SB 2.3.23 — June 20, 1972, Los Angeles

Prabhupāda: Hmm. 

Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Page 161, text 23. [leads chanting of verse] [Prabhupāda and devotees repeat] 

jīvañ chavo bhāgavatāṅghri-reṇuṁ
na jātu martyo ‘bhilabheta yas tu
śrī-viṣṇu-padyā manujas tulasyāḥ
śvasañ chavo yas tu na veda gandham
[SB 2.3.23]

Prabhupāda: Karandhara? Now, word meaning. 

Pradyumna: [leads chanting of synonyms] 

jīvan—while living; śavaḥ—a dead body; bhāgavata-aṅghri-reṇum— 

[break] the dust of the feet of a pure devotee; na—never; jātu—at any time; martyaḥ—mortal; abhilabheta—particularly received; yaḥ—a person; tu—but; śrī—with opulence; viṣṇu-padyāḥ—of the lotus feet of Viṣṇu; manu-jaḥ—a descendant of Manu (a man); tulasyāḥ—leaves of the tulasī tree; śvasan—while breathing; śavaḥ—still a dead body; yaḥ—who; tu—but; na veda—never experienced; gandham—the flavor. 


Translation: “The person who has not at any time received the dust of the feet of a pure devotee of the Lord upon his head certainly is a dead body. And the person who has never experienced the flavor of the tulasī leaves from the lotus feet of the Lord is also a dead body, [break] although breathing.” 

Prabhupāda: So… Prahlāda Mahārāja was asked by his father, “How did you develop this Kṛṣṇa consciousness?” So he replied that naiṣāṁ matis tāvad urukramāṅghrim [SB 7.5.32]: “This Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be developed…” Spṛśaty anartha upasamo yad-arthaḥ. Kṛṣṇa consciousness, development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, means anartha upasama. Anartha means things we do not require. Anartha. Artha, anartha. Artha means which is essentially required, and anartha means which is not required; artificially we have requisitioned. 

So when one grows his Kṛṣṇa consciousness, immediately his artificial life becomes finished. Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra syāt [SB 11.2.42]. This is the symptom of development of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that he’s not any more interested for material, unnecessary things. This is the test. If one is increasing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, at the same time he has got full attachment for material things, that means he’s not developing. Material things means āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. 

So sometimes the karmīs are afraid of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, because they know that as soon as one becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, he is no more interested with these material things. Just like we say, “Don’t eat meat.” So actually, if all people become Kṛṣṇa conscious and give up meat-eating, then the slaughterhouse will be closed. Automatically. We say no meat-eating and no intoxication. So if all people become Kṛṣṇa conscious and give up drinking and smoking, the big business—breweries and cigarette manufacturers—will be closed. 

Similarly, no illicit sex. If people take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then so many brothels and clubs and nudies and everything will be closed. So they are afraid of their business; therefore they don’t encourage this movement. Because ultimately, if this movement goes on, then where they stand? Everywhere we go, the advertisement is for intoxication, for sex and for meat-eating. These are the advertisements. Business is going on very nicely. 

But Kṛṣṇa consciousness means viraktir anyatra syāt. If one tastes Kṛṣṇa consciousness, like the dust of a pure devotee, if he takes the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee, immediately he becomes freed from all these unnecessary demands. 

naiṣāṁ matis tāvad urukramāṅghriṁ
spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
niṣkiñcanānāṁ… niṣkiñcanānāṁ…
mahīyasāṁ pāda-rajo-‘bhiṣekhaṁ
[SB 7.5.32]

Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be developed unless one takes the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee. This is these words, Prahlāda Mahārāja’s remark. In other words, unless one comes in contact with a pure devotee, Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be developed. It is not possible. Therefore here it is recommended by Sūta Gosvāmī that jīvañ chavo bhāgavatāṅghri-reṇuṁ na jātu martyo ‘bhilabheta yas tu. Reṇu. Reṇu means dust. 

If one does not try to secure the dust of the lotus feet of bhāgavata… Bhāgavata means pure devotee of the Lord. One bhāgavata is this book Bhāgavata, another bhāgavata, the person bhāgavata. Who lives on the book Bhāgavata, he is person bhāgavata. Two kinds of bhāgavata. So we have to learn Bhāgavatam from the living bhāgavata. 

Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s secretary, Svarūpa Dāmodara, he advised one brāhmaṇa. One brāhmaṇa wrote something about Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. There were many poets and writers used to come and visit Caitanya Mahāprabhu when He was at Jagannātha Purī, and they would present some writings, but these writings would not be presented before Caitanya Mahāprabhu unless it was sanctioned by His secretary, Svarūpa Dāmodara. That was the system. So one brāhmaṇa, he wrote one poetry that… The purport of the poetry was that “Jagannātha is Kṛṣṇa. But He cannot move. He’s wooden Kṛṣṇa. And Caitanya Mahāprabhu is also Kṛṣṇa, but He is moving Kṛṣṇa.” That means he distinguished between Jagannātha and Caitanya Mahāprabhu. 

So this is not siddhānta. This is not conclusion of the śāstra. Śāstra conclusion is: the Deity and Kṛṣṇa, the same. There is no difference. We have many times explained this. Deity, the worshipful Deity in the temple, is not different from Kṛṣṇa. So Svarūpa Dāmodara did not approve of the poetry to be presented to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. At that time he chastised him, that “You do not know the conclusion, and you dare to write some poetry. Don’t do this.” And he said, bhāgavata para giya bhāgavata-sthāne: “If you want to understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, then you go and study Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from the pure devotee. Then you’ll understand. Otherwise, you’ll write all these nonsense.” Bhāgavata para giya bhāgavata-sthāne. So one bhāgavata… The two bhāgavatas. You study Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from living bhāgavata. So if one does not take or does not surrender unto the living bhāgavata, he cannot understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. 

Many scholarly, learned scholar, Sanskrit scholar, they cannot understand Bhāgavatam. I have seen many scholar, they cannot understand Bhāgavata. Sanskrit scholar, they will read, but they will not be able to understand. Similarly, Bhagavad-gītā also. If anyone studies Bhagavad-gītā from scholarly point of view, A-B-C-D, he’ll not understand. Kṛṣṇa therefore said that “Arjuna, I shall speak the lessons of Bhāgavata unto you because you are My very dear friend and you are My devotee.” Kṛṣṇa did not want to speak Śrīmad…, Bhagavad-gītā to a scholarly student. No. These books are not to be understood by mundane scholarship. That is not possible, all the Vedic śāstras. All the Vedic śāstras. 

There is a big commentary on Bhagavad-gītā by a great scholar and political leader, Lokmanya Tilak. So one of his devotee… He’s also politician. When I was in London in 1968… So he has got a society there. They’re preaching the Tilak’s political view, like that. He has got a… So he came to see me, and he was very much eulogizing Lokmanya Tilak, that he has written his big commentary, Karma-yoga. So he wanted to invite me in talk on Tilak’s great task. So I told him that “Tilak does not understand Bhagavad-gītā.” So immediately he was surprised. Then we had a talk, and I convinced him that “Tilak was a politician, maybe a big scholar, but that does not mean he can understand Bhagavad-gītā.” 

Bhagavad-gītā is understood by devotee. He may be illiterate; it doesn’t matter. Still… As Caitanya Mahāprabhu certified the illiterate brāhmaṇa who was reading Bhagavad-gītā in Raṅganātha temple… You know the story. The brāhmaṇa was illiterate. His guru ordered him that “You read Bhagavad-gītā daily, eighteen chapters.” So he could not refuse the order of Guru Mahārāja; so he was taking the book and simply seeing. So those who knew that he was illiterate, they were criticizing, “Well, brāhmaṇa, how you are reading Bhagavad-gītā?” He could not answer, because he knew that “I am illiterate. I do not know.” 

Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw this fun and approached him, “Well, brāhmaṇa, what you are reading?” So he could understand that this Caitanya Mahāprabhu has not come to criticize him: “He’s serious.” So he informed Him, “Sir, I am reading Bhagavad-gītā, but I am illiterate. I am illiterate, but my spiritual master has ordered to read. So what can I do? I have taken this book and moving these pages, that’s all. What can I do? Actually I cannot read.” 

