Śrīmad-Bhāgvatam – Canto 10
(Q&A Format)

Distinction between yogmaya & mahamaya.

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead ordered Yoga-māyā to bewilder His associates in His pastimes and bewilder demons like Kaṁsa. As stated previously, yoga-māyāṁ samādiśat. To give service to the Lord, Yoga-māyā appeared along with Mahā-māyā. Mahā-māyā refers to yayā sammohitaṁ jagat, “one who bewilders the entire material world.” From this statement it is to be understood that Yoga-māyā, in her partial expansion, becomes Mahā-māyā and bewilders the conditioned souls. In other words, the entire creation has two divisions — transcendental, or spiritual, and material. Yoga-māyā manages the spiritual world, and by her partial expansion as Mahā-māyā she manages the material world. As stated in the Nārada-pañcarātra, Mahā-māyā is a partial expansion of Yoga-māyā. The Nārada-pañcarātra clearly states that the Supreme Personality has one potency, which is sometimes described as Durgā. The Brahma-saṁhitā says, chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni bibharti durgā. Durgā is not different from Yoga-māyā. When one understands Durgā properly, he is immediately liberated, for Durgā is originally the spiritual potency, hlādinī-śakti, by whose mercy one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead very easily. Rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir hlādinī-śaktir asmād. The mahā-māyā-śakti, however, is a covering of Yoga-māyā, and she is therefore called the covering potency. By this covering potency, the entire material world is bewildered (yayā sammohitaṁ jagat). In conclusion, bewildering the conditioned souls and liberating the devotees are both functions belonging to Yoga-māyā. Transferring the pregnancy of Devakī and keeping mother Yaśodā in deep sleep were both done by Yoga-māyā. Mahā-māyā cannot act upon such devotees, for they are always liberated. But although it is not possible for Mahā-māyā to control liberated souls or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, she did bewilder Kaṁsa. The action of Yoga-māyā in presenting herself before Kaṁsa was the action of Mahā-māyā, not Yoga-māyā. Yoga-māyā cannot even see or touch such polluted persons as Kaṁsa. In Caṇḍī, in the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa, Eleventh Chapter, Mahā-māyā says, “During the twenty-eighth yuga in the period of Vaivasvata Manu, I shall take birth as the daughter of Yaśodā and be known as Vindhyācala-vāsinī.”

The distinction between the two māyās — Yoga-māyā and Mahā-māyā — is described as follows. Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā with the gopīs and the gopīs’ bewilderment in respect to their husbands, fathers-in-law and other such relatives were arrangements of Yoga-māyā in which Mahā-māyā had no influence. The Bhāgavatam gives sufficient evidence of this when it clearly says, yoga-māyām upāśritaḥ. On the other hand, there were asuras headed by Śālva and kṣatriyas like Duryodhana who were bereft of devotional service in spite of seeing Kṛṣṇa’s carrier Garuḍa and the universal form, and who could not understand Kṛṣṇa to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This was also bewilderment, but this bewilderment was due to mahā-māyā. Therefore it is to be concluded that the māyā which drags a person from the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called jaḍa-māyā, and the māyā which acts on the transcendental platform is called yoga-māyā. When Nanda Mahārāja was taken away by Varuṇa, he saw Kṛṣṇa’s opulence, but nonetheless he thought of Kṛṣṇa as his son. Such feelings of parental love in the spiritual world are acts of yoga-māyā, not of jaḍa-māyā, or mahā-māyā. This is the opinion of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura.”
Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 01 – Additional Notes

 

Why six sons of Devaki & Vasudeva before the birth of Balram & Krishna were killed by kamsa?

Formerly an asura named Kālanemi had six sons, named Haṁsa, Suvikrama, Krātha, Damana, Ripurmardana and Krodhahantā. They were known as the ṣaḍ-garbhas, or six garbhas, and they were all equally powerful and expert in military affairs. These ṣaḍ-garbhas gave up the association of Hiraṇyakaśipu, their grandfather, and underwent great austerities to satisfy Lord Brahmā, who, upon being satisfied, agreed to give them whatever benediction they might desire. When asked by Lord Brahmā to state what they wanted, the ṣāḍ-garbhas replied, “Dear Lord Brahmā, if you want to give us a benediction, give us the blessing that we will not be killed by any demigod, mahoraga, Yakṣa, Gandharva-pati, Siddha, Cāraṇa or human being, nor by great sages who are perfect in their penances and austerities.” Brahmā understood their purpose and fulfilled their desire. But when Hiraṇyakaśipu came to know of these events, he was very angry at his grandsons. “You have given up my association and have gone to worship Lord Brahmā,” he said, “and therefore I no longer have any affection for you. You have tried to save yourselves from the hands of the demigods, but I curse you in this way: Your father will take birth as Kaṁsa and kill all of you because you will take birth as sons of Devakī.” Because of this curse, the grandsons of Hiraṇyakaśipu had to take birth from the womb of Devakī and be killed by Kaṁsa, although he was previously their father.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 01 – Additional Notes

 

One should hear Krishna-katha from liberated persons.

“Recitation of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam must be done by persons completely freed from material desires (nivṛtta-tarṣaiḥ). Everyone within this material world, beginning from Brahmā down to the insignificant ant, is full of material desires for sense enjoyment, and everyone is busy in sense gratification, but when thus engaged one cannot fully understand the value of kṛṣṇa-kathā, either in the form of Bhagavad-gītā or in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

If we hear the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from liberated persons, this hearing will certainly free us from the bondage of material activities, but hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam spoken by a professional reciter cannot actually help us achieve liberation. Kṛṣṇa-kathā is very simple. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As He Himself explains, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya: “O Arjuna, there is no truth superior to Me.” (Bg. 7.7) Simply by understanding this fact — that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead — one can become a liberated person. But, especially in this age, because people are interested in hearing Bhagavad-gītā from unscrupulous persons who depart from the simple presentation of Bhagavad-gītā and distort it for their personal satisfaction, they fail to derive the real benefit. There are big scholars, politicians, philosophers and scientists who speak on Bhagavad-gītā in their own polluted way, and people in general hear from them, being uninterested in hearing the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from a devotee. A devotee is one who has no other motive for reciting Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam than to serve the Lord. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has therefore advised us to hear the glories of the Lord from a realized person (bhāgavata paro diya bhāgavata sthane). Unless one is personally a realized soul in the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, a neophyte should not approach him to hear about the Lord, for this is strictly forbidden by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, who quotes from the Padma Purāṇa:

avaiṣṇava-mukhodgīrṇaṁ pūtaṁ hari-kathāmṛtam
śravaṇaṁ naiva kartavyaṁ sarpocchiṣṭaṁ yathā payaḥ

One should avoid hearing from a person not situated in Vaiṣṇava behavior. A Vaiṣṇava is nivṛtta-tṛṣṇa; that is, he has no material purpose, for his only purpose is to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So-called scholars, philosophers and politicians exploit the importance of Bhagavad-gītā by distorting its meaning for their own purposes. Therefore this verse warns that kṛṣṇa-kathā should be recited by a person who is nivṛtta-tṛṣṇa. Śukadeva Gosvāmī epitomizes the proper reciter for Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and Parīkṣit Mahārāja, who purposefully left his kingdom and family prior to meeting death, epitomizes the person fit to hear it. A qualified reciter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives the right medicine (bhavauṣadhi) for the conditioned souls. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore trying to train qualified preachers to recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā throughout the entire world, so that people in general in all parts of the world may take advantage of this movement and thus be relieved of the threefold miseries of material existence.”
Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 01 – Text 4

 

The devotee is first transferred to that particular universe where the pastimes of the Lord are current.

In Bhagavad-gītā (4.9) the Lord says, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti: after giving up the material body, the devotee of the Lord returns home, back to Godhead. This means that the devotee is first transferred to the particular universe where the Lord is at that time staying to exhibit His pastimes. There are innumerable universes, and the Lord is appearing in one of these universes at every moment. Therefore His pastimes are called nitya-līlā, eternal pastimes. The Lord’s appearance as a child in the house of Devakī takes place continuously in one universe after another. Therefore, the devotee is first transferred to that particular universe where the pastimes of the Lord are current. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, even if a devotee does not complete the course of devotional service, he enjoys the happiness of the heavenly planets, where the most pious people dwell, and then takes birth in the house of a śuci or śrīmān, a pious brāhmaṇa or a wealthy vaiśya (śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo ’bhijāyate). Thus a pure devotee, even if unable to execute devotional service completely, is transferred to the upper planetary system, where pious people reside. From there, if his devotional service is complete, such a devotee is transferred to the place where the Lord’s pastimes are going on.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 01 – Text 23

 

It is natural for a person facing untimely death to try his best to save himself.

It is natural for a person facing untimely death to try his best to save himself. This is one’s duty. Although death is sure, everyone should try to avoid it and not meet death without opposition because every living soul is by nature eternal. Because death is a punishment imposed in the condemned life of material existence, the Vedic culture is based on avoiding death (tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti). Everyone should try to avoid death and rebirth by cultivating spiritual life and should not submit to death without struggling to survive. One who is not trying to stop death is not an intelligent human being.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 01 – Text 48

 

A devotee must try his best to serve the purpose of Krishna.

Sometimes one must act duplicitously in a dangerous position, as Vasudeva did to save his wife. The material world is complicated, and to execute one’s duties, one cannot avoid adopting such diplomacy. Vasudeva did everything possible to save his wife for the sake of begetting Kṛṣṇa. This indicates that one may act duplicitously for the purpose of saving Kṛṣṇa and His interests. According to the arrangement already foretold, Kṛṣṇa was to appear through Vasudeva and Devakī to kill Kaṁsa. Vasudeva, therefore, had to do everything to save the situation. Although all the events were prearranged by Kṛṣṇa, a devotee must try his best to serve the purpose of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa Himself is all-powerful, but it is not that a devotee should therefore sit idly and leave everything to Him. This instruction is also found in Bhagavad-gītā. Although Kṛṣṇa was doing everything for Arjuna, Arjuna never sat down idly as a nonviolent gentleman. Rather, he tried his best to fight the battle and be victorious.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 01 – Text 53

 

Mayadevi/ Durga is known in different places of the earth with different names.

“Because Kṛṣṇa and His energy appeared simultaneously, people have generally formed two groups — the śāktas and the Vaiṣṇavas — and sometimes there is rivalry between them. Essentially, those who are interested in material enjoyment are śāktas, and those interested in spiritual salvation and attaining the spiritual kingdom are Vaiṣṇavas. Because people are generally interested in material enjoyment, they are interested in worshiping Māyādevī, the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vaiṣṇavas, however, are śuddha-śāktas, or pure bhaktas, because the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra indicates worship of the Supreme Lord’s energy, Harā. A Vaiṣṇava prays to the energy of the Lord for the opportunity to serve the Lord along with His spiritual energy. Thus Vaiṣṇavas all worship such Deities as Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Sītā-Rāma, Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa and Rukmiṇī-Dvārakādhīśa, whereas durgā-śāktas worship the material energy under different names.

The names by which Māyādevī is known in different places have been listed by Vallabhācārya as follows. In Vārāṇasī she is known as Durgā, in Avantī she is known as Bhadrakālī, in Orissa she is known as Vijayā, and in Kulahāpura she is known as Vaiṣṇavī or Mahālakṣmī. (The representatives of Mahālakṣmī and Ambikā are present in Bombay.) In the country known as Kāmarūpa she is known as Caṇḍikā, in Northern India as Śāradā, and in Cape Comorin as Kanyakā. Thus she is distributed according to various names in various places.

Śrīla Vijayadhvaja Tīrthapāda, in his Pada-ratnāvalī-ṭīkā, has explained the meanings of the different representations. Māyā is known as Durgā because she is approached with great difficulty, as Bhadrā because she is auspicious, and as Kālī because she is deep blue. Because she is the most powerful energy, she is known as Vijayā; because she is one of the different energies of Viṣṇu, she is known as Vaiṣṇavī; and because she enjoys in this material world and gives facilities for material enjoyment, she is known as Kumudā. Because she is very severe to her enemies, the asuras, she is known as Caṇḍikā, and because she gives all sorts of material facilities, she is called Kṛṣṇā. In this way the material energy is differently named and situated in different places on the surface of the globe.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 02 – Text 11-12

 

There is no difference between Balrama and Lord Rama

“The son of Rohiṇī will also be celebrated as Saṅkarṣaṇa because of being sent from the womb of Devakī to the womb of Rohiṇī. He will be called Rāma because of His ability to please all the inhabitants of Gokula, and He will be known as Balabhadra because of His extensive physical strength”. These are some of the reasons why Balarāma is known as Saṅkarṣaṇa, Balarāma or sometimes Rāma. In the mahā-mantra — Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare — people sometimes object when Rāma is accepted as Balarāma. But although devotees of Lord Rāma may object, they should know that there is no difference between Balarāma and Lord Rāma. Here Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam clearly states that Balarāma is also known as Rāma (rāmeti). Therefore, it is not artificial for us to speak of Lord Balarāma as Lord Rāma. Jayadeva Gosvāmī also speaks of three Rāmas: Paraśurāma, Raghupati Rāma and Balarāma. All of them are Rāmas.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 02 – Text 13

 

Krishna conciousness favorably cultivated makes one completely happy.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has described the finest pattern of devotional service as ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam, or cultivating Kṛṣṇa consciousness favorably. Kaṁsa, of course, was also Kṛṣṇa conscious, but because he regarded Kṛṣṇa as his enemy, even though he was fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, his Kṛṣṇa consciousness was not favorable for his existence. Kṛṣṇa consciousness, favorably cultivated, makes one completely happy, so much so that a Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not consider kaivalya-sukham, or merging into the existence of Kṛṣṇa, to be a great gain. Kaivalyaṁ narakāyate. For a Kṛṣṇa conscious person, even merging into the existence of Kṛṣṇa, or Brahman, as impersonalists aspire to do, is uncomfortable. Kaivalyaṁ narakāyate tridaśa-pūr ākāśa-puṣpāyate. Karmīs hanker to be promoted to the heavenly planets, but a Kṛṣṇa conscious person considers such promotion a will-o’-the-wisp, good for nothing. Durdāntendriya-kāla-sarpa-paṭalī protkhāta-daṁṣṭrāyate. Yogīs try to control their senses and thus become happy, but a Kṛṣṇa conscious person neglects the methods of yoga. He is unconcerned with the greatest of enemies, the senses, which are compared to snakes. For a Kṛṣṇa conscious person who is cultivating Kṛṣṇa consciousness favorably, the happiness conceived by the karmīs, jñānīs and yogīs is treated as less than a fig.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 02 – Text 24

 

A devotee welcomes distress as another feature of the Lord.

Learned devotees accept even conditions of distress as representing the presence of the Supreme Lord. When a devotee is in distress, he sees that the Lord has appeared as distress just to relieve or purify the devotee from the contamination of the material world. While one is within this material world, one is in various conditions, and therefore a devotee sees a condition of distress as but another feature of the Lord. Tat te ’nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇaḥ (Bhāg. 10.14.8). A devotee, therefore, regards distress as a great favor of the Lord because he understands that he is being cleansed of contamination. Teṣām ahaṁ samuddhartā mṛtyu-saṁsāra-sāgarāt (Bg. 12.7). The appearance of distress is a negative process intended to give the devotee relief from this material world, which is called mṛtyu-saṁsāra, or the constant repetition of birth and death. To save a surrendered soul from repeated birth and death, the Lord purifies him of contamination by offering him a little distress. This cannot be understood by a nondevotee, but a devotee can see this because he is vipaścit, or learned. A nondevotee, therefore, is perturbed in distress, but a devotee welcomes distress as another feature of the Lord. Sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma. A devotee can actually see that there is only the Supreme Personality of Godhead and no second entity. Ekam evādvitīyam. There is only the Lord, who presents Himself in different energies.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 02 – Text 28

 

The acharya’s duty is to find the means by which devotees may render service.

“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, in His teachings to Rūpa Gosvāmī, said:

brahmāṇḍa bhramite kona bhāgyavān jīva
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
(Cc. Madhya 19.151)

One can achieve the seed of bhakti-latā, devotional service, by the mercy of guru and Kṛṣṇa. The duty of the guru is to find the means, according to the time, the circumstances and the candidate, by which one can be induced to render devotional service, which Kṛṣṇa accepts from a candidate who wants to be successful in going back home, back to Godhead. After wandering throughout the universe, a fortunate person within this material world seeks shelter of such a guru, or ācārya, who trains the devotee in the suitable ways to render service according to the circumstances so that the Supreme Personality of Godhead will accept the service. This makes it easier for the candidate to reach the ultimate destination. The ācārya’s duty, therefore, is to find the means by which devotees may render service according to references from śāstra. Rūpa Gosvāmī, for example, in order to help subsequent devotees, published such devotional books as Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. Thus it is the duty of the ācārya to publish books that will help future candidates take up the method of service and become eligible to return home, back to Godhead, by the mercy of the Lord. In Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, this same path is being prescribed and followed. Thus the devotees have been advised to refrain from four sinful activities — illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling — and to chant sixteen rounds a day. These are bona fide instructions. Because in the Western countries constant chanting is not possible, one should not artificially imitate Haridāsa Ṭhākura, but should follow this method. Kṛṣṇa will accept a devotee who strictly follows the regulative principles and the method prescribed in the various books and literatures published by the authorities. The ācārya gives the suitable method for crossing the ocean of nescience by accepting the boat of the Lord’s lotus feet, and if this method is strictly followed, the followers will ultimately reach the destination, by the grace of the Lord. This method is called ācārya sampradāya. It is therefore said, sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te niṣphalā matāḥ (Padma Purāṇa). The ācārya sampradāya is strictly bona fide. Therefore one must accept the ācārya sampradāya; otherwise one’s endeavor will be futile.”
Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 2 – Text 31

 

Even if devotee falls down circumstantially, Krishna gives them protection in all circumstances.

“Devotees generally do not fall down, but if circumstantially they do, the Lord, because of their strong attachment to Him, gives them protection in all circumstances. Thus even if devotees fall down, they are still strong enough to traverse the heads of their enemies. We have actually seen that our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has many opponents, such as the “deprogrammers,” who instituted a strong legal case against the devotees. We thought that this case would take a long time to settle, but because the devotees were protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we unexpectedly won the case in one day. Thus a case that was expected to continue for years was settled in a day because of the protection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has promised in Bhagavad-gītā (9.31), kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: “O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.” In history there are many instances of devotees like Citraketu, Indradyumna and Mahārāja Bharata who circumstantially fell down but were still protected. Mahārāja Bharata, for example, because of his attachment to a deer, thought of the deer at the time of death, and therefore in his next life he became a deer (yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram). Because of protection by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, the deer remembered his relationship with the Lord and next took birth in a good brahminical family and performed devotional service (śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo ’bhijāyate). Similarly, Citraketu fell down and became a demon, Vṛtrāsura, but he too was protected. Thus even if one falls down from the path of bhakti-yoga, one is ultimately saved. If a devotee is strongly situated in devotional service, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has promised to protect him (kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati). But even if a devotee circumstantially falls down, he is protected by Mādhava.

The word Mādhava is significant. Mā, mother Lakṣmī, the mother of all opulences, is always with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and if a devotee is in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all the opulences of the Lord are ready to help him.

yatra yogeśvaraḥ kṛṣṇo yatra pārtho dhanur-dharaḥ
tatra śrīr vijayo bhūtir dhruvā nītir matir mama (Bg. 18.78)

Wherever there is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, and His devotee Arjuna, Pārtha, there is victory, opulence, extraordinary power and morality. The opulences of a devotee are not a result of karma-kāṇḍa-vicāra. A devotee is always protected by all of the Supreme Lord’s opulences, of which no one can deprive him (teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham). Thus a devotee cannot be defeated by any opponents. A devotee, therefore, should not deviate knowingly from the path of devotion. The adherent devotee is assured all protection from the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 02 – Text 33

 

It has become fashionable for modern scholars and politicians to interpret Bhagavad Gita.

Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, personally appeared and left His instructions for the benefit of all human society, but fools and rascals unfortunately think of Him as an ordinary human being and twist the instructions of Bhagavad-gītā for the satisfaction of their senses. Practically everyone commenting on Bhagavad-gītā interprets it for sense gratification. It has become especially fashionable for modern scholars and politicians to interpret Bhagavad-gītā as if it were something fictitious, and by their wrong interpretations they are spoiling their own careers and the careers of others. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, however, is fighting against this principle of regarding Kṛṣṇa as a fictitious person and of accepting that there was no Battle of Kurukṣetra, that everything is symbolic, and that nothing in Bhagavad-gītā is true. In any case, if one truly wants to be successful, one can do so by reading the text of Bhagavad-gītā as it is. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu especially stressed the instructions of Bhagavad-gītā: yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa. If one wants to achieve the highest success in life, one must accept Bhagavad-gītā as spoken by the Supreme Lord. By accepting Bhagavad-gītā in this way, all of human society can become perfect and happy.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 03 – Text 45

 

In politics there are different methods of achieving success.

Devakī was the daughter of a kṣatriya and knew how to play the political game. Here we see that Devakī first focused Kaṁsa’s attention on his atrocious activities, his killing of her many sons. Then she wanted to compromise with him by saying that whatever he had done was not his fault, but was ordained by destiny. Then she appealed to him to give her the daughter as a gift. In politics there are different methods of achieving success: first repression (dama), then compromise (sāma), and then asking for a gift (dāna). Devakī first adopted the policy of repression by directly attacking Kaṁsa for having cruelly, atrociously killed her babies. Then she compromised by saying that this was not his fault, and then she begged for a gift. As we learn from the history of the Mahābhārata, or “Greater India,” the wives and daughters of the ruling class, the kṣatriyas, knew the political game, but we never find that a woman was given the post of chief executive. This is in accordance with the injunctions of Manu-saṁhitā, but unfortunately Manu-saṁhitā is now being insulted, and the Āryans, the members of Vedic society, cannot do anything. Such is the nature of Kali-yuga.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 04 – Text 05

 

We should not equate the demigods with Narayana.

“It is forbidden to compare Nārāyaṇa even to demigods like Brahmā and Śiva, what to speak of others.

yas tu nārāyaṇaṁ devaṁ brahma-rudrādi-daivataiḥ
samatvenaiva vīkṣeta sa pāṣaṇḍī bhaved dhruvam

“One who considers demigods like Brahmā and Śiva to be on an equal level with Nārāyaṇa must certainly be considered an offender.” We should not equate the demigods with Nārāyaṇa, for even Śaṅkarācārya has forbidden this (nārāyaṇaḥ paro ’vyaktāt). Also, as mentioned in the Vedas, eko nārāyaṇa āsīn na brahmā neśānaḥ: “In the beginning of creation there was only the Supreme Personality, Nārāyaṇa, and there was no existence of Brahmā or Śiva.” Therefore, one who at the end of his life remembers Nārāyaṇa attains the perfection of life (ante nārāyaṇa-smṛtiḥ).”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 13 – Text 56

 

We actually do not die.

We actually do not die. At death, we are merely kept inert for some time, just as during sleep. At night we sleep, and all our activities stop, but as soon as we arise, our memory immediately returns, and we think, “Oh, where am I? What do I have to do?” This is called suptotthita-nyāya. Suppose we die. “Die” means that we become inert for some time and then again begin our activities. This takes place life after life, according to our karma, or activities, and svabhāva, or nature by association. Now, in the human life, if we prepare ourselves by beginning the activity of our spiritual life, we return to our real life and attain perfection. Otherwise, according to karma, svabhāva, prakṛti and so on, our varieties of life and activity continue, and so also do our birth and death. As explained by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, māyāra vaśe, yāccha bhese’, khāccha hābuḍubu bhāi: “My dear brothers, why are you being washed away by the waves of māyā?” One should come to the spiritual platform, and then one’s activities will be permanent. Kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ: this stage is attained after one accumulates the results of pious activities for many, many lives. Janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate (Cc. Madhya 8.70). The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement wants to stop koṭi-janma, repeated birth and death. In one birth, one should rectify everything and come to permanent life. This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 13 – Text 58

 

The unhappiness suffered by a sincere devotee is not technically a karmic reaction.

“A devotee earnestly awaits the mercy of the Supreme Lord even while suffering the painful effects of previous sinful activities. Lord Kṛṣṇa explains in the Bhagavad-gītā that a devotee who fully surrenders unto Him is no longer liable to suffer the reactions of his previous karma. However, because in his mind a devotee may still maintain the remnants of his previous sinful mentality, the Lord removes the last vestiges of the enjoying spirit by giving His devotee punishments that may sometimes resemble sinful reactions. The purpose of the entire creation of God is to rectify the living entity’s tendency to enjoy without the Lord, and therefore the particular punishment given for a sinful activity is specifically designed to curtail the mentality that produced the activity. Although a devotee has surrendered to the Lord’s devotional service, until he is completely perfect in Kṛṣṇa consciousness he may maintain a slight inclination to enjoy the false happiness of this world. The Lord therefore creates a particular situation to eradicate this remaining enjoying spirit. This unhappiness suffered by a sincere devotee is not technically a karmic reaction; it is rather the Lord’s special mercy for inducing His devotee to completely let go of the material world and return home, back to Godhead.

A sincere devotee earnestly desires to go back to the Lord’s abode. Therefore he willingly accepts the Lord’s merciful punishment and continues offering respects and obeisances to the Lord with his heart, words and body. Such a bona fide servant of the Lord, considering all hardship a small price to pay for gaining the personal association of the Lord, certainly becomes a legitimate son of God, as indicated here by the words dāya-bhāk. Just as one cannot approach the sun without becoming fire, one cannot approach the supreme pure, Lord Kṛṣṇa, without undergoing a rigid purificatory process, which may appear like suffering but which is in fact a curative treatment administered by the personal hand of the Lord.”
Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 14 – Text 08

 

A devotee should always be attentive to executing his personal devotional service properly.

Although Lord Brahmā had prayed to take birth as a blade of grass in Vṛndāvana or even in the area surrounding Vṛndāvana, Lord Kṛṣṇa, by His silent response to Brahmā’s prayers, indicated that Brahmā should return to his own abode. First Brahmā had to complete his personal devotional service of universal creation; then he could come to Vṛndāvana and get the mercy of the inhabitants there. In other words, a devotee should always be attentive to executing his personal devotional service properly. This is more important than trying to live in the Lord’s abode.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 14 – Text 41

 

What is expanded false ego?

“Sometimes modern thinkers become puzzled when they study the psychology of moral behavior. Although every living entity is inclined toward self-preservation, as stated here, sometimes a person voluntarily sacrifices his own apparent interest through philanthropic or patriotic activities, such as giving his money for the benefit of others or giving his life for the national interest. Such so-called selfless behavior appears to contradict the principle of material self-centeredness and self-preservation.

As explained in this verse, however, a living entity serves his society, nation, family and so on only because these objects of affection represent the expanded concept of false ego. A patriot sees himself as a great servitor of a great nation, and thus he sacrifices his life to gratify his sense of egotism. Similarly, it is common knowledge that a man feels great pleasure by thinking that he is sacrificing everything to please his dear wife and children. A man derives great egotistic pleasure by seeing himself as a selfless well-wisher of his so-called family and community. Thus, to gratify his proud sense of false ego, a man is prepared even to lay down his life. This apparently contradictory behavior is yet another demonstration of the bewilderment of material life, which has neither rhyme nor reason, being a manifestation of gross ignorance of the nonmaterial soul.”
Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 14 – Text 50

 

People should learn to take advantage of the actual luminaries of the sky – instead of the glowworms’ light.

During the rainy season, in the evening there are many glowworms visible about the tops of trees, hither and thither, and they glitter just like lights. But the luminaries of the sky — the stars and the moon — are not visible. Similarly, in the Age of Kali, persons who are atheists or miscreants become very prominently visible, whereas persons who are actually following the Vedic principles for spiritual emancipation are practically obscured. This age, Kali-yuga, is compared to the cloudy season of the living entities. In this age, real knowledge is covered by the influence of the material advancement of civilization. The cheap mental speculators, atheists and manufacturers of so-called religious principles become prominent like the glowworms, whereas persons strictly following the Vedic principles or scriptural injunctions become covered by the clouds of this age. People should learn to take advantage of the actual luminaries of the sky — the sun, moon and stars — instead of the glowworms’ light. Actually, the glowworms cannot give any light in the darkness of night. As clouds sometimes clear, even in the rainy season, and sometimes the moon, stars and sun become visible, so even in this Kali-yuga there are sometimes advantages. The Vedic movement of Lord Caitanya — the distribution of the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra — is understood in this way. People seriously eager to find real light should take advantage of this movement instead of looking toward the light of mental speculators and atheists.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 20 – Text 08

 

What is bondage for the ordinary creature is freedom for the Personality of Godhead.

“Sometimes, in addition to the roaring thunder of the clouds, there is an appearance of a rainbow, which stands as a bow without a string. Actually, a bow is in the curved position because it is tied at its two ends by the bowstring; but in the rainbow there is no such string, and yet it rests in the sky so beautifully. Similarly, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead descends to this material world, He appears just like an ordinary human being, but He is not resting on any material condition. In the Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord says that He appears by His internal potency, which is free from the bondage of the external potency. What is bondage for the ordinary creature is freedom for the Personality of Godhead.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 20 – Text 18

 

Self-realization is a state not of desirelessness but rather of purified desires.

Unless one has achieved an advanced degree of devotion, one cannot fix the mind and intelligence on Kṛṣṇa, since Kṛṣṇa is pure spiritual existence. Self-realization is a state not of desirelessness but rather of purified desire, wherein one desires only the pleasure of Lord Kṛṣṇa. The gopīs were certainly attracted to Kṛṣṇa in a mood of conjugal love, and yet, having fixed their minds and indeed their entire existence completely on Kṛṣṇa, their conjugal desire could never manifest as material lust; rather, it became the most exalted form of love of Godhead ever seen within the universe.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 22 – Text 26

 

The choice we make will determine our future.

“If one accepts the existence of karma as a system of laws awarding reactions for our present activities, then we ourselves, according to our nature, will decide our future. Our happiness and distress in this life have already been adjudicated and fixed according to our previous activities, and not even the demigods can change that. They must award us the prosperity or poverty, sickness or health, happiness or distress due us by our previous work. However, we still retain the freedom to select a pious or impious mode of activity in this life, and the choice we make will determine our future suffering and enjoyment.

For example, if I was pious in my last life, in this life the demigods may award me great material wealth. But I am free to spend my riches for good or for bad purposes, and my choice will determine my future life. Thus, although no one can change the karmic results due him in this life, everyone still retains his free will, by which he determines what his future situation will be.”
Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 24 – Text 15

 

Lord Krishna is free from the modes of nature.

“The word śāntam means “always in the same form.” Śāntam can also mean “undisturbed, free from passion, or purified.” According to Vedic philosophy, all change in this world is caused by the influence of passion and ignorance. The passionate mode is creative, and the ignorant mode is destructive, whereas the mode of goodness, sattva, is serene and sustaining. In many ways this verse emphasizes that Lord Kṛṣṇa is free from the modes of nature. The words viśuddha-sattvam, śāntam, dhvasta-rajas-tamaskam and guṇa-sampravāho na vidyate te all indicate this. Unlike Kṛṣṇa, we change from one body to another because of our involvement with the modes of nature; the various transformations of material forms are impelled by the modes of nature, which are themselves set in motion by the influence of time. Therefore one who is free from the material modes of nature is changeless and eternally satisfied in blissful spiritual existence. Thus the word śāntam indicates that the Lord is undisturbed by change, since He is free from the material modes of nature.
So”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 27 – Text 04

 

What is Svarupa?

“The word svarūpa means “one’s own form or shape” and also “one’s own condition, character or nature.” Since Lord Kṛṣṇa, being pure spirit, is nondifferent from His body, there is absolutely no difference between the Lord and His visible form. By contrast, in this material world we conditioned souls are all distinctly different from our bodies, whether those bodies be male, female, black, white or whatever. All of us are eternal souls, different from our temporary, flimsy bodies.

When the word svarūpa is applied to us, it especially indicates our spiritual form, because our “own form” is in fact our “own condition, character or nature” eternally. Thus the liberated condition in which one’s outward form is one’s deepest spiritual nature is called svarūpa. Primarily, however, this term refers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 27 – Text 04

 

The Lord’s body illuminates our consciousness with perfect knowledge.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī has translated tapo-mayam as “full of knowledge.” The word tapas, generally indicating “austerity,” is derived from the Sanskrit verb tap, whose meaning can be summarized as indicating the various functions of the sun. Tap means “to burn, to shine, to heat and so on.” The Supreme Lord is eternally perfect, and therefore here tapo-mayam does not indicate that His transcendental body is meant for austerities, since austerities are performed by conditioned souls to purify themselves or to acquire a particular power. An omnipotent, perfect being neither purifies Himself nor acquires power: He is eternally pure and all-powerful. Therefore Śrīdhara Svāmī has intelligently understood that in this case the word tapas refers to the illuminating function of the sun and thus indicates that the Lord’s self-effulgent body is omniscient. Light is a common symbol of knowledge. The Lord’s spiritual effulgence does not merely illuminate physically, as in the case of a candle or light bulb; more importantly, the Lord’s body illuminates our consciousness with perfect knowledge because the Lord’s effulgence is itself perfect knowledge.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 27 – Text 04

 

When the conditioned soul decides to associate with the material qualities, he becomes contaminated by those qualities.

“When the conditioned soul decides to associate with the material qualities, he becomes contaminated by those qualities. As stated in the Gītā (13.22), kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya sad-asad-yoni-janmasu. For example, in the presence of a seductive woman, a man may give in to his lower instincts and try to enjoy sex with her. By his deciding to associate with the lower qualities of nature, those qualities manifest in him very powerfully. He is overwhelmed with lust and driven to try again and again to satisfy his burning desire. Because his mind has been infected by lust, all that he does, thinks and speaks will be influenced by his strong attachment to sex. In other words, by choosing to associate with the lusty qualities of nature, he has caused them to powerfully manifest within himself, and eventually those lusty qualities themselves will cause him to accept another material body suitable for affairs governed by those qualities.

The lower qualities, such as lust, greed, anger and envy, are abudha-liṅga-bhāvāḥ, symptoms of ignorance. Indeed, as indicated by Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī in his commentary, the manifestation of the modes of nature is synonymous with the manifestation of a particular material body. It is clearly explained throughout the Vedic literature that the conditioned soul receives a particular body, gives it up and then accepts another simply because of his involvement with the modes of nature (kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya). Thus to say that one is participating in the modes of nature is to say that one is accepting particular types of bodies suitable for the particular material qualities one is involved with.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 27 – Text 05

 

The people in the democratic nations of the world should elect Krishna concious leaders.

“Nowadays, governments in the Western countries tend to be elected democratically, and thus the mass of people become identified with the destiny of their leaders. When the proud leaders engage in violence, the people who elected them bear the brunt of such belligerent decisions. Thus the people in the democratic nations of the world should elect Kṛṣṇa conscious leaders, who will establish an administration consonant with the laws of God. If they fail to do so, their materialistic leaders, oblivious of the will of the Supreme Lord, will undoubtedly be chastised by cataclysmic events, and the people, who elected such leaders, being responsible for their leaders’ acts, will share in the suffering.

It is ironic that in modern democracies not only do the leaders consider themselves universal controllers, but the mass of people, considering the leaders merely their representatives rather than the representatives of God, also consider themselves, as a people, to be the controllers of their nation. Thus the chastisement mentioned in this verse has become unprecedentedly applicable to people in general in the modern world.

Modern man should not simply make himself a lesson of nature by falling down from his proud position; rather he should submissively execute the will of the all-attractive Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and usher in a new era of sanity, tranquillity and widespread enlightenment.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 27 – Text 07

 

All indirect authorities become obsolete when one is directly in touch with the Absolute truth.

“Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Soul of all souls, their dearmost friend and well-wisher. As stated in the Eleventh Canto of the Bhāgavatam (11.5.41):

devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāṁ pitṝṇāṁ na kiṅkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan
sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ gato mukundaṁ parihṛtya kartam

“O King, one who has given up all material duties and has taken full shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, who offers shelter to all, is not indebted to the demigods, great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives, friends, mankind or even one’s forefathers who have passed away. Since all such classes of living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, one who has surrendered to the Lord’s service has no need to serve such persons separately.” Authority descends from the author of all existence, the Supreme Lord. Natural figures of authority such as husbands, mothers, government leaders and sages gain their power and authority from the Supreme Lord and should thus represent the Absolute Truth to those who follow them. If one wholeheartedly engages in loving service to the original, Supreme Truth, one need not indirectly serve the Absolute Truth through the above-mentioned secondary authorities. All indirect authorities become obsolete when one is directly in touch with the Absolute Truth.

However, a soul surrendered to God, continues to serve the spiritual master, who is a direct, not an indirect, representative of the Supreme Lord. A bona fide ācārya, or spiritual master, is the transparent medium leading the disciple to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 29 – Text 32

 

The Absolute cannot lack any of the beautiful things of this world.

“Lord Kṛṣṇa acts on the liberated platform of spiritual self-satisfaction. This fact is indicated by the terms ātma-rata, ātmārāma and akhaṇḍita. It is inconceivable to ordinary people that a handsome young boy and a beautiful young girl enjoying romantic conjugal affairs in the forest moonlight can be engaging in pure activity, free from egoistic desire and lust. Yet while Lord Kṛṣṇa is inconceivable to ordinary persons, those who love Him can easily realize the absolute, pure nature of His activities.

One may argue that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and that therefore the devotees of Kṛṣṇa are only imagining the Lord’s activities to be pure. This argument ignores many significant facts. For one, the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, of developing love for Kṛṣṇa, demands that a devotee strictly follow four regulative principles: no illicit sex, no gambling, no intoxication and no eating of meat, fish or eggs. When one is freed from material lust and rises to the liberated platform, beyond material desire, one realizes the absolute beauty of Lord Kṛṣṇa. This process is not theoretical: it has been practiced and completed by many thousands of great sages, who have left us their shining example and their brilliant teachings concerning the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Certainly beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, real beauty is perceived by the soul’s eye and not by the lusty eye of the material body. Therefore the Vedic literature repeatedly stresses that only those freed from material desire can see the beauty of Lord Kṛṣṇa with the eye of the pure soul, anointed with love of Godhead. It may finally be noted that upon realizing the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa one becomes free of all tinges of sex desire, a state of mind that can hardly result from meditating upon material sexual affairs.

The conjugal pastimes of Kṛṣṇa perfectly round out His qualification as the Supreme Absolute Truth. The Vedānta states that the Absolute Truth is the source of everything, so certainly the Absolute cannot lack any of the beautiful things of this world. It is only because romantic affairs exist in a pure, spiritual form in the Absolute that they can manifest in a perverted, material form in this world. Thus the apparent beauty of this world is not to be absolutely rejected; rather, beauty should be accepted in its pure, spiritual form.

Since the beginning of time men and women have been inspired to poetic rapture by the art of romance. Unfortunately, romance in this world usually leads to crushing disappointment, brought about by a change of heart or by death. Thus although we may at first find romantic affairs beautiful and enjoyable, they are eventually spoiled by the onslaught of material nature. Still, it is unreasonable to totally reject the concept of romance. Rather, we should accept conjugal attraction in its absolute, perfect, pure form, as it exists within God, without a tinge of material lust or selfishness.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 30 – Text 34

 

A sincere devotee always prays to the Lord “Please help me to love You purely”.

Lord Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham: “As people approach Me, I reciprocate with them accordingly.” Yet even if the Lord is approached by someone with devotion, to intensify the devotee’s love the Lord may not immediately reciprocate fully. In fact, the Lord is truly reciprocating. After all, a sincere devotee always prays to the Lord, “Please help me to love You purely.” Therefore the Lord’s so-called neglect is actually the fulfillment of the devotee’s prayer. Lord Kṛṣṇa intensifies our love for Him by apparently separating Himself from us, and the result is that we achieve what we really wanted and prayed for: intense love for the Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa. Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa’s apparent negligence is actually His thoughtful reciprocation and the fulfillment of our deepest and purest desire.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 32 – Text 20

 

Those who are empowered by the Lord’s illusory potency are in an indirect relationship with Krishna.

“Reality is ultimately personal and divine, and therefore it is not surprising that, as the Vedic literature reveals to us, our universe and other universes are managed by great personalities, just as our city, state and country are managed by empowered personalities. When we democratically award a particular politician the right to govern, we vote for him because he has exhibited something we call “leadership” or “ability.” We think, “He’ll get the job done.” In other words, it is only after an individual acquires the power to govern that we vote for him; our vote does not make him a leader but rather recognizes a power in him coming from some other source. Thus, as Lord Kṛṣṇa explains at the end of the Tenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-gītā, any living being exhibiting an extraordinary power, ability or authority must have been empowered by the Lord Himself or by the Lord’s energy.

Those directly empowered by the Lord are devoted to Him, and thus their power and influence spread goodness throughout the world, whereas those who are empowered by the Lord’s illusory potency are in an indirect relationship with Kṛṣṇa because they do not directly reflect His will. Of course, they do reflect His will indirectly, since it is by Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement that the laws of nature act upon ignorant living beings, gradually persuading them, through their journey of many lifetimes, to surrender to the Supreme Lord. Thus as politicians create wars, false hopes and innumerable passionate schemes for the materialistic persons who follow them, the politicians are indirectly carrying out the Lord’s program of allowing the conditioned souls to experience the bitter fruit of godlessness.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 33 – Text 31

 

The gopi’s are the internal energy of the Lord and can never belong to any other living being.

“Because the gopīs loved Kṛṣṇa exclusively, Yoga-māyā protected their relationship with the Lord at all times, even though they were married. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī quotes from the Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi as follows:

māyā-kalpita-tādṛk-strī śīlanenānusūyubhiḥ
na jātu vrajadevīnāṁ patibhiḥ saha saṅgamaḥ

“The gopīs’ jealous husbands consorted not with their wives but with doubles manufactured by Māyā. Thus these men never actually had any intimate contact with the divine ladies of Vraja.” The gopīs are the internal energy of the Lord and can never belong to any other living being. Kṛṣṇa arranged their apparent marriage to other men simply to create the excitement of parakīya-rasa, the love between a married woman and her paramour. These activities are absolutely pure because they are the Lord’s pastimes, and saintly persons since time immemorial have relished these supreme spiritual events.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 33 – Text 37

 

This world belongs to God and is therefore not meant for our selfish gratification.

“The false concept of separation from the Lord is described in the Eleventh Canto of the Bhāgavatam (11.2.37): bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syād īśād apetasya viparyayo ’smṛtiḥ. Although all existence emanates from the Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa, we imagine a “second thing,” this material world, to be entirely separate from the Lord’s existence. With this mentality, we try to exploit that “second thing” for our sense gratification. Thus the psychological underpinning of material life is the illusion that this world is somehow separate from God and therefore meant for our enjoyment.

It is ironic that the impersonal philosophers, in their radical renunciation of this world, claim it to be utterly false and totally separate from the Absolute. Unfortunately, this artificial attempt to divest this world of its divine nature, or, in other words, its relation to God, does not lead people to utterly reject it but rather to try to enjoy it. While it is true that this world is temporary and thus in one sense illusory, the mechanism of illusion is a spiritual potency of the Supreme Lord. Realizing this, we should immediately desist from any attempt to exploit this world; rather, we should recognize it as God’s energy. We will actually give up our material desires only when we understand that this world belongs to God and is therefore not meant for our selfish gratification.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 38 – Text 11

 

The ten effects of cupid.

“The ten effects of Cupid are described as follows: cakṣū-rāgaḥ prathamaṁ cittāsaṅgas tato ’tha saṅkalpaḥ nidrā-cchedas tanutā viṣaya-nivṛttis trapā-nasaḥ/ unmādo mūrcchā mṛtir ity etāḥ smara-daśā daśaiva syuḥ. “First comes attraction expressed through the eyes, then intense attachment in the mind, then determination, loss of sleep, becoming emaciated, disinterest in external things, shamelessness, madness, becoming stunned and death. These are the ten stages of Cupid’s effects.”

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī also points out that devotees who possess pure love of Godhead generally do not exhibit the symptom of death, since this is inauspicious in relation to Kṛṣṇa. They do, however, manifest the other nine symptoms, culminating in becoming stunned in ecstasy.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 42 – Text 14

 

Modern scholars are eager to confirm their pet theories that ancient spiritual wisdom is primitive and mythical.

“Western scholars sometimes think that references in ancient books of wisdom to the deity of the ocean, the deity of the sun and so on reveal a primitive, mythical way of thinking. They sometimes say that primitive men think that the ocean is a god or that the sun and moon are gods. In fact, references such as the word sindhu in this verse, meaning “the ocean,” indicate the person who governs that aspect of physical nature.

We can give several modern examples. In the United Nations we may say, “The United States votes ‘Yes,’ the Soviet Union votes ‘No.’” We hardly mean that the physical countries or the buildings in them have voted. We mean that a particular person, representing that political and geographical entity, has voted. Yet the newspapers will simply say, “The United States voted, decided, etc.” and everyone knows what that means.

