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The physician first of all diagnose that what is the disease; then he gives medicine. Similarly, first of all you ascertain what is your constitutional position. You try to understand. That is the beginning everywhere. That is Vedic literature

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"The physician first of all diagnose that what is the disease; then he gives medicine. Similarly, first of all you ascertain what is your constitutional position. You try to understand. That is the beginning everywhere. That is Vedic literature"

Lectures

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

First of all you know what is your position. Just like when one man is diseased. The physician first of all diagnose that what is the disease; then he gives medicine. Similarly, first of all you ascertain what is your constitutional position. You try to understand. That is the beginning everywhere. That is Vedic literature.
Lecture on SB 3.26.3 -- Bombay, December 15, 1974:

Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad..., brahmaṇaḥ ahaṁ pratiṣṭhā. The jyoti is coming, brahmajyoti is coming, from Kṛṣṇa's body. Therefore you will find in the picture of Kṛṣṇa there is some jyoti on His face. That is expanded. That is brahmajyoti. That is explained in the Brahma-saṁhitā. Yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhādi-vibhūti-bhinnam (Bs. 5.40). On account of that jyoti, brahmajyoti... Just like on account of the sunshine all the planets are resting and rotating. That is scientific. Due to the heat of the sunshine, all the planets in the sky, they are rotating. It is due to sunshine. Similarly, this brahmāṇḍa, this universe, not only one universe, but millions of universes, they are also rotating in the brahmajyoti. Yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi (Bs. 5.40). And what is that jagad-aṇḍa? Koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhādi-vibhūti-bhinnam. In each brahmāṇḍa, in each universe, there are unlimited number of planets. Yasya prabhā prabhavato jagad-aṇḍa-koṭi-koṭiṣv aśeṣa-vasudhā (Bs. 5.40). Vasudhā means planets or globes. This earthy planet is called vasudhā. Aśeṣa, not one, but aśeṣa, unlimited. Aśeṣa-vasudhādi-vibhūti. Vibhūti means each planet is saturated with different types of atmosphere. Just like the moon planet. The scientist says that it is below zero, two hundred degrees. It is very cold. That's a fact. Because it is very cold, therefore the shining from so much distance in the evening—we feel very comfortable. Not in the sunshine. God's arrangement is so nice. You require both. The sunshine also you require, and the moonshine also you require. If simply there is sunshine, then you die. And if there will be simply moonshine, then you will also die. Both.

But there is another planetary system. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, na tad bhāsayate sūryo na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ (BG 15.6). There is another..., paras tasmāt tu bhāvaḥ anyaḥ (BG 8.20), another nature where, yatra, na tad bhāsayate sūryaḥ, there is no need of sunshine, there is no need of moonshine. Because the each planet is svayaṁ-jyoti. Here we have got one planet, the sun planet, jyoti. But there, in the Vaikuṇṭha, all the planets, Vaikuṇṭha planets... Vaikuṇṭha means vigata-kuṇṭha. Kuṇṭha means anxiety. Here, in this planet, you are full of anxiety. And if you are transferred to the Vaikuṇṭhaloka, there is no anxiety. Ānandamayo 'bhyāsāt: (Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12) simply ānanda, no anxiety. Here you must suffer anxiety, asad-grahāt, on account of accepting this asat. Asat means untruth or temporary, which will not exist. Tat sādhu manye 'sura-varya dehināṁ sadā samudvigna-dhiyām asad-grahāt (SB 7.5.5). This is Prahlāda Mahārāja's instruction, that this materialistic individuality, on account of accepting this asad-grahāt, asat, not permanent, not true, sadā samudvigna-dhiyām. Always full of anxiety. So in the material world you are trying to be free of anxiety. That is not possible. That is not... Therefore it is required, ātma-darśanam. Jñānam ātma-darśanam. Jñānaṁ niḥśreyasārthāya puruṣasya ātma-darśanam. First of all you know what is your position. Just like when one man is diseased. The physician first of all diagnose that what is the disease; then he gives medicine. Similarly, first of all you ascertain what is your constitutional position. You try to understand. That is the beginning everywhere. That is Vedic literature.

In the Bhagavad-gītā, in the beginning, the first instruction is that dehino 'smin yathā dehe kaumāraṁ yauvanaṁ jarā, tathā dehāntara... (BG 2.13). Asmin dehe, there is dehī, the proprietor of the... So we do not understand that, and we become very expert in reading Bhagavad-gītā. This is the first instruction. Dehino 'smin yathā dehe (BG 2.13). Therefore ātma-darśanam. First of all, you try to understand what you are. You are this body or something else? That is ātma-darśanam. I am not body. That's a fact. I am spirit soul. But I have become bodily conscious on account of loss of knowledge, ajñāna, ajñāna. Therefore guru means,

ajñāna-timirāndhasya
jñānāñjana-śalākayā
cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

It is the guru's business to operate the blind cataractic eye..., eyeball, giving eyesight. So how it is done? Now, jñānāñjana-śalākayā. Just like in the darkness you cannot see. But if there is lamp, you can see. So jñāna means knowledge. You must know what is your position. There are śāstra. You read Bhagavad-gītā, try to understand your position. That is ātma-darśanam. Ātma-darśanam. Everything is there. Ātma-darśanam.

So first ātma-darśanam is that anādir ātmā. Ātmā. The soul and the Supersoul, both of them. We must always know that soul and Supersoul, īśvara and Parameśvara... So ātmā... Ātmā means Bhagavān; ātmā means this individual ātmā. So both of them are anādi. But we have got experience ādi, birth and death. So that is not ātma-darśanam. You have to understand that there is no ādi, there is no beginning. Anādir ātmā puruṣaḥ. Puruṣa, that, either the soul or the Supersoul, both of them are puruṣa. Puruṣa means having form and having the desire to enjoy, enjoy blissful life. That is called puruṣa. Puruṣa is always desiring to enjoy. And prakṛti is enjoyable. That is the distinction between puruṣa and prakṛti. But ātmā-Paramātmā is puruṣa, and the jīvātmā is prakṛti. Then nirguṇaḥ, nirguṇaḥ. Therefore Arjuna was advised by Kṛṣṇa, traiguṇya-viṣayā vedā nistraiguṇyo bhavārjuna: "My dear Arjuna, you try to be nirguṇa." This all Vedic knowledge or any knowledge—Veda means knowledge—that is traiguṇya, of this material world, having...

Material world means the three guṇas, sattva, rajo, tamo-guṇa. So one has to become above these three guṇas. That is ātma-darśanam, above three guṇa. How to become above traiguṇya? Very easy. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that,

māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
(BG 14.26)

Guṇān, these guṇa, samatītya, samyag-rūpeṇa atītya perfectly overcoming. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (BG 14.26). Immediately he is situated in the Brahman platform. So ātmā is nirguṇa. Nirguṇa stage means when you are engaged in devotional service, that is your nirguṇa stage. Devotional service is nirguṇa. All other services or activities... We are rendering service. Either you are rendering service in office, or to your family, or to your cat, or to your dog, or to your government, or to your society—you must be giving some service. There is no escape. But that is saguṇa service, under these material laws. So you have to give nirguṇa service. If you give nirguṇa, then you become nirguṇa.