(Reprinted from the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust)
A lecture by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Recorded in Calcutta, February 26, 1974
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
"The supreme occupation, or dharma, for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted in order to completely satisfy the self."
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
Atma, atma means this body, atma means the mind also, and atma means the soul, and, above that, the Paramatma, Bhagavan. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. So yaya atma suprasidati. Su means very much. Not only prasidati but suprasidati, very much. Everyone. The body becomes satisfied, the mind becomes satisfied, the soul becomes satisfied, and the Supreme Paramatma, He also becomes satisfied. So that is called paro dharmah. Paro dharmah means... Parah means superior, and dharmah means occupational duty. Everyone has got occupational duty. It doesn't matter, either you are a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, sannyasa. Everyone has got occupational duty. That is human society. Human society means when the society is divided into these eight divisions: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa. Varnasrama-dharma. That is Vedic civilization.
purusena parah puman
visnur aradhyate pantha
Unless the human society comes to the standard of executing varnasrama-dharma, it is not human society; it is animal society, no regulative principles. The animals, they have no regulative principles, but human society must follow regulative principles. That is called varnasrama-dharma.
So varnasrama-dharma is also material. That is not spiritual. Varnasrama-dharma is the beginning of spiritual life. How one can come to the standard of spiritual life? It is a regulated life, when executing... The spiritual life is visnur aradhyate panthah. When one comes to the platform of worshiping Visnu, that is spiritual life. But the people, they do not know what is the aim of life, what is the goal of life. They do not know. Not only nowadays, the material world is meant like that. They have forgotten, forgotten. They are thinking, those who are too much materialistic, they are thinking that "I am this body, and satisfaction of the bodily senses is the ultimate goal of my life." But that is not the goal of life. The goal of life is to find out the ways and means how to satisfy the Supreme Lord.
That is also stated in this chapter, atah pumbhir dvija-srestha varnasrama-vibhagasah... This meeting was presided by Suta Gosvami, and there were many learned brahmanas, learned scholars, sages. Therefore he was addressing the audience, dvija-sresthah. Dvija means twice-born: first birth by the father and mother, and the second birth by samskara, or by culture. Brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, they have got samskara. Sudras have no samskara. Samskara-varjita means sudra. In this age nobody observes the samskaras. Therefore in the sastra it is said, kalau sudra-sambhavah. In the Kali-yuga almost every person is a sudra. Therefore there is so much chaos. The government is managed by the sudras or less than sudras, mleccha. Mleccha-rajendra-rupinah. Mlecchas have taken the post of government. It is meant for the ksatriyas, means qualified ksatriya, very brave, very powerful, very charitable, not going away when there is fight. That is ksatriya's position. Brahmana means satyam samo damas titiksa. So people should be trained up as brahmana, as ksatriya, as vaisya. Krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam [Bg. 18.44]. The vaisya's duty is to produce food grains, agriculture, and give protection to the cows, and if you have got surplus foodstuff, you can make trade where there is shortage.
So actually this statement of the sastras, that kalau sudra-sambhavah, hardly there is brahmana or ksatriya or vaisya because nobody is doing their duty. Instead of producing food grains, vaisyas are engaged in running on big, big factories. So factory cannot produce food grains. Therefore there is food shortage or people are not getting ample foodstuff, they are starving, and there must be agitation. There is no brahmana's guidance, there is no ksatriya kings, and sudras are also not executing their duty. Then what will be the result? This is the result. This is the result. Therefore this is material dharma. Atah pumbhir dvija-srestha varnasrama-vibhagasah. That vibhaga, or division must be there. Otherwise there must be chaos. Just like in your body there is division, the brain division, here, the brain division, the arms division, and the belly division, and the leg division. So these divisions are required. If you have no brain, then how you can control your other senses? If you have no strength in your arms, how can you protect yourself? If you have no digestive power, there is no food, how you live? And if there is no leg, or the laborer class, how you will walk? This is natural division. Therefore varnasrama-vibhagasah, the varnasrama division must be there. That is human society.
