Lectures by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
“The Bhagavad-gita it is oldest transcendental literature about God-consciousness in the history of the world. It is estimated from authoritative sources of Vedic literature that Bhagavad-gita is eternal truth and was first revealed within our knowledge at least 120 millions of years ago.” Srila Prabhupada Letters. 1969 (USA, Germany, UK) 722
“Sadhu sastra, guru vakya, tinete kariya aikya.”
Spiritual realization can be perfected by three parallel process. Sadhu, Shastra and Guru. Sadhu means saintly persons, who are realized souls. Shastra means authoritative Vedic scriptures and guru is an elevated self-realised soul; a bona-fide spiritual master. Three parallel line and faith in the revealed scriptures. That’s all. Then your carriage will be going nicely, without any disturbance.” Lecture, 10-18-68, Seattle
HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.
Vedic principles are accepted as axiomatic truth, for there cannot be any mistake. “The Vedas are not compilations of human knowledge. Vedic knowledge comes from the spiritual world, from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself. Another name for the Vedas is śruti, which refers to that knowledge which is acquired by hearing. It is not experimental knowledge. Śruti is considered to be like a mother. We take so much knowledge from our mother. Vedic knowledge is also called śabda-pramāṇa which means that this knowledge has to be received simply by aural reception. The Vedas instruct that in order to understand transcendental knowledge, we have to hear from the authority. Transcendental knowledge is knowledge from beyond this universe. Within this universe is material knowledge, and beyond this universe is transcendental knowledge.
What are the Vedas?
Originally there was only one Veda, and there was no necessity of reading it. People were so intelligent and had such sharp memories that by once hearing from the lips of the spiritual master they would understand. They would immediately grasp the whole purport. But five thousand years ago Vyāsadeva put the Vedas in writing for the people in this iron age, Kali-yuga. He knew that eventually the people would be short-lived, their memories would be very poor, and their intelligence would not be very sharp. The Sanskrit verbal root of Veda can be interpreted variously, but the purport is finally one. Veda means knowledge. Any knowledge you accept is Veda, for the teachings of the Vedas are the original knowledge. In the conditioned state, our knowledge is subjected to many deficiencies. The difference between a conditioned soul and a liberated soul is that, the conditioned soul has four kinds of defects:
The first defect is that he must commit mistakes.
Another defect: to be illusioned. Illusion means to accept something which is not: māyā. Māyā means “what is not.” Everyone is accepting the body as the self. If I ask you what you are, you will say, “I am Mr. John; I am a rich man; I am this; I am that.” All these are bodily identifications. But you are not this body. This is illusion.
The third defect is the cheating propensity.
Lastly, our senses are imperfect. We are very proud of our eyes. Often, someone will challenge, “Can you show me God?” But do you have the eyes to see God? You will never see if you haven’t the eyes.
You may call the Vedas Hindu, but “Hindu” is a foreign name. We are not Hindus. Our real identification is varṇāśrama. Varṇāśrama denotes the followers of the Vedas, those who accept the human society in eight divisions of varṇa and āśrama. There are four divisions of society and four divisions of spiritual life. This is called varṇāśrama. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.13), “These divisions are everywhere because they are created by God.” The divisions of society are brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. Brāhmaṇa refers to the very intelligent class of men, those who know what is Brahman. Similarly, the kṣatriyas, the administrator group, are the next intelligent class of men. Then the vaiśyas, the mercantile group and the śūdras are the labourers. These natural classifications are found everywhere.”
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.10
kalav asmin yuge janah
manda-bhagya hy upadrutah
prayena — almost always; alpa — meager; ayusah — duration of life; sabhya — member of a learned society; kalau — in this age ofKali (quarrel); asmin — herein; yuge — age; janah — the public; mandah — lazy; sumanda-matayah — misguided; manda-bhagyah — unlucky; hi — and above all; upadrutah — disturbed.
O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.
The devotees of the Lord are always anxious for the spiritual improvement of the general public. When the sages of Naimisaranya analyzed the state of affairs of the people in this age of Kali, they foresaw that men would live short lives. In Kali-yuga, the duration of life is shortened not so much because of insufficient food but because of irregular habits. By keeping regular habits and eating simple food, any man can maintain his health. Overeating, over-sense gratification, overdependence on another’s mercy, and artificial standards of living sap the very vitality of human energy. Therefore the duration of life is shortened.
The people of this age are also very lazy, not only materially but in the matter of self-realization. The human life is especially meant for self-realization. That is to say, man should come to know what he is, what the world is, and what the supreme truth is. Human life is a means by which the living entity can end all the miseries of the hard struggle for life in material existence and by which he can return to Godhead, his eternal home. But, due to a bad system of education, men have no desire for self-realization. Even if they come to know about it, they unfortunately become victims of misguided teachers.
In this age, men are victims not only of different political creeds and parties, but also of many different types of sense-gratificatory diversions, such as cinemas, sports, gambling, clubs, mundane libraries, bad association, smoking, drinking, cheating, pilfering, bickerings, and so on. Their minds are always disturbed and full of anxieties due to so many different engagements. In this age, many unscrupulous men manufacture their own religious faiths which are not based on any revealed scriptures, and very often people who are addicted to sense gratification are attracted by such institutions. Consequently, in the name of religion so many sinful acts are being carried on that the people in general have neither peace of mind nor health of body. The student (brahmacari) communities are no longer being maintained, and householders do not observe the rules and regulations of the grhastha-asrama. Consequently, the so-called vanaprasthas and sannyasis who come out of such grhastha-asramas are easily deviated from the rigid path. In the Kali-yuga the whole atmosphere is surcharged with faithlessness. Men are no longer interested in spiritual values. Material sense gratification is now the standard of civilization. For the maintenance of such material civilizations, man has formed complex nations and communities, and there is a constant strain of hot and cold wars between these different groups. It has become very difficult, therefore, to raise the spiritual standard due to the present distorted values of human society. The sages of Naimisaranya are anxious to disentangle all fallen souls, and here they are seeking the remedy from Srila Suta Gosvami.