By taking part in the mission of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu,
one can positively change the course of world history.
The most exciting and enlightening life one can possibly experience in this Kali-yuga is a life dedicated to pushing forward the Krishna consciousness movement for the benefit of all the suffering, bewildered souls of this age. By accepting this anxiety of freeing the world from its anxiety, the devoted propagator of Krishna consciousness lives a life completely free from personal anxiety. Because of his selfless life of service he is described as being an ocean of mercy and as para-duhkha-duhkhi, one who suffers to see the suffering of others.Just as the Srimad-Bhagavatam is revolutionary because it can bring about a spiritual revolution on this planet, similarly the lives of those who are propagating the culture of Srimad-Bhagavatam are also revolutionary. They are having the biggest impact on world history by their daily activities of deeply imbibing and mercifully broadcasting the transcendental name, fame, forms, qualities, and pastimes of the all-powerful, all-beautiful, all-renounced, all-knowledgeable, all-wealthy, and all-famous Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna. These spiritual revolutionaries are the vanguard of the prema-tsunami, the tidal wave of love of God, which has already begun to inundate the world in fulfillment of the prediction of Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja:
saj-jana, durjana, pangu,
“The Krishna consciousness movement will inundate the entire world and drown everyone, whether one be a gentleman, a rogue, or even lame, invalid, or blind.” (Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi 7.26)
When one humbly accepts on the order of Guru and Gauranga this revolutionary mission as his life and soul, he must remember that he can only be successful in having an uplifting impact on this universe to the extent he has revolutionized or uplifted his own heart. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura compares a Vaishnava to a touchstone, which can turn iron into gold. The more one is Krishna conscious, the more he is like a touchstone able to inspire the nondevotees to take up the path of Krishna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada explains that the devotee who is completely offenseless in his chanting becomes jagad-guru and influences the entire world to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.
Save Yourself by Offenseless Chanting
Therefore even more important than the endeavor to save the world is to save ourselves by becoming offenseless chanters of the Lord’s holy names. Offenseless means to avoid the ten kinds of offenses against the holy names, which are given as follows in the Vedic scriptures:
The first offense is to be critical of those who have dedicated their lives to propagating the Krishna consciousness movement. This means that such devotees are always to be loved and respected even if we sometimes have a difference of opinion with them. Krishna says that unless we are the devotees of His devotees, we are not His devotees. Therefore in all conditions we must remain the devotees of His devotees.
The second offense is think that chanting the names of the demigods is on the same level with chanting the name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu or Krishna. We must always remember that Krishna is not another one of the gods. He is the god of the gods.
The third offense is to disobey the order the spiritual master. This means that one who is serious to awaken his Krishna consciousness must take shelter of and become initiated by a bona fide spiritual master and accept his spiritual master’s orders as his life and soul.
The fourth offense is to blaspheme the Vedic literatures or any literatures written in pursuance of the Vedic version. Literatures that glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead in an authorized way are not of this world. These literatures are transcendental and can deliver their readers to the spiritual world. We must always maintain veneration and respect for all such literatures.
The fifth offense is to consider the glories of the holy name an exaggeration. Since the holy name is Krishna Himself it is fully empowered with all of the unlimited potencies and glories of the Lord. Even one pure utterance of Krishna’s name can destroy the reactions for sinful activities performed over millions and billions of lifetimes.
The sixth offense is to concoct perverted theories about the holy name. Someone may say, “Krishna means ‘black,’ and ‘black’ means ‘ignorance,’ so Krishna means ignorance.” We should simply understand Krishna and His name according the version of the saintly teachers, the spiritual master, and the Vedic wisdom.
The seventh offense is to intentionally commit sinful activities with the idea that it is okay to sin and then neutralize that sin by chanting.
The eighth offense is to chant the holy names for some material purpose, like getting a new job or a new car or for winning the lottery.
The ninth offense is to instruct an unwilling audience about the transcendental glories or spiritual significance of the holy name. We should first give such persons the opportunity to become purified by hearing the sweet chanting of Krishna’s names. Then we can instruct them in the science of the holy name.
The tenth offense is to not be interested in the holy name of the Lord even after hearing of its transcendental nature. In other words, we must develop genuine taste for Krishna’s holy name. Otherwise, we are offenders against the name.
Those who want to become empowered and push forward this movement must become expert in avoiding these offenses. This is because we become empowered to liberate the world only to the extent that we are personally liberated. In other words, if we want to convince others of Krishna consciousness, we must be thoroughly convinced of it ourselves. If we are still doubtful, how will we convince others? In this regard Srila Prabhupada told his disciples in Vrindavana on 7 November 1976:
God is all-powerful, but when we hear that God at the age of seven years lifted the Govardhana Hill, immediately we dismiss, “Oh, this is all mythology.” Why? If He has got inconceivable power He is all-powerful is it very difficult for Him to lift the Govardhana Hill? “No, we don’t believe in God. Even if we believe, we want to believe in our own way that is bhavyam, conceivable.” But He is durvibhavyam. You cannot conceive.
