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"What Is Religion

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23 Aug 73 , London

Prabhupada: Today's subject matter is "What is Religion?" So we are reciting some verses from the Sixth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, where the subject matter, dharma, is discussed. It is said that dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. Dharma, it is Sanskrit word, and the English translation, generally, it is made as "religion." Religion is accepted as a kind of faith. But faith may be wrong or right -- according to the different time, persons, climate, condition, so many consideration. But Srimad-Bhagavata says, dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam. Dharma, or religion, means the law given by God. Simple formula. As there are laws given by the state, similarly, the supreme state, supreme governor is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. God means the supreme being, supreme person. So... Or the supreme authority. Supreme means the greatest authority. As in a state the greatest authority is the government, similarly, throughout the cosmic manifestation, throughout the whole creation, there must be some supreme authority. So that supreme authority is God, and whatever He gives, the rules and regulation, that is called religion. You cannot change it. That the law whimsically, you cannot change. Then you will be punishable. Similarly, the laws or the words (are) of the regulative principles given by God. That is religion. And if you do not follow it, then you'll be punished.

Actually, the Sanskrit word dharma means the constitutional position. We may try to understand what is the meaning of dharma. Just like fire. Fire means there must be heat and light. Without heat and light, there is no meaning of fire. If you say that we have got fire but there is no heat and no light, so what kind of fire it is? So that fire and light of, heat and light of fire is to be understood as dharma. You cannot change it. This is no possibility. Otherwise, there will be no meaning. Water, water is liquid. Any water, any parts of the world, when you take water, it is liquid; therefore this liquidity is the dharma of water. You take anything. Actually, dharma means characteristic -- anything you take. Just like I am speaking before this microphone. So if it does not produce the sound, then what kind of microphone it is? The sound production from the microphone is the dharma, is the religion, natural characteristic. So what is the natural characteristic of human being? The natural characteristic is that we serve the superior. That is natural characteristic. Either you become Christian or Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist, nobody can say that "I do not serve any superior." Nobody can say. One must serve. That is dharma. Faith, ritualistic -- I am today Hindu; I can accept the ritualistic process tomorrow of the Christian faith; or a Christian may take another ritual -- but his business, to serve the superior, that does not change. Either you become Christian or Muslim or Hindu, it doesn't matter. It is not that Hindus, they only serve in the office; the Christian do not. No. The service is there. So actually the service

Because the dharma is meant for the human being. that is animal society. So this question was raised by the servants of Yamaraja in the matter of Ajamila Upakhyana. you immediately say. So we have to take knowledge from authorized scriptures. If you take a chili and if it is sweet. Vetti veda vido jnanam. in the civilized human society. veda means the book of knowledge." "Muslim. dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam na vai vidur rsayo napi devah na siddha-mukhya asura manusyah kuto na vidyadhara-caranadayah [SB 6. So what is God? You have to understand. He said. If you take chili. a religious person means who knows completely. dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam. We are talking of persons only. "Eh.3." "Christian. If you do not know what is government. Any civilized human society there is a system of religion -. if you taste sugar. Dharmena hina pasubhih samanah. Here in the Srimad-Bhagavatam it is said that. different parts of this globe. In the human society. if there is no conception of God's order or God's law. good citizen means who abide by the laws of the state. master of understanding religious principle.is his dharma. And the Yamaraja. Veda. how you can become a good citizen? That is not possible. This is dharma. at least partially also. so he explained what is dharma. So dharma means characteristic. That is dharmic. Similarly. That is designation. not for the cats and dogs. Other living entities we are not taking into consideration." No.19] There are different planetary system. That is dharma. authorized lawbook. As we have got on this planet different parts of the world.it doesn't matter what is that religion. If you take sugar. the laws of God. it is sweet. and in each and every planetary system. it is very hot. there are different types of living beings or human beings. The cats and dogs . this is not good chili. Jnana. who's known as Dharmaraja. veda-pranihito dharmo hy adharmas tad-viparyayah vedo narayanah saksat svayambhur iti susruma Therefore we have to understand dharma from scriptures. what is the laws of the government. That is dharma. if there is no conception of God. a religious person means who abides by the order of God. A big lawyer means who is quite aware of the laws of the state. "Hindu. Actual dharma means the characteristic. not this rubberstamp. Then what does He say? You have to understand. Similarly. A good citizen. we have got different types of persons. human being. Veda means knowledge. then you can execute actually what is religion. Religious system is there in the human society. That is civilized human civilization. that is not human society. The sweetness is the characteristic of sugar." because there is no dharma.

If you say in the court. You cannot violate the laws of God. For example. Take. intelligent men.. good citizen. 4. adharma..still. because you are civilized. This is religion.or other animals." you'll never go there. and it is applicable to the grown-up men. But a cat and dog will enter. how to execute that. that's all. Godlessness. how there can be light in the sunshine? So . That is not expected there.therefore the whole universe. just like the sun and the sunlight or sunshine. punishable. You cannot disobey the laws of God. it is simply animal society. His activities. if a dog or a cat or a cow violates. so-called civilized man. big. At that time. His name. the law is "Keep to the left" while you drive your car. Without sun. the whole creation is also God. discrepancies in the matter of discharging the order of God. His form. Or a child -. But the same right and left consideration. that is called dharmasya glanir. yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata tadatmanam srjamy aham [Bg. in your country. No. Idam hi visvam bhagavan ivetaro. civilized men. what is God. "My lord. that is trespassing. has no knowledge of God. God advents or descends.he has no fault. I did not know this law. God.God has created -. God says. not for the uncivilized cats and dogs. for example.7] Krsna says. or by His name also. they have no sense what is the law of God. So these are laws.sun is different from the sunshine -. everything in relationship to God. "No admission without permission. no knowledge of the laws of God. Therefore when a civilized man. It must be. You'll not be excused. That is humanity. that is also God. instead of going on the left side. you are expected.if he violates law. instead of driving on the left side. big animals. that when there is too much disobedience in the matter of law of the Supreme Lord. This evening we are discussing. Dharmena hina pasubhih samanah. what is God. They are animals. Just like a good citizen. This is dharma. we must know what is dharma. Therefore these laws of dharma or religious system is meant for the civilized human being. and if you see the signboard. As a citizen. Because they are all identical. sunshine is also sun. So Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita. That is the order of the state." You must know. if you drive on the right side. A child will enter. that is called stealing. you must know what is the law of the state. But if you do not obey the state order. They are not to be considered as human being. You cannot say that "I do not know the laws of God. Similarly. Actually this world is also God. Tadatmanam srjamy aham. If I take anything without your permission. Although apparently different -. Visvam means the whole universal creation. by His son. although it appears different from God. adharmasya abhyutthanam. He's animal. If you want to enter somebody's house. you immediately become a criminal. He descends personally. if he passes -. without any knowledge of the God's order." that is not excuse. His representative. without any knowledge of God. He's animal. He descends by His representative. Because it is creation of God -. If I enter your house without your permission.

