Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much for your kindly participating in today's meeting. And we are known practically all over the world as the Hare Kṛṣṇa people. Wherever we go, they immediately recognize us as the Hare Kṛṣṇa people. So I'll try to speak something about this Hare Kṛṣṇa people.
This Hare Kṛṣṇa people means . . . since I started this movement in 1967 in New York, very . . . in a small scale . . . in the beginning . . . I went there in 1965, and for one year I had no shelter, neither any means to maintain myself. I had some books only, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and some way or other, I pulled on.
In 1966 I started this movement after incorporation in New York under the state religious act, and I began to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra in a park in New York. (aside) What is called? Tompkinson Square. Tompkinson Square. And these young boys and girls, they began to assemble and chant and dance. This is the beginning.
And when one well-known poet . . . perhaps you know; he is Mr. Allen Ginsberg. He was also coming and joined with us. In this way, first of all we started our center in New York, Second Avenue, and then gradually expanded in San Francisco, in Montreal, in Boston, Buffalo and Los Angeles. Now we have got fifty-two branches all over the world, including one in Tokyo, one in Hong Kong, in Australia, Sydney.
Now try to understand what is this Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. This Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, recently it was started about five hundred years ago by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared in Bengal, West Bengal, in the district of Nadia, about sixty miles north of Calcutta. And He started this movement.
This movement is, of course, not to be understood that Caitanya Mahāprabhu started it, something new. No. It is the oldest, oldest in this sense, that five thousand years ago Lord Kṛṣṇa spoke about this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in the Bhagavad-gītā. And if we go further, then from the statement of Bhagavad-gītā we understand it was started about forty millions of years ago.
Because in the Fourth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā, you'll find, there is a statement given by Lord Kṛṣṇa:
- imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
- proktavān aham avyayam
- vivasvān manave prāhur
- (BG 4.1)
Vivasvān manave prāhur . . .
(aside) Don't sit like that.
. . . manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt. It is stated by Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself that "First of all I spoke this Kṛṣṇa consciousness philosophy, yogam . . ." imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam. And "Vivasvān" means sun god.
As there is one god in this planet, maybe the president of United States or some other president, the predominating deity, similarly, in every planet there is a predominating deity. And the predominating deity, or the person, in the sun globe is called Vivasvān. So Vivasvān, his son is Manu. Manu means the father of the mankind. Manuṣya. The Sanskrit word, the man, called manuṣya. That means "of Manu." Man or manuṣya, these words have come from Manu. This Manu happened to be the son of Vivasvān. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā: manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt.
Vivasvān manave prāhur manur ikṣvākave 'bravīt. And Ikṣvāku was the son. Mahārāja Ikṣvāku was the son of Manu. Therefore, the dynasty coming from Ikṣvāku Mahārāja, in which Lord Rāmacandra appeared, is called Sūrya-vaṁśa, because it is coming from the sun god. The kṣatriya family, the royal family in India, there are two groups. One is coming from the sun god, another coming from the moon god. That is a long history, of course. But the point is that this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is not new, something manufactured, concocted. It is the oldest, because it is coming from sun god, and taking it from Manu, it comes to the calculation about forty millions of years ago.
Now, what is this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement? The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement means the essence of all religious principle. What is religious principle? Religious principle means to abide by the laws given by God. That is called religious principle, simple word. Dharmaṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam (SB 6.3.19): "Dharma means the codes and the laws given by God." That is dharma, or religion.
Just like in our ordinary life we receive the laws from the state or the king. The word given by the king or the state is accepted as law, and everyone has to abide by the law. Similarly, the order or the principle given by God is called religion. Religion without God is nonsense. Religion . . . because religion means the codes of God. So if one does not accept the existence of God, naturally he has no religion. And according to Vedic principle, a man without religion is an animal. Dharmeṇa hīna paśubhiḥ samānāḥ.
Because in every civilized form of human society, you will find some sort of religion. It may be Christian religion, it may be Hindu religion, it may be Buddhist religion or it may be Muhammadan religion, Jewish religion—it doesn't matter. Any civilized form of human society must have a sort of religion. Otherwise it is animal society.
What is the difference between animal and human being? The animals, they are engaged with the bodily necessities of life, āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunam (Hitopadeśa 25): eating, sleeping—āhāra nidrā—and defending and sex life. These are the bodily necessities. You have to eat something, you have to sleep for some time, you have to defend yourself from others' attack, and you must have sex enjoyment. These are bodily necessities. So these bodily necessities are there in the human society and the animal society. Āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca sāmānyam etad paśubhiḥ narāṇām.Then what is the speciality of human society? The speciality of human society is that there must be some form of religion. In the animal society there cannot be any form of religion; therefore the śāstric injunction is that without any form of religion, a human society is animal society. Dharmeṇa hīna paśubhiḥ samānāḥ.