viditvartham kapilo matur ittham
jata-sneho yatra tanvabhijatah
tattvamnayam yat pravadanti sankhyam
provaca vai bhakti-vitana-yogam
Sri Maitreya said: After hearing His mother’s statement, Kapila could understand her purpose, and He became compassionate toward her because of having been born from her body. He then described the Sankhya system of philosophy, which is a combination of devotional service and mystic realization, as received by disciplic succession.
The philosophy propounded by the atheist Kapila is an analysis of the material elements and is very much appreciated by Western philosophers. The sankhya-yoga explained by Lord Kapiladeva, the son of Devahuti, is practically unknown in the West. The sankhya-yoga propounded herein is actually bhakti. It is stated here that the proper way to receive this knowledge is by disciplic succession, not by philosophical speculation. Speculation is an improper way to understand the Absolute Truth. Generally Western philosophers try to understand the Absolute Truth by the ascending process of mental speculation. This is the process of inductive logic. The other process is the descending process, and this is the parampara process. By this method, knowledge descends from a higher source.
In Bhagavad-gita, many yoga systems are explained, but the bhakti-yoga system is considered highest of all. Ultimately, all yogas end in bhakti-yoga. The ultimate conclusion of jnana-yoga and hatha-yoga is bhakti-yoga. In the Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, the hatha-yoga system of meditation is explained, and Arjuna, who was highly elevated, said that he could not concentrate his mind in this way. If the hatha-yoga system was so difficult five thousand years ago for a person so elevated that he was Krsna’s friend, how is it possible today? Arjuna frankly said that this system of yoga was impossible to execute because the mind is as difficult to control as the wind.
The hatha-yoga system is basically meant for those who are overly attached to the body; otherwise, the preferred yoga is sankhya-yoga or bhakti-yoga. When Arjuna told Sri Krsna that the hatha-yoga system was too difficult to execute, the Lord pacified him by saying that the first-class yogi is one “who is always thinking of Me.” (Bg. 6.47) Arjuna did not know anything but Krsna, and Arjuna requested that Krsna be present on his side in the battle. When Duryodhana approached Krsna with Arjuna and requested Him to take sides, Krsna said, “I have eighteen military divisions. These divisions will take one side, and I personally will take another. However, I will not fight in this battle.” At first Arjuna thought it wise to take the eighteen divisions with their many thousands of elephants and horses, but then he considered that if he simply had Krsna on his side, that would be sufficient. He would not need ordinary soldiers. Duryodhana, on the other hand, decided to take Krsna’s soldiers. Thus in order to pacify Arjuna, Krsna told him not to worry, although he could not execute the astanga-yoga system.
“The first-class yogi is he who always thinks of Me.” One should always remember that Krsna is within his heart and think of Him. This is the proper system of meditation. If we always chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, we will always remember Krsna, and immediately the form of Krsna will be awakened within our hearts. The process of always thinking of Krsna is the process of Krsna consciousness. The first-class yogi is he who is always conscious of Krsna. One can be conscious of Krsna by hearing about Him submissively.
We have to accept Krsna through the disciplic succession. There are four sampradayas, disciplic successions. One comes from Lord Brahma (the Brahma-sampradaya), and another comes from Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, (the Sri-sampradaya). There are also the Kumara-sampradaya and the Rudra-sampradaya. At the present moment, the Brahma sampradaya is represented by the Madhva-sampradaya, and we belong to the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya. Our original sampradaya stems from Madhvacarya. In that sampradaya there was Madhavendra Puri, and Madhavendra Puri’s disciple was Sri Isvara Puri. Sri Isvara Puri’s disciple was Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Thus we are coming in the disciplic succession from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and therefore our sampradaya is called the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya. It is not that we have manufactured a sampradaya; rather, our sampradaya stems from Lord Brahma. There is also the Ramanuja-sampradaya, which comes from the Sri-sampradaya, and there is the Visnusvami-sampradaya, which comes from the Rudra-sampradaya. The Nimbaditya-sampradaya comes from the Kumara-sampradaya. If we do not belong to any sampradaya, our conclusion is fruitless. It is not that one should think, “I am a big scholar, and I can interpret Bhagavad-gita in my own way. All these sampradayas are useless.” We cannot manufacture our own comments. There are many commentaries made in this way, and they are all useless. They have no effect. We have to accept the philosophy as it was contemplated by Lord Brahma, Narada, Madhvacarya, Madhavendra Puri and Isvara Puri. These great acaryas are beyond the imperfections of so-called scholars. Mundane scientists and philosophers use the words “perhaps” and “maybe” because they cannot arrive at a proper conclusion. They are simply speculating, and mental speculation cannot be perfect.
Bhakti-yoga is at the top of the stairs of all the yogas. The first step is karma-yoga, and then jnana-yoga and dhyana-yoga, but the ultimate is bhakti-yoga. Everyone is trying to reach the ultimate Absolute Truth, but the other yogas end in partial understanding. The understanding derived from bhakti-yoga is complete, and even if partially executed, it has potency. It is also recommended by the great mahajanas like Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and Kapiladeva. Since the path of perfection is very difficult to understand, the sastras recommend that we follow the mahajanas, who are thus described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.3.20):
Another name for Lord Brahma is Svayambhu because he was born from a lotus flower emanating from the navel of Lord Visnu. Since he was not born of a father and mother, he is therefore called Svayambhu. Narada Muni is also a mahajana, and Sambhu is Lord Siva. Kumara refers to the four Kumaras—Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanat-kumara. There are twelve authorities following the Sankhya philosophy, or bhakti-yoga, and these include Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Kapiladeva, Manu, Bhismadeva, Janaka Maharaja, Sukadeva Gosvami and prahlada Maharaja. If we simply accept one of these mahajanas, we will be successful in understanding the Absolute Truth, but if we try to understand the Absolute Truth by logic and argument, we will ultimately be frustrated. One philosopher may be a better logician than another, and one philosophical argument may counteract another, but this process goes on and on. It is simply a useless waste of time. Even if we approach Vedic scriptures, there are difficulties. There are so many scriptures—Yajur Veda, Rg Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda, the Upanisads, the puranas, Brahma-sutra, Ramayana, Mahabharata and so forth. Different people read them and arrive at different conclusions. There are also the Bible and the Koran. According to so many different men, there are so many interpretations. One philosopher defeats another philosopher on the basis of scripture. It is even stated that one cannot become a rsi, a philosopher, unless one propounds a different system of philosophy. Nasav rsir yasya matam na bhinnam. Thus the truth of spiritual life is very complicated and difficult to understand. The conclusion is that one should follow one of these twelve mahajanas in order to be successful. Krsna is the original mahajana, and He instructed Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma is also a mahajana. Actually, Krsna instructed everyone in Bhagavad-gita, and thus everyone has learned from Krsna.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.1) it is also stated: tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye. Thus Krsna gives His personal instructions just as Kapiladeva gave His personal instructions. There is no contradiction between Krsna’s philosophy in Bhagavad-gita and Kapiladeva’s philosophy. We need only receive the transcendental knowledge through the mahajanas, and the results will be beneficial. Kapiladeva explained this Sankhya philosophy to His mother, and although He had a natural affection for His mother, we should not think that Devahuti was an ordinary woman. She was very submissive, and when Kapiladeva saw this, He became very compassionate. He saw that she was eager to know about the Absolute Truth, and He considered that, after all, He had received His body from her. Therefore He concluded that He should try to give her the ultimate conclusion of philosophical knowledge, which is this Sankhya philosophy.
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