Talks Between Nārada and King Prācīnabarhi
bhagavaṁs te vaco ’smābhir
na samyag avagamyate
kavayas tad vijānanti
na vayaṁ karma-mohitāḥ
prācīnabarhiḥ uvāca—King Prācīnabarhi said; bhagavan—O my lord; te—your; vacaḥ—words; asmābhiḥ—by us; na—never; samyak—perfectly; avagamyate—are understood; kavayaḥ—those who are expert; tat—that; vijānanti—can understand; na—never; vayam—we; karma—by fruitive activities; mohitāḥ—enchanted.
King Prācīnabarhi replied: My dear lord, we could not appreciate completely the purport of your allegorical story of King Purañjana. Actually, those who are perfect in spiritual knowledge can understand, but for us, who are overly attached to fruitive activities, to realize the purpose of your story is very difficult.
“Deluded by the three modes [goodness, passion and ignorance], the whole world does not know Me, who am above the modes and inexhaustible.” Generally people are enchanted by the three modes of material nature and therefore practically unable to understand that behind all materialistic activities in the cosmic manifestation is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. Generally when people are engaged in sinful or pious activities, they are not perfect in knowledge of devotional service. The allegorical story narrated by Nārada Muni to King Barhiṣmān is especially meant to engage conditioned souls in devotional service. The entire story, narrated allegorically, is easily understood by a person in devotional service, but those who are engaged not in devotional service but in sense gratification cannot perfectly understand it. That is admitted by King Barhiṣmān.
This Twenty-ninth Chapter describes that by too much attachment for women one becomes a woman in the next life, but a person who associates with the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His representative becomes free from all material attachments and is thus liberated.
puruṣaṁ purañjanaṁ vidyād
yad vyanakty ātmanaḥ puram
nāradaḥ uvāca—Nārada said; puruṣam—the living entity, the enjoyer; purañjanam—King Purañjana; vidyāt—one should know; yat—inasmuch as; vyanakti—he produces; ātmanaḥ—of himself; puram—dwelling place; eka—one; dvi—two; tri—three; catuḥ-pādam—with four legs; bahu-pādam—with many legs; apādakam—without legs.
The great sage Nārada Muni continued: You must understand that Purañjana, the living entity, transmigrates according to his own work into different types of bodies, which may be one-legged, two-legged, three-legged, four-legged, many-legged or simply legless. Transmigrating into these various types of bodies, the living entity, as the so-called enjoyer, is known as Purañjana.
How the spirit soul transmigrates from one type of body to another is nicely described here. The word eka-pāda, “one-legged,” refers to ghosts, for it is said that ghosts walk on one leg. The word dvi-pāda, meaning “biped,” refers to human beings. When he is old and invalid, the human being is supposed to be a triped, or three-legged, because he walks with the help of a stick or some kind of cane. Of course, the word catuṣ-pāda refers to quadrupeds, or animals. The word bahu-pāda refers to those creatures who have more than four legs. There are many insects, such as the centipede, and also many aquatic animals that have many legs. The word apādaka, meaning “without legs,” refers to serpents. The name Purañjana indicates one who enjoys possessing different types of bodies. His mentality for enjoyment in the material world is accommodated by different types of bodies.
yo ’vijñātāhṛtas tasya
yan na vijñāyate pumbhir
nāmabhir vā kriyā-guṇaiḥ
yaḥ—he who; avijñāta—unknown; āhṛtaḥ—described; tasya—of him; puruṣasya—of the living entity; sakhā—the eternal friend; īśvaraḥ—the master; yat—because; na—never; vijñāyate—is understood; pumbhiḥ—by the living entities; nāmabhiḥ—by names; vā—or; kriyā-guṇaiḥ—by activities or qualities.
The person I have described as unknown is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master and eternal friend of the living entity. Since the living entities cannot realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead by material names, activities or qualities, He remains everlastingly unknown to the conditioned soul.
Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is unknown to the conditioned soul, He is sometimes described in Vedic literatures as nirākāra, avijñāta or avāṅ-mānasa-gocara. Actually it is a fact that the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be perceived by material senses as far as His form, name, quality, pastimes or paraphernalia are concerned. However, when one is spiritually advanced, one can understand the name, form, qualities, pastimes and paraphernalia of the Supreme Lord. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.55). Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ: one can understand in truth the Supreme Personality of Godhead only when one is engaged in devotional service. Ordinary persons engaged in pious and impious activities cannot understand the form, name and activities of the Lord. The devotee, however, can know the Personality of Godhead in many respects. He can understand that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that His address is Goloka Vṛndāvana and that His activities are all spiritual. Because the Lord’s form and activities cannot be understood by materialistic people, He is described by the śāstras as nirākāra, that is, one whose form cannot be ascertained by a materialistic person. This does not mean that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no form; it means that it is not understood by the karmīs, or fruitive actors. His form is described in Brahma-saṁhitā as sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1]. As confirmed by the Padma Purāṇa:
“No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.234)
“No one can understand Kṛṣṇa as He is by utilizing the blunt material senses. However, the Lord reveals Himself to His devotees, being pleased with them because of their transcendental loving service rendered unto Him.”
Since the name, form, qualities and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, cannot be understood by the material senses, He is also called adhokṣaja, meaning “beyond sense perception.” When the senses are purified by devotional activity, the devotee understands everything about the Lord by the Lord’s grace. In this verse the words pumbhir nāmabhir vā kriyā-guṇaiḥ are especially significant because God, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has many names, activities and qualities, although none of them are material. Despite the fact that all these names, activities and pastimes are mentioned in the śāstras and understood by the devotees, the karmīs (fruitive laborers) cannot understand them. Nor can the jñānīs (mental speculators) understand them. Although there are thousands of names of Lord Viṣṇu, the karmīs and jñānīs intermingle the names of the Supreme Godhead with the names of demigods and human beings. Because they cannot understand the actual name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they take for granted that any name can be accepted. They believe that since the Absolute Truth is impersonal, they can call Him by any name. Otherwise, they maintain, He has no name. This is not a fact. Here it is clearly stated: nāmabhir vā kriyā-guṇaiḥ. The Lord has specific names such as Rāma, Kṛṣṇa, Govinda, Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu and Adhokṣaja. There are indeed many names, but the conditioned soul cannot understand them.
yadā jighṛkṣan puruṣaḥ
kārtsnyena prakṛter guṇān
tatrāmanuta sādhv iti
yadā—when; jighṛkṣan—desiring to enjoy; puruṣaḥ—the living entity; kārtsnyena—in total; prakṛteḥ—of material nature; guṇān—the modes; nava-dvāram—having nine gates; dvi—two; hasta—hands; aṅghri—legs; tatra—there; amanuta—he thought; sādhu—very good; iti—thus.
When the living entity wants to enjoy the modes of material nature in their totality, he prefers, out of many bodily forms, to accept that body which has nine gates, two hands and two legs. Thus he prefers to become a human being or a demigod.
This is a very nice explanation of how the spiritual being, the part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, God, accepts a material body by virtue of his own desires. Accepting two hands, two legs, and so on, the living entity fully enjoys the modes of material nature. Lord Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.27):
“O scion of Bharata [Arjuna], O conqueror of the foe, all living entities are born into delusion, overcome by the dualities of desire and hate.”
Originally the living entity is a spiritual being, but when he actually desires to enjoy this material world, he comes down. From this verse we can understand that the living entity first accepts a body that is human in form, but gradually, due to his degraded activities, he falls into lower forms of life—into the animal, plant and aquatic forms. By the gradual process of evolution, the living entity again attains the body of a human being and is given another chance to get out of the process of transmigration. If he again misses his chance in the human form to understand his position, he is again placed in the cycle of birth and death in various types of bodies.
The desire of the living entity to come into the material world is not very difficult to understand. Although one may be born in a family of Āryans, where there are restrictions against meat-eating, intoxication, gambling and illicit sex, still one may want to enjoy these forbidden things. There is always someone who wants to go to a prostitute for illicit sex or to a hotel to eat meat and drink wine. There is always someone who wants to gamble at nightclubs or enjoy so-called sports. All these propensities are already within the hearts of the living entities, but some living entities stop to enjoy these abominable activities and consequently fall down to a degraded platform. The more one desires a degraded life within his heart, the more he falls down to occupy different forms of abominable existence. This is the process of transmigration and evolution. A particular type of animal may have a strong tendency to enjoy one kind of sense enjoyment, but in the human form one can enjoy all the senses. The human form has the facility to utilize all the senses for gratification. Unless one is properly trained, he becomes a victim of the modes of material nature, as confirmed by Bhagavad-gītā (3.27):
“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by nature.” As soon as one desires to enjoy his senses, he puts himself under the control of material energy and automatically, or mechanically, is placed into the cycle of birth and death in various life-forms.
buddhiṁ tu pramadāṁ vidyān
mamāham iti yat-kṛtam
yām adhiṣṭhāya dehe ’smin
pumān bhuṅkte ’kṣabhir guṇān
buddhim—intelligence; tu—then; pramadām—the young woman (Purañjanī); vidyāt—one should know; mama—my; aham—I; iti—thus; yat-kṛtam—done by intelligence; yām—which intelligence; adhiṣṭhāya—taking shelter of; dehe—in the body; asmin—this; pumān—the living entity; bhuṅkte—suffers and enjoys; akṣabhiḥ—by the senses; guṇān—the modes of material nature.
The great sage Nārada continued: The word pramadā mentioned in this regard refers to material intelligence, or ignorance. It is to be understood as such. When one takes shelter of this kind of intelligence, he identifies himself with the material body. Influenced by the material consciousness of “I” and “mine,” he begins to enjoy and suffer through his senses. Thus the living entity is entrapped.
In material existence so-called intelligence is actually ignorance. When intelligence is cleared up, it is called buddhi-yoga. In other words, when intelligence is dovetailed with the desires of Kṛṣṇa, it is called buddhi-yoga or bhakti-yoga. Therefore in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10) Kṛṣṇa says:
“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”
Real intelligence means linking with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When this is done, the Supreme Personality of Godhead from within gives one the real intelligence by which one can return home, back to Godhead. Intelligence in the material world is described in this verse as pramadā because in material existence the living entity falsely claims things to be his. He thinks, “I am the monarch of all I survey.” This is ignorance. Actually, nothing belongs to him. Even the body and the senses do not belong to him, for they are given to him by the grace of the Lord to satisfy his different propensities through the material energy. Nothing actually belongs to the living entity, but he becomes mad after everything, claiming, “This is mine. This is mine. This is mine.” Janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti [SB 5.5.8]. This is called illusion. Nothing belongs to the living entity, but he claims that everything belongs to him. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommends that this false intelligence be purified (ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]). When the mirror of intelligence is polished, the real activities of the living entity begin. This means that when a person comes to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, his real intelligence acts. At that time he knows that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa and nothing belongs to him. As long as one thinks that everything belongs to him, he is in material consciousness, and when he knows perfectly that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, he is in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
jñānaṁ karma ca yat-kṛtam
sakhyas tad-vṛttayaḥ prāṇaḥ
sakhāyaḥ—the male friends; indriya-gaṇāḥ—the senses; jñānam—knowledge; karma—activity; ca—also; yat-kṛtam—done by the senses; sakhyaḥ—female friends; tat—of the senses; vṛttayaḥ—engagements; prāṇaḥ—life air; pañca-vṛttiḥ—having five processes; yathā—like; uragaḥ—the serpent.
The five working senses and the five senses that acquire knowledge are all male friends of Purañjanī. The living entity is assisted by these senses in acquiring knowledge and engaging in activity. The engagements of the senses are known as girl friends, and the serpent, which was described as having five heads, is the life air acting within the five circulatory processes.
Because of his desire to enjoy the material world, the living entity is dressed with the material gross and subtle bodies. Thus he is given a chance to enjoy the senses. The senses are therefore the instruments for enjoying the material world; consequently the senses have been described as friends. Sometimes, because of too much sinful activity, the living entity does not get a material gross body, but hovers on the subtle platform. This is called ghostly life. Because of his not possessing a gross body, he creates a great deal of trouble in his subtle body. Thus the presence of a ghost is horrible for those who are living in the gross body. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (15.10):
“The foolish cannot understand how a living entity can quit his body, nor can they understand what sort of body he enjoys under the spell of the modes of nature. But one whose eyes are trained in knowledge can see all this.”
The living entities are merged into the air of life, which acts in different ways for circulation. There is prāṇa, apāna, udāna, vyāna and samāna, and because the life air functions in this fivefold way, it is compared to the five-hooded serpent. The soul passes through the kuṇḍalinī-cakra like a serpent crawling on the ground. The life air is compared to uraga, the serpent. Pañca-vṛtti is the desire to satisfy the senses, attracted by five sense objects—namely form, taste, sound, smell and touch.
bṛhad-balaṁ mano vidyād
pañcālāḥ pañca viṣayā
yan-madhye nava-khaṁ puram
bṛhat-balam—very powerful; manaḥ—the mind; vidyāt—one should know; ubhaya-indriya—of both groups of senses; nāyakam—the leader; pañcālāḥ—the kingdom named Pañcāla; pañca—five; viṣayāḥ—sense objects; yat—of which; madhye—in the midst; nava-kham—having nine apertures; puram—the city.
The eleventh attendant, who is the commander of the others, is known as the mind. He is the leader of the senses both in the acquisition of knowledge and in the performance of work. The Pañcāla kingdom is that atmosphere in which the five sense objects are enjoyed. Within that Pañcāla kingdom is the city of the body, which has nine gates.
The mind is the center of all activities and is described here as bṛhad-bala, very powerful. To get out of the clutches of māyā, material existence, one has to control his mind. According to training, the mind is the friend and the enemy of the living entity. If one gets a good manager, his estate is very nicely managed, but if the manager is a thief, his estate is spoiled. Similarly, in his material, conditional existence, the living entity gives power of attorney to his mind. As such, he is liable to be misdirected by his mind into enjoying sense objects. Śrīla Ambarīṣa Mahārāja therefore first engaged his mind upon the lotus feet of the Lord. Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ. When the mind is engaged in meditation on the lotus feet of the Lord, the senses are controlled. This system of control is called yama, and this means “subduing the senses.” One who can subdue the senses is called a gosvāmī, but one who cannot control the mind is called go-dāsa. The mind directs the activities of the senses, which are expressed through different outlets, as described in the next verse.
akṣiṇī nāsike karṇau
mukhaṁ śiśna-gudāv iti
dve dve dvārau bahir yāti
akṣiṇī—two eyes; nāsike—two nostrils; karṇau—two ears; mukham—mouth; śiśna—genitals; gudau—and rectum; iti—thus; dve—two; dve—two; dvārau—gates; bahiḥ—outside; yāti—goes; yaḥ—one who; tat—through the gates; indriya—by the senses; saṁyutaḥ—accompanied.
The eyes, nostrils and ears are pairs of gates situated in one place. The mouth, genital and rectum are also different gates. Being placed into a body having these nine gates, the living entity acts externally in the material world and enjoys sense objects like form and taste.
Not being aware of his spiritual position, the living entity, directed by the mind, goes out through the nine gates to enjoy material objects. Because of long association with material objects, he forgets his real spiritual activities and is thus misled. The entire world is going on being misled by so-called leaders like scientists and philosophers, who have no knowledge of the spirit soul. Thus the conditioned soul becomes more and more entangled.
akṣiṇī nāsike āsyam
iti pañca puraḥ kṛtāḥ
dakṣiṇā dakṣiṇaḥ karṇa
uttarā cottaraḥ smṛtaḥ
paścime ity adho dvārau
gudaṁ śiśnam ihocyate
akṣiṇī—two eyes; nāsike—two nostrils; āsyam—the mouth; iti—thus; pañca—five; puraḥ—on the front; kṛtāḥ—made; dakṣiṇā—southern gate; dakṣiṇaḥ—right; karṇaḥ—ear; uttarā—northern gate; ca—also; uttaraḥ—left ear; smṛtaḥ—understood; paścime—on the west; iti—thus; adhaḥ—downward; dvārau—two gates; gudam—rectum; śiśnam—genital; iha—here; ucyate—is said.
Two eyes, two nostrils and a mouth—all together five—are situated in the front. The right ear is accepted as the southern gate, and the left ear is the northern gate. The two holes, or gates, situated in the west are known as the rectum and genital.
