Bhagavad-gītā 4.16 , Bombay , 1974-04-05

Pradyumna: [leads chanting of verse, etc.] [Prabhupāda and devotees repeat, etc]

kiṁ karma kim akarmeti
kavayo 'py atra mohitāḥ
tat te karma pravakṣyāmi
yaj jñātvā mokṣyase 'śubhāt

[break] [02:06]

Translation = "Even the intelligent are bewildered in determining what is action and what is inaction. Now I shall explain to you what action is, knowing which you shall be liberated from all sins."


kiṁ karma kim akarmeti
kavayo 'py atra mohitāḥ
tat te karma pravakṣyāmi
yaj jñātvā mokṣyase 'śubhāt

So... So again the same beginning = cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13]. Everything is being spoken on that basis. Now, everyone has to work. Kṛṣṇa never says to Arjuna that "You haven't got to work. I am your friend. I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You simply sleep, and I shall do everything for you." He never said like that. He could say that. Just like modern, rascal incarnation of Gods, they say to their devotees that "You simply think of me. I shall do everything for you." But Kṛṣṇa never said that. Kṛṣṇa said that man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65], but never said that "You sit down idly." Never said that. Kṛṣṇa, rather, said that "You better do akarma than sit down idly. Even you do something mischievous, that is also good than to sit down idly." He never said. Karmaṇy evādhikāras te mā phaleṣu kadā... Simply He said that "You work. You have got the right to work according to your capacity, according to your position." That position is brāhmaṇa position, kṣatriya position, vaiśya position, śūdra position. In any position, you work, but the result should be given to Kṛṣṇa. That is wanted.

That is tyāga. Tyāga means to give up the result to Kṛṣṇa. That is sannyāsa. Sat-nyāsa. Sat means the Supreme. And anyone who renounces everything for Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme, he is sannyāsī. That will be explained in the Fifth Chapter. Kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ. Anāśritaḥ karma-phalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ, sa sannyāsī [Bg. 6.1]. Kāryam, "It is my duty." Just like we have got in our institution specified duties for each and every member, and they are doing, and if... They take it seriously, every one of them, that it is the order and duty, "My Guru Mahārāja has specified this duty upon me. So it is my duty." Kāryam. Kāryam means "It is my duty. I must do it." So anāśritaḥ karma-phalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti... That he is trained up. According to varṇāśrama-dharma, that is trained up.

A brahmacārī, from the very beginning of his life, he is trained to act only for guru. That is brahmacārī. It is enjoined that a brahmacārī live at the shelter, at the care of guru just like a menial servant. Kṛṣṇa also, although He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, when He was living as brahmacārī at His guru's house, Sāndīpani Muni, He was collecting wood, fuel, from the jungle. He was going daily. It is not that because He was Personality of Godhead, therefore He should not go. No. You will find in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Kṛṣṇa book, that when Sudāmā Vipra met Him, he was talking with Him about His childhood stories. Kṛṣṇa reminded him, "Sudāmā, do you remember that one day we went to collect fuel for our Guru Mahārāja, and there was storm and rain, and we could not get out of the forest? We had to live overnight there. Then on the morning Guru Mahārāja came with other disciples and they recovered us from the jungle. Do you remember?" So Kṛṣṇa had to do this. This is training.

A brahmacārī is trained up from the very beginning how to become a sannyāsī at the end of life. How he is trained up? He is trained up to collect for guru alms. Everywhere the brahmacārī would go to householder, and they ask, "Mother, give us some alms for my Guru Mahārāja." And the ladies would give him. Because everyone's son goes to the gurukula. So there was no hesitation. And the brahmacārī would collect and bring it in the āśrama, and then he should live just like a menial servant. He may be a king's son or a very learned brāhmaṇa's son, but when he lives at gurukula, he has to work. It is said in the śāstra... In Bhagavad-gītā, in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam you will find the duty of brahmacārī, the duty of gṛhastha, the duty of vānaprastha, the duty of sannyāsa. Everything is there.

