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720715 - Lecture SB 01.01.05 - London

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

720715SB-LONDON - July 15, 1972 - 45:20 Minutes

Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. (Prabhupāda and devotees repeat)

Prabhupāda: Go on. Why not . . . (indistinct)

Pradyumna: (leads chanting of verse)

ta ekadā tu munayaḥ
prātar huta-hutāgnayaḥ
sat-kṛtaṁ sūtam āsīnaṁ
papracchur idam ādarāt
(SB 1.1.5)

Prabhupāda: Next? (break)

Pradyumna: (leads chanting of synonyms)

te—the sages; ekadā—one day; tu—but; munayaḥ—sages; prātaḥ—morning; huta—burning; huta-agnayaḥ—sacrificial fire; sat-kṛtam—due respects; sūtam—Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī; āsīnam—seated on; papracchuḥ—made inquiries; idam—on this (as follows); ādarāt—with due regards.

Translation: "One day, after finishing their morning duties by burning a sacrificial fire and respectfully offering a seat to Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī, the great sages made earnest inquiries about the following matters."

Prabhupāda: So as we observe higher supreme . . . (indistinct) . . . this ceremony was held daily in the morning. That is Vedic system. There is a section of Hindus, they are called Ārya-samājīs, they do it regularly in the morning; not exactly in the way, but they observe this fire ceremony daily, morning. So not only the sages, even gṛhastas, higher caste, they are also holding that ceremony, agni-nirvāpaṇad-va. So the system was very strict and exact. It was not taken up by anyone, but followed. Anyone can follow the regulation—there is no difficulty—but they do not like to do.

While walking on the park, you see so many people unnecessarily sleeping. Not only in the park, in apartment also. Might be night-keeping, for unnecessary engagement, but according to the Vedic system everyone should rise early in the morning before four o'clock. In India there is regular seasons also. Not like this country, that during summer the night begins at half-past ten and in the winter the morning begins at half-past ten, here. But in India, regularly the sun rises in the morning round about five, regularly, either in the winter season or in the summer season, round about five. Maybe half an hour, one hour difference. Not one hour; half an hour.

So the Indian public still, even they are not very educated, because the culture is there in, especially in the villages, they rise early in the morning and take bath. They go to the field for easing themselves, and after doing that they take bath either in the river or in the well. In the villages there is no tap water, and by nature in the morning either the river or the well water is very warm. With the advance of day, it becomes cooler, but early in the morning, those who are accustomed to take bath early in the morning, and because India is tropical country, it is not so cold. So that is the system. And after taking bath, in the temple there will be maṅgala-ārati and other ceremonies. One of the ceremonies is this prātar huta-hutāgnayaḥ, holding the fire ceremony.

So munayaḥ, ṛṣaya. Here it is said then, ta ekadā tu munayaḥ. They were . . . munayaḥ, generally they are high caste, brāhmin. So regularly this principle was being observed, and the speaker, Sūta Gosvāmī, was given with due respect the vyāsāsana. Here it is said sat-kṛtaṁ. Sat-kṛtaṁ means "with due respect." With the welcoming, receiving, sat-kṛtaṁ sūkham āsīnaṁ. The speaker must sit very comfortably, sukham āsīnaṁ. Sukham means happiness. He should not feel any inconvenience; then the speaking will go on nicely. Sat-kṛtaṁ sutam āsīnaṁ papracchur.

Then the question: idam ādarāt. The question should be put not by challenging; by ādarāt: "With great adoration, I beg to submit. This is my question." "Can you tell me like this?" No, that is challenge. Very submissively. Tad viddhi praṇipātena (BG 4.34). The question should be put by surrender. If somebody challenges, he will never be able to understand. The question asked should be very submissive.

Here it is also said ādarāt. We will find, Arjuna was questioning Kṛṣṇa, and at the end, "I have heard like this. If you think that I am fit to understand it, you can please explain." Similarly, Parīkṣit Mahārāja also asking submissively, "If you think I can understand, then please explain." This is the process of questioning. No challenge.

