Lecture to College Students , Seattle , 1968-10-21

Prabhupāda: [kīrtana] [prema-dhvanī] Thank you very much. [devotees offer obeisances]


[Introduction by Tamāla Kṛṣṇa]

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Thank you all very much for coming today to hear our spiritual master speak and join us in this saṅkīrtana festival. What we're doing here is searching and seeking after the Supreme Absolute Truth. We are searching after Kṛṣṇa, or God. In this last hundred years or so in this country there's been an increased awareness, consciousness, growing in the people—a need for expanded consciousness.

People have been searching for some kind of spiritual realization. And to answer that kind of need there have been many men, so-called holy men, or svāmīs, who have come, from mainly India. This began with Vivekananda and is coming through this last hundred years, more and more men trying to answer the need of American people especially, for some kind of spiritual growth, spiritual realization.

These men, unfortunately, are cheating the public. They are presenting the teachings that everything—all people, all objects, everything—is God, and that to enjoy, enjoy in this world, this is the world to enjoy—to increase your consciousness so that you can enjoy more; that we are all God, that all things are God. This is nonsense. No revealed scriptures ever stated this.

All scriptures are in agreement with one single thing: there's a supreme lovable person, the Lord, and it is the business of all entities to develop a love for Him. That is our connection with God. We are part and parcel of the Lord. We are connected to Him but we are not Him. It is our ability. Our consciousness can be brought to the point where I can develop love of God.

This is what our spiritual master is teaching: that God is great and He is mighty. He is teaching this, and there is no difference in any scripture. They all teach this. We are in complete agreement with the Lord Jesus and the Bible. The Bible, too, states that the Lord is great, God is great, He is mighty.

The differences in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in the Bhagavad-gītā and the Vedic scriptures which we study in our courses at our temple, is that the Bhagavad-gītā is like this: If there is a young boy who is in the sixth grade and he wants to find out about birds, he'll open a dictionary, a pocket dictionary, and he'll read about birds, and the definition will state that it's an entity which flies through the air.

There might be a picture there of a bird. Whereas a person who's studying for a graduate course and doing a thesis, perhaps, on the different kinds of birds, he needs something more for finding out about birds than just that they fly through the air. He opens an international dictionary. He opens an encyclopedia, finds out all the varieties of birds, where they fly to, where they nest. He gets all the details about birds.

Similarly, for those who are interested in finding out all the details about how God is great, how He is mighty—that is, "What does He look like?" "What does He do?" "Who is He?"—you go to the Vedic scriptures. This is not to say that the Bible is nonsense. The Bible is the Absolute Truth.

It is Absolute Truth that Lord Jesus taught. But look at the people to whom he taught. They crucified him for teaching about God. He could not teach as great a depth as he would have liked to. He could teach only to the audience that was listening. And yet they still crucified him.

These Vedic scriptures, the Bhagavad-gītā, which our spiritual master speaks from, is also the Absolute Truth, but it is in all its variegatedness, all its detail. And there's such a need to hear a man like our spiritual master, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, speak. He is a pure devotee, pure lover of the Lord.

That is the qualification for one who can teach about God. He must be one hundred percent engaged in glorifying the Lord, that is, every action, every word, must be spent on account of the Supreme Lord. Nothing else.

I had an article sent to us by some Godbrothers from New York. It's really a pertinent article. Very interesting. It's from the Daily News, a big New York newspaper. The heading reads, "Drive and aid[?] retreat for priests who drink." It goes on to say, "Right now there are 5,000 alcoholic priests in the U.S., and the number is growing, according to a spokesman for Guesthouse, a sanatorium dedicated to preventing priests from wrecking their lives."

These are the holy men. Now, I'm not to say that all priests are like this. That's not at all what I'm trying to get at. But the point is that so many spiritual men in this age are not spiritual men at all. They're cheaters, they're deceivers. They are themselves drunkards. That's the problem that's stated here.

It goes on to say that alcoholism is not treated as a moral failure, but as a disease. But that's absurd. It is a moral failure. These priests had the right to drink or not to drink. They chose to drink, to get drunk. But these are the men who are leading us back to God. The point is, you must have someone who is pure, who does not take any kind of intoxicants, does not smoke, does not gamble, no illicit sex. These are the qualifications. Look to Jesus for example. He was the perfect example. Look to Him, Lord Kṛṣṇa. Look to Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya for example.

There are qualifications for a bona fide spiritual master, just as there are qualifications for one who wishes to teach you any science that you take in this school. He must pass the examinations. He must be qualified. If his moral character fails, he gets booted out of the school. Similarly, to teach about God, there must be moral qualifications. There must be status. And our spiritual master is a living example.

He spends one hundred percent of his time in praise of the Supreme Lord. We ask you today, please listen closely and just try to understand his divine teaching. Just listen. Test with your reasoning ability, your intellect. All the knowledge you have gained, test and see whether this is not the bona fide way. Test and see whether this is not absolute truth.

Now let His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda speak.



oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

[I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master who, with the torchlight of knowledge, has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance.]

This prayer is to the spiritual master. Ajñāna-timirāndhasya. Everyone born in this material world is in ignorance, born ignorant. We should take it for granted, this material world is called tama. The Vedic injunction is tamasi mā jyotir gamaḥ: "Don't remain in this darkness; come to the light."

Actually, this material world is dark. It is lighted with sunlight, moonlight, electric light, this light, that light. Its nature is darkness. That is scientific fact. So anyone born in this material world, beginning from Brahma, the chief personality in the topmost planet of this universe, down to the ant—everyone is in darkness.

Therefore this prayer, ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā. Everyone is put into the darkness, and one who opens the eyes by the torch of knowledge. Darkness means without knowledge. So it is the duty of the spiritual master to open the eyes of the person in darkness with torch of knowledge. Ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena. The person who opens our eyes in that way, he is the spiritual master. And one may offer his respectful obeisances unto such personality.

So people should not be put into darkness, but they should be brought into light. Therefore in every human society, there is a sort of institution which is called religious institution. Take it for granted—Hinduism, Muslimism or Christianism or Buddhism—any "ism" you take—what is the purpose? The purpose is to bring the persons to the light. That is the purpose of religion. And what is that light? That light is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Religion means the codes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19].

[Real religious principles are enacted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although fully situated in the mode of goodness, even the great ṛṣis who occupy the topmost planets cannot ascertain the real religious principles, nor can the demigods or the leaders of Siddhaloka, to say nothing of the asuras, ordinary human beings, Vidyādharas and Cāraṇas.]

Just like in the state, there is king's law. The kings gives you some law, and if you are a good citizen, you are to obey those laws and you live peacefully. This is crude example. Similarly, dharma, or religion, means to obey the laws of God, that's all. It may be different according to time, circumstances, people. Just like laws in India, the state laws in India, may not agree cent per cent with the laws of United States. But that does not mean there is no law. And one has to abide by the law. That is the general principle.

Similarly, human being, without obeying the laws of God, he is animal. Just like on the street there is signboard, "Keep to the right." A human being obeys the law, "Keep to the right," and if he does not obey, he goes to the police custody. But if an animal disobeys, there is no law for him. So all those laws, all those scriptures, all those religious principles are made for man, not for animals. Therefore a person without religious principle, without God consciousness, is no better than an animal.

That is the definition given in the Vedic literature.

āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca
sāmānyam etat paśubhir narāṇām

[Hitopadeśa 25]

[Both animals and men share the activities of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. But the special property of the humans is that they are able to engage in spiritual life. Therefore without spiritual life, humans are on the level of animals.]

Eating, sleeping, sex life and defense, these four principles are equal, common, in human life and animal life. Dharma hy tasya eka viśeṣa. The distinction of human life and animal life is that a man is searching after God; a animal cannot search after God. That is the difference. Therefore a man without that urge for searching after God is no better than animal.

That is accepted fact in every civilized society. Unfortunately, at the present moment, in every state, in every society, they are trying to forget God. Some of them are publicly speaking that there is no God, or if there is God, He is dead, and so on. So this is very precarious condition of the human society.

There is a very nice story. One rat, he was troubled with cat. So he came to a saintly person: "My dear sir, I am very much troubled." "What is the difficulty?" The rat said, "The cat always chases. So I'm not in peace of mind." "Then what do you want?" "Please make me a cat." "All right, you become a cat."

After few days, the same cat again came to the saintly person, says, "My dear sir, I am again in trouble." "What is that?" "The dogs are chasing me." "Then what do you want?" "Make me a dog." "All right, you become a dog." Then after few days, again he comes. He says, "I am again in trouble, sir." "What is that?" "The foxes are chasing me." "Then what do you want?" "To become a fox." "All right, you become a fox."

Then again he comes. He says, "Oh, tigers are chasing me." "Then what do you want?" "I want to become a tiger." "All right, you become a tiger." And when he became a tiger, he began to stare his eyes on the saintly person: "I shall eat you." "Oh, you shall eat me? I have made you tiger, and you want to eat me?" "Yes, I am tiger. I shall eat you." Oh, then he cursed him, "Again you become a rat. Again you become a rat." So he became a rat.

So our human civilization is going to be like that. The other day I was reading in your—what is called?—World Almanac. In the next hundred years people will live underground like rats. So our scientific advancement has created this atomic bomb to kill man, and it will be used. And we have to go underground to become again rat. From tiger, again rat. That is going to be. That is nature's law. Daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī mama māyā duratyayā [Bg. 7.14].

[This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.]

If you defy the laws of your state as you are put into difficulty, similarly, if you continue to defy the authority, the supremacy of the Supreme Lord, Personality of Godhead, then the same result: again you become rat. As soon as there is atomic bomb, everything, all civilization on the surface of the globe, will be finished.

So people may not like it. It may be very unpalatable. But the fact is like that. Satyaṁ brūyāt priyaṁ brūyāt ma brūyāt satyam abrūyāt.

[If one speaks the truth, he should speak it palatably. One should not speak unpalatable truth.*]

It is social convention that if you want to speak truth, you speak truth very palatable, flattering. Don't speak unpalatable truth. But we are not meant for that purpose, social convention.

We are preacher. We are servant of God. We must speak the real truth. You may like it or may not like it, that a godless civilization cannot be happy in any stage. That is a fact. Therefore we have started this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement to awaken this godless civilization, that you try to love God. This is the simple fact.

You have got love within you. You want to love somebody. A young boy tries to love a young girl, young girl tries to love another young boy. This is natural, because the love is there. But we have created certain circumstances that love is being frustrated. Why? Everyone is frustrated. Husband, wife, boys, girls, man to man, states to states, everywhere, the love is not being utilized properly. Why? The missing point is that we have forgotten to love the Supreme Person. That is the disease.

So the purpose of religion is to train person how to love God. That is the purpose of all religion. Either you take Christianism or Hinduism or any "ism," the purport is that you try to love God, because that is our natural inclination. Even in uncivilized society, when there is some thunderbolt, they immediately offer obeisances. That is natural. And in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje [SB 1.2.6].

[The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.]

Now this word dharma is translated or explained in the English dictionary, religion, as "a kind of faith." But in Sanskrit dictionary, dharma means characteristic. Just like sugar. Sugar's characteristic is sweetness. If you are given some sugar, if you find it it is not sweet, you at once reject it: "Oh, it is not sugar; it is something else."

So that sweetness is the characteristic of sugar. Similarly, sour taste is the characteristic of salt; pungency is the characteristic of chili. Similarly, what is your characteristic, living entity? That you have to study. That is your religion. Not that Christian religion, Hindu religion or this religion, that religion.

Your eternal characteristic, what is that eternal characteristic? You want to love somebody, and therefore you want to serve. That is your characteristic. You want your society... You love your society, you love your family, you love your country, you love your community. Because you love, therefore you serve. That is your characteristic.

Either you are Christian or either you are Muhammadan, either you are Hindu, this characteristic will go on. Suppose today you are Christian, tomorrow you become Hindu. That service mood, that loving spirit, goes with you, either you become Hindu or Muslim or Christian.

Therefore that service spirit and love, the tendency to love and service spirit, is your characteristic, and that is your religion. That is the universal form of religion. You have to apply your natural characteristic in a certain place where you will be satisfied. Your service spirit is there, your loving spirit is there, but because it is misplaced, you are not happy, you are frustrated, you are confused.

The Bhāgavata gives you indication, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje [SB 1.2.6]. That is the first-class system of religion, which trains you to love God. And if you have developed that tendency to the fullest extent, to love God, then you are perfect man. And then you will feel perfection within yourself. Yayātmā suprasīdati. You are hankering after satisfaction, full satisfaction.

That full satisfaction can be obtained only when you love God. That is the natural function. It doesn't matter whether you are following Christianism or Hinduism or Muhammadanism. Just try to understand how much you have developed your God consciousness to love God. Then in your any religion is nice, very nice. Otherwise it is simply waste of time, śrama eva hi kevalam [SB 1.2.8].

[The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.

After executing your ritualistic performances in particular type of religion throughout the whole life, if you do not see that you have no love for God, then simply you have wasted your time. Śrama eva hi kevalam.

We... Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that: it is the postgraduate movement of all kinds of religion. We are inviting either Christian or Muslim or Hindus or this or that—we do not mind—"Please come with us and try to love God." This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. And the method is very simple. Method is very simple.

You chant this holy name: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. All these my students, all of them are Americans, and they come from Christian or Jewish group. None of them came from Hindu or India. But what is the process I have given to them?

The process is: chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. It is very simple method. By chanting this mantra... Mantra. Mantra means... The Sanskrit word mantra, man means mind, and tra means deliverance. Mantra means that which delivers you from the mental concoction or hovering on the mental plane. Every one of us is hovering on the mental plane.

By mind we are creating so many things: "I shall be happy in this way. I shall be happy in this way. I shall be happy in that way." But mantra means when you are delivered from that concoction, speculative way of your mind, and you come to the transcendental platform. That is the effect of mantra.

So this mantra, this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, is called the mahā-mantra. Mahā-mantra means the greatest of all mantras. And this is the only suitable mantra for this age. This age is called Kali-yuga. Kali-yuga means the age of disagreement. Nobody agrees. Even husband, wife does not agree, what to speak of others. The father, son does not agree. Nobody agrees with anyone. This is the age like that.

So in this age of disagreement you cannot say that this type of religion is nice, that type of religion is nice. That is finished now. You have to take this mantra: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. And you'll find it that very soon you are coming to the light.

So I do not wish to take much of your time, but simply I want to impress upon you that this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa is so nice that if you give in an experimental way... You can see. You chant for at least one week and you see how much you have changed. So these boys, they are chanting in the street.

We have got many branches in your country, one in London, one in Germany, and everyone is taking part. It is increasing. So we don't charge anything, neither you have got any loss. If there is any profit, you can try it, but there is no loss. That is guaranteed. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

Thank you very much. [end]