Verse: Srimad Bhagvatam 1.2
Date: August 4,2012
Transcription: Sacimata devi dasi
Editing: Hemavati Radhika dasi
So, today we are going to discuss the second chapter of the first canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. The last class was two weeks ago when I was in Spain, I gave the class. I was travelling last Saturday, so that’s why I could not give the class. Last class we covered was the first canto first chapter which was like an introduction to Srimad Bhagavatam. Second chapter is also kind of an introduction to the Bhagavatam. In the first one the sages of Naimisaranya asked Suta Goswami different questions considering that the Kali-yuga has already appeared and seeing the distressful condition of the age of Kali, they got together and they were performing a thousand year long sacrifice to counteract the effect of the age of Kali. So chapter two is entitled “divinity and divine service”. So in this chapter Vyasadeva continues to speak of Suta Goswami, there are two Sutas actually, there was Romaharsana Suta, Suta is a personality who was very expert in describing the Puranas, the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Romaharsana Suta was speaking in an assembly of saintly personalities, at that time Balarama appeared there, while everyone showed respect, Romaharsana Suta did not show respect to Balarama. Balarama became upset, Balarama became disappointed and he just touched him with a kusa grass and killed him.
After Romaharshan Suta his son Ugrasrava Suta became the prominent reciter of Srimad Bhagavatam or you can say the Puranas. Bhagavatam falls in a category of the Puranas. So in this way traditionally the scriptures were the spiritual wisdom used to be transmitted through a disciplic succession. So Ugrasrava Suta was asked the questions by the sages naimese ‘nimisa-ksetre, in Naimisaranya they the sages assembled they asked Suta Goswami and are offering him the vyasasan, offering him the seat of the speaker of the scriptures. When Suta Goswami was about to speak and what did he do? The first thing he did he offered his respect to Sukadeva Goswami his spiritual master because Suta Goswami heard this Srimad Bhagavatam from Sukadeva Goswami. When Sukadeva Goswami was reciting or narrating Srimad Bhagavatam to Parikshit Maharaja. When Parikshit Maharaja found out that he was going to leave his body in seven days time then he sat on the bank of the Ganges, preparing to die, preparing to leave his body and then many, many great personalities assembled there but when Sukadeva Goswami arrived there, everybody recognized that he was the most exalted spiritual personality and Parikshit Maharaja enquired from him and Sukadeva Goswami spoke Srimad Bhagavatam to him. So that’s why at the beginning he is offering his respect to his spiritual master and he is saying that he is the spiritual master of all the sages, all the saintly personalities, all the exalted souls. He is the son of Vyasadeva who, out of his great compassion for those gross materialists who struggle to cross over the darkest regions of material existence, spoke this most confidential supplement to the cream of Vedic knowledge, after having personally assimilated it by experience.
So although Sukadeva Goswami received all the knowledge of Srimad Bhagavatam from his father Vyasadeva but here that knowledge was further nourished by his own experience which tantamounted to his realization so that is the thing Like spiritual knowledge may be received by many but different people will have their degree of realization according to the degree of their advancement. Ultimately this knowledge is received in the heart which I have quiet elaborately explained in the previous class that this divya jyan is hrde prakasito. The transcendental knowledge is revealed in the heart. It is not an intellectual affair. It is not assimilated by our intelligence and memory. This is something that is revealed in the heart by the mercy of the Lord. So that is the most important consideration. Somebody may be a great scholar. Prabhupada used to say, at least Prabhupada once told me that there are so many sanskrit scholars they have very deep learning but they are not devotees. That means they don’t have the proper understanding. What to speak of realization. They don’t even have the proper understanding of these scriptures. There are people those who have memorized entire Srimad Bhagavatam. There are people those who can recite Bhagavatam just verbatim, sloka after sloka but they have the learning but they don’t have realization. The realization is a matter of a revelation within by the mercy of the Lord. The Lord will reside in the heart, the super soul. So first Suta Goswami offered his respect to his spiritual master Sukadeva Goswami, then he is offering his respect to Narayana Rsi
naraḿ caiva narottamam
devīḿ sarasvatīḿ vyāsaḿ
tato jayam udīrayet (SB1.2.4)
So, he is offering his respect to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, nara narayan rsi, the supreme human being, unto mother Sarasvati, Goddess Sarasvati, devim sarasvatim vyasam and Srila Vyasadeva the author. Then he started to speak, “Oh! Dear sages, I am very pleased with the questions that you have asked because those questions are actually meant for the benefit of the whole world.” These kind of questions pertaining to spiritual subject matter, not only benefit the enquirer but it also benefits the entire world because that wisdom, that knowledge, that sound vibration actually brings the real auspiciousness or creates real auspiciousness all over the world and they satisfy the soul completely. Whoever hears these spiritual discussions, spiritual questions that lead to the spiritual discussions when properly heard it completely satisfies the soul. Because ultimately what does the soul want. Does the soul want material enjoyment? No, that is the illusion. But when that illusion is over, illusion breaks and real knowledge dawns then the soul becomes satisfied. What is the real knowledge? The real knowledge is the knowledge about the Supreme personality of Godhead, the knowledge about our spiritual identity.
