Bhagavad-gītā 10.4 , New York , 1967-01-04


buddhir jñānam asammohaḥ
kṣamā satyaṁ damaḥ śamaḥ
sukhaṁ duḥkhaṁ bhavo 'bhāvo
bhayaṁ cābhayam eva ca

[Bg. 10.4]

[Intelligence, knowledge, freedom from doubt and delusion, forgiveness, truthfulness, self-control and calmness, pleasure and pain, birth, death, fear, fearlessness, nonviolence, equanimity, satisfaction, austerity, charity, fame and infamy are created by Me alone.]

So what is knowledge? Knowledge means distinguishing the spirit from matter. That is knowledge. We should understand what is spirit and what is matter. We are combination of matter and spirit. Actually I am a spirit, but I am now covered, embodied by matter. When we make and complete analytical study what is matter, what is spirit, that is called knowledge.

Material knowledge, any subject matter you can take, but that is temporary. Just like this body is temporary, similarly, any material knowledge you acquire, either you become a chemist or physicist or a medical man or an engineer, whatever you may acquire knowledge, all this knowledge will finish as soon as this body is finished. You forget. Death means forgetfulness.

Because the spirit does not die—eternal—so spiritual knowledge continues. If you develop spiritual knowledge... Suppose cent percent spiritual knowledge you acquire in this body. Then that will continue with you. Even after destruction of this body that spiritual knowledge will continue with you, and when you get next body, you begin... You finished your ten percent; you will begin again from eleven percent. That knowledge will not be lost. That is the law of nature. Spiritual knowledge... In the Bhagavad-gītā we have studied already, svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt [Bg. 2.40].

[In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.]

If you cultivate this spiritual knowledge even one percent, two percent, that can render you greatest service, because it will continue. Once spiritual knowledge begun, it will not be stopped. The best thing is to finish it cent percent in this life, because this human form of life is meant for cultivating spiritual knowledge. It is not meant for material enjoyment.

Material enjoyment means eating, sleeping, and defending and mating. These four principles, they are called material enjoyment. Just like we see advertisement. The other day I was seeing the New York Times magazine. So all advertisements are based on mating. That's all. So because mating is most attractive, therefore the shopkeepers, they advertise their dress, putting before one very nice girl. Because our attraction is for mating, so as soon as we see a nice girl, our attention is diverted immediately. That is the psychology.

So these are all material enjoyments: eating, sleeping, defending and mating. And spiritual enjoyment is just opposite. There is no sense enjoyment. There is self-realization, or purifying the senses. Spiritual enjoyment means purifying the senses. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170].

[Bhakti, or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and one’s senses are purified simply by being employed in the service of the Lord.]

It is a purificatory process. And as soon as you purify your senses, then you become in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness and become eligible for being transferred to the spiritual world. So this human form of life is specially meant for cultivation of spiritual knowledge. Because in any other form of life... There are 8,400,000's of species of life, and the best developed consciousness form of life is this human form of life, especially civilized men.

There are 400,000 species of human being. Human being means with two hands and two legs. So not all of them are efficient, but they have got this Kṛṣṇa consciousness dormant. Even in the lowest aboriginal stage of life there is dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But civilized life, Āryan, Āryan family, they are quite competent to devel..., culture, to cultivate this knowledge.

So jñānam, knowledge, means distinguishing between spirit and matter. And this knowledge should be cultivated and taken full advantage in this life. That is successful life. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated, tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ [SB 1.5.18].

[Persons who are actually intelligent and philosophically inclined should endeavor only for that purposeful end which is not obtainable even by wandering from the topmost planet [Brahmaloka] down to the lowest planet [Pātāla]. As far as happiness derived from sense enjoyment is concerned, it can be obtained automatically in course of time, just as in course of time we obtain miseries even though we do not desire them.]

Now, a living entity, a spiritual spark, is wandering, wandering from not only from one country to another country or from one body to another, but one planet to another. The qualification of a living entity is called sarva-ga. Sarva-ga. Sarva means all, and ga means one can go. You can go anywhere. Just like you have the facility of traveling over the surface of the earth or in the outer space on the earth. But you cannot go beyond the orbit. This is called conditioned life.

In conditioned life we are limited in our traveling. But in spiritual life we can travel anywhere. The best example is Nārada Muni. He can travel anywhere he likes. Even in this universe we have got a planet which is called Siddhaloka, the planet of the perfect. Not perfect completely, but they are called siddhas. Siddha means almost perfect. The inhabitants of that planet, they can travel without any aid of sputnik or aeroplane from one planet to another. We get this information from Śrīmad-Bhāgavata.

So in spiritual life we have got complete freedom to move, to act, to enjoy. So that spiritual knowledge should be cultivated. That is the best utilization of this human form of life. If we do not utilize this human form of life for spiritual cultivation, then we are practically committing suicide, ātma-han.

There is a very nice Sanskrit verse that... Just like you have to cross a great ocean. Now, if you want to cross Atlantic Ocean from New York to England, then you must have a very nice ship and a good captain, and the atmosphere very favorable. Then it is very easy to cross. So that example is given in a Sanskrit verse, nṛ-deham ādyaṁ su-labhaṁ su-kalpam [SB 11.20.17].

