The more we hear from realized souls, the more we make advancement in our devotional life. The more we advance in devotional life, the more we become detached from the material world.
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[Posted December 3, 2006]

Back to Godhead - Part 2

by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Founder-Acharya of the world-wide Hare Krishna Movement, Brahma Sampradaya Acharya



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Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto 4, Chapter 22 (4.22.25-27): Prithu Maharaja's Meeting with the Four Kumaras
harer muhus tatpara-karna-pura-
gunabhidhanena vijrimbhamanaya
bhaktya hy asangah sad-asaty anatmani
syan nirgune brahmani chanjasa ratih


SYNONYMS
hareh—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; muhuh—constantly; tat-para—in relation with the Supreme Personality of Godhead; karna-pura—decoration of the ear; guna-abhidhanena—discussing transcendental qualities; vijrimbhamanaya—by increasing Krishna consciousness; bhaktya—by devotion; hi—certainly; asangah—uncontaminated; sat-asati—the material world; anatmani— opposed to spiritual understanding; syat—should be; nirgune—in transcendence; brahmani—in the Supreme Lord; cha—and; anjasa—easily; ratih—attraction.
TRANSLATION
The devotee should gradually increase the culture of devotional service by constant hearing of the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These pastimes are like ornamental decorations on the ears of devotees. By rendering devotional service and transcending the material qualities, one can easily be fixed in transcendence in the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

This verse is especially mentioned to substantiate the devotional process of hearing the subject matter. A devotee does not like to hear anything other than subjects dealing with spiritual activities, or the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We can increase our propensity for devotional service by hearing Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam from realized souls. The more we hear from realized souls, the more we make advancement in our devotional life. The more we advance in devotional life, the more we become detached from the material world. The more we become detached from the material world, as advised by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the more we increase in attachment for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, a devotee who actually wants to make progress in devotional service and go back home, back to Godhead, must lose interest in sense enjoyment and associating with persons who are after money and sense gratification. This is the advice of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:

nishkinchanasya bhagavad-bhajanonmukhasya
param param jigamishor bhava-sagarasya
sandarshanam vishayinam atha yoshitam cha
ha hanta hanta visha-bhakshanato 'py asadhu
(Chaitanya-charitamrita Madhya 11.8)

The word brahmani used in this verse is commented upon by the impersonalists or professional reciters of Bhagavatam, who are mainly advocates of the caste system by demoniac birthright. They say that brahmani means the impersonal Brahman. But they cannot conclude this with reference to the context of the words bhaktya and gunabhidhanena. According to the impersonalists, there are no transcendental qualities in the impersonal Brahman; therefore we should understand that brahmani means "in the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as admitted by Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita; therefore wherever the word brahma is used, it must refer to Krishna, not to the impersonal Brahman effulgence. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti shabdyate (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.11). Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan can all be taken in total as Brahman, but when there is reference to the word bhakti or remembrance of the transcendental qualities, this indicates the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not the impersonal Brahman.

yada ratir brahmani naishthiki puman
acharyavan jnana-viraga-ramhasa
dahaty aviryam hridayam jiva-kosham
panchatmakam yonim ivotthito 'gnih


SYNONYMS
yada—when; ratih—attachment; brahmani—in the Supreme Personality of Godhead; naishthiki—fixed; puman—the person; acharyavan—completely surrendered to the spiritual master; jnana—knowledge; viraga—detachment; ramhasa—by the force of; dahati—burns; aviryam—impotent; hridayam—within the heart; jiva-kosham—the covering of the spirit soul; panca-atmakam—five elements; yonim—source of birth; iva—like; utthitah—emanating; agnih—fire.
TRANSLATION
Upon becoming fixed in his attachment to the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the grace of the spiritual master and by awakening knowledge and detachment, the living entity, situated within the heart of the body and covered by the five elements, burns up his material surroundings exactly as fire, arising from wood, burns the wood itself.

