(Reprinted from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust)
Srila Prabhupada: Sva-karma or sva-dharma, the same thing. The word dharma, as it is explained in the English dictionary, "a kind of faith." Actually dharma does not mean that. Dharma means your occupational duty, the characteristic. Everything has got characteristic. Just like this microphone. The characteristic of microphone is to vibrate the sound loudly. This is dharma. If simply the microphone is there and it does not act to produce the sound loudly, then it is out of his dharma or out of order. Try to understand what is dharma.
There are many other examples. Just like water. Water is liquid, everyone knows. But sometimes water becomes solid, ice, under certain circumstances. That is not his dharma. To remain liquid -- its dharma. Therefore, sometimes water, even it is transformed into solid ice, it melts, again wants to become water. This is dharma. So what is our dharma, we human being. There is no question of any sect, any nation or any party, no, as human being. As human being or living being, what is our dharma? Dharma is to render service. Every one of us is rendering service. As a family man, he is rendering service, as a society man, as a national -- everyone is, whatever... Or occupation. As a medical man, you are also offering your service. As engineer, you are offering your service, or any other, businessman, you are also. Sometimes businessmen, they hang the signboard, "Our first business is to offer you service." So everyone is engaged in giving service to somebody else. This is called dharma, basic principle of dharma. So what is our dharma, living entity? Our dharma is to render service. But we are rendering service? But no. We are rendering service not rightly, but wrongly. Therefore you are no satisfied. There are many examples.
Just like in our country, Mahatma Gandhi, he also, he was here. He gave so much service. He gave service in India. But what was the return? The return was he was killed by his countrymen. This is the return, practical. The return was that he wanted to establish nonviolence, and his countrymen proved that nonviolence cannot go on -- "You must die by violence." This is material world, that however you may render service to your family, to your country, to your friend, to anyone, you will never be satisfied. Rather, when he is dissatisfied he will kill you. This is material world. So my occupational duty is to render service to somebody, but I cannot satisfy that somebody. This is material world. You go on giving service, but you will never be able to satisfy to the person to whom you are giving service. This is material world.
So what is the defect? The defect is that my business is to render service to the Supreme Lord which is misplaced in so many ways. In so many ways I am giving service to my society, to my friend, to my community, to my nation, and so on, so on. That is misplaced. Your duty is to render service to Krsna, or God, but that is being misplaced. Therefore you are not satisfied, neither the person to whom you are giving service, they are also not satisfied. This is the material world. Therefore Krsna comes. Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata [Bg. 4.7]. Dharmasya again. What is that dharma? To render service. When there is discrepancy to render service, then Krsna comes to teach you how you should render service. So we have created so many platform of service. They are not giving us satisfaction, neither to the person nor to me. So Krsna comes to rectify it. Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati. This is glanih. The service is misplaced.
Then what is to be done? Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. This is service. This is wanted. All other service... I have given you already the example. Who can give better service than Mahatma Gandhi? Who can become such honest man, ideal man. He was addressed as mahatma. Still, his service was not recognized. He was killed. So that is the result of material service. Therefore Krsna says that, "This kind of service rendering will never satisfy you, neither the party will be satisfied. You give up all this wrong engagement; you give service to Me." Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. "Then I will give up so many duties I have got?" "Yes, you can give up." "No, I will be involved in sinful activities because I am giving all, others service." "Yes." Aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami: "I shall give you protection. Don't bother. Don't worry." This is the sum and substance of the instruction in the Bhagavad-gita, and you have to learn it. Then our life will be successful.
In every respect we can render service. In all positions we can render service to Krsna. And that is being taught here: sve sve karmani, sve sve karmany abhiratah. You are a medical man. You are giving service. You can also be engaged in giving service to Krsna. Sve sve karmani. Or you are a businessman or you are engineer, whatever you may be. Sve sve karmani. Everyone has got a particular type of duty, engagement. That is dharma. So sve sve karmany abhiratah samsiddhim labhate narah. He can become perfect. Samsiddhim labhate narah. Svakarma-niratah siddhim yatha vindati tac chrnu: "I will explain to you," Krsna says. Now the svakarmana, svakarma...
