Meeting at University , Berkeley , 1972-10-06

Co-ordinator of event: Languages and literatures Professor van Buitenen. On the left Professor Jhani, Professor Staal, Professor Goldman. Mrs. Staal, Mrs Jhani, Paṇḍita Derbhatta.

Prabhupāda: [indistinct] Paṇḍita?

Co-ordinator of event: [laughs] Paṇḍita Derbhatta who is with our department this year and the Professor Judah from the Theosophical Union is also with us. We have asked the Svāmī to be with us this evening to discuss some of the social aspects of the International Society for Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

He has favoured us with a paper with some of his commentary on the scriptures regarding the social, political and economic effects and if you would like to make some comment about this and then we would like to discuss these matters with you. We have the paper so we are prepared to ask you some questions. If that is all right with you after you have made your comments.


Prabhupāda: [indistinct] put it there.

Pradyumna: While we prepare the small sort of quotations from the Bhagavad-gītā and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam pertaining to Kṛṣṇa consciousness as the universal basis. As the basis of universal spiritual culture and the political, social and economic effects in Kali-yuga and its applications. And begin by ah, quoting and chanting these things from Bhagavad-gītā and then Śrīla Prabhupāda will explain in comment.

Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya.

In explaining the lifestyle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness from the Bhagavad-gītā text [4.13].

cātur, varṇyam, māyā, sṛṣṭam,
guṇa, karma, vibhāgaśaḥ,
tasya, kartāram, api, mām,
viddhi, akartāram, avyayam.

Everyone is invited to please join us in the chanting.

Prabhupāda: That’s all right. So, what is the translation?

cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ

Pradyumna: "According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable."

Prabhupāda: So this material world is working under three modes of material nature. Goodness, passion, and ignorance therefore in its spiritual nature there is no such qualities. Spirit soul is pure and when the spirit soul comes in contact with matter then the spirit soul becomes influenced by three kinds of material qualities.

Actually we are part and parcel of God so qualitatively God and we are one. He is spirit we are also spirit but we are part and parcel, fragment. God is full, whole and we are fragments. So the example is just like fire and the sparks of fire. The fire is also possessing burning capacity and the small sparks they have also got the burning capacity but not as big as the whole fire.

This is our relationship with God. God has got creative power, we have also got creative power but we are satisfied by creating a sputnik flying in the sky and God has created unlimited number of planets that are floating in the sky. That is the difference between God and us. We have got the creative power we are also trying to fly our sputnik’s and we are taking very much credit big, big scientists but we do not want to give any credit to who is floating millions of planets floating in the sky. This is godlessness. So this godlessness is manifested in three qualities.

Those who are in complete ignorance they have practically forgotten what is God. Those who are in the modes of passion, they have got slight information of God and those who are in goodness they can understand what is God. Therefore God says Kṛṣṇa says, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭam, according to the quality. That there must be four classes of social order the first-class in goodness brāhmaṇa, most intelligent class, brahma jānāti iti brāhmaṇaḥ. Brāhmaṇa does not understand only ordinary things but he understands the Supreme the source of everything that is brāhmaṇa. The qualities are described there.

[banging sound]. What is that sound?

Devotee: [indistinct].

Prabhupāda: The kṣatriyas who are supposed to govern over the people they are guided by the brāhmaṇas---that you govern. Brāhmaṇa’s are not interested, just like you have heard a great politician Cāṇakya Paṇḍita he was a brāhmaṇa. He was prime minister of Emperor Candragupta but he did not accept any salary.

Even say 500 years ago Sanātana Gosvāmīand Rūpa Gosvāmī they were brāhmaṇa’s but because they accepted ministerial position in the government, at least then it was Mohammedan government Hussain Shah. They were immediately I mean to say rejected from brāhmaṇa society. A brāhmaṇa cannot accept any salary, similarly kṣatriyas also, similarly vaiśyas also only the śūdras they can. Paricaryātmakaṁ karma śūdrasyāpi svabhāva-jam [Bg. 18.44].

Śūdra means he cannot live independently he has to accept some master. So these four classes of men must be there. That is our social idea, just like in your body there are four divisions, the head, the arms, the belly and the legs. Similarly the whole social body should be divided into four classes of order. The brāhmaṇa class, the kṣatriya class, the vaiśya class and the śūdra class and education should be imparted in that state. That is our social idea. Your first question was social strive or?

Pradyumna: Lifestyle.

Prabhupāda: Lifestyle. So lifestyle---generally a living entity born by father and mother he is considered a śūdra. Just like in ordinary life we send our children to school or college’s for knowledge. So janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ, anyone who is born is ignorant---foolish, otherwise why is he sent to school or college? He is supposed to be foolish. So education means according to the qualities there must be examination by the teachers who is fit for becoming a brāhmaṇa, who is fit for becoming a kṣatriya, and who is fit for becoming a vaiśya like that.

Of course śūdras were not given any education or they were incapable of receiving education. Especially the brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas were educated to guide the social welfare. That is the Vedic system and therefore Kṛṣṇa says, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. Guṇa and karma---not by birth, Kṛṣṇa says by quality and by work. One must be qualified brāhmaṇa by the symptoms, truthfulness, controlling the mind, controlling the senses very simple simplicity of life. Ārjavam, jñānam, vijñānam---full of knowledge, vijñānam---practical application is life.

Āstikyam---theistic view, in this way one becomes brāhmaṇa. Similarly kṣatriyas qualifications are described, vaiśyas qualifications are also described. The brāhmaṇas qualifications nine, kṣatriyas qualifications seven, reducing. Vaiśyas qualifications three, kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ, kṛṣi---means agriculture, go-rakṣya---cow protection that is vaiśyas business and the kṣatriyas business is to give protection to the citizens, human beings. Similarly the vaiśyas business is to give protection to the cows. The cow is very important animal in the society.

Go-rakṣya, Śrī Kṛṣṇa was Himself a cowherd boy, although He is God but He is teaching us that cow protection is very important item to the society. Kṛṣi-go-rakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ the thread, vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam. The higher three classes of men are divided like this and the next fourth class śūdras, paricaryātmakaṁ karma śūdrasyāpi svabhāva-jam. They want some service that’s all and according to Vedic culture because in this age there is no other distinction or orders of society therefore they say, kalau śūdra sambhava. In this age Kali-yuga everyone is a śūdra so this is the social or style of life according to our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.

So at the present moment there is a scarcity of brahminical class of men, good brain---one who knows what is Brahma. Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ, by birth everyone is a śūdra, saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ.. When we go to the University or accept a teacher, formerly they used to go to gurukula. There was no organised University with payment, no. The students used to go to a brāhmaṇa teacher, live with him, serve him and take education, no money requested.

So brahmacārī would live as menial servant even if he was son of a King. He would go to the spiritual master and live there as a menial servant whatever the spiritual master, teacher would ask him. So this social order is lacking at the present moment therefore everything is not in order.

Here Kṛṣṇa says or God says, when we speak of Kṛṣṇa we say God that, "these four classes of men social orders must be there. It is My creation," and you cannot avoid anything created by God. Similarly you cannot avoid the social divisions, the. I mean to say---orders, meritorious orders---divisions of the society and it is the duty of the government to see that this social orders is going on nicely.

The class of brāhmaṇas are doing their duty nicely, the kṣatriyas are doing nicely---everyone should be employed. Nobody should be without any employment---according to the qualities. This is the duty of the government. So lifestyle as a conception is given in the Bhagavad-gītā very clearly now you judge whether it is acceptable or not. What is it acceptable? If it was being accepted formally why not now? So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is an attempt to create a few brāhmaṇas, brain. Brāhmaṇa is considered to be the head;

puruṣasyāśramaiḥ saha
catvāro jajñire varṇā
viprādayaḥ guṇair pṛthak

Viprādayaḥ, puruṣasya---to accept the Supreme Lord, virāṭ---His universal form. Take this universe as the body as a form of the Lord---virāṭ-rūpa. The virāṭ-rūpa was manifested before Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gītā. So the form means. The body means there must be head, there must be arms, there must be belly, there must be leg then it is concluded. For without head what is the meaning of this body? If you have got nice body and your head is cut off then what is the value?

So at the present moment headless therefore there is always disorder nobody is satisfied. Even in spite of advancement of education and economic development, everything disordered because the head is lacking. Or the head has become crazy. So therefore Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to rectify that brain puzzle. There is very important movement, just try to understand. That’s all. [indistinct]. What do you think Dr. Staal?

Dr. Staal: [indistinct]

Prabhupāda: So it is not my statement, I’m not manufacturing anything. It is statement of Kṛṣṇa the authority, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]. "The Supreme Personality of Godhead He is Kṛṣṇa." And He is accepted by all the ācāryas, from the old days, Vyāsadeva He is accepted. Nārada accepted, Asita, Devala, that means all the ācāryas of India. Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu Svāmī, Lord Caitanya and following in their footsteps we have accepting, Kṛṣṇa. This is our process, mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186].

Mahā-janaḥ---great personalities what do they---follow. If we follow then our success is assured but if we manufacture idea because our senses are imperfect however intelligent I may be in the estimation of modern, or common man. After all our senses are imperfect so whatever knowledge we manufacture by our imperfect senses that is imperfect. So we have to accept knowledge from the perfect then it is all right. What is the meaning of receiving knowledge from the imperfect? Bhagavad-gītā says, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ [Bg. 4.2].

Paramparā---by disciplic succession, perfect knowledge. Just like a father teaches the son, "my dear son this is gold, gold ring." So the child is not perfect but he receives knowledge from the perfect father so when he says, "it is gold ring," his knowledge is perfect. Similarly one may not be perfect but if he accepts knowledge from the perfect then his knowledge is perfect. Our reception of knowledge is not by manufacturing, in Sanskrit they are called āroha-panthā and avaroha-panthā.

Āroha-panthā means one’s trying to understand from down and avaroha-panthā means the knowledge is coming from above straight down. So we are therefore presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it is without mal interpretation. The tendency is that I can interpret... [end]