740524 - Lecture SB 01.02.06 - Rome

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

740524SB-ROME - May 24, 1974 - 49:53 Minutes

(kīrtana) (poor recording)

(00:45) (break)

Nitāi: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. (devotees repeat) (leads chanting of verse, etc.)

sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
ahaituky apratihatā
yayātmā suprasīdati
(SB 1.2.6)

(break) (03:41)

Translation: "The supreme occupation, dharma, for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the Supreme..., unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted in order to completely satisfy the self."

Prabhupāda: So we are reading chapter, the Second Chapter of the First Canto, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, "Divinity and Divine Service." So just now we have recited the sixth verse. We can begin from the first verse. First verse is,

iti sampraśna saṁhṛṣṭo
viprāṇāṁ raumaharṣaṇiḥ
pratipūjya vacas teṣāṁ
pravaktum upacakrame
(SB 1.2.1)

There was a great meeting, and... Meeting means... In those days, there was no political meeting. Political meeting was not necessary, because there was no democracy. It was monarchy. The kings, they were so trained up that there was no necessity of democracy. Actually, the modern government, democracy... We are experiencing, especially the great democratic country, America, so the democracy, the president elected by popular vote, is now being condemned. So what is the value of this democracy? You elect somebody by your vote; again condemn. That means the electors, the voters, have also no experience, and neither the man who is voted, he is also very good man. Otherwise, why you should change your opinion once you have elected a person to act as your head executive?

So the democracy has proved a farce. It has no meaning, because people are not educated. People are mostly śūdras. There must be four classes of men. So brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, first class, second class, third class, fourth class. So at the present moment there is no first-class men, neither second-class men. All third class, fourth class. All of them. So on the votes of third-class and fourth-class men, how you can expect good government? That is not possible.

So there was no need of this democratic meeting, but there was meeting of the first-class brāhmaṇas. For the benefit of the whole human society they used to meet sometimes, and that meeting is still continuing in India. It is called Kumbha-melā. Kumbha-melā. Recently this meeting took place in Haridwar. All the saintly person used to come, and in four places: one at Prayāga, Allahabad; one at Vṛndāvana; and one at Haridwar; and another at Rāmeśvaram, something like that. Four places. So similar meeting was held at Naimiṣāraṇya. Naimiṣāraṇya, that place is still existing, very nice place.

So the question was that "After departure of Kṛṣṇa, who was guiding the fates of the human being?" The last question was this.

brūhi yogeśvare kṛṣṇe
brahmaṇye dharma-varmaṇi
svāṁ kāṣṭhām adhunopete
dharmaḥ kaṁ śaraṇaṁ gataḥ
(SB 1.1.23)

Dharma, religious principle... Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata (BG 4.7). Glāniḥ means polluted. "Wherever there is pollution in the matter of discharging religious principles, I come down." Tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham. "Then I come down to settle up things." So Kṛṣṇa came for this purpose, to settle up or to purify dharmasya glāniḥ, pollution in the matter of discharging religious principles. Therefore, as soon as there is pollution means there is a class of men who have polluted. They are called duṣkṛta, sinful. When there is increase of the number of sinful persons, there must be pollution in the system of religious life. This is the way. If everyone is following religious principle, everyone does not commit any sinful activity, so at that time, there is no chance of pollution in religiousness.

At the present moment, they do not know what is pollution and they do not know what is religious principle. That is the defect of the modern civilization, that religion is described in the dictionary, "a kind of faith," not principle. But according to Vedic conception, religion is not a kind of faith. Religion is... It is your must duty. That is religion. Or it is your natural occupation. You cannot change it. Faith you can change. "I am now Muhammadan; I become Hindu." Or "I am Hindu, I become Christian." But I remain the same man, I may change my faith from this to that. So religion does not mean that. Religion means you cannot change it at any circumstance. That is religion. That is the meaning of dharma. If you change, that is your diseased condition. That is not normal condition. So that is the meaning of religion. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati (BG 4.7). When human being changes his normal condition of life, that is pollution of religion.

So the normal condition of life is described by Caitanya Mahāprabhu. When Sanātana Gosvāmī inquired from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu that "Why I am suffering?"... He inquired from Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He was minister, very big post, and very learned scholar in Sanskrit and Arabic. Because at that time there was Pathan rule. So as government was Muhammadan, so responsible officers, ministers, they had to learn the Arabic language or Persian language. (aside:) The Moguls were Persians?

Ātreya Ṛṣi: Turks.

Prabhupāda: Turks, oh, yes. So, so he was a big scholar and born in brāhmaṇa family. Everything was all right. But still he presented himself before Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu that he is not a bona fide learned man because he did not know what is his identification. That is very important thing. One should know his identification. At the present moment, identification is going on by the skin: "I am Indian," "I am American." This is going on. But that is not our proper identification. The proper identification is ahaṁ brahmāsmi: "I am spirit soul." This is to be understood in human form of life. Otherwise, the dog is also puffed up, "I am a big dog." So similarly, if a man becomes puffed up simply by the bodily concept of life, "I am a big Roman," "I am big Indian," "I am big...," there is no distinction between the dog's conception of life and the big Roman's conception of life—because the center is the body.

So here Kṛṣṇa came to establish this fact, that "You are neither Roman nor Indian nor brāhmaṇa nor śūdra. You are My eternal servant. Therefore give up all this nonsense identification." Sarva-dharmān parityajya (BG 18.66). Because due to your wrong identification, you have created so-called "isms": Hinduism, Muhammadanism, nationalism, this "ism," that "ism." This is all nonsense. This is the understanding of religion. Whatever we have created with the bodily concept of life, they are all nonsense. The real religion is that "I am eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa." That is real religion. Caitanya Mahāprabhu, when He was questioned by Sanātana Gosvāmī, "My dear Sir, I have come to You to surrender to You because You are my spiritual master. You have asked me to give up my family life. So by Your word I have given up. Now I have come to You. So this is my first question." One should be very inquisitive. After initiation, ādau gurvāśrayam. This is our system. So just to become enlightened in the spiritual affairs of life... As Arjuna also said, śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam (BG 2.7). Similarly, Sanātana Gosvāmī also, he said, "Sir, You asked me. I am now surrendered to You. So this is my question."

What is that question? There must be question. If one is actually seeking after spiritual realization, there must be intelligent question. The first intelligent question was put forward by Sanātana Gosvāmī, that ke āmi kene āmāya jāre tāpa-traya: "Sir, please let me know what is my identification, why I am put into this miserable condition of material life." People do not know it. Just like cats and dogs. The cat or the dog does not know that his life is very abominable. No, he is happy. This is māyā. Even the hog, he is also thinking, "I am very happy." This is called māyā, moha. Jīvasya moha, ahaṁ mameti (SB 5.5.8). So when human life is there, at least one must be awakened to this consciousness, that "Actually I am not happy." That is the beginning of human life, not to remain in darkness like cats and dog. He is unhappy in every respect, in every step, and still, he is thinking, "I am happy." Cats, dogs, hogs, their whole day working, day and night, and for some food and then sense gratification. This is the modern life. And that is happiness, to become very busy whole day and night for getting some food for eating and something for sense gratification. This is happiness.

Actually, it is not. So therefore Sanātana Gosvāmī was intelligent. He inquired that ke āmi kene āmāya jāre tāpa-traya (CC Madhya 20.102), first question to the spiritual master, that "What is my identification? Why I am suffering these threefold miseries?" They do not know what is threefold... Miseries are there, but they do not know, so dull-headed people. Adhyātmika, adhibhautika, adhidaivika, three kinds of miseries, there must be. Either three or two or at least one must be. No, three are always there. Adhyātmika means pertaining to the body or mind: "Today I am very weak," "Today I have got jaundice," "Today I have got this some stomach trouble, dysentery." These are called adhyātmika. Or mind is not very nice. And adhidaivika. Just like severe cold, severe heat, earthquake, these are... Famine, pestilence. There are so many things, adhidaivika. And adhibhautika, miseries offered by another living entity. In this way we are always implicated, adhyātmika.

Therefore Sanātana Gosvāmī inquired that "I do not want this. I do not want this. But why they are imposed upon me?" This is very intelligent question. "If there is any solution?" That is intelligence, not temporary mitigation of... Temporary, we have, just like it is summer or winter. Anyway, summer, in the summer we are suffering, scorching heat. At that time we are hankering after some cool place. And during winter we are suffering from chilly, cold, rain. So these thing will go on. So long you are in the material world, you cannot avoid it. Therefore Sanātana Gosvāmī inquired, "Why these things give me trouble, although I do not want them?" This is very intelligent. "If there is any solution?"

