The Hammer - 24
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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 24

In you, in me, and everywhere else there is but one all-pervading Supersoul. Due to impatience, you are getting angry with me in vain. If you want to quickly attain the transcendental nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, be equal-minded in all circumstances.

The Soul of the Soul, How to See Everything with Equal Vision

In this verse, the nature of the Supersoul (Paramatma) feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is mentioned. In Bhagavad-gita Krishna says, "The living entity is seated, as if on a machine made of material energy, and I am directing the wanderings of all living beings all over the universe." (Bhagavad-gita 18.61) Krishna says, "From Me alone comes knowledge, remembrance and forgetfulness. I am the knower of the Vedas, I am the compiler of the Vedas, and by all the Vedas I am to be known." ( Bhagavad-gita 15.15)

There are three features of understanding the Absolute Truth: Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. Although the Supreme Absolute Truth is the same, depending on the angle of vision from which the candidate is seeing, he experiences the Absolute Truth either impersonally as Brahman, locally as Paramatma (the Supersoul) or personally as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna.

In the Vedic literature, the example of a mountain is given. A mountain seen from a very far distance appears as a kind of blue hazy mass without any distinctive features. When we come closer to the same mountain, we can distinguish that it has some shape, that there are trees and other kinds of vegetation on the mountain. When we actually walk on the mountain, we can see all the very distinct features of that mountain--men, animals, trees, flowers and greenery. This is one example from the Vedas. Another example to illustrate this point is the sun. The sun, when we first emerge from a dark place, is experienced as effulgent light, blinding us without any distinctive feature. Upon closer focus, we find that the effulgence of the sun radiates from a localized place, the sun planet. When we enter into the planet of the sun, we shall find there is a presiding deity, who is controlling both the planet and the sunshine. He is the sun god. Similarly, the Supreme Absolute Truth is experienced first as the all-pervading light, known as the brahmajyoti, which is illuminating everything and upon which everything is resting.

On closer examination, we find that the effulgence of the brahmajyoti is emanating from a particular place, from the Supersoul, who is present in everyone's heart as four-armed Vishnu. On the highest platform of spiritual realisation, we find that the Paramatma is just a feature of the original Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, or Govinda. Govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami. ( Brahma-samhita) The adi-purusha, or original person, is Govinda. Ishvarah paramah krishnah sach-chid-ananda-vigrahah/anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam (Brahma-samhita ): "The Supreme Controller is Krishna." In this way, different kinds of transcendentalists realise the Absolute Truth in different ways. Although the Absolute Truth is one and the same object, our awareness or understanding of Him depends upon the angle of vision from which we are approaching. The jñanis, who are addicted to mental speculation and knowledge, realise the Absolute Truth as impersonal Brahman. The yogis, who are addicted to meditation by the ashtanga-yoga process, realise the Supreme Absolute Truth as the localized Paramatma within the heart. The devotees, who are attached to rendering transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, realise the Lord as Govinda or Shyamasundara, the beautiful two-armed form, holding a flute and dancing in Vrindavana.

Seeing Everything as Spirit

Every living creature is an inseparable, eternal part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. In Bhagavad-gita Krishna says:

brahmane gavi hastini
"A learned pandit sees a dog, a dog-eater, an elephant, a cow and a brahmana all on an equal level." ( Bhagavad-gita 5.18) We have to practice Krishna consciousness by following the instructions of the Bhagavad-gita. The gross materialists have no knowledge of the soul beyond this body and have no faith in God. They see just the external energy and therefore hey see varieties of living entities, such as animals, birds, aquatics, human beings and demigods. Thus they are always arbitrarily distinguishing that some are good and some are bad. Just as we have experience in America that there is always friction between black men and white men.

The white men always think that they are better than black men, simply because of the difference in color. Or another distinction that is made is between the communists and the capitalists. In this way, on the material platform, there is always friction and disharmony on account of external differences. But from Bhagavad-gita we learn that we have to see the equal nature of all living entities, both in their happiness and distress, because the living entities are not actually products of material energy. Rather, the material energy is created by the living force. So vidya-vinaya-sampanne/brahmane gavi hastini. We have to see everyone on the spiritual platform as eternal servants of Krishna.

How to Reach the Spiritual Plane by Spiritual Sound

Unless we come to this platform, we cannot actually be happy. We can come to the spiritual platform instantly, simply by vibrating the transcendental name, pastimes and qualities of the Supreme Lord. That is called kirtan. Shravanam kirtanam vishnoh smaranam. Everyone likes to speak. That is a gift to the living entity in the human form of life. Although animals also make sounds, they cannot vibrate transcendental sound. Their noises are all material. They are absorbed in the bodily conception of life, and thus animals are only making sounds related to this false material conception. The animals are all talking about finding food, finding shelter, defending themselves and sex indulgence. That is the subject matter of animals. The human beings are supposed to be above animals, because they can vibrate the message of Godhead. Therefore in the human society there are Vedas, or scriptures, and they should be the subject of human conversation. Athato brahma-jijñasa: "In the human form of life, one is supposed to inquire about the Absolute Truth." (Vedanta-sutras)

Here is Your Karmic Pay Cheque

Eating, sleeping and sex are necessities which come automatically on the basis of one's karma, corresponding to one's previous actions. This life is the result of the activities of the last life, and the activities in this life will determine what kind of life we have next. Our happiness and our distress is already arranged due to our past activities, just as the pay cheque we receive this month is the result of the work we did last month, and according to the work we do this month, we get the pay cheque next month. Similarly, our happiness and distress in life is already fixed. No one can increase it by hard labor. Therefore, we should be satisfied with what comes of its own accord and tolerate the reverses in life as being destined to come on account of our past activities. Bhagavad-gita says:

yesham tv anta-gatam papam
jananam punya-karmanam
"One who has acted piously in this life and in previous lives, and whose sinful reactions are eradicated, can engage himself in pure devotional service." (Bhagavad-gita 7.28) We must become free from the reactions of sinful deeds, and that is effected by executing devotional service.
mam cha yo'vyabhicharena
bhakti-yogena sevate
sa gunan samatityaitan
brahma-bhuyaya kalpatee
"One who engages himself in pure, unalloyed devotional service and does not fall down under any circumstances at once transcends the level of material nature and comes to the stage of Brahman." (Bhagavad-gita 14.26) Although we may not be free from sinful reactions, and we might not have acted piously in the past, if we act strictly according to the order of the spiritual master and Krishna, then we shall immediately transcend the reactions of sinful life.

Receiving the Greatest Gift

brahmanda bhramite kona bhagavan jiva
guru-krishna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
After wandering in the material creation up and down in the universe and passing through 8,400,000 species of life, a fortunate person meets a pure devotee of the Lord and receives the seed of bhakti-yoga (bhakti-lata-bija). (Chaitanya-charitamrita Madhya-lila 7.19.151)

That is our position. By good fortune we have met a pure devotee of the Lord, and we have received from him the seed of devotion. Now we have to protect the seed of devotion, sow it carefully in our heart and water it regularly. Then we can make advancement in Krishna consciousness. The seed of devotion is the holy name of the Lord: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. The watering process is kirtan and japa, and we have to protect the plant by not committing any of the ten offences in the matter of chanting the holy name. Then the devotional creeper will begin to climb up and eventually reach the limits of the universe, penetrate, enter the spiritual sky and take shelter on the planet of Goloka Vrindavan under the lotus feet of Krishna. Then it will produce the fruit of devotion, which is krishna-prema (love of God). Love of God is the ultimate perfection of human life, and everyone can taste the eternal nectarean fruit of love of God, simply by following the order of the spiritual master. It is so easy.

You Have to Be Ready to Give Up Everything

Our movement is aiming at this krishna-prema. We want krishna-prema, love of Krishna. So for love of Krishna we have to give up the love of other things; otherwise, our progress will be checked. We have to be prepared to give up everything for Krishna--our friends, our relatives, our countrymen, our wealth, our prestige. We must be prepared to give up all kinds of material comfort and practice penance and austerity. Tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam: "We should be prepared to endure any hardship in the discharge of devotional service." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 5.5.1) Life is a struggle to exist. We are always being harassed by material nature in the form of bodily pains, in the form of other living entities giving us trouble and supernatural reactions in nature, like hurricanes, floods, drought, etc. We have to tolerate all these things and concentrate on devotional service. We should minimize bodily service or material service and increase devotional service.

A Spiritual Oasis in the Material Desert

Those living in the temples are living there by the grace of Krishna. They have nothing to worry about. They are on a transcendental oasis in the desert of material existence. As soon as they go outside the temple compound, they find that they are in a polluted, chaotic atmosphere. So a devotee goes out from the temple not for material enjoyment, but he goes out to spread this Krishna consciousness to the ignorant mass of people. In order to do the missionary work, we have to be very careful to keep ourselves always purified. The temple is meant for purification. It is a place to come, take shelter, take prasadam (spiritual food), and to revive our spiritual strength so that we can again go and preach the message of Krishna. Hare Krishna.

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

©2004 - Hansadutta das
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