Out of sheer foolishness they asked the Lord why He was chanting the names of the gopīs and advised Him to chant the name of Kṛṣṇa. The Lord, who was in ecstasy, was thus disturbed by these foolish students. He chastised them and chased them away. The students were almost the same age as the Lord, and thus they wrongly thought of the Lord as one of their peers. They held a meeting and resolved that they would attack the Lord if He dared to punish them again in such a manner. This incident provoked some malicious talks about the Lord on the part of the general public.
Ecstasy (SB cantos 1 - 6)
SB Preface and Introduction
The Lord, after accepting the sannyāsa order, at once wanted to start for Vṛndāvana. For three continuous days He traveled in the Rāḍha-deśa (places where the Ganges does not flow). He was in full ecstasy over the idea of going to Vṛndāvana. However, Śrīla Nityānanda diverted His path and brought Him instead to the house of Advaita Prabhu in Śāntipura. The Lord stayed at Śrī Advaita Prabhu's house for a few days, and knowing well that the Lord was leaving His hearth and home for good, Śrī Advaita Prabhu sent His men to Navadvīpa to bring mother Śacī to have a last meeting with her son.
At Purī, when He entered the temple of Jagannātha, He became at once saturated with transcendental ecstasy and fell down on the floor of the temple unconscious. The custodians of the temple could not understand the transcendental feats of the Lord, but there was a great learned paṇḍita named Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, who was present, and he could understand that the Lord's losing His consciousness upon entering the Jagannātha temple was not an ordinary thing. Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, who was the chief appointed paṇḍita in the court of the King of Orissa, Mahārāja Pratāparudra, was attracted by the youthful luster of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and could understand that such a transcendental trance was only rarely exhibited and only then by the topmost devotees who are already on the transcendental plane in complete forgetfulness of material existence.
The Bhaṭṭācārya at once fell down at the lotus feet of the Lord and composed many suitable ślokas in praise of the Lord by His grace. He composed almost one hundred ślokas in praise of the Lord. The Lord then embraced him, and out of transcendental ecstasy the Bhaṭṭācārya lost consciousness of the physical state of life. Tears, trembling, throbbing of the heart, perspiration, emotional waves, dancing, singing, crying and all the eight symptoms of trance were manifested in the body of the Bhaṭṭācārya. Śrī Gopīnātha Ācārya became very glad and astonished by this marvelous conversion of his brother-in-law by the grace of the Lord.
At Vṛndāvana the Lord took bath in twenty-four important bathing places and ghāṭas. He traveled to all the twelve important vanas (forests). In these forests all the cows and birds welcomed Him, as if He were their very old friend. The Lord also began to embrace all the trees of those forests, and by doing so He felt the symptoms of transcendental ecstasy. Sometimes He fell unconscious, but He was made to regain consciousness by the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. The transcendental symptoms that were visible on the body of the Lord during His travel within the forest of Vṛndāvana were all unique and inexplicable, and we have just given a synopsis only.
SB Canto 1
The leader of the assembly, Śaunaka, could estimate the value of the speaker, Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī, simply by his uttering yathādhītam and yathā-mati, and therefore he was very glad to congratulate him in ecstasy. No learned man should be willing to hear a person who does not represent the original ācārya. So the speaker and the audience were bona fide in this meeting where Bhāgavatam was being recited for the second time. That should be the standard of recitation of Bhāgavatam, so that the real purpose can be served without difficulty. Unless this situation is created, Bhāgavatam recitation for extraneous purposes is useless labor both for the speaker and for the audience.
My dear Vyāsa, even though a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa sometimes falls down somehow or other, he certainly does not undergo material existence like others (fruitive workers, etc.) because a person who has once relished the taste of the lotus feet of the Lord can do nothing but remember that ecstasy again and again.
When all misgivings and personal deficiencies are removed, there is a standard faith in transcendental matter, and the taste for it increases in greater proportion. This stage leads to attraction, and after this there is bhāva, or the prior stage of unalloyed love for God. All the above different stages are but different stages of development of transcendental love. Being so surcharged with transcendental love, there comes a strong feeling of separation which leads to eight different kinds of ecstasies. Tears from the eyes of a devotee is an automatic reaction, and because Śrī Nārada Muni in his previous birth attained that stage very quickly after his departure from home, it was quite possible for him to perceive the actual presence of the Lord, which he tangibly experienced by his developed spiritual senses without material tinge.
O Vyāsadeva, at that time, being exceedingly overpowered by feelings of happiness, every part of my body became separately enlivened. Being absorbed in an ocean of ecstasy, I could not see both myself and the Lord.
Spiritual feelings of happiness and intense ecstasies have no mundane comparison. Therefore it is very difficult to give expression to such feelings. We can just have a glimpse of such ecstasy in the words of Śrī Nārada Muni. Each and every part of the body or senses has its particular function. After seeing the Lord, all the senses become fully awakened to render service unto the Lord because in the liberated state the senses are fully efficient in serving the Lord. As such, in that transcendental ecstasy it so happened that the senses became separately enlivened to serve the Lord. This being so, Nārada Muni lost himself in seeing both himself and the Lord simultaneously.
In the Vedas it is said that God is beyond the approach of mundane words and intelligence. And yet by His causeless mercy one can have suitable senses to hear Him or to speak to Him. This is the Lord's inconceivable energy. One upon whom His mercy is bestowed can hear Him. The Lord was much pleased with Nārada Muni, and therefore the necessary strength was invested in him so that he could hear the Lord. It is not, however, possible for others to perceive directly the touch of the Lord during the probationary stage of regulative devotional service. It was a special gift for Nārada. When he heard the pleasing words of the Lord, the feelings of separation were to some extent mitigated. A devotee in love with God feels always the pangs of separation and is therefore always enwrapped in transcendental ecstasy.
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.
The attachment of an inactive devotee develops up to the stage of transcendental love of God. Attachment of an active servitor develops up to the stage of adherence, and that for a friendly devotee develops up to the stage of following, and the same is also the case for the paternal devotees. Devotees in conjugal love develop ecstasy up to the stage of intense feelings of separation. These are some of the features of unalloyed devotional service of the Lord.
The sons of Mahārāja Pāṇḍu were sitting silently nearby, overtaken with affection for their dying grandfather. Seeing this, Bhīṣmadeva congratulated them with feeling. There were tears of ecstasy in his eyes, for he was overwhelmed by love and affection.
Ordinarily there are twelve great devotees of the Lord, namely Brahmā, Nārada, Śiva, Kumāra, Kapila, Manu, Prahlāda, Bhīṣma, Janaka, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Bali Mahārāja and Yamarāja. Bhīṣmadeva, although one of them, has mentioned only three important names of the twelve who know the glories of the Lord. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, one of the great ācāryas in the modern age, explains that anubhāva, or the glory of the Lord, is first appreciated by the devotee in ecstasy manifesting the symptoms of perspiring, trembling, weeping, bodily eruptions, etc., which are further enhanced by steady understanding of the glories of the Lord. Such different understandings of bhāvas are exchanged between Yaśodā and the Lord (binding the Lord by ropes) and in the chariot driving by the Lord in the exchange of love with Arjuna.
While Kṛṣṇa was the charioteer of Arjuna, sun rays glittered on the dress of the Lord, and the beautiful hue created by the reflection of such rays was never forgotten by Bhīṣmadeva. As a great fighter he was relishing the relation of Kṛṣṇa in the chivalrous humor. Transcendental relation with the Lord in any one of the different rasas (humors) is relishable by the respective devotees in the highest ecstasy. Less intelligent mundaners who want to make a show of being transcendentally related with the Lord artificially jump at once to the relation of conjugal love, imitating the damsels of Vrajadhāma. Such a cheap relation with the Lord exhibits only the base mentality of the mundaner because one who has relished conjugal humor with the Lord cannot be attached to worldly conjugal rasa, which is condemned even by mundane ethics.
By intense ecstasy in loving service, the damsels of Vrajabhūmi attained qualitative oneness with the Lord by dancing with Him on an equal level, embracing Him in nuptial love, smiling at Him in joke, and looking at Him with a loving attitude. The relation of the Lord with Arjuna is undoubtedly praiseworthy for devotees like Bhīṣmadeva, but the relation of the gopīs with the Lord is still more praiseworthy because of their still more purified loving service.
The Lord is satisfied more when His pure devotees are glorified, and therefore Bhīṣmadeva has not only glorified the acts of Arjuna, his immediate object of attraction, but has also remembered the gopīs, who were endowed with unrivalled opportunities by rendering loving service to the Lord. The gopīs' equality with the Lord should never be misunderstood to be like the sāyujya liberation of the impersonalist. The equality is one of perfect ecstasy where the differential conception is completely eradicated, for the interests of the lover and the beloved become identical.
According to Śrī Viśvanātha Carkavartī Ṭhākura, there was a regular psychological reaction on the occasion. First of all, rising from their seats, although they wanted to see their husband, they were deterred because of feminine shyness. But due to strong ecstasy, they overcame that stage of weakness and became caught up with the idea of embracing the Lord, and this thought factually made them unconscious of their surrounding environment. This prime state of ecstasy annihilated all other formalities and social conventions, and thus they escaped all stumbling blocks on the path of meeting the Lord. And that is the perfect stage of meeting the Lord of the soul, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
The insuperable ecstasy was so strong that the queens, who were shy, first embraced the Lord in the innermost recesses of their hearts. Then they embraced Him visually, and then they sent their sons to embrace Him (which is equal to personal embracing). But, O chief amongst the Bhṛgus, though they tried to restrain their feelings, they inadvertently shed tears.
He is the husband of everyone, but to one who accepts Him as such, He reciprocates. This unalloyed affection for the Lord is never to be compared to mundane lust. It is purely transcendental. And the grave dealings, which the queens displayed in natural feminine ways, were also transcendental because the feelings were expressed out of transcendental ecstasy. It is already explained in the previous verse that the Lord appeared like a mundane husband, but factually His relation with His wives was transcendental, pure and unconditioned by the modes of material nature.
Subhadrā: Daughter of Vasudeva and sister of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. She was not only a very dear daughter of Vasudeva, but also a very dear sister to both Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva. The two brothers and sister are represented in the famous Jagannātha temple of Purī, and the temple is still visited by thousands of pilgrims daily. This temple is in remembrance of the Lord's visit at Kurukṣetra during an occasion of solar eclipse and His subsequent meeting with the residents of Vṛndāvana. The meeting of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa during this occasion is a very pathetic story, and Lord Śrī Caitanya, in the ecstasy of Rādhārāṇī, always pined for Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa at Jagannātha Purī.
SB Canto 2
According to Bhagavad-gītā (10.9) the characteristics of pure devotees are wonderful. The complete functional activities of a pure devotee are always engaged in the service of the Lord, and thus the pure devotees exchange feelings of ecstasy between themselves and relish transcendental bliss. 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).
Certainly that heart is steel-framed which, in spite of one's chanting the holy name of the Lord with concentration, does not change when ecstasy takes place, tears fill the eyes and the hairs stand on end.
It is expected by all means that by discharging regulated devotional service one must manifest the change of heart. If there is no such change, the heart must be considered steel-framed, for it is not melted even when there is chanting of the holy name of the Lord. We must always remember that hearing and chanting are the basic principles of discharging devotional duties, and if they are properly performed there will follow the reactional ecstasy with signs of tears in the eyes and standing of the hairs on the body. These are natural consequences and are the preliminary symptoms of the bhāva stage, which occurs before one reaches the perfectional stage of prema, love of Godhead.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has very critically discussed all these bhāva displays in connection with some unscrupulous neophyte's imitating the above symptoms for cheap appreciation. Not only Viśvanātha Cakravartī but also Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī treated them very critically. Sometimes all the above eight symptoms of ecstasy are imitated by the mundane devotees (prākṛta-sahajiyās), but the pseudo symptoms are at once detected when one sees the pseudodevotee addicted to so many forbidden things. Even though decorated with the signs of a devotee, a person addicted to smoking, drinking or illegitimate sex with women cannot have all the above-mentioned ecstatic symptoms.
So the preliminary qualification for entering into the devotional service of the Lord is that one become a willing cooperator, and as such one should voluntarily cooperate with persons who are already engaged in the transcendental devotional service of the Lord. By cooperating with such persons, the prospective candidate will gradually learn the techniques of devotional service, and with the progress of such learning one becomes proportionately free from the contamination of material association. Such a purificatory process will establish the prospective candidate in firm faith and gradually elevate him to the stage of transcendental taste for such devotional service. Thus he acquires a genuine attachment for the devotional service of the Lord, and his conviction carries him on to the point of ecstasy, just prior to the stage of transcendental love.
Lord Brahmā, thus seeing the Personality of Godhead in His fullness, was overwhelmed with joy within his heart, and thus in full transcendental love and ecstasy, his eyes filled with tears of love. He thus bowed down before the Lord. That is the way of the highest perfection for the living being (paramahaṁsa).
SB Canto 3
The tract of land comprising about one hundred square miles from modern Delhi to the Mathurā district in Uttar Pradesh, including a portion of the Gurgaon district in Punjab (East India), is considered to be the topmost place of pilgrimage in all of India. This land is sacred because Lord Kṛṣṇa traveled through it many times. From the very beginning of His appearance, He was at Mathurā in the house of His maternal uncle Kaṁsa, and He was reared by His foster father Mahārāja Nanda at Vṛndāvana. There are still many devotees of the Lord lingering there in ecstasy in search of Kṛṣṇa and His childhood associates, the gopīs.
"Those who are in ecstasy of love with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śyāmasundara (Kṛṣṇa), see Him always in their hearts due to love and devotional service rendered to the Lord." Both Vidura and Uddhava were such elevated devotees, and therefore they both came to the bank of the Yamunā and met each other.
