Swami Prabhupada sent two young devotees – Rsi Kumar Swami and Ksudhi Das Brahmacari – to introduce the Hare Krishna Movement to South Africa.  After some time, however, Rsi Kumar had difficulties.  Later, at the Laguna Beach Temple, he told Prabhupada, ‘I was trying to forget Krishna’.  Prabhupada replied, ‘That is not possible’.

Shakespeare contemplates death in the Graveyard Scene of his famous play Hamlet.   The young prince, Hamlet, is walking through the graveyard watching the grave-diggers burying a corpse.  He sees skulls.  He asks, ‘Who was this?’   The grave-diggers know: ‘This one was a courtier.  This one was a lawyer’.  When the body dies the designations of this world are no longer important.  Death is the leveller.  We are left with a pile of bones.  However great you may have been, however beautiful, however strong, however intelligent…that is gone.  The soul moves on.

Our souls are covered, in this world, by the illusion of thinking we are something that we are not.  The word Maya – what devotees refer to as material illusion – means ‘that which is not’.  In  the Caitanya Caritamrita, Lord Caitanya says that our spiritual identity is full of pure love of Krishna – nitya siddha krishna prema.  The real position of the living entity is to be full of the ecstasy of love of God.  But we are desiring something else and getting a different result.

Why are the gopis so beautiful?  Their beauty is composed of their desire to please Krishna.  Just like the flowers in Vrindavan.  They are making themselves appear very beautiful for the pleasure of Krishna.  When Krishna smiles, they become even more beautifu.  And Krishna is pleased.  So the flowers become more beautiful.  And this goes on eternally.  There is a nice verse in Caitanya Caritamrita 1.4.128 on the expansive nature of Sri Radha’s love for Krishna:  radha-prema vibhu-yara badite nahi thani/tathapi se ksane badaye sadai – ‘Radha’s love is all-pervading, leaving no room for expansion.  But still it is expanding constantly’.

There is a process to re-awaken our spiritual nature – beyond material conditionings and designations.  This is described by Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His Siksastakam prayers – ceto darpanam marjanam/bhava maha davagni nirvapanam.  The chanting of Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare takes the dust of material existence away from our heart.  How can we transform lust into love?  Our passion to enjoy this world must be transformed to a deeper passion to please Krishna, love Krishna and to worship Krishna.

Krishna is Bhagavan.  He is full in all six opulences – beauty, fame, intelligence, strength, renunciation and wealth.  The Sanskrit term for this is sad aisvarya purno.

A devotee should live his life as if he was going to die today.  He should do so by taking shelter of Krishna.  We should not play around with Maya.  Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur said, ‘If you try to become the master of Maya, you become her servant’.

If we take shelter of the process of Krishna Consciousness, through the associtation of devotees, we can make rapid spiritual advancement.  Visvanath Cakravati Thakur prayed, ‘I am lame, but the only way I can move is by the stick of the mercy of the Vaishnavas’.  Bhaktivinoda Thakur wrote that the best way to make advancement is to engage in the six loving exchanges of Rupa Goswami.

Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati wanted genuine surrender, not just a show.  He told his disciples, ‘It’s your minds that I want.  Not just your words and your bowing’.  Love is demonstrated, ultimately, by actions.