Similarly, in business we may say, “A large conglomerate has swallowed up a smaller firm.” We hardly mean that the buildings, office equipment and the like have physically swallowed another building full of workers and office equipment. We mean that the empowered authorities have engaged in a particular act on behalf of their respective corporate entities.

Unfortunately, modern scholars are eager to confirm their pet theories that ancient spiritual wisdom is primitive, mythic and largely supplanted by more modern ways of thinking, exemplified by their own eloquent remarks. However, much in modern scholarship must be rethought in the light of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 45 – Text 38

 

How one can attain devotional service unto Lord Krishna?

Devotional service unto Lord Kṛṣṇa is attained by charity (Dāna: donations given to Lord Viṣṇu and His devotees), strict vows (Vrata: observing vows such as Ekādaśī), austerities (Tapas: renunciation of sense gratification for Kṛṣṇa’s sake) and fire sacrifices (Homa: fire sacrifices dedicated to Viṣṇu), by japa (privately chanting the holy names of the Lord), study of Vedic texts (Svādhyāya: study and recitation of Vedic texts such as the Gopāla-tāpanī Upaniṣad), observance of regulative principles and, indeed, by the performance of many other auspicious practices.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 47 – Text 24

 

Why the Lord appears to take birth like a human being?

Here Akrūra states two reasons why the Lord appears to be covered by a material form, or to take birth like a human being. First, when Lord Kṛṣṇa executes His pastimes, His loving devotees think of Him as their beloved child, friend, lover and so on. In the ecstasy of this loving reciprocation, they do not think of Kṛṣṇa as God. For example, because of her extraordinary love for Him, mother Yaśodā worries that Kṛṣṇa will be injured in the forest. That she feels this way is the desire of the Lord, which is here indicated by the word nikāmaḥ. The second reason the Lord may appear material is indicated by the word avivekaḥ: Simply because of ignorance, a lack of discrimination, one may misunderstand the position of the Personality of Godhead. In the Eleventh Canto of the Bhāgavatam, in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s discussion with Śrī Uddhava, the Lord elaborately discusses His transcendental position beyond bondage and liberation. As stated in Vedic literature, deha-dehi-vibhago yaṁ neśvare vidyate kvacit: “There is never a distinction of body and soul in the Supreme Lord.” In other words, Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s body is eternal, spiritual, omniscient and the reservoir of all pleasure.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 48 – Text 22

 

The Lord is like a herdsman.

The universe is created to gradually rectify the contaminated souls trying to exploit material nature. The Lord moves the conditioned souls along, according to their karma, through the various stages of spiritual rectification. Thus the Lord is like a herdsman (the word paśu-pāla literally means “protector of animals”), who moves the creatures under his protection to various pastures and watering spots in order to protect them and sustain them. A further analogy is that of a doctor, who moves the patient under his care to various areas of a hospital for diverse kinds of examination and treatment. Similarly, the Lord brings us through the network of material existence in a gradual cleansing process so that we can enjoy our eternal life of bliss and knowledge as His enlightened associates.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 51 – Text 19

 

Our real home is in the kingdom of God.

“Our real home is in the kingdom of God. Despite our tenacious determination to remain in our material home, death will rudely eject us from the theater of material affairs. To stay at home is not bad, nor is it bad to devote ourselves to our loved ones. But we must understand that our real home is eternal, in the spiritual kingdom.

The word ayatnataḥ indicates that human life has been automatically awarded to us. We have not constructed our human bodies, and therefore we should not foolishly claim, “This body is mine.” The human form is a gift of God and should be used to achieve the perfection of God consciousness. One who does not understand this is asan-mati, possessed of dull, mundane understanding.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 51 – Text 46

 

Why Lord Krishna took Satyabhama to the heavenly planets and not other wifes.

“The ācāryas have explained in various plausible ways why Lord Kṛṣṇa took His wife Satyabhāmā with Him. Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī begins by saying that the Lord wanted to give His adventurous wife a novel experience and thus took her to the scene of this extraordinary battle. Also, Lord Kṛṣṇa had once granted the blessing to Bhūmi, the earth-goddess, that He would not kill her demoniac son without her permission. Since Bhūmi is an expansion of Satyabhāmā, the latter could authorize Kṛṣṇa to do the needful with the unusually nasty Bhaumāsura.

Finally, Satyabhāmā had been miffed when Nārada Muni brought a celestial pārijāta flower to Queen Rukmiṇī. To pacify Satyabhāmā, Lord Kṛṣṇa had promised her, “I’ll give you a whole tree of these flowers,” and thus the Lord scheduled this procurement of a heavenly tree within His itinerary.

Even nowadays devoted husbands take their wives shopping, and thus Lord Kṛṣṇa took Satyabhāmā to the heavenly planets to get a heavenly tree, as well as to retrieve the goods Bhaumāsura had stolen and return them to their rightful owners.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī notes that in the heat of battle Queen Satyabhāmā would naturally become anxious for Lord Kṛṣṇa’s safety and pray for the battle to end. Thus she would readily give permission to Kṛṣṇa to kill the son of her expansion, Bhūmi.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 59 – Text 2-3

 

Lord Krishna is not merely a supreme being; He is the absolute being.

““The conception of God and the conception of the Absolute Truth are not on the same level. The Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam hits on the target of the Absolute Truth. The conception of God indicates the controller, whereas the conception of the Absolute Truth indicates the summum bonum, or the ultimate source of all energies.” Here Śrīla Prabhupāda touches upon a fundamental philosophical point. God is commonly defined as “the supreme being,” and the dictionary defines supreme as (1) highest in rank, power, authority, etc; (2) highest in quality, achievement, performance, etc; (3) highest in degree; and (4) final, ultimate. None of these definitions adequately indicates absolute existence.

For example, we may say that a particular American is supremely wealthy in the sense that he is wealthier than any other American, or we may speak of the Supreme Court as the highest court in the land, although it certainly does not have absolute authority in all political and social matters, since it shares authority in these fields with the legislature and the president. In other words, the word supreme indicates the best in a hierarchy, and thus the supreme being may merely be understood as the best or greatest of all beings but not as the very source of all other beings and, indeed, of everything that exists. Thus Śrīla Prabhupāda specifically points out that the concept of the Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa, is higher than the concept of a supreme being, and this point is essential to a clear understanding of Vaiṣṇava philosophy.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 60 – Text 37

 

Why is the Lord perceived differently by different persons, although He is one?

By the agency of Māyā, the Lord’s external potency, material nature is in a constant state of transformation, vikāra. In one sense, then, material nature is “unreal,” asat. But because God is the supreme reality, and because He is present within all things and all things are His potency, material objects and energies possess a degree of reality. Therefore some people see one aspect of material energy and think, “This is reality,” while other people see a different aspect of material energy and think, “No, that is reality.” Being conditioned souls, we are covered by different configurations of material nature, and thus we describe the Supreme Truth or the Supreme Lord in terms of our corrupted vision. Yet even the covering qualities of material nature, such as our conditioned intelligence, mind and senses, are real (being the potency of the Supreme Lord), and therefore through all things we can perceive, in a more or less subjective way, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is why the present verse states, pratīyase: “You are perceived.” Furthermore, without the manifestation of material nature’s covering qualities, the creation could not fulfill its purpose — namely, to allow the conditioned souls to make their best attempt to enjoy without God so that they will finally understand the futility of such an illusory notion.
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 63 – Text 38

 

Appropriate enjoyment comes as a by-product of service to God.

“Being the direct witness in the hearts of all living beings, Lord Kṛṣṇa fully understood why Sudāmā had come to see Him. Thus He thought, “In the past My friend has never worshiped Me out of a desire for material opulence, but now he comes to Me to satisfy his chaste and devoted wife. I will give him riches that even the immortal demigods cannot obtain.” But someone may point out that Sudāmā should not have been so poverty-stricken, since appropriate enjoyment comes as a by-product of service to God even for a devotee who has no ulterior motives. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (9.22):

ananyāś cintayanto māṁ ye janāḥ paryupāsate
teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham

“But those who always worship Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form — to them I carry what they lack, and I preserve what they have.”

In response to this point, a distinction must be made between two kinds of renounced devotees: one kind is inimical to sense gratification, and the other is indifferent to it. The Supreme Lord does not force sense gratification upon the devotee who is extremely averse to worldly enjoyments. This is seen among such great renouncers as Jaḍa Bharata. On the other hand, the Lord may give limitless wealth and power to a devotee who is neither repelled nor attracted by material things, such as Prahlāda Mahārāja. Up to this point in his life, Sudāmā Brāhmaṇa was totally averse to sense gratification, but now, out of compassion for his faithful wife — and also because he hankered to have Kṛṣṇa’s audience — he went to beg from the Lord.”
Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 81 – Text 6-7

 

Five levels of ego covering the self.

