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What Makes Breathing and Living Possible

What Makes Breathing and Living Possible

Which is more important: oxygen or your lungs?

Some of you said oxygen. Some others said lungs. There were some others who said both.

The correct answer is both! How can one be more important than the other?

My point can be understood through an analogy. And although we do know that analogies have their limitations, let us see how far this analogy can takes us. I compare oxygen to Krishna consciousness and the lungs to the Hare Krishna movement.

From the biology of absorbing oxygen that we learnt at school; we reckon that the lungs help in absorbing the oxygen from the atmosphere into the blood. We have two lungs but absence of one can be compared to a very limited practice of Krishna consciousness. One can say, I like Krishna consciousness, but can I just offer my food and chant one round of Hare Krishna Mahamantra? Sure! You can do that. And you will surely get some oxygen of Krishna consciousness. But it will be very limited because the person who has only one lung has half of the capacity to breathe. It, therefore, will affect your lifestyle. Krishna consciousness is everywhere, but to access it we need these lungs in their fullness.

Similarly, our understanding of what is guru, is derived most fully from Srila Prabhupada and his books, and also from his activities, speaking, everything. He has given us a brilliant understanding of what we are talking about when we speak of guru. What Srila Prabhupada has been giving us through his teachings, example and life, is like healthy - nicely functioning lungs of the Hare Krishna movement, by which we can indeed draw all benefit of the atmosphere around us. I think this puts into perspective what it is that we are talking about when we speak of guru.

In addition to the analogy, I would state that the guru is the heart of this body. One may have lungs, one may have oxygen, but if one doesn’t have a heart that is pumping the blood and is taking the oxygen, one cannot have life in the body. That is why sastra emphasizes the necessity of accepting a guru, because otherwise the body will not be alive. This acquisition, realization, absorption of the Krishna-consciousness-oxygen will not occur fully. We might have some concept of Krishna consciousness, some image of what it is, but we won’t actually be breathing it, living it.

—From a lecture by His Holiness Krishna Kshetra Swami on SB 4.12.32 in Sadhu Bhavan, Poland (September 19, 2015).


Most Incomprehensible 

Question: Maharaja, I wanted to ask about Shiva tattva. Lord Shiva is neither a jiva nor Vishnu, so…

Answer: Ah, Shiva tattva! When we start getting into Shiva tattva you know it is time to end the class! (Laughter)

It is said there are two kinds of tattva which are very difficult to comprehend, one is Shiva tattva and the other one is guru tattva.

If Krishna - the Supreme - Bhagavan is sat-cit-ananda and also the jiva participates in sat-cit-ananda, why would Lord Shiva be excluded from that? The evidence is that he is having ananda, because even when he is destroying the universe, he is dancing. Usually, when there is some destruction going on, it is a very terrible thing, everyone is very tense and upset, but Lord Shiva is dancing!

—From a lecture by His Holiness Krishna Kshetra Swami on SB 9.9.34-42 in ISKCON Punjabi Bagh, Delhi – India (February 14, 2018).


Guru is One 

Question: What does it mean - “guru is one”?

Answer: In his speech on the occasion of the Vyasa-puja of his spiritual master in 1936, Srila Prabhupada said, “There is only one guru, who appears in an infinity of forms to teach you, me, and all others.”

And then he added, “The Ācāryadeva for whom we have assembled tonight to offer our humble homage is not the guru of a sectarian institution or one out of many differing exponents of the truth. On the contrary, he is the jagad-guru, or the guru of all of us; the only difference is that some obey him wholeheartedly, while others do not obey him directly.” And then Srila Prabhupada went on to glorify his spiritual master as that one guru and the application of that understanding is: Why is he guru? Because he is representing adi-guru, Krishna.

Guru is one.

One way to understand it is, guru is one and his name is Krishna. Someone would say, “Yeah, but not quite. What about Srimati Radharani?” Certainly, she is the actual guru, because she brings us to Krishna. Wait, another one would say, “I thought it’s Balarama, who is the initial guru.” You are all correct.

And so, continuing on with the list of gurus we still say - guru is one, although there are so many names. Because guru is representing his guru, and so on – all the way back to Krishna. But the message is the same, even if there are so many differences among them.

One can also say, guru is one as caitya guru - the guru in the heart. And bahiranga - the external guru is giving us access to caitya guru. Therefore, we see again, that the guru is one.

—From a lecture by His Holiness Krishna Kshetra Swami on SB 4.12.32 in Sadhu Bhavan, Poland (September 19, 2015).