SDA: We are very happy to be here with you all today. We're most fortunate to have this connection with the great culture and philosophy of India. Most of us in this room have it by birth. There are two of us who have gotten it, even though we weren't born in India, or from an Indian family. We have also gotten it by association. No matter how you get Indian culture, if you've got it, you're fortunate.
This India word is not an Indian word actually. India is a foreign name. We actually call it Bharata. Formerly, the whole planet of Earth was called Bharatavarsa. This culture of India, was actually the predominant culture on the entire planet. Of course, there were always pockets of aborigines out there who weren't really cultured, but the civilization of the whole planet was centered in India. The Indian kings ruled the entire planet Earth.
So, what happened? How did India get so small compared to the way it used to be? This is called kali yuga. After Sri Krishna left this world, 5000 years ago, the kali yuga came. Just like winter. Its cold outside, its cold in here. There are seasonal changes. Sometimes Alabama gets as hot as hell. Not as hot as India, but we go through seasons here in Birmingham. Summer, fall, spring and winter. We go through seasonal changes. So, on a cosmic scale, there are also seasonal changes that take place.
There are four yugas which go on in a cyclical fashion, satya yuga, treta yuga, dvapara yuga, kali yuga. The neat thing about the culture and philosophy of India, is that if you actually get into it completely, totally, by studying what the great acaryas have given and following their teachings, then you actually live in the spring age of satya yuga. You actually donít have to suffer the inauspiciousness of the kali yuga. You live in that divine spiritual atmosphere of the satya yuga, even though all around you the materialistic age of kali yuga is happening.
If one takes advantage of the great acaryas of India, that is the Vedic injunction. Acarya upasanam Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita that you must approach guru. You must approach guru because that is the means of becoming enlightened in this great culture of India. It is also stated that
mahajano yena gatah sa panthah
Here, when you want to go somewhere you follow the road map along Interstate such and such. What pathway will I follow to get to Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Memphis, or whatever. The real pathway is not Interstate this or Interstate that. The real pathway is the pathway of the mahajanas, those great enlightened teachers. That is the real pathway. This pathway will not lead us to some other destination within the world of birth and death. This pathway will lead us to immortality. Reality has two sides. There is the side known as mortality, and there's the side known as immortality. You can live on either side. Its your choice.
Which side of the railroad tracks would you like to live on? You want to live on the side of mortality or the side of immortality? This is the great contribution of Indian culture to the whole world civilization. These great sages of India. They are teaching us how to live in that realm of immortality at every minute. You say wait a minute Gurudeva. I'm not ready to be a sannyasi. Come on. You tell me I have to go to the Himalayas. No. Who is the prime student of Bhagavad-Gita? He was a householder, a professional. Arjuna. Did Arjuna go to the Himalayas to meditate? Did he become a sannyasi? No. Arjuna was grhasta, he was a professional man.
After taking the instructions of Sri Krishna, he continued as a professional man, continued as a family man. To enter into that realm of immortality does not require that you become a sannyasi, give up your job or your family. It is not required. You simply have to do so as Arjuna did so. Under the expert guidance of a bona fide guru. Of course, Arjuna had the most expert guru, Sri Krishna Himself on the chariot. But, the nice thing is that Krishna makes that knowledge available through His representative also. This is stated in the Bhagavad-Gita, Chapter 4.
evam parampara praptam
imam rajarsayo vidhuh
imam rajarsayo vidhuh
This knowledge is understood in disciplic succession. So, whether you hear it directly from Krishna, or you hear it from Krishna's representative, the potency is the same. If I decide to give you a cashier's check for 1,000,000 dollars, that would make your day, wouldn't it? Now, would you mind whether I gave it to you personally, or if I sent it by FedEx? As long as it didn't bounce, you would be happy. Whether Krishna personally comes and gives us the knowledge as He did to Arjuna, or if He sends His representative, the spiritual master, its the same thing. The spiritual master is simply Krishna's FedEx department, delivering the knowledge. That's all.
Whether you get it directly from Krishna, or His representative, the spiritual master, its the same thing. But, you have to open up the FedEx package, take it out, take it to the bank, and deposit it. Otherwise, what's a piece of paper going to do you any good? Whether we get the knowledge directly from Krishna, or we receive the knowledge from Sri Guru, we have to put the knowledge to practice. You may be happy to know, actually, we're putting it to practice right now. Just by being in this meeting, you're putting it to practice.
Whether you knew it or not, now you're practicing this wisdom. You're putting it to practice because Krishna says, just try to learn the truth by approaching Sri Guru, inquire from him submissively, render service to him. The self realized souls can impart knowledge unto you, because they have seen the truth. If you are hearing with an open mind, from a bona fide spiritual master, you are already plugged into the process of self-realization given in the Bhagavad-Gita. You're already doing it. This is actually the most exciting, fantastic knowledge available anywhere in the world. You may say, come on, its old. Its pretty good, it is our Hindu culture, but there's so many other things out there now.
New discoveries. New more powerful microchips. Now you can get an mp3 recorder on your watch. You can record up to 9 hours of conversation on your watch. You think wow. That's really far out. Or here is 40 Gigabytes of mp3 recording power in the little tiny box. You may say, well that's really exciting how technology is advancing. But, the ancient Vedic culture of India didn't need mp3 recorders. Their power of memory was so intense that the disciple could sit at the lotus feet of guru, hear 18,000 verses of Sanskrit poetry, one time, and the spiritual master could say, in the 13,562nd verse, what was the 2nd line? And the disciple could recite it perfectly. That is called sruti-dhara.
