“Your Bhagavad-gītā Reading is Perfect. You have Taken the Essence.”

Krishna and Arjuna

click on image to enlarge

When Lord Caitanya was traveling in South India…He saw one brāhmaṇa was reading Bhagavad-gītā. And people were joking him, “Oh, Mr. brāhmaṇa, how you are reading Bhagavad-gītā?” Because they were the neighbors, they knew that this brāhmaṇa was illiterate and he was studying Bhagavad-gītā. So they were joking. But the brāhmaṇa did not car. He was taking the book and in his own way he was reading.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw this incident, He came to the brāhmaṇa. So He asked the brāhmaṇa, “My dear brāhmaṇa, what you are reading?”

So he could understand “This persons is not joking with me; He is serious.”

So he explained, “My dear sir, I am reading Bhagavad-gītā. Unfortunately, I am illiterate. I do not know even the alphabets.”

“Why you are reading Bhagavad-gītā?”

So he said that, “My spiritual master knows that I am illiterate, but still, he has asked me to read Bhagavad-gītā. What can I do? Therefore I have taken this book. I am seeing simply. I do not know how to read.”

“Oh, that’s all right. You cannot read. But I see that you are crying. How you are crying if you are not reading?”

“Yes, I am crying. Of course, there is cause.”

“What is that?”

“As soon as I take this Bhagavad-gītā, I remember Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is sitting as driver and Arjuna is hearing. I have heard the story. I know something of the instruction but cannot read. So as soon as I take this book, this picture comes before me and I simply think, ‘Oh, how Kṛṣṇa is nice that He has become a charioteer of His devotee. He is so great. Still, He has accepted a menial service of His devotee.’ This gives me so much pleasure that I cry.”

Caitanya Mahāprabhu embraced him, “Your Bhagavad-gītā reading is perfect. You have taken the essence.” So this is the thing. If you simply remember Kṛṣṇa is teaching Arjuna and Arjuna is hearing, if you simply remember the picture, that is sufficient. Even if you think that you cannot read. (Bhagavad-gita talks with Srila Prabhupada 11/25/1968)

Full Conversation

Bhagavad-gītā 2.1-10 and Talk
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Los Angeles, November 25, 1968

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Sañjaya said, Seeing Arjuna full of compassion and very sorrowful, his eyes brimming with tears, Madhusūdana, Kṛṣṇa, spoke the following words. The Supreme Personality said, ‘My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets but to infamy.’

Prabhupāda: Now, Arjuna was sympathetic with his brothers and relatives and he was practically crying, with tears in his eyes, and Kṛṣṇa said that it is non-Āryan. It is not befitting for an Āryan. Just see. He was so compassionate, but still, it is not approved by Kṛṣṇa. Go on.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Purport. “The Sanskrit word Bhagavān is explained by the great authority, Parāśara Muni, the father of Vyāsadeva. The Supreme Personality who possesses all riches, entire strength, entire fame, entire beauty, entire knowledge, and entire renunciation is called Bhagavān. There are many persons who are very rich, very powerful, very beautiful, very famous, very learned, and very much detached, but no one can claim that he is possessor of all these opulences entirely. Such a claim is applicable to Kṛṣṇa only, and as such He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No living entity, including Brahmā, can possess such opulence. Neither Lord Śiva nor even Nārāyaṇa can possess such opulence as fully as Kṛṣṇa. By analytical study of such possessions it is concluded in the Brahma-saṁhitā by Lord Brahmā himself that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Nobody is equal to or above Him. He is the primeval Lord or Bhagavān known as Govinda, and He is the supreme cause of all causes. It is stated as follows: There are many personalities possessing the qualities of Bhagavān, but Kṛṣṇa is Supreme over all of them because none can excel Him. He is the Supreme Person and His body is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. He is the primeval Lord Govinda and the cause of all causes. In the Bhāgavatam also there is a list of many incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Kṛṣṇa is described therein as the original Personality from whom many, many incarnations and Personalities of Godhead expand. It is stated in this way: All the lists of the incarnations of Godhead submitted herewith are either plenary expansions or parts of the plenary expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of both Supersoul and the impersonal Brahman. In the presence of the Supreme Person, Arjuna’s lamentation for his kinsmen is certainly unbecoming, and therefore Kṛṣṇa expressed His surprise with the word kutas, wherefrom. Such unmanly sentiments were never expected from a person belonging to the civilized class of men known as Āryans. The word Āryan is applicable to persons who know the value of life and have a civilization based on spiritual realization. Persons who are led by the material conception of life do not know that the aim of life is realization of the Absolute Truth, Viṣṇu, or Bhagavān. Such persons are captivated by the external features…”

Prabhupāda: But at the present moment they claim that “We belong to the Āryan family,” but they have not the qualification of an Āryan. The Āryan qualification is described there. Simply Arjuna was little flickering, he showed his little weakness, and he was at once condemned as non-Āryan. “Oh, you are just showing your symptom of a non-Āryan.” You see. And by Kṛṣṇa. So the Āryan word is not ordinary. To become Āryan means a perfect human being, as far as possible. That is Āryan civilization. Go on.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Such persons are captivated by the external features of the material world, and therefore they do not know what liberation is. Persons who have no knowledge of liberation from material bondage are called non-Āryans. Arjuna was trying to deviate from his prescribed duties, declining to fight, although he was a kṣatriya or warrior. This act of cowardice is described as befitting the non-Āryans. Such deviation from duty does not help one in the progress of spiritual life, nor does it even give one the opportunity of becoming famous in this world. Lord Kṛṣṇa did not approve of the so-called compassion of Arjuna for his kinsmen.”

