BG 4.7 explains that Krishna appears in this world when there is a decline in morality, a rise in violence, when leaders rule against the well-being of their citizens. The current state of the world seems to fit this description. So, where is Krishna now?
- Krishna’s purpose for appearing in the world
- The different avatars of Krishna
Additional topics include:
- How do we know Krishna is the Supreme? Why take him at his word?
- A brief telling of Krishna’s birth and the lifting of Govardhan Hill
- Street chanting
- The early days of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in the U.S.
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Read Bhagavad Gita As It Is chapter 6 verses 20-23, which will clarify the issue of dualism and non-dualism in the yoga tradition, and chapter 4 verses 7-10 which include purports from last week’s class.
Mentioned in this podcast
Abbreviations used in these notes: BG for Bhagavad Gita, SB for Srimad Bhagavatam
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
yadā yadā — whenever and wherever; hi — certainly; dharmasya — of religion; glāniḥ — discrepancies; bhavati— become manifested; bhārata — O descendant of Bharata; abhyutthānam — predominance; adharmasya — of irreligion; tadā — at that time; ātmānam — self; sṛjāmi — manifest; aham— I.
Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion – at that time I descend Myself.
To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I Myself appear, millennium after millennium.
Maya – illusion, “that which is not,” e.g. thinking the visible world to be the only reality
Avatar – one who descends from the spiritual realm, incarnation
Shaktyavesha avatar – a being empowered to carry out a particular mission
Acarya – teacher-by-example, authorized by an established disciplic line (sampradaya)
Sankirtan – the public congregational chanting of mantra
Kali Yuga – the current and most problematic age in the cycle of four cosmic ages
kaler doṣa-nidhe rājann
asti hy eko mahān guṇaḥ
kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya
mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet
My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.
References to the maha mantra in the Kali Santarana Upanishad
narada punah papraccha tan nama kim iti.
Narada Muni again asked,“Which are those specific names of the Lord which are most effective in Kali-yuga?”
sa hovaca hiranyagarbah
hare krishna hare krishna, krishna krishna hare hare.
hare rama hare rama, rama rama hare hare; 
iti shodashakam namnam, kali-kalmasha-nashanam;
natah parataropayah, sarva-vedeshu drishyate. 
Lord Brahma replied, “The sixteen words-Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna
Krishna, Hare Hare; Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare-are especially meant for completely destroying all the contamination of Kali. To save oneself from the contamination of Kali-yuga, there is no alternative in all the Vedas except the chanting of this sixteen-word mantra.
Kalisantarana Upanisad, 4-6
Test Your Knowledge
#1 Which is not a category of avatar?
Most avatars fall into the Vishnu-tattva category — those directly descended from Vishnu, the Supreme Being. Rama and Parashurama are examples of Vishnu-tattva avatars. The other category of avatar is jiva-tattva. Jiva souls are like us: individual sparks from the fire that is the Supreme Being. An example of jiva-tattva avatars is the shaktyavesha avatar: beings empowered by Vishnu to carry out a mission. Jesus, Buddha, and the guru are examples of shaktyavesha avatars. Maha-tattva refers to the cosmic material manifestation—the total energy of the material world—and is not a category of avatars.
#2 Krishna insisted the inhabitants of Vrindavan should honor Govardhan Hill instead of a demigod. Out of anger, this demigod caused a torrential downpour. In response, Krishna lifted the Hill, sheltering the inhabitants from the rainfall. Which demigod caused the devastation?
#3 Caitanya Mahaprabhu is credited with what?
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wrote no books: that was done by his scholar-disciples known as the Six Goswamis. Nor did he open temples. He is remembered for, among other achievements, popularizing the Hare Krishna mantra as a form of public spiritual practice.
#4 The Vedic histories are known as the
Haribol! Thank you for taking the quiz.
Would you like to take the quiz again? All questions and answers are discussed in this podcast (Long Island Series, Week 14 BG 4.7,4.8).