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Śrī Vyāsa Pūjā Address

New Vrindaban, September 2, 1972
Prabhupāda: (chanting japa) Ladies and gentlemen, this ceremony... Of course, those who are my students, they know what is this ceremony. Those who are visitors, for their information, I may inform you something about this ceremony. Otherwise, it may not be misunderstood. A outsider may see it that "Why a person is being worshiped like God?" There may be some doubt. So this is the etiquette. This ceremony is called Vyāsa-pūjā. Vyāsa. Vyāsa means the original author of Vedic literature. He is incarnation of Nārāyaṇa. He gave us all Vedic knowledge. He received the knowledge from Nārada. Nārada received the knowledge from Brahma. Brahmā received the knowledge from Kṛṣṇa. So in this way, by disciplic succession, we get transcendental knowledge.
So Vyāsadeva... Formerly, before Vyāsadeva, say, five thousand years ago, before that time there was no need of written literature. People were so sharp in their memory that whatever they would hear from the spiritual master they would remember for life. The memory was so sharp. But in this age—it is called Kali-yuga—we are reducing our bodily strength, our memory, power of memorizing, our feelings of sympathy for others, compassion, age, duration of life, religious propensities. In this way, in this age we are reducing everything. Every one of you can understand very easily. Formerly if somebody is attacked by another man, many persons will come to help him: "Why this man is attacked?" But at the present moment if one man is attacked, the passersby will not care for it because they have lost their sympathy or mercifulness for others. Our neighbor may starve, but we don't care for it. But formerly the sympathy for other living entities, even for an ant... Just like Mahārāja Parīkṣit, while he was touring on his kingdom, he saw that one man was trying to kill a cow. Parīkṣit Mahārāja saw. Immediately he took his sword that "Who are you? You are killing a cow in my kingdom?" Because the king is supposed, or the government is supposed to give everyone protection, not that the government is meant for giving protection to the human being and not to the animals. Because it is Kali-yuga, the government discriminates between two nationals. National means one who has taken birth in the land. That is called national. That is... You know, everyone. So the trees, they are also born in the land, the aquatics also born in the land. The flies, the reptiles, the snakes, the birds, the beasts, human beings—everyone is born in that land. Suppose your land, America, United States... Why the government should give protection to one class of living entities, rejecting others? This means they have lost their sympathy for others. This is Kali-yuga. Formerly, before Kali-yuga, unnecessarily even an ant would not be killed. Even an ant. There are many instances that a hunter who was taking advantage of killing animals, but when he became a devotee he was not prepared to kill even an ant.
So the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is so nice that it makes a person perfect in everything: perfect in knowledge, perfect in strength, perfect in age, everything. We need so many things. So this perfection of life, the process how to make life perfect, is coming down from Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa, He is the origin of everything. Therefore the knowledge of perfection is also coming from Him, and periodically-periodically means after millions and millions of years—Kṛṣṇa comes. He comes once in a day of Brahmā. So Brahmā's days, even one day, the span of one day, it is very difficult to calculate. Sahasra-yuga-paryantam arhad yad brāhmaṇo viduḥ [Bg. 8.17]. The Brahmā's one day means about 433,000,000's of years. So in each day of Brahmā, Kṛṣṇa comes, once in a day. That means after a period of 433,000,000's of years He comes. Why? To give perfect knowledge of life, how a human being should live to make his life perfect. So the Bhagavad-gītā is there, spoken by Kṛṣṇa in this millennium, in this day. Now Brahmā's one day we are passing through the twenty-eighth millennium. No, twenty-eighth... In Brahmā's day there are seventy-one Manus, and one Manu lives for... That is also many millions of years, seventy-two millenniums.
So we are not interested now about calculation the perfect knowledge. This perfect knowledge comes from God, or Kṛṣṇa, and it is distributed by paramparā system, by disciplic succession. The example is just there, a mango tree. On the top of the mango tree there is a very ripened fruit, and that fruit has to be tasted. So if I drop the fruit from up, it will be lost. Therefore it is handed over, after one, after one, after... Then it comes down. So all Vedic process of knowledge is taking from the authority. And it comes down through disciplic succession. Just like I have already explained, Kṛṣṇa gives the knowledge, perfect knowledge, to Brahmā, and Brahmā gives the knowledge to Nārada. Nārada gives the knowledge to Vyāsa. Vyāsa gives the knowledge to Madhvācārya. Madhvācārya gives the knowledge to his disciplic succession, later on, to Mādhavendra Purī. Mādhavendra Purī gives that knowledge to Īśvara Purī. Īśvara Purī gives that knowledge to Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Lord Caitanya. He delivers that knowledge to His immediate disciples, six Gosvāmīs. The six Gosvāmīs delivers the knowledge to Śrīnivāsa Ācārya, Jīva Gosvāmī. Then Kavirāja Gosvāmī, then Viśvanātha Cakravartī, then Jagannātha dāsa Bābājī, then Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, then Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, then my spiritual master, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī. Then we are distributing the same knowledge.
Devotees: Jaya Prabhupāda! Haribol!
