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Conway Hall Lecture
London, September 15, 1969
Prabhupada: (chants mangalacarana prayers) Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for coming to this meeting, sankirtana movement. This sankirtana movement is very authorized, according to Vedic literature. Most of you are well acquainted with the studies of Bhagavad-gita. And in the Bhagavad-gita also you'll find,
satatam kirtayanto mam
yatantas ca drdha-vratah
namasyantas ca mam bhaktya
tusyanti ca ramanti ca
Satatam kirtayanto mam. Those who are mahatmas... Mahatma means great soul. Mahatma is not created. Mahatma means... That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita, who is mahatma. Krsna says, bahunam janmanam ante: [Bg. 7.19] "After many, many births." Of course, at the present moment they do not believe whether there is birth after birth. But it is not the question of whether you believe or not believe. The truth is truth. So there is birth after death. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. You do not die after finishing this body. You accept another body. That you can experience daily. In your childhood... You can remember that you had a body just like this child. Now you are grown up. Where is that body? That body is gone. Now you have got a new body. But you know that "I had a childhood body like this. I was attending such and such meeting," but that body is now no longer existing.
So this transmigration of the soul is very simple subject. Any sensible man can understand. And in the Bhagavad-gita, in the very beginning of the instruction, Krsna says,
dehino 'smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
dhiras tatra na muhyati
Dhira, those who are sober, intelligent, they are not bewildered when a living entity changes his body. So change of body is going on in every moment, in every second, imperceptibly. Medical science also accepts that in every second we are changing our blood corpuscles. That is a fact. We are changing body every moment. And the final change is called death. But actually, there is no death. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. You accept another body. Therefore Krsna says, bahunam janmanam ante [Bg. 7.19], "After many, many births," bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan, "when a man or a living entity becomes actually wise and intelligent..." Not fools. Fools cannot understand. One has to become very intelligent. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan. Jnanavan means very intelligent, wise man. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate. Krsna says that "After many, many births of struggle, or attempt for acquiring knowledge, when one comes to the summit point of understanding, he understands that vasudevah sarvam iti [Bg. 7.19], the origin of everything is Vasudeva, Krsna." Vasudeva. Origin of everything is Krsna.
The Vedanta-sutra says, the first aphorism of Vedanta-sutra, athato brahma jijnasa: "Now this human form of life is meant for inquiring about Brahman." And the Veda says that aham brahmasmi: "I am Brahman. I am not this body. I am spirit soul." And when one understands that he is spirit soul, brahma-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54], at once he becomes joyful. That is the sign of brahma-jnana. Brahma-bhutah. These are the versions of Bhagavad-gita. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma. As soon as one realizes that "I am Brahman. I have nothing to do with this material world," his all anxieties immediately finished. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati. In the Vedanta-sutra you'll also find, anandamayo 'bhyasat (Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12). The spirit soul or the Supreme Soul, both of them are anandamaya. Ananda means blissful, by nature blissful. Always wants to enjoy. That is the nature of spirit. But at the present moment, because we have forgotten that I am..., we are spirit soul, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, mamaivamso jiva-bhutah [Bg. 15.7], identifying ourself with something else which is transitory, we are suffering. This is the cause. There are many places. Bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad isad api etasya viparyayo 'smrtih. Viparyayo 'smrtih means converted thinking. I'm not this, any product of this material world, but I am thinking, "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am Englishman," "I am German," "I am Chinaman," "I am Russian," or "I am cats and dogs." There are so many. These are all designations. These are all designations. My real identity is aham brahmasmi: "I am Brahman. I am the part and parcel of the Supreme Brahman. Qualitatively, I am one with God." Just like a particle of gold is also gold. A small particle of the ocean is also salty. The chemical composition of the small particle of ocean water is the same as the big ocean. So qualitatively, I am one with God, or Krsna.
