SB Canto 1
The fifth incarnation, named Lord Kapila, is foremost among perfected beings. He gave an exposition of the creative elements and metaphysics to Āsuri Brāhmaṇa, for in course of time this knowledge had been lost.
The sum total of the creative elements is twenty-four in all. Each and every one of them is explicitly explained in the system of Sāṅkhya philosophy. Sāṅkhya philosophy is generally called metaphysics by the European scholars. The etymological meaning of sāṅkhya is "that which explains very lucidly by analysis of the material elements." This was done for the first time by Lord Kapila, who is said herein to be the fifth in the line of incarnations.
Once Trita Muni fell into a well. He was an organizing worker of many sacrifices, and as one of the great sages he also came to show respect to Bhīṣmajī at his deathbed. He was one of the seven sages in the Varuṇaloka. He hailed from the Western countries of the world. As such, most probably he belonged to the European countries. At that time the whole world was under one Vedic culture.
The great emperor of the world and the original forefather of all great nations of the world who belong to the Āryan and Indo-European stock. He is the son of Mahārāja Nahuṣa, and he became the emperor of the world due to his elder brother's becoming a great and liberated saintly mystic. He ruled over the world for several thousands of years and performed many sacrifices and pious activities recorded in history, although his early youth was very lustful and full of romantic stories. He fell in love with Devayānī, the most beloved daughter of Śukrācārya. Devayānī wished to marry him, but at first he refused to accept her because of her being a daughter of a brāhmaṇa.
All living beings in the material world have taken up the risk of conditioned life by their own selection and are thus entrapped by the laws of material nature. The only way to get out of the entanglement is to agree to obey the Supreme. But instead of becoming free from the clutches of māyā, or illusion, foolish human beings become bound up by different nomenclatures, being designated as brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas, śūdras, Hindus, Mohammedans, Indians, Europeans, Americans, Chinese, and many others, and thus they carry out the orders of the Supreme Lord under the influence of respective scriptural or legislative injunctions. The statutory laws of the state are imperfect imitation replicas of religious codes.
SB Canto 4
The glorification of the Supreme Lord can be very much appreciated by the Āryan family. Although there is no bar for others, the members of the Āryan family very quickly catch the essence of spiritual life. How is it that we are finding it very easy to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness among the Europeans and Americans? History reports that the Americans and Europeans proved their capability when they were anxious to expand colonization, but at the present time, being contaminated by the advancement of material science, their sons and grandsons are turning into reprobates. This is due to their having lost their original spiritual culture, which is Vedic civilization.
As far as we are concerned, we have already started the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and many thousands of Europeans and Americans have joined this movement. Indeed, it is spreading like wildfire. The cult of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, based on the nine principles of devotional service (śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam/ arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ sakhyam ātma-nivedanam (SB 7.5.23)), will never be stopped. It will go on without distinction of caste, creed, color or country. No one can check it.
SB Canto 5
We are very satisfied that this path is being opened by this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because so many European and American boys and girls are taking this philosophy seriously and gradually attaining perfection.
SB Canto 6
They want Vedic mantras chanted and huge amounts of money spent for such ceremonies. Sometimes we have to observe the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies to please such unintelligent men. Recently, when we established a large Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma temple in Vṛndāvana, we were obliged to have Vedic ceremonies enacted by brāhmaṇas because the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, especially the smārta-brāhmaṇas, would not accept Europeans and Americans as bona fide brāhmaṇas. Thus we had to engage brāhmaṇas to perform costly yajñas. In spite of these yajñas, the members of our Society performed saṅkīrtana loudly with mṛdaṅgas, and I considered the saṅkīrtana more important than the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. Both the ceremonies and the saṅkīrtana were going on simultaneously.
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is very eager to present Vedic literature in modern languages, especially Western languages such as English, French and German. The leaders of the Western world, the Americans and Europeans, have become the idols of modern civilization because the Western people are very sophisticated in temporary activities for the advancement of material civilization. A sane man, however, can see that all such grand activities, although perhaps very important for temporary life, have nothing to do with eternal life. The entire world is imitating the materialistic civilization of the West, and therefore the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is very much interested in giving the Western people knowledge by translating the original Sanskrit Vedic literatures into Western languages.
SB Canto 7
Moreover, the seminal brāhmaṇas in India, who say that one can become a brāhmaṇa only if born in a brāhmaṇa family, charge us with ruining the Hindu system of religion. Of course, the fact is that one becomes a brāhmaṇa by qualification. Because we are training Europeans and Americans to become qualified and are awarding them brahminical status, we are being charged with destroying the Hindu religion. Nonetheless, confronting all kinds of difficulties, we must spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement with great determination, like that of Prahlāda Mahārāja. In spite of being the son of the demon Hiraṇyakaśipu, Prahlāda never feared the chastisements of the seminal brāhmaṇa sons of a demoniac father.
The European and American devotees in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are sometimes accepted as brāhmaṇas, but the so-called caste brāhmaṇas are very much envious of them. In answer to such envy, Prahlāda Mahārāja says that one who has been born in a brāhmaṇa family but is falsely proud of his prestigious position cannot even purify himself, not to speak of his family, whereas if a caṇḍāla, a lowborn person, is a devotee and has fully surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord, he can purify his entire family. We have had actual experience of how Americans and Europeans, because of their full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, have purified their whole families, so much so that a mother of a devotee, at the time of her death, inquired about Kṛṣṇa with her last breath. Therefore it is theoretically true and has been practically proven that a devotee can give the best service to his family, his community, his society and his nation.
Even a kṣatriya cannot accept the duties of a brāhmaṇa unless there is an emergency, and then even if he does so he should not accept charity from anyone else. Sometimes brāhmaṇas protest against our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement for creating brāhmaṇas from Europeans, or, in other words, from mlecchas and yavanas. This movement, however, is here supported in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. At the present moment, society is in a chaotic condition, and everyone has given up the cultivation of spiritual life, which is especially meant for the brāhmaṇas. Because spiritual culture has been stopped all over the world, there is now an emergency, and therefore it is now time to train those who are considered lower and condemned, so that they may become brāhmaṇas and take up the work of spiritual progress.
I never attempted to construct maṭhās or temples; rather, I was fully satisfied with the small amount of money I could gather by selling Back to Godhead, and thus I would provide for myself and also print the literature. When I went to foreign countries, I lived according to the same principle, but when Europeans and Americans began to give money profusely, I started temples and Deity worship. The same principle should still be followed. Whatever money is collected should be spent for Kṛṣṇa, and not a farthing for sense gratification. This is the Bhāgavata principle.
SB Canto 8
This commentation has been finished in our New Delhi center today, the first of September, 1976, the day of Rādhāṣṭamī, by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the ācāryas. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura says, tāṅdera caraṇa sevi bhakta-sane vāsa janame janame haya, ei abhilāṣa. I am attempting to present Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the English language by the order of my spiritual master, Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, and by his grace the work of translation is gradually progressing, and the European and American devotees who have joined the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement are helping me considerably. Thus we have expectations of finishing the great task before my passing away. All glories to Śrī Guru and Gaurāṅga.
There are some rascals who dare to speak against the mission of Lord Caitanya by criticizing the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement for accepting Europeans and Americans as brāhmaṇas and offering them sannyāsa. But here is an authoritative statement that in distributing love of Godhead one should not consider whether the recipients are Europeans, Americans, Hindus, Muslims, etc. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement should be spread wherever possible, and one should accept those who thus become Vaiṣṇavas as being greater than brāhmaṇas, Hindus or Indians. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu desired that His name be spread in each and every town and village on the surface of the globe. Therefore, when the cult of Caitanya Mahāprabhu is spread all over the world, should those who embrace it not be accepted as Vaiṣṇavas, brāhmaṇas and sannyāsīs? These foolish arguments are sometimes raised by envious rascals, but Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees do not care about them. We strictly follow the principles set down by the Pañca-tattva.
Here again it may be emphasized that although jealous rascals protest that Europeans and Americans cannot be given the sacred thread or sannyāsa, there is no need even to consider whether one is a gentleman or a rogue because this is a spiritual movement which is not concerned with the external body of skin and bones. Because it is being properly conducted under the guidance of the Pañca-tattva, strictly following the regulative principles, it has nothing to do with external impediments.
The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not stereotyped or stagnant. It will spread all over the world in spite of all objections by fools and rascals that European and American mlecchas cannot be accepted as brāhmaṇas or sannyāsīs. Here it is indicated that this process will spread and inundate the entire world with Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
It is the concern of the ācārya to show mercy to the fallen souls. In this connection, deśa-kāla-pātra (the place, the time and the object) should be taken into consideration. Since the European and American boys and girls in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement preach together, less intelligent men criticize that they are mingling without restriction. In Europe and America boys and girls mingle unrestrictedly and have equal rights; therefore it is not possible to completely separate the men from the women. However, we are thoroughly instructing both men and women how to preach, and actually they are preaching wonderfully. Of course, we very strictly prohibit illicit sex. Boys and girls who are not married are not allowed to sleep together or live together, and there are separate arrangements for boys and girls in every temple.
