Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much for kindly inviting me. I'll serve you to my capacity. Today's subject matter is "Culture and Business. So business, we mean business means the occupational duty. According to our Vedic culture, there are different types of businesses. As it is described in the Bhagavad-gītā, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgasaḥ BG 4.13 — the four divisions of social system, namely the brāhmaṇa, the kṣatriya, the vaiśya and the śūdra. Before doing business, there must be a division who can do what kind of business. There are different businesses. Now we have taken that everyone should take everyone's business. That is not very scientifical division. Therefore there is cultural division. Just like the whole body. The whole body's one unit, but there are different departments also—just like the head department, the arms department, the belly department and the leg department. This is scientific. The head department is called the brāhmaṇa. In the society... And the arms department is called the kṣatriyas, and the belly department is called the vaiśyas, and the leg department is called the śūdras. This is scientific division of business. Although the head department is most important department, because without head, other departments, the arms departments, the belly department and the leg department will be finished. If the arms department is lacking, still business can go on. If the leg department is lacking, the business may go on. But if the head department is not there, if the, your head is cut off from the body, then in spite of having all these arms, legs and bellies, they all become useless. So the head department is meant for culture. Without culture... Just like without head, the arms department, the belly department, the leg department are all useless. Similarly without culture, all these businesses, they creates confusion and chaos. That is the position at the present moment, because there is intermingling of different businesses. There must be one section of people, head department, who should give advice to the other departments. The brāhmaṇas, they're intelligent. They are qualified. Satya śama dama titikṣa ārjava jñānaṁ vijñānam astikyaṁ brahma-karma svabhāva-jam BG 4.13 .
So culture means that one should know what is the aim of life. Without understanding the aim of life, a man without aim is ship without, a ship without rudder. That is an English proverb. So at the present moment, we are missing the goal of life because there is no head department. The whole human society is lacking now real brāhmaṇas who can give advice to the other departments. Just like Arjuna was fighting. He was a military man. His business was to fight. He was engaged in his business, but he was taking at the same time advice of, the advice of the Brāhmaṇa deva, Kṛṣṇa.
- namo brahmaṇya-devāya
- go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca
- jagad-dhitāya kṛṣṇāya
- govindāya namo namaḥ
So the brāhmaṇa department, or the adviser department, is described in this verse: namo brahmaṇya-devāya go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca. The first thing is taken into consideration, go-brāhmaṇa. Why these two things are stressed upon? Because in a society where there is no brahminical culture and where there is no cow protection, it is not human society. So in a chaotic condition, any business you do, it will never be perfect. But in a systematized, systematic, cultural society, you do business. That is perfect. That is the instruction of Śrīmad-Bhāgavata, Bhāgavatam. In a meeting in Naimiṣāraṇya, where many learned scholars and brāhmaṇas assembled, and Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī was giving instruction, he said: ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ. The varṇāśrama is stressed. The Vedic culture means four varṇas and four āśramas: brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra; brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. Unless we take to this institution of varṇāśrama dharma, the whole society will be in chaotic condition.
And the purpose of varṇāśrama dharma is to satisfy the Supreme Lord. As it is stated in the Viṣṇu Purāṇa:
- puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
- viṣṇur ārādhyate puṁsāṁ
- nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam
- CC Madhya 8.58
Just like in a state, you have to satisfy your government; then you are good citizen. Similarly in the cosmic state, taking altogether this whole material creation, if you do not satisfy the Supreme Lord, the proprietor of everything, then it will be chaotic condition. Our Vedic culture means whatever you do, it doesn't matter. You must satisfy the Supreme Lord. That is culture. Sva-karmaṇā tam abhyarcya samsiddhiṁ labhate naraḥ BG 18.46 . You can do any business. Any business means the brāhmaṇa's business, the kṣatriya's business, the vaiśya's business and the śūdra's business. That is business. Otherwise you can do any business. But business means there are different classes of business. So Bhagavad-gītā it is said that one should satisfy by his own business the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yena sarvam idaṁ tatam. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam also it is said: culture means... Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ. The, there are different businesses according to different divisions of human society. But their aim should be svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya. Business means dharma. Another... Dharma means occupational duty. So svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya saṁsiddhir. One must find out the perfection of his business. That is culture. Culture and business means you may do whatever business you are doing, according to your division, or according to your capacity or according to your qualification. You may be a, a merchant, you may be a professional man, you may be legal adviser, medical man. Whatever you may, it doesn't matter. But if you want perfection in your business, then you must try to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is culture. Otherwise you are simply wasting your time. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, yajñārthe karma. Yajña. Yajña means Viṣṇu, the Supreme Lord. For Him you have to work. Yajñārthe karma. Anyatra karma-bandhana. Otherwise you become bound up by the acts, by the reaction of your activities. Karma-bandhana. And so long you are in the bondage of karma, you have to transmigrate from one body to another.
Unfortunately at the present moment, people do not know that there is soul and the soul transmigrates from one body to another. As it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, tathā dehāntaraṁ prāptir dhīras tatra na muhyati BG 2.13 . Big, big professors... I've talked with big, big scientists, professors, but they do not know that there is life after death. They do not know. But according to our Vedic information, we know. And we can ex..., experience in this present life. It is very common thing. Just like a baby has got a body of a boy. The boy has got a body again of a youth, young man. The young man has got a body again of a old man. So similarly, old man, after annihilation of this body, he'll get another body. It is very, quite natural, logical. And we change our body. Although this gross body's destroyed, we change our body by the subtle body. The subtle body is made of mind, intelligence and ego. Just like we forget about this body at night, and the subtle body works. We dream. We are taken away from our home, from our bed, to some other place, and completely forget this body. And when the sleep is over, we forget about the dream and we become attached to this gross body. This is going on—in our daily experience. So I am the observer. I am sometimes in this gross body and sometimes in the subtle body. But it is changing. But I am the observer. Therefore the inquiry should be that "What is my position? At night I forget my gross body, and during daytime I forget my subtle body. Then what is my real body?" These are the questions.
So this is culture. You may do your business. Just like Arjuna: Arjuna was doing his business. He was a fighter, kṣatriya, but he did not forget his culture, hearing Gītā from the master. That is culture. If you simply do business and do not cultivate your spiritual life, then it is useless waste of time. Śrama eva hi kevalam SB 1.2.8 , the śāstra says. Svanuṣṭhitasya dharmasya saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam SB 1.2.8 . Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ. So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is being spread up that "Do not forget your cultural life." We do not say that you stop your business and become a sannyāsī like me and give up everything. We do not say. Neither Kṛṣṇa said that. Kṛṣṇa never said Arjuna that "You give up your business." "You are kṣatriya. You are declining fighting. Oh, it is very abominable. You should not say like that. You must fight." That was Kṛṣṇa's instruction. So similarly, we Kṛṣṇa conscious people, we are also advising everyone that "You do not give up your business." Caitanya Mahāprabhu said also: sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhiḥ. Caitanya Mahāprabhu never said that "You give up your position." Position, giving up is not very difficult. But to cultivate spiritual knowledge, that is required. Tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovidaḥ na labhyate yad bhramatam upary adhaḥ [1.5.18] . Now the animal life, there is no cultivation of spiritual life. That is not possible. The animal cannot cultivate this knowledge. The human beings, if they do not cultivate spiritual knowledge, they're exactly like animals. Dharmeṇa hīna paśubhiḥ samānāḥ. So we should be very conscious about our eternal existence. Na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre SB 1.2.8 . Nityaḥ śāśvato 'yam. We, spirit soul, we are eternal. We are not going to die after the annihilation of this body. This is the cultivation of knowledge. This is called brahma-jijñāsā, to know about one's self. Caitanya Mahāprabhu's first disciple, Sanātana Gosvāmī, he was minister, finance minister in the government of Nawab Hussein Shah, and he retired and approached Caitanya Mahāprabhu. And he humbly inquired that "These people call me paṇḍita. " Because he was brāhmaṇa by caste. Naturally we call a brāhmaṇa " paṇḍita. " So Sanātana Gosvāmī placed this: "My dear Lord, these people call me paṇḍita, but I am such a paṇḍita that I do not know who I..., what I am." So that is the position of everyone. We may be businessman. We may be in other profession. But if we do not know what I am, wherefrom I have come, why I am under the tribulation of these material laws of nature and where I am going, what is my next life—if we do not know this, then whatever we are doing, śrama eva hi kevalam. Viṣvaksena-kathāsu notpādayed ratiṁ yadi, viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ śrama eva hi kevalam SB 1.2.8 .
So our request to everyone that you can be engaged in whatever business, in whatever position Kṛṣṇa has posted you. Do your duty nicely. But do not forget to cultivate Kṛṣṇa knowledge. Kṛṣṇa knowledge means God consciousness. God consciousness means we must know that we are part and parcel. Mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ BG 15.7 . We are eternal part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, or God, but we are struggling here, manaḥ-ṣaṣṭhāni indriyānī prakṛti-sthāni karṣati. Why this struggle for existence? We must know... We have got eternal life. This temporary... Suppose in this temporary life I become Birla or some big businessman for, say, twenty years or fifty years, utmost, hundred years. Next life there is no guarantee that I'm going to be Birla or this man, Tata. No. There is no such guarantee. That we do not take care. We are taking care of the small span of life, but we are not taking care of our life eternal. That is mistake. Suppose in this life I am a very great businessman. Next life, by my karma, if I become something else... There are 8,400,000 species of life, forms of life. Jalajā nava-lakṣāṇi sthāvarā lakṣa-viṁśati. Nine lakhs of forms of life in the water. Then there are insects. Sthāvarā lakṣa... There are trees, plants, two million forms of trees and plants. Kṛmayo rudra-saṅkhyakāḥ. Eleven lakhs' species of insects, reptiles. Then birds. Pakṣiṇāṁ daśa-lakṣaṇam. In this way, we fulfill eight millions of different forms of life. Then we come to the form of human life. Therefore Prahlāda Mahārāja said that kaumāra ācaret prājño dharmān bhāgavatān iha, durlabhaṁ mānuṣaṁ janmaBG 15.7 . This mānuṣaṁ janma is very, very rare. We should not be satisfied only becoming a very big businessman. We must know what is next life, what I am going to be.