Prabhupāda: [Sings: Śrī Śrī Ṣaḍ-gosvāmy-aṣṭaka, kīrtana]

...nirmatsarau pūjitau
śrī-caitanya-kṛpā-bharau bhuvi bhuvo bhārāvahantārakau
vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau

[I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Six Gosvāmīs, namely Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, and Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, who are always engaged in chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa and dancing. They are just like the ocean of love of God, and they are popular both with the gentle and with the ruffians, because they are not envious of anyone. Whatever they do, they are all-pleasing to everyone, and they are fully blessed by Lord Caitanya. Thus they are engaged in missionary activities meant to deliver all the conditioned souls in the material universe.]

nānā-śāstra-vicāraṇaika-nipuṇau sad-dharma-saṁsthāpakau
lokānāṁ hita-kāriṇau tri-bhuvane mānyau śaraṇyākarau
rādhā-kṛṣṇa-padāravinda-bhajanānandena mattālikau
vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau

[I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Six Gosvāmīs, namely Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, and Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, who are very expert in scrutinizingly studying all the revealed scriptures with the aim of establishing eternal religious principles for the benefit of all human beings. Thus they are honored all over the three worlds and they are worth taking shelter of because they are absorbed in the mood of the gopīs and are engaged in the transcendental loving service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.]

śrī-gaurāṅga-guṇānuvarṇana-vidhau śraddhā-samṛddhy-anvitau
pāpottāpa-nikṛntanau tanu-bhṛtāṁ govinda-gānāmṛtaiḥ
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaika-nipuṇau kaivalya-nistārakau
vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau

[I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Six Gosvāmīs, namely Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, and Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, who are very much enriched in understanding of Lord Caitanya and who are thus expert in narrating His transcendental qualities. They can purify all conditioned souls from the reactions of their sinful activities by pouring upon them transcendental songs about Govinda. As such, they are very expert in increasing the limits of the ocean of transcendental bliss, and they are the saviors of the living entities from the devouring mouth of liberation.]

kṛṣṇotkīrtana-gāna-nartana-parau premāmṛtāmbho-nidhī
dhīrādhīra-jana-priyau priya-karau nirmatsarau pūjitau
śrī-caitanya-kṛpā-bharau bhuvi bhuvo bhārāvahantārakau
vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau

[I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Six Gosvāmīs, namely Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, and Śrī Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, who are always engaged in chanting the holy name of Kṛṣṇa and dancing. They are just like the ocean of love of God, and they are popular both with the gentle and with the ruffians, because they are not envious of anyone. Whatever they do, they are all-pleasing to everyone, and they are fully blessed by Lord Caitanya. Thus they are engaged in missionary activities meant to deliver all the conditioned souls in the material universe.]

śrī-advaita gadādhara

[I offer my obeisances to Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya, Prabhu Nityānanda, Śrī Advaita, Gadādhara, Śrīvāsa and all others in the line of devotion.]

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare

[My dear Lord, and the spiritual energy of the Lord, kindly engage me in Your service. I am now embarrassed with this material service. Please engage me in Your service.]

Prabhupāda: [prema-dhvani] Thank you very much.


[sings] Govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi. [devotees repeat]

cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

[Bs. 5.29]

[I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakṣmīs or gopīs.]

Devotees: [sing] Govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi.

Prabhupāda: So we are worshiping govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ. Ādi-puruṣam, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original. You have to find out the original. That is called philosophy. Philosophy means searching out the original. Darśana. In Sanskrit word it is called darśana: to see the original, to find out the original.

So the original information is given by Vedānta-sūtra. What is that origin? Athāto brahma jijñāsā. One should be inquisitive to understand about the origin. That is the chance in this human form of life. We do not know the origin. The scientist, they explain, "Perhaps," "Like this; it was like this," "Perhaps," "It might be like this." That is not explanation.

So the direct explanation is..., very nice explanation is given by the Vedānta-sūtra what is that origin. The Vedānta-sūtra says, janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. The origin is that from which everything is born. That is the origin. Now we have to find out what is that thing from whom everything is born. That is Kṛṣṇa. The great sages, they have searched out what is that origin. And in the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said,

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ

[Bs. 5.1]

[Kṛṣṇa who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.]

Sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam means the cause of all causes. They have searched out. Scientifically they have searched out that Kṛṣṇa is the origin. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also it is described, kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28].

[All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists.]

There may be different kinds of Bhagavān, or the Personality of Godhead—not different kinds, but different expansion, extension—but Kṛṣṇa is the origin. Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam. The expansion of Kṛṣṇa may be understood just like a person, he is, at home, a father, a husband, like that, and when he's office, he's boss, or when he's clerk, he's secretary.

In this way, a man may be in different position, in different circumstances, but the man is the same. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa, the original Personality of Godhead, might have assumed the form of Viṣṇu, Nārāyaṇa, Govinda, so many. But this original form is Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam.

And in the Bhagavad-gītā also Kṛṣṇa explains Himself, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ [Bg. 10.8]:

[I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who know this perfectly engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.]

"I am the origin of everyone." Mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: "Everything emanates from Me, all the energies." Just like from the sun globe the energies are coming out incessantly just like flows of water, and everything is being created in this material world through the sunshine, similarly, the shining principle which is emanating from Kṛṣṇa, which is known as brahma-jyotir, is the origin of everything. So kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]. [pause]

So this Kṛṣṇa science is a very great science, and Bhagavad-gītā explains this Kṛṣṇa science very nicely, the origin of everything. And we should take advantage of this great book of knowledge, Bhagavad-gītā. It is already known in your country, Bhagavad-gītā; there are many editions. But unfortunately, sometimes Bhagavad-gītā is misinterpreted and people are misled to understand the origin. Therefore we have the opportunity to publish the Bhagavad-gītā as it is. We have entrusted the matter to Messrs. Macmillan Company. They are going to publish the book next month. So try to understand Bhagavad-gītā as it is, without any interpretation. Then you will understand the origin.

So the process of understanding Bhagavad-gītā is very nicely stated in the Bhagavad-gītā itself. And in our disciplic succession the Ṣaḍ-gosvāmī, the six Gosvāmīns, of whom I offered a prayer in the beginning, vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau... So we are publishing another book, Teachings of Lord Caitanya. So the printing is complete. That book also will come next month. So I shall request some of you to read the teachings to Lord..., teaching to Sanātana Gosvāmī. Will somebody come here? You'll read? Yes. Sit down there.

Lady devotee: Right here?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Open page number twenty-nine. What is that, heading?

Lady devotee: "Teachings to Sanātana Gosvāmī."

Prabhupāda: Yes. Read it.

Lady devotee: "In the instructions of Lord Caitanya to Sanātana Gosvāmī we can understand the science of God in the matter of His transcendental form, His opulences and His devotional service, where everything is being described to Sanātana Gosvāmī by the Lord Himself. By that time Sanātana fell at the feet of the Lord and with great humility asked about his own real identity."

Prabhupāda: Read little slowly so that..., and loudly, so that others can hear.

Lady devotee: "He spoke as follows: 'I am born of a lower family. My associations are all abominable and I am fallen. The most wretched of mankind, I was suffering in the dark well of material enjoyment, and I never knew the actual goal of my life. I do not know what is beneficial to me. Although in the mundane sphere I am what is known as a great learned man, I am in fact so much of a fool that I even accept that I am learned.' "

Prabhupāda: "I am...? I am so much fool that I accept...?" What is that?

Lady devotee: "...that I am learned."

Prabhupāda: "I am learned."

Lady devotee: Yes.

Prabhupāda: Now, this Sanātana Gosvāmī, he was formerly known as Dabira Khān [sic]. He was born in a high aristocratic family, brāhmaṇa family, and he was finance minister in the government of Nawab Hussain Shah, the then Bengal governor of Bengal. It is about five hundred years ago the India was governed by the Pathans, Muslims, and in Bengal the governor was known as Nawab Hussain Shah. Under his government this Dabira Khān was minister of finance, and his brother also, Sākara Mallika, he was also a departmental minister.