Everything is described very nicely in the Bhagavad-gita. Annad bhavanti bhutani. Annad bhavanti bhutani parjanyad anna-sambhavah. Parjanyad anna-sambhavah, and yajnad bhavati parjanyo yajnah karma... [Bg. 3.14]. And the animals, as soon as they are fatty and grown up, they are sent to the slaughterhouse. This business is going on. So why there should not be crisis in food grain and crisis in human...? There must be. Because we are not abiding by the orders of the Supreme Lord, and dharma means to abide by the orders of the Supreme Lord... Dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. You cannot manufacture dharma: "This is this religion; this is that religion." These are all bogus. Real dharma is sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. This is dharma. All bogus type of dharma -- Hindu religion, Muslim religion, this religion, that religion -- they are not dharma.
Therefore it is said here, sa vai pumsam paro dharmah. Parah means Supreme. What is that? Yato bhaktir adhoksaje, "Wherein this is taught, ‘Just surrender to the Supreme Lord, Krsna, that is first-class religion." All other religions, they are bogus. That is not religion. Just like good citizenship means to abide by the laws of the state, of the government. That is good citizenship. Similarly, a real religious person means who is abiding by the orders of the Supreme Lord. Unfortunately, they have no information of the Supreme Lord. Although the Lord, the Supreme Lord Krsna, is present, still, they are thinking that Supreme Lord is nirakara. Nirakara means to avoid. How Supreme God can be nirakara? If the Supreme Lord is the supreme father... We have got experience: I am a person, my father is person, his father is person, his father is person... In this way, if you go to the topmost platform to find out the Supreme Person or Supreme God, why He should be imperson? Imperson is a feature of the Supreme Person, but ultimately brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate, ultimately the Absolute Truth is a Supreme Person. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. This is the Vedic information, that as we are all nityas, eternal, we are also living being, but there is another supreme nitya, eternal, and supreme cetana, or living being, and that is God. That is Krsna. Therefore Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya: [Bg. 7.7] "There is no more superior living being than Me." That is Krsna.
So here it is said sa vai pumsam paro dharmah. Dharma... You have to execute your occupational duty, but, as Krsna said, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. That is real dharma. "I am this. I am following this dharma, that dharma" -- that is not dharma. Dharma means the natural instinct. The natural instinct is to obey the superior person. Every one of us, we are meant for obeying the Supreme. Is anyone... Who can say that "I haven't got to obey any superior person"? Is there anyone? That cannot be. You have to obey. That was the subject matter of my topics in Moscow, with Professor Kotovsky. I challenged him that "What is the difference between your philosophy and our philosophy? You have to obey some person, and I have to obey some person. So you are obeying Lenin, and I am obeying Krsna. So where is the difference between you and me in philosophy? Now, the things remain to be judged, whether by following Krsna I shall be happy or by following Lenin you shall be happy. That is to be judged, not that you, Communist party, you can do without following a superior person. That you cannot do. That is not possible." That is natural. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, jivera svarupa haya nitya-krsna-dasa [Cc. Madhya 20.108-109]. Our real formation, constitutional position, is to obey the orders of Krsna. But we have selected disobeying Krsna. We are obeying Lenin. That is the difficulty. We have to obey somebody. But you have selected not to obey Krsna but to obey Lenin. In India disobedience is very prominent now. But in that way you shall not be happy. Therefore Bhagavata says, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaja [SB 1.2.6]. If you learn how to obey the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, then you will be happy. Yayatma suprasidati. This is fact.
