Qualifications of Bhakti and Bhagavan
Srila Prabhupada very sweetly describes the qualifications and qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this succinct lecture.
The Qualifications of Bhakti and Bhagavan
Pradyumna: Translation: “O sage amongst the brāhmaṇas, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, also followed, seated on a chariot with Arjuna. Thus King Yudhiṣṭhira appeared very aristocratic, like Kuvera surrounded by his companions, the Guhyakas.”
Prabhupāda: So Sūta Gosvāmī, he is explaining in the assembly of learned brāhmaṇas. The Naimiṣāraṇya meeting took place some five thousand or more than that, at least five thousand years ago. But the, all the members who assembled there, they were all very learned scholar and brāhmaṇas. Therefore they are addressed as viprarṣe. Not only brāhmaṇa, but they were ṛṣi. Ṛṣi means saintly person. They were rājarṣi, rājarṣi. Saintly person can become, anyone, provided he lives like a saintly person. It doesn’t matter whether he is a brāhmaṇa or kṣatriya. Generally, brāhmaṇa and kṣatriya, the first and second status of the human society, they can live as good as the saintly persons within the forest or Himalaya. At home they can live. So another place these brāhmaṇas were addressed as dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ, “best of the brāhmaṇas.” A brāhmaṇa is already the best man, but if he becomes a saintly person, then it becomes still more magnified.
So in another place these brāhmaṇas were addressed, ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ: “You are all brāhmaṇa, the topmost of the human society.” There are divisions of the human society. First-class men, second-class men, third-class men, fourth-class men, that, in the Vedic civilization. Not that all, all one class. No. Why? There must be a division. That I have already explained. So the qualified brāhmaṇas, they are first-class men. The topmost class. And the second-class men, the kṣatriyas. And the third-class men, vaiśyas, mercantile, simply “Where to get money?” And they are, according to Vedic civilization, third-class men. But at the present moment those who are acquiring money somehow or other, they are first-class men. It doesn’t matter what is his qualification. If he has acquired some money some way or other, then he is a first-class man. This is Kali-yuga. In the Kali-yuga there is no honor for qualification. There is honor for money only. That’s all.
So it is stated that without money, you cannot get justice even. In the court of justice, everyone is expected to get proper behavior, but in the Kali-yuga it is stated (that) even in the court of justice, you cannot get justice without money. That’s a fact. If you have no money, then you cannot appoint a good lawyer. And sometimes you have to bribe the judge also. This is the position now. Now in your country so many big, big men have been arrested or something like that for their dishonesty. So Kali-yuga is so polluted that the minister is dishonest, the judge is dishonest, and what to speak of ordinary men. So only thing is that you get money some way or other. Then you can pass on as a nice gentleman, polished. You keep yourself always polished, and within you may be full with all dirty things, but if you have got your pockets filled up with coins and notes, then you are nice. Formerly it was not like that. One must be qualified. Varṇāśrama-vibhāgaśaḥ.
Vibhāgaśaḥ. There must be division. But people are very much anxious to make classless society, no division. And that is Kṛṣṇa consciousness society. We have no such division. Division means under the jurisdiction of the three modes of material nature. That is division. Otherwise, brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, these divisions are calculated when one is under the control of the material nature. But if you become devotee, the material nature has no more any control over you. That is the difference between a perfect Kṛṣṇa conscious person and a perfect, I mean to say, mundane person. The difference is that a Kṛṣṇa conscious, a devotee, is no more under the influence of the three modes of material nature. But ordinarily, everyone should be…, is—“he should be” not.(?) He is under the control. Therefore they are called dvija- śreṣṭhāḥ, the best of the brāhmaṇas. Even a brāhmaṇa is also under the control of material nature. But the same brāhmaṇa, when he becomes a Vaiṣṇava, a devotee, he the best of the brāhmaṇas. Ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhāḥ. Or he becomes ṛṣi. Viprarṣe. Rathena. Rathena. They were not walking, all these respectable personalities, brāhmaṇas and bhagavān.
Bhagavān api. Here Kṛṣṇa … The author could have mentioned the name, kṛṣṇa api. No. He’s especial: bhagavān api. All others’ name is mentioned. Yudhiṣṭhira’s name is mentioned. Dhanañjaya, Arjuna’s name is mentioned. Other’s name is mentioned. But when it comes to the terms of Kṛṣṇa, He is mentioned as Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhagavān. This word I have explained many times. Bhaga means opulence, all fortune. That is called, from the bhaga, the word bhāgya has come. One who is very fortunate person, he is called bhāgyavān. Not this bhaga. So bhaga means opulence, and vān means one who possesses opulences. So Kṛṣṇa possesses all the opulences, six opulences: all strength, all influence, all beauty, all knowledge, all—everything complete. So Bhagavān means one who has complete opulence, six opulences in complete, pūrṇam. Pūrṇam idaṁ pūrṇam adaḥ [Īśopaniṣad, Invocation]. That is Bhagavān. That is Bhagavān. There are so many rascal come as incarnation of God, Bhagavān, but you have to taste whether all the opulences are complete there. Aiśvaryasya samagrasya. First thing is riches. So whether one has got all the riches. Then he will be Bhagavān. And nobody can say that “I have got all the riches.” I may have something more than your riches, but I cannot say that “All the riches…” So if you find out somebody, somebody like you or me, and if he possesses all the riches, all strength, all influence, all knowledge, all beauty—then He is Bhagavān. That Kṛṣṇa possesses.
There is no comparison of Kṛṣṇa’s opulences. I have several times given the example. Say, in the human society there is marriage. So Kṛṣṇa married 16,800 wives. And for each wife a palace, marble palace, bedecked with jewels, and the furniture made of ivory and gold, and bed and curtains, they’re all made of silk. So… And the… Not only palace, but also garden attached to the palace. And the flower trees, pārijāta flower. The pārijāta flower was brought from the heaven. This pārijāta flower is not visible in this world. From heavenly planet Kṛṣṇa brought it. His wife Satyabhāmā, He requested… He… Both of them, Satyabhāmā and Kṛṣṇa, went to the heavenly planet. So generally woman, they are after something. So (laughs) (she) requested the husband, “Kṛṣṇa, I want this flower.” “All right.” So He gave her one flower. So He also told, “Why the flower? I shall take the tree so that you’ll get flower daily.” So when He was doing so, Indra came. Indra is the king of heavenly planet. “No, Sir, you cannot do that. (laughter) You cannot take this tree to the lower planet. No, I cannot allow.”
And so Kṛṣṇa said, “No, My wife wants it. I must.” That is Kṛṣṇa. (laughter) How He is complete, just like a hen-pecked husband (laughter) to satisfy the wife in every respect. When He plays the part of a child before mother Yaśodā, He plays everything perfectly. When He plays the husband… He doesn’t require any wife or mother. He is Supreme. But when He plays the part of a husband, He plays it perfectly. The wife may think that “How much my husband is attached to me!” So she remains very much satisfied. Kṛṣṇa is not attached to anyone, but that is Kṛṣṇa’s superexcellence, that although He had to satisfy 16,800…, 108 wives, everyone was satisfied and everyone is thinking that “Kṛṣṇa is very much attached to me than His others wife, other wives.” This is Kṛṣṇa’s play.
Therefore Bhagavān, full, in every respect, any field of work: fighting, opulence, household life, renounced life also. If you study the life of Kṛṣṇa, you will find everything in complete. Beauty, knowledge. Now Kṛṣṇa gave us a little knowledge, which is known as Bhagavad-gītā, and five thousand years ago this knowledge was given, but is still going on, all over the world. In our movement we sell Bhagavad-gītā the most. Is it not? We sell our Bhagavad-gītā As It Is everywhere and in large number. Because it is full knowledge, not partial. Everything is complete. Can you show any book in the world which has so much sale and which is so much perfect? There is no book. And I am not…, because we are Kṛṣṇa devotees we are eulogizing like that, but any scholar, any philosopher, any scientist will say like that: “Oh, there is no comparison of this book.” I do not know exactly, but one gentleman told me that Professor Einstein, he was also reading Bhagavad-gītā daily. Hitler was reading. Such, such big, big men. But I know many scholars, even Muhammadans, they also read Bhagavad-gītā.
So that is the test of knowledge, Kṛṣṇa’s knowledge. Therefore Bhagavān. Just try to understand Bhagavān. Bhagavān is not so cheap that any rascal comes and he says that “I am Bhagavān. You worship me,” and another rascal comes and… Not like that. Don’t take it cheaply. Bhagavān is not ordinary thing. He must be complete in everything. Aiśvaryasya samagrasya. Therefore Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is mentioned here, bhagavān api. Api. Why api? In Sanskrit composition each word has meaning. Api means “Although He is Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, still, He was going to see Bhīṣmadeva.” So just consider the position of Bhīṣmadeva. He was lying on deathbed with all these… Of course, the Pāṇḍavas, they were their grandson. It is their duty. But why Kṛṣṇa should go there? Therefore it is said bhagavān api: “In spite of His being the Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of God…” He was also going to show respect. How much great He was, just imagine. And all the brāhmaṇas, all the sages. That will be mentioned. There will be list of great personalities who were present.
So Bhīṣma was such a great personality. He is not ordinary man. Just like when a big person dies, all the selected person of the city, they come to offer their homage… So here he is not dead, but he is going to die. Because Bhīṣma would not die unless he desires, “Now let me die.” Then he would die; otherwise not. So he was lying down on the deathbed, but was expecting to see Kṛṣṇa at the last stage. So therefore he was so great. And Kṛṣṇa was also going (weeping).
Now you can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)