Those who are unfortunate will find time to hear ordinary social and political topics, but when they are invited to attend an assembly to hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, they are reluctant to attend. Sometimes people indulge in hearing portions of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam which they are not prepared to hear. Professional readers of the Bhāgavatam indulge in reading the confidential portions dealing with the pastimes of the Supreme Lord. These portions appear to read like sex literature. However, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is meant to be heard from the beginning, and those who are fit to assimilate the messages of Bhāgavatam are mentioned in the very beginning (SB 1.1.2): A bona fide audience fit to hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is generated after many pious deeds.
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Less fortunate persons are not at all interested in hearing this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The process is simple, but the application is difficult. Unfortunate people find enough time to hear idle social and political conversations, but when invited to attend a meeting of devotees to hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam they suddenly become reluctant. Sometimes professional readers of the Bhāgavatam immediately plunge into the confidential topics of the pastimes of the Supreme Lord, which they seemingly interpret as sex literature. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is meant to be heard from the beginning. Those who are fit to assimilate this work are mentioned in this śloka: "One becomes qualified to hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam after many pious deeds." The intelligent person, with thoughtful discretion, can be assured by the great sage Vyāsadeva that he can realize the Supreme Personality directly by hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Without undergoing the different stages of realization set forth in the Vedas, one can be lifted immediately to the position of paramahaṁsa simply by agreeing to receive this message.
A paramahaṁsa is one who has taken shelter of the Parabrahman, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one takes shelter of the paramahaṁsa spiritual master, gradually, through training and instruction, he will become detached from worldly life and ultimately return home, back to Godhead. The particular mention of aṅganāśramam asattama-yūtha-gātham is very interesting. The whole world is in the clutches of māyā, being controlled by woman. Not only is one controlled by the woman who is one's wife, but one is also controlled by so many sex literatures. That is the cause of one's being entangled in the material world. One cannot give up this abominable association through one's own effort, but if one takes shelter of a bona fide spiritual master who is a paramahaṁsa, he will gradually be elevated to the platform of spiritual life.
Some ask that if Kṛṣṇa is self-sufficient, why did He at all manifest the pastimes with the gopīs, which are disturbing to the so-called moralists of the world? The answer is that such activities show special mercy to the fallen, conditioned souls. The gopīs are expansions of His internal energy, but because Kṛṣṇa wanted to exhibit the rāsa-līlā, they appeared as ordinary human beings. In the material world, pleasure is ultimately manifested in the sex attraction between man and woman. The man lives simply to be attracted by women, and the woman lives simply to be attracted by men. That is the basic principle of material life. As soon as these attractions are combined, people become more and more implicated in material existence. In order to show them special favor, Kṛṣṇa exhibited this rāsa-līlā dance. It is just to captivate the conditioned soul. Since they are very much attracted by sex, they can enjoy the same life with Kṛṣṇa and thus become liberated from the material condition. In the Second Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Mahārāja Parīkṣit also explains that the pastimes and activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa are medicine for the conditioned souls. If they simply hear about Kṛṣṇa, they become relieved of the material disease. They are addicted to material enjoyment and are accustomed to reading sex literature, but by hearing these transcendental pastimes of Kṛṣṇa with the gopīs, they will be relieved of material contamination.
Sometimes we enjoy subtle pleasure, thinking of sex life. That is called nārī-saṅgame. Nārī means woman, and saṅga means union. So those who are practiced, so when there is actually no union, they think of union. So Yāmunācārya said that "Not actually union with woman, but if I think of union," tad-avadhi bata nārī-saṅgame smaryamāne, smaryamāne, "simply by thinking," bhavati mukha-vikāraḥ, "oḥ, immediately I becomes disgusted: 'Aḥ, what is this nasty thing?' " Suṣṭhu niṣṭhī... (spits) This is perfect. (chuckles) This is perfection. Yes. So long we'll think of, that is called subtle sex, thinking. They read the sex literature. That is subtle sex. Gross sex and subtle sex. So one has to become completely free from these lusty desires, not to become implicated which will never be satisfied, unsatiated, duṣpūram.
The other day we discussed about literature which is very nicely composed from literary point of view, or poetic, or rhetoric. Maybe very nicely... But if there is no description of the Absolute Truth or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that sort of literature is enjoyed by a class of men who are compared with the crows. That we have discussed. It is simply wasting time, valuable time in the human life, to divert our attention to such ordinary literature. They are called grāmya-kathā. In Sanskrit language it is called grāmya-kathā. Grāmya-kathā means any book, any poetry, or any novel, or any drama... There is some hero and heroine, a man or woman, about their loving affairs, tragedy, comic, like that. Actually, it is grāmya-kathā. The same thing as we are experiencing daily, āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunam, this eating, sleeping, mating, that's all. What is the value of such literature? What do you gain by that? No. Simply mental agitation. And if it is sex literature, then it is very appealing. So that means it is something like haviṣya kṛta(?)... Just like if you offer fuel on the fire, the fire will go on and it will, I mean to say, consume as much as you go on giving fuel. But there is no śānti. The fire will never be extinguished. Actually, what we want? What is the mission of our life? What is the aim of our life? We are hankering after śānti, or peace. So that sort of literature will not give us any peace. It will simply agitate the mind.
