Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.40
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Los Angeles, June 6, 1976

Devotee: (leads chanting, etc.) Translation: “The Yamadutas replied: That which is prescribed in the Vedas constitutes dharma, the religious principles, and the opposite of that is irreligion. The Vedas are directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, and are self-born. This we have heard from Yamaraja.”


yamaduta ucuh veda-pranihito dharmo hy adharmas tad-viparayah vedo narayanah saksat svayambhur iti susruma

So here is explanation by the Yamadutas. The Yamadutas were not very advanced so far their position was there. They were very odd- looking and not to be supposed very civilized—uneducated—but how they are explaining about dharma? Because the challenge was that “If you are the servants of Dharmaraja, then explain what is dharma.” It doesn’t matter whether a man is civilized or uncivilized or good-looking or bad-looking, but if he has got proper guide, then he can speak the right thing. This is the … Yamaraja ucuh. They’re not manufacturing anything. They’re saying iti susruma. Iti susruma, “We have heard it from our master.” This is knowledge. They are not expected to manufacture something speculative. They are neither educated nor civilized nor… Nothing of the sort. But they are talking of the source of religion, how they have heard it from the authority, Yamaraja. Yamaraja is authority. In the sastra it is said that,

tarko apratisthah srutayor vibhinna nasau munir yasya matam na bhinnam dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam mahajano yena gatah sa panthah

So dharma, the path of religiosity, is very confidential. Dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam. Then how I shall accept what is dharma, what is religion? Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. You just follow the footsteps of authorized persons. Then you understand what is dharma. You cannot manufacture. So, here is the same system, the Vedic system is the same. Either you hear from the direct Vedas or scriptures following the Vedas.

So here the Yamadutas says that dharma means what is spoken or directed in the Vedas. And what is Veda? Veda narayanah saksat. Veda means God Himself. Just like… We can understand very easily. Just like the king and the king’s law. What king has said, that this should be done like this, keep to the right, king or government, whatever it may be, authority… So that is Veda. What is… Just like the law means what the government says. You cannot manufacture law. Similarly, veda narayanah saksat. What Narayana says, that is Veda. There is no other authority. And one who follows the Narayana, he is also authority. Sankaracarya says, narayanah parah avyaktat. Narayana is transcendental. He’s not anybody of this material world. Narayanah parah avyaktat. Avyaktat anasambhavah. Avyakta. The cosmic manifestation, this is called vyakta, and when it is not manifested, it is called avyakta. Just like a house is manifestation of the five elements: earth, water, air, fire. So earth, water is there already, but that is not manifested as the house. But the same combination, it becomes a house, big skyscraper building. This is difference between vyakta and avyakta. Avyakta means the whole material energy, when it is not manifested, that is called avyakta; and when it is manifested it is called vyakta. Narayana paro ’vyaktat. That means Narayana is not of this material world. God is nothing of this material world. He’s transcendental. Para, narayana paro ’vyaktat. Para means superior, transcendental.

So Veda, here it is said that vedo narayanah saksat. But Narayana is nothing of this material world. Similarly, Veda is nothing of this material world. Vedo narayanah saksat. So you cannot… Therefore Vedic authority is so evidential… Because it is not manufactured by any material person. It is… Narayana, or God God created this world. So God was existing before this creation, and Veda means before the creation, the laws and the words which were existing, that is Veda. Somebody may argue that “This is written by some scholar or some learned person.” No, Veda is not like that. Veda is coming directly from Narayana, and Narayana means God. God was existing before the creation. Because (God) created, therefore God existed before the creation, so whatever we get out of this created world, that is not Veda. If some person, great philosopher of this material world, he thinks, he says “I believe,” and he writes something, that is nonsense. That is not Veda. Because he is a created being, and as created being he has got four defects. The most important defect is that his senses are imperfect. Therefore by sense perception, by so- called mental speculation, whatever he creates, that is defective. That is not perfect knowledge. Perfect knowledge is there, Veda, because Vedas existed before the creation. And whatever there is within the creation, they’re imperfect. Therefore it is clearly said that vedo narayana saksat. As Narayana is beyond this created, manifested cosmic manifestation, similarly Vedas also are like that. Don’t think it is written by… It is called therefore apauruseya. Apauruseya means it is not written by any mundane creature. Brahma, he is the supreme creature within… No. It is said that he is not created. Tene brahma hrda ya, hrda ya adi kavaye. He was instructed the Vedic lessons by Narayana, or Krsna. He did not manufacture it. So Vedas means coming from directly Narayana, not that Brahma has created. Brahma has Vedas in his hand, but he has received it from Narayana. That is the information we get. And… So Brahma instructed his sons. Then they got the knowledge. The sons instructed to the grandsons. In this way, Vedic knowledge is coming. Therefore it is called parampara, disciplic succession. We don’t manufacture. We receive the knowledge, the perfect knowledge by disciplic succession, beginning from Narayana.