. they are abiding by the laws of. you'll have to admit what is said in the sastra. great saintly persons or great thoughtful philosophers. here it is stated.. but that is not possible. how the energy of God is working. All-pervading. If you want sunshine. But as soon as the sunshine is there. Just like the sunshine. So if we are thoughtful. Now just like in the Bhagavad-gita it is said that mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram [Bg. we have to take knowledge from the sastras. There are very. that is also acting by the order of God. very big powerful demigods. That is not possible. the Supreme Lord. the energy. Under His direction the material nature is working. similarly. Vidur. the sun.19]. That is intelligence. Not that because one is very great saintly person. And the energies are acting under certain laws given by God. at this hour.. But we do not know that behind the material nature there is God. Na vai vidur rsayo napi devah. Saksad: directly. the sun is ninety millions miles away from us. you can understand the existence of God by the energy of God. Devah means demigods. just like Indra. Dharmam tu saksad [SB 6. you can understand God. he can make a kind of religious system. is situated in one place.3. still. That we can understand. vidur means knowing. exactly like that. even scientists.in broader sense there is nothing but God. He is all-pervading. great scientist. You cannot change the law of God. by His energy. And if you judge from good sense and intelligence. but that is not religion. The sun is distributing the light. Not by your scientific method. Similarly. Candra. or by the order of God. great saintly person. not independently. similarly. rascallike. sun will rise: you'll get sunshine. rsaya means great sages. rsaya. Many sastras. There is a particular time. Dharmam tu saksad. That may be something else. they cannot create dharma. then you have to wait til morning. We are very much astonished to see the activities of the material nature wonderfully working. but it is distributing the heat and light. that is by the order of God. it is not possible. Religion must be given by God. dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam na vai vidur rsayo napi devah [SB 6. they sometimes say like that. everything God. Rsaya. tathedam brahmanah sakti.19]. At night if you want sunshine. The sunshine. Everywhere. by the order of God. No. we can understand there is sun. That is not possible. "Now we have discovered a scientific method by which at night also sun will rise. That will not be religion. However advanced you may be in science. As the fire is situated in one place but the heat and light is working.10]. the sunshine will be visible.. As the fire is placed. 9. although He's in His abode. Anything you find. matter. great sages." No. Sun is also demigod. dark night. great philosopher. The whole total cosmic manifestation which is called material energy. then we can understand what is God and how His energies are acting. but you cannot get sunshine in this night. Rsaya. Denied here in this verse: na vai vidur rsayo napi devah.3. when by the grace of God. there is God.. Matter cannot act independently. however scientific machineries you have discovered. Of course. That is . the Goloka Vrndavana. Material nature. This is explained in the Visnu Purana: ekadesa sthitasyagner jyotsna vistarini yatha sarvaiva brahmanah sakti. Dharma is directly made by God. No scientist can say.

There is direction behind it.. If you voluntarily do not abide by the orders of the state. Just like nowadays the wonderful machine is computer. That is the nature. Without that expert man. little fingers. He has got also creative power. Otherwise.that "I do not believe in God. Take any machine. Similarly. we are subordinate. We have also creative power. Just like if you do not obey the laws of the state as a free man. Just like this microphone is a combination of material things -. He has got also brain. That is actually religion. You cannot be without service. a being. therefore our position is to abide by the orders of God. millions and trillions of heavy planets are floating in the air. That is religion. and you have to abide by the orders. created by some living entity. We are serving. Nunam mahatam tatra. don't think that it is so acting automatically. is God. That's all. That is not possible. we can manufacture something like airplane. Because human being is stronger he's eating the weaker. God means the supreme brain. but we have got little and He has got supreme power. That is religion. Similarly. God is also like us. I'll not obey the orders of the state. Take any machine. What is called? Bhagavan: Computer." such persons will be under the guidance or under the influence or power of the . Our only business is to serve God. that big brain. and we are teenies. but by the God's brain. the supreme powerful.the fingers are little. any one of us. those who have declared independence.some iron. or there is brain behind it. they are misusing their brain by eating poor animals. That means if you do not serve God. It may be very wonderful machine. It has no value. As we are being. but He is Supreme Being. but God has got big brain. I do not want any type of religion or serving God. You cannot say.not possible. we have got our brain. Similarly. No. but there must be a expert man to push the button. [break] . And that brain. That's all. Prabhupada: So it acts very wonderfully. it will not act.. We may float one mechanic airplane in the air. So on my order the fingers are working. this wonderful machine is lump of iron. Not that matter has automatically come into intermingling with this other and become a microphone. this huge. then you will be pushed into the prison house as a criminal. then you will be forced to abide by the state in the prison house. Less powerful men serve the more powerful. But you must be engaged in God's business. so-called independence -nobody can be independent -. gigantic machine of cosmic manifestation where innumerable planets are floating in the sky just like cotton swabs.. But it has been adjusted. not by the order of finger I am working. then you have to serve maya. That is God's brain. we have got our creative power. some other metals. sputnik. you cannot bring God in your business. So God is great and we are teeny small living entities. So when a human being. we can do something. Just like human being." That is not possible. "No. That is the difference.. It is very simple formula. Maya is another agent of God.

