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Even better than visnu-aradhana is to worship the Vaisnavas." Mad-bhakta-pujabhyadhika. Krsna has said also that "Anyone who is worshiping My devotee, pure devotee, that is better worship than one who is worshiping Me directly

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"Even better than visnu-aradhana is to worship the Vaisnavas. Mad-bhakta-pujabhyadhika [SB 11.19.21]. Krsna has said also that Anyone who is worshiping My devotee, pure devotee, that is better worship than one who is worshiping Me directly"


Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

A Vaiṣṇava should be ready to give respect to anyone, all living entities, because all living entities are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. They should offer respect to everyone. Just like this finger is my part and parcel of the body. If you respect my body and kill my, cut my finger, shall I be happy? No. Therefore Vaiṣṇava knows this, that "Even a small ant, he is the part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. So if I kill this ant, Kṛṣṇa will be unhappy. Kṛṣṇa will be unhappy."
Lecture on BG 9.11 -- Calcutta, June 30, 1973:

So this jñāna and vairāgya can be achieved simply by becoming a devotee of Vāsudeva. That is the verdict of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Vāsudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ, janayaty āśu vairāgyam (SB 1.2.7). Āśu vairāgya, very soon. Just like these boys, these American, these European boys, they are young men. Now they have taken sannyāsa and dedicated their life for service of Kṛṣṇa. They are vairāgya. They are coming from opulent nation, very rich men, rich nation. Their parents are very rich. There is no scarcity of food. There is no scarcity of money. There is no scarcity of women in the western countries. But they have left everything. Simply boys. They are all within thirty. How much a young man may have propensities for enjoying this material way of life! And when there is facilities. But how they have taken to it? This is the proof.

vāsudeve bhagavati
bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ
janayaty āśu vairāgyaṁ
jñānaṁ ca yad ahaitukam
(SB 1.2.7)

This is proof. So actually if we want jñāna and knowledge... because human life is meant for jñāna and knowledge. Human life is not meant for living like animals, cats and dogs. Cats and dogs cannot be elevated to the platform of jñāna and vairāgya. That is not possible. A human being can be elevated by education, by culture, to the platform of jñāna and vairāgya. That is the ultimate goal. Śrī Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings therefore,

hari hari bifale, janama goṅāinu,

manuṣya-janama pāiyā, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nā bhajiyā

jāniyā śuniyā biṣa khāinu

This is jñāna, regretting "My dear Lord, I got this very opportune moment to possess this human form of life, manuṣya-janama pāiyā, but my duty was to worship Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa." That is the highest perfection of worshiping. Ramya kecid upāsanā vraja-vadhu-vargabhir ya kalpita. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommended, "The upāsanā, the worship which was invented by the gopīs to worship Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, ramya kecid upāsanā, there is no more perfect upāsanā." So this rādhā-kṛṣṇa-upāsanā is the perfection of upāsanā. Even it is better than viṣṇu-upāsanā. In the material way of life viṣṇu-upāsanā has been recommended as the highest. Ārādhanānāṁ paraṁ devi viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param. It is the statement of Lord Śiva to Pārvatī, that "Of all ārādhana, viṣṇu-ārādhanam is the best."

ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ
viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param
tasmāt parataraṁ devi
tadīyānāṁ samarcanam

Tasmāt parataram. "Even better than viṣṇu-ārādhana is to worship the Vaiṣṇavas." Mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhika (SB 11.19.21). Kṛṣṇa has said also that "Anyone who is worshiping My devotee, pure devotee, that is better worship than one who is worshiping Me directly."

