(Kadamba Kanana Swami Govinda Valley, Austrailia, 2011) Lecture – Caitanya-caritāmṛta
When I was in Amsterdam in the early seventies, I saw the Hare Krishnas. I saw them for the first time in Dams Square. They were singing and dancing, and were really enthusiastic……and there were a group of them who were chanting very fast:
“Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”.
They were jumping up and down like mad!I was looking at them and thinking:
“Total religious fanatics!”
I never ever thought to myself:
“Such religious extremity as this.”
And I just looked at them……it was just something extraordinary, and it seemed like the ultimate emblem of other worldliness. It seemed that these people had totally lost touch with reality, and the way they dressed sort of confirmed it! Because there was a red sock on one foot and a green sock on another, which makes you think that:
“They kind of lost it in their Hare Krishna cloud, by just chanting”.
So I wanted to establish today that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement is not at all worldly, and not at all just taking us to very ethereal dimensions. I wanted to establish that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement is very practical and dealing with the practical reality of everyday, because rather then taking us away from this world, it simply points out that:“Everything by nature has a connection with the Supreme Lord, and therefore, everything should simply be used for the service to Him”.
And that’s the whole idea. So in that way, one doesn’t need to turn away from the world. One doesn’t need to live in a cave, or give up everything. One can simply live in the world, but use it in a different way and that made a lot of sense. And that not only makes a lot of sense but that puts the Hare Krishna movement (which was started by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu) in the middle of the world! It puts it in the middle of life! It doesn’t put it in the forest, or the cave, or the monasteries, or in hiding since it puts it simply in everyday dealings…..and it purifies the everyday dealings which is very necessary, because at this point everyone thinks that it is they who are in the centre of the universe – yes:
“Accidentally I happened to be in the centre of the universe. What do you mean? No, I am in the centre of the universe!”
Everyone is thinking that:
“Everything is for my pleasure. Everything is for my purposes, for my comfort, for my protection, for my profits, for me!”
Yes – everything and everyone………….and if we changed that mood, then we will know that we are all here, and everything is here for the one purpose – to serve the Supreme Lord. Suddenly, then the world instead of being divided, becomes united. Suddenly, we become harmonious. If we recognise that all this energy – all the trees, all the grass, and all the animals are part of Krishna’s creation, then automatically our energy changes! If this is Krishna’s property, then one who is the servant of Krishna cannot treat it like a rubbish bin! That is automatically taken care of. Automatically there is respect…..automatically we won’t go just with the chainsaw in the forest to see how many trees we can cut down in an hour………….So, no we are respecting the creation. Srila Prabhupada quoted in the Bhagavad Gita:
‘ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ
budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ’, (B.G.10.8).
“I am the original of all the spiritual and all the material worlds. One who understands this properly worships me with love”
So Prabhupada said:
“If you love the body, then you will also love the finger!”
So this is very nice, and therefore Krishna Consciousness is not just taking place on the material platform, and not something that is very abstract, but it is also something very practical. And yet it also takes us above this practical level. It makes us understand deeper parts of ourselves – that we are eternal spiritual beings, and that we actually do not belong in the material world, but that we belong in the eternal spiritual world.
In this way Krishna Consciousness gives us not only promises for the afterlife; being a good devotee and being on your knees throughout your life….and we have to pray a lot and in the end you get your reward – No, that is not Krishna Consciousness. Krishna Consciousness is to improve the quality of your life right now, and while you are doing it at the same time start progressing to a eternal destination. Therefore Krishna Consciousness is complete!
There are so many spiritual processes that promises you a reward in the end, but Krishna Consciousness promises us improvement every step of the way. And that is what Sri Caitanya Mahaprabu gave. Therefore this is a complete process of what He gave!