When we realize that we are not this material body, we are spirit souls, so our needs are not material, rather our needs are spiritual, no amount of material comforts can give us the satisfaction to the soul. If we want a glass of water but if somebody comes and gives me the boiling pot of oil, will it satisfy my thirst? No, what to speak of we want water but somebody comes and gives us a glass of hot sand. How will we feel? So materialistic endeavor is something like that, like running after a mirage. What is a mirage? Mirage is not water. Mirage is hot sand. We want water but what we getting is hot sand. So how can it ever satisfy our thirst? Therefore the soul always remains dissatisfied and discontent. But then when we get a glass of water then what happens? Will he run after the mirage, will he run after the hot sand anymore? No, then he will say, I got what I wanted. So let me get more and more and more of this water.So that is what actually happens when we get to hear about, Krsna. We get to know that God is a person.
First of all in this material nature hardly anybody recognizes the Supreme Personality of Godhead, hardly anybody accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everyone is trying to enjoy this material nature. That is the illusion. They are running after the mirage. They are thinking, let’s all run after the mirage. Let’s see who can run fast and as a result of that they are becoming more and more discontent. This discontent is displayed through violence, the intense anger, destruction. A person who is satisfied within himself will never become violent. A person who is satisfied within himself will never become destructive. But today’s world is completely destructive. It is only the policing system that is keeping people in place. They are carving their destructive mentality. But when the police system will go, when the law and order will become ineffective, then there will be a massive destruction all over, so, that is what Suta Goswami pointed out that hearing this answers to these questions the heart will be completely satisfied. Why? Because from that one will recognize, that he is a spiritual entity, a spirit soul and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is Krsna who is there and his goal is to reestablish his lost relationship with Krsna. Then he will automatically become satisfied.
Then Suta Goswami goes on to describe, what is real dharma? What should a man do? Many things are going on, many activities are going on in the name of dharma but they are not dharma. They are not real religion. These are cheating propensities. This is just cheating. Approaching the Supreme Personality of Godhead for the sake of material benefit is not real dharma. Or even performing different Vedic activities like austerities, penances, performance of sacrifice, giving in charity, all these activities have been prescribed in the Vedas, in the karma kanda section but those activities are not real dharma, because those activities are simply leading to artha. Acquiring punya, people are performing those activities because they think that by performing those activities, say by giving charity, performing sacrifice, performing austerity and all that, they are going to acquire punya. Why do they want punya? To enjoy this material world, kama, fulfillment of his desire? Then finally okay, this material nature is full of suffering, let me get out of here, mukti. So dharma, artha, kama, moksha according to Suta Goswami here, according to Srimad Bhagavatam it is simply a cheating business. They are not dharma. If these activities do not bring satisfaction to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then these are simply a waste of time. Even performance of Vedic rituals. Even execution of Vedic instructions is simply waste of time. That means there won’t be any real benefit. It is a waste of time. No real benefit because it didn’t satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
What does real dharma do? Real dharma on the other hand satisfies the soul. And then one does not want anything in this material nature. Like in this respect we often give an example, when a person is very hungry then he will be prepare to eat anything, rotten, putrid, stinking things as food. But when he has a nice plate of Prasad why will he turn to this rotten stuff? He will say throw it in the dustbin, throw it in the garbage bin. Therefore, to a devotee who has got the taste, the higher taste of spiritual activities to him all these material activities are completely disgusting. Then he establishes the identity of the Supreme personality of Godhead. Suta Goswami is pointing out that absolute truth is known in three features, Brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan.
