In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna tells His disciple Arjuna, "I shall give you the most secret wisdom," and our spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, declares that Krsna consciousness is the most confidential knowledge. So what is the secret? And how can it be found out? Like any good secret, Krsna consciousness can only be revealed to one who can be trusted.
Srila Prabhupada tells a story from his own life to illustrate what it is to be accepted in confidence. When he was only twenty-two years old, Srila Prabhupada was placed as manager in charge of a department in the chemical concern of a Mr. Bose in India. Srila Prabhupada's father was a very intimate friend of Mr. Bose, and therefore the son was immediately able to take on a responsible post. From the very first day on the job, in fact, he was signing large checks on behalf of the company and was in charge of a number of workers in his department. Some of the older workers, however, were dissatisfied that a young man should suddenly be placed as their superior. Some of them were elderly and had been in the firm for forty years. After expressing their dissatisfaction among themselves, they finally decided to speak to Mr. Bose about the situation. When he was asked why the young man had at once been put in charge, Mr. Bose replied, "Oh, for that position I needed someone I could trust as my own son. I could only entrust the personal handling of my accounts in that department to him. His father and I are very close, and this young man is known to me practically as my son." In short, Srila Prabhupada's qualification was his intimate friendship; he could be trusted confidentially.
Similarly, the secrets of Krsna consciousness are revealed only to the confidential devotees of Lord Krsna. What are these secrets? Often people watch the Hare Krsna dancing and singing parties in the downtown streets of their cities, and they wonder about this mystery: Why is it that these boys and girls of American and European backgrounds have made this chanting of Hare Krsna their whole lives? Also, people who visit any of the many temples of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness sometimes wonder why these young persons have changed from the normal ways of modern civilization and taken to a life centered on transcendental consciousness. They wonder what it is that is attracting so many young men and women to Krsna consciousness, and sometimes they guess at the answers. But for most people it is a mystery.
Then there are those who have read or studied the sacred scripture Bhagavad-gita, which forms the basis of the Krsna consciousness philosophy. Bhagavad-gita another mystery. Great scholars and professors of religion and philosophy have applied their intelligence to Bhagavad-gita, and they even attempt to teach it but they cannot penetrate its mystery. They confess that they do not really know what it means. They are mystified. And, actually, Bhagavad-gita deals with a subject that is very mysterious and is therefore generally called "the unknown." What lies beyond death? What is eternity? What is God? Who am I? Why are we suffering? What is the purpose of existence? Where did we come from? The wonderful quality of the Bhagavad-gita is that it clearly answers all these questions. And it reveals even greater mysteries besides but only to devotees.
This brings up another important characteristic of confidential knowledge. "Confidential means," Srila Prabhupada says, "that not everyone will like it." For example, a young father may want to show us a collection of photographs of his newly born baby, but if we are not friends of his, are we particularly interested in looking at a collection of baby pictures? No. Those pictures are actually confidential, and only those who are interested in the young man and his family want to see them, for they take real pleasure in looking at them. It is the same with knowledge about Krsna consciousness.
Krsna consciousness is the topmost yoga system, and Srila Prabhupada describes why it is that Krsna chose Arjuna as His disciple and told him the "most secret wisdom." "Arjuna is a devotee," Srila Prabhupada writes. "He is submissive, and he is in contact with Krsna as a friend. Therefore Krsna is revealing Himself to him. What is the qualification? Krsna says, 'One who has developed the service spirit with love and devotion can understand Me.' Not otherwise can He be reached. The big scholars and mental speculators cannot understand. But a child can understand Krsna if he has full faith in Him. So faith and devotion qualify one. Simply by such faith and service you will understand that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
In other words, certain persons, due to their devotion and service to Krsna, have had the secrets of Krsna consciousness revealed to them. Anyone can also become such a confidential devotee, provided he approaches one who is already a pure devotee and tries to learn from him by inquiry and service. The chief quality of such pure devotees of Krsna is that, more than anything else, they crave this confidential relationship with Krsna. They are mad after performing some service for Krsna. They will give up everything just to enter into this confidential association of Krsna.
It is only fair that we consider many readers who may be asking at this point, "Who is Krsna that just knowing Him solves all these questions, such as what is beyond death and what is God?" Who is Krsna? Srila Prabhupada has described in conversation what the devotees are aspiring for and whom they are thinking of when they say "Krsna."
"The earth spins and turns around the sun, and the sun spins, and the universe turns, and there are millions of such universes. And this is all running to the exact ten-thousandth of a second in the right way. Think of what a brain devised this plan! That is Krsna. And just think: We are trying to associate with such a personality. Think of how great our ambition is. It is no small thing."
Krsna is God, the supreme controller. Krsna is worshiped in churches, temples and mosques all over the world and the universes, and He is prayed to in thousands of different names, like Allah, Jehovah, etc. He is the one God without a second. Since time immemorial He has been coming Himself to the earth and sending His confidential messengers, incarnations and sages. He has sent His son, Lord Jesus Christ, and the prophet Mohammed. They have all proclaimed the same message: "You are all servants of God; kindly give up the senseless life of selfishness and just love God."
But although the Supreme Lord has broadcast through scriptures and through His pure devotees that the way to end suffering and bring about peace and prosperity is to love God, the world remains in misery and ignorance, and very few actually take up the confidential path of loving service to God. Now, in the current scientific age, there is even much propaganda saying, "God is dead," or, "There is no God." Thus people become confused by so many contradictory doctrines.
