Philosophical life begins by inquiring into the source of the elements of the natural world.
bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha
"Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego-altogether these eight comprise My separated material energies."— Bhagavad-gita 7.4
Krishna is explaining himself.God is explaining what God is. That is real knowledge. If you speculate on God, it is not possible to understand him. God, Krishna, is the beginning of this chapter said, asamsayam samagram mam yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu: “If you hear from Me, you can know Me in full.” Samagram means “complete.” Whatever subject there is for study and knowledge, God is the sum total of everything related to that subject.
Krishna begins to explain Himself by referring to His material energy because we have no information of God but practically we see the vast land, the vast water or ocean, the vast sky, fire — so many material things, including mind and ego. Everyone is thinking “I am” something. That is false ego, ahankara: “I am Indian,” “I am American,” “I am African,” “I am a brahmana,” “I am aksatriya,” “I am this,” “I am that.” This thinking is ego, but it is false ego, and it is one of Krishna’s eight material energies.
The beginning of philosophy is to ask, “Where has water come from? Where has land come from? Where has fire come from?” These are natural inquiries. “Where has the sky with its many millions and millions of stars come from?” These are the inquiries of the intelligent person. They are the beginning of philosophical life. Thoughtful human beings gradually inquire into understanding the Supreme Lord, Krishna.
Krishna is explaining Himself: “I am like this.” Unfortunately, we’ll not understand Krishna as He explains Himself, but we’ll speculate on what God is. This is our disease. Krishna, God, is explaining Himself, but we do not accept His statements. We deny the existence of God, or we accept a God without any head or legs. This is our disease. Therefore Krishna has explained in the previous verse (7.3),
kascid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam
kascin mam vetti tattvatah
“Out of many thousands among men, one may endeavor for perfection, and of those who have achieved perfection, hardly one knows Me in truth.” Out of many millions and millions of persons, only a few are serious to understand “What is the aim of life? What is God? What is my relationship to Him?” Almost everyone is interested in the bodily conception of life, like cats and dogs. This is their position. Not only now—always. This is the material condition. But somebody out of millions tries to understand, to make his life perfect.
Perfection means to understand our real constitutional position, to understand that we are not the material body but are spirit soul, Brahman. Brahma-jïana, knowledge of Brahman, or spirit, is the perfection of knowledge.
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param
“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything. He is equally disposed toward every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” (Bhagavad-geta 18.54)
Sometimes the Mayavadi philosophers say, “By bhakti one gains brahma-jïana and becomes liberated, merged into Brahman.” They say, “Bhakti is meant for the less intelligent class.” Their accusation is like that, but that is not the fact. Even the lower stage of bhakti— kanistha-adhikari—is higher than the Mayavadi position. A person in the lower status of bhakti does not clearly understand what God is, but by the instruction of the spiritual master that person is engaged in the service of the Lord. This morning I explained deity worship. Here is God on the altar. Here is God, factually, but the kanistha-adhikari, in the lower stage of devotional service, has no realization that “Here is God.” But if he accepts even theoretically that “Here is God,” then he becomes more advanced than the Mayavade who thinks of God without a head or legs.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu says that for one who has undergone training by a Mayavadi philosopher, his life is finished, because he’ll never be able to advance in devotional service, and that is the ultimate goal of life.
After realization of Brahman, when one is actually on the Brahman platform (aham brahmasmi), then the symptom is na socati na kanksati: no more lamentation and no more aspiration. Then one can see everyone on an equal level — samah sarvesubhutesu — because he does not see the outward body. This is our disease. Krishna, God, is explaining Himself, but we do not accept His statements. He does not see “Here is a Hindu, here is a Muslim, here is a Christian, here is an Indian, here is an American, here is a black man, here is a white man.” No. He sees within:
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
“The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmaëa, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater [outcaste].” (Bhagavad-geta 5.18) That is samah sarvesu bhutesu, “equal to all living beings.” We cannot artificially become samah sarvesu bhutesu. We will see bodily distinctions. The United Nations has been trying for the last forty years, but there is no unity; it is not possible on the bodily platform. But on the spiritual platform there is unity. In our Krishna consciousness movement you’ll find people of different nations, different colors, and different religions, and they are all united in chanting Hare Krishna. This is the united nations — no distinctions. And this is not artificial; this is practical.
People are trying to become united, but that is not possible on the bodily platform. The bodily concept of life can be rejected on the spiritual platform.
Subtle Material Elements
We are in the material world, and we see stone and wood and earth and water and fire. Krishna mentions the things we can see—earth, water, fire, air, and ether. And He mentions the mind, which we cannot see. The mind is subtle. We all know we have a mind. I have a mind, and you have a mind, but you cannot see my mind, and I cannot see your mind.
We also cannot see ether, but we can understand that ether is present by sound [claps hands]. Sound is the indication of ether because sound travels through ether.
Finer than ether is the mind, finer than the mind are intelligence and the ego, and finer than the intelligence and the ego is the soul. So how can you see soul? You cannot even see the more subtle material things. But the soul is there. When the soul departs from the body, we see only the earth, the water, and so on, that make up the body. The dead man is lying there, and we see the elements of the body, but we do not see the mind, intelligence, and ego that are carrying the soul.
People generally have no knowledge of how the transmigration of the soul takes place. We can think only about the gross elements. That is called jada-darsana, seeing only the material elements. And we have no suksma-darsana, no ability to see subtle things. Although the mind exists, we cannot see it. Then how we can see the soul?
That is the defect of modern education. To see what is beyond your sense perception, you have to hear. There are two kinds of knowledge: by practical experience or direct perception, and by hearing from authority. Sruti means hearing from the authority. For example, although we know the mind exists, we cannot see it, but the sastra, or scripture, confirms it. We are hearing from Krishna. That is called sruti.
Similarly, Krishna says in the Second Chapter (2.13),
dehino 'smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
dhiras tatra na muhyati
“As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.” Asmin dehe: “Within this body is the proprietor of the body.” You have to learn that by hearing. If you want to see immediately—“ Let me see where it is in the body”—your so-called scientific research cannot help you. You have to learn it simply by hearing from the authority. That is called &sruti-pramana, evidence from sruti.
Hearing from Authorities
Vedic knowledge is called Sruti.You have to learn things beyond your perception by hearing from the authorities. Vedic knowledge is the authority.
Why do we accept the Vedas as authority? Because they present perfect knowledge. For example,although animal stool is impure, theVedas say that cow dung is pure, sowe accept that. This is Sruti pramana.Sruti-pramana means that real knowledge, perfect knowledge, is coming from the supreme perfect, Krishna. Perfect knowledge is given after creation. Brahma, the first created being, was given perfect knowledge by Krishna, the original spiritual master.
From Krishna everything is born, everything has emanated. Everything comes from Him, including the first engineer of this universe, Lord Brahma.
Actually, Lord Brahma does not come directly from Krishna; he comes from Garbhodakasaye Visnu. And Krishna is the origin of Garbhodakasaye Visnu. Krishna says, ahaa sarvasya prabhavah: “I am the source of everything.” (Bhagavad-geta 10.8) Sarvasya means that from Him come Maha- Visnu, Garbhodakasaye Visnu, Ksirodakasaye Visnu, Narayana, Sankarsana, Aniruddha, Pradyumna — these are all visnu-tattva expansions of Krishna. In the material world from Him come Brahma, Visnu, and Mahesvara, and from Brahma come the many demigods, and so on. Therefore He is the source of everything. This is the point. And knowledge also comes from Him.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.1) explains, janmady asya yato ’nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah svarat : The original person from whom everything is born knows everything perfectly, indirectly and directly.” Where did He get the knowledge? He is svaraö, independent. He doesn’t have to get any knowledge from anyone else. Everyone gets knowledge from Him, but He hasn’t got to take knowledge from anyone. The verse continues, tene brahma hadaya adikavaye: “That Supreme Person gave knowledge to the adi-kavi.” adi-kavi means Lord Brahma, the first learned man.
Our Vedic conception of life and creation is not like that of those who follow Darwin. They think they’ll get knowledge from monkeys. But we do not take knowledge from monkeys. We do not keep ourselves in darkness. If you take knowledge from monkeys, then you remain always like monkeys. You cannot advance. We get knowledge directly from Krishna, the most perfect.
