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731208 - Lecture SB 01.15.30 - Los Angeles

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

731208SB-LOS ANGELES - December 08, 1973 - 37:23 Minutes

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

gītaṁ bhagavatā jñānaṁ
yat tat saṅgrāma-mūrdhani
punar adhyagamat prabhuḥ
(SB 1.15.30)


Prabhupāda: That's all.

Pradyumna: gītam—instructed; bhagavatā—by the Personality of Godhead; jñānam—transcendental knowledge; yat—which; tat—that; saṅgrāma-mūrdhani—in the midst of battle; kāla-karma—time and actions; tamaḥ-ruddham—enwrapped by such darkness; punaḥ adhyagamat—revived them again; prabhuḥ—the lord of his senses. (break)

Translation: "Because of the Lord's pastimes and activities and because of His absence, it appeared that Arjuna forgot the instructions left by the Personality of Godhead. But factually this was not the case, and again he became lord of his senses."

Prabhupāda: Hmm. So, here it is explained what is Bhagavad-gītā. Gītaṁ bhagavatā. Bhagavatā means "by the Supreme Personality of Godhead," and gītaṁ means "spoken." They say: "sung by." You can say. But gītaṁ means "spoken by." Therefore it is called Bhagavad-gītā, "the instruction given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally." Therefore it is called Bhagavad-gītā.

Now Arjuna said that this science was spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If we read Bhagavad-gītā, then we must follow the version of Arjuna, because Arjuna directly heard Bhagavad-gītā from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And he says that this science, gītaṁ bhagavatā. So why there should be interpretation? Because the person who heard directly from Bhagavān, the Supreme Per . . . he says that this is spoken by the Bhagavad-gī . . . erm, Supreme Personality of Godhead. So one who is hearing directly, he's saying something, but you are saying something. You have no right. This is called paramparā system. The person who heard Bhagavad-gītā directly from Kṛṣṇa, whatever he says, that is to be accepted. You cannot interpret. This is the paramparā system.

So if you want to understand Bhagavad-gītā, then we must understand in the same way as the person who directly heard from him. This is called paramparā system. Suppose I have heard something from my spiritual master, so I speak to you the same thing. So this is paramparā system. You cannot imagine what my spiritual master said. Or even if you read some books, you cannot understand unless you understand it from me. This is called paramparā system. You cannot jump over to the superior guru, I mean to say, neglecting the next ācārya, immediate next ācārya. Just like our this Gau . . . Caitanya Mahāprabhu's cult; we cannot understand Caitanya Mahāprabhu directly. This is not possible. We have to understand through the Gosvāmīs. Therefore you'll find in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, in . . . at the end of every chapter, the writer says, rūpa-raghunātha-pade . . . what is that?

Yaśomatīnandana: Caitanya-caritāmṛta kahe.

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa-dāsa.

rūpa-raghunātha-pade yāra āśa
caitanya-caritāmṛta kahe kṛṣṇa-dāsa
(CC Adi 1.110)

This is the process. He does not say that, "I have understood Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu directly." No. That is not understanding. That is foolishness. You cannot understand what is Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Therefore repeatedly he says:

rūpa-raghunātha-pade yāra āśa
caitanya-caritāmṛta kahe kṛṣṇa-dāsa
(CC Adi 1.110)

"I am that Kṛṣṇa dāsa Kavirāja who is always under the subordination of the Gosvāmīs." This is paramparā system.

Similarly, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura also says, ei chay gosāi jār tār mui dās (Nāma-saṅkīrtana 6): "I am servant of that person who has accepted this six Gosvāmīs as his master. I am not going to be servant of any other person who does not accept the way and means of . . ." Therefore we say or we offer our prayer to our spiritual master, rūpānuga-varāya te. Rūpānuga-varāya te. Because he follows Rūpa Gosvāmī, therefore we accept, spiritual master. Not that one has become more than Rūpa Gosvāmī or more than . . . no. Tāṅdera caraṇa-sebi-bhakta-sane vās (Nāma-saṅkīrtana 7). This is the paramparā system.

