700117 - Lecture SB 06.01.21 - Los Angeles

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



700117SB-LOS ANGELES - January 17, 1970 - 37:06 Minutes



Prabhupāda: So we were discussing last week about Ajāmila, Ajāmila, how he was a brahmin in the city of Kanauj, Kānyakubja.

kānyakubje dvijaḥ kaścid
asid-patir dāsī-patir ajāmilaḥ
nāmnā naṣṭa-sadācāro
dāsyāḥ saṁsarga-dūṣitaḥ
(SB 6.1.21)

In Vedic civilization, a perfect human civilization, wherein the regulative principles are very strict . . . Sadācāraḥ and duracarah. Sadācāraḥ . . . sat means characteristics which helps one to elevate himself to the transcendental platform. That is called sadācāraḥ and . . .kadācāraḥ . . . the just opposite is kadācāraḥ. Kadācāraḥ means not to the standard of human civilization. That is called kadācāraḥ.

So Vedic civilization means that people were trained up in such a way that ultimately he comes to the transcendental platform and he understands his real position in this world, his relationship with God, and he acts accordingly, so that he gets the chance of utilizing this human form of life to the best possibility. That means to end this wandering in the cycle of 8,400,000 species of life and get oneself out of this entanglement. That is the perfection of human civilization. Human civilization does not mean that to improve the process of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That is not human civilization. That may be called a civilization, but that is external; that is not internal.

We are not this external body, but we are internal soul. That we must understand. That is possible to be understood in the human form of life, not in other form of life. The cats and dogs, they cannot distinguish what is internal and what is external. That is not possible for them. But the human society, human being, is endowed with such nice development of consciousness that there is automatic enquiry, which is explained in the Vedānta-sūtra as athāto brahma jijñāsā, enquiry. Enquiry about the soul, athāto brahm . . . this human form of life is meant for understanding what I am.

So this enquiry should be awakened. That is the perfection of human civilization—not that improving the condition of eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That is not the . . . they are not the problems. According to Vedic civilization, these four necessities are needs of the body. Eating, sleeping, mating and defending, they are not problems.

The example is given that . . . that lower animals who are not human being, they have no such problems. They have no problems for eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That is naturally done, or by nature's law these things are arranged.

Just like eating for the bird is already arranged. They live in the trees, and the little fruits that are growing in the trees, that solves their economic problem for eating. They have got sleeping accommodation also, according to the different birds, they have got sleeping accommodation. They have got mating accommodation also: along with the male bird there is the female bird also. So in this way you see in the lower animal life these things are already arranged.

Similarly, for human being also these things are also already arranged. There is no problem. But we have created problem, because that advanced consciousness, which was to be utilized for understanding what I am, what is God, what is this world, what is our next life . . . these things. Our advanced consciousness was meant for understanding these things, not for making good arrangement—instead of sleeping on the floor we make very good arrangement, very apartment and very bedstead, nice bedstead and mattresses. You can utilize your intelligence in that way, but that is not the way of solving your problem. We must understand that.

Similarly, eating, sleeping, mating . . . according to Vedic civilization this eating, sleeping, mating and defending were so organized that every people would get the chance of elevating himself to the transcendental platform. That is Vedic civilization and one who follows those regulative principles, they are called sadācāraḥ. Just like we have introduced in our Society, you are following also, that we prohibit "No illicit sex life, no intoxication, no meat-eating and no gambling". So these four principles are included in this sadācāraḥ program.

Here it is said that there was a brahmin of the name Ajāmila in the town of Kānyakubja. Kānyakubja, I explained last meeting, that city is still existing. That is, the Britishers gave the name of that city as Kanauj. In this city, perfumery business is very famous, still they are existing and in the district of . . . Kānyakubja itself is a district, a very prosperous town, and mostly inhabited by brahmins. So there was a brahmin of the name Ajāmila. This story is narrated here.

kānyakubje dvijaḥ kaścid
dāsī-patir ajāmilaḥ
(SB 6.1.21)

But dāsī-patiḥ, the purport of describing this dāsī-patiḥ means he was living with a prostitute, dāsī-patiḥ. A higher class, I mean to say, man, just like the brahmins, the kṣatriyas and the vaiśyas, they are counted amongst the higher class of men of the society. And the śūdras are considered as lower class of men. And beyond the śūdras, there are called caṇḍālas; they have no designation, they are fifth grade. A fourth-grade man is śūdra and the fifth-grade men are caṇḍālas. So this prostitution was possible amongst the third-grade and fourth-grade persons, or men in the society, not in the higher society.

