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Soul's Ultimate Happiness

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Kolkata, 6 December 2020, part 1

 

This year, I want to make arrangement to celebrate Srila Gurudev's appearance day in a little bigger festival. His appearance day is on 1 January this year. Actually, Srila Gurudev's appearance day always comes in December, and I have never seen that this day would come in January, but anyhow, this year it is 1 January. On this day, people celebrate their 'Happy New Year', and we will celebrate our Gurudev's appearance day. I am inviting everyone to this festival, we will arrange a nice festival on this day. Many Indian devotees have also been unable to come because of the pandemic situation and lockdown, but now the local trains are running again properly in Bengal, so all devotees want to come and join this festival. I want to arrange this festival nicely.

We all know that we cannot proceed in our spiritual life without Gurudev's mercy. His mercy is always necessary.

শক্তিবুদ্ধিহীন আমি অতি দীন
কর মোরে আত্মসাথ ॥

sakti-buddhi-hina ami ati dina
kara more atma-satha

"I have no power, no intelligence, I am very poor. Please hijack me."

যোগ্যতা বিচারে কিছু নাহি পাই
তোমার করুণা সার ।

yogyata vichare kichhu nahi pai
tomara karuna sara

"I get nothing based on my qualification, your mercy is the main thing."

We will not get anything through our qualification—we only need Gurudev's mercy. Mercy is above justice... All the scriptures say (you can read about it in Guidance 4) that the soul can get ultimate happiness through devotion—without devotion, no ultimate happiness is possible for the soul. Srimad Bhagavatam also says,

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."

(Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.2.6)

Sixty thousand rishis gave much respect to Srila Suta Goswami (son of Romaharsan Muni and a disciple of Vedavyas), and this Srila Suta Goswami spoke about bhagavad-dharma and how it is practised. Bhagavad-dharma means devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There are so many religions in this world, but the topmost religion is bhagavad-dharma, i.e. devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

You know that when Kali-yuga just started, sixty thousand rishis assembled in Naimisaranya. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur also went to that place and established there a temple. It is in Uttar Pradesh, I have also seen this place—I went there once in Gurudev's time. At that time, it was possible because we went for Vrindavan parikrama directly from Nabadwip by bus (there were not more than a hundred devotees, we went in two buses), and on the way, the bus took us to many places. Now, we always go by train, so we do not get this opportunity to visit so many places any more.

So, when all the rishis assembled in Naimisaranya, they asked Srila Suta Goswami a question, "What is ultimately good for a jiva soul? Through what practice or religion can the soul get ultimate happiness?" Then, Srila Suta Goswami said,

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."

(Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.2.6)

And he started explaining this sloka:

No matter how many religious works a jiva soul performs according to its capacity, its main and topmost religion is bhagavat-dharma (devotion unto the Supreme Personality of God). Practising this topmost religion (devotion) brings complete satisfaction to one's soul (atma). In Kali-yuga, jiva souls have a short lifetime, they are unfortunate, disturbed by diseases, and covered by all kinds of unwanted elements....

Everybody knows this. In this world, a fortunate soul is very rare, almost all jiva souls in this world are unfortunate. Almost all souls here are disturbed by disease—it is correct too. You see now that all the scientists are creating so many vaccines, but I have heard some news today that a minister in this country (not in Bengal, in some other province) took the vaccine and fifteen days later was attacked by coronavirus! I have told it many times—scientists may discover and invent so many vaccines, but Lord Yamaraj will create so many more diseases. Rest assured. I told this earlier this year also, during Gaura Purnima. This year it is coronavirus, next year some other virus will come and they will give it another name—this year it is covid-19, next year it will be something-20 or something-21. Wait and see. The main point is that we cannot stop preaching and we cannot stop our service because of this pandemic situation because every moment in our life is crucial, every moment is very important. If we always sit in one place and stop going out to preach and stop practising properly, what will our life come to? Are you afraid of this virus? Then what answer will you give? One day Lord Krishna will ask you, "You said you surrendered to Me, and I have told you many times that I am the creator of all creation—I have created everything, even all this pandemic, even all the viruses, all diseases, etc., but you said you surrendered to Me, then what is this?" This virus is actually also a kind of maya (illusion). We are always disturbed by some disease...

