Śrī Īśopaniṣad, Mantra 9 — May 13, 1970, Los Angeles

Prabhupāda: [chanting with devotees:] 

andhaṁ tamaḥ praviśantiye
ye ‘vidyām upāsate
tato bhūya iva te tamo
ya u vidyāyāṁ ratāḥ
[Īśo 9]

“Those who are engaged in the culture of nescient activities shall enter into the darkest region of ignorance. Worse still are those engaged in the so-called culture of knowledge.” 

So there are two kinds of education: material education and spiritual education, brahma-vidyā and jaḍa-vidyā. Jaḍa-vidyā means material education. Jaḍa. Jaḍa means “which cannot move,” matter. And spiritual education… Spirit can move. Our body is combination of spirit and matter. So long the spirit is there, this body is moving. Just like coat-pant is moving so long a man wears it. It appears that the coat is moving, the pant is moving, but actually the living entity is moving, and the covering, the dress, appears to be moving. Similarly, this body is moving because the spirit soul is moving. This is only… Just like a vehicle. A motorcar is moving; that means the driver is moving. So foolish people will think that the motorcar is moving. Motorcar does not move. In spite of all mechanical arrangement, it cannot move. That is the wrong way of education. People who are thinking that this material nature is working, moving and manifesting so many wonderful things… Just like in the seaside we see the waves are moving. But the waves are not moving; the air moving it. But air is not moving. In this way, you go back, back, back, what is the ultimate cause, then you’ll find Kṛṣṇa is the cause of all causes. That is called philosophy, to search out the ultimate cause. 

So here it is said, andhaṁ tamaḥ praviśanti ye avidyām upāsate. Avidyā means those who are captivated by the external movements, they are, they are worshiping avidyā, nescience, which will not help him. The modern civilization is engaged… There are big, big institutions for technology, how a motorcar can move, how aeroplane can move. So many machinery they’re manufacturing. But they are… There is no educational institution how the mover, the spirit soul, is moving. That is… That is called avidyā, nescience. The actual mover is not being studied, but the external movement is being studied. Big, big institution, universities, there are. As I told you the other day, when I lectured in the Massachusetts Technological College, so I inquired that “Where is that technology to study the mover?” But they have no such arrangement. They could not answer satisfactorily. So that is avidyā. So here, in the Īśopaniṣad, it is said, andhaṁ tamaḥ praviśanti ye avidyām upāsate. Those who are engaged only in material advancement of education, the result will be that they will go to the darkest region of existence, andhaṁ tamaḥ. It is very dangerous position that at the present moment there is no arrangement in any state, all over the world, about spiritual education. It is pushing the human society to the darkest region of existence. Actually, it is happening so. In… In your country, your rich country, you have got nice educational system, so many universities, but what class of men you are producing? The students are coming to become hippies. Why? 

So leaders should think over it, that “What we are producing, in spite of so many educational institutions?” That is hinted here, that because you are worshiping avidyā… That is not knowledge. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung very nicely: jaḍa-vidyā saba māyāra vaibhava. Jaḍa-vidyā. Jaḍa-vidyā means this material education. He says they are expansion of this māyā. Jaḍa vidyā. Jaḍa vidyā sa māyāra vaibhava, tomāra bhajane bādhā. The more we shall advance in this material education, the more we will be hampered to understand what is God. And at last we shall declare, “God is dead. I am God. You are God,” this, all this nonsense. That is hinted here: andhaṁ tamaḥ. Andham means darkness. There are two kinds of darkness. If you remain in ignorance, that is also darkness, and if you remain actually in darkness, where there is no sunlight, there is no electric light, that is also darkness. So avidyām upāsate. Another, tato bhūya iva te tamo ya u vidyāyāṁ ratāḥ. So these materialists, they are certainly being pushed in the darkness, but there is another class, who are so-called philosopher, mental speculators, religionists, yogis. They are going still more in the darkness, because they are defying Kṛṣṇa. They are posed as if culturing spiritual knowledge, but because they have no information of Kṛṣṇa, or God, their advancement of education is also more dangerous. More dangerous. Because they are misleading people. The yoga system, the so-called yoga, not the real yoga system… The so-called yoga system, they are preaching, misleading people that “You meditate and you’ll understand that you are God.” By meditation, one becomes God. [chuckles] You see. So Kṛṣṇa never meditated. Neither He had any chance of meditation, because from the very beginning of His appearance, Kaṁsa was prepared to kill Him. Then He was transferred by His father to the house of Nanda-Yaśodā. There also, when He was sleeping, a baby, three-months-old baby, the Pūtanā demon attacked. So Kṛṣṇa had no chance to meditate to become God. He is God from the very beginning. That is God. God is God and dog is dog. That is the law of identity. 

So these are all nonsense, that “You become still, you become silent, and you become God.” Oh, how I can become silent? Is there any possibility of becoming silent? No. There is no such possibility. “You become desireless.” So how I can become desireless? These are all bluffs. We cannot be desireless. We cannot be silent. But our desires, our activities, have to be purified. That is real knowledge. That is real knowledge. We shall desire only to serve Kṛṣṇa. That is purification of desire. Not that desireless. That is not possible. How I can be desireless? How I can be silent? That is also not possible. For a second, I cannot be silent. So then our activities should be engaged, dovetailed, in Kṛṣṇa’s service. This is real knowledge, that “I, as living entity, I have all these things, activities, desires, loving propensity. Everything is there. But that is being misguided.” We do not know where to place all these things. That is avidyā. So this Īśopaniṣad teaches us that we should be very careful. We should not be very much advanced… We may be advanced. That doesn’t matter. We don’t say that you don’t advance in material education. You advance, but, at the same time, you become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That is our propaganda. We don’t say that you don’t, you do not manufacture motorcar or you do not manufacture these so many machines. We don’t say. But we say, “All right, you have manufactured this machine. Employ it in Kṛṣṇa’s service.” That is our proposal. We don’t say stop it. We don’t say that you have, don’t have any sex life. But we say, “Yes, you have sex life—for Kṛṣṇa. You produce Kṛṣṇa conscious children. Hundred times you have sex life.” But don’t create cats and dogs. That is our proposal. 

So education, education required, but if education is wrongly diverted, it is very, very dangerous. That is the purport of this verse. 

andhaṁ tamaḥ praviśanti
ye vidyām upāsate
tato bhūya iva te tamo
ya u vidyāyāṁ ratāḥ

So-called education has no value. 

Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. [end] 

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