Brandeis University Lecture — April 29, 1969, Boston


oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya
cakṣur-unmīlitaṁ yena
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master, who has opened my eyes of ignorance with the torch of knowledge.”

My dear boys and girls, I thank you very much for participating in our saṅkīrtana. It is very simple, chanting the sixteen words Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. Actually there are only three words: Hare, Kṛṣṇa, and Rāma. It is not difficult. Everyone can immediately, within a second, can chant these three names, Hare, Kṛṣṇa, and Rāma. But to make it still easier and suitable, they have been arranged in two lines of eight words each line. That is very rhythmic, and one feels immediately transcendental pleasure to chant. It is not hackneyed. We have chanted about exactly half an hour, but if we chant even twenty-four hours, you’ll never feel tired. That is the significance, practical. You will feel more and more enthusiastic to chant. Our boys and girls do that. In the beginning, of course, you may not understand, but you take to this practice of chanting, you’ll feel immediately transcendental pleasure. I saw, although some of you could not join us in dancing and chanting, but you were, from your seat, you were trying to dance. That I have seen. It is practical. We have seen even children, they immediately take to this dancing and chanting. So it is not very difficult. The most easy process of transcendental realization. We don’t ask you to press your nose, or put your head downwards, or make some gymnastic. No. In whatever condition you are, it doesn’t matter. You simply chant these sixteen names. There is no secrecy. We are not charging any fees, that “You pay me so many dollars, I’ll give you a secret mantra, and you chan…” No. It is open. It is distributed freely. Simply you have to take it. That’s all. The result will be, oh, great. Make an experiment. You have no loss. You haven’t got to pay anything. But if you take this, the result will be very, very great, which has no comparison in this world. That is practical.

So result is… That is stated by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who inaugurated this movement. You see this picture, five learned brāhmaṇas. In the center there is one picture who is Lord Caitanya. He started this movement when He was only seventeen years old, a boy. A boy only—a schoolboy. He was student, but He introduced this movement five hundred years ago, and some of the elderly men, as you see, one elderly man with beard, He also helped Him, and the others… Actually this movement was originally started by young boys. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, and Advaita Prabhu, They started. And there was a great agitation against Them by the brāhmaṇas, priestly brāhmaṇas, at that time. So Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu picked up these sixteen words from Vedic literature. It is not that He manufactured something. No. In the Vedic way there is no question of manufacturing something, religious process. No. Just like you manufacture law. In your state, privately, you cannot manufacture law. The law is given by the state. Similarly, any process, any process for self-realization, you cannot manufacture. That is to be taken directly from God and His representative. That is the verdict of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. In the Bhagavad-gītā also it is stated,

yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati…
abhyutthānam adharmasya
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
[Bg. 4.7]

“Whenever there is discrepancies in the religious principle, then,” the Lord says that “I appear to establish the real purpose of religiosity.” That is going on. So according to our Vedic principle, there is no question of manufacturing a new type of religion. No. So Lord Caitanya introduced this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, not that He manufactured something. No.

It is stated in the Agni Purāṇa—perhaps you have heard. There are eighteen purāṇas. Out of that, one Purāṇa is called Agni Purāṇa, and another Purāṇa is called Brahma-vaivarta Purāṇa. So in these two purāṇas, and many other purāṇas also, this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is there, that in this age… “In this age” means this age of Kali, where everything is based on disagreement and dissension. Nobody will agree with others’ proposal. Everyone is thinking that “I am independent. I can think in my own way. I can have my own process of self-realization.” So many. Therefore it is recommended in this age that for self-realization these mantras, sixteen mantra, should be chanted… Faithfully. It is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as follows: kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ [SB 12.3.52]. In the Golden Age, when everyone was pious, at that time, meditation was recommendation. Meditation. Kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇum: meditation on Viṣṇu. Tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ. In the next age, the recommendation was to perform great sacrifices. And the next age was recommended for temple worship, or church worship, or mosque worship. Kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ, dvāpare paricaryāyām. Dvapar… Next age, just the age about five thousand years ago, the age was called Dvāpara-yuga. At that time temple worship was very gorgeous and very successful. Now, in this age, Kali-yuga, which has begun about five thousand years past, in this age, it is recommended, kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt. You can realize yourself simply by chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. And if you take to this simple process, result will be that ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. The rubbish thing which has gathered in your heart will be cleansed. And what is that rubbish thing? That rubbish thing is also described, that yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke [SB 10.84.13]. Anyone… These are the description of rubbish things. Anyone who is thinking this body, this bundle of skin and bones, is the self… This skin and, I mean to say, blood, and intestines, and stools, and urine—this body means combination of all these nice things, skin, bone… Bone, when you touch, according to our Hindu scripture, one has to take bath. So that bone is within you. Blood is also sometimes accepted as contagious. So this is not the self. Everyone is thinking that “I am this body.” This is rubbish thing.

