Bg 2.15 — November 21, 1972, Hyderabad

Bhagavad-gītā 2.15

Bhagavad-gītā 2.15 

Prabhupāda: Here, in this material world, we are put into mṛtatva, subject to birth, death, old age and disease. But there is another position, where there is no birth, death, old age and disease. So which position we should like—birth, death, old age and disease, or no birth, no death, no old age, no disease? Which one we should like? Hmm? I think we should like no birth, no death, no old age, no disease. 

So that is called amṛtatva. So amṛtatvāya kalpate. Every living being is amṛta. That will be explained. Amṛta… As we are, in our own original, constitutional position, we are not subjected to birth, death, old age and disease. Just like Kṛṣṇa is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], eternal, blissful, knowledgeable, similarly, we, being part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, we are also of the same quality. The… We have accepted this position of birth, death, old age and disease on account of our association with this material world. 

Now, everyone is trying not to die; everyone is trying not to become old; everyone is trying not to be dead, meet death. This is natural. Because, by nature, we are not subjected to these things; therefore our endeavor, our activity, is struggling how to become deathless, birthless, diseaseless. That is struggle for existence. 

So here in the Bhagavad-gītā gives you a nice formula. Yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha. This transmigration of the soul, one which is not afflicted by this, dhīras tatra na muhyati [Bg. 2.13], one who understands… Suppose my father dies, if I have got clear understanding that “My father has not died. He has changed the body. He has accepted another body,” that is the fact. 

Just like in our sleeping state, dreaming state, my body is lying on the bed, but in dream I create another body and go, say, thousand miles away in a different place, as you have got daily experience. Similarly, the gross body being stopped, I, as spirit soul, I do not stop. I work. My mind carries me. My mind is active, my intelligence is active. But people do not know that there is another, subtle body, made of mind, intelligence and ego that carries me to another gross body. That is called transmigration of the soul. 

Therefore one who knows that the spirit soul is eternal, deathless, birthless, ever-new, nityaḥ śāśvato ‘yaṁ purāṇaḥ… Nityaḥ śāśvataḥ ayaṁ purāṇaḥ. Purāṇa means very old. We do not know how old we are, because we are transmigrating from one body to another. We do not know when we have begun this. Therefore, actually we are very old, but at the same time nityaḥ śāśvato ‘yaṁ purāṇaḥ. Although very old… 

Just like Kṛṣṇa is ādi-puruṣa, the original person. Still, you’ll find Kṛṣṇa always a young man of sixteen to twenty years’ age. You’ll never find Kṛṣṇa’s picture as old. Nava-yauvana. Kṛṣṇa is always nava-yauvana. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanam [Bs. 5.33]. Ādyam, the original person, and the oldest; at the same time, He is always in youthful life. Ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanam. 

So anyone who knows that how the soul is transmigrating from one body to another, dhīras tatra na muhyati, those who are sober, learned, he is not disturbed. The purpose of Kṛṣṇa: to teach all these things to Arjuna. Because he was very much perplexed how he would live, killing all his kinsmen, brothers. So Kṛṣṇa wanted to point out that “Your brothers, your grandfather, they’ll not die. They’ll simply transfer the body. Vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya [Bg. 2.22]. As we change our dress, similarly we change our bodies also like that. There is nothing to be lamented.” 

In another place, Bhagavad-gītā, therefore it is said, brahma-bhūta [Bg. 18.54], “One who has understood Brahman,” prasannātmā, “he’s always joyful. He’s not disturbed by these material condition.” That is here stated: yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete. These different transformation, different changes of nature, body and everything, one should not be disturbed by all these things. These are external. 

We are spirit soul. It is external body, or external dress that is changing. So if we understand nicely, na vyathayanti, and you are not disturbed by these changes, then saḥ amṛtatvāya kalpate, then he’s making progress, spiritual progress. That means, spiritual progress means, he’s making progress towards eternal life. Spiritual life means eternal, blissful life of knowledge. That is spiritual life. 

So here is the recommendation. Try to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, and then you’ll not be disturbed with all these external, ephemeral changes of the material world. Not only of this body; practically…, practically one who is advanced in spiritual life, he’s not agitated by the so-called political upheavals or social disturbances. No. He knows these are simply external, ephe… Just like in the dream. It is also a dream. The… Our present existence, it is also dream, exactly like we dream at night. In dreaming, we create so many things. 

So this material world is also a gross dreaming. Gross dreaming. That is subtle dreaming, and this is gross dreaming. That is the action of the mind, body, intelligence—dreaming. And here, the action of five material elements: earth, water, air, fire… But all of them, these eight, they are simply material. So we are thinking that “I have now built a very nice house, skyscraper building.” It is nothing but dream. Nothing but dream. Dream in this sense, that as soon as I give up this body, all my skyscraper building, business, factory, finished. Exactly the same dream. Dream is for few minutes or few hours, and it is for few years. That’s all. It is dream. 

So one should not be disturbed by this dreaming condition. That is spiritual life. One should not be disturbed. Just like we are not disturbed. Suppose, in dream I was put on the throne, and I was working like a king, and after the dream is over, I am not sorry. Similarly, in dream I was seeing that tiger has attacked me. I was actually crying, “Here is tiger! Here is tiger! Save me.” And the person who is lying behind me or beside me, he says, “Oh, why you are crying? Where is tiger?” So when he’s awakened, he sees there is no tiger. 

So everything is like that. But this dream, these gross and subtle dreams, are simply reflections. Just like what is dream? The whole day what I think, the dreaming is a reflection. Reflection. My father was doing cloth business. So sometimes he, in dreaming, he was quoting price: “This is the price.” So similarly, it is all dreaming. This material existence, made of these five gross elements and three subtle elements, they’re exactly like dream. Smara nityam aniyatām.[?] Therefore Cāṇakya Paṇḍita says, smara nityam aniyatām. This anitya, temporary… Dreaming is always temporary. 

So we must know that whatever we possess, whatever we are seeing, these are all dream, temporary. Therefore if we become engrossed with the temporary things—so-called socialism, nationalism, family-ism or this-ism, that-ism—and waste our time, without cultivating Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then that is called śrama eva hi kevalam [SB 1.2.8], simply wasting our time, creating another body. Our own business is that we should know that “I am not this dream. I am fact, spiritual fact. So I have got a different business.” That is called spiritual life. 

That is spiritual life, when we understand that “I am Brahman. I am not this matter.” Brahmā-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54]. That time we shall be joyful. Because we are afflicted with so many changes of the material features, and we are sorry, unhappy, being afflicted by all these external activities. But when we understand rightly that “I am not concerned with all these things,” then we become joyful: “Oh, I have no responsibility. Nothing…, I have nothing to do with all these things.” Brahmā-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati [Bg. 18.54]

At that time, you can feel that every living entity is exactly like you. It doesn’t matter whether he is a learned brāhmaṇa, whether he’s a dog, whether he is a caṇḍāla, whether he’s an elephant. 

brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ
[Bg. 5.18]

That is required. That is spiritual vision. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ. 

Therefore a devotee is first-class paṇḍita, a devotee. Because he’s sama-darśinaḥ. Sama-darśinaḥ means he’s feeling for others. A Vaiṣṇava… Para-duḥkha-duḥkhī, kṛpāmbudhir yaḥ [Vilāpa-kusumāñjali, 6]. Vaiṣṇava is very kind-hearted, merciful, because he feels for others. He feels for others in this sense, that he knows what he is. 

He sees every living entity as part and parcel of God: “Now, here is a part and parcel of God. He would have gone back to home, back to Godhead, and danced with Him, and lived very nicely, eternally, blissfully. Now he’s rotting here as a hog—or as a human being, or as a king. The same thing. It is for few years only.” 

So a devotee therefore tries to take him out of this illusion. Therefore he’s called para-duḥkha-duḥkhī. He’s actually feeling others’ distressed condition. Not these political leaders or social… What they can do? They make their own fortune. That’s all. Or what is that fortune? That is also misfortune. If somebody thinks, “I have got some money. I am very fortunate,” it is, actually it is not fortune. Real fortunate is he who is advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He is fortunate. Otherwise, all are unfortunate. All are unfortunate. 

