This body, made of three, I mean to say, biles, mucus, and air... So the, a bag of bones and flesh and blood, if one is thinking that "I am this, I am this body," then he is go-khara, cow or ass. So anyone who is on the bodily concept of life, he is animal, go-khara. Sa eva go-kharaḥ (SB 10.84.13). So how you can receive knowledge from a person who is animal? You cannot get any knowledge from the cows or the asses. So anyone who is under the bodily concept of life, he's no better than animal. So actually, if we say frankly, everyone is in the bodily concept of life. Therefore the modern civilization is animal civilization. It is not human civilization. Human civilization will begin when one will understand that "I am not this body. I am spirit soul." Ahaṁ brahmāsmi. That is the beginning of human civilization. And so long one is under the bodily concept of life, it is the civilization of cats and dogs.
Beginning of human civilization
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 1 - 6
There are two kinds of sva-dharmas, specific duties. As long as one is not liberated, one has to perform the duties of his particular body in accordance with religious principles in order to achieve liberation. When one is liberated, one's sva-dharma—specific duty—becomes spiritual and is not in the material bodily concept. In the bodily conception of life there are specific duties for the brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas respectively, and such duties are unavoidable. Sva-dharma is ordained by the Lord, and this will be clarified in the Fourth Chapter. On the bodily plane sva-dharma is called varṇāśrama-dharma, or man's steppingstone for spiritual understanding. Human civilization begins from the stage of varṇāśrama-dharma, or specific duties in terms of the specific modes of nature of the body obtained. Discharging one's specific duty in any field of action in accordance with the orders of higher authorities serves to elevate one to a higher status of life.
Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures
So beginning of human civilization is this varṇāśrama-dharma. The Vedic system is varṇāśrama-dharma.
The people known as Hindus in the world, the Hindu is a term given by the Mohammedans, from "Indus." Indus River is there. Now it is in Pakistan. So people beyond the Indus River, the Mohammedans in Arabia and other countries, they pronounce "s" as "h". Instead of "Sindhu," they used to pronounce it as "Hindu." So people living, crossing the river Indus or Hindus, they were called "Hindus." Otherwise, this "Hindu" term is not seen in any Vedic literature.
The real meaning is the people who observe the varṇāśrama-dharma, four varṇas and four āśramas. Four varṇa means brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra. And below the śūdras, they are called caṇḍālas, pañcama, fifth grade, less than the śūdras. That natural division is there everywhere.
Then take sannyāsa simply for understanding God. That is sannyāsa. You can take sannyāsa from the very beginning, but if it is not possible, at least at the fag end of your life everyone should take sannyāsa and completely devote in understanding the science of God. That is called sannyāsa.
This is Vedic system, varṇāśrama-dharma. Now it is foolishly going as Hindu dharma. What is the Hindu dharma? Hindu is not found even in the scriptures. This is a name given by the Mohammedans. Sindu. There is a river, Sindu. From Sindu it has come, "Hindu." Actually the Vedic culture is varṇāśrama-dharma, four varṇas and four āśramas. That is real Vedic culture, how to create brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa—eight. This is called varṇāśrama-dharma.
- puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
- viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā
- nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam
- (CC Madhya 8.58)
Actually human civilization begins when this institution of varṇāśrama is accepted. Otherwise it is animal civilization—eating, sleeping, mating, and dancing, that's all.
So therefore dharma first. That is the beginning of humanity, human civilization. Otherwise animals. The animals, they don't say, "I am Christian," "I am Muhammadan," "I am Buddhist," "I am this." No. He's dog. He's cat. That's all. Finished. But a human being says, "I am... I belong to this religion. I belong to that religion." That is required first. They are rejecting religion. The churches are vacant. That means they are becoming cats and dogs. That is not improvement. They are thinking that "I am now no more going to temple, no more going to church. I have come something, Communist or something like that." We don't care for these... That means you have got... This is the certificate that you have become animal. The animal never says that "I belong to this dharma or that dharma."
