Solving the Problems of Life
A lecture by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
(Reprinted from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust)


Translation: "One who understands this philosophy concerning material nature, the living entity and the interaction of the modes of nature is sure to attain liberation. He will not take birth here again, regardless of his present position."

Prabhupada: So the aim of life is always being stressed by Krsna, to stop this process of undergoing different changes of body. Janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi. Na bhuyo 'bhijayate. In many place Krsna has said this. Yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama [Bg. 15.6]. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9]. This is the aim of life. But people are misled by the blind leaders. We can say, "rascal leaders," but it may be very strong language. Krsna has said. All persons who are not interested in Krsna consciousness, all such persons have been described as mudhas, rascals. Na mam duskrtino mudhah prapadyante naradhamah [Bg. 7.15]. Naradhamah. He has chastised and used very strong words. Ajasram andha-yonisu: "I push them into the darkest region of material existence." Actually that is happening. People without God consciousness, without Krsna consciousness, gradually becoming entrapped in ignorance.

The such important life, human form of life. Nobody is interested to know about the philosophy of life, value of life. They have become so frivolous. In this evening, everyone is engaged in childish activities, but nobody is interested in the real problem of life. The real problem of life is stated, na bhuyah abhijayate. And big, big leaders... Ask them what is the real problem of life. They do not know. Andha yathandhair upaniyamanah. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah [SB 7.5.31].

Durasaya, "expectation which will never be fulfilled, never be fulfilled." They are trying to adjust things by so-called material adjustment, and that will not be. Therefore it is said durasaya. Asaya means hope, and dur means "never to be fulfilled, far, far away." Durasaya. Without God consciousness, without stopping the process of birth and death, you cannot be happy. That is not possibility. But they have become so foolish. They are thinking that this duration of life, say fifty or sixty years, that's all. After this...

Big, big leaders, they say like that, that "After death, there is no life. Everything is finished." Big, big professors, big, big learned scholars, they are of this opinion, that after death there is no life. Everything is finished. And wherefrom all these different forms of life come, they cannot answer. There are eight million four hundred thousand forms of life. Wherefrom they come? What is the purpose of so many forms of life? What is the purpose of life? What is the distinction between the form of human life and these lower grades of life? Higher grades of life -- no knowledge, no knowledge. Everyone is ignorant, foolish. Therefore they have been addressed as mudha, mudha, all rascals.

If we say that "This is a civilization of rascals," it is not very strong word. Actually, they are rascals. They do not know the value of life. And the real problem of life. Simply like animals, they are eating, sleeping, having sex life and dying. That's all. This is their life. So one has to learn.

Therefore Krsna says, ya evam vetti purusam prakrtim. You must learn what is this living entity. That also we do not know. Prakrti. This body is prakrti. And the living force which is within the body, that is purusa. And there are two kinds of purusas -- the living entity and the Supersoul, Paramatma. Atma and Paramatma. The atma is creating his own field of activities. Paramatma is observing only, "What you are doing?" These things we have already discussed. Upadrasta anumanta. The paramatma-purusa is upadrasta, overseeing your activities. You want to do something, but without His permission, you cannot do. Upadrasta anumanta ca bharta. He is the maintainer.

Therefore we must know. This is knowledge. This is knowledge. This body, ksetra, the owner of the body, ksetra-jna, and the proprietor of the body, the Paramatma, the owner of the body. We have already discussed all these things. You should remember very nicely. That is real knowledge. Jnanam.

What is the process of knowledge? Amanitvam adambhitvam ksantir arjavam acaryopasanam bhakti-yogam. To know the problems of life, This is knowledge. The aim of life. The aim of life is not to take birth again. So who is understanding all these things. Nobody is interested. Simply they are interested in the animalistic way of life. That's all. Just like animals. But Bhagavan, Krsna, says that "One should know this." Ya evam vetti purusam prakrtim ca gunaih... And the qualities of the prakrti, sattva-guna, rajo-guna, tamo-guna. Gunaih saha. Simply know the earth, water, air, fire.

Just like modern scientists. They are trying to understand. Scientific laboratory means they are analytically studying earth, water, air, physical. Physical studies. Metaphysical. Not metaphysical, physical, physical studies. But they do not know that there are other things of the physical world. That is guna. Traigunya-visaya veda nistraigunyo bhavarjuna. How physical changes are taking place, how one physical element is valuable, one physical element is not valuable -- that is due to different interactions of the modes of material nature, guna. Gunaih saha. So simply physical elementary study is not sufficient. You must know the gunaih saha, how the qualities are acting. Ya evam vetti purusam prakrtim ca gunaih saha, sarvatha vartamano 'pi.

If you have got sufficient knowledge... The knowledge is there in the Bhagavad-gita. Simply you have to study. You have to take lessons from the Bhagavad-gita from the right person. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet srotriyam brahma-nistham [MU 1.2.12]. You must learn from a guru who is actually in knowledge of this Vedic literatures, srotriyam brahma-nistham.

And what is the symptom of such knowledge? Brahma-nistham, firmly fixed up in Brahman. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. To know Brahman means to know not only the impersonal brahmajyoti, but also Paramatma and Bhagavan. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. This is knowledge. So such person who has got sufficient knowledge what is this prakrti, material world, what is the purusa, the living entity who is trying to enjoy this material world, and the paramatma-purusa, another purusa...

upadrastanumanta ca
bharta bhokta mahesvarah
paramatmeti capy ukto
dehe 'smin purusah parah

Those who have no knowledge, they cannot understand, there are two purusas. One is apara, and one is para. Apara-purusa is the living entity, who is trying to enjoy this material world. But para-purusa is the anumanta, guiding principle or order-giving. There are two purusas, not one. One is inferior and other is superior. Superior purusa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna Himself. Isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati [Bg. 18.61]. That is purusa-para. And apara. As there are apara-prakrti and para-prakrti. This material world is apara-prakrti, but there is spiritual world also. That is called para-prakrti.

