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750521 - Lecture SB 06.01.01 - Melbourne

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

750521SB-MELBOURNE - May 21, 1975 - 65:54 Minutes

Prabhupāda: . . . sudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. (devotees chant responsively)

pravṛtti-mārgaḥ kathita
ādau bhagavatā yathā
brahmaṇā padasaṁsṛtiḥ
(SB 6.1.1)

Hmm. So we have discussed the last two days what is the aim of life. So this whole Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is diverting the aim of life. There are two ways. Our present position, the aim of life is sense gratification. Yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukhaṁ hi tuccham (SB 7.9.45). Material life means sense gratification, as much as possible. And the central point of sense gratification is sex life. Yan maithunādi. Maithuna means sexual intercourse. This is the machine to keep the living entity bound up under the condition of material nature. We are conditioned by the material nature. We are thinking we are free. We are not free. That is not the fact. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā that "You are thinking that you are free, whatever you like you can do, enjoy sense gratification—but under condition. You are not free."

So there are different grades of sense gratification, but the point is sense gratification. The cats and dogs, the animals, they are also satisfying their senses, and the human being also engaged in the same business. The cats and dogs, they are eating to their taste; the human being is also eating to their taste. The standard may be different, but the taste is the same. Either you have sex intercourse with beautiful wife or husband or as sex intercourse between the she-dog and he-dog, the enjoyment is the same. Just like if you have got a palatable food, either you put it into a golden pot or if you put it into iron pot, the taste is the same. The taste is not different. One may think that "I am eating in golden pot; therefore I am advanced." But a learned man will say that "Whether you have changed the taste?" Either you drink something palatable in a golden pot or in iron pot or paper pot, the taste is the same. So this is called pravṛtti-mārga. Pravṛtti-mārga means advancing in sense gratification.

So there are different grades. From the animal life we come to human life, and if we like, we can go to the higher planetary system: Janaloka, Maharloka, Tapaloka. There are many planetary system above the sun. We have already discussed, above the sun . . . the moon planet is above the sun. The moon planet is not so near. So Kṛṣṇa says that even if you go to the highest planetary system, Brahmaloka . . . that is, many thousands of years you can live and gratify your senses to higher standard than in this . . . suppose you are drinking here in golden pot; there you will get in diamond pot. That will be the change, not that the taste will change. The taste, the same. The dog's pot and man's pot or demigod's pot, within the material world, the taste is the same. And ultimately, you have to die. That's all. That you cannot stop. Nobody wants to die. He wants to enjoy life perpetually. Now the scientists are trying to live more years. So what is the use of living more years? The śāstra says, taravaḥ kiṁ na jīvanti (SB 2.3.18). The trees, they live for five thousand years or more than that. They, do they not live long years? So sane man will think that "What is the use of living for five hundred or five thousand years, standing in one place?"

So this is not advancement. The advancement is that, as Kṛṣṇa says, that to solve the problem of birth, death, old age and disease. That is advancement. So Kṛṣṇa says, therefore, that ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokān punar āvartino 'rjuna (BG 8.16). Even if you go . . . why to the moon planet? Even if you go to the topmost planet, which is called Brahmaloka . . . there you can live for many millions of years, but you have to die. As you have to die here, as the cats dies, dog dies . . . we human being, we also die. The demigods, they also die. The Brahmā will also die. Nobody can save himself from death. Death . . . birth, death, old age and disease. We have already discussed that we living beings, soul, we are eternal. We are eternal; we are simply changing the body, one body to another. In this way, material life means you can live for one minute or one hour or hundred years or millions of years. You get a particular type of body, and according to that body, you live. And therefore you have to die. Kṛṣṇa says that ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokān punar āvartino 'rjuna. Even if you go to the topmost planet, you can live for long, long years, but you will have to die and again come to this earthly planet and again begin your life. This is going on. So how it is going on? Pravṛtti-mārga. "I want to enjoy sense gratification." This is the basic principle. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means that back to home, back to Godhead, not to make proceed or progress towards birth, death, old age and disease, but make progress towards no birth, no death, no old age, no disease. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is called nivṛtti-mārga. Nivṛtti-mārga. Nivṛtti means stop this type of progress.

