Dharma (is) generally translated into English as "religion." I have already explained several times. The dictionary meaning of religion is "a kind of faith." But actually, dharma means occupational duty, or the characteristic. Just like a snake. The snake, its religion is to bite, and fatal bite. That is his dharma, occupational duty. Everything has got... Just like this microphone, it must work, it must expand the sound. That is its dharma. If it does not expand the sound, it is useless. So everything you take, there are characteristics. That is the meaning of dharma. Dharma is not an artificial faith. Faith you can change, but your occupational duty, you cannot change.
So what is the occupational duty of the living entity? The living entity is now encaged in two kinds of gross and subtle body. Therefore, when he is situated in the bodily concept of life, his dharma is fruitive activities or sense gratification. When he is situated on the mental platform, then his occupational duties become speculation, imagination. And when he is situated in his original, spiritual platform, then his occupational duty is to serve Kṛṣṇa. These are the three positions: karma, jñāna, yoga, bhakti—gradual evolution. Because spiritual knowledge also gradually evolves. Nirviśeṣa-brahman, antaryāmī paramātmā, and ṣaḍ-aiśvarya-pūrṇa-bhagavān—these are the different stages of self-realization or spiritual advancement. Karma, jñāna, yoga and bhakti. Yoga means bhakti-yoga, or the preliminary, primary stage of bhakti-yoga. Therefore in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said,
- yoginām api sarveṣāṁ
- śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ
- sa me yuktatamo mataḥ
- (BG 6.47)
There are different types of yogis, but the first-class yogi is he who, now, mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā, Kṛṣṇa says, "who is thinking of Me always," mad-gata, śraddhāvān, with veneration, love and faith. Bhajate.
So to think of Kṛṣṇa is also bhajana. There are different process of bhajana. To hear of Kṛṣṇa, that is also bhajana. Just like you are hearing. And to speak about Kṛṣṇa. I am speaking; you are hearing. Similarly, when the speaking and hearing is finished, then you think of Kṛṣṇa, or by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, you think of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa being absolute, all these different processes are also the same, one and the same. There is no difference between chanting and hearing or remembering or worshiping in the temple. Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam, arcanam (SB 7.5.23). The temple worship is called arcanam. Vandanam, offering prayers. The Christians, the Muhammadans, they offer prayer. Of course, not to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but impersonal feature or some idea. But that prayer is also one of the processes of bhakti. Anyone who accepts the supremacy of God, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his process of worship has to be considered in the category of bhakti-yoga. The more and more you become purified by executing the bhakti-yoga process, then you come to the real platform.
That is stated here, that dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsām (SB 1.2.8). It doesn't matter what kind of dharma. Actually dharma is one, the occupational duty, the characteristic. The characteristic means that God is great and we are subordinate. That is the injunction of the Vedas. Nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām eko yo bahūnāṁ vidadhāti kāmān (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). We have to understand that singular number. God is singular, nitya, eternal, cetana, living. He is also nitya and living entity, but the chief, nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām. And we are plural number, nityānām, cetanānām. So the... We are plural number, living entities. But He is singular number. Why? What is the difference between these two nityas and two cetanas? God is not dead stone. God is like you and me. He is a living entity, but the chief living entity, singular number. Just like we have got leader. There are many hundreds and thousands of followers, but there must be one leader. You follow any cult, you have to accept one leader. Either you follow this philosophy, that philosophy, it doesn't matter. But you have to follow a leader. But Kṛṣṇa is the supreme leader, leader of the leaders.
That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjayaḥ (BG 7.7). Leaders there are, gods are, there are. God means controller. There is controller always. So there are many gods. Anyone is god, because he is, somehow or other, he is a controller; a leader also. But we are meaning the supreme leader, the supreme controller. That is Kṛṣṇa. Leader you have to accept. But... Controller you have to accept. But nobody is supreme leader or supreme controller. That is Kṛṣṇa. Every leader is also controlled by some other leader. But Kṛṣṇa is such a leader that He is not controlled by any other leader. That is Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat... (BG 7.7). "There is no one superiorly..."
- īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
- anādir ādir govindaḥ
- (Bs. 5.1)
That is the statement of the Vedic literature: the supreme controller, the supreme leader, is Kṛṣṇa. Sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ. Kṛṣṇa is not formless. When Kṛṣṇa was present on this planet, He is not formless. He has His form. And what is that form? Sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha (Bs. 5.1). Ānandamaya-rasa-vigraha. Ānanda-cinmaya-rasa. That is not this vigraha. That we have to understand. Our vigraha, our form, at the present moment, material form, that is not sac-cid-ānanda. Sat means eternal, cit means full of knowledge, and ānanda means full of blissfulness.
So as soon as we think of one body, we think comparing with our body. So similarly, by our foolishness, if we think of Kṛṣṇa's body like one of us, then we become mūḍha. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam (BG 9.11). Because Kṛṣṇa comes in the human form like a human being, therefore we should not take Kṛṣṇa as one of us. Then we become mūḍha, rascal, fools. Or in other words, one who thinks of Kṛṣṇa having a body like us—that is the Māyāvāda philosophy—he is a mūḍha. Na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ prapadyante narādhamāḥ (BG 7.15). These are the statements of Bhagavad-gītā. How you can misinterpret? This is plain thing, that symptom. Na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ prapadyante narādhamāḥ. These are the words used in the Bhagavad-gītā. It is not our manufactured word. People may be very unhappy or angry, but we have to quote from these scriptures. These are the... Anyone who does not surrender to Kṛṣṇa, he is within these categories.