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What does it mean to be Krsna Conscious?

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Dec 10 1975 Vrndavana conversation-–

Hare Krsna-below is a very nice conversation where Srila Prabhupada sets us straight about what it means to be Krsna or God Conscious. If any of us were there during this pop quiz session, then I am sure many other answers could have been given and maybe even one may have been correct. 

One amazing quality of Srila Prabhupada was his ability to make seemingly complex things very easy to understand.  We make things difficult, and the bona fide spiritual master makes it all clear-if we are willing to continually hear in a submissive mood from him

Damaghosa das


Viśāla: I remember over five years ago you telling me about, “If you read the first nine cantos of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, you become fully Kṛṣṇa conscious.” Would you kindly tell me what does it mean to be fully Kṛṣṇa conscious?


Prabhupāda: What do you understand, fully Kṛṣṇa conscious?


Viśāla: What does it mean to be fully Kṛṣṇa conscious?


Prabhupāda: No, what you mean, first of all let me know.


Harikeśa: What do you think fully Kṛṣṇa concious means? You tell Prabhupāda.


Viśāla: It’s to see Kṛṣṇa face to face?


Prabhupāda: That means Kṛṣṇa conscious? Everyone is seeing Kṛṣṇa face to face. When you go to the temple Kṛṣṇa is there, and you are seeing. Does it mean everyone is Kṛṣṇa conscious?


Viśāla: No.


Prabhupāda: Then what is the meaning of Kṛṣṇa conscious?


Indian man: Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati [Bg. 18.54].


Prabhupāda: Hm, that is part of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, brahṁabhūtaḥ. Real Kṛṣṇa consciousness is: “Kṛṣṇa is master, I am servant.” This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.


Viśāla: To understand that you’re the servant and Kṛṣṇa is the master. I see.


Prabhupāda: When you fully understand, that is your Kṛṣṇa… That is Kṛṣṇa conscious. [break] So long you think that “I can also become like Kṛṣṇa,” then you are not Kṛṣṇa conscious.


Viśāla: In other words, if you still have material desires you can’t be fully Kṛṣṇa conscious.


Prabhupāda: Yes. That is the beginning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam [Brs. 1.1.11]. Make all your material desires zero.


Viśāla: Thank you very much.


Prabhupāda: That is Kṛṣṇa conscious. You should only desire to serve Kṛṣṇa. [break] … clear or not?


Viśāla: Very clear. Thank you very much.


Harikeśa: What if a person doesn’t desire material enjoyment, but still, there is so much dirt?


Prabhupāda: Hm? Who is that person who has no material desires?


Harikeśa: A person really wants to be Kṛṣṇa conscious, but somehow or another, so much dirts gets in the way.


Prabhupāda: Yes. Dirt means it is not yet zero. I said that all material desires should be made zero. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam [Brs. 1.1.11].


Harikeśa: As soon as the desires completely change, then everything else is purified.


Prabhupāda: Yes. As Arjuna said, kariṣye vacana tava, naṣṭo mohaḥ: “Now my illusion is over. I agree to act as you say.” This is Kṛṣṇa conscious. Naṣṭo moha smṛtir labdh tvat prasādān madhusūdana. [break] The moha is there. Moha means these desires are illusion, like dreaming. In dream we see so many things. They are all false. In dreaming I am seeing that somebody is coming to kill me but there is nobody, but still, I am dreaming. This is called moha. So when one is free from moha, then he’s Kṛṣṇa conscious. The whole material world is going on under such illusion. Therefore it is called māyā. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Thank you.


Dec 19 1973 LA

So we have to practice. This is bhakti-yoga. First of all we have to engage the mind. Mind. And as soon as you engage the mind in hearing about Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa will help you in cleansing the mind. That is the opinion given by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. Because everything… We cannot understand about God, or we cannot see God, or we do not know what is God, because there are so many dirty things on the mind. Otherwise, as soon as the mind is clear, devoid of all dirty things, you can see. You can understand what is God; you can see God every moment. Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilo… [Bs. 5.38]. So there is no difficulty. God is here, Kṛṣṇa. 


But one’s mind is not clear. He cannot see God. He sees a statue of stone. He sees a statue of stone. And whose mind is clear, like Caitanya Mahāprabhu, as soon as He sees Jagannātha, immediately fainted. Here is Kṛṣṇa. Actually, that is the fact. Here is Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa isomnipresent. That is God’s qualification: omnipresent, He is present everywhere. So why not present in the temple? He is present here. But we have no eyes to see. Because our mind is not clean.


So we cannot use the senses to see God. That is the defect. Therefore premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena [Bs. 5.38]. By the bhakti process, by devotional service, you cleanse your mind, you cleanse your senses. As soon as your mind is cleansed, then senses are also clean. That is helped by Kṛṣṇa Himself, as He says in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ. As soon as Kṛṣṇa sees that you are eager to hear about Him… Śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ [SB 1.2.17]. By the first hearing you may not understand about Kṛṣṇa, but if you simply hear with little attention, although you do not understand, still, you will be pious. Because the dirty things means covered with impious activities. So if you hear about Kṛṣṇa, then gradually you will become pious, simply by hearing. Simply… Just like if there is injection, anti-some disease, vaccine. You understand or not understand, it will act. Suppose if you take poison, if you do not understand what is poison, it will act. Similarly, kṛṣṇa-kathā is so powerful that if you simply hear, even if you do not understand, then you will become pious. And by becoming pious…


Because without becoming pious, nobody can understand Kṛṣṇa. It is said in the Bhagavad-gītā, yeṣām anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām: “Those who are twenty-four hours engaged in pious activities…”


Therefore we engage our students in the bhakti-yoga practice, twenty-four hours routine work, because it is pious activities. So he will be purified. He will be purified. We have got so many times offering ārati, offering prasādam, cleansing the temple, dressing the Deity, talkingabout him, twenty-four hours must be. Kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [Cc. Ādi 17.31]. Kīrtanīyaḥ or sevanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ, twenty-four hours. In this way we become purified. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā… [Cc. Antya 20.12].As soon as your mind is cleansed of all dirty things, then you become fit for going back to home, back to Godhead.


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