ISKCON Press


Bhagavad-gītā 4.9–11

Type:
Bhagavad-gītā
Date:
July 25
Year:
1966
Place:
New York

Prabhupāda:

janma karma (ca] me divyam
(evaṁ] yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma
naiti mām eti kaunteya
[Bg. 4.9]

Lord Kṛṣṇa says that “The process of My birth and the process of My activities, they are all transcendental.” And anyone who can understand the transcendental activities, appearance, disappearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then the result is that tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya. The result is that anyone who understands these transcendental activities of the Supreme Lord, tattvataḥ, in truth, the result is that he becomes a liberated person.

Tyaktvā deham. Tyaktvā means by quitting, by giving up this present material body he at once is transferred to the spiritual world. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9]. He does not require to come back here in this material world to have this material body. He at once develops his own spiritual body just like Kṛṣṇa. This is the process. Simply by understanding the transcendental activities and the appearance and disappearance, he becomes fully spiritualized, and the result is that he at once… He does not get. The spiritual body is already existing. I am spirit; I have got my spiritual body, but that body is now covered by this matter.

So by understanding the transcendental activities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, by Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can become liberated. And what is the result of that liberation? That is also spoken in the Eighth Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā. The Lord says, mām upetya tu kaunteya: “My dear Arjuna, Kaunteya, son of Kuntī, please note it that mām upetya, anyone who comes to Me,” mām upetya tu kaunteya duḥkhālayam aśāśvataṁ nāpnuvanti [Bg. 8.15], “that he does not come again to this material world, which is duḥkhālayam, duḥkhālayam, a place of misery.”

This material world is certified by the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the place of misery. Now, if this place is made for that purpose, just to give us miseries only, how you can make it a place of happiness? The place is meant for that purpose. So Lord Kṛṣṇa says that “Somebody, anybody who comes back to Me, he hasn’t got to come back again to this place of miseries.” Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti [Bg. 4.9]. And again He says, mām upetya tu kaunteya duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam: [Bg. 8.15] “This place is full of misery.”

We are deluded, illusioned. We are accepting this place as permanent settlement. We are making plans, so many plans, to make a permanent settlement, but the Lord says it is not only full of misery, aśāśvatam, you cannot remain here permanently. However make your plan to live here permanently, you cannot live here. You have to give up. You can spoil your energy for making this material world very comfortable or you may live for some years very comfortably, but cruel death will come and snatch from comfortable position and put you into another position which is beyond your control. You cannot say that “I have made my position very secure. I am very comfortable with great endeavor by advancement of economic development, by advancement of material science. Let me remain here. I am very happy.” The time will say, “No, that will not be allowed. You must leave immediately, immediately, without delay.”

You know your President Kennedy. He was going in a procession, and the time came, and he had to leave everything at once, at once, without any hesitation. You cannot hesitate. So we are in the grip of the material nature. However we may declare ourself that we are independent, we are not independent. We are dependent, completely dependent. We may foolishly mislead ourself by the sense of independence. No. You are not independent. You are completely under the control of the material nature. Daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī mama māyā duratyayā [Bg. 7.14]. The material nature is so strong that it is very difficult to get out of the entanglement.

But there is a way. That is also said in the Bhagavad-gītā, mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te: “Anyone who surrenders unto Me…” The whole process, the whole process of material activities, material nature, is going on under this principle, that we are required to go back to the eternal world, to get our eternal life and eternal blissful knowledge. These things are awaiting us. But if we do not try, do not endeavor for attaining that sublime position and spoil our reserve energy in making an adjustment of this temporary material world, that is our foolishness.

You will find in the Seventh Chapter in Bhagavad-gītā the Lord says,

na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ
prapadyante narādhamāḥ
māyayāpahṛta-jñānā
āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ
[Bg. 7.15]

Lord says that “there are persons who are duṣkṛtina, duṣkṛtina, or miscreants, mūḍha, foolish; duṣkṛtina, mūḍha, and narādhama—and the lowest of the human kind—and māyayāpahṛta-jñānā—and they have been plundered of their real knowledge by the stringent laws of material nature. Such people do not come unto Me.”

