Bhagavad-gītā 9.15 , New York , 1966-11-30
yajanto mām upāsate
[Others, who are engaged in the cultivation of knowledge, worship the Supreme Lord as the one without a second, diverse in many, and in the universal form.]
Now Lord Kṛṣṇa, after describing about the mahātmās, or the great souls, who worship the Supreme Lord by this process of kīrtana... Satataṁ kīrtayanto mām [Bg 9.14]. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam [SB 7.5.23].
[Prahlāda Mahārāja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Viṣṇu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)—these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Kṛṣṇa through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.]
The process of devotion is nine different types. Śravaṇam. Śravaṇam means hearing. Kīrtanam. Kīrtanam means chanting. Kīrtanam actually means describing. You can describe with music. You can describe with words. You can describe in speeches. Any sort of describing, that is called kīrtana. And śravaṇam. Unless you hear, you cannot describe. What you shall describe? If you do not know anything about the Supreme Lord, then how can you describe? Therefore hearing is the first item, śravaṇam. And the whole Vedic literature is called hearing, śruti, śruti-śāstra. Śruti means to receive hearing. If you want to know the Supreme, you do not require to qualify yourself materially. You can remain what you are, but if you simply hear... God has given you the power of hearing. If you hear from authoritative sources, then you become perfect, simply by hearing. Therefore the first principle, hearing, is recommended, śravaṇam.
And formerly, the Vedas were heard by the students from the spiritual master. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find that Arjuna is hearing from Kṛṣṇa. He's not studying any Vedānta philosophy in the battlefield. He was simply hearing. So that is the process, hearing. You can hear at any place. Even in the warfield, you can hear from the authoritative source. So that was the process of acquiring knowledge, hearing. Hearing means receiving the knowledge, not manufacturing. There are two process of knowledge. There are some persons who think, "Oh, why shall I hear from him? Oh, I can think. I can speculate. I can manufacture something new of my own group." These are nonsense. This is not Vedic process. Vedic process is hearing, ascending process, er, not..., descending process. There are two processes of knowledge: ascending and descending. Ascending means trying to go high by your strength, and descending means the pure knowledge which comes from up, you receive it. Inductive and deductive process.
So ascending process is not recommended in the Vedic process of knowledge. Vedic way of receiving knowledge—by aural reception, by submissive aural reception from the spiritual master to the student. This is the way. It is coming. As we have read in the Fourth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, 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.]
"In this way, traditionally, from the spiritual master to the student, this knowledge was imparted." The Lord said that "I imparted this knowledge first of all to the sun-god, and the sun-god imparted this knowledge to his son, Manu, and Manu imparted this knowledge to his son, Ikṣvāku." Ikṣvāku was the king of this planet. So from Ikṣvāku, this knowledge is coming down from the master, or from the father to the son, or from the master to the disciple. It is coming on. And because that disciplic succession was broken, therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa said that "I am speaking again that old system of knowledge to you, Arjuna, because you are My devotee, you are My dear friend." We have already studied this fact. So this is the way.
Therefore śravaṇam. Śravaṇam is the... Śravaṇam means hearing. Hearing is the first stage. And hearing is so powerful that simply by hearing from authoritative source, you can become completely perfect, simply by hearing. Submissive hearing, of course. Submissive. Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva. This is a verse from Bhāgavata, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva. Don't be upstart. Don't try to understand the supreme knowledge, the Absolute Truth, by your strength. You are very poor. Your senses are imperfect. You cannot understand. This, this process, you should give up. Jñāne prayāsam. Attempt to know the Supreme by ascending process. "Oh, I shall know. I'll manufacture my own way." This is the way going on nowadays. Everyone is thinking that "Why shall I accept any authority? I shall think myself what I am and what is my duty." This is going on. But this is not the Vedic process. The Vedic process is to śravaṇam. So simply if we give up this foolish process of understanding the Absolute Truth by my own attempt, we, if we give up and we become submissive... Yes. Submissive means we must know our imperfectness.
Our imperfectness I have several times described in this meeting. So long we are conditioned, there are four kinds of imperfectness, that we must commit mistake. So long we are conditioned, nobody can say that "I'll not commit mistake. I never commit any mistakes." It is not possible. You must have. To err is human. So this is one imperfectness. And to become illusioned. To accept one thing which is not. Illusion means to accept something for something. Just like we accept this body. We identify with this body, every one of us. If we ask you what you are, "Oh, I am American." What is your American? This body is American. But it is not... You are not this body. So this is illusion. So conditioned soul is to commit mistake, to be illusioned, and the senses are imperfect.
We are very much proud of seeing, but as soon as the light is put off, we cannot see. So our seeing is conditional. And similarly, all senses are conditional. So therefore imperfect. And there is another thing which is very nice. We have got a cheating propensity. I do not know anything, but I want to cheat others that I know everything. I don't... I am a fool number one, but I want to start a group of students and teach him foolish things. This is cheating. One must know from the authoritative sources and preach that thing. Just like Arjuna was taught by Kṛṣṇa, and that philosophy is going on. And those who are accepting the principle of Arjuna, they're real student of Bhagavad-gītā.