[The human body, which can award all benefit in life, is automatically obtained by the laws of nature, although it is a very rare achievement. This human body can be compared to a perfectly constructed boat having the spiritual master as the captain and the instructions of the Personality of Godhead as favorable winds impelling it on its course. Considering all these advantages, a human being who does not utilize his human life to cross the ocean of material existence must be considered the killer of his own soul.]

Now, to cross this ocean of material existence... This is ocean. It is compared with ocean. Bhava-sāgara. Sāgara means ocean. So to cross this ocean you have got very nice ship. What is that? Nṛ-deham: this human form of life. Nṛ-deham ādyam. It is very nice ship. And su-labhaṁ, su-labhaṁ su-durlabham. Su-labham means this kind of ship you cannot get always. It is an opportunity.

This is an opportunity, because we do not know what is going to happen in my next life. There is no guarantee that in next life you are going to take your birth in America or in human form of life. There is no guarantee. Therefore, so long you have got this opportunity, you must fully utilize it. Nṛ-deham ādyam su-labhaṁ su-durlabham. Su-labham, by opportunity, by fortune, we have got this, su-labham. And su-durlabham. Su-durlabham, it is very difficult to get this body, because... Just imagine.

By gradual evolutionary process from the aquatic to the plant life, then from plant life to worm life, then from worm life to bird's life, then from bird's life to beast life, from beast life to human life—this is the gradual process of evolution. So therefore this human form of life is very difficult to get. By some fortune you have got now. So therefore it is said, su-labhaṁ su-durlabham.

And you have got this nice ship. And guru-karṇa-dhāram: and if you have got a nice spiritual master who is captain, good captain, who can help you to, I mean to say, ply your ship on the same. So nṛ-deham ādyam su-labhaṁ su-durlabham. And atmosphere is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, created by the Supreme Lord by delivering you the message of Bhagavad-gītā. So you have got very good atmosphere. Just you compare in the same way: If the Atlantic Ocean there is no wind, there is no hurricane, and you have got a very good ship and very good captain, now take this opportunity of crossing. If you don't cross, then you are committing suicide. Oh, very nice.

So these are the opportunities of developing your knowledge in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and spiritual culture. And the advantage is that as soon as you become fully conscious of your constitutional position, then you are freed from this material, I mean to say, entanglement. This is called jñānam. Jñānam asammohaḥ. Don't be very hesitant. Asammohaḥ means if you want to acquire some knowledge, you should acquire it maybe slowly but acquire it very surely, step by step. Don't be impatient. Asammohaḥ. Not that blindly accepting something and thinking that "I have got all knowledge. Finished." No.

You have got developed consciousness, you have got intelligence, but that intelligence, consciousness, depends also on your mode of living, on your mode of behavior. Therefore one has to become a brāhmaṇa, sāttvika, in the modes of goodness. Then you will be patient, patient; śānta, peaceful. If you become hesitant, then you cannot. This is called asammohaḥ.

Asammohaḥ kṣamā. Kṣamā means tolerant. Tolerant. You should not be disturbed. Suppose you are in this Kṛṣṇa conscious Society. Now, you cannot expect that all the members of the Society will be first-class men. How can we expect? We are collecting members of the Society from all classes of men.

So there may be a man in goodness, a man in the passion and a man in the ignorance. But if you think, "Oh, this man is not good. That man is not good," oh... No. You should be tolerant. You haven't got any connection with this man or that man. You are connected with the philosophy, with the process of life, and you are connected... Just like the same example: suppose you are on the ship. You do not find just all men to your choice. There may be different kinds of men. But what is that to you?

You have to cross the Atlantic Ocean, patiently cross. Just sit down tightly on the ship and take advantage of the opportunity. That is your business. This is called kṣamā. Kṣamā means excuse and tolerant. Suppose somebody has offended you. Excuse him. This is also another kind of penance. Lord Caitanya has taught us:

tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

[Cc. Ādi 17.31]

[One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor yet is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.]

If you want to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, then you have to become tolerant. What kind of tolerant? Just like a tree. Don't you think a tree, how much tolerant it is? Everybody is committing offense on the tree. Somebody is snatching its twigs, somebody is snatching its flowers, somebody snatching leaves, somebody cutting, but it does not protest. Rather, on the contrary, it supplies you fruits, flowers, and gives you shelter. So tree is the nicest example for tolerance. So Lord Caitanya teaches us that we should become tolerant just like a tree. And tṛṇād api sunīcena, and forbearance just like a grass. Just like you trample over grass, it does not protest.

Tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā. And you should not be puffed up with your artificial honor: "Oh, I am this. I am that." This, that, that belongs to this body. You are apart from this body. Suppose you are king in this body. So you have no connection with that body. And suppose you are the poorest man. You have no connection with that body. So why do you identify yourself that "I am poor" or "I am king"? You are neither king, neither poor. You are spirit soul. Therefore amāninā. You should not be hankering after these temporary honors of this material world. Honor or dishonor, the same thing, because we do not belong to that honor, that kind of honor or dishonor.

So tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā, amāninā mānadena. But other foolish creature who disturbs you, you should give him all honor. Who is identified with this body, give him all honor: "Oh, you, sir, you are very beautiful. You are very learned." So that he may not disturb you, give him all honor.


tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

[Cc. Ādi 17.31]

[One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor yet is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the holy name of the Lord.]

In this process you can go on chanting. Nobody will disturb you. Because as soon as you take to spiritual life, there will be so many disturbances. Because it is a declaration of war with the illusory energy, so as soon as you become Kṛṣṇa conscious, the illusory energy sees, "Oh, this man is going out of my hand, out of my control. Oh, give him all impediments." Therefore you have to learn this tolerance.

Therefore next two words after kṣamā, satyam. Satyaṁ yathā dṛṣṭy-artha-viṣayaṁ para-hita-bhāṣaṇam[?]. Satyam means you should speak the actual truth. You should not flatter. You should not flatter for sense gratification. Satyam. Satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the definition of truth, Absolute Truth, is given there. What is that? Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]:

[O my Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him.

It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmājī, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.]

"The Absolute Truth is that from which everything emanates, the original source of all." That is Absolute Truth. So you should understand what is satyam, Absolute Truth, satyam.

And para-hita-bhāṣaṇam. You should speak truth also. What is that truth? That truth is "God is great, and we are subservient. So our duty is to abide by the orders of God," the simple truth. "God is great." You can say, "Why we should abide by the orders of God?" Because you are subservient. "No, I am not subservient." That is untrue. You are subservient. If you don't accept your subordinate position before God, then you have to accept your subordinate position under these material stringent laws. You have to become subservient. There is no other alternative. You cannot become absolute.

It is a false notion that you are independent. You are not independent. It is a false notion. Nobody is independent. We may be puffed up, that "We belong to an independent nation. Now we have got..." Just like we Indians, we are under British rules. Now we have got independence. This is all false notion. What is their independence? The nature's law is forcing starvation. What is this independence? They are now begging grains from other countries. In British time there was no begging, at least. Now their independence means they are begging.

So these are all false notions. Nobody is independent. He is dependent in some way or other under the laws of nature. The laws of nature at once can force the stringent laws, and he becomes subservient. So subservient, to become subservient, is your nature. You cannot alter it. The best thing is that instead of becoming subservient to this false, you should become subservient to the Absolute Truth. Satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi [SB 1.1.1].

Therefore Bhāgavata instructs you that you just try to offer your respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Truth. That is your perfection of life. Satyaṁ damaḥ. Anartha-viṣaya-śrotrāder niyamānam. Damaḥ. Damaḥ means to control the senses. Anartha. Now you are sitting here. It is very kind of you. But you could go to a cinema house or hear some, I mean to..., world noise by television or, say, something like... It is simply waste of time. So you have to control your senses in such a way that every moment should be utilized for your spiritual cultivation of life. You should not allow the senses to enjoy anything which is against the cultivation of spiritual life. That is called damaḥ, control.

You can eat. You can go to a restaurant and have very palatable dishes of meats and so many things. But you have to control it: "No. I shall not eat all this nonsense. I shall eat only kṛṣṇa-prasādam." Eating is not prohibited, because without eating you cannot live. That's all right. But there are so many things. Just like even you don't accept kṛṣṇa-prasādam, you try to become vegetarian. In your country, especially, I see you have got enough arrangement for vegetable dishes. I am here for the last more than one year. I am getting all nice vegetable dishes prepared by our nice student Kīrtanānanda. So you are also tasting them. They are very nice.

So you should not allow the senses to enjoy something which is against the advancement of your spiritual life. That is called damaḥ. And you have to learn this. If you cannot control your... A svāmī, a svāmī, this title, means one who can control the senses. He is called svāmī, master of the senses. Generally we are all servants, because our constitutional position is servant, subservient. So we are servant of this material nature means we are servants of the senses. That's all. We have got this material body, and the senses are prominent. We are active in material body means we are acting in sense gratification. That's all. So we are practically servant of the senses. And as soon as you become master of the senses, that the senses should not act according to their whims... The senses should act according to your order.

The same example. Suppose there is very nice performance of sense gratification, and one wants to go there. But if you can control your senses—"No, not to go there. Come here in this storefront. Hear Bhagavad-gītā," then you become master. You become master. That is svami. In similar way, if you can control your all your senses... Now, the sense gratification... The most important task for controlling the sense is the tongue. I have several times explained that the tongue is the beginning of all senses. So if you can control the tongue, then you can control other senses also. And if you cannot control the tongue, then you cannot control other senses. So you should begin controlling the senses.

The tongue has two functions: to taste and to vibrate. Vibrate Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare / Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare and taste kṛṣṇa-prasāda. Just see how you are making advancement. This is called damaḥ. So as soon as you are able to control your senses, naturally you shall be able to control your mind. That is called śamaḥ.

So these are the processes. So we have to practice this process and learn this process from reliable sources and assimilate them in our life. That is the real utilization of this human form of life. We should learn it, we should practice it, and make our life successful.

Thank you very much. [end]