So whatever knowledge we are getting from the sastras in Krsna consciousness movement, it is not manufactured by man. It is not man-made knowledge. The knowledge was received by, through, knowledge was imparted or instructed by Narayana or Krsna. Brahma received it, and from Brahma, Narada received it. From Narada, Vyasadeva received it, and Vyasadeva is writing this Srimad-Bhagavatam. Lokasyajanato vidvams cakre satvata-samhitam. Anarthopasamam saksad bhakti-yogam adhoksaje. Great learned sages, saintly persons, they’re always thinking how the people will be happy Vaisvana. Para duhkha-duhkhi: he is always unhappy for unhappiness of the people in general, public. That is Vaisnava. Para duhkha-duhkhi. Just like in the Western country Lord Jesus Christ, he was unhappy for others. So that is the business of devotee, God’s son or God’s devotee. That is the duty, that people are suffering on account of proper knowledge, and the most grievous ignorance is without any knowledge of God. That is the most dangerous ignorance. Because human life is meant for understanding God. Athato brahma jijnasa. But they do not care to understand God. Then animal life: “Where is food, where is sex, where is apartment, and where is defense force?” this is going on.

Therefore the challenge was that “Now explain what is dharma.” So they’re explaining. Mind that. They are not educated themselves, but their education is by hearing from the authority. Iti susruma. This is real education. Therefore Vedas’ another name is sruti. Sruti means the knowledge which you receive by hearing, not by your so-called eyes or tongue. No. The tongue, you can chant what you hear. Therefore our beginning of knowledge is sravanam kirtanam. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh [SB 7.5.23]. Not that go to some technical college and learn it. This is also technical, transcendental technical, but the technique is first of all hear. This is technique. Not take a hammer and understood. This is hearing. This technology begins by hearing. Just like you have come here kindly and hearing. This is the technology, beginning of transcendental knowledge or spiritual knowledge. So here also these Yamadutas said, “We have heard it from the authority.” That is perfection. Go to the authority and hear from him the real knowledge. Then you become perfect in knowledge. Actually, we imitate, we also go to a school, college, hear from the professor, teachers. That is the process anywhere, either transcendental or material knowledge. The hearing is most important thing. And Caitanya Mahaprabhu has recommended this hearing very important in transcendental knowledge especially. Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir: if you know to know God, that is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s recommendation, he’s recommending from the sastra. He doesn’t recommend anything, “I think,” “I believe,” “Perhaps.” No, not this nonsense. You may… You are rascal. What is the value of your belief? No. It is the… Here is the knowledge. Iti susruma, “We have heard it from authority.” This is knowledge.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when He was talking with Ramananda Raya, how to cultivate spiritual knowledge, how to know the ultimate goal of life, sadhya sadhana, what is the aim of life and what is the process to approach the aim of life… This was the talk between Ramananda Raya and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So Ramananda Raya began with varnasrama dharma, the institution of four orders of social and four orders of spiritual life. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, eho bahya, “It is not very important nowadays.” Yes, eho bahya, age kahe ara, “If you know something more, better than this…” Then he… Karma-tyaga, sannyasa, so many, step by step, he said, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu denied, “Yes, it is right, but it is not very important.” Then Caitanya Mahaprabhu said…, uh, Ramananda Raya said, quoting from the Vedas, jn\ ane prayasam udapasya namanta eva jivanti san-mukharitam bhavadiya-vartam (sthane sthitah) sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir (ye) prayaso ’jita jito ’py asi tais tri-lokyam. “If you want to know who is God, what is God, then give up your, this speculative endeavor.” Jnane prayasam. Prayasa means endeavor: “May be like this,” “Perhaps like this.” No. You give up this habit. Jnane prayasam udapasya, give up this bad habit. Then? How? Jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva: “Just become humble and meek. Don’t declare yourself a great philosopher or great learned scholar and…” No. That is not the process. “Now I am a learned scholar, I can discover God, I can manufacture God.” No. Give up this bad habit. Jnane prayasam udapasya—be humble. If you know to know God, then be humble. In the Bible also it is said, “God is for the meek and the humble,” not for the impudent.

So jnane prayasam udapasya namanta eva. Then what will I be I become humble? Yes? Then what is my next duty? San-mukharitam bhavadiya-vartam. You just try to hear from the saintly person, devotee. San-mukharitam bhavadiya-vartam. Then what will be the result? Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir. This hearing, becoming humble and meek… And if we hear from the devotee who is actually self-realized, one who has seen God through the sastra, if you hear from him… And never mind what you are. You may be a brahmana, you may be ksatriya, you may be sudra, you may be sannyasi, you may be so on, so on, you may be American, you may be Indian, whatever you may be, that doesn’t matter. Remain in your place. Sthane sthitah. Simply hear. Sruti-gatam tanu-van. Then one day, what will be the result? Now God is unconquerable, nobody can conquer, you’ll be conquered. Simply by hearing, He’ll be… This is the process. Therefore he says susruma, humble and meek and hear. Then you’ll understand God. Then you’ll understand what is religion, then you’ll understand everything. Not only religion and God, but everything. Yasmin vijnate sarvam eva vijnatam bhavati. If you simply know God or Krsna, then everything you know. Just like we are sometimes challenging big, big philosophers, big, big scientists, big, big psychologists, and so on, so on. What is the strength? Because we have learned something about Krsna. That’s all. This is Vedic injunction. Yasmin vijnate sarvam eva vijnatam bhavati. If you have learned what is God, what is Krsna, then you learn everything. This is knowledge.

Therefore they say. They are, according to their description, third class, fourth class, not even human beings, these Yamadutas. And they are explaining about dharma. Why? Susruma: “From the right source we have heard it.” And whatever they’re speaking, correct. Veda-pranihito dharma. What is ordered in the Vedas, that is dharma, that is religion. And what is Vedas? Vedo narayana saksat. Absolute. Narayana, spiritual world, absolute. Nonduality. Narayana, Narayana’s words are the same. There is no difference. Just like we are reading Bhagavad-gita. Why we’re interested? Because Bhagavad-gita and the speaker of Bhagavad-gita, Krsna, they are identical. So you cannot change the words of Bhagavad-gita. That is foolishness. Anyone who changes the orders and the words of Bhagavad-gita, they are rascal, they’ll not get any benefit. Because you cannot correct Krsna, what Krsna says or God says. That is not in your power. So these rascals, they want to interpret, “This is like this, this is this, I think it is this.” No. Krsna did not leave for you, for your thinking rascally. No. Krsna is completely learned. Whatever He has said, it is perfectly in order. You cannot change.

So in this way, we have to hear the right thing from the right person. Then the question will be, “Who is the right person?” So if we cannot select the right person… Right person is parampara, one who is following the parampara, he is the right person. Even though you cannot understand actually who is… The sastra says these are right persons. Who?

svayambhur naradah sambhuh kumarah kapilo manuh prahlado janako bhismo balir vaiyasakir vayam [SB 6.3.20]

This is the statement of Yamaraja, that “I am also considered as one of the authorities,” vayam. So here the Yamadutas say, “We have heard it from our master, Yamaraja; therefore whatever he said is authoritative.”

Thank you very much. (end)