Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Appearance Day Lecture

Type:
Lecture
Date:
March 2
Year:
1975
Place:
Atlanta

Prabhupāda: …auspicious day, hundred and one years ago, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, he appeared on this day. So Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is gaura-śakti. Gaura-śakti means empowered, empowered by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He wanted His mission to be broadcast… [sound of banging] [aside:] What is that sound? …all over the world. He desired:

pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi-grāma
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma
[CB Antya-khaṇḍa 4.126]

Pṛthivīte, all over the world, as many towns and villages are there, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu predicted that His mission will be spread. This prediction was made by Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally five hundred years ago.

So perhaps my Guru Mahārāja, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, attempted to fulfill the desire of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. And sometimes in the year 1918, he was brahmacārī, and Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, his material father, he wanted… Actually, he wanted, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. Of course, everyone wanted. But he wrote one small book, Teachings of Lord Caitanya…, Teachings and Precepts of Lord Caitanya, in 1896. And he presented that book to the McGill University in Canada. And he very much desired that the foreigners, especially Americans, would join this movement. That was his desire in 1896. And then, in 1918, my Guru Mahārāja started with this mission one institution known as Gauḍīya Math. Perhaps some of you know the name Gauḍīya Math. And he was trying to spread this message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and by chance or by prediction, as you think, I was taken to Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura by one of my friends. I did not want to go there, but he forcibly took me there. Yes. And he ordered me that “You preach the cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu in English language. This is very much essential.” On the first meeting he told me like that. That was my first meeting with him. So at that time I was in favor of Gandhi’s movement. So I said that “We are not independent—subjugated. Who will hear about our message?” So Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura refuted my argument. I was very much pleased. I had so many talks. But I was very much pleased to be defeated, that “This so-called nationalism or any ‘ism,’ they are all temporary. Real need is the self-realization.”

So I was convinced. But at that time, although he wanted me to immediately join him and spread this movement, so at that time I was a married man, young man. I was married in 1918. And I got a son also at that time, 1921. And in 1922 I met him. At that time I was manager in a big chemical factory. So I thought that “I am married man. I have got so many responsibilities. How I can join immediately? It is not my duty.” Of course, that was my mistake. I should have joined immediately. [laughter] I should have taken the opportunity immediately. But māyā is there. So I thought like that. So that’s a long history. Then in 1954…, no, not 1954, 1968, when I was fifty-four years old… Nineteen hundred fifty-four, yes. Nineteen hundred fifty-four, I was at that time fifty-eight years. So I left home, and I was living alone. Then, 1958, I took sannyāsa, and then I decided to take up the responsibility of my Guru Mahārāja. I thought that “My other Godbrothers are trying, so I am not capable to do it. They are better situated.” But somehow or other, they could not do very much, appreciative activities, in this connection.

So when I was seventy years old I decided, “Now I must do and execute the order of my Guru Mahārāja. And thus this movement was started in 1965 from New York. And I was not very much hopeful, because it is very difficult task, just opposite the European and Western culture. I came… When I first came, I had no money. So I got a free passage through some Indian steam navigation company. So I came by ship. So when I was on the ship at Boston port, Commonwealth port, I was thinking that “I have come here. I do not know what is the purpose, because how the people will accept this movement? They are differently educated, and as soon as I’ll say, ‘So, my dear sir, you have to give up meat-eating and illicit sex and no intoxication and gambling,’ they will say, ‘Please go home.’ ” [laughter]

Because that was the experience of one of my Godbrother. He went to London, and he had the opportunity to talk with one big man, Marquis of Zetland. Marquis of Zetland was formerly governor of Bengal. At that time I was student. He was Scotsman, and I was student of the Scottish Churches’ College. So he came to see our college, and he was standing in front of me in the second-year class. So he was very nice, good gentleman. So he proposed to my Godbrother, “Whether you can make me a brāhmaṇa?” So my Godbrother proposed, “Yes, we can make anyone brāhmaṇa provided you follow this principle: no illicit sex, no intoxication, no meat-eating, no gambling.” So that Lord Zetland immediately replied, “Impossible.” [laughter] So I was thinking that “I will propose something which is impossible. Anyway, let me try.”

Devotees: Jaya! Haribol!

Prabhupāda: So now, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa and Caitanya Mahāprabhu and in the presence of my Guru Mahārāja, you are so nice boys and girls. So in front of Caitanya Mahāprabhu you are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and you are taking part in it very seriously. So my Guru Mahārāja will be very, very much pleased upon you and bless you with all benefits. [break]

So he wanted this, and he is not… It is not that he is dead and gone. That is not spiritual understanding. Even ordinary living being, he does not die. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg. 2.20]. And what to speak of such exalted, authorized personality like Bhaktisiddhānta. He is seeing. I never feel that I am alone. Of course, when I came to your country without any friend, without any means… Practically, just like a vagabond I came. But I had full faith that “My Guru Mahārāja is with me.” I never lost this faith. And that is fact. There are two words, vāṇī and vapuḥ. Vānī means words, and vapuḥ means this physical body. So vāṇī is more important than the vapuḥ. Vapuḥ will be finished. This is material body. It will be finished. That is the nature. But if we keep to the vāṇī, to the words of spiritual master, then we remain very fixed up. It doesn’t matter.

Just like Bhagavad-gītā. It was spoken five thousand years ago. But if you keep to the words of Kṛṣṇa, then it is always fresh and guiding. Not that because Arjuna personally listened to Kṛṣṇa about the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā, therefore he knew it. That is not the fact. If you accept Bhagavad-gītā as it is, then you should know that Kṛṣṇa is present before you in His words in the Bhagavad-gītā. This is called spiritual realization. It is not mundane historical incidences. If we keep…

evaṁ paramparā-prāptam
imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ
sa kāleneha
yogo naṣṭaḥ parantapa
[Bg. 4.2]

If you don’t keep in touch with the original link, then it will be lost. And if you keep touch with the original link, then you are directly hearing Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s representative, spiritual master, if you keep always intact, in link with the words and instruction of the superior authorities, then you are always fresh. This is spiritual understanding. Na jāyate na mrīyate vā kadācit nityaḥ śāśvato ‘yaṁ purāṇo [Bg. 2.20]. Purāṇaḥ means very old. Just like Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Being, He must be very old because He is the original person. But the Brahma-saṁhitā says, advaita acyuta anādi ananta-rūpam ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣa nava-yauvanaṁ ca [Bs. 5.33]. Purāṇa-puruṣa, the oldest person, but you will find Him nava-yauvanaṁ ca, always a fresh youth. That is God. God is not a material, that it gets old. The body gets old.

So you are hearing this philosophy daily. Try to understand more and more. We have got so many books. And this is the mission of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and, by disciplic succession, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, then my spiritual master. Then we are trying our level best. Similarly, you will also try your level best on the same principle. Then it will go on. Same principle. It doesn’t matter whether one is born in India or outside India. No. When Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi-grāma [CB Antya-khaṇḍa 4.126], “As many towns and cities and villages are there,” He did not say it to make a farce. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

So sometimes I am very much criticized that I am making foreigners a brāhmaṇa. The caste brāhmaṇas in India, they are very much against me. But this is not fact. When Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that all over the world His message will be broadcast, does it mean that it will be simply a cinema show? No. He wanted that everyone should become perfect Vaiṣṇava. That is His purpose. It is not to make a farce—some lecturing and…, or some mutual praising society. No. It is Kṛṣṇa Society. Everyone who will join this Kṛṣṇa Society movement, he is more than a brāhmaṇa. Brāhmaṇa, what is brāhmaṇa? Brāhmaṇa is also material. A devotee is more than brāhmaṇa. The brahminical culture is included already. Brahma jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ:Brāhmaṇa means one who knows the Absolute Truth, Brahman.“ He is brāhmaṇa. But that is not very fixed up. Brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate [SB 1.2.11]. Brahman is impersonal effulgence, and then further progress, realization of the localized aspect, Paramātmā, Antaryāmī, and finally, understanding the Supreme Person, Kṛṣṇa. Supreme Person, that is the final understanding.

So people cannot understand that how the Supreme, the origin of everything, can be a person. That is their difficulty. Because they are thinking, “A person God? How it is possible? God is great, and He is the creator of everything. How a person can do that?” Yes. That is the Vedic version.

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam
[Bs. 5.1]

He is the cause of Brahman. He is the cause of Supersoul. So ordinary man cannot understand. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣiṁ tanum āśritam [Bg. 9.11]. It requires Kṛṣṇa’s grace to understand Him.

So try to receive Kṛṣṇa’s grace through the disciplic succession, Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Then you will understand everything. Yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā deve tathā gurau [ŚU 6.23]. This is the process, Vedic process. One should have unflinching faith in God and spiritual master. Don’t jump over God, crossing the spiritual master. Then it will be failure. You must go through. We are observing Vyāsa-pūjā ceremony, the birth anniversary of our Guru Mahārāja. Why? We cannot understand Kṛṣṇa without spiritual master. That is bogus. If anyone wants to understand Kṛṣṇa, jumping over the spiritual master, then immediately he becomes a bogus. Therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, guru-kṛṣṇa-kṛpāya pāya bhakti-latā-bīja [Cc. Madhya 19.151]. That is Vedic injunction. Tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā [Bg. 4.34]. Nobody can understand Kṛṣṇa without going through His most confidential servant. This is the meaning of this Vyāsa-pūjā. You cannot surpass. If you think that you have become very learned and very advanced, now you can avoid the spiritual master and you understand Kṛṣṇa, that is the bogus. That is the meaning of this Vyāsa-pūjā ceremony. We should always pray, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ. Yasya prasādād: only by the grace of spiritual master we can achieve the grace or mercy of Kṛṣṇa. This is the meaning of this Vyāsa-pūjā, offering obeisances by paramparā system.

So you have taken a very nice line of activities, spiritual activities. Of course, as far as possible, we have tried to give you instruction, books. But remain always faithful to the spiritual master and try to understand Kṛṣṇa. And if you simply understand Kṛṣṇa, then your life is successful. Janma karma ca divyaṁ me yo jānāti tattvataḥ [Bg. 4.9]. The human life is meant for understanding Kṛṣṇa. That is the perfection of life. Any other so-called understanding, that is simply waste of time, because we are under the grip of the material nature. You may be very learned scholar. You may be a fool. It doesn’t matter. You are under the laws of material nature. So before finishing this small span of life… We have got this human form of life. It will be finished, as the cats’ and dogs’ life also finished. But if we try through the guru and Vaiṣṇava, then we can achieve in this life the full success, not failure like cats’ and dogs’ life. That is the opportunity.

So as far as possible, we are trying to lead you in this line, and you kindly follow. Then your life will be successful. That is the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He wanted to deliver these fallen souls, the conditioned souls rotting in this material world. So Kṛṣṇa Himself… Kṛṣṇa comes Himself, Kṛṣṇa sends His devotees, Kṛṣṇa comes as devotee—just to execute this mission to reclaim the fallen souls from the clutches of illusory energy, material world.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda. [end]

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