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Lecture, Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.25 -- Los Angeles, 23 June, 1972

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder-Acharya of the world-wide Hare Krishna Movement, Brahma Sampradaya Acharya

Srila Prabhupada

"Sufferings are always there. Everyone is trying to get out of sufferings, that is a fact. The whole struggle for existence is to get out of the suffering. But there are different kinds of prescription. Somebody says that you get out of the sufferings in this way, somebody says you get out of the sufferings in that way. So there are prescription offered by the modern scientists, by philosophers, by atheists or by theists, by fruitive actors, so many there are. But according to Krishna consciousness movement, you can get out of all sufferings if you simply change your consciousness, that's all. That is Krishna consciousness."

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Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)

athabhidhehy anga mano-'nukulam
prabhashase bhagavata-pradhanah
yad aha vaiyasakir atma-vidya-
visharado nripatim sadhu prishtah
[S Bhag. 2.3.25]
Translation: "O Suta Gosvami, your words are pleasing to our minds. Please therefore explain this to us as it was spoken by the great devotee Shukadeva Gosvami, who is very expert in transcendental knowledge, and who spoke to Maharaja Parikshit upon being asked."
Prabhupada: So Parikshit Maharaja was asking and Shukadeva Gosvami was replying. Both of them were fit to ask and to reply. Bhagavata-pradhanah. Maharaja Parikshit was disciple, and Shukadeva Gosvami was his spiritual master. If both of them become fit, are fit, then the discussion of Srimad-Bhagavatam is very pleasing. The student and the master. If the master is learned and the student is foolish, then it will be not very much pleasing. Or the master is foolish and student is also foolish, that will also not be ... Both of them should be ... Satam prasangan mama virya-samvido bhavanti hrit-karna-rasayanah kathah [S Bhag. 3.25.25]. Virya, virya means potency. Just like if a potent husband and potent wife have sex intercourse, immediately there will be pregnancy. Therefore this word is used. Potent. Formerly, this was being used. Both the husband and the wife remained potent, not impotent and sterilized. They remained potent, voluntarily. But when they wanted to beget a child, that one sex intercourse is sufficient. There is child.

Therefore it is said, satam prasangan mama virya-samvido bhavanti hrit-karna-rasayanah kathah [SB 3.25.25]. If the Bhagavata discussion is done between the two potents, the disciple and the master, then immediately, sadyah hridi avarudhyate. As it is said in the beginning. Have you got Bhagavata? The first, beginning? Sadyo hridy avarudhyate. Nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam idam [SB 1.1.3], Srimad-Bhagavatam. Sadyo hridy avarudhyate, shushrushubhis tat-kshanat. Shushrushubhis, those who are serious about understanding about the Supreme Absolute Truth, so for him, immediately God becomes entrapped within the heart. God is there, but especially... Hridi avarudhyate, kim va paraih... Avarudhyate means you capture God. If there is discussion between devotees... Tushyanti cha ramanti cha. In Bhagavad-gita it is said. Tushyanti cha ramanti cha. When Bhagavata discussion is there amongst devotees... It is the business of the devotees, not the business of the nondevotees. Unfortunately, India, it has become a profession.

Some unscrupulous persons, they recite Bhagavata-saptaha, and the audience gather also for some material benefit. They take it as auspicious activity, shubha-karya. They don't care for neither the speaker nor the devotee. They don't care for understanding the science of God. They are after some material profit. The professional reader, he reads, he takes some contribution, some money, some clothing, some umbrella, some shoes, some food, some money. In this way, he collects a very lump sum for his maintenance of his family, and the audience also thinks that "By hearing Bhagavatam, I'll be very much profited materially." This is going on. Bhagavata-saptaha. Bhagavata-saptaha, imitation. Parikshit Maharaja heard for one week Srimad-Bhagavatam from Shukadeva Gosvami. So they are imitating this one week. But where is Parikshit and where is Shukadeva? Both of them have got some ulterior purpose to hear Bhagavata. Therefore it is not affecting. They are hearing Bhagavata for thousands of years, but still, they are where they were formerly.

But actually, if Srimad-Bhagavatam is heard... Just like Parikshit Maharaja is hearing... Sri-vishnoh smarane. Sri-vishnu, abhavad vaiyasakih kirtane. Shravaaam kirtanam [S Bhag. 7.5.23]. Sri-vishnoh shravane parikshit. Parikshit Maharaja got salvation simply by hearing about Vishnu. Sri-vishnoh smarane, shravane. Parikshit Maharaja he was king, he was politician. So he had not much knowledge about Vedic instruction. But when he was cursed that he would die in seven days, he became very serious, and all the sages and saintly persons agreed that "Maharaja Parikshit, for the last remaining days of his life, seven days, he should hear attentively Srimad-Bhagavatam." So sri-vishnoh shravane parikshit. He got salvation simply by hearing about the glories of the Lord or activities of the Lord, which is described in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Sri-vishnoh shravane parikshid abhavad vaiyasakih kirtane. And Vaiyasaki... Vaiyasaki's name is mentioned here. Vaiyasakir atma-vidya. Vaiyasaki means Shukadeva Gosvami.

