Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 1, Chapter 1, Questions By The Sages, Text 15.

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 1, Chapter 1, Questions By The Sages, Text 15.

THE FOLLOWING LECTURE ON SRIMAD-BHAGAVATAM, CANTO 1, CHAPTER1, QUESTIONS BY THE SAGES, TEXT 15, WAS GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CARU SWAMI ON 9 MAY 2008 IN ORLANDO, US.

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yat-pada-samsrayah suta
munayah prasamayanah
sadyah punanty upasprstah
svardhuny-apo ‘nusevaya

Synonyms:
yat — whose; pada — lotus feet; samsrayah — those who have taken shelter of; suta — O Suta Gosvami; munayah — great sages; prasamayanah — absorbed in devotion to the Supreme; sadyah — at once; punanti — sanctify; upasprstah — simply by association; svardhuni — of the sacred Ganges; apah — water; anusevaya — bringing into use.

Translation:
O Suta, those great sages who have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord can at once sanctify those who come in touch with them, whereas the waters of the Ganges can sanctify only after prolonged use.

Purport
Pure devotees of the Lord are more powerful than the waters of the sacred river Ganges. One can derive spiritual benefit out of prolonged use of the Ganges waters. But one can be sanctified at once by the mercy of a pure devotee of the Lord. In Bhagavad-Gita it is said that any person, regardless of birth as sudra, woman, or merchant, can take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord and by so doing can return to Godhead. To take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord means to take shelter of the pure devotees. The pure devotees whose only business is serving are honored by the names Prabhupada and Viṣṇupada, which indicate such devotees to be representatives of the lotus feet of the Lord. Anyone, therefore, who takes shelter of the lotus feet of a pure devotee by accepting the pure devotee as his spiritual master can be at once purified. Such devotees of the Lord are honored equally with the Lord because they are engaged in the most confidential service of the Lord, for they deliver out of the material world the fallen souls whom the Lord wants to return home, back to Godhead. Such pure devotees are better known as vicelords according to revealed scriptures. The sincere disciple of the pure devotee considers the spiritual master equal to the Lord, but always considers himself to be a humble servant of the servant of the Lord. This is the pure devotional path.
[End of Purport]

yat-pada-samsrayah suta
munayah prasamayanah
sadyah punanty upasprstah
svardhuny-apo ‘nusevaya

O Suta, those great sages who have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord can at once sanctify those who come in touch with them, whereas the waters of the Ganges can sanctify only after prolonged use.

Who is mentioning this? Whose statement is this? Saunaka Rishi, on behalf of all the sages in Naimisaranya, he is asking the question to Suta Goswami, “O Suta Goswami.” Suta, yat-pada-samsrayah suta. Yat pada-samsrayah means by taking shelter of whose lotus feet? Munayah prasamayanah. Munayah means great sages and prasamayanah absorbed in devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Munayah here also means the great devotees of the Lord. Who take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? The saintly personalities. And what do they do when they take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord? They become engaged in devotion to the Personality of Godhead. That’s why munayah prasamayanah, they are absorbed in devotion to the Supreme. So those who are absorbed in the devotion to the Supreme are the pure devotees of the Lord. Although they are addressed here as munayah, munayah doesn’t necessarily indicate a pure devotee of the lord. Munayah can indicate philosophers, sages, even monists. Impersonalists are also, like, many of the munis are impersonalists. But of course they are not mayavadis, they are impersonalists, but they’re not engaged in devotional service to the Lord. They know the Supreme Personality of Godhead but they are not engaged in his devotional service.

Those personalities, that means the pure devotees of the Lord who have been completely absorbed in serving the lotus feet of the Lord, they are sadyah. The word sadyah means, this word came yesterday also, sadyah means at once. At once, sadyah punanti. Punanti means becomes purified. Punya, punita and punanti: those who are pious and those who are purified. Upasprstah means simply by associating. Punanty upasprstah, just by coming in contact with the pure devotees of the Lord and by accepting their instructions one becomes purified. But svardhuny-apo ‘nusevaya, whereas a pure devotee’s association sanctifies one immediately Ganges water also purifies but how does Ganges water purify? Ganges water purifies anusevaya, after prolonged use. That is when one regularly takes bath. Just by taking bath once will not serve the purpose. But lava matra sadhu sange sarva siddhi haya [CC Madhya 22.054], but by a moment’s association with a devotee of the Lord one becomes purified. He becomes completely purified.

And Prabhupada is pointing out about this association what this association should be like. Like, first thing Prabhupada is pointing out that the pure devotees of the Lord are the representatives of the Lord.  And how does one associate with the pure devotee of the Lord? By surrendering themselves to him. The process of surrender is important.  Now what is the meaning of the surrender? Surrender means following the instructions. Devotional service is not a part time business. Like five minutes I will practice devotional service and the rest of the time I will do something else. One may begin with five minutes but one must be concerned that it is increasing. Like we tell devotees, when somebody comes, what do we tell them? Please read Prabhupada’s books. Please chant Hare Krishna. At least chant one round. But is one round the standard? No. What is the standard? We try to, from one we try to bring them to the platform of sixteen rounds and we encourage them to follow the four regulative principles, and then they become qualified to take initiation. And then when they take initiation, what does it mean? Now they are actually committing, committing to Krishna consciousness. And this commitment is a serious involvement.

