Lecture , Los Angeles , 1971-07-04
Prabhupāda: Thank you very much. [devotees offer obeisances] This light…
Devotee: Do you want me to turn it off?
Prabhupāda: I don't want. All right, leave it. You can reach [indistinct].
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.]
sthāpitaṁ yena bhū-tale
svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ
[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-rūpaṁ sāgrajātaṁ saha-gaṇa-raghunāthānvitaṁ taṁ sa-jīvam
sādvaitaṁ sāvadhūtaṁ parijana-sahitaṁ kṛṣṇa-caitanya-devaṁ
śrī-rādhā-kṛṣṇa-pādān saha-gaṇa-lalitā-śrī-viśākhānvitāṁś ca
[I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master and of all the other preceptors on the path of devotional service. I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaiṣṇavas and unto the Six Gosvāmīs, including Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Jīva Gosvāmī and their associates. I offer my respectful obeisances unto Śrī Advaita Ācārya Prabhu, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and all His devotees, headed by Śrīvāsa Ṭhākura. I then offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and all the gopīs, headed by Lalitā and Viśākhā.]
rādhā-kānta namo 'stu te
[O my dear Kṛṣṇa, ocean of mercy, You are the friend of the distressed and the source of creation. You are the master of the cowherd men and the lover of the gopīs, especially Rādhārāṇī. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.]
[I offer my respects to Rādhārāṇī, whose bodily complexion is like molten gold and who is the Queen of Vṛndāvana. You are the daughter of King Vṛṣabhānu, and You are very dear to Lord 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.]
So ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for your coming here and participating in this movement, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This movement is chiefly on the basis of realization of God. It doesn't matter which particular section, caste or creed or color and nation you belong to. It doesn't matter. Our mission is that you should be God conscious. That will make you happy. Without becoming God conscious, you cannot be happy. That is the basic principle of our life.
We are part and parcel of God. [child making noises] In your Christian Bible also, [aside: This child.] that “Man is made after God.” So we have got intimate relationship with God. Just like father and son: this relationship cannot be broken. A son may be forgetful of his father, of his parent, but the relationship is there. As soon as the father and the son meet, they revive their consciousness: “I am son, he is father.” That is natural.
Similarly, in the Bhagavad-gītā we understand that the living entities—not only human society, but also other living entities. There are 8,400,000 species of living entities, of which 400,000s are human beings. Out of that there are many, I mean, species of human form who are not civilized. The civilized form of human society is called the Āryan society, Āryan family, and the Āryan family means following the Vedic principles—those who are following Vedic principles.
Throughout the whole world all the civilized nations, mostly they belong to the Āryan family, and five thousand years ago all of them belonged to this Vedic culture. We get it from the great history of India, which is called Mahābhārata. Mahābhārata. Mahā means “greater,” and bhārata means “India.” So Mahābhārata means “the great history of India.” So if we refer to the great history of India, it is understood that the... History also, modern history also says, “Indo-Āryan stock.” So five thousand years ago the whole planet was known as bhārata, Bhārata-varṣa, or in the modern language, India. [aside: Don't make that sound.]
So this Vedic culture is original culture of the human society—there are many proofs. But somehow or other we have become separated. In course of time different religions have sprung up, but every religion has got a history, a certain date of beginning. Just like Christian religion: it has a date of beginning, after the death of Lord Jesus Christ. Similarly, Muhammadan religion, it has got a date of beginning. But when you... Buddhist religion, it has got a date of beginning, about 2,600 years ago. But if you search out the history of Vedic religion, it will be very difficult to find out the date.
At least, so far modern history is concerned, we understand that this Vedic religion, or cult… We should distinguish between the English word religion and Sanskrit word dharma. Sanskrit word is dharma, and religion is different. The import of dharma and the import of religion, a little different. The import of dharma means “which you cannot change,”dharma. But the import of religion is, it is a kind of faith; you can change it—as you are changing.
One who is professing Hindu religion, he may accept, after a few days, another religion. Or a person professing Christian religion or Muhammadan religion, he can accept another religion, another faith. But dharma, it cannot be changed. Either you are Hindu, either you are Muslim, either you are Christian, either you are Buddha, the dharma, the implication of the word dharma, that you cannot change. That you cannot change. That is called dharma.
Dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. In the śāstra it is said that dharma is the code given by God. That you cannot change. Just like the order “The sun is rising from the eastern side,” this order is from God; you cannot change it. However great scientist you may be, you cannot make the sun rising from the northern side or southern side. That is not possible. The sun is rising from the eastern side. It is rising now from the eastern side, and it was rising from the eastern side millions and millions of years ago. That cannot be changed—nature.
Nature means the laws of God. Behind the natural laws there is God. That people do not know. Modern scientists, they are busy to study the natural laws, but they do not know that whenever we speak of law there must be somebody law-maker. That is necessary. Without a brain, without a regulative principle, there is no meaning of law. Just like in your state there are so many laws, but behind the laws there is the government, there is the president, there is the secretary, there is the Congress, there is the Senate.
So many brains are there. So why should we think it that behind the natural laws there is no brain? It is admitted by the greatest scientist who lived in your country, Professor Einstein; he admitted that the more he studies the cosmic manifestation, he understands that there is a big brain behind all these things. That's a fact. And in the Bhagavad-gītā we understand, Kṛṣṇa says—Kṛṣṇa means God—He says,
The Lord says to Arjuna, mayādhyakṣeṇa, “under My superintendence.”Adhyakṣa. Adhyakṣa means superintendence, supervision.
Just like this institution, this society, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is going on, but the direction, behind all functions, the direction is the ācārya. Under his direction it is going on. Similarly, the whole function of natural laws that is going on, behind that there is the order, or superintendence, of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In [indistinct] the whole Vedas means... The study of Veda means to find out the original cause of all causes—the Vedānta-sūtra. You have heard the name of Vedānta.
In your country there is a society who preaches Vedānta, but they do not know what is the end of Vedānta. End of Vedānta means Kṛṣṇa. Veda means “knowledge,” and anta means “end.”Vedānta. There are different types of knowledge, and when you find out the original source of knowledge, that is called Vedānta, the Vedānta-sūtra, Vedānta codes. Vedānta is the summary study of all Vedic literature. They are given in codes. Just like in business circle there are business codes for telegraph, sending telegraph, cables. Similarly, the whole Vedic literature is summarized into Vedānta-sūtra.
First of all there were four Vedas…, one Veda, Arthava Veda. Then, for studying differently, it is divided into four: Sāma, Yajur, Ṛg, Atharva. Then they are explained by Purāṇas. Purāṇas means supplementary. By reciting stories, narration, the Vedic knowledge is given there, in the Purāṇas. There are eighteen Purāṇas. Eighteen Purāṇas means six Purāṇas for persons who are in the lower grade of material nature. The material nature is working under three grades, or modes: the modes of goodness, the modes of passion and the modes of ignorance.
Therefore to convince different types of people, there are eighteen Purāṇas—six Purāṇas for men who are in the modes of goodness, six Purāṇas for men who are in the modes of passion and six Purāṇas who are in the modes of ignorance. So all these Vedic literatures are distributed. There are immense literatures. One cannot finish even in one life. Even Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is one of the Purāṇas, there are 18,000 verses, and each verse, if you read carefully, it will take at least two months, three months, it is so full of philosophy and science. So these literatures are there; they are called Vedic literatures, given by one person. He is known as Vyāsadeva, veda-vyāsa.
So Vedānta means one who understands the ultimate goal, or ultimate knowledge of... Veda means knowledge, and Vedānta means ultimate knowledge. What is that ultimate knowledge? That is Kṛṣṇa, or God. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ [Bg. 15.15]. Vedaiś ca sarvair. Vedānta-vid vedānta-kṛd cāham. Kṛṣṇa says that at the end of studying all Vedic literature, one has to understand Kṛṣṇa. And in another place it is said, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg. 7.19]: after many, many births of Vedānta study...
Just imagine that Vedānta study requires many, many births—not only one birth; many, many births. After bahūnāṁ janmanā… Bahū means “many”; janmanām means “births.” After many, many births, bahūnāṁ janmanām ante, jñānavān, one who is actually wise, or one who has actually attained knowledge, māṁ prapadyate, he surrenders unto Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says, “He surrenders unto Me,” because that is the ultimate goal of knowledge: Kṛṣṇa. In the Vedānta-sūtra also it is said, janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]: “The supreme goal, or the Absolute Truth, is that from where everything emanates.”
So our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not a bogus concoction. It is based on the authorities of Vedas and the summary study of Vedas for this age. Because it is very difficult to go through all the Vedic literatures at the present moment. At the present moment people are living a very short duration of life. They are not living for long. Formerly people used to live about hundred years; now that is not possible. In India the average age is thirty-five years, and gradually it will reduce. It will reduce so much that a person lives for twenty years or thirty years will be considered very old man. That of course not yet come, but it will come in the Kali-yuga.
Therefore to have the ultimate knowledge… This human form of life is meant for getting that ultimate knowledge. It is not meant for propagating the animal side of our life. We have got two sides of life. Human form of life means we have got the animal side of life and godly side of life, or spiritual side of life and material side of life. In every life, not only human beings, but animals also, because every living entity within this material world has got a material body.
The modern education system has no such knowledge that the body and soul are different. The soul is different from body. This education is not given in the university. I have traveled practically all over the world—recently I was in Moscow while coming to your country—but the same bodily concept of life is everywhere. I talked with one big professor there, Professor Kotovsky. He is a special student for Indology.
So I met him in Russia and I talked with him. He said that “Swamījī, we think that with the end of this body everything ends.” Just see. He's a great learned professor and studying Indology, but his idea is this, that he does not know that soul is distinct from the body. But real knowledge begins after understanding this distinction: that soul is different from the body.
When Bhagavad-gītā was taught to Arjuna, the first lesson was given to understand that the soul is different from the body. Unless one understands very nicely and distinctly that “I am not this body,” or theoretically to understand that the soul is different from the body, there is no beginning of spiritual knowledge; there is no question of spiritual knowledge.
Because so long one is under the impression that “I am this body,” there is no question of advancement in spiritual knowledge. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā, when Kṛṣṇa began to teach Arjuna Bhagavad-gītā, the first chastisement given by Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna… Because Arjuna submitted to Kṛṣṇa as student. He accept Him... Arjuna accepted, although both of them were friends, but when the matter was serious, Arjuna accepted his friend Kṛṣṇa as the spiritual master.
To accept one as spiritual master means one has to abide by the orders of the spiritual master. The exact meaning, exact Sanskrit word, is śiṣya, and the English word is also disciple. Disciple means who abides by the discipline given by the spiritual master. Similarly śiṣya. Śiṣya means who abides by the governing order of the spiritual master. So Arjuna agreed.
Because without agreeing to the orders of a spiritual master, simply by argument it is not possible to make progress in spiritual life. One has to find out a person where he can submit himself. Tad vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. Every śāstra, this injunction is there, that you have to find out somebody where you can submit, praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā [Bg. 4.34], where you can surrender yourself. Then you get spiritual knowledge.
So the example is set by Arjuna. He also submitted to Kṛṣṇa, śiṣyas te 'haṁśādhi māṁ prapannam [Bg. 2.7]: “My dear Kṛṣṇa, we are talking like friends, but I think this friendly talk will not help us. Therefore I am submitting unto You. I accept You as my spiritual master. You accept me as Your śiṣya.”Śiṣya means disciple. Śiṣyas te 'haṁśādhi: “Just instruct me.” This is the beginning of relationship between spiritual master and the disciple: submission. So when Arjuna submitted Kṛṣṇa…
First of all a spiritual master has the right, sometimes reprimand or chastise the disciple. That right is accepted. So first of all Kṛṣṇa says that prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase, aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ [Bg. 2.11]: “You are lamenting on a subject matter…,” because he was not agreeing to fight; he was lamenting that “How can I fight with my relatives, my kinsmen, my family members who are on the other side?” That was his problem. But Kṛṣṇa said that “You have argued with Me that by killing your family man you will be such and such, this and that, so many things, just like very learned man. But you are not a learned man.”
First requirement was this, that aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ: “You are lamenting on a subject matter which is not lamentable,”aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase, “but at the same time you are thinking that you are a very learned man. But you are talking not like a learned man.”Gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ [Bg. 2.11].
So if I say to somebody that “You are not learned,” it is a mild language to call a person fool. If I say directly, “You are a fool,” that is very strong word, but if I say, “You are not speaking like a learned man,” the idea is the same, but it is in very decent language. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna happened to be friends, although he accepted Him his guru; He chastised him in a mild language, that “This subject matter on which you are lamenting, it is not accepted by learned men.
But at the same time, you are thinking that you are very learned. Why?” The reason is, Arjuna was thinking in terms of this body. He was thinking of his kinsmen, of his family men, because he happened to take his birth in a certain family—there was blood relation, and he was talking on that terms. But immediately Kṛṣṇa said, “This is not the subject matter for lamentation.” Then He described about the distinction between soul and the body. That is very nicely described in Bhagavad-gītā.
So modern civilization is under the concept of this body as self. That is the basic mistake of the modern civilization. Not modern; that is the basic mistake of materialistic way of life—to understand this body as the soul. But that is not the fact. So the sum and substance is that to accept this body as self and prosecute our activities on that conception is very risky life. That we should understand: it is very risky life. Very risky life means that now we have got this material body—either man or animal, it doesn't matter—but if we forget that I have got a better body than the animals, then what is my function?
Why this better condition of living is given to me? That we should think. This is a chance for self-realization. The animal, they cannot talk of self-realization. There is no possibility. Neither they can understand what is God, what is his relationship with God. That is not possible. But in the human form of life you can understand—if you try to understand, of course—that “I am not this body; I am soul, and soul has got a different function than the body.”
We are now busy with the bodily necessities of life. That's all right. But because we have got greater intelligence than the animals, we should know that there is another duty, which is to get myself, or the soul—myself means I am the soul—freed from this disease of birth and death. This morning I was seeing one advertisement, telephone company. They are advertising, “If you have any problem, do not hesitate to call us.” So people do not know what is the problem. The problem is birth and death, disease and old age. That is problem.
So there is no department of knowledge where these problems are being solved throughout the whole world. How to solve the problem of birth? How to solve the problem of death? How to solve the problem of old age? How to solve the problem of disease? That is indicated in the Bhagavad-gītā, that one who is actually trying to elevate himself to the perfection of knowledge, he should keep always before him the problems. What are the solution of these problems, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9]?
We are trying to solve the all the problems, to mitigate miseries, miserable condition of life, to happy condition of life. That is the struggle. But where is the attempt to solve these problems—the miseries of birth, the miseries of death, the miseries of old age and the miseries of disease? That solution is here, in the Bhagavad-gītā. If you study Bhagavad-gītā nicely, if you understand Bhagavad-gītā nicely, then you get the solution of these four problems, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi.
Therefore I was advising our secretary that “Why don't you advertise, or ask the telephone company, ‘I have got this problem: janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi. I have got the problem of death..., birth, death old age and disease. Can you help me? You are advertising, “If you have any problem, don't hesitate to call us.” Now I am calling you.’ ” [devotees laugh] “‘And my problem is birth, death old age and disease.’ ”
Then they should be informed, that “If you have no information for solving this problem, then please send all men who are inquisitive about these four problem to us, to ISKCON. We shall solve.” That's a fact. It is not a humbug promise. It is a fact. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for giving the human society a solution for these four problems, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi. It is not that we have manufactured this idea. It is the statement of Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa says in the fourth chapter Bhagavad-gītā, janma karma me divyam yo jānāti tattvataḥ [Bg. 4.9]: anyone who understands Kṛṣṇa, how He appears, how He disappears, how He works while present—janma karma me divyam; they are all transcendental—but anyone who can understand these three things: why Kṛṣṇa appears, why God appears and how He disappears, and what does He work in this material world… If these three things we can understand, janma karma me divyam yo jānāti tattvataḥ. Tattvataḥ means in truth, not superficially, not superficially, that “Kṛṣṇa is doing this, doing that,” tattvataḥ.
yo jānāti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
That person who understands Kṛṣṇa, after quitting this body—tyaktvā dehaṁ; dehaṁ means this body—after quitting... Everyone has to quit this body. The difference of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and those who are not in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or the one who understands Kṛṣṇa and the one who does not understand Kṛṣṇa…“Always remember Kṛṣṇa” means God. One who understands God and one who does not understand God, the difference is one who understands God, tyaktvā dehaṁ, that person does not come again to accept any material body. That person, one who understands Kṛṣṇa,
yo jānāti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
He does not come back again. [break]
Prabhupāda: Yes, we have described in the start, there is [indistinct]. There are many young men who are interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, but the government is very strict. We cannot start, unless with government sanction. Of course here also, in this country, we have got government sanction, because we are registered in all different states. So first of all we are trying to register the society; then we shall start.
Lady from audience: When did this movement start in the United States?
Karandhara: She asked, “When did this movement start in the United States?”
Prabhupāda: You can tell her.
Karandhara: It started in 1966.
Lady from audience: Why so late?
Karandhara: So late?
Prabhupāda: Because you are late. [laughter]
You have come so late here.
Indian guest: I think it is not late if you are ready to accept.
Lady from audience: I am sorry?
Indian guest: If you are ready to accept, it is not late.
Karandhara: She asked if your Divine Grace is the only pure devotee left.
Prabhupāda: That is your judgment to understand.
Karandhara: The question was, “Is Śrīla Prabhupāda the only pure devotee, or spiritual master, left in the world?” and Prabhupāda replied, “That is for you to understand. That is for you to judge.” The scriptures give the qualifications of the spiritual master. One must seek out and find someone who meets that qualification. So that is for a disciple to discern by intelligence and by investigation. Yes?
Devotee: Is the only way to go back home to understand the appearance, the activities and the disappearance of Kṛṣṇa?
Prabhupāda: Yes. That means you thoroughly understand what is Kṛṣṇa, and as soon as you thoroughly understand Kṛṣṇa, you come on the same category, spiritual platform. And that is the qualification for entering into the spiritual kingdom.
Guest: Why should a person try to endeavor to find God? Why should he try to see God?
Karandhara: He is asking why should one try and see God. What is the use?
Prabhupāda: Why should you take shelter of your father? Why the children, small children, always seeking the help of the father and the mother? Why? Can you answer this? Why a small child, as soon as he is in some difficulty, immediately he cries for “Father! Mother!” Why?
Guest: Because they are helpless and need their father.
Karandhara: Because we are helpless and need their father.
Prabhupāda: Therefore because you are helpless you must seek God. You are helpless. Always you are helpless. That is knowledge. One should understand that in spite of our all advancement of so-called material knowledge, we are helpless in every respect. Just like the... In your country you have got very good arrangement for education. There is no scarcity of anything.
Why a section of people turning to be hippies and considering helpless and confused? Why? What is the want they are feeling? What is the answer? Your country is not poverty-stricken country; rich country. You have got all resources; you have good, nice parents, nice government, nice food supply. Why the younger section turning to be hippies? What is the answer?
Guest: They are not satisfied.
Prabhupāda: Hah? Dissatisfaction. Yes. So unless you see God, unless you understand God, in spite of your all material advancement you'll feel vacant. Therefore you should seek God. Yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ [Bg. 6.22]. Everyone in the material world is working very hard, some profit, some material profit. But one profit he gains, he hankers after another profit, another profit. In this way, the hankering makes progress.
Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that when you get profit Kṛṣṇa, then you'll not hanker after; you will feel satisfaction: “Yes, I have got all profit.” Otherwise you'll go on making profit after profit, and you will be confused and frustrated. And when you come to the state of understanding that “Now I have gained the highest profit, Kṛṣṇa...” Just like our students, they are living with us; we are not giving them any salary, but they are working so hard sincerely because they are feeling that “We have this Kṛṣṇa profit.” That is their feeling. Otherwise why they are working for Kṛṣṇa consciousness? I am not paying them any good salary, but why they are working without salary?
Because they are getting some profit. So this will depend… When you come to the business, and you understand... Just like a hungry man, when you give him something to eat, as he eats he gets satisfaction and he gets strength. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is so nice, anyone who is confused and frustrated, if he takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, gradually he feels that he is getting some nice profit. That is the gain of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. [pause] That's all right. Now [indistinct].
Karandhara: Kīrtana? Would you lead, Śrīla Prabhupāda?
Prabhupāda: No you can. [kīrtana] [obeisances] Thank you very much.
Devotees: All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. [obeisances]
Prabhupāda: Distribute prasādam now?
Karandhara: No. There is a wedding ceremony in the temple, Jagannātha.
Prabhupāda: I'll have to go there? No.
Karandhara: No. Dearest devotees...
Prabhupāda: Thank you very much. [Prabhupāda leaves] [devotees offer obeisances]
Karandhara: We are ready to invite all the guests now to please come into the temple, which is through this door. Please leave your shoes out of the sanctuary or in the temple entry room… [break] [end]