Johannesburg October 15, 1975

Why wait to accept the key for leaving this place of repeated birth and death?

yaya sammohito jiva
atmanam tri-gunatmakam
paro 'pi manute 'nartham
tat-krtam cabhipadyate

"Due to this external energy, the living entity, although transcendental to the three modes of material nature, thinks of himself as a material product and thus undergoes the reactions of material miseries. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.5)

Our Present Position is like this: We are sammohitah, bewildered, puzzled by maya, the illusory energy. We are all eternal parts of God, but on account of being enchanted by the material energy, or the external energy of God, we have forgotten our identity and we are now entangled. We have forgotten our goal of life.

The spirit soul is conditioned by the laws of material nature, which force us to accept a certain type of body according to our propensity. We create that propensity, and Krsna is so kind that He gives us the facility: "All right." If a person wants to suck blood, he will be given the facility of a tiger's body. If a person has no discrimination in eating, he will be given the facility of becoming a pig. Up to stool, he can eat.

This is stated very clearly in Bhagavad-gita (18.61):

isvarah sarva-bhutanam
hrd-dese 'rjuna tisthati
bhramayan sarva-bhutani
yantrarudhani mayaya

This is very significant. Yantrarudhani mayaya. We are riding on a machine. The body is a machine, but we are accepting the machine as the self. This is called sammohitah, bewilderment. If you are driving in a car and you think, "I am the car," that is foolishness. Similarly, I have this yantra (machine) my body and it is running on account of my presence. If I identify myself with this body, that is called sammohitah. Yaya sammohito jiva. When the driver [the soul] goes away, then I see that the car [the body] is not moving and I can understand, "Oh, the driver, my father, or my son, has gone away." We sometimes cry, "My father has gone away" or "My son has gone away," but because we are sammohitah, we actually never saw the father or the son. We accepted the body as the father or son.

The Result Of Understanding The Gita

All this is very clearly explained in the Bhagavad-gita. Krsna's last instruction in the Bhagavad-gita is "Just surrender unto Me.Back To Godhead - Freedom Through Bhakti Yoga" If you actually understand Bhagavad-gita, the result will be that you surrender to Krsna. Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: "Give up all varieties of dharma and surrender unto Me." Dharma means occupational duty. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Narada Muni says, "If someone thinks, 'Let me stop all other business and become Krsna conscious,' he is fortunate even if he says it out of sentiment, without thorough understanding." He is fortunate because he accepts the real thing. Therefore Narada Muni says, "Even if someone accepts Krsna consciousness out of sentiment but later on, before his execution of devotional service is imature, he falls down, then where is the loss for that person? On the other hand, a person who has not accepted Krsna consciousness but is very regularly executing his material responsibility what does he gain by that?" That is Narada's opinion.

This point is very important: By material activities we do not gain anything. We gain only another body, to begin another chapter in the same struggle for existence. According to our karma we shall have to accept a body, just as we develop a certain type of disease when we are infected by the germ for that disease. If you are infected with the smallpox virus, you have to suffer from smallpox. Nature's law is so strict; you cannot avoid it. If you have been attacked by the mosquito carrying the malaria germ, then you have to suffer from malaria.

Just as we take precautions against being infected with malaria or smallpox, we should be very cautious about our next body. If we become cautious, then there is the chance of being promoted to a higher situation in the next life.

If one takes to Krsna consciousness even out of sentiment, that is the greatest profit from any position, whether one is a brahmana, a ksatriya, a vaisya, sudra, or a candala [outcaste]. That is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita (9.32): mam hi partha vyapasritya ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah. The word papa-yoni refers to lower-class persons. If even they take shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna or His devotee, they become purified. There is no bar for anyone.

Krsna consciousness is so nice. If we take to it as our goal of life, then our life is successful. Otherwise yaya sammohito jiva atmanam tri-gunatmakam we shall continue the life of changing this body. That we have to do. We cannot be independent. If we think we are independent, that is due to our ignorance. We are not independent. We should always remember this. We are dependent on the laws of nature. We cannot say, "Now I have made a scientific discovery and we shall not die." That is not possible. You must die. That is the law of nature. You must die, you must take birth, you must become diseased, and you must suffer from old age. These are the four disadvantages of material existence.

