Rotary Club Lecture
Ahmedabad, December 8, 1972
"The Present Need of Human Society"
Prabhupada: Mr. President, Rotarians, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much for your kindly inviting me to speak before you on the subject matter "The Present Need of the Human Society." At the present day... According to our Vedic calculation, this is called Kali-yuga. Kali means disagreement and fighting, kalah. So in this age, a slight disagreement will cause some fighting, some misunderstanding. And practically, this is the age of misguidance; therefore it is called Kali-yuga. So in different Puranas, the symptoms of Kali-yuga is described. Sastra. Sastra means tri-kala-jna. Sastra is not ordinary book. Therefore our Vedic literatures are known as apauruseya, "not written by ordinary human being." Ordinary human being, who is called, according to sastra, conditioned souls, they are conditioned by so many, nature's law. So the imperfectness of the conditioned soul are described as that a conditioned soul is sure to commit mistake; however great he may be, he'll commit mistake. And... "To err is human," they say. And he may be illusioned. Not may be. He's illusioned. Illusioned means accepting something for something else. Just like we accept this body, material body, as self. That is the conception of the general people at the present moment, especially. "I am this body." "I am Indian," "I am American," "I am brahmana," "I am sudra." Like that. Bodily conception of life. This is illusion. Actually, I am not this body. But because we are lacking knowledge, imperfect, insufficient knowledge, therefore we are accepting this body as self. This is called illusion. And the other imperfection is that we have got a cheating propensity. Cheating propensity means I do not know something definitely, but I present my theories as if I know perfectly. This is cheating. And the last is imperfectness of the senses. All our senses are imperfect. Take, for example, the eyes. We see under certain conditions: when there is light, sunlight or electric light, we can see. We cannot see what is beyond this wall. We cannot see which is very long distantly placed. We cannot see even the nearest, eyelid. Therefore our seeing power is conditioned. Similarly, all other senses.
So we cannot have perfect knowledge by our imperfect senses. But at the present moment, especially in this age, we are accepting so many philosophers, scientists, although we know that their senses are imperfect. This imperfectness is increasing. We are not becoming liberated from imperfectness. But we are increasing due to this Kali-yuga. That is described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Twelfth Canto. It is said there:
"With the progress, advancement of this Kali-yuga, these following items..." What is that? Now, dharma. First thing is dharma. People will decrease in the conception of dharma, religion. Religion. Religion does not mean a kind of faith. Religion, as I, I think, the other day I described here, the characteristic, the characteristic of the human being, of the living being—to serve. Actually, we are serving, every one of us. We are serving somebody. So everyone is serving. That is his characteristic. Just like a person now, today, is Hindu. Tomorrow he changes his faith, but the service continues. He cannot change the characteristic of service. You may be Hindu or you may be Mussulman, or you may be Christian—you must be serving somebody. Or maybe... Not maybe; actually—who is superior to you. This is called dharma. According our Vedic principles, the dharma is the principle given by God. Dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. You cannot manufacture dharma. Therefore Krsna, He's giving you dharma, what is dharma. He advents, He appears: yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata, tadatmanam srjamy aham [Bg. 4.7]. He says, "When there is discrepancies in the principles of dharma, then I appear, I advent Myself."
So in the Bhagavad-gita He is giving us the principles of dharma. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. He said to Arjuna, "Because you are My very dear friend, I am giving you the most confidential information, that sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja." This is dharma. Dharma, satyam, truthfulness. That is also reduced, being reduce. Dharma means to become devotee of the Lord. That is practically not reduced. It is practically nil. And people have manufactured so many dharmas, dharma without the principle of God consciousness. So, according to Vedic principle, that is not dharma. Vedic principle says, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje [SB 1.2.6]. That is first-class religion which teaches people how to become devotee of the Supreme Lord. Paro dharmah. Parah means transcendental. There are many kinds of dharmas, and according to Vedic system, there are twenty different types of books, vimsati-prakasa-dharma, given by different sages. But the conclusion is that that is first-class dharma which is convenient for becoming a devotee of the Lord. In the Bhagavad-gita also, the same thing: sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. In another place, Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is said, dharmah projjita-kaitavo atra. Atra, Srimad-Bhagavata, Bhagavate, projjhita. Projjhita means prakrsta-rupena ujjhita, very cleansely swept away. That means it is taken away, projjhita. Just like we sweep very nicely, cleansely, our room, similarly all types of cheating religion is wiped out, swept away. Dharmah projjhita-kaitavo atra [SB 1.1.2].
