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690106 - Lecture BG 04.07-10 - Los Angeles

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

690106BG-LOS ANGELES - January 06, 1969 - 97:37 Minutes


Prabhupāda: All glories to the assembled devotees.

Devotees: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda: Feeling all right? Page?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: One-fifteen. Verse seven?

"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bhārata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself." Purport.

Prabhupāda: This is very important verse.

yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya
tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
(BG 4.7)

When God comes or His representative comes, His servant comes, or His son comes, there is necessity. Because it is God's kingdom, as soon as there is too much violation of the laws of God, there will be appearance of God.

So in the present age, this hari-nāma, Kṛṣṇa . . . Kṛṣṇa has descended at the present moment in the incarnation of His holy name. Kali-kāle nāma-rūpe (CC Adi 17.22).

In other ages, God comes to kill the demons. But if God takes the killing process . . . of course, at last, when Kalki incarnation will come . . . that is, of course, long, long after. But at the present moment, God is compassionate. Taking consideration of the people's most fallen condition, there is no process of killing, but reclaiming them simply by this chanting process.

We should take it seriously, that this movement, Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, is also incarnation of God in the simple form, holy name, and people may take advantage simply by chanting.

Go on, the purport.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: "The word sṛjāmi, "manifest," is significant herein. Sṛjāmi cannot be used in the sense of creation, because according to the previous verse, there is no creation of the Lord's form or body, since all of the forms are eternally existent. Therefore sṛjāmi means that the Lord manifests Himself as He is."

"Although the Lord appears on schedule, namely at the end of the Dvāpara-yuga, or the twenty-eighth millennium of the eighth Manu in one day of Brahmā, still He has no obligation to adhere to such rules and regulations, because He is completely free to act many ways at His will."

"He therefore appears by His own will whenever there is a predominance of irreligion and a disappearance of true religion. Principles of religion are laid down in the Vedas, and any discrepancy in the matter of properly executing the rules of the Vedas makes one irreligious."

"In the Bhāgavatam we find that such principles of religion are the laws of the Lord. Only the Lord can manufacture . . ."

Prabhupāda: Yes. Here is a reference of Bhāgavatam. In the Bhāgavatam it is said, dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19):

"The religion is the," I mean to say: "order, or regulation, given by God." Just like the state gives you some regulation, the same example, that "Keep to the right." This regulation is given by the state. You cannot give such regulation. You cannot say: "No. Why keep to the left . . . keep to the right? Let me keep to the left. I give this law." Your law will not be accepted. The state laws will be accepted.

Similarly, nobody can manufacture a religious process. That is nonsense. If somebody says that, "I am introducing this religious process," that is nonsense. Nobody will be interested. But if God gives you law, just like the state gives you law, one has to accept. So religion means to accept the order of God. That is religion. And who can accept the order of law, er, God? When there is exactly relationship. Just like you have got relationship with the state. You are a citizen of American government. So you, out of love of your country, out of your obligation, you abide by the laws.

Similarly, religion can be performed by a person who has full conception of God. Without God, religion is a farce. That is not religion. Religion means you must have obligation to God, you must have clear conception of God. That is called . . . that is . . . and that relationship is based on love. Just like father and child. What is the relationship between the child? There are hundreds of thousands of children in the street. Why you are interested with your own children? Because there is love. Similarly, religion means love of God, and irreligion means forgetfulness of God. That's all.

Religion does not mean to follow some ritualistic process. That helps us to approach, but they are not, I mean to say, primal necessity. That ritualistic process may be different. Hindus may be following a different kind of ritualistic process. The Christian may be following a different kinds of ritualistic process. That does not matter. Just like the same example: your relationship with the state. You Americans, you follow the state laws, keep the car right, "Keep right." In India and in England I have seen also that, "Keep to the left." So the process may be different, but the actual obedience to the state is there, either in India or in America or in England or everywhere.

Similarly, religion means love of Godhead. Now, that love of Godhead you may learn under certain process, I may learn under certain process. Just like love between boys and girls may be different from India to America. In India there is still. No young man can mix freely with a young girl, but still, there is love. So process may be different, but we have to accept the basic principle. Basic principle is love of God. That is religion. Don't bother about the ritualistic process. Just try to see how much you are increasing your love of God. Then you are religious. That's all. That is bhāgavata-dharma.

Śrīmad-Bhāgavata says, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje (SB 1.2.6):

"That is first-class religion." What is that? "Where love of God is enthused." That is first-class religion. And if you follow ritualistic processes and your love of Godhead is gone to hell—your love of materialistic life or love of this world is increasing, love of sense gratification is increasing—that is not religion. That is not religion. Test of religion is how much you are increasing your love of God.

So here it is said: "Whenever and wherever there is decline in religious practice . . ." What is that religion practice? That religion practice is whenever there is decline of love of God. That's all. When people becomes lover of mammon, matter, that means decline of religion. And when people increase love of Godhead, that means real religion. So Kṛṣṇa comes, or Kṛṣṇa's servant or representative comes, to adjust things. When people forget love of Godhead, somebody, either Kṛṣṇa, God Himself or His representative comes to adjust things.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is incarnation. They are teaching love of Godhead. We are not teaching some ritualistic process that, "You become Hindu," "You become Christian," "You become Muhammadan." We are simply teaching, "You try to love God. You have forgotten love (God). You have declared, 'God is dead.' These are all nonsense. God is there. You are here. You are suffering because you have forgotten God. You try to love God. Your normal life will come back. You will be happy." This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. There is nothing artificiality.

So there is no question of sectarianism that, "In this temple the Christians will come" or "The Muhammadans will not come." Anyone. Because we are teaching what? Teaching love of Godhead. Either you become Christian or Muhammadan, Hindu, how you can deny God? Those who are denying God, their case is different. But one who is accepting God as the central figure in religion, how they can deny this movement? Because we are teaching love of Godhead, that's all. Go on.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: "Only the Lord can manufacture a system of religion. The Vedas are also accepted as originally spoken by the Lord Himself to Brahmā from within his heart. Therefore the principles of religion are the direct orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These principles are clearly indicated throughout the Bhagavad-gītā. The purpose of the Vedas is to establish such principles under the order of the Supreme Lord, and the Lord directly orders at the end of the Bhagavad-gītā that the highest principle of religion is to surrender unto Him only and nothing more."

"The Vedic principles are to push one toward complete surrender unto Him, and whenever such principles are disturbed by the demons, the Lord appears. From the Bhāgavatam we understand that Lord Buddha is the incarnation of Kṛṣṇa who appeared when materialism was rampant and materialists were using the pretext of the authority of the Vedas. Although there are certain restrictive rules and regulations regarding animal sacrifice for particular purposes in the Vedas, people of demonic tendency still took to animal sacrifice without reference to the Vedic principles. Lord Buddha . . ."

Prabhupāda: Just like still, animal sacrifice . . . not only the followers of Vedas, every religion—animal is killed or sacrificed under certain religious rituals, in the lower stage. In the higher stage there is no such animal sacrifice. Just like this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, there is no ritualistic process as animal sacrifice. But the Vedas, they will include everyone. Suppose one is addicted to fish-eating or meat-eating.

So the Vedas do not reject him also. He gives him direction that, "You . . . all right, you can eat meat, but not you can start slaughterhouse. You can sacrifice one goat in the presence of Goddess Kālī, and then you can eat." That means restriction. Goddess Kālī cannot be worshiped daily. So at least he is forbidden to eat daily meat. That is the idea.

Just like liquor shop is allowed by the government because there are drunkards. They must drink, but under restriction. You cannot keep liquor or wine more than the necessity. There is restriction. In India especially, there is very strict restriction. So similarly, the Vedic principle is to restrict sense gratification under certain rules and regulation. So the animal sacrifice is also restricted in that way.

But when people become too much animal-eater and simply giving the evidence of Vedas, "In the Vedas it is sanctioned," but without caring for the ritualistic process, at that time Lord Buddha appeared. It is said about Lord Buddha that sadaya-hṛdaya-darśita-paśu-ghātam (Daśāvatāra-stotra 9).

The Lord appeared as Lord Buddha, being compassionate on the poor animals, unrestricted.