So there are indication in the śāstra that how to make progress towards the goal of nivṛtti-mārga. That is stated, mahat-sevāṁ dvāram āhur vimukteḥ (SB 5.5.2). If you associate with devotees, mahat, mahātmā, great soul . . . who is great soul? Great soul means who has understood God. He is great soul. He is called mahātmā. That is stated, mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ-prakṛtim āśritāḥ bhajanty ananya-manaso (BG 9.13). Mahātmā means he is not under the condition of this material nature. He is under the protection of the spiritual nature. He is mahātmā. You have to live under somebody. That is our position. You cannot say that "I am not living under somebody. I am independent." No. That is not possible. Nobody can say. Can anybody say that "I am independent"? No. Because our constitutional position is that, to serve. Either I serve my family or serve my community or serve my nation or serve my government—in this way go on increasing—but your position is to serve. You . . . here you will find, therefore, that the so-called master is also servant. Just like President Nixon. He was elected the master, president, but actually he was the servant of the popular vote. As soon as he became unpopular, he was immediately dismissed. So the president of a big state is the position that he is a servant. How you are not a servant? That is our nature. So people are engaged in service generally. "Generally" not. That is the law. If one hasn't got to serve anybody, no family, no children, no wife, then he keeps a dog, to serve him. Is it not a fact? I have seen in the Western countries, old man who has no family, his whole day he is keeping a dog and seeing the television, that's all. (laughter) Because nature is to serve. That you cannot . . . therefore pravṛtti-mārga means that we are trying to become false master, sense gratification.

Actually, we are the servant of the senses. We are not master. When you become master of the senses, then this title is given, gosvāmī, svāmī. Svāmī means master. Master means master of your senses. Now we are being dictated by the senses: "You do this," we do that. So our master is the senses, and the senses are six kinds of senses: kāma, kāmādīnā, lusty desires; lobha, greediness; and mohaḥ, illusion; kāma, krodha, anger; mind . . . mind is dictating something; I am serving: "Yes, sir, I will do it." This is our position. Kāma, krodha, lobha, mohaḥ, mātsarya, in this way. So by good association, by saintly man's association . . . that is recommended: mahat-sevāṁ dvāram āhur vimukteḥ (SB 5.5.2). Mahat-sevā. This human life is meant for rectification. We are serving somebody, and we are not happy. We have got very good example in our country, in many other countries. Just like our Mahatma Gandhi, he served his country very well, but the result was that his countrymen killed him. This is the result of our service. Nobody will appreciate. We are serving our family. The wife is not satisfied; (s)he divorces the husband. The son is not satisfied; he goes out of home. So just analyze that we are serving to our best capacity, but nobody is satisfied. This is our position. Kāmādīnāṁ katidhā na katidhā pālitā durnideśā (CC Madhya 22.16). Actually we are serving our senses. I love my wife because she satisfies my senses. I love my husband because he satisfies my senses. Actually, we are servant of our senses. As soon as the sense gratification is disturbed, then "No, no, I am not going to serve you." Or "I am not satisfied with your service. You go away. I go away." This is our position.

So senses are there. So one who is associating with the devotees . . . devotees mean who is engaged in the service of the Lord. He is not engaged in the service of the senses. That is devotee. Devotion . . . the definition of devotion is given in the śāstra,

tat-paratvena nirmalaṁ
hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeṣa-
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate
(CC Madhya 19.170)

Sarva upādhi-vinirmuktam. Upādhi means designation. I am spirit soul, but because I have accidentally, or my result action, resultant action of my past karma, I am thinking, "I am Indian," somebody is thinking "I am American." So this is the designation of the soul. I am neither Indian, nor somebody is American, somebody is Australian. We are living soul, ahaṁ brahmāsmi. That is my position. But being designated in a different way, I have become a servant of that designation. So bhakti . . . bhakti means nivṛtti-mārga, to become free from all these designations. That is called bhakti. The definition of mukti, or liberation, or becoming free from the designation, is given in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ sva-rūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ (SB 2.10.6). Mukti means when we give up the service in designation and we are situated in our original constitutional position. That is called mukti, liberation, or salvation, whatever you like. Muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ sva-rūpeṇa, in my own constitutional . . . what is my own constitutional position? I am eternal servant of God, Kṛṣṇa. This is my position. So when we give up all these designation service and engage myself in the real service of the real master, that is called mukti, liberation.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to educate men that "After all, you are servant. You have to serve somebody. You are now serving your senses. Now just divert your service to Kṛṣṇa, or God, and you will be happy." That's all. The service, constitutional position, will not change. That is my position. In Bengali there is a proverb, ḍheṅki svarge gelo dhana bhange. The ḍheṅki that's a wooden machine for husking grain. So I do not know whether it is used in your country. It is a big . . . it is peddled by the legs, and the grains are taken away the skin. So if this ḍheṅki this machine, is sent to heavenly planet, what he will do? The same business: "dag-dag-dag," that's all. So either you go to the heavenly planet or you remain here or you remain in animal kingdom, your . . . even the trees, they are standing—they are giving service. They are giving you fruits, they are giving you flowers, and if you want his service, by the wood, by the body, you cut; it will not protest. "All right, you take my body." So that is the way to understand that we must render service to somebody higher. So why not go to the Supreme, the great—"God is great"—and render service? This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Then we'll be happy. You can go on giving service in this material world under so many designation, but you will never be happy, and the person to whom you are giving service, he will be not happy. This is material world. Try to understand.

Therefore one devotee, he says, kāmādīnāṁ katidhā kathidāḥ na pālitā durnideśās teṣāṁ mayi na karuṇā jātā na trapā nopaśāntiḥ, sāmprataṁ labdha-buddhis tvām āyātaḥ niyuṅkṣvātma-dāsye (CC Madhya 22.16). This is called good sense. The purport of this verse is, "My dear Lord, I have served my senses in the form of lusty desires and anger and so many things, kāma, krodha, lobha, greediness, and . . ." My senses are, means, these things. "So I have served life-long, but neither they are satisfied, neither I am satisfied." Teṣām. "And they are not merciful. I have served them up to the age of eighty years, but still they want service from me. If I want to retire, they will not agree." If somebody says to his wife that "I have served so much in the family. Now let me go to the Kṛṣṇa conscious temple. I serve there," the wife will disagree, "No. What service you have done? You have got do the duty—this duty, that duty, that duty." So it will never end, even if you give lifelong service. Just like I have given the example: Gandhi gave lifelong service according to his own. Hitler gave lifelong service. Napoleon gave lifelong service. But their ultimate end was very, very regrettable. Nobody realized his service. He was punished.

This is material world. We have to understand very clearly, and we have to take lesson from this verse that we may go on serving our lusty desire, greediness, anger, and so on, so on, but we will never come to the end and become happy. When one comes to the point that "I have rendered service in so many ways. So neither I am happy nor the person to whom I have served, they are happy. Then what is the remedy?" That is discussed in the Vedānta-sūtra philosophy. Athāto brahma jijñāsā: "Now inquire about your real master, Brahman, or the Supreme, the great, the Absolute Truth." That is required. So we should be prepared like that, that we have served our propensities, different propensities, lusty desire, greediness, anger—kāma, krodha, lobha, mohaḥ. Mohaḥ means illusion. I am doing something wrong, and I am thinking it is all right. This is called illusion, mohaḥ. Mātsarya. Mātsarya means envious, to become envious. Every one of us, either individually or socially or community-wise or nationally, we are all envious. The Russians, they are envious of the Americans, and the Americans, they are envious of the Russians. Similarly, everyone. That is the nature. So we are serving all these propensities. Now this is called pravṛtti-mārga, progress towards sense gratification in different ways. And if we stop that and make progress to our real self-realization, real happiness, that is called nivṛtti-mārga.

So this morning I was talking with one gentleman. He is in charge of the social welfare. So when I proposed that "Our nivṛtti-mārga, we recommend these processes: no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication and no gambling, beginning," so he was not satisfied. He said that "Why you stop illicit sex? We get pleasure." So this is the understanding of the modern civilization. He is risking his life by all these processes, but if we request that "Stop this process. Come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness," they will not agree. That is the difficulty. Therefore this line of action, nivṛtti-mārga, it is little difficult—but it is very easy. If one understands the philosophy—what is the meaning of pravṛtti-mārga and what is the meaning of nivṛtti-mārga—and if he is sane man, then he will accept, "Yes." Just like if you go to a physician and you are suffering from a disease, being . . . say, just like nowadays there is prominent alcoholic treatment. People are too much addicted to alcohol, and there are so many departmental treatment, even for the priest also. I have seen one ad in a paper that in America there is a hospital where especially the priestly class drunkard, they are treated. (laughter) And five thousand patients are there. (laughter) So if the physician says, "No, no, you give up your drinking habit," then he will be angry. Then how he will be treated? That is the only medicine, that "You give up." It is not very difficult thing. Nobody learns drinking from the birth. Now, even one has learned drinking, now, all our students, you see practically. They are young men. They are not old men. Their senses are still strong. But they have given up. They have given up. They have given up illicit sex. They have given up intoxication. They do not take even tea, do not smoke cigarette. Neither they go to cinema, what to speak of going to other places. It is possible. But if we give up all these things, then our beginning to the nivṛtti-mārga, our progress towards back to home, back to Godhead, that is beginning.

So if we accept the process, it is not difficult. So our life should be trained up in this way, nivṛtti-mārga. Then we can make process for going back to home, back to Godhead. First of all we should understand that we are part and parcel of God. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, and actually it is fact. What is God? God means what we are doing, He is also doing, because we are part and parcel. Just like your son, your daughter, they are your part and parcel of your body. So what is the difference? They are also acting, you are also acting. Similarly, God, Kṛṣṇa, is the supreme father. So, so far the activities are concerned, the same. But the difference is that God is great; we are small. That is the difference. God can create the so many planets. Just like the sun globe, it is . . . there are other globes also. They are bigger than sun. Anyway, the sun is very big. So God has created this big globe, means fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this earth—or even this earth, floating in the air. You can float a big 747 aeroplane also floating in the air, but you cannot make a globe like sun and floating in the air. That is the difference between you and God. The creative power is there. Because we are part and parcel, the value is there. Just like gold mine and a small particle of gold. So small particle has . . . it will be called gold, and it has got some value. But not as good as the gold mine. This is the difference between God and ourself. We should understand. So if we give up this service to the senses and we engage ourself in the service of the great . . . everyone wants to serve the great. That is natural. If one is serving ordinary mercantile firm, he is thinking of getting some service in the government office. That is very secure. So if we seek our service to the supreme government, Kṛṣṇa, or God, then we will be happy. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.

If you actually want to be happy . . . now you can see, these boys, they are chanting, dancing. This is not artificial. Artificial dancing can be performed one day, two days, then finished. But they are doing twenty-four hours. How they are doing, unless they are feeling some happiness, transcendental happiness? They are not fools. They are not uneducated. They are educated. They are coming from a good family. But they have sacrificed everything, and they are enjoying this Hare Kṛṣṇa chanting and dancing. Unless they feel . . . even the girls, they are also dancing. So there is transcendental feeling of blissful life. Why? When one engages himself in the service of the Lord. This is the purport, very simple thing. And as soon as he will serve the designation, false service, he will spoil his time and will be under the condition of material nature. Material nature, we are all conditioned by material nature. Therefore we are changing body from one body to another. Now, by the nature's own process, evolution, we have come to this human form of body and we have got advanced consciousness, we have got direction like Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Hari guru vaiṣṇava bhāgavata-gītā. Bhāgavata-gītā. Just our Madhudviṣa Swami sung. We have got Kṛṣṇa, we have got spiritual master, we have got the books, Bhāgavata, we have got Gītā. Now let us take advantage of it. These transcendental literature, we have taken much pain to translate them into English so that you can understand. We have got fifty books. So take advantage. It is not meant for the cats and dogs. It is meant for the human being. Not a particular class or nation. No. It is meant for all human being.

So take advantage of this knowledge, understand the philosophy of life, that "I am eternal." Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). "I do not die after the annihilation of this body. I accept another body." We have got two bodies: this gross body and one subtle body. Just like you have got your coat, and within the coat there is shirt; similarly, within this gross body there is another, subtle body. This gross body is made of the material elements, earth, water, air, fire, ether, these five elements. Pañca. Pañca means five. Your body and my body, it is simply combination of these five material elements. This is the covering, coat. And within this, there is another body. What is that? Mind, intelligence and ego. So everyone knows that you have got mind, I have got mind. Everyone knows that you have got intelligence, I have got intelligence. And everyone is puffed up with some identification, "I am this, I am that." These three conception, this is called subtle. Subtle body. So we simply see the gross body, but we do not see the subtle body. When death take place—that means this gross body is finished—then the subtle body is there. And the subtle body carries the soul to another gross body. That we cannot see. Therefore we do not understand how this spirit soul is migrating, transmigrating from one body to another. We do not see. Therefore our seeing should be through knowledge, paśyati jñāna-cakṣuṣā, not this gross seeing. Gross seeing is imperfect. It has no value. We know, we should inquire that "This gross body is finished. Now what about the subtle body?"

So we have to understand from authoritative literature. The subtle body is working, just like when you sleep your gross body is not working, but the subtle body, the mind, intelligence and ego, is working; therefore you dream. Your subtle body is lying is some apartment, and you have gone to the seaside by the mental body. So, so long this gross body is able, you again come and enter into this gross body; but when it is not workable, then you have to find out another gross body in the womb of a certain type of mother. This is the law of transmigration of the soul. That subtle body will be carried by the laws of nature. According to the work you have done to your whims, then a certain type of body will be offered to you. You will be forced to enter into the womb of a certain type of mother, and the mother will give you the body. That we have got, everyone, experience. In the mother's body, after pregnancy, the body grows. Everyone knows it. So body grows why? Because the soul has entered, and according to his karma, either good mother or bad mother . . . so you are growing the same body or better body or lower body, and when it is mature, then you come out. You begin again your life. That is called pravṛtti-mārga. In this way we have to accept birth, death, old age. As soon as you get this material body, there is birth, and as soon as there is birth, there is death. And as soon as the body is there, it is growing old, it is suffering disease.

So if you want to avoid these four things . . . that is specially pointed out by Kṛṣṇa, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi (BG 13.9). You are solving your problems, but what . . . how you have solved your birth, death, old age and disease? That is the question by Kṛṣṇa. Have you solved? Then what is the use of solving problems? The real problem is there. But if you want to solve this real problem, then you should take up this nivṛtti-mārga. Nivṛtti-mārga means stop this way of sense gratification and take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the way. If you continue your misbehavior, at the same time you want to cure your disease, that is not possible. Just like this alcoholic treatment. They go to the psychiatrist and so experienced . . . after all, if you do not give up this bad habit, then where is the question of treatment? Where is the question of treatment? That is called . . . that is explained in the śāstra, hasti-snāna. The example is very right. Hasti-snāna. Hasti, hasti means elephant. Elephant, they go into the water, in the lake, in the pond, and very nicely cleanse their body. Body very nicely cleansed, and after taking bath, as soon as it comes to the bank on the ground, he takes some dust and throw over the body. So atonement . . . sometimes we make atonement. I have committed some sin, I go to church or go to temple, I make some atonement. Then after finishing that business, again I do that business. So this kind of habit will not help you. You must try to stop the bad habit. That you can do when you are in the association of devotee. Otherwise it is not possible.

Sometimes there is some disagreement, that "Why one should not live outside the temple?" But that is little difficult, because in the temple you get good association. Everyone is trying to become free from this bondage of life. So there is some inspiration. But if you live outside the temple . . . we are making this temple commodious so that people may come here and live and learn the art. But if you do not live, there is risk. Because saṅgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ (BG 2.62). If you live in certain association, drunkard association, then you will learn gradually how to drink. And if you live with the association of the devotees, then you will forget drinking; you will become devotee. So we are opening these centers, giving chance everyone. There is no discrimination. It is not a religious system. It is a cultural institution. Don't take as a religious. Religious is a kind of faith. You may accept that faith or not. That is your discretion. But Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not a kind of faith. It is an cultural institution. If you, actually, you are serious that "I must stop these inconveniences of birth, death and old age," then you must join this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. That is my request. That is called nivṛtti-mārga. And gradually, you will be elevated to the topmost position, that you have no more attraction for these material things. That is possible. It is not that impossible. Simply one has got to follow the process.

The process is generally ādau śraddhā. Ādau śraddhā, in the beginning . . . just like you have come here with some honor or with some respect. That is called śraddhā. Śraddhā means faith: "All right, let us go there. What is this Kṛṣṇa conscious temple?" This is the beginning, that you come. This is called śraddhā. Then if you like it—"Now, here the people, they speak nicely from the books"—then you come daily or weekly and associate with the . . . ādau śraddhā tato sādhu-saṅgaḥ (CC Madhya 23.14-15). Sādhu-saṅgaḥ. This is the process. First of all one must get a little faith, and then associate with the devotees. Ādau śraddhā tato sādhu-saṅgaḥ atha bhajana-kriyā. Then, by associating with the devotees, we learn that "These devotees are worshiping the Deity, they are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and they are eating prasādam, and they are very happy. So why not engage me also in this way?" So therefore gradually they come and offer, "Now, sir, I shall join, and initiate me." In this way we are doing. Ādau śraddhā tato sādhu-saṅgaḥ tato bhajana-kriyā ādau anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt. By execution of devotional service, whether you are making progress or not, that will be tested when anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt, all the nonsense things which you have learned artificially, that will be finished. That is called anartha-nivṛttiḥ. Anarthopaśamaṁ sākṣād bhakti-yogam adho . . . (SB 1.7.6).

We have created so many anarthas, unwanted things, not required for me as spirit soul, but artificially, for this designation body. So when one is engaged in actual devotional service, then the result will be anartha-nivṛttiḥ. Same nivṛtti. Nivṛtti means finished. It is not that all our students were free from this alcoholic habit or meat-eating or illicit sex. No. They were habituated. But because they have taken to the devotional service, this is all finished. Anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt. Then spiritual life begins. Tato niṣṭha: "Yes, it is very nice. I shall continue." This is called niṣṭha, firm faith. The beginning was faith, and after anartha-nivṛtti, firm faith, "Yes, I shall continue." Tato niṣṭhā tato ruciḥ. How one can be firmly fixed up unless he has got a taste for it? He relishes, "Yes, this chanting and dancing is very nice." That is called relish. Tato niṣṭha tato ruciḥ tathāsaktiḥ: then he becomes attached. He cannot give it up. Āsaktiḥ. Āsaktiḥ means attachment. Just like we have got attachment for so many things. So these are the stages. Tathāsaktiḥ tato bhāvaḥ: then ecstasy. And then you come to the platform of loving God. Now we are loving cats and dogs. We shall love God. This is the way.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda. (break)

Madhudvīṣa: Are there any questions? Yes.

Devotee (1): At the point of death, the gross body returns back to the earth. Is there ever a time when the subtle body dies?

Madhudvīṣa: At the time of death, the gross body returns to the earth. Is . . .?

Prabhupāda: The gross body is finished. Gross body becomes ash, stool or earth. Those who are burying the gross body, it becomes after some times earth. And those who are giving this body to be eaten by other animals, it becomes stool. And those who are burning this body, the body becomes ash. So gross body, there are three ultimate goal: either to become ash or stool or earth.

Madhudvīṣa: His question was, "Is there a time when the subtle body ceases to exist?"

Prabhupāda: Yes, that is liberation. When . . . so long you are encircled by the subtle body, there is no question of liberation, because the subtle body will take you to another gross body. When we are free from the subtle body, then we are liberated. We go back to home, back to Godhead. Yes?

Devotee (2): What's the subtle body like?

Prabhupāda: I have already explained. Mind, intelligence and ego—this is subtle body. Everyone has got his mind, everyone knows. But we cannot see. The intelligence . . . everyone has got intelligence, but we cannot see. Similarly, subtle body is invisible. Ghost means when the living entity remains in the subtle body, do not get another gross body—they are very sinful—they create disturbance. But we cannot see. That is ghost. Ghost means that those who are too much sinful, they do not get this gross body. They are punished with the position, to remain in the subtle body, at least for some time. That is ghostly life. Therefore you will see, ghostly-haunted places, something is being done, but how it is being done you do not see, because you cannot see the subtle body. But you will see something is being carried in the air. It is not something being carried. It is being carried by the subtle body. But I have no eyes to see the subtle body. That is practical. I do not see your mind, but you have got your mind. You do not see my mind. You can see my mind by the action, that's all. The subtle body is there. Gross body, subtle body. Death means finishing of this gross body, and liberation means no more association with the subtle body, only spiritual. That is called liberation.

