Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.1
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
New York, April 9, 1969

Prabhupada: (chants mangalacarana prayers)

Boys and girls, today I shall explain to you the importance of Krsna consciousness as it was conceived by one of the greatest devotees in this disciplic succession. You know we are under disciplic succession. We do not manufacture anything by mental concoction. We do not approve that method. We receive knowledge from the authorities and out of such many acaryas, or authorities, who have appeared and disappeared… We don’t say born and died, no. (laughter) Appear and disappear. This is the actual explanation. None of us, either Krsna or we or all living entities, they appear and disappear. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna says in the battlefield, “My dear Arjuna, either you or Me or all the kings and soldiers who have assembled in this battlefield, don’t think that they did not exist in the past and they’ll not exist in the future.” That means they existed in the past and they’re existing at present and they would exist also in the future. That means eternal. Eternal, we are all eternal.

But this misunderstanding is… Just like we are… Because the passing phase is this body, and the body is changing, and the final change, when you transmigrate from one body to another, it is called death. Actually, there is no death. Na jayate na mriyate kadacit. In the Bhagavad-gita you’ll find that the living entity never is born, neither never dies. Na hanyamane hanyate, hanyamane sarire. Then “I see that he is dying.” Oh, that is dying not, that is his finishing his this present body. The example is given, vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya [Bg. 2.22]. Just like one person changes his dress, similarly, when this dress, the present body, is unworkable… Just like one man cannot see. What do you mean by “cannot see”? When the power of vision is no longer working or the spectacle is broken, therefore he cannot see. Similarly, when the all the senses will be broken or cannot work… Just like eye cannot, the eyes cannot work, therefore it is blind, similarly, the hand cannot work, the leg cannot work, the tongue cannot work because at the last stage when this mechanical arrangement of this body will stop to function, that is called death. That you try to understand, that as because I cannot see, it does not mean I am dead. Similarly, because the senses of the body cannot function, that also does not mean that I am dead. It is to be understood with little intelligence and with cool head.

So Prahlada Maharaja, a great devotee, he’s in the line of disciplic succession. He’s considered one of the great acaryas. An authority, acarya. And who is acarya? Acarya means one who knows the intricacies of Vedic knowledge and he personally behaves in terms of that knowledge and teaches his disciple in terms of that knowledge. Acarya means the person whose behavior is to be followed. Not that as we follow somebody according to our taste. Not like that. That acarya comes in the standard disciplic succession. So acarya. So this Prahlada Maharaja, we are discussing the instruction of Prahlada Maharaja because he happens to be one of the stalwart acaryas. And the names of such acaryas, authorized acaryas, are also mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

So who are they? Svayambhur naradah sambhuh [SB 6.3.20]. Svayambhuh means Brahma. Brahma is supposed to be born without any material father and mother. Therefore he is called Svayambhuh. He is the only living creature within this universe who is born without the father and mother. How it is? Without the father and mother means this material father and mother. But he has his father. His father is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana. And he’s born out of the lotus flower which is grown from the abdomen of Narayana. Therefore he’s called Svayambhuh. Svayambhuh means self-manifested. Because before him, there was no existence of material creation. Therefore he is called Svayambhuh. And next is Narada. Svayambhur naradah. Narada is born out of Brahma. Svayambhur naradah and sambhuh. Sambhuh is also born of Brahma. Sambhuh means Lord Siva. So he is also one of the acaryas. Svayambhur naradah sambhuh kumarah kapilo manuh [SB 6.3.20]. Kumarah means…

These Kumaras, they are also sons of Brahma, but they are called Kumaras, brahmacaris. When they were born… Because Brahma wanted at that time to create living entities to fulfill the whole universe, so he wanted so many sons and grandsons. So he requested his four Kumara sons, “My dear boys, you get yourself married and increase generation.” But the Kumaras, they said, “My dear father, we are not going to marry. We are not going to be entangled in this material way of life. We shall remain as brahmacaris and cultivate Krsna consciousness.” Oh, the father was very angry. Oh, you are refusing my order? So when he became angry… Angry means that is Rudra. So from that anger Lord Siva was born. Therefore he is called Rudra. And he was Rudra, his name was Rudra because he was crying from the very beginning of his birth. So anyway, Rudra is also one of the authorities, Rudra, or Lord Siva.

Svayambhur naradah sambhuh kumarah kapilah [SB 6.3.20]. Kapila is the son of Devahuti, and he’s also considered as the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And svayambhur naradah sambhuh kapilah kumarah manuh [SB 6.3.20]. And manuh, manuh means the father of the mankind. From manuh, the word man is derived. Or, in Sanskrit word, manusya. So in Latin and Sanskrit, man, manusya, and manuh, they are almost on the same level. So svayambhur naradah sambhuh kapilo kumarah manuh [SB 6.3.20], then prahlado janako bhismah. So now this Prahlada’s name comes. Prahlada’s name comes. Prahlada and Janaka, the great king, Janaka, whose daughter was married to Lord Ramacandra. Janaki. Therefore, Sita’s name is Janaki, daughter of Maharaja Janaka. So he is also a great authority. Prahlado janako bhismah, and Bhisma, you have heard the name of Bhisma, the grandfather of Arjuna. He is also one of the authorities. And, prahlado janako bhismo balir, Maharaja Bali, a king. He was a grandson of this Prahlada Maharaja. He became mahajana. All these persons, they became authorities by their exemplary character for advancing in Krsna consciousness. Therefore they are considered as authorities. So, balir vaiyasakir vayam. Vaiyasakih means the son of Vyasadeva, Sukadeva Gosvami. He’s also authority. And vayam, it is, this statement is made by Yamaraja, the controller of sinful activities. Superintendent of police, appointed by Krsna. So he is also one of the authorities. How you can deny the superintendent of police as authority? As he is also authority in the state, similarly he is also authority.

So one of the authorities, Prahlada Maharaja, we are speaking today about his instruction. And what is the history of Prahlada Maharaja? Prahlada Maharaja born in the family of a great atheist. His father was a great atheist, Hiranyakasipu. Hiranya means gold, and kasipu means enjoyment in soft bedding. So he was concerned with two things, money and next, sense enjoyment. So that was his business, and he wanted to train his boy in that way. But fortunately, this boy happened to be a great devotee by instruction of Narada. So this boy, although born in the family of atheist—his father is great atheist—but because he was bestowed benediction by a great devotee, Narada, he became a great devotee. Now he took the opportunity of spreading Krsna consciousness where? In his school. In his school. He was five years old boy, and as soon as he would get opportunity he would spread Krsna consciousness to his classfellows. That was his business. And so many times the father of Prahlada Maharaja called the teachers, “So, what education you are giving to my child? Why he is chanting Hare Krsna? (laughter) Why you are spoiling my boy?” (laughter) You see? So don’t think that I am spoiling these boys and girls by teaching them Hare Krsna. So that teacher said, “My dear sir, I teach your son very nicely about politics, economics, and as you want, to become very clever man in the material world. But unfortunately I do not know wherefrom your son has learned this Hare Krsna. So please excuse me. I am trying to make your son forget this nonsense Hare Krsna, but I do not know. By nature, he chants Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, and not only he’s spoiling himself, he’s spoiling my whole school. (laughter) Because as soon as he chants Hare Krsna, all the boys join with him and they clap and they dance. So this is going on.” So he’s teaching his classfellows now. Kaumara acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan iha [SB 7.6.1]

Now, this Srimad-Bhagavatam which is in this table, this book is a great, grand edition of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Each verse contains eight commentaries by great stalwart devotees. They represent different disciplic succession of devotee. They are… There are four authorized disciplic successions. As I have already mentioned that Brahma is one of the authorities, similarly, he has got the disciplic succession from Brahma. From Brahma to Narada, from Narada to Vyasadeva, from Vyasadeva to Madhvacarya, from Madhvacarya to Mad… I am making shortcut. From Madhvacarya to Madhavendra Puri, from Madhavendra Puri to Isvara Puri, from Isvara Puri to Lord Caitanya, from Lord Caitanya to Svarupa Damodara, from Svarupa Damodara to six Gosvamis, Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, from Gosvamis to Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, the author of Caitanya-caritamrta, and from him Narottama dasa Thakura, and from Narottama dasa Thakura, Visvanatha Cakravarti, from Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura to Jagannatha dasa Babaji, from Jagannatha dasa Babaji to Bhaktivinoda Thakura, from Bhaktivinoda Thakura to Gaurakisora dasa Babaji Maharaja, and from Gaurakisora dasa Babaji my spiritual master, and then we are descended.

Devotees: Jaya! Haribol!

Prabhupada: In this way, the disciplic succession is coming. And what is the specific condition or what is the significance of the disciplic succession? The disciplic succession, if you receive knowledge from the descendants of these authorities, or disciplic succession, then you get the perfect knowledge. Perfect knowledge. Perfect knowledge is imparted by the supreme perfect, God. And it is received by Brahma, and the same knowledge is handed over to Narada. Narada hands over to Vyasadeva, Vyasadeva hands over to… Just like a ripe fruit on the top of the tree, if it falls down all of a sudden, it is destroyed. But if it is handed over from up to down, down, down, then it comes as it is. As it is. Then you can enjoy the reality. And that is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita.

