Material Problems, Spiritual
You will need the Balaram FONT
to read this properly
for Global Unity
Myth of Scarcity
Advice to Businessmen
The Peace Formula:
Journey of Self Discovery 6.1: Focus
for Global Unity
December 1969: Speaking in Boston
before the International Student Society, Çréla Prabhupäda
provides a practical, simple, yet profound solution for world peace and
harmony. Noting the increasing number of flags at the United Nations building
in New York, he states that inter-nationalism is failing because “your
international feeling and my inter-national feeling are overlapping and
conflicting. We have to find the proper center for our loving feelings....
That center is Kåñëa.”
Thank you very much for participating
with us in this Kåñëa consciousness movement. I understand
that this society is known as the International Student Society. There
are many other international societies, such as the United Nations. So
the idea of an international society is very nice, but we must try to understand
what the central idea of an international society should be.
If you throw
a stone into the middle of a pool of water, a circle will expand to the
limit of the bank. Similarly, radio waves expand in a circle, and when
you capture the waves with your radio you can hear the message. In the
same way, our loving feeling can also expand.
At the beginning
of our life, we simply want to eat. Whatever a small child grabs, he wants
to eat. He has only personal interest. Then, when the child grows a little,
he tries to participate with his brothers and sisters: “All right. You
also take a little.” This is an increase in the feeling of fellowship.
Then, as he grows up, he begins to feel some love for his parents, then
for his community, then for his country, and at last for all nations. But
unless the center is right, that expansion of feeling—even if it is national
or international—is not perfect.
the meaning of the word national is “one who has taken birth in a particular
country.” You feel for other Americans because they are born in this country.
You may even sacrifice your life for your countrymen. But there is a defect:
If the definition of national is “one who is born in a particular country,”
then why are the animals born in America not considered Americans? The
problem is that we are not expanding our feelings beyond the human society.
Because we don’t think animals are our countrymen, we send them to the
So the center
of our national feeling or our international feeling is not fixed on the
proper object. If the center is right, then you can draw any number of
circles around that center and they’ll never overlap. They’ll simply keep
growing, growing, growing. They’ll not intersect with one another if the
center is all right. Unfortunately, although everyone is feeling nationally
or internationally, the center is missing. Therefore your inter-national
feeling and my international feeling, your national feeling and my national
feeling, are overlapping and conflicting. So we have to find the proper
center for our loving feelings. Then you can expand your circle of feelings
and it will not overlap or conflict with others’.
That center is Kåñëa.
the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is teaching the people
of all countries that the center of their affection should be Kåñëa.
In other words, we are teaching people to be mahätmäs. You may
have heard this word mahätmä before. It is a Sanskrit word that
is applied to a person whose mind is expanded, whose circle of feelings
is very much expanded. This is a mahätmä. Mahä means “big”
or “great,” and ätmä means “soul.” So he who has expanded his
soul very wide is called a mahätmä.
The Bhagavad-gétä [7.19]
gives a description of the person who has expanded his feelings very wide:
The first idea in this verse is that
one can become a mahätmä only after many, many births (bahünäà
janmanäm ante). The soul is transmigrating through many bodies, one
after another. There are 8,400,000 different species of life, and we evolve
through them until at last we come to the human form of life. Only then
can we become a mahätmä. This is why Kåñëa
says bahünäà janmanäm ante: “After many, many births
one may become a mahätmä.”
väsudevaù sarvam iti
sa mahätmä su-durlabhaù
In the Çrémad-Bhägavatam
there is a similar verse. Labdhvä su-durlabham idaà bahu-sambhavänte:
“After many, many births you have achieved a human body, which is very
difficult to get.” This human form of life is not cheap. The bodies of
cats and dogs and other animals are cheap, but this human form is not.
After being born in at least 8,000,000 different species, we get this human
form. So the Bhägavatam and the Bhagavad-gétä say the
same thing. All Vedic literatures corroborate one another, and the person
who can understand them doesn’t find any contradiction.
So the human
form of life is obtained after many, many births in other-than-human forms
of life. But even in this human form of life, many, many births are required
for one who is cultivating knowledge of the central point of existence.
If one is actually cultivating spiritual knowledge—not in one life but
in many, many lives—one eventually comes to the highest platform of knowledge
and is called jïänavän, “the possessor of true knowledge.”
Then, Kåñëa says, mäà prapadyate: “He surrenders
unto Me, Kåñëa, or God.” (When I say “Kåñëa”
I mean the Supreme Lord, the all-attractive Supreme Personality of Godhead.)
Now, why does
a man in knowledge surrender to Kåñëa? Väsudevaù
sarvam iti: Because he knows that Väsudeva, Kåñëa,
is everything—that He is the central point of all loving feelings. Then,
sa mahätmä su-durlabhaù. Here the word mahätmä
is used. After cultivating knowledge for many, many births, a person who
expands his consciousness up to the point of loving God—he is a mahätmä,
a great soul. God is great, and His devotee is also great. But, Kåñëa
says, sa mahätmä su-durlabhaù: That sort of great soul
is very rarely to be seen. This is the description of a mahätmä
we get from the Bhagavad-gétä.
Now we have expanded
our feelings of love to various objects. We may love our country, we may
love our community, we may love our family, we may love our cats and dogs.
In any case, we have love, and we expand it according to our knowledge.
And when our knowledge is perfect, we come to the point of loving Kåñëa.
That is perfection. Love of Kåñëa is the aim of all activities,
the aim of life.
