SB 6.1.7 — March 1, 1967, San Francisco

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.1.7

Prabhupāda: [chants maṅgalācaraṇa prayers] So last night in our meeting, we were… Not last night; day before last night. Parīkṣit Mahārāja, King Parīkṣit, is very much, I mean to say, compassionate by hearing different kinds of miserable conditions in different hellish situation. He is asking Śukadeva Gosvāmī whether there is any possibility of delivering them. Vaiṣṇava, a devotee of the Lord, is always anxious to reclaim the fallen souls, who, out of ignorance, they are suffering. We must know always that by ignorance only we suffer. Just like we have got practical experience: by ignorance if I take something which is not suitable for my constitution, I become ill, sick. So that sickness is due to my ignorance. I have seen in Calcutta one neighbor, he died out of ignorance. He took too much pakori one day, and they were fried in oil, and the next day he was attacked by cholera and died. So similarly, whatever suffering we are undergoing, that is due to our ignorance. 

Actually, we are not meant for suffering. If we are sons of God, who is full with all opulence, why should we suffer? Does a rich man’s son suffer anytime? If he suffers, it is due to his ignorance. Similarly, we are suffering, but our ignorance is so strong that we are suffering, but at the same time we are thinking that we are happy. This is the influence of ignorance. Just like last night in the television, that gentleman was talking with me. He said that “We have got good brain and we are utilizing it. So that is better for our advancement of happiness. Why Hare Kṛṣṇa?” His idea was, he plainly told me, that “If Hare Kṛṣṇa is so powerful, then why India is so poverty-stricken and they are suffering?” So I replied that “Do you think that your problems are solved because you have got a dozens or a hundreds dozens of skyscrapers? That problem is here also. It is not that because America is materially advanced, ‘Oh, they are free from all sufferings.’ Why there are so many hospitals? Why there are so many lunatic asylums? Why this confusion of the hippies? Why young boys are always disturbed for the draft board? So how can you say the Americans are free from all sufferings?” This is ignorance. The sufferings are there, here or India or hell or heaven—anywhere within this material world—there is suffering. But people are so foolish that simply having a nice motorcar or a skyscraper building, he thinks that “My all problems are solved.” He does not know that this life is a flash only. I am eternal. 

Suppose I have got some comfortable situation as born as American. How long shall I remain American? Say, fifty years or hundred years. That’s all. Then finish. Get out of the skyscraper building. Throw away your motorcar. Go to the graveyard. And then, what is next life? That I do not know. That I do not know. The life is continuous. Vāsāṁsi jīrnāṇi yathā vihāya [Bg. 2.22]. I am changing my dress. Supposing I have got very nice, good dress, American body, very fair complexion, comfortable life, all these things. That’s all right. But do you think what is your next dress? Are you going, are you sure that you are going to be American again? Who can say? Is there any scientist? Is there any astrologer who can say, “Yes”? No. Nobody can say. 

But the śāstra can say. Śāstra means the authoritative scriptures. Just the other day we described about the symptoms of this Kali-yuga. So many things are foretold five thousand years before, and they are coming true in this age. For example, one small example: lāvaṇyaṁ keśa-dhāraṇam. In this age people will think that by keeping long hairs they have become beautiful. This is stated in the Bhāgavata. A very small example. So many other things. Five thousand years before, ago, this was foretold, that in this age people will like to keep long hairs in order to become beautiful. So this is śāstra. Śāstra means direction—both past, present, and future. Everything is there. Therefore we have to consult the Vedic literature. It is perfect. It is without any mistake, without any cheating. This is śāstra. Just like in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam you’ll find the indication of Lord Buddha’s birth. It is stated in the list of incarnation of God that buddha-nāmnāñjana-sutaḥ kīkaṭeṣu bhaviṣyati. Bhaviṣyati means future tense. In the beginning, just after the beginning of this age, kīkaṭeṣu, in the province of Gayā… If you have gone to India, you will see still there is a place known as Gayā in the province of Bihar. And Lord Buddha, I mean to say, flourished himself in that part of the country. And it is indicated there that kīkaṭeṣu bhaviṣyati, in future. And his mother’s name is also mentioned: añjana-sutaḥ. Lord Buddha’s mother’s name was Añjana. He was Hindu, kṣatriya, a prince. So everything is stated there. Similarly, the next incarnation at the end of this Kali-yuga is also mentioned in the Bhāgavata. That will take place 400,000’s of years after from this time. But His father’s name and the incarnation’s name and the place where He will come, that is also stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. 