He simply went on narrating. In the middle, there were some questions, intelligent questions, by Parikshit Maharaja. Question is also required. If you simply hear, do not understand, just like dumb stone, that's not good. You should hear attentively, and as soon as there is some difficulty, you should question. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprashnena sevaya [Bhagavad-gita 4.34]. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that you should understand... First of all surrender. Pranipata. Tad viddhi pranipatena. Pranipatena means you must find out an able teacher, where you can surrender. So nobody wants to surrender, but if he sees that there is a greater personality than him, he surrenders. That is nature. So this pranipata word means that you do not go for understanding Bhagavad-gita and Bhagavata to a store-keeper. You should go to a person where you can surrender. Tad viddhi praaipatena [Bg. 4.34]. And pariprashnena. And inquiry. And sevaya. You should not take... You should not inquire gratis; you must give service.

Just like if you purchase something, you must pay for it. Therefore it is called sevaya. You cannot pay by returning the value which is taught by the spiritual master. That is not possible. Therefore it is called sevaya. Dedicate your life for his service. You cannot pay. What you have got to pay to a spiritual master? Just like our King Prithu Maharaja. When the Kumaras preached to him about transcendental knowledge, he very humbly submitted, "My dear spiritual master, you have taught me so nice. I require to give you some dakshina." Dakshina, that is required. After initiation, one should pay dakshina. That is a system. "I should pay dakshina, but what shall I pay? I haven't got anything as my personal possession. It is already by the mercy of the brahmanas that I am enjoying this kingdom. So it is already belonging to you. My kingdom, it is already belonging to you." That was the system. If any saintly person, brahmana, will ask from a kshatriya king, he cannot deny.

Karna, he gave his son to be sacrificed. A brahmana asked that "I want your son to be sacrificed by you." He was incarnation of God. He tested Karna's charity. He was very charitable, so he asked him that "I want your son, and you shall sacrifice, you both, husband and wife." He agreed, Karna, "Yes, I'll do that." So there was some test like that. So actually, formerly, the kings, they possessed their kingdom just to manage, not thinking "It is my property. I am the king." As soon as the kings thought like that, the monarchy finished. The king never thought like that. He thought himself as appointed agent of God, king. So he never thought. So Prithu Maharaja said that "Nothing belongs to me, and even if I can pay from my treasury, so I cannot actually pay for the benefit I have derived from you. Therefore, the only way I can pay—that I surrender unto you. You can utilize me in any way." So, tad viddhi pranipatena pariprashnena sevaya [Bg. 4.34]. Therefore the disciple's duty is to be ready always to serve the spiritual master, at any cost.

That is the disciple's duty. Sevaya. Upadekshyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darshinah. So real knowledge can be achieved in this process. Pranipata... Not that I can challenge, "Oh, I can know. I have got so much education and degrees. I can understand what is God," or "There is no need of God. I am God. We are the controller." So these are all rascaldom. Real thing is tad viddhi pranipatena pariprashnena, as Parikshit Maharaja, the emperor of the world, he's hearing from Shukadeva Gosvami, you have seen that picture in our Bhagavata, newly published, how Parikshit Maharaja humbly asking and sitting before Shukadeva Gosvami. So bhagavata-pradhanah. Bhagavata-pradhanah. So Shukadeva Gosvami is the chief bhagavata. Bhagavata, there are two kinds of bhagavata: grantha [book] bhagavatam and this person bhagavatam. So Shukadeva Gosvami was person bhagavatam, bhagavata, chief. Bhagavata-pradhanah. Bhagavata-pradhanah means realized souls. We should not hear Bhagavatam from a professional man, who are observing the Bhagavata-saptaha.

I know, in Bombay there is a big speaker of Bhagavatam. He preaches that "You remain in your family life very peacefully. This is the instruction of Bhagavata." He never teaches that you have to give up this nonsense family life and you have to go back to home, back to Godhead. He never preaches that. There are so many examples. He comes to the conclusion that "You live peacefully," as if to live peacefully in this material world is the highest achievement of life. They will never disclose the actual fact that nobody can live in this world peacefully. It is not possible at all. But they want money. So they'll flatter or they'll go to Krishna's rasa-lila, presenting Krishna as ordinary human being and the gopis are ordinary girls. So this is very palatable for us, kissing, embracing young girls. So Krishna is doing, but they take it that their embracing and kissing is supported by Krishna. This is going on. That is a different subject matter; they do not know that.

Therefore the Krishna's dealing with the gopis have been described in the middle of Tenth Canto. And nine cantos have been devoted, describe, so that one may understand what is Krishna. What is Krishna. The beginning of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, om namo bhagavate vasudevaya. Begins, janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]. What is this Vasudeva, Krishna? Janmady asya yatah. "He the origin of everything." And we, if we take Krishna as ordinary person and He's dancing with the gopis just like ordinary thing, then what Bhagavata he will understand? He will go to hell. He's deriding, taking Krishna very insignificantly. Avajna. Avajananti mam mudha manushim tanum ashritam [Bg. 9.11]. "These rascals, because I observe My pastimes just like human being, they're accepting Me as human being, ordinary." Manushim tanum ashritam. Param bhavam ajanantah. They do not know what is the background of Krishna. The background of Krishna is in the beginning said janmady asya yatah [SB 1.1.1]. The first aphorism of Vedanta-sutra. That means, Vedanta means to understand Krishna. These rascal Vedantists, they try to kill Krishna. They want to become himself Krishna, the so-called Vedantists. Vedaish cha sarvair aham eva vedyah [Bg. 15.15]. The purpose of reading Vedanta means to understand Krishna. So without understanding Krishna, without being trained up how to understand Krishna, if one reads about Krishna's rasa-lila, he'll go to hell. Because he has got the tendency of this easy sex, so he thinks, "Krishna is like us." And therefore, for ordinary men, this krishna-lila... Krishna-lila means they simply understand krishna-lila means Krishna's rasa-lila. That's all. And Krishna's killing the Kamsa, that is not lila. Because Kamsas, the rakshasas, they are afraid of being vanquished by Krishna. So they do not like that lila. They'll like this lila. So therefore the idea is that if we want to understand Krishna, we should... Krishna understanding is not so easy.

manushyanam sahasreshu
kashchid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam
kashchin mam vetti tattvatah
[Bg. 7.3]
So like Shukadeva Gosvami, you should hear patiently, submissively, with service and question. So in that way Maharaja Parikshit attained salvation in seven days. If it is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, actually heard in that seriousness... Where is that seriousness? That seriousness was there in Parikshit Maharaja because he knew it certainly that he was going to die within seven days. So "I have to finish my God realization, self-realization, with seven days." We are not so serious, because we are thinking that "We shall live for seven millions of years, so let me go slowly. Better utilize the time by sleeping." That is our position. If you have got some time, "Let me take this opportunity by sleeping, not by reading the books." So if you do not become serious, then it will take many, many years. But we should be serious more than Shukadeva or Parikshit Maharaja. Parikshit Maharaja had at least time limit seven days, but we do not know whether we will live again seven minutes. Any moment your heart can failure.

You do not know. You are going to the street... Just like the two boys were coming. They did not know that they were going to be killed. So our life is so jeopardized. Any moment I can die. That's a fact. If you don't take seriously like that, that "Any moment, I can die." So Parikshit Maharaja had the opportunity of hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam for seven days, so I do not know whether we'll have, I have opportunity for reading Srimad-Bhagavatam for seven minutes. So let me read it very seriously." That should be our attitude. Not that, "Seven... Oh, Parikshit Maharaja was given seven days notice. Oh, I have no such notice. I may live for seven millions of years." That is our disease. Here the most wonderful thing is that everyone is seeing that everyone is dying every moment, but the man seeing, he's thinking that he will live forever. This is the most wonderful thing. Nobody thinks, "No. He is dying, so I will have to die." No. He thinks "I'll live. He is dying." This is the most wonderful thing.

He does not think that "I have seen. My father has died, my mother has died, my brother has died. So everyone has died. So I'll die. So what I am doing before death?" They're not serious. Not at all serious. But death is... "As sure as death." And we do not know when that death is coming to take place. So how much serious we should be. We should be very serious. Labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu-sambhavante. We have got this human form of body, human consciousness, advanced consciousness, after many, many births, after through the evolutionary process. Many millions of years we have passed through many species of life. Ashitim chaturash chaiva lakshams tan jiva-jatishu. Ashitim chaturah, eighty-four lakhs or 8,400,000's. Bhramadbhih purushaih prapyam manushyam. In this way, going through so many species of life, we have got this human form of life.

tad apy abhalatam jatah
tesham atmabhimaninam
varakanam anashritya
(Brahma-vaivarta Purana)
In this valuable life, it will also be spoiled if we don't surrender to Krishna. Krishna is canvassing personally,
sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam sharanam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
mokshayishyami ma shuchah
[Bg. 18.66]
Krishna personally comes to canvass. Because we are all Krishna's children, He's very sorry that we are in this miserable condition of life. He's very sorry. But we are so fool, we do not know that what is the condition of our life. We are thinking we are very much happy. This is called maya. He's suffering, he's kicked by the shoes of maya every moment, and still, he's thinking "I am very happy. Why shall I go back to home? I shall remain in America." But you cannot be allowed to remain in America. You are thinking, "All right... You are born of a very rich family, a rich nation, you have got opulence. You have... Your roads and your houses are very nice, but who is going to allow you to live here? Why don't you think like that? You may live for fifty years, or sixty years, or utmost 100 years; then you'll be kicked out. But they do not know that life is eternal.

When I am kicked out, then what life I am going to accept? They are in oblivion. There is no education in the university. This is going on. So this Krishna consciousness movement is a boon to the human society. You should take it very seriously and utilize your human form of life to understand it and be happy. Thank you very much. (pause) Why not begin immediately?

Sri Guru and Gauranga
Sri Guru and Gauranga

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