Lecture at Upsala University Faculty
Stockholm, September 7, 1973
Prabhupada: So I shall try to discuss Bhagavad-gita, Thirteenth Chapter, in which nature, the enjoyer, and consciousness is described. Sri arjuna uvaca. Arjuna belonged to the royal family of the Pandavas, and he was friend of Krsna. So there was a fight between two groups of cousin-brothers, the Kauravas and the Pandavas. So Arjuna... Krsna was requested by both the parties to join either of them, but Krsna decided not to take part in the fighting because both of them were equally related to Him. So after all, Krsna divided His soldiers one side and Himself another side with the condition that if He joins, then He would not fight. So Arjuna preferred to take Krsna on his side, and the other party, Duryodhana, he decided to take Krsna's soldiers. So while just the fighting was to begin, Arjuna declined to fight because the other party were all his relatives, friends, brothers, brother's son, nephew, teacher and grandfather. So Arjuna took compassion, that "I don't want victory. Better not to fight." So that is the cause of describing the science of Bhagavad-gita before Arjuna, just to induce him to act as a dutiful soldier. This is the background of Bhagavad-gita.
So there were many questions and answers. There are seven hundred verses. So we shall discuss this evening about the nature, the enjoyer, and the consciousness.
sri arjuna uvaca
prakrtim purusam caiva
ksetram ksetra-jnam eva ca
etad veditum icchami
jnanam jneyam ca kesava
Those who have got this copy, it is page 619. Arjuna wanted to know prakrti, the nature, the material nature, and purusam. Purusam means the enjoyer, the living entities. Here in this material world every living entity is trying to enjoy this material nature. Prakrtim purusam caiva ksetram. Ksetram means field of activity, and ksetra-jnam means the knower of the field. Just like an agricultural field, the field is there and the cultivator is there. The cultivator knows that "It is my field of activity." So he's to be supposed as ksetra-jnam, one who knows about his field of activities. Etad veditum icchami. Because Krsna has been accepted as the teacher. First of all, Krsna and Arjuna were talking as friends. But when Arjuna saw it that friendly talking will not make any solution of the problem, so at that time, he surrendered to Krsna, and that "I become Your disciple," sisyas te 'ham sadhi mam (tvam) prapannam, "and I surrender unto You." That is the relationship between teacher and the student. The student must receive knowledge submissively, not by challenge. Therefore, one has to select a teacher where one can submit. That is the process. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya [Bg. 4.34]. Teacher must be approached with submission. Tad viddhi pranipatena. Pranipat means submission; and pariprasnena, then question; and sevaya, and service also. These three things are the basic principle of receiving knowledge. So submission means I must approach somebody who is actually in better position or higher position. Otherwise, what is the use of approaching? Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. And seva means service. You cannot challenge. You approach such person whose instruction you shall receive. You can inquire submissively, but you cannot challenge. That is not allowed in Vedic system. Samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham [MU 1.2.12]. Therefore before selecting a teacher, you must decide whether you can submit there. If you cannot submit there, don't approach, don't waste time. So that is the process. And Arjuna submitted to Arjuna, uh, Krsna.
So there are many questions. Here is another question: "Krsna, I want to know this material nature and the living entities who are trying to enjoy the resources of this material nature." This whole world, every living entity, even birds and beasts, they are also trying to lord it over the material nature, what to speak of human being. They are trying to overcome the stringent laws of material nature by so many scientific improvements, but still, they are under material nature. That is the conclusion of Bhagavad-gita. Daivi hy esa guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya [Bg. 7.14]. This material nature is called maya, energy. Actually, it is the energy, energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. From Vedic literature, we get information: God has got many potencies or energies.