So unless people take to this Krsna consciousness and understand and learn how to obey Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they cannot, there cannot be any peace. There cannot be any happiness. And there is no condition... Here it is said, ahaituky apratihata. That obedience should be without any motive. Just like see here the Europeans and American boys, they are obeying Krsna or Krsna's representative without any condition. They have not come here to obey my order for earning livelihood or for some material purpose. They have not come for that. They have got enough money. They have got enough money. They can purchase hundred times India. But why? This is real paro dharmah. This is the supreme religion, to obey the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative. Because we have to learn through the representative of Krsna. Acaryam mam vijaniyan navamanyeta karhicit, na martya-buddhyasuyeta [SB 11.17.27]. So this is the injunction of the sastra. Acarya, the spiritual master, the representative of Krsna... Acaryam mam vijaniyat, Krsna says. "The acarya is Myself." Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah: "By pleasing the acarya, one can please the Supreme Lord." This is the... Acaryavan puruso veda: "One who has got acarya to guide him, he knows things." These are the Vedic injunctions.
tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet
samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham
So therefore it is said here that ahaituky apratihata. Do not approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead for some material benefit. That is not pure devotion. Pure devotion means it should be without any motive and it cannot be checked. It cannot be checked. There may be so many hindrances. But one who is pure devotee, his business cannot be stopped. Therefore it is called ahaituky apratihata. And when one comes to that stage, then atma suprasidati. The example is vivid. Just like Dhruva Maharaja. Dhruva Maharaja was insulted by his stepmother, and therefore he wanted, according to the instruction of his mother, to pray to God to retaliate the insult of stepmother. And he went to the forest and meditated and practiced how to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Within six months he saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But when he saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he was fully satisfied. He said that kacam vicinvann api divya-ratnam: "Sir, I came to search out some particles of glass. Now I have got divya-ratna, a valuable jewel or gem." Kacam vicinvann api divya-ratnam svamin krtartho 'smi varam na yace.
This is the satisfaction. We are searching after so many things to become satisfied, but if we try to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead -- that we do not know -- and without any motive -- it cannot be checked -- then yayatma suprasidati. If you want really peace of mind, then you search out Krsna and surrender unto Him. Where is the difficulty? Krsna personally canvassing you, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam [Bg. 18.66]. Still, you are not... You are so fool. Aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami. He is giving assurance that "I shall give you protection from all sinful reaction." We are suffering in this material world because we are continually making our life in sinful activities. Sinful activities means gratifying the senses. That is also warned by Maharaja Rsabhadeva to His sons Nunam pramattah kurute vikarma yad indriya-pritaya aprnoti: [SB 5.5.4] "These rascals, they, simply for sense gratification, committing all types of sinful activities." Just like Krsna has given us so many things to eat, but still, we shall kill animals. Still for this satisfaction of the tongue, we shall kill so many..., slaughterhouse, regular slaughterhouse. And you want to be happy. Your whole life is full of sinful activities, and you want to be happy? That is not possible.
Therefore it is said that if you develop love for Krsna... That development cannot be possible if you are sinful.
yesam tv anta-gatam papam
bhajante mam drdha-vratah
Krsna-bhajana is not so easy thing. Yesam tv anta-gatam papam: one who has surpassed all the sinful activities. Yesam tv anta-gatam papam. How we can avoid sinful activity? Sinful activities you can avoid, punya-karmanam, by discharging punya-karma, pious activities. And what is the pious activities? Simple pious activities. Simple pious activities is srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah punya-sravana-kirtanah. Punya-sravana-kirtanah. If you simply hear about Krsna, that is pious activities. You are sitting here patiently; you are not going out. This is acquiring pious activities, result of pious activities. Srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah punya-sravana-kirtanah, hrdy antah-sthah... Pious activities means to cleanse the heart. Because our heart is overloaded with so many sinful activities, therefore we are suffering. So by hearing, satam prasangat, by hearing from the realized soul, by hearing the Bhagavad-gita, Bhagavata, as it is, your heart will be cleansed.
srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani...
