"The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is a movement aiming at the spiritual reorientation of mankind through the simple process of chanting the holy names of God." - His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
There is yoga, and there is yogamāyā. Yogamāyā
means forgetfulness. First of all we have to understand what is the
soul. At the present moment, people are in such darkness that they do
not even understand the soul. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā first of all teaches what the soul is:
“As the embodied soul continually passes in
this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes
into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by
such a change.”
The word dehī
means “the proprietor of the body.” We are thinking, “I am this body,”
but actually this is not so. We are the proprietors of the body, and
that is the real understanding of the self. We do not say, “I am this
finger” or “I am this hand.” Rather, we say, “This is my finger, this is
my head, this is my leg, etc.” Similarly, the same can be said about
the entire body. “This is my body.” This means that I am the proprietor of this body. The body has been given by māyā, the material energy.
“The bewildered spirit soul, under the
influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be
the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by nature.”
The living entity receives different types of bodies according to karma.
One living entity may receive a cat body, another a dog body, and so
forth. Why are there so many different bodies? Why not one kind of body?
The answer to this is also given in Bhagavad-gītā (13.22):
“It is due to his association with the modes of material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil among various species.”
Because the soul within the body associates
with the three modes of material nature (goodness, passion and
ignorance), he receives different types of bodies. One doesn’t have to
aspire for his next body; one need only rest assured that it will be a
On the other hand, Kṛṣṇa
does not say what kind of body one will be awarded. That depends on
qualification. If one associates with the mode of goodness, he is
elevated to the higher planetary systems. If he associates with the mode
of passion, he remains here. And if one associates with the mode of
ignorance and darkness, he goes down to lower life forms—animals, trees
and plants. This is the proclamation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā (14.18):
“Those situated in the mode of goodness
gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion
live on the earthly planets; and those in the mode of ignorance go down
to the hellish worlds.”
There are 8,400,000 species of life, and all of these arise from one’s association with the modes of nature (kāraṇaṁguṇa-saṅgo ’sya).
And, according to the body, one undergoes distress and happiness. One
cannot expect a dog to enjoy the same happiness that a king or rich man
enjoys. Whether one enjoys this or that happiness or suffers this or
that distress, both distress and happiness are due to the material body.
Yoga means transcending the distress or happiness of the material body. If we connect ourselves with Kṛṣṇa through the supreme yoga, we can get rid of material happiness and distress arising from the body. Reconnecting with Kṛṣṇa is called bhakti-yoga, and Kṛṣṇa comes to instruct us in this supreme yoga.
In essence, He says, “Just revive your connection with Me, you rascal. Give up all these manufactured yogas and religions and just surrender unto Me. That is Kṛṣṇa’s instruction, and Kṛṣṇa’s representative, the incarnation or the guru, says the same thing. Although Kapiladeva is an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, He acts as the representative of Kṛṣṇa, the guru. If we just accept the principle of surrender unto Kṛṣṇa,
we will become actually transcendental to so-called material happiness.
We should not be captivated by material happiness or aggrieved by
material distress. These are causes for bondage. Material happiness is
not actual happiness. It is actually distress.
We try to be happy by
obtaining money, but money is not very easily obtained, and we have to
undergo a great deal of distress to get it. However, we accept this
distress with the hope of getting some false happiness. If we purify our
senses, on the other hand, we can come to the spiritual platform. Real
happiness lies in engaging our senses to satisfy the senses of Kṛṣṇa. In this way our senses are spiritualized, and this is called ādhyātmika-yoga or bhakti-yoga. This is the yoga that Lord Kapiladeva is herein expounding.