Of all sides, the eastern is considered most important, primarily because the sun rises from that direction. The gates on the eastern side—the eyes, nose and mouth—are thus very important gates in the body.
netre ekatra nirmite
rūpaṁ vibhrājitaṁ tābhyāṁ
khadyotā—named Khadyotā; āvirmukhī—named Āvirmukhī; ca—also; atra—here; netre—the two eyes; ekatra—in one place; nirmite—created; rūpam—form; vibhrājitam—named Vibhrājita (brilliant); tābhyām—through the eyes; vicaṣṭe—perceive; cakṣuṣā—with the sense of sight; īśvaraḥ—the master.
The two gates named Khadyotā and Āvirmukhī, which have been spoken of, are the two eyes side by side in one place. The town named Vibhrājita should be understood as form. In this way the two eyes are always engaged in seeing different kinds of forms.
The two eyes are attracted by brilliant things like light. Sometimes we find that little insects are attracted by the brightness of fire and thus enter into it. Similarly, the two eyes of the living entity are attracted by bright and beautiful forms. They are entangled in these forms, exactly as the insect becomes attracted to fire.
nalinī nālinī nāse
gandhaḥ saurabha ucyate
ghrāṇo ’vadhūto mukhyāsyaṁ
vipaṇo vāg rasavid rasaḥ
nalinī—named Nalinī; nālinī—named Nālinī; nāse—the two nostrils; gandhaḥ—aroma; saurabhaḥ—Saurabha (fragrance); ucyate—is called; ghrāṇaḥ—the sense of smell; avadhūtaḥ—called Avadhūta; mukhyā—called Mukhyā (principal); āsyam—the mouth; vipaṇaḥ—named Vipaṇa; vāk—the faculty of speech; rasa-vit—named Rasajña (expert in tasting); rasaḥ—the sense of taste.
The two doors named Nalinī and Nālinī should be known as the two nostrils, and the city named Saurabha represents aroma. The companion spoken of as Avadhūta is the sense of smell. The door called Mukhyā is the mouth, and Vipaṇa is the faculty of speech. Rasajña is the sense of taste.
The word avadhūta means “most free.” A person is not under the rules and regulations of any injunction when he has attained the stage of avadhūta. In other words, he can act as he likes. This avadhūta stage is exactly like air, which does not care for any obstruction. In Bhagavad-gītā (6.34) it is said:
“The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Kṛṣṇa, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind.”
Just as the air or wind cannot be checked by anyone, the two nostrils, situated in one place, enjoy the sense of smell without impediment. When the tongue is present, the mouth continually tastes all kinds of relishable foodstuffs.
āpaṇo vyavahāro ’tra
citram andho bahūdanam
pitṛhūr dakṣiṇaḥ karṇa
uttaro devahūḥ smṛtaḥ
āpaṇaḥ—named Āpaṇa; vyavahāraḥ—business of the tongue; atra—here; citram—of all varieties; andhaḥ—eatables; bahūdanam—named Bahūdana; pitṛ-hūḥ—named Pitṛhū; dakṣiṇaḥ—right; karṇaḥ—ear; uttaraḥ—left; deva-hūḥ—Devahū; smṛtaḥ—is called.
The city called Āpaṇa represents engagement of the tongue in speech, and Bahūdana is the variety of foodstuffs. The right ear is called the gate of Pitṛhū, and the left ear is called the gate of Devahū.
pravṛttaṁ ca nivṛttaṁ ca
śrotrāc chruta-dharād vrajet
pravṛttam—the process of sense enjoyment; ca—also; nivṛttam—the process of detachment; ca—also; śāstram—scripture; pañcāla—Pañcāla; saṁjñitam—is described as; pitṛ-yānam—going to Pitṛloka; deva-yānam—going to Devaloka; śrotrāt—by hearing; śruta-dharāt—by the companion named Śrutadhara; vrajet—one can be elevated.
Nārada Muni continued: The city spoken of as Dakṣiṇa-pañcāla represents the scriptures meant for directing pravṛtti, the process of sense enjoyment in fruitive activities. The other city, named Uttara-pañcāla, represents the scriptures meant for decreasing fruitive activities and increasing knowledge. The living entity receives different kinds of knowledge by means of two ears, and some living entities are promoted to Pitṛloka and some to Devaloka. All this is made possible by the two ears.
The Vedas are known as śruti, and the knowledge received from them through aural reception is called śruta-dhara. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, one can be promoted to the planets of the demigods or to the planets of the Pitās (forefathers), or even to the Vaikuṇṭha planets, simply through the process of hearing. These things have already been explained in previous chapters.
āsurī meḍhram arvāg-dvār
vyavāyo grāmiṇāṁ ratiḥ
upastho durmadaḥ prokto
nirṛtir guda ucyate
āsurī—called Āsurī; meḍhram—the genital; arvāk—of the fools and rascals; dvāḥ—gate; vyavāyaḥ—performing sexual affairs; grāmiṇām—of common men; ratiḥ—attraction; upasthaḥ—the faculty of procreation; durmadaḥ—Durmada; proktaḥ—is called; nirṛtiḥ—Nirṛti; gudaḥ—rectum; ucyate—is called.
The city called Grāmaka, which is approached through the lower gate of Āsurī [the genital], is meant for sex, which is very pleasing to common men who are simply fools and rascals. The faculty of procreation is called Durmada, and the rectum is called Nirṛti.
When the world becomes degraded, civilization becomes demoniac, and for the common man the rectum and the genital are taken very seriously as the centers of all activity. Even in such a sacred place as Vṛndāvana, India, unintelligent men pass off this rectal and genital business as spiritual activity. Such people are called sahajiyā. According to their philosophy, through sexual indulgence one can elevate oneself to the spiritual platform. From these verses of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, however, we understand that the desires for sexual satisfaction are meant for the arvāk, the lowest among men. To rectify these rascals and fools is very difficult. After all, the sex desires of the common man are condemned in these verses. The word durmada means “wrongly directed,” and nirṛti means “sinful activity.” Although this clearly indicates that sex indulgence is abominable and misdirected even from the ordinary point of view, the sahajiyās nonetheless pass themselves off as devotees conducting spiritual activities. For this reason, Vṛndāvana is no longer visited by intelligent men. Sometimes we are often asked why we have made our center in Vṛndāvana. From the external point of view, it can be concluded that Vṛndāvana has become degenerate due to these sahajiyā activities, yet from the spiritual point of view, Vṛndāvana is the only place where all these sinful persons can be rectified by means of taking birth in the forms of dogs, hogs and monkeys. By living in Vṛndāvana as a dog, hog or monkey, the living entity can be elevated to the spiritual platform in the next life.
vaiśasaṁ narakaṁ pāyur
lubdhako ’ndhau tu me śṛṇu
hasta-pādau pumāṁs tābhyāṁ
yukto yāti karoti ca
vaiśasam—named Vaiśasa; narakam—hell; pāyuḥ—the working sense in the rectum; lubdhakaḥ—named Lubdhaka (very greedy); andhau—blind; tu—then; me—to me; śṛṇu—listen; hasta-pādau—hands and legs; pumān—the living entity; tābhyām—with them; yuktaḥ—being engaged; yāti—goes; karoti—works; ca—and.
When it is said that Purañjana goes to Vaiśasa, it is meant that he goes to hell. He is accompanied by Lubdhaka, which is the working sense in the rectum. Formerly I have also spoken of two blind associates. These associates should be understood to be the hands and legs. Being helped by the hands and legs, the living entity performs all kinds of work and moves hither and thither.
antaḥ-puraṁ ca hṛdayaṁ
viṣūcir mana ucyate
tatra mohaṁ prasādaṁ vā
harṣaṁ prāpnoti tad-guṇaiḥ
antaḥ-puram—private residence; ca—and; hṛdayam—the heart; viṣūciḥ—the servant named Viṣūcīna; manaḥ—the mind; ucyate—is said; tatra—there; moham—illusion; prasādam—satisfaction; vā—or; harṣam—jubilation; prāpnoti—obtains; tat—of the mind; guṇaiḥ—by the modes of nature.
The word antaḥ-pura refers to the heart. The word viṣūcīna, meaning “going everywhere,” indicates the mind. Within the mind the living entity enjoys the effects of the modes of material nature. These effects sometimes cause illusion, sometimes satisfaction and sometimes jubilation.
The mind and intelligence of the living entity in material existence are affected by the modes of material nature, and according to the association of the material modes, the mind is habituated to go here and there. The heart feels satisfaction, jubilation or illusion according to the effects of the modes of material nature. Actually the living entity in his material condition remains inert. It is the modes of material nature that act on the mind and heart. The results are enjoyed or suffered by the living entity. This is clearly stated in Bhagavad-gītā (3.27):
“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by nature.”
yathā yathā vikriyate
guṇākto vikaroti vā
yathā yathā—just as; vikriyate—is agitated; guṇa-aktaḥ—associated with the modes of nature; vikaroti—as it does; vā—or; tathā tathā—similarly; upadraṣṭā—observer; ātmā—the soul; tat—of the intelligence; vṛttīḥ—occupations; anukāryate—imitates.
Formerly it was explained that the Queen is one’s intelligence. While one is awake or asleep, that intelligence creates different situations. Being influenced by contaminated intelligence, the living entity envisions something and simply imitates the actions and reactions of his intelligence.
The queen of Purañjana is described herein as intelligence itself. Intelligence acts both in the dream state and in the waking state, but it is contaminated by the three modes of material nature. Since the intelligence is contaminated, the living entity is also contaminated. In the conditioned state, the living entity acts according to his contaminated intelligence. Although he simply remains an observer, he nonetheless acts, being forced by a contaminated intelligence, which in reality is a passive agent.
deho rathas tv indriyāśvaḥ
ākūtir vikramo bāhyo
dehaḥ—body; rathaḥ—chariot; tu—but; indriya—the knowledge-acquiring senses; aśvaḥ—the horses; saṁvatsara—total years; rayaḥ—duration of life; agatiḥ—without advancing; dvi—two; karma—activities; cakraḥ—wheels; tri—three; guṇa—modes of nature; dhvajaḥ—flags; pañca—five; asu—life airs; bandhuraḥ—bondage; manaḥ—the mind; raśmiḥ—rope; buddhi—intelligence; sūtaḥ—chariot driver; hṛt—heart; nīḍaḥ—sitting place; dvandva—duality; kūbaraḥ—the posts for the harness; pañca—five; indriya-artha—sense objects; prakṣepaḥ—weapons; sapta—seven; dhātu—elements; varūthakaḥ—coverings; ākūtiḥ—attempts of the five working senses; vikramaḥ—prowess or processes; bāhyaḥ—external; mṛga-tṛṣṇām—false aspiration; pradhāvati—runs after; ekādaśa—eleven; indriya—senses; camūḥ—soldiers; pañca—five; sūnā—envy; vinoda—pleasure; kṛt—doing.
Nārada Muni continued: What I referred to as the chariot was in actuality the body. The senses are the horses that pull that chariot. As time passes, year after year, these horses run without obstruction, but in fact they make no progress. Pious and impious activities are the two wheels of the chariot. The three modes of material nature are the chariot’s flags. The five types of life air constitute the living entity’s bondage, and the mind is considered to be the rope. Intelligence is the chariot driver. The heart is the sitting place in the chariot, and the dualities of life, such as pleasure and pain, are the knotting place. The seven elements are the coverings of the chariot, and the working senses are the five external processes. The eleven senses are the soldiers. Being engrossed in sense enjoyment, the living entity, seated on the chariot, hankers after fulfillment of his false desires and runs after sense enjoyment life after life.
The entanglement of the living entity in sense enjoyment is very nicely explained in these verses. The word saṁvatsara, meaning “the progress of time,” is significant. Day after day, week after week, fortnight after fortnight, month after month, year after year, the living entity becomes entangled in the chariot’s progress. The chariot rests on two wheels, which are pious and impious activities. The living entity attains a certain position in life in a particular type of body according to his pious and impious activities, but his transmigration into different bodies should not be taken as progress. Real progress is explained in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9). Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti: one makes real progress when he does not have to take on another material body. As stated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 19.138):
The living entity is wandering throughout the entire universe and taking birth in different species on different planets. Thus he moves up and down, but that is not real progress. Real progress is getting out of this material world altogether. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (8.16):
“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.” Even if one is promoted to Brahmaloka, the highest planet in the universe, he has to come down again to the lower planetary systems. Thus he is wandering up and down perpetually, under the influence of the three modes of material nature. Being illusioned, he thinks he is making progress. He is like an airplane encircling the earth day and night, incapable of leaving the earth’s gravitational field. Factually there is no progress because the airplane is conditioned by the earth’s gravity.
Just as a king is seated on a chariot, the living entity is seated in the body. The sitting place is the heart, and the living entity sits there and engages in the struggle for existence, which goes on without progress perpetually. In the words of Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura:
karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, kevala viṣera bhāṇḍa,
amṛta baliyā yebā khāya
nānā yoni sadā phire, kadarya bhakṣaṇa kare,
tāra janma adhaḥ-pāte yāya
The living entity struggles very hard due to the influence of fruitive activity and mental speculation and simply gets a different type of body life after life. He eats all kinds of nonsense and is condemned by his activities of sense enjoyment, If one really wants to progress in life, he must give up the ways of karma-kāṇḍa and jñāna-kāṇḍa, fruitive activities and mental speculation. Being fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one can become free from the entanglement of birth and death and the vain struggle for existence. In these verses the words mṛga-tṛṣṇāṁ pradhāvati are very significant because the living entity is influenced by a thirst for sense enjoyment. He is like a deer that goes to the desert to search out water. In a desert an animal simply searches in vain for water. Of course there is no water in the desert, and the animal simply sacrifices his life in an attempt to find it. Everyone is planning for future happiness, thinking that somehow or other, if he can reach a certain point, he will be happy. In actuality, however, when he comes to that point, he sees that there is no happiness. He then plans to go further and further to another point. This is called mṛga-tṛṣṇā, and its basis is sense enjoyment in this material world.
gandharvyo rātrayaḥ smṛtāḥ
haranty āyuḥ parikrāntyā
saṁvatsaraḥ—year; caṇḍa-vegaḥ—called Caṇḍavega; kālaḥ—time; yena—by which; upalakṣitaḥ—symbolized; tasya—of the duration of life; ahāni—days; iha—in this life; gandharvāḥ—Gandharvas; gandharvyaḥ—Gandharvīs; rātrayaḥ—nights; smṛtāḥ—are understood; haranti—they take away; āyuḥ—duration of life; parikrāntyā—by traveling; ṣaṣṭi—sixty; uttara—above; śata—hundred; trayam—three.
What was previously explained as Caṇḍavega, powerful time, is covered by days and nights, named Gandharvas and Gandharvīs. The body’s life-span is gradually reduced by the passage of days and nights, which number 360.
The word parikrāntyā means “by traveling.” The living entity travels on his chariot day and night during a year consisting of 360 (or more) days and nights. Life’s progress is taken for the unnecessary labor required to cover these 360 days and nights of life.
kāla-kanyā jarā sākṣāl
lokas tāṁ nābhinandati
svasāraṁ jagṛhe mṛtyuḥ
kāla-kanyā—the daughter of Time; jarā—old age; sākṣāt—directly; lokaḥ—all living entities; tām—her; na—never; abhinandati—welcome; svasāram—as his sister; jagṛhe—accepted; mṛtyuḥ—death; kṣayāya—for destruction; yavana-īśvaraḥ—the King of the Yavanas.
What was described as Kālakanyā should be understood as old age. No one wants to accept old age, but Yavaneśvara [Yavana-rāja], who is death, accepts Jarā [old age] as his sister.
Encaged within the body, the living being accepts Kālakanyā, old age, just before death. Yavaneśvara is the emblem of death, Yamarāja. Before going to the place of Yamarāja, the living entity accepts Jarā, old age, the sister of Yamarāja. One is subjected to the influence of Yavana-rāja and his sister due to impious activity. Those who are in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and are engaged in devotional service under the instructions of Nārada Muni are not subjected to the influence of Yamarāja and his sister Jarā. If one is Kṛṣṇa conscious, he conquers death. After leaving the material body, he does not accept another body that is material but returns home, back to Godhead. This is verified by Bhagavad-gītā (4.9).
ādhayo vyādhayas tasya
sainikā yavanāś carāḥ
prajvāro dvi-vidho jvaraḥ
evaṁ bahu-vidhair duḥkhair
kliśyamānaḥ śataṁ varṣaṁ
dehe dehī tamo-vṛtaḥ
ātmany adhyasya nirguṇaḥ
śete kāma-lavān dhyāyan
mamāham iti karma-kṛt
ādhayaḥ—disturbances of the mind; vyādhayaḥ—disturbances of the body, or diseases; tasya—of Yavaneśvara; sainikāḥ—soldiers; yavanāḥ—Yavanas; carāḥ—followers; bhūta—of living entities; upasarga—at the time of distress; āśu—very soon; rayaḥ—very powerful; prajvāraḥ—named Prajvāra; dvi-vidhaḥ—two kinds; jvaraḥ—fever; evam—thus; bahu-vidhaiḥ—of different varieties; duḥkhaiḥ—by tribulations; daiva—by providence; bhūta—by other living entities; ātma—by the body and mind; sambhavaiḥ—produced; kliśyamānaḥ—subjected to sufferings; śatam—hundred; varṣam—years; dehe—in the body; dehī—the living entity; tamaḥ-vṛtaḥ—covered by material existence; prāṇa—of life; indriya—of the senses; manaḥ—of the mind; dharmān—characteristics; ātmani—unto the soul; adhyasya—wrongly attributing; nirguṇaḥ—although transcendental; śete—lies down; kāma—of sense enjoyment; lavān—on fragments; dhyāyan—meditating; mama—mine; aham—I; iti—thus; karma-kṛt—the actor.
The followers of Yavaneśvara [Yamarāja] are called the soldiers of death, and they are known as the various types of disturbances that pertain to the body and mind. Prajvāra represents the two types of fever: extreme heat and extreme cold—typhoid and pneumonia. The living entity lying down within the body is disturbed by many tribulations pertaining to providence, to other living entities and to his own body and mind. Despite all kinds of tribulations, the living entity, subjected to the necessities of the body, mind and senses and suffering from various types of disease, is carried away by many plans due to his lust to enjoy the world. Although transcendental to this material existence, the living entity, out of ignorance, accepts all these material miseries under the pretext of false egoism (“I” and “mine”). In this way he lives for a hundred years within this body.
In the Vedas it is stated: asaṅgo’yaṁ puruṣaḥ. The living entity is actually separate from material existence, for the soul is not material. In Bhagavad-gītā it is also said that the living entity is the superior energy, and the material elements—earth, water, fire, air and so on—are the inferior energy. The material elements are also described as bhinna, or separated energy. When the internal or superior energy comes in contact with the external energy, it is subjected to so many tribulations. In Bhagavad-gītā (2.14) the Lord also says, mātrā-sparśās tu kaunteya śītoṣṇa-sukha-duḥkha-dāḥ: because of the material body, the living entity is subjected to many tribulations brought about by air, water, fire, extreme heat, extreme cold, sunshine, excessive eating, unhealthy food, maladjustments of the three elements of the body (kapha, pitta and vāyu), and so on. The intestines, the throat, the brain and the other parts of the body are affected by all kinds of diseases that are so powerful that they become sources of extreme suffering for the living entity. The living entity, however, is different from all these material elements. The two types of fever described in this verse can be explained in contemporary language as pneumonia and typhoid. When there is an extreme fever in the body, there is typhoid and pneumonia, and they are described as Prajvāra. There are also other miseries created by other living entities. The state exacts taxes, and there are also many thieves, rogues and cheaters. Miseries brought about by other living entities are called adhibhautika. There are also miseries in the form of famine, pestilence, scarcity, war, earthquakes and so on. These are caused by the demigods or other sources beyond our control. Actually there are many enemies of the living entities, and these are all described to point out how miserable this material existence is.
Knowing the basic misery of material existence, one should be induced to get out of the material clutches and return home, back to Godhead. Actually the living entity is not at all happy in this material body. Because of the body, he suffers thirst and hunger and is influenced by the mind, by words, by anger, by the belly, by the genitals, by the rectum, and so on. Manifold miseries encircle the transcendental living entity simply because he desires to satisfy his senses in this material world. If he simply withdraws from activities of sense gratification and applies his senses in the service of the Lord, all the problems of material existence will immediately diminish, and with the advancement of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he will be freed from all tribulation and, after giving up the body, will return home, back to Godhead.
bhagavantaṁ paraṁ gurum
puruṣas tu viṣajjeta
guṇeṣu prakṛteḥ sva-dṛk
guṇābhimānī sa tadā
karmāṇi kurute ’vaśaḥ
śuklaṁ kṛṣṇaṁ lohitaṁ vā
yadā—when; ātmānam—the Supreme Soul; avijñāya—forgetting; bhagavantam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; param—supreme; gurum—the instructor; puruṣaḥ—the living entity; tu—then; viṣajjeta—gives himself up; guṇeṣu—to the modes; prakṛteḥ—of material nature; sva-dṛk—one who can see his own welfare; guṇa-abhimānī—identified with the modes of nature; saḥ—he; tadā—at that time; karmāṇi—fruitive activities; kurute—performs; avaśaḥ—spontaneously; śuklam—white; kṛṣṇam—black; lohitam—red; vā—or; yathā—according to; karma—work; abhijāyate—takes birth.
The living entity by nature has minute independence to choose his own good or bad fortune, but when he forgets his supreme master, the Personality of Godhead, he gives himself up unto the modes of material nature. Being influenced by the modes of material nature, he identifies himself with the body and, for the interest of the body, becomes attached to various activities. Sometimes he is under the influence of the mode of ignorance, sometimes the mode of passion and sometimes the mode of goodness. The living entity thus gets different types of bodies under the modes of material nature.
“The living entity in material nature follows the ways of life, enjoying the three modes of nature. This is due to his association with that material nature. Thus he meets with good and evil among various species.
Because of associating with the modes of nature, the living entity gets a variety of bodies from the 8,400,000 forms. It is clearly explained herein that the living entity has a little independence, indicated by the word sva-dṛk, meaning “one who can see his own welfare.” The living entity’s constitutional position is very minute, and he can be misled in his choice. He may choose to imitate the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A servant may desire to start his own business and imitate his master, and when he chooses to do so, he may leave the protection of his master. Sometimes he is a failure, and sometimes he is successful. Similarly, the living entity, part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, starts his own business to compete with the Lord. There are many competitors out to attain the Lord’s position, but to become like the Lord is not at all possible. Thus there is a great struggle for existence with the material world as different parties try to imitate the Lord. Material bondage is caused by deviation from the service of the Lord and attempts to imitate Him. The Lord is imitated by Māyāvādī philosophers who try to become one with the Lord in an artificial way. When the Māyāvādī philosophers think of themselves as liberated, they are under the delusion of mental concoction. No one can become one with or equal to God. To imagine this is to continue one’s bondage in material existence.
lokān āpnoti karhicit
śuklāt—by goodness; prakāśa—by illumination; bhūyiṣṭhān—characterized; lokān—planets; āpnoti—achieves; karhicit—sometimes; duḥkha—distress; udarkān—having as the end result; kriyā-āyāsān—full of laborious activities; tamaḥ—darkness; śoka—in lamentation; utkaṭān—abounding; kvacit—sometimes.
Those who are situated in the mode of goodness act piously according to Vedic injunctions. Thus they are elevated to the higher planetary systems where the demigods live. Those who are influenced by the mode of passion engage in various types of productive activities in the planetary systems where human beings live. Similarly, those influenced by the mode of darkness are subjected to various types of misery and live in the animal kingdom.
There are three planetary systems—upper, middle and lower. Those influenced by the mode of goodness are given places in the upper planetary systems—Brahmaloka (Satyaloka), Tapoloka, Janaloka and Maharloka. Those influenced by the mode of passion are given places in the Bhūrloka and Bhuvarloka. Those influenced by the mode of ignorance are given places in Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talātala, Mahātala, Rasātala, Pātāla or the animal kingdom. Qualitatively the living entity is the same as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but because of his forgetfulness he gets different bodies in different planetary systems. At the present moment human society is overly influenced by the mode of passion, and consequently people are engaged in working in big factories. They forget how distressful it is to live in such places. In Bhagavad-gītā such activities are described as ugra-karma, that is, distressful activities. Those who utilize the energies of the worker are called capitalists, and those who actually perform the work are called laborers. In actuality they are both capitalists, and the workers are in the modes of passion and ignorance. The result is that there is always a distressful situation. In contrast to these men are those influenced by the mode of goodness—the karmīs and jñānīs. The karmīs, under the direction of Vedic instructions, try to elevate themselves to higher planetary systems. The jñānīs try to merge into the existence of Brahman, the impersonal feature of the Lord. In this way all classes of living entities in various species of life are existing within this material world. This explains superior and inferior life-forms within the material world.
kvacit pumān kvacic ca strī
kvacin nobhayam andha-dhīḥ
devo manuṣyas tiryag vā
kvacit—sometimes; pumān—male; kvacit—sometimes; ca—also; strī—female; kvacit—sometimes; na—not; ubhayam—both; andha—blind; dhīḥ—he whose intelligence; devaḥ—demigod; manuṣyaḥ—human being; tiryak—animal, bird, beast; vā—or; yathā—according to; karma—of activities; guṇam—the qualities; bhavaḥ—birth.
Covered by the mode of ignorance in material nature, the living entity is sometimes a male, sometimes a female, sometimes a eunuch, sometimes a human being, sometimes a demigod, sometimes a bird, an animal, and so on. In this way he is wandering within the material world. His acceptance of different types of bodies is brought about by his activities under the influence of the modes of nature.
Actually the living entity is part and parcel of the Lord; therefore he is spiritual in quality. The living entity is never material, and his material conception is simply a mistake due to forgetfulness. He is as brilliant as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Both the sun and the sunshine are very brilliant. The Lord is like the full shining sun, and the living entities are like the small particles of that sun which constitute the all-pervasive sunshine. When these small particles are covered by the cloud of māyā, they lose their shining capacity. When the cloud of māyā is gone, the particles again become brilliant and shining. As soon as the living entity is covered by the ignorance of māyā, or darkness, he cannot understand his relationship with the Supreme God. Somehow or other, if he comes before the Lord, he can see himself as shining as the Supreme Lord, although he is not as extensive as the Lord. Because the living entity desires to imitate the Supreme Lord, he is covered by māyā. We cannot imitate the Lord, nor can we become the supreme enjoyer. This is not possible, and when we think it is, we become conditioned by māyā. Thus the encagement of the living entity under the clutches of māyā is brought about by forgetfulness of his relationship with the Supreme Lord.
Under the influence of māyā, the living entity becomes exactly like a person haunted by a ghost. Such a person speaks all kinds of nonsense. When the living entity is covered by the influence of māyā, he becomes a so-called scientist, philosopher, politician or socialist, and at every moment presents different plans for the benefit of human society. All these plans are ultimately failures because they are illusory. In this way the living entity forgets his position as an eternal servant of the Lord. He instead becomes a servant of māyā. In any case he remains a servant. It is his misfortune that by forgetting his real contact with the Supreme Lord, he becomes a servant of māyā. As servant of māyā, he sometimes becomes a king, sometimes an ordinary citizen, sometimes a brāhmaṇa, a śūdra, and so on. Sometimes he is a happy man, sometimes a prosperous man, sometimes a small insect. Sometimes he is in heaven and sometimes in hell. Sometimes he is a demigod, and sometimes he is a demon. Sometimes he is a servant, and sometimes he is a master. In this way the living entity wanders all over the universe. Only when he comes in contact with the bona fide spiritual master can he understand his real constitutional position. He then becomes disgusted with material existence. At that time, in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he regrets his past experiences in material existence. This regret is very beneficial because it purifies the living entity of material, conditional life. He then prays to the Lord to engage in His service, and at that time, Kṛṣṇa grants liberation from the clutches of māyā. Lord Kṛṣṇa explains this in Bhagavad-gītā (7.14):
“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.”
Only by the grace of Kṛṣṇa can one get out of the clutches of māyā. It is not possible to get out by mental speculation or other activities. When the living entity understands his real position by the grace of Kṛṣṇa, he keeps himself always fit in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and acts accordingly. Thus he gradually becomes completely free from the clutches of māyā. When he is strong in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, māyā cannot touch him. In this way, in the association of Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees, the living entity can get free from the contamination of material existence. In this connection, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī says:
“In the Kṛṣṇa conscious state, the living entity engages in devotional service under the direction of the spiritual master. In this way he gets out of the clutches of māyā and takes shelter under the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa.” (Cc. Madhya 22.25)
kṣut-parīto yathā dīnaḥ
sārameyo gṛhaṁ gṛham
caran vindati yad-diṣṭaṁ
daṇḍam odanam eva vā
tathā kāmāśayo jīva
upary adho vā madhye vā
yāti diṣṭaṁ priyāpriyam
kṣut-parītaḥ—overcome by hunger; yathā—as; dīnaḥ—poor; sārameyaḥ—a dog; gṛham—from one house; gṛham—to another house; caran—wandering; vindati—receives; yat—whose; diṣṭam—according to destiny; daṇḍam—punishment; odanam—food; eva—certainly; vā—or; tathā—similarly; kāma-āśayaḥ—pursuing different types of desires; jīvaḥ—the living entity; ucca—high; avaca—low; pathā—on a path; bhraman—wandering; upari—high; adhaḥ—low; vā—or; madhye—in the middle; vā—or; yāti—goes toward; diṣṭam—according to destiny; priya—pleasing; apriyam—not pleasing.
The living entity is exactly like a dog, who, overcome with hunger, goes from door to door for some food. According to his destiny, he sometimes receives punishment and is driven out and at other times receives a little food to eat. Similarly, the living entity, being influenced by so many desires, wanders in different species of life according to destiny. Sometimes he is high, and sometimes he is low. Sometimes he goes to the heavenly planets, sometimes to hell, sometimes to the middle planets, and so on.
The living entity’s position is herein likened to a dog’s. By chance a dog may have a very rich owner, and by chance he may become a street dog. As the dog of a rich man, he will live very opulently. Sometimes in Western countries we hear of a master leaving millions of dollars to a dog in his will. Of course, there are many dogs loitering in the street without food. Therefore, to liken the conditional existence of the living entity to that of a dog is very appropriate. An intelligent human being, however, can understand that if he has to live the life of a dog, he had best become Kṛṣṇa’s dog. In the material world a dog is sometimes elevated and is sometimes on the street, but in the spiritual world, Kṛṣṇa’s dog is perpetually, eternally happy. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has therefore sung: vaiṣṇava ṭhākura tomāra kukura baliyā jānaha more. In this way Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura offers to become a Vaiṣṇava’s dog. A dog always keeps himself at his master’s door and does not allow any person unfavorable to the master to enter. Similarly, one should engage in the service of a Vaiṣṇava and try to please him in every respect. Unless one does so, he does not make spiritual advancement. Apart from spiritual advancement, in the material world if one does not develop his qualities in goodness, he cannot be promoted to the higher planetary system. As confirmed by Bhagavad-gītā (14.18):
“Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.”
There are many varieties of life in the different planetary systems, and these come about due to the living entity’s developing his qualities in goodness, passion and ignorance. If one is in goodness, he is promoted to the higher systems; if in passion, he remains in the middle systems; and if in ignorance, he is pushed down to the lower species of life.
jīvasya na vyavacchedaḥ
syāc cet tat-tat-pratikriyā
duḥkheṣu—in the matter of distresses; ekatareṇa—from one kind; api—even; daiva—providence; bhūta—other living entities; ātma—the body and mind; hetuṣu—on account of; jīvasya—of the living entity; na—never; vyavacchedaḥ—stopping; syāt—is possible; cet—although; tat-tat—of those miseries; pratikriyā—counteraction.
The living entities are trying to counteract different miserable conditions pertaining to providence, other living entities or the body and mind. Still, they must remain conditioned by the laws of nature, despite all attempts to counter these laws.
Just as a dog wanders here and there for a piece of bread or punishment, the living entity perpetually wanders about trying to be happy and planning in so many ways to counteract material misery. This is called the struggle for existence. We can actually see in our daily lives how we are forced to make plans to drive away miserable conditions. To get rid of one miserable condition, we have to put ourselves in another kind of miserable condition. A poor man suffers for want of money, but if he wants to become rich, he has to struggle in so many ways. Actually that is not a valid counteracting process but a snare of the illusory energy. If one does not endeavor to counteract his situation but is satisfied with his position, knowing that he has obtained his position through past activities, he can instead engage his energy to develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is recommended in all Vedic literature.
“Persons who are actually intelligent and philosophically inclined should endeavor only for that purposeful end which is not obtainable even by wandering from the topmost planet [Brahmaloka] down to the lowest planet [Pātāla]. As far as happiness derived from sense enjoyment is concerned, it can be obtained automatically in course of time, just as in course of time we obtain miseries even though we do not desire them.” (Bhāg. 1.5.18) One should simply try to develop his Kṛṣṇa consciousness and not waste his time trying to improve his material condition. Actually the material condition cannot be improved. The process of improvement means accepting another miserable condition. However, if we endeavor to improve our Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the distresses of material life will disappear without extraneous endeavor. Kṛṣṇa therefore promises, kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: “O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” (Bg. 9.31) One who takes to the path of devotional service will never be vanquished, despite all miseries of the body and mind and despite all misery brought about by other living entities and providence, miseries which are beyond our control.
yathā hi puruṣo bhāraṁ
śirasā gurum udvahan
taṁ skandhena sa ādhatte
tathā sarvāḥ pratikriyāḥ
yathā—as; hi—certainly; puruṣaḥ—a man; bhāram—a burden; śirasā—on the head; gurum—heavy; udvahan—carrying; tam—that; skandhena—on the shoulder; saḥ—he; ādhatte—puts; tathā—similarly; sarvāḥ—all; pratikriyāḥ—counteractions.
A man may carry a burden on his head, and when he feels it to be too heavy, he sometimes gives relief to his head by putting the burden on his shoulder. In this way he tries to relieve himself of the burden. However, whatever process he devises to counteract the burden does nothing more than put the same burden from one place to another.
This is a good description of an attempt to transfer a burden from one place to another. When one gets tired of keeping a burden on his head, he will place it on his shoulder. This does not mean that he has become freed from the strains of carrying the burden. Similarly, human society in the name of civilization is creating one kind of trouble to avoid another kind of trouble. In contemporary civilization we see that there are many automobiles manufactured to carry us swiftly from one place to another, but at the same time we have created other problems. We have to construct so many roads, and yet these roads are insufficient to cope with automobile congestion and traffic jams. There are also the problems of air pollution and fuel shortage. The conclusion is that the processes we manufacture to counteract or minimize our distresses do not actually put an end to our pains. It is all simply illusion. We simply place the burden from the head to the shoulder. The only real way we can minimize our problems is to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead and give ourselves up to His protection. The Lord, being all-powerful, can make arrangements to mitigate our painful life in material existence.
karmaṇāṁ karma kevalam
dvayaṁ hy avidyopasṛtaṁ
svapne svapna ivānagha
na—never; ekāntataḥ—ultimately; pratīkāraḥ—counteraction; karmaṇām—of different activities; karma—another activity; kevalam—only; dvayam—both; hi—because; avidyā—due to illusion; upasṛtam—accepted; svapne—in a dream; svapnaḥ—a dream; iva—like; anagha—O you who are free from sinful activities.
Nārada continued: O you who are free from all sinful activity! No one can counteract the effects of fruitive activity simply by manufacturing a different activity devoid of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. All such activity is due to our ignorance. When we have a troublesome dream, we cannot relieve it with a troublesome hallucination. One can counteract a dream only by awaking. Similarly, our material existence is due to our ignorance and illusion. Unless we awaken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we cannot be relieved of such dreams. For the ultimate solution to all problems, we must awaken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
There are two kinds of fruitive activity. We can place the burden on the head, or we can place it on the shoulder. Actually, keeping the burden in either place is the same. The transferal, however, is taking place under the name of counteraction. In this connection Prahlāda Mahārāja said that fools and rascals in the material world plan so gorgeously for bodily comfort without knowing that such arrangements, even if successful, are only māyā. People are working hard day and night for the illusory happiness of the body. This is not a way to achieve happiness. One has to get out of this material entanglement and return home, back to Godhead. That is real happiness. The Vedas therefore enjoin: “Don’t remain in the darkness of this material world. Go to the light of the spiritual world.” To counteract the distress of this material body, one has to take on another distressed condition. Both situations are only illusion. There is no gain in taking on one trouble to counteract another trouble. The conclusion is that one cannot be perpetually happy as long as one exists in this material world. The only remedy is to get out of this material world altogether and return home, back to Godhead.
arthe hy avidyamāne ’pi
saṁsṛtir na nivartate
svapne vicarato yathā
arthe—factual cause; hi—certainly; avidyamāne—not existing; api—although; saṁsṛtiḥ—material existence; na—not; nivartate—ceases; manasā—by the mind; liṅga-rūpeṇa—by subtle form; svapne—in a dream; vicarataḥ—acting; yathā—as.
Sometimes we suffer because we see a tiger in a dream or a snake in a vision, but actually there is neither a tiger nor a snake. Thus we create some situation in a subtle form and suffer the consequences. These sufferings cannot be mitigated unless we are awakened from our dream.
As stated in the Vedas, the living entity is always separate from two kinds of material bodies—the subtle and the gross. All our sufferings are due to these material bodies. This is explained in Bhagavad-gītā (2.14):
“O son of Kuntī, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” Lord Kṛṣṇa thus informed Arjuna that all the distresses brought about by the body come and go. One has to learn how to tolerate them. Material existence is the cause of all our sufferings, for we do not suffer once we are out of the material condition. The Vedas therefore enjoin that one should factually understand that he is not material but is actually Brahman (). This understanding cannot be fully realized unless one is engaged in Brahman activities, namely devotional service. To get free from the material conditions, one has to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the only remedy.
bhaktyā paramayā gurau
jñānaṁ ca janayiṣyati
atha—therefore; ātmanaḥ—of the living entity; artha-bhūtasya—having his real interest; yataḥ—from which; anartha—of all unwanted things; param-parā—a series one after another; saṁsṛtiḥ—material existence; tat—of that; vyavacchedaḥ—stopping; bhaktyā—by devotional service; paramayā—unalloyed; gurau—unto the Supreme Lord or His representative; vāsudeve—Vāsudeva; bhagavati—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhakti-yogaḥ—devotional service; samāhitaḥ—applied; sadhrīcīnena—completely; vairāgyam—detachment; jñānam—full knowledge; ca—and; janayiṣyati—will cause to become manifest.
The real interest of the living entity is to get out of the nescience that causes him to endure repeated birth and death. The only remedy is to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead through His representative. Unless one renders devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva, one cannot possibly become completely detached from this material world, nor can he possibly manifest real knowledge.
This is the way to become detached from the artificial material condition. The only remedy is to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and constantly engage in the devotional service of Lord Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everyone is trying to be happy, and the process adopted to achieve that happiness is called self-interest. Unfortunately, the conditioned soul hovering within this material world does not know that his ultimate goal of self-interest is Vāsudeva. Saṁsṛti, or material existence, begins with the illusioned bodily conception of life, and on the basis of this conception there ensues a series of unwanted things (anarthas). These unwanted things are actually mental desires for various types of sense gratification. In this way one accepts different types of bodies within this material world. One first has to control the mind so that the desires of the mind can be purified. This process is described in the Nārada-pañcarātra as sarvopādhi-vinirmuktaṁ tatparatvena nirmalam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]. Unless one purifies his mind, there is no question of getting free from the material condition. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.7.6):
“The material miseries of the living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service. But the mass of people do not know this, and therefore the learned Vyāsadeva compiled this Vedic literature, which is in relation to the Supreme Truth.” Anarthas, unwanted things, come down from one bodily life to another. To get out of this entanglement, one has to take to the devotional service of Lord Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The word guru is significant in this connection. The word guru may be translated as “heavy,” or “the supreme.” In other words, the guru is the spiritual master. Śrīla Ṛṣabhadeva advised His sons, gurur na sa syāt. .. na mocayed yaḥ samupeta-mṛtyum: “One should not take up the post of spiritual master unless he is able to lead his disciple from the cycle of birth and death.” (Bhāg. 5.5.18) Material existence is actually a chain of action and reaction brought about by different types of fruitive activities. This is the cause of birth and death. One can stop this process only by engaging oneself in the service of Vāsudeva.
Bhakti refers to those activities performed in the service of Lord Vāsudeva. Because Lord Vāsudeva is the Supreme, one should engage oneself in His service, not in the service of the demigods. Devotional service begins from the neophyte stage—the stage of observing the rules and regulations—and extends to the point of spontaneous loving service to the Lord. The purpose of all stages is to satisfy Lord Vāsudeva. When one is perfectly advanced in the devotional service of Vāsudeva, one becomes completely detached from the service of the body, that is, his designated position in material existence. After becoming so detached, one becomes actually perfect in knowledge and engages perfectly in the service of Lord Vāsudeva. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’: [Cc. Madhya 20.108] “Every living entity is by constitutional position an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa.” As soon as one engages in the service of Lord Vāsudeva, he attains his normal constitutional position. This position is called the liberated stage. Muktir hitvānyathā-rūpaṁ svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ: in the liberated stage, one is situated in his original Kṛṣṇa conscious position. He gives up all engagements in the service of matter, engagements concocted under the names of social service, national service, community service, dog service, automobile service and so many other services conducted under the illusion of “I” and mine.
As explained in the Second Chapter of the First Canto:
“By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.” (Bhāg. 1.2.7) Thus one must engage in the service of Vāsudeva without material desire, mental speculation or fruitive activity.
so ’cirād eva rājarṣe
nityadā syād adhīyataḥ
saḥ—that; acirāt—very soon; eva—certainly; rāja-ṛṣe—O best of kings; syāt—becomes; acyuta—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kathā—narrations; āśrayaḥ—depending on; śṛṇvataḥ—of one who is hearing; śraddadhānasya—faithful; nityadā—always; syāt—becomes; adhīyataḥ—by cultivation.
O best of kings, one who is faithful, who is always hearing the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is always engaged in the culture of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and in hearing of the Lord’s activities, very soon becomes eligible to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face.
Constant engagement in the transcendental loving service of Vāsudeva means constantly hearing the glories of the Lord. The principles of bhakti-yoga—śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam/ arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ sakhyam ātma-nivedanam [SB 7.5.23]—are the only means by which perfection can be attained. Simply by hearing of the glories of the Lord, one is elevated to the transcendental position.
yatra bhāgavatā rājan
tasmin mahan-mukharitā madhubhic-caritra-
pīyūṣa-śeṣa-saritaḥ paritaḥ sravanti
tā ye pibanty avitṛṣo nṛpa gāḍha-karṇais
tān na spṛśanty aśana-tṛḍ-bhaya-śoka-mohāḥ
yatra—where; bhāgavatāḥ—great devotees; rājan—O King; sādhavaḥ—saintly persons; viśada-āśayāḥ—broad-minded; bhagavat—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; guṇa—the qualities; anukathana—to regularly recite; śravaṇa—to hear; vyagra—eager; cetasaḥ—whose consciousness; tasmin—there; mahat—of great saintly persons; mukharitāḥ—emanating from the mouths; madhu-bhit—of the killer of the Madhu demon; caritra—the activities or the character; pīyūṣa—of nectar; śeṣa—surplus; saritaḥ—rivers; paritaḥ—all around; sravanti—flow; tāḥ—all of them; ye—they who; pibanti—drink; avitṛṣaḥ—without being satisfied; nṛpa—O King; gāḍha—attentive; karṇaiḥ—with their ears; tān—them; na—never; spṛśanti—touch; aśana—hunger; tṛṭ—thirst; bhaya—fear; śoka—lamentation; mohāḥ—illusion.
My dear King, in the place where pure devotees live, following the rules and regulations and thus purely conscious and engaged with great eagerness in hearing and chanting the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in that place if one gets a chance to hear their constant flow of nectar, which is exactly like the waves of a river, one will forget the necessities of life—namely hunger and thirst—and become immune to all kinds of fear, lamentation and illusion.
The cultivation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is possible where great devotees live together and constantly engage in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. In a holy place like Vṛndāvana, there are many devotees constantly engaged in chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord. If one gets the chance to hear from pure devotees in such a place, allowing the constant flow of the river of nectar to come from the mouths of pure devotees, then the cultivation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness becomes very easy. When one is engaged in constantly hearing the glories of the Lord, he certainly rises above the bodily conception. When one is in the bodily conception, he feels the pangs of hunger and thirst, fear, lamentation and illusion. But when one is engaged in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, he transcends the bodily conception.
The word bhagavad-guṇānukathana-śravaṇa-vyagra-cetasaḥ, meaning “always eager to find the place where the glories of the Lord are being heard and chanted,” is significant in this verse. A businessman is always very eager to go to a place where business is transacted. Similarly, a devotee is very eager to hear from the lips of liberated devotees. As soon as one hears the glories of the Lord from the liberated devotees, he immediately becomes impregnated with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is also confirmed in another verse:
“In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and to the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.” (Bhāg. 3.25.25) In the association of pure devotees, one becomes attached to hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. In this way one can cultivate Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and as soon as this cultivation is advanced, one can become faithful to the Lord, devoted to the Lord and attached to the Lord, and thus one can very quickly attain full Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The secret of success in the cultivation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is hearing from the right person. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person is never disturbed by the bodily necessities—namely eating, sleeping, mating and defending.
etair upadruto nityaṁ
na karoti harer nūnaṁ
etaiḥ—by these; upadrutaḥ—disturbed; nityam—always; jīva-lokaḥ—the conditioned soul in the material world; sva-bhāva-jaiḥ—natural; na karoti—does not do; hareḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nūnam—certainly; kathā—of the words; amṛta—of nectar; nidhau—in the ocean; ratim—attachment.
Because the conditioned soul is always disturbed by the bodily necessities such as hunger and thirst, he has very little time to cultivate attachment to hearing the nectarean words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Unless one is associated with devotees, he cannot cultivate Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Nirjana-bhajana—cultivating Kṛṣṇa consciousness in a solitary place—is not possible for the neophyte, for he will be disturbed by the bodily necessities (eating, sleeping, mating and defending). Being so disturbed, one cannot cultivate Kṛṣṇa consciousness. We therefore see that devotees known as sahajiyā, who make everything very easy, do not associate with advanced devotees. Such persons, in the name of devotional activities, are addicted to all kinds of sinful acts—illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating. There are many so-called devotees passing themselves off as devotees while engaging in these sinful activities. In other words, one who is influenced by sinful activity cannot be accepted as a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A person addicted to sinful life cannot develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as indicated in this verse.
bhagavān giriśo manuḥ
pulastyaḥ pulahaḥ kratuḥ
bhṛgur vasiṣṭha ity ete
paśyanto ’pi na paśyanti
prajāpati-patiḥ—Brahmā, the father of all progenitors; sākṣāt—directly; bhagavān—the most powerful; giriśaḥ—Lord Śiva; manuḥ—Manu; dakṣa-ādayaḥ—headed by King Dakṣa; prajā-adhyakṣāḥ—the rulers of humankind; naiṣṭhikāḥ—the strong brahmacārīs; sanaka-ādayaḥ—headed by Sanaka; marīciḥ—Marīci; atri-aṅgirasau—Atri and Aṅgirā; pulastyaḥ—Pulastya; pulahaḥ—Pulaha; kratuḥ—Kratu; bhṛguḥ—Bhṛgu; vasiṣṭhaḥ—Vasiṣṭha; iti—thus; ete—all of them; mat-antāḥ—ending with me; brahma-vādinaḥ—brāhmaṇas, speakers on Vedic literature; adya api—up to date; vācaḥ-patayaḥ—masters of speaking; tapaḥ—austerities; vidyā—knowledge; samādhibhiḥ—and by meditation; paśyantaḥ—observing; api—although; na paśyanti—do not observe; paśyantam—the one who sees; parama-īśvaram—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The most powerful Lord Brahmā, the father of all progenitors; Lord Śiva; Manu, Dakṣa and the other rulers of humankind; the four saintly first-class brahmacārīs headed by Sanaka and Sanātana; the great sages Marīci, Atri, Aṅgirā, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhṛgu and Vasiṣṭha; and my humble self [Nārada] are all stalwart brāhmaṇas who can speak authoritatively on Vedic literature. We are very powerful because of austerities, meditation and education. Nonetheless, even after inquiring about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whom we always see, we do not know perfectly about Him.
According to the foolish Darwinian theory of the anthropologists, it is said that forty thousand years ago Homo sapiens had not appeared on this planet because the process of evolution had not reached that point. However, the Vedic histories—the purāṇas and Mahābhārata—relate human histories that extend millions and millions of years into the past. In the beginning of creation there was a very intelligent personality, Lord Brahmā, and from him emanated all the Manus, and the brahmacārīs like Sanaka and Sanātana, as well as Lord Śiva, the great sages and Nārada. All these personalities underwent great austerities and penances and thus became authorities in Vedic knowledge. Perfect knowledge for human beings, as well as all living entities, is contained in the Vedas. All the above-mentioned great personalities are not only powerful—being cognizant of past, present and future—but are also devotees. Still, in spite of their great education in knowledge, and despite their meeting the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, they cannot actually understand the perfection of the living entity’s relationship with Lord Viṣṇu. This means that these personalities are still limited as far as their knowledge of the unlimited is concerned. The conclusion is that simply by advancing one’s knowledge, one cannot be accepted as an expert in understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead can be understood not by advanced knowledge, but by pure devotional service, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.55). Bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ: unless one takes to pure, transcendental devotional service, he cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead in truth. Everyone has some imperfect ideas about the Lord. So-called scientists and philosophical speculators are unable to understand the Supreme Lord by virtue of their knowledge. Knowledge is not perfect unless one comes to the platform of devotional service. This is confirmed by the Vedic version:
The speculators, the jñānīs, go on speculating about the Supreme Personality of Godhead for many, many hundreds of thousands of years, but unless one is favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one cannot understand His supreme glories. All the great sages mentioned in this verse have their planets near Brahmaloka, the planet where Lord Brahmā resides along with four great sages—Sanaka, Sanātana, Sanandana and Sanat-kumāra. These sages reside in different stars known as the southern stars, which circle the polestar. The polestar, called Dhruvaloka, is the pivot of this universe, and all planets move around this polestar. All the stars are planets, as far as we can see, within this one universe. According to Western theory, all the stars are different suns, but according to Vedic information, there is only one sun within this universe. All the so-called stars are but different planets. Besides this universe, there are many millions of other universes, and each of them contains similar innumerable stars and planets.
bhajanto na viduḥ param
śabda-brahmaṇi—in the Vedic literature; duṣpāre—unlimited; carantaḥ—being engaged; uru—greatly; vistare—expansive; mantra—of Vedic hymns; liṅgaiḥ—by the symptoms; vyavacchinnam—partially powerful (the demigods); bhajantaḥ—worshiping; na viduḥ—they do not know; param—the Supreme.
Despite the cultivation of Vedic knowledge, which is unlimited, and the worship of different demigods by the symptoms of Vedic mantras, demigod worship does not help one to understand the supreme powerful Personality of Godhead.
“Those whose minds are distorted by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.” Most people are interested in worshiping demigods to acquire powers. Each demigod has a particular power. For instance, the demigod Indra, the King of heaven, has power to shower rain on the surface of the globe to give sufficient vegetation to the earth. This demigod is described in the Vedas: vajra-hastaḥ purandaraḥ. Indra rules the water supply with a thunderbolt in his hand. The thunderbolt itself is controlled by Indra. Similarly, other demigods—Agni, Varuṇa, Candra, Sūrya—have particular powers. All these demigods are worshiped in the Vedic hymns through a symbolic weapon. Therefore it is said here: mantra-liṅgair vyavacchinnam. By such worship, karmīs may obtain the benediction of material opulence in the form of animals, riches, beautiful wives, many followers, and so on. By such material opulence, however, one cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
sa jahāti matiṁ loke
vede ca pariniṣṭhitām
yadā—when; yasya—whom; anugṛhṇāti—favors by causeless mercy; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ātma-bhāvitaḥ—realized by a devotee; saḥ—such a devotee; jahāti—gives up; matim—consciousness; loke—in the material world; vede—in the Vedic functions; ca—also; pariniṣṭhitām—fixed.
When a person is fully engaged in devotional service, he is favored by the Lord, who bestows His causeless mercy. At such a time, the awakened devotee gives up all material activities and ritualistic performances mentioned in the Vedas.
In the previous verse, those who are in knowledge have been described as unable to appreciate the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, this verse indicates that those who are followers of the Vedic rituals, as well as those who are followers of fruitive activities, are unable to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In these two verses both the karmīs and jñānīs are described as unfit to understand Him. As described by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, only when one is completely free from mental speculation and fruitive activity (anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam [Madhya 19.167]) can one engage in pure devotional service without being polluted by material desires. The significant word ātma-bhāvitaḥ indicates that the Lord is awakened in one’s mind if one constantly thinks of Him. A pure devotee is always thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord (sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ). A pure devotee cannot remain a moment without being absorbed in thoughts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This constant thinking of the Lord is described in Bhagavad-gītā as satata-yuktānām, always engaging in the Lord’s service. Bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam: this is devotional service in love and affection. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead dictates to the pure devotee from within, the devotee is saved from all material activities. Even the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies are considered material activities because by such activities one is simply elevated to other planetary systems, the residential abodes of the demigods. Lord Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.25):
“Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.”
The word ātma-bhāvitaḥ also indicates that a devotee is always engaged in preaching to deliver conditioned souls. It is said of the six Gosvāmīs: nānā-śāstra-vicāraṇaika-nipuṇau sad-dharma-saṁsthāpakau lokānāṁ hita-kāriṇau. A pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always thinking of how fallen, conditioned souls can be delivered. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, influenced by the merciful devotees’ attempt to deliver fallen souls, enlightens the people in general from within by His causeless mercy. If a devotee is blessed by another devotee, he becomes free from karma-kāṇḍa and jñāna-kāṇḍa activities. As confirmed in Brahma-saṁhitā, vedeṣu durlabham: the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be realized through karma-kāṇḍa and jñāna-kāṇḍa. Adurlabham ātma-bhaktau: the Lord is realized only by a sincere devotee.
This material world, the cosmic manifestation, is created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the living entities have come here to enjoy themselves. The Vedic instructions guide them according to different regulative principles, and intelligent people take advantage of these instructions. They thus enjoy material life without being disturbed. This is actually illusion, and to get out of this illusion by one’s own endeavor is very difficult. The general populace is engaged in material activities, and when people are a little advanced, they become attracted by the ritualistic ceremonies mentioned in the Vedas. However, when one is frustrated in the performance of these ritualistic ceremonies, he again comes to material activities. In this way both the followers of the Vedic rituals and the followers of material activities are entangled in conditional life. These people get the seed of devotional service only by the good will of the guru and Kṛṣṇa. This is confirmed in Caitanya-caritāmṛta: guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja.
When one is engaged in devotional service, he is no longer attracted to material activities. When a man is covered by different designations, he cannot engage in devotional service. One has to become freed from such designative activities (sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam [Cc. Madhya 19.170]) and become pure in order to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead through purified senses. Hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate: the service of the Lord through purified senses is called bhakti-yoga, or devotional service. The sincere devotee is always helped by the Supersoul, who resides within the heart of every living entity, as Lord Kṛṣṇa confirms in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10):
“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”
This is the stage of becoming free from the contamination of the material world. At such a time a devotee makes friends with another devotee, and his engagement in material activities ceases completely. At that time, he attains the favor of the Lord and loses his faith in material civilization, which begins with varṇāśrama-dharma. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu speaks clearly of one’s becoming liberated from the varṇāśrama-dharma, the most exalted system of human civilization. At such a time one feels himself to be perpetually the servant of Lord Kṛṣṇa, a position taken by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself.
“I am not a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya or śūdra. I am not a brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha or sannyāsī. What am I? I am the eternal servant of the servant of the servant of Lord Kṛṣṇa.” Through the disciplic succession, one can attain this conclusion, which is perfect elevation to the transcendental platform.
tasmāt karmasu barhiṣmann
mārtha-dṛṣṭiṁ kṛthāḥ śrotra-
tasmāt—therefore; karmasu—in fruitive activities; barhiṣman—O King Prācīnabarhiṣat; ajñānāt—out of ignorance; artha-kāśiṣu—in the glittering fruitive result; mā—never; artha-dṛṣṭim—considering to be the aim of life; kṛthāḥ—do; śrotra-sparśiṣu—pleasing to the ear; aspṛṣṭa—without touching; vastuṣu—real interest.
My dear King Barhiṣmān, you should never out of ignorance take to the Vedic rituals or to fruitive activity, which may be pleasing to hear about or which may appear to be the goal of self-interest. You should never take these to be the ultimate goal of life.
“Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.”
Generally people are very much attracted to the fruitive activities sanctioned in the Vedic rituals. One may be very much attracted to becoming elevated to heavenly planets by performing great sacrifices, like those of King Barhiṣmān. Śrī Nārada Muni wanted to stop King Barhiṣmān from engaging in such fruitive activities. Therefore he is now directly telling him, “Don’t be interested in such temporary benefits.” In modern civilization people are very much interested in exploiting the resources of material nature through the methods of science. Indeed, this is considered advancement. This is not actually advancement, however, but is simply pleasing to hear. Although we are advancing according to such concocted methods, we are forgetting our real purpose. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura therefore says, jaḍa-vidyā yata māyāra vaibhava tomāra bhajane bādhā: “Materialistic studies are the glare of māyā only, for they are an obstacle to spiritual progress.”
The temporary comforts of life experienced either on this planet or on other planets are all to be taken as illusory because they do not touch the real purpose of life. The real purpose of life is to go back home, back to Godhead. Ignorant of the real purpose of life, people take to either gross materialistic activities or ritualistic activities. King Barhiṣmān is herein requested not to be attached to such activities. In the Vedas it is stated that the performance of sacrifice is the actual purpose of life. A section of the Indian population known as the Ārya-samājists lay too much stress on the sacrificial portion of the Vedas. This verse indicates, however, that such sacrifices are to be taken as illusory. Actually the aim of human life should be God realization, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The Vedic performances are, of course, very glittering and pleasing to hear about, but they do not serve the real purpose of life.
svaṁ lokaṁ na vidus te vai
yatra devo janārdanaḥ
āhur dhūmra-dhiyo vedaṁ
svam—own; lokam—abode; na—never; viduḥ—know; te—such persons; vai—certainly; yatra—where; devaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; janārdanaḥ—Kṛṣṇa, or Viṣṇu; āhuḥ—speak; dhūmra-dhiyaḥ—the less intelligent class of men; vedam—the four Vedas; sa-karmakam—full of ritualistic ceremonies; a-tat-vidaḥ—persons who are not in knowledge.
Those who are less intelligent accept the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies as all in all. They do not know that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand one’s own home, where the Supreme Personality of Godhead lives. Not being interested in their real home, they are illusioned and search after other homes.
Generally people are not aware of their interest in life—to return home, back to Godhead. People do not know about their real home in the spiritual world. In the spiritual world there are many Vaikuṇṭha planets, and the topmost planet is Kṛṣṇaloka, Goloka Vṛndāvana. Despite the so-called advancement of civilization, there is no information of the Vaikuṇṭhalokas, the spiritual planets. At the present moment so-called advanced civilized men are trying to go to other planets, but they do not know that even if they go to the highest planetary system, Brahmaloka, they have to come back again to this planet. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (8.16):
“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again.”
If one goes to the highest planetary system within this universe he still has to return after the effects of pious activities are finished. Space vehicles may go very high in the sky, but as soon as their fuel is finished, they have to return to this earthly planet. All these activities are performed in illusion. The real attempt should now be to return home, back to Godhead. The process is mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā. Yānti mad-yājino ’pi mām: those who engage in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead return home, back to Godhead. Human life is very valuable, and one should not waste it in vain exploration of other planets. One should be intelligent enough to return to Godhead. One should be interested in information about the spiritual Vaikuṇṭha planets, and in particular the planet known as Goloka Vṛndāvana, and should learn the art of going there by the simple method of devotional service, beginning with hearing (śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ [SB 7.5.23]). This is also confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.3.51):
One can go to the supreme planet (paraṁ vrajet) simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. This is especially meant for the people of this age (kaler doṣa-nidhe). It is the special advantage of this age that simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra one can become purified of all material contamination and return home, back to Godhead. There is no doubt about this.
āstīrya darbhaiḥ prāg-agraiḥ
stabdho bṛhad-vadhān mānī
karma nāvaiṣi yat param
tat karma hari-toṣaṁ yat
sā vidyā tan-matir yayā
āstīrya—having covered; darbhaiḥ—by kuśa grass; prāk-agraiḥ—with the points facing east; kārtsnyena—altogether; kṣiti-maṇḍalam—the surface of the world; stabdhaḥ—proud upstart; bṛhat—great; vadhāt—by killing; mānī—thinking yourself very important; karma—activity; na avaiṣi—you do not know; yat—which; param—supreme; tat—that; karma—activity; hari-toṣam—satisfying the Supreme Lord; yat—which; sā—that; vidyā—education; tat—unto the Lord; matiḥ—consciousness; yayā—by which.
My dear King, the entire world is covered with the sharp points of kuśa grass, and on the strength of this you have become proud because you have killed various types of animals in sacrifices. Because of your foolishness, you do not know that devotional service is the only way one can please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You cannot understand this fact. Your only activities should be those that can please the Personality of Godhead. Our education should be such that we can become elevated to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
In this verse the great sage Nārada Muni directly insults the King because he was engaged in performing sacrifices that entail the killing of a great number of animals. The King was thinking that he was great for having performed so many sacrifices, but the great sage Nārada directly chastises him, informing him that his animal-killing only leads to his being puffed up with false prestige. Actually, anything that is done which does not lead to Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a sinful activity, and any education that does not lead one to understand Kṛṣṇa is false education. If Kṛṣṇa consciousness is missing, one is simply engaged in false activities and false educational pursuits.
harir deha-bhṛtām ātmā
svayaṁ prakṛtir īśvaraḥ
yataḥ kṣemo nṛṇām iha
hariḥ—Śrī Hari; deha-bhṛtām—of living entities who have accepted material bodies; ātmā—the Supersoul; svayam—Himself; prakṛtiḥ—material nature; īśvaraḥ—the controller; tat—His; pāda-mūlam—feet; śaraṇam—shelter; yataḥ—from which; kṣemaḥ—good fortune; nṛṇām—of men; iha—in this world.
Śrī Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the Supersoul and guide of all living entities who have accepted material bodies within this world. He is the supreme controller of all material activities in material nature. He is also our best friend, and everyone should take shelter at His lotus feet. In doing so, one’s life will be auspicious.
In Bhagavad-gītā (18.61) it is said, īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati: “The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna.” The living entity is within the body, and the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is also there. He is called antaryāmī and caitya-guru. As Lord Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā (15.15), He is controlling everything.
“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.”
Everything is being directed by the Supersoul within the body; therefore the better part of valor is to take His direction and be happy. To take His directions, one needs to be a devotee, and this is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10):
“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”
Although the Supersoul is in everyone’s heart (īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]), He talks only to the pure devotees who constantly engage in His service. In Caitanya-bhāgavata (Antya 3.45) it is said:
“One who has fixed his mind on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa is to be understood as having the best education and as having studied all the Vedas.” There are also other appropriate quotes in Caitanya-bhāgavata:
“The perfect result of an education is the fixing of one’s mind on the lotus feet of Kṛṣ
“Conquering the world by means of material education is not desirable. If one engages himself in devotional service, his education is perfected.” (Ādi 13.173)
“The purpose of education is to understand Kṛṣṇa and His devotional service. If one does not do so, then education is false.” (Ādi 12.49)
“Being cultured, educated, very active and religious means developing natural love for Kṛṣṇa.” (Antya 3.44) Everyone has dormant love for Kṛṣṇa, and by culture and education that has to be awakened. That is the purpose of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Once Lord Caitanya asked Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya what the best part of education was, and Rāmānanda Rāya replied that the best part of education is advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
sa vai priyatamaś cātmā
yato na bhayam aṇv api
iti veda sa vai vidvān
yo vidvān sa gurur hariḥ
saḥ—He; vai—certainly; priya-tamaḥ—the most dear; ca—also; ātmā—Supersoul; yataḥ—from whom; na—never; bhayam—fear; aṇu—little; api—even; iti—thus; veda—(one who) knows; saḥ—he; vai—certainly; vidvān—educated; yaḥ—he who; vidvān—educated; saḥ—he; guruḥ—spiritual master; hariḥ—not different from the Lord.
One who is engaged in devotional service has not the least fear in material existence. This is because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supersoul and friend of everyone. One who knows this secret is actually educated, and one thus educated can become the spiritual master of the world. One who is an actually bona fide spiritual master, representative of Kṛṣṇa, is not different from Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says: sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ . The spiritual master is described in every scripture as the representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The spiritual master is accepted as identical with the Supreme Personality of Godhead because he is the most confidential servant of the Lord (kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya). The purport is that both the Supersoul and the individual soul are very dear to everyone. Everyone loves himself, and when he becomes more advanced, he loves the Supersoul also. A person who is self-realized does not recommend the worship of anyone but the Supersoul. He knows that to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead is easier than to worship various demigods under the influence of lust and the desire for material enjoyment. The devotee is therefore always engaged in the loving devotional service of the Lord. Such a person is a true guru. In Padma Purāṇa it is said:
“Even if a brāhmaṇa is very learned in Vedic scriptures and knows the six occupational duties of a brāhmaṇa, he cannot become a guru, or spiritual master, unless he is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, if one is born in a family of dog-eaters but is a pure devotee of the Lord, he can become a spiritual master.” The conclusion is that one cannot become a spiritual master unless he is a pure devotee of the Lord. One who is a spiritual master in accordance with the above descriptions of devotional service is to be understood as the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally present. According to the words mentioned here (gurur hariḥ), consulting a bona fide spiritual master means consulting the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally. One should therefore take shelter of such a bona fide spiritual master. Success in life means accepting a spiritual master who knows Kṛṣṇa as the only supreme beloved personality. One should worship such a confidential devotee of the Lord.
praśna evaṁ hi sañchinno
atra me vadato guhyaṁ
nāradaḥ uvāca—Nārada said; praśnaḥ—question; evam—thus; hi—certainly; sañchinnaḥ—answered; bhavataḥ—your; puruṣa-ṛṣabha—O great personality; atra—here; me vadataḥ—as I am speaking; guhyam—confidential; niśāmaya—hear; su-niścitam—perfectly ascertained.
The great saint Nārada continued: O great personality, I have replied properly about all that you have asked me. Now hear another narration that is accepted by saintly persons and is very confidential.
Śrī Nārada Muni is personally acting as the spiritual master of King Barhiṣmān. It was Nārada Muni’s intention that through his instructions the King would immediately give up all engagement in fruitive activity and take to devotional service. However, although the King understood everything, he was still not prepared to give up his engagements. As the following verses will show, the King was contemplating sending for his sons, who were away from home executing austerities and penances. After their return, he would entrust his kingdom to them and then leave home. This is the position of most people. They accept a bona fide spiritual master and listen to him, but when the spiritual master indicates that they should leave home and fully engage in devotional service, they hesitate. The duty of the spiritual master is to instruct the disciple as long as he does not come to the understanding that this materialistic way of life, fruitive activity, is not at all beneficial. Actually, one should take to devotional service from the beginning of life, as Prahlāda Mahārāja advised: kaumāra ācaret prājño dharmān bhāgavatān iha (Bhāg. 7.6.1). According to all the instructions of the Vedas, we can understand that unless one takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and devotional service, he is simply wasting his time engaging in the fruitive activities of material existence. Nārada Muni therefore decided to relate another allegory to the King so that he might be induced to give up family life within material existence.
kṣudraṁ caraṁ sumanasāṁ śaraṇe mithitvā
raktaṁ ṣaḍaṅghri-gaṇa-sāmasu lubdha-karṇam
agre vṛkān asu-tṛpo ’vigaṇayya yāntaṁ
pṛṣṭhe mṛgaṁ mṛgaya lubdhaka-bāṇa-bhinnam
kṣudram—on grass; caram—grazing; sumanasām—of a beautiful flower garden; śaraṇe—under the protection; mithitvā—being united with a woman; raktam—attached; ṣaṭ-aṅghri—of bumblebees; gaṇa—of groups; sāmasu—to the singing; lubdha-karṇam—whose ear is attracted; agre—in front; vṛkān—tigers; asu-tṛpaḥ—who live at the cost of another’s life; avigaṇayya—neglecting; yāntam—moving; pṛṣṭhe—behind; mṛgam—the deer; mṛgaya—search out; lubdhaka—of a hunter; bāṇa—by the arrows; bhinnam—liable to be pierced.
My dear King, please search out that deer who is engaged in eating grass in a very nice flower garden along with his wife. That deer is very much attached to his business, and he is enjoying the sweet singing of the bumblebees in his garden. Just try to understand his position. He is unaware that before him is a tiger, which is accustomed to living at the cost of another’s flesh. Behind the deer is a hunter, who is threatening to pierce him with sharp arrows. Thus the deer’s death is imminent.
Here is an allegory in which the King is advised to find a deer that is always in a dangerous position. Although threatened from all sides, the deer simply eats grass in a nice flower garden, unaware of the danger all around him. All living entities, especially human beings, think themselves very happy in the midst of families. As if living in a flower garden and hearing the sweet humming of bumblebees, everyone is centered around his wife, who is the beauty of family life. The bumblebees’ humming may be compared to the talk of children. The human being, just like the deer, enjoys his family without knowing that before him is the factor of time, which is represented by the tiger. The fruitive activities of a living entity simply create another dangerous position and oblige him to accept different types of bodies. For a deer to run after a mirage of water in the desert is not unusual. The deer is also very fond of sex. The conclusion is that one who lives like a deer will be killed in due course of time. Vedic literatures therefore advise that we should understand our constitutional position and take to devotional service before death comes. According to the Bhāgavatam (11.9.29):
After many births we have attained this human form; therefore before death comes, we should engage ourselves in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. That is the fulfillment of human life.
sumanaḥ-sama-dharmaṇāṁ strīṇāṁ śaraṇa āśrame puṣpa-madhu-gandhavat kṣudratamaṁ kāmya-karma-vipākajaṁ kāma-sukha-lavaṁ jaihvyaupasthyādi vicinvantaṁ mithunī-bhūya tad-abhiniveśita-manasaṁ ṣaḍaṅghri-gaṇa-sāma-gītavad atimanohara-vanitādi-janālāpeṣv atitarām atipralobhita-karṇam agre vṛka-yūthavad ātmana āyur harato ’ho-rātrān tān kāla-lava-viśeṣān avigaṇayya gṛheṣu viharantaṁ pṛṣṭhata eva parokṣam anupravṛtto lubdhakaḥ kṛtānto ’ntaḥ śareṇa yam iha parāvidhyati tam imam ātmānam aho rājan bhinna-hṛdayaṁ draṣṭum arhasīti.
sumanaḥ—flowers; sama-dharmaṇām—exactly like; strīṇām—of women; śaraṇe—in the shelter; āśrame—household life; puṣpa—in flowers; madhu—of honey; gandha—the aroma; vat—like; kṣudra-tamam—most insignificant; kāmya—desired; karma—of activities; vipāka-jam—obtained as a result; kāma-sukha—of sense gratification; lavam—a fragment; jaihvya—enjoyment of the tongue; aupasthya—sex enjoyment; ādi—beginning with; vicinvantam—always thinking of; mithunī-bhūya—engaging in sex life; tat—in his wife; abhiniveśita—always absorbed; manasam—whose mind; ṣaṭ-aṅghri—of bumblebees; gaṇa—of crowds; sāma—gentle; gīta—the chanting; vat—like; ati—very; manohara—attractive; vanitā-ādi—beginning with the wife; jana—of people; ālāpeṣu—to the talks; atitarām—excessively; ati—very much; pralobhita—attracted; karṇam—whose ears; agre—in front; vṛka-yūtha—a group of tigers; vat—like; ātmanaḥ—of one’s self; āyuḥ—span of life; harataḥ—taking away; ahaḥ-rātrān—days and nights; tān—all of them; kāla-lava-viśeṣān—the moments of time; avigaṇayya—without considering; gṛheṣu—in household life; viharantam—enjoying; pṛṣṭhataḥ—from the back; eva—certainly; parokṣam—without being seen; anupravṛttaḥ—following behind; lubdhakaḥ—the hunter; kṛta-antaḥ—the superintendent of death; antaḥ—in the heart; śareṇa—by an arrow; yam—whom; iha—in this world; parāvidhyati—pierces; tam—that; imam—this; ātmānam—yourself; aho rājan—O King; bhinna-hṛdayam—whose heart is pierced; draṣṭum—to see; arhasi—you ought; iti—thus.
My dear King, woman, who is very attractive in the beginning but in the end very disturbing, is exactly like the flower, which is attractive in the beginning and detestable at the end. With woman, the living entity is entangled with lusty desires, and he enjoys sex, just as one enjoys the aroma of a flower. He thus enjoys a life of sense gratification—from his tongue to his genitals—and in this way the living entity considers himself very happy in family life. United with his wife, he always remains absorbed in such thoughts. He feels great pleasure in hearing the talks of his wife and children, which are like the sweet humming of bumblebees that collect honey from flower to flower. He forgets that before him is time, which is taking away his life-span with the passing of day and night. He does not see the gradual diminishing of his life, nor does he care about the superintendent of death, who is trying to kill him from behind. Just try to understand this. You are in a precarious position and are threatened from all sides.
Materialistic life means forgetting one’s constitutional position as the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, and this forgetfulness is especially enhanced in the gṛhastha-āśrama. In the gṛhastha-āśrama a young man accepts a young wife who is very beautiful in the beginning, but in due course of time, after giving birth to many children and becoming older and older, she demands many things from the husband to maintain the entire family. At such a time the wife becomes detestable to the very man who accepted her in her younger days. One becomes attached to the gṛhastha-āśrama for two reasons only—the wife cooks palatable dishes for the satisfaction of her husband’s tongue, and she gives him sexual pleasure at night. A person attached to the gṛhastha-āśrama is always thinking of these two things—palatable food and sex enjoyment. The talks of the wife, which are enjoyed as a family recreation, and the talks of the children both attract the living entity. He thus forgets that he has to die someday and has to prepare for the next life if he wants to be put into a congenial body.
The deer in the flower garden is an allegory used by the great sage Nārada to point out to the King that the King himself is similarly entrapped by such surroundings. Actually everyone is surrounded by such a family life, which misleads one. The living entity thus forgets that he has to return home, back to Godhead. He simply becomes entangled in family life. Prahlāda Mahārāja has therefore hinted: hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpaṁ vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta [SB 7.5.5]. Family life is considered a blind well (andha-kūpam) into which a person falls and dies without help. Prahlāda Mahārāja recommends that while one’s senses are there and one is strong enough, he should abandon the gṛhastha-āśrama and take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, going to the forest of Vṛndāvana. According to Vedic civilization, one has to give up family life at a certain age (the age of fifty), take vānaprastha and eventually remain alone as a sannyāsī. That is the prescribed method of Vedic civilization known as varṇāśrama-dharma. When one takes sannyāsa after enjoying family life, he pleases the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu.
One has to understand one’s position in family or worldly life. That is called intelligence. One should not remain always trapped in family life to satisfy his tongue and genitals in association with a wife. In such a way, one simply spoils his life. According to Vedic civilization, it is imperative to give up the family at a certain stage, by force if necessary. Unfortunately, so-called followers of Vedic life do not give up their family even at the end of life, unless they are forced by death. There should be a thorough overhauling of the social system, and society should revert to the Vedic principles, that is, the four varṇas and the four āśramas.
sa tvaṁ vicakṣya mṛga-ceṣṭitam ātmano ’ntaś
cittaṁ niyaccha hṛdi karṇa-dhunīṁ ca citte
jahy aṅganāśramam asattama-yūtha-gāthaṁ
prīṇīhi haṁsa-śaraṇaṁ virama krameṇa
saḥ—that very person; tvam—you; vicakṣya—considering; mṛga-ceṣṭitam—the activities of the deer; ātmanaḥ—of the self; antaḥ—within; cittam—consciousness; niyaccha—fix; hṛdi—in the heart; karṇa-dhunīm—aural reception; ca—and; citte—unto the consciousness; jahi—give up; aṅganā-āśramam—household life; asat-tama—most abominable; yūtha-gātham—full of stories of man and woman; prīṇīhi—just accept; haṁsa-śaraṇam—the shelter of the liberated souls; virama—become detached; krameṇa—gradually.
My dear King, just try to understand the allegorical position of the deer. Be fully conscious of yourself, and give up the pleasure of hearing about promotion to heavenly planets by fruitive activity. Give up household life, which is full of sex, as well as stories about such things, and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the mercy of the liberated souls. In this way, please give up your attraction for material existence.
In one of his songs, Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura writes:
karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa, kevala viṣera bhāṇḍa,
amṛta baliyā yebā khāya
nānā yoni sadā phire, kadarya bhakṣaṇa kare,
tāra janma adhaḥ-pāte yāya
“Fruitive activities and mental speculation are simply cups of poison. Whoever drinks of them, thinking them to be nectar, must struggle very hard, life after life, in different types of bodies. Such a person eats all kinds of nonsense and becomes condemned by his activities of so-called sense enjoyment.”
People are generally enamored of the fruitive results of worldly activity and mental speculation. They generally desire to be promoted to heavenly planets, merge into the existence of Brahman, or keep themselves in the midst of family life, enchanted by the pleasures of the tongue and genitals. The great sage Nārada clearly instructs King Barhiṣmān not to remain his entire life in the gṛhastha-āśrama. Being in the gṛhastha-āśrama means being under the control of one’s wife. One has to give up all this and put himself into the āśrama of the paramahaṁsa, that is, put himself under the control of the spiritual master. The paramahaṁsa-āśrama is the āśrama of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, under whom the spiritual master has taken shelter. The symptoms of the bona fide spiritual master are stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.3.21):
“Any person who is seriously desirous of achieving real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of a spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation and arguments and thus be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken complete shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters.”
A paramahaṁsa is one who has taken shelter of the Parabrahman, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one takes shelter of the paramahaṁsa spiritual master, gradually, through training and instruction, he will become detached from worldly life and ultimately return home, back to Godhead. The particular mention of aṅganāśramam asattama-yūtha-gātham is very interesting. The whole world is in the clutches of māyā, being controlled by woman. Not only is one controlled by the woman who is one’s wife, but one is also controlled by so many sex literatures. That is the cause of one’s being entangled in the material world. One cannot give up this abominable association through one’s own effort, but if one takes shelter of a bona fide spiritual master who is a paramahaṁsa, he will gradually be elevated to the platform of spiritual life.
The pleasing words of the Vedas that inspire one to elevate oneself to the heavenly planets or merge into the existence of the Supreme are for the less intelligent who are described in Bhagavad-gītā as māyayāpahṛta jñānāḥ (those whose knowledge is taken away by the illusory energy). Real knowledge means understanding the miserable condition of material life. One should take shelter of a bona fide liberated soul, the spiritual master, and gradually elevate himself to the spiritual platform and thus become detached from the material world. According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, haṁsa-śaraṇam refers to the cottage in which saintly persons live. Generally a saintly person lives in a remote place in the forest or in a humble cottage. However, we should note that the times have changed. It may be beneficial for a saintly person’s own interest to go to the forest and live in a cottage, but if one becomes a preacher, especially in Western countries, he has to invite many classes of men who are accustomed to living in comfortable apartments. Therefore in this age a saintly person has to make proper arrangements to receive people and attract them to the message of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, perhaps for the first time, introduced motorcars and palatial buildings for the residence of saintly persons just to attract the general public in big cities. The main fact is that one has to associate with a saintly person. In this age people are not going to search out a saint in the forest, so the saints and sages have to come to the big cities to make arrangements to receive the people in general, who are accustomed to the modern amenities of material life. Gradually such persons will learn that palatial buildings or comfortable apartments are not at all necessary. The real necessity is to become free from material bondage in whatever way possible. According to the orders of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī:
“When one is not attached to anything, but at the same time accepts everything in relation to Kṛṣṇa, one is rightly situated above possessiveness.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.255)
One should not be attached to material opulence, but material opulence may be accepted in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement to facilitate the propagation of the movement. In other words, material opulence may be accepted as yukta-vairāgya, that is, for renunciation.
śrutam anvīkṣitaṁ brahman
bhagavān yad abhāṣata
naitaj jānanty upādhyāyāḥ
kiṁ na brūyur vidur yadi
rājā uvāca—the King said; śrutam—was heard; anvīkṣitam—was considered; brahman—O brāhmaṇa; bhagavān—the most powerful; yat—which; abhāṣata—you have spoken; na—not; etat—this; jānanti—do know; upādhyāyāḥ—the teachers of fruitive activities; kim—why; na brūyuḥ—they did not instruct; viduḥ—they understood; yadi—if.
The King replied: My dear brāhmaṇa, whatever you have said I have heard with great attention and, considering all of it, have come to the conclusion that the ācāryas [teachers] who engaged me in fruitive activity did not know this confidential knowledge. If they were aware of it, why did they not explain it to me?
Actually the so-called teachers or leaders of material society do not really know the goal of life. They are described in Bhagavad-gītā as māyayāpahṛta jñānāḥ. They appear to be very learned scholars, but actually the influence of the illusory energy has taken away their knowledge. Real knowledge means searching out Kṛṣṇa. Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ [Bg. 15.15]. All Vedic knowledge is meant for searching out Kṛṣṇa because Kṛṣṇa is the origin of everything. Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. In Bhagavad-gītā (10.2) Kṛṣṇa says, aham ādir hi devānāṁ: “I am the source of the demigods.” Thus Kṛṣṇa is the origin and beginning of all demigods, including Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva and all others. The Vedic ritualistic ceremonies are concerned with satisfying different demigods, but unless one is very advanced, he cannot understand that the original personality is Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi **. After hearing the instructions of Nārada, King Barhiṣmān came to his senses. The real goal of life is to attain devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The King therefore decided to reject the so-called priestly orders that simply engage their followers in the ritualistic ceremonies without giving effective instructions about the goal of life. At the present moment the churches, temples and mosques all over the world are not attracting people because foolish priests cannot elevate their followers to the platform of knowledge. Not being aware of the real goal of life, they simply keep their congregations in ignorance. Consequently, those who are well educated have become uninterested in the ritualistic ceremonies. At the same time, they are not benefited with real knowledge. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore very important for the enlightenment of all classes. Following in the footsteps of Mahārāja Barhiṣmān, everyone should take advantage of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and abandon the stereotyped ritualistic ceremonies that go under the garb of so many religions. The Gosvāmīs from the very beginning differed from the priestly class that was engaged in ritualistic ceremonies. Indeed, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī compiled his Hari-bhakti-vilāsa for the guidance of the Vaiṣṇavas. The Vaiṣṇavas, not caring for the lifeless activities of the priestly classes, take to full Kṛṣṇa consciousness and become perfect in this very life. That is described in the previous verse as paramahaṁsa-śaraṇam, taking shelter of the paramahaṁsa, the liberated soul, and becoming successful in this life.
saṁśayo ’tra tu me vipra
sañchinnas tat-kṛto mahān
ṛṣayo ’pi hi muhyanti
saṁśayaḥ—doubt; atra—here; tu—but; me—my; vipra—O brāhmaṇa; sañchinnaḥ—cleared; tat-kṛtaḥ—done by that; mahān—very great; ṛṣayaḥ—the great sages; api—even; hi—certainly; muhyanti—are bewildered; yatra—where; na—not; indriya—of the senses; vṛttayaḥ—activities.
My dear brāhmaṇa, there are contradictions between your instructions and those of my spiritual teachers who engaged me in fruitive activities. I now can understand the distinction between devotional service, knowledge and renunciation. I had some doubts about them, but you have now very kindly dissipated all these doubts. I can now understand how even the great sages are bewildered by the real purpose of life. Of course, there is no question of sense gratification.
King Barhiṣmān was engaged in different types of sacrifice for elevation to the heavenly planets. People generally are attracted by these activities, and very rarely is a person attracted to devotional service, as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirms. Unless one is very, very fortunate, he does not take to devotional service. Even the so-called learned Vedic scholars are bewildered by devotional service. They are generally attracted to the rituals for sense gratification. In devotional service there is no sense gratification, but only transcendental loving service to the Lord. Consequently, the so-called priests engaged in sense gratification do not very much like devotional service. The brāhmaṇas, the priests, have been against this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement since it began with Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. When Caitanya Mahāprabhu started this movement, the priestly class lodged complaints to the Kazi, the magistrate of the Muhammadan government. Caitanya Mahāprabhu had to lead a civil disobedience movement against the propaganda of the so-called followers of Vedic principles. These people are described as karma jaḍa-smārtas, which indicates that they are priests engaged in ritualistic ceremonies. It is here stated that such people become bewildered (ṛṣayo ’pi hi muhyanti). To save oneself from the hands of these karma jaḍa-smārtas, one should strictly follow the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Bg. 18.66)
karmāṇy ārabhate yena
pumān iha vihāya tam
juṣṭāni sa yad aśnute
karmāṇi—fruitive activities; ārabhate—begins to perform; yena—by which; pumān—a living entity; iha—in this life; vihāya—giving up; tam—that; amutra—in the next life; anyena—another; dehena—by a body; juṣṭāni—the results; saḥ—he; yat—that; aśnute—enjoys.
The results of whatever a living entity does in this life are enjoyed in the next life.
A person generally does not know how one body is linked with another body. How is it possible that one suffers or enjoys the results of activities in this body in yet another body in the next life. This is a question the King wants Nārada Muni to answer. How may one have a human body in this life and not have a human body in the next? Even great philosophers and scientists cannot account for the transferal of karma from one body to another. As we experience, every individual soul has an individual body, and one person’s activities or one body’s activities are not enjoyed or suffered by another body or another person. The question is how the activities of one body are suffered or enjoyed in the next.
iti veda-vidāṁ vādaḥ
śrūyate tatra tatra ha
karma yat kriyate proktaṁ
parokṣaṁ na prakāśate
iti—thus; veda-vidām—of persons who know the Vedic conclusions; vādaḥ—the thesis; śrūyate—is heard; tatra tatra—here and there; ha—certainly; karma—the activity; yat—what; kriyate—is performed; proktam—as it was said; parokṣam—unknown; na prakāśate—is not directly manifested.
The expert knowers of the Vedic conclusions say that one enjoys or suffers the results of his past activities. But practically it is seen that the body that performed the work in the last birth is already lost. So how is it possible to enjoy or suffer the reactions of that work in a different body?
Atheists want evidence for the resultant actions of past activities. Therefore they ask, “Where is the proof that I am suffering and enjoying the resultant actions of past karma?” They have no idea how the subtle body carries the results of the present body’s actions down to the next gross body. The present body may be finished grossly, but the subtle body is not finished; it carries the soul to the next body. Actually the gross body is dependent on the subtle body. Therefore the next gross body must suffer and enjoy according to the subtle body. The soul is carried by the subtle body continuously until liberated from gross material bondage.
tenaivāmutra tat pumān
bhuṅkte hy avyavadhānena
liṅgena manasā svayam
nāradaḥ uvāca—Nārada said; yena—by which; eva—certainly; ārabhate—begins; karma—fruitive activities; tena—by that body; eva—certainly; amutra—in the next life; tat—that; pumān—the living entity; bhuṅkte—enjoys; hi—because; avyavadhānena—without any change; liṅgena—by the subtle body; manasā—by the mind; svayam—personally.
The great sage Nārada continued: The living entity acts in a gross body in this life. This body is forced to act by the subtle body, composed of mind, intelligence and ego. After the gross body is lost, the subtle body is still there to enjoy or suffer. Thus there is no change.
The living entity has two kinds of body—the subtle body and the gross body. Actually he enjoys through the subtle body, which is composed of mind, intelligence and ego. The gross body is the instrumental outer covering. When the gross body is lost, or when it dies, the root of the gross body—the mind, intelligence and ego—continues and brings about another gross body. Although the gross bodies apparently change, the real root of the gross body—the subtle body of mind, intelligence and ego—is always there. The subtle body’s activities—be they pious or impious—create another situation for the living entity to enjoy or suffer in the next gross body. Thus the subtle body continues whereas the gross bodies change one after another.
Since modern scientists and philosophers are too materialistic, and since their knowledge is taken away by the illusory energy, they cannot explain how the gross body is changing. The materialistic philosopher Darwin has tried to study the changes of the gross body, but because he had no knowledge of either the subtle body or the soul, he could not clearly explain how the evolutionary process is going on. One may change the gross body, but he works in the subtle body. People cannot understand the activities of the subtle body, and consequently they are bewildered as to how the actions of one gross body affect another gross body. The activities of the subtle body are also guided by the Supersoul, as explained in Bhagavad-gītā (15.15):
“I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.”
Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Supersoul is always guiding the individual soul, the individual soul always knows how to act according to the reactions of his past karma. In other words, the Supersoul reminds him to act in such a way. Therefore although there is apparently a change in the gross body, there is a continuation between the lives of an individual soul.
śayānam imam utsṛjya
śvasantaṁ puruṣo yathā
karmātmany āhitaṁ bhuṅkte
śayānam—lying down on a bed; imam—this body; utsṛjya—after giving up; śvasantam—breathing; puruṣaḥ—the living entity; yathā—as; karma—activity; ātmani—in the mind; āhitam—executed; bhuṅkte—enjoys; tādṛśena—by a similar body; itareṇa—by a different body; vā—or.
The living entity, while dreaming, gives up the actual living body. Through the activities of his mind and intelligence, he acts in another body, either as a god or a dog. After giving up this gross body, the living entity enters either an animal body or a demigod’s body on this planet or on another planet. He thus enjoys the results of the actions of his past life.
Although the root of distress and happiness is the mind, intelligence and ego, a gross body is still required as an instrument for enjoyment. The gross body may change, but the subtle body continues to act. Unless the living entity gets another gross body, he will have to continue in a subtle body, or a ghostly body. One becomes a ghost when the subtle body acts without the help of the instrumental gross body. As stated in this verse, śayānam imam utsṛjya śvasantam. The gross body may lie on a bed and rest, and even though the machinery of the gross body is working, the living entity may leave, go into a dream, and return to the gross body. When he returns to the body, he forgets his dream. Similarly, when the living entity takes on another gross body, he forgets the present gross body. The conclusion is that the subtle body—mind, intelligence and ego—creates an atmosphere with desires and ambitions that the living entity enjoys in the subtle body. Actually the living entity is in the subtle body, even though the gross body apparently changes and even though he inhabits the gross body on various planets. All the activities performed by the living entity in the subtle body are called illusory because they are not permanent. Liberation means getting out of the clutches of the subtle body. Liberation from the gross body simply involves the transmigration of the soul from one gross body to another. When the mind is educated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or higher consciousness in the mode of goodness, one is transferred either to the upper, heavenly planets or to the spiritual world, the Vaikuṇṭha planets. One therefore has to change his consciousness by cultivating knowledge received from Vedic instructions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the disciplic succession. If we train the subtle body in this life by always thinking about Kṛṣṇa, we will transfer to Kṛṣṇaloka after leaving the gross body. This is confirmed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Bg. 4.9)
Thus the change of the gross body is not very important, but the change of the subtle body is important. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is educating people to enlighten the subtle body. The perfect example in this regard is Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, who always engaged his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ. Similarly, in this life we should always fix our mind on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, who is present in His arcā-vigraha, the incarnation of the Deity in the temple. We should also always engage in His worship. If we engage our speech in describing the activities of the Lord and our ears in hearing about His pastimes, and if we follow the regulative principles to keep the mind intact for advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we shall certainly be elevated to the spiritual platform. Then at the time of death the mind, intelligence and ego will no longer be materially contaminated. The living entity is present, and the mind, intelligence and ego are also present. When the mind, intelligence and ego are purified, all the active senses of the living entity become spiritual. Thus the living entity attains his sac-cid-ānanda form. The Supreme Lord is always in His sac-cid-ānanda form, but the living entity, although part and parcel of the Lord, becomes materially contaminated when he desires to come to the material world for material enjoyment. The prescription for returning home, back to Godhead, is given by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (9.34):
“Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me.”
mamaite manasā yad yad
asāv aham iti bruvan
gṛhṇīyāt tat pumān rāddhaṁ
karma yena punar bhavaḥ
mama—mind; ete—all these; manasā—by the mind; yat yat—whatever; asau—that; aham—I (am); iti—thus; bruvan—accepting; gṛhṇīyāt—takes with him; tat—that; pumān—the living entity; rāddham—perfected; karma—work; yena—by which; punaḥ—again; bhavaḥ—material existence.
The living entity labors under the bodily conception of “I am this, I am that. My duty is this, and therefore I shall do it.” These are all mental impressions, and all these activities are temporary; nonetheless, by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the living entity gets a chance to execute all his mental concoctions. Thus he gets another body.
As long as one is absorbed in the bodily conception, his activities are performed on that platform. This is not very difficult to understand. In the world, we see that every nation is trying to supersede every other nation and that every man is trying to advance beyond his fellow man. All these activities are going on under the name of advancement of civilization. There are many plans for making the body comfortable, and these plans are carried in the subtle body after the destruction of the gross body. It is not a fact that after the gross body is destroyed the living entity is finished. Although many great philosophers and teachers in this world are under the impression that after the body is finished everything is finished, this is not a fact. Nārada Muni says in this verse that at death one takes his plans with him (gṛhṇīyāt), and to execute these plans he gets another body. This is called punar bhavaḥ. When the gross body is finished, the plans of the living entity are taken by the mind, and by the grace of the Lord, the living entity gets a chance to give these plans shape in the next life. This is known as the law of karma. As long as the mind is absorbed in the laws of karma, a certain type of body must be accepted in the next life.
Karma is the aggregate of fruitive activities conducted to make this body comfortable or uncomfortable. We have actually seen that when one man was about to die he requested his physician to give him a chance to live four more years so that he could finish his plans. This means that while dying he was thinking of his plans. After his body was destroyed, he doubtlessly carried his plans with him by means of the subtle body, composed of mind, intelligence and ego. Thus he would get another chance by the grace of the Supreme Lord, the Supersoul, who is always within the heart.
In the next birth, one acquires remembrance from the Supersoul and begins to execute the plans begun in the previous life. This is also explained in Bhagavad-gītā in another verse:
“The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.” (Bg. 18.61) Situated on the vehicle given by material nature and reminded by the Supersoul within the heart, the living entity struggles all over the universe to fulfill his plans, thinking, “I am a brāhmaṇa,” “I am a kṣatriya,” “I am an American,” “I am an Indian,” and so on. All these designations are of the same essence. There is no point in becoming a brāhmaṇa in preference to an American or becoming an American in preference to a Negro. After all, these are all bodily conceptions under the modes of material nature.
evaṁ prāg-dehajaṁ karma
yathā—as; anumīyate—can be imagined; cittam—one’s consciousness or mental condition; ubhayaiḥ—both; indriya—of the senses; īhitaiḥ—by the activities; evam—similarly; prāk—previous; dehajam—performed by the body; karma—activities; lakṣyate—can be perceived; citta—of consciousness; vṛttibhiḥ—by the occupations.
One can understand the mental or conscious position of a living entity by the activities of two kinds of senses—the knowledge-acquiring senses and the executive senses. Similarly, by the mental condition or consciousness of a person, one can understand his position in the previous life.
There is an English proverb that says, “The face is the index of the mind.” If one is angry, his anger is immediately expressed in his face. Similarly, other mental states are reflected by the actions of the gross body. In other words, the activities of the gross body are reactions of the mental condition. The mind’s activities are thinking, feeling and willing. The willing portion of the mind is manifest by the activities of the body. The conclusion is that by the activities of the body and senses, we can understand the condition of the mind. The condition of the mind is affected by past activities in the past body. When the mind is joined with a particular sense, it immediately becomes manifest in a certain way. For instance, when there is anger in the mind, the tongue vibrates so many maledictions. Similarly, when the mind’s anger is expressed through the hand, there is fighting. When it is expressed through the leg, there is kicking. There are so many ways in which the subtle activities of the mind are expressed through the various senses. The mind of a person in Kṛṣṇa consciousness also acts in a similar way. The tongue chants Hare Kṛṣṇa, the mahā-mantra, the hands are raised in ecstasy, and the legs dance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. These symptoms are technically called aṣṭa-sāttvika-vikāra. Sāttvika-vikāra is transformation of the mental condition in goodness or sometimes transcendental ecstasy.
nānubhūtaṁ kva cānena
yad rūpaṁ yādṛg ātmani
na—never; anubhūtam—experienced; kva—at any time; ca—also; anena dehena—by this body; adṛṣṭam—never seen; aśrutam—never heard; kadācit—sometimes; upalabhyeta—may be experienced; yat—which; rūpam—form; yādṛk—whatever kind; ātmani—in the mind.
Sometimes we suddenly experience something that was never experienced in the present body by sight or hearing. Sometimes we see such things suddenly in dreams.
In dreams we sometimes see things that we have never experienced in the present body. Sometimes in dreams we think that we are flying in the sky, although we have no experience of flying. This means that once in a previous life, either as a demigod or astronaut, we flew in the sky. The impression is there in the stockpile of the mind, and it suddenly expresses itself. It is like fermentation taking place in the depths of water, which sometimes manifests itself in bubbles on the water’s surface. Sometimes we dream of coming to a place we have never known or experienced in this lifetime, but this is proof that in a past life we experienced this. The impression is kept within the mind and sometimes becomes manifest either in dream or in thought. The conclusion is that the mind is the storehouse of various thoughts and experiences undergone during our past lives. Thus there is a chain of continuation from one life to another, from previous lives to this life, and from this life to future lives. This is also sometimes proved by saying that a man is a born poet, a born scientist or a born devotee. If, like Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, we think of Kṛṣṇa constantly in this life (sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ), we will certainly be transferred to the kingdom of God at the time of death. Even if our attempt to be Kṛṣṇa conscious is not complete, our Kṛṣṇa consciousness will continue in the next life. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (6.41):
“The unsuccessful yogī, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy.”
If we rigidly follow the principles of meditation on Kṛṣṇa, there is no doubt that in our next life we will be transferred to Kṛṣṇaloka, Goloka Vṛndāvana.
tenāsya tādṛśaṁ rājaḹ
na manaḥ spraṣṭum arhati
tena—therefore; asya—of the living entity; tādṛśam—like that; rājan—O King; liṅginaḥ—who has a subtle mental covering; deha-sambhavam—produced in the previous body; śraddhatsva—accept it as fact; ananubhūtaḥ—not perceived; arthaḥ—a thing; na—never; manaḥ—in the mind; spraṣṭum—to manifest; arhati—is able.
Therefore, my dear King, the living entity, who has a subtle mental covering, develops all kinds of thoughts and images because of his previous body. Take this from me as certain. There is no possibility of concocting anything mentally without having perceived it in the previous body.
Actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the supreme enjoyer. When a living entity wants to imitate Him, he is given a chance to satisfy his false desire to lord it over material nature. That is the beginning of his downfall. As long as he is within this material atmosphere, he has a subtle vehicle in the form of the mind, which is the stockpile of all kinds of material desires. Such desires become manifest in different bodily forms. Śrīla Nārada Muni requests the King to accept this fact from him because Nārada is an authority. The conclusion is that the mind is the storehouse of our past desires, and we have this present body due to our past desires. Similarly, whatever we desire in this present body will be expressed in a future body. Thus the mind is the source of different kinds of bodies.
If the mind is purified by Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one will naturally in the future get a body that is spiritual and full of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Such a body is our original form, as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu confirms, jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’: [Cc. Madhya 20.108] “Every living entity is constitutionally an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa.” If a person is engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, he is to be considered a liberated soul even in this life. This is confirmed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī:
“One who engages in the transcendental service of the Lord in body, mind and words is to be considered liberated in all conditions of material existence.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.187) The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is based on this principle. We must teach people to absorb themselves always in the service of the Lord because that position is their natural position. One who is always serving the Lord is to be considered already liberated. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):
“One who always engages in the spiritual activities of unalloyed devotional service at once transcends the modes of material nature and is elevated to the spiritual platform.” The devotee is therefore above the three modes of material nature and is even transcendental to the brāhmaṇa platform. A brāhmaṇa may be infected by the two baser modes—namely rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa. A pure devotee, who is free from all material desires experienced on the mental platform and who is also free from empiric philosophical speculation or fruitive activity, is always above material conditioning and is always liberated.
mana eva manuṣyasya
bhaviṣyataś ca bhadraṁ te
tathaiva na bhaviṣyataḥ
manaḥ—the mind; eva—certainly; manuṣyasya—of a man; pūrva—past; rūpāṇi—forms; śaṁsati—indicates; bhaviṣyataḥ—of one who will take birth; ca—also; bhadram—good fortune; te—unto you; tathā—thus; eva—certainly; na—not; bhaviṣyataḥ—of one who will take birth.
O King, all good fortune unto you! The mind is the cause of the living entity’s attaining a certain type of body in accordance with his association with material nature. According to one’s mental composition, one can understand what the living entity was in his past life as well as what kind of body he will have in the future. Thus the mind indicates the past and future bodies.
The mind is the index of information about one’s past and future lives. If a man is a devotee of the Lord, he cultivated devotional service in his previous life. Similarly, if one’s mind is criminal, he was criminal in his last life. In the same way, according to the mind, we can understand what will happen in a future life. In Bhagavad-gītā (14.18) it is said:
“Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds.”
If a person is in the mode of goodness, his mental activities will promote him to a higher planetary system. Similarly, if he has a low mentality, his future life will be most abominable. The lives of the living entity, in both the past and the future, are indicated by the mental condition. Nārada Muni is herein offering the King blessings of all good fortune so that the King will not desire anything or make plans for sense gratification. The King was engaged in fruitive ritualistic ceremonies because he hoped to get a better life in the future. Nārada Muni desired him to give up all mental concoctions. As explained before, all bodies in heavenly planets and hellish planets arise from mental concoctions, and the sufferings and enjoyments of material life are simply on the mental platform. They take place on the chariot of the mind (mano-ratha). It is therefore said:
“One who has unflinching devotion for the Personality of Godhead has all the good qualities of the demigods. But one who is not a devotee of the Lord has only material qualifications, that are of little value. This is because he is hovering on the mental plane and is certain to be attracted by the glaring material energy.” (Bhāg. 5.18.12)
Unless one becomes a devotee of the Lord, or becomes fully Kṛṣṇa conscious, he will certainly hover on the mental platform and be promoted and degraded in different types of bodies. All qualities that are considered good according to the material estimation actually have no value because these so-called good qualities will not save a person from the cycle of birth and death. The conclusion is that one should be without mental desire. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam: [Madhya 19.167] one should be fully free from material desires, philosophical speculation and fruitive activity. The best course for a human being is to favorably accept the transcendental devotional service of the Lord. That is the highest perfection of human life.
adṛṣṭam aśrutaṁ cātra
kvacin manasi dṛśyate
adṛṣṭam—never experienced; aśrutam—never heard; ca—and; atra—in this life; kvacit—at some time; manasi—in the mind; dṛśyate—is visible; yathā—as; tathā—accordingly; anumantavyam—to be understood; deśa—place; kāla—time; kriyā—activity; āśrayam—depending on.
Sometimes in a dream we see something never experienced or heard of in this life, but all these incidents have been experienced at different times, in different places and in different conditions.
In the previous verse it was explained that in dreams we see that which was experienced during the day. But why is it that we sometimes in our dreams see what we have never heard of or seen at any time during this life? Here it is stated that even though such events may not be experienced in this life, they were experienced in previous lives. According to time and circumstance, they combine so that in dreams we see something wonderful that we have never experienced. For instance, we may see an ocean on the peak of a mountain. Or we may see that the ocean has dried up. These are simply combinations of different experiences in time and space. Sometimes we may see a golden mountain, and this is due to our having experienced gold and mountains separately. In the dream, under illusion, we combine these separate factors. In this way we are able to see golden mountains, or stars during the day. The conclusion is that these are all mental concoctions, although they have actually been experienced in different circumstances. They have simply combined together in a dream. This fact is further explained in the following verse.
āyānti bahuśo yānti
sarve samanaso janāḥ
sarve—all; krama-anurodhena—in order of chronology; manasi—in the mind; indriya—by the senses; gocarāḥ—experienced; āyānti—come; bahuśaḥ—in many ways; yānti—go away; sarve—all; samanasaḥ—with a mind; janāḥ—living entities.
The mind of the living entity continues to exist in various gross bodies, and according to one’s desires for sense gratification, the mind records different thoughts. In the mind these appear together in different combinations; therefore these images sometimes appear as things never seen or never heard before.
The activities of the living entity in the body of a dog may be experienced in the mind of a different body; therefore those activities appear never to have been heard or seen. The mind continues, although the body changes. Even in this life-span we can sometimes experience dreams of our childhood. Although such incidents now appear strange, it is to be understood that they are recorded in the mind. Because of this, they become visible in dreams. The transmigration of the soul is caused by the subtle body, which is the storehouse of all kinds of material desires. Unless one is fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, material desires will come and go. That is the nature of the mind—thinking, feeling and willing. As long as the mind is not engaged in meditation on the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, the mind will desire so many material enjoyments. Sensual images are recorded in the mind in chronological order, and they become manifest one after another; therefore the living entity has to accept one body after another. The mind plans material enjoyment, and the gross body serves as the instrument to realize such desires and plans. The mind is the platform onto which all desires come and go. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura therefore sings:
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura advises everyone to stick to the principle of carrying out the orders of the spiritual master. One should not desire anything else. If the regulative principles ordered by the spiritual master are followed rigidly, the mind will gradually be trained to desire nothing but the service of Kṛṣṇa. Such training is the perfection of life.
sattva-eka-niṣṭhe—in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness; manasi—in a mind; bhagavat—with the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pārśva-vartini—being constantly associated; tamaḥ—the dark planet; candramasi—in the moon; iva—like; idam—this cosmic manifestation; uparajya—being connected; avabhāsate—becomes manifest.
Kṛṣṇa consciousness means constantly associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in such a mental state that the devotee can observe the cosmic manifestation exactly as the Supreme Personality of Godhead does. Such observation is not always possible, but it becomes manifest exactly like the dark planet known as Rāhu, which is observed in the presence of the full moon.
It has been explained in the previous verse that all desires on the mental platform become visible one after another. Sometimes, however, by the supreme will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the whole stockpile can be visible all at one time. In Brahma-saṁhitā (5.54) it is said, karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām. When a person is fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, his stockpile of material desires is minimized. Indeed, the desires no longer fructify in the form of gross bodies. Instead, the stockpile of desires becomes visible on the mental platform by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In this connection, the darkness occurring before the full moon, the lunar eclipse, can be explained as being another planet, known as Rāhu. According to Vedic astronomy, the Rāhu planet, which is not visible, is accepted. Sometimes the Rāhu planet is visible in the presence of full moonlight. It then appears that this Rāhu planet exists somewhere near the orbit of the moon. The failure of modern moon excursionists may be due to the Rāhu planet. In other words, those who are supposed to be going to the moon may actually be going to this invisible planet Rāhu. Actually, they are not going to the moon but to the planet Rāhu, and after reaching this planet, they come back. Apart from this discussion, the point is that a living entity has immense and unlimited desires for material enjoyment, and he has to transmigrate from one gross body to another until these desires are exhausted.
No living entity is free from the cycle of birth and death unless he takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness; therefore in this verse it is clearly stated (sattvaika-niṣṭhe) that when one is fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in one stroke he is freed of past and future mental desires. Then, by the grace of the Supreme Lord, everything becomes simultaneously manifest within the mind. In this regard, Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura cites the example of mother Yaśodā’s seeing the whole cosmic manifestation within the mouth of Lord Kṛṣṇa. By the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa, mother Yaśodā saw all the universes and planets within the mouth of Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person can see all his dormant desires at one time and finish all his future transmigrations. This facility is especially given to the devotee to make his path clear for returning home, back to Godhead.
Why we see things not experienced in this life is explained herein. That which we see is the future expression of a gross body or is already stocked in our mental stockpile. Because a Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not have to accept a future gross body, his recorded desires are fulfilled in a dream. We therefore sometimes find things in a dream never experienced in our present life.
nāhaṁ mameti bhāvo ’yaṁ
guṇa-vyūho hy anādimān
na—not; aham—I; mama—mine; iti—thus; bhāvaḥ—consciousness; ayam—this; puruṣe—in the living entity; vyavadhīyate—is separated; yāvat—so long; buddhi—intelligence; manaḥ—mind; akṣa—senses; artha—sense objects; guṇa—of the material qualities; vyūhaḥ—a manifestation; hi—certainly; anādi-mān—the subtle body (existing since time immemorial).
As long as there exists the subtle material body composed of intelligence, mind, senses, sense objects, and the reactions of the material qualities, the consciousness of false identification and its relative objective, the gross body, exist as well.
The desires in the subtle body of mind, intelligence and ego cannot be fulfilled without a gross body composed of the material elements earth, water, air, fire and ether. When the gross material body is not manifest, the living entity cannot factually act in the modes of material nature. In this verse it is clearly explained that the subtle activities of the mind and intelligence continue due to the sufferings and enjoyments of the living entity’s subtle body. The consciousness of material identification (such as “I” and “mine”) still continues because such consciousness has been extant from time immemorial. However, when one transfers to the spiritual world by virtue of understanding Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the actions and reactions of both gross and subtle bodies no longer bother the spirit soul.
nehate ’ham iti jñānaṁ
supti—in deep sleep; mūrccha—fainting; upatāpeṣu—or in great shock; prāṇa-ayana—of the movement of the life air; vighātataḥ—from prevention; na—not; īhate—thinks of; aham—I; iti—thus; jñānam—knowledge; mṛtyu—while dying; prajvārayoḥ—or during high fever; api—also.
When the living entity is in deep sleep, when he faints, when there is some great shock on account of severe loss, at the time of death, or when the body temperature is very high, the movement of the life air is arrested. At that time the living entity loses knowledge of identifying the body with the self.
Foolish people deny the existence of the soul, but it is a fact that when we sleep we forget the identity of the material body and when we awake we forget the identity of the subtle body. In other words, while sleeping we forget the activities of the gross body, and when active in the gross body we forget the activities of sleeping. Actually both states—sleeping and waking—are creations of the illusory energy. The living entity actually has no connection with either the activities of sleep or the activities of the so-called wakened state. When a person is in deep sleep or when he has fainted, he forgets his gross body. Similarly, under chloroform or some other anesthetic, the living entity forgets his gross body and does not feel pain or pleasure during a surgical operation. Similarly, when a man is suddenly shocked by some great loss, he forgets his identification with the gross body. At the time of death, when the temperature of the body rises to 107 degrees, the living entity falls into a coma and is unable to identify his gross body. In such cases, the life air that moves within the body is choked up, and the living entity forgets his identification with the gross body. Because of our ignorance of the spiritual body, of which we have no experience, we do not know of the activities of the spiritual body, and in ignorance we jump from one false platform to another. We act sometimes in relation to the gross body and sometimes in relation to the subtle body. If, by Kṛṣṇa’s grace, we act in our spiritual body, we can transcend both the gross and subtle bodies. In other words, we can gradually train ourselves to act in terms of the spiritual body. As stated in the Nārada-pañcarātra, hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate: [Cc. Madhya 19.170] devotional service means engaging the spiritual body and spiritual senses in the service of the Lord. When we are engaged in such activities, the actions and reactions of the gross and subtle bodies cease.
garbhe bālye ’py apauṣkalyād
liṅgaṁ na dṛśyate yūnaḥ
Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/sb/4/29
Previous: SB 4.28: Puranjana Becomes a Woman in the Next Life Next: SB 4.30: The Activities of the Pracetas