So Śrī Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says that "I got this opportunity of human life, but instead of worshiping Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, I have worshiped so many things." Somebody is worshiping his body, somebody is worshiping his mind, somebody is worshiping his country, somebody is worshiping his something else, something else, or somebody is worshiping some other demigods also. But that is not recommended in the śāstra, at least in the Bhagavad-gītā. Kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ yajanty anya-devatāḥ (BG 7.20). There are worshipers of other demigods, but they have been described in the Bhagavad-gītā as hṛta-jñānāḥ. Hṛta-jñānāḥ. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura comments, naṣṭa buddhayaḥ, "one who has lost his intelligence." These are the verdict of the śāstra. Therefore one who has taken only to Kṛṣṇa worship sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekam (BG 18.66), only Kṛṣṇa, he is intelligent. And one who is not intelligent, mūḍha, he does not take to Kṛṣṇa. This is straight meaning of Bhagavad-gītā. You can make your own meaning, but if you want to understand Bhagavad-gītā as it is, this is the meaning. You cannot accept the worship even of big, big demigods. What to speak of minor demigods, even big demigods just like Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva... You can worship. Vaiṣṇava is ready to give respect even to the ant. And why not Lord Śiva? And why not Lord Brahmā or any other demigods? They offer. But they offer in which way? As servant of Kṛṣṇa.

Just like in the Brahma-saṁhitā, there is: sṛṣṭi-sthiti-pralaya-sādhana-śaktir ekā chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni vibharti durgā (Bs. 5.44). This is worship of Durgā. A Vaiṣṇava, Brahmā, is offering respect to Mother Durgā. So similarly, a Vaiṣṇava never disrespects any demigod. Why demigods? They are so exalted. They do not disrespect even an ant. Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā mānadena. A Vaiṣṇava should be ready to give respect to anyone, all living entities, because all living entities are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. They should offer respect to everyone. Just like this finger is my part and parcel of the body. If you respect my body and kill my, cut my finger, shall I be happy? No. Therefore Vaiṣṇava knows this, that "Even a small ant, he is the part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. So if I kill this ant, Kṛṣṇa will be unhappy. Kṛṣṇa will be unhappy."

There was a vyādha. In the Padma Purāṇa, this story is there. He was habituated to kill animals. Vyādha, you know, hunter. So he was killing so many animals half-dead. So Nārada Muni was passing through that forest, he was very much aggrieved, "Who is this rascal, killing these animals half, and they are flapping out of painful condition? Let me see this rascal." So he searched out this vyādha, hunter. The vyādha was very busy in his hunting. So he thought... Because, after all, Nārada Muni is a Vaiṣṇava, after seeing him personally his heart was immediately little clarified. So he offered respect: "Sir, you have come here for some tigerskin or deerskin. I shall give you, but don't disturb (me) in my business. Please let me do my business."

So Nārada Muni said, "All right, you do your business, but one thing I request: 'Why you are not killing these animals all at a time? Why you are killing half? It is great sin.' " Then it stuck to his brain. "Sin? What is this sin?" Then he described the effects of sin. Then he said, "I have been taught by my father to do this business. So if I do not do this business how shall I live?" So Nārada Muni said, "If I guarantee your living, would you give up this business, this profession?" "Why not? If I get my living means, then I can give up." So it was agreed that he will give up his business of hunting. And Nārada Muni said that "I will give you all the necessities of your life. Come on." So it is a long story. I am making short cut.

So Nārada Muni asked him that "You sit down on this bank of Ganges and here is the tulasī plant. You worship it, and I will send your food. Don't be worried." So next morning it was declared in the village, "That heinous hunter has become a Vaiṣṇava." So people, generally, they are inquisitive. They came to see. It is the custom when you go to see a saintly person, you take some fruits or flowers or some rice or some āṭā. So huge stack of rice and āṭā and fruits and flowers also. They were surprised: "Why Nārada Muni is sending so much? We are simply husband and wife." In this way they become Vaiṣṇava. And after some time Nārada Muni with his friend Parvata Muni, he wanted to see his devotee. So he asked Parvata Muni that "My dear friend, will you come with me. I shall show my devotee who was formerly a hunter." So Parvata Muni knew that "You can play wonderful. So let me see this devotee." So when Nārada Muni was coming, this devotee was going to receive the spiritual master. This is the custom, to receive the spiritual master from distant place with all honor by bowing down. But he was jumping. He was jumping. So when he came near, the Parvata Muni first of all asked him, "My dear son, you are great devotee, but while coming here why you are jumping?" He said that "On the ground there are so many ants, sir. So I do not want to kill these ants."

