Published on December 24th, 2022 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada7
Perfect Civilization Vs. Modern Civilization (MP3 Audio)
Modern civilization is in the opinion that if they can improve their material condition of eating, sleeping, mating and defending, that is advancement of civilization. But that is not advancement of civilization. Advancement of civilization means brahma-darsanam. That is advancement. As long as we do not come to the platform of understanding that I am spirit soul, I am part and parcel of the Supreme Spirit, we are in the ignorance.
parthivad daruno dhumas tasmad agnis trayimayah
tamasas tu rajas tasmat
sattvam yad brahma-darsanam
Coal, firewood, is better than raw wood, and fire is even better, for fire is the soul of Vedic sacrifice. Similarly passion, or rajas, is better than ignorance, tamas; but goodness, sattva, is best because by goodness one can come to realize the Absolute Truth, Brahman.
This is gradual process of evolution. Parthivad darunah. Just like raw wood. Then, when it is dry, then it is fit for igniting fire. Then, when you ignite fire, first there is smoke, and after it is mature, the flames come out. And agnis trayimayah. And when the flame is there… Just like we generally perform fire sacrifice. Unless the flame comes, we do not chant the mantra or pour the ghee and the grains. Because that is the beginning of yajna. Trayimaya. Trayi means Vedic yajnas. So our point is to come to the platform of performing yajna.
Yajna means Visnu, the platform of satisfying Visnu. This is the perfection of life. Dull, null brain, ignorance, just like animals, they are in the tamo-guna, ignorance. They cannot understand anything. So gradually, they are promoted to the human form of life, rajo-guna. Generally, human form of life, rajo-guna, activity for creation, we can very well see. Animals, cats, dogs cows, asses… And a little civilized, engaged in sense gratification in a different way, very active, passion… So these two stages of life will not help us. Because our aim is to come to the point of brahma-darsanam, self-realization, aham brahmasmi. To remain karmis or remain animallike life, no knowledge, simply eating, sleeping, mating, that’s all… And little advancement means the same eating, sleeping, mating, but in a polished way… Mostly we find in the Western countries, the aim is animal propensities, but in a polished way. Suppose they live in very, very high skyscraper buildings, and the animals live in some cave, in some hole, in some nest.
So for living condition, improving the living condition, does not mean brahma-darsanam. Brahma-darsanam is another thing. Improving the living condition, improving the eating condition, improving the sex life condition, or improving the defending condition. Just like human civilization, they’re discovering so many laser weapons, atomic bomb, so many things. So it is improving the defending condition. But modern civilization is in the opinion that if they can improve their material condition of eating, sleeping, mating and defending, that is advancement of civilization. But that is not advancement of civilization. Advancement of civilization means brahma-darsanam. That is advancement. Because so long we do not come to the platform of understanding that “I am spirit soul, I am part and parcel of the Supreme Spirit,” we are in the ignorance–in different forms. The example is given very nicely. Just like raw wood, just from the trees, you cut the trees, it is raw, it is not immediately fit for burning. But when it is little dried you can ignite fire, and, igniting fire, immediately there is no flame, there is smoke. Then, after the smoke, there is flame. And that flame is required.
So this gradual process of evolution means one must come to the platform of understanding Brahman. Aham brahmasmi: “I am…, I am spirit soul, and I am part and parcel of the Supreme Soul.” This understanding one must come. So for that understanding one has to come to the platform of goodness, sattva-guna. If one remains in the rajo-guna and tamo-guna, as we have explained, then we shall be entangled in this material world. We may get a different types of body, even if we get the body of demigods or European body, American body, as they are understood, very advanced. So not only European, American, but there are other improved condition of life in higher planetary system. They’re all made of rajo-guna. Rajas-tamas. Tada rajas-tamo-bhavah kama-lobhadayas ca ye. Because everywhere you’ll find the prominence of greediness and lust, everywhere. Even in the heavenly planet, the King of Heaven, he’s very, very, very much lusty. There are so many instances. He’s very much fond of sex life, Indra.
So this will not help us. We must come to the platform of sattva-guna, goodness, the brahminical stage. Then our life, our evolutionary process, will be successful. Tamasas tu rajas tasmat sattvam yad brahma-darsanam. Gradually, evolutionary process… I think in Darwin’s theory there is no such conception of coming to the point of sattva-guna, goodness. They do not know even what it is, sattva-guna. Simply they are studying the animal bones. That’s all. But actually perfection of evolutionary process is to come to the platform of sattva-guna, brahminical stage. In other words, to becomes a brahmana is the topmost platform of advancement of civilization. Brahminical culture is the perfect advancement of civilization. That is mentioned here.
