Questions for the Welfare of the World

BY: SUN STAFF - 1.9 2023

By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Back To Godhead Vol. 10, No. 5/6, May 1, 1975 - Part One.

A discourse delivered at the New Vrndavana spiritual community in West Virginia

munayah sadhu prsto 'ham
bhavadbhir loka-mangalam
yat krtah krsna-samprasno
yenatma suprasidati

"O sages, I have been justly questioned by you. Your questions are worthy because they are linked to Lord Krsna and so are of relevance to the world's welfare. Only questions of this sort are capable of completely satisfying the self." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.2.5)

Just as we are holding a meeting here for a few days, a similar meeting was held at least four thousand years ago in a place called Naimisaranya. Naimisaranya is in India and is situated near Lucknow. The place is still existing, and if one goes to India he can visit it. Its atmosphere is very conducive to spiritual undertakings. Formerly all the great sages used to assemble in the forest at Naimisaranya, and it is said that all the demigods used to visit there.

It was at Naimisaranya, at a meeting of great sages, thatSrimad-Bhagavatam was discussed. Srimad-Bhagavatam was first imparted to Maharaja Pariksit by Sukadeva Gosvami. Maharaja Pariksit, who was emperor of this planet, was cursed by a brahmana to die within seven days. Although he was very wrongly cursed, Maharaja Pariksit nonetheless tolerated it. He could have counteracted such a curse, but he did not do it. Instead, he took the opportunity to retire from active life and prepare for death. He had only seven days to die, and because he was king of the earth, all the great sages and kings from all parts of the world came to see him. The problem they discussed was what to do at the time of death. Many great sages and brahmanas made numerous suggestions, telling him, "Maharaja, you simply have to do this, or do that." Later, at the arrival of Sukadeva Gosvami, it was decided that Sukadeva Gosvami, who had recently learned Srimad-Bhagavatam from his father, Vyasadeva, could impart that knowledge to the King.

Srimad-Bhagavatam was Vyasadeva's last contribution. It was Vyasadeva who was the original compiler of all Vedic literature. He wrote many books the four Vedas, the 108 Upanisads, eighteen Puranas and the 1,400,000 verses ofMahabharata. These books contain hundreds of thousands of verses, and Srimad-Bhagavatam alone contains eighteen thousand verses. In this way Vyasadeva compiled so many books for the benefit of people in this Age of Kali. Unfortunately, people are not interested in these literatures. Even the people of India have lost interest, and what to speak of people of other countries. They are busy doing research, but they are neglecting the mature research already carried out by Vyasadeva. This neglect is the misfortune of India. At any rate, Vyasadeva summarized all the Vedic literatures in the Vedanta-sutra. Veda means knowledge, and anta means end; thus the ultimate goal of education and knowledge is vedanta. If one knows vedanta, he knows everything, for vedanta means ultimate knowledge. Yasmin vijnate sarvam eva vijnatam bhavanti. Yet after compiling Vedanta-sutra philosophy, Vyasadeva was not satisfied. Because he was feeling some vacancy and was sorrowful, his spiritual master, Narada, appeared before him. Narada could understand that Vyasadeva was not happy even after compiling so many great volumes of Vedic literature, and Narada addressed him as Parasarya, for Vyasadeva's father was Parasara Muni.

"Parasarya, why are you unhappy?" Narada asked. "You have undergone all kinds of penances, performed all Vedic rituals, written so many books why are you unhappy?"

Vyasadeva answered, "My dear lord, what you say is right I am unhappy. But you can find out the cause of my unhappiness."

"You have considered so many things," Narada Muni replied, "but you have not written anything that absolutely concerns the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Without discussing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you cannot be happy."

That is a fact. At the present moment also there is great educational advancement. There are many universities and technological institutions, and there is economic development to such an extent that in America there is sufficiency of everything. Yet people are unhappy. The youth especially are becoming disillusioned. Why? The answer is that there is no knowledge of God. This is the only cause of unhappiness. Every one of us is part and parcel of God, and because of this our real hankering is for God. A child is similarly part and parcel of his mother, and when he is unhappy, nothing can satisfy the child but the lap of his mother. Although everyone may try to pacify the child, he will go on crying and crying till he reaches his mother's lap and is nursed by her. Similarly, we are all children of God, but we are making plans to be happy independent of God, and that is not possible.

Therefore at the present moment there is a great necessity to understand God, and for this reason the Krsna consciousness movement has started. Unfortunately, the modern leaders of India are neglecting Vedic culture and are begging technological information from Western countries. That is their misfortune. Although I am single-handedly trying to present the original Vedic culture, it can be seen that people all over the world are accepting it very happily. The government of India should have known of this necessity, but unfortunately they have no knowledge of their own culture. They have lost their own culture, and now they are begging from other cultures. In any case, this bhagavata culture is not for any particular country or nation; it is meant for everyone. God is not monopolized by anyone. He is for everyone. Krsna Himself says in Bhagavad-gita:

sarva-yonisu kaunteya
murtayah sambhavanti yah
tasam brahma mahad yonir
aham bija-pradah pita

"It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kunti, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father." (Bg. 14.4)

(To be continued...)