So both the brothers were in very high position. They were great scholar in Sanskrit and Farsi, Urdu. Farsi, Urdu, you know the language spoken in Arabia, in that part of the world. So they were very good scholar and born in very aristocratic family and associated with rich men, aristocratic persons. Because they were ministers, no ordinary person could mix with them. So that was their position. And when they met Lord Caitanya, they decided to retire from the service and propagate the movement of Lord Caitanya, Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

So he resigned from the service. The Nawab was very much sorry. He did not like that he should resign from the service, because the Nawab was so much dependent on his good service. But he decided that "I must resign." So some way or other he got rid of the service and approached Lord Caitanya in a very humble way. Now he's presenting himself before Lord Caitanya that "I am very low born, and my association is abominable. And people call me very learned man, and I also accept that I am very learned man. But actually, I am not, because I do not know what I am."

It is very nice picture, you see? In the Vedas the injunction is that if anyone wants to understand the transcendental science, he must approach to a bona fide person or a spiritual master in such humbleness as Sanātana Gosvāmī is approaching. He is born of a very high aristocratic family, but he says that "I am born very low." He's very learned man, but he says that "People say me learned man, but actually I am not." Just the position.

So why he's saying that? That will be explained. Because actual learning means to know oneself. That is real knowledge. This knowledge that "I am American," "I am Indian," "I am born of this family," "I am father of this person," "husband of that lady," and this and that, so many designations, that is not real knowledge. Real knowledge is to know oneself. That is being taught by Sanātana Gosvāmī, that "I do not know what I am. I am simply identifying myself with this body. That is not real knowledge." He's presenting in that way.

Read next.

Lady devotee: "You have accepted me as Your servant and You have delivered me from the entanglement of material life. Now You can tell me what my duty is in this liberated state of life."

Prabhupāda: Now he, he was a minister. Now he thinks that after resigning this service he's feeling liberated. Because he hasn't got to obey somebody who is materialistic person, therefore he's thinking liberated. And he's asking Caitanya Mahāprabhu, whom he has accepted as his master, "Now You have liberated me. Now You can say what is my duty."

Go on.

Lady devotee: "In other words, as we see by this plea, liberation is not the final word in perfection."

Prabhupāda: Yes. Here is one point. He says that "You have liberated me. Now let me know what is my duty." This is very important point. The Māyāvādī philosopher, they think that liberation is the ultimate goal. Just like in Buddha philosophy, the nirvāṇa. Nirvāṇa means annihilation of material existence. Nirvāṇa.

They think that as soon as there is annihilation of this material existence, that is the final goal. The Māyāvādī philosopher or the impersonalist, they think that not only to get freedom from this material existence, but to remain in spiritual status, jñānam, simply in the knowledge that "I am spirit soul. I am merged into the spirit soul." That is their goal.

But here, the Sanātana Gosvāmī, he belongs to the Vaiṣṇava philosophy. He says, "Now what is my duty?" That means after liberation it is not that everything is void or activity is stopped. No. Actually activity begins after liberation. At the present moment our activities are not liberated activities. At the present moment all our activities are conditional, but actually I am not... Because I am spirit soul, therefore I'm not under material condition. But somehow or other, I am now put into material condition.

This is also explained in the Bhagavad-gītā: brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā [Bg. 18.54].

[And of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.]

When one is actually liberated, brahma-bhūtaḥ... That is called brahma-bhūtaḥ. When one is not liberated he's called jīva-bhūtaḥ. Just like we are, ordinary living entities, we are under designations, and in the concept of this body, we are thinking everything. But actually I am not this body. I am not matter. I am a spirit soul. When this understanding comes, that is the point of liberation. And after that liberation, actual duty begins.

That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā also.

brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā
na śocati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu
mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām

[Bg. 18.54]

Liberation means there is no more anxiety. In the conditioned state we are always full of anxiety, and the liberated state... Just like when a man is attacked with fever, he's always suffering. As soon as the fever is gone, he is liberated. Similarly, the material concept of life..., when we are freed from the material concept of life, that is the beginning of our liberation. Actually, liberation will be maintained by liberated activities. That is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Just like a man is suffering from some disease, so he cannot act freely. But when he is out of the disease, then he can act freely. To get out of the disease does not mean that there will be no activity. The Buddha philosophy and the Māyāvāda philosophy say that after liberation, activity stops. But this Vaiṣṇava philosophy says no. After liberation real activity begins.

Go on.

Lady devotee: "There must be activities in liberation. Sanātana clearly asks, 'You have saved me from the entanglement of material existence. Now after liberation what is my duty? Kindly explain it to me.' Sanātana further inquired, 'Who am I? Why are the threefold miseries always giving me trouble? And finally, tell me how I will be relieved from this material entanglement. I do not...' "

Prabhupāda: Now here is another question, that when... Our inquiries should be how to get out of the threefold miseries. In the conditioned state... Just like an animal. Animal is always suffering. That is a fact. Everyone knows. In the lower grade of life than human being, every animal is always under very strict condition. Why? What is the difference between civilization and not civilization? The difference is that their life is most conditional life. In the civilized life there is a pinch of liberation.

So... What is that statement? Yes. Threefold miseries. Threefold miseries are there in every living condition, but when a man is enhanced or advanced in knowledge he can understand that "I am under always threefold miseries." What are those threefold miseries? Miseries, that I explained the other day.

The threefold miseries means first, pertaining to the body and mind, and second, miseries inflicted by other living entities, and miseries by nature or higher authorities. Just like severe cold or severe heat or famine or earthquake. They are also miseries. This is beyond our control. So miseries which are beyond our control.

So far bodily disease, mental disturbance, we can get some remedy in our own way. We can go to a psychiatrist or we can go to a doctor and get some medicine and get relief. And so far miseries from other living entities, we can take protection, we can defend ourself. But so far miseries offered by the demigods, daiva, there is no remedy.

If there is all of a sudden here earthquake, oh, there is no remedy. You have to suffer. If there is, all of a sudden, there is inundation, you cannot. If there is, all of a sudden, there is thunderbolt, you cannot make any remedy. So threefold miseries are always there, either one or two or three.

So Sanātana Gosvāmī is presenting himself that "People call me very learned man, but I am so learned that I do not know why I am suffering from these threefold miseries." These question do not arise. Actually, when people will come to the understanding, when they will inquire that "Why I am suffering from the threefold miseries...?"

The threefold miseries is summarized in Bhagavad-gītā by four principles: janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam [Bg. 13.9].

[Humility, pridelessness, nonviolence, tolerance, simplicity, approaching a bona fide spiritual master, cleanliness, steadiness and self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratification, absence of false ego, the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; nonattachment to children, wife, home and the rest, and evenmindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me, resorting to solitary places, detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization, and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth—all these I thus declare to be knowledge, and what is contrary to these is ignorance.]

If a man is actually learned and intelligent, he should always see before him that there are four kinds of distresses. What is that? The distress of taking birth, the distress of dying procedure, janma-mṛtyu, and distress of old age and distress of diseases.

So we are very much proud of our advancement of knowledge, but actually there is no solution for these four principles of miseries. There is no remedy. They are trying to control birth rate, janma, but still, every minute there are increasing, the population of world is increasing.

Similarly, they are trying to save people from death, but still, people are dying in hundreds and thousands. And they are trying to get out of this old age—so many medicines, so many cosmetics—but old age is taking place. And so far disease, we can discover many high-grade medicines, but there is no stoppage of disease.

So one should be very intelligent that there is no remedy for these four kinds of miseries, janma-mṛtyu-jarā-vyādhi. And a learned man should be inquisitive, "If there is any remedy?" So Sanātana Gosvāmī is presenting himself before Lord Caitanya that "People say that I am very learned man. But I am so learned man that I do not know what I am and why I am suffering from these miseries, although I do not like to suffer."

Go on.

Lady devotee: " 'I do not know how to question You about the advancement of spiritual life, but I beg that You kindly, mercifully, let me know everything that I should know.' This is the process of acceptance of a spiritual master by the disciple. One should approach a spiritual master and humbly submit to him and then inquire from him about one's spiritual progress. The Lord was pleased by Sanātana's submissive behavior, and He replied as follows: 'You have already received benediction from Lord Kṛṣṇa.' "

Prabhupāda: Here... Here is another point, that Sanātana Gosvāmī approached his spiritual master, Lord Caitanya, and he submitted himself in such a way that his spiritual master, Lord Caitanya, was very pleased. So that should be the point of disciples: how to please the spiritual master. And Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, he has composed eight stanzas as prayers of spiritual master.

And in the seventh stanza he says, yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ **: if you can please your spiritual master, then you know that God, or Kṛṣṇa, is pleased. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo yasyaprasādān na gatiḥ kuto 'pi. And if you cannot please your spiritual master, then you must know that you do not know your whereabouts; you do not know where you are going.

So Sanātana Gosvāmī was actually following the disciplic principles. He wanted to please Lord Caitanya submissively. To please the spiritual master means to approach him submissively, not in a challenging mood. The Bhagavad-gītā also explains in this way:

tad viddhi praṇipātena
paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti jñānina
tad jñānaṁ tattva-darśinaḥ

[Bg. 4.34]

[Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth.]

Tad viddhi praṇipātena. If you want to understand the spiritual science, then you have to approach to a person where you can completely surrender yourself. Because everyone is proud: "Oh, who can teach me? Why shall I go to a spiritual master? I know everything." That is the general mentality. Therefore Bhagavad-gītā gives us direction that you should go to a person where you can fully surrender.

So you have to find out a bona fide spiritual master where you can surrender your pride. Then tad viddhi praṇipātena [Bg. 4.34]. Praṇiptena means surrender. Paripraśnena. If you find out such, if you are fortunate enough to find out some person where you can surrender, then you can put questions before him.

That Sanātana Gosvāmī is putting, that "What is my position? I think that I am very learned man, I am born of very aristocratic family and so on, so on, but actually, I do not know what I am, what is my position." This is paripraśna, inquiry. Surrender, inquiry and sevayā. That answer should be received in service mood.

So these are three formulas. Simple questions will not help us. The question should be put to a person where you have got full surrender and you have got the service mentality. You cannot ask spiritual master or any person whom you think is greater than you in a challenging spirit. Then you will be deceived. In a submissive way, of course, you have got right to place questions, and with service mood.

So Sanātana Gosvāmī is the vivid example of this disciplic succession. Tad viddhi praṇipātena [Bg. 4.34]. In the Vedas also the same injunction is there. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [MU 11.2.12].

[To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.]

If you want to learn that transcendental science, then you must approach to a person who is heavier than you: guru. Guru means heavier. You don't go to a person who is lighter than you. Heavier. Heavier means heavier in knowledge. So the same thing is explained everywhere. And Sanātana Gosvāmī is ideal disciple and Lord Caitanya is the ideal teacher, and we should learn how to approach a teacher and what is the qualification of a teacher.

Just like Arjuna. Arjuna was talking with Kṛṣṇa in the beginning on friendly terms, just like a friend talks with his friend. But when he saw that his problem was so great that it could not be solved on friendly talks, it must be seriously understood, so he also surrendered himself, śiṣyas te 'haṁ śādhi māṁ prapannam [Bg. 2.7]:

[Now I am confused about my duty and have lost all composure because of weakness. In this condition I am asking You to tell me clearly what is best for me. Now I am Your disciple, and a soul surrendered unto You. Please instruct me.]

"My dear Kṛṣṇa, now from this point I accept You my spiritual master, and I surrender unto You. Please teach me." And then He began teaching. These are the process.


Lady devotee: " 'And therefore you know everything and you are free from all the miseries of material existence.' The Lord further replied that because Sanātana was in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, naturally, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, he was already conversant with everything. 'But because you are humble, a humble devotee, you are asking Me to confirm what is already realized by you.' "

Prabhupāda: This is another point. Even one thinks that he knows everything, still, he, before the spiritual master, he should be blank slate, that "I do not know anything." That is the qualification of the disciple. He should approach the spiritual master as if he does not know anything.

Go on.

Lady devotee: "These are the characteristics of a true devotee. In the Nārada-bhakti-sūtra it is said that one who is very serious about developing his Kṛṣṇa consciousness, by the grace of the Lord has his desire for understanding Kṛṣṇa fulfilled very soon. The Lord said, 'You are a suitable person for protecting the devotional service of the Lord. Therefore it is My duty to instruct you in the science of God.' "

Prabhupāda: Here is another point, that one should not accept somebody as spiritual master all of a sudden. At the same time, the spiritual master also should not accept anybody as his disciple immediately. Now Sanātana Gosvāmī is proving himself that he's qualified disciple, and Lord Caitanya is accepting him that "You are just the suitable person; therefore I shall accept you as My disciple and teach you the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness."


