Prabhupada: Bring water, water. Water? So today is a very auspicious day, Thakura Bhaktivinoda’s birthday. Here is the picture of Thakura Sac-cid-ananda Bhaktivinoda. He was one of the acaryas of this disciplic succession from Krishna. We have got a succession table from Krishna, genealogical table. There are two kinds of genealogical tables, one by the semina father, his son, his son, like that. That is material genealogical table. And there is one spiritual genealogical table, disciplic succession. Just like Krishna. Krishna, the original father, Supreme Personality of Godhead, He spoke the Vedic knowledge to Brahma, Lord Brahma. He spoke to Narada. Narada spoke to Vyasa. Vyasa spoke to Madhvacarya. So in this disciplic succession, Lord Caitanya, from Lord Caitanya, the six Goswamis, and similarly, coming down, down, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, then Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, then my spiritual master, then we are next generation, my disciples.
So there is a disciplic succession. And the acaryas, they’re authorities. Our process of knowledge is very simple. We take it from the authority. We don’t speculate. Speculation will not help us to come to the real knowledge. Just like when we are in difficulty, in legal implication, we go to some authority, lawyer. When we are diseased we go to a physician, the authority. There is no use, speculation. Suppose I am in difficulty in some legal implication. I simply speculate, “I shall be free in this way and that way.” That will not help. We have to go to the lawyer who knows things, and he gives us instruction that “You do not do this; then you’ll be free.” Similarly, when we are diseased, if I speculate at home that “My disease will be cured in this way and that way,” no. That is useless. You go to an authorized physician, and he will give you a nice prescription, and you’ll be cured. That is the process of knowledge. But in the modern age people think that “I am free, I am independent, and I can make my own solution.” That is rascaldom. That’s not good. So Arjuna, when he was talking with Krishna as friend, but when he saw that there was no solution talking like this, he surrendered to Krishna. He said, sishyas te ’ham, aham: “Myself, I surrender unto You as Your disciple.” Sishyas te ’ham sadhi mam prapannam. Prapannam means surrender. So that is the Vedic injunction, that if you want to know transcendental knowledge or science.“Transcendental” means beyond the scope of your direct perception.
So spiritual knowledge is beyond the scope of our sense speculation. Beyond the scope. Just like when a soul, a spiritual spark only, leaves this body, you cannot see. Therefore, atheistic class of men, they speculate, “There may be a soul; there may not be soul.” Or, “The bodily function was going like this; now it stopped. The blood corpuscles now cease. It is no more red; it is white; therefore life.” These are speculation. This is not actual knowledge. Actual knowledge you get from the authority, Krishna. He says, tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati. Just like the soul is passing through different stages. Dehino ’smin yatha dehe. Deha, deha means this body. Asmin dehe, in this body, there is dehi. Dehi means who is the owner of this body. That is soul. That is passing through childhood, boyhood, babyhood, youthhood, old age. Everyone, you can perceive that you were a child, you were a baby, you were a boy. Now you are young or old man. So you are there. So as you are passing through different types of bodies, similarly, when you give up this body you accept another body. What is the difficulty? Tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati. There is no question of becoming astonished, how transmigration of the self, soul, takes place. The vivid example is there. Simply you require little intelligence. That intelligence is developed through the instruction of acarya. Therefore, Vedic injunction is not to acquire knowledge by speculation. That is useless. Athapi te deva padambuja-dvayam janati tattvam prasada-lesanugrihita eva hi, na canya eko ’pi ciram vicinvan. Ciram vicinvan. Ciram means for thousands of years you can speculate; you cannot understand what is God. That is not possible. But if you receive knowledge from the devotee, he can deliver you. Therefore Vedic injunction is that tad-vijnana in order to understand tad-vijnana Vijnana means science. If you want to know the transcendental science, then you must approach a guru. Tad-vijnanartham, in order to If you are at all interested to understand the spiritual science. Tad vijnanartham (sa) gurum eva abhigacchet. You must approach guru. Guru means this disciplic succession, as I have explained.
