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721019 - Lecture SB 01.02.08 - Vrndavana

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

721019SB-VRNDAVAN - October 19, 1972 - 40:22 Minutes

Pradyumna: Translation: "Duties, or dharma, executed by men are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Supreme Lord." (SB 1.2.8)

Prabhupāda: So, dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsām. Dharma generally meant occupational duty. We have several times explained, the English dictionary, dharma is explained as faith. So faith may be changed. But actually, what is meant by dharma, that is constitutional position, activities in one's constitutional position. This has been explained by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu: jīvera svarūpa haya nitya-kṛṣṇa-dāsa (CC Madhya 20.108-109).

Real dharma, constitutional position of the living entity, is to serve Kṛṣṇa. That is real dharma. Kṛṣṇa also confirms in the Bhagavad-gītā, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). So mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja, simply unto Kṛṣṇa, surrender, that is real dharma. Otherwise it is pseudo-religious principle, pretentious, dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavaḥ.

There are two kinds of dharma: kaitava, cheating religious system, and real religious system. That is the subject matter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: to teach people the real religious system. In this chapter also, Sūta Gosvāmī has explained, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6). You can execute your occupational duties or religious system very nicely, but if you do not develop your love for God, Kṛṣṇa, then it is simply useless labor. It has no meaning. The test is how much you have developed your dormant consciousness for loving Kṛṣṇa. That is the test.

Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra syāt (SB 11.2.42). If actually one is making progress in devotional service, he must be detestful to any other system. They are not interested. Actual interest is Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu. That is our actual interest. Especially when one comes to the form of a human being, his special interest should be how to approach Viṣṇu. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum (SB 7.5.31). Svārtha-gatim, self-interest.

Everyone is inclined for his self-interest, but they do not know what is real self-interest. Somebody is thinking, "To satisfy the senses, body, that is self-interest." Somebody is thinking, "To satisfy the mind, whims of the mind, that is self-interest." Somebody is thinking, "Liberation of the self, mokṣa, mokṣa-vāñchā." That is also not self-interest. But when one thinks in terms of serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that is real self-interest.

So na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum (SB 7.5.31). People do not know.

(break) . . . svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum. Real self-interest is to become Vaiṣṇava, servitor of Viṣṇu. Viṣṇur asya devatā iti vaiṣṇava. That is real self-interest. Why people do not become Vaiṣṇava? Generally they worship various demigods—devotee of Lord Śiva, devotee of Goddess Kali, Durgā, so many. But they have been condemned by Bhagavad-gītā, spoken by Kṛṣṇa Himself: kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānā yajante anya-devatāḥ. Hṛta-jñānāḥ (BG 7.20).

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura gives his comment, hṛta-jñānāḥ naṣṭa-buddhayaḥ: "One who has lost his intelligence, they are inclined to worship other demigods." Kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ. Because they do not know what is his self-interest. He thinks that his self-interest is to give comfort to this body, the senses, sense-gratification. That is his misguided self-interest. Durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ (SB 7.5.31). Bahir-artha-māninaḥ. Bahir-artha means external energy. This body, gross body and the subtle body, they are made of the external energy. Bhūmir āpo 'nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca (BG 7.4).

So people, having no information of the spirit soul, they are interested in body and mind, and they have created some concocted religious system for benefit of the body and mind. So the varṇāśrama-dharma, beginning . . . dharma begins from the varṇāśrama-dharma, which is now going on in the name of Hindu religion. Actually there is no such word "Hindu" in the Vedic literature. It is a concocted word given by the Muhammadans. Real Vedic system of religion is varṇa and āśrama. Four varṇas: brāhmin, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra; and four āśramas: brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa.

So one has to execute . . . the brāhmiṇ must execute his system of life, satyaṁ śamo damas titikṣā ārjava, jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.42). A brāhmiṇ must execute all these principles of life. Similarly, kṣatriya, he should be very brave, not to go away from fighting. He must have a ruling capacity. He must be charitable. In this way, kṣatriya must execute his system of life. Similarly vaiśya, he must also execute his system of life: kṛṣi-gorakṣya-vāṇijyaṁ vaiśya-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.44): agriculture, cow protection.

Nowadays, either brāhmiṇ or kṣatriya or vaiśya, practically everything is lost. Nobody is executing his occupational duties. Simply śūdra, without any knowledge, without any enlightenment. Try to get some money and fill up your belly and go on sleeping, that's all. This is śūdra-karma-svabhāva-jam. Paricaryātmakaṁ karma. Therefore śāstra says, kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ. In this age, practically 99.9% population are śūdras, because they have given up, they have forgotten everything: what is the duty of brāhmiṇ, what is the duty of a kṣatriya, what is the duty of a vaiśya. Maybe some vaiśyas are there and śūdras are there.

So even one executes his sva-dharma very nicely, but if he does not develop his Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then śrama eva hi kevalam (SB 1.2.8). This is also simply spoiling the life. On the other hand, Nārada Muni gives his opinion, tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ hareḥ (SB 1.5.17): "If one gives up his occupational duty and takes shelter of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa," caraṇāmbujaṁ hareḥ, "so even he is not mature and falls down from the devotional service on account of so many reasons, still, he is not loser, whereas a person who is executing his occupational duties very nicely, but he has no Kṛṣṇa consciousness, no idea of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he doesn't get anything. He's loser." Ko vārtha āpto 'bhajatāṁ sva-dharmataḥ (SB 1.5.17). Sva-dharmataḥ, keeping in his own position as a brāhmiṇ, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra, if he is executing his duties very nicely, but has not developed Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then it is to be understood that he has lost everything. This is the verdict of śāstra. So:

dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ
notpādayed ratim yadi . . .
(SB 1.2.8)

This hearing process is very, very important. But people are not interested in hearing. They are simply busy in some other duties. My Guru Mahārāja used to say . . . one who was not interested in hearing, he used to call him a daṇḍavat-class, daṇḍavat-class of men. That means simply he knows how to make daṇḍavats, that's all. (laughter) Anyone who will come to him, he would see whether he is a daṇḍavat-class of man or hearing class of man. So daṇḍavat is nice, but by offering daṇḍavat, if one does not develop the intent of hearing, śravaṇam, then he is not making very much progress.

As you know, because I was little interested in hearing my Guru Mahārāja, he accepted me as his disciple. He remarked this. "This boy is interested in hearing. He does not go away." Actually, I do not know; I could not understand what he was speaking in the beginning, but still I was very much interested to hear him, out of curiosity or something like that.

So hearing is very important thing. Notpādayed yadi ratim, viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ. Kathā. Hari-kathā. This is accepted by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. When He was talking with Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya on various subject matters, Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya began from the varṇāśrama-dharma, sādhya-sādhana. "What is the aim of human life? How a human being executes his religious principles?" Sādhya-sādhana. So Rāmānanda Rāya began from the varṇāśrama-dharma.

Actually, unless the human society comes to the category of varṇāśrama-dharma, he is not a human being; he is animal. Still in India, because they are still inclined to the system of varṇa and āśrama, there are so many benefit for the Indians. I have traveled all over the world so many times. Because there is no varṇāśrama-dharma, how loose they are. That has been experimented. I have seen. So actually, unless one comes to the standard of varṇāśrama-dharma, he is not considered to be a human being. Therefore the Vedic civilization begins from the varṇāśrama-dharma. And in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is said, varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān, viṣṇur ārādhyate (CC Madhya 8.58). Because the ultimate goal is to approach Lord Viṣṇu, viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam. So this varṇāśrama-dharma was proposed by Rāmānanda Rāya, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, eho bāhya āge kaha āra (CC Madhya 8.59): "This is not feasible. Better . . . if you know something better than this, you propose." Because Caitanya Mahāprabhu knew that in the Kali-yuga, practically the varṇāśrama-dharma will never be observed, or it will be very difficult to observe. So people by simply observing the varṇāśrama-dharma will not be able to make very much progress in devotional service. Stereotype.

In this way, gradually, Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya presented so many proposals: varṇāśrama-tyāga, jñāna, jñāna-miśra-bhakti, so many ways, and Kṛṣṇa . . . Caitanya Mahāprabhu rejected all of them. Eho bāhya āge kaha. But when Rāmānanda Rāya pressed one version which was spoken by Lord Brahmā:

jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
prāyaśo ajita py 'asi tais tri-lokyām
(SB 10.14.3)

This verse, when Rāmānanda quoted from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, immediately Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted, and He said, eho haya, "This is nice. This is nice."

What is that? That sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ: "You remain in your position." It doesn't matter what you are. You may be Indian, you may be American, you may be European, you may be a brāhmin, you may be śūdra, you may be engineer, you may be doctor, you may be fool, you may be rascal. Whatever it may be, it doesn't matter. Sthāne sthitāḥ. Don't be disturbed. Don't try to change your position. But . . . jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva. Don't try to speculate, "God is like this, God is like that." Speculator, mental speculator. Give up this habit. Just become humble, namra. Jñāne prayāsaṁ namanta. Namanta means namra. Namra, offering obeisances, just like we offer daṇḍavats.

So similarly, namanta, to surrender. In a surrendering spirit, in a humble spirit, try to hear about the Supreme from the realized souls. This is the process. San-mukharitām. Not professional. One who has actually realized, from him if you hear, meek and humble, without speculating mentally, then by this process only one can realize the Supreme Lord very easily. Supreme Lord is called Ajita; nobody can conquer Him. But if one adopts this process, hearing from the realized soul in an attitude of humbleness, then he can conquer the ajita. He can understand. And Caitanya Mahāprabhu immediately accepted this process, eho haya, āge kaha. Eho haya: "This is nice."

Therefore our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to give chance to the people in general hearing about Kṛṣṇa. That's all. Either hearing Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra or hearing Bhagavad-gītā or hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, anything you like, hear about Kṛṣṇa. Try to hear about Kṛṣṇa in meek and humble attitude. Then gradually everything will be revealed.

Ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ (CC Madhya 17.136). By simply speculation you cannot understand what is Kṛṣṇa, what is His name, what is His form, what is His quality, what is His pastimes. We cannot. Ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ. By these blunt senses we cannot understand what is Kṛṣṇa. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ: but if you engage yourself in His transcendental loving service, beginning with the tongue, sevonmukhe hi jihvādau. So hearing by the ear and chanting by the tongue is the supreme method recommended by all authorities. This is śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam.

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam
(SB 7.5.23)

So we must be inquisitive. We must be very eager. That eagerness should be aroused, "Where kṛṣṇa-kathā is being taught, let me go there, let me hear." In this Vṛndāvana you will find there are many places, they are hearing about Kṛṣṇa. So either Vṛndāvana or anywhere else, wherever Kṛṣṇa is heard, that is Vṛndāvana. Not that Vṛndāvana is limited with a certain space. Vṛndāvana is transcendental. Tatra tiṣṭhāmi nārada yatra gāyanti mad-bhaktāḥ (Padma Purāṇa). Kṛṣṇa says: "I stay there where My pure devotees chant about Me." Yatra gāyanti mad-bhaktāḥ.

So if you become pure devotee and if you chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, you can create Vṛndāvana anywhere, any part of the world. Not that you have got to come here. You come here, that's all right, because it is established, Vṛndāvana. When Kṛṣṇa comes here, whenever He comes on this planet, He comes here. There are so many devotees. Certainly there is meaning, there is importance of this dhāma. But still, if it is not possible to come here, you can create Vṛndāvana anywhere, provided you are a pure devotee and you are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra without any offense.

Just like we have got our New Vrindavan. This year we have seen practically how these American boys and girls, hundreds and thousands, always who are remaining, not less than five to seven hundred . . . and for one week continually, in Janmāṣṭamī, we observed Janmāṣṭamī festival. And actually it was as good as this Vṛndāvana, because the chanting of the holy name was going on and hearing about Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was going on. There was tulasī plants, devotees, śrī-vigraha. Everything was there. So actually, it was replica of Śrī Vṛndāvana.

So therefore the most important thing is, to make advance in devotional service, to increase the appetite for hearing. Viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ, notpādayed ratim, kathāsu ratim. Kathāsu means . . . rati means attraction to kathāsu, that means hearing, śravaṇam. So this is the test, that anyone who is supposed to be advancing in devotional service, bhakti-yoga, the test will be how much he has awakened his intense desire for hearing about Kṛṣṇa. That is the test. That is the test.

So the perfectional platform is stated here, that "You may execute your different occupational duties, dharma, but the test will be whether you have developed your consciousness, you have developed your Kṛṣṇa consciousness." That is the test.

(aside) So you can read the purport.

Pradyumna: "There are different occupational activities in terms of man's different conceptions of life. To the gross materialist who cannot see anything beyond the gross material body, there is nothing beyond the senses. Therefore his occupational activities are limited to concentrated and extended selfishness. Concentrated selfishness centers around the personal body. This is generally seen amongst the lower animals. Extended selfishness is manifested in human society and centers around the family, society, community, nation and world, with a view to gross bodily comforts."

Prabhupāda: This is very important point. People are very much interested in welfare activities for the human society. So they think that by feeding poor men or giving cloth or opening hospitals, schools, colleges—"These things are required. What is the use of hearing about Kṛṣṇa?" That is their opinion. But these welfare activities are extended selfishness.

This word we learned from our Guru Mahārāja, "Extended selfishness." Just like I love myself for my sense gratification, and then I extend it to my son. I am gratifying my senses. I have got my wife. And to get my son another wife . . . the principle is the same. Then my grandchildren, then my great-grandchildren. Or, not only limited with the family, then society, then community, then nationality, then internationality. But they are all extended selfishness. Yes. Without knowing what is the real self-interest.

Therefore we find so many faults in such welfare activities. In . . . they are opening hospitals for the human being, daridra-nārāyaṇa-sevā, but the poor goats and cows, daridra-nārāyaṇa—they are also daridra-nārāyaṇa according to the definition—but they are being killed. For one daridra-nārāyaṇa, another daridra-nārāyaṇa is being killed.

So that kind of philanthropy is not accepted in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as very advancement of civilization. The advancement of civilization will be tested, how the nation, individually or collectively, has advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is very difficult to understand this, but the fact is this. Bhāgavata says that you cannot rectify the destiny of another man. That is not possible. Bālasya neha śaraṇaṁ pitarau nṛsiṁha (SB 7.9.19). It is not that because one has got good parents, therefore he will be happy. No. Not necessarily. Bālasya neha śaraṇaṁ pitarau nṛsiṁha.

So similarly, it is not that a diseased person, because he is being treated by a first-class physician and he is being supplied first-class medicine, therefore he will be cured. No. There is no such guarantee. Because if the supreme authority does not sanction . . . suppose a man is diseased; he is going to die or suffering. So his relatives and friends are trying to save him. The śāstra says that, "You cannot save him simply by giving him first-class medicine or first-class medical treatment." They . . . they can also . . . cannot guarantee. Ask any qualified doctor that, "This man is being treated by you. Can you guarantee that he will be cured?" they will say: "No, that is not possible. We are trying our best." Therefore we should know the ultimate sanction depends on Kṛṣṇa.

I have got practical experience, because I was dealing in medicine. So the attending physician of my pharmacy, he came back from a call and told me that, "I saw one patient lying in a very precarious condition, suffering from pneumonia. So according to our science, he could not live. I do not know how he is living." There are so many cases. I had dealings with medical men. One big medical man in Gayā, he told me that "Mr. De," that, "we give very first class medicine to a patient, to my best knowledge. He dies. And I try one small medicine, and he is saved. That is my practical experience." He was Muhammadan doctor. He told me.

So actually, unless one is saved by the supreme authority, there is no question of saving him by so many philanthropic work. Actual saving is this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Because if one is raised to his Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the whole problems of his life will be solved. That is real welfare activity. Other things you cannot change. If one is destined to suffer by some agency, you cannot stop. Therefore Bhāgavata says, tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ (SB 1.5.18). You simply try to awaken your Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which was impossible in other living condition. Either going to the heaven planet or going to the hell planet or becoming Brahmā or ant . . . do not try for all these elevation. Simply try for awakening your Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Then why so many people are trying for happiness? The answer is, tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukhaṁ kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā (SB 1.5.18). Nobody tries for distress, but distress comes; similarly, even if you do not try for your happiness, if you are destined, happiness will come. But if you take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is simply happiness. There is no more distress. If we become steadily situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then it is simply happiness. As Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī has explained, viśvaṁ pūrṇaṁ sukhāyate (Caitanya-candrāmṛta 5). There is no problem for a devotee. Viśvaṁ pūrṇam . . . everyone is perplexed with the problems of this universe, but for a devotee, viśvaṁ pūrṇaṁ sukhāyate.

(aside) I think time is up.

Thank you very much. (break) Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says:

mānasa deho geho jo kichu mor
arpiluṅ tuwā pade nanda-kiśor
(from Śaraṇāgati)

He was family man. So he surrendered everything: his body, his mind, his family, his children—everything under Kṛṣṇa.

mānasa deho geho jo kichu mor
arpiluṅ tuwā pade nanda-kiśor

Mārobi rākhobi jo icchā tohārā . . . in this way, there is a nice song. So you cannot take charge of your family, society or community or country. No. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27). Everything is going on under the influence of different modes of material nature.

Just like in our country, when Gandhi was living, he got sva-rājya, but still, he was thinking he had to do something, he had to do something. And he did not separate from politics. He was old man. He should have retired. But he did not, unless he was killed by somebody. This is the attachment for material things. All these leaders, they think, "Without me, the country will go to hell." But so many leaders came and gone; the country is going on. Therefore, in the Bengali it is said, rāja mare, rājya acāra: "Because the king has died, therefore kingdom will stop." That is not the . . . it, it will go on. Why do you bother? That is knowledge. Kṛṣṇa is taking care. You just engage yourself in the service of Kṛṣṇa. That is your duty. (break) (end)