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730428 - Lecture SB 01.08.36 - Los Angeles

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

730428SB-LOS ANGELES - April 28, 1973 - 30:33 Minutes

Pradyumna: (leads chanting of verse) (Prabhupāda and devotees repeat)

śṛnvanti gāyanti gṛṇanty abhīkṣṇaśaḥ
smaranti nandanti tavehitaṁ janaḥ
ta eva paśyanty acireṇa tāvakaṁ
bhava-pravāhoparamaṁ padāmbujam
(SB 1.8.36)


śṛṇvanti—hear; gāyanti—chant; gṛṇanti—take; abhīkṣṇaśaḥ—continuously; smaranti—remembers; nandanti—take pleasure; tava—Your; īhitam—activities; janāḥ—people in general; ta—they; eva—certainly; paśyanti—can see; acireṇa—very soon; tāvakam—Your; bhava-pravāha—the current of rebirth; uparamam—cessation; pada-ambujam—lotus feet.

Translation: "O Kṛṣṇa, those who continuously hear, chant and repeat Your transcendental activities or take pleasure in others doing so certainly see Your lotus feet, which alone can stop the repetition of birth and death."

Prabhupāda: So in the previous verse it is explained that bhave 'smin kliśyamānānām (SB 1.8.35). Anyone who has come to this material word, bhave, in this material world, asmin, in this, kliśyamānānām, they are all working very hard or taking trouble very much like ass working, kliśyamānānām. He cannot bear the so much burden. Still he's loaded with so much burden. That is kliśyamānānām. If you . . . if you can bear some load, that's all right.

But if you cannot, if it is overloaded, then it is very difficult to go on. So in the previous verse it was suggested that śravaṇaṁ smaraṇam arhāṇam (SB 2.4.15). To get out of this troublesome life, kliśyamānānām avidyā-kāma-karmabhiḥ . . . they have created kāma-karmabhiḥ, kāma, lusty desires, desireful. They have created work, heavy work. Therefore kliśyamānānām, always in trouble. So to mitigate that trouble, the recommendation is, smaraṇa smaraṇam arhāṇam.

So Kṛṣṇa comes to introduce the system by which one can get relief from this continuous, troublesome life. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir, glānir bhavati (BG 4.7). Just like you suffer when you create some disturbance in the law. Then you suffer. We have got experience. If we violate the state laws, then you have to suffer. Similarly, religious . . . religion means God's laws. They do not know. "Religion means faith." Faith, you may have faith something. I may have faith something. I may believe you or you may not believe me. That is not religion.

Religion . . . "I do not believe in God." Just like this big mission, they say: "You can manufacture your own way." Yata mata tata patha. "Whatever you think right, that is right." This is their philosophy. But that is not science. I am a madman; whatever I am thinking, that is all right? How it is? Two plus two equal to four, it is science. If I believe, "No, two plus two equal to five" or "Two plus two equal to three . . ." No.

So dharmasya glānir bhavati means there is codes, laws of God. When you violate that laws of God, that is called dharmasya glāni. dharmasya glāni. Glāni means deviation, discrepancy. So we are suffering by violating the laws of God. Just like we suffer by violating the laws of the state, similarly, as soon as we violate the laws of God, we're subjected to so many tribulations. Now how to get out of it? That is bhakti-yogam. So Kṛṣṇa comes to take you out from this position, dharmasya glānir, and that is . . . the process is, Kṛṣṇa recommends that, "You do this," and if you take it, then you'll be delivered, you'll get relief. And that is śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ, bhakti-yoga.

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

Tan manye adhītam uttamam. Prahlada Mahārāja said one who is engaged in these activities, śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ, hearing and chanting . . . hearing means to hear about somebody else—his activities, his form, his quality, his entourage, so many things. If I want to hear about you, you must have some activities. Just like history. We hear about history. What is the history? History means the record of activities of different persons in different ages. That is history.

So as soon as there is the question hearing, then the next question will be, "To hear what? Or what about? What is the subject matter?" So that is said: Viṣṇu. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ. The activities of Lord Viṣṇu or Lord Kṛṣṇa. That is hearing. Not that hearing the news in the newspaper, not that sort of hearing. Brahma-jijñāsā. These things are statement in the Vedas. Inquiry about Brahman. Hearing about Brahman. Just like here, we are also hearing and chanting. What is the subject matter? The subject matter is Kṛṣṇa. We are not hearing here any market report: what is the price of this, what is the price of this share or that share. No. We are hearing about Kṛṣṇa. And when there is question of hearing, there must be speaking or chanting. So we are speaking and chanting about Kṛṣṇa. That is bhakti-yoga. Simply always be engaged in hearing and chanting about Kṛṣṇa. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ.

Then further. As soon as you become expert in hearing and chanting, then the next stage is smaraṇam. Smaraṇam: thinking of. Anything you speak or hear, later on you contemplate, you meditate, smaraṇam. So smaraṇam is the third stage. First of all, one must begin with hearing, śravaṇam. Otherwise what about, meditation? If you do not know the subject matter of meditation, where is the question of meditation? Therefore we must first of all hear about the subject matter of meditation. And that is chanting. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ (SB 7.5.23). About Lord Viṣṇu.

Actually, yoga meditation means to see the form of the Lord, four-handed viṣṇu-mūrti, within the heart. That is real meditation. Now these rascals, they have manufactured so-called meditation. That is not meditation. Meditation means to see the form of the Lord within your heart. Because in the heart there is the Lord. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). So by controlling all the senses . . . the senses are very restless. They are going this way and that way, this way and that way. Mind is going this way, that way. So by this aṣṭāṅga-yoga system, by sitting posture, by controlling the breathing, by modes of different posture of seeing—so many things there are—the real thing is to control the mind and concentrate it on the form of Viṣṇu. That is Hare Kṛṣṇa. That is called samādhi. Pratyāhāra samādhi.

So aṣṭāṅga-yoga means to come to this point of smaraṇam; smaraṇam, arcanam. This is arcanam. Just like we are worshiping the Deity:


Śrī vigraha, the Deity worship. Ārādhanam, ārādhanam, worshiping. Śrī-vigraha ārādhanam. Śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya. Nitya, daily. Not that ārādhana after one week or one month. No. Nitya, twenty-four hours. So you should have such program for worshiping the Deity that you may be engaged twenty-four hours. Twenty-four hours. Śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya, nitya, nitya-nānā-śṛṅgāra, dressing, decorating. Daily, new dress, or twice new dress, or four times new dress. As much as you can. Śṛṅgāra. This is called śṛṅgāra. Kṛṣṇa is opulent, the most opulent enjoyer. And we should supply. We should supply by which He can enjoy.

Just like if somebody gives me a new dress, so I say, "Oh, it is a new dress. Very nice." So that is my enjoyment. Similarly, if you satisfy Kṛṣṇa daily a very gorgeous dress . . . just like today I see it is very nice. This kind of dress should be supplied to Kṛṣṇa. First-class clothing, first class. Everything first class. No third class thing for Kṛṣṇa. All first class. The gopīs must be first class, the dress must be first class, the eating foodstuff must be first class, the sitting place must be first class—more than first class. That is called śrī-vigrahārādhana-nitya-nānā-śṛṅgāra-tan-mandira-mārjanādau: cleansing the temple as clean as glass, always. Everyone remarks this, that our temples are very clean. Yes.

Temple means must be very clean. The more you cleanse the temple, the more your heart becomes cleansed. This is the process. The more you dress Kṛṣṇa, you become satisfied. At the present moment, we are accustomed to see my dress. "How costly dress I have got," I become satisfied. No. When by dressing Kṛṣṇa you'll feel satisfied, that is spiritual satisfaction. That is spiritual satisfaction.

yuktasya bhaktāṁś ca niyuñjato 'pi.

So this is the business of the spiritual master, yuktasya, to engage them always. Vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam. "Such guru, spiritual master, I am offering." This is Guru-aṣṭaka.

