Concise answers to fundamental questions.
Translated from a Bengali column
published in Sri Gaudiya Darsan,
Volume 1, Issue 9,
on Tuesday, 10 April 1956.
1) Who is wise?
One who knows the cause of the soul’s bondage and the cause of the soul’s liberation from bondage is wise.
2) Who is foolish?
One who thinks, “I am this body” is foolish.
3) What is the path?
Devotion based on understanding of one’s relationship with the Lord is the only path.
4) What is the wrong path?
Worldly life is the wrong path.
5) What is heaven?
Predominance of the mode of goodness is heaven.
6) What is hell?
Predominance of the mode of ignorance is hell.
7) Who is a friend?
A true Guru is our only friend.
sei se parama-bandhu, sei mata-pita
sri krsna-charane yei prema-bhakti-data
(Sri Chaitanya-mangala: Madhya-lila, 12.195)
“One who gives others divine love for the feet of Sri Krishna is our best friend, and our true mother and father.”
8) What is our home?
The human body, the basis of experience through the senses, is our home—not simply a house.
9) Who is free?
A person who is not attached to sights, tastes, sounds, textures, and so on, and is attached to the Lord and that which is connected to Him, is free.
10) What is liberation?
muktir hitvanyatha rupam sva-rupena vyavasthitih
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 2.10.6)
“Leaving the false self and existing fully in one’s true self is liberation.”
11) What is knowledge?
sa vidya tan-matir yaya
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 4.29.29)
“That by which one becomes immersed in Krishna is knowledge.”
12) What is the fruit of knowledge?
sei se vidyara phala janiha nischaya
‘krsna-pada-padme yadi chitta-vitta raya’
(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavata: Adi-khanda, 13.178)
“Know for certain that the mind being fixed at the lotus feet of Krishna is the fruit of knowledge.”
13) What is pure devotion?
anya-vanchha, anya-puja chhadi’ ‘jnana’, ‘karma’
anukulye sarvendriye krsnanusilana
ei ‘suddha-bhakti’—iha haite ‘prema’ haya
pancharatre, bhagavate ei laksana kaya
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 19.168–9)
“Abandoning all other desires, all other worship, all other knowledge, and all other actions, and engaging all the senses in Krishna’s service with the intention of pleasing Krishna—this is pure devotion, and divine love arises from this. The characteristics of pure devotion are described in Narada-pancharatra and Srimad Bhagavatam.
14) What is the power behind our spiritual practice?
bhakta-pada-dhuli ara bhakta-pada-jala
bhakta-bhukta-sesa—ei tina sadhanera bala
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Antya-lila, 16.60)
“Dust from the feet of the devotees, water that has washed the feet of the devotees, and the remnants of the devotees—these three things are the power behind our spiritual practice.”
15) What is the duty of a householder?
prabhu kahe, “krsna-seva, vaisnava-sevana
nirantara kara krsna-nama sankirtana”
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 15.104)
Sriman Mahaprabhu says, “Worship Krishna, serve the devotees, and constantly chant the Name of Krishna.”
16) What is the dharma for the Age of Kali?
yaha bilaite prabhura na’de agamana
“The dharma for the Age of Kali is chanting the Name of the Lord, which Sriman Mahaprabhu came to Nadia to distribute.”
17) What is the order of the Lord?
“suno suno nityananda! suno haridasa!
sarvatra amara ajna karaha prakasa
prati ghare ghare giya kara ei bhiksa
‘bala krsna, bhaja krsna, krsna kara siksa’”
(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavata: Madhya-lila, 13.8–9)
“Listen, listen, Nityananda! Listen, Haridas! Spread My order everywhere; go door to door and beg everyone: ‘Chant the Name of Krishna, serve Krishna, and learn about Krishna.’”
18) What is the instruction of the Lord?
hare krsna hare krsna krsna krsna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare
prabhu kahe, “kahilan ei mahamantra
iha japa’ giya sabe kariya nirbandha
iha haite sarva-siddhi ha-ibe sabara
sarva-ksana bala’ ithe vidhi nahi ara
ki sayane ki bhojane, ki va jagarane
ahar-nisa chinta krsna, balaha vadane
ama’-prati sneha yadi thake sabakara
krsna vina keha kichhu na balibe ara”
(Sri Chaitanya-bhagavata: Madhya-khanda, 23.76–8, 28.27–8)
“The Lord said, ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. I have told you this mahamantra. All of you chant it properly. By doing so, you will attain all perfection. Chant always. There are no rules in that regard. Whether you are resting, eating, or awake—day and night think of Krishna and chant His Name aloud. If you have any affection for Me, then do not speak of anyone or anything other than Krishna.’”