Prabhupāda: I’ve seen your article; you can see me after. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)

tad aśma-sāraṁ hṛdayaṁ batedaṁ
yad gṛhyamāṇair hari-nāma-dheyaiḥ
na vikriyetātha yadā vikāro
netre jalaṁ gātra-ruheṣu harṣaḥ
[SB 2.3.24]

“Certainly that heart is steel-framed which, in spite of chanting the holy name of the Lord with concentration, does not change when ecstasy takes place and tears fill the eyes and hairs stand on end.”

Prabhupāda: So here is one word, “steel-framed.” Nowadays, the medical science is changing the heart, steel-framed. So this modern science is making steel-framed hearts, but we can understand that formerly, also, there were steel-framed hearts. Otherwise how this word comes? Tad aśma-sāraṁ hṛdayaṁ batedam. So just like stone or steel does not melt very easily, similarly, anyone’s heart which does not change after chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra regularly, then it is to be understood that it is steel-framed, made of stone or iron. Actually, hari-nāma… Harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam [Cc. Ādi 17.21]. It is especially meant for cleansing the heart. That every… All misconception is within our heart, beginning from the wrong identification, that “I am this body.” That is the beginning of all misconception. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. So as you go on chanting, gradually the heart will be cleansed, and you’ll be able to understand that you are not this body.

That is the… That is called jñāna-vairāgya. Jñāna. Jñāna means to know thoroughly that “I am not this body.” This is jñāna. And as soon as you know that you are not this body, naturally you become disinterested with anything which has got bodily relation. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam. Bhava. Bhava means repetition of birth and death. “You become,” bhava means. So “you become” means you die also. Because this is the world. To become does not mean that you stay forever. That is not possible. “You become” means you die also. So… But under wrong impression, as soon as I become, I think that this world is very nice. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura sings that “My dear Lord, when I was in the womb of my mother, at that time I saw You once, became visible.” Those who are spiritually advanced, they can see God within the womb of the mother. When a child remains packed up and the consciousness is gained, he feels very uncomfortable. So at that time, one who is pious, spiritually advanced, he prays to God, “Please rescue me from this bondage. I am too much suffering. And this time I, after taking my birth, I shall simply be engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness,” promises. But Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says, janama hoilo poṛi’ māyā-jāle.

As soon as birth is taken, the māyā is there; we forget. Immediately, father, mother, other relatives, they take up the child and pats very nice. So in this way we forget that we were in such a precarious condition, almost suffocating. Almost, it is suffocating. After coming out from the womb of the mother, if you are packed up again in such airtight bag, within three seconds you will die. We live under the protection of the Supreme Lord; otherwise that is not a living condition. Just imagine within the womb. So this we forget, and being taken care of, affectionate father and mother, on the lap, we think life is very nice, this life. But this is māyā, this is illusion. Actually, this bhava, to take birth, is very, very unpleasant task. It is blazing fire, bhava-mahā-dāvāgni.

So if we can cleanse our heart during this life … This is that opportunity. It is not possible … When I take birth as an animal, cats and dogs, that is not possible. But as I have got now this human form of body, we should not be again misled. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni … [Cc. Antya 20.12]. If we can cleanse our heart, then this blazing fire of repetition of birth and death can be extinguished. But the illusory energy is so strong that we forget our last death-time miseries. At the time of death we suffer very much, so that … Just imagine, when we give up our life, how much difficult position at that time. So we forget. Birth and death. As soon as there is birth, there is death also. Death means … The more you are advancing in age, that means you’re dying. You are advancing in death. The child is born … “When this child is born?” “Just yesterday.” That means he has already died one day. So in this way death is progressing. As soon as there is birth, the death is there immediately, side by side.

I am one day old means I have died one day. I am seventy-six years old means I have already died seventy-six years. Suppose I live, say, eighty years, ninety years. So I have already died seventy-six years. So death is sure. They say “We are advancing.” What is that advancement? Death is sure. You cannot control birth. Birth, death, old age. You cannot stop old age. And disease. You can manufacture nice medicine, but you cannot stop disease. So we have become steel-hearted, steel-framed heart. We do not consider all these things. These are practical. And still, we are under the impression that we are advancing in material civilization. So we are advancing in the art of cutting stone and wood. That’s all. This is our advancement. Just like in your country, within two months they can build one wood house. Means expert in cutting wood. This is advancement. Wood-cutter, stone-cutter. But we are not meant for cutting wood and stone. We are meant for understanding our spiritual identity.

There are many birds, the wood-cutter birds. So that is not very expert manifestation of our intelligence. So this cleansing of heart will be possible by hari-nāma-dheyaiḥ, this chanting of hari-nāma,

harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā
[Cc. Ādi 17.21]

Anything, any spiritual process, is meant for cleansing the heart. Either you take karma-yoga or jñāna-yoga or dhyāna-yoga or bhakti-yoga, the ultimate goal is that cleansing the heart. At the present moment I am under misconception, dirty things accumulated on my heart, that “I am this body,” and therefore I do not try to realize that I am soul, and under bodily concept of life… As the animals they are also in bodily concept of life, they are busy eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. Similarly, human civilization has become like animals. They are interested only in eating, sleeping, mating, and defense. That’s all. But that is not our position. It is a chance to get out of the entanglement of birth, death, old age, and disease.

This is our real business. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. We are misguided. Our so-called leaders are mis-leaders. They do not know what is the aim of life. That is the difficulty at the present moment. Not at the present moment. In the material world this problem is always existing, but due to this Kali age, that problem is more acute. That’s all. So this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, without offenses, ten kinds of offenses, will cleanse the heart, and then you will be liberated. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvā… Because we know the path how we can get out of these clutches of birth and death. There are so many big, big scientists, philosophers. They don’t talk of this important subject matter, how to get out of birth and death. They have no solution. Neither they can think of. But our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is giving us the knowledge that “You can get out of these clutches of birth and death, old age and disease.” That is our desire.

Nobody wants to die, nobody wants to go again into the womb of the mother. Nobody wants disease, nobody wants old age. But the so-called scientists, they have no proposal to get out of these clutches. Here Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives you hint that hari-nāma-dheyaiḥ. By chanting hari-nāma, harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam [Cc. Ādi 17.21], you can get out of this. And when hari-nāma will be perfect, that symptoms are given here. Netre jalaṁ gātra-ruheṣu harṣaḥ. By chanting, when you will, not always … Sometimes, out of ecstasy, when tears will come down and there will be shivering on the body, that means you are coming to perfection. This is not to be artificially practiced. When you actually come to the perfectional stage, these will automatically appear. So this verse suggests that if a person is chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, but his eyes are not tearful or there is no ecstatic shivering of the body, then that means he’s not coming to the perfectional point.

So if we chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra without offense, according to, and observing the regulative principles and numerical strength … Saṅkhyā-pūrvaka-nāma-gāna-natibhiḥ. The Gosvāmīs, in Vṛndāvana, they used to chant keeping in numerical strength. They were all liberated persons; still, for teaching us an example, they also used to chant keeping a numerical strength. Haridāsa Ṭhākura, he used to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra keeping a numerical strength-300,000 times. 300,000 times. So our prescription is only 25,000. Not 100,000. So it is not very difficult; it takes utmost 2 hours. We can find out, out of 24 hours, 2 hours. We can find out time. So if we actually follow the rules and regulations and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, then these symptoms will come. Netre jalaṁ gātra-ruheṣu harṣaḥ. When this comes then you know that “I am coming to perfection.” And if it is not coming, then it is to be understood the heart is steel-framed. Steel-framed. So it is steel only. Stone. Stone, if we keep our heart stone or steel-framed, then it cannot be melted. This… These symptoms mean heart is melting or changing. Purport, read.

