19830605 Caitanya Caritamrita Adi Lila.9.42 Srimad Bhagavatam.10.22.35 Atlanta
The following is a lecture given by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami on June 5th, 1983 in Atlanta, Georgia. The class begins with a reading from the Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta, the Adi-lila, Chapter 9, Verse 43.
‘It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.’
There are two kinds of general activities — sreyas, or activities which are ultimately beneficial and auspicious…” This is called sreyas. The other kind of general activity,
“…preyas or those which are immediately beneficial and auspicious. For example, children are fond of playing. They do not want to go to school to receive an education, and they think that to play all day and night and enjoy with their friends is the aim of life. Even in the transcendental life of Lord Krsna, we find that when He was a child He was very fond of playing with His friends of the same age, the cowherd boys. He would not even go home to take His dinner. Mother Yasoda would have to come out to induce Him to come home. Thus it is a child’s nature to engage all day and night in playing, not caring even for his health and other important concerns. This is an example of preyas, or immediately beneficial activities. But there are also sreyas, or activities which are ultimately auspicious. According to Vedic civilization, a human being must be God conscious. He should understand what God is, what this material world is, who he is, and what their interrelationships are. This is called sreyas, or ultimately auspicious activity.
In this verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that one should be interested in sreyas. To achieve the ultimate goal of sreyas, or good fortune, one should engage everything, including his life, wealth and words, not only for himself but for others also. However, unless one is interested in sreyas in his own life, he cannot preach of sreyas for the benefit of others.
This verse cited by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu applies to human beings, not to animals. As indicated in the previous verse by the words manusya-janma, these injunctions are for human beings. Unfortunately, human beings, although they have the bodies of men, are becoming less than animals in their behavior. This is the fault of modern education. Modern educators do not know the aim of human life; they are simply concerned with how to develop the economic condition of their countries or of human society. This is also necessary; the Vedic con… uh, civilization considers all aspects of human life, including dharma (religion), artha (economic development), kama (sense gratification) and moksa (liberation). But humanity’s first concern should be religion. To be religious, one must abide by the orders of God, but unfortunately people in this age have rejected religion, and they are busy in economic development. Therefore they will adopt any means to get money. For economic development one does not need to get money by hook or by crook; one needs only sufficient money to maintain his body and soul. However, because modern economic development is going on with no religious background, people have become lusty, greedy and mad after money. They are simply developing the qualities of rajas (passion) and tamas (ignorance), neglecting the other quality of nature, sattva (goodness), and the brahminical qualifications. Therefore the entire society is in chaos.
The Bhagavatam says that it is the duty of an advanced human being to act in such a way as to facilitate human society’s attainment of the ultimate goal of life. There is a similar verse in the Visnu Purana, part three, chapter twelve, verse 45, which is next quoted in the Caitanya-caritamrta as Verse 34… uh, 43, which is the next verse.
Thus end the translation and the purport of the Text 42 of the Caitanya-Caritamrta in the Adi-lila, which is the… the verse from the Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10th Canto, 22d Chapter, Verse 35, which has been quoted here, by Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
‘It is the duty of every living uh, being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.’
So this is something which is not too difficult to understand that a human being should live for others… for the benefit of others. Of course, first one has to take care of one’s own interest, at least be concerned about one’s own interest and then one can consider others’ interest.
The problem is that nobody knows what is in their good interest in the modern world. That is the… the big problem. The… so many examples of how people in the name of doing good to others actually create havoc because they don’t know exactly what will be the result. Whether it’s on a temporary basis… some rather isolated basis just like bringing foxes to… oh where they brought them to? Australia to get rid of the rabbits and then there’s something to get rid of the foxes. Nobody was there to help them out. In India there is the water hyacinth fern which completely clogs all of the riverways, all of the waterways, all of the lakes, ponds and that was brought because some English lady wanted to decorate India, did not realize there is no one to eat water hyacinth. So that thing is just everywhere, clogs everything up, stagnates the water. So it can be I mean, those are just more or less frivolous, or little examples.
So to the ultimate goal of life people are not… at least people are considered as immediate, they have an immediate problem, they want an immediate solution, but what will be the ultimate result of that they don’t know. Prahlada Maharaja in the Seventh Canto describes that their problems all require solution but the solutions that they find for their problems are another problem. Just like there was the problem of transportation. So now in this problem of transportation we have developed the uh, automobile which is another problem. Right? Then we have to have roads, you have to have laws, then we have to have enforcement branches, so on and so forth, all trying to maintain… to solve your original problem, you’ve just created another problem, which is created another 50 problems.
So at race, neck… you know, break neck speeds one has races to go from one place to the next, to see a friend you have to drive thirty miles. Now the life has become so complicated and people lose track that what is the actual basic standard of life. That these are not necessary to actually be happy. But we have created artificial standards and to maintain that, that’s the big problem.
So all these things are preyas, they just give us some immediate happiness. Just like you tell people, on the plane I was flying over “Happy Holidays”, or something. “Yeah! I think I am going to try to have a real good time.” Within these short holidays, I was flying from India to Frankfurt to here, so from Frankfurt all of the boys, all of the army boys, and force officers everybody they are all flying over for the holidays. So in this uh, they have to report back in January, 6th or something. So in this short time they want to squeeze in as much preyas, immediate uh, happiness that they can. This is the standard around the world for most of the people.
If, the only sreyas, it’s just like little long term, maybe they take some education. Now so many adults are going back to school to get some more education so that they can get another future uh, better position in society for economic development. This morning while uh, doing something I saw an old paper. There was an ad there for people retiring so that and what do people have to look forward to. After retirement go to some old folks home and uh, the ultimate uh, “What are people living for?” It’s very dubious in many people’s minds. So those who are a little pious they feel they will go to heaven but who is God, who are they, what is heaven in scientific, or more definitive terms what does it all mean, “What is life?” To ignore that basic question and just to go on blindly through one’s life is basically the greatest foolishness that one could do. No purpose of human intelligence if that simply to be able to uh, invent so many machines to solve our problems and then create another problem to maintain those machines. That’s, uh that’s all subsidiary purposes. That’s simply to facilitate going where we have to go. But where are we going that nobody knows.
That’s the amazing thing in the Western world that from the great scientists, to the philosophers, to the leaders that where society should go. What is the actual uh, destination where there can be peace and harmony or where people can be satisfied and happy. They know that there are so many difficulties in society, there are so many deficiencies. But what the destination is, what is the standard, what is the goal… Is there a standard? That nobody can say anything. They all have different ideas, plans like Marxism, Capitalism and so on. But all these are man-made schemes and all are deficient.
So the actual plan, the real sreyas or the real permanent benefit is given in the Vedic literature. That first thing, is the purpose is that we should know who Krishna is, we should know who the Supreme Godhead is, we should know everything about Him that we are capable of knowing. Not that we can know everything, because He is unlimited but there are many things that we can know, and we should know, and we should know about ourselves. Who are we? How did we come in the world? What is the, is there life after death? What is that life? What is this material world? How does it relate with ourselves, with God? All these things are very scientifically and systematically described in the Vedic literature.
So Prabhupada’s books they are actually giving this knowledge to people. Unfortunately people are so absorbed in the external form that if it is a little bit different from what they are accustomed to they tend to reject or tend to doubt without giving it a fair hearing.
So by some means or another we have to uh, allow people to be exposed to our literature and be exposed to our uh, philosophy so they might start to understand that there is actually something that they should be uh, analyzing in their lives more than their immediate economic program.
In the Vedic culture the whole system of varnasrama is given to divide the animals from the humans. So before varnasrama is practiced then, basically human society is a type of polished animal society. Varnasrama means that there is a basic direction of becoming self-realized, of being… uh, following the laws of God and these things are organized in such a way that people in their retired life, they’re able to concentrate on God consciousness and their active life there are various programs. The whole system was given by Krishna just to bring the people to the platform of human life. But uh, people are very far away from varnasrama culture.
So Caitanya Mahaprabhu He is actually giving the essence, I mean the whole purpose of even of varnasrama dharma is to bring one to the point of God consciousness. To be conscious of God is one’s own spiritual nature, to be conscious of uh, the material… the interrelationships, is the actual purpose. So then Caitanya Mahaprabhu by giving this -
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Mahamantra this awakens the dormant spiritual capacity to understand these things. Prabhupada once retorted when somebody said you are brainwashing the people. He said “What brain they have to wash?” You give them a brain and then we have something. They have nothing, no brain even to understand spiritual life. People don’t have the, they are so much embedded in body consciousness, they identify themselves so much simply by their material tabernacle that they are temporarily residing in, that they have no idea whatsoever that there’s anything beyond that, which is such a hopeless frustrating situation because at every moment this body is disintegrating and there is no doubt that at one time that thing is simply going to fall off.
So it’s a very hopeless and frustrating situation, which you can block out, (ignorance is bliss) for some time but doesn’t actually solve the problem. The people they are very hopelessly absorbed in this type of bodily existence and that there is something beyond this. They don’t have the intelligence to perceive that or to understand that even if you tell them about the existence of the soul in real spiritual terms. Even the more religious people they say I have a soul. ‘I’ they are so identifying, ‘I’ is in the body, I have a soul. It’s like the car saying, “I have a driver.”, right? If cars could speak. Now they have computers that can speak, “I have a user.” Right? But if the user does not turn on the switch the computer is nothing, isn’t it? So here, “I have a soul.” Its not the soul, its the actual person, the body is simply a vehicle.
But this to get them even to that level without chanting Hare Krishna or taking a little Krishna cookie or prasadam, without having some association of the devotees, without just getting some little bit of spiritual vibration, or spiritual understanding or just little bit of spiritual sukriti, they have no scope for even, even slightly conceiving what’s going on.
So by all of your preaching Krishna consciousness and giving people… engaging them in the process of Krishna consciousness, you are doing the greatest welfare work. This is the ultimate sreyas because even by a little bit of advancement in spiritual life they can eventually conquer over all these difficulties. They can conquer over death what to speak of anything else. And once they understand who they are, how they are interrelated with uh, the material world, with God, with each other in factual spiritual terms then they have achieved the supreme happiness, they have achieved the supreme peace which everybody is hankering for. But they don’t have any idea how to get it, they all have ideas how to get it but they don’t get it with those ideas. They don’t know how to achieve sreyas or ultimate benefit. They’re just after preyas the immediate sense gratification, the immediate result.
So you are doing the greatest welfare work by giving this Krishna consciousness to others and if we persevere then gradually people will start to be more and more fortunate simply by your association and by your engaging them and eventually, if they have the slightest desire they will be able to understand. Everyone has the capacity to understand, whether young or old, whether educated or uneducated, whether man or woman. Everyone has the capacity to understand but they are covered, that capacity is covered by different degrees of material ignorance and passion. So that fire that’s burning in their heart has to be a little bit cooled down and good intelligence has to be transplanted for or rather uncovered by the cleansing process of Krishna consciousness. Actually then, real intelligence is revealed then they can understand what is happening.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
[End of Recording]
Transcribed by : Suvilasi Madhavi dd Date: 22 March 2015