690509 - Lecture Temple Opening - Columbus
Prabhupāda: So Vyāsadeva, the author of Vedic literature . . . formerly there was only one Vedic literature, known as Atharva Veda. In the Atharva Veda Kṛṣṇa’s name is there, and He is described as the son of Devakī. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has quoted from Atharva Veda in his commentary on Brahma-saṁhitā. So Atharva Veda is the original Veda. Then Vyāsadeva, before the beginning of this age, Kali-yuga . . .
This Kali-yuga is considered to be very much contaminated age. Three-fourth part of the population, they are all impious in this age, and officially one-fourth part of the population they are pious, but that is also dwindling, the influence of this age is so strong.
So in order to favor the people of this age, Vyāsadeva divided the original Atharva Veda into four parts, four divisions: Ṛg Veda, Sāma Veda, Ṛg Veda, Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda. Then he explained the Vedas by Purāṇas, eighteen Purāṇas. Then he summarized the purpose of Vedas in historical form. Taking the advantage of the battle of Kurukṣetra, he gave to the less intelligent class of men. It is stated, strī-śūdra-dvijabandhūnāṁ (SB 1.4.25).
Strī means "women," and śūdra means "worker class men." Strī-śūdra and dvijabandhu. Dvijabandhu means those who are born in high family, like brahmin, kṣatriya and vaiśyas, but they are not actually qualified for that high position. Just like in India there are many so-called brahmins—simply by name brahmin—they have no qualification—they are called dvijabandhu.
So this Mahābhārata history was specially meant for these classes: woman, worker class and this dvijabandhu class, or the so-called brahmins and kṣatriyas. But still if you read Mahābhārata you will find that it is difficult even for the greatest scholar of this age. Just like Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is set up in the Mahābhārata, and originally it was meant for the less-intelligent class of men. So you can just try to understand what class of men existed in those days.
Actually it is so. Bhagavad-gītā is such nice philosophical spiritual treatise, whilst taught to Arjuna in the battlefield. So in the battlefield how much time he could spare? And at the point he was going to fight, he thought, "Oh, why shall I fight?" So some instruction was given by Kṛṣṇa—so you can imagine, utmost half an hour or at most one hour He talked—and he understood the whole Bhagavad-gītā.
So what class of man was Arjuna? The same Bhagavad-gītā even big scholars of this age, they cannot understand. And Arjuna understood it within half an hour, so we can imagine what class of men were at that time present. Though although Arjuna was not a brahmin, he was a military man. A military man is not expected to be very scholarly. He knows his own war.
(aside) Come on.
In this way, Vedas were distributed in several forms and divisions so that people could take advantage. That was the purpose. Formerly, Vedas, they are not in written language. They are called śruti. Śruti means the student should simply learn the Vedic knowledge simply by hearing. There is no need of noting down or cramming.
No. They are so intelligent, because they are brahmacārīs. So the brahmacārī system is so nice that students become very fertile in brain. Their brain becomes very much receptive—very quickly they can receive, even say a hundred years before. Similiarly Lord Caitanya . . .
Lord Caitanya reproduced hundred ślokas immediately after hearing from Keśava Kāśmīrī. Keśava Kāśmīrī was very learned scholar, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He was a sixteen-years-old boy, and He requested him that, "I have heard that you are so nice scholar. You can compose some nice verses in praise of Mother Ganges." And so he immediately composed, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu heard, and He pointed out that "Will you explain the sixty-fourth verse, why you have said bhavānī-bhartuḥ?"
Bhavānī-bhartuḥ. Bhavānī means the wife of Lord Śiva, and he said bhavānī-bhartuḥ. Bhartuḥ means "husband." So Caitanya Mahāprabhu pointed out that "Bhavānī means Lord Śiva's wife, so why you have mentioned 'husband'? That means that . . . this means that he, she has got another husband?" You see? This is poetical fault. So he was astonished, that He was sixteen-years-old boy, He was a grammar student, and "He has pointed out my mistake." So he felt defeated.
Formerly two scholars will argue, and if one is defeated he’ll accept the other as spiritual master—he will become his disciple. That was the challenge. Not like nowadays that you go on talking for hours, and although somebody is defeated he will never accept. (laughter) No. That was formerly the way, that these, these two persons are arguing, and one is defeated, the other is accepted as spiritual master. In this way Vedic literature is vast literature.
So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is that every religion, every human society, accepts God, at least officially accepts God and says, "God is great." But they do not know how God is great. That we are giving. Just like in the school, children’s school, they have got a pocket dictionary. Now there is also definition what is meant by God.
But if there is another big dictionary, just like internationalism, or there is, or what is called, Encyclo-Britannica, the description is more vivid, any word. So those who are actually interested in the science of God, they will find here ample opportunity in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. It is not that decrying any other religion. No. It is the postgraduate study of higher consciousness, or God consciousness.
So there should be no objection from any religious group to come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Just like many students from India, they come to your country for higher studies. So this is the higher study of how to learn . . . to learn how to love God. That is our program.
- sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
- yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
- (SB 1.2.6)
Where the test of first-class religion is how the followers are developing love of God. It doesn’t matter what that religion is—it may be Christian religion, Hindu religion, or Muhammadan religion—if one is developing love of God, then that system of religion is first class. Of course, every system of religion is nice, but there is a say that sometimes everything is done deśa, kāla, pātra.
