One should develop enough foresight to understand what will be truly beneficial for me

na ca sreyo ’nupasyami
hatva sva-janam ahave
na kankse vijayam krsna
na ca rajyam sukhani ca
(Bhagavad-gita 1.31)

I do not see how any good can come from killing my own kinsmen in this battle, nor can I, my dear Krsna, desire any subsequent victory, kingdom or happiness.

So there are two things, sreyas and preyas. sreyas means the ultimate good, and preyas means immediately palatable. Everyone should be interested in sreyas , not for preyas. Just like a child, who wants to play all day and night, but his father says, “My dear child, just go to school or read the book.” The child is interested in preyas, immediate pleasure, but the father is asking for sreyas , ultimate good.

Are you a true householder?

Here Arjuna is thinking, “If my all kinsmen are killed, then what is the value of my victory? With whom shall I enjoy?” Everyone wants to enjoy life with society and friends; nobody wants to enjoy life alone. Where do we get this idea that I cannot enjoy alone? A man gets a wife with the hope of enjoying family life. Atah grha-ksetrasutapta- vittaih janasya moho ’yam aham mameti (Bhagavatam 5.5.8). Grha means apartment; ksetra means land; suta means children; apta means friends, society; vitta means money. This is material life.

Grhastha means one who stays in grha, house. Na grham grham ity ahuh. But simply a house is not grha; there must be a housewife. Grhini grham ucyate. Canakya Pandita says putrahinam grham sunyam: “You have got wife, but if you have no children, that grha is void.” So grhastha means to live with wife and children, and cultivating spiritual life. That is called grhastha. It doesn’t matter with whom you live. Whichever status of life is suitable for you, you can accept. Brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, sannyasa asrama. Whenyou add the word asrama, it means it has got reference with cultivation of spiritual life. So in a grhastha-asrama, one can live at home with wife and children, but the business should be Krsna consciousness. We don’t accept the Mayavadi sannyasi because there is no Krsna consciousness. They simply say, brahma satyam jagan mithya: “This world is false. Brahman is truth. So I give up this world.” We do not accept such sannyasis. Either you become grhastha, sannyasi or brahmacari, there must be Krsna. Then it will be called asrama. 

So Arjuna is a devotee of Krsna, but he is also family man. He has his wife and children. So here the problem is what is sreyas , the ultimate good? That is mistaken here. Therefore Bhagavad-gita is required. Although he is devotee, he is thinking, “Krsna is not so important. My family is important.” Such a devotee is said to be kanistha-adhikari, a devotee in the lower stage of devotion, where one may be interested in Krsna consciousness but his real interest is how to improve this material life. Just like: “O God, give us our daily bread.” So he has gone to God not to serve God, but to take bread. Of course, such a person is better than the rascals who do not care for God. This person has at least gone to God. That is recommended in the Bhagavad-gita – catur-vidha bhajante mam janah sukrtino ’rjuna arto jijiasur artharthi jiani ca bharatarsabha (Gita 7.16). Four kinds of people become devotees. arta means distressed; jijiasu, inquisitive; artharthi, one who is poor, who wants some money; and jiani, a man of knowledge. The grhasthas sometimes become distressed. The grhastha-asrama without Krsna or full consciousness of Krsna is simply miserable. He has to work hard day and night, his children fall sick, wife may not be satisfied, the servant may not be satisfied . . . so many problems. But if there is Krsna in the center, all problems will be solved.

Immediate and Ultimate Benefit

“Animals too have got family life—a big family, a dozen
children at a time. But you live with your wife and children
peacefully, with Krishna in the center. That is grhastha-asrama”

People do not know this. They think, “I shall be happy with my wife, children, servants, house, and this and that.” No, that is not possible. Therefore one should be in grhastha-asrama. Not ordinary family life like the cats, dogs and hogs. They too have got family life – a big family, a dozen children at a time. But you live with wife and children peacefully, but bring in Krsna in the center. That is grhasthaasrama.

God, the Order-supplier?

Arjuna is talking of the ultimate good, but from a point of view of material conception. He does not know that the ultimate sreyas from all points of view is Krsna. Arjuna is thinking, “If my kinsmen are dead, then where is my good? What shall I do with the victory and happiness? Where is happiness? I cannot live without them.” This is the illusory material conception. Atah grha-ksetrasutapta- vittair janasya moho ’yam (Bhagavatam 5.5.8). Everyone is trying to become happy with society, friendship and love, children, wife, friends, money and house and land. Arjuna is thinking in a similar way. He is not thinking, “My ultimate good is to satisfy Krsna.” This is the Bhagavad-gita’s purport. That is Krsna consciousness. One has to change to satisfy Krsna, not to satisfy himself or the family or the society or the nation. If Krsna is satisfied, that is the ultimate good. Yasmin tuste jagat tustam. If Krsna is satisfied, then other things will be automatically satisfied. But people do not know this. They think, “I can bring Krsna in the midst of my family provided Krsna helps me to enjoy this material life.”

