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Now this Kali-yuga, by bhakti-yoga, especially by chanting Hare Krsna maha-mantra, one can be fully reformed and come to spiritual platform, and that is success of life

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"Now this Kali-yuga, by bhakti-yoga, especially by chanting Hare Krsna maha-mantra, one can be fully reformed and come to spiritual platform, and that is success of life"

Conversations and Morning Walks

1976 Conversations and Morning Walks

All glories to the chanting of Kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana. That is described in the Śikṣāṣṭaka. So this is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's gift, that kevalaya bhaktya. All the practices of austerities, penances, and mystic yoga, and so on, so on. There are so many things. Everything will be totally achieved simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Bhakti. Just like when there is sunrise, immediately the all-pervading fog disappears. Now this Kali-yuga, by bhakti-yoga, especially by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can be fully reformed and come to spiritual platform, and that is success of life.
Answers to a Questionnaire from Bhavan's Journal -- June 28, 1976, Vrndavana:

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question number twelve. "What is the role of rituals in religion? Are they to be discouraged as it is being advocated by some reformists or are they to be encouraged? If so, in what form? What is the role of rituals in religion?"

Prabhupāda: Ritual is a practice based on tapasya. Unless one undergoes the ritualistic ceremony, he remains unclean. But in this age, because it is practically impossible to induce people to take all these ritualistic processes, therefore it is recommended that "Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra." That is special advantage of this age, that by constant chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra he automatically becomes purified. That is recommendation given by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12). The beginning is cleansing the heart, because we are impure on account of dirty things within our heart accumulated life after life in the animalistic way of life. So everything, advancement of spiritual life, culture, tapasya means cleansing the heart. So this process, chanting the mahā-mantra, the first installment of benefit is cleansing the heart. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam. And when the heart is cleansed, then he becomes eligible for being free from the clutches of māyā or the materialistic way of life. When he understands that he is not this body, he's spirit soul, his business is different, and he understands that "I am engaged only in these bodily comforts of life, it is not at all essential because it will change. Today I am in American body, I have got so many duties as American. Tomorrow I may be American dog body. So immediately my duty changes. So that is not my real business. My real business is how to elevate myself as spirit soul to the spiritual world, back to home, back to Godhead." Then he changes his... Ceto... Bhava... Then this materialistic activity is stopped. He is no more interested, that "This is simply waste of time." That is knowledge, that "I am simply acting for the benefit and comfort of the body. This is simply waste of time. I must act spiritually." That is called ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12), cleansing the heart. He is wrongly working on the basis of bodily concept of life. That illusion is over simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. This is the first installment, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam, and bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam. Then he is in the process to stop the blazing fire of material existence. Then vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam ānandāmbudhi-vardhanam. Then the ocean of transcendental bliss increases. Ānandāmbudhi-vardanaṁ sarvātmānam snapanaṁ. Wholesale blissful life. Paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam. All glories to the chanting of Kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana. Then the other processes... That is described in the Śikṣāṣṭaka. So this is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's gift, that kevalaya bhaktya. All the practices of austerities, penances, and mystic yoga, and so on, so on. There are so many things. Everything will be totally achieved simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Bhakti.

kecit kevalāya bhaktyā
vāsudeva-parāyanaḥ
aghaṁ dhunvanti kartsnyena
niharam iva bhaskaraḥ
(SB 6.1.15)

Just like when there is sunrise, immediately the all-pervading fog disappears. Now this Kali-yuga, by bhakti-yoga, especially by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can be fully reformed and come to spiritual platform, and that is success of life.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: The next question kind of relates a little bit in the same direction. Question thirteen. "There are various saṁskāras prescribed in the life of a Hindu right from his birth to death."

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: "Many of these saṁskāras are not being observed today. Should they be revived?"

Prabhupāda: Saṁskāra... The real aim is to bring the rascal to the platform of knowledge. That is called saṁskāra. Janmana jāyate śūdra. By birth everyone is the same, śūdras, means without any knowledge. But the saṁskāra means śūdra, rascal, without any knowledge of spiritual life, to gradually bring him to the spiritual platform. That is called saṁskāra. And saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ. That is essential. The human life is the opportunity for understanding what he is and what is the aim of his life. The aim of life is back to home, back to Godhead. We are part and parcel of God. Somehow or other we are in this material existence. So aim is again come to our spiritual life, spiritual existence, where there is no struggle for existence, blissful, happy life. Because actually we want happiness, blissful life. That is not possible in the material world. That is in the spiritual world. That is the aim. So every human being should be given chance. That is real education. That is called saṁskāra. So these saṁskāra, there are dāsa-vidha-saṁskāraḥ... So in this age it is very difficult, but if one chants Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra without any offense, being trained up by the spiritual master, all the saṁskāras automatically become done and he comes to his original spiritual position, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, "I am spirit soul. The Kṛṣṇa is Param Brahman, and I am Brahman." As Arjuna said, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān (BG 10.12). Kṛṣṇa is also Brahman, I am also Brahman. But He's Supreme Brahman, I am minute Brahman. So my business is to serve Kṛṣṇa. That is teachings of Lord Caitanya, jīvera 'svarūpa' haya (sic:) nitya kṛṣṇa-dāsa (CC Madhya 20.108). So if he engages himself in his original spiritual business, to act as the servant of Kṛṣṇa, then all reformation is done. So that advantage is given in this age: kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ param... (SB 12.3.51). Reformatory process is meant for purifying him so he becomes mukta-saṅgaḥ. Mukta-saṅgaḥ means liberated from all this bad association of material existence. And he becomes eligible to go back to home, back to Godhead. So this is the special advantage. The question is "Whether they should be revived?" They should be revived to the lowest necessity, but all of them cannot be revived in this age. But people should be induced to take to chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa maha-mantra. Then all reformation will automatically become manifest and he will come to spiritual platform, brahma-bhūtaḥ, the realization of Brahman. Then prasannātmā, he'll be happy. There is no lamentation, there is no undesirable hankering. Na śocati na kāṅkṣati. He sees everyone on the spiritual platform. Samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu. In this way he comes to the platform of devotional service, and then his life becomes successful. Is that question answered or not?