So if one wants to come to that platform, then one has to accept the form of Visnu. As we have already explained in the previous verse: sreyamsi tatra khalu sattva-tanor nrnam syuh. Sattva-tanoh. Visnu is the form of sattva-guna, Brahma is the form of rajo-guna, and Siva, Lord Siva, is the form of tamo-guna. So actually, if we want our perfection of life, we’ll not be very much benefitted by taking shelter of Lord Siva or Lord Brahma or any other demigod. Other demigods, they’re all subordinate to Lord Brahma and Siva. All demigods are supposed… Even great saintly rsis, they are also sons of Brahma. Rajo-guna. Lord Siva is also one of the sons of Brahma. So either to accept other demigods or even Lord Siva or Lord Brahma will not help us, because we have to come to the platform of sattva-guna. For that purpose sattva-tanoh… Sattva-tanu means Visnu. So we have to take shelter of Visnu. In the Vedas, in the Rg Veda it is said, tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah. Visnoh paramam padam. Surayah, those who are advanced in civilization, surayah… Sura and asura. Asura means materialistic person, atheistic person, interested in sense gratification. That is called asura, na sura. And sura means interested in advancement of spiritual life. That is called sura. So for the asuras, the life is different, but for the suras, their aim is: tad visnoh paramam padam. Their aim of perfection is Visnu. Paramam padam: the Supreme Abode of Visnu, or the Vaikunthaloka.
So those who are actually advanced in civilization, those who are in the platform of goodness, their aim is how to go back to home, back to Godhead. That is their business. It is not that to take to religious life for some material gain. Dharmasya hy apavargyasya na arthah arthaya upakalpate. We have discussed these verses. To become religious means to become free from material entanglement. Not that to take to religious life means to, I mean to say, to develop economic condition. Generally, people take to religious to make economic development very easily. Therefore at the modern age the educated public, they are not interested in religious life because they think that in primitive stage the people were taking to religious life for economic development. Actually, that is the idea, because ordinarily people go to ask for bread in the church: “O God, give us our daily bread.” So modern advanced in science people, they think: “Oh, what is the use of asking bread in the church? Why not take to industry?” That is their aim. In India, especially, this is the situation. The government is thinking that Indian people, being too much religiously inclined, they have fallen down economically; therefore these religious sentiments should be stopped completely. It is not encouraged. Here in Vrndavana so many pilgrims, they come from all parts of India; now all parts of world, they’re coming.
But it is kept in such unclean state to discourage people not to come here. That is the idea, so that people, educated people, modernized people may not come here. They do not want. That is the policy, I am seeing. They are introducing in the Vrndavana area so many industrial things so that the spiritual atmosphere is to be killed. That is the policy is going on. Nobody… The chur…, I mean to say, the temples are neglected. No question of improvement. The whole idea is not to come here: “Please do not come.” They cannot say directly, but this is the idea going on.
But this is due to wrong direction of civilization. They do not know what is the aim of civilization. The aim of civilization is to understand Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But they’re missing the point. They’re thinking motor tire civilization, very nice road and running motorcar in seventy, eighty miles speed, that is civilization. Not to understand Visnu. That is the difference between materialism and spiritualism.
But we should not be misled by such conception of civilization. Our aim is different. That is right different. I am spirit soul; you are spirit soul. Somehow or other, I have been entangled with this material body, one after another. So I must get out of this entanglement and go back to home, back to Godhead, to Visnu, and live there eternally, blissful life of knowledge. That is our aim. The materialistic persons, they think these are all utopian thinking conception. Because they have no brain they are no better than animals, polished animals. That’s all. They cannot understand. In the tamo-guna. Tamasah. Tamasah. Two: tamas and rajas. Two, these two qualities material qualities are there. What is…? That in the Bhagavad-gita there is verse: karanam guna-sangah asya sad-asad-janma-yonisu. Karanam. Why one is born in low-grade body? Why one is born in high-grade body? The… What is the reason? The reason is stated in the Bhagavad-gita: karanam. Karanam means reason. Karan am asya sangah. Karanam guna-sangah asya. Because he is associating with some one of the three modes of material nature. Someone is associating with sattva-guna, one is associating with tamo-guna, one is associating with rajo-guna. So this is the reason. This is the reason that one is getting low-grade form of body or high-grade form of body. Karanam guna-sangah asya sad-asad-janma-yonisu.
Now… In another place it is also clearly stated: yanti deva-vrata devan pitrn yanti pitr-vratah. So karanam guna-sango ‘sya. Therefore the first-class civilization is that which associates with the modes of goodness. That is, means, brahminical civilization. Truthful, satyam samo damas titiksa arjava…, jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam. This is first-class civilization. People must be truthful, they must be equipoised, not disturbed, not being disturbed by different situations. They must learn how to control the senses. They must learn how to control the mind. Samo damas ti… They must be tolerant, titiksa. Arjava: they must be very simple, no duplicity. Arjava. Jnanam: they must know everything in full knowledge. Vijnanam: apply the knowledge in practical life. Astikyam: they must believe in the Vedic injunctions. Astikya. That is called astikya. The atheist and, and theist. The theist believes in the Vedic injunction. Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah. That is theist. Not that “I believe in God.” They must believe in the injunction of the Vedas; what is said in the Vedas, one must believe. That is called theist. As we have given several times the example: the Vedas says that cow dung is pure. One who believes in that, he is theist. And one who does not believe in the words of the Vedas, they want to change, they want to misinterpret, interpolate, they are atheists. Bhagavad-gita, anyone misinterpreting, giving wrong interpretation, or according to his concocted inter…, they are atheists. Theist, he’ll believe all the words of Bhagavad-gita as it is, as Arjuna believed: sarvam etad rtam manye yad vadasi kesava. “My dear Krsna, whatever You are speaking, without any malinterpretation, without any change of words, I believe in it.” This is theist understanding. Not like the so-called rascal scholars: “It is not like this. It is not like that. I think it is like this.” These are all rascaldom.
So this is the process of civilization. Krsna consciousness means perfect civilization, perfect advancement of civilization, according to the direction of the Vedas. We do not concoct anything, any meaning. Just like why you are reading this Srimad-Bhagavatam? This is the beginning of understanding Srimad-Bhagavatam. The professional readers, they immediately jump to the rasa-lila of Krsna. They think that Bhagavatam means that rasa-lila of Krsna. Because it appears like ordinary boys and girls, so they like it. No. This is the foundation of Bhagavata. The nine cantos must be thoroughly read, then one can understand what is rasa-lila and what is Krsna. If one jumps at once to the platform of understanding Krsna’s rasa-lila or vrndavana-lila, he’ll be misled. He’ll be misled. Just like so many rascals are interpreting Krsna in so many different ways. They are thinking Krsna as ordinary human being. So when He acts like ordinary human being, they take Him as ordinary human being–avajananti mam mudha manusim tanum asritam.
Therefore one should not jump. One should learn Bhagavata, Srimad-Bhagavatam, as recommended by Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s secretary, Svarupa Damodara: bhagavata giya pada bhagavata sthane.(?) One who is practical bhagavata, one who knows what is Bhagavata, what is Bhagavan. Not from the professional reciters, who are reading Bhagavata for belly’s sake. Now they are reading Bhagavatam, and if they get more money, they can become a sweeper. Because their consideration is money. They’ll give up immediately reading of Bhagavatam. But my Guru Maharaja used to say that it is better to become a sweeper and honestly earn one’s livelihood than to become a false Bhagavata reader for earning livelihood. Yes. Because they’ll mislead the whole public. Nobody will improve. And actually we have seen that so many people, they’re very much accustomed to attend the Bhagavata-saptaha, but they remain in the same darkness as they were. No improvement. That is not possible.
So therefore Vyasadeva has taken so much trouble to establish the Bhagavata life in Twelve Cantos. One has to go, one after another, one after another, one after another. Not jumping. Dasama-skandha, the Tenth Canto is the face of Krsna. So worshiping Krsna means one should offer tulasi on the, on His lotus feet first of all. Not jump over to the mouth or to the face. So the First and Second cantos are the two lotus feet of Krsna. One should begin worshiping Bhagavatam, or the sound representation of Krsna, by worshiping the First Canto and Second Cantos. We are reading the First Canto. We are just worshiping one lotus feet of Krsna. Then the other. Then the thighs. Gradually, you have to rise to the face. The Tenth Canto is the face of Krsna. Don’t jump over immediately. Read it. But try to understand from the very beginning.
So our aim of life should be to come to the platform of sattva-guna, goodness. Otherwise it is not possible. A, a person like Max Muller, in the depth of rajo-guna and tamo-guna, what he can write about Vedas, and what he can understand, Bhagavata? This is all nonsense. They are going to the translation of Max Muller. What he’ll understand Bhagavata and Vedas? He’s in the rajo-guna and tamo-guna. Therefore it is forbidden that, without becoming a brahmana, nobody should should read the Vedic literature. It is forbidden That I have already said several times. Without being a graduate, nobody should enter the law college. Similarly, Vedas, they are meant for brahmanas, not for the sudras, not for the ksatriya. Ksatriya also, they, they are, but under the instruction of the brahmanas.
So this is perfect civilization. One must know his own business. Everyone should not attempt to understand Vedic literature, remaining himself in the rajo and tamo-guna. Kama-lobhadayas ca ye. There are many so-called sannyasis who went to your country. He was in fully in rajo and tamo-guna. He wanted to preach Vedanta. Therefore it was failure. Nobody can do so. So it is very clearly stated: tamasas tu rajas tasmat sattvam yad brahma-darsanam. One must come to the platform of sattva-guna. Therefore we have got so many restrictions, just to keep him fit in the sattva-guna: no meat-eating, no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling. If one indulges in these affairs, he cannot come to the platform of sattva-guna, neither the things will be revealed to him. He’ll remain in the darkness. Simply by academic scholarship, it is impossible to understand what is Vedas, what is Bhagavata, what is Bhagavad-gita.
Thank you very much. Hare Krsna.
Acyutananda: …when should we read the Krsna book?
Prabhupada: Krsna book is written in such a way that everyone can read. But the scheme is like that. To understand Krsna, one has to go through this… The idea is that Krsna book should be read. Just like the example can be given: sandalwood. Sandalwood, it is rubbed in the flat way.
But if you rub in the horizontal way, how, no? What is called? Standing?
Prabhupada: Vertical way. It will give the pulp, but not so very easily. But if you rub it in the horizontal way, it will give very easily. So the, if one regularly reads the other chapters and reads Krsna, that will be very nice. Not only “Simply I’m interested to Krsna book in the thirty-fifth…, from twenty-ninth chapter to thirty-fifth chapter.” That is not good. People generally read those chapters. That is not good.
Acyutananda: If we, when we show the books to new life…, potential life members, they go to that part. They look…
Prabhupada: Yes. Everyone is attracted to that. So therefore it is said: srotra-ramo ‘bhiramat. It is pleasing to everyone. But unless one becomes a devotee–it may be pleasing–he cannot derive the effect. He cannot derive the effect. As we practically see, generally, the Bhagavata reciters, they read these chapters and they hear also, but they do not improve. They do not improve; simply sentiment. They do not understand Krsna.
manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam
kascin mam vetti tattvatah
They do not understand Krsna in truth. Therefore they become sahajiyas. Therefore the system is given by Lokasya ajanatah vidvams cakre satvata-samhitam. Anartha upasamam saksad bhakti-yogam adhoksaje. Adhoksaje, the transcendence, when one is engaged in His devotional service, the anarthas will be vanquished. Anartha upasamam. But when we see that anarthas are not decreasing, they’re increasing, that means they’re not entering. Anartha upasamam saksad bhakti-yogam adhoksaje. Anarthas, unwanted things, unwanted things, the so many things we have described. Sometimes we see that they cannot give up even smoking. That anartha is not being diminished. It is increasing. So where is the entrance? Phalena pariciyate. We have to understand by the result. If the result is not very satisfactory, then you must know that progress is not very nice.
Devotee (Syamasundara?): I’ve heard it said that all animals are in the mode of tamo-guna. But then I’ve also heard other devotees say that a cow is in sattva-guna. So can an animal be in the mode of goodness?
Prabhupada: Yes. The lion is in the rajo-guna. The cow is in the sattva-guna. And the monkey is in the tamo-guna. So Darwin’s father was monkey. (laughter) Therefore all the followers of anthropology, they’re in the tamo-guna. What do you think, Hayagriva Prabhu? (laughter) Eh? Darwin’s father, monkey?
Hayagriva: That’s what he claims.
Hayagriva: That’s what he claims.
Prabhupada: He claims. Yes. (laughter) There is no doubt about it. All right. (end) [721104SB.VRN]
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada