"Retirement"

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.39
Los Angeles, December 17, 1973

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada<br>Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
 

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Nitai: "Then he posted Vajra, the son of Aniruddha, grandson of Lord Krsna, at Mathura as the king of Surasena. Afterwards Maharaja Yudhisthira performed a Prajapatya sacrifice and placed in himself the fire for quitting household life."

Prabhupada: So Maharaja Yudhisthira first of all appointed his grandson, Pariksit Maharaja, the emperor of the whole world. Then he distributed... [break] ...or only intimate families, because Krsna's family, Yadu dynasty, and this Maharaja Yudhisthira's family, Kuru dynasty, they were related in so many ways by marriage. Maharaja Yudhisthira's mother, Kunti, belonged to the Yadu dynasty -- means Krsna's aunt, Krsna's father's sister. Similarly, Arjuna's wife Subhadra..., here is Subhadra, she became the wife of Arjuna, sister of Krsna. So there were so many family relationships, Krsna's family and the Kuru family. Krsna was not present. Therefore Maharaja Yudhisthira was taking care of the children, grandsons. As his grandson was posted as emperor, similarly, Krsna's grandson was also situated as the king of Surasena, in which province the Mathura is there: mathurayam.

So you can read the purport.

Nitai: "Maharaja Yudhisthira, after placing Maharaja Pariksit on the imperial throne of Hastinapura, and after posting Vajra, the grandson of Lord Krsna, as the king of Mathura, accepted the renounced order of life."

Prabhupada: Yes. This was the system, that one must retire. Just like at the present moment, although people are asking the president that "You retire, you resign," he is not resigning, obstinate. Because he knows, "This is the first and last chance. I am not going to be elected again. So stick to the post and take as much money as possible." That's all. But formerly, they voluntarily retired, the kings. In India also, we have seen. So many big, big politicians, they could not give up their political job. Even Gandhi. I wrote a personal letter to Gandhi that "Mahatma Gandhi, you are recognized all over the world as a very pious man, and you are supposed to be very devotee of Bhagavad-gita. Now you have got your independence. You fought for independence. Now you have got your independence. So I request you to take the teachings of Bhagavad-gita to preach all over the world." That was my request. Because I was thinking of preaching this Bhagavad-gita. So I thought that "Gandhi's position is better. If he takes up this job, preaching of Bhagavad-gita, many people will give attention. Yad yad acarati sresthah. He is a recognized good man, so people will follow." But he did not do so. He stuck up to the politics. And unless he was killed by another opponent party, he did not give it up. Similarly, I have seen other politicians also, Jawaharlal Nehru, Panth,(?) they would not give up. Panth(?) was so weak, I have seen. He could not stand even. He was doing like this, always. Still he would not give up. Similarly, Jawaharlal Nehru, he was paralyzed. Unless he was dead, he could not give up.

So this is not Vedic civilization. Vedic civilization is that at a certain age, you must retire. Never mind. The age is divided into four parts: brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa. Brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra. So Vedic civilization means varnasrama-dharma, accepting the institution of four varnas and four asramas. Social and spiritual order. For social order there must be brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, and for spiritual order, there must be brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha, and sannyasa. This is the system. So unless you accept this institution of varnasram
a-dharma, you are not considered as civilized man, Arya, Aryan.

Aryan means who are making progress under the institution of varnasrama-dharma. That progress means to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the goal. But people do not know that. Not only now; formerly also. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum [SB 7.5.31]. They do not know what is their ultimate goal of self-interest. Why Maharaja Yudhisthira is taking, retiring, from the...? That is not... To become king is not the ultimate goal of life. No. He has got another ultimate goal of life. He remained as a king as a matter of duty. Just like you work in some office or as a professional man. You work as a lawyer. You work as an engineer. You work as a medical man. That you can do, because you have to do something to live, livelihood. It doesn't matter. But to become an engineer or to become a scientist or become a medical man or a lawyer, that is not my ultimate goal of life. That is needed to maintain the body and soul together, but that is not ultimate goal of life. For that purpose, you may be what you are, but you must retire.

