A lecture given in San Francisco, March 26, 1968
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness
To know Krsna we must learn the secret that will inspire Him to reveal Himself.
sri-bhagavan uvaca mayy asakta-manah partha yogam yunjam mad-asrayah asamsayam samagram mam yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Now hear, O son of Prtha, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt. (Bhagavad-gita 7.1)
KRSNA HIMSELF IS SPEAKING about yoga. One of Krsna's names is Yogesvara, "the supreme master of yoga systems." Yoga means "the link between the soul and the Supersoul," and isvara means "master." The ultimate object of yoga is Krsna. For that reason, also Krsna's name is Yogesvara.
At the conclusion of the Bhagavad-gita Sanjaya says,
yatra yogesvarah krsno yatra partho dhanur-dharah... "Wherever there is Yogesvara, Krsna, and wherever there is Arjuna, the greatest fighter, there will undoubtedly be victory."
The Bhagavad-gita was spoken as a narration by Sanjaya to Maharaja Dhrtarastra. Sanjaya was Dhrtarastra's secretary. By spiritual vision Sanjaya could see what was going on in the battlefield - just as one sees something on television - and he narrated to Maharaja Dhrtarastra, who was blind. Sanjaya's conclusion was that the side that has Yogesvara, Krsna, must be victorious.
ATTACHMENT TO KRSNA
There are different systems of yoga, and there are many kinds of yogis. Yoga refers to the system, and the yogi is the person who practices the system. The object of yoga, the ultimate goal of yoga, is to understand Krsna. Therefore Krsna consciousness means to practice the topmost yoga system. That yoga system is being described by Krsna Himself. Why? Because He is teaching His most intimate friend, Arjuna.
In the beginning of His explanation, the Lord says, "This sysrem of yoga can be practiced by persons who have developed attachment for Me." The topmost yoga system cannot be practiced by an ordinary man who has no attachment for Krsna. A yogi who has no attachment for Krsna is practicing a different yoga system.
There are five kinds of direct attachment, or asakti. And there are seven kinds of indirect attachment. Direct attachment is called bhakti, but indirect attachment is not bhakti. If you are attached to Krsna by the direct method that is called devotional service. And if you are attached to Krsna by the indirect method, that is not devotional service, but that is also attachment. For example, Kamsa had indirect attachment. Kamsa was the maternal uncle of Krsna, and it was foretold that Kamsa would be killed by his sister's eighth son. So Kamsa became very anxious, and he wanted to kill his younger sister, Devaki, Krsna's mother. She was saved by her husband, Krsna's father, Vasudeva, by some compromises. That's a great, long story. The last compromise was that Vasudeva told his brother-in-law Kamsa, "You are afraid of the son of your sister. Your sister is not going to kill you. So I request, don't kill your sister. Save her. And I promise that all the sons born of your sister will be brought to you, and if you like you can kill them."
Vasudeva was a king. He was thinking, "For the time being, this poor girl may be saved, and it may be that time will change the mind of Kamsa. When her sons will be born, he might change his mind."
But Kamsa was such a great demon that he killed all the sons of Devaki. So when Krsna was in the womb of His mother, Kamsa was always thinking of Krsna. Now, you see, Kamsa was also Krsna conscious, but he was Krsna conscious not directly - not for love's sake - but as an enemy. That is not devotional service. When one is Krsna conscious and Krsna's friend, Krsna's parent, Krsna's servant, Krsna's lover - that is devotion.
RELATIONSHIPS WITH GOD
Here it is clearly said, mad-asrayah: "one who wants Krsna." You may want Krsna as your lover. You may want Krsna as your son. You may want Krsna as your friend. You may want Krsna as your master. You may want Krsna as the supreme sublime. These five kinds of direct relationship with Krsna are called devotion, bhakti. Devotees in these relationships are without any desire for material profit.
The concept of accepting God as one's son is superior to the concept of accepting God as one's father. In the relationship between father and son, the son wants to get something from the father. But the father always wants to give something to the son. Therefore the relationship which one treats God, or Krsna, as son is better that the relationship in which one treates Krsna as father. If I accept God as my father, then I am the son and my only business will be to ask my necessities from the father. But if I become the father of Krsna, then from the beginning of Krsna's childhood my business will be to serve Him. The parents serve the child from his birth.
Therefore the ideal of Krsna's parents and foster parents - Vasudeva and Devaki, and Nanda and Yasoda - is very sublime. Yasoda is thinking, "If I do not feed Krsna sumptously, He will die." She forgets that Krsna, the Supreme Lord, is sustaining the three worlds. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman. Only one God is supplying the necessities of all other living entities. That very same Personality of Godhead has become the son of Yasoda, and she is thinking, "If I do not feed Krsna nicely, He will die." That is love. She has forgotten that the person who has appeared before her as her little child is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
So the relationship of asakti - attachment - is very sublime. It requires time to understand. But there is a position in which instead of asking, "O God, give us out daily bread," you think that God will die if you do not supply Him bread. That is the ecstasy of extreme love, and there is such a relationship between Krsna and His devotees.
Radharani, the greatest devotee, the greatest lover of Krsna, loves Him as a paramour. Nanda and Yasoda love Him as parents. Sudama and Arjuna love Him as friends. Similarly, there are millions and trillions of different kinds of devotees of Krsna. They are directly playing withe Krsna.
The yoga system described herein - bhakti-goya - can be practiced by persons who have developed such attachment for Krsna. Others cannot practice it. And if anyone is able to develop such attachment, he will understand God, or Krsna, perfectly.
HOW MUCH DO WE KNOW?
To understand God by our theories or speculation is very difficult. We may say that we have understood God, but it is not possible to understand God as He is, because we have limited senses and He is unlimited. How can you capture the Unlimited with your limited senses?
The sastras, scriptures, explain how we can understand God: atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih. Our senses are always imperfect. We cannot even understand the material world perfectly. We see so many planets and stars in the sky at night, but we do not know what they are. We do not even know about the moon - one planet. We do not even know about all the varieties on earth.
Our knowledge is always imperfect. That we must admit. To be proud that we have acquired all sorts of Knowledge and have advanced in science is foolishness. When it is not possible to understand even the material things we see daily, what can we understand of the spiritual? And Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the supreme spiritual form. So it is not possible for us to understand Krsna by our limited senses.
Then why we are bothering so much for Krsna consciousness if it is not possible? The sastra explains:
atah sri-krsna namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva spuraty adhah
Your imperfect senses cannot realize Krsna as He is. But if you become submissive, if you develop the spirit of service of Krsna, either as servant or as friend or as parent or as lover, if you begin to give service to the Supreme Lord, then He will reveal Himself.
SERVING KRSNA WITH LOVE
The beginning of service is chanting. Therefore it is said, jihvadau. Jihva means "tongue." Your service begins by the tongue. How? By the tongue you can chant Hare Krsna, and by the tongue you can taste Krsna's prasadam.
So the beginning process is very nice. You chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, and whatever little prasadam is offered to you by Krsna by His kindness, you accept it. If you become submissive, and if you begin the service of chanting and eating prasadam, then svayam eva sphuraty adha - simply by these two practices, Krsna will reveal Himself before you: "I am like this."
Krsna is revealing Himself to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita because Arjuna is a devotee, he is submissive, and he is Krsna's friend.
The Bhagavad-gita was spoken to Arjuna, not to any Vedantist or speculator. In the beginning of the fourth chapter, Krsna says, "I'll speak to you the old system of yoga, bhakti-yoga." He says, "to you." Why? Arjuna was not a Vedantist or a great philosopher or a brahnama. He was a ksatriya. He was a fighter and a householder, not even a sannyasi.
One's position is not the qualification to understand Krsna. I have become a sannyasi, a mendicant, but this is not the qualification for understanding Krsna. Even in your white dress, as a householder, you can understand better than me.
Then what is the qualification? Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau: One who has developed the service spirit with love and devotion can understand Krsna. No one else. A child can understand Krsna if he has full faith in Him.
Faith and devotion make one qualified to understand God. To have those qualifications is called mad-asrayah. We are preaching Krsna consciousness. We are not wasting your time or our time. We have full faith - theoretically and practically - that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
NO ONE IS GREATER THAN KRSNA
If you ask, "How do you know that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead?" We can answer that we know theoretically from the revealed scriptures - the Vedic literature - and from great authorities in the past and in the present. For example, Lord Caitanya is a recognized great authority. Oh, He is mad after Krsna. Then after Him, His six disciples, the six Gosvamis - especially Jiva Gosvami - have written volumes of literature on Krsna. Then by disciplic succession we have come to the point of accepting Krsna as God.
