Without being standardized by Krishna consciousness, or God consciousness, you cannot find the standard platform of morality, honesty.
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[Posted September 8, 2006]

Nirvana and the Noble Path, Morality and Krishna

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Bhagavad-gita 2.26-27—Lecture on Bhagavad-gita, London, August 29, 1973

Krishna and Arjuna on the battlefield

"Even if you say there is no soul..."

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Pradyumna: [reads:]

atha chainam nitya-jatam
nityam va manyase mritam
tathapi tvam maha-baho
nainam shochitum arhasi
[Bg. 2.26]

"If, however, you think that the soul is perpetually born and always dies, still you have no reason to lament, O mighty-armed."

Prabhupada: [reads:]

jatasya hi dhruvo mrityur
dhruvam janma mritasya cha
tasmad apariharye 'rthe
na tvam shochitum arhasi
[Bg. 2.27]

So Krishna is putting forward the modern scientific view. The modern scientific view is that there is no soul. Life is generated from matter. By combination of material elements at a... Just like chemical combination. You mix acid and soda, alkaline and acid. There will be some reaction, effervescence, movement. Similarly, the Buddhist philosophy mostly, they do not believe in the existence of the soul. The Buddhist philosopher thinks that the combination of matter makes a living symptom. Their ultimate goal is nirvana. Nirvana means stop this combination. Due to this combination, we feel pains and pleasure. Therefore, if we disintegrate the combination, there will be no more pains and pleasure. Materialistic. Their solution, pains and pleasure, any philosophy or any religious system, ultimately aims at atyantika-duhkha-nivritti. Duhkha means pain, and nivritti, nivritti means stop. Why people go to the church? Because they feel some pain, they go to church or temple to appeal, "If there is somebody as God..." They think like that. "Let me appeal to the Supreme Person so that my distress may be mitigated." So aim is atyantika-duhkha-nivritti. We are also cultivating this Krishna consciousness. Our aim is also the same. Duhkha-nivritti. Krishna says janma-mrityu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha -doshanudarshanam [Bhagavad-gita 13.9]. We keep always in view that in this material existence there are four kinds of miserable condition, primarily. To stop this. Duhkhalayam ashashvatam [Bg. 8.15]. Everyone's aim is duhkha-nivritti. It may be presented in a different way. So the Buddha philosophy is also duhkha-nivritti, stop pains.

Anandamayo 'bhyasat (Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12), we are, by nature, we want blissfulness. But we do not know how to become actually happy and blissful. That is ignorance. In the material world, they also want to enjoy, everyone. They are thinking that this wine, woman, meat-eating, gambling, intoxication, these things will give me pleasure. So atyantika-duhkha-nivritti. The Bhagavata says that atyantika-duhkha-nivritti, means ultimate solution of miserable condition, is in the fact that we realize God and we go back to home, back to Godhead. This is our philosophy. And persons who cannot understand what is God, what is kingdom of God, they want to adjust. The aim is the same, atyantika-duhkha-nivritti, ultimately solution of all miseries. In a different way.

So Krishna says, putting forward the Buddha philosophy which was formerly known as lokayatikas and vaibhashikas... These two kinds of philosophers, they did not believe. Mostly the materialistic philosophers, they have no understanding of the soul. Therefore they have different kinds of theories which we do not accept. Krishna says that if you are not "sanatanist" [1] or followers of the Vedic principles, if you think that your principle and views are different, that by combination of matter this existence coming, atha chainam nitya-jatam... Nityam means by combination of... Just like so many things are taking place by interaction of different material elements. Similarly, if you don't believe in this existence of the soul, if you think that there is no soul, the life is the result of combination of matter, nitya-jatam, and when this combination of matter is some way or other dismantled, then there is no more soul, it is finished. It began at a point by combination of matter, and it ends in a point by disintegration of matter. If you think like that, then also tathapi tvam maha-baho. Krishna is criticizing Arjuna, maha-bahu. Actually he [Arjuna] is maha-bahu. Maha-bahu means mighty-armed. One who has got a very strong, mighty arm, he can fight very strongly. Then also, why should you give up your fighting spirit? Why should you lament for combination of chemicals and material elements. Suppose this house is a combination of material elements. So some way or other, if it is dismantled, who laments for it? No sane man will lament. Similarly, if you have no idea of the existence of soul, then also you do not require to lament. Tathapi tvam maha-baho nainam shochitum arhasi.

