11 Aug The Systematic and Scientific Presentation of Srimad Bhagavatam.
THE FOLLOWING LECTURE ON THE SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM CANTO 4, CHAPTER 7, THE SACRIFICE PERFORMED BY DAKSHA, TEXT 33, WAS GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI IN ISKCON SRIDHAMA MAYAPURA, INDIA, ON 11 AUGUST 2010.
Srimad Bhagavatam, fourth Canto, chapter seven ‘The Sacrifice Performed By Daksha’, text thirty three.
yajno ‘yam tava yajanaya kena srishto
vidhvastah pashupatinadya daksha-kopat
tam nas tvam shava-shayanabha-shanta-medham
yajnatman nalina-rucha drisha punihi
patnyah ucuh — the wives of the executors of the sacrifice said; yajnah — the sacrifice; ayam — this; tava — Your; yajanaya — worshiping; kena — by Brahma; srishtah — arranged; vidhvastah — devastated; pasupatina — by Lord Siva; adya — today; daksha-kopat — from anger at Daksha; tam — it; nah — our; tvam — You; sava-sayana — dead bodies; abha — like; santa-medham — the still sacrificial animals; yajna-atman — O Lord of sacrifice; nalina — lotus; ruca — beautiful; drisa — by the vision of Your eyes; punihi — sanctify.
The wives of the performers of the sacrifice said: My dear Lord, this sacrifice was arranged under the instruction of Brahma, but unfortunately Lord Shiva, being angry at Daksha, devastated the entire scene, and because of his anger the animals meant for sacrifice are lying dead. Therefore the preparations of the yajna have been lost. Now, by the glance of Your lotus eyes, the sanctity of this sacrificial arena may be again invoked.
Animals were offered in sacrifice in order to give them renewed life; that was the purpose of having animals there. Offering an animal in sacrifice and giving him renewed life was the evidence of the strength of chanting mantras. Unfortunately, when Daksha’s sacrifice was devastated by Lord Shiva, some of the animals were killed. (One was killed just to replace the head of Daksha.) Their bodies were lying about, and the sacrificial arena was turned into a crematorium. Thus the real purpose of yajna was lost.
Lord Vishnu, being the ultimate objective of such sacrificial ceremonies, was requested by the wives of the priests to glance over the yajna arena with His causeless mercy so that the routine work of the yajna might be continued. The purport here is that animals should not be unnecessarily killed. They were used to prove the strength of the mantras and were to have been rejuvenated by the use of the mantras. They should not have been killed, as they were by Lord Shiva to replace the head of Daksha with an animal’s head. It was pleasing to see an animal sacrificed and rejuvenated, and that pleasing atmosphere had been lost. The wives of the priests requested that the animals be brought back to life by the glance of Lord Vishnu to make a pleasing yajna.
[End of Purport]
When Vyasadeva decided to present Mahabharata, he made it clear that it is actually meant for the advancement of human civilisation, to remind the human beings of their glorious past, their glorious heritage. And Srimad Bhagavatam is the final presentation of Vyasadeva. His final presentation was Vedanta-Sutra, Uttara-Mimamsa, the final conclusion, which was the Vedanta, the end of the Vedas, the end of the Vedic understanding. And Srimad Bhagavatam was the natural commentary or expansion of Vedanta-Sutra. Sutras are symbolic presentations or concise presentation of some relevant truth, that when the truth is presented in a concise way, that is called sutra. So laymen cannot understand the sutras. Therefore the sutras have to be elaborated by ‘bhashya’ or elaborate explanation. So the natural commentary, or the bhashya on Vedanta-Sutra, given by Vyasadeva was Srimad Bhagavatam. So this Srimad Bhagavatam is actually meant for our own spiritual advancement.