Madhudviṣa: Śrīla Prabhupāda? How does one become free from that ghostly body?

Prabhupāda: Ghostly body means he has to suffer for some time. Just like you are put into prison. After your term is finished, then you are liberated. Similarly, a most sinful man, he is given this term, "You remain for some years in the subtle body." Everything is like that. This is also. We have got this body, gross body, under certain condition. When that condition is finished, then I give up this body, I create another condition, and I enter another body. This is going on. Yes?

Woman: If we are all liberated in the end, and if we all reach Godhead, why is it necessary to speed up the process?

Prabhupāda: Hmm?

Madhudvīṣa: She is saying that if we all reach Godhead in the end, why do we have to speed up the process? Why not we just let things take their natural course of events if everyone's going back to Godhead ultimately?

Prabhupāda: Hmm. That is a good suggestion, but you rot for the time being. Suppose you are going somewhere, walking, and somebody gives you opportunity, "Come in my car," why don't you take advantage of it? You are . . . you will reach the destination by walking in six thousand years, (laughter) but if you get the opportunity . . . in your country there is good . . . there is staircase and there is elevator. So if you want to go, that "I shall go by the staircase and reach the upstair at the end of the day when office will be finished," (laughter) then you can do that. But if you are intelligent, you shall take the advantage of the elevator; within a minute you go there. That is intelligence. "I am going. I shall reach at the end of the day when every office will be closed. Then I will come down again." (laughter) If you look that, that you can do—very good intelligence. That is not intelligence. We have to take the speediest process. That is intelligence. Hmm. Yes?

Devotee (3): Śrīla Prabhupāda, if a devotee fills his life with devotional service right from the time he is born, is that enough to attain the spiritual body? Will he necessarily be . . .

Prabhupāda: Yes, he is liking to serve me, that is the action of the spiritual body.

Devotee (3): Even though he might be . . .

Prabhupāda: Therefore, if you actually always remain in spiritual understanding, that means to understand Kṛṣṇa, or God. Then Kṛṣṇa says if you have understood what is God, that makes you qualified to go back to home, back to Godhead. Janma karma ca me divyaṁ yo janati tattvataḥ (BG 4.9). If you know what is God factually, then that is your qualification to go back to home, back to Godhead. But if you do not know, then your spiritual life has not begun. You must know what is God. That is knowledge.

bahūnāṁ janmanām ante
jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti
sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ
(BG 7.19)

The spiritual life means to understand yourself and understand God, and understand your relationship with God and act accordingly. That is spiritual life. It is not difficult. How to understand God? You can understand, just like you understand so many things from books. So there is book, God is explaining Himself, "I am like this." So you understand Him. Then you become qualified. Yes?

Devotee (4): Śrīla Prabhupāda, in Bhagavad-gītā it says that "Out of millions of men, only one may come to know Me, and of millions who know Me, only one can understand." What are the ways . . .?

Prabhupāda: Hmm? What is that?

Madhudviṣa: He's speaking about the verse, "Out of millions of men who try for the path, only one may know Me, and out of those who know Me, only very few know Me in truth."

Prabhupāda: Hmm. That is stated in Bhagavad-gītā also:

manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ
kaścin vetti māṁ tattvataḥ
(BG 7.3)

Where is Bhagavad-gītā? Find out this verse. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu: "Out of many millions of men." The human life is meant for understanding God. Then he can understand. But the attempt is not there. They are after sense gratification. Nobody is interested to understand God. Everybody is interested in cats' and dogs' business, sense gratification. Therefore out of many millions of men, one can understand that "My life is meant for other purpose." That is called siddhi, perfection, "How I shall make my life perfect?" This desire arises in one man out of millions. And they are simply engaged, "How to satisfy my senses perfectly?" But that will never be done. A sane man thinks that "I have done it so many lives. I have not been satisfied. I have not become perfection. Then where is perfection?" That inquisitiveness makes him eligible. Just like ādau śraddhā, I have already explained. So after becoming siddha, perfect . . . perfect means one must know that "I am not this body; I am soul," ahaṁ brahmāsmi. That is perfection of knowledge. So Kṛṣṇa says, yatatām api siddhānām (BG 7.3): "Those who have become perfect, out of many millions of them, one can understand what I am." It is not so easy to understand God. But if you take the process as it is recommended in the śāstras by saintly person, then it is easy. Otherwise it is not easy. If you speculate to understand God, that is not possible. Then you go on, and many, many years speculating, you will never understand God. Either you take the shelter of Lord Jesus Christ or Kṛṣṇa, if you follow his instruction—this is the way of understanding—then you will understand. But if you don't care for his instruction, then you will never understand. This is the process. Hmm.

Hari-śauri: Śrīla Prabhupāda, you were saying that only if one can understand the nature of God, then he can go back home.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Hari-śauri: But we have the case of the four Kumāras, who were wandering in the Vaikuṇṭha planets, and yet they had not become fully God-realized at that point, and yet they were allowed to enter . . .

Prabhupāda: Those who are going to Vaikuṇṭha planets, they are not fully realized of God? What does he say?

Madhudvīṣa: He was citing the instance of the four Kumāras, who were traveling through the gates of the Vaikuṇṭha world, but actually they were not completely God-realized . . .

Prabhupāda: Therefore they are on the gates of Vaikuṇṭha, not within. You cannot enter the kingdom of God without full understanding. So you have to be trained up. This is the life. You become trained up to understand God, and you will enter the kingdom of God. Hmm?

Devotee (6): Śrīla Prabhupāda, how does one associate with the devotees?

Prabhupāda: Hmm? What is that?

Madhudvīṣa: "How does one associate with the devotees?"

Prabhupāda: Oh, you do not understand? You can come and live with these devotees. Where is the difficulty? You can live here, you can take prasādam, and without any charge. Still you are asking? This is the way. Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgaḥ (CC Madhya 23.14-15). You have to make your association with the devotees. Then you will learn. Hmm.

Devotee (7): How much more difficult is it for one born in a family of nondevotees to become a devotee than a person who has been born in a family like Prabhupāda's?

Prabhupāda: Sādhu-saṅga means you have to give up the association of nondevotees. This question was asked to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by a devotee. He was householder. So he inquired, "My dear Sir, what is the real standard of behavior of a devotee?" He immediately answered that asat-saṅga tyāga ei vaiṣṇava-ācāra (CC Madhya 22.87): "Vaiṣṇava devotee, his first behavior is he should give up unwanted association." That is first. Now, the next question will be: "What is that unwanted association?" He answered, asat eka strī-saṅgī kṛṣṇābhakta' āra: "This unwanted association means people who are too much attached to sex life, they are unwanted. And the another: nondevotee of God. They are unwanted." So you be careful not to mix with these people and come to the devotional service, then your life is perfect.

Devotee (8): Śrīla Prabhupāda, does a disciple first accept his spiritual master within the heart when he takes initiation?

Madhudvīṣa: What is the question again?

Devotee (8): When a disciple takes initiation, does he first take initiation within the heart?

Prabhupāda: Initiation is the third stage. First stage is that . . . just like you have come. This is called śraddhā, faith, little faith, not full faith. Then you have to increase this faith by association of devotee. That is required. And when the faith is increased, then the question of initiation. Initiation should not be immediately offered. That will be misused. Therefore when we initiate, we inquire from the head of the temple, "How long he is coming? What is his behavior?" If he certifies that "Yes, he is doing nice," then we initiate. Our initiation is not so cheap, "You come and be initiated." No, we do not do that. We must test you first of all. Then we initiate.

Madhudviṣa: His question was that can you take initiation by accepting the spiritual master in your heart without actually taking . . .

Prabhupāda: These are bogus proposition. It has no meaning. (laughter) (laughs) It has no meaning. If you think within yourself, "I am eating," will you be satisfied? You starve, and simply think, "I have eaten everything." (laughter) Is that very practical proposal? You must eat. We don't say all these bogus proposition. (laughter) All right. Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya Prabhupāda. (end)