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720908 - Lecture BG 02.13 - Pittsburgh

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

720908BG-PITTSBURGH - September 08, 1972 - 41:52 Minutes

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

dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati
(BG 2.13)

Prabhupāda: (indistinct) . . . give me my spectacles.

dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati
(BG 2.13)

This is the problem at the present moment. People are not educated about the vital force of this body. Here in the Bhagavad-gītā, it is explained dehī. Dehī means the proprietor of this body. Both we all, not only we human being, but also lower than human being, all living entities . . .

There are 8,400,000 forms of living entities. They are called dehī. Dehī means the proprietor of the body. The dog, the cat, the human being, the president, or higher or lower, there are different species of life, everyone is the proprietor of the body. That we can experience. You know everything about the pains and pleasure of your body. I know what are the pains and pleasures of the body.

So this body has been given to us by material nature as our field of activities. With different bodies we are acting differently. Not that your activities and my activities are the same. The dog's activities and the man's activities are different because the dog has got a different type of body and I have got a different type of body, every one of us. So dehino 'smin yathā dehe (BG 2.13). The dehī, the living entity or the vital force, is within this body.

So the body is changing. Dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā. Kaumāram means boyhood, yauvanam means youthhood, and jarā means old age, aged body. So I can remember—I am an old man—I can remember I had a boy's body, I had a young man's body; now I have got this aged body. So although the boyhood body, the youthhood body are no longer existing, but I am existing. That's a fact. Everyone can understand: he has got past, present and future. You are all young boys and girls present here. So you had your past body as boyhood, childhood; similarly, you have got your future body also. That is awaiting. I have got it; you are awaiting.

So past, future . . . past, present and future, relatively we can understand in any condition of life. Therefore the conclusion is that when this aged body as I have got now . . . I am seventy-seven years old. So when this body will be finished, I'll get another body. As I have got consecutively from boyhood to childhood, childhood, I have . . . from childhood to boyhood, boyhood to youthhood, aged body, so why not next body? This is simple truth, that the living entity, or the soul, is transmigrating from one body to another. This is the basic principle of spiritual understanding.

The vital force of the body is the spirit soul. It is not a mechanical arrangement of matter. The modern so-called scientists, they think that the body is combination of matter and, at a certain stage, these combination of matter develops living symptoms. But that is not a fact. If it is a fact, then the scientists can manufacture with chemicals a living body. But a scientist even up to date is unable to manufacture even a body like an ant, and what to speak of other, bigger animals.

So we have to take this knowledge from authority. Here is Kṛṣṇa speaking. He's authority. We accept Kṛṣṇa: the Supreme Personality of Godhead. His knowledge is perfect. He knows past, present and future. Therefore He is teaching Arjuna, "My dear Arjuna, the spirit soul within this body is eternal." That's a fact. Just like I can understand I was in the past, I am in present, so I must be in the future. These are three phases of time: past, present and future.

In another place we read in this Bhagavad-gītā, na jāyate na mriyate vā kadācit (BG 2.20). The living entity is never born; neither it dies. Na jāyate means it never takes birth. Na jāyate na mriyate, it never dies. Nityaṁ śāśvato 'yam, na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20). It is eternal, śāśvata, existing forever. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre. By annihilation of this body, the soul does not die. Because . . .

This is also confirmed in the Upaniṣads, Vedas: nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām eko bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). The God is also eternal, and we are also eternal. We are part and parcels of God. Just like gold and fragments of gold, both of them are gold. Although I am fragment, a particle of gold, or the spirit, still, I am spirit. So we get this information that both God and we, living entities, we are eternal. Nityo nityānām. Nitya means eternal.

So two words are there. One is singular number, nitya, eternal, and the other is plural number, nityānām. So we are plural number, plural number eternals. We do not know what is the numerical strength of the living entities. They are described as asaṅkhya. Asaṅkhya means without any counting capacity. Millions and trillions. Then what is the difference between this singular number and the plural number? The plural number is dependent on the singular number. Eko bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān. The singular number eternal is giving all the necessities of life to the plural number, we living entities. That's a fact. We can examine by our intelligence.