So, I’ll read that part. I thought it was very important. [Purport:] “Anyone, therefore, who takes shelter of the lotus feet of a pure devotee by accepting the pure devotee as his spiritual master can be at once purified. Such devotees of the Lord are honored equally with the Lord because they are engaged in the most confidential service of the Lord, for they deliver out of the material world the fallen souls whom the Lord wants to return home, back to Godhead.”  For they can deliver the fallen souls back to the spiritual sky. “Such pure devotees are better known as vice lords according to revealed scriptures. The sincere disciple of the pure devotee considers the spiritual master equal to the Lord, but always considers himself to be a humble servant of the servant of the Lord. This is the pure devotional path.” So this is what constitutes the disciplic succession. Like, one surrenders himself to the spiritual master and learns from the spiritual master and then one becomes engaged in serving the spiritual master’s mission. And then in course of time he becomes a spiritual master. So it is not that I take shelter of the spiritual master and then the spiritual master will take my burden. I don’t have to do anything. The spiritual master will, just because I have taken initiation now the spiritual master will carry me back to Godhead. It doesn’t work like that. Spiritual life is a sincere life, it is not business.

[To a devotee:] I was very disappointed with you. That means you don’t read Prabhupada’s books at home. The way you are reading, I was very disappointed. You are an educated person, you can’t even read. Can’t even read Hindi, can’t even read Sanskrit, can’t even read English. It’s a simple verse. If one practices then one naturally learns how to study. And what do we understand from this? That at home you are not practicing Krishna consciousness. You have taken initiation but you are not practicing. Spiritual life, I am telling time and time again, is a serious business. It’s not a magic that I’ll take initiation and then I will be elevated to the spiritual sky. Initiation is just the beginning. Initiation, the word itself means beginning. You are beginning but that’s not the end. From the beginning you have to go to the end by practicing the process properly.

So, it is a very serious business otherwise an opportunity will be lost. First of all, the human form of life is rare. When one takes human form of birth then one gets a wonderful opportunity and this opportunity becomes fulfilled when one comes to the spiritual platform when one takes the guidance of the devotees to make spiritual advancement. But then practice is the process. And the beginning of the process is to accept the process, that is initiation. Now, getting the human form of life, coming in contact with the devotees of Krishna, accepting initiation, but even then, if we don’t practice the process then what will happen? The opportunity will be lost. So everybody become very serious about your spiritual life. Spiritual life, again, is a very serious business.

We see, like in the material world, if somebody gets a job and he doesn’t perform, what will happen? He will be fired from the job. Now we are being engaged, we are being hired by Krishna, appointed by Krishna’s representatives but if we don’t perform then we will be fired! Become serious. Perform in such a way that Krishna will say, “Yes! He is my good servant. He is my good employer. I want to keep him.” So become that good servant of Krishna. Become serious about your spiritual life.

Okay. Does anybody have any question?

Question: What is the difference between mayavada and sunyavada?
BCS: Mayavada and sunyavada. Mayavada is the philosophy or the doctrine that has been established by Shankaracarya. That is impersonalism. But sunyavada is what Buddha accepted. In English sunyavada is called voidism and mayavada is called impersonalism. Sunya means, Buddha’s teaching is ultimately everything will become nothing and mayavada says ultimately you will become Brahman. That is Shankaracarya.

Any other question?

Okay, Hare Krishna!

So become very serious. There is a saying that just by tasting one grain of rice you can see the condition of the whole pot. So similarly the spiritual master sees just one grain. Become serious about spiritual life. Spiritual life is not sentiment, spiritual life is serious business. Sentiment is not going to help us spiritually. We have to put our heart into it. Everything for Krishna, everything, yourself, your family. Everything must be offered to Krishna. That is the ultimate goal but try to move towards the goal. The time that you have, make it a point to practice. Read Prabhupada’s books! Tell me, if you are regularly reading Prabhupada’s books, the Sanskrit verses, then will you have difficulty reading it? So when I see that you are having difficulty then what do I understand? [devotee: that I am not reading] Yeah. [laughs] So, become serious, and when you come to your spiritual master be prepared to get chastised. And you all don’t laugh! You’ll also get chastised when you make mistakes. [laughs] Everyone will get chastised. That’s the business of the spiritual master and that’s the business of a disciple. Shisya, the word shishya, disciple, means one who is prepared to take chastisement, one who is prepared to take ‘sashana.’ Sucitra is laughing from there. Good! You’ll also get it! [laughs]

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