Learn Bhagavatam From The Living Bhagavata

by Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
introduction by Puru Das Adhikari

Please come here, sit down, and hear." That's all. This is the yoga system. Hearing yoga system.

"Therefore our bhakti process, bhakti-yoga process is hearing. The more you give aural reception to the transcendental message, more you become expert."

"All our, this institute, Krsna consciousness movement has spread because the students who have joined us, they have given aural reception, by hearing. The hearing, everything was changed within themselves and they have joined with full, whole-heartedness."


Dear VNN Readers,

Dandavat pranams. All glories to Sri Guru and Gouranga. Here is another wonderful lecture by His Divine Grace about how to practice bhakti-yoga. It speaks for itself so I will only offer it to you, in hopes that one day we will be able to read like the illiterate brahmana. In his connection Srila Prabhupada remarked ". He was crying. That is reading." Please take the advice given in this lecture and "hear the discourses given by self-realized souls."

Your servant.

Puru Das Adhikari

The Following is a trasnscript of a lecture on the Bhagavad Gita As It is Chapter 7, Text 1
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The founder-acarya of the International Society for Krsna Concsoiusness given in San Diego on July 1, 1972
It is found on CDM10 and in the BBT folio at: 720701BG

The underlined portions are not found on the cd. Italics and bold type-face were added by myself for emphasis

Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)

sri bhagavan uvaca
mayy asakta-manah partha
yogam yunjan mad-asrayah
asamsayam samagram mam
yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu

Translation: (not on tape) "Now hear, O son of Prtha (Arjuna) how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt."

Prabhupada: Purport.

Pradyumna: "In the Seventh Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, the nature of Krsna consciousness is fully described. Krsna is full in all opulences, and how He manifests such opulences is described herein. Also, four kinds of fortunate people who become attached to Krsna and four kinds of unfortunate people who never take to Krsna are described in this chapter. In the first six chapters of Bhagavad-gita, the living entity has been described as nonmaterial spirit soul, which is capable of elevating himself to self-realization by different types of yogas. At the end of the Sixth Chapter, it has been clearly stated that the steady concentration of the mind upon Krsna, or in other words, Krsna consciousness, is the highest form of all yoga. By concentrating one's mind upon Krsna, one is able to know the Absolute Truth completely, but not otherwise. Impersonal brahmajyoti or localized Paramatma realization is not perfect knowledge of the Absolute Truth because it is partial. Full and scientific knowledge is Krsna, and everything is revealed to the person in Krsna consciousness. In complete Krsna consciousness one knows that Krsna is ultimate knowledge beyond any doubts. Different types of yoga are only stepping-stones on the path of Krsna consciousness. One who takes directly to Krsna consciousness automatically knows about brahmajyoti and Paramatma in full. By practice of Krsna consciousness yoga, one can know everything in full, namely the Absolute Truth, the living entities, the material nature and their manifestations with paraphernalia. One should therefore begin yoga practice as directed in the last verse of the Sixth Chapter. Concentration of the mind upon Krsna, the Supreme, is made possible by prescribed devotional service in nine different forms, of which..."

CDM begins at this point only:

Prabhupada: There are many persons who like meditation. Nowadays, it is very popular, especially in your country. But when we ask them what is the subject of meditation, they cannot say. Can you say what is the subject of meditation? Anyone

who is little aware of this meditation? What is that meditation?

Devotee: It's a process of negation.

Prabhupada: Eh?

Devotee: It's a process of negation for some yoga systems...

Prabhupada: Negation how?

Devotee: Of feeling. Thinking, feeling, and willing.

Prabhupada: No, no. Negation... Something positive you negate. So what is that positive, and what is that negation? Nobody can...

Devotee: Desires, negating the desires, natural desires? They want to...

Prabhupada: That means these are manufacturing. Actually, there is no fixed-up knowledge. Just like somebody was asking (about) transcendental meditation. What is that transcendental meditation? Can anyone explain?

Devotee: I went to one of their meetings, and it was just..., they talk about something concentrating, feeling, something going down, like, something coming up. But it's just...

Prabhupada: Not very, I mean to say, clear. Something vague. So this will not help. Here is positive proposition, that you concentrate on the form of Krsna.

Mayy asakta-manah partha. Yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantar-atmana sraddhavan... Antar-atmana. One has to fix up the form... Actual yoga system is to concentrate on the form of Visnu. Dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa. By... Meditation means to concentrate the mind without being diverted to any other subject. Simply thinking of Lord Visnu. That is the yoga meditation recommended in Vedic literature. So here also, Krsna says "Me." Krsna and Visnu, the same. Visnu is expansion of Krsna. So when we concentrate our mind upon Krsna, Visnu is included there. Go on.

Pradyumna: "Concentration of the mind upon Krsna, the Supreme, is made possible by prescribed devotional service in nine different forms, of which sravanam is the first and most important."

Prabhupada: So our yoga system is not like that, that we whole day, twenty-three hours and forty-five minutes, I engage myself in all nonsensical activities, and fifteen minutes I concentrate my mind, the meditation. That kind of yoga system is not here. Here, twenty-four-hours' meditation. Even during sleeping. Twenty-four hours means during sleeping also. Life should be melded, molded in such a way that twenty-four hours you'll be able to think of Krsna. So we are engaging our students in so many Krsna activities. They are going to the park, chanting Hare Krsna, or distributing literature. All these activities, remembering Krsna. They have no other, I mean to say, thought except Krsna. So, this fifte4n minutes, twenty minutes sitting is alright, but one who is twenty-four hours thinking of Krsna or Visnu how far he is advanced?, that we can imagineTherefore Krsna says yoginam api sarvesam. Of all the yogis.

There are different types of yogis. It is, it is not that... Just like we do some other business, twenty-three hours, forty-five minutes, and fifteen minutes we sit down for meditation. No. Twenty-four hours. Kirtaniyah sada harih. Sada means twenty-four hours. That is recommendation of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harih

To execute this twenty-four-hours' meditation one has to be, become, has to become, has to become very humble. Because so many people will criticize. Just like last night our Atreya Rsi was speaking that some of his fellow officer was criticizing him. So we have to tolerate. Just like when the elephant passes, many dogs bark. So we do not care for these dogs barking. As elephant, we must go on gravely. You see.

Therefore trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna. We have to execute this twenty-four-hours' Krsna business, Krsna consciousness, always absorbed in thought of Krsna--in sitting, in walking, in eating, in sleeping, everything. In working. That is first-class yoga. It is also yoga, but first-class yoga. Not third-class, fourth-class yoga. Of course, any yoga system, we cannot say it is third class, fourth class, but when we make comparative study, there must be something better or something inferior. Just like we have already described. You have got a staircase to go to the one hundredth floor. So one has gone twenty steps, one has gone fifty steps, one has gone seventy-five steps, one has gone full hundred steps. So one who has gone twenty-five steps, he cannot be compared with one who has gone one hundred steps. Similarly, the yoga system is just like a staircase for going to the spiritual world. So one who has taken to Krsna consciousness, he's on the top, topmost yoga system. Go on.

Pradyumna: "The Lord therefore says to Arjuna, tac chrnu, or 'Hear from Me.' No one can be a greater authority than Krsna, and therefore, by hearing from Him..."

Prabhupada: There... Here is another important point. We have to learn by listening from somebody. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet. We approach guru for hearing from him the truth. Just like child listens from the parents and he learns to speak, he learns to know what is what. The father says, "This is dish"; the child also says, "This is dish." The father says, "This is spoon"; the child also says, "This is spoon." So he learns by hearing. "Mother language" means if the child is handed over to some other person whose mother, whose language is different from the mother, he'll learn, from the very beginning he'll learn that language.

So hearing is very important. Therefore our bhakti process, bhakti-yoga process is hearing. The more you give aural reception to the transcendental message, more you become expert. You haven't got to become a Ph.D. or very learned fellow, or very scholar. No. Even a child, without any education, he can also become Krsna conscious simply by hearing. In New Yor... In Los Angeles, our child friend, he's only three years old. Oh, he cites so many mantras. He has learned. Yes. So many. Of course, one child may be specially intelligent, but anyone can learn. The method is simply hearing and seeing the behavior. You put one child in this association; automatically, with his growth, he'll become a Vaisnava, a Krsna conscious devotee. Automatically, by seeing these activities, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru, by thinking of Krsna. Because the child will get the opportunity for hearing the word "Krsna, Krsna." Everyone has got God-gifted instrument, this ear. And if we give aural reception, we'll learn. There is no need of education, ABCD. No.

So hearing is so important. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's preaching work... Caitanya Mahaprabhu's, this propaganda of sankirtana movement, He has given stress on this hearing process. Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. You can remain in your place. We don't say that you change your place. Whatever you are, you remain. If you are American, you remain American. If you are Hindu, you remain a Hindu. If you are Muslim, you remain Muslim. We don't say that first of all you become a Hindu or this or that. No. We simply request, "Please come here, sit down, and hear." That's all. This is the yoga system. Hearing yoga system. We don't say, press, that "You do this, you do that." We say the regulative principle. When one is seriously becoming our intimate friend or member, then we say that "You have to follow the rules and regulations." That he will agree. If he has actually heard our words, then immediately he will agree. It is not very difficult thing.

So hearing is so important thing. Sravanam. Sravanam means hearing. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu was talking with Ramananda Raya, the process of self-realization. You will have it. For those who have got Teachings of Lord Caitanya, he'll read it. When Ramananda Raya and Lord Caitanya (were) speaking, so Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Ramananda Raya, "What is the best process for self-realization?" Because life is meant for self-realization. This human life is meant for self-realization. Atma-tattvam. Otherwise it is animal life. The animals, they are cats and dogs; they are not interested in self-realization. But human life is meant for self-realization. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu questioned Ramananda Raya that "What is the best process of self-realization?" He recommended, first of all, the varnasrama-dharma.

purusena parah puman
visnur aradhyate pantha
nanyat tat-tosa-karanam

The real business is visnur aradhanam. Visnu, the all-pervading Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is within the atom, who is within your heart, and who is also in His Goloka Vrndavana, that all-pervading... So varnasrama-dharma means how to realize that Supreme, all-pervading Godhead. That is varnasrama-dharma. Varna means four social divisions: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra; and asrama means four spiritual divisions: brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha... So accepting these four spiritual and four material principles of life, that is humanity. One who is not within this category, varnasrama-dharma, he's not accepted as a human being or a civilized human being.

In the civilized nation, there is the four divisions of spiritual life and four divisions of... But they do not know it. But those who are followers of Vedic culture, they know how the divisions are to be made. Just like in your body, you have got four divisions: the head division, the arms division, the belly division, and the leg division. They're all required. It is not that simply you have got a nice brain like Professor Einstein; that will do. No. You must have hands also. You must have belly. You must have legs. Then it is complete. The head is most important part of the body--that is all right--but leg is also required. You cannot neglect leg. So similarly, this division is very scientific: intelligent class of men and martial class of men and productive class of men and laborer class of men. When we compare the laborer class of men with intellect, intellectual class of men, there is difference. But both of them are important factors to maintain this body. That is called varnasrama-dharma.

So life's aim is self-realization--Visnu--not the skyscrapers. These are piling stones and woods. This is not very intelligent work. The woods and stones and earth is there already--big, big mountain, hills. You do the business of a porter, carry it out, and high, I mean to say, heap, heap it in one place, it becomes a skyscraper building. And if you simply are proud of these heaps of stones and woods and iron, that is not civilization. That is not civilization. Civilization is that the living entity who is using these resources, what, to know what is the actual business. This piling of stones and wood is done also by the birds. They also pick up, according to their strength, some twigs, and they make a nest. That intelligence is there. The rat also, he makes subway. (laughter) You see, So this is not very intelligent work, to imitate the rats, the birds, the cats, the dogs. That is not civilization. Civili..., civilization means self-realization, "What I am? Why I am forced to die? I do not like to die." To know this, that is civilization. When all these inquiries will come into one's mind... "Well, I do not wish to die. Why death is there, forced? I am forced to die. I do not wish to be diseased. Why disease comes to me upon me?" When this "why" question will come, "Why?" that is humanity. And if he remains dull, "All right, let me die," then he's cat and dog. That's all. If there is no "Why?" then he's cat and dog.

So human civilization does not mean this piling of woods and stones. No. That is not human civilization. Human civilization means brahma-jijnasa, inquiry. These are the inquiry. "Why? Why I am forced to do this?" These things are taught regularly in the varnasrama system. One is made brahmacari, celibacy, spiritual. One is made a very decently, family life, grhastha. One is made retired life, sannyasi. Very systematical. So if we don't follow the varnasrama-dharma, then we are not even human beings. They are cats and dogs. So therefore Ramananda Raya proposed this varnasrama... Varnasramacaravata. He quoted from Visnu Purana. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "Oh, this is rejected." He immediately rejected. Now, so scientific institution of varnasrama-dharma system, coming from very early age, Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, "This is external. Say something better." So in this way, Ramananda Raya was putting some better proposal than varnasrama-dharma. Then varnasrama-tyaga. Tyaga means renouncing, renounced order. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu's speaking, "No, no. It is ... It is not very important. Go more."

So when Caitanya Maha..., eh, Ramananda Raya quoted one verse from Bhagavatam which was spoken by Brahma, that jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva, "When one gives up this nonsense speculative process..." Everyone is speculating. The scientist, philosopher, everyone is speculating, just to show himself that he has grown very learned, he can put some theory. So this is first rejected. Brahma... Brahma says. Brahma's experience... He's the topmost living creature within this universe. He said that "When a person will give up this nonsense habit of speculation..." Jnane prayasam udapasya. He must become submissive. One should not pose himself that he knows something, he can speculate something, he can invent something. Just like the so-called scientists, they are simply speculating and wasting labor. Nothing can be done by you. Everything is already arranged. You cannot change. You can simply see how the law is working; so much you can do. But neither you can change the law, you can make a better facility for the law. No. That you cannot do. Daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya. Duratyaya means it is very difficult. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when He was informed this statement of Brahma, that one should give up the speculative method, that he can create something... These nonsense habits should be given up. He must become very humble. Humbler than the grass. Just like we trample over the grass; it does not protest. "All right, sir, you go." That type of humble. Trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna. Taru means tree. Tree is so much forbearing.

So Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva... "Or then I, I give up the speculative process and I become humbler, as you advise. Then what is My next duty?" Next duty is: namanta eva, being humble, san-mukharitam bhavadiya-vartam, you should approach a person who is a devotee, and you should hear from him. Sthane sthitah. You remain in your place. You remain American. You remain Indian. You remain Christian. You remain a Hindu. You remain black. You remain white. You remain woman, man, whatever you are. Simply you lend your ear to the discourses given by realized souls. This is recommended. And when you hear, then you contemplate also. Just like you are hearing me. If you contemplate that "What Swamiji said...?" Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. Sruti-gatam. Sruti means just receiving through the ear. If you contemplate and try to understand with your body, mind, then gradually you'll... Because your aim is self-realization. So self means Superself. The Supreme Lord, He's the Supreme Self. We are part and parcel. So by this process, Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, God, Ajita, one who is never conquered... If you... By challenge, if you want to know God, you'll never understand. God never accepts challenge. Because God is great. Why should He accept your challenge. If you say, "Oh, my dear God, please come here. I shall see You," so God is not like that, that He will carry your order. You must carry His order. Then God realization. God says: "You surrender," sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. That process, you'll learn God. Not that "Oh, I shall know God. I have got good intelligence, speculate." No.

So this hearing... We are talking of the hearing. The hearing process is so important. All our, this institute, Krsna consciousness movement has spread because the students who have joined us, they have given aural reception, by hearing. The hearing, everything was changed within themselves and they have joined with full, whole-heartedness, and the... Going on. So hearing is so important. We are opening so many centers just to give people chance of hearing about the transcendental message. So you take chance, you take, I mean to say, the advantage of this hearing process. Then?

Pradyumna: "No one can be a greater authority than Krsna..."

Prabhupada: Yes. Then hearing from Krsna. The Bhagavad-gita, Krsna is speaking. So hear from Him. If you say that "Krsna is no longer present before me," no, Krsna is present by His Bhagavad-gita. His words and He, there is no difference. Absolute. Absolute. If you pollute the words... Krsna is speaking something, and you are rascal, nonsense, explaining in a different way, then it has no meaning. Then Krsna is gone. But if you speak as Krsna is speaking, then it is..., Krsna is present before you by His words. Immediately. By His word, you can see Krsna. Just like the brahmana in South India. He was illiterate; he was reading, trying to read Bhagavad-gita, but immediately Krsna became present before his eyes, and he was crying. He was crying. That is reading.

So Krsna can be present by His words. Because Krsna's word and Krsna is not different, Absolute. If you actually accept Krsna in the form of Bhagavad-gita, then you are directly associating with Krsna, as Arjuna was doing. There will be no difficulty. Ajita. Krsna is unconquered, but simply by your humble receptive process, you will conquer over Krsna. How you'll conquer? He's already within your heart. You'll realize that "Here is Krsna." That is conquer. Then?

Pradyumna: "No one can be a greater authority than Krsna, and therefore by hearing from Him one receives the greatest opportunity for progress in Krsna consciousness. One has therefore to learn from Krsna directly or from a pure devotee of Krsna, and not from a nondevotee upstart, puffed up with academic education. In the Srimad-Bhagavatam this process of understanding Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, is described in the Second Chapter of First Canto as follows:

srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam
nasta-prayesv abhadresu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-sloke
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki
tada rajas-tamo-bhavah
kama-lobhadayas ca ye
ceta etair anaviddham
sthitam sattve prasidati
evam prasanna-manaso
mukta-sangasya jayate
bhidyate hrdaya-granthis
chidyante sarva-samsayah
ksiyante casya karmani
drsta evatmanisvare

'To hear about Krsna from Vedic literatures, or to hear from Him directly through the Bhagavad-gita, is itself righteous activity. And for one who hears about Krsna, Lord Krsna, who is dwelling in everyone's heart, acts as a well-wishing friend and purifies the devotee who constantly engages in hearing of Him. In this way, a devotee naturally develops his dormant transcendental knowledge. As he hears more about Krsna from the Bhagavatam and from the devotees, he becomes fixed in the devotional service of the Lord. And by development of devotional service one becomes freed from the modes of passion and ignorance, and thus material lusts and avarice are diminished. When these impurities are wiped away, the candidate remains steady in his position of pure goodness, becomes enlivened by devotional service and understands the science of God perfectly. Thus bhakti-yoga severs the hard knot of material affection and enables one to come at once to the stage of asamsayam samagram, understanding of the Supreme Absolute Truth Personality of Godhead."

Prabhupada: This is the process. By hearing, you become pious. Those who are hearing in this meeting, even they cannot understand the words which we are discussing, he's, he's becoming purer. He's becoming... Just like one becomes purer by acting piously. So simply hearing, if one cannot understand the whole thing, he becomes pious. Punya-sravana-kirtanah. One who is speaking Krsna's words, and one who is hearing Krsna's..., both of them are becoming purified.

So if we hear daily, regularly, nityam, nityam bhagavata-sevaya, then... Nasta-prayesv abhadresu nityam bhagavata-sevaya. If you hear daily... Just like we are holding class daily in the morning. And bhagavata-sevaya. Sevaya means service. To make the place nicely cleansed so that devotees will sit down and Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita will be discussed, this is called bhagavata-seva, serving the Bhagavata. Nityam bhagavata-sevaya... Nasta-prayesv abhadresu. The whole difficulty is that our heart is covered with so many dirty things. So by this process, this bhagavata-sevaya, the dirty things will be cleansed. Not that exactly all cleansed. Even a little portion is cleansed, nasta-prayesu, not fully cleansed, prayesu, almost, then immediately, bhagavaty uttama-sloke bhaktir bhavati naisthiki, immediately you come to the platform of bhakti-yoga. Little cleansed. Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat. Not that... Therefore, we sometimes see that one who has taken to Krsna consciousness, still, he is committing something wrong. But that is not very, that is not a case of discouragement. You stick to this principle. Ksipram bhavati dharmatma. Api cet su-duracarah. We should not willingly do anything wrong. But due to our past habit, if we do something wrong, that we should not be discouraged, But stick to the principle, then gradually you'll be cleansed. Nasta-prayesu abhadresu. Prayesu means almost cleansed, not completely clean. So we don't claim that we have become liberated from all dirty things. There are so many dirty things still. But little clearance will help us to become a devotee of the Lord.

nasta-prayesv abhadresu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-sloke
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki

Naisthiki. This is the stage of attachment to Krsna. Mayy asakta-manah. There are different stages. So this nistha, firm faith. First of all, loose faith. Then, as we execute devotional service, the faith becomes firmer, firmer, firmer. And when it comes to firm, "Yes, Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I am His eternal servant," this is firm faith. Without any deviation. Bhaktir bhavati naisthiki.

tada rajas-tamo-bhavah
kama-lobhadayas ca ye
ceta etair anaviddham
sthitam sattve prasidati

Sthitam sattve prasidati. Sattva-guna, when goodness, the modes of goodness... So progress in devotional service means one is becoming perfect. Because he is perfect, everyone is perfect, but he's covered with some dirty thing. Just like gold is covered with some dirty earth. But if you wash the gold, or, by chemical process, if you cleanse, then real gold will come out. Similarly, we are all part and parcel of God. Therefore Godly qualities are there, in every one of us. It is simply covered by these material dirty things. This will be cleansed by this hearing process. The more you hear, the more it becomes cleansed, the more you become fixed up in devotional service. Then more you give up your other nonsense habits. Kama and lobha. Other nonsense habits, they are based on two things: lust and greediness. Kama-lobha. Lust and greediness. These are two dirty things. So tada rajas-tamo-bhavah kama-lobhadayas ca ye. Ceta. Your heart will be cleansed of these lusty things and greediness. Then you come to the pure modes of goodness. And as soon as you come to the pure platform of goodness... Tada rajas-tamo-bhavah kama-lobhadayas ca ye ceta etair anaviddham. Then your heart will not be pierced by these nonsense two, rajo-guna and tamo-guna. You'll be situated in sattva-guna. Sthitam sattve...

tada rajas-tamo-bhavah
kama-lobhadayas ca ye
ceta etair anaviddham
sthitam sattve prasidati

Then you'll see everything clearly and be satisfied. "Oh, this is my position."

So this is the process of the more you become purified, the more you'll be advanced in Krsna consciousness. And your advancement in Krsna consciousness will be tested, how you are developing good qualities. Officially I'm Krsna conscious yogi, but I am still addicted to so many nonsense habits--that means you are not advancing. That is the test. Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah. He hasn't got to learn how to become good. Simply by executing this devotional service, he'll be all good. That is the test.

Thank you very much.

His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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