It is said that both the jivatma, the individual soul, and the Paramatma [the Supreme Personality of Godhead who resides in the heart of every living entity] live together within the heart. In the Vedic version it is stated, hridi hy ayam atma: the soul and Supersoul both live within the heart. The individual soul is liberated when it comes out of the material heart or cleanses the heart to make it spiritualized. The example given here is very appropriate: yonim ivotthito'gnih. Agni, or fire, comes out of wood, and by it the wood is completely destroyed. Similarly, when a living entity increases his attachment for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is to be considered like fire. A blazing fire is visible by its exhibition of heat and light; similarly, when the living entity within the heart becomes enlightened with full spiritual knowledge and detached from the material world, he burns up his material covering of the five elements—earth, water, fire, air and sky—and becomes free from the five kinds of material attachments, namely ignorance, false egoism, attachment to the material world, envy and absorption in material consciousness. Therefore panchatmakam, as mentioned in this verse, refers to either the five elements or the five coverings of material contamination. When these are all burned into ashes by the blazing fire of knowledge and detachment, one is fixed firmly in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Unless one takes shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and advances one's attraction for Krishna by the spiritual master's instructions, the five coverings of the living entity cannot be uncovered from the material heart. The living entity is centered within the heart, and to take him away from the heart is to liberate him. This is the process. One must take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and by his instruction increase one's knowledge in devotional service, become detached from the material world and thus become liberated. An advanced devotee, therefore, does not live within the material body but within his spiritual body, just as a dry coconut lives detached from the coconut husk, even though within the husk. The pure devotee's body is therefore called chin-maya-sharira ("spiritualized body"). In other words, a devotee's body is not connected with material activities, and as such, a devotee is always liberated ( brahma-bhuyaya kalpate), as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (14.26). Srila Rupa Gosvami also confirms this:

iha yasya harer dasye
karmana manasa gira
nikhilasv apy avasthasu
jivan-muktah sa uchyate


"Whatever his condition may be, one who is engaged fully with his body, mind and speech in the service of the Lord is liberated, even within this body."

dagdhashayo mukta-samasta-tad-guno
naivatmano bahir antar vichashte
paratmanor yad-vyavadhanam purastat
svapne yatha purushas tad-vinashe


SYNONYMS
dagdha-ashayah—all material desires being burned; mukta—liberated; samasta—all; tat-gunah—qualities in connection with matter; na—not; eva—certainly; atmanah—the soul or the Supersoul; bahih—external; antah—internal; vichashte—acting; para-atmanoh—of the Supersoul; yat—that; vyavadhanam—difference; purastat—as it was in the beginning; svapne—in dream; yatha—as; purushah—a person; tat—that; vinashe—being finished.
TRANSLATION
When a person becomes devoid of all material desires and liberated from all material qualities, he transcends distinctions between actions executed externally and internally. At that time the difference between the soul and the Supersoul, which was existing before self-realization, is annihilated. When a dream is over, there is no longer a distinction between the dream and the dreamer.

As described by Srila Rupa Gosvami (anyabhilashita-shunyam [Cc. Madhya 19.167]), one must be devoid of all material desires. When a person becomes devoid of all material desires, there is no longer need for speculative knowledge or fruitive activities. In that condition it is to be understood that one is free from the material body. The example is already given above—a coconut which is dry is loosened from its outward husk. This is the stage of liberation. As said in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.10.6), mukti (liberation) means svarupena vyavasthitih—being situated in one's own constitutional position. All material desires are present as long as one is in the bodily concept of life, but when one realizes that he is an eternal servant of Krishna, his desires are no longer material. A devotee acts in this consciousness. In other words, when material desires in connection with the body are finished, one is actually liberated.

When one is liberated from the material qualities, he does not do anything for his personal sense gratification. At that time all activities performed by him are absolute. In the conditioned state there are two kinds of activities. One acts on behalf of the body, and at the same time he acts to become liberated. The devotee, when he is completely free from all material desires or all material qualities, transcends the duality of action for the body and soul. Then the bodily concept of life is completely over. Therefore Srila Rupa Gosvami says:

iha yasya harer dasye
karmana manasa gira
nikhilasv apy avasthasu
jivan-muktah sa uchyate

When one is completely fixed in the service of the Lord, he is a liberated person in any condition of life. He is called jivan-muktah, liberated even within this body. In such a liberated condition, there is no distinction between actions for sense gratification and actions for liberation. When one is liberated from the desires of sense gratification, he has no longer to suffer the reactions of lamentation or illusion. Activities performed by the karmis and jnanis are subject to lamentation and illusion, but a self-realized liberated person acting only for the Supreme Personality of Godhead experiences none. This is the stage of oneness, or merging into the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This means that the individual soul, while keeping his individuality, no longer has separate interests. He is fully in the service of the Lord, and he has nothing to do for his personal sense gratification; therefore he sees only the Supreme Personality of Godhead and not himself. His personal interest completely perishes. When a person comes out of a dream, the dream vanishes. While dreaming a person may consider himself a king and see the royal paraphernalia, his soldiers, etc., but when the dream is over, he does not see anything beyond himself. Similarly, a liberated person understands that he is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord acting in accordance with the desire of the Supreme Lord, and as such there is no distinction between himself and the Supreme Lord, although both of them retain their individuality. Nityo nityanam chetanash chetananam (Katha Upanishad 2.2.13). This is the perfect conception of oneness in relation to the Supersoul and the soul.

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