731217 - Lecture SB 01.15.39 - Los Angeles

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada



731217SB-LOS ANGELES - December 17, 1973 - 35:30 Minutes



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

mathurāyāṁ tathā vajraṁ
śūrasena-patiṁ tataḥ
prājāpatyāṁ nirūpyeṣṭim
agnīn apibad īśvaraḥ
(SB 1.15.39)

mathurāyām—at Mathurā; tathā—also; vajram—Vajra; śūrasena-patim—King of the Śūrasenas; tataḥ—thereafter; prājāpatyām—Prājāpatya sacrifice; nirūpya—having performed; iṣṭim—goal; agnīn—fire; apibat—placed in himself; īśvaraḥ—capable.

(03:12)

"Then he posted Vajra, the son of Aniruddha, grandson of Lord Kṛṣṇa, at Mathurā as the king of Śūrasena. Afterwards, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira performed a Prājāpatya sacrifice and placed in himself the fire for quitting household life."

Prabhupāda: So Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira first of all appointed his grandson, Parīkṣit Mahārāja, the emperor of the whole world. Then he distributed... (break) ...or only intimate families, because Kṛṣṇa's family, Yadu dynasty, and this Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira's family, Kuru dynasty, they were related in so many ways by marriage. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira's mother, Kuntī, belonged to the Yadu dynasty—means Kṛṣṇa's aunt, Kṛṣṇa's father's sister.

Similarly, Arjuna's wife Subhadrā—here is Subhadrā—she became the wife of Arjuna, sister of Kṛṣṇa. So there were so many family relationship, Kṛṣṇa's family and the Kuru family. Kṛṣṇa was not present; therefore Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was taking care of the children, grandsons. As his grandson was posted as emperor, similarly, Kṛṣṇa's grandson was also situated as the king of Śūrasena, in which province the Mathurā is there: mathurāyām.

(aside:) So you can read the purport.

Nitāi: "Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, after placing Mahārāja Parīkṣit on the imperial throne of Hastināpura, and after posting Vajra, the grandson of Lord Kṛṣṇa, as the king of Mathurā, accepted the renounced order of life."

Prabhupāda: Yes. This was the system, that one must retire. Just like at the present moment, although people are asking the president that "You retire. You resign," he is not resigning. Obstinate. Because he knows, "This is the first and last chance. I am not going to be elected again. So stick to the post and take as much money as possible." That's all. But formerly, they voluntarily retired, the king. In India also, we have seen: so many big, big politicians, they could not give up their political job. Even Gandhi.

I wrote a personal letter to Gandhi that "Mahatma Gandhi, you are recognized all over the world as a very pious man, and you are supposed to be very devotee of Bhagavad-gītā. Now you have got your independence. You fought for independence. Now you have got your independence. So I request you to take the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā to preach all over the world." That was my request. Because I was thinking of preaching this Bhagavad-gītā. So I thought that "Gandhi's position is better. If he takes up this job, preaching of Bhagavad-gītā, many people will give attention.

Yad yad ācarati śreṣṭhaḥ (BG 3.21). He is a recognized good man, so people will follow." But he did not do so. He stuck up to the politics. And unless he was killed by another opponent party, he did not give it up. Similarly, I have seen other politicians also, Jawaharlal Nehru, Pant, they would not give up. Pant was so weak, I have seen. He could not stand even. He was doing like this (gesticulates), always. Still he would not give up. Similarly, Jawaharlal Nehru, he was paralyzed. Unless he was dead, he could not give up.

So this is not Vedic civilization. Vedic civilization is that at a certain age, you must retire; never mind. The age is divided into four parts: brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa; brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. So Vedic civilization means varṇāśrama-dharma, accepting the institution of four varṇas and four āśrama—social and spiritual order. For social order there must be brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, and for spiritual order, there must be brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. This is the system. So unless you accept this institution of varṇāśrama-dharma, you are not considered as civilized man, ārya, Āryan.

Āryan means who are making progress under the institution of varṇāśrama-dharma. That progress means to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the goal. But people do not know that. Not only now; formerly also. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum (SB 7.5.31). They do not know what is their ultimate goal of self-interest. Why Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira is taking..., retiring from the...? That is not... To become king is not the ultimate goal of life. No. He has got another ultimate goal of life. He remained as a king as a matter of duty.

Just like you work in some office or as a professional man. You work as a lawyer. You work as an engineer. You work as a medical man. That you can do, because you have to do something to live, livelihood. It doesn't matter. But to become an engineer or to become a scientist or become a medical man or a lawyer, that is not my ultimate goal of life. That is needed to maintain the body and soul together, but that is not ultimate goal of life. Ultimate goal of life is to realize God. That is ultimate. For that purpose, you may be what you are, but you must retire.

At the present moment, people retire by force or by some way or... But they do not know what is the ultimate goal of life. There are many retired men's house in your country, but they do not know what is the ultimate goal of life. Ultimate goal of life is to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because in your busy life, you have got very little time; therefore after gṛhastha life, fifty years up to, not more than that, pañcāśordhvaṁ vanaṁ vrajet, then you must retire. It doesn't matter whether you have finished your duty or not.

It doesn't matter. You must retire. And then, after being trained for some times, being retired from the family life, living secluded life—not exactly secluded, but detached from family life—let the elderly sons, daughters, they can take care of the family, and the husband, wife, they travel in different places of pilgrimage. Again they come for some time, but without any attachment, as guest in the house of his son. In this way, when he is trained up, then he says to the wife, "Now you live with your sons. They will take care of you. I am taking sannyāsa."

So everyone has to take sannyāsa. It is not that a particular man, simply Caitanya Mahāprabhu, has to take sannyāsa. No. That is obligation. You must. In Buddha philosophy, everyone has to take sannyāsa and live as a sannyāsī for some years. That is their duty. So Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira prepared himself for becoming sannyāsī. Sannyāsī means renounced. No more family responsibility—or any responsibility; simply to become pure devotee of the Lord. That is sannyāsa. Anāśritaḥ karma-phalaṁ kāryaṁ karma karoti yaḥ sa sannyāsī (BG 6.1). What is the sannyāsī definition? Sannyāsī means he works, but not as the enjoyer of the fruit of the work. That is sannyāsī. Everyone, karmī...

Karmī means he is working hard, day and night, but he wants the fruit of the work to enjoy himself. That is karmī. Sannyāsī also will work hard day and night, but he will not take the fruit. It is for Kṛṣṇa. That is sannyāsī. Sannyāsī means sat-nyāsī. Nyāsī means renounced, and sat means the supreme truth. One who renounces everything for the sake of supreme truth, he is called sannyāsī. That sannyāsī formality is to change the dress. But anyone... Just like this Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, Arjuna and his brothers, they were all sannyāsīs. But still, formality, they accepted sannyāsa, gave up attachment for the house. In this way... Because he is king, if he does not set example, then others will not accept sannyāsa.

(aside:) Go on.

Nitāi: "The system of four orders of life and four castes in terms of quality and work, known as the varṇāśrama-dharma, is the beginning of real human life. And Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, as the protector of the system of human activities, timely retired from the active life as a sannyāsī, handing over the charge of the administration to a trained prince, Mahārāja Parīkṣit. The scientific system of varṇāśrama-dharma divides the human life in four divisions of occupation and four orders of life. The four orders of life, as brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa, are to be followed by all, irrespective of the occupational division. Modern politicians do not wish to retire from active life even if they are old enough, but Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja, as an ideal king, voluntarily retired from active administrative life..."

Prabhupāda: Yes. We have referred to the politicians, because king means he is also politician. As soon as we speak of king, he is in politics. So these are the example. Although he was also great politician, he had to fight in the Battle of Kurukṣetra, he had to adopt diplomacy, everything, but not that he would forget his real duty. This is perfect civilization, that one should not forget the real duty. The real duty is to fulfill the mission of the human life. The mission of human life is to understand God. And God is there. You cannot deny; God is there. But we do not know what is God, what is our relationship with Him. That we do not know.

Just like in your country, the currency notes are advertised, "In God We Trust." But if we ask anybody that "This is the slogan of your state. What do you know about God?" nobody can reply. They will say, "It is something like this, something like that." But no... Everything vague idea. Nobody knows what is God, neither he knows how to trust in God. That is instructed in the Bhagavad-gītā: what is God and how to trust in Him. This is the subject matter of Bhagavad-gītā. But the people do not know. They simply have the slogan, "In God We Trust." Nobody knows what is God.

But we are trying to give the contribution, what is God. Not only God—His form, His name, His address, everything we are giving. Here is the form of God, Kṛṣṇa. If you do not believe, that He is not God, then you must say what is your idea of God. If you do not know what is the idea of God, then you must accept from me. And how can you deny that Kṛṣṇa is not God? First of all you have to know what is God. God means the Supreme. That is the dictionary word, "Supreme Being." So Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Being.

Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Being. You just see, supreme... Here we see a rich man, he enjoys, and his assistants, his managers, his secretaries, they work. They bring money from business, from factory, and the proprietor enjoys. This is a crude example. Similarly, here is God. He is in the enjoying spirit. He is not going to the office to manage his factory. No. He doesn't go. He simply enjoys. That is the injunction of the Veda: na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca... (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.8). Definition of God, what is God.

What is God, the idea is given in the Vedas, Upaniṣad, na tasya kāryam. First thing is that He has nothing to do personally. That is first qualification of God. If He has to do something personally, then He is not God. Na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate na tat-samaś cābhyadhikaś ca dṛśyate: "Nobody can be equal to Him or greater than Him." This is definition of God. Any subject matter. Suppose opulence, riches. So nobody can be richer than God or nobody can be equal with God. This is greatness. "God is great." How He is great? That is defined every..., particularly. He is great because nobody equally rich with Him. Nobody is richer than Him. That is God. Everybody is poorer than Him. Therefore na tat-samaḥ. Sama means equal, and adhika means greater. How God can be great? If somebody is greater than Him, how God is great? If somebody is equal to Him, then how He is great? Just see how the definition is given perfectly.

Na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate: "He has nothing to do." Because He is great, why He should work? All the subordinates will work. We are all subordinate; therefore we shall work for God. But we have made our formula, that "God shall work for me." "God, give us our daily bread. We have nothing to do. Simply give us our bread." What is this? But the Vaiṣṇava idea is that "Without giving bread to God, God will die." Yaśodā-māyi is thinking, "If I do not give Kṛṣṇa to eat something nice, Kṛṣṇa will become lean and thin." That is love of Godhead, how to serve Kṛṣṇa, how to serve God. Sevonmukhe. That is real religion. When we are not to take service from God, but we are ready to give service to God, that is real religion. Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6). Adhokṣaje. God is beyond our senses; therefore He is Adhokṣaja.

So that type of religion which teaches the followers how to serve God, how to love God, that is perfect religion. It doesn't matter whether it is Christian religion or Hindu religion. No. If the followers are trained up how to love God, how to serve God, that is perfect. That is being taught here. In this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, there is no such teaching to ask from God. No. To give everything to God. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. That is required. So Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja is a devotee. Therefore, although he was the powerful emperor, still, he is now sacrificing his life for the service of the Lord. This is human civilization. At least, at a certain point of your life, you must sacrifice. If you haven't got anything, money, then you can sacrifice your life.

Prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā etāvaj janma-sāphalyaṁ dehinām iha dehiṣu (SB 10.22.35). This human form of life can be perfected. How? How it can be perfected? Prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā. Prāṇa means life. Artha means riches. Prāṇair arthair dhiyā. Dhiyā means intelligence. And vācā, vācā means words. So we have got four things. We have got our life, and everybody has got some riches, either one pound or one million pound. Everybody has got something. That is called artha. Prāṇa, artha, and everyone has got intelligence, and everyone has got the power to speak. So we have to engage all these four things. Either four or three or two, at least one, we must engage. Prāṇair arthair dhiyā, śreya-ācaraṇaṁ sadā. This is the principle of religion, or perfection of life. Etāvaj janma. Then our life will be... There are many other ślokas in Bhāgavatam.

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

This varṇāśrama-dharma we have already explained. So any civilized man must be within this category of varṇāśrama-dharma. Otherwise he is animal. Unless you accept some institution of making progress in spiritual life, you are animal. That is the difference between animal and man. Man has got some institution, some social structure, religious structure, political structure. Otherwise, what is the difference between animal? The animal, they haven't got any president or senate house or parliament or church. That is the difference.

So this varṇāśrama-dharma means one has to accept these principles of varṇāśrama-dharma and act accordingly. A brāhmaṇa should act according to brāhmaṇa principles, satya śamo damas titikṣā (BG 18.42). The kṣatriya should act accordingly. The vaiśya should act according. The same example, as we have given many times, that I have got my head department, arms department, belly department and leg department. To keep the body fit, everyone should act very nicely. Brain should work nicely, arm must be strong, belly must be fit to digest foodstuff, and leg must work. Similarly, these things... The varṇāśrama-dharma is necessary. It is not a convention. It is not a convention, that "The Hindus or the Indians, they are our only brāhmaṇas." No. Here are also brāhmaṇas. Because it is creation of God. God's creation must be there.

