Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.1.20 , Chicago , 1975-07-04
Nitāi: [leads chanting of verse, etc.]
saṁvādas taṁ nibodha me
Translation. "In this connection, the learned scholars and saintly persons give as an example the description of one very old historical incident, wherein a discussion takes place between the order carriers of Lord Viṣṇu and the order carriers of Yamarāja. Please try and understand it as I describe it to you."
saṁvādas taṁ nibodha me
So here is, one example is given, itihāsa. Itihāsa means history. The Vedic system of itihāsa, it is not the modern history. Modern... Itihāsa means some incidence which took place long, long ago, and such incidence is very beneficial to hear so that we can follow. [loud feedback noise] That is called itihāsa. It is not chronological record of all incidences. Only important things. Purātanam. Purātanam means old and important. So Śukadeva Gosvāmī is explaining to Parīkṣit Mahārāja how important is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Now he is giving one incidence of history---example is better than precept---how Ajāmila was saved simply by chanting once---not once, many times---"Nārāyaṇa." That is the itihāsaṁ purātanam.
In the Vedic literatures there are itihāsas, or histories. Just like Mahābhārata. Mahābhārata is the history. Bhārata means India, and Mahā means greater. Greater India. Just like modern age they use "Greater Britain," "Greater this," so many, same thing. Mahābhārata means "Greater..." Mahā means great, and Bhārata means India. "The history of Greater India." Although India is very small now in comparison to... Although it is called subcontinent, still, in comparison to your America or Africa, it is very small. But formerly it was not so small. Greater India means India and outside also. And so far we collect records from the Mahābhārata, part of Europe, also India, up to Greek and Rome. Therefore it is called Mahābhārata. And when there was the Battle of Kurukṣetra, all kings and rulers from different parts of the world, they joined either this party or that party. The Kaurava, the dynasty of the Kurus, they were ruling all over the world. The capital was Hastināpura, which is now known as New Delhi. It is very old. And the emperor, up to Mahārāja Parīkṣit, they were ruling all over the world. There was one flag, not many flags. Therefore it is called Mahābhārata.
So Mahābhārata, the Battle of Kurukṣetra was executed by two section of brothers of the same family. It was the one empire, one king, but Dhṛtarāṣṭra and his younger brother... They were two brothers. So Dhṛtarāṣṭra, being blind, he was not qualified to occupy the throne, so his younger brother, Pāṇḍu, he was given the throne. And Pāṇḍu died untimely, keeping his children, these five brothers, Pāṇḍavas. Because they were son of Pāṇḍu, they were known as Pāṇḍavas. So Pāṇḍu also belonged to the Kuru family, and Dhṛtarāṣṭra's son also belonged to the Kuru family. Actually they are Kauravas. But when there was fight between the two brothers' son, one party was known as Kaurava, and the other party was known as Pāṇḍava. Therefore Dhṛtarāṣṭra says in the Bhagavad-gītā beginning, māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva [Bg. 1.1]. Māmakāḥ means "my sons," and... Because both of them are Kurus, now they are divided, māmakāḥ, "my sons," and Pāṇḍavas, "the Pāṇḍu's sons." Kim akurvata sañjaya [Bg. 1.1].
And this Kurukṣetra is dharma-kṣetra. Not because the fight was there and Kṛṣṇa was on the battlefield, therefore it is called dharma-kṣetra. Sometimes it is interpreted like that. But actually Kurukṣetra was dharma-kṣetra since very, very long time. In the Vedas it is stated, kuru-kṣetre dharmam ācaret: "If one wants to execute ritualistic ceremony, he should go to Kurukṣetra." And it is the system still now in India, if there is some disagreement or quarrel between two parties, so still they would go to the temple---temple is dharma-kṣetra---so that one may not dare to speak lie in front of the Deity. This was still going on. Even one is very low in mentality, still, if he is challenged that "You are talking this false. Now speak before the Deity," he will hesitate, "No." This is India still. You cannot speak lies before the Deity. That is offense. Don't consider that Deity is a marble statue. No. Svayaṁ bhagavān. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu. As soon as He saw Jagannātha Deity, He immediately fainted = "Oh, here is My Lord." Not like us = "Oh, here is some statue." No. It is the question of appreciation. So you appreciate or not appreciate, the Deity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally. We should always remember. So we shall be very careful before the Deity, not to commit offense. In serving Him, in offering Him prasādam, in dressing Him, we should always think, "Here is personally Kṛṣṇa." He is personally, but due to our lack of knowledge we cannot understand it.
So everything in the śāstra we should follow. This is called brahminical culture. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means brahminical culture---the cultural exhibition of the first-class men. First-class men. The brāhmaṇa is to be understood as the first-class man within the human society. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13]. Itihāsa, history, history means to understand the activities of the first-class man. That is history. They pick up the most important incidences. Therefore the example is given here that udāharanti imam itihāsaṁ purātanam. Because it is a first-class incidence... Otherwise, if you record the history of the whole period, then where..., who will read that, and who will appreciate that, and where you will keep that? Daily so many things are happening. Therefore, according to Vedic system, the only important incidences are recorded in the history. Therefore it is called Purāṇa. Purāṇa means old history. Purātanam. Purātanam means very, very old that are recorded. So this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the collection of very old history, historical incidence. Itihāsa purāṇānāṁ sāraṁ sāraṁ samuddhṛtya[?]. Sāram means essence. Not that all nonsense records have to be taken. No. Sāraṁ sāram, only the important, essence, that are to be recorded. This is called Indian history. Mahābhārata... Mahā means Greater India. Greater India, there were so many incidences were there, but the most important incidence, the Battle of Kurukṣetra, is there. Not that all the battles should be recorded.
So long the human history is there, there must be war. You cannot avoid it. Because it is material world, disagreement, misunderstanding must be there. You cannot avoid it. Because everyone is not of the same standard. That is not possible. Somebody is in the lower standard, somebody is in the middle standard, and somebody in the highest standard. That is division = goodness, passion and ignorance. You cannot avoid it. So out of these three qualities, goodness, passion and ignorance, the ignorance and passion are base quality, and goodness is first-class quality. So the human life means we are born either in the base qualities... Nobody is born in the first-class quality. One who is born in this material world... May be somebody has taken his birth in the mode of goodness, but very rare. But maybe. Mostly they are born in the base qualities, ignorance and passion.
But the śāstras are there. Anyone can be raised to the first-class quality by training. That is human civilization.
saṁskārād bhaved divjaḥ
veda-pāṭhād bhaved vipro
brahma jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ
This is the process. When you take your birth, that birth is not significant---a śūdra, fourth-class man. Everyone is born fourth-class man. So if you keep them fourth class and degrade them into fifth class, sixth class, then how there will be peace? How there will be peace? Therefore in your country, in America, they are now perplexed, "Crime, Why and What to Do?" Because you kept them fourth class, and they are going down to be fifth class, sixth class, how you can expect peace? It is not possible. If you do not elevate them... He is already born śūdra, janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ. Now you have to reform him. Saṁskārāt. Saṁskāra means reforming. You are born śūdra. You are inclined to do something, so many things---intoxication, illicit sex and drinking and gambling and meat-eating. These are all śūdra qualities or less than that. Śūdras also, they abide by the Vedic orders. Śūdras also do not do whimsically whatever he likes. Śūdras, they are taken among the..., in the Vedic society... Because śūdras also, they are last class, fourth class, they are eager to follow the orders or the orderly things as given by the brāhmaṇas. Therefore śūdras, up to śūdras, accepted as bona fide classification. And below the śūdras, they are called caṇḍālas, caṇḍālas, fifth grade. They are also mentioned, kirāta-hūṇāndhra-pulinda-pulkaśā [SB 2.4.18]. Everything is analyzed.
So human civilization should be to raise the fourth-class man to the first-class man. That is human civilization. But there is no idea who is first-class man. Everyone is a drunkard, everyone is illicit sex hunter, and everyone is gambler and everyone is meat-eater. Where is first-class man? There is no first-class man. All fourth-class man. And they are being taught simply how to manufacture big, big skyscraper, and every year, new model of car. Is that civilization? That is not civilization. You may be advanced in technology. So technology means technician. Suppose a man knows how to work in electricity, in so many things. Does it mean he is a learned man? No. Learned, first-class man, that is given in the Bhagavad-gītā = śamo damaḥ satyaṁ śucis titikṣā ārjavaṁ, jñānam vijñānam āstikyam brahma-karma svabhāva-jam [Bg. 18.42]. These are the first class. There is nothing mentioned that "electrician" or a "motor mechanics" and a... [laughter] So you are misled. Therefore you are facing this crisis, that "Crimes, and Why and What to Do?"
So unless you take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, how to create first-class man, you are doomed. You must know this. Therefore, those who have taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is my request that you help your countrymen how to become... At least there must be a section of men first class so that people will see. They are appreciating. I know that. When I was going from Los Angeles to Hawaii, one priest in plain dress came to see me. He came to..., "Oh, Swāmījī, can I speak with you?" "Yes, come here." So his first question was that "How your disciples look so bright?" They are appreciating that "Here is a first-class man." So I replied, "The process is so nice. Face is the index of mind. If you become purified within, then your faces will be bright. If you dirty within this heart, how you can be brightened? No, that is not possible. Face is the index of mind."
So this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra means to purify inside. Purify inside. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. So, of course, we are trying our best. Now, you American boys and girls, try to understand more and more and help your countrymen how to become first-class men. That I have requested every time, that from material point of view, you are already first class because you are not poverty-stricken. You have got enough everything. But in spite of materially first class, bigger or stronger than other nations, because there is no training spiritual, therefore there is crime. Therefore there is crime. And it is very difficult to solve. So this is the problem. I am talking since yesterday when as soon as I saw the Times magazine and the heading, "Crime = Why and What to Do?" Yes, this is a problem. It is a problem. But the solution is here, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Solution is here. And it is very easy to become first-class men. You know by practical experience = simply by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. That's all. It is not difficult. Anyone, even a child can do it. So increase this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and give them nice prasādam.
So one Ajāmila was delivered by chanting Nārāyaṇa's name. You can deliver many millions of Ajāmila. The process is the same. The process has not changed. Therefore he is quoting that itihāsam atra codāharanti imam itihāsaṁ purātanam. It is spiritual. It is not that now the mode has changed. No. What was potent millions of years ago, that is potent still. That is spiritual. It does not change. Therefore it is said, itihāsaṁ purātanam. Although it is very old, but the effect is the same, effect is the same. In the old times people used to eat and get satisfaction; the same satisfaction is now also. You eat, you feel satisfaction. Eating, sleeping, mating and defending---this is the material necessities. So the such necessities were in the old, millions of years ago, and those necessities are still there. It is no change actually. So this is the process how to... They are now thinking, "Why there is crime, and why..., what is the remedy?" They are think in the material way. They are thinking that "We have got enough everything. Why there should be crime?" But they do not know that unless you make first-class men by training, the fourth-class man will degrade more and more. Just like a child = if you don't send him to school to get education, he will be street boy and degrade more and more. So this is the problem. So how to train first-class man, that method is here, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. And take it seriously, and if you actually love your countrymen, raise them to the standard of first-class man.
Thank you very much.
Devotees: Jaya Prabhupāda. [break]
Prabhupāda: Not in this way. This is not the process. The process is you must be free. Don't manufacture something. That is the way of dancing. You have seen all the Pañca-tattva. They are dancing like this. So you should follow them. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Devotees: Jaya Prabhupāda. [end]