Brazil. January 16, 2016 – Advent of Shrimad Bhagavad-gita
Watch this class here
Have many of you heard of the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita? I will speak on this today. The Shrimad Bhagavad-gita is called, ‘one part of Mahabharatam’. In the Mahabharatam, Bhishma–parva, chapters 42 to 60 are called the Bhagavad-gita, there 18 chapters there. The essence of all the Vedas, Puranas, and Upanishadas, is contained in the Bhagavad-gita. ‘Sarvopanishado gavo’. In the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, Krishna gave many instructions to Arjuna. In the 18 chapters found in this book, Krishna also discusses 18 types of yoga. What does yoga mean? The way one can connect with the Lord. Yoga means connection. Conditioned souls have forgotten the Lord. How will they again become connected with the Lord?
kṛṣṇa bhuli’ sei jīva anādi-bahirmukha
ataeva māyā tāre deya saṁsāra-duḥkha
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 20.117)
[Forgetting Krishna, the living entity has been attracted by the external feature from time immemorial. Therefore, the illusory energy [māyā] gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence.]
One characteristic of conditioned souls is they have forgotten Krishna. For this regard, they are wandering in the same cycle of repeated birth and death. Maya, which is the illusory potency of Krishna, is giving us so much punishment. The Shrimad Bhagavad-gita discusses all of these topics, it also discusses about the soul. What is the nature of the soul? What is the nature of this body? What is the nature of the mind? These topics are explained first. For this reason, I am always reminding you, again and again, we are not this body, we are the soul. While the soul is residing in the body, the body is working. One day this body will inevitably be destroyed. This is the truth. We cannot conquer death.
jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
[tasmād aparihārye ’rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi]
[One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.]
One who takes birth in this material world will die. This body is created and one day this body will be destroyed. But the soul is eternal and transcendental. So in the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna speaks on these topics.
na jāyate mriyate [vā kadācin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre]
[For the soul there is neither birth nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being, and will not come into being. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.]
‘Na jāyate mriyate’. The atma, the soul never takes birth and also never perishes. ‘Ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ’yaṁ purāṇo na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre’. No one can kill the soul. ‘Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre’. The atma travels from one body to another. We are occupying this body according to our previous karma. When that karma–phal, fruit of our action is finished, we will automatically give this body up and enter another body again.
vāsāṁsi jīrṇāni yathā vihāya
navāni gṛhṇāti naro ’parāṇi
[tathā śarīrāṇi vihāya jīrṇāny
anyāni saṁyāti navāni dehī]
[As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.]
Our bodies are like clothes. When our clothes become old, we acquire new ones. How many months are you using your clothes? Maybe 5 to 10 months. (Devotee answers: “Six to eight months.”) Six to eight months, but no more than one one year. Then after a year you will change your clothes and get new clothes. You will not always wear the exact same cloth also. There will be many cloths, in different colors. Some will be red, white or black. In the same way, what does the atma, the soul do? The soul is always changing bodies. So in conclusion, this body is like clothing. When this body becomes old, the soul automatically gives it up and enters a new one. This is known as the repeated cycle of birth and death. In this way, we are all wandering the same cycle of repeated birth and death and doing these same things. According to our karma, we sometimes go to upper planets or go towards the lower planets. In this way, all of us wander the same cycle. But extremely fortunate living entities wandering in this cycle, will take shelter on the lotus feet of guru and sadhus; they will listen to their advice, do bhajana and sadhana and go to Goloka Vrindavana.
brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.151)
[According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.]
mālī hañā kare sei bīja āropaṇa
śravaṇa-kīrtana-jale karaye secana
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 19.151-152)
[When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of shravana and kīrtana [hearing and chanting], the seed will begin to sprout.]
The aforementioned verse in the Chaitanya-charitamrita states, “Wandering in the cycle of repeated birth and death, extremely fortunate living entities will take shelter on the lotus feet of a bona fide guru.” Then by chanting the holy names and doing bhajana and sadhana, they will reach Goloka Vrindavana. But here Krishna also tells Arjuna, “Not everyone can perform bhajana and sadhana.” There are four types of people that can practice devotional service to Lord. First, those who have spiritual pious activities, sukriti.
catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ
janāḥ su-kṛtino ’rjuna
ārto jijñāsur arthārthī
jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
[O best among the Bhāratas, four kinds of pious men begin to render devotional service unto Me – the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.]
Krishna told, “Hey Arjuna, listen. Not everyone can practice devotional service to the Lord. Only when their sukriti is matured and accumulated, will they get the association of a sadhu and listen to the advice of this sadhu. Then they will slowly, slowly perform bhajana, sadhana and attain the Lord.” So, I mentioned there are four types of people who can practice devotional service to the Lord. Who are they? Ārto, those who are suffering the distresses of maya. One may say, “Everybody is suffering the three distresses of maya.” Who is not suffering in this material world? Who is happy? Everybody is suffering three folds of maya. Ādhyātmika, ādhidaivika and ādhibhautika, we are all suffering these three folds of maya. But in this verse Krishna says, “If their sukriti, spiritual pious activities, are matured and accumulated, they will be able to perform bhajana and sadhana. Not everybody will be able to do this. If their sukriti is not matured and not accumulated, they cannot get the association of a sadhu.”
So the first type of person is called ārto. Ārto means, those who are suffering the three folds of maya. Do you understand? An example of this is Gajendra, as described in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Gajendra means elephant. Once, an elephant went to the pond with his family. Engaged in water sporting activities, they were enjoying sense gratifications in that pond. In the meantime, one crocodile caught his leg and pulled him down to the deep water. Though elephants are very powerful, their strength is nullified in the water, they cannot do anything. But still, the elephant was very powerful and they fought against each other for many years. The powerful elephant had now been fighting in the water for several years and was unable to eat anything. The crocodile was able to feed by sucking the elephant’s blood. Because of this, Gajendra, the big, powerful elephant had now become very weak.
First, all of his family members, wife and children, tried to pull him out from the water. But all of their attempts completely failed. Now the crocodile began pulling the elephant by his feet into deeper waters. The elephant’s body was almost completely submersed and he was about to die. Only his trunk remained over the water. Due to some previous sukriti, spiritual pious activities, Gajendra was able to remember the Lord. As his body was sinking into the water, he saw one flower and offered it to the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. Then Lord Vishnu appeared and with His Sudarshana chakra He first cut the head of the crocodile, then He pulled Gajendra out from the water. Then Ganjendra completely surrendered to the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. Now a question may arise. What did Ganjendra do in his previous life to earn this sukriti? In his previous life, he performed bahjana and sadhana and was now able to offer flowers on to the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu.
Actually Gajendra, in his previous life was a very powerful king. He was known as Indradyumna Maharaja. Once king Indradyumna left his house and came to the forest to worship his Thakuraji. Then a very high classed Rishi, Agastya Rishi arrived in his ashrama. But the king did not pay proper respects to the Rishi. Agastya Rishi cursed him because of this. Rishi spoke this curse to him, “Oh, you have not given respect to a sadhu. So in your next life you will become an elephant.” At that time Indradyumna Maharaja held the lotus feet of Agastya Rishi and said, “How will I be delivered from the body of this elephant?” Then Agastya Rishi replied, “Lord Vishnu will deliver you from body of this elephant.”
So in the Shrimad Bhagavad-gita, Krishna also says to Arjuna in this verse, “Catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ janāḥ su-kṛtino ’rjuna. Four types of people can worship Me. If they have sukriti, spiritual pious activities. And secondly, if they are jijñāsur, have an inquisitive mood.” This is also very important. Everyone does not have an inquisitive mood, yet it is still very important. Without an inquisitive mood, one can never develop their spiritual life. What is an inquisitive mood? You have to inquire about yourself. Who are you? Have you ever asked this question? Who am I? Am I this body or am I the mind or the soul? Who am I? Why am I coming in this material world and suffering the three folds of maya? Sanatana Goswamipada also asked this question to Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.
‘ke āmi’, ‘kene āmāya jāre tāpa-traya’
ihā nāhi jāni — ‘kemane hita haya’
(Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 20.102)
[Who am I? Why do the threefold miseries always give me trouble? If I do not know this, how can I be benefited?]
‘Кe āmi’ – Who am I? Why am I in this material world suffering the three folds of maya? How will I be delivered from this material world? The Shrimad–Bhagavatam explains these types of inquisitive moods first appeared in Shaunaka Rishi [sages] when they asked Suta Goswamipada. A simple question may then come into your heart. How will I attain peace? Because in this material world everybody is unhappy. Everyone is distressed, their minds are all disturbed. So maybe you can have asked these things. How will you attain peace and happiness? Do you want peace or not? Do you want happiness or not? The sages asked six questions. Amongst these questions, one important question was – How will we get happiness? This is also a very important issue. Because in this material world, everyone is what? Suffering, feeling unhappiness and distress, many bad things are coming. This is very important. How can one attain love and peacefulness in this material world? At that time, Suta Goswamipada gave this response –
sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
[The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.]
