Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.21
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Los Angeles, September 26, 1972

Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)

tatah saptadase jatah satyavatyam parasarat cakre veda-taroh sakha drstva pumso ’lpa-medhasah

Translation: “Thereafter, in the seventeenth incarnation of Godhead, Sri Vyasadeva appeared in the womb of Satyavati, wife of Parasara Muni, and he divided the one Veda into several branches and sub- branches, seeing that the people in general were less intelligent.”

Prabhupada: So this Parasara actually was not husband of Satyavati. When Satyavati was not married, Parasara gave birth to Vyasadeva. Later on Satyavati became the wife of Maharaja Santanu, father of Bhismadeva. This Satyavati was the daughter of a fisherman. She was neither born of a brahmana father or ksatriya father. So formerly, a higher-caste man could accept a girl born of lower caste, but a lower-caste man could not accept a girl born of higher caste. That was the system. Because in the sastra it is… Ordinary, I mean to say, instructive sastra.

Just like Canakya, in his moral lessons, he says that visad apy amrtam grahyam. When there is a tub of poison, but, if there is little nectar, then you take it. Don’t think that “It is in the poison pot, why shall I take it?” No, you can take it. Visad apy amrtam grahyam amedhyad api kancanam. Suppose in a very filthy place where people pass stool, urine, there is some gold. So you should take it. Don’t think that because the gold is in the polluted place, gold has become polluted. No. You take it. Visad apy amrtam grahyam amedhyad api kancanam, nicad apy uttama vidya. Vidya, education, was to be received from a brahmana, because it was the brahmana’s business to become highly learned scholar and make others educated. Teacher’s business was entrusted to the brahmanas, administration to the ksatriyas, production to the vaisya, and labor to the sudra. So because generally we have to take education from highly learned brahmana, but if a person born in low family, he has got some talent, education, so don’t hesitate. Take from him. Not that, “Oh, he is low born. Why shall I take education from him?” No. The sastra says, “No, you can take. It doesn’t matter. He has got the learning. You take that. Make him a teacher.” Nicad apy uttama vidya stri-ratnam duskulad api. Stri-ratnam. If a girl is very qualified, beautiful, even she is born of a low family, you can accept her. This is the injunction of the sastras.

So Satyavati happened to be a daughter of a fisherwoman, and, but she was very qualified, beautiful. So before her marriage, Vyasadeva was born out of her womb. It is not that…, that before marriage girls were not giving birth to child. It was there, the society. But the society was so elevated that this was not done commonly. In extraordinary cases. So Satyavati gave birth to Vyasadeva, such a son, Vyasadeva, incarnation of God. Vyasadeva is not ordinary being. An incarnation of Narayana. And he was meant for expanding Vedic knowledge. Then again, Vyasadeva was born, but nobody could understand. She remained a virgin girl by the blessings of Parasara Muni. Then she was again attractive to Maharaja Santanu. Maharaja Santanu became attracted by Satyavati, and he wanted to marry. But Maharaja Santanu had his son. So her father objected. So king proposed to the fisherman that “I want to marry your girl.” So the father said, “No, no, I cannot allow my girl to marry with you because you are already married. You have got your son, elderly son, Bhismadeva.” So he was a little sorry, Santanu Maharaja.

The son could understand that “The father is sorry because he was refused the hand of the girl Satyavati.” So he approached father. Not father. He approached the father of Satyavati, that “Why you are refusing my father?” “No. You are present. How can I offer my daughter?” “No. Even if I am present…” Because the law is the eldest son will be enthroned after the death of the father. So he was eldest son. So Satyavati’s father was hesitating. So Bhismadeva promised that “I will not accept the throne. The child born of Satyavati, he will accept, he will be given the throne. You give your daughter to my father.” He still refused. He still, “Well, our son may be king, but then again, your son will become the king.” In this way, he was hesitating. So Bhismadeva immediately promised that “I shall never marry. Don’t hesitate.” So in this way he induced the fisherman to give his daughter to his father.

So father could understand that “My son is so great that he wanted to satisfy. I wanted this girl, and he has managed.” So he gave him a benediction to Bhismadeva, “My dear son, you are so benevolent, so magnanimous. So I give you one benediction that you’ll not die unless you desire to die. Unless you fix up your mind, ‘Now I shall die,’ you’ll never die. You remain a very strong brahmacari.” So Bhisma remained very strong brahmacari. There is another incidence of Bhismadeva’s life, that Pandu-vamsa. So one girl was attracted. So she was conquered. So the girl thought that “I will be able to marry Bhismadeva,” but when she came at home, Bhismadeva said, “No, you have been conquered to be married with my brother. I am brahmacari. I cannot marry you.” So the girl said that “You have kidnapped me, conquered me. You must marry.” So “No, I shall not marry.” Then the girl approached to his spiritual master, this Jamadagni, Bhrgupati, that “This boy he has conquered me. Still, he is not marrying me.” So Jamadagni said, “Bhisma, you must marry this girl.” Bhismadeva said, “No. I have promised to my father never to marry. I cannot marry.” Then Jamadagni said, “If you don’t marry, then I will force you to marry.” So there was fight between Bhismadeva, spiritual master and… (laughter) So the spiritual master became defeated. (laughter) Then he gave his blessings. “All right, you remain brahmacari.” (laughter)

So this was the society principle, how to keep principle. Brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya. A very exalted status of society. So this Satyavati is a famous woman in the history. Satyavati. The whole Pandu-vamsa from Satyavati. So now, here it is said that tatah saptadase jatah satyavatyam parasarat. Parasarat, semina given by Parasara Muni in the womb of Satyavati, satyavatyam. And cakre veda-taroh sakhah. Veda, the knowledge, he divided. Vyasadeva divided into many branches. Therefore Vyasadeva is known as Veda-vyasa. He expanded the Vedic knowledge. Formerly there was only one Veda, Atharva-veda. And this Atharva-veda was learned by tradition, by hearing from the spiritual master. There was no book. Therefore Veda is known as sruti. Sruti means hearing. The spiritual master will recite Vedic mantra, and the disciples will hear. Just like we chant Hare Krsna mantra or any other Vedic mantra. You hear. But there was no need of book. His memory was so sharp that once heard from the lips of the spiritual master, the students become completely well versed. There was no need of book.

But Vyasadeva saw that next age, this Kali-yuga, people will be less intelligent. Here it is stated, drstva pumsah alpa-medhasah. Alpa. Alpa means the brain substance not in much quantity. This is psychologically true, that within the brain, the brain substance, if there is more, then one is more intelligent. So here it is alpa… Just see, modern scientific psychology, how it was known, long, long millions of years ago. At least five thousand years ago. Alpa-medhasah. And this is scientific fact. Those who are students of psychology, they know it. I was student of psychology, and our professor… He was a Scotman. He explained this brain substance, cerebular substance, Dr. Urquhart, that the more brain substance is there, more one becomes intelligent. And it has been found that a woman does not have more than thirty-six ounce of brain substance, whereas in man it has been found that he has got up to sixty-four ounce. Now, this is modern science. Therefore generally, generally, woman, less intelligent than man. You cannot find any big scientist, any big mathematician, any big philosopher amongst woman. That is not possible. Although in your country, you want equal status with man, freedom, but by nature you are less intelligent. What can be done? (laughter)

So therefore, woman is advised by the Manu-samhita, they should remain under the intelligent man, not declare freedom. That will be their life nice. Therefore it is advised that until one is married with an intelligent husband, she must remain under the control of her father. Still in India, until a girl is married, she cannot move freely. Where is our Syamasundara? You know, what happened about that Sharma girls. Two girls in Nairobi, they wanted to join our society. So Brahmananda, as other girls are joining, he welcomed, but it created a havoc to the family of the girl. They went here and there. “Oh, the girl has gone out of home. There will be no marriage.” That’s a fact. In India still, in respectable family, if a young girl goes out of home for three days, it will be difficult, or she will not be married. So this still I saw in Nairobi.

So anyway the system is unless one is married, a girl, she must remain under the control of the parents. Therefore it is the parents’ duty to see that the girl is married to a suitable boy. That is the duty. When the girl is married, then parent’s duty is finished. Not by the age. Up to this point. So during young time, say, up to, say, forty years, she should remain under the husband. And when there are grown-up children, she should remain… Just like that Mrs. Sharma. (?) She is under the care of her elderly sons. So Manu-samhita says that na stri svatantryam arhati. Woman should not be given independence. She must remain… Just like… That is not bad. Just like a child remains under the control of the parents. That is good. Similarly, woman remaining under the control of father or husband or elderly boy, that is good for them. And still, they are very happy. Just like you see Kunti. Kunti was widow, but she was very qualified woman, so many ways. But still, she remained under the control of the five boys, five children, Pandavas. Kunti also gave birth to a child before her marriage. That is Karna. That is Karna. So it was not very common affair, and in extraordinary cases it so happened.

So now, in this age, people are not very intelligent. They are claiming, “We are advancing in science. The brain has advanced and so on, so on.” Formerly there was animal brain. The Darwin’s theory: “Now the brain has evolved.” No. Actually, they are degrading. They are degrading. Formerly the brain was very sharp. Otherwise why it is said, drstva pumso ’lpa-medhasah? The opposite word of this alpa-medhasa is su-medhasa. Alpa means less, and su means very nice. So su-medhasa. We are all alpa-medhasa, less intelligent, in this age. Out of so many alpa-medhasa rascal… In other, in a harsh words, alpa-medhasa means rascal, less intelligent or no intelligence. So there is su-medhasa. Su-medhasa. That is also stated. Yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah.

krsna-varnam tvisakrsnam sangopangastra-parsadam yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah [SB 11.5.32]

In this age, one should worship the incarnation of God, Krsna, if he is su-medhasa, he is intelligent. Just like this alpa-medhasa, less intelligent. Su-medhasa means highly intelligent, intellectual. How? Yajnaih sankirtana-prayaih, performing the sankirtana-yajna. So those who are joining the sankirtana-yajna, they are very intelligent, su-medhasa. They are not all hodgepodge, alpa-medhasa: something this, something that, something… No. Just fix up your mind in sankirtana-yajna. Your life will be successful. Therefore it is called su-medhasa. Yajnaih sankirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah.

So everything is there Srimad-Bhagavatam. That is the topmost knowledge. That is transcendental knowledge. That is not material knowledge. Material knowledge, if you write some book, it has no meaning, because it is defective. But Srimad-Bhagavatam is not ordinary knowledge. It is transcendental knowledge. There is no defect. Our this mundane brain is defective. We can’t… Just like our scientist, Svarupa Damodara. He was speaking that they make experiment in the laboratory according to formula, but still, there is some mistake. Still, there is some mistake. Practically, scientific advancement, scientific knowledge means to find out mistakes. What you were are speaking? What is the exact language you told?

Svarupa Damodara: I said there is always some statistical factor, which is called error. (laughter) Error is always slipping in.

Prabhupada: So nobody can be perfect. Therefore all these so-called perfect leaders, they should close their business. (laughter) It is already experimental, all nonsense. Come to Hare Krsna mantra and chant. That’s all right. Hare Krsna. (end)