HEARING FROM SRILA PRABHUPADA
Prabhupada: First of all varna. And asrama, then, when the varna is perfectly in order, then asrama. Asrama is specially meant for spiritual advancement, and varna is general division. It must be there in the human society, or they're on the animals. If varna is not there, then this is a society of animal. And when the varna is working perfectly, then we give them asrama. Varnasrama. That is later on.
Hrdayananda: First they should be taught a skill.
Prabhupada: Yes. First of all, the whole society must be divided into four varnas. Otherwise, there will be chaotic condition. That is what is the position now. What is he, what he has to do, one does not know. And there are so many unemployment. But if you organise the society into varnas, there will be no question of unemployment.....
Yes, yes. Our main aim is how to give them Krsna consciousness. But if they are already disturbed in every respect, then how they'll take it? Therefore we are taking these subjects, to help him to come to the Krsna consciousness. And this is the method--varnasrama......No, the thing is that actually, at the present moment, they are sudras or less than sudras. They are not human beings. The whole population of the world. It doesn't matter whether it is western or eastern. That is the position. So unless they are trained up, so the society's already in chaos, and it will go on still more in chaos, chaos. It will be hell. How people will live? And these rascals are being elected as government men, and they're only making budget how to tax. So one side, there is no rain; one side, there is no rice, especially in India; and one side, heavy tax. So they'll be all confused. They have already become confused. So in the confusion state it will be very difficult to make them Krsna conscious. Therefore preliminary help should be given.
Prabhupada: Yes. That they should not be in chaos and confusion. Otherwise, how the brain will work?
Visnujana: Yes. No one can give rapt attention without peace of mind.
Prabhupada: Yes, yes. Our main aim is how to give them Krsna consciousness. But if they are already disturbed in every respect, then how they'll take it? Therefore we are taking these subjects, to help him to come to the Krsna consciousness. And this is the method--varnasrama...............
This is the
most auspicious work for now, is this remedial measure to stop the
chaos in the world?
[S.P. Morning Walk "Varnasrama College" March 14, 1974, Vrndavana]
Note: So to help the general population come to Krsna Consciousness Srila Prabhupada wants that they be given an occupation and then an asrama. We should note that he also says "Not that all of them are in chaos" So the original books must be distributed along with the development of varnasrama, not that book distribution and Sankirtana should stop, as subtly hinted at by Visnujana prabhu.
Srila Prabhupada has said there are many candidates awaiting to hear this message. These souls are being protected from associating with the mayavadi's in apa iskcon and apa gaudiya matha. They are ready to hear from Srila Prabhupada and they need to get his association in the form of his original books and lecture tapes.
Centers need to be established to facilitate these souls hearing Srila Prabhupada daily give classes on Bhagavad-gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. These souls will do tremendous work after hearing from Srila Prabhupada will be instrumental in establishing varnasrama for the benefit of the souls in chaos.
We should also note that varnasrama-dharma in itself is useless labor if it doesn't help the population of the world develop attraction for hearing from Srila Prabhupada. This is my understanding. Jai prabhu's !!!
Also see article HEARING OUR WAY CLEAR TO VARNASRAMA
"The conclusion is that if one is serious about liberation,
he not only should execute the occupational duties of
varnasrama-dharma but should also engage in bhakti-yoga
by beginning hearing from a realized soul."
S.B. 4.24. TEXT 53
etad rupam anudhyeyam
etat--this; rupam--form; anudhyeyam--must be meditated upon; atma--self; suddhim--purification; abhipsatam--of those who are desiring so; yat--that which; bhakti-yogah--the devotional service; abhaya-dah--factual fearlessness; sva-dharmam--one's own occupational duties; anutisthatam--executing.
My dear Lord, those who desire to purify their existence must always engage in meditation upon Your lotus feet, as described above. Those who are serious about executing their occupational duties and who want freedom from fear must take to this process of bhakti-yoga.
It is said that the transcendental name, form, pastimes and entourage of the Lord cannot be appreciated by the blunt material senses; therefore one has to engage himself in devotional service so that the senses may be purified and one can see the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Here, however, it is indicated that those who are constantly engaged in meditating on the lotus feet of the Lord are certainly purified of the material contamination of the senses and are thus able to see the Supreme Lord face to face. The word "meditation" is very popular in this age amongst the common people, but they do not know the actual meaning of meditation. However, from Vedic literature we learn that the yogis are always absorbed in meditation upon the lotus feet of the Lord. Dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah (Bhag. 12.13.1). This is the real business of the yogis: to think of the lotus feet of the Lord. Lord Siva therefore advises that one who is actually serious about purification must engage himself in this type of meditation or in the mystic yoga system, which will help him not only to see the Lord within constantly but to see Him face to face and become His associate in Vaikunthaloka or Goloka Vrndavana.