Prabhupāda: So-called compassion. He was thinking that by showing that compassion he’ll be, I mean to say, eulogized by Kṛṣṇa. But Kṛṣṇa condemned it. Yes. Just the opposite. In other words, Kṛṣṇa is very strict also. That is the qualification of Kṛṣṇa and His associates. Vajrād api kaṭhora and kusumād api kamala. Softer than the flower and harder than the thunderbolt. Two sides. When Kṛṣṇa is strict He’s harder than the thunderbolt, and when He’s soft, He’s softer than the flower. These two examples are given. Vajrād api kaṭhora, kusumād api kamala. So Kṛṣṇa is not lenient to His friend or to His devotee. Because that leniency will not help him, will not help him. Sometimes He appears to be very hard for the devotee, but He’s not hard. Just like father sometimes becomes very strict. That is good. That will be proved, how Kṛṣṇa’s hardness will prove his salvation. At the end Arjuna will admit, “By Your mercy, my illusion is now over.” So this sort of stricture by…, from God on the devotee is sometimes misunderstood. Because we are always accustomed to accept what is immediately very pleasing, but sometimes we’ll find that we are not getting which is immediately very pleasing, but we should not be disappointed. We shall stick to Kṛṣṇa. That is Arjuna’s position. Go on.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “O son of Pṛthā, do not yield to this degrading impotence.”

Prabhupāda: Hm. Degrading impotence. He doesn’t want to see (chuckling) His devotee a coward and impotent. So this so-called qualification, impotency and niggard, that is not qualification for devotee. He must be very, in every way, very expert and fit. Kṛṣṇa wants to see. Yes. Go on.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy.”

Prabhupāda: He’s specially addressing, “chastiser of the enemy.” Where there is no excuse, you must be chastiser. Not that “Because I have become Kṛṣṇa conscious, I’ll be very humble.” You must be humble, but in need, if there is need, you shall be thunderbolt. That is Kṛṣṇa instructing.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Arjuna said: O killer of Madhu, Kṛṣṇa, how can I counterattack with arrows in battle personalities like Bhīṣma and Droṇa, who are worthy of my worship?”

Prabhupāda: Of course, all explanation are not there. Here, these words, Kṛṣṇa addressed Arjuna, “chastiser of enemies.” And Arjuna addresses Kṛṣṇa, “Madhusūdana,” or the killer of the demon Madhu. “Yes, You are addressing me as chastiser of enemy, but do You think my grandfather, my teacher, they are my enemies? You killed demon Madhu, therefore Your name is Madhusūdana, but You are asking me to kill my grandfather and teacher.” That is the hint. “It is all right that Your name is Madhusūdana. You killed one demon whose name was Madhu, but You are asking me, Bhīṣmasūdana? Bhīṣma is my grandfather. And Droṇasūdana?” Sūdana means killer. “So how can I be that?” That is the answer.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “It is better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though they are avaricious, they are nonetheless superiors. If they are killed, then our spoils will be tainted with blood.”

Prabhupāda: This is another indication how superiors should be shown respect. Arjuna says, “Although they have become avaricious, still, they are my superior.” Avaricious, why? “They have got full affection for me. My grandfather Bhīṣma has got full affection for me. And Droṇācārya, I am his very dear student so he has also my very affection… good affection for me. But because Duryodhana has paid them, he has accepted their service. Paid them. So avaricious. Simply for money, in spite of so much affection and intimate relationship, they have accepted the service of Duryodhana, counting on money. So therefore they are avaricious. But in spite of their being avaricious, they are my respectful.” This is respect. This is respect, that the respectful person who is my respectful, even there are some characteristics who does not command respect, still respect should be offered. This is a respectful offering. Yes. Sometimes it may be. The example is given. In the Bhagavad-gītā you’ll find, api cet sudarācāro bhajate mām ananya-bhāk sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ [Bg. 9.30]. “Even a devotee is sometimes found not acting properly, but because he has got that unflinching faith and devotion upon Me,” Kṛṣṇa says, “therefore he is saint.” Only for that one qualification—he does not know except Kṛṣṇa. So to such person, even some flaws are found in their character… Just like we have imposed some rules that illicit sex relationship and intoxication, meat-eating, so many things. So… Of course, intentionally one should not break these laws. But even sometimes we may find that there is some flaw in one’s part… Suppose if I see somebody smoking, but he is doing Kṛṣṇa consciousness very nicely. So we should not deride. We shall give him concession to reform. It does not mean that because he has accidentally smoked, smoking, that does not mean he has become immediately disqualified. As Arjuna is showing: “Although they have become avaricious, still, they are my superiors. Still. Still, they are my superiors.” This is called unflinching faith. In spite of seeing my respectful superior abominable, not willingly, but by accident, still, I should not withdraw my respect. That is the… Hmm.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Nor do we know which is better, conquering them or being conquered by them. The sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, whom if we killed we should not care to live, are now standing before us on this battlefield.” Purport. “Arjuna became perplexed in this connection, not knowing whether he should execute the fighting with the risk of committing unnecessarily violence, although it is the duty of the kṣatriyas, or whether he should not and prefer instead to live by begging, because if he did not conquer the enemy, begging would be the only means left for his living. There was no certainty of victory because either side might emerge victorious.”