We should not think that the only apprehended culprit is President Nixon and that we are safe. There is a Bengali proverb: "Dry cow dung is used for fuel, and it is said that when the dry cow dung is being burned, the soft cow dung is laughing, saying, 'Oh, you are being burned, but I am safe.' It does not know that when it dries out, it will be thrown into the fire too." We may laugh because President Nixon is in trouble, and we may think ourselves very safe because we have a big bank balance, but actually no one is safe. Eventually everyone will dry up and be thrown in the fire. That is a fact. We may survive for a few years, but we cannot avoid death. In fact, it is said, “As sure as death.” And what is the result of death? One loses everything—all honor, money, position and material life itself. Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā (10.34), mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham: “I am all-devouring death.” Kṛṣṇa comes as death and plunders everything—bank balance, skyscrapers, wife, children and whatever. One cannot say, “My dear death, please give me some time to adjust.” There is no adjustment; one must immediately get out. Foolish people are unaware of the miserable conditions of material life. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (13.9), janma-mṛtyu jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam. Real knowledge means knowing that however great one may be, the four principles of material life are present: birth, old age, disease and death. These exist in the highest planetary system (Brahmaloka) and in the lowest (Pātālaloka). tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukhaṁ kālena sarvatra gabhīra-raṁhasā “Persons who are actually intelligent and philosophically inclined should endeavor only for that purposeful end which is not obtainable even by wandering from the topmost planet down to the lowest planet. As far as happiness derived from sense enjoyment is concerned, it can be obtained automatically in course of time, just as in course of time we obtain miseries even though we do not desire them.” (Bhāg. 1.5.18) When Dharmarāja asked Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira what the most wonderful thing in the world was, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira replied: ahany ahani bhūtāni gacchantīha yamālayam. “Every moment people are dying, but those who are living are thinking, ‘My friend has died, but I shall live forever.’ ” (Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.116) Soft cow dung thinks the same way. This is typical of conditioned beings. Bhagavān, the Supreme Lord, is not in this position. It is therefore said: bhagavān ātma-māyayā. We come onto this planet to enjoy or suffer life for a few days—fifty or a hundred years—but Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not come for that purpose (na māṁ karmāṇi limpanti). It is further stated, na hy asya varṣmaṇaḥ: “No one is greater than Him.” No one is greater than Bhagavān or equal to Him. Everyone is inferior. According to Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi 5.142), ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa, āra saba bhṛtya. There is only one master—Kṛṣṇa. All others are subservient, beginning with Lord Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Maheśvara, Indra, Candra and all the demigods (there are thirty-three million demigods) and the middle and lower species. Everyone is bhṛtya, or servant. When Kṛṣṇa orders, “My dear Mr. So-and-So, now please give up your place and leave,’, one must go. Therefore everyone is a servant. This is the position of Lord Brahmā and the ant as well. Yas tv indragopam athavendram aho sva-karma [Bs. 5.54]. From Lord Indra to indragopa, an insignificant insect, everyone is reaping the consequences of his karma. We are creating our own karma, our next body, in this life. In this life we enjoy or suffer the results of our past karma, and in the same way we are creating further karma for our next body. Actually we should work in such a way that we will not get another material body, How can this be done? We simply have to try to understand Kṛṣṇa. As Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9): janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna “One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” This sounds very simple, but actually understanding Kṛṣṇa is very difficult. If we become devotees of Kṛṣṇa, understanding Kṛṣṇa is easy. However, if we try to understand Him by jñāna, karma or yoga, we will be frustrated. There are many types of yogīs, but he who is devoted to Kṛṣṇa is the topmost yogī. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is far above all yogic processes. In India there are many yogīs who can display some magical feats. They can walk on water, make themselves very light or very heavy and so forth. But what is this compared to Kṛṣṇa’s yogic mystic powers? By His potencies, great planets are floating in space. Who can manage to float even a small stone in the air? Sometimes a yogī may show a little mystic power by manufacturing some gold, and we are so foolish that we accept him as God. However, we forget that the real yogī, the Supreme Lord Himself, has created millions of gold mines and is floating them in space. Those who are Kṛṣṇa conscious are not befooled by yogīs who claim to be Bhagavān. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person wants only to serve the foremost yogī, Yogeśvara (varimṇaḥ sarva-yoginām). Because we are trying to become His devotees, we accept the Supreme Lord, Yogeśvara, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa Himself states in Bhagavad-gītā (18.55): bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ tato māṁ tattvato jñātvā viśate tad-anantaram “One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.” This process is actually very simple. One must first of all realize that the first problem is the conquest of death. Presently we consider death compulsory, but actually it is not. One may be put into prison, but actually prison is not compulsory. It is due to one’s work that one becomes a criminal and is therefore put in jail. It is not compulsory for everyone to go to jail. As living entities, we have our proper place in Vaikuṇṭhaloka. paras tasmāt tu bhāvo ’nyo ’vyakto ’vyaktāt sanātanaḥ yaḥ sa sarveṣu bhūteṣu naśyatsu na vinaśyati avyakto ’kṣara ity uktas tam āhuḥ paramāṁ gatim yaṁ prāpya na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama “There is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is. That supreme abode is called unmanifested and infallible, and it is the supreme destination. When one goes there, he never comes back. That is My supreme abode.” (Bg. 8.20–21) Everything is present in Vaikuṇṭhaloka. There we can have an eternal, blissful life full of knowledge (sac-cid-ānanda). It is not compulsory for us to rot in this material world. The easiest way to go to the Vaikuṇṭhalokas is: janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ [Bg. 4.9]. Simply try to understand Kṛṣṇa. Why does He come? What are His activities? Where does He come from? Why does He come in the form of a human being? We only have to try to understand this and study Kṛṣṇa as He explains Himself in Bhagavad-gītā. What is the difficulty? God personally explains Himself as He is, and if we accept Bhagavad-gītā as it is, we shall no longer have to transmigrate. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9]. We shall no longer have to endure birth and death, for we can attain our spiritual bodies (sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1]) and live happily in Kṛṣṇa’s family. Kṛṣṇa is providing for us here, and He will also provide for us there. So we should know that our happiness is in returning home, back to Godhead, where we can eat, drink and be merry in Kṛṣṇa’s company. (From Teachings of Queen Kunti By AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)
Buddhi. By intelligence, by intelligence you take shelter of the Supreme Lord. Don't be miser and be hankering after the result of your work and enjoy for yourself. No, sacrifice. Sacrifice means you sacrifice your energy. God is not hankering after your money or whatever you have got. He is full in Himself. He is full in Himself. He doesn't require.
Now in India there is a system of worshiping the Ganges water. Ganges water. There are five sacred rivers which the Hindus, they worship. They are Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Kāverī, Godāvarī, Narmadā. Just like you have got your Hudson River here, similarly there are many rivers, and one of them... These five rivers, they are accepted as the sacred river and people take their bath and offer their respect.
Now, what is the process of respect? The process of respect is just like worshiping the Ganges water. Now, after taking your bath, you stand on the water and take little water from the river, just like this. The river is flowing. You take little water like this, and chant your mantra and offer it. Now, this offering, offering of water, where from the water is come? Oh, you have taken the water from the Ganges. You have not brought even the water from your house. You are taking the water from the Ganges, and you are again offering the same to the Ganges with some mantra. So similarly, the Ganges has got immense water. If you take one palmful of water out of it, the Ganges is not in loss. And again, if you offer a palmful of water on the Ganges, the Ganges does not gain anything. But utilizing the Ganges water and offering to the Ganges, you become a devotee of Ganges. Similarly, the offering to Lord... What you have got? Your body, it is also given by God. Your intelligence, it is given by God. The facility of work, it is given by God. Everything is given by God.
Now, suppose I am writing books. All right. In which you are writing? On paper. All right, who has given you paper? Now, you make philosophical study. "Well, paper I purchased from the market." Market, how does it supply paper? "It is manufactured in mills." Oh, it is manufactured in mills. Where they get the raw materials? "Oh, from the wood." How the wood is produced? Oh, then you come to the God. You cannot produce the wood. You simply bring wood from the forest and get it to chemically purified and make a plaster, and the paper is made. So no raw material you can manufacture. Raw material has to be taken from God's stock. Now, if the raw material is taken from God's stock, then how the paper becomes yours? This is God consciousness.
Everything we'll find that nothing is ours. The economists also say that we cannot manufacture anything; we can simply transform from one form to another. That's all. We can give our labor only. And that labor also, given the strength... Now, suppose I work with my hand. Now, I am claiming, "This is my hand," but if God withdraws the power of your hand, paralyzed, oh, your pride is at once vanished. Not your hand. You see? So in everything, nothing is yours. I am also... As spirit soul, I am also part and parcel of God. And we are thinking independently that "I have no connection with God." This is very horrible condition. The whole world is suffering because this misconception of life, misconception of life, that he has forgotten his eternal relationship with God. So we have to revive it. We have to revive it, this process. The Bhagavad-gītā has prescribed,
Kṛpaṇāḥ means those who are anxious for enjoying sense gratification, by the fruits of their labor. They are called kṛpaṇa. And those who have sacrificed the whole body, whole intelligence... Sacrifice... You always remember: what we can sacrifice? Just like we take Ganges water from Ganges and offering Ganges, so everything is obtained from God, and now, if we offer the same thing to God, then we become liberated. Actually I am not proprietor in anything. Myself is also not... I am also the part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. These are the conception. Without this conception, without this God conception, there is no spiritual realization and there is no happiness, either personally, or impersonally, or socially, or economically or politically. There cannot be....
