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ANNOUNCER: The following is a
class on the Bhagavad-gītā As It
Is, 2nd chapter, text number 14,
given by His Divine Grace A. C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami
Prabhupāda, recorded on the
21st of June 1974 in Germany.

PRABHUPĀDA: In the previous
verse, it has been described that
dehino ’smin yathā dehe
kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā: [Bg.
2.13] “We are transmigrating
from one body to another.
Exactly like we are passing from
a child body to a boy’s body, a
boy’s body to youth body,
similarly, we are passing through
this body also and accepting
another body.” Now, the
question of distress and
happiness. Distress and
happiness—according to the
body. A very rich man is situated
little comfortably. The common
distress and unhappiness, that is
common. What is that common?
duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam. To
take birth either as a dog or as a
king, the distress is the same.
There is no difference because
the dog has to keep itself within
the womb of the mother in an
airtight condition for so many
months, and the man, either he
is king or anything, he has also
undergo that tribulation. There is
no excuse. Because you are
taking birth in a king’s family, it
does not mean that to remain
compact within the mother’s
womb the distress is less, and
because he is taking birth in a
dog’s mother’s womb, therefore
his is great. No. That is the same.
Similarly, at the time of death,
the distress… At the time of
death there is great distress. It is
so strong that one has to leave
this body. Just like when the
distress becomes very strong,
one commits suicide. He cannot
tolerate: “Finish this body.”

So nobody wants to leave this
body, but the distress is so
strong that one is forced to leave
this body. That is called death. In
the Bhagavad-gītā you will find
that mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś ca
aham. Kṛṣṇa says that “I am
death.” And what is the meaning
of death? Death means “I take
everything from him. Finished. I
take his body, I take his
association, I take his country, I
take his society, I take his bank
balance, and everything
finished.” Sarva-haraḥ. Sarva
means everything. Everyone is
trying to accumulated big bank
balance and big house, big
family, big motorcar… But with
the death, everything is finished.
So that is great distress.
Sometimes one cries. You will
find at the time of death, in
coma, his eye drops are coming
out. He is thinking, “I made so
many things so nicely to live
comfortably, and now I am losing
everything.” Great distress. I
know one friend in Allahabad. He
was very rich man. So he was
only fifty-four years old. So he
was requesting, crying, doctor,
“Doctor, can you give me at least
four years to live? I had a plan. I
wanted to finish it.” What the
doctor can do? “That is not
possible, sir. You must get out.”
But these foolish people, they do
not know. But we have to
tolerate. We have to tolerate.
That is advised here, that
“Because you have got this
material body, you have to
tolerate, to live within the womb
of the mother.” Then come out.
Then I cannot speak. Suppose I
am a little baby, and some worm
is biting me. I cannot say
“Mother”—because at time I
cannot speak—“something is
biting on my back.” I am crying,
and mother is thinking that “The
child is hungry. Give him milk.”
(laughter) Just see how much
this… I want something, and I
am given something else. That is
a fact. Why the child is crying?
He is feeling uncomfortable.
Then, in this way, I grow. Then I
do not want to go to school. I am
forced to go to school. Yes. At
least, I was like that. (laughter) I
never wanted to go to school.
And my father was very kind. “So
all right. Why you are not going
to school?” I would say, “I will go
tomorrow.” “All right.” But my
mother was very careful. Perhaps
if my mother would not have
been little strict, I would not have
gotten any education. My father
was very lenient. So she used to
force me. One man would take
me to school. Actually, children
do not want to go to school.
They want to play. Against the
will of the children, he has to go
to school. Then there is
examination, not only going to

So you study the life. From the
beginning of this body within the
womb of the mother, it is simply
troublesome. Against my will so
many distresses are there, so
many distresses there. Then as
you grow, the distress grow,
grow. Distress is not diminished.
Then janma, then old age, then
disease. So long you have got
this body… The so-called
scientists, they are
manufacturing very effective
medicine, discovery, new
discovery. Just…, what is called?
Streptomycin? So many things.
But they cannot stop disease.
That is not possible, sir. You can
manufacture so many high-class
medicines to cure disease. That
will not cure. Temporary relief.
But no scientist has discovered
any medicine that “You take this
medicine and no more disease.”
That is not possible. “You take
this medicine, no more death.”
That is not possible. Therefore
those who are intelligent, they
know it very well that this place is
duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam [Bg.
8.15]. That is described in the
Bhagavad-gītā. It is a place for
distress. So long you remain
here… But we are so fools, we
cannot realize. We accept, “This
life is very pleasant. Let me enjoy
it.” It is not pleasant at all,
seasonal changes, always. This
distress or that distress, this
disease or that disease. This
uncomfortable, this anxiety.
There are three kinds of
distresses: adhyātmika,
adhibhautika, adhidaivika.
Adhyātmika means distresses
pertaining to this body and the
mind. And adhidaivika means
distresses offered by material
nature. Nature. All of a sudden
there is earthquake. All of a
sudden there is famine, there is
scarcity of food, there is over
rain, no rain, extreme heat,
extreme winter, extreme cold.
We have to go under these
distresses, threefold. At least
one, two, must be there. Still, we
do not realize that “This place is
full of distress because I have got
this material body.”

Therefore a sane man’s duty is
how to stop the process of
accepting this material body. This
is intelligence. He should realize
that “I am always in distresses,
and I am not this body, but I am
put into this body. Therefore
right conclusion is that I am not
this body. If, somehow or other,
I can live without this body, then
my distresses are over. This is
common sense. That is possible.
Therefore Kṛṣṇa comes.
Therefore God comes, to give
you the information that “You are
not this body. You are the soul,
spirit soul. And because you are
within this body, you are
suffering so many distresses.”
Therefore Kṛṣṇa advises that
“These distresses are due to this
body.” Try to understand. Why
you are feeling pains and
pleasure? It is due to the body.

Therefore Buddha philosophy is
also same thing, that you finish
this body, nirvāṇa, nirvāṇa.
Nirvāṇa means… Their
philosophy is that your feeling of
pains and pleasure, it is due to
this body. They also accept. Now
what is this body? This body is
combination of matter.
Combination of earth, water, air,
fire, ether, mind, intelligence,
ego—eight material elements,
five gross and three subtle. This
body is made of that. So the
Buddha philosophy is that you
dismantle this body, nirvāṇa. Just
like this house is made of stone,
brick and wood and so many. So
you break it, and there is no
more stone and no more brick.
This is distributed to the earth.
Throw it on the earth. Then there
is no house. Similarly, if you
become zero, no body, then you
are free from pains and pleasure.
This is their philosophy, nirvāṇa
philosophy, śūnyavādi: “Make it
zero.” But that is not possible.
That is not possible. You
cannot… Because you are spirit
soul… That will be explained. You
are eternal. You cannot be zero.
That will be explained, na
hanyate hanyamāne śarīre [Bg.
2.20], that we are giving up this
body, but immediately I have to
accept another body,
immediately. Then where is your
question of dismantling? By
nature’s way you will get another
body. Because you want to
enjoy, you have come here in
this material world. There is no
question of asking. Everyone
knows that “I am in this material
world. I must enjoy to the fullest
extent.” One who is unaware of
the fact that “I am going to take
another life,” he is thinking, “This
is a combination of this matter—
earth, water, air, fire. So when it
will be broken, then everything
will be finished. So so long I have
got this opportunity, let me enjoy
to the fullest extent.” This is
called material mentality, atheist,
atheist, who does not know that
we are eternal soul, we are
changing body only. The atheists
think that after finishing…

Here in the Western country, big,
big professor, they are also under
the same impression, that when
the body is finished, everything is
finished. No. That is not.
Therefore that is the beginning of
instruction. Dehino ’smin yathā
dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā
[Bg. 2.13]. You are changing
different bodies. By finishing the
body, you are not finished. You
are not finished. We can
understand with little thinking
that in this body I am…, even in
this life. At night I get another
body. I dream. I dream there is
tiger. I go to the forest, and
there is a tiger, and it is coming
to kill me. Then I am crying, and
actually I am crying. Or, in other
way, I have gone to some
beloved, man and woman. We
are embracing, but the bodily
action is going on. Otherwise
why I am crying? And why there
is discharge of semina? So people
do not know that I am leaving
this gross body, but I am
entering into subtle body. Subtle
body is there, not question of
inside. We are packed up. Just
like this body is packed up with
shirt and coat, so the coat is the
gross body, and the shirt is the
subtle body. So when this gross
body is resting, the subtle body is
working. The foolish men, they
cannot understand that “I am
compact in some body, either
subtle body or gross body.” One
who is too sinful, very much
sinful, he does not get the gross
body. He remains in the subtle
body, and that is called ghost.
You have heard. Some of you
might have seen. There is ghost.
Ghost means he doesn’t get. He
is so sinful that he is condemned
to remain in the subtle body. He
does not get the gross body.
Therefore, according to Vedic
system, there is śrāddha
ceremony. If the father or
relative has not gotten the gross
body, by that ceremony he is
allowed to accept a gross body.
That is the Vedic system.

