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The challenge was that "If you are servants of Dharmaraja, then explain what is dharma." It doesn't matter whether a man is civilized or uncivilized or good-looking or bad-looking, but if he has got proper guide, then he can speak the right thing

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Expressions researched:
"the challenge was that" |"If you are servants of Dharmaraja, then explain what is dharma" |"It doesn't matter whether a man is civilized or uncivilized or good-looking or bad-looking, but if he has got proper guide, then he can speak the right thing"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

The Yamadūtas were not very advanced so far their position was there. They were very odd-looking and not to be supposed very civilized—uneducated—but how they are explaining about dharma? Because the challenge was that "If you are servants of Dharmarāja, then explain what is dharma." It doesn't matter whether a man is civilized or uncivilized or good-looking or bad-looking, but if he has got proper guide, then he can speak the right thing.

Pradyumna: "The Yamadūtas replied: That which is prescribed in the Vedas constitutes dharma, the religious principles, and the opposite of that is irreligion. The Vedas are directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, and are self-born. This we have heard from Yamarāja."

Prabhupāda:

śrī-yamadūtā ūcuḥ
veda-praṇihito dharmo
hy adharmas tad-viparayaḥ
vedo nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt
svayambhūr iti śuśruma

So here is explanation by the Yamadūtas. The Yamadūtas were not very advanced so far their position was there. They were very odd-looking and not to be supposed very civilized—uneducated—but how they are explaining about dharma? Because the challenge was that "If you are servants of Dharmarāja, then explain what is dharma." It doesn't matter whether a man is civilized or uncivilized or good-looking or bad-looking, but if he has got proper guide, then he can speak the right thing. This is the... Yamarāja ūcuḥ. They're not manufacturing anything. They're saying iti śuśruma. Iti śuśruma, "We have heard it from our master." This is knowledge. They are not expected to manufacture something speculative. They are neither educated nor very civilized nor... Nothing of the sort. But they are talking of the source of religion, how they have heard it from the authority, Yamarāja. Yamarāja is authority. In the śāstra it is said that,

tarko apratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayor vibhinnā
nāsau munir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam
dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyāṁ
mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ
(CC Madhya 17.186)

So dharma, the path of religiosity, is very confidential. Dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām. Then how I shall accept what is dharma, what is religion? Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. You just follow the footsteps of authorized persons. Then you understand what is dharma. You cannot manufacture. So here is the same system. The Vedic system is the same: either you hear from the direct Vedas or scriptures following the Vedas.

So here the Yamarāja - Yamadūta says, that dharma means what is spoken or directed in the Vedas, Veda. And what is Veda? Veda nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt. Veda means God Himself. Just like... We can understand very easily: just like the king and the king's law. What king has said, that this should be done like this, "Keep to the right," king or government, whatever it may be, authority... So that is Veda. What is... Just like law means what the government says. You cannot manufacture law. Similarly, veda nārāyaṇaḥ sākṣāt. What Nārāyaṇa says, that is Veda. There is no other authority. And one who follows the Nārāyaṇa, he is also authority. Śaṅkarācārya says, nārāyaṇaḥ paraḥ avyaktāt. Nārāyaṇa is transcendental. He's not anybody of this material world. Nārāyaṇaḥ paraḥ avyaktāt. Avyaktāt anasambhavaḥ. Avyakta. The cosmic manifestation, this is called vyakta, and when it is not manifested, it is called avyakta. Just like a house is manifestation of the five elements: earth, water, air, fire. So earth, water is there already, but that is not manifested as the house. But the same combination, it becomes a house, big skyscraper building. This is the difference between vyakta and avyakta. Avyakta means the whole material energy, when it is not manifested, that is called avyakta; and when it is manifested it is called vyakta. Nārāyaṇa para avyaktāt. That means Nārāyaṇa is not of this material world. God is nothing of this material world. He's transcendental. Para, nārāyaṇa para avyaktāt. Para means superior, transcendental.