When there is such a statement in the Vedas that "The Supreme Spirit is nirakara, or without form," that does not mean He has no form. He has His form, but that is spiritual form, sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah [Bs. 5.1]. When it is negativated, that means the negative idea is of this inferior energy. So these things we should know. And if you know, then the result will be sarvatha vartamano 'pi, wherever you stay, Sarvatha vartamano 'pi, you are mukta. As it is stated by Rupa Gosvami, iha yasya harer dasye...

iha yasya harer dasye
karmana manasa gira
nikhilasv apy avasthasu
jivan-muktah sa ucyate

This stage can be attained in the bhakti-yoga. Bhakti-yoga means one who has understood everything very perfectly. Sometimes foolish people say that "Bhakti-yoga is meant for the less intelligent class of men." But he is less intelligent. Unless one is very, very intelligent, he cannot take to Krsna consciousness. Therefore Caitanya-caritamrta author says, krsna yei bhaje sei bada catura: "Unless one is very intelligent, he cannot become a devotee of Krsna." Because he knows everything.

That is stated in Bhagavad-gita,

brahma-bhutah prasannatma
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param
[Bg. 18.54]

One who is actually devotee, param, para-bhakti, he is already brahma-bhuta, liberated, self-realized. Without being self-realized, nobody can attain unalloyed devotional platform. Bhakti means the platform where only liberated person can act. That is bhakti platform. Iha yasya, those who are always working for Krsna. Iha, iha means desire. Yasya, harer dasye. Just to serve Krsna. He has no other business.

Just like these boys and girls who have joined Krsna consciousness movement from Europe and America, they have no other business. They are simply engaged in executing Krsna consciousness. Iha yasya harer dasye. Karmana, by working; manasa, thinking; vaca, by preaching. Karmana manasa vaca. Because we have got three things to act. We can act with our senses, karma.

So karma, the karmis are also working, and the devotees are also working, but karmis are working -- their words and mind is differently engaged. Because they are working very hard day and night, but they are thinking of, manasa, sense gratification. Karmana manasa vaca. And they are talking only sense gratification. Therefore their mind and words are engaged differently. But one whose mind, words, and activities are engaged in the service of the Lord, iha yasya harer dasye karmana manasa vaca, so he may be situated in any position, jivan-mukta sa ucyate, he is liberated. The same thing is confirmed here. Sarvatha vartamano 'pi na sa bhuyo 'bhijayate.

Unless he is liberated, how he can stop his next birth? Here it is clearly said, na bhuyah abhijayate. Abhijayate means to take birth again, to accept another material body. That... Unless you become liberated, mukta, you have to accept a material body. Mukti means to stop accepting this material body. That is called mukti. To remain in a spiritual body. But they do not know even what is spiritual body, what is material body. Simply like cats and dogs, they are engaged in sense gratification, eating, sleeping, mating. And this Bhagavad-gita is the ABCD, preliminary knowledge of spiritual understanding. People are unaware of... And misleaders, they give misinformation, mal-interpretation.

And there are so many people. They are very much proud. He has read Bhagavad-gita hundred times, but he does not know anything. He does not know anything. Because... The difficulty is that the instruction of Bhagavad-gita, they do not follow.

The instruction of Bhagavad-gita is evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh [Bg. 4.2]. One has to learn from the disciplic succession. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya [Bg. 4.34]. You have to learn from a person by full surrender. You cannot surrender to a third-class man. Unless one is very advanced, naturally you surrender. But this is the process. Unless you are prepared to surrender. Surrender means you approach somebody where your intelligence is nothing. Therefore you have to surrender. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya.

Sevaya and daya. There are two words. Seva is offered to the superior person, seva, service. And daya is offered to an inferior person. Who is less than you, he requires your mercy, that is daya. But who is superior than you, who requires your service, that is called seva. This is the difference between seva and daya. But people do not know. They are trying to amalgamate daya and seva. No. Daya to the inferior person. Just like a child. He requires your daya, the daya of the parents, mercy of the parents. But a guru, he requires your seva, service. So you have to approve seva, pranipata, surrender, seva; then you can question. Don't question unnecessarily, waste your time, where you cannot surrender, where you cannot render your service.

This is the process. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya [Bg. 4.34]. Then you can derive some benefit from the realized person. Upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah. Knowledge can be distributed by a person who has seen what is, who has experienced seeing... Seeing and hearing, these are the sources of gaining experience. So the sruti means hearing. And by hearing you will see. By hearing about God, Krsna, ultimately you will see Him. When, by hearing, hearing, you'll develop your Krsna consciousness... Adau sraddha tatah sadhu-sanga. Hearing is possible by association with devotees, sadhu-sanga. You cannot hear from the rascals. You have to hear from the superior person, one who is self-realized. Hearing. Satam prasangan mama virya-samvido bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah. Satam prasangat. By association with superior devotees... [break]

...apavarga-vartmani, on the path of liberation, sraddha bhaktir ratir anukramisyati. Then sraddha, bhaktih, attachment, rati, anukrama, one right by another, one by after another. Yes. So this is the process. But the age is so, Kali-yuga is so fallen, that people have lost all interest to understand the problem of life, how to solve them, how to attain to the platform of knowledge. They are not interested. Thank you very much. Hare Krsna. (end) 

(Srila Prabhupada lecture, Bombay, October 23, 1973)
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