So these things are… If we study Bhagavad-gītā, we have to take it, Bhagavad-gītā, as it is. We cannot give our own interpretation just to suit our purpose. This thing already been explained in this Fourth Chapter, that it is understood by the paramparā system, by the disciplic succession. So we have to take up this knowledge from the disciplic succession. And this Bhagavad-gītā was spoken some millions of years before to the sun-god. That is also stated. And the sun-god instructed this Bhagavad-gītā again to Manu, Manu to Ikṣvāku. And in this way this is coming by disciplic succession. But during the time of Kurukṣetra war that great philosophy of yoga system of Bhagavad-gītā was lost, and therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa again said to Arjuna. Therefore if we want to understand Bhagavad-gītā, then we have to understand as Arjuna understood it. That is the process.

So here the Lord says that janma karma me divyam: [Bg. 4.9] “My appearance and disappearance…” Mark this word, “appearance and disappearance.” “Birth and death” is not applicable to Lord. “Birth and death” is applicable to this material body. The material body has its birth, and the material body has its death, dissolution. But the spiritual body is eternal. It has neither death nor birth. Therefore the spiritual body—the exact language to be used, “appearance and disappearance.”

I have several times spoken in this meeting. Just like the sun. The sun disappears and appears. For the sun there is no question of birth and death because sun is eternal. So anything eternal… So when the Lord comes it is just like the sun appear and sun disappears. It does not mean because we do not see Kṛṣṇa just now in our presence… Of course, in transcendental sense, when we acquire that transcendental sense, we see Kṛṣṇa through this Bhagavad-gītā. The Bhagavad-gītā is Kṛṣṇa. Bhagavad-gītā is not different from Kṛṣṇa. That is the, I mean to say, sense of absolute knowledge. In the absolute world there is no difference between the person and the words.

Just like this tape recorder. It is being recorded. My words or my songs are being recorded. But they are different from me. This is dual, the world of duality. But the absolute world, there is no such difference. Just like we are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare. This name Kṛṣṇa and the personality Kṛṣṇa is the same. Is the same. Hare Kṛṣṇa means when I hear the sound, the transcendental sound vibration Kṛṣṇa, that means Kṛṣṇa is on my tongue, on my ear. Therefore, if we chant this vibration of transcendental sound with devotion and with attention, that is the highest type of meditation and yoga. And very easy. The process is that you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, and exactly the same sound you hear. So your mind is concentrated on this Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is not different. This sound Kṛṣṇa is not different from person Kṛṣṇa. Therefore when we chant…

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

[My dear Lord, and the spiritual energy of the Lord, kindly engage me in Your service. I am now embarrassed with this material service. Please engage me in Your service.]

…it is as good as Kṛṣṇa.

Therefore it is stated here that “My appearance, disappearance and activity and glories, they are divyam.” Divyam means transcendental. They do not belong to this world of duality. This world is of duality. But transcendental means that it is above, above this dualism. It is the absolute world. So anyone who understands this fact, that Kṛṣṇa is not different from this sound Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is not different from this Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa is not different from anything which is connected with Kṛṣṇa… These things are to be understood.

The whole world is the representation of the energy—that you will learn in the Seventh Chapter—is the manifestation of the energy of Kṛṣṇa. And it has been described. There are two kinds of energies: the lower energy and the higher energy. And the higher energy is the living entities. Just like we are. We living entities, we belong to the higher nature of the Supreme Lord. Jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat [Bg. 7.5]. This world is moving, this world is made of lower nature, material, and the higher nature is the living entity. So anything which is connected with Kṛṣṇa, it becomes to the higher nature. Even in this material things, if it is dovetailed with Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then it turns into higher nature.

The example I have several times repeated: just like you put an iron rod in the fire. It becomes warm, warmer, and gradually it becomes red hot. When it is red hot, it is transformed into the nature of fire. It is no longer iron. Similarly, if you constantly remain in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you at once transfer yourself to the higher nature of Kṛṣṇa, and that is your liberation. And if we can die in higher nature, then this formula, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti… [Bg. 4.9]. oh, he does not come back again to this material world. So we shall have to try, we shall have to practice this Kṛṣṇa consciousness in such a way, that we shall permanently exist in higher nature. And if we can die in that higher nature, then our place in the transcendental world is reserved. That is the whole thing.

In India there is a common saying. They say, bhajan koro pūjān koro morte janle haya. The meaning is that however you may meditate upon… You may be very great meditator, or you may be a great religionist or yogi or a very learned scholar or whatever you may be, but everything will be tested at the time of your death. How far you have made progress, that will be tested at the time of your death. That is also explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran loke tyajaty ante kalevaram [Bg. 8.6]. Ante. Ante means at the end. Because this body is sure to end. Antavanta ime dehāḥ. This body is antavat; it is destined to be ended. “As sure as death.” But nityasyoktāḥ śarīriṇaḥ. Śarīriṇaḥ means the spirit spark which is occupying this body. That is nitya; that is eternal.

So whole process is that the eternal has to get rid of this nonpermanent material contact. And he has to take leave for the spiritual world. So… [aside:] Come on. So the whole process is that during our present existing life we have to practice in such a way that we remain constantly on the higher nature, on the spiritual nature. Exactly in the same way: just like you put the iron rod in the fire and make it warmer, warmer, warmer, warmer, and so long it does not get red hot, so it becomes fire. This is practical. In the same way you have to put yourself in such a way that you are always in, constantly in, the higher nature, not that for one hour, two hour we make this association, we try to be in higher nature and after leaving this place we again turn to the lower nature. No. We should always, whatever we hear from here, from this place, we should try to understand clearly without any doubt.

Just like Lord Kṛṣṇa says here, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9], that anyone who understands Kṛṣṇa’s appearance, disappearance and activities, all these transcendental things, he goes back to the kingdom of Godhead after leaving this body. Now this fact should be clearly understood. So I am trying to make you understand it clearly, how it can be possible. This is possible in this way, that you have to think of Kṛṣṇa always, “How is that that Kṛṣṇa appears in His transcendental body and how He disappears?” So everything, scrutinizingly we have to understand.

In the Bhagavad-gītā you will find tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā [Bg. 4.34]. One has to learn all these things from the person who is in the knowledge of these things. It is not that simply by purchasing one Bhagavad-gītā we understand everything. No. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā. You have to approach a person who is in the knowledge of the thing. Without this, you cannot understand. It is recommended; it is essential.

In the, I mean to say, in the Vedas also, Kaṭha Upaniṣad, this is said exclusively: Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam [SB 11.3.21]. Tasmāt. Tasmāt means “therefore.” “Therefore” means something has been said before. What is that? Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. As soon as we begin to ask about the higher nature… That propensity should be awakened. In the lower nature we are busy in the matter of eating, sleeping, defending and sense gratification. So we should not be satisfied, simply remaining in the lower nature. The human life is meant for developing the higher nature. The Vedānta-sūtra therefore says, athāto brahma jijñāsā. Now, now we have got the developed consciousness of human body, now, this is the time for asking about the Supreme Brahman. [talking in the background] [aside:] You ask them to speak slowly. At least speak slowly. You go there.

So this higher nature has to be developed. This association, this transcendental association, is meant for developing that higher nature, higher nature. We must understand that higher nature that as it is recommended in the Vedas, that tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham [MU 1.2.12]. And again in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavata also it is said that tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam [SB 11.3.21]. In all the scriptures this is said. Without approaching a person who can teach you of the higher nature, you cannot develop. It is not possible to acquire. You have got the higher nature but to invoke that higher nature it requires the assistance of a person who is in the higher nature. That is recommended.

If somebody says that “I don’t require any help of any spiritual master,” that is wrong. That is wrong. You will find all the great persons… And so far our Vedic culture is concerned, great learned scholars, just like Śaṅkarācārya… Perhaps you have heard the name of Śaṅkarācārya. Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka, Lord Caitanya. In India there have been many, many great scholars. Even Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He had a spiritual master because He wanted to show the example. He did not require any circumstances to acquire knowledge from any other, but because He was playing just like a human being, so He set the example that He accepted a spiritual master. There are instances. So similarly, Lord Caitanya also, He accepted spiritual master. Śaṅkarācārya accepted spiritual master. That is the system. Evaṁ paramparā-prāptam imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ [Bg. 4.2]. The disciplic succession must be accepted.

