Gita Contest 2019


Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 8.15 that this world is called ‘dukhalayam asasvatam’. We want to live in this world happily and eternally, but Bhagavad Gita reminds us that this life is temporary (asasvatam) and laden with so many miseries (dukhalayam). Why is there a constant struggle in this world? Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 15.7:

mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke
jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ
prakṛti-sthāni karṣati

The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind. 

We are all originally parts and parcels of Krishna, and as such blissful and eternal, but having desired material enjoyment with our mundane senses and mind, we are trying to exploit this material nature and as a result get entangled in the nature’s complexities. Just like a prisoner can’t expect to be happy in a jail, we can’t expect to be happy in this material world. The purpose of this creation is to give the conditioned souls a chance to reform our polluted consciousness, reawaken our original relation with Krishna and go back to Him. Only then can we find true, eternal happiness. We can’t find eternal happiness in this world.

When we realize this and surrender to Krishna, Krishna assures us protection from all reactions to our past sinful activities (BG 18.66 – sarva-dharmān parityajya, mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja, ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo, mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ). It is like a patient realizing his disease and suffering and going to a doctor for remedy. The doctor gives assurance to the patient that if he takes the medicine and proper diet, he will be alright. Just like a deadly disease requires surgery sometimes, in order to get us out of the conditioning of this world, Krishna also gives ‘medicinal’ treatments, which appear like difficulties and tribulations. So for those who surrender to Krishna, the difficulties are not actually difficulties, but ways by which Krishna purifies us.

Even when we take shelter of Krishna, following are some of the concepts we should remember from the Bhagavad Gita which will help us handle and sail through difficult times:

  1. Practice tolerance

The very first quality Krishna asked Arjuna to practice in the Bhagavad Gita is tolerance (BG 2.14). As for increasing our tolerance, the most important thing is to remember that nothing can happen without Krishna’s sanction. We are coming in contact with the results of our past activities. We have no choice in that, but how we RESPOND to it NOW creates our future situation. So to lessen your future difficulties, we need to be tolerant in our present situation. We should not make a bad choice and not resort to a “victim mentality”. Just like the summer and winter seasons keep coming and going, so are our distress and happiness.

  1. Treat the adversity as an opportunity!

Remember, Krishna is in control. Krishna assures firm protection for those who take shelter of Him (BG 18.66). Be grateful for the lessons He is teaching you. Even if you find those lessons difficult to take, have faith, be patient, develop an attitude of gratitude, and you will find yourself much more peaceful and appreciative of His intervention in your life (BG 9.22). Treat difficulties as stepping stones for success (treat adversities as opportunities for learning and improving life).

  1. Matter is temporary, spirit is eternal 

The world around us is subject to constant change, change that is often unstoppable, uncontrollable and unpredictable. Such change makes us stressed and worried; we naturally look for something unchanging for security. The Bhagavad-gita explains that such an unchanging reality lies within us. We ourselves are at our core souls, spiritual beings who are indestructible (BG 2.13). We are eternally parts and parcels of the ever blissful Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna (BG 15.7). None of the things that can destroy our body and other material things can even scratch the spiritual soul (BG 2.23). No external change, however threatening or devastating it may seem, can harm our essence. Understanding this fills us with a profound peace that equips us to respond maturely to external changes. That’s why the Bhagavad Gita (2.15) recommends that we avoid becoming disproportionately delighted by pleasure or dejected by pain, and work on improving our Krishna consciousness.

  1. The obstacle verse!

In BG 18.58, Krishna says:

mac-cittaḥ sarva-durgāṇi
mat-prasādāt tariṣyasi
atha cet tvam ahaṅkārān
na śroṣyasi vinaṅkṣyasi

“If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditional life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.”

For one who acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, Lord Kṛṣṇa becomes the most intimate friend. He always looks after His friend’s comfort, and He gives Himself to His friend, who is so devotedly engaged working twenty-four hours a day to please the Lord. Therefore, no one should be carried away by the false ego of the bodily concept of life. One should not falsely think himself independent of the laws of material nature or free to act. He is already under strict material laws. But, as soon as he acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is liberated, free from the material perplexities.

  1. Krishna minimizes our suffering

A fully Kṛṣṇa conscious person is not at all disturbed by the onslaughts of the threefold miseries, for he accepts all miseries as the mercy of the Lord, thinking himself only worthy of more trouble due to his past misdeeds; he accepts that the miseries are because of his own past karma and he sees that his miseries, by the grace of the Lord, are minimized to the lowest. Similarly, when he is happy he gives credit to the Lord, thinking himself unworthy of happiness; he realizes that it is due only to the Lord’s grace that he is in such a comfortable condition and able to render better service to the Lord (BG 2.56).

Note: To test your understanding, please visit the below URL to answer a short quiz:

Here are the 3 powerful personality development tips from the Bhagavad Gita.

  1. Cultivating good habits:

Bhagavad Gita says that there are three modes of material nature under whose influence we all work. They are: mode of goodness, passion and ignorance. Mode of goodness is characterized by knowledge and happiness. Passion is characterized by sense gratification, unlimited desires and eventually leading to misery. Ignorance is characterized by laziness, sleep and misery throughout. Good habits sprout from cultivating mode of goodness in our lives.

Bhagavad Gita 14.17 says: “From the mode of goodness, real knowledge develops; from the mode of passion, grief develops; and from the mode of ignorance, foolishness, madness and illusion develop.”

Srila Prabhupada says in the purport to this verse: “Through Kṛṣṇa consciousness, society will develop the mode of goodness. When the mode of goodness is developed, people will see things as they are. In the mode of ignorance, people are just like animals and cannot see things clearly. In the mode of ignorance, for example, they do not see that by killing one animal they are taking a chance of being killed by the same animal in the next life. Because people have no education in actual knowledge, they become irresponsible. To stop this irresponsibility, education for developing the mode of goodness of the people in general must be there. When they are actually educated in the mode of goodness, they will become sober, in full knowledge of things as they are. Then people will be happy and prosperous. Even if the majority of the people aren’t happy and prosperous, if a certain percentage of the population develops Kṛṣṇa consciousness and becomes situated in the mode of goodness, then there is the possibility for peace and prosperity all over the world.”

Srimad Bhagavatam gives a 3 stage scientific process to develop the mode of goodness:

Stage 1 – Hearing:

Cleansing the dirt from our unclean heart. This can be done by the easiest and most purifying process, i.e., hearing about the most pure, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna.

śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi
vidhunoti suhṛt satām

Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramātmā [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. (SB 1.2.17)

Stage 2 – Clearing:

naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu
nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā
bhagavaty uttama-śloke
bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī

By regular attendance in classes on the Bhāgavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact. (SB 1.2.18)

Stage 3 – Achieving:

tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ
kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye
ceta etair anāviddhaṁ
sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati

As soon as irrevocable loving service is established in the heart, the effects of nature’s modes of passion and ignorance, such as lust, desire and hankering, disappear from the heart. Then the devotee is established in goodness, and he becomes completely happy. (SB 1.2.19)

  1. Maintaining resolutions:

In Bhagavad Gita 3.36, Arjuna asks Krishna, “why is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?”

We all experience situations where we resolve and aspire to achieve something great but inevitably fall flat more often than not. In Bhagavad Gita 3.37, as an answer to Arjuna’s question, Krishna teaches us that we become weak in our resolve because of lust. Lust makes us weak in our resolve and impels us to do things as if out of force. Lust means trying to enjoy our senses more than what we need. This is generated by association with the ‘mode of passion’ or ‘rajo guna’.

Srila Prabhupada says in his purport to Bhagavad Gita 3.37: “When a living entity comes in contact with the material creation, his eternal love for Kṛṣṇa is transformed into lust, in association with the mode of passion. Or, in other words, the sense of love of God becomes transformed into lust…”

Our senses always force us to serve them and provide them what they need, and many times because of this lust, a human being commits abominable activities. Therefore, Krishna concludes that this lust is the eternal enemy of the living entity. To curb this lust, Krishna gives the science of “control hierarchy” within ourselves (BG 3.42). He says that our mind is superior to the senses. Intelligence is superior to the mind and the spirit soul is superior to the intelligence. We need to strengthen our intelligence and mind to be able to conquer our senses. Our intelligence is strengthened by following the instructions of Krishna in Bhagavad Gita, our mind is strengthened by chanting and hearing the Lord’s holy names (especially the ‘hare krishna’ maha mantra – hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare, hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare). And eventually the mind can control the senses from going astray and thus we can conquer the lust.

  1. Overcoming addictions:

Bhagavad Gita 2.59 gives a simple yet powerful formula for overcoming our addictions. Krishna says that we can not give up our addictions merely by restriction, but rather by cultivating a higher taste.

viṣayā vinivartante
nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso ‘py asya
paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate

The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness. (Bhagavad Gita 2.59)

Srila Prabhupada writes the following about this verse: “Unless one is transcendentally situated, it is not possible to cease from sense enjoyment. The process of restriction from sense enjoyment by rules and regulations is something like restricting a diseased person from certain types of eatables. The patient, however, neither likes such restrictions, nor loses his taste for eatables…But one who has tasted the beauty of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, in the course of his advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, no longer has a taste for dead material things… When one is actually Kṛṣṇa conscious, he automatically loses his taste for pale things.”

One can cultivate this higher taste of Krishna consciousness simply by faith and thereby seeking association of devotees who are practicing Krishna consciousness. Just like one becomes addictive drunkard by associating with expert drunkards, one can cultivate the higher taste of Krishna consciousness by associating with those who are already on that platform. By the power of devotee association, one practices a life of Krishna consciousness and gradually attains the higher taste of Krishna consciousness, which alone can help us overcome all ulterior addictions.

To summarize,

  1. To cultivate good habits, develop mode of goodness by the 3-stage process starting with hearing about the Supreme Lord Krishna
  2. To maintain resolutions, drive the lust away from within by strengthening your spiritual intelligence and mind.
  3. To overcome addictions, cultivate higher taste of Krishna consciousness
Note: To test your understanding, please visit the below URL to answer a short quiz:

Following are the five essential principles which help us realize the power of our choices!

 1) Weigh the consequences

A very unique capability of a human being is the power of choice. In Bhagavad Gita 4.11, Krishna says that “ye yatha mam prapadyante, tams tathaiva bhajamy aham” – the living entities are given freedom to make their choice, and the Lord awards them accordingly. We can choose how we want to spend time, whom we want to spend time with, where we want to go, what we want to buy, where we want to work, who we want to vote and so on. And every choice we make binds us to the consequences. For example, if we overeat, we have to contend with indigestion; we choose a politician to be our leader and we have to abide by his rule for several years. A job at a lucrative company may give us a financial boost, but it will take away our personal time from family. We choose to get on a scary ride in a theme park, we have to no option but to suffer/enjoy the ride for the next 5 minutes. Our present life conditions, circumstances and situations (birth in a family, wealth, beauty, education etc) are nothing but a consequence of choices we made in prior lives. So, before choosing, weigh the consequences carefully, as our choices shape our destiny (karma).

2) The Sreya vs preya principle!

Many times, good choices are the ones which we may not necessarily like to do. Krishna mentions in Bhagavad Gita that “happiness in mode of goodness appears like poison in the beginning and nectar in the end” (BG 18.37). A child may not like to brush teeth at night. A patient may not like the strict diet imposed by the doctor. But the best choice is always the choice that our well wishing superior suggests we do. In the case of the child it is his parents, in the case of the patient, it is his doctor, in the case of Arjuna it is Krishna. Sreya means what will be ultimately good for us.

We should not just go by the mind’s dictations in making our choices, as the mind always wants petty material happiness. Mind is looking for preya – which is temporary, short term, instantly gratifying happiness). And that choice eventually leads to misery (“happiness in the mode of passion is nectar in the beginning and turns to poison in the end” – BG 18.38)

We should do what is “Sreya” for us, that which will be ultimately beneficial. So we should rely on our well wishing superior’s knowledge and guidance on what is good for us.

The best thing Arjuna did in the battlefield of Kurukshetra was to not rely on his mind alone and instead turn to Krishna, who enlightened him in the knowledge of the Bhagavad Gita and in the end Arjuna’s confusion was removed and he became enthusiastic and decided to fight for Krishna’s cause.

3) The choice that really matters!

While we may approach many well-wishers like our parents, teachers, friends, superiors, relatives in our life and rely on their guidance for making “good” choices, we have to remember that ultimately the “absolutely good” choice we should make is for our spiritual benefit.

The so called “good” choices we make to improve our health, wealth, career, position, power etc. are all on this material realm and temporary. (“a brahma bhuvanal lokan, punar avartino arjuna…” –BG 8.16; “ksine punye martya lokam visanti” –BG 9.21). It is like being promoted to a first class cell in a prison-like existence of this world. After all, whether you are in first-class cell or third-class cell, it is still a prison and you can’t expect true happiness in a prison.

Therefore, Krishna says that “the most important” choice we have to make in this life is towards our spiritual elevation. If we abide by Krishna’s orders we can get liberated from this prison-like material existence. Krishna’s order is very easy.

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te
pratijāne priyo ‘si me

Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend. (Bhagavad Gita 18.65)

Srila Prabhupada says in the purport to BG 18.65: “The most confidential part of knowledge is that one should become a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa and always think of Him and act for Him…Life should be so molded that one will always have the chance to think of Kṛṣṇa…And the Lord’s promise is that anyone who is in such pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness will certainly return to the abode of Kṛṣṇa, where he will be engaged in the association of Kṛṣṇa face to face.”

4) The rarity of human life

It is said in Srimad Bhagavatam 11.9.29: “labdhva sudurlabham idam bahu sambhavante…” – “After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection…sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Kṛṣṇa consciousness is possible only for a human being.

This material existence is also compared to a big ocean. Human body is compared to a good ship. Krishna’s representative, the spiritual master is compared to the captain of the ship. The instructions of Bhagavad Gita and scriptures are compared to the favorable winds. We should take our chance, become Krishna conscious, cross the ocean and solve the problems of life: birth, old age, disease and death. Else we are losing out utilizing the power of human life!

After explaining the whole knowledge of Bhagavad Gita, in 18.63, Krishna says: “Thus I have explained to you the most confidential of all knowledge. Deliberate on this fully, and then do what you wish to do.

The living entities, being superior energy to matter, have choice and discrimination either to surrender unto the Lord or to surrender unto material nature. By surrendering unto the Lord, one is happy and liberated, but by surrendering unto material nature the living entity suffers. So the end of all suffering means surrendering unto the Lord. That is our choice.

5) Choosing spiritual life helps in our material life!

Then the question could come up, if I choose a spiritual life of Krishna consciousness, what about my material ambitions, family, society, career, children etc.

We have to note that after Arjuna was enlightened in Bhagavad Gita and decided to surrender to Krishna, he continued to remain as a householder and fighter. In fact he became a confident fighter after hearing Bhagavad Gita. So, choosing Krishna consciousness, actually helps you become a better person even on the material platform.

For those who are devoted and surrendered to Krishna, Krishna gives the best intelligence to take important decisions in your life (“…dadami buddhi yogam…” – BG 10.10)

And Krishna takes care of even their material needs! (“…yogaksemam vahamy aham…” – BG 9.22).

By Krishna consciousness, we take to “purified living”, not “gratified living”.

In summary,

  1. Weigh your consequences before you make a choice
  2. The “Sreya” vs “Preya” principle.
  3. The choice that really matters (spiritual life)
  4. Remember the rarity of human life
  5. Choosing spiritual life helps in our material life!
Note: To test your understanding, please visit the below URL to answer a short quiz:


Here are 4 powerful tips to understand what is ‘right’ meditation and ‘wrong’ meditation!

1.    The meditation principle!

Lord Krishna mentions the “Meditation Principle” in Bhagavad Gita 8.6, that after we leave this body, our next life will be based on the state of mind at the time of death.

yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ
tyajaty ante kalevaram
taṁ tam evaiti kaunteya
sadā tad-bhāva-bhāvitaḥ

“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail.”

The state of mind at the time of death naturally depends on whatever we meditate on throughout the life. Meditation need not be something we sit down in an isolated place and do. If our mind is absorbed in a particular object or desire, we are actually meditating on it. All our activities will then be centered around fulfilling what the mind is absorbed in. And that will become the state of mind at the time of death. So, we have to be very careful and make sure we are doing the right meditation instead of wrong meditation.

2. The same destination myth!

Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 9.25 mentions the four different destinations based on our meditation/worship:

yānti deva-vratā devān…
pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
yānti mad-yājino ‘pi mām

“Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.”

There is a common misconception that whatever kind of meditation we adopt or whatever mantra we chant, we will reach the same destination or we will become liberated. That is not supported in the Bhagavad Gita. We know that from a particular place, we will reach different destinations based on whether we go east, west, north or south. In the same way our different meditations/worship will take us to different destinations.

