Understanding that ultimately we have to give up our body
and everything we possess, an intelligent person asks, "What's next?"
A lecture in Los Angeles in December 1973
samstham yadu-kulasya ca
svah-pathaya matim cakre
"Upon hearing of Lord Krsna's returning to His abode, and upon understanding the end of the Yadu dynasty's earthly manifestation, Maharaja Yudhisthira decided to go back home, back to Godhead." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.32)
Yudhisthira Maharaja was very sober Yudhisthira very advanced spiritually, so when he heard how Krsna had gone back to His abode and how the Yadu dynasty had been destroyed by fighting among themselves, he thought, "Let me give up everything and surrender fully to the Lord."
So, everyone should understand that, ultimately, we have to give up this body and whatever we possess. And after giving everything up, what is next? We have to give everything up. That is a fact. If we don't give it up now, at the time of death we must give it up. As Krsna says [Bhagavad-gita 10.34], mrtyuh sarva-haras caham: "As death I take everything away." You may try to keep your possessions, but at the time of death you will have to give them all up. By force they will be taken away. Everyone should understand this.
The foolish person thinks, "My family, my nation, my society, my bank balance, my skyscraper building, my motorcar these will save me." But that is not possible. As it is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam [2.1.4], tesam pramatto nidhanam pasyann api na pasyati: Those who are mad do not see that everything they possess will remain behind when they die. It will not stay with them. You will be vanquished, your body will be vanquished, and everything will be lost.
Body, wife, relatives, children all these things are temporary, but I am eternal. People do not think, "I am eternal, yet I am engaged in temporary things. So what is my eternal business?" This question they do not ask. Simply fools, mudhas.
I have experienced being a child, a boy, a young man. But now my childhood body, my boyhood body, my youthhood body are gone. I have a different body. But I know that I had a childhood body, a boyhood body, and a youthhood body. So, the conclusion is that I am eternal and this body is not eternal. It is a very simple thing. Why can people not understand? In the Bhagavad-gita [2.17] Krsna says, avinasi tu tad viddhi yena sarvam idam tatam, and antavanta ime dehah. This body isantavat, "temporary." One day it will be finished. But that thing which is spread all over the body that will not be annihilated. What is that? Consciousness. Consciousness is spread all over the body, and Krsna says that it is immortal.
So, now we have to see whether our consciousness is absorbed in what is immortal or in what is mortal. If I am absorbed in thoughts like "This is my country," "This is my body," "This is my family," "This is my community," "This is my nation" this is "mortal" consciousness. But "immortal" consciousness is to think, "Krsna is mine, and I am Krsna's." This is immortal consciousness. When you come to this consciousness, that is called Krsna consciousness. Then you are saved.
As long as we are absorbed in temporary consciousness, our mind will always be changing. I may accept something now, but then I will reject the same thing. This body is being manufactured according to the acceptance and rejection of the mind. Otherwise, why do you have different bodies? So many boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, are sitting here, but no one's body is exactly like another's. No. You all have different minds, and therefore you have different bodies. This is to be understood.
Now, here it is said about Yudhisthira Maharaja, svah-pathaya matim cakre: "He decided to go back to Godhead." In other words, he meditated, "What am I? Wherefrom have I come? If I am eternal, why is my body not eternal? I would have been very happy if my body were eternal, but that is not possible. I desire that I will not die, that my body will not be vanquished. That is my desire. Therefore I will go back to Godhead and attain my eternal, spiritual body." Unfortunately, today no one is meditating upon this subject matter. They have learned some nonsense impersonal meditation.
So, now Yudhisthira Maharaja will retire. He will give up his kingdom. This is the Vedic system. However rich you may be, however prosperous you maybe, however much you are attached to your home or your nation, you have to realize, "These things are all temporary, but I am eternal. So what is my eternal function? What is my eternal duty? Where is my eternal home?" That is real meditation. And that is Krsna consciousness.
The Krsna consciousness movement is not an ordinary movement, manufacturing something for recreation. No. It is a very serious science. People are searching after some permanent place, some permanent settlement in this world. Nobody wants to die, but everyone must die. But if there is the possibility of going someplace where there is no more death, why don't you search after it? That is intelligence.
In the Bhagavad-gita [8.16] Krsna gives us information about the place where there is no more death:
punar avartino 'rjuna
mam upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate
If you go to the topmost planet in this universe, which is known as Brahmaloka, you will not even be able to calculate the duration of life the people enjoy there. Their day and our day are different. Their day lasts for 8,600,000 times 1,000 of our years, and they live for 100 years made up of such days. Still, even if you go to Brahmaloka-or to any other planet you must die.
