London, August 17, 1973
Pradyumna (leads chanting, etc.):
śrī bhagavān uvāca
aśocān anvaśocas tvaṁ
prajña-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase
gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca
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, what is that thing which is living and dead? The body. The body is living and dead. So Kṛṣṇa indirectly or directly chastised Arjuna that: “The behavior that you are showing, it is not like a learned man.” Nānuśocanti paṇḍitaḥ. That means indirectly He said that, “You do not know things are there. Not learned. You are fool.” In spite of Arjuna speaking so many things in support of his being nonviolent and not to kill his kinsmen, Kṛṣṇa chastised him that “You are not learned. You are fool.” So this is the position. Those who are under the bodily concept of life, they can speak so many learned things, but after all they are fool.
sva-dhiḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ
yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
janeśv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, those who are under the bodily concept of life, they are described as follows: Yasya ātma-buddhiḥ. Ātma means self. Ātma-buddhiḥ, in this body, what is this body? Kuṇape tri-dhātuke. It is a bag of three elements, kapha, pitta, vāyu. Mucus, bile and air. So, or ordinarily you can understand, this is a combination, this material body is combination of flesh, bone, blood, mucus, stool, urine, and so many other things. That, we are not self, but the foolish persons, they are taking this lump of matter, bones and flesh, accepting that “I am this body.” No learned man will take like that. The whole world is misled under this conception. They are accepting this lump of matter, blood and flesh and bones—”I am this is I am.” This is animal mentality. Animal thinks like that, not learned man. Learned man, one who knows, he will say ahaṁ brahmāsmi, “I am spirit soul. I am servant of God.” This is learned speaking. “I am not this body.“
So Kṛṣṇa is chastising Arjuna because he has accepted, he’s becoming His disciple, so the spiritual master has the right to chastise the disciple for right direction like the teacher, like the father. Similarly, although Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna are friends, but Arjuna has accepted Him as spiritual master. There should not be any compromising words as it is done between friend and friend. The right things must be said that “You are wrong. Don’t talk nonsense. Talking like very learned man but you do not know anything.” “Why I do not know?” “Because this body, while living, agatāsūn…” Asun means the living force. While the living force is there, and when the living force is gone, two conditions… This body is moving very nicely because the living force is there. And as soon as the living force is gone out, this nice body will no longer move. It will decompose. “Dust thou art, dust thou beist.” “Again become…” It is called pañca-bhūta. Mix with the earth. Earth, water, fire, air, sky—these five gross elements are the ingredients of this body. So as soon as the soul is out of this body, this body again… Conservation of the energy. The earthly energy goes to the earth, the waterly energy goes to the water. It is a combination of earth. water, air, fire. So they become decomposed. And become distributed to different elements. And that is the scientific law, it is called conservation of energy. The energy is never lost. It comes back again to the original stock.
So Kṛṣṇa says this body, either in living force or without living force… Without living force it is called dead. With living force it is called living. In both the condition, a learned man…, learned man means one who knows brahma-bhūtaḥ. One who knows Brahman, one who has realized Brahman. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54]. As soon as one is on the stage of brahma-bhūtaḥ stage, he can understand that “I am not this body. I am separate from this body.” This knowledge was very common knowledge. At least we can see five thousand years ago. The kṣatriyas were fighting severely one another, but still they are not in bodily concept of life. So Arjuna being kṣatriya, is so much embarrassed with the bodily concept of life; therefore Kṛṣṇa chastised him, that “You are not a very learned man. You are talking just like a learned man, but you are not learned man.” So this conclusion is to be taken by us. That anyone within this world, if he has got bodily concept of life, he’s not a learned man. He’s a fool. So this world at the present moment at least, it is a fool’s paradise. Nobody is learned. Because everyone is working under the bodily concept of life. This is chastise. This is the first chastisement. Just like before giving lesson, if the student is writing or reading wrongly, then the teacher immediately says, “You fool, it is not like this. It should be like this.”
So the first step Kṛṣṇa took in educating Arjuna… The Bhagavad-gītā is now being actually being spoken, bhagavān uvāca. The first basic principle is explained to Arjuna that “You do not know anything. Don’t talk just like a learned man.” Actually, that is our own… Every one of us in the same position. Just like yesterday, two boys came. No philosophy, talking like nonsense, starvation, as if he has taken, what is called? Contract for stopping starvation. He’s starving, everyone is starving, this law, the nature will go on. Somebody, because there are three qualities of the nature—sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa. So the natural laws will go on under the three laws. Therefore always we shall find three classes or three status of living condition. That will be explained in Bhagavad-gītā. Even, everywhere there are different species of life. Everywhere these three qualities are working. Just like there are some good trees. Good trees means which are producing nice fruits and flowers. They are good trees. And there are trees, no fruit, no flower, very long standing. No use. No useful purpose. I’ve seen in Los Angeles, big, big palm trees, very long, but there is no fruit. In India there are palm trees like that, they bear fruit, very nice fruit, tal. Very sweet fruit. So any tree which does not give us nice fruit or nice flower, that is sinful. Amongst the trees also there are pious trees, there are sinful trees, amongst the animals also there are pious animals, sinful animals. Just like dog and the cow. Cow is pious animal and the dog is sinful animal. So natures, amongst the birds, this crow is sinful bird. And the ducks, white swan, they are pious bird. The peacocks. So similarly in the human society also, there are pious men and sinful men. Those who are pious they have got different position. Janmaiśvarya-śruta-śrī…. [SB 1.8.26] Pious man means born in very good family, rich family. Janma, aiśvarya, aiśvarya means riches, opulence. Janma, first-class aristocratic family, brāhmaṇa family. Janmaiśvarya-śruta, educated, highly educated; śrī, beautiful. These are the signs of pious life. And similarly just the opposite, ugly, no education, born in poor family or low grade family, poor. These are the things.
So either you take human life or animal life or birds’ life, beasts’ life, trees’ life, anywhere you go, these three laws are working. Goodness, passion and ignorance. Therefore, always there must be three classes. Middle class, high class and lower class. There must be. So you cannot make one classless. That is not possible. So long the bodily concept of life is there, there must be these three classes. High class, middle class and lower class. So those who are condemned, they must suffer. Everyone is condemned in this material world. But first-class condemned, second-class condemned, third-class condemned. So you’ll find this first class, second class, third, you cannot stop it. Just like in Bombay sometimes I showed to my disciples, say in 1935. 1935 means about fifty years ago. Fifty years ago when I was in Bombay, that time I was doing some business. So a class of men, they were living on footpath. Their home (is) on the footpath. They have got a box or a bag and lying on the footpath and eating on the footpath, their, everything on the footpath. Now the same class of men are still there. Now economically, fifty years ago, the value of money was greater. At that time, fifty years ago we were purchasing, say ghee, at most one rupee per kilo. So now you cannot get first class ghee unless you pay twenty-five rupees per kilo. So the value of money has decreased. So that means, in other words people are getting more money. Formerly, one servant was engaged, ten rupees or twelve rupees per month. Now you cannot get a servant unless you pay one hundred rupees. So in that comparison, everyone is getting more money, but still the condition is the same. Condition is the same. This will go on. Even if you get more money, the other circumstances will force you to remain in the same condition as you were fifty years ago. Because you are destined. This is called destiny. You cannot change your destiny. That is not possible.
Therefore Bhāgavata says that do not try to change your destiny. Everyone is trying to change the destiny. I am poor man, I must be very rich man. But you cannot change your destiny. Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido na labhate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ [SB 1.5.18]. In this world we are, every one of us are bound up by the laws of karma, destiny. We have got our destiny. So much happiness, so much distress we must have. Because this is a mixture of happiness and distress. Here you cannot have unadulterated happiness. That is not possible in this… Unadulterated happiness, real happiness can be achieved in the spiritual world. Not in the material world. So certain amount of happiness and certain amount of distress we have to enjoy and suffer. You cannot change it. This is the law of nature in this material world.
