"You Have To Approach An Acarya"

73/10/05 Bombay, Bhagavad-gita 13.8-12

Prabhupada: So we have been discussing for the last few days about the process of knowledge. So we have discussed already amanitvam, humbleness. Amanitvam adambhitvam ahimsa. Ahimsa, non-violence. So ahimsa ksantih, tolerance, arjavam, simplicity. These things we have already discussed.

Now another important thing is acaryopasanam. If you want to make progress, then you have to approach acarya. Just like if you want to be educated, you go to school, you go to college, you go to university, similarly, if you want to be advanced in knowledge... knowledge means not this material knowledge. Actual knowledge is to advance in spiritual knowledge.

Just in this Bhagavad-gita the beginning of knowledge was instructed by Krsna that "I am not this body." Dehino 'smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara [Bg. 2.13]." I am encaged in this body. I am not this body. Unfortunately at the present moment, this is accepted knowledge, bodily concept. "I am." "I am Indian," "I am American," "I am brahmana," "I am ksatriya." This is going on. Actually the knowledge begins when one understands I am not American, "I am not Indian," I am not brahmana," "I am not ksatriya." Then what you are? Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanu-dasa: "I am the servant of the servant of the servant of Krsna, the provider of the gopis," Gopi-bhartuh. That is my real identification. Not this body.

So to understand this knowledge one has to approach acarya. Acarya means one who knows the purpose of Vedic literature, sastra. Asrnoti yah sastram. And practices and teaches his disciple. He knows. Acarya means knows. One who knows the purpose of Vedic literature, he practices in his life, and he teaches his disciple. He is called acarya. So acarya upasanam. Before worshiping the Lord... Just like here Krsna said in the beginning, acaryopasanam, and in the middle he says, mayi cananya-yogena bhaktir avyabhicarini. So before engaging yourself in devotional service to the Lord, you must first of all worship acarya, acaryopasanam. One cannot become a devotee personally. Just like some rascals say, "What is the use of accepting guru?" Of course, they have got very bad experience.

But who is acarya? Acarya means one who has received the Vedic knowledge through the parampara system. Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh [Bg. 4.2]. He is acarya. Acarya cannot be manufactured, self-made. No. He must come down from the disciplic succession. He is acarya. You have to approach such acarya who is coming in disciplic succession. acaryavan puruso veda. One who is under the shelter of acarya, he knows things. So Krsna recommends also here that if you actually want to become in knowledge, if you want to have real knowledge, then you must worship acarya. Acaryopasanam. This is Vedic system. Tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet [MU 1.2.12].

It is not that "If I like, I can go to a guru; if I don't like I can learn the books at home and learn everything." No, that is not possible. Practically... Just like if you purchase some medical book and study at home and if you begin to practice, you will be called a quack. You will not be recognized by the government. You will not get the practitioner's registration. You will not. Unless you have passed through the medical college, your medical examination, you will not be accepted, even if you say that "I have read all the books." Similarly, if you simply think that "I have read... As we see generally, "Oh, I have read Bhagavad-gita hundred times." But you ask him what is Krsna, he cannot say. Because he has not approached the acarya. This is the difficulty. He might have read Bhagavad-gita a thousand times, but he will not understand a single word because he has not approached.

Therefore Vedic literature says tad vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. Abhigacchet." This word is used when the sense is "You must." This is vidhi-lin form of verb, gacchet, abhigacchet. You must. There is no excuse. You cannot learn. Tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam [SB 11.3.21]. If you want to know uttamam subject matter... Ut, ut means udgatam, transcending. Tamah means this material world. This material world is tama, darkness. But if you are interested in the matter which is transcendental to this material world, that means spiritual world, then tasmad gurum prapadyeta, you must surrender to a guru.

Jijnasuh sreya uttamam. Not ordinary jijnasuh. Just like we go to the market, "What is the rate of this share? What is the rate of rice? What is the rate of dahl?" Not that kind of jij... Brahma jijnasuh. Athato brahma jijnasa. This human life is meant for inquiring about Brahman, not this rice, dahl, share market. No.

