Lecture , London , 1972-07-12
Prabhupāda: I thank you very much for your participating in this saṅkīrtana movement. This movement was started by Lord Caitanya five hundred years ago in India, West Bengal. [noise of someone speaking in background]
[aside:] What is that sound? That sound cannot be stopped?
Haṁsadūta: [indistinct, questions someone else] That's the speaker system, Prabhupāda.
Prabhupāda: But this movement is not five hundred years old. It is coming since very, very long time. As we have advertised, bhāgavata-dharma. This is part of bhāgavata-dharma. Bhāgavata-dharma was explained by Prahlāda Mahārāja, a great devotee of Lord Nṛsiṁha-deva, Nārāyaṇa, some millions of years ago. His father was Hiraṇyakaśipu, atheist. He did not believe in God. But by the grace of Nārada Muni, his son, from the very womb of his mother, he was initiated in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and after his birth he became a great devotee.
And when he was only five years old he was preaching this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement amongst his class fellows. He was little boy, king's son. He had no opportunity to go out of the palace. Still, he took the opportunity of speaking something about this bhāgavata-dharma amongst his class fellows. So he was canvassing his class fellows, "Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa."
The bhāgavata-dharma is called...
dehinām iha dehiṣu
prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā
Bhāgavata-dharma, execution of bhāgavata-dharma... There are different types of dharma. Dharma means the codes of God, the laws of God---real dharma, or religion. Dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. Dharma means the codes, the laws, which is given by God. This is the simple definition of God, er, of dharma. [child screaming]
[aside:] It is disturbing. This child is... [pause]
Devotee: If the children are noisy, they can go outside and [indistinct].
Prabhupāda: So "religion," this English word, is not sufficient translation of the word dharma. Religion... According to English language, religion means a kind of faith. You may believe in some faith. Somebody believes in Hindu religion; others may believe in Christian religion. One may become a Christian from Hindu, or from a Hindu to Christian. Generally, we find these changes. But a dharma does not mean like that. Dharma means which you cannot change. It is the constitutional part of your life.
So Bhāgavata says, dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra [SB 1.1.2]. Dharma, the so-called religion, kaitava, which is cheating. Kaitava means cheating. Dharmaḥ projjhita. Projjhita means prakṛṣṭa-rūpeṇa ujjhita: thrown away, kicked away. Dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām. So there are different kinds of dharmas, faith. But what is real dharma, real religion? Real religion is, as described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]. Real religion is the codes which is given by God.
Just like you may have some by-laws in your office or in your home, but there is state law. That you cannot, I mean to say, disobey, state law. Just like in your country the state law is that "Keep to the left." In America the state law is "Keep to the right." So here we have to obey. If you drive your car, keep to the left. You cannot disobey. You cannot say, "I am American. I go in my country on the right. Why shall I drive on the left?" No. Because it is the state laws you must obey. Similarly, dharma is such a thing that you cannot disobey. You must obey, because it is the codes given by God. If you are so much respectful to the laws of the state, how much respectful you should be to obey the laws given by God.
So we find in the Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. This is real dharma. Kṛṣṇa says in the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā, dharma-saṁsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge: "I descend in different millenniums," yuge yuge, "for establishing the real dharma, real religion."
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
yuge yuge sambhavāmi
So God descends. He comes Himself or He sends His representative to reestablish the real purpose of religion, whenever there is discrepancies in the matter of discharging real religion. So the real... Kṛṣṇa, when appeared, He said... His last instruction is... In the Bhagavad-gītā, you know, those who have read Bhagavad-gītā, He said, "The most confidential part of religion is this." What is that? Sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66] = "You give up all other processes of faith and religion. Simply surrender unto Me." Ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ.
Religion means to become purified, to become purified from our sinful activities. So Kṛṣṇa says that "If you surrender unto Me..." When I speak "Kṛṣṇa," you may understand "God." God is speaking that "You surrender unto Me and I'll give you protection from the reaction of all sinful activities." In this material world we are encaged in this material body for our sinful activities, different types of sinful activities.
So our aim of life is to get out of these sinful activities and be situated in our own original position, constitutional position, spiritual position. Because we are part and parcel of God, we are as pure as God, but we have been contaminated by this material association, and therefore we have got different types of bodies, encagements. And according to the different types of bodies we have to enjoy or suffer the material atmosphere. This is our position.
