Repeat the name, Krushna, in your mind, every moment of your life. You will find It sweeter
than sugar or honey: indeed, It will taste more delicious than ambrosia. MEN whose intellect is
narrow and unable to reach out to the vastness beyond, men who do not dive deep into the
mysteries of existence, cannot achieve success in the task of promoting world peace and
prosperity. These depend on establishment of peace and prosperity in society and since society
consists of individuals, the individual has to attain peace and prosperity in order that the world
may shine in their glory. And, for the individual to discharge this obligation, he has to derive the
faith and fervour from the Divine that is his Reality.
Unless man marches on in the spiritual path, he cannot be at peace with himself and his
fellowmen. That march will confer peace, and with peace, welfare. Today, wherever we turn,
people talk of peace but their actions belie their profession. They only increase the feelings of
anxiety and fear. Each individual desires to outstrip the other in this game. As a consequence, the
spirit is neglected and the mind is polluted. There is no genuine understanding and sincere
Ten highly intellectual pupils of a sage named Paramaanandha waded across a flooded river and
reached the other bank safe. They wanted to be assured that all the ten had survived the feat. So,
they stood in a line, to be counted. Since the one who counted did not include himself as the
tenth, every one of them who did the counting by turns, found one man missing. They started
bewailing for the tenth man "who was carried away by the raging waters!"
Man is in bondage, though unaware of it.
Similarly, men who are proud of their attainments and achievements on earth and in space,
bewail their lot because Peace has escaped their grasp. Man can now count the stars and walk on
the Moon. But, he has no knowledge of his own sell How then can he experience the delight of
kinship with others? When can he claim to have reached the goal of fulfilment? The bliss of
fulfilment is not available in the objective world. It must be won through turning the vision
inwards. Man is now in bondage, though he is unaware of it. But he is so deeply sunk in this
ignorance that he makes no effort to liberate himself. Wife and children, kith and kin, house and land, properties and possessions are declared by some
people as bonds. One can discard these and free oneself from them. It is a comparatively easy
process, for these are not the things that bind you most. The tightest bondage is the "ignorance of
one's own reality." Not to know who one is---this is the biggest handicap. Until this is overcome,
grief is inevitable. For, man is involved by this ignorance with thamas, with the unreal and with
Urge to expand is the Principle of Aathma
Without self-knowledge, man is led into the belief that the objective world is true and lasting,
and into the neglect of the really true and the really eternal. What is the self? Here too, man
mistakenly entertains false beliefs. He holds on to the belief that the self is the body and revels in
describing its components and characteristics. He ignores the Aathma, sublime, serene and ever-
fresh, Divine Principle that he is. It is the ever-present urge to expand and to illumine. The urge
to contract and limit is the feature of' the animal. Denying the Aathma, disregarding its mandate,
ignoring its existence---these are the roots of grief.
disappearing. It has no beginning and no finish. It does not die; nor does it kill, nor can it be
pronounced inert. It is the witness in each and all. The moment one becomes aware of the Aathma,
one is freed from the bondage to grief. Forget that the objective world is valid; it is at
best a mental image that serves as a test. This is the reason why the prayer of the sages was:
Asatho maa Sath gamaya (Lead me from unreal to the Real);
Thamaso maa jyothir gamaya (Lead me from darkness to Light);
Mrithyor Maa Amritham gamaya (Lead me from death to Immortality).
The true goal of human life is to visualise Brahman and merge in It. The ancients declared that
there are three stages in the path towards the goal:
Karma jijnaasa, Dharma jijnaasa and Brahma jijnaasa (seeking spiritual knowledge through activity, virtue and Divinity). These three steps have been demarcated, described, and analysed by scholars for centuries. Through karma (activity) one becomes a moral individual (dharma) and one starts seeking the basis of morality (Brahman).
One discovers that virtue and morality add to one's Aanandha and that all Aanandha everywhere flows from Brahman Itself. One realises that activity devoid of this awareness is barren and binding.
Man is proving worse than animals
The Upanishathic declaration, "Kaarunyam paramam thapah" is based on this awareness. It means "Compassion towards all beings is real spiritual discipline." Man is the crown of creation; he is the highest among living beings. Therefore, he bears great responsibility. He has to love other living beings, serve them and save them, for they are his kith and kin and they too have the Divine Principle as their core. But, man is proving himself worse than animals through the cultivation and practice of self-centredness, conceit, envy and anger. Though man is endowed with pity, charity, sympathy, fortitude and joy, he has given up these virtues and become in-human in conduct and behaviour. Imagine a tiger gaining entry into the cattle shed! Vicioustendencies are like tigers; they destroy the Saathwik (pure) virtues. Once you recognise the extent of this calamity, you have to resolve to destroy these wild intruders.
Lord Krushna's life was His message
Now, man can be saved only through bhakthi and prapatthi (devotion and dedication).