The word sva-dharmam (as in sva-dharmam anutisthatam) indicates that the system of varnasrama--which indicates the occupational duties of the brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra and which is the perfect institution for humanity--must be supported by bhakti-yoga if one at all wants security in life. Generally people think that simply by executing the occupational duties of a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra or the duty of a brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha or sannyasi one becomes fearless or securely attains liberation, but factually unless all these occupational duties are accompanied by bhakti-yoga, one cannot become fearless. In Bhagavad-gita there are descriptions of karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, bhakti-yoga, dhyana-yoga, etc., but unless one comes to the point of bhakti-yoga, these other yogas cannot help one attain the highest perfection of life. In other words, bhakti-yoga is the only means for liberation. We find this conclusion also in Caitanya-caritamrta in a discussion between Lord Caitanya and Ramananda Raya regarding a human being's liberation from this material world. In that discussion Ramananda Raya referred to the execution of varnasrama-dharma, and Lord Caitanya indicated that the varnasrama-dharma was simply external (eho bahya). Lord Caitanya wanted to impress upon Ramananda Raya that simply by executing the duties of varnasrama-dharma one is not guaranteed liberation. Finally Ramananda Raya referred to the process of bhakti-yoga: sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih (Bhag. 10.14.3). Regardless of one's condition of life, if he practices bhakti-yoga, which begins with hearing (sruti-gatam) the transcendental messages of the Lord through the mouths of devotees, he gradually conquers the unconquerable God.
God is known to be unconquerable, but one who submissively hears the words of a self-realized soul conquers the unconquerable. The conclusion is that if one is serious about liberation, he not only should execute the occupational duties of varnasrama-dharma but should also engage in bhakti-yoga by beginning hearing from a realized soul. This process will help the devotee conquer the unconquerable Supreme Personality of Godhead and become His associate after giving up the material body.
HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
When He met Sri Ramananda Raya on the bank of the Godavari, the varnasrama-dharma followed by the Hindus was mentioned by the Lord. Srila Ramananda Raya said that by following the principles of varnasrama-dharma, the system of four castes and four orders of human life, everyone could realize Transcendence. In the opinion of the Lord, the system of varnasrama-dharma is superficial only, and it has very little to do with the highest realization of spiritual values. The highest perfection of life is to get detached from the material attachment and proportionately realize the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The Personality of Godhead recognizes a living being who is progressing in that line. Devotional service, therefore, is the culmination of the culture of all knowledge. When Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared for the deliverance of all fallen souls, He advised the deliverance of all living entities as follows. The Supreme Absolute Personality of Godhead, from whom all living entities have emanated, must be worshiped by all their respective engagements, because everything that we see is also the expansion of His energy. That is the way of real perfection, and it is approved by all bona fide acaryas past and present. The system of varnasrama is more or less based on moral and ethical principles. There is very little realization of the Transcendence as such, and Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu rejected it as superficial and asked Ramananda Raya to go further into the matter.
Sri Ramananda Raya then suggested renunciation of fruitive actions unto the Lord. The Bhagavad-gita (9.27) advises in this connection: "Whatever you do, whatever you eat and whatever you give, as well as whatever you perform in penance, offer to Me alone." This dedication on the part of the worker suggests that the Personality of Godhead is a step higher than the impersonal conception of the varnasrama system, but still the relation of the living being and the Lord is not distinct in that way. The Lord therefore rejected this proposition and asked Ramananda Raya to go further.
Raya then suggested renunciation of the varnasrama-dharma and acceptance of devotional service. The Lord did not approve of this suggestion also for the reason that all of a sudden one should not renounce his position, for that may not bring in the desired result.
It was further suggested by Raya that attainment of spiritual realization freed from the material conception of life is the topmost achievement for a living being. The Lord rejected this suggestion also because on the plea of such spiritual realization much havoc has been wrought by unscrupulous persons; therefore all of a sudden this is not possible. The Raya then suggested sincere association of self-realized souls and hearing submissively the transcendental message of the pastimes of the Personality of Godhead. This suggestion was welcomed by the Lord. This suggestion was made following in the footsteps of Brahmaji, who said that the Personality of Godhead is known as ajita, or the one who cannot be conquered or approached by anyone. But such ajita also becomes jita (conquered) by one method, which is very simple and easy. The simple method is that one has to give up the arrogant attitude of declaring oneself to be God Himself. One must be very meek and submissive and try to live peacefully by lending the ear to the speeches of the transcendentally self-realized soul who speaks on the message of Bhagavata-dharma, or the religion of glorifying the Supreme Lord and His devotees. To glorify a great man is a natural instinct for living beings, but they have not learned to glorify the Lord. Perfection of life is attained simply by glorifying the Lord in association with a self-realized devotee of the Lord. * The self-realized devotee is he who surrenders unto the Lord fully and who does not have attachment for material prosperity. Material prosperity and sense enjoyment and their advancement are all activities of ignorance in human society. Peace and friendship are impossible for a society detached from the association of God and His devotees. It is imperative, therefore, that one sincerely seek the association of pure devotees and hear them patiently and submissively from any position of life. The position of a person in the higher or lower status of life does not hamper one in the path of self-realization. The only thing one has to do is to hear from a self-realized soul with a routine program. The teacher may also deliver lectures from the Vedic literatures, following in the footsteps of the bygone acaryas who realized the Absolute Truth. Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommended this simple method of self-realization generally known as Bhagavata-dharma. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the perfect guide for this purpose.
Vrndavana, October 19, 1972
Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)
dharmah svanusthitah pumsam
notpadayed yadi ratim
srama eva hi kevalam
Translation: "Duties or dharma executed by men are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Supreme Lord."
Prabhupada: So dharmah svanusthitah pumsam. Dharma generally means occupational duty. We have several times explained. (In) the English dictionary, dharma is explained as faith. So faith may be changed. But actually, what is meant by dharma, that is constitutional position, activities in one's constitutional position. This has been explained by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Jivera svarupa haya nitya-krsna-dasa. Real dharma, constitutional position of the living entity, is to serve Krsna. That is real dharma. Krsna also confirms in the Bhagavad-gita, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. So mam ekam saranam vraja, simply unto Krsna, surrender, that is real dharma. Otherwise it is pseudo-religious principles, pretension, dharmah projjhita-kaitavah.
There are two kinds of dharma: kaitava, cheating religious system, and real religious system. That is the subject matter of Srimad-Bhagavatam, to teach people the real religious system. In this chapter also, Suta Gosvami has explained, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje. You can execute your occupational duties or religious system very nicely, but if you do not develop your love for God, Krsna, then it is simply useless labor. It has no meaning. The test is how much you have developed your dormant consciousness for loving Krsna. That is the test. Bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra syat. If actually one is making progress in devotional service, he must be detestful to any other system. They are not interested. Actual interest is Krsna, Visnu. That is our actual interest. Especially when one comes to the form of a human being, his special interest should be how to approach Visnu. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum. Svartha-gatim, self-interest. Everyone is inclined for his self-interest, but they do not know what is real self-interest. Somebody is thinking, "To satisfy the senses, body, that is self-interest." Somebody is thinking, "To satisfy the mind, whims of the mind, that is self-interest." Somebody is thinking, "Liberation of the self, moksa, moksa-vancha..." That is also not self-interest. But when one thinks in terms of serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that is real self-interest.
So na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum. People do not know. (break)... svartha-gatim hi visnum. Real self-interest is to become Vaisnava, servitor of Visnu. Visnur asya devata iti vaisnava. That is real self-interest. Why people do not become Vaisnava? Generally they worship various demigods--devotee of Lord Siva, devotee of Goddess Kali, Durga, so many. But they have been condemned by Bhagavad-gita, spoken by Krsna Himself: kamais tais tair hrta-jnana yajante anya-devatah. Hrta-jnanah. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura gives his comment: hrta-jnanah nasta-buddhayah, "One who has lost his intelligence, they are inclined to worship other demigods." Kamais tais tair hrta-jnanah. Because they do not know what is his self-interest. He thinks that his self-interest is to give comfort to this body, the senses, sense-gratification. That is his misguided self-interest. Durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah. Bahir-artha-maninah. Bahir-artha means external energy. This body, gross body and the subtle body, they are made of the external energy. Bhumir apo 'nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca.
So people, having no information of the spirit soul, they are interested in body and mind, and they have created some concocted religious system for benefit of the body and mind. So the varnasrama-dharma, beginning... Dharma begins from the varnasrama-dharma, which is now going on in the name of Hindu religion. Actually there is no such word "Hindu" in the Vedic literature. It is a concocted word given by the Muhammadans. Real Vedic system of religion is varna and asrama. Four varnas: brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra; and four asramas: brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa. So one has to execute... The brahmana must execute his system of life, satyam samo damas titiksa arjava, jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam. A brahmana must execute all these principles of life. Similarly, ksatriya, he should be very brave, not to go away from fighting. He must have a ruling capacity. He must be charitable. In this way, ksatriya must execute his system of life. Similarly vaisya, he must also execute his system of life: krsi-goraksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam. Agriculture, cow protection. Nowadays, either brahmana or ksatriya or vaisya, practically everything is lost. Nobody is executing his occupational duties. Simply sudra, without any knowledge, without any enlightenment. Try to get some money and fill up your belly and go on sleeping, that's all. This is sudra-karma-svabhava-jam. Paricaryatmakam karma. Therefore sastra says kalau sudra-sambhavah. In this age practically 99.9% population are sudras, because they have given up, they have forgotten everything, what is the duty of brahmana, what is the duty of a ksatriya, what is the duty of a vaisya. Maybe some vaisyas are there and sudras are there.
So even one executes his sva-dharma very nicely, but if he does not develop his Krsna consciousness, then srama eva hi kevalam. This is also simply spoiling the life. On the other hand, Narada Muni gives his opinion, tyaktva sva-dharmam caranambujam hareh, "If one gives up his occupational duty and takes shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna," caranambujam hareh, "so even he is not mature and falls down from the devotional service on account of so many reasons, still, he is not loser, whereas a person who is executing his occupational duties very nicely, but he has no Krsna consciousness, no idea of Krsna consciousness, he doesn't get anything. He's loser." Ko vartha apto 'bhajatam sva-dharmatah. Sva-dharmatah, keeping in his own position as a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra, if he is executing his duties very nicely, but has not developed Krsna consciousness, then it is to be understood that he has lost everything. This is the verdict of sastra.
So dharmah svanusthitah pumsam visvaksena-kathasu yah, notpadayed yadi ratim. This hearing process is very, very important. But people are not interested in hearing. They are simply busy in some other duties. My Guru Maharaja used to say... One who was not interested in hearing, he used to call him a dandavat-class. Dandavat-class of men. That means simply he knows how to make dandavats, that's all. (laughter) Anyone who will come to him, he would see whether he is a dandavat-class of man or hearing class of man. So dandavat is nice, but by offering dandavat, if one does not develop the intent of hearing, sravanam, then he is not making very much progress. As you know, because I was little interested in hearing, my Guru Maharaja, he accepted me as his disciple. He marked this. "This boy is interested in hearing. He does not go away." Actually, I do not know. I could not understand what he was speaking in the beginning, but still I was very much interested to hear him, out of curiosity or something like that.
So hearing is very important thing. Notpadayed yadi ratim, visvaksena-kathasu yah. Katha. Hari-katha. This is accepted by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. When He was talking with Sri Ramananda Raya on various subject matters, Sri Ramananda Raya began from the varnasrama-dharma, sadhya-sadhana. "What is the aim of human life? How a human being executes his religious principles?" Sadhya-sadhana. So Ramananda Raya began from the varnasrama-dharma. Actually, unless the human society comes to the category of varnasrama-dharma, he is not a human being; he is animal. Still, in India, because they are still inclined to the system of varna and asrama, there are so many benefit for the Indians. I have traveled all over the world so many times. Because there is no varnasrama-dharma, how loose they are. That has been experimented. I have seen. So actually, unless one comes to the standard of varnasrama-dharma, he is not considered to be a human being. Therefore the Vedic civilization begins from the varnasrama-dharma. And in the Visnu Purana it is said, varnasramacaravata purusena parah puman, visnur aradhyate. Because the ultimate goal is to approach Lord Visnu, visnur aradhyate pantha nanyat tat-tosa-karanam.
So this varnasrama-dharma was proposed by Ramananda Raya, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, eho bahya age kaha ara: "This is not feasible. Better if you know something better than this, you propose." Because Caitanya Mahaprabhu knew that in the Kali-yuga, practically the varnasrama-dharma will never be observed, or it will be very difficult to observe. So people by simply observing the varnasrama-dharma will not be able to make very much progress in devotional service. Stereotype. In this way, gradually, Sri Ramananda Raya presented so many proposals. Varnasrama-tyaga, jnana, jnana-misra-bhakti, so many ways, and Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu rejected all of them. Eho bahya age kaha ara. But when Ramananda Raya read one version which was spoken by Lord Brahma,
jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva
jivanti san-mukharitam bhavadiya-vartam
sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir
ye prayaso 'jita jito 'py asi tais tri-lokyam
This verse, when Ramananda quoted from Srimad-Bhagavatam, immediately Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted, and He said, eho haya, "This is nice. This is nice." What is that? That sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. "You remain in your position." It doesn't matter what you are. You may be Indian, you may be American, you may be European, you may be a brahmana, you may be sudra, you may be engineer, you may be doctor, you may be fool, you may be rascal. Whatever it may be, it doesn't matter. Sthane sthitah. Don't be disturbed. Don't try to change your position. But jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva. Don't try to speculate, "God is like this, God is like that." Speculator, mental speculator. Give up this habit. Just become humble, namra. Jnane prayasam namanta. Namanta means namra. Namra, offering obeisances. Just like we offer dandavats. So similarly, namanta, to surrender. In a surrendering spirit, in a humble spirit, try to hear about the Supreme from the realized souls. This is the process. San-mukharitam. Not professional. One who has actually realized, from him, if you hear, meek and humble, without speculating mentally, then by this process only, one can realize the Supreme Lord very easily. Supreme Lord is called Ajita; nobody can conquer Him. But if one adopts this process, hearing from the realized soul in an attitude of humbleness, then he can conquer the ajita. He can understand. And Caitanya Mahaprabhu immediately accepted this process, eho haya, age kaha ara. Eho haya "This is nice."
Therefore our Krsna consciousness movement is to give chance to the people in general hearing about Krsna, that's all. Either hearing Hare Krsna mantra or hearing Bhagavad-gita or hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam, anything you like, hear about Krsna. Try to hear about Krsna in meek and humble attitude. Then gradually, everything will be revealed. Atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih. By simply speculation you cannot understand what is Krsna, what is His name, what is His form, what is His quality, what is His pastimes. We cannot. Atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih. By these blunt senses we cannot understand what is Krsna. Sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah. But if you engage yourself in His transcendental loving service, beginning with the tongue, sevonmukhe hi jihvadau... So hearing by the ear and chanting by the tongue is the supreme method recommended by all authorities. This is sravanam kirtanam.
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
So we must be inquisitive. We must be very eager. That eagerness should be aroused: "Where krsna-katha is being taught, let me go there, let me hear." In this Vrndavana you will find, there are many places they are hearing about Krsna. So either Vrndavana or anywhere else, wherever Krsna is heard, that is Vrndavana. Not that Vrndavana is limited with a certain space. Vrndavana is transcendental. Tatra tisthami narada yatra gayanti mad-bhaktah. Krsna says, "I stay there where My pure devotees chant about Me." Yatra gayanti mad-bhaktah. So if you become pure devotee and if you chant this Hare Krsna mantra, you can create Vrndavana anywhere, any part of the world. Not that you have got to come here. You come here. That's all right because it is established, Vrndavana. When Krsna comes here, whenever He comes on this planet, He comes here. There are so many devotees. Certainly there is meaning, there is importance of this dhama. But still, if it is not possible to come here, you can create Vrndavana anywhere, provided you are a pure devotee and you are chanting Hare Krsna mantra without any offense. Just like we have got our New Vrindaban. This year we have seen practically how these American boys and girls, hundreds and thousands, always who are remaining, not less than five to seven hundred... And for one week continually, in Janmastami, we observed Janmastami festival. Actually it was as good as this Vrndavana, because the chanting of the holy name was going on and hearing about Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam was going on. There was tulasi plants, devotees, sri-vigraha. Everything was there. So actually, it was replica of Sri Vrndavana.
So therefore the most important thing is, to make advance in devotional service, to increase the appetite for hearing. Visvaksena-kathasu yah, notpadayed ratim, kathasu ratim. Kathasu means, rati means attraction to kathasu, that means hearing. Sravanam. So this is the test, that anyone who is supposed to be advancing in devotional service, bhakti-yoga, the test will be how much he has awakened his intense desire for hearing about Krsna. That is the test. That is the test. So the perfectional platform is stated here, that "You may execute your different occupational duties, dharma, but the test will be whether you have developed your consciousness, you have developed your Krsna consciousness." That is the test.
HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada