Kṛṣṇa

Astronomical influence on our life.

Astronomical calculations of stellar influences upon a living being are not suppositions, but are factual, as confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Every living being is controlled by the laws of nature at every minute, just as a citizen is controlled by the influence of the state. The state laws are grossly observed, but the laws of material nature, being subtle to our gross understanding, cannot be experienced grossly. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (3.9), every action of life produces another reaction, which is binding upon us, and only those who are acting on behalf of Yajna (Viṣṇu) are not bound by reactions. Our actions are judged by the higher authorities, the agents of the Lord, and thus we are awarded bodies according to our activities. The law of nature is so subtle that every part of our body is influenced by the respective stars, and a living being obtains his working body to fulfill his terms of imprisonment by the manipulation of such astronomical influence. A man’s destiny is therefore ascertained by the birth time constellation of stars, and a factual horoscope is made by a learned astrologer. It is a great science, and misuse of a science does not make it useless.

Maharaja Pariksit or even the Personality of Godhead appears in certain constellations of good stars, and thus the influence is exerted upon the body thus born at an auspicious moment. The most auspicious constellation of stars takes place during the appearance of the Lord in this material world, and it is specifically called jayanti, a word not to be abused for any other purposes. Maharaja Pariksit was not only a great ksatriya emperor, but also a great devotee of the Lord. Thus he cannot take his birth at any inauspicious moment. As a proper place and time is selected to receive a respectable personage, so also to receive such a personality as Maharaja Pariksit, who was especially cared for by the Supreme Lord, a suitable moment is chosen when all good stars assembled together to exert their influence upon the King. Thus he took his birth just to be known as the great hero of Srimad- Bhagavatam. This suitable arrangement of astral influences is never a creation of man’s will, but is the arrangement of the superior management of the agency of the Supreme Lord. Of course, the arrangement is made according to the good or bad deeds of the living being. Herein lies the importance of pious acts performed by the living being. Only by pious acts can one be allowed to get good wealth, good education and beautiful features. The samskaras of the school of sanatana-dharma (man’s eternal engagement) are highly suitable for creating an atmosphere for taking advantage of good stellar influences, and therefore garbhadhana-samskara, or the first seedling purificatory process prescribed for the higher castes, is the beginning of all pious acts to receive a good pious and intelligent class of men in human society. There will be peace and prosperity in the world due to good and sane population only; there is hell and disturbance only because of the unwanted, insane populace addicted to sex indulgence.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, First Canto, Chapter 12 – Text 12

Source of Everything

How the dissolution of the universe takes place?

There are two types of dissolution of the manifested cosmos. At the end of every 4,320,000,000 solar years, when Brahma, the lord of one particular universe, goes to sleep, there is one annihilation. And at the end of Lord Brahma’s life, which takes place at the end of Brahma’s one hundred years of age, in our calculation at the end of 8,640,000,000 x 30 x 12 x 100 solar years, there is complete annihilation of the entire universe, and in both the periods both the material energy called the mahat-tattva and the marginal energy called jiva-tattva merge in the person of the Supreme Lord. The living beings remain asleep within the body of the Lord until there is another creation of the material world, and that is the way of the creation, maintenance and annihilation of the material manifestation. The material creation is effected by the interaction of the three modes of material nature set in action by the Lord, and therefore it is said here that the Lord existed before the modes of material nature were set in motion. In the Sruti-mantra it is said that only Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord, existed before the creation, and there was no Brahma, Siva or other demigods. Viṣṇu means the Maha-Viṣṇu, who is lying on the Causal Ocean. By His breathing only all the universes are generated in seeds and gradually develop into gigantic forms with innumerable planets within each and every universe. The seeds of universes develop into gigantic forms in the way seeds of a banyan tree develop into numberless banyan trees.