Here also, Vyasadeva is making the point that material knowledge, or knowledge of this material nature, is not the actual knowledge. The real knowledge is the spiritual knowledge. The reality that we are perceiving through our senses is a relative reality, it’s not the Absolute Reality. And since it is relative, it is variable. But the spiritual reality is absolute. So that’s why at the beginning it has been pointed out in the Vedanta-Sutra: athato brahma jijnasa. [Vedanta-Sutra 1.1.1] Atha ato brahma jijnasa, many things have been discussed about material nature, but that is not important. Now, let’s come to brahma jijnasa or the spiritual platform, the enquiries about the spiritual reality, the inquiry that begins with our own spiritual identity. So we have to understand that this presentation by Vyasadeva is very relevant, very systematically presented for our own spiritual advancement, for our own ultimate benefit. These are not just some stories. Apparently they may appear to be like stories, but actually they are history. History, what happened, the important happenings of the past has been recorded. And that is what history is. History is not fiction. History is actual happenings that are meant to be recorded for our own benefit, for the benefit of not only the entire human civilisation, for the benefit of the entire creation. These books are not meant only for the human being, they are meant for even advanced personalities like the demigods and the sages who reside in the higher planetary systems.
All these have been very systematically presented in our scriptures. The Puranas, especially Bhagavata Purana, have dealt with various aspects, starting from creation. Sarga, creation. The way when Vishnu creates, initially when the creation started, the preliminary creation was made by Vishnu, sarga. And then visarga, Brahma, the creation, that has been the secondary creation, sub-creation by Lord Brahma and his assistants, Prajapatis, that is the secondary creation, or visarga. Then sthanam, the planetary system, everything has been very systematically, very scientifically presented in our scriptures.
Those who do not study the scriptures under proper guidance, they only think that these are fictions, these are myths. Even in India people say these are mythology. Mythology, they are myths, stories, they are fictions. No they are not. Not only are they truth but they are dealing with Absolute Truth. And we see when you probe into it under the guidance of a qualified teacher, like Srila Prabhupada, then we get to see that how scientific this is. And that’s why Prabhupada always wanted us to study the scriptures in a very systematic way, and we should question. We should not just accept just like that, because they have been presented, no, no, question. Become convinced that this is a science, this is not some fiction. Bhagavat tattva vijnanam, tattva vijnanam, like here it’s important to understand this point here. [SB 1.2.20] Material knowledge according to the Vedic understanding is ajnana, not jnana, not even knowledge. It’s ignorance. As long as we are dwelling in this material nature and with our objects of this material nature, that deals with, knowledge which deals with the relative reality, it’s not jnana, it’s not ajnana [jnana]. The spiritual knowledge is jnana and when that spiritual knowledge is realised, then that is vijnana. And it has been so systematically presented. Like Mahabharata has been presented as a story, not so much dealing with the science as such, but Srimad Bhagavatam is very systematically, scientifically explaining everything.
Sthanam, the planetary systems, not only one universe, there are many, many universes, innumerable, innumerable universes. And all these universes maintain one’s general structure, the general structure is fourteen planetary systems. Every universe has fourteen planetary systems. And these are the sthanam, these planetary systems are the place of residence for different type of living entities.
urdhvam gacchanti sattva-stha
madhye tishthati rajasah
adho gacchanti tamasah
Those who are situated in the mode of goodness, they reside in the higher region of this planetary system. But madhye tishthati rajasah, those who are in the mode of passion, they are in the middle. And those who are in the mode of ignorance, they are residing in the lower planetary systems. So there are three modes of material nature and accordingly, according to the influence of the modes, they develop propensities, different attitude, different characteristics. And accordingly they get their positions. The higher planetary systems are bhur bhuvah svah [Rig Veda 3.62.10] and then beyond that, Mahar, Janah, Tapah, Satya, so these Maharloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka and Satyaloka are for the, meant for the sages, rishis, all the way up to Lord Brahma, in mode of goodness. But Bhurloka is mode of passion and up to Svarloka, Svargaloka, somewhat passion. The demigods are somewhat affected by the mode of passion, but principally in the mode of goodness, but they have the influence of the mode of passion.
