First Sanātana fell at the feet of the Lord and with great humility asked about his own real identity. "I was born in a lower family," Sanātana said, "my associations are all abominable, and I am fallen, the most wretched of mankind. I was suffering in the dark well of material enjoyment, and I never learned the actual goal of my life. Indeed, I do not even know what is beneficial for me. Although in the mundane sphere I am what is known as a greatly learned man, I am in fact such a fool that I also think I am learned. You have accepted me as Your servant, and You have delivered me from the entanglement of material life. Now please tell me what my duty is in this liberated state."
Goal of life CC and Other Books)
Because of his development of transcendental attachment for the Supreme Lord, a surrendered soul feels the presence of his beloved everywhere, and all his senses are engaged in the loving service of the Lord. His eyes are engaged in seeing the beautiful couple Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa sitting on a decorated throne beneath a desire tree in the transcendental land of Vṛndāvana. His nose is engaged in smelling the spiritual aroma of the lotus feet of the Lord. Similarly, his ears are engaged in hearing messages from Vaikuṇṭha, and his hands embrace the lotus feet of the Lord and His associates. Thus the Lord is manifested to a pure devotee from within and without. This is one of the mysteries of the devotional relationship in which a devotee and the Lord are bound by a tie of spontaneous love. To achieve this love should be the goal of life for every living being.
Material nature has two different phases. The aspect called pradhāna supplies the material ingredients for cosmic development, and the aspect called māyā causes the manifestation of her ingredients, which are temporary, like foam in the ocean. In reality, the temporary manifestations of material nature are originally caused by the spiritual glance of the Lord. The Personality of Godhead is the direct, or remote, cause of creation, and material nature is the indirect, or immediate, cause. Materialistic scientists, puffed-up by the magical changes their so-called inventions have brought about, cannot see the real potency of Godhead behind matter. Therefore the jugglery of science is gradually leading people to a godless civilization at the cost of the goal of human life. Having missed the goal of life, materialists run after self-sufficiency, not knowing that material nature is already self-sufficient by the grace of God. Thus creating a colossal hoax in the name of civilization, they create an imbalance in the natural self-sufficiency of material nature.
By performance of religious rituals one ultimately reaches the supreme goal of knowledge by understanding that Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the cause of everything. It is clearly stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that even those who are advocates of knowledge alone, without any religious ritualistic processes, advance in knowledge after many, many lifetimes of speculation and thus come to the conclusion that Vāsudeva is the supreme cause of everything that be. As a result of this achievement of the goal of life, such an advanced learned scholar or philosopher surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Religious ritualistic performances are actually meant to cleanse the contaminated mind in the material world, and the special feature of this Age of Kali is that one can easily execute the process of cleansing the mind of contamination by chanting the holy names of God—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
The Bhagavad-gītā is the preliminary study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and therefore it ends with the words sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me." (BG 18.66) To adopt this means, one should reject all ideas of religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation and fully engage in the service of the Lord, which is transcendental to these four principles. Love of Godhead is the original function of the spirit soul, and it is as eternal as the soul and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This eternity is called sanātana. When a devotee revives his loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it should be understood that he has been successful in achieving the desired goal of his life. At that time everything is automatically done by the mercy of the holy name, and the devotee automatically advances in his spiritual progress.
It is very good, my dear child, that You have attained the supreme goal of life by developing love of Godhead. Thus You have pleased me very much, and I am very much obliged to You.
“Love of Godhead is so exalted that it is considered to be the fifth goal of human life. By awakening one's love of Godhead, one can attain the platform of conjugal love, tasting it even during the present span of life.
"A human being is defeated in all his activities as long as he does not know the goal of life, which can be understood when one is inquisitive about Brahman." It is such inquiry that begins the Vedānta-sūtra: athāto brahma jijñāsā. A human being should be inquisitive to know who he is, what the universe is, what God is, and what the relationship is between himself, God and the material world. Such questions cannot be asked by cats and dogs, but they must arise in the heart of a real human being. Knowledge of these four items—namely oneself, the universe, God, and their internal relationship—is called sambandha-jñāna, or the knowledge of one's relationship. When one's relationship with the Supreme Lord is established, the next program is to act in that relationship. This is called abhidheya, or activity in relationship with the Lord. After executing such prescribed duties, when one attains the highest goal of life, love of Godhead, he achieves prayojana-siddhi, or the fulfillment of his human mission. In the Brahma-sūtra, or Vedānta-sūtra, these subjects are very carefully explained. Therefore one who does not understand the Vedānta-sūtra in terms of these principles is simply wasting his time.
The Vedic literature recommends that a human being follow the principles of varṇāśrama-dharma. Accepting the process of varṇāśrama-dharma will make a person's life successful because this will connect him with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the goal of human life. Therefore the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for all of humanity. Although human society has different sections or subdivisions, all human beings belong to one species, and therefore we accept that they all have the ability to understand their constitutional position in connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirms, jīvera "svarūpa" haya—kṛṣṇera nitya-dāsa: (CC Madhya 20.108). "Every living entity is an eternal part, an eternal servant, of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Every living entity who attains the human form of life can understand the importance of his position and thus become eligible to become a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. We take it for granted, therefore, that all humanity should be educated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Indeed, in all parts of the world, in every country where we preach the saṅkīrtana movement, we find that people very easily accept the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra without hesitation. The visible effect of this chanting is that the members of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, regardless of their backgrounds, all give up the four principles of sinful life and come to an elevated standard of devotion.
One must first ascertain the object of life and then understand how to attain it. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is pointing out to everyone that the object of life is to understand Kṛṣṇa, and to attain that goal of life one must practice Kṛṣṇa consciousness, following the methods prescribed by the Gosvāmīs with reference to the authoritative śāstras and Vedas.
If one becomes a bookworm, reading many books and scriptures and hearing many commentaries and the instructions of many men, this will produce doubt within his heart. One cannot in this way ascertain the real goal of life.
Man has a general tendency toward fruitive activities, religious ritualistic ceremonies and philosophical speculation. A living entity thus bewildered since time immemorial does not understand the real goal of life, and thus his activities in life are wasted. Innocent persons misled in this way are deprived of unalloyed kṛṣṇa-bhakti, devotional service to the Lord. Tapana Miśra is a vivid example of such a person. He was a learned scholar, but he could not ascertain what the goal of life is. Therefore he was given a chance to hear Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu instructing Sanātana Gosvāmī. Lord Caitanya's instruction to Tapana Miśra is especially significant for persons who loiter here and there collecting books and reading none of them, thus becoming bewildered regarding the aim of life.
The sixth Sandarbha is called Prīti-sandarbha, a thesis on love of Godhead. Here it is stated that through love of Godhead, one becomes perfectly liberated and attains the highest goal of life. A distinction is made between the liberated condition of a personalist and that of an impersonalist, and there is a discussion of liberation during one's lifetime as distinguished from liberation from material bondage. Of all kinds of liberation, liberation in loving service to the Lord is described as the most exalted, and meeting the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face is shown to be the highest perfection of life. Immediate liberation is contrasted with liberation by a gradual process. Both realization of Brahman and meeting with the Supreme Personality of Godhead are described as liberation within one's lifetime, but meeting with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, both internally and externally, is shown to be superexcellent, above the transcendental realization of the Brahman effulgence.
In the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, the word dainya (humility) is explained as follows: "When unhappiness, fearfulness and the sense of having offended combine, one feels condemned. This sense of condemnation is described as dīnatā, humility. When one is subjected to such humility, he feels physically inactive, he apologizes, and his consciousness is disturbed. His mind is also restless, and many other symptoms are visible." The word nirveda is also explained in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: “One may feel unhappiness and separation, as well as jealousy and lamentation, due to not discharging one's duties. The despondency that results is called nirveda. When one is captured by this despondency, thoughts, tears, loss of bodily luster, humility and heavy breathing result.” Viṣāda is also explained in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: "When one fails to achieve his desired goal of life and repents for all his offenses, there is a state of regret called viṣāda." The symptoms of avasāda are also explained: "One hankers to revive his original condition and inquires how to do so. There are also deep thought, heavy breathing, crying and lamentation, as well as a changing of the bodily color and drying up of the tongue."
