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“How I shall get Krsna?”

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What is it that makes someone a Vaishnava? Just like, see below, there seems a discussion if Georg Harrison was actually a Vaishnava or not?




Prabhupāda: So here, here the point is that Sanātana Gosvāmī, Dabira Khāsa, he was so mad after meeting Caitanya Mahāprabhu that he, whatever money he had with the banker, village banker, and even it was sinful to bribe, he didn’t care for it. He wanted… He resigned his service as minister, therefore he was imprisoned. Now to get out of the imprison, prison house, he bribed. He was so much ecstatic. This is called laulyam. Laulyam means just like we become very much greedy in achieving some success or receiving something sometimes. We become mad. That is required. Laulyam eka mūlyam. To achieve Krishna consciousness perfectly, this ecstatic eagerness or greediness, to serve Krishna, that is the only price to achieve success in devotional service. That is the only price. Not money, not anything. Not prestige, not good parentage, not beauty—nothing. Simply this ecstatic, intense desire, “How I shall get Krishna?” Then you’ll get Krishna. He’ll take you. That is the example of the gopīs, intense desire. Tatra laulyam eka mūlyam. Now, janma-koṭi, na labhyate janma-koṭibhiḥ sukṛtinaḥ. This ecstatic desire, that “I, this life, I shall get recognition by Krishna, that I have sacrificed everything for Krishna,” this is required.

full lecture




Sadhana/Sadhya: The Path and the Goal


Q & A with Swami B. V. Tripurari


"Many transcendentalists had high regard for Krsna, but attaining

Krsna-prema is something else entirely. According to Sri Caitanya

Mahaprabhu, the sadhana to attain Krsna-prema is nama-sankirtana."


Q. You wrote that ex-Beatle George Harrison was never quite ready for

initiation. However, the following excerpt from a letter written by

Srila Prabhupada in 1970 seems to say something different. Srila

Prabhupada wrote, "I think George does not require to become my formal

disciple because he is already more than my disciple. He has sympathy

for my movement and I have all blessings for him." How do you reconcile

what Srila Prabhupada wrote here with what you wrote in the following

Sanga regarding George not being ready for initiation?


See Sanga: George Harrison and Initiation



A. In that Sanga I made my understanding clear and the excerpt you

cited does not change it at all. My point is that George Harrison was a

great friend of Srila Prabhupada's movement, but he was not a great

devotee; and that any sentiment for George that contradicts scripture

will not help one advance in Gaudiya Vaisnavism. The Gaudiya ideal is

pure bhakti, and scripture tells us that the cultivation of this ideal

requires initiation by a bona fide spiritual master and single-minded

devotion to Sri Krsna (vyavasayatmika-buddhih). While George had

sympathy for Srila Prabhupada's movement, he also had other spiritual

interests as well, particularly the teachings of Paramahamsa Yogananda.



In encouraging people toward the cultivation of pure bhakti, Srila

Prabhupada was often very generous with them, as was the case in the

excerpt you cited. Another example of his generosity was when he wrote

a letter saying that I was the "incarnation of book distribution."

Taking this statement literally could mean that I am an avatara of some

type, but this is not my opinion. My opinion is that statements like

these (and there are many of them) are examples of Srila Prabhupada's

generous encouragement.


Q. You wrote that George dabbled in a number of spiritual traditions

and that such an eclectic approach to spirituality was in effect a

hindrance to advancement in Gaudiya Vaisnavism. However, some devotees

told me that Yogananda attained Goloka--the abode of Krsna. If this

were the case why would involvement with his path be a hindrance to

advancement in Krsna consciousness?


A. Those who claim that Paramahamsa Yogananda attained Goloka have not

understood the difference between Yogananda's path (sadhana) and its

goal (sadhya) and that of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. For example,

scripture says that the yuga-dharma of Kali-yuga (the dark age) is

nama-sankirtana, the chanting of the holy name of Krsna. However,

according to Yogananda's guru, the age we are living in is not

Kali-yuga, thus the practice of nama-sankirtana was not stressed by the



Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu differs with this opinion. He taught that we

are presently in Kali-yuga and that nama-sankirtana is undoubtedly the

path of self-realization for this age. Thus Mahaprabhu and all of his

associates, as well as all of his followers through the centuries, have

emphatically stressed the chanting of the holy name of Krsna. Indeed,

the following verse from Brhan-naradiya Purana is cited three times in

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, the authorized biography of Mahaprabhu. In

this verse the words harer nama (the holy name) and nasty eva (no other

means) are repeated three times for emphasis:


harer nama harer nama harer nameva kevalam. kalau nasty eva nasty eva

nasty eva gatir anyatha (BNP 3.8.126)


"In this age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other

means of self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the

holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari."


This simple example illustrates my point well. Yogananda, like many

transcendentalists, had high regard for Krsna, but attaining love of

Krsna (Krsna-prema) is something else entirely. According to Sri

Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the sadhana to attain Krsna-prema is



Q. I received initiation (diksa) from Ammachi. Her followers believe

she is an avatara who has realized oneness with Brahman (jivanmukta).

Some Vaisnavas however, label her a "bogus guru" because she identifies

herself with God and encourages her followers to do the same.


