Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 5.5.1 , London , 1969-09-12

Prabhupāda: [chants maṅgalācaraṇa]

...ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā
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."]

śrī-caitanya-mano-'bhīṣṭaṁ sthāpitaṁ yena bhū-tale
svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ dadāti sva-padāntikam

["When will Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhupāda, who has established within this material world the mission to fulfill the desire of Lord Caitanya, give me shelter under his lotus feet?"]

śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu nityānanda
śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda

["I offer my obeisances to Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, Prabhu Nityānanda, Śrī Advaita, Gadādhara, Śrīvāsa and all others in the line of devotion."]

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare

["My dear Lord, and the spiritual energy of the Lord, kindly engage me in Your service. I am now embarrassed with this material service. Please engage me in Your service."]

nāyaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛloke
kaṣṭān kāmān arhate viḍ-bhujāṁ ye
tapo divyaṁ putrakā yena sattvaṁ
śuddhyed yasmād brahma-saukhyaṁ tv anantam

[SB 5.5.1]

[Lord Ṛṣabhadeva told His sons: My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool. One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. By such activity, one's heart is purified, and when one attains this position, he attains eternal, blissful life, which is transcendental to material happiness and which continues forever.]

This is a verse instructed by Mahārāja Ṛṣabhadeva to His sons. Mahārāja Ṛṣabhadeva was incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva, long, long years ago. And He was the emperor of the whole world. Formerly there was only one king on this planet. In every planet there is a predominating personality. In every... Not only this planet; all other planets also. And the predominating deity, or you may call the king or emperor, in the moon planet he is called Candra.

Similarly, the predominating deity or the emperor in the sun planet, at the present moment he is called Vivasvān. So the predominating deity or the emperor in each and every important planet, they are mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. That means the author of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has complete knowledge not only of this universe, but also beyond the universe.

Beyond the universe, there is spiritual sky. There are also different planets. But in those planets the predominating Deity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. And in this material world, in each and every planet, the predominating deity or the person is a very pious human being or living being. Generally, human being. In other, higher planetary system they are also like human being. Their features are exactly like us: two hands, two legs, one head, like that. But they are very pious. They are God conscious.

Every..., in every planet the living entities or human being, they are of different grades. Just like in this planet also, in some portion of this world there are savages, uncivilized persons, and in some portion of the world there are civilized persons, intelligent persons, God conscious persons; as there are different grades of persons in this planet, similarly, there are different grades of beings, living beings or human beings, in different other planets.

The higher and lower grades are calculated in terms of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Consciousness is there everywhere, every living entity. Not only human being, but also animals, the consciousness is there. But the difference is, consciousness without Kṛṣṇa is lower grade, and consciousness of Kṛṣṇa in different degrees, they are higher grade. And when the consciousness is completely Kṛṣṇa, that is the highest position, or that is the real position of living entity.

So this human form of life... Mahārāja Bharata is instructing to His sons. He had one hundred sons. So all of them assembled together, and the king, before retirement, was instructing.

[aside:] Let him come in.

[pause] So, instructing His sons. It is the duty of the father that before retirement... Now, here is one significant point. Why the king was retiring? That is the system, Vedic system. Either one is king or one is ordinary human being, at a certain age he must retire. That is Vedic system. Not that because one is king and one has ample opportunity for sense enjoyment, therefore he should indulge in sense enjoyment without retiring from family life. That is not Vedic system. The Vedic system is, the aim is, how to elevate oneself to the perfection of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is Vedic system.

You have read Bhagavad-gītā. In the Fifteenth Chapter, fifteenth verse, you'll find, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyam [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.]

The whole Vedic system is designed, or planned, how to know Kṛṣṇa. So if you follow Vedic system, then the ultimate objective should be to know Kṛṣṇa. That is the Vedic version and corroborated by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is the original compiler of Vedas; therefore His version should be accepted, that the objective of studying Vedas means to know Kṛṣṇa. That's all. Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ.

Therefore the king, Ṛṣabhadeva, is advising, instructing His sons... He was retiring. Why He was retiring? He could enjoy His kingdom. Just like at the present moment, either a king or a family man does not retire. Even a poor man living in with family with great difficulties, but if you ask him to retire, he'll not be agreeable. We have asked many old men—he's suffering; he's not happy within his family members—but if I say, "Why you are taking so much trouble with the family? Why not come and live with us in Kṛṣṇa consciousness Society?" he'll not agree. Because he has no Vedic training. Up to the end of this life he'll stick to the family life.

Many, many politicians... In our country we have seen many old politicians, seventy-five years old, eighty years old. Not only in our country; in other countries also. In your country, Great Britain, Mr. Churchill, unless he was forced to death, he would not give up politics. Our Gandhi, he was killed by another political group. Then he was forced to retire.

When Gandhi attained Independence, I requested him in a letter, "Mahatma Gandhi, now you started your struggle with the Britishers, that they should go, and Indians should have their independence. Now you have attained Independence and Britishers have gone. Now you preach Bhagavad-gītā. You have got some influence. You are known throughout the whole world a very saintly person, and you also pose yourself that you are a great scholar of Bhagavad-gītā. Why don't you take up Bhagavad-gītā and preach?" There was no reply.

And he was still meddling with politics, so much so that his own assistants became disgusted. And it is said that he was planned to be killed. Just see how much intoxication of this materialistic way of life. He was considered a mahātmā, a great personality, and he got his svarājya. The Britishers left India. Still, he would not give up politics. Still, he would stick—unless he was forced to give up, he was killed. Similarly, Jawaharlal Nehru also. Nobody would retire voluntarily—unless he is killed by somebody or he is killed by the laws of material nature. This is the disease. He cannot give it up. 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.]

The māyā is so strong that even an old man advertising to be very pious man, he cannot give up politics. Because māyā is so strong, he's thinking, "If I leave political field, my countrymen will suffer, and so many disaster will happen." He's thinking like that.

But actually, things will go on. Many politician came and gone. In your country there were many, many great politicians; they came and gone. But your country people are still living and they are going on. In Germany also, many Hitlers came and gone. Similarly, in India also many Gandhis came and gone. But things are going on.

This is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā:

prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate

[The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.]

Everything is being done by the laws of nature. You cannot change it. There is a plan, God's plan. It will go on. You don't have to bother yourself, that without you, everything will be topsy-turvied. No. You cannot do anything. You are falsely thinking that your leadership is very much needed. No.

I was thinking. When I was householder, several times there was indication given by my Guru Mahārāja that I should give up my family life and become a sannyāsī and preach this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. In several way there was hints from my spiritual master, but still, I was not willing. I was thinking, "If I go away, then my family, my sons, my daughters, they will suffer." But actually, I have left my family connection in 1950.

Actually '54, but introductory in '50, for the last twenty years. But they are living; I am living. They are not dying in my absence, and I am not suffering without being in my family. On the other hand, by Kṛṣṇa's grace, I have got better family members. I have got nice children in a foreign country. They are taking so much care of me, I could not expect such care from my own children.

So this is God's grace. We should depend on Kṛṣṇa. If Kṛṣṇa is kind, wherever we go, everyone will be pleased, everyone will be kind. And if Kṛṣṇa is unpleased, even in your family life you'll not be comfortable. Therefore, according to the Vedic system, at a certain age, it is indicated that one should retire from family life.

So this Ṛṣabhadeva Mahārāja, He was retired. Although He had one hundred sons, all obedient sons, He was emperor, anything was at His command—still, He was retiring. That is the Vedic system. He had no disadvantage. He was personally the incarnation of Godhead, an emperor, very obedient sons, opulence, everything complete. There are many instances. His son, Bharata Mahārāja, he also retired. You have seen Parīkṣit Mahārāja. After his retirement, this Bhāgavata was recited before him. His grandfather, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, they voluntarily retired.

So that is the system. In the early age, either you become a son of a king or you are son of an ordinary man, you must go to the āśrama of spiritual master and live there as servant. That is called brahmacārī. Brahmacārī's life means to serve the spiritual master as menial servant. Whatever he will ask, the brahmacārī will do. It is so much strict that brahmacārī, whatever he collects, he gives to the spiritual master, the spiritual master's property. It is not his property.

And the spiritual master, if he forgets to call one disciple, "My dear son, come and take your prasādam," then he will not take prasādam even, without being called. He will starve. Of course, spiritual master does not forget, but these are the injunctions, that if he does not ask you, "Come and take your prasādam," then you should not touch, yourself. These are... There are so many strictures.

So this is the beginning of life, and these strictures are followed even if he is son of a king or even if He is Supreme Personality of Godhead. Just like Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa also undergone this disciplinary action when He was a brahmacārī for some time. So this is the system. In the beginning of life one should become brahmacārī, and then he marries, lives with wife and children, utmost twenty-five years. Then he retires. The husband and wife goes from one pilgrimage to another, in this way travels. Because the children are grown up. And when the husband is completely free from all family attachment, he takes sannyāsa. This is the process: brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa.

So this Mahārāja Ṛṣabhadeva, before retirement it is the duty of the father to give instructions how to look after family affairs, their personal affair, their spiritual advancement, everything. So here Ṛṣabhadeva is instructing, "My dear sons, do not think that this particular body, human body, is equal to the body of the cats and dogs and hogs. Don't consider like that." He has particularly mentioned viḍ-bhujām. Viḍ-bhujām means the stool-eater. As in the human society, the dog-eater human being is considered the lowest of the human society, similarly, in the animal society, the animal which eats stool is considered the lowest.

So the gradation of human being is also calculated according to the eating process. This is... Modern thinker also says, in your country, Dr...., Bernard Shaw? He has written one book. I think it is named You Are What You Eat. So eating is very important thing. If you eat like cats and dogs, then you'll become cats and dogs even in this human form of life. If you behave like cats and dogs, you become cats and dogs even in the human form of life. Similarly, if you work hard, very hard, like cats and dogs or hogs, then what is the value of your human life? Human life should be very sober, peaceful, full of knowledge, full of bliss, peaceful, devotee. These are the good signs of purity. Simply working hard like animal and eating like animal and... No.

That particular thing is being instructed by Ṛṣabhadeva to His sons, "My dear sons, this human form of life..." Ayaṁ deho deha-bhājāṁ nṛloke. "Everyone has got body, but the body in the human society is to be treated differently. It should not be just like the hogs." The hogs, whole day and night, they are after stool and sense gratification. Similarly, if human being, his whole day and night after eating and sense gratification, then he's missing the opportunity. That is the instruction.

Human life should be regulated. "You should eat this kind of foodstuff," "You should have sex life in this way," "You should sleep in this way," "You should act in this way," "You should think..." They're all regulative principle. You cannot do unrestricted things. In the human society there are books of regulation—not for the animal society. The law book is meant for the human society, not for the animal society. So the human society becomes free, without observing any social conveniences or social custom or abiding by the laws—no, that is not human body; that is exactly like animal body.

So Ṛṣabhadeva says, "My dear boys, you should not spoil this body, human form of body, like the hogs." He has specifically mentioned the name of the hogs, viḍ-bhujām. Then what it is meant for? He said, tapo divyam [SB 5.5.1].

[Lord Ṛṣabhadeva told His sons: My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool. One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. By such activity, one's heart is purified, and when one attains this position, he attains eternal, blissful life, which is transcendental to material happiness and which continues forever.]

This human form of life is meant for austerity, penance. You should voluntarily accept some regulative principles, even they are not very much liking to you. Just like our students: they are, from the very beginning of their life, they are accustomed to certain habits, but we are restricting. We say, "You cannot do this," and they are accepting, following. This is called tapasya. Tapo. Tapasya.

Tapasya means I am habituated to smoking, suppose, and the spiritual master says, "You cannot smoke." So if he gives up smoking, he feels some inconvenience, some uncomfortable position. But because a spiritual master has ordered, he gives it up. This is called tapasya. Even at his inconvenience, he abides by the order of the spiritual master, regulative principle. That is called tapasya. He feels some inconvenience, but what can be done? He has accepted one spiritual master.

A spiritual master means voluntarily accepting a great personality whose rules and regulation he must abide by. This is accepting of spiritual master, voluntarily accepting somebody, "Yes, sir. Whatever you'll say, I'll accept." Śiṣya. Śiṣya means who abides by the rules. That is called śiṣya. Or English, "discipline." From discipline, disciplic, disciplic succession. From the discipline. So either you take English or Sanskrit, the same meaning. Śiṣya means who accepts the ruling of his spiritual master; and disciple means also the same thing: who becomes disciplined by the spiritual master.

So tapasya means even at the inconvenience of my personal comforts, I must abide by the orders of my spiritual master. This is called tapasya. And who is spiritual master? He does not manufacture any rules and regulation. He refers to the śāstra. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, sādhu-śāstra-guru-vākya, tinete kariyā aikya. If you want to know who is a spiritual master, if you know who is a saintly person, then you should keep in the middle the śāstra, the scriptures, and you will corroborate.

The saintly person, the spiritual master and the śāstra corroborate if they are abiding one another. Yes. If spiritual master says something which is not in the śāstra, or scripture, that is not good. Of course, sometimes we do not..., we cannot understand; but that is the principle. Similarly, a saintly person also, a mahātmā also, cannot disregard the regulative principles of śāstra. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya [Bg. 16.23]

[But he who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination.]

"A person who gives up obedience to the ruling of the scriptures," yaḥ śāstra-vidhi..., vartate kāma-kārataḥ, "and he acts in his own way, by his whims," na siddhiṁ sāvāpnoti, "he cannot attain perfection." These are the versions of Bhagavad-gītā. Na siddhiṁ sāvāp..., na sukham: "And at the same time, he cannot be happy." Na parāṁ gatim: "And what to speak of liberation?"

So therefore this tapasya means voluntarily accepting the rulings of scriptures, spiritual master, saintly person, and mold your life in that way. So He is instructing His sons, "My dear sons, don't spoil your life living like cats and dogs and hogs. Utilize your life by tapasya, by voluntarily accepting the rulings of śāstra, spiritual master, saintly person." The question may be that "Why this injunction? Why I shall not live like an animal? And why I have to live under the regulative principles of scriptures and saintly person and spiritual master?" The answer is also there: tapo divyam.

Tapo divyaṁ putrakā

[Lord Ṛṣabhadeva told His sons: My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool. One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. By such activity, one's heart is purified, and when one attains this position, he attains eternal, blissful life, which is transcendental to material happiness and which continues forever.]

"My dear sons, this form of life should be utilized for tapasya." Why? Yena sattvaṁ śuddhyet: "If you accept these principles of life, then your existential condition will be purified." At the present moment we are contaminated by the material nature, modes, mostly ignorance and passion. So He's advising that if you abide by the rulings of tapasya, then your existential condition will be purified. Yena sattvaṁ śuddhyet.

Then the question may be, "What is the use of purifying?" The answer is also there: yena sattvaṁ śuddhyed yasmād brahma-saukhyaṁ tv anantam [SB 5.5.1]. "And when your existential condition will be purified, then you will be situated on the transcendental platform of blissful life." And one may question, "What is that?" Now, brahma-saukhyam anantam. You are hankering after happiness, pleasure. So when your existential condition will be purified and you will be placed in the transcendental platform, at that time you will enjoy eternal happiness.

You are all... After all, you are after happiness. Why you are struggling so much hard in this material existence? For happiness. Why you are after sense gratification? For happiness. Why you want to possess? For happiness. Why you want to become beautiful? For happiness. Why you want to eat so many things? For happiness. You go on. The happiness, your ultimate goal.

But the happiness which you are now deriving from the sources you have manufactured, that is temporary. If you want to become happy by intoxication, how long? That is temporary. Any way. If you want to be happy by sex indulgence, how long? That is also for a few minutes, few seconds. But if you want eternal, continued happiness, then you have to purify your existentional condition, you have to place yourself in the transcendental position, and you will feel that happiness.

Therefore in another place, there is a version by the yogī..., by the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, ramante yogino 'nante. The yogīs, they are also having sense gratification. But where? Anante: "with the Supreme." They are also having sense gratification. Ramaṇa. Ramaṇa. Ramaṇa means sense gratification. Just like Kṛṣṇa's name is Rādhā-Ramaṇa. His sense gratification is with Rādhārāṇī. So the sense gratification is also there, but not this sense... Don't consider like this. Here it is only... Sense gratification is a perverted reflection of the spiritual sense gratification. The whole devotional line of service is also sense gratification.

Hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanam

[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.’]

Hṛṣīka means senses, and Hṛṣīkeśa means the master of the senses. The master of the senses is Kṛṣṇa. So when your senses will be applied for the sense gratification of Kṛṣṇa, that is your transcendental position. And when your senses will be employed for your sense gratification, that is material. This is the difference. So when one is situated in the transcendental platform, when one's existential conditions are purified by tapasya, by voluntarily accepting austerity and penance under the guidance of spiritual master, śāstras, scriptures, saintly person, at that time it will be possible that you are in the platform of satisfying the senses of Kṛṣṇa and you are fully satisfied.

How it is? The practical example I have given several times, that in this body there are different parts of the body. The different parts of the body cannot enjoy senses or satisfy independent. The different parts of the body will depend on the whole body. You can catch up an nice cake, foodstuff, but the fingers, the parts of the body, cannot enjoy it. But if the fingers catch it and puts into the mouth, it goes to the stomach. Then there is some secretion from the stomach, and it goes to the heart, it turns into blood, it is transfused in different parts of the body, and immediately your finger becomes red. This is the process. Tapo divyaṁ yena [SB 5.5.1].

[Lord Ṛṣabhadeva told His sons: My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool. One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. By such activity, one's heart is purified, and when one attains this position, he attains eternal, blissful life, which is transcendental to material happiness and which continues forever.]

Sense gratification is there, but through Kṛṣṇa. Then you feel complete sense gratification. Just like the gopīs, perfect. All devotees, but gopīs are the supreme.

So this is the process of human life, that we have to purify our present existentional condition by voluntarily accepting the regulative principle given by the spiritual master, śāstras. Then we become purified. At that time our senses are employed in the service of the Supreme, and we actually enjoy our senses.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Hare Kṛṣṇa. [end]