By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Every living entity is searching after peace. Everyone, from the aquatics to the highest form of human being, from the ant up to Brahma, the first creature of this universe, is searching after peace. That search is the main objective of life, and it constitutes the very struggle for existence. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said that the only peaceful man is he who is in full Krishna consciousness, for he has no demands. He is akarmi, which means he does not suffer the reactions of his activities, that he has no desire, is self-sufficient and has nothing to ask. Such a person, fully situated in Krishna consciousness, is completely peaceful.
Everyone else falls into three other classes — bhuktis, muktis, and yogis. The bhuktis hanker after material happiness and enjoyment. These are the people who want to eat, drink, be merry and enjoy a life of the senses. There are different modes of enjoyment according to the body, and people are searching after sense enjoyment on this planet, on other planets, here, there, and everywhere. The main objective of this pursuit is simply to gratify the senses. Such are the bhuktis. The next class, a little more elevated, is the mukti class, those who, fatigued and frustrated by sense gratification, desire liberation from material entanglement. These Salvationists, however, also have some desire — the desire to be free from this material entanglement. The yogis, the third class, are busy searching after mystic perfection. There are eight kinds of mystic perfection which grant one the ability to become smaller than the smallest, heavier than the heaviest, lighter than the lightest, etc. Ordinary persons who are after sense gratification, and those who are Salvationists, and those who are after mystic perfection — all have some demand. This is not true of the devotees, however. They have no demands because they simply want to serve Krishna. They are awaiting the order of Krishna, and that is their satisfaction. If Krishna tells them to go to hell, they are prepared to go, and if He says, “You come to me,” they are also prepared to go. Because they have attained the perfect ional stage, they have no demands.
It is because we are in material bondage that we have so many demands. The masses of people simply want sense gratification, and those who are a little more advanced want mental satisfaction, and those who are even more refined strive to show some magical power in this world. All of these are in material bondage in different ways. Therefore a person who is Krishna conscious prays to the Lord: “My dear Lord, when shall I be fully absorbed in Your thoughts or Your service? When shall I be simply conscious of You and free from all mental demands?” Being absorbed in the thought of Krishna is not simply being absorbed in some abstract, concocted speculation. It is actual meditation on the Supreme Person that is indicated. By such meditation, all mental concoction and desires are completely eradicated.
At present we are hovering over the mental plane. The mind is constantly driving us to go here and go there, and it is to our benefit that we stop taking dictations from it. In order to do this, we have to establish ourselves in our constitutional relationship with Krishna as His servant. “I shall simply be Your eternal servitor,” we should think. “And I shall be very cheerful, for I have my master.” Those who are not in Krishna consciousness are guideless, and because they are their own guides and are uncertain, they are always fearful. A person who is in Krishna consciousness, however, has the advantage of having this supreme guide; therefore he has no fear. As long as a child is under the care of his parents, he has no fear, but as soon as he is free of them, he finds so many impediments. When we engage in Krishna consciousness one hundred percent, we will immediately become very peaceful, for we will immediately gain liberation from all mental concoctions. For this reason Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that those who are in Krishna consciousness are actually peaceful because they have no demands. Those who are after sense enjoyment, salvation and yogic mystic perfections are all always full of anxiety. As long as one is full of anxiety, he should know that he is still under the grip of material nature, and as soon as one is free from all anxiety, he should know that he is liberated. Fears and anxieties exist because we do not know Krishna, the Supreme Lord, the supreme controller. Instead, we ascribe to other conceptions and are therefore always anxious.
Yet there are many difficulties which arise when we begin to take to Krishna consciousness. For example, Prahlada Maharaja, although five years old and a pet child, found that his father became his enemy and tried to kill him just because he was a devotee of the Lord’s. This is the way of the world; as soon as one becomes a devotee of the Lord, he finds so many obstacles presenting themselves. But one should be assured that these obstacles will not be serious hindrances or impediments on the path. Despite all obstacles, we should always be personally prepared to become Krishna conscious, otherwise we can only turn to the kingdom of maya, illusion. Maya will try to defeat us as soon as she sees that a living soul is leaving her grip, but as soon as we become Krishna conscious and fully surrender unto the Supreme Lord, we have nothing more to fear from this illusion. Therefore the Krishna conscious person is a perfectly peaceful person.
