Live from Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir!
Date: February 20, 2006
Verse: Srimad Bhagavatam 2.2.18
Speaker: HH Prabhavisnu Swami
The title of this chapter is “The Lord in the Heart”. In the first three chapters of the second canto, you can see there is a sequence. The first chapter is called “The First Step in God Realization” so it is aimed primarily to educate persons who are very much on the sensual platform, the material platform by drawing their attention to different aspects of the universal creation and explaining that there is this spiritual potency behind everything.
Materialists tend to be very tied up in their own bodily affairs, family, social affairs, and thinking that is all-important, have no time for spiritual understanding. Often they will completely deny the existence of any spiritual reality or any supreme being. So they don’t have the inclination or the ability to understand high transcendental subject matters. But nevertheless, they are surrounded by so many amazing aspects of the Lord’s creation even in this material world.
So Sukadeva Goswami, he explains, draws attention to many of the wonderful aspects of the universe around us and depicts that as part of the universal form of the Lord. Prabhupada said the universal form of the Lord is a temporary form, it’s an imaginary form, but still it’s a form. It’s a way of entering into the understanding of the existence of the Lord and appreciating His potencies. So like that, the sun and the moon, they are compared to the eyes of the Lord, the rivers to the veins in his body, the hairs on his body to the forests, the mountains to the stacks of his bones, etc. There are many examples given like that. In this way, the materialist’s attention is drawn to the vast wonders of this material universe and he is encouraged to understand that there is a deeper spiritual reality behind everything, at least to come to the level of Brahman understanding.
As a school boy we had to study poetry in England, Ireland, actually, I was educated in. There were five famous poets called romantic poets, of whom the eldest was William Wordsworth. He used to draw inspiration for his poetry by walking in Lake District, a very scenic part of Northern England. Cumbria, I think the area is called nowadays. It’s on the border of Scotland. Many mountains, moors, lakes, and in those days of course, no cars. Up there even today there are no big cities. He would wander alone in the natural surroundings and draw inspiration for his poetry. In many places he seems to connect with the spiritual power. He writes like that, “There is a power which rose above the row above the. . . .” So he had some sort of pantheistic understanding, some experience of Brahman, although he couldn’t explain it any further than that or understand it any further than that but at least by observing the universe around, he could get some kind of spiritual realization. So the first chapter of this canto teaches us in that way.
Then, of course, Sukadeva Goswami takes the matter further and this chapter is explaining paramatma realization, how to meditate on the Lord in the heart. The next chapter is called “Pure Devotional Service: The Change in Heart”. That takes us to the level of Bhagavan realisation, engaging practically in the devotional service of the Lord. That is of course, the last word in spiritual realisation, to come to the platform of full engagement in devotional service leading ultimately to Krsna prema, ecstatic love of Krsna, which is the goal of life.
When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in Udupi, He met with the tattvavadi acarya and Lord Caitanya asked him that what is the goal of life and how to attain it. He said that the goal of life is to attain liberation and the means to attain it is varnasrama dharma. By liberation, he didn’t just mean merging into Brahman but he meant specifically one of the four kinds of liberation. There are five kinds but one of them is merging into the bodily effulgence of the Lord, but for Vaisnavas, of course, that is not at all interesting. In fact, it is considered hellish, kaivalyam narakayate.
The other four kinds of liberation are in the Vaikuntha planets: going to the same planet as the Lord, having the same bodily features as the Lord, becoming an associate of the Lord, having the same opulence as the Lord. The tattvavadis are Vaisnavas, they worship Krsna, so he considered that attaining one of those kinds of liberation to the spiritual world, that is the ultimate goal of life and by strictly following all the rules and regulations of varnasrama, one can attain that, but Lord Caitanya did not accept either of these proposals. He said that the actual goal of life is Krsna prema, to attain ecstatic love for Krsna and the means for attaining that is the process of bhakti yoga, of devotional service to the Lord. So that is what is explained then in the third chapter of this canto.
Here in the second chapter the discussion is about mediation on the Lord in the heart, similar to the sixth chapter of Bhagavad-gita where Krsna is explaining how the transcendentalists should go to a secluded place, sit down, control the senses, and meditate on the form of the Lord in the heart.
Here in this chapter, there is a very explicit description of the features of that form.
Of course, that is also a kind of devotional service, to meditate on the Lord. But we can say it is somewhat a passive kind of devotional service. It is also very, very difficult to perform. Even Arjuna, in Bhagavad-gita, said that he considered it too difficult for him to practice. Of course, Krsna went on to encourage him to engage in devotional service with sincerity, with bhakti, according to his propensity, which is of course what the sankirtana movement of Lord Caitanya propagates.
Still, meditation on the Lord is obviously a part of that, but just how we meditate on the Lord, what is the most practical means to do that, that is the question. Here the process described could have been practiced in the past by great yogis and transcendentalist who were very self controlled, living in a very pure environment, but in our situation, of course, the environment is very impure, the population of the earth is always restless and disturbed, engaged in all kinds of sinful activity. So the conditions are not right for that kind of meditation on the Paramatma. Rather, active devotional service, a variety of active devotional service is recommended, engaging in different aspects of bhakti yoga, hearing, chanting, worshipping the Deities, preaching, and all kinds of varieties of activities which are offered by the sankirtana movement.
Prabhupada said that serve Krsna in Kali-yuga means to serve the sankirtana movement and by his mercy he’s created such a wonderful worldwide society which is endeavouring to preach Krsna consciousness on all levels and attract all kinds of persons. So there’s unlimited engagement for devotees with all different kinds of propensities.
Of course the central activities for all are chanting Krsna’s holy names and hearing from the scriptures, worshipping the deity, associating with the devotees, this is common to all. But every devotee has their particular propensity and ability and the sankirtana movement offers opportunities for unlimited numbers of devotees.
So in this way it’s a practical opportunity to follow the instructions of this verse. By fully engaging in the activities of devotional service then one can avoid mundane activities, mundane talk, everything godless, and one can learn to perform every thought, word and deed in the service of the Lord, in relation to the Lord and learn to lead a simple but sublime life and not to create perplexities.
Materialists create many, many, many perplexities. Yesterday we were hearing from Prahladananda Maharaja in a very humorous way about so many perplexities that materialists create due to their false ego and desire to be the centre of attention and propagate their own glories. But the devotees are not interested in becoming puffed-up and advertising themselves, but rather they are interested to advertise Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and humble devotional service to Krsna as the best position to be situated in. Due to creating so many perplexities the materialists have to suffer from so many different kinds of karmic reactions but by engaging in the humble service of the Lord the devotees can free themselves from the perplexities of karma and swiftly progress on the path of spiritual life.
So one has to study the instructions of the Lord, study the instructions of the great acaryas, and also hear from the senior Vaisnavas, associate with one’s peers and in this way understand how to be harmoniously engaged in practical devotional service which will be for one’s own benefit, and the benefit of others as well.
So in this way a devoteee is like a touchstone-he is absorbed in Krsna-and therefore those who come in touch with him also become infected with Krsna consciousness. So in this way more and more persons learn about the process of Krsna consciousness and become engaged in it practically. So this is the focus of a devotee’s life, to avoid anything which has no connection with Krsna or distracts one, puts one into illusion, but rather to cleanse the heart, cleanse the consciousness, and welcome the Lord into one’s heart, into one’s life on every level, in every aspect, and thus be in the most secure position.
This material world is a dangerous place, there is always danger at every step, but if one takes full shelter in the Lord and the process of devotional service then he is always protected from the dangers of material existence, at least from the spiritual point of view. He might still be subjected to some physical difficulties because this material body is temporary and can be vanquished at any moment, but doesn’t matter, the devotee is firmly fixed at the lotus feet of the Lord and therefore whether he has this body or not, whether he has another material body or not, or whether he’s simply situated in his eternal, spiritual position in any case, he is always properly situated at the lotus feet of Lord Krsna. And thus, within his heart, love for Krsna can go on developing more and more-unlimitedly.
Krsna prema is unlimited and the loving exchanges between Krsna and His devotees are unlimited. When Krsna sees that a devotee is serving Him with enthusiasm and sincerity, Krsna reciprocates. And the devotee feels that reciprocation and becomes even more inspired to serve Krsna and Krsna reciprocates even further. Thus the loving exchanges between Krsna and His devotees are going on unlimitedly and expanding unlimitedly in their intensity and in their ever-freshness and in the depth of their purity and love.
So in this way, Srila Prabhupada has opened to us the path of devotional service leading to the perfectional stage of existence. We should remain fixed on that path and help others also to become situated on that path.
That will be the perfection of our life if we can become fully Krsna conscious and help others also to become situated on that path. That will be the perfection of our life if we can become fully Krsna conscious and help others to become fully Krsna conscious.
So thank you. Hare Krsna.
Devotees: Hare Krsna.
Maharaja: Any short question or comment? The microphone?
Ekalavya Das: Hare Krsna. Thank you for the nice class, Maharaja. I was appreciating the points about how a devotee becomes charged in a spiritual atmosphere and I’d like to thank you and all the other senior Vaisnavas who have come to give their association and help us to charge the spiritual atmosphere with spiritual sakti. Thank you very much.
Maharaja: I’d also like to thank you for your transcendental trumpet playing, [laughter] which enlivens all the kirtanas.
Thank you very much. Hare Krsna!
Devotees: Hare Krsna!
Maharaja: Grantharaja Srimad-Bhagavatam ki jai! Srila Prabhupada ki jai!