The modern day scientists tell us, and you've probably heard it also when you studied in college, that civilization became advanced when they started to write on the walls of the caves. When human beings became more advanced, they invented written language on the walls of the caves. Haven't we all heard that? I heard that when I went to school. You probably heard it too. But, you know what, that's completely bogus. In the former times, human beings were so advanced that they didn't need to put anything in writing because they could memorize anything. Its only when the power of memory began to go down, that the sages of India, foreseeing what was happening, decided to put everything in writing because no one could remember it. That's why we see that Vedavyasa dictated the Bhagavad-Gita, the Mahabharata, to Ganesa, who then put it in written form. Previously there was no need to put any of this knowledge into written form. It was completely being passed down as an oral tradition.
We shouldn't just blindly accept whatever they tell us in universities just because they have big buildings. Vedavyasa never had a big building, and he's the greatest college professor in the history of the world. He was just sitting in the Himalayas Actually, it is said that he's still there, but you have to be a very advanced spiritualist to be able to find him. He's still there in the Himalayas to this very day. He doesn't have a big Vedavyasa University with all the buildings and the central air conditioning that doesn't work properly. The real thing is where is true knowledge actually being given? That's the real thing.
Of course, it is not to decry the value of modern day education for technological advancement. Its very good for that. How to build bridges, how to build machines, how to do surgery. They have advanced the technology very nicely. There's no harm. We don't decry the advancement of technological civilization. We only decry the lack of spiritual culture.
How many rails does the train run on. In India, trains are a very big means of transportation. There are trains going everywhere all over India. There are not so many cars, but there are trains everywhere. How many rails are on the train tracks? There are two rails. Our culture should have two rails. It is described in the Isopanisad,
vidyam cavidyam ca yas
tad vedobhayam saha
tad vedobhayam saha
that there are two rails. You have the material side and the spiritual side, both going side-by-side. The sages of India didn't say to give up material life. They said, you do your material life side-by-side with your spiritual life. You do both of these together.
They're telling us that if we take these two aspects, the material aspect, and the spiritual aspect, side-by-side, then we can achieve the full blessings of immortality. So, we do not give up your material life. We say you simply add spiritual life. You do both of them. The train runs on two tracks. There are two rails on the train tracks on either side. This is how we have to live our life. This is why the spiritual aspect, which has been very much neglected now, has to be brought back to the society.
Keep the material side, that's alright. But bring back the spiritual aspect to society. This will bring the desired peace and prosperity that everyone is hankering for in the world. Bring back peace and prosperity by reintroducing spiritual culture. This is the beauty of the great philosophy and culture of India. It is not some sectarian principle. The great sages have given us a universal science of God. Whether we call God Krishna, Allah, Jehovah or Christ, the principle is the same. We have to lovingly surrender ourselves to the lotus feet of the Lord.
In India there is Vishnu Sahasranam, 1000 names of Vishnu Did you know that that's only the tip of the iceberg? There are thousands and millions and trillions of names of God. That 1000 names are a little tiny sample only. If we say that God only has one name that is not very intelligent. Even an ordinary person, my father for example, his parents called him one thing, his friends called him another thing, my mother called him another thing, his boss called him another thing, and I called him another thing. He had so many names, my father. If an ordinary man can have so many names, God can only have one name? Come on. What sort of philosophy is that? That is a less intelligent position.
The great sages of India have expounded these points very thoroughly and completely with volumes and volumes of books. Its all summarized in Bhagavad-Gita. Since we don't have time, being very busy running here and there, if we simply can study Bhagavad-Gita very thoroughly, the whole Vedic wisdom is put within a nutshell in Bhagavad-Gita.
This is not something new. When Krishna spoke this to Arjuna, very interestingly, he told Arjuna that this was a very ancient science. So, it was considered ancient 5000 years ago. Its described that millions of years before Krishna spoke it to Arjuna, He spoke it to Vivasvan, the sun god. In the western world have a hard time accepting such a concept as the sun god. Yes. There is actually a sun god. There are sun beings. They have bodies made of fire. They feel cool as a cucumber on the sun planet. If you have a body made of fire, you will not be scorched by fire. In our earthly bodies, even if we got close to the sun, we'd be burned to a crisp. But, on the sun planet, there are sun being, who have bodies made of fire, and they're very comfortable there, having a great time on the sun, and there is a sun god, Vivasvan, Suryadeva.
Krishna actually went to the sun planet. Krishna has a body which can go anywhere. He can come to the earth. He can go to the sun. He's interplanetary. He can go wherever He wants, and be comfortably situated. He doesn't need a spacesuit. Krishna actually went to the sun planet and spoke the Bhagavad-Gita to the sun god millions of years ago. Before the time of Lord Rama, Krishna had appeared to the sun god and spoken the Bhagavad-Gita. So, its a very ancient science.
Its good here on the earth, and its even followed on the sun. There are followers of the Bhagavad-Gita on the sun planet also. This is indeed universal religion here. It is not limited to this planet. This is a universal science, the Bhagavad-Gita.
One may ask, this may be an entertaining talk, but what's the value of it anyway. What's in it for me? I can understand coming to the university and taking a course, because I'll get a degree, I get a job and I get some money out of it. So, am I going to get any money out of hearing this discourse on the Bhagavad-Gita? Will it increase my income if I hear this discourse on the Bhagavad-Gita? Why am I spending an hour of my valuable time when I could be studying to make better grades in my university courses? Why am I spending an hour of my time to hear the Bhagavad-Gita? Even some Indian people advise that its better not to waste your time doing anything religious, just study and spend all your time studying, and that will make your life successful. Even people from India, advise against going to religious meetings. Why would we want to take our time out when we could be watching a Hindi movie, or studying or something like that? Why would we want to take our time out to hear a discourse on the Bhagavad-Gita?
