Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)
tataḥ saptadaśe jātaḥ
cakre veda-taroḥ śākhā
dṛṣṭvā puṁso ‘lpa-medhasaḥ
“Thereafter, in the seventeenth incarnation of Godhead, Śrī Vyāsadeva appeared in the womb of Satyavatī, wife of Parāśara Muni, and he divided the one Veda into several branches and sub-branches, seeing that the people in general were less intelligent.”
Prabhupāda: So this Parāśara actually was not husband of Satyavatī. When Satyavatī was not married, Parāśara gave birth to Vyāsadeva. Later on Satyavatī became the wife of Mahārāja Śantanu, father of Bhīṣmadeva. This Satyavatī was the daughter of a fisherman. She was neither born of a brāhmaṇa father or kṣatriya father. So formerly, a higher-caste man could accept a girl born of lower caste, but a lower-caste man could not accept a girl born of higher caste. That was the system. Because in the śāstra it is… Ordinary, I mean to say, instructive śāstra.
Just like Cāṇakya, in his moral lessons, he says that viṣād apy amṛtaṁ grāhyam. When there is a tub of poison, but, if there is little nectar, then you take it. Don’t think that “It is in the poison pot, why shall I take it?” No, you can take it. Viṣād apy amṛtaṁ grāhyam amedhyād api kāñcanam. Suppose in a very filthy place where people pass stool, urine, there is some gold. So you should take it. Don’t think that because the gold is in the polluted place, gold has become polluted. No. You take it. Viṣād apy amṛtaṁ grāhyam amedhyād api kāñcanam, nīcād apy uttamā vidyā. Vidyā, education, was to be received from a brāhmaṇa, because it was the brāhmaṇa’s business to become highly learned scholar and make others educated. Teacher’s business was entrusted to the brāhmaṇas, administration to the kṣatriyas, production to the vaiśya, and labor to the śūdra. So because generally we have to take education from highly learned brāhmaṇa, but if a person born in low family, he has got some talent, education, so don’t hesitate. Take from him. Not that, “Oh, he is low born. Why shall I take education from him?” No. The śāstra says, “No, you can take. It doesn’t matter. He has got the learning. You take that. Make him a teacher.” Nīcād apy uttamā vidyā strī-ratnaṁ duṣkulād api. Strī-ratnam. If a girl is very qualified, beautiful, even she is born of a low family, you can accept her. This is the injunction of the śāstras.
So Satyavatī happened to be a daughter of a fisherwoman, and, but she was very qualified, beautiful. So before her marriage, Vyāsadeva was born out of her womb. It is not that…, that before marriage girls were not giving birth to child. It was there, the society. But the society was so elevated that this was not done commonly. In extraordinary cases. So Satyavatī gave birth to Vyāsadeva, such a son, Vyāsadeva, incarnation of God. Vyāsadeva is not ordinary being. An incarnation of Nārāyaṇa. And he was meant for expanding Vedic knowledge. Then again, Vyāsadeva was born, but nobody could understand. She remained a virgin girl by the blessings of Parāśara Muni. Then she was again attractive to Mahārāja Śantanu. Mahārāja Śantanu became attracted by Satyavatī, and he wanted to marry. But Mahārāja Śantanu had his son. So her father objected. So king proposed to the fisherman that “I want to marry your girl.” So the father said, “No, no, I cannot allow my girl to marry with you because you are already married. You have got your son, elderly son, Bhīṣmadeva.” So he was a little sorry, Śantanu Mahārāja.
The son could understand that “The father is sorry because he was refused the hand of the girl Satyavatī.” So he approached father. Not father. He approached the father of Satyavatī, that “Why you are refusing my father?” “No. You are present. How can I offer my daughter?” “No. Even if I am present…” Because the law is the eldest son will be enthroned after the death of the father. So he was eldest son. So Satyavatī’s father was hesitating. So Bhīṣmadeva promised that “I will not accept the throne. The child born of Satyavatī, he will accept, he will be given the throne. You give your daughter to my father.” He still refused. He still, “Well, our son may be king, but then again, your son will become the king.” In this way, he was hesitating. So Bhīṣmadeva immediately promised that “I shall never marry. Don’t hesitate.” So in this way he induced the fisherman to give his daughter to his father.
So father could understand that “My son is so great that he wanted to satisfy. I wanted this girl, and he has managed.” So he gave him a benediction to Bhīṣmadeva, “My dear son, you are so benevolent, so magnanimous. So I give you one benediction that you’ll not die unless you desire to die. Unless you fix up your mind, ‘Now I shall die,’ you’ll never die. You remain a very strong brahmacārī.” So Bhīṣma remained very strong brahmacārī. There is another incidence of Bhīṣmadeva’s life, that Pāṇḍu-vaṁśa. So one girl was attracted. So she was conquered. So the girl thought that “I will be able to marry Bhīṣmadeva,” but when she came at home, Bhīṣmadeva said, “No, you have been conquered to be married with my brother. I am brahmacārī. I cannot marry you.” So the girl said that “You have kidnapped me, conquered me. You must marry.” So “No, I shall not marry.” Then the girl approached to his spiritual master, this Jamadagni, Bhṛgupati, that “This boy he has conquered me. Still, he is not marrying me.” So Jamadagni said, “Bhīṣma, you must marry this girl.” Bhīṣmadeva said, “No. I have promised to my father never to marry. I cannot marry.” Then Jamadagni said, “If you don’t marry, then I will force you to marry.” So there was fight between Bhīṣmadeva, spiritual master and… (laughter) So the spiritual master became defeated. (laughter) Then he gave his blessings. “All right, you remain brahmacārī.” (laughter)
So this was the society principle, how to keep principle. Brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya. A very exalted status of society. So this Satyavatī is a famous woman in the history. Satyavatī. The whole Pāṇḍu-vaṁśa from Satyavatī. So now, here it is said that tataḥ saptadaśe jātaḥ satyavatyāṁ parāśarāt. Parāśarāt, semina given by Parāśara Muni in the womb of Satyavatī, satyavatyām. And cakre veda-taroḥ śākhāḥ. Veda, the knowledge, he divided. Vyāsadeva divided into many branches. Therefore Vyāsadeva is known as Veda-vyāsa. He expanded the Vedic knowledge. Formerly there was only one Veda, Atharva-veda. And this Atharva-veda was learned by tradition, by hearing from the spiritual master. There was no book. Therefore Veda is known as śruti. Śruti means hearing. The spiritual master will recite Vedic mantra, and the disciples will hear. Just like we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra or any other Vedic mantra. You hear. But there was no need of book. His memory was so sharp that once heard from the lips of the spiritual master, the students become completely well versed. There was no need of book.
But Vyāsadeva saw that next age, this Kali-yuga, people will be less intelligent. Here it is stated, dṛṣṭvā puṁsaḥ alpa-medhasaḥ. Alpa. Alpa means the brain substance not in much quantity. This is psychologically true, that within the brain, the brain substance, if there is more, then one is more intelligent. So here it is alpa… Just see, modern scientific psychology, how it was known, long, long millions of years ago. At least five thousand years ago. Alpa-medhasaḥ. And this is scientific fact. Those who are students of psychology, they know it. I was student of psychology, and our professor… He was a Scotman. He explained this brain substance, cerebular substance, Dr. Urquhart, that the more brain substance is there, more one becomes intelligent. And it has been found that a woman does not have more than thirty-six ounce of brain substance, whereas in man it has been found that he has got up to sixty-four ounce. Now, this is modern science. Therefore generally, generally, woman, less intelligent than man. You cannot find any big scientist, any big mathematician, any big philosopher amongst woman. That is not possible. Although in your country, you want equal status with man, freedom, but by nature you are less intelligent. What can be done? (laughter)
So therefore, woman is advised by the Manu-saṁhitā, they should remain under the intelligent man, not declare freedom. That will be their life nice. Therefore it is advised that until one is married with an intelligent husband, she must remain under the control of her father. Still in India, until a girl is married, she cannot move freely. Where is our Śyāmasundara? You know, what happened about that Sharma girls. Two girls in Nairobi, they wanted to join our society. So Brahmānanda, as other girls are joining, he welcomed, but it created a havoc to the family of the girl. They went here and there. “Oh, the girl has gone out of home. There will be no marriage.” That’s a fact. In India still, in respectable family, if a young girl goes out of home for three days, it will be difficult, or she will not be married. So this still I saw in Nairobi.
So anyway the system is unless one is married, a girl, she must remain under the control of the parents. Therefore it is the parents’ duty to see that the girl is married to a suitable boy. That is the duty. When the girl is married, then parent’s duty is finished. Not by the age. Up to this point. So during young time, say, up to, say, forty years, she should remain under the husband. And when there are grown-up children, she should remain… Just like that Mrs. Sharma. (?) She is under the care of her elderly sons. So Manu-saṁhitā says that na strī svātantryam arhati. Woman should not be given independence. She must remain… Just like… That is not bad. Just like a child remains under the control of the parents. That is good. Similarly, woman remaining under the control of father or husband or elderly boy, that is good for them. And still, they are very happy. Just like you see Kuntī. Kuntī was widow, but she was very qualified woman, so many ways. But still, she remained under the control of the five boys, five children, Pāṇḍavas. Kuntī also gave birth to a child before her marriage. That is Karṇa. That is Karṇa. So it was not very common affair, and in extraordinary cases it so happened.
So now, in this age, people are not very intelligent. They are claiming, “We are advancing in science. The brain has advanced and so on, so on.” Formerly there was animal brain. The Darwin’s theory: “Now the brain has evolved.” No. Actually, they are degrading. They are degrading. Formerly the brain was very sharp. Otherwise why it is said, dṛṣṭvā puṁso ‘lpa-medhasaḥ? The opposite word of this alpa-medhasa is su-medhasa. Alpa means less, and su means very nice. So su-medhasa. We are all alpa-medhasa, less intelligent, in this age. Out of so many alpa-medhasa rascal… In other, in a harsh words, alpa-medhasa means rascal, less intelligent or no intelligence. So there is su-medhasa. Su-medhasa. That is also stated. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ.
yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ
In this age, one should worship the incarnation of God, Kṛṣṇa, if he is su-medhasa, he is intelligent. Just like this alpa-medhasa, less intelligent. Su-medhasa means highly intelligent, intellectual. How? Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyaiḥ, performing the saṅkīrtana-yajña. So those who are joining the saṅkīrtana-yajña, they are very intelligent, su-medhasa. They are not all hodgepodge, alpa-medhasa: something this, something that, something… No. Just fix up your mind in saṅkīrtana-yajña. Your life will be successful. Therefore it is called su-medhasa. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ.
So everything is there Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. That is the topmost knowledge. That is transcendental knowledge. That is not material knowledge. Material knowledge, if you write some book, it has no meaning, because it is defective. But Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is not ordinary knowledge. It is transcendental knowledge. There is no defect. Our this mundane brain is defective. We can’t… Just like our scientist, Svarūpa Dāmodara. He was speaking that they make experiment in the laboratory according to formula, but still, there is some mistake. Still, there is some mistake. Practically, scientific advancement, scientific knowledge means to find out mistakes. What you were are speaking? What is the exact language you told?
Svarūpa Dāmodara: I said there is always some statistical factor, which is called error. (laughter) Error is always slipping in.
Prabhupāda: So nobody can be perfect. Therefore all these so-called perfect leaders, they should close their business. (laughter) It is already experimental, all nonsense. Come to Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and chant. That’s all right. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)