ISKCON Press


Bhagavad-gītā 1.20

Type:
Bhagavad-gītā
Date:
July 17
Year:
1973
Place:
London

Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. [Prabhupāda and devotees repeat] [leads chanting of verse]

atha vyavasthitān dṛṣṭvā
dhārtarāṣṭrān kapi-dhvajaḥ
pravṛtte śastra-sampāte
dhanur udyamya pāṇḍavaḥ
hṛṣīkeśaṁ tadā vākyam
idam āha mahī-pate
[Bg. 1.20]

[break] [leads chanting of synonyms]

…vyavasthitān—situated; dṛṣṭvā—looking on; dhārtarāṣṭrān—the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra; kapi-dhvajaḥ—one whose flag is marked with Hanumān; pravṛtte—while about to be engaged; śastra-sampāte—the arrows released; dhanuḥ—bow; udyamya—after taking up; pāṇḍavaḥ—the son of Pāṇḍu (Arjuna); hṛṣīkeśam—unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; tadā—at that time; vākyam—words; idam—these; āha—said; mahī-pate—O King.

[03:21]

Translation: “O King, at that time Arjuna, the son of Pāṇḍu, who was seated in his chariot, his flag marked with Hanumān, took up his bow and prepared to shoot his arrows, looking at the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. O King, Arjuna then spoke to Hṛṣīkeśa, Kṛṣṇa, these words.”

Prabhupāda: Hm. So again the word hṛṣīkeśa is used here. In the beginning also, hṛṣīkeśaḥ pāñcajanyam. Kṛṣṇa is again designated as Hṛṣīkeśa. As we have explained several times, bhakti means hṛṣīkena hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Bhakti, the whole devotional service program, means hṛṣīkena hṛṣīkeśa-sevanam. So Arjuna was meant for serving Kṛṣṇa, because he is bhakta. Kṛṣṇa has already addressed him, bhakto ‘si, priyo ‘si, rahasyaṁ hy etad uttamam [Bg. 4.3]: “My dear Arjuna, I am speaking to you the mystery of Bhagavad-gītā.” It is a mystery. Mystery means very complicated; no ordinary man can understand. Therefore it is called mystery, rahasyam. But not ordinary rahasyam—uttamam. Uttamam means transcendental, not covered with darkness of material science. But it is brilliant, daivam, divyam. Rahasyam.

So ordinary man cannot understand. Therefore they interpret foolishly, speculate, and demonstrate their rascaldom. That’s all. Even big, big scholars. So they cannot understand, because they are not devotee. It is meant for the devotee. This whole Bhagavad-gītā is a transaction between God and His devotee. There is nothing more. Just like if you go to the market and two mercantile men talking. It should be understood that he is also businessman, he is also businessman, so they must be talking something about business. It is natural conclusion. It is not that two businessmen are talking seriously, not that they are discussing Bhagavad-gītā. You cannot say that.

They must be talking about business, something about profit. Just like all the businessmen, they assemble in exchange, like stock exchange. So there is howling, great sound, talking with each other, tumultuous sound. That tumultuous sound means one businessman is talking, “What is your rate? This is my rate. What is your rate?” This is. That’s all. You cannot expect that a stock exchange, the people gathered there, they are talking something about Bhāgavata and Bhagavad-gītā. No.

Similarly, when there is talk between the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa and His devotee, so this whole talk is bhakti. It is nothing else. They derive some meaning, jñāna, jñānātmaka-vyākhyā. They describe on the understanding of the jñānīs, philosophical speculators. They are also candidate. Those who are jñāni actually, they are also interested to know what is Kṛṣṇa. Jñānī ca bharatarṣabha, jijñāsur. Ārto arthārthī jijñāsur jñānī ca bharatarṣabha [Bg. 7.16]. These four classes of men, provided their background is pious life.

Impious life cannot inquire about God or can understand about God. We have several times repeated the verse,

yeṣāṁ anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā
bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
[Bg. 7.28]

Pāpīs, sinful men, they cannot understand. They understand, only think that “Kṛṣṇa is Bhagavān; so I am also Bhagavān. He’s an ordinary man, maybe little powerful, historically very famous man. So He is, after all, a man. So I am also man. So why not I am God?” This is the conclusion of the abhaktas, nondevotees and sinful men. So anyone who is declaring himself God, immediately you should know he is the greatest sinful man. And if you study his private life, you will see that he is number one sinful man. This is the test. Otherwise, nobody will say that “I am God,” this false representation. Nobody. Any pious man will not do that. He knows, “What I am? I am ordinary human being. How can I claim to take the position of God?” And they become famous among rascals.

