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EJ 2 - Varieties of Planetary Systems
In these days, when men are trying to go to the moon, people should not think that Kṛṣṇa consciousness is concerned with something old-fashioned. When the world is progressing to reach the moon, we are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. But people should not misunderstand and assume that we are lagging behind modern scientific advancement. We have already passed all scientific advancement. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that man's attempt to reach higher planets is not new. Newspaper headlines read, "Man's First Steps on the Moon," but the reporters do not know that millions and millions of men went there and came back. This is not the first time. This is an ancient practice. In Bhagavad-gītā (BG 8.16) it is clearly stated, abrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino 'rjuna: "My dear Arjuna, even if you go to the highest planetary system, which is called Brahmaloka, you will have to come back." Therefore, interplanetary travel is not new. It is known to the Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees.
Since we are Kṛṣṇa conscious, we take what Kṛṣṇa says to be the Absolute Truth. According to Vedic literature, there are many planetary systems. The planetary system in which we are living is called Bhūrloka. Above this planetary system is Bhuvarloka. Above that is Svarloka (the moon belongs to the Svarloka planetary system). Above Svarloka is Maharloka; above that is Janaloka; and above that is Satyaloka. Similarly, there are lower planetary systems. Thus there are fourteen statuses of planetary systems within this universe, and the sun is the chief planet. The sun is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.52):
- yac-cakṣur eṣa savitā sakala-grahāṇāṁ
- rājā samasta-sura-mūrtir aśeṣa-tejāḥ
- yasyājñayā bhramati saṁbhṛta-kāla-cakro
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"I worship Govinda [Kṛṣṇa], the primeval Lord, by whose order the sun assumes immense power and heat and traverses its orbit. The sun, which is the chief among all planetary systems, is the eye of the Supreme Lord." Actually, without the sun we cannot see. We may be very proud of our eyes, but we cannot even see our next-door neighbor. People challenge, "Can you show me God?" But what can they see? What is the value of their eyes? God is not cheap. We cannot see anything, not to speak of God, without sunshine. Without sunlight we are blind. At night, we cannot see anything, and therefore we use electricity because the sun is not present.
There is not only one sun in the cosmic manifestation; there are millions and trillions of suns. That is also stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.40):
- yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-
- koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhādi-vibhūti-bhinnam
- tad brahma niṣkalam anantam aśeṣa-bhūtaṁ
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
The spiritual bodily effulgence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is called the brahmajyoti, and in that brahmajyoti there are countless planets. Just as within the sunshine there are innumerable planets, in the shining effulgence of the body of Kṛṣṇa there are innumerable planets and universes. We have knowledge of many universes, and in each universe there is a sun. Thus there are millions and billions of universes and millions and billions of suns and moons and planets. But Kṛṣṇa says that if one tries to go to one of these planets, he will simply waste his time.
Now someone has gone to the moon, but what will human society gain from it? If, after spending so much money, so much energy and ten years of effort, one goes to the moon and simply touches it, what is the benefit of that? Can one remain there and call his friends to come? And even if one goes there and remains, what will be the benefit? As long as we are in this material world, either on this planet or other planets, the same miseries—birth, death, old age and disease—will follow us. We cannot rid ourselves of them.
If we go to live on the moon—assuming it is possible—even with an oxygen mask, how long could we stay? Furthermore, even if we had the opportunity to stay there, what would we gain? We might gain a little longer life perhaps, but we could not live there forever. That is impossible. And what would we gain by a longer life? Taravaḥ kiṁ na jīvanti: (SB 2.3.18) are not the trees living for many, many years? Near San Francisco I have seen a forest where there is a tree seven thousand years old. But what is the benefit? If one is proud of standing in one place for seven thousand years, that is not a very great credit.
How one goes to the moon, how he comes back, etc., is a great story, and this is all described in the Vedic literature. It is not a very new process. But the aim of our Kṛṣṇa consciousness society is different. We are not going to waste our valuable time. Kṛṣṇa says, "Don't waste your time attempting to go to this planet or to that planet. What will you gain? Your material miseries will follow you wherever you go." Therefore, in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Adi 3.97) it is very nicely said by the author:
- keha pāpe, keha puṇye kare viṣaya-bhoga
- bhakti-gandha nāhi, yāte yāya bhava-roga
"In this material world someone is enjoying and someone is not enjoying, but actually everyone is suffering, although some people think that they are enjoying, whereas others realize that they are suffering." Actually everyone is suffering. Who in this material world does not suffer disease? Who does not suffer from old age? Who does not die? No one wants to grow old or suffer from disease, but everyone must do so. Where then is the enjoyment? This enjoyment is all nonsense because within this material world there is no enjoyment. It is simply our imagination. One should not think, "This is enjoyment, and this is suffering." Everything is suffering! Therefore, it is stated in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, "The principles of eating, sleeping, mating and defending will always exist, but they will exist in different standards." For example, the Americans have taken birth in America as a result of pious activities performed in previous lifetimes. In India the people are poverty-stricken and are suffering, but although the Americans are eating very nicely buttered bread and the Indians are eating without butter, they are both eating nevertheless. The fact that India is poverty-stricken has not caused the whole population to die for want of food. The four principal bodily demands—eating, sleeping, mating and defending—can be satisfied under any circumstances, whether one is born in an impious condition or in a pious condition. The problem, however, is how to become free from the four principles of birth, death, old age and disease.
This is the real problem. It is not "What shall I eat?" The birds and beasts have no such problem. In the morning they are immediately chirping, "Jee, jee, jee, jee." They know that they will have their food. No one is dying, and there is no such thing as overpopulation because everyone is provided for by God's arrangement. There are qualitative differences, but obtaining a superior quality of material enjoyment is not the end of life. The real problem is how to get free of birth, death, old age and disease. This cannot be solved by simply wasting time traveling within this universe. Even if one goes to the highest planet, this problem cannot be solved, for there is death everywhere.
The duration of life on the moon, according to Vedic information, is ten thousand years, and one day there is equal to six months here. Thus ten thousand multiplied by one hundred eighty years is the duration of life on the moon. However, it is impossible for earthmen to go to the moon and live there for very long. Otherwise the whole Vedic literature would be false. We can attempt to go there, but it is not possible to live there. This knowledge is in the Vedas. Therefore, we are not very eager to go to this planet or that planet. We are eager to go directly to the planet where Kṛṣṇa lives. Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā (BG 9.25):
- yānti deva-vratā devān
- pitṟn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
- bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā
- yānti mad-yājino 'pi mām
"One can go to the moon, or one can even go to the sun or to millions and trillions of other planets, or if one is too materially attached he may remain here—but those who are My devotees will come to Me." This is our aim. Initiation into Kṛṣṇa consciousness insures that the student ultimately can go to the supreme planet, Kṛṣṇaloka. We are not sitting idly; we are also attempting to go to other planets, but we are not merely wasting time.
A sane and intelligent man does not wish to enter any of the material planets because the four conditions of material miseries exist on all of them. From Bhagavad-gītā we can understand that even if we enter Brahmaloka, the highest planetary system of this universe, the four principles of misery will be present. We learn from Bhagavad-gītā that the duration of one day on Brahmaloka is millions of years of our calculation. That is a fact.
Even the highest planetary system, Brahmaloka, may be reached, but scientists say that it will take forty thousand years at sputnik speed. Who is prepared to travel in space for forty thousand years? From the Vedic literature we can understand that we can enter any of the planets, provided we prepare for that purpose. If one prepares himself to enter into the higher planetary systems, which are said to be inhabited by demigods, he can go there. Similarly, one can go to a lower planetary system, or if one desires he can remain on this planet. Finally, if one desires, he can enter the planet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is all a matter of preparation. However, all planetary systems within our material universe are temporary. The duration of life on certain material planets may be very long, but all living entities in the material universe are eventually subject to annihilation and have to again develop other bodies. There are different types of bodies. A human body exists one hundred years, whereas an insect body may exist for twelve hours. Thus the duration of these different bodies is relative. If one enters the planet called Vaikuṇṭhaloka, the spiritual planet. however, he then achieves eternal life, full of bliss and knowledge. A human being can attain that perfection if he tries. That is stated in Bhagavad-gītā when the Lord says, "Anyone who knows in truth about the Supreme Personality of Godhead can attain to My nature."
Many people claim, "God is great," but this is a hackneyed phrase. One must know how He is great, and that can be known from authorized scripture. In the Bhagavad-gītā God describes Himself. He says, "My appearance of taking birth just like an ordinary human being is actually transcendental." God is so kind that He comes before us as an ordinary human being, but His body is not exactly like a human body. Those rascals who do not know about Him think that Kṛṣṇa is like one of us. That is also stated in Bhagavad-gītā (BG 9.11):
- avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā
- mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
- paraṁ bhāvam ajānanto
- mama bhūta-maheśvaram
"Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature and My supreme dominion over all that be." We have a chance to know about Kṛṣṇa provided we read the right literature under the right direction, and if we simply know what the nature of God is, then by understanding this one fact alone we become liberated. It is not possible in our human condition to understand the Absolute Supreme Personality of Godhead completely, but with the help of Bhagavad-gītā, the statements given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and of the spiritual master, we can know Him to the best of our capacity. If we can know Him in reality, then immediately after leaving this body we can enter into the kingdom of God. Kṛṣṇa says, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so 'rjuna: "After leaving this body, one who is in knowledge does not come again to this material world, for he enters into the spiritual world and comes to Me." (BG 4.9)
The purpose of our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to propagate this advanced scientific idea to people in general, and the process is very simple. Simply by chanting the holy names of God—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare—one cleanses the dirt from his heart and gains understanding that he is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and that it is his duty to serve Him. This process is very pleasant: we chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, we dance rhythmically, and we eat nice prasāda. While enjoying this life, we are preparing to enter into the kingdom of God in our next life. This is not a fabrication—it is all factual. Although to a layman this appears to be a fabrication, Kṛṣṇa reveals Himself from within to one who is serious about God realization. Both Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master help the sincere soul. The spiritual master is the external manifestation of God, who is situated in everyone's heart as Supersoul. For one who is very serious about understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Supersoul immediately renders assistance by directing him to a bona fide spiritual master. In this way the spiritual candidate is helped from within and without.
According to the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, the Supreme Truth is realized in three stages. First there is impersonal Brahman, or the impersonal Absolute; then the Paramātmā, or localized aspect of Brahman. The neutron of the atom may be taken as the representation of Paramātmā, who also enters into the atom. This is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā. But ultimately the Supreme Divine Being is realized as the supreme all-attractive person (Kṛṣṇa) with full and inconceivable potencies of opulence, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. These six potencies are fully exhibited by Śrī Rāma and Śrī Kṛṣṇa when They descend before human beings. Only a section of human beings—the unalloyed devotees—can recognize Kṛṣṇa on the authority of revealed scriptures, but others are bewildered by the influence of material energy. The Absolute Truth is therefore the Absolute Person who has no equal or competitor. The impersonal Brahman rays are the rays of His transcendental body, just as the sun's rays are emanations from the sun.
According to the Viṣṇu Purāṇa, the material energy is called avidyā, or nescience, and is exhibited in the fruitive activities of sense enjoyment. But although the living being has the tendency to be illusioned and trapped by the material energy for sense enjoyment, he belongs to the antimaterial energy, or spiritual energy. In this sense the living being is the positive energy, whereas matter is the negative energy. Matter does not develop unless in contact with the superior spiritual, or antimaterial, energy, which is directly part and parcel of the spiritual whole. The subject matter of this spiritual energy exhibited by living beings is undoubtedly very complicated for an ordinary man, who is therefore astounded by the subject. Sometimes he partially understands it through the imperfect senses, and sometimes he fails to know it altogether. It is best, therefore, to hear from the highest authority, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or from His devotee who represents Him in the chain of disciplic succession.
This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for the purpose of understanding God. The spiritual master is the living representative of Kṛṣṇa who helps externally, and Kṛṣṇa as Supersoul helps internally. The living entity can take advantage of such guidance and make his life successful. We request that everyone read authoritative literature in order to understand this movement. We have published Bhagavad-gītā As It Is; Teachings of Lord Caitanya; Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; and The Nectar of Devotion. We are also publishing our magazine Back to Godhead every month in many languages. Our mission is to save human society from the pitfalls of incarnating again in the cycle of birth and death.
Everyone should attempt to go to Kṛṣṇa. We have published an article in our Back to Godhead magazine entitled "Beyond the Universe." This article describes a place beyond this universe according to knowledge which is in Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is a very popular book, and there are many editions of it in America and also many from India. Unfortunately, however, many rascals have come to the West to preach Bhagavad-gītā. They are designated as rascals because they are bluffers who do not give real information. In our Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, however, the spiritual nature is authoritatively described.
This cosmic manifestation is called "nature," but there is another nature, which is superior. The cosmic manifestation is inferior nature, but beyond this nature, which is manifested and unmanifested, there is another nature, which is called sanātana, eternal. It is easy to understand that everything manifested here is temporary. The obvious example is our body. If one is thirty years old, thirty years ago his body was not manifested, and in another fifty years it will again be unmanifested. That is a factual law of nature. It is manifested and again annihilated, just as waves in the sea rise frequently and then recede. The materialist, however, is simply concerned with this mortal life, which can be finished at any moment. Furthermore, as this body will die, so the entire universe, this gigantic material body, will be annihilated, and whether we are fortunate or unfortunate, on this planet or another planet, everything will be finished. Why then are we wasting our time trying to go to a planet where everything will be finished? We should try to go to Kṛṣṇaloka. This is spiritual science; we must try to understand it, and, after understanding it ourselves, we should preach this message to the whole world. Everyone is in darkness. Although people have no knowledge, they are very proud. But it is not advancement of knowledge to go to the moon after ten years of effort and take a rock and come back. The space travelers are very proud: "Oh, I have touched it." But what have they gained? Even if we were able to live there, it would not be for long. It will all be destroyed in the end.
Try to find that planet from which one will never return, where there is eternal life, and where one can dance with Kṛṣṇa. This is the meaning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Take this movement seriously, for Kṛṣṇa consciousness gives one a chance to reach Kṛṣṇa and to dance with Him eternally. From Vedic literature we understand that this material world is a manifestation of only one fourth of the complete creation of God. The three-fourths portion of God's creation is the spiritual world. That we find in Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa says, "This material world is but a fractional part of the whole." If we look as far as we can see—up to the sky—our vision is still confined within only one universe, and there are unlimited universes clustered together within what is called the material world. But beyond those clusters of unlimited numbers of universes is the spiritual sky, which is also mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā, where the Lord says that beyond the material world is another nature, which is eternal; there is no history of its beginning, and it has no end. "Eternal" refers to that which has no end and no beginning. The Vedic religion is therefore called eternal because no one can trace back when it began. The Christian religion has a history of two thousand years, and the Muhammadan religion also has a history, but if one were to trace back Vedic religion, he would not find its historical beginning. Therefore it is called eternal religion.
We may rightly say that God created this material world, and this indicates that God existed before the creation. This very word "created" suggests that before the creation of the cosmic manifestation, the Lord was existing. Therefore God is not under the creation. If God were under the creation, how could He have created? He would instead have been one of the objects of this material creation. But God is not under the creation; He is the creator, and therefore He is eternal.
There is a spiritual sky, where there are innumerable spiritual planets and innumerable spiritual living entities, but those who are not fit to live in that spiritual world are sent to this material world. Voluntarily we have accepted this material body, but actually we are spirit souls who should not have accepted it. When and how we accepted it cannot be traced. No one can trace the history of when the conditioned soul first accepted the material body. There are 8,400,000 forms of living entities 900,000 species of living entities are within the water, 2,000,000 species of life are among the plants and vegetables. Unfortunately, this Vedic knowledge is not instructed by any university. But these are facts. Let the botanist and anthropologist research into the Vedic conclusion. Darwin's theory of the evolution of organic matter is, of course, very prominent in the institutions of learning. But the Bhāgavata Purāṇa and other authoritative scriptures of scientific magnitude describe how the living entities in different forms of body evolve one after another. It is not a new idea, but educators are giving stress only to Darwin's theory, although in Vedic literature we have immense information of the living conditions in this material world.
We are only a fractional portion of all the living entities in the many universes of the material world. Those who are in the material world and material body are condemned. For example, the population in prison is condemned by the government, but their number is only a fraction of the whole population. It is not that the whole population goes to prison; some, who are disobedient, are confined in prison. Similarly, the conditioned souls within this material world are only a fraction of all the living entities in the creation of God, and because they have disobeyed God—because they did not abide by the order of Kṛṣṇa—they have been put into this material world. If one is sensible and inquisitive, he should try to understand: "Why have I been put into this conditional life? I do not wish to suffer."
There are three kinds of suffering, including miseries pertaining to the body and mind. In Hawaii, in front of my house, a man was keeping some animals and birds for the purpose of taking them to be slaughtered. I gave this example to my students: "These animals are standing here, and if you tell them, 'Oh, my dear animals, why are you standing here? Go away! You are meant for the slaughterhouse,' they cannot go. They have no intelligence."
Suffering without knowledge, without remedy, is animal life. One who cannot understand that he is suffering and who thinks that he is very well off is in animal consciousness, not human consciousness. The human being should be cognizant of suffering the threefold miseries of this planet. One should know that he is suffering in birth, suffering in death, suffering in old age and suffering in disease, and one should be inquisitive as to how he may avoid the suffering. That is real research work.
We have suffered from the beginning of our birth. As a baby, the human being is tightly placed in the abdomen of the mother in an airtight bag for nine months. He cannot even move, there are insects biting him, and he cannot protest. After the child comes out, the suffering continues. The mother undoubtedly takes much care, but still the child cries because he is suffering. There are bugs biting or there are pains in his stomach; the child is crying, and the mother does not know how to pacify him. His suffering begins in the womb of his mother. Then, after his birth, as he grows up, there is more suffering. He does not want to go to school, but he is forced to. He does not want to study, but the teacher gives him tasks. If we analyze our life, we will find that it is full of suffering. Why then are we coming here? The conditioned souls are not very bright. We should inquire, "Why am I suffering?" If there is a remedy, we must take advantage of it.
We are eternally connected with the Supreme Lord, but somehow or other we are now in material contamination. Therefore, we must take up a process by which to go back again to the spiritual world. That linking process is called yoga. The actual translation of the word yoga is "plus." At the present moment we are minus God, or minus the Supreme. But when we make ourselves plus—connected—then our human form of life is perfect. During our lifetime we have to practice approaching that point of perfection, and at the time of death, when we give up this material body, that perfection has to be realized. At the time of death, one must be prepared. Students, for instance, prepare for two to five years in college, and the final test of their education is the examination. If they pass the examination, they get a degree. Similarly, in the subject of life, if we prepare for the examination at the time of death and pass it, then we are transferred to the spiritual world. Everything is examined at the time of death.
