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720827 - Lecture SB 01.02.24 - Los Angeles

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

720827SB-LOS ANGELES - August 27, 1972 - 58:28 Minutes

(Govindam prayers playing; Prabhupāda singing along)

Prabhupāda: (sings Jaya Rādhā-Mādhava) (prema-dhvani) Thank you very much.

Devotees: All glories to Śrī Guru and Gauranga. (devotees offer obeisances)

Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya.

First Canto, Chapter Two, text 24. (leads chanting of verse) (Prabhupāda and devotees repeat)

pārthivād dāruṇo dhūmas
tasmād agnis trayīmayaḥ
tamasas tu rajas tasmāt
sattvaṁ yad brahma-darśanam
(SB 1.2.24)

(Prabhupāda corrects some pronunciation)

Prabhupāda: Ladies. (ladies chant) All right. Word meaning.


pārthivāt—from earth; dāruṇaḥ—firewood; dhūmaḥ—smoke; tasmāt—from that; agniḥ—fire; trayīmayaḥ—Vedic sacrifices; tamasaḥ—in the mode of ignorance; tu—but; rajaḥ—the mode of passion; tasmāt—from that; sattvam—the mode of goodness; yat—which; brahma—the Absolute Truth; darśanam—realization.

Translation: "The firewood is the transformation of the earth, and smoke is better than the raw wood, and fire is still better, because by fire we can derive so many benefits by superior knowledge, or Vedas. Similarly, rajas quality of matter is better than tamas quality, but sattva quality is the superior quality, by which one can realize the Absolute Truth."

Prabhupāda: (aside) Here the translation is different.

Hm. So the example is given here, that . . . the translation is given . . . anyway, pārthivād dāruṇo dhūmaḥ. Pārthivāt. Suppose you want fire. So there are so many stages: earth, then there is wood. Wood is produced from earth. From wood, there is, first instance there is smoke, and then comes the fire. But you require the fire. When you get fire, you can get so many things done through fire—electricity. All industry is going on through fire. Your household affairs, cooking, that is also you require fire. For your living condition you require fire, heat.

So fire is necessity, not the earth, neither the wood, nor the smoke. Similarly, although Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśvara, they are one, from Kṛṣṇa—they are different incarnation of different modes of material nature—but the actually, Viṣṇu is required. Brahman, brahma-darśanam. If you want to see the Absolute Truth, then neither Brahmā nor Śiva is required, but Viṣṇu is required.

The example is: just like if you want to have your work done, then fire is required. The wood is also another stage of fire; the smoke is also another stage of fire. But as fire is necessity, similarly, to come to the platform of goodness, that is necessity, especially in this human form of life. In other forms of life, they're mostly in the ignorance. Just like the earth. The earth has got potency to produce wood, trees and plants, but there are some earthen plot of land, it is not producing anything, desert. It has got the potency. If you pour water, it has got the potency to produce wood, but, in that . . . similarly, the mode of ignorance, those living entities, those who are in the mode of ignorance, they cannot have any knowledge of the Absolute Truth. That's not possible.

Therefore it is gradual evolution, from mode of ignorance to mode of passion. And passion, there is little activity. Just like animal, they have got activity. Just like a dog, we have seen, in the beach and other places, running very swiftly here and there, but there is no meaning. A monkey is very active. You have not seen monkey in your country; in our country there are monkey, unnecessarily creating disturbance. But they are very active. But human being, they are not so active, but they have got brain, they're working with brain.

So foolish activity has no meaning. Without brain, simply active, that is dangerous. Sober activity is required. Just like a high-court judge: he is paid very lump sum money, but he's sitting on his chair and simply thinking. The others may think that, "We are working so hard, we are not getting so big salary, and this man is getting so big salary, he's sitting only." Because foolish activity has no value. It is dangerous.

So this modern world, they are very active, but they're foolishly active, in the ignorance and passion, rajas tamas. Therefore there is confusion activity. Foolish activity, there is accident. Sober activity required. Because, just like unless you come to the platform of fire, you cannot utilize the material things. Fire is required. Similarly, to make your life successful, there is gradual evolution from aquatics to plant life, plant life to insect life, insect life to reptiles, reptiles to bird's life, then beast life, then human life, then civilized life. In this way, gradually, evolution, we come to the platform of human life. And the Vedic knowledge is meant for the human being, not for these other animals.

