Srila Prabhupada explains why it is reasonable to accept what Krishna says as authoritative and, in fact, perfect.
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Lecture given in Mauritius on October 1, 1975.
Lord Krishna chides Arjuna for his erroneous thinking.
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead 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 for the dead.” – Bhagavad-gita 2.11
This is the version of Krishna in the beginning of Bhagavad-gita. Vyasadeva, the compiler, recorded the talks between Krishna and Arjuna and then put them systematically in a book form. He says bhagavan uvaca. Bhagavan means the Supreme Person. Just as in this meeting, amongst my students I am the supreme person, and similarly in the state there is a supreme person – the president or the prime minister – so everywhere you will find out one supreme person. Without a supreme person, an order-giving person, nothing can be managed. This is everlastingly existing, and you cannot avoid this. Even Communist countries have a supreme person, a dictator.
Consider the whole universal affair – nature, or how things are going on. The sun is rising early in the morning. It is setting exactly in due time. Then the moon is coming. Everyone in the big, big planetary systems is working very systematically. The astronomical calculation is so perfect that one can calculate how things are moving to an accuracy of one ten-thousandth of a second.
In the Brahma-samhita (5.52) it is said,
“The sun, full of infinite effulgence, who is the king of all the planets and the image of the good soul, is like the eye of this world. I adore the primeval Lord, Govinda, in pursuance of whose order the sun performs his journey, mounting the wheel of time.” The sun is the eye of all the planets. We have got eyes, but unless there is sunrise, what is the value of our eyes? We cannot see. We are very much proud of our eyes; we want to see everything. But we do not calculate the value of our eyes. Unless there is sunshine, we cannot see. At night, unless there is electricity or moonlight or some lamp, we cannot see. And still we are very much proud of seeing. This is called illusion. We have no power. We are put under certain conditions; then we work. Otherwise we cannot work.
Prakriti, material nature, puts us under certain conditions, and we work accordingly, not independently. And prakriti is also working under somebody.
When you go on the street, you see a red light or a green light. As soon as you see a red light, you stop your car. So this red light and green light is being manipulated by the police, and the police is working under the government. Similarly, this whole material nature is acting like red light or green light, but behind that red light and green light there is the supreme brain. That is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
A child cannot understand how the red light and green light is working. He thinks it is being done automatically. That is foolishness. It is not being done automatically. There is a machine. There is a manipulator behind the red light. To understand this is intelligence. Anyone who concludes, “On the street the red light and green light is working automatically; there is no brain behind it,” is a rascal. Similarly, the whole material cosmic manifestation – even the big sun planet – is working under a certain direction. Yac cakshur esha savita sakala-grahanam. Without sunrise nobody can see, not only on this planet, on other planets also. Sakala-grahanam: “all planets.”
The sun planet is so important. Day and night, year, and millions of years – everything in the solar system is being calculated on the basis of the sun. So the sun, this powerful planet, is described as the eyes of everyone. Without sunshine nobody can see. Yac cakshur esha savita sakala-grahanam raja. It is to be considered the king of all planets, sakala-grahanam raja. All the planets are moving, rotating, and working on the heat and light of the sun. The sun is so important.
Everything is described in the Vedic literature. The sun is working under somebody’s direction. Yasyajnaya bhramati sambhrita-kala-cakrah. The sun is rotating in its the orbit at the speed of sixteen thousand miles per second by the order of somebody. That is Govinda. Govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami.
By the Will of Krishna
This is knowledge. The Supreme Person is Bhagavan. Bhaga means six kinds of opulence: He is the richest, the most powerful, the wisest, the most beautiful, the most influential, and the most renounced at the same time. This whole cosmic manifestation is created by the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but you will not find Him here. He is uninterested. Many millions of universes are working by His will, but He is not interested. A big capitalist like Mr. Tata has got many factories, and if you go to the factory you will see so much going on, but Mr. Tata is not there. Similarly, the whole cosmic manifestation is going on under the will of Krishna, but He is not present here.
That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita (9.4):
“By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.”
Krishna says, “Everything is resting on Me.” In any factory, every worker knows that the whole factory’s functioning is resting on a supreme person.
Bhagavan means that under His will, under His power, everything is working so nicely, systematically. But if you want to see God, Krishna, you cannot see Him. He is not there. He is in Goloka Vrindavana. But His influence is so extensive that even without His personal presence, things are going on so nicely. This is the meaning of bhagavan.
Here in this Bhagavad-gita Bhagavan is giving you knowledge. So how perfect it is, you have to consider. Vyasadeva could have said shri-vyasadeva uvacha. No. Bhagavan uvacha. So authoritative. So whatever He says, there cannot be any change. It is all perfect.
Unfortunately we rascals do not take Bhagavad-gita as it is. We want to change it according to our whims. This rascal havoc has ruined the whole world. Otherwise, if Bhagavad-gita had been preached as it is, the world situation would have been different. Everything would have been in order. Tranquility, peace – and everybody would have been prosperous. But the rascals will not do that. That is the defect.
Therefore our tiny effort is how to present Bhagavad-gita as it is. This is our mission. Even now, in this distorted condition of the world, if we accept Bhagavad-gita as it is, then still we will be benefited. There is no doubt about it. Therefore our appeal is that throughout the whole world people should come, try to understand Bhagavad-gita, set up examples, and do the needful. Then everything will be peaceful. This is the peace formula.
“The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.” (Gita 5.29) Suhridam sarva-bhutanam. Suhrit means well-wisher. Here is the supreme well-wisher. He, Krishna, wants that wherever you live, you live peacefully and happily; therefore He is called suhrit. He desires everyone’s happiness. Therefore He comes Himself to advise, to instruct how to live, how to follow His instruction. He leaves behind Him such books as Bhagavad-gita, and He sends His representative occasionally to revive our consciousness.
This business is going on not only in the human society, but even in the animal society. Anywhere, even in demigod society, things are going on like that. Therefore we should know that whatever Bhagavan says, there cannot be any mistake, any illusion, any cheating, or any imperfectness. Then it will be very nice. And that is the fact. The words used, bhagavan uvacha, mean that this instruction is neither a mistake nor an illusion nor cheating nor imperfect.
We conditioned souls, as I said, are very much proud of our eyes, but we cannot see without sunrise. We cannot see without electricity. That is our defect. Everything we possess is defective, but still we are proud: “We are perfect.” That is cheating. We are not perfect.
But Krishna, Bhagavan, is not like that. If we think Krishna is like us, then we are fools. Because He teaches and appears exactly like a human being, therefore we think, “Oh, He may be a little more intelligent than me. After all, He is like me.” No. He is Bhagavan. We have to understand.
The problem was that Arjuna was not willing to fight, because he was considering that his family members should not be killed. Nobody, of course, should like to kill his family members, so that was natural. But this family relationship or national relationship or community relationship is due to this body. I accept somebody as my brother because he has got the body from the same father from whom I have got this body. But the body is a by-product of the father’s body, so this bodily relationship is material. It is outward, external. It is not a real relationship. The father is a soul, I am a soul, my brother is a soul, so we are related on the spiritual platform in relationship with God because the soul is not matter. But we see the material body only. The son does not see the soul of the father, nor does the father see the soul of the son. Everyone, under illusion, is simply seeing the body and accepting people as kinsmen.
Simply a Lump of Matter
This illusion was to be removed by Krishna, and therefore He said, ashochyan anvashochas tvam: “You are lamenting over the body. Oh, it is very regrettable. You are lamenting.” What is this body? It is simply a lump of matter. As soon as the soul is out of this body, what is the value of this lump of matter? It will be thrown in the street, and somebody will kick on its face. Nobody will care. But so long as the soul is there, if you touch the hair even – “Why are you touching my hair?” But when the soul is not there, if somebody kicks the same face, nobody will care. This is the position of the body. Therefore it is said, ashochyan. “It is garbage. Why are you lamenting about this garbage?” Ashochyan anvashochas tvam. “You are talking like a very learned man. ‘If I kill my brothers, my brothers’ wives will be widows, and there will be prostitution, and then the whole family will go to ruin.’ These are all external conditions.”
Real education is “You are thinking in terms of the body; therefore it is not a very important subject matter.” What will happen to the soul? That is real; that is important. But whole world does not know what is the important platform. They are all rascals because they are concerned only with this body. That is not wonderful; that is natural. Even if we know, still, if there is some bodily pain we become very much disturbed. But we should know, always remember, that “I am not this body.”
The same example I have often given: If I have got a very nice car, a Rolls-Royce car, then I have got attachment to it. That is all right, but we should know always that “I am not this Rolls-Royce car. I am different from it.” This is knowledge. I may have some attachment to my car. That is natural. I have paid for it. I like it. But in spite of all these considerations, I am not the Rolls-Royce car. The Rolls-Royce car is a lump of matter. I am using it. Similarly, we should always remember that “I am using this material body for different transactions, but I am not this material body.”
A devotee uses this material body properly. We are also going by airplane, by motorcar. I have come to your country by airplane not to see your country; I have come for Krishna’s business, to see if I can induce you to take to Krishna consciousness. Otherwise we have no concern with this airplane or motorcar or anything. We take advantage. Similarly, when we take advantage of this body for advancing in Krishna consciousness, then it is very nice.
That is also renouncement – to have no attachment but to simply use things. Then the thing becomes spiritual. Actually it is spiritual, and when it is not used for a spiritual purpose or Krishna’s purpose, it is material. What is the difference between material and spiritual? A picture is there [on the temple altar]. But because there are so many kinds of pictures, people may say, “Here also is a picture. Why are these people worshiping and offering arati and chanting before that picture?” But this picture is spiritual, because it enhances or enthuses a spiritual consciousness. Therefore it is spiritual. Of course, it is not very easy to understand immediately, but in the ultimate issue everything is created by Krishna, or God, so by seeing everything, if you remember Krishna, then that seeing is spiritual.
For an ordinary man this does not happen. Therefore Krishna says, “You are lamenting for the body. Oh, it is very astonishing. And you are talking like a very learned man.”
You will find many people talking as if they are very learned. But if you ask someone, “What are you?” the reply will be, “I am Indian,” “I am American,” “I am Mr. Such-and-such,” “I am the father of such and such.” This is the bodily conception. However great he may be, he is identified with the body. And according to shastra, so long as we shall identify with this body, we are no better than the cats and dogs, because they also identify with the body.
Therefore Krishna says, ashochyan anvashochas tvam prajna-vadamsh cha bhashase: “While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief.”
And Arjuna asks, “Why? Am I wrong?”
Yes. Because gatasun agatasumsh cha. The body, whether with the soul or without the soul, is material.
Even so long as the soul is there, we should not be very much interested in the bodily comforts. We should be interested in how to make progress in spiritual consciousness. People in general are simply engaged to get bodily comforts. The whole world is going on in this way. Material civilization means bodily comfort. People are increasing their activities for how to get bodily comfort. They take it as civilization to increase the bodily comforts of life. That is their idea. But they do not know that even if we are able to increase to the largest extent our bodily comfort, the body will not continue to exist. It will die. But they do not see to that. They think, “Never mind. We shall die, but so long as we live, let us live very happily.”
Bhagavad-gita is a great science. People do not know this science. You may think that you are living very happily, but you have to change this body, and your new body may not be very happy. That they do not know. This is ignorance.
Being bewildered by the three modes of material nature, people do not know what is the actual fact. Therefore we have to learn from the perfect person, Krishna, what is our actual position. Here it is said,
“This is not the subject matter for eulogizing or lamenting. The subject matter should be different. That is the soul.” Krishna will explain more in the next verse.
Thank you very much.