Why is a man given a better chance to live than swine or other animals? Why is a highly posted government officer given better facilities for a comfortable life than an ordinary clerk? The answer is very simple: the important officer has to discharge duties of a more responsible nature than those of an ordinary clerk. Similarly, the human being has to discharge higher duties than the animals, who are always busy with filling their hungry stomachs. But by the laws of nature, the modern animalistic standard of civilization has only increased the problems of filling the stomach. When we approach some of these polished animals for spiritual life, they say that they only want to work for the satisfaction of their stomachs and that there is no necessity of inquiring about the Godhead. Yet despite their eagerness to work hard, there is always the question of unemployment and so many other impediments incurred by the laws of nature. Despite this, they still denounce the necessity of acknowledging the Godhead.
We're not given this human form of life just to work hard like the swine or dog, but to attain the highest perfection of life If we do not want that perfection, then we will have to work very hard, for we will be forced to by the laws of nature. In the closing days of Kali-yuga (this present age) men will have to work hard like asses for only a scrap of bread. This process has already begun, and every year the necessity for harder work for lesser wages will increase. Yet human beings are not meant to work h ard like animals, and if a man fails to discharge his duties as a human being, he is forced to transmigrate to the lower species of life by the laws of nature. Bhagavad-gita very vividly describes how a spirit soul, by the laws of nature, takes his birth and gets a suitable body and sense organs for enjoying matter in the material world.
In Bhagavad-gita it is also stated that those who attempt but do not complete the path of approaching God, in other words, those who have failed to achieve complete success in Krsna consciousness, are given the chance to appear in the families of the spiritually advanced or in financially well-to-do mercantile families. If the unsuccessful spiritual aspirants are offered such chances of noble parentage, what of those who have actually attained the required success? Therefore an attempt to go back to Godhead, even if half finished, guarantees a good birth in the next life. Both the spiritual and financially well-to-do families are beneficial for spiritual progress because in both families one can get a good chance to make further progress from the point where he stopped in his previous birth. In spiritual realization the atmosphere generated by a good family is favorable for the cultivation of spiritual knowledge. Bhagavad-gita reminds such fortunate well-born persons that their good fortune is due to their past devotional activities. Unfortunately the children of these families do not consult Bhagavad-gita, being misguided by maya (illusion).
Birth in a well-to-do family solves the problem of having to find sufficient food from the beginning of life, and later a comparatively easier and more comfortable way of life can be led. Being so situated, one has a good chance to make progress in spiritual realization, but as ill luck would have it, due to the influence of the present iron age (which is full of machines and mechanical people) the sons of the wealthy are misguided for sense enjoyment, and they forget the good chance they have for spiritual enlightenment. Therefore nature, by her laws, is setting fires in these golden homes. It was the golden city of Lanka, under the regime of the demonic Ravana, that was burned to ashes. That is the law of nature.
The Bhagavad-gita is the preliminary study of the transcendental science of Krsna consciousness, and it is the duty of all responsible heads of state to chalk out their economic and other programs by referring to Bhagavad-gita. We are not meant to solve economic questions of life by balancing on a tottering platform, but we are meant to solve the ultimate problems of life which arise due to the laws of nature. Civilization is static unless there is spiritual movement. The soul moves the body, and the living body moves the world. We are concerned about the body, but we have no knowledge of the spirit that is moving that body. Without the spirit, the body is motionless or dead.
The human body is an excellent vehicle by which we can reach eternal life. It is a rare and very important boat for crossing over the ocean of nescience which is material existence. On this boat there is the service of an expert boatman, the spiritual master. By divine grace, the boat plies the water in a favorable wind. With all these auspicious factors, who would not take the opportunity to cross over the ocean of nescience? If one neglects this good chance, it should be known that he is simply committing suicide.
There is certainly a great deal of comfort in the first-class coach of a train, but if the train does not move toward its destination, what is the benefit of an air-conditioned compartment? Contemporary civilization is much too concerned with making the material body comfortable. No one has information of the real destination of life, which is to go back to Godhead. We must not remain seated in a comfortable compartment, but we should see whether or not our vehicle is moving toward its real destination.
