The following is a lecture given by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami on December 17th, 1983 in Atlanta, Georgia. The class begins with a reading from the Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter 9, Verse 42.
Jayapataka Swami: You know that two days ago the King and Queen of Nepal were in Atlanta? They garlanded the grave or whatever you call it, the tomb of uh, Martin Luther King and saw some drama in the cultural center.
Could it be on top?
Just met… the queen asked to see me, when I was just there, she saw me for about one hour. She wanted advice, she wants to… actually she wants to give us some facility to open up a Krishna consciousness gurukula for Nepal. She spoke very highly about Krishna consciousness. Prabhupada said it’s the only Hindu kingdom in the world, so we should make it a stronghold of Krishna consciousness.
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ
nama oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale
śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine
namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe
nāmne gaura-tviṣe namo namaḥ
viśvambharau dvijavarau yuga-dharma-pālau
vande jagat priyakarau karuṇā-avatārau
śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
he kṛṣṇa karuṇā-sindho
rādhā-kānta namo ’stu te
śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma
rāma rāma hare hare
jaya jaya śrī-caitanya jaya nityānanda
Devotees: jaya jaya śrī-caitanya jaya nityānanda
Jayapataka Swami: jayādvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
Devotees: jayādvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
mukhaṁ karoti vācālaṁ
panguṁ laṅghayate girim
yat kṛpā tam ahaṁ vande
dehinām iha dehiṣu
prāṇair arthair dhiyā vācā
“ ‘It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.’
Translation with repetition:
Jayapataka Swami: It is the duty
Devotees: It is the duty.
Jayapataka Swami: of every living being
Devotees: of every living being.
Jayapataka Swami: to perform welfare activities
Devotees: to perform welfare activities
Jayapataka Swami: for the benefit of others
Devotees: for the benefit of others
Jayapataka Swami: with his life
Devotees: with his life
Jayapataka Swami: wealth
Jayapataka Swami: intelligence
Jayapataka Swami: and words.
Devotees: and words.
There are two kinds of general activities — śreyas, or activities which are ultimately beneficial and auspicious… this is called sreyas. The other kind of general activity, preyas are 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 Kṛṣṇa, 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 Yaśodā 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 śreyas, 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 śreyas, or ultimately auspicious activity.
In this verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that one should be interested in śreyas. To achieve the ultimate goal of śreyas, 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 śreyas in his own life, he cannot preach of śreyas for the benefit of others.
This verse cited by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu applies to human beings, not to animals. As indicated in the previous verse by the words manuṣya-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 civilization considers all aspects of human life, including dharma (religion), artha (economic development), kāma (sense gratification) and mokṣa (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 Bhāgavatam 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 Viṣṇu Purāṇa, part three, chapter twelve, verse 45, which is next quoted in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta as verse 34… or 43, which is the next verse. Thus ends the translation and the purport of the text 42 of the Caitanya Caritamrita, in the Adi lila, which is the verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam, 10th Canto, 22nd 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 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, so then one can consider others interest. The problem is that nobody knows what is in their good interest, in the modern world. That is 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 what exactly… what will be the result, whether it is on a temporary basis, some rather isolated basis, just like bringing foxes to… where they brought, to Austratlia to get rid of the rabbits, and then there is nothing to get rid of the foxes. In India nobody was trying to help them out.
In India, there is a water hyacinth plant, which is complete clogs all of the river ways, all of the water ways, all of the lakes, ponds, and uh, that was brought because some English lady wanted to decorate India. Didn’t realize that there is no one to eat the water hyacinth, so the thing is just everywhere, clogs everything up, stagnates the water. So it can be, I mean, those who are just like more or less frivolous or little examples. So to the ultimate goal of life, people are not…. At least the people are immediate. They have a immediate problem, they want an immediate solution, but what would be the ultimate result of that, they don’t know. Prahlada Maharaja, in the seventh canto, describes that there are problems, all require solution, but the solution is that they find for their problems are another problem. Just like there was the problem for transportation, and now in this problem of transportation we’ve develop the automobile, which is another problem, right? Then you have to have roads, you have to have laws, then you have to have enforcement branch and so and so forth.
