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760606 - Lecture SB 06.01.40 - Los Angeles

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

760606SB-LOS ANGELES - June 06, 1976 - 25.46 Minutes

Pradyumna: "The Yamadūtas replied: That which is prescribed in the Vedas constitutes dharma, the religious principles, and the opposite of that is irreligion. The Vedas are directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, and are self-born. This we have heard from Yamarāja."


śrī-yamadūtā ūcuḥ
veda-praṇihito dharmo
hy adharmas tad-viparayaḥ
vedo nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt
svayambhūr iti śuśruma

So here is explanation by the Yamadūtas. The Yamadūtas were not very advanced so far their position was there. They were very odd-looking and not to be supposed very civilized—uneducated—but how they are explaining about dharma? Because the challenge was that "If you are servants of Dharmarāja, then explain what is dharma." It doesn't matter whether a man is civilized or uncivilized or good-looking or bad-looking, but if he has got proper guide, then he can speak the right thing. This is the . . . yamarāja ūcuḥ. They're not manufacturing anything. They're saying iti śuśruma. Iti śuśruma, "We have heard it from our master." This is knowledge. They are not expected to manufacture something speculative. They are neither educated nor very civilized nor . . . nothing of the sort. But they are talking of the source of religion, how they have heard it from the authority, Yamarāja. Yamarāja is authority. In the śāstra it is said that,

tarko apratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayor vibhinnā
nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam
dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyāṁ
mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ
(CC Madhya 17.186)

So dharma, the path of religiosity, is very confidential. Dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām. Then how I shall accept what is dharma, what is religion? Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. You just follow the footsteps of authorized persons. Then you understand what is dharma. You cannot manufacture. So here is the same system. The Vedic system is the same: either you hear from the direct Vedas or scriptures following the Vedas.

So here the Yamarāja - Yamadūta says, that dharma means what is spoken or directed in the Vedas, Veda. And what is Veda? Veda nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt. Veda means God Himself. Just like . . . we can understand very easily: just like the king and the king's law. What king has said, that this should be done like this, "Keep to the right," king or government, whatever it may be, authority . . . so that is Veda. What is . . . just like law means what the government says. You cannot manufacture law. Similarly, veda nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt. What Nārāyaṇa says, that is Veda. There is no other authority. And one who follows the Nārāyaṇa, he is also authority. Śaṅkarācārya says, nārāyaṇaḥ paraḥ avyaktāt. Nārāyaṇa is transcendental. He's not anybody of this material world. Nārāyaṇaḥ paraḥ avyaktāt. Avyaktāt anasambhavaḥ. Avyakta. The cosmic manifestation, this is called vyakta, and when it is not manifested, it is called avyakta. Just like a house is manifestation of the five elements: earth, water, air, fire. So earth, water is there already, but that is not manifested as the house. But the same combination, it becomes a house, big skyscraper building. This is the difference between vyakta and avyakta. Avyakta means the whole material energy, when it is not manifested, that is called avyakta; and when it is manifested it is called vyakta. Nārāyaṇa para avyaktāt. That means Nārāyaṇa is not of this material world. God is nothing of this material world. He's transcendental. Para, nārāyaṇa para avyaktāt. Para means superior, transcendental.

So Veda, here it is said that vedo nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt. But Nārāyaṇa is nothing of this material world. Similarly, Veda is nothing of this material world. Vedo nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt. So you cannot . . . therefore Vedic authority is so evidential, because it is not manufactured by any material person. It is . . . Nārāyaṇa, or God . . . God created this world. So God was existing before this creation, and Veda means before the creation, the laws and the words which were existing, that is Veda. Somebody is, argue, that "This is written by some scholar or some learned person." No, Veda is not like that. Veda is coming directly from Nārāyaṇa, and Nārāyaṇa means God. God was existing before the creation. Because God created, therefore God existed before the creation, so whatever we get out of this created world, that is not Veda. If some person, great philosopher of this material world, he thinks, he says, "I believe," and he writes something, that is nonsense. That is not Veda. Because he is a created being, and as created being he has got four defects. The most important defect is that his senses are imperfect. Therefore by sense perception, by so-called mental speculation, whatever he creates, that is defective. That is not perfect knowledge. Perfect knowledge is there, Veda, because Vedas existed before the creation. And whatever there is within the creation, they're imperfect.

