The author of the Vedic literature urges us to taste the best fruit from the Vedic tree of knowledge.
A lecture given in London, August 19, 1971
nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah
O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literature. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls. Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.3
SRIMAD-BHRgAVATAM is the ripe fruit of Vedic literature. The Vedic literature is compared to a desire tree kalpa taru. Kalpa means "desire," and taru means "tree." We have no experience of a kalpa taru in the material world; the kalpa taru is in the spiritual world. Here in the material world, from a mango tree you can get a mango only, not any other fruit. But from the kalpa taru you can get any kind of fruit. And thekalpa taru is found on Krsna's planet.
The Brahma-samhita tells us that Krsna's planet is made of touchstone. If you touch iron with a touchstone, the iron becomes gold. In the spiritual world there are also houses, trees, cows and Krsna is there with His associates. These are all described in the Brahma-samhita.
Do not think that we have imagined something artistic and created a Krsna. No. Krsna and His planet are completely supported by Vedic literature, especially the Brahma-samhita. The Brahma-samhita clearly describes Krsna's original place. The world we live in now is also Krsna's place, but because we have forgotten Krsna we accept this place as material.
Just as a king possesses all the places of his country, Krsna possesses all worlds, material and spiritual. Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita,
jnatva mam santim rcchati
If one wants peace and happiness, then one must know these three things about Krsna: that Krsna is the enjoyer of everything, the owner of everything, and the friend of everyone.
You can perform yajna, sacrifices, you can perform austerities and penances, but the result you earn by these should be enjoyed by Krsna. That is Krsna consciousness. Everyone is thinking, "I must enjoy. Why others?" That is the materialistic way of thinking. But in the Krsna consciousness movement we are trying to change that consciousness. The Krsna consciousness movement teaches that you may earn as much as you like but the enjoyer should be Krsna, not you. That way of thinking is Krsna consciousness.
The ultimate aim of the karmis, people who work hard day and night, is to satisfy their senses. That's why they work so hard. The Bhagavatam therefore says, nayam deho deha-bhajam nrloke kastan kaman arhate vid-bhujam ye: "We should not work so hard simply for sense gratification, which is available even to the hogs and dogs."
Krsna consciousness means to work for Krsna, not for sense gratification, because the real proprietor is Krsna. To think "I am the proprietor, I am the enjoyer" is illusion.
In the cintamani-dhama, Krsna's abode, everything is there, and there everyone acts for Krsna's pleasure. Here everyone tries to enjoy for himself, so there is competition man to man, family to family, society to society, nation to nation. But that competition will stop as soon as there is Krsna consciousness, as soon as we think, "We are not the proprietor; Krsna is the proprietor." To think in that way is the basis of peace.
We must also understand that Krsna is everyone's friend. He is situated in everyone's heart as friend. That is stated in the Upanisads. There the body is compared to a tree, and the soul and the Supersoul, or Krsna, are compared to birds in the tree. One bird is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other, the friend, is simply witnessing.
The Supersoul is our supreme friend. He's always trying to get us back home, back to Godhead. Not only does He sit within our hearts, but He descends as Krsna. He comes and canvasses. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: "Why are you engaged in so many so-called occupations? Simply surrender unto Me."
But we are so engulfed in matter that we cannot take Krsna's advice. Therefore Krsna comes again, as a devotee Lord Caitanya. Lord Krsna said, "Surrender unto Me." And later Krsna comes as Lord Caitanya, a devotee of Lord Krsna, to show us how to surrender. He comes Himself as the Supreme Lord, He comes as a devotee, He sends His representative simply to canvass us to come to the cintamani-dhama, the spiritual world, where there are desire trees and touchstones, where there is eternal happiness.
The Vedic literature gives us knowledge of the spiritual world. Veda means "knowledge." Vetti veda vido jnanam: "Anything from which one gets knowledge is called veda." From the Vedas we have to acquire the supreme knowledge. We have so many types of knowledge, but what is the ultimate knowledge? That is called Vedanta. And that ultimate knowledge is knowledge of the Supreme.
We get knowledge by inquiry. We ask, "What is in the newspaper today? What has happened?" The answers to those inquiries are also knowledge. But they are not the ultimate knowledge. The ultimate knowledge is knowledge of Krsna. Therefore Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah: "By all the Vedas, I am to be known."
People seek knowledge from so-called Vedantists who do not know Krsna. But one who is actually a Vedantist must know Krsna. Some time ago some Vaisnavas gave me the title "Bhaktivedanta." "Bhaktivedanta" means that the ultimate understanding of Vedanta is bhakti, not impersonalism.
Here it is stated, nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam: Srimad-Bhagavatam is the ripe fruit of Vedic knowledge. All the Vedas are summarized in the Vedanta-sutra, and the Bhagavatam is the explanation of the Vedanta-sutra. Therefore in the very beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam we find this aphorism of the Vedanta-sutra: janmady asya yatah.
The first statement in the Vedanta-sutra is athatho brahma-jijnasa: "Now we have to inquire about Brahman, the Absolute Truth." That inquiry is the business of a human being. In lives other than the human form we have simply passed our time in the matter of bodily necessities: eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. Animals and human beings both have these bodily necessities. Then what is the extra business of the human form of life? If a human being is simply engaged in these four principles of life, then what is the difference between that human being and a dog? There is no difference. A human being is distinguished from the animals by the ability to inquire into the Absolute Truth athatho brahma-jijnasa. A human being can come to the temple and inquire about Krsna, or the Absolute Truth. That is the difference. The Krsna consciousness movement gives everyone the chance to come and inquire about Brahman. In other words, the whole activity of the Krsna consciousness movement is Vedanta life.
Now, there are different stages of inquiring about the Absolute Truth. That is explained in the Bhagavatam:
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
bhagavan iti sabdyate
The Absolute Truth is one, but some accept the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman, some accept the Absolute Truth as the localized Paramatma, or Supersoul, and some accept the Absolute Truth as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna or Visnu.
The Krsna consciousness movement is for understanding the Absolute Truth in the ultimate sense. That means to understand the Absolute Truth as the Supreme Person. The Bhagavatam describes the Absolute Truth in the beginning om namo bhagavate vasudevaya: "I offer my respectful obeisances unto Vasudeva." Vasudeva means Krsna, the son of Vasudeva. Krsna appeared as the son of Vasudeva. Vasudeva also means suddha-sattva, or "pure goodness." Unless one comes to the position of Vasudeva pure goodness one cannot under-stand Vasudeva, Krsna.
In the material world there are three statuses: goodness, passion, and ignorance. Ignorance and passion are simply material. The symptoms of ignorance and passion are greed and lust. Above greed and lust is the Vedanta platform, from which one can understand everything clearly. That platform is called goodness. And pure goodness is transcendental to the material platform of goodness.
The material platform of goodness can be contaminated by the other two qualities, namely passion and ignorance. For example, a pure brahmana is on the platform of goodness. He is truthful, tolerant, and full of knowledge, he controls his mind and senses, and so on. These are brahminical qualifications. But sometimes the brahminical qualifications become contaminated by passion and ignorance. Today we see that many people from brahminical families have been contaminated by passion and ignorance.
So material goodness can be attacked by the other two qualities, and a person on the platform of material goodness may fall down. But when you transcend the material platform of goodness and come to the transcendental platform of goodness, you cannot fall down. Sattvam visuddham vasudeva-sabditam. Sattva, existence of pure goodness, is called Vasudeva. In that pure, transcendental platform of goodness you can understand Vasudeva, Krsna. Vasudeva is already within your heart, but you realize His presence by placing yourself on the platform of pure consciousness.
We can come to the platform of pure goodness simply by discussing Srimad-Bhagavatam. Therefore it is said here, nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam: Srimad-Bhagavatam is the mature fruit of Vedic knowledge. And suka-mukhad amrta-drava-samyutam. The Srimad-Bhagavatam was written by Vyasadeva. And it was spoken for the first time by Sukadeva Gosvami, Vyasadeva's son. Vyasadeva wrote theSrimad-Bhagavatam under the instruction of his spiritual master, Narada Muni. And Vyasadeva told his beloved son, Sukadeva Gosvami, "I have written Srimad-Bhagavatam; now you preach it."
That is the duty of the student: The spiritual master writes, and the disciple must preach. And if the student is as pure as the spiritual master, then the student's preaching will be very nice.
There is another explanation of this verse: A fruit ripened in the tree will be very nice, very sweet. If you take an unripe fruit from the tree and keep it at your home, it will also ripen, but it will not be so tasteful. And if a tree-ripened fruit is cut by the beak of a parrot, or suka, the fruit becomes still more tasteful. Similarly, Srimad-Bhagavatam, the ripe fruit of Vedic knowledge, is already very tasteful, but because it has been touched by the lips of Sukadeva Gosvami, it is drava-samyutam still more tasteful.
Therefore it is recommended, pibata bhagavatam rasam: "Drink the juice of the ripe fruit of the Bhagavatam." When we eat something, we taste its rasa, its juice. Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, raso 'ham apsu kaunteya: "My dear Kaunteya, Arjuna, I am the taste of water." When we are thirsty we ask for water because the taste in water will immediately quench our thirst.
That which we enjoy in something is also called rasa. Everything we do is to get rasa. A man may work very hard day and night. Why? To maintain his wife and children. There is some flavor in maintaining the family with hard labor. Unless there is some rasa, some taste, a man cannot work so hard day and night. Sometimes we see, therefore, that a person with no family or no family affection does not work so hard. Therefore in the Vedic civilization family life is recommended, because a person without the taste of family affection may become confused and hopeless. So in everything we do there is some rasa. Without that taste one cannot live.
Now, here it is recommended, pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam: "Here is a taste you can enjoy up to the end of your life or up to the point of liberation." Life is meant for getting liberated from our painful material existence. Everyone is trying to get out of the painful situation we are in. That is the struggle for existence. But people do not know that the ultimate goal of life is to be free from all painful activities. That is called liberation. The whole Vedic civilization is based on this point how to get liberated and enjoy eternal happiness.
ramante yogino 'nante
The word rama comes from ramana, "enjoyment." And Rama is a name for the Supreme Lord, the source of all enjoyment. In the material world people are engaged in ramana in the form of sex, that's all. But if you take shelter of Lord Rama, you will get real happiness.
Ramante yoginah anante. Those who aspire after spiritual perfection are called yogis, or transcendentalists. Today people practice a preliminary yoga system such as hatha-yoga. But they are not perfecting even the beginning practices, what to speak of making further progress.
Bhakti-yogis are engaged in the bhakti-yoga system. What is that bhakti-yoga system? Hearing about Krsna, chanting about Krsna, remembering Krsna, and so on. And Krsna says,
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
sa gunan samatityaitan
"One who takes to the bhakti-yoga system without any deviation and who strictly follows the regulative principles at once becomes transcendental to the three material qualities, namely goodness, passion, and ignorance."
To transcend the material qualities is called mukti, liberation. Mukti does not mean getting many heads or many legs. No. Mukti is defined as sva-rupena vyavasthitih to be situated in one's original constitutional position, or Krsna consciousness.
This verse recommends, pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam. Laya means "to merge." We are now merged into the material world. Although we are the soul, our bodies are material, and we are merged into the material body. But because we are spirit, merging with the body does not give us happiness.
If you are put into the Atlantic Ocean, you will merge with the ocean, but because you are not a living entity of the water, you cannot be happy there. Similarly, you cannot be happy by merging into the material existence. You have to merge into the spiritual existence, in Krsna consciousness. Then you'll be happy. That is the meaning of bhagavatam rasam alayam.
Thank you very much.