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate
svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca
na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate
[Cc. Madhya 13.65, purport]
These are the Vedic information. God means na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate. He has nothing to do; He has simply to desire. I think in your Christian Bible also it is said, "God said 'Let there be creation,' and there was creation." He has to simply desire. Other things will be done by His energies. Just like big man, a king or president, his simply sanction order—"This must be done"—the things will be done by the subordinates, by... He has go so many energies, secretaries. So why not for God, the Supreme Being, God? So therefore the Vedic instruction is, God has nothing to do, practically. Simply His desire is sufficient. Na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate na tasya samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate. There is nobody equal to Him or above Him. Everyone must be below, subordinate. That is Vedic instruction. And that has been selected or that has been concluded, who is that Supreme Being. That we also get from Vedic information. Isvarah paramah krsnah [Bs. 5.1]: that Supreme Being means Krsna. The Krsna, the word, means "all-attractive." It is not that God is attractive for the Hindus or God is attractive for the Muslims or the Christians. No. If He is God at all, then He must be attractive for all. That is the meaning of the word Krsna, "all-attractive." So that is very nice word. Actually, God has no name, but we call Him by different holy names according to His activity. Just like we believe that God is great. So this is fact. The Vedic instruction is also there, na tasya samas cabhkyadhikas ca drsyate: "Nobody is equal, nobody is greater than Him." Therefore God is great. Now who is that great? That is decided: isvarah paramah krsnah [Bs. 5.1]. Krsna is the Supreme Being. Isvarah paramah krsnah. Isvarah means controller. That is the exact equivalent for the word God. God means controller, supreme controller. So that supreme controller means He has nobody else to control Him. Here, in this material world or anywhere, we find one controller, he is controlling, but he is also being controlled. He is not absolute controller. Here we find some, say, a president, he's controlling the state, but he's also being controlled by popular votes. If the popular votes are against him, he cannot control any more. So here, you just analyze anyone; he may be controller, but at the same time he is controlled. Not that absolute controller. Nobody you can find. So if in this way you go on searching out where a person is not only controlled, controller, but He is not controlled by anyone, that is God. This is the simple definition of God. God controls everyone or everything, but He is not controlled by anyone. That is God. Isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah [Bs. 5.1].
And He has got form; He's a person. He's not imperson. Because as soon as you speak of controller, it cannot be impersonal. Controller must be a person. He must have brain, He must have desire, He must have capacity to give orders. So many things. So therefore the Vedic information is the Supreme Absolute Truth is a person. He's not impersonal. The impersonal realization of God is realization of His different potencies. Just like this material world, this is the manifestation of one of the potencies of God. He has got many potencies. So all the many potencies have been grouped into three: the material potency, the spiritual potency, then the marginal potency, between the material and spiritual. The spiritual potency we can understand. Just like I am speaking. I am speaking means I am spiritual being. I am speaking. This material body is my covering, just like shirt and coat. So the... Now I'm existing. Somehow or other, I've been encaged in this material body, but I am spirit soul. That is spiritual potency. And as this material world is made of material ingredients, similarly, there is another world. That information you can get from Bhagavad-gita. Paras tasmat tu bhavo 'nyo 'vyakto 'vyaktat sanatanah [Bg. 8.20]. There is another nature, another manifestation of nature. That is spiritual. What is the distinction? The distinction is when this material world will be annihilated, that will remain. Just like I am spirit soul. When this body is annihilated, I am not annihilated. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. After the destruction of this body, the soul is not destroyed. Soul remains there in the subtle body: mind, intelligence and ego. So that mind, intelligence and ego, that carries him to another gross body. That is called transmigration of the soul. This gross body, this body, even in our experience during this lifetime, we have experienced so many gross bodies came and went away. Just like I was a child, so I possessed one gross body, child's body. That came and gone away. I had a boy's body; that came and gone away. A young man's body I had, but that came and gone away. Similarly, this body, old man's body, it has come, and it will also go. So as in spite of so many other bodies came and went, similarly, when this body will no longer exist, I'll transfer myself or transmigrate into another gross body. This is called transmigration of the soul.