So Arjuna is pious, but still he wants family prosperity. He wants to be happy with society, friendship and love. Therefore he says that na kankse vijayam – “I do not desire victory.” This kind of renunciation is called smasanavairagya, or renunciation found in crematoriums. In India, when a person dies, his relatives take the dead body to the burning ghata to burn the body. When the body is burned, everyone present there, for the time being, feel renounced: “Oh, we are working for this body all our life. Now it is finished. It is burnt into ashes. So what is the benefit?” But as soon as he comes out of the burning ghata, he resumes his material activities: “How to get money, how to get money?” Therefore this kind of renunciation is called smasana-vairagya. He cannot become a vairagi, or a true renunciant.

Arjuna’s sentiments are temporary. Ordinary people may say, “I don’t want happiness or a nice position.” But internally he wants everything, because he does not know what is actual sreyas . sreyas is Krsna. Actually, when one gets Krsna, or Krsna consciousness, then he can truly say, “I don’t want anything.”

Impious Kings and Miserable Subjects

So the king’s duty, as representative of Krsna, is to make every citizen Krsna conscious. And because the monarchs did not do so, now monarchy is abolished everywhere. If the monarch becomes Krsna conscious, a true representative of Krsna, then the whole face of the kingdom will change. We don’t very much appreciate this so-called democracy. Democracy means all fools and rascals. They vote another fool and rascal, and he becomes prime minister or the president. That is not good for the people, because the leaders are not trained properly. In monarchy, a trained king rules the kingdom – like Yudhisthira Maharaja or Arjuna or anyone. Such kings are called rajarsis, or saintly kings. They’re not like ordinary men, drunkard kings, who think, “I have got so much money. Let me drink and let there be dancing of the prostitute.” They were rsis, saints. Although they were kings, they were rsis. Such kings are wanted. Then people will be happy. In Bengali there is a proverb, rajara pape raja nasta grhini dose grhastha bhrasta. In grhastha or household life, if the wife is not good, then nobody will be happy in that home. Similarly, in a kingdom, if the king is impious, then everyone will suffer.

So actual sreyas means achieving Krsna consciousness. If after killing the so-called kinsmen, Arjuna can satisfy Krsna, that is his sreyas . Arjuna does not know this. Therefore he became Krsna’s disciple, and Krsna spoke Bhagavad-gita to him.

Everyone wants to be happy with this grha-ksetra-sutaptavittaih, household life and land. In those days there was no industry. If you get land, you can produce your food. Here in this village we find so much land lying vacant, but they are not producing their food. They kill the cows and eat them. This is not grha-ksetra. You become grhastha, but you produce your food from the land. And when you produce food, then beget children. In India the system in villages is that if the cultivator cannot keep a cow, he will not marry. Jaru and garu – jaru means wife, and garu means cow. One should keep a wife if he can keep a cow, because if you keep a wife, you will have children. And if you cannot give them cows’ milk, the children will be rickety, not very healthy. They must drink sufficient milk. So cow is therefore considered mother. Because one mother has given birth to the child, the other mother is supplying milk. So everyone should be obliged to mother cow, because she is supplying milk. 

The Seven Mothers

According to our sastra there are seven mothers. adau mata, the mother from whose body I have taken my birth; then gurupatni, the wife of teacher; brahmani, the wife of a brahmana; raja-patnika, the queen of the land; then dhenu, cow; dhatri, nurse; and prthvi, the earth. The people are taking care of their motherland, where he is born. That is good, but they should take care of mother cow also. Therefore they are sinful. They must suffer. There must be war, pestilence, and famine. As soon as people become sinful, immediately nature’s punishment will come automatically. You cannot avoid it. 

Immediate and Ultimate Benefit

Therefore Krsna consciousness movement means solution to all problems. To become Krsna conscious means to give up all sinful activities. No illicit sex life, no meat-eating, no intoxication, no gambling – these are the four pillars of sinful life. People are not ready to give up this, but we do not make any compromise. You must give up all sinful life. Why should you make a show? There is no benefit by making a show. Arjuna is trying to make a show of Krsna consciousness. He has good attachment for other things. And the whole Bhagavadgita is taught to Arjuna to give up that attachment.

Thank you very much. Hare Krsna