Then Caitanya Mahāprabhu inquired, “But I see you are sometimes crying.” “Yes, sir, I sometimes cry.” “Why?” “Now, because as soon as I take this book in my hand and I see the picture that Lord Kṛṣṇa is driving the chariot of Arjuna, I cry. ‘Oh, Kṛṣṇa is so kind that He has taken the service of His devotee. He should have been seated on the chariot—Arjuna should have driven the chariot—but He’s driving the chariot and Arjuna is sitting on the seat. So Kṛṣṇa is so kind and beloved that He can serve His devotee. It is the duty of the devotee to serve Him, but He’s so kind and affectionate that He serves His devotee.’ So as soon as I think of this—Kṛṣṇa’s magnanimity—I cry.” 

Then immediately, Caitanya Mahāprabhu embraced him, that “You are… Your reading of Bhagavad-gītā is perfect, because you have understood the essence of the Bhagavad-gītā.” The scholars, they will say… When Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65], the scholars will say, “It is not to Kṛṣṇa the person, it is to the impersonal Brahman which is within Kṛṣṇa.” They cannot conceive that the Supreme Absolute Truth can become a person. 

They cannot conceive. Such a huge cosmic manifestation is created by a person like us, resembling like us, two hands, two legs—their poor brain cannot accommodate. Paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam [Bg. 9.11]. That is stated in Bhagavad-gītā. Mūḍhāḥ, “Fools and rascals,” avajānanti, “deride at Me, thinking Me as ordinary man.” Paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ: “He does not know what is the transcendental potency behind Me.” Paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ. 

So the Māyāvādīs and poor fund of knowledge, they cannot understand Kṛṣṇa unless he becomes a devotee. And how he can become a devotee? That is stated here: bhāgavatāṅghri-reṇum. One has to surrender himself to His representative, bhāgavata. Bhāgavata means… God is called Bhagavān. Bhagavat, the original word is bhagavat, and one who has got intimate relation with bhagavat, he is called bhāgavata. 

So here it is recommended, bhāgavatāṅghri-reṇuṁ na jātu martyaḥ. Martya means one who will die. Every one of us will die. But abhilabheta yas tu: but we can achieve a great success. Although this body’s mortal, we can get…, we can achieve a great success. And what is that? To take the dust of the lotus feet of a bhāgavata. Simple thing. Therefore it is said, jīvañ chavaḥ. Jīvañ chavo bhāgavatāṅghri-reṇuṁ na jātu martyo ‘bhilabheta yas tu. 

After all, this body is dead. Everyone knows. It is simply moving on account of the presence of the spirit soul. As soon as the spirit soul is out of this body, out of this bag of flesh and bone… We are so much attached to this bag of flesh and bone, but those who are learned, they know that this body is nothing but flesh and bone. The real person, the real force, is the soul. Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke [SB 10.84.13]: a bag of bones and fleshes. This is not our identification. I am not this body. 

Do you think if you take some bones and flesh and accumulate them and bundle them, will they produce any intelligence? If I am this body, then this body means a bundle of flesh and bones. So the flesh and bones can be had outside. The scientists can take them and bind them together and then see that it is coming, a scientist, another scientist, Professor Einstein is coming from the bones and the flesh. Is it possible? It is not possible. The bones and flesh are bones and flesh. The real identity is the soul. According to his karma, he manifests his intelligence, although this intelligence is coming out through this bones and flesh. 

Just like I am seeing through this glass. That does not mean the glass is seeing. The seeing power is different from the glass. Similarly, those who are thinking that they are this body, under bodily concept of life… 

yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke
sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiśu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ
yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
[SB 10.84.13]

Bhāgavata says, “One who accepts this body as the self, he is no better then the cow and the ass.” Foolish animals. I have several times explained why ass is called foolish, why cow is also foolish. Simple. Cow is simple; cow is… So they are compared with animals, one who accepts… Therefore this body continues to be animal body or a dead body unless in the human form of life one takes advantage of touching the dust of the lotus feet of a devotee. Jīvañ chavo bhāgavatāṅghri-reṇuṁ na jātu martyo ‘bhilabheta yas tu… 

[aside:] She is sleeping. 

