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RTW 2.3

His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Dr. Ane's comment on the system of education

We were pleased to hear Dr. Ane's address at the Calcutta University convocation on January 12, 1957. Dr. Ane is presently the honorable governor of the state of Bihar. An excerpt from his speech follows:

Our youth are being brought up in a tradition of veiled contempt for religion and everything religious. Spiritualists and religious devotees are the laughing-stock of the educated youth, and as the general masses are religious-minded and have great respect and reverence for such devotees and spiritualists, they feel generally disgusted with the attitude of the educated class and have no regard for them. The educated class has also no affection for the masses, whose way of life is mostly molded by religious ideas. The result is that the educated classes have not been able to produce a sufficient number of servants to work with a real missionary spirit for the amelioration of the suffering of the masses.

Dr. Ane goes on to say that the existing academic courses in schools and colleges exclude classes on religion.

We have included this portion of Dr. Ane's speech, taken from a local newspaper, because we want to impress upon the reader the urgent need for introducing religious studies into the universities. Because in the past strong objections were raised against including religious classes in the schools, they have been excluded, and now severe reactions are being seen in today's youth. I think that excluding spiritual studies from education thwarts all chances for the human mind to awaken and blossom. Because of a lack of spiritual education, today's youth are undisciplined. Students who do not pray or meditate in the early morning, and again in the evening, gradually become agnostics, and their minds float about aimlessly without purpose. They reject religious ideas and ethics and instead embrace logic and argument as supreme. Often they fall into the vicious grip of some unscrupulous politician. The exclusion of religious courses from the universities is the main reason one does not see nowadays a pure and sublime relationship between student and teacher. Many educators feel the need for religious education today.

A few months ago (on January 18, 1957) we had the opportunity of meeting Dr. Ane at the Government House in Patna, and we had some discussions. Being a pious man, he could appreciate our spiritual topics and offered us full support for our missionary activities which are aimed at eradicating the demoniac mentality on a wide scale. His recent speech gives us hope of improvement.

Possessed of perverted intelligence, the demons, rascals, and fools can never surrender to Lord Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, Lord Kṛṣṇa never shows them His mercy. The most munificent incarnation of Godhead, Lord Caitanya, repudiated the sinner Gopāla Cāpala because he was envious of the Lord's devotee. In this regard, the Supreme Lord states His opinion in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.11): ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham. "As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly." Thus the Lord arranges for the demons to slide lower and lower into degraded species of life and suffer hell for many millions of births. In Chapter 16.19-20 the Lord says:

tān aham dviṣataḥ krūrān
saṁsāreṣu narādhamān
kṣipāmy ajasram aśubhān
āsurīṣv eva yoniṣu
āsurīṁ yonim āpannā
mūḍhā janmani janmani
mām aprāpyaiva kaunteya
tato yānty adhamāṁ gatim

Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, I perpetually cast into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life. Attaining repeated birth amongst the demoniac species of life, O son of Kuntī, such persons can never approach Me. Gradually they sink down to the most abominable type of existence.

Yet the Supreme Lord's devotees, being more merciful than the Lord Himself, are compassionate toward even the lowest demons like us.

The Lord's devotees can save even those whom the Lord Himself rejects. This is their unique character. Therefore the devotees of the Lord arrange various means to save the fallen, reprobate souls from perdition. In fact, they live among these spiritual derelicts to encourage them toward spiritual perfection, using any means at hand-even tricks. His Divine Grace Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda wanted to open a students' hostel in London, the logic being that it was necessary to give sugar-coated pills, in the form of a little sense gratification, to those debauched students in order to attract them to join the path of God-realization.

If they so desire, powerful spiritual masters, or pure devotees of the Lord, can instantly deliver the entire universe and take everyone to the shelter of the Supreme Lord's lotus feet. Śrīla Vāsudeva Datta declared to Lord Caitanya that he was prepared to take on all the sinful reactions of every living entity in the universe and suffer eternally in hell if the Lord was willing to liberate all the living entities at one time. The pure devotees are so magnanimous that they are always concerned about the spiritual well-being of every soul. The only way to receive the Supreme Lord's mercy is to bathe oneself in the dust of the lotus feet of such unalloyed devotees.

The devotees of the Lord understand that it is māyā's influence that has spoiled the people and made them demoniac. Thus the inherently noble disposition of the devotees leads them to think only of the demons' benefit, without a tinge of envy. The devotees are therefore known as patita-pāvana, "the saviors of the fallen." In fact, the devotees are more compassionate than the Supreme Lord Himself. Of course, it is the Supreme Lord's grace alone that makes them more compassionate than the Lord. And by the mercy of such devotees, the lowest sinful men and women can attain the lotus feet of the Lord.