So here it is said, śṛṇvanti. Kuntīdevī . . . the first business is śṛṇvanti. One must be eager to hear. Lesson, everything is hearing. You go to school, college. What purpose you pay the school fee, college fee? For hearing. You hear from the learned professor, teacher; you sit down and you get knowledge. The first thing is śṛṇvanti. Therefore a devotee is always engaged in hearing about Kṛṣṇa, śṛṇvanti. That is devotee's business. Tavehitam. Those who are cultivating Kṛṣṇa consciousness, their first business is hearing. So śṛṇvanti gāyanti. And if you actually, you have heard about Kṛṣṇa, then next business will be to chant, gāyanti.

Just like our preachers are going from here to interior parts of the village. Why? What is the purpose? For gāyanti, for preaching, for chanting—so that they may get the opportunity of hearing. Giving the opportunity to the people for hearing. That is gāyanti. And gṛṇanti, and takes seriously. Abhīkṣṇaśaḥ. Abhīkṣṇaśaḥ means twenty-four hours, without any stop, always. Kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ (CC Adi 17.31).

Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore recommends, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ. One should be engaged twenty-four hours in chanting. That is the business of Kṛṣṇa conscious men. Hearing, chanting, śravaṇam kīrtanam. Either all the items or take to one item—simply hearing, just like Parikṣit Mahārāja did.

Parikṣit Mahārāja did not do any other things. He sat down tight before Śukadeva Gosvāmī and went on hearing, hearing, hearing for seven days. And then his life is finished. So anyone or all of them. If you simply hear, without doing anything . . . simply sit down in the temple, and whenever there is talk of Bhagavad-gītā, Bhaga . . . you go on hearing. Bās. Even if you do not understand, please hear. That's all. That vibration, that mantra vibration will help you. Understanding is not very important thing. There may be so many fools and rascals, they do not know grammar, do not know Sanskrit. No, there is no need of. Apratihatā.

Bhakti is apratiha . . . nothing can check the progress of bhakti. So simply you have to adopt the process. The process is hearing. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Caitanya Mahāprabhu was criticized by Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya in the beginning. He was . . . Caitanya Mahāprabhu was son of Jagannātha Miśra, and Jagannātha Miśra . . . Jagannātha Miśra and Jagannātha Miśra's father-in-law, that means Caitanya Mahāprabhu's grandfather, grandfather, Nīlāmbara Cakravartī, he happened to be class friend of Sārvabhauma's father. That means Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya comes on the level of His father. So he asked that, "You are a boy, twenty-four years old only. You have taken sannyāsa. It is very difficult to keep sannyāsa because there are so many attractions for the young man. So you hear Vedānta-sūtra." This, the hearing. So hearing.

So hearing's so important. Even amongst the Māyāvādī school, they hear Vedānta-sūtra. We also hear, but we hear . . . hear real Vedānta-sūtra. Because they falsely interpret, their hearing is spoiled. But we don't interpret. We hear actually. Kṛṣṇa says that, "I am the Supreme." We accept it. That is hearing. And if you interpret, "Oh, Kṛṣṇa means this; Kurukṣetra means this," that mean you're spoiling your time. Why this, that? As it is. Hear as it is. Then the . . .

So Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked to hear Vedānta. You know. And He was hearing. And Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya was going on speaking, reciting Vedānta-sūtra. But He was simply hearing and then He was not asking any questions. So Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya asked that "My dear boy, You are hearing, but You are not asking anything. What is this? You cannot understand? Or what is the reason that You are silent?" He said, "Yes, I'm understanding. But I am silent because you are explaining in a different way. Therefore I am simply hearing the verses of Vedānta-sūtra. I am not hearing you." Indirectly . . . of course, He was offering respect. Indirectly, He said that "You are explaining the meaning foolishly."

He said later on that, "I see . . . I hear the verses just like sunshine. But you are explaining just like covering cloud. This is your explanation." Sun is . . . nobody requires any lamp to see the sun. Everyone can see. But if it is covered by the cloud, it is very difficult to see. So this Māyāvāda interpretation is, explanation, means covering the real meaning. That's all. They do so like that. They'll never accept the direct meaning. Kurukṣetra, dharmakṣetra . . . even big, big political leaders, they will cover, "Kurukṣetra means this, dharmakṣetra means this." No. Hearing should be . . . our policy is hearing the original, as it is. Then it will be effective.

Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ (SB 7.5.23). Viṣṇu should be heard as He is. Gṛṇanty abhīkṣṇaśaḥ smaranti. The same: meditation, remembering, smaranti nandanti. Nandanti means he becomes jubilant, pleasure, reservoir of pleasure, nandanti. Nanda means pleasing. Nandanti . . . who? Tava īhitaṁ janaḥ. Those who are cultivating Kṛṣṇa consciousness, their business is śṛṇvanti . . . śṛṇvanti gāyanti gṛṇanty abhīkṣṇaśaḥ. This is the program, everywhere.

We have to hear about Kṛṣṇa, we have to speak about Kṛṣṇa, we have to deal about Kṛṣṇa, simply. There are so many activities in relationship with Kṛṣṇa. We have to adopt everything. Then such persons, sa eva paśyanty . . . ta eva paśyanty: "By this process one day will come that he will see You." Ta eva paśyanty. And what is that vision? When you see God, Kṛṣṇa, then what is the effect? The effect is, bhava pravāha uparamam. Bhava pravāha. Pravāha means current.

Now we are going on. Caitanya . . . Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says that māyāra bośe jāccho bhese. Just like there is very, mean, forcible currents in the river, and if some animal is thrown in that, he'll be washed away. So we are being washed away by the currents, one after another, of this material nature. Just like you have seen the big, big waves in the Pacific Ocean. Similarly, because we are under the grips of the material nature, prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni gunaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27), so we become under the influence of the three modes of material nature, and the . . . by the current of such material nature, we are being washed away. Washed away. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says, māyāra bośe jāccho bhese: "You are being washed away, carried away, by the currents."

The currents also described. The first current is hunger. The second current is thirst. Similarly another current, janma mṛtyu, birth, death, old age. These are all currents. These are different currents of the material nature. We become hungry, we become thirsty. We become overwhelmed with regret, śoka moha, illusion, then birth, death, so many currents we are being carried away. I am spirit soul. I am put into the material ocean, and the currents, currents are carried away. So here, if you be engaged śṛṇvanti gāyanti abhīkṣṇaśaḥ, twenty-four hours, then the current, upāsanam, uparamam, the current will stop. No more you'll be carried away by these material currents. Bhava pravāha uparamam. Where? Padāmbujam: "Your lotus feet. Your lotus feet." One who has learned how to see Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet and offer a little tulasī and sandalwood pulp, his . . . this current will stop. This current of material life will stop.

There is another nice verse in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: samāśritā ye pada-pallavam-plavam (SB 10.14.58). Just like in the currents . . . the currents are in the ocean. So if you get a nice boat, then you can cross over the currents very nicely. So it is recommended, samāśritā ye pada-pallava-plavam. You have seen the lotus petal. That is also just like boat. Is it not? Like small boat, imitation. So if you get the help of the pada-pallavam, the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, bhavam, then by that petal boat, bhavāmbudhir, this great ocean of birth and death, vatsa-padam, it becomes just like the water contained in the hole created by the hoof of a calf. Vatsa-padam. You have no experience, but in India, during rainy season, the roads become muddy and the cows and the calves go. They have got holes created, and there is some water. So such vatsa-padam water you can jump over, at a time, one dozen.

So similarly, this great ocean of bhavāmbudhir, birth and death, although it is very great for others, for a devotee it becomes like that hole. He can jump over one dozen at a time. Bhavāmbudhir vatsa-padaṁ paraṁ padam. Then, by that way, he attains the paraṁ padam, the supreme abode.

Then what about this world? Now this world is padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām (SB 10.14.58). It is simply full of dangers, every step. Na teṣām, not for the devotees. This is not a . . . this not the place for the devotees. This is for the persons who are suffering, kliśyamānānām. Therefore Kuntīdevī is suggesting, "This is the medicine of your suffering." Take it and be happy.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya . . . (end)