Out of 8,400,000 different forms of life, we civilized human beings are very few. But others, their number is very great. Just like in the water: jalajā nava-lakṣāṇi (Padma Purāṇa). There are 900,000 species of life within the water. Sthāvarā lakṣa-viṁśati: and 2,000,000 different forms of life in the vegetable kingdom, plants and trees. Jalajā nava-lakṣāṇi sthāvarā lakṣa-viṁśati, kṛmayo rudra-saṅkhyayaḥ: and the insects, they are 110,000's different species of form. Kṛmayo rudra-saṅkhyayaḥ pakṣīṇāṁ daśa-lakṣaṇam: and birds, they are 1,000,000 species of forms. Then beasts, paśavas triṁśa-lakṣāṇi, 3,000,000 types of animals, four-legged. And catur-lakṣāṇi mānuṣaḥ, and the human being, the forms are 400,000. Out of them, most of them are uncivilized.

So we civilized human being—never mind American or Indian or German or Englishman, it doesn't matter—we are very few. So we have got economic problems. We are trying for developing our economic condition. What is that economic condition? Eating, sleeping, mating and defending. We are busy always, but the animals are also busy for eating, sleeping, mating and defending, but they have no problem. We have got problems.

So just try to understand, if the major portion of the living entities have no problem . . . their necessities of life are being supplied by the supreme eternal, God. Just like an elephant. There are millions of elephants in African jungle. They eat at a time fifty kilos. But they're getting their food. Similarly, a small ant, it requires a grain of sugar. So he's also getting his food. So the supreme eternal has arranged food, or the economic problems are solved by nature. They do not do any business, they do not go to school or colleges to learn technology, to earn livelihood, but they are being supplied. They are healthy. There is no disease.

So our advancement of civilization means we have created problems. That's all. This is our advancement of civilization, and we do not know what is the formation of the soul, how it is transmigrating from one body to another, what is the next life, whether we are getting next life a human being or better than human being or lower than human being. And if it is so, how we are getting that form of life next? Because we are eternal; we are changing this body. Neither we do know there are two kinds of bodies: the gross body and the subtle body. This gross body is made of earth, water, fire, air, ether; and the subtle body is made of mind, intelligence and ego. Within the subtle body, the soul is there.

Now, when this gross body becomes useless or unworkable, then the subtle body carries me to another gross body. This is called transmigration of the soul. But we do not see the subtle body. Every one of us, we know that we . . . we have got mind, but we cannot see the mind. Neither we can see intelligence, neither I can see what is my ego. But they are existing. So it is not necessary that everything you have to see with your blunt eyes. The eyes, they are not perfect. Just like the other side of this hall is dark; I cannot see you, although I have got the eyes. So even though we have got eyes, it is very imperfect. It cannot see in all circumstances. Under certain circumstances we can see. Therefore we should not believe simply by seeing.

But one thing: although I cannot see you, you can hear me, or I can understand that you are hearing. The ears are stronger than the eyes. So things which is beyond our experience, we can hear about. Even though we cannot see, it does not mean there is no existence of things. The same example: even though I cannot see what is mind, what is intelligence, what is ego, but I can hear about it. Therefore perfect knowledge is acquired by hearing.

So we accept knowledge, perfect knowledge, by hearing. Another example, suppose a man is sleeping. At that time, if somebody is coming to kill him, he's sleeping, he does not know. But if some of his friend warns him, "My dear Mr. Such-and-such, somebody is coming to kill you. Wake up!" he can hear, and he can wake up and take precaution. Therefore, when our other senses cannot work, our ear is very strong. Therefore it is recommended that you try to hear from the authoritative person. That is also . . . educational system is also like that. Why do you come to university, school and college? To hear from an experienced professor. He knows, and you acquire the knowledge by hearing.

So the process of hearing is very important. So our this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to propagate that, "You hear from the authority, Kṛṣṇa." Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is accepted in the present age and in the past age. In the past age, great sages like Nārada, Vyāsa, Asita, Devala, very, very great stalwart scholars and sages, they accepted. In the middle age, say 1,500 years ago, all the ācāryas like Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka . . . practically, Indian Vedic civilization, it is still existing on the authority of these ācāryas. And it is recommended in the Bhagavad-gītā, ācāryopāsanam. If you want to learn factually things, then you should approach ācārya. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.14.2), "One who has accepted ācārya, he knows things as they are." Ācāryavān puruṣo veda.

So we are receiving knowledge through the ācāryas. Kṛṣṇa spoke to Arjuna, Arjuna spoke to Vyāsadeva . . . Arjuna actually did not speak to Vyāsadeva, but Vyāsadeva heard it, Kṛṣṇa speaking, and he noted down in his book Mahābhārata. This Bhagavad-gītā is found in Mahābhārata. So we accept the authorities of Vyāsa. And from Vyāsa, Madhvācārya; from Madhvācārya, so many disciplic succession, up to Mādhavendra Purī. Then Mādhavendra Purī to Īśvara Purī; from Īśvara Purī to Lord Caitanyadeva; from Lord Caitanyadeva to six Gosvāmīs; from six Gosvāmīs to Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja; from him, Śrīnivāsa Ācārya; from him, Viśvanātha Cakravartī; from him, Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī; then Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī; Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura; my spiritual master. The same thing, we are preaching.

That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. It is nothing new. It is coming down from the original speaker, Kṛṣṇa, by disciplic succession. So we are reading this Bhagavad-gītā. Not that I have manufactured some book and I am preaching. No. I am preaching Bhagavad-gītā. The same Bhagavad-gītā as it was first spoken forty millions of years ago to the sun-god and again it was repeated five thousand years ago to Arjuna, the same thing is coming down by disciplic succession, and the same thing is presented before you. There is no change. So the authority says:

dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati
(BG 2.13)

So we request simply people that you accept this authoritative knowledge and try to assimilate it by your intelligence. It is not that you stop your argument and intelligence, simply blindly accept something. No. We are human being; we have got intelligence. We are not animals, that we shall be forced to accept something. No.

Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā (BG 4.34), in this Bhagavad-gītā you'll find. You try to understand, tad viddhi. Viddhi means try to understand. Praṇipāta. Praṇipātena means surrendering, not by challenge. A student should be very submissive to the spiritual master. Otherwise he will be, I mean to say, bewildered. Submissive reception. Our process is . . .

tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta
jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam
śābde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ
brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam
(SB 11.3.21)

This is the injunction, Vedic.

If you want to know things which is beyond your conception, beyond your sense perception, then you must approach a bona fide spiritual master. What is the symptom of bona fide spiritual master? Everyone wants to become spiritual master. So that is also stated: śābde pare ca niṣṇātam. One who has taken complete bath in the ocean of the Vedic literature, śābde pare ca niṣṇātam. Just like if you take bath, you become refreshed. If you take nice bath, you feel refreshed. Śābde pare ca niṣṇātam. Without refreshness, one cannot understand this sublime subject matter.

And the guru, or the spiritual master, should be refreshed by taking bath in the ocean of Vedic knowledge. And what is the result? Śābde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam (SB 11.3.21). By . . . after such cleanliness, he has taken shelter of the Supreme Absolute Truth, without any material desires. He has no more any material desires; he's simply interested in Kṛṣṇa, or the Absolute Truth. These are the symptoms of guru, or spiritual master.

So in order to understand . . . just like Kṛṣṇa is teaching Arjuna. Before this, Kṛṣṇa (Arjuna) surrendered himself: śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam (BG 2.7). Although they were friends, Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna were friends . . . first of all, they were talking like friends, and Arjuna was arguing with Kṛṣṇa. This argument has no value, because if I am imperfect, what is the meaning of my argument? Whatever I shall argue, that is also imperfect. So what is the use of wasting time by imperfect argument? This is not process. The process is that we must approach to a perfect person and take his instruction as it is. Then our knowledge is perfect. Without any argument.

We accept Vedic knowledge like that. For example, just like stool of an animal. It is stated in the Vedic literature that it is impure. If you touch stool . . . according to Vedic system, even after passing my own stool, evacuating, I have to take bath. And what to speak of others' stool. That is the system. So stool is impure. One, after touching stool, he must take bath. This is Vedic injunction.

But in another place it is said that the stool of the cow is pure, and if cow dung is applied in some impure place, it will be pure. Now, by your argument, you can say that, "The stool of an animal is impure. Why it is said in one place pure and another place impure? This is contradiction." But this is not contradiction. You practically make experiment. You take cow dung and apply anywhere, you'll find it is pure. Immediately purified.