Everyone wants peace in the world, but no one knows how to attain it. The defect in the philosophy of the peace marchers was noted by the Archbishop of Canterbury when he said, “You want the kingdom of God without God.” If we at all want peace, we have to understand that peace means knowing God. This is stated in Bhagavad-gita. Unless we are in touch with the Supreme Lord, Krishna, we cannot have peace, for this is the real key to the peace formula. The real peace formula is that one must know that God is the proprietor of all this universe, including the United States, Russia, China, India, etc. Because we claim that we are the proprietors, there is fighting, discord and disagreement. In such consciousness, how can there be peace? We first must accept the fact that God is the proprietor of everything and that we are simply guests on this planet for at most one hundred years. We come and we go, and while we are here, we are absorbed in the thought that “This is my land. This is my family. This is my body. This is my property.” We do not stop to consider that when there is an order from the Supreme, we will have to leave this home, body, property, family, money, bank balance, etc. Our position has to be totally vacated. When material nature takes us in her grip at death and offers different kinds of bodies, she says, “Now my dear sir, you accept this body.” In this way we are forced to accept an American body, Indian body, Chinese body, cat’s body, dog’s body, etc. We’re not even the proprietors of these bodies, yet we are claiming to be these bodies. This is all due to ignorance. In such ignorance, where is the possibility of peace? Peace can only be had when we understand that God is the proprietor of everything. Our friends, family and relatives are guests of time. When we accept this knowledge, we will have peace.
We are searching for a friend to give us peace and tranquility, and that friend is Krishna, God. If we would just make friends with Him, we will find that everyone is our friend. God is situated in everyone’s heart, and if we make friends with Him, He will dictate from within so that we will be treated in a friendly way. If we make friends with the police commissioner, we will receive some advantages, or if we make friends with the president, so many people will be our friend. Similarly, if we make friends with God, everyone will be our friend. If everyone understands that God is everyone’s friend and that He is the supreme proprietor, the world will become peaceful. This is the verdict of Lord Chaitanya’s.
In Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Chaitanya Charitamrita and in all other Vedic literatures as well as in the literatures of all other religions, this very fact is presented: God is the proprietor, and He is the only friend. If we simply understand this, we will have peace, for this is the perfect peace formula. But as soon as we encroach on God’s property, claiming it to be our own, there will be police action taken in the form of material nature, which will inform us that we are not the proprietors. We can only have what is allotted by God.
Our only business is to elevate ourselves to perfect Krishna consciousness and nothing more. If we deviate from this law, or if we don’t accept this principle, or if we want to enjoy more, then we will have to suffer. There is no question of forgetting, for those who are in Krishna consciousness know nothing but Krishna. Therefore Lord Chaitanya says that one who is Krishna conscious has no demands and is at peace. This is a fact, for actually only those who are Krishna conscious are peaceful and unafraid. They are neither in heaven, nor in hell, nor anywhere else, for they are always with Krishna. Consequently wherever they remain is Vaikuntha. Krishna is never lost to them because He resides everywhere as Paramatma, the Supersoul in the hearts of all living entities. We should be careful to understand, however, that although Krishna lives within the heart of the hog, He is not being subjected to the punishments of a hog. The Lord and His devotees are always transcendental to the modes of material nature. Lord Sri Krishna Himself as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, seeing the pitiable condition of the general populace in the present day, directly distributes love of Godhead, and He distributes it freely due to His compassion for the suffering living entities.
Yet although love of God is being given freely and easily, people do not care for it. Guru Maharaja Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati used to say that if we take a langera mango, which is the highest quality mango in India, very costly, sweet, and tasty, and go from door to door and try to distribute it freely, people will doubt: “Why has this man brought this langera mango? Why is he trying to distribute it freely? There must be some motive behind it.” Similarly, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu distributes this Krishna consciousness freely, but people are so foolish that they think, “What is there to simply chanting Hare Krishna? This is meant for the foolish who cannot speculate and who do not have any higher standard of knowledge.” But factually this is not the case. In Bhagavad-gita it is said that out of millions and millions of people, only a few are so fortunate as to be interested in Krishna consciousness. We should not neglect this information, for it is very rare. If we prosecute Krishna consciousness, our lives will be successful, and our mission of human life will be fulfilled. The gift of Krishna consciousness is very valuable and very rare. Of the innumerable living entities who are wandering and transmigrating in the 8,400,000 species of life, he who takes to Krishna consciousness is most fortunate, for he has found a great spiritual treasure.
Sometimes devotees of the Lord go from door to door as beggars. This is the custom in India, where sannyasis in the renounced order often go to a householder’s door to beg. These sannyasis are very well received, and they do not ask for anything in particular but for whatever one can afford. If one simply offers a chapati to a pure devotee who comes to his door, he is made spiritually rich. When one is advanced in spiritual wealth, he offers a good reception to devotees, as far as possible. According to the Vedic system, even if an enemy comes to one’s home, he has to be received in such a way that one will forget that he is an enemy.
If by chance we receive training from a teacher who is a saintly person and a pure devotee of the Lord, by such contact we become pure. Therefore Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says that the fortunate person who has had some spiritual asset in his past dealings will seek the association of pure devotees. The seed of Krishna consciousness is received by the mercy of the guru, the spiritual master, and by the mercy of Krishna. When the spiritual master and Lord Krishna will that a person become Krishna conscious, the seed of Krishna consciousness very nicely fructifies. When one’s spiritual assets make him so fortunate that he becomes spiritually enlivened, he meets a bona fide spiritual master. By the grace of that spiritual master he can receive the seed of Krishna consciousness. That is the result of his inner urge, his questioning: “Where can I get this association? Where can I get this awareness?”
Krishna is within us, and as soon as He sees that we are very sincere, that we are seeking, He sends a bona fide spiritual master. By a combination of Krishna and the spiritual master, we receive the seed of Krishna consciousness. The seed is there constitutionally. If we have a very nice seed of a rose bush, what is our duty? Are we to lock it up in a safety vault in a bank? Our duty is to sow it in the ground. The seed of Krishna consciousness must be sown within the heart, not within the earth, but within our very selves. And after sowing the seed we must pour a little water on it, and that water is sravanam kirtanam, hearing and chanting. Once the seed is sown within the heart, we only have to pour a little water on it to make it grow.
It is not that we reach any stage in spiritual life where we will no longer have to hear or chant. This process goes on continuously. As with any plant, if we stop pouring water on it, it will dry up and not produce any fruit, so the plant of Krishna consciousness must be constantly watered by the process of hearing and chanting. Maya is so strong, so powerful, that as soon as she sees an opportunity she will at once try to dry the plant up. But by the process of pouring on the water of chanting and hearing, the plant of Krishna consciousness grows unlimitedly. There is a limit to the growth of every plant that we see; it grows, grows, and finally reaches a point where it stops. But the plant of Krishna consciousness grows in such a way that it does not rest in any part of the material universe because a Krishna conscious person is not satisfied with any planetary facility in any part of this material universe. Even if we offer a devotee a place in Siddha Loka, where the inhabitants are so powerful and elevated that they can fly in the sky without airplanes, he will not be satisfied. The plant of Krishna consciousness does not stop at any planet in the material universe but penetrates the covering of this universe, and even after reaching the causal ocean continues to grow. Even when it reaches the spiritual sky it is not satisfied with any Vaikuntha planet but continues to grow to enter into the highest planet of the spiritual sky, known as Krishna Loka. This planet is shaped just like a lotus flower, and it is the supreme abode of Sri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is there that the plant finds Krishna’s lotus feet and rests. As soon as the plant of Krishna consciousness captures Krishna’s lotus feet, it takes shelter saying, “There, I have finished my journey. Let me expand and bare fruit here.” In this way we come to enjoy Krishna’s association. In this position, the devotee attains the perfection of peace.