So there is no need of remaining poor. You can make your economic development. This is required. Dharmārtha-kāma-mokṣāṇām. Human life means four things he must develop. First thing is dharma. He must know what is religion. Every human being—not Indians or Europeans or Americans. That is the prime duty of every human being. Without following the religious principles, then he is not human even. Dharmeṇa hīnāḥ paśubhiḥ samānāḥ. If the human society... It doesn't matter what kind of religion you follow. It doesn't matter. But you must follow. (aside:) Sit down properly. Don't go out now and come. They, that is the duty, dharma. Dharmeṇa hīnāḥ. Human civilization begins when there is religious conception of life. Therefore all over the world—it doesn't matter whether Europe, America or India or China, Japan—there is some kind of religion. There is some kind of religion—either Hindu religion or Muslim religion or Christian religion, Buddhist religion. These are the prime religions of the world.
So actually human civilization begins when there is varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ, four varṇas and four āśramas. Here is brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsa. Unless human society is scientifically divided in this varṇāśrama system, it is animal society. It is not man's society. Therefore he is stressing varṇāśrama. Not others who are not within the category of varṇāśrama, they are animals. So when the human society comes to the system of varṇāśrama-dharma, then they can think about God. Otherwise it is not possible. Animal, how they can think about God? Because you are all first-class boys and girls, therefore you have come to hear about God. Now if you call first-class dogs, they will not come, that is not possible. So unless the human society is organized in the varṇāśrama-dharma, it remains animal society. And in animal society you cannot expect any intelligence or any sense of goodness or any idea of God. This is not possible.
The defect in Vyāsadeva was being pointed out by his spiritual master, Nārada, that "If... You have labored very hard in presenting dharmādayaḥ." Dharmādayaḥ means religiosity, economic development. Dharma-ādayaḥ. Ādayaḥ means beginning. That means human civilization should begin from religious principle. Otherwise, it is not human civilization. Dharmādayaḥ. Therefore in civilized nation there is religion. Maybe in different forms, but religion must be there. The same thing is explained by Nārada Muni, that dharmādayaḥ. First religion, then economic development. Not economic development first. And then sense gratification. And then liberation.
Kim anyaiḥ śāstraiḥ: under the instruction of his spiritual master, Vyāsadeva, revealed the scripture by spiritual experience. Bhakti-yogena, praṇihite amale. Bhakti-yoga, he could realize. Nārada Muni asked him to write simply on the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He had written so many books—all the Vedas, Upaniṣads, Purāṇas. But he was not feeling satisfied even after writing the Vedānta-sūtra. So at that time Nārada Muni happened to come to him, and he chastised him that "You have written so many books, but they're not very useful." Because people are generally attracted to dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa (SB 4.8.41, Cc. Ādi 1.90). They're attracted. Those who are civilized men, they are attracted with some sort of religion, system. It doesn't matter whether he's Hindu or Muslim or Christian. They have some sort of religious practice. That is the beginning of human civilization. When there is no religious practice, that is not civilized man. Just like in the jungle, aborigines, or the animals, they have no religious system. In the human society there is some religious system. Therefore when the human society becomes without any religious understanding, dharmeṇa hīnāḥ paśubhiḥ samānāḥ, immediately they're animals. They're not human beings.
Because the main business is to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ. Varṇāśrama. There are four varṇas and four āśramas: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and sannyāsī. So these are the scientific divisions of civilized society. Unless there are these divisions, it is a chaotic condition; it is not very satisfactory. That is happening. Nowadays, there is no scientific division of the human society. Therefore there are so many chaotic conditions. So actual human civilization begins when we accept these eight departmental management of the society. That is human society. Otherwise it is animal society. So... So according to Vedic civilization, every department, division, has got a particular duty.
So this varṇāśrama-dharma means cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13), from the animal position of the human being, to bring him to the human position. That is varṇāśrama-dharma. Just (as in) school (or) college, to become graduate means to become distinguished from the fools and rascals. Similarly, human being does not mean the struggle for existence as the one big fish is eating another small fish, another is... No, no, that is not human. That is natural, but you have to rectify the natural position for the..., for realization of the utmost aim of life. That is human life. Not to treat like animals. Sa eva go-kharaḥ (SB 10.84.13). So that spiritual consciousness begins when one understands that he is soul; he is not this body, he is spirit soul, ahaṁ brahmāsmi. Brahman means the spirit soul. And there human civilization begins. Otherwise, anārya, anārya-juṣṭam.
