Engagement Lecture

Buffalo, April 23, 1969
Prabhupada: ...caksur-unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah.
om ajnana-timirandhasya
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah
[I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, who with the torchlight of knowledge has opened my eyes, which were blinded by the darkness of ignorance.]
The meaning of this verse... It is offering obeisances to the spiritual master. The spiritual master opens the eyes of the ignorant disciple in the matter of transcendental knowledge. Therefore it is the duty of the disciple, before speaking, to offer obeisances to the lotus feet of the spiritual master. Our Vedic process is not research work. Just like in the mundane scholarship, one has to show his academic career by some research work. The Vedic process is different. Vedic process is that our research work is not complete because the instruments and the means by which we make progress in research work are blunt and imperfect. We are conditioned. At this stage of our material existence, we are conditioned by so many laws of nature. Under the circumstances, every conditioned soul has four defects. Just like to commit mistake. There is no man, even great man, who does not commit mistake. More or less, he commits mistake. Just like in our country there was Mahatma Gandhi. He was supposed to be a very great personality, mahatma, but he also committed mistake because when he was killed, five minutes before his coming to the meeting, he was warned by his confidential associates not to go to that meeting, but he persisted, and as soon as he entered the meeting hall he was killed. So I am giving an instance that even a great personality like Mahatma Gandhi, he also committed mistake. So in the conditioned state of our life, committing mistake is very natural. Just like we say, "To err is human." Any human being is susceptible to commit mistake. Another imperfectness is that every man is illusioned. Illusioned means to accept something which is not, phantasmagoria. Just like every one of us in this meeting, we are under the impression that "I am this body." But actually I am not this body. This is called illusion, maya.
So to commit mistake, to become illusioned, number two, and number three: a cheating propensity. Everyone, conditioned soul, thinks himself very expert, and he talks with his, I mean to say, fellow man as a very intelligent man. And he has got every... Just like in business. In business you go to a storekeeper. He'll say, "Oh, you are my great friend. I am not taking a farthing profit from you." But you must know that he is taking profit, at least fifty percent. So this is called cheating propensity. One who is not in the knowledge, but he puts forward his theories and theses and so many by the words "perhaps," "it may be," like thatthis is called cheating. So to commit mistake, to be illusioned, and cheating propensity, and at last, imperfectness of the senses. Our senses are limited. We cannot see far distant place. We cannot see nearest. Just like our eyes cannot see the eyelids because it is the nearest. And you cannot see the farthest. So the eyes also see under certain condition, in certain perspective position. Similarly, all our senses are limited. They cannot understand, or it is not possible to understand the unlimited by these imperfect, illusioned, and cheating senses. Therefore Vedic process does not accept that one should endeavor to know the ultimate truth by exertion of our present senses, which are conditioned by so many ways. Therefore those who are students in the Vedic literature, they accept authorities. Just like you are reading Bhagavad-gita. The Bhagavad-gita is being taught by Lord Krsna to Arjuna. He is authority. And Krsna says that "This Bhagavad-gita is taught from time immemorial by disciplic succession," not by research work. As soon as you study Bhagavad-gita by your academic knowledge, without reference to the authoritative description, then you commit mistake. You do not understand what is Bhagavad-gita. Krsna says, therefore, that "This disciplic succession is now broken. I therefore establish again the disciplic succession unto you." That means Arjuna becomes the disciple of Krsna, and anyone who understands Bhagavad-gita, following the footprints of Arjuna, he can understand rightly what is the purpose of Bhagavad-gita. So all Vedic literatures, not only Bhagavad-gita, all the Vedas... There are four Vedas: Sama, Yajur, Rg, Atharva. Then there are Upanisads, 108 Upanisads. Out of that, nine Upanisads are very important: Isopanisad, Katha Upanisad, Taittiriya Upanisad. So then again, Vedanta-sutra, then Srimad-Bhagavatam. In this way there are various Vedic literatures. And if you are interested... You should be interested. These Vedic literatures are not meant for a particular class of men. It was meant for the human society so that they may take advantage of this knowledge and make a perfection of their human life.
So I shall try to speak before you this evening one of the instruction of Vedic literature spoken by Rsabhadeva. So our offering of obeisances to the spiritual master is in accordance with the disciplic succession. Ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya, caksur-unmilitam yena: "The personality who opens the eyes by the torch of knowledge." Tasmai sri-gurave namah: "I offer my respectful obeisances unto the spiritual master." So here is a speech by Rsabhadeva. Rsabhadeva is accepted as incarnation of Godhead. And long, long years ago He appeared on this earth, and He was father of the King Bharata, under whose name this planet is called Bharata-varsa. He had one hundred sons, and out of them, Bharata was the eldest. He was very intelligent. So the father entrusted the kingdom to the eldest son, Bharata Maharaja, and before retirement He was speaking to His sons a spiritual instruction which is recorded in this Bhagavata. And He said,
He is advising, "My dear sons, this life..." "This life" means this human form of life. Ayam deha. Ayam means "this," and deha means "body." Na means "not." Na ayam deha: "This body is not meant." Nayam deho deha-bhajam nrloke. Deha-bhajam: "those who have taken or accepted this material body, amongst them." Now, this is a very significant word, those who have accepted this material body, deha-bhajam. And according to Vedic literature, we understand that this material world is only one-fourth manifestation of the complete creation of God. The three-fourths' portion of God's creation is spiritual world. That you will find in the Bhagavad-gita. Krsna says,
atha va bahunaitena
kim jnatena tavarjuna
ekamsena vistabhyaham
idam krstnam jagat
Ekamsena means a part, a fractional part. This material world is a fractional part of the whole creation. You see this universe, as far as you can see up to the sky. That is only one universe. And there are unlimited universes. They are clustered together. And that is called material world. And beyond that clusters of unlimited number of universes, there is another, spiritual sky. That is also mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita. Paras tasmad tu bhavo 'nyo 'vyakto 'vyaktat sanatanah. Lord says that "Beyond this material world, there is another bhava, nature." Just like this is material nature. He says, paras tasmat tu bhavah, bhavah anyah [Bg. 8.20]. Anya means another. "There is another nature, which is sanatana." Sanatana means eternal. There is no history of its beginning, or there is no endthat is called sanatana, eternal. Eternal means which has no end, no beginning. Nobody knows where it has begun and where it has ended. Nobody knows. Just like the Vedic religion is called sanatana-dharma because nobody can trace out when this Vedic religion begun. Therefore it is called sanatana-dharma. Every religion in our present experience, it has got a history. Your Christian religion, it has got a history, two thousand years old. Buddhist religion, it has got a history, 2600 years. Muhammadan religion, it has got a history, one thousand years. But if you trace out Vedic religion, you cannot find out the history, date. There is no date. You cannot find out. No historian can give. So therefore it is called sanatana-dharma. And in the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna says that "There is another nature, which is sanatana." Sanatana means there is no history of its creation or... But this material creation, as you know... We say, "God created." "God created" means before creation, God was existing. "God created"this very word suggests that before this creation of this cosmic manifestation, God was existing. Therefore God is not under this creation. If God is under this creation, then how He can create? He becomes one of the object of the material creation. So God is not under creation. He is the creator. Before creation, He was existing. That is called sanatana. That means He is also sanatana. And there is a spiritual nature, sky, where there are innumerable spiritual planets also. And there are innumerable spiritual living entities also. And some of them, those who are not fit to live in that spiritual world, they are, I mean to say, sent to this material world. The same idea is expressed in Milton's Paradise Lost.
So we all, conditioned souls, we are practically living in a place after paradise lost. We should understand this. So here the specific instruction is that deha-bhajam. Deha-bhajam means we have voluntarily or willingly we have accepted this material body. Actually, we are spirit soul. We should not have accepted this material body. But when we have accepted, how we have accepted, there cannot be any tracing of history. It is not possible. Anadi karama. Anadi karama. Nobody can trace out the history when we, the conditioned soul, accepted this material body. And deha-bhajam means that anyone who has accepted this material body... Not very big. There are 8,400,000 different forms of living entities. Nine hundred thousand species of living entities in the water. Similarly, two millions species of life in the plants and vegetables. In this way, on the total, there are 8,400,000's of species of life. Unfortunately, this Vedic knowledge is not instructed in any university, but these are fact. They should try. If they are very much inquisitive to make research work, now let them research away how the Vedic knowledge says there 8,400,000's of species of life. Let the botanists, let the anthropologists, or so manythere are department of knowledgelet them research out. Darwin's theory, evolution of the organic matter, they are very much prominent in the educational institutions. But there is Padma Purana and other authoritative Vedic scriptures. They give the magnitude of the living entity. They have different forms of body. How they are evolving one after anothereverything is there. It is not a new thing. But people are giving stress only to the Darwin's theory. But in the Vedic literature we have got immense information of this living condition in this material world.
So apart from that, here it is said, deha-bhajam. Deha-bhajam means "those who have accepted this material body." That means there are some, not some... There are many who have not accepted this material body. But they have no experience who has not accepted this material body, in this material world. That is there in the spiritual world. These living entities, innumerable living entities in so many universes in the material world or material universe or material nature, they are only fractional portion of all living entities. Only a fractional portion. Because they are condemned. Those who are in this material world, with this material body, they are condemned. Just like you take another example: just like in the prison house. The prison house, population in the prison house, they are condemned by the government. But their number is only fraction of the whole population, not that whole population of the state goes to the prison house. Some criminals who are disobedient to the laws of the state, they are put into the prison house under confinement. Similarly, these conditioned souls within this material world, they are only fractional portion of the whole living enti..., number of living entities in the creation of God, and because they have disobeyed or declined to obey or abide by the orders of Krsna, or God, they have been put into this material world. Now, the problem is: if one is sensible, if one is inquisitive and serious, he should try to understand that "Why I am put into this material conditional life?" That should be the inquiry. This is called brahma-jijnasa. In the Vedanta-sutra this is the first inquiry, that people should be educated to that standard of life when he will be inquisitive to know, "Why I am put into this conditional life? What is the condition? I do not wish to suffer."
There are three kinds of sufferings. Many times I have explained. They are called adhyatmika, adhibhautika, adhidaivika. Adhyatmika sufferings means pertaining to this body and mind. Suppose I have got some pain here today. This is bodily suffering. Or my mind is not in... [break] They do not mind it. Just like animals. Animals, they are always in suffering, but they do not mind it. Recently I was in Hawaii. So in front of my house there was a man who was keeping some animals and birds for slaughtering. Not there, but he was dragging for selling the animals and birds for slaughtering. Now, I was giving example to my students. Now, these animals are standing here, and tell them, "Oh, my dear animals, why you are standing here? You go away. You are meant for being slaughtered." But he has no intelligence. He cannot go. Even in the slaughterhouse also, he cannot go. So suffering without knowledge, without remedy, means animal life, means animal life, one who cannot understand his suffering and he thinks, "Oh, I am very well off. I am very well situated." But that is animal consciousness. One should be cognizant of the suffering, threefold miseries of his life. One should know there is suffering in birth, there is suffering in death, there is suffering in old age, and there is suffering in disease. And one should be inquisitive. That is the real research work, how to avoid death, how to avoid birth. We have suffered during our birth. We have suffered as a child, as a baby. We remained within the abdomen of our mother, tightly placed in a airtight bag for ten months, and I could not move even, and there are insects biting me. I could not protest. But we have forgotten. After coming out, we had... Our sufferings are there. Mother is taking so much care undoubtedly; still, the child is crying. Why it cries? It has got some suffering, but he cannot express. There are some bugs biting or some pains within somewhere. The child is crying, crying. The mother does not know how to pacify it. So in this way our suffering has begun from the womb of our mother. And then I do not wish to go to school. I am forced to go to a school. I do not wish to study. The teachers give me tasks. If you just study, analyze your life, it is full of suffering, full of suffering. But we have no inquiry. We have no inquiry. This is not education. Therefore Brahma-sutra says, athato brahma jijnasa: "Now you should inquire why you are suffering. Is there any remedy for suffering? Then, if there is remedy, then you must take it. You must take advantage of the remedy." But we are callous. We do not care for it. This is not good.
Therefore Rsabhadeva says to His sons, "My dear sons, now you have got this opportunity. Out of 8,400,000's of lives, take..." Forget Rsabhadeva's sons. I will speak to the American boys and girls. Now you have got very nice body, very beautiful body, very nice country. You have no poverty. So many ways, you have an advantage than other nations. So if you apply this instruction of Rsabhadeva to His sons... Rsabhadeva spoke to His sons does not mean only it was meant for His sons. It is meant for the whole human race. So he said that "My dear sons, this body, this nice body, beautiful body, this own flesh(?) body, is not meant for sense gratification like the cats and dogs and hogs." He says that kastan kaman na arhate vid-bhujam ye: "By hard labor, by hard work, culminating into sense gratification, simply for that satisfaction, if we spoil our life, oh, it is not very good." Take that instruction to your life also, that you are very nicely placed, but according to Rsabhadeva's instruction, you should not spoil this beautiful life simply for sense gratification. Why? Rsabhadeva answered, "That sense gratification process is there, vid-bhujam." Vid-bhujam means the stool-eaters. What animal is the stool-eater? The hog. This kind of sense gratification, working day and night hard, is available even in hog's life. Therefore... You have got so nice, beautiful body. You should not imitate the hogs. You see? I was surprised to hear from one of my principal disciples, BrahmanandaI was walking in Central Parkthat the groups of the hippies, they have begun to worship hogs. You can explain that, why they are doing. This is not very hopeful. You see? After having this nice body, nice country, nice civilization, nice education, the result is hog worshiping. Will you explain today. Still silent?
Brahmananda: Yes. We have experience not only in New York City but many places around the countryI'm sure you're familiarof worshiping hogs. Many places where we go chanting Hare Krsna, the Lord's name, we've experience of groups of young people chanting "hog, hog, hog." This is going on in New York City. And also they actually have parades where they parade with hogs and pigs. And they bow down before the pigs, and they worship the pigs. And they want the hogs to become... They want to run the hog for president, and they want the hogs to lead them. It's even gone to such lengths that at one be-inthis was in Seattlethere was a massive demonstration with hogs. There, boys and girls undressed themselves and got in the mud and they just played with the hogs. Dirty, just living like the hogs, which they worship.
Young man: You don't think there's some irony in that?
Prabhupada: So anyway, this hog worship was anticipated long, long ago. Otherwise how they could be described in the Bhagavatam, which was compiled at least five thousand years ago? Anyway, the idea is that beautiful life, beautiful education, beautiful situation, should be utilized for beautiful end, not degrade to the platform of hog worship. That is not very palatable thing at least. So Rsabhadeva says, "My dear boys, the sense gratification process after hard work day and night is available in the hog's life. That is not a very important thing. This human form of life is meant for a different purpose." And that purpose he explains, that tapo divyam putraka yena sattva suddhyed yasmad brahma-saukhyam tv anantam: [SB 5.5.1] "This human form of life is meant for austerity and penance." You will find in the history of Vedic literature, there were many, many exalted emperors and kings. They also gave to the, led to the practice of austerity and penance. Dhruva Maharaja, Prahlada Maharaja, Ambarisa Maharaja, Yudhisthira Maharajathey were all kings. They were called rajarsi. Rajarsi means although they were king, most opulent, still, they were great sages. So the same thing is advised, that those persons who have got this opportunity of the spiritual, human form of life, with facility for economic welfare, with facility for giving very nicely everythingthe opportunity should be used for better life. Ye tapo divyam [SB 5.5.1]. Tapasya, austerity. A little penance. Just like our students. They are practicing... [break] ...is also explained, tapo divyam yena suddhyet sattvam. Sattvam means pure existence. I am existing in this body, this material body, but if you take to this austerity process, it is not very troublesome, at all troublesome. It is pleasant. You can ask our students who are practicing it. They are very much pleased to practice this. So it is not troublesome. It is pleasing. So tapo divyam yena suddhyet sattvam [SB 5.5.1]. Your existence will be purified. As soon as your existence is purified... The difference between animal life and human life is that human life, existence, is more purified. He has got better consciousness than the animals. Similarly, if you more purify your existence, you (are) gradually elevated to the spiritual existence, which is completely pure life.
So Rsabhadeva advises, "My dear boys, you don't spoil your life simply for sense gratification, but voluntarily accept some austerity and penances so that your existence will be purified. And when you get your purified existence... You are seeking after happiness. Whatever happiness you are inclined in this material world, that is only limited. But if you purify your existence and some way or other be promoted to your spiritual existence, then..." Brahma-saukhyam tv anantam. Brahman. Brahman means the greatest. As I told you from the Vedanta-sutra, athato brahma jijnasa, so what is the Brahman life, so there is Brahman pleasure also. In the Brahman pleasure there is also dancing, there are young girls, young boyseverything. These are only reflections. Whatever we are finding in this material world, the last evening we explained, that it is that perverted reflection of the spiritual world. So if you want unlimited happiness, unlimited knowledge, and eternal life, you should not spoil your, this very nice opportunity simply for sense gratification, but adjust it to accept this life of austerity to promote yourself to the spiritual life. Then you will get unlimited happiness, unlimited life, unlimited pleasure. That is the sum and substance of this Krsna consciousness movement.
So we have got literature and magazines in this respect, publishing. We have got our Bhagavad-gita As It Is, and Teachings of Lord Caitanya, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Nectar of Devotion, Easy Journey to Other Planets. So I request you that this movement, Krsna consciousness, especially in your country, is meant for giving a finishing touch to your present position. Don't take it otherwise. You are all educated students and girls and boys. I request you, try to understand what is this Krsna consciousness movement and take it very seriously. You will be happy, and because people of other countries, they are following your progress, so if you take this Krsna consciousness movement seriously and rightly, the whole face of the world will be changed. It will be turned into spiritual world. Of course, we do not expect that everyone will accept this philosophy, but even one percent population of the whole world accepts this... Yad yad acarati srestha lokas tad anuvartate [Bg. 3.21]. The Bhagavad-gita explains that if some principal man accepts some theory and some philosophy, others follow. So we have got our center here. I request you all student to try to understand this Krsna consciousness movement and purify yourself. And the purificatory process is very simple. We are simply chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. So my request, my fervent request to you all, that you are very nicely placed. Please try to understand this philosophy. Make your life very happy in this life or in the next life so that people of the world will be happy by following your example.
Thank you very much. (devotees offer obeisances) (end)

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