Why would I dedicate my whole life to teaching the Bhagavad-Gita? I'm not being paid a salary for doing this. I'm just doing this as a service. I live on whatever Krishna provides somehow or other. Whatever comes, by Krishna's grace. I'm not on a salary. No one's paying me any money. I'm just doing this as a service. The real benefit is that you become happy. The real benefit is that you become happy. That's pretty good. A lot of people aren't happy nowadays. They have money they have power, they have prestige, but they're not happy. The real benefit of this is you become happy. Krishna says this in the Bhagavad-Gita.
pavitram idam uttamam
su-sukham kartum avyayam
pavitram idam uttamam
su-sukham kartum avyayam
"This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is absolutely ecstatically performed." In Sanskrit language, and I think its in Hindi also, the word su sukha makes it become more emphatic. Its not only happiness, but its absolute ecstasy Su sukham. That is the actual position of one who becomes a knower and practitioner of this science called Bhagavad-Gita. You become the happiest person in the whole world.
The Bhagavad-Gita is the bachelorís level. Then you have the master's degree level called the Srimad Bhagavatam. Then you have the PhD level called the Caitanya-Caritamrta. In the Bhagavatam, it is stated that this knowledge uproots all the miseries of material existence out of your heart. It just pulls all the misery out. We have within the garden of our heart, three different kinds of weeds. The weeds miseries caused by the mind and body, the weed of miseries caused by other living beings, and the weed of miseries caused by natural disasters like tsunamis. These are different types of miseries. One who actually becomes fixed in this knowledge, and in this practice of this great culture of India achieves a position from which they're totally free of all miseries.
No money can actually purchase that. It can help to some extent. Its a fact that if you donít have money, you will have a lot of problems to get by, but money in itself will not free you from anxiety. It can help, but the only way to become perfectly free from anxiety is to reconnect with your original true nature. Our modern day society conditions us to identify with that which is mortal, this body. Mortality is not fun. Its not fun being forced to die. No one wants to die. The society conditions us to identify oneself with this flesh and blood. This is me. This is who I am. I'm a man. I'm a woman. We even do it to our kids. Oh, you're such a cute little girl. You're such a darling little boy. Its something that just goes on. We're conditioned, and we condition others too. The great sages of India tell us aham brahmasmi. You're actual identity is not your body. You're not a girl, you're not a boy, you're not a man, you're not a woman. You're not Indian, you're not a Gujarati, or a Bengali, or whatever. You're not a Texan, or an Alabamian or whatever they say. You have an eternal spiritual identity. That's who you really are. This body is just a garment.
Birth means you put on a garment, death means you take it off. But you're still there. You were there before you took birth, you'll be there after you leave your body also. When I was born, I put on this American male body. When I die, I'll just take it off. Its just like having a raw silk kurta today, then tonight, I'll take it off. Birth means you put on a garment, death means you take it off. But, you're still there. This is the advantage of Bhagavad-Gita. This is how Bhagavad-Gita makes you free from anxiety. It solidly situates you in your spiritual identity. Even while you're functioning with your body very expertly in your university studies, your family members, your profession or job. Even while you're functioning completely expertly with all these things, you'll be situated completely beyond it at the same time.
master's spiritual master's father was named Bhaktivinoda Thakura, a
great realized devotee of the Lord, back in the 1800's.
He had a very big family.
He had about 12 kids.
12 kids. He was also
working for the British government.
He was so expert that any time they had some difficulty, he was
their troubleshooter. They
would send him to solve the problem.
If there was some Hindu Muslim riot going on, they would send him
to quell the riot. He was a
magistrate in Jagannatha Puri.
Actually the Jagannatha Puri temple was under his management at
the time. He was the head
magistrate in Jagannatha Puri.
He would do the judgment of court cases.
He was so expert at writing expert judgments .
There were other magistrates as well, but they would labor for hours after hours after hours, to do what he could do in such a short time, because he was very expert. The point is that when you actually become situated in your spiritual identity, realizing your spiritual nature, its not that you become a ineffective, or incapable of functioning in the material world. You become more expert. This material energy is simply a manifestation of the spiritual energy. If you're purely situated in the spiritual energy, you can deal with the material energy in a very expert way, very easily. You don't become a loser. My whole point is that when you take up this path of self realization, you do not become a loser materially You become more expert materially, and you become properly situated spiritually, beyond the sufferings of material existence.
According to the Vishnu Purana, we understand that there are 8,400,000 species. They're trying to catch up, but the sages of India, a long time ago, already understood exactly how many species there are. Jalajala nava laksani. 900,000 species in the water. Everything is exactly given in the Vishnu Purana. Someday the scientists will, hopefully, catch up and update there textbooks properly. But, in the meantime, we already know. We're don't have to wait for them to catch up with the Vedas. We already know. We have come to this human form after 8,400,000 species This affords us the opportunity which is not available in the other forms.
We have the opportunity to inquire who I am, where have I come from, what is my destination, how can I achieve it? The animals, the plants, they are simply carrying on by natural instinct. They simply have to do their animal thing. They have no choice. They have no freedom of action. They're simply being dictated by the impulses of being a dog, or cat. A dog has to bark. Even though he's obnoxious. His nature forces him to bark. But a human being can choose to bark to not to bark. Whether to get angry or to control his anger. He has the choice. The dog cannot control. But the human being can control. Should I let my anger go, or should I hold it back? The human being has the power. It is a very unique species.
