Bhagavad-gītā 4.24–34 , New York , 1966-08-10


brahmārpaṇaṁ brahma havir
brahmāgnau brahmaṇā hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyaṁ

[A person who is fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is sure to attain the spiritual kingdom because of his full contribution to spiritual activities, in which the consummation is absolute and that which is offered is of the same spiritual nature.]

This verse we have been discussing in our last meeting about the sacrifice. And there are different types of sacrifice recommended according to the different classes of men. There are generally three classes of human being: those who are under the influence of the modes of goodness, and those who are under the modes of passion, [coughs] and those who are under the modes of ignorance.

The whole Vedic scriptures, they are also divided into three divisions according to these modes of material nature. There are eighteen Purāṇas. Purāṇas means supplementary to the Vedas. The Vedas, they are written in very difficult language, but in order to explain them to the ordinary persons there are Purāṇas, Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa...

[coughs] [aside:] It is disturbing to me. [pause]

The Vedic principle is described... According to these modes of material nature, there are eighteen Purāṇas. Out of that, six Purāṇas are in the modes of goodness, and six Purāṇas are in the modes of passion, and six Purāṇas are in the modes of ignorance. So there are different varieties of sacrifices according to the different class of men. The whole idea of Vedic literature is to give chance to every human being to develop a spiritual consciousness under certain rules and regulation.

So what is applicable to the persons who are in the modes of ignorance, they are not applicable to the persons who are in the modes of goodness; or those who are in the modes of passion, they are not applicable to the modes of goodness. The gradual process of evolution.

Now, just like there are recommendations of animal sacrifice. There are many different types of sacrifice. There is recommendation of animal sacrifice also in the Vedic literatures. And what is that? That is a sort of restriction to the animal-eaters. Indirectly it is restriction, but it is sanctioned also by sacrifice in the Vedas. Just like the Vedic principle says that if you want to eat flesh, don't eat flesh which is not offered in the sacrifice. Which is not offered in the sacrifice.

Now, those who have been in India, perhaps you have seen the goddess Kālī. The goddess Kālī, before the goddess Kālī a goat sacrifice is... and is offered. But the Vedic principle says that if you want to take flesh, then you must sacrifice the goat before the goddess Kālī and then you can take. And that prescription is also very difficult, because on the dark moon night the goat has to be sacrificed, and there are so many paraphernalia, and the mantra, the hymns chanted there... The goat is, I mean to, whispered within the ear that "The man who is sacrificing you, he will be responsible for your life, and for yourself, you are going to get the next life as human being without waiting for the evolutionary process."

The animals... There is an evolutionary process. That is accepted in Darwin's theory also, anthropomorphism. What is that? Anthropology. Yes. Not anthropomorphism. Anthropology. Anthropology, there is evolutionary process. So that is accepted in the Vedic literature also.

So the animal which is sacrificed, he gets immediately his evolutionary process developed and promoted from animal life to human life. But the man who is offering that sacrifice, he becomes responsible. These are therefore there are so many hymns in the Vedic literature. So whole idea is that by offering such sacrifices man is restricted from flesh-eating.

Similarly, there are many kinds of sacrifices, they are described here. I think those descriptions may not be very elaborately described, but I will give you the idea.

daivam evāpare yajñaṁ
yoginaḥ paryupāsate
brahmāgnāv apare yajñaṁ

[Some yogīs perfectly worship the demigods by offering different sacrifices to them, and some of them offer sacrifices in the fire of the Supreme Brahman.]

śrotrādīnīndriyāṇy anye
saṁyamāgniṣu juhvati
śabdādīn viṣayān anya
indriyāgniṣu juhvati

[Some of them sacrifice the hearing process and the senses in the fire of the controlled mind, and others sacrifice the objects of the senses, such as sound, in the fire of sacrifice.]

Yajña-dāna-tapaḥ-kriyā. Yajña-dāna-tapaḥ-kriyā na tyājyaṁ kāryam kartavyaṁ. This is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that yajña, sacrifice; charity, dāna. Yajña, dāna and tapaḥ, tapaḥ. Tapaḥ means penance.

Now, there are four divisions of human society according to Vedic literature: the brahmacārī, the gṛhastha, the vānaprastha and the sannyāsa. The brahmacārī means the student life, more or less. Student life. And gṛhastha means those who are leading family life, after the student life. And vānaprastha means retired life. And the sannyāsa means renounced order; they have no connection with worldly activities. So these are four different stages of human social orders.

