740412 - Lecture BG 04.23 - Bombay

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



740412BG-BOMBAY - April 12, 1974 - 38:31 Minutes



Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. (Prabhupāda and devotees repeat) (leads chanting of verse)

gata-saṅgasya muktasya
jñānāvasthita-cetasaḥ
yajñāyācarataḥ karma
samagraṁ pravilīyate
(BG 4.23)

(break) (02:44)

Translation: "The work of a man who is unattached to the modes of material nature and who is fully situated in transcendental knowledge merges entirely into transcendence."

Prabhupāda:

gata-saṅgasya muktasya
jñānāvasthita-cetasaḥ
yajñāyācarataḥ karma
samagraṁ pravilīyate
(BG 4.23)

The difficulty in the conditioned state, that we are creating our next life by karma... We are, just at the present moment, we are acting according to our past karma, and again we are creating another karma so that we have to enjoy or suffer in the next life. The transmigration of the soul takes place according to karma. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya sad-asad-janma-yoniṣu (BG 13.22). Sad-asat, good and inferior janma. So one has to take his birth in a nice family or in nice nation, good education, good-looking, nice opulence... Janmaiśvarya-śruta-śrīḥ (SB 1.8.26). Janma means to take birth in good family, good nation, and aiśvarya, opulence, very rich. Janmaiśvarya-śruta. Śruta means knowledge, education. And śrī, and beauty.

I repeatedly say to the American people that "You have got your this position, richest nation in the world, janma..." Practically in America there is no poor man. That I have seen. They do not know what is poor man, because the poorest man gets five thousand rupees per month. The poorest man. So actually there is no poor man. There cannot be. The government arrangement is so nice that nobody is in want of money. He can get money in so many ways. So it is very good, fortunate position to take birth in America. Janma, rich family, rich nation. And aiśvarya. Janma-aiśvarya-śruta, education. Now they are advanced education. By scientific advancement, they are trying to go to the moon planet. Not only that; many machine up to date they have discovered, using... There is very big company IBM. Machine, business machine, IBM. International Business Machine. You know everything.

So janma-aiśvarya-śruta, education, and śrī. Most American boys and girls, they are all beautiful. So why this position? This position is due to puṇya, karma. Karma means pāpa-karma, puṇya-karma. This is the way. Karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa jantur dehopapattaye (SB 3.31.1). This is said in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. By karma, the janta, the living entity, jantu, he is getting a particular type of body. In Bhagavad-gītā also it is stated that kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27). Kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya sad-asad-janma-yoniṣu (BG 13.22). We are associating with a particular type of modes of nature—goodness, passion and ignorance, or mixed. So on account of this, we are working differently and we are preparing our next life, kāraṇam. This is the kāraṇam.

So those who are karma-kāṇḍīya, they are interested next life in the heavenly planet or higher standard of life. So that is also stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ (BG 14.18). If you associate with the modes of goodness, then you are promoted to the higher planetary system, beyond heavenly planets: Janaloka, Tapoloka, Maharloka, Satyaloka, Siddhaloka, Brahmaloka. So that is possible. But our problem is not to promote ourself to go to the heavenly planet or higher than that, Janaloka, Satyaloka, Maharloka or Brahmaloka. Kṛṣṇa advises, ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino 'rjuna (BG 8.16). He does not encourage that "You go to the Brahmaloka." No. He never encourages. He says, ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino 'rjuna (BG 8.16). Even if you become promoted to the Brahmaloka, then again you have to come back. Kṣīṇe puṇye punar martya-lokaṁ viśanti. As soon as your puṇya, the duration of life, is finished, then you have to come back again. This is going on.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, ei rūpe brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva (CC Madhya 19.151). We are rotating, wandering, in different species of life, different planets, different forms. In this way we are transmigrating from one position to another position. This is going on. So... But that is not a very nice business. Bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate (BG 8.19). You accept some type of body or some type of place. Suppose one has become American. So how long he will remain American? Say, for fifty years or utmost hundred years. Then again, next chapter. One does not know what is the next life. That will be decided, kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya sad-asad-janma-yoniṣu (BG 13.22). There is no guarantee that the next life again you become American or Indian or brāhmaṇa. You may become a cat and dog, because that is not in your hand. That is in the hand of material nature. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27). Karmaṇā daiva-netreṇa (SB 3.31.1). That will be awarded to you by superior judgment, that "This man has done like this; he should get a body like this." That is not in your hand. That is not in your science.

