A lecture given in Bombay, April 1, 1974
kanksantah karmanam siddhim
yajanta iha devatah
ksipram hi manuse loke
siddhir bhavati karma-ja
"Men in this world desire success in fruitive activities, and therefore they worship the demigods. Quickly, of course, men get results from fruitive work in this world." – Bhagavad-gita 4.12
Last night we were discussing the previous verse:
ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
manusyah partha sarvasah
"As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha."
EVERYONE IS SEEKING the Absolute Truth in different ways. Worship of the demigods is one way of searching after the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore demigod worship is recommended in the Vedas, in theupasana-kanda.
The Vedas are divided into three kandas, or divisions: karma-kanda, for fruitive work; jnana-kanda, for philosophical speculation; and upasana-kanda, for demigod worship. Therefore one name for the Vedas is trayi, "three."
The Srimad-Bhagavatam states, stri-sudra-dvijabandhunam trayi na sruti-gocara: "Women, the laboring class, and friends of the twice-born cannot understand the Vedas." Dvija-bandhu – "friends of the twiceborn" – refers to those who are born in families of brahmanas [intellectuals], ksatriyas [administrators], or vaisyas [farmers and merchants] but who do not possess the qualities of these higher classes.
A brahmana's qualifications are given in the Bhagavad-gita (18.41):
samo damas tapah saucam
ksantir arjavam eva ca
jnanam vijnanam astikyam
"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom, and religiousness – these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work."
The ksatriyas' qualities are also given (18.42):
sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam
yuddhe capy apalayanam
danam isvara-bhavas ca
ksatram karma svabhava-jam
"Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity, and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the ksatriyas."
The duties of the vaisyas are given (18.44):
"Farming, cow protection, and business are the natural work for the vaisyas."
And, finally, the duties of the sudras are given (18.44):
"For sudras there is labor and service to others."
A sudra is satisfied by serving somebody, just as a dog is satisfied to have a nice master.
To get success in a particular type of occupational duty, people sometimes worship the demigods. That is described here. Like us, demigods are also living entities, and all living entities are part and parcel of Krsna. Mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah. There is no difference between the demigods and us, but they are more fortunate to have gotten the post of Candra [the moon-god], Surya [the sun-god], Indra [the king of the heavenly planets], Brahma [the chief demigod], and so on.
To get success in material activities, people sometimes worship demigods. But in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna explains that although in one sense demigod worship is worship of Him – because the demigods are part of Him – demigod worship isavidhi-purvakam, done "in a wrong way." The vidhi, or "rule," is to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Demigod worship is something like bribing a doorman to enter the room of a great officer.
By demigod worship one can get results very quickly. But the results are antavat, "limited." Bhakti, however, is unlimited. The less intelligent worship the demigods instead of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In India especially we will find many devotees of the demigods. These devotees are not actually devotees. Devotion can only be in connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who worship the demigods are not devotees, because they want to get a reward from the demigods. But bhakti is not like that. The bhaktas, devotees, are not after any reward from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the difference between bhakti and demigod worship.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu teaches us bhakti. He says, na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye: "My Lord, I do not wish to ask from You opulence, riches, a nice wife, or many followers." These are material opulences. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, "I do not want all these things." Mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi: "I only want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth." That is the desire of a devotee. He doesn't want liber-ation. He wants to serve the lotus feet of the Lord birth after birth – janmani janmani. That is his aspiration.
The karma-kandiya, those on the platform of fruitive activities, are generally attracted by demigod worship. But those detached from material happiness become attached to Krsna. We have to choose whether for temporary benefit we shall worship demigods or for permanent benefit we shall worship Krsna. That is our choice. But people generally choose the immediate result (ksipram hi manuse loke siddhir bhavati). That immediate result may be palatable in the beginning, but it will produce bitter results at the end. But that we do not consider.