So Krsna, about Krsna it is said that He is the supreme controller and He has got His form, His body, which is not made of these material ingredients. Sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah [Bs. 5.1]. Vigrahah means body. So He has got body. But what kind of body? Sac-cid-ananda. It is, the ingredients are spiritual, not material. Here, the ingredients, gross body I have got, you have got—earth, water, air, fire, mind, intelligence, ego—these ingredients. But Krsna's body, the ingredients are sac-cid-ananda. Sat means eternity, cit means knowledge, and ananda means blissfulness. That is His body, sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah. But He has got a body. He has got a form, transcendental form, sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah. Anadih, anadih means, because nobody is controller above Him; therefore He is the supreme controller; He has no beginning. Anadi, adih: and He is the beginning of everything. Anadir adir govindah—His name is Govinda. Krsna, Govinda, there are many names. There are millions of names of God. We are just mentioning one or two. So anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam: the cause of all causes. Everything has got cause and effect. So therefore Arjuna has decided to take knowledge from Krsna, the Supreme Being. And He has no material body; therefore His knowledge, whatever knowledge is given by Krsna, that is perfect. Anyone who is giving knowledge in this material body, he has got four defects. The first defect is that a person in the material body must commit mistake. Must commit, less or more. And the..., anyone who possessing this material body, he must be illusioned. Illusioned means that accepting something for something. Just like we are accepting this body as self. But this is illusion. I'm not this body. I am spiritual spark, part and parcel of God. That is my position. But anyone identifying himself, he thinks that he's this body... Especially the animals. The animals have no knowledge that he's different from the body. Therefore a human being, if he's under the impression that he is this body, he's no better than the animal. Therefore in the human form of life, one can understand his real identity, he can understand what is God, he can understand what is his relationship with God and act accordingly. If he does so, then his human life is perfect. Otherwise, he remains like animal, and he gets no benefit by this nature's gift, human form of life. By evolutionary process, we come to the human form of life. By evolutionary process, we come to the human form of life, passing through 8,400,000, about 8,300,000 species of life. Then we come to this form of life, civilized human being. So this should not be misused in the business of cats and dogs. This should be used for better purposes. This better purpose is to understand oneself, what he is actually, whether he is this body, whether he is this mind, or whether he's different from body and mind, a spiritual spark. That is real knowledge.
So Krsna is delivering this knowledge in the Bhagavad-gita, and Arjuna is receiving. The beginning of His instruction was that,
dehino 'smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
dhiras tatra na muhyati
Krsna first began this lesson: "My dear Arjuna, you are not this body. Why you are lamenting about this body? You are not this body. Neither your so-called relatives, they are this body. They are different." Asmin dehe. In this body there is the proprietor of the body, the dehi. Just like you are the coat and shirt, you are the proprietor of the coat and shirt. Similarly, this body is also covering. The subtle body and the gross body—coat and shirt. But we are different from this coat and shirt. That is the beginning of the instruction. It is going on, and again Arjuna is asking that prakrtim purusam caiva ksetram ksetra-jnam eva ca etad veditum icchami. He's student. "My Lord Krsna, I want to understand what is this material nature and purusam." Purusam means enjoyer, and prakrti means enjoyed. Just like we have got little conception, male and female. So prakrti means the female, the object of enjoyment, and purusa means the enjoyer. So here, although we are dressed in different way, male or female, everyone is trying to enjoy. Therefore even a woman is just like woman, his feature is woman's body. Actually, she is trying to enjoy; therefore, she is purusa. Purusa means enjoyer. So here in this material world, either male or female, it doesn't matter—everyone is trying to enjoy; therefore he is called purusa, or the living entity is called purusa.
So Arjuna's inquiry is "What is this prakrti?" Everyone is trying to... Now, yesterday we had lectured in the university, technology. One technologist questioned me. That technology means the process by which we can enjoy this material world. That is technology. So the spirit is how to enjoy. So prakrtim purusam caiva, and ksetram. Ksetram means the field of activities. Although everyone is trying to enjoy, but he cannot enjoy according to his whims. He is limited with the body. A man is trying to enjoy and a cat and dog is also trying to enjoy. But the enjoyment of the cats and dogs are different from the man's enjoyment because on account of different body. The facility of enjoyment has been given by nature according to different body. Therefore we find intelligent man and less intelligent man; cats and dogs and human being and different types of men, different types of plants, different types of animals—varieties, 8,400,000's. The nature is so acute. As you try to enjoy this material world, he'll give you a suitable type of body. Just like a pig. A pig means he has no discrimination of food. He can eat even stool. So similarly, persons who have no discrimination what kind of food we should eat, so he is given the next change to become a pig so that there will be no discrimination. And he has got a particular type of body, a particular type of mouth so that he can enjoy any abominable things. A tiger, a tiger wants to suck fresh blood, so nature has given a suitable type of body with jaws and nails so that he can immediately attack an animal and suck the blood. So in this way, prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah [Bg. 3.27]. We are trying to enjoy, but we have got different desires of enjoyment. So every particular thing is taken into account by the laws of nature. And the next life, because if I try for something, I am absorbed in that thought, and at the time of my death, when I leave this gross body, my mental condition is there, and that mental condition carries me to a suitable position where I get a suitable body to fulfill the mental desires. This is the process of transmigration. So our process is... This is also described in the Bhagavad-gita:
yanti deva-vratah devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutejya yanti bhutani
mad-yajino 'pi yanti mam
There are many who worship demigods. So they will go to the planet where demigods reside. There are innumerable planets. This, according to Vedic literature, this moon planet is also a place where demigods reside. The sun planet also like that, and many other planets. The Bhagavad-gita says, yanti deva-vratah devan. If you want to go to the moon planet, sun planet, Venus planet or any other planet, you just prepare yourself in this life, and at the time of death, you'll be transferred to such and such condition of life. Similarly, pitr-vratah, there are Pitr-lokas, bhutejya, bhutejyam ghost worshiper. They will also go to such planet. And mad-yajino 'pi yanti mam, Krsna says. "Those who want to go to Me, back to home, back to Godhead, they can also go there. They can also go there."
Therefore our, this Krsna consciousness movement is that if I have to prepare myself in this life... Actually this life is preparation for the next life. That is a fact. So here is a chance, this human form of life. Either you go back to home, back to Godhead, or again you go to the cycle of different species of life. Bhutva bhutva praliyate [Bg. 8.19]. You accept one type of body, live there for some time, then give it up, then accept another type of body, live for some time, then accept another type of body. In this way... But we are so much illusioned that although this is botheration, to accept one type of body, again give it up, again accept another type of body, we are not disgusted with this business. Because actually we are eternal. Why should we accept one type of body, live there for some time and again change it? That we have experienced. Just like any one of us, we desire that my youthful body may remain. We try to keep that youthfulness by so many medicine, by so many means. But nature will not allow to keep yourself always youthful. That is not possible. You must change. Therefore one should be inquisitive, that "I don't want this type of body, old body, feeble body, more conditioned, with rheumatic disease and other, so many disease, cough disease. I don't want it, but I'm forced to accept this body. This is real problem. I don't want to die, but death is forced upon me." So these question should be raised by really advanced human being, that "I don't want all these things. I want to enjoy this material world, but I am forced to change into a body. I cannot enjoy. I cannot enjoy." This is real problem. That real problem has been discussed in the Bhagavad-gita: janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam [Bg. 13.9]. We want to enjoy. Suppose I am a technologist. I want to enjoy this material world. I manufacture something, very good facility for living condition, as we are doing. But before finishing my desirable construction, nature takes me away. Just like I saw in France, Paris. What is that arch?
Devotees: Arc de Triomphe.
Prabhupada: Yes. Napoleon wanted to construct that arch, and he was so, I mean to say, powerful man, but he could not see the arch beginning in his life; he was taken away. He did not like that, that he wanted to see something more, but he was taken away. But we are not seeing this point, that "I am trying to enjoy and we are adopting so many means, but where is the certainty of my enjoyment? At any moment I shall be kicked out, 'Get out!' " That brain is lacking in the present civilization. Therefore it is said in the Bhagavatam, parabhavas tavad abodha-jato. Because these persons are abodha, have no knowledge, therefore they are trying for something to enjoy which may not be allowed by him. It is not actually allowed to him. Nobody wants to die; he wants to enjoy, live here. But that is not possible. So this is the real problem, that we have accepted a condition of life in the material world which will not allow me to fulfill my desires to the fullest extent. That is the real problem. And that is explained in the Bhagavad-gita: janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanu... Those who are actually thoughtful, they should know these four principles of problem or unhappiness always in front. He should think that "I am trying to enjoy. I'm planning to enjoy this material world, but I have to die. I have to give up this body, at any moment. There is no guarantee that I shall live so many years. There is no guarantee. At any moment." Therefore the death has been described by Krsna, mrtyuh sarva-haras ca aham. Mrtyu means death, and sarva-haras ca means one who take away everything. Sarva-haras ca. "That is I am," Krsna says, or God says. Those who are demons, those who cannot see God or feel the presence of God, they are called demons. So sometimes we hear they say, "Can you show me God?" Well, God is everywhere. God is within your heart. Andantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham [Bs. 5.35]. God is within this universe. God is within your heart. God is within the atom also. Now you have to make your eyes to see. Why do you say, "Can you show me God?" Have you got the eyes to see? Your eyes are imperfect. Why you are so much proud of your eyes? If there is no light, you cannot see, so what is the value of your eyes? So your seeing power is under certain condition. Therefore, if you want to see God, then you have to fulfill the condition.
That is, that condition is given in the Vedic literature:
santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
If you have to see God, then you have to apply the ointment of love of God in your eyes, and then your eyes will be cleansed and you'll see God. This is the process. Premanjana. Prema means love of God, and anjana means ointment. Just like sometimes we do not see correctly. In India, there is a kind of powder called surma. They apply it and they see clearly. Or some, any other. Similarly, there is possibility of seeing God with these eyes, provided you cleanse it. And what is the cleansing process? Love of Godhead, that's all. If you actually learn how to love God... That is practical. If you love somebody, in spite of being engaged in so many other occupation, you see your lover always—"When shall I meet? When shall I talk with him or with her?" This is practical. So if it is materially possible, if you develop your loving tendency... You have got the loving tendency. That is natural. Because living being is part and parcel of God. God is loving, so we have got that propensity of love. But our loving propensity has turned into lust at the present moment due to material condition. So if you want to purify that lust tendency into love, then you can see God. That is the condition. That we'll have to learn. That is called bhakti-yogam, bhakti-yogam, which we are teaching, Krsna consciousness. The human life is meant for understanding God, for seeing God, for talking with God, for behaving with God. That is possible. But you require little training. From the animalistic life, the animal cannot talk of God, cannot understand of God, cannot see God. But if we remain in the animalistic way of life, then it is not possible to see God and talk with Him. But if we purify ourself, if we apply the ointment of love of God on the eye, then premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah, those who are saints... I think this "saint" word has come from the Sanskrit world santah. Santah is Sanskrit word. Santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti. Those who are saintly persons, those who have trained themselves in the affairs of love of Godhead, they can see God constantly within their heart. That is possible.
So here, Arjuna is also a saintly person. He's not ordinary man, because he's talking Krsna personally. If Arjuna has got the chance of making friendship with God and talking with Him personally, everyone has got the same capacity, provided we elevate ourself to that standard of life, bhakti, bhakti-yoga. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, "If anyone wants to understand Me, then the process is bhakti, devotional service." The process means how to love God, that process. And in the Bhagavatam it is said... What is first-class religion? Sai vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje. That religion is first class which makes the follower a lover of God. This is simple definition of religion, first-class religion. If we do not awaken our dormant love for God, then srama eva hi kevalam [SB 1.2.8]. Then you follow any type of religion, you simply wasting your time. That's all. That is not religion. Religion means to understand God and to learn how to love God. So here Arjuna, he loves Krsna, he's a lover of God; therefore he's asking question from Krsna. But whatever question is answered by Krsna, that is perfect, because He is perfect. So our process of receiving knowledge: from the perfect. Not one who (is) illusioned, who commits mistake, whose senses are imperfect and wants to cheat. Because how an imperfect person can take the position of a teacher if he has...? Now so many scientists, we ask so many things, and they simply reply, "Yes, we are trying," "In future." That means he is not yet perfect. So if you are not perfect, why you are taking the position of a teacher? First of all, you be perfect. So that is not possible. Therefore, our process of receiving knowledge is from the perfect. And who can be more perfect than God Himself? That is our process of knowledge.
So Arjuna is asking from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And the answer, the next verse is: sri bhagavan uvaca. It is not said, krsna uvaca. It is said, sri bhagavan uvaca: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead replied." What is that?
idam sariram kaunteya
ksetram ity abhidhiyate
etad yo vetti tam prahuh
ksetra-jna iti tad-vidah
He's replied the answer very nicely, that "This body is the field of activity." Idam sariram. Sariram means this body. This body is the field of activity. Idam sariram ksetram kaunteya, etad yo vetti tam prahuh ksetra-jna iti tad-vidah. And the person who knows this field of activity... Just like if we meditate upon this body, if I see my finger, if I ask, "What is this?" "This is my finger." "What is this?" "This is my head." "What is this?" "This is my leg." Everything "mine." And where is the "I"? Where is the "I"? The "I" means who is questioning; that is "I." This is self-realization. Therefore I, the real I, the soul, is different from this body. He's given the chance of living a certain type of body. Just like a man is given chance to work under certain office of position. Similarly, there are 8,400,000 forms of body, and each living entity has been given the chance to utilize it according to his desire. Because God is within you, everyone, isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati [Bg. 18.61]. In the previous verse also, I recited. Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti. He sees God present in his heart. So because God is there in everyone's heart, He's there, He's simply waiting for the chance, "When you are coming back to Me?" He's so nice, so friendly. Because we have wanted to enjoy this material world, He's giving us the chance, "All right, enjoy, enjoy." "I want to enjoy this world as a tiger." "All right, take this body of a tiger." "I want to enjoy this world as a pig." "All right, take this." "I want to enjoy this life as Brahma, a Lord Brahma, who has got millions of years of age, duration." "All right, you become a Brahma." But Krsna advises, a-brahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino 'rjuna: [Bg. 8.16] "My dear Arjuna, even if you go the highest planetary system, the Brahmaloka, again you have to come back." This is the position of material world. You accept this, and again you accept this, and again you accept another thing according to your karma. Just like you have got this human form of body. It is a great opportunity. But if we do not utilize as human being, if we utilize it as cats and dogs, again I'm going to be cats and dogs. This is the process. Idam ksetram. This body is the field of my activities, and I, the proprietor of the body, I am the knower of the body. Idam sariram kaunteya ksetram ity abhidhiyate etad yo vetti [Bg. 13.2]—this is real knowledge. Etad yo vetti, that is knowledge. The knowledge of technology is not knowledge. That is ignorance. The knowledge of self-realization is actual knowledge. That is possible in this human form of life. That is not possible by the cats and dogs. If we misuse this body for propensities like cats and dogs, we are misusing.
Guest: ...variation(?) between the Bhagavad-gita and the Vedas books?
Prabhupada: Vedic knowledge means to understand God, the whole Vedic knowledge. Knowledge means we are getting... Veda means knowledge. Vetti veda vido jnane. Veda means knowledge. So we want to know so many things. That is knowledge. So you get all information from the Vedas. There is called Ayur-veda, Dhanur-veda, Yajur-veda. Veda means knowledge, but actually the Veda means, ultimately, to know God. That is called Vedanta. Anta means ultimate, and veda means knowledge. So ultimate knowledge is your, when..., if... You know so many things. We have got so many subject matters for understanding. But ultimately, when you understand what is God, that is the end of knowledge. That is end of knowledge. So that is Vedanta. So Vedanta means to know the Absolute Truth, God. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyam vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham [Bg. 15.15]. Krsna says that "By all Vedic knowledge, ultimately one must come to the point of knowing God." Therefore another name of God is Brahman, Parabrahman. So brahmana, brahmana means one who knows Brahman. That is called brahmana. A brahmana is not a class which is to be found in India only. No. Anyone who knows God, who knows the Parabrahman, he is brahmana. Brahma janatiti brahmanah. So Vedic knowledge means ultimately to become a brahmana. That means to know God. That is Vedic knowledge. And the summary of Vedic knowledge is here in the Bhagavad-gita, because here God directly is instructing about Himself. Therefore it is the essence of all Vedic knowledge. The ultimate goal of Vedic knowledge is to know God. But we cannot know God. We have blunt senses. Atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih [Cc. Madhya 17.136]. With these material senses, blunt senses, imperfect senses, we cannot understand God. That is not possible. But if we can please God by your service, by our love, He reveals Himself, revelation. That is the process.
So simply by your speculation, research work, we cannot find out God. That is not possible, although God is here, everyone's heart. Sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto [Bg. 15.15]. God is there in everyone's heart. But who knows that? So there is a process by which one has to learn God, what is God. That is sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah [Brs. 1.2.234]. It is very peculiar process, that you have to learn God through the tongue. Through the tongue. They want to see God with the eyes, but the Vedic information is that you have to know God through the tongue. Sevonmukhe hi jihva. Jihva means tongue. When you employ your tongue in the service of the Lord, then he becomes revealed. The tongue's business is to glorify the Lord, chant the holy names of God. That is specially recommended in this age. You cannot follow all the rituals in any scripture. That is very difficult. We are now so fallen it is not possible. Therefore the general regulation is that you chant the holy name of the Lord. It does not mean that we are requesting you to chant the name of Krsna. We believe that Krsna is the name of God, but if you have got another name... God has many names. God is unlimited, therefore He has got unlimited names. So if you chant the holy name of God, it doesn't matter, if it actually meaning... Just like "water." Water, if somebody says jala, he means water. If somebody says "water," he means water. If somebody says pani, he means water. So actually, if the word you use as the name of God, if it's actually real name of God, then by chanting that holy name, you realize God. Therefore tongue is the beginning of realization. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau [Brs. 1.2.234]. As well as controlling the tongue, we have to spiritualize the tongue. If you keep the tongue materialized, then it is defective. So two things are done by the tongue: tasting foodstuff and chanting the glories of the Lord. If we engage our tongue in this way... Foodstuff means..., our process is to offer foodstuff to the Lord and the remnants of foodstuff we eat, prasada. So this is one process, this is one business of the tongue. And another business of the tongue is to chant the holy name of the Lord. So in this way, if you engage your tongue in the service of the Lord, then gradually your realize. You cannot realize, but God reveals Himself, what He is. So Vedic knowledge means to realize God. That is ultimate aim of Vedic knowledge. And here, Bhagavad-gita, He's revealing Himself to Arjuna, because he's a devotee. So if we take the words of Arjuna, then we also realize God. This is the process.
Guest: I would like to put a question about the relation between Krsna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Paramatma and Brahman...
Guest: Brahman. Which is the relation between these concepts? They are, according to your commentaries, in Bhagavad-gita, different. But what is...
Prabhupada: No. It is not different. Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. The Absolute Truth is one, but He is realized by different persons differently. Just like there is a big hill. So from very distant place you see that hill just like something like cloud. But if you go forward, then you see something green. And if you go actually to the hill, you see there are so many trees, so many houses, so many living entities. The object is the same, but realization from different angle of vision is different. That is the description of Srimad-Bhagavatam. The Absolute Truth is called tattva. Vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam yaj jnanam advayam [SB 1.2.11]. When I see the hill as a cloud, it is the same hill. When I see the hill as something green, that is the same hill. And when I see the hill actually, it is functioning, there are so many trees, so many animals, so many men, so many houses, this same hill. Similarly, Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan is the same thing, but it appears different according to persons' different realization. But ultimately, the Absolute Truth is Bhagavan, Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Guest: But what is this personality? It is not the same as our personality.
Prabhupada: That I have already said, that He is different.
Guest: In which we..., way do you use the concept of personality?
Prabhupada: He is person. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. In the Second Chapter He says, "My dear Arjuna, I, you, and all these persons who assembled, it is not that we were not existing in the past, it is not that that we shall not exist in the future." When He says "I, you and all these persons," they are all persons. God is also person, Arjuna is also person, and the all other who assembled in the battlefield, they are also persons. So Krsna says, "All these persons, they were existing in the past, now they are existing, and in future they will exist." So there is past, present, future. In no time, God is impersonal, neither we are impersonal. We are also personal. And that is also confirmed, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman, Katha Upanisad (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13), that He is the chief person amongst other persons. We living entities, we are many persons, and God is the chief person. And what is the difference between this person and that person, the singular number person, one, and the plural number person, many? That is explained: eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman. That one singular number person is supplying all the necessities of these different plural persons. That is the distinction. These things are expressed in Upanisad, Vedanta-sutra. So ultimately, God is person.
Guest: But in, when Upanisads say there is...
Prabhupada: Impersonal description.
Guest: The unity is unexpressible. It is,
Guest: Nothing can be said about...
Prabhupada: No. Why not?
Guest: ...the Supreme.
Prabhupada: Why not? Just like this is also Upanisad, nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13). So He's a person. Isavasyam idam sarvam [Iso mantra 1]. There are so many. Apani-pado javano grahita. Sa aiksata, sa asrjata. So when they say... In Christian Bible also, they believe God created. So if He's a creator, He must be a person. But His body is different from our body. That I have explained. Sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah [Bs. 5.1].
Swedish man: Well, I would like to thank you for your talk. Thank you very much.
Previous: Lecture -- London, August 26, 1973 Next: Lecture on Gurvastakam at Upsala University -- Stockholm, September 9, 1973