Collaborate with us to invoke and fully manifest Srila Prabhupada's Vani-presence.
740701 - Lecture at La Trobe University - Melbourne
Madhudviṣa: This afternoon His Divine Grace will be speaking from the Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. Some of you university students are familiar with the book the Bhagavad-gītā. The Bhagavad-gītā translated means "The Song of God." Bhagavad-gītā is spoken five thousand years ago, and the peculiarity about this presentation of the Bhagavad-gītā is that it is the Bhagavad-gītā as it is, not the Bhagavad-gītā as we think it was, but the Bhagavad-gītā as it is, as it was spoken by Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna five thousand years ago. Our spiritual master is sitting before you. His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Gosvāmī Mahārāja Śrīla Prabhupāda is in a direct disciplic succession from Kṛṣṇa. Five thousand years of masters and disciples have passed this knowledge of the Bhagavad-gītā down purely. So therefore, when our spiritual master speaks on the Bhagavad-gītā, he does not speak on the Bhagavad-gītā as he thinks it is. He speaks on the Bhagavad-gītā as it is. So without any more verbiage, I'll present our spiritual master.
Prabhupāda: (chants maṅgalācaraṇa prayers)
- oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya
- cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
- tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ
- sthāpitaṁ yena bhū-tale
- svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ
- dadāti sva-padāntikam
- he kṛṣṇa karuṇā-sindho
- dīna-bandho jagat-pate
- gopeśa gopikā-kānta
- rādhā-kānta namo 'stu te
- rādhe vṛndāvaneśvari
- vṛṣabhānu-sute devi
- praṇamāmi hari-priye
- hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa
- kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
- hare rāma hare rāma
- rāma rāma hare hare
Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much for your joining us in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Kṛṣṇa..., when I utter the word Kṛṣṇa, it means God. It is Sanskrit word, Kṛṣṇa. Those who are Sanskrit student, you know kṛṣ-dhātu, "attraction," "one who attracts." God is the Supreme Being, full with six kinds of opulences; therefore He attracts everyone. This is the definition of the word Kṛṣṇa. This Bhagavad-gītā is spoken by Kṛṣṇa, the perfect person. We receive knowledge from the perfect person. When we receive knowledge from imperfect person, the knowledge is not complete.
At the present age, mostly the scientists, they cannot give us perfect knowledge, because there are so many "if's." They say, "It may be," "Perhaps," like that. But this is not perfect knowledge. The perfect knowledge means there is no "if," there is no "perhaps," there is no doubt. So we are receiving knowledge from Kṛṣṇa, the supreme perfect being. He says that dehino 'smin yathā dehe (BG 2.13). Asmin dehe. Asmin means this, this body. You have got your body; I have got my body. So within this body, there is the proprietor of the body. Asmin dehe. Dehinaḥ asmin. Dehe means the proprietor of the body. I do not see you; I see your body, you see my body. But within the body the proprietor is lying, or he is situated. That we do not see. But we can understand. Suppose my beloved father is dead or somebody is dead. I cry, "My father is gone." So where is your father gone? He is lying there, unconscious. He may come to consciousness again. But we say, "No, he is gone." "Dead" means gone. So factually I never saw my father who has gone. I saw the body of my father, and that is lying on the bed. Why I am crying, "My father is gone"? Therefore this is called ignorance. We do not see the real father within the body, or we do not see the real son within the body. We see the outward dress only. This is ignorance.
So we are preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement on the platform of the spirit soul, which we do not see with these material eyes. This is great ignorance. After the death we cry that "My father is gone," "My son is gone." But where he has gone? He is lying on the bed. Now, even still, we do not come to the understanding what is the difference between the living body and the dead body. There are so many theories, but as I have already told you that we receive knowledge from the perfect person, Kṛṣṇa. He says that within this body the owner of the body is there, and on account of the owner of the body presence, the body is changing. The owner of the body is sometimes in the childhood body; the owner of the body sometimes in a different boyhood body; the owner of the body is sometimes in the youthhood body. Similarly, as he is changing different types of body during this duration of life, similarly, after this annihilation of this body, when it is old... Just like old garment or old coat, old shirt cannot be used—it is thrown away; another new shirt, new coat is taken—similarly, this body, being annihilated, the soul accepts another body.
This is a real knowledge. Tathā dehāntara-prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati (BG 2.13). This is explained in Bhagavad-gītā very broadly. Just like here it is said that,
- mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya
- āgamāpāyinaḥ anitya
- tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata
- (BG 2.14)
Our real business, real education, is to understand, "What I am? I am not this body." But that education is lacking. So our main business is to understand that "I am not this body, and the bodily pains and pleasure, they are due to the change of season." Just like now it is winter season. We are covering our body. In the summer season we do not like so heavily dressed. So this feeling of pains and pleasure is due to this material body.
