Lecture: Srimad Bhagavatam 7.3.15-16
Denver, Colorado - 14 January 2005
- 14 January 2005
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
Srimad-Bhagavatam, Seventh Canto, chapter 3, text number 15, and we will also read 16.
na dadarsa praticchannam
tapantam tapasa lokan
vilaksya vismitah praha
vilaksya vismitah praha
na—not; dadarsa—saw; praticchannam—covered; valmika—by an anthill; trna—grass; kicakaih—and bamboo sticks; pipilikabhih—by the ants; aciriam—eaten all around; medah—whose fat; tvak—skin; mamsa—the flesh; soditam—and blood; tapantam—heating; tapasa—by a severe type of penance; lokan—all the three worlds; yatha—just as; abhra—by clouds; apihitam—covered; ravim—the sun; vilaksya—seeing; vismitah—struck with wonder; praha—said; hasan—smiling; tam—to him; hamsa-vahanah—Lord Brahma, who rides a swan airplane.
Translation and Purport by Srila Prabhupada:
Lord Brahma, who is carried by a swan airplane, at first could not see where Hiranyakasipu was, for Hiranyakasipu's body was covered by an anthill and by grass and bamboo sticks. Because Hiranyakasipu had been there for a long time, the ants had devoured his skin, fat, flesh and blood. Then Lord Brahma and the demigods spotted him, resembling a cloud—covered sun, heating all the world by his austerity. Struck with wonder, Lord Brahma began to smile and then addressed him as follows.
"The living entity can live merely by his own power, without the help of skin, marrow, bone, blood and so on, because it is said, asango'yam purusah—the living entity has nothing to do with the material covering. Hiranyakasipu performed a severe type of tapasya, austerity, for many long years. Indeed, it is said that he performed the tapasya for one hundred heavenly years. Since one day of the demigods equals six of our months, certainly this was a very long time. By nature's own way, his body had been almost consumed by earthworms, ants and other parasites, and therefore even Brahma was at first unable to see him. Later, however, Brahma could ascertain where Hiranyakasipu was, and Brahma was struck with wonder to see Hiranyakasipu's extraordinary power to execute tapasya. Anyone would conclude that Hiranyakasipu was dead because his body was covered in so many ways, but Lord Brahma, the supreme living being in this universe, could understand that Hiranyakasipu was alive but covered by material elements[.
It is also to be
noted that although Hiranyakasipu performed this austerity for a long,
long time, he was nonetheless known as a Daitya and Raksasa.
It will be seen from verses to follow that even great saintly persons
could not perform such a severe type of austerity. Why then was he
called a Raksasa and Daitya? It is because whatever he did was for his
own sense gratification. His son Prahlada Maharaja was only five years
old, and so what could Prahlada do? Yet simply by performing a little
devotional service according to the instructions of Narada Muni,
Prahlada became so dear to the Lord that the Lord came to save him,
whereas Hiranyakasipu, in spite of all his austerities, was killed. This
is the difference between devotional service and all other methods of
perfection. One who performs severe austerities for sense gratification
is fearful to the entire world, whereas a devotee who performs even a
slight amount of devotional service is a friend to everyone (suhrdam
sarva-bhutanam [Bg. 5.29]). Since the Lord is the well-wisher of every
living entity and since a devotee assumes the qualities of the Lord, a
devotee also acts for everyone's good fortune by performing devotional
service. Thus although Hiranyakasipu performed such a severe austerity,
he remained a Daitya and a Raksasa, whereas Prahlada
Maharaja, although born of the same Daitya father, became the
most exalted devotee and was personally protected by the Supreme Lord.
Bhakti is therefore called sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam [Cc.
