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740609 - Lecture SB 02.01.01 - Paris

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

740609SB-PARIS - June 09, 1974 - 39:00 Minutes

Prabhupāda: (leads singing of Jaya Rādhā-Mādhava) (break)

Nitāi: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. (devotees repeat) (leads chanting of verse, etc.)

śrī-śuka uvāca
varīyān eṣa te praśnaḥ
kṛto loka-hitaṁ nṛpa
ātmavit-sammataḥ puṁsāṁ
śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ
(SB 2.1.1)

śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; varīyān—glorious; eṣaḥ—all these; te—your; praśnaḥ—questions; kṛtaḥ—made by you; loka-hitam—beneficial for all men; nṛpa—O King; ātmavit—transcendentalist; sammataḥ—approved; puṁsām—of all men; śrotavya-ādiṣu—in the matter of all kinds of hearing; yaḥ—what is; paraḥ—the supreme


Translation: "Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear King, your question is glorious because it is very beneficial to all kinds of people. To hear the answer to this question is the prime subject matter of hearing, and it is approved by all transcendentalists."


varīyān eṣa te praśnaḥ
kṛto loka-hitaṁ nṛpa
ātmavit-sammataḥ . . .
ātmavit-sammataḥ puṁsāṁ
śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ
(SB 2.1.1)

So this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is a question and answer. The beginning, the . . . this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, first of all it was narrated by Vyāsadeva, and it was heard by his son, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Then Śukadeva Gosvāmī narrated this Bhāgavatam to Parīkṣit Mahārāja at the time of his death. And from Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the Sūta Gosvāmī heard. This is the paramparā. (aside) Not yet. This is the paramparā. Kṛṣṇa says in the Fourth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā, evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ (BG 4.2). Bhagavad-gītā was spoken by Kṛṣṇa millions of years ago to the sun-god. Imaṁ vivasvate, proktavān avyayam. Imaṁ vivasvate proktam, vivasvān manave prāha manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt (BG 4.1). This is the paramparā system.

Our this Bhāgavata system, or Vedic system, is not research work. It is not research work. Nowadays it is a fashion that . . . just like the theosophists, they're searching out God. Since the beginning, they're searching out. And so many leaders came and gone, but they are searching out. And they will go on searching out for lives together. But it is not a thing to be searched out. It is not ordinary thing, not material thing. You know . . .

athāpi te deva padāmbuja-dvaya-
prasāda-leśānugṛhīta eva hi
jānāti tattvaṁ . . .
na cānya eko 'pi ciraṁ vicinvan
(SB 10.14.29)

Ciraṁ vicinvan. For forever, millions of years, if you speculate to understand what is God, it is not possible. It is not a subject matter of speculative knowledge. No. It is to be received through the right source, deductive process, not inductive process. Because our senses are limited. We cannot have any perfect idea on account of our senses being limited. We cannot see.

So there are so many examples. We have talked. This knowledge is not . . . the exact word used in Sanskrit . . . there are two ways: āroha-panthā, avaroha-panthā. Āroha-panthā means to know something by your dint of knowledge, ascending process. Ascending process. Just like these people are trying to know the moon planet, the Venus planet or other planets. They're going, ascending, by aeroplane, and to know it. But they're doing it for the last twenty years. They do not know what is the actual position of the moon planet. That is not known. They're coming, going. Or whether they have gone, that they know. But from the situation it is understood they're not going. Maybe some other planet they are going. That is my opinion.

Because the description of the moon planet does not tally. We have got in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam . . . the, this moon planet is one of the heavenly planets. There, very high class of demigods, they live. Or one who is elevated to the moon planet, he is living there for ten thousands of years. Ten . . . what kind of ten thousands of years? In the moon planet, one day equal to our six months. Such months' year, and ten thousands of years. That is the duration of life in the moon planet. Those who are karma-kāṇḍīya, perform ritualistic ceremonies very nicely, they are promoted to the moon planet. And there are other planets also. This, Svargaloka. There are seven planetary system upwards, and seven planetary system downwards. Now we are living in the Bhūrloka, middle. Then above this, there is Bhuvarloka. Above this, there is Svarloka. Above this is Janaloka, Maharloka, Tapoloka, Brahmaloka. So this āroha . . . you cannot go to the Brahmaloka, although there is śāstra . . . or you cannot go to the sun planet also. You are seeing every day, but go there . . . but you have no right. You cannot go.

