Lecture on SB 6.1.49 — New Orleans Farm, August 1, 1975
Harikeśa: Translation… “As a person in a dream while sleeping acts according to the body manifested in his dream, or accepts the body as himself, similarly, he identifies the present body as himself, which was acquired on account of past religious or irreligious life, and is not able to know of his past or future life.”
yathājñas tamasā (yukta)
upāste vyaktam eva hi
na veda pūrvam aparaṁ
This is our position. This is our advancement of science, that we do not know “What I was before this life and what I shall become after this life?” Life is continuation. That is spiritual knowledge. But they do not know also even that life is continuation. They think, “By chance, I have got this life, and it will be finished after death. There is no question of past, present or future. Let us enjoy.” This is called ignorance, tamasā, irresponsible life.
So ajñaḥ. Ajñaḥ means one who has no knowledge. And who has no knowledge? Now, tamasā. Those who are in the modes of ignorance. There are three kinds of material nature, modes: sattva, raja, tamas. Sattva-guṇa means everything is clear, prakāśa. Just like now the sky is covered with cloud; the sunshine is not clear. But above the cloud there is sunshine, everything clear. And within the cloud there is not clear. Similarly, those who are in the sattva-guṇa, for them everything is clear, and those who are in the tamo-guṇa, everything is ignorance, and those who are mixed up, neither rajo-guṇa, neither tamo-guṇa, via media, they are called rajo-guṇa. Three guṇas. Tamasā. So they are simply interested in the present body, does not care what is going to happen, and has no knowledge what he was before. There is another place it is described: nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma (SB 5.5.4). Pramattaḥ, just like madman. He does not know why he has become mad. He forgets. And by his activities, what is going to happen next, he does not know. Madman.
So this civilization, modern civilization, is just like madman civilization. They have no knowledge of past life, neither they are interested in the future life. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma (SB 5.5.4). And fully engaged in sinful activities because they have no knowledge of the past life. Just like a dog. Why he has become dog, that he does not know and what he is going to have next? So a dog might have been in his past life the prime minister, but when he gets the dog’s life, he forgets. That is also another influence of māyā. Prakṣepātmikā-śakti, āvaraṇātmikā-śakti. Māyā has got two potencies. If somebody for his past sinful activities has become a dog, and if he remembers that “I was prime minister; now I have become dog,” it will be impossible for him to live. Therefore māyā covers his knowledge. Mṛtyu. Mṛtyu means forgetting everything. That is called mṛtyu. So that we have got experience every day and night. When at night we dream in a separate atmosphere, separate life, we forget about this body, that “I am lying down. My body is lying down in a very nice apartment, very nice bedding.” No. Suppose he is loitering on the street or he is on the hill. So he is taking, in dream, he is taking… Everyone, we take interest of that body. We forget the past body. So this is ignorance. So ignorance, the more we become elevated from ignorance to knowledge, that is success of life. And if we keep ourself in ignorance, that is no success. That is spoiling the life.
So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is to raise a person from ignorance to knowledge. That is the whole scheme of Vedic literature: to deliver a person. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā about the devotees—not for all—teṣāṁ ahaṁ samuddhartā mṛtyu-saṁsāra-sāgarāt (BG 12.7). Another:
aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
For special, for the devotees… He is situated in everyone’s heart, but a devotee who is trying to understand Kṛṣṇa He helps. He helps. To the nondevotees, they have no concern with the… They are just like animal—eating, sleeping, sex life and defense. They do not care for anything, to understand God or his relationship with God. For them, they think there is no God, and Kṛṣṇa also says, “Yes, there is no God. You sleep.” That’s all. Therefore sat-saṅga required. This sat-saṅga, satāṁ prasaṅgāt. By the association of devotee we awaken our inquisitiveness about God. Therefore the centers are required. It is not unnecessarily we are opening so many centers. No. It is for the benefit of the human society.
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