Only by knowing God can we satisfy Him,
and only then can we know perfect happiness.
A lecture in Vrndavana on August 16, 1974
yad atra kriyate karma
jnanam yat tad adhinam hi
"Whatever work is done here in this life for the satisfaction of the mission of the Lord is called bhakti-yoga, or transcendental loving service to the Lord, and what is called knowledge becomes a concomitant factor." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.35)
First of all we must know what God is; then we can try to satisfy Him.
Unfortunately, at the present moment people have only a vague idea of God, or practically no idea. What is their God? "God is good" they may say, or sometimes "God is great." But how He is great, how He is good this nobody knows.
Without detailed knowledge of God, what question is there of bhagavat-paritosanam, satisfying God? Suppose somebody tells me, "Go satisfy Mr. Smith." But if I do not know who Mr. Smith is, where he lives, or what he does, how can I satisfy him?
So, bhagavat-paritosanam can be possible only when we actually know what God is. Otherwise, there is no question of satisfying God. We Krsna conscious devotees know what God is. Therefore satisfying Him is possible for us, not for others. Our idea of God is not vague. We know who God is, where He lives, what He does, what His name and address are, what His father's name is everything. And because we know exactly who God is, we are competent to satisfy Him.
Who is God? Krsna.
The Bhagavatam confirms: krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. "Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." How do we know that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead? From evidence presented by history, by authoritative scriptures, and by Krsna's actions. Everything confirms that Krsna is God.
From the historical point of view, Krsna is described as God through the Mahabharata, the history of greater India. The Vedas also describe Krsna as God. In the Yajur Veda, the name of God is given as Krsna, and His father's name is given as Vasudeva. Besides the histories and authoritative scriptures, when Krsna appeared on earth five thousand years ago, His actions proved that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
So where is the difficulty in understanding Krsna to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead? The definition of God given by Parasara Muni is aisvarasya samagrasya viryasya yasasah sriyah jnana-vairagyayos caiva: "God is the richest personality, the strongest, the most famous, the most beautiful, the wisest, and the most renounced." Krsna is all these things. For example. He has given us the Bhagavad-gita. Who else has ever given such wise instruction throughout the whole world throughout the whole universe? Nobody.
Krsna is so beautiful that 16,108 very, very beautiful women were attracted to marry Him. And many millions of unmarried gopis [cowherd girls] were also attracted by Krsna, the most beautiful male. One of Krsna's names is Syamasundara. He issyama, "blackish," yet He is still sundara, "very beautiful." He's so beautiful that His beauty surpasses that of millions and millions of Cupids (kandarpa-koti-kamaniya-visesa-sobham). Another name of Krsna is Madana-mohana. Madana means "Cupid," and mohana means "enchanter." Cupid enchants everyone in this world, but even he is enchanted by Krsna.
So, to satisfy God we must first of all know who He is. Now, Krsna is God according to the evidence provided by history, the authoritative scriptures, and Krsna's own activities. What more proof do you want? Is there anyone who can challenge Krsna for the post of God? Everything confirms that He is God. Then why are you still searching after God? This is foolishness the owls' philosophy. The owl will not open his eyes to see the sun. If you say, "Just open your eyes and you will see the sun," the owl will keep his eyes shut and say, "No, there is no sun." Similarly, meditators close their eyes to search for God within, and when we say, "Here is God Krsna," they say, "No, I'll not open my eyes."
We do not follow this owls' philosophy. We follow real philosophy. What is that real philosophy? Sruti- pramanam: We accept evidence about God from the Vedic literatures. There are many kinds of evidence, but followers of the Vedic principles accept sruti-pramanam as the foremost evidence in spiritual matters. This means that if something is mentioned in the Vedic literatures, it is accepted as fact There are four Vedas, one hundred eight Upanisads, eighteen Puranas, and the Mahabharata all are Vedic literatures.
