śrī śrī guru gaurāṅga jayataḥ!
Year 11, Issue 6
Posted: 7 July 2018
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
Men act like infants
Man, as distinct from the lower species, can consider the past and present, but we often notice striking difficulties in the decisions reached by human deliberation. Those who are anxious to be seen as civilized are of the opinion, “If we can observe the civic rules, then there will be no mutual friction and we can live quite in comfort and happiness, albeit godless.” Such an opinion finds great favour with the advocates of the path of karma.
There are again some others who consider, “This world is a place of troubles. It is necessary to always stay away from here. Perceiving the non-distinctiveness of reality is therefore necessary, since such perception equates to salvation, and this salvation is to be wished for.”
The devotees of God express no such opinion. Those who want to remove their desires by means of enjoyment hanker for emancipation. But the devotees of God hanker neither for enjoyment nor for emancipation. When, because of a lack of exact knowledge about the truth, we rely only on relative knowledge, our desires are not removed therewith, and all of our acts evaporate like camphor. The path wherein there is neither want nor merger with non-distinctiveness is that of cid-vilāsa (pleasure or pure sentience). If, in so-called “liberation”, we have no experience of the benefit of that liberation, then such a state should not be called true liberation, for it amounts only to self-destruction. It is not at all indicative of intelligence to do away with the patient along with the disease.
Many, when troubled by the distresses and miseries of the world, contemplate being delivered from the world, like the old woman from the fable. The old woman, while gathering fuel logs from the woods, complained to God for giving her all her distress and hardship. She invoked the god of death to come and take her away to his abode. When the god of death actually appeared before her, she did not want to go with him, but instead only asked him to help lift a load of wood on to her head. Thus, even though she was given the chance to be relieved from the privations and troubles of the world, she wished to live among them.
It is the same for those who want liberation, being troubled by worldly hardships. The stream of worldly desires flows within them, also, just like the river Phalgu by Gayā, whose water flows below the sandy surface in all directions. A jīva cannot achieve eternal well-being if he adopts the same course as those who desire the fruit of worldly enjoyments, or, conversely, as those who are averse to the enjoyment of such fruit. They are all self-deceived and hypocritical. When they become sufficiently fortunate their hypocrisy is exposed to the public, after which they may feel their mistake.
Those who have achieved self-realization, who know the truth about the soul, serve God while in this world; they do not busy themselves in worldly pleasures like those who desire the fruits of enjoyment, nor are they thrown off the track of their true well-being by erroneously conceiving of the processes and paraphernalia of service to God as worldly matters. They serve God in this world and also in the world beyond. They forever announce the truth that all jīvas have no other duty than to serve Godhead. They are truly wise and ever anxious to see all jīvas acquire their true welfare.
In regard to paramārtha, or the ultimate perspective, the human race consists of mere infants. Infants do not understand how to act for their own good, but rather, make efforts at times to place their own hands within flames, or they become impatient while trying to hold the moon within their grasp. Men, too, constantly act in various ways just like infants. But those who are accomplished in soul-realization constantly make efforts, for the benefit of all, to correct the deliberations of men whose mentality is of such infantile nature. Take advice from these wise personalities, the devotees of God, who are true well-wishers of all, and be ready to obey their guidance in all ways. All may acquire perfect welfare by obeying God’s instructions, which are embodied in the Vedic treatises. There is nothing else beyond this where men can find guidance among themselves.
The ancient ācārya, Madhva Muni, says, “Emancipation means the attainment of [service to] Śrī Viṣṇu’s feet. In all forms of liberation, only Śrī Viṣṇu is worshipable.” There is no want in service to Viṣṇu. Wherever the conception of Vaikuṇṭha is present, there is no conception of māyā; and wherever the conception of māyā is present, there is no conception of God. If we worship Bhagavān, then the fourth object of human pursuit – namely mokṣa, or emacipation – shall not be the object of our desire, rather it shall serve us. Service to Godhead is the only function of the soul. Without it, there is no other way by which our wants may be removed.
Some are of the wrong opinion that the principle of service to God commenced between the tenth and fourteenth centuries CE The principle of service to God is different from the mode of hero-worship that originated in the deliberations of Śākya-siṁha. The oldest authority of Sound, the Ṛg-Saṁhita, propagated the principle of divine worship in the world long, long ago. The ṛg-mantra (Ṛg, 2.156.3) – “O Viṣṇu, this name of yours is the embodiment of cit (sentience), it reveals everything, for all the Vedas have come from it; we worship You by chanting the name with good deliberation” – says that the name of God has been adopted and propagated among all mankind across all time. In every part of the world the principle of worshipping God with sound prevails. The loud chanting of the Name, which forms the only culture of the devotees of God, is traceable back to the Ṛg Veda Saṁhita.
Ādi Viṣṇu Svāmī (renowned as Sarvajña, or “all-knowing”) advented in Madurai, South India, two millennia (twenty centuries) ago. In subsequent ages, the account of pure worship of Viṣṇu that he gave in his abridged Śārīraka (his treatise on Vedānta) has become distorted in various ways at the hands of undesirable sects. Śrīdhara Svāmīpāda has mentioned Viṣṇu Svāmī and his writings in his own works. Many examples may be cited about the prevalence of Vaiṣṇavism in ancient history ages. Every jīva has an eternal relationship with Viṣṇu; everyone’s eternal function is to serve Viṣṇu and Vaiṣṇavas.
Adapted from The Gauḍīya, Volume 8, Number 4
by the Rays of The Harmonist Team