So, if you chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa, then you will very easily understand that you are not this body; you are spirit soul, ahaṁ brahmāsmi: “I am Brahman.” Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam. That is the first installment, you’ll understand. For self-realization, there are so many different processes. There are mystic yogis. There are philosophical speculators. There are karmīs. There are jñānīs. And… But this process, immediately you will realize that you are not this body. You are not matter; you are spirit soul. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. And, as soon as you understand that you are not this body, you are not matter, that you are spirit soul, then immediately you become joyful. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, and actually it is a fact. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati [Bg. 18.54]. As soon as one becomes elevated to the platform of spiritual realization, self-realization, immediately he will be free from all anxieties. Material life means full of anxieties. However great you may be, you are always full of anxieties. But if you come to the platform of spiritual realization, immediately you become free from anxieties. This is the test. Simply by advertising that you have elevated to the highest platform stage by taking some drugs or medicine or this way or that way… No. The result will be practical that you will immediately feel joyful. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati [Bg. 18.54]. And what is the symptom of joyous life? No more hankering, no more lamenting. So long we are in the material stage, we have got two kinds of business: we are hankering after something which we do not possess, and we are lamenting after something we had which we have lost. So as soon as you come to the spiritual platform, then you will understand that “I do not belong to this material world. So what is my gain and what is my loss? I do not belong to this platform at all.” Suppose we are sitting in this room. Because I do not belong to this room, if there is some loss in this room or gain in this room, we are not interested. We are not interested. Similarly, this is self-realization.

So if you chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, your self-realization will be possible on the second stage. First stage: you’ll realize that you are not matter but you are spirit soul, Brahman; and the second stage is: ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. Bhava-mahā-dāvāgni means these material anxieties. It is compared with forest fire. Forest fire means in this material world everyone wants to be happy. That is a fact. Everyone. But some, by some cause or by some way, there is a fire just like forest fire. Nobody’s interested to go in the forest and set fire there, but there is fire, automatically. Similarly, this world… Nobody wants war, nobody wants famine, nobody wants earthquake, nobody wants disease, nobody wants death, but these things happening. It will happen. Even if you do not want, you cannot, I mean to say, combat all these, I mean to say, attacks of the material nature. That is the way of material nature. Therefore self-realization is the opportunity of this human form of life. This human form of life… According to… Most of you, many of you may be students of anthropology, of Darwin’s theory, that the life is evolving. This anthropology long, long years was stated in the Padma Purāṇa. There it is, it is stated, aśītiṁ caturaś caiva bhramadbhiḥ jīva-jātiṣu. Bhramadbhiḥ jīva-jā… These very words are there. These are Sanskrit words. What is that? Aśītiṁ caturaś caiva lakṣāṁs… That means 8,400,000 species of life, and you have got this human form of life, civilized form of life. This life has to be properly utilized. That is the whole purpose of Vedic literature. It is not to be spoiled like cats and dogs simply for sense gratification. One has to control the sense life or animal life and take to tapa. This very word is used there. Tapa means austerity, penance. We have read in the Indian history that there were many, many great sages, even kings; they left everything, they went to the forest for practicing austerity and penances. Recent, very recently… Every one of you know it that Lord Buddha… He was also Indian. He was also a kṣatriya, a prince, but he left everything and he went to the forest for self-realization.

So the self-realization process is to be achieved by this human form of life. That is… Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is indicating everyone. We are teaching that “Don’t spoil your this rare human form of life simply by engaging yourself in the matter of sense gratification.” Because sense gratification ample, or sufficient sense gratification opportunity you had even in the hog’s life. Because we have migrated, we have evolved from hog’s life also. Sometimes we had been a hog or a dog or something like that. Now we have come to this stage of life, this life should not be spoiled like the cats, dogs and hogs. But we should have some restraint and realize ourself. This possibility is there simply by chanting these sixteen words: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. This is possible. This is practical. Since I came to your country in 1965… Of course, for one year I was traveling here and there, but in 1966 I established first my class in New York at 26 Second Avenue. Then there were many branches now. We have got about sixteen branches all over the country. And these students, they are chanting, and they have taken to the austerity. I don’t accept any cheap student or cheap disciple. My first condition is that there is no illicit sex life, there is no intoxication, there is no gambling, and there is no meat-eating. These four principles are there, but all my students in these twenty, about sixteen centers—one in London, one in Germany—but you will be surprised that all these boys and girls, they have taken to this austerity very seriously. They’re not drinking even tea or smoking a cigarette.