So this animal-killing, no religion sanctions. In your Christian religion also, it is clearly stated, "Thou shall not kill." But who is caring for that? Nobody is caring. They are killing. Their killing process is increasing, and there is reaction also. Every ten years you will find one war, killing process upon you. How you can avoid?

There must be reaction. You cannot violate the laws of God. As you cannot violate the laws of the state, similarly, if you violate, you have to suffer. You cannot expect peace and you go on killing animals. That is not possible. If you want peace, then you must think for others also. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is God consciousness.

How you can kill another animal? He is also as good a child of God. A father has got some dozens of children. It may be one is useless, but that does not mean father will allow it to be killed . . . allow him to be killed. If the very intelligent child says: "My dear father, your . . . this son is useless. Let me kill him," the father will sanction? No, never. Similarly, the animal may be less intelligent. They cannot make protest. They are also nationals.

What do you mean by national? One who is born in America is national. Are the animals are not born in America? Are they not American nationals? But because they cannot make protest, they cannot make meeting, you are killing them. You see? Is that humanity? And you expect peace? That is not possible.

Violation of God, laws of God, one has to suffer, today or tomorrow. Today or tomorrow. Just like if you contaminate some disease germ, it may not be manifest immediately, but it will act someday. Similarly, if we contaminate sinful activities, it may not be immediately manifest, but you must wait for the reaction.

So Kṛṣṇa consciousness means to understand these things. It is not a bogus propaganda that, "You meditate fifteen minutes and you become God," nonsense. This is not such a movement. You have to understand your constitutional position. You have to understand what is God, what is law of God, how it is functioning. These are there. These are meant for human study. They are not meant for animals.

So when there are discrepancies of this violation of law, there is incarnation of God. So Lord Buddha appeared in that way.


Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: "Therefore each and every avatāra, or incarnation of the Lord, has a particular mission, and They are all described in the revealed scriptures. Nobody can be accepted as an avatāra without reference to such scriptural indications. It is not a fact that the Lord appears only on Indian soil. He can advent Himself anywhere and everywhere, and whenever He desires to appear."

"In each and every incarnation He speaks as much about religion as can be understood by the particular people under their particular circumstances, but the mission is the same: to lead people to God consciousness and obedience to the principles of religion. Sometimes He descends personally, and sometimes He sends His bona fide representative in the form of His son or servant."

Prabhupāda: So there are some protagonists, they say that God cannot come personally. Why? Why God should be restricted? Is God under your regulation or restriction? Then what kind of God He is? Yes. God can come personally out of His compassion. That is possible. Yes. And He comes. He says here in this verse that "I come."

But it is not that somebody will imitate and he will say that, "I am God." No. That also not. You have to test actually. That test, if you have got . . . if you are conversant with the principles of God appearance, disappearance, incarnation, then you can understand who is a pretender and who is actually representative of God, by action.

There are . . . just like Kṛṣṇa is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His actions, wonderful actions, not that He pretended and cheated some people that "I am God." Actually, from the beginning of His appearance He played, I mean to say, uncommon activities. Just like at the age of seven years old He lifted the Govardhana Hill.

There are so many instances. If you read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, life of Kṛṣṇa in the Tenth Canto, there is description. And in the Battle of Kurukṣetra, the Bhagavad-gītā. So by His activities, by His knowledge, by His opulence—everything is there. Nobody is supposed to be cheated by a pretender if he is actually intelligent.

Go on.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: "The principles of the Bhagavad-gītā were spoken to Arjuna and, for that matter, to other highly elevated persons because they were highly advanced compared to ordinary men in other parts of the world. Two plus two equals four. This is a mathematical principle, and it is true both in the infant's arithmetic class and in the Master's degree class as well."

"Still, there are higher and lower mathematics. In all incarnations of the Lord, therefore, the same principles are taught, but they appear to be higher and lower under various circumstances. The higher principles of religion begin with the acceptance of the four orders and the four ranks of social life, as will be explained later. The whole purpose of the mission of incarnations is to arouse Kṛṣṇa consciousness everywhere."

Eight: "In order to deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium."

Nine: "One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."

Prabhupāda: This is very nice. If one can understand the principles of appearance and disappearance of God, His activities, so simply by understanding these principles he will be liberated. It is said here that after quitting this body, he is no more coming to take birth again in this material world.

So just like a layman does not know how the sun appears and disappears, but an astronomer, he knows very well the movements of the sun, moon and other planets' appearance and disappearance. This is a science, astronomy. Similarly, there is a science of God by which you can understand how God appears, disappears, how He acts, how He works. Everything is there.

But if you are not interested, that does not mean that the science of God is false or there is no such science. There is. You must be interested to know, then you can understand. And if you simply understand this science, then you become liberated. It is open order. Simply by understanding—even not engaging yourself in transcendental service of the Lord—simply by understanding the process of appearance and disappearance. So why don't you try that?

Go on. Purport.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Purport: "The Lord's descent from His transcendental abode is already explained in the sixth verse. One who can understand the truth of the appearance of the Personality of Godhead is already liberated from material bondage, and therefore he returns to the kingdom of God immediately after quitting his present material body. Such liberation of the living entity from material bondage is not at all easy. The impersonalist and the yogīs attain liberation only after much trouble and many, many births. Even then their liberation is . . ."

Prabhupāda: Try to understand bondage, what is bondage. We are thinking we are very . . . we are free. We are declaring that "We belong to the free nation" or "free community," or everyone is seeking after freedom. But nobody is free. Nobody is free. Everyone is under the stringent laws of nature. So bondage means to remain under the condition of material laws. That is called bondage.

Just like people are trying for so many years to go to the moon planet. The Russian and the American scientists are competing. But they are so bound up, they go some, say, thousands and thousands of miles up, again come back. Just see how they are bound up. You cannot go. So this is the nearest planet, and there are so many other planets also. So you cannot go by your whims or by your will. This is called bondage. But if you become free—when you are in spiritual understanding, then you are freed—then you can travel anywhere.

The perfect yogī, he can travel in any planet. That is freedom. That is little freedom. We have no idea what is the freedom of the spirit soul. That we have forgotten, because for . . . from time immemorial we have been bound up under the laws of material nature, so we do not know what is freedom. But there are information of the freedom, how a spirit soul can become free.

Go on.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: "The impersonalists and the yogīs attain liberation only after much trouble and many, many births. Even then the liberation they achieve, merging into the impersonal brahma-jyotir effulgence of the Lord, is only partial, and there is the risk of returning again to this material world. But the devotee, simply by understanding the transcendental nature of the body and the activities of the Lord, attains the abode of the Lord after ending this body and does not run the risk of returning again to this material world."

"In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated that the Lord has many, many forms and incarnations. Advaitam acyutam ananta-rūpam (Bs. 5.33)."

"Although there are many transcendental forms of the Lord, they are still one and the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. One has to understand this fact with conviction, although it is incomprehensible to mundane scholars and empiric philosophers. As stated in the Vedas: eko devo nitya-līlānurakto bhakta-vyāpī hṛdy antarātmā:"

" 'The one Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternally engaged in many, many transcendental forms in relationships with His unalloyed devotees.' "

"This Vedic version is confirmed in this verse of the Bhagavad-gītā personally by the Lord. Anyone who accepts this truth on the strength of the authorities of the Vedas and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and who does not waste time in philosophical speculation obtains the highest perfectional stage of liberation."

Prabhupāda: Yes. This is very important point: the process of understanding knowledge. The modern tendency is to understand by dint of one's sense perception. That is not possible. There are many things, especially spiritual matters—nobody can understand by simple speculation. So one has to accept the authority. So according to Vedic culture, the Vedas are the authority. If there is some information in the Vedas, you accept it, authority. That is very nice system.

Just like a child. If he wants to understand something out of his own intelligence, it is very difficult to understand, but if he asks his parents, "Mother, what is this?" mother says, "My dear child, this is this." So he understands immediately, "Oh," because mother is the authority. Mother will not cheat the child. Similarly, those who are liberated persons . . . Vedas means the knowledge given by the liberated person, by God. So if you accept it, then you get the knowledge immediately. You haven't got to make research or philosophical speculation.

That process is deductive process. That process is very nice. So Vedic process means, as it is stated in the Fourth Chapter that, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam. (BG 4.2)

By disciplic succession if you try to understand the truth, then you get infallible knowledge. Your purpose is to get knowledge. As soon as you get the knowledge from authority, your knowledge is perfect. But if you want to get the knowledge by your own sense perception, you will never be able to come to the right conclusion; neither it is possible to get knowledge in that process.

