Cure for the disease of material enjoyment
dhiyanupasyanti hi tattvam atmanah
vadanti caitat kavayo yatha-rucam
sa me mukundo bhagavan prasidatam
It is the Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna who gives liberation. By thinking of His lotus feet at every second, following in the footsteps of authorities, the devotee in trance can see the Absolute Truth. The learned mental speculators, however, think of Him according to their whims. May the Lord be pleased with me.
The mystic yogis, after a strenuous effort to control the senses, may be situated in a trance of yoga just to have a vision of the Super soul within everyone, but the pure devotee, simply by remembering the Lord's lotus feet at every second, at once becomes established in real trance because by such realization his mind and intelligence are completely cleansed of the diseases of material enjoyment. The pure devotee thinks himself fallen into the ocean of birth and death and incessantly prays to the Lord to lift him up. He only aspires to become a speck of transcendental dust at the lotus feet of the Lord. The pure devotee, by the grace of the Lord, absolutely loses all attraction for material enjoyment, and to keep free from contamination he always thinks of the lotus feet of the Lord. King Kulasekhara, a great devotee of the Lord, prayed:
adyaiva me visatu manasa-raja-hamsah
kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te
"My Lord Krishna, I pray that the swan of my mind may immediately sink down to the stems of the lotus feet of Your Lordship and be locked in their network; otherwise at the time of my final breath, when my throat is choked up with cough, how will it be possible to think of You?"
There is an intimate relationship between the swan and the lotus stem. So the comparison is very appropriate: without becoming a swan, or paramahamsa, one cannot enter into the network of the lotus feet of the Lord. As stated in the Brahma-samhita, the mental speculators, even by dint of learned scholarship, cannot even dream of the Absolute Truth by speculating over it for eternity. The Lord reserves the right of not being exposed to such mental speculators. And because they cannot enter into network stem of the lotus stem of the Lord, all material speculators differ in conclusions, and at the end they make a useless compromise by saying, "as many conclusions, as many ways," according to one's own inclination. (yatha-rucam). But the Lord is not like a shopkeeper trying to please all sorts of customers in the mental speculator exchange. The Lord is what He is, the Absolute Personality of Godhead, and He demands absolute surrender unto Him only. The pure devotee, however, by following the ways of previous acharyas, or authorities, can see the Supreme Lord through the transparent medium of a bona fide spiritual master (anupasyanti). The pure devotee never tries to see the Lord by mental speculation, but by following in the footsteps of the acharyas (mahajano yena gatah sa panthah [Cc. Madhya 17.186]). Therefore there is no difference of conclusions amongst the Vaishnava acharyas regarding the Lord and the devotees. Lord Chaitanya asserts that the living entity (jiva) is eternally the servitor of the Lord and that he is simultaneously one with and different from the Lord. This tattva of Lord Chaitanya's is shared by all four sampradayas of the Vaishnava school (all accepting eternal servitude to the Lord even after salvation), and there is no authorized Vaishnava acharya who may think of the Lord and himself as one.
This humbleness of the pure devotee, who is one hundred percent engaged in His service, puts the devotee of the Lord in a trance by which to realize everything, because to the sincere devotee of the Lord, the Lord reveals Himself, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita (10.10). The Lord, being the Lord of intelligence in everyone (even in the nondevotee), favors His devotee with proper intelligence so that automatically the pure devotee is enlightened with the factual truth about the Lord and His different energies. the Lord is revealed not by one's speculative power or by one's verbal jugglery over the Absolute Truth. Rather, He reveals Himself to a devotee when He is fully satisfied by the devotee's service attitude. Sukadeva Gosvami is not a mental speculator or compromiser of the theory of "as many ways, as many conclusions." Rather, he prays to the Lord only, invoking His transcendental pleasure. That is the way of knowing the Lord.
This is a prayer offered by Sukadeva Goswami to Supreme Lord Krishna. He is remembering the Lord before he begins to answer Parikshit Maharaj’s questions. In this prayer he is asserting that it is Bhagavan Krishna who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, also known as Mukunda - the giver of liberation. Nobody else can give or get liberation by one’s own endeavor.