maya. if you become without religion. by passion. God.66]. sometimes very much fatigued. how to surrender to God. but godless. as "Father. But we are suffering because we have forgotten God. social duty. That is not possible because it is meant for reformation. he is imperfect. so many. material energy. and there is punishment. 18. That is our position. but they are not thinking any welfare for the poor animals. and teaches us Bhagavad-gita. 7. One who is obedient son. Therefore God comes. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gita we learn that daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya [Bg. if you become without any intentions to abide by the orders of God. And so long we shall be going on serving maya. we are prisoners because actually we have disobeyed the orders of God. and we are becoming tired. He is so kind.14]. they are all prisoners. Because in the prison house you cannot expect any comfortable life. how to become God conscious. They are called asuras. We are now illusioned by the influence of maya. as it is said. and there is injunction. Take. Similarly. illusory energy. Every one of us is serving under the order of maya. They are materially very powerful. we are now serving maya. Bhagavad-gita says. in three ways: by goodness. cannot be satisfaction. humanitarian duty. Therefore we have to ask. deva. We have created so many dharmas or duties. This is our position. sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. Russia. Of course." Father means every one of us. but they are asuras because they do not believe in God. But we are violating God. they are godless. for example. And at last He says. Tribhir guna-mayair bhavair. This is nature's law. we are sons. Maya-mohita. he is perfect. It may be demigod. You have to abide by that. One who is disobedient son. There are other beings. material energy. all of us. Therefore. philanthropists. So many humanitarians. If you become godless. So this material world is the prison house of God. 18. and by ignorance. A fragmental portion of Russian people. we cannot be happy.66]. This is dharma. But instead of serving God. asuras. Anyone who is living in this prison house. They are very powerful. how to become obedient to God. they are thinking of good welfare for the human being. So God is always kind upon us. then you will be punished. We also address the Supreme Being. political duty. Just like nowadays some portion of the world is occupied by the asuras. But we are disobedient son. or serving in the prison house. Nobody is satisfied. the mass of people. you have to learn. they are not like that. every one of us. So they are all punishable because every living being is the son of the Supreme Person. So you cannot be godless. Father is giving food even to the disobedient son. so-called duties. Therefore Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita that sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. as you have to learn . in this material world also.material nature. Na vai vidur rsayo napi devah na siddhamukhya asura manusyah. They are being sent to the slaughterhouse under some plea. Krsna comes. Now this saranagati. We are human being.

So he says "We twelve personalities. Who are they? Svayambhu. like that. similarly. the grandfather Bhisma. amrtam. we. In the sastra it is recommended that twelve great personalities." That is called dharma. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum eva abhigacchet samit-panih srotriyam brahmanistham [MU 1. That Manu. Amrtam means immortality. This very word is used. Yamaraja is speaking to the assistant of Yamaraja.. Kumara." He also included. Bhagavatam means in relationship with God.. It is said. dvadasaite vijanimo dharmam bhagavatam bhatah guhyam visuddham durbodham yam jnatvamrtam asnute The same word. you have to approach some expert in the matter. if you actually want to know what is dharma. how I have to act in that relationship and what is the perfection of life. Dharma means bhagavata-dharma." And dharmam means bhagavatam dharma. means "activities or duties in terms of our relationship with God. The matter is guhyam. A person ." dvadasaite vijanimo dharmam bhagavatam bhatah." These things we must know. In the modern civilization they do not know what is amrtam. Then it is said.20]..12]. Narada Muni. Hiranyakasipu's son. what is my relationship with God. Then Sambhu. If you want to get some information. Then Prahlada Maharaja. Because I already explained.. Yamaraja is also one of the authorities. Dharmam bhagavatam bhatah. he is also mahajana. Kapila. then the result will be that you will get immortal life. that "All these twelve men. These twelve personalities will. svayambhur naradah sambhuh kumarah kapilo manuh [SB 6. Lord Brahma.3. Narada. Manu. Sukadeva Gosvami. We have to learn how to execute dharma from these great personalities. That is dharma. So you cannot approach anyone else. The original Manu is the emperor of the universe. dharma means the laws given by God. Therefore it is called dharmena hina pasubhih samanah. We must know "Who is God. you have to go to a particular department and you have to learn it.. Dvadasaite vijanimah. So they are described in the sastra as twelve principle authorities. and Bali Maharaja and Vaiyasaki. the great sage Kapila.. If you execute dharma perfectly under the direction of the authorities. the four Kumaras. you have to learn from them what is actually dharma.something from a superior person. then you have to approach such gurus or their representative.2. "we know. Lord Siva. Sanat-kumaradi.. Prahlado janako bhismah. Manu. Just like government department. King Janaka and Bhisma. therefore it is recommended that how to learn. similarly. Just like if you want to learn something. Amrtam asnute. Therefore dharma's another name is bhagavatam dharmam. then you have to accept the disciplic succession of either of these great twelve personalities. if you want to learn what is dharma. how to become obedient to the principles laid down by God. Otherwise we are animals. how to execute it. As they are recommended.. no other dharma. In relationship with God.

