.(Reprinted from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust)
Vyasa-Puja Lecture by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Srila Prabhupada: My dear sons and daughters, I am so much obliged to you that you have become so enthusiastic for offering Vyasa-puja. Now try to understand. Several times we have explained why this function is called Vyasa-puja. I have already explained in the morning, this offering worshiping, one may think that this man is teaching his disciples man-worshiping, anthropomorphism. But it is not man-worshiping. One should not misunderstand. Vyasadeva is the original spiritual master. Original spiritual master is Krsna. From Krsna, Brahma was initiated, Lord Brahma. Tene brahma hrdaya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah. It is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that when Brahma was created, it was all darkness within the universe. He could not understand what is the purpose of his becoming there. Then he engaged himself in tapasya, and he was initiated from within.
Krsna is within everyone. Isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati [Bg. 18.61]. So He is called caitya-guru, means guru within the heart. And when Krsna understands... Because Krsna knows everything, whatever we are willing, whatever we are doing. He is the Paramatma; He's sitting within our hearts as witness. Anumanta upadrsta. Upadrsta means simply observing what we are doing, and what we are desiring. So as we desire, Krsna is very kind, He gives us facility. We have many times explained. Therefore, we have got varieties of bodies to enjoy this material world. So when Krsna sees that a living entity is very anxious to understand Him or to revive his Krsna consciousness, then Krsna gives him all opportunity, especially by manifesting Himself as the spiritual master. Antar bahih. The spiritual master is therefore Krsna's manifestation - -Krsna's mercy manifestation to help a person to develop his Krsna consciousness. From within He's helping. Therefore, He's called caitya-guru, and from without, He sends His representative to help how to become advanced in Krsna consciousness.
Therefore, to advance in Krsna consciousness we require two kinds of help -- one from Krsna and another from the spiritual master. It is stated in the Caitanya-caritamrta... You'll be glad now that Caitanya-caritamrta is now published. (devotees: Jaya! Haribol!) Yes. (This) It is the... Our Panditji, Pradyumna, he has presented. Actually, he has worked for it, although I have translated. But I am very much indebted to him that he very carefully edits and makes the thing very perfect. So, now we have got translation of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, and Sanskrit portion... Because mostly there is Sanskrit portion, so, so my beloved disciple, Pradyumna, I call him Pandit Mahasaya, because he is actually doing the pandita's work. So he edits and he works very hard. And... Not only that, his wife also helps in this connection. So actually, that is wanted.
kiba vipra kiba sudra nyase kene naya
ye krsna tattva vetta sei guru haya
I'm sometimes criticized by my Godbrothers that I have become a marriage-maker, because a sannyasi does not take part in a marriage ceremony, but I get my disciples married. This is also unique in the history. So they criticize me that I have become a marriage-maker. But they, they do not know why I take this risk. I have got many disciples, they are married couples, but all of them, husband and wife, they are helping this movement. Here is Bhagavan dasa, he's also married man, children.
So actually, married couples should be paramahamsas. Paramahamsa means the topmost stage of sannyasi. Paramahamsa. A sannyasi has got four stages: kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya and paramahamsa. A sannyasi, in the beginning, he's supposed to make a small cottage, just on the border of the village, does not go home, but the, his necessities are supplied by his home, but he does not go home. This is called kuticaka. Then gradually, when he is practiced, he begs from home to home. He does not anymore depend on his own home. That is called bahudaka. Bahudaka means collecting his necessity from many places. And then as he becomes practiced, he becomes parivrajakacarya. He goes from place to place, village to village, preaching the message of Krsna. As our Sriman Revatinandana Maharaja is doing. He has now very nice bus. All others also doing. Grhasthas are also doing. Because our only business is Krsna. It doesn't matter whether a grhastha, vanaprastha, sannyasi. It doesn't matter. So when he preaches all over the world, that is called parivrajakacarya. And when he's experienced, he executes the work by his assistants. That is called paramahamsa. So grhasthas are supposed to be paramahamsa. Just like Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he was grhastha, magistrate, government servant, but he has worked so much for Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in writing books. Not only writing books, but also begetting a child like Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, my spiritual master. So that is grhastha. They should produce children like Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. Because we want big stalwart men to preach this Krsna consciousness movement.
So everyone has got duty in Krsna consciousness, and this duty is taught by Krsna and the spiritual master. Guru-krsna-krpaya paya bhakti-lata-bija [Cc. Madhya 19.151]. Ei rupe brahmanda bhramite kono bhagyavan jiva. Anyone who is coming to Krsna consciousness, he's not ordinary living being. Anyone who is connected with our movement, he's not ordinary living being. Actually, he's liberated soul. And I am very much hopeful that my disciples who are now participating today, even if I die, my movement will not stop, I am very much hopeful. Yes. All these nice boys and girls who have taken so seriously... Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted that European and American people may understand the philosophy of Caitanya cult and take part in it. That was his desire. My Guru Maharaja, His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada, he also attempted to send his disciples to preach Caitanya cult in the Western world. One of them, he advised me also. First meeting, perhaps you know, he asked me to preach. So at that time I was young man, only twenty-five years old, and I was also householder. So I should have joined and executed his desire immediately, but due to my ill luck I could not immediately execute his order, but it was in my heart that it is to be done. So better late than never, I executed his order at the age of seventy years, not at the age of twenty-five. So actually I wasted so much time, I can understand that. From twenty... The message was there when I was twenty-five years old, but I began at the age of seventy years. But I did not forget the message. Otherwise, how could I do? That was, that is a fact. I was simply finding out the opportunity, how to do it. So anyway, although I began very late, at the age of seventy years, so by the help of my disciples this movement is gaining ground and is spreading all over the world. So therefore I have to thank you. It is all due to you. It is not my credit, but it is your credit that you are helping me in executing the order of my Guru Maharaja.
So this movement, Krsna consciousness movement, that you already know, that this is a most essential, most important movement to the human society. Last night the Ambassador of India, His Excellency Rasagotra, he was present here. He also appreciated that this movement is very important movement, and he was very pleased that I have done so much. So this movement will go on. Nobody can stop. So this Vyasa-puja ceremony means to offer our thanks to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because He is is the original guru. As we receive this message through parampara system from Krsna to Brahma, Brahma to Narada, Narada to Vyasadeva, Vyasadeva to Madhvacarya, in this way, Madhavendra Puri, then Isvara Puri, then Caitanya Mahaprabhu, then six Gosvamis, then others, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Jagannatha dasa Babaji, Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Then we have taken. So this, as we come to this Krsna consciousness understanding through this long parampara, similarly, in the Vyasa-puja ceremony, whatever respect, honor, and presentation you give, that goes to Krsna through that parampara system, from down. As it is received through the parampara system, so similarly, your offerings also goes through this parampara system to the Supreme. The connection.
Our system is gopi-bhartur pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah [Cc. Madhya 13.80]. It is sometimes called bureaucracy. If you apply something, at least in India, to the President, you'll have to submit to the local collector. The collector will submit to somebody else, somebody else, then secretary, you go. Then to the President. So our system is that. So it is not that I am training my disciples to worship me, man-worship, I'm getting some honor from them for nothing. No. It is not that. Whatever honor, whatever respect, whatever presentation you are giving to your spiritual master, it will go to Krsna by parampara system. This is Vyasa-puja. Therefore, it is called Vyasa-puja. Vyasa-puja means Vyasadeva is the original guru. After Brahma, Narada, then Vyasa. And Vyasa is original guru, because from his literature we understand spiritual knowledge. All these literatures whatever we have produced, they are actually originally from Vyasadeva. The four Vedas, Brahma-sutra, Upanisads, Puranas, they are called Vedic literature. And whatever is written with the conclusion of this Vedic literature, that is also Vedic literature. Just like our books. All our books, they are not mental speculation. Whatever I have learned from my Guru Maharaja, I am presenting. That's all. It is not mental speculation -- this philosophy, that philosophy. We kick out all these things. Unless we get the knowledge from the authorized source, we don't accept. Because how we can accept? A so-called philosopher, scientist, according to... Why according? Everyone can understand that however great philosopher, scientist one may be, he is imperfect. He's imperfect. Every man. I have several times recited this example that in our country Gandhi was very big politician. You know Mahatma Gandhi. He committed so many mistakes. At last he committed such a great mistake that he was killed. That's a long history. So even a great person like Mahatma Gandhi, he commits mistake. Therefore, the sastra says any conditioned soul, he must commit mistake. However great he may be in the estimation of fools and rascals. Sva-vid-varahostra. He must commit mistake, he must be illusioned, his propensity is to cheat, and at the end, all the senses are imperfect. We have several times described. So, so much imperfectness, how he can give perfect knowledge?
Therefore, a so-called philosopher, scientist's knowledge is always imperfect. The perfect knowledge can be received through this parampara system. From Krsna, Krsna to Brahma, Brahma to Narada, Narada to Vyasa, Vyasa to Madhvacarya. In this way, from Caitanya Mahaprabhu, six Gosvamis, then our Guru Maharaja, in this way. And our business is just to present whatever we have heard. This is very important point. And because we do not speculate mentally, just like so many svamis comes from India. They make their own presentation by speculation. So whatever little success I have got, it is due to this process, that I do not present anything which is created by me. That is the secret of success. All these rascals, I say, declare in this, all these rascals come, they manufacture. A spiritual thing cannot be manufactured -- as God cannot be manufactured. God is always God, and the words of God is also God. If we present as it is, then it will be effective. That is said in the sastra:
satam prasangan mama virya-samvido
bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah
taj-josanad asv apavarga-vartmani
sraddha bhaktir ratir anukramisyati
Everything is there. Satam prasangan. From a bona fide spiritual master you receive knowledge, because he will present as he has received from his spiritual master. He'll not adulterate or manufacture something. That is the bona fide spiritual master. And that is very easy. To become spiritual master is not very difficult thing. You'll have to become spiritual master. You, all my disciples, everyone should become spiritual master. It is not difficult. It is difficult when you manufacture something. But if you simply present whatever you have heard from your spiritual master, it is very easy. If you want to become overintelligent, to present something, to interpret something, whatever over you have heard from spiritual master you can make some further addition, alteration, then you'll spoil whole thing. Then you'll spoil whole thing. Don't make addition or alteration. Simply present as it is. Therefore, we have begun Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Don't try to become over spiritual master. Then you'll spoil. Remain always a servant of your spiritual master and present the thing as you have heard. You'll be spiritual master. This is secret. You should know it. Don't try to become overintelligent. That will spoil. Evam parampara praptam imam rajarsayo viduh [Bg. 4.2]. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu says,
amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa
yare dekha, tare kaha, 'krsna'-upadesa
[Cc. Madhya 7.128]
Just see. It is very nice. You'll find in Caitanya-caritamrta, now it is published. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, He is the Supreme Lord, Krsna. He says, amara ajnaya. "Whatever I say, amara ajnaya, by My order, you become a spiritual master." Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So one may be very illiterate, no education, or no scholarship, may not be born in brahmana family, or may not be a sannyasi. There are so many qualification. But one may not have all these qualifications. He may be rascal number one, but still, he can become spiritual master. How? Amara ajnaya. As Krsna says, as Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, if you follow, then you become spiritual master. One may be rascal number one from material estimation, but if he simply strictly follows whatever is said by Caitanya Mahaprabhu or His representative spiritual master, then he becomes a guru.
