Published on March 13th, 2023 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada14
The Spiritual World
The material world is simply a shadow of the spiritual world. So real life, real variety, real beauty, real knowledge, everything in reality is there in the spiritual world. This material world is only reflection. Just like if you create a clay doll, a very nice beautiful girl.
But it is imitation. It is shadow of the real beautiful girl.
Prabhupada: Oh, Mr. Murti, I’m very glad to see you. Come here in front. How do you like this movement? Huh?
Mr. Murti: (inaudible)
Prabhupada: Thank you. (chuckling) So any particular question?
Rukmini: On the picture today that you gave Jadurani a picture of Sri Visnu. There is a foot on His chest. We didn’t know what that was… there was a little footprint.
Prabhupada: There are some special marks on the chest of Visnu by which in Vaikuntha He is known that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Otherwise, in Vaikuntha, everyone has got the same feature like Visnu. Just like if President Johnson comes here as a gentleman, you’ll not, nobody will recognize him whether he’s president or not unless he shows his special mark. Is it not? All government officers, big officers, they have got within the coat one, some mark. So far I know. So similarly, in Vaikuntha the inhabitants, they got svarupa. Their form is exactly like Visnu. There is no difference. When the Visnuduta came to take Ajamila from the hands of Yamaduta. They were four-handed with sankha-cakra-gada-padma as Visnu, the lotus flower, this disc, and the club, and the conchshell. There is no difference in the body. Simply by that special mark, some special hair on the chest and there is Bhrgu, I mean to say, sole, sole, a mark of the feet of Bhrgu Muni. So by some special marks one can recognize He is Visnu. Otherwise, from bodily features and from dress and from ornaments, there is no distinction between Visnu and His devotees in Vaikuntha. They’re all four-handed. Svarupa sayujya salokya sarsti. They have got equal, I mean to say, situation of prosperity, wealthy, equally, almost equally powerful. So practically there is no difference between Visnu and Visnu-bhakta. In Krishnaloka also. Only Krsna is little blackish. Otherwise there is no… In the Krsnaloka they are two-handed, and Visnuloka they are four-handed. All the Vaikunthas, the residents, they are four-handed. You want four-hand or two-hand? (laughter) Mr. Murti? What do you want? Four hands?
Mr. Murti: Two hands more than Krsna.
Prabhupada: Yes. In this universe only Brahma has got four hands. Nobody within this universe. And Visnu also. In this brahmanda, in this universe, there is a planet where the ocean is of milk. Here, just like salted water. There are many oceans. Ocean of oil, ocean of ghee, ocean of milk. The ocean of oil, you have got experience in this planet. Within the earth you are getting some… Your civilization depending, your motor car civilization is depending on that ocean of oil. You are getting oil and lavishly spending it. Stock is supplied by God. Your material advancement will be finished if the stock is not supplied by the Lord. So these foolish men, they do not know. They think that “Without God we can live.” Who has created the ocean of petroleum within the earth? Is it possible for human being? (laughter)
Hamsaduta: Someone has said that the dhoti, the dhoti that the brahmacaris wear, is the dress that’s worn in Vaikuntha. Is that correct?
Prabhupada: Just see Visnu. He has no coat-pant. Here is Visnu. Or Krsna, He has no dress. He is also bare body. Only Radharani is covered. In India also, still, the covering of the body is only for woman, but men, this, practically one dhoti is sufficient. Sometimes langota, the underwear. Langota, underwear. What is that?
Nanda-kisora: Swami? What does Nanda-kisora mean?
Prabhupada: Nanda-kisora, kisora means a boy.
Prabhupada: The transcendental boy of Nanda Maharaja.
Madhusudana: How is the lotus a weapon? They’re all weapons. All the symbols in Visnu’s hand, are, all the symbols in Visnu’s hand are weapons. How is the lotus a weapon?
