"By education you prepare for the future.
But how are you preparing for the next life?"
Adapted from a lecture given in Bombay, India, on March 21, 1974
sri bhagavan uvaca
imam vivasvate yogam
proktavan aham avyayam
vivasvan manave praha
manur iksvakave 'bravit
The Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna, said: I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvan, and Vivasvan instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Iksvaku.
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TODAY WE ARE speaking on the Bhagavad-gita. This preliminary study of the science of Godhead was originally spoken by Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The word bhagavan comes from the word bhaga, which we know here in India as bhagya, or "opulence" and "fortune." An opulent person is called bhagyavan.
Bhaga especially refers to six opulences: wealth, strength, fame, knowledge, beauty, and renunciation. These opulences make a person attractive. A wealthy person is attractive. Similarly, if a person is very strong or influential or learned or beautiful, others are attracted. Or if a person has renounced everything for the public's benefit, naturally we have some attraction. So in the material world we find some wealthy and famous people, some strong man, some beautiful woman, some wise and renounced persons, but they possess only a fragment, or a small quantity, of these opulences.
Take a rich man. He may be very rich in comparison to other people in the world, but he cannot claim, "I have all the wealth." No one can claim that. And no one claims, "I am the wisest man." No one can even claim, "I am the strongest man," because however strong he may be, he is under the laws of material nature and cannot go beyond that. Therefore we cannot find any supreme person, or bhagavan, possessing all these opulences. That is not possible.
But here it is said, bhagavan uvaca: "the Supreme Personality of Godhead said." That means He, Krsna, is the richest, the strongest, the most beautiful, the wisest, the most famous, and the most renounced. When Krsna was present in the material world, He proved His supremacy by His actions. Therefore we take lessons from Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the all-perfect. What will be accomplished by hearing from this rascal or that rascal? Try to hear from the perfect Supreme Personality, without any deviation.
There are four kinds of defects in conditioned life: making mistakes, being illusioned, cheating, and acting with imperfect senses. We are all infected with these four deficiencies. That is the material condition of life. Therefore unless one is liberated from these defects, he cannot give you perfect knowledge. That is not possible.
With imperfect senses, how can someone gather perfect knowledge? He can simply say, "perhaps," "it may be," "most probably," that's all theories. Nobody can say, "It is like this."
But the Vedas give perfect knowledge. For example, the Vedas say exactly how many varieties of life forms there are: nine hundred thousand varieties of life in the water, two million types of trees and plants, eleven hundred thousand types of insects, one million types of birds, three million types of animals, and four hundred thousand types of humankind. Everything is exactly calculated. That is Vedic knowledge.
Here Krsna says that the knowledge He is giving is perfect. If you want perfect knowledge, you have to hear from Krsna. Bhagavan uvaca: "the Supreme Personality of Godhead said." Bhagavan means "the supremely wise, the most powerful, most influential, most beautiful, most learned, most renounced."
Just see Bhagavan's renunciation! If we construct a building, we become attached to it, but Krsna has constructed the whole universe and still He does not claim it for Himself. Actually, we have practically no idea what the universe is. We tried to go to the moon, but we have no exact idea even of the moon. And there are innumerable heavenly bodies. Each is of a different type, with a different climate, different facilities, and different standards of life. You cannot even count all the planets. And this is only one universe. There are millions of universes.
So Krsna, the Supreme Lord, is the creator of all these universes. Still, He does not come here, except occasionally. And He does not claim them for Himself. He has given them to you to use: "You wanted to enjoy the material world. All right, I give it to you. Enjoy."
Beginning from Brahma, the engineer of the universe, down to the ant, we living entities are enjoying. We create the fruits of our activity, and therefore we get another body: sometimes the ant's body, sometimes Brahma's body, sometimes a cat's body, sometimes an American body, sometimes an Indian body, sometimes a monkey's body. In this way we are wandering all over the universe.
One who is wise, learned, should try to understand how to get out of the cycle of repeated birth and death. We may now have an American body or an Indian body, but what will the next life be? That point people do not know. By education you prepare for the future. But how are you preparing for the next life? People do not know whether there is a next life or not. There is no education on that point.
We are such fools that we do not know about the next life. Therefore we have to hear from the perfect person, Krsna.
Krsna says, dehino 'smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara/ tatha dehantara-praptih: "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." This is the beginning of spiritual education dehantara-praptih: we have to change this body, transmigrate from this body to another body. No university teaches how the soul is transferred from one body to another, or what kind of body we are going to get next. There is no such science taught nowadays. But transmigration is the real problem of human life. Therefore we have to hear from Krsna, Bhagavan, the Supreme who can give us perfect knowledge.
Krsna is so kind He comes personally and gives instruction and He leaves the instruction recorded. Lord Krsna spoke the Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna, and Sanjaya recorded it, by the grace of Vyasadeva, Sanjaya's spiritual master.
Then Vyasadeva put the conversation in the Mahabharata. Formerly the whole planet was called Bharata, or Bharatavarsa, and the history of the planet is called the Mahabharata. In the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad-gita is set, for the information of all human beings.
Bhagavad-gita is not meant only for Hindus, Indians, or brahmanas. No. It is meant for everyone. Take perfect knowledge from Krsna and be happy. If you want to become happy, then accept Krsna's instruction.
Try not to deviate to interpret the Bhagavad-gita in your own whimsical way. Rascals do that. Simply try to understand what Krsna says. That's all. Then your life will be perfect. Therefore Krsna says, "Try to understand the Bhagavad-gita according to the process by which I gave it."
What is that process? Imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam: "I first spoke this science to the sun-god, Vivasvan." No one, including so-called scientists and philosophers, knows what is in the sun. But it is possible to talk with the sun-god personally, provided you become qualified by Krsna's grace. Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He can go anywhere. It is not that because the sun is a fiery planet, Krsna cannot go there.
The bodies on the sun are made of fire. Just as here the bodies are made of earth, there are places where the bodies are made of water or of fire. Space, earth, water, fire, air these are all material things. So I have a suitable body to live on this earthly planet. The fish has a body to live in the water. You cannot live in the water. The fish cannot live on the land. That does not mean it is impossible to live in the water. Similarly, because you cannot live in the fire, that does not mean it is impossible for others. To think it is impossible is foolishness. The sun planet is made of fire, and those who have fiery bodies can live there.
The atmosphere is different on every planet, just as the atmosphere in the water is different from the atmosphere on the land. But we know there are living entities within the water, on the land, in the air, in the earth, in the sky. Everywhere there is life. The bodies are different, but the spirit soul the life force is the same. Your spirit soul and my spirit soul are the same. But your body is called an American body, and my body is called an Indian body. That is the difference. Our bodies are like different dresses for the soul.
The Essential Lesson
So the first spiritual lesson is this: "I am not this body." Then spiritual knowledge begins. Otherwise there is no possibility of spiritual knowledge. One who thinks, "I am this body," is a rascal, an animal. That's all. This rascal animalism is going on all over the world. "I am American," "I am Indian." You have to go above this. Then there is spiritual knowledge. That is bhakti-yoga.
Only by bhakti-yoga can you come to the spiritual platform. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the greatest teacher of bhakti-yoga, expressed our spiritual identity when He said, "I have nothing to do with any designations related to the body. I am an eternal soul, an eternal servant of Krsna." That is our identity. We are all eternal servants of Krsna. The servants who have rebelled against Krsna have come to the material world. To reclaim these servants, Krsna comes. He's so kind.
So let us take advantage of Krsna's coming here and leaving behind the Bhagavad-gita. Let us read it perfectly and make our life perfect.
Thank you very much.