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690712 - Lecture SB - Los Angeles
Prabhupāda: Here is a verse in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam spoken by Śaunaka Ṛṣi—a great sage of the name Śaunaka. There was great meeting in Naimiṣāraṇya, a place, a very sacred place in India. If you sometimes go to India, you'll try to find out this place. It is in northern India, and there is a big city, very well known city, Lucknow, and it is about forty or fifty miles from Lucknow.
But the place is so nice, so attractive, that any man who goes there will find immediately spiritually impelled, it is so nice place, Naimiṣāraṇya. So it is very old place. Formerly, when sages used to hold their meeting, they generally held their meeting in that place, Naimiṣāraṇya.
So this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was also discussed first in that Naimiṣā... Not first; for the second time. First it was explained by Śukadeva Gosvāmī to Mahārāja Parīkṣit. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was cursed by a brāhmaṇa boy to die within a week. Formerly, even a small child... This boy, this brāhmaṇa boy, was playing with his playmates. That means he was a child, not more than ten to twelve years old. And he was informed that "Mahārāja Parīkṣit has insulted your father by garlanding him with a dead snake."
The fact was that Mahārāja Parīkṣit was in hunting. One after another, so many things comes, but let me explain to you. This hunting business was allowed only for the kings, kṣatriyas, not for ordinary man, killing in sports. Because the king had to administer so strongly that sometimes he had to kill an evil person immediately with sword. The kingdom was very strong.
Not many days before, say, about hundred years ago in Kashmir, if a thief was caught, burglar was caught, and he was proved that he has committed theft, the king would personally cut off, chop off his hand. The punishment was so severe. And the result was that even you miss something on your way, nobody will touch it. Everyone was afraid: "Let the things remain there. One who has lost his thing, he will come and take away. We don't require to take it."
So the kings were very severe to punish unwanted social elements. So the kings were therefore allowed sometimes to hunt in the jungle to practice killing, just like doctors are allowed to practice surgical operation on dead body; otherwise, how they'll practice, how they'll become surgeon, if they do not practice? Similarly, only the kings were allowed to kill some animal in the jungle sometimes.
So this Parīkṣit Mahārāja was hunting, and when he became tired and thirsty he entered in the hermitage home of a sage. Because in those days in the jungles there were many hermitages. Those who wanted to live secluded life in the jungle, in the forest, they would have their home, very small cottage, and their means of living was milk and fruit. They would get fruits from the trees, and the kings would sometimes contribute some cows. So that was sufficient for them. To have some milk from the cow and get the fruits from the trees in the jungle, that was sufficient.
That is sufficient still. Anywhere, any part of the world, you can live without any economic problem, provided... There is no question of "provided." Anywhere, you can keep a cow. There is no expenditure. The cow will go out and eat some vegetables and grass, so you haven't got to spend anything for the cow. And when she returns, she gives you milk, nice milk. We are trying to introduce this system in our New Vrindaban scheme. We are keeping there cows, and that place is in New Virginia, Moundsville. It is about three miles away from any city or any citizen approach. But they are living very nicely, depending on some vegetables, fruits and cow's milk.
So actually, a man can live very peacefully and healthy life. Not only peacefully. If you are healthy, if your mind is equilibrium, then naturally you are peaceful. So that was a system for the sages and hermitages, hermits, that they used to live on cow's milk and fruits.
So this king, being tired, being thirsty, entered the home of a sage, and he was in meditation. So the king called him. Because he was king, so he is habituated to order. A king is not supposed to submit, although they submitted to great sages and brāhmaṇas. But generally, their spirit is ordering, commanding spirit. So he commanded, "Give me a glass of water. I am very thirsty." So that sage, who was in meditation, could not hear him. The king became little angry, that "I am your guest. I am king. I am asking you water, and you are not hearing me. You are in your meditation." So he became little disgusted, and there was a dead snake. So he took that dead snake and got it round about the neck of the sage and went away in disgust, that "This sage did not offer me even a glass of water."