The immediate result and the remote result are described by the Sanskrit words sreyas and preyas. Preyas means "immediate benefit," and sreyas means "ultimate benefit." Those interested in the ultimate benefit go back home, back to Godhead. For them, worshiping the Supreme Lord is most beneficial. And those interested in temporary benefit worship demigods. They may pray to goddess Durga, dhanam dehi, rupam dehi, yaso dehi: "Give me wealth. Give me beauty. Give me fame." They forget that whatever material benefit they get will be lost with the end of the material body, when everything is lost. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna says, mrtyuh sarva-haras caham: "At the end, I, as death, take away all your material possessions."
So to desire temporary benefits is not good. Because we are eternal – nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam – we should be after eternal happiness, eternal benefit. That should be our business. Therefore we should not be karmis, fruitive workers. Neither should we become jnanis, mental speculators. We should become yogis. And what kind of yogi? Bhakti-yogi.
There are different types of yoga practice. Out of them, bhakti-yoga is the topmost. Krsna says, bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah: "I can be understood only through bhakti." Without being in bhakti-yoga one cannot be happy or understand Krsna or one's relationship with Krsna. Evam prasanna-manaso bhagavad-bhakti-yogatah.
We hold this class for the benefit of human society. The Krsna consciousness movement is meant to allow us to constantly hear about Krsna, talk about Krsna, chant about Krsna, eat about Krsna, work for Krsna, sleep for Krsna, walk for Krsna. Anything we do in relationship to Krsna is pious. Punya-sravana-kirtanah. Srila Rupa Gosvami recommends, nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate: dovetail everything with Krsna activities, Krsna consciousness. Then our life will be successful.
Krsna is sitting within your heart. When He sees that you are very serious about Him, then He helps you. We have many dirty things within our heart, but as soon as we begin to hear about Krsna they become washed away. Now we are hearing from Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita. Krsna is speaking about Himself. Krsna is speaking about the situation of the material world. He'll speak about the spiritual world. Everything is there in the Bhagavad-gita. So if you regularly hear, that is the beginning of your success in life.
The Vedas are called sruti, "hearing." One has to hear the Vedas from the right person. That is the recommendation of Sri Caitanya Maha- prabhu. Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. To achieve success in self-realization or God realization, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends, sthane sthitah: "Just stay in your present position, as a grhastha [householder] or as a brahmana or as a sannyasi [renunciant] or as a businessman or professional man – it doesn't matter." But, sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih: "Just try to hear about Krsna." Sruti-gatam means "aural reception." Tanu-van-manobhih: "And try to employ your body, words, and mind in Krsna's service."
Ye prayaso 'jita jito 'py asi. One of Krsna's names is Ajita, "He who is never conquered." But anyone who, without speculation, humbly and meekly hears about Krsna from the realized soul will one day will be able to conquer the unconquerable.
The Krsna consciousness movement is meant to give everyone the chance to hear about Krsna. That hearing is the first process – sravanam. And when one has heard very nicely about Krsna, then one can speak about Krsna. And one must speak. One who has heard nicely about Krsna cannot remain without speaking about Krsna. He must speak or preach. Hear and preach about whom? Visnu, or Krsna.
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
"Hearing and chanting about Visnu, remembering Him, serving His lotus feet, worshiping Him, offering Him prayers, becoming His servant, becoming His friend, and offering everything to Him." These nine processes of Krsna consciousness are being pushed forward by the members of the Krsna consciousness movement all over the world. We have opened a center here in Bombay, the most important city of India. So we request you all to come every day and try to understand the philosophy of Krsna consciousness, based on Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Vedanta-sutra, Ramayana, Mahabharata – all authentic scriptures. We are not concocting or giving false interpretations. We are presenting Bhagavad-gita as it is, without any deviation.
So if we take advantage of this process of understanding – srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah punya-sravana-kirtanah – then gradually we shall be free from the results of all our past sinful activities. Hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani. Abhadrani means "inauspicious things accumulated within our heart." By krsna-kirtana – chanting about Krsna – our heart will be cleansed. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends ceto-darpana-marjanam: The heart is like a mirror, and it can be cleansed by the chanting of Hare Krsna. As soon as the heart is cleansed we can understand what is Krsna, what I am, what my relationship is with Krsna, and how I should act in relation to Krsna. Understanding these things is the perfection of life.
Thank you very much.