Lecture Delivered at Mexico on February 11, 1975
sri bhagavan uvaca
asocyan anvasocas tvam
prajna-vadams ca bhashase
gatasun agatasums ca
Sri bhagavan uvaca. Bhagavan means the Supreme Being. In the English dictionary when you consult the word God, it is stated there, "the Supreme Being." What is that Supreme Being? We are all living being, but amongst ourself there is comparative, superlative positions. I am here; you are here; he is there. So you may be better than me, he may be better than you, and somebody else may be better than him. In this way you go on searching after one better than the other. When you ultimately come to a point that nobody is better then him, that is Bhagavan.
Bhaga means opulence. So there are six kinds of opulences. One opulence is to become very rich, another opulence is to become very powerful, another opulence is to become very strong, another opulence is to become very famous, another opulence is to become very wise, and another opulence is to become very much renounced. So these six kinds of opulences, when present in the superlative degree, that is Bhagavan. This means, as it is stated in the Vedic literature, na tasya samah adhikas ca drisyate: "Nobody is found equal to Him or greater than Him." In this material world any person you take, next moment you'll find somebody equal to him and somebody greater than him. But the Vedic information is: God means who has no equal and who has no greater person than Him. Actually Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Krishna, and here it is said, bhagavan uvaca. So Bhagavan, the Supreme God, means Krishna. That is the statement in all Vedic literature.
isvarah paramah krishnah
anadir adir govindah
Means that isvara, controller, the supreme controller is Krishna. We are also controller. I control a few people, you control a few men, another control more men, another, more men, or... You can go on. But the supreme controller, who controls everyone, all big controllers, that is Krishna. Therefore, when it is said, bhagavan uvaca, that means the version which is presented herewith was spoken by the supreme controller.
So our process of receiving knowledge is from the supreme controller because, according to the definition already given—wise, the most wise—Krishna, or Bhagavan, is the most wise. Therefore, if we receive knowledge from the most wise, then there is no flaw. That is our principle, that we are receiving from Krishna, the supreme controller, directly. Just like when there is some misunderstanding, we take help from the law books because in the law book or in the law court, the decision is obligatory to both the parties. So to give knowledge there are many, many parties, but when we receive knowledge from the Supreme, that is all-inclusive. So here Krishna says, asocyan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhashase [Bg. 2.11]. Arjuna has accepted the guidance of Krishna. He has said previously that "The position is very perplexing. Therefore I accept You as my spiritual master, and You kindly give me enlightenment." This is the process. We should approach the Supreme or the representative of the Supreme, just like the same example: when there is any controversy, we refer to the law book or to the lawyer, or we take the decision of the law court, and that is final.
So here Krishna says to Arjuna that... Because he has accepted the leadership of Krishna, therefore Krishna is chastising him in this way. He is chastising in this way, that Arjuna was talking with Krishna as friends. So friends means equal status, but he gave up that status. He took the status of a disciple. A disciple means who voluntarily agrees to be disciplined by the spiritual master. When one becomes disciple, he cannot disobey the order of the spiritual master. Sishya. Sishya, this word, comes from the root sas-dhatu, means "I accept your ruling." So previously Arjuna has accepted, sishyas te 'ham sadhi mam prapannam: [Bg. 2.7] "I am now surrendered to You, and I agree voluntarily to accept Your ruling." This is the relationship between the spiritual master and the disciple. So we have got ten kinds of offenses in chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. So the first offense is guror avajna, means to disobey the orders of guru, spiritual master. One cannot disobey the orders of guru. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, although He is Krishna Himself, he also says, guru more murkha dekhi' karila sasana: [Cc. Ädi 7.71] "My guru, My spiritual master, saw Me a fool, and therefore he has chastised Me." So therefore Krishna... Because Arjuna has accepted Krishna as guru, therefore He is chastising him that "You are lamenting on a subject matter which is not done by any learned man." That means "You are not a learned man. You are fool." "The learned man does not do like this"—that means "You are not learned man because you are doing this." So Krishna said that "You... Practically you are not in the knowledge of things. Still, you are lamenting on the bodily concept of life." Anyone who accepts this body as self, he is not only unlearned, but he is compared with the animal. That is the statement in the Vedic literature,
yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke
sva-dhih kalatradishu bhauma ijya-dhih
yat-tirtha-buddhih salile na karhicij
janeshv abhijneshu sa eva go-kharah
Go means cow, and khara means ass. So anyone who accepts this body as self, he is animal, he is not human being. That is the beginning of knowledge. People are accepting knowledge from a school, college, university, but at the present moment at least, how many people know that he is not body? Unless we understand this first principle of knowledge, there is no question of spiritual advancement of life. So the beginning of Bhagavad-gita is to give lesson that we are not this body. It will be later on explained that the spirit soul, or the real person, is within this body. Just like we are here. We are within this shirt and coat, but we are not the shirt and coat. So if the shirt and coat is stolen and if somebody becomes mad after it and lamenting, that is not very good sense. Therefore He is saying that asocyan anvasocas tvam: [Bg. 2.11] "You are lamenting on the subject matter which is never done by any learned man." So we shall go further on? Yes? Read, you, purport in Spanish. [break]
Hridayananda: (translating question from Spanish) ...one does not follow the instructions of guru.
Prabhupada: Then he's misguided. A ship without rudder, or without captain. A ship without captain.
Hridayananda: (translating) He wants to know why Lord Caitanya is not mentioned in the Bhagavatam with the other incarnations.
Prabhupada: He has not mentioned, but Bhagavata has mentioned. No, you don't bring any other question. You talk about this, which we have lectured. In this way, if you bring other question, that is not... We are discussing one verse. You can put question on this, not irrelevant question. Of course, that is not irrelevant, but not in connection with these verses. So question means in connection with this verse.
Hridayananda: (translating) How can we understand the guru?
Prabhupada: How do you understand? When you go for treatment to a physician, how do you understand that here is a physician? How do you understand? Tell me?
Hridayananda: He says by the title and reputation.
Prabhupada: Yes. Some way or other, you know that he is a physician. So similarly, you have to find out guru. Guru... First of all, who requires a guru? That is the question. Because guru is not a fashion... The... It is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, tasmad gurum prapadyeta: [SB 11.3.21] "On account of this, you should go to a guru." What is that account? Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam: "One who is very much inquisitive to know about spiritual affair, he requires a guru." Spiritual affair means that... We are in this material world. We are suffering. When the question will come in one's mind, "Why I am suffering?" that is spiritual. Just like an animal is being taken to the slaughterhouse. He cannot inquire, "Why I am being taken to the slaughterhouse?" But if a man is being taken forcibly, he'll protest; he will cry; he'll call crowd. Therefore human being can inquire about spiritual affair. So when there is spiritual inquiry, then one requires a guru. And by going to guru, as it is stated, tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya [Bg. 4.34]. One has to learn by surrendering, pranipata. So first of all there must be a strong impulse to inquire about the transcendental subject matter. Then one requires a guru. Not that, to follow a fashion, that one has guru. Acaryavan purusho veda. Unless one becomes under the control of acarya, he has no perfect knowledge. Therefore the Vedas says, tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet: [MU 1.2.12] "For understanding that transcendental science, one must approach a guru." And what is the symptom of guru? Samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nishöham: Guru means one who has complete knowledge of Vedic version, and not only that, he is a staunch or fixed-up devotee of the Supreme Lord. These are the qualification. The guru strictly follows the Vedic injunction and teaches the same thing to his disciple. That is guru. So first thing is: one must be inquisitive to understand about the spiritual subject matter. Just like you have come here in this temple. You know that here nothing like political meeting is going on. Here something spiritual matter is being discussed. Therefore you have come. This inclination is the beginning of spiritual life. This is called sraddha. Sraddha means faith.
So this sraddha has to be developed further, and to develop this sraddha, or faith, one has to associate with persons who are keeping with this faith. Therefore it is said, adau sraddha tatah sadhu-saìgah: [Cc. Madhya 23.14-15] "First of all faith, then to associate with persons who are devotees and faithful..." In this way, when further development is done, then atha bhajana-kriya, means the learning the process of devotional service. [break] ...gambling, no meat-eating. These are not wanted. In the beginning of life nobody smokes or nobody becomes intoxicated. It is learned by bad association. Similarly, it can be given up by good association. They are called anarthas. Anartha means unwanted bad habits. So when we are children, innocent, we have no bad habits, but as we grow and associate with bad company, we also acquire all these bad habits. So to give up all these bad habits means we have to associate with sadhus or devotees, saintly persons. Then we can give it up. This is called anartha-nivritti, means giving up all unwanted bad habits. These things are not wanted. Nobody dies if he does not smoke or drink. Nobody dies. So artificially we learn it, so by good association we can give it up. So when we are purified out of all the bad habits, then we become fixed up in spiritual knowledge. So in this way we make advance in spiritual life, and at the last stage we become lover of God. This is the process, and one who teaches this process, he is guru. This is the definition of guru.
Prabhupada: I do not know what you said. What he said?
Devotee: Devotee is compassionate to the sufferings of others.
Prabhupada: What is that? I cannot follow.
Paramahamsa: There's a tendency for someone who hears this verse to think that one should become callous to the sufferings of others.
Prabhupada: Where it is?
Paramahamsa: Well, there's a tendency to misunderstand it in that way.
Prabhupada: No, when we are teaching, it is because the people are suffering on account of ignorance. Therefore we are teaching. How we are callous? We are not callous; we are very much sympathetic to give them knowledge. How do you say? The devotees are not callous. Why they are touring all over the world, accepting so much trouble, opposition? Because they are very much sympathetic with the people who are suffering out of ignorance. They are the most sympathetic friend of the human society. So this is not true that they are callous. So any other question?
Hridayananda: (translating) If we've already committed so many offenses to chanting, now, at this point, how can we purify ourselves?
Prabhupada: If you... You don't commit offense. Why do you voluntarily commit offense? You should not commit offense. Then it will be all right, purified.
Hridayananda: (translating) He wants to know how we can increase our desire for saìkirtana.
Prabhupada: By performing saìkirtana. Just like if a man drinks and if he drinks, drinks, then you become a drunkard. (laughter) Drink more and you become drunkard. Similarly, chant more and you become perfect chanter.
Hridayananda: (translating) He wants to know if the greatest offense is to disobey the guru.
Prabhupada: Yes, that is the first offense. Guror avajna, sruti-sastra-nindanam. Sruti-sastra-nindanam guror avajna. If you accept guru and again disobey him, then what is your position? You are not a gentleman. You promise before guru, before Krishna, before fire, that "I shall obey your order; I shall execute this," and again you do not do this. Then you are not even a gentleman, what to speak about devotee. This is common sense.
Prabhupada: You cannot understand? What is that?
Hridayananda: A devotee, how can he control his tongue?
Prabhupada: He can take prasadam. (laughter) Bhaktivinoda Öhakura has said like that, ta'ra madhye jihwa ati, lobhamoy sudurmati, ta'ke jeta kaöhina samsare: "Out of all the senses, the tongue sense is very powerful. So it is very difficult to control it." So he says, ta'ra madhye jihwa ati, lobhamoy sudurmati: "The tongue is very greedy and very difficult to be controlled. Therefore Krishna has given us one weapon." What is that? Krishna bario doyamoy, koribare jihwa jay, swa-prasad-anna dilo bhai: "Krishna is very kind. Therefore He has given us His remnants of foodstuff." So if we make this promise, that "I shall not take anything which is not offered to Krishna," then your tongue will be controlled. And in the sastra it is said that you cannot understand Krishna... Atah sri-krishna-namadi. Not only Krishna, even His name you cannot understand with these imperfect senses.
na bhaved grahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah
[Cc. Madhya 17.136]
"But when you engage your tongue in the service of Krishna, then Krishna reveals Himself." So the tongue's business is twofold. One is with tongue we speak—it vibrates sound—and another business is with tongue we taste nice foodstuff. So if you engage this tongue in the matter of Krishna's service by vibrating Hare Krishna mantra, and if you don't allow your tongue to touch anything which is not offered to Krishna, then you become immediately Krishna-realized soul. So when the tongue is controlled, all other senses are automatically controlled. This is the process. Now again engage your tongue, chanting Hare Krishna. (end)