Lecture at Auckland University
Auckland, April 17, 1972
Prabhupada: ...known as Sankirtana Hare Krsna Movement. The chanting Hare Krsna, you have already heard. Superficially it may appear the repetition of the same word, but every mantra with effect is chanted like that. It requires little practice. So the effect of this mantra is stated by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu: ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. It will cleanse your heart. If you go on chanting this Hare Krsna mantra, then gradually the dirty things which are accumulated within our hearts, that will be cleansed. This is the process.
The dirtiest thing now within our heart is the bodily concept of life. Actually, this is the misconception of whole situation of the modern world. If anyone is in bodily concept of life that "I am this body," then the basic principle of our life becomes on the false platform, because I am not this body. This is the dirtiest thing within our heart. If you chant Hare Krsna mantra, then gradually, by this bhakti-yoga process, we shall understand that "I am not this body, but I am a spirit soul," aham brahmasmi. There is a Vedic mantra which is called aham: "I, I am Brahman, or the spirit soul." And if we come to that position to understand that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul," then other things will follow, which is stated in this Bhagavad-gita, brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati [Bg. 18.54]. When one becomes Brahman-realized, that "I am spirit soul," then the first benefit will be that such persons will be free from all kinds of lamentation and hankering. In this material world two things are going on: lamentation and hankering. Things which we do not possess, we hanker after it, and things we do possess and, somehow or other, we lose, then it is lamenting. So actually the whole situation is lamenting because we are losing. Take, for example, this body which we have gained from our father and mother on a certain date. It is losing gradually. Suppose you are twenty years old. That means you have already lost twenty years of your total duration of life. Suppose you are to live for hundred years. So twenty years you have already lost, or you have already died up to the amount of twenty years. I am seventy-six years. That means I have also died up to the amount of seventy-six years. So the age is increasing, that is a false idea. The age is decreasing. Somebody says that "You are seventy-six years old. Oh, you have so much increased." I am not increased. Practically I have decreased the duration of life.
The duration of life is limited. It is already destined. According to our past activities, we have got a body whose duration of life is already fixed up. The standard of happiness and distress, that is also fixed up. You cannot change it. Suppose one has got one hundred years age to live. Nowadays nobody lives for one hundred years. Utmost, eighty years or ninety years very rarely. My grandmother lived for ninety-six years. My father lived for eighty-four years. I do not know how long I shall live, but still I am living. But duration of life in this age is gradually decreasing. You are all students of the university, but there is no science how you can increase the duration of life or how you can stop death. That is not possible. Death... Birth, death, old age and disease—these are the four problems of our life. Nobody wants to die, but death is sure. We must die. Nobody wants to take birth, but there is birth. Now there are so many contraceptive methods for checking birth. But still, the population of the whole world is increasing. So birth, death, old age. Nobody wants to become old, everyone wants to remain young and fresh, but old age overcomes. Similarly, disease. There are scientific advancement of knowledge, you have got very effective medicines, but there is no science to stop disease or to stop death. These are the actual problems. But the problems, these problems, are pertaining to the body. The soul is different from this body. This is our misunderstanding. I am soul; you are soul. Aham brahmasmi. But somehow or other, I have been entrapped in these bodily, material bodily changes. Changes, you can understand, that you had a body like a baby; you had a body like a child; you had a body like a boy. Now you have got youthful body. Some days after, you will get a body like me. So the body is changing, and I am the same. I can remember my childhood body, my babyhood body or my boyhood body.
So the soul is eternal and the body is changing. That is explained in this Bhagavad-gita. Most of you are well known to this book, Bhagavad-gita. It is widely read book all over the world. So the first instruction given in the Bhagavad-gita is this:
dehino 'smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
dhiras tatra na muhyati
These two lines of Bhagavad-gita, that how the soul is transmigrating from one body to another, if we simply study these two lines, then our life becomes different. But nobody cares to understand that the soul is eternal. It is changing, transmigrating from one type of body to another body. And there are 8,400,000 species or types of body, and we have been entrapped in this cycle of birth, death, old age and disease. This is our real problem. But in the university or any educational institution there is no department of knowledge to find out what is that thing which is entrapped within this body. We get this information from Bhagavad-gita: dehinah asmin dehe. Deha means this body, and dehinah, the possessor of the body. Just like your shirt and coat. You are the possessor of the shirt and coat. The shirt and coat is not you. You are different from the shirt and coat. Similarly, we have got our two kinds of body: the gross body and the subtle body. The gross body is made of material elements—earth, water, fire, air, sky—and the subtle body is made of mind, intelligence and ego. So when we quit this gross body, the subtle body carries me to another gross body. This is the law of transmigration. It is not the question of belief. It is a fact that if we neglect to study this scientific knowledge, then we are missing the opportunity, because in this human form of life the developed knowledge can study what is there within this body which is so important, which missing, this body becomes worthless.
So this Krsna consciousness movement is preaching the important portion of the body, about the soul. To understand what is the soul, to understand what is the need of the soul, why he is entrapped within this material body, how the soul can be liberated, and after liberation, what is the function of the soul—these things are our subject matter. And these things are very nicely explained as preliminary study in the Bhagavad-gita, and for higher study, for graduate study, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. So our only request is that you are all students—you do not neglect this subject matter, this science to understand what is the soul. It is a fact. No scientific professor at the present moment can explain what is that thing missing, when the thing is missing, this body is called dead. What is the distinction of this dead body and the living body? So according to Vedic instruction, according to Krsna's instruction, the body is always dead. But so long the soul is there, it appears to be living. Just like within your coat and shirt, so long you are there, the hand of your coat appears to be moving. Actually, the shirt or coat has no body, but because the original body is moving we see the shirt and coat is also moving. Similarly, this body is moving because the soul within it is moving. As soon as the soul is out of this body, this body will not move. So this science is very important science. That is the basic principle of understanding. It is not the question of thinking that one may believe in the existence of soul or one may not believe. But fact is fact. "Two plus two equal to four"—that is science. If somebody does not believe, if somebody says, "Two plus two equal to five" or "three," that is not scientist. Similarly, we may not believe in the existence of soul, but that is a fact. But if we want to study the subject matter very seriously and scientifically, then it will be possible to understand. But the simple method recommended in the Vedic literatures, that if you chant this Hare Krsna, mantra then gradually your intelligence or consciousness will be cleansed and you will be able to understand that you are not this body, that you are spirit soul... Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. And if you understand that you are spirit soul, you are Brahman, then, at that time, you will become free from this blazing fire of material existence.
The blazing fire of material existence, I was just talking this morning our Swami Hanuman Goswami. He was speaking that at the present moment there is a movement amongst the younger section to commit suicide. Why? Why younger section are feeling such frustration and confused in spite of so much educational institution? In your Western country there is no question of poverty. You are all well-to-do, especially... I have extensively traveled over America and Europe, especially America. They are very opulent. I have traveled in Australia and come to your country, New Zealand. So far material necessities are concerned, you are all well-to-do. So why this question of frustration as Swami Goswami Hanuman Prasada was thinking? Now the younger generation are after suicide. I do not know if this is fact. There is some dearth. So many things are. So actually, there is no cause of frustration. There is very good news for jubilation. That is this Krsna consciousness movement. Don't be frustrated. Try to understand this Krsna consciousness movement, how it is scientific, how it is authorized, how it is old, and how it is accepted by great acaryas, great stalwart learned scholars, and how it is treated by the learned section of all over the world. So our request is that younger section may not feel confused and frustration. There is very nice hope. Those who are taking to this Krsna consciousness, mostly they are younger section. Now ask them how much hopeful they are, how much jubilant they are. So my request is that—you are all young boys and girls, flowers of the country—don't feel frustration and confused. There is nice hope in Krsna consciousness. My only request is that—you are all learned boys and girls—try to understand this philosophy and science, and you will be happy. That is my request.