"Real Austerity"

Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.1
Vrndavana, October 23, 1976

download  Players

Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Take a test


rsabha uvaca
nayam deho deha-bhajam nrloke
kastan kaman arhate vid-bhujam ye
tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam
suddhyed yasmad brahma-saukhyam tv anantam
 [SB 5.5.1]

"Lord Rsabhadeva told His sons: My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool. One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. By such activity, one's heart is purified, and when one attains this position, he attains eternal, blissful life, which is transcendental to material happiness and which continues forever."

Prabhupada: So we have discussed this verse yesterday. It is very essential that this human form of body is meant for rectifying or purifying our existence. That they do not know, especially in the modern age, that this body is temporary and we living entities, we are eternal and this is our bondage. So long we are within this material body, it is our bondage. Real life is eternal life, without any birth, death, old age and disease. Where is that science? There is no such department of knowledge that how one can live eternally without any disease, without any old age and without any death and without any birth. If there is birth there is death. And between the two, birth and death, there is old age and disease. Where is that scientist who are trying to solve this problem?

And Krsna put this problem before us: janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi duhkha-dosanudarsanam [Bg. 13.9]. This is knowledge. They are making plans for so many things, but where is that plan to stop janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha? That is not so easy. Therefore they have avoided it. They do not touch this point. They are making arrangement for temporary so-called happiness. That attempt is done even by cats and dogs. That is not successful life. I have several times told you... This is Vedic civilization. When Visvamitra came to see Maharaja Dasaratha... It is etiquette. Suppose a friend comes, we ask, "How are you, my friend? How things are going on?" So similarly, when Dasaratha Maharaja inquired Visvamitra, "How are you?" that "How are you" was not ordinary question. He inquired, aihistam yat punar janma jayaya. The great great saintly persons, sages, they are engaged in devotional service. What is the purpose? The purpose is not for some material gain. The purpose is different. That was inquired by Dasaratha Maharaja: aihistam yat punar janma jayaya. "You are undergoing tapasya, austerities, for conquering over rebirth."

Rebirth, that is very painful. But because we are mudhas, we have forgotten what is the painful condition is rebirth. We do not remember it. We do not remember. We had to pass through. We can simply imagine how it is painful to remain in the womb of the mother, packed up in an airtight bag and hands and legs you cannot move even. So this is the tribulations of taking birth. And similarly the tribulations of death. Sometimes one remains in coma for months and he suffers so much. Sometimes he cries. Actually tears come out. We cannot see, but within the body of the dying man is so much painful. This is called janma-mrtyu. And old man's, there are difficulties. And vyadhi. Everyone is subjected to some kind of disease. So we do not take account. So here Rsabhadeva is stressing on this point. "My dear boys, do not spoil your life living like cats and dogs." Do not. This is not meant for this life. This human form of life is meant for different purposes. Durlabham manusam janma tad apy adhruvam arthadam. That we should always remember, that this human form of body is obtained after many, many births. Bahunam janmanam ante [Bg. 7.19]. Bahu sambhavante. Bahu sambhava. Sambhava means birth and death, birth and death. So we should not forget this. Everyone should be very serious. That is civilization. Not that to remain for sense gratification like cats and dogs fighting. This is not good.

So to achieve this highest goal of life, it requires tapasya, austerity. It is not easily obtainable. So therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu has taught us,

trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harih
 [Cc. Adi 17.31]

Caitanya Mahaprabhu has recommended, param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam. Simply by... Caitanya Mahaprabhu has recommended not whimsically. This is the prescription of this age: kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. If you perfectly chant this Hare Krsna mantra, kirtanad eva krsnasya -- not any other name but Krsna-mukta-sangah: you can become free from this material association, or the contamination due to material contact. That is the special advantage of this age. This age, Kali-yuga, is full of faulty things. Kaler dosa-nidhe. It is an ocean of faulty things. It is very, very difficult. Sarvange gha upaidha (?) mala. A man is suffering from itches or what is called..., sores, all over the body. So where he shall give ointment? He should be dipped in the ointment. This is the position. Similarly, how much you will find out, "This is faulty, this is faulty, this is faulty." The life in the Kali-yuga itself is faulty. Everything is faulty. So... But still, Krsna is so kind. He has given an opportunity that by chanting His holy name one can become free from this faulty position. Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sanga param vrajet [SB 12.3.51]. It is possible.

