A lecture given in Vrndavana, India, on November 3, 1976
putrams ca sisyams ca nrpo gurur va
ittham vimanyur anusisyad ataj-jnan
na yojayet karmasu karma-mudhan
kam yojayan manujo 'rtham labheta
nipatayan nasta-drsam hi garte
TRANSLATION: If one is serious about going back home, back to Godhead, then he must consider the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the summum bonum and chief aim of life. If he is a father instructing his sons, a spiritual master instructing his disciples, or a king instructing his citizens, he must instruct them as I have advised. Without being angry, he should continue giving instructions, even if his disciple, son, or citizen is sometimes unable to follow his order. Ignorant people who engage in pious and impious activities should be engaged in devotional service by all means. They should always avoid fruitive activity. If one puts into the bondage of karmic activity his disciple, son, or citizen who is bereft of transcendental vision, how will one profit? It is like leading a blind man to a dark well and causing him to fall in."
Two kinds of ruler or controller are mentioned here: the government and the spiritual master. As the government controls the citizens, the spiritual master controls the disciples, but the disciples obey the order of the spiritual master out of love. Srimad-Bhagavatam speaks of this kind of obedience when describing the brahmacari, or celibate student living in the asrama of the guru. Brahmacari guru-kule vasan danto guror hitam. Whatever the guru wants, the brahmacari has to do. The disciple acts for the guru's benefit, as shown by the example of Arjuna in accepting Krsna as his guru. sisyas te 'ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam: "Now I am Your disciple and a soul surrendered unto You."
For his personal benefit, Arjuna did not want to fight, but for Krsna's benefit, he fought. This is the example shown by Arjuna. When considering his own benefit, he did not want to kill his kinsmen: "Oh, if I kill my kinsmen I'll go to hell. I'll be responsible for so much trouble for others." He put forward many arguments when he was considering his benefit and not Krsna's. But Krsna wanted the fight, and Arjuna agreed, "I'll no longer act for my benefit; I'll act for Your benefit." That is the desirable mentality:guror-hitam, "for the benefit of the guru."
Why should the guru order, and why should one accept the order? That is stated here. Mal-loka-kamo mad-anugraharthah: "If one is serious about going back home, back to Godhead, he must consider the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the summum bonum and chief aim of life." This is the ideal life. One should seek the benediction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. By pleasing Krsna, one returns to Krsna's abode.
Now we are suffering in the material world. That is described in every book of Vedic knowledge. Bhagavad-gita states, aprapya mam nivartante mrtyu-samsara-vartmani. Persons who don't attain Krsna remain suffering in this material world of birth and death.
The aim of life is to go back home, back to Godhead. But people do not know the aim of life or why they are suffering. They have become so animalistic they cannot understand they are suffering. Their brains have become so dull.
In this world we are always suffering. Take, for example, this fan. We don't require it now, so if we run it, it will cause us to suffer. But in the summer it is required. It is pleasing, and we suffer without it. That means that either in summer or in winter we are always suffering.
Another example: The same water is pleasing during summer but the cause of suffering during winter. As long as we have this body we must suffer. That is the truth. We are getting different types of body, each body for a short period. The body will not last forever. But as long as it lasts, it will cause suffering. That we do not understand.
We can end our suffering only by surrendering to Krsna. Suffering is inflicted by maya, Krsna's illusory energy. But people are so dull they cannot understand that they are suffering. They accept suffering as enjoyment. In this way they are rotting in the material world. The aim of life is to stop suffering. The guru or the government should rule dependents with this aim in view.
Two things are required: to get the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and to go back home, back to Godhead. Unless we go back home, back to Godhead, there is no question of peace or happiness. We are trying to be happy within the material world by material adjustment. But happiness is not possible in that way.
Because we are giving this information, people accuse us of brainwashing. We are not brainwashing; we are clearing the brain. But nowadays people have become such rascals that they say, "There is no God. This is all mythology." Even prominentsannyasis say, "Don't concern yourself with talk of God and sin and piety. You can do whatever you like, because you are yourself God." But that is not the fact.
The spiritual master and the government are both controllers. The citizen is also considered sisya, "disciple" or "one who is controlled." The rules and regulations of the government and the spiritual master should be such that the dependent, either the disciple or the citizen, must know that material life is not real life. Real life is in the spiritual world. The material world is an illusion, a mirage. We are searching for happiness here, but Krsna says, "No, there is no happiness here."
Krsna personally instructs us, "If you don't want to continue suffering, then come to Me."
A person who understands this instruction is called a mahatma, a great soul. A person trying to be happy in the material world is a duratma, a rascal. Rascals do not know there is no happiness here. There cannot be any happiness, however expert you may be. If you are thrown into the middle of the ocean, you may be an expert swimmer, but you will not be happy.
Our situation in the material world is a struggle for existence. That understanding should come to our brain. That is not brainwashing; it is brain-clearing. If you want to end suffering, you must wash your brain or heart.
The government or the spiritual master should not give big programs for material happiness. There are always planning commissions by the government. Why? To engage people to work very hard.
When you rule, there may be some disobedience on the part of your subordinates. Therefore it is the duty of the spiritual master not to be angry if the disciples or followers are fools. Sometimes they commit mistakes; they do not obey. But the ruler the spiritual master, the government has to tolerate.
People have a natural tendency to work and get some benefit. They plan, "I shall become a very rich man. I shall own so many houses, so much property, so much land." Why are such people so busy? They do not know that they cannot improve their economic position simply by working hard. That is not possible. Otherwise, everyone would become rich. In big cities like Calcutta, Bombay, London, New York, everyone is working very hard. But do you think everyone is in the same position? No. That is not possible, because of destiny. One man works hard day and night and simply gets two pieces of bread, that's all. We have seen in Bombay that people are living in such rotten conditions that even in the daytime they have to use a kerosene lamp. Does everyone in Bombay live luxuriously? No. And the same is true for every city.
You cannot improve your economic position simply by working hard. That is not possible. Whether you work hard or you don't work, whatever is destined to you you'll get. Therefore our energy should be used to please Krsna. We should not waste our energy on the false hope that "I shall become happy. I shall do this. I shall do that. I shall make money like this …"
The story of the potter illustrates this point. A potter had a few pots, so he was planning, "Now I have these pots, and I will sell them and make some profit. Then I'll get ten pots, sell them, and make more profit. Then I'll get twenty pots, thirty pots, forty pots … In this way I shall become a millionaire. Then I shall marry, and I shall control my wife. And if she is disobedient, then I shall put my foot down." Absorbed in thought, he accidentally kicked the pots, and all the pots broke. His dream was gone.
Similarly, with a few pots we are simply dreaming, "These pots will increase to more pots, more pots, more pots," then finished. Don't make imaginary plans in this way. The spiritual master and the government should be careful that people don't make imaginary plans to become happy.
This world is karma-jagat, the place where everyone is engaged in fruitive work. So what is the use of teaching them in that direction? Take, for example, sex life. Sex is natural. People do not require a university education to enjoy sex. There is a Bengali saying: "No one needs to be taught how to cry, laugh, or enjoy sex." These things are natural; they don't require any education.
Now leaders make big plans to teach people how to work hard. This is a waste of life. Educational institutions should be for teaching people how to become Krsna conscious, not to become this or that. That is a waste of time, because that program will never be successful.
Therefore Vedic civilization teaches people to be satisfied in their own position as a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, or sudra. Whatever by God's grace one has, one is satisfied. One's energy is used to become eligible to receive the mercy of Krsna. That is wanted to learn how to surrender to Krsna.
The great sages wrote many books, but they lived in cottages. Only the kings, because they had to rule, constructed big palaces. Everyone else lived very simply. They did not waste time in so-called economic development and building skyscrapers, subways, and so on. That is not Vedic civilization. This is asuric demonic civilization.
People are inclined to karma-sukha, the so-called happiness of karmic activity. So it is difficult to convince them that this is not needed. Real life is to become Krsna conscious, and for that purpose one should undergo austerities. You have to purify your existence. You are suffering. You are not meant for birth and death. You are undergoing birth and death and do not know what kind of life you are going to get next. You have no information. Today you may be a very big man, and tomorrow you may be a dog.
These things are going on, but people do not know. They simply work, making plans to be happy. But obtaining happiness through karmic work is not possible. Therefore in this verse the leaders are forbidden to engage people in karmic work. Na yojayet karmasu karma-mudhan. The leaders should engage people in acquiring Krsna's favor. If they teach them like that, Krsna will be very pleased.
Here it is said, mal-loka-kamah: "the desire to go to My abode." How can one go to Krsnaloka or Vaikunthaloka? Very easy. Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru: "Do these four things: Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me, and offer obeisances to Me, and without any doubt you'll come to Me."
Why do people not accept this proposal by Krsna? We have not manufactured this proposal. We are not brain-washing. These are Krsna's words. If you simply do four things think of Krsna, become His devotee, worship Him, and offer Him obeisances Krsna will be pleased, and you'll go to Him, without a doubt. So don't waste your time making big material plans.
There is a Bengali proverb:
Big, big monkey big, big belly
Ceylon jumping melancholy
There were many monkeys, and one of them chanting "Jaya Rama!" ["Glories to Lord Ramacandra!"] jumped over the Indian Ocean. The others could only hang their heads.
So our plan is to chant "Jaya Rama!'' and jump over the material world to the spiritual world. That is required, not working hard to improve our material condition. That will never be possible. Tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovido na labhyate yad bhramatam upary adhah. You cannot get happiness within the material world. Upari means up to the higher planetary system, and adhah means down to the lower planetary system. We are wandering like this: sometimes up to Svargaloka, sometimes down to Patalaloka, sometimes in heaven, sometimes in hell.
So take the seed of bhakti by the mercy of guru, by the mercy of Krsna, and make your life successful. Don't engage yourself in material fruitive activities to improve your material condition. That will never be successful.
Thank you very much.