So this is Vedic injunction. They are perfect knowledge. We . . . instead of wasting time arguing and putting forward false prestige, if you simply accept the perfect knowledge, as they are stated in the Vedic literature, then we get perfect knowledge and our life is success. Instead of making experiment on the body to find out where is the soul . . .

The soul is there, but it is so small that it is not possible to see by your these blunt eyes, any microscope or any machine. Because it is stated it is one ten-thousandth part of the top of the tip of the hair. So there is no machine. You cannot see. But it is there. Otherwise, how we can find distinction between the dead body and the living body? So here, the perfect knowledge is spoken by Kṛṣṇa:

dehino 'smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
tathā dehāntara-prāptir
dhīras tatra na muhyati
(BG 2.13)

Dehinaḥ, of the living soul, the body is changing. Similarly, after death, after so-called death . . . because there is no death. After stoppage of the function of this gross body, the soul is transferred to another gross body. This statement we get from Bhagavad-gītā. And if we accept this statement, "This is fact," then our spiritual life immediately begins. Without this understanding, there is no question of spiritual understanding—everything vague, simply mental speculation, "maybe," "perhaps." These theories are being forwarded by so-called scientists and philosopher. But we don't accept such things as "perhaps," "maybe." No. We accept what is fact. It is not the question of belief; it is the question of fact. So this is the fact.

Now, how the soul is transmigrating? Suppose after this life I get better life, that's nice. But if I get lower life, then what is the condition? Suppose next life I get the life of a cat or dog or cow. Suppose you get again birth in America. But if you change your body, then whole circumstances change. As human being, you are giving all protection by the state, but as soon as you become another body, either tree or animals, the treatment is different. Animal is going to the slaughterhouse, trees are being cut out. There is no protest.

So this is the condition of material life. Sometimes we are getting better condition of life, sometimes we are getting lower condition of life. There is no guarantee. That will depend on my work. That is practical. In this life also, if you become educated, then your future is very nice. If you are not educated, then your future is not so bright. Similarly, this human form of life, we can make a solution of this repeated birth and death. And that is the only business of human form of life, how to get out of these material conditions of life: birth, death, old age and disease. We can make solution. And that solution is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

As soon as we become Kṛṣṇa conscious . . . Kṛṣṇa conscious means Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme, He . . . Lord, God, we are part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Simply to understand that . . . just like you understand your father and your brothers and yourself. You are all sons of the father. So it is not difficult to understand. As father maintains the whole family, similarly, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Lord, or God, He has many, innumerable sons, living entities, and He is maintaining the whole body, whole family. What is the difficulty? Then next duty is to become developed conscious. Just like a good son, when he feels that, "Father has done so much for me. I must repay it, or at least I must accept obligation what my father has done for me," this much feeling is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, we require to understand three things only:

bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ
suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
(BG 5.29)

Every one of us is trying to be happy, satisfied. That is the struggle for existence. But if we understand these three principles, that God is the supreme father, God is the supreme proprietor, God is the supreme friend, these three things if you understand, then you become peaceful immediately. Immediately. You are seeking friends to get help, so many. But if we simply accept God, Kṛṣṇa, as my friend, supreme friend, your friendship problem is solved. Similarly, if we accept God as the supreme proprietor, then our other problem is solved.

Because we are falsely claiming proprietorship of things which belong to God. By falsely claiming that, "This land, this land of America, belongs to the Americans, the land of Africa belongs to the Africans," no. Every land belongs to God. We are different sons of God in different dresses. We have got right to enjoy the property of father, God, without infringing others' right. Just like in family, we live so many brothers.

So whatever father, mother gives us to eat, we eat. We don't encroach upon others' plate. That is not civilized family. Similarly, if we become God conscious, Kṛṣṇa conscious, then the whole problems of the world—sociology, religion, economic development, politics—everything will be solved. That's a fact.

Therefore we are trying to spread this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement for total benefit of the human society. We request the intelligent persons, especially the students community, to join this movement, to try to understand scientifically what is this movement. We have got many books, at least two dozen books, big, big, voluminous. So you can read them, you can try to understand this movement, and join with us.

Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Devotees: Jaya Prabhupāda! (applause) (end)