Lady devotee: " 'And I will explain to you everything, step by step.' It is the duty of the disciple approaching the spiritual master to inquire about his constitutional position. In conformity to that spiritual process, Sanātana has already asked, 'What am I and why am I suffering from the threefold miseries?'

The threefold miseries are called ādhyātmika, ādhibhautika and ādhidaivika [SB 6.15.25].

[The living entity in the bodily conception of life is absorbed in the body, which is a combination of the physical elements, the five senses for gathering knowledge, and the five senses of action, along with the mind. Through the mind the living entity suffers three kinds of tribulations—adhibhautika, adhidaivika and adhyātmika. Therefore this body is a source of all miseries.]

Ādhyātmika means caused by the body and mind. Sometimes the living entity suffers bodily, and sometimes he is distressed mentality. Both are ādhyātmika miseries. We experience these miseries even in the womb of our mother. There are many forms of miseries that take advantage of our delicate body and give us pain.

Miseries inflicted by other living entities are called ādhibhautika. There are many living entities, such as bugs born of eggs, that cause us miseries while we are sleeping in bed. There are many living entities like cockroaches that sometimes give us pain. And there are other living entities born on different kinds of planets, and they also cause us miseries.

So far as ādhidaivika miseries are concerned, they originate with the demigods from the higher planets. For instance, sometimes we suffer from serious cold weather, sometimes we suffer from the thunderbolt, sometimes from earthquake, tornadoes, droughts, and other natural disasters. So we are always suffering one or another of three kinds of miseries. Sanātana's inquiry was, 'What is the position of the living entities? Why are they always undergoing these three kinds of miseries?'

Sanātana has admitted his weakness. Although he was known by the mass of people as a greatly learned man, and actually he was a highly learned Sanskrit scholar, and although he accepted the designation of a very learned man given him by the mass of people, yet he did not actually know what his constitutional position was and why he was subjected to the threefold miseries.

The necessity of approaching a spiritual master is not a fashion, but is for he who is seriously conscious of the material miseries and who wants to be free of them. It is the duty of such a person to approach the spiritual master. We find similar circumstances in the Bhagavad-gītā, when Arjuna..."

Prabhupāda: Yes, this is very important point, that a spiritual master should not be accepted as a matter of fashion. Somebody thinks that "Everyone gets a spiritual master, so I may also have some spiritual master." Or "I may keep some spiritual master as my pet." Just like somebody keeps some pet dog or pet cat. So they want also, "Somebody must be my spiritual master, and whatever I order him, he'll carry." So such kind of fashionable spiritual master is useless.

A spiritual master, it is defined in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, who requires a spiritual master. That is stated: tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta [SB 11.3.21].

[Therefore any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.]

Tasmād. Tasmād means "therefore." "Therefore one should approach a spiritual master." What is that "therefore"? Jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam. If one is actually inquisitive to understand about the spiritual existence, then he requires a spiritual master. A spiritual master does not mean that he'll teach you how to keep your body fit, how you can reduce your fat, how you can remain a young man, and so many nonsense. This is not the duty of the spiritual master.

However you may try to keep your body fit, how long you shall keep your body fit? As soon as you are born, the death is also born along with you. Suppose one man is twenty-five years old. That means he has already died twenty-five years. So you cannot protect yourself from death, however you may become very strong, stout.

Therefore actual education, actual spiritual knowledge, begins, as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. The Bhagavad-gītā..., the beginning of Bhagavad-gītā is that when Arjuna surrendered to Kṛṣṇa, He immediately said that "My dear Arjuna, you are posing yourself as very learned man but you are fool number one." Why? "Because you are identifying yourself with this body." Aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase [Bg. 2.11].

[The Blessed Lord said: While speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief. Those who are wise lament neither for the living nor the dead.]

"My dear Arjuna, you are talking just like very learned man, but you are lamenting on the subject matter of your body." Gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ. Actually one who is learned, he has no necessity for lamenting on the subject, on the body, either living or dead.

So the whole process of education in the materialistic way of civilization is on the body, how to keep the body fit, how to avoid death, how to avoid disease. Simply concentration on the body. So this bodily concept of life is immediately discouraged in the Bhagavad-gītā.

aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ
prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase
gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca
nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ

[Bg. 2.11]

Paṇḍitāḥ means those who are learned, they are not affected by this body, either dead or alive. So that means one should be inquisitive to learn about the soul which is sitting in the body. That is real knowledge.