Harṣa is described in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. Harṣa is experienced when one finally attains the desired goal of life and consequently becomes very glad. When harṣa is present, the body shivers, and one's bodily hairs stand on end. There are perspiration, tears and an outburst of passion and madness. The mouth becomes swollen, and one experiences inertia and illusion. When a person attains his desired object and feels very fortunate, the luster of his body increases. Because of his own qualities and feelings of greatness, he does not care for anyone else, and this is called garva, or pride. In this condition one utters prayers and does not reply to others' inquiries. Looking at one's own body, concealing one's desires and not heeding the words of others are symptoms visible in the ecstasy of garva.
“Now I have come to understand the sublime goal of life and the process of achieving it. Nevertheless, I think that there is something more ahead, and My mind is desiring to have it.
These statements are set forth for our understanding, according to Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Amṛta-pravāha-bhāṣya. In essence, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu told Rāmānanda Rāya, "My dear Rāmānanda, the explanation you have given about the goal of life and the pastimes of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa is certainly the truth. Although this is factual, you can continue telling Me more if there is anything more to say." In reply, Rāmānanda Rāya said, "I do not think I have anything to say beyond this, but there is a topic known as prema-vilāsa-vivarta, which I may explain to You. I do not know whether it will bring You happiness or not."
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirmed these verses recited by Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya, saying, “This is the limit of the goal of human life. Only by your mercy have I come to understand it conclusively.
"The goal of life cannot be achieved unless one practices the process. Now, being merciful upon Me, please explain that means by which this goal can be attained."
The ācārya replied, “When the activities of the four castes and the four āśramas are dedicated to Kṛṣṇa, they constitute the best means whereby one can attain the highest goal of life.
"When one dedicates the duties of varṇāśrama-dharma to Kṛṣṇa, he is eligible for five kinds of liberation. Thus he is transferred to the spiritual world in Vaikuṇṭha. This is the highest goal of life and the verdict of all revealed scriptures."
In every revealed scripture there is condemnation of fruitive activities. It is advised everywhere to give up engagement in fruitive activities, for no one can attain the highest goal of life, love of Godhead, by executing them.
Materialists who are overly attracted to the material body, material world and material enjoyment, who cannot control their material senses, are carried to the darkest regions of material existence. Such people cannot become Kṛṣṇa conscious, either by themselves or by congregational effort. Such people do not understand that the goal of life for a human being is to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. A human life is especially meant for this purpose, and one has to go through all kinds of penances and austerities and set aside the propensity for sense gratification. Materialists always remain blind because they are always guided by blind rascals. A materialistic person considers himself free to act as he likes. He does not know that he is rigidly controlled by the stringent laws of nature, nor does he know that he has to transmigrate from one body to another and perpetually rot in material existence.
Unless one is a fully qualified brāhmaṇa, he cannot advance in the spiritual science. A real brāhmaṇa is never envious of Vaiṣṇavas. If he is, he is considered an imperfect neophyte. Impersonalist brāhmaṇas are always opposed to Vaiṣṇava principles. They are envious of Vaiṣṇavas because they do not know the goal of life. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum (SB 7.5.31). However, when a brāhmaṇa becomes a Vaiṣṇava, there is no duality. If a brāhmaṇa does not become a Vaiṣṇava, he certainly falls down from the brāhmaṇa platform. This is confirmed by Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.3): na bhajanty avajānanti sthānād bhraṣṭāḥ patanty adhaḥ.
"Actually I do not know how to inquire about the goal of life and the process for obtaining it. Being merciful upon me, please explain all these truths."
"Those who are eager to awaken their spiritual consciousness and who thus have unflinching, undeviated intelligence certainly attain the desired goal of life very soon."
Devotional service, or sense activity for the satisfaction of the Lord, is called abhidheya because it can develop one's original love of Godhead, which is the goal of life. This goal is the living entity's topmost interest and greatest wealth. Thus one attains the platform of transcendental loving service unto the Lord.
Offering my obeisances unto Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, let me describe a particle of His opulence and sweetness. He is most valuable for a fallen conditioned soul bereft of spiritual knowledge, and He is the only shelter for those who do not know the real goal of life.
"Those who are eager to awaken their spiritual consciousness and who thus have unflinching, undeviated intelligence certainly attain the desired goal of life very soon."
The essence of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam—our relationship with the Supreme Lord, our activities in that connection and the goal of life—is manifest in the four verses of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam known as the catuḥ-ślokī. Everything is explained in those verses.
