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Birth, Death, and Distress. 

Therefore Kṛṣṇa comes. Therefore God comes, to give you the information that "You are not this body. You are the soul, spirit soul. And because you are within this body, you are suffering so many distresses." Therefore Kṛṣṇa advises that "These distresses are due to this body." Try to understand. Why you are feeling pains and pleasure? It is due to the body [..] That is problem. That means when you remain in your original body, means spiritual body, and do not come to this gross or subtle body, that is your eternal life. That is... We have to achieve.

 

 

 

Lecture by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Germany, June 23rd, 1974.

Bhagavad-Gītā, Chapter 2 verse 14.

Original Audio and Transcript click HERE

 

matra-sparsas tu kaunteya

sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah

agamapayino 'nityas

tams titiksasva bharata

 

SYNONYMS

mātrā—sensuous; sparśāḥ—perception; tu—only; kaunteya—O son of Kuntī; śīta—winter; uṣṇa—summer; sukha—happiness; duḥkha-daḥ—giving pain; āgama—appearing; apāyinaḥ—disappearing; anityāḥ—nonpermanent; tān—all of them; titikṣasva—just try to tolerate; bhārata—O descendant of the Bhārata dynasty.

TRANSLATION

O son of Kuntī, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.

Prabhupāda:

...anityās tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata (BG 2.14). In the previous verse, it has been described that dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā (BG 2.13): "We are transmigrating from one body to another. Exactly like we are passing from a child body to a boy's body, a boy's body to youth's body, similarly, we are passing through this body also and accepting another body." Now, the question of distress and happiness. Distress and happiness—according to the body. A very rich man is situated little comfortably. The common distress and unhappiness, er, happiness, that is common. What is that common? Janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam (BG 13.9). To take birth either as a dog or as a king, the distress is the same. There is no difference. Because the dog has to keep itself within the womb of the mother in an airtight condition for so many months, and the man, either he is king or anything, he has also undergo that tribulation. There is no excuse. Because you are taking birth in a king's family, it does not mean that to remain compact within the mother's womb the distress is less, and because he is taking birth in a dog's mother's womb, therefore his is great. No. That is the same. Similarly, at the time of death, the distress... At the time of death there is great distress. It is so strong that one has to leave this body. Just like when the distress becomes very strong, one commits suicide. He cannot tolerate: "Finish this body."

So nobody wants to leave this body, but the distress is so strong that one is forced to leave this body. That is called death. In the Bhagavad-gītā you will find that mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś ca aham (BG 10.34). Kṛṣṇa says that "I am death." And what is the meaning of death? Death means "I take everything from him. Finished. I take his body, I take his association, I take his country, I take his society, I take his bank balance, and everything finished." Sarva-haraḥ. Sarva means "everything." Everyone is trying to accumulated big bank balance and big house, big family, big motorcar... But with the death, everything is finished. So that is great distress. Sometimes one cries. You will find at the time of death, in coma, his eye drops are coming out. He is thinking, "I made so many things so nicely to live comfortably, and now I am losing everything." Great distress. I know one friend in Allahabad. He was very rich man. So he was only fifty-four years old. So he was requesting, crying, doctor, "Doctor, can you not give me at least four years to live? I had a plan. I wanted to finish it." What the doctor can do? "That is not possible, sir. You must get out."

But these foolish people, they do not know. But we have to tolerate. We have to tolerate. That is advised here, that "Because you have got this material body, you have to tolerate," to live within the womb of the mother, then come out. Then I cannot speak. Suppose I am a little baby, and some worm is biting me. I cannot say, "Mother"—because at time I cannot speak—"something is biting on my back." I am crying, and mother is thinking that "The child is hungry. Give him milk." (laughter) Just see how much this... I want something, and I am given something else. That is a fact. Why the child is crying? He is feeling uncomfortable. Then, in this way, I grow. Then I do not want to go to school; I am forced to go to school. Yes. At least, I was like that. (laughter) I never wanted to go to school. And my father was very kind: "So all right. Why you are not going to school?" I would say, "I will go tomorrow." "All right." But my mother was very careful. Perhaps if my mother would not have been little strict, I would not have gotten any education. My father was very lenient. So she used to force me. One man would take me to school. Actually, children do not want to go to school. They want to play. Against the will of the children, he has to go to school. Then there is examination, not only going to school.