So bhāgavata-dharma means to surrender unto God. That's all. Very simple thing. And Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is teaching us this bhāgavata-dharma, how to surrender. He demanded that "You surrender unto Me." But still, people misunderstood Him. Therefore He again came, Kṛṣṇa again came, in the form of Lord Caitanya, as a devotee, and He taught us how to approach Kṛṣṇa, how to become Kṛṣṇa conscious.
So this bhāgavata-dharma is eternal. As long as we are there, as long God is there, our relationship with God, that is called bhāgavata-dharma. Bhaga. Bhaga means fortune. Bhaga means fortune, and bhagavān... Bhagavān means who is the most fortunate or who has got all the opulences. So God has got all the opulences. And one who is in association with God, he has also all the opulences. And the exchange between God and the devotee in all opulences, it is called bhāgavata-dharma.
So Prahlāda Mahārāja is preaching amongst his class fellow, kaumāra ācaret prājño dharmān bhāgavatān iha.
dharmān bhāgavatān iha
durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma
tad apy adhruvam arthadam
He says, "My dear friends..." Because the friends were born of atheist family. Prahlāda Mahārāja also, his father was atheist. So they were not agreeable to their friend's advice, Prahlāda Mahārāja. Prahlāda Mahārāja canvassing to his friends, little friends, "My dear friends, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa." And they were replying, "Prahlāda, why you are insisting us to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa? Let us play. We shall see Hare Kṛṣṇa at the time of death."
But he was insisting, "My dear friends, no." Kaumāra ācaret prājño: "This Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be studied, should be understood from the very beginning of boyhood, kaumāra." Kaumāra means boyhood. From... Boyhood means from the age of five years. As education begins at the age of five years, similarly, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or bhāgavata-dharma, should be taught to the children as soon as the child is five years old. That is his instruction. "Why so early? We can understand about God later on." No. Prahlāda Mahārāja says, durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma. Durlabham, "very rarely." "My dear friends, you have got this human form of life after many, many births."
The modern civilization, they do not know. The university education, they do not know. The scientist, they do not know. There is a false theory, Darwin's theory, about evolution of species. But that is not perfect knowledge. That is simply an idea taken from Purāṇas. In the Purāṇas, this Darwin's theory is not new to the Vedic knowledge. It is a theory only. But actual fact is different. Actual fact is described in the Purāṇas, where it is described, aśītiṁ caturaś caiva lakṣāṁs tāñ jīva-jātiṣu [Brahmā-vaivarta Purāṇa]. Jīva-jāti, different species of life.
There are 8,400,000's of different species of life. Aśītiṁ catura. Aśītim means eighty, and catura means four. Eighty-four, lakṣāṁs, 100,000. Jīva-jātiṣu, there are different species of life. They are developing. Because after devastation, the whole universe is filled up with water. So in the water the first living beings are the fishes or the aquatics. Then that fish or aquatic means a living entity embodied by that fish body. Just like we are now, every one of us... I am also a soul, you are also a soul. We are embodied by this body, human form of body. Similarly, we had to accept the body of a fish. Because we are in this material world, when there is water only, where shall we go? We must live here in this material... Unless we are liberated, we must have to live... And according to the circumstances, we get different types of body.
So from the aquatics, next promotion is birds, beast..., I mean to say trees, plants, then insects, then birds, then beasts. In this way, after million, millions of years... You have seen that a tree is standing for thousands of years. If I get a body of a tree, then I'll have to stand in one place for many thousands of years. Therefore when you come by gradual evolution in the different species of life, by nature when you come to this point, to possess a human form of body, it is very, very rare. That is described = durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma. Durlabham. Duḥ means difficult, and labha means gain. Durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma tad apy adhruvam [SB 7.6.1]. Adhruvam. He said, durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma tad apy adhruvam arthadam. Although it is also temporary. We shall not live forever with this body. The animals also, they'll also not live forever. The body will be finished after certain period of time.
So he says, Prahlāda Mahārāja says, "My dear friend, this body, this human form of body, is very, very rarely we have obtained it. Although it is temporary, but there is a great gain." In the animal life, that is also temporary, and this human form of body is also temporary. But the animal cannot get that achievement which we can get. Durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma tad apy adhruvam arthadam. Arthadam means... Artha means meaningful, or some material profit or spiritual profit.
So we can, by the help of this human form of body, we can achieve some very great profit. That is required. That is the human mission. Not like that, we take our birth like cats and dogs. Everyone takes birth. The process of birth is the same = the male-female sexual intercourse, and there is some child. So there is no difference between the human process of birth and the animal process of birth. There is no difference of living condition of the animal and the human being. Because the animal eats; we also eat. The animal sleeps; we also sleep. The animals have facility for sex life; we have also got the facility of sex life. The animal also defends according to his own way; we can defend with atom bomb. That's all right. But it is defending, nothing more.
Therefore, about these four things---eating, sleeping, mating and defending---they are common. The special feature of this human form of body is that he has developed consciousness how to understand God. The animal hasn't got this. And the process of understanding God and to revive our relationship with God is called bhāgavata-dharma. This is explanation of bhāgavata-dharma. The eating, sleeping, mating, this is also dharma. Dharma means the activities, constitutional activities. Any man or any animal who has got this body, he must eat. This is also dharma. Dharma means which we cannot avoid. Because we have become human beings, it is not that we can avoid eating. That is not... This is also dharma.
So this dharma, this practice, this occupation, is visible in animal life and human life. But another thing, the dharma which we actually mean---means to understand God---that is not visible in animal life. That is not possible. Therefore, dharmeṇa hīna paśubhiḥ samānāḥ [Hitopadeśa 25] = anyone who does not cultivate religious life, he is no better than an animal. He's animal. If you are simply interested with eating, sleeping, mating and defending, nothing more, then this is animal civilization. This is not human civilization.
So we have got the opportunity. Why we should accept religious life? To get out these..., out of these material clutches. People do not take it very seriously, but those who are intelligent, they take it seriously. In the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find that living soul, the living entity or the soul, na jāyate na mriyate vā kadācit, nityaḥ śāśvato 'yaṁ na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20]. The living entity, the soul, is never born; it never dies. It is the oldest, nityaḥ śāśvataṁ purāṇa. Purāṇa means very old; nitya, eternal; na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre, does not die after the destruction of this body. The death and birth is of the body, not of the soul. Therefore when we are actually intelligent, cultured, advanced, then we should be inquisitive that "If I am eternal, then why I am subjected to these tribulations of birth, death, old age and disease?" That is intelligence.
It is not intelligence that "The cats and dogs are eating on the footpath; I am eating [in] a very nice plate, nice hotel or nice table." You are eating, that's all. It is not advancement of civilization when you think that you have got good apartment, good house, and sleeping in a nice bedstead, and the cat and dog is lying on the floor or in the street. No. It is sleeping. When you sleep, the enjoyment is as good as of the cats and dogs. Similarly, sex life also. They also enjoy; you also enjoy. Then what is your special prerogative? The special prerogative is that you can understand in this life that you are eternal, you are Brahman. Therefore the..., in the human form of life, if one is not so advanced as to inquire about the Brahman, athāto brahma jijñāsā... This human form of life is meant for inquiring about Brahman, or spirit soul. So long this inquiry is not there, one is animal. That's all.
So bhāgavata-dharma is meant for, actually, for the advanced human being. Bhāgavata-dharma. Bhāgavata-dharma means to know "What I am? Am I this body or something else?" If you study yourself, you can also understand. Or if you take instruction from the Vedas, then also you can understand. The knowledge is already there. If you take advantage of the knowledge, you can know. But if you make analysis by yourself, then also you'll know. But if you make analysis by education, speculation, it will take long, long years. Because if you don't accept the standard way, then it will waste..., you will waste your time. So you will have to come to the same point. But if you are inquisitive, that is your life. If we come to the point of inquiring about "What I am?" oh, that is great advancement. Athāto brahma jijñāsā.
I can understand very well that when... There are so many babies here. I was also a baby. My body, I had a body like a baby on the lap of my mother. I can remember that. Then I became a child, then I became a boy, then I became a young man, now I am old man. Now, the bodies, different bodies, I possessed. I remember. But those bodies are no more existing. Where is my childhood body? Where is my boyhood body? Where is my youthhood body? They're all gone. So although the bodies are gone, I remember that I had a body of a child, I had a body of a boy, I had a body of young man.
Therefore I am eternal; my bodies are not eternal. Therefore the conclusion should be = when I change this body, then I'll exist. That is... Tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra... Everything is there, either you study yourself or take the lesson from the Vedic version. The Vedic version is that,
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
dhīras tatra na muhyati
Just like the... I am changing, you are changing, everyone is changing. Every second, every moment, we are changing bodies. So similarly, changing of this body, accepting another body. After leaving this body, I'll accept another body. That body is not in my hand. What kind of body I am going to accept next, that depends on my work here, in this body. I am preparing my next body in this life. Just like a child is being..., a boy is being educated to prepare his next life; if he is nicely educated, his next life is very bright. If he's not nicely educated, that will be very dark.
Similarly, this chance, this human form of body, is a junction. From animal forms of life, by gradual process of evolution, I have come to this human form of life. Now I have to make out next what life. You can promote yourself to the higher planetary system. You can promote yourself to the spiritual world. You can get your eternal life. That is called arthadam. That achievement you can do in this human form of life.
So anyone who is attempting to get eternal, blissful life of knowledge, he is intelligent man. Otherwise, one who is spoiling his life simply for animal propensities---eating, sleeping, mating---he's no better than animal. That's all. Cats and dog. Polished cat, polished dog maybe, but he is animal. This bhāgavata-dharma means that how to get out of these four defects of material life, or four miserable condition of material life---birth, death, old age and disease---and get eternal, blissful life of knowledge. That is called bhāgavata-dharma.
So it is a great science. It is not sentiment. It is a great science. And anyone can achieve this benefit in this human form of life. Anyone. It doesn't matter what he is, provided he is serious about getting out of these material clutches and regain his spiritual life. That is possible. So Vedic civilization is aimed at this point. Therefore you don't find in the Vedic civilization industrial enterprise or so many material activities. But they were concerned how to get out of these material clutches and regain our original position. That is called mukti, liberation. Liberation means to be situated in our original position. We are part and parcel of God. God... Just like gold and part and parcel of gold is also gold. Therefore the Vedic literature says that "You try to understand that you are also Brahman---God is Supreme Brahman; you are also Brahman---and mold your life as Brahman."
So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is how to mold this life to understand that we are all Brahman and our original source is the Paraṁ-brahma. Just like Arjuna accepted Kṛṣṇa, paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān [Bg. 10.12] = "Kṛṣṇa, You are Para-brahman." That is accepted by the Vedas.
eko bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān
[Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13]
"God" means He is also a living entity as you are, as I am. As we are sitting, I am speaking, we are face to face, similarly, God is also a person like you, like me. But He is very, very powerful. Nityo nitya... Just like here in this material world also I see that you are more powerful than me, and another person is more powerful than you, another person is more powerful than him. If you go on searching, when you find the supreme powerful, that is God. That is God. Supreme powerful.
Here, in our relative position, I see that I am powerful; somebody is less powerful than me; and somebody is more powerful than me. This is relative world. Nobody can say that "I am the most powerful. Nobody is more powerful than me." Nobody can say. That is not possible. Similarly, you go on searching who is the most powerful. If you are fortunate enough, if you can find out such a person the most powerful, nobody is more powerful than Him, that is God.
So God's definition is not very difficult. Simply... So we have to go through the śāstras. The Vedic literature says that the supreme powerful is Kṛṣṇa.
anādir ādir govindaḥ
Kṛṣṇa also says in the Bhagavad-gītā, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya [Bg. 7.7] = "My dear Dhanañjaya, Arjuna, nobody is superior than Me." Therefore Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Try to find out your relationship with Kṛṣṇa and mold your life in that way. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. [devotees offer obeisances] [break]
Indian guest (1): [indistinct] scientific advancement. These men try to say that science is discovering how they [indistinct].
Śyāmasundara: [explaining question] "Is it safe to compare scientific advancement with Bhāgavata, like Darwin and Bhāgavatam?"
Prabhupāda: What do you mean by scientific advancement?
Indian guest (1): Well, material advancement...
Prabhupāda: Material means it is to be finished. Where is the advancement? You do not want to die, but why you die? Where is your advancement?
Indian guest (1): No, I fully agree with your interpretation of Bhāgavata, but the comparison between Darwin's discoveries and what is mentioned in Bhāgavata, I don't agree with that. Because it is already mentioned in Bhāgavata, but Swāmījī, you are from a different point of view. So...
Prabhupāda: No, that is a wrong theory. Therefore we say. That is a wrong theory. Darwin is studying this body. He does not know... He has no information of the soul; therefore his knowledge is imperfect. His theory is imperfect. It is a long subject matter. If you want to discuss, you come; we shall discuss. It is a wrong theory. That is not scientific advancement.
Science means it must be correct. That is science. If science is theory, that is not science. So Darwin is advocating his theory, "May be like this," "Perhaps like this." This "perhaps," "maybe" is not science. This is only suggestion. We have to deal with the facts. That is science.
Indian guest (1): Yes, but as you say, there are two ways of reaching the God = either through the study of Vedas up to...