Madhya 19.170], indicating that a devotee is freed from all material
designations, and anyabhilasita-sunyam [Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu
1.1.11], situated in a transcendental position, free from all material
This verse excerpt, quoted by Srila Prabhupada describes Krishna: Su-hrdam sarva bhutanam. I am the best friend of all living beings. Now the devotee is also described as the best friend, because he is representing Krishna. That doesn't mean that he is sarva-loka mahesvaram, or that he is bhoktaram yajna tapasam. We cannot concoct that, well, if this description is true for the Lord, and the devotee, because the devotee is assuming the qualities of the Lord, that doesn't mean that the other two also apply to the devotee. This is why we need acaryas. We cannot speculate. There are three descriptions. I'm the supreme enjoyer, I am the supreme proprietor, I am the best friend of all living entities. Even though we understand from Srila Prabhupada that the third one also applies to the devotee, the devotee is also the best friend because he is giving Krishna consciousness wherever he goes, to whoever he meets,
yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa
amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa
amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa
We cannot assume that as with the third point, so with the second point and the first point, by mental speculation. Therefore, I'm the enjoyer of everything, and I'm the owner of everything. No way. We must follow in the pathway of the great acaryas.
mahajano yena gatah sa panthah
We cannot concoct our own pathway. That is a very popular system. You just concoct your own interpretation. Whatever suits your own sense gratification, you put forward some arguments to establish a philosophy which justifies it. That is not our Vaisnava system. We cannot concoct our own philosophy to suit our sense gratification. We have to simply submit ourselves at the lotus feet of Sri Guru and Krishna, hear what the acaryas are telling us, and then live and speak according to that guru-parampara system. Consider that Vaisnava song, Gurudeva! Your mercy is all I am made of. I have no good qualities. Whatever we are able to do nicely in Krishna's service, that is the mercy of guru upon us. Not that I am some great qualified person. That is the way of Hiranyakasipu. He is thinking by his own power, he will accomplish something very great, but in spite of so much austerity, the whole thing was finished.
The society nowadays is Hiranyakasipu civilization. They're doing so many penances and austerities. One penance, after another penance, after another penance, to try to make this material world the kingdom of God, but without God!That is a famous saying attributed to the Archbishop of Canterbury, that we want to have the kingdom of God, but not God. That is the Hiranyakasipu mentality. We want to have God's kingdom, but God can take a walk, we don't need Him here, we just want His kingdom. We want to enjoy Sita, but we don't want to serve Rama. That doesn't work.
Krishna may play with you, and give you the illusion that you're getting away with being His competetor for some time. Krishna is simply playing with you, just like sometimes He's fighting with some demon, and Krishna lets the demon get the upper hand sometimes in the fight, so the demon actually thinks he's winning. It just makes Krishna's final killing of the demon more enjoyable for Krishna. He watches the demon think he's getting the upper hand, then He just completely destroys him. So, sometimes Krishna, through the agency of maya, lets the living entity think that he's the controller, the enjoyer, but then, cruel death comes, and everything's finished. Krishna always gets the last laugh. He who laughs last, laughs best.
They laugh at what they consider the foolish conception of God's existence, but they are all struck down by the almighty power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they begin another chapter according to their karma. But, the devotee, he's very compassionate, he doesn't want to see them suffer unnecessarily Why should they suffer? Somehow, let me bring them out of this suffering condition. That's the devotee's mood.
The devotee takes the anxiety of others upon himself, and therefore, he has no anxiety. I always remember a point that was made by Tamal Krishna Maharaja many years ago in Dallas. A sannyasi was the temple president there. I don't want to mention his name because he's no longer with us. When Tamal Krishna Maharaja first came to Dallas it was a very huge community. There were many managerial headaches to manage such a big community. I will never forget when Tamal Krishna Maharaja said that So-and-so Swami has no anxiety because he is taking all of your anxiety on himself. I thought that was a very profound statement. Goswami Maharaja always said many very profound statements on many different aspects of our Krishna consciousness movement. When the responsible devotee for the sake of the other devotees, to help them in their spiritual life, to facilitate them in their spiritual progress, he's taking all of their anxieties on his own shoulders, into his own heart, he has no anxieties himself because he's totally absorbed in serving the others. How can they be facilitated on their pathway back to home, back to Godhead?
This is the meaning of Su-hrdam sarva bhutanam. Anyone who takes up this preaching spirit, he's feeling great pain and anguish and sorrow in his heart to see the suffering living entities all around him, driving up and down the street. Prabhupada was very moved sometimes. In Melbourne, they were walking in the early morning, in the park. All the commuters were coming into town, like a big highway of ants. Prabhupada actually became very sorrowful to see their situation. With no knowledge at all, they're just struggling, day in and day out. Commutingin the morning with great endeavor, working hard all day in great anxiety of being layed off, or being cchastised or having their pay cut, then going through great austerities in traffic on the way home. Day in and day out, their whole life. He was feeling great sadness to see these poor Melbornites on their morning commute. It actually doesn't make sense to struggle so hard in this material world. What is the sense of it?
I remember my freshman year of college, this is what I realized. What's the point of all this struggle? Work hard in school so you can make good grades, so you can get a good job, so you can get a wife, get a house get kids, for what purpose? So you can get old, retire to St. Petersburg, and play shuffleboard with a bunch of senior citizens, and then be buried underground, have somebody put flowers on your grave until they forget about you. I was thinking, what is the point of all this? Why struggle so hard for this? It doesn't make sense at all. I was simply wondering, what is the meaning of life? What is the purpose of my existence? I was hoping there would be a learned professor of philosophy class or somewhere who can answer my question. No one could. We had so many philosophical conversations in the dormitory, but none of my dorm buddies had any clue, my professors had no clue, the supposed great thinkers we studied, they had no clue, what is the point of our existence?
This is why a bona fide spiritual master is required, because he brings that knowledge to us, and brings that love also to us. He gives us that knowledge in such a way that we can understand it. Some people have the foolish idea that, the a message becomes more diluted, more diluted, more diluted, less potent, less potent and less potent the more its passed down in disciplic succession. But Prabhupada doesn't accept that.
In the First Canto, Chapter 1 of Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is described how Sukadeva Goswami has heard the Bhagavatam from Srila Vyasadeva. We can just imagine how purely the Srimad-Bhagavatam was uttered by Vedavyasa. When you hear it from his mouth directly, how potent and pure it must be. Sukadeva heard it from his father, and he is repeating it for Maharaja Pariksit. Suta heard that and he repeated it to the sages of Naimisaranya. In this way it is coming down down down. The word suka means parrot. What is our normal conception of a parrot? Some dumb bird that you can teach to say something. The popular American thing is Polly wanna cracker. Polly wanna cracker, Polly wanna cracker. To make your friends laugh when they come to the house. Of course, he doesn't know what Polly means or what cracker means. He just repeats it blindly, but every time he says it, they give him a cracker, so he keeps saying it again and again. Polly wanna cracker, Polly wanna cracker. It is not like that, simply blindly repeating. That's not why he is called Sukadeva, because he was blindly repeating the Bhagavatam.
He is called Sukadeva because the beak of a parrot has a special quality. When it pierces the skin of a mango, that mango becomes more sweet. That's why he's called Sukadeva. By his repeating of the Bhagavatam, it became even more nectarian, then when Vyasadeva spoke it, and when Suta Goswami repeated it, it became even more nectarian. And when Prabhupada has presented it, it becomes even more nectarian. Prabhupada explains, because the acarya, the Bhagavatam preacher in proper disciplic succession, he speaks according to time, place and audience. Just like, you can go to a regular department store and get a suit, or you can go to a tailor, and you can have a suit which is tailor-made, just for you. Which suit looks better? Taylor-made: Its more expensive, but it feels better and looks better. Taylor-made is always better. When the acaryas present the Srimad-Bhagavatam, they tailor-fit it to the audience at that particular time, that particular place, and that particular situation. That's because its always tailor-fitted to that particular situation. Why? Because in this way, the message can go in easier.
Let's face it. We all have false ego problems. We have a certain degree of resistance. Sad but true. We suffering souls are trying to be Krishna conscious, but, we're still battling it out with our minds, our false egos. There's a certain amount of resistance we have to getting the injection of Bhagavatam into the heart. This is why the tailor-fitted presentation is very valuable and very potent. This makes it easier to ingest.
Another nice point is from text 15. This word mamsa, which means flesh, is actually a combination of 2 words mam and sa. Mam means me, and sa means he. Literally, its me-he. So, why is flesh called me-he? Its me eating he, and then in the next life it will be he eating me. It indicates that. In Sanskrit, this word mamsa has a very deep meaning. Its a little thing going on between me and he. I'm eating him, then he'll be eating me. These fools and rascals think they're getting off scot-free. They go for their Big Mac, but little do they realize the meaning of mamsa. They will have to be slaughtered in the slaughterhouse in their next lifetime. For every hair on the body of those cows they have taken, they will take a birth and be slaughtered. They're so foolish that think that, we go to church, so we're going to heaven. Then they go for their McDonald's hamburger. That's how foolish they are. Every Sunday, after church, they get a Mac Attack, and they have to go get their McDonald's. They think that in heaven, there will also be a McDonald's, but even in they were somehow able to get to the spiritual world, when they got their Mac Attack, they would have to be informed, my dear sir, you'll have to go back down to Denver if you want a McDonald's hamburger. We're vegetarians here in the Kingdom of God. So, therefore, they will not go back to the Kingdom of God. As long as someone has a taste for eating meat, there's no question of going back to the Kingdom of God. You wouldn't be happy. Do you think that God will force you to come to His Kingdom where you'll be miserable, because there's no McDonald's hamburgers. These simple points they don't understand, but they think that so and so died, he went to heaven. They always say he went to heaven, he went to heaven. My father went to heaven, my mother went to heaven, I'm going to heaven. We're all going to heaven. We'll be back together again. The animals don't have souls, except for the family dog. He will go to heaven. He's the exception. This so-called religion is not science.
Of course, we give them some credit. As Bhaktivinoda Thakura points out, Vaisnava-dharma is actually the one Religion. Other systems are accepted insofar as they are in line with Vaisnava-dharma. Wherever we see certain aspects of Vaisnava-dharma existing in Christianity, in Judaism, in Mohammedanism, Sikhism, Jainism, to that extent it is bona-fide. It is authorized. To the extent that they are in line with Vaisnava-dharma, to that extent they are bona-fide. To the extent that they are not, they are bogus. Vaisnava-dharma is actually the one religion. Sanatana-dharma is our constitutional nature. The constitution of water is liquidity. Sometimes we see, here in Denver especially, snow and ice. That is not the constitutional position. That is a seasonal, temporary condition. When things go back to the normal condition, it becomes liquid again. The normal position of the living entity is to love God. To fully surrender oneself to the will of the Lord, is the normal position of the living being. Under artificial conditions, he may think that he's the enjoyer, that he's the controller. But, when we come back to the natural position, then we are lovers of God. So, that is the actual religion. Religion cannot be two; Religion is one. How many suns are there in the sky? There is only one sun. It may be called by different names. In English we call it the sun, in Spanish they call it el sol. How foolish would it be if we had a war between Texas and Mexico, over the name of the sun? Its the sun! No! Its el sol! No! Its the sun! This is what's going on nowadays. Its a foolish thing. They're arguing, Allah is God. No. Krishna. Of course, we don't argue like that. We're not so foolish. Hindus generally understand a higher principle. But Christians, Mohammedans, they have no conception of the science of God. They simply go on with this sectarian fighting nonsense. They ask, what is the name of God, thinking that He has only one name: Our name. How foolish!
Even an ordinary person's wife calls him honey, his kids call him daddy, his parents call him Teddy, his friends at work call him Ted. An ordinary Denverite has so many names. So it is foolishness that God can only have one name. This is not scientific. Krishna consciousness is the science of God. We reject blind dogmatic following here. It is not allowed. This Bhagavatam is also called paramahamsa-samhita. It is a treatise for the most highly intelligent class of personalities in the universe. We are meant to very carefully consider these points, both from the point of scriptural evidence and from logic, nyaya. We are meant to very clearly understand this philosophy from all angles of vision, and see how this is the ultimate science. There is no science like this anywhere in the universe. This is the very science upon which this universe is existing at this minute. They're proud that with their science, they can make a little mp3 player with 40 GB in it. But the science we are studying describes how we exist, how every thing exists, what is the relationship between the different aspects of reality, what is the source of reality, and the emanated reality, how those two coordinate in a perfectional relationship of loving service. Everything is here in this Krishna consciousness science.