““Within the body there are five different departments of existence, known as anna-maya, prāṇa-maya, mano-maya, vijñāna-maya, and at last ānanda-maya. [These are enumerated in the Brahmānanda-vallī of the Taittirīya Upaniṣad.] In the beginning of life, every living entity is food conscious. A child or an animal is satisfied only by getting nice food. This stage of consciousness, in which the goal is to eat sumptuously, is called anna-maya. Anna means ‘food.’ After this one lives in the consciousness of being alive. If one can continue his life without being attacked or destroyed, one thinks himself happy. This stage is called prāṇa-maya, or consciousness of one’s existence. After this stage, when one is situated on the mental platform, that consciousness is called mano-maya. The material civilization is primarily situated in these three stages — annamaya, prāṇa-maya and mano-maya. The first concern of civilized persons is economic development, the next concern is defense against being annihilated, and the next consciousness is mental speculation, the philosophical approach to the values of life.

“If by the evolutionary process of philosophical life one happens to reach the platform of intellectual life and understands that he is not this material body but is a spirit soul, he is situated in the vijñāna-maya stage. Then, by evolution of spiritual life, he comes to understand the Supreme Lord, or the Supreme Soul. When one develops his relationship with Him and executes devotional service, that stage of life is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the ānanda-maya stage. Ānanda-maya is the blissful life of knowledge and eternity. As it is said in the Vedānta-sūtra, ānanda-mayo ’bhyāsāt. The Supreme Brahman and the subordinate Brahman, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entities, are both joyful by nature. As long as the living entities are situated in the lower four stages of life — anna-maya, prāṇa-maya, mano-maya and vijñāna-maya — they are considered to be in the material condition of life, but as soon as one reaches the stage of ānanda-maya, he becomes a liberated soul. This ānanda-maya stage is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā as the brahma-bhūta stage. There it is said that in the brahma-bhūta stage of life there is no anxiety and no hankering. This stage begins when one becomes equally disposed toward all living entities, and it then expands to the stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, in which one hankers to render service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This hankering for advancement in devotional service is not the same as hankering for sense gratification in material existence. In other words, hankering remains in spiritual life, but it becomes purified. When our senses are purified, they become freed from all material stages, namely anna-maya, prāṇa-maya, mano-maya and vijñāna-maya, and they become situated in the highest stage — ānanda-maya, or blissful life in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

“The Māyāvādī philosophers consider ānanda-maya to be the state of being merged in the Supreme. To them, ānanda-maya means that the Supersoul and the individual soul become one. But the real fact is that oneness does not mean merging into the Supreme and losing one’s own individual existence. Merging into the spiritual existence is the living entity’s realization of qualitative oneness with the Supreme Lord in His aspects of eternity and knowledge. But the actual ānanda-maya (blissful) stage is attained when one is engaged in devotional service. That is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā: mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām. The brahma-bhūta ānanda-maya stage is complete only when there is the exchange of love between the Supreme and the subordinate living entities. Unless one comes to this ānanda-maya stage of life, his breathing is like the breathing of a bellows in a blacksmith’s shop, his duration of life is like that of a tree, and he is no better than the lower animals like the camels, hogs and dogs.””
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 87 – Text 17

 

The Paramatma is not bound by karmic entanglement as the jiva is.

In accompanying the jīva within the coverings of Māyā, the Paramātmā is not bound by karmic entanglement as the jīva is. Rather, the Supreme Soul’s connection with these coverings is like the apparent connection between the moon and some tree branches it is seen through. The Supersoul is sad-asataḥ param, always transcendental to the subtle and gross manifestations of anna-maya and so on, although He enters among them as the sanctioning witness of all activities. As their final cause, the Supersoul is in one sense identical with the manifest products of creation, but in His original identity (svarūpa) He remains distinct.
Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 87 – Text 17

 

Authentic methods of yoga, all aim at meditation on the Supersoul (Paramatma).

“The various processes of yoga are for the most part gradual and full of opportunities for distraction. Authentic methods of yoga, nonetheless, all aim at meditation on the Supersoul (Paramātmā), whose primary residence is in the region of the heart, alongside the jīva soul. This manifestation of Paramātmā in the heart is very subtle and difficult to perceive (daharam), and thus only advanced yogīs can realize Him there.

Neophyte meditators often practice focusing on the Supersoul’s secondary presence in one of the lower centers of vital energy, such as the mūlādhāra-cakra, at the base of the spine, the svādhiṣṭhāna-cakra, in the area of the navel, or the maṇipūra-cakra, in the abdomen. Lord Kṛṣṇa refers to His expansion as Paramātmā in the abdominal cakra as follows:

ahaṁ vaiśvānaro bhūtvā prāṇinaṁ deham āsthitaḥ
prāṇāpāna-samāyuktaḥ pacāmy annaṁ catur-vidham

“I am the fire of digestion in the bodies of all living entities, and I join with the air of life, outgoing and incoming, to digest the four kinds of food.” (Bg. 15.14) Lord Vaiśvānara presides over digestion and in general bestows the capacity of mobility on animals, humans and demigods. In the judgment of the śrutis speaking this verse, those who limit their meditation to this form of the Lord are less intelligent, kūrpa-dṛśaḥ, meaning literally “having eyes clouded by dust.”

The superior yogīs known as Āruṇis, on the other hand, worship the Supersoul in His form as the indwelling companion of the jīva in the heart, the Lord who endows His dependent with the power of knowledge and inspires him with all varieties of practical intelligence. And just as the physical heart is the center of blood circulation, so the subtle heartcakra is the crossroads of numerous channels of prāṇa, called nāḍīs, which extend outward to all parts of the body. When these passageways have been sufficiently purified, the Āruṇi yogīs can leave the heart region and go upward to the cakra at the roof of the brain. Yogīs who leave their bodies through this cakra, the brahma-randhra, go directly to the kingdom of God, from which they need never return to be reborn. Thus even the unsure process of meditational yoga can bear the fruit of pure devotion if it is followed perfectly.

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura cites several śruti-mantras that echo the words of this verse: udaraṁ brahmeti śārkarākṣā upāsate hṛdayaṁ brahmeti āruṇayo brahmā haivaitā ita ūrdhvaṁ tv evodasarpat tac-chiro ’śrayate. “Those whose vision is clouded identify Brahman with the abdomen, while the Āruṇis worship Brahman in the heart. One who is truly Brahman-realized travels upward from the heart to take shelter of the Lord who is manifested at the top of the head.”

śataṁ caikā ca hṛdayasya nāḍyas tāsāṁ mūrdhānam abhiniḥsṛtaikā
tayordhvam āyann amṛtatvam eti viśvaṅṅ anyā utkramaṇe bhavanti

“There are one hundred and one subtle prāṇic channels emanating from the heart. One of these — the suṣumṇā — extends to the top of the head. Bypassing up through this channel, one transcends death. The other channels lead in all directions, to various kinds of rebirth.” (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 8.6.6)

The Upaniṣads refer repeatedly to the indwelling Paramātmā. Śrī Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad (3.12-13) describes Him as follows:

mahān prabhur vai puruṣaḥ sattvasyaiṣa pravartakaḥ
su-nirmalāṁ imāṁ prāptim īśāno jyotir avyayaḥ
aṅguṣṭha-mātraḥ puruṣo ’ntar-ātmā sadā janānāṁ hṛdaye sanniviṣṭaḥ
hṛdā manīṣā manasābhikḷpto ya etad vidur amṛtās te bhavanti

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes the Puruṣa to initiate the expansion of this cosmos. He is the perfectly pure goal that yogīs strive to reach, the effulgent and infallible ultimate controller. Measuring the size of a thumb, the Puruṣa is always present as the Supersoul within the hearts of all living beings. By exercising proper intelligence, one can realize Him within the heart; those who learn this method will gain immortality.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 87 – Text 18

 

The human body is the ideal facility for reviving one’s spiritual consciousness.

“Displaying their compassion for such foolish materialists, the personified Vedas advise them in this prayer to remember the real purpose for which they exist: to serve the Lord, their greatest well-wisher, with loving devotion. The human body is the ideal facility for reviving one’s spiritual consciousness; its organs — ears, tongue, eyes and so on — are quite suitable for hearing about the Lord, chanting His glories, worshiping Him and performing all the other essential aspects of devotional service.

One’s material body is destined to remain intact for only a short time, and so it is called kulāyam, subject to “dissolving into the earth” (kau līyate). Nonetheless, if properly utilized it can be one’s best friend. When one is immersed in material consciousness, however, the body becomes a false friend, distracting the bewildered living entity from his true self-interest. Persons too much infatuated with their own bodies and those of their spouses, children, pets and so on are in fact misdirecting their devotion to the worship of illusion, asad-upāsanā. In this way, as the śrutis state here, such people commit spiritual suicide, insuring future punishment for failing to carry out the higher responsibilities of human existence. As the Īśopaniṣad (3) declares:

asuryā nāma te lokā andhena tamasāvṛtāḥ
tāṁs te pretyābhigacchanti ye ke cātma-hano janāḥ

“The killer of the soul, whoever he may be, must enter into the planets known as the worlds of the faithless, full of darkness and ignorance.”

Those who are overly attached to sense gratification, or who worship the impermanent in the form of false, materialistic scriptures and philosophies, maintain desires that carry them into more degraded bodies in each successive life. Since they are entrapped in the perpetually rotating cycle of saṁsāra, their only hope for salvation is getting a chance to hear the merciful instructions spoken by the Supreme Lord’s devotees.”
Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 87 – Text 22

 

Orthodox philosophies of Vedic tradition.