Go on.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: "The Vedic version tat tvam asi is actually applied in this case. Anyone who understands Lord Kṛṣṇa to be the Supreme or who says unto the Lord, 'You are the same Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead,' is certainly liberated instantly, and consequently his entrance into the transcendental association of the Lord is guaranteed. In other words, such a faithful devotee of the Lord attains perfection, and this is confirmed by the following Vedic assertion: tam eva viditvāti mṛtyum eti nānyaḥ panthā vidyate ayanāya. One can attain the perfect stage of liberation from birth and death simply by knowing the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

"There is no alternative means, because anyone who does not understand Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is surely in the mode of ignorance. Consequently he will not attain salvation simply, so to speak, by licking the outer surface of the bottle of honey or by interpreting the text of the Bhagavad-gītā according to his own mundane scholarship. Such empiric philosophers may assume very important roles in the material world, but they are not necessarily eligible for liberation. Such puffed-up mundane scholars have to wait for the causeless mercy of the devotee of the Lord. One should, therefore, accept the principle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness with faith and knowledge, and in this way one can attain the perfection of life."

Ten: "Being freed from attachment, fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many, many persons in the past became purified, and thus they all attained transcendental love for Me."

Purport: "As described above, it is very difficult for a person who is too materially affected to understand the personal nature of the Supreme Absolute Truth. Generally, people who are attached to the bodily concept of life are so absorbed in materialism that it is almost impossible for them to understand how the Supreme can be a person. Such materialists cannot even imagine that there is a transcendental body which is nonperishable, full of knowledge, and eternally blissful."

"In the materialistic concept, the body is perishable, full of ignorance and completely miserable. Therefore people in general keep this same bodily idea in mind when they are informed of the personal form of the Lord."

Prabhupāda: Yes. When we try to impress people about the personal nature or the personal body of God, generally we think, "God is a person like me." Therefore they cannot imagine how God . . . actually, God is not a person like me, but He is a person. That is to be understood. Sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ (Bs. 5.1).

He has got body, but He hasn't got body like me.

Just like in the Vedas it is stated, apāni-pādo javano gṛahītā (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 3.19).

In the Upaniṣads it is said that, "God has no leg, but He can run faster than any one of us." Now, this is superficially contradiction. If He has no leg, then how He can run faster than me? So the adjustment is that He has got leg, because He runs. Just like in another place, "God has no hands, but He can accept whatever we offer." There are many such Vedic version. Now, we have to understand in this way, that He has got His hand, He has got His leg, but not this limited hand or limited leg.

In another place in Bhagavad-gītā you'll find, God says that "Whatever is offered to Me in the group of flowers, fruits, vegetables, I accept for eating." Now, if we think that "God is far, far away. How He eats? I offer here. How He eats?" that means His eating process is different. He can eat even from millions and millions of miles away. So these things are to be understood, that God has got a form, but that form is not exactly our form. If we try to understand God's form as limited as our form, then we'll misunderstand.

Sac-cid . . . in the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said, sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ (Bs. 5.1): His form is eternal, full of bliss and knowledge, just exactly opposite to this form which we have got just now. We can also attain that form. That is being explained here.

Go on.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: "Therefore people in general keep the same bodily idea in mind when they are informed of the personal form of the Lord. For such materialistic men the form of the gigantic material manifestation is Supreme. Therefore they imagine that the Supreme is impersonal. And because they are too materially absorbed, the concept of retaining a personality after liberation from matter frightens them. When such materialistic men are informed that spiritual life is also individual and personal, they are afraid of becoming persons again, and so they naturally prefer a kind of merging into the impersonal void."

"Generally, they compare the living entities to the bubbles of the ocean which merge into the ocean. That is the highest perfection of spiritual existence attainable without individual personality. This is a fearful stage of life, devoid of perfect knowledge of spiritual existence."

"Furthermore, there are many persons who cannot understand spiritual existence at all. Being embarrassed by so many theories and by contradictions and various types of philosophical speculation, they become disgusted or angry, and foolishly they conclude that there is no supreme cause and that everything is ultimately void. Such people are in diseased conditions of life. Some of them are too materially attached, and therefore do not give attention to spiritual life. Some of them want to merge into the supreme spiritual cause. And some of them disbelieve in everything, being angry at all sorts of spiritual speculation out of hopelessness. This last class of men take to the shelter of some kind of intoxication, and their effective hallucinations are sometimes accepted as spiritual visions."

"One has to get rid of all three stages of attachment to the material world: the negligence of spiritual life, fear of spiritual personal identity, and the concept of void that underlies the frustration of life. To get free of these three stages in the material concept of life, one has to take complete shelter of the Lord, guided by the bona fide spiritual master, and follow the penances of disciplinary and regulative principles of devotional life. The last stage of such devotional life is called bhāva, or transcendental love of Godhead."

"According to Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, the science of devotional service: 'In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. The next stage is that one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under the instruction of the spiritual master the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service.' "

'By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from all material attachment and attains steadiness in self-realization and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. This taste leads one further forward to the attachment for Kṛṣṇa . . . for the attachment for Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And this Kṛṣṇa consciousness is matured in bhāva, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love of Godhead. When the devotee reaches the stage of real love for Godhead, it is called prema, the highest perfection of life.' "

"In the prema stage there is a constant engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. So by the slow process of devotional service under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master, one can attain the bhāva stage, being free from all material attachment, from the fearfulness of one's individual spiritual personality and from the frustration of voidness. And when one is actually free from such lower stages of life, one can attain to the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

Prabhupāda: That's all. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (devotees offer obeisances)

Any question? So we discuss Bhagavad-gītā. If somebody has got any difficulty to understand or any question, they can . . . he can clear it up. This class is meant for understanding. So we should try to understand clearly what is discussed. So if there is any question, you can put.

Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā (BG 4.34).

Spiritual understanding is possible by surrender, by question and by service. The question should be made to a person where you can surrender, and that person where you surrender must be rendered service. This is the process.

(pause) Yes?

Madhudviṣa: Prabhupāda, in this Vedic verse tat tvam asi, is this where the Māyāvādīs have begin their impersonal philosophy, "Thou art that," or . . .?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. We also . . . we cannot deny the Vedic version. Tat tvam asi is a Vedic version. So either you are Māyāvādī or Vaiṣṇava, you cannot deny it. Just like two lawyers are arguing in the court. The medium is the law court. So neither of them can deny the law court, but one has to establish his conviction by argument, by logic. So similarly, tat tvam asi is the code of Vedic principle, or Vedas, "You are that." Tat tvam asi. Tat means that supreme spirit you are.

So our philosophy, Vaiṣṇava philosophy, we begin from this point. Just Kṛṣṇa began Bhagavad-gītā from the point that "You are not this body," we begin from this version, tat tvam asi. Tat tvam asi: "You are not this." That means "What I am?" Then I must be something; otherwise what is my identity? That reply is, "Your identity is that you are as good as God." That means you are qualitatively the same. Tat tvam asi. Qualitatively you are . . .

The mistake of the Māyāvāda philosophy is that "You are the same." You are the same in which way? I am the same in quality, not in quantity. Just like if I say: "You are as good as President Nixon," there is nothing wrong, because you are American, he is American. Is there anything wrong? From the point of view American citizenship, you are as good as President Nixon.

But when you go deep into the matter, you will find, oh, you are far, far away from President Nixon. Similarly, we are identifying ourself with this matter, but Vedas says that, "You are not matter. You are supreme spirit soul." Not supreme; "You are spirit soul." That understanding is tat tvam asi.

You have to understand ahaṁ brahmāsmi: "I am Brahman. I am not matter." Our disease is that I am identifying with this matter, "I am this material body," which is foreign to me. This is the beginning of the Bhagavad-gītā instruction that, "You are not this body." Tat tvam asi: "You are spirit soul." So we also, we have to accept. We are accepting that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul." But my constitutional position is part and parcel of the supreme whole.

So just like big gold mine and a small particle of gold. That small particle of gold is also gold. But that does not mean it has the same value as the gold mine. Tat tvam asi. Just like a drop of sea water. Chemical composition is the same. Salty taste is the same.

Similarly, if you can understand yourself, then you can understand even God. If you study yourself that, "Although I am very small . . ." What to speak of myself? Even a small ant, it has got individuality. The ant is going on. You stop it, it will struggle. That means it wants to keep its individuality.

Therefore if you are the same, then God is also individual. He is not impersonal. Immediately you can understand. How you can . . .? I have got so much . . . I am so small, tiny—still, I have got my individuality, personality, and how God can be impersonal? Even a commonsense man can understand.

If I have got tendency to love nice girls and dance with him, er, her, or a girl—everyone is individual—why God shall not be? He must have that tendency. Otherwise wherefrom this tendency comes? Because I am part and parcel of God, unless the tendency is there, wherefrom I get this tendency? So if you simply try to understand the tat tvam asi, you can immediately understand your position and God. It is so nice.

So ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt. Ānanda-mayo 'bhyāsāt. The Vedic version says, Vedānta, that "A spirit soul is by nature joyful." Therefore—we are spirit soul—we are hankering after joy, where there is dance, where there is cinema, where there is nice food, where there is nice song, nice picture, nice beautiful woman or man. Everyone is searching after joy. Therefore the Supreme must be joyful. But I am conditioned. Therefore my joy is being checked up. But He is not conditioned. His joy is unlimited. He is everlastingly in enjoyment in Vṛndāvana, dancing with gopīs.

So you simply study this tat tvam asi, you can understand yourself and God if you are a philosopher, if you are thoughtful. The tat tvam asi is so nice. But if you simply become more fool, "Oh, I am God, so I have nothing to do. I have become God. I have no seeing. I have no . . . yes. Meditation. That's all," this is another foolishness. Just try to understand. "You are the same." That's nice.

But why your process of enjoyment is checked? You want unchecked happiness. You do not wish to die. Why death overcomes you? We are sitting here very peacefully. If there is any information, "Oh, the ceiling is going to fall down," we shall immediately vacate this floor, because we are afraid of death. That means I want eternal life, but death is there.

These questions should be answered. Why I am subject to death? Why I am subjected to birth? Why I am subjected to disease, old age? This is called brahma-jijñāsā. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. This is called inquiry, real inquiry. That is human life's inquiry. The beasts, the birds, the animals, they cannot inquire these things. They are suffering, but they cannot inquire, "Why I am suffering?" Here is an opportunity. Here you can understand that, "I am as good as God, although I am very small." Then you can prepare yourself. Tat tvam asi.

You are the same. You can also join with Kṛṣṇa and dance with Him. Why you are forgetting that? But you have to qualify yourself. You cannot dance with the dog and God at the same time. If you want to dance with the dog, then remain here. Go on perpetually dancing with the dog. But if you want to dance with God, you can prepare yourself and go there and dance with Him. That is up to you, because tat tvam asi: "You are the same."

That, everything, is my choice, what I want to do. In the practical life also. President Nixon is the head of your state. You can also become. But you must have the capacity. Simply by thinking that "I am President Nixon, Nixon, Nixon," that will not do. Tat tvam asi means that, "You have got the same quality as God. Now you have to realize and you have to act. Don't misuse your life simply in animal propensities and go to dog." No. Therefore Vedic . . . tamasi mā jyotir-gama: "Don't remain in the darkness. Come out to the light." Tamasi mā jyotir-gama: "Don't remain in birth and death cycle. Come to the eternal life."

So everything is there. You can have eternal life, blissful life, life of knowledge. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness means training people for becoming fit to enter into that eternal life, blissful life. That training is meant for human being, not for animals. So you should not misuse this human form of life. Try to understand tat tvam asi, and act accordingly. That will be successful of our activities. Is that clear? Yes.

You have question? (pause)

Devotee: Prabhupāda? You've said many times that in this material nature we have no guarantee what our next birth will be. But, say for instance the yogīs who perfect certain mystical powers, do they have any guarantee of a human birth in their next life?

Prabhupāda: You have also guarantee. You have also guarantee. Those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness seriously, even they do not make perfection . . . generally you can make perfection. It is not very difficult, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You have to keep your consciousness always absorbed in the thought of Kṛṣṇa. Our consciousness must be absorbed in some thought. Without thought, your consciousness is not existing. There must be some thought. Now you have to replace that thought with Kṛṣṇa. That's all. You have to mold your life in such a way that you cannot think of anything except Kṛṣṇa.