Abhadrani means rajo-guna, tamo-guna. Even sattva-guna is also mixed with rajo-guna, tamo-guna. But if you hear about Krsna... We are opening all over the world hundreds of centers. Why? We are giving chance to the people to hear about Krsna. It is not a business center, not a business branch out, but... Sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam [SB 7.5.23]. Here the school of teaching people how to hear about Krsna, how to chant about Krsna, how to worship Krsna, the Deity... Sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam, arcanam. This is arcanam. Vandanam, to offer prayers; dasyam, to work for Krsna. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam, arcanam vandanam. Sakhyam, to make Krsna as friend. Krsna can be served in so many ways. Krsna is so kind friend, even practically. We had a very big struggle in Bombay for our land. So they wanted to break our temple to drive away. It was a great commotion. All Bombay people know it. But I prayed simply Krsna, "My dear Krsna, anyway, You have come here. You have sat down here. It will be great insult if You are removed from this place." So Krsna heard it, and we won the battle. Now the land is ours. The land is ours. It was a great battle.
So Krsna is so kind. So the devotees see like that, that a Putana raksasi wanted to kill Krsna, but she got the promotion just like His mother Yasoda. Krsna is so kind. Because Krsna took it that "Although this raksasi came to kill Me with poison in her breast, but I have sucked her breast. She has become My mother." So Krsna takes only the bright side of your devotional service. He never takes the dark side because anyone in this material world, he has got only dark life. So try to serve Krsna. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat: "Even little service rendered to Krsna can save you from the greatest dangerous life." These are the instructions.
So our this Krsna consciousness movement is simply to teach people how to love Krsna, how to become beloved of Krsna. Sa vai pumsam, the greatest type of religious life. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmah. Because we are teaching how to love Krsna. And if you can, if we, you or we, if we some way or other, if we love Krsna, then our life is successful. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje [SB 1.2.6], ahaituki... But there must not be any motive. And it cannot be checked in any circumstances. It is not that because one is very poor man, he cannot love Krsna, or because one is very rich man, he cannot love Krsna. Of course, sometimes to become very rich, janmaisvarya, they become very proud. They do not come to Krsna. So sometimes Krsna shows the mercy to turn His devotee into poverty-stricken position. Yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih. That... Therefore somebody is afraid of coming to Krsna. But Krsna is also very kind. When you become actually a devotee, yoga-ksemam vahamy aham [Bg. 9.22], there will be no scarcity. Whatever you want, it will come. It will come. So this is the position. So our Krsna consciousness movement is teaching, educating, all over the world. There is no distinction. There is no distinction. Don't think that "These Europeans, Americans, they are mlecchas and yavanas. They cannot take to Krsna consciousness. It is only meant for the brahmanas or ksatriyas." They are brahmana. Candalo 'pi dvija-srestho hari-bhakti-parayanah. Anyone who becomes a devotee, he is better than a brahmana. Krsna says, mam hi partha vyapasritya ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah [Bg. 9.32]. It doesn't matter wherever he is born. Papa-yonayah. Striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te 'pi yanti param gatim.
So Krsna is open for everyone. And He is father of all forms of life. Sarva-yonisu kaunteya [Bg. 14.4]. He is neither Indian nor Hindu nor Muslim. He is Krsna. He is Supreme Person. So our only request is that you try to love Krsna. Then your religious life will be perfect. Yato bhaktir adhoksaje. Adhoksaje, He is beyond the sense perception, aksaja. Aksaja-jnana means sensual perception. He is beyond that, transcendental. But you have to love. So this loving process is the devotional service. First of all... try to hear about Krsna from Bhagavad-gita as it is. Don't mal-interpret by your whimsical way. Then you will lose the opportunity. Don't follow these rascals who interpret Bhagavad-gita. There is no question of interpretation. Take Bhagavad-gita as it is. Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66]. Accept that. And the Caitanya-caritamrta karaca says, krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta haya: "Simply by serving Krsna you do all of your other duties." So such a nice thing, Krsna consciousness movement. Take it very seriously and do the needful.
Thank you very much.
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