Vedic civilization defines human life as the quest to end one’s suffering permanently.
daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te

“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” Bhagavad-gita 7.14
Krsna - Back To Godhead
According to Vedic civilization, anyone who is not inquisitive about the solution to the problems of life is not truly a human being, because there are so many problems. the animals cannot inquire into solving them, Painting by gannarvika Devi Dasi but a human being can inquire. so unless one comes to this point, to inquiring how these problems can be solved, he is not developed to human consciousness. He’s still in animal consciousness.

Human civilization, advanced civilization, means trying to solve problems. For example, at the present moment the world has atomic bombs, and all nations are anxious to keep peace. they have started the united Nations to solve the problem posed by atomic bombs. although they are unable to do this, they are trying. so advancement of civilization means that by nature some problem is offered, and we are trying to solve it. another example: In your country there are subways. Whyn Because on the surface there is a lot of traffic, and a solution to the problem is to go underground. therefore people may think, “Oh, the Western countries have advanced more than the Eastern countries. they have solved the traffic problem.” But after that problem, there is another problem. Problem after problem.

The ultimate problem is that we do not want to suffer. that’s all. We want comfortable, peaceful life. that is the ultimate problem. Is it notn just think it over.

In sanskrit language it is said, atyantika-dunkha-nivrttin: “to solve the problem of misery.” We don’t want any kind of misery. We don’t want to suffer. We want very peaceful and joyful life. But that is not possible within the material world. that is the problem.

By nature, the living entity wants joyful life. Anandamayo ’bhyasat (Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12). Abhyasat means that by natural tendency the living beings want joyful life. But that is not possible here. a Bengali poet has written, “I constructed my home to live very peacefully and comfortably. all of a sudden there was a fire, and now everything is vanquished.” In america they have the experience that Mr. Kennedy became president after a long struggle. He had a very nice wife, children, honor, prestige, everything. People took him to be a very happy man. Within a second, it was all finished. He was driving in a procession, people were honoring him, and within a second finished.

Everyone is trying to be very happy, comfortable, but it is being finished within a second. Is that not a factn Is there any disagreement on this pointn that is the problem. and everyone is trying to solve this problem in his own way. they are manufacturing different ways to solve it, but the problem is not solved. In america, whenever I meet some gentleman in the street and he understands that I am coming from India, he says, “Oh, India is very poverty-stricken.” you see. as if there is no problem in america. so I tell them, “you also have many problems. you are not problem-free.”

Suppose you have some pain somewhere in your body. sometimes we think, “If the pain had been somewhere else, then it would have been nice.” But whether here or there, it is still pain.

One country may have the problem of insufficient grain, and another country may have the problem of too many hippies, but in either case, a problem is there. therefore one should be very careful to know how to solve the problems.

Actually, we are trying. We are trying to advance in education, in scientific knowledge. In so many ways we are trying, because material nature is offering problem after problem. that is nature’s business. you solve one problem, and she’ll present another problem. somebody thought, “If there are airplanes, then it will be very nice to travel in the sky.” But now the problem is that with airplanes, if there is enmity, another country can bomb my country. so, another problem.

Now people have to go underground. I was reading in the World Almanac that in the next hundred years, people will live underground. just see. they will come on the surface just to breathe a little freely. Otherwise, they will have to live underground. so, another problem is coming. But intelligent persons should think of how to solve this ultimate problem.

What will be the answern How can the ultimate problem be solvedn the solution is there in the Bhagavad-gita (7.14):

daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te

“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” the solution is that we have to surrender unto the supreme. If the police arrest you, then it is very difficult to get out of their clutches. But if you are a good citizen, a soul surrendered to the state, there is no problem. the police have nothing to do with you. Is it difficult to understandn

The problems are there, and the problems are under the management of this material nature. It is not possible to overcome the stringent laws of material nature, exactly as it is not very easy to get out once the police arrest you. If you want to get out of the clutches of material nature, which is putting forward problem after problem, then you have to become a surrendered soul, or Krishna conscious. Otherwise, material nature is so strong, you think, “Now this problem is solved,” but you have not really solved anything, because another problem will come.

The Ultimate Problem

The ultimate problem is, of course, death. Nobody wants to die. Even if one is a very old man, older than me, and his body is not working, he’s invalid, he cannot walk, he’s lying on the bed still, he wants to live.

If you say to some suffering old man who is invalid and has many diseases, “My dear father, grandfather, you are suffering so much. let me shoot you.”

“Oh, no, no, no. Don’t shoot me.”

He doesn’t want to die. Death is a problem. Nobody wants to die, but death comes and captures us, just like President Kennedy, within a second [snaps his fingers] “leave this position.” Forced. submit. “yes. What can I don”

No scientific advancement of knowledge can protect us. the material scientists are trying. the Russians sometimes say, “the time will come when science will solve the problem of death. Nobody will die.” let them think like that, but it is not possible.

