The following is a class given by His Holiness Jayapatākā Swami on April 28, 1986 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The class begins with the reading from the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam First Canto, Chapter 17, Text 25.
Jayapatākā Swami: The principles of religion do not stand on some dogmas or man-made formulas, but they stand on four primary regulative observances, namely austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness. The mass of people must be taught to practice these principles from childhood. Austerity means to accept voluntarily things which may not be very comfortable for the body but are conducive for spiritual realization, for example, fasting. Fasting twice or four times a month is a sort of austerity which may be voluntarily accepted for spiritual realization only, and not for any other purposes, political or otherwise. Fastings which are meant not for self-realization but for some other purposes are condemned in the Bhagavad-gītā (17.5-6). Similarly, cleanliness is necessary both for the mind and for the body. Simply bodily cleanliness may help to some extent, but cleanliness of the mind is necessary, and it is affected by glorifying the Supreme Lord. No one can cleanse the accumulated mental dust without glorifying the Supreme Lord. A godless civilization cannot cleanse the mind because it has no idea of God, and for this simple reason people under such a civilization cannot have good qualifications, however they may be materially equipped. We have to see things by their resultant action. The resultant action of human civilization in the age of Kali is dissatisfaction, so everyone is anxious to get peace of mind.
Jaya, Jagannātha Svāmī, ki:
Jayapatākā Swami: Nitai Gaura, ki:
Jayapatākā Swami: This peace of mind was complete in the Satya age because of the existence of the above-mentioned attributes of the human beings. Gradually these attributes have diminished in the Tretā-yuga to three fourths, in the Dvāpara to half, and in this age of Kali to one fourth, which is also gradually diminishing on account of prevailing untruthfulness. By pride, either artificial or real, the resultant action of austerity is spoiled; by too much affection for female association, cleanliness is spoiled; by too much addiction to intoxication, mercy is spoiled; and by too much lying propaganda, truthfulness is spoiled. The revival of bhāgavata-dharma can save human civilization from falling prey to evils of all description.
Oṁ tat sat. Thus end the Bhaktivedānta Purports of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, chapter entitled Punishment and Reward of Kali in Canto One, Chapter 17, Verse 25.
So, Mahārāja Parīkṣit is addressing Dharma, the personality of religion who has appeared in the form of a bull, who is balancing somehow or another on one leg only, which is the leg of truthfulness. So herein he said, "You are now standing on one leg only, which is your truthfulness, and you are somehow or other hobbling along. But quarrel personified [Kali], flourishing by deceit, is also trying to destroy that leg."
So, these are some very important points for preaching which Śrīla Prabhupāda has revealed in this verse. They're also some very important points for our spiritual life, and they are also very important points for the welfare of society at large. The age of Kali that we are living in is a very special age of Kali because this is the age of Kali immediately after Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa has appeared in the world. Lord Kṛṣṇa does not appear in every age of Kali. It describes that He comes once in a day of Brahmā. As you know, a day of Brahmā is described as 1,000 mahā-yugas, each yuga containing four cycles: Kali, Dvāpara, Tretā, Satya, starting from Satya.
So in this particular Kali-yuga, which is one out of 1,000 Kali-yugas, in other words there will be another thousand Kali-yugas will go by before Kṛṣṇa in His original form appears. And only after Kṛṣṇa appears does Caitanya Mahāprabhu appear. Therefore this Kali-yuga is a very special one. In every Kali-yuga there is irreligion. In every Kali-yuga there are various problems. That is not special. That is pretty consistent. But in this Kali-yuga, there is something which is very special. That is the presence of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's movement. Nonetheless, in every age of Kali, Kṛṣṇa provides some means to stop the influence of Kali-yuga. In this age, Kṛṣṇa having himself come, that means is definitely most sublime.
So when we read these various problems of Kali-yuga, what should be our attitude? What should be our action we undertake after hearing these things? Is not that we should, like an ostrich, bury our heads in the sand to avoid the problems of Kali-yuga. It's not that because Kali-yuga's here, we should all somehow go to sleep and not wake up. Neither is it that we should think that it's hopeless, and just surrender to Kali, and engage in sinful activities.
What we should do when we see what are the symptoms of Kali is we should take necessary precaution. Persons in Māyāpura, sometimes there is flood. The government goes and tells the people, "There is about to be flood." Usually they tell the people there is about to be flood after the blood already started, and everybody already knows there's flood. That's another thing. But the flood in Māyāpura is such a thing that generally speaking, the floodwaters gradually come up to the side of the road, and we already know that it's about to flood or could anytime flood, so we take precaution. Everything in the ground floors we lift to the upper floors in case of flood so there's no spoilage.
Now similarly, the government often tells people that there may be an earthquake. There may be some form of difficulty coming when they see the symptoms of that. Or there may be an epidemic. Say that people start to catch cholera, or other forms of disease. They give some guidance to the people. Take some vaccination. Take precaution. Don't eat certain types of food or water or so on. In this way they give some warning to their citizens so that the casualties will be as little as possible. So, the Vedas being the special guide for human society, being the lawbook of the universal government of the Lord, they're naturally warning us that Kali-yuga is here. Therefore, we have to take precaution against Kali-yuga.
It doesn't mean that Kali-yuga is insurmountable, or that Kali-yuga being here, we should just throw our hands up in despair and simply become animals. This is given to us, all these descriptions that we become very careful to avoid becoming infected by Kali-yuga. We should keep this in mind when we discuss the symptoms of Kali-yuga that it's for a very practical purpose. This is to give us means and ways to protect ourselves from the influence of Kali-yuga, just as much as a government tells the people how to save themselves when there's an impending natural calamity.
Of course in a natural calamity there are bound to be some casualties, but those who are aware of the dangers and know how to protect themselves, they have a better chance of surviving. Therefore, when we read "Kali-yuga", we shouldn't gloss over it and think, "Oh, Kali-yuga, Kali-yuga. We've heard so much about Kali-yuga." We should know that this is telling us how to recognize. Just like when a person has leprosy. Now modern medicine has been able to cure leprosy if you catch it early. If you have a little spot on your body, it has no feeling, it is simply a white spot. You can poke it with a pin and no feeling is there, this is a symptom of leprosy. You have to immediately go and take some medical treatment, otherwise it will grow and grow until finally your whole body is no feeling and you're dead, or you lose hands and so on.
So we have to be aware that if we see the symptoms of Kali-yuga in our own self, in our family, in our society, than the spiritual leaders, the government leaders, the social leaders, the family leaders, they have to take precaution. They have to take proper remedial measures. They should know that Kali-yuga is attacking, That the rot is being set in and if they don't take precaution, then everything will be spoiled and there will be a lot of suffering.
Just as much as say if it's a rainy season, just as there's for cycles, There's winter, there's spring, there is summer, there's rainy season, like that, there's various cycles in the year, similarly, it's not that when rainy season comes, then everybody ignores it. Rather, then you fix your house, roof, you make sure there's no leakage. You take certain precaution. So now is a particular season in the yuga cycle, and therefore we take necessary precautions. We take measures so that we may not be affected in the age of Kali.
Now one of the very important points that Prabhupāda mentioned here, which is very practical and simple, anyone could understand, everyone knows that today people are not peaceful. People are frustrated. People are suffering in various ways. In fact, it comes out in the paper that even in a very advanced country like Japan, right now, there's a wave of teenage suicides. The teenage children are jumping off of buildings, knifing themselves in epidemic fashion. They're so frustrated at the age of 13, 14, 15 so on, that they are killing themselves. That gives an indication of how much lack of peace of mind people are getting even in their teenage years, what to speak of others.
So, the important point is that this piece of mind was complete in Satya-yuga. In the age of Satya, or truth there was peace of mind. Why was there peace of mind then? And why isn't there peace of mind now? It's a very obvious question. Prabhupāda said, because in the Satya-yuga, there was existence of the above-mentioned four attributes of the human being. In Satya-yuga, there was cleanliness, truthfulness, austerity and mercy. Because those four qualities were there, people
were peaceful. Because those qualities are not there today, people are not peaceful.
Like last night, one man, which is a very common thing for people to ask, said, "What are you doing for the charity of the people? Are you opening hospitals? Are you opening VD clinics? Are you opening various kinds of special programs for the suffering masses?" This is generally, in India, so many people ask. In spite of all these clinics, and all these various missions, Even producing economic programs, through various religious missions, making pig farms, chicken farms and so on, you don't find that people are a slight bit more peaceful, or that actually their suffering is mitigated. Rather, we see that more problems are there. But actually, we are going to the root cause.
