By Suvarna Manajari Mataji
Chapter 5 Karma – yoga -Action in Krishna consciousness
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
Translation: A person in full consciousness of me, knowing me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.
This chapter teaches us how a wise person outwardly performs actions but inwardly renouncing or surrendering the fruits of their action to Krishna and gets purified by the fire of transcendental knowledge and there by attaining peace in in day to day actions
This Verse 29 also known as peace formula verse by Srila Prabupada. A person who is in Krishna consciousness knows that Krishna is the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and all the austerities that we do, the Supreme Lord of all the planets and all the demigods and he is our best friend and our well-wisher. Nobody can wish better for us other than Krishna. And when we know this, it is called as the formula of peace.
As living entities we are constitutionally created as the servitors of the Lord. And lord can accept any form of service from all of us. There are several verses in Bhagavad Gita that tells us that whatever we offer with love and devotion to the Supreme Lord Krishna he accepts that. Krishna is all attractive and he has six opulence like:-Beauty, Power, Knowledge, Fame, Wealth and Renunciation. Krishna has everything, he does not need anything from us. But we may feel that we are doing some contribution or doing this service but the actual reality is it is the expression of love and Krishna accept all our service to him. Whether we do service to Durga Matha during Navratri time or to Lord Shiva during Shivratri time ultimately all that benefactor is Lord Krishna. It is clearly stated in the verse that the Lord is the supreme enjoyer of the benefits and sacrifices and all penances. He is the proprietor of all that is manifested accordingly. And in that attitude he reveals his identity.
Sometimes we are in dilemma and keeps debating whether we should read or chant, and think that we cannot do two things at the same time, it is self-limiting belief we all have. It is better to chant because Krishna reveals himself to you through the process of chanting by purifying our heart and then he will make the time for us to read also. There are so many examples that this verse fits in our day to day life, and there is also one version of what Srila Prabupad taught from all his different quotes on this verse.
How to elevate a Living entity to this standard of knowledge that Krishna is the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.
In order to elevate the living entity to this standard of knowledge mentioned above reading will be helpful. But sometimes just by reading we think we know everything but the real question is are we applying what we read in our daily life. Do we say that whatever our actions we do in this material world we do it for Krishna and that Krishna is the beneficiary and our duty is to serve him with all our heart . We all know it is not an easy thing but again everything that is not easy needs training, that is the training of the mind, our behavior and training of our actions. It is good to take the shelter of a Bonafied Spiritual Master, because the desire of the Bonafied Spiritual Master will be that his disciples know the process of rendering transcendental service to the lord and they learn about the eternal relationship between god and the living entity from a self- realized soul.
Why do we offer our prayers to Srila Prabupad and to the Disciplic Succession, and to our Guru Maharaj?
We offer our Prayers to Srila Prabupad and to the Disciplic succession and to our Guru Maharaj because this transcendental knowledge only comes to us through this process of disciplic succession and we all get an opportunity to understand that Krishna is the proprietor, the controller, is the beneficiary and the enjoyer and we are the enjoyed. So we have to get in to this mind set. But usually when we bow down before the Lord, we are always praying for some material benefits like to get a good job, a good grade, good health and wealth or to cure our diseases and always looking for some result. When we are always asking Krishna something or the other, actually we are in the process of takers only from Krishna. Do we ever bow down to Krishna and say we love him or do we ask Krishna what I can do for you. Some will do but majority of us are always seeking something from the Lord. Our attitude should be to give to the Lord. When we love somebody, we always give them something, we don’t ask them to give us something.
Our attitude should be changed. Instead of asking Krishna everything at least what we can do is before going to bed we should ask ourselves what did I do for Krishna today. Did I chant an extra rounds, did I cook good prasadam for him, did I read at least a verse from scriptures like Bhagavad Gita or Srimad- Bhagavadam, or did I do any cleaning of the temple. Am I making any progress or falling back because Srila Prabupad had said that in devotional life there is no stand still. We are either making progress or we are falling back. So if we are not making progress then it automatically means we are falling back. So we should always try doing things which increase our devotion to Krishna not decrease our devotion.
How can we remove the conditioned state of our mind
The word “suhṛdaṁ”, Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita that he is best friend of all living entities. No one can be a greater well- wishing friend to any living entity than the supreme personality of God head. He is so kindly disposed to everyone in spite of us completely forgetting our eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord. He comes himself to deliver us. Sometimes he comes as Lord Krishna , some time he comes as Lord Caitanya , sometimes he send his bonafide devotees to help us and reclaim our fallen soul so he is the greatest well- wishing friend of everyone.