Deśa means "country," and kāla means "time" and pātra means "the receiver," or the student. So this Christian religion was taught in a different time. Now people are very much advanced in education, you see. And the country was desert; the people were not very prosperous at that time . . .
(break) They have got description of God. Vedānta means to know God:
- vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
- vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham
- (BG 15.15)
Veda means knowledge. Knowledge means . . . ultimate knowledge means to know God, or Kṛṣṇa. That is perfection of knowledge. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante (BG 7.19): after many, many births' cultivation of knowledge, when one comes to the point of understanding God, or Kṛṣṇa, then there is perfection. Bahūnāṁ. That there:
- bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
- jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
- (BG 7.19)
So veda-vid, ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12). God is full of joyful pleasure, reservoir of pleasure, and we are hankering after pleasure. So if we somehow or other . . . we are already connected. Here everyone is connected. I am sitting here, you are sitting here. Without being connected with God, we cannot sit even for a moment. God's energies are working; any moment the whole material world can be vanquished. It is by the mercy of God.
Apart from material world, this body—I am speaking to you—within the twinkling of an eye the whole thing may be paralyzed, immediately. So it is . . . we are also living at the present moment by the mercy of God. I am speaking to you by mercy of God. You are hearing by mercy of God.
The mercy of God is there. Just like a prisoner in the prison house, he is also living at the cost of the government, even if he's in prison life. Similarly, although we are in this conditional state of life, we are living at the mercy of God.
So just imagine the God mercy is there even we are against Him. And how much His mercy will be bestowed upon us when we'll be good child, devotee of God. There are many instances. So if you read our literatures, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā, Teachings of Lord Caitanya, these magazines, and we are publishing by and by so many Vedic literatures. There are volumes, volumes; one cannot even finish this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in his whole life by reading.
So these are meant for human society, for advanced human society. Take advantage, and make your life sublime. Labdhvā su-durlabham idaṁ (SB 11.9.29) This life is obtained after many, many millions of births. That they do not know. Modern education, university, they do not know.
They're simply after technology. Technology is good. This technology has produced this microphone—that's nice. But you don't forget the real technology of life: how to understand God, how to love God. That is real technology. This technology will be finished as soon as this body is finished, and if by chance my next life is something else, animal life, we have no concern with technology.
Neither human society has got any sympathy for the animals; they are being sent to the slaughterhouse. But there is chance of changing this body from this body to that body, that body to this body. This is going on, but people do not know it. Therefore those who are intelligent person, they should try to know himself, "What is God? What I am? What is my relationship? What is this world? How it is working? What is this time? What are our activities?"
These are real knowledge, and these things you will get from our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. And by chanting this mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa, you will be fit to receive this knowledge, because at the present moment our heart is full with contaminated dust—garbage. This will be fin . . . this will be finished. This will be cleansed, śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇa puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ (SB 1.2.17).
By hearing this Kṛṣṇa and His words, His message, the garbage of the heart will be cleansed and you will be able to see in true perspective the situation now, everything . . . and then if you cultivate this knowledge of Kṛṣṇa consciousness your life will be successful and sublime.
So we are not bluffing people or making any business we don't say that you pay me something then we shall give you Hare Krishna mantra. No it is free, it is publicly chanted, you can also chant with us, there is no charge. We don't make business with mahā-mantra. That is not . . . no ācārya has done it. Hmm? So my request is that here is a centre open you take advantage of it. Just assemble here and according to our routine work you attend the kīrtana class and these nice boys.
Whatever they have learned, they will exchange. You will also make question, try to understand, follow, your life will be successful. And we shall be very glad to see that everyone especially American boys and girls. I have come to your country with a mission and I think my mission will be successful. I thought that in India, it is not possible. They will not care. I have got practical experience, whenever I go from University the Indian students they take it as trifle, Hare Krishna dancing. Because they have rejected it, they want to imitate.
Overnight they become . . . want to like Americans. Technology, you see? So when they see that I have brought here Hare Krishna mantra and the boys are chanting and dancing. They become . . . actually not surprised, sorry. That what we have rejected . . . and Svāmī is introducing here. You see? So my country's position is not very nice because they are imitating. Imitating. They are neither this way nor that way. That . . . they are suffering.
There is an example that in a . . . if you step two boards at a time then the result will be that you will be drowned. Two boards, one step here, one step here then both will be down and you will drown, dunoti-pāḥ. So they are trying to imitate the western technological, economic development but the people are not fit for that purpose.
They are by nature Kṛṣṇa conscious and the modern leaders and government is trying to cut down. So they are perplexed. But in your country you are not poverty stricken. Your country is rich, you have got enough land, enough production. So, prasanna, evaṁ prasanna-manaso (SB 1.2.20)
One should be very much satisfied then he can make progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So you have no economic problem and you are searching after something. This is the thing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you take it, you'll be happy. There are learned boys here, they have accepted it. Here is Kīrtanānanda Svāmī, he's learned scholar, our Hayagrīva—Howard Wheeler he is also professor.
So they are trying to understand, many other students there are. So it is not a bluff, it is genuine. You simply try to understand genuinely then you will be benefited. That is my request, of course I have come here for one week. They will be here but here is a nice centre please come and join and try to understand, that is my request.
Thank you very much.
Devotees: Hare Kṛṣṇa! (end)