The world is actually dying for this knowledge. We are very fortunate to be the ones who have somehow got this knowledge so we can disseminate it, so that these Hiranyakasipus can be transformed into Prahladas. Just like we were Hiranyakasipus, and we've been transformed into Prahladas. We have gotten the mercy, now we must spread the mercy. This is called love. This is called compassion. This is called kindness. This is called friendship.
The devotee of the Lord is truly the best friend of everyone. He has no enmity toward anyone. He truly loves everyone. If we don't feel that, it means we're kanistha-adhikari. We have to find devotees who are more highly advanced than ourselves and take shelter of their association. A kanistha doesn't have that compassion. Madhyama-adhikari and uttama-adhikari both have that compassion. We have to come, at least, to the madhyama platform, and from there, gradually we must come to the uttama platform. That's what Prabhupada wants.
So, any questions?
Guest 1: You were talking about how the acarya presents according to time, place, and circumstance. So, how would you reply to this comment, that one person who attained the Bhagavatam, was reading without Prabhupada's commentary, how churches are empty, so devotees are taking over the churches, and so the person said, well, that's not true now. There's more churches coming up, all over, and they're all full. There's a big resurgence. So, you say this is the law book for the next 10,000 years, so how do you justify these statements in the purport? I think its just his opinion.
SDA: Certainly, we've seen many examples of that in the past. This was formerly a Lutheran church, I understand. In Houston, the present, wonderful temple was formerly a Christian church. In Dallas, and Los Angeles also. There's certainly very solid grounds for that statement having been made. Now, whether Christianity is going through an up cycle right now, in some aspects it may be. The modes of nature are always fluctuating, up and down, up and down. But, the fact is that there is a great problem going on in Christianity, of churches closing. Its still happening. I recently heard in the news that there was one church, they decided to close it. The parishioners were totally disturbed. They were protesting, but there was nothing they could do. The church was being closed. They were shutting down one of the churches. So, Christian churches are still closing. Just because somewhere, they are opening, doesn't mean that they're not also closing somewhere. To say that no Christian churches are closing is not true. There is lack of support. That's a fact.
I know the Presbyterian church I used to go to when I was a kid used to be really packed. When my father passed away, I went there with my tilak and dhoti, to show some respect to him. He helped by giving financial support. As a householder, he did a lot of service indirectly. So, I wanted to show him some respect at that ceremony. I noticed there were no young people in the church. The same people who had been there when I was a little kid were still there. Now they are old old people. People who were in there 30's with young children were still there, and now they're getting ready to die. I'm seeing that what Prabhupada stated is actually, still a fact. It may not be a fact in every single case, but it is a fact. Christianity is a dying religion. That's a fact.
They don't have the tools to hold back the onslaught of Kali-yuga like we do. They don't have the scientific understanding. Its a sentiment. And modern science is moving forward and more and more and more encroaching on modern day civilization with their scientific dogma. The Christians don't have the proper tools to defeat the scientists. We do. It would behoove the Christian ministers to, at least secretly, study these books. In my e-course I have a Baptist minister. He gives me a monthly donation also. Its all secret. He uses the knowledge of Prabhupada's books to give his sermons. He even sent me a copy of one of his sermons to show me how he's using concepts in Prabhupada's books to preach a new enlightened style of Christianity. He insists on calling himself bhakta. Its only out of economic necessity. We can't hire him with a salary. He needs some way to maintain himself, so he's working for the Baptist church, but in his heart, he really wants to practice Krishna Consciousness. He always says he's awaiting that day when he can be a Krishna Conscious preacher. There he is every Sunday, Reverend Reese, reading his Christian sermon based on Prabhupada's books.
Time is on our side. If we simply keep our purity, chant our rounds, follow the principles, stick together as a family like Prabhupada told us to, be loyal card-carrying members of the society, working under the GBC, we know what Prabhupada wants us to do, its guaranteed that this movement will be successful. The nectar will just keep increasing as the sankirtana scores keep coming in. There will be a day when what was done in the 70's will be completely dwarfed by what's lying ahead of us. Its the calm before the storm. When the tsunami comes in, the waves go in the opposite direction. All of a sudden the waves go way down. The foolish people see the fish lying on the beach. They're running around grabbing the fish. They didn't realize that this is the sign of a tsunami. You should run like hell. Then this huge wall of water comes, and they're killed. We may say that ISKCON has really gone down. But, it could be the tide going down, getting ready for the Lord Caitanya tsunami to come and completely make the grand sweep.
There's no telling what's lying ahead. There's no limit to the wonderful, amazing transformations that will happen within our own heart, and within the human society. It will be absolutely astounding what can happen. It can happen within our lifetime. It can happen within 18 days. Prabhupada said that. Let's just remain fired up. As Prabhupada told Hrdayananda Maharaja in a letter, if you will simply follow this simple formula, as much as possible, read, chant and preach, very soon, this Krishna Consciousness movement will be accepted as the world religion. Are Prabhupada's words simply an idle dream, or are Prabhupada's words absolutely true?
Guest 2: They say its a golden age for this movement. But Christians also say its the golden age. But the Muslims also say its a golden age. And we say that everyone's going to be chanting Hare Krishna. But the Christians say everyone's going to be praising Jesus.
SDA: In the golden age of Lord Caitanya, you can say praise Jesus. You can say Allah Akbar. They are all accepted in the golden age of Lord Caitanya. But, there golden ages don't allow the chanting of Hare Krishna. So how gold are they? That's called fools gold. Our golden age is a genuine golden age because in our golden age, if someone wants to chant the name Allah, then we welcome them to. Yes. Allah Akbar. Praise Jesus. We accept them. They do not. There so-called golden age is fools gold. The Muslims have put up a website to describe that Elijah Mohammad was the Kalki-avatara. And that all Hindus should become Muslims. Because he rode on a camel, or horse. They're making bogus propaganda. Its simply bogus. This is the actual golden age. Prabhupada said the Bible and Koran are mleccha-sastra: Meat-eater's scripture. They are meant to give some elevation to those who are very degraded people. At least they have some idea of bowing down to God. Some little elevation. In the Koran, there is an injunction; Don't have sex with your mother. You won't find such an injunction in the Bhagavad-Gita. Why? Because Bhagavad-Gita is spoken to high-class people who wouldn't dream of having sex with their mother. The Bible says, thou shalt not kill. But the Vedic wisdom is speaking to a higher-class audience who is not engaged in having sex with their mother, or slaughtering innocent animals to satisfy their blood lust These are for low-class people doing very degraded, sinful activity. Just to give them some little elevation, so they're not completely debauchee: Having sex with their mother. What a disgusting thing.
In our Krishna Consciousness movement, we address every woman as mother. We worship and respect them, so we would never think of having sex with our mother. So, every woman is mother for us, except one's wife. Therefore we say mataji, or mother. Out of respect, I do not see you as a sex object. I see you as a worshipable personality, who I offer my respect to. That's why we call the ladies mataji, or mother.
Guest 3: Why, in ISKCON, don't we call a mataji, as prabhu?
SDA: Prabhupada said we should see every devotee as prabhu, except for ourselves. Prabhu means master. Anyone who is a devotee is a prabhu. Prabhupada even, sometimes called the ladies prabhu, also in description. I have seen, when listing different devotee's names, he would call so and so lady a prabhu. Everyone is prabhu, actually. They are our master, and we are their servant. The ladies are our prabhu, the men are our prabhu, everyone is our prabhu. We are servants. Is that alright?
Guest 3: (asks how many masters we have.)
SDA: Our nature is to serve. If we don't serve God, if we don't serve the Vaisnavas, then what will we do? We will keep a dog. We will serve him. My dear dog, you want to pass stool now? Alright. I will accompany you to pass stool. I will even pick it up, in a little plastic bag. I will carry your stool in my hand, put it in my pocket, while its still warm. (Laughter)
Devotee: These other traditions like Christianity, or Muslims have no substance. They are always subject to change from one faith to another. Whereas Krishna consciousness is way above that. There is knowledge, devotion, understanding of who we are.
SDA: Asinine. Prabhupada really saved us. Thank you Prabhupada. Thank you. Srila Prabhupada ki, Jaya! Grantha-raja, Srimad-Bhagavatam ki, Jaya! Hare Krishna.
Transcribed by His Grace Jagannatha Dasa