Meditation and the Self Within

Every being has a soul

Can meditation solve our everyday problems? Is there life after death? Can drugs help us achieve self-realization? During a visit to South Africa in 1976, Srila Prabhupada answered these and other questions for interviewer Bill Faill of the Durban Natal Mercury.

Srila Prabhupada: Krishna is a name for God that means “all-attractive.” Unless one is all-attractive he cannot be God. So Krishna consciousness means God consciousness. All of us are small particles of God, equal in quality with Him. Our position as living entities is like that of a small particle of gold in relation to a large quantity of gold.

Mr. Faill: Are we something like sparks in a fire?

Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Both the fire and the spark are fire, but one is big, and the other is very small. Unlike the relationship between the spark and the fire, however, our relationship with God is eternal, although at the present moment we have forgotten that relationship due to contact with the material energy. We are facing so many problems only because of this forgetfulness. If we can revive our original God consciousness, then we shall become happy. This is the sum and substance of Krishna consciousness. It is the best process by which to revive our original God consciousness. There are different processes of self-realization, but in the present age of Kali, people are very fallen, and they require the simple process of Krishna consciousness. Now they are thinking that so-called material advancement is the solution to their problems, but this is not a fact. The real solution is to get out of the material condition entirely by becoming Krishna conscious. Because God is eternal, we are also eternal, but in the material condition we are thinking, “I am this body,” and therefore we must repeatedly change from body to body. This is due to ignorance. Actually we are not our bodies but spiritual sparks, parts and parcels of God.

Mr. Faill: Then the body is just like a vehicle for the soul?

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The First Step

Transmigration of the soul

Transmigration of the soul


A.C. BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI PRABHUPADA – Krishna consciousness is not a question of belief; it is a science. The first step is to know the difference between a living body and a dead body. What is the difference? The difference is that when someone dies, the spirit soul, or the living force, leaves the body. And therefore the body is called “dead”. So, there are two things: one, this body; and the other, the living force within the body.

We speak of the living force within the body. That is the difference between the science of Krishna consciousness, which is spiritual, and ordinary material science. As such, in the beginning it is very, very difficult for an ordinary man to understand the importance of our movement. One must first understand that he is a soul, or something other than his body. For example, as a child grows, he becomes a boy, the boy becomes a young man, the young man becomes an adult, and the adult becomes an old man. Throughout all this time, although his body is changing from a child to an old man, he still feels himself to be the same person, with the same identity. The body is changing, but the occupier of the body, the soul, is remaining the same. So we should logically conclude that when our present body dies, we get another body. This is called transmigration of the soul.


Krishna and Vishnu

Srimad-Bhagavatam and Brahma-samhita provide us with further information that the origin of Lord Vishnu is Krishna. Krishna is actually the original source of everything, even of Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu and other Vishnu-like forms such as Narayana, Vasudeva, Sankarshana, Aniruddha and Pradyumna, are forms of Krishna for accepting worship in awe and reverence. (Krishna has more intimate relationships with His devotees, as explained below.) These forms have slightly different bodily features and qualities from Krishna. Each of these forms presides over a particular Vaikuntha planet in the transcendental world. On each of these planets there are self-realized persons with superhuman, transcendental bodies who are constantly overwhelmed with ever-increasing ecstasy by glorifying and worshiping these Vishnu forms in a mood of awe and reverence. All activities in the transcendental world are performed out of ecstatic love and affection. There are no necessities or requirements, and so there is no need for any boring or unpleasant work. In the transcendental world, every step is a dance and every word is a song.

The activities performed in the transcendental world are described in detail in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Brahma-samhita, The Nectar of Devotion, and Caitanya Caritamrta. These texts also describe the transcendental bodily features of Krishna and His various Vishnu forms in great detail. They describe how Krishna and His forms create the physical world, interact with it, and perform pleasurable pastimes with Their devotees in this world. Krishna and His forms regularly visit the earth and other planets and perform activities that are full of exceptional power, compassion and love. The Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam consists of hundreds of pages describing some of the pastimes Krishna performed in His most recent appearance on earth five thousand years ago. Krishna appears on earth in a form visible to everyone once every 8.6 billion years.

The devotees on the Vaikuntha planets relate to the Vishnu forms in a mood of awe and reverence. But the devotees on Krishna’s planet Goloka Vrindavana relate to him in more intimate ways. On Goloka Vrindavana, Krishna’s special energyyogamaya makes the devotees forget Krishna’s omnipotent position. Thus, Krishna’s cowherd boy friends wrestle with Him and sometimes defeat Him, and He enjoys this. After being defeated, He also enjoys it when one of His friends says to Him “You are not such a big man, I can defeat you easily.” The Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam contains detailed descriptions of the various kinds of intimate relationships the devotees have with Krishna in Vrindavana.

Why are there many different religions in the world?

In Bhagavad-gita As It Is Krishna describes the three modes of material nature, goodness, passion and ignorance, which determine the psychological characteristics of all embodied conscious selves (living beings). A conscious self in the mode of goodness is interested in knowledge and self-realization, a conscious self in the mode of passion is interested in prestige, honor and sense gratification, and a self in the mode of ignorance takes pleasure in sleep, intoxication, laziness and destructive habits. Human beings are generally influenced by a mixture of these modes, with certain modes predominating for certain persons. These modes influence everything in this material world, such as the kind of work a person is attracted to, the kind of music one is attracted to, and the kinds of food one likes to eat.

Thus, when one turns toward religion, he is naturally attracted to a religion that fits in with the particular modes he is influenced by. Some religions involve techniques of black magic aimed at harming or killing enemies, or gaining control over other people. Some teachings insist that God cannot be known and thus one must submit without questioning. Some religions emphasize how God can help you enjoy the material world or help you out of a suffering condition. Adherents of these religions are not interested in finding out who or what God actually is; they are only interested in the concept of God which puts them in the position of receiving rather than giving, since they have nothing to give. They mask God with the concept that is out of reach for the living beings making them feel powerless and fearful and easy to control. To recognize those teachings

Some religions, which recognize the faults inherent in trying to enjoy the material world, aim at pure self-realization. Those religions and teachings do exist and they excell far above any conventional religious teachings we know today. One of them is called The Gaudiya Vaishnava or Vaishnavism.

A religion that aims at actual realization of the self and God, culminating in devotional service to God for His pleasure, is transcendental religion, beyond the three modes of material nature.

Why is there so much suffering and pain in the world?

Our article Evidence for Reincarnation provides extensive empirical evidence that each one of us is completely different from our physical body. We identify with the physical body when we want to forget our real transcendental nature and our original relationship with Krishna (God). Since the real nature of the self is to be constantly absorbed in an ecstatic loving relationship with Krishna, we can not actually be satisfied without this relationship.

Thus, dissatisfaction prevails in the material world, and consequently people are always engaged in looking for a way to fill the inner void residing in their hearts. Unfortunately, many avenues for prosperity and enjoyment involve exploiting others, and so we accumulate bad karma, which means negative reactions to our activities. These negative reactions take the form of war, famine, disease, injury and neglect by people we love, and thus we suffer.

The actual remedy to this situation is to seriously practice bhakti-yoga, which reawakens our ecstatic loving relationship with Krishna, and thereby provides happiness beyond our wildest dreams, not to mention giving us a superhuman body that never gets sick or old.

Bhakti-yoga has been practiced for thousands of years according to detailed descriptions given in Bhagavad-gita As It Is, The Nectar of Instruction, Sri Isopanisad, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritamrta and The Nectar of Devotion.

People who do not believe in reincarnation and yet believe in the one, omnipotent, supreme God, can not explain why some children are born in horrible suffering conditions. But if we accept reincarnation, then our suffering in this life is due to bad actions we performed in previous lives. Thus, God is not whimsical or sadistic, rather we have only ourselves to blame for our suffering.

This does not mean that bhakti-yogis are indifferent to the sufferings of others; they help those in suffering conditions. But more than just helping with food relief or hospital care, bhakti-yogis know the real cause of suffering, and they know the real solution: reawakening our relationship with God. Thus, they engage in the highest welfare work, which is teaching everyone how to practice bhakti-yoga.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare  ॐ हरे कृष्णा हरे कृष्णा कृष्णा कृष्णा हरे हरे। हरे रामा हरे रामा रामा रामा हरे हरे॥ ॐ