Therefore, the intelligent person asks, "If I am eternal, why should I accept death? Is there a place where there is no death?" That information Krsna gives in the Bhagavad-gita [8.16]: mam upetya tu kaunteya punar janma na vidyate. "If you come to My planet, you will no longer have to come back again to this mortal world." He also says [Bg. 15.6], yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama. "That is My supreme abode, and one who goes there never returns." That is actually what we want. In another place [Bg. 4.9] Krsna says, tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so 'rjuna: "My dear Arjuna, after giving up this body, one who knows Me never again comes into the womb of a material mother."Then where does he go? Mam eti."He comes to Me."
In his Brhad-bhagavatamrta, Sanatana Gosvami has stated that if you become perfect in Krsna consciousness, then immediately after death you will be sent to where Krsna is enjoying His pastimes within this material world. Just as the sun is rising and setting, Krsna is enacting His pastimes on different planets in this material world. That is another feature of His activities. Because He wants to reclaim the fallen souls and there are unlimited millions and trillions of fallen souls within this material world He goes everywhere. As He says [Bg. 4.7],
yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
tadatmanam srjamy aham
"As soon as there is some discrepancy in the understanding of eternal life, I appear in order to teach real religion."
So, right now Krsna is teaching somewhere in this material world. There are innumerable universes, and Krsna is appearing in one of them. Krsna appeared on Janmastami in this universe, and immediately thereafter, in another universe, there was Janmastami. Then immediately thereafter, in still another universe, there was Janmastami. Therefore Krsna's activities are called nitya-lila "eternal pastimes." This means that Janmastami is always going on, His Govardhana pastime is always going on everything He displayed when He was present on this planet is always going on in some universe.
Now it is half past seven, but somewhere else it is half past six. It is not that because the sun has passed half past six in this city, there is no more half past six. Somewhere else it is half past six. Similarly, it is not that because Krsna has now finished His Janmastami here, there is no more Janmastami. Janmastami is going on elsewhere. That is krsna-lila.
So, if you become perfect in Krsna consciousness, that means you have no more material desire. Your only desire is to serve Krsna, that's all. That is perfection. So long as you have apinch of material desire, you will have to take birth. According to your desire, Krsna will give you facility. We are making our next body by our thoughts. We have so many material thoughts, and at the time of death, whatever thought is most prominent, the next moment you will get a body like that. So if you simply think of Krsna only, then you will get a body whereby you can go to Krsna. It is very scientific and practical.
By going to Krsna's planet, you can talk with Krsna personally, you can play with Krsna personally, you can dance with Krsna. Here is a picture of the rasa dance. So, everyone can get this opportunity. When Krsna comes here, He shows practically how enjoyable is life with Him in Vrndavana. Krsna is simply jolly anandamayo 'bhyasat. In Vrndavana life everyone is jolly. The birds, the trees, the water, the land, the cows, the calves, the cowherd boys and girls everyone is happy simply by loving Krsna. Simply by loving Krsna.
So, when Krsna manifests His pastimes here, He invites us: "Why are you rotting in this material world? Come to Me and enjoy life eternally." That is Krsna's business. He is so kind.
What is the enjoyment in this material world? This highest enjoyment is sex life. That is not very good enjoyment, but people have accepted it as very significant. As Prahlada Maharaja says [Bhag. 7.9.45], yan maithunadi-grhamedhi-sukham hi tuccham: "The happiness of sex life is very insignificant." But for materialistic people, sex is their life and soul. They have no information that there is better pleasure, eternal pleasure. That they do not know.
Therefore there is great need for this Krsna consciousness movement, so people can understand bhagavan-marga, the way of God. The rascals do not understand what God is they do not know of the features of God yet still they will not accept this Krsna consciousness movement. We are declaring openly: "Here is God. Here is the form of God. He is so nice. He is so beautiful. His address is Krsnaloka. You can go there by devotional service."
"No," people say, "I don't want it." "Then what do you want?"
"I want to become a pig." "And what shall you eat?" "I will eat stool, that's all."
"Not prasadam [food offered to Lord Krsna]?"
So, what can you do? We are distributing prasadam, and people will go to eat some rascal thing in a restaurant. Just see! This is misfortune. People are very unfortunate in this age. They will accept so many wrong things. Therefore our task is very responsible. We have to canvass. We have top lead, solicit: "Please come here in this temple and learn something."
Thank you very much.