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760615 - Conversation D - Detroit

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



760615BG-DETROIT - June 15, 1976 - 46:37 Minutes


(Bhagavad-gita reading 2.1-2.12, Garden Conversation)



(sitting under the trees on the river bank)

Prabhupāda: Just rub your finger, you'll find so many germs. Nobody can get in the kitchen, huh? (japa)

(pause) (peacocks calling) (break)

Prabhupāda: . . . far away the peacock?

Hari-śauri: On the other side.

Prabhupāda: Within our area? No.

Hari-śauri: He said they stay. This is Chapter Two, Bhagavad-gītā.

sañjaya uvāca
taṁ tathā kṛpayāviṣṭam
aśru-pūrṇākulekṣaṇam
viṣīdantam idaṁ vākyam
uvāca madhusūdanaḥ
(BG 2.1)

"Sañjaya said: Seeing Arjuna full of compassion and very sorrowful, his eyes brimming with tears, Madhusūdana, Kṛṣṇa, spoke the following words."

Purport: "Material compassion, lamentation and tears are all signs of ignorance of the real self. Compassion for the eternal soul is self-realization. The word 'Madhusūdana' is significant in this verse. Lord Kṛṣṇa killed the demon Madhu, and now Arjuna wanted Kṛṣṇa to kill the demon of misunderstanding that had overtaken him in the discharge of his duty. No one knows where compassion should be applied. Compassion for the dress of a drowning man is senseless. A man fallen in the ocean of nescience cannot be saved simply by rescuing his outward dress—the gross material body. One who does not know this and laments for the outward dress is called a śūdra, or one who laments unnecessarily. Arjuna was a kṣatriya, and this conduct was not expected from him. Lord Kṛṣṇa, however, can dissipate the lamentation of the ignorant man, and for this purpose the Bhagavad-gītā was sung by Him. This chapter instructs us in self-realization by an analytical study of the material body and the spirit soul, as explained by the supreme authority, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This realization is made possible by working with the fruitive being situated in the fixed conception of the real self."

Text 2:

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
kutas tvā kaśmalam idaṁ
viṣame samupasthitam
anārya-juṣṭam asvargyam
akīrti-karam arjuna
(BG 2.2)

"The Supreme Person (Bhagavān) said: My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you? They are not at all befitting a man who knows the progressive values of life. They do not lead to higher planets, but to infamy."

Purport: "Kṛṣṇa and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are identical. Therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa is referred to as "Bhagavān" throughout the Gītā. Bhagavān is the ultimate in the Absolute Truth. Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding, namely Brahman or the impersonal all-pervasive spirit; Paramātmā, or the localized aspect of the Supreme within the heart of all living entities; and Bhagavān, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam this conception of the Absolute Truth is explained thus:

vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate

"The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases of understanding by the knower of the Absolute Truth, and all of them are identical. Such phases of the Absolute Truth are expressed as Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān." (SB 1.2.11) These three divine aspects can be explained by the example of the sun, which also has three different aspects, namely the sunshine, the sun's surface and the sun planet itself. One who studies the sunshine only is the preliminary student. One who understands the sun's surface is further advanced. And one who can enter into the sun planet is the highest. Ordinary students who are satisfied by simply understanding the sunshine—its universal pervasiveness and the glaring effulgence of its impersonal nature—may be compared to those who can realize only the Brahman feature of the Absolute Truth. The student who has advanced still further can know the sun disc, which is compared to knowledge of the Paramātmā feature of the Absolute Truth. And the student who can enter into the heart of the sun planet is compared to those who realize the personal features of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Therefore, the bhaktas, or the transcendentalists who have realized the Bhagavān feature of the Absolute Truth, are the topmost transcendentalists, although all students who are engaged in the study of the Absolute Truth are engaged in the same subject matter. The sunshine, the sun disc and the inner affairs of the sun planet cannot be separated from one another, and yet the students of the three different phases are not in the same category.

The Sanskrit word Bhagavān is explained by the great authority, Parāśara Muni, the father of Vyāsadeva. The Supreme Personality who possesses all riches, all strength, all fame, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation is called Bhagavān. There are many persons who are very rich, very powerful, very beautiful, very famous, very learned, and very much detached, but no one can claim that he possesses all riches, all strength, etc., entirely. Only Kṛṣṇa can claim this because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No living entity, including Brahmā, Lord Śiva, or Nārāyaṇa, can possess opulences as fully as Kṛṣṇa. Therefore it is concluded in the Brahmā-saṁhitā by Lord Brahmā himself that Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. No one is equal to or above Him. He is the primeval Lord, or Bhagavān, known as Govinda, and He is the supreme cause of all causes.

