Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vedic epistemology-the real scientific approach




For many centuries, the biggest materialistic brains have been trying to understand the intricacies of the universe, its atomic constitution, its origin, development and dissolution, but whatever was obtained so far is just a drop of relative knowledge from an ocean of immeasurable knowledge, both phenomenal and noumenal. There are different methods to get different results, and it should not be a surprise if by using the wrong method one gets something distinct from the expected. That ocean of knowledge is accessible only to those who take to the proper method, i.e., sabda-pramana-hearing the Vedic knowledge from the parampara system, and not otherwise.

The first mistake that even a honest person in search for knowledge may commit is to believe completely in his own senses- pratyaksa. Direct perception is already defective, thus how can one acquire perfect knowledge from an imperfect instrument? And this includes also any tool that is manufactured by such imperfect instruments. Of all methods of research, this is perhaps the most ineffective and susceptible to failure. The next attempt is inference- anumäna. That depends more or less on one’s brain power to get rational conclusions from some premises. The problem with this method is that the human brain is as ‘effective’ as the senses, or in other words, just another imperfect means to grasp knowledge. Those who are artificially making their brains work, trying to understand each and every thing in the universe by their own brain capacity are just like Mr.Frog calculating the dimension of the ocean taking his well as the standard measure. And what kind of contribution we may expect from frog-like brains?

“Mental speculations, by adding some dozens of "if's" and "maybe's," cannot aid the advancement of knowledge -- on the contrary, such mental speculations will only end in despair by dismissing the case abruptly and declaring the nonexistence of God.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.43-45, purport

They may try to give some bluff for the future, but ‘trust no future, however pleasing’.

“But what can the scientists know? Even Brahma himself was once bewildered…”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.6.37, purport

Lord Brahma is the biggest scientist, and he proved it by creating the whole universe. Not that he just sat down and wrote some nonsensical theory. Science means theory and experiment. But what is the difference between Lord Brahma’s approach and that of our modern scientists? He did not waste his valuable time with pratyaksa and anumäna, but rather took the way of sabda-pramana. And what was the first sabda? ‘Tapah’-austerity. In the process of receiving knowledge from the supreme authorities, one of the requirements is to be pure- without being fiery, nobody can enter into the fire; without being pure nobody can enter into pure knowledge. Therefore, the first step to become pure is to accept some sort of austerity in order to purify the heart. And because Lord Brahma took those words very seriously, Lord Visnu became very pleased with him (sabhajitah, SB 2.9.9). This is the next step to get transcendental knowledge- we must please the authority. Brahma was fortunate enough to have the Supreme Lord Himself as his direct authority, but through the chain of disciplic succession even today we may have an authority as good as the Lord Himself and whose words are as powerful as His. Just like Sukadeva Gosvami was the bonafide representative of the Lord for Pariksit Maharaja. And what were his qualities?

“The spiritual master, therefore, must be one who is sarva-jna, as stated herein before in connection with Sukadeva Gosvami.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.4.6

And to actually know Bhagavan, one must be bhagavan:

vicikitsitam etan me
bravitu bhagavan yatha
sabde brahmani nisnatah
parasmims ca bhavan khalu

“Kindly clear up all these doubtful inquiries, because you are not only vastly learned in the Vedic literatures and self-realized in transcendence, but are also a great devotee of the Lord and are therefore as good as the Personality of Godhead.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.4.10

And Maharaja Pariksit, as a good scientist, was intelligent enough to take scientific knowledge from him by making the proper inquiries:

bhuya eva vivitsami
bhagavan atma-mayaya
yathedam srjate visvam
durvibhavyam adhisvaraih

“I beg to know from you how the Personality of Godhead, by His personal energies, creates these phenomenal universes as they are, which are inconceivable even to the great demigods.”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.4.6

This is the missing point for many of the modern scientists-they don’t accept the existence of a Supreme Controller, and what to speak of understanding His potency:

visnor nu virya-gananam katamo 'rhatiha
yah parthivany api kavir vimame rajamsi
caskambha yah sva-rahasaskhalata tri-prstham
yasmat tri-samya-sadanad uru-kampayanam

“Who can describe completely the prowess of Visnu? Even the scientist, who might have counted the particles of the atoms of the universe, cannot do so. Because it is He only who in His form of Trivikrama moved His leg effortlessly beyond the topmost planet, Satyaloka, up to the neutral state of the three modes of material nature. And all were moved.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.40

Therefore, all their so-called scientific approaches fail, for they do not know that there is someone behind the creation and maintenance of the universe, and that He is always a Person. They may analyze many elements in their laboratory, or even plants and animals, but when we speak of analyzing a person, that is a different thing, for that depends on the person’s agreement to be analyzed. Just imagine if someone is walking on the street and a group of scientists come with test tubes, syringes, measuring instruments, etc. and try to forcibly analyze him. Surely he will protest and move away. If it is so in the case of an ordinary person, it is not surprising that our materialistic scientists are still in complete darkness about knowledge of God. Factually, the Lord is aprameya, “for not even the best human brain can estimate His powers and potencies by mathematical calculation.”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.16, purport
But taking the process described by the Lord Himself, one may get positive knowledge about God and His creation, though not absolute, for only God can know everything absolutely. And how is this process?

“But as far as Indian sages are concerned, knowledge is received from the Vedic literatures, and the authorities accept without any hesitation that we should look through the pages of authentic books of knowledge (sastra-caksurvat).”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.13

Srila Prabhupada met many scientists from all over the world and explained to them how bhakti-yoga is not a sentiment or just a philosophy- it is a science, but in this science the approach is sabda-pramana, and no other methods will do, because we are dealing with a Supreme Person, and He reserves Himself the right
to establish the rules. The Vedic epistemology is based on the principle that hearing the pure sound vibration from a self-realized person is the perfect method for acquiring transcendental knowledge. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada is the biggest scientist we have in the modern age, for he was the first to present scientific transcendental literature to the general public, so that everyone may get scientific knowledge about God and the universe, which is the real purpose of a scientific book:

“Any book of knowledge (science or art) must lead to the knowledge of Narayana; otherwise it must be rejected. That is the way of advancement of knowledge.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.5.15, purport

And such transcendental knowledge is accessible to all of us and we do not even have to perform penances as Brahma did-

“By reading and hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam as a scientific presentation, the conditioned souls will gradually be promoted to the higher status of transcendental knowledge after being freed from the illusory energy based on sense enjoyment.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.7.53, purport








This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the first year of the Bhakti Vaibhava course at VIHE, second canto of Bhagavatam, on 19/10/02

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bhagavatam is the final answer to all questions




Out of 8.400.000 species of life, those who have achieved the human form are very fortunate, and out of them, those who are civilized are even more fortunate, because all the Vedas, Upanisads, Puranas, etc. are meant for them. All these scriptures give answers to all human inquiries, both material and spiritual, and point out the way by which one can gradually elevate his consciousness, so that he may eventually be able to understand the end of all questions- Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as He is described in Srimad Bhagavatam.

When I was studying philosophy at University in Brazil, it was quite disappointing to see how the western philosophy simply deals with existential problems without any final solution to them. Many philosophers are agnostics and not even believe there is such a thing as ultimate knowledge or transcendent reality, or even if there is, it is beyond the human reach. Everything becomes easier when we start from the solution, just as a mathematical operation is easier when we know beforehand the number we are looking for as a result. And the great advantage of Srimad Bhagavatam is that in It the end of knowledge personified is speaking about Himself:

aham evasam evagre
nanyad yat sad-asat param
pascad aham yad etac ca
yo 'vasisyeta so 'smy aham

“Brahma, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.9.33

This statement is very clear and straightforward to anyone who is hearing it from a bonafide spiritual master, but the same remains a mystery for outsiders. The mayavadi, so-called philosophers consider the word ‘aham’ ( I ) in this verse just a ‘principle’ of Brahman- ‘sarvam khalv idam brahma’, ‘indeed this is all Brahman’ (Chandogya Upanisad, 3.14.1), therefore there is no difference between ‘aham’ Krishna, ‘aham’ Ganesha, ‘aham’ Durga, or ‘aham’ whoever it might be. Once in Varanasi I challenged a neighbour who was pakka mayavadi: ‘Why do you worship Lord Shiva? If everything is one, you should also worship me, and may start by cleaning my room!’ He said he had no asnswer to give me… But, the reply is that there is a BIG difference between Lord Shiva and me, as well as between Lord Krishna and any other living entity. Because Pariksit Maharaja knew that there are some foolish people who are bewildered about this matter, he inquired:
asid yad-udarat padmam
loka-samsthana-laksanam
yavan ayam vai purusa
iyattavayavaih prthak
tavan asav iti proktah
samsthavayavavan iva

“If the Supreme Personality of Godhead, from whose abdomen the lotus stem sprouted, is possessed of a gigantic body according to His own caliber and measurement, then what is the specific difference between the body of the Lord and those of common living entities?”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.8.8

In Sukadeva Gosvami’s words we find several points that answer this question: The Lord is Bhagavan (SB 2.9.4), and both He and His abode are free from the influence of maya, the external energy (SB 2.9.10), He is adhyaksa, the director in everyone’s heart (SB 2.9.25), the Supreme Brahman and the summum bonum (SB 2.10.7), while the jivas are given different forms by the illusory energy (SB 2.9.2), which are constituted by material elements (SB 2.10.8). In other words, the Lord’s body is always transcendental, while the jivas are prone to accept a material body in the conditioned stage. Another argument raised by the mayavada school is that in the conditioned state there may be differences between the Lord and us, but in the liberated stage we become one. Their claim is that at first there is meditation, meditator and the object of meditation, but when perfect samadhi is attained, there is no more distinction between these elements. To this, we may answer that no matter how accomplished a cook may be, at any stage there will always exist the cooking, the cook and the food, for they never become one. Besides that, in the Vedic scriptures we don’t find a single case to support such a view, that is actually sheer imagination of speculative brains deluded by the external energy:

rte 'rtham yat pratiyeta
na pratiyeta catmani
tad vidyad atmano mayam
yathabhaso yatha tamah

“O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.9.34

Whatever knowledge may come from a person deluded by maya is just like a reflection in the darkness, for such a person is unable to analyse the objects of knowledge in the proper perspective, that means, in relation to Krishna, the Supreme Absolute Truth. However brilliant they may seem to the ignorant mass of people, compared to the knowledge coming from a bonafide disciplic succession, the philosophical comments of such a deluded person are just like glow-worms in the darkness- they cannot illuminate even their own path. Even the prominent exponent of advaitavada, Sankaracarya, openly stated in his commentary on Bhagavad Gita that ‘Narayanah paro’vyaktat’ , ‘Lord Narayana is beyond the unmanifested’, but his so-called followers are too unfortunate to partake with his view. In fact, the advaitavadis are right in their understanding that everything is one, but they are wrong in not understanding that everything is not one. From the rational point of view, it may seem contradictory, but this is the ultimate conclusion- acintya-bheda-abheda-tattva:

yatha mahanti bhutani
bhutesuccavacesv anu
pravistany apravistani
tatha tesu na tesv aham

“O Brahma, please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos and at the same time do not enter into the cosmos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.9.35

The Supreme Lord is inside and outside of all atoms in the universe, but still He is aloof from the material world, residing in His own abode. He is equal to the living entities in quality, but He is different in quantity. This subject matter is a great secret and it is very difficult to be understood by the common man, therefore Lord Visnu advises :

etavad eva jijnasyam
tattva-jijnasunatmanah
anvaya-vyatirekabhyam
yat syat sarvatra sarvada

“A person who is searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, must certainly search for it up to this, in all circumstances, in all space and time, and both directly and indirectly.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.9.36

Srimad Bhagavatam is non-different from Lord Krishna, therefore It is the culmination of all Vedic scriptures, the ultimate knowledge and the end of all research. In his purports, Srila Prabhupada presents such perfect knowledge in its purest form, always opposing all deviant views, because “due to wrong and fashionable interpretations by unauthorised persons, one cannot reach the ultimate conclusion” (SB 2.9.36, purport). And by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy, this conclusion is easily available to everyone through his most sublime legacy in the form of translation and purports:

srnvatah sraddhaya nityam
grnatas ca sva-cestitam
kalena natidirghena
bhagavan visate hrdi

“Persons who hear Srimad-Bhagavatam regularly and are always taking the matter very seriously will have the Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna manifested in their hearts within a short time.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.8.4

And the only qualification required is the earnestness to read Prabhupada’s books and follow his instructions.





This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the first year of the Bhakti Vaibhava course at VIHE, second canto of Bhagavatam, on 06/11/02




Sonhos pequenos

Um indiano contou-me este ditado:
‘Quando fores sair para caçar
É melhor que tu estejas bem armado
E que faça uma noite de luar.

Então sob as celestes luminárias
Mantenha sempre os olhos no horizonte
Desprezando criaturas ordinárias
-Seja a meta caçar rinoceronte!

Se lograres sucesso, será incrível
Porém se fracassares nesse intento
Todos irão dizer: era impossível.’

Mas tudo no Brasil é tão barato...
Você tinha uma bala e, num momento
Fugaz, desperdiçou-a com um rato.



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Olhos de lótus

Desde o dia em que a Teus olhos contemplei
Quando partiste sem dizer adeus
Após as reverências que prestei
Procuro ansioso pelos olhos Teus.

Por vezes, penso vê-los lá no céu
Entre estrelas formosas e radiantes
Resplandecendo no celeste véu
Como se fossem astros viandantes.

Pensam os iludidos olhos meus
Voltados para o zênite sem fim
Que entre estrelas estão os olhos Teus...

Mas, percebendo o engano, dizem elas:
‘Acaso não sabeis que um brilho assim
Não temos nem sequer entre as mais belas?'




Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Soneto do chapati balinês

Melanésios lambões, talvez miríade
Polichinelos lá da Polinésia
Tementes ao tiloma de sua tíade
Porfiam às procelas a parrésia.

Não era palha o dravídico sorites
Dos ‘I don’t know what’ aos ‘coisa e tal’
Nem tampouco blefavam blefarites
E até em Madras medrava o madraçal:

-Como pode cachar um xá do céu
Cabalar-se um balaústre cabalístico
Depois de ensandecer um saduceu?

-Ainda assim nada haveria de místico...
-Nem sequer se parece um caduceu!
-Mais insólito que uma quadra: um dístico!



Métrica: Salve-se quem puder

Soneto de o problema também é meu

Não sei se é tarde para que eu me mate
Ou pra que enfie seu livro pelo ralo
Mas sei que tendo tanto disparate
Melhor mesmo seria defenestrá-lo!

É assim que nem ficar mal das idéias
E até Miss Molly flies by carambolas
Chouteando como pés de centopéias
And sonnets like this one, cara. Oh, bolas!

E vem, quando eu me esbaldo à pena embalde
Daqui ‘Le trufas’ e dali ‘ Le truf’
E o que tenho eu a ver com esse balde?

So, at last neither I can understand...
But don’t worry about that, because in truth
You’ve got buckets in the laundry-land.



Métrica: Deus nos acuda

Contradição II

Se conhece um perfume pelo aroma
E pelo timbre, o som de um violino
Sabe o gosto do vinho quem o toma
Tocando, sente-se um tecido fino.

Quando o dia nos traz a claridade
Se pode ver as coisas como são
Assim como esta dor que nos invade
Revela-nos a presença da paixão.

Também o mais sublime sentimento
Deve mostrar algum sintoma exato
Por isso desconheço o que sustento.

Já não mais acredito no que vejo
Tampouco no que sinto, pois de fato
Eu não desejo o mal que mais desejo.



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Miragem

Anseios, vaporosas ilusões
Que vejo tanto atrás como à frente
Bailando como insólitas visões
Feitas de uma substância inconsistente.

Sentimentos desejam tomar forma
Tentando refletir algo visível
Porém logo a matéria se transforma
E fica em evidência o impossível.

O teor da existência vem da mente
Que cria cada verdade subjetiva
E nos prende a uma vida impermanente.


Quem vê que neste mundo é tudo incerto
Logo abandona a fútil tentativa
De querer achar água no deserto.



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Talento

O místico pratica penitência
E tenta tolerar a sua tormenta
Sabendo que através da continência
Alcançará o destino que ele intenta.

Não chora nem lamenta-se o guerreiro
Que persegue a vitória como meta
E ainda que sangrando o corpo inteiro
Por achar justo o preço, não se afeta.

Suportar a aflição dentro da mente
Que se alastra e penetra todo o ser
Compete a uma pessoa diligente.

Não é maior a dor do que o alento
Que me faz observar que pra sofrer
Também é necessário algum talento.



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Hipocrisia

Quase um segundo esconde-se a visão
Uma noite se esconde a luz solar
Por sete dias esconde-se o luar
Uns poucos mais se esconde uma paixão.

Por trinta dias se esconde o mês vindouro
Nove meses se esconde o ser humano
Um defeito se esconde mais de um ano
Num milênio se esconde até um tesouro.

Do tempo, se esconder não pode nada
Porém a quem se apraz com tal assunto
Esconde-se a verdade equivocada.

Toda essa hipocrisia muito me admira
E é assim motivado que eu pergunto:
Quanto tempo se esconde uma mentira?



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Imaginação

Sempre sonhando, o pássaro chakora
Alça vôo pelo espaço, canta forte
E então contempla a lua encantadora
Pois ele a considera sua consorte.

Deste modo se esvai enquanto delira
Crendo que o mero brilho do luar
Refletido em seus olhos de safira
Basta para o manter e alimentar.

Também o pobre pássaro que habita
No âmago do meu ser se ilude quando
Esquece sua existência infinita.

Este tolo descrê em coisas reais
E assim põe-se a ficar imaginando
A existência de coisas irreais...



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Contradição

Com o passar do tempo, um sonho cessa
Mas quando vem chegando a primavera
O mesmo tempo, sempre com sua pressa
Faz com que tudo volte a ser como era.

O vento sopra apenas por temor
Levando as nuvens a um lugar distante
Mas esse mesmo vento enganador
As traz de volta num pequeno instante.

Parece que este ciclo permanece
Como que agindo sem minha vontade
E sendo indiferente a qualquer prece.

Porém depois de inúmeros ensejos
Hoje tento aceitar que na verdade
Eu mesmo não desejo os meus desejos.



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos e sáficos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Soneto para brahmacaris

Que tipo de prazer transcendental
É possível se obter as abraçar
Um saco de excremento, bílis, ar,
Ossos e sangue, próximo ao final?

Por certo isso se encontra disponível
Até mesmo aos seres escatófagos!
Que antes de residirmos em sarcófagos
Tentemos elevar um pouco o nível.

Prazer material? Talvez algum...
Mas como continua-se insatisfeito
Bom mesmo é praticarmos o jejum.

Então abandone-mos todo o ócio
Pois é melhor tirar um bom proveito
Do que tem sido um péssimo negócio.



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Valor intrínsico

A lua, seguindo a própria natureza,
Extravasa o esplendor quando alumia
Sem poder se esquivar, ficando acesa
Àqueles que lhe mostram apatia.

A nuvem dá vazão à sua tendência
Derramando sua água cristalina
Sobre pedras que mesmo co’insistência
Não podem absorvê-la, eis a sina.

E também este frêmito que sinto
Embora cristalino e opulento
Encontra no objetivo algo distinto.

E por não se mostrar nada seleto
Acaba por provar que o sentimento
Prescinde do valor de seu objeto.



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Talassia

Não, não são as substâncias intocáveis
E nem tampouco os fétidos odores
Que me provocam náuseas miseráveis
E sim toda essa falta de pudores!

Não é das putrefatas secreções
Que surge a repugnância em minha mente
Tampouco de tangíveis sensações
Mas antes, do caráter deficiente.

Não sou o criador deste sistema
Nem posso me dizer simpatizante
Pois a minha aversão tornou-se extrema.

A luz deste cenário é sombria
E toda minha culpa, irrelevante
Pois só danço conforme a melodia.



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Concepção

Se vos parece atroz a dor sentida
Quando sois trespassados pela seta
Tentai imaginar esta ferida
Que resulta ao extrair a que me espeta.

Se é agudo o pesar que vós sentis
Pela farpa que aflige o vosso seio
Ouvi o meu pranto e vede a cicatriz
Pois que haja semelhantes eu não creio.

Mas este dissabor não passa em vão
Pois fazendo-se arauto, preludia
Inevitavelmente a concepção:

Das metades no peito faço um dueto
Do sofrimento surge uma elegia
E as lágrimas transformo num soneto.



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Ilusões

Imagens fluem diante da visão
Como a realidade que deliro
Sem nem mesmo entender para onde vão
Depois que se desfazem num suspiro.

Enquanto permanece insuspeitada
A possibilidade mais suprema
Muitos milhões de vidas nesta estrada
São apenas variações do mesmo tema.

Mas quando brilha o espírito interior
Vejo que tudo passa num segundo
Que de fato existe algo a se transpor.

E antes que minha vida se consuma
Realizo que os caminhos deste mundo
Não levam simplesmente a parte alguma.



Métrica: decassílabos heróicos

Demian Martins ©2008, Direitos autorais registrados na Biblioteca National, RJ

Monday, August 18, 2008

Expression

A bird's flight in the sky is not just showing off
It's a genuine expression of its mood.
When flying, dancing or singing every strophe
Is its natural substance understood.
There may be many ways of bursting out,
A reflex manifesting what is felt;
Some may cry, become desperate or shout,
Therefore, by means of art is how I melt.
Everyone has to do what he's meant for,
That is why when I play or when I write
Everything is enacted from my core,
Not just an ordinary show of might.
As my mouth can't reveal my inner soul
At least allow my fingers to do so.




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable


Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Virtue

If one has no conception about shame
Or much less, no capacity to feel
Her pattern of behavior is the same
Displayed by those whose values may be nil.
Ornaments on the limbs, honey in the speech,
But poison in the heart, ready to bite;
One who possesses chastity is rich
Because all her activities are white.
Just covering the body with cosmetics
And silk is for the soul of no avail
For the substance of beauty is based on ethics
And shyness is much better than a veil.
Character is what makes one really clad
For virtue is beyond covering the head.




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Touchstone

Diamonds can’t be purchased with broken glass
Nor by collecting dust one can get wealth ;
To attain Krsna the price is nothing less
Than everything, including life itself.
Unless we are determined and sincere
Our dormant love for God will not awake,
Thus, as with gold, a fire-proof will make clear
If one is really truthful or is fake.
No renouncement is ever so complete
Nor is the mind so difficult to win
As when we must perform such a hard feat
As giving up the object of our esteem.
For one who sees his wish coming so near
There is no pain like leaving what is so dear.




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

To Kshira-cora Gopinatha

After melting, I wanted the flame low,
Trying to stir where the heart and the soul meet,
But it was hard to check an overflow-
A vain attempt to make for You a sweet...
I saw myself splashing all around
And expected that nothing would be left,
Still, inside a remaining part was found
And once again the danger of a theft!
Crystallizing, while putting out the flame,
Came back to life, but never as before
-A whimsical result, and cause of shame-
Even though it's not milk, I have to implore:
Please, quickly steal my heart, though very dense
So that nobody else may have this chance.




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Spontaneous

Nobody tells the flowers when to bloom
Nor dictates to the creepers when to grow;
Upon hearing the spring is coming soon
They spontaneously follow nature's law.
Faith, philosophy, reason, motivation,
None of these will convince Krishna to stay;
They can't even prevent this situation:
Affection for what's sure to fade away.
The most important principle was said:
"Only spontaneous love is what we need."
I try to figure out why I'm so mad
And the cause is not hard to see, indeed:
By force I drag my thought upon God's feet,
By nature it diverts to one not fit.





Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Shade

One who cultivates flowers in the sky
And one who pours affection on a dream
Are both destined to fade away and die
Without seeing things beyond what they may seem.
Finding horns on the head of any rabbit
Considering a rope to be a snake
They wander through the land where they inhabit
Unfit to tell the real from the fake.
To constantly remain behind a shade
Eventually may lead to desperation
But in spite of the judgement I have made
I’m falling for my own imagination.
Loving a mere creation of the mind
One simply keeps on living like a blind.




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Prayer

Many millions of years already passed
But not a single inch outside its path
By God's mercy the sun got such a test
As well as a fixed orbit up to death.

The waters from the rivers and the rain
Enter into the ocean as they can
But by the grace of God it can retain
all in the limits during its life span.

Both have a better fortune than my mind
Always going off the track, making me tired
Beyond orbit or limits, as if blind.

Therefore, hear my dear Lord, hear as I pray:
Let me burn into ashes, if required
But not a single step outside this way.





Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

On the Battlefield

By nature undisturbed and always grave
To be just like the sea, that I don't claim
But even though I'm carried by this wave
I try to keep my vision on the aim.
All of these wavelike shafts sent by the foe
Are ripen fruits whose source is in the past
Particularly meant to cause me woe
And not even a moment let me rest.
The driver of this chariot is my fate
Passion is the great foe, freedom the prize
Moving through tortuous paths up to this state
In a final attempt I may surmise:
Had I got some control over the rein
My presence in this war would not be in vain.





Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Limitation

No beauty can be match to one’s own eyes
Since it always depends on their perception;
To all shadows this principle defies,
Proving that beauty is nothing but projection.
Thus, the very same object seems distinct
Upon being analyzed by different minds,
Each of them bound to follow its own instinct
Producing forms and names of various kinds.
For turning into pleasure what is pain
To measure what I’m feeling is the aid.
If something is contained, it can’t contain-
With sound logic my judgment must be laid:
My object in itself is not so wide
Due to the lack of scope to have me inside.





Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Lace

My friend, what can repression do?-You ask.
At least, it keeps me breathing.-I may say.
As at the cost of life I have a task
This is in no respect a common play.
By just bluffing, this war cannot be won,
I admit, but the proper time is now!
Not a single decision must be wrong
If I desire to die before my vow.
So, even if my chest is never still
I will bear it, not paying any heed,
Immovable, no matter what I feel,
For due to my mistake I have to bleed:
I could not keep my eyes on the right face
Now I can't disentangle from this lace.






Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Impossible dreams

I’d like to catch the moon between my hands
And hang it on the chest to cool my sores
For although in the sky resplendent stands
It simply drags my heart away from Yours.
I’d like to enter deep into the sea
And there obtain a jewel to appease my soul,
To think that the whole world is meant for me
And I will never have to hear a “no”.
I’d like to have the chance to play with fire
Without being ever burnt by any flame,
To fulfill all my dreams until I tire
And still never forget Your Holy Name.
As reality never can be so
Let me dream about life’s final goal...



Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Intrinsic Value

By shining through the power of its rays
The moon is simply following nature’s way;
Unable to refrain, radiant it stays
Even for one whose face is turned away.
By fate, a cloud ’s propensity is to pour
Even on massive rocks that are unfit
To absorb a drop of water in the core-
Not even with insistence they can meet.
And also from my heart a flowing stream
With its crystal-like waters tends to move
Towards a destination not akin,
Thus their non-selectiveness comes to prove:
The most exalted feelings can ignore
The value of the object they long for.




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Inner sight

The sun cannot be covered by a sieve
Nor is a river hampered by a straw
So even if the eyes cannot perceive
How could passion be blocked by a wall ?
Over the hill a rose is out of sight
But its fragrance pervades throughout the space
Its colour may be red or may be white
For the proof is the soul, and not the face.
Simply because the wind cannot be seen
The clouds would not refrain from their commotion
Thus superficial absence is just mean
Unable to prevent a single emotion.
When the eyes find no shelter anymore
Sees the heart the one living in the core.



Metre: Italian hendecasyllable


Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Inference

All the purposes attended by a well
Are much better fulfilled by a vast lake;
While the former's restrictions we can tell,
The latter is for everybody’s sake.
Whatever light emitted by a spark
Can't compare the radiation of the sun;
The former is a glimpse in the dark,
The latter makes the whole universe run.
In the desert a drop may look so fair;
For one living in darkness, seems a flame;
The whole's nature in quality they share,
But never is their quantity the same.
If we are so enchanted by the parts,
How charming must be He from Whom all starts!




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable


Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Illogical

Many thousands of glances everywhere
Don't produce any effect upon your luck,
However, it's enough a single stare
At someone, if your mind is by that struck.
Many thousands of reasons on all sides
Can't do what is accomplished by a stroke;
To all of them, as mockery, it derides-
They cannot artificially provoke.
But logic says its power should be less,
As fire can't keep on burning without wood.
So, after this reflection, I confess:
The subject was not thoroughly understood-
If what the eyes don't see, the heart can't feel,
Then why after so long I'm burning still?




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable


Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Greed

Ask whatever you like and simply wait,
It’s a matter of time till you get it.
You may come in by knocking at the gate
And to cross it, just walk a little bit.
But be careful about what you ask for,
Lest it be some regrettable surprise;
Be aware not to knock at the wrong door,
Lest it may be too late to realize.
To have the right desire is just one side
For those who are attempting to enjoy thus;
Being our well-wisher, Krishna will provide,
But to be satisfied depends on us.
Always what Krishna gives me is the best,
Still, I keep on lamenting for the rest…




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Foresight

With many hopes, some leave their homes behind
And go to mystic lands so far away,
But if there only misery they find
Their lives are frustrated in this way.
Upon hearing a melody so sweet
A deer forgets itself and runs to check
Not knowing that a hunter it will meet
And the cost is first freedom, then the neck.
Destiny says how much we have to endure
And what is to come certainly will come,
Still, do not risk the sure for the unsure
Nor for an unknown sorrow, a known one.
An unfulfilled desire produces less pain
Than the regret for wasting life in vain.




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in National Library,Brazil

Feverish

Diversity is nature's attribute
And it prevails amongst the sentient beings;
What pleases one, to a second does not suit,
Medicine might be, poisonous it seems.
Hell in the heaven, paradise in filth,
This enjoyment of taste is never missed;
The entities indulge and feel no guilt,
To a camel, the own blood is like a feast.
Everybody's conception about bliss
Is naturally felt and very clear,
Except to me: Being puzzled about this
Even basic distinctions vague appear.
Though hardly tolerating such a heat
I just wonder how pain can be so sweet.




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Expression II

I repeatedly try to stop my hands,
Prevent them from exposing me so much,
But the number of verses simply expands
And my ascending scales the heaven touch.
For how long can the sun remain concealed?
It emerges by splendor, not by chance,
Trespassing every cloud that be a shield,
Just as my feeling shines through every sense.
I may attack the emotions where they rest
Suppressing all the symptoms that take shape;
Although carefully locked up in the chest
Eventually they find a way to escape.
When there's something piercing me so deep
Are syllables and notes the tears I weep.



Metre: Italian hendecasyllable


Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Dialectic

So real this illusion may appear,
Reality as a flower in the air,
A mystic spell that covers all the sphere,
Except one who's not sleeping, but aware.
An open invitation for the game
With promises of heaven- a high bet;
The players here will never be the same
Dependent on the scenery that is set.
I tried to make a garland with no thread,
I tried to be a king without a throne,
One by one, all my dreams were lying dead,
Hope against hope, at last it was left none.
If I play as the enjoyer, then You slap;
If not, You invite:'Take another step.'




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable


Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Attraction

At dawn, the rising sun breaks through the sky
And bewitches by the splendor of its beams;
Later on, as the heat becomes so high,
Its closeness suffocates all living beings.
Wild flowers in the field exude the spring
And their exotic fragrance snatches the soul,
But if to adorn the residence we bring,
Very soon such a blunder ends the show.
The waters of the ocean fascinate
Upon being contemplated from the shore,
But for one drowning, fighting against fate,
They will not convey pleasure anymore.
Only at distance attraction is alive,
Otherwise no affection can survive.




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable


Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Astray

There’s no doubt: The Lord will surely kill
But just see - also Ravana will do !
I really cannot trust in my own will
Bewildered, though the options are just two...

I have before my eyes this or that way
But in any case, suffering is my fate
The final result time alone will say
For now, determination must be great.

If I silently die by Rama’s shoot
That would be really glorious for my image
And it would end all problems by the root

However, the dilemma so far stands
-I can’t even keep silence on this page-
My heart insists on dying in the wrong hands.




Metre:Italian hendecasyllable


Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted in the National Library,Brazil

Megalomania

There is no music perfect to my ears,
No beauty can be pleasing to my eyes,
The greatest insignificant appears,
To my heart really nothing satisfies.
Let me drink the whole ocean's water first,
Then devour the earth's layers in a bite;
It would not quench my hunger nor my thirst
Due to the fire that burns me day and night.
No amount of philosophy can kill
All the dissatisfaction that I hide;
No ordinary entity can fill
This unlimited void I feel inside.
My heart in all dimensions is so great
That no one else but God can be my mate.




Metre: Italian hendecasyllable

Demian Martins©2008 copyrighted at National Library,Brazil

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Krishna, The Supreme Aspect of the Absolute




Srimad-Bhagavatam is Srila Vyasadeva’s transcendental thesis to prove that the supreme aspect of the Absolute Truth is a Supreme Person, Vasudeva, and he
takes the required steps to philosophically reach this siddhanta. In the beginning of Bhagavatam it was established that Vasudeva is the source of all
manifestations, both in the material world as well as in the spiritual world:

om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
janmady asya yato 'nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah svarat
tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah
tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayo yatra tri-sargo 'mrsa
dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi

“O my Lord, Sri Krsna, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Sri Krsna because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmaji, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Sri Krsna, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.1.1



It was also defined that the Supreme Absolute Truth possesses three
main aspects, and that ultimately Krishna is the Original Person, from Whom all incarnations emanate:

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti
bhagavan iti sabdyate

“Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.2.11

ete camsa-kalah pumsah
krsnas tu bhagavan svayam
indrari-vyakulam lokam
mrdayanti yuge yuge

“All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Sri Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.3.28

Now, from chapter seven of the first canto onwards, the author proceeds further to
present how the Personal Aspect of the Absolute is the Supreme One, what He is, what are His attributes , how He acts, and particularly, how He deals with His devotees,
such as Queen Kunti, the Pandavas, Bhismadeva, and the inhabitants of Dvaraka.

Foolish people devoid of spiritual knowledge cannot understand how the Supreme can descend to this earthly planet and still remain the Supreme, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita:

avajananti mam mudha
manusim tanum asritam
param bhavam ajananto
mama bhuta-mahesvaram

“Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form. They do not know My transcendental nature as the Supreme Lord of all that be.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 9.11

To illustrate this point, His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Svami Srila Prabhupada, founder acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, used to tell an anecdote : Once an important man went to see the Prime Minister of England
in his residence. The servant told him: “You have to wait. The Minister is busy now.” Then he waited and wait for a long time, after which he became curious to know in which kind of affairs the Prime Minister was so busy. Upon looking through the door of the Minister’s quarters, the visitor saw that he was playing the role of a horse while his children were riding on his back. Srila Prabhupada explains that it is not that the Minister is a horse, but he is assuming such a role just for the sake of enjoyment.
In the same way, Krishna, although the Supreme Absolute Truth, regularly descends to this planet in innumerable forms for the sake of enjoyment, both His and of His
devotees. But His descent is not like ours, for it does not affect His supremacy at all, therefore He is never under the clutches of the illusory energy, that is
actually only one of His multifarious energies, as confirmed in the Svetasvatara Upanisad, 6.8 :

parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate
svabhaviki jnana-bala-kriya ca

"His potencies are multifarious, and thus His deeds are automatically performed as a natural sequence."

The mayavadi theory that the Absolute Truth, or Brahman, when in contact with the material energy, becomes saguna, impregnated with material qualities is completely smashed in the Bhagavatam in the words of Queen Kunti:

kunty uvaca
namasye purusam tvadyam
isvaram prakrteh param
alaksyam sarva-bhutanam
antar bahir avasthitam

Srimati Kunti said: “O Krsna, I offer my obeisances unto You because You are the original personality and are unaffected by the qualities of the material world. You are existing both within and without everything, yet You are invisible to all.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.8.18

This is also corroborated by Sankaracharya in his commentary on Gita: “narayanah paro ‘vyaktat.” In the S.B.1.10.19, Sri Krishna is defined as both nirguna and
gunatma, that means, He does not possess any material attribute, but He is full of all spiritual qualities, and is also the origin of all spiritual and material qualities. But as stated above, some people will not accept even common sense. Once in Varanasi I was discussing about Bhagavad Gita with a so-called scholar, and he told me that he had never seen a translation that was purely literal, without any addition of some personal philosophical view. I told him that the language in the Gita is so clear that there cannot be two different meanings, and just to prove my point, I started to translate the verse 10.8 – aham ‘I (am)’; sarvasya ‘of everyyhing’; prabhavah ‘the source’. Then he immediately objected: “That is OK, but we have to understand what is meant by the ‘I’. Everybody knows that there are no horns in the head of a rabbit, but still some people will make research to find them out. Srila Prabhupada used to mention the case of a famous writer, who was a big scholar in Indian philosophy, but in his commentary onBhagavad-gita he tries to find out some meaning for words like ‘aham’, I, or ‘mam’, to me. The vaisnavas, however, accept the common sense shared by all great acharyas: ‘I’ means Krishna, since He was the One speaking. And it is this Krishna who is revealing His confidential pastimes with His devotees in the pages of Bhagavatam.
The Personal Aspect of the Absolute Truth is not only an impartial observer and ruler, chastising the impious and rewarding the pious , but He is the supreme
source of all rasas, the reservoir of all mellows, able to reciprocate the loving feelings of His unalloyed devotees. And here we have the main reason for His descent- to enjoy unlimited pastimes with His beloved ones. Srila Prabhupada emphasizes that the mayavadis want to become one with God, but the vaisnavas are not only one with God- they are more than God . In the Bhagavatam we see how Lord Krishna
appears in an apparent menial position as Partha-sarathi, the chariot driver of Arjuna. It is only apparent because when Arjuna was in a fearful situation, facing the
brahmastra released by Asvatthama, he immediately addressed Krishna :

tvam adyah purusah saksad
isvarah prakrteh parah
mayam vyudasya cic-chaktya
kaivalye sthita atmani

“You are the original Personality of Godhead who expands Himself all over the creations and is transcendental to material energy. You have cast away the effects of the material energy by dint of Your spiritual potency. You are always situated in eternal bliss and transcendental knowledge.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.7.23

Apparently He may play as an ordinary child or chariot-driver, but whenever there is need, Lord Krishna shows His supremacy lifting Govardhana Hill or saving Pariksit Maharaja. Thus, Lord Krishna, out of transcendental affection for the Pandavas, played the role of maternal cousin, friend, counselor, messenger, benefactor, etc. This personal features of the Supreme Absolute Truth are so amazing that even exalted devotees like Kunti Devi admit to be bewildered at the sight of Krishna crying out of fear of Mother Yasoda, so what to speak of non-devotees who cannot even conceive the Supreme Truth as a person…

Even though superficially He exhibits Himself in what may seem to be human affairs, the position of the Lord is always distinctly transcendental. For example, in Dvaraka, Lord Krishna played exactly like a king and henpecked husband, keeping 16.108 wives, but they were all Goddesses of Fortune. Whatever riches there may be in the material world are but a small gift of the Goddess of Fortune, but in Dvaraka we see that Laksmi works as a maidservant of the Lord. Laksmi is know as Cancala, for nobody can keep Her for a long time, but Laksmi herself cannot leave the Lord even for a moment. This evinces the Lord’s supreme opulence and beauty.

Out of the three aspects of the Absolute, Krishna is the Original Person, from Whom Paramatma is an expansion(S.B.1.3.18), the support of Brahman (B.G.14.27) , He is attractive to all liberated persons (S.B.1.7.10), He possesses unlimited opulences, He performs wonderful activities, He is always surrounded
by loving devotees, His flute and exquisite beauty attract the whole creation . Srila Vyasadeva clearly elaborates on all these points to present Sri Krishna as the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, and Srila Prabhupada in his purports gives us the formula to realize Him through the process of bhakti-yoga: Chanting the Personal Names of
God-
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

As well as reading, hearing and remembering His Personal Pastimes with His personal devotees; worshipping His Personal Form in the temple, etc. Thus Srila Prabhupada
makes clear the meaning of his pranama:

namaste sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine-nirvisesa-sunyavada-pascatya-desa-tarine

He is the servant of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and went to the western countries, which are filled with impersonalism , voidism and atheism, to propagate the
message of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and establish Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead – the Supreme Aspect of the Absolute Truth.




This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the first year of the Bhakti Vaibhava course at VIHE, first canto of Bhagavatam, on 27/10/02

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My photos


On the bank of Ganga, Varanasi











Post-graduation ceremony,March 2007











bhajan kutir



Krishna Balarama Mandir, Vrndavana, August of 2009






PhD award

 




Lecture given on the 19th March, 2014, in the Braj Culture Research Institute, Vrindavan

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers



Sukadeva Gosvami instructs Maharaja Pariksit


In his books and lectures, Srila Prabhupada often emphasized that human life begins with brahma-jijnasa, enquiry into the Absolute Truth, and that without such inquiries, humans are nothing but two legged animals.

“And when this inquiry begins, athato brahma-jijnasa, then your human life begins. Otherwise you remain in the category of cats and dogs.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.98-102 -- April 27, 1976, Auckland, New Zealand


ahara-nidra-bhaya-maithunam ca
samanam etat pasubhir naranam
dharmo hi tesam adhiko viseso
dharmena hinah pasubhih samanah

"Eating, sleeping, fearing, and mating are equally engaged in by both animals and humans. That which is special to humans is religious duty. Those humans who are without religion are equal to the animals." (Hitopadesa)

Actually, even in the animal kingdom we find inquiries into four subject matters: eating, sleeping, mating and defending. Therefore, the scope of inquiries of a civilized man should go beyond these and to accomplish the perfection of life one must know what the real questions are and to whom they should be put forth.

The whole world is moving on the basis of questions and answers, and those who are materially engrossed indulge in topics like politics, economics, so-called science, so-called arts, etc., but ultimately all these topics fall on the category of animalistic propensity, for such people are blind for knowledge of self-realization:

srotavyadini rajendra
nrnam santi sahasrasah
apasyatam atma-tattvam
grhesu grha-medhinam

“Those persons who are materially engrossed, being blind to the knowledge of ultimate truth, have many subject matters for hearing in human society, O Emperor.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.1.2

Being in such a condition, they are not able to see their imminent destruction along with all their so-called possessions, titles, relatives and friends:

dehapatya-kalatradisv
atma-sainyesv asatsv api
tesam pramatto nidhanam
pasyann api na pasyati

“Persons devoid of atma-tattva do not inquire into the problems of life, being too attached to the fallible soldiers like the body, children and wife. Although sufficiently experienced, they still do not see their inevitable destruction.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.1.4

Then, what is the use of all their lofty words? They are just like the singing of the
frogs inviting the serpent of their own ruination:

bile batorukrama-vikraman ye
na srnvatah karna-pute narasya
jihvasati dardurikeva suta
na copagayaty urugaya-gathah

“One who has not listened to the messages about the prowess and marvelous acts of the Personality of Godhead and has not sung or chanted loudly the worthy songs about the Lord is to be considered to possess earholes like the holes of snakes and a tongue like the tongue of a frog.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.3.20

Such froglike people may talk the whole day, but they will never care to hear about spiritual matters, particularly about Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At this point, some of you might be feeling this approach somewhat pessimistic, with strong words that would hurt a lot of people. However, the Bhagavata philosophy does not compromise when exposing the reality as it is. Nor there is any euphemism effective when the matter is death. Pariksit Maharaja was given seven days of life, therefore it was essential for him to have clearly understood what is really worth hearing and what is not. More specifically, what one hears before dying will be a determinant factor for his destination afterwards:

yam yam vapi smaran bhavam
tyajaty ante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya
sada tad-bhava-bhavitah

“Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, O son of Kunti, that state he will attain without fail.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 8.6

Once a distinct Indian personality, Madan Mohan Malaviya, went to see Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and upon meeting him, he was shown the Gaudiya Math publications, among which was the daily newspaper called ‘Nadiya Prakash’. Upon hearing that such a newspaper was a daily publication, Malaviya manifested his surprise that a paper exclusively dedicated to spiritual topics could be printed everyday with different articles and news. To this, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta replied that actually this material world is just one third of the whole creation of the Lord, and even thus it is full of news, so imagine how much more news there must be in the spiritual world, that comprise the biggest part of creation. He said that there is no lack of news to publish, but unfortunately there is a lack of customers to such literatures. On the other hand, in Srimad Bhagavatam we see the best customer: Maharaja Pariksit, and because he is the best hearer, his questions are also the best:

sri-suka uvaca
variyan esa te prasnah
krto loka-hitam nrpa
atmavit-sammatah pumsam
srotavyadisu yah parah

“Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, your question is glorious because it is very beneficial to all kinds of people. The answer to this question is the prime subject matter for hearing, and it is approved by all transcendentalists.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.1.1


And why were his questions so relevant? Because they were meant to the benefit of all living entities. From the small ant up to the great demigods, everyone is on the threshold of death, for the sun decreases the duration of everyone’s life:

ayur harati vai pumsam
udyann astam ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-ksano nita
uttama-sloka-vartaya

“Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.3.17


ayur harati vai pumsam
udyann astam ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-ksano nita
uttama-sloka-vartaya

“Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.3.17


Nobody knows when we shall die, but everyone knows that death is sure. Still, what are the activities of foolish people?

nidraya hriyate naktam
vyavayena ca va vayah
diva carthehaya rajan
kutumba-bharanena va

“The lifetime of such an envious householder is passed at night either in sleeping or in sex indulgence, and in the daytime either in making money or maintaining family members.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.1.3

And what do they hear?

srotavyadini rajendra
nrnam santi sahasrasah
apasyatam atma-tattvam
grhesu grha-medhinam

“Those persons who are materially engrossed, being blind to the knowledge of ultimate truth, have many subject matters for hearing in human society, O Emperor.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.1.2

But Pariksit Maharaja, although included among those about to die, has a special quality that distinguishes him–

sri-suka uvaca
evam etan nigaditam
prstavan yad bhavan mama
nrnam yan mriyamananam
manusyesu manisinam

“Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Maharaja Pariksit, as you have inquired from me as to the duty of the intelligent man who is on the threshold of death, so I have answered you.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.3.1

He was called an intelligent man, for he made the proper inquiry, at the proper time (i.e. before death), to the proper person:

atah prcchami samsiddhim
yoginam paramam gurum
purusasyeha yat karyam
mriyamanasya sarvatha

“You are the spiritual master of great saints and devotees. I am therefore begging you to show the way of perfection for all persons, and especially for one who is about to die.”


yac chrotavyam atho japyam
yat kartavyam nrbhih prabho
smartavyam bhajaniyam va
bruhi yad va viparyayam

“Please let me know what a man should hear, chant, remember and worship, and also what he should not do. Please explain all this to me.”


>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.19.38-39

This is the real question for human beings and anything else is but a waste of time to be avoided:

gramya-katha na sunibe, gramya-varta na kahibe
bhala na khaibe ara bhala na paribe
"Do not talk like people in general or hear what they say. You should not eat very palatable food, nor should you dress very nicely.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Antya 6.237

And because Sukadeva Gosvami was a rsi and a kavi (SB 2.3.13), and above all, a Vasudeva-parayana (SB 2.3.16), he could give the perfect answer to that perfect question:

tasmad bharata sarvatma
bhagavan isvaro harih
srotavyah kirtitavyas ca
smartavyas cecchatabhayam

“O descendant of King Bharata, one who desires to be free from all miseries must hear about, glorify and also remember the Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul, the controller and the savior from all miseries.”

etavan sankhya-yogabhyam
sva-dharma-parinisthaya
janma-labhah parah pumsam
ante narayana-smrtih

“The highest perfection of human life, achieved either by complete knowledge of matter and spirit, by practice of mystic powers, or by perfect discharge of occupational duty, is to remember the Personality of Godhead at the end of life.”


>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.1.5-6

Nobody can avoid making questions, nor giving answers, but everyone can become conversant with the science of Krishna consciousness, so that we may dovetail our hearing and speaking propensities into Krishna-katha and thus benefit not only ourselves, but also others. Actually, everyone of us can have a daily spiritual exchange of questions and answers with the best answer-giver: Srila Prabhupada himself, by scrutinizingly studying his books, for they are on the transcendental platform:

“Every one of you must regularly read our books at least twice -- in the morning and evening, and automatically all questions will be answered.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Ranadhira -- Los Angeles 24 January, 1970

Devotee: Srila Prabhupada, when you are not present with us, how is it possible to receive instructions, for example, on questions that may arise?
Prabhupada: Well, the questions... Answers are there in my books.

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Morning Walk At Cheviot Hills Golf Course -- May 13, 1973, Los Angeles

“A temple is a place where by one is given the opportunity to render direct devotional service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. In conjunction with this you should always read my books daily and all your questions will be answered and you will have a firm basis of Krishna Consciousness. In this way your life will be perfect.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Hugo Salemon -- Bombay 22 November, 1974

“In my books the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness is explained fully so if there is anything which you do not understand, then you simply have to read again and again. By reading daily the knowledge will be revealed to you and by this process your spiritual life will develop.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Bahurupa -- Bombay 22 November, 1974

“Soon we shall be instituting Bhakti-sastri examinations and all brahmanas will have to pass. So utilize whatever time you find to make a thorough study of my books. Then all your questions will be answered.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Upendra -- Nellore 7 January, 1976

Thus, all those who in this human body reached the platform of brahma-jijnasa and who humbly approach Srila Prabhupada’s books can be as benefited as Pariksit Maharaja was by approaching Sukadeva Gosvami.





This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the first year of the Bhakti Vaibhava course at VIHE, second canto Bhagavatam, on 15/10/02

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

शोधमंगलाचरणं


येनैव हूणयवनादय ईशभक्ता
रत्नाकरायनसमस्तदिशा दयापाः ।
चैतन्यसीधुधिपृषद्भवभुक्स्रवन्तं
सारस्वतं क्षितिगुरुं प्रभुपादमीडे ॥ १ ॥



गोविन्ददेवदयितं परमार्थपूर्णं
विद्वत्सु हा जयपुरे जयभूषितं वै ।
न्यायश्रुतिस्मृतिविवादसमोर्ध्वहीनं
वेदान्तरिक्थबलदेवयतिं नमामि ॥ २ ॥


यद्रुग्विधुह्रिकरणं यदचिन्त्यभेदा-
भेदोपपत्तिविभवेन कुवादलोपः ।
संकीर्तनेन हि वरावरपात्रकारे
जाम्बूनदत्विगवतारपदे नतोऽहम् ॥ ३ ॥

आम्नायवृन्दसरणीकृतिनापि खिन्नस्-
तत्रेशवृत्तिप्रभुताशयतामकृत्वा ।
वेदान्तभाष्यतनुभागवतप्रणेत्रे
द्वैपायनाय गुरुणा तु नमोऽस्तु तस्मै ॥ ४ ॥


यन्नाममात्रपरमस्तदभिन्नशक्त्या
यः स्वप्रपन्नप्रणयेन वशीकृतो वै ।
वृन्दावनौकअतिशयिविहारधाम्नी
गोविन्ददेवचरणे विनयेन नौमि ॥ ५ ॥


शक्वरी (वसन्ततिलका) छंदः

यथार्थपुण्डरीकाभिज्ञानं

हंसः कुमुदिनीहेतोर्यद्यन्यत्र न तुष्यति |
पुण्डरीकास्यकौमुद्याः किमुत मम मानसम् ||  १ ||

रजसो विभ्रमात्त्वेव तदापदिव वर्तते  |
पुण्डरीकाक्षकौमुद्या यदा तदा विशिष्यते || २ ||



अनुष्टुप(पथ्या) छंदः

Monday, August 11, 2008

स्नेहसूत्रम्


बालातपमयूखोऽस्ति विप्रकर्षेण मंजुलः |

संनिधेः परकाले तु तस्मात्पराजयेत हि || १ ||

कूलेऽर्हणनिदानो हि सुदुर्मेयपयोनिधिः |
तरते मध्यभागे तु त्रासानुभवसम्भवः || २ ||

मधुसुमानि शोभन्ते मुकुलितानि निष्कुटे |
किंतु लूनानि शीर्यन्ते मण्डनाय निकेतने || ३ ||

स्वर्गभ्रान्त्या प्रपद्यन्ते विचित्राशा दवीयसीः |
सम्पाद्यतेऽपि तत्रैव त्रिविधवेदना दशा || ४ ||

मृगयुध्वनितातोद्यचारुस्वरविलोभितः |
कृष्णसारो यमग्रस्तो यदा तमनुवर्तते || ५ ||

स्मिततारुण्यसम्पन्नकान्तिमूर्तिकुमारिका |
विकृतरूपसंजाता सैव द्रुतं सुवासिनी || ६ ||

अन्तःकरणनिष्पन्नप्रणयविषयस्तथा |
आदरपात्रमेवास्तु दूरेऽन्यन्न कदाचन || ७ ||

वरमपूरिताभिष्टस्वच्छ्न्दघटिताहतिः |
न च कृतार्थसंकल्पो यदाशाभंगकंटकम् || ८ ||

वरं पूर्वगतावृत्तिविदितचिरयातना |
न च तद्भूमिकाध्वान्तवल्गनापूर्ववेदना || ९ ||

कृष्णवर्त्मस्वभावो हि यथाविश्रान्तप्रोषणम् |
प्रसक्तगलनं शीलं तथा विकलचेतसः || १० ||

अधिगमनचिन्तादाववेक्षणोद्यमस्ततः |
अन्ते वियोगखेदश्च त्रिगुणक्लेशदा स्पृहा || ११ ||

कृत्स्नेप्सितानि विस्मृत्य तज्जातापेक्षणानि च |
स्मरेत्तु कमलाक्षस्य निर्वातकदले पदे || १२ ||








अनुष्टुप,(पथ्या) छंदः

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sravanam, The Process of Hearing



"upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah"




Sravanam, hearing, is the first item of the nine processes of bhakti-yoga mentioned by Prahlada Maharaja:

sri-prahrada uvaca
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam

“Prahlada Maharaja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) -- these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 7.5.23, SB

Srila Prabhupada often emphasises that hearing is the most important point:
“But out of all the nine different methods, the first one, namely hearing, is the most important function in the process of bhakti-yoga. Without hearing sufficiently and properly, no one can make any progress by any of the methods of practice.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 2.2.36

And of all the different methods of hearing, he emphasises the following one:

“Hearing from the text of Srimad-Bhagavatam is considered the most important process of hearing.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 7.5.23-24

But sometimes Srila Prabhupada also used to warn that animal like hearing will not do:

“Simply to hear like the hogs is not sufficient; one must be able to understand from the authorities.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 15.19

One must seriously try to understand who is qualified to speak Bhagavatam, how to hear and what are the results of hearing.

In many places like Vrndavana, professional Bhagavata-saptahas are almost a fashion, and sometimes several of them are going on simultaneously, but is that a bonafide hearing process?

“Thus there is now a system of Bhagavata business, with recitations called bhagavata-saptaha that continue for one week, although this is not mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Nowhere does Srimad-Bhagavatam say that the Bhagavatam should be heard for one week from professionals.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Antya 5.131

So, this is the first lesson:

“And hearing from whom? From a loafer? No. From Krsna or Krsna's representative. That will effect. Hearing, there must be hearing process also from the authorized person.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita 7.1 -- Los Angeles, March 12, 1970

In other words, to speak Bhagavata one must be Bhagavata. And what are the symptoms of a Bhagavata? That is described by Yudhisthira Maharaja:

bhavad-vidha bhagavatas
tirtha-bhutah svayam vibho
tirthi-kurvanti tirthani
svantah-sthena gadabhrta


“My Lord, devotees like your good self are verily holy places personified. Because you carry the Personality of Godhead within your heart, you turn all places into places of pilgrimage.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.13.10

Such a Bhagavata is a narottama:

yah svakat parato veha
jata-nirveda atmavan
hrdi krtva harim gehat
pravrajet sa narottamah

“He is certainly a first-class man who awakens and understands, either by himself or from others, the falsity and misery of this material world and thus leaves home and depends fully on the Personality of Godhead residing within his heart.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.13.27

This is a proper description of a person qualified to speak, and even though this statement is made by Vidura, it describes very well his own qualities. And how did Vidura become such a Bhagavata?

suta uvaca
viduras tirtha-yatrayam
maitreyad atmano gatim
jnatvagad dhastinapuram
tayavapta-vivitsitah

“Sri Suta Gosvami said: While traveling on a pilgrimage, Vidura received knowledge of the destination of the self from the great sage Maitreya and then returned to Hastinapura. He became as well versed in the subject as he desired.”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.13.1

This is the process: by hearing from a Bhagavata, one also becomes Bhagavata.

“So one who is serious about hearing, he can become a future nice preacher. Sravanam kirtanam. Next stage is developed. That is development. If one has actually heard nicely, then he will speak nicely.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Room Conversation -- May 10, 1969, Columbus, Ohio

And how to recognize such a Bhagavata? By his look?

“My Guru Maharaja used to say, "Don't try to see a saintly person by your eyes. You see a saintly person by the ear." Because if you hear from the saintly person and if he is speaking from the experience which he has heard from the, another saintly person -- this is called guru-parampara -- then the knowledge is perfect.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.42 -- Los Angeles, June 8, 1976

Now, let us say that someone is still fond of hearing from professionals or unqualified people, what would be the benefit?

“We receive knowledge from the perfect person. There is no use getting knowledge from imperfect person. That is useless waste of time.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bhagavad-gita 7.2 -- Nairobi, October 28, 1975

“Don't go and hear Bhagavata-saptaha by a professional man. That is useless waste of time.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.44 -- Mayapura, October 24, 1974

To illustrate this point with a personal example, let us expand our concept of hearing:

“These are not ordinary books. It is recorded chanting. Anyone who reads, he is hearing.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Letter to: Rupanuga: -- Mayapur 19 October, 1974

Srila Prabhupada used to say that in the last two hundred years many hundreds of translations of Bhagavad Gita were done, but not a single person turned into a devotee by reading them. However, when Bhagavad Gita As It Is was published, it ignited in the whole world a Hare Krishna revolution. When I was fifteen years old, I read one of those many translations by so-called scholars. Though I found it an interesting book, upon finishing it, I just put it aside and everything was over. There was no vivid result nor any perspective of practical spiritual life. It was just like any other interesting book. But a few years later, when I read Srila Prabhupada’s translation and commentary, a new universe was open before my eyes. And that was only the beginning. So this is the proof of a bonafide hearing process- there must be some cognitive, visible or even tangible outcome. The example we find in the Bhagavatam is Dhrtarastra, who even though said to be ‘vadhira’, hard-hearing (SB 1.13.22), someway or other became impressed upon hearing from his brother, the maha-bhagavata Vidura, and the result was most beneficial for him.

“This is the way of spiritual realization. The message should be heard attentively, and if spoken by a realized soul, it will act on the dormant heart of the conditioned soul. And by continuously hearing, one can attain the perfect stage of self-realization.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.13.14

Here the word ‘attentively’ is very significant, because the way one hears is very relevant to have the proper result.

“Simple hearing is not all; one must realize the text with proper attention. The word nivista means that Suta Gosvami drank the juice of Bhagavatam through his ears. That is the real process of receiving Bhagavatam. One should hear with rapt attention from the real person, and then he can at once realize the presence of Lord Krsna in every page. The secret of knowing Bhagavatam is mentioned here. No one can give rapt attention who is not pure in mind. No one can be pure in mind who is not pure in action. No one can be pure in action who is not pure in eating, sleeping, fearing and mating. But somehow or other if someone hears with rapt attention from the right person, at the very beginning one can assuredly see Lord Sri Krsna in person in the pages of Bhagavatam.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.3.44

The next important word is ‘continuously’-

srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
punya-sravana-kirtanah
hrdy antah stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam

“Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.2.17

nasta-prayesv abhadresu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-sloke
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki

“By regular attendance in classes on the Bhagavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.2.18

The process of hearing should go on always, if possible twenty four hours a day.

“Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that we must hear about Krsna twenty-four hours. Not that a particular time I hear and then stop. Don't stop.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.3.15 -- Los Angeles, June 1, 1972

By such hearing from a bonafide guru, Yudhisthira Maharaja got rid of all lamentations (SB 1.13.60) and Arjuna also became pacified and free from all material contamination (SB 1.15.27-28). But the real outcome of the hearing process is described thus:

yah sraddhayaitad bhagavat-priyanam
pandoh sutanam iti samprayanam
srnoty alam svastyayanam pavitram
labdhva harau bhaktim upaiti siddhim

“The subject of the departure of the sons of Pandu for the ultimate goal of life, back to Godhead, is fully auspicious and is perfectly pure. Therefore anyone who hears this narration with devotional faith certainly gains the devotional service of the Lord, the highest perfection of life.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.15.51

Srila Prabhupada is the perfect maha-bhagavata, therefore the perfect speaker of Bhagavatam, giving everybody the chance to hear:

“We are opening all over the world hundreds of centers. Why? We are giving chance to the people to hear about Krsna.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6 -- Calcutta, February 26, 1974

I am one of those who were thus benefitted and I keep on trying to improve daily by hearing Srila Prabhupada through his books and lectures, in this way taking benefit of another result from the hearing process- the satisfaction of the spiritual master:

“So when a person comes to a transcendentalist to inquire about sreya uttamam -- uttamam means transcendental subject matter -- he becomes very happy. He becomes very happy. One who hears very attentively about the spiritual subject matter, the spiritual master becomes very happy.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.12 -- Bombay, November 12, 1974





This essay was originally submitted for assesment during the firs year of the Bhakti Vaibhava course at VIHE, first canto of Bhagavatam, on 07/09/02

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Srimad Bhagavatam-the natural commentary on Vedanta Sutra



Suta Gosvami recites Srimad Bhagavatam to the sages at Naimisaranya


For many centuries, the ‘Sariraka Bhasya’ of Sankaracarya has been accepted all over India as the topmost, but its conclusions are quite deviant from the real purpose of the Vedas, for it propounds merging in the impersonal, undifferentiated aspect of the Absolute as the ultimate goal. However, the Vedic goal pointed out by Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, 15.15 is very clear:

sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto
mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca
vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham

“I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known. Indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.”

The ultimate purpose of all vedic literature is not only to realize the impersonal Brahman or the Paramatma features of the Supreme Absolute Truth, but above all, to understand what and Who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The first word both in the Srimad Bhagavatam and in the Vedanta Sutra is ‘Om’, the root of all vedic knowledge, also known as maha-vakya, the supreme sound. The next step in understanding ‘om’ is the Gayatri mantra. And the Gayatri is present in the first verse in Bhagavatam: satyam param dhimahi, and further explained in the catuh-sloki starting with ‘aham evasam evagre.’ In this verse, the word ‘aham’ is used three times, just to stress that the Supreme Absolute Truth is a Supreme Person. Srila Prabhupada used to say that three times means final. He also used to say that there cannot be another meaning for the word ‘aham’ but ‘I’. If I ask for water, nobody will think that ‘I’ means something else but myself.

In the first aphorism of Vedanta Sutra we find the word ‘atha’, that means ‘now’, for the following reason: in all sastras, Srila Vyasadeva elaborated extensively on the karma-kanda portions, emphasizing the performance of fruitive activities to be elevated to the heavenly planets; on the upasana-kanda, emphasizing the worship of different demigods in exchange for all kinds of material rewards; and on the jnana-kanda, instigating the search for the Truth through philosophical speculation. After all these, the author then says: now (atha) let us have brahma-jijnasa, inquire into the Ultimate Absolute Truth. And what is that brahman?

'brahma'-sabde kahe ‘sad-aisvarya-purna bhagavan'
tanre ‘nirvisesa' sthapi, ‘purnata' haya hana


“The word ‘Brahman' [‘the greatest'] indicates the Supreme Personality of Godhead, full in all six opulences. But if we take the onesided impersonalist view, His fullness is diminished.”


>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 25.33

The word ‘brahman’ can be used in a general sense to indicate tattva-jnana, knowledge about the Truth, or in a specific sense to indicate a particular aspect of that Absolute Truth:

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti paramatmeti
bhagavan iti sabdyate

“Learned transcendentalists who know the Absolute Truth call this nondual substance Brahman, Paramatma or Bhagavan.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.2.11

In other words, if we call the impersonal, all pervasive aspect of the Supreme Absolute Truth ‘brahman’, then we call the personal aspect of the same as ‘para-brahman’, for the latter is the support of the former:

brahmano hi pratisthaham
amrtasyavyayasya ca
sasvatasya ca dharmasya
sukhasyaikantikasya ca

“And I am the basis of the impersonal Brahman, which is immortal, imperishable and eternal and is the constitutional position of ultimate happiness.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 14.27

arjuna uvaca
param brahma param dhama
pavitram paramam bhavan
purusam sasvatam divyam
adi-devam ajam vibhum

“Arjuna said: You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ultimate abode, the purest, the Absolute Truth. You are the eternal, transcendental, original person, the unborn, the greatest.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 10.12

Factually, in the verse 10.12, the words ‘param brahma’ in the neuter gender are in apposition to the word ‘bhavan’, that is masculine, what means they are His attributes. This is a case of guna-guni-samanadhikarana, or coordinate predication where there is specific mention of a substance along with its attributes.

That ‘brahma-jijnasa’ was fully manifested in the sages of Naimisaranya, who were all great souls whose intense desire to hear topics about the Supreme Absolute Truth induced Srila Suta Gosvami to recite Srimad Bhagavatam, therefore they were the best candidates to hear this transcendental commentary on Vedanta Sutra, that starts with the definition of para-brahman. According to the mayavadis, brahman may be nirguna or saguna. When Brahman is in its pure, uncontaminated stage, it is called nirguna, but when it is contaminated by material qualities, it is called saguna. This view just make evident their poor fund of knowledge. If the material qualities are able to affect Brahman, that would mean that the former is superior to the latter in the ontological sense. This bogus philosophy is dismantled by Lord Krishna:

mamaivamso jiva-loke
jiva-bhutah sanatanah
manah-sasthanindriyani
prakrti-sthani karsati

“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 15.7

dvav imau purusau loke
ksaras caksara eva ca
ksarah sarvani bhutani
kuta-stho 'ksara ucyate

“There are two classes of beings, the fallible and the infallible. In the material world every living entity is fallible, and in the spiritual world every living entity is called infallible.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 15.16

uttamah purusas tv anyah
paramatmety udahrtah
yo loka-trayam avisya
bibharty avyaya isvarah

“Besides these two, there is the greatest living personality, the Supreme Soul, the imperishable Lord Himself, who has entered the three worlds and is maintaining them.”


>>> Ref. VedaBase => Bg 15.17

From this we understand that only the finite Brahman called jiva is prone to be covered by material qualities, not the Purusottama, Who is the same as Vasudeva, ‘satyam param’, mentioned in the first verse of Bhagavatam.

The ‘brahman’ mentioned in the first of the Vedanta Sutras is further described in the second one: ‘janmady asya yatah’, once again coinciding with the Bhagavatam. Here is the first attribute of that Brahman- birth (jamna) and everything that succeeds it starts from It, Brahman. This is the conclusion of the very initial sutras of Vedanta. But in the Srimad Bhagavatam it is not said ‘from It’, but ‘from Him’, as Srila Vyasadeva begins offering obeisances to Vasudeva, making clear that He is that Brahman from Whom (yatah) everything emanates. Vedavyasa is the original compiler of both Srimad Bhagavatam and Vedanta Sutra. Having summarized all the essence of the four Vedas and hundred eight Upanisads in the Vedanta Sutra, Vyasa knew that it could easily be misunderstood, therefore he decided to write a commentary on it, leaving out any chance of doubtful meanings. However, even after writing Vedanta Sutra, he was not all satisfied, and the cause of that was pointed out by his guru, Narada Muni: In all the books he had written, the ultimate aspect of the Supreme Absolute Truth as Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was not clearly and directly indicated. Therefore he starts saluting the Absolute Truth as Vasudeva, to establish His supremacy since the beginning. Srila Prabhupada used to tell that once one Indian writer, author of a book named ‘Shah Jahan’, was asked about the reason of such a title, for once the book describes the life and activities of his son, Aurangzeb, it would be more reasonable if the book were called ‘Aurangzeb’. To that, the author replied that actually the hero of the story is Shah Jahan, for he had to tolerate all kinds of tribulations while his son was in the power. So, Prabhupada would explain how this episode illustrates that if you want to know the meaning of a book, you should ask its author. And the author of Srimad Bhagavatam is Vyasadeva, who wrote it as the natural commentary on Vedanta Sutra, as confirmed in the Garuda Purana:

artho ‘yam brahma-sutranam
bharatartha-vinirnayah
gayatri-bhasya-rupo ‘sau
vedartha-paribrmhitah
purananam sama-rupah
saksad-bhagavatoditah
dvadasa-skandha-yukto ‘yam
sata-viccheda-samyutah
grantho ‘stadasa-sahasrah
srimad-bhagavatabhidhah

“The meaning of the Vedanta-sutra is present in Srimad-Bhagavatam. The full purport of the Mahabharata is also there. The commentary of the Brahma-gayatri is also there and fully expanded with all Vedic knowledge. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the supreme Purana, and it was compiled by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His incarnation as Vyasadeva. There are twelve cantos, 335 chapters and eighteen thousand verses.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => Madhya 25.142

This is also corroborated by the Bhagavatam itself:

sarva-vedanta-saram hi
sri-bhagavatam isyate
tad-rasamrta-trptasya
nanyatra syad ratih kvacit

“Srimad-Bhagavatam is declared to be the essence of all Vedanta philosophy. One who has felt satisfaction from its nectarean mellow will never be attracted to any other literature.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 12.13.15

It is also stated that as a fruit reaches its perfection in its ripen stage, the Vedic literature reached its acme in the Srimad Bhagavatam:

nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
suka-mukhad amrta-drava-samyutam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah

“O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.1.3

Having identified that Brahman as Vasudeva, the next step is to describe the qualities of this Supreme Person: He is fully cognizant (abhijnah) and fully independent (svarat). Although He is the source of everything, He does not come from any other source, nor receives knowledge from anyone else, being exclusive among the many:


nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam
eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman
tam atmastham ye 'nupasyanti dhiras
tesam santih sasvati netaresam


The Katha Upanisad (2.2.13) explains: "Of all eternals, there is one who is the chief eternal. Of all conscious living entities, there is one who is the chief conscious entity. That supreme living entity, the Personality of Godhead, maintains the others, and fulfills their desires according to their merits. Only saintly persons, who can see, within and without, the same Supreme Lord, can actually attain to perfect and eternal peace."

According to Vedanta Sutra, Brahman is ‘anandamayo’ bhyasat’- blissful by nature. Here the masculine ending ‘-mayah’ is used, revealing that Brahman must be a purusa, a supreme male. This conclusion is factually confirmed in Srimad Bhagavatam, particularly in the tenth canto, where we find the full meaning of the word ‘ananda’ vividly expressed by Lord Krishna as the Supreme Enjoyer.

In all Vedic literature, all the different aspects of the Supreme Absolute Truth are some way or other described. Everything that is implicitly indicated in the Vedanta Sutra is explicitly described in Srimad Bhagavatam. Due to its conciseness and very esoteric meaning, the Vedanta Sutra is hardly ever properly understood in Kali-yuga, when most people are dull-headed:

prayenalpayusah sabhya
kalav asmin yuge janah
mandah sumanda-matayo
manda-bhagya hy upadrutah

“O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.1.10

On the other hand, Srimad Bhagavatam is written in a straightforward way, explaining the most deep and philosophical points through historical episodes, making possible even for common people to take benefit of its contents. Indeed, bhagavata-dharma as propagated by Lord Caitanya, consisting in hearing Srimad Bhagavatam, chanting and dancing is the only feasible way to attain the supreme goal in this age –‘harer namaiva kevalam’ (Kali-santarana Upanisad)- and fully satisfy everyone’s heart:


sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihata
yayatma suprasidati


“The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.”

>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.2.6





This essay was originally submitted for assessment during the first year of the Bhakti Vaibhava course at VIHE, first canto of Bhagavatam, on 27/07/02