As it is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, śva-vai uṣṭra kharaiḥ. What is that verse? Uṣṭra-kharaiḥ, saṁstutaḥ puruṣaḥ paśuḥ [SB 2.3.19]. They… In this world we see there are many great men, so-called great men, and they are very much praised by the general people. So Bhāgavata says that anyone who is not a devotee, who never chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, he may be very great man in the estimation of rascals, but he is nothing but an animal. Animal. So, śva-viḍ-varāha-uṣṭra-kharaiḥ. “So how you can say such a great man, you are saying that animal?” Our business is very thankless task. We say any man who is not a devotee, he is rascal. We say generally. It is very harsh word, but we have to use it. As soon as we see that he is not a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, then he’s a rascal. How do we say? He is not my enemy, but we have to say, because it is stated by Kṛṣṇa.

If we are really Kṛṣṇa conscious, then our business is to repeat the words of Kṛṣṇa. That’s all. What is the difference between a Kṛṣṇa’s representative and non-representative? The representative of Kṛṣṇa will simply repeat what Kṛṣṇa says. That’s all. He becomes representative. It doesn’t require much qualification. You simply repeat with firm conviction. As Kṛṣṇa says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66]. So one who has accepted this fact, that “If I surrender to Kṛṣṇa, my all business is successful,” he is Kṛṣṇa’s representative. That’s all.

You don’t require to be very highly educated or advanced. Simply if you simply accept that what Kṛṣṇa says… Just like Arjuna said, sarvam etaṁ ṛtam manye yad vadasi keśava [Bg. 10.14]: “My dear Kṛṣṇa, Keśava, whatever You are saying, I accept it, without any change.” That is bhakta. Therefore Arjuna is addressed, bhakto ‘si. This is the bhakta’s business. Why shall I think of Kṛṣṇa as like me, ordinary man? This is the difference between a bhakta and not bhakta. A bhakta knows that “I am insignificant, a small spark of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is individual person. I am also individual person. But when we consider about His power and my power, I am most insignificant.” This is understanding of Kṛṣṇa.

There is no difficulty. Simply one must be sincere, not sinful. But a sinful man cannot understand Him. The sinful man, he will say, “Oh, Kṛṣṇa is also man. I am also man. Why I am not God? He is simply God? No, I am also. I am God. You are God, you are God, every God.” Just like Vivekananda said, “Why you are searching after God? Don’t you see so many Gods are loitering in the street?” You see? This is his God realization. This is his God realization. And he became a big man: “Oh, he is seeing everyone God.”

This foolishness, this rascaldom, is going on all over the world. One does not know what is God, what is power of God, what is meant by God. They are accepting some rascal as God, as nowadays that is going on. Another rascal has come. He is also declaring himself God. So it has become very cheap thing. But they have no brain to think that “I am claiming God. What power I have got?”

So this is the mystery. This is the mystery. Without becoming devotee, the mystery of understanding God is not possible. And Kṛṣṇa has said in the Bhagavad-gītā how one can know Him. Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ [Bg. 18.55]. Only by devotion, simply. He could have said, “By high, topmost knowledge” or “By yogic process” or “By acting…, becoming a very great karmī, worker, one can understand Me.” No, He has never said. Never said. So the karmīs, jñānīs, yogīs, they are all rascals. They cannot understand Kṛṣṇa. All rascals. Karmīs are third-class rascals, the jñānīs are second-class rascal, and the yogīs are first-class rascal. That’s all.

You should understand, the so-called yogīs, they are first-class rascal because they do not understand Kṛṣṇa. The jñānīs, they are also second-class rascal. Even a big scholar like Dr. Radhakrishnan, he is how, I mean to say, deforming the meaning of Bhagavad-gītā. Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]: “You always think…” This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness, man-manā: “Always think of Kṛṣṇa, Me, about Me,” Kṛṣṇa says. And they will make meaning that you can say also. “Kṛṣṇa says that you always think of Him; you can say also, ‘Think of me.’ ” This meaning they are distorting. So Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru [Bg. 18.65], and this Dr. Radhakrishnan says, “It is not to the Kṛṣṇa person.” Just see. Just a big scholar, doctor of philosophy, he cannot understand Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says directly, man-manā bhava mad-bhaktaḥ [Bg. 9.34]. He is interpreting in a different way.

