Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.1.9 , Auckland , 1973-02-20
Pradyumna: ...vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. [leads chanting of verse, etc.] [Prabhupāda and devotees repeat] [indistinct]
bhavatā yad viniścitam
puṁsām ekāntataḥ śreyas
tan naḥ śaṁsitum arhasi
Prabhupāda: [aside:] You can stop this.
Very good. Ladies are better than lords. All right. Now?
Pradyumna: tatra---thereof; tatra---thereof; añjasā---made easy; āyuṣman---blessed with a long duration of life; bhavatā---by your good self; yat---whatever; viniścitam---ascertained; puṁsām---for the people in general; ekāntataḥ---absolutely; śreyaḥ---ultimate good; tat---that; naḥ---to us; śaṁsitum---to explain; arhasi---deserve.
Translation = "Please, therefore, being blessed with many years, explain to us what you ascertain to be the absolute and ultimate good for the people in general."
Prabhupāda: Hmm. This is the most important. First of all, Sūta Gosvāmī was selected because he received the knowledge from Vyāsadeva and other sages very perfectly on account of his becoming submissive and serious. This is the first qualification. Now they are asking, "What you have thought, the best way of achievement, the highest goal of life," añjasā, "just make it easy."
In the next verse it will be explained why easy things are required in this age. Very difficult execution of spiritual life, austerities, penance, that is not possible. People are so fallen that they cannot accept any severe type of austerity. It is not possible. Therefore the yoga system is not at all possible in this age. As we have several times discussed, it is very difficult, yama, niyama. The very beginning is yama, niyama, controlling. Everything controlling; not to be licentious, everything controlling. Yoga life begins, yoga indriya saṁyama. The real purpose of practicing yoga is controlling the senses. Our senses are so strong, we have discussed many times, that even the greatest learned man falls victim to sense enjoyment. Even the greatest learned man.
In the śāstra, therefore, it is ordered,
na viviktāsano bhavet
vidvāṁsam api karṣati
Mātrā means mother, with mother; svasrā, with sister; duhitrā, with daughter. Nāviviktāsano bhavet: "Never sit down in a lonely place even with your mother, even with your sister, or even with your daughter." Balavān indriya-grāmaḥ. The indriya-grāmaḥ, all the senses, especially the sex, is so strong that vidvāṁsam api karṣati, even one is very learned, very well educated, still he is attracted.
Therefore our... This is the basic principle of our conditioned life, the sex. We are in this material world... Material world means to get this material body, and material body means subjected to the tribulations of material nature. This is called conditioned life. As soon as you get a material body, you have to undergo the pains of pleasures of this. No pleasure; all pains. You have to undergo. This is subjected. Mātrā-sparśa. As soon as you get a material body, immediately according to the seasonal changes... Just like in London city sometimes you are feeling cold, sometimes you are feeling very warm as the season changes. So the material nature will go on changing, and because your material body is susceptible to all the influence of such changes, you will feel pains and pleasure. No pleasure; always pain.
The same warmth is pleasure at some time, and the same warmth is pain at the same time. In summer season warm is not very pleasing, but in the winter season the same warmth is pleasing. So warmth is pleasing or painful according to the seasonal changes. Therefore Kṛṣṇa advised Arjuna that "Don't be subjected to the seasonal changes." āgamāpāyino 'nityā: "They come and go. Don't be very serious about that. Whenever there is some reverse condition of life, don't be disturbed, because they will come and go."
So our real business is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So how this Kṛṣṇa consciousness can be developed by the easiest method? Tatra tatrāñjasāyuṣman bhavatā yad viniścitam. Now, this question is asked from a person who is self-realized, not from a shopkeeper. Tad vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. Here is a guru, because he has learned sufficiently from Vyāsadeva and other sages, therefore they are asking from him, not from a... Āyuṣman. They are blessing, "Be blessed with long span of life." Although he was young, still he's asking, they're asking, great, great learned brāhmaṇas and sages, "What you have decided to be the easiest process to achieve the highest goal of life?"