And long, long ago, Vyasadeva, also known as Vedavyasa, wrote the Srimad-Bhagavatam about Krsna. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is nothing but a description of Krsna. Vyasadeva is also the author of Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Krsna and noted down by Vyasadeva. And Vyasadeva has put the Bhagavad-gita in the Mahabharata.
Vyasadeva accepts Krsna as the Supreme Personality. In the Bhagavatam he has specifically mentioned, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. He has given descriptions of about twenty-five incarnations of God. In conclusion he writes, ete camsa-kalah pumsah krsnas tu bhagavan svayam: "All the incarnations are part of the partial representation of God, but Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself." Krsna is not part. He is cent percent God. So the evidence of authority establishes theoretically that Krsna is God.
Now, if we believe the scriptures and the authorities, then we'll see that no one can be more powerful than Krsna, more beautiful than Krsna, more famous than Krsna. That seeing is the practical understnading of Krsna as God. Krsna appeared five thousand years ago, but His knowledge, which He gave us in the shape of Bhagavad-gita, is still worshiped. It is worshiped not only by the Hindus or the Indians; it is read all over the world. In your country there are at least fifty editions of Bhagavad-gita, written by dirrerent American thoughtful men. Similarly in England, in Germany, in France - in many countries - you'll find hundreds of editions of Bhagavad-gita.
So who can be more famous or more wise than Krsna? There are many other evidences about Krsna if we believe sastra. Krsna married 16,108 wives, and He provided each one of them with big palaces. Each one of them had ten children, and from those ten children there were many other children.
So these are the evidences from revealed scripture. And in the Brahma-samhita, Krsna is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is a very old book, written by Brahma. In the Brahma-samhita it is said, isvarah paramah krsnah. Isvarah means God. There are many gods - demigods - and there is one Supreme God. The Brahma-samhita says, "Krsna is the Supreme God. He is the God of gods." Sac-cid-ananda-vigraha: "And His body is eternal and full of bliss and knowledge." Anadir adir govindah: He has no begining, but He is the beginning of everyone. And His name is Govinda."
Go means "senses," gomeans "cow," and go means "land." So Krsna is the proprietor of all land, He is the proprietor of all cows, and He is the pleasure for all senses. We are after sense pleasure, but our perfection of sense pleasure can be achieved when we reciprocate our pleasure with Krsna. Therefore His name is Govinda. Govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami: "Govinda is the supreme, original Personality of Godhead."
THE PERFECTION OF LIFE
That same Personality of Godhead is personally speaking about Himself to Arjuna. How can someone simply by speculaton speak something about God more important than what is being spoken by Krsna Himself? No one can speak better than Krsna about God, because God Himself is speaking about Himself. If you speak about yourself, who can speak more than you?
If we have faith, if we believe theoretically and practically that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then by Krsna's speeches in this chapter we can understand God. There is no difficulty. We can understand how He is working, how His energies are acting, how He is manifested, what is the material world, what is the spiritual world, what are the living creatures, what is their relationship with God - so many things in God's creation.
The whole Vedic literature is dealing in three things: understanding our relationship with God, acting in that relationship, and attaining the goal of life - love of God.
The first thing is our relationship with God. Then, when we understand our relationship with God, the second thing is to act in that relationship. For example, as soon as a relationship is established between a man and woman - that one is husband and the other is wife - then reciprocal dealings begin.
So first you must understand your relationship with God. That relationship will be revealed when you are perfectly liberated. Every living creature has a particular relationship with God. We have forgotten that. When that relationship is revealed in the process of devotional activities, Krsna consciousness, you should know that you have attained the perfection of your life.
Krsna consciousness is a great science. It is not sentiment or mental speculation or a bluff. It is scientific, as described in the Bhagavad-gita, in the Vedas, in the Samhitas, and as accepted by authorities like Lord Caitanya, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Narada, Asita, Vyasa - so many authorities.
Krsna consciousness is not a bluff-making or a money-making business. It is reality. If you take to it seriously, your life will be successful.
Thank you very much.