The cause is that in society, there is a lack of religious principles of truthfulness, of austerity, of cleanliness and mercy. And no matter how many clinics one makes, these aren't going to again be injected into society. This has to be done by spiritual programs. Simple program for gaining these good qualities is glorifying Kṛṣṇa. Because Kṛṣṇa is all pure, He's the greatest, if we glorify the Supreme Lord, whether we know Him as Kṛṣṇa or by some other name, then we can take on good qualities.
This glorification is so important, because it allows us to cleanse the heart. It actually cleanses the consciousness from all these contaminations. This is a very good point when we preach, that people may say so many things but everyone knows that there is no peace in this world. That, everyone knows. At least in the Vedas, it's said there was peace in Satya-yuga. There was peace when Rāma-rājya was there, when Rāmacandra was present. There was peace when Kṛṣṇa was present, when He established His devotee in charge of the government. Therefore, from that simple example we can understand that peace is possible when these four principles are in society, when the society is God conscious.
Because a Godless society is prevalent today, nobody's mind is being cleansed. Nobody has an idea of God, therefore all problems are there. Prabhupāda gave a good explanation of each of these four qualities. How austerity means that we voluntarily accept something which is uncomfortable for the body, or may not be very comfortable if it is conducive for spiritual realization. Just like getting up early in the morning and taking a cold shower, it may not be very comfortable for some people, But it's very conducive for spiritual life.
Just like chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, in the beginning, people are very neophyte, They may think this is not very comfortable. "I'd rather watch video, or do something else." But this is an austerity we take because this is something very conducive for our spiritual life. Of course we very blissful because our heart is covered by so many contaminations. Once the contaminations are cleansed away, then we find chanting is very blissful. There are so many other examples of austerities that one could take.
Going out and distributing books maybe not always very comfortable. Having to go to people. They tell you, "You nonsense, you rascal. Get out of my way. Don't bother me." Or so many other problems are there. The heat, the sun, the inconvenience sometimes, irregular diet. Different things are there. But because very conducive for spiritual life to give God consciousness to others, we voluntarily accept this austerity.
In India you have what they call the Satya Grahis, where people do fasts. I don't know if they have here in Malaysia, they do fasts to make some political point. You have sometimes people in the jail, they fast to death. In Ireland, one person fasted to try to make some point. This type of fasting is irreligious. It's not recommended at all. But fasting, or doing an Ekādaśī, or Janmāṣṭamī, or for Kṛṣṇa's pleasure, under bona fide guidance of a spiritual master, this can be accepted as a means of learning to control the mind and senses, so austerity is something very productive.
If we don't practice austerity than the mind becomes sometimes too powerful. It tends to drag us away. When the mind says do this, or do that, we don't have the willpower to resist. But a little austerity gives us more capacity to control the mind, which gives the mind more capacity to control the senses. So this austerity is actually important for self realization. It's not that one has to do extreme kind of austerity. We don't recommend that. One doesn't have to sit in the fire or walk on nails or do such thing, but it means that sometimes we voluntarily train our mind to accept a little inconvenience if we can see the higher purpose for it.
Everyone in the material world with any intelligence also does the same thing. They voluntarily accept the inconvenience of going to college they see they can get a better job. Voluntarily accept the inconvenience of standing in lines and so on if they can get some employment, or if they get some good occupation. They sometimes go to these employment bureaus. They have to wait. So many times you see that people voluntarily accept some inconvenience but simply for sense gratification. That doesn't actually help us spiritually, nor does it help us to control the mind and a higher sense.
We see in material life, people do accept inconvenience if they think that, "Well, it's worth it. There something to gain by it." So in spiritual life, we accept inconvenience for spiritual realization. That actually gives us spiritual qualities. Prabhupāda Explained here how cleanliness, we should be both clean inside and out. Those that want to be Brāhmaṇas, they should know both inward and outward cleanliness. Prabhupāda said here that outward cleanliness may help to some extent. To be clean outside may help us in spiritual life to some extent. Of course that's not the end of it. After that we have to also cleanse ourselves inside. It's just important to note here, Prabhupāda has given some credit to outward cleanliness. We should practice outward cleanliness.
I know in Māyāpura, Śrīla Prabhupāda told us that even if the people who you bring here to live and work in our community, even if they don't do anything else, at least they should be clean. We don't class people, dirty people. At least they should be clean. A little devotional service and be clean.
Transcribed by Jagannātha dāsa