But earth planet is the place for the people for the mode of passion. Actually, the earth planet is the place where every, all the different modes are functional. In the earth planet we find living entities of all kinds of nature. So earth planet is actually the replica of the entire universe in a way. Here we find saintly people, the sages, the demigods, the human beings, the demons. On top of that in the human platform there are different types of people. In the human beings some are influenced by the mode of goodness, predominantly some are in the mode of passion, some are in the mode of ignorance. And the lower planetary systems are predominantly in the mode of ignorance, adho gacchanti tamasah. So this is the sthanam. The fourteen planetary systems, like all the structures are maintaining general pattern: the seven higher planetary systems, seven lower planetary systems.
And then poshanam, how the Supreme Personality of Godhead is maintaining everything and everybody. He is the one who is maintaining everybody. Sthanam poshanam utayah [SB 2.10.1], utti, the propensity to work, mainly to procreate. The material involvement is to become active. In the material nature every living entity is actively involved, but those activities must be directed towards the Supreme Personality of Godhead, otherwise they will become the cause of our bondage.
Then the manvantaras, there are fourteen Manus in a day of Brahma. There’s a day of Brahma just like in a factory you have shifts, different shifts. Similarly in Brahma’s day there are different shifts to take care of different affairs of the material nature, and the shift changes. The positions remain: in a factory there’s a general manager, there is a foreman, there is a machine man, there is all kinds of people and one shift goes, another shift comes. Like the same, the second shift comes, the same, all these positions are there. The general manager is there, the foreman is there, assistant foreman is there, supervisor is there and so forth. So, one shift goes, another shift comes. So manvantaras are like the change of Manus and along with the Manu, the different personalities change also, the different positions change. Indra will become…another Indra will come. One Indra will go, another Indra will come. Like for example, in the next manvantara, Bali Maharaj will become Indra. So, not only Bali Maharaj, then somebody will come and take the position of Surya, some will take the position of Varuna, some will take the position of Vayu. In this way, different positions will be occupied by different personalities, even the manvantara-avatara, the appearance of the Lord who presides over the manvantara, He also will change. His incarnation also will change.
Manvantara ishanukatha, the activities of the Lord in His incarnations along with His devotees and illustrious kings, glorious personalities, their activities have been recorded in Srimad Bhagavatam in this way, ishanukatha. Then nirodha, the annihilation of the creation from time to time. There are different types of annihilations. There are smaller annihilations, to ultimate annihilation. Like one kind of annihilation is individual annihilation. When we die, that is annihilation, one kind of annihilation. Then there are different kinds of annihilation going all the way up to when Mahavishnu withdraws His glance.
Jaya Shri Shri Radha Madhava ki jaya! Jaya Sakhi Vrinda ki jaya! Pancha Tattva ki jaya! Prahlada Narsimhadeva ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya! Srimad Bhagavatam ki jaya!
The ultimate annihilation is when Mahavishnu withdraws His glance from the material nature. Then the entire creation is annihilated. Another annihilation is sometimes some planets up to even the heavenly planets gets annihilated. Some lesser annihilations are the earth planet will get annihilated with the water of devastation. Sometimes annihilations take place by the fire emanating from the mouth of Sankarshana.
