Srila Prabhupada

Vrndavana, India October 24, 1972:

Once we know the key, we can attain perfection by the simple acts of our daily life.

atah pumbhir dvija-srestha
svanusthitasya dharmasya
samsiddhir hari-tosanam

"O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging the duties prescribed for one's own occupation according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.13)

Varnasrama is very important in human society. Unless society accepts the principles of varna and asrama, it is an animal society, not a human society. The four varnas, or occupational divisions, are brahmanas [priests and teachers], ksatriyas [rulers and warriors], vaisyas [farmers and merchants], and sudras [laborers and artisans]. The four asramas, or spiritual orders, are brahmacarya [student], grhastha [householder], vanaprastha [retired], and sannyasa [renounced]. That is Vedic culture: varnaand asrama. That is accepted as human society.

In the Visnu Purana it is said,

purusena parah puman
visnur aradhyate pantha
nanyat tat-tosa-karanam

"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Visnu, is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varna and asrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Lord." The whole aim of life is to achieve the favor of Visnu. A Rg-Veda mantra says, om tad visnoh paramam padam: "The abode of Visnu is the supreme destination." But people do not know the goal of life. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum.

Any society that does not know the aim of life is in darkness. Actually, at the present moment especially, the whole human society has missed the point. People are trying to be happy by material adjustment. Leaders are trying to make the whole human society happy by social adjustment, by political adjustment, by economic adjustment, or by religious adjustment. But the Srimad-Bhagavatam says, durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah: Their hope will never be fulfilled, because they have accepted the external, material energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the key to happiness.

Just as my shawl is external in relation to my body, my body is also external in relation to the real person, the soul. But people have no information of the soul, nor of Visnu, or Krsna, the origin of the soul. They are interested only in the external body. That is called bahir-artha. Bahih means "external," and artha means "interest." In our book Srimad-Bhagavatam we have a painting of a woman taking care of a cage while the bird within is dying. Bahir-artha-mani means that we are taking care of the body but not taking care of the soul within. The Srimad-Bhagavtam says that this is the civilization of cows and asses. Sa eva go- kharah. Go means "cows," and khara means "asses."


Today's verse was spoken in the forest of Naimisharanya thousands of years ago. The speaker, Suta Gosvami, addresses the audience as dvija-sresthah, "best of the twice-born." All those present in that meeting were the best brahmanas, ksatriyas,and vaisyas. These classes are supposed to be twice-born. One birth is by the father and mother, and the second birth is by the guru and Vedic knowledge. The guru is the father, and Vedic knowledge is the mother.

Sudras are once-born. They have no ceremony for becoming twice-born. Or, we can say, anyone who is not twice-born is a sudra. If the twice-born ceremony is not observed, then the person is a sudra. At present, even in India, these ceremonies are not accepted. People do not care for them. And what to speak of other countries. Therefore the conclusion of the sastra, scripture, is kalau sudra-sambhavah: In this age of Kali there are only sudras. Practically there are no brahmanas, no ksatriyas, novaisyas.

Today's verse says, varnasrama-vibhagasah, "by the divisions of varnasrama." Unless society accepts the four varnas and four asramas, it is not human society. In human society there is understanding of God, not in animal society. Therefore, because the institution of varnasrama is now abolished, people are becoming godless, because varnasrama means the set-up of society where gradually one can understand Visnu and worship Visnu. Visnur aradhyate. That is the system.

Today we have so-called brahmanas and so-called ksatriyas who have no information of Visnu. They declare, "I am a brahmana"; "I am a ksatriya." But according to sastra they are called dvija-bandhu, those born of brahmana, ksatriya, or vaisyafamilies who do not act like brahmanas, ksatriyas, or vaisyas. They are not accepted as dvija, twice-born.

The Mahabharata was compiled by Vyasadeva for women, sudras, and dvija-bandhus, because these groups generally could not understand the language of the four original Vedas. The Mahabharata is called the fifth Veda. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said,

mam hi partha vyapasritya
ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras
te 'pi yanti param gatim

When one becomes Krsna conscious, it does not matter whether one is a woman, a sudra, or a dvija-bandhu; one can be elevated to the highest platform of perfection. That is Krsna's special favor.