[1.2.8] confirms that the goal of life is Kåñëa:
The first words in this verse are dharmaù
svanuñöhitaù puàsäm. This means that everyone
is doing his duty according to his position. A householder has some duty,
a sannyäsé [renunciant] has some duty, a brahmacäré
[celibate student] has some duty. There are different types of duties according
to different occupations or professions. But, the Bhägavatam says,
if by performing your duties very nicely you still do not come to the understanding
of Kåñëa, then whatever you have done is simply useless
labor (çrama eva hi kevalam). So if you want to come to the point
of perfection, you should try to understand and love Kåñëa.
Then your national or international feelings of love will actually expand
to their limit.
notpädayed yadi ratià
çrama eva hi kevalam
a man says, “Yes, I have expanded my feelings of love very widely.” That
is all right, but he must show the symptoms of how his feelings of love
are expanded. As Kåñëa says in the Bhagavad-gétä
If one is actually a paëòita,
someone who is elevated to the stage of perfect wisdom, then he must see
everyone on an equal platform (sama-darçinaù). Because the
vision of a paëòita is no longer absorbed simply with the body,
he sees a learned brähmaëa as a spirit soul, he sees a dog as
a spirit soul, he sees an elephant as a spirit soul, and he also sees a
lowborn man as a spirit soul. From the highborn brähmaëa down
to the caëòäla [outcaste], there are many social classes
in human society, but if a man is really learned he sees everyone, every
living entity, on the same level. That is the stage of true learning.
brähmaëe gavi hastini
çuni caiva çvapäke
We are trying
to expand our feeling socially, communally, nationally, internationally,
or universally. That is our natural function—to expand our consciousness.
But my point is that if we actually want to expand our consciousness to
the utmost, we must find out the real center of existence. That center
is Kåñëa, or God. How do we know Kåñëa
is God? Kåñëa declares Himself to be God in the Bhagavad-gétä.
Please always remember that the Kåñëa consciousness movement
is based on understanding Bhagavad-gétä as it is. Whatever
I am speaking is in the Bhagavad-gétä. Unfortunately, the Bhagavad-gétä
has been misinterpreted by so many commentators that people have misunderstood
it. Actually, the purport of the Bhagavad-gétä is to develop
Kåñëa consciousness, love of Kåñëa,
and we are trying to teach that.
In the Bhagavad-gétä
Kåñëa has given several descriptions of a mahätmä.
He says, mahätmänas tu mäà pärtha daivéà
prakåtim äçritäù: “A mahätmä, one
who is actually wise and broad-minded, is under the shelter of My spiritual
energy.” He is no longer under the spell of the material energy.
Whatever we see is made up of various
energies of God. In the Upaniñads it is said, paräsya-çaktir
vividhaiva çrüyate: “The Supreme Absolute Truth has many varieties
of energies.” And these energies are acting so nicely that it appears they
are working automatically (sväbhäviké jïäna-bala-kriyä
ca). For example, we have all seen a blooming flower. We may think that
it has automatically blossomed and become so beautiful. But no, the material
energy of God is acting.
has a spiritual energy. And a mahätmä, one who is broad-minded,
is under the protection of that spiritual energy; he is not under the spell
of the material energy. These things are all explained in the Bhagavad-gétä.
There are many verses in the Bhagavad-gétä that describe how
Kåñëa’s energies are working, and our mission is to present
Bhagavad-gétä as it is, without any nonsensical commentary.
There is no need of nonsensical commentary. Bhagavad-gétä is
as clear as the sunlight. Just as you don’t require a lamp to see the sun,
you don’t require the commentary of an ignorant, common man to study the
Bhagavad-gétä. You should study the Bhagavad-gétä
as it is. Then you will get all spiritual knowledge. You will become wise
and will under-stand Kåñëa. Then you will surrender to
Him and become a mahätmä.
Now, what are
the activities of a mahätmä? A mahätmä is under the
protection of Kåñëa’s spiritual energy, but what is the
symptom of that protection? Kåñëa says, mäm. ..
bhajanty ananya-manasaù: “A mahätmä is always engaged
in devotional service to Me.” That is the main symptom of a mahätmä:
he is always serving Kåñëa. Does he engage in this devotional
service blindly? No. Kåñëa says, jïätvä
bhütädim avyayam: “He knows perfectly that I am the source of
explains everything in the Bhagavad-gétä. And our purpose in
the Kåñëa consciousness movement is to spread the knowledge
contained in the Bhagavad-gétä without adding any nonsensical
commentary. Then the human society will profit from this knowledge. Now
society is not in a sound condition, but if people understand the Bhagavad-gétä,
and if they actually broaden their outlook, all social, national, and international
problems will be solved automatically. There will be no difficulty. But
if we don’t find out what the center of existence is, if we manufacture
our own ways to expand our loving feelings, there will be only conflict—not
only between individual persons but between the different nations of the
world. The nations are trying to be united; in
your country there is the United Nations. Unfortunately, instead of the
nations becoming united, the flags are increasing. Similarly, India was
once one country, Hindustan. Now there is also Pakistan. And some time
in the future there will be Sikhistan and then some other “stan.”
Instead of becoming
united we are becoming disunited, because we are missing the center. Therefore,
my request, since you are all international students, is that you please
try to find out the real center of your international movement. Real inter-national
feeling will be possible when you understand that the center is Kåñëa.
Then your international movement will be perfect.
In the Fourteenth
Chapter of Bhagavad-gétä [14.4], Lord Kåñëa
Here Kåñëa says, “I
am the father of all forms of life. The material nature is the mother,
and I am the seed-giving father.” Without a father and mother, nobody can
be born. The father gives the seed, and the mother supplies the body. In
this material world the mother of every one of us—from Lord Brahmä
down to the ant—is the material nature. Our body is matter; therefore it
is a gift of the material nature, our mother. But I, the spirit soul, am
part and parcel of the supreme father, Kåñëa. Kåñëa
says, mamaiväàço. .. jéva-bhütaù:
“All these living entities are part and parcel of Me.”
täsäà brahma mahad
So if you want to broaden your feelings
of fellowship to the utmost limit, please try to understand the Bhagavad-gétä.