Yes, then go on.

Pradyumna: "Morning is the best time to hold spiritual services."

Prabhupāda: Yes, this is very important thing; therefore we are insisting everyone to rise early in the morning. But even though sometimes we rise early in the morning, we compensate in other time. (laughter) (chuckles) This should be practiced, you see—reducing eating, sleeping, mating; there is spiritual advancement. This is the test. The more you reduce, the ideal is to bring it to nil. Just like Gosvāmīs, they did it. Nidrāhāra-vihārakādi-vijitau (Śrī Śrī Ṣaḍ Gosvāmy Aṣṭaka), they conquered over sleeping and eating and mating. Conquered over.

So our ideal is we are fighting with māyā, so the fighting will conquer over māyā when we see that we are not disturbed by these four processes: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. This is the test. Nobody has to take certificate from anyone as how he is spiritually advancing. He can test himself: "How far I have conquered over these four things: eating, sleeping, mating and defending." That's all. That is the test. So it is not required that don't eat, don't sleep, don't . . . but minimize it, at least regulate it. Try. This is called austerity, tapasya. I want to sleep, but still I shall regulate it. I want to eat, but I must regulate it. I want sense enjoyment, so I must regulate it. That is old Vedic civilization.

Go on.

Pradyumna: "The great sages offered the speaker of the Bhāgavatam an elevated seat of respect called the vyāsāsana, or the seat of Śrī Vyāsadeva."

Prabhupāda: Vyāsāsana means . . . Vyāsa means guru, because he is our original guru. When spiritual master's birthday is observed, it is called Vyāsa-pūjā. This Vyāsa-pūjā means a spiritual master is representative of Vyāsa. Just like we are teaching this bhāgavat-dharma, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, we are following the footsteps of Vyāsadeva. So actually the preacher's seat is Vyāsadeva's āsana.

It is the seat of Vyāsa. Just like in the high court the seat, the seat of judgment, or . . . what is called? That seat, nobody else can sit there, in that seat. Only the high-court judge, representative of king or giving law to the citizens, he can sit down. Similarly, the vyāsāsana is occupied by the representative of Vyāsadeva, who can speak on behalf of Vyāsadeva. This is the system.

Go on.

Pradyumna: "Vyāsadeva is the original spiritual preceptor for all men, and all other preceptors are considered to be his representatives. A representative is one who can exactly present the viewpoint of Śrī Vyāsadeva. Śrī Vyāsadeva impregnated the message of Bhāgavatam unto Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, and Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī heard it from him, Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī. All bona fide representatives of Śrī Vyāsadeva in the chain of disciplic succession are to be understood to be gosvāmīs. These gosvāmīs restrain all their senses, and they stick to the path made by the previous ācāryas."

Prabhupāda: Yes. Gosvāmī or svāmī, the same meaning: one who has been able to control the senses. Generally everyone is controlled by the senses. When one becomes controller of the senses, then he is gosvāmī. So generally we give this designation to the sannyāsīs, because sannyāsa means who has fully controlled all the senses. One should not accept sannyāsa whimsically. One must know about himself how far he can control the senses. Therefore generally sannyāsa is not accepted until one is sixty years old.

But in this age there is no guarantee whether we are going to live up to sixty years old age. So sometimes, younger generation also offered sannyāsa, because Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted at the age of twenty-four years. We are not of course imitating Caitanya Mahāprabhu, but for executing Caitanya Mahāprabhu's mission, if we are sincerely working for Him, then we can take sannyāsa at an early age. That . . . when one is actually a sannyāsa, a sannyāsī, master of the senses, he can be addressed as gosvāmī or svāmī.


Pradyumna: "The gosvāmīs do not deliver lectures on the Bhāgavatam capriciously. Rather, they execute their services most carefully, following their predecessors, who delivered the spiritual message unbroken to them. Those who listen to the Bhāgavatam may put questions to the speaker in order to elicit the clear meaning, but this should not be done in a challenging spirit. One must submit questions with a great regard for the speaker and the subject matter. This is also the way recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā. One must learn the transcendental subject by submissive aural reception from the right sources. Therefore these sages addressed the speaker Sūta Gosvāmī with great respect."

Prabhupāda: The next verse.

Pradyumna: (leads chanting of verse)

ṛṣaya ūcuḥ
tvayā khalu purāṇāni
setihāsāni cānagha
ākhyātāny apy adhītāni
dharma-śāstrāṇi yāny uta
(SB 1.1.6)

Prabhupāda: That's all. Anyone can recite?

(devotees recite the verse, Prabhupāda corrects pronunciation)

Now, this purāṇāni setihāsāni . . . these Purāṇas . . . you know, first of all there is the Veda. Originally the Veda, Atharva Veda, that is divided now into four: Sāma, Yajur, Atharva, Ṛg. Then all the Vedic instructions are, what is called, creamed, concentrated in the Vedānta-sūtra, in one. The Upaniṣads, there are 108 Upaniṣads, and many others.

All the knowledge is concentrated in the Vedānta-sūtra, or Vedānta philosophy. Then again, it is explained for common man by purāṇāni, by Purāṇas. Just like this Purāṇa, this is Bhāgavata Purāṇa. Bhāgavata is also Purāṇa. Purāṇa means "old," old history, purāṇa; and itihāsa means history. But Vedic civilizations were concerned the historical evidences which were very, very important.

At the present moment, present days, they write history chronologically. One period may be important, one period may not be important, but they write all the history. The Vedic way of writing history was not like that. If you go on writing history, suppose for millions' years of history you write, then where you will keep the record? Hmm? It is not possible.

Every day so many things are happening, or every year. So that was not the process. Just like autobiography or life. Nobody used to write autobiography. But the life of great kings, sages, saintly person, they are recorded in the Itihāsa. So Sūta Gosvāmī, he is addressed, "Sir."

tvayā khalu purāṇāni
setihāsāni cānagha
ākhyātāny apy adhītāni
dharma-śāstrāṇi yāny uta
(SB 1.1.6)

Dharma-śāstra. In the Vedic civilization, there are twenty big, big books, dharma-śāstra, for regulating life. Many difficult subject matter, dharma-śāstra. So Sūta Gosvāmī was offered the seat of vyāsāsana because he was aware of these things, Itihāsa, history; Purāṇas, still older history; dharma-śāstra, the scriptures; everything. Therefore he is first of all addressing that "You have read. Not only have read, but you have described."

Description means you read something, unless you fully assimilate, understand, you cannot describe it. The two things. Simply reading will not help us. When we shall be able to preach the reading matter, doesn't matter whether in the same language or in my own language; it doesn't matter. That is wanted. Ākhyātāny adhītāni. Adhītāni means, "You have read and you have explained."

In this way the Śaunaka Ṛṣi . . . there are thousands of ṛṣis in Naimiṣāraṇya. When you go to India, you must see this place, Naimiṣāraṇya. It is very, very old place, at least from historical point of view. Modern history, it is five thousand years old, because the first Bhāgavata discussion took place there, after instruction of Vyāsadeva.

So in India there are many places very suitable for spiritual advancement. Still they are existing from the very, very old times, historical time. So the Itihāsa, Itihāsa means history, and purāṇāni, purāṇāni means old Itihāsa. All the statements or narration described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, they are all historical evidences. They are not imagination. Sometimes the so-called scholars and ṛṣaya students they say it is fancy or something imagination. No. They are all history. It is said here, Itihāsa. Itihāsa means history.


Pradyumna: (leads chanting of synonyms)

Ṛṣayaḥ . . .

Prabhupāda: Huh no. Ah yes.

Pradyumna: . . . the sages; ūcuḥ—said; tvayā—by you; khalu—undoubtedly; purāṇāni—the supplements to the Vedas with illustrative narrations . . .

Prabhupāda: It is supplement, because Vedic language is so difficult. It is sometimes very difficult to understand. So Purāṇa, another meaning of purāṇa means "supplement." So they are explanation of the Vedic knowledge in a supplementary way by taking references from the history, from the life of great saints and sages. So they're adding, addition, addendum.

Go on. The Māyāvādī philosophers, they say that the Purāṇas are not Vedas. That is not the fact. Here in the Bhāgavata it says the Purāṇa is part of the Vedas, as Upaniṣad is part of Vedas. It is written in simplified language so that those who are less educated, less, I mean to say, having brain substance . . .

Now this Mahābhārata especially written, Mahābhārata . . . Mahābhārata means the history of greater India. Mahā. Mahā means greater; bhārata, bhārata means India, Bhārata-varṣa. Mahābhārata, greater India. Or at that time the whole world was Bhārata-varṣa. Therefore greater India. History in Mahābhārata is there. So Mahābhārata especially was written for three classes of men. What are those? Strī, śūdra, dvija-bandhu. Strī means women, śūdra means worker class, and dvija-bandhu means persons who have taken their birth in higher caste—brāhmin, kṣatriya, vaiśya—but they are degraded. They could not keep up their standard of culture.

Just like at the present moment, they are introducing themselves as brāhmin, but degraded. Actually they are not brāhmins. Degraded. Dvija-bandhu, "friends of brāhmin." Just like if I am son of a high-court judge, unless I am qualified to become high-court judge, I cannot say myself, "I am high-court judge." No. Simply by becoming the son of high-court judge, one does not become high-court judge.

He must have the qualification. So when one is simply proud of his high parentage, he is called dvija-bandhu. There are many instances. Just like in this country also, British nation was very powerful nation, but at the present time it is different. So simply by taking birth in England one cannot be proud. Your forefathers were very enthusiasting, colonize. So at the present moment that is not followed.

So I request you, all English boys and girls present here: now you become greater than your forefather by taking this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That will make you more powerful, spiritually powerful. You can render service to the humanity, to your, I mean to say, family, your nation. It is so nice. Try to understand. Everyone, every human being should try to become very important. That importance can be achieved by culture, not by simply, "I belong to this nation," "I belong to this family," "I am son of such big father." No. You must be also qualified.

So this Mahābhārata was written for three classes of men: strī, śūdra, dvija-bandhu. Woman, it is not the question of . . . woman are generally less intelligent. Less intelligent. Similarly śūdras, they are also less intelligent, worker class. Similarly those who are degraded from their high parental heritage, they are also. For understanding of these three classes of man, Mahābhārata was written. Now even . . . in the Mahābhārata, this Bhagavad-gītā is included. Bhagavad-gītā is part of Mahābhārata, a chapter only, Mahābhārata.

Now you see, practically, this Mahābhārata was . . . Mahābhārata or Bhagavad-gītā is included there. This high literature was meant for the less-intelligent class of man, and at the present moment the highest intelligent class of man cannot understand it. Now how much you have degraded, just try to understand. Which was written five thousand years ago for the less-intelligent class of man, that literature is not understandable even by the highest and, I mean, elevated, educated person in the present moment. Try to understand this point, how much you have degraded.

Formerly this Vedic literature was not in written pages. As soon as one will hear from . . . just like Sūta Gosvāmī, there is no question of taking note. As soon as they will hear, they will immediately get it in the memory. They will never forget. The memory was so sharp. At the present moment, our memory is so low-graded we cannot remember even what I have done two hours past. So this is Kali-yuga. We are in so many degraded position; still falsely we are proud that we are advancing. Not that. It is false prestige. Actually you are very, very much degraded.

So the only means of our being elevated to the highest position is this: means Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.

That's all. (devotees offer obeisances)

(kīrtana) (end)