In the fourth chapter, those who have read Bhagavad-gita, you’ll find, that Krsna says, imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam [Bg. 4.1]. “First of all, I spoke this yoga system to Vivasvan.” Vivasvan is the name of the controlling deity in the sun planet. There is also a president. As we have got many presidents, in the other higher planetary systems there is one president, and some of them is called the moon-god or the sun-god or the Varuna according to Vedic languages. They have got… Such post can be occupied by you also if you become qualified. Just like you can become the President. Similarly, you can also occupy the predominating post in the sun planet, in the moon planet, and all the other planets. That is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, devan deva-yajo yanti, that anyone who aspires after to be elevated to such planetary system which is inhabited by the demigods, they can go.

So anyway, that is a different story. So Krsna says that “First of all, I narrated this yoga system to Vivasvan.” Vivasvan means the predominating deity whose name is Vivasvan, Vivasvan. He was instructed Bhagavad-gita. And He says, vivasvan manave praha. “And Vivasvan, this gentleman, he spoke the truth about Bhagavad-gita to Manu.” We have already mentioned the name of Manu. Manu means the father of the mankind. Vivasvan manave praha, that means the, from sun planet the message of Bhagavad-gita was handed down to the chief man of this planet, the father of the mankind, Manu. Just like in your scripture also it is said Adam and Eve, similarly Manu. So vivasvan manave praha manur iksvakave ’bravit. And Manu handed over this knowledge to his son whose name is Iksvaku. This Iksvaku, he’s also a great king. He happens to be the original king in the family in which Lord Ramacandra appeared. So it is called surya-vamsa, the descendant from the sun. There are two classes of ksatriyas. The one is coming from the sun planet, another is coming down from the moon planet. So the history, Mahabharata, says that the Indo-European stock, they also belong to this ksatriya family. That is, that’s a long history. Now this, this parampara system This Vivasvan handed over the knowledge to Manu, Manu handed over this knowledge to his son, Iksvaku.

And Krsna says in the next verse, evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh [Bg. 4.2]. In this way, this knowledge was received by disciplic succession and all the rajarsis… Rajarsi means the monarch who is just like a sage. You’ll get… In the history of Mahabharata there were many kings. They were all sages. Simply they were, by name, they’re monarch. But they were always thinking for the welfare of the citizens. Just like Maharaja Yudhisthira. So this is the Now Krsna says, sa kaleneha yogah nastah parantapa. Sa kaleneha yogo nastah parantapa. Now this parampara system, or disciplic succession, has broken by the influence of time. Just imagine it was coming down from the sun planet, and It is, there is every possibility. Suppose I, if I hand over some knowledge unto you and you hand over to some other, in succession, there is possibility that the exact knowledge which I delivered at the beginning, there may be some deviation. That is called breakage of the parampara system. So Krsna says “That parampara system is, by the force of time, it is now broken; therefore I again begin that parampara system with you, Arjuna.” Therefore if we understand Bhagavad-gita as it was understood by Arjuna, then we get the real knowledge. That is the way of understanding parampara. Although we are not present before Krsna, but if the message of Krsna is received through the parampara system as it was understood by Arjuna, then we get directly the message from Krsna. This is the system. But if I interpret in my own way, then the parampara system is broken.

So our, this parampara system from Lord Caitanya, as we have given account just now, we do not manufacture any knowledge by our fertile brain. We accept knowledge as it is coming down from the supreme authority. That is the process of… That is perfect knowledge. That is perfect knowledge. Just like we receive knowledge from our parents, “This is called lamp, this is called table, this is called book.” If you protest against it, “Why shall I call it book? I may call it something else.” You can do that, but that is deviation from the knowledge. So parampara system is considered to be perfect system of knowledge. Perfect… I may be imperfect or my disciple may be imperfect, but if you stick to the knowledge coming down from the parampara system, then I am perfect. It is so simple, nice thing. Just like a child. His parent teaches him, “This is called watch, timekeeper, timepiece.” If he accepts it, he hasn’t got to make a research, that, “Why it is called timepiece?” (laughter) It is very easy system. “My father has told me this is timepiece. I accept it as timepiece,” and everyone will understand that this is a timepiece. But if I manufacture some name out of my fertile brain, “This is this,” oh, people will call me crazy, “What you are saying?” So the parampara system is very nice and…

Just like, man is mortal. Man is mortal, I have learned it from my parents or my teachers that man is mortal. Now, if you want to make research worker, work, whether man is mortal or not, it will take long, long time. But you accept it from the authorities, man is mortal, your knowledge is perfect. So this parampara system of knowledge is given in the Vedic system of knowledge, and this system of knowledge is followed by the great acaryas, and the Prahlada Maharaja is one of the great acaryas. So you try to accept what Prahlada Maharaja is advising to his classfellows.