If you worship Lord Vishnu/Krishna, you will achieve a perfect happiness. This is the simple solution.
na sadhayati mam yogo
na sankhyam dharma uddhava
na svadhyayas tapas tyago
yatha bhaktir mamorjita
[My dear Uddhava, the unalloyed devotional service rendered to Me by My devotees brings Me under their control. I cannot be thus controlled by those engaged in mystic yoga, Sāṅkhya philosophy, pious work, Vedic study, austerity or renunciation.]
Krishna says, “No one can attain Me by performing karma, jnana, yoga, austerities/tapasyas, only by practising devotional service to Me.” So, ‘ārto jijñāsur arthārthī’. Arthārthī means those who are very eager to get wealth or money. If their sukriti, spiritual pious activities have matured, they can also perform bhajana and sadhana. An example of this is Dhruva Maharaja. The Shrimad–Bhagavatam tells the very nice and beautiful story of Dhruva Maharaja. There are also jnanis, like the four Kumaras, chatuḥsana,those who have an inquisitive mood on how to acquire knowledge. Even they cannot perform bhajana and sadhana to Krishna if their sukriti has not matured and accumulated. Many people study philosophy. But if their sukriti has not matured, they cannot perform bhajana and sadhana. They can only study and study. They only learn the Vedas, Puranas, Upanishadas or other scriptures for the sake of argument, they study just to defeat others. Many people can see there are those in this material world who have acquired a vast of knowledge. Since they have no sukriti, they do not want to engage in worshipping the Lord or doing bhajana and sadhana.
So, another question may arise. What is the meaning of sukriti? I have used this word today many times. What is sukriti? Spiritual pious activities. Some of you may be asking yourselves this question, because I have used this word, sukriti many times. The definition of sukriti is, acts related to the Lord and all of His activities. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, if you are somehow connected with these acts, you will collect sukriti. For example, earlier today someone was distributing water from the Ganges. Taking water from the Ganges and doing achamana also creates sukriti, it is a spiritual pious activity. Watering Tulasi and offering the leaves of Tulasi to the Lord also creates sukriti. Even honoring mahaprasad, the remnants of the Lord, creates sukriti. The Lord’s remnants are also very powerful. Whether you knowingly or unknowingly take the remnants of Lord, mahaprasad, your sukriti will start to mature and accumulate. Then one day, you will perform bhajana and sadhana to the Lord. Offering ghee lamps to the Lord also creates sukriti. This is because all these activities are transcendental, aprakrita.
For example, one brahmana worshipped Thakuraji with ghee lamps. One day after offering ghee, he left the lamps inside the temple. He then closed the temple and left the temple room. As the ghee wicks were about to extinguish, one rat came and attempted to eat them. When the rat bit the ghee wicks with his sharp teeth, the flame began spreading to his face. As his face began burning, he started rolling in front of Thakuraji with the ghee wick. Try to understand that our conception and the Lord’s conception are completely different. The Lord is thinking, “He is rolling in front of Me, which means he is doing arati.” Then sukriti entered his body and when the rat left his body, his soul entered the body of a very nice and beautiful princess. From her childhood, that princess spontaneously offered ghee lamps to Thakuraji. When her sukriti, spiritual pious activities, accumulated and matured, she received the association of a sadhu. Then with the association of this sadhu, Bhakti–devi manifested in her heart and she attained Goloka Vrindavana.
Our spiritual advancements are actually completely dependent on our spiritual pious activities, sukriti. Sukriti can be created in two ways. There are two types of sukriti. One is created knowingly and the other is created unknowingly. Our scriptures explain some of the ways to create sukriti is by honoring mahaprasad, the remnants of Lord or by offering water to Tulasi. All of these activities which are related to the Lord, if performed knowingly or unknowingly will create sukriti. Then you will attain bhakti. Even chanting the holy names is a spiritual pious activity, which also creates sukriti. So just chant. ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare’
Transcriber: Sanatan das (USA)
Editors: Divya Premamayi dasi (Slovakia), Sanatan das (USA)