Yesterday I spoke about Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is the essence of the Vedas, Upanisads, Mahabharata, Puranas and all other Vedic literature. I also told you about Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who was ordered by his Gurudeva to read Srimad-Bhagavatam again and again, and to take the essence and give it to the entire world. When he began, Sri Svarupa Damodara personally appeared to him, and the Thakura thought he was seeing a dream or a sphurti (vision). Sri Svarupa Damodara had come, somehow, and he told the Thakura the essence of the entire Srimad-Bhagavatam. He especially told the meaning of the first verse.
Long ago I had read the commentaries of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami and others, but I could not clearly understand the real meaning of the first verse. However, when I read the explanation of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura – as told to him by Svarupa Damodara – I immediately and vividly understood. Although this explanation is difficult for general people and ordinary devotees, those who are senior and qualified will be able to understand. You should also try to understand this. We will gradually discuss all related topics with the help of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's book, Sri Bhagavata-arka-marici-mala.
First of all we will have to clear anarthas (unwanted habits and mentalities). Even in sannyasis (renounced monks) there are so many kinds of anarthas – so many – and what to speak of others. You will have to take out all these anarthas, whether you are a family person or a sannyasi.
janmady asya yato ’nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah svarat
tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah
tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ’mrsa
dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi
[“O my Lord, Sri Krsna, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Sri Krsna because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmaji, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Sri Krsna, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.”This is the mangalacarana (auspicious invocation) verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam. The mangalacarana is the first auspicious prayer to the Deity of the book. That prayer contains a blessing that the purpose for which the book was written will be fulfilled. It is an appeal that there will be no obstacle to that fulfillment. We therefore first utter the mangalacarana: "guru gauranga jayate;" "jaya sri sri guru-gauranga;" "sri sri radha-vinodebihari ki jaya" and so on. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes in the beginning of his book, Bhagavatarka-marici-mala, "Kali-yuga pavana avatarayiya namah." He offers his obeisances to the Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the incarnation in kali-yuga, who delivers the world from its degrading influence. Mahaprabhu is Lord Sri Krsna Himself, having taken the beauty and intrinsic mood of Srimati Radhika, and He has come to sprinkle His mercy upon all. If anyone will accept Him and pray for His mercy, that person will be able to understand the meaning of Srimad-Bhagavatam; otherwise not. Otherwise it will be very hard.
There are so many commentaries of Srimad-Bhagavatam, such as Hanumat-bhasya, and those by Nimbaditya and Ramanujacarya and so on. These commentaries accept neither the gopis nor Sri Krsna’s parakiya mood. Only Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his followers accept and teach this.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura writes:
yat krpaya pavrito asmin tai tasmin granta sanga heBecause in the beginning, when he was about to collect many good verses to explain Srimad-Bhagavatam as ordered by his Gurudeva, Sri Svarupa Damodara appeared to him, he therefore prays again and again to Svarupa Damodara: “By the mercy of Svarupa Damodara I am going to collect all sweet and powerful verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam with explanations. I pray to the associates of Sri Gauracandra.” These are not only associates to whom the Thakura prayed, but intimate associates – generals in Mahaprabhu's preaching of prema-dharma. Svarupa Damodara and Raya Ramananda are his two generals, and between them, Svarupa Damodara is His most dear and intimate associate.
tam gaura upasana vande damodara svarupam
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was residing in the cave of the Gambira, and feeling the moods of Srimati Radhika's separation for Krsna. Svarupa Damodara often recited many poems, like those by Candidasa and Vidyapati, and also verses of Srimad-Bhagavatam, inspiring Mahaprabhu and consoling Him. Svarupa Damodara is very merciful. If you are being attacked by lust or any unwanted habits, thoughts and feelings, you can call out to Sri Svarupa Damodara, Sri Raya Ramananda and all the powerful generals of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: “Please come. Save me from all these things. These unwanted things are binding my neck and becoming tighter and tighter." They will come and save you.
To understand this fully, you must know what is told in the Srimad Bhagavatam.