Puṁsām ekāntataḥ śreyas. Ekāntataḥ, absolute. Śreyas. Śreyas means benefit. There are two kinds of benefit = one is called preyas and one is called śreyas. Preyas means immediately very pleasing. Immediately. The senses, sense satisfaction, very pleasing immediately. But śreyas means ultimate goal. Ultimately. Just like a child, for him preyas means he wants to play, he doesn't want to go to school, and..., but his śreyas is that he must go to school, must be educated, so that his future life may be secure. That is called śreyas.
So our life, this human form of life, should be used for śreyas. It is said, puṁsām ekāntataḥ śreyas. We should not be attracted by the preyas. Preyas. But modern education is so nasty that they encourage preyas. Especially in the..., not in this country, everywhere, that boys and girls are not checked, rather encouraged, encouraged in the matter of immature sex life. Preyas. They want it, "All right, do it. Take tablets and enjoy." This is dangerous. For this reason, the generation are becoming degraded, because they are not aiming at the śreyas. They are simply aiming at the preyas---immediate pleasing thing. They do not know that immature sex life spoils the brain, spoils strength. Everything is spoiled. In student life, brahmacārī system is very nice. If he keeps brahmacārī, without any sex life, then his brain becomes very potent. He can remember. Memory becomes very sharp, bodily strength becomes very solid. In this way his life becomes very solid for future śreyas. But that is not being taught at the present moment.
But here the ṛṣis, the great sages, they are asking, puṁsām ekāntataḥ śreyas, tan naḥ śaṁsitum arhasi, "Kindly describe what we should accept." This is called inquiry. Everyone should be inquisitive for the ultimate benefit of life. What is that ultimate benefit of life? The ultimate benefit of life is to stop this repetition of birth and death, old age and disease. That is ultimate benefit of life. But they do not know. Then?
Pradyumna: [reading purport] "In the Bhagavad-gītā, worship of the ācārya is recommended. The ācāryas and the gosvāmīs are always well-wishers for the general public."
Prabhupāda: Yes. The ācārya or gosvāmī, their business is... Just like our ācāryas, sad-gosvāmī, they left their service, big service, ministership, and by the order of Caitanya Mahāprabhu they went to Vṛndāvana. But what for? Going to Vṛndāvana and sleeping and eating? No, no, not for that purpose. They, rather, at home they had time to sleep more, but when they went to Vṛndāvana they were sleeping only one half-hour to two hours only. At the present moment, when a man becomes old, he requires more rest. But according to Vedic civilization, no. No more rest; more work, more work.
These gosvāmīs, they were deputed by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu... At that time this Vṛndāvana, which you have seen, now it is nice city, but during the time of Caitanya Mahāprabhu it was a big field only, that's all, nothing more than that. Everything, all Kṛṣṇa's līlā were vanished. Not vanished; it was not visible. Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw one small hole, little water, and He indicated, "This is Rādhā-kuṇḍa." Then Rādhā-kuṇḍa was discovered. So these Gosvāmīs, they were working very hard.
And special business was there, nana-śāstra-vicaraṇaika-nipunau. They were very expert in scrutinizingly studying all the Vedic literatures. Nana-śāstra. Śāstra, not ordinary knowledge. They were also reading. Nana-śāstra-vicaraṇaika-nipunau. Just like Rūpa Gosvāmī has quoted so many verses, so many incidents from different śāstras, how the biography is stated there in compiling Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, which we have translated, Nectar of Devotion.
So this Nectar of Devotion... Because formerly whatever is given under Vedic evidence, people will accept all it is correct. Therefore nana-śāstra-vicaraṇaika. They used to collect all the Vedic references and put into the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu to establish that bhagavad-bhakti, devotional service to the Lord, is the ultimate goal of life. Nānā-śāstra-vicāraṇaika-nipuṇau sad-dharma-saṁsthāpakau. Sad-dharma. Not asad-dharma.
Asad-dharma means referring to the body, karma-kāṇḍīya. Karmīs, they are engaged in asad-dharma, not sad-dharma. Because the body is asat. Antavanta ime dehā nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ [Bg. 2.18]. Ime deha. This body is antavat, it is to be perishable, therefore asat. Asato mā sad gama, the Vedic injunction is. Don't be addicted to this asat, this bodily comforts of life. Sad-gama: try to revive your eternal life. These are the Vedic injunction. Therefore Bhāgavata says, yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tridhātuke..., sa eva go-kharaḥ [SB 10.84.13]. Anyone who is accepting this body as self, he is no better than animal. Go-kharaḥ. Go means cow, and kharaḥ means ass.
So the whole Vedic literature is like that---how to get the spirit soul who is now entangled, or encaged, in this material body. That is sad-dharma; that is sanātana-dharma. Sad means sanātana, which exists. Sanātana means eternal. What is sat, that is eternal. What is asat, that is temporary. So these Gosvāmīs, they engaged themself in studying all the different Vedic literatures. Nana-śāstra-vicaraṇaika-nipunau. They are very expert scrutinizingly studying, and it was put in, in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, so many other books also. Why? Sad-dharma-samsthapakau. Sad-dharma. Sad-dharma means spiritual life, not this material...
Just like these modern material scientists, they are discovering so many things simply for the comforts of this body, not for any spiritual advancement. Therefore asat. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, sat-saṅga chāḍi' kainu asate vilāsa: "I have given up sat-saṅga, association wherein I can learn about spiritual advancement of life. Asata vilas: I am engaged enjoying this asat, this body." Body means the senses.
te-kāraṇe lāgilo ye karma-bandha-phāṅsa
"I have become entangled in the action and reaction of fruitive activities." That is the lamentable condition of present civilization. People are becoming entangled. He does not know..., one does not know that so long the mind will be absorbed in this karma---karma means bodily activities---I'll have to accept another body. And there is risk. I do not know whether I shall be able to accept a body, human body. There are 8,400,000... Any body I have to accept as it is given by nature. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi. I am associating in different qualities, and prakṛti is recording all; automatically it is being recorded what type of body you'll have next life.
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya sad-asad-yoni-janmasu [Bg. 13.22]. Why one is born in high family, rich family? Why other is poor family, or one is born in lower animals, one is born as demigods? What is that reason? Kāraṇa. The reason is kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya. He has associated with a particular type of the material qualities, therefore he has to accept a particular type of body. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya. Therefore we are instructing our students, "Associate with the good qualities." Good qualities.
The best quality of association is devotional service, the devotees, because they're transcendental, above goodness. Above goodness. Just like you are living in this temple. This is above goodness according to Vedic... If you live in the forest, that is goodness, association with goodness, because there is no material contamination, simple life in the forest, or in the village... Not in the village; in the forest. Therefore formerly all the sages and saintly person they used to live in the forest. That is goodness. And if you live in the city, that is association with passion. And in the city if you live in the brothel, the liquor shop, gambling, that is association with ignorance. Three kinds of. But if you live in the temple, that is transcendental; that is Vaikuṇṭha.
So in this way we have to detach ourself from the association of the three guṇas. Kṛṣṇa advised Arjuna, traiguṇya-viṣayā vedā nistraiguṇyo bhavārjuna [Bg. 2.45] = "My dear Arjuna, just become transcendental to the three guṇas." Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate [Bg. 14.26]. Who? Who can transcend these three guṇas? We have to go above goodness. Here in this material world goodness is supposed to be very nice quality, but here the goodness also, nice, temporary. There is chance of being affected, or infected with the other quality, sattva-rajas-tamo guṇa.
So we can..., at least we have to transcend the rajas-tamo guṇa. Tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye [SB 1.2.19]. Rajas-tamo, the quality of passion and ignorance, these..., the symptoms of these qualities is kāma and lobha, lust and greediness. So long there is lust and greediness... Lust for sex, lust for opposite sex, this is called lust. And greediness---to eat more, more than we can digest. When these two things are there, lust and greediness, that means we are now being conducted by the ignorance and passion.
