Though beautiful, the setting sun represents the passing of our days and the steady march to our final appointment.
A lecture given in Los Angeles, June 12, 1972
ayur harati vai pumsam
udyann astam ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-ksano nita
"Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.17)
THE SUNRISE AND SUNSET decrease our life. This is a very nice example. The sun's business is to take away a portion of your span of life. But it cannot take away the life of a devotee, because a devotee is going to live. The Krsna consciousness movement is meant to give the living entity a permanent span of life.
When a man becomes diseased, the physician tries to get him relief from the infection. Our material body is an infection. Actually, we spiritual souls have no death. Death is due to this infection, the body. This infection is called "dirty things." Actually the body is dirt. "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." That's a fact. Because as soon as I, the soul, leave this body, it will be immediately decomposed, and after a few days it will be earth, dust. So actually it is dirt. And we have to cleanse this dirt from our real identity spiritual life. The cleansing is very nicely done simply by hearing the message of Uttama-sloka, or Krsna. You haven't got to scratch the soul with some machine. No. It will automatically be cleansed if you simply give aural reception to the message of Uttama-sloka, which is called krsna-katha.
Krsna-katha means the words of Krsna. Katha means words. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krsna is personally giving us words of instruction. If we simply read the Bhagavad-gita, then the sun cannot take away our duration of life.
What is the proof? We find the proof in the Bhagavad-gita, where Lord Krsna says, janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah: "Anyone who understands My birth and appearance does not take birth again." The Lord Himself does not take birth. He is Aja, "one who never takes birth ever-existing." But still we see that Krsna is taking birth. We are observing the birth anniversary of Lord Krsna. This is a mystery. Krsna does not take birth, and still we are observing the birth anniversary of Krsna, Janmastami. So this is to be understood in truth tattvatah.
The Vedas say, na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate: "The Supreme Lord has nothing to do." Why should He have to do anything? Yet we see that from the day of His appearance at His maternal uncle's prison till His going back to His own abode, Krsna was always active, especially in killing the demons. But the demons could be killed without the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If there is a little earthquake, millions of demons can be killed. It is not a very difficult job. If the Pacific Ocean floods this city, millions of people can be killed. If there is a war, millions of people can be killed. If there is an epidemic, millions of people can be killed. So Krsna does not come to kill the demons. Rather, Krsna's many agents can kill the demons without any difficulty.
But He comes. Lord Nrsimha did not appear in order to kill the demon Hiranyakasipu. He could have been killed otherwise. But the Lord appeared for Prahlada. Prahlada Maharaja was being so much teased and tortured. The Lord could not tolerate it. He wanted to show His devotee, "I shall kill your torturer in front of you." That was His purpose. He did not appear for killing Hiranyakasipu. He appeared to give encouragement to Prahlada Maharaja. As Lord Krsna says, kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati. He asks Arjuna, "My dear Arjuna, you declare that My devotee will never be vanquished." So therefore He comes. These are the understandings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in toto.
We were discussing krsna-katha, the words of Krsna. Every Vedic literature is krsna-katha. But two books are especially krsna-katha: Bhagavad-gita Krsna directly speaking; and Srimad-Bhagavatam directly spoken about Krsna.
Here it is said uttama-sloka vartaya. Varta means message, words. If we pass our time simply by reading and talking about Krsna, then the sun will not be able to take away our life. This is the secret. If you want to become immortal, then always be engaged in krsna-katha. Always, twenty-four hours think of Krsna. This is Krsna consciousness.
Everyone is dying, but those who are engaged in krsna-katha, in Krsna consciousness, those who are busy in Krsna's business, they are not dying. They are living. How? Because the span of life of the ordinary man is being taken away by the sunrise and sunset every day. If a man is fifty years old, fifty years has already been taken away by the sun. It will never come back.
"But what about the devotee? He is also the same. His life is being taken away."
No. His life is not being taken away, because he is going to live. Superficially we see that the body of a devotee is also taken away. But this is not the real body. The real body is the spiritual body. Krsna says, tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti: "After giving up this body, he does not take birth. He comes to Me." So who comes to Him? The self.
Materialistic persons, so-called scientists, philosophers they do not know that the body is the cover of the self. The real self, the real person, goes to Krsna to live forever. Those who are devotees, those who are in Krsna consciousness, they are giving up this infected body and getting their original, spiritual body.
Therefore, as soon as you get the spiritual body, the sun has no power to take it away. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita: "Fire cannot burn it, weapons cannot kill it, water cannot moisten it …" Spirit cannot be destroyed by anything material. This body is matter. It can be cut into pieces. But the spirit soul cannot be. The body can be burnt into ashes, but the spirit soul cannot be.
The modern scientists say there is no life on the sun planet. But that is not a fact. What is the sun? It is a fiery planet, that's all. But the spirit soul can live in the fire, and on the sun he gets a fiery body. Here on this planet, on earth, we have these earthly bodies. They may be very beautiful, but they are earth. Someone showed me some plastic trees, exactly resembling real trees. But they are not trees. Similarly, this body is as good as a plastic body. It has no value.
Krsna speaks of our giving up the body, but the body is like a plastic body. "Giving up the body" is like giving up a cotton shirt or a plastic shirt. That does not mean you die. That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gita: vacamsi jirnani yatha vihaya…As one gives up an old garment for a new one, similarly, death means to give up this plastic body and take another plastic body. And with that plastic body you have to work again. If you get a nice body, then you can work nicely. If you get a dog's body, then you act like dog.
Krsna says, "Anyone who understands Me in truth will not take birth again." So how will you understand Krsna? Simply hear about Him; then you will understand. Hearing is not difficult. But you must hear from the realized soul. If you hear from a professional man, that will not be effective. Hearing must be from a sadhu, a devotee, just as Maharaja Pariksit heard from Sukadeva Gosvami.
Even if you read books, you will save your life. If you simply read Krsna book or the Bhagavad-gita or Teachings of Lord Caitanya, then the sun is unable to take your life. If you constantly read, where is the opportunity of the sun's taking your life? That means you are becoming immortal.
People are very much anxious to become immortal. Nobody wants to die. Everyone knows, "I shall die." But if there is some danger say, fire immediately everyone will go away from this room. Why? I do not wish to die. I know I must die, so why do I go away? I could think, "Oh, let there be fire. I have to die today or tomorrow. Let me die." No. I do not wish to die. Therefore I go away. This is the psychology.
Everyone wants to live forever. That's a fact. So if you want to live forever, then you have to take to Krsna consciousness. This verse confirms it. Ayur harati vai pumsam udyann astam ca yann asau. The sun is rising early in the morning. As it is rising, gradually it is taking your life. That's all. That is its business. But if you want to defeat the sun … The sun is very powerful. It is very difficult to fight. But you can fight with the sun. How? Simply by reading krsna-katha, the words of Krsna.
This is the simple process. Don't waste your time talking nonsense. Rupa Gosvami has advised,
atyaharah prayasas ca
jana-sangas ca laulyam ca
sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati
Our devotional life can be finished, or baffled, by six things. Those in devotional life, Krsna consciousness, are fortunate. This fortune can be ruined by six things. Be careful. Atyahara means eating more than necessary or collecting more than necessary.Ahara means collecting. We require to collect some money, but we should not collect more than necessary. Because if I get more money, then immediately Maya will say, "Why don't you spend for me?"
Ahara also means eating. Don't eat more than necessary. Actually, we have to come to the point of nil no eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. Of course, that is not possible because we have the body, but we must try to keep these activities to the minimum.
Prayasah means unnecessarily spoiling our energy. We should not take great risks so that we have to work very seriously. We must accept something which can be easily done.
Prajalpa means talking nonsense. This is the nature of the living entity in the conditioned state. Just as when crows gather together caw caw caw caw … [Laughter.] The frogs any living entity as soon as they gather, they talk all nonsense. Don't do that. We have a great assembly. We have facility for mixing. But don't take advantage of this assembly and talk all nonsense "What is the politics?" "What is this?" "What is that?" That is called prajalpa.
Niyamagrahah means not accepting the rules and regulations. Niyamagrahah also means blindly following the rules and regulations.
So, one, atyahara; two, prayasa; three, prajalpa; four, niyamagrahah; five, laulyam, greediness; and six, janasangah. Jana-sangah means to associate with ordinary men, those who have no sense of Krsna consciousness-the so-called karmis, jnanis, and yogis. They do not understand Krsna. Or scientists and philosophers we should not associate with them. Because we know, harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna. Anyone who does not understand Krsna and Krsna's service, even though he may be very big man in the ordinary estimation, we don't give him any value. Because persons such as him are mental speculators. They have no value. They have value in their own way, but according to our line of thought, they have no value.
There is a tendency to talk, so talk of Krsna. That is Krsna consciousness. We assemble together, a few friends, and we want to vibrate some sound. The child is also vibrating sound. That is nature. A bird will vibrate; a beast will vibrate. So we have to vibrate transcendental sound. Then we shall be saved from the plundering business of the sun.
This is the secret. Always talk of Krsna, and you must know that you are saving yourself. You are not dying. Because talking of Krsna means you will understand Krsna. And Krsna says, "Anyone who understands Me rightly, then after giving up this body he comes to Me." And as soon as you go to Him, back to home, back to Godhead, your life is eternal, blissful, and full of knowledge.
Why should we lose this opportunity? The most rascal persons give up this opportunity. They do not take advantage of krsna–katha. Therefore the scriptures say, smartavyah satatam visnur vismartavyo na jatucit. We have to remember Visnu always, everywhere.
This is the process of Krsna consciousness. We have to hear about Krsna, we have to chant about Krsna, we have to remember Krsna, and we have to worship Krsna. This is our movement. We are worshiping Krsna in the temple, we are thinking of Him, we are talking about Him, and we are hearing about Him.
These things do not require any monetary exchange or any high education. Everyone can hear about Krsna. After hearing, everyone can talk about Krsna. And while hearing and talking, everyone can remember Krsna. And everyone can worship in the temple. Where is the difficulty? By prosecuting these four principles of Krsna consciousness, you become immortal. No austerity, no penance, no education, no riches. Simply by following these four principles, you become immortal.
This verse is very important. If you have spare time, don't sit idly. If there is no facility for reading books or talking about Krsna, chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Always be busy with Krsna. The sun will not be able to kill you. You are going to live forever.
Thank you very much.