There are some foolish critics who say that Europeans and Americans cannot be offered sannyāsa, but here we find that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted to preach the saṅkīrtana movement all over the universe. For preaching work, sannyāsīs are essential. These critics think that only Indians or Hindus should be offered sannyāsa to preach, but their knowledge is practically nil. Without sannyāsīs, the preaching work will be impeded. Therefore, under the instruction of Lord Caitanya and with the blessings of His associates, there should be no discrimination in this matter, but people in all parts of the world should be trained to preach and given sannyāsa so that the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's saṅkīrtana movement will expand boundlessly.
This is not only the duty of Indians but the duty of everyone, and we are very happy that American and European boys and girls are seriously cooperating with this movement. One should know definitely that the best welfare activity for all of human society is to awaken man's God consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore everyone should help this great movement. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Tenth Canto, Twenty-second Chapter, verse 35, which is next quoted in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
Thus they are celebrated as Gauḍīyas and Oriyās. At present, however, by the grace of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu, His cult is being propagated all over the world, and it is most probable that in the future history of Lord Caitanya's movement, Europeans, Americans, Canadians, Australians, South Americans, Asians and people from all over the world will be celebrated as devotees of Lord Caitanya. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness has already constructed a big temple at Māyāpur, Navadvīpa, which is being visited by devotees from all parts of the world, as foretold by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu and anticipated by Śrī Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura.
We do not know why the pāṣaṇḍīs of the present day protest that we are deteriorating the Hindu religion by spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world and claiming all classes of men to the highest standard of Vaiṣṇavism. But these rascals disagree with us so vehemently that some of them do not allow European and American Vaiṣṇavas to enter the temples of Viṣṇu. Thinking religion to be meant for material benefit, these so-called Hindus have actually become vicious by worshiping the numerous forms of the demigods. In the next verse Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirms the Kazi's purification.
Therefore a sannyāsī is the spiritual master of all the varṇas and āśramas, and a brāhmaṇa is also expected to offer obeisances to a sannyāsī. Unfortunately, however, caste brāhmaṇas do not offer obeisances to a Vaiṣṇava sannyāsī. They are so proud that they do not offer obeisances even to Indian sannyāsīs, what to speak of European and American sannyāsīs. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, however, expected that even the caste brāhmaṇas would offer respectful obeisances to a sannyāsī because five hundred years ago the social custom was to offer obeisances immediately to any sannyāsī, known or unknown.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, under the guidance of His representative, and chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, teaching everyone as far as possible the same principle, the contamination of the materialistic way of life will not even touch him. It does not matter whether one lives in a holy place like Vṛndāvana, Navadvīpa or Jagannātha Purī or in the midst of European cities, where the materialistic way of life is very prominent. If a devotee follows the instructions of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he lives in the company of the Lord. Wherever he lives, he converts that place into Vṛndāvana and Navadvīpa. This means that materialism cannot touch him. This is the secret of success for one advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Caitanya Mahāprabhu was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. There cannot be anyone who can compare to Him or His potencies. However, because we are following in His footsteps and are also chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, the effect is almost as potent as during the time of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Our preachers mainly belong to European and American countries, yet by the grace of Lord Caitanya they have tremendous success wherever they go to open branches. Indeed, everywhere people are very seriously chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
Sometimes members of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness—especially in the Western countries—find it difficult to approach people to distribute books because people are unfamiliar with the traditional saffron robes of the devotees. The devotees have therefore inquired whether they can wear European and American dress before the general public. From the instructions given to King Pratāparudra by Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, we can understand that we may change our dress in any way to facilitate our service. When our members change their dress to meet the public or to introduce our books, they are not breaking the devotional principles. The real principle is to spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and if one has to change into regular Western dress for this purpose, there should be no objection.
Similarly, such a contaminated brāhmaṇa considers the guru to be an ordinary human being, and he objects when a Vaiṣṇava is created by the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Many so-called brāhmaṇas attempt to fight us, saying, "How can you create a brāhmaṇa out of a European or American? A brāhmaṇa can be born only in a brāhmaṇa family." They do not consider that this is never stated in any revealed scripture. Lord Kṛṣṇa specifically states in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.13), cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ: "According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me."
However, according to the present verse of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta (quoted from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam), it is understood that even a lowborn person can immediately perform sacrifices if he sincerely chants and hears the holy name of the Lord. Sometimes envious people ask how Europeans and Americans in this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement can become brāhmaṇas and perform sacrifices. They do not know that the Europeans and Americans have already been purified by chanting the holy name of the Lord—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare. This is the proof. Śvādo ’pi sadyaḥ savanāya kalpate. One may be born in a family of dog-eaters, but he can perform sacrifices simply by chanting the mahā-mantra.
Vallabha Bhaṭṭācārya's admission of the brothers' exalted position should serve as a lesson to one who is falsely proud of his position as a brāhmaṇa. Sometimes so-called brāhmaṇas do not recognize our European and American disciples as devotees or brāhmaṇas, and some brāhmaṇas are so proud that they do not allow them to enter temples. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu herein gives a great lesson. Although Vallabha Bhaṭṭācārya was a great authority on brahmanism and a learned scholar, he admitted that those who chant the Lord's holy name are bona fide brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas and are therefore exalted.
One may become attached to the four sinful activities—illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating—or one may consider a Vaiṣṇava to belong to a mundane caste or creed. One may think, "This is a Hindu Vaiṣṇava, and this is a European Vaiṣṇava. European Vaiṣṇavas are not allowed to enter the temples." In other words, one may consider Vaiṣṇavas in terms of birth, thinking one a brāhmaṇa Vaiṣṇava, another a śūdra Vaiṣṇava, another a mleccha Vaiṣṇava and so on. One may also try to carry out a professional business by means of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra or reading Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, or one may try to increase his monetary strength by illegal means.
We have been spreading this saṅkīrtana movement in the Western countries, and in our recent tour of European cities like Rome, Geneva, Paris and Frankfurt, many learned Christian scholars, priests, philosophers and yogīs came to see us, and by the grace of Kṛṣṇa they agreed that the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, the bhakti cult, offers the topmost conclusion. Following in the footsteps of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we are trying to convince everyone that the devotional service of the Lord is enjoined in every scripture. If a person is religious, he must accept the supreme authority of the Lord, become His devotee and try to love Him.
When we began distributing the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in the Western countries, a similar thing happened. In the beginning we were very much disappointed for at least one year because no one came forth to help this movement, but by the grace of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, some young boys joined this movement in 1966. Of course we distributed Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's message of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra without bargaining or selling. As a result, this movement has spread all over the world, with the assistance of European and American boys and girls. We therefore pray for all the blessings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu upon all the devotees in the Western world who are spreading this movement.
Following in the footsteps of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we have constructed temples in both Vṛndāvana and Māyāpur, Navadvīpa, just to give shelter to the foreign devotees coming from Europe and America. Since the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement started, many Europeans and Americans have been visiting Vṛndāvana, but they have not been properly received by any āśrama or temple there. It is the purpose of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness to give them shelter and train them in devotional service. There are also many tourists eager to come to India to understand India's spiritual life, and the devotees in our temples both in Vṛndāvana and in Navadvīpa should make arrangements to accommodate them as far as possible.
Stalwart, highly advanced Vaiṣṇava devotees are not interested in seeing prostitutes, but when a prostitute or any other fallen soul becomes a Vaiṣṇava, stalwart Vaiṣṇavas are interested in seeing them. Anyone can be turned into a Vaiṣṇava if he or she follows the Vaiṣṇava principles. A devotee who follows these principles is no longer on the material platform. Therefore, it is one's strict adherence to the principles that should be considered, not the country of one's birth. Many devotees join our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement from Europe and America, but one should not therefore consider them European Vaiṣṇavas or American Vaiṣṇavas. A Vaiṣṇava is a Vaiṣṇava and should therefore be given all the respect due a Vaiṣṇava.
Thus Haridāsa Ṭhākura was afraid that Advaita Ācārya would be put into some difficulty because of His familiarity with Haridāsa Ṭhākura. Śrī Advaita Ācārya treated Haridāsa Ṭhākura as a most elevated Vaiṣṇava, but others, like Rāmacandra Khān, were envious of Haridāsa Ṭhākura. Of course, we have to follow in the footsteps of Advaita Ācārya, not caring for people like Rāmacandra Khān. At present, many Vaiṣṇavas are coming to our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement from among the Europeans and Americans, and although men like Rāmacandra Khān are always envious of such Vaiṣṇavas, one should follow in the footsteps of Śrī Advaita Ācārya by treating all of them as Vaiṣṇavas. Although they are not as exalted as Haridāsa Ṭhākura, such Americans and Europeans, having accepted the principles of Vaiṣṇava philosophy and behavior, should never be excluded from Vaiṣṇava society.