Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.18
[Lecture translated into Lithuanian by a devotee]
So, today we are reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, First Canto, Chapter number 5, text number 18. This is actually a very special verse today. This is one of the key verses of the entire Srimad Bhagavatam.
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovido
Sankarshan das Adhikari: So, one of the wonderful points to be derived from this verse is that we are meant to be philosophically inclined. What does it mean to be philosophically inclined? That means that one should be very thoughtful about the ultimate questions of existence. One who does not ponder the meaning and purpose of this existence is actually an animal. The animals do not ask such questions. They simply want to know where do I eat, where do I sleep, where can I get some sex pleasure and if anybody tries to mess with my eating, sleeping and sex, I will fight. That is animal consciousness. So, the human being is meant to be philosophical. He is meant to ask such questions as "Why am I suffering. I don't want to be suffering. But yet so much suffering is being forced upon me. Why is that? How can I get free from that suffering?” These are the sort of questions that a human being must ask if he wants to be counted amongst the actual human beings. Nowadays practically no one is on the human platform. Therefore they are described in the Vedas as 'dvipada pashu'-two legged animals.
This morning, on the way to the temple we saw the dog crossing the street. He was going on his four legs and the human beings, they are going on their two legs. What is the difference? There is no difference and when the human being becomes an old man and he walks with a cane, he is called a tripada pashu. These sorts of animals have been very nicely described in the Srimad Bhagavata:.
Those persons who are not interested to hear about Krishna, who is the deliverer from all evils, are considered to be in four categories: dogs, hogs, camels and asses. Srila Prabhupada has spoken very nicely on this verse in Los Angeles many years ago. He described in great detail what is the position of a dog, hog, camel and ass. So remembering Srila Prabhupada's most wonderful lecture, we can discuss some little detail today. What is the meaning of dog? What is the meaning of hog? What is the meaning of camel? And what is the meaning of ass?
So, the dog he works very, very hard. Actually he goes to the university and he studies very, very hard to get his degree. And once he gets his piece of paper, he puts it in his mouth and he goes from door to door, begging the employers, "Please accept me as your dog". And they say, "No vacancy". And so he has to go out that door and go to the next door and again he begs, "Please accept me as your dog". We are seeing when the dog is very jolly; his tail is up and is wagging. And when he is feeling very humiliated, his tail is between his legs. So Prabhupada said that his tail is like that. So, in this way the dog, he goes begging, begging, begging "Please, please, please take me as your dog". So that is the position of dogs.
And when it comes to a hog, he has no discrimination for eating. We have seen especially in Vrindavana how the hogs, they will eat the most nasty things. In Vrindavana they have an open sewer system. When you pass stool in your house, it comes out into an open ditch on the side of the road. And the hog is waiting there with great delight to eat your fresh stool. And after he gets filled up and fatty from eating so much stool and drinking so much urine, he feels fully satisfied with his nice lunch, then he lays down in the stool and urine water to have a nice nap. And he is thinking, "Ah! This is the life"! So that is the life of a hog. He has no discrimination in eating.
So, what is the next kind of animal described by the Srimad Bhagavatam? That is the camel. The camel, he will chew the thorny twigs and it will cut his tongue. And the foolish animal, he will suck the blood, thinking, "Ah! Very nice taste!” So this is compared to the man who thinks that by passing semen, he can enjoy life like anything because actually he is being drained of his own blood. Srila Prabhupada explains that it takes 40 drops of blood to make one drop of semen. Actually according to Vedic culture cows are to be protected, women are to be protected, little children are to be protected, old people are meant to be protected and semen is meant to be protected. If it is retained within the body, then it goes to the brain and nourishes the brain. It makes one very intelligent. It gives good health and it gives longevity. So, someone who is taking pleasure by passing semen, they are simply like the stupid camel.
And then the final animal listed in the Bhagavatam is the ass. The ass carries a big, big, big, big, big, big burden on the back. We have seen in India, they load the poor little donkey with a huge burden of bricks and his back is like this. He is just struggling to carry this huge burden of bricks. So in India, the washer man, he is called dhobi. The dhobi he will take all the laundries from the villagers and he will load that little donkey, that little ass with a huge load of laundry and go down to the river for washing the clothes. Then after laying it out nicely in the sun to dry, he will load it back on the little donkey and come back to the village. So, this donkey is thinking, "If I don't carry this huge burden on the back then I will starve to death." But what does the donkey eat? He eats grass. And what is growing on either side of the road between the river and the village? The grass is growing. So why is he so foolish? The grass is growing everywhere and he is thinking, "If I don't carry this burden on the back, then I will starve". So, this stupid little donkey, he struggles all day to carry a huge burden. For just a little grass, that is all. And then after struggling all day, the he-donkey goes back to the barn and he is looking for that she-donkey. So he can have some sex pleasure and when he tries to have sex pleasure with the she-donkey, then she kicks him on the face and bloodies his face with her hind legs. So, the fruitive worker, he struggles like anything in the factory, in the office to make some little bit of money. He comes home at night and he wants to have sex with his wife and she harasses him like anything. And he thinks, "Oh, this is very nice". So, in this way they are simply like donkey, foolish asses, mudhah.
So, we should not be in these categories of dog, hog, camel, ass. We should become actually intelligent, philosophically inclined beings. And we should endeavor for that end which is not obtainable anywhere within this material existence. It is mentioned here very nicely in the Sanskrit language, "upari adhah" which means from the top to the bottom. "Upari" means top and "adha" is bottom. So, wherever you go from the top to the bottom of this universe there is nothing which is actually worth your endeavor. Therefore we should endeavor for that purposeful end which is beyond this material world and that is the pure devotional service of the Lord. Another interesting point made in this verse is that happiness from sense enjoyment comes of its own accord, just like misery also comes of its own accord. If I asked you, "My dear sir or my dear lady, I would like to give you some misery,” would you like it? No, you would not like it. “Here, have some misery. Here, drink one cup of misery”. It will make you very sick. Who would like to drink some misery today? Nobody wants misery. But yet, misery comes by the force of the laws of nature. So, Bhagavatam is saying that just as misery comes automatically, your happiness also comes automatically. So you shouldn't endeavor for that which is coming anyway. The student goes to college and he is thinking in order to survive nicely, I have to totally dedicate myself 100% to my education. He is just thinking that for his livelihood, he has to be 100% dedicated to this purpose. But he doesn't realize his livelihood is already established by the laws of karma. He simply has to do his duties as a student. He doesn't have to dedicate his whole existence to getting ahead academically and financially. Rather, he should endeavor only as far as is necessary for education and financial well-being. And the balance of his energy should go for spiritual enlightenment for obtaining that which is not obtainable "upari adhah" from the top to the bottom of this universe. So, this is an intelligent person. We are meant to be intelligent. If we are not intelligent, what are we? We are simply foolish beasts of burden.
So, does anyone have any questions?
Devotee: In the end of the purport, Srila Prabhupada says that everyone is allotted amount of happiness and distress and nobody can change it. So, this is the eternal question, how much can be changed?
SDA: You can change it completely by surrendering to Krishna. The point is that by any endeavor you make in this material world, you really can't change your karma. But if you surrender to Krishna, by Krishna's grace all your karma is completely wiped out. In other words, the karmi he is under the laws of the material energy. But a devotee, he is no longer under the material energy. [Aside: Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki jaya!] That person who is fully 100% surrendered to Krishna, is no longer under the material nature. His situation is being conducted 100% under the spiritual energy, everywhere. So such a person who is fully surrendered, his karma may have been for him to be a pauper, [pauper means a poor man]. If someone is fully surrendered to Krishna, his karma is no longer active. Karmically his karma may have been that he was supposed to be a poor man. But after surrendering to Krishna, he could become the wealthiest person in the universe. His karma could have been that he was supposed to be a very wealthy man. But when he surrenders to Krishna, he could be a complete pauper. So, the devotee doesn't care. He doesn't care if he is rich, he doesn't care if he is poor, he doesn't care if he is in the middle. He simply wants to engage everything in the service of Krishna, whatever is favorable for pleasing Krishna. That he accepts. If he can engage the whole world in Krishna's service, he will be happy. If Krishna does not give him that facility, he simply engages himself in Krishna's service. He takes whatever comes as the mercy of Krishna. Whatever Krishna does is alright. You know that story, whatever Krishna does is alright? Yes?
Devotee: Which story?
SDA: The story is that there was one king. And he had a prime minister. And this prime minister was very Krishna conscious. Whenever the king asked a question to the prime minister, he would always say, "Whatever Krishna does is alright". So one day, the king had some accident and he cut off his finger. So, the Prime minister said, "Don't worry your Majesty, whatever Krishna does is alright". So, the King became very angry, [In a very angry tone] "What do you mean. I lost my finger and you say it is alright. In the dungeon, you rascal!”. So, the prime minister is now locked away deep in the dark, dank dungeon. Now, you know in the Vedic culture, the ksatriyas, they would go to the forest for hunting because they would not sit comfortably like the nonsense modern day politicians. If some enemy attacked the ksatriya, he would lead the battle. The king would lead the battle. So he had to be very expert at killing. So, in the forest sometimes there are wild ferocious animals that harassed the sages who were meditating. So, the king he would go to the forest to rid these ferocious animals as a service to the sages and to practice the killing art. So, he went there for hunting and he was captured by some dacoits, worshippers of Goddess Kali. They wanted to make a human sacrifice to Goddess Kali. So they said, “Now we have got a very nice strong man, we will offer him to Goddess Kali and she would be very pleased with us”. So, they bathed him very nicely and gave him brand new fresh silk cloth. They fed him a very nice dinner and they were going to kill him and offer him to Goddess Kali. But then at the last minute, before they brought the knife to kill him, in great disappointment they noticed that he was missing one finger. "Ah! We can't offer to the Goddess Kali this man with a missing finger. She would be angry. What should we do with him? Let him go.”
In this way the king is thinking, "Because my finger was cut off, my life was spared. My prime minister was right. Whatever Krishna does is alright". So he went back to his palace and he went straight down to that damp dark dungeon. He got the keys and he opened the door, to let his prime minister out of the dungeon. The prime minister was sitting there. He was looking so happy and peaceful and serene. The king was amazed. He said, "My dear prime minister, you don't look angry, you don't look frustrated. You are just completely calm, serene and peaceful. How is that?” He said, "Your Majesty, whenever you go on those hunting trips, you always take me with you. And I have all my fingers. Whatever Krishna does is alright". In this way, whatever your position, whether you have your fingers, whether you don't have your fingers, whatever position you find yourself in this material world, you must always remember, "Whatever Krishna does is alright" and be happy.
Devotee: You mentioned in your class that one should not put so much endeavor to achieve some material goals, but at the same time Bhagavad-gita tells us that we should endeavor to execute our duties. So, what does this goal then mean between our endeavors and....
SDA: Actually, Prabhupada said the lazy intelligent, he is a first class man. So everyone has their duties for livelihood. Everyone has a duty. Brahmacari, he has a duty, grhastha has a duty, vanaprastha has a duty and sannyasi has a duty. The brahmacari is meant to study and to preach. The grhastha is meant to work hard and make money or to produce crops and protect the cows so he can maintain the brahmacaris, the vanaprasthas and the sannyasis. The vanaprastha, he is meant for traveling all over the world to holy places and the sannyasi, he is meant for preaching and teaching everyone else on how to become pure devotees of Krishna. So, everyone's duty must be executed with great enthusiasm. But one has to understand what is the real duty and the goal of everyone. The real duty and goal of everyone is to become a pure devotee of Krishna. That is the purposeful end. The activities, the householder engages in making money or growing food are not the ends in themselves. But they are simply a duty for serving a higher purpose keeping the body and soul together so that we can become Krishna conscious. Just like when I was speaking in Helsinki, one householder asked me, "We have to spend so much endeavor for making money, so how are we supposed to be Krishna conscious doing that"? And we explained in this way, "How you spend the money makes all the difference". Because a householder he works hard to make the money. You have to. It is a very competitive world out there. If the householder doesn't work hard as an employee or as a business owner, he will lose his job or his business will go under. So, how you spend the money, that's what will make you or break you. Every penny of the money the householder earns must be spent in a Krishna conscious way. In that way his work is also Krishna conscious automatically because all the results of his work are going for the ultimate purpose which is not obtainable - upari adhah, from the top to the bottom of this universe. That is the difference. How you spend the money means you are either a mudhah or you are a paramahamsa. Actually Prabhupada said that householders should be like sannyasis, the highest order is the paramahamsa. Prabhupada says our grhasthas, they should also be paramhamsas. Paramahamsa means one who is not touched by this material nature. The swan has a very unique capability that he can take a mixture of milk and water and with his beak, he can extract the milk and leave aside the water. So the grhastha especially, who is dealing so much with the material nature, he has to be very, very expert in how to extract Krishna from this material nature. So, therefore he has to be a paramahamsa.
Devotee: You told the story about how everything that Krishna does is for good. But sometimes we see that people who want to forget Krishna, Krishna gives them forgetfulness about Him. So, is this also good for example, if some people want to do some sinful activity and Krishna sanctions the sinful activity, is this also for good?
SDA: Krishna didn't do that, they did that. Whatever Krishna does is alright. Whatever you do that is another matter.
Devotee: How to make difference what Krishna does and what we do?
SDA: Hmmm. What is the difference between what Krishna does and what you do? Krishna has given you free will because He wants your love. He therefore has endowed you with the ability to act on your own volition; also it is a lot more interesting for Him than if you were just a robot. So the difference between something that Krishna does and something that you do is very distinct. Just as there is a clear distinction between vishnu-tattva and jiva-tattva, there is very clear distinction between what Krishna does and what you do. Whatever Krishna does is perfect. And whatever you do can either be imperfect or perfect depending on how you utilize your free will. Krishna can do no evil. But you can do so much evil or good depending on how you utilize your free will.
SDA: Louder a little bit.
VPM: Whatever we do in Krishna consciousness then we do it for Krishna but whatever we do for sense gratification that is not good.
SDA: But it is still your own free will. It’s not that you lose your freedom when you engage in Krishna consciousness. Your free will is always there. When you act in Krishna's service, then you are acting perfectly according to your pure original nature. And when you act for sense gratification, then you are acting in the realm of illusion. You, the eternal, all blissful, all-knowing living being are putting your money in the wrong bank account, in that temporary miserable ignorant lump of so many wonderful ingredients, flesh, bone, mucus, bile, stool, urine, vomit, mucus. So, that is your imperfection. You have the choice to be perfect or imperfect. Your real freedom however becomes fully manifest when you utilize it to serve Krishna.
Devotee: It is mentioned that the son should take care of his old parents. And is it mentioned in the Vedas about duties of a daughter in regards of our parents?
SDA: In traditional Vedic culture every family will have a son. The daughter actually becomes a member of the husband's family. And the son of the parents, he would take care and not the daughter. But in the Kali Yuga everything is disrupted. And we are actually engaged by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu as preachers of Krishna consciousness with equal status for women and men. So any relationships you have in this world such as friends, family members, your parents, you should utilize your position as a preacher to help those persons to go back to Godhead. So if you are a daughter and you have elderly parents, you should be very kind upon them by doing whatever you can to facilitate them for going back to home Back to Godhead. Did that answer your question?
Devotee: In devotional family where parents and children are devotees, does the same principle apply that daughter should take care of parents or just leave that to brothers to take care of the parents or everyone should do equally?
SDA: If your brothers are devotees, they can do it. But if you don't have any Krishna conscious brother then the preacher wants to deliver everyone back to home, back to Godhead. So if you can facilitate your parents going back to Godhead as a daughter then that is alright. That is very good. The point is the duty of preaching overrides all the other Vedic duties.
So, we thank you all very much for you so kindly facilitating Mataji's and my visit here to this Lithuania. We are most happy to establish by your kindness to have some relationship now with you and we are very much looking forward to coming back again. So that we can chant together, we can talk about Krishna together, in this way, be the recipients of the mercy of Srila Prabhupada.
Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya!
Grantharaja Srimad Bhagavatam ki Jaya!
[Transcribed by Her Grace Bhaktin Priya]