Now, in the Vedic literatures we find the words of spiritual authorities, such as Lord Brahma, for example. He is the best authority because he is the first living being created within the universe. At the time of creation, first of all Lord Brahma is born. He is the adi-kavi, the original learned scholar.
What does Brahma say? In the Brahma-samhita he says, govindam adi-purusam tarn aham bhajami: "I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord." He also says, cintamani-prakara sadmasu kalpa-vrksa-laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam. Here Brahma is giving a description of Krsna's abode and activities. He says Krsna is very fond of tending cows (surabhir abhipalayantam). In His abode, Goloka Vrndavana, the houses are made of touchstone (cintamani-prakara-sadmasu). Touchstone is a type of stone that can turn iron into gold. These stones are used as bricks in the spiritual world. And the forests are full of desire trees (kalpa-vrksa), which can supply any kind of fruit you desire.
This is Krsna's abode. It is not like this world. Here everything is material, but there everything has the spiritual touch. That spiritual touch is described by Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita [7.10]: bijam mam sarva-bhutanam. "I am the original seed of all existences." Without the spiritual touch, there is no question of the material manifestation. Your body, my body, this material world they are all made of earth, water, fire, air, and so on. But how are they manifested? How can a beautiful body be manifested? Because there is the spiritual touch because the spirit soul is there in the body. Dehino 'smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara. The external body is changing due to that spiritual touch. And that spiritual touch is Krsna.
Therefore, the origin of everything is Krsna, just as the origin of a big tree is the root. Krsna is the adi-purusa, the "original person," and sarva-karana-karana, the "cause of all causes." In a tree there are the trunk, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, and so many other things. But the cause of the whole tree is the root. Therefore only if you water the root will all the other parts of the tree be nourished.
Here in this verse of the Bhagavatam it is said, bhagavat-paritosanam: the "root" the Supreme Personality of Godhead must be satisfied. If you want to maintain the tree, then the root, the original cause of the tree, must be satisfied. Similarly, everyone will be satisfied if Krsna is satisfied.
In this material world people are trying to be happy, but they do not know how to become happy. They have been put into the ocean of nescience. They may be very expert swimmers, but simply by swimming they will not be saved. They must know howto be saved, and that is by satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna.
In this verse of the Bhagavatam it is said, yad atra kriyate karma bhagavat-paritosanam: "Whatever activities you may perform, do them to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead." There are two kinds of activities: vaidiki and laukiki. Vaidikimeans "activities done according to the Vedic rituals." These include the performance of big, big sacrifices, and many other activities. We also have good experience nowadays of many laukiki activities, such as work in factories and mills, scientific research there are so many. This is laukiki work.
So, Narada Muni does not say that simply by vaidiki activities big, big ritualistic ceremonies you can be happy. You can be happy even by laukiki activities, provided they are conducted for the satisfaction of Krsna. You want to develop the economic position of your country by industrial enterprises? Yes, that is also good. But bhagavat-pari-tosanam: by this work you must satisfy Krsna.
Our Krsna consciousness movement does not say you should stop anything. No. Whatever you like to do, you can do, but by your work you must try to satisfy Krsna. This is our proposal, and it is confirmed in the scriptures [Bhagavatam 1.2.13]:
atah pumbhir dvija-srestha
The Vedic literatures describe eight divisions of society according to varna and asrama [occupation and spiritual status]. But the success of the activities of all these divisions depends on satisfying Krsna.
The divisions of work must be there; otherwise society cannot go on very nicely. After all, this is the material world. If everyone becomes a brahmana [intellectual], society will not go on. There must be others. There must be ksatriyas the statesmen, protectors, politicians, diplomats. And there must also be vaisyas the productive class of men. Economic development is also required. Otherwise, how will human society go on? And there must also be the worker class of men. Suppose you are constructing a temple. If everyone simply chants Hare Krsna, who will construct the temple? No, there must be workers also. Everyone is required.
So, we do not say "Stop this" or "Stop that." No. The division of society into four varnas and four asramas has been scientifically done by Krsna Himself. The asramas are for spiritual advancement, and the varnas are for material advancement. We need both, because our life is a combination of spirit and matter. We have to make the best use of a bad bargain. Suppose you have a car, but it is not a very good car. Three times it breaks down. Still, you have to utilize it, though it is a bad bargain. Similarly, somehow or other we have gotten this material body. So we cannot neglect it.
We don't say, "Stop taking care of your body." No. The instruction of the six Gosvamis is anasaktasya visayan yatharham upayunjatah: "Don't be attached to fulfilling the bodily demands, and at the same time utilize the body in devotional service to Krsna." The bodily demands are eating, sleeping, sex, and defending. We should not think, "I am not this body, so I don't care for eating and sleeping." No. That is not real renunciation. This kind of renunciation is not recommended by our Krsna consciousness movement. Following the Gosvamis, we recommend that you not be attached to fulfilling the demands of the body but rather utilize the body for advancing in Krsna consciousness.
Eating is required. If you don't eat nicely, the body cannot be maintained. But don't eat too much. And don't eat just to satisfy the tongue. Why eat meat, fish, and eggs? They are unnecessary. You are a human being, and for you Krsna has given such a variety of foodstuffs: fruits, vegetables, nice rice, dal, milk, ghee. Why should you eat meat? Eating is not prohibited, but you should eat like a human being, not like the cats and dogs. That is our philosophy.
Similarly, sleeping is also necessary. You require some rest, but don't sleep twenty-six hours a day. Six to eight hours is sufficient for any healthy man. Even the doctors say that if someone sleeps more than eight hours a day, he is diseased. And those who are advancing in Krsna consciousness should reduce sleeping as much as possible, just as the Gosvamis did. They slept only one and a half or at the utmost two hours a night. And sometimes not even that.
We should try to follow in the footsteps of the Gosvamis. Go means "senses," and svami means "master." So, if we keep the title Gosvami and become the servant of our senses godasa that is cheating. You must be Gosvami, the master of your senses. In other words, you must have self-control.
What did the Gosvamis do? Nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau: they conquered over sleeping (nidra), eating (ahara), and sense enjoyment (vihara). Our process is to try to follow the Gosvamis. We should keep in mind what they did. They used to pass their time chanting the Hare Krsna mantra very loudly and dancing (krsnotkirtana-gana-nartana-parau). And they were very popular with all classes of men (dhir-adhira-jana-priyau). There are two classes of men in this world: dhira and adhira. Dhirameans "saintly persons," those who have controlled their senses. And adhira means just the opposite. So the six Gosvamis were popular with both classes of men. Their character was so sublime.
The only aim of this Krsna consciousness movement is to satisfy Krsna (samsiddhir hari-tosanam). Samsiddhih means "perfection." If we want perfection in our activities, we should try to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
You may say, "I do not see the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face. How shall I know whether I am satisfying Him or dissatisfying Him?" That you can know from your spiritual master. It is not very difficult. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah: If your spiritual master is satisfied, then you should know that Krsna is satisfied. And yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi: You cannot satisfy Krsna if you dissatisfy your spiritual master. That is not possible.
As I mentioned before, satisfying Krsna depends on knowing the science of God. So; the knowledge of God comes down from Krsna to Brahma, from Brahma to Narada, from Narada to Vyasa, and so on down to your spiritual master. And just as the knowledge has come down step by step, from one to the other, so you can satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead by going up step by step, step by step. This is the process of parampara, following the disciplic succession.
The parampara system must be maintained. And if it is maintained nicely, then, as stated here, whatever you do is for your perfection. If you try to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then whatever you do is perfect. It doesn't matter what it is. The test is whether Krsna is satisfied, and whether your spiritual master is satisfied. If they are satisfied, then you are perfect.
Thank you very much. Hare Krsna.