Because, according to Vedic system, if somebody comes in your home, even if he is enemy, it is the injunction of the Vedas, gṛhaṁ śatrum api prāptaṁ viśvastam akuto 'bhayam. When a person comes at your home, never mind even if he's enemy... Friend is welcome, that's all right; but even an enemy comes, they are not forbidden. Not that in the gate there is, oh, "Beware of dog," "No trespasser allowed." No. There was no restriction. Even enemy was admitted, "Come on." So gṛhaṁ śatrum api prāptaṁ viśvastam akuto 'bhayam. Even an enemy enters your house, you'll receive him in such a friendly way that he will forget that you are his enemy. That was the system.
So because Mahārāja Parīkṣit was king, he saw that there is negligence of this disciplinary action. "I became... I was king, and I was thirsty. I became his guest, I came..." Athiti. This guest is called athiti. Athiti means there are some guests who give notice before, prior to coming there, and some guests come without any notice. So the guest who comes without any notice, he's called athiti. So according to Hindu custom, the householder is to keep always some foodstuff for athiti guest. Somebody may come without notice, so some foodstuff is already in the stock. That is called athiti food.
And a gṛhastha, the householder, is ordered that before eating, a householder was to see in the members of the family first the children must be fed, then diseased person must be fed, then elderly, old person must be fed. In this way, when everything is finished, then the proprietor of the household, he will take his meals, and before taking his meal, he will stand outdoors and call loudly, "If somebody is hungry, please come. Still there is food here." And if there is no response, then he'll take. This is the system of Vedic civilization.
So when Mahārāja Parīkṣit saw that "This sage, although he's sage, he's to be ideal man, he did not hear me. I am thirsty, I asked him water, and..." The injunction is, when you receive somebody, even if you are very poor man, you should offer the guests a comfortable seat and a glass of water. That is not expensive. You can offer anyone a seat: "Please come and sit down here and take a glass of water." And if you can provide, you can give him nice foodstuff; but even if you have got nothing at your home, this thing you can offer without any expenditure, without any botheration, to receive him, "Please come on, come here, sit down. Take a glass of water."
That is the system still. In Indian villages... Just like we are sannyāsī, renounced order. There is no problem. You sit down underneath a tree and so many residents will come: "My dear sannyāsī, will you please come and take prasādam?" So many people invite. When Caitanya Mahāprabhu was traveling alone, wherever He goes, He was invited. That system is still there. A sannyāsī is never hungry. So many people will provide him.
And it is the injunction of the śāstra that a sannyāsī, a brahmacārī, are sons of the society. As you take care of your children at home, similarly, you are also required to take care of the sannyāsīs and the brahmacārīs. Because their life is dedicated for the social welfare work—without any charge. This our Kṛṣṇa consciousness society is giving the most valuable thing, chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa, without any charge, without any... They are canvassing, "Please take it. You'll be happy. Please take." So people should know how much valuable service they are rendering. How much valuable.
Saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka. This world is just like blazing fire. People realize it. And when they do not find any solution, they become frustrated, they become confused, they take to intoxication to forget the blazing condition upon life. So actually everyone in this material world is burning in the blazing fire of material consciousness. That's a fact. Somebody is trying to solve by forgetting it through the influence of intoxication or something else artificially. That is not the solution. The real solution is to come to the original consciousness. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Actually, what is the real fact of our existence? Real fact of our existence is this consciousness. Either an animal or a man or a superman or an aquatic or a tree or a plant—any living entity—what is the ultimate stand? The ultimate stand is consciousness. The animal body is animal body so long there is consciousness. The human body is human body so long there is consciousness. Therefore, in the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find this verse, avinaśi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idaṁ tatam (BG 2.17). Avinaśi tu tad viddhi. Just try to understand. Just try to understand that thing. What is that? Just try to understand that thing as imperishable. What is that thing? Yena sarvam idaṁ tatam: that thing which is pervading all over your body. And what is that thing? That is consciousness.
So long there is consciousness, you feel either from this part of this body or this part of the body or this part of the..., anywhere you pinch, because the consciousness is there, you feel, "Oh, it is painful" or "It is pleasure." There are two kinds of feelings: painful or pleasure. And that is due to consciousness. And this consciousness is there in every body, but they are in degrees. That is, the consciousness in tree is very lower. Therefore if you cut a tree, it does not respond. It responds... According to modern science... Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, he has invented a machine that when you cut a tree or take out the fruit or the leaves or the branches, he feels, and that feeling is recorded in a machine. I do not know exactly the machine name, but there is a machine. It immediately... So the consciousness is there in the trees also.
But that has been known by the scientific apparatus, but according to our Vedic injunction, that is already mentioned in the śāstras, that the trees have consciousness. They are also living entities. Don't say that they are without life. They have got life. And therefore the system is... Just like we pick up flowers from the trees for offering to Kṛṣṇa, but the injunction is that after evening you should not touch the tree. The idea is that they are sleeping; don't disturb. So the consciousness of the trees are admitted in the Vedic literature.
Similarly, the consciousness is developed from tree to worms, microbes, worms, germs—their consciousness is little more higher. Then birds, their consciousness is little more higher; then beasts, their consciousness is little more higher. This is development, gradual process of evolution. Gradual process of evolution means gradual process of developing the status, the state of consciousness. In this way the consciousness in human form of body is further developed, very nicely developed. And similarly, there are other, elevated living condition in higher planets. They are called demigods. They are far advanced, very..., more and more intelligent. Their standard of living, their everything, is far, far above than all these planets, thousands and thousands of times.
Just like we can discriminate here, even on this planet. Your standard of living, from materialistic point of view... Just like to get a motorcar in this country is ordinary thing, but in our country, in India, if somebody has got a motorcar, he's considered to be very rich man. Here even a worker goes on motorcar, but in India only a person who is very rich, he can have a motorcar.
As there is difference of standard of living from one country to another, similarly, there is difference of standard of living, standard of duration of life, standard of intelligence, standard of developed consciousness—everything different. That is stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā: yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhAdi-vibhuti-bhinnam (Bs. 5.40). If you try to read Vedic literature... Not very many. Try to understand Bhagavad-gītā as it is. Try to understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. These two books will give you sufficient knowledge, and we should take advantage of it, because our consciousness is developed. We should not waste our time simply reading these all nonsense literatures, sex literatures. Simply wasting our time.
Tad vayasaṁ tīrtham (SB 1.5.10). To read nonsense ordinary literature and books or newspaper is compared just like the pleasure place of the crows. The crows, they are very much attached to the rejected refuse, garbage. In your country I don't see many crows, but in our country there are many crows, and the garbage section is pleasure, pleasuring place there. Where rejected things, they take pleasure in that. But the swans, the ducks, they take pleasure in clear lake with lily flower, nice garden, and nice birds are chirping. They take pleasure in that place.
Similarly, there are classes of men also like crows and like swans. The swans, they will take pleasure in this kind of literature, Vedic literature. And the crowslike men, they will hunt after that rejected garbagelike things. Punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30). What is there in the sex literature? There is no new information; the same sex life, that's all. Sometimes half-naked, sometimes naked, sometimes this, sometimes that, but the central place is sex.
So when you have got developed consciousness, try to understand Kṛṣṇa. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Don't waste your time in nonsense literature. Don't waste. The life is very valuable. You don't think that "Because we have got human form of life, we shall live for one hundred years or sixty or seventy years, so let us enjoy." Bhāgavata says this kind of enjoyment is there everywhere—in animal life, in plant life. This enjoyment means sex pleasure.