This our arrangement of this chanting, the dancing, or reading this Kṛṣṇa conscious book, what does it mean? That we always try to be absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So if you remain always absorbed . . . this is called samādhi. If you remain absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then Kṛṣṇa says that next life you go directly there. So there is guarantee.

Then, if you say that, "It may be that I cannot fulfill cent percent Kṛṣṇa consciousness in this life," then that is also guaranteed. What is that guarantee? Kṛṣṇa says that śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo sanjāyate (BG 6.41).

Yoga-bhraṣṭaḥ, those who cannot fulfill the whole program of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, by some way or other falls down, incomplete, so Kṛṣṇa says: "Such persons are given chance to take birth in the next life in rich family and in pure Brāhmiṇ's family."

So that means your human life is guaranteed. A rich family does not mean animal family. Rich means human being. And Brāhmiṇs means intelligent class of men. So you get your birth in a family where your parents are very intelligent, very advanced in philosophical knowledge, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You get chance.

From our practical experience we can say we got this chance. We got this chance. We got very nice parents. And I was born in a family, a very pure family. And, of course, in those days they were rich also. We had Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa mūrti-sevā. So from the childhood I was taught . . . not taught—I asked my father, "Give me this Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa mūrti. I shall worship." And father encouraged me. I was performing this Ratha-yātrā festival. My father encouraged. So this means that I got this chance again.

So those who are executing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they are not in loss. Whatever they are doing, they are gaining some meaning, one percent, two percent, three percent, five percent, ninety-nine percent. It is fulfilled cent percent, then it is perfect. But even it is not cent percent, you are not in a loss, because you get good chance to make further advance. These things are discussed. In the Sixth Chapter you will find. So there is guarantee.

So try your best to execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness fully. That should be the motto of our life. But if, by chance . . . we shall not allow us to fall down, but even if we fall down, there is no loss. But that does not mean I shall be slack and allow me to fall down. Yes. We must be very serious. That should be our motto.

Just like . . . it is very easy to understand. A person trying to appear in the M.A. examination, if he passes, he's all right. Otherwise next chance he will have, another. It does not mean that he has to study again from A-B-C-D. No. Next year he can appear. But his motto should be: "Why shall I wait for next year? Let me pass in this year." Similarly, we should be very serious: "Why we shall wait for the next life? Let us finish this life and go back to Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, and dance there." Yes?

Revatīnandana: Prabhupāda, if we are performing actions, if we are acting, like preparing offerings for Kṛṣṇa by our work, but while we are doing this work our mind is not engaged in Kṛṣṇa all the time, thinking about Kṛṣṇa all the time, we fall into māyā, but we're still doing the work—eventually by performing the work and offering the offering . . .

Prabhupāda: Yes. The important thing is that you're working for Kṛṣṇa. That is important. You see? And māyā is calling; that is not very important. If you engage yourself, keep yourself engaged in Kṛṣṇa's activities, then māyā, even calling, she will not be, I mean, able to call you back. She will call. That is quite natural. But you stick to your business. Mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te (BG 7.14).

You will find in the Seventh Chapter. If we stick to the principle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, māyā will not be able to react upon us.

Revatīnandana: That means that eventually we'll stop being distracted?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Eventually māyā will fail to attract you. She will fail. You will not fail. All right, saṅkīrtana . . . chant Hare Kṛṣṇa

(break) Nandarāṇī, you are feeling well? Feeling well?

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Tonight we have that engagement, so if it's all right, the saṅkīrtana party, we wanted to show you . . .

Prabhupāda: Yes. Yes. You show and go.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: (addressing others) We have a party of our devotees to go out on the street . . . (indistinct) . . . saṅkīrtana. We chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Tonight we have a nice engagement by Kṛṣṇa's mercy . . . by Prabhupāda's mercy.

Prabhupāda: Now, you don't take? Take care if it falls down. There is no . . .

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So we have an engagement

Prabhupāda: Sit down, sit down.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: . . . (indistinct) (kīrtana) (end)