An excerpt from an interview with Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja in Jammu, India, October 3, 2007 (Walking with a Saint – 2007)
Announcer: Listeners, today we are introducing you to the world-renowned preacher of kṛṣṇa-bhakti and kṛṣṇa-nāma, Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja. For the past sixty years, Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja has been a leader of kṛṣṇa-bhakti-yoga. He has been serving humankind, teaching how to make human life happy and successful. He is touring the globe for the twenty-fifth time, and has recently arrived in Jammu. We are now meeting this divine personality, Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Mahārājajī.
Mahārājajī, we welcome you to our studio. For the past sixty years you have been preaching and propagating kṛṣṇa-bhakti, and on this subject you are the guide for millions of people. How are you feeling about this?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: I have been preaching Vedic philosophy and culture for over sixty years in India, and also for the past fifteen years throughout many Western and Eastern countries around the world. Millions of people are accepting this and finding happiness and auspiciousness in their lives. Knowing this, I am also feeling very happy.
Announcer: What dharmic, or religious, message are you giving to the world?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Our message is that human birth is very rare. By His great mercy, the Supreme Lord has given us this human body. Only in this life can we know, by the help of sādhus and saints, that we are a minute part of that Supreme Lord. Due to our forgetfulness of Him, at this time and for millions of births, from the beginning of creation, we are roaming in the cycle of birth and death. We are looking for happiness and peace, but we are not able to attain happiness and peace due to distress of old age, death, and other types of misery that we find in this world.
It is only in this human birth that we can realize these things. We can know and understand that it is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who has created this universe and that we have a relationship with Him. With this relationship we should perform bhajana at His lotus feet, come out from this cycle of birth and death, enter His association, and attain His service.
Announcer: What is the effect of the Vedic philosophy-based kṛṣṇa-bhakti that you are preaching in different countries?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Due to the Vedic knowledge that I am preaching all over the world, millions of people all over the world have given up eating cow and other meat, eggs, garlic, and onion, and are taking up a righteous way of living. According to the Vedic rules, they are wearing neck beads, keeping śikhā, wearing the sacred thread, and performing devotional service to the Lord. They are considering themselves very happy and fortunate, and they are saying that they are indebted to me life after life for saving them from the miseries of this world.
Announcer: What is your message for the people of Jammu and Kashmir?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: My special message for the people of Jammu and Kashmir is that there is only one God or Supreme Being. Whether you call Him Allah, Khuda, Paramātmā, Bhagavān, or God, or any other name, He is the creator of this world. Because we have forgotten Him, we have fallen into this cycle of birth and death.
No one is Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or Christian from birth. Due to our lifestyle, the society and country in which we are born, and our learned characteristics, we classify ourselves as Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, or Christian, and because of this, we are trying to gain each other’s wealth and belongings. We are thinking that we are Hindu or Muslim. We are thinking, for example, that only by coming in the Muslim religion can one be benefited. With this idea we are even eager to kill other human beings.
My message is that by birth we are not Hindu, Muslim, or Christian. We are the children of the same God, who has given us birth so that we can worship Him according to our own way of devotion and attain His lotus feet. He will only be attained by love. That is why we should offer our love to our worshipful Deity, be compassionate to other living souls, avoid any fighting, and maintain peace. This is my message.
Announcer: What is the importance of Indian Vedic dharma in today’s time?
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja: Indian Vedic dharma is important at all times – those times that have passed and those times that are yet to come. Also at the present time, it is very important in complying with this Vedic dharma. In the world today, rich countries like America have also become fed up with wealth. Wealth is not getting them any happiness or peace. The highest rates of suicides are in these countries. In Russia and China also, suicide rates are very high. No one is happy.
If people of these countries accept Vedic culture, as they are now taking up as a result of preaching, they can live a happy life. They will have loving relationships with each other and will not waste their valuable time in fighting.
There is a prominent mantra in our Vedic culture:
īśāvāsyam idam sarvaṁ
yat kiñca jagatyāṁ jagat
tena tyaktena bhuñjīthā
mā gṛdhaḥ kasya svid dhanam
Śrī Īśopaniṣad (Verse 1)
[The Supreme Lord is the controller and proprietor of all that is, of every animate and inanimate entity throughout creation. One should accept for himself what the Lord has given him as his share, and never try to take another’s portion.]
There is only one Supreme Godhead. He is present in all living entities and is also in all moving and non-moving entities. Surrender everything unto Him. Do not be greedy for anyone’s wealth, belongings, land, or wife. This is the main reason for war and fighting. Our Gandhijī also understood this and preached it everywhere.
Announcer: Mahārājajī thank you very much for coming to our studio.
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