Srimad Bhagavatam Canto Three Chapter Twenty Five Text Thirteen

Srimad Bhagavatam Canto Three Chapter Twenty Five Text Thirteen


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 thirteen.

Sri Bhagavan uvaca
yoga adhyatmikah pumsam
mato nihsreyasaya me
atyantoparatir yatra
duhkhasya ca sukhasya ca

sri-bhagavan uvaca — the Personality of Godhead said; yogah — the yoga system; adhyatmikah — relating to the soul; pumsam — of living entities; matah — is approved; nihsreyasaya — for the ultimate benefit; me — by Me; atyanta — complete; uparatih — detachment; yatra — where; duhkhasya — from distress; ca — and; sukhasya — from happiness; ca — and.

Translation by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada:

The Personality of Godhead answered: The yoga system which relates to the Lord and the individual soul, which is meant for the ultimate benefit of the living entity, and which causes detachment from all happiness and distress in the material world, is the highest yoga system.

Purport by Srila Prabhupada:

In the material world, everyone is trying to get some material happiness, but as soon as we get some material happiness, there is also material distress. In the material world one cannot have unadulterated happiness. Any kind of happiness one has is contaminated by distress also. For example, if we want to drink milk then we have to bother to maintain a cow and keep her fit to supply milk. Drinking milk is very nice; it is also pleasure. But for the sake of drinking milk one has to accept so much trouble. The yoga system, as here stated by the Lord, is meant to end all material happiness and material distress. The best yoga, as taught in Bhagavad Gita by Krishna, is bhakti-yoga. It is also mentioned in the Gita that one should try to be tolerant and not be disturbed by material happiness or distress. Of course, one may say that he is not disturbed by material happiness, but he does not know that just after one enjoys so-called material happiness, material distress will always follow. This is the law of the material world. Lord Kapila states that the yoga system is the science of the spirit. One practices yoga in order to attain perfection on the spiritual platform. There is no question of material happiness or distress. It is transcendental. Lord Kapila will eventually explain how it is transcendental, but the preliminary introduction is given here.

[End of Purport]

Sri Bhagavan uvaca
Yoga adhyatmikah pumsam
Mato nihsreyasaya me
Atyantoparatir yatra
Dukhasya ca sukhasya ca

The Personality of Godhead answered: The yoga system which relates to the Lord and the individual soul, which is meant for the ultimate benefit of the living entity, and which causes detachment from all happiness and distress in the material world, is the highest yoga system.

Yoga adhyatmikah pumsam. So, this is adhyatmikah yoga and Prabhupada has translated “the yoga relating to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and a living entity.” The word yoga means connection, link. Yoga. Two plus two. Plus. Two plus two is four. Living entity plus God is? Yes! Bhakti yoga, devotional service.  When a living entity establishes his relationship or connection, yoga means yuktibhi, connected. Sannyasa yoga suktena. One becomes detached from material nature and becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead or connected to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So real yoga, as Kapiladeva is explaining here, is bhakti yoga.

There are other yoga’s, astanga yoga, dhyana yoga, jnana yoga, karma yoga, raja yoga. So many different yoga’s are there, but all those yoga’s are somehow trying to establish one to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But at the ultimate point, like, say, how karma yoga, what is karma yoga? What is karma yoga? What is the definition of karma yoga? The definition of karma yoga is when the karma or activity is rendered for the sake of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is karma yoga, because by the karma some connection is being established to the Lord. Similarly, jnana yoga, dhyana yoga. So , they are trying to establish a relationship with the Lord. But what is the perfected stage of that yoga? The perfected stage of that yoga is complete realization of God and complete realization of the soul. Who is God? Who is Krishna? Who is the Supersoul? Who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Who is He? What’s His definition? He is the Supreme Proprietor, He is the Supreme Controller, He is the supreme enjoyer, He is the supreme! Supreme: paramah ishvara. We get the definition of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this way, as ishvarah paramah krishnah [Bs 5.1]. He is the paramah ishvarah. He is the supreme  controller. And who are we? Who are the living entities? Krishna is the supreme proprietor, supreme controller, supreme ishvarah. And we are? We are smaller than the smallest. We are very, very minute jivatmas. Vibhinna amsa.

So as a jivatma, when the jivatma understands the Paramatma, Supreme Personality of Godhead, then what happens? Then when we understand that Krishna is the supreme controller, then will we try to control ourselves? If we properly understand that Krishna is the supreme controller, then will we want to control ourselves anymore? [audience member: inaudible] What’s that? [inaudible]When you understand that Krishna is the Supreme Controller, then we realize that we are controlled. We are not the controller. So then that leads us to surrender. And this surrender is the beginning of bhakti yoga. Surrender, saranagati. That’s why bhakti, as it has been pointed out by Bhaktivinode Thakura, that bhakti actually begins with surrender or saranagati. Bhakti IS the process of saranagati. Atyanta durlabha prema koribare dana sikhaya saranagati bhakatera prana. Krishna, in order to distribute this very, very rare Krishna prema, atyanta durlabha prema koribare dana sikhaya saranagati, He is teaching us the process of surrender.

This is how we can see that all the other systems, or spiritual practices, or the yoga systems, they are different rungs of a ladder, different steps of the stair case and bhakti is the roof, the topmost platform. We come through different rungs, generally one comes, karma yoga, jnana yoga, dhyana yoga, astanga yoga and so forth. They are different stages. But when it comes to the roof, or the ultimate… we are climbing the stairs to go to a certain point. And what is that point? That point is pure devotion without any other tinge. Like, in that respect, what is karma yoga? Karma plus bhakti is karma yoga. What is jnana yoga? Jnana plus bhakti is jnana yoga. What is astanga yoga? The practice of these astanga processes with bhakti is astanga yoga. So without bhakti they won’t become yoga. It is yoga only when it is for Krishna or connected to Krishna. That is why it is yoga, connected to Krishna, for Krishna! Directly or indirectly. So, that is why these are yoga.

Like, so many people are going to the offices and working so hard. So many people are working in the factories. Do we call them karma yogis? Some fool will call them karma yogi. Some people did, like a person called Vivekananda. He said they are karma yogis. They are working in the fields and producing eggplants! [laughter] But the real karma yoga is when the karma is for Krishna. Yat karosi yad asnasi yaj juhosi  dadasi yat yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kurusva mad arpanam [Bg. 9.27]. Mad arpanam, whatever action we perform, when it is offered to Krishna, mad arpanam, arpanam to Krishna, then it is karma yoga. Same thing applies to jnana yoga and other yoga systems.

But when that yoga or when that bhakti is without any other contamination, when it is bhakti just for the sake of bhakti, that is called pure devotional service. Like, for example, like I have to take some medicine. I am suffering, say from indigestion. So I have to take the medicine. So I mix the medicine with water and I drink it, right? My need is the medicine, so I am taking the medicine, but I am taking it with water. So I am drinking it with water. Then I have a headache. I have another medicine and I am drinking it with water. I have back ache, I am taking another medicine. Now, these are all water mixed with medicine. Is it pure water? So, when the water is without any contamination, nothing is mixed with water, then only it’s pure water. So similarly, this karma yoga, jnana yoga and dhyana yoga, these are according to our desire, we have certain propensities, we have certain tendencies and when those tendencies are dovetailed with Krishna, then they’re called that kind of yoga.

We have tendency to work for our own pleasure, but offering the results to Krishna, karma yoga. I am not doing it purely for Krishna’s sake, I am doing it for my sake. I like to do it. Therefore I am doing it, but I offer the result to Krishna. That is karma yoga. I want to learn. I want to become a big pandita. I want to intellectually understand everything. But when that understanding is directed towards Krishna then that is jnana yoga. If the result of the understanding is Krishna then it is jnana yoga. But when I am doing something just for the sake of Krishna’s pleasure, I do not have any personal motivation, then that is called pure devotional service. Just for Krishna’s pleasure. Water, even if the water is mixed with gold, it’s impure water. Or does the water become more pure if it is mixed with gold? Even the gold is so valuable, but when water is mixed with gold, it is no more pure water. Water is mixed with sugar, it may taste good, but still it is not pure water! So the pure water is pure water.

So devotion, when it is pure, without any other motivation, that is called pure devotional service. When devotional service is not mixed with any other motivation, then it is pure devotion. Anyabhilashita sunyam [Brs 1.1.11]. Abhilasha, abhilasha. Abhilasha means desire. Sunyam means devoid, free. Anyabhilashita sunyam, free from any other desire. Jnana karmadyanavritam, it is uncovered. It not covered anymore, by even by jnana and karma. Anukulyena krishnanu silanam, it’s only for the sake of Krishna’s pleasure. bhaktir uttama, that is pure devotional service.

So that is what Kapiladeva is informing as the beginning, as the introduction to what He has to tell His mother in response to her question. Yoga adhyatmikah pumsam. Adhyatmika yoga. That means yoga pertaining to jivatma and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the process is connecting to the living entity with the Supreme Personality of Godhead that is the nihsreyasaya. The word nihsreyasaya means for the ultimate benefit, and me matam is my conclusion, it’s my matam. Matah is ‘it is approved by me’ or ‘it is my opinion’. The Sanskrit word for matah, the word matah means opinion. Here Prabhupada is pointing out that ‘it is approved by me’. And as a result of that which is meant for the ultimate benefit of the living entity and which causes detachment from all happiness and distress in the material world.

Now, Prabhupada in the purport, that point, he is making that point, that material happiness is always mixed with distress. Happiness goes, distress comes. In order to get happiness we have to undergo so much difficulties, so much distress. We are seeing especially nowadays people are working so hard to get some money. Maya is making all this allurement, big buildings, big cars, big facilities for enjoyment. Maya says, these are the objects for enjoyment, come, come enjoy! But in order to do that they have to work so hard! They have to work so hard. Recently I came across one expression, it’s very, very relevant, very, very pertinent. It says that people nowadays are wasting their youth to earn money and then they’re spending all their money to get their youth back! The young people they are working so hard. Actually it is really painful. I mean when we were in college, in universities, I mean we never worked so hard. I think I spent most of the time in the cafeteria than in the class! [laughter] And we never bothered about good results, competitive results to get a good job. Life was not that difficult! But now we are seeing, the young boys, sixteen, seventeen years old they have to work so hard in order to get the admission in the school, in the engineering college. Brilliant boys, they work so hard.

But what is actually happening? There is some allurement and they’re just trying to get that. Come enjoy. Some sort of happiness is there in the material nature, but to get that happiness one has to work so hard. Or one has to perform so much austerities. Say for example, another very good example is elevation to heavenly planets. People used to perform such severe austerity to be elevated to the heavenly planets. Like for sixty four thousand years they performed austerity. No eating, no sleeping, no breathing, no drinking. And then finally the chariot came from heavenly planet to take them there. And then they would enjoy in the heavenly planet for some time and then kshine punya martyalokam vishanti [Bg. 9.21]. When their punya, piety, is exhausted then they martyalokam vishanti, come back, fall down in the material nature again.

And another example, of course, it’s – that can be even more relevant here-  is that in Europe it’s very common practice, like, in countries like Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, where weather is quite severe, weather is very severe, even in England, England of course weather is the worst! [laughs] The sun never rises in England. When we were young we were under the impression that in England there is a holiday called Sunshine Holiday! [laughter] I don’t know whether it was true, but I heard that, we thought that, we really believed in that, that when the sun came up the school used to get holidays [laughs]. Sunshine Holiday. And we used to think that if we had a system like that [laughter]

So, and in the weather people work so hard. Especially, in the Northern part of Europe. And throughout the year they work so hard and then they get one month’s holiday. And they go to Italy or Spain or Greece where the weather is very beautiful, especially in summer. So they work so hard for whole year just to go there for one month, spend all their savings and then come back and start working hard again [laughs]! That is the material nature! They’re just working so hard in order to just get some trivial, material enjoyment.

So enjoyment comes after a lot of struggle in the material nature. Somebody may say that, well, somebody is born as a son of a rich man. The father made a lot of money and he has all the money to spend. But if we go back then we will find that in his previous life he must have performed a lot of austerities. That’s why he is born in a rich family. And even then, like anyway, so the point is that Kapiladeva is pointing out here that all material happiness, all happiness in this material nature is an outcome or the result of a hard labour, hard distress. A lot of distress generates some material happiness and after the happiness is over, then they have to get in the distressful condition again. But the ultimate benefit or nihsreyasaya is to surrender unto Krishna. Then there is no distress. If you surrender unto Krishna then there is no distress.

Now that point may be confusing sometimes, because people say, well, we are seeing that the devotees are suffering. Like we see so many devotees suffer from disease and so many things. But the point is that a devotee doesn’t suffer. Apparently his body may go through difficulty, but because he has taken shelter of Krishna, he is not affected by that. He is not affected by that, because he has taken shelter of Krishna. He accepts both suffering and enjoyment as Krishna’s mercy, because he knows if there is some difficulty, it’s simply meant for him to make advancement in his spiritual life. How? Because a devotee knows that he has taken shelter of Krishna and Krishna will do whatever is necessary for him. And that is the meaning of the word nihsreyasaya, for the ultimate benefit. Krishna knows what is good for me. Therefore, whatever He is doing is for my benefit. Whatever Krishna is doing with me is for my benefit. If I am suffering, well, it is Krishna is forcing me to become more surrendered to Him, dependant on Him. If I am undergoing physical difficulties Krishna is forcing me, or helping me, to become free from bodily attachment. If Krishna has put me in a poverty stricken condition it is for my benefit, because if I had a lot of money then I could have fallen into Maya. So this poverty stricken condition is good, because Krishna is keeping me safe for my spiritual benefit.

So because a devotee sees everything in the light of Krishna Consciousness, therefore, in every situation he is happy. So that is a devotee. A devotee goes through difficulties, but all those difficulties he accepts for his ultimate benefit. So that is the point that Srila Kapiladeva is making that a living entity can be in two situations: material situation and spiritual situation. Material situation is a mixture of happiness and distress. And this, although it is mixture of happiness and distress, in the long run we see, it is full of distress. Material existence is actually full of distress, full of suffering. Dukhalayam, full of distress. Whereas the spiritual platform, which begins with the surrender to Krishna, in that platform everything is joyful. Even suffering is joyful, because it is with Krishna’s arrangement. When you apparently go through suffering Krishna actually gives us the spiritual enlightenment to not be affected by the suffering condition.

So become very good devotees by surrendering yourselves unto Krishna and becoming free from all of the desires for material enjoyment. Don’t look for material enjoyment. It will come and go automatically, but when you become situated in the spiritual platform then you will see that how the life becomes full of enjoyment. Bhishmadeva is lying in a bed of arrows and his consciousness was completely pure. He is giving such wonderful advice. When I think of this scene of Bhishmadeva in the bed of arrows, I often think of Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada’s last few months was, Prabhupada was physically going through a lot of difficulties, but Prabhupada’s consciousness was not at all affected. His body was going through a lot of difficulties, suffering condition, but his consciousness was absolutely pure, so much so that he was translating Srimad Bhagavatam. He was giving purports to Srimad Bhagavatam, tenth Canto. Prabhupada doesn’t have the strength to hold the microphone himself. One of the devotees used to hold the microphone. And Pradyumna prabhu, Prabhupada’s Sanskrit editor, he used to read the verse. Prabhupada couldn’t sit up, he was lying in bed. Prabhupada’s condition was so weak that Prabhupada himself couldn’t turn to his side. We had to help him to turn to his side if he wanted, because lying on his back all the time was very difficult, I mean painful for him. And he would tell us to help him to turn to his side. And we would very carefully help him to turn to his side, because if we are not careful then Prabhupada could get hurt. But even in that condition, he doesn’t have the strength to even hold the microphone. He doesn’t even have the strength to even sit up, what to speak of read the book himself. A devotee was reading the Sanskrit verse to Prabhupada and Prabhupada was giving the translation and purport to those verses.

Body is in such a critical condition, but he is not affected by that. That is pure Krishna Consciousness. Similarly, Bhishmadeva, lying on a bed of arrows, what a brilliant advice he gave to Yudhisthira Maharaja! So this is a pure devotee. He is not affected by his physical condition. His consciousness is beyond his body’s condition. We all have to face the situation sooner or later. There will be a time when the body will become useless, the body will become incapable, and we will be lying in bed, waiting for death, waiting for the time for the soul to leave the body. It will be difficult. Physically it will be difficult, but if we become Krishna Conscious then we won’t be affected by that. And we see so many devotees who are leaving their bodies in Krishna Consciousness, there we can see that they are not affected by that.

One of our godsisters in England, she had cancer and she decided not to take any chemotherapy. Cancer’s cure now is chemotherapy. And chemotherapy in many cases is quite effective. But her point was, like, if the body has to die, let it. Why try to prolong the duration in this body? So she didn’t take any chemotherapy, and she left her body in such pure consciousness, without taking any medicine.

So that’s how a devotee becomes, how a devotee transcends this body. And we are seeing , it’s not only the men devotees, even the female devotees, there are so many of them, have displayed such advanced condition. So many times I mentioned also devotees like Jahnava’s mother, Savitrie Priya. The way she left her body, such a brilliant example! The doctors said that she had only seven days left at the most. I was in America so I decided to go see her. She was in London. When I was driving I was thinking that probably she will be bedridden, completely incapacitated. But when I went there she just got out of her bed to offer obeisances to me, no matter how much I was telling, please don’t do that, just keep lying there, you don’t have to offer obeisances. She just came out of the bed and offered obeisances. Her consciousness was completely pure. I asked her what she wanted. She wanted me to sing a bhajan [laughs]. And when she left her body, she had the japa mala in her hand. She was chanting, not only chanting, at the time when she was leaving the body, she took the japa mala, placed it on her head, left her body.

So this is how we can see. Like, apparently, you all know, many of you know, that’s Lila Purushottama’s wife. Like, she was just an ordinary housewife, not very educated. But when one leaves his or her body we can see where she must have gone. And this is how effective Krishna Consciousness is. Can a yogi leave his body like that? No, only a devotee can leave her body like that.

Hare Krishna! Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol!

Does anybody have any questions? Yes?

Devotee: Gurumaharaja, you mentioned how a devotee is above happiness and distress, because he knows that whatever Krishna does this is for my benefit. Now, while practicing Krishna Consciousness we obviously hear this thing and try to remember this, there is distraction due to attachments. Although there is this faith that Krishna will take care of me, there is distraction when we engage in certain things, and this is due to our attachments. So now how do we avoid the distractions and keep the consciousness constantly in our mind? Not just for some time, but always remember that we have to be above [?] happiness and distress.

BCS: You see, the most important consideration in this respect is practice. It’s difficult, just as Arjuna told Krishna, cancalam hi manah Krishna pramatham balad dridham tasyaham nigraham manye vayor iva su-dushkaram [Bg. 6.34]. As difficult as controlling the wind. But Krishna’s  simple answer was abhyasena tu kaunteya vairagyena ca grihyate [Bg. 6.35]. Practice. So that’s why we have this process of sadhana bhakti. Practice means sadhana bhakti. This practice will bring us to the platform of perfection. Nothing else can do that. This sadhana bhakti only will bring us to the platform of pure devotion. If we see that the mind is being distracted try to bring the mind, like, deal with the situation as it is necessary. Yes, attachment is there. If we realize that the attachment is there then we try to offer that attachment to Krishna, that not for me, it is for Krishna. That’s why the first part of devotion, first phase of devotion is karma yoga. Attachment is there. We want this attachment, but we are transforming that attachment by offering the results to Krishna. I am attached to this thing, what to do? Okay, get it! Because negation is not going to work. If the negation is not going to work, then let me get it, but let me get it for Krishna. So that way, you see the tendency, the propensities, as Prabhupada used to say, being dovetailed. The propensities are being dovetailed. Like, we are not saying, “No!” We are saying, “Go! For Krishna.”  We are simply adding Krishna to it. Prabhupada’s classic example about that was that Krishna is that ‘one’ multiplying all the zero’s by ten. All our endeavors are zero’s, but when we do it for Krishna then it is getting a spiritual touch. So Krishna Consciousness is not ‘no’, the process of no, not neti neti. We are not saying no, we are saying yes, for Krishna.

So, any other question? Priyavrata?

Devotee: Well, it is a question which just popped into my mind. I wanted to make this clear. It is not related to this class. It is about the issue of Raghava prabhu’s reincarnation[?], a disciple of Prabhupada and Ratnavali, a disciple of yours.

BCS: You see, my answer to her was don’t dwell on that. Past is not important. What really matters is the future.

Devotee: But she got so deep into that, you know, and now the whole mystery is coming out.  And…

BCS: Don’t you believe in reincarnation?

Devotee: Yes, but I am saying

BCS: So what’s the big deal? I mean, like, if we believe in reincarnation, is it possible? Yes, it is possible. So what? I will put it this way that, is it possible? What’s the answer?

Devotee: Reincarnation is possible, yes.

BCS: Then?

Devotee: So it is effective to

BCS: I don’t want to comment on that. [laughs] The thing is I don’t want to comment on that, because it becomes a big issue then.

Devotee: Oh, I see.  [inaudible] I met her husband and I feel guilty, did I commit an offence, because I was an instrument for [inaudible] Her parents were crying.

BCS: You were instrumental for?

Devotee: for getting her married to Krishna Viji [?] Her parents were crying, you know, they didn’t want it for her to get married to a white devotee. Since I was vice president, I had to preach to them and preach to them and finally they did accept and I took the guarantee that as long I was there I will take care and she married [inaudible] Now they are separated.

BCS: But they are still…

Devotee: They’re friends now

BCS: Anyway, so are you satisfied now?

Devotee: Did I commit an offence?

BCS: No, no. That’s alright. My point is, you know, like so many times I see devotees getting in to their past life, you know hypnotic regression and, you know, I was this in my life. Why do any of that ? Whatever I may have been in the past life is not important. What matters is this life and what will matter even more is what’s going to happen to me in the future life? That is an important consideration. Like, for example, in a past life Nahusha became Indra. King Nahusha became Indra and then he became a lizard. So what’s the point in thinking that, you know, you are Indra? Now he is a lizard! And that’s where you have to deal with it. As a lizard he cannot act like Indra. As a lizard he has to act like a lizard. So any other question? Yes?

Devotee: My question is related to [inaudible]what I was thinking that when somebody leaves his body in an accident then we assume he gets a ghostly body. In her case [inaudible] but Prabhupada gave instruction that one should perform shradha ceremony after three days [inaudible]

BCS: For devotees all those rules do not apply. You know, the accidental death. For a devotee it is all different. Abhimanyu, how did Abhimanyu die? How did Tamal Krishna Maharaja leave his body? Now is it an accidental death [inaudible]? No! A devotee is a devotee. I mean, a devotee is under Krishna’s care. But of course one shouldn’t commit suicide. But even then, Chota Haridasa committed suicide. Mahaprabhu approved it. He becamea Gandharva.

Okay. Thank you all very much!

All Glories to Srila Prabhupada!


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