na tasya kascit tapasa vidyaya va
na yoga-viryena manisaya va
naivartha-dharmaih paratah svato va
krtam vihantum tanu-bhrd vibhuyat
na—never; tasya—His; kascit—anyone; tapasa—by austerity; vidyaya—by education; va—or; na—never; yoga—by power of mystic yoga; viryena—by personal strength; manisaya—by intelligence; va—or; na—never; eva—certainly; artha—by material opulence; dharmaih—by the power of religion; paratah—by any external power; svatah—by personal endeavor; va—or; krtam—the order; vihantum—to avoid; tanu-bhrt—a living entity who has accepted a material body; vibhuyat—is able.
One cannot avoid the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not by the strength of severe austerities, an exalted Vedic education, or the power of mystic yoga, physical prowess or intellectual activities. Nor can one use his power of religion, his material opulence or any other means, either by himself or with the help of others, to defy the orders of the Supreme Lord. That is not possible for any living being, from Brahma down to the ant.
In the Garga Upanisad, Gargamuni says to his wife, etasya va aksarasya prasasane gargi surya-candramasau vidhrtau tisthatah: “My dear Gargi, everything is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even the sun, the moon and other controllers and demigods like Lord Brahma and King Indra are all under His control.” An ordinary human being or animal who has accepted a material body cannot go beyond the jurisdiction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s control. A material body includes senses. However, the sense activities of so-called scientists who try to be free from God’s law or the laws of nature are useless. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (7.14). Mama maya duratyaya: it is impossible to surpass the control of material nature, for the Supreme Personality of Godhead is working behind it. Sometimes we are proud of our austerities, penances and mystic yogic powers, but it is clearly stated herein that one cannot surpass the laws and directions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, either by dint of mystic power, a scientific education, or austerities and penances. It is impossible.
The word manisaya (“by intelligence”) is of special significance. Priyavrata might argue that Lord Brahma was requesting him to accept family life and the responsibility for ruling a kingdom, although Narada Muni had advised him not to enter household life and be entangled in material affairs. Whom to accept would be a puzzle for Priyavrata because both Lord Brahma and Narada Muni are authorities. Under the circumstances, the use of the word manisaya is very appropriate, for it indicates that since both Narada Muni and Lord Brahma are authorized to give instruction, Priyavrata should neglect neither of them but should use his intelligence to follow the advice of both. To solve such dilemmas, Srila Rupa Gosvami has given a very clear conception of intelligence. He says:
Visayan, material affairs, should be accepted without attachment. and everything should be dovetailed with the service of the Lord. That is real intelligence (manisa). Becoming a family man or king in the material world is not harmful if one accepts everything for Krsna’s service. That necessitates clear intelligence. Mayavadi philosophers say, brahma satyam jagan mithya: this material world is false, and only the Absolute Truth is real. However, an intelligent devotee in the line of Lord Brahma and the great sage Narada—or, in other words, in the Brahma-sampradaya—does not consider this world false. That which is created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be false, but using it for enjoyment is. Everything is meant to be enjoyed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (5.29). Bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram: the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme proprietor and enjoyer, and therefore everything should be dovetailed for His enjoyment and service. Regardless of one’s circumstances, favorable or unfavorable, one should use everything to serve the Supreme Lord. That is the perfect way to use one’s intelligence.
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