So the modern civilization—modern or past—foolish people, they do not want the solution. They think that "Things are going on like this. We cannot avoid it. Let us suffer." That is not intelligence. If you are suffering, then you must find out the remedy. And actually, we are doing that. But because we do not know what is the actual remedy, we are missing the point. But there is solution. And for this solution, one must go to the spiritual master. That is described. Saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya. They... This materialistic life is always like the blazing fire in the forest. So trāṇāya, how to get out of it. Trāṇā it is called. Trāṇā means to relieve from the suffering. Kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam. So how these sufferings can be mitigated? So people have become so dull-headed, they cannot understand what is the real suffering, and neither they have any inquiries how to mitigate the sufferings. This is the position. Therefore they are called śūdra. Śūdras, they are like. A brāhmaṇa is intelligent. A brāhmaṇa... Therefore we are trying to make people brāhmaṇa so that he may become intelligent. Not śūdras. Others are trying to make them śūdras. Śūdras means to remain in ignorance, and brāhmaṇa means to remain in knowledge. That is the difference between brāhmaṇa and śūdra. And these two other classes, via media, kṣatriya and vaiśya. The brāhmaṇas are supposed to be the first-class men in the society. The kṣatriyas, the second class; the vaiśyas, the third class; and the remaining, all fourth class and fifth class.

So there was no meeting of the fourth-class, fifth-class men. What they will do? Simply pass some resolution, that's all. What they will do? Just like this United Nation. What can they do? For the last twenty years, they are trying to make solution of the problems of the world. They have so many department. The one department is WHO, World Health Organization. So because they are all śūdras, what they can make, make solution? The present moment, the whole world is full of śūdras, and they have got money. So they are simply spending for sense gratification. Therefore, according to Vedic civilization, śūdras should not be given much money. Simply what they actually require, that's all. Because they do not know how to utilize money. At the present moment, because the whole population are śūdras, as soon as they get money, they spend it for wine, women, and squander it away. Big, big rich men in America, they spend fifty thousand dollars in a week in Florida for seeing naked dance. Is it not? Is it not a fact? Because they are śūdras. They do not know how to spend money. And formerly, before this, people were little intelligent, or at least they had some religious faith. So they constructed temple, churches, mosque. Nowadays these things is stopped. As soon as one gets money, "How to spend it after sense gratification?"

So formerly there was no meetings of the śūdras. The meeting was held about..., amongst the brāhmaṇas, saintly persons, to consider how people will remain happy, how their spiritualistic life will be advanced. Therefore the brāhmaṇas were the heads, and others, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas and śūdras, they used to take instruction from the brāhmaṇas for their livelihood. That was very good system. That is natural. Just like in this body there are the same brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. The brāhmaṇa is the head, the brain, and the kṣatriya the arms, and vaiśya the belly, and śūdras the legs. So when the body is healthy condition, the brain is very nice, then the brain gives direction to the leg, to the hands, to the belly. Brain, if one has got good brain, he does not eat much. "Why should I eat more? When I am not hungry, why shall I load the belly?" It requires brain. And "No, here is a very nice, palatable thing. Let me load it." Because he has no brain. And after loading, then dysentery. You see? So in every action, the brain is required.

So therefore the brāhmaṇas, they were first-class brain of the society, and they used to give direction to the people in general, beginning from the kṣatriya, vaiśyas and śūdra. They used to give instruction to the kṣatriyas, next intelligent class of men, for administration. And the kṣatriyas used to rule over the government according to the brāhmaṇas' instruction. And the vaiśyas also, they used to produce food grains and give protection to the cows. In this way, they were discharging their duty. And the śūdras, they were carrying out the orders of these three higher classes.

So you will find in this instruction, in this chapter, these sages decided at the end of the meeting that ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ (SB 1.2.13). The resolution was passed like this, because there were all brāhmaṇas. Therefore the president, Sūta Gosvāmī, he said all the brāhmaṇas, dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ. He addressed. Dvija means twice-born: one birth by the father and mother, and next birth by the spiritual father and the Vedic knowledge. This is second birth, initiation. The spiritual father, or spiritual master, he gives the second birth through the mother Vedas. Therefore they are called dvija, twice-born. Twice-born. Unless one has accepted bona fide spiritual master, he is once-born, śūdra. Śūdra has no such thing as twice-born. Only the brāhmaṇa, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas. Because śūdras were less intelligent, they were not initiated. They were not initiated. Only the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas, dvija.

So among the three kinds of dvija, twice-born, the brāhmaṇas were the first class, dvija. Therefore, at the end of the meeting, the... Because they were all brāhmaṇas. There was no kṣatriyas. Only brāhmaṇas were discussing, Naimiṣāraṇya. Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ (SB 1.2.13). Dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ, best of the brāhmaṇa. They were not ordinary brāhmaṇa. With full Vedic knowledge, they gathered. Varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ. The varṇāśrama..., the varṇāśrama must be there in the human society. So varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ. Vibhāga means division. Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ, svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya. Everyone has got his dharma. That is dharma, the brāhmaṇa. Dharma means his occupational duty. Dharma means his occupational duty. That is dharma.

A brāhmaṇa is..., he has got his duties, to practice how to become truthful, satya; śama, how to control the senses; and dama, how to control the mind. Satyaṁ śamo damas titikṣā, how to learn toleration, forbearance. Satyaṁ śamo damas titikṣā, ārjavam, how to become simple, not crooked. Jñānam, full knowledge in everything. Vijñānam, practical application. Satyaṁ śamo damas titikṣā ārjavaṁ jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyam (BG 18.42), full faith in the Vedic literature. That is called āstikyam. That is called theism, to believe in the śāstras without any deviation. That is called theism. Atheism means not to believe in the śāstra or not to accept them as it is, to comment according to one's own whim. That is called atheism. Theism means to have faith, full faith in the Vedic knowledge. That is called theism.

That I have given you several times the example: Just like the cow dung is the stool of an animal, but the Vedic literature confirms that cow dung is pure. Now, you cannot argue, "It is stool of an animal. In one place you have condemned that if you touch the stool of an animal, you have to take bath thrice, and now you say cow dung, which is also stool of an animal, it is pure. Where is your argument?" You have to accept. That is called theism. Because the Vedas says, without any argument you accept it. That is called theism. You cannot change. You cannot comment. That is called theism. Āstikyam. Brahma-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.42). And unless you have got such faith in the Vedic knowledge, you cannot make any progress. That is not possible. If you, with your poor fund of knowledge, you want to interpret, from the very beginning there is no question of progress.

Therefore you'll find in the Bhagavad-gītā, when Arjuna heard from Kṛṣṇa the principles of Bhagavad-gītā, he said, sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye yad vadasi me pāṇḍava (BG 10.14): "My dear Kṛṣṇa, whatever You have spoken in this instruction, I accept them as perfectly true." You'll find. First of all he said, śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam (BG 2.7). Of course, sad-dharma-pṛcchat, there must be, but whatever the spiritual master said, he accepted in toto. Sarvam etad ṛtaṁ manye yad vadasi me keśava. This is the principle. That is called āstikyam, theism. First of all, before accepting the spiritual master, you must find out whether Kṛṣṇa or Kṛṣṇa's representative is there. Arjuna surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. Śiṣyas te 'ham: "I am Your disciple." Similarly, everyone should surrender to Kṛṣṇa or Kṛṣṇa's representative. That is spiritual master. If one does not know what is Kṛṣṇa, neither he speaks, just vibrate the Kṛṣṇa's word, he is not spiritual master. He cannot be spiritual master. Spiritual master does not manufacture his own ideas. That is not spiritual master. Spiritual master is he who speaks exactly the words which is spoken by Kṛṣṇa. That is the secret. You cannot change.

So in the Naimiṣāraṇya, the resolution was made like this, svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya (SB 1.2.13). So everyone has got his dharma, particular duty: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya. So one must be intelligent enough whether by his..., by the discharge of his particular duty he has satisfied Kṛṣṇa. Then he has satisfied Kṛṣṇa. Just like the different parts of the body, their duty is how to keep this body fit. That means to keep the body satisfied. Fit means when everything, all the metabolism, organization of the body, is going nicely, then it is fit. And as soon as there is some discrepancies in the regular process... There are so many processes going on within the body. Kapha-pitta-vāyuḥ. There is very good mechanical arrangement. So the brain means to keep this mechanical arrangement very busy and going on nicely. That is brain. That is brain. "When I shall eat, when I shall not eat, when I shall sleep, when I shall..." These things are necessities, but brain requires how to adjust them. Eating, sleeping, mating and sense gratification, and, er, protection, that is required, but it requires brain how to transact all this business. Therefore the brain is required, and everyone has got his duty. And the resultant action, how the things are going on nicely, successfully, what is the test? The test is saṁsiddhi... (break) But business is how to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. Saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam (SB 1.2.13). Hari-toṣaṇam.

This is very natural. Just like in a big office, so many clerks are making. The business is that everyone should be ready to satisfy the office routine work, or satisfy the managing director. But how one can see the managing director is satisfied or not? Immediately in the office, in every department, there is a superintendent. So if the superintendent is satisfied, you must know the managing director is satisfied. Similarly, you are under the direction of your spiritual master. If you see that the spiritual master is satisfied, then you should know that Kṛṣṇa is satisfied. That is confirmed by Viśvanātha Cakravartī: yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ. And yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto 'pi: If the spiritual master is not satisfied, then you are gone to hell. Yasya aprasādān na gatiḥ kuto 'pi. Because who will recommend to Kṛṣṇa the promotion and so many things?

So therefore our business is to see. It doesn't matter whether you are acting as a śūdra or brāhmaṇa or kṣatriya. It doesn't matter. If by your actions, sva-karmabhis tam abhyarcya, if by your action Kṛṣṇa is satisfied, then your life is successful. It doesn't matter in what position you are. It doesn't matter, if Kṛṣṇa is satisfied. This is the principle of life. That is real dharma. Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān pa..., mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja (BG 18.66). So whether we have surrendered to Kṛṣṇa and satisfied Him? This is our business to see. In this way... And this chapter is very important. We may discuss.

So dharma is actually under the protection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You cannot manufacture dharma. Because we do not know what is dharma. Dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19). Dharma means to abide by the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It doesn't matter whether you are Hindu, Muslim or Christian. That is explained in the sixth verse: sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharma yato bhaktir adhokṣaje. The verse, we read. Paro dharmaḥ. Paro dharmaḥ means the best, best, supreme dharma. Yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6). It doesn't matter whether you are Hindu or Muslim. Whether you are interested to satisfy God? That is first-class religion. Otherwise, it is third class, fourth class or whatever you... Whether your interest is to satisfy God. Then it is first class. It doesn't matter. By the name it doesn't go away. Therefore we find, actually those who are advanced in religious principle, they are all devotee. (break) ...faithful. Just like Lord Jesus Christ—devotee. Similarly, Muhammad also, they were devotee. They never declared that "I am God." Did Muhammad say like that? No. Servant of God. Similarly, Jesus Christ said "son of God." So it is very good. It doesn't matter; if we remain son of God or servant of God faithfully, then it is first-class religious system.

But it is very difficult to say. But bhāgavata-dharma—therefore it is called bhāgavata—simply relationship with Kṛṣṇa. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam you will find no other topics except to establish the original relationship with Kṛṣṇa, and therefore it is first class. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje ahaitukī, without any... In the material field... What can be done? Some way or other, although it is..., in the Bible it is said... They go to church for asking bread. But that is not paro dharmaḥ, because there is hetu, some cause. But this cause... Similarly, in the Muhammadan religion also, just to be promoted to the heavenly kingdom more. No. That is not first class. First class means ahaitukī, without any cause. Not that "I shall go to church, I shall go to mosque, I shall go to temple for asking something from God." That is not first class. That is good in this sense, that these rascals have at least come to pray to God. So much it is. But such kind of prayer does not make the first-class religion. The prayer, as offered by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye (CC Antya 20.29, Śikṣāṣṭaka 4): "My dear Lord, I do not want any amount of money," na dhanam, "or any number of disciples or followers," na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sun..., "neither any beautiful wife."

So, so many so-called incarnation of God, they come for money, for beautiful wife and many followers. So that is not wanted. That is not religion. Religion means without wanting all these things. Na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye. Not for any material... Ahaituky apratihatā. "Oh, I am poor man, I cannot love God. I cannot enhance my devotional service." No. Devotional service is so nice, apratihatā, it cannot be checked by any material condition. That is dharma. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6). This is re... This is test how much I am religious, how much I am devotee. This is the test.

So we should be always alert to test our advancement, how we are making advancement. Because unless we become first-class devotee, there is no question of our being relieved from this material condition of life. That is not possible. That is not possible. Ahaituky apratihatā yayātmā samprasīdati.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya Prabhupāda. (end)