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
bhagavan iti sabdyate
[“Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan.]The Supreme Lord is one without a second, and He is called para-tattva, the Supreme Absolute Truth. Those who are very qualified in this topic have told us this. Sri Parasara Muni, Sri Narada Rsi and Lord Brahma have told this, and even Lord Narayana has taught it. Krsna has also told this, for He is the root of all. He Himself is advaya-jnana para-tattva. [At this time Srila Narayana Maharaja called on Sundara-gopala prabhu to explain the above-mentioned verse. He had also asked him to explain it in Badger last year, and so to save time we are putting in last year's explanation:
[Sundara Gopala dasa:] This verse mentions the words advaya jnana para-tattva. Tattva means truth and para means supreme or absolute. So para-tattva refers to the Supreme or Absolute Truth. Advaya means non-dual. In other words, this Truth is not two or three or many – but one. There is nothing that has any existence separate or independent of that Truth.
Advaya-jnana para-tattva means that there is no object or entity, anywhere, that has any existence separate or independent of that Truth. Someone may put forward one or more of three objections. The first is "svagata-veda," the objection which states that in the transcendental form of Sri Krsna there is some duality. In other words, Krsna has features, He has qualities and He has bodily limbs. A person may object by saying that any one of Krsna's bodily limbs is different from any other one, but this is in fact not the case. Sri Brahma-Samhita states that unlike our material bodies, which are entirely limited being made of gross matter, the transcendental limbs of Sri Krsna are interchangeable. In other words, with His eyes He can accept the food-offering of His devotees. With any one of his senses He can perform the function of any other sense.
Srila Gurudeva has explained the analogy of a small cow or calf made of sugar. This calf or cow has features, but every part of it is made of condensed sugar. Sri Krsna is raso vai saha (fully consisting of transcendental mellows). From this sutra, raso vai saha, we can see that there is no duality in Him, in any of His qualities or limbs, or in any of His transcendental features.
The next objection is called "svajatiya veda," and it states that Sri Krsna and His various avataras are different from each other. There seems to be duality. There is Sri Nrsimhadeva, Sri Varahadeva and so many other incarnations. Someone may say, "These are different. There is duality here." Actually, however, as Sripad Bhaktisar Maharaja has explained, giving the analogy of a moon: the moon at different phases may appear to be different. Its shape will appear to be different. At a certain time, when the moon is new, it is very thin and small. It will eventually grow to a full moon, and then wane again. In the same way, the various avataras of Sri Krsna display certain of His qualities, but the original form of Krsna as the son of Nanda Maharaja in Vrndavana displays all qualities to their maximum.
The next objection, "vijatiya-veda", states that there are so many things in existence, in this world and out of this world, and they are in categories that are different from each other. The jiva, for instance, seems to be different from matter. Many different categories of existence appear to be different from each other. Someone may say, "Here there is duality." But Srila Jiva Gosvami explains in his Sri Tattva-Sandarba that if two things have the same origin and they don't conflict with each other, it may then be said that they are one. In this world it does appear that things conflict with each other, but this is actually illusion, and that illusion comes from the tendency to want to enjoy matter. Actually, everything is fully under the direction of Sri Krsna. Nothing conflicts with anything. If there is any conflict, it is merely a conflict of our own desire to enjoy this world. So, these three objections have no standing, and the absolute non-duality, the non-duality of the Absolute Truth, is thereby established.}
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] You may think, "What is the necessity to know all this philosophy? In bhajana (absorption in chanting and remembering Lord Krsna's pastimes), what is the use of this knowledge? Simply chant Hare Krsna and think of Krsna’s pastimes." Oh, one day you will have to come to this stage of knowledge. Finally, when you will develop all knowledge, all kinds of renunciation will come and you will be able to realize Krsna and yourself. Although you think it is very difficult to understand, one day you will have to realize this philosophy.
"Satyam parama dhimahi - I meditate on the Supreme Truth." What is the meaning? All creations come from Krsna. He supports and nourishes all, and in the end everything enters Him.
But He can only wish. He cannot do anything independent of His power. He must have some power.
na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate
na tat-samas cabhyadhikas ca drsyate
parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate
svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca
["He does not possess bodily form like that of an ordinary living entity. There is no difference between His body and His soul. He is absolute. All His senses are transcendental. Any one of His senses can perform the action of any other sense. Therefore, no one is greater than Him or equal to Him. His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence."Sri Krsna can only desire. He cannot do anything without His power, and Sri Radhika is that power. His power does everything. Krsna may desire to dance, but if His power is not there, how can He do so? How can He play His flute? How can He create? He is saktiman, the supreme powerful. That means He is not alone. He is the Absolute Truth – when He is with His power.
(Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.8)]
On the other hand, if Krnsa is not there, still, Srimati Radhika can do everything – because She is the power. In this way, "satyam parama dhimahi" ultimately refers to Her. Radhika is parama-satyam, the Supreme Truth, and we should try to take shelter of Her lotus feet.
Ladies should not think they are neglected or that they are not prominent. Sri Krsna Himself has accepted them as prominent. We cannot deny this, because our bhajana is performed in the mood of the gopis. Don't try to serve in that realm as a male. Nanda Baba was there in Vrndavana, Subala was there and so many other cowherd boys were there; but who pleased Krsna the most? Who controlled Him? Nanda Baba and Subala could not fully control Him. Only Radhika and the gopis could do so. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu brought this idea to the world.
Alone, Krsna cannot perform rasa. How can He? Rasa is possible only in Radhika's presence. Adi-rasa, the original transcendental mellow, that is parakiya-rasa, also known as srngara-rasa, (the mellow of conjugal love) emanates from both Radha and Krsna. Therefore, together They are the Supreme Truth, satyam parama. I have explained this in detail many times. In particular, you can find the explanation in the book “Secret Truths of the Bhagavatam.”
Now I will explain some points in brief, in such a way that you can understand. Janmady asya yato… (This world has come from that Transcendental Truth in two ways; directly and indirectly (anvaya and vyatireka). Krsna has so many powers, primarily categorized as svarupa-sakti, maya-sakti and jiva-sakti. These are the three prominent powers or energies. Cit-sakti (the transcendental potency), svarupa-sakti (the personal potency) and antaranga-sakti (the internal potency) are one and the same thing – and a shadow of this potency, the creator of this material world, is maya-sakti.
In the middle, on the marginal point, is jiva-sakti (the individual living entity). What is jiva-sakti? He is a very minute manifestation of svarupa-sakti. Svarupa-sakti has been called para-sakti, superior energy. Jiva is also para, not apara (inferior), but it may come under the control of the inferior energy, maya. That is where we are now. Jiva is para, superior to maya, but now he is thinking, “I am this body and this is mine.” This misunderstanding is the root cause of his coming to this world. One day you will have to give up the bodily conception of life. One day you will have to forget that, “I am this physical body.”
Don’t quarrel about this material body or about things in relation to it. What you are collecting and what you are doing through the senses of this body will not help you. It will never help you. With this knowledge, follow the instructions of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Rupa Gosvami, and try to realize the Absolute Truth and yourself.
Don’t think, “I am chanting holy name with this tongue.” If you are surrendered totally to Gurudeva, you will see that your soul is chanting. Ears can never hear any transcendental sound. If you are dedicated to Gurudeva, he will empower you to hear. First of all, surrender totally to him and totally believe what he is teaching. Believe in each word he says. Forget, “I am this body,” and think, “I am part and parcel of Krsna.” Think, “I am His servant.” We are called tatastha-sakti (marginal energy). Tatastha-sakti has manifested herself as so many jivas. If all jivas in this universe were to become liberated, the world would not become empty. The amount of jivas that can fit in just one drop of blood can fill the entire universe. There are unlimited jivas – you cannot even imagine.
The material world is like a shadow, but don’t think it is like a shadow of this world. We say “shadow” but it is not like the shadows within our experience. When we walk, our shadow cannot do anything, but this shadow of Krsna is creating the whole world. Krsna wants this. He is the root. When He desires, then His shadow-like maya-sakti engages in creating this world, to purify all the jivas. She tells them, “You have forgotten Krsna.” and she creates this world to make them qualified to serve Him.
If gold is somewhat impure, it must be put in fire. Maya does this with us; this world is like that. We are now impure. We have so many worldly desires, thinking, “I am this body. She is my wife and that is my son.” We are so greatly attached. So what does maya do? She puts us in fire. This world is like fire. It burns and at the same time it hammers. So much suffering comes – death comes for this – and then we realize that the world is not a place to be happy. You should know that one day death will come. So many diseases will come, beginning from childhood. This is due to maya. She has given this body, full of diseases and so many problems. So she is also hammering.
Maya is also called bahiranga-sakti, the external energy. This energy is not directly in Krsna. She stays behind Him, with shame, thinking, “I am hammering all those who are dear to Krsna.” She is ashamed, but actually she is very merciful. If we are not hammered we cannot realize the truths of ourselves and our relationship with Lord Sri Krsna.
We jivas have not come directly from Krsna. We have come from His power. The entire cit-jagat (transcendental world) – including Vaikuntha, Goloka Vrndavana, the Yamuna, Giriraja Govardhana, the cows, the gopis and the calves – are all transcendental. The body of Krsna and Srimati Radhika and others there are manifest directly from svarupa-sakti. On the other hand, in this material world, we all – (the bodies of) people, creepers, calves, pigs, hogs and fish of this world – what we have seen and what we haven’t seen – have all manifest from this illusory maya.
But this world is not false. Mayavadas say “this is all false,” but this can never be so. It has come from the will of Krsna, so it cannot be false, but it is not transcendental Truth. After sometime it will be destroyed.
So this world has come from maya (apara-sakti, or inferior energy). We have come from jiva-sakti (tatastha-sakti) or para-sakti (superior energy to matter). Lord Sri Krsna, along with all His associates and His abode, is satyam-parama, Supreme transcendental truth. Dhamna svena means that His abode is transcendental. It is coming from cit-sakti (svarupa-sakti).
But there is a question. We are quite superior to maya-sakti, so how did we come here and become entangled in this maya? The word vyatireka means indirect, and it also means that the impossible has become possible by the Lord’s inconceivable potency, the potency that makes the impossible possible. We are not this body. Our father, mother, brothers and all other relatives are not ours. Whom we see as our relatives are all bags of stool and urine. The soul is there, but now we experience no relation of soul-to-soul, or soul-to-Supersoul. This is inconceivable.
Sri Krsna is the Supreme Lord. Whatever He desires becomes true, and He is therefore known as satya-sankalpa. What He thinks at once becomes true.
He is svatantra, independent. We are also independent, but only minutely. We possess all the qualities of Krsna but in very minute quantity, and therefore maya can cover us by the wish of Lord Krsna.
Krsna has given you freedom, independence. Krsna doesn’t interfere with what you want. If you want to take poison, you can take it. Krsna will say, “You will die; you should not take it.” He will speak in your mind and heart, but He will not control you fully. If He wants to control you and take away your independence He can; but He will never do so. Why?
Tato lilayam kaivalyam – this is one kind of pastime of the Lord. Krsna performs whatever varieties of pastimes we can think of, and beyond that. So this creation is one of those pastimes. Why did He do this? Why did he make us all suffer? Why does He want this? This world and its rules and regulations should also exist, otherwise the Lord’s existence will be incomplete.
You think, “I am this body. He is my father, she is my sister. She is my wife.” When has she become your wife? From birth? No, if anyone divorces his wife and a second one comes, then what? So there is no transcendental or true relation. The only transcendental relation or understanding is that, “He is also Krsna’s part and parcel and servant, as am I.” We have forgotten all this, by the influence of maya. Even though it is very difficult to realize this, still, don’t think, “She is my wife.” “Wife” is only the body, not the soul.
Krsna is the husband of all souls; not you. You are only husband of this body. So where does false ego come from? It comes from this illusory maya. This did not begin recently. This situation has been existing since time immemorial. When did we come to this world? Only Krsna knows. No one else knows. Don’t try to enter another life. Try to stop here.
But how will it be stopped? By thinking, “He is not my husband, she is not my wife, this world is not mine, I am not this body, I am only the servant of Krsna, and my soul is transcendental.” If you practice thinking like this, Lord Krsna will empower you to be detached. Continually hearing hari-katha from pure devotees, you will become detached. Otherwise, if you try to independently come out of this illusiory maya, you will further entangle yourself. If you fall into quicksand and then try to come out, what happens? Elephants go there and walk in, and then they try to come out. The result is that the more they try to get out, the more they find themselves within it. Then, once fully in, they die. So your intelligence will not suffice. Take shelter of guru and Krsna. They can save you; they are very powerful.
Try to begin following these instructions from today, not from tomorrow. Be determined to not follow any worldly idea. If you forget your false material designations, especially at the time of death, you will be liberated from this world; otherwise not.
I have come to remind you of all the truths that Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja came to tell you. He came to tell you about the message of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami and others like them. Don’t only listen by letting this transcendental subject matter in one ear and out the other. Practice from today. Try to forget thinking, “She is my wife, these are my children, I am this body.” Try from today. This is very difficult to do, but you can do it by the mercy of Sri Krsna. If guru can come here by mercy, as Srila Swami Maharaja came, so Lord Krsna can come in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu – because they are all merciful.
You should pray, “Be merciful to me.” Surrender totally. Try to forget your own power; be saranagata (a surrendered soul).
In the verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam under discussion (SB. 1.1.1) we find the words arthesu abhjnah svarat. Sri Krsna is all-knowing; He is omniscient. He knows everything. You see that we have so many nerves in our bodies. So many nerves come from the heart, and blood circulates everywhere. Because of the “all-pervading” nervous system, we are conscious of every minute part of our body. As this is true with our tiny material bodies, we can understand that there is sensation everywhere in Krsna’s body. Everything in existence is within Him, and He is therefore conscious of everything.
Every part of Krsna’s body can act and feel for every other. We cannot imagine His creation. It is very complex and it includes Purusa, Prakrti and Mahat-tattva. A partial manifestation of Krsna in this world is called the Purusa. There are three Purusa incarnations: Maha-visnu, Garbodahsayi-visnu and Kirodaksayi-visnu, and they manage the creation and maintenance and dissolution of the material worlds. The mahat-tattva is the total energy of the cosmic manifestation. From the mahat-tattva all the other twenty-four divisions have sprung, namely the eleven senses (including the mind), the five sense objects, the five material elements, and then contaminated consciousness, intelligence and false ego. The senses include the five working senses and the five senses for obtaining knowledge. All twenty-four of these elements are employed for the manifestation of this material world. The mahat-tattva is divided into different subtle categories, but originally it is called the mahat-tattva. The unmanifest material ingredients are called pradhana, and the manifest material ingredients are called prakrti, or the manifest material nature.
Krsna knows everything about these ingredients, because they have come from Him. We cannot know about them and even Lord Brahma cannot know. Other than Sri Krsna, no one can know. He is thus all-knowing.
[After Srila Maharaja’s class there was kirtana, and then a drama about the famous devotee Jada Bharata. After this Srila Maharaja spoke to the actors, and through them to all the devotees:]
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] My blessings to all the players; to Mahibharata prabhu, to his wife, his daughters and all others. It was a very good play . . .
This evening I was saying that we think, “I am this body, he is my father, he is my uncle, these are my brothers and all these are my relations.” But this is not a fact. Jada Bharata explained to King Rahugana that a man can only know the truth if he takes bath in the lotus foot-dust of a pure Vaisnava. Then he can realize the truth of his existence; otherwise it will never be possible.
King Rahugana then asked Jada Bharata, “Who are you? Are you the sage Kapila? Are you the Rsi from whom I am going now to learn about atma-vidya (knowledge of the soul)? Jada Bharata mercifully related the history of his previous life’s identity as the famous king of the world, Bharata Maharaja, and said, “I am that very Bharata.” King Rahugana then fell flat at the lotus feet of Jada Bharata. Bharata had not been speaking to anyone, but that day he mercifully considered, “this is a qualified person for me to teach the truths of the soul.” All this is written very clearly in the 5th Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
What is the root of all these evils and anarthas (unwanted deeds and thoughts)? It is forgetfulness. When we forget Krsna, the illusory maya comes and we think, “I am this body. This is my relative. I am owner of this. I am a king. I am poor. I am a demigod.” But none of this is so. That is the teaching of this drama, through the words of Jada Bharata – that we are not this body, and neither anything collected by this body, nor the intelligence belonging to the body will help us. They cannot help us to find happiness.
We should try to serve very high-class bona fide, qualified, rasika (tasters of spiritual mellows), tattva-jna (knowers of spiritual truths) Vaisnavas. We should take shelter there. Then we can know all truths, and then attachment for illusion will disappear. Otherwise, we will be like elephants in quicksand, and our intelligence will not do anything there. So use your intelligence to have a bona fide tattva-jna Vaisnava, and he will help you.
My blessings to you all, that you should realize what we have told. My blessings that you become detached from this world and attached to Krsna and guru.
Editorial Advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanath dasa
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Transcribers Vasanti dasi, Jai Sri dasi and Janaki dasi
Typists: Anita dasi
HTML: Bhutabhavana dasa