Spiritual knowledge means fully understanding the Absolute Truth in three features—impersonal Brahman, localized Paramātmā and the all-powerful Supreme Personality of Godhead. Ultimately when one takes shelter at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and engages in the Lord's service, the resultant knowledge is called vijñāna, special knowledge, or the practical application of spiritual knowledge. One should be engaged in the Lord's devotional service to achieve the aim of life, called prayojana. The practice of devotional service to attain that goal of life is called abhidheya.
By rendering devotional service, one gradually rises to the platform of love of Godhead. That is the chief goal of life. On the platform of love of Godhead, one is eternally engaged in the service of the Lord.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu continued, “Thus one's relationship with the Lord, activities in devotional service, and the attainment of the highest goal of life, love of Godhead, are the subject matters of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
"O learned devotees, I am by nature ignorant and low, yet even though it is from me that the Vidagdha-mādhava has come, it is filled with descriptions of the transcendental attributes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, will not such a literature bring about the attainment of the highest goal of life? Although its wood may be ignited by a low-class man, fire can nevertheless purify gold. Similarly, although I am very low by nature, this book may help cleanse the dirt from within the hearts of the golden devotees."
These nine are hearing, chanting, remembering Kṛṣṇa, offering service to Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, offering worship in the temple, offering prayers, working as a servant, making friendship with Kṛṣṇa and unreservedly surrendering to Kṛṣṇa. These nine processes of devotional service can grant one Kṛṣṇa and ecstatic love for Him. In the beginning one has to discharge devotional service according to regulative principles, but gradually, as devotional service becomes one's life and soul, one achieves the most exalted position of ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa. Ultimately, Kṛṣṇa is the goal of life. One need not have taken birth in an aristocratic brāhmaṇa family to attain the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, nor is a person born in a low family unfit for achieving Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet.
‘I do not know my duty or the goal of my life. Therefore, please personally give me instructions from Your transcendental mouth.
Through the mercy of Rāmānanda Rāya, I have understood that ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa is the highest goal of life and that spontaneous love of Kṛṣṇa is the highest perfection.
Puruṣārtha ("the goal of life") generally refers to religion, economic development, satisfaction of the senses and, finally, liberation. However, above these four kinds of puruṣārthas, love of Godhead stands supreme. It is called parama-puruṣārtha (the supreme goal of life) or puruṣārtha-śiromaṇi (the most exalted of all puruṣārthas). Lord Kṛṣṇa is worshiped by regulative devotional service, but the highest perfection of devotional service is spontaneous love of Godhead.
Therefore, giving up hatred and hesitation, try to eat the remnants of the food of Vaiṣṇavas, for you will thus be able to achieve your desired goal of life.
From these three one achieves the highest goal of life—ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa. This is the greatest mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The evidence is Kālidāsa himself.
I do not mind My personal distress. I only wish for the happiness of Kṛṣṇa, for His happiness is the goal of My life. However, if He feels great happiness in giving Me distress, that distress is the best of My happiness.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
Actually, every living entity is destined to understand his relationship with the Supreme Lord and ultimately to reach Him. The execution of duties to attain this perfection is known as devotional service, and in maturity such devotional service becomes love of God, the true goal of life for every living being. The living entity should not desire success in religious rituals, economic development or sense enjoyment, or even liberation. One should desire only to achieve the stage of transcendental loving service to the Lord—pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The all-attractive features of Lord Kṛṣṇa help one attain this stage of pure devotional service, and one who engages in the preliminary practices of Kṛṣṇa consciousness can ultimately realize the relationship between himself and Kṛṣṇa.
Lord Caitanya next described the symptoms of a person who has developed from faith to the stage of bhāva. Such a person is never agitated, even if there are causes for agitation. Nor does he waste his time, not even a moment: he is always anxious to do something for Kṛṣṇa. Even if he has no engagement, he will find some work to do for Kṛṣṇa's satisfaction. Nor does such a person like anything which is not connected with Kṛṣṇa. Although he is situated in the best position, he does not hanker after praise. He is confident in his work—he is never under the impression that he is not making progress toward the supreme goal of life, going back to Godhead. Since he is fully convinced of his progress, he is always very busy achieving the highest goal. He is very much attached to gratifying the Lord and in chanting or hearing about the Lord, and he is always attached to describing the transcendental qualities of the Lord. He also wants to live in holy places like Mathurā, Vṛndāvana or Dvārakā. All these characteristics are visible in one who has developed to the stage of bhāva.