This Maha-Viṣṇu is the plenary portion of the Lord Sri Kṛṣṇa, who is mentioned in the Brahma-samhita as follows:
“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the original Personality of Godhead, Govinda, whose plenary portion is the Maha-Viṣṇu. All the Brahmas, the heads of the universes, live only for the period of His exhaling, after the universes are generated from the pores of His transcendental body.” (Brahmasamhita 5.58) Thus Govinda, or Lord Kṛṣṇa, is the cause of Maha-Viṣṇu also. The ladies talking about this Vedic truth must have heard it from authoritative sources. An authoritative source is the only means of knowing about transcendental subject matter definitely. There is no alternative. The merging of the living beings into the body of Maha-Viṣṇu takes place automatically at the end of Brahma’s one hundred years. But that does not mean that the individual living being loses his identity. The identity is there, and as soon as there is another creation by the supreme will of the Lord, all the sleeping, inactive living beings are again let loose to begin their activities in the continuation of past different spheres of life. It is called suptotthita naya, or awakening from sleep and again engaging in one’s respective continuous duty. When a man is asleep at night, he forgets himself, what he is, what his duty is and everything of his waking state. But as soon as he awakens from slumber, he remembers all that he has to do and thus engages himself again in his prescribed activities. The living beings also remain merged in the body of Maha-Viṣṇu during the period of annihilation, but as soon as there is another creation they arise to take up their unfinished work. This is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (8.18-20). The Lord existed before the creative energy was set in action. The Lord is not a product of the material energy. His body is completely spiritual, and there is no difference between His body and Himself. Before creation the Lord remained in His abode, which is absolute and one.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, First Canto, Chapter 10 – Text 21

Source of Everything

Time (Kala) controls everything.

There is control by time all over the space within the universe, as there is control by time all over the planets. All the big gigantic planets, including the sun, are being controlled by the force of air, as the clouds are carried by the force of air. Similarly, the inevitable kala, or time, controls even the action of the air and other elements. Everything, therefore, is controlled by the supreme kala, a forceful representative of the Lord within the material world. Thus Yudhisthira should not be sorry for the inconceivable action of time. Everyone has to bear the actions and reactions of time as long as one is within the conditions of the material world. Yudhisthira should not think that he had committed sins in his previous birth and is suffering the consequence. Even the most pious has to suffer the condition of material nature. But a pious man is faithful to the Lord, for he is guided by the bona fide brahmana and Vaisnava following the religious principles. These three guiding principles should be the aim of life. One should not be disturbed by the tricks of eternal time. Even the great controller of the universe, Brahmaji, is also under the control of that time; therefore, one should not grudge being thus controlled by time despite being a true follower of religious principles.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, First Canto, Chapter 9 – Text 14

daily devotional

A devotee is always concious of his real position.

The situation with a conditioned soul is different, if he is in the mode of goodness, he may be preparing for promotion to the higher planets; if he is in the mode of passion, he will remain here in a society where activity is very prominent, and if he is in the mode of ignorance, he may be degraded to animal life or a lower grade of human life. But for a devotee there is no concern for this life or the next life because in any life he does not desire material elevation. He prays to the Lord, “My dear Lord, it does not matter where I am born, but let me be born, even as an ant, in the house of a devotee.” A pure devotee does not pray to the Lord for liberation from this material bondage. Actually, the pure devotee never thinks that he is fit for liberation. Considering his past life and his mischievous activities, he thinks that he is fit to be sent to the lowest region of hell. If in this life I am trying to become a devotee, this does not mean that in my many past lives I was one hundred percent pious. That is not possible. A devotee, therefore, is always conscious of his real position. Only by his full surrender to the Lord, by the Lord’s grace, are his sufferings mitigated. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, “Surrender unto Me, and I will give you protection from all kinds of sinful reaction.” That is His mercy. But this does not mean that one who has surrendered to the lotus feet of the Lord has committed no misdeeds in his past life. A devotee always prays, “For my misdeeds, may I be born again and again, but my only prayer is that I may not forget Your service.” The devotee has such mental strength, and he prays to the Lord: “May I be born again and again, but let me be born in the home of Your pure devotee so that I may again get a chance to develop my spiritual life.”

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2007 edition), “Teachings of Lord Kapila, The Son of Devahuti”, Page 233 & 234
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2007 edition), “Teachings of Lord Kapila, The Son of Devahuti”, Page 251 & 252

Kṛṣṇa's love

Bhakti with motive.

Actually bhakti should be automatic and spontaneous. There should be no motive in serving Kṛṣṇa, but even if there is a motive, service rendered unto Kṛṣṇa is good. Even if one approaches Kṛṣṇa with some ulterior motive, one is considered pious. For instance, Dhruva Maharaja initially worshiped Kṛṣṇa with a motive, but after attaining perfection in devotional service, his ulterior motive vanished. When he actually saw Kṛṣṇa, he said, “I do not want anything from You. I don’t want any benediction other than Your service.” After hearing about the many transcendental qualities of Kṛṣṇa, if we somehow or other become attracted to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, our lives will be successful. Tasmat kenapy upayena manah krsne nivesayet: “Somehow or other we have to attach our minds to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” (BG 7.1.32) Then Kṛṣṇa will help us and give us intelligence from within.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2007 edition), “Teachings of Lord Kapila, The Son of Devahuti”, Page 181

spiritual life material

How bhakti can reduce our allurement for sense gratification?

We see the Deity of Kṛṣṇa in the temple, we should think that the Deity is Kṛṣṇa. In this way Kṛṣṇa has agreed to be seen by us and even dressed by us. However, if we think of Kṛṣṇa’s virat-rupa, His universal form, what can we do? How can we dress the virat-rupa? His many heads cover the sky, and we cannot even conceive of Him. Kṛṣṇa can become bigger than the biggest and smaller than the smallest. Therefore this verse states: bhaktya puman jata-viraga aindriyat. The more we serve Kṛṣṇa, give Him things to eat and dress Him nicely, the less we become interested in our own bodies. In the material world everyone is very busy dressing himself very nicely in order to be sexually attractive, but if we try to dress Kṛṣṇa nicely, we will forget our own material dress. If we feed Kṛṣṇa nice food, we will forget to satisfy our own tongue by going to this or that restaurant. It is not that a wealth of education is required. One does not even have to understand the language. The only ingredient needed is bhakti, love. If one becomes a pure bhakta, he will forget all material sense enjoyment. Being a bhakta doesn’t simply mean wearing tilaka and robes. One is not a bhakta if he has a taste for material sense enjoyment. A true bhakta wants to satisfy not his senses but the senses of Kṛṣṇa.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2007 edition), “Teachings of Lord Kapila, The Son of Devahuti”, Page 165 & 166

understant scripture

Remembrance & forgetfulness comes from Kṛṣṇa.

Maya is the false ego of identifying one’s body with one’s self and of claiming things possessed in relationship with the body. In Bhagavad gita, Fifteenth Chapter, the Lord says, “I am sitting in everyone’s heart, and from Me comes everyone’s remembrance and forgetfulness.” Devahuti has stated that false identification of the body with the self and attachment for bodily possessions are also under the direction of the Lord. Does this mean that the Lord discriminates by engaging one in His devotional service and another in sense gratification? If that were true, it would be an incongruity on the part of the Supreme Lord, but that is not the actual fact. As soon as the living entity forgets his real constitutional position of eternal servitorship to the Lord and wants instead to enjoy himself by sense gratification, he is captured by maya. This capture leads to the consciousness of false identification with the body and attachment for the possessions of the body. These are the activities of maya, and since maya is also an agent of the Lord, it is indirectly the action of the Lord. The Lord is merciful; if anyone wants to forget Him and enjoy this material world, He gives him full facility, not directly but through the agency of His material potency. Therefore, since the material potency is the Lord’s energy, indirectly it is the Lord who gives the facility to forget Him. Devahuti therefore said, “My engagement in sense gratification was also due to You. Now kindly get me free from this entanglement.” By the grace of the Lord one is allowed to enjoy this material world, but when one is disgusted with material enjoyment and is frustrated, and when one sincerely surrenders unto the lotus feet of the Lord, then the Lord is so kind that He frees one from entanglement. Kṛṣṇa says, therefore, in Bhagavad-gita, “First of all surrender, and then I will take charge of you and free you from all reactions of sinful activities.” Sinful activities are those activities performed in forgetfulness of our relationship with the Lord. In this material world, activities for material enjoyment that are considered pious are also sinful. For example, one sometimes gives money in charity to a needy person with a view to get back the money four times increased. Giving with the purpose of gaining something is called charity in the mode of passion. Everything done here is done in the modes of material nature, and therefore all activities but service to the Lord are sinful. Because of sinful activities we become attracted by the illusion of material attachment, and we think, “I am this body.” I think of the body as myself and of bodily possessions as “mine.” Devahuti requested Lord Kapila to free her from that entanglement of false identification and false possession.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2007 edition), “Teachings of Lord Kapila, The Son of Devahuti”, Page 64 & 65