So a brahmacārī is trained in such a way that although he has collected everything, but he does not claim anything. He does not keep anything with him. Even though he has to eat in the āśrama, but that he will eat upon the calling by the guru, "My dear such and such, please come and take your prasādam." It is said if the guru forgets to call him one day, he will not take his food. This is called brahmacārī, means strictly following. And they used to call every woman from the beginning of life "Mother." This is training. Mātṛvat para-dāreṣu [Cāṇakya Paṇḍita]. From the very beginning of life, all women they are treated as mother. That is the system, Vedic system. Everyone will call a woman as "Mother," never mind whether she is younger or older. It doesn't matter. Woman has to be addressed as "Mother." That is Cāṇakya Paṇḍita's instruction. Who is learned scholar? Who has got three qualification, he is learned scholar. What is that? Mātṛvat para-dāreṣu: "To treat all women as mother." Nowadays it has been introduced in India, "Bahinjī." No. This is not the etiquette. The etiquette is to address every woman, never mind whether she is young or old, as "Mother."

This is brahmacārī. This is brahmacārī. The brahmacarya is very strictly enjoined in the Vedic śāstra. Brahma..., to maintain brahmacarya, it is advised, mātrā svasrā duhitrā vā nāviviktā... Mātrā svasrā duhitrā vā [SB 9.19.17]. So one should not sit down with woman in a secluded place, even though the woman is mother, sister or daughter. So much restriction. And why? Balavān indriya-grāmaḥ: "The senses are very powerful." Vidvāṁsam api karṣati. "Oh, senses may be powerful for the fools and rascals." No. Vidvāṁsam api karṣati: "Even one is very learned, advanced, still, senses are so powerful that it can be agitated even before the mother, sister and daughter." This is Vedic injunction, brahmacarya. Tapasā brahmacaryeṇa damena śamena [SB 6.1.13]. These are the human life = to accept brahmacarya life, tapasya, controlling the senses, controlling the mind, tyāgena, by giving in charity whatever you possess. These are the different processes. But if you take to bhakti-yoga, then all these processes become automatically accustomed. That is the profit of bhakti-yoga.

So brahmacārī-karma, gṛhastha-karma, vānaprastha-karma, sannyāsa-karma, then brāhmaṇa's karma, then kṣatriya's karma, vaiśya's karma, śūdra's karma. The society which knows perfectly well all these different karmas, that is perfect society; that is human society. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says that kiṁ karma akarmeti kavayo 'py atra mohitāḥ. Kavayaḥ, very learned scholars, they are also become bewildered how to specify duty to a particular person. That is not being done at the same time. Everyone is going to the schools and colleges, passing their examination, but because he is not trained up according to his tendency or according to his quality, after education he is unemployed, because he has not been trained up according to the tendency, according to the qualification. That is the basic principle of karma. Kṛṣṇa has begun in this chapter, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13]. That is very essential, the varṇāśrama-dharma, because we must have the aim of life. At the present moment there is no aim of life. The aim of life is sense gratification, that's all. Indriya-tṛpti. That is forbidden in the śāstra. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma [SB 5.5.4]. Kiṁ karmeti kiṁ vikarmeti will be described. So karma and vikarma, prescribed duties according to qualification, position, occupation, that is called karma. And just opposite, it is called vikarma. Karma akarma vikarma. That Kṛṣṇa will explain.

So at the present moment... Not at the present moment. It is the tendency of materialistic life to act vikarma, forbidden karma. That is explained by Ṛṣabhadeva in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma yad indriya-prītaya āpṛṇoti [SB 5.5.4]. That is visible at the present moment in the Kali-yuga all over the world. Vikarmeti. All kinds of sinful activities they are performing. That is called vikarma. The vikarma we have specified especially = illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication up to drinking tea, coffee and smoking---these are all vikarma. So they do not know. But they are going on. Therefore Ṛṣabhadeva, many, many years ago He warned His sons, "My dear boys, nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma." Pramattaḥ. Pra means sufficiently, or extraordinarily. Prakṛṣṭa-rūpeṇa. Mattaḥ. Mattaḥ means mad. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma [SB 5.5.4] = "All people, being mad, they are committing all sinful activities." They do not know what is sinful activity. They think everything is all right. No. Nature will take account of everything and he will give you a next body.

