A lecture in Bhubaneswar on February 2, 1977
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Founder-Ācarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Today Is The Appearance Day of Nityānanda Prabhu. Nityānanda Prabhu is Baladeva, Baladeva-tattva. Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura has sung, vrajendra nandana yei, śacī sūta haila sei, balarāma haila nitāi: “He who was formerly the son of Nanda Mahārāja has appeared as the son of Śacīdevī.” Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mother’s name was Śacīdevī. So Kṛṣṇa is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and Balarāma is Nityānanda Prabhu.
In the Vedic literature it is said, nāyam ātmā bala-hīṇena labhyaḥ: “One cannot understand the Absolute Truth without bala.” Bala means strength. Sometimes rascal philosophers say that bala means bodily strength. They propagate the philosophy that “Unless you are bodily stout and strong, you cannot achieve spiritual salvation. You must be very strong and stout and eat meat and fight, and then you’ll get a spiritual birth in your next life.“
No. The strength—bala—required to understand the Absolute Truth is different. This is spiritual strength. The difficulty of the present situation is that although we are moving on account of spiritual strength, people have no information of spiritual strength. They are thinking of material strength.
That is expressed by Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura’s song: ahaṅkāre matta hoiyā, nitāi-pada pāsariyā, asatyere satya kori māni. The misconception of thinking that bala means bodily strength is due to ahaṅkāra, false ego. By the spell of māyā, people are thinking, “We are independent. We can do whatever we like.” This is called ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā. Under false pretext, false prestige, everyone is thinking, “We are independent. We can find the solution of the problems of life by material adjustment.”
So that is the material disease—ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā. Bewildered, people do not understand that the real strength is spiritual strength. We see daily that a person may be very strong, very powerful, have a good brain, be a very good scientist—but what is the person’s real strength? The strength is ātmā. As soon as the ātmā, or the soul, goes out of the body, the intelligence, the strength—so many things—they are nothing.
That is the difference between a dead man and a living man. A living man may be very powerful and in a very good position, but as soon as he dies, he is lying down on the floor. And if you kick him on his face, he’ll not protest. So where is the strength? The strength is gone. That is spiritual strength.
On spiritual strength, the body moves. Suppose you have a very good car—Mercedes or Rolls Royce. When there is no petrol, how will the car move? It is not possible. There is a kind of spirit required—”petrol spirit.”
Similarly, real strength is spiritual strength. That spiritual strength is Balarāma. Therefore we have to take shelter of the lotus feet of Balarāma. Balarāma means guru-tattva. Balarāma represents guru. If we want to understand Caitanya Mahāprabhu, if we want to understand Kṛṣṇa, then we must take shelter of Balarāma.
Nāyam ātmā bala-hīṇena labhyaḥ. This Vedic injunction means, “Without the mercy of Balarāma you cannot realize your spiritual identity.” Balarāma comes as Nityānanda Prabhu. Therefore we must take shelter of Nityānanda.
This song by Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura begins nitāi-pada-kamala, koṭi-candra-suśītala: “The lotus feet of Nityānanda are as cooling as millions of moons.” If we take shelter of Nityānanda Prabhu, we’ll get peace. For example, in daytime, especially in the summer, we become exhausted by the heat. But in the evening, as soon as there is moonshine we become satisfied. All the day’s labor and fatigue are immediately removed. One moon gives us so much pleasure. And the shade of Nityānanda Prabhu’s lotus feet is as pleasing as the moonshine of millions of moons.
If we actually want peace of mind, if we actually want to be free from material fatigue, we must take shelter of Nityānanda Prabhu. Nityānanda Prabhu is strength, spiritual strength. And without spiritual strength, you cannot approach Kṛṣṇa.
Nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyaḥ: “If you are a good speaker, that does not mean you’ll understand Kṛṣṇa.” Na medhasā: “Neither by a good brain.” Because you have a very good brain you’ll understand Kṛṣṇa? No. Na bahunā śrutena. You think that because you are a very good scholar, a university degree holder, you can understand Kṛṣṇa? No. That is not possible.
