Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.1
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Los Angeles, May 19, 1972

Prabhupada: Hare Krsna. Where is Pradyumna? Where is Pradyumna? Eh?

Devotee: There he is.

Prabhupada: Hare Krsna.

Devotees: Hare Krsna.

Prabhupada: All right, take it. Begin.

Pradyumna: Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya, (etc. leads chanting of verse and synonyms:)

sri-suka uvaca evam etan nigaditam prstavan yad bhavan mama nrnam yan mriyamananam manusyesu manisinam

Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: “Maharaja Pariksit, as you have inquired from me as to the duty of the intelligent man who is on the threshold of death, so I have answered you.”

Prabhupada: (interrupts the chanting of the sloka) Repeat once, twice more. (chanting resumes) Next? Kirtanananda Maharaja, you can.

Kirtanananda: Translation?

Prabhupada: No. First of all read.

Kirtanananda: Chant?

Prabhupada: Yes. (Kirtanananda Swami chants, Srila Prabhupada corrects him) Mriyamananam. Karandhara. (he chants) You… Anyone? More? (chanting resumes) Very good. Anyone else? Hrdayananda? (he chants verse) So, translation? Read translation? Translation? Oh, no, word meaning, yes.

Pradyumna: (reads synonyms, then:) Translation: “Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Maharaja Pariksit, as you have inquired from me as to the duty of the intelligent man who is on the threshold of death, so I answered you.”

Prabhupada: Now, this is the important part of the verse, that “man who is on the threshold of death.” Who can say that “I am not on the threshold of death?” Is there any man in this universe who can say that “I am not on the threshold of death.” Can anyone say? Everyone is on the threshold of death. That’s a fact. But such questions are made amongst them… Everyone is subject to death, and threshold, on the threshold of death. Nobody can say that “I shall live for so many years.” No guarantee. Everyone is on the threshold of death. Any moment, we can die. Therefore it is said,“As sure as death.” All other things may be not sure, but death is sure. Therefore, before death, one… Manisinam, manusyesu manisinam. Not ordinary man. Manisi. Manisi means thoughtful. They question, “What is to be done now, before death comes? Shall I die like cats and dogs, or shall I die like human being?” This is the question. Cats and dogs dying, nobody cares. But a human being dying, there are so many ceremonies, mourning.

Because human life is important. So Pariksit Maharaja, although he was on the threshold of death, he was allowed seven days time. He was cursed to death, but he was given seven days time. “You, king, you shall die within seven days—after seven days—being bitten by serpent.” This is was the curse given to him. He accepted. He could counteract it. Pariksit Maharaja was Vaisnava. He was very powerful. But he thought that “Yes, I am offender. The brahmana boy has cursed me, I shall accept it.” So, he prepared himself for death. For seven days he placed himself on the bank of the Ganges without drinking a drop of water, and for seven days continually, he heard Srimad-Bhagavatam from Sukadeva Gosvami. That was decided. Harer namanukirtanah. In any circumstances of life, hearing and chanting is prescribed. So Pariksit… Sukadeva Gosvami said, “My dear King, I have explained to you what is to be done now, at the time of death.” So we should take example or instruction from the behavior of Pariksit Maharaja that on the threshold of death…Everyone is on the threshold of death, but the foolish persons, they do not know. Foolish person thinks that “I shall live forever.” That is foolishness.

ahany ahani bhutani gacchantiha yamalayam sesah sthavaram icchanti kim ascaryam atah param

Yudhisthira Maharaja was asked by Dharmaraja, “What is the most wonderful thing within this world?” He answered this, ahany ahani bhutani gacchantiha yamalayam, “Everyone, every moment, is going to the Yamaraja’s place, the superintendent of death, where a man’s life is scrutinizingly studied, what he has done, and…” I say man, not animal. Animal, they have no such thing wrong or right, because it is animal. But a human being must have this conscience, right or wrong. Pravrtti, nivrtti.

In the Bhagavad-gita it is said, pravrttim ca nivrttim jana na vidur asurah. Asura-jana, those who are demons, they do not know these two things—pravrtti and nivrtti— what is our duty and what is our not duty. Pravrttim ca nivrttim ca… That is modern civilization. They do not know. What is our duty to do and what is our duty not to do— they do not know. Neither any education, in this life what we should do, what we should not do. So therefore this particular word is mentioned here, manisinam. In human society, those who are specifically intelligent, for them, Caitanya-caritamrta karaca, he says, krsna yei bhaje sei bada catura. Catura means very intelligent. Without being intelligent, nobody can take to Krsna consciousness. But our propaganda is to educate people to become intelligent. They are foolish. They do not know the value of life. They do not know what is going to happen after death. No. Just like cats and dogs.

Therefore Upanisad says, Gargopanisad, etad viditva yah prayati sa brahmanah. “One who leaves this body after knowing everything, he is brahmana.” And etad aviditva yah prayati sa krpanah. “And anyone who dies without knowing the value of life, he’s krpana, miser, cripple-minded.” Because he could not utilize the opportunity given to him by nature. Such nice beautiful body, you American boys and girls—nice country, good facilities, no poverty—everything is very nicely given to you. But, if in spite of all these facilities, if you don’t take to Krsna consciousness, then you are krpana, miser. “Miser” means one who has got money, but he cannot utilize it. He is miser. And one who knows how to utilize money… There are many merchants. They get a few thousands of dollars from their father, but due to intelligence he increases to millions of dollars. That is intelligence. And miser, or foolishness, is that “I get some money from my father, but I spend it for nothing.” So this human form of life is specially meant for becoming brahmana.

We are therefore creating brahmanas. We are not creating sudras. Sudras are already there. Janmana jayate sudrah. Anyone born is a sudra. Sudra means who has no knowledge, ignorant. He is called sudra. Paricaryatmakam karyam sudra-karma svabhava-jam. Sudra is not intelligent. He cannot do anything nice, thoughtful. “Ehh, get some work, get some few dollars daily. Eat and sleep.” That is sudra. They cannot do anything independent.

A brahmana will not accept anyone’s service. That is especially forbidden, that a brahmana. . . Brahmana, even if he is in difficulty, he should not accept anyone’s service like a dog. Especially this word is used. A dog cannot live without master. A dog, if he hasn’t got a good master is a street dog. He may be killed at any time. He has no protection. Therefore this very word is used. Sudra means dog. He must have a master, otherwise he cannot live. So there are classes of men, sudras. No, they must have a protection. Women must have protection, because they cannot do anything independently. To give them independence means to create some trouble. In the Manu-samhita it is clearly said, na stri svatantryam arhati. Woman cannot be given independence. No. They must be protected. When they are child, up to twelve years, thirteen years, say, fifteen, sixteen years, not more than that, she must be protected by the father. And at the age of thirteen to sixteen years, she must be married. Find out some boy who can take charge, the second charge. And when she’s old, the charge is given to the elderly sons. So woman is protected like that.

So sudras also should not be given independence. They should be given protection, but no independence. Striyah sudras tatha vaisyah. In the Bhagavad-gita there is. Striyah means woman, sudra, and vaisya—they are put into the same category. In Bhagavata also, stri-sudra-dvija-bandhunam trayi na sruti-gocara. So one has to be enlightened. As the sudra can be enlightened under good protection, similarly, a woman can also be enlightened.

There is no, I mean to say “barricade” to enlighten woman. Everyone can be enlightened. Everyone has got the light. But ordinarily the sudra and the vaisyas, they are not to be considered very intelligent. Janmana jayate sudrah. Everyone is born sudra. Samskarad bhaved dvijah. By samskara… Just like we follow. Not all of a sudden we accept anyone as brahmana. We give samskara, chanting. First of all, association. Satam prasangan mama virya-samvidah. By good association, by the association of devotees, one can understand automatically what is God, what is Krsna. (aside:) Let him sit properly. So samskara… Samskara… Although the sudras are not given any samskara…Because those who are in the very lowest stage of life, it is very difficult for them to accept samskara, reformatory method. But this Krsna consciousness movement, under the direction of Gosvamis and pancaratra system, they are giving the opportunity everyone to become a brahmana.

Because without becoming brahmana, nobody can understand what is Krsna or what is Krsna consciousness. One must be on the platform of goodness. When one is fixed up on the platform of goodness, the other two qualities—namely, ignorance and passion— cannot disturb him. Nityam bhagavata-sevaya. Nasta-prayesv abhadresu nityam bhagavata-sevaya [SB 1.2.18].

srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah punya-sravana-kirtanah hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani vidhunoti suhrt satam [Bhag. 1.2.17]

Hrdy antah-sthah. Krsna is within your heart. If you kindly continue to hear about Him, as you are doing, then Krsna will be very much pleased, “Oh, this person is now interested in me.” Because nobody’s interested in Krsna. So Krsna is also silent to them. But as soon as you become interested, oh, Krsna becomes very active, “Oh, he’s trying to do something. I shall help him.” In the Bhagavad-gita it is said, tesam satata-yuktanam [Bg. 10.10]. Tesam nityabhiyuktanam. What is that verse? Tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam, buddhi-yogam dadami tam. Krsna says. He’s silent for the nondevotees, but he speaks to the devotees. That is very natural. If some big man… He talks with men who are intelligent, who is businesslike. Why he wastes his time talking with some rascals and fools? So Krsna talk, but talks to the devotee. Who are devotee? Satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam. Those who are 24-hours engaged in rendering loving devotional service to the Lord. To such person Krsna gives intelligence, not others.