Now, just like we are trying to understand from Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna, Arjuna is trying to understand. Arjuna also said to Kṛṣṇa, śiṣyas te ‘haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam: [Bg. 2.7] “Just I am surrendering unto You. Oh, accept me as Your disciple, śiṣya.” Śiṣya means disciple. Śiṣya, this is a grammatical word. Śās-dhātu. Śās-dhātu, it is a verb from which this word śiṣya comes. Śiṣya means one who accepts voluntarily the disciplinary measures from the higher authority. He is called a śiṣya. So in order to acquire, in order to be situated in that higher nature, we have to approach a personality like Kṛṣṇa or His representative, and so the best thing is that… Arjuna. Arjuna, he got this instruction from Bhagavad-gītā, and he developed that higher nature. So we have to take from Arjuna as it is. So we have to keep ourself always in the higher nature. Then the result will be that at the time of death, at the end, tyaktvā deham, tyaktvā deham.

We are counting where, that day when we have to give up this body. Just like I am now seventy years old, so… I am now seventy years old. So my days are counted. So I have to give up this body. The warning is already there. So we have to prepare ourself. Just like when going from outer station, from New York to California, if you wanted to go, you have to make your preparation, say, fortnight before, reserving the seat and making all arrangement. Similarly, we must know that we have to leave this body and we must prepare for that. Unless we don’t prepare for that, all of a sudden, if death comes, then our whole life is spoiled. That is the whole system. So we have to think of Kṛṣṇa. This is the very easiest process, that how, what are the activities, how Kṛṣṇa appears, how Kṛṣṇa disappears, what are the nature of Kṛṣṇa’s activities. So we must try to understand these things.

So janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ [Bg. 4.9]. And this inquisitiveness, the appearance and disappearance of Kṛṣṇa, and His activities, this inquisitiveness, is transcendental enquiries. So we must know it from persons who are in the knowledge. And that way we shall be able to put ourself constantly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and the result will be that tyaktvā deham, by quitting this body we shall be at once transferred to the transcendental world. This is the process.

Now, in the next śloka Kṛṣṇa says that

vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhā
man-mayā mām upāśritāḥ
bahavo jñāna-tapasā
pūtā mad-bhāvam āgatāḥ
[Bg. 4.10]

Kṛṣṇa says that “Arjuna, in the past there were many sages who,” vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhāḥ, “after surpassing three stages of existence, when they came to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they were liberated.” Vita-rāga-bhaya-krodhāḥ. Now, what is this rāga? Rāga-bhaya-krodhāḥ. Rāga means attachment, attachment. And vīta-rāga-bhaya. Bhaya means fear, and krodha means anger. So these three stages are there in our life.

And what are these? Rāga, attachment. In the lowest stage of our life, when we do not know what I am, I consider this body myself. This deluded conception of life, that “I am this body,” this is deluded conception. And when we have got too much attachment for this deluded conception of life, that is called rāga. Rāga. Mostly people, generally, they are acting in this material world with this conception of life, that “I am this material body.” So they are working whole day and night for making a comfortable life of this material body. So they are called in the stage of rāga, attachment. Attachment.

And the next stage is bhaya. Bhaya. And what is that bhaya? Fear. Now, that… [aside:] Please don’t talk. Bhaya means that… There are persons, transcendentalists, who are culturing transcendental knowledge, but they are very much afraid of conceiving that there is another world which is spiritual world, and that is also similar like this world, and the Personality of Godhead is there, and we have to go there, and we have to live as His servitor. So we carry the ideas of this world to that world. Therefore we are afraid. There are many transcendentalists who like the impersonal conception of the Supreme Truth. As soon as personal conception of the Supreme Truth is presented there, they are afraid of: “Oh, it is something material. It is not real.” This is called bhaya. But actually it is not that.

Actually this material world is described in the Bhagavad-gītā as the perverted reflection of the actual spiritual world. You will find in the Fifteenth Chapter that this material world is described as the obverted tree whose root is upwards and the branches are downwards. Have you have experience of this obverted tree whose root is upward and the branches and the leaves are downwards? Have you seen any tree like that? You have seen it, but you have forgotten. You have seen… When you see a tree on the bank of a river or bank of a reservoir of water, you find the reflection of the tree, just the opposite number. So similarly, this world, in the Fifteenth Chapter it is described there, the obverted tree. That means the real tree is there. The real tree is there.