So now this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is picking up who are the brāhmaṇas. They mixed up. They are mixed up. So long there was no picking up of the brāhmaṇas. Now, by this movement, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we are picking up the brāhmaṇas. Because there is need of brāhmaṇas at this time, because brain is not there. The brain... Brāhmaṇa means the brain. They must have knowledge. That is brāhmaṇa. In India, the brāhmaṇas are called paṇḍita, although nowadays he is fool number one. So that... But it is a title of the brāhmaṇa to become paṇḍita. Paṇḍita. He must know everything. Satyaṁ śamaḥ..., jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam (BG 18.42). He must be very wise man. Jñānaṁ vijñānam, and practical application, vijñānam. Jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyam. And not nāstika, not atheist. Jñānaṁ vijñānam means one must know what is God. That is jñāna. And brahma jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ. Brāhmaṇa means one who has already known God, or brahma-vastu. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11). That is brāhmaṇa.

Therefore people should go to brāhmaṇa. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). Without becoming a brāhmaṇa, one cannot become guru. Because if he does not know Brahman, Paramātmā, Bhagavān, what kind of brāhmaṇa he is, and what kind of guru he is? So therefore one must know the ultimate truth, Bhagavān. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti. Not silent, simply by understanding Brahman or Paramātmā, but he must know what is Bhagavān. Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam (SB 1.3.28). Bhagavān is Kṛṣṇa. That is the verdict of the Vedas. Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam.

So a brāhmaṇa, even with good qualification, but if he does not know Kṛṣṇa then he cannot become guru. That is the injunction. Ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipraḥ (Padma Purāṇa). Vipra means brāhmaṇa; nipuṇa means very expert. One... Now, ṣaṭ-karma. Brāhmaṇa's business is six: paṭhana, pāṭhana, yajana, yājana, dāna, pratigraha. A brāhmaṇa must be learned, and he must make others learned. That "I am learned man. I don't care for others...," no.

He must teach others to become brāhmaṇa. Paṭhana pāṭhana. Yajana yājana: he must worship God, and he must teach others also how to worship God. Yajana yājana. Dāna pratigraha. Brāhmaṇa's business is not to do any trade or professional... He takes charity, pratigraha. But dāna. Therefore in India it is said if a brāhmaṇa gets one lakh of rupees, still he is a beggar. Why? Because he does not keep it. If he gets one lakh of rupees now, next moment he will spend it for Kṛṣṇa. Dāna pratigraha.

So even though one is expert—paṭhana pāṭhana yajana yājana dāna pratigraha—avaiṣṇavo gurur na sa syāt. Ṣaṭ-karma-nipuṇo vipro mantra-tantra-viśāradaḥ (Padma Purāṇa): he is expert in reciting all the mantras, Vedic mantras, he knows everything—but he is not a Vaiṣṇava. You'll find nowadays impersonalists, voidists, so many brāhmaṇas, they have no idea what is the..., what is God, who is God. That is called avaiṣṇava. Vaiṣṇava knows what is Viṣṇu, what is God. But avaiṣṇava, non-Vaiṣṇava, they do not know. So this is the formula, that even one brāhmaṇa is expert in all knowledge, but he does not know who is God, gurur na sa syāt, he cannot become guru. This is the stricture.

Sad-vaiṣṇavaḥ śva-paco guruḥ. But he is śva-paca. Śva-paca means dog-eaters. They are considered to be lowest of the mankind, dog-eaters. There are different types of eaters—cow-eaters, goat-eaters and camel-eaters, this eater, that eater. There are so many. Out of that eaters, one who eats the dog, he is considered the lowest. So even a person coming from the family of dog-eaters, if he knows who is God, he can be guru. This is the... This is the injunction of the śāstra. One who knows God, he cannot remain dog-eaters. But sometimes he comes from there, so... But śāstra says, "Yes. When he has learned the science of God, then he can be accepted as guru."

That is the confirmation of Caitanya Mahāprabhu,

kibā vipra, kibā śūdra, nyāsī kene naya
yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā sei 'guru' haya
(CC Madhya 8.128)

Who can become guru? Anyone who knows the science of Kṛṣṇa, he can become guru. That is the injunction. Yei... It doesn't matter. Kibā vipra kibā śūdra, nyāsī kene naya. He may be a brāhmaṇa, he may be a śūdra, he may be a sannyāsī, he may be a gṛhastha. It doesn't matter. He may be European, he may be American, he may be Indian. It doesn't matter. If he knows the science, yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā sei guru haya (CC Madhya 8.128). So it is not limited under certain country, certain atmosphere or certain population. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is open for everyone. So therefore our request is that these Europeans and Americans who have taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness just become perfect in the understanding of this science and become guru and deliver the whole world.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya Prabhupāda... (end)