Pradyumna: “We should note with profit that in the first three chapters of the Second Canto a gradual process of development of devotional service is being presented. In the First Chapter the first step in devotional service for God consciousness by the process of hearing and chanting has been stressed, and a gross conception of the Personality of Godhead in His universal form for the beginners is recommended. By such a gross conception of God through the material manifestations of His energy, one is enabled to spiritualize the mind and the senses and gradually concentrate the mind upon Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme, who is present as the Supersoul in every heart and everywhere, in every atom of the material universe. The system of pañca-upāsanā, recommending five mental attitudes for the common man, is also enacted for this purpose, namely gradual development, worship of the superior that may be in the form of fire, electricity, the sun, the mass of living beings, Lord Śiva and, at last, the impersonal Supersoul, the partial representation of Lord Viṣṇu. They are all nicely described in the Second Chapter, but in the Third Chapter further development is prescribed after one has actually reached the stage of Viṣṇu worship, or pure devotional service, and the mature stage of Viṣṇu worship is suggested herein in relation to the change of heart.

The whole process of spiritual culture is aimed at changing the heart of the living being in the matter of his eternal relation with the Supreme Lord as subordinate servant, which is his eternal constitutional position. So with the progress of devotional service, the reaction of change in the heart is exhibited by gradual detachment from the sense of material enjoyment by a false sense of lording it over the world and an increase in the attitude of rendering loving service to the Lord. Vidhi-bhakti, or regulated devotional service by the limbs of the body (namely the eyes, the ears, the nose, the hands and the legs, as already explained hereinbefore), is now stressed herein in relation to the mind, which is the impetus for all activities of the limbs of the body. It is expected by all means that by discharging regulated devotional service one must manifest the change of heart. If there is no such change, the heart must be considered steel-framed, for it is not melted even when there is chanting of the holy name of the Lord. We must always remember that hearing and chanting are the basic principles of discharging devotional duties, and if they are properly performed there will follow the reactional ecstasy with signs of tears in the eyes and standing of the hairs on the body. These are natural consequences and are the preliminary symptoms of the bhāva stage, which occurs before one reaches the perfectional stage of prema, love of Godhead.

If the reaction does not take place, even after continuous hearing and chanting of the holy name of the Lord, it may be considered to be due to offenses only. That is the opinion of the Sandarbha. In the beginning of chanting of the holy name of the Lord, if the devotee has not been very careful about evading the ten kinds of offenses at the feet of the holy name, certainly the reaction of feelings of separation will not be visible by tears in the eyes and standing of the hair on end.

The bhāva stage is manifested by eight transcendental symptoms, namely inertness, perspiration, standing of hairs on end, failing in the voice, trembling, paleness of the body, tears in the eyes and finally trance. The Nectar of Devotion, a summary study of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, explains those symptoms and vividly describes other transcendental developments, both in steady and accelerating manifestations.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has very critically discussed all these bhāva displays in connection with some unscrupulous neophyte’s imitating the above symptoms for cheap appreciation. Not only Viśvanātha Cakravartī but also Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī treated them very critically. Sometimes all the above eight symptoms of ecstasy are imitated by the mundane devotees (prākṛta-sahajiyās), but the pseudo symptoms are at once detected when one sees the pseudodevotee addicted to so many forbidden things. Even though decorated with the signs of a devotee, a person addicted to smoking, drinking or illegitimate sex with women cannot have all the above-mentioned ecstatic symptoms. But it is seen that sometimes these symptoms are willfully imitated, and for this reason Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī accuses the imitators of being stonehearted men. They are sometimes even affected by the reflection of such transcendental symptoms, yet if they still do not give up the forbidden habits, then they are hopeless cases for transcendental realization.

When Lord Caitanya met Śrīla Rāmānanda Rāya of Kavaur on the bank of the Godāvarī, the Lord developed all these symptoms, but because of the presence of some nondevotee brāhmaṇas who were attendants of the Rāya, the Lord suppressed these symptoms. So sometimes they are not visible even in the body of the first-class devotee for certain circumstantial reasons. Therefore real, steady bhāva is definitely displayed in the matter of cessation of material desires (kṣānti), utilization of every moment in the transcendental loving service of the Lord (avyārtha-kālatvam [Cc. Madhya 23.18-19]), eagerness for glorifying the Lord constantly (nāma-gāne sadā ruci [Cc. Madhya 23.32]), attraction for living in the land of the Lord (prītis tad-vasati sthale Prītis tad vasati sthāle), complete detachment from material happiness (virakti), and pridelessness (māna-śūnyatā). One who has developed all these transcendental qualities is really possessed of the bhāva stage, as distinguished from the stonehearted imitator or mundane devotee.

The whole process can be summarized as follows: The advanced devotee who chants the holy name of the Lord in a perfectly offenseless manner and is friendly to everyone can actually relish the transcendental taste of glorifying the Lord. And the result of such realization is reflected in the cessation of all material desires, etc., as mentioned above. The neophytes, due to their being in the lower stage of devotional service, are invariably envious, so much so that they invent their own ways and means of devotional regulations without following the ācāryas. As such, even if they make a show of constantly chanting the holy name of the Lord, they cannot relish the transcendental taste of the holy name. Therefore, the show of tears in the eyes, trembling, perspiration or unconsciousness, etc., is condemned. They can, however, get in touch with a pure devotee of the Lord and rectify their bad habits; otherwise they shall continue to be stonehearted and unfit for any treatment. A complete progressive march on the return path home, back to Godhead, will depend on the instructions of the revealed scriptures directed by a realized devotee.”

Prabhupāda: So this positive progress will be possible if we follow the instruction of the Vedas. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has therefore said,

pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
utpātāyaiva kalpate
[Brs. 1.2.101]

Śruti means Vedas, śāstras. Śruti-smṛti. And smṛti means books which follow the Vedic principles. Vedas… Suppose you write one book, or anything. If it is just according to the Vedic conclusion, then it is also… It is called smṛti. By remembering the Vedic conclusion… You cannot go beyond the Vedic conclusion. Then it is useless writing. Vedic conclusion must be there. The guide must be there. On that conclusion, if you write something, that is right, and if you deviate from that conclusion, then it is wrong. So we want to read authorized, right books. Not by imagination. You can write so many nonsense things by imagination. That is useless. You must remember what is the Vedic conclusion. So śruti-smṛti-pañcarātra-vidhim.

Pañcarātra-vidhi, this arcanā, temple worship, under the direction of Nārada. So if one gives up all these regulative principles and wants to become a devotee, a writer, then Rūpa Gosvāmī says, without the conclusive statement of the Vedas, smṛtis and pañcarātra-vidhi… Śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi-pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā [Brs. 1.2.101], without following, aikāntikī harer bhaktiḥ, the show of a devotee, the aikāntikī harer bhaktir utpātāyaiva kalpate, it is simply disturbance. Simply disturbance. So such things are happening. Now anyone is manufacturing his own way of self realization, and there are rascals who are supporting, that “Everyone, we are independent. We can find out our own way of worship.” But Rūpa Gosvāmī says, “This is simply creating disturbance.” That is very natural to understand. Suppose here, in our temple, we have got some regulative principles. But if everyone says that “I can manufacture my own way of worshiping the Deity,” then what will be the condition?

It will be simply pandemonium. You see? So that is going on. Everyone is manufacturing a type of religion, meditation, without any reference to the authorized books. Śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi [Brs. 1.2.101]. Therefore, people are becoming atheists, no religion, no principles, and the whole world is in chaos due to this. So Rūpa Gosvāmī has forbidden. And in Bhagavad-gītā also it is said, yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya vartate kāma-kārataḥ: [Bg. 16.23] “Anyone who does not give respect to the authorized śāstras, but he lives whimsically, according to his own way,” na sa siddhim avāpnoti, “Such kind of discovering new path of religious system, new path of this or that, he never gets perfection,” na sa siddhim avāpnoti, na sukham, “neither happiness.” Na parāṁ gatim. Because our whole aim is how to get out of this material encagement and go back to the spiritual world, go back to home. That is the aim. That is called parāṁ gatim. Parā means transcendental; gati means aim of life. Parāṁ gatim.

