\\psf\Home\Desktop\Krsna Book 1970\KB 1970 2_32.TXT
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KB 1970-2-32 / Prayers by the Personified Vedas
32 / Prayers by the Personified Vedas
King Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami about a very
important topic in understanding transcendental subject matter.
His question was, "Since Vedic knowledge generally deals with
the subject matter of the three qualities of the material
world, how then can it approach the subject matter of
transcendence, which is beyond the approach of the three
material modes? Since the mind is material and the vibration
of words is a material sound, how can the Vedic knowledge,
expressing by material sound the thoughts of the mind,
approach transcendence? Description of a subject matter
necessitates describing its source of emanation, its qualities
and its activities. Such description can be possible only by
thinking with the material mind and by vibrating material
words. Although Brahman, or the Absolute Truth, has no
material qualities, our power of speaking does not go
beyond the material qualities. How then can Brahman, the
Absolute Truth, be described by your words? I do not see how
it is possible to understand transcendence from such
expressions of material sound."
The purpose of King Pariksit's inquiring was to ascertain from
Sukadeva Gosvami whether the Vedas ultimately describe the
Absolute Truth as impersonal or as personal. Understanding of
the Absolute Truth progresses in three features -- impersonal
Brahman, Paramatma localized in everyone's heart and, at last,
the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna.
The Vedas deal with three departments of activities. One is
called karma-kanda, or activities under Vedic injunction
which gradually purify one to understand his real position;
the next is jnana-kanda, the process of understanding the
Absolute Truth by speculative methods; and the third is
upasana-kanda, or worship of the Supreme Personality of
Godhead and sometimes of the demigods also. The worship of the
demigods recommended in the Vedas is ordered with the
understanding of the demigods' relationship to the Personality
of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead has many parts
and parcels; some are called svamsas, or His personal
expansions, and some are called vibhinnamsas, the living
entities. All such expansions, both svamsas and vibhinnamsas,
are emanations from the original Personality of Godhead.
Svamsa expansions are called Visnu-tattva, whereas the
vibhinnamsa expansions are called jiva-tattva. The different
demigods are jiva-tattva. The conditioned souls are generally
put into the activities of the material world for sense
gratification; therefore, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita, to
regulate those who are very much addicted to different kinds
of sense gratification the worship of demigods is sometimes
recommended. For example, for persons who are very much
addicted to meat-eating, the Vedic injunction recommends that
after worshiping the form of the goddess Kali and sacrificing
a goat (not any other animal) under karma-kanda regulation,
the worshipers may be allowed to eat meat. The idea is not to
encourage one to eat meat, but to allow one who is
persistent to eat meat under certain restricted
conditions. Therefore, worship of the demigods is not worship
of the Absolute Truth, but by worshiping the demigods one
gradually comes to accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead
in an indirect way. This indirect acceptance is described in
the Bhagavad-gita as avidhi. Avidhi means not bona fide.
Since demigod worship is not bona fide, the impersonalists
stress concentration on the impersonal feature of the Absolute
Truth. King Pariksit's question was, which is the ultimate
target of Vedic knowledge -- this concentration on the
impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth or concentration on
the personal feature? After all, both the impersonal and the
personal features of the Supreme Lord are beyond our material
conception. The impersonal feature of the Absolute, the
Brahman effulgence, is but the rays of the personal body of
Krsna. These rays of the personal body of Krsna are cast all
over the creation of the Lord, and the portion of the
effulgence which is covered by the material cloud is called
the created cosmos of the three material qualities -- sattva,
rajas and tamas. How can persons who are within this clouded
portion called the material world conceive of the Absolute
Truth by the speculative method?
In answering King Pariksit's question, Sukadeva Gosvami
replied that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has created
the mind, senses and living force for the
purpose of sense gratification in transmigration from one
kind of body to another, as well as for the purpose of
allowing liberation from the material conditions. In other
words, the senses, mind and living force can
be utilized for sense gratification and transmigration from
one body to another or for the matter of liberation. The Vedic
injunctions are there just to give the conditioned souls the
chance for sense gratification under regulative principles,
and thereby also give them the chance for promotion to the
higher conditions of life; ultimately, if the consciousness is
purified, one comes to his original position and goes back
home, back to Godhead.
The living force is intelligent. One therefore has to utilize
his intelligence over the mind and the senses. When the mind
and senses are purified by the proper use of intelligence,
then the conditioned soul is liberated; otherwise, if the
intelligence is not properly utilized in controlling the
senses and mind, the conditioned soul continues to
transmigrate from one kind of body to another simply for sense
gratification. Another point clearly stated in the answer of
Sukadeva Gosvami is that the Lord created the mind, senses and
intelligence of the individual living force
. It is not stated that the living entities themselves
were ever created. Just as the shining particles of the sun's
rays are always existing along with the sun, the living
entities exist eternally as parts and parcels of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. The
conditioned souls, although eternally existing as part of the
Supreme Lord, are sometimes put within the cloud of the
material concept of life, in the darkness of ignorance. The
whole Vedic process is to alleviate that darkened condition.
Ultimately, when the senses and mind of the conditioned being
become fully purified, he then comes to the original position,
called Krsna consciousness, and that is liberation.
In the Vedanta-sutra, the first sutra, or code, questions
about the Absolute Truth. Athato brahma-jijnasa: What is the
nature of the Absolute Truth? The next sutra answers that the
nature of the Absolute Truth is that He is the origin of
everything. Whatever we experience, even in this material
condition of life, is but an emanation from Him. The Absolute
Truth created the mind and senses and intelligence. This means
that the Absolute Truth is not without mind, intelligence and
senses. In other words, He is not impersonal. The very word "
created" means that He has transcendental intelligence. For
example, when a father begets a child, the child has senses
because the father also has senses. The child is born with
hands and legs because the father also has hands and legs.
Sometimes it is said, therefore, that man is made after the
image of God. The Absolute Truth is therefore the Supreme
Personality, with transcendental mind, senses and intelligence.
When one's mind, intelligence and senses are purified of
material contamination, one can understand the original
feature of the Absolute Truth as a person.
The Vedic process is to gradually promote the conditioned soul
gradually from the mode of ignorance to the mode of passion
and from the mode of passion to the mode of goodness. In the
mode of goodness there is sufficient light for understanding
things as they are. For example, from earth a tree grows, and
from the wood of the tree, fire is ignited. In that igniting
process we first of all find the smoke, and the next stage is
heat, and then fire. When there is actually fire, we can
utilize it for various purposes; therefore, fire is the
ultimate goal. Similarly, in the gross material stage of life
the quality of ignorance is very much prominent. Dissipation
of this ignorance takes place in the gradual progress of
civilization from the barbarian stage to civilized life, and
when one comes to the form of civilized life, he is said to
be in the mode of passion. In the barbarian stage, or in the
mode of ignorance, the senses are gratified in a very crude
way, whereas in the mode of passion or in the civilized stage
of life, the senses are gratified in a polished manner. But
when one is promoted to the mode of goodness, one can
understand that the senses and the mind are only engaged in
material activities due to being covered by perverted
consciousness. When this perverted consciousness is gradually
transformed into Krsna consciousness, then the path of
liberation is opened. So it is not that one is unable to
approach the Absolute Truth by the senses and the mind. The
conclusion is, rather, that the senses, mind and intelligence
in the gross stage of contamination cannot appreciate the
nature of the Absolute Truth, but, when purified, the senses,
mind and intelligence can understand what the Absolute Truth
is. This purifying process is called devotional service, or
Krsna consciousness.
In the Bhagavad-gita it is clearly stated that the purpose of
Vedic knowledge is to understand Krsna, and Krsna is
understood by devotional service, beginning with the process
of surrender. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita, one has to think
of Krsna always. One has to render loving service to Krsna
always, and one has to always worship and bow down
before Krsna. By this process only can one enter into the
kingdom of God without any doubt.
When one is enlightened in the mode of goodness by the process
of devotional service, he is freed from the modes of ignorance
and passion. The
word atmane indicates the stage of
brahminical qualification in which one is allowed to study the
Vedic literatures known as the Upanisads. The Upanisads
describe in different ways the transcendental qualities of the
Supreme Lord. The Absolute Truth, the Supreme Lord, is called
nirguna. That does not mean that He has no qualities. It is
only because He has qualities that the conditioned living
entities can have qualities. The purpose of studying the
Upanisads is to understand the transcendental quality of the
Absolute Truth, as opposed to the material qualities of
ignorance, passion and goodness. That is the way of Vedic
understanding. Great sages like the four Kumaras, headed by
Sanaka, followed these principles of Vedic knowledge and came
gradually from impersonal understanding to the platform of
personal worship of the Supreme Lord. It is therefore
recommended that we must follow the great personalities.
Sukadeva Gosvami is also one of the great personalities, and
his answer to the inquiry of Maharaja Pariksit is authorized.
One who follows in the footsteps of such great personalities
surely walks very easily on the path of liberation and
ultimately goes back to home, back to Godhead. That is the way
of perfecting this human form of life.
Sukadeva Gosvami continued to speak to Pariksit Maharaja. "My
dear King," he said, "I will narrate in this regard
a nice story. This story is important because it is in
connection with Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
This narration is a conversation between Narayana Rsi and the
great sage Narada. Narayana Rsi still resides in
Badarikasrama in the Himalayan hills and is accepted as an
incarnation of Narayana. Once when Narada, the great
devotee and ascetic amongst the demigods, was traveling in
different planets, he desired to personally meet the
ascetic Narayana in Badarikasrama and offer him his
respects. This great sage incarnation of Godhead, Narayana Rsi,
has been undergoing great penances and austerities from
the very beginning of the creation in order
to teach the inhabitants of Bharatavarsa how to attain the
highest perfectional stage of going back to Godhead. His
austerities and penances are exemplary practices for the
human being."
Badarikasrama is situated in
the northernmost part of
the Himalayan Mountains and
is always covered with snow. Religious
Indians still go to visit this place
during the
summer season, when the snowfall is not very
severe
. Once,
the incarnation of
God Narayana Rsi was sitting amongst many devotees in the
village known as Kalapagrama. Of course, these were not
ordinary sages who were sitting with Him, and the great sage
Narada also appeared there. After offering his respects to
Narayana Rsi, Narada asked Him exactly the same question asked
by King Pariksit of Sukadeva Gosvami. When Narada asked
this question of Narayana Rsi, the Rsi also answered by
following in the footsteps of His predecessors. He narrated a
story of how the same question had been discussed on the
planet known as Janoloka. Janoloka is above the Svargaloka
planets, such as the moon, Venus, etc. In this planet, great
sages and saintly persons live, and they were also discussing
the same point regarding the understanding of Brahman and His
real identity.
The great sage Narayana began to speak. "My dear Narada," He
said, "I will tell you a story which took place long, long
ago. There was a great meeting of the denizens of the heavenly
planets, and almost all of the important brahmacaris, such as
the four Kumaras -- Sanat, Sanandana, Sanaka and Sanatana
Kumara -- attended. Their discussion was on the
subject matter of understanding the Absolute Truth, Brahman.
You were not present at that meeting because you went to
see My expansion Aniruddha, who lives on the island of
Svetadvipa. In this meeting, all the great sages and
brahmacaris very elaborately discussed the point about which
you have asked me, and it was very interesting.
The discussion was so delicate that even the Vedas were unable
to answer the intricate questions raised."
Narayana Rsi told Naradaji that the same question which
Naradaji had raised had been discussed in that meeting in
Janoloka. This is the way of understanding through the
parampara, or disciplic succession. Maharaja Pariksit
was sent to Sukadeva Gosvami; Sukadeva Gosvami
referred the matter to Narada, who had in the same way
questioned Narayana Rsi, who had put the matter to still
higher authorities in the planet of Janoloka, where it was
discussed among the great Kumaras -- Sanat, Sanatana, Sanaka
Kumara and Sanandana. These four brahmacaris
are recognized scholars in the Vedas and
sastras. Their unlimited volumes of knowledge, backed by
austerities and penances, are exhibited by their sublime,
ideal character. They are very amiable and gentle in behavior,
and for them there is no distinction between friends, well-
wishers and enemies. Being transcendentally situated, such
personalities as the Kumaras are above all material
considerations and are always neutral in respect to material
dualities. In the discussions held among the four brothers,
one of them, namely Sanandana, was selected to speak, and the
other brothers became the audience to hear him.
Sanandana said, "After the dissolution of the whole cosmic
manifestation, the entire energy and the whole creation in its
nucleus form enters into the body of Garbhodakasayi Visnu. The
Lord at that time remains asleep for a long, long time, and
where there is again necessity of creation, the Vedas
personified assemble around the Lord and begin to glorify Him,
describing His wonderful transcendental pastimes. It is
exactly like a king: when he is asleep in
the morning, the appointed reciters come around his bedroom
and begin to sing of his chivalrous activities, and while
hearing of his glorious activities, the king gradually awakens.
"The Vedic reciters or the personified Vedas sing thus: 'O
unconquerable Lord, You are the Supreme Personality. No one is
equal to You or greater than You. No one can be more glorious
in his activities. All glories unto You! All glories unto You!
By Your own transcendental nature You fully possess all six
opulences. As such, You are able to deliver all conditioned
souls from the clutches of maya. O Lord, we fervently pray
that You kindly do so. All the living entities, being Your
parts and parcels, are naturally joyful, eternal and full of
knowledge, but due to their own faults they try to imitate You
by trying to become the supreme enjoyer; thus they disobey
Your supremacy and become offenders. And because of their
offenses, Your material energy has taken charge of them; thus,
their transcendental qualities of joyfulness, bliss and wisdom
have been covered by the clouds of the three material
qualities. This cosmic manifestation, made of the three
material qualities, is just like a prison house for the
conditioned souls. The conditioned souls are struggling very
hard to escape from the material bondage, and according to
their different conditions of life they have been given
different types of engagement. But all engagements are
based on Your knowledge. Pious activities
can be executed only when
inspired by Your mercy. Therefore,
without taking shelter at Your lotus feet one cannot surpass
the influence of material energy. Actually, we, as
personified Vedic knowledge, are always engaged in Your
service to help the conditioned soul understand You.'"
This prayer of the Vedas personified illustrates that the
Vedas are meant for helping the conditioned souls to
understand Krsna. All the srutis or personified Vedas
offered glories to the Lord again and again, singing, "Jaya!
Jaya!" This indicates that the Lord is praised for His
glories. Of all His glories the most important is His
causeless mercy upon the conditioned souls in reclaiming them
from the clutches of maya.
There are unlimited numbers of living entities in different
varieties of bodies, some moving and some standing in one
place, and the conditioned life of these living entities is
due only to their forgetfulness of their eternal relationship
with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the living
entity wants to lord it over the material energy by imitating
the position of Krsna, he is immediately captured by the
material energy and, according to his desire, is offered a
variety of 8,400,000 different kinds of bodies. Although
undergoing the threefold miseries of material existence, the
illusioned living entity falsely thinks himself the master of
all he surveys. Under the spell of the material energy,
which represents the threefold material qualities, the
living entity is so entangled that it is not at all possible
for him to become free unless he is graced by the Supreme Lord.
The living entity cannot conquer the influence of the
material modes of nature by his own endeavor, but because
material nature is working under the control of the Supreme
Lord, the Lord is beyond its jurisdiction. Except for Him, all
living entities, beginning from Brahma down to an ant, are
conquered by the contact of material nature.
Because He possesses in full the six opulences of wealth,
strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation, the Lord
alone is beyond the spell of material nature. Unless the
living entity is situated in Krsna consciousness, he cannot
approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, yet the Lord, by
His omnipotency, can dictate from within as the Supersoul. In
the Bhagavad-gita,
the Lord advises
, "Whatever you do, do for Me; whatever you
eat, first of all offer to Me; whatever charity you want to
give, first give to Me; and whatever austerities and
penances you want to perform, perform for Me." In this
way the karmis are directed to gradually develop Krsna
consciousness. Similarly, Krsna directs the philosophers to
approach Him gradually by discriminating between Brahman and
maya. At last when one is mature in knowledge, he
surrenders unto Krsna. As Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, "
After many, many births, the wise philosopher surrenders unto
Me." The yogis are also directed to concentrate their
meditation upon Krsna within the heart, and by such continued
process of Krsna consciousness the yogi can
become free from the clutches of material energy. But, as
is stated in Bhagavad-gita, because the devotees are engaged
in devotional service with love and affection from the very
beginning, the Lord directs them so
that they can approach Him without difficulty or deviation.
Only by the grace of the
Lord can the living entity understand the exact position of
Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.
The statements of the personified Vedas give clear evidence
that the Vedic literature is presented only for understanding
Krsna. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita that
through all the Vedas it is Krsna alone who has to be
understood. Krsna is always enjoying, either in the material
world or in the spiritual world; because He is the supreme
enjoyer, for Him there is no distinction between the material
world and spiritual worlds. The material world is an
impediment for the ordinary living entities because they are
under its control, but Krsna, being the controller of the
material world, has nothing to do with the impediments it
offers. Therefore, in different parts of the Upanisads, the
Vedas declare, "Brahman is eternal, full of all
knowledge and all bliss, but the one Supreme Personality of
Godhead is existing in the heart of every living entity."
Because of His all-pervasiveness, He is able to enter not only
into the hearts of the living entities, but even into the
atoms also. As the Supersoul, He is the controller of all
activities of the living entities. He is living within all
of them and witnessing their actions, allowing them to act
according to their desires, and also giving them the results
of their different activities. He is the living force of all
things, but still He is transcendental to the material
qualities. He is omnipotent; He is expert in manufacturing
everything, and on account of His superior, natural knowledge,
He can bring everyone under His control. As such, He is
everyone's master. He is sometimes manifest on the surface of
the globe, but He is simultaneously within all matter.
Desiring to expand Himself in multi-forms, He glanced
over the material energy, and thus innumerable living entities
became manifest. Everything is created by His superior energy,
and everything in His creation appears to be perfectly done
without deficiency.
Those who aspire for liberation from this material world
must therefore worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the
ultimate cause of all causes. He is just like the total mass
of earth, from which varieties of earthly pots are
manufactured: the pots are made of earthly clay, they rest on
the earth, and after being destroyed, their elements
ultimately merge back into earth. Although the Personality of
Godhead is the original cause of all varieties of
manifestation, the impersonalists especially stress the Vedic
statement, sarvam khalv idam brahma: "Everything is Brahman."
The impersonalists do not take into account the varieties of
manifestation emanating from the supreme cause of Brahman.
They simply take into consideration that everything
emanates from Brahman and after destruction merges into
Brahman and that the intermediate stage of manifestation is
also Brahman. Although the Mayavadis believe that
prior to its manifestation the cosmos was in Brahman, after
creation it remains in Brahman and after destruction it
merges into Brahman, they do not know what Brahman is. This
fact is clearly described in the Brahma-
samhita: The living entities, space, time, and the material
elements like fire, earth, sky, water and mind, constitute the
total cosmic manifestation, known as bhur bhuvah svah,
which is manifested by Govinda. It flourishes on the strength
of Govinda and after annihilation enters into and is conserved
in Govinda. Lord Brahma therefore says, "I worship Lord
Govinda, the original personality, the cause of all causes."
The word Brahman indicates the greatest of all and the
maintainer of everything. The impersonalists are attracted by
the greatness of the sky, but because of their poor fund of
knowledge they are not attracted by the greatness of Krsna. In
our practical life, however, we are attracted by the greatness
of a person and not by the greatness of a big mountain.
Actually the term Brahman can be applied to Krsna
only; therefore in the Bhagavad-gita Arjuna admitted that
Lord Krsna is the Parambrahman, or the supreme rest
of everything.
Krsna is the Supreme Brahman because of His unlimited
knowledge, unlimited potencies, unlimited strength, unlimited
influence, unlimited beauty and unlimited renunciation.
Therefore, the word Brahman can be applied to
Krsna only. Arjuna affirms that because the impersonal Brahman
is the effulgence emanating as rays of Krsna's transcendental
body, Krsna is the Parambrahman. Everything is
resting on Brahman, but Brahman itself is resting on Krsna.
Therefore Krsna is the ultimate Brahman or
Parambrahman. The material elements are accepted as
inferior energies of Krsna because by their interaction
the cosmic manifestation takes place, rests on Krsna, and
after dissolution again enters into the body of Krsna as His
subtle energy. Krsna is therefore the cause of both
manifestation and dissolution.
Sarvam khalv idam brahma means everything is Krsna,
and that is the
vision of the mahabhagavatas. They see everything
in relation to Krsna. The impersonalists argue that Krsna
has transformed Himself into many and that
therefore everything is Krsna and worship of everything is
worship of Him. This false argument is answered by Krsna in
the Bhagavad-gita: although everything is a transformation of
the energy of Krsna, He is not present everywhere. He is
simultaneously present and not present. By His energy He is
present everywhere, but as the energetic He is not present
everywhere. This simultaneous presence and non-
presence is inconceivable to our present senses. But a clear
explanation is given in the beginning of the Isopanisad, in
which it is stated that the Supreme Lord is so complete that
although unlimited energies and their transformations are
emanating from Krsna, Krsna's personality is not in the least
bit transformed. Therefore, since Krsna is the cause of all
causes, intelligent persons should take shelter of His lotus
feet.
Krsna advises everyone just to surrender unto Him alone, and
that is the way of Vedic instruction. Since Krsna is the cause
of all causes, He is worshiped by all kinds of sages and
saints by observance of the regulative principles. When
there is a necessity for meditation, great personalities
meditate on the transcendental form of Krsna within the heart.
In this way the minds of great personalities are always
engaged in Krsna. With minds engaged in Krsna, naturally
the captivated devotees simply talk of Krsna.
Talking of Krsna or singing of Krsna is called kirtana. Lord
Caitanya also recommends kirtaniyah sada harih
, which means always thinking and talking of Krsna and
nothing else. That is called Krsna consciousness. Krsna
consciousness is so sublime that anyone who takes to this
process is elevated to the highest perfection of life -- far,
far beyond the concept of liberation. In the Bhagavad-gita,
therefore, Krsna advises everyone always to think of Him,
render devotional service to Him, worship Him and offer
obeisances to Him. In this way a devotee becomes fully Krsna-
ized and, being always situated in Krsna consciousness,
ultimately goes back to Krsna.
Although the Vedas have recommended worship of different
demigods as different parts and parcels of Krsna, it is to be
understood that such instructions are meant for the less
intelligent class of men, who are still attracted by material
sense enjoyment. But the person who actually wants perfect
fulfillment of the mission of human life should simply worship
Lord Krsna, and that will simplify the matter and completely
guarantee the success of his human life. Although the sky, the
water and the land are all part and parcel of the material
world, when one stands on the solid land his position is more
secure than when he stands in the sky or the water. An
intelligent person, therefore, does not stand under the
protection of different demigods, although they are part and
parcel of Krsna. Rather, he stands on the solid ground of
Krsna consciousness. That makes his position sound and secure.
Impersonalists sometimes give the example that if one stands
on a stone or a piece of wood, one certainly stands on the
surface of the land, because the stone and wood are both
resting on the surface of the earth. But it may be replied
that if one stands directly on the surface of the earth, he is
more secure than on the wood or stone which are
resting on the earth. In other words, taking shelter of
Paramatma or taking shelter of impersonal Brahman is not as
secure a course as taking direct shelter of Krsna in Krsna
consciousness. The position of the jnanis and yogis is
therefore not as secure as the position of the devotees of
Krsna. Lord Krsna has therefore advised in the Bhagavad-gita
that only a person who has lost his senses takes to the
worship of demigods. And regarding persons who are attached to
the impersonal Brahman, the Srimad-Bhagavatam says, "My dear
Lord, those who are thinking of themselves as liberated by
mental speculation are not yet purified of the contamination
of material nature because of their inability to find the
shelter of Your lotus feet. Although they rise to the
transcendental situation of existence in impersonal Brahman,
they certainly fall from that exalted position because they
have neglected to desire Your lotus feet." Lord Krsna
therefore advises that the worshipers of the demigods are not
very intelligent persons because they derive only temporary,
exhaustible results. Their endeavors are those of less
intelligent men. But the Lord assures that His
devotee has no fear of falling.
The personified Vedas continued to pray: "Dear Lord,
considering all points of view, if one has to worship
someone superior to him, then just out of good behavior
one should stick to the worship of Your lotus feet because You
are the ultimate controller of creation, maintenance and
dissolution. You are the controller of the three worlds, Bhur,
Bhuvar and Svar, You are the controller of the fourteen upper
and lower worlds, and You are the controller of the three
material qualities. Demigods and persons advanced in spiritual
knowledge are always engaged in hearing and chanting about
Your transcendental pastimes because this has the
specific potency of nullifying the accumulated results of
sinful life. Intelligent persons factually take a dip in the
ocean of Your nectarean activities and very patiently hear
of them. Thus they immediately become freed from the
contamination of the material qualities; they do not have to
undergo severe penances and austerities for advancement of
spiritual life. This chanting and hearing of Your
transcendental pastimes is the easiest process for self-
realization. Simply by submissive aural reception of the
transcendental message, one's heart becomes cleansed of all
dirty things. Thus Krsna consciousness becomes fixed in the
heart of a devotee.
"The great authority Bhismadeva has also given the opinion
that this process of chanting and hearing about the Supreme
Personality of Godhead is the essence of all Vedic
ritualistic performances. Dear Lord, the devotee who wants to
elevate himself simply by this process of devotional
activities, especially by hearing and chanting, very soon
comes out of the clutches of the dualities of material
existence. By this simple process of penance and austerity
the Supersoul within the devotee's heart becomes very
pleased and gives the devotee directions so that he may go
back to home, back to Godhead. It is stated in the Bhagavad-
gita that one who engages all his activities and senses in the
devotional service of the Lord becomes completely pacified
because the Supersoul is satisfied with him; thus the devotee
becomes transcendental to all kinds of dualities, such as heat
and cold, honor and dishonor. Being freed from all dualities,
he feels transcendental bliss, and he no longer suffers cares
and anxieties due to material existence. Bhagavad-gita
confirms that the devotee who is always absorbed in Krsna
consciousness has no anxieties for his maintenance or
protection. Being constantly absorbed in Krsna consciousness,
he ultimately achieves the highest perfection. While in the
material existence, he lives very peacefully and blissfully
without any cares and anxieties, and after quitting this body
he goes back to home, back to Godhead. The Lord confirms in
the Bhagavad-gita, 'My supreme abode is a transcendental place
where going no one returns to this material
world. Anyone who attains the supreme perfection, being
engaged in My personal devotional service in the eternal abode,
reaches the highest perfection of human life and doesn't
have to come back again to the miserable material world.'
"My dear Lord, it is imperative
that the living entities be engaged in Krsna consciousness,
always rendering devotional service by prescribed methods
such as hearing and chanting and executing Your orders. If a
person is not engaged in Krsna consciousness and devotional
service, it is useless for him to exhibit the symptoms of life.
Generally it is accepted that if a person is breathing he is
alive. But a person without Krsna consciousness
may be compared to a bellows in a blacksmith's shop. The big
bellows is a bag of skin which exhales and inhales air, and a
human being who is simply living within the bag of skin and
bones without taking to Krsna consciousness and loving
devotional service is no better than the bellows. Similarly, a
nondevotee's long duration of life is compared to the long
existence of a tree, his voracious eating capacity is compared
to the eating of dogs and hogs, and his enjoyment in sex life
is compared to that of hogs and goats.
"The cosmic manifestation has been possible because of
the entrance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Maha-
Visnu within this material world. The total material energy
becomes agitated by the glance of Maha-Visnu, and only then
does the interaction of the three material qualities begin.
Therefore it should be concluded that whatever material
facilities we are trying to enjoy are available only due to
the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
"Within the body there are five different departments of
existence, known as annamaya, pranamaya,
manomaya, vijnanamaya and, at last, anandamaya.
In the beginning of life, every living entity is food
conscious. A child or an animal is satisfied only by getting
nice food. This stage of consciousness, in which the goal is
to eat sumptuously, is called annamaya. Anna means food.
After this one lives in the consciousness of being alive. If
one can continue his life without being attacked or destroyed,
one thinks himself happy. This stage is called pranamaya,
or consciousness of one's existence. After this stage, when
one is situated on the mental platform, that consciousness is
called manomaya. The material civilization is
primarily situated in these three stages, annamaya,
pranamaya and manomaya. The first concern of
civilized persons is economic development, the next concern is
defense against being annihilated, and the next consciousness
is mental speculation, the philosophical approach to the
values of life.
"If by the evolutionary process of philosophical life one
happens to reach to the platform of intellectual life and
understands that he is not this material body, but is a
spirit soul, then
by evolution of spiritual life he comes to the
understanding of the Supreme Lord or the Supreme Soul. When
one develops his relationship with Him and executes devotional
service, that stage of life is called Krsna consciousness, the
anandamaya stage. Anandamaya is the blissful life of
knowledge and eternity. As it is said in the Vedanta-sutra,
anandamayo 'bhyasat. The Supreme Brahman and the
subordinate Brahman, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead and
the living entities, are both joyful by nature. As long as the
living entities are situated in the lower four stages of life,
annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya and
vijnanamaya, they are considered to be in the material
condition of life, but as soon as one reaches the stage of
anandamaya he becomes a liberated soul. This
anandamaya stage is explained in the Bhagavad-gita as the
brahma-bhuta stage. There it is said that in the
brahma-bhuta stage of life there is no anxiety and no
hankering. This stage begins when one becomes equally disposed
toward all living entities, and it then expands to the stage
of Krsna consciousness in which one always hankers to render
service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This
hankering for advancement in devotional service is not the
same as hankering for sense gratification in material
existence. In other words, hankering remains in spiritual life,
but it becomes purified. When our senses are
purified, they become freed from all material stages, namely
annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya and
vijnanamaya, and they become situated in the highest
stage -- anandamaya, or blissful life in Krsna
consciousness. The Mayavadi philosophers consider
anandamaya to be the state of being merged in the Supreme.
To them, anandamaya means that the Supersoul and the
individual soul become one. But the real fact is that oneness
does not mean merging into the Supreme and losing one's own
individual existence. Merging in the spiritual existence is
the living entity's realization of qualitative oneness with
the Supreme Lord in His eternity and knowledge
aspects. But the actual anandamaya (blissful) stage is
obtained when one is engaged in devotional service. That is
confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita. Mad-bhaktim labhate param:
the brahma-bhuta
anandamaya stage is complete only when there is the
exchange of love between the Supreme and the subordinate
living entities. Unless one comes to this anandamaya
stage of life, his breathing is like the breathing of a
bellows in a blacksmith's shop, his duration of life is like
that of a tree, and he is no better than the lower animals
like the camels, hogs and dogs.
Undoubtedly the eternal living entity cannot be annihilated at
any point. But the lower species of life exist in a miserable
condition, whereas one who is engaged in devotional
service of the Supreme Lord is situated in the pleasurable or
anandamaya status of life. The different stages
described above are all in relationship with the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. Although in all circumstances there
exist both the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living
entities, the difference is that the Supreme Personality of
Godhead always exists in the anandamaya stage, whereas
the subordinate living entities, because of their minute
position as fragmental portions of the Supreme Lord, are prone
to fall to the other stages of life. Although in all the
stages both the Supreme Lord and the living entities exist,
the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always transcendental to
our concept of life, whether we are in bondage or in
liberation. The whole cosmic manifestation becomes possible by
the grace of the Supreme Lord, it exists by the grace of the
Supreme Lord, and when it is annihilated, it merges into the
existence of the Supreme Lord. As such, the Supreme Lord is
the supreme existence, the cause of all causes. Therefore the
conclusion is that without development of Krsna consciousness,
one's life is simply a waste of time.
Those who are very materialistic and cannot understand
the situation of the spiritual world cannot understand the
abode of Krsna. For such persons, great sages have recommended
the yogic process whereby one gradually rises from meditation
on the abdomen, which is called muladhara or manipuraka
meditation. Muladhara and manipuraka are technical terms which
refer to the intestines within the abdomen. Grossly
materialistic persons think that economic development is of
foremost importance because they are under the impression that
a living entity exists only by eating. Such grossly
materialistic persons forget that although we may eat as much
as we like, if the food is not digested it produces the
troubles of indigestion and acidity. Therefore, in itself,
eating is not the cause of the vital energy of life.
For digestion of eatables we have to take shelter of another,
superior energy, which is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita as
vaisvanara. Lord Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita that He helps
the digestion in the form of vaisvanara. The Supreme
Personality of Godhead is all-pervasive; therefore, His
presence as vaisvanara is not extraordinary.
Krsna is actually present everywhere. The Vaisnava, therefore,
marks his body with temples of Visnu: he first marks a tilaka
temple on the abdomen, then on the chest, then between the
collarbones, then on the forehead, and gradually he marks the
top of the head, the brahma-randhra. The thirteen temples of
tilaka marked on the body of a Vaisnava are known as follows:
On the forehead is the temple of Lord Kesava, on the belly is
the temple of Lord Narayana, on the chest is the temple of
Lord Madhava, and on the throat, between the two collarbones,
is the temple of Lord Govinda. On the right side of the waist
is the temple of Lord Visnu, on the right arm is the temple of
Lord Madhusudana, and on the right side of the collarbone the
temple of Lord Trivikrama. Similarly, on the left side of the
waist is the temple of Lord Vamanadeva, on the left arm is the
temple of Sridhara, on the left side of the collarbone is the
temple of Hrsikesa, on the upper back the temple is called
Padmanabha, and on the lower back the temple is called
Damodara. On the top of the head the temple is called
Vasudeva. This is the process of meditation on the Lord's
situation in different parts of the body, but for those
who are not Vaisnavas, great sages recommend meditation on the
bodily concept of life -- meditation on the intestines, on the
heart, on the throat, on the eyebrows, on the forehead and
then on the top of the head. Some of the sages in the
disciplic succession from the great saint Aruna meditate on
the heart because the Supersoul is also staying within the
heart along with the living entity. This is confirmed in
Bhagavad-gita, Fifteenth Chapter, wherein the Lord states, "I
am situated in everyone's heart."
For the Vaisnava, the protection of
the body for the service of the Lord is a part of devotional
service, but those who are gross materialists accept the body
as the self. They worship the body by the yogic process of
meditation on the different bodily parts, such as manipuraka,
dahara and hrdaya, gradually rising to the brahma-randhra on
the top of the head. The first-class yogi who has attained
perfection in the practice of the yoga system ultimately
passes through the brahma-randhra to any one of the planets in
either the material or spiritual worlds. How a yogi can
transfer himself to another planet is very vividly described
in the Second Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
In this regard, Sukadeva Gosvami has recommended that the
beginners worship the virata purusa, the gigantic universal
form of the Lord. One who cannot believe that the Lord can be
worshiped with equal success in the Deity or arca form, or
who cannot concentrate on this form, is advised to worship the
universal form of the Lord. The lower part of the universe is
considered the feet and legs of the Lord's universal form, the
middle part of the universe is considered the navel or abdomen
of the Lord, the upper planetary systems such as Janoloka and
Maharloka are the heart of the Lord, and the topmost planetary
system, Brahmaloka, is considered the top of the Lord's head.
There are different processes recommended by great sages,
according to the position of the worshiper, but the ultimate
aim of all meditational and yogic processes is to go back home,
back to Godhead. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, anyone who
reaches the highest planet, the abode of Krsna, or even the
Vaikuntha planets, never has to come down again to this
miserable material condition of life.
The Vedic recommendation, therefore, is that one make the
lotus feet of Visnu the target of all one's efforts. Tad
visnoh paramam padam, Visnuloka or the Visnu planets,
are situated above all the material planets. These
Vaikuntha planets are known as sanatana-dhama, and they are
eternal. They are never annihilated, not even by the
annihilation of this material world. The conclusion is that if
a human being does not fulfill the mission of his life by
worshiping the Supreme Lord and does not go back to
Godhead, then it is to be understood that he
has been frustrated in fulfilling the main purpose
of human life.
The next prayer of the personified Vedas to the Lord concerns
His entering into different species of life. It is stated in
Bhagavad-gita, Fourteenth Chapter, that in every species
and form of life the spiritual part and parcel of the Supreme
Lord is present. The Lord Himself claims in the Gita that He
is the seed-giving father of all forms and species, and
therefore they must all be considered sons of the Lord. The
entrance of the Supreme Lord into everyone's heart as
Paramatma sometimes bewilders the impersonalists, who think in
terms of the equality of the living entities with the
Supreme Lord. They think that because the Supreme Lord
enters into different bodies along with the individual soul,
there is no distinction between the Lord and the
individual entities. Their challenge is, "Why should
individual souls worship the Paramatma or Supersoul?"
According to them, both the Supersoul and the individual soul
are on the same level; they are one, without any difference
between them. There is a difference, however, between the
Supersoul and the individual soul, and this is explained in
Bhagavad-gita, Fifteenth Chapter, wherein the Lord says
that although He is situated with the living entity in the
same body, He is superior. He is dictating to or giving
intelligence to the individual soul from within. It is clearly
stated in the Gita that the Lord gives intelligence to the
individual soul and that both memory and forgetfulness are due
to the influence of the Supersoul. No one can act
independently of the sanction of the Supersoul. Therefore, the
individual soul acts according to his past karma, reminded by
the Lord. The nature of the individual soul is forgetfulness,
but the presence of the Lord within the heart reminds him of
what he wanted to do in his past life. The intelligence of the
individual soul is exhibited like fire in wood. Although fire
is always fire, it is exhibited in a size proportionate to the
size of the wood. Similarly, although the individual soul is
qualitatively one with the Supreme Lord, he exhibits himself
according to the limitations of his present body.
The Supreme Lord or the Supersoul is said to be eka-rasa. Eka
means one, and rasa means mellow. The transcendental position
of the Supreme Lord is that of eternity, bliss and full
knowledge. His position of eka-rasa does not change in the
slightest when He becomes a witness and advisor to the
individual soul in each individual body.
The individual soul, beginning from Lord Brahma down to
the ant, exhibits his spiritual potency according to his
present body. The demigods are in the same category with the
individual souls in the bodies of the human beings or in the
bodies of lower animals. Intelligent persons, therefore, do
not worship different demigods, who are simply infinitesimal
representatives of Krsna manifesting in conditioned bodies.
The individual soul can exhibit his power and potencies only
in proportion to the shape and constitution of the body. The
Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, can exhibit His full
potencies in any shape or form without any change. The
Mayavadi philosophers' thesis that God and the individual soul
are one and the same cannot be accepted because the individual
soul has to develop his power and potencies according to the
development of different types of bodies. The individual soul
in the body of a baby cannot show the full power and potency
of a grown man, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna,
even when lying on the lap of His mother as a baby, could
exhibit His full potency and power by killing Putana and other
demons who tried to attack Him. Therefore the spiritual
potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is said to be
eka-rasa, or without change. Therefore the Supreme Personality
of Godhead is the only worshipable object, and
this is perfectly known to persons who are uncontaminated by
the force of material nature. In other words, only the
liberated souls can worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Less intelligent Mayavadis take to the worship of
demigods, thinking that the demigods and the Supreme
Personality of Godhead are on the same level.
The personified Vedas continued to offer their obeisances. "
Dear Lord," they prayed, "after many, many births, those who
have actually become wise take to the worship of Your lotus
feet in complete knowledge." This is also confirmed in the
Bhagavad-gita, wherein the Lord says that after many, many
births, a great soul or mahatma surrenders unto the Lord,
knowing well that Vasudeva, Krsna, is the cause of all causes.
The Vedas continued: "As has already been explained, since our
mind, intelligence and senses have been given to us by God,
when these instruments are actually purified there is no
alternative but to engage them all in the devotional service
of the Lord. A living entity's entrapment in different species
of life is due to the misapplication of his mind, intelligence
and senses in material activities. Various kinds of bodies are
awarded as the result of a living entity's actions, and they
are created by the material nature according to the living
entity's desire. Because a living entity desires and deserves
a particular kind of body, it is given to him by the material
nature under the order of the Supreme Lord."
In the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Third Canto, it is explained that
under the control of superior authority a living entity is put
within the semina of a male and injected into the womb of a
particular female in order to develop a particular type of
body. A living entity utilizes his senses, intelligence, mind,
etc., in a specific way of his own choosing and thus
develops a particular type of body within which he becomes
encaged. In this way the living entity becomes situated in
different species of life, either in a demigod, human or
animal body, according to different situations and
circumstances.
It is explained in the Vedic literatures that the living
entities entrapped in different species of life are part and
parcel of the Supreme Lord. The Mayavadi philosophers mistake
the living entity for the Paramatma, who is actually sitting
with the living entity as a friend. Because the Paramatma,
the localized aspect of the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
and the individual living entity are both within the body, a
misunderstanding sometimes takes place that there is no
difference between the two. But there is a definite difference
between the individual soul and the Supersoul, and it is
explained in the Varaha Purana as follows. The Supreme Lord
has two kinds of parts and parcels: the living entity is
called vibhinnamsa, and the Paramatma or the plenary
expansion of the Supreme Lord is called svamsa. The svamsa
plenary expansion of the Supreme Personality is as powerful as
the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. There is not even
the slightest difference between the potency of the Supreme
Person and that of His plenary expansion as Paramatma, but the
vibhinnamsa parts and parcels possess only a minute portion of
the potencies of the Lord. The Narayana-Pancaratra states that
the living entities who are the marginal potency of the
Supreme Lord are undoubtedly of the same quality of spiritual
existence as the Lord Himself, but they are prone to be tinged
with the material qualities. Because he
is prone to be subjected to the influence of material
qualities, the minute living entity is called jiva. Sometimes
the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also known as
Siva, the all-auspicious. So the difference between Siva
and jiva is that the all-auspicious Personality of Godhead is
never affected by the material qualities, whereas the minute
portions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are prone to be
affected by the qualities of material nature.
The Supersoul within the body of a particular living entity,
although a plenary portion of the Lord, is worshipable by the
individual living entity. Great sages have therefore concluded
that the process of meditation is designed so that the
individual living entity may concentrate his attention on the
lotus feet of the Supersoul form (Visnu). That is the real
form of samadhi. The living entity cannot become liberated
from material entanglement by his own effort. He must
therefore take to the devotional service of the lotus feet of
the Supreme Lord, or the Supersoul within himself. Sridhara
Svami, the great commentator on Srimad-Bhagavatam, has
composed a nice verse in this regard, the purport of which is
as follows: "My dear Lord, I am eternally your part and parcel,
but I have been entrapped by the material potencies, which
are also an emanation from You. As the cause of all causes,
You have entered my body as the Supersoul, and I have the
prerogative to enjoy the supreme blissful life of knowledge
along with You. Therefore, my dear Lord, please order me to
render You loving service so that I can again be brought to my
original position of transcendental bliss."
Great personalities understand that a living entity entangled
in this material world cannot become freed by his own efforts.
With firm faith and devotion, such great personalities engage
themselves in rendering transcendental loving service to the
Lord. That is the verdict of the personified Vedas.
The personified Vedas continued: "Dear Lord, it is very
difficult to achieve perfect knowledge of the Absolute Truth.
Your Lordship is so kind to the fallen souls that You appear
in different incarnations and execute different activities.
You appear even as a historical personality of this material
world, and Your pastimes are very nicely described in the
Vedic literatures. Such pastimes are as attractive as the
ocean of transcendental bliss. People in general have a
natural inclination to read narrations in which ordinary jivas
are glorified, but when they become attracted by the Vedic
literatures which delineate Your eternal pastimes, they
actually dip into the ocean of transcendental bliss. As a
fatigued man feels refreshed by dipping into a reservoir of
water, so the conditioned soul who is very much disgusted with
material activities becomes refreshed and forgets all the
fatigue of material activities simply by dipping into the
transcendental ocean of Your pastimes. And eventually he
merges in the ocean of transcendental bliss. The most
intelligent devotees, therefore, do not take to any means of
self-realization except devotional service and constant
engagement in the nine different processes of devotional life,
especially hearing and chanting. When hearing and chanting
about Your transcendental pastimes, Your devotees do not care
even for the transcendental bliss derived from liberation or
from merging into the existence of the Supreme. Such devotees
are not interested even in so-called liberation, and certainly
they have no interest in material activities for
elevation to the heavenly planets for sense gratification.
Pure devotees seek only the association of paramahamsas, or
great liberated devotees, so that they can continually hear
and chant about Your glories. For this purpose the pure
devotees are prepared to sacrifice all comforts of life, even
giving up the material comforts of family life and so-called
society, friendship and love. Those who have tasted the nectar
of devotion by relishing the transcendental vibration of
chanting Your glories, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna,
Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, do
not care for any other spiritual bliss or for material
comforts, which appear to the pure devotee to be less
important than the straw in the street."
The personified Vedas continued: "Dear Lord, when a person is
able to purify his mind, senses and intelligence by engaging
himself in devotional service in full Krsna consciousness, his
mind becomes his friend. Otherwise, his mind is always his
enemy. When the mind is engaged in devotional service of
the Lord, it becomes the intimate friend of the living entity
because the mind can then think of the Supreme Lord always.
Your Lordship is eternally dear to the living entity, so when
the mind is engaged in thought of You, one immediately feels
the great satisfaction for which he has been hankering life
after life. When one's mind is thus fixed on the lotus feet of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one does not take to any
kind of inferior worship or inferior process of self-
realization. By attempting to worship a demigod or by taking
to any other process of self-realization, the living entity
becomes a victim of the cycle of birth and death, and no one
can estimate how much the living entity becomes degraded by
entering the abominable species of life such as the cats and
dogs."
Sri Narottama dasa Thakur has sung that persons who do not
take to the devotional service of the Lord but are attracted
to the process of philosophical speculation and fruitive
activities drink the poisonous results of such actions. Such
persons are forced to
take birth in different species of life and
are forced to adopt obnoxious practices like
meat-eating and intoxication. Materialistic persons
generally worship the transient material body and forget the
welfare of the spirit soul within the body. Some take shelter
of materialistic science to improve bodily comforts, and some
take to the worship of demigods in order to be promoted to the
heavenly planets. Their goal in life is to make the material
body comfortable while forgetting the interest of the
spirit soul. Such persons are described in the Vedic
literature as suicidal because attachment for the material
body and its comforts forces the living entity to wander
through the process of birth and death perpetually and suffer
the material pangs as a matter of course. The human form of
life is a chance for one to understand his position, and
the most intelligent person takes to devotional service just
to engage his mind, senses and body in the service of the Lord
without deviation.
The personified Vedas continued: "Dear Lord, there are many
mystic yogis who are very learned and deliberate in achieving
the highest perfection of life. They engage themselves in the
yogic process of controlling the life-air within the body.
Concentrating the mind upon the form of Visnu and controlling
the senses very rigidly, they practice the yoga system, but
even after much laborious austerity, penance, and regulation,
they achieve the same destination as persons who are inimical
toward You. In other words, both the yogis and great, wise
philosophical speculators ultimately attain the impersonal
Brahman effulgence, which is also automatically attained by
the demons who are regular enemies of the Lord. Demons like
Kamsa, Sisupala and Dantavakra also attain the Brahman
effulgence because they constantly meditate upon the Supreme
Personality of Godhead.
Women such as the gopis were attached to Krsna and
captivated by His beauty, and their mental concentration on
Krsna was provoked by lust. They wanted to be embraced by the
arms of Krsna, which resemble the beautiful round shape of a
snake. Similarly, there are the Vedic hymns, and we also
simply concentrate our minds on the lotus feet of Your
Lordship. Women like the gopis concentrate upon You dictated
by lust, and we concentrate upon Your lotus feet
to go back home, back to Godhead. Your enemies also
concentrate upon You, thinking always how to kill You, and
the yogis undertake great penances and austerities just to
attain Your impersonal effulgence. All these different persons,
although concentrating their minds in different ways, achieve
spiritual perfection according to their different perspectives
because You are equal to all Your devotees."
Sridhara Svami has composed a nice verse in this regard: "My
dear Lord, to be engaged always in thinking of Your lotus feet
is very difficult. It is possible by great devotees who have
already achieved love for You and are engaged in
transcendental loving service. My dear Lord, I wish that my
mind also may be engaged somehow or other on Your lotus
feet, at least for some time."
The attainment of spiritual perfection by different
spiritualists is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, wherein the
Lord says that He grants the perfection the devotee desires in
proportion to the devotee's surrender unto Him. The
impersonalists, yogis and the enemies of the Lord enter into
the Lord's transcendental effulgence, but the personalists who
are following in the footsteps of the inhabitants of
Vrndavana or strictly following the path of devotional service
are elevated to the personal abode of Krsna, Goloka Vrndavana,
or to the Vaikuntha planets. Both the impersonalists and the
personalists enter into the spiritual realm or the spiritual
sky, but the impersonalists are given their place in the
impersonal Brahman effulgence, whereas the personalists are
given a position in the Vaikuntha planets or in the Vrndavana
planet, according to their desire to serve the Lord in
different mellows.
The personified Vedas stated that persons who are born after
the creation of this material world cannot understand the
existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by
manipulating their material knowledge. Just as a person born
in a particular family cannot understand the position of his
great-grandfather who lived before the birth of the recent
generation, we are unable to understand the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, Narayana or Krsna, who exists
eternally in the spiritual world. In the Eighth Chapter of the
Bhagavad-gita it is clearly said that the Supreme Person, who
lives eternally in the spiritual kingdom of God (sanatana-
dhama), can be approached only by devotional service.
As for the material creation, Brahma is the first created
person. Before Brahma there was no living creature within this
material world; it was void and dark until Brahma was born on
the lotus flower sprouted from the abdomen of
Garbhodakasayi Visnu. Garbhodakasayi Visnu is an expansion of
Karanodakasayi Visnu, Karanodakasayi Visnu is an expansion of
Sankarsana, and Sankarsana is an expansion of Balarama.
Balarama is an immediate expansion of Lord Krsna. After the
creation of Brahma, the two kinds of demigods were born:
demigods like the four brothers Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana
and Sanat-kumara, who are representatives of renunciation of
the world, and demigods like Marici and their descendants who
are meant to enjoy this material world. From these two kinds
of demigods were gradually manifested all other living
entities, including the human beings. Thus any living
creature within this material world, including Brahma, all
the demigods and all the raksasas, are to be considered modern.
This means that they were all recently born.
Therefore, just as a person recently born in a family
cannot understand the situation of his distant forefather, so
anyone within this material world cannot understand the
position of the Supreme Lord in the spiritual world because
the material world has only recently been created. Although
they have a long duration of existence, all the manifestations
of the material world, namely, the time elements, the living
entities, the Vedas, and the gross and subtle
elements, are all created at some point. Anything
manufactured within this created situation or accepted as a
means to understanding the original source of creation is to
be considered modern.
Therefore by the process of self-realization or God
realization through fruitive activities, philosophical
speculation or mystic yoga, one cannot actually approach the
supreme source of everything. When the creation is completely
terminated, when there is no existence of the Vedas, no
existence of material time, no existence of the gross and
subtle material elements, and when all the living entities are
in the nonmanifested stage resting within Narayana, then
all these manufactured processes become null and void and
cannot act. Devotional service, however, is eternally going on
in the eternal spiritual world. Therefore the only factual
process of self-realization or God realization is devotional
service, and if one takes to this process he takes to the
real process of God realization. Srila Sridhara Svami has
therefore composed a verse in this regard which conveys the
idea that the supreme source of everything, the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, is so great and unlimited that it is
not possible for the living entity to understand Him by any
material acquisition. Everyone should therefore pray to the
Lord to be engaged in His devotional service eternally, so
that by the grace of the Lord one can understand the supreme
source of creation. The supreme source of creation, the
Supreme Lord, reveals Himself only to the devotees. In the
Fourth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita the Lord says to Arjuna, "My
dear Arjuna, because you are My devotee and because you are My
intimate friend I shall therefore reveal to you the process of
understanding Me." In other words, the supreme source of
creation, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot be
understood by our own endeavor. We have to please Him with
devotional service, and then He will reveal Himself to us.
Then we can understand Him to some extent.
There are different kinds of philosophers who have tried to
understand the supreme source by their mental speculation.
There are generally six kinds of mental speculators, and
they are called sad-darsana. All these philosophers
are impersonalists and are known as Mayavadis. Every one of
them has tried to establish his own opinion, although they all
have later compromised and stated that all opinions lead to
the same goal and that every opinion is therefore valid.
According to the prayers of the personified Vedas, however,
none of them are valid because their process of knowledge is
created within the temporary material world. They have all
missed the real point: the Supreme Personality of Godhead or
the Absolute Truth can be understood only by devotional
service.
One class of philosophers, known as Mimamsakas, represented by
sages such as Jaimini, have concluded that everyone should
be engaged in pious activities or prescribed duties and
that such activities will lead one to the highest perfection.
But this is contradicted in the Ninth Chapter of Bhagavad-
gita, where Lord Krsna says that by pious activities one may
be elevated to the heavenly planets, but as soon as one's
accumulation of pious activities is used up, one has to leave
the enjoyment of a higher standard of material prosperity in
the heavenly planets and immediately come down again to these
lower planets, where the duration of life is very short and
where the standard of material happiness is of a lower grade.
The exact words used in the Gita are ksine punye
martya-lokam visanti. Therefore the conclusion of
the Mimamsaka philosophers, that pious activities will lead
one to the Absolute Truth, is not valid. Although a pure
devotee is by nature inclined to pious activities, no
one can attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead
by pious activities alone. Pious activities may purify one of
the contamination caused by ignorance and passion, but this
is automatically attained by a devotee who is
constantly engaged in hearing the transcendental message of
Godhead in the form of the Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam or
similar scriptures. From the Bhagavad-gita we understand that
even a person who is not up to the standard of pious
activities but who is absolutely engaged in devotional service
is to be considered well situated on the path of spiritual
perfection. It is also said in the Bhagavad-gita that a person
who is engaged in devotional service with love and faith is
guided from within by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The
Lord Himself as Paramatma, or the spiritual master sitting
within one's heart, gives the devotee exact directions by
which he can gradually go back to Godhead. The conclusion of
the Mimamsaka philosophers is not actually the truth which can
lead one to real understanding.
Similarly, there are Sankhya philosophers, metaphysicians or
material scientists who study this cosmic manifestation
by their invented scientific method and who do not recognize
the supreme authority of God as the creator of the cosmic
manifestation. Rather, they wrongly conclude that the
reaction of material elements is the original cause of
creation. The Bhagavad-gita, however, does not accept this
theory. It is clearly said therein that behind the cosmic
activities is the direction of the Supreme Personality of
Godhead. This fact is corroborated by the Vedic injunction
asad va idam agra asit, which means that the origin of
the creation existed before the cosmic manifestation.
Therefore, the material elements cannot be the cause of
material creation. Although the material elements are accepted
as material causes, the ultimate cause is the Supreme
Personality of Godhead Himself. The Bhagavad-gita says,
therefore, that material nature works under the direction of
Krsna.
The conclusion of the atheistic Sankhya philosophy is that
because the effects of the material worlds
are temporary or illusory, the cause is therefore also
illusory. The Sankhya philosophers are in favor of voidism,
but the actual fact is that the original cause is the Supreme
Personality of Godhead and this cosmic manifestation is
the temporary manifestation of His material energy. When this
temporary manifestation is annihilated, its cause, the eternal
existence of the spiritual world, continues as it is, and
therefore the spiritual world is called sanatana-dhama, the
eternal abode. The conclusion of the Sankhya philosopher is
therefore not valid.
Then there are the philosophers headed by Gautama and Kanada.
They have very minutely studied the cause and effect of the
material elements and have ultimately come to the conclusion
that atomic combination is the original cause of creation.
Present material scientists also follow in
the footsteps of Gautama and Kanada, who propounded this
theory of paramanuvada. This theory, however, cannot be
supported because the original cause of everything is not
inert atoms. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-
Bhagavatam as well as in the Vedas, wherein it is stated eko
narayana asit, Only Narayana existed before the creation. The
Srimad-Bhagavatam and Vedanta-sutra also say that the
original cause is sentient and both indirectly and directly
cognizant of everything within this creation. In the Bhagavad-
gita Krsna says, aham sarvasya prabhavah: "I am
the original cause of everything," and mattah sarvam
pravartate: "From Me everything comes into existence."
Therefore, atoms may form the basic combinations of material
existence, but these atoms are generated from the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. Thus the philosophy of Gautama and
Kanada cannot be supported.
Similarly, impersonalists headed by Astavakra and later on by
Sankaracarya accept the impersonal Brahman effulgence as the
cause of everything. According to their theory, the material
manifestation is temporary and unreal, whereas the impersonal
Brahman effulgence is reality. But this theory cannot be
supported either, because the Lord Himself says in the
Bhagavad-gita that this Brahman effulgence is resting on
His personality. It is also confirmed in the Brahma-samhita
that the Brahman effulgence is the personal bodily rays of
Krsna. As such, impersonal Brahman cannot be the original
cause of the cosmic manifestation. The original cause is the
all-perfect sentient Personality of Godhead, Govinda.
The most dangerous theory of the impersonalists is that when
God comes as an incarnation He accepts a material body created
by the three modes of material nature. This Mayavadi theory
has been condemned by Lord Caitanya as most offensive. He has
said that anyone who accepts the transcendental body of the
Personality of Godhead to be made of this material nature
commits the greatest offense at the lotus feet of Visnu.
Similarly, the Bhagavad-gita also states that only the fools
and rascals deride the Personality of Godhead when He descends
in a human form.
Lord Krsna, Lord Rama and Lord Caitanya
actually moved within human society as human beings.
The personified Vedas condemn the impersonal conception as a
gross misrepresentation. In the Brahma-samhita, the body of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead is described as ananda-
cin-maya-rasa. The Supreme Personality of Godhead
possesses a spiritual body, not a material body. He can enjoy
anything through any part of His body, and therefore He is
omnipotent. The limbs of a material body can perform only a
particular function, just as hands can hold but they
cannot see or hear. Because the body of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead is made of ananda-cin-maya-rasa or
sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, He can enjoy
anything and do everything with any of His limbs. Acceptance
of the spiritual body of the Lord as material is dictated by
the tendency to make the Supreme Personality of Godhead
equal to the conditioned soul. The conditioned soul has a
material body. Therefore, if God also has a material body,
then the impersonalistic theory that the Supreme Personality
of Godhead and the living entities are one and the same can be
very easily propagandized.
Factually, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead comes He
exhibits different pastimes, and yet there is no
difference between His childish body when He is lying on the
lap of His mother Yasoda and His so-called grown up body
fighting with the demons. In His childhood body also, He
fought with demons such as Putana, Trnavarta, Aghasura,
etc., with strength equal to that with which He fought in
His youth against demons like Dantavakra, Sisupala and
others. In material life, as soon as a conditioned soul
changes his body, he forgets everything of his past body, but
from the Bhagavad-gita we understand that Krsna, because He
has a sac-cid-ananda body, did not forget instructing the
sun-god about Bhagavad-gita millions of years ago. The
Lord is therefore known as Purusottama because He is
transcendental to both material and spiritual existence. That
He is the cause of all causes means that He is the cause of
the spiritual world and of the material world as well. The
Supreme Personality of Godhead is omnipotent and omniscient.
Therefore, because a material body can be neither omnipotent
nor omniscient, the Lord's body surely is not material.
The Mayavadi theory that the Personality of Godhead comes
within this material world with a material body cannot be
supported by any means.
It can be concluded that all the theories of the material
philosophers are generated from the temporary illusory
existence, like the conclusions in a dream. Such conclusions
certainly cannot lead us to the Absolute Truth. The Absolute
Truth can only be realized through devotional service. As
the Lord says in the Bhagavad-gita, bhaktya mam abhijanati,
"Only by devotional service can one understand Me."
Srila Sridhara Svami has composed a nice verse in this regard,
which states: "My dear Lord, let others be engaged in
false argument and dry speculation, theorizing upon their
great philosophical theses. Let them loiter in the darkness of
ignorance and illusion, falsely enjoying as if very learned
scholars, although they are without knowledge of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. As far as I am concerned, I wish to be
liberated simply by chanting the holy names of the all-
beautiful Supreme Personality of Godhead -- Madhava, Vamana,
Trinayana, Sankarsana, Sripati and Govinda. Simply by chanting
His transcendental names, let me become
free from the contamination of this material existence."
In this way the personified Vedas said, "My dear Lord, when
a living entity, by Your grace only, comes to the right
conclusion about Your exalted transcendental position, at that
time he no longer bothers with the different theories
manufactured by the mental speculators or so-called
philosophers." This is a reference to the speculative theories
of Gautama, Kanada, Patanjali and Kapila (Nirisvara). There
are actually two Kapilas: one Kapila, the son of Kardama Muni,
is an incarnation of God, and the other is an atheist of the
modern age. The atheistic Kapila is often misrepresented to be
the Supreme Personality of Godhead who appeared as the
son of Kardama Muni during the time of Svayambhuva
Manu. Lord Kapila, the incarnation of Godhead, appeared
long long ago; the modern age is the age of Vaivasvata
Manu, whereas He appeared during the time of Svayambhuva Manu.
According to Mayavadi philosophy, this manifested world or
the material world is mithya or maya, false. Their
preaching principle is brahma-satya jagat-mithya. According
to them, only the Brahman effulgence is true, and the
cosmic manifestation is illusory or false. But according to
Vaisnava philosophy, this cosmic manifestation is
caused by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the
Bhagavad-gita the Lord says that He enters within this
material world by one of His plenary portions, and thus the
creation takes place. From the Vedas also, we can understand
that this asat or temporary cosmic manifestation is also an
emanation from the supreme sat or fact. From the Vedanta-
sutra also it is understood that everything has emanated from
the Supreme Brahman. As such the Vaisnavas do not take
this cosmic manifestation to be false. The
Vaisnava philosopher sees everything in this material
world in relationship with the Supreme Lord.
This conception of the material world is very nicely explained
by Srila Rupa Gosvami, who said that renunciation of
this material world as illusory or false without
knowledge that the material world is also the manifestation of
the Supreme Lord is of no practical value.
The Vaisnavas, however, are free of attachment to this world
because generally the material world is accepted as
an object of sense gratification. The Vaisnavas are not in
favor of sense gratification; therefore, they are
not attached to material activities. The Vaisnava accepts this
material world according to the regulative principles of the
Vedic injunctions. Since the
Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original cause of
everything, the Vaisnava sees everything in relationship with
Krsna, even in this material world. By such advanced knowledge,
everything becomes spiritualized. In other words, everything
in the material world is already spiritual, but due to our
lack of knowledge we see things as material.
The personified Vedas presented the example that those who are
seeking after gold do not reject gold earrings, gold bangles
or anything else made of gold simply because they are shaped
differently from the original gold. All living entities are
part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and are qualitatively one
, but they are now differently shaped in 8,400,000
species of life, just like many different ornaments which have
been manufactured from the same source of gold. As one who is
interested in gold accepts all the differently shaped gold
ornaments, so a Vaisnava, knowing well that all living
entities are of the same quality as the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, accepts all living entities as eternal servants of
God. As a Vaisnava, then, one has ample opportunity to serve
the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by reclaiming these
conditioned, misled living entities, training them in Krsna
consciousness and leading them back to home, back to Godhead.
The fact is that the minds of the living entities are now
agitated by the three material qualities, and the living
entities are therefore transmigrating, as if in dreams, from
one body to another. When their consciousness is changed into
Krsna consciousness, however, they immediately fix Krsna
within their hearts, and thus their path for liberation
becomes clear.
In all the Vedas the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the
living entities are stated to be of the same quality --
caitanya, or spiritual. This is also confirmed in the Padma
Purana, wherein it is said that there are two kinds of
spiritual entities; one is called the jiva, and the other is
called the Supreme Lord. Beginning from Lord Brahma down to
the ant, all living entities are jivas, whereas the Lord is
the Supreme four-handed Visnu or Janardana. The
word atma can be applied only to the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, but because the living entities are
His parts and parcels, sometimes the word atma is applied to
them also. The living entities are therefore called jivatma,
and the Supreme Lord is called Paramatma. Both the Paramatma
and jivatma are within this material world, and therefore
this material world has a purpose other than sense
gratification. The conception of a life of sense gratification
is illusion but the conception of service by the jivatma to
the Paramatma, even in this material world, is not at all
illusory. A Krsna conscious person is fully aware of this fact,
and thus he does not take this material world to be false,
but acts in the reality of transcendental service. The devotee
therefore sees everything in this material world as an
opportunity to serve the Lord. He does not reject anything as
material, but dovetails everything in the service of the Lord.
Thus a devotee is always in the transcendental position, and
everything that he uses becomes spiritually purified by being
used in the service of the Lord.
Sridhara Svami has composed a nice verse in this regard: "I
worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is always
manifested as reality even within this material world, which
is considered by some to be false." The conception of the
falsity of this material world is due to lack of knowledge,
but a person advanced in Krsna consciousness sees the Supreme
Personality of Godhead in everything. This is actually
realization of the Vedic aphorism, sarvam khalv idam brahma: "
Everything is Brahman."
The personified Vedas continued: "Dear Lord, less intelligent
men take to other ways of self-realization, but actually there
is no chance to become purified from material contamination
or to stop the repeated cycle of birth and death unless
one is a thoroughly pure devotee. Our dear Lord, everything
is resting on Your different potencies; and everyone is
supported by You, as is stated in the Vedas (eko bahunam yo
vidadhati kaman). Therefore Your Lordship is the supporter and
maintainer of all living entities -- demigods, human beings
and animals. Everyone is supported by You, and You are also
situated in everyone's heart. In other words, You are the root
of the whole creation. Therefore those who are engaged in
Your devotional service without deviation always worship
You. Such devotees actually pour water on the root of the
universal tree. By devotional service, therefore, one
satisfies not only the Personality of Godhead but also all
others, because everyone is maintained and supported by Him.
Because he understands the all-pervasive feature of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a devotee is the most
practical philanthropist and altruist. Such pure devotees,
thoroughly engaged in Krsna consciousness, very easily
overcome the cycle of birth and death, and they as much as
jump over the head of death."
A devotee is never afraid of death or of changing his body;
his consciousness is transformed into Krsna consciousness, and
even if he does not go back to Godhead, even if he
transmigrates to another material body, he has nothing to fear.
A vivid example is Bharata Maharaja. Although in his next
life he became a deer, in the life after that he became
completely free from all material contamination and was
elevated to the kingdom of God. The Bhagavad-gita affirms,
therefore, that a devotee is never vanquished. A devotee's
path to the spiritual kingdom, back home, back to Godhead, is
guaranteed. Even though a devotee slips in one birth, the
continuation of his Krsna consciousness elevates him further
and further until he goes back to Godhead. Not only does a
pure devotee purify his own personal existence, but whoever
becomes his disciple also ultimately becomes purified and
able to enter the kingdom of God without difficulty.
Not only can a pure devotee easily surpass
death, but by his grace his followers also can do so
without difficulty. The power of devotional service is so
great that a pure devotee can electrify another person by his
transcendental instruction on crossing over the ocean of
nescience.
The instructions of a pure devotee to his disciple are also
very simple. No one feels any difficulty in following in the
footsteps of a pure devotee. Anyone who follows in
disciplic succession from recognized devotees of the Lord,
such as Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, the Kumaras, Manu, Kapila,
King Prahlada, King Janaka, Sukadeva Gosvami, Yamaraja, etc.
, very easily finds the
door of liberation open. On the other hand, those who are not
devotees but are engaged in uncertain processes of self-
realization, such as jnana, yoga and karma, are understood to
be still contaminated. Such contaminated persons, although
apparently advanced in self-realization, cannot even liberate
themselves, not to speak of others who follow them. Such
nondevotees are compared to chained animals, for they are not
able to go beyond the jurisdiction of the formalities of a
certain type of faith. In the Bhagavad-gita they are condemned
as veda-vadah. They cannot understand that the Vedas deal
with activities of the material modes of nature -- goodness,
passion and ignorance.
Lord Krsna advised Arjuna that one has to go beyond the
jurisdiction of the duties prescribed in the Vedas and take to
Krsna consciousness, devotional service. It is said in the
Bhagavad-gita, nistraigunyo bhavarjuna, "My dear Arjuna, just
try to become transcendental to the Vedic rituals." The
transcendental position beyond the Vedic ritualistic
performances is devotional service. In the Bhagavad-gita the
Lord clearly says that persons who are engaged in His
devotional service without adulteration are situated in
Brahman. Actual Brahman realization means Krsna consciousness
and engagement in devotional service. The devotees are
therefore real brahmacaris because their activities are always
in Krsna consciousness, devotional service.
The Krsna consciousness movement is therefore a supreme
call to all kinds of religionists asking them with great
authority to join this movement by which one can learn how to
love God and thus surpass all formulas and formalities of
scriptural injunction. A person who cannot overcome the
jurisdiction of stereotyped religious principles is compared
to an animal chained up by his master. The purpose of all
religion is to understand God and develop one's dormant love
of Godhead. If one simply sticks to the religious formulas and
formalities and does not become elevated to the position of
love of God, he is considered to be a chained animal. In other
words, if one is not in Krsna consciousness, he is not
eligible for liberation from the contamination of material
existence.
Srila Sridhara Svami has composed a nice verse which says,
"Let others engage in severe austerities, let others
fall to the land from the tops of hills and give up their
lives, let others travel to many holy places of pilgrimage for
salvation, or let them be engaged in deep study of
philosophy and Vedic literatures; let the mystic yogis engage
in their meditational service, and let the different sects
engage in unnecessary arguing as to which is the best. But it
is a fact that unless one is Krsna conscious, unless one is
engaged in devotional service, and unless one has the mercy of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he cannot cross over this
material ocean." An intelligent person, therefore, gives up
all stereotyped ideas and joins the Krsna consciousness
movement for factual liberation.
The personified Vedas continued their prayers. "Our dear Lord,
Your impersonal feature is explained in the Vedas: You have
no hands, but You can accept all sacrifices which are offered
to You; You have no legs, but You can walk more swiftly than
anyone. Although You have no eyes, You can see whatever
happens in the past, present and future. Although You have no
ears, You can hear everything that is said. Although You have
no mind, You know everyone and everyone's activities, past,
present and future, and yet no one knows who You are. You know
everyone, but no one knows You; therefore, You are the oldest
and supreme personality."
Similarly, in another part of the Vedas it is said, "You have
nothing to do. You are so perfect in Your knowledge and
potency that everything becomes manifest simply by Your will.
There is no one equal to or greater than You, and everyone
is acting as Your eternal servant." Thus the Vedic
statements describe that the Absolute has no legs, no hands,
no eyes, no ears and no mind, and yet He can act through His
potencies and fulfill the needs of all living entities. As
stated in the Bhagavad-gita, His hands and legs are everywhere;
He is all-pervasive. The hands, legs, ears and eyes of
all living entities are acting and moving by the direction of
the Supersoul sitting within the living entity's heart. Unless
the Supersoul is present, it is not possible for the hands and
legs to be active. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is so
great, independent and perfect, however, that even without
having any eyes, legs and ears, He is not dependent on others
for His activities. On the contrary, others are dependent on
Him for the activities of their different sense organs. Unless
the living entity is inspired and directed by the Supersoul,
he cannot act.
The fact is that ultimately the Absolute Truth is the Supreme
Person. But because He is acting through His different
potencies which are impossible for the gross materialists to
see, the materialists accept Him as impersonal. For example,
one can observe the personal artistic work in a painting of a
flower, and one can understand that the color adjustment, the
shape, etc., have demanded the minute attention of the
artist. The artist's work is clearly exhibited in a painting
of different blooming flowers. But the gross materialist,
without seeing the hand of God in such artistic manifestations
as the actual flowers blooming in nature, concludes that the
Absolute Truth is impersonal. Actually, the Absolute is
personal, but He is independent. He does not require to
personally take a brush and colors to paint the flowers, but
His potencies are acting so wonderfully that it appears as if
flowers have come into being without the aid of an artist. The
impersonal view of the Absolute Truth is accepted by less
intelligent men because unless one is engaged in the service
of the Lord, he cannot understand how the Supreme is acting --
he cannot even know the His name. Everything about the
His activities and personal features is revealed to the
devotee only through his loving service attitude.
In the Bhagavad-gita it is clearly said, bhoktaram yajna-
tapasam: the Lord is the enjoyer of all kinds of
sacrifices and of the results of all austerities. Then again
the Lord says, sarva-loka-mahesvaram: "I am the proprietor of
all planets." So that is the position of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. Although He is present in Vrndavana
and enjoys transcendental pleasure in the company of
His eternal associates, the gopis and the cowherd boys,
His potencies are acting under His
direction all over the creation. They do not disturb
His eternal pastimes.
Through devotional service only can one understand how
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by His inconceivable
potencies, simultaneously acts impersonally and as a person.
He is acting just like the supreme emperor, and many
thousands of kings and chiefs are working under Him. The
Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme independent
controlling person, and all the demigods -- including Lord
Brahma, Lord Siva, Indra the King of heaven, the king of the
moon planet, and the king of the sun planet -- are working
under His direction. It is confirmed
in the Vedas that the sun is
shining, the air is blowing, and fire is distributing heat
out of fear of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The
material nature is producing all kinds of movable and
immovable objects within the material world, but none of them
can independently act or create without the direction of the
Supreme Lord. All of them are acting as tributaries, just
like subordinate kings who offer their annual taxes to the
emperor.
The Vedic injunction states that every living entity lives by
eating the remnants of foodstuffs offered to the Personality
of Godhead. In great sacrifices the injunction is that
Narayana should be present as the supreme predominating Deity
of the sacrifice, and after the sacrifice is performed,
the remnants of foodstuffs are distributed amongst the
demigods. This is called yajna-bhaga. Every demigod has an
allotment of yajna-bhaga which he accepts as prasadam. The
conclusion is that the demigods are not independently powerful;
they are posted as different executives under the order of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they are eating
prasadam or the remnants of sacrifices. They are
executing the order of the Supreme Lord exactly according to
His plan. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is in the
background, and His orders are carried out by others.
It only appears that He is impersonal. In our grossly
materialistic way, we cannot conceive how the Supreme Person
is above the impersonal activities of material nature.
Therefore the Lord explains in the Bhagavad-gita that there is
nothing superior to Himself and that the impersonal Brahman is
subordinately situated as a manifestation of His personal rays.
Sripada Srila Sridhara Svami has therefore composed a nice
verse in this regard: "Let me offer my respectful obeisances
unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has no material
senses but through whose direction and will all the material
senses are working. He is the supreme potency of all material
senses or sense organs. He is omnipotent, and He is the
supreme performer of everything. Therefore He is worshipable
by everyone. Unto that Supreme Person do I offer my respectful
obeisances."
Krsna Himself declares in the Bhagavad-gita that
He is
Purusottama, which means the Supreme Personality.
Purusa means person, and uttama means supreme or
transcendental. Also in Bhagavad-gita the Lord declares that
because He is trascendental to all sentient and insentient
beings, He is therefore known as the purusottama. In another
place the Lord says that as the air is situated in the all-
pervading sky, so everyone is situated in Him, and everyone is
acting under His direction.
The Vedas personified continued. "Our dear Lord," they prayed,
"You are equal to all, with no partiality toward a particular
type of living entity. As Your parts and parcels,
all living entities enjoy or suffer in different
conditions of life. They are just
like the sparks of a fire. Just as sparks dance on a blazing
fire, so all living entities are dancing on Your support. You
are providing them with everything they desire, and yet You
are not responsible for their position of enjoyment or
suffering. There are different types of living entities --
demigods, human beings, animals, trees, birds, beasts, germs,
worms, insects and aquatics -- and all are enjoying or
suffering in life by resting on You. The living entities
are of two kinds: one class is called ever-liberated, nitya-
mukta, and the other class is called nitya-baddha. The nitya-
mukta living entities are in the spiritual kingdom, and the
nitya-baddha are in the material world.
"In
the spiritual
world both the Lord and the
living entities are manifest in their original
status, like live sparks in a blazing fire. But in the
material world, although the Lord is all-pervasive in His
impersonal feature, the living entities have forgotten their
Krsna consciousness, just as
sparks sometimes fall from a blazing fire and lose their
original brilliant condition.
Some sparks fall onto dry grass and thus ignite
another big fire. This is a reference to the pure devotees who
take compassion on the poor and innocent living entities. The
pure devotee enlightens Krsna consciousness in the hearts of
the conditioned souls, and thus the blazing fire of the
spiritual world becomes manifest even within this material
world. Some sparks fall onto water; they immediately lose
their original brilliance and become almost extinct. This is
comparable to the living entities who take their birth in the
midst of gross materialists, in which case their original
Krsna consciousness becomes almost extinct. Some sparks fall
to the ground and remain midway between the blazing and
extinct conditions. Thus some living entities are without
Krsna consciousness, some are between having and not having
Krsna consciousness, and some are actually situated in Krsna
consciousness. The demigods in the higher planets, beginning
form Lord Brahma, Indra, Candra, the sun-god, the moon-god,
and various other demigods, are all Krsna conscious. Human
society is between the demigods and the animals, and thus some
are more or less Krsna conscious, and some are
completely forgetful of Krsna consciousness. The third-grade
living entities, namely the animals, beasts, plants, trees and
aquatics, have completely forgotten Krsna consciousness. This
example stated in the Vedas of the the sparks of a
blazing fire is very appropriate for understanding the
condition of different types of living entities. But above all
other living entities is the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
Krsna or Purusottama, who is always liberated from all
material conditions.
"The question may be raised as to why the living entities have
fallen by chance into different conditions of life. To answer
this question, we first have to understand that there cannot
be any influence of chance for the living entities; chance is
for nonliving entities. According to the Vedic literatures,
living entities have knowledge, and thus they are called
caitanya, which means in knowledge. Their situation in
different conditions of life, therefore, is not accidental. It
is by their choice because they have knowledge. In the
Bhagavad-gita the Lord says, 'Give up everything and just
surrender unto Me.' This process of realizing the Supreme
Personality of Godhead is open for everyone, but still it is
the choice of the particular living entity whether to accept
or reject this proposal. In the last portion of the Bhagavad-
gita, Lord Krsna very plainly said to Arjuna, 'My dear Arjuna,
now I have spoken everything to you. Everything now depends on
whether you choose to accept it.' Similarly, the
living entities who have come down to this material world have
made their own choice to enjoy this material world. It is not
that Krsna sent them into this material world. The material
world is created for the enjoyment of living entities who
wanted to give up the eternal service of the Lord to become
the supreme enjoyer themselves. According to Vaisnava
philosophy, when a living entity desires to gratify his senses
and forgets the service of the Lord, he is given a place in
the material world to act freely according to his desire, and
therefore he creates a condition of life in which he either
enjoys or suffers. We should know definitely that both
the Lord and the living entities are eternally cognizant.
There is no birth and death for either the Lord or the living
entities. When creation takes place, it does not mean that
the living entities are created. The Lord creates this
material world to give the conditioned souls a chance to
elevate themselves to the higher platform of Krsna
consciousness. If the conditioned soul does not take advantage
of this opportunity, then after the dissolution of this
material world, he enters into the body of Narayana and
remains there in deep sleep until the time of another creation.
"In this connection the example of the rainy season is very
appropriate. Seasonal rainfall may be taken as the agent for
creation because after the rainfall the wet fields are
favorable for growing different types of vegetation. Similarly,
as soon as there is creation by the Lord's glancing over the
material nature, immediately the living entities spring up in
their different living conditions, just as different types of
vegetation grow after a rainfall. The rainfall is one, but the
creation of the different vegetables is varied. The rain falls
equally on the whole field, but the different vegetables
sprout up in different shapes and different forms according to
the seeds planted. Similarly, the seeds of our desires are
varied. Every living entity has a different type of desire,
and that desire is the seed which causes his growth in a
certain type of body. This is explained by Rupa Gosvami by the
word papa-bija. Papa means sinful. All our material desires
are to be taken as papa-bija, or the seeds of sinful desires.
Bhagavad-gita explains that our sinful desire is that we
do not surrender unto the Supreme Lord. The Lord therefore
says in Bhagavad-gita, 'I shall give you protection from
the resultant actions of sinful desires.' These sinful desires
are manifested in different types of bodies; therefore, no one
can accuse the Supreme Lord of partiality in His giving one
type of body to a certain type of living entity and another
type of body to another living entity. All the bodies of the 8,
400,000 species come according to the mental condition
of the individual living entities. The Supreme Personality of
Godhead, Purusottama, only gives them a chance to act
according to their desires. Therefore, the living entities are
acting, taking advantage of the facility given by the Lord.
"At the same time, they are born from the
transcendental body of the Lord. This relationship between the
Lord and the living entities is explained in the Vedic
literatures, wherein it is said that the Supreme Lord
maintains all His children, giving them whatever they want.
Similarly, in the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord says, 'I am the seed-
giving father of all living entities.' It is very simple to
understand that the father gives birth to the children, but
the children act according to their own desires. Therefore the
father is never responsible for the different futures of his
children. Each child can take advantage of the father's
property and instruction, but even though the inheritance and
instruction may be the same for all the children, out of their
different desires, each child creates a different life and
thereby suffers or enjoys.
"Similarly, the Bhagavad-gita's instructions are equal for
everyone; everyone should surrender unto the Supreme Lord, and
He will take charge of them and protect them from sinful
reactions. The facilities of living in the creation of the
Lord are equally offered to all living entities. Whatever
there is, either on the land, on water or in the sky, is
equally given to all living entities. Since they are all
sons of the Supreme Lord, everyone can enjoy the material
facilities given by the Lord, but unfortunate living entities
create unfavorable conditions of life by fighting among
themselves. The responsibility for this fighting and creating
favorable and unfavorable situations of life lies with the
living entities, not with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Therefore, if the living entities take advantage of the Lord's
instructions as given in the Bhagavad-gita and develop Krsna
consciousness, then their lives become sublime, and they can
go back to Godhead.
"One may argue that because this material world is created by
the Lord, He is therefore responsible for its condition.
Certainly He is indirectly responsible for the creation and
maintenance of this material world, but He is never
responsible for the different conditions of the living
entities. The Lord's creation of this material world is
compared to the cloud's creation of vegetation. In the rainy
season the cloud creates different varieties of vegetables.
The cloud pours water on the surface of the earth, but it
never touches the earth directly. Similarly, the Lord creates
this material world simply by glancing over the material
energy. This is confirmed in the Vedas: He threw His glance
over the material nature, and thus there was creation. In the
Bhagavad-gita it is also confirmed that simply by His
transcendental glance over the material nature, He creates
different varieties of entities, both movable and immovable,
living and dead.
"The creation of the material world can therefore be taken as
one of the pastimes of the Lord; it is called one of the
pastimes of the Lord because He creates this
material world whenever He desires. This desire of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead is also extreme mercy on His part
because it gives another chance to the conditioned souls
to develop their original consciousness and
thus go back to Godhead. Therefore no one can blame the
Supreme Lord for creating this material world.
"From the subject matter under discussion, we can gain a clear
understanding of the difference between the impersonalists and
the personalists. The impersonal conception recommends merging
in the existence of the Supreme, and the voidist philosophy
recommends making all material varieties void. Both these
philosophies are known as Mayavada. Certainly the cosmic
manifestation comes to a close and becomes void when the
living entities merge into the body of Narayana to rest until
another creation, and this may be called an impersonal
condition, but these conditions are never eternal. The
cessation of the variegatedness of the material world and the
merging of the living entities into the body of the Supreme
are not permanent because the creation will take place again,
and the living entities who merge into the body of the
Supreme without having developed their Krsna consciousness
will again appear in this material world when there is another
creation. The Bhagavad-gita confirms the fact that this
material world is created and annihilated. This is going on
perpetually, and conditioned souls who are without Krsna
consciousness come back again and again whenever the material
creation is manifest. If such conditioned souls take advantage
of this opportunity and develop Krsna consciousness under the
direct instruction of the Lord, then they are transferred to
the spiritual world and do not have to come back again to the
material creation. It is said, therefore, that the voidists
and the impersonalists are not very intelligent because they
do not take shelter under the lotus feet of the Lord. Because
they are less intelligent, these voidists and impersonalists
take to different types of austerities, either to attain the
stage of nirvana, which means finishing the material
conditions of life, or to attain oneness by merging into the
body of the Lord. All of them again fall down because they
neglect the lotus feet of the Lord."
In the Caitanya-caritamrta, the author, Krsnadasa Kaviraja
Gosvami, after studying all the Vedic literature and hearing
from all authorities, has given his opinion that Krsna is the
only supreme master and that all living entities are His
eternal servants. His statement is confirmed in the prayers by
the personified Vedas. The conclusion is, therefore, that
everyone is under the control of the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, everyone is serving under the supreme direction of
the Lord, and everyone is afraid of the Supreme Personality of
Godhead. It is out of fear of Him that activities are being
rightly executed. Everyone's position is to be subordinate to
the Supreme Lord, yet the Lord has no partiality in His view
of the living entities. He is just like the unlimited sky; as
the sparks of a fire dance in the fire, similarly, all living
entities are like birds flying in the unlimited sky
. Some of them are flying very high, some are
flying at a lesser altitude, and some are flying at a still
lesser altitude. The different birds are flying in different
positions according to their respective abilities to fly, but
the sky has nothing to do with this ability. In the Bhagavad-
gita also, the Lord confirms that He awards different
positions to different living entities according to
their proportionate surrender. This proportionate reward by
the Personality of Godhead to the living entities is not
partiality. Therefore, in spite of the living entities' being
situated in different positions, in different spheres, and in
different species of life, all of them are always under
the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead
, and yet He is never
responsible for their different living conditions. It is
foolish and artificial, therefore, to think oneself equal to
the Supreme Lord, and it is still more foolish to think that
one has not seen God. Everyone is seeing God in His
different aspects; the only difference is that the theist
sees God as the Supreme Personality, the most beloved, Krsna,
and the atheist sees the Absolute Truth as ultimate death.
The personified Vedas continued to pray. "Our dear Lord
from all Vedic information it is understood that
You are the supreme controller, and all living entities are
controlled. Both the Lord and the living entities are called
nitya, eternal, and so are qualitatively one, yet the singular
nitya, or the Supreme Lord, is the controller, whereas the
plural nityas are controlled. The individual controlled living
entity resides within the body, and the supreme controller, as
Supersoul, is also present there, but the Supersoul is
controlling the individual soul. That is the verdict of the
Vedas. If the individual soul were not controlled by the
Supersoul, then how could one explain the Vedic version that a
living entity transmigrates from one body to another, enjoying
and suffering the effects of his past deeds?
Sometimes he is promoted to a higher standard of
life, and sometimes he is degraded to a lower standard of
life? Thus the conditioned souls are not only under the
control of the Supreme Lord, but they are also conditioned by
the control of the material nature. This relationship of the
living entities to the Supreme Lord as the controlled and
the controller definitely proves that although the Supersoul
is all-pervasive, the individual living entities are never all-
pervasive. If the individual souls were all-pervasive, there
would be no question of their being controlled. The theory
that the Supersoul and the individual soul are equal is
therefore a polluted conclusion, and no sensible person
accepts it; rather, one should try to understand the
distinctions between the supreme eternal and the subordinate
eternals."
The personified Vedas therefore concluded, "O Lord, both You
and the limited dhruvas, the living
entities, are eternal. The form of the
unlimited eternal is sometimes calculated as the universal
form, and in the Vedic literatures like the Upanisads, the
form of the limited eternal is vividly described. It is said
therein that the original spiritual form of the living entity
is one ten-thousandth the size of the tip of a hair. It is
stated that the spirit is greater than the greatest and
smaller than the smallest. The individual living entities, who
are eternally part and parcel of God, are smaller than the
smallest. With our material senses, we can perceive neither
the Supreme, who is greater than the greatest, nor the
individual soul, who is smaller than the smallest. We
have to
understand both the greatest and the smallest
from the authoritative sources of Vedic literature
. Vedic literature states that the Supersoul is
sitting within the body of a living entity and is
as big as a thumb. Therefore the argument may be put forward,
how can something the size of a thumb be accommodated within
the heart of an ant? The answer is that this thumb measurement
of the Supersoul is imagined in proportion to the body of the
living entity. In all circumstances, therefore, the
Supersoul and the individual living entity cannot be taken as
one, although both of them enter within the material body of a
living entity. The Supersoul living within the heart is for
directing or controlling the individual living entity.
Although both are dhruva, or eternal, the living entity is
always under the direction of the Supreme.
"It may be argued that because the living entities are born of
the material nature, they are all equal and independent. In
the Vedic literature, however, it is said that the Supreme
Personality of Godhead impregnates the material nature with
the living entities, and then they come out. Therefore, the
appearance of the individual living entities is not factually
due to material nature alone, just as a child produced by a
woman is not her independent production. A woman is first
impregnated by a man, and then a child is produced. As such,
the child produced by the woman is part and parcel of the man.
Similarly, the living entities are apparently produced by the
material nature, but not independently. It is due to the
impregnation of material nature by the supreme father that
the living entities are present. Therefore the argument that
the individual living entities are not part and parcel of
the Supreme cannot stand. For example, the different parts and
parcels of the body cannot be taken as equal to the whole;
rather, the whole body is the controller of the different
limbs. Similarly, the parts and parcels of the supreme whole
are always dependent and are always controlled by the source
of the parts and parcels. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita
that the living entities are part and parcel of Krsna:
mamaivamso. No sane man, therefore, will accept the theory
that the Supersoul and the individual soul are of the same
category. They are equal in quality, but quantitatively the
Supersoul is always the Supreme, and the individual soul is
always subordinate to the Supersoul. That is the conclusion of
the Vedas."
Two significant words used in this connection is yanmaya
and cinmaya. In Sanskrit grammar, the word mayat is used
in the sense of transformation, and also in the sense of
sufficiency. The Mayavadi philosophers interpret
that yanmaya or cinmaya indicates that
the living entity is always equal to the Supreme. But one has
to consider whether this affix, mayat, is used for
sufficiency or for transformation. The living
entity never possesses anything exactly in the same proportion
as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, this mayat
affix cannot be used to mean that the individual living entity
is self-sufficient. The individual
living entity never has sufficient knowledge; otherwise, how
could he have come under the control of maya, or the material
energy? The word sufficient can be accepted,
therefore, only in proportion to the magnitude of the living
entity. The spiritual oneness of the Supreme Lord and the
living entities is never to be accepted as homogeneity. Each
and every living entity is individual. If homogeneous oneness
is accepted, then by the liberation of one individual soul,
all other individual souls would have been liberated
immediately. But the fact is that every individual soul is
differently enjoying and suffering in the material world.
The word mayat is also used in the sense
of transformation, or sometimes it is also used to mean by-
product. The impersonalist theory is that Brahman Himself has
accepted different types of bodies and that this is His lila
or pastime. There are, however, many hundreds and thousands of
species of life in different standards of living conditions,
such as human beings, demigods, animals, birds and beasts, and
if all of them were expansions of the Supreme Absolute
Truth, then there would be no question of liberation because
Brahman is already liberated. Another interpretation put
forward by the Mayavadis is that in every millennium different
types of bodies are manifested, and when the millennium is
closed, all the different bodies or expansions of Brahman
automatically become one, ending all different manifestations.
Then in the next millennium, according to this theory, Brahman
again expands in different bodily forms. If we accept this
theory, then Brahman becomes subject to change. But this
cannot be accepted. From Vedanta-sutra we understand that
Brahman is by nature joyful. He cannot, therefore, change
Himself into a body which is subject to painful
conditions. Actually, the living entities who are
part and parcel of Brahman are infinitesimal
particles prone to be covered by the illusory energy.
As explained before, the particles of Brahman are like sparks
blissfully dancing within a fire, but there is a chance of
their falling from the fire to smoke, although smoke is
another condition of fire. This material world is just like
smoke, and the spiritual world is just like a blazing fire.
The innumerable living entities are prone to fall down to the
material world from the spiritual world when influenced by
illusory energy, and it is also possible for the living entity
to become liberated again when by cultivation of real
knowledge he becomes completely freed from the contamination
of the material world.
The theory of the asuras is that the living entities are born
of material nature, or prakrti, in touch with the purusa. This
theory also cannot be accepted because both the material
nature and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are eternally
existing. Neither the material nature nor the Supreme
Personality of Godhead can be born. The Supreme Lord is known
as aja, or unborn. Similarly, the material nature is also
called aja. Both the terms, aja and aja, mean unborn.
Because both the material nature and the Supreme Lord are
unborn, it is not possible that they can beget the living
entities. As
water in contact with air sometimes presents innumerable
bubbles, so a combination of material nature and the
Supreme Person causes the appearance of the living entities
within this material world. As bubbles in the water appear in
different shapes, similarly the living entities also appear in
the material world in different shapes and conditions,
influenced by the modes of material nature. As such, it
is not improper to conclude that the living entities appearing
within this material world in different shapes, such as human
beings, demigods, animals, birds, beasts, etc., all get
their respective bodies due to different desires. No one can
say when such desires were awakened in them, and therefore it
is said, anadi-karma: the cause of such material existence is
untraceable. No one knows when material life began, but it is
a fact that it does have a point of beginning because
originally every living entity is a spiritual spark. As sparks
falling onto the ground from a fire have a beginning,
similarly the living entities coming to this material world
have a beginning, but no one can say when. Even during
the time of dissolution, these living entities
remain merged in the spiritual existence of the Lord, as
if in deep sleep, but their original desires to lord it over
the material nature do not subside. Again, when there is
cosmic manifestation, they come out to fulfill the same
desires, and therefore they appear in different species of
life.
This merging into the Supreme at the time of
dissolution is compared to honey. In the honeycomb, the
tastes of different flowers and fruits are conserved. When one
drinks honey, one cannot distinguish what sort of honey has
been collected from what sort of flower, but the palatable
taste of the honey presupposes that the honey is not
homogeneous, but is a combination of different tastes. Another
example is that although different rivers ultimately mix with
the water of the sea, that does not mean that the individual
identities of the rivers are thereby lost. Although the water
of the Ganges and the Yamuna mixes with the water
of the sea, the River Ganges and River Yamuna still continue
to exist independently. The merging of different living
entities into Brahman at the time of dissolution involves the
dissolution of different types of bodies, but the living
entities, along with their different tastes, remain
individually submerged in Brahman until another manifestation
of the material world. As the salty taste of seawater and the
sweet taste of Ganges water are different, and this difference
continuously exists, so the difference between the Supreme
Lord and the living entities continually exists, even though
it appears that at the time of dissolution they
merge. The conclusion is, therefore, that even when the living
entities become free from all contamination of material
conditions, they merge into the spiritual kingdom, for still
their individual tastes in relationship with the Supreme Lord
continue to exist.
The personified Vedas continued: "Our dear Lord, it is
our conclusion that all living entities
are attracted by Your material energy, and only due
to their mistakenly identifying themselves as products of the
material nature are they transmigrating from one kind of
body to another in forgetfulness of their eternal relationship
with You. Because of ignorance, these living entities
are misidentifying themselves in different species of
life, and especially when they are elevated to the human form
of life, they identify with a particular class of men, or a
particular nation or race or so-called religion, forgetting
their real identity as eternal servants of Your Lordship. Due
to this faulty conception of life, they are undergoing
repeated birth and death. Out of many millions of them, if one
becomes intelligent enough, by association with pure devotees,
he comes to the understanding of Krsna consciousness and comes
out of the jurisdiction of the material misconception."
In the Caitanya-caritamrta it is confirmed by Lord Caitanya
that the living entities are wandering within this universe in
different species of life, but if one of them becomes
intelligent enough, by the mercy of the spiritual master and
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, then he begins his
devotional life in Krsna consciousness. It is said, harim vina
na mrtim taranti: without the help of the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, one cannot get out of the clutches of repeated
birth and death. In other words, only the Supreme Lord, the
Personality of Godhead, can relieve the conditioned souls from
the cycle of repeated birth and death.
The personified Vedas continued: "The influence of time --
past, present and future -- and the material miseries, such as
excessive heat, excessive cold, birth, death, old age,
disease, are all simply the movement of Your eyebrows.
Everything is working under Your direction. It is said in the
Bhagavad-gita that all material activity is going on under the
direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.
All the conditions of material existence are
opposing elements for persons who are not surrendered unto You.
But for those who are surrendered souls and are in full Krsna
consciousness, these things cannot be a source of fearfulness.
When Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared, Prahlada Maharaja was
never afraid of Him, whereas his atheist father was
immediately faced with death personified and was killed.
Therefore, although Lord Nrsimhadeva appears as death for
an atheist like Hiranyakasipu, He is always kind and is the
reservoir of all pleasure to the devotees like Prahlada. A
pure devotee is not, therefore, afraid of birth, death, old
age and disease.
Sripada Sridhara Svami has composed a nice verse
, the purport of which is as follows: "My dear Lord, I
am a living entity perpetually disturbed by the conditions of
material existence. I have been cracked into different pieces
by the smashing wheel of material existence, and because of my
various sinful activities while existing in this material
world, I am burning in the blazing fire of material reaction.
Somehow or other, my dear Lord, I have come to take shelter
under Your lotus feet. Please accept me and give me protection.
" Srila Narottama dasa Thakur also prays like this: "My
dear Lord, O son of Nanda Maharaja, associated with the
daughter of Vrsabhanu, I have come to take shelter under Your
lotus feet after suffering greatly in the material condition
of life, and I pray that You please be merciful upon me.
Please do not kick me away; I have no other shelter but
You."
The conclusion is that any process of self-realization or God
realization other than bhakti-yoga, or devotional service, is
extremely difficult. Taking shelter of devotional service to
the Lord in full Krsna consciousness is therefore the only way
to become free from the contamination of material conditional
life, especially in this age. Those who are not in Krsna
consciousness are simply wasting their time, and they have no
tangible proof of spiritual life.
It is said by Lord Ramacandra, "I always give confidence and
security to anyone who surrenders unto Me and decides
definitely that He is My eternal servant because that is My
natural inclination." Similarly, Lord Krsna says in the
Bhagavad-gita, "The influence of the material nature is
insurmountable, but anyone who surrenders unto Me can verily
overcome the influence of material nature." The devotees are
not at all interested in arguing with the nondevotees to
nullify their theories. Rather than wasting their time, they
always engage themselves in the transcendental loving service
of the Lord in full Krsna consciousness.
The personified Vedas continued: "Our dear Lord, although
great mystic yogis may have full control over the elephant of
the mind and the hurricane of the senses, unless they take
shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, they fall victims to
the material influence and never become successful in their
attempts at self-realization. Such unguided persons are
compared to merchants going to sea on a ship without a captain.
By his personal attempts, therefore, no one cannot get
free from the clutches of material nature. One has to accept a
bona fide spiritual master and work according to his direction.
Then it is possible to cross over the ocean of nescience of
material conditions. Sripada Sridhara Svami has composed a
nice verse in this connection, in which he says, "O all-
merciful spiritual master, representative of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, when will my mind be completely
surrendered unto your lotus feet? At that time, only by your
mercy, I shall be able to get relief from all obstacles to
spiritual life, and I shall be situated in blissful life."
Actually, ecstatic samadhi, or absorption in the Supreme
Personality of Godhead can be achieved by constant engagement
in His service, and this constant engagement in devotional
service can be performed only when one is working under the
direction of a bona fide spiritual master. The Vedas therefore
instruct that in order to know the science of devotional
service, one has to submit himself unto the bona fide
spiritual master. The bona fide spiritual master is he who
knows the science of devotional service in disciplic
succession. This disciplic succession is called srotriyam. The
prime symptom of one who has become a spiritual master in
disciplic succession is that he is one hundred percent fixed
in bhakti-yoga. Sometimes people neglect to accept a spiritual
master, and instead they endeavor for self-realization by
mystic yoga practice, but there are many instances of failure,
even by great yogis like Visvamitra. Arjuna said in the
Bhagavad-gita that controlling the mind is as impractical as
stopping the blowing of a hurricane. Sometimes the mind is
compared to a maddened elephant. Without following the
direction of a spiritual master one cannot control the mind
and the senses. In other words, if one practices yoga
mysticism and does not accept a bona fide spiritual master, he
will surely fail. He will simply waste his valuable time. The
Vedic injunction is that no one can have full knowledge
without being under the guidance of an acarya. Acaryavan
puruso veda: one who has accepted an acarya knows what is what.
The Absolute Truth cannot be understood by arguments. One who
has attained the perfect brahminical stage naturally becomes
renounced; he does not strive for material gain because by
spiritual knowledge he has come to the conclusion that in this
world there is no insufficiency. Everything is sufficiently
provided by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A real
brahmana, therefore, does not endeavor for material perfection;
rather, he approaches a bona fide spiritual master to accept
orders from him. A spiritual master's qualification is that he
is brahmanistham, which means that he has given up all
other activities and has dedicated his life to working only
for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. When a bona
fide student approaches a bona fide spiritual master, he
submissively prays to the spiritual master, "My dear lord,
kindly accept me as your student and train me in such a way
that I will be able to give up all other kinds of processes
for self-realization and simply engage in Krsna consciousness,
devotional service."
The devotee engaged by the direction of the spiritual master
in the transcendental loving service of the Lord contemplates
as follows: "My dear Lord, You are the reservoir of pleasure.
Since You are present, what is the use of the transient
pleasure derived from society, friendship and love? Persons
who are unaware of the supreme reservoir of pleasure falsely
engage in deriving pleasure from sense gratification, but this
is transient and illusory." In this connection, Vidyapati, a
great Vaisnava devotee and poet, says, "My dear Lord,
undoubtedly there is some pleasure in the midst of society,
friendship and love, although it is materially conceived, but
such pleasure cannot satisfy my heart, which is like a desert."
In a desert there is a need of an ocean of water. But if only
a drop of water is poured on the desert, what is the value of
such water? Similarly, our material hearts are full of
multi-desires, which cannot be fulfilled within the
material society of friendship and love. When our hearts
begin to derive pleasure from the supreme reservoir of
pleasure, then we can be satisfied. That transcendental
satisfaction is only possible in devotional service, in
full Krsna consciousness.
The personified Vedas continued: "Our dear Lord, You are sac-
cid-ananda-vigraha, the ever-blissful form of
knowledge, and because the living entities are parts and
parcels of Your personality, their natural state of existence
is to be fully conscious of You. In this material world,
anyone who has developed such Krsna consciousness is no longer
interested in the materialistic way of life. A Krsna conscious
being becomes disinterested in family life or opulent living
conditions, and he requires only a little concession for
his bodily needs. In other words, he is no longer
interested in sense gratification. The perfection of human
life is based on knowledge and renunciation, but it is very
difficult to attempt to reach the stage of knowledge and
renunciation while in family life. Krsna conscious persons
therefore take shelter of the association of devotees or
sanctified places of pilgrimage. Such persons are aware of the
relationship between the Supersoul and the individual living
entities, and they are never in the bodily concept of life.
Because they always carry You in full consciousness within
their hearts, they are so purified that any place they go
becomes a holy place of pilgrimage, and the water which washes
their feet is able to deliver many sinful persons hovering
within this material world."
When Prahlada Maharaja was asked by his atheistic father to
describe something very good which he had learned, he replied
to his father that for a materialistic person who is
always full of anxieties due to being engaged in temporary and
relative truths, the best course is to give up the blind well
of family life and go to the forest to take shelter of the
Supreme Lord. Those who are actually pure devotees are
celebrated as mahatmas, or great sages, personalities perfect
in knowledge. They always think of the Supreme Lord and His
lotus feet, and thus they become automatically
liberated. Devotees who are always situated in that position
become electrified by the inconceivable potencies of the Lord,
and thus they themselves become the source of liberation for
their followers and devotees. A Krsna conscious person is
fully electrified spiritually, and therefore anyone who
touches or takes shelter of such a pure devotee becomes
similarly electrified with spiritual potencies. Such devotees
are never puffed up with material opulences. Generally, the
material opulences are good parentage, education, beauty and
riches, but although a devotee of the Lord may possess all
four of these material opulences, he is never carried away by
the pride of possessing such distinctions. Great devotees of
the Lord travel all over the world from one place of
pilgrimage to another, and on their way they meet many
conditioned souls and deliver them by their association and
distribution of transcendental knowledge. They
reside in places like Vrndavana, Mathura, Dvaraka, Jagannatha
Puri and Navadvipa because only devotees assemble in such
places. In this way they
take
advantage of saintly association,
and by
such association the devotees
advance more and more in Krsna consciousness. Such advancement
is not possible in ordinary household life which is devoid of
Krsna consciousness.
The personified Vedas continue: "Our dear Lord, there are
two classes of transcendentalists, the impersonalists and the
personalists. The opinion of the impersonalists is that this
material manifestation is false and that only the Absolute
Truth is factual. The view of the personalist, however, is
that the material world, although very temporary, is
nevertheless not false, but is factual. Such
transcendentalists have different arguments to establish the
validity of their philosophies. Factually, the material world
is simultaneously both truth and untruth. It is truth because
everything is an expansion of the Supreme Absolute Truth, and
it is untruth because the existence of the material world is
temporary; it is created, and it is annihilated. Because of
its different conditions of existence, the cosmic
manifestation has no fixed position. Those who advocate
acceptance of this material world as false are generally known
by the maxim brahma satya jagan mithya. They put forward the
argument that everything in the material world is prepared
from matter. For example, there are many things made of clay,
such as earthen pots, dishes and balls. After their
annihilation, these things may become transformed into many
other material objects, but in all cases, their existence as
clay continues. An earthen water jug, after being broken, may
be transformed into a bowl or dish, but either as a dish, bowl
or water jug, the earth itself continues to exist. Therefore,
the forms of a water jug, bowl or dish are false, but their
existence as earth is real. This is the impersonalists'
version. This cosmic manifestation is certainly produced from
the Absolute Truth, but because its existence is temporary, it
is therefore false; the impersonalists' understanding is that
the Absolute Truth, which is always present, is the only truth.
In the opinion of other transcendentalists, however, this
material world, being produced of the Absolute Truth, is also
truth. The impersonalists' counter-argument is that the
material world is not factual because sometimes it is
found that matter is produced from spirit soul, and
sometimes spirit soul is produced from matter. Such
philosophers push forward the argument that although cow dung
is dead matter, sometimes it is found that scorpions come out
of cow dung. Similarly, dead matter like nails and hair comes
out of the living body. Therefore, things produced of a
certain thing are not always the same.
On the strength of this argument, Mayavadi philosophers
establish that although this cosmic manifestation is
certainly an emanation from the Absolute Truth, the cosmic
manifestation does not necessarily have truth in it. According
to this view, the Absolute Truth, Brahman, should therefore be
accepted as truth, whereas the cosmic manifestation, although
a product of the Absolute Truth, cannot be taken as truth.
The view of the Mayavadi philosopher, however, is stated in
the Bhagavad-gita to be the view of the asuras, or demons. The
Lord says in Bhagavad-gita, asatyam apratistham te jagad
ahur anisvaram
. The asuras' view of this cosmic manifestation is
that the whole creation is false. The asuras think that the
mere interaction of matter is the source of the creation, and
there is no controller or God. But actually that is not
the fact. From the Seventh Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita, we
understand that the five gross elements -- earth, water, air,
fire and sky -- plus the subtle elements -- mind, intelligence
and false ego -- are the eight separated energies of the
Supreme Lord. Beyond this inferior material energy, there is
a spiritual energy, which is known as the living entities. The
living entities are also accepted as the superior energy of
the Lord. The whole cosmic manifestation is a combination of
the inferior and superior energies, and the source of the
energies is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme
Personality of Godhead has many different types of energies.
That is confirmed in the Vedas: parasya saktir vividhaiva
sruyate. The transcendental
energies of the Lord are variegated, and because such
varieties have emanated from the Supreme Lord,
they cannot be false. The Lord is ever-existing, and the
energies are ever-existing. Some of the energy is temporary --
sometimes manifested and sometimes unmanifested -- but that
does not mean that it is false. The example may be given that
when a person is angry he does things which are different from
his normal condition of life, but that the mood of
anger only appears and disappears does not mean that the
energy of anger is false. As such, the argument of the
Mayavadi philosophers that this world is false is not accepted
by the Vaisnava philosophers. It is confirmed by the Lord
Himself that the view that there is no supreme cause
of this material manifestation, that there is no God, and that
everything is only the creation of the interaction of matter
is a view of the asuras.
The Mayavadi philosopher sometimes puts forward the argument
of the snake and the rope. In the dark of evening, a curled up
rope is sometimes, due to ignorance, taken for a snake. But
mistaking the rope as a snake does not mean that the rope or
the snake is false, and therefore this example, used by the
Mayavadis to illustrate the falsity of this material world, is
not valid. When a thing is taken as fact but actually has no
existence at all, it is called false. But if something is
mistaken for something else, that does not mean
that it is false. The Vaisnava philosophers use a very
appropriate example comparing this material world to an
earthen pot. When we see an earthen pot, it does not at once
disappear and turn into something else. It may be temporary,
but the earthen pot is taken into use for bringing water, and
we continue to see it as an earthen pot. Therefore, although
the earthen pot is temporary and is different from the
original earth, still we cannot say that it is false. We
should therefore conclude that the entire earth and the
earthen pot are both truths because one is the product of
the other. We understand from Bhagavad-gita that after the
dissolution of this cosmic manifestation, the energy
enters into the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme
Personality of Godhead is ever-existing with His varied
energies. Because the material creation is an emanation from
Him, we cannot say that this cosmic manifestation is a product
of something void. Krsna is not void. Whenever we speak of
Krsna, He is present with His form, quality, name, entourage
and paraphernalia. Therefore, Krsna is not impersonal. The
original cause of everything is neither void nor impersonal,
but is the Supreme Person. Demons may say that this material
creation is anisvara, without a controller or God, but such
arguments ultimately cannot stand.
The example given by the Mayavadi philosophers that inanimate
matter like nails and hair comes out from the living body is
not a very sound argument. Nails and hair are undoubtedly
inanimate, but they come not from the animate living being,
but from the inanimate material body. Similarly, the argument
that the scorpion comes from cow dung, meaning that a living
entity comes from matter, is also not sound. The scorpion
which comes out of the cow dung is certainly a living entity,
but the living entity does not come out of the cow dung. Only
the living entity's material body, or the body of the scorpion,
comes out of the cow dung. The sparks of the living entity,
as we understand from Bhagavad-gita, are impregnated
within material nature, and then they come out. The body of
the living entity in different forms is supplied by material
nature, but the living entity himself is begotten by the
Supreme Lord. The father and the mother give the body which is
necessary for the living entity under certain conditions. The
living entity transmigrates from one body to another according
to his different desires. The desires in the subtle form of
intelligence, mind and false ego accompany the living entity
from body to body, and by superior arrangement a living entity
is put into the womb of a certain type of material body, and
then he develops a similar body. Therefore, the spirit soul is
not produced from matter, but it takes on a particular type of
body under superior arrangement. To our present
experience, this material world is a combination of matter and
spirit. The spirit is moving the matter. The spirit soul (the
living entity) and matter are different energies of the
Supreme Lord. Since both energies are products of
the supreme eternal or the supreme truth, they are therefore
factual; they are not false. Because the living entity is part
and parcel of the Supreme, he is existing eternally.
Therefore, there cannot be any question of birth or
death. So-called birth and death occur because of the material
body. The Vedic version sarvam khalv idam brahma means that
since both the energies have emanated from the Supreme Brahman,
everything that we experience is not different from
Brahman.
There are many arguments about the existence of this material
world, but the Vaisnava philosophical conclusion is the best.
The example of the earthen pot is very suitable: the form of
the earthen pot may be temporary, but it has a specific
purpose. The purpose of the earthen pot is to carry water from
one place to another. Similarly, this material body, although
temporary, has a special use. The living entity is given a
chance from the beginning of the creation to evolve different
kinds of material bodies according to the reserve desires he
has accumulated from time immemorial. The human form of body
is a special chance in which the developed form of
consciousness can be utilized.
Sometimes the Mayavadi philosophers push forward the argument
that if this material world is truth, then why are
householders advised to give up their connection with this
material world and take sannyasa? But the Vaisnava
philosopher's view of sannyasa is not that because the world
is false, one must therefore give up material activities. The
purpose of Vaisnava sannyasa is to utilize things as they are
intended. Srila Rupa Gosvami has given
two formulas for our dealing with this
material world. When a Vaisnava renounces this materialistic
way of life and takes to sannyasa, it is not on the conception
of the falsity of the material world, but to devote himself
fully to engaging everything in the service of the Lord. Srila
Rupa Gosvami therefore gives this formula: One should be
unattached to the material world because material attachment
is meaningless. The entire material world, the entire cosmic
manifestation, belongs to God, Krsna. Therefore, everything
should be utilized for Krsna, and the devotee should remain
unattached to material things. This is the purpose of
Vaisnava sannyasa. A materialist sticks to the world for sense
gratification, but a Vaisnava sannyasi, although not accepting
anything for his personal sense gratification, knows the art
of utilizing everything for the service of the Lord. Srila
Rupa Gosvami has therefore criticized the Mayavadi sannyasis
because they do not
know that everything has a utilization for the service of the
Lord. On the contrary, they take the world to be false and
thus falsely think of being liberated from the contamination
of the material world. Since everything is an expansion of
the energy of the Supreme Lord, the expansions are as real as
the Supreme Lord is.
That the cosmic world is only temporarily manifested does not
mean that it is false or that the source of its manifestation
is false. Since the source of its manifestation is truth, the
manifestation is also truth, but one must know how to utilize
it. The same example can be cited:
the temporary earthen pot is produced from the whole earth
, but when it is utilized for a proper purpose, the
earthen pot is not false. The Vaisnava philosophers know how
to utilize the temporary construction of this material world,
just as a sane man knows how to utilize the temporary
construction of the earthen pot. When the earthen pot is
utilized for a wrong purpose, that is false. Similarly, this
human form of body, or this material world, when utilized for
false sense gratification, is false. But if this human form of
body and the material creation are utilized for the service of
the Supreme Lord, their activities are never false. It is
therefore confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita that a little
service attitude in utilizing this body and the material
world for the service of the Lord can deliver a person from
the gravest danger of life. When they are properly utilized,
neither the superior nor inferior energies emanating from the
Supreme Personality of Godhead are false. As far as fruitive
activities are concerned, they are mainly based on the
platform of sense gratification. Therefore an advanced Krsna
conscious person does not take to them. The result of fruitive
activities can elevate one to the higher planetary system, but
as it is said in the Bhagavad-gita, foolish persons, after
exhausting the results of their pious activities in the
heavenly kingdom, come back again to this lower planetary
system and then again try to go to the higher planetary system.
Their only profit is to take the trouble of going and coming
back, just as at present many material scientists are spoiling
their time by trying to go to the moon planet and again come
back. Those who are engaged in such activities are described
by the Vedas personified as andha-parampara, or blind
followers of the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. Although such
ceremonies are certainly mentioned in the Vedas, they are not
meant for the intelligent class of men. Men who are too much
attached to material enjoyment are captivated by the prospect
of being elevated to the higher planetary systems, and so they
take to such ritualistic activities. But a person who is
intelligent, or who has taken shelter of a bona fide spiritual
master to see things as they are, does not take to fruitive
activities, but engages himself in the transcendental loving
service of the Lord.
Persons who are not devotees take to the Vedic ritualistic
ceremonies for materialistic reasons, and then they are
bewildered. A vivid example can be given: an intelligent
person possessing millions of dollars in currency notes
does not hold the money without using it, even though he knows
perfectly well that the currency notes in themselves are
nothing but paper. When one has one million dollars in
currency notes, he is actually holding only a huge bunch of
papers, but if he utilizes it for a purpose, then he benefits.
Similarly, although this material world may be false, just
like the paper, it has its proper beneficial utilization.
Because the currency notes, although paper, are issued by the
government, they therefore have full value. Similarly, this
material world may be false or temporary, but because it is an
emanation from the Supreme Lord, it has its full value. The
Vaisnava philosopher acknowledges the full value of this
material world and knows how to properly utilize it,
whereas the Mayavadi philosopher, mistaking the
currency note for false paper, gives
it up and cannot utilize the money. Srila Rupa Gosvami
therefore declares that if one rejects this material world as
false, not considering the importance of this material world
as a means to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such
renunciation has very little value. A person who knows the
intrinsic value of this material world for the service of the
Lord, who is not attached to the material world, and who
renounces the material world by not accepting it for sense
gratification is situated in real renunciation. This material
world is an expansion of the material energy of the Lord.
Therefore it is real. It is not false, as it is sometimes
concluded from the example of the snake and the rope.
The personified Vedas continued: "The cosmic manifestation,
because of the flickering nature of its impermanent existence,
appears to less intelligent men to be false." The Mayavadi
philosophers take advantage of the flickering nature of this
cosmic manifestation to prove their thesis that this
world is false. According to the Vedic version, before the
creation this world had no existence, and after dissolution
the world will no longer be manifested. Voidists also take
advantage of this Vedic version and conclude that the cause of
this material world is void. But Vedic injunction does
not say that it is void. The Vedic injunction defines the
source of creation and dissolution as yato va imani bhutani
jayante, "He from whom this cosmic manifestation has emanated
and in whom, after annihilation, everything will merge." The
same is explained in the Vedanta-sutra and in the first verse
of the First Chapter of Srimad-Bhagavatam by the words
janmadyasya, He from whom all things
emanate. All these Vedic injunctions indicate that the cosmic
manifestation is due to the Supreme Absolute Personality of
Godhead, and when it is dissolved it merges into Him. The
same is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita: this
cosmic manifestation is coming into existence and again
dissolving, and after dissolution it merges into the existence
of the Supreme Lord. This statement definitely confirms that
the particular energy known as bahi-ranga-maya, or the
external energy, although of flickering nature, is the energy
of the Supreme Lord, and as such it cannot be false. It simply
appears to be false. The Mayavadi philosophers conclude that
because the material nature has no existence in the beginning
and is nonexistent after dissolution, it is therefore false.
But by the example of the earthen pots and dishes the Vedic
version is presented: although the existence of the particular
by-products of the Absolute Truth are temporary, the energy of
the Supreme Lord is permanent. The earthen pot or water jug
may be broken or transformed into another shape, such as that
of a dish or bowl, but the ingredient, or the material basis,
namely the earth, continues to be the same. The basic
principle of this cosmic manifestation is always the same,
Brahman, or the Absolute Truth; therefore, the Mayavadi
philosophers' theory that it is false is certainly only
mental concoction. That the cosmic manifestation is flickering
and temporary does not mean that it is false. The definition
of falsity is that which never had any existence but is
existing only in name. For instance, the eggs of a horse or
the flower of the sky or the horn of a rabbit are
phenomena which exist only in name. There are no horse's eggs,
there is no rabbit's horn, nor are there flowers growing
in the sky. There are many things which exist in name or
imagination but actually have no factual manifestation. Such
things may be called false. But the Vaisnava cannot take this
material world to be false simply because of its temporary
nature is manifesting and again dissolving.
The personified Vedas continued to say that the Supersoul
and the individual soul, or Paramatma and jivatma, cannot be
equal in any circumstance, although both of them are sitting
within the same body, like two birds sitting in the same tree.
As declared in the Vedas, these two birds, although sitting as
friends, are not equal. One is simply a witness. This bird is
Paramatma, or the Supersoul. And the other bird is eating
the fruit of the tree. That is the jivatma. When there is
cosmic manifestation, the jivatma, or the individual soul,
appears in the creation in different forms, according to his
previous fruitive activities, and due to his long
forgetfulness of real existence, he identifies himself with a
particular form awarded to him by the laws of material nature.
After assuming a material form, he becomes subjected to the
three material modes of nature and acts accordingly to
continue his existence in the material world. While
enwrapped in such ignorance, his natural opulences, although
existing in minute quantity, are almost extinct. The
opulences of the Supersoul, or the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, however, are not diminished, although He appears
within this material world. He maintains all opulences and
perfections in full and yet keeps Himself apart from all
the tribulations of this material world. The conditioned soul
becomes entrapped in the material world, whereas the Supersoul,
or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, leaves it without
affection, just as a snake sheds his skin. The
distinction between the Supersoul and the conditioned
individual soul is that the Supersoul, or the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, maintains His natural opulences, known
as sad-aisvarya, asta-siddhi and asta-guna.
Because of their poor fund of knowledge, the Mayavadi
philosophers forget the fact that Krsna is always full of
six opulences, eight transcendental qualities and eight kinds
of perfection. The six opulences are that no one
is greater than Krsna in wealth, in strength,
in beauty, in fame, in knowledge and in
renunciation. The first of Krsna's eight transcendental
qualities is that He is always untouched by the contamination
of material existence. This is also mentioned in the
Isopanisad: apapa-viddham: just as the sun is never polluted
by any contamination, the Supreme Lord is never polluted by
any sinful activities. Similarly, although Krsna's actions
might sometimes seem to be impious, He is never polluted by
such actions. The second transcendental quality is that Krsna
never dies. In the Bhagavad-gita, Fourth Chapter, He informs
Arjuna that both He and Arjuna had many appearances in this
material world, but He alone remembers all such
activities -- past, present and future. This means that He
never dies. Forgetfulness is due to death. As we die, we
change our bodies. That is forgetfulness. Krsna, however, is
never forgetful. He can remember everything that has happened
in the past. Otherwise, how could He remember that He first
taught the Bhagavad-gita yoga system to
the sun-god, Vivasvan? Therefore, He never dies. Nor does He
ever become an old man. Although Krsna was a great-grandfather
when He appeared on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, He did not
appear as an old man. Krsna cannot be polluted by any sinful
activities, Krsna never dies, Krsna never becomes old, Krsna
never becomes subjected to any lamentation, Krsna is never
hungry, and He is never thirsty. Whatever He desires is
perfectly lawful, and whatever He decides cannot be changed by
anyone. These are the transcendental qualities of Krsna.
Besides that, Krsna is known as Yogesvara. He has all
opulences or facilities of mystic powers, such as anima-siddhi,
the power to become smaller than the smallest. It is stated
in the Brahma-samhita that Krsna has entered even within the
atom, andantarastha-paramanu-
cayantarastham. Similarly, Krsna, as
Garbhodakasayi Visnu, is within the gigantic universe, and He
is lying in the Causal Ocean as Maha-Visnu in a body so
gigantic that when He exhales, millions and trillions of
universes emanate from His body. This is called mahima-siddhi.
Krsna also has the perfection of laghima: He can become the
lightest. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita that it is because
Krsna enters within this universe and within the atoms that
all the planets are floating in the air. That is the
explanation of weightlessness. Krsna also has the perfection
of prapti: He can get whatever He likes. Similarly, He has the
facility of isita, controlling power. He is called the supreme
controller, Paramesvara. In addition, Krsna can bring anyone
under His influence. This is called vasita.
Krsna is endowed with all opulences,
transcendental qualities and mystic powers. No ordinary living
being can be compared to Him. Therefore, the Mayavadis'
theory that the Supersoul and the individual soul are equal is
only a misconception. The conclusion is, therefore, that Krsna
is worshipable and that all other living entities are simply
His servants. This understanding is called self-realization.
Any other realization of one's self beyond this relationship
of eternal servitorship of Krsna is impelled by maya. It is
said that the last snare of maya is to dictate to the
living entity to try to become equal to the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. The Mayavadi philosopher claims to be
equal to God, but he cannot reply to the question of why he
has fallen into material entanglement. If he is the Supreme
God, then how is it that he has been overtaken by impious
activities and thereby subjected to the tribulations of the
law of karma? When the Mayavadis are asked about this, they
cannot properly answer. The speculation that one is equal to
the Supreme Personality of Godhead is another symptom of
sinful life. One cannot take to Krsna consciousness unless he
is completely freed from all sinful activities. The very fact
that the Mayavadi claims to become one with the Supreme Lord
means that he is not yet freed from the reactions of sinful
activities. Srimad-Bhagavatam says that such persons are
avisuddha-buddhaya, which means that
they falsely think themselves liberated, although at the same
time they think themselves equal with the Absolute Truth.
Their intelligence is not purified.
The personified Vedas said that if the yogis and the jnanis do
not free themselves from sinful desires, then their particular
process of self-realization will never be successful. "My
dear Lord," the personified Vedas continued, "if saintly
persons do not take care to eradicate completely the roots of
sinful desires, they cannot experience the Supersoul, although
He is sitting side by side with the individual soul. Samadhi,
or meditation, means that one has to find the Supersoul within
himself. One who is not free from sinful reactions cannot see
the Supersoul. If a person has a jeweled locket in his
necklace but forgets the jewel, it is almost as though he does
not possess it. Similarly, if an individual soul meditates but
does not actually perceive the presence of the Supersoul
within himself, he has not realized the Supersoul." Persons
who have taken to this path of self-realization must therefore
be very careful to be uncontaminated by the influence of
maya. Srila Rupa Gosvami says that a devotee should be
completely free from all sorts of material desires. A devotee
should not be affected by the resultant actions of karma and
jnana. One simply has to understand Krsna and carry out
His desires. That is the pure devotional stage.
"Mystic yogis who still have
contaminated desires for sense gratification never become
successful in their attempt, nor can they realize the
Supersoul within the individual self. As such, the so-called
yogis and jnanis who are simply wasting their time in
different types of sense gratification, either by mental
speculation or by exhibition of limited mystic powers, will
never become liberated from conditional life and will continue
to go through repeated births and deaths. For such persons,
both this life and the next life become sources of tribulation.
Such sinful persons are already suffering tribulation in this
life, and because they are not perfect in self-realization
they will be plagued with further tribulation in the next life.
Despite all endeavors to attain perfection, such yogis,
contaminated by desires for sense gratification, will continue
to suffer in this life and in the next."
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur remarks in this connection
that if sannyasis and persons in the renounced order of life
who have left their homes for self-realization do not engage
themselves in the devotional service of the Lord but become
attracted by philanthropic work, such as opening educational
institutions, hospitals, or even monasteries, churches or
temples of demigods, they find only trouble from such
engagements, not only in this life but in the next. Sannyasis
who do not take advantage of this life to realize Krsna simply
waste their time and energy in activities outside the
jurisdiction of the renounced order of life. A devotee's
attempt to engage his energies in such activities as
constructing a Visnu temple is, however, never wasted. Such
engagements are called Krsnarthe akhila-cesta, variegated
activities performed to please Krsna. A philanthropist's
opening a school building and a devotee's constructing a
temple are not on the same level. Although a philanthropist's
opening an educational institution may be pious activity, it
comes under the laws of karma, whereas constructing a temple
for Visnu is devotional service.
Devotional service is never within the jurisdiction of the law
of karma. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita that devotees
transcend the reaction of the three modes of material nature
and stand on the platform of Brahman realization: brahma-
bhuyaya kalpate. The Bhagavad-gita says, sa gunan
samatityaitan brahma-bhuyaya kalpate: devotees
of the Personality of Godhead transcend all the
reactions of the three modes of material nature and are
situated on the transcendental Brahman platform.
The devotees are liberated both in this life and in the
next. Any work done in this material world for Yajna or Visnu
or Krsna is considered to be liberated work, but without
connection with Acyuta, the infallible Supreme Personality of
Godhead, there is no possibility of stopping the resultant
actions of the law of karma. The life of Krsna consciousness
is the life of liberation. The conclusion is that a devotee,
by the grace of the Lord, is liberated, both in this life
and the next, whereas karmis, jnanis and yogis are never
liberated, either in this life or in the next.
The personified Vedas continued: "Dear Lord, anyone who, by
Your grace, has understood the glories of Your lotus feet is
callous to material happiness and distress. The material
pangs are inevitable as long as we are existing within the
material world, but a devotee does not divert his attention to
such actions and reactions, which are the results of pious and
impious activities. Nor is a devotee very much disturbed or
pleased by praise or condemnation by the people in general.
A devotee is sometimes greatly praised by the people in
general because of his transcendental activities, and
sometimes he is criticized, even though there is no reason for
adverse criticism. The pure devotee is always
callous to praise or condemnation by the ordinary people.
Actually, the devotee's activities are on the transcendental
plane. He is not interested in the praise or condemnation of
people engaged in material activities. If the devotee can thus
maintain his transcendental position, then his liberation in
this life and in the next life is guaranteed by the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. A devotee's transcendental position
within this material world is maintained in the association of
pure devotees, simply by hearing the glorious activities
enacted by the Lord in different ages and in different
incarnations."
The Krsna
consciousness movement is based on this principle. Srila
Narottama dasa Thakur has sung, "My dear Lord, let me be
engaged in Your transcendental loving service, as indicated by
the previous acaryas, and let me live in the association of
pure devotees. That is my desire, life after life." In other
words a devotee does not much care whether or not he is
liberated, but he is anxious only for devotional service.
Devotional service means that one does not do anything
independently of the sanction of the acaryas. The actions of
the Krsna consciousness movement are directed by the previous
acaryas, headed by Srila Rupa Gosvami; in the association of
devotees following these principles, a devotee is able to
perfectly maintain his transcendental position.
In the Bhagavad-gita, the Lord says that a devotee who knows
Him perfectly is very dear to Him. Four kinds of pious men
take to devotional service. If a man is pious, then in
his distressed condition, he approaches the Lord for
mitigation of his distress. If a pious man is in need of
material help, he also prays to the Lord for such help. If a
pious man is actually inquisitive about the science of God, he
also approaches the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.
Similarly, a pious man who is simply anxious to know the
science of Krsna also approaches the Supreme Lord. Out of
these four classes of men, the last is praised by Krsna
Himself in the Bhagavad-gita. A person who tries to understand
Krsna with full knowledge and devotion by following in the
footsteps of previous acaryas conversant with the scientific
knowledge of the Supreme Lord is praiseworthy. Such a devotee
can understand that all conditions of life, favorable and
unfavorable, are created by the supreme will of the Lord. And
when he has fully surrendered unto the lotus feet of the
Supreme Lord, he does not care whether his condition of life
is favorable or unfavorable. A devotee takes even an
unfavorable condition to be the special favor of the
Personality of Godhead. Actually, there are no unfavorable
conditions for a devotee. He sees everything coming by
the will of the Lord as favorable,
and in any condition of life he is simply enthusiastic to
discharge his devotional service. This devotional attitude is
explained in the Bhagavad-gita: a devotee is never distressed
in reverse conditions of life, nor is he overjoyed in
favorable conditions. In the higher stages of devotional
service, a devotee is not even concerned with the list of do's
and do not's. Such a position can be maintained only by
following in the footsteps of the acaryas. Because a pure
devotee follows in the footsteps of the acaryas, any action he
performs to discharge devotional service is to be
understood to be on the transcendental platform. Lord Krsna
therefore instructs us that an acarya is above criticism. A
neophyte devotee should not consider himself to be on the same
plane as the acarya. It should be accepted that the acaryas
are on the same platform as the Supreme Personality of Godhead,
and as such, neither Krsna nor His representative acarya
should be subject to any adverse criticism by the neophyte
devotees.
The personified Vedas thus worshiped the Supreme Personality
of Godhead in different ways. Offering worship to the Supreme
Lord by praying means remembering His transcendental qualities,
pastimes and activities. But the Lord's pastimes and
qualities are unlimited. It is not possible for us to remember
all the qualities of the Lord. Therefore, the personified
Vedas worshiped to the best of their ability, and at the end
they spoke as follows.
"Our dear Lord, although Lord Brahma, the predominating deity
of the highest planet, Brahmaloka, and King Indra, the
predominating demigod of the heavenly planet, as well as the
predominating deities of the sun planet, the
moon planet, etc., are all very confidential directors of this
material world, they have very little knowledge about You.
Then what to speak of ordinary human beings and mental
speculators? It is not possible for anyone to
enumerate the unlimited transcendental qualities of Your
Lordship. No one, including the mental speculators and
the demigods in higher planetary systems, is actually able to
estimate the length and breadth of Your form and
characteristics. We think that even Your Lordship does not
have complete knowledge of Your transcendental qualities. The
reason is that You are unlimited. Although it is not befitting
in Your case to say that You do not know Yourself, it is
nevertheless practical to understand that because You have
unlimited qualities and energies and because Your knowledge is
also unlimited, there is unlimited competition between Your
knowledge and Your expansion of energies."
The idea is that because God and His knowledge are both
unlimited, as soon as God is cognizant of some of His energies,
He perceives that He has still more energies. In this way,
both His energies and His knowledge increase. Because both of
them are unlimited, there is no end to the energies and no end
to the knowledge with which to understand the energies. God is
undoubtedly omniscient, but the personified Vedas say that
even God Himself does not know the full extent of His energies.
This does not mean that God is not omniscient. When an actual
fact is unknown to a certain person, this is called ignorance
or lack of knowledge. This is not applicable to God, however,
because He knows Himself perfectly, but still His energies
and activities increase. Therefore He also increases His
knowledge to understand it. Both are increasing unlimitedly,
and there is no end to it. In that sense it can be said that
even God Himself does not know the limit of His energies and
qualities.
How God is unlimited in His expansion of energies and
activities can be roughly calculated by any sane and sober
living entity. It is said in the Vedic literature that
innumerable universes issue forth when Maha-Visnu exhales in
His yoga-nidra, and innumerable universes enter His body
when He again inhales. We have to imagine that these universes,
which, according to our limited knowledge, are expanded
unlimitedly, are so great that the gross
ingredients, the five elements of the cosmic manifestation,
namely earth, water, fire, air and sky,
are not only within the
universe, but are covering the universe in seven layers,
each layer ten times bigger than the previous one. In this way,
each and every universe is very securely packed, and there
are numberless universes. All these universes are floating
within the innumerable pores of the transcendental body of
Maha-Visnu. It is stated that just as the atoms and particles
of dust are floating within the air along with the birds and
their number cannot be calculated, so innumerable universes
are floating within the pores of the transcendental body of
the Lord. For this reason, the Vedas say that God is beyond
the capacity of our knowledge. Abanmanasagocara:
to understand the length and breadth of God is beyond the
jurisdiction of our mental speculation. Therefore, a person
who is actually learned and sane does not claim to be God, but
tries to understand God, making distinctions between spirit
and matter. By such careful discrimination, one can clearly
understand that the Supreme Soul is transcendental to both the
superior and inferior energies, although He has a direct
connection with both. In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krsna
explains that although everything is resting on His energy, He
is different or separate from the energy.
Nature and the living entities are sometimes designated as
prakrti and purusa respectively. The whole cosmic
manifestation is an amalgamation of the prakrti and purusa.
Nature is the ingredient cause, and the living entities are
the effective cause. These two causes combine together, and
the effect is this cosmic manifestation. When one is fortunate
enough to come to the right conclusion about this cosmic
manifestation and everything which is going on within it, he
knows it to be caused directly and indirectly by the Supreme
Personality of Godhead Himself. It is concluded in the Brahma-
samhita, therefore, isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-
vigrahah anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam
.
After much deliberation and consideration, when one has
attained the perfection of knowledge, he comes to the
conclusion that Krsna, or God, is the original cause of all
causes. Instead of speculating about the measurement of God --
whether He is so long or so wide -- or philosophizing, one
should come to the conclusion of the Brahma-samhita: sarva-
karana-karanam: "Krsna, or God, is the cause of all causes."
That is the perfection of knowledge.
Thus the Veda-stuti, or the prayers offered by the personified
Vedas to the Garbhodakasayi Visnu, were first narrated in
disciplic succession by Sanandana to his brothers, all of whom
were born of Brahma. In the beginning the
four Kumaras were the first-born of Brahma; therefore
they are known as purva-jata. It is stated in the Bhagavad-
gita that the parampara system, or the disciplic succession,
begins with Krsna Himself. Similarly, here, in the prayers of
the personified Vedas, it is to be understood that the
parampara system begins with the Personality of Godhead
Narayana Rsi. We should remember that this Veda-stuti is being
narrated by Kumara Sanandana, and the narration is being
repeated by Narayana Rsi in Bodi Asrama. Narayana Rsi
is the incarnation of Krsna for showing us the path of self-
realization by undergoing severe austerities. In this age Lord
Caitanya demonstrated the path of pure devotional service by
putting Himself in the role of a pure devotee. Similarly, in
the past Lord Narayana Rsi was an incarnation of Krsna who
performed severe austerities in the Himalayan ranges. Sri
Narada Muni was hearing from Him. So in the statement given by
Narayana Rsi to Narada Muni, as it was narrated by Kumara
Sanandana in the form of the Veda-stuti, it is understood that
God is the one supreme and that all others are His servants.
In the Caitanya-caritamrta it is stated, ekala isvara krsna:
"Krsna is the only Supreme God." Ara sava
bhrtya: "All others are His servants." Yare yaiche nacaya, se
taiche kare nrtya: "The Supreme Lord, as He desires, is
engaging all living entities in different activities, and
thus they are exhibiting their different talents and
tendencies." This Veda-stuti is thus the original instruction
regarding the relationship existing between the living entity
their different talents and tendencies." This Veda-stuti is
thus the original instruction regarding the relationship
existing between the living entity and the Supreme Personality
of Godhead. The highest platform of realization for the living
entity is the attainment of this devotional life. One cannot
be engaged in devotional life or Krsna consciousness unless
he is fully free from material contamination. Narayana Rsi
informed Narada Muni that the essence of all Vedas and
Vedic literatures (namely, the four Vedas, the Upanisads, the
Puranas) teaches the rendering of
transcendental loving service to the Lord. In this connection
Narayana Rsi has used one particular word -- rasa. In
devotional service this rasa is the via media or the basic
principle for exchanging a relationship
between the Lord and the living entity. A rasa is also
described in the Vedas as isavasya: "The Supreme Lord
is the reservoir of all pleasure." All the Vedic literatures,
the Puranas, the Vedas, the Upanisads, the
Vedanta-sutras, etc., are teaching the living entities how
to attain the stage of rasa. The Bhagavatam also says that the
statements of the Mahapurana (Srimad-Bhagavatam)
contain the essence rasas in all Vedic literatures.
Nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam. The Bhagavatam
is the essence of the ripened fruit in the tree of the Vedic
literature.
We understand that with the breathing of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead there issued forth the four Vedas,
namely the Rg-veda, the Sama-veda, Yajur-veda,
and the Atharva-veda, and the histories like the
Mahabharata and all the Puranas, which are also considered to
be the history of the world. The Vedic histories like the
Puranas and Mahabharata are called the fifth Veda.
The verses of Veda-stuti are to be considered
the essence of all Vedic knowledge. The four Kumaras and all
other authorized sages know perfectly that devotional service
in Krsna consciousness is the essence of all Vedic literatures,
and they are all preaching this in different planets,
traveling in outer space. It is stated herein that such sages,
including Narada Muni, hardly ever travel on land; they are
perpetually traveling in space.
Sages like Narada and the Kumaras travel throughout the
universe in order to educate the conditioned souls and show
them that their business in the world is not that of sense
gratification, but of reinstating themselves again in their
original position of devotional service to the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. It is stated in several places that
the living entities are like sparks of the fire, and the
Supreme Personality of Godhead is like the fire itself.
Somehow or other when the sparks fall out of the fire
they lose their natural illumination; thus it is ascertained
that the living entities come into this material world exactly
as sparks fall from a great fire. The living entity wants to
imitate Krsna and tries to lord it over material nature
; thus he forgets his
original position, and his illuminating power, his spiritual
identity, is extinguished. However, if a living entity takes
to Krsna consciousness, he is reinstated in his original
position. Sages
and saints like Narada and the Kumaras are traveling
all over the universe educating people and encouraging their
disciples to preach this process of devotional service so
all the conditioned souls may be able to revive their
original consciousness, or Krsna consciousness, and thus gain
relief from the miserable conditions of material life.
Sri Narada Muni is a naistika-brahmacari. There are four
types of brahmacari, and the first is called savitra, which
refers to a brahmacari who, after initiation and the sacred
thread ceremony, must observe at least three days celibacy.
The next is called prajapatya, which refers to a brahmacari
who strictly observes celibacy for at least one year after
initiation. The next is called brahma-brahmacari, which refers
to a brahmacari who observes celibacy from the time of
initiation up to the time of the completion of his study of
Vedic literature. The next stage is called naistika,
which refers to a brahmacari who is celibate throughout his
whole life. Out of these, the first three are upqrvma,
which means that the brahmacari can marry later on after the
brahmacari period is over. The naistika-brahmacari
is completely reluctant to have any sex life; therefore the
Kumaras and Narada are known as naistika-brahmacaris.
The
brahmacari system of life is especially advantageous in that
it increases the power of memory and determination. It is
specifically mentioned in this connection that because Narada
was naistika-brahmacari he could remember whatever
he heard from his spiritual master and would never forget it.
One who can remember everything perpetually is called sruta
-dhara. A sruta-dhara brahmacari can repeat all
that he has heard verbatim without notes and without reference
to books. The great sage Narada has this qualification, and
therefore, taking instructions from Narayana Rsi, he is
engaged in propagating the philosophy of devotional service
all over the world. Because such great sages can remember
everything, they are very much thoughtful, self-realized and
completely fixed in the service of the Lord. Thus the great
sage Narada, after hearing from his spiritual master Narayana
Rsi, became completely realized. He became established in the
truth, and he became so happy that he offered the following
prayers to Narayana Rsi.
A naisthika-brahmacari is also called vira-vrata
.
Narada Muni
addressed Narayana Rsi as an incarnation of Krsna, and he
specifically addressed him as the supreme well-wisher of the
conditioned souls. It is stated in the Bhagavad-gita that Lord
Krsna descends in every millennium just to give protection to
His devotees and to annihilate the nondevotees. Narayana Rsi
also being an incarnation of Krsna, is also addressed as the
well-wisher of the conditioned souls. As stated in the
Bhagavad gita, everyone should know that there is no well-
wisher like Krsna. Everyone should understand that Lord Krsna
is the well-wisher of everyone and should take shelter
unto Krsna. In this way one can become completely confident
and satisfied knowing that he has someone who is able to give
him all protection. Krsna Himself, His incarnations and His
plenary expansions are all supreme well-wishers of the
conditioned souls, but Krsna is the well-wisher even for the
demons, for He gave salvation to all demons who came to
kill Him at Vrndavana; therefore Krsna's welfare activities
are absolute, for even though He annihilates a demon or
gives protection to a devotee, His activities
are one and the same. It is said that the demon Putana was
elevated to the same position as Krsna's mother. When
Krsna kills a demon it should be known that the demon is
supremely benefited by this; however, a pure devotee is
always protected by the Lord.
Narada Muni, after offering respects to his spiritual
master, went to the asrama of Vyasadeva and narrated the
entire story to his disciple. Thus Narada Muni, being
properly received by Vyasadeva in his asrama and seated very
comfortably, began to narrate what
he had heard from Narayana Rsi. In this way Sukadeva Gosvami
informed Maharaja Pariksit of the answers to his questions
regarding the essence of Vedic knowledge and regarding what is
considered to be the ultimate goal in the Vedas. The supreme
goal in life is to seek the transcendental blessings of the
Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus become engaged in the
loving service of the Lord. One should follow in the footsteps
of Sukadeva Gosvami and all the Vaisnavas in the
disciplic succession and should pay respectful obeisances unto
Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Hari. The four
sects of Vaisnava disciplic succession, namely the Madhva-
sampradaya, the Ramanuja-sampradaya, the Visnusvami-
sampradaya and the Nimbarka-sampradaya, in pursuance of
all Vedic conclusions, agree that one should surrender unto
the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Vedic literatures are divided into two parts: the srutis
and the smrtis. The srutis are the four Vedas: Rk, Sama,
Atharva and Yajus, and the Upanisads, and the smrtis are
the Puranas like Mahabharata, which
includes Bhagavad-gita. The conclusion of all these is
that one should know Sri Krsna as the Supreme Personality of
Godhead. He is the Parampurusa, or the Supreme
Personality of Godhead under whose superintendence material
nature works, being created, maintained and destroyed.
After the creation, the Supreme Lord incarnates into three,
Brahma, Visnu and Lord Siva
. All of these take charge of the three
qualities of material nature, but the ultimate direction is in
the hand of Lord Visnu. The complete activities of material
nature under the three modes are being conducted under the
direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. This
is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, nyadarsana,
and in the Vedas: sa aiksata.
The atheistic Sankhyaite philosophers offer
their arguments that this material cosmic manifestation is due
to prakrti and purusa. They argue that nature and material
energy constitute the material cause and the effective
cause. But Krsna is the cause of all causes. He is the cause
of all material and effective causes. Prakrti and
purusa are not the ultimate cause. Superficially it appears
that a child is born due to the combination of the father and
mother, but the ultimate cause of both the father and the
mother is Krsna. He is therefore the original cause, or the
cause of all causes, as confirmed in the Brahma-samhita.
In the material nature, both the Supreme Lord and the living
entities enter. The Supreme Lord
Krsna, by one of His plenary expansions, manifests as
Ksirodakasayi Visnu and the Maha-Visnu, the gigantic Visnu
form lying in the Causal Ocean. Then from that gigantic form
of the Maha-Visnu, the Garbhodakasayi Visnu expands in
every universe. From Him, Brahma, Visnu and Siva expand.
Visnu enters into the hearts of all living
entities, as well as into all material elements, including the
atom. The Brahma-samhita says: andantarastha-paramanu-
cayantarastham. He is within this
universe and also within every atom.
The living entity has a small material body taken from various
species and forms, and similarly the whole universe is but the
material body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This body
is described in the sastras as virata rupa. As the individual
living entity maintains his particular body, the Supreme
Personality of Godhead maintains the whole cosmic creation and
everything within it. As soon as the individual living entity
leaves the material body, the body is immediately annihilated,
and similarly as soon as Lord Visnu leaves the cosmic
manifestation, everything is annihilated. Only when
the individual living entity surrenders unto the Supreme
Personality of Godhead is his liberation from material
existence assured. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita:
mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te.
Surrendering unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead
is therefore the cause of liberation and nothing
else. How the living entity becomes liberated from the modes
of material nature after surrendering unto the Supreme
Personality of Godhead is illustrated by a
sleeping man within a room. When a man is sleeping, everyone
sees that he is present within the room, but actually the man
himself is not within that body, for while sleeping a man
forgets his bodily existence, although others may see that his
body is present. Similarly, a liberated person engaged in
devotional service of the Lord may be seen by others to be
engaged in the household duties of the material world, but
since his consciousness is fixed in Krsna he does not live
within this world. His engagements are different, exactly as
the sleeping man's engagements are different from his bodily
engagements. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita that a
devotee engaged full time in the transcendental loving service
of the Lord has already surpassed the influence of the three
modes of material nature. He is already situated on the
Brahman platform of spiritual realization
, although he appears to be living within the body or
within the material world.
Srila Rupa Gosvami stated in this connection in his
Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu that the person whose only desire is to
serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead may be situated in
any condition in the material world, but he is to be
understood as jivanmukta, that is to say he is to be
considered liberated while living within the body or the
material world. The conclusion, therefore, is that a person
fully engaged in Krsna consciousness is a liberated person.
Such a person has actually nothing to do with
the material world. Those who are not in Krsna
consciousness are called karmis and jnanis, and they hover on
the bodily and mental platforms and thus are not liberated.
This situation is called kaivalya-nirasta-yoni. A person
situated on the transcendental platform becomes freed from the
repetition of birth and death. This is also confirmed in
Bhagavad-gita, Fourth Chapter. Simply by knowing the
transcendental nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead
Krsna, one becomes free from the chains of the repetition of
birth and death, and after quitting his present body he goes
back home, back to Godhead. This is the conclusion of all the
Vedas. Thus
one should surrender unto the lotus feet of
Lord Krsna after understanding the prayers offered by the
personified Vedas.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Second Volume,
Thirty-second Chapter, of Krsna, "Prayers by the Personified
Vedas."
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KB 87: Prayers by the Personified Vedas
CHAPTER EIGHTY–SEVEN
Prayers by the Personified Vedas
King Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami about a very
important topic in understanding transcendental subject matter.
His question was, "Since Vedic knowledge generally deals with
the subject matter of the three qualities of the material
world, how then can it approach the subject matter of
transcendence, which is beyond the approach of the three
material modes? Since the mind is material and the vibration
of words is a material sound, how can the Vedic knowledge,
expressing by material sound the thoughts of the material mind,
approach transcendence? Description of a subject matter
necessitates describing its source of emanation, its qualities
and its activities. Such description can be possible only by
thinking with the material mind and by vibrating material
words. Brahman, or the Absolute Truth, has no
material qualities, but our power of speaking does not go
beyond the material qualities. How then can Brahman, the
Absolute Truth, be described by your words? I do not see how
it is possible to understand transcendence from such
expressions of material sound."
The purpose of King Pariksit's inquiry was to ascertain from
Sukadeva Gosvami whether the Vedas ultimately describe the
Absolute Truth as impersonal or as personal. Understanding of
the Absolute Truth progresses in three features -- impersonal
Brahman, Paramatma localized in everyone's heart, and, at last,
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.
The Vedas deal with three departments of activities. One is
called karma-kanda, or activities under Vedic injunction,
which gradually purify one to understand his real position;
the next is jnana-kanda, the process of understanding the
Absolute Truth by speculative methods; and the third is
upasana-kanda, or worship of the Supreme Personality of
Godhead and sometimes of the demigods also. The worship of the
demigods recommended in the Vedas is ordered with the
understanding of the demigods' relationship to the Personality
of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead has many parts
and parcels; some are called svamsas, or His personal
expansions, and some are called vibhinnamsas, the living
entities. All such expansions, both svamsas and vibhinnamsas,
are emanations from the original Personality of Godhead.
Svamsa expansions are called visnu-tattva, whereas the
vibhinnamsa expansions are called jiva-tattva. The different
demigods are jiva-tattva. The conditioned souls are generally
put into the activities of the material world for sense
gratification; therefore, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita, to
regulate those who are very much addicted to different kinds
of sense gratification, the worship of demigods is sometimes
recommended. For example, for persons very much
addicted to meat-eating, the Vedic injunction recommends that
after worshiping the form of goddess Kali and sacrificing
a goat (not any other animal) under karma-kanda regulation,
the worshipers may be allowed to eat meat. The idea is not to
encourage one to eat meat but to allow one who insists
on eating meat to eat it under certain restricted
conditions. Therefore, worship of the demigods is not worship
of the Absolute Truth, but by worshiping the demigods one
gradually comes to accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead
in an indirect way. This indirect acceptance is described in
the Bhagavad-gita as avidhi. Avidhi means "not bona fide."
Since demigod worship is not bona fide, the impersonalists
stress concentration on the impersonal feature of the Absolute
Truth. King Pariksit's question was, Which is the ultimate
target of Vedic knowledge -- this concentration on the
impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth or concentration on
the personal feature? After all, both the impersonal and the
personal feature of the Supreme Lord are beyond our material
conception. The impersonal feature of the Absolute, the
Brahman effulgence, is but the rays of the personal body of
Krsna. These rays of the personal body of Krsna are cast all
over the creation of the Lord, and the portion of the
effulgence which is covered by the material cloud is called
the created cosmos of the three material qualities -- sattva,
rajas and tamas. How can persons who are within this clouded
portion, called the material world, conceive of the Absolute
Truth by the speculative method?
In answering King Pariksit's question, Sukadeva Gosvami
replied that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has created
the mind, senses and living force of the living entity for the
purpose of sense gratification and transmigration from one
kind of body to another, as well as for the purpose of
allowing liberation from the material conditions. In other
words, one can utilize the senses, mind and living force
for sense gratification and transmigration from
one body to another or for the matter of liberation. The Vedic
injunctions are there just to give the conditioned souls the
chance for sense gratification under regulative principles,
and thereby also to give them the chance for promotion to
higher conditions of life; ultimately, if the consciousness is
purified, one comes to his original position and goes back
home, back to Godhead.
The living entity is intelligent. One therefore has to utilize
his intelligence over the mind and the senses. When the mind
and senses are purified by the proper use of intelligence,
then the conditioned soul is liberated; otherwise, if the
intelligence is not properly utilized in controlling the
senses and mind, the conditioned soul continues to
transmigrate from one kind of body to another simply for sense
gratification. Another point clearly stated in the answer of
Sukadeva Gosvami is that it is the mind, senses and
intelligence of the individual living entity that the Lord
created. It is not stated that the living entities themselves
were ever created. Just as the shining particles of the sun's
rays always exist with the sun, the living
entities exist eternally as parts and parcels of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. But just as the sun rays are sometimes
covered by a cloud, which is created by the sun, so the
conditioned souls, although eternally existing as parts of the
Supreme Lord, are sometimes put within the cloud of the
material concept of life, in the darkness of ignorance. The
whole Vedic process is to alleviate that darkened condition.
Ultimately, when the senses and mind of the conditioned being
are fully purified, he comes to his original position,
called Krsna consciousness, and that is liberation.
In the Vedanta-sutra, the first sutra, or code, questions
about the Absolute Truth. Athato brahma jijnasa: What is the
nature of the Absolute Truth? The next sutra answers that the
nature of the Absolute Truth is that He is the origin of
everything. Whatever we experience, even in this material
condition of life, is but an emanation from Him. The Absolute
Truth created the mind, senses and intelligence. This means
that the Absolute Truth is not without mind, intelligence and
senses. In other words, He is not impersonal. The very word
created means that He has transcendental intelligence. For
example, when a father begets a child, the child has senses
because the father also has senses. The child is born with
hands and legs because the father also has hands and legs.
Sometimes it is said that man is made after the
image of God. The Absolute Truth is therefore the Supreme
Personality, with transcendental mind, senses and intelligence.
When one's mind, intelligence and senses are purified of
material contamination, one can understand the original
feature of the Absolute Truth as a person.
The Vedic process is to promote the conditioned soul
gradually from the mode of ignorance to the mode of passion,
and from the mode of passion to the mode of goodness. In the
mode of goodness there is sufficient light for understanding
things as they are. For example, from earth a tree grows, and
from the wood of the tree, fire is ignited. In that igniting
process we first of all find smoke, and the next stage is
heat, and then fire. When there is actually fire, we can
utilize it for various purposes; therefore, fire is the
ultimate goal. Similarly, in the gross material stage of life
the quality of ignorance is very prominent. Dissipation
of this ignorance takes place in the gradual progress of
civilization from the barbarian stage to civilized life, and
when one comes to the stage of civilized life he is said to
be in the mode of passion. In the barbarian stage, or in the
mode of ignorance, the senses are gratified in a very crude
way, whereas in the mode of passion, or in civilized
life, the senses are gratified in a polished manner. But
when one is promoted to the mode of goodness, one can
understand that the senses and the mind are engaged in
material activities only due to being covered by perverted
consciousness. When this perverted consciousness is gradually
transformed into Krsna consciousness, then the path of
liberation is opened. So it is not that one is unable to
approach the Absolute Truth by the senses and the mind. The
conclusion is, rather, that the senses, mind and intelligence
in the gross stage of contamination cannot appreciate the
nature of the Absolute Truth, but when purified, the senses,
mind and intelligence can understand what the Absolute Truth
is. The purifying process is called devotional service, or
Krsna consciousness.
In the Bhagavad-gita it is clearly stated that the purpose of
Vedic knowledge is to understand Krsna, and that Krsna is
understood by devotional service, beginning with the process
of surrender. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita, one has to think
of Krsna always, one has to render loving service to Krsna
always, and one always has to worship and bow down
before Krsna. By this process only can one enter into the
kingdom of God, without any doubt.
One who is enlightened in the mode of goodness by the process
of devotional service is freed from the modes of ignorance
and passion. In answering King Pariksit's question, Sukadeva
Gosvami used the word atmane, which indicates the stage of
brahminical qualification in which one is allowed to study the
Vedic scriptures known as the Upanisads. The Upanisads
describe in different ways the transcendental qualities of the
Supreme Lord. The Absolute Truth, the Supreme Lord, is called
nirguna. That does not mean He has no qualities. It is
only because He has qualities that the conditioned living
entities can have qualities. The purpose of studying the
Upanisads is to understand the transcendental qualities of the
Absolute Truth, as opposed to the material qualities of
ignorance, passion and goodness. That is the way of Vedic
understanding. Great sages like the four Kumaras, headed by
Sanaka, followed these principles of Vedic knowledge and came
gradually from impersonal understanding to the platform of
personal worship of the Supreme Lord. It is therefore
recommended that we must follow the great personalities.
Sukadeva Gosvami is also one of the great personalities, and
his answer to the inquiry of Maharaja Pariksit is authorized.
One who follows in the footsteps of such great personalities
surely walks very easily on the path of liberation and
ultimately goes back home, back to Godhead. That is the way
of perfecting this human form of life.
Sukadeva Gosvami continued to speak to Pariksit Maharaja. "My
dear King," he said, "in this regard I shall
narrate a nice story. This story is important because it is in
connection with Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
This narration is a conversation between Narayana Rsi and the
great sage Narada." Narayana Rsi still resides in
Badarikasrama and is accepted as an
incarnation of Narayana. Badarikasrama
is situated in
the
northernmost part
of the
Himalayan Mountains and is
always covered with snow. Religious Indians still
go to visit this place
during the summer
season, when the snowfall
is not very severe.
Once when Narada, the great devotee and ascetic
among the demigods, was traveling among different planets,
he desired to meet the ascetic Narayana personally in
Badarikasrama and offer Him respects. This great
sage incarnation of Godhead, Narayana Rsi, has been
undergoing great penances and austerities from the very
beginning of the creation to teach the inhabitants of
Bharata-varsa how to attain the highest perfectional stage of
going back to Godhead. His austerities and penances are
exemplary practices for the human being. The incarnation of
God Narayana Rsi was sitting among many devotees in the
village known as Kalapa-grama. Of course, these were not
ordinary sages sitting with Him, and the great sage
Narada also appeared there. After offering his respects to
Narayana Rsi, Narada asked Him exactly the same question
King Pariksit asked Sukadeva Gosvami. Then
the Rsi answered by
following in the footsteps of His predecessors. He narrated a
story of how the same question had been discussed on the
planet known as Janaloka, which is above the Svargaloka
planets, such as the moon and Venus. On this planet, great
sages and saintly persons live, and they once discussed
the same point regarding the understanding of Brahman and His
real identity.
The great sage Narayana began to speak. "My dear Narada," He
said, "I shall tell you a story which took place long, long
ago. There was a great meeting of the denizens of the heavenly
planets, and almost all the important brahmacaris, such as
the four Kumaras -- Sanandana, Sanaka, Sanatana
and Sanat-kumara -- attended. Their discussion was on the
subject matter of understanding the Absolute Truth, Brahman.
You were not present at that meeting because you had gone to
see My expansion Aniruddha, who lives on the island of
Svetadvipa. In this meeting, all the great sages and
brahmacaris very elaborately discussed the point about which
you have asked Me, and their discussion was very interesting.
It was so delicate that even the Vedas were unable
to answer the intricate questions raised."
Narayana Rsi told Naradaji that the same question
Naradaji had raised had been discussed in that meeting on
Janaloka. This is the way of understanding through the
parampara, or disciplic succession. Maharaja Pariksit
questioned Sukadeva Gosvami, and Sukadeva Gosvami
referred the matter to Narada, who had in the same way
questioned Narayana Rsi, who had put the matter to still
higher authorities on the planet of Janaloka, where it was
discussed among the great Kumaras -- Sanatana, Sanaka,
Sanandana and Sanat-kumara. These four brahmacaris, the
Kumaras, are recognized scholars in the Vedas and other
sastras. Their unlimited volumes of knowledge, backed by
austerities and penances, are exhibited by their sublime,
ideal character. They are very amiable and gentle in behavior,
and for them there is no distinction between friends, well-
wishers and enemies. Being transcendentally situated, such
personalities as the Kumaras are above all material
considerations and are always neutral in respect to material
dualities. In the discussions held among the four brothers,
one of them, namely Sanandana, was selected to speak, and the
other brothers became the audience to hear him.
Sanandana said, "After the dissolution of the whole cosmic
manifestation, the entire energy and the whole creation in its
nucleus form enter into the body of Garbhodakasayi Visnu. The
Lord at that time remains asleep for a long, long time, and
when there is again necessity of creation, the Vedas
personified assemble around the Lord and begin to glorify Him,
describing His wonderful transcendental pastimes,
exactly like servants of a king: when the king is asleep in
the morning, the appointed reciters come around his bedroom
and begin to sing of his chivalrous activities, and while
hearing of his glorious activities, the king gradually awakens.
"The Vedic reciters, or the personified Vedas, sing thus: O
unconquerable Lord, You are the Supreme Personality. No one is
equal to You or greater than You. No one can be more glorious
in his activities. All glories unto You! All glories unto You!
By Your own transcendental nature You fully possess all six
opulences. As such, You are able to deliver all conditioned
souls from the clutches of maya. O Lord, we fervently pray
that You kindly do so. All the living entities, being Your
parts and parcels, are naturally joyful, eternal and full of
knowledge, but due to their own faults they imitate You
by trying to become the supreme enjoyer. Thus they disobey
Your supremacy and become offenders. And because of their
offenses, Your material energy has taken charge of them. Thus
their transcendental qualities of joyfulness, bliss and wisdom
have been covered by the clouds of the three material
qualities. This cosmic manifestation, made of the three
material qualities, is just like a prison house for the
conditioned souls. The conditioned souls are struggling very
hard to escape from material bondage, and according to
their different conditions of life they have been given
different types of engagement. But since all engagements are
based on knowledge supplied by You, the
conditioned souls can execute pious activities only when
You mercifully inspire them to do so. Therefore,
without taking shelter at Your lotus feet one cannot surpass
the influence of the material energy. Actually, we, as
personified Vedic knowledge, are always engaged in Your
service by helping the conditioned souls understand You.' "
This prayer of the Vedas personified illustrates that the
Vedas are meant for helping the conditioned souls to
understand Krsna. All the srutis, or personified Vedas,
offered glories to the Lord again and again, singing, "Jaya!
Jaya!" This indicates that the Lord is the most
glorious. Of all His glories, the most important is His
causeless mercy upon the conditioned souls in reclaiming them
from the clutches of maya.
There are unlimited numbers of living entities in different
varieties of bodies, some moving and some standing in one
place, and the conditioned life of these living entities is
due only to their forgetfulness of their eternal relationship
with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the living
entity wants to lord it over the material energy by imitating
the position of Krsna, he is immediately captured by the
material energy and, according to his desire, is offered one
variety of the 8,400,000 different kinds of bodies. Although
undergoing the threefold miseries of material existence, the
illusioned living entity falsely thinks himself the master of
all he surveys. Under the spell of the material energy,
represented by the threefold material qualities, the
living entity is so entangled that he is not at all able
to become free unless he is graced by the Supreme Lord.
The living entity cannot conquer the influence of the
material modes of nature by his own endeavor, but because
material nature is working under the control of the Supreme
Lord, the Lord is beyond its jurisdiction. Except for Him, all
living entities, from Brahma down to the ant, are
conquered by the contact of material nature.
Because the Lord possesses in full the six opulences of wealth,
strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation, He
alone is beyond the spell of material nature. Unless the
living entity is situated in Krsna consciousness, he cannot
approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yet the Lord, by
His omnipotency, can dictate from within as the Supersoul how
a living entity can gradually come to Him even while
performing his ordinary work. As the Lord advises in the
Bhagavad-gita, "Whatever you do, do it for Me; whatever you
eat, first offer it to Me; whatever charity you want to
give, first give it to Me; and whatever austerities and
penances you want to perform, perform them for Me." In this
way the karmis are directed gradually to develop Krsna
consciousness. Similarly, Krsna directs the philosophers to
approach Him gradually by discriminating between Brahman and
maya, for at last, when one is mature in knowledge, he
surrenders unto Krsna. As Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita, "
After many, many births, the wise philosopher surrenders unto
Me." The yogis are also directed to concentrate their
meditation upon Krsna within the heart, and by such a
continuous process of Krsna consciousness they can also
become free from the clutches of the material energy. The
devotees, however, are engaged
in devotional service with love and affection from the very
beginning, and therefore the Lord personally directs them so
that they can approach Him without difficulty or deviation.
This is stated in the Bhagavad-gita. Only by the grace of the
Lord can the living entity understand the exact position of
Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan.
The statements of the personified Vedas give clear evidence
that the Vedic literature is presented only for understanding
Krsna. The Bhagavad-gita confirms that
through all the Vedas it is Krsna alone who has to be
understood. Krsna is always enjoying, either in the material
world or in the spiritual world; because He is the supreme
enjoyer, for Him there is no distinction between the material
and spiritual worlds. The material world is an
impediment for the ordinary living entities because they are
under its control, but Krsna, being the controller of the
material world, has nothing to do with the impediments it
offers. Therefore, in different parts of the Upanisads, the
Vedas declare, "The Supreme Brahman is eternal, full of all
knowledge and all bliss. That one Supreme Personality of
Godhead exists in the heart of every living entity."
Because of His all-pervasiveness, He is able to enter not only
into the hearts of the living entities, but even into the
atoms also. As the Supersoul, He is the controller of all
activities of the living entities. He lives within all
of them and witnesses their actions, allowing them to act
according to their desires and also giving them the results
of their different activities. He is the living force of all
things, but He is transcendental to the material
qualities. He is omnipotent; He is expert in manufacturing
everything, and on account of His superior, natural knowledge,
He can bring everyone under His control. As such, He is
everyone's master. He is sometimes manifest on the surface of
the globe, but He is simultaneously within all matter.
Desiring to expand Himself in multiforms, He glanced
over the material energy, and thus innumerable living entities
became manifest. Everything is created by His superior energy,
and everything in His creation appears to be perfectly done,
without deficiency. Those who aspire for liberation from this
material world must therefore worship the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, the ultimate cause of all causes. He is just like
the total mass of earth, from which varieties of earthly pots
are manufactured: the pots are made of earthly clay, they rest
on earth, and after being destroyed, their elements ultimately
merge back into earth,the original cause of all varieties of
manifestation.
Employing this analogy
of Brahman
with earth
, the impersonalists especially stress the Vedic
statement sarvam khalv idam brahma: "Everything is Brahman."
The impersonalists do not take into account the varieties of
manifestation emanating from the supreme cause, Brahman.
They simply consider that everything
emanates from Brahman and after destruction merges into
Brahman and that the intermediate stage of manifestation is
also Brahman. But although the Mayavadis believe that
prior to its manifestation the cosmos was in Brahman, after
creation it remains in Brahman, and after destruction it
merges into Brahman, they do not know what Brahman is. The
Brahma-samhita, however, clearly describes
Brahman: "The living entities, space, time and the
material elements like fire, earth, sky, water and mind
constitute the total cosmic manifestation, known as Bhuh,
Bhuvah and Svah, which is manifested by Govinda. It
flourishes on the strength of Govinda and after annihilation
enters into and is conserved in Govinda." Lord Brahma
therefore says, "I worship Lord Govinda, the original
personality, the cause of all causes."
The word "Brahman" indicates the greatest of all and the
maintainer of everything. The impersonalists are attracted by
the greatness of the sky, but because of their poor fund of
knowledge they are not attracted by the greatness of Krsna. In
our practical life, however, we are attracted by the greatness
of a person and not by the greatness of a big mountain.
Thus the term "Brahman" actually applies to Krsna
only; therefore in the Bhagavad-gita Arjuna concluded that
Lord Krsna is the Para-brahman, or the supreme resting
place of everything.
Krsna is the Supreme Brahman because of His unlimited
knowledge, unlimited potencies, unlimited strength, unlimited
influence, unlimited beauty and unlimited renunciation.
Ultimately, therefore, the word "Brahman" can be applied to
Krsna only. Arjuna affirms that because the impersonal Brahman
is the effulgence emanating as rays of Krsna's transcendental
body, Krsna is the Para-brahman. Everything rests
on Brahman, but Brahman itself rests on Krsna.
Therefore Krsna is the ultimate Brahman, or Para-
brahman. The material elements are accepted as the inferior
energy of Krsna. By their interaction the cosmic
manifestation takes place, rests on Krsna, and after
dissolution again enters into the body of Krsna as His subtle
energy. Krsna is therefore the cause of both manifestation and
dissolution.
Sarvam khalv idam brahma means that everything is Lord Krsna
in the sense that everything is His energy. That is the
vision of the maha-bhagavatas. They see everything
in relation to Krsna. The impersonalists argue that Krsna
Himself has been transformed into many and that
therefore everything is Krsna and worship of anything is
worship of Him. This false argument is answered by Krsna in
the Bhagavad-gita: although everything is a transformation of
the energy of Krsna, He is not present everywhere. He is
simultaneously present and not present. By His energy He is
present everywhere, but as the energetic He is not present
everywhere. This simultaneous presence and
nonpresence is inconceivable to our present senses.
But a clear explanation is given in the beginning of the
Isopanisad, in which it is stated that the Supreme Lord is so
complete that although unlimited energies and their
transformations emanate from Krsna, Krsna's
personality is not in the least bit transformed. Therefore,
since Krsna is the cause of all causes, intelligent persons
should take shelter of His lotus feet.
Krsna advises everyone just to surrender unto Him alone, and
that is the way of Vedic instruction. Since Krsna is the cause
of all causes, He is worshiped by all kinds of sages and
saints through observance of the regulative principles. As
far as meditation is concerned, great personalities
meditate on the transcendental form of Krsna within the heart.
In this way the minds of great personalities are always
engaged in Krsna. With their minds engaged in Krsna, naturally
the captivated devotees simply talk of Krsna.
Talking of Krsna or singing of Krsna is called kirtana. Lord
Caitanya recommends, kirtaniyah sada harih [Cc. Adi 17.31]
, which means always thinking and talking of Krsna and nothing
else. That is called Krsna consciousness. Krsna consciousness
is so sublime that anyone who takes to this process is
elevated to the highest perfection of life -- far, far beyond
the concept of liberation. In the Bhagavad-gita, therefore,
Krsna advises everyone always to think of Him, render
devotional service to Him, worship Him and offer obeisances to
Him. In this way a devotee becomes fully Krsna-ized and, being
always situated in Krsna consciousness, ultimately goes back
to Krsna.
Although the Vedas have recommended worship of different
demigods as different parts and parcels of Krsna, it is to be
understood that such instructions are meant for less
intelligent men who are still attracted by material
sense enjoyment. But the person who actually wants perfect
fulfillment of the mission of human life should simply worship
Lord Krsna, and that will simplify the matter and completely
guarantee the success of his human life. Although the sky, the
water and the land are all part of the material
world, when one stands on the solid land his position is more
secure than when he stands in the sky or the water. An
intelligent person, therefore, does not stand under the
protection of different demigods, although they are part and
parcel of Krsna. Rather, he stands on the solid ground of
Krsna consciousness. That makes his position sound and secure.
Impersonalists sometimes give the example that if one stands
on a stone or a piece of wood one certainly stands on the
surface of the land, because the stone and wood both
rest on the surface of the earth. But it may be replied
that if one stands directly on the surface of the earth he is
more secure than if he stands on wood or a stone that
rests on the earth. In other words, taking shelter of
Paramatma or taking shelter of impersonal Brahman is not as
secure a course as taking direct shelter of Krsna in Krsna
consciousness. The position of the jnanis and yogis is
therefore not as secure as the position of the devotees of
Krsna. Lord Krsna has therefore advised in the Bhagavad-gita
that only a person who has lost his sense takes to the
worship of demigods. And regarding persons attached to
the impersonal Brahman, Srimad-Bhagavatam says, "My dear
Lord, those who think of themselves as liberated by
mental speculation are not yet purified of the contamination
of material nature because of their inability to find the
shelter of Your lotus feet. Although they rise to the
transcendental situation of existence in impersonal Brahman,
they certainly fall from that exalted position because they
deride Your lotus feet." Lord Krsna
therefore advises that the worshipers of the demigods are not
very intelligent persons because they derive only temporary,
exhaustible results. Their endeavors are those of less
intelligent men. On the other hand, the Lord assures that His
devotee has no fear of falling.
The personified Vedas continued to pray, "Dear Lord,
considering all points of view, if a person has to worship
someone superior to himself, then just out of good behavior
he should stick to the worship of Your lotus feet because You
are the ultimate controller of creation, maintenance and
dissolution. You are the controller of the three worlds, Bhuh,
Bhuvah and Svah; You are the controller of the fourteen upper
and lower worlds; and You are the controller of the three
material qualities. Demigods and persons advanced in spiritual
knowledge always hear and chant about
Your transcendental pastimes because this process has the
specific potency of nullifying the accumulated results of
sinful life. Intelligent persons factually dip into the
ocean of Your nectarean activities and very patiently hear
about them. Thus they are immediately freed from the
contamination of the material qualities; they do not have to
undergo severe penances and austerities for advancement in
spiritual life. This chanting and hearing of Your
transcendental pastimes is the easiest process for self-
realization. Simply by submissive aural reception of the
transcendental message, one's heart is cleansed of all
dirty things. Thus Krsna consciousness becomes fixed in the
heart of a devotee." The great authority Bhismadeva has also
given the opinion that this process of chanting and hearing
about the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the highest
religious process. And the Taittiriya Upanisad says that
worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the essence
of all Vedic ritualistic performances.
"Dear
Lord," the personified Vedas
continued, "the devotee who wants to
elevate himself simply by the process of devotional
activities, especially by hearing and chanting, very soon
comes out of the clutches of the dualities of material
existence. By this simple process of penance and austerity,
the Supersoul within the devotee's heart is very much
pleased and gives the devotee directions so that he may go
back home, back to Godhead." It is stated in the Bhagavad-
gita that one who engages all his activities and senses in the
devotional service of the Lord becomes completely peaceful
because the Supersoul is satisfied with him; thus the devotee
becomes transcendental to all dualities, such as heat
and cold, honor and dishonor. Being freed from all dualities,
he feels transcendental bliss, and he no longer suffers cares
and anxieties due to material existence. The Bhagavad-gita
confirms that the devotee always absorbed in Krsna
consciousness has no anxieties for his maintenance or
protection. Being constantly absorbed in Krsna consciousness,
he ultimately achieves the highest perfection. While in
material existence, he lives very peacefully and blissfully,
without cares and anxieties, and after quitting this body
he goes back home, back to Godhead. The Lord confirms in
the Bhagavad-gita, "My supreme abode is a transcendental place
from which, having gone, one never returns to this material
world. Anyone who attains the supreme perfection, being
engaged in My personal devotional service in the eternal abode,
reaches the highest perfection of human life and does not
have to come back to the miserable material world."
The personified Vedas continued: "Dear Lord, it is imperative
that the living entities be engaged in Krsna consciousness,
always rendering devotional service by such prescribed methods
as hearing and chanting and executing Your orders. If a
person is not engaged in Krsna consciousness and devotional
service, it is useless for him to exhibit the symptoms of life.
Generally if a person is breathing he is
accepted to be alive. But a person without Krsna consciousness
may be compared to a bellows in a blacksmith's shop. The big
bellows is a bag of skin which exhales and inhales air, and a
human being who simply lives within the bag of skin and
bones without taking to Krsna consciousness and loving
devotional service is no better than the bellows. Similarly, a
nondevotee's long duration of life is compared to the long
existence of a tree, his voracious eating capacity is compared
to the eating of dogs and hogs, and his enjoyment in sex life
is compared to that of hogs and goats."
The cosmic manifestation has been made possible because of
the entrance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Maha-
Visnu within this material world. The total material energy
is agitated by the glance of Maha-Visnu, and only then
does the interaction of the three material qualities begin.
Therefore it should be concluded that whatever material
facilities we are trying to enjoy are available only due to
the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Within the body there are five different departments of
existence, known as anna-maya, prana-maya, mano-
maya, vijnana-maya and, at last, ananda-maya. In the
beginning of life, every living entity is food conscious. A
child or an animal is satisfied only by getting nice food.
This stage of consciousness, in which the goal is to eat
sumptuously, is called anna-maya. Anna means "food." After
this one lives in the consciousness of being alive. If one can
continue his life without being attacked or destroyed, one
thinks himself happy. This stage is called prana-maya, or
consciousness of one's existence. After this stage, when one
is situated on the mental platform, his consciousness is
called mano-maya. The materialistic civilization is
primarily situated in these three stages, anna-maya,
prana-maya and mano-maya. The first concern of
civilized persons is economic development, the next concern is
defense against being annihilated, and the next consciousness
is mental speculation, the philosophical approach to the
values of life.
If by the evolutionary process of philosophical life one
happens to reach the platform of intellectual life and
understands that he is not this material body but a
spiritual soul, he is situated in the vijnana-maya stage.
Then, by evolution in spiritual life, he comes to the
understanding of the Supreme Lord, or the Supreme Soul. When
one develops his relationship with Him and executes devotional
service, that stage of life is called Krsna consciousness, the
ananda-maya stage. Ananda-maya is the blissful life of
knowledge and eternity. As it is said in the Vedanta-sutra,
ananda-mayo 'bhyasat. The Supreme Brahman and the
subordinate Brahman, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead and
the living entities, are both joyful by nature. As long as the
living entities are situated in the lower four stages of life
-- anna-maya, prana-maya, mano-maya and
vijnana-maya -- they are considered to be in the material
condition of life, but as soon as one reaches the stage of
ananda-maya, he is a liberated soul. This ananda-
maya stage is explained in the Bhagavad-gita as the brahma-
bhuta [SB 4.30.20] stage. There it is said that in the brahma-
bhuta stage of life there is no anxiety and no hankering. This
stage begins when one is equally disposed toward all
living entities, and it then expands to the stage of Krsna
consciousness, in which one always hankers to render service
unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This hankering for
advancement in devotional service is not the same as hankering
for sense gratification in material existence. In other words,
hankering remains in spiritual life, but it becomes purified.
Similarly, when our senses are purified, they are freed
from all material stages, namely anna-maya, prana-maya,
mano-maya and vijnana-maya, and they become situated
in the highest stage -- ananda-maya, or blissful life in
Krsna consciousness. The Mayavadi philosophers consider
ananda-maya to be the state of being merged in the Supreme.
To them, ananda-maya means that the Supersoul and the
individual soul become one. But the real fact is that oneness
does not mean merging into the Supreme and losing one's own
individual existence. Merging into the spiritual existence is
the living entity's realization of qualitative oneness with
the Supreme Lord in His aspects of eternity and knowledge
. But the actual ananda-maya (blissful) stage is
attained when one is engaged in devotional service. That is
confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita: mad-bhaktim labhate param [Bg.
18.54]. Here Lord Krsna states that the brahma-bhuta
ananda-maya stage is complete only when there is an
exchange of love between the Supreme and the subordinate
living entities. Unless one comes to this ananda-maya
stage, his breathing is like the breathing of a
bellows in a blacksmith's shop, his duration of life is like
that of a tree, and he is no better than the lower animals
like the camels, hogs and dogs.
Undoubtedly the eternal living entity cannot be annihilated at
any point. But the lower species of life exist in a miserable
condition, whereas one who is engaged in the devotional
service of the Supreme Lord is situated in the pleasurable, or
ananda-maya, status of life. The different stages
described above are all in relationship with the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. Although in all circumstances there
exist both the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living
entities, the difference is that the Supreme Personality of
Godhead always exists in the ananda-maya stage, whereas
the subordinate living entities, because of their minute
position as fragmental portions of the Supreme Lord, are prone
to fall to the other stages of life. Although in all the
stages both the Supreme Lord and the living entities exist,
the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always transcendental to
our concept of life, whether we are in bondage or in
liberation. The whole cosmic manifestation becomes possible by
the grace of the Supreme Lord, it exists by the grace of the
Supreme Lord, and when annihilated it merges into the
existence of the Supreme Lord. As such, the Supreme Lord is
the supreme existence, the cause of all causes. Therefore the
conclusion is that without development of Krsna consciousness
one's life is simply a waste of time.
For those who are very materialistic and cannot understand
the situation of the spiritual world, the
abode of Krsna, great sages have recommended
the yogic process whereby one gradually rises from meditation
on the abdomen, which is called muladhara or manipuraka
meditation. Muladhara and manipuraka are technical terms which
refer to the intestines within the abdomen. Grossly
materialistic persons think that economic development is of
foremost importance because they are under the impression that
a living entity exists only by eating. Such grossly
materialistic persons forget that although we may eat as much
as we like, if the food is not digested it produces the
troubles of indigestion and acidity. Therefore,
eating is not in itself the cause of the vital energy of life.
For digestion of eatables we have to take shelter of another,
superior energy, which is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita as
vaisvanara. Lord Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita that He helps
the digestion in the form of vaisvanara. The Supreme
Personality of Godhead is all-pervasive; therefore, His
presence in the stomach as vaisvanara is not extraordinary.
Krsna is actually present everywhere. The Vaisnava, therefore,
marks his body with temples of Visnu: he first marks a tilaka
temple on the abdomen, then on the chest, then between the
collarbones, then on the forehead, and gradually he marks the
top of the head, the brahma-randhra. The thirteen temples of
tilaka marked on the body of a Vaisnava are known as follows:
On the forehead is the temple of Lord Kesava, on the belly is
the temple of Lord Narayana, on the chest is the temple of
Lord Madhava, and on the throat, between the two collarbones,
is the temple of Lord Govinda. On the right side of the waist
is the temple of Lord Visnu, on the right arm the temple of
Lord Madhusudana, and on the right side of the collarbone the
temple of Lord Trivikrama. Similarly, on the left side of the
waist is the temple of Lord Vamanadeva, on the left arm the
temple of Sridhara, on the left side of the collarbone the
temple of Hrsikesa, on the upper back the temple called
Padmanabha, and on the lower back the temple called
Damodara. On the top of the head is the temple called
Vasudeva. This is the process of meditation on the Lord's
situation in the different parts of the body, but for those
who are not Vaisnavas, great sages recommend meditation on the
bodily concept of life -- meditation on the intestines, on the
heart, on the throat, on the eyebrows, on the forehead and
then on the top of the head. Some of the sages in the
disciplic succession from the great saint Aruna meditate on
the heart, because the Supersoul stays within the
heart along with the living entity. This is confirmed in the
Bhagavad-gita, Fifteenth Chapter, wherein the Lord states, "I
am situated in everyone's heart."
As part of devotional service, Vaisnavas protect
the body for the service of the Lord
, but those who are gross materialists accept the body
as the self. They worship the body by the yogic process of
meditation on the different bodily parts, such as manipuraka,
dahara and hrdaya, gradually rising to the brahma-randhra, on
the top of the head. The first-class yogi who has attained
perfection in the practice of the yoga system ultimately
passes through the brahma-randhra to any one of the planets in
either the material or spiritual worlds. How a yogi can
transfer himself to another planet is vividly described
in the Second Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
In this regard, Sukadeva Gosvami has recommended that the
beginners worship the virat-purusa, the gigantic universal
form of the Lord. One who cannot believe that the Lord can be
worshiped with equal success in the Deity, or arca form, or
who cannot concentrate on this form is advised to worship the
universal form of the Lord. The lower part of the universe is
considered the feet and legs of the Lord's universal form, the
middle part of the universe is considered the navel or abdomen
of the Lord, the upper planetary systems such as Janaloka and
Maharloka are the heart of the Lord, and the topmost planetary
system, Brahmaloka, is considered the top of the Lord's head.
There are different processes recommended by great sages
according to the position of the worshiper, but the ultimate
aim of all meditational yogic processes is to go back home,
back to Godhead. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita, anyone who
reaches the highest planet, the abode of Krsna, or even the
Vaikuntha planets, never has to come down again to this
miserable material condition of life.
The Vedic recommendation, therefore, is that one make the
lotus feet of Visnu the target of all one's efforts. Tad
visnoh paramam padam: the Visnu planets, or
Visnuloka, are situated above all the material planets. These
Vaikuntha planets are known as sanatana-dhama, and they are
eternal. They are never annihilated, not even by the
annihilation of this material world. The conclusion is that if
a human being does not fulfill the mission of his life by
worshiping the Supreme Lord and does not go back home, back to
Godhead, it is to be understood that he is breathing just
like a blacksmith's bellows, living just like a tree, eating
just like a camel and having sex just like the dogs and hogs.
Thus he has been frustrated in fulfilling the specific purpose
of human life.
The next prayer of the personified Vedas to the Lord concerns
His entering into different species of life. It is stated in
the Bhagavad-gita, Fourteenth Chapter, that in every species
and form of life the spiritual part and parcel of the Supreme
Lord is present. The Lord Himself claims in the Gita that He
is the seed-giving father of all forms and species, who
therefore must all be considered sons of the Lord. The
entrance of the Supreme Lord into everyone's heart as
Paramatma sometimes bewilders the impersonalists into
equating the living entities with the
Supreme Lord. They think, "Both the Supreme Lord
and the individual soul
enter into the various bodies;
so where is the distinction? Why should
individual souls worship the Paramatma, or Supersoul?"
According to them, the Supersoul and the individual soul
are on the same level; they are one, without any difference
between them. There is a difference, however, between the
Supersoul and the individual soul, and this is explained in
the Bhagavad-gita, Fifteenth Chapter, wherein the Lord says
that although He is situated with the living entity in the
same body, He is superior. He is dictating or giving
intelligence to the individual soul from within. It is clearly
stated in the Gita that the Lord gives intelligence to the
individual soul and that both memory and forgetfulness are due
to the influence of the Supersoul. No one can act
independently of the sanction of the Supersoul. The
individual soul acts according to his past karma, reminded by
the Lord. The nature of the individual soul is forgetfulness,
but the presence of the Lord within the heart reminds him of
what he wanted to do in his past life. The intelligence of the
individual soul is exhibited like fire in wood. Although fire
is always fire, it is exhibited in a size proportionate to the
size of the wood. Similarly, although the individual soul is
qualitatively one with the Supreme Lord, he exhibits himself
according to the limitations of his present body. But the
Supreme Lord, or the Supersoul, is unlimited. He is said to be
eka-rasa. Eka means "one," and rasa means "mellow." The
transcendental position of the Supreme Lord is that of
eternity, bliss and full knowledge. His position of eka-rasa
does not change in the slightest when He becomes a witness and
advisor to the individual soul in each individual body.
But the individual soul, from Lord Brahma down to
the ant, exhibits his spiritual potency according to his
present body. The demigods are in the same category with the
individual souls in the bodies of human beings or in the
bodies of lower animals. Intelligent persons, therefore, do
not worship different demigods, who are simply infinitesimal
representatives of Krsna manifest in conditioned bodies.
The individual soul can exhibit his power only
in proportion to the shape and constitution of the body. The
Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, can exhibit His full
potencies in any shape or form without any change. The
Mayavadi philosophers' thesis that God and the individual soul
are one and the same cannot be accepted because the individual
soul has to develop his power according to the
development of different types of bodies. The individual soul
in the body of a baby cannot show the full power
of a grown man, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna,
even when lying on the lap of His mother as a baby, could
exhibit His full power by killing Putana and other
demons who attacked Him. Thus the spiritual
potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is said to be
eka-rasa, or without change. The Supreme Personality
of Godhead, therefore, is the only worshipable object, and
this is perfectly known to persons who are uncontaminated by
the modes of material nature. In other words, only the
liberated souls can worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Less intelligent Mayavadis take to the worship of the
demigods, thinking that the demigods and the Supreme
Personality of Godhead are on the same level.
The personified Vedas continued to offer their obeisances. "
Dear Lord," they prayed, "after many, many births, those who
have actually become wise take to the worship of Your lotus
feet in complete knowledge." This is confirmed in the
Bhagavad-gita, wherein the Lord says that after many, many
births a great soul, or mahatma, surrenders unto the Lord,
knowing well that Vasudeva, Krsna, is the cause of all causes.
The Vedas continued: "As already explained, since the
mind, intelligence and senses have been given to us by God,
when these instruments are actually purified there is no
alternative but to engage them all in the devotional service
of the Lord. A living entity's entrapment in different species
of life is due to the misapplication of his mind, intelligence
and senses in material activities. Various kinds of bodies are
awarded as the result of a living entity's actions, and they
are created by the material nature according to the living
entity's desire. Because a living entity desires and deserves
a particular kind of body, it is given to him by the material
nature, under the order of the Supreme Lord."
In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Third Canto, it is explained that
under the control of superior authority a living entity is put
within the semen of a male and injected into the womb of a
particular female in order to develop a particular type of
body. A living entity utilizes his senses, intelligence, mind
and so on in a specific way of his own choosing and thus
develops a particular type of body, within which he becomes
encaged. In this way the living entity becomes situated in
different species of life, either in a demigod, human or
animal body, according to different situations and
circumstances.
It is explained in the Vedic literature that the living
entities entrapped in different species of life are part and
parcel of the Supreme Lord. The Mayavadi philosophers mistake
the living entity for the Paramatma, who is actually sitting
with the living entity as a friend. Because the Paramatma (
the localized aspect of the Supreme Personality of Godhead)
and the individual living entity are both within the body, a
misunderstanding sometimes takes place that there is no
difference between the two. But there is a definite difference
between the individual soul and the Supersoul, and it is
explained in the Varaha Purana as follows. The Supreme Lord
has two kinds of parts and parcels: the living entity is
called vibhinnamsa, and the Paramatma, or the plenary
expansion of the Supreme Lord, is called svamsa. The svamsa
plenary expansion of the Supreme Personality is as powerful as
the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. There is not even
the slightest difference between the potency of the Supreme
Person and that of His plenary expansion as Paramatma. But the
vibhinnamsa parts and parcels possess only a minute portion of
the potencies of the Lord. The Narada Pancaratra states that
the living entities, who are the marginal potency of the
Supreme Lord, are undoubtedly of the same quality of spiritual
existence as the Lord Himself, but they are prone to be tinged
with the material qualities. Because the minute living entity
is prone to be subjected to the influence of material
qualities, he is called jiva, and
sometimes the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also known as
Siva, the all-auspicious one. So the difference between Siva
and jiva is that the all-auspicious Personality of Godhead is
never affected by the material qualities whereas the minute
portions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are prone to be
affected by the qualities of material nature.
The Supersoul within the body of a particular living entity,
being a plenary portion of the Lord, is worshipable by the
individual living entity. Great sages have therefore concluded
that the process of meditation is designed so that the
individual living entity may concentrate his attention on the
lotus feet of the Supersoul form (Visnu). That is real
samadhi. The living entity cannot be liberated
from material entanglement by his own effort. He must
therefore take to the devotional service of the lotus feet of
the Supreme Lord, or the Supersoul within himself. Sridhara
Svami, the great commentator on Srimad-Bhagavatam, has
composed a nice verse in this regard, the meaning of which is
as follows: "My dear Lord, I am eternally a part of You,
but I have been entrapped by the material potencies, which
are also an emanation from You. As the cause of all causes,
You have entered my body as the Supersoul, and I have the
prerogative of enjoying the supreme blissful life of knowledge
along with You. Therefore, my dear Lord, please order me to
render You loving service so that I can again be brought to my
original position of transcendental bliss."
Great personalities understand that a living entity entangled
in this material world cannot be freed by his own efforts.
With firm faith and devotion, such great personalities engage
themselves in rendering transcendental loving service to the
Lord. That is the verdict of the personified Vedas.
The personified Vedas continued: "Dear Lord, it is very
difficult to achieve perfect knowledge of the Absolute Truth.
Your Lordship is so kind to the fallen souls that You appear
in different incarnations and execute different activities.
You appear even as a historical personality of this material
world, and Your pastimes are very nicely described in the
Vedic literature. Such pastimes are as attractive as the
ocean of transcendental bliss. People in general have a
natural inclination to read narrations in which ordinary jivas
are glorified, but when they become attracted by the Vedic
scriptures which delineate Your eternal pastimes, they
actually dip into the ocean of transcendental bliss. As a
fatigued man feels refreshed by dipping into a reservoir of
water, so the conditioned soul who is very much disgusted with
material activities becomes refreshed and forgets all the
fatigue of material activities simply by dipping into the
transcendental ocean of Your pastimes. And eventually he
merges into the ocean of transcendental bliss. The most
intelligent devotees, therefore, do not take to any means of
self-realization except devotional service and constant
engagement in the nine different processes of devotional life,
especially hearing and chanting. When hearing and chanting
about Your transcendental pastimes, Your devotees do not care
even for the transcendental bliss derived from liberation or
from merging into the existence of the Supreme. Such devotees
are not interested even in so-called liberation, and
they certainly have no interest in material activities for
elevation to the heavenly planets for sense gratification.
Pure devotees seek only the association of paramahamsas, or
great liberated devotees, so that they can continuously hear
and chant about Your glories. For this purpose the pure
devotees are prepared to sacrifice all comforts of life, even
giving up the material comforts of family life and so-called
society, friendship and love. Those who have tasted the nectar
of devotion by relishing the transcendental vibration of
chanting Your glories -- Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna,
Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare -- do
not care for any other spiritual bliss or for material
comforts, which appear to the pure devotee as less
important than the straw in the street."
The personified Vedas continued: "Dear Lord, when a person is
able to purify his mind, senses and intelligence by engaging
himself in devotional service in full Krsna consciousness, his
mind becomes his friend. Otherwise, his mind is always his
enemy. When the mind is engaged in the devotional service of
the Lord, it becomes the intimate friend of the living entity
because the mind can then think of the Supreme Lord always.
Your Lordship is eternally dear to the living entity, so when
the mind is engaged in thought of You one immediately feels
the great satisfaction for which he has been hankering life
after life. When one's mind is thus fixed on the lotus feet of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one does not take to any
kind of inferior worship or inferior process of self-
realization. By attempting to worship a demigod or by taking
to any other process of self-realization, the living entity
becomes a victim of the cycle of birth and death, and no one
can estimate how much the living entity is degraded by
entering abominable species of life such as cats and
dogs."
Sri Narottama dasa Thakura has sung that persons who do not
take to the devotional service of the Lord but are attracted
to the process of philosophical speculation and fruitive
activities drink the poisonous results of such actions. Such
persons eat all kinds of obnoxious things, such as meat,
and take pleasure in alcohol and other intoxicants, and
after death they are forced to take birth in lower
species of life. Materialistic persons
generally worship the transient material body and forget the
welfare of the spirit soul within the body. Some take shelter
of materialistic science to improve bodily comforts, and some
take to the worship of demigods to be promoted to the
heavenly planets. Their goal in life is to make the material
body comfortable, but they forget the interest of the
spirit soul. Such persons are described in the Vedic
literature as suicidal, because attachment for the material
body and its comforts forces the living entity to wander
through the process of birth and death perpetually and suffer
the material pangs as a matter of course. The human form of
life is a chance for one to understand his position. Therefore
the most intelligent person takes to devotional service just
to engage his mind, senses and body in the service of the Lord
without deviation.
The personified Vedas continued: "Dear Lord, there are many
mystic yogis who are very learned and deliberate in achieving
the highest perfection of life. They engage themselves in the
yogic process of controlling the life air within the body.
Concentrating the mind upon the form of Visnu and controlling
the senses very rigidly, they practice the yoga system, but
even after much laborious austerity, penance and regulation,
they achieve the same destination as persons inimical
toward You. In other words, both the yogis and the great, wise
philosophical speculators ultimately attain the impersonal
Brahman effulgence, which is automatically attained by
the demons who are regular enemies of the Lord. Demons like
Kamsa, Sisupala and Dantavakra attain the Brahman
effulgence because they constantly meditate upon the Supreme
Personality of Godhead out of enmity. The real point is to
concentrate the mind on the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Women such as the gopis were attached to Krsna, being
captivated by His beauty, and their mental concentration on
Krsna was provoked by lust. They wanted to be embraced by the
arms of Krsna, which resemble the beautiful round shape of a
snake. Similarly, we, the Vedic hymns,
simply concentrate our minds on the lotus feet of Your
Lordship. Women like the gopis concentrate upon You under
the dictation of lust, and we concentrate upon Your lotus feet
to go back home, back to Godhead. Your enemies also
concentrate upon You, thinking always of how to kill You, and
yogis undertake great penances and austerities just to
attain Your impersonal effulgence. All these different persons,
although concentrating their minds in different ways, achieve
spiritual perfection according to their different perspectives
because You, O Lord, are equal to all Your devotees."
Sridhara Svami has composed a nice verse in this regard: "My
dear Lord, to be engaged always in thinking of Your lotus feet
is very difficult. It is possible for great devotees who have
already achieved love for You and are engaged in
transcendental loving service. My dear Lord, I wish that my
mind may also be fixed somehow or other on Your lotus
feet, at least for some time."
The attainment of spiritual perfection by different
spiritualists is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, wherein the
Lord says that He grants the perfection the devotee desires in
proportion to the devotee's surrender unto Him. The
impersonalists, yogis and enemies of the Lord enter into
the Lord's transcendental effulgence, but the personalists who
follow in the footsteps of the inhabitants of
Vrndavana or strictly follow the path of devotional service
are elevated to the personal abode of Krsna, Goloka Vrndavana,
or to the Vaikuntha planets. Both the impersonalists and the
personalists enter the spiritual realm, the spiritual
sky, but the impersonalists are given their place in the
impersonal Brahman effulgence, whereas the personalists are
given a position in the Vaikuntha planets or in the Vrndavana
planet, according to their desire to serve the Lord in
different mellows.
The personified Vedas stated that persons born after
the creation of this material world cannot understand the
existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by
manipulating their material knowledge. Just as a person born
in a particular family cannot understand the position of his
great-grandfather, who lived before the birth of the recent
generation, we are unable to understand the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, Narayana, or Krsna, who exists
eternally in the spiritual world. In the Eighth Chapter of the
Bhagavad-gita it is clearly said that the Supreme Person, who
lives eternally in the spiritual kingdom of God (sanatana-
dhama), can be approached only by devotional service.
As for the material creation, Brahma is the first created
person. Before Brahma there was no living creature within this
material world; it was void and dark until Brahma was born on
the lotus flower that sprouted from the abdomen of
Garbhodakasayi Visnu. Garbhodakasayi Visnu is an expansion of
Karanodakasayi Visnu, Karanodakasayi Visnu is an expansion of
Sankarsana, and Sankarsana is an expansion of Balarama,
who is an immediate expansion of Lord Krsna. After the
creation of Brahma, the two kinds of demigods were born:
demigods like the four brothers Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana
and Sanat-kumara, who are representatives of renunciation of
the world, and demigods like Marici and their descendants, who
are meant to enjoy this material world. From these two kinds
of demigods were gradually manifested all other living
entities, including the human beings. Thus all living
creatures within this material world, including Brahma, all
the demigods and all the Raksasas, are to be considered modern.
This means that they were all born recently.
Therefore, just as a person born recently in a family
cannot understand the situation of his distant forefather, no
one within this material world can understand the
position of the Supreme Lord in the spiritual world, because
the material world has only recently been created. Although
they have a long duration of existence, all the manifestations
of the material world -- namely the time element, the living
entities, the Vedas and the gross and subtle material
elements -- are created at some point. Thus any process
manufactured within this created situation as a
means for understanding the original source of creation is to
be considered modern.
Therefore by the process of self-realization or God
realization through fruitive activities, philosophical
speculation or mystic yoga, one cannot actually approach the
supreme source of everything. When the creation is completely
terminated -- when there is no existence of the Vedas, no
existence of material time, and no existence of the gross and
subtle material elements, and when all the living entities are
in the nonmanifested stage, resting within Narayana -- then
all these manufactured processes become null and void and
cannot act. Devotional service, however, is eternally going on
in the eternal spiritual world. Therefore the only factual
process of self-realization or God realization is devotional
service, and one who takes to this process takes to the
real process of God realization.
In this regard, Srila Sridhara Svami has composed a verse
which conveys the idea that the supreme source of everything,
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is so great and unlimited
that it is not possible for the living entity to understand
Him by any material acquisition. One should therefore pray to
the Lord to be engaged in His devotional service eternally, so
that by the grace of the Lord one can understand the supreme
source of creation. The supreme source of creation, the
Supreme Lord, reveals Himself only to the devotees. In the
Fourth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gita the Lord says to Arjuna, "
My dear Arjuna, because you are My devotee and because you are
My intimate friend, I shall reveal to you the process of
understanding Me." In other words, the supreme source of
creation, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot be
understood by our own endeavor. We have to please Him with
devotional service, and then He will reveal Himself to us.
Then we can understand Him to some extent.
There are different kinds of philosophers who have tried to
understand the supreme source by their mental speculation.
There are generally six kinds of mental speculators, whose
speculations are called sad-darsana. All these philosophers
are impersonalists and are known as Mayavadis. Every one of
them has tried to establish his own opinion, although they all
have later compromised and stated that all opinions lead to
the same goal and that every opinion is therefore valid.
According to the prayers of the personified Vedas, however,
none of them is valid because their process of knowledge is
created within the temporary material world. They have all
missed the real point: the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or
the Absolute Truth, can be understood only by devotional
service.
One class of philosophers, known as Mimamsakas, represented by
sages such as Jaimini, have concluded that everyone should
engage in pious activities or prescribed duties and
that such activities will lead one to the highest perfection.
But this is contradicted in the Ninth Chapter of the Bhagavad-
gita, where Lord Krsna says that by pious activities one may
be elevated to the heavenly planets, but that as soon as one's
accumulation of pious activities is used up, one has to leave
the enjoyment of a higher standard of material prosperity in
the heavenly planets and immediately come down again to these
lower planets, where the duration of life is very short and
where the standard of material happiness is of a lower grade.
The exact words used in the Bhagavad-gita are ksine punye
martya-lokam visanti [Bg. 9.21]. Therefore the conclusion of
the Mimamsaka philosophers that pious activities will lead
one to the Absolute Truth is not valid. Although a pure
devotee is by nature inclined to perform pious activities, no
one can attain the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead
by pious activities alone. Pious activities may purify one of
the contamination caused by ignorance and passion, but this
purification is automatically attained by a devotee
constantly engaged in hearing the transcendental message of
Godhead in the form of the Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam or
similar scriptures. From the Bhagavad-gita we understand that
even a person who is not up to the standard of pious
activities but who is absolutely engaged in devotional service
is to be considered well situated on the path of spiritual
perfection. It is also said in the Bhagavad-gita that a person
who is engaged in devotional service with love and faith is
guided from within by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The
Lord Himself as Paramatma, or the spiritual master sitting
within one's heart, gives the devotee exact directions by
which he can gradually go back to Godhead. The conclusion of
the Mimamsaka philosophers is not actually the truth which can
lead one to real understanding.
Similarly, there are Sankhya philosophers, metaphysicians or
materialistic scientists who study this cosmic manifestation
by their invented scientific method and do not recognize
the supreme authority of God as the creator of the cosmic
manifestation. They wrongly conclude that the
reactions of the material elements are the original cause of
creation. The Bhagavad-gita, however, does not accept this
theory. It is clearly said therein that behind the cosmic
activities is the direction of the Supreme Personality of
Godhead. This fact is corroborated by the Vedic injunction
sad va saumyedam agra asit, which means that the origin of
the creation existed before the cosmic manifestation.
Therefore, the material elements cannot be the cause of the
material creation. Although the material elements are accepted
as immediate causes, the ultimate cause is the Supreme
Personality of Godhead Himself. The Bhagavad-gita says,
therefore, that material nature works under the direction of
Krsna.
The conclusion of the atheistic Sankhya philosophy is that
because the effects -- the phenomena of this material world -
- are temporary, or illusory, the cause is therefore also
illusory. The Sankhya philosophers are in favor of voidism,
but the actual fact is that the original cause is the Supreme
Personality of Godhead and that this cosmic manifestation is
the temporary manifestation of His material energy. When this
temporary manifestation is annihilated, its cause, the eternal
existence of the spiritual world, continues as it is, and
therefore the spiritual world is called sanatana-dhama, the
eternal abode. The conclusion of the Sankhya philosophers is
therefore invalid.
Then there are the philosophers headed by Gautama and Kanada.
They have minutely studied the cause and effect of the
material elements and have ultimately come to the conclusion
that atomic combination is the original cause of creation.
At present the materialistic scientists follow in
the footsteps of Gautama and Kanada, who propounded this
theory, called Paramanuvada. This theory, however, cannot be
supported, for the original cause of everything is not
inert atoms. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-
Bhagavatam, as well as in the Vedas, wherein it is stated, eko
narayana asit: "Only Narayana existed before the creation."
Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Vedanta-sutra also say that the
original cause is sentient and both indirectly and directly
cognizant of everything within this creation. In the Bhagavad-
gita Krsna says, aham sarvasya prabhavah [Bg. 10.8], "I am
the original cause of everything," and mattah sarvam
pravartate, "From Me everything comes into existence."
Therefore, atoms may form the basic combinations of material
existence, but these atoms are generated from the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. Thus the philosophy of Gautama and
Kanada cannot be supported.
Similarly, impersonalists headed by Astavakra and later by
Sankaracarya accept the impersonal Brahman effulgence as the
cause of everything. According to their theory, the material
manifestation is temporary and unreal, whereas the impersonal
Brahman effulgence is reality. But this theory cannot be
supported either, because the Lord Himself says in the
Bhagavad-gita that the Brahman effulgence rests on
His personality. It is confirmed in the Brahma-samhita
that the Brahman effulgence is the personal bodily rays of
Krsna. As such, impersonal Brahman cannot be the original
cause of the cosmic manifestation. The original cause is the
all-perfect, sentient Personality of Godhead, Govinda.
The most dangerous theory of the impersonalists is that when
God comes as an incarnation He accepts a material body created
by the three modes of material nature. This Mayavada theory
has been condemned by Lord Caitanya as most offensive. He has
said that anyone who accepts the transcendental body of the
Personality of Godhead to be made of material nature
commits the greatest offense at the lotus feet of Visnu.
Similarly, the Bhagavad-gita also states that when
the Personality of Godhead descends
in a human form, only fools and rascals deride Him. This
actually occurred when Lord Krsna, Lord Rama and Lord Caitanya
moved within human society as human beings.
The personified Vedas condemn the impersonal conception as a
gross misrepresentation. In the Brahma-samhita, the body of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead is described as ananda-
cinmaya-rasa. The Supreme Personality of Godhead
possesses a spiritual body, not a material body. He can enjoy
anything through any part of His body, and therefore He is
omnipotent. The limbs of a material body can perform only a
particular function; for example, the hands can hold but
cannot see or hear. But because the body of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead is made of ananda-cinmaya-rasa and
is thus sac-cid-ananda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1], He can enjoy
anything and do everything with any of His limbs. Acceptance
of the spiritual body of the Lord as material is dictated by
the tendency to equate the Supreme Personality of Godhead
with the conditioned soul. The conditioned soul has a
material body. Therefore, if God also has a material body,
then the impersonalistic theory that the Supreme Personality
of Godhead and the living entities are one and the same can be
very easily propagated.
Factually, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead comes He
exhibits a nonmaterial body, and thus there is no
difference between His childish body when He is lying on the
lap of His Mother Yasoda and His so-called grown-up body
fighting with the demons. In His childhood body He also
fought with demons, such as Putana, Trnavarta and
Aghasura, with strength equal to that with which He fought in
His youth against demons like Dantavakra and
Sisupala. In material life, as soon as a conditioned soul
changes his body he forgets everything of his past body, but
from the Bhagavad-gita we understand that because Krsna
has a sac-cid-ananda body He did not forget instructing the
sun-god about the Bhagavad-gita millions of years ago. The
Lord is therefore known as Purusottama because He is
transcendental to both material and spiritual existence. That
He is the cause of all causes means that He is the cause of
the spiritual world and of the material world as well. The
Supreme Personality of Godhead is omnipotent and omniscient.
Therefore, because a material body can be neither omnipotent
nor omniscient, the Lord's body is surely not material.
The Mayavada theory that the Personality of Godhead comes
within this material world with a material body cannot be
supported by any means.
It can be concluded that all the theories of the materialistic
philosophers are generated from temporary, illusory
existence, like the conclusions in a dream. Such conclusions
certainly cannot lead us to the Absolute Truth. The Absolute
Truth can be realized only through devotional service. As
the Lord says in the Bhagavad-gita, bhaktya mam abhijanati: [
Bg. 18.55] "Only by devotional service can one understand Me."
Srila Sridhara Svami has composed a nice verse in this regard,
which states, "My dear Lord, let others engage in
false argument and dry speculation, theorizing upon
great philosophical theses. Let them loiter in the darkness of
ignorance and illusion, falsely enjoying as if very learned
scholars, although they are without knowledge of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. As far as I am concerned, I wish to be
liberated simply by chanting the holy names of the all-
beautiful Supreme Personality of Godhead -- Madhava, Vamana,
Trinayana, Sankarsana, Sripati and Govinda. Simply by chanting
Your transcendental names, O Lord Madhupati, let me become
free from the contamination of this material existence."
In this way the personified Vedas said, "Dear Lord, when
a living entity, by Your grace only, comes to the right
conclusion about Your exalted transcendental position,
he no longer bothers with the different theories
manufactured by the mental speculators or so-called
philosophers." This is a reference to the speculative theories
of Gautama, Kanada, Patanjali and Kapila (nirisvara). There
are actually two Kapilas: one Kapila, the son of Kardama Muni,
is an incarnation of God, and the other is an atheist of the
modern age. The atheistic Kapila is often misrepresented to be
the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Kapila the
incarnation of Godhead appeared as the son of Kardama
Muni long, long ago, during the time
of Svayambhuva Manu; the modern age is the age of Vaivasvata
Manu.
According to Mayavada philosophy, this manifested world, or
material world, is mithya or maya, false. The Mayavadi
preaching principle is brahma satyam jagan
mithya: "Only the Brahman effulgence is true, and the
cosmic manifestation is illusory, or false." But according to
Vaisnava philosophy, this cosmic manifestation is true because
it is caused by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the
Bhagavad-gita the Lord says that He enters within this
material world by one of His plenary portions and thus the
creation takes place. From the Vedas also we can understand
that this asat, or temporary cosmic manifestation, is an
emanation from the supreme sat, or fact. From the Vedanta-
sutra also it is understood that everything has emanated from
the Supreme Brahman. Therefore the Vaisnavas do not take
this cosmic manifestation to be false. Because the Supreme
Personality of Godhead has entered this cosmic manifestation
in the form of His plenary expansion and caused the creation,
the Vaisnava philosophers see everything in this material
world in relationship with the Supreme Lord.
This conception of the material world is very nicely explained
by Srila Rupa Gosvami, who says that when persons
renounce the material world as illusory or false without
knowing that the material world is a manifestation of
the Supreme Lord, their renunciation is of no value.
The Vaisnavas, however, are free of attachment to this world
because although the material world is generally accepted as
an object of sense gratification, the Vaisnavas are not in
favor of sense gratification and are therefore
not attached to material activities. The Vaisnava accepts this
material world according to the regulative principles of the
Vedic injunctions and works without attachment. Since the
Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original cause of
everything, the Vaisnava sees everything in relationship with
Krsna, even in this material world. By such advanced knowledge,
everything becomes spiritualized. In other words, everything
in the material world is already spiritual, but due to our
lack of knowledge we see things as material.
The personified Vedas presented the example that those
seeking gold do not reject gold earrings, gold bangles
or anything else made of gold simply because they are shaped
differently from the original gold. All living entities are
part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and are qualitatively one
with Him, but they are now differently shaped in 8,400,000
species of life, just like many different ornaments
manufactured from the same source of gold. As one who is
interested in gold accepts all the differently shaped gold
ornaments, so a Vaisnava, knowing well that all living
entities are of the same quality as the Supreme Personality of
Godhead, accepts all living entities as eternal servants of
God. A Vaisnava, then, has ample opportunity to serve
the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by reclaiming these
conditioned, misled living entities, training them in Krsna
consciousness and leading them back home, back to Godhead.
The fact is that the minds of the living entities are now
agitated by the three material qualities, and the living
entities are therefore transmigrating, as if in dreams, from
one body to another. When their consciousness is changed into
Krsna consciousness, however, they immediately fix Krsna
within their hearts, and thus their path toward liberation
becomes clear.
In all the Vedas the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the
living entities are stated to be of the same quality --
cetana, or spiritual. This is confirmed in the Padma
Purana, wherein it is said that there are two kinds of
spiritual entities: one is called the jiva, and the other is
called the Supreme Lord. From Lord Brahma down to
the ant, all living entities are jivas, whereas the Lord is
the supreme four-handed Visnu, or Janardana. Strictly speaking,
the word atma can be applied only to the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, but because the living entities are His parts and
parcels, sometimes the word atma is applied to them also. The
living entities are therefore called jivatma, and the Supreme
Lord is called Paramatma. Both the Paramatma and the jivatma
are within this material world, and therefore this material
world has a purpose other than sense gratification. The
conception of a life of sense gratification is illusion, but
the conception of service by the jivatma to the Paramatma,
even in this material world, is not at all illusory. A Krsna
conscious person is fully aware of this fact, and thus he does
not take this material world to be false but acts in the
reality of transcendental service. The devotee therefore sees
everything in this material world as an opportunity to serve
the Lord. He does not reject anything as material but
dovetails everything in the service of the Lord. Thus a
devotee is always in the transcendental position, and
everything he uses becomes spiritually purified by being
used in the Lord's service.
Sridhara Svami has composed a nice verse in this regard: "I
worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is always
manifested as reality, even within this material world, which
is considered by some to be false." The conception of the
falsity of this material world is due to a lack of knowledge,
but a person advanced in Krsna consciousness sees the Supreme
Personality of Godhead in everything. This is actual
realization of the Vedic aphorism sarvam khalv idam brahma: "
Everything is Brahman."
The personified Vedas continued: "Dear Lord, less intelligent
men take to other ways of self-realization, but actually there
is no chance of becoming purified from material contamination
or of stopping the repeated cycle of birth and death unless
one is a thoroughly pure devotee. Dear Lord, everything
rests on Your different potencies, and everyone is
supported by You, as stated in the Vedas: eko bahunam yo
vidadhati kaman. Therefore Your Lordship is the supporter and
maintainer of all living entities -- demigods, human beings
and animals. Everyone is supported by You, and You are also
situated in everyone's heart. In other words, You are the root
of the whole creation. Therefore those who engage in
Your devotional service without deviation, who always worship
You, actually pour water on the root of the
universal tree. By devotional service, therefore, one
satisfies not only the Personality of Godhead but also all
others, because everyone is maintained and supported by Him.
Because a devotee understands the all-pervasive feature of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is the most
practical philanthropist and altruist. Such pure devotees,
thoroughly engaged in Krsna consciousness, very easily
overcome the cycle of birth and death, and they as much as
jump over the head of death."
A devotee is never afraid of death, or changing his body;
his consciousness is transformed into Krsna consciousness, and
even if he does not go back to Godhead, even if he
transmigrates to another material body, he has nothing to fear.
A vivid example is Bharata Maharaja. Although in his next
life he became a deer, in the life after that he became
completely free from all material contamination and was
elevated to the kingdom of God. The Bhagavad-gita affirms,
therefore, that a devotee is never vanquished. A devotee's
path to the spiritual kingdom, back home, back to Godhead, is
guaranteed. Even though a devotee slips in one birth, the
continuation of his Krsna consciousness elevates him further
and further, until he goes back to Godhead. Not only does a
pure devotee purify his own personal existence, but whoever
becomes his disciple also becomes purified and is
ultimately able to enter the kingdom of God without difficulty.
In other words, not only can a pure devotee easily surpass
death, but by his grace his followers can also do so
without difficulty. The power of devotional service is so
great that a pure devotee can electrify another person by his
transcendental instruction on crossing over the ocean of
nescience.
The instructions of a pure devotee to his disciple are also
very simple. No one feels any difficulty in following in the
footsteps of a pure devotee of the Lord. Anyone who follows in
the footsteps of recognized devotees,
such as Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, the Kumaras, Manu, Kapila,
King Prahlada, King Janaka, Sukadeva Gosvami, Yamaraja and
their followers in disciplic succession, very easily finds the
door of liberation open. On the other hand, those who are not
devotees but are engaged in uncertain processes of self-
realization, such as jnana, yoga and karma, are understood to
be still contaminated. Such contaminated persons, although
apparently advanced in self-realization, cannot liberate
even themselves, what to speak of those who follow them. Such
nondevotees are compared to chained animals, for they are not
able to go beyond the jurisdiction of the formalities of a
certain type of faith. In the Bhagavad-gita they are condemned
as veda-vada-rata. They cannot understand that the Vedas deal
with activities of the material modes of nature -- goodness,
passion and ignorance. But as Lord Krsna advised Arjuna, one
has to go beyond the jurisdiction of the duties prescribed in
the Vedas and take to Krsna consciousness, devotional service.
The Lord says in the Bhagavad-gita, nistrai-gunyo bhavarjuna: "
My dear Arjuna, just try to become transcendental to the Vedic
rituals." This transcendental position beyond the Vedic
ritualistic performances is devotional service. In the
Bhagavad-gita the Lord clearly says that persons who are
engaged in His devotional service without adulteration are
situated in Brahman. Actual Brahman realization means Krsna
consciousness and engagement in devotional service. The
devotees are therefore real brahmacaris because their
activities are always in Krsna consciousness, devotional
service.
The Krsna consciousness movement therefore issues a supreme
call to all kinds of religionists, asking them with great
authority to join this movement, by which one can learn how to
love God and thus surpass all formulas and formalities of
scriptural injunction. A person who cannot overcome the
jurisdiction of stereotyped religious principles is compared
to an animal chained up by his master. The purpose of all
religion is to understand God and develop one's dormant love
of Godhead. If one simply sticks to the religious formulas and
formalities but does not become elevated to the position of
love of God, he is considered to be a chained animal. In other
words, if one is not in Krsna consciousness, he is not
eligible for liberation from the contamination of material
existence.
Srila Sridhara Svami has composed a nice verse in this
regard: "Let others engage in severe austerities, let others
fall to the land from the tops of hills and give up their
lives, let others travel to many holy places of pilgrimage for
salvation, or let them engage in deep study of
philosophy and Vedic literature. Let the mystic yogis engage
in their meditational service, and let the different sects
engage in unnecessary arguing as to which is the best. But it
is a fact that unless one is Krsna conscious, unless one is
engaged in devotional service, and unless one has the mercy of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he cannot cross over this
material ocean." An intelligent person, therefore, gives up
all stereotyped ideas and joins the Krsna consciousness
movement for factual liberation.
The personified Vedas continued their prayers: "Dear Lord,
Your impersonal feature is explained in the Vedas. You have
no hands, but You can accept all sacrifices offered
to You. You have no legs, but You can walk more swiftly than
anyone else. Although You have no eyes, You can see whatever
happens in the past, present and future. Although You have no
ears, You can hear everything that is said. Although You have
no mind, You know everyone and everyone's activities, past,
present and future, and yet no one knows who You are. You know
everyone, but no one knows You; therefore, You are the oldest
and supreme personality."
Similarly, in another part of the Vedas it is said, "You have
nothing to do. You are so perfect in Your knowledge and
potency that everything becomes manifest simply by Your will.
There is no one equal to or greater than You, and everyone
acts as Your eternal servant." Thus the Vedic
statements affirm that the Absolute has no legs, no hands,
no eyes, no ears and no mind, and yet He can act through His
potencies and fulfill the needs of all living entities. As
stated in the Bhagavad-gita, His hands and legs are everywhere,
for He is all-pervasive. The hands, legs, ears and eyes of
all living entities are acting and moving by the direction of
the Supersoul sitting within the living entity's heart. Unless
the Supersoul is present, it is not possible for the hands and
legs to be active. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is so
great, independent and perfect that even without
having any eyes, legs or ears He is not dependent on others
for His activities. On the contrary, others are dependent on
Him for the activities of their different sense organs. Unless
the living entity is inspired and directed by the Supersoul,
he cannot act.
The fact is that ultimately the Absolute Truth is the Supreme
Person. But because He acts through His different
potencies, which are impossible for the gross materialists to
see, the materialists accept Him as impersonal. For example,
one can observe the personal artistic work in a painting of a
flower, and one can understand that the color adjustment, the
shape and so on have demanded the minute attention of an
artist. The artist's work is clearly exhibited in a painting
of different blooming flowers. But the gross materialist,
without seeing the hand of God in such artistic manifestations
as the actual flowers blooming in nature, concludes that the
Absolute Truth is impersonal. Actually, the Absolute is
personal, but He is independent. He does not require to
personally take a brush and colors to paint the flowers, for
His potencies act so wonderfully that it appears as if
flowers have come into being without the aid of an artist. The
impersonal view of the Absolute Truth is accepted by less
intelligent men, because unless one is engaged in the service
of the Lord one cannot understand how the Supreme is acting --
one cannot even know the Lord's name. Everything about the
Lord's activities and personal features is revealed to the
devotee only through his loving service attitude.
In the Bhagavad-gita it is clearly said, bhoktaram yajna-
tapasam: [Bg. 5.29] "The Lord is the enjoyer of all
sacrifices and of the results of all austerities." Then
the Lord says, sarva-loka-mahesvaram: "I am the proprietor of
all planets." So that is the position of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. While He is present in Goloka
Vrndavana enjoying transcendental pleasure in the company of
His eternal associates -- the gopis and the cowherd boys --
all over the creation His potencies are acting under His
direction, without disturbing
His eternal pastimes.
Only through devotional service can one understand how
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by His inconceivable
potencies, simultaneously acts impersonally and as a person.
He acts just like the supreme emperor, and many
thousands of kings and chiefs work under Him. The
Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme independent
controlling person, and all the demigods, including Lord
Brahma, Lord Siva, Indra (the King of heaven), the king of the
moon planet and the king of the sun planet, work
under His direction. The Vedas confirm that it is out of
fear of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that the sun is
shining, the wind is blowing, and fire is distributing heat
. The
material nature produces all kinds of movable and
immovable objects within the material world, but none of them
can independently act or create without the direction of the
Supreme Lord. All of them act as His tributaries, just
like subordinate kings who offer their annual taxes to the
emperor.
The Vedic injunctions state that every living entity lives by
eating the remnants of food offered to the Personality
of Godhead. In great sacrifices the injunction is that
Narayana should be present as the supreme predominating Deity
of the sacrifice and that after the sacrifice is performed
the remnants of food should be distributed among the
demigods. This is called yajna-bhaga. Every demigod has an
allotment of yajna-bhaga, which he accepts as prasadam. The
conclusion is that the demigods are not independently powerful:
they are posted as different executives under the order of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they eat
prasadam, or the remnants of sacrifices. They execute
the order of the Supreme Lord exactly according to
His plan. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is in the
background, and because His orders are carried out by others,
it appears that He is impersonal. In our grossly
materialistic way, we cannot conceive how the Supreme Person
is above the impersonal activities of material nature.
Therefore the Lord explains in the Bhagavad-gita that there is
nothing superior to Him and that the impersonal Brahman is
subordinately situated as a manifestation of His personal rays.
Sripada Sridhara Svami has composed a nice
verse in this regard: "Let me offer my respectful obeisances
unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has no material
senses but through whose direction and will all the material
senses are working. He is the supreme potency of all material
senses or sense organs. He is omnipotent, and He is the
supreme performer of everything. Therefore He is worshipable
by everyone. Unto that Supreme Person do I offer my respectful
obeisances."
Krsna Himself declares in the Bhagavad-gita that because He is
transcendental to all sentient and insentient beings He is
known as Purusottama, which means the Supreme Personality. (
Purusa means "person," and uttama means "supreme" or "
transcendental.")
In another
place the Lord says that as the air is situated in the all-
pervading sky, everyone is situated in Him, and everyone is
acting under His direction.
The Vedas personified continued. "Dear Lord," they prayed,
"You are equal to all, with no partiality toward a particular
type of living entity. It is due to their own material
desires that all living entities enjoy or suffer in different
conditions of life. As Your parts and parcels, they are just
like the sparks of a fire. Just as sparks dance in a blazing
fire, all living entities are dancing on Your support. You
are providing them with everything they desire, and yet You
are not responsible for their position of enjoyment or
suffering. There are different types of living entities --
demigods, human beings, animals, trees, birds, beasts, germs,
worms, insects and aquatics -- and all enjoy or
suffer in life while resting on You."
The living entities are of two kinds: one class is called
nitya-mukta, ever liberated, and the other is called nitya-
baddha, ever conditioned. The nitya-mukta living entities are
in the spiritual kingdom, and the nitya-baddhas are in the
material world. In the spiritual world both the living
entities and the Lord are manifest in their original status,
like live sparks in a blazing fire. But in the material world,
although the Lord is all-pervasive in His impersonal feature,
the living entities have forgotten their Krsna consciousness
to a greater or lesser degree, just as sparks sometimes fall
from a blazing fire and lose their original brilliant
condition. The sparks fall into different conditions and
retain more or less of their original brilliance. Some sparks
fall onto dry grass and thus ignite another big fire. This is
a reference to the pure devotees who take compassion on the
poor and innocent living entities. The pure devotee ignites
Krsna consciousness in the hearts of the conditioned souls,
and thus the blazing fire of the spiritual world becomes
manifest even within this material world. Some sparks fall
onto water; they immediately lose their original brilliance
and become extinct. They are comparable to the living
entities who take their birth in the midst of gross
materialists, in which case their original Krsna consciousness
becomes