You’ll get enlightenment; you’ll become a real mahätmä. You will
feel affection even for the cats and dogs and reptiles. In the Seventh
Canto of the Çrémad-Bhägavatam you’ll find a statement
by Närada Muni that if there is a snake in your house, you should
give it something to eat. Just see how your feelings can expand! You’ll
care even for a snake, what to speak of other animals and human beings.
So we cannot become enlightened
unless we come to the point of understanding God, or Kåñëa.
Therefore we are preaching Kåñëa consciousness all over
the world. The Kåñëa consciousness movement is not new.
As I told you, it is based on the principles of the Bhagavad-gétä,
and the Bhagavad-gétä is an ancient scripture. From the historical
point of view it is five thousand years old. And from a prehistorical point
of view it is millions of years old. Kåñëa says in the
Fourth Chapter, imaà vivasvate yogaà proktavän aham
avyayam: “I first spoke this ancient science of yoga to the sun-god.” That
means Kåñëa first spoke the Bhagavad-gétä
some millions of years ago. But simply from a historical point of view,
Bhagavad-gétä has existed since the days of the Battle of Kurukñetra,
which was fought five thousand years ago. So it is older than any other
scripture in the world.
Try to understand
Bhagavad-gétä as it is, without any unnecessary commentary.
The words of the Bhagavad-gétä are sufficient to give you enlightenment,
but unfortunately people have taken advantage of the popularity of the
Bhagavad-gétä and have tried to express their own philosophy
under the shelter of the Bhagavad-gétä. That is useless. Try
to understand the Bhagavad-gétä as it is. Then you will get
enlightenment; you will understand that Kåñëa is the
center of all activities. And if you become Kåñëa conscious,
everything will be perfect and all problems will be solved.
Thank you very
much. Are there any questions?
Indian student: I don’t know
the exact Sanskrit from the Gétä, but somewhere Kåñëa
says, “All roads lead to Me. No matter what one does, no matter what one
thinks, no matter what one is involved with, eventually he will evolve
toward Me.” So is enlightenment a natural evolution?
No, Kåñëa never says that whatever you do, whatever you
think, you will naturally evolve toward Him. To become enlightened in Kåñëa
consciousness is not natural for the conditioned soul. You require instruction
from a spiritual master. Otherwise, why did Kåñëa instruct
Arjuna? You have to get knowledge from a superior person and follow his
Arjuna was perplexed. He could not
understand whether he should fight or not. Similarly, everyone in the material
world is perplexed. So we require guidance from Kåñëa
or his bona fide representative. Then we can become enlightened.
Evolution is natural up through
the animal species. But when we come to the human form of life, we can
use our own discretion. As you like, you make your choice of which path
to follow. If you like Kåñëa, you can go to Kåñëa;
if you like something else, you can go there. That depends on your discretion.
Everyone has a little bit of independence.
At the end of the Bhagavad-gétä [18.66] Kåñëa
says, sarva-dharmän parityajya mäm ekaà çaraëaà
vraja: “Just give up everything and surrender unto Me.” If this surrender
is natural, why would Kåñëa say, “You should do this”?
No. Surrendering to Kåñëa is not natural in our materially
conditioned state. We have to learn it. Therefore we must hear from a bona
fide spiritual master—Kåñëa or His authorized representative—and
follow his instructions. This will bring us to the stage of full enlightenment
in Kåñëa consciousness.
Journey of Self Discovery
6.2: The Myth of Scarcity
Contrary to popular belief, current
statistics show that the earth produces enough food to easily support its
entire population. Yet greed and exploitation force over twenty-five per
cent of the world’s people to be underfed and undernourished. Çréla
Prabhupäda condemns unnecessary industrialization for contributing
to the problem of hunger and for creating unemployment, pollution, and
a host of other problems. In the following speech, recorded on May 2, 1973,
in Los Angeles, he advocates a simpler, more natural, God-centered lifestyle.
[Queen Kunté said:] “All these
cities and villages are flourishing in all respects because the herbs and
grains are in abundance, the trees are full of fruits, the rivers are flowing,
the hills are full of minerals, and the oceans are full of wealth. And
this is all due to Your glancing over them.” [Çrémad-Bhägavatam
ime jana-padäù svåddhäù
hy edhante tava vékñitaiù
Human prosperity flourishes by natural
gifts and not by gigantic industrial enterprises. The gigantic industrial
enterprises are products of a godless civilization, and they cause the
destruction of the noble aims of human life. The more we increase such
troublesome industries to squeeze out the vital energy of the human being,
the more there will be dissatisfaction of the people in general, although
a select few can live lavishly by exploitation.
The natural gifts such as grains
and vegetables, fruits, rivers, the hills of jewels and minerals, and the
seas full of pearls are supplied by the order of the Supreme, and as He
desires, material nature produces them in abundance or restricts them at
times. The natural law is that the human being may take advantage of these
godly gifts of nature and thus satisfactorily flourish without being captivated
by the exploitative motive of lording it over material nature.
The more we attempt
to exploit material nature according to our whims, the more we shall become
entrapped by the reaction of such exploitative attempts. If we have sufficient
grains, fruits, vegetables, and herbs, then what is the necessity of running
a slaughterhouse and killing poor animals?
