Lecture at Engagement , Colombus , 1969-05-19


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


[I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him.]

My dear boys and girls. I thank you very much for your participating in this great saṅkīrtana movement. This saṅkīrtana movement is recommended for self-realization in this age. This age is called, according to Vedic understanding, it is called Kali-yuga, the age of quarrel and disagreement, this age. So, besides that, there are many other symptoms of this age. They are described in the Vedic literatures, and they are coming exactly true. That is scripture.

So the summary of this age is described that, in this age, the duration of life is very small. Prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ [SB 1.1.10].

[O learned one, in this iron Age of Kali men almost always have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.]

Everyone, we are decreasing our duration of life. You know, every one of you, your forefathers, your grandfather lived for hundreds..., at least one hundred years. I have seen my grandmother, she died at the age of ninety-six years. My father died at the age of eighty-four years.

So I do not know how long I shall live—I am now seventy-three—maybe a few years more; but actually the duration of life gradually decreases. This is the symptom of this age, practically. And it is said that at the end of this millennium, that if somebody lives from twenty to thirty years, he will be considered as very old man.

So, memory is decreasing also. People's sentiment for doing good to others, or to become merciful, that is also decreasing. Strength is decreasing, stature is decreasing. So this is one side. Another side, mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā [SB 1.1.10]. One side they're decreasing so many nice things, another side they're very slow for self-realization. Practically, they have no interest.

This human form of life is meant for self-realization. This life is not meant for working hard like cats and dogs and hogs for sense gratification. No. This life is not meant for that purpose. We have got developed consciousness, intelligence. We should ask, "What is this life?" The Bhāgavata says, parābhavas tāvad abodha-jātaḥ. [SB 5.5.5].

[As long as one does not inquire about the spiritual values of life, one is defeated and subjected to miseries arising from ignorance. Be it sinful or pious, karma has its resultant actions. If a person is engaged in any kind of karma, his mind is called karmātmaka, colored with fruitive activity. As long as the mind is impure, consciousness is unclear, and as long as one is absorbed in fruitive activity, he has to accept a material body.]

We are ignorant, we are born ignorant, and we are doing so many things, activities, we are engaged. But we should see whether we are gaining or losing, whether we are conquering or being defeated. That should be our business to see.

So, how to test it? The Bhāgavata says, so long you do not come to the platform of understanding yourself, whatever you are doing, it is simply defeat. Zero. Zero has no value. If you go on adding zero, zero, zero, zero, million times, the value is zero. But if there is zero and put on the left side one, it becomes immediately ten.

Therefore, according to... Not according to; everyone, everyone reasonable man can understand that "What I am doing? What I am gaining?" In your country especially, I see there is so much frustration among the youngsters. They are finding that this is zero. Some way or other they are trying to realize that this sort of life is zero, actually.

Human life, simply increasing the demands of our senses, these activities are zero activities. Parābhava, defeating. Yāvan na jijñāsata ātma-tattvam [SB 5.5.5].

When a human being..., as long as a human being does not inquire, "What I am? Why I am suffering? I do not wish to die. Why death is enforced upon me? I do not want to be diseased. Why disease is forced upon me? I do not want to become old. Why I become old? I do not wish to die. Why I..." These things are very important questions. That is called ātma-tattvam, self-realization.

Human life is meant for this purpose, enquiring self-realization. And if we do not enquire, then we are no better than animals. Animals have no power to enquire about the self. He is simply busy with the problems of the body—eating, sleeping, mating and defending.

Similarly, if human body is also engaged simply for eating, sleeping, mating and defending, that is not very good civilization. That is not at all human civilization. Human civilization is meant for understanding one's self, what I am, and act according to that.

So Bhāgavata says, if we do not come to that point of understanding my self, then whatever I am doing or acting, this is simply defeat, or simply waste of time. At the same time, there is warning that we should not waste even a single moment of our life. Please try to understand these Vedic instructions, how nice they are.

There is a great politician of the name Cāṇakya Paṇḍita. He was prime minister of Emperor Candragupta, a contemporary to the reign of Alexander the Great in Greece. So he was prime minister of that Emperor Candragupta, and he has many moral instruction and social instructions. In one of his verses, he says that āyuṣaḥ kṣaṇa eko 'pi na labhyaḥ svarṇa-koṭibhiḥ [Cāṇakya Paṇḍita].

[Even one moment of life spent cannot be regained for millions of gold coins. Therefore, what greater loss is there than time spent uselessly?]

Āyuṣaḥ, "of your duration of life."

Suppose you are twenty years old. Today is 19th May, and there was 4 p.m. Now, this time, 4 p.m., 19th May, 1969, gone. You can never get it back, even if you are prepared to pay millions of dollars. Just try to understand.

Similarly, even a moment of your life is wasted for nothing, simply in the matter of sense gratification—eating, sleeping, mating and defending—then you do not know the value of your life. You cannot get back even a moment of your life by paying millions of dollars. Just try to understand how much valuable is your life.

So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to let people know how much valuable life is his, and utilize it in that way. Our movement is sarve sukhino bhavantu: everyone become..., be happy—not only human society, even animal society.

We want to see everyone happy. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. And it is practical; it is not dream. You can become happy. Don't be disappointed. Don't be confused. Your life has value. You, in this life, you can realize your eternal life, eternal blissful life of knowledge. It is possible; it is not impossible.

So we are simply transmitting this message to the world, that "Your life is very valuable. Don't waste it just like cats and dogs. Try to utilize it fully." That is the statement in the Bhagavad-gītā. We have published Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. Try to read it.

In that Bhagavad-gītā in the Fourth Chapter it is said, janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ [Bg. 4.9]

[One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.]

If simply tries to understand what is Kṛṣṇa, what is His business, what is His life, where does He live, what does He do...., janma karma. Janma means appearance and disappearance; karma means activities; divyam—transcendental. Janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ.

One who knows the appearance and activities of Kṛṣṇa in fact, in truth—not by sentiment but by scientific study—then the result is tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9]. Simply by understanding Kṛṣṇa, you'll no more have to come back to this miserable condition of material existence. This is fact. Even in your life, in this life, you'll understand; you'll be happy.

So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is no religious movement or any sectarian movement. This movement is to see everyone, every human being—not only human being, even the animals—everyone be happy. Sarve sukhino bhavantu. And the process is very simple.

Very simple: chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. That you have already seen. This chanting is not at all difficult. Anyone, even a child was sitting here, he was just trying to clap and understand. It is immediately appealing, because this vibration is from the platform of the soul.

Try to understand that we have got different platforms of our life. In the beginning we understand that this body, "I am this body." Therefore, so long the bodily concept of life is there, we are interested in sense gratification, because body means the senses.

And when we fail to achieve any gratification by indulging in the senses, then we become philosophers or thoughtful. That is the mental platform. Indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ [Bg. 3.42].

[The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.]

Because these senses are centered round by..., of the mind. Mind is practically the controller of the senses.

So when you fail to achieve real, I mean to say, pleasure from the senses, we go to the mental platform: poetry, philosophy, similar, songs. But you have to transcend even the mental platform. That is intellectual platform.

Then above that intellectual platform, your soul is there. So you have to immediately come to the platform of soul, and you'll be happy. That is the program of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām

[Bg. 18.54]

[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.]

These are very scientific facts. You have to simply... You are all students; therefore I place before you, I appeal to you, try to understand the problems of life: what is your body, what is your mind, what is your intelligence, what are you..., how we are a soul, the spirit soul.

So when you come to this platform of the spirit soul, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, "I am Brahman," don't be misled that you are this body, you are this mind or you are the intelligence. You are spirit soul, Brahman.

So Bhagavad-gītā informs, when one come to the platform of Brahman understanding, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, brahma-bhūtaḥ... This is called brahma-bhūtaḥ. Brahma-bhūtaḥ means a realization of one's self as Brahman.