So this is called śāstra. Śāstra means you can consult. Just like you consult dictionary, you consult encyclopedia, you consult so many authoritative books for understanding knowledge, similarly, if you consult, you get all information. So in this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is all stated: “If you do like this, you get birth like this. If you do like this, you get birth like this.” And in the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā it is generally spoken, ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ [Bg. 14.18]. Those who are in the modes of goodness… There are three qualities in this material world: the quality of goodness, the quality of passion, and the quality of ignorance. So in the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ. Those who are cultivating the quality of goodness, they can be promoted to the higher status of life in higher planetary system. Ūrdhvam. Ūrdhvam means higher. Ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ. And madhye tiṣṭhanti rājasāḥ. Rājasāḥ means those who are in the modes of passion. They remain either in this planet or some of them may be elevated to the heavenly planet. Heavenly planet is also in the middle of the universe. And adho gacchanti tāmasāḥ jaghanya-guṇa-vṛtti-sthāḥ. Jaghanya—very abominable characters. Jaghanya-guṇa-vṛtti-sthāḥ. Those who are situated not only ignorance… Out of ignorance, one remains in abominable condition. So jaghanya-guṇa-vṛtti-sthā adho gacchanti tāmasāḥ [Bg. 14.18]. They go downwards, even to the animal life. So we have to consult and we have to mold our life in that way. 

So Kṛṣṇa consciousness means it is above the modes of goodness. The goodness characteristic is manifested in a true brāhmaṇa. What is that characteristic? He is truthful. First thing is satya. Satya means truthful. A brāhmaṇa is supposed to speak truth even to his enemy. Everyone hides his secret before the enemy, but truthful means that he does not hide anything even to his enemy. That is brahminical qualification. Satya śama, controlling the senses, controlling the mind. Dama, controlling the senses, satya-sama-dama-śaucam, always clean, taking bath three times daily. Antar-bahiḥ. Outwardly, to wash with soap and other materials to clean, keep oneself clean, and inwardly, always thinking of Kṛṣṇa—that is cleanliness. So satya-sama-śaucam ārjavam, simplicity. Not to encourage artificial necessities of life. Simple life: plain living, high thinking—simplicity. And titikṣa, tolerance. Because this world is miserable. If we become disturbed with the miseries of this world, oh, you cannot live for a moment, because this life is, material life is full of miseries. So you have to become tolerant. When Kṛṣṇa was instructed about the eternity of the soul to Arjuna, Arjuna understood it. He said, “My dear Kṛṣṇa, I quite understand that soul is eternal. Even my teacher and grandfather is killed, he is bodily killed, but he is eternal. I can understand. But do You think that if my brother or if my grandfather or if my teacher with whom I am so thickly connected, if they die, shall I be happy?” So Kṛṣṇa answered, “Yes. You’ll not be happy. Although you know that your son is eternal, he is not dying, he is changing his body… By theoretical knowledge or by understanding, you know it. But who is there in this world who will not cry when the son is dead? He will cry. But that crying is not crying like a layman. He knows that ‘My…,’ this is habitual. This is habitual.” 

That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkha-dāḥ [Bg. 2.14]. Just like we feel warm and we feel cold due to the skin. So that does not mean because we in the summer we feel warm, therefore we shall not go to the fire and cook our foodstuff. Everyone does his duty. That is tolerance. Even it is very warm in the kitchen and if it is summer season, perspiration, nobody, I mean to say, stay away from cooking. One has to do his duty. So Kṛṣṇa advised Arjuna that tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata. “My dear Arjuna, even there is some pain due to the miserable condition of this material world, so we have to tolerate that.” Just like a patient, he is suffering in so many symptoms of the disease. Doctor is giving him medicine. He is also being treated nicely, but his suffering is there. And then? What the patient will think? He has to tolerate, tolerate, because he knows that “I am going to be cured very soon. The treatment is there. So let me suffer little.’ 

Similarly, our aim should be how to get out of this miserable condition of this material existence. And we should prepare ourself for that purpose. And the best and easiest method is this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. You chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, dance in ecstasy, you become in the process of purification. You chant, you dance nicely, enjoy. Just see how nice and easiest process has been endowed to us by Lord Caitanya. He’s teaching Himself. And immediately you can take part. There is no prerequisite qualification. You haven’t got to educate yourself. Just like if one studies Vedānta, he has to tax his brain so much, he has to learn Sanskrit, he has to learn the intricacies of logic and philosophy and so many things. Here, there is no need of anything. You come here as you are, whatever you may be, and join this chanting and dancing. Your purification method immediately begins. Immediately. And if you continue, then you become purified. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. As soon as you are purified… Purification means purification of your heart, that’s all. All the dirty things are within our heart. The bodily dirty things, if you wash once, it is all gone. But it is very difficult to remove the dirty things within the heart. That requires purification. So this process, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, begins from the purification of your heart. 

Now, the television man was asking how it is possible. It is possible. One may not understand. Just like a child, he does not know how he is produced. I know. I asked my mother in my childhood, “My dear mother, how did I come out from your belly?” I still remember. So my mother showed me her navel: “You come out from this place.” So anyway, a child cannot understand, but when he grows up, he understands everything. So how Kṛṣṇa consciousness acts, how this transcendental sound cleanses your heart, you may not understand in the beginning, but if you take to it and if you practice it, then you understand. Then you can understand. And in the Vedānta-sūtra it is said, śabdāt anāvṛttiḥ. As from the sound the whole material existence has come into being, similarly, from sound also, you can go back to the spiritual existence. So this sound vibration… The oṁkāra is also the same sound as…, om, but this is easier, Hare Kṛṣṇa. You cannot have so ecstasy by vibrating om, but because it was chanted by the greatest authority, Lord Caitanya, it has got special power. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. The scriptures indicate that we have to follow the footprints of great authorities. Tarko apratiṣṭham. You cannot come to the right conclusion simply by arguing. You may be a very good logician and you can argue very nicely, but another man, he may be a greater logician than you. He can nullify all your arguments. There is possibility. So tarko apratiṣṭhaḥ. 

Therefore simply by argument and logical conclusion, you cannot approach to the Absolute Truth or real truth. Tarko apratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnāḥ. And if you consult yourself scriptures… Just like Bhagavad-gītā, if you read yourself, you get one kind of impression, and if you hear explanation from an authorized person, you get another impression. The book is the same, but by hearing from the authorities, you get a better impression, better understanding. There are so many examples like this. Tarko ‘pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnāḥ. Now there are many scriptures in the world. The Hindus have got the Vedas; the Christians have got the Bible; the Muslims, they have got Koran. Now, if you read all these scriptures, you will find something contradictory. Just like animal killing. Animal killing, more or less, there are in every scripture, restricted or nonrestricted. There is none nonrestricted. Restricted. Even in the Koran, the animal killing is restricted. Animal is to be killed in the, in certain Bakri Eid ceremony and in the Masjid. Similarly, animal killing amongst the Hindus, they are to be done in the temple of Goddess Kālī. But no slaughterhouse is recommended. Anyway… 

So if you read different scripture, you will be bewildered. In one scripture it is said… But there is adjustment. If you go to the authorized person, he can adjust. But you cannot see. You see, you’ll see contradiction. So śrutayo vibhinnāḥ. Therefore they are considered different, but actually, they are not different. Śrutayo vibhinnāḥ. Tarko ‘pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnā nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. And there are speculators, so-called philosophers, putting theories and doctrines. So one doctrine is different from another doctrine. And people are convinced that no doctrine is absolute; therefore they are going on searching doctrine after doctrine throughout the whole life, and they do not know… Just like the theosophists. They go on, simply searching. They have never come to the conclusion, “Here is the end.” They cannot do that. But in Bhagavad-gītā you will find, “Here is the end.” Kṛṣṇa says, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya: [Bg. 7.7] “My dear Arjuna, here is the ultimate goal. I am—Kṛṣṇa. There is no more anything higher than Me.” Nānyad asti kiñcid dhanañjaya. Mayi sarvam idaṁ protaṁ sūtre maṇi-ganā iva: “Just like in a thread, the pearls are woven, similarly, everything is standing in Me.” 

So if we read different scriptures, then we are also bewildered and we cannot come to the conclusions by arguments. And nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. And if you read different speculative methods or philosophical doctrines, that is also different from one another. Because the philosophy, one philosopher is big philosopher if he can defy his predecessor philosophers. Matam na bhinnam. Therefore, dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām. Therefore the truth of a religious path is in oblivion. How one can understand what is actual Absolute Truth, what is the religious path? The last instruction is mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. Therefore you have to follow the footprints of authority. You can take anyone as you authority, as authority, but according to Bhāgavata there are twelve authorities. That is also mentioned. They are authorized persons from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they have got disciplic succession. The twelve authorities are Brahmā, Nārada, Lord Śiva and Kumāra, Manu and Lord Kapila, Bhīṣma and Prahlāda, Janaka and Yamarāja and this Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who is speaking the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Vaiyāsaki. Vaiyāsaki means “the son of Vyāsadeva.” And they have got their disciplic succession. And if we receive that knowledge from disciplic succession, then we can get perfect knowledge. That is the process of Vedic way. 

Vedic way is to receive knowledge from the authority, not to manufacture knowledge by mental speculation. Manufacturing…, your manufacturing process is very poor because you are imperfect. At least your senses, by which you will produce knowledge… Sense, there are senses to acquire knowledge. Just like by hearing, I have acquired knowledge, and by speaking, I am distributing knowledge. So these are all sense activities. But our senses are imperfect; therefore we cannot manufacture knowledge. We have to receive knowledge from the authority. Just like we receive knowledge from our father, mother, “This is this.” The child learns, “This is lamp.” The father tells, “My dear boy, this is called lamp,” and the boy understands, “This is lamp.” The mother says, “My dear boy, this is your father,” and the boy accepts, “This is my father.” He doesn’t make any research “Who is my father?” because mother is the authority. 

Similarly, perfect knowledge is from the authority. Perfect knowledge is not by speculation. Speculation, how much speculation you can do? What is the worth of your speculation? Because you are imperfect. Your senses are imperfect. You have got cheating within your heart; you commit mistake; you are illusioned. So how you can give perfect knowledge? This is our tendency. Nobody will say that “I am fool number one.” Everyone will say that “I am very much learned,” although he is fool number one. This is cheating. So this cheating propensity is there in everyone—even in our ordinary dealing, in business dealing or any other dealing, even within husband and wife. The husband thinking, “Oh, I have bluffed my wife in this way,” and the wife is thinking, “Oh, I have bluffed my husband in this way.” So the cheating process is there in me, in you, everywhere, because we are imperfect. Therefore it is not possible to get perfect knowledge from an imperfect man. We receive, therefore, knowledge from Kṛṣṇa, who is neither imperfect nor a man. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the process. 

So Mahārāja Parīkṣit is asking from the authority how these persons who are suffering in the hellish condition of life can be reclaimed. Śukadeva Gosvāmī is replying, 

na ced ihaivāpacitiṁ yathāṁhasaḥ
krtasya kuryān manokta-pāṇibhiḥ
dhruvaṁ sa pretya narakān upaiti
ye kīrtitā me bhavatas tigma-yātanāḥ
[SB 6.1.7]

“My dear King, one cannot get rid of the reaction of one’s sinful activities unless he undergoes the counter-affecting means.” In every scripture, there is a process of atonement. Just like in Christian religion, at the time of death, if somebody admits that “I have committed this kind of sin,” it is supposed that he is forgiven. Similarly, in Muslim scripture there is also similar injunction, and in Hindu scripture there are many such injunctions. And as far as possible, they are followed by different followers. So the same thing is confirmed here: “My dear King, if somebody does not atone for his sinful activities…” Sinful activities function in three ways. Here it is stated. What is that? Mana-ukta-pāṇibhiḥ. Mana-ukta-pāṇibhiḥ: by mind, by activities of the mind, and by activities of our words, and by activities of our senses. And if I hurt you by harsh word, then that is also a sin. And when actually commit violence or do something with my hands or legs or something, that is certainly sinful. So we can commit sins in three ways: mind and words and karma, by action. Thinking, feeling and willing and acting. Therefore a svāmī or gosvāmī means who has control over the function of the mind, of the words, and of the activities of the senses. There is definition. “One who can control the tongue, one who can control the mind, one who can control the words, one who can control the belly, one who can control the generative organ, he is svāmī.” And pṛthiviṁ sa śiṣyāt: “He is allowed to create disciples all over the world.” 

So unless one has control over these things, over the tongue… Over the tongue means tongue is not allowed to eat anything except Kṛṣṇa-prasādam. Tongue is not allowed to vibrate anything except Hare Kṛṣṇa or topics in the Bhagavad-gītā and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. That is controlling. Controlling the tongue does not mean that you lock up your tongue. Sometimes in India if you go… There are so many bogus things. One has cut the tongue and has locked it. But tongue cannot be locked. Tongue, any sense, you cannot stop its activities. Simply you have to divert it. Just like my eyes. My eyes want to see very beautiful thing, very beautiful girl, very beautiful dress. So you practice, you decorate the Deity in the temple very beautifully with dress, with ornaments, with flowers, and see. That means your propensity for seeing beautiful things will be satisfied; at the same time, you become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Your tongue wants to eat very nice things. All right, you get it Kṛṣṇa-prasādam. Kṛṣṇa is offered the nicest cooked foodstuff. So you satisfy your tongue; at the same time, you become Kṛṣṇa conscious. So, Kṛṣṇa conscious movement is so nice, that there is no forceful prohibition of the senses. Even the sense organ, generative organ, that can be used also for Kṛṣṇa. How? If you can beget children who will be Kṛṣṇa conscious, then produce hundred, one hundred children. Otherwise stop producing cats and dogs. 

So no sense is stopped, but you have to utilize it for Kṛṣṇa. You can walk to Kṛṣṇa’s temple, you can dance to the tune of Kṛṣṇa’s song, you can eat nice foodstuff, you can see very beautiful Deities, you can hear very beautiful sound, you can talk on Kṛṣṇa philosophically from Bhāgavata and Bhagavad-gītā. So everything in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There is no stoppage. And devotional service means that purifying the senses and engage them in the service of Kṛṣṇa. Tat-paratvena nirmalam. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. One has to get himself freed from all material designations. We are impure because we are compact in designation: “Oh, I am Christian,” “I am Hindu,” “I am American,” “I am Indian,” “I am white,” “I am black.” So these are all designation. If you simply know that “I am servant of Kṛṣṇa. I am servant of God,” then you are purified. You are neither white nor black nor this nor that, but you are simple servant of Kṛṣṇa. If you continue this consciousness, then you are purified immediately. No more contamination. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. And as soon as you take it very seriously, that “I am Kṛṣṇa’s”—neither to the society, neither to the community, neither to the country, neither to the international society, or neither anything, but “I am Kṛṣṇa’s”—if this firm conviction is there, then you are completely pure: tat-paratvena nirmalam. And in the pure condition, when you engage your senses in the service of the Lord, that is called Kṛṣṇa conscious service or devotional service. [end] 

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