Sunday Feast Lecture
Los Angeles, January 19, 1969
Prabhupada: The real meaning of Sanskrit means "reform." It is not whimsical, just like in English language, "beauty but, peauty put." It is not like that. Every word, every syllable has got a symbolic meaning. Bhaga. Bhaga means opulence, and van means one who possesses. There are many words like that, gunavan. Gunavan. Guna means quality, and van means one who possesses. Similarly, the Sanskrit word, equivalent word of the English word "God" is Bhagavan. Bhaga... God... Generally described, God is great. That is perfect. Actually God is great. Nobody can be equal to God, and nobody can be greater than God. Greatness... If I am great and if there is another competitor great, then I am not God, neither he is God. When we say, speak of God, there is no competitor. The Sanskrit word used, asamaurdhva... Asama. Sama means equal; a means not. Nobody is equal. Asama, urdhva. There are three positions. Just like we are sitting here. Somebody is equal to me, somebody is greater than me and somebody is lower than me. You will find, everyone. Anywhere you go, you'll find, somebody is greater than you, somebody is equal to you and somebody is lower than you, anywhere you go. But in case of God, there can be only lower; nobody greater or equal. That is God, simple definition of God. Nowadays there is a disease, to declare oneself as God, "I am God." And there is regular propaganda that everyone is God. Now, how everyone can be God? The definition of God is like this: "Nobody shall be equal; nobody shall be greater." Then He is God. If somebody says, "I am God," say, if somebody thinks that "I am God," he should think also, "Whether I have no more any greater than me or equal to me?" Oh, if you find so many equal and greater, lower also... But first thing is whether there is nobody greater than you or nobody equal to you. Then you are God. Don't be crazy and think that "I am God." God is not like that. Here is the definition, bhagavan, asamaurdhva. In Sanskrit word, it is very nicely described.
So bhaga... Bhaga means opulence. And what are the opulences? That also, we can very easily understand. If one man is very rich, we call opulent. If one man is very famous, reputed, he's opulent. If a man is very advanced in learning, in wisdom, he's al... That is also opulence. A scientist, a philosopher... If one is very beautiful, he is also opulent. So there are six kinds of opulences: richness, reputation, strength, influence, beauty, and wisdom. So asamaurdhva, that equality and greatness... When you'll find a certain man is in such a position that nobody is richer than him and nobody is famous, more famous, than him, nobody is more stronger than him, nobody is more influential than him, nobody is more beautiful than him, and nobody is wiser than him—if you find somebody full in six opulences... These are the definition given in Vedic literature.
viryasya yasasah sriyah
sannam iti bhagan gana
(Visnu Purana 6.5.47)
Bhaga, these opulences... So you have to find out. You do not accept any cheap God. You just try to find out whether this man claiming as God has no greater than him and no equal to him. Then he is God. This simple test. Don't accept any bogus, so-called God. Just try to put him to the test whether he is actually God. This is the test, that nobody should be greater than him; nobody shall be equal to him. Then he is God.