Now, the brahmacārī, they are meant for sacrifice, the students. The students are recommended to sacrifice, especially to sacrifice sense gratification. The students are... Formerly, they were in the guru-gṛha, spiritual master's place, and they had to undergo severe types of regulations. So a brahmacārī is expected to go to every householder and beg. There was no system of schooling, there was no system for payment. The spiritual master, or the teacher, he did not accept any payment in pound, shilling, pence. That was not accepted. Because mostly brāhmaṇas, they used to become the teachers. So they were not accepting any salary. The brāhmaṇas are forbidden to accept any service.

So the education was free. To every student, education was free. And village to village, education was... So in former days—even fifty years before I have seen in villages—there was some small school, and all the village boys, they were coming and they are taking education. So education was very much widespread, because education was free in this way. So students were meant to go for begging alms for the teacher. These are some of the, I mean to say, regulative principles.

Now, that is sacrifice. They sacrificed their labor for the spiritual master, for the teacher, and whatever they got, they surrendered to the teacher. And it is said that after cooking, if the teacher asked the student, "My dear boy, you come and take your meals," then he will take. Otherwise, if the teacher forgets to call him one day for his meals, then he should not go and ask the teacher that "Sir, I have not taken my food. Give me my food." Rather, he should starve. So much penances, so much civility. These are called sacrifices.

So student life is meant for sacrifice. They should undergo training under severe regulations and penances so that life may be built up for future hope and future spiritual realization. But the sacrifice is meant for the student life.

Similarly, the family life, those who are... Yajña-dāna. Dāna means charity. The gṛhastha, those who are living in family life with wife and children, they are expected to give in charity as much as possible. That is also service. Suppose you are earning hundred..., one thousand dollars in a month. So according to Vedic instruction, you should give in charity fifty percent of your income. Five hundred dollars you should give in charity. And twenty-five percent you should spend for your family, and twenty-five percent, as you are a family man, you may have it as bank balance so that in case of emergency you may require it. This is the prescription. Suppose you are earning one thousand dollars a month. You should give in charity for God's service fifty percent, and twenty-five percent you should spend for your family, dependents, and twenty-five percent you may have in a bank balance so that... This is the point.

So yajña-dāna... This is also sacrifice. Sacrifice. So yajña-dāna and tapaḥ. Tapaḥ means penance. So the students are meant for sacrifice, and the gṛhasthas, the householders, are meant for giving in charity, and so far we are concerned, just like sannyāsī, we are meant for tapasya, penance. We should undergo all kinds of difficulties for spreading the knowledge that we have acquired. That is the proper sannyāsī. A sannyāsī, a renounced order of, I mean to say, man who is in the renounced order of life, his business is that his acquired knowledge, his experienced knowledge, should be distributed to the public.

So according to the varṇāśrama-dharma, the brahmacārīs and the vānaprastha and the sannyāsī... Now, suppose if there are hundred person in a society, twenty-five percent students, twenty-five percent retired life and twenty-five percent sannyāsa, renounced order of life. Now, out of hundred persons, seventy-five percent, they are engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord. The rest twenty-five percent, who are gṛhasthas, they are meant for sacrificing fifty percent of their income for this seventy-five percent. That is the whole program of varṇāśrama-dharma.

That is a kind of spiritual communism. Spiritual communism. For spiritual advancement of the society, the whole social order is so arranged that seventy-five percent of the people, they are engaged in the matter of spiritual advancement of knowledge, and twenty-five percent of the population, those who are earning, those who are in family life, those who have got factories, business and so many things, they should sacrifice fifty percent of their income for these seventy-five percent persons who are engaged in spiritual emancipation.

So that is the whole program.

[aside:] Oh, I am very glad to see you. [laughs]

That is the whole program of varṇāśrama-dharma, varṇa and āśrama. Varṇa means that... You have perhaps heard, the caste system in India. That is called varṇa. That is... The caste system which is now going on, that is a vitiated form of caste system. You have heard in the Bhagavad-gītā that cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg 4.13].

[According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.]

This varṇa and āśrama is also creation of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa. That is not man-made. That is not man-made.

So how that varṇāśrama is created? Now, guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. The guṇa... As I have already told you, that we are being controlled in three qualities, or three modes of nature, so anyone, he must be either under the spell of these three qualities. So according to the quality and according to the karma, the varṇas are there. I have several times explained to you. So the varṇa and the āśrama. Āśrama means the brahmacārī-āśrama, the gṛhastha-āśrama, the vānaprastha-āśrama and the sannyāsa-āśrama.

Āśrama, this very word indicates that it is spiritual. And perhaps most of you know that āśrama means... Āśrama, this very word, means that this place... Just like temple or church. There are so many buildings on this Second Avenue. When you see a church or a temple, you at once understand that "This building is meant for spiritual understanding." Similarly, when we call āśrama, āśrama means that that, I mean to say, function is meant for spiritual realization.