Therefore this word is used here, hṛṣīkeśa. Hṛṣīkeśam idaṁ vākyam…, hṛṣīkeśam tadā vākyam idam āha mahī-pate [Bg. 1.20]. Mahī-pate, “O King.” Sañjaya was addressing Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He’s a king. So mahī-pate. Hṛṣīkeśaṁ kapi-dhvajaḥ. Kapi-dhvajaḥ is nominative. So “He said.” Kapi-dhvajaḥ. Kapi-dhvajaḥ is also significant. Kapi-dhvajaḥ, Arjuna, on his… Just like nowadays also, every nation has different types of flags, so Arjuna also had his flag on the… Dhvajaḥ. Dhvajaḥ means the flag. The flag was on the top of his chariot, and it was marked with Hanumān, Vajrāṅgajī—Vajrāṅgajī, Hanumān, who fought for Lord Rāmacandra. He is fighting for Kṛṣṇa, so he is also following the footsteps of Vajrāṅgajī.

Vaiṣṇavism is like that. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. Vaiṣṇava should follow his previous mahājana, authority. That is Vaiṣṇavism. We don’t manufacture ideas. We don’t commit such rascaldom. We simply accept the behavior or the activities of previous ācārya. There is no difficulty. There is no difficulty.

So in the fighting principle, Arjuna is fighting for Kṛṣṇa. He is following the previous fighting ācārya, Hanumānji. Therefore he has depicted his flag with Hanumān, that “Hanumānji, Vajrāṅgajī, kindly help me.” This is Vaiṣṇavism. “I have come here to fight for Lord Kṛṣṇa. You fought also for the Lord. Kindly help me.” This is the idea. Kapi-dhvajaḥ. So any activities of the Vaiṣṇava, they should always pray to the previous ācārya, “Kindly help me. Kindly…” This is…, Vaiṣṇava is always thinking himself helpless. Helpless. And begging help from the previous ācārya.

Just like in Caitanya-caritāmṛta you will find, the author, at the end of every chapter:

śrī rūpa-raghunātha-pade yāra āśa
caitanya-caritāmṛta kahe kṛṣṇadāsa
[Cc. Ādi 1.110]

His every line, he is thinking of Rūpa-Raghunātha, previous ācāryas. “So let me surrender to the gosvāmīs, and they will help me how to write.” You cannot write. That is not possible.

So this is Vaiṣṇava’s policy. Vaiṣṇava ṭhākura, tomāra kukkura, baliyā janaha more [Śaraṇāgati 19]. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung, “My dear Vaiṣṇava ṭhākura, you just accept me as your dog, as the dog works by the indication of the master.” He will give his life. Dog has a good qualification: however a strong dog may be, when the master orders, he will give his life. This is dog, faithful, so faithful to the master. So vaiṣṇava ṭhākura…

So Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura is praying, vaiṣṇava ṭhākura, tomāra kukkura, baliyā janaha more: “My dear Vaiṣṇava ṭhākura”—Vaiṣṇava ṭhākura means guru—“kindly accept me as your dog.” And he describes, I forget the exact language, that “I will always try to protect you. As dog keep watch, so I will watch so nobody can come to disturb you. And whatever little prasādam you will give me, I’ll be satisfied.” Dog… That dog’s qualification. The master is eating, but the dog will never come, unless the master gives little morsel. He is satisfied. He is satisfied.

So this is Vaiṣṇavism, to follow the previous ācārya. This is Vaiṣṇavism. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186], dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyāṁ mahājano yena gataḥ… Tarko ‘pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnā [Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.117]. Tarko, if you are very great logician, you can argue, “Oh, why Kṛṣṇa can be God? I can be God.” By logic you may defeat an ignorant devotee, but śāstra says by becoming a big logician, you cannot understand transcendental knowledge. Transcendental knowledge you have to understand by submitting, praṇipātena, tad viddhi praṇipātena [Bg. 4.34]. First of all surrender. Tad viddhi. If you want to know this transcendental science, then you must fully surrender. This is first qualification. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā. Three things. First surrender; then if you cannot understand, then you question.

Otherwise, you have no right to question from a Vaiṣṇava. Not that “Can you show me God?” What qualification you have got, you want to see God? Another rascal will say, “Yes, I will show you God. Come to me. I shall show you God.” This is going on. One rascals inquires, “Can you show me God?” and the big rascal says, “Yes, come to me alone. I shall show you God.” This business is going on. God-seeing is so cheap thing that any rascal comes, “Can you show me God?” and another rascal says, “Yes, come to me. In the evening I shall show you.” That means if he is a foolish rascal, then he will show him something magic, and he will understand, “Oh, I have seen God.” That’s all. Finished. God-seeing business is finished. And he comes… After God-seeing, he is the same, the same rascal. What improvement you have… You have seen God. What improvement you have made? God-seeing is so cheap thing? No.

So we should be very careful. If we actually are interested in understanding… Manuṣyāṇāṁ. It is not so easy. In the Bhagavad-gītā you will find. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye [Bg. 7.3]. Out of many millions of person, kaścid yatati siddhaye, one person becomes interested how to make his life successful. Because they do not know what is successful life. They simply know how to work like hogs and dogs, day and night working. And what is the goal of life? Now, sense gratification. Just like the hogs. Hogs, you will find, day and night finding out where is stool. And he will eat. And as soon as the hogs become very fatty, because they eat actually very substantial…

Stool is chemically very substantial food. It contains hydrophosphites. The doctors said. I do not know whether they have tasted. [laughter]. But they taste it actually. When they test in laboratory, they taste. I know that. They taste it. They have to taste it. Because their laboratory, chemical examination means the symptoms has to be written, the characteristics. Just like potassium cyanide they have not tasted. Because as soon as you taste, you will die. [laughter]

So chemical analysis means one has to test to find out the characteristic. So this I have seen, one doctor friend, he was keeping one dysentery stool in a plate, so…, on his table. I saw. “What is this, doctor?” He said, “Oh, it is to be tasted… It is dysentery stool”. So they taste it. They have to. They take fish… Everyone, medical men, know. So this hog’s business is to eat stool, and as soon as he gets fatty, then sex. And that sex has no discrimination. You will see, a hogs, he does not care whether mother, sister or anyone, daughter. It doesn’t matter. So this is hog civilization—simply eating and getting strength of the senses and enjoy it.

This human life is not meant for that purpose. Therefore it is said that a person without God consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is no better than these dogs and hogs. That’s all. This is our conclusion. We don’t give any formal respect. Of course, we have to give, because we are in this world. But at heart we cannot give respect to a person who has not any sense of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We cannot give. Because who is going to give any respect to the dogs and hogs? Śva-viḍ-varāhoṣṭra-kharaiḥ saṁstutaḥ puruṣaḥ paśuḥ [SB 2.3.19].

Therefore Jīva Gosvāmī has commented on this verse… If somebody says that “This Mr. Such-and-such, this Dr. Such-and-such, he is respected by so many people, and you are saying that he’s a rascal? What is this?” So Jīva Gosvāmī says that “This man who is respected, but he is respected by whom? He is respected by this class of men: dogs, hogs, camel and asses. So he is a big paśu.

Just like the lion. Lion is respected in the forest by dogs, hogs, camel and asses and other animals, because lion is the king of the animals. But does it mean, because he is designated as the king of animal, it has got any use? Has it got any use for any purpose? Similarly, these political leaders, they may be lion, but who respects them? These dogs, hogs, camels and asses, that’s all. He may be a big animal, but he is animal, no better than a big animal. That’s all. And other animals praises—dogs, hogs, camels.

Every word in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavata we have to… We have described why especially these animals have been selected, dogs, hogs, camel and asses. A dog is very faithful to his master. He will commit so many offenses for the sake of the master. Because he knows, “The master gives me food.” So in your country, if you pass through one’s house, from within the house they will bark, “Ba! Ba! Ba! Ba! Why you are going in front of my house?” This is committing offense, committing offense unnecessarily.

So the dog’s business: one side, he is very faithful, and one side, he is simply committing offense, unnecessarily frightening other people, you see. Unnecessarily, without any offense. And dog’s another business is that he is seeking always master. Unless he finds out a good master, it is a street dog and it has no place. It has no place. It will not get sufficient food, become lean and thin, and loiter in the street. Because dog must find out… Śūdra-like. Śūdra, unless he finds out a master to provide him, his all education is useless.

Nowadays they are educated, but they must have a good service. That means he’s a śūdra. Without finding a master, his education has no value. So therefore in the śāstra it is said, kalau śūdrā sambhavāḥ. Kalau, “In this age, Kali-yuga, everyone is śūdra.” Because he cannot even live without having a master. He must have a master to provide him. But the Vedic culture is that brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, they will not accept any service. No. They will die of starvation. Especially brāhmaṇa. That is enjoined in the śāstras, that a brāhmaṇa, if he is in bad position some way or other, economically, he may accept the position of a kṣatriya or a vaiśya, but he should not accept the position of a śūdra. That is doggish. This is so injunction.

Therefore, formerly a brāhmaṇa, when he accepts a service from anywhere, he was rejected from the brāhmaṇa society. You know Sanātana Gosvāmī. Sanātana Gosvāmī, Rūpa Gosvāmī, they belonged to a very high class brāhmaṇa, Sarasvata brāhmaṇa, very rich men. But both the brothers accepted service in Muhammadan government as ministers, and they were immediately rejected from the brāhmaṇa society. It is not very long ago; say, about five hundred years ago. The brāhmaṇa society was so strong. As soon as they will accept service… You know, the Tagore family of Calcutta, Rabindranath Tagore, they are also brāhmaṇas. But we know, in our childhood, they were also excommunicated from the brāhmaṇa family because they also accepted service.

So these are Vedic principles. If we follow… The brāhmaṇa will not accept anyone’s service. That is against. Similarly, kṣatriya. Kṣatriya… Why this fight between Arjuna? They made them bereft of the kingdom. So they appealed to Duryodhana that “My dear Duryodhana, you are my brother, you have taken all our properties. So we are kṣatriya. We are not going to become vaiśya or brāhmaṇa. We must live. Give us at least five villages, five brothers. We shall be satisfied. There is no question of war.” “No, sir. Not even the land which can hold the point of needle I cannot spare. There is no way.” Therefore there was fight. There was fight.

So these are the some of the glorious points of this fight. But he depended on Kṛṣṇa, Arjuna. Therefore he was successful, victorious. You do, act, as kṣatriya. Not that as kṣatriya he should become a brāhmaṇa beggar. No. A kṣatriya cannot be beggar, neither a brāhmaṇa cannot be vaiśya. This is real caste system. But you work as a cobbler and at the same time you claim to become a brāhmaṇa, this is not allowed. So formerly, the king used to see whether a brāhmaṇa is acting like a brāhmaṇa. Otherwise he will be stopped. Then he will be designated as he is working. This was the duty of the king, to see that everyone is employed according to his profession. It was the duty of the king to see. Everyone must be employed. A brāhmaṇa must be working like a brāhmaṇa. A kṣatriya must be working like a kṣatriya. A vaiśya must be working as a… Otherwise he cannot say.

Not like at the present moment, a brāhmaṇa is working a servant, a śūdra, and he is brāhmaṇa. No. This is called asuric varṇāśrama. Varṇāśrama. Varṇāśrama is very good institution. But still, varṇāśrama, perfect varṇāśrama, cannot be possible in this age. Therefore when there was talk between Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rāmānanda Rāya that how perfection of life can be attained, so Rāmaṇanada Raya first of all quoted a verse from Viṣṇu Purāṇa [3.8.9]:

varṇāśramācāravatā
puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate puṁsāṁ
nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam
[Cc. Madhya 8.58]

That “When human society accepts this varṇāśrama institution—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vana…” This is Vedic civilization. Without this division, there is no civilization. They are animals. So therefore he quoted this verse, varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān: “If anyone is following the principles of varṇāśrama, then he is worshiping Lord Viṣṇu.” Because the whole life is meant for worshiping Viṣṇu. The present civilization, they do not know that. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum [SB 7.5.31]. They do not know, rascals, that what is the aim of life. Aim of life is to become Vaiṣṇava, servant of Viṣṇu. Therefore the very word is used hṛṣīkeśa. Hṛṣīkeśa, He is the guide. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ‘rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61].

So Arjuna was strictly following the Vaiṣṇava principles, and therefore he inquired from Hṛṣīkeśa, because he knows, “The Hṛṣīkeśa will guide me.” Sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo [Bg. 15.15]. Hṛdi sanniviṣṭo. Mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca. So Arjuna knew it. Therefore this very word is used. The other day, also, hṛṣīkeśa word was there. And bhakti means to satisfy Hṛṣīkeśa. This is bhakti. Hṛṣikena hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Bhakti, this is the simple definition of bhakti. Hṛṣīkena. Hṛṣīka means the senses. As you have got hands, legs, eyes, ears… These are different senses. When you engage your senses only for the service of Kṛṣṇa, then you become devotee. That’s all. Your life is perfect.

You simply see Kṛṣṇa nicely decorated in the temple. That is bhakti. You simply prepare foodstuff for Kṛṣṇa. That is bhakti. You simply chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. That is bhakti. In this way we can utilize all the senses. We can utilize our hands in collecting flowers, in cleansing the temple. If we haven’t got education, ignorant, it doesn’t require. Simply engage your senses, hṛṣīkena hṛṣīkeśa-sevanam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Then you become perfect.

You have got your senses. Engage the senses for the service of Kṛṣṇa. Then you become perfect. Very nice thing. You don’t require to become a very big philosopher, very rich man, very nicely educated. Nothing of the sort. Simply you have got your senses. Engage the senses in the service of Kṛṣṇa, your life is perfect.

Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Devotees: All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. [end]

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