So spiritual life does not mean a whimsical life. It is, first of all basic principle is, that building character. In the Bhagavad-gītā you will find that when Arjuna is accepting Lord Kṛṣṇa, he is saying that paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān: [Bg. 10.12] “My dear Lord, Kṛṣṇa, You are the most purest.” Purest. Most pure. Paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma: “You are the Supreme Lord. You are pure.” So idea is that if you want to have spiritual life, you have also become, to become pure. Without being pure… That pureness… This evolution means gradual process of purifying process. You are not… You are distinct from cats and dogs means your body is purified than the body of the cats and dogs. So purification required. The first principle of purification are these four regulative principles. So they have taken to this very easily. Some of them, students, they were, six months ago they were not my students, but by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa they have seriously taken to these principles of austerities. That is not… That is stated by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, that ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. As soon as you come to the understanding that “I am not this ma… I am not this matter; I am spirit soul,” immediately this process will follow, that you will have no unnecessary material demands. Smoking is not a necessary thing, but you have learned it by society or by company. So it is not necessary. It is unnecessary. Similarly, gambling is also unnecessary. Simply… Similarly, illicit sex life is also unnecessary. Oh, all these things are unnecessary, but we have gathered by some association for company. Similarly, you can give it up also, by association. So ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nir… [Cc. Antya 20.12]. And unless you purify yourself, you cannot understand yourself or the position of God.

It is stated, all these, in the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

evaṁ prasanna-manaso
mukta-saṅgasya jāyate
[SB 1.2.20]

Prasanna-manaso. You have to first of all place yourself in a platform which is full, free of all anxiety. Evaṁ prasanna-manaso. Prasanna means full of joy, full of life. Evaṁ prasann… That can be achieved simply by practicing this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, devotional service to the Lord.

evaṁ prasanna-manaso
[SB 1.2.20]

This science of God is not a petty thing. You see? We are going to understand the supreme cause of everything. What is God? God means the Supreme, the ultimate cause, or sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam [Bs. 5.1]. That is stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā. Just like you are searching out what is the cause of this thing, what is this cause of this thing, this thing… Go on searching. When you come to the ultimate cause, that is God. That is explained in the, I mean to say, Vedānta-sūtra. The Vedānta-sūtra, the first code is athāto brahma jijñāsā: “Now let us discuss about the Supreme Absolute Truth.” And immediately the answer is… What is Brahman? Janmādy asya yataḥ: [SB 1.1.1] “The ultimate source of everything.” A simple word. You have to find out the ultimate source of everything, the cause of all causes. Then you have found out God. Don’t accept a nonsense as God. Find out the cause of causes, ultimate cause, where there is no more cause. He is the ultimate cause. That is stated in Brahma-saṁhitā and all Vedic literature. Just like in the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated,

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
[Bs. 5.1]

This sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam, cause of all causes. Of course, it is not possible to explain all the science of God immediately, within half an hour or fifteen minutes. It is not possible. But our request is that don’t spoil your human form of life. You are all young boys and girls. You have got ample time. I am old man. I will die, say, within five or ten years, but you’ll live at least for sixty, seventy, eighty years. Culture. Cultivate this knowledge, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and you’ll be happy. Your life will be successful. That is all.

And the method is simple: chant Hare Kṛṣṇa: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare… If you simply chant, that is sufficient for your self-realization. But if you want to study this philosophy, or the science of God, through your philosophy and argument, logic, we have got enough stock of books. We have got sixty volumes of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Already we have published five volumes. We have got Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. We have got Teachings of Lord Caitanya. We are publishing Back to Godhead paper. So if you want to understand this philosophy by your learning, by your academic career, we have got sufficient stock to supply you—sufficient stock. Don’t think that we are all sentimentalists, simply dancing. No. There is a background. There is a background. If you want… You are educated boys and girls. Try to understand this philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Your life will be successful. That is our aim. I’ll not take much of your time.

Now, if you have got anything to ask from me, I shall reply for fifteen minutes. Then we shall begin our chanting, and I shall request you that you also join with our chanting. That is our request. Thank you very much. [pause] You have got any question? All right. Thank you. There is no question. Then chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. [end]

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