Our Leaders Are One Step Ahead
A talk given some ten years ago by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, at the Hare Krsna center in Paris.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for kindly participating in this Krsna consciousness movement. This movement is very important. It is the movement to save human society from spiritual death. At the present moment human society is being misled by blind leaders. The situation is like that of a blind man helping other blind men to cross the street. There is blind following in the sense that we do not know what the real aim of human life is.
The aim of human life is to achieve self-realization and reestablish our lost relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That relationship is the missing point in today's society. The Krsna consciousness movement is trying to enlighten human society on this important point.
According to the teachings of the Bhagavad-gita, the perfection of life is to realize one's relationship with Krsna, or God. Perhaps you have read or know about the Bhagavad-gita. The Bhagavad-gita is accepted by all acaryas (authorities in transcendental science) as the basis of all Vedic knowledge. From the Bhagavad-gita we can understand that not only human beings but all living entities are part and parcel of God. The parts are meant for serving the whole. Just as the legs, the hands, the fingers, the ears, and all other bodily parts are meant for serving the whole body, we living entities, being part and parcel of God, are duty-bound to serve Him.
We are always rendering service to someone. Somebody is rendering service to his family, somebody is rendering service to his community, somebody is rendering service to his country. And if one has nobody to serve, sometimes he will keep a pet cat or dog and serve it. So we are constitutionally meant to render service to someone else.
But despite rendering service to the best of our ability, we are never satisfied, nor is the person to whom we are rendering service satisfied. Every one of us is frustrated. Why? Because the service is not properly placed. If you want to render service to a tree, you must water the root. If you pour water on the leaves, branches, and twigs, your service will be wasted. Similarly, you need not give food separately to the different parts of your body. If you supply food to your stomach, the energy will be distributed all over your body.
In the same way, if we serve the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead, then everyone will be satisfied. Therefore, the perfection of all welfare activities and all service to society, family, and nation is to render service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna.
It is the duty of every human being to understand his constitutional relationship with God and to act accordingly. Then our life becomes successful. This human form of life is meant for that purpose. We are missing the point, however, because we are following materialistic leaders who are spiritually blind.
Sometimes people challenge, "I don't care for God," or "There is no God," or even "I am God." But these kinds of challenges will not help us. God exists, and we can see Him at every moment. But if we refuse to see God during our life. He will be present before us as cruel death. There are innumerable features of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because He is the original cause of the entire cosmic manifestation.
In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna explains how we can gradually understand Him and see Him personally, face to face. He says, "I am the taste of water, I am the sunlight, I am the moonlight, I am the sound vibration in the sky, and I am the character of the great personalities." So if anyone is actually serious about understanding God, he can follow the injunctions given in the Bhagavad-gita and realize Him in so many ways.
Everyone drinks water daily (not only once but several times). So if we remember what Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita "I am the taste of water" then God realization begins. Similarly, Krsna says, "I am the light of the moon and the light of the sun." Every one of us has seen the sunlight and the moonshine. So how can we say that we have not seen God? Krsna says, "I am the sound vibration in the sky." Who has not heard the sound of thunder in the sky? As soon as we hear the thunder, we can hear God.
The conclusion is that everyone sees God at every moment. But the atheists do not accept that they are seeing God. They deny this and say, "God is dead" or "Show me God." But a devotee of God sees the Lord at every moment, both externally and within his heart.
So the difference between the devotee and the nondevotee is that the devotee sees God at every moment and in every stage of his life whereas the atheist sees God only at the last stage of life, at the point of death.
The human form of life is given to us by nature for the purpose of realizing God. If we don't use our human life for understanding ourselves and our relationship with God, then we are committing suicide. The purpose of the Krsna consciousness movement is to save people from committing suicide to educate the foolish human civilization in the science of God. As spirit souls we are evolving through many species of life, and if we don't take advantage of the human form, we are missing our chance.
Without God consciousness, Krsna consciousness, there cannot be any peace. Everyone is hankering for peace, but no one knows how to achieve it. Therefore, the Krsna consciousness movement is the greatest welfare activity in the world, and we request everyone to take advantage of this great scientific movement.
Our presentation is authoritative because we are guided by the principles of knowledge contained in India's ancient Vedic literature. There it is said that in this age people are so fallen that they cannot realize God by the difficult methods of previous ages. So the process of understanding the science of Krsna has been made very easy: Just chant the holy names of God Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And if you know some other bona fide name of God, you can chant that, because ultimately there is no difference between the different names of God. Each holy name is invested with all the powers of God.
Lord Caitanya ["Lord Caitanya is Lord Krsna Himself in the form of His own devotee. He appeared in Bengal, India, five hundred years ago to teach love of God through the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra.] explained that since every holy name of God is nondifferent from the Supreme Lord, all His energies are there in His holy name. On the absolute platform there is no difference between the name of a person and the person whose name we are chanting, as there is in this relative world. So there is no difference between the holy name of God and God Himself.
Lord Caitanya also said, "There are no hard and fast rules and regulations for chanting." Thus you can chant the holy name of God anywhere and everywhere. When you are walking down the street or riding on the bus, you can chant the holy names of God, and you will benefit without having spent any money and without having hampered your business.
We therefore request and recommend that as long as you live you should chant the holy names of God: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. We don't charge anything. It is open to everyone. Why not make an experiment? Simply chant Hare Krsna, and you'll feel how much you are advancing in spiritual knowledge. This is the first-class way of attaining God realization.
If you don't believe in this simple method and you want instead to understand Krsna consciousness through science and philosophy, we have many books that explain this science of chanting the Hare Krsna mantra. We have a magazine, BACK TO GODHEAD, and also Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nectar of Devotion, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, and many other books for those of you who want to make a serious study of this philosophy.
Everyone should be serious about taking to Krsna consciousness, because if we miss this opportunity we do not know what is going to happen to us after death. We may have a human body, or we may have an animal body, or even a tree body. But if we chant the Hare Krsna mantra and become advanced in Krsna consciousness, we are guaranteed at least a human body in our next life.
In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says that those who have begun Krsna consciousness can fulfill the whole program within this lifetime, get salvation, and go back home, back to Godhead. But even if one fails to achieve success in one lifetime, he gets his next birth as a human being in a rich or pious family. This is guaranteed.
Therefore, our humble request is that henceforward you please chant the Hare Krsna mantra whenever possible. You have enough time, there are no rules and regulations, and there is no fee. You'll see how much you benefit.
Thank you very much.