3. Wrong meditations

Following are the wrong meditations which should be avoided:

a) Worshiping Demigods

If one cultivates attachment to a particular demigod during their lifetime, as mentioned above they will take birth among the demigods in their next life. That means they will attain heavenly planets and will get a chance to live there for some time. But Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita 8.16 clearly states that even if we go to the planet of the highest demigod Lord Brahma, we will come back again to this earthly planet where one has to suffer birth, death, old age and disease. (ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ, punar āvartino ‘rjuna). So, it is not at all wise to worship a demigod as the ultimate aim of human life is to not come back to this earthly world but attain the spiritual world Vaikuntha where there is no birth, death, old age and disease. A variation of this is some people concoct a form of God and worship it. They think that all are forms of the same God and any of them can be worshiped as God and that the same results will be obtained. This is called worship in modes of passion and ignorance. As a result, they will take birth in either earth or lower planets in possibly sub-human species (BG 14.18).

b) Worshiping powerful humans 

If one worships a powerful/influential person or mystic yogi of this world, you will go to the place where they dwell. If they end up going to hell because of their impious activities, the worshiper will also go to those places because of meditation on them. Srila Prabhupada says about this kind of worshipers in purport to Bhagavad Gita 4.12: “To achieve such temporary things, they worship the demigods or powerful men in human society.” “… results so obtained are temporary and are meant for less intelligent persons…”

c) Worshiping ghosts and spirits

Worshiping ghosts and spirits will cause one to be born among such beings. It is said in vedic scriptures that being born as ghosts is a condemned life as there is no physical body to enjoy the senses which in turn causes extreme frustration. That is why ghosts try to enter other’s bodies and try to get enjoyment from their senses. So, this kind of ghost worship should be absolutely avoided.

d) Worshiping and meditating on the impersonal / formless

We can understand the Sun in 3 ways: sunlight, Sun globe, and the Sun God in the Sun planet. One who understands that Sun is only sunshine is having incomplete knowledge. Similarly, in Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.11, it is mentioned that the Supreme Lord Krishna actually has three features and the impersonal feature is the inferior aspect of all. The Impersonal Brahman is the glowing effulgence of the Personality of Godhead just as the sun rays are to the demigod sun-god who is ruling the Sun planet. Further in the Srimad Bhagavatam 10.2.32, it is mentioned that even if one performs severe austerities and penances and finally attains impersonal liberation, they will actually fall down from that position. Hence this kind of meditation has to be avoided.

ye ’nye ’ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas
tvayy asta-bhāvād aviśuddha-buddhayaḥ
āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ
patanty adho ’nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ

“O lotus-eyed Lord, although non devotees who accept severe austerities and penances to achieve the highest position may think themselves liberated, their intelligence is impure. They fall down from their position of imagined superiority because they have no regard for Your lotus feet.”

Bhagavad Gita 12.5 discourages meditation on this impersonal feature as it is very troublesome.

4. The right meditation

Finally, following is the right meditation that should be done, i.e.,

Worshiping the Supreme Lord Krishna (or Vishnu)

Lord Krishna in the final chapter of Bhagavad Gita 18.65, makes a conclusive statement about right meditation technique:

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te
pratijāne priyo ‘si me

“Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.”

The easiest way to always think of Lord Krishna is by always chanting His holy names like the Maha Mantra “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare”. Another efficient way of thinking of Lord Krishna is to read, understand and remember various instructions given by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. Apart from that, as stated by Lord Krishna above, we should worship him with whatever means we have. When we follow this process of meditation and worship, Lord Krishna promises that we will go to Him. And in the Bhagavad Gita 15.6, Lord Krishna mentions that His abode is the spiritual world (Vaikuntha) which is self effulgent and once one goes there, they will never come back to this earthly material world:

na tad bhāsayate sūryo
na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ
yad gatvā na nivartante
tad dhāma paramaṁ mama

“That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.”

Note: To test your understanding, please visit the below URL to answer a short quiz:
  1. Real happiness

In Bhagavad Gita 7.4-6, it is said that we are a composition of the external and internal energies of God. The gross external energy is this gross material body, and the subtle external energy is the mind, ego and intelligence. Behind both energies—the gross external energy and the subtle external energy—is the soul, the internal energy. This body is made of earth, water, fire, air and ether. This is called gross external energy, and there is also a subtle external energy of mind, intelligence and false ego. And behind that, the soul is there.

As an analogy, I may think that simply by having a nice shirt and coat I can be happy, but is it possible? Unless you eat nicely, unless you sleep nicely, unless you have your sense gratification, will you be happy simply by putting on a costly shirt and coat? No. That is not possible. Similarly, if we want to be happy by adjustment of this external energy, gratifying our senses, that is not possible. You are spirit soul—you must have spiritual food, you must have a spiritual life, in connection with Krishna and then you can be happy. Gross matter includes high skyscraper buildings, machines, factories, nice roads, good cars, etc. Subtle matter includes nice songs, poetry, philosophy, etc. People are trying to be happy with this gross and subtle material existence. That cannot be.

