15 Places to See Krishna
(Compiled from notes on lectures of H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami)
People often demand ‘Show me God, and I will believe in Him’. As Srila Prabhupada often said, “God is present everywhere, but we do not have the eyes to see Him.” In Bhagavad gita Krishna tells in five illuminating verses 7.8-12 at least 15 places where we can see Krishna. In Rajkot last year (2006), our spiritual master His Holiness Mahavishnu Goswami gave a discourse on these verses discussing how to see the Lord. In doing so, he shared with us some of his wonderful realizations in devotional service.
Krishna says in Bhagavad gita 7.8:
raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya
sabdah khe paurusam nrsu
“O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound in ether and ability in man.”
1. I am the taste of water.
Srila Prabhupada says: “The taste of water is the active principle of water…Attraction for water depends on the purity of the taste, and this pure taste is one of the energies of the Lord.”
One of the important transformations of water inside our body is saliva. No solid food can go in the food pipe; therefore when we chew the food, water in the body is converted into saliva in the mouth by Krishna’s arrangement for turning the food into juice. Saliva is also antiseptic and essential to the body. Lord Krishna has created this body as purnam idam – a complete whole and has equipped it with an automatic medical system. Everywhere in the intestine antiseptic liquid is present which helps in digestion of different types of food items we eat.
Unfortunately water is depleted in vitality by outside pollution. In addition to outside pollution modern appliances such as the refrigerator and the microwave oven also deplete all foodstuffs including water. An experiment was recently carried out by watering two plants, the first with normal tap water and the second with water heated first in the microwave and then left to cool. The result showed that the plant watered with tap water was showing a normal growth pattern, whereas the microwave watered plant’s growth was stunted. Therefore we should decide to throw two things out of the house: The refrigerator and the microwave oven. At the very least one should reduce the use of these things to the minimum.
Modern medicines however are very harmful and they destroy the saliva and the natural antiseptic liquids within our body. The whole world is misguided in its attempt for survival. The science is to be only dependent on Krishna, and then only can one survive.
Previous to the industrialization of India one could go to the bank of a river, dig a h*** in the sand, and drink the pure water gushing out of the h***. Now however hard we try, this cannot be done. We may be able to turn water into coca-cola, but can we create pure water? The absence of pure water is a reaction of the predominance of anti-Vedic culture. By modern so-called advancement, Krishna is disappearing from our sight. We may have faith in artificial water, but only Krishna knows how they prepare the water.
What can we do in the present circumstances where we cannot even get pure water to drink? The only thing we can do is to take the water that we get, pray intensely and offer it to Krishna, and then it will be purified. Intense prayer will give us the same result as we get from natural products. In the Bhagavad-Gita 10.8 the Lord says aham sarvasya prabhavo, therefore everything must be offered to the Lord. By following this process, our whole being gradually becomes spiritualized and love of God is re-established in our heart.
By knowing these important utilities of water, we can meditate gratefully on the Lord for providing us with all sorts of comforts through this vital medium for our subsistence.
2. I am the light of the sun and the moon.
Srila Prabhupada has explained that the light of the sun and the moon is also originally emanating from the brahmajyoti, which is the impersonal effulgence of the Lord.
Sunshine is the source of health. In countries where sunshine is absent, people are sick both bodily and mentally. When we are mentally disturbed, if we simply see the sunrise and sunset our mind will become very light. Seeing the sunrise and sunset also keeps our eyes healthy. If one regularly looks at the moon one will not get cataract in old age. Man-made pollution such as smog in big cities is again a reaction to our neglect of Krishna, and due to it we cannot experience Krishna in the form of sun and moon.
Even scientifically we all know that it is the sunshine (along with water) that supplies starch to the plants and trees by which they grow. Without sunshine, it is not possible for the plants and trees to grow, what to speak of bearing fruits, flowers etc?
And then regarding Moonshine, Krishna says in Bhagavad gita 15.13,
gaam aavisya ca bhutaani
dhaarayaamy aham ojasaa
pusnaami causadhih sarvaah
somo bhutvaa rasaatmakah
“I enter into each planet, and by My energy they stay in orbit. I become the moon and thereby supply the juice of life to all vegetables.”
All the fruits, vegetables, grains etc have the potency to give us physical and mental strength only because they were nourished by Krishna in the form of moonshine. Unfortunately, in this modern world, the fruits, vegetables etc are artificially grown using injected hormones which destroys their natural nourishing strength. When we go against the nature’s law, we are doomed. If we go along with Krishna’s plan, then we will be healthy both mentally and physically. Because we do not see Krishna in sunshine, moonshine etc, we think that we can grow everything artificially.
3-4. I am the syllable om in the Vedic mantras. I am the sound in ether.
Srila Prabhupada explains that pranava, or the omkara transcendental sound in the beginning of every Vedic hymn, addresses the Supreme Lord. Because the impersonalists are very much afraid of addressing the Supreme Lord Krishna by His innumerable names, they prefer to vibrate the transcendental sound omkara. But they do not realize that omkara is the sound presentation of Krishna.
Krishna relays His message across all the creation to every living being. In the Bhagavad gita 15.15 Krishna says:
sarvasya caaham hrdi sannivisto
mattah smrtir jnaanam apohanam ca
vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedaanta-krd veda-vid eva caaham
“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.”
The secondary creator of this universe, Lord Bramha is able to tune in to Krishna’s relay, therefore when there is cosmic disorder he goes to the shore of the causal ocean and by meditation he receives direct instructions from the Supreme Lord within the heart. Since Krishna is also situated in our heart we can in the same way tune ourselves to the relay of Krishna. If we keep on hearing the voice from the heart it will never stop. In order to achieve this, the first step is to shut one’s ears to material sound vibrations. Material sound covers the living entity’s pure awareness. Like in the experiment with water, sound pollution has been found to negatively impact the growth of plants. Any sound which is destructive and atheistic will pollute the consciousness, which in its natural state is completely pure. By constantly chanting the holy names of the Lord and by hearing the message and descriptions of the Lord in Srimad Bhagavad gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, one is always nourished by the Lord in His form as transcendental sound.
5. I am ability in man.
Why do the laborers who carry heavy cement bags on their shoulders and work all day knee deep in cement have their particular duty to perform, while others recite from the scriptures in a peaceful and nurturing atmosphere? While others are scared to even touch the cement which is full of harmful limestone, manual laborers have to stay in touch with it without protective clothing for a whole day, and at the end of the day they get hardly 80 rupees. The difference in abilities we see among men is Krishna. From Him the ability is given according to the desire of the living entity. How can the soul, who measures a tenth thousandth part of the tip of a hair lift cement bags weighing 25 kg up a flight of stairs? Even for turning the pages of the Bhagavatam, the ability is supplied by the Lord.
Bhagavad gita 7.9
punyo gandhah prthivyaam ca
tejas caasmi vibhaavasau
tapas caasmi tapasvisu
“I am the original fragrance of the earth, and I am the heat in fire. I am the life of all that lives, and I am the penances of all ascetics.”
6. I am the original fragrance of the earth.
In his purport to the above verse, Srila Prabhupada very nicely explains that punya means that which is not decomposed; punya is original. Everything in the material world has a certain flavor or fragrance, as the flavor and fragrance in a flower, or in the earth, in water, in fire, in air, etc. The uncontaminated flavor, the original flavor, which permeates everything, is
In the beginning of the rainy season the fragrance from the earth appears. Now, due to pollution, such as the use of artificial fertilizers, we are not able to feel this pure fragrance. If water is not polluted it will have the aroma of the earth. Krishna is situated in this pure and original fragrance, but due to our misfortune we have given Him up for economic development. Previously black earth was used to brush the teeth, and during the hot summer the earth would extract the heat from the body giving relief. Caustic soda on the other hand causes burning. Instead of soap they would wash themselves with black earth or chickpea flour. Water mixed with chickpea flour will produce a nice manure, while caustic soda in water is harmful to plants. Formerly no artificial manure was there, and the land was tilled by bullocks who tilled only one or two feet into the ground, so the land did not loose it’s fragrance. When the first tractor was introduced in India, the farmers gathered to protest ‘If the tractor is introduced, what will happen to our animals?’ Now the tractor is produced in India and the tractor tears deep into the land, causing disturbance to the soil. Nobody needs the bullocks any more so they are sent to the slaughter house, even calves are sent for slaughter. The earth herself is a living being and by her goodwill the necessities of life can be taken from the fields. But due to the increase of sinful practices in human society, such as the slaughtering of innocent animals, the earth is loosing her incentive to produce. For this reason the pure aroma of the earth has now disappeared, and even further we have lost our sight of Krishna.
7. I am the heat in fire.
While explaining about fire Srila Prabhupada says, Vibhavasu means fire. Without fire we cannot run factories, we cannot cook, etc., and that fire is Krishna. The heat in the fire is Krishna.
Heat is the best cure. Woodfire is the best but natural coalfire is nearly as good, and Krishna can be felt in the heat from that fire. Therefore natural fire for warmth is very much needed. Previously all the houses in Britain had coalstoves and chimneys, and the people kept good health by taking the heat from the coal. Sunshine is the root of coal, it provides rains and the vegetation grows. At certain intervals in time there is a nuclear disaster on the face of the earth which buries the vegetation. That buried vegetation is made into coal by pressure. Instead of natural fire most houses now have central heating which is unnatural and with the absence of the health benefit of natural fire, people are suffering due to decreased health. In the pre-industrial India houses were always built from natural and locally available materials such as earth. In the summer the earth-houses would be cool, and thus no cooling system was required. Cement houses however need a cooling system, and AC cooling systems in particular are decreasing one’s health. Because we have left simplicity we have become entangled in so many complicated technologies for subsistence that we have no time to fulfill the real purpose of human life,which is self-realization. Therefore to save oneself from becoming entangled by the snare of modern advancement, one should only touch modern advancement to the minimum extent required.
If the dead body is burnt then all the impurities vanish. If buried it takes a long time for the earth to assimilate the remains, and the impure substances remain for a long time. Therefore the end of the body should always be cremation. Wood fire is the best to cremate the body. As soon as possible the dead body should be cremated.
8. I am the life of all that lives.
Srila Prabhupada explains that the duration of man’s life is also due to Krishna. Therefore by the grace of Krishna, man can prolong his life or diminish it.
Awareness of the fact that the Supreme Lord Krishna is present in every living being stops us killing or being harsh to other living entities. We think that a nuclear blast in the pacific will keep us safe in the USA. However by trying to preserve our life by harming others means that we ourselves will be killed, this is the supreme law. All taken together, contact with Krishna through natural things in Krishna consciousness keep us alive, while the absence of such contact surely drains our vitality and renders us miserable.
9. I am the penances of all ascetics.
Austerity is not the monopoly of the hermits of the Himalayas. Even in animals we find austerity. When a calf is sick it will not drink milk, and by fasting it is cured. The body has it’s own cleaning and repair system. By stuffing our intestine with food the repair work cannot go on properly. However if we go to any doctor he will most likely give us some pills and tell us to go on eating in order to get cured. The modern pharmaceuticals are so harmful to the natural system that they cannot be taken on an empty stomach. Therefore in order to save our health we should stop seeing the doctor. In the Mukunda Mala stotra verse 37 it is stated:
idam sariram parinaama-pesalam
pataty avasyam sata-sandhi-jarjaram
kim ausadham prcchasi mudha durmate
niraamayam krsna-rasaayanam piba
“This body’s beauty is fleeting, and at last the body must succumb to death after its hundreds of joints have stiffened with old age. So why, bewildered fool, are you asking for medication? Just take the Krishna elixir, the one cure that never fails.”
If one takes Krishna into one’s unhealthy situation one will definitely be cured. By seeing Krishna everywhere, absorbing oneself in thought about Krishna and by chanting His holy names, one transcends disease altogether. At the very least one should not take food if sick and chant Hare Krishna, thus one comes to realize that Krishna is the only one who can help us in any condition without fail.
Bhagavad gita 7.10
bijam maam sarva-bhutaanaam
viddhi paartha sanaatanam
buddhir buddhimataam asmi
tejas tejasvinaam aham
“O son of Prtha, know that I am the original seed of all existences, the intelligence of the intelligent, and the prowess of all powerful men.”
10. I am the original seed of all existences.
At present farmers are growing artificial seeds produced in the laboratory for maximum yields in the shortest amount of time. These seeds do not give nourishing foods. In the market we find big-sized bananas which look perfect, but when we taste them there is no taste at all. Nowadays practically all foods are artificial, and this reduces our intelligence so that we have to rely on computers and calculators. Writing by hand however is beneficial to both our intelligence and health. Previously one would go to a copier and he would hand-write copies, if one requested 100 copies then he would write them. In this way so many were able to make a living. In England in the sixties and seventies there used to be a milk machine on every corner, where one could get good milk. Now instead of milk, soya-milk is being introduced and advertised as being rich in all vitamins, when it is in fact all artificial. In this way the original seed is being destroyed and further advancement will only destroy everything. In the present situation there is no other way but to surrender to Krishna. The young boys and girls are the bija, or seed, of the future, but no one has time to properly train them, instead we leave them to artificial foods and television, and thus they are being destroyed. We should recognize that they are the seed of the future and train them properly according to the Vedic culture.
11. I am the intelligence of the intelligent.
Vedic culture is common sense culture. We however are making Krishna consciousness difficult because of our complicated intelligence. The presence of intelligence in a person means that he or she will always be calm, cool and composed. The absence of these three is why we do not see Krishna in intelligence. In the Bhagavad gita verse 3.42 it is stated:
indriyaani paraany aahur
indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu paraa buddhir
yo buddheh paratas tu sah
“The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence. “
Intelligence is higher than the mind and is the next door neighbour of the soul. The sense objects are gross and can be seen by the eye, and the eyes are controlled by the mind, which is not that fine. Finer than the mind is intelligence, finer than the intelligence is the soul, even finer than the soul is the Supersoul and finest is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By purified intelligence one can perceive the soul, and in Bhagavad gita 18.51-53 we find directions on how to purify the intelligence.
buddhyaa visuddhayaa yukto
dhrtyaatmaanam niyamya ca
sabdaadin visayaams tyaktvaa
raaga-dvesau vyudasya ca
ahankaaram balam darpam
kaamam krodham parigraham
vimucya nirmamah saanto
“Being purified by his intelligence and controlling the mind with determination, giving up the objects of sense gratification, being freed from attachment and hatred, one who lives in a secluded place, who eats little, who controls his body, mind and power of speech, who is always in trance and who is detached, free from false ego, false strength, false pride, lust, anger, and acceptance of material things, free from false proprietorship, and peaceful—such a person is certainly elevated to the position of self-realization. “
One should seclude oneself from the activities of the material world. However, how is that possible for instance in a city like Delhi? The practical application for everyone to be secluded from the vicious dealings of the material world is to follow a Krishna conscious life style. A Krishna conscious lifestyle means to 1) avoid meat, fish and eggs, 2) avoid illicit sex life, 3) avoid intoxication, 4) avoid gambling. Following these principles will automatically give seclusion from material life. In most cities one will find parks, and there one can sit under a tree and chant Hare Krishna on one’s japa mala. If there is a separate room in the house one can also take some time there alone with Krishna in the form of His holy names. If there is no separate room one may sit in a corner and chant there. In a big city 15 people may share a single room, if that is the case one may try to find out some secluded corner. Seclusion does not mean simply to go to a place where nobody comes. Only to go to the Himalayas is a wrong idea. Seclusion is always connected to regulations, which means controlling the senses. The most important regulation is to study the Bhagavad-gita with the help of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada, and having spent time in studies, one should think about the matters by oneself. The scriptures have to be interpreted so the common man can follow. Every living entity wants some peace and time on his or her own. For the body to function properly everybody must have his or her own time. To make way for one’s own time, one should make it a rule not to waste time and at least not to waste the time of others in fruitless talks.
12. I am the prowess of all powerful men.
Power is open transcendence, whereas ability is hidden transcendence. In order to realize transcendence one must have direction and power. A half-hearted attempt will never do either in the material or spiritual sphere. To have spiritual prowess one must be fully convinced of one’s goal and then go ahead with full force. This conviction is only attained by one’s individual rigorous endeavor to study the scripture. Then only can the mind be fully convinced to dedicate all attention to the spiritual path. An elevated soul may explain the spiritual matters to us, but unless we dig into it on our own, the mind will never give up the material path.
Bhagavad gita 7.11
balam balavataam caaham
kaamo ‘smi bharatarsabha
“I am the strength of the strong, devoid of passion and desire. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles, O lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna].”
13. I am the strength of the strong.
Unless there is strength nothing can be built. In India roads are built by manpower. The strength in the butcher is also required, but Krishna says “That kaama (strength) I am not”. Somehow or other strength has to be properly directed. For instance one may use one’s strength to promote one’s selfish interest or to protect the weak. If one resolves to take Krishna into one’s situation then the sinful situation will be changed and one’s qualities and capacity will be properly directed. Narada muni once met with a hunter and he told him to stop the hunting and take to spiritual life then everything would be supplied. The hunter agreed, but warned unless everything was truly supplied he would find him out. Soon the word spread in the village that the hunter had sincerely taken to spiritual life. Therefore they came and gave their surplus of vegetables, wheat and milk, and thus the hunter had more than required food for him and his family. Similarly Prabhupada started ISKCON and with no steady income the devotees of ISKCON have always been generously maintained. This is the power of Krishna, who says in the ninth chapter of Bhagavad gita – bhuta-bhrn, “I am the maintainer of all living entities”. Therefore one who thinks that by his endeavors his family is maintained is in illusion. Behind the material scene is Krishna who is supplying the strength to the material body so that it may appear to us that we are the maintainers.
14. I am sex life which is not contrary to religious principles.
Aham savasya prabhavo, the enjoying propensity comes from Krishna. Contaminated sex-life means that the material elements are there. In order to free ourselves from the material elements we have to free ourselves from undue material elements. When we are hungry, the hunger is Krishna, and to the required amount we are allowed to accept the material things. However in any enjoyment one must bar excess material elements. By accepting a hard bed instead of a soft one, one can more easily get up early. Instead of keeping twelve kurtas, if one can manage nicely with three, why should one keep the nine excess kurtas? Excess material things means worrying to keep those things under our control and in a maintained condition, and this is a waste of our valuable time. Anything which goes against the regulative principles requires that one acquire the taste. For instance whiskey tastes horrible, but that horrible taste one has to acquire if one wants to drink whiskey. Onions and garlic also have a horrible smell, which one has to tolerate. In essence things which are not required for us, we have to work in order to have contact with them. Therefore one should see the foolishness of the so-called enjoyment of the material world and accept only the natural things required for one’s upkeep.
Bhagavad gita 7.12
ye caiva saattvikaa bhaavaa
raajasaas taamasaas ca ye
matta eveti taan viddhi
na tv aham tesu te mayi
“Know that all states of being-be they of goodness, passion or ignorance-are manifested by My energy. I am, in one sense, everything, but I am independent. I am not under the modes of material nature, for they, on the contrary, are within Me.”
15. The three material modes goodness, passion and ignorance emanate from Me.
Srila Prabhupada explains that under the state laws one may be punished, but the king, the lawmaker, is not subject to that law. Similarly, all the modes of material nature – goodness, passion and ignorance are emanations from the Supreme Lord, Krsna, but Krsna is not subject to material nature. Therefore He is nirguna, which means that these gunas, or modes, although issuing from Him, do not affect Him.
The modes are the energy of the Lord, but being the Supreme controller, He is completely aloof from them. Thus unlike ourselves, who are being swayed by the modes at every moment, Krishna simply witnesses how His inferior material energy works on the living entity. At any moment He can release a living entity from the grip of the modes, but since we would like to fulfill various material desires, he leaves it to us to struggle with the modes. Daivi hi eshaa guna mayi mama maayaa duratyayaa, Krishna says in the Bhagavad gita 7.14 that the material modes are very difficult to overcome, but if one accepts the shelter of the Lord as one’s eternal well-wisher, He supplies one the required intelligence from within so that one may give up one’s attachment to the modes. Thus Krishna is the Supreme Authority and instead of fighting with the modes one should see them as the insurmountable energy of the Lord, and that they are never meant for our enjoyment. In the material world everyone is required to work in order to maintain themselves and from that work fruits will come.
However instead of spending for oneself one should spend for Krishna. Foodstuffs have to be bought daily, but by buying for Krishna and sacrificing the daily meals to Him first, one’s contact with the material nature becomes purified and one becomes Krishna conscious. Everything comes from Krishna and we can thank and worship Him simply by chanting the Holy Names – Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Therefore in the morning you excuse yourself, ‘Now I have to go to work’, and as soon as work is finished you return to the worship of Krishna. During the working hours one should meditate on performing one’s duty immaculately as a sacrifice in devotion to Krishna, and this will be attractive to everyone. Thus one’s present activities become spiritualized and one becomes happy in Krishna consciousness without a difficult re-arrangement of one’s activities. Everyone should do what they do, but simply do it for Krishna, and thus easily transcend the grip of the material modes.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Hare Rama Hare Rama
and be happy.