Bhagavad Gita

How to understand the universe as the external body of God.

A lecture given in Los Angeles, October 5, 1972

etad rupam bhagavato
hy arupasya cid-atmanah
maya-gunair viracitam
mahadadibhir atmani

The conception of the virat universal form of the Lord, as appearing in the material world, is imaginary. It is to enable the less intelligent [and neophytes] to adjust to the idea of the Lord's having form. But factually the Lord has no material form. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.30)

This Is a Very Important Verse. When we speak of "formless" we mean that God or the living entities all of us have no material form. Our present form our body is temporary, and after death it will never come again. As soon as this form is finished, I will have to take another form. And that form may not be exactly like this one.

Unlike us, Krsna has no material form. He has a spiritual form. Therefore His form is eternal. Because our form changes, we do not remember our past lives. But Krsna remembers because His form does not change.

The evidence for this appears in Krsna's teachings in the Bhagavad-gita. Arjuna asked Krsna, "How can I believe that You spoke this philosophy of Bhagavad-gita to the sun-god 400 million years ago?"

Krsna replied, "Yes, you were also present there, because you are My constant companion. But you have forgotten; I remember."

As long as our form stays the same we do not forget things. But when our form changes we forget. We experience this every night. My form is lying on the bed, but I am dreaming in a different form: I am flying in the sky and forgetting that my real form is lying on the bed. We forget "I am American" or "I am the son of such and such gentleman." We forget everything. As soon as the form is forgotten, then everything is forgotten.

The impersonalists are very fond of the universal form. But what is the universal form? It is an external expansion of the supreme form, Krsna. We living entities are very minute spiritual forms. Materially we cannot understand this. We cannot see the spiritual form with our material eyes. But we get information from the sastra, scriptures. Sastra says that the size of the living entity is one ten-thousandth the tip of a hair. Just imagine the tip of a hair, and divide it into ten thousand parts. One such part is the size of the living entity.

satadha kalpitasya ca
bhago jivah sa vijneyah
sa canantyaya kalpate

"When the upper point of a hair is divided into one hundred parts and again each of such parts is further divided into one hundred parts, each such part is the measurement of the dimension of the spirit soul." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 5.9) That is the dimension of the living entity.

That atomic particle of spiritual energy takes shelter by superior control. When a person dies, the spirit soul is taken to the court of judgment of Yamaraja, the lord of death. And according to the living entity's previous actions, he is then given a new body for his next life.

How? The Srimad-Bhagavatam states, karmana daiva-netrena: "by superior arrangement." When you work somewhere, your service record is kept. So many things are judged. At the end of the year, or at the end of some period, the service record is checked, and you are given a promotion. Similarly, all our activities are being recorded. And after death we are taken to the court of Yamaraja for the day of judgment. As the higher authority, Yamaraja decides what kind of body we shall get.

You cannot say, "Now give me the body of a king." Now you are an American, but you cannot dictate, "Give me another American body as the son of Rockefeller." No. What you have done will be judged, and you will get your next body accordingly.

Of course, you have received your present opportunities because of past pious activities. To take birth in a rich family or nation is due to pious activity. Janmaisvarya-sruta-sribhih. Janma (birth), aisvarya (riches), sruta, (education), andsri (beauty) these things are obtained according to past activities. Not that everyone becomes educated. There is no such chance.

Nothing by Chance

We were discussing this morning how nothing happens by chance. Everything depends on some cause. Not that by chance anyone becomes a very rich man. No. One has to work for it. Not that by chance one becomes very educated. These things are not chances. So if there is no chance, then there must be a cause, and there must be judgment. Otherwise why is one man born rich while another man works hard but has to sleep in the street?

By superior judgment the small spiritual particle the living entity is transferred to the semen of a particular father. Then the living entity is injected into the womb of the mother, the male and female secretions combine, and the living entity develops a body. This is the science. If you use contraceptives, that means you contaminate the emulsion, and the poor living entity cannot take shelter there. You cannot kill the living soul, but you make the circumstances unfavorable for his staying. Then he has to be transferred to another womb.

After conception the body develops. That we can see. Not that on the day of pregnancy the body develops at once. No. First it is just like a small pea, then gradually it develops. After birth the child also develops. That is not really development but transmigration from one body to another. For example, in a cinema film there are many pictures, but when they are moved very swiftly we see the action. Similarly, the process of our change of body is so swift that we cannot perceive it. We think the body is growing. But the body is not growing; we are getting different bodies.

