This is the first instruction. If we want to make progress towards spiritual advancement of knowledge, this preliminary knowledge we must have, that "I am not this body. I am not this body." This is the preliminary standing of spiritual knowledge. This is not advancement. This is simply A-B-C-D, ABCD of spiritual life.
Lecture by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, New York City, March 4th, 1966.
Bhagavad-Gītā, Chapter 2 verse 11.
śrī bhagavān uvāca
aśocyān anvaśocaḥ tvam
prajñā-vādāḥ ca bhāṣase
gatasūn agatasums ca
śrī bhagavān uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; aśocyān—that which is not worthy of lamentation; anvaśocaḥ—you are lamenting; tvam—you; prajñā-vādāḥ—learned talks; ca—also; bhāṣase—speaking; gata—lost;asūn—life; agata—not past; asūn—life; ca—also; na—never; anuśocanti—lament; paṇḍitāḥ—the learned.
The Blessed Lord said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.
Prabhupāda: So Kṛṣṇa is, in this sen..., He's identified, that bhagavān. Bhagavān means that nobody can surpass His knowledge. Because I have already given the definition of bhagavān, that a personality who is in full, all the opulences—wealth, strength, fame and knowledge, beauty and renunciation—He is God. You see? So... Now, in this, at the present moment, when people are godless, I think, this definition is convincing. If you find out a personality that, one who has got in full all these opulences, He is God. Then it will be very difficult to present an ordinary man as God. You see? You'll find that in the Bhagavad-gītā, when Arjuna was convinced that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead... But because in future others will have doubt about Kṛṣṇa, he requested Kṛṣṇa that "Will You show me Your universal form?" And Kṛṣṇa agreed and showed him the universal form. That means in future any intelligent man, accepting a so-called God, may also ask him, "Just show something, that you are God." Without showing something, simply by false advertisement, one cannot be God. So whole mistake is that we do not know what is God. We consider God may be just like one of us. No. The God who is controlling such a huge affairs of universal administration, He cannot be, He is superconscious. That is superconsciousness.
Now, here, aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase (BG 2.11). Now, the whole living existence is a very subtle thing. Now, this body, this body made of earth, water, fire, air, sky, this gross body; and behind this, there is another subtle body. That is mind, intelligence and ego. So when we give up this gross body, that subtle body carries me to another gross body. So when this, this body is lifeless, that body, subtle body, is not lifeless. Just like at night, when this gross body is asleep, the subtle body works. Therefore we dream. So subtle body carries to next life. And I have given in the introduction that how one man changes his body. Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram (BG 8.6). Now, the subtle body, I mean to say, mind, intelligence and ego, when these three things, psychic life, is absorbed in a certain kind of thought, the dying man gets a similar body in the next life. The, that we shall come when we make progress in the study of Bhagavad-gītā. Just like the air passing over the rose tree carries the flavor of the rose, and the air passing over a filthy place carries the flavor of that filthy place—the air is pure, but because it is passing over certain conditions, it carries the flavor—similarly, the mind, intelligence and ego carries the flavor of our present activities to the next life. That is the subtle mystery of transmigration of the soul from one body to another. Now, if this, this life we purify just like rose, then next life we shall get a body which is full of flavor. If, if, if in this life, if we practice devotion of God, then next life is to become the associate of God. That cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu... We are transferred to that planet. You see? These are simple things. The whole thing is in my hand. If I want to be degraded, I can prepare myself in this life for such degradation in the next life. And if we want to elevate ourself to the highest perfection of life, as to become one of the associates of God, we can prepare ourself like that. You'll find in the, in the advanced chapters, that yānti deva-vratā devān pitṟn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ (BG 9.25). Now, we are trying to go to the moon planet. Now, here, in this life, if cultivate ourself for the same thought, the moon planet... That means the moon planet, about moon planet, we have to hear, and we have to think that "I shall go in such and such place." Unless you hear, you cannot abide here. Just like our friend, Mr. Cohen, he has left for California. Now, so far I am concerned, I have no idea of California. Now, he has told me that after reaching there, he'll write about the description of the place. Now, suppose if, reading that description of the place, I think of going there, so I prepare myself, "Oh, I must go there." So just like I, I was describing that cintāmaṇi-dhāma (BS 5.29), what sort of trees are there. And you were very much pleased that "I must go there." So we have to hear. Unless we hear what sort of God He is, what sort of God's place is, what is the mode of life there, we cannot be attracted. We cannot be attracted.
So here they say that gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca. There are two, two sort of bodies in which we are now entered. Now, suppose this gross body appears to be now dead and gone, stopped, but one must know that subtle body has carried him to another body. So subtle body is not lost life. The life is there. So here Kṛṣṇa says that either of the gross body or of... Subtle body has to be also left. When you get liberation, when you get liberation, that subtle body, that egoistic life, has also to be left. Now, at any condition, the body has to be left. So why one should cry for this body? Therefore Kṛṣṇa says that "A learned man does not lament over this body." The whole question, that a soul is different from this body, the whole question is solved in one verse. You see? Gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ (BG 2.11). "One who is actually learned, he does not, he has no concern of this body. He's concerned with the activities of the soul. So you are speaking of so many things that 'If these, my friends, die, the, I mean to say, their wives will become widow.' These are all... According to the bodily relation, you are speaking. And you are posing yourself just like a very learned man, but you are a fool number one because your whole conception is on the body. Your whole conception of argument with Me was on the body, but you are, you are posing himself just as if you are very learned man." So anyone who has got conception, the identification of this body, he's not a learned man. He's a fool. He may be, in the calculation of academic education, he may be B.A., M.A., Ph.D., DAC, or something like, doctors and..., but if he has got his identification with this body, he's not a learned man according to Bhagavad-gītā. Not only according, according to whole Vedic literature. This is the first instruction. This is the... If we want to make progress towards spiritual advancement of knowledge, this preliminary knowledge we must have, that "I am not this body. I am not this body." This is the preliminary standing of spiritual knowledge. This is not advancement. This is simply A-B-C-D, ABCD of spiritual life. In the Bhāgavata there is a very nice verse in this connection in which it is stated, yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma-ijya-dhīḥ (SB 10.84.13). Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke. Kuṇape means this bag, this bag made of three elements. Now, according to Āyurvedic medical system, this body is made of three elements: kapha, pitta, vāyu.
Woman: Three elements?
Prabhupāda: Yes. Kapha. Kapha means cold, coldness.
Prabhupāda: Cough, cough, what do you call cough? Coughing. Yes. Kapha, pitta, vāyu: "coldness, heat and air." Yes. Only these three things constitute this body. Therefore it is called a bag made of three elements: coldness, air and fire, heat. Heat, coldness and air—this body's made.
Woman: What, what does coldness stand for?
Prabhupāda: Coldness, you can take it for water, or secretion.
Woman: Yes. Water, fire and air.
Prabhupāda: Water, fire and air.
Woman: That's better.
Prabhupāda: Now, the Bhāgavata says that yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke: (SB 10.84.13) "If anyone, he's identified with this body made of water, air and fire..." And yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke. This is a body made of three things. Now... And sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu: "And if one thinks the issues, the by-products of this body as his own kinsmen..." Just like my children, my wife, my relatives, my father, my mother, my brother, my nation, my society—everything is due to this bodily relation. And there are thousands of women loitering in the street of New York, and suppose I have got some ma..., bodily connection with you, I call you my wife. And because I have got bodily relation with you, all the children produced by you, they are my children. You see? So whole thing is... The basic principle is wrong, that "I am this body." Now, from the expansion of the body, the whole thing, the whole thing is false. Because I am not this body, so my expansion of body is also not I am. But whole world is going on on this false impression. The whole world is going on. The fight, the fighting between one nation and another nation—because due to this body. So yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke (SB 10.84.13). "One who is identified with this body, which is made of water, fire and, water, fire and air, and the issues from this body as kinsmen and own men..." Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhā.., sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu: "And," I mean to say, "attachment, attachment for such issues..." And bhauma-ijya-dhīḥ: "And the land from which this body has grown up, that is worshipable." Now everybody is fighting for the land. "Oh, we are Indian." "We are Pakistani." "We are Vietnamese." "We are Americans." "We are German." The fighting, so much fighting is going on. The land, for the land. So land, land has become worshipable, so worshipable that one is sacrificed his valuable life for that land. You see? But the land is so dear, why? This body has become grown up from this land. So that is also there, the bodily connection.
So yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma-ijya-dhīḥ (SB 10.84.13). In the land... They have no meaning for God. Now, the Russian philosophy, they have no meaning for God, but they have every meaning for their land, for the land. So land has been identified as worshipable, and they're prepared to sacrifice anything for the land. So yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke: "One who is identified with this body and one who thinks the bodily offshoots as his own men, and the land from which the body has grown as worshipable," yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile.
Yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile. Now, in Christian world also, that the water of the Jordan River is sacred is considered. Similarly, Hindus also, when they go to some pilgrimage, they take bath on the sacred river. But one should know that going to the sacred place does not mean simply to take bath in that water. Real meaning of going to a sacred place—to find out some intelligent scholar in spiritual knowledge. They are living there. To make association with them, to take knowledge from them—that is the purpose of going to pilgrimage. Because in pilgrimage, holy places... Just like I, my residence is at Vṛndāvana. So at Vṛndāvana there are many great scholars and saintly persons living. So one should go to such holy places not simply to take bath in the water, but he must be intelligent enough to find out some spiritually advanced man living there and take instruction from him and (be) benefited by that. But he does not go. He takes simply bath and purchases some goods and advertises, "Oh, I have been to such and such pilgrimage." Well... yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke (SB 10.84.13) and yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij janeṣv abhijñeṣu: "He has the attachment for pilgrimage, for taking bath only, but he has no attraction for the learned people there." You see?
So such kind of man is considered as ass. Sa eva go-kharaḥ (SB 10.84.13). Go-khara. Go-khara. Go means cow or..., and khara means ass. So practically the whole world is moving as the civilization of cow and asses because the whole thing is identification with this... The center is this body, and expansion of the body, the attraction, whole attraction is there. Yes? You want to...?
Woman: Yes. In the Indian places known as sacred places...
Prabhupāda: Sac... Yes.
Woman: ...isn't ...sacred places...
Woman: ...isn't it also a fact that there is more magnetism there because of the meeting of...
Prabhupāda: Oh, yes. Certainly.
Woman: ...saints and more people...?(?)
Prabhupāda: Certainly. Certainly. Certainly. Therefore the place itself has got some magnetism. You see?
Woman: Yes. And when...
Prabhupāda: Just like at Vṛndāvana, at Vṛndāvana... That is practical. Now here I am sitting, New York, a very great, the world's greatest city, so magnificent city, but my heart is always hankering after that Vṛndāvana.
Prabhupāda: Yes. I am not happy here.
Woman: Yes, I know.
Prabhupāda: I shall be very happy to return to my Vṛndāvana, that sacred place. "But then why you are...?" Now, because it is my duty. I have brought some message for you people. Because I am ordered by superior, my spiritual master, that "Whatever you have learned, you should go to the Western countries, and you must distribute this knowledge." So in spite of all my difficulties, all my inconveniences, I am here because I am in duty. I, I... That is my personal convenience, if I go and sit down at Vṛndāvana, I shall be very comfortable there. And I'll be, I'll have no anxiety, nothing of the sort. You see? But I have taken all the risk in the old age because I am in duty-bound. I am in duty-bound. So I have to execute my duty in spite of all my inconveniences. That is the idea.
So this is the whole thing, the whole basic principle of spiritual advancement of knowledge. One should first be convinced that he is not this body. He is not this body. Then other spiritual knowledge will begin. This is the basic principle. You'll find it. You'll find it in the Bhagavad-gītā that this situation of spiritual life is called brahma-bhūtaḥ. Brahman. So
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
So the, unless one understands himself, he also cannot understand God also. In his, in his misunderstanding position... Now, what Dr. Mishra is teaching is very nice because he is teaching that "Just first of all you know 'What I am, what I...' " That's very good. But that "what I am" can be known from the Bhagavad-gītā also, that "I am not this body. I am not this body." That knowledge, at least theoretically, one must accept, that "I am not this body." Now Kṛṣṇa is describing that what is the position. I am not this body. That's all right. Now, actually, what we are? What we are? I'm not body. That's all right. Then what we are? Now, the next, next version is Kṛṣṇa... We must always know that Kṛṣṇa... Here it is said, bhagavān uvāca. Bhagavān uvāca. Bhagavān uvāca means that He has got so extensive knowledge that there cannot be any mistake. He's authority. He's authority. So whatever He says is right. Is right. That is the conception of bhagavān. Here it is not said, Kṛṣṇaḥ uvāca. Because somebody may doubt Kṛṣṇa, that "Kṛṣṇa was a historical personality. Why you should be so much concerned with Kṛṣṇa?" as is general view. But here it is said, bhagavān uvāca. And I have given you the definition of Bhagavān, that He is all knowledge. So whatever He will speak, Bhagavān, there cannot be any mistake. For ordinary persons, there are four, I mean to say, difficulties, four imperfectness. Just like we are ordinary man. We have got four imperfectness. What is that imperfectness? That we must commit mistake. We must commit mistake. Our constitutional position at the present moment is such that we are sure to commit mistake. Even greatest politician like Gandhi, he committed mistake, and so many great men, they committed mistake. "To err is human," therefore, it is called, that any, any man, however he may be great in the estimation of this world, he is sure to commit mistake. And another imperfection is that he is illusioned.
Prabhupāda: Illusioned. Now, illusioned you can see. Illusioned means taking one thing for another. That is called illusion. Just like in the desert, accepting the sand as water. That is called illusion. Similarly, every one of us who are identified with this body, he's under illusion. That is a false thing, but he has no knowledge. Even President Johnson, he's under illusion. Even the greatest scientist, he's under this illusion. So that, one is sure to commit mistake, and one is under illusion, and bhrama, pramāda and vipralambhana... Vipralambhana means the tendency for cheating.
Woman: That is the fourth?
Prabhupāda: That is the third. First is that one is sure to commit mistake, one is sure to be in illusion, and one is adapted to cheat others. Now, he is imperfect, but he wants to give knowledge to others. That is cheating. Everyone is imperfect, but he wants to give knowledge to others. Then you can ask that "You are also giving us knowledge?" No, I am not giving you knowledge. I am speaking Bhagavad-gītā. I am giving you knowledge as given by Lord Kṛṣṇa. It is not my knowledge.
Woman: But this is own interpretation.
Prabhupāda: Eh? Not interpretation. It is reading.
Woman: One can cheat.
Prabhupāda: I give you... Cheat. No, that is also in the definition of a conditioned soul. These four principles are there. It is not my manufactured thing. The, these are information from authoritative scripture, that a conditioned soul has four imperfectness. One imperfectness is that he's sure to commit mistake. He's illusioned, and he has got a tendency to cheat, and, above all, his senses are imperfect. So anyone who is above all these four imperfectness—who never commits mistake, who is never illusioned, who never cheats others, and who has got perfect senses—He is God. That is also another definition of God. He may not be... God is Supreme, God, but anyone who comes to this stage of life, he's liberated. He's lib..., as good as God. Yes?
Student: Do you say, eh..? (incomplete)