Therefore Bhāgavata says, tasyaiva hetoḥ prayeteta kovido na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ. People are wandering within this material world, living entity, in different forms of life under different conditions of life. But they are not getting the information of Kṛṣṇa. That is their misfortune. So one who is fortunate during this period of continuous wandering in different species of life on different planets, he contacts another devotee. Guru-Kṛṣṇa. Or one who is actually anxious to unite with the Supreme Lord, how one gets this consciousness—by associating with devotees. Just like we are holding this class. Even those who are not devotee, outsider, if they come they can also understand, then he becomes, one becomes very seriously anxious how to understand God, how to go back to home, back to Godhead. Then Kṛṣṇa immediately helps. This is the process. Kṛṣṇa is there within your heart. As soon as you become little serious, immediately, Kṛṣṇa is ready. Kṛṣṇa is ready, He is sitting with you as a friend. Simply looking for the opportunity when you’ll come back to Him. That is Kṛṣṇa. He’s always sitting with you. But we are not willing to go back to home, back to Godhead. We want to become God in this material world. This is our position. Instead of going back to home, back to Godhead, live with God, we want to become God here. That is our position. Therefore, we are suffering. Here, you can… Nowhere you cannot be God. God is one. Nobody can be equal or above Him. Everyone must be subordinate to God. Therefore those who are not learned—foolish people—they are trying to be happy in this material world by adjustment and becoming himself God. This is atheism and this is demoniac tendency. But those who are advanced in knowledge, they know that “We are eternally servant of God; we cannot become God. Better to remain servant of God; that is our happiness.”
So those who are in the bodily concept of life, they cannot advance in this real knowledge, that we are eternally servant of God. Our constitutional position is like that. If we do not serve God, we do not agree… We are servant of God, but if we deny that “No, I am not servant,” so that means I become servant of māyā. Servant I’ll have to remain. That is my constitutional position. So one must first of all understand what is his identity. So this is the beginning of a lesson given by Kṛṣṇa, that “You are lamenting for this body. This is not your identity. This is not your identity. You are wrongly thinking.” Just like if your coat is some way or other destroyed, that does not mean that you are destroyed. If your car by accident is broken, that does not mean that you are finished. Sometimes we get accident, that is another thing. But I am not the car. I am not this body, I am not this coat. This is real knowledge. Although sometimes we become little sorry, but the identity is different. So Kṛṣṇa says that “You are talking like learned man, but you do not know your identity. You are not this body.”
This is the summary information. Aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ prajña-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase [Bg. 2.11]. So anyone who is not in perfect knowledge, he should not take the position of talking like a learned man. That is cheating and that is foolishness. First of all you know things as they are. Then talk. Otherwise, it is said that it is better not to talk than to talk foolish. It is better to stop talking. Therefore, sometimes in spiritual advancement there is a process, maunam. Maunam means not to talk. Those who are too much foolish, the spiritual master orders him, “Don’t talk. Please remain silent.” That’s all. Because if you talk, you’ll talk simply nonsense. Why should you spoil your energy by such nonsense talking? Better stop. The meditation is also like that also. Instead of talking or doing nonsense, if one is remaining silent for some time, it is little good for him. But this meditation and maunam, silence, is not meant for the devotees. They are meant for the lesser intelligent class of men. Devotees’ business is always to talk about Kṛṣṇa. Why they should stop talking? Maunam? No. Kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [Cc. Ādi 17.31]. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says that one has to chant and talk of Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours. Where is the question of maunam, silence? There is no question of silence. Silence is for those who are nonsense. “Be silent, don’t talk.” For them. At least they practice silence means at least they stop talking nonsense. But those who are actually advanced, for them there is no such restriction. Vācāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane. We should use our talking power for describing the glories of the Lord. Vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane. That is kīrtana. That is chanting. Abhavad naiyāsaki-kīrtane. Just like for seven days when Parīkṣit Mahārāja was going to die… He had only seven days left. So twenty-four hours without any eating or without any drinking a drop of water, he went on hearing from Śukadeva Gosvāmī. And similarly, Śukadeva Gosvāmī also went on speaking, speaking Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrī-viṣṇu-śravane parīkṣit. They got, both of them got salvation back to home, back to Godhead. How? One was hearing, and one was chanting. These two processes. Parīkṣit Mahārāja was hearing and Śukadeva Gosvāmī was chanting. And what was the subject matter? Kṛṣṇa. That’s all.
So Kṛṣṇa subject matter is so nice that simply you do not do anything. Simply hear, that’s all. You have got God-given ear. You can hear. Sit down. Stane sthitaḥ śrutigataṁ tanuvān manobhiḥ. Śrutigatam, śruti means this ear. Śrota-pantaḥ. This is called śrota-pantaḥ. Getting knowledge by hearing. Satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-samvido bhavanty hṛtkārṇa-rasāyana-kathāḥ, satāṁ prasaṅgāt [SB 3.25.25]. When there is actually sat-sanga. Sat-sanga means this talking of Kṛṣṇa, hearing about Kṛṣṇa. When there is, there is no business. Not like a rented reciter or a paid reciter who is earning money by reciting. No, no. Not to hear from him. Actually, he’s self-realized, who is working for the Lord, from satām. Satām means devotees. Satāṁ prasaṅga. Therefore is called satsaṅga. Satsaṅga means the association of the devotees. Sat means devotee. Sat means God. Oṁ tat sat. Or everything is asat. Asat means temporary. This material world is temporary. And sat means spiritual. So sat-saṅga means spiritual association. Sat-saṅgān mukta-duḥ-saṅgaḥ. The more you associate with sat, with devotees, then you become, more you become liberated. Sat-saṅgān mukta-duḥ-saṅgaḥ. Duḥ-saṅga. We are in the material world, we are simply in association, bad association, duḥ-saṅga. So if we want to get rid of this bad association, we must associate with the devotees. Sat-sangat mukta duhsanga. And satāṁ prasaṅgāt mama vīrya-samvido, if we hear in really devotee’s association, then the… [break]
So Arjuna has got the best opportunity. He’s hearing from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He has got the… He’s so fortunate. He’s talking with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, face to face, directly. So our business should be we should follow the footsteps of Arjuna. How to follow the footsteps of Arjuna? As Arjuna understood Bhagavad-gītā, you try to understand in that way. Arjuna accepted Kṛṣṇa the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān [Bg. 10.12]. “Kṛṣṇa, You are the Supreme Person, Paraṁ Brahman, pavitra, the most pure.” So if we, similarly, if we, even if we do not understand Bhagavad-gītā, if we follow that: “Arjuna has understood like this, that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Brahman, Supreme Personality of Godhead,” then you understand everything. This is called paramparā. You don’t require to, I mean, to tax your brain, what is Kṛṣṇa. Because now we have got poor intelligence. We cannot do that. But you simply accept what Arjuna says. Then you are perfect. Even I make a, I may become a fool number one, but if I accept… Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthā. Mahājana. Those who are authorities, if you follow the authorities, then you understand. Dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyam. It is very difficult to understand what is religion, what is the process of religion. People are very much puzzled. But if we follow the great personalities… They are also mentioned in the śāstras. Svayambhu, Śambhu, Manu, Kumāra, Kapila, Manu. So if we follow their footsteps… Just like Arjuna. That, that is, really we understand. “If Arjuna has understood like this, so let me understand like that.” That’s all. Simple thing. Then we understand Bhagavad-gītā. But, if we want to speak very learned scholarly, but do not understand what is Kṛṣṇa, this is simply waste of time. As the so-called scholars and philosophers are doing. They do not understand Kṛṣṇa, but talking all nonsense, and such things are very much appreciated by others. That is described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: śva-viḍ-varāha-uṣṭra-kharaiḥ saṁstutaḥ puruṣaḥ paśuḥ. These rascals, so-called scholars, so-called incarnation, are accepted by similar class of animals. Śva-viḍ-varāha. And actually Vedic understanding is to follow the footsteps of the predecessor ācāryas who understand things. Then our life will be successful. We’ll understand.
Thank you very much. (end)