Krsna's External Body

So our point is that the small spiritual spark develops the body. Similarly, the huge gigantic body of the universal form is the development of Krsna's external body. As your bodily functions go on nicely because the spiritual spark is within, similarly all material activities in the universe are going nicely because of the presence of the Supreme Lord. The rascal scientists cannot understand that our bodily functions are going on nicely only as long as the spirit soul is there. But any sane man can understand this. Similarly, the big manifestation of the material world is going on nicely because Krsna is there. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita.

Arjuna asks, "Krsna, kindly explain how Your energies are acting."

Krsna explains in the Tenth Chapter. Then He says,

atha va bahunaitena
kim jnatena tavarjuna
vistabhyaham idam krtsnam
ekamsena sthito jagat

"Arjuna, I shall go on explaining how My energies are working, but you can summarize that I in one of My plenary portions enter the material world, and therefore it is going on so nicely." (Bg. 10.42)

As our material body is not our real form, the universal form is not Krsna's real form. Our body is described as a garment. A garment is made when there is a real form. Because you have arms, your coat has arms. But you are not the coat. Similarly, because we are spiritual forms we grow our hands and legs and head and so on. We are materially "coated."

The Great and the Small

Here it is explained that people are very fond of the universal form. They cannot imagine that a person Krsna is a person can work so wonderfully. They think that He is very small, like us. They do not understand that we are like a small fire and Krsna is like a big fire. A spark can burn only a small area of your cloth, but a big fire can burn so much more. Similarly, although God and we are qualitatively one, He is great and we are small.

We have the same qualities as God but in very small quantity. We can play very wonderfully by inventing some machine, say the capsule that goes to the moon. Or we float something in the sky. But that is imitation of God. God is floating gigantic planets like the sun and moon in space. You cannot do that. You can float a small sputnik.

You have creative power, and God has creative power, but God's creative power cannot be compared with your creative power. You cannot become God. You can imitate or do something very small just like little children playing with little toys. You can play with little toys and advertise yourself as a great scientist. That's all. But you are nothing. That is to be realized.

That realization is called bhakti-yoga. The rascals are puffed up "I am God." Foolish. How can you be God? You may have some very minute quality of God, but you cannot claim you are God. A small particle of gold is gold, but it cannot be compared with the gold mine.

People very much appreciate the gigantic universal form. They think, "Oh! Why shall I worship Krsna? I worship the gigantic universal form." But this gigantic form is a product of Krsna's energy. They do not know that. Here it is said,maya-gunair viracitam: by Krsna's material energy the universal form is created. The material energy as much as the spiritual energy comes from Krsna's body.

Whatever we see consists of different energies of Krsna. In the Visnu Purana it is said,

jyotsna vistarini yatha
parasya brahmanah saktis
tathedam akhilam jagat

The vast universal form you are seeing is nothing but parasya brahmanah saktih, the manifestation of the energy of the Supreme Person. How? The example is given, eka-desa-sthitasyagneh: just like fire. Take the example of the sun, the biggest fire within the universe. The sun is situated in one place, but the sunshine is distributed everywhere. The sunshine may cover the whole universe, but that is not very important. The sun globe is important. Similarly, Krsna is playing with the gopis, the cowherd girls, in His spiritual abode Goloka Vrndavana, and His shine is creating the whole universe. Not that because Krsna is playing there He is absent elsewhere. No. Goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhutah:Krsna is in Goloka Vrndavana, but He is present everywhere. That is Krsna. I am sitting here, so I am not in my apartment. That is my position. But Krsna's position is that although He is always in Goloka Vrndavana, He is present everywhere.

How? Andantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham: He is within every universe and every atom. That is Krsna. Don't think that because Krsna is playing as a cowherd boy or as a friend of the gopis He is an ordinary man.

The rascals imitate Krsna. They say, "Oh, Krsna has enjoyed the gopis? Oh, let me gather some young girls and enjoy."

We say, "But first you become universally represented everywhere. Then you enjoy."

But the rascal cannot do that. He can simply imitate how to be in the midst of young girls and enjoy. That is the difference.

Thank you very much.