Saturday, 24 December 2016

The Supreme Artist

A lecture given in February 1972 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, at an art gallery in Auckland, New Zealand.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for coming here and giving us a chance to speak about the Supreme Artist. The Vedas describe how great an artist Krsna is: na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate na tat samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate. Nobody can be found who is greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead or equal to Him, and although He is the greatest artist, He doesn’t have to do anything personally.

In this world every one of us knows somebody lesser than us, somebody equal to us, and somebody greater than us. That is our experience. However great you may be, you will find somebody equal to you and somebody greater than you. But as far as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is concerned, great sages have concluded by research and experiment that nobody is equal to Him or greater than Him.

God is so great that He has nothing to do, no duties He must perform (na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate). Why? Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate: His energies are multifarious and they are working automatically, according to His desire (svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca). Suppose you are an artist. To paint a picture of a very nice rose, you have to take your brush, mix your colors on the palate, and tax your brain to make the picture beautiful. But in a garden you can see not only one rose but many thousands of roses blooming. They have been very artistically “painted” by nature.

But we should go deeper into the matter. What is nature? Nature is a working instrument, that’s all—an energy. Without some energy working, how could the rose bloom so beautifully from the bud? There must be some energy working, and that energy is Krsna’s energy. But it acts so subtly and swiftly that we cannot understand how it is working.

The material energies seem to be working automatically, but actually there is a brain behind them. When you paint a picture, everyone can see that you are working. Similarly, the “painting” of the actual rose is also worked out by several energies. Don’t think that the rose has been created automatically. No. Nothing is created automatically. The rose is created out of the energies of the Supreme Lord, but these energies are so subtle and so artistic that a nice flower can bloom overnight.

So, Krsna is the greatest artist. Nowadays, in the electronic age, a scientist just pushes a button and his machine works so perfectly. Or an airplane pilot simply pushes a button and a huge machine just like a small city flies in the sky. So if it is possible for ordinary men of this world to work so wonderfully simply by pushing some buttons, how much greater must be God’s ability to work. How much more fertile His brain must be than ordinary artists’ or scientists’. Simply by His desire—”Let there be creation!”—everything is immediately manifest. So Krsna is the greatest artist.

There is no limit to Krsna’s artistic ability, because Krsna is the seed of all creation (bijam mam sarva-bhutanam). You have all seen a banyan tree. It grows from a small seed. This small seed has so much potency that if you sow it in a fertile place and water it, one day it will become a big banyan tree. Now, what are the potencies, what are the artistic and scientific arrangements within that small seed that allow it to grow into a big banyan tree? Also, on that banyan tree there are many thousands of fruits, and within each fruit there are thousands of seeds, and each seed contains the potency of another tree. So where is the scientist who can create in that way? Where is the artist within this material world who can create a work of art as pleasing as a banyan tree? These inquiries should be made.

The first aphorism of the Vedanta-sutra is athato brahma-jijnasa: “In the human form of life one should inquire about the Absolute Truth.” So one should carefully study these questions. You cannot manufacture a machine that automatically grows into a big banyan tree. So don’t you think there must be a big artistic brain, a great scientific brain, behind nature? If you simply say “Nature is working,” that is not a sufficient explanation.

The second aphorism of the Vedanta-sutra is janmady asya yatah: “The Absolute Truth is He from whom everything is generated.” We have to expand our vision from the small things to the great things. Now we become amazed when we see a small sputnik flying in the sky. It is flying toward the moon, and we are giving all credit to the scientists, and the scientists are challenging, “What is God? Science is everything.”

But if you are intelligent you will compare the sputnik to the millions and trillions of planets and stars. Just on this tiny earth planet there are so many oceans, so many mountains, so many skyscrapers. But if you go above this planet a few million miles, it will look just like a small spot. You will see it as just a spot in the sky. And there are millions of planets floating in the sky like swabs of cotton. So if we give so much credit to the scientists who have manufactured a sputnik, how much more credit we should give to the person who has manufactured this universal arrangement. This is Krsna consciousness—appreciating the greatest artist, the greatest scientist.

We may appreciate so many artists, but unless we appreciate the greatest artist, Krsna, our life is wasted. We find that appreciation in the Brahma-samhita, the prayers of Lord Brahma, the creator of this universe. In appreciation of Govinda, Krsna, he sings,

yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti-
kotisv asesa-vasudhadi vibhuti-bhinnam
tad brahma niskalam anantam asesa-bhutam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
(Bs 5.40)

Now we are trying to understand the planetary system by our scientific method. But we have not been able to finish studying even the nearest planet, the moon, what to speak of the millions and billions of other planets. But from the Brahma-samhita we get this knowledge: yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti-kotisv. By the glaring effulgence emanating from Krsna’s body, innumerable universes are created. We cannot study even one universe, but from the Brahma-samhita we get information that there are innumerable universes and that in each and every universe there are innumerable planets (jagad-anda-koti-kotisv). (Jagad-anda means “universes,” and koti-kotisv means “in innumerable.”) So there are innumerable universes with innumerable suns, innumerable moons, and innumerable planets.

All of this is made possible by Krsna’s bodily effulgence, which is called the brahmajyoti. The jnanis, those who are trying to approach the Absolute Truth by mental speculation, by dint of their tiny brain power, can at most approach this brahmajyoti. But that brahmajyoti is only the illumination of Krsna’s body. The best analogy is the sunshine. The sunshine is coming from the sun globe. The sun is localized, and the effulgence of the sun, the sunshine, is distributed all over the universe. Just as the moon reflects the sunshine, the sun also reflects the brahmajyoti. And the brahmajyoti is the bodily effulgence of Krsna.

So the greatest art is to understand Krsna. That is the greatest art. If we actually want to be an artist, we should try to understand, or try to be intimately associated with, the greatest artist, Krsna. For this purpose we have established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. The members of this society are trained to see in everything the display of Krsna’s artistic sense. That is Krsna consciousness—to see the artistic hand of Krsna everywhere.

In the Bhagavad-gita [10.8] Krsna says, aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate: “Whatever you see is an emanation from Me. Everything is created out of My energy.” One should understand this fact—that Krsna is the origin of everything. Lord Brahma confirms this in his Brahma-samhita [5.1]: isvarah paramah krsnah. “Krsna is the Supreme Controller.” Here in this material world we have experience of many controllers. Every one of us is a controller. You are a controller; I am a controller. But above you there is another controller, and above him there is another controller, and so on. You may go on searching out controller after controller, and when you come to the Supreme Controller—He who is not controlled by anyone but who controls everyone else—that is Krsna. This is our definition of God: the Supreme Controller.

Nowadays it has become a cheap business to see many “Gods.” But you can test someone to see if he is God. If he is controlled by somebody else, he is not God. Only if He is the Supreme Controller should you accept Him as God. That is the simple test for God.

Now, another quality of God is that He is full of pleasure (anandamayo ‘bhyasat). By nature the Supreme Absolute Person is anandamaya, full of pleasure. Suppose you are an artist. You engage in artistic work just to get some pleasure. By painting a picture you enjoy some rasa, some pleasurable mellow. Otherwise, why would you work so hard? There must be some pleasure in painting.

So, Krsna is raso vai sah, the reservoir of all pleasurable mellows. He is sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah full of eternity, knowledge, and pleasure. (Ananda means “pleasure.”) His pleasure potency is Srimati Radharani. You have seen pictures of Radha and Krsna. So, Radharani is the manifestation of Krsna’s pleasure potency. As I have already explained, Krsna has innumerable energies, and one of these is His pleasure potency, Radharani.

So those who have developed love of God are enjoying transcendental pleasure at every moment by seeing the artistic work of Krsna everywhere. That is the position of a devotee. Therefore we request everyone to become a devotee, to become Krsna conscious, so that you will see the artistic work of Krsna everywhere.

Seeing Krsna everywhere is not difficult. For example, suppose you are thirsty and you drink some water. When you drink you feel so much pleasure. And Krsna is the reservoir of all pleasure (raso vai sah). So, that pleasure you feel by drinking water—that is Krsna. Krsna states this in Bhagavad-gita [7.8]: raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya. “I am the taste of water.” For an ordinary person, who cannot fully appreciate Krsna, Krsna is giving the instruction that He is the taste of the water that quenches your thirst. If you simply try to understand that this taste is Krsna, or God, you become God conscious.

So it is not very difficult to become Krsna conscious. You simply require a little training. And if you read Bhagavad-gita As It Is—understanding it the way it is stated by Krsna Himself, without any rascaldom or false interpretation—you will become Krsna conscious. And if you become Krsna conscious, your life is successful. You will return to Krsna (tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti).

So there is no loss in becoming Krsna conscious, but the gain is very great. Therefore we request all of you to try to become Krsna conscious. Read Bhagavad-gita As It Is; you will find all the information you need to become Krsna conscious. Or, if you don’t want to read Bhagavad-gita, please chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. You will still become Krsna conscious.

Thank you very much.

“Excerpted from ‘Back To Godhead’ magazine, courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.,”
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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Engage Your Talent in Krishna Service

“Krishna says, svakarmana: ‘Whatever talent you have got, you can serve Me and be perfect.’ That is the program.”

“Yes, it is your good fortune that you can serve Krishna in so many ways — to work, to write, to speak, to paint, to build — all of these talents must be employed in Krishna’s service. That will make you perfect. We are so fortunate to be in this human form of life, and to have the opportunity and the capacity to serve Krishna, and as there is very little time, we must do as much each day as we possibly can to serve Krishna, and to become always engaged in thoughts and activities of Krishna. Maya may try to pull us from Krishna’s service, and try to engage us in her service, but we must simply persevere, and try to do as much as possible for Krishna each day, and gradually it will be easier and easier to keep engaged in Krishna Consciousness activities. And pray to Krishna to please keep us always engaged in the service of His Lotus Feet. Krishna is very kind, and He is never ungrateful, and will give you more and more opportunity to serve Him. That is His Mercy.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 12, 1968)

“So our this movement is based on practical activity. Whatever talent you have got, whatever little strength you have got, education you have got… You haven’t got to learn anything. Whatever you have got, in whatever position you are, you can serve Krishna. Not that you have to learn something first and then you can serve. No. The service itself is learning. The more you try to render service, the more you become advanced how to become experienced servant. We don’t require any extra intelligence.” (Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Mayapur, March 1, 1977)

“Krishna says, svakarmana: ‘Whatever talent you have got, you can serve Me and be perfect.’ That is the program.” (Srila Prabhupada Conversation, January 16, 1976)

“Simply offer all your talents and energies in this service of the Lord and know that Krishna promises that for one who surrenders fully unto Him, He fully protects such devotee from all kinds of material distresses and sinful reactions.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 4, 1971)

“I wanted that you Americans use your talents in spreading this cult, and I can see that you are doing that. In all departments you can use your talents and thus do the greatest benefit for the entire world. So my mission has come out a success by the mercy of my guru maharaj who sent me on this mission. That was my only qualification in coming to your country, that I had the blessings of my guru maharaj.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, October 17, 1974)

“I wish that you can utilize your best talents in business organization and the result utilize for Krishna’s satisfaction is on the absolute platform. To make the idea more clear, if I am translating Srimad-Bhagavatam, and if you are contributing for its publication and helping for its distribution, this means there is no difference between your service and my service. In the absolute platform there is no such distinction. And service is always on the absolute platform. One has to make the best use of his talent for the service of Krishna. That is wanted. Best example is Arjuna, that he utilized his talents, military science, in the service of Krishna.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, June 7, 1968)

“I am so glad you are playing music for Krishna. It is a great service of your talent. Anyone’s special talent should be engaged in the service of the Lord, and thereby becomes successful in his life. I think that you can go on playing on your guitar and make it successful for Krishna kirtana. You do not require to learn freshly about sitar. We are not meant for learning something new for the service of the Lord; but we have to engage whatever talents we have already got. Our life is short but any type of education is great and long; so the best part of valor is to utilize properly whatever qualifications we have got for the service of the Lord. If you think still that you want a sitar, I will request you to make correspondence with Messrs Dwarkin and Sons, Esplanade Calcutta.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 3, 1967)

“Now you have got some good understanding of our Krishna consciousness so you write it for publication. I am very glad to know that you have got the experience and talent as well as the desire to write Krishna conscious children’s books.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, July 19, 1970)

“I think it would be very nice if you would make nice silver jewellery for the Radha-Damodara Deities and in this way your talent will be used in the most perfect way.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, December 16, 1974)

“I am very much pleased to see your good handwriting. I shall therefore request you to utilize your talent in the service of Krishna. I think if you write Hare Krishna Hare Krishna in the same style as you have sent me one specimen, on bigger type on canvas, say 30 inches by 20 inches in color or black and white, it would be a very good engagement for you and at the same time we can utilize those sign boards hanging in nice places. So if you have got time you can prepare immediately such signboards Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare, as you have sent me the specimen, on canvas. Make the canvas colored bluish Krishna color and write Hare Krishna in white. It will be very nice.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, May 5, 1967)

“You mention that you were applying your artistic abilities with the deities working with Govinda dasi in Hawaii. If there is more engagement in that way take it up, or try to paint for our books. We can use unlimited amounting paintings for the Bhagavatam, as well as for our temples.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 21, 1977)

“Krishna has given you nice talent for doing business, and I am glad to see that you are using it well.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 17, 1969)

“Now by the grace of Krsna your talents are being utilized in His service. That is what we require in Krsna Consciousness. We do not require to qualify very extraordinarily to serve Krsna. Krsna is Self-sufficient, He does not require anyone’s service, but still the more we render service unto Him the more we become happy.

The example is given in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that the decoration on the face of a certain person is not seen by him, but when he sees his face on the mirror he enjoys. In other words, whatever we offer to the Lord, it is actually enjoyed by us. Just like we prepare so many delicious foodstuffs for Krsna, but we eat the Prasadam remnant of foodstuff offered to Krsna. The whole idea is that everything should be offered to Krsna, and afterward we shall enjoy the effects.

You have painted so many pictures of Krsna, and when you see to the pictures you enjoy and at the same time Krsna is pleased. Similarly the foodstuff prepared for Krsna actually we partake for it, but at the same time Krsna is pleased. Those who are cooking for themselves and eating them without offering to Krsna cannot enjoy such blissful life like the devotees.

By serving Krsna we are not the least loser, but we are simply gainer more and more transcendentally. Keep this point always in front, and work for Krsna and be happy.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, May 9, 1970)

“Expert means whatever he is doing, he must do it very nicely That’s all. Suppose you are sweeping this room. You can do it very nicely, to your best knowledge. That is expert. The people will say, ‘Oh, you have very nicely done.’ Any work you do, do it very nicely. That is expert. Don’t do it haphazardly. To your best talent, to your best capacity, try to finish it very nicely, whatever it may be. You are entrusted with some work. Do it nicely. That is expert. If you think that you are unable to do that work, then whatever work you can do, you take. But do it nicely. That is expert. Don’t imitate. ‘Oh, I have no capacity to work in that way, but I want to imitate. Oh, he is doing that. I shall do that.’ Don’t do that. That is not expert. You take up what you can do very nicely and do it nicely. We have so many works. Krishna is not that He is static. He is dynamic force.” (Srila Prabhupada Conversation, July 16, 1968, Montreal)

“I am in due receipt of your letter with enclosures and have seen the balance sheet. I have seen also the check account. Thank you very much. I think you are now expert account keeper may Krishna bless you for talents and sincere endeavour for service of the Lord. The more you serve the more you become expert in everything.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, February 3, 1967)

“So that will be the supreme perfection of our existence, to come to that point of being best friend, best devotee of Krishna. And how is that? If we become simply engaged in His preaching work, trying with whatever talent or education or experience or material advantages we have got, to spread Krishna Consciousness message all over the world. That is best friend of Krishna, that is Krishna’s pet dog.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter to George Harrison, Jan. 4, 1973)

“So I can understand that you are very talented boy from your wonderful script, so I think you should apply your talent for painting nice pictures of Krishna and the acaryas in our line, and also you may help Mohanananda in designing work for his press operation there in Sydney.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, May 22, 1972)

“There is no need of artificial talents. One has to serve Krishna sincerely with whatsoever talent one may have. Guidance of the Spiritual Master and sincere service to the Lord will give us all strength in the science of Krishna.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, September 20, 1967)

“Learning Spanish is a difficult job. How can you learn? I am very much enthusiastic about expansion of our branches, but if it is dependent upon learning of Spanish language, don’t take this adventure. We should serve Krishna in whatever talents we have already got. However if you are still very much anxious to go there, and you think that you shall be able to get along without knowing Spanish language, then you may go there immediately and push on this Movement. The idea is to recruit active speakers who also speak English to translate and be trained for administering things locally — you simply organize everything and instruct them, and gradually they will take over full management.”

(Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 15, 1971)

“Expertness is you just try to do which is easily performed by you. You don’t accept anything heavy task because Krishna does not want that you have to do this heavy task. Whatever you know, you just apply it. You dovetail it in Krishna consciousness. Krishna does not say that you have to become like this, like that, like that, then you can serve Him. Does not say. Just like this cow. Just see. What does it know? He’s an animal. You see? But the calf knows to brush his head and tongue like this, in love. It is doing and Krishna accepting, ‘Yes.’ That is expert. First of all find out what is easily done by you. Don’t take anything which is not easily done by you. You find out what is your occupation, what you can very nicely and easily perform, and do it for Krishna. That’s all. Is that clear? Expert? This is expert. Expert does not mean that I do not know how to drive motor car, and I will have to imitate somebody, ‘Oh, I shall become driver.’ Why? If you do not know driving, why should you attempt driving? Whatever you know, you just try it, that business, and try to satisfy Krishna. If you know driving, that’s all right. But don’t take… My Guru Maharaja explained that you haven’t got to learn anything extra for Krishna’s service. Whatever you know, you just apply it… Then you become successful. Because our time is very short. We do not know when I am going to die. As soon as I am out of this body, I am completely under the grip of nature, and I do not know what kind of body I am getting next. Of course, Krishna assures that His devotee will never be vanquished. He will get good body. But I do not know what kind of body I am going to… Therefore before finishing this body I will have to develop Krishna consciousness very nicely. That is my success.” (Srila Prabhupada Conversation, July 16, 1968, Montreal)

“The two essays which you have sent are very nicely written. It appears that you have good talent for writing, so kindly continue to develop in this way and write more and more of your realizations based upon our books. There is no need to concoct anything new. You simply have to study carefully our books and then in your own words try to express what you have read. This will automatically make you a very successful preacher.

There is no need to learn Bengali. I do not encourage learning any new skills. Whatever material abilities one has when he comes to Krsna consciousness, let him learn to engage these in Krsna’s service: that is sufficient. There is no need of learning new skills now. That will simply be a waste of time.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, May 13, 1977)

“I am very glad to hear that you are continuing your drawing work nicely. This is your business. Krishna has given you some special talent and you are using it for spreading His glories. This is wanted.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, May 19, 1975)

“You have a nice talent for writing, practice makes perfect, so continue, it will be appreciated.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, August 23, 1973)

“Everyone has got some special talent given by God. We should cooperate. That’s it. The hand can work in this way. We cannot walk with hands. That is the business of the hand. Similarly, I cannot cut the papers with leg. So all living entities are endowed with special… We should cooperate. The hand and leg should cooperate for maintaining the whole body. Similarly, everyone should use his talent for satisfaction of Krishna. That is perfection. Not compete with one another. That is mistake.” (Srila Prabhupada Conversation, November 10, 1971, Delhi)

“We should utilize our talents without being envious of others. You should do your best, but you should not be envious of others. In material life there is simply envy of others progress, but in spiritual life one encourages another, Oh you are doing very nice. That is Radharani. She says oh here is a very nice devotee. Please Krishna, you accept him.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, October 6, 1974)

“You have expressed a fear of becoming attached to your musical activities, but attachment for Krishna’s service is not bad. If you can engage your talent for Krishna’s service, then this attachment will increase your Krishna Consciousness status.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, May 13, 1969)

“You have tried to explain the reasons for your recent traveling excursions, but there is no need to explain; the reason is that you are restless. I wanted you to concentrate your mind on painting and utilizing your talents for Krishna’s service, but you do not hear me. Any place that you want to live, that is all right, but why don’t you use your talents? That you cannot do, and it is your misfortune.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, January 13, 1969)

“Your specific talents are to be engaged under direction of the Spiritual Master. Everything, every talent can be employed in Krishna’s service, and how to do it is known to the Spiritual Master. You have the tendency for botany, you can grow nice flowers and fruits for Krishna, that is the utilization of your natural tendency.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, November 11, 1968)

“When you are typing, you should know that it is as good as chanting, because the work is also on the matter of Krishna. Chanting on the beads and chanting on the typewriter Composer machine are both transcendental sounds of Krishna. Krishna’s Name, His Fame, His Qualities — all of them are on the absolute platform, and therefore there is no difference between one and another. So do not be misled that you are typing and not chanting.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, June 16, 1969)

“I beg to thank you very much for your letter and I have received your presentation and the prasadam I have distributed to all the devotees. I have read the headline prayer. It is nicely written, correctly spelled, which shows that you are a very intelligent girl and you can use your talent and intelligence for serving the Lord. Young boys and girls are sometimes agitated in mind but if we follow the regulative principles and chant Hare Krishna mantra regularly the onslaught of material nature can be checked. The whole process is, of this Krishna Consciousness movement, to meet the waves of material nature. The waves are called agitation by hunger and thirst, lamentation, confusion, illusion in so called love and affection, pangs of old age and disease and at last meeting with death. All these things can be changed simply by engaging ourselves in the service of the Lord which keeps us always in the transcendental position. Some way or other if we are able to keep in the transcendental position by devotional service we remain completely untouched by the contamination of matter. By the grace of Lord Caitanya things have been reduced to a very easy operation: by chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” (Srila Prabhupada Letter, October 7, 1971)

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