At the present moment, people retire by force or by some way or... But they do not know what is the ultimate goal of life. There are many retired men's house in your country, but they do not know what is the ultimate goal of life. Ultimate goal of life is to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because in your busy life, you have got very little time; therefore after grhastha life, fifty years, up to, not more than that, pancasordhvam vanam vrajet, then you must retire. It doesn't matter whether you have finished your duty or not. It doesn't matter. You must retire. And then, after being trained for some times, being retired from the family life, living secluded life -- not exactly secluded, but detached from family life -- let the elderly sons, daughters, they can take care of the family, and the husband, wife, they travel in different places of pilgrimage. Again they come for some time, but without any attachment, as guest in the house of his son. In this way, when he is trained up, then he says to the wife, "Now you live with your sons. They will take care of you. I am taking sannyasa."

So everyone has to take sannyasa. It is not that a particular man, simply Caitanya Mahaprabhu has to take sannyasa. No. That is obligation. You must. In Buddha philosophy, everyone has to take sannyasa and live as a sannyasi for some years. That is their duty. So Maharaja Yudhisthira prepared himself for becoming sannyasi. Sannyasi means renounced. No more family responsibility or any responsibility. Simply to become pure devotee of the Lord. That is sannyasa. Anasritah karma-phalam karyam karma karoti yah sa sannyasi. What is the sannyasi definition? Sannyasi means he works, but not as the enjoyer of the fruit of the work. That is sannyasi. Everyone, karmi... Karmi means he is working hard, day and night, but he wants the fruit of the work to enjoy himself. That is karmi. Sannyasi also will work hard, day and night, but he will not take the fruit. It is for Krsna. That is sannyasi. Sannyasi means sat-nyasi. Nyasi means renounced, and sat means the supreme truth. One who renounces everything for the sake of supreme truth, he is called sannyasi. That sannyasi formality is to change the dress. But anyone... Just like this Maharaja Yudhisthira, Arjuna and his brothers, they were all sannyasis. But still, formality, they accepted sannyasa, gave up attachment for the house. In this way, because he is king, if he does not set example, then others will not accept sannyasa.

Go on.

Nitai: "The system of four orders of life and four castes in terms of quality and work known as the varnasrama-dharma is the beginning of real human life. And Maharaja Yudhisthira, as the protector of the system of human activities, timely retired from the active life as a sannyasi handing over the charge of the administration to a trained prince, Maharaja Pariksit. The scientific system of varnasrama-dharma divides the human life in four divisions of occupation and four orders of life. The four orders of life as brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa, are to be followed by all, irrespective of the occupational division. Modern politicians do not wish to retire from active life even if they are old enough, but Yudhisthira Maharaja, as an ideal king, voluntarily retired from active administrative life..."

Prabhupada: Yes. We have referred to the politicians, because king means he is also politician. As soon as we speak of king, he is in politics. So these are the example. Although he was also great politician, he had to fight in the Battle of Kuruksetra, he had to adopt diplomacy, everything, but not that he would forget his real duty. This is perfect civilization, that one should not forget the real duty. The real duty is to fulfill the mission of the human life. The mission of human life is to understand God. And God is there, you cannot deny, God is there. But we do not know what is God, what is our relationship with Him. That we do not know. Just like in your country, the currency notes are advertised, "In God We Trust." But if we ask anybody that "This is the slogan of your state. What do you know about God?" nobody can reply. They will say, "It is something like this, something like that." But no... Everything vague idea. Nobody knows what is God, neither he knows how to trust in God. That is instructed in the Bhagavad-gita: what is God and how to trust in Him. This is the subject matter of Bhagavad-gita. But the people do not know. They simply have the slogan, "In God We Trust." Nobody knows what is God.

But we are trying to give the contribution, what is God. Not only God -- His form, His name, His address, everything we are giving. Here is the form of God, Krsna. If you do not believe, that He is not God, then you must say what is your idea of God. If you do not know what is the idea of God, then you must accept from me. And how can you deny that Krsna is not God? First of all you have to know what is God. God means the Supreme. That is the dictionary word, "Supreme Being." So Krsna is the Supreme Being. Krsna is the Supreme Being. Here we see a rich man, he enjoys, and his assistants, his managers, his secretaries, they work. They bring money from business, from factory, and the proprietor enjoys. This is a crude example. Similarly, here is God. He is in the enjoying spirit. He is not going to the office to manage his factory. No. He doesn't go. He simply enjoys. That is the injunction of the Vedas: na tasya karyam karanam ca... Definition of God, what is God.

