Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 3, Chapter 25, The Glories Of Devotional Service, Text 18

Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 3, Chapter 25, The Glories Of Devotional Service, Text 18


Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Srimad Bhagavatam, Third Canto, Chapter Twenty Five ‘The Glories of Devotional Service’, Text Eighteen.


bhakti-yuktena catmana

paripasyaty udasinam

prakrtim ca hataujasam


jnana — knowledge; vairagya — renunciation; yuktena — equipped with; bhakti — devotional service; yuktena — equipped with; ca — and; atmana— by the mind; paripasyati — one sees; udasinam — indifferent; prakrtim — material existence; ca — and; hataojasam — reduced in strength.


In that position of self-realization, by practice of knowledge and renunciation in devotional service, one sees everything in the right perspective; he becomes indifferent to material existence, and the material influence acts less powerfully upon him.


As the contamination of the germs of a particular disease can influence a weaker person, similarly the influence of material nature, or illusory energy, can act on the weaker, or conditioned, soul but not on the liberated soul. Self-realization is the position of the liberated state. One understands his constitutional position by knowledge and vairagya, renunciation. Without knowledge, one cannot have realization. The realization that one is the infinitesimal part and parcel of the Supreme Spirit makes him unattached to material, conditional life. That is the beginning of devotional service. Unless one is liberated from material contamination, one cannot engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord. In this verse, therefore, it is stated, jnana-vairagya-yuktena: when one is in full knowledge of one’s constitutional position and is in the renounced order of life, detached from material attraction, then, by pure devotional service, bhakti-yuktena, he can engage himself as a loving servant of the Lord. Paripasyati means that he can see everything in its right perspective. Then the influence of material nature becomes almost nil. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita. Brahma-bhutah prasannatma: [Bg. 18.54] when one is self-realized he becomes happy and free from the influence of material nature, and at that time he is freed from lamentation and hankering. The Lord states that position as mad-bhaktim labhate param [Bg. 18.54], the real state of beginning devotional service. Similarly, it is confirmed in the Narada Pancaratra that when the senses are purified they can then be engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. One who is attached to material contamination cannot be a devotee.

[End of Purport]


bhakti-yuktena catmana

paripasyaty udasinam

prakrtim ca hataujasam

In that position of self-realization, by practice of knowledge and renunciation in devotional service, one sees everything in the right perspective, he becomes indifferent to material existence and the material influence acts less powerfully upon him.

So, Kapiladeva is instructing His mother. His mother asked how to become free from the attachment of the senses and the objects of the senses, which is very disgusting. She realized the actual state of material existence and Kapiladeva is answering step by step. Like, yesterday’s verse, the precious verse, He described how the living entity sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He sees himself to be transcendental to material existence and always self-effulgent, never fragmented although very minute in size. And time and time again He pointed out that that is possible only through the practice of devotional service. And in this verse He is elaborating the point that, when one becomes engaged in devotional service, bhakti-yuktena and jnana-vairagya-yuktena, then paripasyati udasinam, then he sees everything from the right perspective. He sees everything in the right perspective. And at that time prakrtim ca hataujasam, hata-ojasam. Prakrti, daivi hy esa guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya. [Bg 7.14] Prakrti is very powerful, duratyaya. It is Krishna’s maya, daivi hy esa guna-mayi. But here it has been pointed out that this prakrti, which is very powerful, it becomes hata-ojasam. Ojasa means strength, power and hata means, hata can mean completely lost, completely defeated, killed or destroyed. Or it can also mean reduced. Prabhupada here used the expression ‘reduced’ because the influence of the material nature is not totally gone when one is practicing devotional service. It remains to some extent but it gradually diminishes. As one becomes engaged in devotional service the influence of the material nature reduces.

What is the influence of material nature? As Kapiladeva pointed out in one of the previous verses, the influence of the material nature is through the modes of material nature. Living entities are entangled in the material nature by the modes of material nature. When a living entity looks away from Krishna, then what happens? He comes under the influence of the three modes of material nature and the three modes actually tie him down to the material nature.  But when jnana-vairagya-yuktena bhakti-yuktena, when one becomes engaged in devotional service which is accompanied by jnana and vairagya, then he becomes free. The influence of the material nature begins to reduce upon him.

So Kapiladeva is very systematically taking us step by step to the point of pure devotional service. Now, the question may arise that pure devotional service is jnana karmadi anavrtam [Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.1.11] but here it is said jnana-vairagya-yuktena, why is that? The jnana and karma that has been described that is a different type of jnana. That is the speculative knowledge. The speculative knowledge leads to liberation. And karma means fruitive activity which leads to sense gratification. So usually a living entity is entangled in the material nature through the karmic reaction, the desire for action and reaction. The living entity acts in the material nature with the desire to enjoy this material nature, exploit this material nature. But when one becomes aware of the miserable situation of the material nature then one wants to become liberated from the material nature. That is the jnana. One is karma and the other is jnana. But here Prabhupada made it clear that this jnana is the knowledge of one’s spiritual identity and one’s relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This knowledge is automatically connected to devotional service. In this respect it has been described that Bhakti Devi has two sons and those sons of Bhakti Devi are Jnana and Vairagya (knowledge and renunciation). So this is that knowledge. This knowledge automatically accompanies. This is not the speculative knowledge to try to become free from the bondage of material nature by dint of that knowledge. That is the speculative knowledge or jnana that leads to liberation.

Kapiladeva is then pointing out that he becomes paripasyati. Paripasyati, Prabhupada has pointed out that this paripasyati, he sees. What does he see, paripasyati? Prabhupada is elaborating on the point that he sees things from the right perspective. Now in the material nature what we are seeing? We are seeing the reflection. In the material nature through our senses we are not seeing the reality. We are seeing the reflection but when one becomes properly engaged in devotional service then he receives the jnana, the transcendental knowledge, which is essential for realization. Realization means the actual perception of the reality, to see the reality as it is. So that knowledge automatically dawns on him, it automatically becomes manifest to him. He doesn’t have to separately make an endeavor. Therefore Prabhupada used to say that we don’t have to become pandits. Knowledge will automatically come, automatically be revealed, divya jnana hride prakasito. So this jnana that we are talking about here that Kapila Muni is talking about is the divya jnana, and this divya jnana is hride prakasito, it’s automatically revealed in the heart. Yes, knowledge is necessary. Studying of the scriptures is necessary but ultimately the knowledge will appear as a realization in the heart. It’ll happen. Just like when we see the sun. What do we have to do? Do we have to see the sun through studying physics? Do we have to see the sun through the studies of light energy that is dealt with in physics? Or do we see the sun just by opening our eyes? We open our eyes and we see the sun. A blind man, no matter how much he studies, will never be able to see the sun but a man who has eyes, when he opens his eyes he automatically sees the sun. So this is the divya jnana or transcendental knowledge.

As the spirit soul becomes free from the contamination of material nature one will see the reality as it is. That’s why Prabhupada is saying that he sees everything in the right perspective. He is not seeing the reflection in the mirror or reflection in the pool of water anymore. He is seeing the reality as it is. The other day I gave an example, do you remember? You’re very hungry, you walk in the room and you saw, this wall is a full mirror and you saw the reflection of all kinds of delicious prasadam on that wall, on the mirror. What would be your natural reaction to that? When you are very hungry you will try to get the food from there because you are hungry. And you are seeing that the food is there but will that effort ever satisfy your hunger? No. So that is our situation in the material nature. We are simply looking at the reflection and we are trying to satisfy our hunger through the reflection. Will it ever be satisfied? No. The devotional service makes us turn our face from there and look at where the real food is. The understanding is, since it is there in the reflection it must be there in reality. But in reality it is not there. In reality it is somewhere else. So we have to turn our face towards that direction, where the food actually is. That is the meaning of seeing things from the right perspective. Then you can go there and eat as much as you want. [laughs]

