Srila Prabhupada

You can attain a spiritual, eternal body, full of bliss and knowledge. Here's how.

A lecture given in Mexico City on February 14, 1975

matra-sparsas tu kaunteya
agamapayino 'nityas
tams titiksasva bharata

"O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed." Bhagavad-gita 2.14

FROM OUR DISCUSSION last night it is to be concluded that we are not going to die. Krsna said that not only He but also Arjuna and all others present on the battlefield would continue to exist. How shall we exist? As we are existing now: we have accepted a particular material body and are existing. Similarly, after this body is finished, we'll accept another body and continue to exist.

Now the question is, "In what kind of body shall I exist after this body is finished?" That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita. If we like we can exist in the higher planetary systems, where the duration of life is very, very long and the sense enjoyment more perfect than in this world. That existence we can have. Similarly, we can exist in the lower grade of life, like cats, dogs, insects, trees, aquatics. We can also exist in the same way we are existing now. And we can exist exactly as God exists in an eternal life of bliss and knowledge.

To have a spiritual body means to have an eternal life of bliss and knowledge. The body we now possess the material body is neither eternal, nor blissful, nor full of knowledge. Every one of us knows that the material body will be finished and that it is full of ignorance. We cannot say, for example, what is beyond this wall. We have senses, but they are all limited, imperfect. Sometimes we are very proud of seeing, and we challenge, "Can you show me God?" But we forget that as soon as the light is gone, our power of seeing is gone.

The whole material body is imperfect and full of ignorance, whereas the spiritual body is full of knowledge, just the opposite. We can get that body in the next life, provided we work for it. We can work to get our next body in the higher planetary systems, we can work to get the body of a cat or a dog, or we can work for a body of eternal, blissful knowledge.

Therefore the most intelligent person will try to get as the next body one full of bliss, knowledge, and eternity. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama. That place that planet or sky where you go and from which you never return to this material world is the spiritual world. In the material world, even if you get promoted to the highest planetary system, Brahmaloka, still you'll have to come back. But if you try your best to go to the spiritual world back home, back to Godhead you'll not return to accept a material body.

Then the question is, "If I am eternal, why are there so many miserable conditions of life? And why I am forced to die?" These are actually intelligent questions. "If I am eternal, why should I stay in the material body, subjected to birth, death, old age, and disease?"

Krsna instructs that the miserable condition of life is due to the material body. Those engaged in sense gratification are called karmis. The karmis do not care for the future. They simply want immediate facilities for pleasure, just like a child without the care of the parents. Such a child plays the whole day. He doesn't care for the future life, doesn't take any education. But in the human form of life, if we are actually intelligent we must try our best to get the life or body where there is no more birth, death, old age, and disease. The Krsna consciousness movement is meant to educate people for that purpose.

Krsna the Supplier

Now, one may say, "If I simply devote myself to Krsna consciousness, how will my material necessities be supplied?"

The answer is in the Bhagavad-gita: Krsna will look after the necessities of life for anyone simply engaged in Krsna consciousness. Krsna is already looking after everyone's maintenance. Eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman: "That one Supreme Person is maintaining the necessities of all living entities." So for a devotee trying to go back home, back to Godhead, there will be no scarcity. Rest assured.

Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, tesam nityabhiyuktanam … yoga-ksemam vahamy aham: "When a devotee is always engaged in My service, I see that his necessities of life are filled." A practical example is that in this Krsna consciousness movement we have one hundred centers, where from 25 to 250 devotees live. We have no fixed means of income, but by the grace of Krsna we have no scarcity; everything is supplied. People are surprised: "These people do not work, do not take any profession. They simply chant Hare Krsna. How do they live?"

But if cats and dogs can live at the mercy of God, the devotees can live very comfortably by the mercy of God. There is no question of that. Still, someone may think, "I have taken to Krsna consciousness, but I am suffering for want of so many things." For such a person or for all of us the instruction is matra-sparsas tu kaunteya sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah: "These pains and pleasure are just like winter and summer." In the winter, water is painful, and in the summer, water is pleasing. So what is the position of water? It is pleasing or painful? It is neither painful nor pleasing, but in a certain season by touching the skin it appears to be painful or pleasant. Such pains and pleasures are explained herein: "They are coming and going. They are impermanent."

"Just Tolerate"

Rgama apayinah anityah means "They are coming and going; therefore they are not permanent." Krsna therefore advises, tams titiksasva bharata: "Just tolerate." But do not forget your real business, Krsna consciousness. Don't care for these material pains and pleasures. Of course, you can try your best to counteract pains, but if you are unable, don't be misled by these so-called pains and pleasures.

One devotional quality is titiksa, "tolerance." That should be learned how to tolerate in every condition of life. For example, those who are actually brahmanas do not neglect to bathe early in the morning when the temperature is pinching cold. That simply requires practice. The bathing may be painful for one or two days, but if you practice, it will no longer be painful. So one should not give up bathing early in the morning because it is severely cold. Similarly, in the summer when there is scorching heat one should not decide, "We shall stop cooking." In the kitchen it may be too hot, but we cannot give up cooking.

Similarly, the rules and regulations for making spiritual advancement may be painful, but we cannot give them up. We have to learn how to tolerate. Therefore Krsna advises, tams titiksasva bharata:"My dear Arjuna, good descendant of Bharata Maharaja, try to tolerate this."

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has advised, therefore, how tolerant one should be to advance in Krsna consciousness. He has said, trnad api sunicena: "Become humbler than the grass." Although so many people may trample the grass, it does not protest. Taror api sahisnuna: "And be more tolerant than the tree." Someone takes its branches, someone snatches its fruit, sometimes cuts it, but still the tree gives you shelter and fruit, flowers, and leaves. The tree is a good example of tolerance.

Anyone who desires to go back home, back to Godhead, has to learn to be tolerant and forbearing. That is the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He also says, amanina manadena: "One should not desire any respect for oneself but should offer all respect to others." In this way, if we practice, we become fit for going back to Godhead, back home. That will be explained in the next verse:

yam hi na vyathayanty ete
purusam purusarsabha
sama-duhkha-sukham dhiram
so 'mrtatvaya kalpate

"If one practices, then one becomes fit for going back home, back to Godhead." So practice. Then anything will be tolerable. In the morning, when we go for our walk, people are practicing running. I cannot run. But if I practiced for some days, I could also run.

Anything you practice you'll be successful at. So if by practicing Krsna consciousness you can go back home, back to Godhead, why should you neglect it? It will solve all your problems. The real problems are birth, death, old age, and disease, and if you can solve these problems simply by practicing some regulative principles, why don't you do it?

That is our request. We are opening hundreds of centers to train people to practice Krsna consciousness and go back home, back to Godhead. You cannot go back home, back to Godhead cheaply. You have to practice certain regulative principles; then you will be fit. That is not very difficult, and if you practice, it will be very easy. The beginning should be chanting the Hare Krsna mantra so that you'll be fit for practicing.

Therefore, take full advantage of the Krsna consciousness movement and be successful in your life. Do not be misled. After this body is finished, every one of us will have to accept another body. If we neglect the rules and regulations and then have to accept the body of a dog just imagine how displeasing it will be! But Krsna says, mad-yajino 'pi yanti mam: "Anyone engaged in Krsna consciousness comes to Me." So practice Krsna consciousness and go back home, back to Godhead.

Thank you very much.