Krishna

Spontaneous attraction towards Kṛṣṇa.

Spontaneous attraction to Kṛṣṇa, which is said to be due to the extraordinary mercy of the Lord, can be placed under two headings: one is profound veneration for the greatness of the Lord, and the other may be one’s automatically being attracted to Kṛṣṇa without any extraneous consideration. In the Narada-pancaratra it is said that if on account of profound veneration for the greatness of the Supreme Lord, one attains a great affection and steady love for Him, one is certainly assured of attaining the four kinds of Vaisnava liberation- namely, achieving the same bodily features as the Lord, achieving the same opulence as the Lord, dwelling on the planet where the Lord is residing, and attaining eternal association with the Lord. The Vaisnava liberation is completely different from the mayavada liberation, which is simply a matter of being merged into the effulgence of the Lord.

In the Narada-pancaratra pure unalloyed devotional service is explained as being without any motive for personal benefit. If a devotee is continuously in love with Lord Kṛṣṇa and his mind is always fixed upon Him, that devotional attitude will prove to be the only means of attracting the attention of the Lord. In other words, a Vaisnava who is incessantly thinking of the form of Lord Kṛṣṇa is to be known as a pure Vaisnava. Generally, a devotee who has achieved the causeless mercy of the Lord on account of following the strict rules and regulations of devotional service becomes attracted by the supreme greatness of the Lord, by the transcendental beauty of the Lord and by the spontaneous execution of devotional service. To be more clear, by executing the regulative principles of devotional service, one can fully appreciate the transcendental beauty of the Lord. In any case, such exalted positions are only possible by the extraordinary mercy of the Lord upon the devotee.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2011 edition), “The Nector of Devotion”, Page 145

Kṛṣṇa

Why hearing (sravanam) is recommended for devotional service?

The beginning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and devotional service is hearing, in Sanskrit called sravanam. All people should be given the chance to come and join devotional parties so that they may hear. This hearing is very important for progressing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. When one links his ears to give aural reception to the transcendental vibrations he can quickly become purified and cleansed in the heart. Lord Caitanya has affirmed that this hearing is very important. It cleanses the heart of the contaminated soul so that he becomes quickly qualified to enter into devotional service and to understand Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

In the Garuda Purana the stress on hearing is expressed very nicely. It is said there: “The state of conditioned life in the material world is just like a man lying unconscious, having been bitten by a snake. This is because both such unconscious states can be ended by the sound of a mantra.” When a man is snake-bitten he does not die immediately, but first becomes unconscious and remains in a comatose condition. Anyone who is in the material world is also sleeping, as he is ignorant of his actual self or his actual duty and his relationship with God. So materialistic life means that one is bitten by the snake of maya, illusion, and thus, without any Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is almost dead. Now the so-called dead man bitten by a snake can be brought back again to life by the chanting of some mantra. There are expert chanters of these mantras who can perform this feat. Similarly, one can be brought back into Kṛṣṇa consciousness from the deadly unconscious state of material life by hearing of the maha-mantra: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In the Fourth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Twenty-ninth Chapter, verse 40, the importance of hearing of the pastimes of the Lord is stated by Sukadeva Gosvami to Maharaj Pariksit: “My dear King, one should stay at a place where the great acaryas [holy teachers] speak about the transcendental activities of the Lord, and one should give aural reception to the nectarean river flowing from the moonlike faces of such great personalities. If someone eagerly continues to hear such transcendental sounds, then certainly he will become freed from all material hunger, thirst, fear and lamentation, as well as all illusions of material existence.”

