The Swami Responds

Dear Swami,

In some of your writings, you use the term Krishna, the Divine Lover. Do you mean that Krishna is the Universal Erotic Principle? Or is Krishna a symbol for universal brotherhood?
Len Berkowitz

Dear Mr. Berkowitz,

It might be more accurate to say that eroticism by which I assume you mean sexual activity is a reflection of Krishna's Eternal Pastimes. Krishna is our eternal Lover, regardless of what body we may be in, if any. Sex must refer to the material body, but Krishna is unlimited, and His love is also unlimited. Neither time nor space can effect Them, as they do the body. As for brotherhood that presupposes a common father. As Krishna, God, is our common Father, an understanding of our relationship to Him must produce the true sweet brotherhood which our present civilization so sadly lacks.

Dear Swamiji,

Do you claim that the Vedic mythology is actually true?
Roger Cagloff

Dear Mr. Cagloff,

Do you claim it isn't?

Dear Swami,

What is the relationship between God and the material universe?
Maureen McShane

Dear Miss McShane,

This material universe is shining from the body of the Lord. We are as the sunlight, He the Sun.

Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,

I've heard that you believe in many gods. Is this true? How can you say that Krishna is God, if you follow many gods?
Sincerely, Kay Duffield

Dear Miss Duffield,

The demi-gods are like the ministers of state. Each fulfills a particular function, controlling a particular agency of Nature, so to speak. And Krishna, God, is like the King. God is One, but His energies, agencies and agents are infinite. Some are very powerful, like Brahma, the creator of this material universe, and some are relatively insignificant, like the dust of the roadside, or a flea. But all are God's, and only He should be followed nobody else, ever.

Dear Swamiji,

What are the upper planets? Is this the Christian heaven, or Kingdom of God?
Yours truly,
Ronald Holmes

Dear Mr. Holmes,

The Vedic literature informs us that there are three planetary systems in the material world the upper (heavenly) planets, the middle planets, and the lower, or hellish planets. This earth, for example, is a middle planet. The Kingdom of God, however, is Spiritual. It is transcendental to matter, and exists in the spiritual sky. The material planets are also within the spiritual sky but in a section which is covered by the unfortunate cloud of Illusion.

Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,

Could you please answer a question for me: Is there such thing as a spiritual sky? And if so, what is meant by the term? I've heard it used, but think maybe it's a mistranslation of some Hindu concept. Thanks.
Sutton Dale

Dear Mr. Dale,

The spiritual sky is not a concept, but a fact. Nor is it Hindu; it is beyond any material designation whatever. In the Bhagavad Gita and other Vedic writings this sky is described as being self-illuminated. That is to say, every atom of that sky is alive, conscious. Sky, or space, is considerably more extended than our modern scientists would have us believe. That is because their instruments are faulty and limited. But don't be fooled: you can yourself experience the spiritual sky, just as you can now perceive the blue vault over this planet. It simply requires finding out how to do so.

Dear Swami,

What is the Causal Ocean?
Your friend,
Judy Johnson

Dear Miss Johnson,

Can you picture a deep-sea fish wondering, What is the atmosphere? The outer wrapping is difficult to see from the middle of the inside.

Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,

I've heard a little about your Krishna Consciousness movement, and frankly I'm more than a bit skeptical. What is Krishna? Is it the Hindu concept of the Absolute Truth, like Om? Is it Void? Or is it a fearful character, like Jehovah? Another thing that bugs me is, how come Krishna isn't even mentioned as one of the Hindu Trinity?
Harry Fox

My dear Mr. Fox,

Please rest at ease Krishna is not a fearful character. In the Bhagavad Gita, He declares Himself to be the dearest Friend to all living beings. Om is the sound representation of Krishna. Like the Jewish Jehova, Krishna is a Name of God. But, again, let me assure you, He is your good Friend. In fact, He is your eternal Lover. You have simply forgotten Him. My movement is simply the work of an emissary come from your Divine Lover hoping to make you remember Him. As for the Void and the Hindu Trinity: do not lose sleep over them. They will not bite you. I shall take up those topics another time, when space permits.

Dear Swami Bhaktivedanta,

I have been chanting the Hare Krishna Mantra for a week. Am I liberated now?
Mrs. Jean McGillis

Dear Mrs. McGillis,

When you eat a good meal, do you have to ask the waiter if you are full? Keep chanting.
Your well-wisher
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Dear Mr. Wheeler,

A number of days ago, I read an article in the "National Insider" called: "The Secrets Of Krishna Consciousness." I quote you: "The Communists say that everything belongs to the State, we know that everything belongs to God. The key word is consciousness and I attained it purely by chanting the 16 words over and over again. It is the vibrations you see. … "Frankly, I don't see. When you speak of consciousness, I assume that you mean awareness. Now I know that my awareness changes in quality, that is, my awareness varies in intensity. Or I would say that my perception varies in sharpness. Now my question is this: are you saying that your perception of the world, what is, or reality has changed; or are you saying that your consciousness change has allowed you to perceive a different world from the one which you perceived before the change in consciousness? Let me put it another way. A number of years ago, the thought came to me that God is not a person; it came to me that God is a state. It seemed to me that one is always in the state of God, but that most of the time we do not perceive ourselves as being in this state. Am I making any sense to you? You spoke of consciousness expansion. What did you mean by it? I assume that you mean that you are less distracted and more able to perceive the world without projecting your own feelings and what have you onto it. Am I right or wrong.?

Suffice to say, I would be very grateful any information that you could give me on Krishna Consciousness. I agree with Swami Bhaktivedanta when he says that "Modern civilization is paying too much attention to the body and not enough attention to studying the nature of consciousness…"
Sincerely yours,
Stephen V. Crosby, Jr.
Penn. State College

Dear Mr. Crosby,

The Reality of God is eternal and does not change. It is Sat Chit Ananda that is, eternal bliss and knowledge Absolute. It is also Consciousness and Intelligence. It is also beyond Consciousness and Intelligence. As the Supreme Personality, it is He (i. e. Krishna), and He is pure Spirit, or Soul (Purusha) which is imperishable, omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Nothing can really be predicated about Him. He is.

Now, in regards to our individual consciousness this can be changed. In fact, it is constantly being changed from day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment. We are conditioned beings and imperfect. Our senses are imperfect. We do not always perceive the omnipresent Spirit, but this does not mean that He is not there. Our imperfect senses "get in the way". This is what is meant when it is said that the Supreme is "veiled by Maya, or Illusion." The Lord's Prakriti, or material energy, emanates from Him, and entangled in this energy, we lose sight of the Origin, the Ultimate Source which is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna.

The process of changing our consciousness to God Consciousness is the process of chanting the Holy Names of God: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This is simple and scientific and sublime. For example, music changes your consciousness very quickly. If you hear rock and roll, you might think of sex. If you hear Bach's Mass in B you may have a religious ecstasy. These sounds remind you of certain things… they change or direct your consciousness to these things.

Similarly, chanting Hare Krishna directs our consciousness to Krishna, and turns it away from Maya. The more you chant, the more your consciousness changes, the more God conscious you become. Then God will reveal Himself to you. It is a matter of preparing yourself to "see" the Supreme. Who are you that the Supreme should stand before you? What is man that God should be mindful of him? First we must qualify ourselves.

I could write interminably about the chant, but will stop here. By consciousness expansion I mean seeing God in everything, as the eternal Reality underlying all forms.
Howard Wheeler