Though Ammachi initiated me, somehow or other I have become deeply

attracted to Gaudiya Vaisnavism and feel more aligned with Gaudiya

sadhana than I do with the sadhana that she gave me centered on Devi

bhajans. When I expressed my feelings about this to one of the Swamis

under Ammachi, he said that my attraction to Vaisnavism was simply a

trick of the mind, and that I should stick with the sadhana given to me

by my diksa guru.


I have been struggling with this dilemma for many years so I humbly

plead for your guidance regarding this matter. My question is can I

abandon the sadhana given to me by my guru in favor of following the

Gaudiya path?


A. Let me assure you that to the extent that Ammachi is a realized soul

she will only wish you well in your pursuit of the goal of Gaudiya

Vaisnavism. Her disciples, on the other hand, may see your interest in

Krsna-bhakti from their own materially conditioned perspective.


My advice is to follow your heart and at the same time respect Ammachi

for all that she has done for you. To label her as bogus is a bit

harsh. She is a mystic influenced by jnana and sattviki-bhakti. She

differs from our tradition in that we are involved in the cultivation

of suddha-bhakti, in which we engage in bhakti for its own sake rather

than for the sake of liberation (mukti).


Incidentally, I have a student who was previously initiated by Ammachi.

She is practicing Gaudiya Vaisnavism and advancing in spiritual life

without any impediment.


Q. I read an article claiming that Patanjali, the author of the

Yoga-sutras, was in actuality a Vaisnava. The article is centered on an

analysis of the three or four places in his Yoga-sutras where

Patanajali mentions Isvara (God). What is your opinion?


A. Patanjali's yoga is one of the six darsanas, or philosophies, of

Hinduism. In his school, the Sanskrit word yoga (union) refers to a

condition where the mind is controlled through mediation with the aim

of attaining super-consciousness and merging into the Infinite.


Vaisnavas, on the other hand, are Vedantins, or followers of the

Vedanta darsana. Vaisnavas practice bhakti to Visnu/Krsna, with the aim

of attaining eternal love for him. The sadhana emphasized by most

Vaisnavas is Deity worship (arcana) and chanting the holy name of God



The assertion that Patanjali was a Vaisnava runs contrary to the

position that Vaisnava acaryas have taken regarding his overall

philosophy. I am aware that there are a few statements in Patanaji's

Sutras that can be construed to support the idea that he was a theist.

It is also clear that he was a student of Vyasa; however, all

Vedantins, including Sankaracarya, understand Patanjali's yoga

philosophy to be different from that of Vedanta, particularly for its

lack of reliance on the Upanisads. However, just as Vedantins reject

the conclusions of Sankhya philosophy yet embrace aspects of it,

similarly Vedantins, while rejecting the conclusions of yoga

philosophy, embrace aspects of it as well. Indeed, despite rejection of

Patanjali's yoga siddhanta, we find praise among Vedantins for its

practical teachings on renunciation and its eight-limbed discipline.

Baladeva Vidyabhusana, the famous Gaudiya acarya who commented on the

Vedanta-sutra, takes this position, as does Visvanatha Cakravarti

Thakura. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written a book about a yogic approach

to bhakti, entitled Prema-pradipa. Their point is that the limbs of

astanga yoga are useful inasmuch as they serve to foster bhakti.


To say that mixing yoga practice with bhakti might be helpful for some

people is more of an acknowledgement of the practical effects of yoga,

in regard to controlling the mind in particular, than it is an

endorsement of its overall techniques. Indeed, yoga technique alone

cannot conquer the mind to the extent that bhakti can, and yoga can

also be a distraction when the powers it fosters become manifest and

promote an expanded sense of self-reliance, as opposed to the Vaisnava

ideal of saranagati, or self-surrender.


Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja says it like this: "The Gaudiya Vaisnavas

discard any artificial things. God is with the heart and that is the

important part. We are to appeal to the heart and have transaction with

the heart, and not that by manipulation of the natural forces we shall

gain some mystic power and try to exert that on God. Is that a form of

worship? For one who has a heart, the hearty transaction is the most

natural. And that is service. Satisfaction is for the Lord so what is

the value of trying to gain some power from elsewhere and by dint of

that, to try to encroach upon him? What is the result of doing yoga? It

will give some power but what effect can that power have on him? None.

We are not to try to exert our energy upon him, but the opposite is

necessary. We are to consider that we are the most fallen of the fallen

and the meanest of the mean. 'I want your grace. Please accept me as a

slave, as your meanest servant.' This is the way to approach the

higher. Not that we are to gather some power and by dint of that power

jump on the superior entity, for that is not the process of getting

him, of receiving his favor."


Ancient Hindu society considered the practice of yoga to be primarily a

spiritual discipline, but in today's world yoga is practiced mostly for

health reasons. It is important to maintain one's mental and physical

health, and yoga is certainly a pure (sattvic) approach to this that

works well in modern times. Unfortunately, regardless of efforts to the

contrary, good health eventually fades away, thus both Patanjali and

the Vedantins teach that the ultimate goal of life is spiritual

realization. However, anyone who has read Patanjali's Sutras knows that

in modern society the actual practice of his mystic yoga process with

its emphasis on brahmacarya (celibacy), aparigraha (absence of

possessions), and tapas (austerities) is almost impossible. On the

other hand, the practice of bhakti as delineated by Sri Caitanya

Mahaprabhu is simple and sublime and can be performed by anyone, at any

place, and at any time. In this age, according to Brhan-naradiya

Purana, "there is no other means of self-realization than chanting the

holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of the Lord."

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