So the material nature has creation, maintenance and annihilation. But beyond that is liberation. The conditioned soul gets the opportunity to get out of the material nature. The arrangement is there. A living entity entangled in the material nature can get out of this material nature. So mukti. But what after mukti? After mukti is ashraya. Liberation is not the final word. Liberation is not the final destination. The final, the consideration is: okay, when one is liberated, then what? The impersonalist thinks that when we just get out of this material nature, then we will be situated in ananda, brahmananda. That is yes, that ananda is there, brahmananda is there, but that is not the ultimate ananda. The ananda that is not active is not the ultimate ananda. The ultimate ananda is the joy derived out of activity. There is one kind of ananda, inactive ananda. Like falling asleep is ananda, some kind of ananda. We like to sleep because there is some sort of joy in that. Some pleasure is there in that ananda, in that act, activity, being inactive. Material activity, material involvement is the source of suffering. Material nature is a place for suffering, the material body is an instrument for receiving pain and involvement in the material nature is meant to give us pain. So that is the condition of this material nature. We are searching for joy, but we are ending up suffering. That is the unfortunate state of affairs in this material nature. That is the paradox of this material nature. We want to enjoy, in order to enjoy, we become so active, so involved, but we end up suffering. So when these material activities stop, that is a state of unconsciousness, sleep. Yes, it is better than the worst: to not be involved in the material activity. But beyond that, the state of unconsciousness, there is the state of Krishna consciousness, spiritual consciousness. And that consciousness, that involvement, that activity in the spiritual consciousness is the source of joy, source of ananda.
So Krishna is anandamaya, Krishna is the source of all ananda, all bliss. And being involved with Krishna, being connected to Krishna, by rendering service to Him, is the source of joy for all of us. And in this way, Krishna has been established as the… the word Prabhupada used is summum bonum, summum bonum: the ultimate summation of all benefit. That is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ultimate point, the ultimate goal of life, the ultimate purpose of our existence is Krishna. Sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam. [Brahma Samhita 5.1] He is the cause of all causes. He is the parama ishvara: ishvarah paramah krishnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah The Bhagavatam is establishing Him as ete chamsa-kalah pumsah krishnas tu bhagavan svayam. [SB 1.3.28] Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. [SB 1.2.11] In this way, time and time again Bhagavatam is establishing that Supreme Personality of Godhead is Krishna. And the ultimate goal of life is to develop our relationship with Him. Then Bhagavatam is leading to this sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana simultaneously. What is our relationship with Krishna? Who is Krishna? Who are we? What is our relationship? How can that relationship be established? And by establishing that relationship, what is the benefit? What do we derive out of that relationship? Anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamritasvadanam. [CC Antya 20.12] We become submerged in an ocean of joy. We are hankering for a little bit of joy, just a drop of joy. For the sake of just a momentary joy or ananda, people are prepared to even risk their lives. But when we develop our relationship with Krishna, then we become submerged in an ocean of joy. And that ocean of joy continues to expand. That ocean of joy is not limited, it’s unlimitedly expanding, due to the loving exchange between the devotee and the Lord.
So in this way so systematically Bhagavatam is pointing out in a scientific way what is the goal of life. And although sometimes it may appear to be like a fairytale, like a story.
So Daksha was insulted by Lord Shiva and he held his grudge against Lord Shiva. And when Daksha was made the head of the Prajapatis by Brahma, Daksha wanted to perform a sacrifice called Brihaspati-yajna. And in that everybody was invited, all the notable personalities of the universe were invited, except Lord Shiva and Sati. And although not invited, Sati wanted to come to her father’s house. And in front of Sati, Daksha started to insult Lord Shiva, started to speak ill of Lord Shiva. And the chaste wife Sati, the word Sati means chastity, she’s the personified chastity. That chaste lady, that chaste wife could not bear to tolerate the insult of her husband, she gave up her body. The news reached Lord Shiva. He became so angry that he immediately created… he tore up his lock of hair, one tuft of hair, and struck it to the ground and as a result of that, a demon, Virabhadra, came out. And he, along with the associates of Lord Shiva, went to Daksha’s sacrificial arena and devastated the sacrifice. And those who were involved in the sacrifice, they were tormented, and those who, like Bhrigu, Pusha, they… because Bhrigu laughed when Daksha insulted Lord Shiva. He tore… because he showed his teeth while laughing, they tore open, they broke his teeth. And then Pusha, he was shaking his beard, so they tore open his beard, tore off his beard! And in this way different individuals were harassed and tormented.
So then finally Brahma came, pacified Lord Shiva and the sacrifice again started. Daksha, yeah…Lord Shiva placed a head of goat on Daksha’s head. Daksha’s head which was severed by Virabhadra was replaced with a goat’s head. He was brought back to life and he came back to his senses. Anyway, the sacrifice started. Then finally Vishnu appeared riding on Garuda in the sacrificial arena. And these different personalities are offering their prayers to Lord Vishnu. And here the yajna, the patnis, the yajna-patnis were offering their prayers to Lord Vishnu, begging Him to revive the animals that had been killed by Lord Shiva’s associates and Lord Shiva himself, and create a peaceful, create a peaceful atmosphere, because the whole atmosphere became so tensed, so so gory, so frightening. So they’re just requesting, “Please create that peaceful atmosphere, sanctity of the sacrificial arena may again be revoked [invoked].” The Sanskrit word used for that is shanta-medham. Shanta medham, the still sacrificial…I’m sorry, shava-shayanabha-shanta-medham, the animals had been sacrificed, and the animals had been died, and rucha drisha punihi, punihi, beau…pure…”sanctify the atmosphere by Your merciful glance, the atmosphere that has been quite ghastly because of these animal bodies strewn around in this area. So please revive those animals.”
And Prabhupada in the purport pointed out that how the purpose of sacrifice, Vedic sacrifice, is not to kill the animals but to revive the animals, but rejuvenate the animals. And when that happens the atmosphere becomes very joyful. Like a dead animal, once you bring it to life with rejuvenated, being totally rejuvenated…so that, they are offering the sacrifice and they come back, or they are elevated to the higher planetary systems. So that is the purpose of the sacrifice.
We can see that how advanced this culture actually is. This is not just an Indian culture. Vedic culture is Vedic culture, it’s not an Indian culture, whoever follows it, it’s meant for all civilized human beings. Like wherever this culture is practised people will benefit.
Thank you very much. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
Hare Krishna, does anyone have any comment? Where is the microphone, the cordless mike?
Devotee: A two-part question, each Manu brings in his own set of administrators. You mentioned something I’ve never heard before, that Bali Maharaj becomes the next Indra. So Bali Maharaj already has a post? And he has Vamanadeva as his gatekeeper, he’s situated in pure devotional service.
HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI : Yeah
Devotee: …to become Indra…
HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI : demotion
Devotee: is a demotion or something. The post of Indra is not considered so elevated. I mean king of heaven, yes, but mixed in devotion, not shuddha.
HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI : Yeah, yeah.
Devotee: So can you…?
HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI : Well, I think, I mean in this respect I’ll make two points or rather two points come to my mind. One is, Bali wanted to become Indra, right, and the Lord is fulfilling that desire, right? Again he unlawfully actually took over that position and that’s why the Lord’s attitude is, Lord’s consideration was, “Okay, you wanted it, so your desire will be fulfilled.”
And the other consideration is even though he has the Lord as his gatekeeper, but still it is in the lower planetary systems, Sutala-loka. And the third consideration is, in Brihad Bhagavatamrita when Bali Maharaj is glorified, he said that, “No, He is actually there to secure that I cannot come out of that place, He is the gatekeeper not to protect others from coming to me, that He is doing, but the real purpose is that I cannot get out of here and cause any more problem.” Thank you.
Any other question? Yes, Atul Krishna Prabhu?
Devotee: Maharaja, you mentioned that Prabhupada wanted us to study systematically and so is it appropriate to categorise all of the dialogue and all of the incidents in the Srimad-Bhagavatam into the ten subjects you mentioned?
HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI : It has also been pointed out and Prabhupada is actually making that point in his purport of Chaitanya Charitamrita, in Adi-lila, chapter two. He is saying that the first nine Cantos, the first nine Cantos are dealing with these nine aspects which is leading to the tenth Canto. Ashraya is Krishna and that is being dealt with in the tenth Canto. And this preparation, or systematic progression is through these first nine Cantos. So yes it has been, in that way, and when we study under the guidance of a bona fide teacher, then we can see that how different Cantos are actually establishing these points. Like rirst Canto, sarga aspect, second Canto visarga aspect and so forth. And the ultimate consideration of systematic study is the guidance of a qualified teacher.
Like we see in Bhagavad-gita, when Prabhupada is presenting Bhagavad-gita, Prabhupada is bringing the end of Bhagavad-gita at the very beginning of Bhagavad-gita. That sarva dharman parityajya is actually Prabhupada’s first instruction to approach Bhagavad-gita; we have to surrender unto Krishna in order to understand Bhagavad-gita, otherwise we won’t be able to understand it. So this is how a qualified teacher knows how to present it for the benefit of the student’s understanding.
Thank you. Yes? You switched on properly? There you are!
Devotee: Hare Krishna, I was just thinking that one devotee, one senior devotee was mentioning that this oil revolution, the fact that we’re using oil in the internal combustion engine, is kind of an impetus for Lord Chaitanya’s movement to spread to every town and village. And subsequent to that, you know the oil will get depleted, and you know there would not be so much travel and people would not move from place to place. And I mean then by that time the Holy Name would have reached every part of the world. And so I was just thinking that some devotees say that Prabhupada is in his books and there may be possibilities that certain, you know, good guides may not be available in every part of the world. If someone is sincere and studying Srila Prabhupada’s books, would Prabhupada manifest the instruction as the bona fide guide through his books? Would that be a possibility or would another individual always be necessary?
HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI : Like, it is already there. Prabhupada already gave the books, and as we become exposed to the books, it enlightens us. I mean, didn’t it happen? Like I remember, like, Prabhupada’s books just started to reading, read it, it just came as a realization, this is it, this is it. This came like that, and of course this led us to the association of devotees, join ISKCON. But, Prabhupada, this is a unique aspect of Srila Prabhupada’s books, it gives you that realization that, “This is it.” Or it comes as a realization, revelation, what Prabhupada is actually giving us. All of a suddenly we become enlightened, although as a spark of realization, but still it comes.
So that is the power of Prabhupada’s books. I mean I haven’t seen anything in any other books, that is the potency of Prabhupada’s books. And what you said at first is also, yes, I mean I don’t know why you mentioned that, but yeah, ha ha, yeah no what… that point is very relevant. I mean that’s why I’m going back to that, although the relevant because the age of Kali is the iron age. And in iron age, what is iron good for? Iron is good only for machines, right? You don’t make ornaments out of iron, right? Iron is meant for machines. So that’s why in the iron age Kali arranged for an industrial development, which started with the industrial revolution in the West. And that revolution, that culture is spreading all over the world and the fuel for that is? Oil. And the whole structure is based on oil, which is actually the garbage of the earth. And as we said, like it will, at some point it will, you know the oil supply will be cut off. And as a result of that their whole culture will collapse, collapse. And then they will wake up to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. That’s why it is so important that Prabhupada’s books are distributed all over, because a time will come when people will just start searching for Prabhupada’s books, search for Prabhupada’s books: “Where can I get Prabhupada’s books? Where can I get Prabhupada’s books?” Because the real knowledge is there. The real secret of getting out of this crisis is in Prabhupada’s books. And this is how Krishna consciousness will…thank you…
Some time it’s very difficult to execute devotional service, with keeping all, keeping all surrounded devotees happy. How can we progress without even a tinge of offence? Well, it’s very difficult to execute devotional service, while keeping all surrounded devotees happy. Well, you just try to make Srila Prabhupada happy, your spiritual master happy, the senior devotees happy. It may not be possible to make everyone happy, but at least try to make the principal devotees happy, those who are very relevant for your own spiritual service. And if you cannot make everyone happy, at least don’t make them unhappy. So, and tinge of offence, like in the initial stage there may be some offence, but as you progress, the offences will reduce and then eventually you will become completely free from offence. That’s why there are three stages: offensive stage, clearing stage and pure stage. So if you realize that it is not good to commit offence, at least try your best not to commit offence, that will reduce your offence. And in this way you will become completely free from offences.
Thank you very much. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol!