Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.1.8–13 , New York , 1971-07-24
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?"]
gopeśa gopikā-kānta 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."]
vṛṣabhānu-sute devi praṇamāmi hari-priye
["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."]
patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ
["I offer my respectful obeisances unto all the Vaiṣṇava devotees of the Lord. They are just like desire trees who can fulfill the desires of everyone. They are oceans of mercy and are the purifiers of the fallen souls."]
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 Parīkṣit Mahārāja inquired from Sūta Gosvāmī..., Śukadeva Gosvāmī, how the people in general, rotting in hellish life, could be saved. This is the desire of a Vaiṣṇava. Others, they do not care whether one is suffering or enjoying. But a Vaiṣṇava, a devotee of the Lord, he always thinks of the fallen condition of general people. Just like in Christian philosophy they believe that Lord Jesus Christ suffered to be crucified by assimilating all the sinful activities of the people. Yes. A devotee of Lord thinks like that.
Similar devotee was Vāsudeva Datta, Lord Caitanya's... He requested the Lord that "You have come. Kindly deliver all these people now present on this earth, and take them to Vaikuṇṭha. And if You think that they are so sinful that they cannot be delivered, then please transfer all their sins unto me. I shall suffer. You take them." This is Vaiṣṇava: "So for all their sins I shall suffer. You take them."
This philosophy is also expressed in Bible, Lord Jesus Christ, that he agreed to suffer himself for the sins of the all people. But that does not mean that Jesus Christ or Vāsudeva Datta should make a contract for ourself, and we shall go on committing sins. This is most heinous proposal. A Vaiṣṇava and a devotee suffers for the all humanity, human race.
But that does not mean that human race or the particular follower should take advantage of this facility and go on committing sins. That is not a good proposal. They should take rather seriously, that "Lord Jesus Christ or Vāsudeva Datta who has suffered for us so much, we shall stop committing sins now." That is sane proposal. Otherwise, if I think, "Well, there is Vāsudeva Datta and Lord Jesus Christ. He will suffer for us and let us go on merry-making. That's all..." A most heinous life.
Anyway, everyone is responsible for his sinful activities. That's a fact. Therefore Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends that tasmāt, "Therefore," puraiva āśu iha pāpa-niṣkṛtau, "so long you are in this body, in order to get yourself free from all the reaction of sinful activities, you should atone." Yateta mṛtyor avipadyata..., avipadyatātmanā, doṣasya dṛṣṭvā guru-lāghavaṁ yathā bhiṣak cikitseta rujāṁ nidānavit [SB 6.1.8]. According to the sinful activity, one should accept the prescription and program of atonement exactly like a..., a physician prescribes different type of medicines according to the gravity of the disease.
The other day I was explaining, just like the state law is that if you commit a murder, if you kill your fellow man, then you have to atone that sinful activity by being killed, by offering your life. That's a fact. Everyone knows it. You cannot escape. If you have killed one man... Of course, not man; if you kill even an ant, you are responsible for that, what to speak of man.
Because that distinction is imperfect, because this is man-made law. Man-made law, they're taking consideration of the man being killed. Another, the killer, must be killed. Why not an animal? The animal also a living entity. The man is also living entity. So if you have law that if a man kills one man he must be killed, why not if a man kills an animal he should be killed also? What is the reason?
This is man-made law, defective. But there cannot be defect in God-made laws. God-made laws, if you kill an animal, you are equally punishable as you kill a man. That is God's law. There is no excuse that he..., when you kill a man you are punishable, but when you kill an animal you are not punishable.
This is concoction. This is not perfect law. Perfect law... Therefore Lord Jesus Christ prescribes in the Ten Commandments, "Thou shall not kill." That is perfect law. Not that you shall discriminate, that "I shall not kill man, but I shall kill animals." This is cheating one's self. But God laws will not excuse.
Therefore there are different atonements. According to Vedic law, if one cow dies while he's locked up on the neck... Because the cow is on the shed; somehow or other it dies, and the rope is round the neck, the proprietor of the cow has to make some atonement. Because it is to be supposed that the cow has died on account of being locked up with the rope, there is atonement. Now if you are willingly killing cows and so many animals, so how much we are being responsible?
Therefore at the present moment there is war, and the human society becomes subjected to be killed in mass massacre—the nature's law. You cannot stop war and go on killing animals. That is not possible. There will be so many accidents for killing. The wholesale kill. When Kṛṣṇa kills, He kills wholesale.
When I kill—one after another. But when Kṛṣṇa kills, they assemble all the killers and kill. Therefore there is atonement in the śāstras. Just like in your Bible also there is atonement, confession, paying some fine. But after performing atonement, why people commits the same sin again? That is to be understood.
So Parīkṣit Mahārāja is very intelligent. He's Vaiṣṇava. He therefore inquires from Śukadeva Gosvāmī that,
dṛṣṭa-śrutābhyāṁ yat pāpaṁ
jānann apy ātmano 'hitam
karoti bhūyo vivaśaḥ
prāyaścittam atho katham
A man... Suppose a man... Of course, if..., if he commits murder, he's killed and gone. That's another thing. The..., Śukadeva Gosvāmī's proposal was that tasmāt puraiva āśu iha pāpa-niṣkṛtau yateta mṛtyor avipadyatātmanā: "Before your death, next death comes, you should perform atonement so that you may not carry the sinful activities to suffer next life." If I do not commit..., perform atonement for the commit, for the sinful activities, then nature will not excuse me. You'll have to take the effect of it and suffer in the next life.
The law... As I explained the other day, that a murderer should be killed, that is a mercy upon him. The, when the king orders... It is very old law. It is not new law. "Life for life." So when the king awards, or the judge, high-court judge, that "This man must be hanged," the judge is not the enemy of that man, but according to law, in order to save him from further trouble in the next life, this prescription of hanging is there. The..., exactly like that: according to the disease, the prescription of medicine is there. Similarly, according to the gravity of the sinful activity, the atonement is there.
If one has killed a man, he should be should be hanged—according to the gravity of his sin. So that is showing mercy upon him. But if he's not killed, then he'll be killed in so many ways. He'll be... Suppose something, some animal, and this man who has killed, he will take another birth and he will slaughter him. There are so many subtle laws. Māṁsa.
The word māṁsa, Sanskrit. Mām means "me," and sa means "he." "As I am eating him just now, he will eat me next life." That is called māṁsa. Māṁsa khādati. This is the definition of māṁsa, or flesh. Māṁsa khādati. "As I am eating, enjoying now, palate, eating some animal, so he'll also eat me next life." This is called karma-bandhana.
Karma-bandhana means being locked up in one's material activities. Yajñārthe karmaṇaḥ anyatra karma-bandhanaḥ [Bg. 3.9]. Yajña, Viṣṇu..., if you act for Kṛṣṇa, beyond this, whatever you act, you'll be under bondage. Just like I'm killing some animal, eating, now enjoying, so it is karma-bandhana. I am being locked up with my action so that I shall become again a cow or goat, and this man, this cow and goat will become man, and he will kill me and eat. You believe or not believe—that's a different thing. But these are the Vedic statement. And practically we are seeing that life for life. Why? Unless there is some meaning, why this punishment is there, "Life for life"?
So Sūta Go..., Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends that we should atone immediately, so long this body's there. Otherwise, we'll have to carry the effect and suffer next life. Unfortunately, at the present moment, people are educated in such a way that they do not believe in next life. They are so befooled. The education means to make people befooled.
He has no knowledge actually. This is the education. The more you are educated, you don't believe in God, you don't believe in God's law, you don't believe your next life, you don't believe in sinful and pious activities, you become animal. That's all. More or less, you become animal. The modern education is like that, preparing so many animals.
Therefore, you don't mind if I tell you frankly that in spite of so many education and universities arrangement in your country, so much nice arrangement, you're producing hippies. Because that is no education. If the... A human being does not know what I am... I am this body? If this education is there, then he's no better than an ass. The ass also thinks that "I am this body." The cow also thinks that "I am this body." The dog also thinks that "I am this body." So if a human being thinks like that, cats, dogs and..., then what is the difference?
Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke [SB 10.84.13]. The śāstra says one who has accepted this body, which is made of three elements... According to Āyur-veda, this body is made of three elements: kapha, pitta, vāyu—mucus, bile and air. Development. There is great machinery within this body. You are taking food; they are transforming into liquid.
