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730313 - Lecture Bengali - Calcutta

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

730313LE-CALCUTTA Bengali - March 13, 1973 - 37:41 Minutes

(Translated from Bengali)


tac chraddadhānā munayo
paśyanty ātmani cātmānaṁ
bhaktyā śruta-gṛhītayā
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.12)

Listen carefully. To attain transcendental knowledge, devotion and listening to the bonafide scriptures, are essential. Śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭam (Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.2.12). Every human being must receive knowledge of the soul, knowledge of the Supersoul, and knowledge of the Supreme Person. Jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.12). Human life is meant only for making inquiry about the absolute truth, and nothing else.

Human life is not meant for asking, "What will I eat and what will I wear?"

(long pause)

tac chraddadhānā munayo
paśyanty ātmani cātmānaṁ
bhaktyā śruta-gṛhītayā
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.12)

By listening to the bonafide scriptures, and engaging in spiritual association. I may not know how to read and write, nevertheless, Bhagavān has given me two ears. If we submissively listen to guru, sādhu and śāstra with these ears, without indulging in creating confusion, then it will be beneficial for us. Bhaktyā śruta-gṛhītayā. Devotion and careful listening are required. Just listening is enough.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu has established this path and process. When He was in a discussion with Rāmānanda Rāya, who talked about many things, starting from varṇāśrama-dharma to jñāna-miśra-bhakti or devotion adulterated with the quest for knowledge, karma-jñāna or knowledge of fruitive activities, and sannyāsa or the renounced order. However, after listening to everything, Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, Eho bāhya, āge kaha āra (Sri Caitanya Caritamṛta Madhya 8.59).

In the Bhagavad-Gītā, it is stated, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (Bhagavad-gītā 4.17). Those who are properly following the laws of "varṇāśrama-dharma", or a society based on occupational duties, are blessed with an auspicious life.

puruṣena paraḥ pumān
visṇur ārādhyate panthā
nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya Lila 8.58)

When the brāhmaṇa follows the guidance of Bhagavān, as prescribed in bona fide scriptures and stays fixed, then the Supreme Lord Viṣnu is pleased by such worship. Also, when the kṣatriya leads a life in accordance with the prescribed duties, Viṣnu is pleased by such worship. Similarly, for vaiśyas and śūdras. The Supreme Lord has Himself stated in the Bhagavad-Gītā, sva-karmaṇā tam abhyarcya (Bhagavad-gītā 18.46). Everyone can worship and please Bhagavān by following their designated prescribed duties because all of us are infinitesimal parts of the Supreme Person.

We have different bodily parts like arms and legs, and only when the arms, legs, mouth, stomach perform their function properly, the body is able to remain healthy. When the brain is dysfunctional, then the body becomes ill. When there is pain in the legs and unable to walk, then the body becomes unhealthy. If the arms stop working, the body becomes ill.

Similarly, in human society, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra are the the arms, ears, mouth and stomach of Bhagavān. The Supreme Person's brain is represented by the brāhmaṇa, His arms are the kṣatriya, His stomach the vaiśya, and His legs are the śūdra. Therefore the scriptures say,

ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.13)

To achieve transcendental knowledge, varṇāśrama or the institution of four castes and four orders of life, must not be rejected and neither must it be accepted as the ultimate goal. Hence, when Mahāprabhu was told about varṇāśrama-dharma He said, Eho bāhya, āge kaha āra. Varṇāśrama-dharma is the first stage in the human form of life.

In this way, jñāna-miśra-bhakti, karma-jñāna, sannyāsa was discussed one after the other, by Rāmānanda Rāya, who was an erudite scholar, and Mahāprabhu, appeared in an exalted brāhmaṇa, was extremely good-looking, and took to the renounced order of life at the age of twenty-four. However, Rāmānanda Rāya was hesitant . . . he was born in a śudra family . . . Rāmānanda Rāya. Nevertheless, he achieved the high status of a governor and he was highly knowledgeable about the scriptures.

When Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya lost a philosophical argument with Mahāprabhu and became a Vaiṣṇava, he said to Mahāprabhu, "When you travel to the south of India, please meet Rāmānanda Rāya, who is the governor of Madras and a great exponent of bhakti, whom I could not understand and therefore rejected, however, I have now realised that the words he spoke were of very high, standard, so you will be happy to meet him. Thereafter, Mahāprabhu met Rāmānanda Rāya with great enthusiasm.

Rāmānanda Rāya presented each topic one after the other, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, eho bāhya, āge kaha āra. That means that "this is valid but not so helpful." The worship of Viṣṇu, or Viṣṇu-upasana in varṇāśrama-dharma is impersonal or without any varieties. There are factually two kinds of worship, however, Viṣṇu-upasana is not the worship for the pure Vaiṣṇava devotee. Hence, Mahāprabhu said, said, eho bāhya, āge kaha āra.

After that, Rāmānanda Rāya said that by giving up the desire for acquiring empiric knowledge, and with submissive enquiring attitude, one must listen to a pure devotee about You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Bhagavān, then Bhagavān who is known as Ajita . . . no can conquer Bhagavān. All of you may know, when Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa was present here, and when Bhagavān Rāmacandra was present here, no one was able to defeat Him, not even Rāvana. Even though Rāvana was a possessor of mighty strength, but when Rāmacandra appeared to kill him, none of the demigods were able to protect him.

Māre kṛṣṇa rākhe ke rākhe kṛṣṇa māre ke (Bengali prayer), just as Kṛṣṇa fought many battles, as all of you know. Bhagavān advents for two reasons,

paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
(Bhagavad-gītā 4.8)

He performs two pastimes . . . (indistinct) . . . the demons that are killed by Him attain liberation. Therefore for the devotee, liberation is not of great value. Liberation is attained by Bhagavān's enemies . . . the dānavas and rākṣasas . . . the demons who fight with Bhagavān, and are killed by Him, attain sāyujya-mukti which means to merge into the existence of the Supreme. Their are five kinds of liberation—sāyujya-mukti, sārūpya-mukti, sālokya-mukti, sāmīpya-mukti and sārṣṭi-mukti. Among these, sāyujya-mukti is not accepted by the Vaiṣṇava.

Those who belong to the jñani-sampradāya, we refer to as Māyāvādīs impersonalists. There are two sampradāyas Māyāvādī-sampradāya, and us who belong to the Bhāgavata-sampradāya. Both these disciplic successions are present in India. One is the nirviśeṣa-sampradāya, those who deny that the Supreme Person has a form, and the other who render devotional service to the completely transcendental sac-cid-ānanda form of the Supreme Person. These exists eternally . . . (indistinct) . . . transcendental.

In both the processes, renunciation and wisdom is present, however, the ultimate conclusion is that those who are desiring liberation by merging into the existence of the impersonal aspect of the Supreme Person, and there is nothing extra-ordinary about this kind of liberation known as sāyujya-mukti, however, this is not accepted by the Vaiṣṇava.

Bhagavān's word . . . 'Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān' . . . those who desire to merge with the Supreme Person's impersonal Brahman feature, for them liberation is the ultimate goal. Those who are ignoring the personal feature of Bhagavān, and endeavour to achieve the eight mystic powers—yoga-siddhisaṇimā, laghimā, mahimā, prāpti, prākāmya, īśitva, vaśitva - these are the eight kinds of mystic powers, they desire to realise the Supersoul.

dhyānāvasthita-tad-gatena manasā
paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 12.13.1)

This is the job of the yogis. We have no discord with them, or anyone. This has started happening now.

Bhagavān says,

ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
(Bhagavad-gītā 4.8)

Those who are worshiping the Supreme Person as Brahman, are being able to realise him, but only the impersonal aspect. Just as the sun and the sunshine. Being in the sunshine is not the same as being on the sun planet. If someone who is basking in the sunshine imagines that they have reached the sun planet, this cannot be accepted. So, those situated on the Brahman platform, are being able to perceive Bhagavān's impersonal form.