Of course, now we are engaged in so many different types of duties, but the Vedic civilization, there are four divisions of society and four division of spiritual enlightenment. It is called varna and asrama. Four varnas means brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra. This is social arrangement. And spiritual arrangement -- brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa. So we are known, advertised, as Hindu. Actually there is no such word in the whole Vedic literature, Hindu. It is a name given by the Mohammedans on account of the river Sindu. They pronounced sa as ha. So the Sindu was mispronounced as Hindu and the side, or this side of Indus River, who resided, they are called by the Mohammedans as Hindus. The Hindu name is given by the Mohammedans. Actually, our dharma is varnasrama-dharma, four varnas and four asramas. That is the real name, varnasrama-dharma. The whole Vedic culture is dependent on varnasrama. It is meant for everyone, not that it is meant for Indians only, no. Four varnas and four asramas.
So how these four varnas are recognized? That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Brahmana. The first varna is brahmana. Brahmana is the head of the varnas, social arrangement. So brahmana, first of all it is said... Not here in the Eighteenth Chapter. In the, I think, Fourth Chapter it is. Catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah: [Bg. 4.13] "The catur-varna -- the brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra -- they are created by Me according to guna and karma, quality and action." One is designated, "Here is an engineer." This engineer is not by birthright, "Because my father is an engineer, so I become an engineer," no. You must have the qualification of the engineer. That is called guna. If you simply say that "I am a son of an engineer, therefore you must accept me as engineer," that is not accepted. Have you got qualification of engineer? If he says "Yes," then consider it. So guna.
Then I have got guna, but I do not practice it. Suppose I have passed medical examination, but I do not practice. Then nobody will call me a doctor sir. I must practice. I must cure patient. Then I will be known as medical practitioner. So guna-karma-vibhagasah, not only quality but also practice. So what are the gunas? The gunas are described in the Bhagavad-gita. Everything is there. Simply we have to study thoroughly and understand it thoroughly. Then the whole human society will be in peace and they will make progress not only in this life but in the next life also. Therefore it is said, samsiddhim labhate narah. Sve sve karmani niratah samsiddhim labhate narah. What is that samsiddhi?
mam upetya punar janma
samsiddhim paramam gatah
That is samsiddhi. The samsiddhi means, perfection of life means, that this life we shall act in such a way that next life, after giving up this body... We have to give up this body, but we should not give up this body like cats and dogs. That is human civilization. The cats and dogs, they also give up their body. And if we also give up our body like cats and dog that is not success of life. That is failure of life. Prahlada Maharaja has said that durlabham manusam janma tad apy adhruvam arthadam. Durlabham. This human form of life is durlabham. Durlabha... Duh means difficult, and labha means gained. After many, many millions of years of evolution process we get this human form of life. That is the nature's. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah [Bg. 3.27]. We are being carried by the laws of nature. So this human form of life is very durlabha, very rarely gotten. Durlabham manusam janma.
kaumara acaret prajno
dharman bhagavatan iha
durlabham manusam janma
tad apy adhruvam arthadam
This is the version of Prahlada Maharaja. He was preaching Krsna consciousness among his school friends. Because he was born in a demon father's family, Hiranyakasipu, he was stopped even uttering Krsna. He could not get any opportunity in the palace, so when he was coming to school, at the tiffin hour he would call his small friends, five years old, and he would preach this Bhagavata-dharma. And the friends would says, "My dear Prahlada, we are now children. Oh, what is the use of this Bhagavata-dharma? Let us play." "No," he said, "no." Kaumara acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan iha, durlabham manusam janma: [SB 7.6.1] "My dear friends, don't say that you'll keep it aside for cultivating Krsna consciousness in old age. No, no." Durlabham. "We do not know when we shall die. Before the next death we must complete this Krsna consciousness education."
That is the aim of human life. Otherwise we are losing the opportunity. So, everyone wants to live forever, but nature will not allow that. That's a fact. We may think very independent, but we are not independent. We are under the stringent laws of nature. A young man, you cannot say that "I will not become old man." No. You must become. That is the law of nature. And if you say, "I'll not die," no, you must die. So this is law of nature. So we, we are therefore mudhas. We do not know practically what is the law of nature.
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
Everything is being pulled down by the laws of material nature, and still, because we are so fool and rascal, we are thinking, "independent." This is our fault. This is our fault. We do not know what is the aim of life, how prakrti, nature, is carrying us, how we can protect ourself from the problems of life. We are busy in solving the temporary problems of life, just like dependence or independence. These are temporary problems.
