The Search for Happiness and the Root Cause of Affliction

A Lecture by His Divine Grace

Sri Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja


The jivas, or the real selves, are the eternal servants of Sri Krsna. The cause of our affliction is forgetfulness of our relationship with Supreme Lord Sri Krsna. So we have to remember Him. How can we remember Him? If we can always remember Krsna then there will be no more difficulty. He is All-Existence, All-Knowledge, All-Bliss and this worldly existence is just the opposite-it is the shadow of the internal potency of Supreme Lord Sri Krsna. When we become averse we see the shadow. The shadow of a tree resembles the tree, but in the shadow of the tree there is no substance. In the tree there is substance. Similarly, the Supreme Lord, Sri Krsna is All-Substantiality. But when we become averse to Him, we see nescience before us, devoid of existence, devoid of knowledge, and devoid of happiness. But we perceive it to be eternal. As Brahma says:

tasmad idam jagad asesam asat-svarupam
svapnabham asta-dhisanam puru-duhkha-duhkham
tvayy eva nitya-sukha-bhodha-tanav anante
mayata udyad api yat sad ivavabhati
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 10. 14. 22)


The entire material cosmos, not just this world, is non-eternal, perishable. It is like a dream. At the time of seeing a dream, we think it to be reality. When we awaken from a dream, we realize it was all false. Like this, everything we are seeing of these non-eternal relations is a dream. We are laughing, we are crying, etc. But when we wake up from it we shall see that it is all nothing.

"Svapnabham asta-dhisanam:" Brahma says that if we engage our intellect in matter, in non-eternal things, in order to get material development, then our intelligence will be finished. Yet we think that it is a very wise person who is dedicating his energy to cultivate material development. We say, "You are wise." But here Brahma says that this person's knowledge will be finished: asta-dhisanam. Instead of happiness, he is getting severe miseries. Everyone wants happiness. Yes, he is trying to find happiness, but he is misdirected. Being averse to Sri Krsna, he is going towards the mirage: "If I get this or that thing, I shall be happy." This world seems to eternally exist, it seems to possess knowledge and it seems therefore, to possess happiness. But it is in fact devoid of existence, devoid of knowledge and devoid of happiness.

If we churn water will we get butter? We think that by churning water, we shall get butter. Someone says to us, "there is no ingredient in the water by which you will get butter. All your efforts are a waste of time." We answer, "No, you have lost your mind. I shall go on churning for thousands of births!" If you churn yogurt or milk, then you can make butter. This world is devoid of existence, devoid of knowledge and devoid of happiness. If you devote all your energy to this world, you will be in want of existence, in want of knowledge and in want of happiness. Krsna is the embodiment of All-Existence, All-Knowledge and All-Bliss. We should worship Sri Krsna. In the Gita, Krsna says:

anityam asukham lokam
imam prapya bhajasva mam
(Bhagavad-gita, 9.33)


"You have forgotten Me and thus you have come to this non-eternal world." So start worshipping Him.

In this regard, our Param Pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja gave one example. Once the emperor of heaven, Devaraja Indra, had committed a great offence for which his gurudeva cursed him to take birth as a hog. Immediately, he became a hog and the throne of heaven was vacated. The demigods became disturbed and approached Brahma for assistance. "Who will govern us?" they asked. "Our emperor has become a hog. Our gurudeva has cursed him." So Brahma said, "All right, let me go and fix the situation." Then Brahma came to the world. Being omniscient, he recognized Indra in the body of a particular hog. This hog was surrounded by his wife and many piglets. Brahma said, "O My dear sir, you are not a hog! You are the emperor of heaven! Why have you come here? Come along! Take the throne and govern your kingdom of heaven." Then the hog replied, "Who are you? I do not believe your words. I have such a nice, beautiful wife and children. I have so much responsibility. I cannot go." In the same way, Supreme Lord Sri Krsna appears in this world and asks, "What are you doing here?"


sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
(Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)


"Give up all these material things and take absolute shelter of Me. I shall rescue you from all sins." But we say, "Why have you come here? Who are you?" We don't believe Him. Out of affection He comes to us, but we say, "Who are you? I have such a nice wife and children. I cannot give up these attachments, I have so much responsibility."

We have forgotten Him. So we have to remember Krsna. How do we remember Him? In this Kali-yuga, if we try to remember Sri Krsna by meditation, which is prescribed for Satya-yuga, the golden age, we will not be able to remember. Our minds are very restless, dwelling on the non-eternal things of the world. Impressions of lakhs (100,000) and lakhs of births are stored in the mind. There are four kinds of piety: tapah, saucam, daya, and satyam (austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness). In Treta-yuga, when one of these four (tapah) had become diminished, it was not possible to practice meditation. Then sacrifice to Lord Visnu was prescribed. If you have attachment for worldly things, you should give those worldly things for the service of Bhagavan Sri Krsna. In this way, you can concentrate on the ultimate target of worship. This could be accomplished in Satya-yuga by meditation, and in Treta-yuga by sacrifice.

In Dvapara-yuga, two kinds of piety had become diminished, tapah and saucam. People became more influenced by the senses and became incapable of uttering mantras correctly. Thus, they could not perform sacrifice. So the people of this era were told, "You should worship the Deity and engage all the senses and the objects of the senses in this way." All indriyas, all gross and subtle senses, including the mind, should be engaged in the service of Sri Krsna. If you serve the Deity, you have dedicated all the sense organs and all the objects of the sense organs. The purpose of this is to develop concentration on the object of devotion.

But in Kali-yuga we cannot perform Deity worship because we are diseased. A diseased person is prohibited from Deity worship. We are incapable of rising early in the morning. We cannot sit in the temple for a long time. Two or three hours are required for worship. After half an hour, we become distracted. We are diseased, so how can we worship? There is one sloka:


krte yad dhyayato visnum
tretayam yajato makhaih
dvapara paricaryayam
kalau tad dhari-kirtanat
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 12.3.52)


"Whatever benefit human beings received in Satya-yuga by meditation, in Treta-yuga by sacrifice and in Dvapara-yuga by Deity worship, they can receive in Kali-yuga by the chanting of the Holy Name."

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared to teach us:


harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
(Brhan-naradiya Purana, 38.97)


"Harer nama harer nama harer nama." Thrice it is said to give emphasis. This means, "Yes! You should do it! You should do it! You should do it!" Harinama! If anybody says you should perform meditation, the reply is, "No! Harinama!" By practicing pranayama, etc., "No! Harinama!" By oblations, "No! Harinama!" This verse says "No! Harinama!" thrice and "only Harinama, nothing else." "Kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva." There is no other way, no other way, no other way-thrice-in this Kali-yuga.

God has appeared as His Name. All strength has been given to His Name to rescue the fallen souls of this Kali-yuga. You have to accept the instructions of the Supreme Lord. Sri Krsna, in the mood Srimati Radharani, appeared as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and preached that by means of Sri Nama Sažkirtana, we can obtain Krsna-prema. We have been born into this Kali-yuga. Unlike the other prior yugas, Satya, Treta and Dvapara, there are three kinds of adharmas (a lack of tapah, saucam and daya) in this era. Only one dharma remains: satyam. Satya is the Holy Name. Yet, we can easily get Krsna in this Kali-yuga because the Lord has graced the fallen souls of this era and given them the easiest way.

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