So Bhaktivinoda Thakura is an ideal guru. He was not a sannyasi; he was grihastha, householder, living with family, wife, children. Still, he was guru. So anyone can become guru. Not that a sannyasi can become guru. A householder also can become guru, provided he knows the science. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when He was talking with Ramananda Raya… Caitanya Mahaprabhu was a sannyasi, very highly born in brahmana family, very learned scholar. So He was talking with Ramananda Raya, a grihastha, governor of Madras. And He was questioning, and Ramananda Raya was answering. That means he was taking the part of guru, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu was taking the part of a disciple. So he was hesitating, Ramananda Raya. He thought himself that “I am a grihastha; I’m not even a brahmana. Besides that, I am dealing in material affairs. I am governor, politics. And Caitanya Mahaprabhu is a sannyasi, born of a high-class brahmana family. So it does not look well that I shall teach Him.” So he was hesitating. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Oh, why you are hesitating?”.
kiba vipra, kiba sudra, nyasi kene naya
yei krishna-tattva-vetta, sei ‘guru’ haya
He said, “Don’t hesitate. Either one may become a brahmana or one may become a sudra…” Kiba vipra, kiba sudra. Vipra means brahmana, and sudra. Sudra is the fourth-grade human being. Brahmana is the first grade. So kiba vipra, kiba sudra. He may be a first-grade human being or the lowest grade human being, or he may become a sannyasi or a grihastha. It does not matter. Anyone who knows the science of Krishna, he can become a guru. This is the verdict. Because spiritual science does not belong to the bodily platform. It is on the spiritual platform. It is very nice. Just like when you go to a lawyer or to an engineer or to a physician. You do not inquire whether he’s a brahmana or sudra. Simply you have to know whether he’s a lawyer. That’s all. Whether he’s a physician actually. If he knows the medical science, he may be a brahmana, he may be a sudra, he may be a sannyasi, he may be a householder. It doesn’t matter. Your business is with a physician, with a lawyer. Similarly, your business is to understand Krishna. So anyone who knows Krishna perfectly, you have to go there. Tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet. It is Vedic injunction is not that you have to approach a sannyasi or a grihastha or an Indian or American. No. Gurum. And guru means who knows the science of Krishna.
So, this Bhaktivinoda Thakura was grihastha, very responsible officer, magistrate. And he was so exalted that he would come from his office generally at five o’clock, then take his supper and immediately go to bed. Immediately. Say at seven o’clock in the evening he goes to bed, and he wakes up at twelve o’clock. So suppose he goes to bed at seven o’clock in the evening and wakes up at twelve o’clock at night; it is sufficient sleep, five hours. One should not sleep more than five to six hours. Minimize as far as possible. The Goswamis used to sleep not more than one and a half hour, or two hours. Sleeping is not very important thing. Even big politicians, they used to sleep for two hours. So especially in spiritual line, they should minimize as far as possible eating, sleeping, mating, defending. Minimize. Gradually it comes to nil. Raghunatha dasa Goswami, he was eating only a little piece of butter every alternate days, not daily. So this Bhaktivinoda Thakura, regularly he was coming from his office, and after taking his supper immediately he goes to bed, and wake up at twelve o’clock, and he used to write books. He wrote, he left behind him about one hundred books. And he excavated the birthplace of Lord Caitanya, organized how to develop that birth site, Mayapur. He had so many business. He used to go to preach about Caitanya’s philosophy. He used to sell books to foreign countries. In 1896 he attempted to sell Life and Precepts of Caitanya in the MacGill University in Montreal. So he was busy, acarya. So one has to adjust things. Not that “Because I am grihastha, householder, I cannot become a preacher. It is the business…” (aside:) Give me water. “It is the business of the sannyasi or brahmacari.” No. It is the business of everyone. The whole world is suffering for want of knowledge. The present civilization is animal civilization. They do not know anything beyond eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That’s all. This is animal civilization. Animal does not know beyond these four principles of life: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. That’s all. No. Human life is meant for something else: “What I am? What is God? What is my relation with God? What is this material world? Why I am here? Where I have to go next?” So many things one has to learn. Athato brahma-jijnasa. This is human life. Not that eat and sleep and have sex life and die someday like cats and dogs. Therefore, there is need of acaryas, teachers, for propagating spiritual knowledge, Krishna consciousness. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was… Although he was a grihastha, householder, a government officer, magistrate, but he was acarya. So from his dealings, from his life, we should learn how one can become a preacher in any stage of life. It doesn’t matter what he is.