Please tell me whether Akrūra, the son of Śvaphalka, is doing well. He is a faultless soul surrendered unto the Personality of Godhead. He once lost his mental equilibrium due to his ecstasy of transcendental love and fell down on the dust of a road which was marked with the footprints of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
When Akrūra came to Vṛndāvana in search of Kṛṣṇa, he saw the footprints of the Lord on the dust of Nanda-grāma and at once fell on them in ecstasy of transcendental love. This ecstasy is possible for a devotee who is fully absorbed in incessant thoughts of Kṛṣṇa. Such a pure devotee of the Lord is naturally faultless because he is always associated with the supremely pure Personality of Godhead. Constant thought of the Lord is the antiseptic method for keeping oneself free from the infectious contamination of the material qualities. The pure devotee of the Lord is always in company with the Lord by thinking of Him. Yet, in the particular context of time and place, the transcendental emotions take a different turn, and this breaks the mental equilibrium of the devotee. Lord Caitanya displayed the typical example of transcendental ecstasy, as we can understand from the life of this incarnation of God.
For a moment he remained dead silent, and his body did not move. He became absorbed in the nectar of remembering the Lord's lotus feet in devotional ecstasy, and he appeared to be going increasingly deeper into that ecstasy.
On the inquiry by Vidura about Kṛṣṇa, Uddhava appeared to be awakened from slumber. He appeared to regret that he had forgotten the lotus feet of the Lord. Thus he again remembered the lotus feet of the Lord and remembered all his transcendental loving service unto Him, and by so doing he felt the same ecstasy that he used to feel in the presence of the Lord. Because the Lord is absolute, there is no difference between His remembrance and His personal presence. Thus Uddhava remained completely silent for a moment, but then he appeared to be going deeper and deeper into ecstasy. Feelings of ecstasy are displayed by highly advanced devotees of the Lord. There are eight kinds of transcendental changes in the body—tears, shivering of the body, perspiration, restlessness, throbbing, choking of the throat, etc.—and all were manifested by Uddhava in the presence of Vidura.
It was so observed by Vidura that Uddhava had all the transcendental bodily changes due to total ecstasy, and he was trying to wipe away tears of separation from his eyes. Thus Vidura could understand that Uddhava had completely assimilated extensive love for the Lord.
The symptoms of the highest order of devotional life were observed by Vidura, an experienced devotee of the Lord, and he confirmed Uddhava's perfectional stage of love of Godhead. Ecstatic bodily changes are manifested from the spiritual plane and are not artificial expressions developed by practice. There are three different stages of development in devotional service. The first stage is that of following the regulative principles prescribed in the codes of devotional service, the second stage is that of assimilation and realization of the steady condition of devotional service, and the last stage is that of ecstasy symptomized by transcendental bodily expression. The nine different modes of devotional service, such as hearing, chanting and remembering, are the beginning of the process.
When Uddhava was fully absorbed in the transcendental ecstasy of love of God, he actually forgot all about the external world. The pure devotee lives constantly in the abode of the Supreme Lord, even in the present body, which apparently belongs to this world. The pure devotee is not exactly on the bodily plane, since he is absorbed in the transcendental thought of the Supreme. When Uddhava wanted to speak to Vidura, he came down from the abode of the Lord, Dvārakā, to the material plane of human beings. Even though a pure devotee is present on this mortal planet, he is here in relation to the Lord for engagement in transcendental loving service, and not for any material cause.
In His boyhood at Vṛndāvana, Lord Kṛṣṇa was notorious as a teasing friend in transcendental love to all the girls His age. His love for them was so intense that there is no comparison to that ecstasy, and the damsels of Vraja were so much attached to Him that their affection excelled that of the great demigods like Brahmā and Śiva. Lord Kṛṣṇa finally admitted His defeat before the transcendental affection of the gopīs and declared that He was unable to repay them for their unalloyed affection. Although the gopīs were seemingly anguished by the Lord's teasing behavior, when Kṛṣṇa would leave them they could not tolerate the separation and used to follow Him with their eyes and minds.
Understanding that he was remembered by Lord Kṛṣṇa (while quitting this world), Vidura began to cry loudly, overwhelmed by the ecstasy of love.
Vidura was overwhelmed by the ecstasy of love when he understood that Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thought of him at the last moment. Although he thought of himself as insignificant, he was remembered by the Lord, by His causeless mercy. Vidura accepted this as a great favor, and thus he cried. This crying is the last word in the progressive path of devotional service. One who can cry for the Lord in love is certainly successful in the line of devotional service.
The froggish calculator may raise the objection that if the Absolute is unknowable even by the controlling deities of speech, mind and ego, namely the Vedas, Brahmā, Rudra and all the demigods headed by Bṛhaspati, then why should the devotees be so interested in this unknown object? The answer is that the transcendental ecstasy enjoyed by the devotees in delineating the pastimes of the Lord is certainly unknown to nondevotees and mental speculators. Unless one relishes transcendental joy, naturally one will come back from his speculations and concocted conclusions because he will see them as neither factual nor enjoyable.
By serving the feet of the spiritual master, one is enabled to develop transcendental ecstasy in the service of the Personality of Godhead, who is the unchangeable enemy of the Madhu demon and whose service vanquishes one's material distresses.
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.
Persons whose bodily features change in ecstasy and who breathe heavily and perspire due to hearing the glories of the Lord are promoted to the kingdom of God, even though they do not care for meditation and other austerities. The kingdom of God is above the material universes, and it is desired by Brahmā and other demigods.
He is not such a fool that he will kill a goat Nārāyaṇa to feed a human Nārāyaṇa, or daridra-nārāyaṇa. He is very kind to all living entities; therefore he has no enemy. He is very peaceful. These are the qualities of persons who are eligible to enter into the kingdom of God. That such a person gradually becomes liberated and enters the kingdom of God is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Fifth Canto, Fifth Chapter, verse 2. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Second Canto, Third Chapter, verse 24, also states that if a person does not cry or exhibit bodily changes after chanting the holy name of God without offense, it is to be understood that he is hardhearted and that therefore his heart does not change even after he chants the holy name of God, Hare Kṛṣṇa. These bodily changes can take place due to ecstasy when we offenselessly chant the holy names of God: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
Devahūti engaged only in the service of Kardama Muni. She was not supposed to be so advanced in austerity, ecstasy, meditation or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but, imperceptibly, she was sharing her husband's achievements, which she could neither see nor experience. Automatically she achieved these graces of the Lord.
At the time of His descent on earth, demigods in the form of raining clouds sounded musical instruments in the sky. The celestial musicians, the Gandharvas, sang the glories of the Lord, while celestial dancing girls known as Apsarās danced in joyful ecstasy.
The manifestation of unadulterated devotional service is exhibited when one's mind is at once attracted to hearing the transcendental name and qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is residing in everyone's heart. Just as the water of the Ganges flows naturally down towards the ocean, such devotional ecstasy, uninterrupted by any material condition, flows towards the Supreme Lord.
Sarva-bhāvena means "in all-loving ecstasy." Bhāva is the preliminary stage of elevation before the attainment of pure love of Godhead. It is stated in Bhagavad-gītā, budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ: (BG 10.8) one who has attained the stage of bhāva can accept the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa as worshipable. This is also advised here by Lord Kapila to His mother. Also significant in this verse is the phrase tad-guṇāśrayayā bhaktyā. This means that discharging devotional service unto Kṛṣṇa is transcendental; it is not material activity. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā: those who engage in devotional service are accepted to be situated in the spiritual kingdom. Brahma-bhūyāya kalpate: (BG 14.26) they at once become situated in the transcendental kingdom.
SB Canto 4
Lord Śiva was reluctant, but Satī, as a woman, the daughter of a king, wanted enjoyment. She wanted to go to her father's house, just as her other sisters might have done, and meet them and enjoy social life. Here, she specifically indicated that she would decorate herself with the ornaments given by her father. She did not say that she would decorate herself with the ornaments given by her husband because her husband was callous about all such matters. He did not know how to decorate his wife and take part in social life because he was always in ecstasy with thoughts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
It is stated there that when one fully engages in the transcendental service of the Lord by performing activities without fruitive results, one is elevated to the transcendental position. At that time he has no obligation to follow the Vedic injunctions or the different rules and regulations of the Vedas. When one is above the directions of the Vedic ritualistic injunctions for attaining different allurements and is fully absorbed in transcendental thought, which means thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in devotional service, one is in the position called buddhi-yoga, or samādhi, ecstasy. For a person who has attained this stage, neither the Vedic activities for realizing material enjoyment nor those for renunciation are applicable.
Satī at once thought of the lotus feet of her husband, Lord Śiva, who is one of the three great personalities of Godhead in charge of the management of the material world, and simply by meditating on his lotus feet she derived such great pleasure that she forgot everything in relationship with her body. This pleasure was certainly material because she gave up her body for another body that was also material, but by this example we can appreciate the devotee's pleasure in concentrating his mind and attention on the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu, or Kṛṣṇa. There is such transcendental bliss in simply meditating on the lotus feet of the Lord that one can forget everything but the Lord's transcendental form. This is the perfection of yogic samādhi, or ecstasy. In this verse it is stated that by such meditation she became free from all contamination. What was that contamination? The contamination was her concept of the body derived from Dakṣa, but she forgot that bodily relationship in trance.
The purport is that when one becomes free from all bodily relationships within this material world and simply places himself in the position of an eternal servant of the Supreme Lord, it is to be understood that all the contamination of his material attachment has been burned by the blazing fires of transcendental ecstasy. It is not necessary for one to manifest a blazing fire externally, for if one forgets all his bodily relationships within this material world and becomes situated in his spiritual identity, it is said that one has been freed from all material contamination by the blazing fire of yogic samādhi, or ecstasy. That is the topmost perfection of yoga. If one keeps his bodily relationships within this material world and poses himself as a great yogī, he is not a bona fide yogī. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.4.15) it is stated, yat-kīrtanaṁ yat-smaraṇaṁ. Simply by chanting the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, simply by remembering the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, simply by offering prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one is immediately freed from material contamination, the material bodily concept, by the blazing fire of ecstasy. This effect takes place immediately, without a second's delay.
It is impossible to conceive of the existence, name, form, quality and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He is transcendentally situated beyond the conception of materialistic persons. Because materialists cannot imagine or conceive of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they may think that God is dead, but factually He is always existing in His sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha (Bs. 5.1), His eternal form. Constant meditation concentrated on the form of the Lord is called samādhi, ecstasy or trance. Samādhi means particularly concentrated attention, so one who has achieved the qualification of always meditating on the Personality of Godhead is to be understood to be always in trance and enjoying brahma-nirvāṇa, or brahmānanda. Lord Śiva exhibited those symptoms, and therefore it is stated that he was absorbed in brahmānanda.
If one is very serious about liberation, he must stick to the process of transcendental loving service, engaging twenty-four hours a day in the highest stage of ecstasy, and he must certainly be aloof from all activities of sense gratification.
There are different stages of perfection according to different persons' objectives. Generally people are karmīs, for they engage in activities of sense gratification. Above the karmīs are the jñānīs, who are trying to become liberated from material entanglement. Yogīs are still more advanced because they meditate on the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And above all these are the devotees, who simply engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord; they are situated seriously on the topmost platform of ecstasy.
When Dhruva Mahārāja saw his Lord just in front of him, he was greatly agitated and offered Him obeisances and respect. He fell flat before Him like a rod and became absorbed in love of Godhead. Dhruva Mahārāja, in ecstasy, looked upon the Lord as if he were drinking the Lord with his eyes, kissing the lotus feet of the Lord with his mouth, and embracing the Lord with his arms.
Naturally, when Dhruva Mahārāja personally saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face, he was very much agitated in awe and respect, and it appeared as if he were drinking the entire body of the Lord with his eyes. The devotee's love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead is so intense that he wants to kiss the lotus feet of the Lord constantly, and he wants to touch the tips of the toes of the Lord and constantly embrace His lotus feet. All these features of Dhruva Mahārāja's bodily expression indicate that upon seeing the Lord face to face he developed the eight kinds of transcendental ecstasy in his body.
The two brothers Uttama and Dhruva Mahārāja also exchanged their tears. They were overwhelmed by the ecstasy of love and affection, and when they embraced one another, the hair on their bodies stood up.
The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidurajī, at that time all the brāhmaṇas highly praised and glorified King Pṛthu, and the best singers of Gandharvaloka chanted his glories. The inhabitants of Siddhaloka showered flowers, and the beautiful women in the heavenly planets danced in ecstasy.
As King Indra was standing by, he became ashamed of his own activities and fell down before King Pṛthu to touch his lotus feet. But Pṛthu Mahārāja immediately embraced him in great ecstasy and gave up all envy against him for his having stolen the horse meant for the sacrifice.
King Pṛthu abundantly worshiped the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who was so merciful to him. While worshiping the lotus feet of the Lord, Pṛthu Mahārāja gradually increased his ecstasy in devotional service.
When various ecstasies appear in the body of a devotee, it is to be understood that his devotional service has become perfect. There are many types of transcendental ecstasies in the forms of crying, laughing, perspiring, falling down, and crying like a madman. All these symptoms are sometimes visible on the body of a devotee. They are called asta-sāttvika-vikāra (CC Antya 14.99), which means "eight kinds of transcendental transformations." They are never to be imitated, but when a devotee actually becomes perfect, these symptoms are visible on his body. The Lord is bhakta-vatsala, which means that He is inclined toward His pure devotee (bhakta). Therefore the transcendental ecstatic transaction between the Supreme Lord and His devotee is never like the activities of this material world.
When He first appeared before Pṛthu Mahārāja, He was not touching the ground of this earth, but when He was fully satisfied with the behavior and character of Mahārāja Pṛthu, He immediately acted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Nārāyaṇa from Vaikuṇṭha. Out of affection for Pṛthu Mahārāja, He touched the earth, but He rested the front of His hand on the raised shoulder of Garuḍa, His carrier, as if to prevent Himself from falling down, since the Lord is not accustomed to stand on earthly ground. These are all symptoms of His great affection for Pṛthu Mahārāja. perceiving his fortunate position, Pṛthu Mahārāja could not fully look upon the Lord due to ecstasy, but still, in a faltering voice, he began to offer prayers.
The devotees, out of their extreme love for Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, always carry the Lord within their hearts. The Lord is already in the heart of everyone, but the Vaiṣṇavas and the brāhmaṇas actually perceive and see Him always in ecstasy. Therefore brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas are carriers of Viṣṇu. Wherever they go, Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Śiva or the devotees of Lord Viṣṇu are all carried. The four Kumāras are brāhmaṇas, and they visited the place of Mahārāja Pṛthu. Naturally Lord Viṣṇu and His devotees were also present.
The conclusion is that unless the karmīs, jñānīs and yogīs come to the point of devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa, their so-called austerities and yoga have no value. Nārādhitaḥ: if Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is not worshiped, there is no point in practicing meditational yoga, performing karma-yoga or culturing empiric knowledge. As far as prāṇāyāma is concerned, chanting of the holy name of the Lord and dancing in ecstasy are also considered prāṇāyāma. In a previous verse, Sanat-kumāra instructed Mahārāja Pṛthu to engage constantly in the service of the Supreme Lord, Vāsudeva:
- yat pāda-paṅkaja-palāśa-vilāsa-bhaktyā
- karmāśayaṁ grathitam udgrathayanti santaḥ
Only by worshiping Vāsudeva can one become free from the desires of fruitive activities. Outside of worshiping Vāsudeva, the yogīs and jñānīs cannot attain freedom from such desires.
Although Mahārāja Antardhāna was engaged in performing sacrifices, because he was a self-realized soul he very intelligently rendered devotional service to the Lord, who eradicates all the fears of His devotees. By thus worshiping the Supreme Lord, Mahārāja Antardhāna, rapt in ecstasy, attained His planet very easily.
When the mind is joined with a particular sense, it immediately becomes manifest in a certain way. For instance, when there is anger in the mind, the tongue vibrates so many maledictions. Similarly, when the mind's anger is expressed through the hand, there is fighting. When it is expressed through the leg, there is kicking. There are so many ways in which the subtle activities of the mind are expressed through the various senses. The mind of a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness also acts in a similar way. The tongue chants Hare Kṛṣṇa, the mahā-mantra, the hands are raised in ecstasy, and the legs dance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. These symptoms are technically called aṣṭa-sāttvika-vikāra (CC Antya 14.99). Sāttvika-vikāra is transformation of the mental condition in goodness or sometimes transcendental ecstasy.
The great sage Maitreya said: After the Personality of Godhead spoke thus, the Pracetās began to offer Him prayers. The Lord is the bestower of all success in life and is the supreme benefactor. He is also the supreme friend who takes away all miserable conditions experienced by a devotee. In a faltering voice, due to ecstasy, the Pracetās began to offer prayers. They were purified by the presence of the Lord, who was before them face to face.
Actually, a devotee cannot forget his obligation to the Supreme Personality of Godhead even for a single moment. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says that both the Supreme Lord and His devotee are rasa jña, full of transcendental humor. The mutual attachment between the Supreme Lord and His devotee is never to be considered material. It always exists as a transcendental fact. There are eight types of transcendental ecstasy (known as bhāva, anubhāva, sthāyi-bhāva and so on), and these are discussed in The Nectar of Devotion. Those who are unaware of the position of the living entity and the Supreme Person, Kṛṣṇa, think that the mutual attachment between the Lord and His devotees is a creation of the material energy. Factually such attachment is natural both for the Supreme Lord and for the devotee, and it cannot be accepted as material.
My dear King, in this way, after hearing the transcendental messages of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotees from the great sage Maitreya, Vidura was overwhelmed with ecstasy. With tears in his eyes, he immediately fell down at the lotus feet of his guru, his spiritual master. He then fixed the Supreme Personality of Godhead within the core of his heart.
This is a sign of associating with great devotees. A devotee takes instructions from a liberated soul and is thus overwhelmed by ecstasy from transcendental pleasure. As stated by Prahlāda Mahārāja:
- naiṣāṁ matis tāvad urukramāṅghriṁ
- spṛśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
- mahīyasāṁ pāda-rajo-'bhiṣekaṁ
- niṣkiñcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat
- (SB 7.5.32)
One cannot become a perfect devotee of the Lord without having touched the lotus feet of a great devotee. One who has nothing to do with this material world is called niṣkiñcana.
SB Canto 5
O Supreme Lord, You are full in every respect. You are certainly very satisfied when Your devotees offer You prayers with faltering voices and in ecstasy bring You tulasī leaves, water, twigs bearing new leaves, and newly grown grass. This surely makes You satisfied.
One does not need great wealth, education or opulence to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one is fully absorbed in love and ecstasy, he need offer only a flower and a little water. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ yo me bhaktyā prayacchati: "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower. fruit or water, I will accept it." (BG 9.26)
Due to getting a perfect son according to his desire, King Nābhi was always overwhelmed with transcendental bliss and was very affectionate to his son. It was with ecstasy and a faltering voice that he addressed Him, "My dear son, my darling." This mentality was brought about by yogamāyā, whereby he accepted the Supreme Lord, the supreme father, as his own son. Out of His supreme good will, the Lord became his son and dealt with everyone as if He were an ordinary human being. Thus King Nābhi began to raise his transcendental son with great affection, and he was overwhelmed with transcendental bliss, joy and devotion.
When a person is firmly fixed in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is described as vīra-vrata, fully determined. Such a devotee increases his ecstasy in devotional service more and more. Thus as soon as he remembers Lord Viṣṇu, his eyes fill with tears. This is a symptom of a mahā-bhāgavata. Dhruva Mahārāja maintained himself in that devotional ecstasy, and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also gave us a practical example of transcendental ecstasy when He lived at Jagannātha Purī. His pastimes there are fully narrated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
SB Canto 6
A Vaiṣṇava is para-duḥkha-duḥkhī; in other words, he has no personal troubles, but he is very unhappy to see others in trouble. Prahlāda Mahārāja said, "My Lord, I have no personal problems, for I have learned how to glorify Your transcendental qualities and thus enter a trance of ecstasy. I do have a problem, however, for I am simply thinking of these rascals and fools who are busy with māyā-sukha, temporary happiness, without knowledge of devotional service unto You." This is the problem faced by a Vaiṣṇava. Because a Vaiṣṇava fully takes shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he personally has no problems, but because he is compassionate toward the fallen, conditioned souls, he is always thinking of plans to save them from their hellish life in this body and the next.
Thus one serves the Lord by remembering His form, His attributes and pastimes. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains that this is all possible simply by chanting the Lord's holy name because of the Lord's omnipotence. What cannot be achieved through the performance of Vedic rituals can be easily achieved through the chanting of the Lord's holy name. To chant the holy name and dance in ecstasy is so easy and sublime that one can achieve all the benefits of spiritual life simply by following this process. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu declares, paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam: "All glories to Śrī Kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana!" The saṅkīrtana movement we have started offers the best process for becoming purified of all sinful reactions and coming immediately to the platform of spiritual life.
Everything in the Bhāgavatam is directly connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Bhāgavatam further says, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje: (SB 1.2.6) the supreme religion is that which teaches its followers how to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is beyond the reach of experimental knowledge. Such a religious system begins with tan-nāma-grahaṇa, chanting of the holy name of the Lord (śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam (SB 7.5.23)). After chanting the holy name of the Lord and dancing in ecstasy, one gradually sees the form of the Lord, the pastimes of the Lord and the transcendental qualities of the Lord. This way one fully understands the situation of the Personality of Godhead.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O most fortunate Prācetasa, because of your great faith in Me, you have attained the supreme devotional ecstasy. Indeed, because of your austerities, combined with exalted devotion, your life is now successful. You have achieved complete perfection.
The purport of this song is that Nārada Muni, the great soul, plays a stringed instrument called a vīṇā, vibrating the sound rādhikā-ramaṇa, which is another name for Kṛṣṇa. As soon as he strokes the strings, all the devotees begin responding, making a very beautiful vibration. Accompanied by the stringed instrument, the singing seems like a shower of nectar, and all the devotees dance in ecstasy to the fullest extent of their satisfaction. While dancing, they appear madly intoxicated with ecstasy, as if drinking the beverage called mādhurī-pūra. Some of them cry, some of them dance, and some of them, although unable to dance publicly, dance within their hearts. Lord Śiva embraces Nārada Muni and begins talking in an ecstatic voice, and seeing Lord Śiva dancing with Nārada, Lord Brahmā also joins, saying, "All of you kindly chant 'Hari bol! Hari bol!' " The King of heaven, Indra, also gradually joins with great satisfaction and begins dancing and chanting "Hari bol! Hari bol!" In this way, by the influence of the transcendental vibration of the holy name of God, the whole universe becomes ecstatic. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says, "When the universe becomes ecstatic, my desire is satisfied. I therefore pray unto the lotus feet of Rūpa Gosvāmī that this chanting of harer nāma (CC Adi 17.21) may go on nicely like this."
With tears of love and affection, Citraketu repeatedly moistened the resting place of the Supreme Lord's lotus feet. Because his voice was choked in ecstasy, for a considerable time he was unable to utter any of the letters of the alphabet to offer the Lord suitable prayers.
All the letters of the alphabet and the words constructed by those letters are meant for offering prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Mahārāja Citraketu had the opportunity to offer prayers to the Lord by composing nice verses from the letters of the alphabet, but because of his ecstasy, for a considerable time he could not join those letters to offer prayers to the Lord.
If one has scientific, philosophical, political, economic or any other abilities and wants perfection in his knowledge, he should offer prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead by composing first-class poetry or engaging his talents in the service of the Lord. Citraketu wanted to do this, but he was unable because of loving ecstasy. Therefore he had to wait for a considerable time before be could offer prayers.