"Steel-framed Hearts"

by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.24
Los Angeles, June 22, 1972

Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)

tad asma-saram hrdayam batedam
yad grhyamanair hari-nama-dheyaih
na vikriyetatha yada vikaro
netre jalam gatra-ruhesu harsah
Translation: "Certainly that heart is steel-framed which, in spite of chanting the holy name of the Lord with concentration, does not change when ecstasy takes place and tears fill the eyes and hairs stand on end."

Srila Prabhupada: So here is one word, "steel-framed." Nowadays, the medical science is changing the heart, steel-framed. So this modern science is making steel-framed hearts, but we can understand that formerly, also, there were steel-framed hearts. Otherwise how this word comes? Tad asma-saram hrdayam batedam. So just like stone or steel does not melt very easily, similarly, anyone's heart which does not change after chanting Hare Krsna mantra regularly, then it is to be understood that it is steel-framed, made of stone or iron. Actually, harinama... Harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam [Adi 17.21]. It is especially meant for cleansing the heart. That every... All misconception is within our heart, beginning from the wrong identification, that "I am this body." That is the beginning of all misconception. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. So as you go on chanting, gradually the heart will be cleansed, and you'll be able to understand that you are not this body.

That is the... That is called jnana-vairagya. Jnana. Jnana means to know thoroughly that "I am not this body." This is jnana. And as soon as you know that you are not this body, naturally you become disinterested with anything which has got bodily relation. Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam. Bhava. Bhava means repetition of birth and death. "You become," bhava means. So "you become" means you die also. Because this is the world. To become does not mean that you stay forever. That is not possible. "You become" means you die also. So... But under wrong impression, as soon as I become, I think that this world is very nice. Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings that "My dear Lord, when I was in the womb of my mother, at that time I saw You once, became visible." Those who are spiritually advanced, they can see God within the womb of the mother. When a child remains packed up and the consciousness is gained, he feels very uncomfortable. So at that time, one who is pious, spiritually advanced, he prays to God, "Please rescue me from this bondage. I am too much suffering. And this time I, after taking my birth, I shall simply be engaged in Krsna consciousness," promises. But Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, janama hoilo pori' maya-jale.

As soon as birth is taken, the maya is there; we forget. Immediately, father, mother, other relatives, they take up the child and pats very nice. So in this way we forget that we were in such a precarious condition, almost suffocating. Almost, it is suffocating. After coming out from the womb of the mother, if you are packed up again in such airtight bag, within three seconds you will die. We live under the protection of the Supreme Lord; otherwise that is not a living condition. Just imagine within the womb. So this we forget, and being taken care of, affectionate father and mother, on the lap, we think life is very nice, this life. But this is maya, this is illusion. Actually, this bhava, to take birth, is very, very unpleasant task. It is blazing fire, bhava-maha-davagni.

So if we can cleanse our heart during this life ... This is that opportunity. It is not possible ... When I take birth as an animal, cats and dogs, that is not possible. But as I have got now this human form of body, we should not be again misled. Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni ... [Cc. Antya 20.12]. If we can cleanse our heart, then this blazing fire of repetition of birth and death can be extinguished. But the illusory energy is so strong that we forget our last death-time miseries. At the time of death we suffer very much, so that ... Just imagine, when we give up our life, how much difficult position at that time. So we forget. Birth and death. As soon as there is birth, there is death also. Death means ... The more you are advancing in age, that means you're dying. You are advancing in death. The child is born ... "When this child is born?" "Just yesterday." That means he has already died one day. So in this way death is progressing. As soon as there is birth, the death is there immediately, side by side.

I am one day old means I have died one day. I am seventy-six years old means I have already died seventy-six years. Suppose I live, say, eighty years, ninety years. So I have already died seventy-six years. So death is sure. They say "We are advancing." What is that advancement? Death is sure. You cannot control birth. Birth, death, old age. You cannot stop old age. And disease. You can manufacture nice medicine, but you cannot stop disease. So we have become steel-hearted, steel-framed heart. We do not consider all these things. These are practical. And still, we are under the impression that we are advancing in material civilization. So we are advancing in the art of cutting stone and wood. That's all. This is our advancement. Just like in your country, within two months they can build one wood house. Means expert in cutting wood. This is advancement. Wood-cutter, stone-cutter. But we are not meant for cutting wood and stone. We are meant for understanding our spiritual identity.

There are many birds, the wood-cutter birds. So that is not very expert manifestation of our intelligence. So this cleansing of heart will be possible by hari-nama-dheyaih, this chanting of harinama,

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha

[Adi 17.21]
Anything, any spiritual process, is meant for cleansing the heart. Either you take karma-yoga or jnana-yoga or dhyana-yoga or bhakti-yoga, the ultimate goal is that cleansing the heart. At the present moment I am under misconception, dirty things accumulated on my heart, that "I am this body," and therefore I do not try to realize that I am soul, and under bodily concept of life... As the animals they are also in bodily concept of life, they are busy eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. Similarly, human civilization has become like animals. They are interested only in eating, sleeping, mating, and defense. That's all. But that is not our position. It is a chance to get out of the entanglement of birth, death, old age, and disease.