We are all conditioned souls, it is like a mirror covered by dust, and there is nothing which can remove this dust from the mirror. The only way which we can remove this dust and the conditioned state of our mind is by chanting. Srila Prabupad said chanting is nothing different like a child crying for his mother, please help me. When a child raises his hand and cries to his mother, the mother uplifts the child. That is why to remove this dust on our souls accumulated for how many hundredths and thousands of lifetimes we have to chant. Sometimes we take austerities like fasting during every Ekadashi’s. For example for Utthana Ekadashi, it is said anyone who do Nirjala on this day it can eradicate seven births of sins for them. We have more than seven births of sins which we are carrying or probably 7 hundred or more than that. Each of us is different. We should understand that we are carrying lifetimes of sins and our soul is trapped in this body which we like. We should definitely take care of the body, because it is god’s gift to us at the same time we should understand that and we are not this body but spirt soul. Chapter 2 of Bhagavad Gita clearly explains this concept. So we really need to focus and give utmost care to take care of our soul.
This above concept can be clearly understood through this story of four wives. There was a king who had four wives. His first wife, he loved her a lot , she was very beautiful, he took care of her, he jeweled her with best of ornaments, his second wife also he always took care of her and kept worrying whether she will leave him someday. She used to bring him fame, she was his power and all, and his third wife also he took good care of her. She was there to support him, understand him at the time of need but his fourth wife was very meek, timid, and quiet and he never took care of her and always ignored her. The king found out that one day he was going to die. He asked his most loved fourth wife will she accompany him, which she said no. He asked the same question to his third wife the answer was the same, he then asked the same question to his third wife unfortunately again the answer was no. The kings was very dishearten and he heard a meek voice behind telling she will come. And it was the fourth wife whom he ignored all his life time.
When we interpret this story, the first wife is equivalent to our body. Our body is the first thing to leave us. For example fasting on Ekadashi or doing Nirjala Ekadashi is difficult. One day if we don’t give food to our body it automatically shuts down showing signs of tiredness, unable to do any work for us. Our body need lots of care and attention and it is so much complex and require so much maintenance. Sometime we need a hand doctor, foot doctor, and eye doctor. The second wife can be compared to our wealth and possessions. We are always worried we may lose our wealth and possessions. The third wife can be compared to our family and friends whom we invest so much time and energy in to. And the fourth wife is our soul, who we pretend to ignore. And that is the only wife of ours that who will be with us and go with us.
If we can purify our soul in the service of Lord because it is the only way, one day in one life time make our journey back home back to Godhead. Srila Prabupada used to tell all his disciples chant 16 rounds, follow 4 regulative principles and I assure you that you will go back to home back to godhead. Of course, it is not easy that we all know, but we can try sincerely. Unless we make that effort we are not going anywhere. So moving that dust and understanding that Krishna is the beneficiary, everything we do ultimately goes to Krishna is the most important learning of this verse.
When Krishna says bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ it means he is the beneficiary of all the results of all the sacrifices, austerities, penances that we make goes to him or offered to him. Then he says sarva-loka-maheśvaram, that he is the proprietor of all the three worlds. He is the actual friend of all the living entities. But instead of feeling that way we have this feeling of “I”( the most popular one letter word in English language I) it is all about I , I do this , I made this etc.. When we actually focus on the “I “we are actually creating expectations everybody around you. It is like why I am not getting this. Ninety-nine percent of our time, our prayer is about “I”. This “I” also tell us we have not accepted Krishna as the controller and proprietor of this universe.
The first word of first verse of Bhagavad Gita is “dharma-kṣetre”. Last word of last verse of Bhagavad Gita is “mama”. We flip our lives. We put mama fist and dharma last but actually dharma should come fist and mama or “I” should come last. We have to dilute this “I” by training ourselves and setting the mindset by hard work, but what we actually do is we put our efforts to gain material things and forgets that Krishna is the supreme, he is the proprietor of all the planets and for us to reach him is less efforts then we are in a complete illusion. The illusion that god is very kind, will take away my sins, and thinking that we will be in a better place one’s we die , but actually “no” we can fall down from this human birth. This human form of life is the most precious form of life. For us to say I will practice devotional service in my old age, or do it my next life is foolishness. Krishna is not a beggar that we finish our work and do devotional service like chanting then we have put mama first and dharma last. We need to put dharma first because we need to know Krishna is the proprietor and the controller, enjoyer and the beneficiary of everything we do and we should not be the first priority. We need to have balance too in our spiritual life and material life (ex. If a child is sick and we have to attend to their needs, then that becomes our priority, and later we can do our chanting peacefully. Krishna will never be happy if we chant the rounds and ignore the sick child)
Krishna should be the always our first priority so chant first and then do our work. In this verse Krishna says I am the actual friend of all living entity. Our only precious friend is Krishna, and we should try and raise this consciousness in ourselves that there is no friend in this world which will do anything or everything for us, but only Krishna can do it. Only Krishna can love you unconditionally and do the unlimited, because he is our friend and well-wisher. He even takes care of creatures who does not have the level of understanding example ants and other living beings then what to talk about us. So one should raise this consciousness of the conditioned soul to the platform of understanding that Krishna is the controller and he is the doer.