Next verse:

jatasya hi dhruvo mrityur
dhruvam janma mritasya cha
tasmad apariharye 'rthe
na tvam shochitum arhasi


"For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament."

Duty, good deeds and karma

This is karma-vada. In the previous verse, Krishna tried to explain bauddha-vada, nastika-vada, atheism. Atheist means one who does not believe in the soul and God. These are correlative terms. If you understand what is soul, then you can understand what is God. If you understand what is God, then you can understand what is soul. But those who are agnostic, atheist, they neither believe in God nor in the soul. So combination of matter... Here Krishna says in a different way, that combination of matter is taking place and again it is being dismantled. That is going on. Either there is soul or not soul, just like Darwin's theory, evolution of material body. So that is going on. One body is created and the same body again annihilated, another body created, another body, the same body annihilated, and it is going on. So where is the cause of lamenting? You cannot stop. You cannot stop this process. Jatasya hi dhruvo mrityur dhruvam janma mritasya cha tasmad apariharye 'rthe. Duty. The same thing is going on. Duty is very important thing. Krishna is stressing on it. One cannot stop his duty. Then he becomes sinful. That is karma-vada. If, just like so many people, they argue that if we discharge our duties nicely, then where is the need of accepting God? The karma-vada philosophy is that if there is God, then he's giving us the result of our activities, and if I do nicely, then He gives me nice opportunity, and if I do not do things very nicely, I am put into suffering. So there is a karma-phala-datta, decides... Just like the high-court judge, he is giving judgement according to the case, different cases. Similarly, our goodness or badness will be decided according to our karma. That is also fact. Then what is the use of accepting one God? If I do my duties very nicely, then He must give me nice result. Why shall I worship Him? Why shall I become a devotee of God? It is His duty. This is karma-vada. Everyone is trying to avoid the principle of devotional service. It is only we, the Krishna conscious persons, we are advocating the philosophy of Bhagavad-gita, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. Krishna says that "Always think of Me." These karma-vadis [moralists], they will say, "Why shall I waste my time thinking of Krishna? If I do my duty nicely then I will get good result. Why shall I be devotee of Krishna?" This is their argument.

One Arya-samaji postmaster, long ago, not very long ago, 1956, 1956... In Delhi at that time I was publishing this Back to Godhead. So we had concession rate for posting, and it was to be delivered to the postmaster. So the postmaster was talking with me about the paper, Back to Godhead. He raised the same question. He said, "If we do our duty nicely then what is the use of worshiping God? If we become honest, if we become moral, if we do not do anything which is harmful to anyone, in this way, if we act, then where is the...?" Because our paper's name was Back to Godhead. So he was indirectly protesting, that What is the use of propagating this philosophy of Godhead if we act nicely? The Arya-samajists' view... They are called... There is a English name, what is called? I forget now. Moralists. The technical name there is. Anyway, this is their point of view, how to avoid God. So I replied that if one is not God conscious, he cannot be moralist, he cannot be truthful, he cannot be honest. This is our point of view. You study the whole world only on these three points, morality, honest, and dutiful. So many nice things are there. But if he's not God conscious, he cannot continue such thing. He must fail. Even the, there are so many instances, even amongst the devotees, because this material world is made so that you cannot continue this principle perpetually. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, you'll find. Because the three modes of material nature is working, even if you are on the platform of goodness, the other modes of material nature will try to attack you. And your goodness, morality, honesty, these things will be polluted by the onslaught of the other two inferior modes of nature. Therefore, sometimes we find that a very nice man is committing some sinful activities.