All trying to maintain to solve your original problem, you have just created another problem which has created another fifty problems. So at race neck… break-neck speeds, one has races to go, from one place to the next, to see your friend, you have to drive through the miles.In other words the life has become so complicated, and people loose track that what is the actual basic standard of life, that this are not necessary to actually be happy… but we have created artificial standards, and to maintain that, that’s a big problem. So all this things are preyas, to give us some immediate happiness, just like you tell people on the plane that is flying over to… “Happy Holidays” or something.
“Yeah! I am going to try to have a real good time.”
But in this short holiday, I was flying through from India to Franfurt to here. So from Frankfurt, all of the uh, boys, all of the Army boys and force officers, everybody, they were all flying over for the holidays. So, in this, they have to report back January 6th of something, so in this short time they want to squeeze in as much prayas, immediate happiness that they can. This is the standard around the world for most of the people. If there are only sreyas, it’s just like little long term, is maybe take some education, how many adults are going back to school to get some more education, so that they can get some other future uh, better position in society for economic development. This morning while we were doing something, I saw in an old paper. There was an add there, for people retiring, so that… and uh, what do people have to look forward to? Their retirement will go to some old folks home and uh, the ultimate uh, what are people living for? It’s very uh, very dubious in many people’s mind, those who are little bit pious, they think, “Well we will go to heaven.” but who is God, who are they, what is heaven, in real 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.
The whole purpose of human intelligence is not simply to be able to uh, to invent so many machines, to solve our problems and then create another problem to maintain those machines, that’s all uh, that’s all subsidiary purposes, that’s simply uh, 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 the… from the great scientists to the great 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’s so many deficiencies, but what the destination is, what is the standard, what is the goal, is there a standard, that nobody can say definitively.
They all have different ideas, plans, like Marxism, and uh, Capitalism and so on, but all this are man-made schemes are all deficient. So the actual plan, the real sreyas, or the real permanent benefit is give 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 we have come in the world, what is the… Is there life after death, what is a life? What is this material world, how does it relate with uh, ourselves, with God, all this things are very scientifically and systematically uh, described in the Vedic literatures, so Prabhupada’s books, they are actually giving this knowledge to people. Unfortunately, people are so absorbed in the external forms, that if you are little bit different than what they are accustomed to, they tend to reject or can tend to doubt, without giving it a fair hearing, so by some means or other we have to uh, allow people to be exposed to our literature and be exposed to our uh, philosophy, so that they might start to understand that, there is something that they should be uh, analyzing in their life more than their immediate economic program.
The Vedic culture, the whole system of Varnarshama is given to divide the animals from the humans. So before, Varnasrama is practiced, basically the human society is a polished animal society.
Varnasrama means that there is a basic direction of becoming self realized, of being following the laws of God, and that things are organized in such a way that people in their retired life, they are able to concentrate on God consciousness, in 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 the Varnasrama dharma is to bring one to the point of God consciousness. To be conscious of God, and one’s own spiritual nature, be conscious of uh, the material… the interrelationships. This 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 this things. Prabhupada once retorted with somebody said, “You are brainwashing the people.” He said, “What brain they have to wash?” To give them a brain, then we have something. You see… They have nothing… they have no brain even to understand spiritual life. People don’t have the… they are so much imbedded in body consciousness, they identify themselves so much, simply by the material tabernacle, that they are temporarily residing in, that they have no idea whatsoever, that there is anything beyond that, which is such a hopeless, frustrating situation, because every moment this body is disintegrating, and there’s no doubt that one time that one time the things is simply going to fall off.
So it is a very hopeless and frustrating situation, which you can block out… ignorance is bliss for sometime, 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 it, 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 the real spiritual terms, you see…even the more religious people, they say, “I have a soul.” I, they are still identifying… I as in the body, “I have a soul.” just like a car is 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 doesn’t turn on the switch, the computer is nothing, isn’t it?
So here, “I have a soul.” It’s not the soul, is the actual person, the body is simply the vehicle, but this… to get them to even that level, without chanting Hare Krishna or taking a little Krishna cookie or prasadam, without having some association with devotees, without just getting some little bit of spiritual uh, vibration, or spiritual understanding, there is just a little of a spiritual sukrti, they have no scope for even slightly conceiving what is going on.
So by all of your preaching Krishna consciousness, and giving people, engaging people in the process of Krishna consciousness, you are doing the greatest welfare work. So 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 have all the ideas how to get it, but they don’t get it… those ideas. They don’t know how to achieve sreyas, the ultimate benefit, they are just after prayas, the immediate sense gratification, the immediate uh, 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, by your engaging them, and eventually if they have the slightest desire they will be able to understand.
It’s… 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, or rather uncovered by the cleansing process of Krishna consciousness. Actually then real intelligence is revealed, then you can understand, what is happening.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
I was in Bombay. Their goal is to do 70,000 unabridged Bhagavad-gitas during the marathon. Of course, it is different there in India, because the particular place they are, there is only one other Bhagavad-gita published, and they reduce the price down, subsidizing it about a rupee lower than the cost of printing, so everybody knows that it’s a steal away price, people coming up saying, “Give me 100.” They know, you know it is like a last chance. “Give me ten.” so they are fighting. Some of the sankirtan parties, they are going to the book binders, right off from the printing press book binders, stealing the books from there, because they can’t supply fast enough. We are actually, we are having two big book fares, in our zone in Februrary since there’s no Christmas in India. Then we decided just do it in February then.
Not being, I was absorbed over here, so I couldn’t organize anything, they already organized it for February in Calcutta, but Calcutta turned in about uh, uh, it works out to 100 and… So far 120,000 uh, Laksmi points in the BBT in uh… Western Laksmi points. So that uh, puts it up pretty high up in the BBT scores, in any case. As far as uh, Europe, they are mostly doing uh, Laksmi points… in Italy, their goal was, he told me, I don’t know if it is exaggerated, he told me, his goal was about two million Laksmi points. And uh… in uh, Switzerland, where I was for two days with the Chairman of the GBC- Sri Harikesa Visnupada, we worked on uh, I requested that according to our rules we shouldn’t have any GBC committee meetings in Miami. We should have it in Mayapur, which he agreed to and so… so now newsletters and things about that. See what happens.
But uh, they were doing it one week, they did about 98,000 book points. Apparently they are really on fire, and uh, this, and they are just…. Became completely absorbed. So actually I don’t see many devotees there. They are all on the roads. Jaya Gurudeva dasa and a few other are having a competition. I don’t know how they do it, but uh, some of them are doing even up to 200 uh, mean some of the bigger, there are 200, this big books in a day.
Jayapataka Swami: In Switzerland.
But even though they could do that before, but and it just somehow by the intense desire to please Lord Caitanya, their capacity seems to have increased unlimitedly. It’s very inspiring. And here also I see that the devotees are you know, very enthusiastically expanding the service, each place little bit different than another place, but Krishna helps, He gives intelligence, tesam satata yuktanam, bhajatam priti purvakam, someone who is constantly involved in Krishna’s service, satata yuktanam, satata means constantly and yuktanam means engaged, and united or engaged towards Krishna in service.
Tesam satata yuktanam, bhajatam priti purvakam. With priti, with devotion, with affection, in order to please Guru and Krishna, Dadami buddhi yogantam, then Krishna says, I give them intelligence by which they are able to come to Me. I give them the spiritual intelligence, so actually by that intense desire, if we keep very tightly connected with Krishna, always conscious of uh, our desire to do this for the pleasure of Krishna, in affection or in a devotional mood, Krishna gives us more and more intelligence, and we will be able to pick up different ideas, how to engage people in Krishna consciousness and thus how we can ourselves go closer and closer to Krishna by refining our devotional service.
Transcribed by Sadananda Krishnaprem Dasa
Revised by Jagannatha dasa Brahmacari