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam

"There are many personalities possessing the qualities of Bhagavān, but Kṛṣṇa is the supreme because none can excel Him. He is the Supreme Person, and His body is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss. He is the primeval Lord Govinda and the cause of all causes." (Brahmā-saṁhitā 5.1)

In the Bhāgavatam also there is a list of many incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Kṛṣṇa is described as the original Personality of Godhead, from whom many, many incarnations and Personalities of Godhead expand:

ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam
indrāri-vyākulaṁ lokaṁ mṛḍayanti yuge yuge

"All the lists of the incarnations of Godhead submitted herewith are either plenary expansions or parts of the plenary expansions of the Supreme Godhead, but Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself." (SB 1.3.28)

Therefore, Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, the source of both the Supersoul and the impersonal Brahman.

In the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Arjuna's lamentation for his kinsmen is certainly unbecoming, and therefore Kṛṣṇa expressed His surprise with the word kutas, "wherefrom." Such unmanly sentiments were never expected from a person belonging to the civilized class of men known as Āryans. The word āryan is applicable to persons who know the value of life and have a civilization based on spiritual realization. Persons who are led by the material conception of life do not know that the aim of life is realization of the Absolute Truth, Viṣṇu, or Bhagavān, and they are captivated by the external features of the material world, and therefore they do not know what liberation is. Persons who have no knowledge of liberation from material bondage are called non-Āryans. Although Arjuna was a kṣatriya, he was deviating from his prescribed duties by declining to fight. This act of cowardice is described as befitting the non-Āryans. Such deviation from duty does not help one in the progress of spiritual life, nor does it even give one the opportunity to become famous in this world. Lord Kṛṣṇa did not approve of the so-called compassion of Arjuna for his kinsmen.

Text 3:

klaibyaṁ mā sma gamaḥ pārtha
naitat tvayy upapadyate
kṣudraṁ hṛdaya-daurbalyaṁ
tyaktvottiṣṭha parantapa
(BG 2.3)

"O son of Pṛthā, do not yield to this degrading impotence. It does not become you. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O chastiser of the enemy."

Purport: "Arjuna was addressed as the "son of Pṛthā," who happened to be the sister of Kṛṣṇa's father Vasudeva. Therefore Arjuna had a blood relationship with Kṛṣṇa. If the son of a ksatriya declines to fight, he is a kṣatriya in name only, and if the son of a brāhmaṇa acts impiously, he is a brāhmaṇa in name only. Such kṣatriyas and brāhmaṇas are unworthy sons of their fathers; therefore, Kṛṣṇa did not want Arjuna to become an unworthy son of a kṣatriya. Arjuna was the most intimate friend of Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa was directly guiding him on the chariot; but in spite of all these credits, if Arjuna abandoned the battle, he would be committing an infamous act—therefore Kṛṣṇa said that such an attitude in Arjuna did not fit his personality. Arjuna might argue that he would give up the battle on the grounds of his magnanimous attitude for the respectable Bhīṣma and his relatives, but Kṛṣṇa considered that sort of magnanimity not approved by authority. Therefore, such magnanimity or so-called nonviolence should be given up by persons like Arjuna under the direct guidance of Kṛṣṇa."

Text 4:

arjuna uvāca
kathaṁ bhīṣmam ahaṁ saṅkhye
droṇaṁ ca madhusūdana
iṣubhiḥ pratiyotsyāmi
pūjārhāv arisūdana
(BG 2.4)

"Arjuna said: O killer of Madhu (Kṛṣṇa), how can I counterattack with arrows in battle men like Bhīṣma and Droṇa, who are worthy of my worship?"

Purport: "Respectable superiors like Bhīṣma the grandfather and Droṇācārya the teacher are always worshipable. Even if they attack, they should not be counterattacked. It is general etiquette that superiors are not to be offered even a verbal fight. Even if they are sometimes harsh in behavior, they should not be harshly treated. How then is it possible for Arjuna to counterattack them? Would Kṛṣṇa ever attack His own grandfather, Ugrasena, or His teacher, Sāndīpani Muni? These were some of the arguments by Arjuna to Kṛṣṇa."

