Bhagavad-gita 4.13
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Johannesburg, October 19, 1975


catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah tasya kartaram api mam viddhy akartaram avyayam [Bg. 4.13]

This is a verse from Bhagavad-gita, fourth chapter, text number thirteen. Krsna… The whole Bhagavad-gita is bhagavata, means the Supreme Personality of Godhead, gita, “spoken” or “sung.” Gita means “spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead,” Bhagavad-gita. Just like we speak, similarly God also speaks. We hear, God also hears. We eat, God also eats. Everything, as we do, Lord Krsna, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He also does. The difference… Difference is that He does unlimitedly, we do limitedly. That’s all. The functions are the same, but His functions, His activities, are unlimited, and our functions are limited.

Why so? Now, because we are part and parcel of God. Mamaivamso jiva-bhutah jiva-loke sanatanah [Bg. 15.7] We are part and parcel of God. The example is: just like this finger is the part and parcel of my body, so the strength of the finger is not as big as the whole body strength. It is very easily understood. The bodily strength is different from the finger’s strength. The finger is also part and parcel of this body. If I say… If you ask, “What is this?” if I say, “It is my body,” so there is no mistake. It is part of the body. But it is not the whole body. The whole body is different. Therefore God and the living entity, they are the same quality, but quantity different.

So in the Vedas the description is there about God and ourselves. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman. What is God? God means He is the chief, nitya, chief. Nitya means eternal. Nityanam. There are millions and millions, unlimited. Nityanam, this is plural number. That we are, living entity. We are also nitya. We are also eternal and God is also eternal. But He is the chief eternal. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. He is also living entity, we are also living entities, but He is the chief living entity.

What is the difference between the chief and ourselves? Now, the difference is eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman. There are two chiefs, two eternal… One is… Two eternal and two… Cetana means living being, two living quality. So the singular number is maintaining the plural numbers. Eko yo bahunam. We, we living entities, we are plural number, many. Jiva-bhagah sa vijneyah sa anantyaya kalpate [Cc. Madya 19.140]. Jiva…

Just like the sun and the sunshine. What is the difference? The difference is… You see the sun globe. That is also number one. And what is the sunshine? The sunshine is a combination of very, very small, atomic, bright particles, the sunshine. Molecules. In the science they are called molecules. But there are many millions of small atomic parts combined together. That appears to be sunshine. So eka, the sun is one, but the sunshine means combination of many small atomic particles. Similarly, God is one, and we, part and parcel of God, we are many. Try to understand this. This is authoritative statement. So quality, the sun and the small atomic molecule particle, both of them are bright shining. But the sun as it is and the small particle, they are not equal. Equal in quality, not in quantity.

This is perfect understanding of philosophy. This is called acintya-bhedabheda-tattva, inconceivably one and different simultaneously. We are one with God in quality, but we are different in quantity. This is the understanding. Because we are particle of God, we have got all the qualities. Not all the qualities. They have calculated, big, big saintly persons, we have got seventy-eight percent of the qualities of God in very minute quantity. Say God is cent percent, hundred. So we are, when we are perfect, means without any material contamination, then we possess… We have already; it is now covered.

Aham brahmasmi: “I am Brahman.” That’s a fact, but it is now covered. When it is covered it is called jiva. Jiva-bhutah. When it is cleansed, then it is called brahma-bhutah. Brahma. Brahma-bhutah. That is described in the Bhagavad-gita.

brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati samah sarvesu bhutesu mad-bhaktim labhate param [Bg. 18.54]

We are now jiva-bhutah. Jiva-bhutah means we are the same eternal living entities, pure, but somehow or other we have come in contact with this material nature.

(aside:) You have to stop that. The child’s are disturbing.

Harikesa: Take them outside.

Prabhupada: This is called brahma-bhutah. We are now covered by the material energy. Just like we are covered now by the shirt and coat differently, but if we open our shirt and coat, we are human being, similarly, we are part and parcel of God. Now we are covered by this material body, subtle and gross. Subtle material body is mind, intelligence, and ego, and gross material body means five elements: earth, water, air, fire, ether. So this is our situation.