So jijnasuh sreya uttamam, what is the highest perfection of life, he requires to approach a guru. It is not a fashion. It is not a fashion that "I have made my guru, such and such Swami." But what you have learned? You cannot learn because you are not at all jijnasuh. You do not know how to inquire, neither the guru you have met, he does know how to reply. Such kind of guru and disciple will not help. The disciple must be also serious to understand about the spiritual subject matter. That is knowledge, brahma-jijnasa. One who is inquisitive to know about the Absolute Truth, he requires to approach a guru. That is jnana. Jnana means brahma-jnana. Aham brahmasmi. This is jnana. And if I am American, that is not jnana. That is ajnana. "I am Indian," "I am brahmana," "I am this," "I am that," "I am black," "I am white," "I am fat," "I am thin." These are all ajnana, ignorance. You are neither fat nor thin nor black nor white nor American, but you are spirit soul. You have to know that. Aham brahmasmi: "I am spirit soul. I am eternal servant of Krsna." That is knowledge. And for this knowledge you must approach, acaryopasanam.

Saucam, cleanliness. That is very essential. This morning I was talking with Tamal Krsna Gosvami. Cleanliness is... As soon as you give up cleanliness, you become mleccha and yavana. Mleccha, yavana, these two names have come into Vedic sastras, one who is unclean." Why there was always misunderstanding between the Hindus and the Muslims? I am talking of practical life. Because the Muslims were very unclean and the Hindus are supposed... now Hindus are less than Muslim, less than Muslim. And still, they are claiming... Saucam. They are most unclean at the present moment, so deteriorated. Publicly it is being advertised, "Here is beef shop. Come on. Equality. Equality by eating beef, drinking wine." Now this is coming. Saucam. Saucam. Cleanliness. Cleanliness is next to godliness. You must take twice bath at least. It is required. And in tropical countries like India, there is no difficulty taking bath three times. Of course, if your body does not permit... But that is Saucam, to clean. Saucam. Saucam bahyabhyantaram.

apavitrah pavitro va
sarvavastham gato 'pi va
yah smaret pundarikaksam
sa bahyabhyantaram sucih

The brahmana is called therefore suci. He is always clean, taking three times bath, cloth washed, mouth, hands, legs, all clean, with tilaka. That is brahmana. Saucam. This is externally. And internally you have to become also saucam. Bahyabhyantaram. Bahya mean externally you have to cleanse yourself with water, soap or earth. And internally you have to be cleansed by chanting Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Ceto-darpana-marjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. Because if you remain unclean within the heart, simply by washing your external body and cleansing your cloth, that is not complete cleanliness. That may be called hygienic. But real cleanliness is internally and externally. Yah smaret pundarikaksam sa bahyabhyantaram sucih. So you have to cleansed yourself externally and internally.

By remembering, yah smaret pundarikaksam, the lotus-eyed Krsna, if you always think, that is suci. And in Bengali there is a word, poetry, muci haya suci haya yadi krsna bhaje. If one is Krsna conscious, even if he is born in a cobbler's family, muci... In India there are two things, muci and suci. Suci means perfect brahmana, and muci means cobbler, the shoemaker. So muci haya suci haya yadi krsna bhaje. If one becomes Krsna conscious, even if he is born in the family of a muci, camara, he can become a brahmana. And suci haya muci haya yadi krsna tyaje. And if he gives up Krsna, even if he's born in a brahmana family, he becomes a muci.

Muci means the skin expert. If he is simply busy, "I am this skin, brahmana skin..." Your behavior? "No, that doesn't matter. So that means skin expert. Just like muci knows how to distinguish whether it is cow's skin or goat's skin or this skin.

No. One must be Krsna conscious. Then he is cleansed. Sa bahyabhyantaram sucih. Yah smaret pundarikaksam. This is Krsna consciousness. Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru [Bg. 18.65]. One who is always thinking of Krsna -- Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama -- he is suci. He is no more muci. Muci haya suci haya yadi krsna bhaje. Sthairyam atma-vinigrahah.

Controlling the senses, atma-vinigrahah. That is called swami, gosvami. If you can control your senses... Vaco-vegam krodha-vegam. If you can control your force of talking nonsense... Because generally we talk nonsense. So if you can control your talking of nonsense things, then you will become controller of talking. Vaco-vegam krodha-vegam. Naturally because we are generally affected with rajas-tamo-guna, raja-guna especially and tamo-guna, we become angry all of a sudden. So we have to control that. Vaco-vegam krodha-vegam manaso-vegam. Mind is very restless. So you have to control the mind. You cannot allow the mind to do anything and everything, but it must be controlled. Sthairyam atma-vinigrahah. Indriyarthesu vairagyam. Indriyarthesu.

For the matter of sense gratification you have to practice vairagya. Indriya. Our all the indriyas -- eyes, tongue, nose -- they are very much, I mean to say, affected or attracted. Eyes, always attracted by beauty. "I want to see very beautiful thing." But you can control the eyes when you practice to see the beautiful feature of Lord Krsna and Radharani. Therefore the Deity should be very nicely decorated so layman like us may be attracted by the beauty of Radha-Krsna. Gradually, he will forget to see any other beauty. This is the practice of indriyarthesu. Indriyarthesu vairagyam.

Actually the whole life is meant for understanding vairagya, renouncement. Human life is not meant for becoming more and more attached to the material enjoyment. Human life is meant for tapasya, vairagya. Here it is said, vairagyam, anahankara, and false prestige, false identification. "Oh, am this. I must do this." That is... In the beginning it is taught, amanitvam, anahankaram. And then janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam. We are very much busy to make solution of the problems of life. Political problems, economical problems, social problems. They are also problems. But real problem is janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi, that you have to take birth, you have to die, and when you are in life, you have to suffer from diseases, jara-vyadhi, and you have to become old. Janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha. These are really problems. But who knows that these are the real problems? They have taken it, accepted it.

Krsna says, "This is knowledge." If you are scientifically advanced how to stop death, how to stop birth, how to stop old age, how to stop disease, then you should know that you have advanced in science. Otherwise what is this? If you have made a horseless carriage motorcar, that is not advancement. It is advancement, but it is not the solution of the problem. The solution of problem is, human life, is to how to stop death.

Therefore sastra says that nobody should become guru, nobody should become father, nobody should become husband -- in this way there is a list -- na mocayed yah samupetya mrtyum, if one cannot help his student or his son or his subordinate to stop death. Actually this is the problem Na mocayed yah samupetya mrtyum. We are under the clutches of death. "It is as sure as death." So this human life is meant for stopping this death. But if you don't see that this is the problem, that is ajnana. That is ignorance. If you don't accept this is the problem, if you simply think "My problem is how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex life, how to defend... These problems are already solved, even by the birds and the beasts. These are not the problems. They are already set up. Real problem is here: janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam.

Another problem is asaktih. We are very much attached to our so-called home, so-called wife, children. And here is, jnana means that asaktir anabhisvangah, asaktir. You should, therefore, at a certain age, according to Vedic civilization, one is forced to give up this attachment. Naturally, one is attached to wife, children, home. But Vedic civilization says, that is all right from... Up to fifty years, you can remain attached. But pancasordhvam vanam vrajet. After your fiftieth year, you must give up your family life. Vanam vrajet. Go to the forest for tapasya. That was the system. Here at the present moment, everywhere, all over the world, when he is going to die, still he is attached to his political life, social life, family life. That is not knowledge. That is ignorance. You must be detached. Vairagyam. Anabhisvangah. Putra-dara-grhadisu. Family life. Putra means children. Dara means wife. Grha means home. Putra-dara-grhadisu. Asaktir anabhisvangah. Nityam ca sama-cittatvam istanistopapattisu.

In this way you have to be situated on the devotional service. Devotional service is not sentiment. Just like Krsna, after describing so many stages of advancement of knowledge, then he says, mayi ca ananya-yogena bhaktir avyabhicarini. Ananya-yogena. Always... Yoga means linking up. Always linking up with Krsna. Mayi. Krsna says mayi, "Unto Me, Krsna." Mayi ca ananya-yogena bhakti-yogena. So you can become attached with Krsna if you are dovetailed in the service of Krsna, not casually, but constantly. Mayi ca ananya-yogena bhakti-yogena avyabhicarini. Acyabhicarini means without break, always, constantly. Satatam kirtayanto mam yatantas ca drdha-vratah [Bg. 9.14].

In another place Krsna says, satatam kirtayanto mam [Bg. 9.14], "always glorifying Me." This is Krsna consciousness movement. Always we have to glorify Krsna. We should go, meet people, preach, and glorify Krsna. We beg for Krsna. We print books for Krsna. We distribute book for Krsna. We type for Krsna. We eat for Krsna. We sleep for Krsna. So everything should be dovetailed with Krsna. That is called ananya-yogena, without any break, constantly, twenty-four hours in Krsna consciousness. Avyabhicarini.

Vivikta-desa-sevitvam aratir jana-samsadi [Bg. 13.11]. Aratir jana-samsadi, not very much attached with general public, because they are not Krsna conscious. We can meet them as far as possible, as far as required. Not that we have to sit down and talk all nonsense with these general people. No. Aratir jana-samsadi, and vivikta-desa-sevitvam [Bg. 13.11]. Naturally, we shall be inclined to avoid such company. But preaching work, we have to go. Not to associate with him, but to give your association to him. That should be the principle. Because you have learned something about devotional service, you should give your experience to such person, but not to accept their behavior. If you keep this in view, then you will be preacher. And if you become victimized by his association, then you are doomed. You should give him the opportunity of your association, whatever you know, whatever you have learned about bhakti-yoga. When you go to meet a person, you should try to inform him, "This is Krsna consciousness. You also take to it." As Caitanya Mahaprabhu... Yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna-upadesa' [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna-upadesa'.

This is real business. Adhyatma-jnana-nityatvam. Spiritual knowledge. That is eternal knowledge. It will not break. If you learn spiritual knowledge, a little of it in this life, svalpam apy asya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat, then you will be saved from the greatest danger. Tattva-jnanartha-darsanam. If you want to become philosopher, then you philosophize for understanding the tattva-jnana. And what is tattva-jnana?

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti
bhagavan iti sabdyate
[SB 1.2.11]

That is tattva-jnana. Truth. What is that truth? Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti. To understand about Brahman, to understand about Paramatma, to understand about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is tattva-jnana.

So if you want to become philosopher, then philosophically you try to understand what is brahma-tattva, what is Paramatma-tattva, what is Bhagavan-tattva. Etaj jnanam, this is jnana. Not these degrees, MA, Phd. These are all decoration of the dead body. If you do not understand what is the value of life, you do not understand what is tattva, what is Brahman, what is Paramatma, what is God, if you do not become cleansed, if you do not become a devotee, as they are stated, if you have no acarya, you have no guru, then you are in darkness. Krsna concludes here. Etaj jnanam, "All these items described, this is jnanam." Iti proktam. It is accepted, prokta. Ajnanam yad ato 'nyatha: "And just any other thing besides these things, they are ajnanam."

So you compare. You call any educated person. Just like I told you several times, that that Professor Kotovsky, big man in Russia, he said "That there is no life. After finishing this body, everything is finished." Just see how much ajnanam. He does not know. So the whole world is going on under ajnanam. If they accept this Krsna consciousness movement, there is chance of having jnanam. Otherwise they remain in ajnanam. Thank you very much. Hare Krsna. (end)

Bhagavad-gita 13.8-12 -- Bombay, October 5, 1973