So those who are not following the authorized instructions, they are simply creating disturbance, and by such process one cannot be happy, neither perfect, and what to speak of going back to home, back to Godhead? We do not therefore accept anything which is not authorized by the disciplic succession. We reject immediately. There is example that in India there is a tree, sāgu, sāgu(?) tree. I do not know whether it is in your country. That, that tree has a very, I mean to say, thick trunk. But a little jerking, it will break. A little jerking. Sāgu. And there is another tree which is called tamarind tree. So even a fingerlike stem, you cannot break. It is so strong. So our policy should be that when we are falling down, we must take shelter of this tamarind tree, not that sāgu tree. The tamarind tree is Vedic instruction, infallible, without any mistake. As I have given you several times the example that Vedas says that stool of animal is impure, and in another place it says that stool of cow is pure.

Now, if you, if you are a good logician, you can argue that “Stool of animal is impure. That is already said. Why you make ‘The stool of cow is pure’?” Oh, but that’s a fact. You analyze the stool of cow. You’ll find it is full of antiseptic properties. That is Vedic knowledge. It gives you right knowledge. You cannot conclude that “Stool of animal is impure, so why this animal’s stool can be pure?” No. Vedic knowledge is so perfect that you can accept it as it is and you’ll be profited. You’ll profit. In the Vedic knowledge, the viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padam. The supreme goal is Viṣṇu. Oṁ tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ. This Ṛg Veda mantra. The, some rascals, scholars, so-called, they say, “These Vedas, these mantras, are some primitive. Now we are advanced. We shall create our own mantra.” You see? This is going on. The primitive… Primitive, we have to study. Primitive means very, very old. So whether in the days gone by, people were actually happy or now they are happy?

Even if you say “primitive,” the primitive life is very nice. Primitive life means simple life. Keeping pace with the nature’s law. It is very nice. Primitive life … It gives you anxiety-free life, and therefore, even if you take it as primitive, the saintly persons, sages, they used to live long, long years, and their brain was so sharp, because they were taking natural food, fruits, grains, and milk that helps to develop human brain for understanding subtle subject matter. So even Vyāsadeva… You have seen the picture of Vyāsadeva. He’s writing books just near a cottage only. But he’s writing. Nobody can create such literature. But he was leading very simple life, in a cottage. Even, say, 2,000 years ago or little more, there was Cāṇakya Paṇḍita. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, he was a brāhmaṇa, but great politician. His politics are studied even now in M.A. class. And because he was a great politician, diplomat, under his name in our India, in New Delhi, the capital, there is a neighborhood which is called Cāṇakya Purī, and all the foreign embassies are there.

Your American embassy is also there. So he was a great politician. But still, he was living in a cottage. He was not accepting any salary because he was brāhmaṇa. Brāhmaṇa cannot accept any salary. Just like you have accepted me as your ācārya, but you do not pay me any salary. This is forbidden. The teacher will not accept salary. Then he comes down to the śūdra platform. The śūdra accepts salary. “I serve you, you pay me.” And the brāhmaṇa will distribute knowledge freely, and the kṣatriya will give protection to the brāhmaṇa. This is the system of Vedic system. Even in fifty years ago, education in India, there was no charges. A learned brāhmaṇa will sit down in corner of a neighborhood and all the children will come there. They will learn primary education. And the parents of the children will send, somebody will send rice, somebody will send ḍāl… Just like we are maintaining, by collecting. Not here, but in Bombay, our center is collecting and distributing.

The whole system was that. Love exchange. I give you some service; you give me something, out of your love. Dadāti pratigṛhṇāti. Love means six symptoms. I give you something, you give me something. I give you something for eating, you also give me something for eating. Dadāti pratigṛhṇāti bhuṅkte bhojayate, guhyam ākhyāti pṛcchati. If I am in trouble, I express my mind, I open my mind before you, and you also try to help me. These are the six signs of love. That is Vedic civilization. Everything exchange of love. No business, mercantile. All right, let us have kīrtana. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)