The Hammer - 19
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© 2004 - Hansadutta das

The Hammer For Smashing Illusion

Shankaracharya's famous "Bhaja Govinda"

By Hansadutta das
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Text 19

One may delight in the execution of yoga, or he may delight in the fulfillment of sense gratification. One may delight in the company of others or in solitude. In any case, he whose mind delights in the Absolute Truth really enjoys. Indeed, he alone enjoys.

Who Enjoys Indeed?

Four things are mentioned in this verse: 1) yoga practice, 2) sense gratification, 3) society, friendship and love and 4) solitude. All of them are actually different types of sense gratification or material enjoyment. Although yoga practice aims at the spiritual platform through control of the senses, knowledge and mystic powers, the basic purpose of this type of yoga practice is to satisfy one's personal desires. The yogis are trying to get out of the material world by dint of their own power of austerity, renunciation and mystic power. Therefore yoga practice without devotional service ultimately leaves one stranded in the material world. Of course, one may attain wonderful mystic powers, but mystic powers cannot really satisfy our eternal hankering for spiritual life. Spiritual life is complete only when we are reinstated in our constitutional position as eternal servants of Krishna. Spiritual life is actually established when we give up all kinds of material desires. The desire for liberation is also a kind of desire for sense gratification, and of course, the desire to enjoy mystic powers is certainly sense gratification. Anything less than complete surrender to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is a desire for sense gratification.

Wealth, Woman and Prestige--the Three Allurements of Sense Gratification

Yoga has to be accompanied by devotional service; then it is perfect.

Sense gratification is certainly condemned, because all kinds of sense gratification invariably bring us misery. Although a person may be promoted to the higher planets where the level of sense gratification is inconceivable to us here on earth, still Krishna says, "Even if one goes to the highest planet or to the lowest planet in this material universe, all planets are places of misery, wherein repeated birth and death take place." (Bhagavad-gita 8.16) Generally, everyone in the material atmosphere is working for sense gratification. Everyone is trying to improve his standard of eating, sleeping, defending and sex enjoyment. Everyone is after wealth, woman and prestige. These are the three allurements of sense gratification.

Practicing Religion with the Aim to Improve Their Economic Conditions

Sense gratification is attained by performing religious or pious activities (dharma). Dharma brings us artha (economic development). We find that all the religions of the world, except the Vaishnava religion, are practicing religion or performing pious deeds with the aim of improving their economic condition. In Bhagavad-gita (7.16) Krishna says, "Four types of men come to Me: those who are in distress, those who are in need of money, those who are curious and those who are searching after knowledge of the Absolute." Generally, everyone is approaching God only when they are in distress or only when they need money. Very rarely someone is curious. Most rare of all is that person in search of the Absolute Truth. Such practice of religion is not really religion; it is another kind of material activity. It is materialistic religion.

Progressively, there is dharma (religiosity), artha (economic development), kama (sense gratification) and moksha (liberation). After practicing dharma and thereby achieving artha, we enjoy kama. Finally, being frustrated in our attempts to enjoy sense gratification in this material world, we want "out," we want freedom, liberation. That is called moksha. Those persons who seek liberation are usually Mayavadis, impersonalists or yogis. Hardly, we will find one person who is a devotee.

manushyanam sahasreshu
kaschid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam
kaschin mam vetti tattvatah
Out of many, many thousands of men, one man is interested in the perfection of life. Out of many such persons who are interested in the perfection of life, hardly one will become perfect, and out of many such persons, hardly one will know Krishna. ( Bhagavad-gita 7.3)

Who Does Not Like to be Popular?

We take pleasure in the company of others. Everyone likes to be surrounded by friends, relatives and countrymen. Everyone likes to be popular. That is called prestige. Everyone wants prestige or position amongst his friends, relatives and countrymen. That is another kind of enjoyment. If one becomes frustrated in the company of friends, relatives, and countrymen, he then wants solitude. He wants to renounce and go to the forest or jungle, but the aim is still the same--he is still trying to enjoy himself.

Because one is in ignorance, he thinks of the self as this body, mind or intelligence. All attempts at enjoyment fail, because we are not this body, and we are not the mind. Shankaracharya says, "In any case, he whose mind delights in the Absolute Truth really enjoys. Indeed, he alone enjoys." Therefore none of these four men actually enjoys. Although they may rise up to the heights of yoga, unless they accept devotional service, they will again fall down. One may become a big political leader or a famous star, but still he cannot enjoy, because all this fame and fortune is in connection with this body, which is temporary and has nothing to do with the eternal soul.

Happiness Begins with Surrender

man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
Krishna says, "Always think of Me, bow down to Me, worship Me, give your love to Me, surely you will come to Me. I promise you this because you are My dear friend." (Bhagavad-gita 9.34)

Shravanam kirtanam vishnoh smaranam pada-sevanam. Devotional service means to be absorbed completely with body, mind and words in the service of the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus one can actually be happy. Outside of that there is no happiness; it is just hope against hope, trying to satisfy our senses under various headings of religion, economic development, sense gratification, yoga or liberation. None of these programs can bring us any kind of satisfaction.

Happiness begins when we surrender, when we give up the desire for sense gratification. Krishna says, "No one can become a yogi, unless he gives up the desire for sense gratification." ( Bhagavad-gita 6.2 ) We have to give up that desire. We have to give up hope of material comfort, material prosperity and material prestige. Everything material should be abandoned in favor of devotional service, and then we can be happy. Hare Krishna.

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Hansadutta das
Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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