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730913 - Lecture BG 02.40 - London

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

730913BG-LONDON - September 13, 1973 - 31:35 Minutes

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

nehābhikrama-nāśo 'sti
pratyavāyo na vidyate
svalpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt
(BG 2.40)


Translation: "In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear."

Prabhupāda: So we have explained yesterday, buddhi-yoga. Buddhi-yoga means bhakti-yoga. So, svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt. Bhakti-yoga, begun, some way or other, it has got great effect. There is story that in the Deity room, a lamp was burning. You know oil lamp has to be watched. Sometimes the wick has to be pushed. So the lamp was almost going to be extinguished. In the meantime, a rat came there. He thought that it is something eatable. So he touched with mouth the wick, and it became pushed. Simply by that action he got salvation. Just try to understand. Because it gave some service to the Deity.

So there are many instances. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt. Kṛṣṇa consciousness business is so nice that whatever you do sincerely, it will never be lost. Permanent. Either you execute one percent, two percent, fifty percent. If you can finish hundred percent, then next life, sure you are going to Kṛṣṇa. But even if you are unable to finish the whole course, still, whatever you have done, that is permanent credit. That will never be lost.

The similar passage is there in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, while Nārada Muni was instructing Vyāsadeva for writing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So he said this verse:

tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer
bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi
yatra kva vābhadram abhūd amuṣya kiṁ
ko vārtha āpto 'bhajatāṁ sva-dharmataḥ
(SB 1.5.17)

Tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ hareḥ. This dharma means according to social and spiritual position, somebody is brahmacārī, somebody is householder, somebody is vānaprastha, somebody is sannyāsī; somebody is brāhmaṇa, somebody kṣatriya, somebody's vaiśya, somebody's śūdra. This is Vedic division of social and spiritual life. So each position has got different types of occupational duties. These are mentioned in the Bhāgavata. Brāhmaṇa has got to do: śamaḥ damaḥ śaucaṁ titikṣā. Kṣatriya: śauryaṁ vīryaṁ yuddhe cāpalāyanam. In this way, there are some prescribed duties. But these are all material consideration. People cannot even follow systematically the material system so that you can live peacefully so long you are in this material world. The modern civilization is so condemned. They do not know even how to live peacefully. If these divisions are there, four divisions: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra and brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, it will be very systematic. People will be automatically enlightened.

That is real human civilization. If the society, human society, does not at all adopt this system of social life, there cannot be any peace. Still, in India, although it is fallen so much, in the interior village you'll find the social divisions are maintained and they live very peacefully. Very peacefully. Those who have gone into the interior village, they have seen. And everyone can elevate himself to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Sva-karmaṇā tam abhyarcya (BG 18.46). It is not that because one is śūdra or one is gṛhastha, vānaprastha, he cannot. No. For Kṛṣṇa worship, for everyone the door is open. That is explained here. Even if you think that, "If I take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, join this international movement, I will be deviating from my real duty," so that also you can do. What is your real duty? This is temporary duty. Suppose you are a very nice brāhmaṇa or nice kṣatriya, nice businessman, nice politician. Your career will be lost, if you think, by joining this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, your career will be lost—don't think like that. It is still profitable. Even if you give up whole career and simply join Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, then your life is success. That is being stressed. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya.

So Nārada Muni says, tyaktvā sva-dharmam. Sva-dharmam means one's prescribed occupational duties. So long we have got this body, we have to do something. Without doing something we cannot live. The material world will not allow you, that you cannot do anything and you'll be provided. No. Whatever you may be, you may be President Nixon or ordinary man in the street, everyone has to do something. That is not possible. There is a verse in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, tṛtīya-śaktir iṣyate (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6.7.61, CC Madhya 6.154). Here the situation, material situation, is so stringent that without working, you cannot live. You'll die. There is an example in the Hitopadeśa: na hi suptasya siṁhasya praviśanti mukhe mṛgāḥ. Suptasya siṁhasya. Siṁha means lion. If the lion thinks that "I am so powerful animal, king of the forest. Why shall I work?" No. Therefore it is said that if he does not work, then he'll have to starve, even though he's a lion. Because he may be lion, but if he sleeps that, "I am king. Let me sleep and my food will come automatically in my mouth," that is not possible. This is the example. Very good example. Na hi suptasya siṁhasya praviśanti mukhe mṛgāḥ. A lion is sleeping. If he does not work, he'll also starve. He'll also starve. And what to speak of cats and dogs.

