730822 - Lecture BG 02.16 - London
Pradyumna: (leads chanting of verse) (Prabhupāda and devotees repeat)
- nāsato vidyate bhāvo
- nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ
- ubhayor api dṛṣṭo 'ntas
- tv anayos tattva-darśibhiḥ
- (BG 2.16)
Translation: "Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent there is no endurance, and of the existent there is no cessation. This seers have concluded by studying the nature of both."
Prabhupāda: There are two things: sat and asat. Sat means which exists, and asat means which does not exist; temporary. It appears and again disappears. That is asat. The example is just like the sky and the cloud. Cloud appears, exists for some time, again disappears. But the sky remains always. This is the distinction between sat and asat.
Try to understand. Sky, this material sky, this also does not exist, but so far our experience is concerned, we can understand the distinction between sat and asat, permanent and temporary. We cannot say, "nonexistent" exactly. Existing. When the cloud comes, it has got some activities, there is rainfall, and on account of rainfall, on the ground there is some new vegetation, new flowers, everything looks very green. In the rainy season we get some products. So we cannot say it is false, but we can say it is temporary.
Similarly, material world, matter, is not false, but it is nonpermanent. Bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate (BG 8.19), you'll find it in the Bhagavad-gītā. The Māyāvādī philosopher says, brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā: "The spirit is truth, and jagat, this material world, is untruth, mithyā, false." We say that everything is emanating from the Supreme. Yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante (Taittirīya Upaniṣad 3.1). Everything is emanating from Brahman, the Supreme Absolute Truth. So that cannot be false. Because Absolute Truth, how from truth, false will come? This is our philosophy. The matter may be temporary, but it is not false. The Vedic injunction is mā asataḥ. Mā asato sad gamaya: don't try to be entangled with the asat, sad asat, but try to come to the platform of sat.
In the previous verse, yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha (BG 2.15), Kṛṣṇa says: "Those who are not disturbed by the material changes . . ." Sama-duḥkha-sukhaṁ dhīraṁ so mṛtatvāya kalpate. Our mission, human mission, is to come to the platform of amṛtatvam, immortality. We have discussed this point. Amṛtatvam, immortality. The modern civilization, the so-called scientists, philosophers, they cannot imagine even that there is possibility of becoming immortal. They cannot imagine. Their brain is so dull that they cannot think of, that we can become immortal. Then how Kṛṣṇa is speaking about immortality?
Is He speaking something nonsense, utopian? No. He is speaking the fact. Otherwise, if Kṛṣṇa speaks something nonsense, utopian, then nobody would be interested to read Bhagavad-gītā. We may be third-class men, that we indulge in Bhagavad-gītā, and Kṛṣṇa is speaking something utopian, nonsense, but there are big, big ācāryas—Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya. Why they are giving attention to the reading of Bhagavad-gītā? Kṛṣṇa does not speak anything nonsense. It is fact. So if it is the fact that there is possibility of becoming immortal . . . that is sat.
So sat . . . our business should be to be engaged in the sat platform, not in the asat platform. Asat platform: nonpermanent or, according to somebody's opinion, false. So false or nonpermanent, whatever it may be, the real human civilization should be based on the purpose of becoming immortal, sat, not asat. That is the distinction between India and other countries. Now I am not speaking of India of today, but India as it is. Big, big ācāryas, just like Vyāsadeva . . . Vyāsadeva is the original ācārya; therefore the birthday of guru is called vyāsa-pūjā. Vyāsa-pūjā. Vyāsa-pūjā means original guru. Guru is the representative of Vyāsadeva.
This throne is called vyāsāsana, sitting place of Vyāsadeva. So one who is representative of Vyāsadeva, he can sit on this throne. So guru, by paramparā system, guru is seated on the vyāsāsana because he is the representative. Just like in the high court, the bench . . . it is called bench. Actually, the bench is to be used by the head of the executive power, the king or the president. But the high-court judge is the representative of the head executive; therefore he sits on that bench.
So Vyāsadeva, so learned scholar, everyone knows how great scholar he was. He has written so many books: four Vedas, eighteen Purāṇas, then Vedānta-sūtra, then Upaniṣads. So many things. Recorded, not written; recorded. So such a big scholar was residing . . . he was guiding the whole society, but he was living very humbly. Even Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, he was prime minister, but he was living in a cottage. That is the distinction between Vedic or Indian civilization and the modern civilization. The Indian civilization means they are interested in sat, and others, they are interested in asat. Asat means which will not exist. I've already explained.
In India . . . of course, materially, five hundred . . . five thousand years ago, materially also, India was very opulent. Why five thousand years? Even five hundred years or four hundred years, India was so opulent that Europeans were attracted to go to India. Even during the time of Mogul Empire, it was so opulent. Those who have gone to India, you'll find if you visit in Delhi, the Red Fort.
Red Fort you'll find there are pictures of birds and trees on the wall, and the eyes of the bird is now hole, or some parts. Means it was bedecked with jewel. On the wall there was decoration of birds, just like we paint now. There is also paint. But that is not painting. Set up with stones, and the eyes and other parts of the bird, or trees, flowers, they are bedecked with different types of jewels. Now all these jewels have been taken away when British government was there, and they are now protected in the British Museum, so far I have heard. But the jewels were taken away. That's a fact. Anyone can see that.
So material opulence and . . . of course, in India it was not considered to have a big tin car or plastic plates. Material opulence means jewels, gold, silk, butter. That is material opulence. Not plastic pots or plastic bucket, plastic cloth. It has no value. So anyway, India was concerned material opulence whatever is gotten from the nature, not by industry, not engaging oneself in industry. Therefore India, the leaders of India now, they are finding that on account of our negligence to the material side of life, we have become poor.
So the purpose is that the East and West difference is that the Eastern people—Eastern people means India—they stressed on this sat portion, the permanent portion, the spiritual civilization. Their aim was "How to make this life perfect so that I can become immortal." As I explained the other day, aihistam yat punar janma jayāya, yat tat punar janma jayāya. The whole effort was how to conquer over birth and death. So modern people, they do not understand that birth and death can be conquered.
They can imagine it. Sometimes they say that, "By scientific advancement, someday we shall become immortal." They also expect to become immortal. But, expect or not expect, here is the information from Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa says, He's not speaking something nonsense or utopian. It is fact that we should be interested in the permanent, permanent life, not temporary life.
This life, this material life, is temporary. We may live for ten years or ten hours. There are living entities, they live for ten minutes, and there are living entities who are living for ten millions or ten billions of years. Just like in the Brahmaloka, they live billions of years. So all these duration of life, different types of duration of life, are there within this material world, but still, it is not permanent. Even if you live for ten billions of years or you live for ten minutes or ten seconds, it is nonpermanent.
That is being explained here. Nāsato vidyate bhāvaḥ. Asataḥ, or this material body, it has no endurance. It will not endure; it will not be permanently existing. Nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ: And the soul is permanent. He . . . it has no change; it will never be nonexistent. Kṛṣṇa is explaining. When Kṛṣṇa says: "My dear Arjuna, you, Me and all these kings and soldiers who have assembled here, it is not that we did not exist in the past," so what is that? That means we are not this body. This body was not existing in the past, in my past life, or duration of life. But as I am soul, I am existing now, I did exist in the past, and I will exist in the future. That is sat. Therefore spirit has no such change.
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has sung:
- sat-saṅga chāḍi' kainu asate vilāsa
- te-kāraṇe lāgilo ye karma-bandha-phāṅsa
- (Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura)
karma-bandha-phāṅsa means entangled. Sometimes we have got experience that threads, they become entangled. It is very difficult to find out where the beginning is. Sometimes spoiled. So, on account of our attachment to this material body, we are becoming entangled. Sat-saṅga chāḍi' kainu asate vilāsa. This meeting, as we are holding, this is called sat-saṅga. Sat-saṅga because here there is no other business, talking all nonsense, some material things. Here only we talk about the spirit soul, about Kṛṣṇa, about relationship with Kṛṣṇa, how to act to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. This is the business here. That is the reference. Formerly this place, Manor, was known as Piggot's Manor.