Prabhupāda: We don't manufacture knowledge, because how we can manufacture? Perfect knowledge means I must be perfect. But I am not perfect. Every one of us, when I was speaking, because... We are not perfect because in our conditional life we have got four defects. The first defect is that we commit mistake. Any one of us who are sitting here, nobody can vouchsafe that he has not committed any mistake in life. No, that is natural. "To err is human." In our country, even a personality like Mahātmā Gandhi, he committed so many mistakes. So to commit mistake is not unusual. It is usual for any man. Then again, one is illusioned. Illusioned means accepting something for something. Just like every one of us, we accept this body as ourself, but actually we are not, everyone. On this bodily concept of life the whole trouble is there in the whole trouble is there in the world. I am thinking "Indian"; you are thinking "American"; he is thinking "dog"; he is thinking "cat"; because on this bodily concept of life. So this is illusion because I am not this body, you are not this body. Because at the time of death we can understand the body is there, but my relative is crying, "Oh, my son is gone." "My father is gone." Where he is gone? The body is there. Where is your father gone? No. Then we can... After death we can understand that "My father or my son was not this body. He was something else." So this is called illusion.
So mistake, illusion, and cheating. Everyone wants to cheat others. This is the dealing. Suppose we are businessman, making some agreement. So I am trying to make the agreement in my favor; you are trying to make the agreement in your favor. I am thinking, "I have cheated this person. I am so clever." You see? So the cheating propensity is there, even we hide something. Even husband and wife, we cheat one another, what to speak of man... Even sometimes father and son, what to speak of other relation. So cheating propensity is... First that we commit mistake, we are illusioned, we cheat, and at the end, all our senses are imperfect. Just like we are very much proud of seeing. Everyone says, "Can you show me? I want to see." And what can you see? What is the power of seeing? At night, if there is no sunshine, you cannot see, so what is the use of your seeing? If there is wall, you cannot see what is beyond the wall. You are seeing every day the sun, but we are seeing just like a small disc. But actually it is fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this earth. Similarly, we cannot see which is situated a very long distance. We cannot see even the eyelid which is actually with the eyes. But we cannot see it. In this way, if you study, every one of your senses you will find imperfect.
So your senses are imperfect, you are cheating, you are illusioned, and you commit mistake. How you can give perfect knowledge? Therefore we don't accept any knowledge from an imperfect personality. Because that is imperfect knowledge, what is the use of that knowledge? Theorizing. No theory. We want to know fact. That is perfect knowledge. So that perfect knowledge can come from God. And one who distributes that knowledge exactly as God has said, he is perfect. Just like a post peon comes and delivers you, say, one hundred dollars. So he is not delivering that one hundred dollars. Your friend has sent you one hundred dollars, and his business is to hand over that one hundred dollars as it is, without any change, without taking one dollar from it, no, or adding. No addition, no subtraction. His honesty, his perfection, is that he delivers you that hundred dollars which is sent by your friend. That is his honest..., perfection. He may be imperfect in so many others ways, but when he does his business perfectly, he is perfect. Similarly, our, this Vyāsa-pūjā means we receive perfect knowledge from Kṛṣṇa through the agency of spiritual master.
So this Vyāsa-pūjā means one day in a year, on the birthday of the spiritual master, because he is representative of Vyāsa, he is delivering the same knowledge which has come down by disciplic succession without any change, he is offered the respect. This is called Vyāsa-pūjā. And the spiritual master receives all honor, all contribution, on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not for his person. Just like in our country when there was British rule, there was a viceroy, a king's representative. So naturally, when viceroy used to go to some meeting, many people used to present valuable jewels, valuable, because just to honor him. But the law was that not a single of the jewels or contribution the viceroy could touch. It was going to the royal treasury. The viceroy could accept on behalf of the king all contribution, but it goes to the king. Similarly, this day, Vyāsa-pūjā day, whatever honor, contribution and feelings is being offered to the spiritual master, it is... Again, as we have received the knowledge from upwards, similarly, this respect also goes from downward to the upward. This is the process. So as the spiritual master is teacher of the student, he has to teach the disciple how to send back his respect and contribution to God. This is called Vyāsa-pūjā.
So spiritual master is respected as good as God. Why? Sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstraiḥ. They have already chanted this song. Samasta-śāstraiḥ, in all Vedic literatures. Samasta, all. Samasta means all. Śāstra means Vedic literature. The all the śāstras in Vedic literature, they have declared that spiritual master is as good as God. Not God, but as good as God. The Māyāvādī, they think that the spiritual master is also God. No. We Vaiṣṇava, we don't accept that theory. But actually how a man can become God? No. But because he is God's representative, he is honored as God, not that he has become God. Kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya. Just like you have got a dear son. If somebody pats your son, even pats your dog, you become pleased. So the spiritual master is very confidential servant, dog of God. Therefore if you can please him, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **. If you can please the spiritual master, then God is pleased. Just like your small child. If somebody pleases that child, you become automatically pleased. You can please that child with a two-cent-worth lozenges. But to please you it may require thousands of dollars. So you can finish the business by offering a lozenges.
So this is the position of a spiritual master. Don't misunderstand that "This person is sitting very comfortably and taking all honors and contribution." It is needed just to teach them how to respect the representative of God. This is the sum and substance of Vyāsa-pūjā.
Thank you very much. (end)

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