So what he’s advising? Kaumara acaret prajno. Kaumara acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan iha [SB 7.6.1]. He’s advising, “My dear friends, Krsna consciousness should be practiced from the childhood.” From the childhood. So, why childhood? Because if one is intelligent, he says prajnah… Prajnah means intelligent. If one is intelligent, he can understand that “There is no certainty whether this is my childhood or old age.” Because generally we think that when we are old we die. But who can say that I’m not old enough to die in the next moment? If I have to gain something supernatural which will give me the ultimate benefit of my life, then why shall I wait for old age? Immediately let us begin. If Krsna consciousness is very nice thing and if it will give us the highest benediction of my life, then if I am intelligent, then I must begin it immediately. Without any delay. Because generally people think that childhood or youthhood should be enjoyed.

The Sankaracarya he was passing on the road and he’s singing. He was lamenting, what is that? Balas tavad krida sakta. Oh, all these boys are playing. Generally, when you pass a road you see the boys are playing, very much busy, and they’re very jolly in playing. Balas tavad kridasaktas tarunas tavad taruni raktah. And young boys, they’re after young girls. You see? Tarunas tavad taruni-rakto vrddhas tavad anta-magnah. And the old man they are very much morose, what is to be done next. Parame brahmani ko ’pi na lagnah. Oh, everyone is busy. Nobody’s interested in Krsna consciousness, spiritual life. Everyone is busy. How they are spoiling their life! That is the version of Sankaracarya. He’s lamenting, that the boys, the youths, the old man, they are very happy in their materialistic way of life, but a spiritualistic man like Sankaracarya or Lord Jesus Christ, they are unhappy, “Oh, what foolish things they are doing.” That is the thankless task of persons who are spiritually enlightened. They can see it plain that how they are spoiling their valuable life. Simply for sense gratification.

So Prahlada Maharaja is practically instructed the same thing, that kaumara acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan [SB 7.6.1]. Dharman bhagavatan iha Bhagavatan dharmah. Dharma means your occupational duty. The “religion,” word “religion,” translation of the Sanskrit word, dharma, is not perfect. Is not perfect. Religion is a kind of faith. That we can change. But dharma, dharma means your occupational duty. You cannot change. You have to execute it. What is our dharma? What is our compulsory duty? I have several times analyzed this fact. Our compulsory duty is to serve. Compulsory duty. Every one of us is serving and all the boys and girls present here can know it. And nobody can deny that he or she is not serving. Everyone is serving. That is our compulsory duty. I may change my faith I am Christian or I am Hindu. I may change myself to become a Mohammedan or Christian or Hindu, but my real occupational duty is to render service to others. That cannot be changed. That is the real enunciation of religion. And therefore in the Vedic system it is called sanatana-dharma.

Sanatana-dharma means that eternal occupational duty which you cannot cease. Now, Prahlada Maharaja is advising that, dharman bhagavatan. Bhagavatan means… Bhagavata means pertaining to Bhagavan. And Bhagavan means to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So bhagavata is the adjective form of the noun word Bhagavan. Bhaga, real form of the word is bhagavat. Bhagavat. Vat means possessing, and bhaga means opulences. One who possess all the opulences, He’s called bhagavat. And from bhagavat this word has come, bhagavata. So bhagavata means pertaining to God and His devotees. That is called bhagavata. Just like this book is called Bhagavata because it deals only with the subject matter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, nothing more. Bas. Therefore it is called Bhagavata. And you’ll find description in this book, the dealings between Bhagavan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and His devotees. So there are two kinds of bhagavatam. The devotee bhagavatam and the book Bhagavatam. And Prahlada Maharaja advises that from the very child-hood if one is very intelligent then his duty is kaumara acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan iha [SB 7.6.1]. One should engage himself in the execution of the duties, occupational duties, in relationship with devotees and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thank you very much. If there is any question? Any question? Hmm?

Devotee: How old was Prahlada Maharaja when (indistinct). How old was Prahlada Maharaja?

Prabhupada: Oh, Prahlada Maharaja was five years old only.

Devotee: Then how (indistinct) hear from Vyasadeva?

Prabhupada: He learned this bhagavata-dharma from the womb of his mother. His mother was instructed… His mother, when she was pregnant, she was arrested by the enemies of her husband, and Narada Rsi saved her and he took the girl, pregnant girl, at his asrama and kept her. And as it is the practice of saintly persons to instruct about God, so he was instructing and Prahlada Maharaja was hearing from the womb of mother. Yes?

Devotee: (indistinct) Manu was on this planet. Now he’s not?

Prabhupada: Yes, Manu… Manu’s son, Iksvaku, was in this planet, but Manu may be in another planet. Just like Manu’s father, the sun, sun-god, Vivasvan, he is in the other planet. Similarly, the population of every planet has increased from one planet to another, like that. So manu’s son, Iksvaku, he happened to be in this planet.

Devotee: You said Prahlada Maharaja, he heard Narada Muni speaking in the womb. (indistinct) hear you speaking?

Prabhupada: Certainly.

Devotees: (loud exclamations and laughter)

Prabhupada: Why not Haimavati’s child? Even a lizard is here in this room, he is also hearing. This is transcendental sound. Just like there was a sound, everyone’s attention was diverted there. So sound is so penetrating. Sound is the origin of creation. So this is transcendental sound. It penetrates everyone’s heart. Because everyone is spiritual being. That is the specific significance of sound vibration. It is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, ahaituky apratihata. This spiritual cultivation cannot be checked by any material impediment. Because the child is packed within the womb, within the belly, under the shackles (circles?) of intestines and so miserable condition… In the belly or the abdomen of the mother, the child remains in a very miserable condition. Because the consciousness is not developed. But as soon as the consciousness is developed at the age of seven months, the child wants to come out. Therefore it moves. If it is male child, then it moves toward the right side. If it is female child, then it moves to the left side. So these are description in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. So by the movement of the child you can understand whether it is male or female. (woman exclaims) So this transcendental sound is not checked by any material condition. Therefore it reaches. Therefore it is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita that sucinam srimatam gehe yoga-bhrasto’bhijayate. One who cannot execute the full course of yoga system, he’s given chance to take birth in the family of a pious man or a rich man. So, as you parents, you have taken to Krsna consciousness, the child who is coming, he’s not an ordinary child. He must have executed in his previous life the yoga siddhi. If you believe Bhagavad-gita you have to accept.

Devotee: Is Arjuna described in disciplic succession?(?) I mean…

Prabhupada: Yes.

Devotee: How come the other incarnations are (indistinct)?

Prabhupada: Arjuna is disciple of Krsna, that is known. Then what is your next question?

Devotee: Did Krsna describe to Arjuna the disciplic succession?

Prabhupada: Yes. He said that “I am speaking to you Bhagavad-gita because you are My devotee, you are My confidential friend.” That is the qualification to receive this from disciplic succession. That is the qualification. He, he, Arjuna did not go to instruct, yes, Krsna did not like to instruct the confidential system of yoga to any so-called impersonalist or so-called Vedantist. Arjuna was ordinary householder. He was, of course, belonging to the royal family. He was a great warrior, that’s all, but he did not belong to the brahmana family or any learned scholar. He was a military man. Then why Krsna to discuss the mystery of Bhagavad-gita to him? Because his qualification is accepted by Krsna that, “I am speaking to you that old system of Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna, because you are My devotee and you are My confidential friend.” So we have to become a devotee or we have to establish a transcendental relationship with Krsna. Then it is possible to understand what is the mystery of Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita cannot be understood by so-called scholars by academic degrees. One has to become a devotee of Krsna. One has to become a friend or some way related with Krsna. Then it is possible to understand Bhagavad-gita. Otherwise it is impossible.

My Guru Maharaja used to say that one who is licking up the bottle of honey. He is thinking that “I am licking honey,” but that is impossible(?). Similarly, the so-called scholars when they comment on Bhagavad-gita, they are licking up the bottle of honey. The taste of honey is different. That taste one can get when the bottle is opened by (indistinct) person. Then he can taste the Bhagavad-gita. Otherwise licking up the bottle, that’s all. If one is satisfied by licking up the bottle of honey, without tasting it. Then is he not a fool? (laughter) The fools say “I have got the honey!” but it is not opened. Therefore in Bhagavad-gita it is said rahasyam hy etad uttamam. Rahasyam, the transcendental secrecy(?) of Bhagavad-gita. That secret will not be opened to a so-called scholar or academic educated. It must be taken from the (indistinct) authorized person. Evam parampara praptam. By disciplic succession… Otherwise… (end)