Text 5:

gurūn ahatvā hi mahānubhāvān
śreyo bhoktuṁ bhaikṣyam apīha loke
hatvārtha-kāmāṁs tu gurūn ihaiva
bhuñjīya bhogān rudhira-pradigdhān
(BG 2.5)

"It is better to live in this world by begging than to live at the cost of the lives of great souls who are my teachers. Even though they are avaricious, they are nonetheless superiors. If they are killed, our spoils will be tainted with blood."

(Purport) "According to scriptural codes, a teacher who engages in an abominable action (and) has lost his sense of discrimination and (sic) is fit to be abandoned. Bhīṣma and Droṇa were obliged to take the side of Duryodhana because of his financial assistance, although they should not have accepted such a position simply on financial considerations. Under the circumstances, they have lost the respectability of teachers. But Arjuna thinks that nevertheless they remain his superiors, and therefore to enjoy material profits after killing them would mean to enjoy spoils tainted with blood."

Text 6:

na caitad vidmaḥ kataran no garīyo
yad vā jayema yadi vā no jayeyuḥ
yān eva hatvā na jijīviṣāmas
te 'vasthitāḥ pramukhe dhārtarāṣṭrāḥ
(BG 2.6)

"Nor do we know which is better—conquering them or being conquered by them. The sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, whom if we killed we should not care to live, are now standing before us on this battlefield."

Purport: "Arjuna did not know whether he should fight and risk unnecessary violence, although fighting is the duty of the kṣatriyas, or whether he should refrain and live by begging. If he did not conquer the enemy, begging would be his only means of subsistence. Nor was there certainty of victory, because either side might emerge victorious. Even if victory awaited them (and their cause was justified), still, if the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra died in battle, it would be very difficult to live in their absence. Under the circumstances, that would be another kind of defeat for them. All these considerations by Arjuna definitely prove that he was not only a great devotee of the Lord but that he was also highly enlightened and had complete control over his mind and senses. His desire to live by begging, although he was born in the royal household, is another sign of detachment. He was truly virtuous, as these qualities, combined with his faith in the words of instruction of Śrī Kṛṣṇa (his spiritual master), indicate. It is concluded that Arjuna was quite fit for liberation. Unless the senses are controlled, there is no chance of elevation to the platform of knowledge, and without knowledge and devotion there is no chance of liberation. Arjuna was competent in all these attributes, over and above his enormous attributes in his material relationships."

You want to go in, Śrīla Prabhupāda?

Prabhupāda: Let the rain fall. (laughter)

Hari-śauri:

kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ
pṛcchāmi tvāṁ dharma-sammūḍha-cetāḥ
yac chreyaḥ syān niścitaṁ brūhi tan me . . .
(BG 2.7)

(Prabhupāda says something and devotees laugh)

(break)

Jayādvaita:

na caitad vidmaḥ kataran no garīyo
yad vā jayema yadi vā no jayeyuḥ
yān eva hatvā na jijīviṣāmas
te 'vasthitāḥ pramukhe dhārtarāṣṭrāḥ
(BG 2.6)

"Nor do we know which is better—conquering them or being conquered by them. The sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, whom if we killed we should not care to live . . ."

Prabhupāda: Disturbing? (laughs) They can come here, that side.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: (children come in) They were going to guard you, Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Prabhupāda: Guard me? Why?

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: From the rain.

Prabhupāda: No. It is all right. You sit down. Is it fine, you can sit? (some indistinct discussion while devotees move around to avoid rain) No, no.

Hari-śauri: Sit over this side.

Prabhupāda: (japa)

Jayādvaita: "The sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, whom if we killed we should not care to live, are now standing before us on this battlefield."