The real science is how to stop this business. That is being advised in Bhagavad-gītā. Janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam (BG 13.9). Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma (BG 4.9). People do not understand this, that our real problem is not become promoted to the higher position, but to stop this birth, death, old age and disease. That is real problem. So Kṛṣṇa says that gata-saṅgasya. (aside:) Don't sit like that. Don't sit like that. Gata-saṅgasya. Because we are getting different types of body in different planets and different spheres of life on account of our association with modes of nature, therefore Kṛṣṇa is advising, gata-saṅgasya: "Don't associate with the modes of material nature. That is your business." Not that "You associate with the higher modes of nature." Even very good man, goodness, brāhmaṇa, that is also conditioned life. To become brāhmaṇa—satya śamo damas titikṣā ārjava, jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.42)—very perfect way of life, but that is also risky. Not that... Everything is risky, because at any moment we can be associated with another quality. And kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo 'sya (BG 13.22). It is very difficult position, mixture.

Therefore Kṛṣṇa advises that "You become freed from association of any of the modes of material nature. Any one of them." Gata-saṅgasya. Muktasya. As soon as you become free from the association of the modes of material nature, then you are mukta, muktasya. Gata-saṅgasya muktasya. And how mukti can be achieved, muktasya? How this position can? Now, jñānāvasthita-cetasaḥ. If you are actually situated in knowledge, then you can be mukta. Without knowledge, ignorance... Just like a man in knowledge, he never commits any mistake lawfully. So he is not a member or subjected to be punished in the prison house, because he has got full knowledge of the law. If anyone knows... Even ordinary dealing, just like "Keep to the right, keep to the left," you are driving your car. If you are fully aware that "If I go to the right, it will be criminal," then you are not subjected to be fined. Mukta, if you are in full knowledge. Therefore our first business is to be situated in knowledge. Jñānāvasthita-cetasaḥ.

So this knowledge is being imparted by Kṛṣṇa Himself, Bhagavad-gītā. The beginning of this knowledge is when Arjuna accepted Him as guru. Śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam (BG 2.7). "Now no more friendly talks. I become Your disciple." So this is the position. Knowledge should be taken from the perfect person. Because if you take knowledge from a person who is defective, your knowledge has no value. You must take knowledge from the perfect. So anyone in this material world, he is defective. Every one of us, we know that we are defective. What is that? We are very much proud of seeing. So what is the value of our seeing? We see under certain condition, that's all. If there is immediately darkness, what is the value of our eyes? We cannot see. So under certain condition because we see, therefore we are not perfect. But if you can see in any condition, that is perfection, not depending on these defective eyes or senses. That is not knowledge. Defective.

Four defects, I have several times explained. One defect is that we commit mistake, everyone. And we become illusioned, accepting something for something. Just like mostly, even educated person, they accept this body, "I am this body." Just like animal. The cats and dogs, they also think that "I am this body." I have several times told you that I talked with Professor Kotovsky in Moscow. He said, "After finishing this body, Swāmījī, everything is finished." He said like that. And he is a big professor. And according to our Vedic culture, yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke sa eva go-kharaḥ (SB 10.84.13). If one is going on under this impression that "I am this body," he is go-khara, ass and cow, means animal.

Therefore they do not know how we are accepting different bodies under karma, by associating with especial... Associating means even unknowingly. Just like infection. In medical science there is the word "infection." You may not know, but if you have infected typhoid disease, it will fructify at one moment. So similarly, even if we do not know, if we associate with the material modes of nature, it will be effective. Sad-asad-janma-yoniṣu. Therefore we must have full knowledge how to save ourself from the association, from the infection of this material disease. That is called jñānāvasthita-cetasaḥ. Just like a man who knows hygienic rules and regulation, he does not infect disease. But a man in ignorance, he infects disease and suffers. It is not God's creation. Your creation. If you do not know how to live, then you will infect the infection of the different modes of material nature, and you will have to suffer or enjoy.

Therefore commonsense instruction given by Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, a great politician: tyaja durjana-saṁsargam. This is his first instruction, that "Don't associate with bad character." We are also doing that, that "Don't associate with the four principles of sinful life: illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling." Tyaja durjana-saṁsargaṁ bhaja sādhu-samāgamam: "You associate with sādhus." Who are sādhus? That is also described in the Bhagavad-gītā: sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ samyag vyavasito hi saḥ (BG 9.30). Who? Api cet su-durācāro bhajate mām ananya-bhāk, sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ. That is sādhu. Sādhu means who is fully engaged in the service of the Supreme Lord. He is sādhu.

So in this way we have to acquire knowledge. Jñānāvasthita-cetasaḥ. Full knowledge. Then we can avoid the association of the three modes of material nature. Gata-saṅgasya muktasya. Then we become liberated even in this life, if you are actually situated in knowledge. And how to... How one can understand that "This man is mukta. He is not associating with any material modes of nature"? How? Yajñāyācarataḥ karma. For yajña, yajñāya. Yajña karma-samudbhavaḥ. Just like I was explaining, you have to perform yajña, yajñāya, only for yajña. Yajñārthe. Another place Kṛṣṇa has ex..., yajñārthe karma anyatra karma-bandhanaḥ (BG 3.9). If you do not act for yajña, then you be entangled in the karma-bandhanaḥ.

This is the science. One has to be situated in full knowledge, and full knowledge is... The beginning of knowledge is that one must understand that "I am not this body." This is knowledge. And if one is working like cats and dogs, thinking himself "I am this body," he has no knowledge. Just like animals—they are not expected to be in knowledge. A man is expected to be in knowledge, and he must know that "I am not this body." Dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā, tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ (BG 2.13). So one has to know that "I am not this body, but circumstantially and according to my association with the modes of nature, I am transferring, transmigrating from this body to another body."

So therefore in the Vedic culture the karma-kāṇḍīya-yajña is recommended. At least, you get a better body. Don't go to the lower body. Ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ (BG 14.18). Better body in higher planetary system. That is karma-kāṇḍīya-vicāra. Therefore yajña. Yajñāyācarataḥ karma. Everything should be easier. Yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ (BG 3.13), the same thing. Just like here, we are performing yajña, the saṅkīrtana-yajña. We are preparing food for Kṛṣṇa. That is yajña. And when we eat the remnants of foodstuff, that is also yajña-avaśiṣṭa, remnants of foodstuff. Yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santaḥ. Aśina. Aśina means eating. After offering in the yajña, if you eat, yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santaḥ, you become a santaḥ, saintly person. And yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ, mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ. He becomes free from all sinful reaction. And bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ pāpā ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt (BG 3.13). And who is cooking for himself very palatable dishes, he is bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ pāpā: he is simply eating sins, and he has to suffer. Therefore we have to eat, we have to work, we have to do everything only for yajñāya, not for any other purpose. Then we are entangled. As soon as we do anything for my sense gratification, then we are entangled immediately—goodness or badness, goodness, passion or ignorance.

So there are very complicated laws, but we do not know. That is ignorance. So we have to know what are these complicated laws. That is called jñānāvasthita-cetasaḥ. Ignorant person, they suffer from disease, they suffer from legal action, because ignorant. Ignorance is no law..., er, no excuse. If you go to the court, "Sir, I did not know this law. I did not know law that 'Keep to the left,' " so the court will not excuse you. "I did not know that I associate with the smallpox infection." The nature will not excuse you. A child touches fire. The fire will not excuse, that "Because it is a child, no, no, I shall not burn him." No. Nature must work. Daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā (BG 7.14).

So you have to be fully in knowledge how to save yourself from the contamination of the modes of material nature. That is called gata-saṅgasya muktasya. Then you are free. So that is also stated, how you can become gata-saṅgasya. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā.

māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
(BG 14.26)

You have to situate yourself on the Brahman platform, spiritual platform. Māṁ ca yo 'vyabhi... And how it can do it? No. Avyabhicāriṇi-bhakti-yogena. Bhakti-yoga. You have to perform bhakti-yoga. Then what is that bhakti-yoga?

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

These are the bhakti-yoga. You have to hear about Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Hearing, hearing, hearing, hearing, you can become mukta. Just like Mahārāja Parīkṣit. He simply listened about Kṛṣṇa, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. At the last stage of his life, he listened from Śukadeva Gosvāmī, simply Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and he became liberated. Śrī-viṣṇoḥ śravaṇe parīkṣit (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.265). The śrī-viṣṇoḥ śravaṇe, about Lord Kṛṣṇa or Lord Viṣṇu, Parīkṣit Mahārāja became liberated. Abhavad vaiyāsakiḥ kīrtane. And Vaiyāsaki, the son of Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, he simply narrated the topics of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, he became liberated.

There are nine items of bhakti-yoga.

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

So if you can execute all the items, that is very good. If not, some of them, at least one. This... This chance is being given by the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We invite people all over the world, "Please come and join with this chanting, Hare Kṛṣṇa." Actually, whatever development has been made, it is only by this process. We don't impose any, I mean to say, regulation in the beginning. No. "Please come and sit down and hear about Kṛṣṇa." Śravaṇam. If you simply continue, if you do not do anything, I guarantee that if you simply come here and hear about Kṛṣṇa, you will be liberated. If you do not do anything, if you kindly come here and hear about Kṛṣṇa—here or anywhere—śravaṇam.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommended this process. Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir ye prāyaśo 'jita jito 'py asi tais tri-lokyām (SB 10.14.3). This is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's recommendation, that sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ: "You remain in your position." It doesn't require to change, because you are gṛhastha or you are engineer, you are doctor or you are washerman. It doesn't matter. You remain in your position, sthāne sthitāḥ. But lend your eyes for aural reception of Kṛṣṇa's message. Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatām. Śruti mean this ear. Allow this much, the message of Kṛṣṇa, to enter your ears. That will help you. Sthāne sthitāḥ. Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatām.

Then if you are..., any man is conscious, deliberate, then, if you try to implement and practice in your life... Sthāne sthitāḥ. First of all hearing. Unless you hear... Just like Kṛṣṇa is speaking personally. You have to hear.

gata-saṅgasya muktasya
jñānāvasthita-cetasaḥ
yajñāyācarataḥ karma
samagraṁ pravilīyate
(BG 4.23)

So in this way, hearing, hearing, you become jñānāvasthita-cetasaḥ. You don't require to go to the college and school. This is also... They simply hear. Even in college and school, there is percentage of attendance, hearing. All of you know that unless one has attended class of the professor seventy-five percent, he is not allowed for the examination. So hearing is so important.

And that is also in the case of spiritual. You hear from... Hear from whom? Hear from whom? That tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet (MU 1.2.12): "Hear from guru." Who is guru? Guru... That brahma-niṣṭham. Brahma-niṣṭham. Guru means who knows God and fully engaged in His service. That is guru. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet, samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham. Śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham. And he has also heard from his guru. This is both, hearing. Therefore Vedas are known as śruti. Formerly it was learned simply by hearing. There was no books, and there was no need of noting down. The merit was so perfect that simply by hearing from guru, he would understand everything.

But in the Kali-yuga, because gradually we are losing the potency of our brain, therefore we require in writing books. Vyāsadeva was very kind. He knew that in the Kali-yuga there will be no sharpened brain. Mandāḥ sumanda-matayo manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ (SB 1.1.10). They are made by nature; by the influence of Kali-yuga, they are all mandaḥ, very slow or very bad, mandaḥ. Sumanda-matayaḥ, and they have got..., manufactured some ideas, sumanda-matayaḥ, which is not standard to the Vedic ideas. Manda-bhāgyāḥ, and unfortunate. Unfortunate. Kṛṣṇa is canvassing, "Here is God. Here I am, God," they are so unfortunate they cannot accept. Manda-bhāgyāḥ.

Kṛṣṇa is accepted the Supreme Personality of Godhead by all the śāstras. Vyāsadeva, he writes, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam (SB 1.3.28). In the Brahma-saṁhitā, Brahmā writes, īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ (Bs. 5.1). Kṛṣṇa personally says, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat (BG 7.7). Arjuna, who heard Bhagavad-gītā, he accepts: paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān (BG 10.12). The ācāryas, Śaṅkarācārya, Mādhvācārya, Rāma..., they accept Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Caitanya Mahāprabhu was... Then what evidence want you more? What is your knowledge? You do not accept so many authorities? You are so proud? That is our misfortune. Manda-bhāgyā hy upadrutāḥ, and disturbed condition of life. That is our misfortune.

This is the position. Otherwise where is the difficulty of understanding God? "God is dead," "There is no God," "I am God," "You are God," so many theories. Why? Here is God. God personally comes to show you what is the position of God, and He has shown what is the meaning of God. Aiśvaryasya samagrasya balasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.5.47). What is the meaning of Bhagavān, He has shown. Still, we are so unfortunate we cannot accept, because we are not free from the contamination. Yeṣām. One can understand. Yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām. Otherwise,

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

So the best thing is that we should be submissive. We should not be proud. That will not help us. Sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatām. Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya. The so-called speculative knowledge should be given up. Jñāne prayāsam... Namanta eva. Just be submissive. Namanta eva. Śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ. Jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva, san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām. San-mukharitām (SB 10.14.3), those who are perfectly saint... Just like Vyāsadeva, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, san-mukharitām. They have accepted. Caitanya Mahāprabhu... San-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām. In this way we can understand, we can take the lesson. Everything is clear.

Now this formula, that gata-saṅgasya muktasya... So gata-saṅga, how gata-saṅga, to be free from the contamination of the material nature? That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate (BG 14.26): "Anyone who is engaged according to the principles, rules and regulation in bhakti-yoga..." Just these boys are being trained up all over the world to rise early in the morning, to perform maṅgala-ārātrika, to chant the holy name, to read Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, then take some prasādam, then go to preach, distribute books. When we go to distribute books, we are doing this very organizedly all over the world, and it has become very successful. Very successful. So why not in India? Why you are neglecting this process? Why you are manufacturing something nonsense? That will not help you.

Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)