"Great Books For A Gross Age"

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.11
London, September 12, 1973

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Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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Prabhupada: In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, there is a description of the age of Kali. Age of..., this is age of Kali. According to Vedic understanding, there are four ages: Satya-yuga, Dvapara-yuga, Treta-yuga, and Kali-yuga. This age is called Kali-yuga. It has begun about five thousand years ago, after the battle of Kuruksetra. The duration of this Kali-yuga is estimated four hundred thousand..., four hundred and twenty-seven thousands of years. Out of that, we have passed only five thousand years. So the symptom of the human being in this age is that prayenalpayusa: people will become very short duration of life. It is said that time, at the end of Kali-yuga, the, if somebody lives for twenty to thirty years, he will be considered as very old man. So gradually the food grains like rice, wheat, milk, and sugar will disappear. In this way, in the Kali-yuga, prayenalpayusah sabhya kalav asmin yuge janah. In this age, people will be of short duration of life; manda, very slow; sumanda-matayah, accepting some rubbish theology. Mandah sumanda-matayo manda-bhagyah [SB 1.1.10], almost all of them are unfortunate. Manda-bhagya hy upadrutah: over and above that, they will be disturbed, especially by lack of rain, lack of..., scarcity of food grains, and overtaxed by the government, so much so that people will give up their hearth and home and go to the forest and hills in disappointment and confusion. So these are the symptoms of Kali-yuga, gradually degrading.

So this is also recommended, prayena... In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, in another chapter, Twelfth Canto, it is said, kaler dosa-nidhe rajan. These instructions were given by Sukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Pariksit. So he addressed the king, "My dear king, in this age the faults are like the ocean," kaler dosa-nidhe rajan. Dosa-nidhe. Nidhi means ocean. "There are so many faults in this age that it can be accepted as the ocean of faults." Kaler dosa-nidhe rajan asti hy eko mahan gunah. "There is one great opportunity. Although it is full of faulty things, still there is one hope. That hope is," kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet, "if one simply chants the holy name of Krsna, Hare Krsna, then gradually he becomes purified from the contamination of this age." Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah: "He becomes free from the contamination of this age." It is just like vaccine. In contagious disease, there is vaccine, cholera. So this mantra, maha-mantra, this is not ordinary sound. This is spiritual. So by chanting this mantra -- Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare -- one becomes free from the contamination of this age. And not only he becomes free from the contamination of this age, but param vrajet, he goes back to the spiritual world.

We have no information in this age, at the present time, what is that spiritual world, but they are all stated in the Bhagavad-gita: paras tasmat tu bhavo 'nyo 'vyakto 'vyaktat sanatanah [Bg. 8.20]. Everything is there in the Bhagavad-gita. Bhagavad-gita is the preliminary study of spiritual life, ABCD of spiritual life. The people cannot understand even the ABCD of Bhagavad-gita, and Srimad-Bhagavatam is the graduate study. So everything is there. Unfortunately it was not distributed. So our Krsna consciousness movement has started to distribute this literature, especially Srimad-Bhagavatam. We have already translated about twenty books. They are present before you, and our aim is to present to the human society sixty books. Still translation is going on. So our request to the publishers and book sellers, that "Let this literature be distributed properly. People will be benefited." Because, after all, each and every human being is a spiritual being. He is not this body. That is the mistake of the present civilization. Yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke [SB 10.84.13]. Atma-buddhi, "self." People, everyone thinks that this body, "I am this body." If I ask any gentleman, "What you are?" He'll say, "I am Mr. Such-and-such. I am born in this country," "I am American," "I am Englishman," "I am Indian." These are all bodily description. But basically I am not this body. This is called illusion. You have got practical experience. When one man's father or son or any relative dies, he cries, "Oh, my son has gone away," "My father has gone away." Then, "Your father is lying there on the bed. How do you say that ‘My father has gone away'? " That means the actual father, he has never seen. He has seen the body only. And on this bodily conception of life, everything is being manipulated. This is called illusion. Therefore, in the Vedic literature it is stated,

yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke
sva-dhih kalatradisu bhauma ijya-dhih
yat-tirtha-buddhih salile na karhicij
janesv abhijnesu sa eva go-kharah
 [SB 10.84.13]

A person who is in the bodily concept of life, and thinking a bodily designation as everything, nationalism, or ..., bhauma ijya-dhih. Bhauma, "on the land," ijya-dhih... The whole world is going on, worshiping the land in which he is born. But he does not know that he took birth in many lands. Not only in this land, in other planet also. But he does not know which land (is) his own land. This is called illusion, yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dha..., sva-dhih kalatradisu bhauma ijya-dhih.

So the world is going on under misconception of self, that "I am this body." In the Bhagavad-gita you'll find, the first instruction given by Krsna:

dehino 'smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
tatha dehantara-praptir
dhiras tatra na muhyati
 [Bg. 2.13]

 Asmin dehe, in this body, there is the proprietor of the body, dehi, who possesses this body. But there is no information. Nobody knows. There is no education on this point: what is that proprietor of this body. They are simply going on, like cats and dogs. Cats and... If you try to instruct a cat or dog, "My dear dog, you are not these bodies," he'll not understand. He is so grossly in ignorance, it is very difficult for him to understand that he is not this body. But human being, although at the present moment they are grossly ignorant for want of spiritual education, still, because he is human being, he can be educated. He can be revived to his original consciousness, which is called Krsna consciousness.

So we are trying our bit, almost single-handed, although the important literatures are there, Vedic literatures, four Vedas, Vedanta-sutra, eighteen Puranas, hundred and eight Upanisads, then Ramayana, Mahabharata, so many, full of knowledge, transcendental knowledge. They can be distributed all over the world. But there was no organized attempt. We are just begun from 1966, this movement, Hare Krsna movement, or Krsna consciousness movement, distributing this literature. Through literature, of course, we are very hopeful. Our literatures are selling. In London also, they sell at least $200, er, pounds, in the street. Similarly, in New York, in Los Angeles, every city we are selling about thirty-to forty thousand rupees' worth books daily. People are appreciating. But if the publishers and the book sellers also help us in this movement, then people will be very much benefited. That is our request. We have come to this, I mean to say, bookseller's office to request... Of course, we have no means to advertise very much, but our advertisement is the sankirtana movement. We go from city to city, street to street, to invoke, invoke the spiritual consciousness of that. There is already there. In the Caitanya-caritamrta, it is said,

nitya-siddha krsna-prema ‘sadhya' kabhu naya
sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya
 [Cc. madhya 22.107]

It is simply awakened. This spiritual consciousness, Krsna consciousness, is already there in everyone. Otherwise how this European, American, and other foreign country boys and girls, they are taking? It is already there. Simply it has to be awakened by this transcendental vibration.

That transcendental vibration... Just like we are chanting, this is one vibration. And these books are bigger vibration. This is... This, when we chant Hare Krsna mantra, a few yards, people can hear, "Here is Hare Krsna." But this, my Guru Maharaja used to say, that "This is brhad-mrdanga." Mrdanga, that drum, you have seen, that is small mrdanga. If I beat on this drum, maybe a few yards, people can heard from few yards. But this is... The books are distributed, it can go from country to country, from continent to continent, actually it is so happening. So our only appeal is that all book sellers, all publishers, may come forward and cooperate with us and distribute the transcendental literature in the unique form. They will find something sublime, and we'll be benefited.

Thank you very much. Hare Krsna. (end)
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.5.11 -- London, September 12, 1973

© 2001 The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International. Used with permission.

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