Purport: "Arjuna did not know whether he should fight and risk unnecessary violence, although fighting is the duty of the kṣatriyas, or whether he should refrain and live by begging. If he did not conquer the enemy, begging would be his only means of subsistence. Nor was there certainty of victory, because either side might emerge victorious. Even if victory awaited them (and their cause was justified), still, if the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra died in battle, it would be very difficult to live in their absence. Under the circumstances, that would be another kind of defeat for them. All these considerations by Arjuna definitely prove that he was not only a great devotee of the Lord but that he was also highly enlightened and had complete control over his mind and senses. His desire to live by begging, although he was born in the royal household, is another sign of detachment. He was truly virtuous, as these qualities, combined with his faith in the words of instruction of Śrī Kṛṣṇa (his spiritual master), indicate. It is concluded that Arjuna was quite fit for liberation. Unless the senses are controlled, there is no chance of elevation to the platform of knowledge, and without knowledge and devotion there is no chance of liberation. Arjuna was competent in all these attributes, over and above his enormous attributes in his material relationships."

kārpaṇya-doṣopahata-svabhāvaḥ
pṛcchāmi tvāṁ dharma-sammūḍha-cetāḥ
yac chreyaḥ syān niścitaṁ brūhi tan me
śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ tvāṁ prapannam
(BG 2.7)

"Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me."

Purport: "By nature's own way the complete system of material activities is a source of perplexity for everyone. In every step there is perplexity, and therefore it behooves one to approach a bona fide spiritual master who can give one proper guidance for executing the purpose of life. All Vedic literatures advise us to approach a bona fide spiritual master to get free from the perplexities of life which happen without our desire."

Prabhupāda: Now you can discuss amongst yourselves whether you have approached such spiritual master. What is that? This purport?

Jayādvaita: Read again? "Therefore it behooves one to approach a bona fide spiritual master who can give one proper guidance for executing the purpose of life. All Vedic literatures advise us to approach a bona fide spiritual master to get free from the perplexities of life which happen without our desire."

Prabhupāda: So, whether you have approached a spiritual master, that you can discuss. This is the necessity of approaching a spiritual master.

Jayādvaita: Necessity.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. It must. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet (MU 1.2.12).

Jayādvaita: Śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. So, whether you have got such spiritual master who can guide you, proper guidance, what is stated there?

Jayādvaita: What is stated next?

Prabhupāda: No.

Jayādvaita: Oh, whether we've got such a spiritual master?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Jayādvaita: Oh, yes, because . . .

Prabhupāda: That you have to discuss.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: It says the qualification is that he frees one from all perplexities of life. So we are practically experiencing that, that by following the instructions of our spiritual master all our perplexities are vanished.

Hari-śauri: Saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka. There's one tape, you describe the very first thing when one follows the instructions of a spiritual master is that he's freed from all different kinds of material difficulties. He immediately feels some relief from material existence. First sign of a bona fide spiritual master.

Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṅa. Go on reading.

Jayādvaita: "Material perplexities are like a forest fire that somehow blazes without being set by anyone. Similarly, the world situation is such that perplexities of life automatically appear, without our wanting such confusion. No one wants fire, and yet it takes place and we become perplexed. The Vedic wisdom therefore advises that in order to solve the perplexities of life and to understand the science of the solution, one must approach a bona fide spiritual master who is in the disciplic succession. A person with a bona fide spiritual master is supposed to know everything. One should not therefore remain in material perplexities but should approach a spiritual master. This is the purport of this verse. Who is the man in material perplexities? It is he who does not understand the problems of life. In the Garga Upaniṣad the perplexed man is described as follows: yo vā etad akṣaraṁ gārgy aviditvāsmāl lokāt praiti sa kṛpaṇaḥ."

Prabhupāda: Yad viditvā yaḥ prayāti sa brāhmaṇa, etad avidyāt yaḥ prayāti sa eva kṛpaṇaḥ. Read.

Jayādvaita: " 'He is a miserly man who does not solve the problems of life as a human and who thus quits this world like the cats and dogs, without understanding the science of self-realization.' This human form of life is a most valuable asset for the living entity, who can utilize it for solving the problems of life; therefore, one who does not utilize this opportunity properly is a miser. On the other hand, there is the brāhmaṇa, or he who . . ."

Prabhupāda: They do not know even what are the problems of life. People are so uneducated, they do not know even what are the problems of life. They do not know. What generally people think the problems of life?

Hari-śauri: How to get more money, how to get more sense gratification. That's the main problem.

Prabhupāda: (laughs) Your America has got so much money. Has it solved all the problems? Our Ambarīṣa Mahārāja will answer.

Ambarīṣa: What is the question, Śrīla Prabhupāda?

Prabhupāda: Question is that your forefathers and fathers have got so much money, whether it has solved the problems of life?

Ambarīṣa: No, it hasn't solved any of their problems. It has multiplied them.