  1. Blind leading the blind         

Why have people accepted this sort of materialistic civilization? Because they are led by blind leaders. Why very few are interested in Krishna consciousness? Suppose we advertise some falsehood—“If you follow this path, within six months you will become God, and you will be all-powerful.” Many people would come. This is actually one blind man leading other blind men. Suppose one blind man says, “All right, come, follow me. I shall help you crossing this busy street.” He is blind, and the followers are also blind. The result will be that they will be hit by some car or truck and they will all die.

We do not know that we are bound by the stringent laws of material nature (BG 7.14). How can we become free from this material bondage? We have to take instruction from those who are not blind, whose eyes are opened and who are liberated from this material bondage. One must take instruction from such persons, and then he will understand his self-interest. Only the Supreme Lord Krishna, or His bona fide representative spiritual master can help us who are blind. Otherwise, if one who is blind takes instruction from a blind man, it will not be possible for him to be liberated from material bondage.

What is self-interest? What is the interest of a child when he is crying? He is searching after the mother. Anyone who knows this immediately brings the child to its mother—“Take care of your child; he is crying.” The mother takes him, and the child is immediately happy. The child cannot express what he wants, so he simply cries. But one who knows what he is crying for help him, and the child becomes happy. Similarly, because we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa (BG 15.7), the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we are actually crying for Kṛṣṇa. But these false leaders, these blind leaders who do not know, are giving stone instead of bread.

c) Purpose of creation

All the material activities of the cosmic manifestation are going on just to bring the rebellious souls back to Godhead. That is the situation. Māyā’s stringent laws are there. Why? What is the purpose of the police force or the military force? The purpose is to keep the citizens obedient to the state. If a citizen is disobedient to the state law, he is immediately put into police custody. Similarly, anyone who has rebelled against the superiority of God is put under the stringent laws of material nature, and he must suffer. That is the position. Therefore, his self-interest is to seek out the Supreme Personality of Godhead (SB 7.5.31) and surrender unto Him. That will make him happy. Otherwise, if he simply tries to accept material things and become happy, that is not possible.

d) Enjoy this life and the next!

Prahlāda Mahārāja gives a hint as to how one can seek out the path of Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He says that we have created so many unnecessary things and become entangled by them. In the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated that we should desire to get out of this unnecessary trouble and to be free from the problems which are created. Why people engage in fighting, doing abominable things in society? Why is this happening? Because they have lost their interest in Viṣṇu, God. Therefore, they are thinking, “You are my enemy; I am your enemy,” and they fight like cats and dogs. But as soon as we come to the Viṣṇu understanding, the Kṛṣṇa understanding, these advanced cities, these advanced civilizations, can be maintained very nicely. You’ll be happy, you’ll eat nicely, dance nicely, live nicely and go back home, back to Godhead. Enjoy this life and the next life. That is our request.

Everyone should take the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement seriously and try to understand it seriously. It is authorized on the Vedic principle; it is not something manufactured or unauthorized. It gives an opportunity for people to understand their real interest: Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa.

e) Purifying our existence

We have to purify the propensity of material sense gratification (SB 5.5.1). That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. For Kṛṣṇa consciousness we have to be purified. What is that purification? We cannot enjoy anything directly, so we have to enjoy through Kṛṣṇa. For example, we take prasādam. The nice prasādam, the foodstuff that is prepared, is not taken directly—we take it through Kṛṣṇa. First of all, we offer to Kṛṣṇa, and then we take it.

The eating process is the same, but if you eat directly then you become materialistically encumbered. If you offer to Kṛṣṇa, however, and then take it, then you become freed from all contamination of material life. That is stated in Bhagavad-gītā 3.13. Devotees take prasādam after offering it to Kṛṣṇa. That is called sacrifice. Whatever you offer to Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu is called sacrifice. Whatever we do here, within this material world, is some sort of sinful activity, even if we do not know it. Killing is sinful activity, even if we do not kill willingly. When you walk down the street you are killing many animals. Whenever you drink water, you are also killing. Below a water pot there are many ants and microbes that are being killed. Whenever you light a fire, there are many small microbes that also burn in the fire. When you grind spices with a mortar and pestle, many small microbes are killed.

We are responsible for this. Willingly or unwillingly, we are becoming entangled in many sinful activities. Therefore, Bhagavad-gītā 3.13 says that if you take the remnants of foodstuff after offering sacrifice, you become freed from all contamination. Otherwise, one who cooks to eat personally without offering to Kṛṣṇa is simply eating sinful reactions.

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