There was one incidence, very interesting. When he was magistrate in Jagannatha Puri The system is Jagannatha temple is a very big establishment. In the temple fifty-six times daily, bhoga is offered. And you’ll find in the temple always at least five hundred to one thousand people gathered. And they come from outside, and prasada is ready. If you go and ask in the Jagannatha temple that “We are one hundred men come from outside. We want prasada,” yes, immediately ready. So it is a huge temple. This is one temple, but there are many other thousands of temple in India where prasada is distributed. Now it is minimized by our present government. They think that it is unnecessary expenditure. They are minimizing. But not unnecessary expenditure. They do not understand. Formerly, in India there was no necessity of hotel. Anyone goes anywhere, even in a village, he goes to a temple—prasada is ready. There is no need of going to a hotel. You pay or don’t pay. If you say that “I want little prasada,” “Yes, take it.” That is the system still. There is the Nathadvara temple in Rajasthan. You pay two annas only. Two annas means one cent. You get sumptuous prasada for two mens, all very nice prasada, still. So prasada distribution in temple is longstanding usage. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura. The Jagannatha temple is managed by a body, and it is the custom that the local magistrate of the district, he becomes the president, or manager. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura was manager in that sense, because he was magistrate. The managing committee was being presided by him. So there was a complaint. In Orissa, this Jagannatha temple is situated in Orissa. Utkala. Utkala, this state, was originally belonging to Dhruva Maharaja. His son’s name was Utkala, Maharaja Utkala. Anyway, so this Utkala, there was a pseudo yogi. He declared himself that. Just like you’ll find nowadays also, there are so many rascals declaring that “I am incarnation of God.” And they know some mystic power, play some jugglery, and foolish people take them: “Oh, he’s God.” So there appeared one like such pseudo God, Vishnu, in a village of Orissa. And he was dancing rasa dance, and foolish people were sending their daughters and wife to dance with him. You see? There were so many. Not only that. People are so foolish, they do not know… They want to be cheated, and these cheaters come. He declared that “I am God. I am Vishnu.” So there were sane men also. They took objection, “What is this nonsense? This man is dancing with ladies and gentlemen, er, girls.” So they filed a complaint. At that time it was British rule. They complained to the governor or the commissioner, very high officer. The commissioner knew that Bhaktivinoda Thakura.His name was Kedaranatha Datta. Datta. Kedaranatha Datta, his household name. So the commissioner of the division, he knew that Kedaranatha Datta is a religious man, and he’s magistrate in charge. So he handed over the case for inquiry, “What is this complaint? You please inquire and do the needful.”