So this process of hearing from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, must be continued. That is our life. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh [SB 7.5.23]. Sravanam means hearing. Kirtanam means chanting about Lord Visnu. Not for others. “Now I am hearing and chanting about Nixon.” (chuckles) That will not help. Because everyone is busy in newspaper, “What Nixon said, what he is doing…” Everywhere. The politicians, they have made the minds of general people, general public, that they’re very much interested what the politician says. Every day he says that he’s simply speaking all nonsense; still, he’s interested. Punah punas carvita-carvananam [SB 7.5.30] They are called, “chewing the chewed again and again.” Matir na krsne paratah svato va mitho ’bhipadyeta grha-vratanam.

na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah andha yathandhair upaniyamanas te ’pisa-tantryam uru-damni baddhah [SB 7.5.31]

Isa-tantryam, by the laws of material nature, one who is bound up tight, hands and legs… we are all. We cannot, I mean to say, neglect the laws of nature. If you eat little more, then you have to fast for three days. That we actually know. If you expose little to cold, then you have to pay ten dollars to the doctor fine. So they are so much bound up by the laws of nature; still, they are thinking, “I am free. I am independent. Where is God? I am God.” Just see. Such foolish persons, that every moment he’s being kicked on his face by the boot of material nature, and still he’s saying, “I am God, I am independent.”

You see? So andha yathandhair upaniyamanah. Just like one blind man is speaking other blind men, “Please follow me. I shall lead you to the right path.” “But you are blind yourself, and we are also blind. What will be the help?” But no, they will follow. In our country, Gandhi promised that “I shall give you independence in one year, if you follow me—non-violence, non-cooperation.” People followed, but it took thirty years. But actually, that is not independence. So these politicians, especially, they mislead us. Not only politicians, the so-called yogis, so-called… So many things. Real leader is Krsna. So if we surrender to Krsna as Krsna says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66], “Give up all other occupation, duties. Simply just surrender unto Me.” Aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah. “Don’t hesitate. Do it.” Krsna is personally canvassing. He’s so kind. He comes personally. He speaks the whole truth in the Bhagavad-gita.

He’s canvassing, “Please do it.” He again comes as a devotee, Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya is teaching how to surrender to Krsna. There is no difference between Lord Caitanya’s teachings and Krsna’s teaching. The same thing. In one form, Krsna is saying that “You surrender unto Me.” And Lord Caitanya says that “You surrender to Krsna.” The fact is the same. So we are following Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We are canvassing, “Please surrender to Krsna.” So our business is not very difficult. If we follow ourselves, if we surrender to Krsna fully and teach others also the same thing… Not that something adulteration. No. Exactly what Krsna says. Then you become spiritual master, guru. Caitanya Mahaprabhu says,

yare dekha tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]

Under My order, you become a spiritual master and deliver the people of your country.” And what is that order? That yare dekha tare kaha krsna-upadesa [Cc. Madhya 7.128] “Whomever you meet, you simply speak what Krsna has said, or what is spoken about Krsna.”

That is Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. So every one of you follow the instruction, as you have received. Chant sixteen rounds regularly, without fail, and follow the regulative principles, and hear about Krsna, and preach about Krsna. Every one of you become a spiritual master. Simple thing. No education required. Because we

That’s all. That’s my credit. I did not like to take the position of Krsna. I remained a servant of Krsna, and I spoke what Krsna said. That’s all. This is my secret. So everyone can do that. There is nothing magic. The magic will act as soon as you become a pure devotee of Krsna. The magic will be done by Krsna, not by me or you. He will do it. Just like a small child. Nobody can hurt him. The father will take care. He does not know. He’s simply depending on father. “My father, mother.” That’s all. Krsna says that “You surrender unto Me, I give you protection.” He’s not a liar. He’s not inefficient. He’s strong. He’s sufficiently opulent. He can do that. So believe in Krsna’s word and surrender unto Him, and don’t spoil this human form of life. Death is sure. Before death, we must prepare to go back to home, back to Godhead. Thank you very much. (end)