Actually we are not independent. We are dependent on the laws of nature. And suppose we become independent, so-called independent, for a few days. That is not independence. Real independence is how to get out of the clutches of these material laws. Therefore Krsna presents before you the problem amongst... We have got so many problems, but that is temporary. Real problem is, Krsna says, janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam [Bg. 13.9]. A man of knowledge should always keep in the front the real problem. What is that? Birth, death, old age, and disease. This is your real problem. So the human life is meant for solving these four problems: birth, death, old age and disease. And that can be done by Krsna consciousness. So we are pushing on this Krsna consciousness movement to solve the ultimate problems of life. So our request is that you take this Krsna consciousness movement very seriously and solve the ultimate problems of life. And that problems of life can be solved simply by understanding Krsna, simply by understanding Krsna.
janma karma ca me divyam
yo janati tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti kaunteya
This is the solution of problem. Then what will be the benefit, mam eti, by going back to home, back to Krsna? Now, mam upetya tu kaunteya duhkhalayam asasvatam, napnuvanti. Mam upetya tu kaunteya samsiddhim labhate param [Bg. 8.15]. The same example, this, that "Anyone who comes back to Me," Krsna says, "then," duhkhalayam asasvatam napnuvanti, "he does not get again birth in this material world, which is duhkhalayam asasvatam." Krsna certifies about this world as duhkhalayam, "the place of miseries," and we are trying to be happy. This is our illusion. You cannot be happy in this material world. Tell me if anyone is happy. Nobody is happy. The problem, only problem, beginning from the womb of mother up to the again, next death, simply problems -- this is material life. Therefore Krsna says, mam upetya tu kaunteya duhkhalayam asasvatam [Bg. 8.15], napnuvanti: "He does not come again." That is the solution. That is samsiddhim labhate param.
So the society must be divided as suggested in Bhagavad-gita and other Vedic literature, that catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah [Bg. 4.13]. There must be four varnas and four asramas, ideal. Then you may be a sudra, you may be a grhastha, or you may be a brahmana. Everyone will get salvation, everyone attain the perfection, if we adopt this process. So there must be one class of men, first-class men, ideal, that people will learn that "Here is an ideal class of men. Let me try to imitate or follow them." But there is no ideal men now, at the present moment. Everyone is sudra. Kalau sudra-sambhavah. Then how the society will be happy? It is not possible because there is no ideal men. So here Krsna says that we should create, we should educate a section of men who are by brahmana, by guna, and karma, not by birth. Then society will be happy. Samo damas... This is the brahminical qualification,
samo damas tapah saucam
ksantir arjavam eva ca
jnanam vijnanam astikyam
So our, this Krsna consciousness movement is that for the time being we are trying to create a section of men, not from India, not from Hindus. Never, Krsna never said that "These things can be done only in India and amongst the section, Hindu." No. It is open for everyone. It is open for everyone. Just like if you start an engineering college, does it mean that it is meant for Hindus or Muslims or a certain nationality? No. It should be open for everyone. Anyone who wants to become a brahmana, he can become brahmana. Of course, the, what is called, conservative class of men, they come to fight with us that "How you are making brahmanas from the European and American people? They are mlecchas and yavana." No. That is not sastric injunction. Sastric injunction is there. It is spoken by Narada Muni, not ordinary person, but the great authority Narada. He was instructing about this varnasrama-dharma to Maharaja Yudhisthira, and he said, he summarized, "My dear king,"
yasya yal laksanam proktam
yad anyatrapi drsyeta
tat tenaiva vinirdiset
This is instruction. So here is the laksanam, symptom, who is brahmana: samah. Samah means controlling the sense, controlling the mind. In every circumstances mind is steady; that is called samah. And damah means senses, controlling the senses. My tongue is dried up, asking for a cigarette. Now, if I am brahmana, then I shall say, "No, you cannot smoke." That is damah. That is damah. A senses may dictate me... We are... Now, at the present moment, we are all servants of senses. I have already explained that our real occupational duty is to become servant. So instead of becoming servant of Krsna, we are now servant of our senses. This is our material life. So if you, instead of becoming servant of the senses, if you become master of the senses, then you are a brahmana. Then you are a brahmana. Not that you remain a servant of the senses and because you are born in a brahmana family you remain a brahmana. This is miscalculation. This is not allowed.
Therefore Krsna says, samo damas tapah. This samo damah, how it can be practiced without tapasya? It is so easy thing that you can control your mind and senses? But with tapasya. You must agree. That is human life. Tapo divyam putraka yena suddhyet sattvam. [SB 5.5.1]. Rsabhadeva was advising his sons, "My dear boys, this human form of life is meant for tapasya, tapah." What for tapasya? Divyam, to realize the Supreme, deva. Why it is required? Tapo divyam putraka yena suddhyet sattvam: "Your existence will be purified if you practice tapasya." "Now what is my existence? Am I impure?" Yes. Therefore you are dying. Otherwise you are eternal. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire [Bg. 2.20]. You, eternal, but you are dying. You are subject to death because your existence is impure.
Therefore, tapo divyam putraka yena suddhyet yasmad brahma-saukhyam anantam [SB 5.5.1]. If you want really blissful life eternally, then you must come to the eternal existential position platform. Yasmad brahma-saukhyam anantam. To become happy, to become joyful, that is your right because you are part and parcel of Krsna, God. He is sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah [Bs. 5.1]. You are part and parcel. So you are now fallen. You are trying to get that blissful life, but you are trying falsely, falsely in a platform where there is duhkhalayam asasvatam [Bg. 8.15] -- It is not possible. You come to the spiritual platform. You come to your original consciousness. Then your sattva, your existence, will be purified and you will enjoy. Enjoyment is your right. So therefore this samo damah can be practiced provided you agree to execute tapasya, tapasya.
Therefore in this Krsna consciousness movement we are training these boys, anyone -- it doesn't matter what he is -- no illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat-eating, no gambling. This is tapasya. Those who are practiced to these bad habits, for them it will be very difficult, very difficult. Yes. One of our godbrother went to preach in London and Lord Zetland, he was talking with him, and he said, "Goswamiji, can you make me a brahmana?" So he said, "Yes, why not? You give up these four bad habits," and he said, "It is impossible for us." He said clearly, "It is impossible. This is our life." But at the present moment these boys, hundreds and thousands of boys, they are giving up this practice. This is called tapasya. Hundreds and thousands, they have agreed. I have not bribed them. I am poor Indian. But they have agreed. "Yes." They are actually practicing no illicit sex, no gambling, no meat-eating, and no intoxication. They do not smoke even, don't take tea even. This is called tapasya.
So samo damah, brahminical first qualification, can be practiced provided you agree to undergo tapasya, tapah. And it is not very difficult. Not that because these boys, European, American boys, have given up these bad habit, they are dying for it. No. Rather, their parents, their countrymen, say they are bright-faced. When they chant on the street, they become surprised, their fathers. And some of the fathers, they come to thank me, "Swamiji, it is our great fortune that you have come to our country," because they know that how their sons are being rectified from the LSD habit. Professor Judah has written a book, very nice book, appreciating that "How these LSD men could become Krsna conscious servant of Krsna?" So it is... Everything is possible provided you agree, tapasya. Samo damas tapah.
Then saucam: very clean. Everyone must take bath thrice daily and wash the cloth. This is saucam, external, saucam. So they are doing that. They are rising early in the morning at half past three and taking bath. In this country they don't even require hot water, in cold water. Saucam, very cleanse. Samo damas tapah saucam ksantih, toleration. Ksantir arjavam, simplicity. Ksantir arjavam eva ca jnanam, knowledge. What is that knowledge? Knowledge that "I am not this body." This is knowledge. And if simply I think "I am this body," you may advance in your so-called scientific knowledge; you are a fool. This is called jnanam. And vijnanam, practical application. Jnanam vijnanam, then astikyam. Astikyam means to believe in the injunction of the sastra, astikyam. That is called theism. One who does not believe in the injunction... Just like Krsna is advise in the Bhagavad-gita. One who believe in the words of Krsna, he is astika. One who does not believe, he is nastika. This is the astika and nastika. So our nastika definition means one who does not believe in the Vedic instruction. He is called nastika. So brahmana must be astikyam.
samo damas tapah saucam
ksantir arjavam eva ca
jnanam vijnanam astikyam
If you acquire this qualification, then you are brahmana. So is it very difficult? Simply there is no training center. Throughout the whole world there is no such training department. There are many department of knowledge, but how to create an ideal brahmana, there is no education. There is no education.
Therefore the brahmana is considered to be the head of the body. Just like we have got this body, this head is to be considered as brahmana, and the arm is to be considered as ksatriya, the belly is to be considered as vaisya and the leg is considered as sudra. So as to maintain this body nicely you must everything in order -- the head, brain must be in order, the hand, arms must be in order, the belly must be digesting food and getting energy and the leg also must walk -- similarly -- sve sve karmany abhiratah, never mind you are a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra -- if your aim is to keep the body in order, then either you become brahmana, either you become ksatriya or sudra, everything is in order. That is required. Unless these instructions are followed as given by Krsna... He comes. Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati [Bg. 4.7]. He comes there. He leaves this instruction. If you take advantage of this instruction and make your society, family, or government, everything, according to the instruction of Bhagavad-gita, then everything is perfect. Otherwise you are doomed. Thank you very much. Hare Krsna. (applause)
Pusta Krsna: Questions, Srila Prabhupada?
Pusta Krsna: If anybody... [break] ...would like to ask His Divine Grace, please just come forward and speak through the microphone so everyone can hear.
Indian man (1): Swamiji, is there any truth in the belief that if two persons marry each other during a certain specific time of the year, their marriage will be more prosperous than would otherwise be the case?
Pusta Krsna: He's asking is there any truth to the statement that if two people marry each other at a certain time, their marriage will be more auspicious or prosperous than if they marry at other times?
Prabhupada: Marriage. So, according to Bhagavad-gita, married life is required. Sex under marriage rules is permitted. Dharma-viruddhah kamo 'smi. Sex life... Ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithuna. These are bodily necessities --eating, sleeping, sex, and defense. Ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam ca. So that, these four kinds of necessities are there in the animals also. The dog also eats, sleep, sex life and defend. Then what is the difference between the dog's life and man's life? The difference is the dog's life is not regulated under religious principle. The man's life is regulated under religious principle. So under religious principle if you arrange for sex life, then it is good. Otherwise it is dog's life. That's all. (applause)
Pusta Krsna: Any other question?
Indian man (2): Swamiji, throughout the world the kind of religion that is practiced hasn't seemed to help to solve the problems. We find that people throughout the world are ill-fed, ill-clothed and ill-housed. Do you think a movement of this type could solve the problem?
Prabhupada: Yes. I have already explained what is meaning of religion. Religion means to render service to God. If you do not render service to God, that is not religion; that is cheating. Therefore in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, dharmah projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam [SB 1.1.2], that "Cheating type of religion is completely rejected from Srimad-Bhagavatam." That is not dharma. Therefore Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam [Bg. 18.66]. This is dharma. Dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam: [SB 6.3.19] "Dharma means the codes and the law given by God." So God says that, to surrender unto Him. Mam ekam saranam vraja. So if one does not surrender to God, that religion has no meaning. It is useless.
Pusta Krsna: Other questions?
Indian man (3): Swamiji, I would like to ask you one question, and that is in this time of Kali-yuga, is it possible that a layman could see the Paramatma with his naked eye? And if he can, what he has to do or what?
Prabhupada: So the Paramatma cannot be seen with your naked eye. You cannot see anything with your naked eye. You are very much proud of your eyes, but you do not see things as they are. Just like you are seeing daily the sun. You see it is just like a disk, but it is not a disk. It is fourteen hundred times, fourteen hundred thousand times bigger than this planet. So you cannot see God, Paramatma, by these eyes, these material eyes. You have to create your eyes. That is said,
santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
You can see God, or Krsna, when you have developed love for Him. Otherwise you cannot see. This is the formula. You have to develop your... That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. In the Seventh Chapter I was speaking yesterday.
mayy asakta-manah partha
yogam yunjan mad-asrayah
asamsayam samagram mam
yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu
So this is practice how to see God. But in this Kali-yuga, as you have mentioned Kali-yuga, it is very simple thing. What is that? That simple thing is kaler dosa-nidhe rajann hy asti eko mahan gunah. In the sastra it is said this Kali-yuga is full of faults, so many faults. It is the ocean of faults. But there is a very nice thing, asti hy eko mahan gunah, a very great quality. What is that? Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. If you simply chant Hare Krsna mantra, then you become perfect. Is it very difficult? Chant Hare Krsna and you become perfect. But we are so unfortunate, we are not even prepared to chant. This is our position. So you have to make little determination that "I shall chant henceforward Hare Krsna mantra." Then everything is all right.
(Srila Prabhupada lecture, Durban, October 11, 1975)
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