Now we have named Bhaktivedanta Manor. What is the difference? Formerly, it was for sense gratification. Now it is meant for elevating one to the spiritual standard of life. So anything can be changed like that for sat-saṅga. Sat-saṅgāt mukta duḥsaṅga. If you continue sata, as it is said, sat-saṅga, then you advance in spiritual life. And if you associate with asat, then you become degraded. This is the policy. Sat-saṅga chāḍi kainu asate vilāsa te kāraṇe lagilā mora karma-bandha-phāṅsa. Don't be entangled. Try to become liberated from the entanglement. That is the mission of life.
So these things cannot be understood so long we are in the darkness. Darkness means sinful life. The more we are engaged in sinful life, we cannot understand what is sat-saṅga and what is asat-saṅga. So we should be purified. The whole human life is meant for purification. Yasmāt śuddhyet sattvam (SB 5.5.1). Sattvam. Sattvam means existence. Śuddhyet. Śuddhyet means becomes purified. Just like a diseased man, contaminated by some disease, the medical treatment means he has to be purified from the contamination. Similarly, we are impure in this material existence by contamination of the three modes of material nature: sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa—goodness, passion and ignorance. So even if we are contaminated by the quality of goodness of this material world, that is also contaminated. That is also cause of our entanglement.
Goodness . . . a brāhmaṇa, if he thinks that, "Now I have brahminical qualification. I am now educated, I am very cleansed, I am very controlled"—these things are brahminical qualification—"I know what is what," jñānaṁ vijñānam, but he does not try for becoming immortal, then that kind of thinking is also bondage that, "I am this, I am that." Even though he is very learned—satya śamo damas titikṣā śuci, all these good qualities are there—but if he does not try to be . . . go further ahead, how to become immortal, so this type of fine entanglement is also entanglement. And those who are passionate, they are thinking, "I am so rich, I am so powerful, I have got so many nice business, bank balance. I have got my big family, nice wife." These are passion conception of life. So they are certainly bound up. And those who are ignorant, means one does not know what is the value of life, lying down anywhere, lazy, sleeping, unclean, do not know the value of life, they are in ignorance. They are very firmly bound up.
So liberation means the more you are enlightened the value of life, the more, then you become liberated. The more you become liberated, the more you are advanced in your spiritual knowledge, sata, sat, sat-saṅga. Therefore, these meetings which we hold every day, they are meant for advancing in spiritual life. Here, there is no program how to become very rich, how to possess more motorcars, how to have more bank balance, how to have nice dress. These are material things. Or ignorance: how to sleep thirty-four hours a day, although we have got twenty-four hours only.
So here we see big, big men, they sleep up to two o'clock. Early rising means two o'clock. That is also early, but not at day two o'clock. At night two o'clock if you rise, that is nice. But they are accustomed to get up two o'clock. Because they think, "The more we sleep, we enjoy life." Therefore, they are śūnyavādī. They want to become zero, sleeping always. Śūnyavādī. "Make everything zero." That is called śūnyavādī.
No, that is not life. Śūnyavādī is not life. Activity is life. Kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ (CC Adi 17.31). Caitanya Mahāprabhu says: "Don't become zero, but be engaged always in chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra." That is Kṛṣṇa . . . Caitanya Mahāprabhu's cult. We are not going to be zero. We want to be very active, but active not for sense gratification but for Kṛṣṇa's service. Now what is Kṛṣṇa's service? That we are teaching, how to worship Kṛṣṇa.
- śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
- smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
- arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
- sakhyam ātma-nivedanam
- (SB 7.5.23)
These are nine kinds of services. They are sat. The more we are engaged in these nine kinds of different occupation of devotional service, the more we are elevated. And the more we are engaged in activities of material sense gratification, we are degraded. Śrama eva hi kevalam (SB 1.2.8). You have got nice office, material point of view, nice business. So if you perform that business, office work, your duty, very nicely, but you have no Kṛṣṇa consciousness, śāstra says that śrama eva hi kevalam. It is simply wasting time and laboring hard. That's all. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says that this is the distinction between sat and asat. And we should not be very much interested with the asat. Then our life is spoiled. We should be interested with sat. That will make our life successful. Then we make progress for amṛtatva.