If we utilize the power and the control we have over our minds under the guidance of an expert spiritual master, then we can actually become enlightened beings, even while we're going about our normal household affairs, job affairs, university affairs etc. This is what Krishna is recommending to us. He says
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadekshyanti te jnanam
upadekshyanti te jnanam
"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth." This is the insiders secret of success. The fast track to success is outlined here in the Bhagavad-Gita. We urge you all to take advantage. Especially an Indian birth is really an advantage. You have this Vedic culture, this respect for Vedic culture, by your very birth. So, don't let the politicians take it away from you.
I know when I was flying in India, on the airplane, I was one time flying from Delhi to Bombay on Indian Airlines. I picked up the newspaper. I was a little shocked to read what they were saying in the newspaper. They were saying that the political rallies are now the real kumbha mela of India, and the factories are the real temple, the real mandira. I was thinking, oh my goodness. There's some really atheistic people there writing these newspapers trying to kill Indian culture. They're trying to kill it.
This Indian culture is actually the culture of the whole world. I have proof of this actually. There's a whole book written to prove that Indian culture was the culture of the whole world. A personal friend of mine has written a book, but I have personally seen evidence of this. I went to a museum in Houston Texas, and there they had an authentic dress of an American Indian squaw on display there. What did they have on? They had the svastika on the dress. Of course in America, we thought that that was something that Hitler came up with, but later learned that Hitler borrowed it from India and flipped it the other way, that "We are the real Aryan" culture. Blonde-haired blue-eyed Germans are the real Aryan culture. What a bunch of nonsense. He murdered one and a half million Jews. Pretty bad. The museum said that this symbol is found in cultures throughout the whole world which are not connected with each other.
We're working to revive this culture of India everywhere. This original pure culture is the science of God. Not to impose some religion on someone, but to help everyone realize their spiritual identity. You have an eternal spiritual identity, and there's a supreme spiritual identity, God, Krishna Rama, Jehovah, Allah. There is a supreme spiritual identity there that you have a relationship with, as a servant of that supreme person.
If you can reestablish your relationship with that supreme person, your life will become absolutely inconceivably sublime. I absolutely guarantee it. In fact, we are making an offer that if you will seriously take up this path of devotion to the Supreme Lord with full earnestness under proper guidance from a bona fide spiritual master, and you don't find that within six months, that your life is inconceivably improved, then I'm going on record today, its even being recorded, I will give you 10,000 dollars cash. 10,000 dollars cash. This process works. We're not joking around here. We're not just putting together some fancy words. We're talking reality here.
The fact is, you're not your body. You're an eternal spiritual being. There's a supreme spirit you have an eternal relationship with. If you revive that spirit of loving service to that Supreme Person, all your anxieties will go away from you. It will be happiness beyond anything you could have conceived of in your wildest dreams. You've never even dreamed that such happiness was even possible, and you'll experience it every day. I can promise you that.
Perhaps some of you might have some questions. Or maybe you disagree with me. Someone may like to challenge me. In the university everyone likes to argue with the professors. My dear Dr. So and so, I think you're wrong on this point. Prove it. We're open to challenges also. I have been teaching this science of Krishna bhakti for 34 years. I have been making an open challenge for these 34 years that I am not a blind follower of anything. I am simply a lover of truth. If you can show me a higher philosophy than the one I'm presenting here, then I'll become your disciple. I'll take you as my guru. This was formerly the system in India. Nowadays, the system in India, and all over the world is the athletic events. Cricket, baseball, football, but formerly, 500 years ago in India, you know what the competitive sport that went on was? It was philosophical debate. That was the competitive sport.
There was one great philosopher, he was a very big big devotee of Mother Sarasvati. That's how he became so powerful. He worshiped her with great devotion. This pandita, his name was Kesava Kasmiri. He would go all over India. He would debate and defeat all of the panditas, and they would become his disciples. There was one place in India though that he hadn't been yet. He saved it for last, I guess. He finally came to Navadvipa, Bengal. The city of Navadvipa is still there. Now its just a small, kind of run down village, but at that time it was a very opulent place. It was like the Oxford of India. So, he came to Navadvipa. At that time, he didn't know what he was getting into. There was actually an incarnation of Krishna, who had grown up in that village as a small boy. His name was Nimai pandita. He was actually Krishna Himself who appeared to spread the nama sankirtana movement. Actually, this Hare Krishna movement is not some new invention. It began 500 years ago in what is now west Bengal. Then there was no east or west, it was just Bengal period. Kesava Kasmiri came to Navadvipa. So many panditas were there and were all afraid of being defeated, so they left town.
They knew Nimai was a pretty good pandita. They didn't know He was God. They thought, we'll just leave Nimai here, and Nimai can debate with him. So, that's what happened Kesava Kasmiri met Nimai pandita on the bank of the sacred Ganges river. To show off his erudition, he composed 100 verses of Sanskrit poetry, glorifying mother Ganga, extemporaneously, off the top of his head. That's how much mother Sarasvati was empowering him. 100 verses of perfectly composed Sanskrit poetry. However, in the 64th verse, there was a minor flaw. He used the expression Bhavani-bhartuh, meaning the husband of the wife of Lord Siva. That is a literary fault called redundancy. Why don't you just say Lord Siva? That's clean expression. You just say Lord Siva. To say the husband of the wife of Lord Siva is unnecessary verbiage Its a literary fault.
So, after reciting these 100 verses, a little boy said, my dear Kesava Kasmiri, you've made a literary fault in the 64th verse. He recited it back. In this way, the pandita was defeated and he became a disciple of Nimai Pandita because that night, in a dream, Mother Sarasvati said, this is actually your beloved Lord, Sri Krishna Himself appearing in the form of this boy. Now you have to surrender. Sarasvati told him to surrender, and he did. That was formerly the system, that if someone could defeat you philosophically, you would have to just surrender.
