Ladies and gentlemen, this ceremony... Of course, those who are my students, they know what is this ceremony. Those who are visitors, for their information, I may inform you something about this ceremony. Otherwise, it may not be misunderstood. A outsider may see it that "Why a person is being worshiped like God?" There may be some doubt. So this is the etiquette. This ceremony is called Vyāsa-pūjā. Vyāsa. Vyāsa means the original author of Vedic literature. He's incarnation of Nārāyaṇa. He gave us all Vedic knowledge. He received the knowledge from Nārada. Nārada received the knowledge from Brahma. Brahmā received the knowledge from Kṛṣṇa. So in this way, by disciplic succession, we get transcendental knowledge.
So Vyāsadeva... Formerly, before Vyāsadeva, say, five thousand years ago, before that time there was no need of written literature. People were so sharp in their memory that whatever they would hear from the spiritual master they would remember for life. The memory was so sharp. But in this age—it is called Kali-yuga—we are reducing our bodily strength, our memory, power of memorizing, our feelings of sympathy for others, compassion, age, duration of life, religious propensities. In this way, in this age we are reducing everything. Every one of you can understand very easily. Formerly if somebody is attacked by another man, many persons will come to help him: "Why this man is attacked?" But at the present moment if one man is attacked, the passersby will not care for it because they have lost their sympathy or mercifulness for others. Our neighbor may starve, but we don't care for it. But formerly the sympathy for other living entities, even for an ant... Just like Mahārāja Parīkṣit, while he was touring on his kingdom, he saw that one man was trying to kill a cow. Parīkṣit Mahārāja saw. Immediately he took his sword that "Who are you? You are killing a cow in my kingdom?" Because the king is supposed, or the government is supposed to give everyone protection, not that the government is meant for giving protection to the human being and not to the animals. Because it is Kali-yuga, the government discriminates between two nationals. National means one who has taken birth in the land. That is called national. That is... You know, everyone. So the trees, they are also born in the land, the aquatics also born in the land. The flies, the reptiles, the snakes, the birds, the beasts, human beings—everyone is born in that land. Suppose your land, America, United States... Why the government should give protection to one class of living entities, rejecting others? This means they have lost their sympathy for others. This is Kali-yuga. Formerly, before Kali-yuga, unnecessarily even an ant would not be killed. Even an ant. There are many instances that a hunter who was taking advantage of killing animals, but when he became a devotee he was not prepared to kill even an ant.