In the Iśo upaniṣad, there is a prayer, "My Lord, please withdraw this effulgence emanating from You, so that we can see Your transcendental form." This is factual. Brahma-jñāna is only a portion of knowledge of Bhagavān—about the effulgence emanating from Bhagavān's transcendental form. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated,

yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-
koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhādi-vibhūti-bhinnam
tad brahma niṣkalam anantam aśeṣa-bhūtaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
(Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā 5.40)

Brahma says, "yasya prabhā—I worship Govinda from Whom this effulgence is emanating." The devotee who worships the primal Lord Govinda, is endowed with the knowledge about the nature of Brahman. Just as one who has one lakh of rupees, is aware that there are ten rupees within that, even though it does not hold such great value. This is an analogy . . . (indistinct)

On the Brahman platform, there is realisation only of the eternal aspect. Similarly, on the Paramātmā stage, there is realisation of knowledge—the aspects of the eternal and knowledge. And on the Bhagavān platform, there is realization of the eternal, full of knowledge and bliss, together.

tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ
goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūto
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
(Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā 5.37)

Ānanda-cinmaya-rasa. The scriptures inform us that, in Bhagavān's transcendental form, Bhagavān's qualities, Bhagavān's pastimes, Bhagavān's opulence, Bhagavān's name—everything, is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. "Ānanda-cinmaya-rasa" . . . it is spiritual bliss, not material happiness. We cannot be blissful by seeking material happiness. All our tricks to acquire material happiness is just to derive some sense enjoyment. Rasa-mayi sat. The Vedas states that Bhagavān is the basis for all enjoyment. If this can be understood, then everything will be blissful. Ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhis, tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ".

aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛttimanti
paśyanti pānti kalayanti ciraṁ jaganti
(Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā 5.32)

Ānanda-cinmaya-rasa is mentioned in these scriptures . . . ānanda-cinmaya rasa . . . govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi". " . . . dhṛti-gṛhītayā These include knowledge about Brahman and Paramātmā, but those who worship only the Brahman aspect, they do not believe in the Supreme Lord's personal form, Bhagavān—they think that Bhagavān is afflicted by māyā. Just as my body is māyā. They believe that after this life they will merge in with the impersonal aspect and become formless.

However, the Vaiṣṇava understands when Bhagavān Himself states, brahmaṇo ahaṁ pratiṣṭhā (Bhagavad-gītā 14.27)—"I am the origin of the impersonal Brahman". Bhūmir āpo 'nalo vāyuḥ. Just as the presence of air permeates the atmosphere, similarly Brahman is the effulgence is emanating from Bhagavān's transcendental body. And Supersoul is the expansion of the Supreme Lord. Bhagavān Himself saying, (indistict sloka). By a portion of the Supreme Person's energy, this entire material manifestation is created, and also the Supersoul expansion.

There is Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, then Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Where Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu is situated in this material manifestation, is known as Dhruvaloka—polestar. There, there is an ocean of milk. Just as, over here there are salty-water oceans, there is an ocean of milk over there. We understand from the scriptures that there are many different kinds of oceans. So, there is an ocean of milk. Kṣīrodakaśāyī—kṣīra means milk . . . where Lord Viṣṇu Himself is residing. Whenever there is some disturbance in this material world, Brahma performs penance on the banks of this ocean where Lord Viṣṇu is residing, and the instructions given by Lord Viṣṇu, are conveyed to everyone in the disciplic succession by Brahma.

Similarly, before the advent of Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa, when there was calamitous situation caused by demonic kings, distressed Mother Earth approached Brahma, abd she cried and pleaded for the advent of the Supreme Person, fearing the destruction of the planet. As you know, this is described in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. After that Brahma performed penance by the banks of the ocean of milk, and was informed by Bhagavān Viṣṇu that, "Kṛṣṇa Himself, along with Balarāma, are going to appear in the near future, so you have nothing to worry about."

The same Kṣīrodakaśāyī is the Supersoul residing in everyone's heart.

īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati
(Bhagavad-gītā 18.61)

He is the Supersoul, and this is how we must understand the expansion of the Supersoul. Brahman knowledge is the first step, thereafter, the knowledge about Supersoul and finally Bhagavān is the ultimate knowledge. The final conclusion of all spiritual knowledge is, the knowledge about the Supreme Person. That is why Bhagavān says in the Gītā,

manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ
kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
(Bhagavad-gītā 7.3)

People are not able to understand how a Person is able to create the entire cosmic manifestation. Peoples' intelligence is limited to thinking, "That Person must be like I am."

(aside) Who is making the sound? (in English) Don't make that sound. Who's making that sound? Who is making that sound? Phat, phat.

Hence, it is stated that devotion is needed, and śruta-grihitaya—to gain spiritual knowledge, listening and understanding of Vedic scriptures is essential. This is what Mahāprabhu approved . . . (indistinct) . . . without trying any other process, especially during this Kali-yuga, one must in a humble manner, associate with and listen to the lotus-faced devotees of Bhagavān. That's all. Then, all our work will be successful. This is what Mahāprabhu said.

Bhagavān cannot be defeated. So, if one listens to the devotee of Bhagavān with a submissive attitude, then one will be victorious in all circumstances . . . (indisdinct) . . . Mahāprabhu has prescribed that, "The consciousness has to be changed, while remaining where we are." When there is a saṇkīrtana festival, or a meeting like this, or a get-together takes place, or you can even organise one on a small scale congregation in your home, or in your locality where people can hear from a pure devotee, and from them . . . (audio disruption), bhakti and śruta-kīrtaya which means hearing from the sadhu who speaks from the bonafide scriptures, and preaches for the auspicious benefit of the whole world, such a person must be heard attentively. It is very easy to do, not difficult at all. There is no need to . . . (indistinct) . . . nor is there a need to study the Vedanta. Only a submissive attitude and listening to the sadhu, is required. That's all. Is this difficult to do?

Thinking that, "I am Brahman, I am a very learned scholar, and I am God." These nonsensical thoughts have to be discarded, and one has to listen with humility to the person who has genuine knowledge about the real nature of the Supreme Person. Vadanti tat tattva-vidas (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.11). Bhagavān has Himself stated,

tad viddhi praṇipātena
paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ
(Bhagavad-gītā 4.34)

If we can submissively listen to the self-realised devotee of the Supreme Lord, then gradually knowledge and factual understanding of the impersonal Brahman, the localised Paramātmā, and the personal form of Bhagavān, can be gained. Human life is meant for this purpose. Jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.10). There must be enquiry, however, that enquiry must be through . . . (indistinct) . . . and by rendering devotional service. Not by challenging. Then it is not possible.

Once a highly learned scholar met Rūpa Gosvāmī, and said, "I have heard a lot about you. I have won every argument while discussing scriptural injunctions. I would like to have a discussion with you about the scriptures. Rūpa Gosvāmī understood that the the worldly scholar's intention was to gain accolades for himself, so he asked him, "What will you gain by discussing scriptural injunctions with me?" The scholar replied saying, "I will then gain another victory, after defeating all other scholars. If I can defeat you then I will be completely victorious." Rūpa Gosvāmī asked him, "What do you want from me if I disagree to participate in this discussion?" The scholar said, "If you give it to me in writing that I have gained victory over you, then that would be enough." Then, Rūpa Gosvāmī immediately wrote, "I was in a discussion with this scholar, and he defeated me." He did not hesitate to do this. Actually, the devotee of the Supreme Lord, does not sweat small matters like these.

For the devotee, prakrita-labha, puja, pratistha - acquisition of material wealth and other facilities, worship and respect by others, a comfortable position and fame—these things are considered equivalent to hog's stool. Our Guru Maharaja said, jaḍero prathiṣthā, śukarer biṣthā. Devotees are not at all keen on such matters. Devotees are only concerned with how to satisfy Bhagavān. Hence, it is stated in the next verse,

ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya
saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam
(Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.13)

What is the result of acquiring spiritual knowledge? The result is to analyse and scrutinse to check, "Have I been able to satisfy the Supreme Person?" Just becoming a brahmana is not enough. Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭh . . . such gatherings . . . meetings . . . where such topics were discussed, were attended by exalted brahmanas, there the ksatriyas or others . . . well, the ksatriyas who were present were all spiritually exalted kings and saints. There were no vaiśyas or 'śūdras because it is beyond the scope of their understanding.

Nevertheless, due to Mahāprabhu's immense mercy, the path that He has given us . . . (Sanskrit śloka) . . . if we listen with humility . . . it does not matter if the person is brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra or any low-class person . . . there is no problem . . . only attentive listening is required.

Therefore, it is said that this must be tested. To think, "I have become brāhmaṇa, I have become kṣatriya, I have become a big man," the question is, have you been able to achieve the utlimate goal of all your endeavours? All the acquisition of material wealth and other facilities, worship and respect by others, a comfortable position and fame, everything is finished as soon as the body is finished. Then, "I am brāhmaṇa, I am big man, I am kṣatriya, I am king, I am minister," is not going to go with you. All that is going to end with the death of the body. After that, another chapter will begin, and what will happen in that chapter no one knows. It may be birth as a demigod, an animal or a tree, and that is in nature's hands.

Therefore, everything has to be completed in this life itself. Whether I am a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya or a king, it does not matter. The important matter is, if I have been able to satisfy the Supreme Person. That is the test, and if this test is a failure, then everything is śrama eva hi kevalam (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.8). Then, be it a kṣatriya, a king, or a minister - it is a complete waste time. Hence, it is being stated, ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā. All the brāhmaṇas there were "dvija-śreṣṭhā exalted, not ordinary brāhmaṇas. Exalted dvija-śreṣṭhā . . . ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā, varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ.

Varṇāśrama has four castes and four orders of human life, according to qualification and occupation. There are divisions. The castes are brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdras, and the divisions of human order are brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa. Each one has different occupational duties. However, the ultimate goal of each is important. What is that ultimate goal? It is satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Hari.

Just like Arjuna who was kṣatriya. He was being tested on the ultimate goal. He was trying to avoid war, and live as a good non-violent person. Even though Arjuna was a great brave warrior but he gave up his weapons, did not want to fight, he wanted to renounce his kingdom, and become famous as a good man. However, he realised that his attitude was not satisfying the Supreme Person. Bhagavān explained to Arjuna, in various ways, why he must fight the battle. Arjuna then understood that no matter what arguments he presents against war, the Supreme Person wanted him to fight, and that pious activity and non-violence in those circumstances, was useless. Arjuna understood that his only business was to satisfy the Supreme Person, and that it was pointless trying appease the world.

If the Supreme Person can be satisfied, then that will satisfy the whole world . . . (indistinct) . . . people think that the ultimate goal is to satisfy the world and they make plans to do so. However, this is impossible. In India, even a person like Gandhi could not succeed in doing so; he was shot dead even though he tried to satisfy the world. So, this is not possible.

Try to satisfy Bhagavān, and the whole world will be satisfied. When the roots of the tree are watered, all the branches and other parts receive the water. Similarly, by satisfying the stomach, the eyes, ears, arms and legs are satisfied. This is the way to satisfy the Supreme Person. It does not matter what caste or division one belongs to, if the objective of your life is to satisfy the Supreme Lord. This is the final conclusion.

There is going to be a procession now, and we will leave now. This is the end of this program. Another program will be held next January, and I look forward to this gathering and our discussions together at that time.

Thank you. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)