This is our real business. Ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. We are misguided. Our so-called leaders are mis-leaders. They do not know what is the aim of life. That is the difficulty at the present moment. Not at the present moment. In the material world this problem is always existing, but due to this Kali age, that problem is more acute. That's all. So this chanting of Hare Krsna mantra, without offenses, ten kinds of offenses, will cleanse the heart, and then you will be liberated. Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirva... Because we know the path how we can get out of these clutches of birth and death. There are so many big, big scientists, philosophers. They don't talk of this important subject matter, how to get out of birth and death. They have no solution. Neither they can think of. But our Krsna consciousness movement is giving us the knowledge that "You can get out of these clutches of birth and death, old age and disease." That is our desire.

Nobody wants to die, nobody wants to go again into the womb of the mother. Nobody wants disease, nobody wants old age. But the so-called scientists, they have no proposal to get out of these clutches. Here Srimad-Bhagavatam gives you hint that hari-nama-dheyaih. By chanting harinama, harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam [Adi 17.21], you can get out of this. And when harinama will be perfect, that symptoms are given here. Netre jalam gatra-ruhesu harsah. By chanting, when you will, not always ... Sometimes, out of ecstasy, when tears will come down and there will be shivering on the body, that means you are coming to perfection. This is not to be artificially practiced. When you actually come to the perfectional stage, these will automatically appear. So this verse suggests that if a person is chanting Hare Krsna mantra, but his eyes are not tearful or there is no ecstatic shivering of the body, then that means he's not coming to the perfectional point.

So if we chant this Hare Krsna mantra without offense, according to, and observing the regulative principles and numerical strength ... Sankhya-purvaka-nama-gana-natibhih. The Gosvamis, in Vrndavana, they used to chant keeping in numerical strength. They were all liberated persons; still, for teaching us an example, they also used to chant keeping a numerical strength. Haridasa Thakura, he used to chant Hare Krsna mantra keeping a numerical strength -- 300,000 times. 300,000 times. So our prescription is only 25,000. Not 100,000. So it is not very difficult; it takes utmost 2 hours. We can find out, out of 24 hours, 2 hours. We can find out time. So if we actually follow the rules and regulations and chant Hare Krsna mantra, then these symptoms will come. Netre jalam gatra-ruhesu harsah. When this comes then you know that "I am coming to perfection." And if it is not coming, then it is to be understood the heart is steel-framed. Steel-framed. So it is steel only. Stone. Stone, if we keep our heart stone or steel-framed, then it cannot be melted. This... These symptoms mean heart is melting or changing. Purport, read.

Pradyumna: "We should note with profit that in the first three chapters of the Second Canto, a gradual process of development of devotional service is being presented..." [Type out or xerox purport, 2.1, pp.174-176]

Srila Prabhupada: So this positive progress will be possible if we follow the instruction of the Vedas. Srila Rupa Gosvami has therefore said,

pancaratra-vidhim vina
aikantiki harer bhaktir
utpatayaiva kalpate

[BRS 1.2.101]
Sruti means Vedas, sastras. Sruti-smrti. And smrti means books which follow the Vedic principles. Vedas... Suppose you write one book, or anything. If it is just according to the Vedic conclusion, then it is also... It is called smrti. By remembering the Vedic conclusion... You cannot go beyond the Vedic conclusion. Then it is useless writing. Vedic conclusion must be there. The guide must be there. On that conclusion, if you write something, that is right, and if you deviate from that conclusion, then it is wrong. So we want to read authorized, right books. Not by imagination. You can write so many nonsense things by imagination. That is useless. You must remember what is the Vedic conclusion. So sruti-smrti-pancaratra-vidhim.

Pancaratra-vidhi, this arcana, temple worship, under the direction of Narada. So if one gives up all these regulative principles and wants to become a devotee, a writer, then Rupa Gosvami says, without the conclusive statement of the Vedas, smrtis and pancaratra-vidhi... Sruti-smrti-puranadi-pancaratra-vidhim vina [BRS 1.2.101], without following, aikantiki harer bhaktih, the show of a devotee, the aikantiki harer bhaktir utpatayaiva kalpate, it is simply disturbance. Simply disturbance. So such things are happening. Now anyone is manufacturing his own way of self realization, and there are rascals who are supporting, that "Everyone, we are independent. We can find out our own way of worship." But Rupa Gosvami says, "This is simply creating disturbance." That is very natural to understand. Suppose here, in our temple, we have got some regulative principles. But if everyone says that "I can manufacture my own way of worshiping the Deity," then what will be the condition?

It will be simply pandemonium. You see? So that is going on. Everyone is manufacturing a type of religion, meditation, without any reference to the authorized books. Sruti-smrti-puranadi [BRS 1.2.101]. Therefore, people are becoming atheists, no religion, no principles, and the whole world is in chaos due to this. So Rupa Gosvami has forbidden. And in Bhagavad-gita also it is said, yah sastra-vidhim utsrjya vartate kama-karatah: "Anyone who does not give respect to the authorized sastras, but he lives whimsically, according to his own way," na sa siddhim avapnoti, "Such kind of discovering new path of religious system, new path of this or that, he never gets perfection," na sa siddhim avapnoti, na sukham, "neither happiness." Na param gatim. Because our whole aim is how to get out of this material encagement and go back to the spiritual world, go back to home. That is the aim. That is called param gatim. Para means transcendental; gati means aim of life. Param gatim.

So those who are not following the authorized instructions, they are simply creating disturbance, and by such process one cannot be happy, neither perfect, and what to speak of going back to home, back to Godhead? We do not therefore accept anything which is not authorized by the disciplic succession. We reject immediately. There is example that in India there is a tree, sagu, sagu(?) tree. I do not know whether it is in your country. That, that tree has a very, I mean to say, thick trunk. But a little jerking, it will break. A little jerking. Sagu. And there is another tree which is called tamarind tree. So even a fingerlike stem, you cannot break. It is so strong. So our policy should be that when we are falling down, we must take shelter of this tamarind tree, not that sagu tree. The tamarind tree is Vedic instruction, infallible, without any mistake. As I have given you several times the example that Vedas says that stool of animal is impure, and in another place it says that stool of cow is pure.

Now, if you, if you are a good logician, you can argue that "Stool of animal is impure. That is already said. Why you make ‘The stool of cow is pure'?" Oh, but that's a fact. You analyze the stool of cow. You'll find it is full of antiseptic properties. That is Vedic knowledge. It gives you right knowledge. You cannot conclude that "Stool of animal is impure, so why this animal's stool can be pure?" No. Vedic knowledge is so perfect that you can accept it as it is and you'll be profited. You'll profit. In the Vedic knowledge, the visnoh paramam padam. The supreme goal is Visnu. Om tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah. This Rg Veda mantra. The, some rascals, scholars, so-called, they say, "These Vedas, these mantras, are some primitive. Now we are advanced. We shall create our own mantra." You see? This is going on. The primitive... Primitive, we have to study. Primitive means very, very old. So whether in the days gone by, people were actually happy or now they are happy?

Even if you say "primitive," the primitive life is very nice. Primitive life means simple life. Keeping pace with the nature's law. It is very nice. Primitive life ... It gives you anxiety-free life, and therefore, even if you take it as primitive, the saintly persons, sages, they used to live long, long years, and their brain was so sharp, because they were taking natural food, fruits, grains, and milk that helps to develop human brain for understanding subtle subject matter. So even Vyasadeva... You have seen the picture of Vyasadeva. He's writing books just near a cottage only. But he's writing. Nobody can create such literature. But he was leading very simple life, in a cottage. Even, say, 2,000 years ago or little more, there was Canakya Pandita. Canakya Pandita, he was a brahmana, but great politician. His politics are studied even now in M.A. class. And because he was a great politician, diplomat, under his name in our India, in New Delhi, the capital, there is a neighborhood which is called Canakya Puri, and all the foreign embassies are there.

Your American embassy is also there. So he was a great politician. But still, he was living in a cottage. He was not accepting any salary because he was brahmana. Brahmana cannot accept any salary. Just like you have accepted me as your acarya, but you do not pay me any salary. This is forbidden. The teacher will not accept salary. Then he comes down to the sudra platform. The sudra accepts salary. "I serve you, you pay me." And the brahmana will distribute knowledge freely, and the ksatriya will give protection to the brahmana. This is the system of Vedic system. Even in fifty years ago, education in India, there was no charges. A learned brahmana will sit down in corner of a neighborhood and all the children will come there. They will learn primary education. And the parents of the children will send, somebody will send rice, somebody will send dal... Just like we are maintaining, by collecting. Not here, but in Bombay, our center is collecting and distributing.

The whole system was that. Love exchange. I give you some service; you give me something, out of your love. Dadati pratigrhnati. Love means six symptoms. I give you something, you give me something. I give you something for eating, you also give me something for eating. Dadati pratigrhnati bhunkte bhojayate, guhyam akhyati prcchati. If I am in trouble, I express my mind, I open my mind before you, and you also try to help me. These are the six signs of love. That is Vedic civilization. Everything exchange of love. No business, mercantile. All right, let us have kirtana. Hare Krsna. (end)

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.24 -- Los Angeles, June 22, 1972

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