His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

This is a transcript of a class given by Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, in New York on March 7th, 1966, on the Bhagavad-gītā Chapter 2 Text 12

Srila Prabhupāda: So yesterday we were speaking about the Second Chapter, eleventh verse. Just read it. Second Chapter, eleventh verse.

Devotee: “The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.”

Srila Prabhupāda: Yes. You have marked it? With a pen? Yes. So we have finished this śloka. The next verse is

na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param
[Bg. 2.12]

What is the translation?

Devotee: “In fact there was never a time when I was not, or you or these kings were not, nor is it a fact that hereafter we shall cease to be.”

Srila Prabhupāda: Kṛṣṇa is trying to convince Arjuna that death does not take place. He says clearly that “Myself—I am the Supreme God, Kṛṣṇa—yourself, you, and all the other kings and the soldiers, those who have assembled in this great battlefield, it is not that in the past, we were not existing. And in the present, we are now face to face. We are seeing that we are existing. And in the future, we shall also exist in the same way.” “In the same way” means individually. Just like I am an individual person. You are an individual person. He is an individual person. So I, you, he, or they—first person, second person and the third person—so that individuality continues. Individuality of every living being is a fact. Therefore in the actual field also, we see that we have got difference of opinion. What I think, you may not agree with me because you have got your individuality. Similarly, your thinking may not be agreed by another gentleman. So everyone has got his individuality. That is a fact.  Just like there is a class of philosophers who says that the soul is a homogeneous, one entity, and after the destruction, after the annihilation of this body, the soul, as a substance, will mix up. Just like water. You keep in different pots. So the water takes the shape of the pot, the bowl, round bowl. You keep water. The water takes the round shape. So similarly, there are thousands of, or millions of, waterpots, and suppose all the waters are mixed up. Then there is no distinction. Just like they were in the pots. So their theory is that when a soul is liberated then the, that it mixes up with the Supersoul. Just like a drop water taken from the sea water and again put it into the sea, it mixes up. It loses its identity.

Lord Krishna is speaking the Bhagavad Gita to His disciple Arjuna

Lord Krishna is speaking the Bhagavad Gita to His disciple Arjuna

So that is one theory. But here Lord Kṛṣṇa says that “Myself, yourself, and all others who have come here…” There were about sixty millions of people assembled in that fight. It was not a small fight. In India there was… Of course, that was also a great world war. Just like we had experience… I think in the First World War, none of you had seen and we were child. When the First World War was declared, we were all boys, school children. My age was at that time fourteen years old, in 1914, when there was fight declared between Germany and Belgium. So that was the First World War. Then Second World War was in 1939. That was also German and Englishmen, like that. But actually, this was also World War, this Battlefield of Kurukṣetra (India) because all the kings of the world, they joined either this party or that party. So there were a great assembly of all worldly kings. Now, Kṛṣṇa says that “Either Myself, either yourself, or these persons who have assembled here, they are individual. They were individuals in the past, they are now individuals, and they will continue to be individual even after annihilation of this body.” Now, how you’ll adjust? There are two theories, that after liberation all these souls, they become one. Just like all drops of water, if you put into the sea, they become one entity. There is no distinction. And the Lord Kṛṣṇa says that “No, they keep their individuality. They do not mix.” Now we are supposed… We are all laymen. We are ignorant, what is actually position, what is the actual position. But we have got our discretion also. Just like every one of you has some knowledge in the history. Now, in the history in the past… Suppose you are now thirty years old or thirty-five years old, and suppose two hundred years before, the history which you read, you find that all people were individuals. And at the present you are experiencing that all individual, they are.

All living entities—either human being, or animals or birds, or anywhere—you can see that they are individual. Then why should you not believe that in future they will remain individual? Do you follow? In the past they were individuals, in the present they are individuals, and why not in future they’ll remain individuals? It is naturally concluded that they will continue to be individuals. Even we do not have any sufficient knowledge in either of these two theories, mixing up or keeping individual, but by our own small reasoning we can understand that in the future history we have information that there were individual persons. At the present moment also, we are seeing that there are individual persons. So why not in the future? How it is that in the future they’ll mix up and become one, homogeneous thing? It is quite reasonable. And this conclusion is like this: just like in two hundred years before, in the month of March, the climatic position was like this. And in 1966 we find in March the climatic position is exactly the same. And in future… Naturally I conclude that in future in March the same climatic condition will be there. In astronomy also, if you find that in March, in such and such date, the sun rising is like this, and actually in the present March, month of March, 1966, we see the same exact time… And the whole calculation of astronomy is made like that. They prepare hundred years’ astronomical charts. Hundred years’. How they do prepare? By this calculation, that in the past it was like this, at the present it is like this, so naturally, in future it will be like this. Just like you are speaking of the imminent springtime, that the nature, how will be decorate, how springtime, it will be nice, because you had past experience. So you are foretelling. It is not foretelling. From past experience, you are telling that this will take place. This will take place.

So this is another point, to understand things by our reasoning. But there are things which is beyond our reasoning. There are things, just like God, the existence of God. Of course, by our reasoning, we take it for granted that because everything has a creator… Just like we have this tape recorder before us. So we know that there is a manufacturer. Similarly, the typewriter, there is a manufacturer. In everything there is a father or manufacturer. Myself, I am, I am created by my father. My father was created by his father. Similarly, naturally we can conclude that this whole cosmic situation, the whole material manifestation—there is one creator. You see? So these are simple reasoning. It is not very hard to understand. But at the same time, there are things which are beyond our experience, beyond our reasoning, beyond our, I mean to say, conception. Those things are called acintya. Acintya means inconceivable. Inconceivable.

Now, how to understand that which is beyond our conception? The scriptures says like this, acintyaḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet: “Anything which is beyond our conception, beyond our reasoning power, beyond our approach of the material senses, such things we should not try to have conception simply by arguments.” So in the Vedic injunction it is said that tarkaḥ apratiṣṭha: “By… What should be the… What should be our real understanding, that we cannot establish simply by argument.” Tarkaḥ apratiṣṭhaḥ smṛtayo vibhinnāḥ: [Cc. Madhya 17.186] “If we consult different scriptures, then we’ll find that one scripture is speaking something, another scripture is speaking something else.” Just like cow-killing. Take, take it for example. The Hindus, they say that cow-killing is irreligious. The Muhammadans say, “No, cow-killing is religious.” There is some adjustment, but… Now, in the scripture I see that the cow-killing, in some scriptures it is said that cow-killing is irreligious, and another scripture says that cow-killing is religious. So which of them I shall accept? This is all right, or that is all right? So therefore it is said that smṛtayo vibhinnāḥ. If you consult different scriptures, you’ll find different contradictory statements. Your scripture may be different from my scripture. And nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. If you consult philosophers, you’ll find one philosopher is differing from another philosopher. A big philosopher means who has cut down other philosophers and put up his own theory, “This is true.” This is going on. So tarko ‘pratiṣṭhaḥ smṛtayo vibhinnā nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam. Then how to conclude what is the right path? I cannot establish it by my imperfect arguments. I cannot consult even the scriptures. Neither I can take real instruction from different philosophers. Then what, what is the way of having the real thing? So it says that dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām: “The truth of religiosity is very confidential, very secret.”

So how to know it? Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ: [Cc. Madhya 17.186] “We have simply to see that great personalities, as they have taken up, we have to follow. That’s all.” Just like in your Christian religion you may not understand all the Biblical injunctions or you may not have the time, but you’ll simply, if you follow the ideal life of Lord Jesus Christ, then you get the same result. Similarly, the Muhammadans, if they follow the ideal life of Muhammad, Hazrat Muhammad, so they get the result. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. Just like in a unknown path, in a village, especially when there is a field… Now, in, in the city, you can know that “I have come so far” because the streets are numbered and the, you have got the location and there are some symptoms, this house or that house. But in the country, everything, every, every place is of the same similar nature, the same jungle, the same field, the same grass. We do not know where I am going. Or in the sea. Or in the sea. I have got experience. Have you ever traveled in the sea? No. But when I was coming from India, so everywhere I see a round only, round of water. I do not know which way the ship is proceeding. You see? But they have got a chart. They have got a chart. By latitude, longitude, by time and by chart, they are calculating. Now, I was asking the Captain, “Where we have come?” He was saying, in the Mediterranean Sea, “Oh, we are so many miles from Italy. We are so many miles from…” Like this. “Tunisia. Now we are coming to Gibraltar.” Like this. But I was seeing all vast of water only. I was seeing, “Just after ten miles I shall reach,” but it never reaches. So then how, what are these charts? The charts are that experienced sailors, they have made the charts. The captain was also consulting that chart because it was made by experienced sailors. That is nothing. So similarly in calculating in which way we have to find out our salvation is to follow such liberated souls.

So last day we had been discussing that difference between the conditioned soul and liberated soul is that a conditioned soul is imperfect in four ways.

A conditioned soul is sure to commit mistake,
a conditioned soul is in illusion,
a conditioned soul has the tendency for cheating others
and a conditioned soul has got his senses imperfect, imperfect senses.

Therefore knowledge should be taken from a liberated soul. Why this Bhagavad-gītā is so honored? Now, this Bhagavad-gītā was spoken in India, and it is understood that it is a scripture of the Hindus. But why…? Now, you are Americans. You are also keeping this Bhagavad-gītā, and not only in America, in other countries also, in Germany. In Germany there are great, great scholars, in England, in Japan, in all countries. So why? Because it is spoken by a great personality. We Hindus, we accept Him the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but others, even not accepting Him the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they accept it as, at least, that He was a great personality. Therefore, besides the Hindu community, others, they are also consulting the knowledge. Now, my point is that when such a great personality, and when we accept Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then His version is right. What He says, that from our practical experience we can conclude that every individual persons who were in the past individuals, they are also individuals at the present, and they’ll continue to be individuals, and this is by our common sense, but it is confirmed by Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whom we call the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He is accepted as a great personality. He says, na tu eva ahaṁ jātu nāsam: “Don’t think that I was not in existence.” That means “I was in existence,” not that “Just now I have come before you as God, as Śrī Kṛṣṇa. I was Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the past also, and I am Śrī Kṛṣṇa at the present. So also yourself, and so also others—all individuals. So and at the present we are.” Na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ: “And don’t think that we shall not remain.” Sarve. This sarve means “we all,” not that… Sarve is plural number. Janādhipāḥ is plural number. “So they are all individual souls.”

So the individual soul continues. That is the version. That is the version of the Bhagavad-gītā, and we… It is better to accept this version without unnecessarily commenting it or interpreting it in a different way so that one… Interpretation is very bad. You see? A scripture should not be interpreted. A scripture should be taken as it is, as it is. And besides that, interpretation… When interpretation is required? When a thing is not properly understood, at that time, interpretation is required. Otherwise, there is no necessity of interpretation. Just like you…, that “Such and such village” or “such and such town is on the sea.” Somebody says. Now, the person who hears that “Such and such town is on the sea,” and he may be confused: “How is that? On the, on the water, how there can be a town?” So there is explanation required. Now that explanation is that ” ‘On the sea’ does not mean ‘in the midst of the sea,’ but ‘on the bank of the sea.’ ” Here is an interpretation. So similarly, a thing which is very clear to everyone, so there is no necessity of interpretation. Here the, the statement of Bhagavad-gītā as by, spoken by Lord Kṛṣṇa, is very clear, that “Myself, yourself and all these people who have assembled here, they are all individual persons. And they were individual persons in the past, and at the present moment, we see that they are individual persons, and they will continue. They will continue.” I may not know what they will become in the future, but because He is God, because He is the Supreme Personality, His statement should be accepted. That makes my knowledge perfect. Just like I give you one very simple example. Now, if a little boy asks his mother that “Who is my father?” The mother says that “Here is your father.” Now, if the child says, “I don’t believe it, that he is my father,” is it possible to convince him in any other way than the statement of the mother? Is it possible? No. That is the final. That is the final. And if he says, “I don’t believe it,” that is his foolishness. Similarly, a thing which is beyond our conception, beyond our limit of knowledge, that should be taken from the authority.

So here is an authority, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Authority. His authority, authorityship, is accepted by all over the world. In, in our India there are five different disciplic succession of authorities, just like the Śaṅkarites, followers of Śaṅkarācārya, and Vaiṣṇavites. Generally, they are two: Māyāvādī, impersonalists; and personalists. The personalist school, philosophers, they are divided into four: Rāmānuja-sampradāya—that means followers of Ācārya Rāmānuja; Madhvācārya-sampradāya, or the followers of Madhvācārya; Nimbārka-sampradāya, followers of Nimbārka Ācārya; and Viṣṇu Svāmī-sampradāya. Their conclusion is the same. Although they are four in number, their conclusion is the same. And another sect is Śaṅkarite sampradāya. So all these four, I mean, five different section of the Hindus, they accept Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All of them. There is no denial. Although they are five, they have got different theses and philosophies, little, little difference, not, I mean, conclusion, but still… Now, Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya, he is considered to be impersonalist. Impersonalist means he does not believe in the personal form of God. But still, he has commented in this, of this Bhagavad-gītā, Śaṅkara-bhāṣya. He has admitted there that “Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Personality of Godhead.” He has also admitted. Others, they are Vaiṣṇavites, other ācāryas, other authorities, they are Vaiṣṇavites. They have naturally admitted because they believe from the beginning. But even Śaṅkarācārya, who is impersonalist, he has also clearly written that sa bhagavān svayaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ: “Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” And there are many evidences in many scriptures and Vedic scriptures that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
[Bs. 5.1]

Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ. Īśvara. Īśvara means the Lord. Now, there are different lords, different lords, degree. Lord means controller or proprietor. So you have got some lordship over your environment. He has got some lordship. I have got some lordship. He has got some lordship. Or the President Johnson, he has got some lordship. In this way you’ll find different degrees of lordship. But here it is said that the supreme, superlative degree Lord is Kṛṣṇa. Above Him, there is no other Lord. Here we shall find that you are bigger lord than me, he is bigger than lord you, and somebody is bigger than him. In this way you can approach the lordship of Johnson. Then you can see another man. He is more than Johnson; another man, more than Johnson, like that. But when you reach Śrī Kṛṣṇa by such analytical process, you’ll find that nobody is greater, nobody is equal than Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And He says something—we must agree to accept it. (laughs) We must… If we don’t agree, that will not be beneficial for us. When a great man says something… And He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is saying that we are all individual persons. We are all individual persons. God is also individual person. It is confirmed in the Vedic literature. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). Nityo nityānām. Nitya means eternal. We are all eternal. This is plural number. So amongst all the eternal living entities, He is the chief. This is a definition of God, is given in the… Nityo nitya. Cetanānām, nit…, cetanaś cetanānām: “We are all conscious, conscious beings.” So He is the supreme conscious. He is the supreme conscious. Now, of course, there are some yogic schools. In America you’ll find. They do not believe in God. But it is not actually… The yoga principle does not deny the existence of God. God is there.

Now, just to inform you I have just brought one very authoritative book by two great professors of Calcutta University. The book is called ‘Introduction to Indian Philosophy’ Now he says… “He says” means he is giving, after studying all different kinds of philosophy, he is giving a nutshell idea of each type of system. Now, just see: “The place of God in the yoga… The place of God in yoga, as distinguished from the Sāṅkhya, the yoga is theistic.” Yoga system was introduced by Lord Patañjali, a great authority. You see? Now they have studied. Here is two persons. And this book is very authoritative. This is the sixth edition. Just see. It has very good sale in all the universities of the world. It is a very authoritative book. And this Dr. Chatterjee and Dr. Datta, they are not ordinary persons. This is accepted by all universities. And they are authoritative persons. I am therefore reading his version. What does he say? The yoga system.  “As distinguished from the Sāṅkhya, the yoga is theistic.” Yoga system is theistic. Theistic means believing in God. (From here for about four pages, Srila Prabhupāda is mostly reading from the Indian Philosophy book.) It admits the existence of God and both practical and theoretical Gods. Patañjali himself, however, has not felt the necessity of God for solving any theoretical problem of philosophy. For him, God has more a practical value than a theoretical one. This is the version of Patañjali. You see?

Devotion to God is considered to be the great practical value, as much as it forms a part of practice of yoga. Those who are practicing yoga, they must be devotee of God. Otherwise, yoga will be a failure. You see? So inasmuch as it forms a part of practice of yoga and is one of the means for the final attainment of samādhi-yoga or the restraint of the mind… That yoga, citta-niruddha. The whole purpose of practicing yoga is to control the mind. Now, here Patañjali system, that unless you conduct devotional service of Lord, or bhakti, there is no success of yoga.  The difficulty is that wrong interpretation of the original text delude the audience. You see? The subsequent commentators and interpreters of the yoga reveals also a theoretical interest in God and discuss more fully the speculative problems as to the nature of God and the proof for the existence of God. They practically take up the speculative way. But Patañjali, as he is, he takes practically, that without devotion of God, there is no success of yoga. Thus the yoga system has come to have both a theoretical and practical interest in the divine will. According to the yoga, God is the Supreme Person. Now just see. This is authoritative statement. A Supreme Person. Did you ever hear…? You have been in so many yoga societies. Did you ever hear that God is the Supreme Person? Now just see.

According to the yoga, God is the Supreme Person who is above all individual selves and is free from all defects. Now, the same thing, in the Bhagavad-gītā also, Lord Kṛṣṇa, He, He is telling. He is informing us about the future or of the past because He is perfect. He can see both past and future. Because we are not perfect, because we do not know… Now, accepting it that you existed in, in your, in the future… Say your age is thirty-four, thirty-five years. Can you say, thirty-six years before, where you were? You cannot say. Or suppose you live for hundred years. Can you say hundred years after where you shall be? You cannot say because you are imperfect, because you are imperfect. So God is not imperfect. God is perfect being. Here yoga system also accept like that. According to the yoga, God is the Supreme Person who is above all individual… Individual, now here you see the individual. Every living entity is individual. That, this particular word, that individual self and is free from all defects. And because He’s free from all defects, His statement is defect less. And therefore we must admit. My statement, because I am imperfect, my statement is also imperfect. I have no idea of the past and future. How can I say that in future you will be like this, or in the past you were like this? I cannot say. That, who is defect less—who can see past, future and present equally, and there is no defect—he can say.

So here is the statement of the Supreme Person. We have to believe it. We cannot go out of it. If we don’t believe it, then we are loser. If we don’t believe it, then we are loser. He is the perfect being who is eternal and all-pervading. Just see, all-pervading. That means, although you can see Him as a person… Just like you are present before me as a person, but you are absent in your residence. Is it not? But God is not like that. God is, although He’s present, Kṛṣṇa, although He’s present just before Arjuna, instructing him, but He’s all-pervading at the same time. A crude example. Just like at twelve o’clock in the midday, you see that the sun is above your head. And five thousand miles away, if you ask any friend, “Where is the sun?” he’ll say, “It is on my head.” Five thousand miles this way, that way, you inquire, and everyone will say, “The sun is on my head.” So if a material thing… Sun is a material thing. If a material entity can be so all-pervading, at one and the same time, so is it not that the supreme spiritual being, He’ll not be all-pervading? He is, certainly. He must be. He must be.

So here you see that He is the perfect being who is eternal… And eternal. Eternal means that… Eternal means everything. Eternal in consciousness. Now, Kṛṣṇa says that “You and Myself and all these beings were like this” because He has got eternal consciousness. He has actually experienced what I was. But because my consciousness is not eternal, I have forgotten what I was in my previous birth. Neither I can say what I shall be in my next birth. These are the distinctions. If we falsely claim that “I am God, I am that supreme consciousness,” it is our lunacy. It is our lunacy. We should not indulge in that way, and anyone teaching in that way, that is a cheating. It is not possible. Here is an authoritative book. He is the perfect being who is eternal and all-pervading, omnipotent, omniscient. All individual selves are more or less subject to the affliction of ignorance. We are, all living entities except God, everyone, everyone, they are subjected to ignorance, forgetfulness. That’s a fact. Ignorance, egoism. Egoism means that without having the qualification, one declares that “I am God.” This is egoism. Without having the qualification of God, if one declares that “I am God,” a foolish man, that is called egoism. Egoism, desire, aversion and dread of death. They have to do various kinds of work, good, bad, and indifferent, and reap the consequences thereof. That means they are subjected to the acts of your, I mean to say, reaction of their acts. If you do some good thing, then you reap the good result. If you do some bad thing, then you reap the bad result. And because we are defective, therefore we do something good, sometimes bad.

The best thing is, therefore, that God is all-good. If we follow God, then we become good. If we follow God or God’s representative, then we also become good. Because God is always good. A good cannot give you bad direction. Therefore devotional service… It is incumbent that everyone should be followers. Everyone should be followers of the instruction of God. That is devotional service. Nobody should be deviated from the service of the Lord. The whole Bhagavad-gītā… This is the beginning, and at the end, Lord will instruct, I mean to say, Arjuna, that sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: [Bg. 18.66] “You just surrender unto Me”; and ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ: “And I shall protect you, give you protection from all reactions of sinful life.” The best thing is, if we want to be all-good, then we have to follow the instruction of all-good. We have to mold our life in such a way that what is advised by the all-good… That will make our life perfect.  (end)

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