Viṣayaḥ khalu sarvataḥ syāt. Viṣaya. Viṣaya means eating, sleeping, mating and defending. This is called viṣaya. One who is very much fond of these principles of life only... Just like animals: they have no other problem. They do not know what Kṛṣṇa consciousness, what philosophy, what is metaphysical understanding. They have no such problem. Their only problem is eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That's all. So this human form of life is not like that. Therefore this Śaunaka Ṛṣi says that,
- āyur harati vai puṁsām
- udyann astaṁ ca yann asau
- tasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nīta
- (SB 2.3.17)
He says that our duration of life is being taken away by the sun, beginning from his rising up to the end of setting. We are daily losing the duration of our life. Just like this morning, today is 12th July, the sun rises at 5:30 in the morning, and now it is 5:30 again in the evening. These twelve hours have been taken away from the duration of our life. Is it not a fact? You'll never get it back. If you ask any scientist that "I'll give you twelve millions of dollars. Please give me back these twelve hours again," no, it is not possible. No scientist can give you. That is not...
Therefore Bhāgavata says that from the beginning of the sunrise up to the end of sunset, your duration of life is being taken away. That is the business. Kalaḥ. This is called time: past, present and future. What is present, tomorrow it will be past, and again future. So past, present, future; past, present, future. But what is this past, present and future? This is past, present and future of this body. I am...
So far I am concerned, I am not past, present... I do not belong to the category of the past, present and future; I belong to the category of eternity. Therefore we should be careful how to attain, how to be elevated to the platform of eternity. That is our business. The developed consciousness of human being should be utilized not in the animal propensities of eating, sleeping, mating and defending, but we should search out the path, or the way, or the value which will help us to get that life of eternity.
So here it is said that tasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nīta uttama-śloka-vārtayā. The sun is taking away our duration of life every minute, every hour, every day. But if we engage ourself in the topics of Uttama-śloka, that time he cannot take away. The idea is that the time which you are devoting here in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness temple, this time the sun cannot take away. This is becoming your asset. Plus. It is not minus. The duration of life, so far your body is concerned, that may be taken away. That will be taken away, however I may try to keep it intact. Nobody can keep it; it will be taken away. But the spiritual education which you are receiving in this class, oh, either the sun or sun's father, his father, nobody can take it away. It becomes a solid asset.
Therefore we should utilize our consciousness, how to make it a solid asset. And that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If you chant twenty-four hours very easy thing—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma..., that means this time cannot be taken away by the sun, just like he has taken away the time of..., pertaining to my body. Just like I was also young man sometimes, say, fifty years ago, or, say, some years ago, but that is taken away. Now that cannot be returned. But the spiritual knowledge which I received from my spiritual master, that cannot be taken. That cannot be taken away. It will go with me. Even after this body it will go with me. And if it is perfect in this life, then it will take me to the eternal abode.
Yad gatvā na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama (BG 15.6). This dhāma, everywhere, either this material world or the spiritual world, that belongs to Kṛṣṇa, or God. We are not proprietor of anything. But in this material world, this is, although it is a property, it is the property of the Supreme Lord... Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam (Īśo mantra 1). Everything belongs to God. Just like everything belongs to government, either in the prison house or outside the prison house, similarly, this material world is just like prison house, conditioned life. Just like in the prison house you cannot change your cell from this cell to another cell. Just like in free life you can go from this home to that home, in prison life you cannot do that. You must stay to your cell.
So all these planets are like cell. We are trying to go to the moon planet; that is not possible, not in this way. That way is different; I have explained many times in this meeting. Because we are given a particular cell. Either we are Americans or Indians or Chinese or Russian, we have been given this planet: live. You cannot leave it by your will. Although there are millions and billions of planets, and although you have got machine to fly, but because we are conditioned, checked by the laws of nature, or God, you cannot go, exactly like the man who is put into certain cell, he cannot change at his will without the superior authority.
So Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā that don't try to change this cell, from this cell to that cell. That will not make you happy. If you think..., if a prisoner thinks that "I am in this cell. Let me request the superintendent of the jail to change my cell and I'll be happy," that is a mistaken idea. One cannot be happy so long he is under the prison walls. One should become free. That should be the aim of our life. So we are trying to be happy by changing the cell, by this "ism" to that "ism," by capitalism to communism, from communism to this "ism," to that "ism." That will not make us happy. You'll have to completely change from this "ism," this materialism, that's all. Then you'll be happy.
That is our program, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We are not childish-ism. We are taking advice from the Supreme Person. Ā-brahma bhuvanāl lokām punar āvartino 'rjuna (BG 8.16) "My dear Arjuna, even if you are elevated to the highest planetary system, which is called Brahmaloka..." That is also desirable, because the life is very, very long there. You cannot calculate even their half-day. That is given in the Bhagavad-gītā: sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ (BG 8.17). In the Brahmaloka the duration of life is very, very long. It is beyond your arithmetical calculation. But even there is death. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, don't try to waste your time to elevate yourself or to transfer yourself from this planet to that planet.
That is natural instinct. Especially I see in your country that people are so restless, they cannot stay in one place. Sometimes they go from this place to that place, this apartment to that apartment, this country to that country, that country... That restlessness is there because we are searching after that eternal happiness, and we are restless. We are trying to find out in one place, and when it is finished we try to go to another place. But if I change this place or that place, that is not eternal life. The eternal life is with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, yad gatvā na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama (BG 15.6). Everything belongs to Him—"Everything belongs to Me"—but He has got a superexcellent place, which is called Goloka Vṛndāvana. If you want to go there, then become Kṛṣṇa conscious.
That I have repeatedly explained in this meeting: janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ (BG 4.9). Simply try to understand Kṛṣṇa, how He appears, how He disappears, what is His constitutional position, what is my constitutional position, what is the relationship with Kṛṣṇa, how to live. Everything. Simply if you understand these things, Kṛṣṇa says, janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ... Tattvataḥ means reality, scientifically; not by whims or sentiments or fanaticism. No. Everything Kṛṣṇa consciousness is everything scientific, solid scientific. It is not bogus. It is not imagination.
So tattvataḥ. That is called tattvataḥ: in fact, in reality, in truth. If one understands Kṛṣṇa in truth, then the result is tyaktvā deham. By giving up this body... We have to give up this body, willingly or unwillingly. A day will come when you have to submit to the laws of nature and give up this body. Even your president, Mr. Kennedy, he was going in procession, but when nature's law demanded that "Now you submit your body here and change for another body," he had to. There was no question, "Oh, I am president, I am Mr. Kennedy. I cannot do this." No. You have to do it. Force. That you do not understand, how this nature's force is working on us.
So this is the business of developed consciousness, human consciousness. Otherwise, consciousness is there in the dog, in the cats, in the worms, in the trees, in the birds, in the beasts. Consciousness is there. But are we meant for living in that consciousness, cats' and dogs' consciousness? No. Therefore Bhāgavata said that labdhvā sudurlabham idaṁ bahu-sambhavānte (SB 11.9.29). "After many, many births you have got this nice body, human form of body." And what to speak of American body, the nicest body, very beautiful body, very rich body. Don't misuse, please. Utilize it. Develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness and be happy. That is our propaganda.
We are not asking anything that "Give me some fees, and I give you some mantra." The mantra is being distributed free in the street. You simply take it, chant it, and just see how you are developing your Kṛṣṇa consciousness. An inch development, advancement, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, is a great profit. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt (BG 2.40). This consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, if achieved in the slightest degree, it can help you for the highest benefit, for the highest benefit, to take you to the spiritual kingdom, Vaikuṇṭhaloka, Vṛndāvana. So don't be proud that "I have got human body" unnecessarily. Don't be proud that "I can live very, very longer period than the cats and dogs." These things are very nicely discussed here. We shall try to explain. The beginning is taravaḥ kiṁ na jīvanti (SB 2.3.18).
The beginning of this... How our consciousness is developed and important, that is stated in these pages, that taravaḥ kiṁ na jīvanti. You are proud of having a little long duration of life than the cats and dogs; therefore you are proud. Oh, don't you see how long the trees also live, for seven thousand years, many thousands of years? So what is there in living for long duration of life?
So there is no actual wonderful achievement by the so-called material advancement of life unless you have got developed consciousness to the standard of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Everything is false. False means "maybe," "temporary." You are American. You are feeling that you belong to the rich country, very beautiful body, no scarcity of food. That's all right, but it is also temporary; it is not permanent. And next life you do not know. Even if you have no information what is life after death, but there is. There is life after death.
The body is changing. This is the instruction of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The body is changing, but the soul is eternal. We are busy with the bodily affairs of life, but we do not take care of the soul. That is the mistake of the present civilization. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is teaching to the people in general, the philosophers, the religionists, the leaders, that this is not the way of civilization. You try to develop your consciousness to the standard of Kṛṣṇa. Then your life will be successful.
Thank you very much. (devotees offer obeisances)
Any question? (break)
Devotee: ...of Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
Prabhupāda: Because the Bhāgavata, the topics of Śrīmad-Bhāgavata, was due to Parīkṣit Mahārāja being cursed by the brāhmaṇa boy. So at the time of his death he wanted to know from the great sages what was his duty at the time of death, and it was decided that he should hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from Śukadeva Gosvāmī. That was the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavata teaching. Therefore I was talking of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, little introduction. That is stated in our First Canto, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. You must read it. In the first part it is stated what was the cause of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam teaching. The beginning was at the time of death of Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
So we should take the place of Mahārāja Parīkṣit that he was given time, seven days, and he prepared himself, by learning Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, for the next life. But we have no even notice when we shall die; therefore we should always read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and prepare for the next life. That is the business of elevated consciousness. We should not waste our time by reading or by, I mean to say, mixing our consciousness with so many rubbish things. We should try to purify it. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12, Śikṣāṣṭaka 1). This chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra will cleanse your consciousness, and if you hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavata, Bhagavad-gītā, then it becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious. That should be the duty of everyone.
Viṣṇujana: Prabhupāda, you described that the Lord is the cause, the original cause, and since no one knows the Lord, how is it possible for the people to know how they are controlled? How can they know how they are controlled, since no one knows Kṛṣṇa and He is the original cause? How can they know that it's because of Kṛṣṇa that things are happening?
Prabhupāda: How can you know that you are controlled by the state? How can I know?
Viṣṇujana: The state has a law book.
Prabhupāda: Therefore we have got law books. AnAdi bahirmukha jīva kṛṣṇa bhuli gelā, ataeva kṛṣṇa veda-purāṇe karilā. Because you have forgotten Kṛṣṇa, therefore Kṛṣṇa has given you so many books, Vedic literature. Therefore I was stressing, don't waste your time in reading nonsense literature. Just concentrate your mind in this Vedic literature. Then you'll know. Why these books are there? Just to remind you to become lawful.
But if you don't take advantage, then you are misusing your life. This preaching work, this publication of books, literature, magazines, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, everything is to remind you how we are being controlled, who is the supreme controller, how your life can be successful, how you can be relieved from this controlled life, how you can get freedom life. This is the movement.
This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is for that purpose; otherwise, what is the utility of this movement? It is not an "ism," just to make some temporary appeasement. It is the ultimate solution of all the problems of life, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. And this chanting is pavement(?) of the heart, where you'll receive this message. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12, Śikṣāṣṭaka 1), cleansing the heart. Then you'll be able to receive the message. So our process is very scientific, authorized, and if anyone takes to it he'll realize gradually, and he'll be elevated. There is no doubt about it.
So what is the next engagement?
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Āratik. (obeisances) (end)