Varṇāśrama, the execution of duty in the institution of varṇa and āśrama, four varṇas and four āśramas, what is the meaning? The meaning is viṣṇur ārādhyate, Viṣṇu becomes very pleased. That is varṇāśrama-dharma. If you execute as a pakka brāhmaṇa, that means Viṣṇu will be pleased. If you execute your duties as a perfect kṣatriya, then Viṣṇu will be pleased. If you execute your duty as a perfect vaiśya, then Viṣṇu will be pleased. And if you execute your duties as a perfect śūdra, Viṣṇu will be pleased. The purpose is to please Viṣṇu. Therefore na te viduḥ... The purpose they do not know. They have forgotten. Not now. This is the nature of this material world: na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi..., to please Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu means Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa means Viṣṇu. Viṣṇu is expansion of Kṛṣṇa. So Kṛṣṇa has millions of forms, as Viṣṇu, Nārāyaṇa and other also. Advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam (Bs. 5.33). Ananta-rūpam. Ādyaṁ purāṇa-puruṣaṁ nava-yauvanaṁ ca. So viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam. There is no other alternative to please Him. Therefore varṇāśrama-dharma is very important. That is the beginning of perfect human civilization.
The varṇāśrama-dharma, that is beginning of human civilization. So in this age they have already given up. There is no varṇāśrama. In India it is simply in name. Actually, there is no varṇāśrama. The, most of the people, they are śūdras. But without varṇāśrama, there cannot be any human civilization, because the aim of human life is to understand God. That is the aim of human life. Unfortunately, they have given up this idea, the aim of life is to understand God. You inquire all over the world, 99.9% will deny God or they have no clear idea of God. Even the so-called religionists, they have also no clear idea. Maybe some power; no clear idea. Neither they are interested to know. But so far we are concerned, we have got full description of the Lord and His pastimes, His activities. Everything is recorded in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other Vedic literatures. And God says in the Bhagavad-gītā personally that "I was existing in the past and I shall continue to exist in the future." Similarly, the living entities, they also existed in the past and they will continue to exist in the future individually.
People are hankering after dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa-religiosity, economic development, and then sense gratification, and then mokṣa. Dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa (SB 4.8.41, Cc. Ādi 1.90). Human civilization begins—dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa. Otherwise animal.
So dharma means this varṇāśrama-dharma. Varnāśrama-dharma. Varṇāśramācāravatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān viṣṇur ārādhyate (CC Madhya 8.58). So Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura said that "You simply become devotee. You don't hanker after this dharma, artha, kama, mokṣa. No. They will serve you. You do not require to call them. They themselves will come and serve you. You just become a pure devotee." Samaya-pratīkṣāḥ. Mukti. Why devotees will ask for mukti? They are already mukta because they have no material activities; all spiritual activities.
The beginning of real human civilization is observance of the institute of four varṇas and four āśramas. That is the beginning of civilized life. Otherwise, it is not civilized life; it is crude, uncivilized life, where there is no varṇāśrama, where there (is) no division of society according to work and quality and āśrama, spiritual life division. So Rāmānanda Rāya recommended this verse, that this is the process to satisfy the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu. But Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that eho bāhya āge kaha āra, "This is external. If you know something more, better than this, you say." Why He said? There is the version, viṣṇur ārādhyate. Does it mean that He is rejecting Viṣṇu worship? No, He's not rejecting. Because generally, they, these impersonalists, Māyāvādīs, they also worship sometimes Viṣṇu, these five demigods and God. But their idea is that ultimately impersonal. The impersonal takes the form by the help of this material world. The formation takes place simply in the material. That is their opinion.
Conversations and Morning Walks
1976 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: It is a different platform of life—a spiritual. Generally people are on the material platform, in the bodily concept of life, and the whole world is going on with that wrong conception of life. Actually, as soon as we think that we are this body, we are immediately on the platform of animal life. So in the Bhāgavata it is stated, yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke (SB 10.84.13). Anyone who is thinking, identifying himself with this body, and similarly with other references, yasyātma-buddhiḥ kuṇape tri-dhātuke sva-dhīḥ kalatrādiṣu bhauma-ijya-dhīḥ. In relation with body, we think of family, community, nationality. In this way our civilization is dog civilization. That is not human civilization. Human civilization begins when one understands that he is not this body.
Prabhupāda: Similarly, when this body will be finished, I shall enter another body, new body. That will be given to me by nature according to the mental condition at the time of my death. Yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram (BG 8.6). This is the law of nature. So people are not educated in the law of nature. They are educated in animalistic life. As the dog is thinking "I am dog," and barking, similarly, if a person thinks "I am Indian" or "I am American," so there's not much difference between the dog and the man. The man must think otherwise, that "I am not this body," then the civilization, human civilization, begins. Athāto brahma jijñāsā. Unfortunately, there is no education. This education was little there. Even in India that is now becoming finished on account of this Western influence. So that is now practically finished. But this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement begins from the understanding that "I am not this body." Therefore its activities are different from the activities of bodily conception of life. People cannot understand. That is the difficulty.
Prabhupāda: The varṇāśrama-dharma, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, this is plan just to teach the whole society how to perform yajña. Varṇāśramācāra-vatā. Therefore this is the beginning of human civilization. Varṇāśrama. How to return back. Just like Bali Mahārāja. Bali Mahārāja achieved, obtained, throughout the universe all the property, and he again returned to Vāmana. That was his success of life. So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is an educational movement to teach people how one should voluntarily return the property of the Lord to the Lord. That is called yajña. Yajñārthāt karmaṇo 'nyatra loko 'yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ (BG 3.9). So people actually suffering. Not only... This material life means suffering. We may say that we are very happy, but that is not the fact. Tri-tāpa, three kinds of miserable condition of life are there always, adhyātmika, adhibhautika, adhidaivika. But we are accustomed to suffering, and we say suffering is happiness. That is called māyā. Actually, material life is... This body, as soon as we get this body, it means suffering.
1977 Conversations and Morning Walks
Prabhupāda: Subdued. So then there is no chance. Kancai no wale basa mas korbe tas tas:(?) "If you want to bend this bamboo, when it is green, you can do it. And if it is yellow, can't. It will break." Tas, tas. This is Bengali. If you take one yellow bamboo, to bend it, it will crack and make sound, "Tas, tas." But when it is green, you can bend it. Kancai no wale paca means green. (Bengali) Kancai no wale basa mas korbe tas tas.(?) First human civilization begins when you restrain the children not to become restless. This is the training. Brahmacārī guru-gṛhe vasan dānto guror hitam. This training is lacking. Therefore even in old age, the washerman business. I am bodily conscious, and I am training others also to become bodily conscious: "You feel like Indian," "You feel like American," "You feel like Englishman." This is education, the same dehātma-buddhi, that "I am this body," extended. The extended feeling of bodily consciousness, is that advancement? Is that advancement? The bodily consciousness is animalism.
Prabhupāda: Four-wheel dogs. That is advancement of civilization. The dog is running with four legs, and he is running with four wheels. Dag-dag-dag-dag-dag. Where you are going? And this is their scientific advancement. Competition with dog. Otherwise what they have done? The ant hill, and four-legged wheel. That's all. Four wheel legs. This is animal civilization. Without knowing the aim of life, living in big, big skyscraper building, "I am king." And running like dogs with four wheel car, Mercedes. This is dog civilization. It is not human civilization. Human civilization begins when they take Kṛṣṇa's instructions: cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13). Divide the whole human society into four divisions and let them cooperatively act for the benefit of God. That is civilization. There civilization begins. Otherwise, what is the difference between dog and the human being? There is no difference. The leaders are teaching, "Feel like Indians." As a dog is feeling, "I am bulldog." This is our leaders.
Prabhupāda: This body is composition of three dhātu, kapha, pitta, vāyu, according to Āyur Veda; and according to medical science, it is skin and then muscle, blood, bone, and marrow, stool, urine, those, combination. So I am not this combination of stool, bone, skin, blood. But people are taking that. When they are diseased, they take care of the body. Of course, it is not that we should not take care. But that is superficial. Real care should be taken of the soul within the body. Dehino 'smin yathā dehe (BG 2.13). Dehinaḥ, dehī. Dehinaḥ and deha. So anyone who is identifying with this body in either... According to Vedic civilization, the bodily identification is divided into eight: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, and sannyāsa. Varṇāśrama-dharma. So human civilization begins, according to Vedic understanding, when there is varṇāśrama system. Otherwise it is not human civilization.