There is a very common Bengali proverb that says that whatever one does for perfection will be tested at the time of his death. Bhagavad-gītā describes what we should do at the point of our death, when we are giving up this present body. For the dhyāna-yogī (meditator) Śrī Kṛṣṇa speaks the following verses:
- yad akṣaraṁ veda-vido vadanti
- viśanti yad yatayo vīta-rāgāḥ
- yad icchanto brahmacaryaṁ caranti
- tat te padaṁ saṅgraheṇa pravakṣye
- sarva-dvārāṇi saṁyamya
- mano hṛdi nirudhya ca
- mūrdhny ādhāyātmanaḥ prāṇam
- āsthito yoga-dhāraṇām
"Persons learned in the Vedas, who utter oṁkāra and who are great sages in the renounced order, enter into Brahman. Desiring such perfection, one practices celibacy. I shall now explain to you this process by which one may attain salvation. The yogic situation is that of detachment from all sensual engagements. Closing all the doors of the senses and fixing the mind on the heart and the life air at the top of the head, one establishes himself in yoga." (BG 8.11-12) In the yoga system this process is called pratyāhāra, which means, in technical language, "the opposite." Now the eyes are engaged in seeing worldly beauty, so one has to withdraw them from enjoying that beauty and concentrate on seeing beauty inside. That is called pratyāhāra. Similarly, one has to hear the oṁkāra sound from within.
- oṁ ity ekākṣaraṁ brahma
- vyāharan mām anusmaran
- yaḥ prayāti tyajan dehaṁ
- sa yāti paramāṁ gatim
"After being situated in this yoga practice and vibrating the sacred syllable oṁ, the supreme combination of letters, if one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and quits his body, he will certainly reach the spiritual planets." (BG 8.13) In this way all the senses have to be stopped in their external activities, and the mind must be concentrated on viṣṇu-mūrti, the form of Lord Viṣṇu. That is the perfection of yoga. The mind is very turbulent, so it has to be fixed upon the heart. When the mind is fixed within the heart and the life air is transferred to the top of the head, one can attain the perfection of yoga.
The perfect yogī then determines where he is to go. There are innumerable material planets, and beyond these planets there is the spiritual world. Yogīs have this information from Vedic scriptures. For example, before I came to the United States I read descriptions of it from books. Similarly, a description of the higher planets and the spiritual world can be found in the Vedic scriptures. The yogī knows everything; he can transfer himself to any planet he likes. He does not need the help of spacecraft.
Material scientists have been trying for many years, and they will go on trying for one hundred or one thousand years more, but they will never reach any planet. Maybe by a scientific process one or two men can reach some planet, but that is not the general process. The generally accepted process for transferral to other planets is the practice of the yoga system or the jñāna system. The bhakti system, however, is not meant for transferral to any material planet. Those who engage in the devotional service of Kṛṣṇa, or the Supreme Lord, are not interested in any of the planets of this material world because they know that no matter to which planet one elevates himself, he will still find the four principles of material existence there nonetheless. On some planets the duration of life is much longer than on this earth, but death is there. Those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious, however, transcend this material life of birth, death, disease and old age.
Spiritual life means release from this botheration and misery. Those who are intelligent, therefore, do not try to elevate themselves to any planet of this material world. Men are trying to reach the moon, and although it is very difficult to gain entrance to that planet, if we do gain entrance the period of our lives will be enhanced. Of course, that does not apply to life in this body. If we were to enter the moon with this body, instant death would be certain.
When one enters into a planetary system, he must have a suitable body for that planet. Every planet is inhabited by living entities with bodies suitable for that planet. For instance, we can enter the water in this body, but we cannot live there. We may stay there fifteen or sixteen hours, or maybe twenty-four hours, but that's all. Aquatic animals, however, have particular bodies suitable for living their whole lives in water. Similarly, if one takes a fish out of water and puts it on the land, it will die instantly. As we understand that even on this planet there are different kinds of bodies for living in particular places, so, similarly, if we want to enter another planet, we have to prepare ourselves to get a suitable body.
If one transfers himself and his soul transmigrates to the moon by this yogic process, he gets a long duration of life. On the higher planets, six of our months equal one day. Thus the beings there live for ten thousand years. That is the description in the Vedic literature. So undoubtedly one can get a very long duration of life, but still there is death. After ten thousand or twenty thousand years, or even after millions of years (it does not matter), death comes.
Actually, we are not subject to death. That is affirmed in the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā (BG 2.20): na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre. We are spirit soul, and therefore we are eternal. Why then should we subject ourselves to death and birth? It is intelligent to think in this way. Those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious are very intelligent because they are not interested in getting promotion to any planet where there is death, despite a long duration of life there. Rather, they want to get a body like God's. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ. (BS 5.1) God's body is sac-cid-ānanda. Sat means "eternal," and cit means "full of knowledge." Ānanda means "full of pleasure."
As stated in our pamphlet Kṛṣṇa, the Reservoir of Pleasure, if we transfer ourselves to the spiritual world, to Kṛṣṇa's planet or to any other spiritual planet, then we will get a body similar to God's: sac-cid-ānanda—eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. So those who try to be Kṛṣṇa conscious have a different aim of life than those who are trying to promote themselves to the better planets in this material world. Lord Kṛṣṇa says, mūrdhny ādhāyātmanaḥ prāṇam āsthito yoga-dhāraṇām: "The perfection of yoga is to transfer oneself to the spiritual world." (BG 8.12)
The spirit soul is a minute particle within the body. We cannot see it. One practices the yoga system to raise the soul to the topmost part of the head. This practice goes on while one is living, and the perfection is reached when one can place himself on the top of the head and then break through. Then he can transfer himself to whatever higher planets he likes. That is the perfection of the yogī.
If the yogī is inquisitive to see the moon, he can say, "Ah, let me see what the moon is like. Then I shall transfer myself to higher planets," just like travelers who go to Europe, California, Canada, or other countries on earth. One can transfer oneself to many planets by this yoga system, but anywhere he goes he will find visa systems and customs systems. To go to other planets, one must be qualified.
Kṛṣṇa conscious persons are not interested in any temporary planet, even if it offers a long duration of life. If the yogī, at the time of death, can pronounce oṁ, the concise form of transcendental vibration, and at the same time mām anusmaran, remember Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu, he will attain perfection. The purpose of the entire yoga system is to concentrate the mind on Viṣṇu. Impersonalists imagine that they see the form of Viṣṇu, or the Lord, but those who are personalists do not imagine this—they actually see the form of the Supreme Lord. Either way, if one concentrates his mind through imagination or if one actually sees, one has to concentrate his mind on the Viṣṇu form. Mām means "unto the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu." Anyone who leaves this body and concentrates his mind on Viṣṇu enters into the spiritual kingdom after quitting his body. Those who are actually yogīs do not desire to enter any other planet because they know that life is temporary on the temporary planets, and thus they are not interested. That is intelligence.
Those who are satisfied with temporary happiness, temporary life and temporary facilities are not intelligent according to Bhagavad-gītā (BG 7.23). Antavat tu phalaṁ teṣāṁ tad bhavaty alpa-medhasām: "One whose brain substance is very meager is interested in temporary things." That is the version of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. I am eternal, so why should I be interested in nonpermanent things? Who wants nonpermanent existence? No one wants it. If we are living in an apartment and the landlord asks us to vacate, we are sorry, but we are not sorry if we move to a better apartment. This then is our inclination. We do not wish to die, because we are eternal.
The material atmosphere is robbing us of our eternality. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says, "Our duration of life is being diminished by the sun, beginning from its rising until the time it sets." Daily we are losing the duration of our lives. If the sun rises at 5:30 in the morning, at 5:30 in the evening twelve hours have been taken away from the duration of our lives. We will never get this time back. If we ask any scientist, "I will give you twelve million dollars—please give me back these twelve hours," he will reply, "No, it is not possible." The scientist cannot do it. Therefore the Bhāgavatam says that from sunrise to sunset the duration of our lives is being diminished.