Try to understand Bhagavad-gītā as it is. Try to understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. These two books will give you sufficient knowledge, and we should take advantage of it, because our consciousness is developed. We should not waste our time simply reading these all nonsense literatures, sex literatures. Simply wasting their time. Tad vayasaṁ tīrtham. To read nonsense ordinary literature and books or newspaper is compared just like the pleasure place of the crows. The crows, they are very much attached to the rejected refuse, garbage. In your country I don't see many crows, but in our country there are many crows, and the garbage section is pleasure, pleasuring place there. Where rejected things, they take pleasure in that. But the swans, the ducks, they take pleasure in clear lake with lily flower, nice garden, and nice birds are chirping. They take pleasure in that place. Similarly, there are classes of men also like crows and like swans. The swans, they will take pleasure in this kind of literature, Vedic literature. And the crowlike men, they will hunt after that rejected garbagelike things. Punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām (SB 7.5.30). What is there in the sex literature? There is no new information; the same sex life, that's all. Sometimes half-naked, sometimes naked, sometimes this, sometimes that, but the central place is sex.
So this human life, civilized human life, followers of the Vedic principle... That is the civilized life, Aryans. Ārya. Therefore the followers of Vedic principles, they are called ārya, advanced. Because those who are follower... Just like Manu-saṁhitā. It is Aryan literature, Vedic literature. So Aryan means advanced. Advanced means civilized. So if we civilized people, we give up this Aryan literature or Vedic literature and take to Jasoushi(?) literature to waste our time, sex literature, then we are committing suicide. The Caitanya-caritāmṛta says, anādi-bahirmukha jīva kṛṣṇa bhuli' gelā. That Kṛṣṇa is the original father, we have forgotten. Anādi. Anādi means before the creation. Ādi means the creation. So this is a chance. This creation is there to give us chance to come to our original position, Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Now here we are studying Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhagavad-gītā. This is... This literature is meant for the swans, not for the crows. That is the division. And other literatures, sex literatures and these criminal literatures—there are so many literatures—they are meant for the crows, crow-class men. And this literature is meant for swan-class of men, swan, paramahaṁsa. We are also reading... We are not interested with the lump of newspaper. We are interested in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
We are engaged in hearing and talking and chanting about so many things non-Viṣṇu. Just like you'll find thousands of, millions of different types of magazines sold in your country, in all countries. Some of the magazines are sex literature, some cinema literature, some this literature, that... So many different types. There is one paper I have seen, "Diabetes Literature." There are many patients of diabetes, so they have formed a society, "Diabetic Society." I have seen it. (laughter) And there are many diabetic patients, they are being hoaxed, that "You pay two dollars per year, and you get all information how to protect yourself from diabetes disease." So in America two dollars is nothing, but it is collecting millions and millions of dollars, Diabetic Society. Diabetic magazine. So that sort of hearing and chanting is not needed.
Prabhupāda: Na yad vacaś citra-padaṁ harer yaśaḥ. You can present a literature very perfect from literary point of view, from metaphor and poetical, rhetorical, very perfectly written, citra-padam, attractive by language. Na yad vacaś citra-padam, such kind of literature, if there is no description of the glories of the Lord, na tad vacaś citra-padam. Just like there are so many sex literatures, very attractive, it is selling like anything. But we are not interested in those rascal literatures. Tad vāyasaṁ tīrtham, such literature is considered as the place of enjoyment of the crows. Vāyasam means crow. The crow take enjoyment in the garbage, you have seen? They won't go in a nice place. They will come all together. Just like vultures, they come together to take pleasure in a corpse, dead body. But a white swan, rāja-haṁsa, he goes to a place where there is nice water, lilies and lotus and nice trees. You have seen that St. James Park? They will find out such nice place. They won't go to imitate the crows. The crows-like people will take pleasure in such nonsense literature, sex literature, or any such literature. So many nonsense literatures nowadays they are having good sale. Because people are becoming crows-like, they have no high idea, they have no sense of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, naturally they will take. Just like hippies, they have become all bad taste, crows-like. So we have to become swans, rāja-haṁsa, paramahaṁsa, paramahaṁsa. Paramo nirmatsarāṇām (SB 1.1.2). Then you can understand Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If you remain crows, then you cannot, that is not possible.
Hṛdayānanda: ...sometimes they raise... Just like you pointed out in the preface of the Bhāgavatam that we're no longer in the Dark Ages in the sense that previously there was no communication due to the geographical boundaries and that even though other forms of technology may be useless, at least it's very beneficial to have different forms of communication such as telephone, telegraph, things like this, television. This is actually necessary.
Prabhupāda: But that you can utilize for spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness, not for sense gratification. That is the defect. They are simply wasting time in sense gratification. If the telephone and the telegraph, television is used for propagating Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then it is all right. But they are not doing that. We are utilizing the modern press facilities for printing Vedic scriptures. But they are utilizing the press for sex literature, Freud's philosophy.
Prabhupāda: This swan is black and the crow is black, but crow's place is different, their place is different, although they are birds. The crows will enjoy a filthy place where all refuses are thrown. I don't think in your country there is many crows. In India, you've seen, all nasty place, that is visited by the crows. It is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, na yad vacaś citra-padaṁ harer yaśo jagat-pavitraṁ pragṛṇīta karhicit, tad vāyasaṁ tīrtham (SB 1.5.10). The literature which does not describe Kṛṣṇa, that is the place for the crows. There is sex literature, they're enjoyed by the crows, and this Bhāgavatam is enjoyed by the swans. That is the difference. Crow's literature and swan's literature, paramahaṁsa. Paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ vāstavaṁ vastu vedyam atra (SB 1.1.2).
Prabhupāda: Everything has got proper use. In the material condition we do not know that. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has made a list, how to use your, this anger, greediness, like that. He says, kamaḥ kṛṣṇa-karmārpaṇe. We are lusty for doing something for our sense gratification. The same desire, same propensity, can be utilized for serving Kṛṣṇa. Just like we are writing books, keeping night, whole night. So for an old man like me, it is tedious. But we are doing for Kṛṣṇa. So similarly, another author may be writing whole night for some sex literature. So the labor for producing a sex literature and the labor for producing a Bhāgavata is the same. It may be same ambition that "Let me become a big author. My name will be very popular." But one thing is being done for Kṛṣṇa; one thing is being done for sense gratification. So that propensity of becoming a reputed author or the labor, this, same, but it is being utilized for different purposes.
Hari-śauri: They have so many books now on so-called sex education, so many of them.
Prabhupāda: Simply wasting time. There is a story about this. One man was canvassing, hawking. Hawker?
Hari-śauri: Yes, hawker.
Prabhupāda: So he was, "Here is a book of cow protection, cow protection." He has written one book to take care of the cows. So one old man called him, "What you are selling?" Now, "I am selling this book." "What is that book?" "Maintaining the cow." So, "Why you are selling? First of all give this book to your mother because you are no better than cow, so she will learn how to give you protection." That means he wanted to impress upon him that "Cow protection doesn't require any education. You have written a book? So you are such a rascal, cow intelligence. Better give this book to your mother. She will maintain you. Don't sell it. Everyone knows how to give cow protection." So similarly, this sex literature, there is no need of sex literature. Sex literature is there in Sanskrit also. That is how to restrict sex. For what purpose one should indulge in sex, that is called Kāma-śāstra. I have seen this Freud philosophy became so prominent that sometimes in the year... 1940's maybe. So one young woman was traveling, and another young man was traveling. So they began to discuss about sex very openly. And both of them unknown. Still, they engaged themselves in discussing the sex literature, without any shame.
Prabhupāda: Bhāgavata reader, what do they know about Bhāgavata? Rāsa-līlā, that's all. Kṛṣṇa is kissing Rādhārāṇī. Bas. That's all. And people take it that it is a sex literature. Vivekananda has said. This rascal Vivekananda has said that Vaiṣṇava religion is sexism, because they see sahajiyās in Vṛndāvana and Navadvīpa. The whole thing was spoiled.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: So these books are there. People are automatically attracted. I don't think they're so attracted to any other books.
Prabhupāda: No, what other books? Rubbish. I say, rubbish. There is no book. Mental speculation is not book. Garbage.
Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: Food for crows.
Prabhupāda: (laughs) Yes. It is garbage. Tad-vaga-visarga-janata..., pragrnita, tad vayasa-tīrtham: "Garbage for the crows." Yes. No swan will come there. That is already explained. Kṛṣṇa has at least saved us from reading this garbage. We are not interested with any book or newspaper or anything. We kicked out. At least I am not interested in reading any other except Bhāgavata. That is there. Punaḥ punaś carvi... Sex literature, nonsense. "Phu!" Mukha-vikāraḥ bhava... Tad-avadhi bata nārī-saṅgame smaryamāne bhavati mukha-vikaraḥ suṣṭhu niṣṭhīvanam. This is the real...
The fact is that we have to adopt the same tactics as ordinary salesmen adopt, but the difference is we do it for the satisfaction of Krsna, they do it for sense gratification. Actually we have experienced that sometimes out of sentiment someone gives to ISKCON and then laments and wants it back, but that does not mean we should give it back. Our policy is that his money which would have been used for purchasing cigarettes, liquor, sex literature, meat, will give him the opportunity to gradually become purified. So if by tactics we save that money from being spent on cigarette packets, that is good. If we can take some money and give some literature, that is a good service. So far irritation is concerned, a child is also irritated when he is given instructions, but that does not mean that we should stop. Invite them in our feast, that is a better indication.