Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.7.19 , Vṛndāvana , 1976-09-16

Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. [devotees repeat] [chants verse]

Prabhupāda: [to person fanning] Slow, just to drive the flies.

yadāśaraṇam ātmānam
aikṣata śrānta-vājinam
astraṁ brahma-śiro mene
ātma-trāṇaṁ dvijātmajaḥ


Pradyumna = Translation = "When the son of the brāhmaṇa [Aśvatthāmā] saw that his horses were tired, he considered that there was no alternative for protection outside of his using the ultimate weapon, the brahmāstra, or nuclear weapon."


yadāśaraṇam ātmānam
aikṣata śrānta-vājinam
astraṁ brahma-śiro mene
ātma-trāṇaṁ dvijātmajaḥ

So this dvijātmaja, "son of a brāhmaṇa." He's not addressed as a brāhmaṇa because his actions are different. Unless one acts as a brāhmaṇa, he's not accepted as a brāhmaṇa. This is the Vedic system. Lakṣaṇam.

yal lakṣaṇaṁ proktaṁ
puṁso varṇābhivyañjakam
yad anyatrāpi dṛśyeta
tat tenaiva vinirdiśet

Lakṣaṇam. Brāhmaṇa's lakṣaṇam, kṣatriya's lakṣaṇam... Lakṣaṇam means symptoms. One must act as a brāhmaṇa. So he is accepted as brahmātmaja. Of course, everyone can claim that his father is like that. But that does not mean he has acquired the father's qualifications. That is not meaning. And onward the son may claim that "Such and such big man is my father." Of course, from social point of view, we sometimes give respect, as it will be seen. Aśvatthāmā, because he happened to be a great personality, Droṇācārya, so he was excused from capital punishment. Otherwise, Arjuna decided to kill him. But because he was a very great man's son, guru-putra, considering that "If he dies, then guru's wife will be very much unhappy," Draupadī advised... She was unhappy on account of death of her sons. So they considered that Aśvatthāmā's mother, she's innocent, but on account of the son's death, she would be unhappy. So considering all these points, he was excused from the capital punishment.

So yadā aśaraṇam ātmānam aikṣata. He was running on, on the back of a horse, but when he saw that Arjuna is coming nearer, so he has no other alternative, protection. Then he thought of the brahmāstra. Brahmāstra is the last weapon. Just like it is similar to modern nuclear weapon, brahmāstra. As by releasing nuclear weapon there is radiation, similarly, we have got description that when Aśvatthāmā released his brahmāstra, there was a big radiation, people were feeling very terrible heat. And then Kṛṣṇa informed that "This heat is due to the Aśvatthāmā's release of brahmāstra," and Arjuna was advised, "Counteract it." Now they do not know how to counteract this nuclear weapon. Formerly they knew. I throw one kind of weapon, and if you are expert, you can counteract it. Now they have discovered the nuclear weapon, but they have not yet discovered the counteraction. Fight means I show some expert fighting craft or experiencing; the opposite party must also show something better than that. That was fighting. And in this way, when one party fails, he's killed. And if he's killed, then war stops---no more war. This was the system.

So Aśvatthāmā was thinking of this brahmāstra. Astraṁ brahma-śiro mene ātma-trāṇaṁ dvijātmajaḥ. Hopelessly. So far, of course, I know that this nuclear weapon was already discovered by the German people, and Hitler, it is said that he did not use it. Because he knew it that "If I throw this nuclear weapon there will be devastation." So from this point it can be considered that he had some human consideration. So he's advertised very adversely, but if it is a true fact, then how he could have this human consideration that he did not throw the nuclear weapon? And this was taken by the Americans and it was thrown in Japan. That is the history so far we know. So anyway, as we have got experience, the nuclear weapon is very, very dangerous. Similarly, the brahmāstra is also very, very dangerous. And another weapon, they knew this art, śabda-vedhī. Śabda-vedhī means "If I throw some arrow, it will go to my enemy wherever he is. A little sound of the enemy will attract this weapon, and it is sure to kill my enemy." Śabda-vedhī. There are many instances in Rāmāyaṇa, Mahābhārata. Śabda-vedhī-vāk.

So such warfare of mantra, very subtle. This, at the present moment this warfare is carried on gross weapons. But finer than that, there is mantra war. By mantras the warfare can go on. So this warfare is mantra. That is... Just like indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ [Bg. 3.42]. It is said in the Bhagavad-gītā that the indriyāṇi, so far our body's concerned, the indriyas, the senses are prominent. But more important than the senses, above the senses, is the mind. Indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ [Bg. 3.42]. So as we have discovered so many weapons... That is gross, to be handled by senses. Even this nuclear weapon, it is handled by the scientists. But it is not by mantra. That science is still to be discovered by the modern scientists, how to... Or just like this mantra. Snake-charming mantra still there are. You are dealing the snake poison with some counter medicine. This is one kind of treatment. But there is another kind of treatment. That is called mantra, by chanting mantra. Or by herbs you can counteract snake bite. Still, there are in India. Therefore Cāṇakya Paṇḍita said that mantrauṣadhi-vaśaḥ sarpaḥ. Sarpa means snake. It can be brought under control by mantra and herbs. Still, in our Māyāpur some Muhammadans, they know how to use these herbs and mantras for treating snake bite. In Māyāpur there are many snakes, and occasionally snakebite cases are there. But they treat it. And mantra has got power; it has been seen by many medical men in Lucknow. That's a long story.

So mantra is powerful. This is mundane. Now you can imagine how spiritual mantra is powerful. Even in mundane world the mantra acts. This is very subtle thing. Then how much... Because,

indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur
indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
manasas tu parā buddhir
buddhes tu ya paraḥ

So gross understanding---the senses, the body, directly sense perception---this is gross. I see you, you see me. I touch you, you touch me. I taste something... This is gross. Above this gross there is mental platform. So mantra is also on the mental, little above, intelligence. And above that there is spiritual platform. So if on the material platform, mental platform, the mantra can act so wonderfully, how much spiritually the mantra can benefit you, you have to simply imagine. So this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is completely spiritual. If you chant it, spiritually enlightened, then surely it will act. Paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam. It will act. Therefore chanting is so important.

Chanting is not... Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura said this sound vibration is not this material sound. Kṛṣṇa is not material sound. It is Kṛṣṇa, spiritual. Abhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.133]. There is no difference between Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and His holy name, Kṛṣṇa. There is no difference.

nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś
pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-mukto
'bhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ

[Cc. Madhya 17.133]

As Kṛṣṇa is pūrṇa, perfect, complete, śuddha, without any material contamination, pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya, eternal... Pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-muktaḥ. Mukta means not of this material world. Mukti means anything which does not belong to, in this material world. That is called mukti. So the holy name, chanting of holy name, if we act it properly, without any offense, then we are directly in connection with Kṛṣṇa. There is no doubt. Pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-mukto 'bhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ. And Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura therefore says that this holy name of Kṛṣṇa is imported from Goloka Vṛndāvana. It is not material sound. Golokera prema-dhana hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana. It is not ordinary sound. Don't take it as ordinary. Śabde-sāmānya buddhir hari-nāmni. That is nārakī-buddhi. Just like to consider the Deity as made of stone, arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-matiḥ, to consider guru as ordinary human being, similarly, to think śabde-sāmānya buddhiḥ, the holy name of the Lord as ordinary sound vibration, that this... That is nārakī. That is not considered by spiritually enlightened persons.

But those who are rotting in hellish condition, for them these are the consideration. Patthār pūje hari mile[?]. They think that they are worshiping patthār. These rascal says, patthār pūje hari mile to me pūju pahāḍa[?]. They think, he's such a rascal, he's thinking that the Deity is patthār, or stone. But it is not like that. It requires good brain to understand how Kṛṣṇa can appear in a form which can be seen by us, how Kṛṣṇa can appear in a form of sound which we can hear. It is for our benefit. Not that it is material. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, golokera prema-dhana hari-nāma saṅkīrtana. Hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana is not ordinary sound. Don't treat it as ordinary sound. It is the... Just like we, by radio we can send a message from Europe, it may come to India, that is... [break] ...such powerful machine, and you can talk. That is possible. But that is not this sound. So golokera prema-dhana hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana, rati nā janmilo kene tāy. So don't think that this hari-nāma-saṅkīrtana is ordinary vibration of this material world. Never think so. You should immediately see that the saṅkīrtana, Hare Kṛṣṇa, is Kṛṣṇa and Rādhā, Harā and Kṛṣṇa. Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa or Sītā-Rāma or Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa---any form of the Lord Viṣṇu.

Hare Kṛṣṇa means the Supreme Lord and His spiritual potency. So we address = Hare, "O the energy, spiritual energy of the Lord," and Kṛṣṇa, "O the Supreme Lord." Hare Rāma, the same thing. Paraṁ Brahman. Rāma means Paraṁ Brahman, Kṛṣṇa means Paraṁ Brahman and... So what is the meaning of addressing, "He Kṛṣṇa, he Rādhe, he Rāma, he..." Why? There should be some... Why you are asking? That "Just engage me in Your service." That is taught by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.:

ayi nanda-tanuja kiṅkaraṁ
patitaṁ māṁ viṣame bhavāmbudhau
kṛpayā tava pāda-paṅkaja-
sthita-dhūlī-sadṛśaṁ vicintaya

[Cc. Antya 20.32, Śikṣāṣṭaka 5]

This is our prayer. It is not our prayer that "O Kṛṣṇa, O Rāma, give me some money, give me some woman." No. This is not the prayer. Of course, in the neophyte stage they can pray like that, but that is not, I mean to say, śuddha-bhakti, pure devotion.

Pure devotion means to pray to the Lord, begging some service = "My Lord, kindly engage me in Your service." That is the perfection of life, when one is engaged in the service of the Lord in love. You can become a very great saint and live in a secluded place and become puffed-up, that you have become very great personality, and people may come to see him, that "He's not to be seen; he's engaged in chanting." My Guru Mahārāja has condemned this. He says, mana tumi kisera vaiṣṇava. "My dear mind, your mental concoction, you are thinking that you have become a very big Vaiṣṇava. You do not do anything, and sit down in a secluded place and imitating Haridāsa Ṭhākura, chanting. So you are a nonsense." Mana tumi kisera vaiṣṇava. Why? Nirjanera ghare, pratiṣṭhāra tare: to get some cheap adoration as a great chanter. Because if one is actually chanting, why he should be attracted by woman and bīḍī? If he is actually in such position like Haridāsa Ṭhākura, then why he should be attracted by material things? That is a false show only. That is not possible for ordinary person.

Therefore ordinary person must be physically engaged. That is not physical; that is also transcendental. Always busy in some business of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is wanted. Not that "Oh, I have become a great scholar, and I have now learned how to become a great Vaiṣṇava. I chant sixty-four rounds, and think of my wife somewhere, and then good-bye to Govindajī and leave Vṛndāvana." These rascaldom do not follow. Govindajī drives such rascals away from Vṛndāvana. So Vṛndāvana, one who is living in Vṛndāvana, he must be very anxious how to spread the glories of Vṛndāvana-candra all over the world. That is wanted. Not that "Vṛndāvana-candra is my private property, and I sit down in a place and lick up." No, that is not wanted. That is not wanted. That is condemned by my Guru Mahārāja.

So mana tumi kisera vaiṣṇava. He says, "What kind of Vaiṣṇava, rascal, you are?" Nirjanera ghare pratiṣṭhāra tare: "Simply for cheap adoration you are living in a secluded place." Tava hari-nāma kevala kaitava: "Your chanting of so-called Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is simply cheating." He has said that. One must be ready very vigorously. And that is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's also order. Caitanya Mahāprabhu never said that "You chant." He has given certainly the chanting, but so far His mission is concerned, He said that "Every one of you become guru." Āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra' ei deśa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. And deliver, preach, that people understand what is Kṛṣṇa.

āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra' ei deśa
yāre dekha, tāre kaha 'kṛṣṇa'-upadeśa

[Cc. Madhya 7.128]

Pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi. That is His mission. It is not that "Become a big Vaiṣṇava and sit down and imitate." This is all rascaldom. So don't follow this thing. So at least we cannot advise you in that way. We have learned from our Guru Mahārāja that preaching is very, very important thing, and when one is actually an experienced preacher, then he is able to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra without any offense. Before that, this so-called chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, you may practice without any offenses... And giving up all other business to make a show of a big Vaiṣṇava, that is not required.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya Prabhupāda. [end]