Time is called kāla—past, present and future. What is now present, tomorrow will be past, and what is now future, tomorrow will be present. But this past, present and future are the past, present and future of the body. We do not belong to the category of the past, present and future. We belong to the category of eternity. Therefore one should be concerned with how to attain or how to be elevated to the platform of eternity. The developed consciousness of the human being should be utilized not in the animal propensities of eating, sleeping, mating and defending but in searching out the valuable path which will help him get that life of eternity. It is said that the sun is taking away our duration of life—every minute, every hour, every day—but if we engage ourselves in the topics of Uttama-śloka, the topics of the Lord, that time cannot be taken away. The time one devotes in a Kṛṣṇa consciousness temple cannot be taken away. It is an asset—a plus, not a minus. The duration of life, so far as the body is concerned, may be taken; however one tries to keep it intact, no one can do it. But the spiritual education we receive in Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be taken away by the sun. It becomes a solid asset.
Chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare is a very easy thing to do. Time spent chanting cannot be taken away like time pertaining to the body. Fifty years ago I was a young man, but that time has been taken and cannot be returned. The spiritual knowledge I received from my spiritual master, however, cannot be taken away, but will go with me. Even after I quit this body, it will go with me; and if it is perfect in this life, then it will take me to the eternal abode.
Both the material and spiritual worlds belong to Kṛṣṇa. We are not proprietors of anything. It is all the property of the Supreme Lord, just as everything in the state belongs to the government, either in the prison house or outside the prison house. Conditioned life is just like life in a prison house in this material world. A prisoner cannot freely change from one cell to another. In free life one can go from one home to another home, but in prison life one cannot do that but must stay in his cell. All these planets are like cells. We are trying to go to the moon, but it is not practical by mechanical means. Whether we are American, Indian, Chinese or Russian, we have been given this planet to live on. We cannot leave—although there are millions and billions of planets and although we have machines by which we can—because we are conditioned by the laws of nature, God's laws. A man who is put into a certain cell cannot change at will without superior authority. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā that one should not try to change from one cell to another. That will not make anyone happy. If a prisoner thinks, "I am in this cell—let me request the warden to change my cell, and I will be happy," that is a mistaken idea. One cannot be happy so long as he is within the prison walls. We are trying to be happy by changing cells—from capitalism to communism. The aim should be to become free from this "ism" and that "ism." One has to change completely from this "ism" of materialism; then he can become happy. That is the program of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
We are taking advice from the Supreme Person. He says, "My dear Arjuna, you may be elevated to the highest planetary system, which is called Brahmaloka and is desirable because life there is very long." We cannot calculate even a half-day there. It is beyond our mathematical calculations. But even in Brahmaloka there is death. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, "Do not waste your time trying to elevate yourself or transfer yourself from this planet to that planet."
The people I have seen in America are very restless. They go from one apartment to another apartment or from one country to another country. That restlessness is there because we are searching after our real home. To go from this place to that place will not give eternal life. Eternal life is with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, "Everything belongs to Me, and I have the superexcellent abode, which is called Goloka Vṛndāvana." If one wants to go there, he must simply become Kṛṣṇa conscious and try to understand how Kṛṣṇa appears and disappears, what His constitutional position is, what our constitutional position is, what our relationship with Him is, and how to live. Simply try to understand these ideas scientifically. Everything in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is scientific. It is not bogus, whimsical, sentimental, fanatical or imaginary. It is truth, fact, reality. One must understand Kṛṣṇa in truth.
We have to give up this body, willingly or unwillingly. The day will come when we will have to submit to the laws of nature and give up this body. Even President Kennedy in his procession had to submit to nature's law and change his body for another body. He could not say, "Oh, I am the President; I am Mr. Kennedy. I cannot do that." He was forced to do it. That is the way nature works.
The purpose of our developed human consciousness is to understand how nature works. Aside from human consciousness, there is consciousness in dogs, cats, worms, trees, birds, beasts and all other species. But we are not meant to live in that consciousness. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says that after many, many births we have attained the human form of body. Now we should not misuse it. Please utilize this human life to develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness and be happy.