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How can you see and serve Krishna?

Following is an excerpt from the lecture on How can you see and serve Krishna? – Vraja Bihari Das.

Reading from Shrimad Bhagavatam Canto 10 – Chapter 10 – Deliverance of Yamala Arjuna Tree – Verse 34-35

yasyāvatārā jñāyante śarīreṣv aśarīriṇaḥ
tais tair atulyātiśayair vīryair dehiṣv asaṅgataiḥ

sa bhavān sarva-lokasya bhavāya vibhavāya ca
avatīrṇo ’ṁśa-bhāgena sāmprataṁ patir āśiṣām

Translation – Appearing in bodies like those of an ordinary fish, tortoise and hog, You exhibit activities impossible for such creatures to perform — extraordinary, incomparable, transcendental activities of unlimited power and strength. These bodies of Yours, therefore, are not made of material elements, but are incarnations of Your Supreme Personality. You are the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, who have now appeared, with full potency, for the benefit of all living entities within this material world.

Purport – As stated in Bhagavad-gītā Chapter 4 – Verse 7 and 8, Krishna say

Krishna appears as an incarnation when real spiritual life declines and when rogues and thieves increase to disturb the situation of the world. Unfortunate, less intelligent persons, bereft of devotional service, cannot understand the Lord’s activities, and therefore such persons describe these activities as kalpana — mythology or imagination — because they are rascals and the lowest of men . Such men cannot understand that the events described by Vyadeva in the Purana and other sastras are not fictitious or imaginary, but factual.

Krishna, in His full, unlimited potency, here shows that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for although the two trees were so large and sturdy that even many elephants could not move them, Krishna, as a child, exhibited such extraordinary strength that they fell down with a great sound. From the very beginning, by killing Putana, Sakatasura and Trnavartasura, by causing the trees to fall, and by showing the entire universe within His mouth, Kṛṣṇa proved that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The lowest of men (mudhas), because of sinful activities, cannot understand this, but devotees can accept it without a doubt. Thus the position of a devotee is different from that of a non-devotee.

So in this purport, Srila Prabhupada is chastising those who refuse to accept Krishna as the Supreme Lord despite so many evidences, Srila Prabhupada calls them fools, rascals and Mudhas and instructs them to take shelter of Lord Krishna. Srila Prabhupada says, Fool is someone who doesn’t know about Krishna and hence doesn’t know the absolute truth, but rascals are those who know Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and there is no happiness in his material world and still refuses to take shelter of God. Now, when Prabhupada has criticized people like this in heavy purport like this, we should know, it is out of compassion and love from where he is chastising. This is mood of all Acharya.

In another pastime of Srimad Bhagavatam, Vidura went to Udhava to more about Krishna and Udhava out of humility asked him to take instruction from Maitreya Rishi. When Vidura has come with a specific mood of know more Krishna and talk to him in following way

Vidura says:
O great sage, I am amazed that people are working hard for Sukha but look at the irony, they don’t get any Sukha or positive happiness. But when they know that positive happiness doesn’t come, so they say at least let me remove the suffering that I am going through, thinking that they might get relief as they are not able to get positive happiness. On the contrary, when one does that, they find more Dhukha, more suffering. Oh. Maitreya Rishi, please tell why does this happen.

Prabhupada writes in his purport that Vidura approached Maitreya Rishi to know more about Krishna but Vidura knew that common man cannot understand about God as common man is going through so many tribulation and suffering. This is why Vidura asked the questions of why these common people are suffering. And then Vidura himself gives the answer in the next verse on why people are suffering like this.

Vidura says, the main reason, they have turned away from Krishna and therefore the external energy of Krishna takes over. They become devotees of Adharma – irreligious activities. They suffer continuously and therefore a Pure devotee like you Maitreya Rishi who want to deliver these fallen soul, you are roaming around the planet and glorifying Krishna.

Prabhupada did the same, traveling around the world and instructing them, sometime chastising them, sometime encouraging them, with an agenda that they can become happy and come out of their suffering condition and glorify Krishna. That is why they do so much of tireless service while being compassion to the people who don’t take shelter of Krishna.

Canto 9 and Canto 10 of Srimad Bhagvatam was translated by Srila Prabhupada during the last few months of his life. So in this lecture we have turbulent story when Srila Prabupada came to know Devotees in Mayapur were attacked by around 50 and then 300 people and when they went to file a complaint at the police station, the police put them behind bars instead. Srila Prabhupada, on hearing this news, started praying for them, and started addressing as if those devotees were sitting right in front of him.

Prabhupada said, “Oh my dear devotees, please know that Krishna will protect you. Please have faith, don’t give up faith. Prahalad Maharaj was persecuted by Hiranyakashipu, he kept faith, please have faith. Haridas Thakur was beaten in 22 marketplace, he kept faith, please have faith.” Prabhupada cried, thanks the devotees and prayed for them. Then he came back to his desk and continued translating.

This is quality of pure devotee, he knows that the material world is nasty and still he is absorbed in his services towards Krishna inspite of always surrounded by challenges and suffering. So even if these devotee chastise, they are doing it out of compassion. So open your heart, open your mind to see how Krishna is working in this world.

Prabhupada share about three reasons why people cannot understand Krishna and they are
1. Someone who have poor fund of knowledge.
2. Imperfect senses.
3. Stubborn obstinacy ie unwilling to accept Krishna.

On the other side, Queen Kunti in her prayers reveals that Krishna is not only her nephew, he is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the first verse she says about who is Krishna and can the world see him and know him. In the second verse, she said why people of this world cannot see him. And in the third verse she says who can see Krishna and how can we see Krishna.

So in these verses she says that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and he is invisible and more like a puzzle to common people. Krishna is covered by his own Maya potency and foolish people cannot see him as Krishna dresses like an expert actor who act so well, people cannot know who he is. She further says that we are covered with the material energy of Krishna and that is why we cannot see him. And finally she say those who are free from material contamination and those who are doing Bhakti Yoga, they are the one who can see and they can know you. But then she says, how can I see you, I am a less intelligent women, how can I see you.

So as per this verses, she is revealing two thing, one is who can see Krishna through Bhakti Yoga and and second what mood one should practice to see him. Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport, Queen Kunti has realized Krishna, she has seen Krishna, she has accepted Krishna whole heartedly but she present herself as a foolish, less intelligent person so that she can receive the mercy of Krishna. And that way she is attracting Krishna’s mercy.

Prabhupada say, “This simplicity of acceptance of the Lord’s authority is more effective than showy insincere religious fervor.” And Queen Kunti demonstrated simplicity in the above verses.

Now how do we generate simplicity in our heart, by continuous hearing about the Lord sincerely. Hence, the false ego get dissolved cause sincere is nothing but the idea of “I don’t know the truth, I want to know.” So one see Krishna by just following this one simple step.

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