So dharma means, the conclusion is, dharma means that our constitutional position is to serve. But our service being misplaced, we are not happy. Actually, we are serving not any person, but we are serving our different types of desires—kama krodha lobha moha matsarya—like that. That dharma, when it is reverted, transferred to the service of the Lord, that is called real dharma.
That service to the Lord should be without any desire, material desire. Spontaneous. "God is great. He is my supporter, maintainer." We should always remember that. Eko bahunam vidadhati kaman. Actually, God is supporting. Now, at the present moment in India, especially in this part, there is scarcity water. Why? If we are independent of God, we can take advantage of the sea water. There is sufficient water. God also supplies water from the stock of sea water. And in the Bhagavad-gita it is said, raso 'ham apsu kaunteya prabhasmi sasi-suryayoh [Bg. 7.8]. One who cannot understand immediately the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, he can try to understand Him by His different potencies. Just like He says that "I am the taste of the water." Raso 'ham apsu kaunteya, taste of water. Or the sweetness of water. So there is sufficient supply of water in the oceans and the seas. Then why we are in scarcity of water? Because that taste of the water should be changed by the grace of Krsna. Otherwise, you cannot use. That is Krsna consciousness. You can also change, by distilling the sea water or ocean water, but it will not be as tasteful as it is done by God. Or you can say "nature." The same water, taken from the ocean, transferred, transformed into cloud, the cloud is distributed, and water, rain, falls, you get nice distilled water, tasteful water. So if you are going to challenge, "There is no existence of God," then you can do it. Why don't you do it? Why you are so much in scarcity of water? I do not think any scientist can very boldly answer that "Yes, we can do, and we can defy the existence of God, or the mercy of God." That is not possible. Raso 'ham apsu kaunteya prabhasmi sasi-suryayoh [Bg. 7.8]. Krsna says that "I am the shining of the sun and the moon." Now, there, there are so many great scientists, and expert in chemical composition, making chemical composition. Why not make a small sun on the head of the Ahmedabad City so that you save so much expenditure of electric light? They will say, "Oh, the composition of the sun is like this, that"—so many theories. But why not prepare one? If you know the composition, make it, a sample sun, and see that it is shining.
So they, there are many, so many theories for avoiding God consciousness. But that's not very practical. Therefore in the Kali-yuga, it is said, dharma satyam, the truth is neglected, the dharma is neglected. It is reduced. Another place in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said,
kalav asmin yuge janah
manda-bhagya hy upadrutah
This is summarized, summarization of the kind of people in this Kali-yuga. What is that? Alpayusah. Their span of life is shortened. Here also it is said, ayuh, ayur balam smrtih. Bodily strength, span of life, and memory reduced. Formerly, there was no need of book. Therefore our Vedic literatures are known as sruti. The student will hear from the master, from the teacher, sruti. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet, srotriyam brahma-nistham [MU 1.2.12]. Simply by hearing, they'll remember. That was going on up to the date of Vyasadeva, five thousand years ago. There was no writing principle. There was no need of writing. People were so much powerful in their memory, they could immediately remember everything by hearing once from the teacher. Then Vyasadeva, when he saw the Kali-yuga is coming, people's memory will be not so sharp, then he wrote all these Vedic literature. He's called Veda-vyasa. Vedic knowledge was already there by tradition, by hearing, but he chronologically wrote all these Vedas. So there are so many symptoms. I may explain some of them. Kalena balina rajan nanksyaty ayur balam smrtih: "These things will be reduced: dharma, truthfulness, cleanliness, and forgiveness, and mercifulness." People are not very merciful now. Especially in the Western countries, if one is attacked by another, people will pass. Nobody will care for that. He may be killed. People do not show any mercy. And ksama. Ksama means forgiveness. That is also being reduced. Memory reduced, merciful reduced, span of life reduced, bodily strength reduced, health is reduced. This is the symptom of Kali-yuga.