So Caitanya Mahaprabhu, maha-vadanyavatara, He is patita-pavana. He is the deliverer of all the fallen souls. He has given us this much tapasya prescription. Tapasya must be there. And that is very easy to be done by us. It is not very difficult. One has to become very humble. That is the first qualification. Trnad api sunicena. Sunicena means lower than the grass. Just like we trample over the grass; they do not protest. Trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna. And tolerant, humbler than the grass and tolerant than the tree. A tree gives us all benefit, but in return we give the tree so much trouble. We snatch away the twigs, we snatch away the leaves. Sometimes for our fuel we cut down. But there is no protest. So these things have been taught by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna amanina manadena. Nobody should think himself that he is very prestigious person, falsely. Nobody is prestigious. Everyone should be humble. So these three, four things we should learn, and that is tapasya. And we should avoid the sinful activities, namely, no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no gambling, no intoxication. These are some of the positive and negative formulas given by Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And if we follow this tapasya and chant Hare Krsna, then our life is successful.

Life is successful means it is stated here, sattvam suddhyed yasmad brahma-saukhyam tv anantam [SB 5.5.1]. We are, every one of us, we are after happiness, sukham. From sukham it has come saukhyam. That happiness, if we want to continue our eternal life, then we require eternal happiness. Without happiness our life is not worth. Anandamayo 'bhyasat (Vedanta-sutra 1.1.12). Everyone should be happy, anandamaya. That is spiritual world. Ananda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhavitabhis tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih [Bs. 5.37]. There is life, ananda-cinmaya-rasa. Not jadananda. This is jadananda. In the material world, the material happiness is jada. There is no life. But there is a place which is full of eternal happiness. So this life should be engaged for that purpose, not to fight like cats and dogs. That is not very credit. Credit means ruining one's life. If one fights like cats and dogs, he becomes cats and dogs. Nature's law is very strict. Therefore we should be very careful not to become like cats and dogs but to become very humble -- humbler than the grass and tolerant than the tree. Amanina. Everyone wants that "I am very honorable man, prestigious man. And you should respect me." That is our material disease. "I do not want to respect you, but you should offer me respect." This is the position. Therefore our system is to call another Vaisnava as prabhu. "Sir, you are prabhu, you are master." But we call prabhu, but I think, "No, you are not prabhu; I am prabhu. You are servant." This cheating process will not help us. Actually, we should believe that he is prabhu. "He is servant of Krsna; therefore he is my prabhu." This is Vaisnava mentality. Gopi-bhartur pada-kamalayor dasa-dasa-dasa-dasanudasa. One who wants to become servant of the servant of the servant of the servant, he is actually prabhu [Cc. Madhya 13.80]. If falsely one thinks that "I am prabhu," then his life is spoiled. So this word we use amongst ourself, prabhu, means that "I am your servant, you are my master." But that should be practically exhibited. That is called tapasya, to learn all these things.

Without tapasya, we cannot get out of this conditioned state. That is not possible. Those who are thinking that "Let us do whatever nonsense I can do, and at the same time I become free from this material condition..." No. That is not possible. One has to undergo tapasya. Just like if you are diseased you have to undergo some tapasya. Just like first of all you go to a medical man. Immediately he charges ten rupees, twenty rupees. In our country. In your country it is more. No doctor charges less than ten dollars. Ten dollars means in our exchange it is ninety rupees. So who can pay ninety rupees in this country? That is the minimum charge. Then there is medicine. So you have to pay it because you have got disease. And you have to earn this money with hard labor. So to cure your disease you have to undergo some penances, some austerities. This is an ordinary... And according to the gravity of the disease you have to pay more, which you may not have. You have to gather, you have to borrow, you have to beg. So these tribulations are called tapasya. So just for curing our ordinary disease we have to pay to the doctor, pay for the medicine, and then we have to starve also. We cannot take anything. So many things forbidden. So this austerity is called tapasya, denial, self-denial. So we should learn it. If we want to utilize this body sane, like a sane man, then we should learn tapasya. Tapo divyam [SB 5.5.1]. And this tapa, what is the purpose of tapasya? Tapasya everyone knows. Just like a man walking on the street, pulling a thela. What is the purpose? He'll get five or ten rupees, whole day working like an ass. That is also tapasya. Tapasya means labor. So he's thinking, "I'll get ten rupees by working." He cannot pull it, the load is so heavy. Still, some way or other... That is also tapasya. A scientist discovering something, he has to work very hard, and make experiments So many things. That is also tapasya. But not that kind of tapasya. That kind of tapasya is not required. Tapo divyam [SB 5.5.1]. You are working hard for maintaining your body and soul together. You have to work hard. But here, that hard work should be for self-realization, divine contact. That is called divyam.

Divyam is explained in the Bhagavad-gita: janma karma ca me divyam [Bg. 4.9]. If you simply take little trouble to understand Krsna... That tapasya required: to read Krsna's instruction, Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and try to understand Krsna. Because that tapasya, if you take little painful... It is not painful. It is very pleasing. But we avoid it. We think it is painful. "Ah! Who is going to read books? We are meant for selling books, not for reading books." This is not good. We should read also. That is tapasya. Saddhaya. That is tapasya. Don't think that simply our books are meant for selling. No. It is meant for reading also. If we read regularly, at least two hours, three hours, that is tapasya. Tapo divyam [SB 5.5.1]. To understand spiritual position, my spiritual position, Krsna's spiritual... (aside:) Stop that. (child making noise) So that is tapasya. These are the tapasyas. To rise early in the morning, that is also tapasya. Not that every day we have to ring bell -- dung, dung, dung, dung -- "Get up! Get up!" "No, I am sleeping." No, you have to accept. These are the tapasyas. We cannot avoid. If we actually want to avoid this body, working like cats and dogs, like animals, then we have to undergo tapasya, a very simple tapasya.

In this age, it is not possible that as big, big saintly persons they go to the forest and undergo meditation in Himalayan mountain under the snow and so many dif... No food, no shelter, secluded place, there are so many animals. That kind of tapasya is not possible in this age. You remain. We have constructed big, big nice building. But because the building is there, you simply come here as free guest and make life very easy for eating and sleeping, that is not tapasya. That is not tapasya. You must be very careful how to keep the temple very cleansed, yourself clean, worshiping the Deity. That is recommended. Sri-vigraharadhana-nitya-nana-srngara-tan mandira-marjanadau **. This is also tapasya. If you cannot read, if you cannot do any other thing, so try to keep the temple... Every corner of this temple is Krsna. Don't think that only Krsna is here in the temple room. No. Krsna is everywhere, especially this temple where Krsna lives. Every part of this temple, every part of is Krsna. Otherwise why it is recommended, tan-mandira-marjanadisu?  This is tapasya. You should always remain engaged doing something for Krsna. Don't think, "This is very first class; this is last class." No. Advaya-jnana. Krsna and Krsna's temple, the same thing. Don't think that "Oh, I am given this work to cleanse the temple, and that man is given this work to worship the Deity." There is no difference. Aradhya bhagavan vrajesa tanaya tad dhama vrndavanam. As vrajesa tanaya, Krsna, is aradhya, worshipable, similarly His dhama, His place, this Vrndavana, is also worshipable, as good as Krsna. What to speak of temple -- whole Vrndavana. Whole Vrndavana. Just like Uddhava. Uddhava, when he came to take Krsna to Mathura, he immediately fell down on the grass of Vrndavana, that "These grasses are so fortunate that over this grass Krsna and the gopis and Krsna's friends, they trample over." This is vaisnava-vicara. Not that he's thinking grass is insignificant than Krsna. No. Krsna, Krsna's name, Krsna's fame, Krsna's form, Krsna's qualities, Krsna's paraphernalia, Krsna's associates -- everything is Krsna. And you should treat like that. That is tapasya. And following the footsteps, mahajana yena gatah sa panthah. Sadhu marganugamanam. These things we should learn. Sadhu marganugamanam. Just like sadhu... Akrura is a sadhu. How he respected even grass of Vrndavana. So unless we read books, literature, and follow their example, then how tapasya will be there? So things should not be neglected. Divya (?).

So if we undergo this tapasya then our existence will be purified. This is... This method, this process, is devotional service. The devotional service, from the very beginning it is transcendental. Iha yasya harer dasye. If you simply desire to serve Krsna, that's the beginning of existentional purification, immediately. Iha yasya harer dasye karmana manasa vaca. Simply if you sincerely think that "How shall I serve Krsna?" "Krsna" does not mean simply Krsna. "Krsna" means Krsna, Krsna's name, Krsna's form, Krsna's quality, Krsna's paraphernalia, Krsna's association -- everything in connection. Nirbandhe krsna-sambandha yukta vairagyam ucyate. Everything.

So in this way if we lead our life, then this life will be successful, and then the result will be yasmad brahma-saukhyam [SB 5.5.1]. Brahma-saukhyam. Here brahma-saukhyam may be interpreted, as Mayavadi says, brahma-sukha, brahma-lim. This is also brahma-lin, brahma-sukha, but it is not the Mayavadi philosophy. Mayavadi philosophy is to kill himself, to become one with Brahman. So if, suppose I have to eat something to enjoy. So I can eat. That is enjoyment. But if I lose my existence, I become the food, then where is the enjoyment? No. The enjoyment is: "The food is there, I am there, I shall eat and enjoy." That means dvaita. Monism is not enjoyment, and therefore they fall down: aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adho [SB 10.2.32]. Brahma-sukha, do not think to become Brahman or to become one with Brahman... That is not sukha. That they do not know. Therefore my Guru Maharaja used to say, a poor fund of knowledge. By becoming one with the Brahman, Supreme Brahman, that is not actually sukha. If it is actually sukha, then why in the sastra it is said, aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adho [SB 10.2.32]? By very severe austerities they come to the Brahman platform, monism, to become one with the Supreme, but from there he falls down. Why falls down? Anadrta-yusmad-anghrayah. Because they have no information of the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Unless you come to that point, then there is no possibility of eternal happiness.

Therefore it is said, tapasya, tapo divyam [SB 5.5.1]. That is divyam. Krsna has explained, janma karma ca me divyam [Bg. 4.9]. That means activities, transcendental activities. Not that Krsna is a zero, full stop. No. Actual activities begins when there is Krsna consciousness. These activities, they're my activities temporarily. They will not give us real happiness. Real happiness means when we come to the platform to be engaged in Krsna's activities. Tapo divyam putraka yena [SB 5.5.1]. Then we will get eternal happiness. That is recommended here. Brahma-sukha does not mean that, as ordinarily they think, that to become brahma-lin or merge into the existence of Brahman, no. That will be explained in the next verse: mahat-sevam dvaram ahur vimukteh [SB 5.5.2]. It will be explained. We shall take up this subject tomorrow.

Thank you very much. (end)
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.1 -- Vrndavana, October 23, 1976

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

For higher quality audio, you may purchase the MP3s/CDs from www.Krishna.com