In Kali-yuga, jiva souls have a short lifetime, they are unfortunate, disturbed by diseases, and covered by all kinds of unwanted elements—if these jiva souls practise devotion to the Lord, i.e. if they can practise hearing, chanting, remembering, etc. of the Holy Names of the Lord, narrations about the Lord, and His pastimes and His qualities, they will get spiritual benefit and happiness. If you practise fire sacrifices, austerities, vows, etc.—anything except for devotion to the Supreme Lord Vasudev—the soul will not attain the happiness of the soul. The authors of the scriptures say that this devotion is causeless and irresistible. Selfish undertaking, knowledge-seeking, fire sacrifices, etc. cannot obstruct such pure devotion. Just as the current of the Ganges automatically goes towards the ocean, in the same way, the unrestrained current of the Mandakini river of devotion makes all kinds of happiness besides the happiness of devotion (i.e. the joy of enjoyment, the joy of liberation or the joy of realising the soul, the joy of attaining perfections) insignificant, and brings pure devotion to the heart of the devotees who are intent on attaining divine love. Such devotion is called 'exclusive', 'nirguna', or 'direct' devotion. It is impossible to get such devotion by practising any religion that belongs to the three-modal material world created by Maya (controlled by goodness, passion, ignorance, etc.). There is no cause or effect of devotion. The purpose of getting devotion is devotion itself. Devotion, the Lord, and devotee are all eternal and supra-mundane. However, how does one get devotion? This devotion comes by the mercy of Sri Gurupadpadma (the embodiment of shelter, asraya-vigraha) and the Supreme Lord (the object of worship, visaya-vigraha). Through karma and other practices, you can enjoy material world (gratify your material senses), or get even more heavenly happiness, even attain the post of Brahma, but such happiness is transient. The whole universe is destroyed at the time of universal devastation. "Karmanam parinamitvad a-virinchyad amangalam. An intelligent person should see that any material activity is subject to constant transformation and that even on the planet of Lord Brahma there is thus simply unhappiness." (SB, 11.19.18). It is not possible to get uninterrupted happiness or genuine happiness by practising any transient process (karma, etc.)—knowing the result of such practices to be perishable and transitory, knowledgeable persons leave all such practices and strive to become fixed in the plane of soul by practising renunciation, etc. and subsequently getting released from the happiness of material enjoyment. Even if a jiva soul is released from its conditioned state and experiences joy within this plane, it still cannot get eternal happiness and real peace of the soul. As long as an eternal, cognisant and blissful particle does not experience love for the great eternal, cognisant, and blissful Supersoul or the Supreme Lord (i.e. as long as the soul does not become fixed in the plane where the Lord is the object of service and a jiva is His servant and does not practise devotion by serving and worshipping the Lord), there is no way for the jiva soul to get real and eternal peace or happiness.

If you want to bring ultimate happiness to the soul, you should forget all practices like karma, jnana, yoga, etc. and eternally, attentively serve and worship the Lord—practise sravan and kirtan of the Lord's qualities, pastimes, and glories. A spiritual practice accomplished through all senses is called bhagavad-dharma or bhakti-dharma (transcendental religion, or religion of devotion). Devotion can be of two types—one is general devotion, and another is loving devotion. Serving, worshipping the Lord with all one's senses, as well as practising sravan, kirtan, etc. of His qualities and pastimes with the goal of attaining loving devotion is called practising devotion (sadhana-bhakti). Such practice matures into divine love. When practising devotion, practitioners naturally start feeling renunciation or apathy towards lower spiritual things, material things, enjoyment, etc.

There is a prescription found in the scriptures that advises jiva souls to follow varnasrama according to one's nature and qualities. If jiva souls, situated in one of the varnas (brahman, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra, etc.), practice the prescribed religion for a particular ashram according to their qualifications (brahmacharya, garhasthya, vanaprastha, sannyas, etc.), but do not feel taste for hearing and glorifying the Holy Name and pastimes of the Lord (the true eternal beneficial practices), then following this system of varnasrama will be useless. This truth is extolled in the crest jewel of all the revealed scriptures, Srimad Bhagavatam. "Dharma-mulam hi bhagavan. The root of religion is the Supreme Lord." The true purpose of following any religion is to make the Supreme Lord happy. If you practise religion focusing on the satisfaction of the Lord, you will get taste for Hari-katha. To get this taste for the narrations about the Supreme Lord is the gist of all religious practices. The purpose or result of practising varnasrama dharma is not to become rich. The main purpose of religious practice is to awaken the enquiry about the transcendental truth. The transcendental truth is Brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan (impersonal universal form of the Lord, the localised all-pervading Supersoul, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead). If jiva souls become eager to serve any of the three aspects of the Lord, they can become free from the bondage of karma and attain the result without any hindrances. Pursuing knowledge allows one to come to the impersonal, non-variegated aspect of the Lord (nirvises Brahma); yoga grants one the darshan of the all-pervading Supersoul—in each of these cases jiva souls become released from the suffering and pain of the material world, from death and birth, from unhappiness and struggle, but even then, liberation is not the highest and ultimate necessity of the jiva soul. The extreme necessity of the jiva soul is divine love for Godhead. By satisfying the Lord or by striving to make the Lord happy through the practice of devotional processes, one reaches the highest spiritual attainment—divine love for the Lord. Practice of devotion is extremely easy and effortless, unlike jnana, yoga, etc., which involve a lot of struggle. The result of practising jnana, yoga, etc. is attainment of liberation, mystic perfections, etc., but this result can be easily attained through practice of devotion.

