Notes transcribed from lectures given December 21, 22, 1966.
Lectures on the Chaitanya Charitamrita
Liberation from material bondage is called Nirguna. As soon as we are transcendental to the three modes (gunas) of material mature, we are liberated. There is a Vedic injunction that living in the city or village is for those in the state of rajas (passion); living in the forest is for those in the mode of sattva (goodness); and those who live in the liquor store or gambling casino are in tamas (ignorance). When you live in a temple of Krishna, that is Nirguna.
Only Vishnu is actually Nirguna. The three gunas cannot affect Vishnu (Narayana, Krishna). Those in touch with Krishna are similarly above the modes so it is quoted from the Srimad Bhagawatam by Lord Chaitanya. It must be accepted that we are transcendental and liberated from the modes if we are engaged for Krishna. Such a person is liberated. But Krishna-consciousness is also a declaration of war against Maya. Maya is so powerful, how can you hope to save yourself? Yet, if you simply adhere to Krishna consciousness, there will be no power to get you into the province of personal sense-gratification which is maya's domain. In the spiritual world there is only activity for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord. No power in the world can drag you down if you are situated in the Supreme. If you simply think, How can I serve Krishna? even then you will become liberated, so what to speak of actually doing something?
Although it may be snowing outside, you have the means to stay inside and be protected. Similarly, Vishnu and Vishnu bhakta (devotion) are not affected by the modes. The foolish think that Krishna is one of us. Whereas it is He who provides and He who is the Proprietor.
Krishna is the Original Lord and Vishnu is His plenary expansion. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna Himself says, "There is nothing Supreme over Me." In Brahma Samhita it is said that, "Govinda is the Original, and from Him come all other Vishnu expansions." This is like the original candle from which one can light innumerable candles. These others may be of equal power, but you have to accept the one as original. When Krishna came, He was completely free from all rules and regulations. Rama, on the other hand, took only one wife and later banished her when public criticism was turned against her thus Rama followed the codes and regulations for a King. Krishna, however, called girls at night to come and dance with Him. He followed no rules or regulations; for Him there is no law. Other incarnations came to fulfill some particular purpose, but they did not exercise full power. It is widely confirmed that He is the Supreme Person. Not even Radha, His Eternal Consort, nor the Gopis could control Him when He wanted to leave Brindaban.
Shiva and Brahma are order-carrying servants of Krishna. Krishna is the only Master, and everyone else is His servant. We are servants of the servants of His servants, thus extended a million times. He who realizes this is liberated. But he who thinks that he is God is a dog. Lord Chaitanya said, I am not a Brahmin, I am not a Hindu, I am not a Sannyasi I am the servant's servant's servant. When you learn that, you will be in Krishna consciousness. Liberation is not to become God, but the dog of God.
Realization means to know, "I am not this matter." That is all right, but what are your activities? Liberation is to have activities based on realization, in other words, devotional service. When you give up your obligation to Maya, you then become obliged to Krishna consciousness. One just doesn't say "I am American," or "I am married" there must be some activities of an American or a married person. Just to say "I am Brahman" is insufficient. What are your activities? Nonsense? Do you mean to say Brahman means nothingness or death? There are activities which turn on Brahman realization. But those with little brain substance cannot see beyond the giving up of the world. Therefore, after giving up the world and family and taking sannyasi (the renounced order), they again come down and open hospitals, do philanthropic work, and take up the worship of man. Those sannyasis who open hospitals are applauded, and those who preach Krishna are thought of as third class and old fashioned by people in general.
Explanation of Krishna's "separation" from the Gopis: This is a spiritual matter and cannot be understood in terms of material or physical separation. The Gopis' intense crying when Krishna left Brindaban is spiritual and eternal. On the spiritual platform, there is no difference between crying for Him and being with Him. If there were separation, how could it be transcendent? To be crying for Him they are fixed on Him, thinking of Him. This is absolute. Lord Chaitanya also cried for Krishna. To actually cry for Krishna is the most perfect realization.