So in the Vedic literature, in India, you know there were many saintly persons, great scholars from time immemorial. Even not very recently, say, five hundred years ago there were such men, personalities. Now it is almost finished, but still, if you find, you will see there are great sages, saintly persons, who understand the meaning of Vedic literature, and they live up to the standard of Vedic life. So that is the definition given by great saints and sages, this definition given by Parasara Muni, a great sage. He was the father of Vyasadeva. Vyasadeva is called Veda-Vyasa. His another name is Veda-Vyasa. Veda-Vyasa means... His actual name is Vyasadeva, but because he compiled all the Vedic knowledge in book form... Before the advent of this present age, which is known as Kali-yuga... He compiled all Vedic knowledge... Before that, there was no necessity of book writing, neither there was facility of printing books. There was no press. People had no necessity of keeping knowledge in writing. There was no necessity. Their memory was so sharp that once heard from the spiritual master, they remembered. But in this age, in this Kali-yuga, memory, duration of life, mercifulness, stature of the body, and so many things, they are reducing. They are reducing. We are not advancing. That is wrong idea. For example, in your country the stature is also reducing. Formerly in our childhood, I saw Europeans and Americans, they were very tall. But not only in your country, every country the stature is reducing. The memory is reducing. The duration of life... Your grandfather or great-grandfather, perhaps he lived for hundred years. I saw. My grandmother lived for ninety-five years. My father lived for eighty-four years. So I do not know how long I shall live. Still I am living. So in this way the age, duration of life, will reduce in this age. And it is also said that at the ultimate stage, at the end of this age, if a man lives for twenty to thirty years, he'll be considered a grand old man. So because our human assets are reducing... Practically there is no mercifulness now, daya. Formerly a man was very charitable, but here, at the present moment, where is the question of charity? He cannot maintain oneself. So these things are reducing. Therefore Vyasadeva thought it wise to give the Vedic knowledge in writings so that we can read, we can hear, and we can utilize, we can take benefit out of it. So Vyasadeva gave us this Vedic literature. His father, Parasara Muni, gave us the definition, the understanding of God, what we mean by God. So he gave us this definition, that "God is He who is full with six kinds of opulences, of which there is nobody greater or nobody is equal. Then he is God." You try to understand the six kinds of, I mean to say, opulences, and you try to find out a person who has no competitor, neither greater than him. Then you accept him as God. Otherwise reject. Don't accept.
So how you can find out a person who is the richest man within this..., not within this world, within this universe. It is very difficult. You cannot find out a being who is the most, I mean to say, famous within this universe. We can know. Just like in your country, your President is the most famous man. But in other country there may be another famous man. In other planet there may be another famous man. So you cannot fix up that "Here is the man who is the most famous within this universe, who is the most influential, strong, wise." So therefore, if you try to understand who is God by corroborating the definition of God, it is very difficult to find out. If you travel all... Now you have got sputniks, but you cannot go further than 25,000 miles. But there is no limit even of this material, one universe, and there are innumerable universes. To find out the most important man or living entity within this universe... Of course, from Vedic literature we understand Brahma is the most, I mean to say, opulent personality within this universe, Brahma. He is called the creator of this universe. But from Srimad-Bhagavatam we understand that Brahma is not the ultimate creature. In the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam you'll find. It is said, tene brahma hrda adi-kavaye, janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]. The definition of God is given there, and the qualification of God is given there, that He instructed Brahma. Brahma is calculated to be the prime personality within this universe, but he was also instructed by God. Tene brahma, adi-kavi. Adi-kavi. Adi-kavi means the first man, the first man of knowledge. So you may question that "In the creation, first, there was only one living creature, Brahma. Then where he went to take lessons? Who instructed him? There was no other living creature." That is also another qualification of God. God created. That also you know. You have read in your Bible. God created, but He is not one of the created beings. He created. Therefore, before creation, He was there. It is to be concluded. Before creation of this cosmic manifestation, He was existing. That information you'll have from Srimad-Bhagavatam, janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1], in Vedanta-sutra, "the original source of all emanation."
So God created. Try to understand what is the position of God. God created means before the creation, God was there. Just like if you say that "Mr. such and such has constructed this building," that means before the construction of the building, Mr. such and such was living, was existing. So "God created" means God is not one of the beings who were created. He is beyond creation. Therefore one great stalwart acarya of India, Sankaracarya, whose name you might have heard, he says, narayanah para avyaktat, avyaktat anya-sambhavah: "Narayana, God, the Supreme Lord, He is beyond this creation. He's not one of the created beings." You try to understand. God said, "Let there be creation," and there was creation: "Yes." His word is sufficient. His word is sufficient. You can take practical example. In your country you can understand this nice example. During the fall, all of a sudden, all the leaves of the tree, they fall down. There is no more leaf. And again, during the beginning of spring, the, immediately everything becomes green. Now, how this is happening? If you decorate one tree, if you want to take out all the leaves of a tree, it will take months together. And if you want to decorate one tree without leaves, it will take months together. But you can see that within a few days all leaves are fallen down, and within a few days all leaves are coming out. So why don't you believe that simply by word of God there may be creation, there may be destruction? That is sufficient. He doesn't require any engineering. Simply that vibration is sufficient. Sabdat pravrttih.
So these things are very nicely, clearly explained in the Vedic literature. If you take advantage of this Vedic literature, especially of the... Bhagavad-gita is the preliminary study, ABCD. Bhagavad-gita is not very high standard spiritual knowledge. It is simply elementary, ABCD knowledge of spiritual life, rudimentary knowledge. And if you want to study more and more, there is Vedanta-sutra, there is Srimad-Bhagavatam, Upanisad, so many things. So our Krsna consciousness movement is to give people chance to take advantage of this Vedic literature. There is a very nice verse in Caitanya-caritamrta:
We do not know when we have forgotten God, when we have missed our relationship with God. We are eternally related with God. We are still related. Our relationship is not lost. Just like the father and the son, the relationship cannot be lost, but when the son becomes crazy or mad, he thinks that he has no father. That is a conditional... But actually the relationship is not lost. When he comes to the consciousness, "Oh, I am the son of such and such gentleman," the relationship is immediately there. Similarly, our consciousness, this material consciousness, is a condition of craziness. We have forgotten God. We are declaring God is dead. Actually I am dead. I am thinking, "God is dead." Just like I am deaf, I am asking somebody, "Oh, Mr. such and such." He's replying, but I am deaf. I cannot hear. I say, "Mr. such and such, he cannot hear me." You see? He himself is deaf. The answer is there, but because he cannot appreciate, he says, "Mr. such and such is deaf." He is deaf. Similarly, we have become so much materially dead that we have lost our Krsna consciousness, or God consciousness, but we are declaring, "God is dead." God is not dead. How God can be dead if functions are going on? According to His order, the sun is rising every day. Yac-caksur esa savita sakala-grahanam. The moon is rising, the air is changing, the season is changing. Everything is going on nicely. How you can say God is dead? God is not dead, but we are dead to appreciate the function of God. We are dead.
So this Krsna consciousness movement is to give life to the dead society of human being. They are now dead, crazy dead. So our request is that you take full advantage of this Krsna consciousness movement. Your life will be happy. You'll find a new phase of existence, happiness, fullness. That is sure. And the method is very simple. We don't ask you... Just like as soon as I enter, all of you join in chanting Hare Krsna. It is very easy thing. Even a child can join. And simply by chanting, you'll be purified, simply by chanting. You haven't got to make any exercise, keeping your head down or this or that. No. Simple method: chanting this Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. So this is our propaganda. We don't charge anything. We don't say that "I sell one mantra. You take it and give me some dollars." No. It is freely distributed. Freely. In the street they are being distributed. But don't neglect it. Because we are distributing this, the most valuable asset of the world so cheaply, don't neglect it. Take it. Don't minimize the value because we are distributing free. It is the most valuable thing of your life, chanting Hare Krsna. And you'll practically find the result. It is not bluff. So many American boys and girls, they are chanting. They are not imported from India, but they have taken it very seriously, not only here. We have got seventeen branches all over your country, and they are very happy. And there is no loss. If you chant Hare Krsna, what is your loss? But the gain is very great. You can chant. Simply while walking in the street you can chant. While working, you can chant. While at home, you chant. When at office, you chant. There is no license, no expenditure, no loss, but the gain is very great. That is our request.
So we thank you very much that you are sympathetic with this movement and coming every weekly to participate in our love feast. So if you simply come by taking part in this feasting festival, you'll be infected with Krsna consciousness.
Devotees: Haribol! Jaya!
Prabhupada: Everything has got some infectional influence. So if bad thing has got infectional influence, why not good thing? So you try to associate with us and you'll be infected. You'll chant Hare Krsna. Thank you very much. (end)