So in this way, one should come to the spiritual understanding, and the symptom is he’s not disturbed by the material upheaval. Yaṁ hi na vyathayanty ete puruṣaṁ puruṣarṣabha, sama-duḥkha-sukham. The symptom is sama-duḥkha… Because he knows this is dreaming. Suppose you are dreaming. So either you suffer in the presence of a tiger or you become a king in dream, what is the value? It is the same thing. 

There is no difference. After all, it is dreaming. Therefore sama-sukha-duḥkha. If I become very happy because I have become a king or some big man, that is also dream. And if I think that “I am so poor. Oh, I am suffering, I am diseased,” that is also the same thing. 

Therefore Kṛṣṇa has in the previous verses said, tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata: “Just little practice to tolerate. Do your own business, Kṛṣṇa consciousness.” Yudhyasva mām anusmara [Bg. 8.7]. The, our real business is, as Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]: “Always think of Me.” So this practice should go on. Never mind I am so-called distressed or happy. Here… 

In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta it is said, 

‘dvaite’ bhadrābhadra-jñāna saba ‘manodharma’
‘ei bhāla ei manda’ ei saba ‘bhrama’
[Cc. Antya 4.176]

Dvaite, in this dual, the world of duality, here, in this material world, the…, “This thing is very good, this thing is very bad,” it is simply mental concoction. Everything here is bad; nothing good. So this is our mental creation only, “This is good, this is bad.” We are doing that. Just like in political field: “This party is nice. This party’s bad.” But any party goes in the power, your condition is the same—the commodities’ price are increasing. It has no decreasing, either you change this party or that party. 

So these are all concoction. If you want really happy, happiness, if you want real goodness, then you try to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. That will make you real happy. Otherwise, if you are simply disturbed by this material condition, that is not a very good position. 

nāsato vidyate bhāvo
nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ
ubhayor api dṛṣṭo ‘ntas
tv anayos tattva-darśibhiḥ
[Bg. 2.16]

Tattva-darśibhiḥ, those who are, who have seen the Absolute Truth, or those who have realized the Absolute Truth, they have concluded that the matter has no permanent existence and spirit soul has no annihilation. These two things should be understood. Asataḥ. Asataḥ means material. Nāsato vidyate bhāvaḥ. Asataḥ, anything asat… Anything in the material world, that is asat. Asat means will not exist, temporary. 

So you cannot expect permanent happiness in temporary world. That is not possible. But they are trying to become happy: so many plan-making commissions, utopian. But actually there is no happiness. So many commission, but there is… Tattva-darśī, they know. Tattva-darśī, one has seen or has realized the Absolute Truth, he knows that in the material world there cannot be any happiness. This conclusion should be made. This is simply phantasmagoria, if you want to become happy in this material world. 

But people have become so foolish, especially at the present days, they’re simply making plan on this material world how they will become happy. We have practically seen. What is in our country? It is far, far behind material civilization. In America, there are so many motorcars. Every third man or second man has got a car. We are poor man; we are sannyāsīs, brahmacārī. Still, in each temple we have got at least four, five cars. In each temple. Very nice car. 

Such car even ministers in India cannot imagine. [laughter] You see? Nice, nice cars. So they have got so many cars. But the problem is that always they’re engaged in making roads, flyways, one after another, one after another, one after… It has come to this stage, four, five. Four-, five-storied roads. [laughter] So how you can become happy? 

Therefore tattva-darśibhiḥ na asataḥ. You cannot become permanently happy in this material world. That is not possible. So don’t waste your time to become happy here. In another place it is said, padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ na teṣām [SB 10.14.58]. The same example can be given. In America, so many millions of people die in motor accident. 

[aside:] How many? What is the statistic? You don’t remember? 

Śyāmasundara: Sixty thousand, I think it’s… 

Prabhupāda: Sixty thousand? No, no. More than that sixty… So many people die of motor accident. So some of our students, a few months ago, they died of motor accident. The motor accident dying in America is not very astonishment, because the motors are, I mean to say, running at the speed of seventy miles, eighty miles, ninety miles, and not only one motorcar, one after another, hundreds. And if one is little slow, immediately: [imitates crashing sound] tarak taka tak. [laughter] 

So you cannot become happy. These boys and these girls, American, American, European, they have tasted all this motorcar civilization. They have tasted very nicely. Motorcar, nightclub and drinking, they have tasted very nicely. There is no happiness. Therefore they have come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore, nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ. Abhāvaḥ, and the sataḥ. 

So we are unhappy on account of our accepting asat, which will not exist. That is the description given by Prahlāda Mahārāja: tan ma…, sadā samudvigna-dhiyām asad-grahāt [SB 7.5.5]. Sadā samudvigna-dhiyām. We are always anxious, full of anxieties. That’s a fact. Every one of us, full of anxiety. Why? Asad-grahāt. Because we have accepted this material body. Asad-grahāt. Tat sādhu manye ‘sura-varya dehināṁ sadā samudvigna-dhiyām. Dehinām. 

Dehinām means… Deha and dehī, we have already discussed. Dehī means the proprietor of the body. So everyone is dehī, either animal or human being or tree or anyone. Every living entity has accepted a material body. Therefore they are called dehī. So dehinām, every dehī, because he has accepted this material body, he’s always full of anxiety. 

So we cannot be anxiety-free unless we come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is not possible. You have to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā; immediately you become anxiety-free. If you don’t come to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you’ll always be full of anxieties. 

Sadā samudvigna-dhiyām asad-grahāt, hitvātma…, hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpaṁ vanaṁ jato…, vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta [SB 7.5.5]. That is the Prahlāda Mahārāja giving us direction that if you want to get relief from this status of anxiety, sadā samudvigna-dhiyām, then hitvātma-pātam, hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpam. 

Gṛham andha-kūpam. Gṛha means… There are so many meanings. Especially it is meant: home. Home. Homesick. Our Vedic civilization is that drive away from home. Go away from home: to take sannyāsa, to take vānaprastha. Not to remain up to the last point of death as family member, grandfather or great-grandfather. That is not our Vedic civilization. 

As soon as one is little grown up, pañcāśordhvaṁ vanaṁ vrajet, he must get out from this gṛham andha-kūpam. Gṛham andha-kūpam, if we discuss threadbare, it may be very unpalatable. But we have to discuss from śāstra what is gṛha. Gṛha, it is… Another word, it is called aṅganāśrayam. Aṅganā. Aṅganā means woman; to live under the protection of wife. Aṅganāśraya. 

So śāstra recommends that you give up this aṅganāśrayam to go to the paramahaṁsa-āśrayam. Then your life will be saved. Otherwise, as Prahlāda Mahārāja says, gṛham andha-kūpam: “If you keep yourself always in this dark well of so-called family life, then you’ll never be happy.” Ātma-pātam. 

Ātma-pātam means you’ll never be able to understand spiritual life. Of course, not always, but generally. Generally, who are too much attached to family life or extended family life… Extended… Family life, then society life, then community life, then national life, then international life. They’re all gṛham andha-kūpam. All gṛham andha-kūpam. 

So the Prahlāda Mahārāja advising that “You give up all this nonsense conception.” Vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta [SB 7.5.5]. Just vanaṁ gataḥ, means just become free from this conception, gṛham andha-kūpam conception of life. Take the broader life of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Then you’ll be happy. Hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpaṁ vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta [SB 7.5.5]

Harim āśrayeta. The real business is harim āśrayeta. Vanaṁ gataḥ. Vanaṁ gataḥ means go to the forest. Formerly, after gṛhastha life, vānaprastha life, sannyāsa life, they used to live in the forest. But going to the forest is not the main purpose of life. Because in the forest there are many animals. Does it mean they are advancing in spiritual life? That is called markaṭa-vairāgya. Markaṭa-vairāgya means “monkey renunciation.” Monkey is naked. Nāga-bābā. Naked. And eats fruit, monkey, and lives underneath a tree or on the tree. But he has got at least three dozen wives. 

So this markaṭa-vairāgya, this kind of renunciation, has no value. Real renunciation. Real renunciation means you have to give up the andha-kūpa life and take shelter of Kṛṣṇa, harim āśrayeta. If you take shelter of Kṛṣṇa, then you can give up this, all this “ism” life. Otherwise, it is not possible; you’ll be entrapped by this “ism” life. 

So hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpaṁ vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta [SB 7.5.5]. Not to give up… If you give up something, you must take up something. Otherwise, you will be disturbed. Take up. That is recommendation: paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate [Bg. 2.59]. You can give up your family life, social life, political life, this life, that life when you take Kṛṣṇa conscious life. Otherwise, it is not possible. Otherwise, you must have to take some of this life. There is no question of your freedom. There is no question of freedom from anxieties. This is the way. 

So here the same thing, that tattva-darśibhiḥ, those who are actually seer of the Absolute Truth, athāto brahma jijñāsā, as it is said in the Vedānta-sūtra… Just yesterday, one boy was asking me: “What is the Vedānta? Vedānta, what is the meaning of Vedānta?” It is very nice; it is very easy. Veda means knowledge, and anta means ultimate. So Vedānta means ultimate knowledge. 

So ultimate knowledge is Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo vedānta-kṛd veda-vid ca aham. He is the maker of Vedānta and He is the knower of Vedānta. Unless He is knower of Vedānta, how He can write Vedānta? Actually, Vedānta philosophy is written by Vyāsadeva, incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. So He’s vedānta-kṛt. And He’s vedānta-vit also. So the question was whether Vedānta means advaita-vāda or dvaita-vāda. 

So it is very easy to understand. The first aphorism of Vedānta: athāto brahma jijñāsā, to inquire about Brahman, the Absolute Truth. Now the…, to inquire where? If you want to inquire, you must go to somebody who knows the things. Therefore immediately, in the very beginning of the Vedānta-sūtra, there is duality, that one must inquire and one must answer. 

Athāto brahma jijñāsā. So in the Vedānta-sūtra, how you can it is advaita-vāda? It is dvaita-vāda, from the very beginning. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. One must inquire what is Brahman, and one must reply, or the spiritual master or the disciple, that it is dual. How you can say it is advaita-vāda? 

So we have to study in this way. Here it is said, tattva-darśibhiḥ. Tattva-darśibhiḥ means vedānta-vit, one who knows Vedānta. Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]: one who knows the Absolute Truth, from where everything begins. Janmādy asya yataḥ. That is the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. 

So the natural commentary of Vedānta-sūtra is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā na…, jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā. This is our life, jīvasya, of every living being. Every living being means especially human being. Because cats and dogs, they cannot inquire about Brahman, or the Absolute Truth. 

Therefore the conclusion is that the human form of life, one should not be engaged simply in the animal propensities of life. That is simply waste of time. He must inquire of the Absolute Truth, athāto brahma jijñāsā. And he must try to understand, tad viddhi, tattva-darśibhiḥ, from the tattva-darśī. Jñāninaḥ tattva-darśinaḥ, these are the words. 

So in the human form of life, therefore, in every society the system is that the children are sent to school, colleges, to understand things. Similarly, for spiritual understanding, tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. Abhigacchet means one must. There is no alternative. One cannot say “I’ll…, I may not go.” No. If you do not go, then you are cheated. That is our Vaiṣṇava system. 

Ādau gurvāśrayam. The first thing is to take shelter of the bona fide spiritual master. Ādau gurvāśrayaṁ sad-dharma-pṛcchā. Not that I’ll, as it has become a system, “I’ll make a guru. Now my business is finished. I’ve got a guru.” No. Tattva-jijñāsā. Jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā. Guru means, to accept guru means to inquire from him about the Absolute Truth. 

Jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. These are the Vedic injunction. One who is jijñāsu, means inquisitive. Jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. Śreyaḥ. Śreyaḥ means beneficial. So uttamam, the prime benefit. One who is inquisitive to know about the prime benefit of life, for him there is need of accepting a guru. 

tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta
jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam
śābde ca pare ca niṣṇātaṁ
brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam
[SB 11.3.21]

So this is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We are trying to educate people to understand the value of life, the value of spiritual life especially, Bhāgavata. Dharmān bhāgavatān iha. So by understanding spiritual life, by understanding one’s actual constitutional position, he may be enlightened what is the aim of life, what is the duty of life, what is the purpose of life. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. 

Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. [end] 

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