Sometime we want to fast on Nirjala Ekadashi but end up with health conditions and unable to do, but when we sincerely pray to Krishna to give us the strength so that we could do this severe austerity for him then everything will go smooth. When we are sick sometimes and in pain and in that distress we tend to forget Krishna and think wish we had some medicine to reveal our pain but if we think of Krishna that moment our pain will reduce by itself. But same way when we are in death bed we should be able to remember Krishna, we should be conditioned for this moment because this is the only opportunity to go back to him. Our first cry should not be to get help from family or our neighbor it should be to call out to Krishna. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita I am the cure , I am the herb so we should call out to Krishna , remove this conditioned state of mind, , train ourselves and pray to Krishna to remove this conditioned state of soul to remember him. We are all children of Krishna. Srila Prabupad says if one makes friend with Krishna one will never be cheated. And get all the help he needed.
Sometimes people are hesitant to go to temple thinking temple is very far, cannot drive etc… Trying to give some excuses, but some do want to come to temple even though it is far. For they think that if it is not possible to cover the distance from their home to their temple then how are they going to cover the distance from this material world to Goloka vrindavan.
We can learn many thing from the devotees who are walking on the path of Krishna consciousness be it a little child or a senior devotee, or from Shiksha Gurus. In fact Krishna says in Chapter 18, Verse 69
na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu
kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ
bhavitā na ca me tasmād
anyaḥ priya-taro bhuvi
Translation: There is no servant in this world more dear to me than he, nor will there ever be one more dear.
Krishna says that there is no servant in this world that is dearer to me, nor be there anywhere be one who preaches for me. It is our duty to preach, children too can preach, cooking prasadam and serving non- devotees, or neighbors or inviting people from office is also a kind of preaching
The power of friendship is limited. Anyone who claims to be a friend cannot be your friend unlimitedly. There are unlimited number of living entities, and our resources, time, and our capacity are very limited. Therefore we cannot be a real benefit to anybody in the world. The best service is to awaken them to Krishna consciousness so that they may know Krishna is the Supreme enjoyer and the controller and the illusion of “I“ be the controller will vanquish. .
There are many paths in this world and with due respect everybody has a free will to choose what path they want to follow. Here we can find that people do community service, voluntary service etc. but if that services is excluding Krishna ,and if you are not driving the preaching mission then that becomes karmic activity. When you include Krishna in your activities for example, ISKCON has many projects like food for life, hospitals etc. do service there. Krishna should be our main focus of all our activities and ultimately the fruits of our actions should be surrounded to Krishna. In Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya-lila it is said that if the devotee of Lord Krishna is desire less then he is peaceful. But in reality when we live our life in this material world, and when we walk out of the temple we are engaged in the same furtive activities, because we carry a lot of desires.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu says furtive workers desire material enjoyment, Jnani’s desire liberation, yogi’s desire material opulence. So when we are in the state of desire we cannot attain peace. The devotee of lord Krishna also has desires but does not have own desires example devotees like Srila Prabupad, had desire nothing for himself but to serve Krishna. Even the so called liberated people who claim that I am a sadhu, a guru, many of them have desires and some may be looking for a better material pleasures, some may be like Jnani’s looking for one with Krishna that is the desire, the yogis are desiring material opulence’s and perfection etc.. All these non-devotees are lusty or kami because they desire something and they cannot have peace. The only thing that can give peace mentioned in this verse of Bhagavad Gita chapter 5 is “A person in full consciousness of Me, knowing Me to be the ultimate beneficiary of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods, and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attains peace from the pangs of material miseries.” We should be full consciousness of Krishna, and understand that he is the only one who could do anything for his devotees.
