Bhagavata Dharma Discourses

Prabhupada-New-Vrindaban-1972

Continuning with our “Bhagavata Dharma Discourses” series given at New Vrindavan, 1972.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Lecture
New Vrindaban, September 4, 1972
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Canto 1, Chapter Two, Text 5

Pradyumna: “O sages, I have been justly questioned by you. Your questions are worthy because they relate to Lord Kṛṣṇa and so are of relevance to the world’s welfare. Only questions of this sort are capable of completely satisfying the self.” [SB 1.2.5]

Prabhupāda: So there was a great meeting. Just like we are holding here meeting for a few days, a similar meeting was held thousands of years ago, at least four thousand years ago, in a place which is called Naimiṣāraṇya. The Naimiṣāraṇya is in India. It is near Lucknow. Here is Professor Shivasrava(?). He knows. The station is called now Nimsar. I think it is in Hardoi district? So still the place is there, and if you sometimes go to India you can visit this place. It is a very nice place for spiritual atmosphere. So formerly all the great sages used to assemble in that Naimiṣāraṇya. It is said that all the demigods used to visit that place. So in that great meeting, Bhāgavata was discussed.

The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was first discussed before Mahārāja Parīkṣit. King Parīkṣit, the emperor of this planet, he was cursed by a brāhmaṇa to die within seven days. He was very wrongly cursed, but still, Parīkṣit Mahārāja tolerated. He could counteract such curse, but he did not do it. He took this opportunity of retiring from active life and prepare for death. So he had only seven days to die. And because he was king, all the great sages and kings in all parts of the world, they came to see him, and the problem was what to do at the time of death. So many people suggested many things—not ordinary people, many great sages, brāhmaṇas—”Mahārāja you do this. You do that.” Later on it was suggested, on arrival of Śukadeva Gosvāmī in that meeting… So all the sages decided that “Śukadeva Gosvāmī has recently learned from his father, Vyāsadeva, about Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.”

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the last contribution of Vyāsadeva. Vyāsadeva is the original compiler of all Vedic literature. So he wrote so many books—all the Vedas, four Vedas, 108 Upaniṣads, eighteen Purāṇas, Mahābhārata. Rāmāyaṇa was compiled before, by Vālmīki. And in Mahābhārata there are 100,000 verses. Similarly, all these books, hundreds and thousands of verses. And the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam contains eighteen thousand verses. So in this way, Vyāsadeva compiled all these books for benefit of the people in this age of Kali. Unfortunately, people are not interested in these literatures. What to speak of other people, even our Indians are not interested. They are making research work, but what is already there by mature research work of Vyāsadeva, they are not interested. That is the misfortune of India. So Vyāsadeva summarized all the Vedic literature in the Vedānta-sūtra. Veda means knowledge; anta means end. There is… Everything, there is some summit or the ultimate goal. So about education, knowledge, the ultimate goal is Vedānta. Veda means knowledge; anta means ultimate. If you know Vedānta, then you have known everything. Kasmin vijñāte sarvam idaṁ vijñātaṁ bhavati. So still, after compiling Vedānta-sūtra philosophy, Vyāsadeva was not satisfied. He was feeling some vacancy. He was sorry.

So his spiritual master, Nārada, appeared before his disciple Vyāsadeva. So Nārada could understand that Vyāsadeva was not happy even after compiling so many big, big volumes of literature, Vedic literature. So he questioned, “Pārāśara…” Vyāsadeva’s father was Parāśara Muni. So he addressed him, “Pārāśara.” “So why you are unhappy? You have studied everything. You have undergone all kinds of penances. You have performed all Vedic rituals. You have written so many books. Why you are unhappy?” He answered, “My dear lord, what you say, it is all right, that I am not happy. But you can find out the cause. Because you know everyone’s heart, you can find out the cause.” So Nārada Muni replied that—these things will be discussed in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam—that “You have considered so many things, but if…, you have not written anything absolutely for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Without discussing about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you cannot be happy.”

