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Mature (BG and SB)
There is always a class of philosophers, almost akin to the Buddhists, who do not believe in the separate existence of the soul beyond the body. When Lord Kṛṣṇa spoke the Bhagavad-gītā, it appears that such philosophers existed, and they were known as the lokāyatikas and vaibhāṣikas. Such philosophers maintain that life symptoms take place at a certain mature condition of material combination. The modern material scientist and materialist philosophers also think similarly. According to them, the body is a combination of physical elements, and at a certain stage the life symptoms develop by interaction of the physical and chemical elements.
On the authority of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one has to believe that there is a soul different from the material body, not that there is no such thing as soul, or that living symptoms develop at a certain stage of material maturity resulting from the interaction of chemicals. Though the soul is immortal, violence is not encouraged, but at the time of war it is not discouraged when there is actual need for it. That need must be justified in terms of the sanction of the Lord, and not capriciously.
This taste leads one further forward to attachment for Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which is matured in bhāva, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love of God. Real love for God is called prema, the highest perfectional stage of life." In the prema stage there is constant engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. So, by the slow process of devotional service, under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master, one can attain the highest stage, being freed from all material attachment, from the fearfulness of one's individual spiritual personality, and from the frustrations that result in void philosophy. Then one can ultimately attain to the abode of the Supreme Lord.
In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has become accomplished in the practice of devotional service enjoys this knowledge within himself in due course of time.
When we speak of transcendental knowledge, we do so in terms of spiritual understanding. As such, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Ignorance is the cause of our bondage, and knowledge is the cause of our liberation. This knowledge is the mature fruit of devotional service, and when one is situated in transcendental knowledge, he need not search for peace elsewhere, for he enjoys peace within himself. In other words, this knowledge and peace culminate in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the last word in the Bhagavad-gītā.
In the preliminary stage of devotional service they relish the transcendental pleasure from the service itself, and in the mature stage they are actually situated in love of God. Once situated in that transcendental position, they can relish the highest perfection which is exhibited by the Lord in His abode. Lord Caitanya likens transcendental devotional service to the sowing of a seed in the heart of the living entity.
In the conditional state, people are attracted to worshiping demigods, ghosts, or Yakṣas like Kuvera. The mode of goodness is better than the modes of passion and ignorance, but one who takes directly to Kṛṣṇa consciousness is transcendental to all three modes of material nature. Although there is a process of gradual elevation, if one, by the association of pure devotees, takes directly to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is the best way. And that is recommended in this chapter. To achieve success in this way, one must first find the proper spiritual master and receive training under his direction. Then one can achieve faith in the Supreme. When that faith matures, in course of time, it is called love of God. This love is the ultimate goal of the living entities. One should therefore take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness directly. That is the message of this Seventeenth Chapter.
The history of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is also very glorious. It was compiled by Śrī Vyāsadeva after he had attained maturity in transcendental knowledge. He wrote this under the instructions of Śrī Nāradajī, his spiritual master. Vyāsadeva compiled all Vedic literatures, containing the four divisions of the Vedas, the Vedānta-sūtras (or the Brahma-sūtras), the Purāṇas, the Mahābhārata, and so on. But nevertheless he was not satisfied.
Completely rejecting all religious activities which are materially motivated, this Bhāgavata Purāṇa propounds the highest truth, which is understandable by those devotees who are fully pure in heart. The highest truth is reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all. Such truth uproots the threefold miseries. This beautiful Bhāgavatam, compiled by the great sage Vyāsadeva (in his maturity), is sufficient in itself for God realization. What is the need of any other scripture? As soon as one attentively and submissively hears the message of Bhāgavatam, by this culture of knowledge the Supreme Lord is established within his heart.
Over and above this, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is a personal commentation on the Vedānta-sūtra by Śrī Vyāsadeva. It was written in the maturity of his spiritual life through the mercy of Nārada. Śrī Vyāsadeva is the authorized incarnation of Nārāyaṇa, the Personality of Godhead. Therefore, there is no question as to his authority. He is the author of all other Vedic literatures, yet he recommends the study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam above all others.
O expert and thoughtful men, relish Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.
In Sanskrit the parrot is also known as śuka. When a ripened fruit is cut by the red beaks of such birds, its sweet flavor is enhanced. The Vedic fruit which is mature and ripe in knowledge is spoken through the lips of Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who is compared to the parrot not for his ability to recite the Bhāgavatam exactly as he heard it from his learned father, but for his ability to present the work in a manner that would appeal to all classes of men.
Devotional service rendered to the Personality of Godhead never goes in vain. Since the Personality of Godhead is eternal, intelligence applied in His service or anything done in His relation is also permanent. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that such transcendental service rendered unto the Personality of Godhead accumulates birth after birth, and when the devotee is fully matured, the total service counted together makes him eligible to enter into the association of the Personality of Godhead. Such accumulation of God's service is never vanquished, but increases till fully matured.
All the mysteries of transcendental realization are duly experienced by Nārada Muni himself, and therefore by hearing such an authority one can have some idea of the results of devotional life, which are hardly delineated even in the original texts of the Vedas. In the Vedas and Upaniṣads there are only indirect hints to all this. Nothing is directly explained there, and therefore Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the mature fruit of all the Vedic trees of literatures.
Unalloyed devotional service of the Lord progresses in different stages. Practice of devotional service in the material field is of eighty-one different qualities, and above such activities is the transcendental practice of devotional service, which is one and is called sādhana-bhakti. When unalloyed practice of sādhana-bhakti is matured into transcendental love for the Lord, the transcendental loving service of the Lord begins gradually developing into nine progressive stages of loving service under the headings of attachment, love, affection, feelings, affinity, adherence, following, ecstasy, and intense feelings of separation.
They could not even think of separation from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, since the attraction was more intense for them because of continuous personal contact. Their position in separation from Him was no less than that of the gopīs of Vṛndāvana. The Lord being absolute, however, separation from Him is as good as personal contact. His remembrance by His form, quality, name, fame, pastimes, etc., is also attractive for the pure devotee, so much so that he forgets all forms, quality, name, fame and activities of the mundane world, and due to his mature association with other pure devotees he is not out of contact with the Lord for a moment.
Material attachment and taking shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord go ill together. Material attachment means ignorance of transcendental happiness under the shelter of the Lord. Devotional service to the Lord, while existing in the material world, is a way to practice one's transcendental relation with the Lord, and when it is matured, one gets completely free from all material attachment and becomes competent to go back home, back to Godhead. Mahārāja Parīkṣit, being especially attached to the Lord from the beginning of his body in the womb of his mother, was continuously under the shelter of the Lord, and the so-called warning of his death within seven days from the date of the curse by the brāhmaṇa's son was a boon to him to enable him to prepare himself to go back home, back to Godhead.
Elevated brāhmaṇas are Vaiṣṇavas engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and thus Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is the science of devotional service, is very dear to the Vaiṣṇavas. And as explained in the beginning of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it is the mature fruit of Vedic knowledge and is superior subject matter, above the three kāṇḍas, namely karma, jñāna and upāsanā.
Amongst the karma-kāṇḍa experts, the expert jātaka-vipras were good astrologers who could tell all the future history of a born child simply by the astral calculations of the time (lagna).
This transcendental bliss is experienced even in the stage of devotional practice (sādhana-avasthā), if properly undertaken under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master. And in the mature stage the developed transcendental feeling culminates in realization of the particular relationship with the Lord by which a living entity is originally constituted (up to the relationship of conjugal love with the Lord, which is estimated to be the highest transcendental bliss). Thus bhakti-yoga, being the only means of God realization, is called kaivalya. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī quotes the Vedic version (eko nārāyaṇo devaḥ, parāvarāṇāṁ parama āste kaivalya-saṁjñitaḥ) in this connection and establishes that Nārāyaṇa, the Personality of Godhead, is known as kaivalya, and the means which enables one to approach the Lord is called the kaivalya-panthā, or the only means of attainment of Godhead. This kaivalya-panthā begins from śravaṇa, or hearing those topics that relate to the Personality of Godhead, and the natural consequence of hearing such hari-kathā is attainment of transcendental knowledge, which causes detachment from all mundane topics, for which a devotee has no taste at all. For a devotee, all mundane activities, social and political, become unattractive, and in the mature state such a devotee becomes uninterested even in his own body, and what to speak of bodily relatives.
The system of pañca-upāsanā, recommending five mental attitudes for the common man, is also enacted for this purpose, namely gradual development, worship of the superior that may be in the form of fire, electricity, the sun, the mass of living beings, Lord Śiva and, at last, the impersonal Supersoul, the partial representation of Lord Viṣṇu. They are all nicely described in the Second Chapter, but in the Third Chapter further development is prescribed after one has actually reached the stage of Viṣṇu worship, or pure devotional service, and the mature stage of Viṣṇu worship is suggested herein in relation to the change of heart.
