“Because People Must Be First of All Gentle”
Srila Prabhupada Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.13, September 18, 1972, Los Angeles
Prabhupāda: Hare Kṛṣṇa. (sings of Jaya Rādhā-Mādhava) (prema-dhvani) Thank you very much.
Devotees: All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. (obeisances)
Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Canto One, Chapter 3, text 13. (leads chanting of verse) (Prabhupāda and devotees repeat)
- aṣṭame merudevyāṁ tu
- nābher jāta urukramaḥ
- darśayan vartma dhīrāṇāṁ
- (SB 1.3.13)
Prabhupāda: Ladies. (ladies chant) That’s all. Now, word meaning.
aṣṭame—the eighth of the incarnations; merudevyām tu—in the womb of Merudevī, the wife; nābheḥ—of King Nābhi; jātaḥ—took birth; urukramaḥ—the all-powerful Lord; darśayan—by showing; vartma—the way; dhīrāṇām—of the perfect beings; sarva—all; āśrama—orders of life; namaskṛtam—honored by.
Translation: “The eighth incarnation was King Ṛṣabha, son of King Nābhi and his wife Merudevī. In this incarnation the Lord showed the path of perfection, which is followed by those who have fully controlled their senses and who are honored by all orders of life.”
Prabhupāda: So there are some important words in this verse. The first thing is dhīrāṇām. Dhīrāṇām mean sober, gentle. There are two ways, because there are two kinds of people in this world. One is called dhīra, and the other is called adhīra. Adhīra means almost animal. They cannot control their senses. The dhīra . . . one who can control sense, he is called dhīra. In the Rūpa Gosvāmī’s obeisances we find, kṛṣṇotkīrtana-gāna-nartana-parau premāmṛtāmbho-nidhī dhīrādhīra priya-karau (Śrī Śrī Ṣaḍ Gosvāmy Aṣṭaka 1).
Kṛṣṇotkīrtana, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, is appreciable by the both classes, dhīra and adhīra—those who are advanced by austerities, controlling the senses, and those who are not so, very fallen, both of them, dhīrādhīra-jana-priyau priya-karau nirmatsarau.
Another example of dhīra is there in Kumāra Sambhava. Kumāra Sambhava is a Sanskrit book which I think we read in our college I.A. class, by Kālidāsa, poet Kālidāsa. So this theme of that book is that the demigods, they wanted to fight with the demons, and it was necessary that a son should be begotten by Lord Śiva. So Lord Śiva at that time lost his wife in the dakṣa-yajña. He (she) gave up his (her) life.
There was some misunderstanding between Mahārāja Dakṣa, father of Pārvatī, or Durgā. So she gave up her life because her father was against Lord Śiva. He was repudiating Lord Śiva, and she could not tolerate that, “My father, you are so proud that you are blaspheming Lord Śiva because you think I am your daughter and your son-in-law is subordinate. So I am returning this body to you.” So (s)he immediately gave up her body.
So Lord Śiva, having lost his wife, he was on the Himalayas executing severe tapasya. So the demigods, they planned to break the tapasya meditation of Lord Śiva by sending Pārvatī, daughter of Himalaya. Lord Śiva’s wife then took birth as daughter of Himalaya. So when she was young, grown-up, sixteen years old, so she was engaged to break the meditation of Lord Śiva.
So Lord Śiva was in meditation, naked, and Pārvatī was induced to worship Lord Śiva and touch the genital. But Lord Śiva still was undisturbed. So at that time, Kālidāsa Kavi that, “Here is the example of dhīra. He is so much absorbed in meditation that a young girl, touching the genital, still, he is undisturbed. He is so self-controlled.”
So this is dhīra. Dhīra means even there is cause of disturbance he will not be disturbed. That is dhīra. And one who is disturbed by the slight agitation, he is not dhīra; he is adhīra. So mostly, people are adhīra. They are agitated by a slight disturbance, because they have not been trained in such a way. Otherwise . . . just like Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa was being elected as president in the rājasūya-yajña assembly of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, so somebody remarked that, “This man . . .” Because those who were blind, they would see Kṛṣṇa as ordinary man . . . so “He is woman-hunter from the very beginning. So how He can be elected?”
So at that time Bhīṣma, the most celebrated brahmacārī—he never accepted any wife or he had no connection with any woman—he immediately stood up. He said that, “I am celebrated throughout the whole world as brahmacārī, but if I would have been in the position of Kṛṣṇa . . . He was dancing with young girls, but He was not agitated. But I would have been agitated. I admit. Therefore He is dhīra. He should be elected.” You’ll find rāsa-līlā, Kṛṣṇa was dancing with so many young girls, but you won’t find there was any sex relation. There was nothing like that. So that is dhīra.
They were devotees, gopīs. They used to come to Kṛṣṇa. But there is no such thing written as pregnancy and abortion. No, nothing of the sort. That is called dhīra, that in spite of presence of the cause of disturbance . . . the gopīs came to Kṛṣṇa because He was very beautiful young boy. Actually they were attracted by His beauty. That is stated, kāmāt. They came as a lust. But when they came to Kṛṣṇa, they became purified. That is dhīra.
Kṛṣṇa was kind enough. The gopīs, they wanted Kṛṣṇa, to associate with Him. So Kṛṣṇa gave them chance, “Yes, come on.” The gopīs wanted Kṛṣṇa as husband. They made tapasya, austerity, to have Kṛṣṇa as husband. But at that time Kṛṣṇa was . . . the gopīs and Kṛṣṇa were of the same age, just like boys and girls play together. But girls become at the age of twelve, thirteen years, their sex desires become strong. But boys, they do not become sex desire so strong, unless they are badly associated.
So neither it was possible that Kṛṣṇa would marry so many girlfriends. But they wanted Kṛṣṇa as husband, all of them. Therefore Kṛṣṇa fulfilled their desire in the vastra-haraṇa. Because a woman can become naked only before husband. That is Vedic. So Kṛṣṇa somehow or other made them naked, so that . . . He declared that, “You wanted Me as husband. So much, that’s all.” So people misunderstand Kṛṣṇa. Unless understood through authoritative sources, Kṛṣṇa is misunderstood. But He is the dhīra. He is not adhīra. He is not like ordinary man. Dhīra.
So here it is said that urukramaḥ. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described here as urukrama. Urukrama means one who acts very wonderful things which is not possible for ordinary human being. So He wanted to show the real path of life. Mahārāja Ṛṣabhadeva, He was king, emperor of the world. So His instructions are there in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. (tapping sound) He instructed . . .(aside) What is this sound?
He instructed His sons, “My dear boys, this human form of life is not meant for sense enjoyment, which is available in the life of dogs and hogs.” It was His instruction. He instructed that human society should be dhīra, self-controlled. That is ideal human society. That is Vedic civilization.
Here it is also stated, sarvāśrama-namaskṛtam. Āśrama. Sarva-āśrama. Āśrama, I have several times described that the brahmacārī-āśrama, gṛhastha-āśrama, vānaprastha-āśrama, sannyāsa-āśrama. Sarvāśrama, all orders of life. Varṇāśrama. The Vedic civilization is based on four varṇas: brāhmin, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra; and four āśrama: brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa.
So Lord Ṛṣabhadeva planned in such a way to teach His sons—He had one hundred sons—that it will be honored by all the āśramas. Out of His one hundred sons, nine became sannyāsī. Nava Yogendra, very highly elevated spiritually, nine sons. And eighty-one sons . . . out of hundred, nine gone, ninety-one sons? So out of them, eleven became kṣatriyas, and others became brāhmins, like that.
So this proves that not that by birth one becomes brāhmin or kṣatriya or vaiśya or śūdra, but it is by different qualification. Otherwise how Ṛṣabhadeva’s son . . . he was kṣatriya, supposed to be kṣatriya. So His sons are also kṣatriya. How they became brāhmin? No. That was the Vedic culture. Janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ. As soon as one is born, he is accepted as śūdra.
Neither brāhmin nor kṣatriya nor . . . raw. By training, either he becomes a brāhmin or a kṣatriya. Just like a man has got several sons, but all of them, in the beginning, they are illiterate. Now, in their grown-up age, by accepting different departmental knowledge, one becomes a medical practitioner, one becomes engineer, one becomes lawyer or one becomes vagabond.
So not by birth one becomes engineer or medical man or this or . . . no. Everything by culture, by education. Similarly, the Vedic culture means everyone is given the chance to become first-class brāhmin. That is called brahminical culture. Everyone is given. Because without becoming a brāhmin, nobody can understand what is God. And the human life is meant for understanding God. That is the only business of human form of life. Not like cats and dogs—how to eat, how to sleep, how to have sexual intercourse and how to defend. These the animals know. The birds, bees, they know how to do it.
This Ṛṣabhadeva, He taught that, “My dear boys, this life, human form of life, is not to be wasted like hogs and dogs.” Sense enjoyment is there amongst the hogs—better facility. No restriction. No restriction. In human society at least there is official some restriction. Mātrā svasrā duhitrā. All śāstra says: “There is no . . .” But there are societies—we do not want to discuss—who have sex relationship even with mother, sister and daughter. Still. But it was formerly also. Not like that, very common.
But śāstra says, mātrā svasrā duhitrā vā nāviviktāsano bhavet (SB 9.19.17): “You do not sit down in a secluded place even with your mother, with your sister, with your daughter.” So people may say, “One becomes agitated by association of mother, sister and daughter, many fools or most degraded.” No. Śāstra says, balavān indriya-grāmo vidvāṁsam api karṣati: “The senses are so strong that even one is very learned, he becomes agitated.” He becomes agitated, even in the presence of mother, sister and daughter.
So senses are so strong. Balavān indriya-grāmaḥ. It is prohibited. What to speak of others. Therefore, the common moral teachings and the Vedic civilization is to accept any woman except his own wife as mother. Mātṛvat para-dāreṣu. Para-dāreṣu. Everyone is supposed to be married. Dāra means wife; para-dāreṣu, other’s wife. It doesn’t matter if she is younger or older, but she should be treated as mother. Therefore it is the system in Vedic culture, as soon as one sees another woman, she (he) addresses her, “mother,” Mātājī. Immediately, “mother.” That makes the relationship. The woman treats the unknown man as son, and the unknown man treats the unknown woman as mother. This is Vedic civilization.
So we should be very careful. In our Society, you are all Godbrothers, Godsisters. Or those who are married, they are like mothers. So you should be very careful. Then you will remain dhīra, sober. That is brahminical qualification, brahminical culture. Not that, “Because I have got facilities to intermingle with nice girls, so I shall take advantage and exploit them.” Or the girls should take . . . no. Therefore our restriction: no illicit sex.
One has to become dhīra. Then the question of God consciousness. Animals cannot have God consciousness. Therefore it is specially mentioned dhīrāṇām. Vartma. The path which He showed, that is meant for the dhīra, not for the adhīra. Dhīrāṇām. And it is so nice that sarvāśrama-namaskṛtam: all āśramas will appreciate and offer obeisances. All āśrama means brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa.
So dealing with woman . . . especially instruction are given to men. All literatures, all Vedic literatures, they are especially meant for instruction to the men. Woman is to follow the husband, that’s all. The husband will give instruction to the wife. There is no such thing as the girl should go to school to take brahmacārī-āśrama or go to spiritual master to take instruction. That is not Vedic system.
Vedic system is a man is fully instructed, and woman, girl, must be married to a man. Even the man may have many wives, polygamy, still, every woman should be married. And she would get instruction from the husband. This is Vedic system. Woman is not allowed to go to school, college or to the spiritual master. But husband and wife, they can be initiated. That is Vedic system.
So dhīrāṇāṁ vartma. Because people must be first of all gentle; then talk of Kṛṣṇa and God consciousness. If he is animal, what he can understand? This is Vedic system. Dhīrāṇām. Dhīra means must be gentle, perfectly gentle. Must address all woman as “mother.” Mātṛvat para-dāreṣu para-dravyeṣu loṣṭravat.
This is the training, that one should consider other’s wife as mother and others’ money as like garbage in the street. Nobody cares for it. Similarly, one’s . . . other’s money should not be touched. Even it is somebody has forgotten his purse, moneybag, on the street, nobody will touch it. Let the man come back and take it. That is civilization. Para-dravyeṣu loṣṭravat.
Ātmavat sarva-bhūteṣu: and treating all other living entities as oneself. If somebody pinches me, I feel pain. Why shall I pinch other? If somebody cuts my throat, I become so sorry or so aggrieved. Why shall I cut the throat of other animals? This is civilization. This is Vedic civilization. And not that go on killing animals like anything and hunt upon the woman, topless woman, make business. This is not civilization. This is not human civilization.
Therefore it is called dhīrāṇām. Those who are sober, for them. Those who are rascals, not for them. The brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha sarvāśrama, āśrama, this is meant for the gentle class, not for the rascals. First of all, training period as brahmacārī. This brahmacārī, he is taught. He is taught to address all women as “mother.” The brahmacārī goes to collect alms from door to door, small boys.
So how do they address? “Mother, kindly give us some alms.” So immediately the household wife should come and give them. They will collect like that, for spiritual master. So if a boy is taught . . . just like our these children are being taught chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. They are chanting. They cannot forget throughout life. Similarly, if a brahmacārī is taught from childhood, from boyhood, address all woman as “mother,” he cannot see otherwise. “He (she) is my mother.”
I remember—it is an example—long ago, say, in 1925, long ago, so we were in a cinema house. So my eldest son, as soon as he would see one woman in the picture, “Here is another mother! Here is another mother!” (laughter) he would cry. Because a small child, he does not know any woman except mother. He knows everyone as “my mother.” So if we train from the childhood that, “You should treat all woman as mother,” then where is the question of anomalies? No. There is no question.
So one should be trained from the very beginning how to become gentle. From the very beginning if one is taught to become ungentle, uncontrolled of senses, how at the end he can become gentle? And if the people are not gentle, how you can expect peace and prosperity? Therefore we see in your country, every house: “Beware of dog. Don’t come here.” Because . . . what is that? Because they cannot trust anybody. Anybody. So this is not advancement of civilization. If you want to know what is civilization, you have to learn here: dhīrāṇām. In the Bhāgavata the description is there. So actually, Vedic civilization is meant for the most gentle, highly advanced, not for the cats and dogs.
Thank you very much.
Devotees: All glories to Ācāryadeva. (devotees offer obeisances) (end)