Canto 3, Chapter 25, The Glories Of Devotional Service, Text 25

Canto 3, Chapter 25, The Glories Of Devotional Service, Text 25

THE FOLLOWING LECTURE ON SRIMAD-BHAGAVATAM, CANTO 3, CHAPTER 25, THE GLORIES OF DEVOTIONAL SERVICE, TEXT 25, WAS GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CARU SWAMI ON 29 SEPTEMBER 2006.

Reading from the third Canto, chapter twenty five, text twenty five:

satam prasangan mama virya-samvido
bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah
taj-josanad asv apavarga-vartmani
sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati

Synonyms:

satam — of pure devotees; prasangat — through the association; mama — My; virya — wonderful activities; samvidah — by discussion of; bhavanti — become; hrt — to the heart; karna — to the ear; rasa-ayanah — pleasing; kathah — the stories; tat — of that; josanat — by cultivation; asu — quickly; apavarga — of liberation; vartmani — on the path; sraddha — firm faith; ratih — attraction; bhaktih — devotion; anukramisyati — will follow in order.

Translation:

In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.

This is a very beautiful verse and a very important verse.

So we didn’t write the verse on the board. So, should we try to memorize the verse? Yesterday we were discussing how to memorize a verse. Do you all know how to memorize a verse? To memorize a verse we generally follow five principles, five steps. The first step is understand the meaning of the verse. The second step is repeat. By repetition we memorize. Memorizing becomes easier when you know what is said, then repetition. Then the third step, the third step is to remember the first word of each line. If you can remember the first word of each line then the line will come. Actually to memorize the whole verse means the entire verse will follow, word after word it will come. That’s the meaning of memorizing. The fourth step is to write it down on a piece of paper and carry the paper with you wherever you go. And during the day from time to time you check it out, you memorize the verse, and if you get stuck pull out the paper. And the fifth step is you give some tune to the verse. You sing it your own way.

So let’s take the first one. Anyway, I just read out the meanings of the words. Let’s try by repetition. So I will say it once and you have to say it three times.

[follows the repetition of the words with the audience, along with the explanation of their meaning]

So when Krishna katha is discussed in the association of devotees it becomes very pleasing to the ears and the heart. That causes us to very quickly achieve the path of liberation. We become very quickly free from the bondage of material nature. And then what happens? Sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati. So what happens when we hear the beautiful stories of Krishna’s activities in the association of ‘satam’? Satam means devotees. In the association of devotees when we hear Krishna katha then what happens? It is very pleasing to our ears and hearts, and as a result of that, out of that discussion, very quickly we take to the path of liberation and gradually shraddha, faith, attraction and devotion develop for Krishna. Isn’t it a wonderful verse?

That’s the thing, this verse like many other verses, just one verse actually gives the entire science of Krishna consciousness. What is Krishna consciousness? How does Krishna consciousness begin? Association with devotees. When you are in the association of devotees what happens? We hear about Krishna katha. And this Krishna katha, what does it do? When you hear about Krishna what happens to the heart? The heart becomes happy, very happy. And not only that, what happens to the ears? The ears also become very pleased. It is very pleasing to the ears and it is very soothing to the heart. And hrt-karna-rasayanah. Rasayanah means? The word rasayanah means? Rasa means mellow. Rasa means, like rasagullah, [laughter] what is the meaning of rasa? Rasa means sweet, nectar. And ayana means ‘that causes.’ So it causes, it brings a lot of juice, mellows to the heart and ears. So, rasayanah kathah and taj-josanad asu apavarga-vartmani, and as a result of that you become situated on the path of liberation, and as a result of that gradually shraddha, rati and bhakti will develop.

So now I am not forcing you to memorize it but I am going to request you to every day take some time and memorize the verse.

Translation by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada:

In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.

Yesterday we were discussing often we notice that Prabhupada’s translation is not very literal, but we can see that Prabhupada actually gave such a translation that everybody could understand. So understanding the meaning is more important than sticking to word for word. Like here we have sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati (shraddha, rati and bhakti will gradually develop) and Prabhupada has translated that as “and thereafter he is freed, and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin.” Like Prabhupada didn’t get in to, like actually, there are two calculations. Like, bhakti gradually will lead to rati and then to prema. But here bhakti comes after, anukramisyati, or gradually develop, shraddha first, rati and then [bhakti]. So when bhakti is mentioned in that way then we have to understand that they are considering the highest form of bhakti, or prema.

So Prabhupada pointed out how rati and bhakti will develop gradually. Sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati. Is the meaning clear to everyone, the meaning of this verse, the translation? You understood?

Purport by Srila Prabhupada:

The process of advancing in Krishna consciousness and devotional service is described here. The first point is that one must seek the association of persons who are Krishna conscious and who engage in devotional service. Without such association one cannot make advancement. Simply by theoretical knowledge or study one cannot make any appreciable advancement. One must give up the association of materialistic persons and seek the association of devotees because without the association of devotees one cannot understand the activities of the Lord.

[HH BCS:] Very important point: without the association of devotees one cannot understand the activities of the Lord. But when you are in the association of devotees then it becomes clear, because the devotees’ devotion reveals the Lord and His glories.

[Continuing the Purport:]

Generally, people are convinced of the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth. Because they do not associate with devotees, they cannot understand that the Absolute Truth can be a person and have personal activities. This is a very difficult subject matter, and unless one has personal understanding of the Absolute Truth, there is no meaning to devotion. Service or devotion cannot be offered to anything impersonal. Service must be offered to a person. Non devotees cannot appreciate Krishna consciousness by reading the Srimad-Bhagavatam or any other Vedic literature wherein the activities of the Lord are described; they think that these activities are fictional, manufactured stories because spiritual life is not explained to them in the proper mood. To understand the personal activities of the Lord, one has to seek the association of devotees, and by such association, when one contemplates and tries to understand the transcendental activities of the Lord, the path to liberation is open, and he is freed. One who has firm faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes fixed, and his attraction for association with the Lord and the devotees increases. Association with devotees means association with the Lord. The devotee who makes this association develops the consciousness for rendering service to the Lord, and then, being situated in the transcendental position of devotional service, he gradually becomes perfect.

[End of Purport]

So this chapter is Kapiladeva’s instruction to His mother. Kapila Muni is an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He gave this Sankhya philosophy to His mother. He gave a very important instruction to His mother that in the association of devotees only can one appreciate the activities or pastimes of Krishna. And then as he accepts the process by hearing and chanting he experiences a very, very unusual experience which causes his heart to become full of joy. And as a result of that hearing from the saintly personalities, as Prabhupada pointed out: pure devotees, just by hearing from the pure devotees one becomes situated on the path of liberation. The path of liberation then leads to devotion, and this devotion develops gradually according to one’s advancement. He goes through the stages of shraddha, rati and bhakti.

It is given in a simple way, simplified way, but what is the gradual progression? First is adau shraddha. After shraddha comes sadhu sanga. Adau shraddha tatah sadhu sango. [Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.4.15-16] Then after sadhu sanga is bhajana-kriya. Then bhajana-kriya leads to anartha-nivrittih. From anartha-nivrittih one comes to the stage of nistha, fixed up. Then nistha to asakti. Asakti means attachment. Asakti, then to ruci, taste. From ruci, then bhava, or rati as it has been described ‘shraddha rati’, rati, experiencing the emotion, experiencing transcendental emotion due to love for Krishna. And then bhakti, this bhakti is prema. The final stage is prema. Shraddha, sadhu sanga, bhajana-kriya, anartha-nivrittih, nistha, ruci, asakti, bhava and finally bhakti.

The entire process of Krishna consciousness is based on sadhu sanga, satam prasangan. And when we are in the association of devotees, then what happens? We get to hear about Krishna. Not that hearing has to always be just like a theatrical thing. No, it should be genuine. When we hear then, especially from saintly persons when we hear about Krishna then gradually our faith becomes established. After establishment of the faith, as a result of developing faith we surrender to the sadhus and that is bhajana, initiation. Initiation is the product of full conviction, when we know that this path is genuine, and then begins bhajana-kriya or rendering devotional service. But we notice when we render devotional service there are so many impediments. Even though you may be full time devotees, although we have been initiated in chanting the mantra, but we do not derive the proper benefit of chanting. Why? Because of the anarthas. Anarthas are in the heart, that are causing all kinds of impediments to our spiritual progress. Therefore, it is important that we come to the stage of anartha-nivrittih, no more anarthas. Actually to transcend the anartha-nivrittih stage, or come to the anartha-nivrittih stage is absolutely essential. Nivrittih means cessation, cessation of anarthas. So when all the anarthas are gone then development of Krishna consciousness becomes very, very rapid, because it is the anarthas which are pulling us down.

Like, for example, we want to become a full time devotee, completely engaged in everything. “It would be so nice if I can join the temple. Then I’ll render service for twenty hours and I’ll sleep only for four hours. I’ll chant so many rounds.” But then when we join the temple and then what do we see? Twenty hours, we see that it has reversed. [laughter] Four hours service and twenty hours sleep. So these are the anarthas; the lack of enthusiasm, the lack of determination, desire for distinction, adoration and fame. So these are the impediments in the progress in spiritual life, but when the anarthas are removed completely then we become fixed up. Until we come to the stage of nistha, when we are still in the anartha-nivrittih stage, anartha stage, not nivrittih, when there is anartha then there is constant tug of war going on. Sometimes the pull leads towards Krishna, sometimes the pull leads towards maya, isn’t it? In tug of war what happens? Both the parties try to pull towards his side, and the jiva is in the middle. In the tug of war we have a handkerchief tied down on the rope, the jiva’s condition is like the handkerchief. Sometimes he is being pulled towards maya, sometimes he is being pulled towards Krishna. Now, it is important that not only we get pulled but stay on Krishna’s side. Let Krishna win! So in order to let Krishna win and to be properly on Krishna’s side what do we need to do? We need to always remain in the association of sadhus, satam. And when we are in the association of devotees, hear Krishna katha then maya will automatically disappear. Maya means desire for sense enjoyment, but is there any sense enjoyment? Actually there is no sense enjoyment. The tendency or the conception that we are going to enjoy through maya is actually a misconception. By gratifying our senses we will not enjoy, therefore an intelligent person knows that there is no enjoyment. So if there is no enjoyment through sense gratification why should we run after sense gratification? Life becomes so much better, so much easier without this endeavor for sense gratification. But in the association of sadhus one becomes permanent fixed up.

So, that is what Kapiladeva is instructing His mother, of the importance of satam prasangan, association of devotees. Association of devotees will actually elevate us to the spiritual platform. Association of devotees keeps us away from….that’s why Srila Prabhupada took so much trouble to create ISKCON. The only purpose of his creating ISKCON was so that devotees can get association. And in ISKCON it happens, there is constant association of advanced devotees who are completely surrendered to Krishna and who are rendering devotional service to Krishna so diligently, so sincerely. So that is what we are here for. That is why we joined ISKCON. That’s why Srila Prabhupada created ISKCON. Please take advantage of the association. And how should we associate? That’s another consideration. When we are in the association of devotees, what should we do? We should hear about Krishna katha, or we should plan about how we are going to spread Krishna consciousness. That’s the only business devotees: just remember Krishna, speak about Krishna or plan how to spread Krishna consciousness for the benefit of all.

Hare Krishna!

Does anybody have any question?

Question: In the development to prema bhakti the first level is faith and then sadhu sanga, but in this verse it seems like sadhu sanga comes before faith.

BCS: Yeah, yeah. He is actually pointing out what is the effect of sadhu sanga. Say, for example, shraddha, how did our shraddha develop? Can you remember? [audience: the association of devotees] So, if you are not in the association of devotees there is no question of shraddha. Then it will happen. If you stay in the sadhu sanga shraddha will develop. As a result of shraddha the rest of the things will automatically develop, rati, bhakti. Adau shraddha, that will lead to sadhu sanga. So we may start off with sadhu sanga, we may get shraddha but it is not that after we get shraddha then we forget about the others sadhus, or we think that these are the only sadhus. Then we try to associate with other sadhus. The association of sadhus, after receiving shraddha in this way, becomes very, very meaningful. One is not just associating for the sake of… one associates in order to get Krishna consciousness. So that is what has been pointed out: shraddha, rati bhakti anukramisyati, they will be gradually developed.

Any other question?

Question: Prabhupada mentioned that Krishna consciousness is very external.

BCS: Well, I have to see in what context Prabhupada said that. Krishna consciousness is both external and internal. Externally we render service to Krishna and internally we develop a relationship.

Any other question, comment?

Question: [paraphrased] Prabhupada also stated that like soldiers going to a battle we also have to be properly trained. Is it part of the formula and progression that one should undertake, like sadhu sanga, performing Harinama sankirtana, devotional service. Often we find…

BCS: You stay in the sadhu sanga it will automatically happen. The sadhus will push you.

Question: [inaudible]

BCS: For us sadhu sanga means to be in ISKCON. And when you are in ISKCON you are asked to do so many things, you are guided. The sadhus will guide you.

Okay, Hare Krishna.

Transcription : Her Grace Ranga Radhika Dasi
Editing : Ramananda Raya Dasa
Audio-reference :