Prabhupāda: These are his causes of perplexities, how he was thinking, that has been tried to be explained. Yes, go on.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Even if there were victory awaiting them, because their cause was justified, still if the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra should die in battle, it would be very difficult to live in their absence. Under the circumstances that would be another kind of defeat. All these considerations by Arjuna definitely proved that he was not only a great devotee of the Lord but that he was also highly enlightened and had complete control over his mind and senses. His desire to live by begging although he was born in the royal household is another sign of detachment. He was fully in the quality of forbearance as all these qualities combined with his faith in the words of instruction of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, his spiritual master, give evidence. It is concluded that Arjuna was quite fit for liberation. Unless the senses are controlled, there is no chance of elevation to the platform of knowledge, and without knowledge and devotion there is no chance of liberation. Arjuna was competent in all these attributes over and above his enormous attributes in his material relationships.”

Prabhupāda: Go on. (coughs)

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Now I am confused about…”

Prabhupāda: Yes, what is there?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Now I am confused about duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.” Purport. “By nature’s own way, the complete system of material activities is a source of perplexity for everyone. In every step there is perplexity, and it behooves one therefore to approach a bona fide spiritual master who can give one the proper guidance for executing the purpose of life. All Vedic literatures advise us to approach a bona fide spiritual master to get free from the perplexities of life which happen without our desire. They appear like a forest fire which takes place without being set by anyone. Similarly, the world situation is such that perplexities of life automatically appear without our wanting such confusion. Nobody wants fire, and yet it takes place and we are perplexed. The Vedic wisdom therefore advises that in order to solve the perplexities of life and to understand the science of the solution one must approach a spiritual master who is in disciplic succession. A person with a bona fide spiritual master is supposed to know everything. One should not therefore remain in…”

Prabhupāda: This is a translation of a Vedic version, ācāryavān puruṣo veda. Ācāryavān, one who has ācārya as his guidance, he is supposed to know everything. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda. That is given there.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “One should not therefore remain in material perplexities but should approach such a teacher. This is the purport of this verse. Who is the man in material perplexities? It is he who does not understand the problems of life. In the Garga Upaniṣad this is described as follows. He is a miserly man who does not solve the problems of life as a human and who thus quits this world like the cats and dogs without understanding the science of self-realization. He is called a miserly man. This human form of life is the most valuable asset for the living entity who can utilize it for solving the problems of life. Therefore one who does not utilize this opportunity is a miser.”

Prabhupāda: As a miser does not properly use his asset. Suppose you have got one million dollars, you keep it only, you do not use it properly or you spoil it. Then you are called miser. But if you utilize it properly and gain out of it, then you are intelligent. Similarly, Garga Upaniṣad says, he makes distinction, two classes. One class of men he says kṛpaṇa. Kṛpaṇa means miser. And another class of men he says brāhmaṇa, brāhmaṇas. So he classifies, etad viditvāsmāt ya praiti sa brāhmaṇaḥ. This self-realization process… We shall die. It is sure. Every one of us, we’ll die. But we should not die like cats and dogs. That is the difference. We may die. We must die. Nobody can escape death, but before death we must know what is self and self-realization. They are brāhmaṇas. Those who are trying to understand what he is, what is his relation with God and how he should live, they are called brāhmaṇas. And those who are living like cats and dogs, simply eating, sleeping, mating and dying, so they are dying like cats and dogs. So death is inevitable. That is also advised by Prahlāda Mahārāja in his instruction to his class fellows. Kaumāra ācaret prājño dharmān bhāgavatān iha [SB 7.6.1]. “My dear friends, from this beginning of life… We are now five years old. From this life we should try to understand bhāgavata-dharma.” Bhāgavata-dharma means to understand our relationship with the Supreme Lord. That is called bhāgavata-dharma. Mānuṣam adhruvam. Tad apy adhruvam. Although the life is temporary, but it is very suitable for self-realization. So therefore one should begin this process from childhood. Just like modern education system, if children are given some playthings, engineering… I’ve seen in your country especially. He’s given railway line and so many things. He can understand how railway system is working, or engineering, so that from the very beginning of his life he’s getting idea and he may catch up some line of activities. Similarly this Kṛṣṇa conscious education also should be given from the very beginning of life. That is the mistake of the modern civilization. Everyone is becoming engineering, technologist, or medical man or so many. But the real problem of life is to understand the self. But there is no educational system throughout the whole world what is the self, what is his need, how it is constituted, how it is working, so many things. In Boston, there was a Massachusetts Technological…

Devotee: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Prabhupāda: You know that? Yes. So I explained there that “Here is a nice technological institute, but where is your, this technological department, to understand?” So the students very much appreciated it. Factually, this is the defect. We know… This will be the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā, that there is something which minus, this body is useless. But nobody is trying to understand what is that something. There is no technological institute to understand what is that something. Is it not defective? And still, they are very much proud of advancement of education. The real thing is missing. You have got all departments for comforts of this body, for maintaining this body, but the thing which minus this body, the body is useless, what about that thing? That is Bhagavad-gītā. That is Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is teaching that technology. You should try to understand this Bhagavad-gītā is not technology for the external body. Bhagavad-gītā is the technology of the dehī which is within the body, which is moving the body, which is keeping the body fit. This body is fit very nice, very beautiful, very attractive. How long? So long the spirit soul is there. As soon as the spirit soul is off, immediately it begins to decompose. There may be a nice, beautiful young girl, everyone is hankering after her, but as soon as the spirit soul is gone, nobody will like to accept it. Immediately it becomes useless. (laughs) Huh? So nobody is very serious what is that thing? That is Bhagavad-gītā. Yes.

Śrīmatī: Is that what age is then, as the spirit soul is leaving the body, do you become older?

Prabhupāda: No, spirit soul is not old. The body is changing, that is the process. That will be explained,

dehino ’smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13]

Spirit soul is evergreen. The body is changing. That is to be understood. Body is changing. That everyone can understand. Just like in your childhood your body was different. Just like this child, a different body. And when that child will be young girl, that will be a different body. But the spirit soul is there in this body and that body. So this is the proof that spirit soul does not change, the body changed. This is the proof. I am thinking of my childhood. That means I am the same “I” which I was existing in my childhood, and I remember in my childhood I was doing this, I did that. But that childhood body is no longer. That is gone. Therefore it is conclusion that my body has changed, but I am the same. Is it not? This is simple truth. So this body will change, still I shall remain. I may enter into another body, that doesn’t matter, but I shall remain. Tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13] As I am changing my body even in the present circumstances, similarly, the ultimate change does not mean I am dead. I enter into another… That also explained, vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā, that I change. Just like when I was not sannyāsī, I was dressing like any gentleman. Now I have changed my dress. That does not mean that I have died. No. I have changed my body, that’s all. I have changed my dress. Go on. Not now. Yes. Kṛpaṇas, yes, you were reading there.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “The kṛpaṇas, or miserly persons, waste their time in being overly affectionate for family, society, country, etc., in the material conception of life. One is often attached to family life, to wife and children and other members on the basis of ’skin disease.’ The kṛpaṇas think that they are able to protect their family members from death, or the kṛpaṇa thinks that his family or society can save him from death. Such family attachment can be found even in the lower animals, who also take care of children. Being intelligent, Arjuna could understand that his affection for family members and his wish to protect them from death were the causes of his perplexities. Although he could understand that his duty to fight was awaiting him, still on account of miserly weakness he could not discharge the duty. He is therefore asking Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme spiritual master, to make a definite solution. He offers himself to Kṛṣṇa as a disciple. He wants to stop friendly talks. Talks between a master and disciple are serious, and now Arjuna wants to talk very seriously before the recognized spiritual master. Kṛṣṇa is therefore the original…”

Prabhupāda: Here is a technique. The same Kṛṣṇa and same Arjuna, they are talking as friends. Then what was the necessity of Arjuna accepting Kṛṣṇa as spiritual master? The same Arjuna and same Kṛṣṇa, they’ll talk, but what is the necessity of accepting as spiritual master? That means after accepting spiritual master he’ll not argue. He’ll simply accept whatever He says. That is the technique. Friendly talks, equal level, He, Kṛṣṇa was talking something and he was replying. So that argument has no end. But when he accepts Him as spiritual master, there is no more argument. One has to accept whatever He says. Therefore he’s accepting as spiritual master. After this, Arjuna will never say, “This is wrong, this is, no,” or “I don’t agree.” No. He’ll accept. So acceptance of spiritual master means to accept anything, whatever he says. Therefore one has to select a spiritual master whom he can completely surrender. That is the technique. Veda-vākya. Just like in the Vedic injunction, nobody can deny. Similarly, spiritual master is also representative of Veda. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda. So similarly, it is just like Vedic injunction. So spiritual master has also got the great duty. He has to instruct the disciple in such a way that he may not be misled, and that is not possible because a spiritual master is he who will simply speak from authoritative sources. He’ll speak from Bhagavad-gītā, Bhāgavata, or what was spoken by Nārada, Vyāsa, that is his authority. He does not say, “In my opinion it is…” No. Therefore it is perfect, it is coming from the disciplic succession, and if one agrees to such instruction, then he’s also perfectly advancing. It is not difficult to understand. So he’s accepting. “Now I accept You as my spiritual master. You teach me.” Is that the statement? Yes. What is that?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “He offers himself to Kṛṣṇa as a disciple. He wants to stop friendly talks. Kṛṣṇa is therefore the original spiritual master in the science of the Bhagavad-gītā, and Arjuna is the original disciple in understanding the Gītā. How Arjuna understands the Bhagavad-gītā is stated in the Gītā itself, and yet foolish mundane scholars explain that one need not submit to Kṛṣṇa as a person but to the unborn within Kṛṣṇa. There is no difference between Kṛṣṇa’s within and without, and one who has no sense of this understanding is the greatest fool, the greatest pretender.”

(Translation:) “I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not even be able to destroy it if I win an unrivalled kingdom on the earth with sovereignty like the demigods in heaven.

“Sañjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Kṛṣṇa, ‘Govinda, I shall not fight,’ and fell silent. O descendant of Bharata, at that time Kṛṣṇa, smiling in the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna.”

Prabhupāda: So Arjuna was so serious, and Kṛṣṇa was smiling. (laughs) “Just see the fool, what he is doing.” Therefore there was necessity of instructing Bhagavad-gītā. The fool has to be instructed. Yes. This is the… He was smiling. This is childish. He was very serious, “Oh.” Just like sometimes a child is very serious, and the father is smiling. Yes. So now Bhagavad-gītā will be spoken. He has accepted Kṛṣṇa as spiritual master. Now He’ll teach. So what does He teach? Next?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “The Blessed Lord said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.”

Prabhupāda: This is the first version of Kṛṣṇa as teacher. What is that? Read it again?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.”

Prabhupāda: Yes. Aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase [Bg. 2.11], that “You are lamenting for a thing which no learned man does. That means you are not learned, but you are talking just like learned man.” What is that? “You are talking”?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: “While speaking learned words you are…”

Prabhupāda: Yes. “You are speaking learned words, but your behavior shows that you are not learned because you are lamenting on a subject which no learned man laments.” Politely He says that “You are not learned, but you are talking just like a learned man.” That you will find. Dr. Frog, (laughs) speaking like a very great philosopher. Just like here, that Dr. Radhakrishnan, that says, “It is not to Kṛṣṇa but within Kṛṣṇa.” That fool does not know that there is no within or without of Kṛṣṇa. Rather, Kṛṣṇa is within and without. That he does not know. And he’s accepted as a very great learned man. Dr. Frog, or Dr. Radhakrishnan. You see? This is going on in the world. They are posing themself as very learned, but… This can be detected by devotees, who is learned and who is not learned. Others cannot detect. Others will be misled. The devotees, they have got such eyes to see that they can immediately discriminate who is a fool, who is learned. There is a story that one man was searching after the truth. So he met some person, saintly person. So he gave him one feather, that “You try to see within the feather who is a human being and who is not.” So when he began to see within the feather, he saw, “There is no human being.” Similarly,

ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

Guru or the spiritual master… [break] …means pure devotee.

Vīrabhadra: In the āśrama, and before that when you said that a brāhmaṇa is… Do you mean, when you say brāhmaṇa, do you mean… I mean are they… the devotees who are not pure but…

Prabhupāda: Yes, they’re also pure devotees because they’re following my instruction. Just like a technician, he is expert, but somebody is assisting him. So the assistants, because they are following the instruction of the expert, therefore their work is also complete. So it is not necessarily that one has to become pure devotee immediately. Just like we are also following the instruction of our spiritual master. I don’t claim that I am pure devotee or perfect, but my only qualification is that I am trying to follow the instruction of the perfect. Similarly… This is called disciplic succession. Just like here it is stated that Kṛṣṇa is the original spiritual master and Arjuna is the original student. So Arjuna said that sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye yad vadasi keśava [Bg. 10.14]. “My dear Kṛṣṇa, whatever You are saying, I accept in toto,” in the Tenth Chapter. Just like Dr. Radhakrishnan says, “It is not to Kṛṣṇa, it is something else.” He does not accept in that way. He says that “Whatever You are saying, I accept it. You are saying that You are the Supreme, I accept it. I don’t say that You have got a separate thing within. That is Supreme, You are not Supreme, as person.” This is impersonalist. They do not know that Kṛṣṇa has no such… A conditioned soul… Just like we are, I am different from my soul. “I am” means my body, or I am soul, different from the body. So Kṛṣṇa has no such differentiation. He does not know that. Because he’s not following Kṛṣṇa, the perfect spiritual master. He’s following some rascal spiritual master. Therefore he has this mistake. But if we follow Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa, then we get the perfect knowledge. We may not be cent percent perfect, but as far as possible, if we follow the instruction as it is, that much perfect. In this way one will get perfection.

So one has to follow. The same example, try to understand, that a perfect, expert technologist or technician or mechanic is working, and somebody is working under his instruction. So this somebody, because he is strictly working under the instruction of the expert, he’s also expert. He may not be cent percent expert, but his work is expert. Is that clear? Because he is working under the expert. Do you follow? So if you follow pure devotee, then you are also pure devotee. It may not be one is cent percent pure. Because we are trying to raise ourself from the conditional life. But if we strictly follow the pure devotee, then we are also pure devotee. So far we do, that is pure. So pure devotee does not mean one has to become immediately cent percent pure. But if he sticks to the principle that “We’ll follow a pure devotee,” then his actions are… He is as good as a pure devotee. It is not I am explaining in my own way. It is the explanation of Bhāgavata. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. We have to follow the footprints of pure devotees. It is said that tarkaḥ apratiṣṭhaḥ. If you want to become pure by your arguments and logic, that is not possible. I may be defeated by another strong man who is stronger in argument than me, so this is not the way of becoming purified, tarka, simply arguing. Tarkaḥ apratiṣṭhaḥ smṛtayo vibhinnāḥ. Śrutayaḥ, scriptures. Suppose somebody sticks to the scriptures. So scriptures, there are different types of scripture. So they are vibhinna. Vibhinna means different types. So how we can become purified by, even by following the scriptures? Tarko ’pratiṣṭhaḥ smṛtayo vibhinnā na cāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. Muni means thoughtful, philosophers. If we follow a particular type of philosopher, that is also not perfect because I may be under the care of a philosopher, frog philosopher. So that is also not sure. Tarko ’pratiṣṭhaḥ smṛtayo vibhinnā na cāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam, dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām.

Therefore to become pure or to understand the essence of purity is very confidential. It is not to be acquired by our own efforts, by argument or by being expert in scripture or by becoming a philosopher or a similar way. It is very confidential. Then how? Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. You have to follow a pure devotee, acknowledged devotee. Similarly, in the Bhagavad-gītā, if we follow Arjuna, then we understand Bhagavad-gītā as it is. But if we don’t follow Arjuna, if we follow somebody, Dr. Frog, or create our own interpretation, then we remain impure. So mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. We have to follow the footprints of mahājana, great soul. So here is directly you are meeting great soul, Arjuna. He is directly being taught Bhagavad-gītā by the original teacher. Who can be greater authority than Arjuna? So as Arjuna accepts Bhagavad-gīta, if you accept Bhagavad-gītā in that way, then your study of Bhagavad-gītā is perfect. It is very simple. Therefore I’m saying here that Kṛṣṇa is the original teacher, and Arjuna is the original student. So you follow the original student, you understand Bhagavad-gītā. Even Kṛṣṇa is not present before you. He is present by His words. This is the way of following what is pure. Yes?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Can Kṛṣṇa give us the ability to someday remember every word that you are saying to us now? Because I myself, I forget so much. I want to hear just how you are talking and I can’t.

Prabhupāda: What is that? I don’t follow.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I want to be able to hear you saying exactly what you’re saying now. I want to always be able to hear it, but I forget. My memory is very poor.

Prabhupāda: Why? No. If we try… Memory may be poor. Everything depends on cultivation. If you cultivate something, your memory increases. Everyone becomes expert not in one day but by cultivation. Similarly, if you try to remember, then your memory will help you to remember. It is not difficult. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, that we have to try to remember Kṛṣṇa. He’s so beautiful, His instructions are so nice. If we simply remember Kṛṣṇa… That was the perfection approved by Lord Caitanya. I think I have narrated the story. When Lord Caitanya was traveling in South India in a big temple, Raṅganātha temple, He went to see the Deity, and He saw one brāhmaṇa was reading Bhagavad-gītā. And people were joking him, “Oh, Mr. brāhmaṇa, how you are reading Bhagavad-gītā?” Because they were the neighbors, they knew that this brāhmaṇa was illiterate and he was studying Bhagavad-gītā. So they were joking. But the brāhmaṇa did not care them. He was taking the book and in his own way he was reading. Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw this incident, He came to the brāhmaṇa. So He asked the brāhmaṇa, “My dear brāhmaṇa, what you are reading?” So he could understand “This persons is not joking with me; He is serious.” So he explained, “My dear sir, I am reading Bhagavad-gītā. Unfortunately, I am illiterate. I do not know even the alphabets.” “Why you are reading Bhagavad-gītā?” So he said that, “My spiritual master knows that I am illiterate, but still, he has asked me to read Bhagavad-gītā. What can I do? Therefore I have taken this book. I am seeing simply. I do not know how to read.” “Oh, that’s all right. You cannot read. But I see that you are crying. How you are crying if you are not reading?” “Yes, I am crying. Of course, there is cause.” “What is that?” “As soon as I take this Bhagavad-gītā, I remember Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is sitting as driver and Arjuna is hearing. I have heard the story. I know something of the instruction but cannot read. So as soon as I take this book, this picture comes before me and I simply think, ‘Oh, how Kṛṣṇa is nice that He has become a charioteer of His devotee. He is so great. Still, He has accepted a menial service of His devotee.’ This gives me so much pleasure that I cry.” Caitanya Mahāprabhu embraced him, “Your Bhagavad-gītā reading is perfect. You have taken the essence.” So this is the thing. If you simply remember Kṛṣṇa is teaching Arjuna and Arjuna is hearing, if you simply remember the picture, that is sufficient. Even if you think that you cannot read. Because after all we have to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. We haven’t got to become a learned man to argue with another learned man. If it is possible we can do that, but that does not make any difference if I cannot argue with others or if I cannot teach very nicely Bhagavad-gītā to others. Simply if I remember this picture, that is perfection. Because we have to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. We have to simply think of Kṛṣṇa. You think in any way. That is your perfection. Smartavyaḥ satataṁ viṣṇuḥ. This is the injunction. You have to think of Viṣṇu always. This is samādhi; this is meditation; this is yoga siddhi, perfection of yoga.

So one who has learned to think of Kṛṣṇa always, he is already on the perfectional stage. Ārādhito yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kim. If one has come to this stage, just to understand Kṛṣṇa the great, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he’s surrendered soul, “Kṛṣṇa, whatever You like You do. I am surrendered.”… This is ārādhana. Then he doesn’t require to undergo any austerities or penance. His everything is finished. And nārādhito yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kim. And if he does not come to this stage, his so-called scholarship, learned argument, this or that—all nonsense, finished. Useless. One has to come to this stage. Therefore Lord Caitanya embraced the brāhmaṇa, “Yes, your study of Bhagavad-gītā is perfect.” Because one has to come to this stage, thinking of Kṛṣṇa always. So if one does not come to this stage, simply by academic education, he says “It should be like this. The interpretation should be like this,” he’s simply wasting time. Frog philosopher. One has to come to this stage. Ārādhito yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kim, nārādhito yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kim. So that is the perfection. Kṛṣṇa and gopīs. They were cowherds girl. Their father, mother, they were only ordinary village men, keeping cows. That’s all. What was their education? They were not Vedantists. But they learned to love Kṛṣṇa. That was their qualification. And Caitanya Mahāprabhu certifies, ramyad upāsanā vraja-vadhu-vargeṇa va kalpita. “Oh, there is no better worship than that which was contemplated by the gopīs.” Because they did not know what is Kṛṣṇa but they loved Kṛṣṇa. That’s all. They loved Kṛṣṇa, that because Kṛṣṇa was God or Kṛṣṇa was something great? No. Their natural affection was for Kṛṣṇa. They could not stay even for a moment without seeing Kṛṣṇa. That was their qualification. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Boy: How come a lotus flower is so great?

Prabhupāda: He will explain, he will explain. So, one has to come to perfect Kṛṣṇa consciousness some way or other. That is perfection. That is everything. If one always thinks of Kṛṣṇa, then he is perfect. We should not forget. We have presented so many formulas. Why? Not the formulas are important, but the formulas will help me to remember Kṛṣṇa always. Just like you are going to sell our magazines. So this magazine selling or taking some contribution is not our business. Our business is that we are spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness, people are hearing something about Kṛṣṇa. And because we are helping, we are also hearing. We are also benefiting. When you speak somebody about Kṛṣṇa, then I hear also Kṛṣṇa. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam. The first preliminary steps, hearing and chanting, is going on. So in this way we shall take all opportunities so that twenty-four hours, whether awakened or sleeping, we shall always think of Kṛṣṇa. That is perfection. This chanting means always remembering Kṛṣṇa—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma. Cooking, I am cooking for Kṛṣṇa, I am typing for Kṛṣṇa, I am going to preach for Kṛṣṇa, I’m distributing Back to Godhead for Kṛṣṇa. In this way (laughs) always remember Kṛṣṇa, that’s all. That will make you perfect. Yes?

Devotee: Did Kṛṣṇa have children by the gopīs?

Prabhupāda: No. Kṛṣṇa’s love was not this love, sex love. That was different thing. Yes?

Viṣṇujana: When we’re engaged in spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness by this singing or selling Back to Godheads or speaking with people, if through our senses, like seeing or hearing or touching and smelling, our mind gets distracted even while we’re engaged in selling Back to Godhead, then how can we always, how can we always return to that point of remembering even though our senses are being dragged by billboard signs and so many…

Prabhupāda: No, suppose you are selling Back to Godhead. Does it not remind you (of) Kṛṣṇa? Does it not remind you about Kṛṣṇa? What for you are selling Back to Godhead? You could sell another popular magazine which could sell very nicely, quickly, thousands of copies. Why you have taken this Back to Godhead? For Kṛṣṇa. You are not for business, you are not ordinary, I mean to say, newspaper seller. Why you have taken Back to Godhead? Your motive is that people may know about Kṛṣṇa. That is your motive. If magazine selling is your business, you can take any other sense gratificatory magazine. There are so many. And you can sell, you can make some profit. So we have to mold our life in such a way that we shall always remember Kṛṣṇa. Therefore remembering Kṛṣṇa is my primary business. And we have to act in such a way that we may not forget Kṛṣṇa. That should be the principle. That is the secret. Therefore it is equally good for anyone because we can engage anyone in the business of Kṛṣṇa. If somebody has no, I mean to say, knowledge, he can simply sweep over the floor of Kṛṣṇa’s temple. That will make him remembering Kṛṣṇa, that “I am cleansing the floor of Kṛṣṇa’s temple.” He’s as good as the editor of Back to Godhead. Yes?

Devotee: How does the devotee go about practicing this Kṛṣṇa consciousness when he’s asleep?

Prabhupāda: Yes, Sleep means your gross senses are stopped, but your mind works. Therefore you dream. So if you practice your mind to be engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in dream also you’ll see that you are preparing prasādam. “I am going to sell Back to Godhead.” (chuckles) That’s all. Sometimes some nights when I feel hungry, I dream that I’m eating Kṛṣṇa prasādam very sumptuous. (laughing)

Devotee: Oh, haribol! (laughing)

Prabhupāda: (laughs) Somebody is supplying me nice paraṭā and I am eating. (laughs) But, being hungry, oh, my hunger is not satisfied. I’m eating, eating, till the dream is end. So if you practice, this is the technique. We have to practice in this way, that when all functions of this body will be stopped at the time of death, oh, we shall remember some way or other, Kṛṣṇa. Then successful. Immediately successful. That is the technique. Therefore Kulaśekhara is praying,

kṛṣṇa tvadīya-pada-paṅkaja-pañjarāntam adyaiva viśatu me mānasa-rāja-haṁsaḥ prāṇa-prayāṇa-samaye kapha-vāta-pittaiḥ kaṇṭhāvarodhana-vidhau smaraṇaṁ kutas te

The devotee, a great devotee, King Kulaśekhara. He has a nice book, Mukunda-mālā-stotra. I began translating, commenting, this line in Vṛndāvana. So the first verse is he’s comparing his mind with the swan. I think you have seen, Jayānanda, when we were walking in Seattle in that park, in a lake the swan were diving near the lotus. You have seen? Yes. That is the practice. The swan takes pleasure where there is, I mean to say, what is called, lotus or lily, lilies. There’s a stem. They dive and they entangle their long neck with the… That is their sporting. So Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet, we call, lotus feet. So he says that “My mind may be entangled with the stem of Your lotus feet just like the swan. Immediately. I can do that now because I am in healthy state. Otherwise at the time of death, kapha-vāta-pittaiḥ, when mucus, bile, everything will be disordered, and my throat will be choked up, I will not be able to speak or chant. So why shall I wait for that time? Now I am fit. Let my mind be absorbed with Your thought and let me die.” That is the technique. That our mind should be always absorbed in Kṛṣṇa thought. So if by Kṛṣṇa’s grace, at the time of that last moment of quitting this body, when every function of the body will be disordered we can remember Kṛṣṇa, then our life is successful. So we have to practice this. This, everything, whatever we are doing, it is practicing for the last moment. There is a Bengali proverb, bhajana kara sādhana kara matte janle haya.(?) How you are advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that will be tested at the time of your death. The examination will be at that time. So if that technique becomes perfect, then our life is perfect. At once you are transferred to the Kṛṣṇaloka. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9]. “My dear Kaunteya, My dear Arjuna, that person, after quitting this body, he never comes back again to this nonsense material world, but he comes to Me.” That is perfection. People have no knowledge who is transferred, where it is transferred, what is God, what is… No, nothing of the sort. Simply eat, drink, be merry and enjoy, and die like cats and dogs. That’s all.