What is God, the idea is given in the Vedas, Upanisad, na tasya karyam. First thing is that He has nothing to do personally. That is first qualification of God. If He has to do something personally, then He is not God. Na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate: "Nobody can be equal to Him or greater than Him." This is definition of God. Any subject matter... Suppose opulence, riches. So nobody can be richer than God or nobody can be equal with God. This is greatness. "God is great." How He is great? That is defined every..., particularly. He is great because nobody equally rich with Him. Nobody is richer than Him. That is God. Everybody is poorer than Him. Therefore na tat-samah. Sama means equal, and adhika means greater. How God can be great? If somebody is greater than Him, how God is great? If somebody is equal to Him, then how He is great? Just see how the definition is given perfectly. Na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate: "He has nothing to do." Because He is great, why He should work? All the subordinates will work. We are all subordinate. Therefore we shall work for God. But we have made our formula, that "God shall work for me." "God, give us our daily bread. We have nothing to do. Simply give us our bread." What is this? But the Vaisnava idea is that "Without giving bread to God, God will die." Yasoda-mayi is thinking, "If I do not give Krsna to eat something nice, Krsna will become lean and thin." That is love of Godhead, how to serve Krsna, how to serve God. Sevonmukhe. That is real religion. When we are not to take service from God, but we are ready to give service to God, that is real religion. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje [SB 1.2.6]. Adhoksaje. God is beyond our senses. Therefore He is Adhoksaja.

So that type of religion which teaches the followers how to serve God, how to love God, that is perfect religion. It doesn't matter whether it is Christian religion or Hindu religion, no. If the followers are trained up how to love God, how to serve God, that is perfect. That is being taught here. In this Krsna consciousness movement, there is no such teaching to ask from God. No. To give everything to God. That is Krsna consciousness movement. That is required. So Yudhisthira Maharaja is a devotee. Therefore, although he was the powerful emperor, still, he is now sacrificing his life for the service of the Lord. This is human civilization. At least, at a certain point of your life, you must sacrifice. If you haven't got anything, money, then you can sacrifice your life.

Pranair arthair dhiya vaca etavaj janma-saphalyam dehinam iha dehisu. This human form of life can be perfected. How? How it can be perfected? Pranair arthair dhiya vaca. Prana means life. Artha means riches. Pranair arthair dhiya. Dhiya means intelligence. And vaca, vaca means words. So we have got four things. We have got our life, and everybody has got some riches, either one pound or one million pounds. Everybody has got something. That is called artha. Prana, artha, and everyone has got intelligence, and everyone has got the power to speak. So we have to engage all these four things. Either four or three or two, at least one, we must engage. Pranair arthair dhiya, sreya-acaranam sada. This is the principle of religion or perfection of life. Etavaj janma. Then our life will be... There are many other slokas in Bhagavatam.

atah pumbhir dvija-srestha
varnasrama-vibhagasah
svanusthitasya dharmasya
samsiddhir hari-tosanam
 [SB 1.2.13]

This varnasrama-dharma we have already explained. So any civilized man must be within this category of varnasrama-dharma. Otherwise he is animal. Unless you accept some institution of making progress in spiritual life, you are animal. That is the difference between animal and man. Man has got some institution, some social structure, religious structure, political structure. Otherwise what is the difference between animals? The animals, they haven't got any president or senate house or parliament or church. That is the difference.

So this varnasrama-dharma means one has to accept these principles of varnasrama-dharma and act accordingly. A brahmana should act accordingly to brahmana principles. Satyam samo damas titiksa. The ksatriya should act accordingly. The vaisya should act according. The same example, as we have given many times, that I have got my head department, arms department, belly department, and leg department. To keep the body fit, everyone should act very nicely. Brain should work nicely, arms must be strong, belly must be fit to digest foodstuff, and legs must work. Similarly, these things... The varnasrama-dharma is necessary. It is not a convention. It is not a convention, that "The Hindus or the Indians, they are our only brahmanas." No. Here are also brahmanas. Because it is creation of God. God's creation must be there.

So now this Krsna consciousness movement is picking up who are the brahmanas. They mixed up. They are mixed up. So long there was no picking up of the brahmanas. Now, by this movement, Krsna consciousness movement, we are picking up the brahmanas. Because there is need of brahmanas at this time. Because brain is not there. The brain... Brahmana means the brain. They must have knowledge. That is brahmana. In India, the brahmanas are called pandita, although nowadays he is fool number one. But it is a title of the brahmana to become pandita. Pandita. He must know everything. Satyam samah, jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam. He must be very wise man. Jnanam vijnanam, and practical application, vijnanam. Jnanam vijnanam astikyam. And not nastika, not atheist. Jnanam vijnanam means one must know what is God. That is jnana. And brahma janatiti brahmanah. Brahmana means one who has already known God, or brahma-vastu. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. That is brahmana. Therefore people should go to brahmana. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. Without becoming a brahmana, one cannot become guru. Because if he does not know Brahman, Paramatma, Bhagavan, what kind of brahmana he is, and what kind of guru he is? So therefore one must know the ultimate truth, Bhagavan. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti. Not silent, simply by understanding Brahman or Paramatma, but he must know what is Bhagavan. Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. Bhagavan is Krsna. That is the verdict of the Vedas. Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam.

So a brahmana, even with good qualification, but if he does not now Krsna, then he cannot become guru. That is the injunction. Sat-karma-nipuno viprah. Vipra means brahmana. Nipuna means very expert. One... Now, sat-karma. Brahmana's business is six. Pathana, pathana, yajana, yajana, dana, pratigraha. A brahmana must be learned, and he must make others learned. That "I am learned man. I don't care for others..." No. He must teach others to become brahmana. Pathana pathana. Yajana yajana. He must worship God, and he must teach others also how to worship God. Yajana yajana. Dana pratigraha. Brahmana's business is not to do any trade or professional... He takes charity, pratigraha. But dana. Therefore in India it is said if a brahmana gets one lakh of rupees, still he is a beggar. Why? Because he does not keep it. If he gets one lakh of rupees now, next moment he will spend it for Krsna. Dana pratigraha.

So even though one is expert, pathana pathana yajana yajana dana pratigraha, avaisnavo gurur na sa syat. Sat-karma-nipuno vipro mantra-tantra-visaradah, he is expert in reciting all the mantras, Vedic mantras, he knows everything -- but he is not a Vaisnava. You find nowadays, impersonalists, voidists, so many brahmanas, they have no idea what is God, who is God. That is called avaisnava. Vaisnava knows what is Visnu, what is God. But avaisnava, non-Vaisnava, they do not know. So this is the formula, that even one brahmana is expert in all knowledge, but he does not know who is God, gurur na sa syat, he cannot become guru. This is the stricture. Sad-vaisnavah sva-paco guruh. That is sva-paca. Sva-paca means dog-eaters. They are considered to be lowest of the mankind, dog-eaters. There are different types of eaters, cow-eaters, goat-eaters and camel-eaters, this eaters, that eaters. There are so many. Out of that eaters, one who eats the dog, he is considered the lowest. So even a person coming from the family of dog-eaters, if he knows who is God, he can be guru. This is the injunction of the sastra. One who knows God, he cannot remain dog-eaters. But sometimes he comes from there. So... But sastra says, "Yes. When he has learned the science of God, then he can be accepted as guru."

That is the confirmation of Caitanya Mahaprabhu,

kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krsna-tattva-vetta sei ‘guru' haya
 [Cc. Madhya 8.128]

Who can become guru? Anyone who knows the science of Krsna, he can become guru. That is the injunction. Yei... It doesn't matter. Kiba vipra kiba sudra, nyasi kene naya. He may be a brahmana, he may be a sudra, he may be a sannyasi, he may be a grhastha. It doesn't matter. He may be a European, he may be American, he may be Indian. It doesn't matter. If he knows the science, yei krsna-tattva-vetta sei guru haya [Cc. Madhya 8.128].

So it is not limited under certain country, certain atmosphere or certain population. Krsna consciousness is open for everyone. So therefore our request is that these Europeans and Americans who have taken to Krsna consciousness, just become perfect in the understanding of this science and become guru and deliver the whole world.

Thank you very much. (end)
 
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.39 -- Los Angeles, December 17, 1973

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

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