Unfortunately, people at the present moment, they do not know, neither they can imagine even that there is possibility of becoming immortal. This is very important point. There is not possibility, there is fact. And kṛṣṇa-kīrtana is so important. In the śāstra, many places, it is said. Kīrtanād eva kṛṣṇasya mukta-saṅgaḥ paraṁ vrajet (SB 12.3.51). That param is . . . means spiritual. There are two kinds of, parā- and aparā-prakṛti. Aparā-prakṛti, parā-prakṛti. Apareyam. Yam. This material world is aparā, inferior energy. Itas tu viddhi me prakṛtiṁ parām. Besides this, there is another prakṛti, another nature, which is parā. Parā means spiritual.
So we should be interested with the parā, not with the aparā. Why? Now that is real life. That is real life. Here it is said, ubhayor api. Considering both this parā and aparā, the superior and inferior, tattva-darśibhiḥ. Who will study? Tattva-darśibhiḥ. Tattva-darśī means those who have realized the truth, tattva-darśī. And we find this word tattva in various places. Tattvataḥ.
- manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu
- kaścid yatati siddhaye
- yatatām api siddhānāṁ
- kaścin vetti māṁ tattvataḥ
- (BG 7.3)
In another place, janma karma ca me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ (BG 4.9). Tato māṁ jñātvā viśate tad-anantaram (BG 18.55). Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ. This word tattvata is very important. Tattvata means the absolute truth. Truth. Tattva means truth. In the Bhāgavata also, we'll find vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam (SB 1.2.11). Tattva-vidaḥ. Those who are aware of the truth, they call this tattva. What is that tattva? Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate. That tattva is called sometimes Brahman, sometimes Paramātmā and sometimes Bhagavān. The Bhagavān is the last word of tattva. Therefore, you'll find in every stanza, Vyāsadeva is writing, but he's writing śrī bhagavān uvāca. Don't think . . . Vyāsadeva says that, "Although I am writing, I am not the speaker. The speaker is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Śrī bhagavān uvāca. "The authority is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not I."
The modern so-called philosophers, scientists, scholars, they say: "I think. I think." What is your value? The great personality, they will not say like that. Never they will say. Therefore Kṛṣṇa even says tattva-darśibhiḥ: "It has been concluded by higher authorities." He is Himself authority; still, He's not speaking that "I say." No. Sometimes He says mataṁ mama, "That is My opinion." But He's also following the principle, authoritative, tattva-darśibhiḥ. Tattva-darśibhiḥ saṅkhye, ubhayor api dṛṣṭo 'ntaḥ, conclusion. Although Kṛṣṇa is saying that this is sat and this is asat, this is permanent and this is nonpermanent, but still, He is giving evidence that tattva-darśibhiḥ, those who have seen the truth, they have concluded like that. This is, means, authority. "They have concluded like that. Don't think that I am manufacturing something. No." Tattva-darśibhiḥ.
This is the way of understanding: whether tattva-darśibhiḥ. We also give reference sometimes in the modern age that such-and-such professor says such and such. But they are not tattva-darśibhiḥ. They are all speculator. They are not tattva-darśibhiḥ. But we have to go to the tattva-darśī.
- tad viddhi praṇipātena
- paripraśnena sevayā
- upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ
- jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ
- (BG 4.34)
So this tattva-darśī, tattva, this word you should learn very nicely, that that is authoritative, and others they are not authoritative; they are simply speculation. Speculation means mental platform. It has no value. As this body is also nonpermanent, the mind is also flickering. Mind is flickering, accepting something and rejecting something. The same thing now accepted, again rejected. This is mind's business. So mind cannot be tattva-darśī. Of course, we have to think with mind, but under the direction of authority. Then we can reach real tattva.
- vadanti tat tattva-vidas
- tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
- brahmeti paramātmeti
- bhagavān iti śabdyate
- (SB 1.2.11)
The Bhagavān is the last word of tattva.
Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Devotees: All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda . . . (end)