The Hammer - 25
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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 25

Do not try to contend with or strike friendship with enemies, friends, offspring or relatives. Just see the Supreme Self within everything and cast off in all circumstances the ignorance that separates us from Him.

Ignorance Means Separation--Finding Yourself and the Supersoul

Generally, everyone is engaged in making a distinction between friends and enemies, relatives and countrymen. In this way, according to our bodily designation and mental concoction, we create a material situation in which we suffer and enjoy in relationship with so-called friends, relatives and countrymen. Actually, all these designations are illusory, because they are generated out of the bodily concept of life. A living entity is an eternal servant of Krishna, and as such, he has no friends and no enemies. His only duty is to render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. But because the living entity has turned away from the service of Krishna and is trying to act independently, he has been put into the material atmosphere in order to enjoy and suffer according to his work. In the material existence, every living entity is working to enjoy the fruit of his labor. That is called karma. It is this attitude or enjoying mood which is the source of all suffering for the living entity. A living entity has nothing to work for, because by nature he is eternal. He is by nature joyful and full of knowledge, but due to his envious attitude, his joyful life, knowledge and eternal existence are covered by maya (illusion).

iccha-dvesha samutthena
dvandva-mohena bharata
"Every living entity is born into delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate." (Bhagavad-gita 7.27)

It is taken for granted that everyone who takes birth in the material world is in ignorance. Everyone here is in darkness, because if one were in knowledge and established in his relationship with Krishna, he would not be put into the material condition, just as a healthy person is not admitted into the hospital, nor a law-abiding citizen confined in prison. Only criminals go to prison. Only diseased men go to the hospital. Similarly, only sinful, envious living entities are born into the material world. Therefore, the material world is a place where everyone is more or less engaged in sinful activities.

"I am the Creator and Enjoyer"

The basis of all sinful activities is envy of the Supreme. The conditioned souls are trying to avoid service to Krishna. The conditioned soul is engaged in lording it over material nature. Every conditioned soul has a twofold consciousness: he thinks, "I am the creator, and I am the enjoyer." He thinks that everything is made for his sense gratification. In that consciousness, the living entity is acting in various species of life, sometimes as an animal, sometimes as a human being, sometimes as a demigod. But in all conditions of life, he suffers four kinds of miseries: birth, death, old age and disease. According to his mental concoction, the living entity creates friends and enemies, relatives and countrymen, but in fact it is just imagination. It is just a creation of the mind.

Your Mind--Your Friend or Enemy?

The living entity actually has no friends and no enemies. In Bhagavad-gita (6.5-6) it is said, "The mind is the best friend of the living entity, and the mind is his enemy as well; for one who has controlled his mind, it is the best of friends, and for one who has failed to control his mind, it is the worst enemy." In dreams we sometimes imagine we are being eaten by a tiger, or our head is being cut, or we are falling from a high place, or we have found a great treasure. Sometimes we dream that we have become a king with ministers, horses, a palace and queens. But in fact there is neither danger nor fortune. Everything is a mental concoction only. Similarly, in the conditional existence, everything is merely a creation of the external energy. Nothing has any real substance. Whatever we see in conditional life is created at some time and will be dissolved at some time.

In Bhagavad-gita (8.4) Krishna says, "Material nature is endlessly mutable." "For one who is born, it is certain he will die, and for one who has died, it is certain he will be born again." (Bhagavad-gita 2.27)

Matter--Temporary Reality

Everything material is considered to be illusion, and although we say that the material creation is illusion, it is at the same time real, but real only for a short time--temporarily real. What a man sees in dreams is illusion, though the effects of his dreams are sometimes very real. While dreaming, a man actually experiences pain, so much so that he cries out with tears actually coming from his eyes. Sometimes while dreaming a man sees a beautiful woman, and while embracing her, he actually discharges semen, although there is no real woman. The reactions of his dreams are quite real.

Similarly, although this body and all its paraphernalia and relationships are illusory, or temporary, we unavoidably experience pain. We experience certain types of pleasure also, but ultimately everything--the pain, the pleasure, everything--will be frustrated, because the objects of our pain and pleasure have no permanent existence. This body and its relationships of friends, countrymen and relatives are all vanquished in time.

Behind the Body There is the Soul

Behind the bodily manifestation there is the soul. In the human form of life, a person is supposed to understand the difference between the body and the soul. One is supposed to pursue a life of Krishna consciousness and get free from the ignorance of the bodily conception. As long as one remains rooted in the bodily concept of life, he has to suffer. The body is the source of all our sufferings, and thus the Vedic literature advises us that we should get out of the bodily concept. We should come to the spiritual platform and be reinstated in our spiritual life.

Just as there are material activities, there are also spiritual activities. They are known as bhakti-yoga. Anyone in any position of life can be engaged in bhakti-yoga, and this engagement immediately counteracts the pernicious effects of sinful activities. Without being situated in devotional service, whatever a person does is ultimately sinful, just as a person who doesn't abide by the laws and orders of the government must naturally be a criminal. He may be a big criminal or a small criminal, but unless he acts according to the laws and orders of the government, he must be doing something illegal. Similarly, a human being is supposed to act only according to the injunctions of the shastras. When he neglects the shastras, then naturally he becomes sinful. Sinful life means that one has to suffer the reactions of sinful activities.

Learning to Live in the Material World

Krishna consciousness is a very important movement, because it teaches people how to live in the material world, but at the same time act on the spiritual platform. That way, when this term of material activity comes to an end, one can be liberated and go home, back to Godhead, and enjoy his original, eternal, blissful life of knowledge.

The real friend is Krishna. Suhridam sarva-bhutanam (Bhagavad-gita 5.29): Krishna is everyone's friend. Krishna is the bhoktaram yajña-tapasam, the recipient or beneficiary of all kinds of penance and austerity. ( Bhagavad-gita 5.29) Whatever work a person undertakes, the result of that work actually belongs to Krishna, because Krishna is bhoktaram yajña-tapasam/sarva-loka maheshvaram. Krishna is the landlord, or the proprietor of all the planets, and He is the master of all the living entities on all planets. As such, whatever the servants produce on the land of the master is the property of the master.

How to be Peaceful

suhridam sarva bhutanam
jñatva mam shantim ricchati
(Bhagavad-gita 5.29)
One who knows these three truths about Krishna and one's relationship with Krishna can be shantim (peaceful). Peace and prosperity in human society depend on understanding our eternal relationship with Krishna. Nothing belongs to anyone at any time, anywhere. Whatever we produce is always meant to satisfy Krishna, because every living entity is part and parcel of Krishna. In fact, we have no enemies and no friends. We are all in the same family. We are all servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This understanding is the only way to peaceful life and anything outside of this automatically creates dissension, disunity and misery.

Everyone should be educated in the Vedic principles. Just as children are taught the principles of reading, writing and arithmetic, children should be taught the principles of Krishna consciousness. Then only can human society actually realize the much wanted peace and prosperity now missing in modern civilization. Hare Krishna.

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Hansadutta das
Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Trustee, BHAKTIVEDANTA BOOK TRUST
WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY


The Hammer - 25/ WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY
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