How we can properly utilise our precious human life

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj


Srila Sanatan Goswami said to Srila Rupa Goswami, “Do you know what the teachings of Mahaprabhu are? Then tell me in short.” Rupa Goswami said, “Jīve dayā Nāme ruchi Vaiṣṇava-sevana.”

Jīve dayā means to inspire others to become liberated from this illusory environment and establish themselves in the transcendental eternal world—the transcendental service world—where service is overflooded and always waiting for us. “Engage yourselves in transcendental service. ” [Jīve dayā means to give others] this type of inspiration.

Why do we need that inspiration? Because we are experienced but we are not conscious.

ahany ahani bhūtāni gachchhanti yama-mandiram
śeṣāḥ sthāvaram ichchhanti kim āścharyam ataḥ param
(Mahabharata: Vana-parva, 313.116)

Yudhisthir Maharaj said, “At every moment someone dies, and every day we do not know how many people are dying. But they are dying—that is sure. Ahany ahani: day by day so many are dying. Around me also, so many are dying: my friends, my relatives, my villagers, my country people. So many are dying every day. I know but I am not very conscious about my situation. I can die at any moment. Life here is not secure. I can make for myself a nice building, a nice room, a nice arrangement, a television, and this, this, and that, but who will enjoy that? I do not know. There is no assurance. At any moment I can pass through this world.”

A passing show

What we are seeing here is all a passing show, and we are also within that. Then, we must be serious about our own situation. This is jīve dayā, and our own situation will be corrected and exalted if we can connect ourselves with the transcendental wave which is now overflooded all over the world: that is the transcendental vibration form of Lord Krishna, Hari-nam.

Nāme ruchi means you must be attached to Hari-nam. Then Hari-nam will rescue you happily. But we are not conscious about our situation. We are living with our father, mother, daughters, sons, relatives, uncles, friends, and so many horses and cows here. They are giving joy to us, so why shall we leave this situation?  Everyone thinks like that.

Indra’s illusion

Once Lord Indra was cursed by a rishi, and he got a hog’s body. In his hog body, he had some wives and many children, and he continued his jungle life collecting hog food and giving nourishment to his children and wives. Yearly, he produced about a hundred children, and his family life was going on very happily.

Then Lord Brahma saw that Indra’s curse had finished, and it was time for him to come back to Svargaloka. But Indra had forgotten everything and was thinking, “I am a great hog leader and I have so many wives, so many children, and so many grandsons. I am living here like a king, and what is this nonsense of Brahma? Who is this man with twelve hands and a long beard, and what is he telling me? What is the value of that?”

Brahma told him, “O Indra, now come back. The time of your curse has finished. Jump in this lake and your body will be transformed. You will get your own form, the body of Indra. Many of the demigods are waiting for you. Come and jump in the water.”

Indra was thinking, “Oh ho! Nonsense that man!” He gave some chastisement to Brahma and took his family and tried to go. Brahma saw that he was too attracted to his family life and had forgotten his own wealth and opulence. Then, Brahma took his children and threw them in the lake. They all died and got their own bodies back, their celestial bodies. The hog was very angry with Brahma and tried to catch him, but he could not. Brahma always stayed a little far away in a higher position. Then Indra thought, “I shall take my wives, otherwise, he may also take them.” He took his wives, running, but Brahma took the necks of his wives and threw them in that lake. Then when Indra had also lost his many wives he began crying so much.

Brahma said, “Indra, why are you crying? You cannot see your situation here. You are not a hog; you are Indra: you are the master of heaven. You come back to heaven and take charge there. Everyone is waiting for you!”

Then Indra thought, “Oh, everything is gone because of this cruel man. What is he saying?”

Then Indra tried to give a little attention, “Why have you done this nonsense? I have not done anything wrong to you. Why have you done wrong?”

Brahma said, “It is not wrong. It is right what I have done. Jump in the lake and then you will understand what I have done.”

Indra thought, “All my opulence—everything—is gone. I shall jump.”

He jumped in the lake and left his body. Then he got back his form as Indra and saw the demigods waiting for him and throwing flowers. Indra was surprised, “Oh ho, I was within that body?” He remembered everything that had happened before—the curse given by the rishi. Brahma said, “If you want to take back your body, you can take it.”

Indra said, “No, no, no, no! Not necessary!”

Everyone must be conscious

Our situation is also like that. We are thinking that we are very happy here, but actually it is not true. At any moment we can leave this body. When I am coming out of India, I am making a will for our missionary work, “This will be, that will be”, many things, because I know I may live or I may die, but I have some duty I must do here.

Everyone must be conscious about their own life, their spiritual life, which is eternal, if they want to connect with the eternal world. This world is not eternal; it is a mortal world. But everything is existing for us in the eternal world and there everything is transcendental. My form as a conscious body is also transcendental.

Connecting with the wave of Hari-nam

If we want to get that wealth of our own lives ,we must leave this material conception and material activities and try to connect with that transcendental wave, which comes by the grace of Lord Krishna in this age in the form of Hari-nam. Nāma Nāmī abhinna [the Name and the Named are nondifferent]: the Name, Fame, Pastimes, and Associates of the Lord are all transcendental forms of the Lord. Hari Himself will appear through Hari-nam. When we chant or meditate on the Holy Name of the Lord, that Name will take form in our heart, and He will also engage us in the proper service of His divine lotus feet. This is the connection that Mahaprabhu has given in this Age of Kali.

Telescopic system

śuddha-bhakata charaṇa-reṇu
bhakata-sevā parama-siddhi
prema-latikāra mūla
(Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)

“The dust of the lotus feet of the pure devotee can rescue us from this illusory environment, and it is very favourable for everyone.”

Service to the Lord and His associates is also very important for the conditioned souls, but we cannot directly do that service. It is necessary to serve under the guidance of Guru and Vaisnava, and then what we do will immediately go to the Lord asif it is passing through a telescope.

In a telescope there are so many lenses adjusted for seeing far away. The Guru-parampara is like that. When I am paying dandavat to my Guru, my Guru is not digesting that, but he is immediately giving that dandavat to his Guru, and in this way it is going very fast to Lord Krishna’s lotus feet. In logic books it is called śata-patra-vedhaḥ nyāya: if you put a needle through a bunch of a hundred leaves, it will immediately go to the last point. There is some time factor, but that time is not coming in my mind. I cannot count that time—maybe a computer can count it—but in front of me it is immediately going to the last point.

We must be serious

We must be serious about our spiritual life. Even if I can enjoy material life fully, then what will be? Death must still come to me one day.

ahany ahani bhūtāni gachchhanti yama-mandiram
śeṣāḥ sthāvaram ichchhanti kim āścharyam ataḥ param

“I will stay forever”. This is not possible and I know that, but still I am not conscious about my situation. I do not know what will be today or tomorrow, but still I am thinking I shall live forever. Actually we are not thinking; we are not taking care for that. But we must take care for that. Otherwise, our karma will push us.

mora karma, mora hāte-galāya bāndhiyā
kuviṣaya-viṣṭhā-garte diyāchhe phelāiyā
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 1. 198)

[“Our karma has bound us by the hands and neck and thrown us into the stool hole of our sinful activities.”]

Again you will undergo this: birth and death, birth and death, birth and death.

When you have got a chance, then you should take that chance and be serious about your spiritual life. Try to practise spiritual consciousness. You are a spiritual personality. You are living in a cage: sometimes that of a human form, sometimes a beast form, and sometimes an insect form.

jalajā nava-lakṣāṇi sthāvarā lakṣa-viṁśati
kṛmayo rudra-saṅkhyakāḥ pakṣiṇāṁ daśa lakṣaṇam
triṁśal lakṣāṇi paśavaḥ chatur lakṣāṇi mānuṣāḥ

[“There are 900,000 aquatics, 2,000,000 non-moving species, 1,100,000 species of insects, 1,000,000 species of birds, 3,000,000 animal species, and 400,000 human species.”]

This verse gives some description of how many species are in this material world, but more than that are existing.

We need to be conscious about our situation: we are trying, but that must be perfect. At present this is our duty: to make it perfect and to see what is wrong. Kanak, kamini, and pratistha: these three are disturbing us: money, desire, and fame, ego. We will try not to notice them. What has happened has happened, and what will be will be, but I must engage myself in service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Krishna. One day this body will go and I must get my own position in the spiritual world. This is necessary, and for that you are all trying.

You have love for Krishna, and you have affection for Krishna. I have no doubt because, leaving everything, you have come together here for this process of giving honour to Guru–Vaisnava and chanting the Holy Name. Everything is within your notice and you are doing that, but it has no limit. Be serious, avoid the ten kinds of offences, chant the Holy Name of the Lord, and get the super-benefit of your spiritual life. Mahaprabhu Chaitanyadev has given these simple teachings to us, and if we can follow them, we will be happy.


Spoken 26 August 2000 in The Netherlands.

Listen to the original audio recording here.