Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.6
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
New Vrindaban, June 22, 1976

Devotee: “Every human being has a maximum duration of life of one hundred years, but for one who cannot control his senses, half of those years are completely lost because at night he sleeps twelve hours, being covered by ignorance. Therefore such a person has a lifetime of only fifty years.”


pumso varsa-satam hy ayus tad-ardham cajitatmanah nisphalam yad asau ratryam sete ’ndham prapitas tamah [SB 7.6.6]

Life is so valuable that we cannot waste even a second without any profit. That is the aim of life. The materialist persons, especially in country like yours, they calculate… I do not know. When I was in India I heard it that if you go to see an important businessman, his secretary, while talking with that man, the secretary gives you a card that “This Mr. such and such cannot spare more than two minutes.” Is it a fact? Huh? Anyway, we should not waste our time, either you act materially or spiritually. But materially we have no business, although we have taken it the material business as very important and spiritual business has no meaning. This is the sum and substance of modern civilization. But so far we are concerned, not only we, everyone, the human life is only meant for spiritual purpose. Not for material purpose.

In the previous verse Prahlada Maharaja has said:

’tato yateta kusalah ksemaya bhavam asritah sariram paurusam yavan na vipadyeta puskalam

And before that he said:

tat-prayaso na kartavyo yata ayur-vyayah param na tatha vindate ksemam mukunda-caranambujam

People are so ignorant that they cannot understand what is the importance of this valuable human form of life. This is Prahlada Maharaja’s instruction from the very beginning: durlabham manusam janma tad apy arthadam adhruvam. Kaumara acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan iha durlabham manusam [SB 7.6.1] Just like these small children, they are being trained up in this bhagavata-dharma, sravanam kirtanam visnoh [SB 7.5.23]. Bhagavata-dharma means hearing, chanting of the Supreme, glories of the Supreme Lord. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh. Not for others. If somebody says, “Yes, I am hearing always in the telephone. I am doing business.” No, not that kind of hearing. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh. If you can contact Visnu or His devotee, Vaisnava, that is all right. Otherwise, you are simply wasting time. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam. Always, constantly thinking of Him. These are the bhakti ways. There are nine different processes prescribed in the sastra: sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam arcanam… [SB 7.5.23]. This is arcanam, worshiping the Deity in the temple, this is called arcanam. The Lord is called arca-vigrahah, arca-avatara. He is also incarnation. Another incarnation, arca-avatara. He’s giving facility to the devotees to handle Him. If you do not get the opportunity to serve the Lord, how you can be perfect? So this arca-vigrahah is Lord’s incarnation to give facilities to people like us who cannot see God everywhere. For the neophyte devotees, it is essential to worship the Deity. But if we simply worship the Deity without hearing about the Lord, sravanam kirtanam—these things are essential—then the Deity worship will be a burden. At a certain point, it will be a burden, and gradually it will be neglected, and the whole thing will be spoiled. So both things should continue: bhagavata-marga and pancaratriki-marga. Deity worship is pancaratriki-vidhi, and bhagavata-marga is hearing, chanting, like that. Both of them should be accepted, parallel line. Otherwise, one without the other will be later on troublesome. So you must continue. This temple means not only we shall decorate the Deity very nicely, cleanse the temple:

sri-vigraharadhana-nitya-nana-srngara-tan mandira-marjanadau yuktasya bhaktams ca niyunjato ’pi… **

So the temple worship should go on, at the same time, sravanam kirtanam of Visnu must go on. Two things, parallel. Then it will be done very nicely.

So actually this life is meant for this purpose. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh [SB 7.5.23]. There is no other purpose. All other activities secondary. So those who are very much advanced in spiritual life, just like the brahmanas, the sannyasis, they did not bother about what to eat, where to sleep. Sex life is completely forgotten. Even what to eat, where to sleep, there is no such consideration. Simply engaged in Krsna consciousness. That is only business. Of course, we cannot do that in the neophyte stage, but actually that is the only purpose. Unfortunately, the modern civilization has discovered so many artificial ways of life that it is very, very difficult to execute Krsna consciousness business. So therefore Prahlada Maharaja says that simply for sense gratification, if we waste our time, that is not good. Tat prayaso na kartavyo— don’t waste your time for increasing the scope of sense gratification. That is not at all required. Tat-prayaso na kartavyo yata ayur-vyayah param. Ayur means duration of life. Simply wasted. Vyayah, vyayah means expanded or wasted. Param. This duration of life, human form of life is param. Param means the supreme. Not like cats and dogs. Their ayuh, they also live for some time, we also live, but their life is useless. They cannot understand Krsna. But we human beings, if we are trained up we can understand Krsna consciousness; therefore it is called param. Everything is param. Just like anna. Anna means ordinary rice. And paramanna, paramanna means the first-class, sweet rice, cooked with milk. You have got good experience. (laughter) So similarly, ayuh, the ant has got ayuh, the worm has got ayuh, the cat has got an ayuh, some duration of life. But so far the human being is concerned, that is param ayuh. Param ayuh. So if we waste our time simply for sense gratification, then we waste our valuable life.

Prahlada Maharaja advises:

tat-prayaso na kartavyo yata ayur-vyayah param na tatha vindate ksemam…

We are acting, working for some good achievement. So our achievement, means the human form of achievement is mukunda-caranambujam. Mukunda means Krsna. How to get shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna. That is the supreme achievement. Therefore Prahlada Maharaja advises, tato yateta kusalah ksemaya bhavam asritah. Those who are fallen in this material world, somehow or other… It is not our place. This is a rotten place, but somehow or other we have fallen. Bhavam asritah, we have, instead of taking shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna, we have taken shelter of this material world. Therefore it is called bhavam asritah. For them it is imperative that sariram paurusam yavan na vipadyeta puskalam. So long we are young, very strong body, senses are working nicely, this opportunity should be utilized for advancing Krsna consciousness. Therefore a calculation is there. One may think, “Yes, that’s all right, but I’ll live at least one hundred years. So let me enjoy now sense, and later on we shall see the business of Krsna consciousness.” No. Prahlada Maharaja is warning: Yes, you have maximum. But nobody now is living hundred years. Everyone knows. This is the symptom of Kali-yuga, that:

prayenalpayusah (sabhya) kalav asmin yuge janah mandah sumanda-matayo manda-bhagya hy upadrutah [SB 1.1.10]

It is the symptom of this age, Kali-yuga, is that we are not living the full term of our life, hundred years. We are not living… (aside:) You can go to the wall side. So, anyway, supposing we shall live one hundred years: pumso varsa-satam hy ayus tad-ardham cajitatmanah [SB 7.6.6]. Ajitatmanah, ajita means not conquered. One who has not been able to conquer over the sense activities, for them, it is not, even if he lives for one hundred, fifty years immediately minus in sleeping. In our temple in New York, in the beginning when I was having classes in the morning at seven o’clock, still people from here and there they would come and protest and go to the police because we were disturbing their sleep. Yes. They want to sleep as much possible hours. I think that is very great gain in the Western country, to sleep. So to sleep means simply waste of time. You must know it. Either I sleep five hours, six hours, ten hours, twelve hours, it is simply waste of time. The valuable life which you have got, immediately so many hours minus. Sleep is not good. Sleep, if we can do without sleep, that is perfection. Not that “Let me enjoy sleep twelve hours, fourteen hours, whole life.” No. That is waste of time:

nidraya hriyate naktam vyavayena ca va vayah diva carthehaya rajan kutumba-bharanena va [SB 2.1.3]

The materialistic way of life means nidraya hriyate naktam. At night either sleep or enjoy sex. Nidraya hriyate naktam vyavayena ca… [SB 2.1.3] Vyavayena means sex. And in daytime? Diva carthehaya rajan. In daytime, “Where is money, where is money, where is money?” Go, take your car and run. So diva carthehaya rajan, and when you get money, kutumba-bharanena va. Then find out, purchase something for my wife, for my children, for myself, spend the money. Again night comes, again sleep, again sex. Again day comes, all right, go to market, earn money and spend it. This is going on. This is called material life.

So it is very difficult to convince the people of the modern days how they are wasting their time, how they are risking their life by this way of irresponsible life of material existence. They are thinking that “The more I enjoy sex, the more I enjoy sleeping, that is perfect. That is my profit.” And to convince them, “No, it is simply loss, you are simply risking your life,” it is very difficult. But this is the fact. This is the fact, in this way, because in this duration of life, human, if I do not make my life perfect, stop the materialistic miserable condition, namely janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi—birth, death, old age and disease—then I am missing the opportunity. Next life will be given by the laws of nature. Just like you are in the forest, you see so many trees are standing. You do not know how many years they will stand. Yes. It is possible. If I have acted just like a tree, nonsense, no-sense… Just like tree has no sense. If you cut it, he does not reply. Because practically it has lost the senses. There is some senses, consciousness, but it is not developed. It is not developed. The animal, little more developed. The human, fully developed. This is with all the consciousness, stages of different consciousness. And when we come to the stage of Krsna consciousness, this is perfect. Otherwise, in the lower grade. So if we neglect in this life, human form of life, to develop our Krsna consciousness, then there is chance to become an animal, to become a tree.

So people do not know this, how this science is working, but this is the fact. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah [Bg. 3.27]. Tatha dehantara-praptih. So we have to read all these things carefully. Tatha dehantara-praptih, there is dehantara, another body. So we must be very careful what kind of body I’m going to get. Now, this life I have got very nice, beautiful body and everything is all right, but if we act irresponsibly, the nature will give me a suitable body. Otherwise, why there are so many varieties of life, 8,400,000? So we should be very, very careful not to waste the duration of life even by a second. We shall eat less, then we shall sleep also less. Nidrahara-viharakadi: then our sex appetite also will be less. Unnecessarily eating, unnecessarily sleeping is not required at all. That is the practice by the Gosvamis. Nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau. They conquered over eating, sleeping. Mating, there was no question: they were sannyasis, renounced order of life. And defense also, there was no question because they depended on Krsna, the most powerful defender. So there was no question of defense. Simply two things, eating and sleeping. And that they also conquered. Nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau catyanta-dinau ca yau. So spiritual life means you have to control. That is called gosvami. One who has control over the senses, one who has control over eating, you’ll find this instruction in the Nectar of Instruction: jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam manaso vegam etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah prthivim sa sisyat. Guru should be… Guru means one who has control over the six engagements. Manah, to control the urge of the mind. The mind wants to do this. “No, if it is not profitable, don’t do this.” Then control over the mind. Control over the senses, control the words. I am angry, I want to abuse somebody with some ill names. “No, why shall I…” Control of the… Talking unnecessary useless talk, that is control over the tongue. Vaco vegam. Krodha-vegam: “I am just going to be very angry upon you.” No, we have to control. In this way when one is able to control over these things, especially jihva-vegam udaro-vegam upastha-vegam, straight line— the urge of the tongue, the urge of the belly and the urge of the genital—then we become svamis, gosvamis. Artificially, it is not to be suppressed. Nidrahara-vegam, these are material things.

So to control over the material urges, that is required in spiritual… We have to come to the spiritual platform. That is called tapasya. Tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam yasmad brahma-saukhyam tv anantam. We are searching after happiness, but in the material world you cannot have happiness. That is a fact. Whatever little happiness you get, that is also distress. One has to attain to that stage of happiness with(out) distress. So that is a long history; everyone knows that happiness is not possible. But we arrange to get so-called… Happiness means sense gratification. That is not happiness. Sukham atyantikam yat tad atindriya grahyam. Directly sense perception is not happiness. These things are in the Bhagavad-gita, you will find: sukham atyantikam yat tad atindriyam grahyam. Atindriyam means beyond these material senses, transcendental, there is another happiness. That is transcendental bliss. That we perceive little bit while we are chanting. By chanting, chanting, chanting, when you’ll be purified, then you will have the opportunity of tasting that transcendental bliss. Otherwise, the so- called happiness derived from the senses, that is not happiness. That is crude, that is for the fools and rascals. That is not happiness.

So we should utilize our time very carefully. Pumso varsa-satam… Because here is the calculation that although, supposing that I shall live for one hundred years, pumso varsa-satam hy ayus tad-ardham cajitatmanah [SB 7.6.6]. Immediately, those who are not controlling the senses, ordinary, they are immediately at least half minus, fifty years gone for sleeping. And then nisphalam yad asau ratryam sete ’ndham prapitas tamah. So in this way, if you are actually serious… It is not that we are imposing something. We must be serious about the Krsna consciousness business, that simply by understanding Krsna or simply being Krsna conscious, we become liberated:

janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9]

You have taken to Krsna consciousness. Take it a little more seriously and practice, follow the rules and regulations, chant regularly, then your life will be successful.

Thank you very much. (end)