Different standards of morality

So the decision of the Srimad-Bhagavatam is harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah. Mahad-gunah. We can find it easily, just like we say that no illicit sex, no meat-eating, we consider this is sinful. But there are others, big, big leaders, politicians, philosophers, even religious priests, they do not think that this is immoral or this is sinful. Meat-eating is sinful. Why? What is the sin there? Illicit sex, what is the wrong there? Intoxication, what is wrong there? They do not find any immorality. So this standard of morality, there cannot be fixed up if one is not God conscious. There cannot be. Standard of morality, standard of goodness, cannot be. That is the decision of the Srimad- Bhagavatam. Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah. Lack of Krishna consciousness. They think that animal has no soul. They do not accept this morality that animal cannot be killed, it is sinful, it is immoral. They have created their own theory. So without being standardized by Krishna consciousness, or God consciousness, you cannot find the standard platform of morality, honesty. These things you cannot find. This is not possible. Therefore, the verdict of the Srimad-Bhagavatam is harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah. Just like if you do not follow a standard law, how you can fix up "This is morality" or "This is honesty or dishonesty." There must be standard law. And who can give you the law unless he is the greatest authority? So law changes according to different countries, climate, situation. So man- made law cannot give you standard morality, honesty or... It is not possible. Because one will think "This is morality," another will think, "No, this is not morality." Same thing. Keep to the left, keep to the right. Somebody says "Keep to the left is right," somebody says "Keep to the left, it is wrong." Manorathenasati dhavato bahih [Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.18.12]. Because those who are not Krishna conscious, they are hovering on the mental plane. They cannot, there cannot be any fixed up morality, honesty, dishonesty. No. And rascals will also say yato mata tato patha. Means, whatever you think is all right, that is all right. According to you, your conception this is right, and according to my conception, both of them are right. How both of them can be right?

So this contradiction, opposing elements, will continue unless there is Krishna consciousness. So this is not a fact that the karma-vadis simply by discharging your duties nicely... This is... On principle, it is all right. But we must know what is actual morality. There are so many examples. Just like when there is war, to kill the enemies, that is morality. But in peaceful condition if you kill a person that is immorality or sinful. The process is the same, morality or immorality, the process is the same. But sometimes it is moral, sometimes immoral. So how it will be standardized? Therefore Bhagavata says dharmam tu sakshad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. Real dharma, real religion, morality, honesty, they can be decided on the words of the Supreme Lord. That is the... When Krishna says "This is all right," then it is all right. When Krishna says it is not right, then it is not right. This is our decision. We Krishna conscious men, we simply accept. And that is a fact. That is a fact in this way because Krishna is the greatest authority, Supreme Being. Supreme means the greatest authority. Just like state says "Now it is wartime. If you kill a number of enemies then you will be awarded with gold medal." The same process of killing. But at another time, when there is no war, if you kill one person you'll be hanged. The killing process is the same, but the judgement is given by the greatest authority, the government. "This is all right, this is not right." Therefore, standard of morality means to abide by the orders of the greatest authority. That is standard of morality. This is the conclusion. You cannot make your own morality. No. If Krishna says "This is all right," then it is all right. Otherwise, it is not.

Krishna says patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati [Bg. 9.26]. "If somebody offers Me vegetables, leaves, grains, milk, water, flowers, then I accept." So this is nice foodstuff, it is to be accepted. Because Krishna likes to eat this. Krishna can eat anything because He is the supreme, He is omnipotent, He can eat anything, but He particularly mentions this. Therefore, foodstuff made of these ingredients is nice, sattvika, goodness. So the karma-vada, that you follow morality you'll get good results... But where is your morality? Because you are disobedient to God. In the beginning of your life, you are immoral. You are disobeying the greatest authority. There is another example, a story, that a gang of thieves, they stolen some property from different houses, then out of the village they are dividing amongst themselves the booties. So one thief is saying, "Please divide it morally so that one may not be cheated." Now just imagine, the property is stolen. Where is the morality there? But when dividing, they are thinking of morality. The basic principle is immoral. Where you can have morality? Similarly, according to Vedic injunction, ishavasyam idam sarvam [Ishopanishad mantra 1]. Everything belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is His property. So the whole planet is God's property, whole universe is God's property. But when we are claiming that this is my property, then where is morality? If you claim other's property as your property, then where is the morality?

