Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.1.1–5 [First Return from Europe] , Boston , 1969-12-22

Prabhupāda: ...Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. So I am so pleased that you are doing things just to my satisfaction. And stick to this principle and Kṛṣṇa will bless you, sure. Our line of action is not difficult: chanting sixteen rounds regularly, following the four restrictive principles, take prasādam, read books—we have got so many books—speak, discuss about the subject matter amongst yourself, and this is the process.

So Parīkṣit Mahārāja, you know, I have several times spoken, he had only seven days to meet his death. He was young man, but some way or other, he was cursed by a brāhmaṇa—boy, not a brāhmaṇa—that he would meet death within seven days, and... This is Vedic culture, that before death one should prepare very nicely to go back to Godhead. This is Vedic culture.

The modern civilization, they do not know what is going to happen after death. But our Vedic culture is not so blind. Vedic culture has got a aim, what is the aim of human life, not aimless life. Aimless life is animal life. They have no aim. By the laws of nature they are going on, transforming from one body to another, and ultimately they are coming by evolutionary process to the human form of life. And especially this civilized human form of life, it is very responsible life.

One has to make his choice whether he wants to continue his materialistic way of life and change the body, one after another. That is very risky job. You should always remember that if in my next body I am given a body like a tree, just see, in this part of the world, how condemned life. They are standing in the snowfall. You have got house. You are protecting yourself. They cannot even move. So there is possibility of getting such life.

So we should be so much responsible how to avoid such laws of nature. We can have any form of life out of 8,400,000 species that are before you. You should always remember that "If by chance I slip to one of them, then how I have wasted my time." This is responsible life. Labdhvā su-durlabham idaṁ bahu-sambhavānte [SB 11.9.29].

[After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus a sober human being should quickly endeavor for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. After all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Kṛṣṇa consciousness is possible only for a human being.]

Bahu-sambhavānte means after many, many appearances. This is appearance. This body, present body, is one of the appearances. It will never appear again. He'll... I will have to or you will have to appear in a different body. But this human form of life is great opportunity. Bahu-sambhavānte. Bahu means many, and sambhava means appearance. After many, many appearances, we have got this.

Labdhvā su-durlabham. Su-durlabham. Su means very costly; durlabham means to gain with great difficulty. This responsibility must be there in the human form of life. Labdhvā su-durlabham idaṁ bahu-sambhavānte. After many, many appearances. And what is this? Mānuṣya, man, human form of body. Artha-dam: and you can achieve a great success in this life. This is the hint given. Therefore for that great success everyone should try his best.

And one may think that "Now we are young men, young boys and girls. Let us enjoy life." And that facility is very much easy to obtain in your country. In the school, college or in society, the young boys and young girls, they have got ample facility for enjoying material life. Enjoying material life means sex life. So Bhāgavata says, "No. You should immediately try for the ultimate success of your life. Don't spoil your life."

If we become absorbed in the thoughts of materialistic way of enjoyment, then naturally we have to take birth again in any other form of body, may be human body or may not be human body. But unless we purify our mind and consciousness, we must have to accept the material body. And if we accept a material body, then all the miserable conditions that we are undergoing with this body, we have to accept it.

This is not pessimistic view of life, but this is a fact. Only responsible persons, they can understand. Sanātana Gosvāmī was minister of government. His society was very aristocratic. Very rich man they were. So rich society, aristocratic society, could not satisfy. He... They resigned the post and joined Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu for ultimate solution of life. These examples are many.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's disciples, direct disciples, they were all very important men, just like six Gosvāmīs. Even Svarūpa Dāmodara, His private secretary, he was very learned man, Vedāntist. And next to his secretary, the six Gosvāmīs, Sanātana Gosvāmī, Rūpa Gosvāmī, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, they were very, very important rich men of that time.

Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī happened to be the son of a very big landlord, zamindar. That father's income was twelve hundred thousands of rupees in those days, five hundred years ago. And he was the only son of his father and uncle. So he did not like to enjoy the father's property, but he joined Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He is known as Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī.

Similarly, Rūpa-Sanātana Gosvāmī also joined. They were also very rich men, important men. And Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī... Jīva Gosvāmī, very learned scholar and philosopher. He was the nephew of Rūpa Gosvāmī. So they were all very important men of the society. They joined Caitanya Mahāprabhu to make life successful. So these examples we should take, and make our life successful.

The successful life means to make our consciousness changed into Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is success. Labdhvā su-durlabham idaṁ bahu-sambhavānte. We have got this after many, many births, mānuṣyam, this human form of life. Therefore the śāstra says tūrṇaṁ yateta. I am very glad. You all young boys and girls, you are fortunate. I am not bluffing you. Actually you are fortunate. You have come to the right place, where you can learn Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is the greatest boon of life. Tūrṇaṁ yateta. The śāstra says that "Very quickly you should try to finish this business."

Because Parīkṣit Mahārāja, he was aware that he was going to live for seven days. But we do not know whether our life is still for seven days or seven minutes. Any moment. There is no guarantee. Don't think that "In old age we shall take up this business of Kṛṣṇa consciousness." By the example of Parīkṣit Mahārāja, we can take the lesson that we do not know when we shall die, but before death we have to become competent in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. What is that competency? Always, twenty-four hours, thinking of Kṛṣṇa. That's all. This is competency.

So Parīkṣit Mahārāja, at the last stage of his life, got the association of a big Kṛṣṇa conscious personality, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. So he asked him, "My dear sir, I am now going to die. So what is my duty? Please tell." Parīkṣit Mahārāja was born in a family of the Pāṇḍus. He is the grandson of Arjuna. Arjuna's son, Abhimanyu, he died in the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. Everyone joined, so he also joined. He was sixteen-years-old boy at that time, but he was married. Fortunately he was married.

And when he went in the battlefield, fortunately his wife was pregnant, and this Parīkṣit Mahārāja was the posthumous child. He was born after the death of his father. He could not see his father. His grandfathers raised him. All the boys died, of the whole family, in the battlefield. Only these five brothers remained alive, and this child was in the womb of his mother. Otherwise, the members of the whole Kuru family died in the battle. It was such a big fight.

So this child was also hit by atomic energy, brahmāstra, but Kṛṣṇa saved. Kṛṣṇa wanted that "The descendant of My devotees, they must prolong." They were very good family, Kṛṣṇa conscious family. Kṛṣṇa wants to give protection to the Kṛṣṇa conscious men, family. That you know from the Bhagavad-gītā. So this child was saved even in the womb of his mother by Kṛṣṇa.

So Kṛṣṇa also could save him when the king was cursed by a brāhmaṇa boy, but Parīkṣit Mahārāja did not like the idea. He took it very seriously, that "I have offended the brāhmaṇa, and he has cursed me. That's nice." You see? How much liberal he was. So he accepted. Immediately he prepared for death.

So after all, he was a great devotee. In his childhood he was playing with Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Deity. Just like our child devotee, Mr. DDD. [laughter] Yes. He is playing with Jagannātha. That is very nice. Yes. This is the opportunity. My father also gave me Deities in my childhood, and I had the opportunity to serve Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa from childhood.

So as such, he asked Śukadeva Gosvāmī to hear about Kṛṣṇa. Although he was very much anxious to know about his duty, but he was thinking that "My only duty is to think of Kṛṣṇa at this stage." Therefore he asked his spiritual master, "Whether I shall hear about Kṛṣṇa in this last point of my death?"

So Śukadeva Gosvāmī was very glad, that "This king is already anxious. I was just going to advise him to think of Kṛṣṇa, but I see that he is already anxious to think of Kṛṣṇa." He is always thinking, because from the childhood he was playing. From the womb of his mother he saw Kṛṣṇa. So after his birth he was searching after "that figure who saved me." Therefore his name was Parīkṣit. He was examiner. So many... He was royal family child. So, so many people were present after his birth. So he was looking after, "Where is that form, Kṛṣṇa?" Therefore his name is Parīkṣit.

So when he inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī that "If I can hear about Kṛṣṇa?" so Śukadeva Gosvāmī replied,

varīyān eṣa te praśnaḥ
kṛto loka-hitaṁ nṛpa
ātmavit-sammataḥ puṁsāṁ
śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ

[SB 2.1.1]

[Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear King, your question is glorious because it is very beneficial to all kinds of people. The answer to this question is the prime subject matter for hearing, and it is approved by all transcendentalists.]

"O my dear king, you are very fortunate. Your question about Kṛṣṇa is welcome." Varīyān. Varīyān eṣa te praśnaḥ: "You are inquiring about Kṛṣṇa. So this very question is very important." Varīyān eṣa te praśnaḥ kṛto loka-hitaṁ nṛpa: "And this is not good for you only; it is good for all the human society, because you have questioned, and I shall reply."

So Kṛṣṇa question and answers are so important that in future these questions and answers will be discussed in the human society. Actually it is being done so now. We are discussing the same incidents. And he said, ātmavit-sammataḥ puṁsām: "And this question is so authorized that ātmavit, those who are interested in self-realization, they have got their approval, 'Yes. This is nice question.' " Ātmavit-sammataḥ. Sammata means approved. It is not bogus question; it is approved.

This sort of question should be inquired, Kṛṣṇa, about Kṛṣṇa. And if you speak about Kṛṣṇa... The whole world is full with questions and answers, so these questions and answers are approved by ātmavit, those who are self-realized, not bodily realized. Ātmavit. There are two classes of men. Ninety-nine point nine percent, they are bodily realized men, always thinking of the body.

And just there is another class; they are called ātmavit, self-realized, Kṛṣṇa conscious persons. Ātmavit-sammataḥ puṁsāṁ śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ. Śrotavya means worth hearing. There are many kinds of subject matter for hearing, but this is the sublime subject matter of hearing, kṛṣṇa-praśna.

So question and answer about Kṛṣṇa, śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ... Para means sublime, and śrotavya means worthwhile hearing. So why it is para, sublime? He said,

śrotavyādīni rājendra
nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ
apaśyatām ātma-tattvaṁ
gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām

[SB 2.1.2]

[Those persons who are materially engrossed, being blind to the knowledge of ultimate truth, have many subject matters for hearing in human society, O Emperor.]

This Bhāgavata is so, I mean to say, exalted transcendental knowledge that there are eighteen thousand verses, and if you analyze each verse, each word, you will get a great transcendental information. There is no comparison with this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam amalaṁ purāṇam. Amalam, spotless.

This purāṇam, this old history of the world... This is also history. Just like this incidence, Parīkṣit Mahārāja was cursed by a brāhmaṇa; he was the king, emperor of the world, and how he met his death, these things are described in this history. Is it not? So this is also history. But it is not ordinary history, not history, chronological history, as we generally mean, but it is a history of the most important men in the world. Just like Parīkṣit Mahārāja. He is the most important, at least one of the most important kings in the world. His history of death and life is historical fact.

So Śukadeva Gosvāmī said that "My dear king," śrotavyādīni rājendra nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ, "for ordinary men there are many, many subject matters for hearing." Just like you see the newspaper, there are many varieties of news, but they are meant for whom? For ordinary men. They are not meant for us. We don't care for what is happening in the newspaper.

At least our boys and girls, they do not care for these things, although everyone is anxious to read early in the morning the newspaper. You see? This very fact is stated here: śrotavyādīni. What is this newspaper? Newspaper, the Sanskrit word is śrotavyādīni. Śrotavya means "the things which is to be heard." So what is this newspaper? Unless there is some news, what you will hear?

So this word, very word, śrotavyādīni... Pradyumna, you understand śrotavyādīni? No? Śrotavyādīni means subject of news. So he said, "There are many subject of news, or newspaper." Śrotavyādīni rājendra [SB 2.1.2].

[Those persons who are materially engrossed, being blind to the knowledge of ultimate truth, have many subject matters for hearing in human society, O Emperor.]

He is addressing the king, rājendra. He was the emperor. Therefore, "the king of the kings," rājendra. "My dear rājendra, emperor, there are many varieties of subject matter for hearing." For whom? Nṛṇām: "for the human society." Nṛṇām means human beings. Śrotavyādīni rājendra nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ.

But what class of human being? Apaśyatām ātma-tattvam: "Those who are fools and rascals without any self-realization knowledge. For them." Apaśyatām. Apaśyatām means blind, cannot see. They have got their eyes, but they have no introspection, what is the value of life. Therefore he says apaśyatām. Simply they have eyes like the peacock feather. [laughter] They have no introspection.

Eyes means introspection. Therefore Vedic culture says, eyes... Śāstra-cakṣus: "You should see through śāstra. Don't try to see by these eyes." These are..., what is the value of this eye? They are conditioned in so many ways. You don't believe the eyes. See through the śāstra, through the spiritual master, through the śāstra. Try to see through this. That is perfect seeing.

So the subject matter for hearing for the ordinary person, those who are engaged in family matters, gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām... So does it mean to become a family man is bad? No. It does not mean. But if you become gṛhamedhī... That is particularly said, gṛheṣu gṛhamedhī. Gṛheṣu, living in family life, but in family life there are also two classes of men: gṛhastha and these gṛhamedhī. Therefore I say that each and every word of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, you will have new enlightening. New.

Difference, there is difference between gṛhastha and gṛhamedhī. Gṛhamedhī, just like ordinary persons, their household life means they have made the home as the center of their existence. Just like I was seeing just now the rooms of our gṛhastha, householder, boys and girls. Things are scattered. [laughter] But if you go to another person's, gṛhastha [gṛhamedhī], you will find their apartment nicely decorated—chairs, cushions and sitting place—but they have no vision about self. And here, although we see that household affairs, their resting place, is not so nicely decorated, but their aim is Kṛṣṇa.

So that is the difference between gṛhamedhī and gṛhastha. Gṛhamedhī means they simply want to decorate their apartment and children and wife. That is their end of their life. That is all. They have no other business. Apaśyatām, blind of the value of life. Whereas the gṛhastha, he is not blind about the value of his life; he is simply looking forward, how to become successful, Kṛṣṇa conscious.

So those who are blind of the point of self-realization, such householders, they have got many subject matter of hearing in the newspapers. Śrotavyādīni rājendra nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ. Sahasraśaḥ means thousands of subject matter. For whom? Gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām. Such householders who have made their aim of life to decorate the apartment. That's all. Work whole day and night, and have good dress, good apartment. That's all. They think this is success. These things are..., were before also.

So these are being pointed out, gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām. For them there are many thousands of news items. Why they have got thousands? Now, what is their mode of life? That is explained. Their mode of life, Parīkṣit Mahārāja [Śukadeva Gosvāmī] explaining, nidrayā hriyate naktaṁ vyavāyena ca vā vayaḥ [SB 2.1.3]

[The lifetime of such an envious householder is passed at night either in sleeping or in sex indulgence, and in the daytime either in making money or maintaining family members.]

"At night they are wasting their duration of life either by sleeping or by sex life." That's all. This is their business at night. Then, at daytime, what is their business? At daytime, divā cārthehayā rājan kuṭumba-bharaṇena vā [SB 2.1.3]: "And daytime, they are always busy: 'Where is money? Where is money? Where is money? [laughter] Where is money?' " Divā cārthe. Arthe means money. Īhayā, hankering after money.

Then? They are getting money. Why they should waste their time? No. Nidrayā... Divā cārthehayā rājan kuṭumba-bharaṇena vā: as soon as there is money, there is immediately program how to spend it for family. Kuṭumba-bharaṇena vā. Kuṭumba means family, relatives. You see? They will spend thousands of dollars for family and relatives. But if you ask some dollars for Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they are not interested. You see? So for these persons there are varieties of material news.

Nidrayā hriyate naktam. At night... So their life means day and night. So this is the program of their life. At night those, either sleeping or going to the nightclub or dancing club, sex life. That's all. Not that these things are new. These are old things. People were accustomed to all these things only... The human nature is always... They are thinking "modern days." What do you mean by "modern days"? Nothing has changed. "Putting the old wine in new bottle." That's all. [laughter] [indistinct] The practice is going on. Divā cārthehayā.

So the question is why they are wasting their life in this way. So that is answered also. He says,

ātma-sainyeṣv asatsv api
teṣāṁ pramatto nidhanaṁ
paśyann api na paśyati

[Persons devoid of ātma-tattva do not inquire into the problems of life, being too attached to the fallible soldiers like the body, children and wife. Although sufficiently experienced, they still do not see their inevitable destruction.]

Dehāpatya. Dehāpatya... Deha means this body, and apatya means [indistinct]. Dehāpatya-kalatra. Kalatra means wife. Dehāpatya-kalatrādiṣu ātma-sainyeṣu. Just like a nation thinks himself well-protected when the nation has got good defense measure, similarly, a ordinary man, he thinks that "If I have got strong built body and very faithful wife and nice children," dehāpatya-kalatrādiṣu, "and after this," means, "some good bank balance, some landed property, security, these things," one person accepts, "they will give me protection. Yes.

They will give. I am now well-protected. I have got nice children. I have got nice wife. I have got good bank balance. I have got so many properties. So why shall I go to Kṛṣṇa consciousness? I am well-protected. These boys and girls, they have no bank balance. They have no home. Therefore they should go."

But they are blind. How they are blind? They are thinking that these things will give him protection. Pramatta. Pramatta means crazy. [laughter] Crazy. By craziness he is thinking that "These things will give me protection." No. Teṣāṁ pramatto nidhanaṁ paśyann api na paśyati. Because he is crazy, he does not see to the destruction of these things, although he is seeing others, that they are being destroyed every moment. My father has died. Naturally I shall die. Naturally my sons also will die. So why I am so much anxious of protecting this family? Everyone will die. Paśyann api na paśyati. They see, but still do not see.

They see daily that "I am working so hard for these things, but these things will be destroyed, as it has been destroyed previously in the history." So many empires were destroyed. The British empire destroyed, the Roman empire destroyed, the Egyptian empire destroyed, the, I mean to say, the Indian empire... Formerly..., just like Parīkṣit Mahārāja, he was the emperor of the world.

So these things, paśyann api na paśyati, they see that "They cannot give me protection. When I shall be called for death"—just like Parīkṣit Mahārāja, he is preparing—"at that time, all these, my soldiers, my bank balance, my good wife, my good children, my good countrymen—no. Nobody can give me any protection." Just like when you have to fly in the sky, you have to protect yourself.

No other can... Take it for the birds or for the airplanes. If you are being crushed in the airplane, no other airplane can protect you. You'll have to come down from the sky. [laughter] Similarly, when death will come, none of you will be able to give me protection. Either my good state or good family or good bank balance or good this, that. No. That's all. Finished. You see?

So Śukadeva Gosvāmī giving right instruction to Parīkṣit Mahārāja. Then what should be the subject matter? This so-called rascaldom news, they are not meant for hearing. Therefore he concludes,

tasmād bhārata sarvātmā
bhagavān īśvaro hariḥ
śrotavyaḥ kīrtitavyaś ca
smartavyaś cecchatābhayam

[O descendant of King Bharata, one who desires to be free from all miseries must hear about, glorify and also remember the Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul, the controller and the savior from all miseries.]

Icchatā abhayam. Abhayam. Bhaya means fear, and abhayam means fearlessness. If one is actually expecting that he should be protected, abhayam, there should be no more anything of fearfulness. Then Parīkṣit Mahārāja..., Śukadeva Gosvāmī is instructing that tasmāt. Because these things, if you simply divert your attention to the varieties of newspaper or any other information of this world which is full of this gṛhamedhī, whose business is to sleep at night and work hard at daytime, that will not give you protection.

Then? What I have to do? "You have to hear about Bhagavān, Hari, Īśvara." Tasmād bhārata sarvātmā. "Bhārata," because Parīkṣit Mahārāja happened to be a descendant of the Kuru dynasty. The Kuru dynasty was begun from King Bharata. Bharata. There are two..., three Bharatas in the history of Vedic literature. One Bharata is Lord Rāmacandra's brother, younger brother.

His mother, Bharata's mother, wanted to make Bharata king. Therefore, by palace diplomacy, Rāmacandra was sent to the forest. But His brother Bharata declined, "No." His mother wanted that "My son should be king." There were three wives of Mahārāja Daśaratha. So this is one Bharata. He was faithful to His brother, but by His mother's diplomacy Lord Rāmacandra was sent to the forest. So this is one celebrated Bharata.

Another Bharata is the forefathers of the Kuru dynasty. His name is also Bharata. And another Bharata was the son of King Ṛṣabhadeva, by whose name this planet is called Bhārata-varṣa. This whole planet is called Bhārata-varṣa. So he is addressing Parīkṣit Mahārāja as the descendant of King Bharata, Bhārata." He bhārata. You have to talk and hear about sarvātmā, the Supersoul who is sitting in everyone's heart, Bhagavān, the Personality of Godhead, full with all opulences." Bhagavān, this word, every word, suggests volumes of meaning. And Hari: "who can take away all your sufferings." Īśvara: "and He is the controller, supreme controller."

So instead of diverting your attention to the varieties of news of this world, you just try to... No, not try; you must. You must. Sarvātmā harir īśvaraḥ. What is that? Śrotavya: "Always hear about Him." Śrotavyaḥ kīrtitavyaś ca. Kīrtana. Hearing, then preaching. Therefore we have got our Kīrtanānanda Mahārāja, kīrtitavya, who will now preach. Kīrtitavya. Hearing, then kīrt... After hearing, the next stage is spreading, pushing on, the news of Kṛṣṇa. First of all hearing, then kīrtitavyaś ca, spreading.

And smartavya. Smartavya means thinking always. Otherwise, what you will preach? You hear, you think of it, you preach—this is the business. Smartavyaḥ kīrtitavyaś ca, śrotavyaḥ. For whom? Icchatā akuto bhayam. Icchatābhayam, those who are actually seeking protection. Not this protection, that your bank balance, your good wife, this and... No. They will not give you protection. So Parīkṣit Mahārāja was advised by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, his spiritual master, "This is your business at the point of death."

So not only at the point of death. You cannot take to this business all of a sudden, even it is advised. You have to practice. Just like you cannot become a good soldier on the battlefield. You have to be trained yourself before going to the battle. Military training. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is training before you ultimately meet death, fight with. So this is the advice given by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, and we shall read later on.

Thank you very much. [devotees offer obeisances] [end]