The same example = if you infect some disease and the after-result, you must suffer from that disease. This is nature's law. Similarly, kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya sad-asad-janma-yoniṣu [Bg. 13.22]. That is explained in Bhagavad-gītā. Why one gets low-grade life and why one gets high-grade life? What is the reason? That is explained by Kṛṣṇa, that kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya. The reason is, as he is being infected by the different qualities of material nature. Therefore we have to be very careful. There are three qualities and mixed qualities. Originally three qualities = sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa. Then three multiplied by three, mixture, then it becomes nine. Then nine multiplied by nine it becomes eighty-one, different, just like color mixture. So therefore there are 8,400,000's of species of life, this mixture of qualities. Karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa [SB 3.31.1]. We are infecting different types of qualities of material nature, and we are becoming fit for the next life. But next life there is. Tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]. People do not know it. Therefore we should be very careful to take instruction from Bhagavad-gītā and make our life successful, following the rules and regulation as it is prescribed there. Otherwise we are animal.

The animals, they cannot follow any rules and regulation. Animal, you ask animal, dog, that "You become a brahmacārī," that is not possible. That is not possible. [laughs] It is for human being. These āśramas, the four āśramas and four varṇas, they are all meant for human society, not that it is restricted in a certain area or certain country or certain community. No. It is meant for the whole human society. Bhagavad-gītā is meant for the whole human society. When Kṛṣṇa says, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ, He never says that "It is meant for India." Where is that? Why they claim that the cātur-varṇyam should be in India only? Kṛṣṇa never said that. Kṛṣṇa said, sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya sambhavanti mūrtayaḥ yāḥ: "In every species of life, as many forms are there, all of them are My sons." Ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā [Bg. 14.4]. Kṛṣṇa never says that "I am Indian" or "I am kṣatriya" or "I am brāhmaṇa." Kṛṣṇa says, "I am the father of everyone." Therefore this cātur-varṇya or this karma-kāṇḍa, everything is meant for the whole human society, if not for the animal society. Of course animal society, they cannot follow. That is their degraded position. Labdhvā su-durlabhaṁ bahu-sambhavānte [SB 11.9.29]. Therefore śāstra says that "This human form of life is gotten after many, many births," labdhvā su-durlabham. Su-durlabham. Durlabham means very rare to be obtained, and again addition, su, "very, very."

So we should not waste our this human form of life whimsically. It is a great loss. It is a great loss. But people are not educated how much important this human form of life. [aside:] Don't move like that. Labdhvā su-durlabham idaṁ bahu-sambhavānte mānuṣyam. And Prahlāda Mahārāja says also the same thing. That is the Vedic civiliza..., basic principle of Vedic civilization. Prahlāda Mahārāja says,

kaumāra ācaret prājño
dharmān bhāgavatān iha
durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janma
tad apy arthadam adhruvam

Kaumāra, from the very beginning of life, kaumāra. Kaumāra means from fifth year to tenth year, five years. Within these five years, education must begin. And especially dharmān bhāgavatān. Bhāgavata-dharma means to understand Kṛṣṇa, to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I know, amongst the Muhammadans it is a system that small children, they are taught Koran. That is very good system. But we have forgotten. Although India is the land of spiritual culture, our small children, they go to school, colleges, but he has no connection with Bhagavad-gītā. He has no connection with Bhagavad-gītā. They are simply trained up for sense gratification. In Western countries also---for sense gratification. Which is to be suppressed---sense gratification---that education is given. They do not know what is karma and what is vikarma. Now, when the students become disobedient and they create riots and set fire in the buses, then they lament. But why you have educated the students like that? Who is responsible for this? The rascals, they do not know. Here is Kṛṣṇa prescribing. Kiṁ karma kim akarmeti kavayo 'py atra mohitāḥ. Even learned men, they become bewildered. Tat te karma pravakṣyāmi. So in this bewildered condition, baffled condition of the society, we should consult Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is ready to give you advice, as He was ready five thousand years ago to give advice to Arjuna. That instruction is still current. It is not that it is finished with the Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa. No. You can take also the same advice from Kṛṣṇa and mold your life. That is wanted.