At the present moment our realization is that "I am this body," and because this body is produced in a certain country or a certain place or certain society, therefore I am identifying my body as American or as this or that. These are all designation.

When we actually come to the spiritual platform, brahma-bhūtaḥ platform, in that platform only, you can become joyful, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54]. As soon as you come to that platform of self-realization, then you will be joyful, immediately.

And you are seeking after that joyfulness, that pleasure, because by nature you are joyful. By nature... It is your nature. Just like a diseased man, that diseased condition is not his nature. Healthy condition is his nature; therefore he is trying to be healthy.

Every diseased man is trying how to get health, how to get health. Similarly, this position, this present consciousness of material existence, is full of threefold miseries.

It takes very long time to explain each and every word, but I tell you in summary, this life is subjected to three kinds of miseries, always—either bodily, mental, or some miseries inflicted by other living entities or by nature. So many things. At least one or two.

We must be under the subjugation of some kind of miseries. But if you become situated in your spiritual platform of life, brahma-bhūtaḥ, you immediately become joyful, prasannātmā. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54].

[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 how one becomes prasannātmā? What are the symptoms? The symptoms are also stated, na śocati na kāṅkṣati: he has no more any demand for satisfying the senses, neither he has any lamentation for any loss.

This is prasannātmā, joyfulness. That joyfulness is your inherent quality as Brahman, as soul. Ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt. You have heard of the Vedānta-sūtra. In that Vedānta-sūtra you'll find this sūtra, these codes are there. Ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt brahma.

The Vedānta-sūtra begins, athāto brahma jijñāsā. This life, this human form of life, is now meant for inquiring about Brahman. What is that Brahman, that is immediately answered: 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.]

Brahman is the supreme source from where everything emanates, or everything is born. So in the Vedānta-sūtra, and that is explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

So you are student, you should take advantage of these great literatures. Don't remain in darkness. Tamasi mā jyotir gamaḥ. The Vedas inform you, "Don't remain in darkness, but come to the light. That is your business." Asato mā sad-gamaḥ: don't remain in the non-permanent situation. This body is non-permanent situation.

You are thinking, oh, you have got this nice body, American body, "We have got so much opulences. What we have to learn about Vedānta? We are very much happy." But try to understand that how long you shall remain American? It is all right, you have got this nice body, beautiful body, you have got opulences, your country is very nice. But as soon as you change your body, that change of body is going on. Try to understand.

You were a child when you were born out of the womb of your mother. Or in the womb of the mother your body was so small. Just like a pea it has developed, and when it's fully developed you come out. You have come out, you are developing. Developing means changing. That is also stated in the Bhagavad-gītā:

dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati

[Bg. 2.13]

[As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.]

As you are changing your body even in this present life, you remember that you were a child, you were a boy... I remember I was a child, I was a baby. I still remember in my babyhood I was lying down on my elder sister's lap. She was knitting. I can still remember that.

So we can remember our childhood, our boyhood, our youthhood, but I am the same; the body is changing. It is a fact. Similarly, when these bodies ultimately left or changed, I am accepting another body. That is a fact. This is called transmigration of the soul. As we are changing our dress, similarly we are changing our body. And there are 8,400,000's of different kinds of bodies.

So our..., at present moment, our business is simply to change body, change body. So we do not know what kind of body I am going to take next. There is a vast science about it. So one should know, one should prepare.

Just like you are preparing yourself by education to be well situated in your future life, in this life, similarly, you should prepare yourself to get the best body in your next life. What is that next body? That is answered in the Bhagavad-gītā:

mām upetya kaunteya
duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam
nāpnuvanti mahātmānaḥ
saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ

[Bg. 8.15]

[After attaining Me, the great souls, who are yogīs in devotion, never return to this temporary world, which is full of miseries, because they have attained the highest perfection.]

"The highest perfection of life is to come back to Me, and you get the spiritual body, eternal body, blissful life, full of pleasure." Dance with Kṛṣṇa, mām upetya duḥkha, without any miserable condition. That is the highest per... Saṁsiddhiṁ paramāṁ gatāḥ. That is the highest perfection of life.

You are trying to go to the moon planet, you are trying to go to the sun planet, or you can go any other planet; there are millions of planets. And the highest planet is called Brahmaloka. And modern scientist says that to reach to the highest planet in this universe it will take forty thousands of years. So even if you go there, Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā says, ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino 'rjuna [Bg. 8.16].

[From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.]

Anywhere you go, in any planet you go, these four condition of material existence—birth, death, old age and disease—they are existing everywhere. Yaṁ gatva na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama [Bg. 15.6]

[That abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by electricity. One who reaches it never returns to this material world.]

But if one goes to that planet, Kṛṣṇa planet, then he hasn't got to come back again; he gets eternal life, blissful life, simply joyful life. So our proposal is that in this life you have got this opportunity, the informations are there, the scientific methods are there—take advantage.

Fully utilize your this valuable life by changing simply your ordinary consciousness to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the greatest boon offered to the human society by Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. If you take advantage of it, then sarve sukhino bhavantu—then you'll become happy.

It is not a mental concoction; it is very authorized. It is accepted by great stalwart scholars and ācāryas. Perhaps some of you know that there are great ācāryas like Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu Svāmī, those who practically guided the whole destiny of Indian civilization—even Lord Buddha, He was Indian—but all of them accepted these authorized scriptural...

Don't try to manufacture. There are so many things in store, in Vedic knowledge, and they're all summarized in the Bhagavad-gītā. Try to understand. It is not very expensive or very difficult, but you have to understand it with full brain; then your life will be successful.

So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means to preach the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā as it is, not to interpret it in a nonsensical way and mislead the people. We don't try to mislead the people. We give without any changes and without any cost, without any loss on your part.

But give a try, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, simple thing, just chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, these sixteen words: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

You practice it, you chant anywhere you like, either in your home or anywhere. There is no restriction, there is no hard and fast rules and regulation for chanting, and anyone can chant. You see all our..., you also chanted just a few minutes ago. You chanted.

So it is not difficult. Give it a try. That is our request. We request you, most humbly, that you take these sixteen words, you chant, and your heart will be cleansed of all dirty things. 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.’]

Every dirty things. Our..., we do not know how long we are changing births—900,000 species of birth in the water, and 2,000,000 species of life as plants and leaves and trees, and so many lives as reptiles, and cats and dogs and so many...

Now we have come to this, by evolutionary process, this civilized form of life, human form of life, very beautiful form of life. Why you should waste this life, again go to that cycle of changing birth after birth.


[Bg. 13.9]?

[Humility, pridelessness, nonviolence, tolerance, simplicity, approaching a bona fide spiritual master, cleanliness, steadiness and self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratification, absence of false ego, the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; nonattachment to children, wife, home and the rest, and evenmindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me, resorting to solitary places, detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization, and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth—all these I thus declare to be knowledge, and what is contrary to these is ignorance.]

The intelligent man should understand, try to understand, how much miserable it is to undergo birth and death and disease and old age. Don't be carried away by whims. You are intelligent boys and girls, born in rich family and rich nation.

Just try to utilize; then it will be finishing touch to your country. Your country is advanced in so many ways. You have no poverty. You are advanced in so many ways. Take this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Your country will be perfect, actual leader of the whole world.

I have come to your country with this purpose, that if American boys and girls should accept this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, it will be good for them and good for the world. So try to understand this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. It is very easy—it is not difficult—but it is sublime. It is the most sublime movement. It can solve all the problems of the world. That we are sure.

So I do not wish to take much of your time. The sum and substance of our movement I have explained to you, and these boys are also there if you want to inquire. We are prepared to answer your inquiries. But we request you, please take seriously about this movement and you'll be happy, sarve sukhino bhavantu.

[Let everyone be happy.]

Thank you very much. [end]