So it is not very difficult. One may not think that "I am not qualified to become guru." No, you are qualified if you follow strictly the parampara system. Then you are qualified. That's all. Amara ajnaya guru hana... And what is the difficulty? Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, "Don't feel any difficulty." Because as spiritual master, what you have to do? Yare dekha, tare kaha, 'krsna'-upadesa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Whomever you meet, you simply speak to him the instruction which Krsna gives. What Krsna instruction gives? That is also very easy. What is that? Krsna says man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. Krsna says "Just become My devotee, always think of Me, offer Me obeisances, and worship Me." So here is Krsna. If you simply think "Here is Krsna, Radha-Krsna Deity," you may be fool number, rascal number one. That doesn't matter. But you are getting impression of this Radha-Krsna, think of Him: "Oh, how nicely Krsna is decorated." This much. No erudite scholarship. Simply... Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto. Here is Deity. Worship Him nicely as it is regulated principle. Even you are not worshiping, simply think of Krsna, "Here is Radha-Krsna." Impression. What is the difficulty? As soon as you see Radha-Krsna, you get some impression. Think of that impression. Where is the difficulty? Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto. "Worship me." If you have got opportunity, worship. If you are initiated, worship here. Or you install Deity at home, as our Ksirodakasayi Prabhu is doing. Everyone can do it. Where is the difficulty? Now ask him how he is happy. The whole family is happy. Not only he. But his wife, his children, everyone is happy. Practical. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. And if you cannot do anything, simply come and offer your obeisances: "My dear Lord Krsna, I am so poor, so unfortunate, I cannot do all these things, but I offer my humble obeisances unto Your lotus feet." That much also. If you do this, you become spiritual master.
So, simply by accepting this principle, and even if you are not learned, illiterate, you are hearing so much from Bhagavad-gita, you simply repeat that. Simply repeat that. There is no question of becoming very learned scholar. God has given you this ear. Even if you are blind, you cannot read, you can hear. So krsna-upadesa, what is Krsna...? This is 'krsna'-upadesa. And at last, Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. So if you simply preach this cult, "My dear friend, my dear brother, you surrender to Krsna," you become spiritual master. You become spiritual master. You go door to door. No other talks. Simply say, "My dear friend, you are very nice, you are very learned." That was adopted by Prabodhananda Sarasvati.
dante nidhaya trnakam padayor nipatya
kaku-satam krtva caham bravimi
he sadhavah sakalam eva vihaya durad
caitanya-candra-carane kurutanuragam (sic)
The meaning is the preaching, very easy. Dante nidhaya trnakam. According to Indian system, if you put a grass on your mouth, it is a sign of that you have become very humble. If you approach a person with a grass in your mouth, he'll immediately know that you are coming there with very, very great humbleness. Therefore dante nidhaya. This was the system. Dante nidhaya trnakam, and touching his feet. Immediately, touch his feet. Immediately, even if he's enemy, he'll be a friend. Even if he's your enemy, it is so nice process. Take a grass on your mouth and immediately fall on his feet, padayor nipetya, and with folded hands, much flattering. Dante nidhaya trnakam padayor nipatya kaku-satam krtva ca. All flattering words. Aham bravimi. So immediately he will agree, "Yes, what you say I'll hear. I'll hear." Immediately, convert to hear you at least. Just see how perfect process is. "Then what is your purpose, sir? Why you are becoming so humble, meek? And now say." "Yes sir, I'll say." What is that? He sadhavah, "You are a great sadhu." Although he may be rascal number one. Still, you call him, he sadhavah. "Yes, I am sadhu, yes. What is your proposal?" "Now kindly forget all nonsense, whatever you have learned. That's all. I am flattering you because I want that you forget everything, all these yogis and this and that and that and meditation. Please kick out all these." "Then what I have to do?" Caitanya-candra-carane kurutanuragam. Just adhere yourself to the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then you become spiritual master. That's all."
So I hope that all of you, men, women, boys and girls, become spiritual master, and follow this principle. Spiritual master, simply, sincerely, follow the principles and speak to the general public. Then Krsna immediately becomes your favorite. Krsna does not become your favorite; you become Krsna's favorite. Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, na ca tasmad manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah: "One who is doing this humble service of preaching work, Krsna consciousness, nobody is dearer than him to Me." So if you want to become recognized by Krsna very quickly, you take up this process of becoming spiritual master, present the Bhagavad-gita as it is. Your life is perfect.
Thank you very much.
(Srila Prabhupada, Sri Vyasa-Puja Lecture, London, August 22, 1973)
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