Higher society . . . this is Vedic culture. Vedic culture, this man, this Ajāmila was a brahmin, but he was . . . he became, I mean to say, bad habituated due to association, so he was living with a prostitute. Therefore it is said here dāsī-patiḥ. Dāsī mean śūdra, and the śūdras were taking the profession of prostitution. The Vedic civilization, we understand that even prostitutes were existing five thousand years or ten thousand years ago. So that was a part of society. In this way, that man who is not satisfied with his wife, he cannot hunt any other women in the society, but he must go to the prostitute. Therefore a class of men were designated that "You can have this profession", and they were known as prostitutes, or dāsīs. Not all, but some of them.

So this Ajāmila, although he was born of a high-grade brahmin family, but he degraded himself and he was living with a prostitute. Therefore it is clearly stated here, dāsī-patiḥ. Dāsī-patiḥ means the husband of a prostitute.

dāsī-patir ajāmilaḥ
nāmnā naṣṭa-sadācāraḥ
naṣṭa-sadācāraḥ
dāsyāḥ saṁsarga-dūṣitaḥ
(SB 6.1.21)

He lost the brahminical culture, sadācāraḥ. That I have already explained. This sadācāraḥ means regulative principles. So one who cannot follow these regulative principle, he is called kadācāra, or naṣṭa-sadācāraḥ, lost of the sadācāraḥ, good characteristics. Now here the reason is given, naṣṭa-sadācāraḥ dāsyāḥ saṁsarga-dūṣitaḥ: because he was associating with a prostitute. The reason is given there.

These things are very important. Now people sometimes ask me that, "Swāmījī, why you are after marriage?" But that is necessity. Unless you get yourself married, then practically you will be living with a prostitute. And if you live with a prostitute, then all the regulative principles you will not be able to follow, one after another. You will not be . . . and if you cannot follow the regulative principles then you cannot advance yourself to the transcendental platform, one after another. Therefore we stress that a boy, a brahmacārī, who feels that he cannot keep himself, or he cannot pull on the life of celibacy, he can marry himself. But don't indulge in illicit sex life. That will spoil your life. This is very important point.

Here it is clearly stated that this Ajāmila, this life history of this brahmin, that he was also leading a brahmacārī life. Under his father's guidance . . . his father was a rigid brāhmin, so this boy was following the principles of rigid regulations, and he was . . . he performed the regulative principles of the brahmacārī, and then when he was grown up, he was married also. But one day it so happened that he was passing on the street and one this śūdra, this fourth-class, fourth-grade of men, woman, was on the street embracing another man, and the conjugal love affairs was going on. So this boy, because he was young man, he became attracted, and he came there and he became a victim of that prostitute. This is the sum and substance of this boy.

Now this Vedic civilization is a kind of guard from falling victim to this kadācāra, or the irregulative principles of life. But this boy Ajāmila—now when I'm speaking of him, he was not at that time boy, but in his early childhood he fell a victim of that prostitute, and he was living with him (her). Gradually he lost all his brahminical culture and became a most degraded man.

So how he became degraded? That is stated,

bandy-akṣaiḥ kaitavaiś cauryair
garhitāṁ vṛttim āsthitaḥ
bibhrat kuṭumbam aśucir
yātayām āsa dehinaḥ
(SB 6.1.22)

His profession was stealing. When a man is in need of money, he does not know the regulative principle; by any way, bring money. So he had a big family along with this prostitute, so . . . and he lost his brahminical culture, so he could not execute his profession as a brahmin.

A brahmin is . . . suppose there are six kind of earning means for a brahmin. They are called paṭhana, pāṭhana, yajana, yājana, dāna, pratigraha. Six kinds. A brahmin is expected to be very learned scholar, paṭhana, by reading Vedic scripture and by understanding Vedic scripture. Paṭhana, pāṭhana. Pāṭhana means teaching others also. A brahmin should learn himself the Vedic literatures thoroughly, and he should become a teacher for teaching others. Paṭhana, pāṭhana; yajana, yājana. Yajana, yājana . . . yājana means worship, or executing devotional service of the Supreme Lord. That is called yajana. And yājana, yājana means teaching others or inducing others to this process of devotional service. Yajana, yājana.

Dāna, pratigraha . . . and a brahmin is not supposed to accumulate money. According to Indian language, there is a proverb: the brahmin is a beggar even if he gets one lakh of rupees or hundreds thousands of dollars. He remains a beggar. Because even if he gets 100,000 dollar in a day, he should spend it for Kṛṣṇa. He cannot keep it as his personal bank balance for utilizing it for sense gratification. No. Whatever he gets, he should spend for Kṛṣṇa. That is called dāna. And pratigraha, and because he is keeping himself always helpless, therefore he can accept any charity given to him by others. These are the four principles of living condition of a brahmin.

Similarly the kṣatriyas, they have got their living condition. The kṣatriyas, they are generally landlord or king, so they can levy tax on the subject. That is their living, eh, livelihood. And the vaiśyas, the mercantile, they can make trade, they can take to agriculture and cow keeping. And the śūdras, they are meant for serving all these three higher classes. That is the Vedic division of labor in the society.

So this man, this brahmin, although he was born in a brahmin family—his father was a rigid brahmin, and he was trained up also as a brahmacārī—but māyā is so strong that in spite of his being so trained up, still he became a victim of a prostitute. Therefore our principles should be that to keep ourselves always strong so that we may not fall victim to the māyā. If we actually serious about solving the problems of this birth and death, then we should always be very alert in our execution of this devotional service so that we may not fall a victim to māyā, just like this Ajāmila fell.

So after becoming a victim to this prostitute he was living by any means, any means, because his association was not very good. So he learned how to steal, how to cheat, how to play gamble and cheat others. These things are stated here, that bandy-akṣaiḥ kaitavaiś. Kaitavaiś means cheating, and bandy-akṣaiḥ means playing on the chessboard. Bandy-akṣaiḥ kaitavaiś cauryair, cauryair means by stealing, by stealing, cauryair. And garhitāṁ vṛttim: garhitāṁ means all abominable activities.

Our program, how to become śuci, but these men became aśuci. They are just the opposite word, non-śuci. He was śuci, but he became aśuci. That is also I have explained many times, that śuci haya muci haya yadi kṛṣṇa bhaje and muci hañā śuci haya yadi kṛṣṇa bhaje. These aśuci, these (indistinct). He was the son of a brahmin, he was trained, so somehow or other, but he gave up all those practices and therefore he became aśuci. This very word is used here, aśucir yātayām āsa dehinaḥ.

Why he became aśuci? Just to maintain this body and the offsprings, or the by-products of this body. We have got by-products of this body, just like children, so simply for maintaining them he became aśuci. Of course, this is old story, but at the present moment people do not understand what is aśuci and what is śuci. What is sinful action or what is righteous activities, they do not distinguish. But the Vedic culture has got a very clear distinction about these aśuci and śuci activities.

So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to make people śuci, not aśuci. We are not after men to continue to his aśuci, or impious, activities. No. We are trying to take them from aśuci condition to the śuci condition. But it is not that. Just like in India, now it is going on that a brahmin born in a brahmin family, although he is aśuci, or he is not to the standard characteristics of a brahmin, he is accepted as a brahmin. That was not the system. That was not the system in bygone ages.

Here you see that Ajāmila, he lost his brahminical characteristics in association with a prostitute; therefore he is described here as aśuci. Aśuci, abominable. He . . . he is no longer described as śuci. Just try to understand. So this, in the modern India, the brahminical culture by birthright is going on, but that is not accepted in the śāstras, in the Vedic literature. Suppose you are born of a brahmin family, so you have got the facilities to make yourself a perfect brahmin. But if you do not do that, and if you fall a victim to māyā, then you are no longer śuci, you are aśuci. These principles should be followed.

Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is following these principle that according to śāstra, according to Vedic literature. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā the Lord says:

cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ
guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ
(BG 4.13)

"I have created these four divisions of human society, brāhmin, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra, varṇa." Varṇa. So brāhmaṇa kṣatriya vaiśyas śūdra, so Kṛṣṇa has created, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ: "I have created these divisions of human society." How? Guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. Guṇa, guṇa means quality, and karma means action. By division of quality and work, not . . . there is no mention of birth. He never mentions that janma-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. No. That is not mentioned. Therefore as this man, this Ajāmila, born of a brāhmiṇ family, became aśuci or caṇḍāla, but similarly a man born from a caṇḍāla family, if he follows the regulative principles, he become śuci.

That is our mantra. Bahyābhyantaraḥ-śuciḥ. Yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣaṁ sa bahyābhyantaraḥ śuciḥ (Garuḍa Purāṇa). If one is engaged always in chanting the holy name of puṇḍarīkākṣaṁ, Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa, then he becomes bahya, externally, abhyantaram internally, śuci. But if you do not follow the regulative principles, then again you become aśuci.

So our request is that those who are trying to advance in this life, don't fall down again to become aśuci. Continue to become śuci, bahyābhyantaraḥśuciḥ. Bahya means externally you are taking bath, you are cleansing yourselves, you are cutting your hair, nails, and washing your mouth and taking Kṛṣṇa prasādam. In this way, cleansing your clothings, clean cloth, clean habit, we don't require any luxury. But we must . . . this is hygienic principle also to become śuci. You haven't got to pay a doctor's fee if you keep yourself śuci always, following the hygienic principles. So . . . otherwise simply if we become puffed up, that "Oh, I have now become brahmin. I have got now sacred thread. Now let me do whatever I like," then again you become aśuci. Punar mūṣiko bhava.

You know that story? Punar mūṣiko bhava, I have cited several times that if we do not follow the regulative principles . . . this I have repeated many times, that don't be confident that "Because I have undergone some ceremonies, therefore I am now situated on the secure platform." No. So long we are within this material world the platform is very tottering, just like on the ocean. It is tilting, tilting; a little inattention may capsize the boat. Similarly, the Vedas says that:

kṣurasya dhārā niśitā duratyayā
durgaṁ pathas tat kavayo vadanti
(Kaṭha Upaniṣad 1.3.14)

This path of spiritual realization is very difficult. It is very difficult. It is exemplified just like a sharpened razor. You are shaving your cheeks with a sharpened razor. That's all right. If you can ply on nicely you get a clean shave, but if you are inattentive, immediately there is blood. Immediately. So we must understand that we are playing with sharpened razor, so we must ply very careful.

These carefulness has been minimized to the lowest point by the grace of Lord Caitanya. In order to become the Vaiṣṇava, or the higher platform, in order to occupy the highest platform of life, Vaiṣṇava, the simple method is that you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and follow these regulative principles, four. That's all. This much we must agree; then it is sure then you'll haven't got to fall down like this Ajāmila, or aśuci. Then:

evaṁ nivasatas tasya
lālayānasya tat-sutān
kālo 'tyagān mahān rājann
aṣṭāśītyāyuṣaḥ samāḥ
(SB 6.1.23)

Then in this way he was living very nicely. That everyone thinks like that—that, "I will not die." Everyone. Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja says, "This is the wonderful thing within this universe." What is that? Ahany ahani gacchantīha yamālayam (Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.116). He was asked this question by Yamarāja, "What is the most wonderful thing within this world?" So Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja answered that "The most wonderful thing is that everyone is thinking that he will never die". That is the most wonderful.

And although death is assured . . . the idea is that nobody is preparing for death. Death is sure, but nobody is preparing for death. We are making so many preparation for our future protection. We are having life insurance policy, good bank balance, this deed, that deed, so many things, but we are not preparing for our death. This is the most wonderful thing.

So this Ajāmila, he was living with that prostitute, and his living condition was stealing, cheating and gambling, and whatever abominable things are there, he was executing. He never thought that time will come when death will take him away and he must be prepared. But he did not do that, so here it is said that in this way he was maintaining his family, but when he was eighty years old, aṣṭāśītyāyuṣaḥ samāḥ. At that time, time came that he was to die, and at that time what he was doing?

tasya pravayasaḥ putrā
daśa teṣāṁ tu yo 'vamaḥ
bālo nārāyaṇo nāmnā
pitroś ca dayito bhṛśam
(SB 6.1.24)

Now here is the important point. He had ten sons. Out of the ten sons the youngest one was named as Nārāyaṇa. This is the significance of his life. This . . . the parents, especially the father, that is natural—a father, mother becomes very much affectionate to the youngest. Either girl or boy, that is natural, and the eldest; that is psychological. So in this way this Ajāmila was very much attached to the youngest son, whose name was Nārāyaṇa.

So this Nārāyaṇa, the purpose is . . . the purpose of this story is that although he was so much degraded, and although his profession was so abominable, still, because of his attachment to the youngest son, whose name was Nārāyaṇa, he was always calling, "Nārāyaṇa, my dear son, please come here," "Nārāyaṇa, please eat it," "Nārāyaṇa, please drink it," "Nārāyaṇa, come to my lap." So indirectly he was citing the name of Nārāyaṇa.

Therefore it is the custom of Vedic civilization to give the sons and disciples name which is Kṛṣṇa's name, just like Nārāyaṇa is Kṛṣṇa's name. So we, after initiation, we give such name: Kṛṣṇa dāsa ātma, that he . . . that name is connected with Kṛṣṇa, so that even if we do not perfect ourself . . . this calling ourselves amongst ourselves, just like "Dayānanda", "Śivānanda", in this way—these are all Kṛṣṇa's name. All the names that we award to this disciple, that is Kṛṣṇa's name.

Kṛṣṇa has got advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam (Bs. 5.33). He has got ananta incarnations, and ananta name also. And Kṛṣṇa's name . . . just like people say that "How God, that can be there . . . can be any name of God?" That is a fact, that how God is named? God is named . . . because God has innumerable forms, there cannot be a particular name, but His name is awarded . . . not awarded; name is automatically there according to His activities.

Just like Kṛṣṇa became . . . agreed to become the son of Yaśodā, so therefore we call Him Yaśodānandana. Kṛṣṇa accepted Nanda Mahārāja as His father; therefore we call Nanda-kumāra, Kṛṣṇa's name. Kumāra means son, and Nanda Mahārāja. In this way Kṛṣṇa enjoys with Rādhārānī; therefore we call Rādhā-ramaṇa. Since Kṛṣṇa gives pleasure to the cows, therefore we call Govinda. So these names are Kṛṣṇa's names, but the . . . of all name, the "Kṛṣṇa" name is the prime name. Why it is? The Kṛṣṇa means all attractive. And Kṛṣṇa . . . another meaning of Kṛṣṇa is that those who are struggling very hard in this material world, Kṛṣṇa can give them liberation. Kṛṣṇa . . . another meaning of this Kṛṣṇa is:

kṛṣir bhū-vācakaḥśabdo
tayor aikyaṁ ity kṛṣṇa
paraṁ brahma abhidhīyate
(CC Madhya 9.30)

Similarly Rāma, Rāma means pleasure, ramaṇa. So one who gives transcendental pleasure, He is called Rāma. So this Kṛṣṇa name, Rāma name is God's name; that is very on the high level. Therefore we chant:

Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare
Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare

And Harā, Harā also means one who can take away all our miserable condition and gives . . . puts us into the transcendental position. This is Harā. So these three names are there, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare—Harā, Kṛṣṇa and Rāma.

So this Ajāmila got the benefit of naming his youngest son Nārāyaṇa. That is the purport of this story, how although he was so much fallen and abominable, simply by dealing with his youngest son, whose name was Nārāyaṇa, simply by his affection to Nārāyaṇa, how he got salvation. That is the purport of this story; we shall narrate later on.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya. All glories . . . (end)