So all we living entities, those who are within this material world… There are so many. Just like you can see so many planets. In each and every planets and stars there are living entities. Sarva-ga. Don’t think that only God has favored this planet full with living entities and others are simply empty showbottle. That is not the fact. They do not know it. They have no perfect knowledge. They say that only this earthly planet is full of living entities. No. Everywhere. That description you’ll get from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Fifth Canto. There is vivid description of all the planets and what kind of living entities are there. So some of them are described in this Bhagavad-gita.

So Bhagavad-gita is the perfect knowledge. We are now materially contaminated. So you can say, “What is the wrong? If you are materially contaminated, what is the wrong?” That is our lack of knowledge. We cannot understand what is the wrong. The wrong thing we take as pleasing. This is the disease. First of all we must know whether we are happy in this material world. But we have no intelligence. Mudha. We have been described as mudha.

Just like there are three kinds of miserable condition always. This boy is fanning me. Why? There is little miserable condition here. We are feeling too hot. So again, if you go outside, you may feel too cold. So either inside or outside, you are in miserable condition. This is called adhyatmika.

Then adhibhautika. Just like we tried to stop the child disturbing. So the child is another living entity, I am another living entity, but she is causing some disturbance. Not the child, there are other living entities. In your country, of course, it is very less. In our India it is very prominent—mosquitoes, flies, bugs. They give trouble. Or some enemy or some other animal attacks you. This is called adhibhautika.

Adhyatmika, adhibhautika, then adhidaivika. Adhidaivika means all of a sudden there is earthquake or famine or too much rain or no rain. Daivika means it is… We have no control over it. So there are so many. These are the big heading of miserable condition: adhyatmika, adhibhautika, adhidaivika. And there are many, many other categories.

And ultimately, as Krsna points out, janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam. You may have solved all other problems. Very good. But what about your birth, death, disease and old age? These are the intelligent questions. We have to answer. We have to make solution. Then you say that this material world is very nice. But if you are always faced with so many problems and still you say that “Material world is very nice,” so what you are? Foolish. You do not know what is the meaning of pleasure.

Anandamayo ’bhyasat. God is anandamaya, always full of pleasure. You will see Krsna’s picture. Just see so many pictures— anandamaya. He is sitting down on a small rock and enjoying the association of the small animals. Just see. They are also coming to Krsna. Simply by touching Him, they are feeling bliss-fulness. And Krsna also embracing, “Yes, come on.” So this is anandamaya. Both of them are enjoying. Krsna as a child in the lap of mother Yasoda— enjoying. Then Krsna as a friend of Radharani, He’s enjoying. So you’ll find always Krsna enjoying. This is Vrndavana.

So we are part and parcel of God, Krsna, so we also must be feeling enjoy. Why we are so much distressed—adhyatmika, adhibhautika, adhidaivika? This question should arise. If this question does not arise, then we are as good as cats and dogs. That’s all. The cats and dogs never inquire. Cat will never inquire that “Why I am starving? Why I am dying? Why everybody chases me? I have to go out.” The dog also. So if in the human form of life we remain blind without seeing the problems of life and still we say we are very much joyful, enjoying life, where is your enjoyment? There is no enjoyment.

We are foolishly thinking that enjoying life. That enjoyment, life, means a little sex enjoyment. That’s all. That is also very abominable, yan maithunadi-grhamedhi-sukham hi tuccham [SB 7.9.45], very abominable happiness. We don’t want to discuss that. But the effect of sense enjoyment is suffering. Trpyanti neha krpana bahu-duhkha-bhajah. Illicit sex or legal sex, it is followed by so many miserable conditions. That, everyone, we can understand. Simply we have to become sober. Then we’ll understand this mate- rial existence is not at all good, not at all.

