From Ignorance to Enlightenment

Average: 3.5 (2 votes)

To avoid the defeat of our life plans, we must learn the spiritual science from a genuine guru.

parabhavas tavad abodha-jato
yavan na jijnasata atma-tattvam
yavat kriyas tavad idam mano vai
karmatmakam yena sharira-bandhah

"As long as one does not inquire about the spiritual values of life, one is defeated and subjected to miseries arising from ignorance. Be it sinful or pious, karma has its resultant actions. If a person is engaged in any kind of karma, his mind is called karmatmaka, colored with fruitive activity. As long as the mind is impure, consciousness is unclear, and as long as one is absorbed in fruitive activity, he has to accept a material body."
Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.5


It is quite natural that whatever you do, your mind will be absorbed in that business. That is called karmatmakam. Therefore our mind should be engaged always in Krishna. Then we can be relieved from sharira-bandhah, the bondage of the material body. Unfortunately, there is no education to tell us that the material body is a great impediment to our progress in life. In the Vedic civilization, the material body is condemned everywhere. People do not understand this point.

In the state of bondage, whatever you do for so-called material progress is not progress. It is parabhavah, defeat. People are so busily engaged throughout the day and night. They are making material progress, but it is not progress. It is regress. But they do not know that. Why? Abodha-jatah: born in ignorance.

Yavan na jijnasata atma-tattvam means "as long as one does not inquire into the nature of the self and God." Where is such inquiry today? Nobody inquires because they have no information. Even big, big professors think we have a body by chance and as soon as the body is finished, everything is finished. That means they do not know atma-tattvam. On the basis of this misconception of life they are inventing so many "isms."

This morning we were talking about the attempt to find a cure for leprosy. That is good, but why should there be leprosy? That they do not know. Why is one man suffering from leprosy and another man not suffering? Is there no arrangement behind it? Who is making this arrangement? So unless there is some arrangement, how is it happening?

People do not inquire about such things. They are dull, just like trees. A tree cannot inquire, "Why are you cutting me?" Modern human civilization is like that. Therefore whatever plans people make become baffled, become useless after some time—parabhavah—because they do not know what plan they should make. Like children they are thinking, "If I play like this, it will be very nice." So they engage in one type of playing, and then change to another type of playing, because they do not know what kind of plan should be made.

Buddha's Inspiration

From abodha, ignorance, one has to be brought to the platform of bodha, enlightenment.

Lord Krishna uses the phrase bodhayantam parasparam in the Bhagavad-gita (10.9):

mach-chitta mad-gata-prana
bodhayantah parasparam
kathayantash cha mam nityam
tushyanti cha ramanti cha

"The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to My service, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me." This verse describes the mahatmas. Bodhayantam parasparam: "enlightening one another." That is called sat-sanga. People should always be inquiring about progress in spiritual life. That is advancement. Bodhayantah parasparam. There should be constant discussion of spiritual topics. Everything is there in our books.

To get out of ignorance one has to approach a person who is not abodha but bodha, or budha. One has to approach a budha.

Lord Buddha's name comes from the word bodha. He has understood everything. He was a prince, and he never left the palace. But when he did come out, he saw an old man with a cane, walking with great difficulty.

He asked his servants, "What is this?"

"This is an old man," they replied. "Everyone has to become like this."

That was the inspiration behind his understanding. Why should he be like that? Why should he become an old man? Why should he walk with a cane?

By meditation, Buddha made such inquiries. That was his pastime. By studying nature one should be inspired to ask such questions: Why is this man diseased? Why is this man old? Why is this man suffering? Then—bodhayantah parasparam—the inquisitiveness can lead him to proper knowledge. And where to get that proper knowledge? From a guru. But if there is no inquiry, if one is dull like a stone or a tree, then how will there be inquiry?

Our education at the present moment makes us like dull stones and trees. The tree cannot ask, "Why are you cutting me?" But people should be enthusiastic to inquire. To accept a guru, the disciple should be very eager to know the truth. Nowadays people accept a guru as a fashion.

"Everyone has a guru. Everyone has a dog. Well, let me keep a dog."

One should not have a guru as one might have a pet. One should have a guru when one is very inquisitive to know the solution to the problems of life. One must approach the guru with questions.

Service and Inquiry

But don't make cheap inquiries:

"Here is my guru, and he's meant for answering all my questions. Let me go on questioning, questioning, questioning."

No. You must be ready to serve the guru. Then you have the right to ask questions. Otherwise not.

First of all, you must find a person to whom you can fully surrender. And then you can inquire, and the inquiry should be compensated by service. The more you are inclined to render service to the guru, the more the truth becomes revealed.

