720914 - Lecture SB 01.03.08 - Los Angeles

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

720914SB.LA - September 14, 1972


tṛtīyam ṛṣi-sargaṁ vai
devarṣitvam upetya saḥ
tantraṁ sātvatam ācaṣṭa
naiṣkarmyaṁ karmaṇāṁ yataḥ
(SB 1.3.8)

Third incarnation, Devarṣi, ṛṣi among the demigods. Just like there are ṛṣis among the kings, they are called rājarṣi. In the Bhagavad-gītā the word rājarṣi is used. Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2). Formerly the kings were just like great saintly persons. They were not ordinary vote collectors. They were so saintly there was no need of electing another president every five years. They are ṛṣis. These words are there. So in the third millennium, they were almost all ṛṣis. They were so enlightened that everyone of the population were just like great saints, saintly persons.

So this Devarṣi means Nārada, saintly sage among the demigods. He is also one of the demigods. So he compiled Vedic principles for executing devotional service, Nārada Pañcarātra. Our method, this devotional service, is according to the Nārada Pañcarātra. Especially in this age, Vedic system is not very much convenient. It is very strict. Just like according to Vedic system, if one wants to become a brāhmin, he must be born of a brāhmin father. Otherwise he cannot be accepted as a brāhmin. But according to the Nārada Pañcarātra system, even if one is lowborn, he can be accepted as a brāhmin by this reformatory process. Because kalau śūdra sambhavaḥ—everyone in this age is a śūdra. Śūdra means no intelligence, little better than animals, that's all.

So how from the śūdras a brāhmin can be selected? According to the Vedic system, it is not possible. One, to be accepted as brāhmin, must be son of a brāhmin. That means background of the person must be brahminical culture. But if people are śūdras, where is the background of brahminical culture? Therefore Nārada, he is Vaiṣṇava; he is very compassionate to the fallen souls. He is travelling all over the universe to make Vaiṣṇavas. He made many sons of Dakṣa Mahārāja Vaiṣṇavas. So Dakṣa Mahārāja became very angry upon him: "Nārada, you come and you train my sons as Vaiṣṇavas, and they do not take care of the family affairs. So I curse you: You cannot stay anywhere more than some time." So even a Vaiṣṇava has to face some difficulty while preaching devotional service; even Nārada.

So sātvata-tantra means books or literature of devotional service. In the Vedas there are different departments, they are divided into three parts—karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa and upāsanā-kāṇḍa. Therefore the other name of the Vedas is trayī. Strī-śūdra-dvijabandhūnāṁ trayī na śruti-gocarā (SB 1.4.25): for women, for śūdras and for dvija-bandhus, sons of the higher class but not properly educated. Bandhu means friend, a man born by a brāhmin father, but he is not qualified as a brāhmin. He will be called a dvija-bandhu, not dvija. Dvija means twice-born; actually he is twice-born. The birds are also called twice-born: one birth is the egg, and the other birth is from the egg, closed. Similarly, every human being is born śūdra, without any knowledge. Either he is born by the brāhmin father or a śūdra father, he is born a śūdra, because there is no knowledge.

Brāhmin means knowledge, and śūdra means no knowledge. That is the difference. One who knows . . . just like in this age there are so many scientists, so many philosophers, but they have no perfect knowledge; therefore they are śūdras. One scientist putting forward one theory—after a few years this theory is changed. That means knowledge is not perfect. They take it as advancement in research, but actually the knowledge is imperfect. Otherwise, where is the necessity of research and advancement? Advancement means you are in the lower grade. So all their advancement, the same lower grade. Because it is going on, they do not know what is the end of advancement. Therefore all their knowledge is imperfect; they are all śūdras. We cannot accept knowledge from śūdras. Knowledge must be taken from a brāhmin.

tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet
samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham
(MU 1.2.12)

This word brahma-niṣṭham means brāhmin, one who knows Brahman. Therefore knowledge has to be taken from a brāhmin, not from a śūdra.

So reformatory system is to make one first of all a brāhmin. Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ saṁskārād bhaved dvijaḥ. Every person is born a śūdra, a rascal. Then by reformatory process . . . just like we send our children to school, college, to teachers for reforming. That is reformation. The animals, they are unable to accept this reformatory process. You cannot send a cat or a dog to the school and become educated. That is not possible. All human beings, although they are born śūdra, he can be made a brāhmin by the process. Saṁskāra means by reformatory process, bhaved dvijaḥ. Dvija means second birth. Second birth means by reformatory process, when he is eligible, then he is initiated by the spiritual master. That is second birth. Then initiation means he is allowed to study Vedic literature to achieve real knowledge. Because real knowledge means Vedic knowledge, and any knowledge which is not corroborated with the Vedic version, that is not knowledge; that is imperfect knowledge.

Therefore whenever we speak something, we quote from the Vedas, from Vedic literature, to support it. Otherwise it is useless. When you speak something and corroborate it by the quotation from the Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Upaniṣads—there are so many Vedic literatures—then it is correct. That is the Vedic system. Not that I create knowledge by my research. What is the value of your research? Because you are imperfect, your senses are imperfect, you cannot even see properly. Even you cannot see your eyelids, so what is the value of your seeing? You cannot see something from a distant place, the nearest place. There must be some adjustment, there must be light under so many conditions you can see. Then what is the value of your eyes?

Vedic knowledge is therefore not seen, it is heard. Therefore it is called śruti. Just like actually we do not understand what is the position of different planets by seeing. But when you hear from authorities, from astrologists, from astronomers, then you can understand, "The sun is so great, bigger." That means hearing is perfect knowledge, not seeing. Therefore Vedic knowledge is received through the ear. To hear from the authorized persons, that is knowledge.

So Nārada Muni created this, thinking of the poor people of this age without perfect knowledge. Why this education is required? Because naiṣkarmyam, without producing fruitive result. What is that work? Any work you do, there must be some result. Either you do good work or bad work, it . . . there is work, there must be some result. That is our experience. We cannot do anything which has no result. But if that result is offered to God, Kṛṣṇa, then it is without result.

So that work is not stopped. Just like Arjuna. Arjuna's work was not stopped. He was a fighter; rather, he wanted to stop his work. He said: "My dear Kṛṣṇa, what is the use of fighting? They are all my kinsmen; let them enjoy. I don't want this kingdom." He wanted to become a gentleman without working. No. That without working is work, because he was considering in his own terms. But when he fought on the advice of Kṛṣṇa, that is naiṣkarmya—without result. Because fighting, suppose Arjuna has killed so many persons, so he is supposed to be under so much tribulation because he has killed so many persons. But because that was done for Kṛṣṇa, that is naiṣkarmya—no result; means work which does not produce any reaction. Other work, just like in this life those who are working for sense gratification, they are creating another body.

So it is not fruitless. If you work piously, then you create next life. Life is continuous. We are simply transmigrating from one body to another. So by our work we are creating the next body. So if you be engaged in devotional service, then you do not create another material body. Karma means by working you create another future. But naiṣkarmya means you work, but don't create another future. Everyone has future, but devotional service means end of all future. That does not mean zero. The śūnyavādīs, the voidists, they also want to make it zero, but it is actually not zero. Zero of these material activities. Kṛṣṇa says, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so 'rjuna (BG 4.9): "One who has understood about Kṛṣṇa, he, after giving up this body, he does not get another birth."

Birth means material body. There is no birth of the soul. The soul transmigrates from one body to another. That is called birth. Otherwise there is not birth. Na jāyate na mriyate, the soul does not take birth nor dies. If there is no birth, then where is death? The body has got birth, therefore there is death. Anything which takes birth, it has got death. But soul is part and parcel of God; God is eternal, therefore soul is eternal.

Therefore it is said we give up this gross body or subtle body but we do not die. Just like we change our dress—I give up this shirt or dress—but I do not die. Similarly, the soul is changing, accepting another material body. The result of devotional service is that you do not accept another material body, but you remain in your spiritual body. The soul is spirit, the soul has got spiritual body—hands, legs, mouth, everything—otherwise, how this dress is made? Dress is made according to the body. So unless you have got spiritual body, how we have got this material hand?

So by discharging devotional service, you don't create another body. That means you remain in your pure, spiritual body. Otherwise karmaṇā—you have to create another body, either human body, cat's body, dog's body or demigod's body, fish body, tree body, so many—8,400,000 kinds of body. So unless you take to devotional service, you will have to repeat this business of transmigrating from one body to another.

So Nārada Muni compiled these śāstras, tantra. Tantra means expansion. Just like there is notebook. Just like Vedānta-sūtra, the lessons are given in codes. Just like the businessmen, they send code. One word composed of four letters, it has got so many meanings. So those who are using those codes, they can understand, "By this code, this sentence or this paragraph is meant." Similarly, the Vedānta-sūtra is giving Vedic knowledge in codes—athāto brahma jijñāsā, janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1), ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12)—in this way.

This janmādy asya yataḥ code is explained by the whole Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, eighteen thousand verses to explain this one code. Similarly, the Vedic knowledge is expanded, or also contracted. So tantra is expansion, because ordinary men cannot understand Vedic knowledge. Just like Mahābhārata, it is in the form of history, but in it is Vedic instruction. Similarly, in this Nārada Pañcarātra made by Devarṣi Nārada, it is also Vedic.

Just like we are writing these books, English translations, giving purports. This is also Vedic, because our basis is on the Vedic knowledge. We don't take so-called scientists' knowledge or philosophers' knowledge. We derive it from the Vedas. Therefore tantra means which expands the Vedic knowledge.

ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipro
avaiṣṇavo gurur na syād
vaiṣṇavaḥ śva-paco guruḥ
(Padma Purāṇa)

It is said in the Nārada Pañcarātra that a person who is not a Vaiṣṇava, he cannot become a guru. "A person born or qualified brāhmin and knows all the mantras and tantras, but if he is an impersonalist, then he cannot become guru," avaiṣṇavo gurur na syāt, "whereas a person born in a low family, but he is a great devotee, he shall be accepted as a devotee, he shall be accepted as a guru." Tantra means Vedic knowledge expanded.

So by discharging devotional service we become freed from the cycle of birth and death and go back home, back to Godhead. This tantra was compiled by Nārada Ṛṣi.

Thank you very much. (end)