We must have spiritual strength. The source of spiritual strength is Bala
rāma, Kṛṣṇa’s first manifestation, prakāśa-vigraha. Kṛṣṇa is manifesting Himself through Balarāma. So we have to take shelter of Nityānanda Prabhu.
Je chāyāy jagata jurāy. The whole world is suffering, but if you want peace, take shelter of Nityānanda Prabhu.
Heno nitāi bine bhāi, rādhā-kṛṣṇa pāite nāi, dṛḍha kori’ dharo nitāi pāy. Our real aim of life is how to go back home, back to Godhead, and associate with Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. In another song the same author says, manuṣya-janama pāiyā, rādha-kṛṣṇa nā bhajiyā, jāniyā śuniyā biṣa khāinu. Unless you come to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, you cannot get real pleasure. If you want to dance and get pleasure, don’t dance independently. Dance with Kṛṣṇa.
Just like here, in our temple, we are also eating, but we are eating the remnants of food left by Kṛṣṇa. That is real pleasure. It is not that we stop eating. We are not dry philosophers. All over the world we are eating Kṛṣṇa prasādam. At least ten thousand men and women are taking Kṛṣṇa prasādam, but we have no anxiety. We have no anxiety. A family consists of a few members. They are full of anxiety about how to maintain the family. We are maintaining a family of ten thousand, and we have no anxiety. Just see practically. We have no anxiety. We require thousands and thousands of rupees for maintaining in Europe, America—a costly affair. But because we are under the shelter of Nityānanda Prabhu, Balarāma, we have no anxiety.
Material life means anxiety. You cannot avoid anxiety if you lead a material life. That is Prahlāda Mahārāja’s instruction. He was asked by his father, “My dear son, what is the best thing you have learned from your teachers?”
He replied, “My dear best of the asuras, the whole human society is suffering, at least suffering from one disease—anxiety.”
Ask anybody. Take a small ant and take a big elephant. Take the President of the United States or take a street beggar. Ask them, “Are you free from anxiety?” Nobody will say, “Yes.” They will say, “I am full of anxiety.” That’s a fact. Why are they full of anxiety? Prahlāda Mahārāja has replied, sadā samudvigna-dhiyām asad-grahāt: “They are unhappy because they have accepted asad-vastu—that which will not exist.”
Everything—whatever we have—will not exist. Our body will not exist. And this is the main platform of our present existence. In the material world, you exist only as long as the body is there. So Prahlāda Mahārāja said, “The real solution to the problems of life is to get out of this material condition. That is the best thing, in my opinion.”
A Vedic injunction says, asato mā sad gamaḥ: “Don’t live in this asat, this material condition.” Sad gamaḥ: “Go to real existence.” Real existence means spiritual life. If we actually want life, blissful life, we must get out of material existence. That is Prahlāda Mahārāja’s instruction.
Samudvigna-dhiyām. And if you remain in material existence, you must suffer some anxiety. You will not be exempt. So Prahlāda Mahārāja advises, hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpaṁ vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta. The real problem is anxiety. And anxiety will continue as long as you are in material existence. Therefore, real life is to get out of material existence.
Ātma-pātam means “killing the soul.” Material civilization is killing the soul. People have no information of the soul. They do not know how to become peaceful, how to become blissful. They are trying to be peaceful through the external material energy. They are thinking that by constructing big, big buildings they will be peaceful.
Here in Bhubaneswar they are doing this. They are building big roads and traveling with motor cars. And they are thinking that this is advancement of civilization. No. It is not advancement of civilization. It is increasing their anxiety. There is no solution to the anxiety.
Formerly there was no university. The university was in the cottage. Vyāsadeva was writing the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and all the Purāṇas in a cottage. That was the university. Who can produce such literature as that which Vyāsadeva has given? From any angle of vision—from the literary point of view, from the philosophical point of view—everything that he has written is perfect: the Mahābhārata, the Purāṇas, the Vedānta-sūtra…
There was no need of universities. His writing required a clear brain, and that was achieved through brahminical qualities: peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom, and religiousness. Where is the education today to teach these qualities? Technical education—how you can very nicely hammer—will not solve the problems of life.
If we want the real solution to the problems of life, our first duty is to take the shelter of Lord Nityānanda’s lotus feet. Then we’ll be happy. We’ll be soothed by the moon rays emanating from His lotus feet, and all our fatigue will subside.
Sei sambandha nāhi jā’r, bṛthā janma gelo tā’r. If you have no connection with Nityānanda Prabhu, you’re simply wasting time.
Se paśu boro durācār. Here Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura has used a very strong word. “Anyone who has no connection with Nityānanda Prabhu is a paśu.” Paśu means animal. How can an animal get happiness? That is not possible. From childhood the dog searches after food. The street dog cannot get food. Unless a dog has a master, he’s always unhappy.
So it is better to become a dog of Nityānanda Prabhu instead of becoming a dog of so many other people. Then we shall be happy. Everyone is a dog. Everyone is searching after a master to serve. But no one is satisfied because such a master is a false master. When you take the real master, Nityānanda Prabhu, you’ll be happy.
Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung, vaiṣṇava ṭhākura, tomāra kukkura, boliyā jānaha more: “My dear Vaiṣṇava Ṭhākura, kindly accept me as your dog. I am a dog already, but I am māyā’s dog. I’m not a Vaiṣṇava’s dog. So kindly accept me.” If we do not become a dog of Nityānanda Prabhu, a Vaiṣṇava, or a guru, there is no question of happiness. Nitāi nā bolilo mukhe, majila saṁsāra-sukhe. One who has no connection with Nityānanda Prabhu and who does not say, “Jaya Nitāi! Jaya Gaura!” becomes absorbed in material enjoyment. Majilo saṁsāra-sukhe means to think, “Society, friendship, and love, divinely bestowed upon man.” Materialist persons say like that. In saṁsāra, material existence of repeated birth and death, there cannot be sukha, happiness. But the materialist is attracted by material existence.
Vidyā kule ki koribe tār. What help will a university education or birth in a big family be? These will not help. Why are we accepting these false solutions?
Ahaṅkāre matta hoiyā, nitāi-pada pāsariyā, asatyere satya kori māni. Misled by false prestige and false ego, we are accepting the body, which will not exist. We have taken the body as reality. But if we take shelter of Nityānanda Prabhu, we’ll get enlightenment.
Nitāiyer koruṇā habe, braje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe, dharo nitāi-caraṇa du’khāni. Therefore Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura advises that if you want the association of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, you must first achieve the mercy of Lord Nityānanda. Today is Nityānanda Prabhu’s appearance day. Let us at least remember today the lotus feet of Nityānanda Prabhu. That is wanted.
Nitāiyer caraṇa satya, tāhāra sevaka nitya. The reality is nitāi caraṇa, the lotus feet of Nityānanda Prabhu. And anyone who is a servant of Nityānanda Prabhu is transcendental. One who becomes the dog of Nityānanda Prabhu gets eternal life. We are eternal, but under the misconception of material identification we are under the subjugation of māyā. It is very much a botheration, but people do not know this. We are going from one body to another, transmigrating. And there is no guarantee what our next body will be. But people have no science, no knowledge about this, the very first instruction of Bhagavad-gītā. They are rascals, and they are proud of their education, their universities. This is going on.
Nitāi-pada sadā koro āśa. Therefore we should always desire to be under the shelter of Nityānanda’s lotus feet.
Narottama boro duḥkhī. Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura is an ācārya, a great spiritual master. But he is presenting himself as a common man. He is not duḥkhī, unhappy, but he’s presenting himself as duḥkhī. Ācāryas are never duḥkhī. But taking the common man’s position, he says, “Narottama is very unhappy.” Narottama means “the best of the human beings.” Here in the material world one may be the best of the human beings—in a very exalted position—but everyone is duḥkhī, unhappy.
Nitāi more koro sukhī: “Only Nityānanda can make me happy. Otherwise, it is not possible to be happy.”
Rākho rāṇgā-caraṇera pāśa. So we should always pray to Nityānanda Prabhu, “Kindly keep me under Your shelter. I am very unhappy. Under the shelter of Your lotus feet I shall be happy.” That is real happiness. Thank you very much.