That is the fact. At the present moment also, there is advancement of education-many universities, many technological institutes, economic development. In your America there is everything sufficient, but still, people are unhappy. They are becoming hippies. Why? Because there is no knowledge about God. This is the only cause. This is the only cause. Every one of us is part and parcel of God, so our real hankering is God. Just like child, baby, is the part and parcel of the mother, and when the child is unhappy, nothing can satisfy the child except when he is put on the lap of his mother. He is crying, everybody is trying to pacify him, but the child is going on, crying, crying. But as soon as you put him on the lap of his mother and the mother takes on his (her) breast, the child is immediately happy. Similarly, we are all children of God. We are making so many plans to become happy independently, without God. That is not possible. That is not possible. Therefore there is great necessity of understanding God at the present moment. Therefore this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is started.

So everything is there. Fortunately in India we have got everything, but our modern leaders, they are neglecting their own thing. They are begging technology from other countries. That is their misfortune. But actually… Just like I am, singlehanded, trying to present the original Vedic culture. People are accepting all over the world very happily. India should have tried. The government should have known this. Unfortunately, they are all bereft of this knowledge, their own culture. There is a Bengali verse written by one poet, āpanār dhana vilaya-diye bhikṣā-māge parera dvāre.(?) They have lost their own culture; now they are begging from other countries. Anyway, this culture, this Bhāgavata culture, is not for any particular country or particular nation. It is meant for everyone. God is not monopolized by anyone. God is for everyone. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, sarva-yoniṣu kaunteya sambhavanti mūrtayo yāḥ [Bg. 14.4]. Sarva-yoni, all kinds of species of living entities, all forms, not only human being, but aquatics, trees, plants, insects, reptiles, birds, beasts, animals… There are 8,400,000 species of life in the land, in the sky, in the water. All of them are sons of God. This is universal brotherhood. When we can think all living entities… Because the central point is missing. Central point is God, but we are making central point—somebody is making his own self, his body; somebody is making his family; somebody is making his society, community, or nation; or somebody is making the whole human race. But they are all imperfect. Unless we can make… All the living entities are our own men… Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18]. That is learned. That is knowledge. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ.

In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said,

vidyā-vinaya-sampanne
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
[Bg. 5.18]

According to the Vedic culture, a learned brāhmaṇa, very gentle, sober, learned brāhmaṇa… Whoever is learned, he must be gentle and sober. Vidyā dadāti namratā. That is the test of education. Demonic life is not education. A learned man means he must be sama-darśinaḥ. There are different types of living entities, and the learned brāhmaṇa is considered to be the topmost. Vidyā-vinaya-sampanne brāhmaṇe gavi [Bg. 5.18], a cow, hasti, an elephant, śuni, the dog, śva-pāka, caṇḍāla, dog-eater. There are different varieties of living entities, but one who is paṇḍita, learned, he sees everyone on the same level. Why? He does not see the outward tabernacle; he sees the soul within everyone. Brahma-darśanam. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati [Bg. 18.54]. So that brahma-darśanam is possible when actually one is contact with Brahman, the Supreme. Therefore the central point is missing. And everyone is manufacturing his own way of spiritual knowledge. Therefore the whole world is in a turmoil, confusion. So in this point all the sages assembled in Naimiṣāraṇya for discussing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and this took place after the departure of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Lord Kṛṣṇa was present on this planet five thousand years ago, and after His departure, the Bhāgavata discussion was going on at Naimiṣāraṇya.

So their question was:
brūhi yogeśvare kṛṣṇe
brahmaṇye dharma-varmaṇi
svāṁ kāṣṭhām adhunopete
dharmaḥ kaṁ śaraṇaṁ gataḥ

This was the main question in the meeting, that brūhi: “Kindly tell us…” Yogeśvare kṛṣṇe. Kṛṣṇa is mentioned here as Yogeśvara. You have heard about yoga in your country. This yoga word is very popular. Yoga means mystic power, generally it is understood. If one actually becomes a yogi, he attains many mystic power. He can become smaller than the smallest. A yogi, actual, who has attained perfection yogi, he can pack up in any small thing, but if there is little hole, he will come out, a little hole. We have seen it. There was one Mr. Chakravarti. He learned this art, and he made money in cooperation with a circus, Bose’s circus, in Calcutta. I have seen it in our childhood, that this Mr. Chakravarti first of all was packed in a bag, and the bag was sealed before all audience, and the bag was put in a box. The box was locked up, not only locked up, it was sealed. Then a curtain, mosquito-curtainlike curtain, was covered. And on the box there was a tablā. You know tablā, harmonium.(?) So from outside one of the circus men said, “Mr. Chakravarti, will you kindly play the tablā?” The table was going on nicely within the curtain. Then he said, “Mr. Chakravarti, will you kindly play on the harmonium?” The harmonium he played. Then he said, “Mr. Chakravarti, will you please come out?” So he immediately came out from the curtain, and he began to round the box, and the man, circus man, asked everyone, “Catch him, catch him, catch him.” So somebody tried to catch him, but nobody could catch him. He again entered in the curtain, and when the curtain was taken, everyone saw that the table was there, the harmonium was there, and the box was locked and sealed. And then the seal was opened. The box was opened. Then Mr. Chakravarti, within the bag, he was taken out. And the bag was sealed. It was opened. At that time Mr. Chakravarti was perspiring. He was very fatigued. He remained in such a way, but he came out. That we have seen.

So this is called aṇimā-siddhi. Laghimā-siddhi, there is laghimā-siddhi. You can float in the sky just like cotton swab. That is called laghimā-siddhi. Prāpti, prāpti means a yogi can get immediately… Suppose a yogi is sitting here. You can ask him, “Give me a fresh pomegranate from Kabul.” He will immediately give. So there are so many siddhis, perfection: aṇimā, laghimā, prāpti-siddhi, īśitā, vaśitā. A yogi can manufacture a planet, he is so powerful. Just like Viśvāmitra Yogi. He produced man from the tree. So these are yogic perfections, not simply pressing the nose. That is not. Yoga practice is to gain material power. That’s all. There was… Say, about hundred years ago there was a yogi in Benares, Kāśī, and he was sitting naked on the road, public road, and the government took objection. So he was taken several times to police custody, and he came out. He became very famous. So there are many yogis. They can play this magic. But all this yogic power in large quantity… Just like a yogi can float himself in the air, but by God’s yogic power, millions and trillions heavy planets are floating in the air, millions and trillions.

So the supreme yogic power is Kṛṣṇa. Therefore it is said, brūhi yogeśvare kṛṣṇe. Yogeśvara. Īśvara means controller. There are many yogic power and yogis, but he is the supreme controller of everyone. Therefore He is mentioned here, brūhi yogeśvare kṛṣṇe: “The master of the mystic power, Kṛṣṇa, having gone from this planet…” Brahmaṇye dharma-varmaṇi. Dharma-varmaṇi means whose weapon is religious principle. Dharma means God, or Kṛṣṇa. Dharma, the Sanskrit word, it is translated into English as “religion,” but this is not perfect translation. Dharma is different from religion. Religion is mentioned in the dictionary as “a kind of faith.” So dharma is not like that. Faith can be changed. You can change your faith. Today you are Hindu; tomorrow you can become Muslim. Today you are Muslim; you can become Christian. So this kind of faith can be changed. So this is not actually dharma. Dharma means which you cannot change. That is called dharma.

Just like water is liquid. You cannot change water to become solid. You can say, argue, that water sometimes becomes solid, ice. But that is not its natural condition. That is artificial. By the temperature going down artificially, it becomes solid. But at the same time, it begins to become liquid. The ice does not remain solid. From the solidification, after refrigeration, it becomes to, become liquid because that is its natural state. So that… As liquidity is natural state of water, similarly, dharma is our natural state, the living entity. The living entity being part and parcel of God, it has got a natural position. Natural position. Just like the finger is the part and parcel of your body. It has got a natural position. The natural position is that finger, as you wish to work, the finger works, serves you. The different parts of your body, limbs, they are meant for serving the whole body. The finger catches a nice foodstuff, cake, but the finger does not use it. The finger takes it to the mouth. That means finger serves the body. Similarly, dharma means the living entity, being part and parcel of God, the living entity must serve God. That is dharma. That service attitude is there in every living entity, but somebody is serving himself, somebody is serving his family, somebody is serving his society, somebody is serving his country. In this way service is there. If somebody has nobody to serve, he takes a dog, a cat, and serves it.

So service is there, but this service is called māyā, illusion. Actually, the service is meant for God, but we have forgotten God. We are rendering service to so many varieties of māyā’s presentation. Therefore, when God comes, He establishes what is religion. When Kṛṣṇa came, He said, He declared his manifesto,

yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham…

“Whenever there is discrepancy in the matter of discharge of religion…”

yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
[Bg. 4.7]

paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
dharma-saṁsthāpanārthāya
sambhavāmi yuge yuge
[Bg. 4.8]

So Kṛṣṇa came to establish what is real religion. Therefore, the sages assembled in the Naimiṣāraṇya, they knew it, the mission of Kṛṣṇa, that “He came to establish religion. Now He is not on this plane. So under whose care the religion is now remaining?” Dharmaḥ kaṁ śaraṇaṁ gataḥ. Svāṁ kāṣṭhām adhunopete dharmaḥ kaṁ śaraṇaṁ gataḥ. Then where is now religion? Because Kṛṣṇa, so long Kṛṣṇa was present, he was discharging real religion. What was that discharge? Paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām [Bg. 4.8]. He was… So long Kṛṣṇa was present on this planet, He was killing so many demons and He was giving protection to the devotees. But Kṛṣṇa is Absolute. Either killing or giving protection, they are all the same. So this is the praśna. This is the question of the great learned scholars and sages and brāhmaṇas in the Naimiṣāraṇya.

So this question is answered first by Sūta Gosvāmī, munayaḥ sādhu pṛṣṭo ‘ham: [SB 1.2.5] “My dear sages, you have questioned about Kṛṣṇa. Oh, it is very nice.” Munayaḥ sādhu. Sādhu means very nice, perfect. So munayaḥ sādhu pṛṣṭo ‘haṁ bhavadbhiḥ, “by you,” and loka-maṅgalam: “This is for the auspicity of whole world, this kind of praśna, this kind of question, as you have put forward, that ‘After departure of Kṛṣṇa, under whom actual real religious principles are there?’ So this question is very nice.” So he clearly says, the next line, yat kṛtaḥ kṛṣṇa-sampraśnaḥ: “Because you have put questions about Kṛṣṇa.” Yat kṛtaḥ kṛṣṇa-sampraśno yenātmā suprasīdati. And if we discuss about Kṛṣṇa, if we question about Kṛṣṇa, if you try to understand Kṛṣṇa, then our life becomes perfect. Simply by trying to understand Kṛṣṇa, your will be perfect.

What is the perfection of life? The perfection of life means to get out of this material condition and to be situated in our original, spiritual life. Originally we are all spiritual spark, we all, sitting here, not only we, human beings, even other living entities, everyone—the trees, the plants, the aquatics, birds, beasts, insects, microbes, everyone. Wherever you’ll find living symptoms, they are all part and parcel of God. But according to their karma, according to their pious and impious activities, they have been obliged to accept a certain type of body. That is in the hands of nature. Your science will not help. Your science will not help. It will be considered by the material nature.

prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā
kartāham iti manyate
[Bg. 3.27]

You can theorize so many things. You may become a very great scientist, but when death will come, you cannot protect yourself. That is not possible. Janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9]. You may be puffed up for advancement of your scientific knowledge, but you must be under the control of birth, death, old age and disease. So this is prakṛti, nature, and nature is controlled by God. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā,

mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ
sūyate sa-carācaram
hetunānena kaunteya
jagad viparivartate
[Bg. 9.10]

“Under My control, the material nature is working.” Don’t think material nature is working independently. That is not possible. Matter cannot act independently. You can see how matter is working, but you are seer, you are superior. Scientist sees that this molecule is working like this, this cell is working like that, but the position is that one who is seeing the action, he is superior than the matter acting under certain material laws. Similarly, the living entity is superior.

So of all the living entities, so superior living entity is God. That is stated in the Vedas: nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām. Nitya, eternal. God is eternal; we are also eternal. God is also full of knowledge; we are also not full of knowledge, but we have got knowledge, cetana. The matter has not, no knowledge. So He is the supreme eternal. He is the supreme cognizant.

nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām
eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān
(Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13)

The one is singular number, nitya, cetana. The others are plural number. So we living entities, we are many, asaṅkhya. There is no limit how many living entities are there. That you have got experience. Even within your room, from a small hole, thousands and thousands of ants may come out. Just imagine. Even within a drop of water there are thousands of microbes. They are all living entities under different condition of life. So living entities are many, but God is one, not God many. God cannot be many. Therefore it is singular number. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). Then what is the distinction between this singular number and plural number? The distinction is also stated, eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān: “That one single number living entity is supplying all the necessities of these plural number living entities.” That is the distinction between God and living entity.

You can see that we human being, civilized man, we have got business, industry, to solve our economic problems, but we human beings are very small quantity. Out of 8,400,000 species of life, forms of life, only 400,000 species of life are human being. Out of them, mostly seventy-five percent are uncivilized, maybe twenty-five percent civilized. So except these so-called civilized twenty-five percent human being, other living entities have no problem for eating, sleeping, mating. We have created. Because we are so-called civilized, we have created the problems for eating, sleeping, mating. Otherwise there is already arrangement for everyone by God. Eko bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān. In Africa there are thousands of thousands of elephants. They are eating at a time fifty kilos of foodstuff. But they are eating; God is supplying. They are also living. They have got sleeping accommodation. They have got mating arrangements.

So these are not problems actually. An actually advanced educated man should understand that “If God has provided food-eating, sleeping, mating arrangement is made for them—why not for me?” Therefore Bhāgavata says,

tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ
tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukhaṁ
kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā
[SB 1.5.18]

In the human form of life, you should try to understand what is God. That is your special prerogative. If you think that “If I become engaged for searching out God, then how my other problems will be solved?” the answer is that tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukham: “Your other problems are already solved. As there is arrangement for your distress, similarly there is arrangement for your happiness.” Nobody wants distress, but why distress comes upon us? It is already arranged. Similarly, if distress is arranged already, then my happiness is also arranged. Tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukham. So we should not be disturbed by the so-called distress and happiness. They are coming and going. Kṛṣṇa has advised in the Bhagavad-gītā: āgamāpāyino ‘nityās tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata. The so-called distress and happiness, they come and go like seasonal changes. Just like we have got summer season, winter season. The winter also not staying for good, neither the summer is staying for good. It will change. Cakravat parivartante sukhāni duḥkhāni ca. There are so many. So we should not bother about this material happiness and distress. That is perfect civilization. We shall depend on the arrangement of God, as lower animals, they are depending. The birds, rising early in the morning, they chirp, but they are not hampered, “Where to find out food?” They know, “There is somewhere our food.” They go and get it. Similarly, our real problem is that we have forgotten Kṛṣṇa or God. We must revive our God consciousness again—that is not very difficult task—and save time, how to reestablish our relationship with God.

Therefore here Sūta Gosvāmī says that yat kṛtaḥ kṛṣṇa-sampraśnaḥ. So our business should be always to inquire about Kṛṣṇa, or God, and try to understand, because as soon as you understand God, then your this material conditioned life will be finished. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ [Bg. 4.9]. You should know Kṛṣṇa, or God, in truth not by manufacturing your own ways, concoction. Scientifically. It is a great science. Yad vijñānaṁ samanvitam. Jñānaṁ te ‘haṁ sa-vijñānaṁ vakṣyāmi yat aśeṣataḥ [Bg. 7.2], in the Bhagavad-gītā. Sa-vijñānam: “It is science.” Yaj jñātvā bhūyo ‘nyaj jñātavyaṁ na avaśiṣyate. If you try to understand God, then you have nothing to understand again any more. Every, all knowledge is there. Because God is everything, so you understand everything.

So this is a great science. Therefore the great sages said that yat kṛtaḥ kṛṣṇa-sampraśnaḥ: “You have made inquiries about Kṛṣṇa.” Because they inquired that “After departure of Kṛṣṇa, the principle of religion is… Under whom it is existing?” Kṛṣṇa… That is… Everything will be explained. So Sūta Gosvāmī confirms this, that “Your question about Kṛṣṇa is so nice that it is auspicity for the whole world.” So we have started this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. It is not any personal affair. It is auspicity for the whole world. So you try to inquire about Kṛṣṇa, try to understand about Kṛṣṇa, and yenātmā suprasīdati, then your ātmā… You will feel full satisfaction. Svāmin kṛtārtho ‘smi varaṁ na yāce [Cc. Madhya 22.42]. You will come to that stage.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya! (end)

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