On the other hand, offending such pure devotees finishes all possibility of salvation. If one offends the Supreme Lord, only His pure devotees can save the offender, but if one offends the pure devotee, then even the Supreme Lord will not save the offender from doom. For this reason alone, pure devotees never feel offended. When Jesus Christ was being crucified, he did not blame anyone for it. Haridāsa Ṭhākura was severely lashed in twenty-two marketplaces by the Muslim Kazi's sentries. Still he prayed to the Lord not to punish his tormentors. Lord Nityānanda was wounded by the two rascals Jagāi and Mādhāi, yet the Lord stood His ground, bleeding profusely. He delivered the two notorious brothers and thus brilliantly exemplified the title patita-pāvana. Such is the profound compassion of the pure devotees.

Therefore the reprobates' only means of attaining any piety is through the association of devotees. We are looking forward to that time when the stalwart disciples of that illustrious crest jewel of all Vaiṣṇavas, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, having received the blessings of their spiritual master, will come together again for the benediction of the whole world and, without wasting any more time, preach the message of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī always tried to dissuade his disciple, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, from going to Calcutta, which he considered a bastion of Kali-yuga. Yet though some might think Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura disobeyed his guru's order, he preached not only in Calcutta but in other capitals of Kali-yuga, such as London, Berlin, Bombay, Madras, and Delhi. He vehemently opposed the idea of constructing a temple in some quiet spot and leading a passive and uneventful life in the monastery. He represented perfectly the ideal of utilizing 100 percent of one's energy in God's service for the spiritual upliftment of humanity. A certain Gujarati friend offered to build him a temple in Ville Parle, a quiet and remote section of Bombay. He immediately refused. We had the greatest good fortune of seeing him act and preach in this way. And now it is our ill fate that after the passing away of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, the exemplar of patita-pāvana, we have returned to our lowly, fallen ways. Is there a glimmer of hope for our deliverance?

From the ocean of loving compassion, which had been completely dammed up, Lord Nityānanda cut a canal of love of Godhead and flooded the entire world. And then some persons called caste Gosvāmīs, claiming to be the Lord's descendants, again dammed up that ocean of mercy with their malpractices of fruitive activities and rituals. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura once more cut open the canal of love of Godhead and brought in the flood waters. And now are we, of all persons, trying once more to dam it up like the caste Gosvāmīs? By the influence of the good association of the Lord's devotees, even a fool and rascal like me, possessed of a destructive, demoniac mentality, can accumulate enough piety to become inspired to serve the Supreme Lord.

By nature children are restless and playful, so in the kindergarten they are given toys and games to interest them in learning. Similarly, a neophyte is trained to perform activities in the mood of sacrifice, and he is encouraged to worship the Deities according to the scriptural injunctions. The expert Vaiṣṇava preceptor then gradually draws him toward the platform of pure devotion by narrating the spiritually potent topics of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and giving him the remnants of food offered to the Supreme Lord. These two aspects of devotional life act like medicine on the neophyte, who, like the rest of the world, is affected by the material disease. Devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa is the living entity's eternal birthright; it is not a new subject fabricated by the human mind. A base fool thinks that devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa is merely a mundane psychological state of mind. But in truth devotional service is our eternal spiritual substance—"the essential spiritual reality" (vāstava-vastu), according to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.2). Devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa can be invoked naturally in the purified hearts of devotees. When a disease is cured, the patient feels hungry; similarly, when a neophyte accrues sufficient piety by associating with devotees, he feels attraction for devotional service within his heart.

Four kinds of pious men establish a relationship with the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa. As the Lord states in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.16)

catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ
janāḥ sukṛtino 'rjuna
ārto jijñāsur arthārthī
jñānī ca bharatarṣabha

O best among the Bhāratas, four kinds of men begin to render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.

One obtains another kind of piety by strictly executing his duties under the system of varṇāśrama-dharma, a social system containing four spiritual orders and four social orders. Learned sages have long propagated this system. As the Viṣṇu Purāṇa (3.8.9) states,

puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā
nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam
(CC Madhya 8.58)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varṇa and āśrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must be situated in the institution of the four varṇas and āśramas.

The brāhmaṇas (the intellectual, priestly class), the kṣatriyas (kings and administrators), the vaiśyas (the mercantile community), and the śūdras (menial workers) are the four social orders, or varṇas. If they live according to the scriptural injunctions pertaining to their particular varṇa, then they can accrue piety. Similarly, if the members of the four āśramas—namely, the brahmacārīs (celibate students), gṛhasthas (householders), vānaprasthas (pilgrims), and sannyāsīs (renunciants)—also act in conformity with the scriptural edicts, they too acquire immense piety. But when the ill influence of Kali-yuga corrupts this varṇāśrama system, human society is beset by all sorts of degradations. As a result, the living entities are punished by a variety of natural calamities caused by the illusory potency of the Lord. When the citizens abide by the rules of the king, the kingdom runs smoothly and everyone is prosperous and content. But when the demoniac population of thieves, rogues, and criminals steadily increases, the kingdom is filled with chaos and terror.