In Chaitanya Charitamrita, Lord Chaitanya quotes from the Srimad Bhagawatam and Brahma Samhita in which Brahma says, "I am appointed by the Supreme Lord, and Shiva is also an appointed agent. We are under the control of the Supreme Lord. Actually, nobody is free or independent of God. Furthermore, nobody is equal to or greater than He." This is spoken by Brahma to his disciple Narada who said, "So far as we know, you (Brahma) are the Supreme; yet sometimes you meditate and worship." In answer to this, Brahma informed him of his real position.
The energy of the Lord is said to be in three forms, whether conceived of materially or spiritually. Perceived materially, the energies are divided into goodness, passion and ignorance. On the spiritual plane, the energies are divided into spiritual, material and marginal potencies.
Lord Chaitanya goes on now to discuss the six kinds of incarnations. These are: Purusha, Leela, Guna, Manantra, Yuga, and Saktavish. Thus far he has discussed Purusha, Leela and Guna avatars. Now he explains Manu and Yuga. He is telling Sanatan Goswami, his disciple, that there are countless avatars of Manu. They come in one day of Brahma. One day of Brahma is equal to 1,000 yugas or 4,300,000 of our earth years. Similarly one night of Brahma has the same duration, and he lives 100 years, consisting of such days and nights. Within these twelve hours of a day of Brahma there are fourteen Manus. In one such month there are 420 Manus, in one such year, 5,040. So there are 504,000 Manus in one Brahma lifetime. And there are innumerable Brahmas.
Therefore, these incarnations can't be counted. What is more, all these Manus and Brahmas live during one outgoing breath of Maha Vishnu. There is no way of measuring the power. Because our intelligence cannot cope with this, we dismiss our source as void, or else we speculate endlessly on it. But we have evidence from Vedic literature, on which we can to some extent gauge the size and scope. Evidence comes in three forms: (1) Higher authority, which is the surest; (2) Direct perception, which is often not available; and (3) The age-old tradition of parampara, or disciplic succession of knowledge. The source of evidence of my father's identity is my mother. I must hear this from her. Similarly, we hear of the Supreme from Mother Vedas.
The Manu avatars are rulers. Manu is the father of man. He gives directions on how to live to the conditioned souls who are conditioned because they wanted to enjoy material nature. The Manus say, "Enjoy in this way, and you can come back to Godhead." Manu Smriti and Manu Samhita are law books of the Hindus. So for those who are serious, the sages and saints, such as Manu, point the way. After each and every dissolution, Manu comes. There is one Manu avatar in each universe. They have names, but they are uncountable.
The Yuga incarnations occur in every millennium. There are four Yugas, the Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali Yugas. When 1,000 yugas pass, that is 12 hours of Brahma. Each Yuga is divided into four. The Satya Yuga lasts 18 lacs, or 1,800,000 years. The Treta Yuga lasts 1,100,000 years; Dwapara lasts 800,000 years and the Age of Kali lasts 432,000 years. At present, 5,000 years of Kali Yuga have passed. There are 427,000 years of Kali yet to go. Kali Yuga means the age of quarrel, hypocrisy and ignorance. This situation will grow more intolerable as the yuga progresses. One should know that earth is a condemned place. If one is satisfied with a condemned condition, as the Bowery bum is satisfied lying in the road, he cannot make progress. We are always in the grip of Nature, and consequently we are suffering the three-fold miseries of material existence. Spiritualists are said to be pessimists, and this is actually quite true. One must be.
The Vedic literature offers us an ideal place, where we can go after the leaving of this condemned place. We must try for it. Try for Krishna. Unless one tries, he is defeated. We are born ignorant, and if one is educated more and more into ignorance, as we are today, then all is defeated. One should ask is there a remedy? The Vedanta Sutra states: "Now (in the human form) it is time for you to inquire into your Brahman life." This is the knowledge that I am not this body, I am spirit-soul. But to simply know this without living according to one's knowledge is pointless. To act like Brahman is to be a Vaishnava. The act is called Bhakti, or devotional service. As soon as you begin activity in Krishna consciousness, you at once attain Brahman. The more you act, the more firmly you become situated in spiritual life. In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, "My dear Arjuna, declare it to all the world, that my devotee never perishes." We should try to follow this concept as it is found in the Vedic literatures, and under the proper guidance.