In the next verse it is said,

anarthopasamam saksad
bhakti-yogam adhoksaje
lokasyajanato vidvams
cakre satvata-samhitam

"The material miseries of the living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service. But the mass of people do not know this, and therefore the learned Vyasadeva compiled this Vedic literature, which is in relation to the Supreme Truth." This Srimad-Bhagavatam is satvatasamhitam, spiritual knowledge. It has nothing to do with anything material. Simply spiritual knowledge. Vidvan, meaning "the most learned," refers to Vyasadeva, the author of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Srimad-bhagavate maha-muni-krte. He is maha-muni. Muni means thoughtful philosopher, and Vyasadeva is maha-muni: greater than any other thoughtful philosopher.

He is also called Veda-vyasa, which means he compiled all the Vedic literature. He summarized the whole Vedic knowledge into the Vedanta-sutra, composed of aphorisms with very deep meaning. And this Srimad-Bhagavatam is the commentary on the Vedanta-sutra by the author himself under the instruction of his guru, Narada Muni, who told him, "Write about the Supreme Personality of Godhead."

Realization By Bhakti-Yoga

In a previous verse of this section, we read about how Vyasadeva received his realization:

bhakti-yogena manasi
samyak pranihite 'male
apasyat purusam purnam
mayam ca tad-apasrayam

"Thus he fixed his mind, perfectly engaging it by linking it in devotional service [bhakti-yoga] without any tinge of materialism, and thus he saw the Absolute Personality of Godhead along with His external energy, which was under full control." Bhakti-yoga is also mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita is bhakti-yoga. There are descriptions of jnana-yoga, karma-yoga, hatha-yoga, and other yogas, but at last Krsna advises, "The most confidential part of knowledge I am speaking to you, Arjuna, is this: Give up all other dharmas and surrender unto Me." That surrender is the real gain. That is bhakti-yoga: to surrender unto the Supreme Lord.

By bhakti-yoga you can cleanse your mind of all contamination immediately. If you want to be liberated from the contamination of material existence, or the modes of material nature, then take to bhakti-yoga. That is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita(14.26):

mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa gunan samatityaitan
brahma-bhuyaya kalpate

"One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." We are Brahman, spirit there is no doubt about it. But we have no realization of that because maya has captured us. We should be after liberation. Srimad-Bhagavatam defines liberation: muktir hitvanyatha rupam svarupena vyavasthitih. Liberation means to be situated in our svarupa, our spiritual life, after giving up all material activities. Material activities are not our actual business. Our actual business is spiritual activity.

Material activity means to keep the body in a comfortable position. And the body is changing. Today I may be a very great Indian leader or a very good philanthropist. Tomorrow, or the next life, I may not be Indian; I may be Chinese, or I may be European. Then my whole business will change another nationality, another feeling. And if I become a cat or a dog, then another mentality. This is going on.

I am forgetting that my identification is spiritual aham brahmasmi and I am accepting all these unnecessary things, or anarthas. If I want to stop these anarthas, if I want to keep myself in my original spiritual identity, then I have to take to bhakti-yoga. That is the conclusion of the sastra, the scripture.

I am not the body, but I have to change the body after a hundred years or ten years or fifty years, according to the size. The dogs and cats change their body in ten years, the cows twenty years, human beings at most a hundred years, and the demigods many millions of years. But death is there. You have to change the body.

When Hiranyakasipu executed very severe austerity, Lord Brahma came to him and asked, "What do you want? You are executing such severe austerities. What is your desire?"

"I want to become immortal."

Brahma said, "That is not possible. Nobody is immortal within the material world. I am not immortal. How can I give you the benediction of immortality? That is not possible."

Everyone is under the laws of nature. The duration of time may be a little more or less, but everyone must die. It is said in the Bhagavad-gita (2.20):

na jayate mriyate va kadacin
nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah
ajo nityah sasvato 'yam purano
na hanyate hanyamane sarire

"For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain." But people do not ask, "If I am immortal if I have no birth, no death then why am I accepting birth and death and old age and disease? This is my problem." We do not think that way, nor are we educated to think that way. But in the Bhagavad-gita (4.9), Lord Krsna explains the process for stopping the repetition of birth and death:

janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam 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." Krsna says that if you simply try to understand Him in truth tattvatah then your cycle of birth, death, old age, and disease will stop. You will still have to give up this body; that is certain. But after giving up this body, you'll get no more material body. Then what happens? Is your existence finished? No. Krsna says, mam eti: "He comes to Me. He comes back home."

And when you go there, then you must possess the same type of body as Krsna. For example, if you want to enter the sun, then you must have a body made of fire. Our present body is made of earth, and there are bodies made of air, water, fire the five material elements. If you go back home, back to Godhead, you have to gain your original, spiritual body.

There is a spiritual body. That we do not know. There is no education about this. We have got a spiritual body, and that spiritual body is covered by the material layer, just as your body is covered by a shirt and coat. When our dress becomes old and rotten, we throw it away and accept another dress. Similarly, this body, when it is not workable when it is old enough and the physiological function is not going on nicely then there is change of body.

Krsna advised Arjuna, "Why are you lamenting for your old grandfather? Better to kill him. He will get a new body." Of course, it was spoken jokingly, but the fact is that after the old body there will be a new body. We have already had several changes of body: babyhood to childhood, childhood to boyhood, boyhood to youth, and so on, up to the old body. Then after that vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya when we give up this body like an old and rotten dress, we get another.

This is going on. But this is anartha. Anartha means that unnecessarily we are undergoing this change of body. If you want to stop it directly, immediately, what is the process? Bhakti-yogam adhoksaje: devotional service to Lord Krsna. That is the statement of Vyasadeva. And Krsna confirms it in the Bhagavad-gita (14.26):

mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa gunan samatityaitan
brahma-bhuyaya kalpate

"One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman."

Devotional service to Lord Krsna is the real purpose of life, the real purpose of religion. Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.6) says, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje: devotional service to Krsna is first-class religion. It doesn't matter what kind of religion you are following, but if the religious system teaches you how to become a devotee of Adhoksaja adhoksaja means the Supreme Lord, "beyond our sense perception" then your life is perfect. Then you will be happy.

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihata
yayatma suprasidati

"The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self." If you want satisfaction, if you want real life, then accept this: yato bhaktir adhoksaje, devotional service to Adhoksaja.

We are engaged in the struggle for existence. "Survival of the fittest," they say. But nobody is fit to survive. Everyone has to die. Nobody even big, big scientists or big, big philosophers can survive. They talk of things in the range of millions of years, but personally they live only fifty or sixty years. This is their position. They simply cheat people: "maybe," "perhaps," "millions of years." And they are going to live for fifty years. Why talk of millions of years?

Now we are taking one body after another: human being, cat, dog hog, tree 8,400,000 species of life. But if you are actually intelligent, if you are disgusted, you will think, "This is not very good business. Being bewildered by the material energy, I have been forced to take these bodies. I am trying to be happy here in the material world, but that is not my business."

One must come to that conclusion, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita (7.19): bahunam janmanam ante . . . "After many, many births, one who is actually in knowledge surrenders to Krsna." Krsna says, "Surrender to Me." We have to do that, so why wait for many, many births? Why not do it now? That is intelligence. Why not become wise immediately? Krsna is canvassing. Why not take it up? If you take it up, you are successful. Tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam hareh. Even if by sentiment you take it up, you will be successful; it is so nice.

There is no certainty what kind of body we shall get next. That is our position. If we want to stop this business, we must take to bhakti-yoga. How to execute bhakti-yoga? The people in general do not know. For everything there must be education.Lokasyaja-nato vidvams cakre satvata-samhitam. Srila Vyasadeva compiled the Srimad-Bhagavatam for your eternal life. Here is the education: Vedic literature. Take it and study it and follow it and be happy.

Thank you very much.