“Of the six orthodox philosophies of Vedic tradition — Sāṅkhya, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Mīmāṁsā and Vedānta — only the Vedānta of Bādarāyaṇa Vyāsa is free of error, and even that only as properly explained by the bona fide Vaiṣṇava ācāryas. Each of the six schools, nonetheless, makes some practical contribution to Vedic education: atheistic Sāṅkhya explains the evolution of natural elements from subtle to gross, Patañjali’s yoga describes the eightfold method of meditation, Nyāya sets forth the techniques of logic, Vaiśeṣika considers the basic metaphysical categories of reality, and Mīmāṁsā establishes the standard tools of scriptural interpretation. Apart from these six, there are also the more deviant philosophies of the Buddhists, Jains and Cārvākas, whose theories of voidism and materialism deny the spiritual integrity of the eternal soul.

Ultimately, the only perfectly reliable source of knowledge is God Himself. The Personality of Godhead is avabodha-rasa, the infinite reservoir of unfailing vision. To those who depend on Him with absolute conviction, He grants the divine eye of knowledge. Others, following their own speculative theories, must grope for the truth through the obscuring curtain of Māyā.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 87 – Text 25

 

The marginal position of the jiva soul.

“The Personality of Godhead and His emanations, such as the jīva souls, are simultaneously different and nondifferent, just like the sun and its expanding rays. There are more jīvas than anyone can count, and each of them is eternally alive with consciousness, as the śrutis confirm: nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām. (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 5.13 and Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.13) When they are sent forth from the body of Mahā-Viṣṇu at the beginning of material creation, the jīvas are all equal in the sense that they are all atomic particles of the Lord’s marginal energy. But according to their differing conditions, they divide into four groups: Some are covered by ignorance, which obscures their vision like a cloud. Others become liberated from ignorance through a combination of knowledge and devotion. A third group of souls become endowed with pure devotion, with a slight mixture of desire for speculative knowledge and fruitive activity. Those souls attain purified bodies composed of perfect knowledge and bliss with which they can engage in the Lord’s service. Finally, there are those who are devoid of any connection with ignorance; these are the Lord’s eternal associates. The marginal position of the jīva soul is described in the Nārada Pañcarātra:

yat taṭa-sthaṁ tu cid-rūpaṁ sva-saṁvedyād vinirgatam
rañjitaṁ guṇa-rāgeṇa sa jīva iti kathyate

“The taṭa-stha potency should be understood as emanating from the Lord’s saṁvit [knowledge] energy. This emanation, called the jīva, becomes conditioned by the qualities of material nature.” Because the minute jīva lives within the margin between the Lord’s external, illusory potency, Māyā, and His internal, spiritual potency, cit, the jīva is called taṭa-stha, “marginal.” When he earns liberation by cultivating devotion to the Lord, however, he comes completely under the shelter of the Lord’s internal potency, and at that time he is no longer tainted by the modes of material nature. Lord Kṛṣṇa confirms this in Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):

māṁ ca yo ’vyabhicāreṇa bhakti-yogena sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate

“One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 87 – Text 32

 

The illusory material nature attracts the minute living entity to embrace her.

“The illusory material nature attracts the minute living entity to embrace her, and as a result he assumes forms composed of her qualities. Subsequently, he loses all his spiritual qualities and must undergo repeated deaths. Although the jīva is pure spirit, qualitatively equal with the Supreme Lord, he is prone to being degraded by embracing the ignorance of material illusion. When he becomes entranced by the allurements of Māyā, he accepts bodies and senses that are designed to let him indulge in forgetfulness. Produced from the raw material of Māyā’s three modes — goodness, passion and nescience — these bodies envelop the spirit soul in varieties of unhappiness, culminating in death and rebirth.

The Supreme Soul and the individual soul share the same spiritual nature, but the Supreme Soul cannot be entrapped by ignorance like His infinitesimal companion. Smoke may engulf the glow of a small molten sphere of copper, covering its light in darkness, but the vast globe of the sun will never suffer the same kind of eclipse. Māyā, after all, is the Personality of Godhead’s faithful maidservant, the outward expansion of His internal, Yoga-māyā potency.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 87 – Text 38

 

A mere show of renunciation is not sufficient to gain a person entrance into the kingdom of God.

“A mere show of renunciation is not sufficient to gain a person entrance into the kingdom of God. One must undergo a thorough change of heart, symptomized by a complete lack of interest in the self-destructive habits of sense gratification, both gross and subtle. Not only must the true sage refrain from even thinking of illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling, but he must also give up his desires for reputation and position. All together these demands add up to a formidable challenge but the fruits of true renunciation in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are well worth a lifetime of endeavor.

The Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad (3.2.2) confirms the statements of this verse: kāmān yaḥ kāmayate manyamānaḥ sa karmabhir jāyate tatra tatra. “Even a thoughtful renunciant, if he maintains any worldly desires will be forced by his karmic reactions to take birth again and again in various circumstances.” Philosophers and yogīs work hard to become free from birth and death, but because they are unwilling to surrender their proud independence, their meditations are devoid of devotion to the Supreme Lord, and thus they fall short of the perfection of renunciation — pure love of God. This pure love is the only goal of a sincere Vaiṣṇava, and therefore he must vigilantly resist the natural temptations of profit, adoration and distinction, and also the impulse to merge into an all consuming impersonal oblivion. As Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī states in his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.11):

anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu- śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

“When first-class devotional service develops, one must be devoid of all material desires, knowledge obtained by monistic philosophy, and fruitive action. The devotee must constantly serve Kṛṣṇa favorably, as Kṛṣṇa desires.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 87 – Text 39

 

Devotional service to Lord Krishna eradicates all karmic reactions.

“Devotees of the Supreme Lord experience both happiness and distress — not as consequences of material work but as incidental effects of their loving reciprocation with the Lord. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, in Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, his definitive treatise on the process of devotional service, explains how a Vaiṣṇava is relieved of all karmic reactions, including those that have not yet begun to manifest (aprārabdha), those that are just about to manifest (kūṭa), those that are barely manifesting (bīja) and those that have manifested fully (prārabdha). As a lotus gradually loses its many petals, so a person who takes shelter of devotional service has all his karmic reactions destroyed.

That devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa eradicates all karmic reactions is confirmed in this passage of the Gopāla-tāpanī śruti (Pūrva 15): bhaktir asya bhajanaṁ tad ihāmutropādhi-nairāsyenāmuṣmin manaḥ-kalpanam etad eva naiṣkarmyam. “Devotional service is the process of worshiping the Supreme Lord. It consists of fixing the mind upon Him by becoming disinterested in all material designations, both in this life and the next. It results in the dissolution of all karma.” While it is certainly true that those who practice devotional service remain in material bodies and apparently material situations for some time, this is simply an expression of the inconceivable mercy of the Lord, who bestows the fruits of devotion only when it has become pure. In every stage of devotion, however, the Lord watches over His devotee and sees to the gradual elimination of his karma. Thus despite the fact that the happiness and distress devotees experience resemble ordinary karmic reactions, they are in fact given by the Lord Himself. As the Bhāgavatam (10.87.40) states, bhavad-uttha-śubhāśubhayoḥ: A mature devotee recognizes the superficially good and bad conditions he encounters as signs of the direct guidance of his ever well-wishing Lord.

But if the Lord is so compassionate to His devotees, why does He expose them to special suffering? This is answered by an analogy: A very affectionate father takes the responsibility of restricting his children’s play and making them go to school. He knows that this is a genuine expression of his love for them, even if the children fail to understand. Similarly, the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu is mercifully strict with all His dependents, not only with immature devotees struggling to become qualified. Even perfect saints like Prahlāda, Dhruva and Yudhiṣṭhira were subjected to great tribulations, all for their glorification.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 88 – Text 08

 

Which of the three chief Lords – Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva – is the greatest?

“Once, long ago, on the shore of the river Sarasvatī, a discussion arose among a group of sages as to which of the three chief lords — Brahmā, Viṣṇu or Śiva — is the greatest. They deputed Bhṛgu Muni to investigate the matter.

Bhṛgu decided to test the lords’ tolerance, for that quality is a sure sign of greatness. First he entered the court of Lord Brahmā, his father, without offering him any respect. This enraged Brahmā, who suppressed his anger because Bhṛgu was his son. Next Bhṛgu went to Lord Śiva, his older brother, who rose from his seat to embrace him. But Bhṛgu rejected the embrace, calling Śiva a deviant heretic. Just as Śiva was about to kill Bhṛgu with his trident, Goddess Pārvatī interceded and pacified her husband. Next Bhṛgu went to Vaikuṇṭha to test Lord Nārāyaṇa. Going up to the Lord, who was lying with His head on the lap of the goddess of fortune, Bhṛgu kicked His chest. But instead of becoming angry, both the Lord and His consort stood up and offered Bhṛgu respects. “Welcome,” said the Lord. “Please sit down and rest awhile. Kindly forgive us, dear master, for not noticing your arrival.” When Bhṛgu went back to the assembly of sages and told them all that had happened, they concluded that Lord Viṣṇu is certainly supreme.”
Source:A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Tenth Canto, Chapter 89 – Introduction

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2024-01-23T11:27:09+05:30

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