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. Some unscrupulous people say that Lord Caitanya met His wife also after taking sannyāsa and offered her His wooden slipper for worship, but the authentic sources give no information about such a meeting. His mother met Him at the house of Advaita Prabhu, and when she saw her son in sannyāsa dress, she lamented. By way of compromise, she requested her son to make His headquarters in Purī so that she would easily be able to get information about Him. The Lord granted this last desire of His beloved mother. After this incident the Lord started for Purī, leaving all the residents of Navadvīpa in an ocean of lamentation over His separation.
Instead (SB cantos 1 - 6)
SB Preface and Introduction
SB Canto 1
Crows and swans are not birds of the same feather because of their different mental attitudes. The fruitive workers or passionate men are compared to the crows, whereas the all-perfect saintly persons are compared to the swans. The crows take pleasure in a place where garbage is thrown out, just as the passionate fruitive workers take pleasure in wine and woman and places for gross sense pleasure. The swans do not take pleasure in the places where crows are assembled for conferences and meetings. They are instead seen in the atmosphere of natural scenic beauty where there are transparent reservoirs of water nicely decorated with stems of lotus flowers in variegated colors of natural beauty. That is the difference between the two classes of birds.
SB Canto 2
If we at all want to end the cause of our conditioned life, we must take to the worship of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is present in everyone's heart by His natural affection for all living beings, who are actually the parts and parcels of the Lord (BG 18.61). The baby in the lap of his mother is naturally attached to the mother, and the mother is attached to the child. But when the child grows up and becomes overwhelmed by circumstances, he gradually becomes detached from the mother, although the mother always expects some sort of service from the grown-up child and is equally affectionate toward her child, even though the child is forgetful. Similarly, because we are all part and parcel of the Lord, the Lord is always affectionate to us, and He always tries to get us back home, back to Godhead. But we, the conditioned souls, do not care for Him and run instead after the illusory bodily connections. We must therefore extricate ourselves from all illusory connections of the world and seek reunion with the Lord, trying to render service unto Him because He is the ultimate truth. Actually we are hankering after Him as the child seeks the mother. And to search out the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we need not go anywhere else, because the Lord is within our hearts.
Foolish men of materialistic temperament do not take advantage of successive authorized knowledge. The Vedic knowledge is authorized and is acquired not by experiment but by authentic statements of the Vedic literatures explained by bona fide authorities. Simply by becoming an academic scholar one cannot understand the Vedic statements; one has to approach the real authority who has received the Vedic knowledge by disciplic succession, as clearly explained in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.2). Lord Kṛṣṇa affirmed that the system of knowledge as explained in the Bhagavad-gītā was explained to the sun-god, and the knowledge descended by disciplic succession from the sun-god to his son Manu, and from Manu to King Ikṣvāku (the forefather of Lord Rāmacandra), and thus the system of knowledge was explained down the line of great sages, one after another. But in due course of time the authorized succession was broken, and therefore, just to reestablish the true spirit of the knowledge, the Lord again explained the same knowledge to Arjuna, who was a bona fide candidate for understanding due to his being a pure devotee of the Lord. Bhagavad-gītā, as it was understood by Arjuna, is also explained (Bg. 10.12-13), but there are many foolish men who do not follow in the footsteps of Arjuna in understanding the spirit of Bhagavad-gītā. They create instead their own interpretations, which are as foolish as they themselves, and thereby only help to put a stumbling block on the path of real understanding, misdirecting the innocent followers who are less intelligent, or the śūdras. It is said that one should become a brāhmaṇa before one can understand the Vedic statements, and this stricture is as important as the stricture that no one shall become a lawyer who has not qualified himself as a graduate. Such a stricture is not an impediment in the path of progress for anyone and everyone, but it is necessary for an unqualified understanding of a particular science. Vedic knowledge is misinterpreted by those who are not qualified brāhmaṇas. A qualified brāhmaṇa is one who has undergone strict training under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said that out of the 8,400,000 species of living entities, the human form of life is rare and valuable, and out of those rare human beings those who are conscious of the material problems are rarer still, and the still more rare persons are those who are conscious of the value of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which contains the messages of the Lord and His pure devotees. Death is inevitable for everyone, intelligent or foolish. But Parīkṣit Mahārāja has been addressed by the Gosvāmī as the manīṣī, or the man of highly developed mind, because at the time of death he left all material enjoyment and completely surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord by hearing His messages from the right person, Śukadeva Gosvāmī. But aspirations for material enjoyment by endeavoring persons are condemned. Such aspirations are something like the intoxication of the degraded human society. Intelligent persons should try to avoid these aspirations and seek instead the permanent life by returning home, back to Godhead.
That the material creation is not permanent has been discussed many times hereinbefore. The material creation is but a temporary exhibition of the material energy of the Almighty God. This material manifestation is necessary to give a chance to the conditioned souls who are unwilling to associate with the Lord in the relationship of loving transcendental service. Such unwilling conditioned souls are not allowed to enter into the liberated life of spiritual existence because at heart they are not willing to serve. Instead, they want to enjoy themselves as imitation Gods. The living entities are constitutionally eternal servitors of the Lord, but some of them, because of misusing their independence, do not wish to serve; therefore they are allowed to enjoy the material nature, which is called māyā, or illusion. It is called illusion because the living beings under the clutches of māyā are not factually enjoyers, although they think that they are, being illusioned by māyā. Such illusioned living entities are given a chance at intervals to rectify their perverted mentality of becoming false masters of the material nature, and they are imparted lessons from the Vedas about their eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa (vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ (BG 15.15)). So the temporary creation of the material manifestation is an exhibition of the material energy of the Lord, and to manage the whole show the Supreme Lord incarnates Himself as the Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu just as a magistrate is deputed by the government to manage affairs temporarily.
Lord Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead, and all the incarnations of the Supreme Lord, although nondifferent from Him, are emanations from the Supreme. Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired from the great and learned sage Śukadeva Gosvāmī about the different activities of such incarnations so that the incarnation of the Lord might be confirmed by His activities in the authoritative scriptures. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was not to be carried away by the sentiments of the common man to accept an incarnation of the Lord very cheaply. Instead he wished to accept the incarnation of the Lord by symptoms mentioned in the Vedic literatures and confirmed by an ācārya like Śukadeva Gosvāmī. The Lord descends by His internal energy without any obligation to the laws of material nature, and thus His activities are also uncommon. The specific activities of the Lord are mentioned, and one should know that the activities of the Lord and the Lord Himself are identical due to being on the absolute plane. Thus to hear the activities of the Lord means to associate with the Lord directly, and association with the Lord directly means purification from material contamination. We have already discussed this point in the previous volume.
SB Canto 3
According to Patañjali, when one is fixed in constant realization of the supreme form of the Lord, one has attained the perfectional stage, as attained by Kardama Muni. Unless one attains this stage of perfection—beyond the perfection of the preliminaries of the yoga system—there is no ultimate realization. There are eight perfections in the aṣṭāṅga-yoga system. One who has attained them can become lighter than the lightest and greater than the greatest, and he can achieve whatever he likes. But even achieving such material success in yoga is not the perfection or the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is described here: Kardama Muni saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His eternal form. Devotional service begins with the relationship of the individual soul and the Supreme Soul, or Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa's devotees, and when one attains it there is no question of falling down. If, through the yoga system, one wants to attain the stage of seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face, but is attracted instead to attainment of some material power, then he is detoured from proceeding further. Material enjoyment, as encouraged by bogus yogīs, has nothing to do with the transcendental realization of spiritual happiness. Real devotees of bhakti-yoga accept only the material necessities of life absolutely needed to maintain the body and soul together; they refrain completely from all exaggerated material sense gratification. They are prepared to undergo all kinds of tribulation, provided they can make progress in the realization of the Personality of Godhead.
