The Meaning of Sarva-Dharmān-Parityajya
Prabhu: Simple question. Or should I say, we thought it's a simple thing. What does it mean properly 'sarva-dharmān parityajya'? You know, what we have to...
His Holiness Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: It means, give up all mundane concepts of religion or made-up religion, and just follow what Kṛṣṇa says. Just surrender to Kṛṣṇa and follow what He says. That's sarva-dharmān parityajya. Means, all our ideas that, 'Oh, you know, #blacklivesmatter, #everybodyisequalmatters, you know, #myguineapigmatters,' you know, all these things - just give it up. It's not about all these things. People are still talking about all this equality. Do we call women Mātājī, or is that a big insult? We should call them, 'Hey you with the funny lumps on your chest,' I mean, what are you supposed to do? So we argue over all this. That has nothing to do with pure devotional service and it will never get anyone any closer to it. We have to give up all these manufactured religions. Religion means the inherent nature of something. So an STW, it has an entire inherent nature. The academic mentality has an inherent nature. So now they take that combination of all these social justice warriors, and then you take with this political correctness and all that, and you take that combined with the academic ascending approach, that mental speculation, and then it just turns into a mess, and it has zero to do with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It's not part of our strategy. So, therefore, if it's not part of the strategy, it can't be part of the methodology. This idea that the goal justifies the means - no one who said that ever got anywhere properly. You can't use stupid means to get the proper result. You have to use the appropriate means.
I want to cut up the carrot nicely, I can't use a sledge hammer, or put it under the front tire of my car and roll over it, and then take a putty knife and scrape it off the the cement. You can say it's, 'No, no, but we didn't have time,' and this and that and, 'I didn't want anyone to get cut, so I thought it's much better to run over it with my car...' Sarva-dharmān means, give up all made up religions. All this stuff, that baggage we come with, all our biases that we have, whatever it is that we think. Give that all up, just surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Just it is pleasing to Kṛṣṇa - that's what we want to do.
The ācāryas have said, this is what to do, we look at it, we try to understand it, we ask questions, and then when we're convinced we do it. That's what sarva-dharmān means. It doesn't mean, give up all religion, means I follow no religious process. Because not following a religious process is a religious process called an atheist. They follow no religious process religiously.
So, one has to understand what dharma means. Dharma means the inherent nature of something. So when we only see things as Kṛṣṇa defines the inherent nature, what is the dharma of somebody  - that's what Kṛṣṇa defines. But we want to say, 'Oh, no, no, we don't have to follow that. That's old, that's for India, that's not for us.' And who is this 'us'? Who are we? So then, that's the problem. Someone is saying 'Oh, we are Westerners, so this dharma doesn't apply to us.' What's 'the West'? What countries are 'The West'? Because the Orient, they say they are not the West. Africans, they are not the West. South America is not the West. Central America is not the West. Okay, North America claims they are the West, unless you get too far North, then you get the inuits and that, and they don't claim that they are the West, right? Then you go over to Europe. How far into Europe do they say they are the West? How far down? Does Turkey, is that the West? So like this, you know, it's just a matter of what you do. So that means, you are talking about a very small amount of the population in comparison to the world. You have to remember, India itself is one seventh of the whole population, one seventh. You know what I am saying? Many countries in the world aren't even as much people as in Kolkata. You know, they are more like Ranaghāta or Kṛṣṇanagara, these little, what we call little towns here, and that's a whole country in other places.
So people have, these are the biases, these are the religions that have to be given up. This attachment to our upādis, our identities, that has to be given up. We are not these bodies. Kṛṣṇa doesn't speak for Indians, He speaks for the world. When He says human life is meant for self-realization, He means anybody in human form. That's what's meant by it. And so, you see, Prahlāda Mahārāja is a demon, he is Kṛṣṇa conscious. Vṛtrāsura is also a demon, he is Kṛṣṇa conscious. Ghaṭotkaca is a rākṣasa, and he is God conscious. So, any of these forms that have a head, two arms and two legs, they are Kṛṣṇa conscious. Hanumān is a monkey, he is Kṛṣṇa conscious. Jāmbavān is a bear, right? Because they are kinnaras and kiṁpuruṣas, which means 'what kind of human is this'? You know, it's got a human body and some animal head and all this kind of jazz. Garuḍa is a bird. So this whole thing is that, 'Oh, America, that's the universal understanding,'  these guys have really, really missed the point. I mean like, you know, REALLY missed it. Like trying to get from America to London and ending up down in the Cape in Africa or something like that, or down on Antarctica. You know, like that kind of mistake.
So they are just really, really missing the point. Kṛṣṇa consciousness means you are giving up any of these mundane biases that we joined the movement with, that we have, that we've been carrying with us for life after life, that includes 'I am the controller and enjoyer,' and so that has to be given up. How good we are at giving it up, how much effect we have had - that's another thing. Everybody is individual, they're trying their best. But one has to have that determination that that's what one is trying to do. You can't say, 'Oh, but I don't see that everybody is pure.' But are they trying? If they are trying, that is success in itself. And someone else is sitting on the side and criticizing, 'Because they're not, I'm not going to do,' that guy's life is wasted. Means, wasted, śrama eva hi kevalam.

So, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is serious. It's something that you in one lifetime can correct the misfortune of millions and billions and trillions of lifetimes, in one lifetime. In one lifetime you can come to that perfection. That's what is being given to us by Kṛṣṇa and the ācāryas, we have to have that kind of faith. And if we have that faith, we see, Kṛṣṇa reciprocates. Because you can't know what is beyond the senses. So, by Kṛṣṇa's grace you can know that, by His mercy. And then these things are revealed. But if you don't want them, you just want to say, 'No, we are Westerners,' then Kṛṣṇa is not going to reveal anything, other than newer and newer ways that you can get distracted by your upādi. Is that all right?

From Vedic Leadership and Management Winter Seminar Part 1, based on the instructions of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira in the Mahābhārata, given as Zoom Conference with European leaders. This passage starting at 1hr 41min

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