Uddhava undoubtedly became old, but that does not mean that his spirit became old. His service attitude matured on the transcendental plane, and therefore as soon as he was questioned by Vidura about Lord Kṛṣṇa, he at once remembered his Lord by reference to the context and forgot himself on the physical plane. That is the sign of pure devotional service to the Lord, as will be explained later on (lakṣaṇaṁ bhakti-yogasya, etc.) in Lord Kapila's instructions to His mother, Devahūti.
O my son, the original poet, Brahmā, after mature meditation for one thousand celestial years, could know only that the glories of the Supreme Soul are inconceivable.
The first stage is called sādhana-bhakti, or devotional service for the neophyte, which is rendered under the direction of a pure devotee, and the second stage is called rāga-bhakti, in which the mature devotee automatically takes to the various services of the Lord out of sincere attachment. The great sage Maitreya now gives the final answer to all the questions of Vidura: devotional service to the Lord is the ultimate means to mitigate all the miserable conditions of material existence. The path of knowledge or that of mystic gymnastics may be adopted as a means for the purpose, but unless mixed with bhakti, or devotional service, they are unable to award the desired result. By practicing sādhana-bhakti one may gradually rise to the point of rāga-bhakti, and by performing rāga-bhakti in loving transcendental service one can even control the Supreme Powerful Lord.
Here in this verse it is particularly mentioned: tvaṁ bhakti-yoga-paribhāvita. This indicates the efficiency achieved through execution of matured devotional service, or premā, love of Godhead. This state of premā is achieved by the gradual process of development from faith to love. On faith one associates with bona fide devotees, and by such association one can become engaged in bona fide devotional service, which includes proper initiation and the execution of the primary devotional duties prescribed in the revealed scriptures. This is clearly indicated herein by the word śrutekṣita. The śrutekṣita path is to hear from bona fide devotees who are conversant with Vedic wisdom, free from mundane sentiment. By this bona fide hearing process, the neophyte devotee becomes cleansed of all material rubbish, and thus he becomes attached to one of the many transcendental forms of the Lord, as described in the Vedas.
Long penance and transcendental knowledge of self-realization had matured Brahmā in practical knowledge, and thus he drank the wind completely, along with the water.
Lord Brahmā is the most exalted personality in the universe because of his causeless devotional service unto the Lord in mature transcendental knowledge. He therefore created all the fourteen planetary divisions for inhabitation by the different types of living entities.
That topmost devotee of the Lord will have expanded intelligence and expanded influence and will be the greatest of the great souls. Due to matured devotional service, he will certainly be situated in transcendental ecstasy and will enter the spiritual sky after quitting this material world.
There is no defeat in this material world for persons who control the mind and senses by controlling the breathing process and who are therefore experienced, mature mystics. This is because by such perfection in yoga they have attained your mercy.
The purpose of yogic performances is explained here. It is said that an experienced mystic attains full control of the senses and the mind by controlling the breathing process. Therefore, controlling the breathing process is not the ultimate aim of yoga. The real purpose of yogic performances is to control the mind and the senses. Anyone who has such control is to be understood to be an experienced, mature mystic yogī. It is indicated herein that a yogī who has control over the mind and senses has the actual benediction of the Lord, and he has no fear. In other words, one cannot attain the mercy and benediction of the Supreme Lord until one is able to control the mind and the senses. This is actually possible when one fully engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
It is said in the Brahma-saṁhitā that devotees, being elevated in love of God, always see Śyāmasundara, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, within their hearts. But when they are mature, the same God is visible before them face to face. For ordinary persons the Lord is not visible; however, when one can understand the significance of His holy name and one engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord, beginning with the tongue, by chanting and tasting prasāda, then gradually the Lord reveals Himself. Thus the devotee constantly sees the Lord within his heart, and, in a more mature stage, one can see the same Lord directly, as we see everything else.
The grown-up daughter of Svāyambhuva Manu, Devahūti, had good character and was well qualified; therefore she was searching for a suitable husband just befitting her age, qualities and character. The purpose of Manu's introducing his daughter as the sister of Priyavrata and Uttānapāda, two great kings, was to convince the sage that the girl came from a great family. She was his daughter and at the same time the sister of kṣatriyas; she did not come from a lower-class family. Manu therefore offered her to Kardama as just suitable for his purpose. It is clear that although the daughter was mature in age and qualities, she did not go out and find her husband independently. She expressed her desire for a suitable husband corresponding to her character, age and quality, and the father himself, out of affection for his daughter, took charge of finding such a husband.
After many births, mature yogīs, by complete trance in yoga, endeavor in secluded places to see the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Some important things are mentioned here about yoga. The word bahu janma-vipakvena means "after many, many births of mature yoga practice." And another word, samyag-yoga-samādhinā, means "by complete practice of the yoga system." Complete practice of yoga means bhakti-yoga; unless one comes to the point of bhakti-yoga, or surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one's yoga practice is not complete. This same point is corroborated in the Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante: (BG 7.19) after many, many births, the jñānī who has matured in transcendental knowledge surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kardama Muni repeats the same statement. After many, many years and many, many births of complete practice of yoga, one can see the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord in a secluded place. It is not that after one practices some sitting postures he immediately becomes perfect. One has to perform yoga a long time—"many, many births"—to become mature, and a yogī has to practice in a secluded place.
When the Lord appeared before Kardama Muni after his mature yoga practice, He promised that He would become Kardama's son. He descended as the son of Kardama Muni in order to fulfill that promise. Another purpose of His appearance is cikīrṣur bhagavān jñānam, to distribute knowledge. Therefore, He is called bhaktānāṁ māna-vardhanaḥ, "He who increases the honor of His devotees." By distributing Sāṅkhya He would increase the honor of the devotees; therefore, Sāṅkhya philosophy is not dry mental speculation. Sāṅkhya philosophy means devotional service. How could the honor of the devotees be increased unless Sāṅkhya were meant for devotional service? Devotees are not interested in speculative knowledge; therefore, the Sāṅkhya enunciated by Kapila Muni is meant to establish one firmly in devotional service. Real knowledge and real liberation is to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead and engage in devotional service.
Śaunaka continued: There is no one who knows more than the Lord Himself. No one is more worshipable or more mature a yogī than He. He is therefore the master of the Vedas, and to hear about Him always is the actual pleasure of the senses.
When, by mature understanding, one can realize his individuality, then the situation he accepts under false ego becomes manifest to him.
One can be liberated from all adverse circumstances simply by seriously engaging in devotional service. How this devotional service develops and becomes mature is explained here. In the beginning one has to perform his prescribed duties with a clean mind. Clean consciousness means Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One has to perform his prescribed duties in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There is no necessity of changing one's prescribed duties; one simply has to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In discharging Kṛṣṇa conscious duties, one should determine whether, by his professional or occupational duties, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is satisfied.
The reason is that Satī's father, Dakṣa, used to rebuke Lord Śiva in spite of Śiva's faultlessness. Consequently, before attaining a mature age, Satī gave up her body by dint of yogic mystic power.
Lord Śiva, being the head of all mystic yogīs, never even constructed a home for his residence. Sati was the daughter of a great king, Dakṣa, and because his youngest daughter, Sati, selected as her husband Lord Śiva, King Dakṣa was not very much satisfied with her. Therefore whenever she met her father, he unnecessarily criticized her husband, although Lord Śiva was faultless. Because of this, before attaining a mature age Sati gave up the body given by her father, Dakṣa, and therefore she could not produce a child.
The perfection of yoga is that one can give up one's body or release oneself from the embodiment of material elements according to one's desire. Yogīs who have attained perfection are not subject to death by natural laws; such perfect yogīs can leave the body whenever they desire. Generally the yogī first of all becomes mature in controlling the air passing within the body, thus bringing the soul to the top of the brain. Then when the body bursts into flames, the yogī can go anywhere he likes. This yoga system recognizes the soul, and thus it is distinct from the so-called yoga process for controlling the cells of the body, which has been discovered in the modern age. The real yoga process accepts the transmigration of the soul from one planet to another or one body to another; and it appears from this incident that Satī wanted to transfer her soul to another body or sphere.
Generally, a thoroughly trained person takes to spiritual perfection at the end of his life. According to the Vedic system, therefore, life is divided into four stages. In the beginning, one becomes a brahmacārī, a student who studies Vedic knowledge under the authoritative guidance of a spiritual master. He then becomes a householder and executes household duties according to the Vedic process. Then the householder becomes a vānaprastha, and gradually, when he is mature, he renounces household life and vānaprastha life also and takes to sannyāsa, completely devoting himself to devotional service.
The form of the Lord, which was brilliant like lightning and in which Dhruva Mahārāja, in his mature yogic process, was fully absorbed in meditation, all of a sudden disappeared. Thus Dhruva was perturbed, and his meditation broke. But as soon as he opened his eyes he saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally present, just as he had been seeing the Lord in his heart.
Because of his mature position in yogic meditation, Dhruva Mahārāja was constantly observing the form of the Personality of Godhead within his heart, but all of a sudden, when the Supreme Personality disappeared from his heart, he thought that he had lost Him. Dhruva Mahārāja was perturbed, but upon opening his eyes and breaking his meditation he saw the same form of the Lord before him. In the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.38) it is said, premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena: a saintly person who has developed love of Godhead by devotional service always sees the Lord's transcendental form of Śyāmasundara. This Śyāmasundara form of the Lord within the heart of a devotee is not imaginary. When a devotee becomes mature in his prosecution of devotional service, he sees face to face the same Śyāmasundara he has thought of during the entire course of his devotional service. Since the Supreme Lord is absolute, the form within the heart of a devotee, the form in the temple and the original form in Vaikuṇṭha, Vṛndāvana-dhāma, are all the same; they are nondifferent from one another.
Anyone who is trying to be aloof from this Krishna Consciousness Society and yet engage in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is living in a great hallucination, for this is not possible. From this statement by Dhruva Mahārāja it is clear that unless one is associated with devotees, his devotional service does not mature; it does not become distinct from material activities. The Lord says, satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ (SB 3.25.25). Only in the association of pure devotees can the words of Lord Kṛṣṇa be fully potent and relishable to the heart and ear. Dhruva Mahārāja explicitly wanted the association of devotees. That association in devotional activities is just like the waves of an incessantly flowing river. In our Krishna Consciousness Society we have full engagement twenty-four hours a day. Every moment of our time is always busily engaged in the service of the Lord. This is called the incessant flow of devotional service.
Similarly, there is devotional service performed according to the direction of the spiritual master and the injunctions and regulative principles of śāstra, and there is devotional service in the spiritual world, rendered directly in association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But they are both the same. There is no change. The difference is that one stage is unripe and the other is ripe and more relishable. It is possible to mature in devotional service only in the association of devotees.
Nārada Muni had asked him, "Why should you bother about insult or adoration from your stepmother?" He of course said to Dhruva Mahārāja that since Dhruva was only a child, what did he have to do with such insult or adoration? But Dhruva Mahārāja was determined to achieve the benediction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore Nārada advised him to go back home for the time being, and in mature time he could try to practice devotional service. Dhruva Mahārāja regretted that he had rejected the advice of Nārada Muni and was adamant in asking him for something perishable, namely revenge against his stepmother for her insult, and possession of the kingdom of his father.
When, after concentration, King Uttānapāda saw that Dhruva Mahārāja was suitably mature to take charge of the kingdom and that his ministers were agreeable and the citizens were also very fond of him, he enthroned Dhruva as emperor of this planet.
Immediately after installing his worthy son Dhruva Mahārāja on the throne, he left his home and palace. There are hundreds and thousands of instances like this in which kings, in their mature age, would give up their kingdoms and go to the forest to practice austerity. Practice of austerity is the main business of human life. As Mahārāja Dhruva practiced austerity in his early age, his father, Mahārāja Uttānapāda, in his old age also practiced austerity in the forest. In modern days however, it is not possible to give up one's home and go to the forest to practice austerity, but if people of all ages would take shelter of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and practice the simple austerities of no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling and no meat-eating, and chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra regularly (sixteen rounds), by this practical method it would be a very easy task to get salvation from this material world.
In Bhagavad-gītā the Lord says that simply by knowing His transcendental pastimes (whether within this material world or in the spiritual world), anyone who understands factually who He is, how He appears and how He acts can be immediately fit for transfer to the spiritual world. This principle stated in the Bhagavad-gītā operated in the case of King Dhruva. Throughout his life he tried to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead by austerity and penances. Now, the mature result was that Dhruva Mahārāja became fit to be carried to the spiritual world, accompanied by the confidential associates of the Lord.
Dhruva Mahārāja is described herein as kṣatra-bandhuḥ, which indicates that he was not fully trained as a kṣatriya because he was only five years old; he was not a mature kṣatriya. A kṣatriya or brāhmaṇa has to take training. A boy born in the family of a brāhmaṇa is not immediately a brāhmaṇa; he has to take up the training and the purificatory process.
The karmīs are generally engaged in fruitive activities for material bodily comforts. The jñānīs, however, are disgusted with searching after material comforts. They understand that they have nothing to do with this material world, being spirit souls. After self-realization, the jñānīs who are actually mature in their knowledge must surrender unto the lotus feet of the Lord, as stated in Bhagavad-gītā (bahūnāṁ janmanām ante (BG 7.19)). Self-realization is not complete unless one comes to the devotional platform. Therefore it is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that those who are ātmārāma, self-satisfied, are freed from all contaminations of the material modes of nature. As long as one is affected by the modes of material nature, especially by rajas and tamas, he will be very greedy and lusty and will therefore engage in hard tasks, laboring all day and night. Such false egoism carries one from one species of life into another perpetually, and there is no rest in any species of life. The jñānī understands this fact and therefore ceases to work and takes to karma-sannyāsa.
He did not, however, present himself as a royal authority empowered to command everyone, for he wanted to present his statement in humble submission before the assembly of great sages and saintly persons. As a great king of the entire world, he could have given them orders, but he was so humble, meek and honest that he presented his statement for approval in order to clarify his mature decision. Everyone within this material world is conditioned by the modes of material nature and therefore has four defects. But although Pṛthu Mahārāja was above all these, still, like an ordinary conditioned soul, he presented his statements to the great souls, sages and saintly persons present there.
My dear sons of the King, the prayers I have recited to you are meant for pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul. I advise you to recite these prayers, which are as effective as great austerities. In this way, when you are mature, your life will be successful, and you will certainly achieve all your desired objectives without fail.
"My dear mind, what kind of devotee are you? Simply for cheap adoration you sit in a solitary place and pretend to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, but this is all cheating." Thus Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura advocated that every devotee, under the guidance of an expert spiritual master, preach the bhakti cult, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, all over the world. Only when one is mature can he sit in a solitary place and retire from preaching all over the world. Following this example, the devotees of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness now render service as preachers in various parts of the world. Now they can allow the spiritual master to retire from active preaching work. In the last stage of the spiritual master's life, the devotees of the spiritual master should take preaching activities into their own hands. In this way the spiritual master can sit down in a solitary place and render nirjana-bhajana.
If one is placed in material opulence due to the special mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he should not consider that opulence a cause for bondage. When a mature devotee is blessed with material opulence, he does not become affected adversely, for he knows how to employ material opulence in the service of the Lord. There are many such examples in the history of the world. There were kings like Pṛthu Mahārāja, Prahlāda Mahārāja, Janaka, Dhruva, Vaivasvata Manu and Mahārāja Ikṣvāku. All of these were great kings and were especially favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If a devotee is not mature, the Supreme Lord will take away all his opulence. This principle is stated by the Supreme Personality of Godhead-yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaṁ śanaiḥ: "My first mercy shown to My devotee is to take away all his material opulence." Material opulence detrimental to devotional service is taken away by the Supreme Lord, whereas a person who is mature in devotional service is given all material facilities.
Unless one practices penances and austerities in his student life, he cannot understand the existence of God. Without realizing Kṛṣṇa, one cannot make his life perfect. The conclusion is that when the children are grown, the wife should be put in the children's charge. The husband may then leave home to develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Everything depends on the development of mature knowledge. King Prācīnabarhiṣat, the father of the Pracetās, left home before the arrival of his sons, who were engaged in austerity within the water. As soon as the time is ripe, or as soon as one has developed perfect Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he should leave home, even though all his duties may not be fulfilled. Prācīnabarhiṣat was waiting for the arrival of his sons, but following the instructions of Nārada, as soon as his intelligence was properly developed, he simply left instructions for his ministers to impart to his sons. Thus without waiting for their arrival, he left home.
The Vedic system of four varṇas and four āśramas is very scientific, and its entire purpose is to enable one to control the senses. Before entering household life (gṛhastha-āśrama), a student is fully trained to become jitendriya, a conqueror of the senses. Such a mature student is allowed to become a householder, and because he was first trained in conquering his senses, he retires from household life and becomes vānaprastha as soon as the strong waves of youthful life are past and he reaches the verge of old age at fifty years or slightly more. Then, after being further trained, he accepts sannyāsa. He is then a fully learned and renounced person who can move anywhere and everywhere without fear of being captivated by material desires. The senses are considered very powerful enemies. As a king in a strong fortress can conquer powerful enemies, so a householder in gṛhastha-āśrama, household life, can conquer the lusty desires of youth and be very secure when he takes vānaprastha and sannyāsa.
All the learned scholars have given their opinion. The mind is by nature very restless, and one should not make friends with it. If we place full confidence in the mind, it may cheat us at any moment. Even Lord Śiva became agitated upon seeing the Mohinī form of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and Saubhari Muni also fell down from the mature stage of yogic perfection.
To immediately rectify his mistake, for a short time he was awarded the body of a deer. This was just to increase his desire for mature devotional service. Although Bharata Mahārāja was awarded the body of an animal, he did not forget what had previously happened due to his purposeful mistake. He was very anxious to get out of his deer body, and this indicates that his affection for devotional service was intensified, so much so that he was quickly to attain perfection in a brāhmaṇa body in the next life. It is with this conviction that we declare in our Back to Godhead magazine that devotees like the gosvāmīs living in Vṛndāvana who purposely commit some sinful activity are born in the bodies of dogs, monkeys and tortoises in that holy land. Thus they take on these lower life forms for a short while, and after they give up those animal bodies, they are again promoted to the spiritual world. Such punishment is only for a short period, and it is not due to past karma. It may appear to be due to past karma, but it is offered to rectify the devotee and bring him to pure devotional service.
The personal weapon used by Lord Kṛṣṇa, the disc, is called hari-cakra, the disc of Hari. This cakra is the wheel of time. It expands from the beginning of the atoms up to the time of Brahmā's death, and it controls all activities. It is always revolving and spending the lives of the living entities, from Lord Brahmā down to an insignificant blade of grass. Thus one changes from infancy, to childhood, to youth and maturity, and thus one approaches the end of life. It is impossible to check this wheel of time. This wheel is very exacting because it is the personal weapon of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes the conditioned soul, fearing the approach of death, wants to worship someone who can save him from imminent danger. Yet he does not care for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose weapon is the indefatigable time factor. The conditioned soul instead takes shelter of a man-made god described in unauthorized scriptures. Such gods are like buzzards, vultures, herons and crows. Vedic scriptures do not refer to them. Imminent death is like the attack of a lion, and neither vultures, buzzards, crows nor herons can save one from such an attack. One who takes shelter of unauthorized man-made gods cannot be saved from the clutches of death.
After many, many births, when the results of one's pious activities mature, one gets an opportunity to associate with pure devotees. Then one is able to cut the knot of bondage to ignorance, which bound him because of varied fruitive activities. As a result of associating with devotees, one gradually renders service to Lord Vāsudeva, who is transcendental, free from attachment to the material world, beyond the mind and words, and independent of everything else. That bhakti-yoga, devotional service to Lord Vāsudeva, is the real path of liberation.
The Viṣṇudūtas who had rescued Ajāmila came before him again when his mind was firmly fixed upon the form of the Lord. The Viṣṇudūtas had gone away for some time to give Ajāmila a chance to become firmly fixed in meditation upon the Lord. Now that his devotion had matured, they returned to take him. Understanding that the same Viṣṇudūtas had returned, Ajāmila offered them his obeisances by bowing down before them.
In the śāstras it is said that if one chants the holy name of the Lord even once, the reactions of past, present or future sinful life do not affect him. To give another example, if one extracts the poison fangs of a serpent, this saves the serpent's future victims from poisonous effects, even if the serpent bites repeatedly. Similarly, if a devotee chants the holy name even once inoffensively, this protects him eternally. He need only wait for the results of the chanting to mature in due course of time.
The other example given in this verse is that a flower garland is originally very nice, but by mistake, for want of mature knowledge, one may consider it a snake. In this connection there is a statement by Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī: viśvaṁ pūrṇa-sukhāyate. Everyone in this material world is distressed by miserable conditions, but Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī says that this world is full of happiness. How is this possible? He answers, yat-kāruṇya-katākṣa-vaibhavavatāṁ taṁ gauram eva stumaḥ. A devotee accepts the distress of this material world as happiness only due to the causeless mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
The Lord says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: (BG 18.66) "Give up all other duties and simply surrender unto Me." One who does not abide by the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is given the facility to enjoy this material world. Instead of restricting him, the Lord gives the conditioned soul the opportunity to enjoy so that by mature experience, after many, many births (bahūnāṁ janmanām ante (BG 7.19)), he will understand that surrender to the lotus feet of Vāsudeva is the only duty of all living beings.
Because of the loss of his wife, the kuliṅga bird lamented with tears in his eyes. Meanwhile, following the dictations of mature time, the hunter, who was very carefully hidden in the distance, released his arrow, which pierced the body of the kuliṅga bird and killed him.
Lord Brahmā was waiting for the austerities performed by Hiraṇyakaśipu to mature so that he could go there and offer benedictions according to Hiraṇyakaśipu's desire. Now, taking the opportunity of being accompanied by all the demigods and great saintly persons, Brahmā went there to award him the benediction he desired.
The fruit of a tree grows and undergoes six kinds of change because of the presence of the tree. If there were no tree, there could be no question of the growth and maturity of fruit. Therefore, beyond the existence of the body are the Paramātmā and ātmā within the body. This is the first understanding of spiritual knowledge explained in Bhagavad-gītā. Dehino 'smin yathā dehe (BG 2.13). The body exists because of the presence of the Supreme Lord and the jīva, which is part of the Lord. This is further explained by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (9.4):
- mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ
- jagad avyakta-mūrtinā
- mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni
- na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ
Superficial knowledge is useless for understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but when one's knowledge becomes extremely intense and deep, one understands Vāsudeva (vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ (BG 7.19)). A jñānī attains this stage after many, many births. Therefore the word jñāna-ghanāya is used here. The word śantāya indicates that Lord Vāsudeva is situated in everyone's heart but does not act with the living entity. Impersonalist jñānīs realize Vāsudeva when they are fully mature in knowledge (vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ).
The soul will be placed in the semen of a father and discharged into the womb of a mother. The semen and ovum create a particular type of body according to the form of the father and mother, and when the body is mature, the soul emerges in that body and begins a new life. This is the process of transmigration of the soul from one body to another (tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ (BG 2.13)). Unfortunately, those who are less intelligent think that when the body disappears, everything is finished. The entire world is being misled by such fools and rascals. But as stated in Bhagavad-gītā (2.20), na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre. The soul does not die when the body is destroyed. Rather, the soul takes on another body.
When the time was mature for the appearance of the Lord, the constellations became very auspicious. The astrological influence of the constellation known as Rohiṇī was also predominant because this constellation is considered very auspicious. Rohiṇī is under the direct supervision of Brahmā, who is born of Viṣṇu, and it appears at the birth of Lord Viṣṇu, who in fact is birthless. According to the astrological conclusion, besides the proper situation of the stars, there are auspicious and inauspicious moments due to the different situations of the different planetary systems. At the time of Kṛṣṇa's birth, the planetary systems were automatically adjusted so that everything became auspicious.
We hear from the Vedic version that the Supreme Brahman exhibits His effulgence and therefore everything is illuminated. We can understand from Brahma-saṁhitā that the brahma-jyotir, or the Brahman effulgence, emanates from the body of the Supreme Lord. And from the Brahman effulgence, all creation takes place. It is further stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that the Lord is the support of the Brahman effulgence. Originally He is the root cause of everything. But persons who are less intelligent think that when the Supreme Personality of Godhead comes within this material world, He accepts material qualities. Such conclusions are not mature, but are, made by the less intelligent.
As we have explained, in worship of the Lord there are three stages—jñāna, jñānamayī and rati, or love. Sutapā and his wife, Pṛśni, inaugurated their devotional activities on the basis of full knowledge. Gradually they developed love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and when this love was mature, the Lord appeared as Viṣṇu, although Devakī then requested Him to assume the form of Kṛṣṇa. To love the Supreme Personality of Godhead more, we want a form of the Lord like Kṛṣṇa or Rāma. We can engage in loving transactions with Kṛṣṇa especially.
At this meeting of all the inhabitants of Gokula, a cowherd man named Upananda, who was the most mature in age and knowledge and was very experienced according to time, circumstances and country, made this suggestion for the benefit of Rāma and Kṛṣṇa.
Rivers flowed with various kinds of tasty liquids, trees exuded honey, edible plants came to maturity without cultivation, and hills gave forth jewels formerly hidden in their interiors.
The only proper fruit of acquired wealth is religiosity, on the basis of which one can acquire a philosophical understanding of life that eventually matures into direct perception of the Absolute Truth and thus liberation from all suffering. Materialistic persons, however, utilize their wealth simply for the advancement of their family situation. They fail to see that insurmountable death will soon destroy the frail material body.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: One who desires to adopt the third order of life, vānaprastha, should enter the forest with a peaceful mind, leaving his wife with his mature sons, or else taking her along with him.
One who observes the birth of a tree from its seed and the ultimate death of the tree after maturity certainly remains a distinct observer separate from the tree. In the same way, the witness of the birth and death of the material body remains separate from it.
The physical body of the endeavoring yogī who is not yet mature in his practice may sometimes be overcome by various disturbances. Therefore the following process is recommended.
Such demigods as Lord Brahmā achieved their exalted positions simply by seeing Your beautiful lotus feet after their minds had become mature in yoga practice. And now, my Lord, You have personally appeared before me.