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also recommended this process of hearing as a means of self realization in the present age of Kali. In this age it is very difficult to follow thoroughly the regulative principles and studies of the Vedas which were formerly recommended. However, if one gives aural reception to the sound vibrated by great devotees and acaryas, that alone will give him relief from all material contamination. Therefore it is the recommendation of Caitanya Mahaprabhu that one should simply hear from authorities who are actually devotees of the Lord. Hearing from professional men will not help. If we hear from those who are actually self realized, then the nectarean rivers, like those which are flowing on the moon planet, will flow into our ears. This is the metaphor used in the above verse.

As is stated in Bhagavad-gita, “A materialistic person can give up his material hankerings only by becoming situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” Unless one finds a superior engagement he will not be able to give up his inferior engagement. In the material world everyone is engaged in the illusory activities of inferior energy, but when one is given the opportunity to relish the activities of the superior energy performed by Kṛṣṇa, then he forgets all his lesser pleasures. When Kṛṣṇa speaks on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, to the materialistic person it appears that this is simply talk between two friends, but actually it is a river of nectar flowing down from the mouth of Sri Kṛṣṇa. Arjuna gave aural reception to such vibrations, and thus he became freed from all the illusions of material problems.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2011 edition), “The Nector of Devotion”, Page 89 & 90

Kṛṣṇa

Why did Kṛṣṇa had more than 16,000 wives?

We understand from the Srimad-Bhagavatam, that when Kṛṣṇa was present on this earth He had 16,108 wives; however, because Kṛṣṇa sometimes appears like an ordinary man, people sometimes cannot believe or understand His activities. They wonder, “How can God become an ordinary person like us?” But although Kṛṣṇa sometimes plays like an ordinary person, in fact He is not ordinary, and whenever necessary He displays the powers of God. When sixteen thousand girls were kidnapped by the demon Bhaumasura, they prayed to Kṛṣṇa, and therefore Kṛṣṇa went to the demon’s palace, killed the demon, and delivered all the girls. But according to the strict Vedic system, if an unmarried girl leaves her home even for one night, no one will marry her. Therefore when Kṛṣṇa told the girls, “Now you can safely return to your fathers’ homes,” they replied, “Sir, if we return to the homes of our fathers, what will be our fate? No one will marry us, because this man kidnapped us”. “Then what do you want?” Kṛṣṇa asked. The girls replied, “We want You to become our husband”. And Kṛṣṇa is so kind that He immediately said yes and accepted them. Now, when Kṛṣṇa brought the girls back home to His capital city, it is not that each of the sixteen thousand wives had to wait sixteen thousand nights to meet Kṛṣṇa. Rather, Kṛṣṇa expanded Himself into sixteen thousand forms, constructed sixteen thousand palaces, and lived in each palace with each wife.

Although this is described in Srimad-Bhagavatam, rascals cannot understand this. Instead they criticize Kṛṣṇa. “He was very lusty,” they say. “He married sixteen thousand wives”. But even if He is lusty, He is unlimitedly lusty. God is unlimited. Why sixteen thousand? He could marry sixteen million and still not reach the limits of His perfection. That is Kṛṣṇa. We cannot accuse Kṛṣṇa of being lusty or sensuous. No. There are so many devotees of Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa shows favor to all of them. Some ask Kṛṣṇa to become their husband, some ask Kṛṣṇa to become their friend, some ask Kṛṣṇa to become their son, and some ask Kṛṣṇa to become their playmate. In this way, there are millions and trillions of devotees all over the universe, and Kṛṣṇa has to satisfy them all. He does not need any help from these devotees, but because they want to serve Him in a particular way, the Lord reciprocates. These sixteen thousand devotees wanted Kṛṣṇa as their husband, and therefore Kṛṣṇa agreed.

Source : A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Teachings of Queen Kunti”, Page 90 & 91
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “The Science of Self-Realization”, Page 21