Bg 4.10, Public Lecture — May 25, 1974, Rome

Nitāi:vāsudevāya. [devotees repeat] [leads chanting of verse, etc.]

man-mayā mām upāśritāḥ
bahavo jñāna-tapasā
pūtā mad-bhāvam āgatāḥ
[Bg. 4.10]

[break] [lecture translated into Italian throughout]


Prabhupāda: Ladies and gentlemen…

Dhanañjaya: [aside, referring to microphones:] This goes to the whole room. This one does not. Take this one.

Prabhupāda: …I wish to thank you for your kindly participating in this festival. This Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is a spiritual movement. There is spirit soul within the body, and the material body is covering, just like shirt and coat, of the spirit soul. The spirit soul somehow or other is encaged within this material body. The problems of life there are many, but they are pertaining to the body. Real problem is how to get the spirit soul out of this material encagement. The body has got attachment for material enjoyment. Therefore in this verse it is said, vīta-rāga, how to become detached from this material attachment. Rāga means attachment; vīta-rāga, giving up this attachment. Vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhāḥ Bhaya means fearfulness, and krodha means anger. Because we are attached to the material enjoyment, we are also very much always fearful how our enjoyment may not be disturbed. And if our material enjoyment is not fulfilled, we become angry. This is our position on account of this material body. Therefore spiritual culture means how to get out of this attachment, fearfulness and the position of becoming angry.

These things can be attained by Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Man-mayā. Kṛṣṇa says, “When you are fully absorbed in My thought, you can get free from all these material disturbances.” Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. He says that “Always think of Me, become a devotee of Me, worship Me and offer your obeisances unto Me.” So in order to attain this perfection of life, one has to make this progressive spiritual advancement. Vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhā man-mayā mām upāśritāḥ. One has to take shelter of Kṛṣṇa or His representative. Therefore this movement is to give chance to the people how to think of Kṛṣṇa constantly. The human form of life is meant for attaining jñāna. Jñāna means knowledge that “I am not this body. I am spirit soul.” This jñāna can be attained by tapasya. Tapasya means austerity. And if we attain knowledge and undergo austerities, then we become purified. Therefore,

man-mayā mām upāśritāḥ
bahavo jñāna-tapasā
pūtā mad-bhāvam āgatāḥ
[Bg. 4.10]

That the whole aim is how to get out of this material attachment, and in our spiritual body, we go back to home, back to Godhead.

Actually, at the present moment, there is no education of the understanding of spiritual life. Everyone is interested with this material body only. Nobody is educated, neither interested in the spiritual life. But unless you take interest in spiritual life, our this material condition of miserable life will continue. The miserable conditions of material life have been pointed out by Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa says that the problem of life is janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi [Bg. 13.9], meaning that death…, birth, death, old age and disease, these are our problems. So long we are materially attached, we have to accept a type of body according to our resultant action of activities. There are 8,400,000 species of body, and after death, we have to accept one of the bodies. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]: we have to accept another body. We do not know what kind of body we are going to accept again, but you can accept one of the bodies as you select. That selection must be made in this life.

In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that if you like, you can go to the heavenly planet, higher planetary system. Yānti deva-vratā devān [Bg. 9.25]. In the higher planetary system, you get more, I mean to say, elevated standard of life. You can live there for millions of years, and there is better facilities for sense enjoyment. But anywhere you go within this material world, you cannot avoid the four principles, namely birth, death, old age and disease. The birth, death, old age and disease are the inconveniences of the body. The spirit soul has no birth, no death, no old age and no disease, neither the spirit soul is annihilated after the destruction of this body. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20]. This is the statement of the Bhagavad-gītā, that after the annihilation of this body, the spirit soul does not annihilate. So Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to stop this disease: birth, death and old age and disease. And this can be achieved very easily if you simply try to understand what is Kṛṣṇa. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā,

janma karma me divyaṁ
yo jānāti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti kaunteya
[Bg. 4.9]

Means that if you simply try to understand what is Kṛṣṇa, why does He appear in this material world, what are His actual activities—if these three things you can understand, then after giving up this body, you don’t accept any more material body, but in your spiritual body you go back to home, back to Godhead.

Of course, it is very difficult task to understand Kṛṣṇa, but it is due to our misunderstanding or uncleanliness of the consciousness. If the consciousness is cleansed, then you can very easily understand what is Kṛṣṇa. This cleanliness of the consciousness can be effected by chanting the transcendental vibration Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. It is open to all. It is not a secret thing. We are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra very loudly. Everyone can hear it and chant it. If you regularly chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, then gradually your consciousness will be cleansed. The process of advancement in chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is said in the Vedic literature, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. The first installment of benefit by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is that your consciousness becomes cleansed. And as soon as your consciousness becomes cleansed, the tribulations or the miserable condition of material life becomes extinguished. The miserable condition of material life is compared with the blazing fire in the forest. As it is very difficult to extinguish the forest fire, similarly, the problems of material life cannot be extinguished simply by material benefits. As the blazing fire in the forest cannot be extinguished by the help of fire brigade or bucketful of water, similarly, by material adjustment, the problems of material miseries cannot be solved.

Because we are, by constitutional position, we are spirit soul, any material comforts will not give us actually a favorable condition of life. Just like a fish taken out of the water cannot be comforted by material comfort, er, by comforts of the land. Unless the fish is again thrown into the water, any kind of comforts on the land will not make him happy. Therefore as spirit soul, we must take to the spiritual life, and then we shall be happy.

The spiritual life begins by the process mentioned in the Vedic literature:

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ
smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam
[SB 7.5.23]

Means that you must hear about God, you must chant about God. Then the spiritual life begins. We request you, therefore, to chant the transcendental vibration Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. This is chanting. And for hearing about Kṛṣṇa, you can read our books. We have got about twenty books like this, as you are seeing in my front. So if you want to understand Kṛṣṇa through philosophy and knowledge, there are immense provision for this philosophy and knowledge in these books. So if you are unable to read or if you have no knowledge, if you have no education, you can simply chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. This is open to all. There is no secrecy.

So our request to all, we are requesting all over the world the same thing, “Please chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and be cleansed of your consciousness and understand your spiritual identity.” We are preaching this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra all over the world, and people are accepting it. Even the child is accepting and chanting this mahā-mantra. Your culture, the Roman culture, is well known all over the world, and you are the pioneer of civilization in Europe. So if you accept this chanting of Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, whole Europeans will follow you. If you chant this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, you haven’t got to pay any fee, neither you will lose anything. There is no loss, but the gain is very much.

So this is the formula given in the Bhagavad-gītā. The Bhagavad-gītā is the science of God. We are presenting this book as it is, without any malinterpretation. It has been translated in many European languages—in German language, in French language, English. So I think most of you may know English. You can try to read this book. They are available in our center. And try to understand what is the science of God. This human form of life is achieved after a evolutionary process, going through different species of life. This is the opportunity to understand your spiritual identity and your relationship with God. If we lose this opportunity and die without understanding God, that is not very good business.

We must utilize this human form of life for the highest achievement of life. After all, we are under the stringent laws of nature. It is very difficult to surpass the stringent laws of nature, especially birth, death, old age and disease. There has been much advancement in scientific knowledge in the modern age, but they have not been able to make any solution of the problems, namely birth, death, old age and disease. If you really, therefore, want to get out of the clutches of material energy, namely birth, death and old age and disease, you must take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And it is not at all difficult. The… By the grace of Kṛṣṇa, simply by chanting His holy name, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, you can achieve the best achievement which can be attainable in this life. This valuable life, human form of life, should not be wasted or misused simply by animal propensities. The animal propensities means the necessity of the body—eating, sleeping, sex life and defense. The animals also know their business, how to eat, how to sleep, how to utilize sex life and how to defend himself. So the human life is not meant for simply animal necessities of life, but there is another necessity: to understand spiritual life and to achieve the highest perfection of life.

So about the subject matter, there are many things to be learned. They are all described in the Bhagavad-gītā. People are interested only for material success, but they do not know what is spiritual success, and this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for giving persons the spiritual success of life. There are different divisions of life, or activity. They are called karma, jñāna, yoga and bhakti. Jñāna means knowledge. By karma, you can become materially successful. By jñāna, you can understand your identity. By yoga, you can understand how to connect yourself with God, and bhakti means direct service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By karma, you can elevate your material position. By jñāna, you can understand what you are. By yoga, you can try to connect yourself with the Supreme. And by bhakti, you become completely free from material entanglement. So we are teaching people to take the bhakti-yoga process directly, so that very quickly you contact with your spiritual life. It is said in the Bhagavad-gītā, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ [Bg. 18.55]. If you want to understand what is God factually, scientifically, then you can understand Him through the bhakti-yoga.

So I’ll request you all who are present here to take this bhakti-yoga process, and the beginning is chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra.

Thank you very much.

Dhanañjaya: Should they ask for questions? Ask for questions? Speak. Speak.

Prabhupāda: [referring to guest] Let him come here. Come here. Come here.

Dhanañjaya: Come here. Come here. Tell him to come here.

Question [translated]: He’s asking that why we are using things like microphone, helicopter and things like that?

Prabhupāda: Why we are using microphone? [laughter]

Dhanañjaya: Yes. He said we are talking against material life, and why we are using microphones and tape recorders, airplanes?

Prabhupāda: We do not think microphone is material. The microphone is made of matter, namely earth, water, fire, air and ether. So all these material energies are coming from Kṛṣṇa. It is described in the Bhagavad-gītā,

bhūmir āpo ‘nalo vāyuḥ
khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
[Bg. 7.4]

God says that “This earth, water, fire, air and ether, the mind, intelligence and ego, they are My eight different, separated energy from Me.” The energy cannot be separated from the energetic. Just like the sunshine and the sun. The sunshine, although it appears to be separated from the sun, it is not separated from the sun. As the heat and light from fire, although heat appears to be separated from fire, suppose there is fire in the corner of this room, and we are feeling the heat. It is apparently separated from the fire, but it is not separated from the fire. So when the energy is not utilized for the energetic, it is separated. Otherwise, it is always not separated. So when you utilize this microphone for the service of Kṛṣṇa, it is no more material; it is spiritual.

Question [translated]: He’s asking if this microphone is composed of Kṛṣṇa’s energy, why not the factories are also Kṛṣṇa’s energy?

Dhanañjaya: [explaining question] If the microphone is Kṛṣṇa’s energy, why not the factories are Kṛṣṇa’s energy too?

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Dhanañjaya: Why not the factory too? The factory that has created the microphone.

Prabhupāda: Yes, everything is Kṛṣṇa’s energy, but when it is not used for Kṛṣṇa’s purpose, it is material. In the factory they manufacture things, but the products or the profit is enjoyed for the sense enjoyment. If we use for Kṛṣṇa’s purpose, then it is spiritual.

Question [translated]: [indistinct] so he says we should not just be vegetarian, but also eat only fruit like he does.

Dhanañjaya: [explaining question] He says that he is a fruitarian. He does not eat vegetables. He says that to be good consciousness in spiritual life one must not eat any vegetables but only fruit.

Prabhupāda: Yes. I have already explained that anything which is not utilized for Kṛṣṇa, that is material. Either you are vegetarian or not vegetarian, it doesn’t matter. If it is not utilized for Kṛṣṇa, that is material. Kṛṣṇa says, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati [Bg. 9.26]. So especially vegetarian, vegetable products, food grains, vegetables, milk, Kṛṣṇa says, “If somebody offers Me with love and devotion, then I accept them.” Our proposal is that you take remnants of foodstuff taken by Kṛṣṇa. Therefore we offer this foodstuff from food grains, fruits, vegetable, milk, we offer to Kṛṣṇa, and you take the remnants of foodstuff. There is no question of vegetarian, nonvegetarian. Even nonvegetarian, he is eating sinful things, provided he is not offering to Kṛṣṇa. First of all, things must be offered to Kṛṣṇa, and then take it. It is prepared.

Question [translated]: What does it mean, to use something in Kṛṣṇa’s service? What is this process?

Dhanañjaya: How can you use something in Kṛṣṇa’s service? What is the process for using things in Kṛṣṇa’s service?

Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa’s service, as we know what is meant by service: you carry the order of some person. That is service. Master orders, and the servant carries out the order. This is service. Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā the master, Kṛṣṇa, orders Arjuna to fight. He was not willing to fight for his personal interest, but when Kṛṣṇa ordered him that “You must fight,” he fought. That is service. We should dedicate our life to Kṛṣṇa, and whatever He says, we carry out. That is service. [aside:] That is sufficient?

Question [translated]: [indistinct] Don’t you think that all the other chantings, like in the Muslim religion and other religions, like the Buddhist religion and the Japanese religion, and also the Christian religion, their chantings, don’t you think they are after all the same things as Hare Kṛṣṇa?

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Dhanañjaya: He said that other chantings, like in the Muslim religion, the Buddhist religion and the Japanese religion, their chantings are all the same thing?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Chanting… We are recommending chanting of the holy name of God. If the Muslim or the Japanese or the Christian, they have got the holy name of God, that is also as good.

Question: I would like to know if the teachings of Kṛṣṇa can be an assistance to a person, an individual, who is interested in healing on a mass basis in a singing voice, in musical vibrations.

Prabhupāda: Yes. For the mass of people, this chanting of holy name of God is very easy and very beneficial, for the mass of people. Mass of people do not understand very much philosophy. Therefore the easiest process of realization of God is to chant these holy names, and that will gradually cleanse the mind, and a man will be able to understand what is God.

Question: Then may I ask something else? [indistinct exchange between devotees and guest]

Prabhupāda: Your question and answer, she [the translator] will explain to the people. [translator translates]

Devotee: Next? Would you like to come?

Question [translated]: He said that the body is the dress of the soul; so when the body dies, where the soul goes?

Dhanañjaya: He said that the body is the dress of the soul, so when the body falls off and dies, where does the soul go?

Prabhupāda: Just like you give up your one dress, you accept another dress; similarly, when this body, dress, is no more useful, you accept another dress. That you have got experience at night. You leave this body and you take another body, and you roam in dreamland. That is experienced, every day experienced. You give up this body; you accept another body, subtle body. So when this gross body is destroyed, the subtle body carries you to another gross body. That is called death.

Question [translated]: Does the soul reincarnate?

Prabhupāda: Yes, the soul does not manipulate. It simply… Just like you had your childhood body, boyhood body. Now you have got a body of young man, youthhood body. And again you will get an old man’s body, just like I have got. So these bodies are changing. Here everyone can remember that “I had a small body,” but that body is not existing anymore. But I know that I possessed such body. Similarly, when this body will be finished, you will accept another body. You may forget it. Death means forgetting. But the body, changing of body is going on perpetually, and spiritual life means how to stop this change of body and remain in the spiritual body that is blissful and full of knowledge.

Dhanañjaya: One more question. One more question only.

Question [translated]: If Kṛṣṇa is good, why we are sent in this world of miseries, where…

Dhanañjaya: If Kṛṣṇa is all-good, why is it He sends us to this world full of miseries?

Prabhupāda: Just like the government is good, but why do you go to prison house? When you go to the prison house, it is not the government who puts you in the prison house. You commit sinful activities; therefore you are put into the prison house. It is the government’s duty to manage whether a man should be put into prison house, whether a man should go to the university. But the difference of individual activities. Similarly, God does not want you to put into miserable condition. You put yourself in miserable condition, but God comes, and He sends His representative to give you relief, how to get out of that miserable condition. The conclusion is that Kṛṣṇa does not put you in miserable condition, but He helps you get out from the miserable condition.

Question [translated]: Why shouldn’t the word surrender be cancelled in the Bhagavad-gītā where Kṛṣṇa says to Arjuna, “You should give up all types of religion and simply surrender unto Me”? Why shouldn’t this word surrender be cancelled, from the vocabulary? [indistinct]

Dhanañjaya: He said why shouldn’t the word surrender be cancelled in Bhagavad-gītā where Kṛṣṇa says to Arjuna, “You should give up all types of religion and surrender unto Me”? Why shouldn’t this word be cancelled, the word surrender?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Surrender is for your interest. If you surrender, then you become happy. So long you do not surrender, you are under miserable condition. Just like this father, and the son is disobedient. On account of disobedience, the son suffers. But as soon as the son surrenders to the father, he becomes happy.

Devotee: We have kīrtana now?

Dhanañjaya: Yes, have kīrtana.

Devotee: Would you prefer to have kīrtana now?

Satsvarūpa: Yes, kīrtana!

Prabhupāda: As you like. So kindly join with us in kīrtana and be happy. [end]

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