Brahma is generated from Visnu. So the first living creature, a perfect person within this material world, got instruction at the beginning of creation. The beginning of creation is not ignorance. The beginning of creation is first-class knowledge. That is the Vedic conception.
The Source of Chemicals
In today’s verse, Krishna is telling us how to think of the material elements. Material scientists — soil experts — study the earth. “Where should we mine? Where is the gold? Where is the coal?” But they do not know where these things came from. Here Krishna explains, me bhinna prakrati: “This is My energy.” Any thoughtful man will wonder how the different chemicals became manifested. Here is the answer: they came from Krishna.
Krishna says that the elements are bhinna prakåti, His “separated energy.” I am speaking, and it is being recorded. And if the recording is played in my absence, it will vibrate exactly the same sound. So that is my energy, but bhinna — separated from me. You have to understand like that.
Everything is the energy of God, Krishna, but this material world means we are missing Krishna. Where has this energy come from? That point we are missing.
If the recording is playing, someone who does not know my voice will not know who is speaking. But one who knows my voice can understand. “It is coming from Prabhupada, or the Swamiji.” Similarly, the material energy is there, but because we have forgotten the source of the energy or we do not know the source of the energy, we take material things as final. That is our ignorance.
This prakåti, material world, is composed of these things: earth, water, fire, and so on. Where have these come from? Krishna explains: “They are My energies.” To understand Krishna means one must know what earth is, what water is, what fire is, what air is, what sky is, what mind is, what intelligence is, what ego is. We should know where these material things came from.
Scientists theorize that water is a combination of chemicals — hydrogen and oxygen. But where do hydrogen and oxygen come from? That they cannot answer. The chemicals exist because of God’s acintya-sakti, or “inconceivable power.” We too have acintya-sakti, because we are each a minute part of God:
jivah suksma-svarupo ‘yam
sankhyatito hi cit-kanah
“If we divide the tip of a hair into a hundred parts and then take one of these parts and divide it again into a hundred parts, that very fine division is the size of but one of the numberless living entities. They are all cit-kana, particles of spirit, not matter.” (Quoted in Caitanyacharitamrita, Madhya-lila 19.140) The soul has size, but with our material eyes we can see only gross things; the subtle things we cannot understand. So we have to understand from the sastra, the sruti. The Bhagavad-gita (3.42) says,
indriyani parany ahur
indriyebhyah param manah
manasas tu para buddhir
yo buddheh paratas tu sah
“The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.” When I see a man, I see his body, his eyes, his ears, his hands and legs. That is gross vision. But finer than the gross senses is the mind, which controls the senses. We do not see the mind, which is controlled by the intelligence.
Krishna, Our Real Father
To dismissively say “There is no God, there is no soul” is simply rascaldom. Don’t remain rascals. Here is Bhagavad-gita. Learn everything very particularly, very minutely. It is open for everyone. Krishna spoke Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna, but it is not for Arjuna only. Krishna came for everyone because He loves everyone. Everyone is His son.
murtayah sambhavanti yah
tasam brahma mahad yonir
aham bija-pradah pita
“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” (Bhagavad-gita 14.4) Krishna is the seed-giving father.
Don’t take Krishna as a foreigner. No. He is your father — your original father, your seed-giving father. And material nature is your mother. The father, God, gives the seed, and the mother, material nature, gives the body. We have experience of something similar. The father puts the seed into the womb of the mother, and the mother creates the body. Similarly, all living entities come from Krishna.
It is not possible to create living entities with chemicals. But one who is not convinced of this tries to use chemical combinations to create living beings. This is foolishness.
Because we are acquiring knowledge from sruti, from the perfect person, we will never be convinced that life can be created from chemicals. We shall challenge: “Create, rascal. Create first of all. Then talk.”
This is our challenge because we know very well that it will not be possible to create a living being by any combination of chemicals. Anyone who proposes that is talking nonsense. It is not possible.
We have to study sruti. Then we become learned. Then we can know our constitutional position: brahmabhutah. One who realizes brahmabhutah — “I am spirit”— does not lament anything or aspire for anything, because he knows that the Supreme Being is conducting everything.
This is knowledge. Take it very seriously. Study Bhagavad-gita and learn everything nicely. Become learned, and just try to surrender to Krishna. Then your life is successful. Thank you very much.