śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year-4, Special On-line Edition
Posted: 30 October 2011
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Inspired by and under the guidance of
nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
Bhagavānera Kathā Part 3
The Message of Godhead
by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja
There are many reasons for an āsurika, godless, nature; however, in this present article I am discussing three that are prominent: lust, anger and greed. These three propensities have been described as door-ways leading to hell and destroyers of the soul.
Bhagavān is the sole master and enjoyer of creation. When we forget this, a strong desire to enjoy this tangible world is born within us. When desires are unfulfilled they give rise to anger and under the influence of anger we become frustrated, and like the jackal’s plea of “sour grapes”* we portray the act of renunciation. Lying at the root of this kind of pretentious renunciation is a greater greed and desire for sense gratification. This too is one more layer of material desire. Unless one cross beyond these levels of bhoga and tyāga, accepting and rejecting, and becomes situated on the platform of the soul, he cannot understand the message of Godhead and thus will continue to remain under the influence of an āsurika mood.
* Once a jackal came across a grapevine. The tasty looking fruits hung high above his head and as he tried to reach up and pick one he found to his dismay that it was beyond his grasp. Again and again he tried but to no avail. Finally in frustration he scorned, ‘the grapes are sour’ and ran off with his tail between his legs (Pañca-tantra stories).
If we want to make progress on the path of auspiciousness for the soul by becoming free from an āsurika existence, then the only method is to act according to the injunctions of śāstra. Irresponsible, independent and unlawful acts are all born of lust, by which one will never be able to cross beyond anger and greed and can never obtain true happiness and the ultimate destination. Thus, who will reveal how ‘in the dispensation of providence’* mankind can obtain peace or the ultimate destination? Śāstra is our only support. If we work according to its injunctions we can receive freedom from the unlawful and whimsical acts.
* “In the dispensation of providence” means the living entities reception of his karma-phala, or the fruits of pious and impious deeds.
The age in which we are presently living is called Kali-yuga, the dreadful age of quarrel and hypocrisy. Almost all people of this age have short lives, dull intelligence and dull fortune, and are always under the persecution of disease and distress. Consequently, they do not have a natural inclination for the instruction of śāstra. Practically all the religionists of the world, be they Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and so on, live whimsically by transgressing the laws of their own scriptures. All these people, what to speak of following the laws of śāstra, misinterpret them and gradually become very firmly established in an āsurika nature in the form of sense enjoyment born out of their worldly desires. Bhagavān and His devotees are always concerned how to rescue the kali-hat jīva, conditioned souls frustrated by the effects of Kali-yuga.
The devotees of Bhagavān, the Vaiṣṇavas, are like oceans of mercy and desire-fulfilling trees. In order to deliver the jīvas tormented by Kali, the Vaiṣṇavas, even after fulfilling whatever desires or prayers the jīvas have, make arrangement to establish their sambandha, their relationship with Bhagavān. Whatever means Gaurasundara Śrī Caitanyadeva, the Saviour of the fallen has prescribed, seeing the jīva’s miserable condition, that alone is the injunction of the śāstras for all common people.
Purifying the heart through the study of the Vedas, Vedānta and its supplementary parts was a possibility in other ages, but that is now no longer feasible. The previous system required maintaining strong celibacy, which is beyond the capacity of common people nowadays. Therefore people with many impurities can-not gain any thing through study of Veda and Vedānta. To explain Vedānta to these unqualified people devoid of saṁskāra is a total waste of time. Śrī Caitanyadeva indeed bestowed His mercy to this kind of kali-hat jīva. Consequently those who are unable to accept the mercy of Śrī Caitanyadeva will remain deceived forever. Is there any doubt about that?
Those fortunate people who, after deliberating upon the compassionate process of Śrī Caitanya have become able to receive it, are no longer, ‘in the dispensation of providence,’ that is, punishable by māyā. But, for those who being controlled by the beginningless cycle of karma are tormented by māyā, Bhagavān has arranged karma-yoga for them.
Learned scholars say that after wandering amongst 8,400,000 species of life, (900,000 types of aquatics, 2,000,000 species of immobile life, trees, mountains and so on, 1,100,000 species of insects and worms, 1,000,000 species of birds, 3,000,000 species of animals and 400,000 species of humans in the gradual development of the state of material consciousness), one is born within the human society in India. How many millions of years’ pass by, wandering throughout the various aforementioned species? It is uncountable. Therefore, even after obtaining birth in India, if we remain floating in the grip of māyā, sinking and surfacing, ‘in the dispensation of providence’ there will be no limit to our misfortune. Therefore Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī has said (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 9.41):
bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya-janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari’ kara para-upakāra
One who takes birth in this human form in the land of Bhārata, or India, should make his life successful, and then work for the ultimate benefit of others.
