Detriot – July 16, 1971
The goal of human civilization should not be material progress,
but the awakening of people's lost spiritual consciousness.
tasmai sri-gurave namah
"I was born in the darkest ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto him."
Ajnana means ignorance, and timira means darkness. So ajnana-timirandhasya means one who is in ignorance and darkness. Every one of us is in that position. The material advancement of civilization is not knowledge. People may not agree with us, but actually this is the fact. This material advancement is ignorance.
For example, I have come here to your city, and I have some business to attend to. But if I forget my business and I become busy with my apartment, is that very sound knowledge? I have come here to execute some business. I have got my temple here. There are devotees. They want to see me. I want to see them. They want to take spiritual knowledge from me, and my duty is to impart it. That is the business I'm here for. But if I simply become engaged in decorating my apartment and forget my business, am I very intelligent? No.
Therefore that is called ignorance. I forget my real business; I become engaged in some very temporary business. I am here for two days. I shall live in an apartment. It may be very nice or not very nice that is not a very important thing. For two days I can live anywhere, even underneath a tree. That does not hamper my business. But I must be very serious about my business. That is intelligence.
I saw an advertisement while coming here: "Comfortable living begins here." So we are contemplating to live in this material world very comfortably. That has become our business. That is very much manifest in your Western countries. People are always busy trying to live comfortably in this world. But they forget that one day however secure and comfortable we may make our country or home we will be kicked out: "Please get out immediately."
You cannot say, "I have not finished decorating my apartment. Let me stay here for some days."
No. Death is so cruel that one day, all of a sudden, it will come and say, "Please get out immediately."
If I could not finish my business and I am kicked out, then just imagine how much loss I suffer and what kind of fool I am. Modern civilization does not know this. People think, "This body has come out all of a sudden by accident" the body means the senses "and let us enjoy the senses to the best capacity. That is the perfection of life."
The whole world, especially the Western countries, accepts the ideology, the philosophy, of hedonism. "Enjoy this life very comfortably, as nicely as possible." But that is a great defect and a great mistake.
Bhogi, Rogi, and Yogi
For those who are on the platform of gross sense enjoyment, the truth is very difficult to understand. In the Bhagavad-gita (2.44) it is said,
samadhau na vidhiyate
"In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place."Bhoga means material sense enjoyment. And roga means that which puts impediments to sense enjoyment, or a diseased condition. You cannot enjoy life in a diseased condition. Bhoga, roga and there is another word, yoga. These are Sanskrit words. Bhoga means enjoying sense gratification. Roga means a diseased condition, when we cannot enjoy. And yoga means to get out of this bhoga and roga and go back to home, back to Godhead. That is called yoga.
Bhogi, rogi, and yogi. Bhogi means those who are interested in sense gratification, and rogi means those who are suffering. Every one of us is suffering more or less, because this is a place where suffering is the condition of life. But we forget. That is called ajnana. We living entities, being part and parcel of God, are as good as God. We may be a little "God," but our position is qualitatively is as good as God's. The Mayavadi philosophers take it that we are as good as God in full strength. No. That is not the fact. A little particle of gold is gold. That's a fact. But it is not as valuable as the lump of gold. The lump of gold is more valuable. A particle of gold is gold, but not equal to the gold mine. The Absolute Truth, God, is just like the gold mine, and we, every one of us everything is a part and parcel of that gold mine. We are also gold.
The Propensity to Enjoy
The quality being the same, the propensities should also be the same. Krsna enjoys with gopis, cowherd girls, and because we are part and parcel of Krsna, we also want to enjoy life with young girls. This propensity to enjoy life with young girls or young boys is natural. A young girl and a young boy have a natural tendency to mix, to love. That is not unnatural. Why? Because that propensity is there in the Supreme, as you can see in pictures of Radha-Krsna.
Govinda, Lord Krsna, has expanded His ananda-cinmaya-rasa energy, His pleasure energy for enjoying pastimes. That ananda-cinmaya-rasa energy has expanded as so many gopis, cowherd boys, cows, calves. They're giving all combined together ananda, transcendental bliss, to Krsna.
It is not very difficult to understand. For example, someone keeps a batch of dogs to love. The dogs love the master, and the master loves the dogs. So why can't Krsna love cows and calves and they also love Krsna? What is the difficulty to understand? Try to understand this tendency.
The Vedanta-sutra says, athato brahma jijnasa: "Inquire now into the Absolute Truth." What is the Absolute Truth? That is the question in the Vedanta-sutra. The answer is janmady asya yatah: "The Absolute Truth is that from which everything emanates." And what is the nature of the Absolute Truth? Anandamayo 'bhyasat: "By nature He is blissful."
Now try to understand. If the Absolute Truth, God, is blissful, full of enjoyment without enjoyment there is no bliss then we must be blissful. We must enjoy life very nicely. But that is not possible here, because here we are in a diseased condition. The proof of our diseased condition is that there is birth, death, old age, and disease. These are very nicely explained in the Bhagavad-gita. We make every effort here to surpass our distressed condition and reach the platform of happiness. Our whole struggle is about this. Why are people running by motorcar this way and that way? To be happy. But they are planning: "I shall be happy in this way. I shall be happy in that way." The advertisements are there: "Come on." There are some pictures of naked girls. They are inviting, "Come here. You will be happy."
We are planning for happiness. Why? Why are we searching after happiness? Because constitutionally we are happy. For example, when we fall diseased we go to the doctor, the physician, to cure the disease. Why? Because constitutionally we are healthy. To remain healthy is our normal life, and to fall diseased is not normal; that is abnormal. Therefore we go to the physician, ask for treatment, and take medicine. We ask, "How shall I be cured?"
Similarly, we are searching after happiness. Why? Because our constitutional position is that we are part and parcel of Krsna, who is anandamayo 'bhyasat: He is by nature full of bliss. But our blissfulness has been disturbed. Now we have to find out why our happiness has been disturbed and life after life we are searching after happiness but are becoming frustrated. That inquiry is our business, not trying to make the temporary place very comfortable.
For example, when you go to your office, you may find that the bus is too crowded and you are not happy. With difficulty, you have to stand. You don't like that. But because you have to go to the office, you tolerate. "First my business is to go to office on time. What can be done? Let me suffer this."
Similarly, if you are serious about your real business, that business can be understood in the human form of life. The animals cannot understand. For example, animals are taken to the slaughterhouse, and if one animal enters, all the others will enter. They do not know better. Even if they know, "We are going to be slaughtered," they have no means to protest or to go out. But if a human being is slaughtered in the street, then his relatives file suit and have the killer arrested.
Animals as Nationals
So many facilities are there for a human being. But an animal has no facility. A cow is born in America, and a gentleman is born in America, but the state takes care of the gentleman and not the cow. The state uses the terms national and nationality, but why is nationality refused to the animals? It was only a few years ago in your country that nationality was awarded to the black man. Why should one section of humanity be denied nationality? National means the living entity born in that land. That is natural. If a child, even of an Indian, is born in your country, he gets immediate citizenship. That is the law.
The conclusion is that anyone born in this land gets nationality. But why should we refuse nationality to the poor animals? That is called ignorance. We have concocted the idea that the animal has no soul. Why does it have no soul? What is the difference between you and the animal? You eat; the animal eats. You sleep; the animal sleeps. You have sex life; the animal has sex life. You try to defend yourself, and the animal tries to defend himself.
Eating, sleeping, mating, and defending these four principles, bodily demands, are there for both the animal and the man. So why should the animals be denied nationality? It is not that because they are less intelligent they should be denied nationality. No. If a father has four boys and not every one is of the same intelligence, does the father give less protection to the less intelligent son? No. The protection, the family protection, is equal for each child.
Equal Rights for Everyone
This is the conception in the bhagavata, or godly, community equal rights for everyone, even the animals. That is Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness means to be learned. One who is Krsna conscious is fully learned, a pandita. What is the symptom of a pandita, a learned man? That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita (5.18):
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
"The humble sages, by virtue of true knowledge, see with equal vision a learned and gentle brahmana, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater [outcaste]." In our country a brahmana is supposed to be very learned; therefore he is addressed aspandita. Pandita means very learned. Nowadays he may be a fool number one, but he is called pandita, even though he is not actually a pandita. But actually a pandita, or a brahmana, is someone very, very learned in Vedic literature. Veda-pathad bhaved viprah: one who has studied the Vedas very nicely is a vipra, or a brahmana. And one who is actually a pandita will see a learned brahmana, a hog, a dog, a candala [outcaste], an elephant all living entities on an equal level because he sees the soul, not to the body.
For example, we are meeting here, and we are seeing each other. We have not come here to see the dress; we have come to see or to learn some knowledge. Similarly, human life is especially meant for grasping the knowledge we are missing. The missing knowledge is that we have forgotten that we are spirit soul, part and parcel of God, Krsna. That is the missing point.
Reviving Our Consciousness
Our Krsna consciousness movement is meant for reviving that lost consciousness. We have lost the consciousness that "I am part and parcel of Krsna, the supreme blissful enjoyer, but somehow or other, being complicated within this matter, I am suffering. I am trying to become happy with this material atmosphere, which is not possible."
If you are put into the water, even if you are a very nice swimmer you cannot be happy there because the water is not your place. You are a living entity of the land. Similarly, if you take a fish out of the water and give it velvet bedding "My dear fish, lie down here on the velvet"he'll die, because the condition is different from what he requires. Similarly, we are spirit soul, Krsna's part and parcel. So unless we go back to Krsna just like the gopis or the cowherd boys we cannot be happy. There is no possibility of our becoming happy otherwise.
This is the ideal picture that you become Krsna conscious, go back home, back to Krsna, and be happy. That is our program. It is a very nice program. This Krsna consciousness movement is not an ordinary, bluffing movement. It is a solid, authorized movement, and we are opening branches as far as possible in all parts of the world to give facility to the people, to the civilized men, to understand the value of life and how to be happy. That is our business. We have no business to cheat you. It is not that I give you some mantra, and you give me some money, and then I go away. No. We have come to serve you, so take advantage. Don't misunderstand us "It is a religious sect." No. We are not a religious sect. We are a cultural sect. We are giving the highest culture to human society, to awaken people's lost consciousness.
I am very happy to see you all, American and Indians. This is wanted. We want to unite the whole world under this Krsna consciousness movement. And actually that is happening. In our society we have devotees from all sections Christians, Jews, Hindus, Mohammedans, black, white. It doesn't matter, because we are seeing according to Bhagavad-gita, panditah sama-darsinah: A learned man sees every living entity on an equal level. We are trying to see in that light, and we are trying to teach others how to accept that light, how to enjoy that light.
It is a very serious movement. Every one of you can take advantage of it. It is not very difficult to practice, because our process is very simple. Come and chant Hare Krsna with us. Anyone can pronounce the words Hare Krsna. We are seeing all over the world that there is no difficulty in chanting this mantra. It is open. There is no secrecy. We don't say, "I shall give a particular mantra for you." No. This mantra is one, and it is equally applicable to everyone to the learned, to the ignorant, to the white, to the black, to the old, to the youth. Everyone can chant. And actually it is happening.
It is very easy. Chant Hare Krsna. There are no hard and fast rules. Begin chanting from whatever condition you are in and see the results. As for examples, we have our temples and our devotees. Try to see how they are living, how their characters are being formed, how they are becoming purified, how their faces are becoming brighter. It is practical.
So this is our request: Please come regularly to this temple and take advantage of it.
Thank you very much.