Lord Krsna reveals the process for knowing Him.
A lecture given in Hyderabad, India, on November 18, 1972
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." Bhagavad-gita 2.13
THIS VERSE IS FROM the second chapter of the Bhagavad-gita. The first chapter is the preparatory study of Bhagavad-gita, and the second chapter is the summary study. Bhagavad-gita means "the song sung by the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Throughout Bhagavad-gita you'll find the words sri bhagavan uvaca: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead said."
Bhagavad-gita is the science of understanding God. As everything is understood thoroughly through a scientific process, if you want to know God you have to adopt the process by which one can understand God. That process is described in theBhagavad-gita: bhaktya mam abhijanati. Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, says, "If anyone wants to understand Me, he has to take to the process of devotional service," not the speculative process or the mystic yogic process or fruitive activities.
This point is clearly stated not only in Bhagavad-gita but in all other Vedic scriptures. For example:
athapi te deva padambuja-dvaya-
prasada-lesanugrhita eva hi
janati tattvam bhagavan-mahimno
na canya eko 'pi ciram vicinvan
One can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His mercy only. Anyone who has received a small particle of the prasadam mercy of the Lord can understand Him.
No one can understand the Lord perfectly, because the Lord is unlimited. We have limited, imperfect senses, we are subject to illusion, we try to cheat we have so many defects. Therefore it is not possible to understand God simply by exercising our senses.
To know "God is very good, God is great" is one thing, but by studying Bhagavad-gita we not only know "God is great," but we see what kind of God He is, what His form is, and so on.
We have heard from the scriptures:
isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah
"Krsna, who is known as Govinda, is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin, and He is the prime cause of all causes."
When Krsna was present five thousand years ago, He appeared in His original form of eternity, bliss, and knowledge. But the nondevotees could not understand that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because He appeared to be a human being.Avajananti mam mudha manusim tanum asritam. Mudha means less intelligent persons. They may be very great scholars, but in the matter of understanding God, they're mudhas. Why? Mayaya apahrta-jnana asuram bhavam asritah because they defy God. At present, people are mostly asuram bhavam asritah. Asuri bhava means to defy God: "There is no God. God is dead. I am God. You are God. So many Gods are loitering in the street. Why are you searching for God?"
There are so many such statements. God has become so cheap. There are so many "incarnations" of God, especially in India. It is a breeding ground of "Gods." That means people do not know what God is. They think God is such a cheap thing. But from the Bhagavad-gita we understand what God is. When Arjuna asked Krsna, "How are You controlling the whole cosmos?" Krsna explained, and then He concluded:
kim jnatena tavarjuna
vistabhyaham idam krtsnam
ekamsena sthito jagat
"The whole material world is sustained by a partial manifestation of My energies." The material manifestation is one fourth of God's energy. The three-fourths manifestation of His energy is the spiritual world. Paras tasmat tu bhavo 'nyo 'vyakto 'vyaktat sanatanah. Besides the material world there is another nature, which is spiritual. The spiritual nature is described as para, "superior." There are two energies working: material nature and spiritual nature. Material nature is described in the Bhagavad-gita:
bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh
kham mano buddhir eva ca
ahankara itiyam me
bhinna prakrtir astadha
These eight types of energy earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, intelligence, and ego make up the material nature. Bhinna prakrtih. They are separated energies, and they are inferior, apara. Apareyam itas tv anyam prakrtim viddhi me param.Beyond the inferior energy is another, superior energy. That is the living entity.
The Superior Energy
The living being is an energy of the Supreme Lord, just as the sunshine is the energy of the sun globe. The sunshine is a combination of tiny shining particles. It looks like one homogeneous thing, but it is made up of small particles. That is the scientific understanding. Similarly, we are small particles of the Supreme Lord. How small? That is also described in the scripture:
satadha kalpitasya ca
bhago jivah sa vijneyah
sa canantyaya kalpate
The dimension of the living entity is one ten-thousandth of the tip of a hair. We are very proud of our eyes. But here is the indication from the scripture of the length and breadth of the living soul. You may try to see it with your eyes or your microscope, but that is not possible. Therefore, one class of philosophers, because they cannot find the soul, say that it is nirakara, "formless."
Spiritual enlightenment means that first we must try to understand the jiva, the living entity. We can understand the quality of the Lord by understanding the jiva because the jiva is a small particle of the Lord. We can understand the composition of gold from a small particle of gold, or the chemical composition of the ocean from a drop of ocean water. Similarly, if we analyze the characteristics of the living entity, we can understand the characteristics of God.
Authorities Accept Krsna
Therefore the beginning of spiritual education is to understand one's self. That is called self-realization. How to realize the self? We have to take knowledge from others. We have to learn from a teacher. Krsna is accepted as the supreme teacher by great sages like Vyasadeva, Narada, Devala, Asita, and all other great sages, and in the modern age by our acaryas, spiritual preceptors: Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Visnusvami, Nimbarka, Sankaracarya. We have to follow the acaryas. All these acaryasaccept Krsna as the Supreme Lord. And five hundred years ago Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also accepted Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Srimad-Bhagavatam says, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam: "Krsna is the Supreme Lord." Similarly, Lord Brahma says:
isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah
"Govinda, Krsna, is the cause of all causes. He is the primal cause, and He is the very form of eternity, knowledge, and bliss."
Because we have so much evidence, we have to accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no doubt about it. But why do people not accept? Why do so many big scholars and big scientists not accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead? The reason is given in the Bhagavad-gita:
na mam duskrtino mudhah
asuram bhavam asritah
"Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me." Krti means "meritorious," and duskrti means "miscreants" those who use their merits for mischief-making. Everyone has merits, but some people use their merits for mischief-making. For example, a thief uses his good brain to steal. Such a person is a duskrti.
Another class of people is called mudha. Mudha means "less intelligent," or "unintelligent." Another class is nara-dhama, "the lowest of the mankind." And finally, mayaya apahrta-jnanah, "those whose knowledge has been taken by maya, illusion." These classes of men do not surrender unto Krsna.
We are not manufacturing these words. They are in Bhagavad-gita. If we claim to study the Gita, we have to accept the statements there. Bhagavad-gita means "the song sung by the Supreme Personality of Godhead."
Our Krsna consciousness movement is meant to preach all over the world that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead: krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. You are searching after God. You are taxing your brain so much. But in spite of this, you sometimes say, "There is no God," or "God is dead," or "Everyone is God," and so on. But our proposition is "Why are you taxing your brain? Here is God: Krsna."
By hearing from authorities, by hearing from the Vedic literature, by hearing of Krsna's activities, we can know that Krsna is God. If we read about the life of Krsna, we can see that He's God from the very beginning. God is not manufactured by some mystic power. God is God, and dog is dog. A dog cannot become God; God cannot become a dog.
Krsna was God from the very beginning. As soon as Krsna took birth, He appeared in His four-armed form as Lord Visnu. But when his mother prayed to Him to become an ordinary child, He became an ordinary child with two hands. So that is God: He must be God from the very beginning, not that by attaining some mystic power one can become God.
We already have power, because each of us is a part and parcel of God. Therefore we have qualities like God's. But we cannot become one hundred percent God. That is not possible. Great Vedic scholars have analyzed all the demigods and other living entities and have found that only Krsna is one hundred percent God. Ete camsa-kalah pumsah krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. All others are subordinate. There are many other gods, but they are not the Supreme God. Isvarah paramah krsnah.
We are speaking of the paramah isvarah, or paramesvara. There are two words: isvara, paramesvara; atma, paramatma. The param supreme is God. We are Brahman; He is Parabrahman. So Parabrahman, Paramatma, Paramesvara all these are applicable to Krsna.
After hearing the Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna admitted,
param brahma param dhama
pavitram paramam bhavan
purusam sasvatam divyam
adi-devam ajam vibhum
"You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ultimate abode, the purest, the Absolute Truth. You are the eternal, transcendental, original person, the unborn, the greatest." That is the position of Krsna.
In the Bhagavad-gita Krsna also says, aham adir hi devanam: "I am the source of all the demigods." There are so many demigods Indra, Candra, Varuna, and so on. But Krsna says He is their origin. And He says, aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate: "I am the source of everything. Everything emanates from Me." In the Vedanta-sutra the Absolute Truth is described as janmady asya yatah: He from whom everything emanates.
Because of His power, Krsna is Bhagavan. Bhagavan means full in six opulences. God must be the richest, the strongest, the most famous, the most beautiful, the most renounced, and the most knowledgeable. That is the definition of God. Lord Brahma accepts Krsna as God by that definition: isvarah paramah krsnah, "Krsna is the supreme controller." Because unless Krsna is the most powerful, how can He be the supreme controller? Every one of us is a small controller. Someone controls in his office, someone controls in his family life, someone controls a few factories, but no one can say, "I am the supreme controller." That is not possible. The supreme controller is Krsna.
In this Krsna consciousness movement we are trying link with the supreme controller. We do not wish to become the controller. We want to be controlled but by the supreme controller, not by others. That is our proposition. For example, a person who has to render service may hanker after government service, because it is natural to conclude, "If I have to serve someone, why serve a petty merchant? Why not take government service?"
We cannot but serve, any one of us. That is our constitutional position. Every one of us is a servant. So our proposition is "You are a servant in any case. Why not become the servant of God?" That is the proposition we make in the Krsna consciousness movement.
In material consciousness we are all servants of our senses. By the dictation of our lusty desires, we will do anything abominable. So we are all servants. Therefore, Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, jivera svarupa haya nitya-krsna-dasa: Our real constitutional position is that we are eternal servants of God, Krsna. But in the material condition of life, every one of us is trying to become the master. That is the struggle for existence. Everyone is trying: "I shall become the master. I shall become the Supreme." But our position is servant. So our thinking is called illusion. I am not master. I am servant. But I am trying to become master artificially. That is the struggle for existence.
When you give up this wrong idea "I am master" and try to become the servant of the Supreme, that is called liberation. Liberation does not mean achieving a gigantic form or so many hands and so many legs. Liberation means to become liberated from the wrong consciousness. The wrong consciousness is to think, "I am master." We have to change this consciousness. That is the purpose of the Krsna consciousness movement.
One has to understand thoroughly that he's not master, he's servant. He's completely dependent on the supreme will. If we do not surrender to the supreme will, then we have to surrender to the will of maya. We have to remain a servant. If we reject servitude of the Supreme Lord, then we have to become the servant of the senses. That is maya. Actually, that is going on. The whole world is serving different types of desire.
Now, we have not manufactured the Krsna consciousness movement. We get it from the Bhagavad-gita: sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Krsna says, "Give up all these nonsense desires. Surrender unto Me." That is the whole purpose of the Bhagavad-gita. Maya dictates our desires, which dictate us. And we want to falsely become the master. That is illusion. We are not master. How can we be master? We may be scientifically advanced. We may manufacture wonderful machines and weapons, but after all, we are subjected to the rules of maya: birth, disease, old age, and death. We cannot escape these four principles of maya's machinery.
Therefore the sane man, who is actually learned, surrenders to Krsna. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate. One who becomes wise surrenders to Krsna. Otherwise, one thinks, "Who is Krsna? I am as good as Krsna. I am God." That is maya. That is not actually knowledge.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said, ye 'nye 'ravindaksa vimukta-maninah. There are those who think they have become liberated and have become Narayana, or God. But actually they are not, because they're subjected to the rules of material nature. They cannot get out of its clutches. Who can? Mam eva ye prapadyante. Krsna says, "Anyone who surrenders unto Me."
daivi hy esa gunamayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
"This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it."
Therefore the Krsna consciousness movement is a very pious movement, promoting the most glorious welfare activities. And we are preaching this movement all over the world. Our only ambition is to place Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We don't want to become Krsna; we want to become the most obedient servant of Krsna. That is our proposition.
We invite everyone, from all parts of the world, and people are coming. They are joining this movement. Krsna appeared in India, so India has a special advantage in understanding Krsna. But Indians are neglecting to understand Krsna. That's a great misfortune. But we request everyone to join this movement, study the philosophy, and become happy. That is our proposition.
Thank you very much.