So this is not possible. Therefore, there is sva-dharma. Sva-dharma means, you are in brahminical quality, your work is this. You are in martial spirit . . . one who is intelligent, for him, studying Vedas, understanding the philosophy, preaching for the good of the society, train them, guide them, this is brāhmaṇa's business. Brāhmaṇa is not going to work in the factory. That is not brāhmaṇa's business. But in modern civilization, everyone should go to factory, never mind whether you are brāhmaṇa or śūdra or a . . . this is the mistake. Therefore, if I am not fit for a certain thing and if I am engaged in that business, that will be failure. That will be failure. For a particular type of business, occupation, one must have particular type of brain. So therefore this is division. Not that everyone is of the same type. You cannot find. There is not . . .

Because the world is being conducted by the three modes of nature, you cannot find all men of the same category. There must be intelligent class of men, there must be martial spirit, administrative class of men, there must be business-minded men. There must be śūdras; they do not know anything, they want to serve only, master. So therefore scientifically it is divided. Mukha bahu rupadebhyo. Just like in your body you find scientifically it is designed by God or Lord Brahmā: "This is brain department, this is arms department, this is belly department, this is leg department." All of them required. You cannot avoid any one of them. This is called sva-dharma. One must be fixed up to his own position. That is the real perfect social system.

Now here it is said, tyaktvā sva-dharmam. This is material division. The spiritual is different. So far . . . I am combination of matter and spirit; so far my body is concerned, there is division. But when I come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, it is not like that. That is simply for everyone. Either he's externally a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, American, Indian, black, white, it doesn't matter. That is bodily. When you come to the spiritual platform, that is one. Because spirit is one.

brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
(BG 5.18)

There this . . . in the spiritual platform we are one. Then the business is also one—to serve Kṛṣṇa. That is spiritual.

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu . . .
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
(BG 18.54)

So when you come to the bhakti platform, that is simply to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. In the material platform, everyone is to satisfy his own whims. That is the difference. So if you give up your material activities, tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ hareḥ, and, by sentiment or by canvassing or by seeing that "These people are Kṛṣṇa conscious people. They are very nice. They are chanting in the street, let me join," somehow or other, if you come in contact, then . . . (indistinct)

I think one of our students joined, he was going to business and seeing the chanting, dancing in the street, he immediately joined. Who is that? I think Dhruva?

Devotee: Devanātha.

Prabhupāda: Devanātha, yes. And he joined immediately. So this is nice. This is nice. Tyaktvā sva-dharmam—he was meant for something else, but he joined Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujam. All right, you have joined Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, that's all right. Execute it nice, make progress. But not progress—tyaktvā sva-dharmaṁ caraṇāmbujaṁ harer bhajann apakvo 'tha (SB 1.5.17). If he could not execute properly, he could not chant sixteen rounds, he could not observe the rules and regulation or for sometimes he could execute and then again, he became slackened . . . just like sometimes we see some of our student falls down.

So Nārada Muni says, bhajann apakvo 'tha. His execution of devotional service could not be completed; somehow or other, it was checked, it was obstructed, and he falls down again in the clutches of māyā. Falls down. There is possibility. Māyā is very strong. Māyā is very strong. At any moment we can fall down. Therefore we have to keep ourselves very much vigilant, strong, strong. Strength, the spiritual strength is the chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and following the rules and regulation. Then māyā cannot. Mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te (BG 7.14). If you keep yourself strictly to the principles of bhakti-yoga, māyā's father also will not be able to do anything. No.

So here it is said, bhajann apakvo 'tha patet tato yadi. Yadi, not always. If sometimes one falls down, without . . . then, yatra kva vā abhadram abhūd amuṣya kim. Then what is the loss there? He's not a loser. Still he's gainer. Because for the time being, whatever he has done sincerely, serving Kṛṣṇa, that is credited forever, eternally. It will be never lost. Mind that. Do sincerely, and you'll be never lost. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati (BG 9.31), Kṛṣṇa says: "My dear Arjuna, you declare it, that none of My devotees will ever be vanquished. I'll give you protection." Ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi (BG 18.66).