So, I've always made this open challenge. If you can defeat me, I'll follow you. If I defeat all of your arguments, then you should follow what I'm saying. You should take this pathway that I'm presenting to you, the self-realization pathway, very seriously. Nowadays, nobody will. That used to be the system in India. Nowadays, you can defeat an atheist by 100 different ways, and he'll still be an atheist. People are stubborn nowadays. They just want to stick to the idea that I am great and nobody can tell me anything. These are the days of false ego, or ahankara, in the Sanskrit language. We're all very proud. I am great. Actually, you know what? This is why we have so many problems in the world. Everyone is thinking I'm great I'm great I'm great. We have to become humble. The more we can be humble and just try to be in the mood of giving service to others, that will make us happy.
This whole culture of puffing ourselves up to become very big big big big this and big big big big that, just causes so much anxiety and torment. Even in a marriage, the husband just thinks I'm great, the wife should serve me, then it wont work. Or if the wife thinks I'm great and the husband should serve me. Then the marriage wont work. Everyone should think I should be in the mood of giving service. Then everything works nicely. This is what's lacking in our modern day society. Everybody wants to take service, but nobody wants to give service, and that causes so many problems. That ultimately has to be put into practice with God Himself. We have to be in the mood of giving service to the Lord. Every day we should think, another day has come that I can serve God. How will I serve the Lord today? This mood will bring happiness. This mood will bring perfection. This mood will bring peace and prosperity throughout the entire world. With that being said, I'll be very happy to take any questions or challenges or comments that you may have.
Student 1: We keep hearing these days a lot of controversy about creationism, evolution and all that. What is the Hindu viewpoint on all this?
SDA: This is a very nice question. The first thing I'd like to clarify is the word Hindu comes from the Muslims. Even though we identify with it because everyone knows the word Hindu. We call ourselves Hindu because its so well known. That is a word coming from the Muslims. The scriptures are called the Vedas, not the Hindus. The word Hindu means those that live on the other side of the Sindhu river. This is actually the Vedic religion. According to the Muslims, its the Hindu religion, not according to our scriptures. That being said, what do the Hindu, or Vedic scriptures say about the origin of everything? The concept of evolution, interestingly enough originates in the Vedas.
In the beginning of the universe, Brahmaji created all the species, then the living entities evolve birth after birth, they gradually go up. One lifetime they're in this species, the next they go up a little bit higher species, the next birth a higher species, the next birth a higher species. The Vedas describe an evolution based on transmigration. Each species is like a different step on a ladder to the human form. This human form is the highest step in evolution. We agree with the evolutionists, but how we got to it, how we evolved, how the evolution took place, that is where the disagreement lies. They have a big debate going on: Creation vs. Evolution. For us, its both are happening simultaneously.
Now, we'll deal with a different angle. This will help you understand. Does anyone have any experience of something coming out from nothing? No. We have no experience of something coming out of nothing. So, everything comes out of something. This table for example, its something, and it came out of the table factory, or the elements that made up the plastic came out of the some oil deposit somewhere. If you take anything in this material world, a pencil a table, a microphone, and trace back where it came from, and where did that come from, you trace it back, back, back, back until you come to something which did not come from something which did not come from something, that's the origin.
The scientists are trying to find the origin. They understand that there's an origin, they're looking for it. Is it the big bang? What caused the big bang? They want to know what is the origin of the universe. The followers of the Hindu scriptures, the Vedas, we also understand that there is an origin. The difference is that we know what it is. They're still trying to find it out. We both agree that there's an origin. We already know what it is, that's the difference.
Its actually not difficult. We make it difficult to understand, but its actually not at all difficult to understand. Here is a simple example. My dear sir, if I brought you 1 kilo of pure gold, I'm sure you'd be very happy with me. Finally, after a few days you'd say, well, gurudeva, where are you getting this gold? Where do you get this big stock of gold from? This is wonderful. Where do you get all this gold!? Well, I have a gold mine. You have a gold mine? Oh. How much gold do you have in your gold mine? I don't have any gold in it. You'd say, no no no that's not possible. You're bringing all this gold out of your gold mine, and the gold mine doesn't have any gold in it. No no no. You're trying to cover up how much gold you really have in the mine. Don't joke with me. The fact is that if gold is coming out of the mine, the mine must have gold. It is common sense.
From that origin, we see so many persons are coming. You're a person, I'm a person, you're a person. So many persons here in this room. These children. Everyone is a person. If so many persons are coming out of that origin, that origin, must have personality. Understanding that, now we've established, through pure logic that there is a person, from whom everything has come. Krishna confirms this in the Gita. He says
aham sarvasya prabhavo
mattah sarvam pravartate
mattah sarvam pravartate
I am the source of all material and spiritual worlds, everything emanates from Me.
It confirmed. We've understood it through logic, and we've seen that Krishna agrees with our logic. He's saying the same thing. The next question is then, why does He do it? Why does He emanate all of these living beings? Why is He emanating you and me, and all of us from Himself? Why is He bothering? Well, how many parents do we have in the room today? Why do you have kids?
Canakya pandita, the great Indian moralist says that family life without children is like a desert. The husband and wife want to have some children because it expands the network of loving exchange. There's more opportunity for giving and exchanging love if there's children running around the house. That tendency exists originally in God. God, or Krishna, expands from Himself, unlimited numbers of living entities for the purpose of enjoying a loving relationship with them, so that's why we exist. We exist for the purpose of loving God. That's why, if we don't love God, we can't really be happy.
Creation takes place out of the Lord's desire to expand His own enjoyment. That's why it happens. Its not a chance combination, like if some lightning zapped the molecular soup out there. That's completely bogus. Of course, we can draw some parallels. The big bang theory for example, the Vedic, or Hindu scriptures go into great detail describing how it all takes place. There are actually cycles of manifestation and non-manifestation. Lord Krishna is there in His original form. He eminates from Himself, Balarama, Sankarshana. Lord Balarama, expands another form, and that form expands another form, and finally, an expansion, of an expansion of an expansion, you come to Maha Vishnu Maha Vishnu lies down in one corner of the spiritual world. He goes into a sleep called yoga-nidra.
In His yoga-nidra sleep, when He exhales, millions and billions of universes come out of His mouth, and out of the pores of His skin. In each and every one of those universes, that same Maha Vishnu further expands Himself as Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, and He lies down in the bottom half of the universe in an ocean created by His own perspiration, called the Garbhodaka ocean. That Garbhodakasayi Vishnu, grows from His navel, a lotus flower. From this Brahmaji is born. Each universe has its own Brahmaji. That Brahmaji is empowered to do the creation within that universe. Brahmaji is the secondary creator. Krishna is the primary creator through His expansions of expansions of expansions. So, we have detailed scientific knowledge of how the whole thing takes place. The big bang is the glance of Maha Vishnu By His glancing upon that material nature, He impregnates it with innumerable living beings. There are some parallels between the scientific and the Vedic. They are just approximating, but we have it down exactly. That's the difference. We understand exactly how the creation takes place, how it folds up, and how it re-manifests, just like day and night. Its cyclic. It goes through cycles of manifestation and non-manifestation.
We know how to get out of it also. How to get out of this cycle of mortality. There is mortality and immortality. This side of reality is where the manifestation and non-manifestation is taking place, but, if you enter the other side, the spiritual side of it, there's no birth, no death, no old age and no disease. Its not that nothing existed, and then it was created. The creation, as it were, is the eternal emanation of the absolute. He's eternally emanating it from Himself to expand His happiness. We challenge the scientists. They are misleading the society. In many ways they're doing good. Its not to criticize. But, when it comes to the philosophy, they're misguiding us. They're really good technologists, I give them that credit. I'm so impressed at this 40gb mp3 player. I go all over the world, and give lectures, and I record them all here. I can put hundreds of lectures here, then copy them onto a disc, then when I leave a town I can leave a whole cd of all my lectures for the people, to listen to again and again. I love their technology, but when it comes to philosophy, forget it. They're way out in left field when it comes to philosophy, and that's where we can educate them.
Those of us who actually know this Vedic philosophy, Hindu philosophy very well, can educate these scientists so they can actually make their science perfect. They can perfect their science if they will take guidance from us. That's what we want to do. We want the scientists to now take guidance from us how to make their science perfect. I don't care if its astronomy, physics, chemistry, all of these sciences will become perfect if they will add this Vedic wisdom, as a paradigm and then continue with their research, but take the advantage of this Vedic paradigm, apply it to the scientific research and then the doors will open, in all fields of science will open wide. Take the Vedic paradigm and try to confirm it by scientific analysis. They can actually take the very paradigm and take all their methodologies: astronomical, physics, chemical, all the different disciplines of science. They can apply those to the Vedic paradigm and prove its validity. We're asking all the scientists now to come out of the dark ages. They're actually still in the dark ages when it comes to knowledge
This word PhD, means Doctor of Philosophy. When universities were first started here in the western world, philosophy was considered the subject matter of education. But now, the philosophy departments are practically all dead. They're just struggling to stay alive. They use the term 'Doctor of Philosophy' or 'PhD'. That has been retained PhD in Computer Science, PhD in this or that. We say, you're using the title PhD, now you actually have to be PhD. You have to be a computer technician. That's alright, but you now have to be a philosopher, someone who understands what is existence, why do I exist. You're using the name PhD, now be a real PhD We will train you how to do that. We're asking all the universities throughout the world. You take this knowledge, this wisdom, we will make you real PhDís
Did that answer your question? You have an open opportunity since no one else is raising their hand.
Student 1: My point is that Brahma can be treated like a super human being up there as in the Christian viewpoint.
SDA: Yes. Brahma is a super human being. That's right. He has four heads. He can see in all four directions. He's super intelligent. Brahmaji knows everything that's going on. He can hear you talking about him. He's super intelligent, super perceptive, he's there right now, and he knows what you're talking about.
Student 2: A lot of people speak about finding a path and a teacher. You keep saying bona fide and expert, but the teacher you're talking about is in the Himalayas, so how can we not leave?
SDA: Vyasadeva has many representatives also. Here's the beauty of it. When you're actually serious to know the truth, you don't have to go seeking a teacher. There are two gurus. There is caitya guru who is the Lord, within your heart. That Lord within your heart, when you're very serious to actually know the truth, that Lord within your heart will manifest externally. He will come before you. You don't have to go looking for Him. When you're ready for the guru, He will come to you. That's a fact. You just have to become very sincere to know the truth, then the guru will just show up in your life. Wow. I met a guru. He told me this, and my life is transformed. That will happen to you when you're ready. It will happen.
Student 3: Will you comment on your own spiritual pathway and how you came to it?