There is no ultimate benefit in making the material body comfortable at the expense of forgetting the prime necessity of life, which is to regain our lost spiritual identity. The boat of human life is constructed in such a way that it must move toward a spiritual destination. Unfortunately this body is anchored to mundane consciousness by five strong chains which are: (1) attachment to the material body due to ignorance of spiritual facts, (2) attachment to kinsmen due to bodily relations, (3) attachment to the land of birth and to material possessions such as house, furniture, estates, property, business papers, etc., (4) attachment to material science, which always remains mysterious for want of spiritual light, and (5) attachment to religious forms and holy rituals without knowing the Personality of Godhead or His devotees who make them holy. These attachments, which anchor the boat of the human body, are explained in detail in the Fifteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita. There they are compared to a deeply rooted banyan tree which is ever increasing its hold on the earth. It is very difficult to uproot such a strong banyan tree, but the Lord recommends the following process: "The real form of this tree cannot be perceived in this world. No one can understand where it ends, where it begins, or where its foundation is. But with determination one must cut down this tree with the weapon of detachment. So doing, one must seek that place form which, having once gone, one never returns, and there surrender to that Supreme Personality of Godhead from whom everything has begun and in whom everything is abiding since time immemorial." (Bg. 15.3–4)
Bill Sauer:I think you put it better than I did. We do not destroy matter, we transmute it to energy, that's exactly correct. And it is the..., and in fire you are again transmuting material chemical energy into light. And when our light source goes out...
Dr. Sharma: And it surprising, I'm a scientist, I publish papers, now it is all coming together. It is after a long search which we are doing, the body systems, how to be coordinated. Endocrine systems and the nervous systems (indistinct) and that is coordinated through prāṇāyāma-yogaand the chanting. Basically indirectly is a straightforward...
Bill Sauer: Well, there, fundamentally, there should not be a difference between science and religion, really should not be.
Dr. Sharma: All scientists, all big scientists are the greatest religious people. I am at Berkeley right now. All Nobel Prize winners, they always say that all of our science, we cannot create a single leaf or a single flower, we feel so helpless.
Bill Sauer: You know Calvin?
Dr. Sharma: I was professor at UCLA.
Bill Sauer: Very good. See, he got his Nobel Laureate in explaining how the chemistry of light turns into life. So I passed my manuscript by him to make sure that he didn't run me out of town. So he agreed. He said it was rather novel. But I believe there is a fundamental truth that runs through the whole system, and I've read some of your comments in the magazines, and I think you are fundamentally in agreement.
Dr. Sharma: Prabhupāda, perhaps you can make commentary on this śloka,
Prabhupāda: The material civilization is the jāgrati for the materialistic person. But those who are spiritually enlightened, they think that these persons are sleeping. They got the opportunity of understanding God, and without understanding God, they are simply busy with the material body and its comfort and working hard day and night, and missing the point. And whereas the materialistic persons, they see these Kṛṣṇa conscious people, HareKṛṣṇa people, they are wasting their time by chanting HareKṛṣṇa and they are doing nothing. Just the opposite business. These people are seeing the materialistic persons, they are sleeping, not enlightened to the spiritual life; and these materialistic persons, they are seeing that these people, under some fictitious idea, they are spoiling their life without enjoying material facilities. Just the opposite.
Bill Sauer: I try to resolve these two views. I believe that materialism has a divine purpose.
Prabhupāda: Everything has got divine purpose. But if you do not understand the divine purpose, then you remain animal.
Bill Sauer: Yes, that's right.
Prabhupāda: Everything has got divine purpose. This human form of life is given to us by laws of nature to understand what is God, what we are, what is our relationship with God, what is this material world, why you have come here, these things we have to know in this human form of life, and, if we like, we can know also. But instead of knowing these different phases of life, if we simply take care of this body like the animals, then we miss the opportunity. The animal is concerned to take the care of the body, that's all. If we simply remain taking care of this body, then we are animal. Saeva go-kharaḥ [SB 10.84.13].
Bill Sauer: Sir, may I read you back the, my version of "Materialism Without Purpose"? May I read you "Materialism Without Purpose"? "Mankind's insatiable appetite for material things stems from instinctive desire to pursue technology, which in turn drives civilization to a frenzy of activity. However, without a cause or a purpose," or spirituality, as you say, "the rush and hurry in uncertain directions to uncertain places creates an excess of technological gimmickery. Perhaps this continuing quest for more material goods would be less anxious if the cause of this obsession of mankind were universally recognized. If we saw the ultimate use of technology as an extension of nature with a purpose for the whole life system, perhaps a new life style would evolve. We would see creative natural instinctive satisfying outlet for energies, and we might all collectively attain more peace of mind. The waste of technological gimmickery would then disappear. Hard reality, however, will extinguish our relentless desire for material things if we do not correct the situation ourselves. We will soon run out of resources and power if our technological explosions continues as blind as a raging torrent of water flowing in any direction gravity takes it."
Prabhupāda: Yes, we are carried away by the laws of nature. However you may improve your technological science, you are under the laws of material nature. That you cannot change. But if you revive your spiritual life, then you can change. Otherwise it is not possible. If you keep yourself under the laws of material nature, then you have to be carried away by the laws of material nature, however expert you may be in technological understanding. Because, after all, you are an instrument in the hands of material nature.
You are falsely thinking "I am everything. I can, by technological understanding, improve the condition." But the real problem is, as it is put forward by Bhagavad-gītā, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9]. We are eternal, nahanyatehanyamāneśarīre [Bg.2.20]. We are put under the laws of material nature, by which we have to accept birth, death, old age and disease. This is our real problem. So unless you make a solution of these problems, there is actually no advancement of education. But the problems remains the same.
Bill Sauer: Saying that we're governed by the laws of nature, since we are a biological creature like the rest... (laughs)
Bill Sauer: In one of the cover letters that went out to some of the people in the American Institute of the Aeronautics and Astronautics, I referred to mankind as a biological phenomenon to solve one of nature's big problems. And a man wrote back, "Anyone who calls man a biological phenomenon shouldn't try and talk to me." So I don't know what he thinks we are, but...
Prabhupāda: Biological phenomenon...
Bill Sauer: It is nature, it is governed by the laws of nature, exactly.
Mr. Davis: May I just add one little note to my friend, and I'm sure my scientist friend will back me up, that the radiation from the sun is far more than just light, which is, after all, just a mere part of the electromagnetic radiation.
Bill Sauer: Physical light is what you're talking about.
Mr. Davis: Yes.
Bill Sauer: I'm talking about the whole electromagnetic spectrum.
Mr. Davis: Yes, but you said light.
Bill Sauer: I wrote, I've said it in the book, that it is far more complex than we can even imagine. Let's see...
Devotee (2): Excuse me, is your name Bill? Did you ever inquire to ask what is the source of the light? If you look at a light bulb you can examine that it has a source. You can trace it back to the electric company, and the people who are running the electric company are personalities, right? So in the same way the light of the sun and the light of the moon is coming from a person, a personality, right? And that person, we say that person is the source of all truths actually.
Bill Sauer: That's an interesting way... I said: "Radiant energy from the sun was to be the most important ingredient for our living earth. We know the content of the sun rays to be light and heat. This is what our senses tell us. We measure waves lengths and we see colors in sunlight. However the sun rays are a blend of radiant energy so complex that we may never understand their significance." And I believe, at least in our generation, I don't think we'll quite understand how complex the sun is. So I agree totally with you.
Dr. Sharma: It's not only that, by the theory of relativity, the observer is also a part of the observed...
Bill Sauer: That's correct. We will never understand...
Dr. Sharma: For that reason, it's difficult to comprehend infinity by our finite mind, and chanting gives you something, gives me something.
Bill Sauer: :That's right. Well, you find an intuitive understanding...
Dr. Sharma: I can't explain it.
Mr. Davis: It brings you to the uncertainty principle.
Dr. Sharma: Uncertainty principle, yes.
Bill Sauer: I'm glad you said that. Then this holds true, that we may never understand the significance, and being observers on the scene we probably never will. Einstein used to say he'd like to..., he used to wonder how it might be to ride a wave of light so he could see how it really was. But since we're sitting here... (laughs)
Dr. Sharma: Someday we have to have the faith, and the only thing, as Prabhupāda said, that there is a bottle of honey inside, and being outside, you can see, but unless you taste it, you can't really feel it.
Bill Sauer: Probably the most important... I quoted some people. This is Tierre De Jardin, who was a very religious man in science, was caught right in the two, and I consider this probably the most important quote in the book. De Jardin said "In the mutual reinforcement of these two still-opposed powers...," namely religion and science...
Dr. Sharma: No, I would never agree to that. Religion and science...
Bill Sauer: In the Western civilization it's opposed. He's saying philosophically, he said "In the mutual reinforcement of these two still-opposed powers and the conjunction of reason and mysticism, the human spirit is destined by the very nature of its development to find the uttermost degree of its penetration and the maximum of its vital force." In other words, spirituality and science already have truth.
Vṛṣākapi: Excuse me, one thing is you should address your questions to the authority. This discussion that you are having will get you nowhere. Unless you apply your questions to the authority, then you will never understand anything. So the authority is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta is teaching on that authority. So if you have come here, then you should try to address your questions to His Divine Grace rather than arguing among yourselves, because you will not find any satisfaction in your argument. If you want information, then you must go to the authority.
Guest: Still, the argument was an aspect of the occasion, and it came out of the wisdom that he's here.
Prabhupāda:Acintyāḥkhaluyebhāvāna tāṁs tarkeṇayojayet. Things which are inconceivable, do not try to understand by argument. Acintyāḥkhaluyebhāvāna tāṁs tarkeṇayojayet. So our process, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, is to take knowledge from the authority. Unless we take knowledge from the authority, however we may go on arguing, we cannot come to the conclusion. The modern scientists, philosophers, they are arguing, but they do not come to the conclusion. If you want to take conclusion... Just like two lawyers are arguing in the court, but the conclusion is given by the authority, the judge. That one has to accept. So we take authority, the Bhagavad-gītā or Kṛṣṇa. He is accepted authority by all the ācāryas,Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, ViṣṇuSvāmī, CaitanyaMahāprabhu, and in the śāstra also, Vyāsadeva, Nārada, Devala, Asita. So our authority is confirmed. So if we take conclusion from the authority, then we benefit. Otherwise, with our limited knowledge, if we go on arguing, then we cannot understand the conclusion. That is not possible. Tarko 'pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnā.By argument we cannot come to the conclusion. I can argue, and you can argue, but you may argue more than me. Another person can argue more than you. In this way, you do not come to the conclusion. And śrutayo vibhinnā. So far scriptures are concerned, there are also different scriptures. Nāsāv ṛṣir yasyamataṁnabhinnam. And a philosopher is not a philosopher if he does not agree with others, if he does not agree other philosophers. So in this way, you are perplexed. Therefore it is advised, mahājano yenagataḥsapanthāḥ [Cc. Madhya17.186]. We should accept the authority, and then we shall be benefited. So the authorities are mentioned in the śāstra, who are authorities. So if we follow the authorities, then we get the conclusion. SoKṛṣṇa is the authority accepted. At least in India, all the Vedic authorities, Vedāntists, they have accepted, Kṛṣṇa is the authority. So we simply follow what Kṛṣṇa says, and we get benefit out of it. Then it is all right. And without following authority, if you go on arguing, there is no end. The same example, that two lawyers, both of them are learned scholar. They are going on arguing on some point, they do not come to conclusion. But when the judge gives his conclusion, that has to be accepted. That is final. So we have to find out the judge. That is Kṛṣṇa. So we have got many points to understand by argument, but if we take the judgment of Kṛṣṇa, then it is conclusive. And He has His direction in every field of life, in the Bhagavad-gītā. Even our political leaders, they also accept Bhagavad-gītā in guidance. So if you take guidance from Bhagavad-gītā without malinterpretation, then we are benefited. Unfortunately, we interpret our own way, which is favorable to us, and that is not required. Then the authority of the Bhagavad-gītā is gone. We make our own conclusion, supposing on the authority of Bhagavad-gītā. That will not help us, by malinterpretation. You take the conclusion of Bhagavad-gītā as it is, then you will be benefited.
Eugene Thoreau: May I ask a question? Is it possible to aim at any form of personal existence after death?
Prabhupāda: Yes, you are personally existing, you are old man. When you were a child, you were person. When you were young man, you were a person. Now you are old man, you are a person. We are personalities continuing although the body is changing. You are not missing your personality. So therefore personality continues even when you change this body. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, in the Second Chapter. Kṛṣṇa says... Find out this verse.
Translation, "Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings, nor in the future shall any of us cease to be."
Prabhupāda: Yes, that means in the past we existed, at present we are existing, and in future we shall continue to exist, individually. And that is our experience. I existed in the past as a child. So I existed as a person. I existed as a young man, so I existed as a person. I am an old man now, now I am existing as a person. Naturally, the conclusion is when I shall change this body, I shall remain as a person. How we can change this conclusion? I am continuing to exist as a person. I am still existing as a person. And here is the authority, He says in the future also you remain a person. So there is time factor, past, present and future, and in all these time factors I live as a person. Not only I, but also Kṛṣṇa. He says "I also remain as person. You Arjuna, you also person, I am also person, and all these soldiers and kings who have assembled, they are also persons." So our personality continues, past, present and future.
Mr. Davis: Then when you die and you are buried, they bury your body.
Prabhupāda: My body you bury, but I go away.
Mr. Davis: They bury my body, they bury your name, they write it on a stone maybe, but they bury your name, they bury your memory. What survives, I was going to ask, and then what survives—no memory, no body, no name—is the spirit.
Prabhupāda: That is soul.
Mr. Davis: And the spirit would not necessarily have the ability to point and say "I used to be in that body or that body or that."
Prabhupāda: No, that he forgets. Death means forgetfulness. Just like accepting that I was existing in previous life, but now I do not remember. This is death. But I am existing, that's a fact. The same example. Everyone knows that he was existing as a child, he was existing as a young man. So because it is short period, I remember, but when the body is completely changed, the atmosphere is completely changed, we forget. But actually I exist continually. Nahanyatehanyamāneśarīre [Bg. 2.20]. This is the authoritative statement, that I am not annihilated on account of my body being annihilated. So they bury the body or giving some name, some tomb, that is the business of my relatives, my friends, my family members. But as I am, I am aloof from this. I have accepted another body. And then begin my life in a different way. So people do not try to understand this science, how it is happening. That is all described in the Bhagavad-gītā. If we study Bhagavad-gītā very carefully, we can understand the philosophy of life correctly.
PuṣṭaKṛṣṇa: This gentleman here has a question, Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Eugene Thoreau: You mentioned understanding, you mentioned lawyers arguing and the judge make the decision and their higher authority resolves the question. Can you suggest how people can go beyond that to spiritual understanding—not just appealing for judgment over a controversy about facts. What suggestions or comments do you have about achieving spiritual understanding?
Prabhupāda: That is very simple. Spiritual understanding, that is, I was speaking... This is beginning of Bhagavad-gītā. Spiritual understanding is that I am not this body. (to devotee) You move it this way. This is spiritual understanding. So long I am under this bodily concept of life, that "I am this body," "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am Hindu," "I am Christian," "I am white," "I am black" and so on, so on, these are all bodily concept of life. So long we keep ourself on this platform, then we are on the material platform. When we understand that "I am not this body..." That is the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā. Dehino 'smin yathādehe [Bg. 2.13]. Deha means this body, and dehī means the owner of the body. So unless we distinguish the owner of the body and the body, there is no spiritual knowledge. So long we identify with this body, that is material knowledge. And when we understand that "I am not this body, I am a spirit soul, I have been entrapped by this body," that is spiritual knowledge.
Mr. Davis: Is it not also true that the more you can realize "I am not this body," but there is that within my body which is spiritual, and that is there in an African's body which is spiritual, or a Chinese...
Prabhupāda: Everyone's body.
Mr. Davis: Everyone's body, therefore the thing we have in common is we are all a part of the spirit.
Prabhupāda: Yes, that is fact. We are part and parcel of the supreme spirit, God. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Mamaivāṁśo jīva-bhūtaḥ[Bg. 15.7]. "All these living entities, they are My part and parcel." Qualitatively, we are one. Just like a small particle of gold is also gold. It is nothing else. Similarly, we being part and parcel of God, we have got that godly qualification. God can create. We can also create. That example I have given in my last magazine, that we have created this big 747 airplane, but we cannot create a mosquito. That is also plane, with pilot. That is God's creation. So the creative power, both of us, we have got, but we are limited, and He is unlimited. That is the difference. A drop of seawater contains the same chemicals, but the quantity of Atlantic Ocean and drop of Atlantic Ocean is not the same. So we are just like drop of the Atlantic Ocean, and God is Atlantic Ocean. That is the difference. But chemically test, the whole Atlantic Ocean is salty, we are also salty. Whatever chemical composition is Atlantic Ocean, we are also of the same chemical composition. And because we are part and parcel of God, therefore we show sometimes activities very wonderful, but still, God's activities are still more wonderful. That we cannot compare. That is not possible. So we should understand what is the duty of the part and parcel. Now, just like this finger is the part and parcel of my body. So what is the duty of the finger? To serve the whole body. I order the finger "Please come here," immediately it does like this. So the finger, being part and parcel of the body, it is the duty of the finger to serve the whole body. When the finger is unable to give any service, then it is diseased. If there is some pain in the finger, I want to use this finger for some purpose, to pick up this flower, I cannot do it, that means it is diseased. Similarly, we living entities, part and parcel of God, when we are unable to give service to the Supreme, that is our diseased condition. That is not normal condition. And when we are actually able to give service to God, that is our healthy condition. So in the materialistic way of life we are diseased. Because we are diseased, therefore we have to accept birth and death. Tapodivyaṁputrakāyenaśuddhyetsattvam [SB 5.5.1]. So we have to get free from this diseased condition. Śuddhyet sattvam. Yasmād brahma-saukhyaṁtv anantam.(end)