Bhakthi(devotion) does not end with japa, bhajan and dhyaana. It consists of devotion to the ideal, the
ideal of getting rid of the beast and rising up to the Divine; give up the pashu (animal) and gain
pashupathi (God)---that is the call only those who give ear to that call deserve to be labelled
Men. In order to hold forth before man this Supreme destiny, this divine destination, God himself
(though free from birth) takes on the human form, for He is Gopaala. 'Go' denotes not only the cow, it denotes the jeevi (humans and other living beings). This day, Krushnaashtami, is the Day on which the
Avathaarik (incarnational) career of Krushna began. Krushna gave man the call to rise from the beast to
By devotion and dedication to Him, man must earn the awareness that he is unrelated to all things that 'bind' him---body, riches, kith and kin, attributes and feelings.
For Krushna, the Avathaarhood was a leela (divine sport). His life was His Message. He was the
embodiment of the noblest and the most fruitful Karmayoga (divine communion through selfless
dedicated action). His actions had no trace of selfishness or pride or envy. He took upon Himself the assignment of driving the war chariot of Arjuna. After the day's battle, He washed the horses; He fed and tended them, applying balm on the wounds. However insignificant the task, He executed it with as much care and enthusiasm as must be given to the most important task. Man has been equipped with icchaa shakthi (Will Power) for this very purpose---to will the good, the ennobling and the elevating. The two other shakthis gifted to him are jnaana shakthi(the power to know) and kriyaa shakthi (the power to act). To make the interdependence of these three shakthis, here is an example: “Your wish to drink a cup of coffee is so insistent that you will to have it fulfilled. But, mere icchaa (will) cannot produce coffee. Next, you use your jnaana (wisdom) and provide yourselves with a stove, a quantity of water, sugar, milk and coffee powder. But still, your original icchaa is unrealised. Next, you use kriyaa (action) and prepare
the coffee you wanted and knew how to make."
Various saadhanas prescribed to attain God
Well. The icchaa shakthi wills to attain God, let us say. Mere wish is too weak to gain the goal.
Jnaana shakthi advises you not to despair. There are ways by which you can win. It lays before
you various saadhanas. Kriyaa shakthi takes these up and inspires you to act, to persevere in
practice, until you attain the objective. Unfortunately, 99 men out of 100 use only the icchaa
shakthi; they stop with the wish; they do not pursue and attain the bliss that waits. Their faith
falters; they do not march on boldly. The iccha prompts you to earn a first class in the examination but the
jnaana is ignored and the kriya is left undone. If a thousandth of that eagerness is shown in kriya,
in the test, the first class can be secured easily.
Krushna has elaborated, in the Bhagavathgeetha, the methods in which these three powers can be
cultivated and utilised by man. Above all, the evil desire to harm, injure and insult others must be
uprooted from the mind. The saplings of devotion and dedication can grow only on minds that
are soaked in karuna (compassion). How can even the best of seeds sprout on salty soil?
Compassion means reflecting in our minds the joys and sorrows of others, and responding with
exhilaration and sympathy. For this to happen, the mind has to be cleansed and transformed into
a fine mirror.
Practise equality to win Krushna's Grace
God will respond to your prayers for relief only when you respond sympathetically to the needs
of others. Life should not be wasted in the selfish activities, blind to others' distress and deaf to
others' groans. Suffer equally, rejoice equally---this according to Krushna is Samathwam
(equanimity). Practise this equality and succeed in it---this according to Him is the way to win His Grace. You may not be rewarded materially by compassionate acts but the highest reward is the joy that you derive and the joy that you confer. The body with all the precious and unique qualities which are its equipment has been given to you in order that you may 'will' so, 'know' how and 'act' thus. A block of 'time' has been allotted to you so that you may benefit by using it profitably for these holy sanctifying purposes.
But, every one is overcome by egoism. He wants others to respect him but he is not willing to
respect others. He strives to be happy but he is unwilling to make others happy. Most people are
content if they are happy; many are content when they as well as others and around them are
happy; a few do happily undergo misery themselves, so long as they render others happy. The
first group can be compared to the bulb that sheds light only on the little room where it is lit; the
knowledge of things; the third is the Sun, shining on all things and revealing their nature and
Avoiding Krushna's teaching is a sacrilege
Among devotional disciplines, installing a picture or idol of the Lord in the home and adoring it,
is the least valuable. The celebration of Krushna Janmaashtami should not be confined to special
puuja and extra dishes for lunch. This narrow schedule arises from the desire to attract the Grace
of Krushna. But that Grace can be won only by the observance of the teachings of Krushna. They
will not be conferred on pride and pompous display. Adoring Krushna and avoiding His teaching
is a sacrilege. You can give up the adoration; nevertheless, you can earn Grace if you sincerely
attempt to proceed on the path He has marked out.
Krushna was the embodiment of Love. Hence, Love is the virtue He appreciates most. Love has
to turn into concrete acts of compassion. Cultivate compassion and develop sympathetic
understanding, until you reach the goal, of merging in the embodiment of love, Krushna. There are many among you who are engaged in saadhana. What is the basic purpose of Saadhana?
Each exercise of the saadhak (spiritual aspirant) is a stream that moves on to the sea of Grace. Believe that the love that prompts you to serve and sympathise is a spark of the love of God.
-From Bhagavan’s Krushna Janmaashtami, Prashaanthi Nilayam, 14-8-1979