Therefore Kṛṣṇa says,
- yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete
- puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha
- sama-duḥkha-sukhaṁ dhīraṁ
- so 'mṛtatvāya kalpate
- (BG 2.15)
Real business of human life is to understand the spirit soul, and so far the material body is concerned, just like seasonal changes, we feel pains and pleasure. Just like water. In this winter season, on account of the seasonal change, we do not like to touch water at the present moment. But the same water in the summer season will be very pleasing. So the water is the same, but due to seasonal changes, sometimes the water is very pleasing and sometimes it is very painful. So this material world, so long we shall remain in the material world, the pains and pleasure on account of this material body we have to feel. But if we come to the spiritual platform, that is, understanding of the soul, then in any condition we shall be happy.
That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā:
- brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
- na śocati na kāṅkṣati
- samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
- mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
- (BG 18.54)
Brahmā-bhūtaḥ means self-realized, that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul." This is the first realization, self-realization. So long we are not on this platform of spiritual understanding, we are equal to the animals. Animal, they do not know what is the difference between body and the soul. A dog is always thinking that "I am this body." Similarly, if a man thinks that "I am this body," he is no better than the dog, because he has no realization of the self. Therefore the Vedic literature says, yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ. Actually we are standing on a false platform, understanding this body as the self, and in relationship with the body we are considering, "This country is my country. This man is my family man" or "my national man." So all these bodily concept of life is based on ignorance, because we do not know soul. Actually the human life is meant for being educated that he is not this body; he is soul. That is the Vedānta-sūtra philosophy, to inquire about the spirit soul. That is our main business. Unfortunately—we are traveling all over the world—there is no institution, no school, no college, no university where this education is given, that "What I am? Am I this body, or I am something else? No. I am something else."
So this education can be given through this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. On the basis of Śrī Bhagavad-gītā, everything is explained very vividly. The soul is eternal. The soul is transferred from one gross body to another gross body, just like we change our apartment from one apartment to another. But I exist. If I vacate one apartment and I go to another apartment, it does not mean I am finished. I may leave the apartment. Similarly, if we are leaving this body and we are going to another body, that means I am not finished. I am existing. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). Na hanyate: "The soul is never annihilated, even after the destruction of this body." Therefore the question is that "If I am eternal, why I am put into this condition of changing, of transmigrating from one body to another? Is there any possibility of not changing the body, to keep eternality?" Yes. That is possible.
Actually we are, as spirit soul, the part and parcel of God. So God is eternal, God is blissful, God is in full knowledge, so we, being part and parcel of God, we have got the same quality.
Man: (interrupting angrily) That's a lot of bullshit. How do you explain your Rolls Royce, Dickey?
Prabhupāda: What is that? (big commotion in the audience; laughter) What is this? This is not good.
Man (1): Where's your love?
Man (2): Where's your Gestapo?
Man (3): Fascists.
Man (1): Where's your love? Where's your love, I want to know. I want to know. (break)
Prabhupāda: ...servants of God. We have come to serve God, His purpose. God is very kind upon every one of us. He comes Himself. He comes His... He sends His son. He sends His devotee to reclaim. As I was explaining that in the material condition of life we have been changing from one body to another. This is not very good condition of life. Nobody wants to die, but he is forced to die. Nobody wants to take birth, but he is forced to take birth. Nobody wants to become old man, but he becomes old man. And nobody wants to become diseased, but he is forced to take some disease. This is our condition. Now this human form of body is a chance to understand what is our real inconvenience—birth, death, old age and disease—and to think of whether there is any way out of this entanglement of repetition of birth, death, old age and disease. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We are educating people how to get out of the clutches of illusion that continually, one after another, we have to take birth. Janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam (BG 13.9). Real problem is this.
So if we take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness—that means if we understand, "What is God? What I am? What is our relationship? What is the ultimate goal of our life?"—if these things we understand, then we can get out of these clutches of illusion, repetition of birth, death, old age and disease. This is the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, sum and substance. And to realize this, the method is very simple—chant the holy name of God. We are chanting the holy name of God: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. So our only request is that you have got this human form of body—don't misuse it. Don't waste it like animals simply by eating, sleeping, mating and defending. You have got another business. A human being has got extra intelligence. That extra intelligence than the animal is meant for realizing himself, not to live like cats and dog. That is not human form of life.
So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is educational movement. It is not a religious sentiment; it is a science. And we have got our books also. You have seen. There is demonstration of the book. We have got already twenty books of four hundred pages each, and we are going on, writing more books. The everything will be finished in eighty books. So if you want to know through science and philosophy, we have got our books. You can read. And even if you read the complete set, it will take your whole life to finish it. But if you cannot read or if you do not want to waste your time by such reading... It is not wasting; it is actually utilizing. But if you think so, then our request is that you simply chant the holy name of God.