So one who is inquisitive about understanding that knowledge, he requires a spiritual master. Not that one who wants to keep this body fit or wants to reduce fat. No. For him there is no necessity of spiritual master. That he can go to a doctor or a medical physician. That's all. He can advise. What is the use of going to a spiritual master? Spiritual master means jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam [SB 11.3.21]. Who can teach you about the highest benediction, he is spiritual master.

So we shall discuss in next meeting. This is very interesting, and you'll be profited if you please come and hear.

Devotees: Hare Kṛṣṇa. [offer obeisances]

Prabhupāda: Any question?

[pause] No question? Yes?

Jaya-gopāla: Prabhupāda? These days there are so many men who are claiming to have found the Absolute, who claim to be spiritual masters in their own way. How does one tell who is a bona fide spiritual master?

Prabhupāda: Yes. What is your idea of bona fide spiritual master?

Jaya-gopāla: One who can teach the Absolute.

Prabhupāda: So a spiritual master... Just like Kṛṣṇa is spiritual master and Lord Caitanya is spiritual master. We are talking about Lord Caitanya's teaching to Sanātana Gosvāmī. That means Lord Caitanya is the spiritual master. Similarly, in the Bhagavad-gītā we find Arjuna is taught by Kṛṣṇa Bhagavad-gītā. So there is no difficulty to understand who is spiritual master. Is there any difficulty? Because we see that Lord Caitanya is teaching Sanātana Gosvāmī and Kṛṣṇa is teaching Arjuna. So both Lord Caitanya and Kṛṣṇa are spiritual master. Is there any difficulty to understand?

So anyone who represents Lord Caitanya and Kṛṣṇa, he is spiritual master. That's all. Anyone who speaks exactly what Lord Caitanya said, exactly what Kṛṣṇa said, then he is spiritual master. Just like a teacher who says that "I have passed M.A." Now what is the proof? That means if he speaks exactly like persons who have passed M.A. examination, then he is M.A. A medical practitioner who is approved by other medical practitioners in the medical college, he is medical practitioner.

Similarly, if you want to test who is spiritual master, you have to see the standard spiritual master, Kṛṣṇa and Lord Caitanya and similar. Even Lord Jesus Christ, there are..., Lord Buddha, they are also spiritual masters, but they spoke in different circumstances. That is different thing. But if you want to know who is a spiritual master, then you have to test him whether he is speaking exactly like the bona fide spiritual master.

Śrī Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has explained about this, who is spiritual master. What is that? He says, sādhu śāstra guru vākya tinete kariyā aikya [Prema-bhakti-candrikā].

[We must always keep within our hearts the instructions of sādhu, śāstra, and guru. This is the process.]

If you want to advance yourself in spiritual science, then you have to test these three things. What is that? Sādhu, saintly person. Sādhu, śāstra, scriptures, and spiritual master.

Now suppose you want to know who is a spiritual master. Then you have to test whether he's speaking just like other saintly persons and whether he's following scriptures. Sādhu śāstra. So you have to test a spiritual master by corroborating whether he is speaking according to the scriptural injunction, whether he's speaking to other saintly persons.

So in the world, anywhere you go, the standard spiritual master—take it, Lord Jesus Christ or Buddha or Śaṅkara or Rāmānujācārya or Caitanya—nobody will say that you make adjustment here and live peacefully. Everyone will say that you have to extinguish this material existence. Lord Buddha says nirvāṇa, and Śaṅkara says brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā, and Kṛṣṇa says sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja [Bg. 18.66].

[Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.]

Lord Jesus Christ says that "You have to go to the kingdom of God. Just come with me."

So nobody says that "Let us make United Nation organization and stick up to thousands of flags, and let there be peace and prosperity, and let the war go on in any part of the world." That is not spiritual master. Spiritual master means that he is interested with the other world beyond this material world. That is spiritual master.


Lady guest: What, then, is a master?

Prabhupāda: Master means who is master of the science. That's all. He must know everything of spiritual life. That is master.

Lady guest: Are there not many planes in mastership?

Prabhupāda: What is that?

Upendra: "Are there not many planes in mastership?"

Prabhupāda: Yes, there is. But you have to accept the standard platform by your advancement. Just like somebody accepts somebody as master, that is according to his own mentality. And somebody accepts somebody else as master, that is his mentality. But the highest, according to Vedic literature, Kṛṣṇa is the supreme master.

Because all the ācāryas, all the spiritual masters of Vedic perfection, just like in the recent years Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya and Viṣṇu Svāmī, Lord Caitanya, all of them, they have accepted Kṛṣṇa as the supreme spiritual master. All of them. Even Śaṅkarācārya, he's impersonalist, still he has accepted Kṛṣṇa. Sa bhagavān svayaṁ kṛṣṇa [SB 1.3.28].

[All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists.]

He says that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is Kṛṣṇa. That is mentioned in his commentary of Bhagavad-gītā. And what to speak of Vaiṣṇava ācāryas, they accept. And Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He says, yāre dekha tāre kaha kṛṣṇa-upadeśa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]:

[“Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as they are given in the Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.”]

If you want to become a spiritual master, then try to disseminate the teachings of Lord Kṛṣṇa. So that is our, so far we are concerned, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, our ideal spiritual master is Kṛṣṇa.


Upendra: Swāmījī, someone approached me, and we were discussing about Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And I said to approach Kṛṣṇa one must be pure, but he said, "What is purity?" Could you explain that technically? What is purity?

Prabhupāda: Yes. Purity means standing on the spiritual platform. That is purity. In the material platform there is no purity. So according to Bhagavad-gītā, that standard of purity, that means standing on the spiritual platform, which is called brahma-bhūtaḥ. Brahma-bhūtaḥ. So Kṛṣṇa says this purity,

māṁ ca vyabhicāreṇa
bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

[Bg. 14.26]

[One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.]

This Brahman understanding, or to stand on the Brahman platform, is purity. How one can attain that platform of purity? Kṛṣṇa says that "One who is engaged in devotional service to Me without any deviation," that means twenty-four hours in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, "he is pure." He is pure. If you can keep yourself always, constantly, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, always thinking of Kṛṣṇa, then you are pure. Otherwise... Kṛṣṇa consciousness or God consciousness, it doesn't make any difference.

So just like if you keep always in touch with fire you are warm—there is no possibility of being cold—similarly, some way or other if you always keep yourself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness or God consciousness, then you are pure. Therefore we advise our students, "Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa." As soon as you chant this sound, "Kṛṣṇa," immediately you are in touch with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore you are..., you keep yourself pure. Is that clear? Yes.

So try to keep yourself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness without any deviation. Then you remain pure. That is also confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā, daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī... [Bg. 7.14].

[This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.]

[break] It is very difficult to get out of the clutches of this māyā, contamination. Very difficult. Mām eva ye prapadyante: "But one who keeps touch with Me, with full surrender," māyām etāṁ taranti te, "he's out of these clutches of māyā."

So just like there is antiseptic, what is called, vaccination, to keep yourself from the contamination... There is epidemic, and under government order everyone is vaccinated, that "You take this vac..., so you shall keep your..." This is material way of keeping oneself from contamination. Similarly, if you keep always yourself in spiritual understanding of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, you'll remain pure.


Lady guest: What then are the guides? Are they also masters in a sense?

Upendra: What then are the guides? [to guest:] Can you repeat the question again?

Lady guest: What then are the guides? Are they also masters of the sense?

Upendra: Guides?

Lady guest: Spiritual guides.

Upendra: Spiritual guides? What do you...

Prabhupāda: Yes. One cannot be a spiritual guide unless he's not master of the senses. Therefore the spiritual guide is called svāmī or gosvāmī. Svāmī means who is master of the senses. He's not servant of the senses. Generally, people are servant of the senses.

One who becomes master of the senses, he can become spiritual master. Otherwise not.

All right. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. [devotees offer obeisances]

You chant. Chant.

Mādhavī-latā, you can chant. Can you? You? Give Mādhavī, Mādhavī. All right.


[kīrtana] [prema-dhvani] Thank you very much. [devotees offer obeisances] [end]

1tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet
samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham

[Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.2.12]

"To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth."