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 do not even believe that there is such a thing as ultimate knowledge or transcendent reality, or even if there is, it is beyond 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


“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 you may start by cleaning my room!” He said he had no answer 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


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, which 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 analyze the objects of knowledge in the proper perspective, which 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 glowworms 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 also 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



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

No comments:

Post a Comment