So we have tried to explain all these things in this Bhapgavad-gītā As It Is. Try to read it repeatedly and you get all information, all techniques. This life should not be misused. That should be the first point. It should be very properly utilized in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Consciousness is there. Just absorb it in Kṛṣṇa. Consciousness must be absorbed in some thought. Make it Kṛṣṇa thought always. Make your program in such a way that you cannot go out of Kṛṣṇa thought. Just like businessmen, they’re always thinking, “What profit is there? What is the bank balance? And how the business is going? How the profit is going?” They’re always thinking of that. Somebody is thinking something. Everyone. If one is after some woman, he’s thinking of that woman always. If one is after some man, he’s also thinking of that man. So thinking must be there, some subject matter of thinking. That we have to change to Kṛṣṇa thinking some way or other. Transferring the thinking or consciousness to Kṛṣṇa. You do it in whatever way you like, but there are some standard way. If you follow, that will be easier. People have some idea of God, they accept. But simply having some idea of God one cannot think. But here is a solid God, Kṛṣṇa, with two hands playing flute, and one can think of Him. Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti yaṁ śyāmasundaram [Bs. 5.38]. They’re thinking of whom? Śyāmasundara. Śyāma, blackish, but very beautiful. Śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpam. With transcendental qualities. Govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi **. “I am worshiping that Govinda.” So we have to mold our life. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. So you have got another good assistant?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Expert.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Now take some contribution and purchase one temple. (laughs) The saṅkīrtana’s party’s responsibility is increasing. Just find out some person, and give us a temple.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I found someone who will give us a big garage, but it’s not a temple. A nice man.

Prabhupāda: Never mind garage. Let him begin. We shall sit down there in garage. He’s giving for good or…

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No. He is volunteering. He’s a businessman who has started to chant.

Prabhupāda: Oh.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He’s very nice.

Prabhupāda: So let him give us and we shall make our temple there in the garage. Where it is?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He says it’s nearby here. He said fifty people can come in.

Prabhupāda: Oh, that’s all right.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He said we should hold kīrtana there now.

Prabhupāda: And immediately.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes, he’s suggested it.

Prabhupāda: So do it immediately. It is Kṛṣṇa’s grace. Never mind garage. We shall turn hell into heaven. (laughter)

nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve na kutaścana bibhyati svargāpavarga-narakeṣv api tulyārtha-darśinaḥ

Svargāpavarga, heaven or the Brahman effulgence, or hell, all these are equal to a devotee. A devotee does not make any distinction because he has always within his heart Kṛṣṇa. So either he goes to hell or heaven, it doesn’t matter. You see? If Kṛṣṇa goes with him then it is no longer hell. (laughs) Just like īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]. The Lord as Supersoul is in everyone’s heart, so He’s in the heart of the hog or He is in the heart of the worm in the stool. Does it mean Kṛṣṇa is living in the stool? No. Wherever He lives, He lives in Vṛndāvana. That is His inconceivable potency. He can live everywhere, but He does not live there. He lives in Vṛndāvana. Goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ [Bs. 5.37] So it doesn’t matter whether it is garage or anything. If somebody is voluntarily offering that, immediately accept that. We shall sit down there, and fifty people can sit. It is sufficient. We can decorate it nicely. Immediately. Near this place?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Yes, he says it’s nearby here.

Prabhupāda: Very good.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He’s a very nice man. He started to chant when he came to our other temple, and every day he chants while he goes to work…

Prabhupāda: Very good.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: …when he’s walking the street.

Prabhupāda: So he is devotee.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He said he was smoking two and a half packs of cigarettes. Now he only smokes three or four. Soon he will stop.

Prabhupāda: (laughs) You see? How practical. Yes. This is practical. One of my Godbrothers, he narrated his life history, that he was distilling wine for drinking. And he said that all kinds of intoxicants he has passed. He is graduate of all kinds of intoxication. (laughs) But when he came to Guru Mahārāja, he left everything. He has not even smoking a biḍi, cigarette. Pāpī tāpī yata chilo, hari-nāme uddhārilo, tāra sākṣī jagāi mādhāi. The witness is Jagāi and Mādhāi. So you accept it.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He’ll have to call me. He said he would call tomorrow.

Prabhupāda: Very good.

Dayānanda: Well, did he donate it?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No. We’ll have a phone by tomorrow.

Dayānanda: You said he came to the other temple.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Remember the Indian people came that night? I’ll tell you who he is.

Dayānanda: With the twelve-year-old boy?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No. He came with his wife that night.

Prabhupāda: He’s Indian?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: No. No. There was another Indian people there that night, but he was separately with his wife. We had a kīrtana. That was that very rich man, Indian man who came, and then there was another couple there.

Prabhupāda: So he’s also rich man?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: I don’t think so. But he has a wife and he says many things have been changing since he chanted. He says he doesn’t know whether he should attribute it to the chant, but he’s going to keep chanting. And he looks very, ah, he looks much happier.

Prabhupāda: That’s all right. So, chant. (end)

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