Now here, the same thing is repeated: Arjuna, who directly heard from Kṛṣṇa . . . sometimes some people say—it is rascaldom—that, "Arjuna heard directly from Kṛṣṇa, but we don't find Kṛṣṇa in our presence, so how can I accept it?" It is not a question of direct presence, because you have no idea of the absolute knowledge. Kṛṣṇa's words, Bhagavad-gītā, is not different from Kṛṣṇa. It is not different from Kṛṣṇa. When you hear Bhagavad-gītā, you are directly hearing from Kṛṣṇa, because Kṛṣṇa is not different. Kṛṣṇa is absolute. Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa's name, Kṛṣṇa's form, Kṛṣṇa's quality, Kṛṣṇa's instruction, everything Kṛṣṇa's, they're all Kṛṣṇa. They're all Kṛṣṇa. This has to be understood. They're not different from Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa's form here, He's Kṛṣṇa. He's not a statue—"He's a marble statue"—no. He's Kṛṣṇa. He has appeared before you because you cannot see Kṛṣṇa. You can see stone, wood; therefore He has appeared in that form. You think that it is stone and wood, but He's not stone and wood; He's Kṛṣṇa. This is called Absolute Truth. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa's words are also not different from Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa's words are there in the Bhagavad-gītā, it's Kṛṣṇa.

Just like the South Indian brāhmaṇa. As soon as he opened his . . . he was illiterate, he could not read Bhagavad-gītā. But his Guru Mahārāja said that, "You shall read every day eighteen chapters of Bhagavad-gītā." So he was puzzled that, "I'm illiterate. I cannot read. All right, take me the . . . take Bhagavad-gītā." So he was in a Rāmaṇatha temple. He took the Bhagavad-gītā and went like this. (gesticulates) He could not read. So his friends who knew him, they were joking, "Well, brāhmaṇa, how you are reading Bhagavad-gītā?" He did not answer because he knew that his friends are "Joking me because I do not know . . . I'm illiterate." But when Caitanya Mahāprabhu came, he was also puzzled. "Brāhmaṇa, you are reading Bhagavad-gītā?" He said: "Sir, I am illiterate. I cannot read. It is not possible. But my Guru Mahārāja ordered me to read. What can I do? I've taken this book." This is . . . (indistinct) . . . follower of guru's word. He's illiterate. He cannot read. There is no possibility. But his Guru Mahārāja ordered, "You must read Bhagavad-gītā daily, eighteen chapters." Now what is this? (laughs) This is called vyavasāyātmikā buddhiḥ (BG 2.44). I may be quite in . . . I mean to say, complete. It doesn't matter. But if I try to follow the words of my Guru Mahārāja, then I become complete.

This is the secret. Yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau (ŚU 6.23). If one has staunch faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead and as much faith in the guru, yathā deve tathā gurau, then the revealed scriptures become manifest. It is not the education. It is not the scholarship. It is faith in Kṛṣṇa and guru. Therefore Caitanya-caritāmṛta-kar says, guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpāya pāya bhakti-latā-bīja (CC Madhya 19.151). Not by education; not by scholarship. Never says. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpāya, by the mercy of guru, by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. It is a question of mercy. It is not the question of scholarship or opulence or richness. No. The whole bhakti-mārga depends on the mercy of the Lord. So we have to seek the mercy. Athāpi te deva padāmbuja-dvaya-prasāda-leśānugṛhīta eva hi, jānāti tattvam . . . (SB 10.14.29). Prasāda-leśa. Leśa means fraction. One who has received a little fraction of mercy of the Supreme, he can understand. Others, na cānya eko 'pi ciraṁ vicinvan. Others, they may go on speculating for millions of years, it is not possible to understand.

So Bhagavad-gītā as it is, therefore we are presenting, because we are presenting Bhagavad-gītā as it was understood by Arjuna. We do not go to Dr. Radhakrishnan, this scholar, that scholar, this rascal, that ra . . . no. We do not go. That is not our business. That is paramparā. So Arjuna here says, bhagavatā, "What I heard from that personality, Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān." Bhagavān means full of six opulences. I've described it many times. So here is the direct hearer, listener. He says bhagavatā. How you can say that Kṛṣṇa is not Bhagavān—ordinary person? How you can say? One who heard the message, he says directly. This is called paramparā system. This is called paramparā. Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2).

So if we understand Bhagavad-gītā as Kṛṣṇa . . . as Arjuna understood, that is perfect. That is Bhagavad-gītā as it is. And if you try to understand Bhagavad-gītā as some rascal commentator says, then you are reading something else; rubbish. There's no meaning. You're simply wasting your time. He may be such scholar, such big politician, or big . . . in our country, big politician, they have commented; big, big yogīs, they have commented; big, big scholars, they have . . . they're all useless. Take it: useless. If you read such commentary of Bhagavad-gītā, it is simply waste of time. If you actually want to study Bhagavad-gītā, then as Arjuna understands. Arjuna, he directly listened from Kṛṣṇa.

So in Bhagavad-gītā Arjuna says, after understanding Bhagavad-gītā from Kṛṣṇa, he said, "Kṛṣṇa, You are Parabrahma." Paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān (BG 10.12). Bhavān. Bhavān means "Your Lordship." "You are Parabrahma, the Supreme Brahman." He's Supreme Brahman. Brahma means spirit, and brahma means the greatest. So he has explicitly explained that spirit soul . . . we are all spirit soul, every one of us, but He is the supreme spirit soul, param. Param means the supreme. He's not ordinary. So He comes as ordinary—not ordinary; as human being—but He's the supreme human being. That is the difference. Supreme human being. But one who cannot understand, one who thinks, "Well, Kṛṣṇa is like us. He has got also two hands, two legs, one head. We have got also. He is like me," he is a mūḍha, rascal. Therefore it is said in the Bhagavad-gītā, avajānanti māṁ mūḍhāḥ (BG 9.11): "These rascal fools, they deride." Mānuṣīṁ tanum āś . . . paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ, "They have no knowledge of the paraṁ bhāvam."

So the paraṁ bhāvam, that is understood by the devotee. That is the difference. Budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ, Kṛṣṇa has said. Budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ (BG 10.8). Paraṁ bhāvam, this bhāva . . . bhāva means assimilation—"Oh, Kṛṣṇa is so great." This is called bhāva. That is real understanding, when you understand really this bhāva stage. Bhāva-bhakti. Bhāva-bhakti. Simply engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service. Paraṁ bhāvam. Persons who has not come to this stage of bhāva, he cannot understand Kṛṣṇa. Paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ. The bhāva stage comes. Everyone can attain that bhāva stage. There is process. This process is described by Rūpa Gosvāmī how to come to the bhāva stage. Bhāva stage means just prior to perfection. One must come to the bhāva stage; next stage is perfection. Next stage is full perfection.

So how to come to this bhāva stage, that is Rūpa Gosvāmī has described: ādau śraddhā (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.4.15). First of all little faith. Just like many outsider also come here, "What these people are doing, these Kṛṣṇa consciousness men? So let us see." So śraddhā. That is called śraddhā. Śraddhā, real śraddhā means complete faith. That is described by Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Śraddhā-śabde viśvāsa sudṛḍha niścaya (CC Madhya 22.62). One who has got this much faith, strong faith, that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This faith, not flickering; firm faith, "Yes, Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality . . ." That is called śraddhā. That is beginning of śraddhā. If you have got still doubt, then you have not come to the stage of śraddhā even. Superfluous. You may come, but when you actually believe that "Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and if I engage myself in Kṛṣṇa's service, I am perfect"—two things—that is śraddhā. And the more you increase this śraddhā you become advanced. The beginning is this śraddhā. Ādau śraddhā.

So how this śraddhā, this faith, can be increased? Sādhu-saṅga (CC Madhya 22.83). If you keep yourself associated with the devotees, then this śraddhā can be increased. If you simply believe, "Yes, Kṛṣṇa is Supreme Personality," but you do not live with the sādhus or devotee, then it will drop. It will finish. So just to keep the standard, the temperature right, you must keep always yourself warm. If you go away, then your warmth is gone; again you become cold. You see? This is the process. Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgaḥ (CC Madhya 23.14-15).

Everything is perfect. The first thing is that you must believe that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yes. And to keep this faith strong and going on, you must keep association with devotees. Otherwise, whatever little faith you got, it will be lost. You become again under the clutches of māyā. Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgaḥ. And if you actually associating with sādhu, then the next stage is bhajana-kriyā, initiation, how to worship Kṛṣṇa. Then anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt. If you are actually engaged in devotional service, anartha, which are not required, things will vanish. Just like we ask our students, "No illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat-eating." Simply by hearing, you cannot follow it. It is not possible. If you make bhajana-kriyā, if you're actually following—chanting sixteen rounds—then you can follow the others. Otherwise, if you are spiritually weak, you cannot. The government is spending so much money to stop this intoxication, LSD, in your country. They're all failure. But here, with our poor association, a person can give up immediately. Just see how much the association is strong. Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu . . . bhajana-kriyā, anartha.

Then after one is free from these sinful activities, then he comes to the understanding stage. So long one is sinful, he has no possibility of understanding. Yeṣāṁ anta-gataṁ pāpam. One who is completely free from all sinful activities, anta-gatam, finished, yeṣāṁ anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām. And how you can become free from sinful activities unless you act piously? Because we must have some engagement. If you have no pious engagement, then you cannot become free from sinful activities. You must act. If you do not act piously, then you must act viciously. This is the way. The Māyāvādī philosopher, they simply wants to stop impious activities. But they do not engage themselves in pious activities. Therefore they fail. They fail. You must have side by side. Paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate (BG 2.59). If you get something better, then you can give up inferior. But if you do not get better, you cannot give up the inferior. That is not possible.

So you yeṣāṁ . . . you can give up this impious activities provided you are engaged fully in devotional service. Otherwise it is not possible. Simply by moral instruction that, "Stealing is very bad. Don't steal," nobody will accept. Nobody will accept. It is practical. One man has stolen, and he's arrested and he's going to the police custody. So everyone has seen, and he has heard also that the government says that if you steal, you'll be punished. And in the Bible or in any other religious scripture it is said that stealing is not good. So he has heard it, and he has seen it that a man who has stolen, he is going to jail. So these two things are experienced: hearing and seeing. So in spite of all his experience, why does he steal? Because he has no good association. He knows that stealing is bad; otherwise why he steals at night? Nobody can see. He knows it is, "I'm doing some bad thing." But why he cannot give up that bad thing? Because he's not associating with good person. That is it.

So association is so . . . therefore we have named this Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Society. Not Kṛṣṇa Consciousness only. Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Society. A society's so beneficial, we should understand. So, in this way, atha bhajana-kriyā anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt. If we prosecute our devotional activities and keep association with the devotees, then we can be free from sinful activities. And when you are completely free from sinful activities, then we get niṣṭhā: "Yes." It is full faith. Niṣṭhā means full faith. Tato niṣṭhā. Tato ruciḥ. Ruci means taste. Why you are hearing about Kṛṣṇa daily, the same thing? We are speaking nothing new, "Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and you have to surrender," this is our all daily business. But why you are coming to see . . . hear the same hackneyed words? Because it is very pleasing.

This is called ruci, taste "Yes, I want to hear this repeatedly. Yes. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord. I am the eternal servant." You have got a taste. Unless one gets the taste, then you'll say, "What is this hackneyed word?" Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, twenty-four hours you can chant because you have got a taste. Others cannot do. This is called ruci. And ruci means āsakti, attraction, "I must go. I must chant. I must do." Tato niṣṭhā, tato ruciḥ, atha āsaktiḥ, tato bhāvaḥ, then bhāva: "Ah, Kṛṣṇa. I will associate with Kṛṣṇa." Then Kṛṣṇa's love. That is perfection.

So those who are not attained to this stage, first stage is how to become free from sinful ac . . . anartha. Anartha you don't require, but you are habituated. And māyā is so strong. You don't require to smoke, but the māyā is advertising, "Here is one cool cigarette," or "this hot cigarette," or this . . . you see? This is called māyā. You don't require it. It has no existence. There is no pleasure, but still you are attached to it. That is called māyā, illusion. That is called illusion. So we have got so friend, so nice friends all over the world, that we . . . what you do not require, that is . . . they are simply allurimous: "Here is whisky, here is this wine, here is that wine, here is this woman, here is this illicit sex, here is this cigarette, here is meat-eating, here is . . ." This is going on.

So therefore this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the only humanitarian work who can save the human society. All are helping them to go to hell. This is a fact. All are helping simply . . . so many innocent human beings are being slaughtered, you see, by education, by culture, by so-called society, friendship . . . it is very vicious cycle. Therefore here it is said, Kṛṣṇa sai . . . Arjuna says, yathā . . . saṅgrāma-mūrdhani, kāla-karma-tamo-ruddham: this nice instruction of Bhagavad-gītā becomes choked up by the time, kāla. The time, you know, everyone, time's business is to destroy. You construct very nice house—ten years or, say, five years after, you have to again repair it, because the time has destroyed it, so many things. So time . . . time destroys. This is the business of time, kāla.

And karma. Our karma, because we are always engaged in sinful activities, karma . . . kāla, karma, and tama, ignorance. Ignorance. Tama means darkness, and the symptom of tamo-guṇa is laziness and sleep. Those who are lazy and sleeping, you must know he's under the influence of tamo-guṇa. And rajo-guṇa: always acting foolishly. Just like these people are running. They're rajo-guṇa. But actually in this world there are two guṇas—raja and tama, ignorance and foolishly active. Foolish active is very dangerous. There are four classes: lazy intelligent, busy intelligent, and lazy foolish and active foolish. (laughter) The active foolish is the fourth-class man. So at the present moment they're very active, but they're all foolish. Therefore the world is in danger. Active foolishness. Foolish, if he stops, he does not work, it is better. But as soon as he becomes active he becomes more dangerous.

So this rajas-tamo-bhāva is prominent. There is no sattva-guṇa. Goodness is very rare. The symptom of goodness is that he can see everything right. That is goodness. Prakāśa. Just like in sunshine you can see everything clearly. Similarly, one who sees clearly things as they are, they are in the goodness, mode of goodness. There are three modes of the material nature. One who's acting foolishly, he's in rajo-guṇa; and one who does not know what is the meaning of life, simply laziness and darkness, that is tama. So those who are in the tamo-guṇa, jaghanya-guṇa-vṛtti-sthā adho gacchanti tāmasāḥ (BG 14.18). So they will go to the again to the animal kingdom. They'll go again animal kingdom. The rajo-guṇa may have their birth, human birth, again, but that is also very difficult. But if you stay in the sattva-guṇa, then your life is successful. Even if you do not get Kṛṣṇa in this life, you'll get next life if you keep yourself sattva-guṇa. Ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ (BG 14.18), they will gradually be promoted to the higher planetary system or in the spiritual world.

Therefore we are trying to keep ourselves, our students, always in the sattva-guṇa. Cleanliness, sattva śamo dama titikṣā ārjavam jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.42), to remain a brāhmaṇa. If you remain a brāhmaṇa, then you'll not fall down. You'll not fall down. Otherwise, if you remain in tamo-guṇa, then you are going to be next animal. This is the process of nature. You cannot check. You may be very great scientist, but you cannot check the process of nature. That is not . . . daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā (BG 7.14). That is not possible. That is natural. I've given the instance that if you contaminate some poisonous disease, you must suffer. That is natural way. Not that why you shall suffer. No, you must suffer, because you are already contaminated. Therefore the contamination of the material world is going on, sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa. If you contaminate with the tamo-guṇa, then you must suffer. If you contaminate rajo-guṇa, you must get disease. That is not in your hand. You cannot say. But people are so foolish, they do not know how nature is working. They're puffed up with their little knowledge and thinking they're master of the thing. That is not possible.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya . . . (cut) (end)