That is stated in the Bhagavadgita (13.9), janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-dunkha-dosanudarnanam: “the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age, and disease.” One who is actually learned, advanced in knowledge, should know these four miseries. the misery of taking birth means that after this body is finished, we have to take another body. How is the body constructed, developed. In the womb of the mother. the father gives the semen with the living entity within, and the mother receives it and develops the body. this is nature’s law. you have to live within the mother compact, airtight, packed for ten [lunar] months, at least. just imagine if you are packed in a bag and put in an airtight compartment, locked up, would you like itn you’ll die within three seconds. But the arrangement is so nice, by nature’s law, that the child breathes with the mother’s breathing and is fed when the mother eats. Even when the child is unconscious, the development of the body goes on. that is nature’s arrangement, but you cannot do that. It is by god’s grace that the child lives. Otherwise, nobody can live in that condition. just try it. take any man, pack him, and put him in an airtight condition. He’ll die within three seconds.

There is also suffering when you die, when you are diseased, and when you are old. I am old, and some way or other I am maintaining this body by massages, by taking some medicine, this way, that way. this body is no longer like a young man’s body. It is a suffering body. By nature, as soon as you are over fifty years, old age begins. and when you are over seventy years, you are completely old, and you have to suffer the consequences of old age. you may try to maintain that old body, but there is suffering. a young man cannot understand this, but one who is old can understand.

Suffering of old age, suffering of birth, suffering of death, and suffering of disease. you may be proud of your advancement of knowledge, thinking you have solved all the questions, but in the Bhagavadgita Krishna says, “Don’t think like that. that is your foolishness. these problems are there. What can you don” that is learning: “yes. the problems are not solved. the problems are there.” that is learning. When rabbits face a hunter and understand that “Now my life is in danger,” they close their eyes and think, “the problem is now solved.” [Laughs.] and peacefully he is killed. [Laughs.] you seen

Similarly, the problems are there, but we are closing our eyes: “Oh, there is no problem. We are very happy.” this is called maya, illusion. the problem is not solved, but they are thinking their problem is solved by closing their eyes. that’s all.

Lord Krishna’s Solution

Now, here is the solution to the problem, as Krishna says in the fourteenth verse, seventh Chapter, of Bhagavad-gita: “It is very difficult to surmount the problems offered by the laws of material nature, but one who surrenders unto Me overcomes them.”

Therefore we are teaching Krishna consciousness to solve the problems of life. It is not sentiment or fanaticism or any sectarian religion. It is a fact that if you want to solve the problems of life, you have to become Krishna conscious. there is no alternative. a Bengali song says, “just chant Hare Krishna. all other solutions are false. you cannot escape. Death is waiting behind you.” Before death overcomes you, solve the problem. that is intelligence. “the greatest danger death is awaiting me.” that is sure. “as sure as death.” Everyone knows.

How shall we meet death n like cats and dog sn If so, then what is the use of this human form of lifen the cats and dogs also have their body. they will meet death. I have a body, and I will also meet death. so am I meant for meeting death like cats and dog sn If so, then what kind of human being am In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.9.29) says,

labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu sambhavante
manusyam artha-dam anityam apiha dhiran
türnam yateta na pated anu-mrtyu yavan
ninnreyasaya visayan khalu sarvatansyat

“After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. thus a sober human being should quickly endeavor for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. after all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Krishna consciousness is possible only for a human being.” there is an evolutionary process. that is admitted in Vedic literature. But it is not exactly like Darwin’s theory. there is evolution of the living being from the lower grade of animal life to the higher grade of animal life. and we have gotten this human form of life after many, many lower grades of life. It is very rare. there are 8,400,000 species of life. Out of those, the human species of life are 400,000; compared with other animals, it is a very small number.
Out of those, there are many uncivilized human beings. they are almost animals. then there are civilized human beings, like us. Out of them, many do not know what spiritual life is. that is stated in the Bhagavad-gita (7.3): Out of many thoUSAnds of human beings, one is interested to make a solution of the problem of life. Not everyone. Most do not even know what the problem is. Neither do they care about it. they think, “all right, let there be problems. We have got this life; let us enjoy our senses.” they are almost animals. But those who are inquisitive about how to solve the problem are actually accepted as human beings. Others are not even human beings. they are almost animals.

Dying Like a Brahmana

Now you have this opportunity. this body should be utilized properly to solve the problem. If we simply give ourselves up to the waves of birth and death, to different types of body, that is not very good intelligence. Not intelligence at all. this human form of life should be utilized to solve the problem. that is the aim of Vedic civilization, which stresses the solution, not the creation, of problems.

The materialistic way of life means to increase and create problems. that is not perfect human civilization. the perfect human civilization is to sit very calmly and quietly and to philosophically think, “How to solve the problemn Where shall I get the knowledgen” this is human life. the whole Vedic instruction is like that: “Now you must utilize this form of life to make a solution. Don’t die like cats and dogs.”

The Veda says, “One who dies after attempting to solve the problems of life is a brahmana. and one who dies like cats and dogs is a krpana.” Krpana means a very less intelligent person.

We should not die like cats and dogs. We should die like a brahmana. Even if you don’t solve the problem in one life, then you get another opportunity in your next life. It is to be understood that these boys and girls who have come to us tried in their last life to solve this problem but did not finish. Now they have another opportunity. these things are stated in the Bhagavad-gita.

Now, this life, you should be determined. those who are coming in touch with Krishna consciousness and becoming initiated should be very determined that “In this life I shall make a solution. No more coming again.” that should be our determination. and go back home, back to godhead, where we get eternal, blissful life of knowledge. this is the sum and substance of the Krishna consciousness movement.

Thank you very much.