So kurute vikarma, we are trained up simply to act opposite direction. Instead of doing good work, we are educated to do bad work, just the opposite. And that is not good. That is the advice of Ṛṣabhadeva. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ. What is that bad work? Bad work means sense gratification. That's all. Anything you do for the satisfaction of your sense, that is bad work. And anything you do for satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, that is good work. This is the division of bad work and good work. The same thing, if you do for your personal satisfaction, it is bad work. And the same thing, if you do for satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, that is good work. We must first of all learn this.

Just like Arjuna was thinking in the beginning that "Fighting and killing is not good, especially fighting with the family members and killing them. No, no, I cannot do that. Bad work." He was thinking it was bad. But same thing he did. When he understood Bhagavad-gītā, he did not do anything else, because he was a fighter, he was a warrior. In the beginning he was refusing because he was trying to satisfy his senses = "Oh, it is very good. I think it is... I think..." What you are? You are always misguided if you think like that. But the same Arjuna, when understood Bhagavad-gītā... Kṛṣṇa inquired from him, "Now what is your decision?" Now, kariṣye vacanaṁ tava [Bg. 18.73]. "Yes, now I have decided." So what is that vacanaṁ tava? Kṛṣṇa asked him to fight. So same fighting, how he became good now? Because Kṛṣṇa wanted it. A good work.

So this should be our motto of life, that you should act if Kṛṣṇa is pleased. This is good work. That is confirmed in many places in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ [SB 1.2.13], Sūta Gosvāmī said in the meeting of great learned scholars and brāhmaṇas in Naimiṣāraṇya. He said, dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ: "O best of the brāhmaṇas who have assembled here to hear me." Dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ. Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ [SB 1.2.13]. Again that varṇāśrama. Without varṇāśrama, it is a rascal society, that's all. It is not even human society. It is animal society. But that we have lost now. Again it is said, varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ. Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ. He was speaking amongst the very learned scholars and brāhmaṇas. Therefore he addressed, "My dear all great brāhmaṇas, dvija-śreṣṭhā." Dvija means brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya. And the brāhmaṇa is the śreṣṭha, the best of the dvijas. Dvija means twice-born---one birth by the father and mother, and the next birth through the guru and Vedic knowledge. Vedic knowledge is the mother and guru is the father. The next birth. That is called dvija, twice-born. Once born by father and mother, that is śūdra. Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ. First birth is śūdra. The next birth, when he is trained up by the guru in Vedic knowledge, that is real birth. Therefore all of them were first-class brāhmaṇas, dvija, with saṁskāra. Therefore they are addressed dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ. Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ. Again this varṇāśrama.

Svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya. Svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya. Now, mark this word, dharma. A brāhmaṇa's action as a brāhmaṇa, that is dharma. A kṣatriya's action as a kṣatriya, that kṣatriya is fighting, that is his dharma. And brāhmaṇa is not fighting, that is his dharma. So dharma may be different according to position. But here it is said, ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ. When there is sacrifice in the yajña, the brāhmaṇa offers the sacrifice. It does not mean that he is killing some animal. Similarly, a kṣatriya is fighting and killing in the battle, but he is still not killing. This has to be... Not general..., generalization, "Oh, killing is bad." Killing is bad for one who is not destined, who is not meant for killing. And places... Everything should be in terms of śāstra, not whimsically manufacture something. No.

yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya
vartate kāma-kārataḥ
na sa siddhim avāpnoti
na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim

This is the injunction.

So ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ. Everyone has got particular type of occupational duty according to varṇa and āśrama. So whether it is perfect or not, that test is svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam [SB 1.2.13]. You are kṣatriya... Just like Arjuna was a kṣatriya. His perfection as kṣatriya was because he pleased Kṛṣṇa. Saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam. This is wanted.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is presenting the most scientific way of life. It is not a whimsical concoction of a human brain. The basic principle is Bhagavad-gītā and śāstra, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Everything is clearly explained. If we take advantage of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, then our life will be perfect. That is the special prerogative of the Indians. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu said,

bhārata-bhūmite manuṣya-janma haila yāra
janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra

[Cc. Ādi 9.41]

"Every Indian has to perfect his life by accepting the Vedic principle and distribute it to the whole world." This is the best welfare activities in the human society.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya. Haribol. [end]