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710908 - Lecture SB 07.05.22-30 - London

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

710908SB-LONDON - September 08, 1971 - 49:07 Minutes

(Introduction) London lecture number 15. Evening, September 8th 1971, London temple.

Prabhupāda: . . . Mahārāja, at the age of five years only, he was a great devotee. Prahlāda Mahārāja is one of the mahājana, great authority of this line, devotional line.

(aside) You can take your seat.

To understand God and to understand our relationship with God, it is not to be done by mental speculation. It is not possible. God is not so cheap thing that one can understand by mental speculation. In the present age people are very much fond of mental speculation. In the śāstra it is said, tarko apratiṣṭhaḥ (CC Madhya 17.186): "Simply by arguing you cannot come to the right conclusion." You may be very good arguer, but another arguer may defeat you by his argument. So in this way, simply by dry arguments it is not possible to come to the conclusion.

Tarko 'pratiṣṭha śrutayo vibhinnāḥ. Scripture. There are different scriptures, so if you simply . . . scripture means Vedic, the Vedas. There are four Vedas and many other also, corollaries. So by studying at home these books, that is also not possible to understand. And nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. And if you follow philosophers, so one philosopher is differing from another philosopher. Just like our Śyāmasundara has brought one book, Ideas of Philosophers, different philosophers talking differently. So how you can take the conclusion? Even Aristotle, he is talking so many things nonsense. So mental speculators, philosophers, in this way you cannot.

Dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām. Actually, the purport of religion and God is very confidential. Therefore, to understand it, one has to follow the great authorities, mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ (CC Madhya 17.186). Mahājana. So that mahājanas, great authorities, are also mentioned, who are mahājanas, authorities. So:

svayambhūr nāradaḥ śambhuḥ
kumāraḥ kapilo manuḥ
prahlādo janako bhīṣmo
balir vaiyāsakir vayam
(SB 6.3.20)

Everything is there in the śāstras. If you simply refer to śāstras for the right source of knowledge, then you get. In the Bhagavad-gītā also it is said, yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya. If you do things without reference to the śāstras, then, Lord Kṛṣṇa says, na siddhiṁ sa avapnoti: "You will never get perfection." Na sukham: "Neither happiness."

This Prahlāda Mahārāja, although he was a five-years-old boy, he became an authority in the devotional line. So his father was atheist. He wanted that his son should be politicians. He should be taught how to cheat others, how to get money. But this boy was devotee. The difficulty was a devotee is not accustomed to all these tricks of materialistic way of life. They are not interested in such things. Purposefully, they avoid all these things, because devotional life means coming to the original position.

Original position is that we are part and parcel of God; therefore our original position is godly—not exactly like God, but godly. Just like gold and a particle of gold is also gold. A drop of ocean water contains the same chemical composition. Similarly, qualitatively we are as good as God in our original position. Now we are covered by this material body, but as soon as we take to the devotional service, that is our original position. Then very quickly we develop our good qualities, original godly qualities. Yasyāsti bhaktir bhagavaty akiñcanā sarvair guṇair tatra samāsate surāḥ (SB 5.18.12).

So devotees are generally very good, godly qualities. Just like Arjuna. Arjuna, he was insulted by his brothers, his wife was insulted, his kingdom was usurped, taken away, that . . . forced to go to the forest for twelve years. So many troubles they had to undergo due to the political intrigue by the cousin-brothers. Still, while he was in front of fighting, he thought, "What is the use of fighting and killing my cousin-brothers? Better let them enjoy. I retire. Kṛṣṇa, I cannot fight," he said. Why? Because he was a devotee. He was prepared to forego his claim. It is not that he was a coward. He was a great warrior, fighter. He could fight immediately. But because he was devotee, he was avoiding, trying to avoid fight, "No." This is godly quality.

So in order to induce him to fight, Kṛṣṇa had to speak to him the whole Bhagavad-gītā. When he understood that, "Although I do not wish to fight, Kṛṣṇa desires," then he took: "All right. Then I change my decision, because Kṛṣṇa's desire is my first duty." That is devotee's duty. If Kṛṣṇa says, God says, to devotee that, "You jump on the fire," he will do immediately. That is devotee, without any argument. So there is no consideration. Just like commander in the military active field. The commander says: "You jump in this fire," he jumps. He knows that, "I'll surely die." Similarly, a devotee, fully surrendered devotee, means he is prepared to do anything for God. That is pure devotee.

So Prahlāda Mahārāja was a devotee and he was a child. So his father thought that, "He is taking good education in politics, in diplomacy." So one day he asked the boy, "My dear boy, will you kindly say what nice things you have learned from your teachers?" Prahrādānūcyatāṁ tāta svadhītaṁ kiñcid uttamam (SB 7.5.22): "My dear son Prahlāda, will you kindly explain what you have learned very good things from your teacher?" Svadhītaṁ kiñcid uttamam: "Very selected best things what you have learned," ucyatam, "please explain." Kālena etāvatā āyuṣman yad aśikṣad guror bhavān: "You have taken lessons from your teachers"—Hiraṇyakaśipu appointed some special teachers for teaching Prahlāda Mahārāja—"so tell me what you have learned." And Prahlāda Mahārāja says:

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam
iti puṁsārpitā viṣṇau
bhaktiṣ cen nava-lakṣaṇā
kriyeta bhagavaty addhā
tan manye 'dhītam uttamam
(SB 7.5.23-24)

He wanted to know from the son what best knowledge he has received. He said: "This is the best knowledge." Tan manye adhītam uttamam: "I think he has learned very nice thing. His education is first class." Who? Now, "Who is always engaged in śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇu—who is always engaged in chanting and hearing about the glories of Lord Viṣṇu."

This chanting and hearing which we perform—not chanting of any demigod. Viṣṇu, only of Viṣṇu. The chanting and hearing is not recommended for . . . suppose if you chant and hear of the queen. That is not recommended. What to speak of queen, even of Lord Brahmā or Lord Śiva.

yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ
samatvena vīkṣeta
sa pāsaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam
(CC Madhya 18.116)

"Anyone who thinks that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Nārāyaṇa is as good as the demigods, he's a rascal, he's a fool." Sa pāsaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam. And in the Bhagavad-gītā also it is said, kāmais tais tair hṛta-jñānāḥ yajante anya-devatāḥ (BG 7.20): "Those who are worshiping other demigods, they are hṛta-jñānāḥ. Their knowledge is lost." That requires a very big explanation. So one thing is that you should never place or put the demigods on equal footing with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is a great offense.

So here it is said, śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ (SB 7.5.23): "To hear and chant about the glories of Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Smaranam pada sevanam. Nine different types of devotional service. So śravaṇaṁ, hearing. If you simply hear, that is also devotional service. Just like you are all coming. If you simply hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā, where there is description of the glories of the Lord, that is also devotional service. You don't require any education to read books or Vedic literature. Simply if you hear, śravaṇaṁ. Just like Parīkṣit Mahārāja. Parīkṣit Mahārāja, at the end of his life, he simply heard from Śukadeva Gosvāmī Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam seven days, and he became liberated. That is śravaṇaṁ.

Either you execute all the nine different types of devotional service . . .

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

There are nine different processes. They are one, but it appears like different. Just like you are hearing, I am speaking, but both of them are the same, because while you are hearing, I am also hearing. So they are absolute. But still, as it is convenient, you can accept any one of them and you advance in devotional service.

So he said, śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇu smaraṇam. If you have no time to hear, to go to the temple or to hear the speeches of the ācāryas, at home you can simply remember the Lord. This Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa mūrti, if you simply remember, meditate, that will also do. Smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam. Pāda-sevanam means to serve, giving service, rendering service to the lotus feet of the Lord, just like devotees do. They bring flowers, tulasī, and offer to the lotus feet of the Lord. The worshiping of the Lord begins from the leg, from the lotus feet, not directly to the head. That is the way. So pāda-sevanam.

Then arcanam. Arcanam means the offering ārātrika, offering bhoga, cleansing the Deity room and dressing the Lord, changing the flowers. These are called arcanam. Vandanam: if you cannot do this, then offer prayers. Just like in Christian Church they offers prayers. That is also bhakti, devotional service. The Muslims, they offer prayers. Any way. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam, arcanaṁ vandanam. Vandanam means offering prayer. Dāsyam.

Dāsyam means to work as menial servant of the Lord. Dāsyam. Sakhyam, to make friendship with the Lord, just like Arjuna did. He treated Kṛṣṇa as his friend, and by making friendship with Kṛṣṇa he became liberated. Sakhyam. And ātma-nivedanam. Ātma-nivedanam means giving everything to the Lord, even his body, wealth and everything, just like Bali Mahārāja did. So:

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

(aside) Don't make that sound.

Iti puṁsārpitā viṣṇau bhaktiś cet nava-lakṣaṇā. Iti. Again he says: "All these services, when rendered to Lord Viṣṇu," the bhaktiś cet nava-lakṣaṇā, "nine different types of devotional service," kriyeta bhagavaty addhā, "those who are engaged in such services," tan manye adhītam uttamam, "I think they are the most advanced learned. That is the end of education." Tan manye adhītam uttamam. So anyone who is engaged in devotional service, it should be understood that they are free, they are now liberated from all sinful resultant action of life. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: māṁ cāvyabhicāriṇi-bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate. Anyone who is unflinchingly, without any deviation, engaged in this kinds of devotional service, śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam, māṁ ca 'vyabhicāriṇi, without any motive, without any purpose, simply to serve the Supreme Lord, with this purpose only . . . anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Brs. 1.1.11), without any purpose of material profit, simply "It is my duty to serve Lord," on this stage, it is said in the Bhagavad-gītā, that:

māṁ cāvyabhicāriṇi
bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
(BG 14.26)

"Such persons immediately becomes liberated from the bondage of three modes of material nature." Sa guṇān samatītyaitān.

Great philosophers, great yogīs, they are undergoing severe type of austerities. Why? Just to get out of the clutches of these three modes of material nature, the three modes of material nature: goodness, passion and ignorance. Everyone is being conducted under the influence of these different types of material nature.

Even in this material world, goodness, that is also bondage, and what to speak of passion and ignorance. So Kṛṣṇa says anyone who is engaged in devotional service, immediately, sa samatītyaitān guṇān. Etān guṇān means these three qualities of material nature, brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26). That is real stage of ahaṁ brahmāsmi.

Śaṅkarācārya taught his philosophy to develop your consciousness to the platform of Brahma understanding. When one understands himself that "I am not this body. I do not belong to this material world. I am spirit soul," that is Brahma understanding. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā (BG 18.54). At that time he becomes very jolly. So there are many different process of austerities to come to this platform of Brahma understanding, but if one is engaged in this devotional service, sravanam kīrtanam viṣṇu, he is to be understood as already on the Brahma platform. Therefore, Prahlāda Mahārāja says: "I think such person has studied completely. His knowledge is perfect." Tan manye adhītam uttamam.

niśamyaitat suta-vaco
hiraṇyakaśipus tadā
guru-putram uvācedaṁ
(SB 7.5.25)

When he heard, the atheist father, "Oh, this boy is speaking nonsense," you see, so he became very much angry. Ruṣā. Ruṣā means became too much angry. Ruṣā-prasphuritādharaḥ. His lips were throbbing, he was so angry. Immediately called the teachers, "Come on!" Guru-putram uvācedaṁ ruṣā, brahma-bandho kim etat te vipakṣaṁ śrayatāsatā. "I gave my child, my boy, to be educated by you. What sort of education you have given him? He is talking nonsense, devotional service. I wanted to make him politician, diplomat, tricky, and you have taught him śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ (SB 7.5.23)?" (laughter) You see?

That is still going on. That is still going on. When I wanted to start this movement in India, I approached many friends, "Sir, you have got four boys. Give me one boy. I want to make him devotee." They refused. "Oh," he will say: "Swāmījī, what will be the benefit by becoming devotee? After all, he has to earn his livelihood." (laughter) Nobody agreed.

Nobody agreed. Everyone wants that his son should be hard working, just like hogs and dogs, and satisfy senses. That's all. Everyone wants. That is civilization. Nobody wants that his son should be a devotee. They will not tolerate that. If somebody's son comes to us to become devotee, I have experienced, the father and mother immediately comes, "Oh, Swāmījī, what you are doing?" But his son becomes hippie—he will tolerate. That he will tolerate. But he becomes devotee—"Oh, we can't tolerate. How can we . . .?" You see? This is the nature.

This is the nature. If one son is going astray by drinking, "Oh, young men, they can do that." But he becomes a devotee, he immediately becomes warned, "Oh, what danger is!" (laughter) "He is going to be a devotee." This is the nature of demons. If the father, mother are demons, how you can expect nice child? You see? That is the defect of the modern civilization. Therefore the whole world is unhappy. There is need of devotees, need of real brahmin. That is wanted. Therefore this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement . . . even a certain little percentage of people become Kṛṣṇa conscious, the whole face of the world will change. It is so nice.

So Hiraṇyakaśipu did not like that his son was becoming a devotee. So he chastised the teachers, because he was king, emperor, very powerful. He conquered all the universal planets, he was so powerful. So the teachers become very much threatened. So when they were asked, "What nonsense you have taught my boy, spoiled? He has become a devotee," so they said:

na mat praṇītaṁ na para-praṇītaṁ
suto vadaty eṣa tavendra-śatro
naisargikīyaṁ matir asya rājan
niyaccha manyuṁ kad adāḥ sma mā naḥ
(SB 7.5.28)

So the teacher said: "Sir, we have not taught this. I do not know how your son has learned all this devotional service. By nature he is so like that." Prahlāda Mahārāja was doing that. Because the teachers were very much cautious that, "This Prahlāda has got tendency to become a devotee," so they were very careful. But Prahlāda Mahārāja, what he did do, as soon as there is tiffin hour, all the teachers gone, he would immediately call all the class friend and stand up on the bench and speak on bhagavad-bhakti. Perhaps you have seen that picture. That teaching is there. If there is time we shall . . . how he was teaching his class friend to become devotee.

Just like our boys going on the street try to teach all others how to learn devotional service. This is our business. Prahlāda Mahārāja is our ācārya, former ācārya. So following his footsteps, we have to do that. Everyone did that, preaching. Preaching is required. People are in ignorance. They do not know what is God, what is his relationship with God. Therefore preaching is necessary. So Prahlāda Mahārāja was doing that. Therefore the teacher said that naisargikīyaṁ matir asya rājan niyaccha manyum: "Don't be unnecessarily angry upon us. We did not teach him. By nature he is like that."

So this is also another feature, that why one becomes devotee, why the other does not become? That means in his former life he was a devotee. It could not be finished in one life, but in this life automatically he is trying to become devotee. Therefore devotional service is so nice that even if you cannot finish the whole course in one life, next life you are guaranteed to get a very nice birth so that you can develop further.

That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭoḥ sañjāyate (BG 6.41). When Kṛṣṇa . . . er, Arjuna inquired from Kṛṣṇa that, "A yogī, he cannot finish his duty, or yogic process, in one life. Then what happens? He becomes neither this way or that way?" Kṛṣṇa said: "No. Whatever he has finished, that is his permanent assets.

Next life he begins from that point and he gets the opportunity of take birth"—śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe—"he is given birth in very nice family, either in very nice brahmin family or very rich family." In these two places one gets the opportunity to increase his Kṛṣṇa consciousness very easily. If he gets his birth in a nice brahmin family, automatically he is trained in that way. And if he gets his birth in a rich family, he has no economic demand. He hasn't got to earn. He can save the time for developing Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

So those who are born in rich family, they should know that, "By the grace of Kṛṣṇa, by the grace of Lord, we are born with silver spoon. But we should utilize this opportunity." Not only rich man; every human being should be conscious to utilize this human form of life to understand God. That is the highest perfection of life. Otherwise it is animal life. The animal life means the animals are also eating, sleeping, mating and defending. So if we are simply engaged with four principles of bodily demand and do not inquire about the Brahma—athāto brahma jijñāsā, that is the Vedānta-sūtra—then we are no better than animals.

So Prahlāda Mahārāja was in his . . . before his birth he was taught by Nārada Muni. Therefore naturally he was in devotional service. So he was executing, the boy. Devotional service . . . if one is devotee, he cannot sit down silently. He wants to preach God's glories to others, even at the risk of life, like Lord Jesus Christ did it. Even at the risk of life, he preached God consciousness. That is the duty of a devotee. Lord Nityānanda did it, Haridāsa Ṭhākura did it. There are many instances, a devotee risked life for preaching glories of God.

So Prahlāda Mahārāja also doing that. He knew that, "My father is nothing but a ferocious animal, Hiraṇyakaśipu." Even big, big demigods would be threatened by his red eyes, he was so powerful. Still, he was executing devotional service at the risk of life. And he was put to so many dangerous condition of life. Still, he did not give up.

Then if we try to understand Prahlāda Mahārāja's character . . . now, at the present moment the teacher said that naisargikīyaṁ matir asya rājan: "My dear king, your boy, this tendency of God consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is by nature. We never taught him. Please don't be angry with us unnecessarily." Niyaccha manyum. "Please give up your anger."

Niyaccha manyuṁ kad adāḥ sma mā naḥ: "Don't degrade us in that way." So he was king. He could understand that the boy is . . . by nature he is doing that. Then he inquired, "Prahlāda, wherefrom you have learned this art of God consciousness? Tell me. Wherefrom you have got this Kṛṣṇa consciousness?" Then Prahlāda Mahārāja, explaining to his father:

prahlada uvāca
matir na kṛṣṇe parato svato vā
mitho 'bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
(SB 7.5.30)

Gṛha-vratānām: "those who have taken it as vow to be happy in this material world." Therefore they are called gṛha-vrata. Gṛhastha . . . there are two words in Sanskrit language. One is gṛha-stha, and one is gṛha-vrata, or gṛha-medhi. Gṛhastha means gṛhastha-āśrama. As soon as . . . those who are conversant with Vedic language, they know: āśrama means something in connection with God. That is called āśrama. So gṛhastha-āśrama means one may live with family, children, wife, children, friends—that's all right. Live. Whatever life is suitable for you, you accept. But you chase Kṛṣṇa consciousness, cultivate Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is āśrama.

Therefore it is called brahmacārī-āśrama, gṛhastha-āśrama, vānaprastha-āśrama, sannyāsa-āśrama. This is varṇāśrama, four varṇas and four āśramas. We are wrongly called Hindus. This is a wrong designation given by the Muhammadans. We don't find this word in any Vedic literature, "Hindu." It is a foreign word.

Real . . . real word is varṇāśrama. Varnāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa parā pumān. That is Vedic civilization: four varṇas and four āśramas. Four varṇas means brāhmin, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, and four āśrama means brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. One who follow this system of civilization, they are called varṇāśramī.

So the "Hindu" is a foreign name given to these Indians by the neighborhood Muhammadans. Actually, "Hindu" is not to be found. So when we call ourselves Hindus, that is misconception of Indian civilization. Real concept of Indian civilization, Vedic civilization, is varṇāśrama dharma. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is said:

puruṣeṇa parā pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate puṁsāṁ
nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam
(CC Madhya 8.58)

So here it is said, called, gṛha-vratānām. Gṛha-vrata means those who have taken this family life or material life as all in all. That's all. Vrata. Vrata means vow. "I shall improve my family condition," "I shall improve my social condition," "I shall improve the international condition" or "political condition." All these things, they are called gṛha-vratānām.

They have no idea that beyond this life there is another life. Therefore they are stuck up with this idea. They are called gṛha-vrata. Generally, at the present moment, everyone is gṛha-vrata. That's all. They simply want, "How to improve my economic condition." That's all. Individually, socially, family wise, internationally or nationally, that is their aim. They are called gṛha-vrata.

So Prahlāda Mahārāja said, because he knew that his father is number one gṛha-vrata, atheist number one and materialist number one, so when he inquired, "How you developed Kṛṣṇa consciousness?" he said immediately, flatly, to his father, "My dear father, don't worry. You will never will have Kṛṣṇa consciousness. (laughter)

Because you are so much attached to this materialistic way of life, be sure you will never increase your devotion to Kṛṣṇa. Be sure. Don't be agitated." Yes. Matir na kṛṣṇe parato svato vā mitho 'bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām. "Those who have taken this vow, for them there is no possibility of increasing or culturing Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There is no possibility."

These boys who have come to me, and they have become so nice devotee, because they are not gṛha-vrata, they have no interest with this material world. That is their first-class qualification. Therefore they have come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If anyone wants to make his economic position developed by Kṛṣṇa consciousness, don't do that—there is no possibility.

Of course, Kṛṣṇa is very kind. If anyone wants . . . just like Dhruva Mahārāja wanted to develop his economic condition. Kṛṣṇa gave him. Kṛṣṇa gives. He is very kind. But that is not the purpose of developing Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be pure—simply to serve the Lord.

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā
(Brs. 1.1.11)

So Prahlāda Mahārāja first of all said: "My dear father, anyone whose vow is to live in this material world very comfortably, although there is no possibility of comfort . . ." This is called māyā. But they are trying to be comfortable. They are trying to be comfortable. Punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30). They have seen that Roman Empire was lost, Greek Empire was lost, Mogul Empire was lost; still, they tried for British Empire, and it has failed. They are called punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām. The things which have been thrown away after chewing, again chewing the same thing. That is called gṛha-vratānām.

You cannot make any permanent settlement within this material world. That is not possible. The nature is made so, whatever you do, for the time being you relish that, "I have done something, I am now very comfortably situated," and so on, so on, but time will come, you will be kicked off from your position. You will be again thrown into the wilderness. Therefore they do not know. That will be explained also. They do not know what is the aim of life. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum (SB 7.5.31). They do not know. They are foolish. Andhā yathāndhair. Their foolish leaders also misleading them.

So this will be explained by Prahlāda Mahārāja. This is very nice instruction. You please come tomorrow, I shall speak also tomorrow.

Thank you very much. (devotees offer obeisances)

Śyāmasundara: You want to answer any questions? (to guests) Questions relating to tonight's lecture, pertaining to this philosophy of Prahlāda Mahārāja, please ask. You are free to ask any questions.

German devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda, in the beginning, the sravanam is hearing . . . I was discussing this with somebody, and they said that reading of books silently is no good. Is this true? Does one have to recite aloud while one is reading? To read Bhagavad-gītā . . .

Prabhupāda: Reading is also smaraṇam. That śravaṇam, kīrtanam, smaraṇam. It is clear? Śravaṇam means hearing, kīrtanam means chanting, and smaraṇam. When you read, you remember God's activities, Kṛṣṇa's activities, His devotees' activities. Therefore it is smaraṇam. This is also one of the prescribed methods. But if anyone cannot read even—suppose if he is not educated, illiterate—does it mean that he will not get Kṛṣṇa consciousness?

He will get, simply by hearing. The process is so perfect and nice, there is no need of education even. Illiterate person, simply if he gives aural reception submissively, he will get the benefit. Therefore it is universal; it is good for everyone—educated, noneducated, learned, fool, rich, poor, everyone. Man, woman, child, adult—everyone can take part and take benefit out of it. It is so nice.

English devotee: Prabhupāda, if someone is hearing the holy names in the street, if the saṅkīrtana party is chanting, and they are atheists, what benefit is this for them?

Prabhupāda: There is. In time, in due course of time, he will no longer remain atheist. He'll become theist. The hearing effect is so nice that gradually he becomes theist. As our students . . . not that everyone was Prahlāda Mahārāja.

Still, by simply hearing they have come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Is it not? Yes. Simply by . . . (laughter) We are giving chance to hear. Our street sankīrtana is meant for that. If somebody hears a little attentively, he will get the chance to come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Śyāmasundara: Any other question?

English devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda, Prahlāda Mahārāja's father, he said that he would never come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Prabhupāda: "Never" means so long he remains a gṛha-vrata. Because his only plan was—he was a powerful king—to conquer all over the world and become happy with money and women. That's all. That is gṛha-vrata. Anyone who wants to be happy with money and women, that is called gṛha-vrata.

So he flatly said to his father, matir na kṛṣṇe parato svato vā mitho 'bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām. But by good association, by Kṛṣṇa conscious association, one becomes free from this vow, gṛha-vrata. They become detached. That is the progress of devotional service. Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra syāt (SB 11.2.42). The more you advance in devotional service, the more you'll be detached from this material life. That is the test. That is the test.

Pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra. Anyatra means materialistic way of life. Therefore people are afraid to send their boys to us. "Oh, he'll be disinterested. He'll not do business. He'll not become a demon." (laughter) That's it. They do not like.

All right. (cut) (end)