An American swami exhorts India’s elite
to shoulder their God-given responsibility.
A lecture by His Holiness Giriraja Swami
This address was given in Bombay, at the fourth world conference of The Friends of India Society International.
Until recently, the knowledge of devotional service to Lord Krsna contained in the Bhagavad-gita has been more or less imprisoned in India. That knowledge has not been distributed to the world. But, sarasvati jnana-khale: “One who has knowledge but does not distribute it cannot be appreciated.” Therefore it is our duty to take the knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita, which has remained locked up, and distribute it for the benefit of the world. I think that this will he the greatest service we can do for humanity in general. The Caitanya-caritamrta states,
bharata-bhumite haile manusya-janma yara
janma sarthaka kari kara para-upakara
Anyone who has taken his birth in Bharata-varsa, or India, should make his life successful according lo the standard of the Bhagavad-gita and perform the greatest welfare activity by spreading the knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita for the benefit of the entire human society.
This is India’s mission—para-upakara, performing welfare activities. So many Indians want to find a place where they can make money, get some big position, and enjoy. But this is not their real duty. Their real duty is to go and preach Krsna consciousness for the benefit of others.
Generally speaking, people all over the world have the idea that India is a backward, poverty-stricken country of beggars. Foreigners come to India and see so many beggars in the street, so many people lying on the footpath. And Indians who go abroad are also like beggars if they simply want to get something material for themselves and don’t teach the spiritual knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita. Even India’s ambassadors tend to neglect the treasure of India’s knowledge and to try to benefit their country materially.
But my spiritual master. His DivineGrace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, went to the Western world all alone at the age of sixty-nine not to beg, but to give. He sat down under a tree in Tompkins Square Park. in New York City. and began chanting Hare Krsna and preaching the Bhagavad-gita. And from that humble beginning he established more than one hundred centers all over the world, published and distributed millions of books, and made millions of people Krsna conscious.
And Srila Prabhupada was loved and respected wherever he went. Why? Because he didn’t go to the West to beg something or to take something but to give something sublime: the knowledge of the Bhagavad-gita.
So on behalf of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu [Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Lord Krsna Himself in the role of His own devotee. He appeared in Bengal, India, five hundred years ago to demonstrate how one could realize the essential teaching of the Bhagavad-gita—full surrender to Krsna—simply by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra.] and Srila Prabhupada, my request to all of you is that you make your lives perfect according to the standard of the Bhagavad-gita. And what is that standard of perfection?
janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so ‘rjuna
From the Bhagavad-gita you must understand the transcendental nature of Krsna’s appearance and activities in this world. Then, at the end of this lifetime you will not be forced to take birth again in this miserable world: you will go hack home, back to Godhead. So make your life successful according to this standard and then benefit others by giving them the same knowledge.
Every nation should contribute something to the world. Despite the technology that India has developed in recent years, I don’t think people are really interested in coming to India to learn how to manufacture airplanes or motorcycles or transistor radios. But people from all over the world are interested in coming to India to understand spiritual life, to understand the Bhagavad-gita.
It is common sense that a businessman will export his best product. And the best product India has is the spiritual knowledge contained in the Bhagavad-gita. So we should promote dial product. Many times Srila Prabhupada requested India’s leaders to create a Department of the Bhagavad-gita, which would train men in Krsna consciousness and then send them throughout the world to teach this knowledge. But unfortunately India’s leaders have not taken up this work.
Now the responsibility has come to all of you gathered here. You are the leaders among the Indians dispersed throughout the world. Now please take up this mission of spreading Krsna consciousness. You will do the greatest benefit for yourselves, for your families, for your community, for the entire world. You will increase the glory of India throughout the world, and in the end Lord Krsna will be pleased with you and you will go back home, back to Godhead. Hare Krsna.