Sunday 28 September 2014

Sunday 21 September 2014

'On seeing God'

Interviewer: Your Divine Grace, is the purpose of human life to realize God? 

Srila Prabhupada: Yes -- that is the only purpose.

Interviewer: Srila Prabhupada, have you realized God?

Srila Prabhupada: What do you think? What is your opinion?

Interviewer: I can't say.

Srila Prabhupada: Then if I say yes, what will you have understood? If you are not expert, then even if I say, "Yes, I am God-realized," how will you take it? If you do not know what God-realization is, then how can you ask this question, and how will you be satisfied by the answer? Therefore, you should not ask this question. It has no value -- unless, of course, you are prepared to accept whatever answer I give. Are you prepared? 

Interviewer: Yes.

Srila Prabhupada: Then it is all right. I am seeing God every moment. [Pause] But unless you are prepared to take the answer, you should not ask such questions.

Interviewer: Your Divine Grace, is meditation a means to realize God? 

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Meditation is one means, but you cannot meditate now, because you do not know what God is. So how will you meditate? If you do not know what God is, upon whom will you meditate? First of all, you must know. We know God -- Krishna and Krishna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhaktah: "Always think of Me." So we meditate upon Krishna. That is perfect meditation, because meditation means to think of God. But if you do not know what God is, how can you think of Him? 

Interviewer: It is written in many scriptures that God is light.

Srila Prabhupada: God is everything. God is darkness, also. We say that God is that person from whom everything comes. So light comes from God, and darkness also comes from God. 

Interviewer: Do you think that meditation is a way to see God inside yourself? 

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. That is the description of meditation. Dhyanavasthita tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah: by concentrating his mind, the yogi tries to see God within. So you must know what God is. Consider our ISKCON institution, for example. My disciples know what God is, so they can think of God. But if you have no idea of God, how will you think of Him?

Interviewer: This path of devotional yoga, bhakti-yoga -- is this the path for the present age?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, bhakti-yoga is the real yoga. You'll find that when the yoga system is described in Bhagavad-gita, the Lord says, "The first-class yogi is he who is always thinking of Me, Krishna, within himself." So our students are being taught to think of Krishna always, twenty-four hours a day, without stopping. That is first-class yoga. 

Interviewer: If you are to think about something, you first have to see it. Do you show your devotees Krishna?

Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Certainly. 

Interviewer: Then what ... well ... what is Krishna? What does He look like? 

Srila Prabhupada: See -- here is Krishna. 

Interviewer: But that's a painting. 

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, it is a painting. But suppose a painting of you were there. Could I not say, "Here is Mr. such-and-such"?

Interviewer: Yes.

Srila Prabhupada: Then what is the wrong there? Is your picture not yourself?

Interviewer: Yes, it is.

Srila Prabhupada: Similarly, this is Krishna’s painting. But the difference is that we cannot talk with your picture but we can talk with Krishna’s picture. That is the difference.

Interviewer: But still, somebody must have seen Krishna to actually paint Him. 

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. When Krishna was present on this earth, so many people saw Him. And since then, there have been so many temples of Krishna’s Deity, Krishna’s form. The same form described in the Vedic literature appeared personally, and the devotees made statues. These forms of Krishna are being worshiped regularly. There are thousands and thousands of Krishna temples. 

Interviewer: But has anybody actually seen Krishna?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, yes -- just as your father has seen your grandfather. You may not have seen him, but your father can describe him -- "My father was like this." What is the difficulty? 

Devotee: He asked if anyone now has seen Krishna.

Srila Prabhupada: How can one see Him now? One has to see through the parampara, the disciplic succession. You have not seen your grandfather, so how do you know who he was?

Interviewer: Your parents tell you. 

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. So you have to receive knowledge about God from the authorities, from the parampara. 

Interviewer: But supposedly Krishna is eternal, so surely He exists today. 

Srila Prabhupada: Yes, Krishna is existing. At night the sun is existing, but you have no eyes to see it. That does not mean the sun does not exist. It is your deficiency -- you cannot see. 

Interviewer: So we need divine sight? 

Srila Prabhupada: You require qualification. Krishna always exists, but you require the qualification to see Him. That is described in the Vedic scriptures. Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti: those who are saintly persons in ecstatic love with Krishna can see Him always, twenty-four hours a day. That is not very difficult to understand. If you love someone, you see him always. Is it not so? You need the qualification of love. Then Krishna will be visible twenty-four hours a day and talk with you. So you have to qualify yourself to hear Krishna, to see Krishna. But Krishna is always present.

This discussion between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and a reporter took place at ISKCON's center in Melbourne, Australia.

