The Kṛṣṇa-Approaching Body

Here is an excerpt from a lecture by Śrīla Prabhupāda on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.1.1. It was delivered in New York, on April 10, 1969. (Some comments follow the excerpt.)

As soon as I am desiring something, immediately my body is formed. Immediately a particular type of body begins to form, and as soon as I am mature to change, my next body I get according to my desire. Therefore we should always desire Kṛṣṇa. Then from this life, the Kṛṣṇa-approaching body or the spiritual body will be formed. The more you become sincere servant of Kṛṣṇa, the more your body becomes Kṛṣṇaized, electrified. Therefore advanced Kṛṣṇa conscious person is considered to have a spiritual body. The same example, as I have given several times: just like iron rod. You put into the fire, it becomes warmer, warmer. The more it is connected with fire, it becomes warm, warm, warm. And at last it becomes red hot, so that at that time, if that iron is touched to any other thing, it burns. It does not act as iron; it acts as fire. Similarly, by this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, continuous chanting, you will make your body spiritualized. At that time, wherever you go, wherever you touch, he’ll be spiritualized. Similarly, the iron: Without being spiritualized, without being red hot, if you touch, it will not act.

So every one of us, those who have come to this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, expected to preach in the future and to become a spiritual master also in the future. But first of all you must spiritualize yourself; otherwise it is useless. So kṛṣṇa-śakti vinā nahe. Without— Just like without being red hot, you cannot burn any other thing. Similarly, without being fully spiritualized, you cannot make others spiritualized. Therefore we have to follow the paramparā system. The disciplic succession, as we get the knowledge, as we get the power, as we get the instruction, so we have to follow. That will help me to spiritualize myself. And when you are spiritualized. . . . You’ll have to wait for that time. Then, wherever you will preach, the result will be there.

pen-line-4

“As soon as I am desiring something, immediately my body is formed. Immediately a particular type of body begins to form, and as soon as I am mature to change, my next body I get according to my desire.”

Here Prabhupāda alludes to the normal workings of karma, according to which an embodied living being transmigrates from one life-form to another, then another. Prabhupāda bases his statement on Kṛṣṇa’s description in Bhagavad-gītā (15.8-10):

The living entity in the material world carries his different conceptions of life from one body to another as the air carries aromas. Thus he takes one kind of body and again quits it to take another. The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, eye, tongue, nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects. . . . One whose eyes are trained in knowledge can see all this.

“As soon as I desire something, immediately my body is formed,” Prabhupāda says, pointing out that the subtle laws of nature are at work every moment, unseen by us. When I develop some particular desire, simultaneously I am developing a future or potential material body to satisfy that desire. When the time is ripe—“mature to change”—I leave this body and assume the new body, already prepared and awaiting me in its potential form. It becomes actualized, endowing me with the particular set of instruments of knowledge and action to fulfill my desires.

Therefore we should always desire Kṛṣṇa. Then from this life, the Kṛṣṇa-approaching body or the spiritual body will be formed.

The process of karma in the material realm is one manifestation of a more general principle: Kṛṣṇa—the Supersoul, the overseer and the permitter—fulfills each soul’s desire. If we desire to enjoy independently of Kṛṣṇa, and we acquire through karma bodies with senses to facilitate the satisfaction of all kinds of desires. (That is the reason there are so many varieties of life-forms on this planet.)

If we “desire Kṛṣṇa” then during this very life our body will be transformed into a form that will enable us to draw near to and interact with Kṛṣṇa: a “Kṛṣṇa-approaching body” or “spiritual body.”

We may safely assume that we have acquired a material body for the purpose of separation from Kṛṣṇa. Yet because we have attained a human form, our bodies have the potential for transfiguration or transmutation:

The more you become sincere servant of Kṛṣṇa, the more your body becomes Kṛṣṇaized, electrified. Therefore advanced Kṛṣṇa conscious person is considered to have a spiritual body.

If I touch a live electrical wire, not only do I feel the shock, but my body itself becomes a conductor of electricity: it has become “electrified.” Similarly, when I contact Kṛṣṇa with my present material body, that body becomes “Kṛṣṇaized.”

Bhakti-yoga is the discipline of connecting the present body—yoga literally means “connection”—to Kṛṣṇa by means of devotional service (bhakti). Here is the classic definition from therada-pañcarātra: hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa– sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate: “Bhakti means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the masters of all the senses.”

How is it possible to bring our senses into contact with Kṛṣṇa? He makes himself accessible in this world even to our present materially afflicted senses through a variety of ways: first of all, his names, the nāma-avatāra:

Janmashtami

Then as His form for worship in the temple, the ārcā-avatāra:

radha-saradbihari

And in the form of books:

bhagavata-purana-set-7

And of food spiritualized by having first been enjoyed by the Lord:

festival-prasadam

When the senses become engaged and absorbed in various ways in the Lord, who has made himself so accessible, these senses become “Kṛṣṇaized.” As engagement becomes progressively more complete and uninterrupted, our material body becomes capable of directly apprehending Kṛṣṇa and interacting with Kṛṣṇa: a “spiritual body.”

In the kingdom of God, Kṛṣṇa and the liberated devotee—both present to each other in spiritual forms—engage in various transactions of love. In these forms there is no difference between the soul, the mind, and the body, and each sense or part can perform the function of every other sense or part. As a devotee practicing in this world—in his sādhaka-deha—becomes advanced, that human form becomes capable of full transcendent experience. At the same time, the devotee’s eternal spiritual identity—the siddha-deha—also becomes manifest; the devotee in that transcendent form will continue to serve Kṛṣṇa even after his dhaka-deha has ceased.

The advanced devotees in this world, no longer animated by their past karma, but solely by Kṛṣṇa’s desire, are present in a spiritualized material body. Prabhupāda elsewhere compares such a body to a gold-plated box. For all practical purposes, it is as good as the siddha-deha, the solid gold box. Although the dhaka-deha may seem to exhibit the afflictions common to material bodies, there is no impediment or inconvenience to the service of the devotee.

The same example, as I have given several times: just like iron rod. You put into the fire, it becomes warmer, warmer. The more it is connected with fire, it becomes warm, warm, warm. And at last it becomes red hot, so that at that time, if that iron is touched to any other thing, it burns. It does not act as iron; it acts as fire. Similarly, by this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, continuous chanting, you will make your body spiritualized.

Iron, made red hot in fire, acts just like fire. Although it is a form of earth, it is as good as fire.


At that time, wherever you go, wherever you touch, he’ll be spiritualized. Similarly, the iron: Without being spiritualized, without being red hot, if you touch, it will not act.

As red-hot iron has the power to make a fire, a devotee with spiritualized body can also spiritualize others.

So every one of us, those who have come to this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, expected to preach in the future and to become a spiritual master also in the future. But first of all you must spiritualize yourself; otherwise it is useless. So kṛṣṇaśakti vinā nahe. Without— Just like without being red hot, you cannot burn any other thing. Similarly, without being fully spiritualized, you cannot make others spiritualized. Therefore we have to follow the paramparā system. The disciplic succession, as we get the knowledge, as we get the power, as we get the instruction, so we have to follow. That will help me to spiritualize myself.

Here is Prabhupāda’s desire for his disciples: by following his directions, they become spiritualized. Then those disciples will have the power to spiritualize others.

He quotes from Caitanya-caritamṛta (Anya-līla 7.11) Vallabha Bhaṭṭa’s statement to Lord Caitanya:

kali-kālera dharma—kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana
kṛṣṇa
akti vinā nahe tāra pravartana

“The spiritual practice established for this Kali-yuga is the chanting of the name of Kṛṣṇa. That practice cannot be propagated unless one is empowered by Kṛṣṇa’s spiritual potency.”

That potency is passed down from Lord Caitanya through the chain of disciplic succession:

Therefore we have to follow the paramparā system. The disciplic succession, as we get the knowledge, as we get the power, as we get the instruction, so we have to follow. That will help me to spiritualize myself. And when you are spiritualized. . . . You’ll have to wait for that time. Then, wherever you will preach, the result will be there.

Before I encountered the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, I was engaged in graduate religious studies in a university. One day a professor remarked: “The issue is not whether or not God exists. The issue is whether or not God is available.”

After some thought, I agreed with him: If God is available, that settles the existence question. And if God exists but is not available, what difference does it make?

When a little later I came into contact with Kṛṣṇa’s devotees, the availability question became overwhelming settled.

Here Prabhupāda tells us how God becomes available to us, and—what is more—how we can also make God available to others.

That is the “Kṛṣṇa-approaching body.”


Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Addtional Writings

3 responses to “The Kṛṣṇa-Approaching Body

  1. Muni

    From the Brhad-aranyaka Upanishad (4.4.5-6; Muller’s Translation):

    5. ‘And here they say that a person consists of desires. And as is his desire, so is his will; and as is his will, so is his deed; and whatever deed he does, that he will reap.

    6. ‘And here there is this verse: “To whatever object a man’s own mind is attached, to that he goes strenuously together with his deed; and having obtained the end (the last results) of whatever deed he does here on earth, he returns again from that world (which is the temporary reward of his deed) to this world of action.”

    ‘So much for the man who desires. But as to the man who does not desire, who, not desiring, freed from desires, is satisfied in his desires, or desires the Self only, his vital spirits do not depart elsewhere,–being Brahman, he goes to Brahman.

  2. Acyuta Dasa

    Or/Also, as I heard from Ramesh Baba while at Man-Kutir in Varsana: “Give me a thought, and I will give you an action. Give me an action and I will show you a habit. Show me a habit and I will show you character. Show me character and I can reveal the destiny of (a) man.”

  3. Pusta Krishna das

    Thank you for sharing this transcribed lecture of Srila Prabhupad. Srila Prabhupad first had to convince us of the possibilities and alternatives to mundane consciousness. In so doing, His Divine Grace enticed us to seek our real self-interest. Then, we were introduced to the possibility that our love and affection was misplaced on matter. Our love was truly meant for Krishna.
    The approach is very similar to the manner that Krishna instructed Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. First, Krishna enlightens Arjuna of his true identity, and then the rest follows.
    We are so fortunate to have met Srila Prabhupad directly through his association and through his books. His instructions are eternal, for he is the transparent via medium to the Supreme Person.
    Pusta Krishna das

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s