Therefore it is clearly said that vedo nārāyaṇa sākṣāt. As Nārāyaṇa is beyond this created, manifested cosmic manifestation, similarly Vedas also are like that. Don't think it is written by . . . it is called therefore apauruṣeya. Apauruṣeya means it is not written by any mundane creature. Brahmā, he is the supreme creature within . . . no. It is said that he has not created. Tene brahma hṛdā ya, hṛdā ya ādi kavaye. He was instructed the Vedic lessons by Nārāyaṇa, or Kṛṣṇa. He did not manufacture it. So Vedas means coming from directly Nārāyaṇa, not that Brahmā has created. Brahmā has Vedas in his hand, but he has received it from Nārāyaṇa. That is the information we get. And, the Brahmā instructed his sons. Then they got the knowledge. The sons instructed to the grandsons. In this way, Vedic knowledge is coming. Therefore it is called paramparā, disciplic succession. We don't manufacture. We receive the knowledge, the perfect knowledge, by disciplic succession, beginning from Nārāyaṇa.

So whatever knowledge we are getting from the śāstra in Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, it is not manufactured by man. It is not man-made knowledge. The knowledge was received by . . . through . . . knowledge was imparted or instructed by Nārāyaṇa, or Kṛṣṇa. Brahmā received it, and from Brahmā, Nārada received it. From Nārada, Vyāsadeva received it, and Vyāsadeva is writing this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Lokasyājānato vidvāṁś cakre sātvata-saṁhitām (SB 1.7.6). Anarthopaśamaṁ sākṣād bhakti-yogam adhokṣaje (SB 1.7.6). Great learned sages, saintly persons, they're always thinking how the people will be happy. Vaisvana, para duḥkha-duḥkhi: he is always unhappy for unhappiness of the people in general, public. That is Vaiṣṇava. Para duḥkha-duḥkhi. Just like in the Western country Lord Jesus Christ, he was unhappy for others. So that is the business of devotee, God's son or God's devotee. That is the duty, that people are suffering on account of proper knowledge, and the most grievous ignorance is without any knowledge of God. That is the most dangerous ignorance. Because human life is meant for understanding God. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. But they do not care to understand God. Then animal life: "Where is food, where is sex, where is apartment, and where is defense force?" this is going on.

Therefore the challenge was that "Now explain what is dharma." So they're explaining. Mind that. They are not educated themselves, but their education is by hearing from the authority. Iti śuśruma. This is real education. Therefore Vedas' another name is śruti. Śruti means the knowledge which you receive by hearing, not by your so-called eyes or tongue. No. The tongue, you can chant what you hear. Therefore our beginning of knowledge is śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ (SB 7.5.23). Not that go to some technical college and learn it. This is also technical, transcendental technical, but the technique is first of all hear—this is technique—not take a hammer and understand. This is hearing. This technology begins by hearing. Just like you have come here kindly and hearing. This is the technology, beginning of transcendental knowledge, or spiritual knowledge.

So here also these Yamadūtas said, "We have heard it from the authority." That is perfection. Go to the authority and hear from him the real knowledge. Then you become perfect in knowledge. Actually, we imitate; we also go to a school, college, hear from the professor, teachers. That is the process anywhere, either transcendental or material knowledge. The hearing is most important things. And Caitanya Mahāprabhu has recommended this hearing very important in transcendental knowledge especially. Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir (SB 10.14.3): if you want to know God . . . that is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's recommendation, he's recommending from the śāstra. He doesn't recommend anything "I think," "I believe," "Perhaps." No, not this nonsense. You may . . . you are rascal. What is the value of your belief? No. It is the . . . here is the knowledge, iti śuśruma, "We have heard it from authority." This is knowledge.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu, when He was talking with Rāmānanda Raya how to cultivate spiritual knowledge, how to know the ultimate goal of life, sādhya sādhana, what is the aim of life and what is the process to approach the aim of life . . . this was the talk between Rāmānanda Rāya and Caitanya Mahāprabhu. So Rāmānanda Raya began with varṇāśrama-dharma, the institution of four orders of social and four orders of spiritual life. Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, eho bāhya, "It is not very important nowadays." Yes, eho bāhya, āge kahe āra, "If you know something more, better than this . . ." Then he . . . karma-tyāga, sannyāsa, so many, step by step, he said, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu denied, "Yes, it is right, but it is not very important." Then Caitanya Mahāprabhu said . . . uh, Rāmānanda Rāya said, quoting from the Vedas, jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtāṁ, śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṇ-manobhir, prāyaśo 'jita jito 'py asi tais tri-lokyām (SB 10.14.3). "If you want to know who is God, what is God, then give up your this speculative endeavor," jñāne prayāsam. Prayāsa means endeavor: "May be like this," "Perhaps like this." No. You give up this habit. Jñane prayāsam udapāsya, give up this bad habit. Then? How? Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva: "Just become humble and meek. Don't declare yourself a great philosopher or great learned scholar and . . ." No. That is not the process. "Now I am a learned scholar, I can discover God, I can manufacture God," no. Give up this bad habit. Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya—be humble. If you want to know God, then be humble. In the Bible also it is said, "God is for the meek and the humble," not for the impudent.

So jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva. Then what will I get I become humble? Then what is my next duty? San-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām: you just try to hear from the saintly person, devotee. San-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām. Then what will be the result? Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir. This hearing, becoming humble and meek . . . and if we hear from the devotee who is actually self-realized, one who has seen God through the śāstra, if you hear from him . . . and never mind what you are. You may be a brāhmaṇa, you may be kṣatriya, you may be śūdra, you may be sannyāsī, you may be so on, so on, you may be American, you may be Indian—whatever you may be, that doesn't matter. Remain in your place, sthāne sthitāḥ. Simply hear: śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ. Then one day, what will be the result? That God is unconquerable, nobody can conquer—you'll be conquered. Simply by hearing, he'll be . . . this is the process. Therefore he says śuśruma, humble and meek and hear. Then you'll understand God. Then you'll understand what is religion, then you'll understand everything. Not only religion and God, but everything. Yasmin vijñāte sarvam eva vijñātaṁ bhavati (Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.3). If you simply know God, or Kṛṣṇa, then everything you know. Just like we are sometimes challenging big, big philosophers, big, big scientists, big, big psychologists and so on, so on. What is the strength? Because we have learned something about Kṛṣṇa. That's all. This is Vedic injunction. Yasmin vijñāte sarvam eva vijñātaṁ bhavati. If you have learned what is God, what is Kṛṣṇa, then you learn everything. This is knowledge.

Therefore they say . . . they are, according to their description, third class, fourth class, not even human beings, these Yamadūtas. And they are explaining about dharma. Why? Śuśruma: "From the right source we have heard it." And whatever they're speaking, correct. Veda-praṇihito dharma. What is ordered in the Vedas, that is dharma, that is religion. And what is Vedas? Vedo nārāyaṇa sākṣāt. Absolute. Nārāyaṇa, spiritual world, absolute. Nonduality. Nārāyaṇa, Nārāyaṇa's words are the same. There is no difference. Just like we are reading Bhagavad-gītā. Why we're interested? Because Bhagavad-gītā and the speaker of Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa, they are identical. So you cannot change the words of Bhagavad-gītā. That is foolishness. Anyone who changes the orders and the words of Bhagavad-gītā, they are rascal; they'll not get any benefit. Because you cannot correct Kṛṣṇa, what Kṛṣṇa says or God says. That is not in your power. So these rascals, they want to interpret, "This is like this, this is this, I think it is this." No. Kṛṣṇa did not live for you, for your thinking rascally. No. Kṛṣṇa is completely learned. Whatever He has said, it is perfectly in order. You cannot change.

So in this way, we have to hear the right thing from the right person. Then the question will be, "Who is the right person?" So if we cannot select the right person . . . right person is paramparā. One who is following the paramparā, he is the right person. Even though you cannot understand actually who is . . . the śāstra says these are right persons. Who?

svayaṁbhūr nāradaḥ śaṁbhuḥ
kumāraḥ kapilo manuḥ
prahlādo janako bhīṣmo
balir vaiyāsakir vayam
(SB 6.3.20)

This is the statement of Yamarāja, that "I am also considered as one of the authorities," vayam. So here the Yamadūtas say, "We have heard it from our master, Yamarāja; therefore whatever he said is authoritative."

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya. (end)