Prabhupāda: Yes. Through study of Vedas, not study something nonsense. Study of Vedas.
Indian guest (1): That is up to the level of self-analysis, because it is that time when we compare.[?]
Prabhupāda: Yes. Self-analysis, if you analyze yourself, if you think yourself, meditate, study your finger, "Am I this finger?" the answer will be, "No. My finger." "Am I this hand?" Then the answer will be, "No, it is my hand." Then where is "I"?
Indian guest (1): Yes, that is the ultimate...
Prabhupāda: That is... That is... If you can study "I," then it is scientific. Simply "my" is not scientific. That is, child knows, "It is my finger."
Indian guest (1): Yes, but, I mean, it is a further word[?] to study oneself.
Prabhupāda: That further means when you come to the conclusion that "I am spirit soul." If you can understand this, then it is scientific. If you remain in ignorance, that "I am this body," that is not scientific. Actually, I am not this body. Everyone can understand. Just like a dead man. Suppose some of your relative has died. You are crying, "Oh, my friend has gone. My friend has gone." Your friend is lying there.
Why you say that "My friend has gone"? What is the answer? If I say... The dead body, you are crying, "Oh, my relative has gone. My father is gone," or some... I say, "Where he has gone? He is there. Why you are crying?" Then what will be your answer?
Indian guest (1): No, I mean that that is the ultimate scheme for...
Prabhupāda: But that you understand, that that... What is that? What is that? You have never seen your father or friend. You have seen this body. Now you are crying, "Now he has gone." Why he has gone? You have seen the body all along. That is lying here. Why you say he has gone? What is your answer? This is ignorance. All along I am seeing the false thing = "He is my father; I am the body."
But he's not my father. Actually, when father, my, goes away from this body, I cry, "Oh, my father has gone." Where he has gone? His..., the body is there. This is ignorance. That, it is not scientific. Because I'm thinking, "I am this body," this is not scientific. This is ignorance.
So in this way you have to study. But the answer is there in the Vedic literature = tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13]. "My father has accepted another body," this is scientific. Dhīra, one who is sober, he is not lamenting. Just like your child, from babyhood it becomes grown-up, or acts in another way. You are not crying, "Where is that body of my child, that baby body? Where he has gone?" But you know that he has transferred to this body. Similarly, when you get this knowledge that "My father has left this body, he has accepted another body, although it is not visible," that is knowledge. That is scientific.
Indian guest (1): Yes, but by average person it is very difficult to reach the light...
Prabhupāda: But therefore he has to study. Every rascal, fool, he has to study. There is education. Therefore Vedic literature is there. If you don't study and you see... If you say, "I am scientific advanced," then what is this nonsense? If you have no knowledge, if you have no study, why do you say, "I am scientific"? Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Devotees: Haribol. [break]
Indian Guest (2): How does repeating one word, "Kṛṣṇa," or singing "Rāma" and "Kṛṣṇa" help achieving the way?
Prabhupāda: Because you'll be in touch with Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's name not different, because Kṛṣṇa is absolute. So you see, these Europeans and American boys and girls, simply by chanting how they are advancing in spiritual consciousness. This is practical, not theoretical. "Kṛṣṇa" means Kṛṣṇa. Just like here in this material world, if I want to drink water, if I say "water, water, water," that will not satisfy me. I want the substance water. So here there is difference between the name and the substance. But in the absolute world there is no such difference. Nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.133]. Kṛṣṇa the person and Kṛṣṇa's name the same thing.
Therefore if you chant "Kṛṣṇa," then you are in direct touch with Kṛṣṇa. So that will help you for your spiritual advancement. Just like if you are in touch with fire you will get yourself warmer, warmer and warmer, and at last you'll get red fire. Similarly, if we are in touch with Kṛṣṇa, then we advance spiritually, and then we become completely spiritualized, our original Brahman. This is the process. Simple process. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and you'll gradually develop your spiritual consciousness. That is actually happening. It is not story. You can see practically how they are spiritually advancing.
So why not experiment yourself? What is the loss? If you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, is there any loss? Tell me, is there any loss? But why don't you do it? Why not make a try? Instead of arguing, you see practically what is happening. They are of different civilization, different culture. How they are developing their Kṛṣṇa consciousness? How it is possible? Simply by chanting. This is practical. Throughout the whole world---in Africa, in America, in Canada---everywhere. So this is very simple process. But people will waste their time by arguing. Why not make an experiment and see what is the result? That is our propaganda. [end]