Man (1): Have you got books on the use of flick knives, like your brother's there? Have a look. Declare yourself, mate. (comments by others interrupting)
Madhudviṣa: Sir, listen, we'll have questions and answers in just a minute if you'd like to be patient.
Man (1): Flick knives...
Madhudviṣa: If you'd like to be patient for a second, we'll have questions and answers, and we can ask about the philosophy that we're talking about. (more yelling from audience) Well, the people that want to listen in an orderly fashion are waiting to hear the meeting continue, and those who want to ask questions can please have respect for them and let us continue with the lecture, and then we'll have questions and answers afterwards.
Prabhupāda: (aside:) What is this?
Madhudviṣa: They are simply talking about violence.
Prabhupāda: They are not prepared to hear. So let them question and answer.
Madhudviṣa: So our spiritual...
Prabhupāda: You can answer.
Madhudviṣa: Our spiritual master has traveled about ten thousand miles to come and speak to you. We did have... We've not come here to bribe anyone to come and listen to him. We have rented this hall. We have rented this hall here, and we have invited people cordially to come and listen as representatives of the intelligentsia of Australia. Now if the intelligentsia of Australia cannot sit for half an hour and listen to a gentleman speak about love of God, it does not speak very well for you. We are simply not asking for disturbance. We are not asking for violence. But we will meet violence with violence. We are not artificially pacifists. We are asking you to listen like gentlemen. We have come here in good will. We have come here not to cause any disturbance. So we ask you please to have that much respect for our spiritual master.
Now at this time, if there is any question about Kṛṣṇa consciousness philosophy... Not about fighting. We can go on the street and fight. We can solve everything out there. We have come here to speak about spiritual matters. If you want to speak about spiritual matters, let's speak together like brothers and sisters. Let's not cause a disturbance. I have an ego; you have an ego. If you do something to flip off my ego, I may get mad. If I do something to flip off your ego, you get mad. So we'll go out into the street and settle it like cats and dogs? No. We're not here at this university to act like that. We're supposed to have raised above that platform. So please, we ask you to present sober questions to our spiritual master. Yes, sir?
Young man (2): I'm a Christian. I follow Jesus. Now, what is your spiritual master in relation to Jesus, and do you see Jesus as just another prophet like all these religions the same way?
Madhudviṣa: The question was, this man is a follower of Lord Jesus Christ, and he would like to know what our opinion is of Jesus Christ.
Prabhupāda: We respect Jesus Christ as you do. Because he is the representative of God, son of God, and we are also speaking of God, so we respect him with our greatest veneration.
Young man (2): So you're comparing Kṛṣṇa, Buddha, Muhammad to Jesus as the same, and Guru Maharaj-ji too, another Jesus. You're saying that.
Prabhupāda: No. I am not Jesus. I am servant of Jesus.
Young man (2): You're a son of Jesus.
Prabhupāda: Yes. I am servant of Jesus.
Young man (2): What does that mean?
Prabhupāda: I don't say I am Jesus.
Young man (2): Do you have the powers of Jesus? Can you say to a person, "Rise up and walk," when they're paralyzed?
Prabhupāda: What is that?
Madhudviṣa: He wants to know if you have the powers of Jesus.
Prabhupāda: Eh? No, I have no power of Jesus.
Man: Well, I've got the power of Jesus. (laughter) 'Cause I'm a Christian.
Prabhupāda: That's all right. You are Christian, we are Krishnian—practically the same thing. (laughter and applause)
Young man (2): And one other question.
Young man (2): I believe Jesus is coming back, and not Kṛṣṇa. And what are you guys going to do when you see Jesus? (laughter)
Prabhupāda: What is that?
Madhudviṣa: Jesus. He believes Jesus is going to come back again.
Prabhupāda: Well, he is coming, welcome. We shall welcome. It is very good news that Jesus is back.
Young man (2): Jesus had no reputation. He wore sandals and he was crucified between two thieves...
Young man (3): He didn't carry flick knives... Hare Kṛṣṇas.
Young man (2): And your spirituality is in a Rolls Royce on a padded seat, and you're all into money, you Kṛṣṇas. You want money. You rip off people in the streets.
Prabhupāda: No. I don't want money.
Young man (2): You said "Violence with violence." When you said "Violence with violence," that's what you believe. Jesus turned the other cheek, and he expects his followers to. (applause) (break)
Prabhupāda: Yes, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not a sentimental religious system. It is science and philosophy. The attempt is to awaken God consciousness. God is neither Christian nor Hindu nor Muslim. God is God. There may be angles of vision to approach God, but God is one. Therefore our attempt is that you become God conscious. Don't be limited by Christianism or Hinduism or Muhammadanism.