In practice it is experienced that one who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness does not like to deviate to any other consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the development of love for Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this is the fifth and highest interest of the human being. When one takes to this process of transcendental devotional service leading to love of Godhead, he relishes his relationship with Kṛṣṇa directly, and from this reciprocation of relishing transcendental dealings with Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa gradually becomes a personal associate of the devotee. Then the devotee eternally enjoys blissful life. Therefore the purpose of the Vedānta-sūtra is to reestablish the living entity's lost relationship with the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, to describe the execution of devotional service, and to enable one to ultimately achieve the highest goal of life, love of Godhead. These three principles of transcendental life are described in the Vedānta-sūtra, and nothing more.
Lord Caitanya therefore advised Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī: "Always read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and try to understand each and every verse. Then you will actually understand the Brahma-sūtra. You say that you are very eager to study the Vedānta-sūtra, but you cannot understand the Vedānta-sūtra without understanding Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam." He also advised Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī to always chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. "By doing this you will very easily be liberated. After liberation you will be eligible to achieve the highest goal of life, love of Godhead."
Rāmānanda Rāya stated that those who strictly follow the rules and regulations of these eight social divisions can actually satisfy the Supreme Lord, and one who does not follow them certainly spoils his human form of life and glides down toward hell. One can peacefully achieve the goal of human life simply by following the rules and regulations which apply to oneself. The character of a particular person develops when he follows the regulative principles in accordance with his birth, association and education. The divisions of society are so designed that many people with different characteristics can be regulated under those divisions for the peaceful administration of society and for spiritual advancement as well.
The sages known as the śrutis, the personified Upaniṣads, also desired the post of the gopīs, and they also followed in the footsteps of the gopīs in order to attain that highest goal of life. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.87.23), where it is said that in general sages control their mind and senses by practicing prāṇāyāma (control of the breathing process) and mystic yoga. Thus they try to merge into the Supreme Brahman. But this same goal is attained by atheists, who deny the existence of God, if they are killed by an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They also merge into the Brahman existence of the Supreme Lord. But the damsels of Vṛndāvana worship Śrī Kṛṣṇa, having been bitten by Him just as a person is bitten by a snake, for Kṛṣṇa's body is compared with the body of a snake. A snake's body is never straight; it is always curved.
This is the system of receiving instructions from the Supersoul. Externally He is not to be seen, but internally He speaks to the devotee. That is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (10.10): the Lord dictates from within to anyone who is sincerely engaged in His service, and the Lord acts in such a way that such a person can ultimately attain the supreme goal of life. When Brahmā was born, there was no one to instruct him; therefore the Supreme Lord Himself instructed Brahmā in Vedic knowledge through Brahmā’s heart. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.4.22) Śukadeva Gosvāmī confirms that the Gāyatrīmantra was first imparted within the heart of Brahmā by the Supreme Lord. Śukadeva Gosvāmīthen prays to the Lord to similarly help him speak Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam before Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
Nectar of Devotion
Foolishly, people who are enamored of the glimmer of modern materialistic advancement are thinking that the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is for less intelligent men. "I am better off being busy with my material comforts—maintaining a nice apartment, family and sex life." These people do not know that at any moment they can be kicked out of their material situation. Due to ignorance, they do not know that real life is eternal. The temporary comforts of the body are not the goal of life, and it is due only to darkest ignorance that people become enamored of the glimmering advancement of material comforts. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has therefore said that the advancement of material knowledge renders a person more foolish, because it causes one to forget his real identity by its glimmer. This is doom for him, because this human form of life is meant for getting out of material contamination. By the advancement of material knowledge, people are becoming more and more entangled in material existence. They have no hope of being liberated from this catastrophe.
In the Padma Purāṇa there is a statement about the importance of living at holy places like Mathurā or Dvārakā. It is stated there, "To travel to different places of pilgrimage means to attain emancipation from material bondage. This emancipation, however, is not the highest perfectional stage. After attaining this liberated stage, one has to become engaged in devotional service to the Lord. After attainment of the brahma-bhūta (SB 4.30.20) (liberation) stage, one can further advance to engagement in devotional service. So this attainment of transcendental loving devotional service to the Lord is the goal of life, and it can be achieved very easily for one who lives in Mathurā-maṇḍala even for a few seconds."