Practice of devotion means engaging in hearing, chanting, remembering, etc. the Lord's Holy Name, qualities, pastimes, and glories. Great souls who possess divine vision have prescribed to eternally and attentively practise hearing, chanting, etc., the Lord's glories. When practitioners of devotion continuously engage themselves in the worship of the Lord and discussions about the Lord, then hankering for religiosity, material prosperity, other desires, etc. find no place in their hearts. All secondary pursuits (bodily identification, ego, the world of "I" and "mine", etc.) that obstruct service to the Lord are completely removed. The Lord is the only object of service, and a jiva soul is His servant—the sword of such awakened consciousness severs all gross and subtle designations of the jiva soul. The taste for the narrations about the Lord does not come naturally, on its own, to those who are forever unfortunate and covered by unwanted elements. To awaken this taste in such souls, great souls who have divine vision prescribe to serve and worship the lotus feet of Sri Gurudev, who assumes the form of a devotee possessing such taste for Hari-katha. Continuous service to Sri Gurudev, the greatest devotee, awakens faith and taste for the narrations about the Lord. Moreover, continuous hearing, chanting, remembering, etc. the Holy Name, qualities, pastimes of the Lord in strict adherence to Sri Guru removes all desires for selfish happiness, all types of unwanted elements, even desires for gain and fame, etc.—it completely cleanses and purifies one's heart. Such service to Sri Gurupadpadma (the Lord manifest in the form of a devotee), hearing and reading holy Bhagavatam (the Lord manifest in the form of a scripture) along with hearing, chanting the Lord's Holy Name, hearing and glorifying the pastimes of the Lord, etc. arouse eager taste or unflinching devotion to the Lord in the plane free of unwanted elements. At that time, the waves of lust, anger, etc. will not arise in one's heart—pure goodness will appear in one's heart throwing away all accumulated qualities of passion and ignorance. Attaining this state, practising devotees' eagerness to serve the Lord will increase in their pure hearts, enveloped in pure goodness. When practitioners practise Krishna consciousness at every moment in the association of distinctive, kindred devotees, they attain within their spiritual form the transcendental knowledge about the Lord by the influence of samvit (omniscient potency) and Hladini (ecstatic potency). Attaining the state of freedom from all unwanted elements, such souls effortlessly attain steadiness and detachment and practise devotional life with all their senses; as a result of such practice they get the darshan of the Lord. This is the acme of practising life. If you are raised to this level, you will no longer have any trace of hesitation or doubt in your heart about the transcendental plane. Divine love appears within a heart radiating pure goodness. Until and unless divine love is awakened, you can neither see the Lord nor experience the highest devotional mellows—as much as the soul cannot attain supreme peace. If you want to find ultimate happiness or get eternal and real peace, all you need to do is to always practise pure devotion or akinchana-bhakti (materially impoverished devotion) without any deceit—with the intent and eagerness to make the Lord happy.

It is important and necessary for us to hear these things—to hear how we must practise, how we will get our real benefit. These are the main things in our spiritual life.

 

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Morning Practice
'How many hours are necessary? Wake up early in the morning, practise, and then go to your work. But everything is impossible for those who do not do anything.'

 

Ki jani ki bale
'Everything is Yours. I am only a servant. Certainly You will deliver me. I have embraced Your feet and no longer belong to myself.'
কি জানি কি বলে

I am bowing at your lotus feet: if you serve my Guru, I will serve you my whole life;
if you serve my Guru, I will sacrifice my life to serve you.

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