So all the four classes of social order—the brahmacārī, the gṛhastha and the vānaprastha and the sannyāsa—they are called āśrama. Āśrama means they are meant for spiritual emancipation. The student is also given instruction so that before entering family life, he gets complete instruction of spiritual life, so that when he enters into family life he is not just like a cat and dog, for sense gratification. They are meant for... Although they live with wife and children, they are meant for spiritual emancipation. This is called āśrama, gṛhastha-āśrama.

So that was the idea. The whole program was aiming at spiritual emancipation. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum... [coughs]

na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ
durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ
andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās
te 'pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ

[SB 7.5.31]

[Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Viṣṇu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries.]

It is a verse from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that Prahlāda Mahārāja... That is a, I mean, statement of Prahlāda Mahārāja before his father. His father was very much materialistic, so he was explaining to his father, "My dear father," that na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum, "general people..." Because he was in the materialistic family, his father was a great materialistic, so he is explaining... And he was a great devotee. The son was a great devotee, and the father was a great materialist, and there was a quarrel between father and son.

So father questioned, "Where you have got all this nonsense knowledge, or spiritual knowledge?" So he was explaining, na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ [SB 7.5.31]:

"My dear father, these people, these materialistic people—that means men of your nature—they do not know what is their self-interest."

Everyone is very busy for fulfilling his self-interest, but actually he does not know what is his self-interest. Na te viduḥ. The self-interest is Viṣṇu, so go back to Godhead. That is self-interest. Self-realization, self-interest, and so many things—everything is meant for going back to Godhead. That is self-interest.

So Prahlāda Mahārāja said that "Because people are very much illusioned by this external energy..." The material energy is called external energy. "Because people are deluded by this external..., by the glimmer of this external energy, they have forgotten that their self-interest is Viṣṇu, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And they are conducting their life, general process of life, in a manner..." How? Now, andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānāḥ: "Just like one blind man is leading several other blind men." That's all. He is the leader. A blind man has become the leader of several other blind man.

So what benefit is there? If the man is blind, how can he... Because blind... Why blind? Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās te 'pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ [SB 7.5.31]. Īśa-tantra, īśa-tantra means by the laws of God or by the laws of nature, they are bound up tight, hand and feet, and they are trying to get free from the control of the nature.

So this struggle for existence is going on, because they do not know that their self-interest lies in the understanding of his relationship with the Supreme Lord. And that is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg 7.19]:

[After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.]

"After many, many births, when a man is actually in full knowledge, he surrenders unto Me," the Lord says. That is the ultimate interest. That is the ultimate knowledge, that one should understand his relationship with Viṣṇu and surrender there. That is... Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante [Bg 7.19]: "After many, many births," jñānavān, "who has actually acquired knowledge, he surrenders unto Me," the Lord says.

But sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ: "But such a great soul is very rare." The surrendered soul, a man in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, a man surrendered unto the control of the Supreme Lord, is very rare. These are instruction we get from Vedic literature. And to come to this point, this surrendering process, that vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ [Bg 7.19], to understand that the Supreme Lord is everything. Whatever is manifested before us, they are different varieties of energies of the Supreme Lord.

That is also stated in Viṣṇu Purāṇa:

jyotsnā vistāriṇī yathā
parasya brahmaṇaḥ śaktis
sarvedam akhilaṁ jagat

[Viṣṇu Purāṇa 1.22.53]

[Just as the illumination of a fire, which is situated in one place, is spread all over, the energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Para-brahman, are spread all over this universe.]

The Viṣṇu Purāṇa says that "Just like fire is situated in one place and distributes its heat and light and illumination from that place, similarly, whatever we are experiencing in this manifested world, they are different energies of the Brahman, parasya brahmaṇaḥ." Parasya parabrahmaṇaḥ, that means Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Parambrahman.

So whole process is, sacrifice means that we have to reach to that point. The whole process of sacrifice, either by yoga system or by jñāna system or by observing the rules and regulation of the social system, everything is meant for reaching to that point. What is that? Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān mām [Bg 7.19]: to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

[After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.]

So we, if we are intelligent enough, then we should consider that "If I have to do this job after many, many births—I am getting myself to very much experience—and Lord Kṛṣṇa says that this is the last point of knowledge, why not accept it immediately? Why not accept immediately? If I have to come to Kṛṣṇa at the last stage of mature knowledge and I surrender unto Him, then why should I wait for many births? Why should I wait for many birth? Let me surrender unto me [Him]."

Just yesterday night one of our friend inquired that "How long it takes time to have complete Kṛṣṇa consciousness?" So I replied that the Kṛṣṇa consciousness can take place in a second, and it may not take in thousands of years. Because the point is here that after all, we have to come to this point, that surrender unto Kṛṣṇa, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti [Bg 7.19]Vāsudeva means Kṛṣṇa—"Kṛṣṇa is everything, and therefore I surrender unto Him." Sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ. That person, a great soul, is very rare to be found.

Therefore why not become that great soul immediately by surrender unto Kṛṣṇa? This is the point. By sacrifice. Sacrifice means we have to come to that point. Now, if that is the point to be achieved at the end, now why not become immediately jñānavān and surrender unto Kṛṣṇa? That is my suggestion.

prāṇa-karmāṇi cāpare
juhvati jñāna-dīpite

[Bg 4.27]

[Those who are interested in self-realization, in terms of mind and sense control, offer the functions of all the senses, as well as the vital force [breath], as oblations into the fire of the controlled mind.]

Ātma-saṁyama. There are different kinds of penances. That is called ātma-saṁyama. The yogic principle is also another sort of ātma-saṁyama.

dravya-yajñās tapo-yajñā
yoga-yajñās tathāpare
svādhyāya-jñāna-yajñāś ca
yatayaḥ saṁśita-vratāḥ

[Bg 4.28]

[There are others who, enlightened by sacrificing their material possessions in severe austerities, take strict vows and practice the yoga of eightfold mysticism, and others study the Vedas for the advancement of transcendental knowledge.]

There are dravyamaya-yajñas. Dravyamaya-yajñas means giving in charity. That is called dravyamaya-yajña. Jñānamaya-yajña means to engage oneself into the studies of the Vedas very critically, nicely. That is called jñānamaya-yajña. And those who are controlling the senses, that is called yogamaya-yajña.

So there are different kinds of yajña, and according to different types of yajña, there are different types of yogī also. Each one of them is called yogī. So according to the type of yajña, there are different kinds of yogīs. Just like we are. We are trying in the process of transcendental loving service, so we are bhakta-yogī. We are called yogī in the devotional service. Of course, we'll find in the Sixth Chapter that bhakta-yogī is the topmost yogī.

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ
śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ
sa me yuktatamo mataḥ

[Bg 6.47]

[And of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.]

And that is stated by the Lord that "There are different kinds of yogīs, but the person who is always under the contemplation of Me, he is the highest yogī."

Therefore devotional service, loving devotional service of the Supreme Lord, that is the topmost kind of yogī. That is we find in everywhere, in every chapter, in every verse of this Bhagavad-gītā, that Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which we are trying to culture, that is the highest type of yoga.

apāne juhvati prāṇaṁ
prāṇe 'pānaṁ tathāpare
prāṇāpāna-gatī ruddhvā
apare niyatāhārāḥ
prāṇān prāṇeṣu juhvati

[And there are even others who are inclined to the process of breath restraint to remain in trance, and they practice stopping the movement of the outgoing breath into the incoming, and incoming breath into the outgoing, and thus at last remain in trance, stopping all breathing. Some of them, curtailing the eating process, offer the outgoing breath into itself, as a sacrifice.]

These prāṇa, apāna... There are breathing control. There are different kinds of air passing within the body, and the yoga system, the controlling, that is also another kind of sacrifice.

sarve 'py ete yajña-vido
yānti brahma sanātanam

[All these performers who know the meaning of sacrifice become cleansed of sinful reaction, and, having tasted the nectar of the remnants of such sacrifice, they go to the supreme eternal atmosphere.]

Now, what is the purpose of this sacrifice? Now, it is concluded here that sarve 'py ete yajña-vidaḥ. All these different kinds of yajña, they are meant for diminishing our sinful reaction. Our sinful reaction. Because we are accumulating many sinful reaction in different births. So if we perform sacrifice, if we perform yoga, that process helps us in diminishing our accumulated, I mean to say, sinful reaction. But so far this harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam [Cc Ādi 17.21], oh, this is the easiest and the most, I mean to say, supreme process.

[In this Age of Kali there is no other means, no other means, no other means for self-realization than chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name, chanting the holy name of Lord Hari.]

As we have discussed many times, the Lord Caitanya recommends that ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc Antya 20.12].

[Let there be all victory for the chanting of the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, which can cleanse the mirror of the heart and stop the miseries of the blazing fire of material existence. That chanting is the waxing moon that spreads the white lotus of good fortune for all living entities. It is the life and soul of all education. The chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa expands the blissful ocean of transcendental life. It gives a cooling effect to everyone and enables one to taste full nectar at every step.]

By this, paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam, by this performance of saṅkīrtana—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare / Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare—immediately the dust from the mind is clear. That is recommended.

So in spite of it is very easy process, it is the supreme process. It surpasses all kinds of other yajña and yoga system.

nāyaṁ loko 'sty ayajñasya
kuto 'nyaḥ kuru-sattama

[O best of the Kuru dynasty, without sacrifice one can never live happily on this planet or in this life: what then of the next?]

The Lord says that "Those who are not performing yajña, they cannot be happy even in this world, in this life, and what to speak of next life." This is the con... Therefore we have to perform sacrifice.

Nāyaṁ lokaḥ, ayaṁ lokaḥ. Ayam, in this world, in which we are at present, that is also becoming more miserable. At the present moment people are feeling so much painful in the modern existence, because this process of yajña has been... Completely, people are engaged, "Work hard, earn money and be engaged in sense gratification." That's all. This is the whole program at the present moment is going on. That cannot bring any peace and prosperity to the society. We have to perform yajña. That is the natural law.

So Lord says, nāyaṁ loko 'sty ayajñasya: "Those who are not performing, for them, there is no happiness even in this world, even in this life." And kuto anyaḥ kuru-sattama: "My dear Arjuna, then what to speak of the next life. Oh, next life is still more miserable."

evaṁ bahu-vidhā yajñā
vitatā brahmaṇo mukhe
karma-jān viddhi tān sarvān
evaṁ jñātvā vimokṣyase

[All these different types of sacrifice are approved by the Vedas, and all of them are born of different types of work. Knowing them as such, you will become liberated.]

śreyān dravyamayād yajñāj
jñāna-yajñaḥ parantapa
sarvaṁ karmākhilaṁ pārtha
jñāne parisamāpyate

[O chastiser of the enemy, the sacrifice of knowledge is greater than the sacrifice of material possessions. O son of Pṛthā, after all, the sacrifice of work culminates in transcendental knowledge.]

Now, Kṛṣṇa is concluding these different types of yajña. He says that śreyān dravyamayād yajñāj jñāna-yajñaḥ parantapa. Jñāna-yajña, jñāna-yajña means... This is jñāna-yajña, which we are doing here. We are discussing Bhagavad-gītā very scrutinizingly, and trying to understand every verse with reference to the Vedic, I mean, reference and as far as our logic and argument goes. So this is called jñāna-yajña.

And dravyamaya-yajña means, just like yesterday, day before yesterday, discussed that in the altar of fire we have to sacrifice clarified butter, grains, or sometimes animal sacrifice. They are called dravyamaya-yajña. So Kṛṣṇa says, śreyān dravyamayād yajñāt. That dravyamaya, that sacrificing goods or other things in the yajña, from that type of yajña, śreyān dravyamayād yajñāj jñāna-yajñaḥ parantapa. Jñāna-yajña, this philosophical discussion, logical discussion of the aim of life from authorized books like Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, if we have discussion, this is called jñānamaya-yajña, "with knowledge," jñānamaya-yajña.

So why jñānamaya-yajña is preferred? Sarvaṁ karmākhilaṁ pārtha jñāne parisamāpyate. Because after all, we have to acquire that knowledge which will make me a surrendered soul to the Supreme. That's it. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate. So jñāna also means that to understand our position, to understand what is God, to understand what is our relationship with God, to understand why we are in this material world and what is our next life, wherefrom we have come, where we have the right knowledge, you can understand all these things.

And when you understand everything, the, I mean, the path is clear, you can clearly understand that "I am the part and parcel of the Supreme; therefore my duty is to render transcendental service to the Supreme." That is the highest yajña, highest jñāna, knowledge, knowledge, yajña. So Kṛṣṇa advises that jñānamaya-yajña, sacrifice... Sacrifice. Now, to understand these things, you have to sacrifice some time, you have to sacrifice some labor, some attention. So these sacrifices are counted more than when we offer sacrificial goods in the fire. That is clearly stated here.

Now what is the process of this knowledge? That is also stated by the Lord:

tad viddhi praṇipātena
paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ

[Bg 4.34]

[Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.]

Now, if you have to acquire knowledge, then first of all, you have to find out a person who has already seen the light. Tattva-darśinaḥ. Tattva... Tattva means... In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, tattva is described, the English translation is "Absolute Truth." That is called tattva. Now,

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti
bhagavān iti śabdyate

[SB 1.2.11]

[Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramātmā or Bhagavān.]

Now, "That Absolute Truth is known in three different phases." What is that? "Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān." So a person, we have to... If we really seeking knowledge, then we have to find out a person who is tattva-darśī, who has understood the Absolute Truth.

Now, the Absolute Truth is realized in three phases: Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. There are certain tattva-vit, or the knower of the Absolute Truth, who understands the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman. And there are other, knower of the Absolute Truth, who understands the Absolute Truth as the localized Supersoul. These are called yogīs. And the first-mentioned persons, they are called jñānīs. And there are other tattva-vit, or knower of the Absolute Truth, who knows the Absolute Truth as Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

So either Brahman or Paramātmā or Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Personality of..., there is no difference. The same thing, but according to the capacity of the knower, they are manifested into different phases. We have several times discussed this point. Just like to understand the sun, somebody is studying the sun ray. He is also studying sun. And somebody is studying what is the sun disc. So he is also studying sun. And somebody is trying to enter into the sun planet to see who is there. Everything is the sun. But the person who are studying the sunshine, their grade is lower than the person who is trying to understand the sun disc. And their position is lower grade than the person who wants to enter into the sun.

So the bhaktas, they are trying to see the sun-god within the sun. Just like they want to see Kṛṣṇa. In the Upaniṣad we'll find... There is a prayer that the Brahman is praying, "Will You kindly push off Your glaring, dazzling glare, so that I can really see You." So within the brahma-jyoti there is Kṛṣṇa. So we have to see that.

So anyway, either the Brahmavādī or Paramātmavādī or the bhakta, they are all tattva-vit. They are all transcendentalists. There is no difference. But as there are three classes in every sphere, so there are three classes in the transcendental field also. So here Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord recommends that jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ [Bg 4.34].

[Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.]

You have to find out a person who is tattva-darśī, who has realized the Absolute Truth, either in Brahman conception or in Paramātmā conception or in Personality of Godhead conception. Because we have got different taste. So the Paramātmā, or the Supreme Absolute Truth, is also manifested in three phases: Brahman, Paramātmā, Bhagavān.

So anyway, either you select the impersonal Brahman conception of the Absolute Truth, either you select the localized Supreme Soul, Supersoul conception of the Absolute Truth, or you accept the highest, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya [Bg 7.7].

[O conqueror of wealth [Arjuna], there is no Truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.]

The Lord says that "This is the last phase of Absolute Truth, what I am, Kṛṣṇa."

So anyway, we have to, if we want jñāna—because the jñānamaya-yajña is recommended the highest yajña—so if we actually want jñāna, then we have to first of all find out a person who is tattva-darśī. Just like if you have to purchase gold, you must know where gold is available. If you go for purchasing gold to a grocer's shop, then it is hopeless. You see? It is not possible. Then you will be cheated. So at least you have to find out the person who has... That can be found. Just like by culture. That, that is called sacrifice, jñāna.

If you are actually in search of knowledge, Kṛṣṇa will help you, because He is helping you in every way. Īśvara. Sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭaḥ [Bg 15.15].

[I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedānta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.]

This we have discussed this morning. He is always with you, so He understands what kind of knowledge you are in search after. So we must be sincere, that we want to know that Absolute Truth. Then you will find out; Kṛṣṇa will help you. If you want a Brahmavādī, He will help you. If you want a Paramātmavādī, then He will help you. And if you want a devotee, that also help. So tad viddhi. You have to first of all search out a person.

So Kṛṣṇa recommends that if you want knowledge, then first of all... That is the process, the whole Vedic process. In the Kaṭhopaniṣad also it is said that tad-vijñānārthaṁ gurum eva abhigacchet: "If you want to understand the transcendental science, then you have to approach to a spiritual master." And who is spiritual master? Oh, nowadays everyone wants to be spiritual master. Oh, that is also mentioned, who is spiritual master. Samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham [Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.2.12]:

[To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.]

"You have to approach a spiritual master who is śrotriyam and brahma-niṣṭham." Śrotriyam means who has come down from the disciplic succession, or from the Supreme.

Just like we have understood in the Fourth Chapter, in the beginning of the Fourth Chapter, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ [Bg 4.2].

[This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.]

There is a paramparā; there is a disciplic succession. So one who is coming into that disciplic succession, and by coming from that disciplic succession he is firmly convinced in the Absolute, he is firmly conversant in the Absolute Truth, he is guru. Two qualification. He must come from that disciplic succession, and he must be convinced; nobody can deviate him from conviction of the Absolute Truth. Any kind. These two qualification. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena [Bg 4.34].

[Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.]

In Kaṭha Upaniṣad it is said, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.2.12].

[To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.]

Abhigacchet. This is a Sanskrit grammatical injunction. When there is the question if imperative, "you must," there vidhiliṅ, this form of verb, is used, gacchet, gacchet. Gacchet means "You must go." You don't think that without going to a qualified, bona fide spiritual master you can have. No. That is not possible. Here also, Lord Kṛṣṇa also recommends, tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā: "If you want to learn that transcendental science, then you have to find out a transcendentalist first of all." That is also recommended in Kaṭhopaniṣad.

In Bhāgavata also, it is said, tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam [SB 11.3.21]:

[Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.]

"One who is hankering after the highest type of question..." We have got so many questions. We can question the whole day and night: "What is the rate of this commodity? What is happening in this political field? What is going on in China?" Why not these questions are not... Not these question. Śreya uttamam: one who has become inquisitive in the uttamam. Uttamam means udgata-tama, not any question of pertaining to the material world. One who is eager to question about the Absolute Truth or the spiritual world, he requires a spiritual master. Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta. The first injunction is that tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta: "You must submit to a spiritual master."

Who? Who is recommended to find out a spiritual master? Tasmād gurum..., jijñāsuḥ. Jijñāsuḥ means who is inquisitive. What kind of inquisitive? Jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam: "What is the ultimate goal of my life?" If you have no such view to enquire what is the ultimate goal of your..., you need not require to search out a spiritual master. Spiritual master is not a show bottle. Just like, "Oh, so many people, they have got a spiritual master. Oh, let me have also some spiritual master." It is not like that. It is only jijñāsuḥ: one must be very much inquisitive of the transcendental subject matter. He requires a spiritual master.

So here also, the Lord says that tad viddhi: "If you want to understand that transcendental subject matter, then you must approach a person, a bona fide spiritual master." And the process is praṇipāta, praṇipātena. Praṇipāta means full surrender. Pra means prakṛṣṭa-rūpeṇa, fully, and nipāta means completely becoming a blank slate. Blank slate. Nobody should approach a bona fide spiritual master just to argue with him and just to..., with a desire that "I shall see what kind of spiritual master." No. This is useless. You have to select a spiritual master...

My Guru Mahārāja, my spiritual master, used to say that you have to select a spiritual master not by seeing but by your ear, but by hearing. And you don't select a spiritual master who has got a very good hair or beard or some very beautiful feature, "Oh, he is a very good, nice looking." No. You must hear. Tad viddhi praṇipātena. Śruti. The whole process is śruti. The Vedas are called śruti. The ear has to aural reception.

So here also the same thing recommended by Lord Kṛṣṇa, that praṇipāta. First of all, you have to find out a bona fide spiritual master, and then you should surrender unto him. This is the first process. Praṇipātena paripraśnena. Paripraśnena means by sincere inquiries. Not only surrender; you must be intelligent enough to enquire. Not that when something is heard, and there is no question. No. There must be some question. Paripraśnena and sevayā. So surrender, enquiry and sevā, service.

We sing this song every day,

yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo
yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto 'pi
dhyāyan stuvaṁs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyaṁ
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

[Śrī Śrī Gurv-aṣṭaka]

[By the mercy of the spiritual master one receives the benediction of Kṛṣṇa. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement. Therefore, I should always remember and praise the spiritual master. At least three times a day I should offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master.]

Yasya, if we actually find a spiritual master, bona fide spiritual master, and if we can make him satisfied by my service, then my path for realization of God is guaranteed. This is the thing. Here it is. First of all we have to find out a bona fide spiritual master. Then by my service, by my surrender, by my questions, if we utilize, then my path for back to Godhead, back to home, is guaranteed. That is the... It is very important verse. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā, upadekṣyanti te jñānam [Bg 4.34].

[Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.]

That knowledge by which you can go to the point of your self-interest, Viṣṇu, that knowledge you can realize.

Thank you very much. If there is any question, you can ask. [break]

Devotee: ...stated that exist between jñānīs and yogīs.

Prabhupāda: Oh, the yogī, they are searching after the Supersoul within himself, and jñānī is understanding the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth.

Devotee: The jñānī is not [indistinct] seeker?

Prabhupāda: He is also seeker. You did not hear. The Absolute Truth is being manifested in three phases—as Paramātmā, as Bhagavān and as Brahman. Those who are after Brahman, they are called jñānī; those who are after Paramātmā, they are called yogī; and those who are after the Personality of Godhead, they are called bhaktas. And all of them are seeking the Absolute Truth, but in different phases. You understand?

They are not differentiated. They are not in the material field. Either the seeker of the Brahman, either the seeker of the supreme soul, Supersoul, or the seeker of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are all transcendentalists. They are not in the material world. They are tattva-vit. Tattva-vit means they are in the field of transcendental transaction. But there are degrees.

Just like I have given this example already—you did not hear attentively—that the sunshine, the sun disc, and within the sun. The subject matter is same, but still, the subject matter of studying sunshine and subject matter of studying the sun disc and subject matter of studying what is within the sun, there are differences, although the whole subject matter is the sun. The Absolute Truth is also, in the same way, manifested in three phases: Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. So either of these three, we have to find out; then gradually we make further promotion.

Those who are in the Brahman conception... Just like Śukadeva Gosvāmī. He was in the Brahman conception, but by his further development, he became a devotee. He became a devotee. There are many instances. The Sanaka-Sanātana sages, they were in Brahman conception. So to... As it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, that bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg 7.19].

[After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.]

This mām means the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So anyone who comes to that Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is in the highest perfection of knowledge. [break]

Indian man: ...a man has plenty of spiritual knowledge and Vedic religion or a man has plenty of faith in heart.

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is...

Indian man: I mean, in other words, if bhakta were a jñānī.

Prabhupāda: No. It is just like... In the Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly stated that bhakto 'si me priyo 'si [Bg 4.3]:

[That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee as well as My friend; therefore you can understand the transcendental mystery of this science.]

"Because you are My devotee, you are My most dear friend."

Indian man: Why it is, sir?

Prabhupāda: That is His option. That you ask Kṛṣṇa. He says.

Indian man: But why it is?

Prabhupāda: Why? Kṛṣṇa says. You cannot say...

Indian man: Because if we go wholeheartedly to God without proper understanding, there is also a flaw.

Prabhupāda: No. There is no question of understanding. Suppose this process... Just like Kṛṣṇa says, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg 7.19]:

"After many, many births of culture of knowledge, the person who has come to the highest point of knowledge, he surrenders unto Me." So similarly, if any person without any knowledge, if he surrenders only to Kṛṣṇa, he acquires the all the knowledge. He has surpassed all stage. He has surpassed all stages. And that is also confirmed.

If you say, "How he has gone, surpassed all stage?" that answer is in Bhagavad-gītā you find:

teṣām evānukampārtham
aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
nāśayāmy ātma-bhāva-stho
jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā

[Bg 10.11]

[Out of compassion for them, I, dwelling in their hearts, destroy with the shining lamp of knowledge the darkness born of ignorance.]

Teṣām: "Because he is a devotee, just to give, just to show him a special favor," teṣām evānukampārtham, "simply for showing a special favor, I Myself, from within, I light up the knowledge, I mean to say, searchlight, and he becomes..."

And you will be surprised that my Guru Mahārāja's spiritual master was Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. He was completely illiterate. He did not know how to sign, and my spiritual master was the most learned man of his age. He accepted that guru who was completely illiterate. But when he would speak, that Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, he would speak with all Vedic reference. And you will find in the Vedas that,

yasya deve parā bhaktir
yathā deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ
prakāśante mahātmanaḥ

[Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23]

[Unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master, all the imports of Vedic knowledge are automatically revealed.]

So the spiritual knowledge becomes revealed. It is not subjected to any material acquisition. It is not subjected to any material acquisition of knowledge. It becomes revealed. How? Yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau. One who has a staunch faith in the Supreme Lord and staunch faith in the personality of his spiritual master, bona fide, then he gets all the things revealed in himself. Spiritual things are not just like material things.

So according to Bhagavad-gītā, sarva-guhyatamam, the Lord says that "The most confidential part of knowledge I am speaking to you, My dear Arjuna, because you are My very dear friend, that sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg 18.66]."

[Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.]

So one who has the conception of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and has surrendered unto Him, he is considered to be highest, topmost spiritualist.

Indian man: What is the importance of prasādam? Importance of prasādam?

Prabhupāda: Prasāda? Prasāda means mercy. Mercy. Prasāda means prakṛṣṭa-rūpeṇa sīdati. That is prasāda, means completely satisfied.

Indian man: At the end of this, you will give us some prasāda. What is the importance of that prasāda?

Prabhupāda: Oh!!! That. Yes. Prasāda. Very good. That prasāda is Kṛṣṇa's favor. Kṛṣṇa's special favor. That is prasāda. Prasāde sarva-duḥkhānāṁ hānir asyopajāyate [Bg 2.65].

[For one who is so situated in the Divine consciousness, the threefold miseries of material existence exist no longer; in such a happy state, one's intelligence soon becomes steady.]

If we simply eat Kṛṣṇa prasāda, without any culture, we can get spiritual knowledge. All right. Let us have kīrtana. You can close the door...