To follow the guiding path of those mahājanas from Bhārata is the success of human life. The sages of India have endeavored to find liberation from the hands of māyā and to become like a particle of dust at the lotus feet of Bhagavān. Such endeavours are not to be seen in any other place on the earth.
We can see in other places, especially Western countries, that there has been great research and progress made in material science which is only based on the mind and body created by māyā, the deluding potency. For this reason Western people who are ‘in the dispensation of providence’ receive no rest of any kind. Indians too, being fond of imitating such people are also walking on the path of destruction. At present times they have given up their own culture to become beggars at the doors of others, and under the influence of this ‘dispensation’ of māyā, they boldly claim themselves to be an independent nation. There is nothing to gain by that.
The process and means of perfection in the eternal sambandha, abhideya and prayojana between the infinitesimal soul and the infinite Supreme have never been discussed in Western countries. Therefore, although these countries prosper from the mundane point of view, they are tossed about in the painful burning poison of materialism, and Indians too, being corrupted in that burning poison are thinking themselves successful. Now many western thinkers are looking towards India for peace. Therefore we can maintain a firm belief that the message of peace from India will soon arrive within their ears.
Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, considering the distress and future of the living entities, instructed the Bhagavad-gītā from His lotus mouth like a pacifying shower into the poisonous fire of materialism. There is a need to understand the great difference between general karma and the karma-yoga mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā. At present there are many who identify themselves as karma-yogīs in a so-called karma-sampradāya, however, they are seen enjoying the fruits of their own work. In the Bhagavad-gītā Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa has referred to the process of buddhi-yoga in many places. The meaning of buddhi-yoga is bhagavad-bhakti. Śrī Kṛṣṇa has said: dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te, “I bestow the transcendental knowledge by which they come to me.” (Bhagavad-gītā, 10.10). Elsewhere He has said: “bhaktyā mām abhijānāti – it is only by unalloyed bhakti that one can behold Me, that is, know Me in truth (Bhagavad-gītā 18.55)” and bhaktyāham ekayā grāhyaḥ – I am to be obtained by unalloyed devotional service (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.14.21).” Therefore the buddhi-yoga by which one can obtain Him is none other then bhakti. It is a well-known fact that one can attain Bhagavān through bhakti; consequently one of His names is bhakta-vatsala, one who is especially affectionate towards His devotees.
Through buddhi-yoga one can adopt karma-kauśala, the art of work, and by that art alone mankind can be peaceful or find rest ‘in the dispensation of providence.’ We can clearly see the mood of buddhi-yoga in the Bhagavad-gītā (2.39–40):
eṣā te ‘bhihitā sāṅkhye
buddhir yoge tv imāṁ śṛṇu
buddhyā yukto yayā pārth
O Pārtha, thus far I have explained this knowledge of sāṅkhya-yoga,* but now I will impart to you the science of bhakti-yoga, by which you will become freed from the bondage of this material world.
* Sāṅkhya-yoga is defined by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura as follows: “That which properly illuminates the vastu-tattva or essential reality of an object” (Bhāgavad-gītā, Bhāvānuvāda 2.39).
nehābhikrama nāśo ’sti
pratyavāyo na vidyate
svalpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt
Endeavours on the path of bhakti-yoga are neither fruitless nor subject to loss. Even a little progress frees one from fear and the greatest of dangers in this material world.
It is a very difficult affair for the people of the modern world to discover peace by the analytical method, sāṅkhya-yoga. However the peace one may obtain through buddhi-yoga, or bhakti-yoga belittles the highest worldly gain or peace in the form of brahmānanda, the bliss experienced by being situated in the nature of brahma. Because the development of karma in relation to bhakti never goes in vain or is destroyed, to the degree it is performed, that amount will be permanently secured. Even a little performance of it rescues one from the greatest of fears, the bindings of the material world.
Translated from Śrī Gauḍīya Patrikā, Year 1, Issues 11
by the Rays of The Harmonist team
CC-BY-SA Rays of The Harmonist Number 10 (Summer 2002)