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Yes. Just one question I have. You said that the saṁskāras should be revived to the lowest?

Prabhupāda: The minumum possible way. Just like to make him a brāhmaṇa. So to become a brāhmaṇa these four things are essential: no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication, no gambling. This must be there. You cannot avoid wholesale.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Cannot avoid?

Prabhupāda: Wholesale. You must avoid at least sinful activities.

yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
janānāṁ punya-karmaṇām
te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā
bhajante māṁ dṛdha-vratāḥ
(BG 7.28)

You cannot become a devotee unless you are completely sinless. So to become completely sinless you have to begin with these four prohibitory injunctions, or avoid sinful activities like illicit sex, meat-eating, smoking, intoxication and gambling. Then you'll be gradually completely sinless. One side, to practice things, and another side, to engage yourself in devotional service. To engage oneself devotional service under the order of spiritual master and the śāstra means to remain on the transcendental platform. Transcendental platform means there is no sinful activity. It is above. Sinful.... Pious and sinful activities are there so long you are on the material platform. Good and bad. Piety and sinful. But when you are on the transcendental platform, then you are automatically without sin.

māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicārena
bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
(BG 14.26)

Sin, life of vice and life of piety, they are within this material world. But when one is spiritually engaged, he is above the spiritual plane. Sa guṇan samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate. So one side, voluntarily accepting these prohibitory process.... You can keep it open. (the door)

Hari-śauri: Tell him to leave the door open.

Prabhupāda: So the whole thing is that if you chant hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and give up these sinful activities, automatically you become reformed, come to the spiritual platform, and in this way your life will become successful.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Can we go on to the next question, Śrīla Prabhupāda?

Prabhupāda: Hm.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Question fourteen. "It is said that the karma-kāṇḍa in the Vedas has almost gone out of use, except for a few rites which remain in vogue for marriage, śraddhās, etc. Is it advisable to revive the karma-kāṇḍa with its stress on the performance of various yajñas?"

Prabhupāda: So that is not possible in this... Taking consideration of the time, circumstances, it is not possible. There are different kinds of karma-kāṇḍīya-yajña. It is expensive also and there is no expert brāhmaṇa to guide how to perform this yajña. So Kali-yuga, it is not possible to perform yajñas. Kṛte yad dhyāyato viṣṇuṁ tretāyāṁ yajato makhaiḥ (SB 12.3.52). In the Treta-yuga yajñas were possible. Dvāpare paricaryāyāṁ kalau tad dhari-kīrtanāt, that in this age of Kali-yuga the real yajña is hari-kīrtana. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ (SB 11.5.32). Therefore those who are intelligent, having good brain substance, they take to this yajña, saṅkīrtana-yajña. And practically we are experiencing, simply by saṅkīrtana-yajña, even the lowest person in the sinful activities, he is becoming purified. So karma-kāṇḍa is, to revive them in this age is not possible. Neither jñāna-kanda. That is also not possible. People are so fool and rascal that it is impossible. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura said... He has condemned karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa. Even it is properly done. Karma-kāṇḍa, by performing ritualistic ceremonies of karma-kāṇḍa, you can go to the heavenly planet. But what is the benefit there? You can enjoy there materialistic way of life in higher standard. That's all. You can live for a very, very long duration of period. But that does not mean that you become immortal. The demigods, they are called amara. Amara means they have got very long duration of life. Does not mean he is immortal. So by karma-kāṇḍa you can elevate yourself to the higher planetary system. Even it is properly done... And now it is not possible to do it properly. And even it is properly done, that is condemned. It is not required. Similarly jñāna-kāṇḍa. Even it is properly done... You can merge yourself into the Brahman effulgence. But that is also not safe because in the śāstra we see that arūhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ (SB 10.2.32). Even one merges oneself into the impersonal Brahman, he again falls down. Patanty adhaḥ. We have seen practical, in India many sannyāsīs, they elevate themselves by jñāna-kāṇḍa, but because they cannot stay, they again come to the karma-kāṇḍa, philanthropy activities and hospitals and schools. That is their fall down. So either in karma-kāṇḍa or jñāna-kāṇḍa you cannot achieve the real purpose of life. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has said, karma-kāṇḍa jñāna-kāṇḍa sakali visera bandha. Either you accept karma-kāṇḍa or jñāna-kanda, they're different pots of poison. Amṛta boliya jeba khai. If by mistake you take poison, death is inevitable. Similarly, by karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa nobody can derive any actual benefit. By upasana-kāṇḍa, that is the... The Vedas, Vedic ritualistic ceremony means there are three kāṇḍas: karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, and upāsana-kāṇḍa. So upāsana-kāṇḍa, there are recommendation of many, worship of many demigods. But the best upāsana is Viṣṇūpāsana. Viṣṇor arādhanaṁ sarveṣāṁ. Viṣṇor arādhanaṁ param. Oṁ tad viṣṇuṁ paramaṁ padam. There are different types of upāsana recommendation, but the viṣṇor arādhanam, worshiping Lord Viṣṇu, that is the Supreme. That is Supreme. So gradually, there is elevation to karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, upāsana-kāṇḍa, but in the Kali-yuga all these things are not possible to revive. Best directly give him the best upāsana-kāṇḍa, Viṣṇūpāsana, bhakti, everything will be automatically achieved by bhakti-mārga.