So... Vittam eva kalau nrnam janmacara-gunodayah. Formerly, there were divisions. Catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah [Bg. 4.13]. The four social divisions: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra. And they were calculated according to guna and karma, quality and work. Brahma na means he must be truthful, he must be very clean. Satya saucam. He must be controlling his mind, controlling his senses. Samo damas titiksa. He must be tolerant. Titiksa arjava. He must be simple. Arjava, jnanam. He must have full knowledge. Vijnanam, practical application in life. Vijnanam astikyam. Astikyam means to accept the Vedic principle as truth. That is called astikyam. Theism. It is translated as "theism," but it is not. Astika, astikya means to have firm faith in the Vedic instruction. That is called astikyam. But that is a fact. What is stated in the Vedas, they are true. We can save our time. For example, just like the cow dung. The cow dung is said in the Vedas as pure. So if we accept cow dung as pure, we don't require to make research. But actually it is pure. The other day I was passing through a cow shed in Hyderabad. So, so much cow dung stocked there. So I was asking my students, "Suppose so much human stool was stocked here. Could we pass through it?" No, it is not possible. But it was pleasant to pass through. So this is a fact. If we argue that animal stool... (aside:) Stop. Stop him. Don't make noise. ...the animal stool is impure, but when the Vedas says the animal stool of the cow is pure, so this is, this true. Similarly conchshell. Conchshell is the bone of an animal. So according to Vedic instruction, if you touch the bone of an animal, you become impure. But the bone of an animal which is conchshell, it is kept in the Deity room. So Vedic instruction is so perfect. Why this animal bone is pure, why this stool of animal is pure, that is already known. You don't require to make any research. You simply accept and get the fact. This is Vedic truth.
So that is called astikyam. Astikyam means to accept the Vedic instruction as it is. Therefore we are presenting Bhagavad-gita as it is. There is no need of interpreting. If we accept it, the truth, as it is, then we are benefited. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna says that "I am the Supreme." Mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya [Bg. 7.7]. "My dear Dhananjaya, Arjuna,..." Arjuna is called Dhananjaya. That's a background, how he became a dhananjaya. So mattah parataram nanyat: [Bg. 7.7] "There is no more superior person than Me." So we accept that way. Our Krsna consciousness movement means we accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Not only we accept—all the authorities, whom we accept as authority. Just like Vyasadeva. He is the authority of the Vedas. He accepts Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Narada accepts the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Of course, that is long, long, ages ago. In the recent years, all the acaryas, Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Sankaracarya, all of them accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So what is the difficulty for us to accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead? There is no difficulty. If you do not accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you must present somebody else, that "Here is another person..." Then we have to compare whether Krsna is actually Supreme Personality of Godhead or the another person. Because there is definition of God: aisvaryasya samagrasya viryasya yasasah sriyah (Visnu Purana 6.5.47).
So the present need of human society, because they're reducing their good qualities, satya samo dama titiksa arjava... [Bg. 18.42]. And money is becoming the most powerful thing. As it is stated here: vittam eva kalau nrnam janmacara-gunodayah. Formerly, if one is qualified brahmana, he may be a poor man, but a brahmana, when approaches a king, the king will stand up and offer him... Even Krsna, when He was King of Dvaraka, Sudama Vipra, His friend, he came. Immediately He stood up and gave him His own seat. So because he was a qualified brahmana... So everywhere qualified brahmana was respected by the qualified ksatriyas, vaisyas. But now, there is practically no qualified brahmana, neither a qualified brahmana is respected. Vittam eva. But if one has got money, then he'll be respected. This is the symptom of Kali-yuga. Vittam eva kalau nrnam janmacara-gunodayah. If one has got money, Sethji, he may be not educated, without any good qualification, but somehow or other he has got money, he'll be respectful, not a qualified brahmana. Then dharma-nyaya-vyavasthayam karanam balam eva hi. Now justice, nyaya... Nyaya means justice, dharma and religious principle. Dharma-nyaya-vyavasthayam, to establish justice, anyone who is powerful, he will get justice. You bribe. Nowadays... Of course, we do not discuss these things. Everyone knows. Justice can be purchased in this age. Balam eva hi. Dampatye ratir, ratir abhirucir hetur mayaiva vyavaharike. These are the symptoms. Dampatye, husband and relationship, husband and wife, means sex power. We have practically seen in the Western countries, as soon as there is some disturbance in the sex relation of husband and wife, there is divorce. So that, these are the symptoms. Stritve pumstve ca hi ratir vipratve sutram eva hi. So man and woman should be united in marriage relationship simply on sex urge, not on the religious principle. That we have seen. And sutram, vipratve sutram eva hi. And if anyone, somehow or other, gathers a sacred thread—not sacred, even not sacred; thread—he becomes a vipra. Lingam eva asrama-khyatav anyonya apatti-karanam, avrttya nyaya-daurbhalyam. If you go to the court, court of justice, if you have no money, then you cannot get. Suppose you have to claim from somebody, say, some few thousands of rupees, first of all you have to deposit the stamp fee, five percent, and the pleader's fee. So you have to push good money after bad money. So these are the symptoms. There are many symptoms. In this way, the conclusion is... This is the description given by Sukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Pariksit. There are many other symptoms. Our time is short. The king, the government, that is also stated. Government will be simply taxing. And people, being harassed in famine and taxation, they'll give up their hearth and home, will go to the forest and hills. And gradually, time will come when the ages will be reduced so much that a person twenty to thirty years old will be considered as great, grand old man. These are the symptoms of Kali-yuga.