Everyone must attain perfection, but people are not interested in understanding or pursuing the perfection of life. The perfection, as stated in today's verse, is hari-tosanam, to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Lord Krsna's Position

The Supreme Personality of Godhead is Visnu, or Krsna. Krsna is the origin of visnu-tattva the category of Visnu, or God. Aham sarvasya prabha-vah. Krsna says that He is the origin of Visnu. He is the origin of Brahma, Visnu, and Mahesvara, the original demigods of the creation. Brahma is the creator, Visnu is the maintainer, and Mahesvara Mahadeva, or Lord Siva is the destroyer. When Krsna says, aham sarvasya prabhavah, that means He's the origin of Brahma, Visnu, and Lord Siva. So if we satisfy Hari, or Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we don't have to separately satisfy the demigods. Krsna includes everything.

An example is given: yatha taror mula-nisecanena trpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopasakhah. By pouring water on the root of a tree, you automatically water the branches, twigs, leaves, flowers everything. Pranopaharac ca yathendriyanam: By supplying food to the stomach, automatically the energy will be distributed to other parts of the body. You do not have to supply food to the eyes, to the ears, to the nose. No. Simply supply food to the stomach, and the energy will be distributed. Similarly,samsiddhir hari-tosanam: If you simply satisfy Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then you satisfy all others.

We read an example of this point in the Mahabharata. Once Duryodhana, the enemy of the Pandavas, satisfied the sage Durvasa, so Durvasa wanted to give him a benediction. Duryodhana was very cunning. His only aim was to cheat the Pandavas.

Duryodhana told Durvasa, "My dear sir, I shall ask you for the benediction some other time, not now."

Later, when the Pandavas, with their wife Draupadi, were in exile in the forest, Duryodhana approached Durvasa Muni.

"My dear sir, you wanted to give me a benediction. I have come for it. Go to the Pandavas with your sixty thousand disciples after Draupadi has eaten."

Durvasa was known for creating havoc when displeased. Duryodhana felt that the Pandavas, living in the forest without adequate supplies, would not be able to receive Durvasa properly, and he would punish them with his great power.

Durvasa and his disciples then visited the Pandavas in the forest. As ksatriyas, the Pandavas were duty bound to receive the brahmanas. But the Pandavas had eaten and had nothing to offer their guests. Perplexed, the Pandavas asked them to bathe while they made the arrangements to feed them.

Krsna's vow is that He will always see that His devotees are protected. So when the Pandavas were perplexed, Krsna came there.

"What is the problem?" Krsna asked.

They explained, and then Krsna asked if Draupadi, the wife of the Pandavas, had eaten. Draupadi had once received the benediction that as long as she had not eaten her meal, she would be able to feed any number of guests. She told Krsna that she had already eaten.

"Just go and find any little food in the kitchen," Krsna said.

Draupadi found a little food stuck to the side of a pot and brought it to Krsna. When Krsna ate it, Durvasa Muni and company felt that their stomachs were full. Ashamed at being unable to accept a meal from the Pandavas, they fled.

That is the process. If you can satisfy Krsna if Krsna says, "All right" then everything is all right. That is the principle of the Krsna consciousness movement. Somehow or other, satisfy Krsna. Samsiddhir hari-tosanam. Then you will get all perfection. It is a very simple method. Try to satisfy Krsna, and you will be satisfied in every respect. Everything will be perfect.

Krsna also says that. And it is not very difficult to satisfy Krsna. Krsna is so kind. He says, patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati: "You want to feed Me that's all right. Just collect a flower or a leaf and offer it to Me with devotion." The real offering is bhakti love, devotion. Krsna is not asking you to bring Him large quantities of delicious food. No. Krsna wants your love.

Krsna is not a beggar, nor is He hungry, coming to your place to eat something. That's not Krsna's position. Krsna wants only your love.

A father takes responsibility for the whole family. He works hard day and night to maintain the family. In return, he only expects love from his wife and children. That is the impetus for economic development. The father works hard to earn money, but he needs only a little for himself. He works hard so that when he comes home, he can see his wife and children very satisfied.

Similarly, Krsna has expanded His family. He has become so many living entities. What is the idea? Anandamayo 'bhyasat. Because He's anandamaya, full of pleasure, He wants to enjoy loving exchanges between Himself and the living entities. That is His purpose. Otherwise, why has He created us? He wants love. But rascals have forgotten that. They say, "There is no God. I am God. I am the enjoyer." Instead of loving God, they are becoming "God." This has killed the whole situation.

Therefore Krsna comes. He wants to reestablish the reciprocal exchange of love, which is called bhakti. You love Krsna, and Krsna loves you. Krsna loves you even without receiving your love. Otherwise, how are you eating? You cannot live even for a moment without Krsna's mercy. That's a fact. Eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman.

The Meaning of Dharma

Krsna comes to establish dharma. Dharma means what is enjoined by the Lord. What God says, that is dharma. Not that you manufacture your dharma. God, Krsna, says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru: "Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me, and bow down to Me." Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me." This is dharma. Any so-called dharma that does not involve surrender to God is not real dharma. It is called kaitava dharma, "cheating religion." Therefore the Srimad-Bhagavatam says, dharmah projjhita-kaitavo 'tra: "All cheating dharma is thrown away, kicked out."

Here the same thing is confirmed: svanusthitasya dharmasya samsiddhir hari-tosanam. You are religious; that's all right. But the purpose of religion is to satisfy the Supreme Lord. That is perfection. It doesn't matter what your occupation is. It is said,varnasrama-vibhagasah, "by the divisions of varnasrama." A brahmana can satisfy Krsna by his austerity, by his truthfulness, by his knowledge of the sastras. He can preach the knowledge of the sastras to the world. He can eat on behalf of God. According to Vedic civilization, there is brahmana-bhojana. Brahmana-bhojana means that Krsna eats through the brahmanas.

So a brahmana can remain a brahmana and satisfy the Lord by his activities. The same is true for others. Arjuna was not a brahmana; he was ksatriya. He was not a sannyasi; he was a grhastha, a householder and a king. He knew how to kill. So by killing he satisfied Krsna. Samsiddhir hari-tosanam. That was the whole purpose of the Bhagavad-gita. Arjuna was unwilling to kill, and Krsna was inducing him, "You must kill." And when Arjuna agreed to kill, then Krsna became satisfied and Arjuna became perfect.

These examples are evidence. The purpose of life is to satisfy Krsna. When Arjuna refused to fight, that was for his own satisfaction. "I shall not kill my grandfather, my nephews, my brother on the other side. If they die, I shall be unhappy. So what is the use of killing them?" These considerations were all sense gratification, so-called nonviolence. A devotee does not know what is violence and non-violence. He wants to satisfy Krsna. That's all. Devotees do not know what is morality or immorality. They want to satisfy Krsna. The gopis, the cowherd girls, went to Krsna in the dead of night. That is immoral. But they did not know what is morality or immorality. They had to go to Krsna. Samsiddhir hari-tosanam.

Everyone should try to satisfy Lord Krsna. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. That is the perfection of life. Always think of Krsna (man-manah). "Always become My devotee" (mad-bhakta). "Always worship Me" (mad-yaji). "Always offer your obeisances unto Me" (mam namaskuru).

"But I have another religion, Sir. Why shall I think of You only? I have to think of Goddess Kali. Otherwise I cannot eat meat."

Therefore Lord Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya: "It is all nonsense. Give up all this nonsense." Mam ekam. "Simply surrender unto Me." Ekam. "Don't bother with the demigods."

So this is the real dharma: samsiddhir hari-tosanam. Somehow or other, satisfy Krsna. Arjuna satisfied Krsna by killing. Killing is not a very good art. But because by killing, Arjuna satisfied Krsna, Krsna gave him a certificate: bhakto 'si me sakha ceti, "Oh, you are My very dear friend."

Krsna's purpose was to kill the demons. Paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam. Arjuna helped kill the demons and fulfill the desire of Krsna. Therefore Arjuna became perfect by killing. So if you do anything sanctioned by Krsna, or by His bona fide representative, that is real dharma. Samsiddhir hari-tosanam.

Thank you very much.