So you study the life. From the beginning of this body within the womb of the mother, it is simply troublesome. Against my will so many distresses are there. So many distresses there. Then as you grow, the distress grow, grow. Distress is not diminished. Then janma, then old age, then disease. So long you have got this body... The so-called scientists, they are manufacturing very effective medicine, discovery, new discovery. Just..., what is called? Treptomycin?

Devotee: Streptomycin.

Prabhupāda: So many things. But they cannot stop disease. That is not possible, sir. You can manufacture so many high-class medicine to cure disease. That will not cure. Temporary relief. But no scientist has discovered any medicine that "You take this medicine and no more disease." That is not possible. "You take this medicine, no more death." That is not possible. Therefore those who are intelligent, they know it very well that this place is duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam (BG 8.15).

That is described in the Bhagavad-gītā. It is a place for distress. So long you remain here... But we are so fool, we cannot realize. We accept, "This life is very pleasant. Let me enjoy it." It is not pleasant at all. Seasonal changes, always. This distress or that distress; this disease or that disease; this uncomfortable, this anxiety. There are three kinds of distresses: adhyātmika, adhibhautika, adhidaivika. Adhyātmika means distresses pertaining to this body and the mind. And adhidaivika means distresses offered by material nature. Nature. All of a sudden there is earthquake. All of a sudden there is famine, there is scarcity of food, there is over-rain, no rain, extreme heat, extreme winter, extreme cold. We have to go under these distresses, threefold. At least one, two must be there. Still, we do not realize that "This place is full of distress because I have got this material body."

Therefore a sane man's duty is how to stop the process of accepting this material body. This is intelligence. He should realize that "I am always in distresses, and I am not this body, but I am put into this body. Therefore right conclusion is that I am not this body. If somehow or other I can live without this body, then my distresses are over." This is common sense. That is possible. Therefore Kṛṣṇa comes. Therefore God comes, to give you the information that "You are not this body. You are the soul, spirit soul. And because you are within this body, you are suffering so many distresses." Therefore Kṛṣṇa advises that "These distresses are due to this body." Try to understand. Why you are feeling pains and pleasure? It is due to the body.

Therefore Buddha philosophy is also same thing, that you finish this body, nirvāṇa. Nirvāṇa. Nirvāṇa means... Their philosophy is that your feeling of pains and pleasure, it is due to this body. They also accept. Now what is this body? This body is combination of matter: combination of earth, water, air, fire, ether, mind, intelligence, ego—eight material elements, five gross and three subtle. This body is made of that. So the Buddha philosophy is that you dismantle this body, nirvāṇa. Just like this house is made of stone, brick and wood and so many. So you break it, and there is no more stone and no more brick. This is distributed to the earth. Throw it on the earth, then there is no house. Similarly, if you become zero, no body, then you are free from pains and pleasure. This is their philosophy, nirvāṇa philosophy, śūnyavādi: "Make it zero."

But that is not possible. That is not possible. You cannot... Because you are spirit soul... That will be explained. You are eternal. You cannot be zero. That will be explained, na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre (BG 2.20), that we are giving up this body, but immediately I have to accept another body. Immediately. Then where is your question of dismantling? By nature's way you will get another body. Because you want to enjoy, you have come here in this material world. There is no question of asking. Everyone knows that "I am in this material world. I must enjoy to the fullest extent." One who is unaware of the fact that "I am going to take another life," he is thinking, "This is a combination of this matter—earth, water, air, fire. So when it will be broken, then everything will be finished. So, so long I have got this opportunity, let me enjoy to the fullest extent." This is called material mentality, atheist, atheist, who does not know that we are eternal soul, we are changing body only. The atheists think that after finishing...

Here in the Western country, big, big professor, they are also under the same impression, that when the body is finished, everything is finished. No. That is not. Therefore that is the beginning of instruction. Dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā (BG 2.13). You are changing different bodies. You will... By finishing the body, you are not finished. You are not finished. We can understand with little thinking that in this body I am..., even in this life. At night I get another body. I dream. I dream there is tiger. I go to the forest, and there is a tiger, and it is coming to kill me. Then I am crying, and actually I am crying. Or, in other ways, I have gone to some beloved, man and woman. We are embracing, but the bodily action is going on. Otherwise, why I am crying? And why there is discharge of semina?

So people do not know that I am leaving this gross body, but I am entering into subtle body. Subtle body is there, not question of inside. We are packed up, just like this body is packed up with shirt and coat. So the coat is the gross body, and the shirt is the subtle body. So when this gross body is resting, the subtle body is working. The subtle body is there. The foolish men, they cannot understand that "I am compact in some body, either subtle body or gross body." One who is too sinful, very much sinful, he does not get the gross body. He remains in the subtle body, and that is called ghost. You have heard—some of you might have seen—there is ghost. Ghost means he doesn't get... He is so sinful that he is condemned to remain in the subtle body. He does not get the gross body. Therefore, according to Vedic system, there is śrāddha ceremony. If the father or relative has not gotten the gross body, by that ceremony he is allowed to accept a gross body. That is the Vedic system.

So anyway, we can understand that "I am sometimes in this gross body, and I am sometimes in the subtle body. So I am there, either in the gross body or in the subtle body. So I am eternal. But when I work with the subtle body, I forget this gross body. And when I work with this gross body, I forget this subtle body. So either I accept the gross body or subtle body, I am eternal. I am eternal." Now the problem is how to avoid this gross body and subtle body. That is problem. That means when you remain in your original body, means spiritual body, and do not come to this gross or subtle body, that is your eternal life. That is... We have to achieve.

This human life is a gift by the nature or by God. Now you realize that you are changing your different condition, distress and happiness, being forced to accept some kind of gross and subtle body. That is the cause of your pains and pleasure. And if you get out of this gross and subtle body, remain in your original, spiritual body, then you are free from these pains and pleasure. That is called mukti. Mukti, there is a Sanskrit word. Mukti means liberation: no more gross body, no more subtle body, but you remain in your own original, spiritual body. This is called mukti. Mukti means... It is described in the Bhāgavatam, muktir hitvā anyathā rūpaṁ sva-rūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ (SB 2.10.6). That is called mukti. Anyathā rūpam. Anyathā rūpam means in otherwise, staying or living in otherwise. Otherwise means that I am spirit soul. I have got spiritual body. But some way or other, circumstantially, on account of my desire, I get sometimes human body and sometimes dog's body, sometimes cat's body, sometimes tree's body, sometimes demigod's body. There are different..., 8,400,000 different forms of body. So I am changing according to my desire. And according to my infection, kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgaḥ asya (BG 13.22), and according to my... These are the subtle things.

That is the real knowledge of human being, not to invent something for temporary happiness. That is foolishness. That is foolishness, wasting time. If we invent something for the comforts of this present body and I shall live very comfortably, but "You will not be allowed, sir, to live comfortably." First of all you know it. Suppose a man is constructing very nice house, very strong house; it will never fall down in any circumstances. But that's all right, but what you have done for yourself that you will never die so that you will enjoy this? "No. Let it be. Let me have a very strong-built house." So house remains. You go there. Strong-built nation. Just like Napoleon constructed strong-built arches, but where he has gone, nobody knows. So therefore Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says, sings, jaḍa-bidyā jato māyāra vaibhava tomāra bhajane bādhā. The more we advance in so-called material happiness or material advancement, the more we forget our real identity. This is the result.

So we should understand that we have got a separate business, real business. That is called self-realization, that "I am not this body." This is self-realization. That is being instructed by Kṛṣṇa in the beginning, that "You are not this body." The first understanding, first knowledge, is to understand that "I am not this body; I am spirit soul. I have got a different business." It is not that this temporary actions or activities like as a dog or as a human being or as a tiger or as a tree or as a fish, there are activities. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca (Hitopadeśa). The same principle of bodily necessities: eating, sleeping, sex life and defense. But in the human form of life, I have got a separate business, self-realization, to get out of this bodily entanglement. And that is called knowledge.

Without this knowledge, anything we are advancing in knowledge, that is foolishness, that's all. Śrama eva hi kevalam (SB 1.2.8). Śrama eva hi kevalam. Śrama eva hi kevalam means simply working uselessly and wasting time. You cannot check the nature's law. Suppose in this life you are very big leader, prime minister, and everything. That's all right, but according to your mentality, you are creating next life. So in this life you remain a prime minister, and in next life you become a dog. Then where is the benefit? There is not... Therefore these atheist fools, they want to deny next life. That is very horrible for them. That is very horrible to them. If they accept next life... They know their life is very sinful. Then what life they are going to get by the laws of nature? When they think of it, they shudder. "Better deny it. Better deny it." Just like a rabbit. Enemy is in his front, and he is going to die, but he thinks, "Let me close my eyes, I am out of danger."

This is atheistic view, that they are trying to forget that there is... Therefore they deny: "There is no life." Why not? Kṛṣṇa says that "You had a childhood body. You had a baby... Now you have... Where is that body? You have left that. You are in different body. Similarly, this body you'll change. You will get another body." And who says? Kṛṣṇa says. The most superior authority, He says. I may not understand, but when He says... This is the process of our knowledge.

We accept knowledge from the perfect person. I may be fool, but the knowledge received from the perfect person is perfect. This is our process. We don't try to speculate. That may or may not be successful, but if you accept knowledge from the perfect authority, that knowledge is perfect. Just like we are speculating, "Who is my father?" You can speculate who is your father, but that speculation will not help you. You will never understand who is your father. But you go to your mother, the supreme authority. She'll immediately, "Here is your father." That's all. And you cannot know father in any other way. There is no other way. This is practical. You cannot know your father without the authoritative statement of your mother. Similarly, things which are beyond your perception, avan mānasa-gocara, you cannot think of, you cannot speak of. Sometimes they say, "God cannot be spoken. God cannot be thought of." That is all right. But if God Himself comes before you and says, "Here I am," then where is the difficulty? Where is the difficulty? I am imperfect. I cannot know. That's all right. But if God Himself comes before me...

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to know everything perfectly from the supreme authority, Kṛṣṇa. This is the process. Tad vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum eva abhigacchet (MU 1.2.12). In order to understand subject matter which is beyond our perception, you have to approach such authority who can inform you. Exactly in the same way: to understand who is my father is beyond my perception, beyond my speculation, but if I accept the authoritative statement of my mother, this is perfect knowledge.

So there are three kinds of processes to understand or to advance in knowledge. One is direct perception, pratyakṣa. And the other is authority, and the other is śruti. Śruti means by hearing from the Supreme. So our process is śruti. Śruti means we hear from the highest authority. That is our process, and that is very easy. Highest authority, if He is not in default... Ordinary persons, they are in default. They have got imperfection. The first imperfection is: the ordinary man, they commit mistake. Any great man of the world, you have seen, they commit mistake. And they are illusioned. They accept something as reality which is not reality. Just like we accept this body as reality. This is called illusion. But it is not reality. "I am soul," that is reality. So this is called illusion. And then, with this illusory knowledge, imperfect knowledge, we become teacher. That is another cheating. If you have not... They say, all these scientists and philosophers, "Perhaps," "It may be." So where is your knowledge? "It may be" and "perhaps." Why you are taking the post of a teacher? "In future we shall understand." And what is this future? Would you accept a post-dated check? "In future I shall discover, and therefore I am scientist." What is this scientist? And, above all, our imperfectness of senses. Just like we are seeing one another because there is light. If there is no light, then what is the power of my seeing? But these rascals, they do not understand that they are always defective, and still, they are writing books of knowledge. What is your knowledge? We must take knowledge from the perfect person.

Therefore we are taking knowledge from Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Person, the perfect person. And He is advising that if you want to stop your pains and pleasure, then you must make some arrangement not to accept this material body. That He is advising, Kṛṣṇa, how to avoid this material body. That has been explained. This is Second Chapter. In the Fourth Chapter Kṛṣṇa has said that janma karma me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti (BG 4.9). You simply try to understand the activities of Kṛṣṇa. These activities of Kṛṣṇa is there in the history, in the Mahābhārata. Mahābhārata means greater India, or greater Bhārata, Mahābhārata, the history. In that history this Bhagavad-gītā is also there.

So He is speaking about Himself. You try to understand Kṛṣṇa. This is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Simply try to understand Kṛṣṇa, His activities. He is not impersonal. Janma karma me divyam. Karma means activities. He has activities. Why He is taking part in this world, activities? Why He comes?

yadā yadā hi dharmasya

glānir bhavati bhārata

abhyutthānam adharmasya

tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham

(BG 4.7)

He has got some purpose; He has got some mission. So try to understand Kṛṣṇa and His mission and His activities. They are described in a historical form. So where is the difficulty? We read so many things, history or the activities of some leader, some politician. The same thing, same energy, you apply for understanding Kṛṣṇa. Where is the difficulty? Kṛṣṇa, therefore, He manifests Himself with so many activities, because you can understand Kṛṣṇa's activities. And if you can understand Kṛṣṇa's activities, then this is the last body. As soon as you give it up you go to Kṛṣṇa. Why not accept this simple method? Kṛṣṇa's activities we are writing in eighty books. If you read one book, that is also sufficient. Just like this book, Bhagavad-gītā, if you read carefully everything is explained there: what is Kṛṣṇa, what is Kṛṣṇa's activities. So you are reading so many books; just try to understand one book, Bhagavad-gītā, and you become liberated. So simple method.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is very serious movement for the welfare of the human society. Just like you are hearing about Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa's instruction, the Bhagavad-gītā. If you simply hear, everything will be revealed; everything will be revealed automatically. Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ (CC Madhya 17.136). You cannot realize God by your own effort. That is not possible. But,

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi

na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ

(CC Madhya 17.136)

This imperfect, rubbish senses, if you want to know… Because it is full of cheating, full of mistake, full of illusion, imperfectness. Then how you can understand the thing or the person who is beyond your perception? That is not possible. Acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet (Skanda Purāṇa). This is Vedic instruction, that things which are beyond your perception, don't try to understand by this foolish argument and logic. Don't try to understand. Acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā. Acintyāḥ means beyond your conception. Cintyā means within your perception, and acintyā means beyond your perception. Acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa. You cannot understand by this rascal logic and philosophy; that is not possible. Then how it is to be understood? There are many places:

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi

na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ

(CC Madhya 17.136)

This blunt senses, you cannot understand Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa's name, Kṛṣṇa's form, Kṛṣṇa's qualities, Kṛṣṇa's activities. You cannot understand. Then I have got…, this is my imposition; how can I understand Kṛṣṇa? That is said, sevonmukhe hi jihvādau (CC Madhya 17.136): when you engage your tongue in the service of the Lord.

Now this is also another peculiar thing, that to understand by the tongue, not by the mind. Tongue. Tongue means we have got two businesses we perform with the tongue: one is tasting foodstuff, and vibrating voice. So we use the tongue vibrating Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and eat Kṛṣṇa prasādam. Bās. Then you understand Kṛṣṇa. You don't understand, but He reveals. And actually that is happening all over the world. These young boys and girls, because they are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, and because they are eating Kṛṣṇa prasādam, now they are developing their Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They are not Vedāntists. They have not studied all the Vedas. But how they are understanding? If they are not understanding Kṛṣṇa, how they are sticking to this life? In this life everything is forbidden: no illicit sex, no gambling, no intoxication. Everything "no"; material life finished. Why they are sticking, unless they are understanding Kṛṣṇa? This is the proof. The more you stick to this principle, sevonmukhe hi jihvādau: engage your tongue in two business, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and eat Kṛṣṇa prasādam, your life will be perfect.

Thank you very much.

 

 

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