinner. All of you think it is very easy to chant Bhagavan’s name while dying; but it is not so. A sinner cannot chant; it is very difficult for that person to chant Bhagavan’s name. Valmiki tried to chant so much, but he just could not utter the holy name. Despite trying lakhs of times, he was still unable to chant.
Narada told him, “Since you are accustomed to killing animals, then chant, ‘Mara, Mara.’”
He chanted, “Mara, Mara,” which was the opposite form of the holy name, “Rama.”
Chanting the opposite form of the holy name, Valmiki eventually chanted the holy name. “Chant the holy name while sitting here. Don’t stop chanting. Don’t take anything; even water. I bless you that you will not feel thirsty or hungry. I will empower you,” Narada said.
Sitting down on where he was told, Valmiki chanted, “Mara, Mara.”
Till when did he chant? He chanted up and until an ant hill was formed around his body. The ants ate his flesh and drank his blood. His body became one with the mud. Only his bones remained. But even his bones reverberated with the sound, “Rama, Rama.” Brahmaji came and sprinkled some water from his kamandalu on Valmiki, who was chanting for fifty thousand years. Valmiki became a very young person. Thus, I have described how Valmiki eventually became a great devotee of Lord Rama.
Lord Brahma told Valmiki, “I will empower you to write the Ramayana. Even before Rama’s pastimes begin, you should write Rama’s pastimes beginning from His birth.”
Thus, Valmiki became known as a great devotee in this world and although previously he was a dacoit, he became a Rsi. This is the glory of Rama-nama. Therefore, we should always have faith in Bhagavan’s name.
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
—Brhad Naradiya Purana
Caitanya Mahaprabhuji is Krsna Himself. Nityananda Prabhuji also taught us the importance of chanting the holy name. The glories of the holy name have been stated in the Vedas since time immemorial. Naradaji preaches the glories of the holy name everywhere. Even if you are not initiated – no harm; yet, you will have to utter the holy name. The holy name will eventually arrange a guru for you and make you eligible for Krsna’s darsana. The holy name will do everything for you. Therefore, chant Krsna’s name. Except for chanting Krsna’s names, there is no other way – especially in Kali Yuga. You cannot meditate in Kali Yuga. Dhyana or meditation was possible in Satya Yuga, why? The air was pure, the food was pure. Nowadays, the food we get is artificial. Even milk is artificial. The cows are fed beef and resultantly, they become mad. Many problems will be created. Unlike earlier times, there will be no taste in rice, dal, wheat, and other foodstuffs. Everything is becoming artificial so how will the mind be pure? Therefore, there are lakhs of problems. If anyone has four daughters in India, then he will have to work so hard to get them married. He will lose sleep. There are only problems and problems. How then can we engage ourselves in bhajan? So, in Kali Yuga, dhyana or meditation is not possible. Tapa or austerities is also not possible. Can you sit upright for five minutes? Although they are youngsters, they sit in a crouched manner. Their backs cannot be straightened.
Although I am eighty years old, I sit upright. Yet, these youngsters sit like how old people do. They cannot sit upright, so how will they do dhyana or tapasya? In Kali Yuga, this is not possible. Can you do puja in Kali Yuga? This is also not possible. People who are against dharma will come and throw the deities into the Ocean, just as Ghazni did. This is also not possible. Demons have more advantages in Kali Yuga. Previously, there was one Hiranyakasipu. But now there are thousands. Hence, none of this is possible in this age. Therefore, chant Krsna’s name. No one can steal this wealth away from you. You can chant His names while walking, sitting, sleeping, and even without any money. You can chant harinama during the day, night, or any part of the day. If you are sick and are passing stool – no harm. You can still chant harinama.
I will tell a small story that explains the glories of the holy name. In previous times, oil was extracted in an unconventional manner. There were no machines used then. A rope would be tied to an ox and it would pull the grinder while the oil bearing seeds would be compressed. Then, oil would be gotten. Naradaji met the person who was controlling the bull and asked, “O brother, why don’t you chant Rama-naam or Krsna-naam?”
“Oh I don’t have any time at all.”
“If you don’t have time, then what do you do while passing stool? Do you at least pass stool?”
“Then chant while you pass stool.”
“Okay. I agree to what you say.”
In India, people would go to the forest to pass stool. But now bathrooms have been constructed. Bathrooms and other facilities were not available even during my time. When the oil merchant sat to pass stool in the forest, then while passing, he said, “Rama Rama.” Hanumanji’s vow is that he will immediately go to any place where Rama-naam is chanted. He will assume lakhs of forms and go to all the places where lakhs of people are chanting Rama’s name. This is Hanuman’s vow. Without listening to Rama’s name, he cannot be at peace. So, Hanuman reached the place where this person was passing stool and saying, “Rama Rama.”
Looking at this person, Hanuman said, “Oh this oil merchant has no sense. He is chanting Bhagavan’s name in such an impure state. He is passing stool. Shouldn’t he take a bath and then chant? Firstly, he should become pure.”
But this person did not take a bath and he continued to chant while passing. Hanuman then kicked the person with great power. But nothing happened to this person despite being kicked by mighty Hanuman. The oil merchant continued chanting, “Rama, Rama.”
Hanuman thought, “When I kicked Ravana, he fell to the ground. The same happened to Kumbakarna when I kicked him. But why isn’t this person disturbed on being kicked? Why hasn’t he also fallen to the ground? There is no one in this world who will not fall to the ground on being kicked by me. Why didn’t he fall to the ground?” Hanuman then left that place.
That person stopped chanting, got up and left. Hanuman reached Ramaji’s palace during the night when He was taking rest. When he went there, he heard Ramacandraji groaning.
Hanuman asked Lord Ramacandraji, “Prabhu, why are You groaning? What is the difficulty?”
“You have kicked Me. But yet, you ask, ‘Why am I feeling pain?’”
“When did I kick You? Why will I ever kick You, Prabhu?”
“You kicked me so powerfully. I think My back is broken.”
“When did I ever kick You?”
“That person who was churning oil was chanting My name. My name and I are One. There is no difference between the name and Myself. I Myself reach that place where My name is being chanted.” The soul is always pure. What is stool? It is what a person has eaten. The food is digested and the unusable foodstuff is released from the body with a foul odor. He who chants Bhagavan’s names is always pure. Understand this — one who chants the holy name is never impure. But, a person bathes four times a day, yet doesn’t chant the holy name; then is he pure? He is impure.
Hanuman told Rama, “I hold my ears Prabhu and promise that even if a person chants Your name in an impure state, I will not say anything.”
Therefore, while walking, sleeping, sitting, standing; at all times chant Bhagavan’s names. He who chants this way will have Bhagavan’s darsana. Although you are presently uninterested in chanting, no harm. But you must continue chanting. After chanting for two or four days, you will realize that you have developed a taste for chanting. There is inconceivable power in the holy name. Hence, the holy name has wonderful glories.
Now my bell has rung, otherwise I would have spoken more.
Gaura Premanande! Haribol!
Madhavi should sing the Maha-mantra.
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