Sunday 14 September 2014

"Allah is a Name of God"

In the opinion of Islamic theologians, Allah has 100 names but only 99 of them are revealed in different verses of the Holy Qur'an. The 100th name of Allah is hidden. Those who come to know this name can perform miracles. (O Gudratov, N. Gudratov, Mohammad Peygambar: Hayati va Kalamlari. Baki, 1990, p. 18)

Allah is a name of God

Srila Prabhupada: So what is this, Hare Krishna? Hare means the energy of the Lord, and Krishna means the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So, it is a prayer. There are three words only: Hare, Krishna and Rama. They have been arranged in sixteen words:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare

So our movement is that we request you to take up these sixteen words — not sixteen words, three words, Hare, Krishna and Rama. But these are arranged in such a way that there are sixteen words. So, anyone can take them by heart, these three words, and chant them. It is universal. And if you think that "Oh, Krishna is the name of a Hindu god," if you have got any objection, then you may not chant Krishna, but you must have a name for God.

Just like the Muslims call Him Allah, the Jews call Him Jehovah, or somebody calls Him something else. That doesn't matter. If you think that "Why should I chant the Indian name Krishna, Sanskrit name Krishna?" So, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that there are millions and billions of names of God. If you think that this Krishna name is not very suitable, you can accept any name. That doesn't matter. Our proposition is you chant God's name. That is our proposal. Therefore, it is universal. If you like, you can chant Jehovah or you can chant Allah, but we request you that you chant God's name. Is it very difficult? It is not at all difficult.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said that there are innumerable names of God according to different languages, different countries, different societies. And each and every one of them has the potency of God Himself. If there is a God, He must be Absolute. Therefore, there is no difference between His name and He Himself. Just like in the material world, in the world of duality, there is a difference between the name "water" and the substance water. The name "water" is different from the substance water. If you are thirsty and you simply chant, "Water, water, water, water," your thirst will, not be quenched. You require the substance water. That is material, but spiritually, the name Krishna or the name Allah or the name Jehovah is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Lecture, 15/06/68)

Srila Prabhupada: So I pleaded to the Muslim audience, "You can chant the name of Allah also. It's not necessary to have to chant the Krishna name, but any name indicating the Supreme Lord can be chanted." (Lecture, 20/03/75)

Srila Prabhupada: That's all right. Then our request is that you chant the name of God. So if Allah is the name of God, you chant Allah, don't chant Krishna. We say this. (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)

Srila Prabhupada: Just like Allah. If this name indicates God, then it is this word "Allah" which is as good as God. There is no difference. The Allah, the conception of Allah means the Great, is it not? So God is Great. So by chanting Allah, I am meaning God, the Supreme Person. So it is as good (as God). And actually in the Mosque, they chant Allah-u-Akbar, like that, so far as I've heard. So, that prayer, if it is not God's name, then what is the use of this prayer? That is God's name. Similarly, the Hindus may chant Hare Krishna, they're indicating to the same personality. It may be in a different language but it is as good as God because God is absolute. This name is authorised because Muhammad said, "You chant Allah." So it is authorised, because he is God's representative.
Therefore my request is, or our request is that you chant the name of Allah. We don't say that you have to chant Krishna. You chant the Holy name of God. If Allah is an approved name of God then you chant it. That is our request. We don't force you to chant the name of Krishna. No, we don't say that. If somebody says, "Jehovah is the name of God," that's all right, then you chant Jehovah. "Allah is the name of God," that's all right, you chant it We simply request that you chant the holy name of God. That's all. If you have got it, we don't force you to chant the name of Krishna. That is not our way. We accept, if Allah is God's name then it is as good as the name "Krishna." We are not so sophisticated that you have to chant this Krishna's name. No, we say: "Harer nama." That is the shastra (scripture). Harer noma means the name of the Lord. So, there are many thousands of names; that's a fact. So, we request you actually chant the name of God. Pick from millions of God's names. Whatever you like, you pick and chant. That is our propagation.

In this age of quarrel and disagreement, God realisation is very difficult. But if you chant the Holy name of God, then you'll gradually realise Him. This is our program. So, we don't force you to chant this name "Krishna," No. Shastra (scripture) says, harer nama — chant the holy name of God. That is our program.

Lady: Before your asked about something else. I want to ask, how could you meet the Supreme being by chanting...?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. By chanting.

Lady: chanting of a worldly name, tuned into a prayer... Srila Prabhupada: This is not a worldly name. Why do you make that mistake? God's name is not worldly. Lady: Because if you really know the tuning of God...

Srila Prabhupada: Do you think Allah is a worldly name?

Lady: We recognize it is before Krishna...

Srila Prabhupada: That's all right, you recognize it. Allah is not a worldly name. It is given by the authority, Muhammad. So you have to chant it, if you know God.

Lady: But he didn't really mean Allah is the name of God.

Srila Prabhupada: Why do you say that he didn't mean?

Lady: Because...

Srila Prabhupada: That is your say. Muhammad did not say, "What I say, I did not mean."

Lady: No, the name of God. He didn't mean Allah.

Srila Prabhupada: You say. Who cares for your word? Muhammad said this is the name of God. We have to accept, that's all.

Lady: So why...?

Srila Prabhupada: You cannot say, "He didn't mean." You are not a private secretary of Muhammad, (laughter)

Lady: So then how do they say that the name of God rests in God...

Srila Prabhupada: No, these things are not accepted.

Lady: Was before God...

Srila Prabhupada: Don't talk childish.

Lady: Was God.

Srila Prabhupada: (Whatever) Muhammad said that is authority. That we accept. We accept Muhammad as the representative of God. Whatever he says, we accept; that's all. What you mean, that is your business. But he is the authority; he said, "This is the name of God. You chant, you pray." Allah of God. That's all. That is authority. (Room conversation. Tehran, 14/03/75)

When the Holy Prophet Muhammad was asked about the most excellent Iman (faith), he answered: "To love him who loves God, and hate him who hates God, and to keep your tongue employed in repeating the name of Allah." (Abdullah al- Mamun al-Suhrawardy, The Sayings of Muhammad. London, 1905, p. 24)

Once the Holy Prophet said: "Pray to God morning and evening, and employ the day in your avocations." (Abdullah al-Mamun al-Suhrawardy, The Sayings of Muhammad. London, 1905, p. 2)

Monday 8 September 2014

“Tulasi Devi never goes back to Godhead. She is always with Godhead”

6 January, 1972

My Dear Radhaballabah das,

Please accept my blessings. I beg to acknowledge receipt of your first and second copies of your letter dated December 18th, 1971 which were sent to Bombay and Madras respectively.

I am very glad to know that you are seriously taking to Srimati Tulasi Devi worship. Tulasi Devi is a pure devotee of Krishna and she should be treated with the same respect given to all Krishna’s pure devotees. Simply by worshipping her faithfully, a devotee can get himself free of from all material miseries.

In the Nectar of Devotion I have given two verses from the Skanda Purana, one of which is: “Tulasi is auspicious in all respects. Simply by seeing, simply by touching, simply by remembering, simply by praying to, simply by bowing before, simply by hearing about, or simply by sowing the tree, there is always auspiciousness. Anyone who comes in touch with the Tulasi tree in the above mentioned ways lives eternally in the Vaikuntha world.”

So from this verse we can understand how pure is the service which Tulasi offers to Sri Krishna. So we should always endeavor after becoming servant of Tulasi Devi.

I do not know who has taught you that part of a Tulasi plant may be cut off and then replanted? From the Tulasi plant you can cut off only leaves for offering them to Krishna, never for cutting and planting. That is an offense. The manjaris (seeds) can be offered in water and it makes the water fragrant and tasteful. And the manjaris can be planted for growing new Tulasi plants.

Yes, the prayer you have enclosed is bona fide. Tulasi Devi never goes back to Godhead, she is always with Godhead. She is a pure devotee and thus she has appeared on this planet to render service to Krishna by being offered in all temples throughout the world by being offered up to the lotus feet of Krishna.

Chanting japa should be done early in the morning with full concentration preferably during the Brahma Muhurta time. Concentrate fully on the sound vibration of the mantra, pronouncing each name distinctly and gradually your speed in chanting will increase naturally. Do not worry so much about chanting fast, most important is the hearing. A devotee should always be grave and silent which means that he only discusses topics relating to Krishna Consciousness.

Yes, spend your time chanting and reading and taking Krishna Prasadam and automatically your tongue will come under control. If you sincerely engage 24 hours daily in devotional service according to the instructions of the Spiritual Master, chant daily 16 rounds, attend the arati ceremony of Lord Krishna, associate with the devotees and adhere strictly to the regulative principles then Krishna will reveal Himself personally to you.

I hope this meets you in good health.

Your ever well-wisher,
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Thursday 4 September 2014

Radhastami Celebration 2014 @ Hare Krishna Center

Srila Prabhupada on the morning of Radhashtami
Many devotees came to attend the festival
Dayalu Nitai Das, President of Hare Krishna Community addressing the devotees
The main entrance of the temple being decorated with lights and flowers

                                                   Tulasi Arati on the eve of Radhashtami

Lamp being offered to the devotees

Devotees dancing and singing in Kirtan
The delicious offerings for Lord Radha and Krishna

Final Darshan
"Krishna Prasadam Ki Jay"