Then, as human being, as we are trying to solve our problems… The real problem we have to solve. And why we are in material condition and miserable condition? Because we have got this material body. This is the problem, real problem. Asann api klesada asa dehah [Bhag. 5.5.4] This body is temporary. It will not exist forever. But so long it will exist, it will give trouble. This is a fact. So long we’ll continue in this material body, you’ll have to suffer.

But we have no intelligence. We think that “We are like cats and dogs. The cats and dogs, they also eat; we also eat. They sleep; we also sleep. And they have sex; we have also sex. And they defend, we also defend. Their business finished.” No. Your business is not finished. Because you are human being, you have got advanced intelligence than the cats and dog. You should know analytically what are the miserable condition of life and try to solve. That is intelligence. That is intelligence. And if we remain satisfied like cats and dogs—“So I have got something to eat, I have got some nice place to sleep and I have also got some other sex for enjoying sex life, and I defend with so many weapons, latest nuclear weapon”— no, sastra says, “These things are manufactured… These things are maintained by the cats and dogs.” Ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam ca samanyam etat pasubhir naranam. This is common formula between the animals and the man.

But you have got another problem: how to solve this material position. That is required by you. If you do not try to understand what is your problem and if you do not try to solve them, then you are no better than the cats and dogs. This is the shastric injunction. So how to organize the human society so that we may not be called the cats’ and dog society? That we must know. If we keep our society only for the purpose of better eating, better sleeping, better sex life and better defense, then we don’t improve. That is the business of cats and dogs, even ants. They also know how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sex and how to defend.

So our business does not finish there. Our business is more business, that “If I am eternal as God is eternal, then why I am subjected to birth and death?” This is real question. This is called brahma-jijnasa. The Vedanta-sutra, the Vedanta philosophy, begins from this inquiry, athato brahma jijnasa: “This human life is meant for inquiring for the Absolute Truth, what is the ultimate truth of life.” Janmady asya yatah [Bhag. 1.1.1]. So when we forget completely our real problems of life, that is animalism.

So that animalism… When the human society, the animalism is prominent, simply living like animals, that is called dharmasya glanih, “deficiency in the matter of dharma.” Therefore, in human society there is some sort of religious system. It does not matter what is that religion. May be Hinduism or Christianism or Mohammedanism or Buddhism. In the civilized human society there is some conception of religious principle. Without religious principle, we are cats and dogs because in the cat society, dog society there is no such thing as church, mosque, or temple or synagogue. They live naked and bark. That’s all. So if we simply live and try to become naked like the cats and dogs and bark, then where is the difference? Where is the difference? No difference. So we must take to religious system. That is humanity.

You take any religious system, but you must know what is the aim of religion, not that simply profess, “I am Christian,” “I am Hindu,” “I am Muslim.” But what is the purpose of becoming religious? That you must know. That is intelligence. Simply don’t be proud by saying that “I am Christian,” “I am Hindu,” “I am Muslim.” That’s all right. You have got some type of designation. But Bhagavata says that system of religion is perfect. What is that? Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje: [SB 1.2.6] “That religion, that system of religion, is perfect.” Sa vai pumsam parah. Parah means perfect, without any defect. What is that? Yato bhaktir adhoksaje: “By which, by becoming follower of such religious system, if you become a devotee of God, that is perfect.” He does not say that you become a Hindu or you become a Muslim or you become a Christian or Buddhist or any other thing. It is very liberal, that whatever system of religion you accept, there is no harm. That’s all right. But see the result. What is the result? Yato bhaktir adhoksaje. Whether you have understood God and whether you have become a lover of God. Then your religion is perfect. Simply for stamping that “I am Christian,” “I am Hindu,” “I am Muslim,” there is no profit.

That is also explained in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

dharmah svanusthitah pumsam visvaksena-kathasu yah notpadayed yadi ratim srama eva hi kevalam [SB 1.2.8]

Dharmah svanusthitah, whatever religion you profess, it doesn’t matter. And you are carrying out very nicely. According to the religious system, you are following the rules and regulation and doing everything. Dharmah svanusthitah pumsam: “By carefully executing the religious principle,” visvaksena-kathasu yah, “if you do not become anxious to understand more and more about God…” Visvaksena. Visvaksena means God.

Kathasu yah, notpadayed ratim yadi: “If you do not become attached to hear about God more and more, then it is,” srama eva hi kevalam, “simply waste of time.” Simply waste of time because religion means dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19] Religion means the order given by God and you follow. This is the simple definition of religion. Other ritualistic ceremonies, formulas, going to the church or going to the temple, these are details. But real dharma means, sum and substance of dharma, religion, means to abide by the orders of God. That’s all. That is religion. Dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19].

You cannot manufacture religion. And what is actual religion? If you follow, then you are religious. The actual religion is the God’s order. That is… everyone follows some principle of religion to understand God. And in our Vedic system the only purpose of life is to understand God. Athato brahma jijnasa. In the human form of life we have no other business. No other. Other business, that, cats and dogs are also doing, and we are also doing. That is automatic. It is not that other animals, they are starving. They are also eating and we are also eating. But the facility is, the other animals lower than the human being, they haven’t got to do any business or any profession or go from one country to another to earn livelihood. That is their advantage.

And our disadvantage is that we are trying to find out better foodstuff and rotating all over the world, and we are still not getting. So their advantage is better. The birds, small birds, in the morning, just early in the morning they will rise up and they will chirp and they will go away because they are sure that “Our foodstuff is ready anywhere we shall go.” And that’s a fact. They go to any tree. What the bird will eat? Four, five small fruit. But there are innumerable fruits in one tree and there are innumerable trees. Similarly, take any animal, even the elephant. In Africa there are so many elephants, millions of elephants. They eat at a time forty kilograms. And who is supplying food? They have no business. They have no profession. How they are eating?

Therefore I have already quoted this Vedic quotation, eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman. So far your living conditions are concerned, what you are? Human being. You are only four hundred thousand species, and the other animals, they are eight million. So if eight million forms of body can be maintained by God, the four hundred thousand forms cannot be maintained? He maintains. He maintains. It is a fact. We are simply unnecessarily wasting our time “Where is food? Where is shelter? Where is sex? Where is defense?” So do that. There is no objection. But do not forget God. Then it is perfect. Otherwise, srama eva hi kevalam, simply waste of time.

So because the whole world now has forgotten God, we have started… Not we have started. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You see the statues of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Five hundred years ago, seeing the fallen condition of the living entities, especially the human society, He started this Hare Krsna movement. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, five hundred years ago he appeared in Navadvipa, a district in Bengal. And the station is sixty miles from Calcutta. We have got our very big temple there. You are invited to come there, stay there, try to understand the philosophy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

We have already written Caitanya-caritamrta, thirteen volumes. You have shown these books? You will find. So, Caitanya Mahaprabhu is also incarnation of Krsna, but He is very liberal.

namo maha-vadanyaya krsna-prema-pradaya te krsnaya krsna-caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah [Madhya 19.53]

He is Krsna. Krsna came, He left behind Him this instruction of Bhagavad-gita. Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata tadatmanam srjamy aham [Bg. 4.7] We can consult Bhagavad-gita at any time and we can associate with Krsna. Krsna and Krsna’s instruction—nondifferent. When you read Bhagavad-gita, you’ll, if you read very seriously, you will feel Krsna is present before you and He is instructing.

But unfortunately, although Krsna personally appeared and He left behind Him this Bhagavad-gita to be read by the human society and make his life progressive and be liberated from this material condition of life, we did not care for it. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu five hundred years ago, again He appeared as a devotee, not as Krsna. He is Krsna, but He appeared as a devotee of Krsna to teach us how to become devotee of Krsna. Again this movement is started to enlighten the human society how to come to his original position of Krsna consciousness.

So our request is that this movement at least it has come to your country in South Africa and you are welcome. So try to understand this movement, how much it is important. It is not a sentimental movement, neither a so-called… It is actually religious movement, but not so-called religious movement, simply some sentiments and formalities, no. It is practical application in life. And you see practically how by this movement all over the world different section of people from different nationality, different religious group, they are feeling one, oneness in Krsna consciousness. Just try to see the potency of the movement. So take it very seriously. Take it very seriously and…

You have to take it seriously; otherwise you are doomed. Otherwise you are doomed because you do not know how the laws of nature is working upon you. You feel that you are under the laws of nature. That you cannot avoid. That is not possible. But you do not know how the laws of nature is working. That is your ignorance.

That information you will get from Bhagavad-gita. The beginning of Bhagavad-gita says, tatha dehantara-praptir dhiras tatra na muhyati. This is the first instruction. Dehino ’smin yatha dehe kaumaram yauvanam jara tatha dehantara-praptih [Bg. 2.13]. As in this life we have seen, I was a child, I was a baby, I was a boy, I was a young man, now I am old man, so I have changed so many bodies. And… But I know that I was a child, I was a boy. But where is that body? Where is that child’s body? Where is that young man’s body? Where is that boy’s body? This is gone. Now I have got another body. Therefore, it is concluded, when this body is finished I’ll get another body. How you can refute this logic? I have changed so many bodies within my experience. Therefore this is also within my experience. When this body, this old body will be finished, I ’ll get another body. That is the first instruction of Krsna. Tatha dehantara-praptih. You’ll get another body.

Now, Krsna says tatha dehantara-praptih, we have to change to another body, but we do not know what is that body. We are not prepared. Just like here I am, Johannesburg. So I know, from here I’ll have to go to Nairobi. That I know. And we are making arrangement. But if as human being one does not know what is going to happen next life, then what kind of human being is? Where is the difference between cats and dogs? The dog does not know, neither he can be instructed, neither he is able to take the instruction. But why the human being should remain like dog? This is the problem. So we must consult Bhagavad-gita very regularly, try to understand the problems of life, and the first problem is that you have to change your body.

So what kind of change of body you are going to have? You must learn it. Otherwise you are in darkness. What is the value of life if you do not know? Suppose next life I am going to become a dog. So what is the value of my becoming this life a prime minister? But they do not know. The science is unknown. Science is known, but people are so fool that they do not take care of it. This is the position.

So don’t waste your time in that way. Try to understand what is the problem of life, how we can come again to the original spiritual life. That is the ultimate solution because we are spirit. Circumstantially, I am now accepting this material body. How I can avoid it, that is also stated in the Bhagavad-gita, you’ll find, that

janma karma me divyam yo janati tattvatah tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti kaunteya [Bg. 4.9]

We are part and parcel of God. We have come from God to enjoy this material world, but we are suffering. But if you want to go back to home, back to Godhead again then try to understand Krsna. This is Krsna consciousness.

And there is no difficulty to understand Krsna. Krsna is explaining in the Bhagavad-gita what He is. You read this book very carefully and try to understand Krsna. And as soon as you understand thoroughly Krsna, then tyaktva… You have to give up this body. That’s a fact. Tyaktva deham punar janma naiti [Bg. 4.9] Then no more accepting material body. Then what happens? Mam eti, Krsna says, “He comes to Me, back to home, back to Godhead.” That is the solution of life, and everything is described in the Bhagavad-gita and all the Vedic literature.

We have published about hundreds of books. If you simply read these books regularly, then you will understand everything very clearly. And first of all you try to read Bhagavad-gita As It Is. Then the life’s problem will be solved.

Thank you very much. Any question?

Devotees: Jaya Prabhupada.

Pusta-krsna: If you have any questions, please just come forward and ask.

Prabhupada: Water.

Guest (1): Could you ask Prabhupada to explain… Prabhupada, could you explain why… I didn’t quite understand why it was necessary that we have religion. You said that so that we can be different to cats and dogs.

Prabhupada: Why it is necessary that you should know the laws of the state?

Devotee (1): To know?

Prabhupada: Know the laws of the state. You are living in some state, under some government. So why it is necessary that you should know the government’s laws?

Devotee (1): So you can live best under them.

Pusta-krsna: So we can live best under them.

Prabhupada: So you must have religion to have proper life.

Devotee (1): In other words, religion means…

Prabhupada: I have already explained. Religion means the law given by God. As you are… You must abide by the laws of the government. Similarly, the supreme government, God’s, you must know what is His purpose. Otherwise you’ll be misguided and you’ll be punished. Just like if you violate the government laws, you are liable to be punished, similarly, if you violate the supreme government’s law, then you will be punished.

Guest (2): Surely, if we live naturally we will be obeying God’s law?

Prabhupada: Yes. God’s law you must know. Just like in the Bhagavad-gita ultimately God says that sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: [Bg. 18.66] “You just become obedient to Me, surrendered to Me. I shall give you all protection.” This is the law. So if you become a surrendered soul to God, then your position is very secure. Otherwise you will suffer.

Pusta-krsna: Are there any other questions?

Devotee (1): Prabhupada? If you follow the essence of any religion, is that the law of God?

Prabhupada: The essence I have already given: to surrender to God. What else, essence? What is else? The essence is that you surrender to God. You may follow any religious system, it doesn’t matter, but whether you know God and whether you have surrendered to Him, that is essence. If you do not know God then what is the meaning of your religion? And if you do not surrender to God, if you surrender to your senses only, then what is religion? Simply by rubber- stamping religion… That has happened at the present moment. Nobody knows what is meant by religion. And this is the essence of religion, to surrender to God. So if you do not know who is God where you are going to surrender? You cannot surrender to the air. You must know what is God and what is surrender meaning gradually. But this is the essence of religion, to surrender to God.

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati [SB 1.2.6]

If you want to be happy, atma, suprasanna, then you should be a lover, bhakti, devotee of God. This is the essence.

Guest (3): Prabhupada, if the essence of religion is to know God, how does He reveal Himself to you?

Prabhupada: He is revealing. Read Bhagavad-gita. You understand Him. He is explaining Himself. What you want more? Suppose if you want to know something about Me and I explain to you, “I am like this,” then where is your difficulty? Where is your difficulty? You can conjecture that, “Swamiji may be like this, may be like that,” and if I say, “All right, sit down. I shall explain what I am.” Then where is the difficulty?

Devotee (3): You are incarnate. God is…

Prabhupada: I am not incarn… I am giving this example. Anyone, if you want to know, if that person explains to you elaborately, then where is your difficulty to know the person? You said, “How can I know God?” You said? That is your question?

Devotee (1): Right.

Prabhupada: But God is explaining Himself. Why don’t you take advantage of it?

Pusta-krsna: Are there any other questions?

Guest (4): Prabhupada, is it true that can a human body takes a form of a human body in the next birth?

Prabhupada: No. Krsna doesn’t say. Tatha dehantara-praptih. You will get another body, but that does not mean human body. That will depend on your price. Just like if I say, “When your coat is old and torn, you’ll purchase another coat.” So that another coat, what kind of coat, that will depend on your price, as you are able to pay. Similarly, your activities in this life will decide what body you are going to get next life.

Guest (4): Prabhupada, that, perhaps, contradicts with the theory of reincarnation?

Prabhupada: What is that incarnation theory? You are going to get another body. That is reincarnation. Now, what kind of body you are going to get, that will depend on your work. There are 8,400,000 different types and forms of body. So you are at liberty to work. Therefore the direction is there in the Bhagavad-gita, “You work like this. Then you get the body like this.” So this is risky life. Without knowing the law of God, without knowing how nature is working, how the living entity is getting different types of body, without this knowledge, if we simply keep ourself on the business of eating, sleeping, sex and defense like cats and dogs, this is very, very risky life.

So our Krsna consciousness movement is trying to save the human society from this risky life and to understand what is God, how he can go back to home, how he can get eternal life. This is our business.

Pusta-krsna: Are there any other questions?

Prabhupada: That’s all right. Chant. (end)