THE BENEDICTINE TREE OF DIVINE ASPIRATION: CHAPTER SIX
Reaping the Eternal Fruit
A lecture delivered in Mauritius by
(Translated from the original Hindi by Sripad Bhakti Ananda Sagar Maharaj)
he krsna karuna-sindho
jayatam suratau pangor
Jaya Om Visnupad Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj ki jaya!
Jaya samaveta bhakta-vrnda ki jaya!
All the Eastern and Western devotees ki jaya!
All the Mauritius devotees ki jaya! Gaura-premanande Hari bol!
My dear honourable faithful souls, worshippable Vaisnavas, ladies, gentlemen and beloved children, by your heart's auspicious desire the Supreme Lord has bestowed His mercy upon me so that I could come into your presence today, and am able to have the opportunity to see your auspicious selves and offer my worshipful prayers unto you. After we offer our worshipful prayers to our Divine Master we also realise that the good souls who come and assemble wanting to hear about Krsna—they too become worshippable to us.
The Supreme Lord resides within everything that be. We find His Presence everywhere. It is not that the Lord lives only in Vaikuntha or Goloka, although that is His Divine Abode where His Eternal Play goes on. But there are also many Forms of the Supreme Lord.
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
We can know about three principal Forms of the Lord from the Srimad-Bhagavatam—Brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan. From a very distant viewpoint, we may have a very hazy conception of the Lord, and that is called Brahma, just as we observe the sun by its blazing light—yet, within the sun itself there is another plane of movement. In the sun there is air, oxygen, fire, and so many elements. But we cannot enter the sun-abode; we can only see an effulgent form from a distance. Similarly, to view the Lord from a great distance means to see only a form of effulgence.
Further, another Form of the Lord is Paramatma. Paramatma resides within all jiva-souls. All the souls act in various ways in this world, and the Paramatma is always with them as the Witness. The individual souls by nature are implicated by their actions, but the Lord, with His Transcendental Nature, remains unaffected. Remaining ever-present within the souls, the Lord as Paramatma observes the activities of the souls, or jivatmas. Furthermore, He is also present in every atom of existence; so it is said in the Scriptures that there is no place in creation where the Lord does not preside. When the souls try to enjoy the illusory energy of the Lord—Maya—they abandon their natural inner tendency for service and adopt the nature of an enjoyer. Still, the Lord desires to take even those fallen souls back home to His Divine Abode, known as Paravyomadhama, Vaikuntha, or Goloka.
The souls belong to the tatastha-sakti, or Marginal Potency of the Lord. They are not born, but they are manifest by the Will of the Lord. This is accepted in all the Scriptures. When they are thus manifest, they appear in many forms.
Whatever religious forms appear in the world, whether Christian, Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu, all are one with each other in that the aim of all is to reveal the same objective. The cause of the manifestation of this material world seen from various angles and distances of perception is the reason for different religious conceptions being preached in the world. But the Vedic Religion, or the Teachings given by the Vedas, show us that all souls are manifest from the Marginal Potency of the Lord; and from their manifestation, the potencies of thinking, feeling and willing remain with them. Since they possess these potencies, they are therefore units of life, units of consciousness.
It is also shown in this scientific age of exploration of atoms, neutrons and protons, etc., that everything in existence is in a state of movement. Every atom has a certain measurement of other bodies revolving around it. Similarly, in the Vedic Teachings we see that life is present everywhere. With their modern research and studies, the scientists are teaching us these things, but from thousands and thousands of years ago the Vedic Teachings tell us that whatever exists in the world—everything is cetana. It is all conscious, living.
Even a cement and brick building is cetana. Although at present we do not perceive any movement of the building, in a few hundred years we shall notice that a pillar or other part of the building has dissolved or undergone a reformation. Actually nothing has dissolved, but the internal action of the object has finally made itself visible to us.
The state of cetana—consciousness or life—is present everywhere in two basic forms: sthavara and jangama, or stationary and moving. A tree is considered sthavara, or stationary, yet there is life present in the tree. This has been discovered by a Bengali scientist, and it has been demonstrated with scientific instruments that a tree experiences pleasure and pain. So life is present everywhere, and life is called atma, or soul. In our body millions of life-forms, or souls, are present, but one principle soul guides the entire body as the master of the body, and he is called debt or atma. In this way, life is present everywhere, and when it shows movement it is called jangama, otherwise it is called sthavara. When a soul leaves the body what happens? Within two or three days the body noticeably decays. The body can no longer move—although there is still movement in it by way of its decaying. After only a month or so only bones remain, and they too will later become fossilised. The Observer or Witness of all the actions of the moving souls is the Paramatma. Paramatma is present within everything in existence. This is the Nature of the Form of Paramatma.
Bhagavan is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and by His Nature, His Lila, or Divine Pastimes, continue eternally. In this relative world the tatastha-sakti jiva-souls are bound as though in a prison-house, and this is a relative aspect of the Lord's Lila. In a jail only a very small percentage of the population are found, maybe one percent or less. The normal population are not sent to jail—they reside at their homes and fulfil their works. The evil-doers are sent to jail by the law. The law is for everyone, but the jail is reserved for the violators of the law. So in the world there may be billions of humans, of which maybe only a few hundred thousand are imprisoned. The rest are free to live and do their business in the world. Similarly, in the Transcendental World, which is known as Paravyomadhama, all the residents live their lives happily without any obstacles; this plane is also known as Seva-bhumi, or the Land of Service. There, everyone gives joy to one another. As everyone serves the Supreme Lord, He also serves them—as a son serves his father and a father serves his son. This is similar to what we find in this world where fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters all live happily together.
But what is our work here? Some become husbands, some masters, some servants, etc., but what is their real work? Service. That is everyone's work here. A father accepts service from his sons but he also serves them by rearing and nourishing them. So service is the work of everyone. But in this world that service only remains temporarily and thus cannot afford us real value. If we construct a grand house we think that our son will live there, our daughter will live there, our relatives will live there; we shall have a TV set and live happily there. But soon our lifetime will be over. Somehow or other in the end we shall leave this world, and this must happen to us. Our juniors are also leaving this world. It is not a matter of seniors going and juniors staying, and at every moment we see that in this or that village or town people are going, they are dying one by one....
We have sufficient experience that as soon as one leaves this body he must leave this world, and no one can live forever within this body. After ten or twenty years, or twenty-five or a hundred years, or two or four months—whatever the time may be, everyone must die. Death is inevitable. As long as there is birth, death is inevitable. So no matter how hard we try, we cannot know happiness here. Today we need money, but is a rich man happy? What is his fate? He may end up with severe stomach trouble and be unable to eat more than a few grains of rice. And one who has beauty cannot be happy either. When his pulse goes wrong he worries why he has become ill, why he has become thin. Today we see that someone has become a great celebrity, but tomorrow he may not have even the power to walk. In this way, the whole world is temporary, and although we are attached to this temporary world we cannot remain here forever.
We cannot claim the house we have built as our own, and our son even won't be able to enjoy it for very long. The money we deposited for our son's welfare may be squandered by him for drugs and other useless or injurious things. One man saves while the other squanders. This is the way of the world.
So all souls have appeared from the Marginal Potency, or tatastha-sakti, of the Lord, and their own home is the vast and infinite Transcendental World, Paravyomadhama, and they mostly all go there and happily serve the Lord. It is only a small handful of souls like us that cast their glance upon the prison-house of this illusory world of Maya despite the opportunity to serve in the Transcendental World; from that fateful glance their misfortune is born. Beyond this we cannot consider any other cause of the jiva-souls coming to this world, so we must admit the cause of their coming here is simply their misfortune. When they see Maya they think, "Here is the object of my enjoyment. I am superior, and that is inferior." Therefore they are attracted to this Mayik, or illusory, plane, which is just like a prison-house.
Still, the Supreme Lord has made all arrangements for taking them back to the Transcendental World. Sometimes when too many disturbances arise He comes here Himself, just as when disturbances arise in a prison, a senior officer or administrator comes personally and fires a few shots here and there to manage the situation. The Supreme Lord descends Personally. He is the Supremely Powerful, so He has no anxiety. When Narayana comes from Vaikuntha there is no question of Him 'leaving Vaikuntha empty.' Simply by His Will another Narayana can descend here. Also with Him are the Potencies of thinking, feeling and willing, but that Plane is cetana, or conscious and living, while this plane is jada, mundane or material.
The illusory nature of this plane is also the Potency of the Supreme Lord, but this Potency is like a shadow. Fire has both its form as well as its shadow. The form of fire has its own existence, without which a shadow would not appear. By dint of light, shadow makes its appearance. And we have fallen into this shadow-potency. This is a Potency of the Supreme Lord, and it is also eternal. It will continue on and on. The Divine Pastimes of the Lord—Lila—also go on eternally.
The holy book Bhagavad-gita is now known all over the world. Many will know the famous verse:
yada yada hi dharmmasya
When severe discrepancies in the rules and regulations of religion appear in the world, the Supreme Lord comes personally to set matters right. How? Paritranaya sadhunam. There may be some good souls in this world—of the prisoners in a jail, there may be many who aspire for their own good. To protect them, rescue them from their trials and to take them up, the Lord Himself comes.
So when the Lord comes, all evil disappears just as with the appearance of light, darkness is dispelled. As soon as the Lord appears in the world, all the darkness of the world vanishes. All the jiva-souls constantly emanate from the Marginal Potency of the Lord, therefore the illusory world is again filled up, as a jail never stays vacant. When each prisoner's term is up they one by one leave to enjoy their fortune.
We have seen that sometimes when a country attains independence, all its prisoners are released. Sometimes when a president of a nation is changed, for the honour of the new president many prisoners are released. All these things are seen in the world from time to time, but all these matters are only the shadow of the Original Cause. So when the Supreme Lord appears, so many souls are rescued and leave this world forever. Sometimes He comes Himself and sometimes He sends His representative. The representative is known as the sadhu or Guru. He comes here to teach the souls, "Jiva jago jiva jago gora cand bole, kota nidrajao maya pisacira kole—you are all sleeping here! Wake up! Wake up to your real selves! You are transcendental, conscious life, and your home is the Transcendental World of Divine Consciousness and Life. There you will find everything, your house, your home. Please get ready to go there."
Here, in the Upanisads, we find the Teachings of the Vedic Philosophy. The Scriptures tell us, "Arise from your slumber in this painful world and have your good fortune! Follow the saints!" They also tell us who we are and what our fortune is: srivantu visve amrtasya puttrah. Om tat sat—these words echo all over the universe.
The Transcendental World is Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is Truth, and we are all residents with Him in that Supreme Plane. Our nature is the same as that Transcendental Plane.
The burning power of the sun is also present in the sun's rays. There are also seven primary colours in the sunlight. Similarly, as spiritual rays of the Lord, we are endowed with powers of thinking, feeling and willing. As the Lord is Purna-cetana or the Supreme Original Conscious Entity, we, the individual souls, are anucetana, or atomic particles of consciousness. In the Svetasvataropanisad the soul is described as being so subtle that it is invisible to the eye:
The tip of a hair divided ten thousand times is a general estimation of the subtle form of the jiva. So he is invisible. But despite his minuteness, his power is great. He resides in the deepest recesses of the heart in such a subtle form, and to date he has never been seen. Nowadays some scientists say they can photograph some hazy shadow aspect of the soul, but still they could not ascertain the infinitesimal form of the soul. As this body is a covering, the soul also has a covering as mentioned in the Gita:
indriyani parany ahur
These are all more and more subtle coverings of the soul. More subtle than this bodily type of covering is the covering of the senses; more subtle than the senses is the covering made of the mind; more subtle than that is the intelligence; and more subtle still is the soul—atma. So the soul resides within so many layers of coverings, and its form is still unknown to us.
Still, even though the soul is infinitesimal in size, it is a particle of conscious life; and it eternally possesses the potent qualities of conscious life: thinking, feeling and willing. Anything having potency can act—whether with good or bad actions—and such potency of the soul is actually very great. A candle flame may be very tiny, but from such a tiny flame a gigantic fire can be ignited. From the tiny candle a larger candle can be ignited, and a larger one still; and the power of the large candle is of an equal nature to the small one. Their burning power is non-different. Similarly, the Sat, Cit and Ananda—the Potent Qualities of Eternal Existence, Consciousness and Ecstasy—found in the Original Form of the Supreme Lord are also found within the soul, who is a part (amsa) of the Lord. However, at present the soul is covered. Light burns within a lightbulb, but the fire that causes that light cannot be found outside the bulb, although some heat is apparent. There is also cold fire, like neon for example, where even heat seems to be absent. In the microphone there is the invisible fire of electricity doing its work. We cannot perceive that fire, but we see from the results that its work is being accomplished. In this way, the action of power moves in many, many forms. So the potency of the jiva-soul can be used for either good or evil. When fortunate souls are ready to use their energy for good, if anyone disturbs them the Lord comes personally and destroys the disturbing elements. Those who want good are good. Thus He has said in the Gita, "I come to protect the saints and to vanquish the evil-doers." The less good that one wants, the more he is punished, and one who aspires for good is given a chance by the Lord: "Yes, you want good, so may you be virtuous. Virtue is your own wealth. What shall I take from you? I am full in Myself." In the Upanisads we find:
om purnam adah purnam
"The Infinite Whole Source of all Avataras and the Infinite Whole Avatara—both are Whole, that is, full with all Potencies. The Infinite Whole Avatara appears from the Infinite Whole Source of all Avataras for the purpose of manifesting His Pastimes. In order to fulfil His Pastimes, the Infinite Whole Avatara accepts His Infinite Whole Form, and finally the Infinite Whole Source of all Avataras remains present; so in no way can the Infinite Completeness of the Supreme Lord ever suffer any diminution."
So if the Infinite Whole is subtracted from the Infinite Whole, the Infinite Whole yet remains. In the Scriptures the Supreme Lord is described as nija-labha-purna—He is perfect and complete in Himself. Therefore He feels no necessity for Himself; still, by virtue of His Willing Potency (iccha-sakti) His Pastimes go on, and by His Pastimes the fortunate devotee souls offer themselves to Him through Divine Service, and He too serves them and ecstatically gives Himself to them. In that service exchange, the ecstasy that the Lord feels is felt twice as much by His devotees. This is the nature of that Transcendental World, Paravyomadhama, the Divine Abode of Goloka.
The Lord also has many different Forms, and in each Form He enjoys certain corresponding Pastimes; and the jiva-souls can gain the fitness to enter into particular Pastimes according to the classification of their Pure Devotion. The gradations of Ecstatic Divine Relationship are known as Santa-, Dasya-, Sakhya-, Vatsalya- and Madhura-rasas, or Passive Service, Active Service, Friendship, Parenthood and Consorthood. The pure devotees render Service to the Lord according to the Rasa of their inner heart's attraction. We normally speak of 'Service to the Lord,' but we should know that the Lord Himself also serves His devotee. When Krsna stole butter Mother Yasoda chased him with a stick. "Why have you stolen butter? We have no shortage of butter, and you have plenty to eat, so why do you have to steal it?" Then she bound Him with a rope to a tree. In this case the Lord serves His devotee in this mood of dealings as the son of His devotee.
The Relationship of Consorthood takes place between the Lord and the Gopis.
In the Divine Abode, full-fledged Service in the five types of Divine Relationships continues eternally. In the Abode of the Lord's four-armed Narayana Form the appropriate Services go on; in the Abode of the Lord's Ramachanda Form, the appropriate Services go on, as the Lord manifests Himself in those particular Expansions and Forms of different Divine Moods. But we worship Sri Krsnachandra with His Eternal Divine Pastimes, because it is in such Form, His most Original Form, that full-fledged Service is manifest in all the five Rasas, and this is the Supreme Ecstasy for the jiva-souls. Such ecstasy cannot be experienced anywhere else.
The friends of the Lord say, "Let us play! Whoever is defeated must carry the winner on his shoulders!" When they take a bite from some nice fruit they immediately offer it to the mouth of Krsna, saying, "Oh, Brother, this is so tasty—come on, please take some!" All such friendly, familiar dealings are found only in Krsna-lila and nowhere else. The Gopis accept Krsna as their husband in their thought and actions also. Such Service they render to the Lord. So we have heard about the Lord's Pastimes and we have heard about His Holy Name, and if we get a connection there, we can have the chance to be allowed into those Pastimes. This is the way of Bhakti, and this is called Devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; and He is Krsna.
Just see how sweet the Name 'Krsna' is. 'Krsna' means 'He who attracts all the souls to His Abode, and gives them Ecstasy.' That is Krsna.
krsir bhu-vacakah sabdo
"The root 'Krs' expresses the All-attractive Existence, and the word 'na' expresses the Supreme Ecstasy. The two combined give the Name 'Krsna,' ascertaining the Parama Brahma—the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Godhead." He is attracting everyone, yet He never takes away the independence that He has given us. This can be seen as both the fortune and the misfortune of the jiva-souls. The Lord has given independence to all souls—from their very inception they have the potency of thinking, feeling and willing. This independence has been given to us by the Lord. Why? So that by our own desire and free wish we can engage ourselves in His Service. With as much power at our command, as much as we desire, we can combine everything we have and render Divine Service to the Lord.
The Lord's feeling is, "I have given you independence, and I will not take it back. If you want to serve Me, you may do so; otherwise you can go to Maya. You may do as you wish. But you will be happy if you render service to Me. Why will you be happy? If you serve the eternal, you will reap the eternal fruit; if you serve the temporal, you must reap the temporary fruit."
'To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction,' as the scientist Newton said in his third law. So Krsna is saying, "Do My Service and your service will be done twice as well." When Krsna's friend is eating a very sweet fruit, he will give that fruit to Krsna, "See, Brother, you will like this very much." Then Krsna eats some and says, "Yes, this is excellent, but how shall I eat it alone? You also eat!" Then they both eat very happily. We also hear about the Pastimes of Krsna with the Gopis on the banks of the Yamuna. Krsna gives happiness to all, even to the point of giving Himself. If anyone is unhappy, He gives them double happiness. And the conception that has been given to us by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is most elevated: Viraha-milana, the conception of Union in Separation, is the bestower of the greatest joy. In the world we may have some feelings resembling that. If a man has gone to a very far and distant land and could not return home to his wife for as long as three or four years, when he finally returns home, how much joy do they both feel? We can just imagine how much joy the husband and wife feel in their hearts.
After a great separation, the joy of reunion is the highest and supermost joy. Such joy is found in the Pastimes of Krsna, and not other pastimes. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's Gift is to give everyone a chance to aspire to become a member of those Pastimes and live in Vrndavana. There you will find forest flowers, cows, milk, cream, cheese; you can play with Krsna, run with Krsna, meet with Krsna—everything, you can do with Krsna. Krsna's Pastimes are the most ecstatic of all.
(Verses in glorification of Srila Govinda Maharaj)
II: Chanting the Mahamantra
III: Dasa-vidha Namaparadha
(The Ten Offences to the Holy Name)
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