Public Lecture With German Translation Throughout
Hamburg, September 10, 1969
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for your kindly participating in this Krsna consciousness movement, and today's subject matter is life after death. So we shall try to speak something on this subject. (to translator:) So describe the meaning of this verse from our German edition. (German translator reads German translation)
So life after death is not very difficult to understand. We have got different grades of life. Just like the child is crying, that is also life. Then the child body vanquished, then gets another body, boy's body. Then this body also vanquishes. Another body, youthful body. This body also vanquishes. And then an old man's body like me, this will also vanquish. So the logic is as the other bodies vanquish and I get a next body, similarly, when this old body will be vanquished, I'll get another body. So here it is stated by the supreme authority, Krsna, that as these bodies are changing in this duration of life... It is changing. The old body, the child's body, boy's body of me, they are no longer existing, but I am existing. I know that I had a small body like this. I had a boy's body, youthful body. I can remember. Therefore I am eternal. The bodies are temporary.
So this is evolution. This evolution theory... It is not theory; it is fact, stated in the Vedic literature, Padma Purana, how we have passed through so many bodies, and ultimately we have got this civilized, human form of body. We have to pass through 900,000 forms of aquatic bodies within the water. Then, gradually, we come to the form of trees and plants. There are 2,000,000 varieties. Then we get the bodies of the insect. There are 900,000 forms of body. Then we enter into the species of birds, 1,000,000 forms of body. Then, after bird's body, there are 3,000,000 different varieties of beast body. Then, after this period, we become human body, but there are 400,000 species of human body. And thus we get this nice human form of body with good brain and good consciousness. So it should be utilized properly. That... By the laws of nature, prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah [Bg. 3.27]. This is the law of nature. Gradually we develop different types of body and different types of consciousness. So when we come finally to God consciousness, or Krsna consciousness, that is the perfection of life.
So we are living in this planet, but in other planets also, there are different forms of life. So there is one planet... There are many millions of planets. Specifically, there is one planet within this universe, that is called Siddhaloka. There is other planet also, heavenly planet, Brahmaloka planet. And in different planets there are different species of life, different standard of comforts. But in the higher planetary system, the standard of comfort is more and more, thousand times more, thousand times more, in this way. Just like in this planet we have got different standard of life. In your Western countries, your standard of life is, at least, it is to be understood more comfortable than other standard of life. In this way, if you promote yourself to the topmost planetary system, which is called Brahmaloka, then you get your duration of life many millions of years. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita that sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmano viduh [Bg. 8.17]. In the Brahmaloka planet, the residents, they have got their one day. One day means daytime. Not nighttime. Twelve hours, say. That is equal to..., their twelve hours is equal to our millions of years. Sahasra-yuga. Sahasra-yuga means 4,300,000's of years multiplied by 1,000. That is called sahasra-yuga. Such is the, such duration of time is equal to twelve hours in the Brahmaloka planet. So even if you go to the Brahmaloka planet... (to Satsvarupa:) You read that. Abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino 'rjuna. Read it.
Prabhupada: Yes. (translator reads German translation) So our natural tendency is to go to other, better planets. Therefore people are trying to go to the moon planet. Similarly, you can go to the sun planet, heavenly planet. There are so many. But the information is, even though you reach the topmost planet of this universe, still, there the four principles of material life, namely, birth, death, old age and disease, are there. So we can go to the topmost planet. There is process how to go.
urdhvam gacchanti sattva-stha
madhye tisthanti rajasah
adho gacchanti tamasah
If you keep yourself in sattva-guna, or in the modes of goodness, you are promoted to the higher planetary system. Even to the topmost planetary system. That is called urdhvam gacchanti sattva-sthah. And if you keep yourself in the modes of passion, you shall remain within the middle planetary system. This is middle planetary system. This earthly planet, it is called Bhurloka. Then, above this, there is Bhuvarloka. Then, above that, Svargaloka. That is heavenly planets. The heavenly planets begins from the moon planet. Jaghanya-guna-vrtti-stha adho gacchanti tamasah. And those who are in the modes of darkness, they go down, down, down. The animal life is also amongst the down, I mean to say, modes of life. So this human form of life is a chance to make our choice where we shall go next, in the higher or in the lower, or we shall remain here. So how to go to the higher planetary system, that is also mentioned. Yanti deva-vrata devan. Read this.
yanti deva-vrata devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya
yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam
(German translator reads translation)
Prabhupada: So, if we like, we can go to the higher planetary system, heavenly planetary system. Just like we are trying to go to the moon planet, but we have not been successful. In this way we cannot go there. Each planet, each and every planet, has got different atmosphere. So unless your body is completely competent to live in such planet, you cannot go there. Just like the scientists say that in the moon planet the temperature is two hundred degrees below zero. Similarly, in the sun planet the temperature is very, very high, hundred and thousand times degrees above the normal. So in this way, every planet has got different atmosphere, different temperature, different standard of life, different duration of life. So one has to become competent to transfer himself in a particular type of planet. So we, as spirit soul, dehi, the possessor of this body... Dehi means one who possesses this body, or the occupier of the body, the spirit soul. That is eternal. Changing body only, but eternal. Therefore we should not be interested to these different types of temporary body. That is not very good intelligence. So we have to prepare ourself. If we want... There is a full description of each and every planet. And we can prepare ourself according to our desire, which planet we wish to go. But Krsna says, mad-yajino 'pi yanti mam [Bg. 9.25]. "Persons who are engaged in My occupational duties, they will come to Me."
So go to God, or Krsna, means you'll have to acquire your original, spiritual body. The spiritual body is already there, but we are now covered by this material body. So how we are eternal, that is described in the Bhagavad-gita:
The hint is given: the something which is spread all over the body, that is eternal. And what is that something? That something is our consciousness. Here it is stated, avinasi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idam tatam. In this body there is something. That is consciousness. That is eternal. Just like if you or I pinch my body, I feel pain because the consciousness is there. But when the consciousness will not be there, if I cut my hand or cut your hand, you'll not protest. Even scientists have proved this consciousness is there in the tree also. If you cut the tree, there is sensation, feeling some pain, and this is recorded in the machine. So here it is hinted that this consciousness is spread all over the body, that is eternal. The body is not eternal. As soon as the consciousness is gone, the body is dead. Therefore we should take care of the thing which is cons... That is the soul. On account of presence of the soul, there is consciousness.
So Krsna further says in this connection, antavanta ime deha nityasyoktah saririnah [Bg. 2.18]. This body... Deha means body. Antavat, it is by this material body, that is eternal. So that consciousness, or the rays of the soul, is described here. Na jayate na mriyate va kadacit. "This consciousness of the soul is never born, neither it is ever dead." Nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah. The soul and the consciousness has no past, present, or future. It is eternal. Aja. Aja means who does not take birth. Ajo nitya, eternal; sasvata, ever-existing; ayam purana, the oldest. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. When the body is annihilated, the soul and consciousness is not annihilated. Just like when we sleep, our consciousness works in a different body, subtle body: mind, intelligence and ego. That we have got experience every night. We sleep on our bed, but my consciousness goes to other country or other place, and work in a different way. Again, when at the end of the dream we come back to this body, gross body. So death mean s when the consciousness does not come back again to this gross body and enters another gross body. This period is called death. So the subtle body, mind, is there. I know you have got mind, you know I have got my mind. But I cannot see your mind, you cannot see my mind. So there is intelligence also. I know you have got intelligence, you know I have got intelligence. But you cannot see my intelligence unless it is acted. I cannot see your intelligence unless it is acted. So the soul is covered by two kinds of dresses. Just like we are covered by the shirt and coat. Similarly, the covering of the shirt, or mind, intelligence and ego, this is one covering. And upon this there is a gross covering: earth, water, air, fire, like that. In this way we have got two covers. So our business is, because we are eternal, we should not remain in these temporary coverings. That temporary cov... So long we are bound up or encaged in these coverings, that is called conditioned life. So we are trying to become free from this conditioned life. Just like people are trying to go to the moon planet. The desire is there. But because the life is conditioned, he cannot go. Just like I am a foreigner. I have come to your country. I am conditioned by immigration law. There are so many conditions. One of the conditions is that I cannot live here forever unless it is sanctioned by the government.
So we are conditioned now. In this form of life, covered by the material elements, we are conditioned by the material nature. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita:
We are conditioned in every step by the laws of material nature. Still, foolishly, we are thinking we are free. This is foolishness. We are so much controlled by the material nature, exactly like a small child is pulled by the ear by his mother. "Come here." He comes here. "Go there," and goes. Just like a dog. A dog may feel very freedom, jumping. But as soon as the master says "Come here," he comes and immediately chained. This is our position. So that is our position, that we are completely under the clutches of material nature, and according to the modes of material nature, we are acting and changing our body in different species of life. So our real business in this human form of life is to get, try to accept the process by which we can get free from this conditioned life. The process is that we have to give up all our false consciousness. We are, under false consciousness, I am thinking, "I am Indian," you are thinking you are German, and the dog is thinking "I am dog," and cat is thinking "I am cat." So this bodily consciousness, bodily concept of life, will keep us conditioned within the material nature. Therefore our first business is how to get free from all these designations. Just like I am putting on this saffron cloth, but I am not saffron cloth. Or you are putting a red cloth or black coat, you are not that cloth. Within the coat, you are the person. Similarly, within the dress, I am the person. So at the present moment we are on the dress consciousness. "I am German dress," "I am Englishman dress," "I am Indian dress." "I am male dress," "I am female dress." So this is called conditioned life. So in this conditioned life we are accepting one type of body, and we are dying. Dying means giving up and being transmigrated, transferred to another body by the laws of material nature. It is not under my control. You cannot say that "After giving up this German body, I shall accept again another German body." That is not in your hands, sir. It is under the laws of nature. You cannot propose. You cannot force material nature. After this body I can get any other body. That is stated here. Tatha dehantara-praptih [Bg. 2.13]. Another form of body. That form of body may be any one of the 8,400,000 forms of body. Therefore, if we are actually intelligent, we should try for being awakened, or placed in our original body, the spiritual body. That will stop this constant change of body.
So the simple process is, as we are preaching in this Krsna consciousness movement, that if you try to understand only what is Krsna... Krsna or Christ, the same thing. Then you get your original spiritual body. This Krsna consciousness can be awakened simply by chanting the maha-mantra, Hare Krsna, or the holy name of God. So keep yourself aloof from four kinds of sinful life and keep always in touch with Krsna, and (or) God, Then you go back to home, back to Godhead. This advantage is possible in this human form of life. Otherwise, we are missing the chance. We may be again put in the cycle of that 8,400,000's forms of body. The process is very simple and easy because you can remain in your occupation, in whatever position you are. Simply you chant the holy name of God. Not only Hare Krsna. You can chant the holy name of God, Christ. Christ is also the same as Krsna. So do it. There is no expenditure, but the profit is very, very great.
So the conclusion is we should not put ourself in the cycle of birth and death continually in 8,400,000 species of life. To stop it and go back to home, back to Godhead, and regain your original spiritual life. (aside:) I can stop it? So thank you very much. If you have got any question on this subject matter, you can ask.
Satsvarupa; (for German guest or devotee:) If chanting means out loud, how can you do it all day while you're working in so many different situations? How can you chant out loud?
Prabhupada: You chant slow. There is no harm. Either loud or slow, it doesn't matter, but you chant the holy name of God.
Translator for German guest or devotee: Why do we say chant, but not sing?
Prabhupada: It is same thing. Either you sing or chant, the same thing.
Translator: What is the meaning of this chanting? If we're chanting all day long, do we have to reach a certain consciousness?
Prabhupada: Yes. By chanting the holy name of God, you associate with God. God is absolute. He's not different from His name. So when you chant God's name means you immediately become in touch with God. And by chanting more and more, your association becomes more and more intimate. Then everything is disclosed to you. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita:
If you keep in touch with God with faith and love, then God is within yourself, He'll give you intelligence how you can go back to home, back to Godhead. There are many different processes or yoga system to be in touch with God, but for the people in this age, this is the easiest method, to be in touch with God simply by chanting His holy name.
Translator: He's saying that by chanting it might be possible to get this result, to reach a higher consciousness, but it can happen that by, on account of chanting, I forget my neighbor and these problems and the things around me.
Prabhupada: Well, by chanting loudly you also help your neighbor, who will hear you. And when he comes to complain, "Why you are disturbing?" then your mission is successful. That means he has heard. (laughter) So that you hear and let your neighbors also hear. Both of them benefit. And that is the greatest benefit you can render to your neighbor.
Translator: He is saying that actually there is no difference between, for example, chanting the words "tree, tree, tree" again and again or the chanting of Hare Krsna. It depends on the meaning that you put into the word, and if you chant a particular word like Hare Krsna and you have a particular meaning, like a, for this particular word, then it might be something like auto-suggestion to you.
Prabhupada: I have already explained that God and His name, the one, Absolute. In the material world, your name and you person, they are two different things. That is difference between God and you. So therefore, by chanting God's name, you actually contact with God. But in the material world that is not possible. Suppose I am thirsty, I want water. If I chant "water, water," it will not act. But in the case of chanting the holy name of God, it is as good as to associate with God. Try to understand. This is the absolute and relative relationship. It is stated in the Vedic literature that nama cintamanih krsnas caitanya-rasa-vigrahah, purnah suddho nitya-mukto 'bhinnatvan nama-naminoh [Cc. Madhya 17.133]. The name of God and God is equally purna, perfect; suddha, purified. Purnah suddho nitya, eternal, and muk... Purnah suddho nitya-muktah, and liberated from material contamination. So it is not the question of argument. You can try. There is no loss on your part. Chant the holy name of God and see the result yourself. So there is no difference between Krsna and Christo: In India also sometimes Krsna is enounced as "Krishta." Or you enounce as "Christa." It does not make... Because God will take your mind, not your pronunciation. If you mean to pronounce God's name, even it is not, I mean to say, formally or perfectly pronounced, still, God will understand that you are trying to chant His name. That is your perfection. So God is one. There is no two God. So either you call Him Christ's or Krishta or Krsna, if He understands that you are hankering after Him, He'll give the resultant action. And this is the easiest process in this age for God realization. Thank you very much. Let us chant. (end)
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