Brahmacari Class by His Grace Jananivas Prabhu, ISKCON Chowpatty, 9 March 2007
Brahmacarya is not an external factor. It is the first asrama (stage of life in spiritual society). Thereafter, we progress through the others. We shouldn’t identify with these external designations (eg. student, householder and renunciate). They are useful for social dealings. The word asrama is from the Sanskrit word asraya which means ‘shelter’ – shelter according to one’s consciousness. Brahmacari asrama is a very simple asrama for students. You can remain brahmacari (celibate student) if you are tolerant. In this way we can overcome material desire. Of course, we have to be tolerant in all asramas, but here we are talking about brahmacarya.
Today’s society is not Krishna Conscious. Therefore, it is best to remain brahmacari. By developing tolerance one can remain fixed. Devotees have to face the material world. They have to face Maya (illusion) directly. It is, therefore, difficult to be a strict and true brahmacari. Consciousness is, therefore, more important than varna and asrama. We have to identify ourselves as eternal servants of Krishna and see that everything is the property of Krishna. Over-identification with one’s asrama is also not healthy. We act according to our asramas, but we identify ourselves as eternal servants of Krishna.
Our first business is to establish a relationship with Madan Mohan, the attractor of Cupid (or lust). ‘We are trying, now, to turn our attraction from Cupid to Madan Mohanji.’ When Krishna and His devotees bestow this attraction upon us, we make advancement. One is awarded by one’s devotional attitude. Even Brahman (impersonal) realization is attractive. The Bhagavad-gita mentions how, upon gaining this, one thinks there is no greater gain. This comes after anartha-nivritti, when the dirty things in the heart are gone. Brahman is so attractive that the jnanis and the mayavadis are prepared to sacrifice their own identity to achieve it. Krishna is always attractive – in any of His features. Unless you realize aham brahmasmi - ‘I am spirit’ – you cannot understand Krishna’s pastimes.
The Bhagavad-gita further explains that for one who has controlled his mind, the Paramatma (the Supersoul, the Lord within everyone’s heart) is attained. Ceto darpanam marjanam. This is where Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s Movement begins. Give up the dirty things in your heart and engage in Krishna’s service. We must strictly follow the rules of sadhana bhakti so long as we have a material body and so long as we identify with it. First, get your spiritual legs. Understand what is spiritual ground. Then you can make progress. Realization of nama (the Lord’s Holy Name) enables us to realize Krishna’s presence. Later He will reveal His rupa (form), guna (qualities) and lila (pastimes). Srila Prabhupada taught that we should just surrender to the sound vibration and depend on the Holy Name to reveal Himself.
We should not jump prematurely. We should first approach Madana Mohana. There is a progression that has been given by the acaryas. We come to the point of Madana Mohana by strictly following sadhana (practical spiritual activities, particularly chanting God’s name), This cleanses the heart. We should remember that we can’t get Krishna by sadhana. Persons who are part of the hladini-sakti (the Lord’s spiritual energy) like Rupa Goswami can give it. Krishna is only achieved by love.