What is First-Class Culture?


Think of life as a field and the harvest as what you want to achieve in life. Now, the process that transforms an empty field into a bounty harvest is called agriculture. Similarly, there is something called a life culture that determines the outcome of our lives.

The word ‘culture’ is loosely defined on Google and similar reputed dictionaries as “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively” and “the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.” In fact, every country on the planet is proud of its culture in the form of museums, historical buildings, relics, music, dance and other art forms, food, clothing etc. as if all those collectively make an end in themselves.

However, the etymology of the word ‘culture’ reveals a different and a more profound meaning. The Oxford dictionary suggests that the Latin origin ‘cultura’ is meant to tend or to nurture or to cultivate. As we see in the example of agriculture, which is a culture by the way, to cultivate means to provide the crop with the required attention and ambience in order to reap a bounty harvest. A corporate example would be work culture. It is again an intentional working protocol for employees at an organization and providing an ambience for them to maximize work quality that ultimately translates into better profits for the company.

If we stay true to this deeper sense of the word, culture can be redefined as an intentional set of activities performed to provide the required attention to and the required ambience for the active principal ingredient in order to achieve a particular, desired outcome. In the case of agriculture, the land and crop are the active principal ingredients, the rest of the ingredients serving this principal one in order to reap a bounty harvest. In an organization, the employees are the active principal ingredient and the increment in profit is the desired outcome.


We are told or taught to view the various cultures of the world impartially and appreciate the uniqueness of each of them. But from this refined definition, we can understand that a culture is only as good as its outcome or aim.The agriculture is only as good as the harvest and the work culture is only as good as the organization’s performance in the market. Or, as the old saying goes, the tree is only as good as its fruit.In Sanskrit language, it is said phalena paricīyate. By examining the quality of the fruit, the quality of the tree is to be judged.

Therefore, culture is subject to judgement; not to criticize but to identify the mistakes and help correct them for the good of everyone. Being judgemental in this case is good. Otherwise, why would organizations pay huge sums of money to consultants? They pay them so that they identify the loopholes in the work culture and rectify them. They pay to be judged and rectified. Ultimately, who benefits? The client organization.


What does first-class culture look like? Bhagavad-gītā defines that it is primarily based on self-awareness. As a human being, one should be aware of life’s actual worth. One should not be careless and mistake a diamond for a broken piece of glass and throw it in the garbage.The greatest prerogative of human life is that it affords a solid opportunity to pursue and attain self-realization and God-realization which opens the door to a life of eternity, knowledge and bliss in the kingdom of God. No other species out of the 8.4 million species of life affords one this opportunity.

After having travelled all over the universe in diverse life forms, we have now taken on the form of human beings. Although temporary like other life forms, it offers the greatest gift, love of God. One should know that the ultimate aim of life is to attain Lord Viṣṇu or Kṛṣṇa. That lifestyle or culture which allows us to know the ultimate purpose of life and act on the platform of that knowledge is first-class culture or Āryan culture.

As indicated in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.55), one can attain to the eternal blissful kingdom of Kṛṣṇa in the spiritual world by performing devotional service unto Him. Devotional service to Kṛṣṇa is not at all difficult. Kṛṣṇa prescribes this formula (Bhagavad-gītā 18.65) — “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.”


This culture is easy to adopt and is open for anyone and everyone. Especially in the kali-yuga, it is easily done by chanting the holy names of Kṛṣṇa —

hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma
rāma rāma hare hare

The entire human society should be structured in such a way that everyone makes progress towards self-realization. Everyone in this world is suffering because of having adopted a culture that aims at limited results that tragically end with death. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not limited and even a little advancement on this path is an etenal asset which is never lost.

All material advancement will prove fruitless in saving the eternal living entity from the predicament of material existence. The return on all investment in this material world is always absolutely zero as we cannot take anything from here to the next world. The various facets of material advancement are like many zeros. Many zeros put together still is zero. But Kṛṣṇa is like a ‘1’ which if placed on the left of the zeros, increases the value tremendously. Any culture which does not aim at transcendence is worthless but just adding Kṛṣṇa to it makes that culture glorified exponentially.


Therefore, we at the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, take it as our humble service to introduce the Kṛṣṇa conscious culture to the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. The basis of our movement are the authentic Vedic texts like Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad Bhāgavatam rendered into English by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda.

Every sane person should study our literatures and understand the significance of this movement and contribute to it by either dedicating one’s life or contributing financially or by one’s intelligence and influence or by one’s appreciative words in recommending it to others. Cooperation of the various sections of human society for the matter of spiritual emancipation of the world is the greatest welfare activity. This is first-class culture. [End]

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