Prabhupāda: He is the best . . . (laughter) He could have personally owned this palace and lived very luxuriously. He has got the means. But he did not like that. He gave it to the Vaiṣṇavas. So money cannot solve the problems. That is not possible.

Devotee (1): This is a very logical argument of preaching. When you tell them that the standard of happiness is not material opulence, people are willing to accept, because they see they are not becoming more happy.

Prabhupāda: They think like that, but that is not the solution of problems. So you discuss on this point.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: They think like that because of false propaganda. So if we counterattack with the right propaganda, people will hear it.

Prabhupāda: So why you cannot right propaganda? You should. You are preaching. You must meet them and must convince them that simply getting money is not the solution of the problem. (microphone rattling) That you have to convince.

Jayādvaita: Sometimes they say that it's not to have more and more money, but we have to go to school so that we can get some job; otherwise how will we live? So we tell them that we haven't done anything. For eight years we haven't worked, and we have that . . . we have . . . (indistinct)

Prabhupāda: We are not attending any job.

Jayādvaita: No. (laughs) We're living better than them.

Prabhupāda: And still we are living very comfortably.

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Another proof is even when there is austerities, we do not mind to accept it because there is a higher pleasure.

Prabhupāda: Yes. We have greater pleasure that, "This austerity will please Kṛṣṇa. So we must do it." Our aim is how to please Kṛṣṇa. That is our argument. Go on reading.

Jayādvaita: "On the other hand, there is the brāhmaṇa, or he who is intelligent enough to utilize this body to solve all the problems of life. The kṛpaṇas, or miserly persons, waste their time . . ."

Prabhupāda: The real problem of life, birth, death, old age and disease. They do not understand. They are so . . . just like animals. Animal does not understand what is birth, death, old age and disease. Real problem is there, but they are so dull-headed that their attention is diverted from the real problem. Temporary problems, they are busy. Just like, one major disease, one is suffering from a major disease. On account of that, he has sometimes headache, sometimes pain here, sometimes so many, minor. So, because we are subjected to meet death, so these minor conditions are there. The real problem is after suffering, suffering, suffering, suffering, when the body is no more able to bear suffering, it dies. Just like one man commits suicide. When he cannot control himself from the suffering, he voluntarily commits suicide. So death is the ultimate suffering. But we do not want suffering. Therefore problem is death. But who is anxious to solve this problem? They are not intelligent even. Janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam (BG 13.9). They do not know even what are the problems. Hmm?

Jayādvaita: They say that's life. They say that's what life is.

Prabhupāda: Life is to die?

Jayādvaita: Yes. They say this is natural.

Prabhupāda: So why you are afraid of death?

Dhṛṣṭadyumna: Then they say: "I'm not afraid."

Prabhupāda: So that's mad. (laughter) Yes, they say like that. Everyone is afraid of death.

Hari-śauri: They say: "I don't mind to die. As long as I can just finish up one or two things first, then I don't mind."

Prabhupāda: (laughs) Death will wait for your finishing? Death will come, it will not wait. People have become less intelligent.

Hari-śauri: Very much so.

Prabhupāda: Mūḍha. The general description is given in the Bhagavad-gītā: mūḍha, narādhama. Human intelligence requires to understand these problems, but because they are mūḍha, and lowest of the human, simply like animals—eat, drink, be merry and enjoy. Narādhama. You do not solve the problems. Simply like animal, dancing. Like that. So go on reading.

Jayādvaita: "The kṛpaṇas, or miserly persons, waste their time in being overly affectionate for family, society, country, etc., in the material conception of life. One is often attached to family life, namely to wife, children and other members, on the basis of 'skin disease.' The kṛpaṇa thinks that he is able to protect his family members from death; or the kṛpaṇa thinks that his family or society can save him from the verge of death. Such family attachment can be found even in the lower animals who take care of children also. Being intelligent, Arjuna can understand that his affection for family members and his wish to protect them from death were the causes of his perplexities. Although he could understand that his duty to fight was awaiting him, still, on account of miserly weakness he could not discharge the duties. He is therefore asking Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme spiritual master, to make a definite solution. He offers himself to Kṛṣṇa as a disciple. He wants to stop friendly talks. Talks between the master and the disciple are serious, and now Arjuna wants to talk very seriously before the recognized spiritual master. Kṛṣṇa is therefore the original spiritual master of the science of Bhagavad-gītā, and Arjuna is the first disciple for understanding the Gītā. How Arjuna understands Bhagavad-gītā is stated in the Gītā itself. And yet foolish mundane scholars explain that one need not submit to Kṛṣṇa as a person, but to the unborn within Kṛṣṇa. There is no difference between Kṛṣṇa's within and without. And one who has no sense of this understanding is the greatest fool in trying to understand Bhagavad-gītā."

na hi prapaśyāmi mamāpanudyād
yac chokam ucchoṣaṇam indriyāṇām
avāpya bhūmāv asapatnam ṛddhaṁ
rājyaṁ surāṇām api cādhipatyam
(BG 2.8)

"I can find no means to drive away this grief which is drying up my senses. I will not be able to destroy it even if I win an unrivalled kingdom on the earth with sovereignty like (that of) the demigods in heaven."

Purport: "Although Arjuna was putting forward so many arguments based on knowledge of the principles of religion and moral codes, it appears that he was unable to solve his real problem without the help of the spiritual master, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He could understand that his so-called knowledge was useless in driving away his problems, which were drying up his whole existence; and it was impossible for him to solve such perplexities without the help of a spiritual master like Lord Kṛṣṇa. Academic knowledge, scholarship, high position, etc., are all useless in solving the problems of life; help can only be given by a spiritual master like Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, the conclusion is that a spiritual master who is one hundred percent Kṛṣṇa conscious is the bona fide spiritual master, for he can solve the problems of life. Lord Caitanya said that one who is master in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, regardless of his social position, is the real spiritual master."

kibā vipra, kibā nyāsī, śūdra kene naya
yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā, sei guru haya
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-lila chapter 8 text 127 (128))

"It does not matter whether a person is a vipra, a learned scholar in Vedic wisdom, or is born in a lower family, or is in the renounced order of life. If he is master in the science of Kṛṣṇa, he is the perfect and bona fide spiritual master." So without being a master in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, no one is a bona fide spiritual master. It is also said in Vedic literatures:

ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipro
mantra-tantra-viśāradaḥ
avaiṣṇavo gurur na syād
vaiṣṇavaḥ śva-paco guruḥ

"A scholarly brāhmaṇa, expert in all subjects of Vedic knowledge, is unfit to become a spiritual master without being a Vaiṣṇava, or expert in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But a person born in a family of a lower caste can become a spiritual master if he is a Vaiṣṇava, or Kṛṣṇa conscious." (Padma Purāṇa)

"The problems of material existence—birth, old age, disease and death—cannot be counteracted by accumulation of wealth and economic development. In many parts of the world there are states which are replete with all facilities of life, which are full of wealth and economically developed, yet the problems of material existence are still present. They are seeking peace in different ways, but they can achieve real happiness only if they consult Kṛṣṇa, or the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which constitute the science of Kṛṣṇa, or the bona fide representative of Kṛṣṇa, the man in Kṛṣṇa consciousness."

If economic development and material comforts could drive away one's lamentations for family, social, national or international inebrieties, then Arjuna would not have said that even an unrivalled kingdom on earth or supremacy like that of the demigods in the heavenly planets would not be able to drive away his lamentations. He sought, therefore, refuge in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and that is the right path for peace and harmony. Economic development or supremacy over the world can be finished at any moment by the cataclysms of material nature. Even elevation into a higher planetary situation, as men are now seeking a place on the moon planet, can also be finished at one stroke. Bhagavad-gītā confirms this: kṣīṇe puṇye martyalokaṁ viśanti "When the results of pious activities are finished, one falls down again from the peak of happiness to the lowest status of life." Many politicians of the world have fallen down in that way. Such downfalls only constitute more causes for lamentation.

Therefore, if we want to curb lamentation for good, then we have to take shelter of Kṛṣṇa, as Arjuna is seeking to do. So Arjuna asked Kṛṣṇa to solve his problem definitely, and that is the way of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

sañjaya uvāca
evam uktvā hṛṣīkeśaṁ
guḍākeśaḥ parantapaḥ
na yotsya iti govindam
uktvā tūṣṇīṁ babhūva ha
(BG 2.9)

"Sañjaya said: Having spoken thus, Arjuna, chastiser of enemies, told Kṛṣṇa, 'Govinda, I shall not fight,' and fell silent.

Purport: "Dhṛtarāṣṭra must have been very glad to understand that Arjuna was not going to fight and was instead leaving the battlefield for the begging profession. But Sañjaya disappointed him again in relating that Arjuna was competent to kill his enemies (parantapaḥ). Although Arjuna was, for the time being, overwhelmed with false grief due to family affection, he surrendered unto Kṛṣṇa, the supreme spiritual master, as a disciple. This indicated that he would soon be freed from the false lamentation resulting from family affection and would be enlightened with perfect knowledge of self-realization, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and would then surely fight. Thus Dhṛtarāṣṭra's joy would be frustrated, since Arjuna would be enlightened by Kṛṣṇa and would fight to the end."

tam uvāca hṛṣīkeśaḥ
prahasann iva bhārata
senayor ubhayor madhye
viṣīdantam idaṁ vacaḥ
(BG 2.10)

"O descendant of Bharata, at that time Kṛṣṇa, smiling, in the midst of both the armies, spoke the following words to the grief-stricken Arjuna."

Purport: "The talk was going on between intimate friends, namely the Hṛṣīkeśa and the Guḍākeśa . . ."

Prabhupāda: What is that sound?

Devotee: Motor boats.

Prabhupāda: . . . (indistinct)

Devotee: Yes. (laughter)

Prabhupāda: Another problem.

Jayādvaita: "As friends, both of them were on the same level, but one of them voluntarily became a student of the other. Kṛṣṇa was smiling because a friend had chosen to become a disciple. As Lord of all, He is always in the superior position as the master of everyone, and yet the Lord agrees to be a friend, a son, a lover or a devotee, or who wants Him in such a role. But when He was accepted as the master, He at once assumed the role and talked with the disciple like the master—with gravity, as it is required. It appears that the talk between the master and the disciple was openly exchanged in the presence of both armies so that all were benefited. So the talks of Bhagavad-gītā are not for any particular person, society, or community, but they are for all, and friends or enemies are equally entitled to hear them."

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ
prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase
gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca
nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ
(BG 2.11)

"The Blessed Lord said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead."

Purport: "The Lord at once took the position of the teacher and chastised the student, calling him, indirectly, a fool. The Lord said, 'You are talking like a learned man, but you do not know that one who is learned—one who knows what is body and what is soul—does not lament for any stage of the body, neither in the living nor in the dead condition.' As it will be explained in later chapters, it will be clear that knowledge means to know matter and spirit and the controller of both. Arjuna argued that religious principles should be given more importance than politics or sociology, but he did not know that knowledge of matter, soul and the Supreme is even more important than religious formularies. And, because he was lacking in that knowledge, he should not have posed himself as a very learned man. As he did not happen to be a very learned man, he was consequently lamenting for something which was unworthy of lamentation. The body is born and is destined to be vanquished today or tomorrow—therefore the body is not as important as the soul. One who knows this is actually learned, and for him there is no cause for lamentation, regardless of the condition of the material body."

na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param
(BG 2.12)

"Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be."

Purport: "In the Vedas—in the Kaṭha Upaniṣad as well as in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad—it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the maintainer of innumerable living entities, in terms of their different situations according to individual work and reactions of work. That Supreme Personality of Godhead is also, by His plenary portions, alive in the heart of every living entity. Only saintly persons who can see, within and without, the same Supreme Lord can actually attain to perfect and eternal peace.

nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām
eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān
tam ātma-sthaṁ ye 'nupaśyanti dhīrās
teṣāṁ śāntiḥ śāśvatī netareṣām
(Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13)

"The same Vedic truth given to Arjuna is given to all persons in the world who pose themselves as very learned but factually have but a poor fund of knowledge. The Lord says clearly that He Himself, Arjuna and all the kings who are assembled on the battlefield are eternally individual beings and that the Lord is eternally the maintainer of the individual living entities both in their conditioned as well as in their liberated situations. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme individual person, and Arjuna, the Lord's eternal associate, and all the kings assembled there are individual eternal persons. It is not that they did not exist as individuals in the past, and it is not that they will not remain eternal persons. Their individuality existed in the past, and their individuality will continue in the future without interruption. Therefore, there is no cause for lamentation for anyone.

"The Māyāvādī theory that after liberation the individual soul, separated by the covering of māyā, or illusion, will merge into the impersonal Brahman . . ." (break) (end)