So in this material world, such kind of morality, honesty, is going on. But our morality is if Krishna is satisfied, then it is honesty, morality, everything. There are many examples. Just like Prahlada Maharaja. Prahlada Maharaja is standing and his father is being killed by Nrsimhadeva in his presence. So do you think it is morality that one's father is being killed in the presence of his son, and the son without protest is seeing, with a garland, that "As soon as my father is killed, I shall offer this garland to Nrsimhadeva"? Is it morality? From material point of view? We are worshiping... Prahlada Maharaja has become mahajana, the greatest authority in devotional service, but if we study his morality that he did not protest the killing of his father, rather he was waiting with a garland, that "As soon as the killing business is finished I'll reward this." You see? Where is material morality, there is no morality.

The gopis, they were young girls, wife of somebody, sister of somebody, daughter of somebody, but when Krishna was playing on His flute at dead of night, they gave up all their engagement and began to run, "Where Krishna is present?" So from Vedic standard of view, this is immorality. They are going to another young boy and leaving family. Even somebody, some of the gopis, they left their sons also, and went to Krishna. From material point of view this is immoral. So you'll find in such a way that what is from material point of view immoral, it is the most magnificent morality in relationship with Krishna. And similarly, from material point of view, what is moral, that is most, I mean to say, abominable from the point of view... Just like Yudhisthira Maharaja. Yudhisthira Maharaja became very moral. Krishna advised him, "Just go and tell Dronacharya that 'Your son is dead,' " although his son was not dead. Because Dronacharya will not die unless he hears the news of the death of his son. He'll not die. So he would not believe anyone, but Yudhisthira Maharaja is famous, very moral. So Krishna asked him that "You go, otherwise he'll not believe anyone." So Yudhisthira Maharaja hesitated, "How can I say lies?" So for this [hesitation] he had to see hell. He became immoral. Man-nimitte kritam papam punyaya eva kalpate.

So our standard of morality and immorality is to see whether Krishna is satisfied. If Krishna is satisfied, then it is morality. If Krishna is dissatisfied, then it is immoral. And Krishna's representative also. Therefore, it is said yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi .[2] Our morality is to satisfy Krishna or His representative, guru. Yasya prasada. If he's satisfied, then it is moral. If he's not satisfied, then it is immoral. Na gatih kuto 'pi. So this karma-vada, that you act nicely and you'll get nice result, that is all right, but there may be some mistakes. There are so many instances. One very great charitable king, he was giving in charity so many cows to the brahmanas. So there was some mistake, and for that purpose, although he was all throughout his whole life he was giving in charity, a little mistake, he became a big lizard in the well. Therefore the conclusion is that this material morality has no value. Spiritual morality. Spiritual morality means to abide by the order of Krishna. That is morality. Whatever Krishna says, if we accept, samsiddhir hari-toshanam. Many places.

atah pumbhir dvija-shreshtha
varnashrama-vibhagashah
svanushthitasya dharmasya
samsiddhir hari-toshanam
[SB 1.2.13]

In many places. Svanushthitasya dharmasya samsiddhir hari-toshanam. In another place, that, if you execute your morality principles but if by executing such morality principle you do not, I mean to say, awaken your Krishna consciousness, it is simply waste of time. Wherever you go, the Bhagavata conclusion, harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah. We have to keep in point of view that to become... Krishna also says in Bhagavad-gita: api chet su-duracharo bhajate mam ananya-bhak sadhur eva sa mantavyah [Bg. 9.30]. Even one is found su-duracharah, not very strictly following moral principles, but he is an unflinching devotee of Krishna, he's sadhu. These things are there. Therefore the point should be that we should not accept this karma-vada or the bauddha-vada or Mayavada [impersonalists—those who do not accept that God has personality], there are so many vadas. We shall simply take Krishna-vada. Simply, simply accept Krishna. And whatever He orders, whatever He likes, for His satisfaction, we shall do anything and everything. That is our morality.

Thank you very much. END

Footnotes
1. sanatanists—those who live according to sanatana-dharma (literally, the "eternal occupation of the living being"), referring to the soul's eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Back to text

2. yasya prasadad bhagavat prasado yasyad prasadan na gatih kuto 'pi: "By satisfaction of the spiritual master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes satisfied. And by not satisfying the spiritual master, there is no chance of being promoted to the plane of Krishna consciousness." Back to Text


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