Published on February 14th, 2023 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada2
Prabhupada Speaks to the Birlas, India’s Richest Family (MP3 Audio)
To become very big businessman is not ordinary thing; it requires very great labour, brain. But the result, Krishna says, Give it to Me. So there is no harm to become very big businessman, earning money.
That is all right–but you give it to Krishna. Then in any position you can remain Krishna consciousness.
sri prahlada uvaca kaumaram acaret prajno
dharman bhagavatan iha
(aside:) You can give some stand. How long he will stand?
durlabham manusam janma tad apy adhruvam arthadam
This is the instruction of Prahlada Maharaja to his class friend. Prahlada Maharaja was born of Hiranyakasipu, great demon. He is described as demon because he was interested only in material comforts. Hiranya means gold, gold and very comfortable situation of material life. He was interested in that, and he wanted to teach his son about this economic development. But Prahlada Maharaja, when he was in the womb of his mother… There was fight between the demons and the demigods, so the demons–sometimes when there is fight, sometimes one party is victorious, sometimes the other party is victorious–so the demigods’ party became victorious, and they were harassing the demons like anything. So Hiranyakasipu’s wife, she was pregnant, she was captured by Indra, the King of heaven, and she was being dragged to take her in the house of Indra. In the way, Narada Muni met them; he chastised Indra.
Narada Muni was devarsi, rsi amongst the demigods. So he said, “Why you are giving trouble to this woman? This is not good.” So the demons replied, demigods replied that “This woman is pregnant, and there is Hiranyakasipu’s son. So we want to kill that son also, because he is demon. So we are taking this woman to our place just to wait for the time of her delivering the child.” At that time Narada Muni said, “No, no. This child is not a demon child. This child who is within the womb of this woman, he is a great devotee, so don’t try to kill him. Neither you can kill him, that is not possible.” So they are demigods, they accepted Narada Muni’s proposal. So they offered respect to the woman, that “Here is, within the womb of this woman, a great devotee.” So they circumambulated and offered respect to the wife of Hiranyakasipu and they went away. So Narada Muni took the wife of Hiranyakasipu to his asrama: “My dear girl, my dear daughter, you please come with me, remain with me till your husband comes back.” So she agreed, and woman’s natural propensity is to serve, so she was very nicely serving Narada Muni, and Narada Muni became very much pleased and he instructed about transcendental knowledge. Although to the wife of Hiranyakasipu, but still the Hiranyakasipu’s son Prahlada Maharaja was within the womb, he also heard the instruction and he learnt everything. Later on he will explain that “My mother, on account of being woman, she has forgotten the instruction of Narada, but I heard it even from within the womb; I remember it.”
So this Prahlada Maharaja is repeating the same instruction which he heard from Narada Muni when he was packed up within the womb. So this is one of the instruction, that spiritual instruction does not depend on any material condition. In any position one can understand spiritual instruction. Ahaituky apratihata yena atma samprasidati.
sai vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje
yena atma samprasidati
That is first-class religion, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo. Para means supreme. There are different types of religion, but the supreme religion is para dharma, that is yato bhaktir adhoksaje, that religious system which instructs the followers how to become a perfect devotee of the supreme Lord. That is first-class religion. We are fighting in this material world. “You are Hindu,” “I am Muslim,” “I am Sikh,” “I am Jain,” “I am this,” “I am that,” but this not paro dharma; this is aparo dharma. Para and apara, there are two qualities, just like material and spiritual. Material is called apara, and spiritual means para, as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, apareyam.
bhumir apo ‘nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca
bhinna me prakrtir astadha
These material elements–earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, intelligence, and false ego–these are eight material elements, out of which five are gross–bhumir apo ‘nalo vayu–and three are very subtle. Just like everyone: I know you think with your mind; you know also I think with my mind. But mind is subtle. I cannot see your mind, neither you can see my mind, neither I can see my mind, nor you can see your mind. This is subtle. And the finer than the mind is intelligence, and finer than the intelligence is egoism or egotism, and finer than egotism is the soul.
So our Krishna consciousness movement is little difficult for ordinary persons who are interested with the material gross and subtle elements. For them it is little difficult. But Krsna says apareyam, “This is inferior, these energies.” They are energies, prakrtir me astadha. Prakrti means energy, just like prakrti means woman, naturally a woman is under the control of the man. That is our Vedic system, and natural system also. However, the woman may claim equal rights, they are under the control of the man. That is natural. So similarly prakrti means which is under the control of the Supreme Lord. That is prakrti. In another place, Bhagavad-gita it is said,
mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram
Krsna says mayadhyaksena: “Under My control the material nature is working.” Mayadhyaksena prakrtih. In another place in Brahma-samhita it is said how prakrti is under the control of the Supreme Lord: srsti-sthiti-pralaya-sadhana-saktir eka chayeva yasya bhuvanani bibharti durga. Durga is the material nature. It is very powerful. Srsti-sthiti, creation, maintenance and annihilation, is going on under her control, Durga-devi. We have seen the picture of Durga, ten hands with ten kinds of weapons. So she is very powerful, but still she is under the control of Govinda.
srsti-sthiti-pralaya-sadhana-saktir eka chayeva yasya bhuvanani bibharti durga
icchanurupam api yasya ca cestate sa
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
The mula prakrti, the original prakrti, is fully under the control. Control means she acts according to the direction of Govinda.
Yasya ajnaya, she is acting. So this prakrti is inferior prakrti, and there is another, superior prakrti. That superior prakrti is represented by Srimati Radharani. Radharani and Durga, both of them are prakrtis of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but one prakrti is meant for controlling this material world, and the other prakrti is meant for blessing the spiritual world. Two prakrtis are Krsna’s prakrti. Therefore Krsna says,
apareyam itas tu (anyam) viddhi me prakrtim para
yayedam dharyate jagat
So this jiva-bhuta, living entities, we are living entities, we also belong to the spiritual prakrti, we are expansion of spiritual prakrti. Just like Srimati Radharani is always engaged in the service of the Lord, anaradhyate. Aradhyate, it is Radharani. The Radharani, the name has come from the word aradhyate. Aradhana, aradhana means worshiping. So everyone is meant, beginning from Radharani, and her expansion, Laksmi, in Vaikuntha, laksmi-sahasra-sata-sambhrama-sevyamanam, govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami. Here we worship mother Laksmiji, goddess of fortune, to receive some favor. But in the Vaikuntha world there are many hundred thousands of Laksmi, laksmi-sahasra-sata, and they are sambhrama-sevyamanam: with great respect, they are engaged in serving the Supreme Lord. So, we being expansion of the spiritual Laksmi, or Radharani, our duty is to serve Radharani, and through Radharani to serve Krsna. This is Krsna consciousness movement. We are missing this point, that instead of learning from Radharani how to serve Krsna, we are being controlled by the another prakrti, material energy, Durga, with weapons in her ten hands. This is our position. Therefore we are missing the point, and it is said in Brahma-samhita…, no, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam… This is also spoken by Prahlada Maharaja:
na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah
andha yathandhair upaniyamanas
te ‘pisa-tantryam uru-damni baddhah
So in this material world they do not know what is the aim of life. Na te viduh. Na te viduh svartha-gatim. Everyone is very much expert to see his interest. Two businessmen, they are agreeing, but everyone is trying to see his personal interest first. This is called svartha-gatim. That is natural. But Prahlada Maharaja says, na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnu. Unfortunately, these materialistic persons, they do not know what is his real interest. The real interest is Visnu, how to serve Visnu.
That is explained by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in the beginning. Sanatana Gosvami, a great minister of Nawab Hussein Shah’s government, he retired from his ministerial activities and became a servant of Caitanya Mahaprabhu to preach this Krsna consciousness movement. The six Goswamis of Vrndavana:
sri-rupa sanatana bhatta-ragunath sri-jiva gopala-bhatta dasa-ragunatha
So there are many description about their activities in Vrndavana. Some of them are described by Srinivasa Acarya. The prime duty was, these Gosvamis, they were ministers, big, big zamindars. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was the only one son of his father and uncle, and in those days, five hundred years ago, their paternal income was twelve lakhs of rupees. So such person joined Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Rupa sanatana bhatta-ragunatha. Either they were very, very learned scholar or coming from very, very rich family, big post, all the six Goswamis.
sri-rupa sanatana bhatta-raghunatha sri-jiva gopala-bhatta dasa-raghunatha
So their business was, these Gosvamis, krsnotkirtana-gana-nartana-parau: they were always engaged in chanting “Krsna.” That is the real purpose of human life, especially in this age. It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam to Pariksit Maharaja by Sukadeva Goswami, he described the symptoms of Kali-yuga: it is very, very faulty. But he concluded that kalau dosa-nidhe rajann asti hy eko mahan gunah. In this age of Kali it is very fallen age, mandah sumanda-matayo manda-bhagya hy upadrutah. The population in this age, they are, almost all of them they are manda–manda means bad or very slow–so they do not understand what is the aim of life, or very slow to understand; therefore they are called manda. And because they do not understand their real interest of life, they can be called very bad, manda. So these are the symptoms: mandah sumanda-matayo manda-bhagya hy upadrutah. So in this age, although it is so fallen, the sastra says, dosa-nidhe rajann, kalau dosa-nidhe rajann asti hy eko mahan gunah. There is one great opportunity. What is that great opportunity? Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet. If one takes to chanting this Hare Krsna mantra, then he becomes relieved or freed from the all contamination of this age, and mukta-sangah, he becomes liberated and he goes back to home, back to Godhead. Simply by chanting. That is mukti. Mukti means, we are now under the influence of this material energy, bhumir apo ‘nalo vayuh, this is apara prakrti. So apara prakrti, we have to give up the association of the apara prakrti, and we have to take shelter of para prakrti. This is our aim of life. The subject matter was how to become successful in life. That we are trying to explain. The success is that we have to give up the control, we have to become freed from the control of the apara prakrti, and we shall voluntarily submit to be favored by para prakrti. This is our business, aim of life. Then our life will be successful. If we miss this opportunity to give up the shelter of apara prakrti, and do not take shelter of the para prakrti, then we are missing the opportunity. It is very subtle thing, there is no education, but the information and the enlightenment is there in our sastra. In Bhagavad-gita everything is explained, how one can give up the control of the apara prakrti and be under the shelter of para prakrti.
daivi hi esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
It is not very difficult. Krsna comes to instruct this simple truth, that “You are being controlled by the material energy. You give up this business; you be controlled by the spiritual energy, and your life is successful.” This is the method. Mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te.
So we are…, our Krsna consciousness movement is for this purpose, that simply we are trying to educate people how to give up the control of the material energy, and under the control… Not to control the material energy; that we cannot do, that is not possible. But not to become under the control. That is very simple method: mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te. Just like if you become honest, if you are not criminal, then there is no police control–police may be there. But as soon as you become criminal, you come under the control of police. Similarly our business is, as Caitanya Mahaprabhu has explained, and everywhere in the sastra, and actually we are so, we are eternal servant of God, or Krsna. This is our real position. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said, jivera svarupa haya nitya krsna dasa. But our disease is instead of becoming dasa, we are trying to become the master of the prakrti. This is called materialistic way of life. So that will not make us happy at any stage of our life. This is very dangerous. We are missing the point.
na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah
andha yathandhair upaniyamanas
te ‘pisa tantryam uru-damni baddhah
We are forgetting that we are absolutely under the control of the material nature.
prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
We are fully under the control of material nature, and foolishly, ahankara, on account of being bewildered by false egotism, we are thinking that “I am independent.” This is called material illusion.
So our first business is to understand what is this material world, what is the spiritual world, what is God, what is my relationship with Him, and how to execute the business of my life, to become successful in this human form of life. The success of human form of life is to understand this thing: our relationship with God. And we should act in relationship with God. Then our success of life will be achieved. This is the main purpose of Krsna consciousness movement. It is a very profound subject matter to understand, but everything is explained. Our only request is that you read Bhagavad-gita as it is; don’t try to interpret. That is useless. Otherwise why people have lost in India their own culture? Because they have interpreted wrongly. Every sastra has been interpreted wrongly and therefore people are misguided. They could not take advantage of the instruction of Bhagavad-gita because all through, the Bhagavad-gita has been misinterpreted. So many so-called politicians, scholars, but it is maybe for the first time–not first time; it is there–but to make it broad propaganda wide, that try to understand Bhagavad-gita as it is, without any interpretation. That is our mission. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission. Don’t try to interpret and spoil it. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa. Ei desa means, He was born in Bengal, India–it may be Bengal or in India–He, we have interested with every man all over the world,
prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama sarvatra pracara hoibe mora nama
So He was interested in all the parts of the world, how they can be delivered from the clutches of this material energy. So He wished especially the Indians to take this job of preaching the teachings of Bhagavad-gita all over the world. He wanted it.
bharata-bhumite manusya janma hoila yara janma sarthaka kari karo para-upakara
This is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission, para-upakara. It is not the business of the Indian people to exploit others. The mission is they must be very, very merciful to all outsiders, born in, out of India. That is India’s mission. Because they are in darkness, they do not know. So instead of enlightenment, giving them jyotir gamah–tamasi ma: “Don’t remain in darkness”–so we are imitating them. This is not India’s good fortune. We should not imitate. That is not very good civilization. That is, this has been described as asuric civilization in the Bhagavad-gita. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnu: they do not know. Anyway, although they do not know, they are accepting now. The Krsna consciousness movement is so potential that they are accepting, that is upakara. Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted this, para upakara. They are in darkness, tamasi. Bring them in the light: tamasi ma jyotir gamah.
So this attempt has been done by us individually, with teeny effort, but it is becoming successful. But if we take up seriously this movement, every one of us become completely aware of this movement and take this mission as Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, amara ajnaya guru hana tara ei desa: “Every one of you, you become a guru,” by the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So “I shall become guru? What shall I do? I do not know anything.” No! You haven’t got to know anything. You simply, yare dekha tare kaha krsna upadesa. You simply repeat the instruction of Bhagavad-gita. Whomever you meet, you try to convince him; then you are guru. So our mission is this, Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s. We are trying to execute the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We don’t say anything else except what is described in the Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita says, Krsna says, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. Simple thing. It is not very difficult thing. Krsna says, “Always think of Me.” Is it very difficult task? No. You chant Hare Krsna, you remember Krsna immediately. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. So always remember Krsna, this is Krsna’s instruction, man-mana, “Always think of Me,” mad-bhakta, and naturally you become bhakta. As soon as you go on chanting Hare Krsna, just like these European and American boys, they have been instructed to chant Hare Krsna mantra… Don’t think that I showed them any magic, how to manufacture gold, or how to become this or that. No. Simply I have asked them to chant Hare Krsna, and they have joined me because they have chanted Hare Krsna. Why? Ceto-darpana-marjanam. By chanting this Hare Krsna maha-mantra, the dirty things within the heart will be cleansed. They you will understand what is my position, what to do.
So this is the mission of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, yare dekha tare kaha, Krsna said that man-mana bhava mad-bhakta: “You just think of Me, you just become My devotee, mad-yaji, you just offer a little flower and water to Me.” Patram puspam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati. If you think that “We have got money. The money is for my enjoyment, and Krsna may be offered a little water and flower,” that is cheating; that is not good. According to your position you must worship. This is wanted. Otherwise, bita (indistinct). If you have got money and if you don’t serve Krsna, and you serve Krsna with a little water and flower, Krsna can understand this kind of cheating business. No. Everyone should worship Krsna according to his position. That is wanted. Kurusva tad mad-arpanam. Yat karosi yaj juhosi yad asnasi yat tapasyasi kurusva tad mad-arpanam. To become very big businessman is not ordinary thing; it requires tapasya, very great labour, brain, yat tapasyasi. But the result, Krsna says, kurusva tad mad-arpanam, He’s asking, “Give it to Me.” So there is no harm to become very big businessman, earning money. That is all right–but you give it to Krsna. Then in any position you can remain Krsna consciousness. And if you remain Krsna conscious, then you will understand Krsna. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita:
mayy asakta-manah partha yogam yunjam mad-asrayah
asamsayam samagram mam
yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu
Krsna is explaining that everyone is trying to understand God, but by speculation you cannot understand. By service only you can understand. By attachment. You cannot serve Krsna without being attached. Therefore Krsna says in the Seventh Chapter, mayy asakta-manah partha yogam yunjan mad-asrayah: “Taking shelter of Me, or My devotee, if you practice this yoga system, bhakti-yoga system, increasing your attachment for Me, this is wanted.” Krsna consciousness means we have got attachment so many things, but that attachment has to be transferred to Krsna. Then you’ll become Krsna conscious. Mayy asakta-manah partha yogam yunjan mad-asrayah asamsayam. Then asamsayam, without any doubt. To understand God there are three features: brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. So the ordinary person, they can be able to understand Brahman; a little advanced than them, they can understand Paramatma; but to understand Krsna is very difficult. Bahunam janmanam ante. Manusyanam sahasresu kascid yatati siddhaye. Out of many millions of persons, one tries to become siddha, perfect. What is that siddha? Brahma-jna. Yatatam api siddhanam kascid vetti mam tattvatah. And out of the siddhas, those who are actually self-realized, aham brahmasmi, out of many of them maybe one is able to understand Krsna.
So Krsna can be understood only by devotion. Bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah. So we have to take this process, sravanam kirtanam visnu. So our only request is that to understand Krsna is not very difficult if we read Bhagavad-gita perfectly, seriously. Then Krsna is understood. And as soon as you understand Krsna… Because Krsna is explaining Himself, what is the difficulty to understand Krsna? Hm? If you, Mr. Birla, you explain that “I am like this. I have got so much money, I have got so many business, I have got so many factories,” if you explain, then where is my difficulty? But if I speculate, “Mr. Birla may be…, so much (indistinct) may be had.” That is always imperfect. But if you understand directly from Mr. Birla, then it is clear. So Krsna, God, is explaining Himself, “I am like…” Asamsayam samagram mam yatha jnasyasi tac chrnu. So there is not very difficult to understand Krsna if we simply… But if we interpret foolishly, and try to understand Krsna by misinterpretation, then the business is finished. Don’t do that. Simply try to understand Krsna as He is explaining Himself, then your life is successful. How it is successful?
janma karma ca me divyam yo janati tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti…
That is successful. If one can understand Krsna, about His activities, why He comes, He explains, yada yada hi dharmasya, (break) …change this body. But we do not know what kind of body I am going to get. These information are there. But any kind of body you get, even in the higher planetary system as demigod, a-brahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino ‘rjuna, that is not good. The best thing is you get a body, a spiritual body, like Krsna, sat-cit-ananda-vigraha. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti… Then you haven’t got to accept any more this material body. Then what happens to me? Mam eti, you come to Krsna and enjoy with Him. That is success of life.
Thank you very much.
Devotees: Jaya, Srila Prabhupada!
Prabhupada: Any questions?
Giriraja: Any questions? (long silence)
Prabhupada: Boliya mataji. Prasna boliya? There should be question. (another long silence)
Giriraja: The process of hearing and then asking questions is the way to clarify our understanding, just like Krsna and Arjuna. So actually we must have some questions in our minds; otherwise we would all immediately surrender to Krsna.
Prabhupada: Yes. Either you surrender to Krsna or clear it by question. (end)
[751217LE.BOM Lecture Engagement at Birla House Bombay, December 17, 1975]
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada