The Message of Godhead
by Çré Çrémad Bhaktivedänta Swämé Mahäräja
[NOTE: This page uses Balarama font
for better transliteration of Sanskrit into English]
There are many reasons for an äsurika or godless nature. However, in this present article I am discussing three that are prominent—namely, lust, anger and greed. These three propensities have been described as doorways leading to hell and destroyers of the soul.
Bhagavän is the sole master and enjoyer of creation. When we forget this, a strong desire to enjoy this visible world is born within us. When desires are unfulfilled they give rise to anger, under the influence of anger we become frustrated, and like the jackal’s plea of “sour grapes” 1 we portray the act of renunciation. Lying at the root of this kind of pretentious renunciation is a greater greed and desire for sense gratification. It is one more layer of material desire. Unless a person crosses beyond these levels of bhoga and tyäga, enjoying and rejecting, and becomes situated on the platform of the soul, he cannot understand the message of Godhead and he will thus continue to remain under the influence of an äsurika mood.
If we want to make progress on the path of auspiciousness for the soul by becoming free from an äsurika existence, then the only method is to act according to the injunctions of çästra. Irresponsible, independent and unlawful acts are all born of lust, by which one will never be able to cross beyond anger and greed and obtain true happiness and the ultimate destination. Thus, who will reveal how ‘in the dispensation of providence’2 mankind can obtain peace or the ultimate destination? Çästra is our only support. If we work according to its injunctions we can receive freedom from unlawful and whimsical acts.
The age in which we presently live is called Kali-yuga, the dreadful age of quarrel and hypocrisy. Almost all people of this age have short lives, dull intelligence and misfortune, and are always persecuted by disease and distress. Consequently, they do not have a natural inclination for the instruction of çästra. Practically all the religionists of the world, be they Hindu, Muslim, Christian, and so on, live whimsically by transgressing the laws of their own
scriptures. All these people, what to speak of following the laws of çästra, misinterpret them. They gradually become firmly established in an äsurika nature in the form of sense enjoyment born out of their worldly desires. Bhagavän and His devotees are always concerned how to
rescue the kali-hat jéva, conditioned souls frustrated by the effects of Kali-yuga.
The Vaiñëava devotees of Bhagavän are like desire-fulfilling trees and oceans of mercy. In order to deliver the jévas tormented by Kali, the Vaiñëavas, even after fulfilling whatever desires or prayers the jévas have, make arrangements to establish their sambandha, their relationship with Bhagavän. Whatever means the Saviour of the fallen, Gaurasundara Çré Caitanyadeva, has prescribed, after having seen the jévas’ miserable condition is alone the sole injunction of the çästras for all common people.
Purifying the heart through the study of the Vedas, Vedänta and its supplimentary parts was possible in other ages, but that is now no longer feasible. The previous system required maintaining strong celibacy, which is beyond the capacity of common people nowadays. Therefore, people with many impurities cannot gain anything through study of Veda and Vedänta. To explain Vedänta to these unqualified people devoid of saàskära is a total waste of time. Çré Caitanyadeva indeed bestowed His mercy to this kind of kali-hat jéva. Consequently, those who are unable to accept the mercy of Çré Caitanyadeva will remain deceived forever. Is there any doubt about this?
Those fortunate people who, after deliberating upon the compassionate process of Çré Caitanya, have become able to receive it, are no longer ‘in the dispensation of providence’ punishable by mäyä. However, for those under the control of the beginningless cycle of karma and tormented by mäyä, Bhagavän has arranged karma-yoga. Learned scholars say that after wandering amongst 8,400,000 species of life, (900,000 types of aquatics, 2,000,000 species of immobile life, trees, mountains and so on, 1,100,000 species of insects and worms, 1,000,000
species of birds,
3,000,000 species of animals and 400,000 species of humans in the gradual
development of the state of material consciousness), one is born within the
human society in
bhärata-bhümite haila manuñya-janma yära
janma särthaka kari’ kara para-upakära
“One who takes a human birth in
should make his life successful, and then work for the ultimate
benefit of others.” (CC Ädi 9.41)
The success of human life is attained by following the guiding
path of those mahäjanas from Bhärata. The sages of
We can see in other places, especially in Western countries, that there has been great research and progress made in material science, which is only based on the mind and body created by mäyä, the deluding potency. For this reason, Western people who are ‘in the
dispensation of providence’, receive no rest of any kind. Indian people, being fond of imitating such people, are also walking on the path of destruction. At present they have given up their own culture to become beggars at the doors of others, and under the influence of this ‘dispensation’ of mäyä, they boldly claim themselves to be an independent nation. There is nothing to gain by that.
The process and means of perfection in the eternal sambandha, abhideya and prayojana between the infinitesimal soul and the infinite Supreme have never been discussed in Western countries. Therefore, although these countries prosper from the mundane point of view, they
are tossed about
in the painful burning poison of materialism, and Indians also become corrupted
in that burning poison, thinking themselves successful. Now many Western
thinkers are looking towards
Bhagavän Çré Kåñëa, considering the distressful future of the living entities, instructed the Bhagavad-Gétä and His instructions flowed from His lotus mouth like a pacifying shower onto the poisonous fire of materialism. There is a need to understand the great difference
between general karma and the karma-yoga mentioned in the Bhagavad-gétä. At present there are many who identify themselves as karma-yogés in a so-called karma sampradäya. Nevertheless, they are seen enjoying the fruits of their own work.
In many places in Bhagavad-gétä, Bhagavän Çré Kåñëa has referred to the process of buddhi-yoga. The meaning of buddhi-yoga is bhagavad-bhakti and Çré Kåñëa has said: “dadämi buddhi-yogaà taà yena mäm upayänti te” (BG 10.10)--“I bestow the transcendental knowledge by which they come to me.” Elsewhere He has said: bhaktyä mäm abhijänäti (BG 18.55)—“It is only by unalloyed Bhakti that one can behold Me; that is, know Me in truth.” He has also said: “bhaktyäham ekayä grähyaù” (SB 11.14.21)— “I am to be obtained by unalloyed devotional service.” Therefore the buddhi-yoga by which one can obtain Him is none other than bhakti. It is a well-known fact that one can attain Bhagavän through bhakti; consequently one of His names is bhakta-vatsala, one who is especially affectionate towards His devotees.
Through buddhi-yoga one can adopt karma-kauçala, the art of work, and by that art alone mankind can be peaceful or find rest ‘in the dispensation of providence.’ We can clearly see the mood of buddhi-yoga in the Bhagavad-gétä (2.39, 40):
eñä te ’bhihitä säìkhye / buddhir yoge tv imäà çåëu
buddhyä yukto yayä pärth / karma-bandhaà prahäsyasi
“O Pärtha, thus far I have explained this knowledge of säìkhya-yoga,3 but now I will impart to you the science of bhakti-yoga, by which you will become freed from the bondage of this material world.”
nehäbhikrama näço ’sti / pratyaväyo na vidyate
svalpam apy asya dharmasya / träyate mahato bhayät
“Endeavors on the path of bhakti-yoga are neither fruitless nor subject to loss. Even a little progress frees one from fear and the greatest of dangers in this material world.”
It is a very difficult affair for the people of the modern world to discover peace by the analytical method of säìkhya-yoga. However, the peace one may obtain through buddhi-yoga, or bhakti-yoga, belittles the highest worldly gain or peace in the form of brahmänanda, the bliss experienced by being situated in the nature of brahman. The development of karma in relation to Bhakti never goes in vain, or is destroyed. Therefore, to the degree it is performed, that amount will be permanently secured. Even a little performance of bhakti rescues one from the greatest of fears—the bindings of the material world.
1 Once a jackal came across a grapevine. The tasty looking fruits hung high above his head, and as he tried to reach up and pick one, he found to his dismay that it was beyond his grasp. Again and again he tried but to no avail. Finally, he scorned in frustration: “The grapes are sour,” and ran off with his tail between his legs (Païca-tantra stories).
2 “In the dispensation of providence” means the living entities reception of his karma-phala, or the fruits of pious and impious deeds.
3 Säìkhya-yoga is defined by Çréla Viçvanätha Cakravarté Öhäkura as follows: “That which properly illuminates the vastu-tattva or essential reality of an object.” (BG Bhäv. 2.39)
This is the third in the series of
“Bhagavänera Kathä” articles
by Çré Çrémad Bhaktivedänta Swämé Mahäräja,
Srila Prabhupada Page