Prabhupada: Lotus is blessing. And that disc and club is for punishing. Visnu has to see two ways because He’s the Lord. So, as it is said in the Bhagavad-gita, paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam. Just like the state. State is meant for punishing the criminals and giving protection to the law-abiding citizen. Wherefrom this idea is taken? It is taken from Visnu. Everything. Because He is the supreme maintainer. So everything is required for maintaining. So this gada, the club, and the disc is for punishing the disobedient, the demons, or those who are harassing devotees. To punish them the Visnu-cakra is there. Just like Maharaja Ambarisa, he was harassed by Durvasa Muni, and Visnu-cakra punished him sufficiently. Maharaja Durvasa… Maharaja Ambarisa was a great king, but a great devotee at the same time. Because he was ksatriya and householder, Durvasa Muni, he was envious. Durvasa Muni was brahmana and a great yogi. So he could not tolerate that a householder king… King is supposed to be dealing in politics, economics. Therefore, according to social position, he is lesser than the brahmana because they are simply engaged in the matter of transcendental advancement of life. But a devotee is above the brahmanas. That is the position of devotee. Here, the highest qualitative position is to be situated in the modes of goodness or to acquire the qualities of brahmana, in this material world. Truthfulness, controlling the senses, controlling the mind, simplicity and knowledge, faith in God, there are so many qualifications which makes a person as recognized brahmana. But a devotee, never mind whether he’s brahmana or a candala, he automatically develop all these qualities. Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana. Anyone who has unflinching devotional faith in God, he has all the good qualities. I’ve several times narrated the story of that hunter. He was animal killer and he used to enjoy by killing the animal half. But when he became a devotee, he was not prepared to kill even an ant. Who taught him? Nobody taught him but he was simply chanting Hare Krsna. That’s all. So if you actually making progress in devotional service, you are constantly in touch with the purest. Krsna is the purest. Bhagavad-gita, it is said, param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan. “You are the param brahma, Supreme Brahman.” Brahman, every living entity is Brahman but He is param brahma, the leader of the Brahman. Just like the president is the first citizen of the state. Similarly, Krsna is also a living entity, but supreme living entity. Just like the first citizen. So similarly, every living entity is Brahman, but param brahma is one. That is Krsna. And therefore in the Brahma-samhita it is confirmed, isvarah paramah krsnah. Krsna is… Everyone isvara, more or less controller. Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, Indra, Varuna, Vayu, Candra, Surya. There are so many. They’re all demigods. Say, almost God. But they are not Supreme God. Supreme God is one. Sometimes people who do not know the purpose of Vedas, they say, “The Hindus are worshiper of many gods.” That is nonsense. Actually those who are followers of Vedas, they worship Krsna, only Krsna or Visnu. Tad visnoh paramam padam. Rg mantra. Tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah. And in the Bhagavad-gita it is said, vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyam. What is the purpose of Vedas? To understand Krsna. One who does not understand Krsna, his Vedanta philosophy is nonsense. However you may advertise that “I am Vedantist,” is a pakka nonsense. Because he has not attained the perfection of Vedic knowledge. The perfection of Vedic knowledge is to know Krsna, and that is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita: Bahunam janmanam ante. After many, many births. Jnanavan. Jnanavan means Vedantist. Not… They have made it, that Vedantist… Vedantist, Vaisnavas, they are also Vedantist, but it has become a common sense, a common affair that the impersonalists, they are called Vedantists. Because, due to Sankaracarya’s propaganda, they have made their position as Vedantists. But common men, they do not know that the Vaisnavas are the best Vedantists. We shall discuss Vedanta here also. Vedanta… In Ramanuja-bhasya there is… Perhaps you know, in your country. There is Ramanuja-bhasya Vedanta. Madhvacarya, he has also written Vedanta-bhasya. Not only Sankaracarya. But because the Vaisnavas, they know bhasyam brahma-sutranam. The Srimad-Bhagavatam is the actual explanation of Vedanta. So therefore they take more interest in Srimad-Bhagavatam because that is the actual explanation of Vedanta. Just like in the Vedanta-sutra, the, what is Brahman, Absolute Truth. Athato brahma jijnasa. The inquiry is, “What is Brahman, Absolute Truth?” The Vedanta-sutra answers… The Vedanta-sutra is made like that, questions and answers like that. So answer is janmady asya yatah. “The Absolute Truth is that from whom everything is emanating.” He is the ultimate fountainhead of everything. Just now we tried to explain that the state functions protecting the good citizens and punishing the criminals. That should be the state business. Wherefrom this idea came? The law and… What is called? The law and order department or what is that?
Devotee: Law and order.
Prabhupada: Yes. Wherefrom the idea came to the human society unless it is there in the Absolute? How the idea comes? Therefore that law and order is Visnu. Janmady asya yatah. The idea of law and order came from Visnu. How nicely explained. Janmady asya. In two words, janmady asya yatah. Janma means creation, and adi, adi means first janma, then sthiti. Sthiti means staying, maintenance. And then dissolution. So three things. Yatah, from where these three things are happening. That means this world is being created from that source, it is being maintained by that source, and when it is annihilated it rests in that energy, the whole energy. Pralayam yanti mamikam, Bhagavad-gita. When everything is dissolved, the energy is absorbed by the energetic. So that is Absolute Truth. So Srimad-Bhagavatam explains that Absolute Truth. Janmady asya yata anvayad itaratas ca arthesu abhijnah svarat. In the Vedanta-sutra it is simply said that “The Absolute Truth is that which is the fountainhead of everything.” Now if fountainhead of everything, then what the Absolute Truth’s nature shall be like? That is explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The first thing is that janmady asya yatah. The factor, the Absolute Truth from which everything is emanating, so that emanation includes indirect and direct manifestation. What is that indirect and direct manifestation? The direct manifestation is the spiritual world and the indirect manifestation is this material world. Indirect manifestation means it is simply a shadow of the spiritual world. Just like in the Bible also it is said the man is made after God. So you have got two hands, one head, two leg. So the mental speculation is said that these devotees, they create God according to their own feature. Because I am two-handed, and therefore I create God with two hands, Krsna. But actually, the fact is not that. Actually, because Krsna has got two hands and we have got an imitation body of Krsna, therefore we have got two hands. Because this is imitation. That we know everything, everyone. This body will not stay. Therefore it has got janma. Janma means birth or creation at a certain period, and it stays, say, for fifty years or hundred years. Then dissolved, dissolution. Therefore it is imitation. Just like if you create a doll, clay doll, very nice beautiful girl. But it will… It is imitation. It is shadow of the real beautiful girl. It is created at some time and… So reality is there in the spiritual world. Therefore it is called janmady asya yatah. The idea comes from there, but the impersonalists, due to their intelligence being very meager, they think that the Absolute Truth is without any variety, impersonal or void. They think that varieties are only in the material world, but actually, real varieties are there in the spiritual world. It is only refelection, as it is described in the Bhagavad-gita, urdhva mulam adhah-sakha. Adhah-sakham. Asvattham prahur avyayam. Asvattha… This material creation, material manifestation is compared with a banyan tree whose root is upward. And that I have explained several times how the tree can be upwards root. That means it is reflection. Just like you stand on the riverside, the tree will be reflected on the river, on the water, as obverted. That means that is reflection. As soon as we say that this is a tree, the root of which is up, that means it is reflection. The Mayavadi philosopher, they do not take account of the mathematical calculation, 380 degree. They are taking account of… 360 degree, the whole circle. They are taking account only 180 degree. And other 180 degree they’re making void. But actually, the whole point is 360 degree. That is geomatical calculation. If you simply know 180 degree, then the other 180 degree is unknown to you. So real life, real variety, real beauty, real knowledge, everything in reality is there in the spiritual world. It is only reflection. Therefore Bhagavata explains that janmady asya yatah anvayad itaratas ca arthesu abhijnah. The Supreme Absolute Truth is cognizant, abhijnah. Cognizant and svarat. Svarat means independent. In this way, the explanation of Brahma-sutra is given in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Therefore Srimad-Bhagavatam is vaisnavanam priyam. Yad vaisnavanam priyam. Yasmin paramahamsam ekam param jnanam jneyate. The knowledge of Srimad-Bhagavatam is to be understood by the paramahamsa, the highest perfected man, paramahamsa. It is not ordinary thing.
