One who has life
Swami BV Parivrajak
Who goes out and preach? This is a fundamental question. Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur said, prana ache yar sei hetu prachar: “One
who has life (prana), he can preach.” No doubt, a preacher has to face many
obstacles while spreading the message of the Lord. But a real preacher never
cares for external impediments because he has captured Krishna in his heart.
Surrender is an absolute requirement if we are to grasp the sweetness of
Krishna consciousness. We must relish and distribute that taste at the
same time. We should not follow in the footsteps of that fox who wanted the
grapes, but she could not grasp them. She could not surrender.
Developing the right vision
When someone surrenders to Krishna, even just slightly, he begins to see
everything in relation to Him. He sees that all are connected with Krishna.
yo mam pashyati sarvatra, sarvam cha mayi pashyati
tasyaham na pranashyati, sa cha me na pranashyati
“One who perceives My presence in all places and sees all things in
relationship to Me is never deprived of My shelter, nor ever forgotten by Me.”
And who can see Krishna? In the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord explains that He
keeps Himself hidden, covered by His yogamaya potency, before those living
beings who are spiritually unqualified.
naham prakashya sarvasya, yoga-maya-samavritah
mudho ‘yam nabhijanati, loko mam ajam avyayam
“I reserve the right to remain invisible to the faithless whose eyes I
keep covered by the magic of My divine potency, Yogamaya. The worldly, foolish
people do not recognize Me, Who am unborn and imperishable.” (Bhagavad-gita,
Krishna reveals Himself to the premi bhakta for he is not a blind, foolish
man. A true devotee is not bewildered about the goal of life and how to achieve
it. He has developed the right vision. In the Brahma-samhita 5.38 we read:
premanjana cchurita bhakti vilochanena
santa sadaiva hridayeshu vilokayanti
yam shyamasundaram acintya guna svarupam
govindam adi purusham tam aham bhajami
“I worship Govinda, the original Supreme Person, Krishna Himself. He is
Shyamasundara, the Beautiful One with a complexion the color of a dark stormy
cloud. He is the personification of inconceivable attributes. Indeed, the
saints always see Him in their hearts, for they have applied the collirium of
pure love on their eyes.”
Anjan means the collirium applied to the eyelashes. If a person can
apply premanjana to his eyes, he will remove the blindness due to false
ego and begin to develop the right vision. Krishna can never forget such a
yo mam pashyati sarvatra, sarvam cha mayi pashyati
tasyaham na pranashyati, sa cha me na pranashyati
“One who sees Me everywhere and sees all things in Me is never separated
from Me, nor am I ever separated from him.” (Bhagavad-gita, 6.30)
One has to develop the right vision. One has to pray to the Lord and chant
His holy names with full surrender. If we surrender to Krishna, we feel a
natural upsurge of divine love within us. The feeling that we are getting life
is so strong that we must go out to preach. As soon as we realize something
about the greatness and beauty of Krishna’s love, we cannot keep silent. If
we are overwhelmed by that upsurge of love, we want to go everywhere and tell
everybody about Him, how good is to develop a relationship with Him. We want to
inform everybody that our blindness has been removed, the cataracts of avidya,
ignorance, have been removed. Now we can see!
If our experience in bhakti is genuine, the change in the heart will gradually
occur. There is no doubt about it. The process of sadhana bhakti is scientific.
It implies a gradual, progressive re-orientation of our heart. Premanjana is a
rare substance. It is the most powerful element with which we may come in touch
in this life. If by the grace of the Lord, we can receive this divine ointment
and smear it on our mental stratum, a transformation is bound to happen. Our
identification with the world and all its projections will fade into
insignificance. We will be able to feel the emptiness of the proposals of
worldly people and loose interest in them. A natural, spontaneous attraction
for a life of purity will arise in our hearts. We shall feel rejuvenated. We
shall get another lease of life.
Compassion for all
Human birth is rare. The purpose of this birth is to know Krishna and render
loving service to Him. One should use his/her human form of life to achieve
divine conscience. Wordly conscience means engrossment in material pleasures.
Sense enjoyment is available in any species of life. Animals can have sex
intercourse all day long, whenever and wherever they like, for they are not
limited by any sense of morality. However, animals suffer tremendously because
of lack of higher understanding. They do not have a developed reasoning faculty.
They are only concerned with eating, sleeping, mating and defending themselves.
This level of conscience is described as annamaya, when the urge to fill
one’s own belly with food becomes the leit motive of one’s life. Annamaya
is a distinguishing mark of all animals and small human babies as well.
Although men have also such basic needs, they can inquire about the goal of
life and how to achieve it. This is not possible for cats and dogs. And this is
the main difference between humans and animals.
The heart of a genuine preacher bleeds when he observes the miserable condition
of the living entities under the spell of maya. He can see that they are living
an animalistic life. They got a human body, but their conscience is absorbed in
annamaya, so they are like two-legged animals. A Vaishnava feels troubled in
his heart because he knows that the human form of life is very, very rare. Why
do they waste this chance? This is his constant thought. Due to his natural
compassion for others, he cannot find any rest. He is obsessed by that thought
day and night. “How can I help them? How can they remember the Lord?” A
Vaisnava is para-dukha-dukhi. He is unhappy when others are unhappy. He knows
that nobody can be happy without Krishna’s mercy. Therefore he tries his best
to remind all about Krishna. This is how he helps everybody, without any
preme matto nityananda kripa avatar
uttamo adhamo kichu na kore vichar
“Sri Nityananda Prabhu is mad with divine love and is an incarnation of
mercy. He does not distinguish between high and low, good or bad. He descended
to bestow mercy upon all. Therefore He never discriminated about who is fit to
receive Krishna’s mercy and who is not.” (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita,
patrapatra-vicharo nahi, nahi sthanasthano
jei janha paya, tanha kore prema-dano
“Whenever and wherever they got the opportunity, Sri Nityananda Prabhu,
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Their associates gave freely love for Krishna to
everybody. They did not impose any limitations. They did not consider who was a
fit recipient for their gifts and who was not. For them there was no question
of favorable or unfavorable place.” (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, 1.7.23)
A compassionate preacher moves under the direction of Lord Nityananda and Lord
Chaitanya. He wants to help everybody. He never thinks in terms of high and low,
rich and poor, pious or impious. He wants to infuse life in all. He wants to
inculcate Krishna consciousness in them. Krishna means life.
Rejection of spurious motives
In the Bhagavad-gita (7.9) Krishna says jivanam sarva bhuteshu: “I am the
life of all sentient beings.” True life is surrender to Krishna, sharanagati,
because it reinstates us in our own original position as servants of the Lord.
We should not remain blind if the chance to see is available. Why live like
people who have no life? Let us surrender and get life. Surrender will
gradually lead us to krishna prema. This process will take some time in order
to bear its fruits if we are addicted to a life of worldly pursuits. But as
soon as our attraction for gross, materialistic enjoyment diminishes, we can
taste the sweetness of those fruits in the form of nama ruci, sadhu sanga and
seva. These three elements will become very important in our life: relish in
chanting the holy name of the Lord, keeping the company of the Vaishnavas and
performing devotional service without the expectation of any remuneration. The
combination of these elements will take us to the goal, which is to develop
love for Krishna.
Sharanagati is essential to the development of prema. Our venerable spiritual
master, Om Vishnupada Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Deva Goswami Maharaj, has
explained how our eagerness to serve the Lord is proportional to our degree of
surrender. In Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam, he has exhaustively dealt with the
subject of sharanagati. Therein he wrote that anyabhisandhi-varjita
sthayi-ratir eva syat, rejection of all spurious motives facilitates continuous
attachment for the Lord. One must reject everything that opposes to an attitude
of surrender. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the Lord Himself coming in the guise of
a bhakta, has set the ideal in the resolve to reject what is unfavorable to the
path of surrender.
“I have no desire for wealth or worldly promotion. I do not desire wife,
family and society. I do not aspire for Vedic religiosity and I do not seek
mundane scholarship or the fame of a poet. The only aspiration in my heart is
that in my every birth, I may have unmotivated devotion for you.” (Sri
Our so-called devotional exercises will not bear good fruits if we keep
interests which are separated from the interest of the Lord. Spurious motives
will create a distance between us and the true devotees of the Lord. The fruits
of our sadhana will not be very sweet. If we are not very determined to remove
the undesirable traits from our character, we may not be able to grasp the
fruits of prema. This is just like in the famous parable of the fox.
A fox was hungry. She saw a bunch of grapes hanging down from a very high place.
The grapes were ripe and sweet. The fox jumped up to get them. She tried for
few times, but she did not succeed. Then she said, “The grapes are sour. I
don’t want to eat them.”
This is the foolish conclusion of someone who endeavors without determination.
He lacks surrender. He is not very sincere in his attempt too. A beginner
should be very careful not to fall victim of this dangerous mentality.
The grapes of Krishna consciousness are very, very sweet, but in order to grasp
them, we have to follow in the footsteps of Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who tasted those fruits while distributing them to others.
If love for Krishna were ordinary, then why did Sri Chaitanya descend on the
earth to display so many uncommon pastimes? Why did our gurus, the most sober
and intelligent men we ever came across, give so much importance to it?
The fox wanted the grapes, but she could not surrender. She concluded that the
fruits were sour and that she did not like to eat them. This is how she
rationalized her failure. She could not admit even to herself that she was
unable to jump very high. In spite realizing her weakness, she proudly
fabricated a defensive statement.
If we accept the mentality of the fox, our material desires will not allow us
to soar high in the spiritual dimension. The propensity to keep anchored to a
sinful mentality is unhealthy and keeps us down, on the ground. We have to
learn the art of surrender, day after day, step by step. One day we will
jump higher than we could even imagine. Nothing is impossible for those who are
We should not be artificial.
We must pay attention to the instructions of our spiritual master because they
all point to the achievement of prema. We should not be deaf when we are
requested to render some service to guru and Krishna. And we should not keep
fox-like motivations and give up the struggle for purity without a serious
Loving surrender will make us function as servants of the Lord, which is after
all our constitutional position. Krishna accepts our loving mood and nothing
else. If we render any service without love, Krishna will not consider it at
all. Without love of Krishna, our life will be artificial. It will be a life
without its most essential constituent. We should not live like people who have
no life. Let us surrender and get life. A life without Krishna is to deceive
oneself. It is no life at all.