Date: February 19, 2006
Verse: Srimad Bhagavatam 2.2.17
Speaker: HH Prahladananda Swami
na yatra kalo ‘nimisam parah prabhuh
kuto nu deva jagatam ya isire
na yatra sattvam na rajas tamas ca
na vai vikaro na mahan pradhanam
TRANSLATION: In that transcendental state of labdhopasanti, there is no supremacy of devastating time, which controls even the celestial demigods who are empowered to rule over mundane creatures. (And what to speak of the demigods themselves?) Nor is there the mode of material goodness, nor passion, nor ignorance, nor even the false ego, nor the material Causal Ocean, nor the material nature.
PURPORT: Devastating time, which controls even the celestial demigods by its manifestations of past, present and future, does not act on the transcendental plane. The influence of time is exhibited by the symptoms of birth, death, old age and disease, and these four principles of material conditions are present everywhere in any part of the material cosmos up to the planet Brahmaloka, where the duration of life of the inhabitants appears to us to be fabulous. Insurmountable time even brings about the death of Brahma, so what to speak of other demigods like Indra, Candra, Surya, Vayu and Varuna? The astronomical influence directed by the different demigods over mundane creatures is also conspicuous by its absence. In material existence, the living entities are afraid of Satanic influence, but for a devotee on the transcendental plane there is no such fear at all. The living entities change their material bodies in different shapes and forms under the influence of the different modes of material nature, but in the transcendental state the devotee is guna-tita, or above the material modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. Thus the false ego of “I am the lord of all I survey” does not arise there. In the material world the false ego of the living being trying to lord it over the material nature is something like the moth’s falling in a blazing fire. The moth is captivated by the glaring beauty of the fire, and when he comes to enjoy it, the blazing fire consumes him. In the transcendental state the living being is pure in his consciousness, and as such he has no false ego to lord it over the material nature. Rather, his pure consciousness directs him to surrender unto the Supreme Lord, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita (7.19): vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah. All this indicates that in the transcendental state there is neither material creation nor the Causal Ocean for material nature.
The above-mentioned state of affairs is factual on the transcendental plane, but is factually revealed in a transcendentalist’s knowledge of the advanced state of pure consciousness. Such transcendentalists are of two types, namely the impersonalists and the devotees. For the impersonalist the ultimate goal or destination is the brahmajyoti of the spiritual sky, but for the devotees the ultimate goal is the Vaikuntha planets. The devotees experience the above-mentioned state of affairs by attainment of spiritual forms for activity in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. But the impersonalist, because of his neglecting the association of the Lord, does not develop a spiritual body for spiritual activity, but remains a spiritual spark only, merged in the effulgent spiritual rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord is the full-fledged form of eternity, bliss and knowledge, but the formless brahmajyoti is simply eternity and knowledge. The Vaikuntha planets are also forms of eternity, bliss and knowledge, and therefore the devotees of the Lord, who are admitted into the abode of the Lord, also get bodies of eternity, bliss and knowledge. As such there is no difference between one and another. The Lord’s abode, name, fame, entourage, etc., are of the same transcendental quality, and how this transcendental quality differs from the material world is explained herewith in this verse. In the Bhagavad-gita, three principal subjects have been explained by Lord Sri Krsna, namely karma-yoga, jnana-yoga and bhakti-yoga, but one can reach the Vaikuntha planets by the practice of bhakti-yoga only.
The other two are incompetent in helping one reach the Vaikunthalokas, although they can, however, conveniently take one to the effulgent brahmajyoti, as described above.
(namo om, etc.)
Here in Srimad Bhagavatam it explains what’s not in the spiritual world. For one who is going to miss old age, disease, death, the modes of material nature, devastating time, etc, the spiritual world is not a very good place to go. Unfortunately, due to our long association with the material nature, we actually like being in the material world, to some extent because it is our nature that we are worshipers. We are by nature devotees, dasa. So dasa is our eternal nature, and now, we have become devoted to so many material bodies.
Actually in the present time, this body that we are in has become our worshipable deity. We wake up in the morning and immediately we look in the mirror and we ask the mirror, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the greatest of them all?”
The mirror immediately responds by saying, “Isn’t it obvious?” [laughter] With that enthusing comment, we proceed to perform our puja. We do our abhiseka. Those who are very dedicated, in the mode of goodness, to our bodies, they take a shower. We make our plan how many offerings a day, what we will prepare for the deity. We immediately begin to decorate the deity and put clothes on it, different perfumes. Then we go out to spread the glories of the deity, see how many bhaktas we can get and how many demons we have to slay today. This is our nature. And most of us are on the platform of nistha. We are fixed. Even a thought of deviating for a moment from our unalloyed love for our body makes us very much disturbed. Even Mother Yasoda may have to learn a few things from how carefully we protect our bodies, from how much anxiety we get into from any threat to our body.
Therefore, Krsna consciousness, of course, is meant to convince us that there is a better alternative to worshiping a dead body. Although the body is already dead, somehow or another, we are thinking that the body is alive and we are afraid in the future it might die, although at every moment it is dying. One has to become convinced that the soul is by nature a worshipper of Krsna and by worshiping Krsna, whatever one is actually looking for, which is namely knowledge and how to be eternally happy.
As I once mentioned, when Srila Prabhupada came to Buffalo in 1969 and there were a few devotees in the temple, in the first class, he asked the devotees there, he said, “Do you want to become happy?”
Since no one had asked such a profound question before, no one knew the answer. No one dared to say yes. [laughter]
Then Prabhupada looked very concerned, so he asked the same question again, “Don’t you want to become happy?”
Everyone was very busily trying to figure out what the correct answer could be, but no one said anything, so Prabhupada looked even more concerned.
He asked for the third time, “Don’t you want to become happy?”
Then one devotee took a guess, and he said, “Yes.”
Prabhupada gave a big sigh of relief and said, “Oh, that is very good.”
People don’t know why they’re suffering so much. In the material world, there are four purusarthas, namely, dharma, artha, kama, and moksa, but in the present age, people don’t know what dharma is. They don’t know how material nature is working. They don’t know what the goal is, mainly to get out of the material life. Instead, they are absorbed in so-called economic development. One time Prabhupada was asked that here in the western world, where he was speaking, or even in the modern world, India, now it is all over the world, they don’t perform sacrifice, practically everyone is sinful, so why is it they have so much money, so much economic development?
Prabhupada’s response was, “They don’t have economic development, they don’t even know what economic development is.” Actually, economic development means good food. Even the billionaires with so much money, they don’t eat as well as the poverty stricken devotees. They can’t even conceive of how the devotees are eating. And annad bhavanti bhutani parjanyad anna-sambhavah, because the devotees know how to perform sacrifice, therefore Krsna is providing nice prasad. And economic development means clean air, fresh air.
Not that you go to city like Tokyo and you have to find out where they are selling air on the street. That is not economic development.
And fresh water; believe it or not, within the realm of history, there used to be a time when people used to not have to buy bottled water. [laughter] It seems like it must have been ancient history, but there was actually historical time that people could actually drink the water from the tap.
Economic development also means nice relationships between people. Not that there’s no more marriage in some places, there’s only partnership, because people don’t believe, what to speak of happily-ever-after, they don’t even believe it’s going to be for a few years at the most. Even within so-called marriage life, they can’t even relate to each other. They can’t even understand why they have these children.
One devotee who works for the Department for Human Resources in one of the states in Australia was telling me that his wife, she does investigations.
She actually goes to the different houses and places where there is report of child abuse. In a country which has around nineteen million people, and in that state, it has maybe two or three million people, every month there are eight hundred to a thousand reports of child abuse. And those are the reported child abuses. So that’s progress. That’s how we’re loving our children. That’s the direction of this economic development, where people take care of their cars better than they take care of their children. If you report an abuse of their dog, they’d be immediately arrested and there would be a big scandal, but if you abuse your children it is normal, practically.
And what to speak of peace, freedom from fear, everyone is in anxiety. They don’t know if they are going to get anything to eat tomorrow if they say the wrong thing, the government may come and arrest them, call in the terrorists or they may lose their jobs or someone may become disturbed at that.
Everyone is in constant anxiety or fear. So where is the progress? In a place where people can’t eat, they can’t even sleep. The people who have the most money have the most trouble sleeping. They have to take a pill to go to sleep, they have to take a pill to wake up, and they have to take a pill to counteract the effects of the two pills they just took. [laughter] So what is the progress? Where is the economic development? They consider it barbaric to live in the country and breathe clean air, to eat fresh food, to be peaceful, to not be in anxiety to get more and more and more.
“So much wealth do I have and by my schemes I’m going to get more and more and more. So much is mine and in the future I’ll get more.” And what does that lead to? “He is my enemy – I’ll kill him and my other enemies will also be killed. I’m the lord of everything. I’m perfect. This body is the deity – follow it or you’re finished. Surrender:
sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah
I am perfect, I am powerful, and I am happy. I’ll go to work twenty-four hours a day and make money and with that money I’ll buy paradise. I’ll put a deposit on a Vaikuntha planet. The goddess of fortune will come to live with me and we’ll have so many expansions, plenary and partial. All the ones who make it to Harvard, they’re my plenary expansions and the ones who can’t make it past public school, they’re my partial expansions. [laughter] I’ll get my Garuda and go to the fourteen cities and spread my glories everywhere.”
So this is material life, everyone is working hard for the so-called happiness of material life. So here it is mentioned that there is no happiness in material life.
ye hi samsparsa-ja bhoga duhkha-yonaya eva te ady-antavantah kaunteya na tesu ramate budhah
“An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.”
Just like, say we were going fishing. We’re not, it’s just an example. And we take along our rod and our reel and the tackle and the bait and the hook.
We throw the line in the water and at the end of the line there’s a big hook and some bait. Immediately, there are so many fish swimming to get the bait.
The big macho fishes are bumping each other out of the way, “I’m going to get it first!” Lo and behold, one fish grabs the bait and enjoys and then gets hooked. Then the fisherman reels up the line, grabs hold of the fish, cuts him open, throws him on to the frying pan and he gets fried. He thought he was going to enjoy, but actually, he got fried. So that’s material life.
Maya says, “Come and enjoy, come and enjoy,” and the result is that people get fried. There are so many animals, the hunter in the forest blows his horn, plays on his flute, and all the deer crowd around, “Wow listen to that concert, that is sweet.” And lo and behold – Bang! “Wasn’t as good as I thought.”
The elephant, they take a she-elephant and put it one side of the pit, and the elephant says, “Wow, there she is, true love!” And he runs towards the elephant and “boom”, he’s in the hole.
tat sadhu manye ‘sura-varya dehinam
sada samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahat
hitvatma-patam grham andha-kupam
vanam gato yad dharim asrayeta
He’s in the hole. The animals can show us what is the result of becoming attached to the senses, but the human being is not only attached to one sense, he is attached to so many senses, all the senses. I remember one time I was sitting on an airplane and the man next to me was eating the meal, which was unmentionable. At the same time, he was smoking a cigarette while he was eating a meal. [laughter] At the same time, he had his earphones on and I could hear music: “Bam-bam-bam-bam-bam”. [laughter] At the same time, he was watching the movie. And at the same time, he was talking to me, telling me how much anxiety he was in. [laughter] So people have a solution, but
matir na krsne paratah svato va
mitho ‘bhipadyeta grha-vratanam
They don’t know the aim of life. They’re trying to solve their problems, but they don’t do it in a Krsna conscious way because they are fixed in this idea that somehow or other, if I solve the problems of the body, then I’ll become happy. But there’s no end to the problems of the body. The more one tries to solve the problems of the body, especially if it’s not done in a proper way, then the more problems they get. Because they don’t know dharma, they don’t know that the goal is moksa. Therefore, their solutions simply cause more and more anxiety, more and more problems, less and less happiness.
na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum
durasaya ye bahir-artha-maninah
They don’t know that the goal is to reach Krsna. They are being led by blind leaders.
Therefore the solution is naisam matis tavad urukramanghrim, the solution is that the devotees who have this knowledge, who actually know how to live peacefully, happily, sanely on the material platform, or at least know what to eat, who know the solution to life, they have to inform people by their example, by their experience, by their preaching, what is the actual goal of life and how to achieve it. Otherwise, we can see that due to the absence of knowledge in material society, people and suffering and their suffering is ever-increasing. Srila Prabhupada said if you light a match in a dark room, the darkness cannot put out the match. So ti is simply a question of preaching this philosophy, preaching this knowledge, and those who are sincere, those who are half sane, they will be able to appreciate it and there will be true progress in society towards the actual goal of life and the actual knowledge of how to achieve it.
So thank you very much.
Are there any questions? Or a question? OK, thank you very much. Grantharaj Srimad-Bhagavatam ki jai, Srila Prabhupada ki jai, gaura-premanande!