So anyway, we can understand
that “I am sometimes in this
gross body, and I am sometimes
in the subtle body. So I am
there, either in the gross body or
in the subtle body. So I am
eternal. But when I work with the
subtle body, I forget this gross
body. And when I work with this
gross body, I forget this subtle
body. So either I accept the
gross body or subtle body, I am
eternal. I am eternal. Now the
problem is how to avoid this
gross body and subtle body. That
is problem. That means when
you remain in your original body,
means spiritual body, and do not
come to this gross or subtle
body, that is your eternal life.
That is… We have to achieve.
This human life is a gift by the
nature or by God. Now you
realize that you are changing
your different condition, distress
and happiness, being forced to
accept some kind of gross and
subtle body. That is the cause of
your pains and pleasure. And if
you get out of this gross and
subtle body, remain in your
original, spiritual body, then you
are free from these pains and
pleasure. That is called mukti.
Mukti. There is a Sanskrit word.
Mukti means liberation, no more
gross body, no more subtle body.
But you remain in your own
original spiritual body. This is
called mukti. Mukti means… It is
described in the Bhāgavatam,
muktir hitvā anyathā rūpaṁ sva-
rūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ. That is
called mukti. Anyathā rūpam.
Anyathā rūpam means in
otherwise, staying or living in
otherwise. Otherwise means that
I am spirit soul. I have got
spiritual body. But some way or
other, circumstantially, on
account of my desire, I get
sometimes human body and
sometimes dog’s body,
sometimes cat’s body, sometimes
tree’s body, sometimes
demigod’s body. There are
different, 8,400,000 different
forms of body. So I am changing
according to my desire. And
according to my infection,
kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgaḥ asya.
These are the subtle things. That
is the real knowledge of human
being, not to invent something
for temporary happiness. That is
foolishness. That is foolishness,
wasting time. If we invent
something for the comforts of
this present body and I shall live
very comfortably, but “You will
not be allowed, sir, to live
comfortably.” First of all you
know it. Suppose a man is
constructing very nice house,
very strong house. It will never
fall down in any circumstances.
But that’s all right, but what you
have done for yourself that you
will never die so that you will
enjoy this? “No. Let it be. Let me
have a very strong-built house.”
So house remains. You go there.
Strong-built nation. Just like
Napoleon constructed strong-
built arches, but where he has
gone, nobody knows. So
therefore Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura
says, sings, jaḍa-bidyā jato
māyāra vaibhava tomāra bhajane
bādhā. The more we advance in
so-called material happiness or
material advancement, the more
we forget our real identity. This is
the result.

So we should understand that we
have got a separate business,
real business. That is called self-
realization, that “I am not this
body.” This is self-realization.
That is being instructed by Kṛṣṇa
in the beginning, that “You are
not this body.” The first
understanding, first knowledge,
is to understand that “I am not
this body. I am spirit soul. I have
got a different business.” It is not
that this temporary actions or
activities like as a dog, or as a
human being, or as a tiger or as
a tree or as a fish, there are
activities. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-
maithunaṁ ca. The same
principle of bodily necessities.
Eating, sleeping, sex life and
defense. But in the human form
of life, I have got a separate
business, self-realization, to get
out of this bodily entanglement.
And that is called knowledge.
Without this knowledge, anything
we are advancing in knowledge,
that is foolishness, that’s all.
Śrama eva hi kevalam. Śrama
eva hi kevalam. Śrama eva hi
kevalam means simply working
uselessly and wasting time. You
cannot check the nature’s law.
Suppose in this life you are very
big leader, prime minister, and
everything. That’s all right, but
according to your mentality, you
are creating next life. So in this
life you remain a prime minister,
and in next life you become a
dog. Then where is the benefit?
Therefore these atheist fools,
they want to deny next life. That
is very horrible for them. That is
very horrible to them. If they
accept next life… They know
their life is very sinful. Then what
life they are going to get by the
laws of nature? When they think
of it, they shudder. “Better deny
it. Better deny it.” Just like a
rabbit. Enemy is in his front, and
he is going to die, but the thinks,
“Let me close my eyes. I am out
of danger.” This is atheistic view,
that they are trying to forget that
there is… Therefore they deny,
“There is no life.” Why not? Kṛṣṇa
says that “You had a childhood
body. You had a baby… Now you
have… Where is that body? You
have left that. You are in
different body. Similarly, this
body you’ll change. You will get
another body.” And who says?
Kṛṣṇa says. The most superior
authority, he says. I may not
understand, but when He says…
This is the process of our
knowledge. We accept
knowledge from the perfect
person. I may be fool, but the
knowledge received from the
perfect person is perfect. This is
our process. We don’t try to
speculate. That may or may not
be successful, but if you accept
knowledge from the perfect
authority, that knowledge is
perfect. Just like we are
speculating, “Who is my father?”
You can speculate who is your
father, but that speculation will
not help you. You will never
understand who is your father.
But you go to your mother, the
supreme authority. She’ll
immediately, “Here is your
father.” That’s all. And you
cannot know father in any other
way. There is no other way. This
is practical. You cannot know
your father without the
authoritative statement of your
mother. Similarly, things which
are beyond your perception, avan
mānasa-gocara, you cannot think
of, you cannot speak of.
Sometimes they say, “God
cannot be spoken. God cannot be
thought of.” That is all right. But
if God Himself comes before you
and says, “Here I am,” then
where is the difficulty? I am
imperfect. I cannot know. That’s
all right. But if God Himself
comes before me…

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness
movement is to know everything
perfectly from the supreme
authority, Kṛṣṇa. This is the
process. Tad vijñānārthaṁ sa
gurum eva abhigacchet [MU
1.2.12]. In order to understand
subject matter which is beyond
our perception, you have to
approach such authority who can
inform you. Exactly in the same
way: to understand who is my
father is beyond my perception,
beyond my speculation, but if I
accept the authoritative
statement of my mother, this is
perfect knowledge. So there are
three kinds of processes to
understand or to advance in
knowledge. One is direct
perception, pratyakṣa. And the
other is authority, and the other
is śruti. Śruti means by hearing
from the Supreme. So our
process is śruti. Śruti means we
hear from the highest authority.
That is our process, and that is
very easy. Highest authority, if
He is not in default… Ordinary
persons, they are in default. They
have got imperfection. The first
imperfection is: the ordinary
man, they commit mistake. Any
great man of the world, you have
seen, they commit mistake. And
they are illusioned. They accept
something as reality which is not
reality. Just like we accept this
body as reality. This is called
illusion. But it is not reality. “I am
soul.” That is reality. So this is
called illusion. And then, with this
illusory knowledge, imperfect
knowledge, we become teacher.
That is another cheating. They
say, all these scientists and
philosophers, “Perhaps,” “It may
be.” So where is your
knowledge? “It may be” and
“perhaps.” Why you are taking
the post of a teacher? “In future
we shall understand.” And what
is this future? Would you accept
a post-dated check? “In future I
shall discover, and therefore I am
scientist.” What is this scientist?
And, above all, our imperfectness
of senses. Just like we are seeing
one another because there is
light. If there is no light, then
what is the power of my seeing?
But these rascals they do not
understand that they are always
defective, and still, they are
writing books of knowledge.
What is your knowledge? We
must take knowledge from the
perfect person.

Therefore we are taking
knowledge from Kṛṣṇa, the
Supreme Person, the perfect
person. And He is advising that if
you want to stop your pains and
pleasure, then you must make
some arrangement not to accept
this material body. That He is
advising, Kṛṣṇa, how to avoid this
material body. That has been
explained. This is Second
Chapter. In the Fourth Chapter
Kṛṣṇa has said that janma karma
me divyaṁ yo jānāti tattvataḥ,
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti
mām eti. You simply try to
understand the activities of
Kṛṣṇa. These activities of Kṛṣṇa is
there in the history, in the
Mahābhārata. Mahābhārata
means greater India or greater
Bhārata, Mahābhārata, the
history. In that history this
Bhagavad-gītā is also there. So
He is speaking about Himself.
You try to understand Kṛṣṇa. This
is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness
movement. Simply try to
understand Kṛṣṇa, His activities.
He is not impersonal. Janma
karma me divyam. Karma means
activities. He has activities. Why
He is taking part in this world,
activities? Why He comes?

yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir
bhavati bhārata abhyutthānam
adharmasya tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy
aham [Bg. 4.7]

He has got some purpose; He
has got some mission. So try to
understand Kṛṣṇa and His
mission and His activities. They
are described in a historical form.
So where is the difficulty? We
read so many things, history or
the activities of some leader,
some politician. The same thing,
same energy, you apply for
understanding Kṛṣṇa. Where is
the difficulty? Kṛṣṇa, therefore,
He manifests Himself with so
many activities.