I have seen many scholars, they cannot understand Bhāgavata. Sanskrit scholars, they will read, but they will not be able to understand. Similarly, Bhagavad-gītā also. If anyone studies Bhagavad-gītā from scholarly point of view, a-b-c-d, he'll not understand. Kṛṣṇa therefore says that "Arjuna, I shall speak the lessons of Bhāgavata unto you because you are My very dear friend and you are My devotee." Kṛṣṇa did not want to speak Śrīmad-SB.. Bhagavad-gītā to a scholarly student. No. These books are not to be understood by mundane scholarship. That is not possible. All the Vedic śāstras, all the Vedic śāstras. There is a big commentary on Bhagavad-gītā by a great scholar and political leader, Lokamanya Tilak. So one of his devotees, he's also politician. When I was in London in 1968... So he has got a society there. They're preaching the Tilak's political view, like that. He has got a... So he came to see me, and he was very much eulogizing Lokamanya Tilak, that he has written his big commentary, Karma-yoga.
So he wanted to invite me in talk on Tilak's great task. So I told him that "Tilak does not understand Bhagavad-gītā." So immediately he was surprised. Then we had a talk, and I convinced him that "Tilak was a politician, maybe a big scholar, but that does not mean he can understand Bhagavad-gītā." Bhagavad-gītā is understood by devotee. He may be illiterate. It doesn't matter. Still... As Caitanya Mahāprabhu certified the illiterate brāhmaṇa who was reading Bhagavad-gītā in Raṅganātha temple... You know the story. The brāhmaṇa was illiterate. His guru ordered him that "You read Bhagavad-gītā daily, eighteen chapters." So he could not refuse the order of guru mahārāja; so he was taking the book and simply seeing. So those who knew that he was illiterate, they were criticizing, "Well, brāhmaṇa, how you are reading Bhagavad-gītā?" He could not answer because he knew that "I am illiterate. I do not know." Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw this fun and approached him, "Well, brāhmaṇa, what you are reading?"
So he could understand that this Caitanya Mahāprabhu has not come to criticize him: "He's serious." So he informed Him, "Sir, I am reading Bhagavad-gītā, but I am illiterate. I am illiterate, but my spiritual master has ordered to read. So what can I do? I have taken this book and moving these pages. That's all. What can I do? Actually I cannot read." Then Caitanya Mahāprabhu inquired, "But I see you are sometimes crying." "Yes, sir, I sometimes cry." "Why?" "Now, because as soon as I take this book in my hand and I see the picture that Lord Kṛṣṇa is driving the chariot of Arjuna, I cry. 'Oh, Kṛṣṇa is so kind that He has taken the service of His devotee. He should have been seated on the chariot—Arjuna should have driven the chariot—but He's driving the chariot and Arjuna is sitting on the seat. So Kṛṣṇa is so kind and beloved that He can serve His devotee. It is the duty of the devotee to serve Him, but He's so kind and affectionate that He serves His devotee.' So as soon as I think of this-Kṛṣṇa's magnanimity—I cry."
Then immediately, Caitanya Mahāprabhu embraced him, that "You are... Your reading of Bhagavad-gītā is perfect. Because you have understood the essence of the Bhagavad-gītā." The scholars, they will say... When Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru (BG 18.65), the scholars will say "It is not to Kṛṣṇa the person, it is to the impersonal Brahman which is within Kṛṣṇa." They cannot conceive that the Supreme Absolute Truth can become a person. They cannot conceive. Such a huge cosmic manifestation is created by a person like us, resembling like us, two hands, two legs—their poor brain cannot accommodate. Paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam (BG 9.11). That is stated in Bhagavad-gītā. Mūḍhāḥ. "Fools and rascals," avajānanti, "deride at Me, thinking Me as ordinary man." Paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ, "He does not know what is the transcendental potency behind Me."
Paraṁ bhāvam ajānantaḥ. So the Māyāvādīs and poor fund of knowledge, they cannot understand Kṛṣṇa unless he becomes a devotee. And how he can become a devotee? That is stated here: bhāgavatāṅghri-reṇum. One has to surrender himself to His representative, bhāgavata. Bhāgavata means... God is called Bhagavān. Bhagavat, the original word is bhagavat, and one who has got intimate relation with Bhagavān, he is called bhāgavata. So here it is recommended, bhāgavatāṅghri-reṇuṁ na jātu martyaḥ. Martya means one who will die. Every one of us will die. But abhilabheta yas tu. But we can achieve a great success. Although this body's mortal, we can get, we can achieve a great success. And what is that? To take the dust of the lotus feet of a bhāgavata. Simple thing. Therefore it is said, jīvañ chavaḥ. Jīvañ chavo bhāgavatāṅghri-reṇuṁ na jātu martyo 'bhilabheta yas tu. After all, this body is dead. Everyone knows. It is simply moving on account of the presence of the spirit soul.
As soon as the spirit soul is out of this body, out of this bag of flesh and bone ... We are so much attached to this bag of flesh and bones, but those who are learned, they know that this body is nothing but flesh and bones. The real person, the real force, is the soul. Yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke (SB 10.84.13). A bag of bones and fleshes. This is not our identification. I am not this body. Do you think if you take some bones and flesh and accumulate them and bundle them, will they produce any intelligence? If I am this body, then this body means a bundle of flesh and bones. So the flesh and bones can be had outside. The scientists can take them and bind them together and then see that it is coming, a scientist, another scientist, Professor Einstein is coming from the bones and flesh. Is it possible? It is not possible. The bones and flesh are bones and flesh. The real identity is the soul. According to his karma, he manifests his intelligence. Although this intelligence is coming out through his bones and flesh.
Just like I am seeing through this glass. That does not mean the glass is seeing. The seeing power is different from the glass. Similarly, those who are thinking that they are this body, under bodily concept of life...
- yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke
- sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiśu bhauma ijya-dhīḥ
- yat-tīrtha-buddhiḥ salile na karhicij
- janeṣv abhijñeṣu sa eva go-kharaḥ
- (SB 10.84.13)
Bhāgavata says, "One who accepts this body as the self, he is no better then the cow and the ass." Foolish animal. I have several times explained why ass is called foolish, why cow is also foolish. Simple. Cow is simple; cow is... So they are compared with animals, one who accepts... Therefore this body continues to be animal body or a dead body unless in the human form of life one takes advantage of touching the dust of the lotus feet of a devotee. Jīvañ chavo bhāgavatāṅghri-reṇuṁ na jātu martyo 'bhilabheta yas tu... (aside:) She is sleeping. Śrī-viṣṇu-padyā manujas tulasyāḥ śvasañ chavo yas tu na veda gandham.
The nostrils... We smell. So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness smelling means we should offer all nice flowers and tulasī on the lotus feet of the Lord. And we shall accept prasādam. The priest will offer, and if we smell that, then our smelling power is fulfilled. That means... These Kumāras, catuḥsana Kumāras, Sanaka-kumārādi, they were first of all impersonalists, but after smelling the tulasī leaves which were offered to the lotus feet of Viṣṇu, they become personalists. So this is an opportunity. If anyone comes, smells the flowers and the tulasī offered to Viṣṇu, tastes the viṣṇu-prasāda, and sees the Lord's form, in this way he develops Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So this is opportunity. This temple means an opportunity, a process, a simple process. Not simple for ordinary man, but actually it is simple. Anyone can smell the flowers offered to Kṛṣṇa. Anyone can eat the foodstuffs offered to Kṛṣṇa. Anyone can see the Deity so nicely decorated. Anyone can hear Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.
So we have got these senses. So if we engage our senses in this way-our seeing power, our hearing power, our talking power, our smelling power, our touching power, our tasting power—in this way, if we engage everything in connection with Kṛṣṇa, very easily we become Kṛṣṇa conscious. And as soon as we become Kṛṣṇa conscious, then our life is successful. We become liberated from this bondage of birth and death. So this is the process. Now read.
Pradyumna: "According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, the breathing dead body is a ghost. When a man dies, he is called dead, but when he again appears in a subtle form not visible to the present vision and yet acts, such a dead body is called a ghost. Ghosts are always very bad elements, always creating a fearful situation for others. Similarly, the ghostlike nondevotees who have no respect for the pure devotees, nor for the Viṣṇu Deity in the temples, create a fearful situation for the devotees at all times. The Lord never accepts any offering by such impure ghosts. There is a common saying that one should first love the dog of the beloved before one shows any loving sentiments for the beloved. The stage of pure devotion is attained by sincerely serving a pure devotee of the Lord. The first condition of devotional service to the Lord is therefore to be a servant of a pure devotee, and this condition is fulfilled by the statement "reception of the dust of the lotus feet of a pure devotee who has also served another pure devotee." That is the way of pure disciplic succession, or devotional paramparā.
Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa inquired from the great saint Jaḍa Bharata as to how he had attained such a liberated stage of a paramahaṁsa, and in answer the great saint replied as follows (SB 5.12.12):
- rahūgaṇaitat tapasā na yāti
- na cejyayā nirvapaṇād gṛhād vā
- na cchandasā naiva jalāgni-sūryair
- vinā mahat-pāda-rajo-'bhiṣekam
"O King Rahūgaṇa, the perfectional stage of devotional service, or the paramahaṁsa stage of life, cannot be attained unless one is blessed by the dust of the feet of great devotees. It is never attained by tapasya (austerity), the Vedic worshiping process, acceptance of the renounced order of life, the discharge of the duties of household life, the chanting of the Vedic hymns, or the performance of penances in the hot sun, within cold water or before the blazing fire."