Then what happens? Udasinam, he becomes indifferent. When you have seen the real food, will you be bothered by the reflection? Will you even look at it? No. Now you have the information. Now you know where the real food is. So at that time what will you do? Will you even look at the food? You’ll just keep on eating the food. And that is what happens to a living entity when he is situated in a proper situation through devotional service. So jnana means understanding of the reality. Vairagya means indifference towards the reflection. So that is the result of bhakti. You become engaged in devotional service, you will see the reality and you will become indifferent towards the reflection. And at that time what will happen?  The illusory energy of the Lord will become hataujasa; the material nature will not influence you anymore. What was the influence of the material nature? To make you feel that this is where the real food actually is. The reflection is where you are going to get the food. Through the three modes of material nature the material nature is simply entangling us to the illusory energy of the Lord. As I mentioned the other day, through the mode of passion we become active in the material nature and then we become tired and we fall asleep in the mode of ignorance. Then in the morning you get up again and start to make endeavor to get the food out of the reflection. That is the material nature. Passion causes us to get involved, ignorance makes us fall asleep, become unconscious. The mode of goodness makes you stand aside and think, “Well, actually I am seeing, after so much endeavor and I am not getting the food. So let me not get involved and let me stop and think and find out what is actually the matter.” That is the mode of goodness: cessation of materialistic activities with a desire to get the real information.

But then, to turn towards the real food is suddha sattva. The mode of goodness in the material nature is not suddha that is misra. It is not pure goodness. There is some tinge of passion and ignorance. That is resisting us; preventing us from being involved in the mundane activities but still it is not giving us the real information. The real information will come when we look towards the spiritual reality, when we perceive the spiritual reality. Then we become situated. Like when we see the food, what do you do? Do you stand there and start to intellectualize it? No, when you see the real food, now that you are hungry, you just rush to the food and start eating. And that is the spiritual activity. When we become engaged in the spiritual activities then our heart becomes filled with satisfaction. Evam prasanna manaso, our heart become fully satisfied. [SB 1.2.20] And our heart experiences the joy of being involved in the activity of the spiritual sky, which is the loving exchange with Krishna.

So the process is so scientific, this process of Krishna consciousness. That’s why Prabhupada used the expression that Krishna consciousness is not a matter of faith. Krishna consciousness is a science, the science of self realization. Jnana-vijnana sahitam, Krishna Himself is using that expression. Jnana and vijnana: real knowledge and realization of that knowledge. It will happen. Follow the process; practice the process, the realization will come. You may not be a pure devotee today but yes, in course of time you will become a pure devotee. Just practice the process. Although pure devotional service used to be kept as a secret, that’s why in general the scriptures are not talking about pure devotional service so clearly. It’s kind of presented in an indirect way. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu made this pure devotional service available so easily. Like, Ramayana and Mahabharata we see that they are not talking of pure devotional service. They are talking of the goal of life as an elevation to the heavenly planets. The sages are performing such severe austerities to go to the heavenly planet, no indication of pure devotional service. But it is only through Caitanya Mahaprabhu that pure devotional service has become available. Even the four sampradayas generally did not give what Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave. The other four sampradayas, including even Madhva sampradaya, which is the sampradaya we belong to in a way, Brahma sampradaya, that sampradaya also talks about elevation to Vaikuntha. It’s only Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who actually gave us the process for elevation to Vrindavana. Although Srimad Bhagavatam so elaborately describes about Vrindavana, Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavana, and clearly mentions also many a time that Vrindavana is the highest region of the spiritual sky, but the understanding was not clear until Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came and gave us that understanding. That’s why we need an acarya. That’s why we need a bona fide spiritual master. If Caitanya Mahaprabhu didn’t come, the secret of Vrindavana would have remained a hidden mystery to everyone. Yadi Gaura na hoito, tabe ki hoito, kemone dharitam de. [Yadi Gaura Na Hoito, song by Vasudeva Ghosh] Although Brahma Samhita describes that, but still the understanding was not there.

It is only through Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that it has become available. And what is the mystery of Vrindavana?  Madhuri vrnda, vipina-madhuri, pravesa caturi sar. It is not easy to enter into Vrindavana. And why Vrindavana is such a mystery, kept as a secret? Baraja-yuvati, bhaver bhakati, sakati hoito kar. Who could have understood the depth of the loving exchange of the Vraja-vadhus, the cowherd damsels of Vrindavana? So that’s why Bhagavatam has got a very, very special dimension due to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And for us it is due to Srila Prabhupada’s mercy that it has been available. Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave but if Prabhupada did not bring it out the way he did, through ISKCON, we couldn’t have received this mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And when we read Srimad Bhagavatam in the light of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings and Srila Prabhupada’s teachings then the Srimad Bhagavatam becomes crystal clear.

Hare Krishna! Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol!

Does anybody have any questions? Yes?

Devotee: [paraphrased] Guru Maharaja, in society there are super intelligent persons, they work for the government, they’re genius and they behave in the mode of goodness. They don’t care much about the mode of passion and at the same time, while they are in goodness they don’t turn to Krishna.

HHBCS: Because they didn’t receive the mercy of a pure devotee. Devotional service is a product of the mercy of the devotees. What to speak of these intellectuals, even the demigods do not have access to it. Even all the sages do not have access to it. What to speak of the sages, even the residents of Vaikunthaloka don’t have access to it. [laughs] It is only by the mercy of a pure devotee who knows about the secret of Vrindavana, the mystery of Vrindavana and the glory of Vrindavana. One cannot have access to Vrindavana, I mean, just to get into that point. And even devotional service, like vaidhi bhakti, or that would lead to Vaikuntha cannot be achieved without the mercy of a devotee. It’s only through the mercy of a devotee that one can receive devotional service to the Lord.

Devotee: Guru Maharaja, can you please explain why the influence of the modes are not completely eradicated?

HHBCS: Okay, yeah. That is because Kapiladeva is pointing out the devotional service in the practicing stage. So in the practicing stage it is reduced but not completely eradicated, but in the pure stage it will be eradicated. Like, say for example, you are seeing the reflection but you haven’t completely seen the food on the table. Sometimes you may look at it, that may be there is some hope of getting some food there but when you completely see and start eating it then the influence of the material nature, or the possibility of turning towards that reflection is still there.

Yes, Shantirupa?

Devotee: Guru Maharaja, you said that even the sages and the residents of Vaikunthaloka don’t have access to pure devotion but they are in devotional service.

HHBCS: Well, see, the sages are in devotional service but generally they are in santa rasa. They are not in active devotional service. Out of the sages, many of them are brahmavadis. Okay, before that, many of them are trying to be elevated to the heavenly planets. Some others are interested in brahma sayujya. Some others are aware of Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead but their activity is to meditate upon Krishna and see Him in the core of their heart.

Devotee: And the residents of Vaikuntha?

HHBCS: And the residents of Vaikuntha, they are engaged in devotional service to Krishna but they are serving Krishna in the mellow of awe and reverence, santa and dasya. So they cannot also from Vaikuntha have access to Vrindavana. They are so absorbed with Narayana. They are happy. They are happily engaged in serving Narayana. And there, in Vaikuntha, the information of Vrindavana is not there. Like, it is there…like in Bhagavatam, those who used to read Srimad Bhagavatam before, they used to think that this Krishna is an incarnation of Kshirodakasayi Vishnu. Although they read Bhagavatam, but they didn’t understand that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is not an incarnation. Their understanding was that these activities of Krishna are when He came to the earth planet as an incarnation He performed His activities. It was limited to that. But, as I said, if somehow they get to know, even if the residents of Vaikuntha if they get to know that there is a region which is beyond Vaikuntha then only they can aspire for Vrindavana, which is beyond Vaikuntha.

Another consideration is, that’s why Krishna’s Vrindavana pastimes are kept as a secret, even from the Vaikunthavasis. Only one or two rare individuals may get an opportunity by the mercy of a devotee, but even if then from Vaikuntha they cannot go to Vrindavana. If they have to go to Vrindavana then they have to come back to the earth planet. And they have to perform sankirtana in the earth planet or in Vrindavana and then only they will become qualified to go on to Goloka Vrindavana. So that is how rare it is. Brahmar durlabha prema. [Nitai Guna Mani, song by Locana dasa Thakura] Siva virincir yutam. So that’s why brahmar durlabha prema, it is rare, even for Brahma. It is rare even for Lord Shiva. It’s rare even for Vaikunthavasis. It’s rare even for Lakshmidevi! Lakshmidevi had to perform great austerity. You see, Lakshmidevi wanted to go to Krishna’s Vrajalila. Then Krishna said, “Okay, then you have to take shelter of one of the residents of Vrindavana, one of the gopis of Vrindavana.” Lakshmi said, “How is it possible? I am Lakshmi! I can’t bow down to anyone else.” Then Krishna said, “Then you won’t be able to go.” I’m sorry, Narayana said, “Then you won’t be able to go to Vrindavana because the only way to go to Vrindavana is by taking shelter of one of the residents of Vrindavana.” So then Lakshmidevi performed great austerity and as a result of that Krishna came to her and asked, “What happened, Lakshmi?” And Lakshmi told Him. So then Krishna carried Lakshmi in His chest, as Srivatsa. That is how Lakshmi had entrance to Vrindavana. So that is how rare Vrindavana is and that’s what Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is distributing without any discrimination. And that’s what Srila Prabhupada distributed all over the world.

Thank you! Hare Krishna!


Devotee: Divya jnana hride prakasito, sometimes one tries to keep the brain in the classes, writing diaries, but we are not interested in the heart.

HHBCS: Yeah, you see, siddhi or perfection requires sadhana. So suddha bhakti and sadhana bhakti. Prema bhakti and sadhana bhakti. We need to do the sadhana. We need to do the practice. Like, say for example, when you are learning how to swim you have these inflated rubber bags on your arms, just to learn how to swim. So when you learned to swim, then you don’t need them. So perfection is something like naturally develop that inherent ability to do service. The jiva has the bhakti inherent in his heart but in order to awaken that there is a need for practice. And this is the practice, memorizing verses, taking notes, attending Bhagavatam classes and so forth. But when one becomes perfect, then the perfection will not come because of the practice. The perfection will come because it is already there. One learns to swim because he has the ability to swim. It is not that he is swimming because of the rubber tubes that keep him afloat. When he learns to swim he keeps himself afloat, or when one learns to walk, you don’t need any other support. You automatically will start to.

Yes, Yamunapriya?

Devotee: Guru Maharaja, in the class you mentioned that devotional service makes us look in the right direction [inaudible]

HHBCS: I didn’t get the question.

Devotee: [paraphrased] You were telling us that devotional service makes us look in the right direction. The other day a devotee asked me that she was in anxiety because she had lost taste for devotional service. Why is that? Could you kindly answer this question.

HHBCS: Because you are still looking at the reflection. [laughter] Let’s try to understand this point through this example. One is hungry. He comes into a room, and on one wall of the room there is just a mirror. And in that mirror he sees all kinds of delicious food, placed on a beautiful plate, Now what he’ll do? What will be his natural reaction? Try to grab it, but will he ever be able to grab it? Will he ever be able to satisfy his hunger?

Now, he is trying and trying and trying. Life after life, that’s what we are trying to do. Our souls are hungry and we are trying to satisfy our hunger. Our soul is hungry of what? What is the soul’s hunger? Ananda, joy. And we are trying for so many years, so many lifetimes we are trying to enjoy. And we see that we don’t get that and we keep on trying and trying and trying. Then somebody comes and says, “Look, this is a reflection. The real food is somewhere else.” So you try to turn your face and go there. The food is not here, the food is there but because of his habit for so many lifetimes it is difficult for him to turn away from that. Now he is in a sort of a limbo: he is neither here nor there. He is trying not to be entangled in his effort. He is trying not to get involved in trying to get the food from the reflection. At the same time he is not able to properly turn his face away from there and look towards the right direction and that is the point when the living entity or practicing devotee feels the frustration that, “I am trying but it is not happening.” The point is you are not trying hard enough. Your mind, your consciousness is still entangled, you’re still trying to enjoy. Although you got the information that this is a reflection and the substance is somewhere else but still you are entangled in this reflection. So that is the problem and that is the state of sadhana bhakti: you are practicing to turn your face away. You are trying to get the taste of real substance but you haven’t become adept at it.

Devotee: If someone is performing devotional service but is having ulterior motives [inaudible]

HHBCS: So that is not pure devotional service. It’s mixed devotional service. You are rendering devotional service but through devotional service you are trying to gain name and fame. So that is material, mixed with karma, karma misra bhakti. Dhanam, janam, sundarim: distinction, adoration and profit.

Yeah, go ahead.

Devotee: Can you explain what is their fate, because they are…

HHBCS: What is that?

Devotee: What is their destination? Devotional service as purifying as it is [inaudible] In my understanding is it due to their conditioning that…as you were saying somebody is telling them  they have to look the other way but still…what is their…

BCS: Take the medicine properly. Like, you have a disease and the medicine is there. Now, it’s not that as soon as the doctor prescribes the medicine you become cured. You keep taking the medicine. It make take a few days, it may take some time. So that is the point of the practicing stage of devotion, sadhana bhakti. Keep on practicing. It will happen. If the medicine is genuine and if you are following the prescription properly then, yes, you’ll get cured. It may take a few days. Don’t worry. The trouble is that when someone gives up the practice of devotion properly, then the trouble starts.

Devotee: [inaudible]

HHBCS: That’s why we see so many devotees come and go. They come, and then go away. Because they didn’t understand the importance and they didn’t understand the efficiency of the application of this medicine.

Devotee: Once one becomes a devotee, he becomes completely indifferent towards material allurements. So is he seated in the mode of pure goodness [inaudible]

HHBCS: That’s the point that Nal Krishna asked, that somebody may be intellectually very advanced and it seems that he is very detached and so forth. Just detachment from matter is not the symptom of devotional service. The symptom of devotion is involvement in service to Krishna. So many people are intellectually so advanced. So many people are, as you said, detached from material attachment but detached from material attachment is not the goal of life.

Devotee: [paraphrased] I mean once you are a devotee, when no more allurements affect him, may he think now free from maya?

HHBCS: No, unless one is situated in pure devotional platform allurements will always be there. Only through pure devotional service one can avoid the allurements. Like, if you don’t have real food you will become attracted to the reflection of the food.

Devotee: He is rendering his service…

HHBCS: Don’t worry about him, bother about yourself.

Devotee: Maharaja, I do feel like that, and secondly…

HHBCS: What do you feel?

Devotee: At any circumstance I don’t feel I myself at least deviating from the practice of my devotional service.

HHBCS: Then you are a pure devotee. [laughter] It is only through pure devotional service that you can be totally detached from matter. That’s the point.

Devotee: When you get the blessings of the previous acarya’s, once you go deeply into their …

HHBCS: That you will feel yourself. This is not a theory that I can say that you…just keep on practicing the process and see what’s happening. If the acaryas’ mercy comes you will see it yourself. It is not something that I can tell you. It is not a matter of theory. It is a matter of practice.

Devotee: I got the blessings also

HHBCS: So if you got the blessings it is very good. [Laughs] Very good.

Okay. All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol!


Transcription : Her Grace Ranga Radhika Dasi

Editing : Her Grace Hemavati Radhika Dasi