By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Lecture given in Bombay on November 2, 1974
A yogi may be able to walk on water, but God can float planets in space.
Shaunaka continued: There is no one who knows more than the Lord Himself. No one is more worshipable or more mature a yogi than He. He is therefore the master of the Vedas, and to hear about Him always is the actual pleasure of the senses. – Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.2
In the previous verse the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Devahuti-putra Kapiladeva has been explained as bhagavan atma-mayaya. The word bhaga means “opulence,” and van means “one who possesses.” All the opulences of the creation are present in Bhagavan. As stated in the Vedas (Katha Upanishad 2.2.13):
nityo nityanam chetanash chetananam
eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman
“Both the Supreme Lord and the individual living entities are eternal (nitya) and cognizant (cetana), but the Supreme Lord is maintaining all the living entities.” Nitya – Bhagavan – is the singular, and nityanam are the plural jivas, or living beings. Nityo nityanam: we are many, but God is one. There is no limit to the jivas; no one can count them. The word ananta means that they are without limit.
All these jivas, living entities, are being maintained by the Supreme One. We cannot conceive how many living entities are being maintained by the Supreme Lord. All the great elephants, all the small ants, all the 8,400,000 species of life are maintained by Bhagavan. Why do we worry that He will not maintain us?
Those who are devotees of the Lord and have taken shelter at His lotus feet, leaving everything aside simply to render service unto Him, will certainly be cared for. In our Krishna consciousness movement we have over a hundred centers, and Krishna is maintaining them all. None of our devotees are employed for independent incomes, yet they are all being maintained. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna never says, “Do this or that, and I will then maintain you.” Rather, He states that not only will He maintain us, but He will also protect us from the results of sin, from sinful karma (Gita 18.66). All of this assurance is there.
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.18) it is said, tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovidah . . . The word kovidah means “intelligent.” An intelligent person should try to attain shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna. Human life is actually meant for getting in touch with the lotus feet of Krishna. That should be our only business. The word upari, in this same verse, indicates the higher planetary systems. There are seven higher planetary systems, and we are in the middle system, in Bhurloka. Within this one universe there are fourteen planetary systems, and the living entities are wandering in different bodily forms on different planets. According to karma, the living entity sometimes goes up and sometimes goes down. He wanders in this way, thinking how he can become materially happy and satisfy his senses. The shastras, or Vedic scriptures, say that we should not do this, that we should endeavor to understand Krishna. We should not worry about eating and sleeping, for the needs of the body are already arranged. We do not have to work independently to maintain the body.
Our actual endeavor should be to attain happiness; that is our real struggle for existence. Tal labhyate duhkhavat. The word duhkhavat indicates that although we do not want misery, misery comes anyway. We don’t have to endeavor separately for misery. No one says, “Let there be a fire in my house” or “Let my child die.” No one aspires after these things, yet they happen. Everyone is thinking, “May my child live happily” or “May I get so much money.” We do not ask or pray for catastrophes, yet they come without invitation. Similarly, whatever happiness is there for our enjoyment will also come without our asking for it. The conclusion is that we should not endeavor for so-called happiness or distress, but should try to attain that position whereby we can understand Krishna and get shelter at His lotus feet. This should be the real human endeavor.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said to Rupa Goswami,
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-krishna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
“The living entity is wandering up and down, from one planet to another, and he is very fortunate if by the mercy of the spiritual master and Krishna Himself he can get the seed of devotional service to Krishna.” (Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya 19.151) The Krishna consciousness movement is an attempt to make people fortunate. In this age everyone is unfortunate (manda-bhagyah), but now we are trying to reverse the situation.
Throughout the world there are problems everywhere. One country has one type of problem, and another country has another. There is strife within governments themselves, and even presidents are fraught with problems. Sometimes we may think we are very fortunate, just as President Nixon was thinking, “I am very fortunate. I have become the president of the United States.” Then he soon realized that he was most unfortunate. Actually this is the situation for everyone. We should not think that the only apprehended culprit is President Nixon and that we are safe.
Wet Dung, Dry Dung
There is a Bengali proverb: Dry cow dung is used for fuel, and it is said that when the dry cow dung is being burned, the soft cow dung is laughing, saying, “Oh, you are being burned, but I am safe.” It does not know that when it dries out, it will be thrown into the fire too.
We may laugh because President Nixon is in trouble, and we may think ourselves very safe because we have a big bank balance, but actually no one is safe. Eventually everyone will dry up and be thrown in the fire. That is a fact. We may survive for a few years, but we cannot avoid death. In fact, it is said, “As sure as death.” And what is the result of death? One loses everything – all honor, money, position, and material life itself. Krishna states in the Bhagavad-gita (10.34), mrityuh sarva-harash chaham: “I am all-devouring death.” Krishna comes as death and plunders everything – bank balance, skyscrapers, wife, children, and whatever. One cannot say, “My dear death, please give me some time to adjust.” There is no adjustment; one must immediately get out.
