Pradyumna: "Sri Saunaka asked Suta Gosvami: Sri Sukadeva Gosvami was already on the path of self-realization, and thus he was pleased with his own self. So why did he take the trouble to undergo the study of such a vast literature?"
sa vai nivrtti-niratah
kasya va brhatim etam
So Sukadeva Gosvami, he is atmarama, he... This sloka will be explained in the next verse, atmaramas ca munayo. Atmarama, there are many varieties of meaning of atmarama. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has explained in sixty-four different ways in the Caitanya-caritamrta. So how Caitanya Mahaprabhu was a great scholar—He is great in everything—but to make a show at least, He showed His scholarship in explaining this atmarama verse. Sa vai nivrtti-niratah sarvatropeksako munih. Nivrtti means one who has ceased all material activities. He has practically nothing to do with this material world and still it is said, kasya va brhatim etam. And still, he went out and preached Srimad-Bhagavatam when Pariksit Maharaja was going to die. So this is the question: how the atmarama becomes interested in other activities? He is atmarama, he is already satisfied. So these activities are not material activities. Nivrtti-niratah, we have to stop this material world, material activities.
That does not mean you will have to stop your activities. The other part of the activities, they will begin after stopping these material activities. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gita, brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati [Bg. 18.54]. One who is atmarama, brahma-bhutah, aham brahmasmi, I am not this material body, no more I have to do anything for this material body. Atmarama. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54]. People are anxious, especially the karmis, how to maintain this body, but when one comes to the conclusion that "I am not this body," naturally his interest for maintaining the body, diminishes. Practically, it becomes nil. Nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau **, you will find from the behavior of the Gosvamis, they practically conquered over the necessities of this body. But that does not mean he has to cease all activities. The Mayavada philosophy, they say that when one becomes brahma-bhutah, atmarama, he has nothing to do any more. No. The sastra does not say that. Sastra says that when you become atmarama, or brahma-bhutah, your material anxieties, material activities, they become stopped. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma [Bg. 18.54], prasannatma, he has nothing to do.
Suppose if somebody is assured that now, henceforward you haven't go to do anything, everything will come automatically, naturally one becomes prasannatma, very jolly. I am free from the anxieties. Because this material world means full of anxieties, sada samudvigna-dhiyam, that is material world. And when you come to the spiritual platform, there is no anxiety, no na socati na kanksati. That is anxiety-free. So anxiety-free does not mean you haven't got to do anything. Your material life is purified, sarvopadhi vinirmuktam tat paratvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. When we become free from the designation, "I am this body, therefore I am American, I am Indian, I am the father of this family, so I have got my wife, I have got my children," so many things, this is material relationship, so... (break—end)
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