The activities of dharma. I will not be able to understand.. Therefore if you want to know what is dharma.6]. how to love . one has to approach. It doesn't matter whether you are Christian or Hindu or Muslim. It doesn't matter whether you pass it from London University or Calcutta University or Berlin University. You have passed your examination. he cannot. Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna [SB 5. one cannot have any good qualification. That religious system is perfect. then you become immortal. then you have to approach these twelve great personalities. but if he does not know what is God. sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje [SB 1. Although it is very pure. Dharma does not mean any material activities.may be materially very qualified. This is the purpose of dharma.2." That is not dharma. visuddham. That is perfect. It is simply wasting time. It may go on under any name. That will be taken into consideration. that dharma is perfect. but you have no knowledge of God. next life is immortal life. and you have learned how to obey God. because I am impure. So therefore it is said here that guhyam visuddham durbodham. it doesn't matter.it is simply wasting time. Suppose you are in need of some legal protection. very guhyam.12].. my some relative or somebody else. you have to consult the physician. Guhyam visuddham dur." You have to approach a good lawyer. but you do not know "Under which legal protection I will be safe. that is not possible. But if you have achieved the result. If you think that by your principle. very difficult to understand. You cannot say that "I'll defend myself. When you are diseased. Therefore dharma means to understand God and to abide by His order. no love for God -. Just like if you pass your M. It doesn't matter. We should not be satisfied that "I have got a dharma made by somebody. That is stated. I will do... But you are following very nicely dharma. Anything which is very difficult to understand.18. That system of religion is perfect by which one can learn what is God and how to love God. what is his relationship with God. that is wanted. Visuddham means. Dharma means spiritual activities. etavan eva loke 'smin pumsam dharmah parah smrtah bhakti-yogo bhagavati tan-nama-grahanadibhih So dharma means first-class dharma which teaches the followers how to know God. To learn this scientific method. it becomes simplified. very confidential. you have understood God and you have learned how to love God.." No. pure of the contamination of the material qualities. Those who are unaware of God and His service..A. examination. yam jnatva amrtam asnute. Just like you do not know law. Guhyam visuddham. Durbodham means very difficult to understand. That is not good qualification. And if you are fortunate enough to understand what is religion. Guhyam visuddham durbodham. if you go to a superior authority. he has no qualification. Dharma means to understand God. your socalled dharma. very confidential. pure. So similarly. Otherwise it will remain durbodham..

Parah means superior.Him. 1973 . August 23. Bhakti-yogo bhagavati tan-nama grahanadibhih. So etavan eva loke 'smin pumsam dharmah parah smrtah. This is dharma. Bhaktiyoga. That is dharma. That is first-class religion. VedaBase => Lecture -. So what is that? Bhakti-yogo bhagavati. Or transcendental. Thank you very much. not inferior. devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And it begins by chanting the holy name of God. So this Krsna consciousness movement is preaching the sankirtana movement just to make the whole world to know God and how to love God. This bhakti-yoga. (end) >>> Ref.London.