This is the effect of devotional service. The same man who was taking pleasure by killing one animal half-dead, he is not prepared to kill even an ant. This is called bhakti. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ (SB 5.18.12). If one becomes a devotee of the Lord, akiñcana-bhakti, then sarvair guṇaiḥ, all good qualities will come out automatically. Because every living entity is part and parcel of God. God is all-good. Therefore every living entity, potentially, constitutionally, he is also good. As God is good, we are also good. But due to our material association, we have become bad. So if we revive our old position, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then automatically we shall become all-good. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has recommended therefore, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam (CC Antya 20.12). If you want to see, the to stop this blazing fire of material existence, then you have to spread this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement all over the world. And the practical effect, you can see, what is already done, how they have become. Our limit, there are limitation, we cannot accept anyone and everyone as disciple. Unless he agrees tacitly to give up some preliminary principles. Just like illicit sex life. Anyone who comes to me to become my disciple, the first condition is no illicit sex life, no intoxication, up to drinking or smoking or even drinking tea and coffee and chewing pan. These are also intoxicants. So one cannot take all these things. No intoxication. No illicit sex. Unless you have got connection with woman by marriage tie, there cannot be any sex life. These are the pillars of sinful life. Yatra pāpaś catur-vidhā. Striya-sūnā-pāna-dyūtaḥ yatra pāpaś catur-vidhā. If you actually want to make progress in spiritual life, you must accept at least these four principles. This is tapasya. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa tyāgena, śauca, satya-śaucābhyām (SB 6.1.13). These are the tests, the prescription.

So to become purified, one must be purified of this material existence. Then he can understand what is God. Then he can serve God. With these material senses it is not possible to serve God. That is not possible. Ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ (CC Madhya 17.136). These indriyas, the present indriyas, contaminated by material existence... You cannot understand by simply hearing about God. Therefore you have to purify yourself. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam (CC Madhya 19.170). This is the definition given by Nārada Muni, how one can become a devotee, how one can be engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. This is the formula. What is that? Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam, first condition: One has to give up all designation. "I am Indian," "I am American," "I am brāhmaṇa," "I am śūdra," "I am this," "I am that." These are all designations of the body, but we are not this body. So if we can give up this bodily designation, that is called sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam (CC Madhya 19.170). Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam. Then one has to become purified on the standard of devotional service.

Unless one is engaged in devotional service, there is no question of purification. Then you'll fall down. These are the statements in the śāstras. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). You can elevate yourself to the Brahman effulgence, brahma-jñāna, āruhya kṛcchreṇa, with tapasya, with severe austerities. But if you cannot understand Kṛṣṇa, if you do not take shelter of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, then you'll again fall down. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ anādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ (SB 10.2.32). So a devotee, if you become a devotee, you'll never fall down. Kṛṣṇa will give you protection. Kṛṣṇa says, kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati (BG 9.31). He will give you protection. Otherwise you are helpless. You can fall down at any moment. But if you take shelter of Kṛṣṇa... So there are so many facilities for perfection of life. Simply by accepting Kṛṣṇa, mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. If you do not do that, then you are a mūḍha, rascal. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam, paraṁ bhāvam ajā... (BG 9.11). "How much powerful is Kṛṣṇa; what He can do for me," without knowing this, we do not surrender to Kṛṣṇa.

Therefore it is necessity to assemble like this to understand Kṛṣṇa. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is there all over the world just to help the people to understand real God, Kṛṣṇa. This is the purpose of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Because people are suffering, they are all mūḍhas. They do not understand Kṛṣṇa or they deride Kṛṣṇa. Therefore they will, he will go on suffering. Tān ahaṁ dviṣataḥ krūrān kṣipāmy ajasram andha-yoniṣu (BG 16.19). Those who are envious of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa says, "I put them eternally in the hellish condition of life." So if you want to save yourself from the hellish condition of life, you must take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and surrender unto Him. Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)