Devotee: Swamiji, if all things here are a reflection of what is perfect in the spiritual world, then shouldn’t hate and frustration and despair and prejudice also appear in the spiritual world?
Devotee: Does it?
Devotee: Then isn’t that… Aren’t they bad?
Prabhupada: But that frustration has no disappointment. (laughter) That is the beauty. Just like Lord Caitanya is manifesting that spiritual frustration. “Oh Krsna, I could not see You.” He’s jumping on the sea in frustration. But that frustration is the highest perfection of love. Yes. Everything is there. But without inebriety. You are very intelligent boy. I thank you. Yes. Yes. There is frustration, but not this frustration. Yes. That frustration, I mean to say, enriches one’s eagerness of love for Krsna. Everything is there, but without inebriety.
Everything is there. Yes. Now see, Visnu? Of course, in Vaikuntha-jagat there is no violence. But Visnu is taking the symbol of violence. Otherwise what is the meaning of this disc and club? So when He wants to be violent, He comes here as Nrsimha-murti. (laughter) And He sends some of His devotees to play violence. That is Hiranyakasipu. Because there the devotees are so much in accord with Krsna and Visnu that there is no question of disagreement. But violence is when this disagree-ment, atheist. Therefore sometimes a devotee is deputed in this world to play as atheist, and Krsna comes to kill him. To teach these people that “If you become atheist, then here is disc and club for you.” But it is not possible to be displayed in the Vaikuntha. Otherwise, if there is no the propensity of violence… Just like there is sometimes mock fight. A father is fighting in mock with a small child, and he has become defeated. But there is pleasure. So anandamayo ‘bhyasat. The Lord is joyful. So there is joy in fighting also sometimes. So your question that everything is there, that is a fact. Everything is there. Otherwise if everything is not there, they cannot be manifested here because it is reflection. Just like in… Of course, this discovery is by the Vaisnava, Gaudiya Vaisnava. Just like the love between Radha and Krsna, it is called parakiya. They are not married husband and wife. But Radharani appears to be wife of some other gentleman. But Krsna, from childhood, They were friends. So Radharani could not forget Krsna. She used to come to Krsna and stand like that. That’s all. And He was playing. Kisora-Kisori, They were boy and girl. But there is no inebriety. Just like here the boy and girls mix and there are so many abominable things. Distressful, which is binding their material bondage. So that friendship between boy and girl is there, but without inebriety. Krsna had so many gopis, girlfriend, but there was no contraceptive pills. (laughter) That is the beauty. Here, the so-called love is lust. And there, that is the highest. The same thing, obverted, perverted reflection. Just like in the original tree the topmost part has come down to the down. Similarly, in the spiritual world the highest, topmost level of love, parakiya… Parakiya means love not by marriage life, by friendship. That is there. But there is no such inebriety. It is pure. So perverted means the topmost thing has come down to the lowest. Here, this parakiya, loving other’s wife or other’s husband, is most abominable, adultery. Not allowed by society, not allowed by the state. But tendency is there. Even one is married, he wants to love another’s wife. Or if the girl married (s)he wants to love another husband. Why? That is there. But without inebriety. That is the beauty. So everything is there, but here, that thing is reflected, pervertedly. Therefore misunderstood. There is so many other corollaries. You see? But you must know everything, that without being in the Absolute Truth there cannot be relative manifestation. This world is relative manifestation. So these things are not to be understood in the beginning, but as the questions came we discussed something. But you must know, as the Vedanta-sutra says, janmady asya yatah. Everything is emanated from that Absolute Truth. That is the fountainhead of everything. We cannot manufacture anything. It is not possible. But this is shadow and that is reality. And in the shadow… Just like photograph. You find that everything in detail of your beautiful face in the photograph, but that is not reality. That’s all. So you’ll find everything in details, all… Or you can understand actual photograph, actual idea, actual notion of the spiritual world by scrutinizingly studying this material world. The impersonalists, they think that in the material varieties there are so many abominable inebrieties, therefore in the spiritual world all these things should be minus, void. That is their material calculation. They cannot think that in the spiritual world also there is love. Because here, in this world, the so-called love or lust is frustrated and followed by so many calamities that therefore they cannot conceive that in the spiritual world also there is love. Their idea, in one sense, is right, that how these nonsensical things can exist in the spiritual world? Therefore they make it altogether minus. No variety. Impersonal. That is less intelligence. They cannot understand that photograph is the reflection of the actual person. There is everything in detail. A movie. Actually, the same man is laughing, walking, dress, everything, but it is all false. That they cannot understand. Therefore the Vaisnavas say they are less intelligent. The real understanding should be that if in the real person all these features are not present, how they can be reflected in the photograph? The Mayavadi says, brahma satyam jagan mithya. Brahman, the Absolute Truth, is real truth, and this world is mithya. Then mithya means it is a reflection or shadow. Mithya does not mean that it has no existence. The shadow is also existence. Therefore Vaisnava philosophers say that mithya means temporary. Now you have got this body. This is temporary. That’s the real understanding. And if I say it is mithya, then if I kill you, then why I am punished? I can say, “Oh, it is mithya, it is false. So what is their fault?” No. It is not mithya. It is temporary. Not mithya. Mithya how can it be? Because it is reflection of the reality, therefore it cannot be mithya. Then the reality becomes mithya. Mithya means not fact. The real explanation is that this is shadow. Shadow, but the reality is in the spiritual world, and that is indicated in the Vedanta-sutra, janmady asya yatah. The fountainhead of all emanation. That is Absolute Truth.
Advaita: Swamiji, last night our window was broken. Was that maya striking at us?
Advaita: Last night my window was broken. Was that maya striking?
Advaita: Kids broke the window?
Prabhupada: Yes. Maya is always striking. Why do you take only a window? Why do you compact maya in the window? He is without window, within the window. Maya is not only, I mean to say, limited to a certain extent. The whole world is maya. Jagan mithya. The whole universe is maya. Only that part is not maya where the chanting Hare Krsna is there.
Devotees: Haribol. Hare Krsna.
Prabhupada: As soon as there was some slacking in Hare Krsna the maya struck. (laughs) Yes. Yes.
Govinda dasi: Swamiji?
Prabhupada: Yes. You are asking at the last moment. You are very much careful about time.
Govinda dasi: Oh. I didn’t know.
Prabhupada: No, you ask me.
Govinda dasi: No, I won’t ask.
Prabhupada: No, no, no, you ask. Yes. Yes.
Govinda dasi: Could you describe Krsna’s pastimes as cowboy whenever He goes out in the morning with the cowherds boys?
Prabhupada: Yes, you can… Because… Have you seen how the… You have no experience here in your country. Have you got any experience? But in India we have got experience how in the morning the cowboy takes some food from the mother and with the cows he goes to the field. The cows are let loose on the grazing ground. They are enjoying, and this cowboy is sometimes singing. The flute, Krsna’s flute is because He is cowboy. The cowboys still play in that flute. In India you’ll find. Because the cows are let… They are doing their own work, and what this boy will do? They are playing. There are many cowherds boys, they are playing. Sometimes playing on flutes, sometimes sporting, sometimes eating. So Krsna was exactly doing like that. All the cowboy friend went with Him. Krsna was, of course, a very rich man’s son. His father was very rich. So He used to take with Him very nice foodstuff, lugdoo, kacauri. And other, His poor friends, they were taking capatis, dry capatis. (laughs) So they were enjoying, dividing, “Your food, my food, his food.” And some-times there was some trouble in the forest because Kamsa was after Krsna to kill Him. He was sending his assistants. So some asura would come, Bakasura, Aghasura, and Krsna would kill. And the boys would return and narrate the story to their mother. “Oh, my dear mother! Such and such thing happened and Krsna killed it! Very…” (laughter) The mother will, “Oh, yes, our Krsna is very wonderful!” (laughter) So Krsna was their enjoyment. That’s all. The mother is speaking of Krsna, the boy is speaking of Krsna.
So therefore they did not know anything but Krsna. Krsna. Whenever there is some trouble, “Oh Krsna.” When there is fire, “Oh, Krsna.” That is the beauty of Vrndavana. Their mind is absorbed in Krsna. Not through philosophy. Not through understanding, but natural love. “Krsna is our village boy, our relative, our friend, our lover, our master.” Some way or other, Krsna. That is the beauty. Therefore Sukadeva Gosvami is describing the playing of the boys.
ittham satam brahma-sukhanubhutyadasyam gatanam para-daivatena
sakam vijahruh krta-punya-punjah
“Oh, these boys playing with Krsna, they have attained this position, oh, after, I mean to say, accumulating many, many births pious activities.” Krta-punya punjah. Just like a man collects dollar, dollar, dollar, dollar, dollar, and one time he amasses money, say, millions of dollars. Similarly, Sukadeva Gosvami is describing that these boys who are playing with Krsna, they have amassed their pious activities for millions and billions of births. Because with whom they are playing? They’re playing, ittham brahma-sukhanubhutya… Satam. The stalwart philosophers who are after brahma-sukha, brahmananda. So that brahmananda is here, Krsna. And dasyam gatanam para daivatena. And for the devotees, He is the Supreme Lord. And mayasritanam nara-darakena. Those who are covered in maya, for them He is ordinary human boy. And with Him these boys are playing. They have amassed pious activi-ties of many, many millions of births. Otherwise it was not possible. So they do not know Krsna is God. They do not know. But their affection for Krsna is so great and nice that it is inexplicable. They were playing, Krsna is defeated. Oh, Krsna has to take the friend on His shoulder. Yes, because He was defeated. So Krsna is accepting, “Yes, come on My shoulder.” So this Krsna-lila, that also one who tries to understand and understands, they are also like those boys who have amassed pious activities of many, many births. It is not ordinary thing. Yes. And mayasritanam nara darakena. Those who are under the clutches of maya, they will think these Krsna’s pastimes, “What is this? What is this? Krsna conscious persons, they are enjoying about Krsna’s going to the field with some cows?” Yes. Just like one of our students, that Ranacora. He asked me, “Swamiji, how is that God has become a cowherd boy?” Yes. Because ordinary people, they are thinking God must be so great, so great, great, that they cannot conceive. And that great personality, how He becomes a cowherd boy playing with cowherd boys? Yes. Brahma also became astonished, and therefore he came to check “Whether He is my Lord or not?” (laughter) Yes. Bewildered. Muhyanti yatra surayah. The Bhagavata says therefore, even the great personalities like Brahma, they are also bewildered to understand the personality. He, Brahma also heard that at Vrndavana Krsna has appeared and He is acting as a cowherd boy. He was also astonished. “Oh, my Lord? He has become a cowherd boy?” So he came to check. He, I mean to say, took away all the cowherd boys and cows and everything. And after a few seconds he came, he said Krsna is playing in the same way. And although the, I mean, stolen cowherd boys and cows they, by the, I mean to say, energy of maya, by influence of Brahma, they were kept in a secret cave. They were sleeping. But Krsna is playing. That means He has manifested again with the cowherd boys and cows. Then he was convinced, “Yes, He is my Lord.” Then Brahma-stava is there. Ananda cinmaya rasa pratibhavitabhis tabhirya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih. So Krsna can expand in many, many thousand times. What Brahma will do by stealing His… No, that is not possible. So Brahma was also convinced. These things you’ll find in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Brahma-vimohana. Even Brahma is bewildered, what to speak of ordinary men like us. So Krsna-lila, to understand… There is no need of understanding. Simply you love Krsna, then the whole business finished. Just like if you touch fire, if you understand it or not understand it, the warmness is there. Similarly, either you understand Krsna or do not understand Krsna, it doesn’t matter. Simply if you love Krsna, then your life is perfect. That’s all.
Devotees: Hare Krsna.
Prabhupada: You can take this. Hare Krsna.
Devotees: Hare Krsna. (offer obeisances) (end)
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada