By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Why you are giving so much stress on Bhagavad-gita as it is? Because it is spoken by Krishna. Similarly, anything written by Krishna’s pure devotee, that is important. Otherwise it is not important. Reading a book is very good, but it must be written by authorities. Then it is good. Otherwise, if you read twenty-four hours the newspaper or an ordinary book, that kind of reading is simply waste of time. But if we read authorized literature, then simply by reading such books, we shall very easily be freed from material entanglement.
Because Bhagavad-gītā and Bhagavān Krishna are identical. There is no difference between them. Don’t think, “When I am reading Bhagavad-gītā without a purpose, then I am bereft (of any benefit).” But when you read with a desire that “I shall now associate with the devotee and Krishna,” then Bhagavad-gītā is non-different from Krishna. Advaya-jnāna means without any difference. Vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnānam advayam [SB 1.2.11], Advayam. If you are a bona fide devotee, you must know that when you read Bhagavad-gītā, then Krishna is also there. If you are a pure devotee, then you must know that Krishna is there on your tongue, dancing when you chant Hare Krishna. Don’t think otherwise. Krishna is there. Nāma-cintāmani-krsnah. Anyone who is chanting Hare Krishna without any of the ten kinds of offenses, then you must know that Krishna is there.
Nāma-cintāmani-krsnah caitanya-rasa-vigrahah pūrnah śuddho nitya-mukto abhinnatvān nāma-nāminoh [Cc. Madhya 17.133].
Similarly, when we read literature (līlā-kathā)… Just like we are reading now Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This is līlā-kathā of Krishna and His devotee, Prahlāda Mahārāja. This is līlā - exchange of dealings between devotee and the Lord. The whole Bhāgavata… It is called Bhāgavata, why? The only subject matter is Bhagavān and bhakta. That’s all. Bhagavān is the Lord, and bhakta, His devotee. It has no other subject matter. You won’t find any newspaper item, that “There was earthquake in London,” and this and that. You do not find all these things. It is not meant for the enjoyment of the crow-like men (tad vāyasa-tīrtham). It is meant for the swan, or hansa.
Why hansa is taken, paramahansa? Hansa means swan. Hansa has the capacity to separate milk from water. If you give milk mixed with water to the hansa, it will drink the milk and reject the water. And paramahansa means that although they are in the material world, they have kicked out the material things, but have taken Krishna. That’s all. Krishna is there. Everywhere is Krishna. Īśāvāsyam idam sarvam [Īśo mantra 1]. Even in this material world there is Krishna, but only the hansa can take it and not the crows. The crows cannot take it. Therefore there is a difference between the crows and hansas.
So those who are in Krishna consciousness, are either hansas or are being trained up to become hansas. They don’t care for anything that is material. They are only concerned with Krishna. Therefore they are paramahansas. Krishna is everywhere. Goloka eva nivasaty akhilātmā-bhūtah [Bs. 5.37]: Krishna is always residing in his abode called Goloka. But the devotees can take Krishna from anywhere. How can He be taken? What is the process? The process is this devotional service. If you are engaged in devotional service anywhere, you are with Krishna.
īhā yasya harer dāsye karmanā manasā vācā / nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu jīvan muktah sa ucyate.
If one has got sincere desire to serve Krishna in any position, in any body, in any circumstance, he is jīvan-mukta. That is paramahansa. Jīvan-mukta means although he’s living in this body, he’s paramahansa. He has nothing to do with this body. He has got everything to do with Krishna.
So we have to take shelter of such person. Therefore it is said, pada-yugālaya-hansa-sangah. A devotee who is always living under the protection, shelter, of Krishna’s lotus feet, like the swan (hansa). You will find that the hansa enjoy when there is a lotus; they go down within the water and entangle with the stems of the lotus flower. There is a prayer in Mukunda-mala-stotra: Adyaiva me viśatu mānasa rāja-hansah. So our mind should be trained up like the hansa who entangles himself with the stem of lotus flower. So we have to take shelter of this hansa. Pada-yugālaya-hansa-sangah. Unless we associate with such a hansa who has nothing to do with this material world, we will not be successful. If we become a servant of such a hansa, who has taken the cream of the material world, Krishna, (Gopī-bhartur pada-kamalayo dāsa-dāsa-dāsānudāsa), then we will be successful. Pada-yugālaya-hansa-sangah. If we associate with pure devotees, then our life will be successful. Anjas titarmi: Very easily we shall cross over this ocean of nescience.
[An excerpt from a lecture on the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.9.18, delivered in Mayapur on February 25, 1976]