SDA: How did I come to this pathway? Yes, yes I can explain. Of course, we grew up here in America. Everything was there. America's the most powerful prestigious wealthy country in the world, so we had everything. No struggle. Everything was there, but I remember when I got to college. I had this burning passion. I want to know what the purpose of this whole thing is. Yeah, I can work hard. In high school, I was a commanding officer of our military cadet corps. I was in national honor society. In college I was on the deans list. I was a strong powerful leader, and a powerful academic student. I won awards at speech tournaments. I had everything going for me. But when I got to college, I wondered what is the purpose of this whole thing. I can work hard. Be successful. Get a good looking wife, have good looking little kiddies and a nice looking house. I can do the whole thing. But what's the purpose of it? In the end, I'm just going to get old and be buried six feet under. They'll put flowers on the grave once a year for a while until they forget about me.
What's the purpose of the whole thing. When I got to college, I wanted to know why. What's the purpose of my existence? That led me on a quest for many many years. I first of all studied the western philosophers and they didn't give a clue. Not a clue. Then I found out in the east they had a lot of information in India. They had a lot of information, so I began sifting through all the various gurus and teachers and teachings coming from India. There's a very potent saying. Truth works. Truth works. When you actually find the truth, it will transform you. It will transform you. I was searching for that truth would indeed transform me. This guru said this is the way. I tried it. Nothing happened. Another guru said this is the way, I tried it. Nothing happened.
It is stated
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan
guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
After wandering all over the universe, through so many species of life, one living entity, who is very very fortunate, by the mercy of Sri guru and Sri Krishna, receives the seed of bhakti in his heart. That happened to me. I was sincerely seeking for years. I was struggling. What is the truth? Who am I? What is my purpose? What is the meaning of all of this? I was blessed with guru who gave me that seed of bhakti in the heart. My life was transformed. I entered into immortality and I never went back to the mortal world. Even though I appear to be mortal, when I took shelter of my guru maharaja, His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, I entered into immortality at that moment, and I've been there ever since.
I'm just trying to help other people to also enter into that world. I have many students now, around the world. I have a very popular course on the internet called the Ultimate Self-Realization Course. I have students all over the world: India, Europe, Austrailia, America. All over the world, I have students. So, we're traveling all over the world to help people to actually come out of the realm of suffering, into the realm of absolute bliss, while at the same time keeping your normal material life going very nicely. It is by the grace of Krishna, and the grace of my guru that I came out of the world of mortality into the world of immortality. I'm inviting you to join me, in this realm of immortality. Is that alright?
Student 2: As we know, there are seasons. What is the purpose of the four yuga cycles?
SDA: Why does Krishna impose these four yugas on us? Actually, He has not imposed them on us. We've imposed them on ourselves. We don't have to be in this material world. We are here by our own foolish decision, and when we want to go back to the world where we don't have these cycles, we're welcome to go back at any time. We just have to be willing to go back. We're so attached to our so-called happiness in this material world. That's the problem. We're thinking that this body will really give me happiness. (chuckles) So, we stay here in the world where the cycles are going on. But, actually we're imposing it upon ourselves.
Everything has a purpose. The situation in this material world is for the purpose of encouraging us to get out of here. That's why its here. Who wants to go through cycles? Somewhat happy and then less happy, a little miserable and totally miserable. Again and again and again. Why go through the cycles? Why not just get back to the original spiritual identity which is absolutely ecstatic at every minute? This is Krishna consciousness.
Any other questions?
VPM: Why do we refer to material activities as 'normal activities'?
SDA: This is an interesting point. When I decided to take up this pathway very seriously, my parents said, son, why don't you just be normal? Why do you have to be abnormal, why don't you just become a normal son, like everybody else? The real fact is that what I'm doing is normal. Those who are completely absorbed in material life, that is an abnormal condition for the soul. A fish is naturally in the water. Flapping around on the beach in agony is not his normal position. There was a novel written many years ago. It actually said something. The title of the novel was I've Been Down so Long, It Looks Like Up to Me. We've been in this material world in this abnormal condition, suffering, that we think its normal now. We've been here for so long. For so many millions of births we've been in this material world. And we take it as normal. The fact is, to be an enlightened spiritual being, absorbed in the service of God, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master is the normal position. That is the normal position. We call the other thing normal because we've been illusioned for so long.
Plato gives a nice example, but we wont keep people here so long
Student 3: There are so many yogas, which is the best yoga.
SDA: Krishna, has answered this in the Gita. All the yogas are good. But Krishna explains that of all the yogas, the topmost yoga,
yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatmo matah
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatmo matah
"And of all yogis, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Meóhe is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion."
The highest yoga is bhakti. Its not only Krishna saying it. We can understand it through logic also. The hatha yogis do exercise, asanas, sit in a secluded place, and according to Patanjali, the author of the yoga sutras, the whole point of that yogic practice is to bring the mind to a complete point of stillness, mental equilibrium. The yogi, at that point, actually fixes the mind on Vishnu, that's what Patanjali instructs, to meditate on the Paramatma form in the heart. But that process is a mechanical process. Breathing, asanas, etc. Its easy to be diverted from that pathway also. The great sage, Vishvamitra had actually gone through the eightfold path, and achieved samadhi, the perfection of that mystic yoga. These yogis derive great power, so Indradeva, the king of heaven was getting very worried. He saw that this yogi had come all the way to samadhi. This yogi now has the power to take over my position as the king of heaven if he want's to. So he decided not to take any chances.
In the heavenly kingdom, Indras palace they have the most beautiful women. Take our most lovely ladies on this planet. They don't compare, and the same goes for the men. We're not picking out women. We're all ugly here. Men and women both, compared to the heavenly planets. So, he sent one of the beautiful heavenly concubines, Menaka, down to the yogi. He was sitting there in his yoga. As soon as he heard the tinkle of his ankle bells, he said, Oh, a woman has come. He was in a remote place in the Himalayas. Nobody was around. A beautiful, heavenly woman shows up on the scene, at just the perfect ripe age for material enjoyment. He was finished. Indra must have had a good laugh after that.
The point is that in this sort of yoga, one can easily be deviated. But, in bhakti, you're not mechanically fixing your mind on the object of your meditation. You're actually falling in love with your object of meditation. When somebody falls head over heels, madly in love with someone, they can't do anything except think of there beloved day and night. They want to call the beloved, think about them. Send a valentine, some gifts, invite them over, cook for them. When you fall in love with someone, you can't do anything but think about them. Its a natural spontaneous thing.
If you fall in love with the object of your meditation, that is bhakti. Then, a team of horses cant drag you away from the object of your love. The whole Indian army cant drag you away. That is bhakti. When you fall in love with Krishna. This is why the Vedas are so wonderful. The Jews and Christians also talk about love of God, but what is there conception of God. An old man with a beard. Maybe he needs a hearing aid too. But, in the Vedas we learn from Brahmaji, who had direct vision of Krishna in the spiritual world, that Krishna is nava yauvanam. He is an ever-fresh youth. Krishna is so beautiful, so hansome, so charming, he never gets old. Do you ever see a picture of Krishna as an old man?
Did you know how old He was in Kuruksetra? He had been around for 125 years, and He had the body of a 16 year old boy. Krishna never gets old. Here we may fall in love with some man or some woman, but, actually that body will become old and decrepit. If you fall in love with Krishna, you will never be disappointed, that now He's old and haggard. You'll never be disappointed. We invite you. Just try to fall in love with Krishna. You'll never be disappointed.
You may say that there are so many devotees, how will he pay any attention to me? I'll have to share Him with millions of other devotees, how will I ever be satisfied? But, do you know that in Dvaraka, how many queens Krishna had? He had 16,108 queens. Every day, He would go to the court to do His courtly duties. In the evening when He came home, do you know which palace He would go to? He went to all of them. He divided Himself into 16,108 forms and He went to each and every palace. And each and every queen was thinking, those poor other queens must be eating their hearts out. Because Krishna comes to my palace every night. They must be crying oceans of tears! They must be envious of me because Krishna is coming to me every night.
Krishna can reciprocate your love as if you were His only devotee. Krishna says, to those who worship with Me exclusive devotion, I exclusively give Myself to them. If you will take up this pathway of Krishna bhakti, I guarantee you, your happiness will be inconceivably sublime.
The impersonalist philosophers will say everything is one. They desire to merge into the impersonal Brahman. I want to become God, by merging into Brahman. But mother Yasoda is greater than Brahman because she is chastising Him with a whipping stick. Why try to become one with God, when you can become greater than God, by becoming His devotee. The Lord agrees to become subordinate to you. You can conquer Him, by your love. This is the exclusive domain of the bhakta, the devotee. The Lord will become conquered by your love, just like Yasoda-devi conquered Krishna, Damodara. He's running in fear of Mother Yasoda's whipping stick. Krishna is the chariot driver, or chauffeur for Arjuna. He acts as the servant of Arjuna. Why try to become God, like the advaitavadis are teaching us? Become greater than God, by becoming bhakta. This is a higher understanding of Vedic culture.
Any other questions?
VPM: You spoke about hatha yoga, but how practical is it in this age?
SDA: That's another point. One may like to be an astanga yogi, but to really do it, you have to give up your job, your family, give up your education, give up your clothes, everything. Give it up and sit in the forest. That's it. You cant take your nail clippers with you. There's no barber. You end up with matted locks and finger nails 10 inches long. Who's going to do that? The only social life you get is every 12 years you get to come down for kumbha mela, and take your dip along with the nagas in the water. That's about it, then you go back to your cave in the Himalayas.
Is it very practical? There are some people, austere souls who show up at kumba mela, there are people who are doing that, but for must of us its just beyond our scope, and for women its very dangerous to be alone like that unprotected. Very dangerous. A woman can be abused if shes in a position like that. For a woman its very risky to be alone in the wilderness with no protection. So, the bhakti yoga process is much more practical.
Student 3: In what way is Hinduism different from the others. Christians say that Jesus is the way. Someone will say the Krishna is the way.
SDA: Those who are learned on the Vedic path are different because they understand that they are both the way. That's the difference. Jesus is a pure devotee of Krishna actually He is teaching Krishna bhakti but he's speaking it according to the audience at that time. We understand the truth of all the great teachers. We see the truth of the Bible. We can find the truth that is stated in the Koran. That's the difference.
Actually, its very simple. If you take the Koran, the Bible and the Gita, what do they say about themselves? There is verse in the book of John that says there is more beyond the Bible, the Koran has a similar verse that there is more knowledge beyond what is stated here in the Koran. In the Gita, Krishna says, I shall now reveal to you this knowledge both phenomenal and numinous, knowing which nothing more shall remain for you to know. The knowledge of the Bhagavad-Gita includes all the other knowledge Whatever knowledge is in the Bible, and Koran is included but it just goes to a higher level. A pocket dictionary is bonafide. We don't decry a pocket dictionary. The collegiate dictionary is bona fide. We don't decry a collegiate dictionary. But an unabridged dictionary is bona fide and it includes the collegiate and the pocket. So other religious systems are bona fide, but they are simply the introductory level. That's all. Its not a question of Hinduism or Vedic culture. Its not a sect. Its the essence of truth. The essence of religion.
We will stop here. If anybody wants to meet, I will sit here with you as long as you like. We're going to pass out prasadam. Anybody who would like to sign up for the e-course sign up at www.backtohome.com. You can also give us your email address. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.
Transcribed by His Grace Jagannatha Dasa