There are concrete examples of how a devotee discharged one of these services and achieved perfection. King Parīkṣit achieved the desired goal of life simply by hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śukadeva Gosvāmī achieved the desired goal of life simply by reciting Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Prahlāda Mahārāja became successful in his devotional service by always remembering the Lord. Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune, was successful by engaging herself in massaging the lotus feet of the Lord. King Pṛthu became successful by worshiping in the temple. Akrūra became successful by offering prayers. Hanumān became successful by rendering personal service to Lord Rāmacandra. Arjuna became successful by being a friend of Kṛṣṇa. And Bali Mahārāja became successful simply by offering all of his possessions to Kṛṣṇa.
The gopīs may be considered to be examples of spontaneous love in sensual attraction. The gopīs are young girls, and Kṛṣṇa is a young boy. Superficially it seems that the gopīs are attracted to Kṛṣṇa on grounds of sex. Similarly, King Kaṁsa was attracted to Kṛṣṇa because of fear. Kaṁsa was always fearful of Kṛṣṇa, because it had been foretold that his sister's son, Kṛṣṇa, would kill him. Śiśupāla was also always envious of Kṛṣṇa. And the descendants of King Yadu, due to their family relationship with Kṛṣṇa, were always thinking of Him as one of their members. All of these different kinds of devotees have a spontaneous attraction for Kṛṣṇa, in different categories, and they achieve the same desired goal of life.
In this connection, one prayer by Rūpa Gosvāmī is sufficient to exemplify this hopefulness. He says, "I have no love for Kṛṣṇa, nor for the causes of developing love of Kṛṣṇa—namely, hearing and chanting. And the process of bhakti-yoga, by which one is always thinking of Kṛṣṇa and fixing His lotus feet in the heart, is also lacking in me. As far as philosophical knowledge or pious works are concerned, I don't see any opportunity for me to execute such activities. But above all, I am not even born of a nice family. Therefore I must simply pray to You, Gopījana-vallabha (Kṛṣṇa, maintainer and beloved of the gopīs). I simply wish and hope that some way or other I may be able to approach Your lotus feet, and this hope is giving me pain, because I think myself quite incompetent to approach that transcendental goal of life." The purport is that under this heading of āśā-bandha, one should continue to hope against hope that some way or other he will be able to approach the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord.
When one is unsuccessful in achieving his desired goal of life, when one finds no fulfillment in his present occupation, when one finds himself in reversed conditions and when one feels guilt—at such a time one is said to be in a state of lamentation.
In this condition of lamentation one becomes questioning, thoughtful, tearful, regretful and heavy-breathed. His bodily color changes, and his mouth becomes dry.
One aged devotee of Kṛṣṇa addressed Him in this way: "My dear Kṛṣṇa, O killer of the demon Agha, my body is now invalid due to old age. I cannot speak very fluently, my voice is faltering, my mind is not strong, and I am often attacked by forgetfulness. But, my dear Lord, You are just like the moonlight, and my only real regret is that for want of any taste for Your pleasant shining I did not advance myself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness." This statement is an instance of lamentation due to one's being unable to achieve his desired goal.
One weaver at Mathurā addressed Kṛṣṇa in this way: "My dear King of Vṛndāvana, I have become so proud of Your causeless mercy upon me that I do not even count upon the mercy of the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha, which is sought after by many great sages in deep meditation." In other words, although the yogīs and great sages sit in meditation upon Lord Viṣṇu, who is residing in Vaikuṇṭha, a devotee of Kṛṣṇa is so proud that he does not consider such meditation to be very valuable. This feeling of pride is due to one's having achieved the highest goal of life—Kṛṣṇa.
When a person is fully satisfied due to attaining knowledge, transcending all distress or achieving his desired goal of life in transcendental devotional service to God, his state of endurance or steady-mindedness is called dhṛti. At this stage one is not perturbed by any amount of loss, nor does anything appear to be unachieved by him.
According to the opinion of Bhartṛhari, a learned scholar, when a person is elevated to this state of endurance, he thinks as follows: "I do not wish to be a highly posted government servant. I shall prefer to remain naked, without proper garments. I shall prefer to lie down on the ground without any mattress. And despite all these disadvantages, I shall refuse to serve anyone, even the government." In other words, when one is in ecstatic love with the Personality of Godhead, he can endure any kind of disadvantages calculated under the material concept of life.
The great devotee Uddhava once wrote a letter to Kṛṣṇa, "My dear Kṛṣṇa, I have just finished the study of all kinds of philosophical books and Vedic verses about the goal of life, and so now I have a little reputation for my studies. But still, in spite of my reputation, my knowledge is condemned, because although enjoying the effulgence of Vedic knowledge, I could not appreciate the effulgence emanating from the nails of Your toes. Therefore, the sooner my pride and Vedic knowledge are finished, the better it will be!" This is an example of indifference.
Nectar of Instruction
The members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness invite the Society's members and supporters to dine with them when they hold love feasts in all their branches every Sunday. Many interested people come to honor prasāda, and whenever possible they invite members of the Society to their homes and feed them sumptuously with prasāda. In this way both the members of the Society and the general public are benefited. People should give up the company of so-called yogīs, jñānīs, karmīs and philanthropists because their association can benefit no one. If one really wants to attain the goal of human life, he should associate with devotees of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because it is the only movement that teaches one how to develop love of God. Religion is the special function of human society, and it constitutes the distinction between human society and animal society. Animal society has no church, mosque or religious system. In all parts of the world, however downtrodden human society may be, there is some system of religion. Even tribal aborigines in the jungles also have a system of religion. When a religious system develops and turns into love of God, it is successful.
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
Śrī Uddhava confirmed Lord Kṛṣṇa's statement in the Bhagavad-gītā that one who takes shelter of Him for the right purpose, be that person a śūdra, a woman or a member of a low-grade family, will attain the highest goal of life. The gopīs have set the standard of devotion for the whole world. One who follows in the footsteps of the gopīs by constantly thinking of Kṛṣṇa can attain the highest perfectional stage of spiritual life. The gopīs were born not of any highly cultured family but of cowherd men, yet they developed the highest love of Kṛṣṇa, who is the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the Supreme Brahman. For self-realization or God realization there is no need to take birth in a high family. The only thing needed is development of ecstatic love of God. For achieving perfection in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, no qualification is required other than to be constantly engaged in the loving service of Kṛṣṇa, the supreme nectar, the reservoir of all pleasure. The effect of taking up Kṛṣṇa consciousness is just like that of drinking nectar: with or without one's knowledge, it will act. The active principle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness will equally manifest itself everywhere; it does not matter how and where one has taken his birth. Kṛṣṇa will bestow His benediction upon anyone who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, without any doubt.
Lord Kṛṣṇa spoke thus: “All glories to the assembled sages and ascetics! Today we all feel that our lives have become successful. Today we have achieved the desired goal of life because we now see face to face all the exalted, liberated sages and ascetics, whom even the great demigods in the heavens desire to see. Persons who are neophytes in devotional service and who simply offer their respectful obeisances to the Deity in the temple but cannot realize that the Lord is situated in everyone's heart, and those who simply worship different demigods for fulfillment of their own lusty desires, are unable to understand the importance of these sages. They cannot take advantage of receiving these sages by seeing them with their eyes, by touching their lotus feet, by inquiring about their welfare or by diligently worshiping them.”
Renunciation Through Wisdom
Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Viṣṇu.
Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Kṛṣṇa are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both. Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Viṣṇu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries.
Message of Godhead
Without knowing the goal of our self-realization, we are aimlessly voyaging on the ocean of material existence, life after life. And tossed as we are by the waves of action and reaction, we cannot ascertain the volume of our distresses in undertaking such an ominous journey. Here we must know that the goal of our voyage is to reach the Absolute Truth, Viṣṇu, the all-pervading Godhead. Śrī Kṛṣṇa confirms this goal of life by saying that everything must be performed for the satisfaction of Viṣṇu, or Yajña. In the Ṛg Veda the same truth is described: Viṣṇu is the Supreme Deity, and thus all the subordinate gods, the suris, look to Viṣṇu and His lotus feet. The author of the Vedas is the Personality of Godhead Himself. Consequently, His Bhagavad-gītā is the finest summary of all the teachings in the Vedas (the books of knowledge), and there is no doubt about it. The instruction is, therefore, that we must do everything for the satisfaction of Viṣṇu and Viṣṇu only, if we want to be free of the bondage to the wheel of our work.