The false ego of identifying one's body as one's self and of claiming things possessed in relationship with this body is called māyā. In Bhagavad-gītā, Fifteenth Chapter, the Lord says, "I am sitting in everyone's heart, and from Me come everyone's remembrance and forgetfulness." Devahūti has stated that false identification of the body with the self and attachment for possessions in relation to the body are also under the direction of the Lord. Does this mean that the Lord discriminates by engaging one in His devotional service and another in sense gratification? If that were true, it would be an incongruity on the part of the Supreme Lord, but that is not the actual fact. As soon as the living entity forgets his real, constitutional position of eternal servitorship to the Lord and wants instead to enjoy himself by sense gratification, he is captured by māyā. This capture by māyā is the consciousness of false identification with the body and attachment for the possessions of the body. These are the activities of māyā, and since māyā is also an agent of the Lord, it is indirectly the action of the Lord. The Lord is merciful; if anyone wants to forget Him and enjoy this material world, He gives him full facility, not directly but through the agency of His material potency. Therefore, since the material potency is the Lord's energy, indirectly it is the Lord who gives the facility to forget Him. Devahūti therefore said, "My engagement in sense gratification was also due to You. Now kindly get me free from this entanglement."
It is a great falldown on the part of the impersonalists to think that the Supreme Lord appears within a material body and that one should therefore not meditate upon the form of the Supreme but should meditate instead on the formless. For this particular mistake, even the great mystic yogīs or great stalwart transcendentalists also come back again when there is creation. All living entities other than the impersonalists and monists can directly take to devotional service in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness and become liberated by developing transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such devotional service develops in the degrees of thinking of the Supreme Lord as master, as friend, as son and, at last, as lover. These distinctions in transcendental variegatedness must always be present.
The philosophy that the Absolute is true and this creation is false (brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā) is not accepted by Vaiṣṇava philosophers. The example is given that although all that glitters is not gold, this does not mean that a glittering object is false. For example, an oyster shell appears to be golden. This appearance of golden hue is due only to the perception of the eyes, but that does not mean that the oyster shell is false. Similarly, by seeing the form of Lord Kṛṣṇa one cannot understand what He actually is, but this does not mean that He is false. The form of Kṛṣṇa has to be understood as it is described in the books of knowledge such as Brahma-saṁhitā. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ (Bs. 5.1): Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has an eternal, blissful spiritual body. By our imperfect sense perception we cannot understand the form of the Lord. We have to acquire knowledge about Him. Therefore it is said here, jñānam ekam. Bhagavad-gītā confirms that they are fools who, simply upon seeing Kṛṣṇa, consider Him a common man. They do not know the unlimited knowledge, power and opulence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Material sense speculation leads to the conclusion that the Supreme is formless. It is because of such mental speculation that the conditioned soul remains in ignorance under the spell of illusory energy. The Supreme Person has to be understood by the transcendental sound vibrated by Him in Bhagavad-gītā, wherein He says that there is nothing superior to Himself; the impersonal Brahman effulgence is resting on His personality. The purified, absolute vision of Bhagavad-gītā is compared to the River Ganges. Ganges water is so pure that it can purify even the asses and cows. But anyone who, disregarding the pure Ganges, wishes to be purified instead by the filthy water flowing in a drain, cannot be successful. Similarly, one can successfully attain pure knowledge of the Absolute only by hearing from the pure Absolute Himself.
SB Canto 4
It is the duty of parents to hand over their daughters to suitable persons just befitting their family tradition in cleanliness, gentle behavior, wealth, social position, etc. Dakṣa was repentant that on the request of Brahmā, who was his father, he had handed over his daughter to a person who, according to his calculation, was nasty. He was so angry that he did not acknowledge that the request was from his father. Instead, he referred to Brahmā as parameṣṭhī, the supreme teacher in the universe; because of his temperament of gross anger, he was not even prepared to accept Brahmā as his father. In other words, he accused even Brahmā of being less intelligent because he had advised Dakṣa to hand over his beautiful daughter to such a nasty fellow. In anger one forgets everything, and thus Dakṣa, in anger, not only accused the great Lord Śiva, but criticized his own father, Lord Brahmā, for his not very astute advice that Dakṣa hand over his daughter to Lord Śiva.
In this verse Dakṣa has been described as mahātmā. The word mahātmā has been commented upon by different commentators in various manners. Vīrarāghava Ācārya has indicated that this word mahātmā means "steady in heart." That is to say that Dakṣa was so stronghearted that even when his beloved daughter was prepared to lay down her life, he was steady and unshaken. But in spite of his being so stronghearted, he was perturbed when he saw the various disturbances created by the gigantic black demon. Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks in this connection that even if one is called mahātmā, a great soul, unless he exhibits the symptoms of a mahātmā, he should be considered a durātmā, or a degraded soul. In Bhagavad-gītā (9.13) the word mahātmā describes the pure devotee of the Lord: mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ. A mahātmā is always under the guidance of the internal energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus how could such a misbehaved person as Dakṣa be a mahātmā? A mahātmā is supposed to have all the good qualities of the demigods, and thus Dakṣa, lacking those qualities, could not be called a mahātmā; he should instead be called durātmā, a degraded soul. The word mahātmā to describe the qualifications of Dakṣa is used sarcastically.
The way to get out of illusory māyā is to engage in the topics of Kṛṣṇa. Lord Caitanya advocated a process whereby everyone may remain in his present position without change but simply hear from the proper authoritative sources about Kṛṣṇa. Lord Caitanya advised everyone to spread the word of Kṛṣṇa. He advised, "All of you become spiritual masters. Your duty is simply to talk to whomever you meet of Kṛṣṇa or of the instructions given by Kṛṣṇa." The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is operating for this purpose. We do not ask anyone to first change his position and then come to us. Instead, we invite everyone to come with us and simply chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, because we know that if one simply chants and hears the topics of Kṛṣṇa, one's life will change; he will see a new light, and his life will be successful.
Nārada Muni is referred to here as bhagavān because he can bless any person just as the Supreme Personality of Godhead can. He was very pleased with Dhruva Mahārāja, and he could have at once personally given whatever he wanted, but that is not the duty of the spiritual master. His duty is to engage the disciple in proper devotional service as prescribed in the śāstras. Kṛṣṇa was similarly present before Arjuna, and even though He could have given him all facilities for victory over the opposing party without a fight, He did not do so; instead He asked Arjuna to fight. In the same way, Nārada Muni asked Dhruva Mahārāja to undergo devotional discipline in order to achieve the desired result.
Sense gratification means domination over material nature. The whole competition between conditioned souls is based upon domination of this material nature. Modern scientists are proud of their knowledge because they are discovering new methods to dominate the laws of material nature. They think that this is the advancement of human civilization—the more they can dominate the material laws, the more advanced they think they are. Dhruva Mahārāja's propensity in the beginning was like that. He wanted to dominate this material world in a greater position than Lord Brahmā. Therefore elsewhere it is described that after the appearance of the Lord, when Dhruva Mahārāja thought and compared his determination to his final reward, he realized that he had wanted a few particles of broken glass but instead had received many diamonds. As soon as he saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face, he immediately became conscious of the unimportance of his demand from the Lord to have an exalted position better than Lord Brahmā's.
King Vena was so foolish that he accused the saintly sages of being inexperienced like small children. In other words, he was accusing them of not having perfect knowledge. In this way he could reject their advice and make accusations against them, comparing them to a woman who does not care for her husband who maintains her but goes to satisfy a paramour who does not maintain her. The purpose of this simile is apparent. It is the duty of the kṣatriyas to engage the brāhmaṇas in different types of religious activities, and the king is supposed to be the maintainer of the brāhmaṇas. If the brāhmaṇas do not worship the king but instead go to the demigods, they are as polluted as unchaste women.
The duty of the king or the head of the government is described very nicely in this verse. It is the duty of the governmental head to see that people strictly follow a religious life. A king should also be strict in chastising the atheists. In other words, an atheistic or godless government should never be supported by a king or governmental chief. That is the test of good government. In the name of secular government, the king or governmental head remains neutral and allows people to engage in all sorts of irreligious activities. In such a state, people cannot be happy, despite all economic development. However, in this age of Kali there are no pious kings. Instead, rogues and thieves are elected to head the government. But how can the people be happy without religion and God consciousness? The rogues exact taxes from the citizens for their own sense enjoyment, and in the future the people will be so much harassed that according to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam they will flee from their homes and country and take shelter in the forest. However, in Kali-yuga, democratic government can be captured by Kṛṣṇa conscious people. If this can be done, the general populace can be made very happy.
Lord Viṣṇu advised Mahārāja Pṛthu that a king is not enjoined to give up his kingdom and the responsibility of protecting the prajās, or citizens, to instead go away to the Himalayas for liberation. He can attain liberation while executing his royal duties. The royal duty or the duty of the head of state is to see that the prajās, or the general mass of people, are doing their respective duties for spiritual salvation. A secular state does not necessitate a king or head of state who is indifferent to the activities of the prajās. In the modern state the government has many rules and regulations for conducting the duties of the prajās, but the government neglects to see that the citizens advance in spiritual knowledge. If the government is careless in this matter, the citizens will act whimsically, without any sense of God realization or spiritual life, and thus become entangled in sinful activities.
There are many cases in which a person becomes an offender to the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava and later becomes repentant. Here also we find that although the King of heaven, Indra, was so powerful that he accompanied Lord Viṣṇu, he felt himself a great offender for stealing Pṛthu Mahārāja's horse that was meant for sacrifice. An offender at the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava is never excused by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are many instances illustrating this fact. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja was offended by Durvāsā Muni, a great sage and mystic yogī, and Durvāsā also had to fall down at the lotus feet of Ambarīṣa Mahārāja. Indra decided to fall down at the lotus feet of King Pṛthu, but the King was so magnanimous a Vaiṣṇava that he did not want Mahārāja Indra to fall down at his feet. Instead, King Pṛthu immediately picked him up and embraced him, and both of them forgot all the past incidents. Both King Indra and Mahārāja Pṛthu were envious and angry with each other, but since both of them were Vaiṣṇavas, or servants of Lord Viṣṇu, it was their duty to adjust the cause of their envy. This is also a first-class example of cooperative behavior between Vaiṣṇavas. In the present days, however, because people are not Vaiṣṇavas, they fight perpetually among one another and are vanquished without finishing the mission of human life. There is a great need to propagate the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in the world so that even though people sometimes become angry and malicious toward one another, because of their being Kṛṣṇa conscious such rivalry, competition and envy can be adjusted without difficulty.
The reception given to the King was full of opulence, yet he did not become proud. It is said, therefore, that great personalities of power and opulence never become proud, and the example is given that a tree which is full of fruits and flowers does not stand erect in pride but instead bends downwards to show submissiveness. This is a sign of the wonderful character of great personalities.
In this verse Mahārāja Pṛthu is likened to the sun (arka-vat). Sometimes the sun shines on stool, urine and so many other polluted things, but since the sun is all-powerful, it is never affected by the polluted things with which it associates. On the contrary, the sunshine sterilizes and purifies polluted and dirty places. Similarly, a devotee may engage in so many material activities, but because he has no desire for sense gratification, they never affect him. On the contrary, he dovetails all material activities for the service of the Lord. Since a pure devotee knows how to utilize everything for the Lord's service, he is never affected by material activities. Instead, by his transcendental plans he purifies such activities. This is described in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tat-paratvena nirmalam: (CC Madhya 19.170) his aim is to become completely purified in the service of the Lord without being affected by material designations.
The supreme Vaiṣṇava is the spiritual master, and he is nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is said that sometimes Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to chant the names of the gopīs. Some of the Lord's students tried to advise Him to chant the name of Kṛṣṇa instead, but upon hearing this Caitanya Mahāprabhu became very angry with His students. The controversy on this subject reached a point that after this incident Caitanya Mahāprabhu decided to take sannyāsa because He was not taken very seriously in His gṛhastha-āśrama. The point is that since Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu chanted the names of the gopīs, worship of the gopīs or the devotees of the Lord is as good as devotional service rendered directly to the Lord. It is also stated by the Lord Himself that devotional service to His devotees is better than service offered directly to Him. Sometimes the sahajiyā class of devotees are interested only in Kṛṣṇa's personal pastimes to the exclusion of the activities of the devotees. This type of devotee is not on a very high level; one who sees the devotee and the Lord on the same level has further progressed.
Actually everyone is suffering within this material world due to ignorance. Every day we see that a person without knowledge commits some criminal act and is later arrested and punished, despite the fact that he actually may not have been conscious of his sinful activity. Such ignorance prevails throughout the world. People do not consider how they are risking their lives in an attempt to have illicit sex life, kill animals to satisfy their tongue, enjoy intoxication and gamble. It is very regrettable that the leaders of the world do not know of the effects of these sinful activities. They are instead taking things very easily and are succeeding in making the ocean of nescience wider and wider.
One form of hunting is known as woman-hunting. A conditioned soul is never satisfied with one wife. Those whose senses are very much uncontrolled especially try to hunt for many women. King Purañjana's abandoning the company of his religiously married wife is representative of the conditioned soul's attempt to hunt for many women for sense gratification. Wherever a king goes, he is supposed to be accompanied by his queen, but when the king, or conditioned soul, becomes greatly overpowered by the desire for sense gratification, he does not care for religious principles. Instead, with great pride, he accepts the bow and arrow of attachment and hatred. Our consciousness is always working in two ways—the right way and the wrong way. When one becomes too proud of his position, influenced by the mode of passion, he gives up the right path and accepts the wrong one. Kṣatriya kings are sometimes advised to go to the forest to hunt ferocious animals just to learn how to kill, but such forays are never meant for sense gratification. Killing animals to eat their flesh is forbidden for human beings.
In this verse there are several significant words, the first of which are ekādaśa śatāni. Purañjana had begotten 1,100 sons within the womb of his wife, and thus passed away half of his life. Actually every man follows a similar process. If one lives for one hundred years at the utmost, in his family life he simply begets children up to the age of fifty. Unfortunately at the present moment people do not live even a hundred years; nonetheless they beget children up to the age of sixty. Another point is that formerly people used to beget one hundred to two hundred sons and daughters. As will be evident from the next verse, King Purañjana not only begot 1,100 sons but also 110 daughters. At the present moment no one can produce such huge quantities of children. Instead, mankind is very busy checking the increase of population by contraceptive methods.
In this verse the words priya-yoṣitām and apriyaḥ are very significant. The word yoṣit means "woman," and priya means "dear" or "pleasing." Death is not very much welcome for those who are too much attached to material enjoyment, which culminates in sex. There is an instructive story in this connection. Once when a saintly person was passing on his way, he met a prince, the son of a king, and he blessed him, saying, "My dear prince, may you live forever." The sage next met a saintly person and said to him, "You may either live or die." Eventually the sage met a brahmacārī devotee, and he blessed him, saying, "My dear devotee, you may die immediately." Finally the sage met a hunter, and he blessed him, saying, "Neither live nor die." The point is that those who are very sensual and are engaged in sense gratification do not wish to die. Generally a prince has enough money to enjoy his senses; therefore the great sage said that he should live forever, for as long as he lived he could enjoy life, but after his death he would go to hell. Since the brahmacārī devotee was leading a life of severe austerities and penances in order to be promoted back to Godhead, the sage said that he should die immediately so that he need not continue to labor hard and could instead go back home, back to Godhead. A saintly person may either live or die, for during his life he is engaged in serving the Lord and after his death he also serves the Lord. Thus this life and the next are the same for a saintly devotee, for in both he serves the Lord. Since the hunter lives a very ghastly life due to killing animals, and since he will go to hell when he dies, he is advised to neither live nor die.
A person can be in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness and become happy and satisfied if he knows but three things—namely, that the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa is the enjoyer of all benefits, that He is the proprietor of everything, and that He is the supreme friend of all living entities. If one does not know this and functions instead under the bodily conception, he is always harassed by the tribulations offered by material nature. In actuality, the Supreme Lord is sitting by the side of everyone. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe 'rjuna tiṣṭhati (BG 18.61). The living entity and the Supersoul are sitting side by side in the same tree, but despite being harassed by the laws of material nature, the foolish living entity does not turn toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead for protection. However, he thinks that he is able to protect himself from the stringent laws of material nature. This, however, is not possible. The living entity must turn toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender unto Him. Only then will he be saved from the onslaught of the powerful Yavana, or Yamarāja.
We can definitely see that to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness one must control his bodily weight. If one becomes too fat, it is to be assumed that he is not advancing spiritually. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura severely criticized his fat disciples. The idea is that one who intends to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness must not eat very much. Devotees used to go to forests, high hills or mountains on pilgrimages, but such severe austerities are not possible in these days. One should instead eat only prasāda and no more than required. According to the Vaiṣṇava calendar, there are many fasts, such as Ekādaśī and the appearance and disappearance days of God and His devotees. All of these are meant to decrease the fat within the body so that one will not sleep more than desired and will not become inactive and lazy. Overindulgence in food will cause a man to sleep more than required. This human form of life is meant for austerity, and austerity means controlling sex, food intake, etc. In this way time can be saved for spiritual activity, and one can purify himself both externally and internally. Thus both body and mind can be cleansed.
The appearance of an old friend in the form of a brāhmaṇa is very significant. In His Paramātmā feature, Kṛṣṇa is the old friend of everyone. According to Vedic injunction, Kṛṣṇa is sitting with the living entity side by side. According to the śruti-mantra (dvā suparṇā sayujā sakhāyāḥ), the Lord is sitting within the heart of every living entity as suhṛt, the best friend. The Lord is always eager to have the living entity come home, back to Godhead. Sitting with the living entity as witness, the Lord gives him all chances to enjoy himself materially, but whenever there is an opportunity, the Lord gives good counsel and advises the living entity to abandon trying to become happy through material adjustment and instead turn his face toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender unto Him. When one becomes serious to follow the mission of the spiritual master, his resolution is tantamount to seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As explained before, this means meeting the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the instruction of the spiritual master. This is technically called vāṇī-sevā. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura states in his Bhagavad-gītā commentary on the verse vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana (BG 2.41) that one should serve the words of the spiritual master. The disciple must stick to whatever the spiritual master orders. Simply by following on that line, one sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
By misusing his independence, the living entity falls down from the service of the Lord and takes a position in this material world as an enjoyer. That is to say, the living entity takes his position within a material body. Wanting to take a very exalted position, the living entity instead becomes entangled in a repetition of birth and death. He selects his position as a human being, a demigod, a cat, a dog, a tree, etc. In this way the living entity selects a body out of the 8,400,000 forms and tries to satisfy himself by a variety of material enjoyment. The Supersoul, however, does not like him to do this. Consequently, the Supersoul instructs him to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord then takes charge of the living entity. But unless the living entity is uncontaminated by material desires, he cannot surrender to the Supreme Lord.
Under the influence of māyā, the living entity becomes exactly like a person haunted by a ghost. Such a person speaks all kinds of nonsense. When the living entity is covered by the influence of māyā, he becomes a so-called scientist, philosopher, politician or socialist, and at every moment presents different plans for the benefit of human society. All these plans are ultimately failures because they are illusory. In this way the living entity forgets his position as an eternal servant of the Lord. He instead becomes a servant of māyā. In any case he remains a servant. It is his misfortune that by forgetting his real contact with the Supreme Lord, he becomes a servant of māyā. As servant of māyā, he sometimes becomes a king, sometimes an ordinary citizen, sometimes a brāhmaṇa, a śūdra, and so on. Sometimes he is a happy man, sometimes a prosperous man, sometimes a small insect. Sometimes he is in heaven and sometimes in hell. Sometimes he is a demigod, and sometimes he is a demon. Sometimes he is a servant, and sometimes he is a master. In this way the living entity wanders all over the universe. Only when he comes in contact with the bona fide spiritual master can he understand his real constitutional position. He then becomes disgusted with material existence. At that time, in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he regrets his past experiences in material existence. This regret is very beneficial because it purifies the living entity of material, conditional life. He then prays to the Lord to engage in His service, and at that time, Kṛṣṇa grants liberation from the clutches of māyā.
Just as a dog wanders here and there for a piece of bread or punishment, the living entity perpetually wanders about trying to be happy and planning in so many ways to counteract material misery. This is called the struggle for existence. We can actually see in our daily lives how we are forced to make plans to drive away miserable conditions. To get rid of one miserable condition, we have to put ourselves in another kind of miserable condition. A poor man suffers for want of money, but if he wants to become rich, he has to struggle in so many ways. Actually that is not a valid counteracting process but a snare of the illusory energy. If one does not endeavor to counteract his situation but is satisfied with his position, knowing that he has obtained his position through past activities, he can instead engage his energy to develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is recommended in all Vedic literature.
It has been explained in the previous verse that all desires on the mental platform become visible one after another. Sometimes, however, by the supreme will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the whole stockpile can be visible all at one time. In Brahma-saṁhitā (5.54) it is said, karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām. When a person is fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, his stockpile of material desires is minimized. Indeed, the desires no longer fructify in the form of gross bodies. Instead, the stockpile of desires becomes visible on the mental platform by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
As indicated in verse 79, Nārada Muni advised King Prācīnabarhi to take to devotional service rather than waste time performing ritualistic ceremonies and fruitive activities. The vivid descriptions of the subtle and gross bodies in this chapter are most scientific, and because they are given by the great sage Nārada, they are authoritative. Because these narrations are full of the glory of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they constitute the most effective process for the purification of the mind. As Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirmed: ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam (CC Antya 20.12). The more we talk of Kṛṣṇa, think of Kṛṣṇa and preach for Kṛṣṇa, the more we become purified. This means we no longer have to accept a hallucinatory gross and subtle body, but instead attain our spiritual identity. One who tries to understand this instructive spiritual knowledge is delivered from this ocean of nescience. The word pārameṣṭhyam is very significant in this connection. Pārameṣṭhyam is also called Brahmaloka; it is the planet on which Lord Brahmā lives. The inhabitants of Brahmaloka always discuss such narrations so that after the annihilation of the material world, they can be directly transferred to the spiritual world. One who is transferred to the spiritual world does not have to go up and down within this material world. Sometimes spiritual activities are also called pārameṣṭhyam.
One who tries to enjoy the results of his activities becomes bound by the results. One who offers the results or profits to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, does not become entangled in the results. This is the secret of success. Generally people take sannyāsa to become free from the reactions of fruitive activity. One who does not receive the results of his actions but offers them instead to the Supreme Personality of Godhead certainly remains in a liberated condition.
SB Canto 5
The difference between a liberated and conditioned soul is that the conditioned soul is under the concept of bodily life, whereas a liberated person knows that he is not the body but a spirit, different from the body. Priyavrata might have thought that although a conditioned soul is forced to act according to the laws of nature, why should he, who was far advanced in spiritual understanding, accept the same kind of bondage and impediments to spiritual advancement? To answer this doubt, Lord Brahmā informed him that even those who are liberated do not resent accepting, in the present body, the results of their past activities. While sleeping, one dreams many unreal things, but when he awakens he disregards them and makes progress in factual life. Similarly, a liberated person—one who has completely understood that he is not the body but a spirit soul—disregards past activities performed in ignorance and performs his present activities in such a way that they produce no reactions. This is described in Bhagavad-gītā (3.9). Yajñārthāt karmaṇo 'nyatra loko 'yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ: if one performs activities for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality, the yajña-puruṣa, his work does not produce reactions, whereas karmīs, who act for themselves, are bound by the reactions of their work. A liberated person, therefore, does not think about whatever he has ignorantly done in the past; instead, he acts in such a way that he will not produce another body by fruitive activities. As clearly mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā:
- mām ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa
- bhakti-yogena sevate
- sa guṇān samatītyaitān
- brahma-bhūyāya kalpate
"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." (BG 14.26) Regardless of what we have done in our past lives, if we engage ourselves in unalloyed devotional service to the Lord in this life, we will always be situated in the brahma-bhūta (SB 4.30.20) (liberated) state, free from reactions, and will not be obliged to accept another material body. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so 'rjuna (BG 4.9). After giving up the body, one who has acted in that way does not accept another material body, but instead goes back home, back to Godhead.
Mahārāja Priyavrata not only carried out the order of Lord Brahmā by accepting the duties of government, but also married Barhiṣmatī, the daughter of Viśvakarmā, one of the prajāpatis. Since Mahārāja Priyavrata was fully trained in transcendental knowledge, he could have returned home and conducted the business of government as a brahmacārī. Instead, however, when he returned to household life, he accepted a wife also. The principle is that when one becomes a gṛhastha, he must live perfectly in that order, which means he must live peacefully with a wife and children. When Caitanya Mahāprabhu's first wife died, His mother requested Him to marry for a second time. He was twenty years old and was going to take sannyāsa at the age of twenty-four, yet by the request of His mother, He married. "As long as I am in household life," He told His mother, "I must have a wife, for household life does not mean staying in a house. Real household life means living in a house with a wife."
The paramahaṁsa stage is the topmost position in renounced life. In sannyāsa, the renounced order, there are four stages—kuṭīcaka, bahūdaka, parivrājakācārya and paramahaṁsa. According to the Vedic system, when one accepts the renounced order, he stays outside his village in a cottage, and his necessities, especially his food, are supplied from home. This is called the kuṭīcaka stage. When a sannyāsī advances further, he no longer accepts anything from home: instead, he collects his necessities, especially his food, from many places. This system is called mādhukarī, which literally means "the profession of the bumblebees." As bumblebees collect honey from many flowers, a little from each, so a sannyāsī should beg from door to door but not accept very much food from any particular house; he should collect a little bit from every house. This is called the bahūdaka stage. When a sannyāsī is still more experienced, he travels all over the world to preach the glories of Lord Vāsudeva. He is then known as parivrājakācārya. The sannyāsī reaches the paramahaṁsa stage when he finishes his preaching work and sits down in one place, strictly for the sake of advancing in spiritual life. An actual paramahaṁsa is one who completely controls his senses and engages in the unalloyed service of the Lord. Therefore all three of these sons of Priyavrata, namely Kavi, Mahāvīra and Savana, were situated in the paramahaṁsa stage from the very beginning. Their senses could not disturb them, for their senses were completely engaged in serving the Lord. Therefore the three brothers are described in this verse as upaśama-śīlāḥ. Upaśama means "completely subdued." Because they completely subdued their senses, they are understood to have been great sages and saints.
As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (6.41), śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo 'bhijāyate. One who falls down from the process of bhakti-yoga is again offered the opulence of the demigods, and after enjoying such material opulence, he is given a chance to take birth in a noble family of a pure brāhmaṇa, or in a rich family, to be given the chance to revive his Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This actually happened in the life of Priyavrata: he is a most glorious example of this truth. In due course of time, he no longer wanted to enjoy his material opulences and his wife, kingdom and sons; instead, he wanted to renounce them all. Therefore, after having described the material opulences of Mahārāja Priyavrata, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, in this verse, describes his tendency for renunciation.
As Śrī Madhvācārya points out, the sum and substance of these four ślokas is that one should refrain from acting out of a desire for sense gratification and should instead always engage in the Lord's loving service. In other words, bhakti-yoga is the acknowledged path of liberation. Śrīla Madhvācārya quotes from the Adhyātma:
- ātmano 'vihitaṁ karma
- kāmasya ca parityāgo
- nirīhety āhur uttamāḥ
One should perform activities only for the benefit of the soul; any other activity should be given up. When a person is situated in this way, he is said to be desireless. Actually a living entity cannot be totally desireless, but when he desires the benefit of the soul and nothing else, he is said to be desireless.
Those too attached to family life, who forget that death comes in the future to take them away, become attached and unable to finish their duty as human beings. The duty of human life is to solve all the problems of life, but instead people remain attached to family affairs and duties. Although they forget death, death will not forget them. Suddenly they will be kicked off the platform of a peaceful family life. One may forget that he has to die, but death never forgets. Death comes always at the right time. The brāhmaṇa father of Jaḍa Bharata wanted to teach his son the process of brahmacarya, but he was unsuccessful due to his son's unwillingness to undergo the process of Vedic advancement. Jaḍa Bharata was simply concerned with returning home, back to Godhead, by executing devotional service through śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ (SB 7.5.23). He did not care for the Vedic instructions of his father. When one is fully interested in the service of the Lord, he does not need to follow all the regulative principles enunciated in the Vedas. Of course, for an ordinary man, the Vedic principles are imperative. No one can avoid them. But when one has attained the perfection of devotional service, it is not very important to follow the Vedic principles. Lord Kṛṣṇa advised Arjuna to ascend to the platform of nistraiguṇya, the transcendental position above the Vedic principles.
The distinction between a person in the bodily conception and a person beyond the bodily conception is presented in this verse. In the bodily conception, King Rahūgaṇa considered himself a king and chastised Jaḍa Bharata in so many unwanted ways. Being self-realized, Jaḍa Bharata, who was fully situated on the transcendental platform, did not at all become angry; instead, he smiled and began to deliver his teachings to King Rahūgaṇa. A highly advanced Vaiṣṇava devotee is a friend to all living entities, and consequently he is a friend to his enemies also. In fact, he does not consider anyone to be his enemy. Suhṛdaḥ sarva-dehinām (SB 3.25.21). Sometimes a Vaiṣṇava becomes superficially angry at a nondevotee, but this is good for the nondevotee. We have several examples of this in Vedic literature. Once Nārada became angry with the two sons of Kuvera, Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, and he chastised them by turning them into trees. The result was that later they were liberated by Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The devotee is situated on the absolute platform, and when he is angry or pleased, there is no difference, for in either case he bestows his benediction.
King Rahūgaṇa was proud of being king, and he felt he had the right to control the citizens as he liked, but actually he was engaging men in carrying his palanquin without payment, and therefore he was causing them trouble without reason. Nonetheless, the King was thinking that he was the protector of the citizens. Actually the king should be the representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For this reason he is called nara-devatā, the Lord among human beings. However, when a king thinks that because he is the head of the state, he can utilize the citizens for his sense gratification, he is in error. Such an attitude is not appreciated by learned scholars. According to the Vedic principles, the king should be advised by learned sages, brāhmaṇas and scholars, who advise him according to the injunctions given in the dharma-śāstra. The duty of the king is to follow these instructions. Learned circles do not appreciate the king's utilizing public endeavor for his own benefit. His duty is to give protection to the citizens instead. The king should not become such a rogue that he exploits the citizens for his own benefit.
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.
Materialistic people are sometimes called śūdras, or descendants of monkeys, due to their monkeylike intelligence. They do not care to know how the evolutionary process is taking place, nor are they eager to know what will happen after they finish their small human life span. This is the attitude of śūdras. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's mission, this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, is trying to elevate śūdras to the brāhmaṇa platform so that they will know the real goal of life. Unfortunately, being overly attached to sense gratification, materialists are not serious in helping this movement. Instead, some of them try to suppress it. Thus it is the business of monkeys to disturb the activities of the brāhmaṇas. The descendants of monkeys completely forget that they have to die, and they are very proud of scientific knowledge and the progress of material civilization. The word grāmya-karmaṇā indicates activities meant only for the improvement of bodily comforts, presently all human society is engaged in improving economic conditions and bodily comforts, people are not interested in knowing what is going to happen after death, nor do they believe in the transmigration of the soul. When one scientifically studies the evolutionary theory, one can understand that human life is a junction where one may take the path of promotion or degradation.
Just as aquatics always desire to remain in the vast mass of water, all conditioned living entities naturally desire to remain in the vast existence of the Supreme Lord. Therefore if someone very great by material calculations fails to take shelter of the Supreme Soul but instead becomes attached to material household life, his greatness is like that of a young, low-class couple. One who is too attached to material life loses all good spiritual qualities.
The denizens of the heavenly planets regret that they could not take full advantage of being born in the land of Bhārata-varṣa. Instead, they became captivated by a higher standard of sense gratification, and therefore they forgot the lotus feet of Lord Nārāyaṇa at the time of death. The conclusion is that one who has taken birth in the land of Bhārata-varṣa must follow the instructions given personally by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yad gatvā na nivartante tad dhāma paramaṁ mama (BG 15.6). One should try to return home, back to Godhead, to the Vaikuṇṭha planets—or to the topmost Vaikuṇṭha planet, Goloka Vṛndāvana—to live eternally in full, blissful knowledge in the company of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
From this very instructive verse we learn that lower animals, created by the laws of nature to disturb the human being, are not subjected to punishment. Because the human being has developed consciousness, however, he cannot do anything against the principles of varṇāśrama-dharma without being condemned. Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā (4.13), cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ: "According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me." Thus all men should be divided into four classes—brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras—and they should act according to their ordained regulations. They cannot deviate from their prescribed rules and regulations. One of these states that they should never trouble any animal, even those that disturb human beings. Although a tiger is not sinful if he attacks another animal and eats its flesh, if a man with developed consciousness does so, he must be punished. In other words, a human being who does not use his developed consciousness but instead acts like an animal surely undergoes punishment in many different hells.
In the Western countries especially, aristocrats keep dogs and horses to hunt animals in the forest. Whether in the West or the East, aristocratic men in the Kali-yuga adopt the fashion of going to the forest and unnecessarily killing animals. Men of the higher classes (the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas) should cultivate knowledge of Brahman, and they should also give the śūdras a chance to come to that platform. If instead they indulge in hunting, they are punished as described in this verse. Not only are they pierced with arrows by the agents of Yamarāja, but they are also put into the ocean of pus, urine and stool described in the previous verse.
SB Canto 6
The word kṛṣṇa-rpita-prāṇaḥ refers to a devotee who dedicates his life to serving Kṛṣṇa, not to being saved from the path to hellish life. A devotee is nārāyaṇa-parāyaṇa, or vāsudeva-parāyaṇa, which means that the path of Vāsudeva, or the devotional path, is his life and soul. Nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve na kutaścana bibhyati (SB 6.17.28): such a devotee is not afraid of going anywhere. There is a path toward liberation in the higher planetary systems and a path toward the hellish planets, but a nārāyaṇa-para devotee is unafraid wherever he is sent; he simply wants to remember Kṛṣṇa, wherever he may be. Such a devotee is unconcerned with hell and heaven; he is simply attached to rendering service to Kṛṣṇa. When a devotee is put into hellish conditions, he accepts them as Kṛṣṇa's mercy: tat te 'nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇaḥ (SB 10.14.8). He does not protest, "Oh, I am such a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Why have I been put into this misery?" Instead he thinks, "This is Kṛṣṇa's mercy." Such an attitude is possible for a devotee who engages in the service of Kṛṣṇa's representative. This is the secret of success.
The servants of Yamarāja replied quite properly. They did not manufacture principles of religion or irreligion. Instead, they explained what they had heard from the authority Yamarāja. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ: (CC Madhya 17.186) one should follow the mahājana, the authorized person. Yamarāja is one of twelve authorities. Therefore the servants of Yamarāja, the Yamadūtas, replied with perfect clarity when they said śuśruma ("we have heard"). The members of modern civilization manufacture defective religious principles through speculative concoction. This is not dharma. They do not know what is dharma and what is adharma. Therefore, as stated in the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra: (SB 1.1.2) dharma not supported by the Vedas is rejected from śrīmad-bhāgavata-dharma. Bhāgavata-dharma comprises only that which is given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhāgavata-dharma is sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: (BG 18.66) one must accept the authority of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender to Him and whatever He says. That is dharma. Arjuna, for example, thinking that violence was adharma, was declining to fight, but Kṛṣṇa urged him to fight. Arjuna abided by the orders of Kṛṣṇa, and therefore he is actually a dharmī because the order of Kṛṣṇa is dharma. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (15.15), vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ: "The real purpose of veda, knowledge, is to know Me." One who knows Kṛṣṇa perfectly is liberated.
One can come to this understanding of the Lord, how He descends into the material world, how He takes His births and what activities He performs, but one can know this only by executing devotional service. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti: (BG 18.55) simply by devotional service one can understand everything about the Supreme Lord. If one fortunately understands the Supreme Lord in this way, the result is tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti: (BG 4.9) after giving up his material body, he no longer has to take birth in this material world. Instead, he returns home, back to Godhead. That is the ultimate perfection.
This power of chanting the holy name was proved by the liberation of Ajāmila. When Ajāmila chanted the holy name of Nārāyaṇa, he did not precisely remember the Supreme Lord; instead, he remembered his own son. At the time of death, Ajāmila certainly was not very clean; indeed, he was famous as a great sinner. Furthermore, one's physiological condition is completely disturbed at the time of death, and in such an awkward condition it would certainly have been very difficult for Ajāmila to have chanted clearly. Nevertheless, Ajāmila achieved liberation simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord. Therefore, what is to be said of those who are not sinful like Ajāmila? It is to be concluded that with a strong vow one should chant the holy name of the Lord—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare—for thus one will certainly be delivered from the clutches of māyā by the grace of Kṛṣṇa.
Because they are bewildered by the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Yājñavalkya and Jaimini and other compilers of the religious scriptures cannot know the secret, confidential religious system of the twelve mahājanas. They cannot understand the transcendental value of performing devotional service or chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Because their minds are attracted to the ritualistic ceremonies mentioned in the Vedas—especially the Yajur Veda, Sāma Veda and Ṛg Veda—their intelligence has become dull. Thus they are busy collecting the ingredients for ritualistic ceremonies that yield only temporary benefits, such as elevation to Svargaloka for material happiness. They are not attracted to the saṅkīrtana movement; instead, they are interested in dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa.
Human society is meant to follow strictly the varṇāśrama-dharma, which divides society into four social divisions (brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra) and four spiritual divisions (brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa). Varṇāśrama-dharma easily brings one nearer to Lord Viṣṇu, who is the only true objective in human society. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum: (SB 7.5.31) unfortunately, however, people do not know that their self-interest is to return home, back to Godhead, or to approach Lord Viṣṇu. Durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ: instead, they are simply bewildered. Every human being is expected to perform duties meant for approaching Lord Viṣṇu. Therefore Yamarāja advises the Yamadūtas to bring him those persons who have forgotten their duties toward Viṣṇu (akṛta-viṣṇu-kṛtyān). One who does not chant the holy name of Viṣṇu (Kṛṣṇa), who does not bow down to the Deity of Viṣṇu, and who does not remember the lotus feet of Viṣṇu is punishable by Yamarāja. In summary, all avaiṣṇavas, persons unconcerned with Lord Viṣṇu, are punishable by Yamarāja.
There are two parties—namely, the theists and the atheists. The theist, who accepts the Supersoul, finds the spiritual cause through mystic yoga. The Sāṅkhyite, however, who merely analyzes the material elements, comes to a conclusion of impersonalism and does not accept a supreme cause—whether Bhagavān, Paramātmā or even Brahman. Instead, he is preoccupied with the superfluous, external activities of material nature. Ultimately, however, both parties demonstrate the Absolute Truth because although they offer opposing statements, their object is the same ultimate cause. They are both approaching the same Supreme Brahman, to whom I offer my respectful obeisances.
This material cosmic manifestation is an expansion of the energy of Lord Kṛṣṇa, or Lord Viṣṇu.
- jyotsnā vistāriṇī yathā
- parasya brahmaṇaḥ śaktis
- tathedam akhilaṁ jagat
"Whatever we see in this world is but an expansion of various energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is like a fire that spreads illumination for a long distance although it is situated in one place." (Viṣṇu Purāṇa) The entire cosmic manifestation is an expansion of the Supreme Lord. Therefore if one does not conduct research to find the supreme cause, but instead falsely engages in frivolous, temporary activities, what is the use of demanding recognition as an important scientist or philosopher? If one does not know the ultimate cause, what is the use of his scientific and philosophical research?
This mentality of Prajāpati Dakṣa still continues even today. When young boys join the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, their fathers and so-called guardians are very angry at the propounder of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement because they think that their sons have been unnecessarily induced to deprive themselves of the material enjoyments of eating, drinking and merrymaking. Karmīs, fruitive workers, think that one should fully enjoy his present life in this material world and also perform some pious activities to be promoted to higher planetary systems for further enjoyment in the next life. A yogī, however, especially a bhakti-yogī, is callous to the opinions of this material world. He is not interested in traveling to the higher planetary systems of the demigods to enjoy a long life in an advanced materialistic civilization. As stated by Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī, kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tridaśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate: for a devotee, merging into the Brahman existence is hellish, and life in the higher planetary systems of the demigods is a will-o'-the-wisp, a phantasmagoria with no real existence at all. A pure devotee is not interested in yogic perfection, travel to higher planetary systems, or oneness with Brahman. He is interested only in rendering service to the Personality of Godhead. Since Prajāpati Dakṣa was a karmī, he could not appreciate the great service Nārada Muni had rendered his eleven thousand sons. Instead, he accused Nārada Muni of being sinful and charged that because Nārada Muni was associated with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord would also be defamed. Thus Dakṣa criticized that Nārada Muni was an offender to the Lord although he was known as an associate of the Lord.
Bṛhaspati knew everything that would happen in the future. Seeing Indra's transgression of etiquette, he completely understood that Indra was puffed up by his material opulence. Although able to curse Indra, he did not do so. Instead, he left the assembly and in silence returned to his home.
A first-class brāhmaṇa does not accept any rewards from his disciples or yajamānas. Practicing austerities and penances, he instead goes to the agricultural field and collects food grains left by the agriculturalists to be collected by brāhmaṇas. Similarly, such brāhmaṇas go to marketplaces where grains are purchased and sold wholesale, and there they collect grains left by the merchants. In this way, such exalted brāhmaṇas maintain their bodies and families. Such priests never demand anything from their disciples to live in opulence, imitating kṣatriyas or vaiśyas. In other words, a pure brāhmaṇa voluntarily accepts a life of poverty and lives in complete dependence on the mercy of the Lord. Not very many years ago, a brāhmaṇa in Kṛṣṇanagara, near Navadvīpa, was offered some help from the local Zamindar, Rājā Kṛṣṇacandra. The brāhmaṇa refused to accept the help. He said that since he was very happy in his householder life, taking rice given by his disciples and cooking vegetables of tamarind leaves, there was no question of taking help from the Zamindar. The conclusion is that although a brāhmaṇa may receive much opulence from his disciples, he should not utilize the rewards of his priesthood for his personal benefit; he must use them for the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Because of affection for the demons, Viśvarūpa secretly supplied them the remnants of yajña. When Indra learned about this, he beheaded Viśvarūpa, but he later regretted killing Viśvarūpa because Viśvarūpa was a brāhmaṇa. Although competent to neutralize the sinful reactions for killing a brāhmaṇa, Indra did not do so. Instead he accepted the reactions. Later, he distributed these reactions among the land, water, trees and women in general. Since the land accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions, a portion of the land turned into desert. The trees were also given one fourth of the sinful reactions, and therefore they drip sap, which is prohibited for drinking. Because women accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions, they are untouchable during their menstrual period. Since water was also infested with sinful reactions, when bubbles appear in water it cannot be used for any purpose.
When the demigods finished offering their prayers, they anxiously waited for their enemy Vṛtrāsura to be killed. This means that the demigods are not pure devotees. Although without difficulty one can get anything he desires if the Lord is pleased, the demigods aspire for material profit by pleasing the Lord. The Lord wanted the demigods to pray for unalloyed devotional service, but instead they prayed for an opportunity to kill their enemy. This is the difference between a pure devotee and a devotee on the material platform. Indirectly, the Lord regretted that the demigods did not ask for pure devotional service.
There are two classes of men—namely the kṛpaṇa and the brāhmaṇa. A brāhmaṇa is one who knows Brahman, the Absolute Truth, and who thus knows his real interest. A kṛpaṇa, however, is one who has a material, bodily concept of life. Not knowing how to utilize his human or demigod life, a kṛpaṇa is attracted by things created by the material modes of nature. The kṛpaṇas, who always desire material benefits, are foolish, whereas brāhmaṇas, who always desire spiritual benefits, are intelligent. If a kṛpaṇa, not knowing his self-interest, foolishly asks for something material, one who awards it to him is also foolish. Kṛṣṇa, however, is not a foolish person; He is supremely intelligent. If someone comes to Kṛṣṇa asking for material benefits, Kṛṣṇa does not award him the material things he desires. Instead, the Lord gives him intelligence so that he will forget his material desires and become attached to the Lord's lotus feet. In such cases, although the kṛpaṇa offers prayers to Lord Kṛṣṇa for material things, the Lord takes away whatever material possessions the kṛpaṇa has and gives him the sense to become a devotee. As stated by the Lord in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Madhya 22.39):
- āmi-vijña, ei mūrkhe 'viṣaya' kene diba?
- sva-caraṇāmṛta diyā 'viṣaya' bhulāiba
"Since I am very intelligent, why should I give this fool material prosperity? Instead I shall induce him to take the nectar of the shelter of My lotus feet and make him forget illusory material enjoyment." If one sincerely prays to God for material possessions in exchange for devotional service, the Lord, who is not foolish like such an unintelligent devotee, shows him special favor by taking away whatever material possessions he has and gradually giving him the intelligence to be satisfied only by rendering service to His lotus feet. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura comments in this regard that if a foolish child requests his mother to give him poison, the mother, being intelligent, will certainly not give him poison, even though he requests it. A materialist does not know that to accept material possessions means to accept poison, or the repetition of birth and death. An intelligent person, a brāhmaṇa, aspires for liberation from material bondage. That is the real self-interest of a human being.
A devotee may foolishly ask for material benedictions, but Lord Kṛṣṇa does not give him such benedictions, despite the devotee's prayers. Therefore people who are very attached to material life do not generally become devotees of Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu. Instead they become devotees of the demigods (kāmais tais tair hṛta jñānāḥ prapadyante 'nya-devatāḥ (BG 7.20)). The benedictions of the demigods, however, are condemned in Bhagavad-gītā. Antavat tu phalaṁ teṣāṁ tad bhavaty alpa-medhasām: (BG 7.23) "Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary." A non-Vaiṣṇava, one who is not engaged in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is considered a fool with a small quantity of brain substance.
There are two kinds of jñānīs. One is inclined to devotional service and the other to impersonal realization. Impersonalists generally undergo great endeavor for no tangible benefit, and therefore it is said that they are husking paddy that has no grain (sthūla-tuṣāvaghātinaḥ). The other class of jñānīs, whose jñāna is mixed with bhakti, are also of two kinds—those who are devoted to the so-called false form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and those who understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead as sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha (Bs. 5.1), the actual spiritual form. The Māyāvādī devotees worship Nārāyaṇa or Viṣṇu with the idea that Viṣṇu has accepted a form of māyā and that the ultimate truth is actually impersonal. The pure devotee, however, never thinks that Viṣṇu has accepted a body of māyā; instead, he knows perfectly well that the original Absolute Truth is the Supreme Person. Such a devotee is actually situated in knowledge. He never merges in the Brahman effulgence.
My Lord, You may say that there is no law that a father must die in the lifetime of his son and that a son must be born in the lifetime of his father, since everyone lives and dies according to his own fruitive activity. However, if fruitive activity is so strong that birth and death depend upon it, there is no need of a controller, or God. Again, if You say that a controller is needed because the material energy does not have the power to act, one may answer that if the bonds of affection You have created are disturbed by fruitive action, no one will raise children with affection; instead, everyone will cruelly neglect his children. Since You have cut the bonds of affection that compel a parent to raise his child, You appear inexperienced and unintelligent.
By worshiping Lord Viṣṇu one can get whatever he desires, but a pure devotee never asks Lord Viṣṇu for any material profit. Instead he serves Lord Viṣṇu without material desires and is therefore ultimately transferred to the spiritual kingdom. In this regard, Śrīla Vīrarāghava Ācārya comments, yatheṣṭa-gatir ity arthaḥ: by worshiping Viṣṇu, a devotee can get whatever he likes. Mahārāja Citraketu wanted only to return home, back to Godhead, and therefore he achieved success in that way.
A special distinction between devotees and the other transcendentalists, namely the jñānīs and yogīs, is that jñānīs and yogīs artificially try to become one with the Supreme, whereas devotees never aspire for such an impossible accomplishment. Devotees know that their position is to be eternally servants of the Supreme Lord and never to be one with Him. Therefore they are called sama-mati or jitātmā. They detest oneness with the Supreme. They have no lusty desires for oneness; instead, their desire is to be freed from all material hankering. Therefore they are called niṣkāma, desireless. A living entity cannot exist without desires, but desires that can never be fulfilled are called kāma, lusty desires. Kāmais tais tair hṛta jñānāḥ: (BG 7.20) because of lusty desires, nondevotees are deprived of their intelligence. Thus they are unable to conquer the Supreme Lord, whereas devotees, being freed from such unreasonable desires, can conquer the Lord. Such devotees are also conquered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because they are pure, being free from all material desires, they fully surrender to the Supreme Lord, and therefore the Lord conquers them. Such devotees never aspire for liberation. They simply desire to serve the lotus feet of the Lord. Because they serve the Lord without desires for remuneration, they can conquer the mercy of the Lord. The Lord is by nature very merciful, and when He sees that His servant is working without desires for material profit, naturally He is conquered.
O Lord, O Supreme, unintelligent persons who thirst for sense enjoyment and who worship various demigods are no better than animals in the human form of life. Because of their animalistic propensities, they fail to worship Your Lordship, and instead they worship the insignificant demigods, who are but small sparks of Your glory. With the destruction of the entire universe, including the demigods, the benedictions received from the demigods also vanish, just like the nobility when a king is no longer in power.
Lord Śiva, who is always deep in knowledge, could understand Citraketu's purpose, and therefore he was not at all angry; rather, he simply smiled and remained silent. The members of the assembly surrounding Lord Śiva could also understand Citraketu's purpose. Consequently, following the behavior of Lord Śiva, they did not protest; instead, following their master, they remained silent. If the members of the assembly thought that Citraketu had blasphemed Lord Śiva, they would certainly have left at once, blocking their ears with their hands.
Durgā—the goddess Pārvatī, the wife of Lord Śiva—is extremely powerful. She can create, maintain and annihilate any number of universes by her sweet will, but she acts under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, not independently. Kṛṣṇa is impartial, but because this is the material world of duality, such relative terms as happiness and distress, curses and favors, are created by the will of the Supreme. Those who are not nārāyaṇa-para, pure devotees, must be disturbed by this duality of the material world, whereas devotees who are simply attached to the service of the Lord are not at all disturbed by it. For example, Haridāsa Ṭhākura was beaten with cane in twenty-two bazaars, but he was never disturbed; instead, he smilingly tolerated the beating. Despite the disturbing dualities of the material world, devotees are not disturbed at all. Because they fix their minds on the lotus feet of the Lord and concentrate on the holy name of the Lord, they do not feel the so-called pains and pleasures caused by the dualities of this material world.