So our formula is explained in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam—we have got the copies there—sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6): "That is first-class religious system by which the followers become a lover of God." This is the..., our formula. Either you go through Christianism or Hinduism or Muslimism. If you understand what is God and if you know what is your relationship with God—in this way your goal of life how to learn to love God, that is achieved—then it doesn't matter through which religion you achieve that perfection. But if you can achieve that perfection, that system is perfect. This is our formula.
Madhudviṣa: The second part of the question was that one other man who comes from the East, Krishnamurti, he stresses that when you are speaking in the Western world, you should speak and present yourself as a Westerner, not as an Indian or not as you would speak in India. Instead of sitting on the raised dais, vyāsāsana, and dressing in robes of a monk, Krishnamurti would say, "Dress in Western clothes and sit on a chair." The question was, "What is our opinion of this?"
Prabhupāda: Actually, a God conscious person is neither Westerner nor Easterner. So anywhere he goes, the devotees, as they receive him, they accept. These devotees, they have arranged the raised seat, so we have accepted this raised seat. If they wanted to sit down on the floor, I would have gladly accepted. I have no objection, this or that. But as the devotees receive and they give honor, that is good for them, because actually we should honor the Supreme Lord, God, and His representative. Nowadays it is different. Students and people are learning not to honor. But that is not actually the system. According to Vedic system, the representative of God must be honored as God. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ. Just like in India we had British rule. The Governor General, he was Viceroy. So he was given honor, as much honor we used to give to the king. So that is the etiquette. That is the system. It is not that the honor given to the Viceroy exactly like to the king, he becomes a king. No. He is servant of king. But it is the duty of the citizen to honor the representative of the king as king. That is etiquette. That is our Vedic system.
Woman: How do you explain the fact that Jesus said that "I am the way, the truth and the light," and that "No man comes to the father but by me"?
Man: Do you believe the Bible?
Prabhupāda: What is that? Hmm?
Madhudviṣa: She's asking how can we explain that Jesus said he is the only way?
Prabhupāda: Yes, he is the only way. We also admit. Because he is the representative of God, so if you want to approach God, you must approach through His representative. That is his version: "I am the only representative of God," then you have to reach God through him, that is fact.
Madhudviṣa: Another question? Yes, sir?
Man (3): Do you consider your movement the major form of enlightenment emanating from the United States today? (laughter) What order of priority had your movement in the White House psychological warfare department? (laughter) Will you also be coming along to our July 4th demonstration again this year to try and fuck it up and divert people away from taking up real political issues concerned with Australia?
Madhudviṣa: All right, we can answer you one point at a time. (to Prabhupāda:) I can answer them for you if you like. Our movement is not coming from the United States. If you have some paranoiac stigma about everything coming from the United States, well, that's your hang-up, not mine. (applause) Second of all, our spiritual master, he came to the United States to start this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because he got a free ticket on a boat to go there. Because it was the mercy of this one lady who gave him this free ticket on a boat, he came to America on the orders of his spiritual master. This is the reason he came to America to start Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If you had sent him a free ticket, he probably would have come to Australia first. He was a monk. He was a monk, a penniless monk in India, and he was trying to follow the orders of his spiritual teacher by spreading love of God. He was not trying to start any kind of a political movement. Actually, he is trying to start a revolution in consciousness.
I think that you are also interested in revolution. We are also interested in revolution also. But we are interested in the revolution which will help people to feel peace themselves, whether they're Communists or Marxists or Leninists or whatever "ist" you like. (audience shouting interruptions) We're trying to help people feel happy whether they're in the city or whether they're in the country or whether they're under any... (people yelling) This is what we're trying to do. So we are also revolutionaries. We are also revolutionaries. And actually, we request you to cooperate with this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement so that actually we can change the consciousness of the world, not just change from one political system to another political system. That's been going on from time immemorial, and we see there's no solution, because people are changing their politics; they're not changing their consciousness. They're not changing their consciousness. They're not changing themselves inside. They're just changing their "ism" from Communism to capitalism, and from capitalism back to something else "ism." We're asking people to try to get a little bit beyond that superficial political system and find out what actually motivates each and every one of us. That is God consciousness, or love of God. That love of God is much more powerful than any temporary political system. (many people yelling)
Man: Hey, listen. If you're that bloody good, why'd you beat up my mate?
Man: You're bloody Nazis from bloody Germany. (yelling)
Man: Hitler was a revolutionary too.
Madhudviṣa: Are there are any questions, more questions about the philosophy? (more yelling) Yes?
Young man: Because Jesus loves me, so I love you, brother. Because I love you, I'd like to know where is your book that you say has God's words. How come my God says in this book, which my God doesn't seem to say... How come my God, in His book, which can be proved by many methods, that love... God too is talking about love. Man, He loves everybody... (end)