Just like the example is given… I have several times…, that the impersonalists, they describe this world as false, as false. But simply describing this world as false is not sufficient. What is the reality we must know. The… Generally the example is cited that in the darkness when you see a curling rope, you misunderstand it that it is a snake. But actually it is not the snake. Now, this conception of a snake comes wherefrom? Unless there is a real snake, how you can see that it is a snake? That rope is false. That’s all right. That rope is not snake, but there is real snake. Otherwise, how you get the conception of the snake? Just try to follow it. Without having the real snake, you cannot get this conception of snake.

Similarly, we say that this world is false, or shadow. The shadow, without being the reality, how there can be possibility of shadow? If there is no reality of my hand, how the shadow of the hand can be there? So this world is temporary shadow. That is accepted. But there is the real world which has no destruction. This world is destructive. It will be dissolved. Just like our body is temporary, but it will be dissolved. Anything material that has got a birth, a stay for some time, a byproduct, a growth, a dwindling, and then vanish. That is the nature, anything. Just like this body. It was born from the mother’s womb at a certain time, and it is staying for some time. It is staying for some time, and the body has got some byproducts, like children. We have got some children, the byproducts. Then it is dwindling. Just like I am getting older. Anyone, everyone, we are getting older. And at the last, it will vanish. Similarly, the whole material world, it has a time of its appearance, it grows, it makes so many varieties of byproducts, it dwindles and again vanishes.

But Bhagavad-gītā gives you information, paras tasmāt tu bhāvo ‘nyo ‘vyakto ‘vyaktāt sanātanaḥ [Bg. 8.20]. Beyond this material world which is subjected to these rules of six changes, there is another world which is sanātana. Sanātana means which is eternal. So actually there is existence of an eternal nature, like this nature which you are experiencing. And that nature, transcendental nature… The whole Bhagavad-gītā scheme is to take you back to that transcendental nature. Because you are transcendental, you are eternal, you are blissful, you are full of knowledge… Now we are covered. Now we have to go back to that eternal world, which is full of knowledge, full of bliss. So we have to prepare in that way. That is the policy of the human life.

Kṛṣṇa says, vīta-rāga. Vīta-rāga. Vīta means one who has been able to give up this attachment. Rāga means the attachment of this material world. And bhaya, one who has developed this transcendental sense… The impersonalists, their philosophy is that they want to merge into the impersonal existence of the Absolute Truth. They are afraid of the life of variegatedness. Because they have got a very bitter experience of this life of variegatedness, therefore they want to make a negation of this variegatedness and they want to turn themselves into the impersonal feature. So these things are there. So vīta-rāga. So one has to give up this attachment and detachment also. Vīta-rāga-bhaya and krodha.

Krodha means there are other persons who are neither impersonalists nor personalists. They are what are called more or less atheists. Atheist means they don’t believe in any transcendental nature. Even they do not believe in the existence of the soul. They simply concern themselves with this material body. Just like Buddha philosophy. Buddha philosophy does not accept the existence of the soul. Buddha philosophy says that this material body is a combination of matter. Now, as soon as the matter is dissolved, then the feelings of happiness and distress is gone. But according to Bhagavad-gītā, the existence of soul is accepted in the Vedic literature.

Just like after Lord Buddha, Śaṅkarācārya, Śaṅkarācārya came. He gave hint about the spiritual nature of the soul, and he said, brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā: “This matter is false and temporary, but spirit is eternal.” And other ācāryas, just like Rāmānujācārya and Madhvācārya, they came after Śaṅkarācārya, and they established that in the spiritual world there is also life like this, but that is eternal, blissful and full of knowledge.