So how to get out of this entanglement? There are so many things prescribed. But in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that kalau dosa-nidhe rajan asti hy eko mahan-gunah. Dosa-nidhi. Nidhi means ocean. This Kali-yuga is a ocean of dosa, so many faults. But still, there is some hope.
kalau dosa-nidhe rajann
asti hy eko mahan gunah
kirtanad eva krsnasya
mukte-sangah param vrajet
If you take to Krsna-kirtana, krsna-kirtana-gana-nartana-parau, if this, you take to this principle, very simple process... That is recommended in the sastras:
harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
[Cc. Adi 17.21]
Kalau, especially it is meant. Kalau. Kalau means this age of Kali. In another place: kalau sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah [SB 11.5.32]. So these are the... As the description here is there about the symptoms of Kali-yuga, the remedy is also suggested. What is that? Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet. If you begin chanting this Hare Krsna maha-mantra, then you become aloof from all these faulty situation of this Kali-yuga. And if you keep yourself aloof, then mukta-sangah param vrajet. Then you'll, next life, you'll be promoted to the kingdom of God. Param means the spiritual world. There is another, spiritual world. This is material world. This material world, it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, you, perhaps you know, that paras tasmat tu bhavo 'nyo 'vyakto 'vyaktat sanatana-dhama [Bg. 8.20]. God is sanatana and we are sanatana. When we combine together, that is called sanatana-dharma.
So kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. So this is the need of the human society. It is very easy, provided we want to take advantage of it. Suppose you chant Hare Krsna mantra, as I am teaching all these boys. I am also doing that. We have got our beads for chanting Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare... Similarly, if you chant, what is the loss on your part? Is there any loss? But if there is benefit, why don't you take it? What is the harm? We are preaching this. We don't say that "You give us so much money; I give you some mantra, and you, within six months, you become God." We don't make this, all this bluff. We simply say, request, that "God has given you this tongue..." And this is the prescription: kalau dosa-nidhe rajann asti hy eko mahan-gunah, kirtanad eva krsnasya. When you become little advanced, you can also chant and dance, as the Gosvamis were accustomed to do. Krsnotkirtana-gana-nartana-parau. They were always... They were ministers. In Delhi, when we had our function, just like we are holding here, many, many good officers, big officers, they chanted and danced. Oh, what is the harm? We dance in the ballroom. Why not for Krsna-kirtana?
So the chanting and dancing is not very difficult thing. So our only request is that you take to this chanting process. If you take to this chanting process, then gradually you'll be elevated to the spiritual life. Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. Chanting means the cleansing the heart. The more you chant, your heart will be cleansed. We are now, because we are in this material world, we are passing through evolution of many different species of life, and here is a chance given by the nature, the human form of body, where we can stop the continual transmigration of the soul from one body to another and we can have our permanent situation, back to home, back to Godhead. This is a great science. But if you neglect it, that is suicidal policy. Human mind, human life is especially meant for taking advantage of this form of life and understand "What is God? What I am? What is my relationship with God? How to act? Why I am conditioned by so many miserable conditions of life—birth, death, old age and disease?" So many things are there. But if we do not take to this, if we simply remain like animals, eating, sleeping, mating, and defending, then we are factually missing the opportunity. Therefore our this Krsna consciousness movement is simply to make propaganda from door to door, that "Please chant Hare Krsna mantra." That's all. As Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, radha-krsna bolo sange cholo, ei matra bhikha chaya. We simply want this. So the, there is no loss, but the gain is very great. Why not take the chance? So the present human need of the human society is take to, to take to Krsna consciousness.
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