So do it sincerely. Don't think that, "Even if I fall, there is no loss." No, don't think like that. Why I shall fall? I've taken to Kṛṣṇa's shelter, why shall you give it up? This is my life. But even if you fall down, that is also said, so there is no loss. There is no loss because, suppose if you have executed fifty percent, fifty percent you could not do; you fall down again . . . in another place it is also, yoga-bhraṣṭo 'bhijāyate. Śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo 'bhijāyate (BG 6.41). yoga-bhraṣṭa: falling down from devotional service, he gets next chance again. He gets birth in very good family, rich family, and pure family, brāhmaṇa family, so that again he'll be given chance: "Now, you begin again." These are explained, you'll find.

Therefore, Nārada Muni says that even if he is, for the time being, failure, then there is no loss. But on the other hand, ko vā artha āptaḥ abhajatāṁ sva-dharmataḥ. Suppose one is very nicely executing his occupational duty, he's a businessman, very routine work, doing business, making profit, and everyone appreciates his routine work. Even if he does so . . . or he is a very nice brāhmaṇa, nice kṣatriya, so he has done his duty very nicely, but he has not taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, śāstra says, what he has gained? What he has gained? In many places it is confirmed in Bhāgavata, that:

ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya
saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam
(SB 1.2.13)

Take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness means the way how you can please the Supreme Lord. But if by executing your so-called occupational duty of the body, if you do not take care of taking to Kṛṣṇa consciousness or pleasing the Supreme Lord, then we have no gain. You are simply working for nothing, wasting your time. You are thinking that "I'm doing my duty very nicely. I'm a brāhmaṇa, I'm doing my duty," "I am businessman doing my duty," "I'm scientist, I am . . ." Actually, you are not doing your duty. Your real duty is to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That you have forgotten. Therefore Nārada Muni says, ko vā artha āptaḥ abhajatām. One who is not taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, not engaged in devotional—abhajatām. So what does he gain?

In another place the Bhāgavata says, śrama eva hi kevalam:

dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ
notpādayed ratiṁ yadi
śrama eva hi kevalam
(SB 1.2.8)

Śrama eva hi kevalam. One man is doing his duty, his occupational duty as a brāhmaṇa or a kṣatriya or a businessman or a student or anyone. He's doing very nicely. But doing all these activities, if he could not awaken his dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness, dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ . . . viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥll means just like you have come here to hear about Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Otherwise, why you have come here? You have come here hearing me or anyone discussing śāstra. So this is required. You may do anything as your occupational duty, but the real life is that you have to awaken your dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness, become eager to understand about Kṛṣṇa. That is main business.

So therefore it is said that after doing your duties very nicely, but you have no taste for understanding Kṛṣṇa, viṣvaksena . . . another name of Kṛṣṇa is Viṣvaksa. Kathāsu. Kathāsu means "message." dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ viṣvaksena-kathāsu, notpādayed ratim yadi (SB 1.2.8): if you do not awaken your attachment for hearing about Kṛṣṇa, kṛṣṇa-kathā . . . that is our main business, Caitanya Mahāprabhu—kṛṣṇa-kathā. Yāre dekha tāre kaha 'kṛṣṇa'-upadeśa (CC Madhya 7.128). This is our mission.

We have to simply speak about Kṛṣṇa all over the world. Yāre dekha tāre kaha 'kṛṣṇa'-kathā, 'kṛṣṇa'-upadeśa. So if one is not interested in kṛṣṇa-kathā, in the topics of Kṛṣṇa, then śāstra says, śrama eva hi kevalam. Whatever rightfully or sincerely he's doing on the material bodily concept of life, it is śrama eva hi kevalam. Simply he's wasting time. Now it is very difficult to understand this philosophy. If we go to a very nice businessman or politician or scientist, if we say: "Sir, have you got any interest in Kṛṣṇa consciousness?" "No what, what shall I do it? I don't want." Then if I say: "You are wasting your time, sir," will he accept? But this is the position, actually. He's simply wasting his time. Śrama eva hi kevalam (SB 1.2.8).