So here Kṛṣṇa also give us instruction that vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhāḥ [Bg. 2.56]. There are persons who are too much attached to these material activities. They are called rāga. They are in the atmosphere of rāga. And there are persons who are atmosphere of fear: “Oh, again we have got to…, a personal life?” They are afraid of personal life. They want to make impersonal everything. That is called bhaya. And the first, second… And the third is krodha. They do not believe in any philosophy. “Let us commit suicide. Let us annihilate all this material existence.” So we have to surpass. We have to surpass these three stage of attachment and fearfulness and krodha, and anger. When he is disgusted with this life, he commits suicide. That is called krodha, by anger. So we have to surpass all these stages. So Lord Kṛṣṇa says, vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhāḥ: “After surpassing these three stages of life,” vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhā man-mayā mām upāśritāḥ [Bg. 4.10], “one who is constantly conscious of Me,” man-mayā, and mām upāśritāḥ, “and accepting the shelter of My protection,” mām upāśritāḥ, bahavo jñāna-tapasā, “there were many sages who by culture of knowledge and penance,” bahavo jñāna pūtā, “purified by that process,” mad-bhāvam āgatāḥ, “they attained My superior nature, My superior nature.”

Just like the same example, just like putting the iron rod in the fire, and the iron rod becomes hot, red hot, gets the nature of fire, similarly, if we constantly in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, being transcendental to these stages of bhaya, fear, and attachment, and krodha, anger, if we put ourself, completely under Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then it will be very easy to attain the superior nature of Kṛṣṇa. That is the formula given here, that superior, how to attain that superior nature. Vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhā man-mayā mām upāśritāḥ [Bg. 4.10]. Mām upāśritāḥ. That is the main thing. One has to take shelter of Kṛṣṇa. Mām eva ye prapadyante. This very thing, everywhere we will find, this Bhagavad-gītā, that Kṛṣṇa is stressing on His personal feature. Mām eva ye prapadyante: “Anyone who takes shelter of Me…” “Anyone who thinks of Me,” man-manā bhava mad-bhaktaḥ… So these things are there. Simply we have to take up this thing, Kṛṣṇa. Then everything, the whole solution is there. [aside:] Why these boys are disturbing? They are not sitting, and talking.

Ye yathā māṁ prapadyante. Next verse is:

ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
mama vartmānuvartante
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ
[Bg. 4.11]

Now Kṛṣṇa says… There are three kinds of transcendentalists. What are they? The impersonalist and the localized yogi and the devotees. There are three kinds of transcendentalists. What are the impersonalists? Impersonalists means this jñānī, those who are trying to understand what is Brahman and try to negativating this material world, neti neti: “This is not Brahman. Brahman is separate from this matter.” They are called jñānīs. And there are yogis. Yogi means those who are trying to focus all attention to the Supersoul which is within our heart. That is called yoga system. And yogi, jñānī, and bhakta, devotees. Those who are focusing all their concentration on the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa. So these three are classes of… They are all transcendentalists.

They are not materialists. Materialists, they are concerned with this matter only. They are very much attached to lord it over this material nature and enjoy life. That’s all. That is the short description of the materialist. But the transcendentalists, they are above these attached people. They are detached, but they have got three conception of transcendental idea. That is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam,

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
brahmeti paramātmeti
bhagavān iti śabdyate
[SB 1.2.11]

Tattva, tattva, the Absolute Truth. Absolute Truth is nondual. And that Absolute Truth is experienced in three ways. What are they? Now, Brahman, the all-pervading, impersonal feature, Brahman. And brahmeti paramātmeti. Paramātmeti means the Supersoul. Brahmeti paramātmeti and bhagavān iti. Bhagavān iti means the Personality of Godhead. Now these three conception of life have been analyzed in various places, and I will give you a short description.

Just like the sun. You see the sun every morning. What do you see? You see the sunshine. One feature is the sunshine. Another feature is the sun disc and another feature is if you are able to go into the sun planet you see something else. That we have got no experience, but we can see that sunshine and the localized sun disc.

But what is there within the sun planet, nobody has explained so far material science is concerned, but from Vedic literature we have got information of the sun planet also, that there is a supreme deity which is known as the sun-god, and all the inhabitants there, they have got their body of fire, and the whole planet is fiery. That is also material. There is no reason to disbelieve it because the whole material word is composed of five elements, that inferior nature: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, ego, intelligence. So you will find different planets also. Some planet is predominated with earth; some planet is predominated with water; some planet with fire, just like this. So the sun planet is predominated with fire. Fire is also matter. It is also material.

