Knowledge: This category covers quotes and excerpts by Swami B.G. Narasingha Maharaja that focus on the proper acquisition of spiritual knowledge in pursuit of self-realization. These are quotes and excerpts that have been extracted from articles, lectures and letters by Swami B.G. Narasingha.
KNOWING SO MUCH PHILOSOPHY, BUT STONE-HEARTED!
Some devotees know thousands of ślokas, or they know the whole Bhagavad-gītā off by heart, or they just know the philosophy very well – and that’s nice. We should know the philosophy, and if we know some ślokas that’s also good. But if you know the philosophy and your heart is still like a stone, then you are not living the philosophy. There’s a big difference – speaking the philosophy and living it. If we are living the philosophy, our heart should become soft. But I know some devotees who know so much philosophy and they can rattle off a bunch of verses all day long, but they’re hard-hearted, dry and mean. For some people, learning the philosophy is just an intellectual exercise. They don’t live it because deep down, they don’t really believe in it.
I AM THIS BODY!!
A higher truth here is a total falsity in the spiritual world – it is totally false! It’s a truth you have heard particularly in Iskcon classes every day – “You are not the body.” How many times have you heard that? Thousands of times! But if you go to Goloka Vṛndāvana and you tell somebody, “You are not the body.” They’ll say, “You’re wrong. I AM this body!” So the body is not different there. It is a spiritual body. So a higher truth here is a nothing there.
DON’T BE AN IDIOT OR A SCHOLAR!
Guard yourself from the intellectual approach to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Don’t be an idiot, but don’t become a scholar either. Scholarship is also nowhere. We see so many of our ācāryas who were great scholars. That’s secondary! They were scholars second and they were bhaktas first. We want pure devotion, and the scholarship which follows that is real scholarship. But just book-learning and that level? No! That may simply lead to so much false pride. Then you will become dāmbikā (proud)…you will become a dāmbikā brāhmaṇa.
KNOWLEDGE ACQUIRING – DRY AS OLD DAHL CAKES!
If we don’t get a taste for the Holy Name, if we don’t associate properly with devotees, then we won’t develop spiritually. We’ll become hard-hearted and dry. And that’s the yardstick of our advancement – are we becoming soft-hearted or hard-hearted? I’ve seen so many devotees who hardly chant…no emphasis on that. They just study, study, study – going to seminars, reading more and more books – just ‘knowledge-acquiring ‘as Śrīla Śridhara Mahārāja called it. Yes, we should know the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, so study is there. But when we are studying just to gain more knowledge than others, to compete with others, or to get a reputation as being learned, then you won’t actually enter into Kṛṣṇa consciousness proper. Your knowledge and renunciation will just become academic and dry as old dahl-cakes.
I HAVE NO INTEREST IN OPINIONS OF SCHOLARS!
he so-called ‘scholars’ of religion and yoga who themselves have no practicing life, no paramparā and no realization completely disgust me! I have no interest in their opinions. If what I write passes the inspection of our guru-varga then that is all that matters to me.
THE PROOF OF OUR DISQUALIFICATION
T he mādhurya-līla is most confidential. By acquiring only categorical knowledge of the subject, one does not enter that realm of consciousness. One can only know the super-subjective plane of intimate līlās of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa by submissive inquiry and service to the lotus feet of one who is connected with that realm. The confidential līlās of Kṛṣṇa are never knowable by the primary students of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The proof that we have no standing there, even after researching so much knowledge, is that we utter the Name of Rādhārāṇī and Her confidential friends, but we remain absorbed in kanaka, kāminī and pratiṣṭhā: money, sex, and name and fame. The fact that we talk about the confidential pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa and remain conscious is proof that we have no real devotion. Śrī Caitanya used to say that the proof of His not having any love for Kṛṣṇa was the fact that He did not die immediately out of separation.
THE CO-WIFE OF KNOWLEDGE IS NOT HUMILITY
Don’t study too many books. People want to acquire more and more knowledge. Even if it’s about Kṛṣṇa, it can become a major defect. Unfortunately, the co-wife of knowledge is not humility. The co-wife of knowledge is pride. Sometimes, the more we know, the prouder we become because we know something that other people don’t know. If you come to know something about some high or intimate thing in relation to Kṛṣṇa and His devotees, it is not necessary to run out and preach it to the whole world. Kṛṣṇa did not run out from Vṛndāvana and preach the glories of the gopīs to the world. Of course, it could be argued that He did, but He did it in such a hidden way. To understand that, practically you have to have two feet in Vṛndāvana in order to realise that. For the benefit of the world, Kṛṣṇa rushed off to Kurukṣetra and spoke the Bhagavad-gītā. Hidden there in Kṛṣṇa’s own language, in a secret way, there is some sign that points towards Vṛndāvana. There are some indications of what lies in Vṛndāvana, but that is a very secret thing. Some people think that secrets are meant to be told to the whole world. They think that as soon as you know a secret, you’re supposed to go out and tell everybody. That is not so. Probably you shouldn’t have been told in the first place. Secrets are to be kept secret.
I HATE SO-CALLED SCHOLARS!
There are two things I hate in this world – so-called scholars and so-called scholarship! I have actually seen a few devotees become so learned in the śāstra that they then thought that they knew better than their guru and better than the previous ācāryas. One should not remain a fool. One should learn proper siddhānta and use that siddhānta to cut out false pride and envy from the heart.
BEING FREE FROM PRIDE
To chant the Holy Name without offense, one must first become free from dāmbha, or pride. A dāmbhika-brāhmaṇa is one who is proud of his scholarship and thus becomes offensive to the humble Vaiṣṇavas. A true Vaiṣṇava is always meek and humble. He sees every living entity as constitutionally a servant of Kṛṣṇa and he never mistreats others, or looks upon them as his inferior.
KNOWLEDGE IS NOT TO BE HOARDED
Knowledge is not to be hoarded, but to be shared freely. We are not in the business of making name, fame or dividends from our research or the knowledge we have received from our guru-varga.
THE TRUTH IS NOT A ‘HEAD-THING’
Once, long back I was preaching in South Africa at a university, and somebody said, “I’ve realised the truth!” and he pointed to his head. There was a new devotee with me at the time and I told him, “If he had said, ‘I’ve realised the truth!’ and pointed to his heart, that would have been a little closer to reality.”
The truth is not a ‘head-thing’ – it’s a ‘heart-thing.’ Not the organ, but in that region. Its in the heart because consciousness is more acutely felt in the heart. The core of our being is where the truth will appear, not just in our head, in our brain! It is very, very difficult to understand Kṛṣṇa through the head! The head, the brain is just a material element.
I n Gītā, Lord Kṛṣṇa says that one should approach a self-realized spiritual master, inquire from him, and render service to him. That is the formula. Receiving bhakti-jñāna one must acknowledge the source and render service to the source. Instead of offering some service, some rascals try to steal the knowledge, and then turn around and blaspheme the saintly person they have received it from.
KNOWLEDGE IS NOT THE PATH TO GOD!
H ow to be drawn into the love affair of Mahāprabhu? It is very simple – it is through service and surrender. Everything which is of the highest nature of divinity will become known to us in due course of time according to Their sweet will. It is not something that a scholar has access to – you can study the highest conceptions of līlā for eternity, but that is licking the honey bottle from the outside. But through a life of service and surrender, even at a great distance, we will find that we are as if by a miracle, drawn into a transcendental reality. We are drawn into the līlā of Mahāprabhu, and in the līlā of Mahāprabhu, we will find that we are simultaneously drawn into the līlā of Kṛṣṇa. It becomes known to us and there is no second choice in this matter!
Knowledge is not the path to love of God! We need some knowledge to go beyond the snare of māyā to know that eating animals is not good, illicit activities, intoxication…all these things…some knowledge. That is called sambandha-jñāna. But the path is not just learning, learning, learning and even repeating that. No – the path is service and surrender with faith.
KNOWING A LITTLE MORE…
Y our mood is correct. Unless encouraged to read a particular literature by your guru, it is not necessary for the path of pure devotion to look here, there and everywhere just to ‘know’ a little more. What IS important is to know how to serve the higher/senior Vaiṣṇavas.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE DEVOTEE AND THE EMPIRICIST
F aith allows the descending eternal knowledge (śabda-brahman) to flow through the realized spiritual master to the heart of a qualified disciple, completely unobstructed by any material defect. The knowledge of the empiricist however is always wrought with troubles and defects because it is an ascending process and depends solely on the material mind, intelligence, and senses, which are imperfect.
EINSTEIN DIED IN IGNORANCE!!!
N o amount of ignorance produces light – even great thinkers like Einstein died in ignorance because their knowledge was only on the mental plane. Real knowledge is described as that which explains the difference between matter and spirit. It doesn’t matter how advanced one is in any particular field of modern science or cultural science, if you don’t know the difference between the body and the soul. That is where knowledge begins.
KNOWLEDGE WITHOUT HUMILITY LEADS TO HELL
Y ou ask how it is that a person can have such vast scholarship in the śāstra, but still show such little Kṛṣṇa consciousness? Truth be told, scholarship is one of the least important qualifications of a Vaiṣṇava. In fact, knowledge without humility. or scholarship without compassion simply takes one to hell.