Therefore the conclusion is, try to execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness somehow or other. Even whatever you have finished, that is your lasting credit. Don't be neglectful. Tyaktvā sva-dharmam. Svalpam apy asya—this is the most important line in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya. This occupational duty, Kṛṣṇa consciousness . . . there are many examples. Just like Ajāmila. Ajāmila, it is very nice example in the śāstra, Ajāmila, the story of Ajāmila. He was a son of a brāhmaṇa, and he was very nicely trained up, brahmacārī, and when he was young, he was married also. So he is very faithful to his wife, father, mother, and executing the duties of a brāhmaṇa. But one day he went to collect some flowers for worshiping Deity; his father was old, he was helping. So, in the meantime, he saw a śūdra woman and man, they were embracing and kissing one another. So he became sexually agitated. There is that possibility. Therefore there is restriction of intermingling of woman and man. Because as soon as one falls a prey to the sex desire, then his whole career may be spoiled. May be spoiled. But if he is strongly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is no such chance.

But this brāhmaṇa Ajāmila, he saw. Naturally, he was young man, and the woman also played some trick. So later on he became a victim of that woman. She was a prostitute. And then he forgot his father and mother, his wife, everything, for home, everything forgotten. So he became addicted to that prostitute, and to maintain he became a thief, rogue, burglar, drunkard, anything, someway or other bring money, bring money, bring money. You see? So he was doing that. In this way his life was spoiled. And he begot ten children in that prostitute's womb. So the last child . . . naturally the last son, the youngest son becomes very father's pet. So he was taking care of the son, and his name was Nārāyaṇa. That is the system of Vedic . . . children are given . . . Nārāyaṇa dāsa. Just like we give name, spiritual name.

So when he was old enough, he was going to die out of disease. His so-called prostitute wife neglected. She went away. So the Yamadūtas, the servants of the Yamarāja, they came to take him, because he was the greatest sinner, sinful number one. So he has to go to Yamarāja for punishment. So they came, and he was very much afraid. He was seeing . . . one can see vicious, I mean to say, forms of the Yamarāja. So he was crying. So because he was pet to that youngest child Nārāyaṇa, he thought, "My son, this Nārāyaṇa, can save me." He chanted, "Nārāyaṇa!" Oh, this "Nārāyaṇa" immediately gave him consciousness that "What this Nārāyaṇa can help me? If Nārāyaṇa, whom in my younger days I worshiped, He can save me." Immediately.

Immediately Nārāyaṇa-sena came here, "Yes." Just see. Svalpam api. Because in the childhood he served Nārāyaṇa for a few days or few years, he was remembering Nārāyaṇa, "If that Nārāyaṇa can save me." So Nārāyaṇa actually saved him, Nārāyaṇa. Ante nārāyaṇa-smṛtiḥ (SB 2.1.6). At the time of death, somehow or other if you can remember Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa, your life is successful. Therefore practice, practice, while you are strong, while you are in good life, practice how to remember Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa, always. Therefore Kulaśekhara, Mahārāja Kulaśekhara, he has written his Stotra-mālā, very important. In the first stotra he said:

kṛṣṇa tvadīya-pada-paṅkaja-pañjarāntam
adyaiva viśatu me mānasa-rāja-haṁsaḥ
prāṇa-prayāṇa-samaye kapha-vāta-pittaiḥ
kaṇṭhāvarodhana-vidhau smaraṇaṁ kutas te
(MM 33)

He's thinking, "My Lord, Kṛṣṇa, now I am strong. Kindly give me the chance to die immediately. Give me the chance. Because now I can remember. But if I die in the natural way, when I am too old, it may be that kapha-pitta, because this is the body of tri-dhātuka, kapha, pitta, vāyu, so my throat will be choked up by mucus, and I may be unconscious, I may not be able to chant at the time of death Your name. So now I am strong, please immediately give me death."

So this is the secret of success. Somehow or other, if you can remember Kṛṣṇa, ante nārāyaṇa-smṛtiḥ (SB 2.1.6). Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran loke (BG 8.6). This is the way. So there is chance. If we execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness sincerely, if you execute till it is finished, then it immediately—tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya (BG 4.9).

If not, even if you have finished certain percentage, still there is chance of perfection, it is such nice thing. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt (BG 2.40).

Thank you very much, Hare . . . (cut) (end)