There is even rampant hypocrisy among so-called representatives of God cheaters posing as pure, confidential devotees. In this way, since the secret mystery of Krsna consciousness has become covered up by man's madness, people think, "Well, there may or may not be God, but it is too confusing let me simply enjoy life for now. If there is God, He won't mind." Thus they become content to be other than a friend of Krsna's. In despair, people turn to other activities, and they do not crave their original confidential association with Krsna. They forget that it is even worth their interest or that it is at all pleasurable to associate with God. Actually, it is impossible to even exist without Him, since we are eternally His parts and parcels, and yet we have fallen into forgetfulness of this greatest love, which is the very purpose of life. Rather, people now seek confidential knowledge on how to improve sex desire, how to succeed in business, how to become famous in the world, or how to become God oneself throughyoga exercise. These materialistic versions of confidential knowledge are available, but they are just illusions, like mirages on the desert, and therefore they cannot satisfy. Each of us is originally and forever a servant of God. To be a servant of God means to live eternally in bliss and knowledge, but in confusion and in lust for enjoying without Him we have thrown away the secret.
Nonetheless, the situation is very hopeful. The devotees of Krsna are very hopeful because although people in this age are for the most part not interested in spiritual culture, they can still very easily begin Krsna consciousness and enjoy full spiritual bliss. This is the unique contribution and potent mystery of the Krsna consciousness movement. The mercy of this movement is that people in the grip of forgetfulness can very easily feel love of Krsna, which is itself the most intimate secret, by taking to the simple process of chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare.
Because there was no other hope, because people had completely fallen away from God consciousness, Krsna appeared in India 500 years ago as the incarnation called Lord Caitanya with a mission to show how to love Krsna. In other words, God Himself arranged to show us how to be devotees of God. It was for that purpose that Lord Caitanya came. His method, specifically, was chanting of the holy names of God, hearing of the glories of God from the lips of pure devotees, and taking prasadam, or food offered to Krsna. That is the gist of this dynamic movement of spiritual culture which is now sweeping over the present world situation.
The secret is open. The Hare Krsna mantra (chant) is the secret. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Anyone can chant these holy names constantly, and there is no hard and fast rule to chanting. You can have it at no expense, and there is no tax. The benefit is very great. It is revealed the name of Krsna is nondifferent from Krsna Himself. The name Krsna has all the qualities of the Supreme Person Krsna. If you chant Hare Krsna, you immediately enter His association. That is the sum and substance of the chanting. There is some initial difficulty only in that people are suspicious, for they are used to being exploited by free offers.
Srila Prabhupada's spiritual master, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, anticipating this reluctance, described that preaching Krsna consciousness is like going door to door with the best fruit, a nice fresh mango, and trying to give it away. People will be suspicious: "Oh, what is this? Why don't you want any money for it? What is the catch?" So they will be reluctant to take it. But even that difficulty is being overcome due to the overall attraction of devotional service.
The chanting, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, is the special benediction for this age. What was possible in former ages only by many years of meditation or yoga or difficult austerities is now, by the mercy of Lord Caitanya, being distributed freely. That is especially because of the fallen nature of this age. It is frankly stated in the scripture Srimad-Bhagavatam: "Men in this iron age of quarrel are very short-lived. O learned men, they are also very lazy, misguided and unlucky, and, above all, they are always disturbed." (Bhag. 1.1.10)
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is a pure devotee in the disciplic line from Lord Caitanya, whose teaching is identical to that of Lord Krsna. Although Lord Krsna is merciful, in His form of Lord Caitanya He is even more merciful. Lord Krsna promised, "Do not be afraid, for I will grant you all protection. Just surrender to Me." But in His most merciful, liberal and generous form, His appearance as Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Krsna is simply saying, "Be joyful. Chant, dance, sing, take prasadam." It should be noted, however, that this movement is not sentimental. It is authorized by all the Vedic scriptures. Into the Hare Krsna mantra are compressed all the Vedic rituals and all other holy mantras. It is the conclusion of all Vedic study. For persons who, in the midst of this age of atheism, are at all interested in love of God, there is no surer way to success.
By their mercy, those who hold the secret have let it out, and they are energetically distributing it. The purpose of the loud congregational chanting of the names and glories of the Lord is to enable not just a few persons but all humanity to benefit. It is very sublime even to try to understand how infinite is God's mercy in the form of the Hare Krsna mantra. Because no one in this age can perform the difficult procedures of yoga and austerity, everyone can be brought to the topmost perfection and revive his confidential relationship with God just by chanting. The same qualifications still apply, however: one must receive this gift from one who is already a trusted confidential associate of the Lord. Such a person is very rare, but he is present. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada is spreading this teaching everywhere through literature, lectures, and by his deputed agents, his many spiritual sons and daughters not for any personal motive but because he was ordered to do so by his spiritual master. You can inquire and verify for yourself that he is actually an intimate associate of Krsna.
All that remains is for you, on your part, to take this chanting. It is for this purpose that the Krsna consciousness centers are maintained. You can accept freely this matchless gift. Krsna consciousness temples dot the map, appearing in virtually every major United States city and many European and eastern cities, such as London, Hamburg, Bombay, Sydney and Singapore. They are like oases in the material desert. Every Sunday in each center, a feast is held. It is not an ordinary feast. The offering is sumptuousprasadam, which means spiritual food offered to Krsna, and the menu includes sweet rice, sanghasa (a spiced vegetable pastry), and laddus, a milk sweet which is so delicious that it is sought after by Krsna Himself, as described in the book, Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These festivities can get you out of hellish existence. Go take part in the chanting and read the literature of Krsna consciousness. This is not a bluffing movement. You will feel spiritual strength. Take advantage of this special mercy being distributed in this age. Enter the confidential secrets of Krsna consciousness and find your happiness.