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It is said that many kings and emperors formerly went to the forest for this purpose - to prosecute severe austerities and penances in order to go back home, back to Godhead

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"It is said that many kings and emperors formerly went to the forest for this purpose"

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

This system is recommended in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana followed it, but at the present moment many karmīs and pseudo devotees have overcrowded the holy place of Vṛndāvana just to imitate this process recommended by Śukadeva Gosvāmī. It is said that many kings and emperors formerly went to the forest for this purpose, but Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura does not recommend that one take up this solitary life in Vṛndāvana prematurely.

Following in the holy footsteps of Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, we have tried to present this book, Kṛṣṇa, for being read and heard by the conditioned souls of this age. By hearing the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa, one is sure and certain to get salvation and be transferred back home, back to Godhead. It is stated by Śukadeva Gosvāmī that as we hear the transcendental pastimes of the Lord, we gradually cut the knots of material contamination. Therefore, regardless of what one is, if one wants the association of Lord Kṛṣṇa in the transcendental kingdom of God for eternity in blissful existence, one must hear about the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa and chant the mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare / Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.The transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, are so powerful that simply by hearing, reading and memorizing this book, Kṛṣṇa, one is sure to be transferred to the spiritual world, which is ordinarily very difficult to achieve. The description of the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa is so attractive that it automatically gives us an impetus to study repeatedly, and the more we study the pastimes of the Lord, the more we become attached to Him. This very attachment to Kṛṣṇa makes one eligible to be transferred to His abode, Goloka Vṛndāvana. As we have learned from the previous chapter, to cross over the material world is to cross over the stringent laws of material nature. The stringent laws of material nature cannot check the progress of one who is attracted by the spiritual nature. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā by the Lord Himself: “Although the stringent laws of material nature are very difficult to overcome, one who surrenders unto the Lord can very easily cross over nescience.” There is no influence of material nature in the spiritual world. As we have learned from the Second Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the ruling power of the demigods and the influence of material nature are conspicuous by their absence in the spiritual world.

Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī has therefore advised Mahārāja Parīkṣit in the beginning of the Second Canto that every conditioned soul should engage himself in hearing and chanting the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī also informed King Parīkṣit that previously many other kings and emperors went to the jungle to prosecute severe austerities and penances in order to go back home, back to Godhead. In India it is still a practice that many advanced transcendentalists give up their family lives and go to Vṛndāvana to live there alone and completely engage in hearing and chanting the holy pastimes of the Lord. This system is recommended in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana followed it, but at the present moment many karmīs and pseudo devotees have overcrowded the holy place of Vṛndāvana just to imitate this process recommended by Śukadeva Gosvāmī. It is said that many kings and emperors formerly went to the forest for this purpose, but Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura does not recommend that one take up this solitary life in Vṛndāvana prematurely.

One who prematurely goes to Vṛndāvana to live in pursuance of the instructions of Śukadeva Gosvāmī again falls victim to māyā, even while residing in Vṛndāvana. To check such unauthorized residence in Vṛndāvana, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura has sung a nice song in this connection, the purport of which is as follows: “My dear mind, why are you so proud of being a Vaiṣṇava? Your solitary chanting of the holy name of the Lord is based on a desire for cheap popularity, and therefore your chanting is only a pretension. Such an ambition for a cheap reputation may be compared to the stool of a hog because such popularity is another extension of the influence of māyā.” One may go to Vṛndāvana for cheap popularity, and instead of being absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one may always think of money and women, which are simply temporary sources of happiness. It is better that one engage whatever money and women he may have in his possession in the service of the Lord because sense enjoyment is not for the conditioned soul.