So he was a pure devotee, and he understood that “This rascal is a bogus man, cheating people. I must inquire.” So he went to the village in plain dress with some constables, police constables. They were also in plain dress. And as soon as he approached that rascal yogi, he said, “Oh, you are Kedaranatha Datta. So, very nice. You are… I shall make you king of India. Please don’t try to bother me.” Because he could know that “He has come to inquire about my rasa-lila.” So Bhaktivinoda Thakura first of all said, “Sir, you are such a great yogi. Why you are in the village? Why don’t you go to Jagannatha Puri? There is temple and Lord Jagannatha is there. Better you go there and see the Lord and be happy. Why you are in this village?” “Oh, Jagannatha? Ah, that is made of wood. I am personally the Supreme Lord. That is made of wood.” Oh, then Bhaktivinoda Thakura—he was a devotee—he became fire. (laughter) He was insulting. Arcye sila-dhir gurushu nara-matih. According to sastra, if somebody thinks… Just like here is Deity. If somebody thinks, “Oh, it is made of stone…” It is stone to the eyes of the nondevotee, but it is personally Supreme Personality of Godhead to the devotees. It requires the eyes to see. So devotee sees in a different angle of vision. Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when He entered Jagannatha temple immediately He fainted: “Oh, here is My Lord.” And the nondevotee is seeing: “It is wood, a lump of wood.” Therefore, to the nondevotee, He remains always as wood, but to the devotee He speaks. That is the difference. Premanjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena. If God is everything, why wood, through wood and stone, God cannot manifest? If God is everything? According to Mayavada philosophy… That’s a fact. God, omnipotent. He can express Himself even through wood and stone. That is God’s omnipotency. That is called omnipotency. Not that God is unable to express Himself through wood and stone. Then how He’s omnipotent? Omnipotent means His potency can be expressed through anything. Because anything, everything is the expansion of God’s energy. Parasya brahmanah saktis tathedam akhilam jagat. The whole world is manifestation of different energies of God. Therefore… Just like through the energy of electricity the electric powerhouse, although far, far away from this place, was expressing. There is electricity. Through this glass, through these wires, the power can be expressed. There is a process.
So Bhaktivinoda Thakura became very much… Because a devotee cannot tolerate blaspheming another devotee or God. So as soon as he said that “Why shall I go to Jagannatha Puri to see the wooden Jagannatha? I am personally Vishnu,” Bhaktivinoda Thakura immediately ordered his constables, “Arrest him. Arrest this rascal.” So he was arrested. And when he was arrested… He had some yogic mystic power. All the constables, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and his family members became affected with high fever, 105 degrees fever. So when he came back, his wife became very much disturbed that “You arrested Vishnu, and we are all going to die. We have now high fever.” Bhaktivinoda Thakura replied, “Yes, let us all die, but this rascal must be punished.” This is the view of pure devotee. So he was put into the custody. And there was a date fixed for his trial, and all these days Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself and his family especially, they were suffering from high fever. Maybe that yogi was planning to kill the whole family. But it was going on as fever. So on the trial day, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Kedaranatha Datta, when he came to the bench the man was presented, the so-called yogi, and he had big, big hairs. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura ordered that “Bring one barber and cut his hair.” So no barber dared. The barbers thought, “Oh, he’s a Lord Vishnu. If I offend, as he’s suffering from fever, so I shall also die.” So Bhaktivinoda Thakura ordered that “Give me the scissor. I’ll cut.” So he cut his hairs and ordered him to be put into jail for six months, and in the jail that Vishnu incarnation managed to take some poison, and he died.
So this is one of the incidents. There are many incidences. He was very strong man. He punished many pandas in the tirthas who exploit visitors. So, this is the position of devotee. In spite of his becoming a responsible magistrate, a householder, still, he was acarya. So we have to follow the acaryas. If we at all, if we are at all interested in spiritual science, then we must follow the Vedic instruction, tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet. We must approach. You cannot have spiritual knowledge simply by speculating. Impossible. Simply waste of time. Srama eva hi kevalam. You must go to the… In the Bhagavad-gita, therefore, it is recommended, acaryopasanam. Acarya-upasana. Not only worshiping the Lord, but also the acarya. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, guru-krishna-kripaya paya bhakti- lata-bija. Guru, acarya, and Krishna. One should seek favor of both of them. Not that “I am now seeking favor of Krishna. What is the use of guru or acarya?” No. You cannot overlap acarya and go to Krishna. That is not possible. Krishna will not accept you. Just like if you want to see a big man you should go through his secretary, through his orderly, doorkeeper; similarly, our process is acaryopasanam, go through the acarya. That is the injunction of the Vedas. Tarko ’pratishthah. If you want to enter into the spiritual world, you cannot get through simply by arguments. Because there is no limit of argument. I place my argument in one way. Another man, who is better arguer, he places his argument in a different way.
So if you simply go on arguing, it is not possible. Tarko ’pratishthah. It will never help you. Argument. Srutayo vibhinnah. If you think that “I shall read scriptures and I shall understand God,” no, that is also not possible. Srutayo vibhinnah. Scriptures are also different. Because scriptures are made according to time, circumstances, people. Just like Bible. Bible Lord Jesus Christ preached in the desert, Jerusalem. Or where it is? People who were not so advanced. Therefore his first instruction is “Thou shall not kill.” That means they were very much engaged in killing affairs; otherwise, why is this instruction? And actually, it so happened that they killed Jesus Christ. So that society was not very enlightened society. So a scripture for a society which is not very enlightened and a scripture for a society which is very enlightened must be different. Just like a dictionary. For the schoolboy, a pocket dictionary. And for a college student, international, big dictionary. Both of them are dictionaries. But the small pocket dictionary is not equal to the big dictionary. Because it is different made for different classes of men. So scriptures are made according to different classes of men. There are three classes of men: first-class, second-class, and third-class. The third-class man cannot understand the philosophy and scriptural injunctions of the first-class man. That is not possible. Higher mathematics cannot be understood by the small schoolboys who are simply trying to understand “Two plus two equal to four.” But “Two plus two equal to four” is equally good to the higher mathematics student. But still, higher mathematics and lower math is different. Therefore it is said, srutayo vibhinnah: the scriptures are different. So if you simply try to understand what is God by reading scriptures, you cannot achieve. You must approach a guru. Just like a medical book. It can be available in the market. If you purchase one medical book and study and you become doctor, that is not possible. You must hear the medical book from a medical man in the college, medical college. Then you will be qualified. And if you say, “Sir, I have read all the medical books. Recognize me as a medical practitioner,” no, that will be not.
So srutayo vibhinnah. Scriptures are different. Arguments, that is also not helpful. One man may argue better than me. Then philosophy. The philosophy, it is said, nasau munir yasya matam na bhinnam. One philosopher is differing from another philosopher. Just now today Syamasundara has purchased one book about different philosophers. So that you also cannot ascertain what is truth. Therefore sastra says, dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam. The truth is very confidential. So if you want to know that truth, mahajano yena gatah sa panthah, you should have to follow the great acaryas. Then you will understand. Therefore acarya-upasana is essential. Acarya-upasana is very essential. In all the Vedic sastras the injunction is that. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet, srotriyam brahma- nishtham. Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam. Anyone who is inquisitive to understand higher truths, he must surrender to guru. Tasmad gurum prapadyeta, jijnasuh sreya uttamam. One who is inquisitive, who is now inquiring about transcendental subject matter. Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. So all the sastras says, in our Vaishnava sastra also, Rupa Goswami says, adau gurv-asrayam: “In the first beginning, you must take shelter of a bona fide guru.”
So this Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s birthday, we should adore, we should worship, because in the modern age he reintroduced the disciplic succession. From Caitanya Mahaprabhu… Five hundred years ago, Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught this philosophy, but within two hundred years… Because this material world is so made that whatever you introduce, in due course of time it will deteriorate. You make a nice house, but after one hundred years, two hundred years, or nowadays, even after fifty years, it becomes dilapidated. That is the nature’s law, kala. Time will destroy everything. Now, British empire, such a big, vast empire, now it is finished. The kala, the time, will make everything finished. That is material. Anything material, it has birth, it has growth, it has got some opulence, then dwindling, then finished. That is the way of material… So we are interested in spiritual subject matter. Therefore the process is adau gurv-asrayam. One has to accept a bona fide spiritual master. That is our process. Without accepting a bona fide spiritual master, we cannot make any progress. It is impossible. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura happens to be acaryas, one of the acaryas. And he has left behind him many books. Caitanya-sikshamrita, Jaiva Dharma. These are very important books. They’re in Bengali, in Sanskrit. And many songs. He has prepared many books of song. The song, Ei nam gaya gauracand madhura svare, that is Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s song. So we are trying to present Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s books also in English translation. Gradually you will get it. So our adoration, our worship to Bhaktivinoda Thakura today because he may bless us to make peacefully progress in Krishna consciousness. Acarya-upasana, simply by the blessings of the acaryas we can make very rapid progress. Vedeshu durlabham adurlabham atma- bhaktau. If we… Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah… We sing every day. By the mercy of the spiritual master, acarya, we immediately get the blessings of Lord. Immediately. Yasya prasadat. Yasya means “whose”; prasadat, “benediction.” By the benediction of the spiritual master. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. If spiritual master, acarya, is pleased, then you should know that Krishna is also pleased. You should know through. This is not very difficult. Just like you are working in office. If your immediate officer, boss, is pleased, that means the proprietor of the firm, he’s also pleased. Although you do not see him. This is fact. Your immediate boss, if he’s pleased. So similarly, we, our business, this spiritual line, is guru-krishna- kripa. We have to first receive the merciful benediction from the acarya, and then Krishna will be pleased and He’ll also give His blessings. Mad-bhakta. There is a version in the Srimad- Bhagavatam, mad-bhakta pujyabhyadhika. He says, Krishna says, that “If anyone worships Me directly and if anyone worships Me through the acarya, he’s better devotee who is coming to Me through acarya.” Mad-bhakta pujyabhyadhika.
So our, this Vaishnava philosophy, process, is to go through the acarya. Servant of the servant of the servant. We should try to become servant of the servant. Gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah. Dasa-dasanudasah. We should not approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. That is not good. That will not be… In the Vedic injunction also it is said, yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau. If one has got unflinching faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, yatha deve, and similar faith in guru… Of course, we must make guru bona fide. Then it is disciplic succession. And that is also not very difficult to select, who is bona fide guru. Bona fide guru means he presents himself as servant of God. He does not pose himself falsely that “I am God.” This is bona fide. It is not difficult to find out bona fide. But this is the test. If anyone says that “I am guru,” er, “I am God,” then he cannot be guru. Because he has no knowledge. How he is God? But he can cheat some people. That is different thing. You can cheat all people for some time and some people for all time, but not all people for all time. That is not possible. So these kinds of guru, who poses themself that “I am God,” he’s a false guru. The bona fide guru will say that “I am servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna,” or God. Servant of. That is the business of guru. He serves Krishna as Krishna desires; that is his business. That is also not very difficult. Krishna says, Krishna desires, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, that “You give up all other engagement; just surrender unto Me, and I’ll give you protection.” Krishna says. So guru’s business is that “You simply surrender to Krishna.” What is the difficulty? Simply repeat the same thing. Not for himself, but for Krishna. He’s bona fide guru.
So our this Krishna consciousness movement is very bona fide because we say the same thing as Krishna says. We don’t make any addition, alteration. Not like big scholars like, “It is not to Krishna…” Krishna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru, and the scholar interprets, “It is not to Krishna.” Just see (the) foolishness. Krishna directly says, “unto Me.” He says, “Not to Krishna.” Misleading. Such misleading guru will not help you. So therefore to find out a bona fide guru means that he does not change the words of Krishna. That is his position. He places everything as it is, and he has understood thoroughly the science. Jijnasuh sreya uttamam. Guru, what is the symptom of guru? Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam. Those who are inquisitive to understand higher scientific knowledge, uttamam. Uttama means higher. Uttama, madhyama, adhama. There are three words. First-class, second-class, third-class. So spiritual knowledge is uttamam. Anyone who is inquisitive to understand first-class knowledge, he requires to go to a guru. Those who are interested in third-class knowledge, they do not require any guru. Third-class knowledge means animal knowledge: how to eat, how to sleep. How to make arrangement for eating, how to make arrangement for sleeping, that is third-class knowledge. Because the animals also try for this kind of knowledge, how to eat, how to sleep. Therefore this kind of knowledge is third-class knowledge. And second-class knowledge is “What I am?” Athato brahma-jijnasa. The Vedanta. That is second-class knowledge. And first-class knowledge, when he actually understands what he is, he is eternal servant of Krishna, and engages himself in the service of the Lord, that is first-class knowledge. And therefore, as soon as he comes to the first-class knowledge platform, he becomes happy.
na socati na kankshati
samah sarveshu bhuteshu
mad-bhaktim labhate param
So after being liberated from the material concept of life by the blessings of Krishna and guru, one comes to the platform of first-class knowledge, where he engages himself directly in the service of the Lord. That is first-class knowledge. First-class knowledge means beyond liberation. Second-class knowledge is trying for liberation. Third-class knowledge means in bondage, like animal. The animals, they are bound up by the particular type of body and has no, I mean to say, possibility of becoming liberated. That is animal life. But human life is better than animal life because he, if he likes, he can make himself liberated from this bondage of material body. That is the facility. He can understand himself what he is. He can understand what is God. He can understand the relationship between God and himself. He can understand what is this material world. Because there are thousands of books of knowledge. Take it for Bhagavad- gita. Everything is there. And it is meant for human being, not for the cats and dogs. Cats and dogs cannot understand, but a human being can understand.
So our this Krishna consciousness movement is to enlighten people to utilize his very nice life, human form of life, utilize it properly. To utilize it properly means to revive his dormant Krishna consciousness. The Krishna consciousness, or God consciousness, is there already. It is developed in human form of life. But it is now covered because due to our association with this material world for unlimited years background. We are coming through different species of life. Millions and millions of years passed away. Suppose I was a tree sometimes. I was standing up for ten thousand years in one place. We have passed through. That’s a fact. That is evolution. Now we have the opportunity of light. If you don’t use this opportune moment and again go back to the cycle of evolutionary process, jalaja nava-laksani sthavara… So these are great science. Unfortunately, there is no opportunity for the people to study this science in school, colleges, or universities. They are simply teaching people that “You work hard and gratify your senses.” That’s all. Therefore a section, younger section, they have been disgusted. They have refused to cooperate with this society on account of this disappointing education. And it will increase. Because this sort of education cannot give peace or prosperity to the people. Problems are increasing. Therefore, our request is that if you want to decrease or completely finish all the problems of life, take to Krishna consciousness in the process of disciplic succession and you’ll be all happy.
Syamasundara: Prabhupada, are you going to answer any questions?
Syamasundara: If anyone has any questions pertaining to the lecture, you can ask them at this time. They should be pertaining to the lecture.
Devotee girl: Did Bhaktivinoda Thakura, he also took sannyasa in later years? Is this right?
Syamasundara: Did Bhaktivinoda Thakura take sannyasa in later years?
Prabhupada: Yes. In very late years. In his retired life.
Syamasundara: Any other questions?
Devotee: Prabhupada, you say that an animal has no chance for liberation. What would happen if an animal came in contact with a pure devotee?
Prabhupada: Yes, there is chance of deliverance. Yes. Even an animal. Because he’ll hear Hare Krishna from the pure devotee. That will not go in vain. He’ll give prasadam. He does not know, but the devotee out of compassion gives prasadam, chants Hare Krishna. He also gets the opportunity of hearing. So he’ll also be liberated. One dog, during Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s time, he also became liberated. There is a history. Sivananda Sena’s dog, he was liberated by the grace of Lord Caitanya. So by the association of pure devotee. Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s, there is one song. He prays to the Lord that kita-janma hou jatha tuya dasa. Kita means insect. “My Lord, if I have to take my birth again.” Because a devotee does not pray to God for liberation. He simply prays that “Wherever I may take my birth, I may not forget You.” That’s all. That is devotee’s prayer. A devotee does not say that “Elevate me to the heavenly planet or Vaikuntha planet.” No. “You can put me anywhere.” Just like Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, kita-janma hou: “My dear Lord, I have no objection if I have to take my birth next as an insect.” What to speak of human being or other thing. “As an insect. But I must be in the house of a devotee.” So that an insect, by eating the remnants of foodstuff left by the devotee, he’ll be delivered. Kita-janma hou jatha tuya, bahir-mukha brahma-janma nahi mora asa: “I don’t want my next birth as Lord Brahma if I forget You. I don’t want.” That is wanted. A devotee prays to the Lord that he would be able to constantly remember the lotus feet of the Lord. Never mind whether as insect or as king or as dog, never mind. That is devotee’s, pure devotee.
Indian man: If one has accepted a bona fide spiritual master and he did not receive much knowledge from him, can he change his spiritual master at later…
Prabhupada: A bona fide spiritual master, where is the necessity of changing?
Indian man: No, he has not got the knowledge from him, but can I change.?
Prabhupada: No, no. Bona fide spiritual means he must get knowledge. He must get knowledge. He must inquire from the… The student must inquire from the spiritual master. If he remains dumb, then what bona fide spiritual master can do? Adau gurv- asrayam sad-dharma-pricchat, jijnasuh. He must be jijnasuh. He must be jijnasuh. We get so many letters daily. So many inquiries. The student must be very inquisitive. Otherwise how he shall make progress? If he remains dumb, then what the bona fide spiritual master can do? If you go to a very nice school but if you do not study, if you do not inquire, then what is the use of going to the nice school? You must be also very alert to inquire, to understand, to make progress. Then it will be all right. If you do not utilize the benefit of having a bona fide spiritual master, then that is your fault. You must utilize the opportunity. We are publishing so many books, so many literatures, magazines. Why? Just to enlighten more and more. But if you don’t take advantage of this, then how can you make progress? Change of spiritual master requires when the spiritual master is not bona fide. Otherwise there is no necessity of changing.
Indian lady: How does one contact the spiritual master? Through a book can you contact the spiritual master?
Prabhupada: No, you have to associate.
Syamasundara: “Can you associate through a book?” she asked.
Prabhupada: Yes, through books, and also personal. Because when you make a spiritual master you have got personal touch. Not that in air you make a spiritual master. You make a spiritual master concrete. So as soon as you make a spiritual master, you should be inquisitive.
English man: If the spiritual master, Prabhupada, worships God through a demigod, is he bona fide?
Prabhupada: No. He does not know how to worship. How he can be bona fide? Krishna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam. Why he should go to the demigods? That means he has no knowledge. Krishna says, mam ekam. Why should you go to others? That means he’s insufficiently qualified. Why should you go to the demigods? What is the necessity? He’s not bona fide. Because he has insufficient knowledge. Bona fide spiritual must be sufficiently knowledge. Krishna says, mam ekam; God says, mam ekam. Why he should go to demigods? That is his proof that he’s not bona fide.
Devotee: If one accepts initiation from a bona fide spiritual master but continues to perform material activities, are they still bound by the karma?
Prabhupada: He has to do everything under the instruction of the spiritual master. That is his duty. Sishya. Sishya means who voluntarily accepts disciplinary measures from the spiritual master. He’s ruled by the spiritual master.
Indian lady: Can the death of a spiritual master take to us, or I can get… Is that spiritual master still guiding after the death? (?)
Prabhupada: Yes, yes. Just like Krishna is guiding us, similarly, spiritual master will guide. We are being guided by Krishna, by the Bhagavad-gita. Although Krishna is not physically present, so- called… Krishna is present always. But even if we say that Krishna is not physically present as He was present before Arjuna, still, His book, Bhagavad-gita, is there. And that Bhagavad-gita is nondifferent from Krishna. Krishna and Krishna’s teaching, the same, absolute. That is Absolute Truth. Krishna and Krishna’s… Here form, the same. It is not that we are making show of offering Krishna some food. No, we are offering directly to Krishna and He’s eating. Krishna being absolute, He can perform through anything provided we are sincere and serious.
(A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. 23rd September 1969. Appearance Day lecture of His Divine Grace Srila Sac Cid Ananda Bhaktivinod Thakur Prabhupada. London.)