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha-deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakashante mahatmanah

"Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed." (Svetashvatara Upanishad 6.23) It is a different science. The more you are inclined to render service, the more spiritual truth becomes revealed. If you are not inquisitive, don't bother to have a guru. There is no need.

If one is inquisitive to know the ultimate goal of life, a guru is required. But one who wants only sense gratification doesn't require a guru. Even birds and beasts know how to gratify their senses. There is no need of a university or a teacher to learn how to eat, sleep, mate, and defend. But at the present moment, going to the university means learning how to gratify the senses very scientifically. This modern university education is simply a waste of time.

In the Vedic varnashrama system [see Glossary, p. ??] there are four divisions of human society: brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas, and shudras. There is no need of education for vaishyas and shudras. The brahmanas, because they will guide society, require education. And the kshatriyas, who give protection to society, are guided by the brahmanas.

The vaishya learns from his father how to cultivate the field with a plow. He doesn't require education. He can see what to do.

Fifty years ago in India, I saw that those in the lower status of life never sent their children to school. "Oh, what is the use of wasting time? Better to admit him to some workshop or business."

Our children are learning by seeing the deity worship and the kirtana. Similarly, one can learn some occupation without wasting time by going to the university. Education is required if you want to understand the value of life, not for learning technical nonsense.

People do not know the aim of life, and they are being defeated. In this life you may become a prime minister, making so many plans, but in your next life you may become a dog. You cannot check that. God's law, or nature's law, will not take account of your prime minister position.

Krishna is within your heart. Outwardly you may become a very big man—minister, president, and so on—and God is seeing what you are within. If on the outside you are a president but within you are a dog, that will not help you.

Accepting Krishna's Plan

Whatever plans the ignorant make end in defeat. We don't need to make plans because Krishna's has given plans. The last plan is to surrender to Him. That is the real plan. Krishna has given many plans—for karma-yoga, dhyana-yoga, this yoga, that yoga. But everywhere He has concluded that the real plan is to become Krishna conscious. You are trying to be yogi by hatha-yoga; that's all right. Krishna says that the yogi must go to a secluded place and sit down in a certain way. Without falling asleep, he must sit with half-open eyes and stare at the tip of the nose, he must practice complete celibacy, and so on.

Krishna has explained how to become a yogi, how to become a jnani [empiric philosopher], how to become a karmi [fruitive worker]. But everywhere He has concluded with Krishna consciousness. In reference to the jnanis, He says,bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyante [Bg. 7.19]: "After many births, the jnanis at last come to Me." He says of the yogis,yoginam api sarvesham mad-gatenantaratmana [Bg. 6.47]: "My devotee is the greatest yogi." And of the karmi, He says, yat karoshi … tat kurushva tat mad arpanam [Bg. 9.27]: "Do everything as an offering to Me."

The ultimate is Krishna. That is the real plan. And if you do not know this plan, you are simply wasting time.

dharmah svanushthitah pumsam
vishvakshena-kathasu yah
notpadayed yadi ratim
shrama eva hi kevalam

"The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.8) If you do not know ultimately that Krishna is required, then all your jnana, karma, yoga, tapasya [austerity]—everything is simply a waste of time.

Avoiding Defeat

Therefore it is said parabhavah. Whatever you are doing will end in defeat if you do not know atma-tattva, the spiritual science. This is a very dangerous position. If you do not take to Krishna consciousness, then you are defeated in every sphere of life. And then, after death, you have to change your body. And the new body will not be selected by you, or your government, or your father, or your so-called guru. The laws of nature will decide. That you cannot avoid.

You should always remember that Krishna is the ultimate goal. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.31) Prahlada Maharaja says,

na te viduh svartha-gatim hi vishnum
durashaya ye bahir-artha-maninah
andha yathandhair upaniyamanas
te 'pisha-tantryam uru-damni baddhah

"Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Vishnu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries." Rascals do not know that the ultimate goal of self-interest is Vishnu. Simply by false hope—hope against hope—they are trying to adjust things materially, or so-called spiritually, by this or that method. They are tied by the laws of material nature, hands and legs, and they are thinking they are free to do anything and everything without consulting the scriptures. In the Bhagavad-gita (16.23) Lord Krishna says,

yah shastra-vidhim utsrijya
vartate kama-karatah
na siddhim sa avapnoti
na sukham na param gatim

"He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination." If you do not get success, what is the use of working so hard?

Krishna is so kind. He has come to help you because you are being misled by so-called leaders. These rascals, these leaders, will simply mislead you. They are blind. They do not know how to live. Therefore Krishna personally comes: "All right. I shall lead you. Take My advice, take My instruction, and ultimately surrender unto Me. Then I'll lead you back home, back to Godhead."

Thank you very much.