Now this liberation is not very important for a devotee of Krishna. While describing the characteristics of bhakti, pure devotional service, Srila Rupa Goswami says that bhakti makes liberation very insignificant. Srila Prabhupada explains many times that the real cause of our suffering is because we have accepted this material body which itself is called anartha - unnecessary. We accepted this body because we have desire for material enjoyment, it is called bhava-roga - the disease whose symptom is that we want to enjoy materially whereas our original nature is sac cid ananda - we are eternal beings, full of knowledge and always blissful. But when we forget Krishna and identify ourselves with this material world called ahankara then we have a false idea that we can be happy by material enjoyment. This obliges us to accept a material body and we struggle to squeeze out some pleasure and we fail. A person, who is fortunate enough to come in contact with a transcendentalist, gives up trying to be happy by material enjoyment. He understands that, he must become liberated form material bondage, to be really happy. Among millions of people who are after sense enjoyment, there may hardly be one person interested in liberation. Krishna describes this in Bhagavad-gita as:
kascid yatati siddhaye
It is described as siddhi, perfection of human life is to understand that I can never be happy in this world. But getting this liberation is not easy. An intelligent person is described here as kavi, in this usage it means a learned philosopher. So here Sukadev Goswami is describing that there are many different philosophers who have their own way of understanding the truth about this material world. He says vadanti caitat kavayo yatha-rucam they are speculators because they have lot of faith in their power of understanding - because in this material world we are surrounded by so many people who are completely ignorant about what is this material world.
The general tendency of people who are a little thoughtful is that they are unable to realize that the Absolute Truth is beyond the range of our power of speculation. In the vedas it is described that Krishna, the Absolute Truth is avan manasa gocara - He cannot be realized by using one’s own mind or by hearing or reading. So here the prayer by Sukadeva Goswami is that the speculators may think of the Absolute Truth according to their own whims – yatha rucam.
In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says - naham prakasah sarvasya yoga-maya-samavrtah - He is not manifest to everyone, because He is covered by the curtain of yoga maya. Krishna reveals Himself only to those who surrender to Him completely. In the scriptures it is described - atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih - Krishna has got His personal attributes, beginning with His name, form, pastimes, even His energies.
Krishna is na bhavet, you cannot understand Him, grahyam indriyaih - by our blunt material senses. So then, the process that the scriptures say is - sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah – when somebody begins to render devotional service to Krishna, beginning with the tongue – sevonmukha – we are Krishna bahirmukha, we have to become Krishna sevonmukha – we are turned away from Krishna, but now we have to turn towards Krishna. So sevonmukhe hi jihvadau, jihvadau means beginning with the tongue. If you begin to render devotional service to Krishna, then svayam eva sphuraty adah Krishna will Himself reveal to you, who He is.
If you begin devotional service to Krishna by chanting His holy names and by tasting Krishna prasadam, then He will gradually reveal Himself to you as your heart becomes cleansed. Here Sukadeva Goswami says, dhautaya dhiya - cleansed intelligence. Our intelligence at the present moment is polluted, it works for securing some pleasure by indulging in sense enjoyment. Therefore Prabhupada says in the purport that, the devotee’s mind and intelligence are completely cleansed of the diseases of material enjoyment. That means I won’t induce my intelligence any more for securing happiness by material enjoyment. Instead I will employ my intelligence to serve Krishna. That is why he says - sa me mukundo bhagavan prasidatam – may that Supreme Lord be pleased with me.
The aim of devotional service is to please Krishna, why? We are part of Krishna and our pleasure is linked up with Krishna’s pleasure. Krishna is the unlimited person, so His pleasure is also unlimited. Our difficulty is that first of all we are disconnected with Krishna in material existence and we seek some pleasure by sense gratification and it is illusory pleasure. Even assuming that under illusion we get some so called pleasure, even that pleasure is very insignificant. The real pleasure which is unlimited pleasure is available in devotional service to Krishna which aims at pleasing Krishna.
Krishna’s devotees when they render pure devotional service, they experience ecstasy of joy. With this body you cannot even contain that pleasure. So a suitable body for experiencing that pleasure is a spiritual body, not this material body. When you render service to Krishna, you still can taste that pleasure. The devotee never renders devotional service, so that he may get some pleasure. He always renders service to Krishna sa me mukundo bhagavan prasidatam – that Krishna may be pleased. Then Krishna reveals Himself to such a devotee - sevonmukhe hi jihvadau svayam eva sphuraty adah. Automatically by devotional service, a devotee is situated on the liberated platform.
So that is what Sukadeva Goswami is describing here - yad-anghry-abhidhyana-samadhi – the devotee is trying to think of Krishna’s lotus feet every second. Now Krishna says in many places in the Bhagavad-gita, you think of Me – man mana remember Me. Now remembering Krishna is not some imaginary form of Krishna you have to think just like we have experienced that somebody studies for the exams and tries to commit to memory and they go to the examination hall and write it. Remembering Krishna means becoming Krishna conscious. Krishna is in our heart, He is present in so many different ways, He is always active. In the Bhagavad-gita He explains - raso 'ham apsu kaunteya – I am the sweet taste of water - prabhasmi sasi-suryayoh – I am the sun shine and the moon shine. sabdah khe paurusam nrsu – I am the sound in ether, I am the ability in man, pranavah sarva-vedesu – I am the syllable om in all the Vedic mantras. There are millions of mantras, every mantra starts with this omkara, that om actually is Krishna.
Sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca – Krishna is giving you intelligence every moment. If you take even one morsel of food and want to put it in your mouth, your hand has to be directed. Even that hand movement is decided by your intelligence and that intelligence is given by Krishna. So you have to recognize Krishna, in every facet of His manifestation.
It is just that you have to get out of this forgetfulness of Krishna by giving up this nonsense material enjoyment. It is just like your healthy condition is to not have fever. When you return to the healthy condition, no more fever. Similarly, our normal condition is to always remember Krishna, healthy condition. The diseased state of existence is forgetfulness of Krishna and that is because of this desire for material enjoyment.
Narottama das Thakur, great acharya, he summarizes the teachings of the Vedas - visaya chadiya, se rase majiya, mukhe bolo hari hari – you give up this sense gratification, visaya means the sense objects which are meant for enjoyment through the senses and you chant the holy name of the Supreme Lord - mukhe bolo hari hari. You have been given the tongue, you are vibrating it for so many different reasons, instead vibrate the holy name of Krishna, Hari and try to become absorbed in that rasa of chanting the holy name of Krishna. Now that rasa also you cannot experience as long as you have desire in your heart for material enjoyment. It is like a jaundiced person can never taste the sweet taste of sugar candy. So long as jaundice is there, sugar candy will taste bitter. Similarly as long as we have desire for material enjoyment in our heart, we will not get the sweet taste of chanting the holy name of Krishna. Just like sugar candy is the medicine for jaundice, similarly chanting Hare Krishna is the cure for this disease of material enjoyment. If you go on chanting, even if in the beginning you don’t experience the taste, gradually the disease is destroyed at the root. Then you will automatically forget this nonsense sense gratification.
So here Sukadeva Goswami is telling – yad anghry abhidhyana samadhi – samadhi is the state of trance where one’s mind is completely absorbed in thinking of the lotus feet of Krishna which are described as the shelter for everyone who are suffering in this material world.
Brahma in his prayers to Krishna says, samasrita ye pada pallava plavam – Krishna’s lotus feet are the most suitable boat for those who are drowning in this ocean of material existence. We are in this material world struggling to get some happiness, to even survive, because we are always threatened by death. If you simply take shelter of the lotus feet of Krishna – pada pallava – Krishna’s feet are compared to the petals of a lotus flower. Mahat padam punya yaso murareh - and Krishna is famous as the one who can give shelter. Mahat padam also refers to Krishna who extended His step to cover the entire distance from the earth up to the covering of the universe in His incarnation of Vamana deva. Krishna’s feet are so big that they can give shelter - samasrita – to everyone, the whole creation.
Brahma is advising, simply by remembering Krishna’s lotus feet you can actually get out of this material existence. Bhavambudhir vatsa padam - crossing this ocean becomes as easy as stepping over a small puddle of water. Bhavambudhir – means ocean will shrink and become vatsa padam – means a calf’s hoof print. This ocean of material existence becomes a small puddle of water contained in a calf’s hoof print and when you cross over, param padam, you reach the supreme abode of Krishna. padam padam yad vipadam na tesam – not like this place where there is danger in every step. Krishna’s abode is a place where there is no danger, misery, disease, old age, death. Brahma is telling you can reach that place. Sukadeva Goswami is telling that simply by thinking of Krishna’s lotus feet and by following in the footsteps of the acharyas, coming in parampara you can reach Krishna’s abode.
Their conclusion is one, we are simply meant to serve Krishna. And such service is rendered out of love, not forced service. In this material world everyone is engaged in serving maya, being forced to serve, everybody wants to be master, nobody wants to be servant in this world. But maya forces everyone to be servant. On the other hand devotees, they voluntarily serve Krishna out of love, and in reciprocation, Krishna gives the devotees transcendental bliss. We are talking of meditating on that Krishna who gives liberation to everyone.
Just like Haridasa Thakur says, when you chant Hare Krishna, even before you can chant the suddha nama, simply by nama bhas chanting, by attempting to chant offencelessly, you become liberated. In chanting there are three stages – the offensive stage, the cleansing stage and the stage of chanting the pure name of Krishna. So pure name of Krishna is the stage where we are actually situated in Krishna prema. If we make an attempt to chant offencelessly, then we can easily get liberation without any separate endeavour. So that is the power of chanting the holy name of Krishna. And Krishna reveals Himself to that devotee who is able to engage in His devotional service.