Therefore it is said, dhūmas tasmād agnis trayīmayaḥ. By Vedic injunction, the human society, civilized human society, they require to perform sacrifices, fire sacrifices. Just like we do in all auspicious ceremonies . . . it is said that through the fire, God eats. We give to the fire the grains and the fruits and other thing. That is, means, God is eating, through fire. So sacrifice means you sacrifice for God, and God is accepting. God is accepting also when we offer prasāda to the Lord. He's accepting, but we want to see. That is our disease. We want to see everything.

Therefore, the fire sacrifice, you can see that whatever is offering, it is being eaten up. God can eat in many ways. Because a third-class man, they want to see that God is eating, therefore this is required, sacrifice. God, as it is stated in the Brahmā-saṁhitā: aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛttimanti (Bs. 5.32). His every limb of the body is as good as the other part of the body.

Just like we have got our eyes. With eyes we can see, but we cannot eat. But God can do that. He can see . . . eat also through the eyes. Aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛttimanti. He can hear with eyes. He can eat with His ear. He can see with His tongue. That is God. Every part of the body is equally good as other part of the body. That is called Absolute Truth. Our this body is relative. I cannot see . . . I am, if I close my eyes, I cannot see with my hand. But Kṛṣṇa can do that. So when we offer Kṛṣṇa foodstuff, He eats. He says in the Bhagavad-gītā, aśnāmi.

patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ aśnāmi . . . tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam
aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ
(BG 9.26)

Kṛṣṇa says that, "My devotee, when he offers Me something eatable, with faith, love and devotion, I eat." Then is He speaking lies? No. He eats. But the atheist class of men, they do not know. They see that the plate is full. Sometimes, if He's forced, He can eat also; there are some incidences. Anyway, He, simply by seeing, He can eat. Simply by seeing. If you don't believe that He's not eating . . . but from the Vedic injunction we can understand that you put the food plate before the Lord, and Lord is seeing, and that is His eating. He's not hungry, but He can eat the whole universe at a time. This is God's position. He can devour the whole universe, as you have seen the virāṭ-rūpa.

So this yajña performance required fire. Tasmād agnis trayīmayaḥ. Trayīmaya. Trayī means Vedas. There are three departments of Vedas; therefore it is called trayī. Trayī means three: karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa and upāsanā-kāṇḍa. So in karma-kāṇḍa platform, fruitive activities, the sacrifice is required, and for sacrificing you require fire, so that you can gradually understand what is the Absolute Truth. Similarly, if you want to see Brahman, the Supreme Absolute Truth, then you have to come to the platform of goodness. You cannot remain on the platform of ignorance and passion.

Therefore our training to the student is to bring him to the platform of goodness, brāhmin. Brahmā jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ. Brahmā-darśana. Brahmā-darśana means one who has seen brahma, or one who has known brahma. He's called brāhmin. Brāhmin is not that being born in the family of a brahmin and having a sacred thread, two-cent worth. No. Brāhmin means one who has seen, brahma-darśana. Darśana means seeing. So, in order to see the Absolute Truth, one has to come to the platform of goodness. Tamasas tu rajas tasmāt sattvaṁ yad brahma-darśanam. Yad sattvam, the platform which is called goodness. And in that platform you can see God, or you can realize what is Absolute Truth.

So the so-called scientist, they are trying to find out the ultimate source of everything, the Absolute Truth. But because they are not on the platform of goodness, how they can see? They cannot see. The Absolute Truth is coming before us, in person, and is showing His activity as Absolute Truth, and big, big ācāryas, they're accepting Him, the Absolute Truth. Still, these rascals, they cannot see. The so-called scientists, rascals, they cannot see—because they're not on the platform of goodness. They're in the platform of ignorance. Therefore they . . .

Even . . . just like Kṛṣṇa, when He appeared on this planet, there were so many millions of people. But very few of them could understand that He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead—only the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana and the Pāṇḍavas and some others. Not that all of them. Because all of them cannot understand. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye (BG 7.3). Out of many millions of person, kaścit, somebody is trying to become a brahmin. That is siddhaye. Kaścid yatati siddhaye. Siddhaye means to become successful. And yatatām api siddhānām (BG 7.3). And out of many millions of person who has become successful, out of them, some may know what is Kṛṣṇa.

So anyway, brahma-darśanam. Brahmā-darśanam means the preliminary understanding of the Absolute Truth. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate (SB 1.2.11). In the preliminary understanding, impersonal Brahman is realized; and if you make further progress, then you are . . . you realize the localized aspect, Paramātmā. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). In your heart you will see. And further progress means you'll see Viṣṇu, or Lord Kṛṣṇa—brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti. The one thing, thing is one, absolute, but a different capacity.

Just like the . . . I have given several times, that the sun and the sunshine and the sun globe and the inhabitants of the sun globe, they are one, but at the same time different. To become in the sunshine does not mean that you are in the sun globe. That requires a very good qualification, how to . . . they cannot enter even into the moon planet, and what to speak of entering the sun planet. It is fiery. So, as it is not possible for ordinary man, but there is sun planet and there are inhabitants also. They have bodies also, fiery body. Therefore it is so glowing and it is so hot that the temperatures, from ninety millions of miles, it is giving us temperature. It is made of fire; that's a fact.

So, as by different position one can understand complete sun . . . ordinary men, those who are in the sunshine, they cannot understand what is the temperature in the sun globe. And even if you go nearer to the sun globe, it is very difficult to enter into the . . . within the planet. Similarly, the first understanding of the Absolute Truth is impersonal Brahman, brahma-darśanam. Then, if you can make further progress, then you will see that Absolute Truth within your heart by yoga system. And if you make further advance, then you see Him eye to eye and give your service, render your service personally. These are the stages.

So on the whole, to understand the Absolute Truth, even brahma-darśanam, Absolute Truth, you have come to the light, not in the darkness. If you want to see the sun at least, then you have come to the sunshine. Not that in the dark room, closing your doors, you can see sunshine. You have to come out. Tamasi mā jyotir gama. Therefore the Vedic injunction is, "Don't remain in the darkness. Come out to see the light." Just like in the morning, somebody is sleeping, closing his doors and windows tightly, and he's sleeping, snoring.

Although it is ten o'clock, daytime, he thinks it is night going on. And he's enjoying sleeping. This is darkness. Rascal. And those who are advanced, they rise early in the morning at four o'clock: "Now there will be sunshine. Prepare." That is the difference. The same human being: one is in the darkness, one is in the passion, and one is in the goodness. And if you come to the goodness, then you see, brahma-darśanam. You can understand what is Absolute Truth.

If you remain in ignorance and passion, you cannot see; you cannot know. You can go on with your so-called rascaldom talks about God, but it is not possible. You cannot understand God, or Absolute Truth, by eating meat, drinking and having illicit sex and gambling. No. That is not possible. Then you'll have to remain in the darkness for good, and next life you'll again become cats and dogs. That's all.

Because you are given the opportunity to come to the light, but if you neglect it, if you think that natural life, animal life, to become naked and do all nonsense, then "All right. You, next life you become a tree, naked. Stand up naked for ten thousands of years." You want to be naked? That's all right. Nobody will protest. So many trees are standing naked. So many animals are loitering in the street naked. Nobody protests. But in human society, if you become naked, then you'll be punished by law. But they are thinking they are advancing by becoming naked. This is the knowledge: ignorance.

So Kṛṣṇa will give you opportunity to remain naked, become animals, trees, like that. So that is not our aim of life. Our aim of life, the human form of life, is meant for understanding the Absolute Truth: athāto brahma jijñāsā. That is the Vedānta-sūtra says. Brahmā jijñā . . . what is Brahman? What is Absolute Truth? This inquisitiveness must be there in human life, then it is human being. Otherwise, he is animal. The animal does not inquire what is Absolute Truth, neither the Vedānta-darśana and all these Vedic scriptures are meant for the animals. They're meant for human being. A human being has got the brain; he can understand, he can be trained up to become a brahmin. These are the opportunities.

So Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is giving this great opportunity to the human society. They're training them how to become a brahmin. We are giving them all important Vedic literature, translated into English and other. This is the greatest boon to make human life successful. But if the people want to remain in darkness, then what can we do? But not that everyone wants to remain in darkness. So many people are coming forward and taking this movement seriously. They are first-class men. As it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā:

manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ
kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
(BG 7.3)

So take advantage of this great movement. Come to the platform of goodness and see the Absolute Truth. Then your life is successful. Otherwise, you remain like cats and dogs, eat like cats and dogs.

If you want, nature will give you facility. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ (BG 3.27). Prakṛti means nature. He's giving, by nature. Just like, if you infect, if you become infected with some disease, so you'll get that disease. It is nature's way. If you touch fire, your finger will be burned. Not that nature has to make a particular arrangement. By nature it is there.

Similarly, if you remain like cats and dogs, then by nature you'll get the body of cats and dogs. There is no necessity of making separate attempt, "How shall I become a dog? How shall I become cat?" Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni. Prakṛti, nature, will give you. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ. How nature is helping? Nature, this material nature, is matter.

How it is being done, how matter is working? That is, answer is given in the Bhagavad-gītā, that mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram (BG 9.10): "He's acting under My direction." God is giving direction. How He's giving direction? Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe (BG 18.61)—God is situated within your heart. When He sees that you are very much anxious to become a cat, a dog, He knows. He asks nature that "Just give him a body of dog. He wants to become a dog. He wants to become a hog; give him a body of hog. He wants the body of a tree, he wants the body of god; give him the body of god." Anything, you can take. You can have the body of a dog or you can have the body of a god, as you want. Kṛṣṇa, God, is so kind. Whatever you want, you take. That is, nature is helping.

Nature is working under the direction of God, and whatever you want, He understands, because He is sitting with you within the heart, like two birds. One bird is eating; one bird is simply seeing. The seeing bird is God, and eating bird is the living entity. So that is also explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭaḥ, Fifteenth Chapter. "I am sitting in everyone's heart." Mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca (BG 15.15). One Dr. Farquar, in our college life, he was a Scotsman, so he did not believe in the karma-vāda. And there are so many philosophers like that. But actually, īśvara, Kṛṣṇa, God, is sitting within your heart. He is witness.

In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said anumantā upadraṣṭā. Upadraṣṭā means witness. This is also explained in the Upaniṣad, that one bird is eating, another bird is seeing. The seeing bird is God, upadraṣṭā. He's noting down that you like this. He's noting down that you like to eat such-and-such thing. You'll find so many animals, they are eating differently. The hog is eating stool, the tiger is eating fresh blood, another animal is eating something, something. All facilities are there.

Open hotel: you come on and take whatever you like. And the witness . . . God is so kind, this person has no discrimination of eating, so let him become dog . . . hog. The hog has no discrimination. Whatever you think, you give him halavā, he will eat; you give him stool, it will eat. There are goats, so many animals, and no discrimination.

The human being, there must be discrimination. Everything is eatable? So why don't you eat stool? No. Your eatable is different. It must be different from the animal eatables. Your teeth is different. Your nature is different. A child . . . a child, you cannot give anything. She wants, he wants to drink milk only. Natural food. Artificially, the child is taught to eat something else.

If you . . . if the child simply drinks mother's milk for six months, it becomes stout and strong for whole life. Because that is natural food. But there is no milk in the mother's breast. Artificial. So how the child will be healthy? This is modern civilization. Otherwise, if we get our natural food, there is no question of disease, there is no question of doctor's bill.

So that is science; that is human civilization. One who knows how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex life, how to defend, that is human civilization. Without knowing, in the modes of ignorance—simply animal life. They are simply like animals. They, that is not civilization. Therefore, we have come to the platform of goodness, to see brahma-darśanam. That is civilization.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda! (devotees offer obeisances) (break)

(kīrtana) (Svarūpa Dāmodara leads) (Prabhupāda plays gong)

Prabhupāda: (prema-dhvani) Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Devotees: All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. (end)