So therefore this process that, "I shall go by my strength. I shall know by dint of my own knowledge, research work," these are all rascaldom. It is not possible. So what to speak of understanding God? You cannot understand even what is in your presence, the material world, and spiritual is beyond the sky. Paras tasmāt tu bhāvaḥ anyaḥ (BG 8.20). That is another sky. You have no estimation of this sky. Not only this, this sky; even in the material world, this is one universe. What sky we see, that is of one universe. But there are innumerable universes. That is material world. And beyond that, there is spiritual sky. Then the spiritual world begins. There are also planets, Vaikuṇṭha planets. And above these Vaikuṇṭha planets, there is Kṛṣṇaloka. That is Kṛṣṇa's abode. Cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-lakṣāvṛteṣu (Bs. 5.29).

So you cannot understand Kṛṣṇa, or God, or His abode by the speculative, ascending process. That is not possible. You have to inquire from. Therefore Parīkṣit Mahārāja inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī, "What is my duty now I am going to die?" He was cursed by a brāhmin boy to die within seven days. Parīkṣit Mahārāja was quite competent to counteract the curse of the brāhmin boy, but he decided that "I shall die." Because he thought that "I offended the boy's father by encircling a dead snake on the neck of the ṛṣi. So his son became angry, that 'You have insulted my father. You die with this snake.' " So he accepted. So this, on the death point, he immediately left his kingdom, family and everything, and went down to the river, bank of the river Ganges, and many . . . because he was king, so many big, big men, even demigods, great saintly persons, they came to see Mahārāja Parīkṣit at his last stage of life, seven days. And so he asked, "What is my duty?"

So he was a devotee, Parīkṣit Mahārāja. From his childhood he was a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. So he inquired, "What is my duty to know about Kṛṣṇa?" And that is being welcomed by Śukadeva Gosvāmī that, "Your . . . to inquire about Kṛṣṇa, this question is very much welcome." Varīyān eṣa te praśnaḥ. Praśna means question. "You have asked a question about Kṛṣṇa. It is very, very good." Why? Kṛto loka-hitaṁ nṛpa: "It is good for the all human society. Because you have inquired about Kṛṣṇa . . . you have inquired about Kṛṣṇa, and I'll have to reply. People will hear. It will be recorded. And people will be benefitted." Loka-hitam.

In another place, that Sūta Gosvāmī says . . . when the ṛṣis inquired . . . now, here it is being inquired by King Parīkṣit, being answered by Śukadeva Gosvāmī. In another place, the ṛṣis, great saintly persons, they also inquired, and Sūta Gosvāmī replied. So this kind of question and answer is ātmavit-sammataḥ. Ātmavit. Ātmavit means one who knows, self-realized. Ātmavit means self-realized. Not these rascals, one who does not know what is self, what I am. He's an animal, one who does not know what he is. If I do not inquire, "What I am? I am this body? Or I am something extra than this body?" if this inquiry is not there, he's not human being, he's animal. Animal cannot inquire. Cats and dog cannot inquire, "What I am?" He's suffering.

Everyone is suffering who has got this material body. That is the condition. If you have got material body, you must suffer. It is not the question of European, American or white, black. There is no such question. If you are animal or man, as soon as you have got this material body, you must suffer. This is condition. This is material condition. Therefore our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not meant for, I mean to say, mitigating the so-called sufferings of the body. When there is body, there must be suffering. So we should not be very much disturbed by the sufferings of the body, because you'll have to suffer, even though you make very nice arrangement. Just like in comparison to Europe and America. In European cities we see so many nice arrangement, living condition, big, big house, big, big road, nice cars. In comparison to India, if some Indian comes from Indian village, he'll see, "It is heaven, so nice house, so nice building, so nice motorcars." But do you think you are not suffering? He may think, the rascal may think that "Here is heaven." But those who are residing in this heaven, they know what kind of heaven it is. (laughter)

So suffering must be there. Suffering must be there as soon as you get this material body. "Why suffering? We are enjoying." What you are enjoying? Is there any guarantee that you'll enjoy? You have got nice building, nice road, nice car. That's all right. You are enjoying. You are thinking enjoying. But is there any guarantee that you will enjoy? Any moment, you'll be finished. Any moment. So there is no guarantee. That is not enjoyment. Real enjoyment is permanent enjoyment. Just like we construct some house, making the, what is called, foundation very strong. In your country, they make very strong foundation. But what is your foundation, sir? Is it very strong? You can be taken away at any moment. So before making the foundation strong, why don't you make your foundation strong that you shall be able to live here permanently? But that intelligence they haven't got. They'll waste time, making the house foundation very strong, not for himself. His foundation tiltering at any moment, any second. This is called yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātu . . . sa eva go-kharaḥ (SB 10.84.13).

So this kind of intelligence, they are called animal. The animal does not know. The dog does not know. The dog will live for six years to ten years, but he is very proud, "I have got a very nice master. Gow! Gow!" You see? So this kind of intelligence is no good. Therefore it is said here, ātmavit-sammataḥ. This kind of question approved by persons who are self-realized. Ātmavit: one who knows what he is. Sammataḥ. Sammataḥ means approved. Ātmavit sammataḥ puṁsāṁ śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ. Yaḥ paraḥ. Paraḥ means superior. We are accustomed to hear so many things, radio and Dictaphone and so many things. We are hankering after hearing tape record or this gramophone album, and news from in the newspaper. We are always anxious, very anxious. Big, big news . . . in your country especially, millions of papers, newspaper, such big, just to hear what is going on in the world. But after seeing one or two pages, you throw it away, because you are hackneyed. You know that there was political strife, there was fire, there was burglary, there was this, there was this . . . the same story. Carvita-carvaṇānām, chewing the chewed. No, actually, no pleasure. By . . . we have seen in your country, and nowadays in our country, so many nice, nice magazines, but they see one or two pages and they throw away. Because there is no pleasure, although I have got hankering to hear so many things.

But this kind of hearing will not give me pleasure. Therefore here it is said, śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ. This, it is not ordinary hearing. This kṛṣṇa-praśna, question about Kṛṣṇa and answer about Kṛṣṇa, this is not ordinary question and answer. It is ātmavit-sammataḥ. Those who are self-realized, they will understand, they will approve of it, because it is transcendental, śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ. So one can say that, "There are many subject matter for hearing. It may be one of them." No. The says . . . he says, Śukadeva Gosvāmī says: "No, it is paraḥ, transcendental, the most superior kind of question and answer hearing."

So one may think, "There are different types of subject matter for hearing. It may be one of them." Therefore in the next verse Śukadeva Gosvāmī says, śrotavyādīni rājendra nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ (SB 2.1.2). "My dear King, rājendra . . ." Rājendra means "the best of the kings." He's, Śukadeva Gos . . . er, yes, Parīkṣit Mahārāja, the best of the kings. He has selected; he's preparing. He does not think that, "I am now king. And I'll die, I shall again become king." He does not think like that, foolishly. He knows that "I may be king in this life, and the next life I may be dog." Because he's ātmavit, he knows ātmā, the soul. That is under the control of nature. You cannot say that, "This time I am very nice, good-looking French boy and girl. Then next life I shall become also the same."

Some poet in India, he sung, ei deśete janma āmāra, ei deśete mari, "I have taken birth in this country." Everyone has got love for his country. That is the modern civilization. Now, the Napoleon, in your country, he loved his country so much. Now where he is, you do not know. You have simply a stone, photograph, statue. You are thinking that, "Napoleon, I am worshiping . . ." You do not worship actually. Worship is here. If you worship, you must keep Napoleon in this way. But no. You keep on the street for passing stool by the crows. (laughter) That is not worship. That is insult. Suppose if you think this statue belongs to Napoleon, and you have exposed this statue for passing stool by the crows, is that very good worship? Huh? If I ask you, "Please stand on the street and the crows will pass stool on your head . . ." (laughter) This is intelligence. This is modern civilization. They have no even commonsense intelligence. If you are worshiping Napoleon, why don't you keep like that? We are worshiping Kṛṣṇa. We are keeping in a nice place. That they will say, "It is idol worship." This rascal will say: "These foolish people are worshiping an idol." And they are worshiping Napoleon very nicely. (laughter) Just see their intelligence.

So therefore, because they do not know, because they are not ātmavit, therefore their opinion has no value. No value. We don't care for their opinion. Here it is, ātmavit-sammataḥ. One should be taken . . . approval should be from persons who is self-realized. Their . . . his opinion has value. Otherwise, a rascal says: "In my opinion . . ." What is the opinion of your . . . value? We don't accept your opinion. We take the opinion of Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's devotee. One who is pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa or Kṛṣṇa directly, or His representative, we take their opinion. That is called ātmavit-sammataḥ.

So one may think this question and answer may be, as we do ordinarily, it may be like that. Now Śukadeva Gosvāmī mentions, says, śrotavyādīni rājendra: "My dear King," śrotavyādīni, "the subject matter for hearing," nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ (SB 2.1.2), "of this ordinary, common men, there are many thousands of questions and answers." That is life. Any businessman, as soon as he'll go to the association of business, there the only . . . the hearing, "What is the rate of this commodity?" And another man says: "This is the price." "So if it is favorable, purchase." So this is going on. But this is not that kind of question and answer—what is the price of this commodity and that commodity. No. Therefore it is said, śrotavyādīni rājendra. Neither it is radio message or football club or so many things. No. It is meant for the common class of men. Śrotavyādīni rājendra nṛṇām. Nṛṇām means common people. Śrotavyādīni rājendra nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ. That kind of questions and answers are many, many thousands. Why they have got so many thousands, and you have got only one question, one answer about Kṛṣṇa?

That is answered in the next line, that apaśyatām ātma-tattvaṁ gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām (SB 2.1.2). General people, people in general, they are gṛheṣu, in the . . . at home. But they are gṛhamedhi. There are two words, gṛhamedhi and gṛhastha, in Vedic language. Gṛhastha means those who are householder, living for convenience—wife, children. Because everyone cannot . . . especially in this age, especially in your country, to take sannyāsa is very difficult job. It should not be given; neither it should be taken. Actually, in this age, sannyāsa is forbidden. But if one is very strong, he can accept sannyāsa. So better to remain a gṛhastha and cultivate Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is better. Don't accept whimsically sannyāsa and then do all nonsense. No. So it is better to remain gṛhastha. But not gṛhamedhi. Gṛhamedhi means that he does not know anything else than to support the wife and children and live very comfortably, well-dressed, and . . . that is called gṛhamedhi. His center is only that apartment. He does not know anything more than that apartment. That is called gṛhamedhi. And gṛhastha means that he knows many things, Kṛṣṇa, beyond this apartment. He's called . . . (break) . . . in this way and that way. They have got thousands, thousands of question and answer. But one who is gṛhastha, his question and answer is one: Kṛṣṇa. That is the only subject matter.

Just like in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we don't talk of anything. We simply talk of Kṛṣṇa. And if we talk of Kṛṣṇa, at least for hundred years in the present position, still, our stock will not be finished. We have got so many books. If for one hundred years, whatever stock we have already got, if we read for one hundred years continually and try to understand one word of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, then it will take hundred years. That one word janmādy asya yataḥ (SB 1.1.1), if you try to understand, you can understand it for one hundred years. So it is so nice, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Go on reading every day. You'll find . . . both Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā. Every day, the more you'll become realized, ātmavit, you see new meaning, new light. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is so nice. Simply if you read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam . . . vidyā bhāgavatāvadhiḥ. One is learned . . . what is the limit of learning? The limit, learning, is when you understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. That is the limit. Finished. There is no knowledge required any more. Therefore it is called śrotavyādiṣu yaḥ paraḥ. The ultimate, first class.

But the apaśyatām ātma-tattvaṁ . . . ātma-tattvaṁ gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām (SB 2.1.2). Gṛhamedhi, they do not know that there is soul, and the soul is permanent. And we, actually, we are hankering after happiness. For whose happiness? It is soul's happiness. It is Kṛṣṇa's happiness. We, we try to protect this body. We are very much fond of this body. Why? Because the soul is there. Everyone knows it. As soon as this body there is no soul, it is kicked out, throw it away in the street. Nobody cares for it. Suppose a beautiful man and beautiful girl, dead bodies lying on the—who cares for it? But as so long the soul is there, "Oh, such a nice, beautiful . . . such a nice, beautiful boy, girl." The soul is important.

So actually, we do not love this body, because the same beautiful body's there. Why do you not care? Because soul is not . . . therefore I love the soul. This is the fact. This is ātmavit, ātma-tattva-vit. And why I love soul? Because I love Kṛṣṇa. Soul is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. So why I am so much fond of soul? Because it is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, ultimately, I love Kṛṣṇa. This is the conclusion. And if I do not love Kṛṣṇa, that is my abnormal stage. And the normal stage is I love Kṛṣṇa. Therefore we are trying to awaken Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As soon as one is fixed up with Kṛṣṇa consciousness and begins to love Kṛṣṇa, then he doesn't want to love anything more. Svāmin kṛtārtho 'smi (CC Madhya 22.42 ): "Now I am fully satisfied." So otherwise, we'll have many questions, many answers, so long we are not self-realized, and our time will be spoiled.

So this kṛṣṇa-praśna, inquiry about Kṛṣṇa, that should continually go on. And all the answers you'll find in the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And simply by questions and answer, your life will be successful.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda. (end)