Brahman is the bodily effulgence of the Lord. Paramatma is the localized aspect of the Lord, where the Lord is situated in everyone’s heart and ultimately He himself is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the first aspect impersonal, Brahmajyoti, joyti light. Light is not a person. Light is energy. It does not have any form, it does not have personality. Then the Paramatma aspect also is somewhat personal, somewhat impersonal is personal but there is no relationship. But when the loving relationship is established then that is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Prabhupada explains that through jnana when one achieves his perfection, one sees the Brahmajyoti, through the yoga when one achieves his perfection, he sees Paramatma, through loving devotional service when one achieves his perfection, then he sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original supreme absolute truth. vadanti tat tattva-vidas. So, ultimately those who are sincere about spiritual life, they will automatically be engaged in the loving devotional service to the Lord and as a result of that two things will manifest in them, one is transcendental knowledge and other is detachment. They will go hand in hand, with devotion, the transcendental knowledge will automatically come and this can be identified as when sun rises, the light automatically appears. With the rising of the sun the whole world becomes lit up. Krishna Consciousness is something like that. Krsna appears and the knowledge automatically becomes manifest in the heart. Jnana vairagya yuktaya, vairagya detachment is because he got the higher taste. So he does not have any attachment, any concern, for materialistic affairs, sense gratification.
A person who got the higher taste, he does not want to have the lower taste derived out of sensual pleasure. Whatever has been prescribed in the Vedas specially the varnasrama is actually meant to bring one to the platform of devotional service. The purpose of varnasrama is to engage different people according to different propensities to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Different people are influenced by different modes and as a result of that they develop different types of propensities, different types of nature and different types of characteristics. So the point here is does not matter whatever your propensity is, become engaged in serving the Lord. Use your propensities to serve the Lord.
If you are a Brahmana, if you are intellectually inclined, okay study the Vedas, understand the Vedas and preach the teachings of the Vedas. If you are a Kshatriya, then give protection to the society so that everyone in the society properly engaged in the spiritual activities under the guidance of qualified Brahmana. If you are a Vaisya, fine, run your business in order to supply all the needs of the society and the Sudra, you can’t act on your own independently so you act under the guidance of other senior members of the society like Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya. In this way an intelligent person being engaged in devotional service will cut away all the unnecessary attachments or the tendency to become active in karmic platform that means, karmic platform means the platform where one acts in order to enjoy the result of the action himself, that is called karma and devotion means whatever you have offer it to Krsna. One is me for my sake and other is for Krsna’s sake. When I act in order to enjoy myself then it is karmic, material but when I offer it to Krsna then it is devotional, spiritual.
An intelligent man will become engaged in devotional service leaving aside all these tendencies to enjoy the fruits of one’s action. And when one becomes engage in devotional service then he automatically develops this tendency to hear about Krsna. That is the sign of devotion. He would love to hear more, more and more. This is actually a good indication of understanding or measuring one’s spiritual affinity, one’s devotional inclination. The more we become spiritually inclined towards Krsna the more we want to hear about Him. Sometimes we see the devotees are losing this tendency to hear, often they think, oh, I have heard everything. I am so advanced I don’t have to hear anymore. No that is the very bad sign. Rather when we really make advancement then we like to hear more and more. Then what happens, when we hear about Krsna? All impurities of the hearts will become washed away and as a result of that, the heart will become completely satisfied. The impurities of the heart will become cleansed. When the heart become cleansed then we will become automatically develop our attraction for Krsna .Then all the impurities of the heart will disappear and one will become interested to become engaged in devotional service all the time. It’s a natural development. As a matter of fact one at an advanced stage he will become like a mad man. He will want hear, he will want to speak all the time, he will start behaving in such a way as if he has gone completely mad. Normal people, ordinary people will think that he has gone mad. That is actually the sign of one’s attachment to Krsna, love for Krsna.
Then the heart will become free from the influence of mode of passion and ignorance and becomes situated in the mode of goodness, not only goodness, pure goodness. Material nature is the nature of mode passion and ignorance. Whatever goodness is there in the material nature, that’s also mixed with passion and ignorance but devotional service will lead us to the platform of pure goodness. In this platform of pure goodness one’s heart will become completely satisfied, evaṁ prasanna-manaso bhagavad-bhakti-yogataḥ due to his being involve in devotional service his heart will become completely satisfied.Thus established in the mode of unalloyed goodness, unalloyed goodness that is transcendental goodness. Material goodness is mixed goodness, goodness mixed with passion and ignorance but spiritual nature, spiritual reality is in pure goodness, suddha satta, an unalloyed goodness. The man whose mind has been enlivened by contact with devotional service to the Lord gains positive scientific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead in the stage of liberation from material association.This is how one actually transcends the material nature comes to the spiritual platform. What is the material nature, nature where we are trying to enjoy? Material nature is the nature where we have got this ability and the facility to try to enjoy ourselves. Now opposite to that is the spiritual nature. The spiritual nature is the platform where we can render devotional service to Krsna. So in this way one comes to the pure spiritual platform or pure devotional service. Then the heart becomes completely satisfied. All the knots in the hearts are pierced, pierced as if with a sword,all the knots of the heart have been cut now. What is the knots of the hearts? Knots of the hearts are the tendency to lord over this material nature. Knots of the hearts are relationships we have developed in the material nature; the relationships based on the bodies.
bhidyate hṛdaya-granthiś Granthi means knot and hrdaya means heart, they pierced, bhidyate and all misgivings are cut to pieces. All the false adverse propensities are immediately cut to pieces. The chain of fruitive actions is terminated when one sees the self as master. Therefore the saintly personalities, the self realized souls since time immemorial are instructing us to become engage in devotional service to the Lord. So in this way he describes about the importance of devotional service and how to become engaged in devotional service. Then ultimately he is coming to the point after giving various descriptions and analogies to make the point to clear to us. Suta Goswami is pointing out. “In the revealed scriptures, the ultimate object of knowledge is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead. The purpose of performing sacrifice is to please Him.” Yes, people like to perform sacrifice. But what’s the purpose of sacrifice. Generally people perform sacrifice to acquire punya, piety. Just like people work in an office or run a business. What is the goal, to make profit to make money? Similarly, people in a more higher platform they perform these activities to acquire punya. But here Suta Goswami is pointing out that the purpose all these activities, sacrifice, austerities, penances and so forth is simply to please Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whatever you are doing, you do it for the sake of pleasing Krsna.
I will read it again from the beginning.“In the revealed scriptures, the ultimate object of knowledge is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead. The purpose of performing sacrifice is to please Him. Yoga is for realizing Him. All fruitive activities are ultimately rewarded by Him only. He is supreme knowledge, and all severe austerities are performed to know Him. Religion [dharma] is rendering loving service unto Him. Real religion is to render the loving devotional service unto Krsna. He is the supreme goal of life.
Anyway, in one hour it is not possible to cover the entire chapter. Now I will request you to read it yourself. Read this chapter yourself. I am trying to lead you into that path. I am simply trying to generate some interest in you. I am simply trying to enlighten you with some information but ultimately you have to relish it. I can prepare the food, I can serve it in a plate but it is you will have to eat it. You all relish this wonderful nectar of Srimad Bhagavatam.
Thank you very much. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol! Does anybody have any questions? I have got ten minutes for questions and answers.
Questions and answers
Q: Hare Krishna Guru Maharaja, this is Nandadulal. Please accept my most humble obeisances to your lotus feet. It is wonderful to hear your voice from your lotus mouth. Maharaja, we are so materialistic, we are Sudra in every way. How to keep that inspiration going that you gave us because we have to deal with ordinary people and all other activities and we do not have pure devotees association all the time.?
Answer: Very good, very good question. The thing is it is difficult to be in the material world and try to be Krishna Conscious is difficult but more difficult it is the success becomes more rewarding. Therefore, don’t give up. You are on the right path. You have turned your house into a temple. Your family is not your family. Your family is Krsna’s family. They all are devotees of Krsna. So consider whatever you are doing is for that purpose to maintain Krsna’s household, to take care of Krsna’s devotees and then you will see the activities that you are doing to earn your livelihood is becoming spiritualized. You are not doing yourself anymore; you are doing it for Krsna. No matter how many hours a day but rest of the time whatever little time you have just engage in Krsna Conscious activities like associate with devotees, read Prabhupada’s books, chant the holy name, get together with the family and other friends and chant the kirtan, sing kirtan. In this way spiritualize your life. Like as I mentioned that what is the difference between material and spiritual. When we put ourselves in the centre it is material, when we put Krsna in the centre, it is spiritual. So see that whatever you are doing is for Krsna. Arjuna is fighting a battle. That is his devotional service. If fighting a battle against his relatives and friends can be devotional service then what to speak of your profession as a doctor, much easier than that task. Just consider Krsna put in this situation. Whatever you are doing, it is actually a very noble profession. You are helping people at the same time you are earning the money. Money that you are earning is for maintaining Krsna’s household. I was very impressed when I went to your place in Richmond. I saw your congregation; I was very impressed to see that. Carry on. You are on the right path. Carry on.
Question: Hare Krishna Guru Maharaja, its Aditya Narayana das. Please accept my humble obeisances. In verse number 21, it says “The chain of fruitive actions is terminated when one sees the self as master.” It is not very clear to me what this means could you please explain to me?
Answer: Seeing the master means seeing oneself as a real self.
kṣīyante cāsya karmāṇi
dṛṣṭa evātmanīśvare (SB 1.2.21)
The chain of fruitive actions is terminated when one sees the self as master. So this can actually mean that the super soul as the master and the enjoyer of the fruitive actions. See now whatever we are doing is the result of our fruitive activities, whatever is happening to us is the result of our karmic reaction. But when we see that we are above that karmic reaction then that can be the point when we see that real self and other way to look at it is that when we transcend this chain of fruitive activities is terminated then we get to see our real identity as the self that is the Isvare. Prabhupada has used the expression master, for this Sanskrit expression Isvare. Prabhupada translated it as dominating it is the self that is dominating. Another way we can look at it as not as sprit soul but as the super soul. We will discuss about it more in the next class, let us discuss more about it.
Question: Guru Maharaja, I have another small question about Nara-Narayana Rsi who is he referring to?
Answer: Yes, Nara-Narayan Rsi is an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who resides in Badarik ashrama. He is Nara-Narayana. In Bhagavatam there is a description of him. You see Indra sends some apsaras to bewilder him from his austerity, trance. Then he created innumerable celestial damsels from his body. Just to show them who they are dealing with. So, that is Nara-Narayana Rsi an incarnation.
Question: Hare Krishna Maharaja, this is Abir speaking, I am a student from Virginia, You said we can dovetail our propensities as whether we are Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. How does one know which Varna they belong in?
Answer: Very good question, you see the problem is in this age of Kali, it is varna sankara. It is very difficult to figure out what one’s varna is. As a result of that you can consider that practically most of the people have become Sudras. You can see Sudra means one who looks for a job. Today’s world you can see most of the people are doing whatever they are doing is to get a job. So most of the people have become Sudra. Sudra means a servant. So in one way it has become very good that everyone’s propensity is Sudra to serve now let us become servants of Krsna. We don’t actually have to execute our devotional service in different aspects of varnasrama. Just we can become directly servants of Krsna. To be a Kshatriya and serving Krsna. Then ultimately what is his goal? In devotional service whose position is better? Kshatriya servant or Sudra servant or you can say warrior servant or servant servant. We are in a much better situation that we do not have to worry about our varna. We simply go straight directly into the highest position of becoming servants of Krsna. But at the same time one can consider, you see propensity means varnasrama is actually based on natural propensity; natural propensity means what one naturally likes to do. Brahmana naturally likes to study or meditate or think, Kshatriya naturally likes to control and establish their authority and when necessary fight. That’s a Kshatriya, Vaisya naturally wants to trade. Take one thing from here and sale it to another place and make his profit.
These are the natural propensities that human beings have according to the influence of the modes on material nature. But in this age there is no such possibility like one may become a Brahmana intellectually inclined, that’s fine. But tell me is there a room for a Kshatriya in this age? No, there is no room for Kshatriya. The Democratic government does not allow an individual to become powerful and take control. They have created a system where through mass they are dominating the society. There is no room for an individual to come up. Everything is through mass, election, how can an ignorant mass elect the qualified leader. So that is the problem of this age. Vaisyas are there. Today what is the way of running business? The definition of business today is the noble art of cheating people.
Actual definition of business is to cater to the demand of the society and make profit. That is the real business. Society needs food, society needs different things, okay, supply them and you make your profit. You bring it from a place where it cost less and you sell it at a place where it cost more. So that is how you make your profit. But look at the today’s business. It is not the need of the society. They are creating an artificial need. They are creating an artificial economy and that’s how they are running their business. So it is all cheating. Business is not a noble profession of catering to the demand of the society. But it is a noble art of cheating people, noble art in the sense because it is legally accepted. But it’s cheating, legally accepted cheating is going on in the name of business. So that’s why in this age at least the Kshatriyas do not have any place. You know who are the Kshatriya today’s world, the mafias. They are the only Kshatriyas in this world today. Their nature is like a Kshatriya, the Kshatriyas mood is, you surrender to me I will give you protection even at the cost of my own life. I will give you protection and you see that kind of tendency, affinity you can find to some extend in the mafias but they are going on as gangsters because there is no room for them , they have become gangsters. But that’s a Kshatriya. The more powerful one is, the better is his authority. Anyway, so as you asked how do I know what is my occupation, well, it is not possible to know because there is no proper structure to function in that way. Therefore we have to go according to what we like to do, what we like to do and that can be engaged in Krsna’s service. You like to paint, fine, you like to build, fine, do it for Krsna, you like to sing, you like to write , do it for Krsna and so by doing whatever we like to do for Krsna is devotional service.
Thanks everybody. Right now I have to go in five minutes to Calcutta temple. Thank you very much. Hare Krsna. Jai Srila Prabhupada.