When we speak of Krsna, you'll please understand that I am meaning God. Because Krsna means all-attractive. Without being all-attractive, there cannot be God. God must be all-attractive, all-opulence, all-powerful, all-wise, all-renounced, all-beautiful. These are the qualifications of God. So bahunam janmanam ante [Bg. 7.19]. After cultivation of knowledge, many, many births... Cultivation of knowledge is also not easy for everyone. That is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye: [Bg. 7.3] "Out of many millions of persons, human beings, one may be interested to know 'What is the aim of life? Why I am suffering?' " Everyone is suffering. That is the fact. In the material world nobody can be happy. If one is thinking that he's happy materially, he's a fool. Nobody can be happy. This is the place for distress. It is certified by miseries, as well as it is temporary. Even if you accept, "All right, it is a miserable place. I shall stay here. Never mind," but nature will not allow you to stay even. One day it will come, immediately kick you out. You have seen the great President of United States, Mr. Kennedy. He was supposed to be the happiest man in the world, but within a second he was kicked out, immediately. In our country Mahatma Gandhi was very popular leader, but in a second he was removed from the field. So we do not know when we shall be removed immediately by the freaks of nature. Therefore the intelligent man should try to know, "What is my constitutional position? Why I want to stay, but some superpower kicks me out of this stage?" Why? This is question. This is called brahma-jijnasa. Athato brahma jijnasa. The Vedanta-sutra instructs that every human being, not the animals but human being, you should not be bewildered. You should question, "Why I am suffering threefold miseries? Why... I do not want death. Why death overcomes me?" Janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam [Bg. 13.9]. An intelligent man should always keep before him four principles of material miseries: birth, death, old age, and disease. These are instructions of the Bhagavad-gita. One who is making progress in knowledge, he must keep before him these four problems—birth, death, old age, and disease. You may be very much proud of your scientific advancement of knowledge, but here is the real science. If you can overcome birth, death, old age and disease, then you can say your science is triumphant.
The Bhagavata says, therefore, that,
dharmah svanusthitah pumsam
notpadayed yadi ratim
srama eva hi kevalam
Srama eva hi kevalam. After executing your proper service or duties... Everyone is entrusted with some kind of duties. So if, after properly executing your duties as Indian or as American or Englishman or scientist or businessman or father or mother... So many duties we have got. Dharmah svanusthitah pumsam visvaksena-kathasu yah, notpadayed yadi ratim [SB 1.2.8]. After executing your duties, if you do not develop your anxiety to inquire about Brahman... Athato brahma jijnasa. This is the beginning of Vedanta-sutra. People are indulging in studying Vedanta, but Vedanta-sutra is not a matter of speculation. It is to be studied from the authorities. Tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. So if, after executing your duties very properly, if you do not develop your consciousness to know about yourself or the Supreme Self, then whatever you have done, it is simply waste of time. That's all. Srama eva hi kevalam. Simply laboring after nothing. That's all. That means spoiling human life.
So this message of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Hare Krsna movement, is to warn you, "Don't spoil this opportunity of human form of life. Don't spoil it." Ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam ca samanyam etat pasubhih naranam. Eating, sleeping, mating and defending, these things are common to the animals and the human being. You eat; the animals eat. You sleep; the animals sleep. You mate; the animals mate. You are also afraid of your enemy; they are also afraid of their enemy. So by discovering very palatable dishes to eat, or fashionable dresses for sex life, or atom bomb for defending... Eating, sleeping, mating and defending, these four principles, if you advance in these four principles only, that does not mean that you are better than animals. You are as good as animals. [break] ...under the control of this material nature. They are under the control of the spiritual nature. Daivi-prakrtim asritah. And what is the symptom of such persons, that he is under the control of spiritual nature? That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita:
Bhajanti. This bhajan, that is the sign of mahatma. You cannot create a mahatma by rubberstamp or by votes. Mahatma's symptom is that he's fully surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead and always engaged in glorifying His activities. His activities. Satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah [Bg. 9.14]. He's always very much careful about executing devotional service. Namasyantas ca mam. He's always offering obeisances. Tusyanti ca ramanti ca. In this way they enjoy, tusyanti, and they're satisfied. These are the signs of mahatma.
So to become mahatma and liberated... There are so many theories how to become liberated, how to become mahatma, how to become religionist, how to become philosopher. There are many thoughts and theories, but real success of life is to become a mahatma, broader, broad-minded. Mahatma means broader-minded. They are not, I mean to say, short-minded, that "I am this," "I am that"—"I am Hindu," "I am Muslim," "I am Christian," "I am Indian," "I am German," "I am Englishman"—no. Mahatma is sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. He is freed from all designation. These are all our designations. When I think, "I am Englishman" or "I am Indian," this is my designation. Because as soon as I change this body, I accept another body. Then all my philanthropy as Englishman or Indian—immediately finished. Just like President Kennedy's presidentship and philanthropy all finished. Now we do not know where is Mr. Kennedy and what he is doing. But he has got a body. That's a fact. That I have already explained. But neither you know, neither he knows that "I was President," or "I was this or that." Therefore this is called illusion, maya. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, keno mayara bose, yaccho bhese: "My dear friends, my dear brothers, why you are being washed away by the waves of this illusion? Don't be wasted. Don't be washed away." Just like if you are thrown into the ocean you are washed away by the waves, similarly, by the waves of this material nature, prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah [Bg. 3.27], we are being washed away from one body to another, in this way. But actually we do not want this. Actually every one of us, we want a permanent body, a permanent situation, a permanent life, a blissful life, a life of knowledge. That is our hankering. But we do not know, do not know because we do not care to know. Otherwise everything is explained. You haven't got to study many books. You just simply study Bhagavad-gita As It Is. We have therefore published this Bhagavad-gita As It Is without any nonsensical interpretation. "As It Is." Then you'll get all the knowledge and you'll know what you are meant for. So this movement is just to revive your consciousness, original consciousness. Original consciousness is Krsna consciousness. And all other consciousness which you have now acquired, these are superficial, temporary. "I am Indian," "I am Englishman," "I am this," "I am that"—these are all superficial consciousness. Real consciousness is aham brahmasmi.
So Lord Caitanya, who started this movement five hundred years ago in Bengal, India, He immediately informs you that jivera svarupa haya nitya krsna dasa [Cc. Madhya 20.108-109], that our real identity, real constitutional position, is that we are part and parcel of Krsna, or God. Therefore you can understand what is your duty. Just like this hand is part and parcel of your body. Now, what is the duty of this hand? To serve the body, that's all. The hand cannot enjoy independently. It is not possible. If you cut off this hand from this body and throw into the street, nobody will care for it. But so long it is attached with this body, it has got millions and trillions of dollars' value. If there is any trouble, you will be prepared to spend any any amount. But when you are detached, this hand is detached from this body, you don't care for it, even it is trampled down by any man. So this is our position. We are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. There are many examples I can give you. Just like a machine part, a screw. If it is fallen down from the machine, it has no value. But if the machine is in trouble for want of that screw, you'll purchase that screw to set in and spend many dollars. Similarly, we are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. If we remain attached with the Supreme Lord, then we have got value. Otherwise we have no value. Therefore Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, that sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: [Bg. 18.66] "You just be attached to Me. Then your all problems are solved."
So this Krsna consciousness movement is... Just like you are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. You are now detached. We are trying to dovetail you. That's all. Nitya-siddha krsna-bhakti sadhya kabhu naya. This is not an artificial imposition on you. The Krsna consciousness is there. The living example you can see, that I have got now branches, twenty branches in Europe and America. They are neither Hindus nor Indian. How they are accepting Krsna consciousness? In our society, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, perhaps I am the only Indian. Perhaps I am the only Indian. Perhaps it is fact. But why, how they are taking it? Because it is there, Krsna consciousness is there, within you, within me, within everyone. Simply we have to invoke it. That's all. And that invoking process is the sankirtana movement. Ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. If you chant this simple process, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, you'll very quickly clear up your heart and you will understand, vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma su-durlabhah [Bg. 7.19]. You'll understand that Krsna, Vasudeva, is everything. So this movement is neither manufactured nor bogus nor bluff, but it is genuine. It is authorized and it is natural, constitutional. Try to understand this philosophy. We are teaching nothing, no new philosophy. Bhagavad-gita as it is, that's all. Unfortunately, Bhagavad-gita is read all over the world, but there are many rascal interpreters. They have spoiled the whole thing. Simply spoiled. So we are struggling against them. You try to understand Bhagavad-gita as it is, and you get the thing. The thing is immediately delivered. That is our request. And in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated by Sukadeva Gosvami. He says, kaler dosa-nidhe rajann asti hy eko mahan gunah: "My dear King..." He was explaining Srimad-Bhagavatam to King Maharaja Pariksit. So he says... Before saying this, he described about the condition of this age of Kali. It is very... At the end of this age the condition will be very horrible. So... Of course, there is not much time. Otherwise I would have explained something. But you know. You are experiencing about this age. So after explaining the difficulties of this age, Kali-yuga, of which five thousand years we have already passed, and still, 427,000's of years are still remaining... So we have to pass through. So he says, "My dear King, I have explained to you the difficulties and miserable condition of this age, Kali-yuga. But there is a great opportunity." Asti hy eko mahan gunah: "A very nice thing is there," mahan gunah, "very great opportunity, great boon." And what is that? Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet: [SB 12.3.51] "Simply by chanting this Hare Krsna mantra, one can become freed from all contamination and he'll be eligible to be promoted to the spiritual param." Param means beyond this dark region. This material world is called tamah, darkness. Just like there is no sun now. It is dark. We have to illuminate by electric light, by moonlight, by so many things. Actually the nature is dark. Therefore the Vedic injunction is tamasi ma jyotir gama: "Don't try to remain in this dark region. Go to that effulgent region." Tamasi ma jyotir gama. The Bhagavad-gita also says the same thing. Yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama [Bg. 15.6]. Paras tasmat tu bhavo 'nyo 'vyakto 'vyaktat sanatanah [Bg. 8.20]. Everything is there in the Bhagavad-gita.
So our request is that you read Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Here there are many Englishmen and Indians. That is my request. I am not charging anything. I am not making a profession. This sankirtana movement, we are chanting freely. You can hear. There is... Not that it is a secret thing—if you pay me something, then I shall disclose. No. It is open secret. Anyone can take, and there is no loss. If you chant Hare Krsna, there is no loss, but there is great gain. You can try it. So we are freely distributing it by chanting. You can join with us, you try to understand us, what is our philosophy. We have got monthly magazine, Back to Godhead. We have got many publications, Bhagavad-gita As It Is, Teachings of Lord Caitanya. If you want to understand this movement through philosophy, science argument, we are prepared. There is ample opportunity for you. But if you simply chant, there is no need of education, there is no need of philosophizing. Chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, and you gain everything.
Devotees: Haribol! [break]
Prabhupada: ...mantra, you'll have Krsna consciousness as soon as... The process is to cleanse your heart. So when your heart will be clear, then you'll understand your own position, your relationship with Krsna, and your relationship with this world. Then you'll be able to chalk out your plan, what to do. But without knowing your identity, whatever you are doing, that is simply waste of time.
Prabhupada: Well, without love how Krsna can be God?
Guest (1): No, I ask you.
Prabhupada: Yes. That is the real position. Krsna means all-attractive. Anything which is all-attractive you generally love.
Guest (1): So the particle of man of the Supreme Being is all-love.
Prabhupada: Yes. You are part and parcel of Krsna. You want to love somebody, and Krsna wants to love you. This is loving exchange. But instead of loving Krsna, you are trying to love something else. That is your trouble. The love is there in you and Krsna, and when the love will be exchanged between you and Krsna, that will be perfection of life.
Guest (1): Thank you.
Guest (2) (Indian woman): Would it matter if I worship any other? Would it matter whether I worship Krsna or Siva or Christ or Buddha? Would it matter? As long as... [break]
Prabhupada: If you worship Siva, you'll get Siva. If you worship Krsna, you'll get Krsna. Why do you expect Krsna by worshiping Siva? What is your idea?
Guest (2): My idea is, would it matter, I mean, if instead of...
Prabhupada: Suppose if you purchase ticket for India, you'll go to India. How you can go to hell?
Guest (2): That is not the point.
Prabhupada: This is the point. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Yanti deva-vrata devan pitrn yanti pitr-vratah [Bg. 9.25].
Guest (2): But my point is...
Prabhupada: Your point you understand. Why you don't understand? This is the description of the Bhagavad-gita. If you worship demigods like Siva and others, you will go there. And if you worship Krsna, you'll go to Krsna. What is the difficulty to understand?
Guest (2): Do you mean that Siva is demigod?
Prabhupada: Yes, why not?
Guest (2): Because according to the philosophy...
Prabhupada: What is that philosophy?
Guest (2): Krsna says that it doesn't matter the way you worship Him. All means has the same goal, reaches to the same goal. "You can take the different paths, but you will come to Me eventually." Then why you are saying that Siva is...
Prabhupada: Well, same goal, you just try to understand. Same goal. Suppose you have to go to the forty-second or hundredth story. Now, you are stepping one after another. The goal is there, the forty-second story, but you cannot claim, after going a few steps, you say that "I have come to the forty-second story." The path is one. That's all right. But you have to reach the ultimate goal. You do not know what is the ultimate goal. You simply say all paths reach to this goal, but you do not know what is goal.
Guest (2): Because what I meant... I would like to know... Suppose... This is the point that we want to recommend. We are like drones(?), and we could go to Gokula in any way, in any other way.
Prabhupada: No. That is not explained in the Bhagavad-gita, and that is your wrong interpretation. Any way, no. The same way you have to go. Just like in the Bhagavad-gita it is said, mama vartmanuvartante manusyah partha sarvasah: "Everyone is trying to come to Me," but someone has come a few steps, another has come to another few steps, another step. Ultimately... That was... I explained it. You have to reach that Vasudeva. That comes to the..., or that is possible after many, many births. It is clearly said, "After many, many births," bahunam janmanam ante [Bg. 7.19], "one comes to this point." Another verse in the Bhagavad-gita, it is said that kamais tais tair hrta-jnanah prapadyante 'nya-devatah [Bg. 7.20]. Anya-devatah. Those who are bewildered by lust, material lust, they go to worship other demigods. So these things are there. How can you deny it?
Guest (2): I'm sorry, I couldn't agree with you that Siva is a demigod. I couldn't believe it.
Prabhupada: That is stated in everywhere. You have to learn it.
Guest (3) (Indian man): ...consciousness, then what is that other Krsna? Or, other than Krsna, what ... And wherefrom...?
Prabhupada: Yes. I quite follow you. Everywhere is sunshine, but still, the sun's situation is a particular place. The sunshine is everywhere, but still, the sun planet is situated at a particular localized place.
Guest (3): It is manifested locally. It is not localized. It is manifested locally.
Prabhupada: But do you distinguish between sunshine and the sun planet? Or you say because the sunshine has come within your room, therefore sun planet has come within your room? Do you think like that?
Guest (3): It is a conception of the mind.
Prabhupada: Why mind? It is a fact. Why do you say "mind"? Can you say that "Oh, because the sunshine has come within my room, the sun planet has come"? Everyone will say you are a fool. It is not mind. It is a fact. The sunshine is light, and the sun globe is light. So light is there, both, but still, there is difference between sunshine and the sun globe. That difference. Krsna and Krsna's energy everywhere. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita.
"Although everything is resting on Me, still I am not there."
Guest (4) (Indian man): Is this world a real place? Is this world a real place?
Prabhupada: What do you mean by real?
Guest (4): According to what you were saying, it's illusion.
Prabhupada: Yes. Illusion in this way, that when you take it as a fact, but it is something else. It is not a fact. Maya. Mya means ma-ya: "It is not this." Just like you are thinking that you'll be happy in this material world by adjustment, but you'll never be happy. That is called maya. So whatever you are struggling for, that is illusion.
Guest (4): If this is an illusion, then why is it here? What's it doing here?
Prabhupada: Illusion is temporary existence. This is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita, bhutva bhutva praliyate [Bg. 8.19]. It comes into existence, just like cloud. Of course, we Vaisnava philosopher, we do not say actually illusion. We say temporary. Actually we say temporary. Anitya. Anitya. The exact word is anitya. Anitya means... Nitya means eternal, and anitya means temporary. So we say this material world... (end)