Foolish people are unaware of the miserable conditions of material life. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (13.9), janma-mrityu jara-vyadhi-duhkha-doshanudarshanam. Real knowledge means knowing that however great one may be, the four principles of material life are present: birth, old age, disease, and death. These exist in the highest planetary system (Brahmaloka) and in the lowest (Patalaloka).
“Persons who are actually intelligent and philosophically inclined should endeavor only for that purposeful end which is not obtainable even by wandering from the topmost planet down to the lowest planet. As far as happiness derived from sense enjoyment is concerned, it can be obtained automatically in course of time, just as in course of time we obtain miseries even though we do not desire them.” (Bhagavatam 1.5.18)
When Dharmaraja asked Maharaja Yudhishthira what the most wonderful thing in the world was, Maharaja Yudhishthira replied: ahany ahani bhutani gachchantiha yamalayam. “Every moment people are dying, but those who are living are thinking, ‘My friend has died, but I shall live forever.'” (Mahabharata, Vana-parva 313.116) Soft cow dung thinks the same way. This is typical of conditioned beings.
Bhagavan’s Unique Position
Bhagavan, the Supreme Lord, is not in this position. It is therefore said: bhagavan atma-mayaya. We come onto this planet to enjoy or suffer life for a few days – fifty or a hundred years – but Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not come for that purpose (na mam karmani limpanti [Gita 4.14]). It is stated in today’s vese, na hy asya varshmanah: “No one is greater than Him.” No one is greater than Bhagavan or equal to Him. Everyone is inferior. According to the Chaitanya-charitamrita (Adi 5.142), ekale ishvara krishna, ara saba bhritya. There is only one master – Krishna. All others are subservient, beginning with Lord Brahma, Vishnu, Maheshvara, Indra, Chandra, and all the demigods (there are thirty-three million demigods) and the middle and lower species. Everyone is bhritya, or servant. When Krishna orders, “My dear Mr. So-and-So, now please give up your place and leave,” one must go.
Therefore everyone is a servant. This is the position of Lord Brahma and the ant as well. Yas tv indragopam athavendram aho sva-karma (Brahma-samhita 5.54). From Lord Indra to indragopa, an insignificant insect, everyone is reaping the consequences of his karma. We are creating our own karma, our next body, in this life. In this life we enjoy or suffer the results of our past karma, and in the same way we are creating further karma for our next body. Actually we should work in such a way that we will not get another material body, How can this be done? We simply have to try to understand Krishna. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (4.9):
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.”
This sounds very simple, but actually understanding Krishna is very difficult. If we become devotees of Krishna, understanding Krishna is easy. However, if we try to understand Him by jnana, karma, or yoga, we will be frustrated. There are many types of yogis, but he who is devoted to Krishna is the topmost yogi. Sri Krishna is far above all yogic processes. In India there are many yogis who can display some magical feats. They can walk on water, make themselves very light or very heavy, and so forth. But what is this compared to Krishna’s yogic mystic powers? By His potencies great planets are floating in space. Who can manage to float even a small stone in the air? Sometimes a yogi may show a little mystic power by manufacturing some gold, and we are so foolish that we accept him as God. However, we forget that the real yogi, the Supreme Lord Himself, has created millions of gold mines and is floating them in space.
Don’t Be Fooled
Those who are Krishna conscious are not befooled by yogis who claim to be Bhagavan. A Krishna conscious person wants only to serve the foremost yogi, Yogeshvara (varimnah sarva-yoginam). Because we are trying to become His devotees, we accept the Supreme Lord, Yogeshvara, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna Himself states in the Bhagavad-gita (18.55):
“One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God.”
This process is actually very simple. One must first of all realize that the first problem is the conquest of death. Presently we consider death compulsory, but actually it is not. One may be put into prison, but actually prison is not compulsory. It is due to one’s work that one becomes a criminal and is therefore put in jail. It is not compulsory for everyone to go to jail. As living entities, we have our proper place in Vaikunthaloka.
“There is another nature, which is eternal and is transcendental to this manifested and unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is. That supreme abode is called unmanifested and infallible, and it is the supreme destination. When one goes there, he never comes back. That is My supreme abode.” (Gita 8.20–21)
Everything is present in Vaikunthaloka. There we can have an eternal, blissful life full of knowledge (sach-chid-ananda). It is not compulsory for us to rot in this material world. The easiest way to go to the Vaikunthalokas is janma karma cha me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah (Gita 4.9). Simply try to understand Krishna. Why does He come? What are His activities? Where does He come from? Why does He come in the form of a human being? We only have to try to understand this and study Krishna as He explains Himself in the Bhagavad-gita.
What is the difficulty? God personally explains Himself as He is, and if we accept the Bhagavad-gita as it is, we shall no longer have to transmigrate. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti. We shall no longer have to endure birth and death, for we can attain our spiritual bodies (sac-cid-ananda-vigraha) and live happily in Krishna’s family. Krishna is providing for us here, and He will also provide for us there. So we should know that our happiness is in returning home, back to Godhead, where we can eat, drink, and be merry in Krishna’s company.
Thank you very much.