So as we have got experience, we can take experience from what we see daily, so as we have got three different vision of the sun, although the sunshine is spread all over the universe, you cannot accept the sunshine as important than the sun disc, localized. Which one is important? The sunshine is important or the localized disc, the planet, is important? The localized planet is important.

Similarly, the impersonal feature of Lord which is known as Brahman, that is not very much important. You will find in the Bhagavad-gītā, brahmaṇaḥ ahaṁ pratiṣṭhā: “I am the source of the effulgence of Brahman.” So this is one feature. But that is transcendental. When one thinks of Brahman conception of the Absolute Truth, that is also transcendental. When one thinks of the localized aspect of the Supreme Truth, that is also transcendental. And when one thinks of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that is also transcendental. So here it is stated,

ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
mama vartmānuvartante
manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ
[Bg. 4.11]

Anywhere, any, I mean to say, person who is interested in the transcendental feature of the Absolute Truth, they must be either these impersonalists or the localized or must be devotee of the Lord. So these three features are there, presented of Kṛṣṇa conception, and how they are conceived and what are the different results, we shall try to explain in the next meeting. Now you can put your questions. [break]

They have to take shelter of the Vedas. Just like Śaṅkarācārya. Śaṅkarācārya is impersonalist, and we, the Vaiṣṇavas… There are two classes of philosopher in India. One is impersonalist and the other is personalist. So we, so far we are concerned, we are personalist, and Śaṅkarācārya is impersonalist. Now, although we are two classes, impersonalist and personalist, we take Veda as the medium of knowledge. We may give different interpretations. That is another thing. But either party of Śaṅkarācārya or the party of Vaiṣṇava and ācāryas, they take the Vedānta-sūtra, the Vedānta philosophy, as the medium.

But Lord Buddha, although we accept him as the incarnation of God and he was born in India and he propagated his philosophy from India, but because he denied to accept the Vedic principle, therefore he is known as atheist, because he, Buddha, did not accept the Vedic principles. He denied. And there was reason why he did not. That is a secret thing. That secret—because his whole philosophy was to stop animal killing, animal killing. Now, in the Vedic scripture, you will find, animal sacrifice is recommended. So he wanted to preach, “Stop animal killing.” Now, if there is evidence from the Vedas that animal can be killed under certain circumstances, then his whole preaching becomes topsy-turvied. So he was obliged to deny the authority of the Vedas. And because he did not accept the authority of the Vedas, the Vedantists and the followers of Vedas, they called the Buddhist philosophy as atheism. This is the explanation.

So one is accepted as atheist who does not believe in the tenets of the Vedas. That is the sum and substance of atheism. It may be a sound philosophy or whatever it may be, but atheism, one who does not believe in the authority of the Vedas, they are called atheist.

Guest: What would you say is the completion of all design for matter or for human being, and particularly for human being and matter in general, the completion of all design?

Prabhupāda: Matter?

Guest: I said, what is the completion of all becoming, final goal, for a human being and for matter in general?

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Guest: And what happens to matter when it, say, part of it that is, let us say, spiritual attains the realization of…?

Prabhupāda: Yes. This is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā in the Seventh Chapter. Matter is described as the lower nature of the Supreme Lord, and the spirit soul or the living entities, they are called the higher nature. Now, my present position is that I belong to the higher nature. Now, I am entrapped with the lower nature. So whole mission of my life should be get out of the lower nature and be installed again in my higher nature. That is the whole philosophy.

Guest (2): Does the higher nature include anything outside of you? That is, any communication of your fellow man, helping him in some way, that is, perhaps some way alleviating his material suffering. If he is suffering materially, is there anything that Kṛṣṇa… In my readings of the Bhagavad-gītā I haven’t seen where Kṛṣṇa deals with the social aspect of man, helping the man who is starving, say, to overcome his suffering or providing his material needs. Rather, the emphasis is on away from the material.

Prabhupāda: This is material nature, of course, but one thing is that if you want to help a person, your aim should be to help a person for the ultimate goal. Just like I will give you an example that a physician treating a patient, he is also engaged in giving some assistance to the suffering man. Now, he treats the root of the disease. Now, the patient says, “Doctor, I have got very much headache today.” Doctor knows: “Yes. All right. I shall see.” He says, “I have got a great pain in here.” Now, the doctor sees that these are the symptoms of his main disease. [end]

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