Responding to our desire, Krishna gives us a chance to forget Him.
A lecture given in Tokyo, on April 20, 1972 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
atma-mayam rte rajan
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: O king, unless one is influenced by the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no meaning to the relationship of the pure soul in pure consciousness with the material body. That relationship is just like a dreamer's seeing his own body working.
-- Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.9.1
MANY PEOPLE INQUIRE, "How did the living entity, who was with Krishna, fall into the material world?" That question is answered here. The living entity's condition is simply the influence of the material energy; actually he has not fallen. An example is given: The moon appears to be moving when clouds pass in front of it. Actually, the moon is not moving. Similarly, the living entity, because he is a spiritual spark of the Supreme, has not fallen. But he is thinking, "I am fallen. I am material. I am this body."
The body has no connection with the soul. We can experience this. The body is changing, dying, but I am the same. The idea that we have a connection with the body is due to the handling of the illusory energy of Krishna. That illusory energy develops when we forget Krishna.
In other words, our illusory identification with the body is simply due to our forgetfulness. We wanted to forget; we wanted to give up Krishna and enjoy the material world. Therefore Krishna is giving us the chance. For example, when you play a part in a drama, if you feel, "I am king," then you can talk very nicely. And if you feel, "I am Karandhara*," then you cannot play a king so nicely. The feelings must be there. If you are playing the part of a king, you must believe you are the king and have his courage. You have to forget that you are Karandhara. Then you can play the part very nicely, and the audience will appreciate. But if you think simultaneously, "I am Karandhara, and I am playing the part of the king," then you cannot play.
<* Karandhara - Prabhupada refers to a disciple in the audience.>
So because we wanted to play the part of Krishna, the enjoyer, Krishna is giving us the chance -- "You feel like Me." The feeling that "I am master, I am king, I am Krishna, I am God" is created by Krishna: "All right. You want to play the part of a king. I shall train you in such a way."
The director of a play tries to create the feelings within you for the part you are playing. In my younger age I played in a drama about Lord Chaitanya. Our director, Amritlal Bose, repeatedly said, especially to me, "Feel like that." So when we performed under his direction, all the people in the audience were crying. The play was artificial, but the effect on the audience was so nice.
Similarly, we have nothing to do with the material world, but we have been trained by the illusory energy in such a way that we think, "I am Indian," "I am American," "I am a brahmana," "I am a sudra," "I am this," "I am that," "I have to do this," "I have so many duties." These are all illusions. We have nothing to do with all this nonsense, but still we are taking it very seriously: "I have to do like that. I am this. I am that."
That is explained here. Atmamayam rte rajan parasyanubhavat-manah: "Unless one is influenced by the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there is no meaning to the relationship of the pure soul in pure consciousness with the material body."
The example is given of a man dreaming. "Oh, there is a tiger, a tiger! Save me!" He is crying. An awake man observing may say, "Where is the tiger? Why are you crying?" But the dreaming man is actually feeling, "The tiger has attacked me."
Therefore this example is given: na ghatetartha-sambandhah. There cannot be any meaning of the relationship of the soul and the body except that it is like a dreaming man creating a situation. He is dreaming there is a tiger, and he is creating a fearful situation. Actually there is no cause of fear. There is no tiger. The situation is created by a dream.
Similarly, we have created the material world and material activity. People are running around -- "Oh, I am the manager. I am the factory owner. I am this, I am that. We know his politics. We have to defeat our competitors." All these things are created just as a man creates a situation in a dream -- svapna-drastur ivanjasa.
So when someone asks, "When did we come into contact with the material nature?" the answer is that we have not come into contact. By the influence of the external energy we think we are in contact. Actually we are not fallen. We cannot be fallen. We have simply created a situation. Rather, we have not created a situation; Krishna has given us a situation. Because we wanted to imitate Krishna, Krishna has given an opportunity: "All right. You want to imitate. You want to be an imitation king on the stage. So feel like this. Play like this. Do like this. People will applaud -- ‘Oh, a very nice king.' "
Everyone in the material world is playing some part. "I want to be prime minister." "I want to become a very big business magnate." "I want to be a leader." "I want to be a philosopher." "I want to be a scientist." They are trying to play all these nonsense parts, and Krishna is giving the opportunity -- "All right."
But these things are all nonsense. Simply dreaming. When you dream, the next moment the dream is gone, and everything in the dream is finished. No more tiger, no more jungle. Similarly, as long as the body continues, I think, "I am a responsible leader. I am this. I am that." But as soon as the body is finished, these ideas are gone.
Krishna says, mrtyu sarva-haras caham: "I am death. I take everything away." Just think of our past life. Suppose I was a king or something like that. From Bhrgu-samhita it was ascertained that I was a big physician in my last life, with a spotless character, no sins. I don't know. It may be. But I have no remembrance that I was a physician. So what do we know? I might have been a very big influential physician, with a good practice, but where is it all now? All gone.
So our contact with matter is just like a dream. We are not fallen. Therefore, at any moment we can revive our Krishna consciousness. We become liberated as soon as we understand, "I have nothing to do with matter. I am simply Krishna's eternal servant." Sometimes when a fearful dream becomes intolerable, we break the dream. Similarly, we can break the material connection at any moment as soon as we come to the point of Krishna consciousness. "Oh, Krishna is my eternal master. I am His servant." That's all. That is the way.
Actually we are not fallen. We cannot be fallen. The same example: Actually there is no tiger; it is dreaming. Similarly, our fallen condition is also dreaming. We are not fallen. We can simply give up that illusory condition at any moment.
So if you study all these verses very nicely, you will get all this knowledge quickly. Now what is the purport?
[A disciple reads:] "Maharaja Pariksit's question as to how a living entity began his material life, although he is apart from the material body and mind, is perfectly answered. The spirit soul is distinct from the material conception of his life, but he is absorbed in such a material conception because of being influenced by the external energy of the Lord, called atma-maya. This has been already explained in the First Canto in connection with Vyasadeva's realization of the Supreme Lord and His external energy. The external energy is controlled by the Lord and the living entities are controlled by the external energy."
Prabhupada: Krishna says, mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te: "As soon as one surrenders unto Me, he has no more illusion." People are conditioned, encaged. Mayavadis, or impersonalists, undergo austerities and penances just to become liberated. Yogis also try to become "one." So many endeavors are going on. But the simple process is that as soon as you surrender you are not fallen. "It was illusion. I was dreaming. I am Krishna's." By thinking in this way, one immediately becomes liberated. Immediately. Within a second.
Liberation can be attained within a second, provided we abide by the order of Krishna. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. This is the position. We are not fallen. We are thinking we are fallen. So we have to give up this nonsense thinking. Then we are liberated.
Is there any difficulty in understanding this point? Just see how important this verse is. It is already there, but you are not reading. Read each verse; read every day carefully. Try to assimilate, understand, and you will get more profit -- every day a hundred yards forward. They are such important verses. How nicely composed by Vyasadeva! In two lines the whole thing is explained. This is called sastra.
Read the purport.
[The disciple reads:] "The external energy is controlled by the Lord, and the living entities are controlled by the external energy -- by the will of the Lord. Therefore, although the living entity is purely conscious in his pure state, he is subordinate to the will of the Lord in being influenced by the external energy of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gita (15.15) also the same thing is confirmed; the Lord is present within the heart of every living entity, and all the living entity's consciousness and forgetfulness are influenced by the Lord."
Prabhupada: Now, people may ask, "Why does Krishna within the heart give one type of consciousness to one and a different type of consciousness to another?" That is His kindness. I wanted to forget Krishna, so Krishna is giving the appropriate consciousness: "All right, you can forget Me in this way."
The karmis, or ordinary materialists, the Mayavadis, and the so-called yogis wanted to forget Krishna. So Krishna is giving them intelligence: "All right. You forget Me like this." And if you want to revive your relationship with Krishna, He will give you intelligence. Dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te: "I shall give you intelligence to come to Me." Ye yatha mam prapadyante. As you want, Krishna gives you facility.
Go on reading.
[Disciple reads:] "Now the next question automatically made will be why the Lord influences the living entity to such consciousness and forgetfulness. The answer is that the Lord clearly wishes that every living entity be in his pure consciousness as the part and parcel of the Lord and thus be engaged in the loving service of the Lord as he is constitutionally made; but because the living entity is partially independent also, he may not be willing to serve the Lord, but may try to become as independent as the Lord is. All the nondevotee living entities are desirous of becoming equally as powerful as the Lord, although they are not fit to become so."
Prabhupada: The living entity will never be God, but we see that by the influence of the illusory energy many people think, "I am God," or "I shall become God by pressing my nose like this." This is going on. But they will never be able to become God. That is not possible. If everyone can become God, then there is no meaning of God.
And for yogis to think, "I shall become God" is simply another struggle. It is illusion. Krsna may give them some yogic success. In India there is a rascal who makes gold appear. And people are after him -- "Oh, he is God, he is God." By producing a little gold, he becomes God.
So Krishna gives a person some power of yogic siddhi, or perfection, and the person thinks, "I have become God." And some flatterers think, "Oh, you are God." Such yogis are in the same dream as the karmis. And as soon as death comes, everything is finished -- your Godhood and everything, finished. Now comes doghood. And another dream: "I am dog." First of all "I am God," then "I am dog."
Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura has said, (miche) mayar bose, jaccho bhese': "Why are you being washed away by the waves of maya? Just stand up." (Jiv) krsna-das, ei biswas, korle to ar duhkho nai. "Simply stay fixed on this point: ‘I am an eternal servant of Krishna.' Then there is no more dream." And if you allow yourself to be washed away, Krishna gives you facility: "All right, come on. Be washed away."
[Disciple reads:] "The living entities are illusioned by the will of the Lord because they wanted to become like Him. Like a person who thinks of becoming a king without possessing the necessary qualifications, similarly, when the living entity desires to become the Lord Himself, he is put in a condition of dreaming that he is a king. Therefore the first sinful will of the living entity is to become the Lord, and the consequent will of the Lord is that the living entity forget his actual life and thus dream of the land of utopia where he may become one like the Lord. The child cries to have the moon from the mother, and the mother gives the child a mirror to satisfy the crying and disturbing child with the reflection of the moon. Similarly the crying child of the Lord is given over to the reflection, the material world, to lord it over as a karmi and to give this up in frustration to become one with the Lord. Both these stages are dreaming illusions only. There is no necessity of tracing out the history of when the living entity desired this. But the fact is that as soon as he desired it, he was put under the control of atma-maya by the direction of the Lord. Therefore the living entity in his material condition is dreaming falsely that this is ‘mine' and this is ‘I.' The dream is that the conditioned soul thinks of his material body as ‘I' or falsely thinks that he is the lord and that everything in connection with that material body is ‘mine.' Thus only in dream does the misconception of ‘I and mine' persist life after life. This continues life after life, as long as the living entity is not purely conscious of his identity as the subordinate part and parcel of the Lord.
Prabhupada: Thank you very much.