Śrī-viṣṇu-padyā manujas tulasyāḥ śvasañ chavo yas tu na veda gandham. The nostrils… We smell. So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness smelling means we should offer all nice flowers and tulasī on the lotus feet of the Lord. And we shall accept prasādam. The priest will offer, and if we smell that, then our smelling power is fulfilled. That means… These Kumāras, catuḥsana Kumāra, Sanaka-kumārādi, they were first of all impersonalist, but after smelling the tulasī leaves which was offered to the lotus feet of Viṣṇu, they become personalist. So this is an opportunity. If anyone comes, smells the flowers and the tulasī offered to Viṣṇu, tastes the viṣṇu-prasāda and sees the Lord’s form, in this way he develops Kṛṣṇa consciousness. 

So this is opportunity. This temple means an opportunity, a process, a simple process. Not simple for ordinary man, but actually it is simple. Anyone can smell the flowers offered to Kṛṣṇa. Anyone can eat the foodstuff offered to Kṛṣṇa. Anyone can see the Deity so nicely decorated. Anyone can hear Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. So we have got these senses. So if we engage our senses in this way—our seeing power, our hearing power, our talking power, our smelling power, our touching power, our tasting power—in this way, if we engage everything in connection with Kṛṣṇa, very easily we become Kṛṣṇa conscious. And as soon as we become Kṛṣṇa conscious, then our life is successful. We become liberated from this bondage of birth and death. So this is the process. 

Now read. 

Pradyumna: “According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, the breathing dead body is a ghost. When a man dies, he is called dead, but when he again appears in a subtle form not visible to the present vision and yet acts, such a dead body is called a ghost. Ghosts are always very bad elements, always creating a fearful situation for others. Similarly, the ghostlike nondevotees who have no respect for the pure devotees, nor for the Viṣṇu Deity in the temples, create a fearful situation for the devotees at all times. The Lord never accepts any offering by such impure ghosts. 

“There is a common saying that one should first love the dog of the beloved before one shows any loving sentiments for the beloved. The stage of pure devotion is attained by sincerely serving a pure devotee of the Lord. The first condition of devotional service to the Lord is therefore to be a servant of a pure devotee, and this condition is fulfilled by the statement ‘reception of the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee who also served another pure devotee.’ That is the way of pure disciplic succession, or devotional paramparā. 

“Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa inquired from the great saint Jaḍa Bharata as to how he attained such a liberated stage of a paramahaṁsa, and in answer the great saint replied as follows: 

rahūgaṇaitat tapasā na yāti
na cejyayā nirvapaṇād gṛhād vā
na cchandasā naiva jalāgni-sūryair
vinā mahat-pāda-rajo-‘bhiṣekam
[SB 5.12.12]

“ ‘O King Rahūgaṇa, the perfectional stage of devotional service, or the paramahaṁsa stage of life, cannot be attained without being blessed by the dust of the feet of great devotees. It is never attained by tapasya [austerity], the Vedic worshiping process, acceptance of renounced order of life, the discharge of the duties of household life, the chanting of Vedic hymns or the performance of penances in the hot sun, within cold water or before the blazing fire.’ 

“In other words, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the property of His pure, unconditional devotees, and as such only the devotees can deliver Kṛṣṇa to another devotee. Kṛṣṇa is never obtainable directly. Lord Caitanya therefore designated Himself as the gopī-bhartuḥ dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ [Cc. Madhya 13.80], or ‘the most obedient servant of the servants of the Lord, who maintains the gopī damsels at Vṛndāvana.’ A pure devotee therefore never approaches the Lord directly, but tries to please the Lord’s servant of servants, and thus the Lord becomes pleased, and the devotee can then only relish the taste of the tulasī leaves stuck to His lotus feet. 

“In the Brahmā-saṁhitā it is said that the Lord is never to be found by becoming a great scholar of the Vedic literatures, but He is very easily approachable through His pure devotee. In Vṛndāvana all the pure devotees pray for the mercy of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, the pleasure potency of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is a tenderhearted feminine counterpart of the supreme whole, resembling the perfectional stage of the worldly feminine nature. Therefore, the mercy of Rādhārāṇī is available very readily by the sincere devotees, and once She recommends such a devotee to Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Lord at once accepts the devotee’s admittance in His association. 

“The conclusion is, therefore, that one should be more serious about seeking the mercy of the devotee than that of the Lord directly, and by doing so [by the good will of the devotee] the natural attraction for the service of the Lord will be revived.” 

Prabhupāda: Hmm. All right. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. 

Devotees: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Jaya. [end] 

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