And when there is prominence of goodness, then we can understand what is what = what is God, what I am, what is this world. That is knowledge. And above this, transcendental, not only knowledge but practical application of knowledge in life. That is called śuddha-sattva, practical application. Only theoretically know, "Yes, there is God..."
[break] ...when you engage yourself in the service of the Lord, that is śuddha-sattva.
So here the question is that puṁsām ekāntataḥ śreyas tan naḥ śaṁsitum arhasi. "Now we are very much eager to hear from you, to listen from you. Kindly let us know what is the easiest method to achieve the highest goal of life." This is the question. So next verse, read. Oh, purport. Hmm.
Pradyumna: "...they are especially spiritual well-wishers. Spiritual well-being is automatically followed by material well-being."
Prabhupāda: Yes. Spiritual well-being, that is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, that if the society becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, or spiritually advanced, the so-called material advancement will automatically be there. There will be no scarcity. For example, take for practical example, we have got about one hundred centers. So we are simply engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness business. So, so far our material necessities are concerned, we are not badly situated. We are living in a nice house, we are eating nice foodstuff, we have got nice dress, and the devotees look very nice, bright-faced. What is the wrong there? What is the wrong there?
But they are not busy for earning money or going to the office or going to the factory or so many other sources of business. They are depending on Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is supplying them. Kṛṣṇa says, yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham, teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ [Bg. 9.22] = "If anyone is completely engaged in spiritual advancement of life then," yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham, "I take charge of yoga-kṣemam." Yoga-kṣemam means what is not in possession, to supply that thing. And kṣema means what is already possessed, to protect, or for welfare activities.
So just like if a child is completely dependent on the father, parents, the parents has the sense that, "My child requires at this time this thing." They already there, already. He has got to bother. The child does not know to ask from the parents, but the things are there. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa, He is supplying everything, everyone. Eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān [Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13]. Actually Kṛṣṇa is supplying everything, whatever you have got. You are eating... Whatever you are eating you cannot manufacture in the factory. It is supplied by Kṛṣṇa. Eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān. Everything is being supplied. What to speak of animal..., human life? In the animal life the necessities are the eating, sleeping, mating and defending---everything is there.
Eating---there is enough fruit in the tree. The birds very nicely jumping over from one tree to another, eatings. Sleeping---they have got a nest; at night, without any disturbance, they sleep. Mating---with the birth they are two eggs, one male and one female. Sex life is there. And defending---they know. The bird, if you attack, they immediately go up. He knows how to defend. The..., you see in the [indistinct] Park, the swans, as soon as we are passing, immediately jump over the water. They know how to defend. In this morning a small mouse, he has gone up to collect a sweetmeat.
So these intelligence are there even in the lowest animal, even in the ant. So advancement of civilization... How to make this body comfortable, that is not advancement of civilization. That kind of civilization is there even in the cats and dogs. They know. Nobody has to go to university to learn how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex life, how to defend. Nobody hasn't got to. It doesn't require education. It is already there, everyone. If you attack me, I shall immediately defend with my hand. You see? Natural. So ekāntataḥ śreyas means don't spoil this human form of life only for satisfying the animal propensities. You try to advance in spiritual consciousness. That is ekāntataḥ śreyas. Hmm. What is the next?
Pradyumna: [reading purport] "The ācāryas therefore give directions in spiritual well-being for the people in general."
Prabhupāda: That is ācārya. Ācārya does not write any book of sex psychology, Freud's philosophy. That is not ācārya; that is a rascal. Ācārya gives direction how one can make advance in spiritual life. That is ācārya. Then?
Pradyumna: "Foreseeing the incompetencies of the people in this age of Kali, or the iron age of quarrel, the sages requested that Suta Gosvāmī give a summary of all revealed scriptures, because the people of this age are condemned in every respect."
Prabhupāda: But the directions should be taken from scriptures. But there are many scriptures. So ācārya means, just like Gosvāmīs, they would read all the scriptures and take the essence of it and give it to his disciple, that "You act like this." Because he knows what to give, how to manipulate, so that his ekāntataḥ śreyas will be achieved. Ultimate goal. Therefore the ācārya knows how to adjust things, at the same time keep pace with the spiritual injunction. That is the ācārya. It is not that the same thing to be applied everywhere. He is eager to engage actually the people in the real benefit of life, but the means may be different.
Just like my Guru Mahārāja. He is the first time that he allowed the sannyāsīs to drive in a motorcar. A sannyāsī never drives in a motorcar, you see? But not for sense gratification. Suppose we are going by aeroplane. The sannyāsī should walk. The Jain sannyāsīs, they never ride on a car, you know that. You know that. They will never ride on a car. But now they are also riding. But suppose we are preaching now. I came from India. If I would say, "I am sannyāsī. I will not ride in a car or aeroplane; I must walk," then what kind of preaching would have been? You see? So therefore it depends on the ācārya how to adjust things. So my Guru Mahārāja said, "All right, go on preaching on a motorcar. It doesn't matter."
These Gosvāmīs, they went to Vṛndāvana, severest type of austerity. They used to live underneath a tree. Now if in this age I advise you that you also live underneath a tree, then it will be difficult to preach. You see? Nobody is accustomed in that way, such severe type of austerity. They must be given, as far as possible, comfortable accommodation; otherwise they will not come. They will not take. Now this... This is the adjustment. The ācārya knows how to adjust things. The real purpose is how one will take to spiritual consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Keeping one's aim to that point, some concession may be given. As far as possible, keeping pace with the time, circumstances.
Then? "The sages, therefore, inquired..." Huh?
Pradyumna: ".... inquired of the absolute good, which is the ultimate good for the people. The condemned state of affairs of the people of this age is described as follows."
Prabhupāda: The condemned state at the present moment, how the whole world, whole atmosphere, is condemned is described in the next verse:
kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ
manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ
This is the condition. Prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ. The first qualification is short span of life. Short span of life. As I have repeatedly said, now our..., in India the average age, span of life, is thirty years. The vitality is so reduced. In this country also the vitality is being reduced, strength is being reduced. The more the Kali-yuga will advance, the vitality will be reduced, the strength of the... Therefore the span of life will be reduced, so much so that at the end, almost end, people will live not more than thirty years.
Now we are seeing they are living up to seventy years, eighty years, or even sometimes ninety years, but gradually... [tape garbled with another recording] ...to such an extent that if a man lives for twenty to thirty years, he will be considered as a very old man. You see? Prāyeṇālpāyuṣaḥ kalāv asmin yuge janāḥ. Asmin kalau. Their first qualification is that their life is very short, short span of life. Then again, mandāḥ, lazy. They do not know; ill-educated. They do not know what is the aim of life. Mandāḥ, or slow. Sumanda-matayo: and if one is really..., not really, but superficially so-called spiritually, they will capture some bābā, some god, some yogī, some bluffer, and they will follow them. Sumanda-matayo.
So many religious sect have come out, but original religion is this Vedic religion. But after that, so many religions they have come. So they have got history. Either this Christian religion or this Muhammadan religion, Buddhist religion, Jain religion, this religion, that religion, this "ism," that "ism," they have got history. History. It is limited, within the limited time. But this Vedic religion has no beginning or end. Therefore, sumanda-matayo, they will theorize, "In our religion it is said this." Oh, whatever your religion may be, that real purpose of religion is to understand God. How far you have understood God? That is practically nil. But these formula and the dogmas and this and that, they're full of. Sumanda-matayo.
Mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā [SB 1.1.10]. And almost everyone is unfortunate. They haven't got even means to accommodate the bare necessities of life---eating, sleeping, mating. They're also deficient. Mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ. And above all these there is always disturbance = sometimes war, sometimes famine, sometimes earthquake, sometimes this, overflood. Just like recently in New York there was overflood, you know? So in this way we are so much complicated, this is the position. Now in this condition of life, how you can take up very serious type of self-realization, it is not possible.
All right. Thank you very much.
Devotees: All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. [end]