Become Convinced and Then Convince Others
We have to remember that Krishna’s glories are far, far beyond the limits of our conceptual powers. We have to connect with His inconceivable qualities through love, and then when we actually become qualified with full conviction we will able to see Him at every minute. If we are fully convinced, it is not difficult to convince others because conviction is contagious. If someone is absolutely convinced that Krishna is God, he can convince the entire world. Srila Prabhupada is the best example of this. If we took a survey in New York City asking people if they believe in God, many people would say they do. But if we told them that God is a little blue cowherd boy who wears a yellow silk dhoti and a peacock feather in His hair, who stands on the bank of the river Yamuna on a moonlit night attracting the gopi girls with His flute to associate with Him, many people would think we were crazy. So how did Srila Prabhupada convince thousands of Americans that this is indeed an accurate picture of God? It was his conviction that convinced them. We develop this kind of conviction by performing loving service, not through any mental gymnastics or adjustments.
Purifying Within and Without
So our field of action is twofold: within and without. We purify our inner vision by offering loving service to the Supreme Lord and His pure devotees. And then we have to work to purify the vision of the world population by educating them in the science of Krishna. In regards to these realms of action Srila Prabhupada has nicely explained in his purport to Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.18.9) as follows:
“Therefore we should pray to Lord Narsimhadeva to sit in our hearts. We should pray, bahir nrsimho hrdaye nrsimhah: ‘Let Lord Narsimhadeva sit in the core of my heart, killing all my bad propensities. Let my mind become clean so that I may peacefully worship the Lord and bring peace to the entire world.’”
We pray to become fully Narsimhadeva-ized within our hearts, and we pray that the entire world can become Narsimhadeva-ized in their hearts. This is the meditation of a person who is fully dedicated to inundating the world with krishna-bhakti. So the spiritual revolution begins with one’s own heart. If one wants to inundate the world with bhakti he must first inundate his own heart with bhakti. One must develop a mood of complete humility, realizing one’s utter incompetence for spreading Krishna consciousness while at the same time enthusiastically endeavoring to do so for the pleasure of guru and Krishna. Srila Prabhupada very nicely explains in the introduction to The Nectar of Devotion the proper mood one should have as he endeavors to be a spiritual revolutionary:
The author of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami, very humbly submits that he is just trying to spread Krishna consciousness all over the world, although he humbly thinks himself unfit for this work. That should be the attitude of all preachers of the Krishna consciousness movement, following in the footsteps of Srila Rupa Gosvami. We should never think of ourselves as great preachers, but should always consider that we are simply instrumental to the previous acaryas, and simply by following in their footsteps we may be able to do something for the benefit of suffering humanity.
Just as Arjuna was an instrument in the hands of Lord Krishna for defeating all the Kuru warriors on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, we should humbly place ourselves as instruments in the hands of Guru and Gauranga for defeating the demonic influence of the age of Kali.
The Battle Between the Divine and the Demonic
In the material world many people are fond of playing sports all kinds of ball games. For one who has adopted the mood of a spiritual revolutionary, such sporting activities are regarded as child’s play. Because what is the end result of all these games? One team gets more points than the other team and is declared the winner. What difference does it make in the grand scheme of world history which team wins the game? Ultimately, it has no relevance. So why waste our valuable time engaging our sporting propensity in such a way? It is better to engage this propensity to play the ultimate ballgame of seeing which team will control the gigantic ball known as the earth the suras or the asuras, the divine or the demoniac. At the present moment the demonic class of men has brought the earth planet completely under its control. Their team is very large; it consists of practically the entire human population. So what can a miniscule team of suras, servants of God, do to change the direction of world history? It seems impossible, doesn’t it? But just as light is more powerful than darkness, the followers of God are ultimately destined to be successful in this gigantic ballgame of the culture of light versus the culture of darkness.
Does one have to wait until his heart is completely pure until he has fully realized Krishna before he endeavors to enlighten others with Krishna consciousness? No. Whatever one has realized about Krishna he should propagate as far as possible to a world that is currently completely ignorant about Krishna. When Krishna sees the devotee’s sincere endeavor, He gives him more transcendental realization. In other words, the more you give Krishna, the more you get Krishna.
Therefore if you have not already done so, kindly, at this moment, dedicate your life for revolutionizing your heart and then the entire world. It will be the most auspicious commitment you have ever made in millions upon millions of lifetimes.
Sankarsana Dasa, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, is an ISKCON initiating guru and regularly travels all over the world. His internet-based training program, known as the Ultimate Self Realization Course, has more than 13,000 people enrolled from 100 countries. One can sign up for his course at: www.ultimateselfrealization.com