Whatever you can absorb, that goes to become blood. And what you cannot absorb, that becomes urine. It comes out. Therefore in old age, or those who are diseased, they cannot absorb; they pass more urine. Therefore they become lean and thin, weak. They cannot make blood. So many machinery work is going on.
And when that secretion comes to the heart, it turns into blood. Then the blood is distributed by air. It becomes solidified. It becomes flesh, it becomes muscle, it becomes bone. So many things are going on. But what we know? We say that "It is my body." What do you know about your body? Still he says "I am God." He does not know what is going on within his body, and still he's supposed to be God.
So yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke. The..., this bag of stool, urine, blood, bones, if one takes it that intelligence comes out of this stool, urines and blood and bone, then he's a fool. Can you create intelligence by taking stool and urine and bones and blood and mix it in laboratory, make some intelligence? Is it possible? But they're thinking like that: "I am this body."
Therefore śāstra says,
sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ
yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke. Anyone who has accepted this body as self and the bodily production or bodily relationship—"Wife, children, family, they are my own men..." Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri..., sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu. Kalatra means wife. Kalatra ādi. Ādi means beginning.
Because I am alone. As soon as I get..., accept a wife, immediately there are children, and then grandchildren. They have expanded. So kalatra ādi. Strī. Strī means "which expands." So kalatrādiṣu, beginning from wife and other expansion, that is mine.
Yasyātma-buddhiḥ..., sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ. Bhauma means the land, the land of birth. That is ijya-dhīḥ, worshipable. People are giving life for the land wherein he's born. But he does not know that he's neither this land, nor this body, nor this wife, nor these children, nor this country, nor this society; he's spirit soul, ahaṁ brahmāsmi. This is realization of knowledge. When he comes to this knowledge, then he becomes happy.
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
When one comes to understand that "I am spirit soul," ahaṁ brahma, "I am not this matter," so immediately he becomes jolly, prasannātmā. And what is the sign of jolliness? Na śocati na kāṅkṣati: he has no more any hankering, no more any lamentation. Within this world, everyone is subjected to these categories of life. We are lamenting for the loss and we are hankering for some gain. But real gain is to understand oneself, what I am.
So, so long we have got this bodily concept of life, so long we have to abide by the laws of material nature, by the laws of the state or any other laws. Because this body is conditional. Every one of us who are sitting in this meeting has got a different body, because everyone is under different condition—varieties, varieties of condition.
Therefore I'm responsible. If I do not atone for the sinful activities I'm doing within this body, then I have to suffer in my next body, because I'll get another body according to my karma. Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran loke tyajaty ante kalevaram [Bg. 8.6]. Kalevaram means this body. That is the nature's law.
So Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommended that "Considering the gravity of your sinful life, you should undergo a type of atonement." They are prescribed in the śāstras. You have to do that. Otherwise, there is no rescue. Exactly like that, if you have committed murder, if you become killed here, then your sinful activities is neutralized.
Otherwise, you'll have to suffer next life. So when a king orders a subject, or the state orders that "This man should be hanged," it is not cruelty to him; it is mercy. They do not know. It is a mercy. Otherwise why... Every state, anywhere you go, the law is there, "Life for life." So atonement must be done.
But King Parīkṣit Mahārāja, he's very intelligent. He says, "All right, sir, there is atonement. By performing some type of atonement I become free from the sinful activities." Suppose a man, he has committed murder and he's killed. So the sinful reaction of his committing a murder is neutralized. But it does not mean that next time, next life, he'll not again kill another. That is not guaranteed. Exactly like that: you are diseased, the physician gives you medicine, you are cured. But it is not guarantee that you'll not be attacked again by that type of disease. That is not guarantee.
One man is suffering from venereal disease, and it is painful. Doctor gives some painful injection. Some way or other, he's cured, but again he's attacked with venereal disease, again comes to the doctor. There are many instances like that. A man has committed theft, and he was punished. He was taken to the government custody and he was punished for six months or one year, and comes back.
Again he commits the theft. Why? This is intelligent question. So..., so Parīkṣit Mahārāja inquires from the..., that "Atonement, that's all right. You are prescribing atonement. That is all right, to counteract the sinful activities. But why a man commits again the same sinful activity? What is the remedy for that?"
This is intelligent question. He says, dṛṣṭvā, dṛṣṭa-śrutābhyāṁ yat pāpam [SB 6.1.9]. Dṛṣṭa means just like one man sees this man has committed murder and he's hanged. Everyone sees. And in the law book it is said that if a man commits murder, he'll be hanged. So śruta means we have heard it from authoritative sources; law book is authoritative source. Just like śāstra.
Śāstra and law book is the same. Śāstra means that which controls. Śās-dhātu. Śastra, śāstra, śāsana, śiṣya comes from the same root. Śiṣya. Śiṣya also comes from the same root. Śiṣya means one agrees voluntarily to be governed by the spiritual master. He's called śiṣya. And śāsana, the government. So śāstra means that regulates our daily activities.
So here it is called... Śāstra is learned by hearing, not by licking, not by seeing. By hearing. Just like here is a śāstra, bhagavat-śāstra. You cannot learn it by seeing or by touching it or... You have to learn it by hearing. Śās... This is called śruta. Therefore Vedas are called Śrutis. Śruti. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet..., śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham [MU1.2.12]. So śruta, śruta means hearing from authoritative sources, either you take a scripture or law book.
So one knows that in every śāstra, every scripture, every law book, man is warned, "Don't commit theft; you'll be punished. Don't tell lie; you'll be punished. Don't do this; you'll be punished. Don't kill. Thou shall not kill; otherwise, you'll be punished." But nobody is caring. Why? What is the remedy for that? Everything is there. Dṛṣṭa, practical experience, and śruta,...
Śruta means heard also from authoritative sources. So he says, dṛṣṭa-śrutābhyāṁ yat pāpam. Everyone knows it, jānan, everyone knows that this is pāpa, this is sinful activity. Everyone knows. Nobody can say that "I do not know what is sinful activities." Who does not know that stealing is sinful, committing murder is sinful, or so many other things?
So Parīkṣit Mahārāja inquires that dṛṣṭa-śrutābhyāṁ yat pāpaṁ jānann apy ātmano 'hitam [SB 6.1.9]. "And he knows that 'It is not good for me; if I steal I'll be arrested, I'll be punished, I'll be put into jail. That is not a very comfortable life.' He knows that." Karoti bhūyo vivaśaḥ. "But he commits again and again, vivaśaḥ, as if forced by something. Forced by something." Karoti bhūyo vivaśaḥ prāyaścittam atho katham [SB 6.1.9].
So Parīkṣit Mahārāja immediately says, "What is the value of this atonement? If he is not corrected, checked that he should not commit such sin any more, then what is the value of prāyaścitta, katham? 'I have committed some sin. I do some atonement. Again I commit. Again I atone. Again I commit. I confess, and again I do the same thing.' So what is the use of such atonement?" his question is, another question.
kvacic carati tat punaḥ
prāyaścittam atho 'pārthaṁ
For the time being, when he's punished, he thinks, "I shall not commit what mistake I did." But as soon as he's out of the danger, he commits again. So kvacin nivartate abhadrāt. Nivartate means he refrains, abhadrāt, from abominable activities. Kvacic carati tat punaḥ. And again sometimes he commits the same thing. Punaḥ.
Therefore habit is the second nature. It is very difficult. The example that yasya hi yaḥ svabhāvasya tasya sa duratikramaḥ.[?] Svabhāva, one who has his habit, one who is habituated to do something, it is very difficult for him to give it up. The example is given: sva yadi kriyate rāja saḥ kiṁ na so uparhanam.[?]
You can keep one dog in a royal position, but as soon as it will see one shoe there, immediately bite—because he's a dog. The doggish quality's there. You may put him on the throne; that's doesn't matter. But the doggish quality you cannot change.
Similarly this svabhāva. Svabhāva means the material nature. Material nature. We have acquired so many material nature by association of the three modes of material nature: sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa. So our habits are formed on account of our association with the three different qualities of material nature. But if we can disassociate ourself from the three modes of material nature, then our real nature, means spiritual nature, becomes invoked.
That is the process of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If you remain Kṛṣṇa conscious, then there is no chance of your associating with the three material modes of nature. That is the secret. Therefore you'll find our students, those who are habituated to so many bad things previously, they are able to stay in a platform where there is no such contamination.
So Kṛṣṇa consciousness is such nice medicine. Unless you come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, your habits, formed by the association with the three modes of material nature, will continue. You cannot check it. They... Therefore, if you want to save yourself from this repetition of different types of birth and death, then you must come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the medicine.
In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, māṁ ca' vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate: "Anyone who is engaged in My transcendental loving service, bhakti-yoga, the yoga, devotional yoga..." Māṁ ca 'vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate, sa guṇān samatītyaitān... [Bg. 14.26]: "He can transcend the influence of these all these three qualities." Brahma-bhūyāya kalpate. "Immediately he's situated on the Brahman platform."
So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is, without recommending this atonement or that atonement, which will not check him... You can go on, make many experiment of atonement, but the disease of the heart will remain. And you'll commit again sin. But as soon as you come to the Kṛṣṇa platform, then you become free from the contamination. This is the advantage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If you don't come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then you may be relieved for the time being from the reaction of sinful activities, but you'll again commit.
So Parīkṣit Mahārāja says, "This kind of committing sin and again become relieved by atone..., atonement, repetition, it is just like kuñjara-śaucavat." He's giving very nice example. Kvacin nivartate abhadrāt kvacic carati tat punaḥ, prāyaścittam atho 'pārtham [SB 6.1.10]. "Therefore this atonement, to me, is nothing but waste of time."
How it is waste of...? Kuñjara-śaucavat. The example, kuñjara means elephant. The elephant cleanses the body very nicely in the water, in the lake or some water, reservoir, but as soon as comes on the shore takes some dust and overthrows the body. Those who have seen, those that have got experience—immediately the whole body becomes dirty.
Immediately taking... Just like we, human being, we go to the bathroom and cleanse ourself with soap and water, and then we feel comfortable. We do not again take some dirty things and throw over it. But the elephant, animal, does it. These are our examples.
So Parīkṣit Mahārāja said that "You may become cleansed by the atonement process, or you may be relieved from the disease by taking some medicine, but if again you commit, then what is the use of this treatment or use of this atonement?"
So this is the second question of Parīkṣit Mahārāja to Śukadeva Gosvāmī, very important question, that "How one can ultimately become free from all contamination of these material modes of nature? Otherwise, what is the use of atonement?" So that is—I've told you in summary—that unless one comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no possibility of being freed from this repetition of committing sin and atonement.
So..., so Śukadeva Gosvāmī is replying:
na hy ātyantika iṣyate
vyādhayo 'bhibhavanti hi
evaṁ niyamakṛd rājan
śanaiḥ kṣemāya kalpate
śamena ca damena ca
yamena niyamena vā
So we shall discuss this prescription tomorrow again. It is a long discussion. Thank you very much. [devotees offer obeisances] [break]
Question: ...person who comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and is chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and has committed all these sinful activities in this lifetime. For instance, let's say a person has been in the..., involved in the Vietnam War due to his relation with the material world and has been drawn into this activity. And now he's in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. How is he then relieved of the law of karma for his activity?
Prabhupāda: You come and live with us. That's all. Is it very difficult? Our students, they are living with us. You simply come and live with us—you are free from all karma. Is it difficult? Then do that. We shall give you food, we shall give you shelter, we shall give you nice philosophy. If you want to marry, we shall give you good wife. What you want more? So come and live with us. That's all.
That I've already explained: māṁ ca 'vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate [Bg. 14.26]. We employ you immediately in the devotional service of Lord, and you become free. Kṛṣṇa says; not that we have concocted this idea. Kṛṣṇa says that "Anyone who's engaged in My devotional service without any hypocrisy, avyabhicāreṇa, then immediately he's freed. Immediately." In another place Kṛṣṇa says,
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
So this assurance is there. You believe it and see, practically. You hear and you see practically what is being done. What is the difficulty?
So increase the volume of the Society. The whole world will be happy. That's a fact.
[pause] That's all.
Devotees: Jaya. [offer obeisances]
Prabhupāda: Join us. Try to understand the philosophy and preach, and make others happy. Kṛṣṇa will be pleased upon you. Then your life is successful. [end]