A man need not kill an animal if
he has sufficient grains and vegetables to eat. The flow of river waters
fertilizes the fields, and there is more than what we need. Minerals are
produced in the hills, and the jewels in the ocean. If the human civilization
has sufficient grains, minerals, jewels, water, milk, etc., then why should
we hanker after terrible industrial enterprises at the cost of the labor
of some unfortunate men?
But all these
natural gifts are dependent on the mercy of the Lord. What we need, therefore,
is to be obedient to the laws of the Lord and achieve the perfection of
human life by devotional service. The indications by Kunté-devé
are just to the point. She desires that God’s mercy be bestowed upon her
and her sons so that natural prosperity will be maintained by His grace.
mentions that the grains are abundant, the trees full of fruits, the rivers
flowing nicely, the hills full of minerals, and the oceans full of wealth,
but she never mentions that industry and slaughterhouses are flourishing,
for such things are nonsense that men have developed to create problems.
If we depend
on God’s creation, there will be no scarcity, but simply änanda, bliss.
God’s creation provides sufficient grains and grass, and while we eat the
grains and fruits, the animals like the cows will eat the grass. The bulls
will help us produce grains, and they will take only a little, being satisfied
with what we throw away. If we take fruit and throw away the skin, the
animal will be satisfied with the skin. In this way, with Kåñëa
in the center, there can be full cooperation between the trees, animals,
human beings, and all living entities. This is Vedic civilization, a civilization
of Kåñëa consciousness.
prays to the Lord, “This prosperity is due to Your glance.” When we sit
in the temple of Kåñëa, Kåñëa glances
over us, and everything is nice. When sincere souls try to become Kåñëa’s
devotees, Kåñëa very kindly comes before them in His
full opulence and glances upon them, and they become happy and beautiful.
whole material creation is due to Kåñëa’s glance (sa
aikñata). In the Vedas it is said that He glanced over matter, thus
agitating it. A woman in touch with a man becomes agitated and becomes
pregnant and then gives birth to children. The whole creation follows a
similar process. Simply by Kåñëa’s glance, matter becomes
agitated and then becomes pregnant and gives birth to the living entities.
It is simply by His glance that plants, trees, animals, and all other living
beings come forth. How is this possible? None of us can say, “Simply by
glancing over my wife, I can make her pregnant.” But although this is impossible
for us, it is not impossible for Kåñëa. The Brahma-saàhitä
[5.32] says, aìgäni yasya sakalendriya-våttimanti: Every
part of Kåñëa’s body has all the capabilities of the
other parts. With our eyes we can only see, but Kåñëa
can make others pregnant merely by looking at them. There is no need of
sex, for simply by glancing Kåñëa can create pregnancy.
[9.10] Lord Kåñëa says, mayädhyakñeëa
prakåtiù süyate sa-caräcaram: “By My supervision,
material nature gives birth to all moving and nonmoving beings.” The word
akña means “eyes,” so akñeëa indicates that all living
entities take birth because of the Lord’s glance. There are two kinds of
living entities—the moving beings, like insects, animals, and human beings,
and the nonmoving beings, like trees and plants. In Sanskrit these two
kinds of living entities are called sthävara-jaìgama, and they
both come forth from material nature.
Of course, what
comes from material nature is not the life, but the body. The living entities
accept particular types of bodies from material nature, just as a child
takes its body from its mother. For ten months the child’s body develops
from the blood and nutrients of the mother’s body, but the child is a living
entity, not matter. It is the living entity that has taken shelter in the
womb of the mother, who then supplies the ingredients for that living entity’s
body. This is nature’s way. The mother may not know how from her body another
body has been created, but when the body of the child is fit, the child
It is not that
the living entity takes birth. As stated in Bhagavad-gétä [2.20],
na jäyate mriyate vä: The living entity neither takes birth nor
dies. That which does not take birth does not die; death is meant for that
which has been created, and that which is not created has no death. The
Gétä says, na jäyate mriyate vä kadäcit. The
word kadäcit means “at any time.” At no time does the living entity
actually take birth. Although we may see that a child is born, actually
it is not born. Nityaù çäçvato ’yaà puräëaù.
The living entity is eternal (çäçvata), always existing,
and very, very old (puräëa). Na hanyate hanyamäne çarére:
Don’t think that when the body is destroyed the living entity will be destroyed;
no, the living entity will continue to exist.
A scientist friend once asked me,
“What is the proof of the soul’s eternality?” Kåñëa says,
na hanyate hanyamäne çärére: “The soul is not killed
when the body is killed.” This statement in itself is proof. This type
of proof is called çruti, the proof established by that which is
heard through the disciplic succession from the Supreme. One form of proof
is proof by logic (nyäya-prasthäna). One can get knowledge by
logic, arguments, and philosophical research. But another form of proof
is çruti, proof established by hearing from authorities. A third
form of proof is småti, proof established by statements derived from
the çruti. The Puräëas are småti, the Upaniñads
are çruti, and the Vedänta is nyäya. Of these three the
çruti-prasthäna, or the evidence from the çruti, is
the process of receiving knowledge through direct perception, has no value,
because our senses are all imperfect. For example, to us the sun looks
like a small disk, but in fact it is many times larger than the earth.
So what is the value of our direct perception through our eyes? We have
so many senses through which we can experience knowledge—the eyes, the
ears, the nose, and so on—but because these senses are imperfect, whatever
knowledge we get by exercising these senses is also imperfect. Because
scientists try to understand things by exercising their imperfect senses,
their conclusions are always imperfect. Svarüpa Dämodara, a scientist
among our disciples, inquired from a fellow scientist who says that life
comes from matter, “If I give you the chemicals with which to produce life,
will you be able to produce it?” The scientist replied, “That I do not
know.” This is imperfect knowledge. If you do not know, then your knowledge
is imperfect. Why then have you become a teacher? That is cheating. Our
contention is that to become perfect one must take lessons from the perfect
is perfect, so we take knowledge from Him. Kåñëa says,
na hanyate hanyamäne çarére: “The soul does not die
when the body dies.” Therefore this understanding that the soul is eternal
and the body is temporary is perfect.
says, ime jana-padäù svåddhäù supakvauñadhi-vérudhaù:
“The grains are abundant, the trees are full of fruits, the rivers are
flowing, the hills are full of minerals, and the oceans are full of wealth.”