So therefore our attempt to understand the Absolute Truth by our faulty senses and experience is futile. We must hear. Śravaṇam. That is the Vedic process. The student used to go to the master and gurukula. It was known as gurukula. Every brāhmaṇa, every self-realized soul, every vipra, or expert in the knowledge of Vedic literature, he would be provided with some brahmacārīs, group of brahmacārīs. They will follow the rules and regulation of brahmacārī life and live with the spiritual master, and the spiritual master will teach them, from Vedic literature, real knowledge. That is the process. This is called śravaṇam. So one should not adopt the means of ascending process. Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya. Udapāsya means "Give it up." And namanta eva: "And be submissive." Namanta eva jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām.
In this way, if one lives and hears, san-mukharitām, from the realized soul... Just like Arjuna is hearing from Kṛṣṇa, from the perfect person, san-mukharitām. Kṛṣṇa or His representative. His representative is a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is just like... Arjuna. Arjuna was made representative of Kṛṣṇa. How? Because Arjuna, Kṛṣṇa said, bhakto 'si: "You are My devotee." So nobody can become representative of Kṛṣṇa, or God, without becoming His devotee. One who thinks that "I am God," he cannot become the representative of God. Suppose some of your representatives... You are a businessman.
Just see our imperfectness. [after spitting, coughing] This body... We have got imperfectness, coughing something. So how we can become perfect? We are under the stringent rules and regulations of the nature. A little difference will put me into difficulty. So we are not all independent so long we are conditioned. So if... Suppose you are a businessman. You send your representative for securing business. And if he represents himself to the customer, "I am the proprietor. I am the proprietor," how long he can prolong? As soon as the master will know that "This foolish man is representing himself as the proprietor of this firm," at once cancel. Because there is cheating. He's not proprietor. Similarly, anyone who says that "I am God" he should not preach. He can think himself for acquiring knowledge of God. That is another thing. "I am God." "I am God" means to understand the quality of God, because I am qualitatively God. Because I am part and parcel of God, therefore my qualities are the same. Just like I have several times repeated that a part of gold, even a molecular part, a particle of gold, so it is gold. It is nothing but gold. Similarly, although we are very minute fragments of the Supreme, still, the quality is the same.
So if I study myself, then I can study God also because I can, I can understand the quality of God. I may not understand the quantity. Suppose if you receive some good grains of rice. You do not concern, think of what is the quantity in the stock, but the, from the sample, you can understand that "This quality rice is there. I can purchase." Then you make your transaction, "How many pounds you have got in your stock? I can take." So quantity is different. But quality, from quality, you can select. You can make your selection, what sort of rice you shall purchase. So you are qualitatively one with God. Therefore, if you study yourself that "I am God," and if you study your all propensities, all qualities, then you can understand God. So that is a process. But you cannot preach that "I am God." Because if you preach yourself as God, then people may ask you, "If you God, if you are God, then show me your all-powerfulness." That you cannot show. So you cannot preach that "I am God."
So far Kṛṣṇa is concerned, He proved that He is God. How? In this Bhagavad-gītā. Now we are reading Ninth Chapter. In the Eleventh Chapter Arjuna requested, "O Kṛṣṇa, that will You kindly show me Your universal form?" So Kṛṣṇa showed him, "Yes." So that... This was Arjuna's teaching to world that in future so many fools will represent himself as God. So don't be befooled by them. Just ask him, "Show me your universal form." Then accept him as God. Don't very cheaply accept any fool as God. So this is the highest imperfection, that he is in the stringent laws of the material nature. If there is simply a toothache, he becomes overwhelmed, and he himself preaches as God. So this sort of thing can be accepted by similar foolish-natured people. God is supreme. Nobody can God. Nobody can be equal with God. God is called in the Vedic literature, asamaurdhva. Asama means nobody's equal to Him. And nobody is higher than Him. Ūrdhva means higher. Nobody can be higher than God, and nobody can be equal to God. Everyone is lower than God, however great he may be. And there is a nice verse, śiva-viriñci-nutam [SB 11.5.33]. Śiva-viriñci.
[My dear Lord, You are the Mahā-puruṣa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and I worship Your lotus feet, which are the only eternal object of meditation. Those feet destroy the embarrassing conditions of material life and freely award the greatest desire of the soul, the attainment of pure love of Godhead. My dear Lord, Your lotus feet are the shelter of all holy places and of all saintly authorities in the line of devotional service and are honored by powerful demigods like Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā. My Lord, You are so kind that You willingly protect all those who simply bow down to You with respect, and thus You mercifully relieve all the distress of Your servants. In conclusion, my Lord, Your lotus feet are actually the suitable boat for crossing over the ocean of birth and death, and therefore even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva seek shelter at Your lotus feet.]
Śiva means the Lord Śiva, and viriñci means Lord Brahmā. They are considered to be the topmost demigods in this material world. So they also offer their respectful obeisances to Viṣṇu, or God.
So nobody can be equal to God. Therefore we should be, instead of becoming God or instead of understanding God personally by our teeny knowledge and imperfect senses, better to become submissive. Give up this habit. Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya. Just give up this habit, foolish habit, that "I can know God." Just become submissive and try to hear from authorities. San-mukharitām. Who is authority? Authority is Kṛṣṇa and, or God, or His representative. Just like Lord Jesus Christ, he's representative of God. So he's authority. Similarly, any authorized incarnation. But that incarnation will never say that "I am God." "I am servant of God"—that is his representation. He'll never say, "I am God." That makes confirmation that he's representative of God. So he is authority, who does not say that "I am God," but he says, "I am servant of God. I am son of God. I am devotee of God." He is representative, real representative. So we have to hear from him. Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva. I am just trying to explain to you the process of hearing. The process of hearing.
So submissively, submissively we shall try to hear from the authorized source, representative of God. San-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtāṁ jīvanti, lives, sthāne sthitāḥ. Sthāne sthitāḥ means keeping himself in his position. Sthāne sthitāḥ. Just like you are hearing Bhagavad-gītā. Some of you are medical man. Some of you are engineer. Some of you businessman. Some of you clerk. That doesn't matter. You keep yourself in your position. You remain as American. You remain as Christian. It doesn't matter. But there is no harm in hearing Bhagavad-gītā. There is no harm. You'll get knowledge. You'll get knowledge. You'll become better Christian. You'll become better American. You see? It is not the purpose, that we are trying to convert American into Indian, or Indian into American, or Christian into Hindu. That is not our mission. We are just preaching the science of Kṛṣṇa, or science of God, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So everyone can learn this science. Just like when you go to college there is no question of whether a man is American or Indian or African. Everyone is allowed in the schools, college and universities to take science, knowledge. So this is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, science of God. Everyone can take. Sthāne sthitāḥ. You just keep yourself in your place. There is no need of change.
Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatām. Again śruti. Śruti means these ears, by hearing. Śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ: "Just try to assimilate with your body, with your mind, with your intelligence." Śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ. If you do this, then the result will be: prāyaśo 'jita jito 'py asi tais tri-lokyām. God's another name is Ajita. Ajita means nobody can conquer Him. Because everyone is lower than God, who will conquer Him? Therefore His name is Ajita. Ajita means unconquerable. What to speak of God, you cannot conquer even the energy of God. You are under the material energy of God. At your present conditioned life, you are under the energy of God, this material energy. You cannot conquer even the energy, so how you can conquer God? Not possible. So therefore another name of God is Ajita. Just like Kṛṣṇa is another name of God. Of course, according to Vedic literature, Kṛṣṇa is the principal name. God has many names. According to His work, according to different persons' understanding, He has got innumerable, numberless names. But the, in the Vedic literature it is said that Kṛṣṇa is the principal name. Because Kṛṣṇa means the highest pleasure.
So another name of God is Ajita. Ajita means one who is unconquerable. So that unconquerable becomes conquered. How? By this process. What is that process? Just submissively hear and try to assimilate it nicely. That's all. So God is neither Christian or Hindu or Muslim or anything. God is God. If you hear Bhagavad-gītā submissively, with your arguments and... The first thing is you must be submissive. You should not think yourself that you are a... Do not be puffed up with false knowledge. Everyone, we should think that we are ignorant. We should have to receive knowledge. That should be the first step by me[?]. And receive knowledge, and try to assimilate it, and try to apply it, apply it with your body, with your mind, with your intelligence. Then the, you'll understand God so nicely that although God is unconquerable, you'll conquer Him. You'll conquer Him, by this simple process.
So therefore śravaṇam, hearing, is so important. So in the devotional service the first step is hearing, hearing submissively from the authoritative source and just to assimilate it and grasp it with our body, mind and intelligence. In this way you shall be able to conquer the unconquerable. And when you are able to do such, then you can make kīrtana, kīrtana. That is, that is the... But another process is... Not another process, same process. Whatever you learn, if you describe it, then that will help you to elevate yourself in this path of knowledge. Suppose whatever you are hearing this night in this platform, if you try to repeat it amongst your friends, amongst your family members, then you'll be established in this knowledge. That is called kīrtana. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam.
And what about, hearing? Hearing, we are... Every, every day and night we are hearing something. There is television. There is radio. There is newspaper. There is so many things, hearing. Not that hearing. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ [SB 7.5.23]. Viṣṇu means the Supreme Lord. You should devote your time in hearing and chanting about Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa-kīrtanam. Kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet [SB 12.3.51].
[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.]
If you simply do this, śravaṇam and kīrtanam, then you shall become free from this material attachment, and you shall be elevated to the supreme place, the kingdom of God. Mukta-saṅga... This is the remedy suggested in this age. You cannot practice anything. You cannot practice sacrifice. You cannot practice speculation. You cannot practice yoga, nothing. You can simply practice this: submissively hear from authoritative sources, try to assimilate it, and become perfect. Thank you very much. [end]