The biggest message which we can get from “Damaodaraastakam Prayer “done in Kartika month is Krishna can be conquered and bound by my devotees love. Only Krishna will do everything for us, because if we offer our sincere desires, prayers, activities and everything to Krishna he will do anything for his devotees.
How to become desire less
Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9, verse 31 Krishna says
Kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā
na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati
Translation: He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.
Even though Krishna declares that my devotees never perish still sometimes devotees think that they are having pain in life like accident, disease, death etc… and Krishna is not protecting us. We feel this pain because we are associating ourselves with our bodily form. We are suffering these hardships because of our past Karmic reactions and we cannot blame Krishna for that. But Krishna is always there to protect us. He is actually the protecting our soul, and helping us to remove the dust from thousands or millions of life time from our soul, he will be always there to help us , guide us and carry us in our difficult times. The devotees only business is to please the Supreme Lord by rendering as much service as possible. A Krishna devotee has no desire for his own personal benefits and he is completely protected by the supreme.
Bhaktivinoda Thakur says that devotees is desire less because he believes Krishna will give him protection at all circumstances. It is not that he accepts any assistance from Krishna, he simply depends on Krishna. The most important word is “depends”. We depend on somebody only when we have faith. We all think we have independence and that is the main reason we are here. We wanted independence from Krishna so Krishna send us to this material world. But in the broader scheme of things we have minute independence or free will, unable to control our senses.
Krishna says that we should depend on him like how a child depends on his parents. A child depends on parents because it knows that there is nobody else will protect him not a stranger. But we think we are grown up and we can take care of ourselves, but we have not grown up. Just by the body growing up we don’t grow up. Sometimes in a small body there is such a powerful soul, because the soul is imprinted for life times which creates our character constantly. Can we make our efforts to eradicate the blue prints that is unfavorable to Krishna and impose a new blue print favorable to Krishna, yes of course due to our free will, that is our minute independence, and that is our action in Krishna consciousness. So the conclusion is that the devotees who are simply satisfied in serving the lord actually become desire less. Therefore Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says since a Krishna baktha is satisfied with Krishna then there is no possibility for the devotee to fall down.
Everything animate or in animate that is within the universe is controlled and owned by Krishna. One therefore should accept only those things for himself that are set aside as his quota and should not accept other things knowing to whom they belong. Example a devotee can use his own house or if he is renting it can use it for service of Krishna understanding that Krishna is the owner of the house and nothing belongs to them, otherwise it can become Karmic reactions. This can be achieved by life time of practice. So whatever we do in service of Krishna we are free from karmic reactions. It is also explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatham that no one should claim anything as his property, like my house, my son, my daughter etc…We should remove the “I” and “my” concept from our heart.
Whenever and in whatever situations we are, forced to say the word “I “remove it from our heart. Cut off the bond and attachment due to it. These are the ways which we can practically apply in our life. Nothing belong to us in this material world but still there is fight between countries, war thinking everything belong to them. Even if we donate money to a temple we should understand that Krishna has everything, what we are giving to him is actually given to us by him. When we do charity also we should not feel good about it, because we should do it because it is our dharma, and it is our duty to support anything for Krishna consciousness
In Verse 29 there are three things we always should remember: that Krishna is the enjoyer and we are the enjoyed and our eternal constitution position is to serve Krishna. Srila Prabupad has said, even if you don’t serve Krishna you serve somebody. Our human nature is to serve somebody like husband, wife, children, our bosses etc. Instead we should focus that energy to serve Krishna and it will attain peace. And when we are enjoyed we actually feel peace and feel the enjoyment. We will get transcendental bliss by associating with devotees, by listening to Krishna Katha, chanting of Krishna name. We may not able to see but feel within us less anxiety, tension and more peace .The transcendental pleasure which we get by serving devotes and Krishna will not be got by watching Television. We should voluntarily surrender ourselves to the service of the lord. “Voluntary “is the key word. You cannot force anyone. Like by watering the root the plant nourishes, the soul gets nourishment by going to temple. This is the central point of bhakti. We eat though mouth and our whole body gets nourished, when we take medicine for curing one particular disease it gets cured like headache, fever etc. If that is the way the body works then that is also a way our devotional connection with god works. We are just small in this whole cosmic manifestation. A CEO in the company does not know every single person of the company but Krishna knows everyone since he is situated in our heart. For our Atma or soul to be satisfied we have to serve Krishna, we should not live a life with lots of expectations but live everyday by asking ourselves a question what we have done for Krishna, and aim sincerely to satisfy or please him by eradicating the “I” concept from our mind and heart.