What more could one want? The oyster produces pearls, and formerly people
decorated their bodies with pearls, valuable stones, silk, gold, and silver.
But where are those things now? Now, with the advancement of civilization,
there are so many beautiful girls who have no ornaments of gold, pearls,
or jewels, but only plastic bangles. So what is the use of industry and
By God’s arrangement one can have
enough food grains, enough milk, enough fruits and vegetables, and nice
clear river water. But now I have seen, while traveling in Europe, that
all the rivers there have become nasty. In Germany, in France, and also
in Russia and America I have seen that the rivers are nasty. By nature’s
way the water in the ocean is kept clear like crystal, and the same water
is transferred to the rivers, but without salt, so that one may take nice
water from the river. This is nature’s way, and nature’s way means Kåñëa’s
way. So what is the use of constructing huge waterworks to supply water?
Nature has already
given us everything. If we want wealth we may collect pearls and become
rich; there is no need to become rich by starting some huge factory to
produce auto bodies. By such industrial enterprises we have simply created
troubles. Otherwise, we need only depend on Kåñëa and
Kåñëa’s mercy, because by Kåñëa’s glance
(tava vékñitaiù), everything is set right. So if we
simply plead for Kåñëa’s glance, there will be no question
of scarcity or need. Everything will be complete. The idea of the Kåñëa
consciousness movement, therefore, is to depend on nature’s gifts and the
grace of Kåñëa.
People say that
the population is increasing, and therefore they are checking this by artificial
means. Why? The birds and beasts are increasing their populations and have
no contraceptives, but are they in need of food? Do we ever see birds or
animals dying for want of food? Perhaps in the city, although not very
often. But if we go to the jungle we shall see that all the elephants,
lions, tigers, and other animals are very stout and strong. Who is supplying
them with food? Some of them are vegetarians and some of them are nonvegetarians,
but none of them are in want of food.
Of course, by
nature’s way the tiger, being a nonvegetarian, does not get food every
day. After all, who will face a tiger to become its food? Who will say
to the tiger, “Sir, I am an altruist and have come to you to give you food,
so take my body”? No one. Therefore the tiger has difficulty finding food.
And as soon as the tiger is out, there is an animal that follows it and
makes a sound like “fayo, fayo,” so that the other animals will know, “Now
the tiger is out.” So by nature’s way the tiger has difficulty. But still
Kåñëa supplies it food. After about a week, the tiger
will get the chance to catch an animal, and because it does not get fresh
food daily, it will keep the carcass in some bush and eat a little at a
time. Since the tiger is very powerful, people want to become like a lion
or a tiger. But that is not a very good proposition, because if one actually
becomes like a tiger one won’t get food daily, but will have to search
for food with great labor. If one becomes a vegetarian, however, one will
get food every day. The food for a vegetarian is available everywhere.
Now in every
city there are slaughterhouses, but does this mean that the slaughterhouses
can supply enough so that one can live by eating only meat? No, there will
not be an adequate supply. Even meat-eaters have to eat grains, fruits,
and vegetables along with their slice of meat. Still, for that daily slice
of meat they kill so many poor animals. How sinful this is! If people commit
such sinful activities, how can they be happy? This killing should not
be done, but because it is being done people are unhappy. However, if one
becomes Kåñëa conscious and simply depends on Kåñëa’s
glance (tava vékñitaiù), Kåñëa will
supply everything and there will be no question of scarcity.
appears to be scarcity, and sometimes we find that grains and fruits are
produced in such a huge quantity that people cannot finish eating them.
So this is a question of Kåñëa’s glance. If Kåñëa
likes, He can produce a huge quantity of grains, fruits, and vegetables,
but if Kåñëa desires to restrict the supply, what good
will meat do? You may eat me, or I may eat you, but that will not solve
For real peace
and tranquillity and a sufficient supply of milk, water, and everything
else we need, we simply have to depend on Kåñëa. This
is what Bhaktivinoda Öhäkura teaches us when he says, märabi
räkhabi—yo icchä tohärä: “My dear Lord, I simply surrender
unto You and depend on You. Now if You like You may kill me, or else You
may give me protection.” And Kåñëa says in reply, “Yes.
Sarva-dharmän parityajya mäm ekaà çaraëaà
vraja: Simply surrender exclusively unto Me.” He does not say, “Yes, depend
on Me, and also depend on your slaughterhouses and factories.” No. He says,
“Depend only on Me. Ahaà tväà sarva-päpebhyo mokñayiñyämi:
I will rescue you from the results of your sinful activities.”
Because we have
lived so many years without being Kåñëa conscious, we
have lived only a sinful life, but Kåñëa assures us that
as soon as one surrenders to Him, He immediately squares all accounts and
puts an end to all one’s sinful activities so that one may begin a new
life. When we initiate disciples we therefore tell them, “Now the account
is squared. Now don’t commit sinful activities any more.”
One should not
think that because the holy name of Kåñëa can nullify
sinful activities, one may commit a little sinful activity and chant Hare
Kåñëa to nullify it. That is the greatest offense (nämno
baläd yasya hi päpa-buddhiù). The members of some religious
orders go to church and confess their sins, but then they again commit
the same sinful activities. What, then, is the value of their confession?
One may confess, “My Lord, out of my ignorance I committed this sin.” But
one should not plan, “I shall commit sinful activities and then go to church
and confess them, and then the sins will be nullified and I can begin a
new chapter of sinful life.” Similarly, one should not knowingly take advantage
of the chanting of the Hare Kåñëa mantra to nullify sinful
activities so that one may then begin sinful acts again. We should be very
careful. Before taking initiation, one promises to have no illicit sex,
no intoxicants, no gambling, and no meat-eating, and this vow one should
strictly follow. Then one will be clean. If one keeps oneself clean in
this way and always engages in devotional service, his life will be a success,
and there will be no scarcity of anything he wants.
Journey of Self Discovery
6.3: Spiritual Advice
On January 30, 1973, in Calcutta,
Çréla Prabhupäda speaks to the Bharata Chamber of Commerce,
a group of the region’s leading businessmen. “We should not be satisfied
with becoming a big businessman. We must know what our next life is....
If you cultivate this knowledge and at the same time go on doing your business,
your life will be successful.”
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,
I thank you very much for kindly inviting me. I’ll serve you to the best
of my ability.
Today’s subject is “Culture and
Business.” We understand business to mean “occupational duty.” According
to our Vedic culture, there are different types of business. As described
in Bhagavad-gétä [4.13], cätur-varëyaà mayä
The four divisions of the social system, based on people’s qualities and
types of work, are the brähmaëas [intellectuals and teachers],
the kñatriyas [military men and state leaders], the vaiçyas
[farmers and merchants], and the çüdras [laborers]. Before
doing business, one must know what kinds of work there are and who can
do what kind of work. People have different capabilities, and there are
different types of work, but now we have created a society where everyone
takes up everyone else’s business. That is not very scientific.
Society has natural
cultural divisions, just as there are natural divisions in the human body.
The whole body is one unit, but it has different departments, also—for
example, the head department, the arm department, the belly department,
and the leg department. This is scientific. So in society the head department
is represented by the brähmaëa, the arm department by the kñatriya,
the belly department by the vaiçya, and the leg department by the
çüdra. Business should be divided scientifically in this way.
The head department
is the most important department, because without the head the other departments—the
arm, the belly, and the leg—cannot function. If the arm department is lacking,
business can still go on. If the leg department is lacking, business can
go on. But if the head department is not there—if your head is cut off
from your body—then even though you have arms, legs, and a belly, they
are all useless.
The head is meant for culture. Without
culture, every type of business creates confusion and chaos. And that is
what we have at the present moment, because of jumbling of different types
of business. So there must be one section of people, the head department,
who give advice to the other departments. These advisors are the intelligent
and qualified brähmaëas.
“Peacefulness, self-control, austerity,
purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom, and religiousness—these
are the natural qualities by which the brähmaëas work.” [Bhagavad-gétä
çamo damas tapaù çaucaà
the head of the social body, are meant to guide society in culture. Culture
means knowing the aim of life. Without understanding the aim of life, a
man is a ship without a rudder. But at the present moment we are missing
the goal of life because there is no head department in society. The whole
human society is now lacking real brähmaëas to give advice to
the other departments.
Arjuna is a good
example of how a member of the kñatriya department should take advice.
He was a military man; his business was to fight. In the Battle of Kurukñetra
he engaged in his business, but at the same time he took the advice of
the brahmaëya-deva, Lord Kåñëa. As it is said,
“Let me offer my respectful obeisances
unto Lord Kåñëa, who is the worshipable Deity for all
brahminical men, who is the well-wisher of cows and brähmaëas,
and who is always benefiting the whole world. I offer my repeated obeisances
to the Personality of Godhead, known as Kåñëa and Govinda.”
[Viñëu Puräëa 1.19.65]
govindäya namo namaù
In this verse
the first things taken into consideration are the cows and the brähmaëas
(go-brähmaëa). Why are they stressed? Because a society with
no brahminical culture and no cow protection is not a human society but
a chaotic, animalistic society. And any business you do in a chaotic condition
will never be perfect. business can be done nicely only in a society following
a proper cultural system.
for a perfect cultural system are given in Çrémad-Bhägavatam.
At a meeting in the forest of Naimiñäraëya, where many
learned scholars and brähmaëas had assembled and Çréla
Süta Gosvämé was giving instructions, he stressed the
varëäçrama social system (ataù pumbhir dvija-çreñöhä
varëäçrama-vibhägaçaù). The Vedic culture
organizes society into four varëas [occupational divisions] and four
äçramas [spiritual stages of life]. As mentioned before, the
varëas are the brähmaëa, kñatriya, vaiçya,
and çüdra. The äçramas are the brahmacäré-äçrama
[celibate student life], gåhastha-äçrama [family life],
vänaprastha-äçrama [retired life], and sannyäsa-äçrama
[renounced life]. Unless we take to this institution of varëäçrama-dharma,
the whole society will be chaotic.
And the purpose of varëäçrama-dharma
is to satisfy the Supreme Lord. As stated in the Viñëu Puräëa
According to this verse, one has to
satisfy the Supreme Lord by properly performing one’s prescribed duties
according to the system of varëa and äçrama. In a state,
you have to satisfy your government. If you don’t, you are a bad citizen
and cause chaos in society. Similarly, in the cosmic state—that is, in
this material creation as a whole—if you do not satisfy the Supreme Lord,
the proprietor of everything, then there will be a chaotic condition. Our
Vedic culture teaches that whatever you do, you must satisfy the Supreme
Lord. That is real culture.
tam abhyarcya siddhià vindati mänavaù. You may do any
business—the brähmaëa’s business, the kñatriya’s business,
the vaiçya’s business, or the çüdra’s business—but by
your business you should satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You
may be a merchant, a professional man, a legal advisor, a medical man—it
doesn’t matter. But if you want perfection in your business, then you must
try to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Otherwise you are simply
wasting your time.
In Bhagavad-gétä [3.9],
Lord Kåñëa says, yajïärthät karmaëaù.
The word yajïa refers to Viñëu, or Kåñëa,
the Supreme Lord. You have to work for Him. Otherwise you become bound
by the reactions of your activities (anyatra loko ’yaà karma-bandhanaù).
And as long as you are in the bondage of karma, you have to transmigrate
from one body to another.
Unfortunately, at the present moment
people do not know that there is a soul and that the soul transmigrates
from one body to another. As stated in Bhagavad-gétä [2.13],
tathä dehäntara-präptiù: “When the body dies, the
soul transmigrates to another body.” I’ve talked with big, big scientists
and professors who do not know that there is life after death. They do
not know. But according to our Vedic information, there is life after death.
And we can experience transmigration of the soul in this present life.
It is a very common thing: A baby soon gets the body of a boy, the boy
then gets the body of a young man, and the young man gets the body of an
old man. Similarly, the old man, after the annihilation of his body, will
get another body. It is quite natural and logical.
have two bodies, the gross body and the subtle body. The gross body is
made up of our senses and the bodily elements—bones, blood, and so on.
When we change our body at death, the present gross body is destroyed,
but the subtle body, made of mind, intelligence, and ego, is not. The subtle
body carries us to our next gross body.
It is just like what happens when
we sleep. At night we forget about the gross body, and the subtle body
alone works. As we dream we are taken away from our home, from our bed,
to some other place, and we completely forget the gross body. When our
sleep is over we forget about the dream and become attached again to the
gross body. This is going on in our daily experience.
So we are the
observer, sometimes of the gross body and sometimes of the subtle body.
Both bodies are changing, but we are the unchanging observer, the soul
within the bodies. Therefore, our inquiry should be, “What is my position?
At night I forget my gross body, and during the daytime I forget my subtle
body. Then what is my real body?” These are the questions we should ask.
So you may do
your business, as Arjuna did his business. He was a fighter, a kñatriya,
but he did not forget his culture, hearing Gétä from the master.
But if you simply do business and do not cultivate your spiritual life,
then your business is a useless waste of time (çrama eva hi kevalam).
Our Kåñëa consciousness
movement is being spread so that you do not forget your cultural life.
We do not say that you stop your business and become a sannyäsé
like me and give up everything. We do not say that. Nor did Kåñëa
say that. Kåñëa never said, “Arjuna, give up your fighting
business.” No, He said, “Arjuna, you are a kñatriya. You are declining
to fight, saying, ‘Oh, it is very abominable.’ You should not say that.
You must fight.” That was Kåñëa’s instruction.
Kåñëa conscious people are also advising everyone, “Don’t
give up your business. Go on with your business, but simply hear about
Kåñëa.” Caitanya Mahäprabhu also said this, quoting
from Çrémad-Bhägavatam: sthäne sthitäù
çruti-gatäà tanu-väì-manobhiù. Caitanya
Mahäprabhu never said, “Give up your position.” Giving up one’s position
is not very difficult. But to cultivate spiritual knowledge while one stays
in his position—that is required. Among the animals there is no cultivation
of spiritual life. That is not possible; the animals cannot cultivate this
knowledge. Therefore, if human beings do not cultivate spiritual knowledge,
they’re exactly like animals (dharmeëa hénäù paçubhiù
So we should
be very conscious about our eternal existence. We, the spirit soul within
the body, are eternal (na hanyate hanyamäne çarére).
We are not going to die after the annihilation of our body. This is the
cultivation of knowledge, or brahma-jijïäsä, which means
inquiry about one’s self. Caitanya Mahäprabhu’s first disciple, Sanätana
Gosvämé, was formerly finance minister in the government of
Nawab Hussein Shah. Then he retired and approached Caitanya Mahäprabhu
and humbly said, “My dear Lord, people call me paëòita.” (Because
he was a brähmaëa by caste, naturally he was called paëòita,
meaning “a learned person.”) “But I am such a paëòita,” he
said, “that I do not even know who or what I am.”
This is the position
of everyone. You may be a businessman or you may be in another profession,
but if you do not know what you are, wherefrom you have come, why you are
under the tribulations of the laws of material nature, and where you are
going in your next life—if you do not know these things, then whatever
you are doing is useless. As stated in Çrémad-Bhägavatam
“The occupational activities a man performs
according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do
not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.”
Therefore our request to everyone is that while you engage in your business,
in whatever position Kåñëa has posted you, do your duty
nicely, but do not forget to cultivate Kåñëa knowledge.
notpädayed yadi ratià
çrama eva hi kevalam
knowledge means God consciousness. We must know that we are part and parcel
of God (mamaiväàço jéva-loke jéva-bhütaù
sanätanaù). We are eternally part and parcel of Kåñëa,
or God, but we are now struggling with the mind and senses (manaù
karñati). Why this struggle for existence? We must inquire about
our eternal life beyond this temporary life. Suppose in this temporary
life I become a big businessman for, say, twenty years or fifty years or
at the utmost one hundred years. There is no guarantee that in my next
life I’m going to be a big businessman. No. There is no such guarantee.
But this we do not care about. We are taking care of our present small
span of life, but we are not taking care of our eternal life. That is our
In this life
I may be a very great businessman, but in my next life, by my karma, I
may become something else. There are 8,400,000 forms of life. Jalajä
nava-lakñäëi sthävarä lakña-viàçatiù:
There are 900,000 forms of life in the water, and 2,000,000 forms of trees
and other plants. Then, kåmayo rudra-saìkhyakäù
pakñinäà daça-lakñaëam: There are
1,100,000 species of insects and reptiles, and 1,000,000 species of birds.
Finally, triàsäl-lakñäni paçavaù
catur-lakñäni mänuñaù: There are 3,000,000
varieties of beasts and 400,000 human species. So we must pass through
8,000,000 different forms of life before we come to the human form of life.
Therefore Prahläda Mahäräja
“One who is sufficiently intelligent
should use the human form of body from the very beginning of life—in other
words, from the tender age of childhood—to practice the activities of devotional
service. The human body is most rarely achieved, and although temporary
like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can perform
devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service
can give one complete perfection.” [Bhäg. 7.6.1] This human birth
is very rare. We should not be satisfied simply with becoming a big businessman.
We must know what our next life is, what we are going to be.
kaumära äcaret präjïo
tad apy adhruvam arthadam
There are different
kinds of men. Some are called karmés, some are called jïänés,
some are called yogés, and some are called bhaktas. The karmés
are after material happiness. They want the best material comforts in this
life, and they want to be elevated to the heavenly planets after death.
The jïänés also want happiness, but being fed up with
the materialistic way of life, they want to merge into the existence of
Brahman, the Absolute. The yogés want mystic power. And the bhaktas,
the devotees, simply want the service of the Lord. But unless one understands
who the Lord is, how can one render service to Him? So cultivating knowledge
of God is the highest culture.
There are different
kinds of culture: the culture of the karmés, the culture of the
jïänés, the culture of the yogés, and the culture
of the bhaktas. Actually, all of these people are called yogés if
they are doing their duty sincerely. Then they are known as karma-yogés,
jïäna-yogés, dhyäna-yogés, and bhakti-yogés.
But in Bhagavad-gétä [6.47] Kåñëa says,
Who is the first-class yogé?
Kåñëa answers, “He who is always thinking of Me.” This
means the Kåñëa conscious person is the best yogé.
As already mentioned, there are different kinds of yogés (the karma-yogé,
the jïäna-yogé, the dhyäna-yogé, and the bhakti-yogé),
but the best yogé is he who always thinks of Kåñëa
within himself with faith and love. One who is rendering service to the
Lord—he is the first-class yogé.
yoginäm api sarveñäà
sa me yuktatamo mataù
So we request
everyone to try to know what he is, what Kåñëa is, what
his relationship with Kåñëa is, what his real life is,
and what the goal of his life is. Unless we cultivate all this knowledge,
we are simply wasting our time, wasting our valuable human form of life.
Although everyone will die—that’s a fact—one who dies after knowing these
things is benefited. His life is successful.
The cat will
die, the dog will die—everyone will die. But one who dies knowing Kåñëa—oh,
that is a successful death. As Kåñëa says in Bhagavad-gétä
“One who knows in truth the transcendental
nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body,
take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode,
janma karma ca me divyam
evaà yo vetti tattvataù
tyaktvä dehaà punar
naiti mäm eti so ’rjuna
So wherever we
go all over the world, our only request is, “Please try to understand Kåñëa.
Then your life is successful.” It doesn’t matter what your business is.
You have to do something to live. Kåñëa says, çaréra-yäträpi
ca te na prasiddhyed akarmaëaù: If you stop working, your life
will be hampered. One has to do something for his livelihood, but at the
same time he has to cultivate knowledge for the perfection of his life.
The perfection of life is simple: try to understand Kåñëa.
This is what we are pre-scribing all over the world. It is not very difficult.
If you read Bhagavad-gétä As It Is, you will come to understand
Kåñëa. Kåñëa explains everything.
For the neophytes,
Kåñëa says, raso ’ham apsu kaunteya prabhäsmi çaçi-süryayoù:
“My dear Kaunteya, I am the taste of water, and I am the light of the sun
and the moon.” There is no need to say, “I cannot see God.” Here is God:
the taste of water is God. Everyone drinks water, and when one tastes it
he is perceiving God. Then why do you say, “I cannot see God”? Think as
God directs, and then gradually you’ll see Him. Simply remember this one
instruction from Bhagavad-gétä—raso ’ham apsu kaunteya prabhäsmi
çaçi-süryayoù: “I am the taste of water; I am
the shining illumination of the sun and moon.” Who has not seen the sunlight?
Who has not seen the moonlight? Who has not tasted water? Then why do you
say, “I have not seen God”? If you simply practice this bhakti-yoga, as
soon as you taste water and feel satisfied you will think, “Oh, here is
Kåñëa.” Immediately you will remember Kåñëa.
As soon as you see the sunshine, you will remember, “Oh, here is Kåñëa.”
As soon as you see the moonshine, you will remember, “Oh, here is Kåñëa.”
And çabdaù khe: As soon as you hear some sound in the sky,
you will remember, “Here is Kåñëa.”
In this way, you will remember
Kåñëa at every step of your life. And if you remember
Kåñëa at every step of life, you become the topmost yogé.
And above all, if you practice the chanting of Hare Kåñëa,
Hare Kåñëa, Kåñëa Kåñëa,
Hare Hare/ Hare Räma, Hare Räma, Räma Räma, Hare Hare,
you will easily remember Kåñëa. There is no tax. There
is no loss to your business. If you chant the Hare Kåñëa
mantra, if you remember Kåñëa while drinking water, what
is your loss? Why don’t you try it? This is the real culture of knowledge.
If you cultivate this knowledge and at the same time go on doing your business,
your life will be successful. Thank you very much.
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Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare